Super Recaps: Halo – Episode 5

Halo the series is owned by Paramount Plus

Directed by Jonathan Liebesman

I had my issues with the last episode, but the vitriol that continues to be rained down on this show is getting tiresome. There are legitimate complaints to have with the series, but more and more I see people refusing to engage with the material and are just trying to justify their resentment with Cinema Sins style gotchas, and look, I’ve been there! I’ve had movies I reviewed that I couldn’t articulate exactly why I didn’t like them and so I leaned into nit-picks and literalisms instead of thoughtful analysis. It’s an easy trap to fall into so I don’t want to come down too hard on people for it, but it’s also getting harder for me to take criticisms against the show seriously. So with that being said, does the latest episode manage to pick up the slack of the last one and deliver on what the show has been building towards, or will this be another plot-heavy episode that will only annoy the critics even further? Let’s find out!!

With Chief and Halsey (Pablo Schreiber and Natascha McElhone) finding a new artifact on Eridanus II, the UNSC has sent a detachment of troops and researchers to study it and hopefully find whatever this big weapon is that they seem to be pointing to. It’s an uneasy situation to be sure as Chief is still suspicious of Halsey and the secrets she’s kept from him, but with Cortana inside of his brain and still under Halsey’s thumb, she doesn’t have a lot to be worried about just yet. On top of the tension there, both Miranda and Jacob Keyes (Olive Gray and Danny Sapani) are part of this operation as well as the other members of Spartan Silver Team, and throwing them all back together after so much has happened is bound to bring out some bad blood and questionable actions. Say what you will about The Covenant, they seem to have their act together and are working diligently with Makee (Charlie Murphy) to try and locate the artifacts that the UNSC has uncovered. As soon as they do, the marines and the Spartans are gonna have a heck of a time repelling their attack and keeping the artifact for themselves. Also, let’s not forget about Kwan Ha and Soren (Yerin ha and Bokeem Woodbine) who are still on Madrigal with the latter trying to find a way off the rock while the former is realizing just what kind of uphill battle she’s got ahead of her if she wants to reignite the rebellion. Can Halsey and her team uncover the secrets of the new artifact before The Covenant find them and scorch the earth with plasma? Just how far will Kwan Ha go to save her planet, and who will have to pay the price for that in the process? Seriously, can The Covenant just not right now? Chief is going through a few things and doesn’t have time for this!

“The hell of it is, today was supposed to be my day off.”
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Cinema Dispatch: Death on the Nile

Death on the Nile and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Studios

Directed by Kenneth Branagh

Hey, remember when Murder on the Orient Express came out and then the world ended before the sequel come hit theaters? It feels like this thing was pushed back at least half a dozen times before it finally hit theaters, and sure enough, I ended up missing it when it did; catching it on one of the various streaming services it was added to in the last few weeks. I made time for Uncharted and Batman, but I couldn’t make time for this!? Blasphemy, I say! Was I wrong to miss out on this classy and colorful adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel when I had the chance to see it on the big screen, or did I manage to save myself from crushing disappointment and overpriced popcorn? Let’s find out!!

Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is the world’s greatest living detective and owner of one of the best mustaches the world has ever seen! Still, even with so much success behind him, he is not without his troubles, his worries, and his fatigue which prompts him to take a trip to Egypt. Little does he know however that, just like Jessica Fletcher, murder and mischief follow him wherever he goes and he winds up meeting his old friend Bouc (Tom Bateman) who drags him to a wedding party full of colorful characters and juicy intrigue. The wedding is for Linnet Ridgeway and Simon Doyle (Gal Gadot and Armie Hammer); the former a socialite heiress to a vast fortune and the latter a hunky dude she stole from her best friend Jackie (Emma Mackey). The rest of the wedding party is certainly putting on a show of happiness for the new couple, but each one has an ax to grind as is standard for this kind of story with Jackie herself making an appearance once in a while to really ratchet up the heat. Someone is going to die during this destination wedding, and with Poirot around, there is a good chance that justice will be served! Who at this wedding party will play the part of the victim in this tragedy, and what will be the motive behind that killing!? Will Poirot be able to suss out the murderer before they get desperate and cover their tracks with even more bloodshed!? Seriously, dude. How do you keep that mustache so perfect; ESPECIALLY in this humidity!?

“Bedrest, tweezers, and industrial-strength adhesive!”
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Super Recaps: Halo – Episode 4

Halo the series is owned by Paramount Plus

Directed by Roel Reiné

Another week, another episode of Halo for a certain segment of the fan base to get testy over! I think I’ve made it quite clear by now that the changes to the lore and the focus on characters have been a huge positive for me even if some of the fans out there are dismaying the lack of action and the shift in tone. Still, while I am enjoying everything they are doing so far, it’s possible that this slow burn will fizzle out at some point and all the buildup will be for naught; especially if we never do get to the thing that this series is named after. Does this episode continue the upward momentum of the series as it soldiers on in bold new directions, or will the cracks start to show as there are fewer and fewer things from the games to pull from to placate fans with? Let’s find out!!

