Review: Runoff

Runoff terrified me. It was so real, so close to the bone. This was not some glorified superhero tale, this was a real family with real problems and real choices to make. Mild spoilers ahead.

Here’s the basic story. Frank (Neal Huff) and Betty (Joanne Kelly) are going under. His business of selling feed, antibiotics, hormones and such to farmers is being stolen away by big agro. The family is in danger of losing their home and farm. They have two kids: Fin (Alex Shaffer) and Sam (Kivlighan de Montebello). Continue reading “Review: Runoff”

Watch This: Trailer for Runoff

Most trailers tell you almost everything about a story. Runoff is different. You understand almost nothing of what is happening from the trailer. But it’s compelling and looks powerful. I am very interested in this film after watching this trailer. It looks like a unique film experience.

Runoff poster

Here’s the film synopsis.

The beauty of the land cannot mask the brutality of a farm town. As harvest draws near, Betty confronts a terrifying new reality and will go to desperate lengths to save her family when they are threatened with being forced from their land.

Joanna Kelly in Runoff
Joanna Kelly in Runoff

It stars Joanne Kelly as Betty. Also featured are Neal Huff as Betty’s husband Frank. Their kids are played by Alex Shaffer and Kivlighan de Montebello. Tom Bower plays the character Scratch, the one offering cash for something morally questionable.

The reviewers who have seen it so far are using superlatives like stunning, mesmerizing and relevant. The film is the work of first time director Kimberly Levin.

The film has made the rounds of festivals but, so far, hasn’t gotten a wide release. However, Runoff opened in several theaters around the country this week. Here’s a list of where you can see it. Go if you can, and let me know if it’s as interesting as it looks. Since I’m nowhere near any of the cities where there will be screenings, I’m going to have to wait for some online service to pick it up.

An interview by Meredith Alloway with the director will give you more insight into the issues in the film.

Enjoy Every Second of Warehouse 13

I’ve loved Warehouse 13 since first I spied the steampunk version of a facetime phone that Artie uses to communicate. Every gadget and artifact in Warehouse 13 continues to enamor me. The premise of the show is that artifacts from the past – say Lewis Carroll’s looking glass or Alfred Hitchcock’s shower head – contain supernatural powers and must be stored in a warehouse for safekeeping. The artifacts are based on a shared cultural reality, but they cause effects that are twisted and bent. The cast runs all over the world trying to find and safeguard artifacts.

I love the creativity that goes into dreaming up what each artifact is and what it does – it’s sci fi at its very best. I’m fond of a lot of shows on the SyFy channel, but Warehouse 13 is a delight and will remain a favorite long after it departs.

It is in the process of departing. The final season of Warehouse 13 just got underway with six episodes. A long goodbye, or a short goodbye, depending on how you look at it. The final season features the regular cast battling a villain played by Anthony Steward Head. Could anything beat that?

Saul Rubinek, Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelley and Allison Scagliotti
Four key cast members: Saul Rubinek, Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly and Allison Scagliotti

The regulars in the cast include Eddie McClintock as Pete, Saul Rubinek as Artie, Joanne Kelly as Myka, Allison Scagliotti as Claudia, Aaron Ashmore as Steve, and CCH Pounder as Mrs. Frederic. Add to this core cast an imposing array of talented guest stars including Jaime Murray, Kate Mulgrew, Lindsay Wagner, James Marsters, Jeri Ryan, Judd Hirsch, Joe Morton, Dee Wallace and more and you have reached a level of sci fi nirvana. In fact, if someone has been on another sci fi show anywhere in the universe, they might show up in Warehouse 13.

Warehouse 13 is funny, especially Pete, but everyone gets in some good lines. The special effects are both awesome and delightful. The plots are always just a bit off. H.G. Wells, for instance, is a time traveler who shows up from time to time. But on this show H.G. Wells is played by a woman, the gorgeous Jamie Murray. Everything has a creative twist to it.

I plan to cherish these last few episodes and when it’s all over I’ll probably go back and watch all 5 seasons again. So, to the cast and crew and creative geniuses behind of Warehouse 13, I say thanks for the delight, thanks for the entertainment, thanks for the characters. Thanks for that goofy computer with a keyboard from an old typewriter. You made me laugh.

Review: Hostages

Hostages got off to a slow start. I’m glad I stuck with it, however, because it builds week by week with unexpected plot twists, character development that throws you off balance, and increasing suspense. Episode 5 (of 13) aired this week, and I’m now well and truly hooked.

Hostages poster

I will watch Toni Collette do anything, which is where my initial interest in Hostages started. But not where it stopped. The cast is large and excellent. Take a minute to watch the trailer, before I get into the cast.

The cast can be explained as hostages, hostage-takers, and others. But you are never really sure who is actually a good person and who is not. Everything shifts, which is one reason why the show is so interesting. Here’s a lineup.

The Hostages

  • Toni Collette as Dr. Ellen Sanders
  • Tate Donovan as Brian Sanders, husband of Ellen
  • Quinn Shephard as Morgan Sanders, daughter
  • Mateus Ward as Jake Sanders, son

The Hostage-Takers

  • Dylan McDermott as FBI Special Agent Duncan Carlisle
  • Billy Brown as Archer Petit
  • Sandrine Holt as Sandrine Renault
  • Rhys Coiro as Kramer Delaney

Others

  • James Naughton as President Paul Kincaid
  • Hilarie Burton as Samantha, Brian’s mistress
  • Tyler Elliott Burke as Boyd, Morgan’s boyfriend
  • Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as First Lady
  • Joanne Kelly doesn’t appear until episode 6, but she will be the First Lady’s sister

The plot begins when Dr. Ellen Sanders is ordered to kill the President during surgery in order to save her family. The writing is tight, there’s plenty of action, and nothing is what it seems. In each episode, we learn more about the characters and their motivations, which are often surprising.

I don’t want to tell you any more about the plot than that very beginning. If you haven’t seen it yet and want to catch up, I don’t want to ruin the experience with spoilers.

Hostages is on Monday nights, opposite Castle. Not an easy spot. I’ve been taping it while watching Castle, and catching up later. That’s turned out to be a good thing, because I have all the episodes of Hostages on my DVR. I think I’m going to enjoy replaying them when the season is over and I want to look back at how the clues were revealed and how the story was constructed for the maximum suspense.

Even if you didn’t DVR Hostages, full episodes are available at CBS.com if you want to catch up. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Images ©CBS and Warner Bros. Television

Interesting Tweets from the San Diego Comic Con 2013

There is some fan insanity going on in San Diego this weekend. Here are some interesting tweets about some of my favorite shows and stars from the event.

From the SyFy show Defiance cast member Jaime Murray. Jaime Murry is also in another favorite show of mine, Warehouse 13.

Jaime Murray posted lots of pics. Check her Twitter feed for a lot more, like this one referencing Warehouse 13. You may be able to find one similar to this of her giving her co-star Joanne Kelly a smooch, something we have yet to see on Warehouse 13.

Here’s one from Lost Girl star Ksenia Solo, who puts a lot of photos on Instagram.

  From a fan of The Hunger Games.

Here’s what the fans camped out all night to see.

A lot of happy fans got to stand beside their favorites.

Here’s a video of a session with Orphan Black cast members. Since this video is long, I’ll end with it.

Do a Twitter search on #SDCC for thousands more tweets like these.