Cara Gee (Drummer) is Hazel James in BIRDLAND, the story of ex-cop Sheila Hood (Kathleen Munroe), who hides cameras in her home to observe her ornithologist husband’s affair with Hazel’s older sister Merle (Melanie Scrofano). When Merle falls to her death from a bridge and another of her lovers, Ray Starling (Joris Jarsky), is found dead in his own hotel, Hood is pulled into a dark world of corruption, sex and death and her surveillance footage forms the backbone of a police investigation that threatens to incriminate her and destroy her marriage. Directed by Peter Lynch (who Norm Wilner of Toronto’s NOW Magazine once said was “a director fascinated by obsessive outsiders”), BIRDLAND will be released on VOD in both Canada and the US on 26 January (Amazon, Google, Xbox, and iTunes). It will begin showing at the Carlton Cinema in Toronto on 26 January as well. Continue reading →
THE EXPANSE – Season 2 Episode 13 – SPOILERS
The protomolecule takes The Arboghast apart and floats the bits in the air over Venus, almost certainly killing the people on board. The crew will hang in the yellow clouds, still alive and conscious, until their oxygen runs out or they are cooked by the hot Venusian atmosphere. The ship and its crew will likely be assimilated into whatever is being built on Venus. In the books, the protomolecule is building a ring shaped thing that will enable interstellar travel (which sounds like ET trying to phone home by building a sort of star gate).
Bobbi Draper is fun to watch. She fits right into the role of hero because she doesn’t think of herself as heroic. She’s just doing her job. This time, her job is to rescue Avasarala and the wounded Cotyar. The crew that remains on The Guanshiyin after Mao’s departure doesn’t present much of a challenge to her until she encounters an electrician who threatens to lock her out of the drop ship and stop her from getting to her battle armour. She can’t fight her way through him, so she makes him an ally. It’s a tactic that Holden would do well to learn.
When she returns to attack Mao’s guards from the rear, saving Avasarala in the nick of time, Bobbi tosses the guards around the room like rag dolls with total disregard for Mr. Mao’s antiques. As has been pointed out a couple of times earlier in the series by her Martian elders, second generation Martians have no regard for tradition.
Enroute to Europa and reunited with Naomi, Holden is extremely contrite. Revenge, he has decided, is not the answer. Naomi quizzes him a bit in an attempt to clarify the extent of his reformation, but she is interrupted when the hybrid turns up in the cargo bay. Everyone, including Naomi and Prax, eventually agree they must kill it, but one must wonder why the hybrid decided to hitch a ride off of Ganymede. Was it trying to escape the people who created it? It tore some sort of device (Prax’s display called it a fail safe regulator) from its chest and discarded it in the cargo bay before it was killed. It also pinned Holden against the wall with a heavy container, but refrained from killing him. Why? Also how is Prax’s terminal able to display the anatomy of the hybrid?
Naomi admits to Holden that she went against his orders and preserved the sample of protomolecule that she was supposed to send crashing into the sun. She further admits that when she wasn’t sure she would survive Ganymede, she gave the sample’s co-ordinates to Fred Johnson. (We get to see a delighted Johnson recovering the sample.) Holden accepts all of this with amazing equanimity.
Once the hybrid was dead, it became necessary to assure viewers that Prax’s daughter Mei is still alive. At episode’s end we see her in what appears to be a stasis pod being put into storage at an unknown location. Naren Shankar told Ryan Britt of Inverse Entertainment: “That was a really late addition to the script, and the network essentially prompted that. They wanted to get some sense of what had happened to her. So, what we ended up doing is kinda like what we ended up doing in Season One. The attentive viewer will even tie it back to the very beginning of the season. It’s ending the season, but having this scene keys up for what’s happening next.”
Shankar also promised: “We’ll get a really good idea of what the protomolecule is really trying to do in Season Three.”
What will Holden do, now that his quest to destroy the protomolecule has been abandoned? Will he help Prax look for his daughter? (That device the hybrid abandoned in the cargo bay might be useful in tracking Dr. Strickland.) Will he and Naomi head to Tycho Station and work with Johnson and Drummer? It is worth noting that Holden is still unaware of what’s happening on Venus.
Suggestions for Season Three: First, give the protomolecule a new name, so that people don’t have to keep calling it protomolecule. Second, somehow get Naomi and Bobbi Draper together. Third, add some bright colours to the interior of The Rocinante. The current greys and blues are quite tiresome. Maybe Prax can find some flowering plants that will work in a zero gee environment. It’s not a Martian ship anymore.
Sara Mitich (Gia in four Season One episodes) will be Abbey in ASHES, the story of Liam (played by Jake Raymond), who, after discovering that his parents wanted their ashes scattered at the spot where they first met, sets out with some of his closest friends to explore that place. Kristian Bruun of ORPHAN BLACK is also in the cast, and a trailer is avaiable on YouTube. Shot in southern Ontario, the film will have its premiere at the Milledgeville Film Festival in Milledgeville, Georgia on 28 April.
David Tompa (panicked tech) will be Dr. Karl Neidorf in THE WANTING, a psychological thriller based on a short story by Gin de Mesa and director Yam Laranas, about an American couple (Amanda Crew and Adam Brody) who, after moving into an exclusive New England neighborhood, must struggle to survive a dark presence that seems to want them dead. No release date has yet been announced.