With John the Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) finally remembering his home planet, he and Doctor Halsey (Natascha McElhone) head to the planet to see if they can find more clues as to what this mysterious artifact was that was found on the planet Madrigal and why it reacts so strongly to John. Of course, there’s always the risk that John may discover too much about his past that Halsey has worked hard to keep secret, but that’s what Cortana (Jen Taylor) is for as she is meant to keep Chief placated and in line. While this is going on, the other members of Spartan Silver Team, Kai, Vannak, and Riz (Kate Kennedy, Bentley Kalu, and Natasha Cultzac) are working with Miranda Keyes (Olive Gray) back on the planet Reach to conduct unrelated research on the artifact, though with Kai having just removed her own emotion chip, it’s possible that Keyes may learn more than she bargained for from these towering war machines. If that wasn’t enough drama for you, Kwan Ha and Soren (Yerin Ha and Bokeem Woodbine) have made it back to the planet Madrigal where Kwan is hoping to reignite the resistance against the planet’s new leader Vinsher Grath (Burn Gorman), though much like everyone else in this episode, the answers to her questions may not be the ones she was hoping to find. Will the Chief be able to go back to being a Spartan warrior and a tool of the UNSC once he uncovers the truth of his own childhood? Can the ideals of liberty and freedom survive on a planet that is now directly controlled by an authoritarian puppet of the UNSC; especially when they offer security from the impending alien threat? Speaking of alien threats, where are The Covenant in this episode!? Did everyone just agree to take a Mental Health Day as they deal with their tragic pasts and uncertain futures!?

“We have you scheduled for art therapy today.”     “Great! I’ll start by turning this head into a Jackson Pollock!”
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Super Recaps: Halo – Episode 3

Halo the series is owned by Paramount Plus

Directed by Roel Reiné

We’re back with another episode of the show that fans love to hate! Well, certainly not all fans have been down on this new version of the story, but there are certainly those who have had a hard time getting behind these reinterpretations of the characters and the sizable overhaul to the lore. Will this trend continue as we finally get introduced to the TV version of Cortana, or will it finally click for them the same way it clicked to me right off the bat with the very first episode? Let’s find out!!

With Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) returning to the UNSC at the end of the last episode, Dr. Halsey (Natascha McElhone) has to put her biggest project yet in motion if the Spartans are going to continue to function as a unit. Enter the Cortana Project which Halsey has been working on in secret but may just be the buffer between Chief and the UNSC that she needs to keep the program under her control. Cortana (Jen Taylor) is to be an AI built from the ground up on a copy of Halsey’s brain (where she got that copy is pretty disturbing, but we do what we must for science!), and it will be injected into Master Chief to keep him in line and provide invaluable tactical support. Chief is obviously skeptical of having an AI embedded into his head, but as a good soldier he does what he’s told with the minimum amount of pouting and spends most of his time focusing on those flashbacks he was having and the words from Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) that have stuck with him longer than he expected. While all this is going on, the Covenant’s sole human Makee (Charlie Murphy) starts her journey to recover the Keystone from the UNSC, and Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha) is getting antsy about the authoritarian crisis on Madrigal brought about by its comically over the top new leader Vinsher Grath (Burn Gorman). Can Chief and Cortana find a way to work together before Makee finds her way to the UNSC headquarters and the mysterious alien tech housed there? What will Kwan Ha do to try and save her planet from Grath, and can Soren ultimately keep his promise to Master Chief? I don’t know about you, but Cortana seems pretty useful to me! She’s like Siri, right?

“Cortana, play Spartan Party Jams volume 4.”     “Again? We just listened to that yesterday.”     “Fine. Play Spartan Party Jams volume 5, but we are NOT skipping volume 4 on leg day!”
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Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – The Official Movie Pre-Quill

Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America

We all remember that Sonic movie from a few years ago! You know, the one that came out right before the world ended? I mean, I thought it was just kind of okay, but it looks like we’re getting a sequel and that means more merchandise! I still have a drink topper from the first film that was based on the original design for Sonic (the nightmare never ends in this house), but perhaps a full-on prequel comic book would be a more fulfilling endeavor. Oh wait, they spelled it Pre-Quill, so perhaps not. Still, if you’re gonna get a team to make fluff like this, you might as well hire the experienced people behind the IDW comics and maybe they can bring a little something extra to this oversized advertisement! Let’s find out!!

Our first story titled Hedgehog Day Afternoon involves Sonic the Hedgehog feeling bored and wandering around town until he hears about a bank robbery only a few hundred miles away. I’m not sure what makes him think he’s qualified to be a superhero or why he would want to be one in the first place. Perhaps he’s seen Iron Man one too many times and fancies himself a little blue Tony Stark. In any case, he rushes over there to find the thieves underway and the hostages compliant, so naturally he wants to turn it into a big mess and is still workshopping his hero name.

“Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to.”    “So that’s a yes?”    “IT’S A FREE COUNTRY!!”
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Super Recaps: Halo – Episode 2

Halo the series is owned by Paramount Plus

Directed by Otto Bathurst

We’re back with another episode of Halo; everyone’s favorite show about a quip spouting robot that isn’t Bender! Well I guess that’s a bit hyperbolic as the Chief in this version is somehow even more taciturn than he was in the games, but we’ll talk about changes to the source material soon enough. The first episode was an absolute delight that managed to capture the feel of Halo’s intense action while reworking its dubious source material into something new and exciting! Still, a lot of shows will frontload their first episode with flashy spectacle and surprise twists with the follow-up being a better indicator of what to expect from the series going forward. Can Halo sustain its momentum through its sophomore outing, or was that the peak and it’s all downhill from here? Let’s find out!!

After their daring escape from the UNSC, Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) and Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha) have to find a place that will not only protect them from the wrath of Earth but to also help explain what this mysterious artifact is that they found on her planet. Fortunately, Master Chief does in fact have friends outside of the military and goes to the one person in the galaxy who is equal parts friendly to him and spiteful to the UNSC. They arrive at a hidden space colony known as The Rubble where Chief’s friend Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is a big wig and may have some of the answers they seek, though in a place outside of Earth’s control there is a clear sense of animosity towards the USNC’s biggest propaganda symbol and Chief may not have safe-harbor for very long. Can he keep Kwan Ha safe from the UNSC and any other parties that may have an interest in her disappearing? What does Soren know about this artifact they found, and are its secrets even more dire than anyone could have realized? Can we just get a show about Soren? Or maybe even a buddy show with him and Chief? I mean Cortana hasn’t shown up yet and we need someone to fill the personality vacuum!

“You ever hear of polishing a turd? Well, this guy is what you get when you polish a turd with a suit of power armor!” “Not funny, Soren.” “Oh, like YOU have a great sense of humor?”
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Super Recaps: The Twilight Zone (How Much Do You Love Your Kid?)

The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling

Episode directed by Allison L Brown

Welcome back everyone to the long-overdue return of my Twilight Zone recaps! It’s been almost two years since we last covered this series, and while I can give you a laundry list of excuses as to why this fell so far down the priority list, the truth is that I probably shouldn’t have let it go the way that I did given how far into the series I got. Well, that’s all gonna change as I am determined to finish this series once and for all, and what better episode to start with than what is arguably one of the best episodes of the entire series? It’s the kind of high concept and dismal portrayal of a future gone wrong that has led to some of the best speculative fiction like Brave New World and The Obsolete Man, but can it hope to compare to those classic stories, or is it straining to hold all of its big ideas together? Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with the idyllic middle-class life of Donna and Ted (Bonnie Somerville and Steve Bacic), though things have been less idyllic lately as Ted’s been out of work for some time and the bills are piling up. It’s far too early for the housing market crash, but maybe he was a victim of the Dot Com Bubble. Either way, he’s going for an interview this morning that will turn it all around and get their lives back on track. Donna is cautiously optimistic as she sends her son Wylie to school and enjoys some personal time at an affordable spa, but then things come crashing down in an instant when she gets one of the worst phone calls a parent could get; her son didn’t show up for school and is missing! Without missing a beat, she rushes to the police station to report her son’s disappearance only to be accosted by some dude named Nick Dart (Wayne Knight); the host of a reality show called How Much Do You Love Your Kid, and it looks like Donna is an unwitting participant in this game of theirs. Seems legit given how clearly we’ve demonstrated how little we care about the safety of children in the last few years.

“Isn’t it great to live in a country where you have the FREEDOM to save your kid from a certain death?” “HOW ABOUT YOU DON’T TAKE MY KID IN THE FIRST PLACE!?” “Wow, okay. Looks like someone here doesn’t believe in personal responsibility!”
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Super Recaps: Halo – Episode 1

Halo the series is owned by Paramount Plus

Directed by Otto Bathurst

The first Halo game released all the way back in 2001 as an Xbox exclusive, and even back then everyone involved knew that this was going to be a big deal.  Still, despite all the critical acclaim, the dozens of novels based in this universe, and a clear desire to make something more of the franchise, the leap from Video Games to Hollywood just never worked out.  Some version of a Halo television series has been in development since at least 2015 with attempts to make a movie going as far back as 2005, and while we do have some straight to video stuff like Halo Legends and Forward Unto Dawn, a big budget adaptation for the masses had always eluded them. Still, it’s probably best that we didn’t get one of these during the dark ages of video game movies when Max Payne and Hitman were stinking up the multiplexes, and the era of streaming has been good for sci-shows the last few years. With all that said, and with twenty years of hype behind it, does this first episode manage to capture the spirit of the series and is a good sign of things to come, or will this get cancelled faster than a typical Netflix series? Let’s find out!!