Ruth Chiang (Mao guard #6) will appear as a karaoke singer in NOUS SOMMES LES AUTRES (We Are the Others), a cinematic fable about the disappearance of a prominent architect and the investigation that follows. Director Jean-François Asselin told the Huffington Post: “It is the story of a great architect from Montreal who disappears at the beginning of the film, and whom two characters will try to replace, including Frédéric played by Émile [Proulx-Cloutier], a young architect who is hoping to make a career in the Field and who will be asked to take the place of the disappeared in a contest. There is also Robert Laplante, played by Jean-Michel [Anctil], a claims adjuster who will be led to investigate this disappearance. And it’s Myriam, played by Pascale [Bussières], who is at the heart of it all.” Filmed in Montreal last October, NOUS SOMMES LES AUTRES should be released in Canada later this year.
THE EXPANSE – Season 1 Episodes 2-4 – SPOILERS
The main characters of this story, Jim Holden (Steven Strait) and Detective Miller (Thomas Jane), have yet to meet. Miller is on Ceres Station acting all Phillip Marlowe and looking for Julie Mao (Florence Faivre), the rebellious daughter of a wealthy Lunar family. Holden has been captured by Martians after publicly accusing them of destroying his ship (they didn’t). Holden was not on the ship when it was destroyed because he was on a mission to rescue the Scopuli, a freighter on which (Miller finds out) Julie had booked passage. So they will probably run into one another soon. once the audience has been sufficiently educated in the ways of 23rd century human civilization.
The vision of the future presented by THE EXPANSE may be a bit depressing, but the show does present a scientifically accurate view of what it would be like to live and work in space. It is not boring and does not, as a rule, insult the viewer’s intelligence. A previous post questioned how an approximation of earth-normal gravity was maintained on Ceres Station. It is now clear that the station creates the effect of gravity by rotation. (Miller pours booze into a glass from a distance at one point in the episode and the liquid descends in an arc.) Most of the time, the pouring of liquids is done with the two containers in contact.
Some interesting characters turned up in these three episodes. One wonders if Julie Mao is supposed to represent the 23rd century’s version of a Maoist. We shall see. Jean Yoon was very effective as captain of the Martain flagship Donnager, but alas, she is no more, having gone down (up?) with her ship. Greg Bryk of BITTEN entered the cast as Lopez and he was the only crew member of the Donnager to survive.
The science in THE EXPANSE is handled pretty well, but some things are bothersome. The magnetic boots, for instance, have what appears to be an LED display on the heel. Whatever this is supposed to indicate, why put it there, where the wearer cannot very easily see it?
One of the bits of tech we’ve been shown (in episode two) is a portable voice synthesizer that can mimic anyone’s voice print. (Miller uses it to get into Julie Mao’s computer files.) That is probably the reason that the Donnager‘s self-destruct sequence was not activated by the voices of Captain Yao and her First Officer, but instead by plugging physical keys into a console and activating them with thumbprints (not a very secure procedure. One of the command officers might lose the key, or have it stolen, and thumbprints are easy to fake even in the 21st century). No system is perfect, but STAR TREK’s system of three separate voice prints coupled with three distinct passwords seems superior to keys and thumbprints.
BOUILLOTTE DEALER: “They’re trying to thirst us out. Mars and Earth.
The water shipment’s not late. They’re holding it back.”
DETECTIVE MILLER: “You seem pretty sure about that.”
BOUILLOTTE DEALER: “Water means life. One shipment late, you got protests.
Two shipments late, you got dead people in the street. And it’s gonna get worse. Mark my words.”
Here’s what is hard to understand about the street hustler’s theory. Ceres Station is (or should be) a closed system. All the water must be continuously recycled. For a fixed population, a fixed amount of water in the system should be necessary. Once that amount of water is delivered to the station, only minimal augmentation should be required to compensate for loss due to system inefficiency, or to an increase in the station’s population. What are they doing with the water that makes them need continual shipments? They could be electrolyzing the stuff to make oxygen, but the cultivation of plant life is a much more efficient way to replenish the oxygen supply. Even if someone did steal some water, as long as they used it on the station, it would be recycled back into the system.
OBSERVATION:Craig Henry‘s character is credited as a bouillotte dealer. Clearly, that 18th century precursor to poker is supposed to be a futuristic substitute for Three-card Monte, but how the rules of bouillotte can be adapted to this purpose is unclear.
Sara Mitich (Gia) was Lillian Moss, Dr. Grace’s lover for ten episodes of MURDOCH MYSTERIES until she was killed off in episode 9.3. She will be Tina in the science fiction drama SYNCHRONICITY, about Lou, a struggling punk rock photographer, and a brilliant physicist named Alan who claims to have solved the time travel paradox. Lou gets caught up in her budding flirtation with Alan, until she realizes Alan’s future self has been manipulating them both.
Craig Henry (bouillotte dealer) worked as a stunt guy in the Killjoys episode Enemy Khlyen, and was one of the zombies in LOST GIRL episode 4.11 (End of a Line). He is The Beast in THE FRENCH DRAGON, an action-oriented romantic comedy due out next year about a good-natured French stuntman who travels to Toronto for the first time to meet his backpacking Canadian girlfriend, only to find her in serious trouble. Director Chris Power described the film as a cross between BLOODSPORT and RUSH HOUR, but would elaborate no further.
Andrew Rotilio (Diogo) stars as Luke in THE HOTEL DIEU, which has been winning film festival awards since its premiere last May at San Tropez. Luke’s world is turned around by an accident that nearly kills him and takes away his sight. With the help of the people he meets at The Hotel Dieu hospital, he begins a long road to recovery. A trailer is available on YouTube.