The Story of Halo takes place in the 26th-century as humanity has traveled well beyond our own solar system and has colonized planets through the galaxy. For the most part, this has gone well as humanity has thrived and the resources from these colonies have only furthered our technological and societal advancement; maybe not Star Trek levels of utopia, but still pretty good! Of course, as humanity stretched itself further and further away from Earth, those furthest away started rebelling against them and the Earth’s military force known as the United Nations Space Command, or UNSC. This proves to be poor timing for humanity to start turning against itself as an intergalactic group of alien races known as the Covenant started showing up at these outer colonies and didn’t come bearing fruit baskets. Nope, full-on genocide and ethnic cleansing as they kill every human they come across with their far superior technology. This is the state of things as we start the first episode on one of the outer colonies and we follow Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha) who’s about to have a very bad day. Her colony is attacked and destroyed by the Covenant with the UNSC only showing up after everyone else is dead to clean up the mess. Those sent to do the mess cleaning by the way are Spartans; the greatest soldiers (and greatest propaganda tools) that the UNSC has, and while we’re still learning the truth about them in this series, there are rumors about genetic augmentation that strikes fear into the more rebellious members of the outer colonies. With Kwan Ha as the last survivor and the Spartans finding some alien artifact that the Covenant were digging for, the head Spartan known as Master Chief (Chief if you’re colleagues, John if you’re friends, and played by Pablo Schreiber) takes her and the artifact back to the UNSC central command on a planet called Reach. The trip is tumultuous however as the UNSC, as well as the head of the Spartan program Doctor Halsey (Natascha McElhone), are unsure of what to expect upon their return. After touching the artifact, Chief’s vitals have been off the charts and he’s been acting a little strangely, while Kwan Ha is proving not to be overly gracious to the UNSC after being “saved” by them. Tensions escalate on this small ship and the command back on Reach until they hit a boiling point and Chief has to decide what his ironclad sense of duty truly means and what it will force him to do.

“So how do you pee in that thing?”     “We Spartans have been genetically engineered to be as biologically efficient as possible, and so we do not produce pee to dispose of.”     “Are you joking?”    “Maybe. You could say I’m… taking the piss?”     “Aaah! I see what you did there!”
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Cinema Dispatch: Deep Water

Deep Water and all the images you see in this review are owned by Hulu

Directed by Adrian Lyne

Movies may be returning to theaters, but the Pandemic has irrevocably muddied the waters between theatrical movies and straight to streaming. Pixar’s splitting the difference with one of their movies going to streaming while other is a theatrical exclusive, and all the major streaming services are sacrificing box office bucks in the hopes of roping in a few more views; Netflix being the most blatant as far as I’m concerned what with Knives Out 2 going straight to their service. It’s certainly been good for me as I’m already paying for these things so I might as well check out what’s on them, and one movie caught my eye this week. It’s a movie I never heard of until a few days before it was to come out, and yet it’s starring the former Batman and Agent Paloma from the last James Bond movie! How did something with such high-profile actors fly under my radar like this? Was Hulu hoping we won’t notice it as they sandwich it between Seth Macfarlane cartoons and whatever the heck Letter Kenny is, or is this just further evidence that I am out of touch and just barely managed to catch a great movie before it sailed right over my head? Let’s find out!!

Vic Van Allen and Melinda Van Allen (Ben Affleck Ana de Armas) are an upper-class married couple who have an… interesting relationship. It’s unclear how much of this is formalized or agreed upon, but it’s clear that Melinda is having sex with other men and that Vic is aware of it. For the most part, he just stands there and plasters a smile on his face while she does her thing, but it’s clear that this is eating him up inside and he starts getting more and more aggressive in his “handling” of this situation. Melinda seemingly has no compunction about this and presumably doesn’t care much for Vic’s feelings, but then Vic is no peach either and his need for control only gets more desperate and more uncomfortable. Just how far will Vic go to hold tight on what he believes is rightfully his, and how will Melinda react to these cages he wishes to put up? Is there something underneath all this contempt that they have for each other, and is it somehow darker than the animosity with which they deal with their problems already? See, back in my day they would just go on Springer and get it all out in the open, but nope! Just gonna bottle it up until someone writes a really inappropriate rant on Facebook!

“She’s so *#!@% that ^&^@#$!”     “Well, HE can’t even %$%#*!”     “JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!”
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