Review: The Man in the High Castle Season 2

Alexa Davalos continues to be the centerpiece holding The Man in the High Castle together in season 2. Amazon’s exclusive series about an alternate version of events following WW II is based on a book by Philip K. Dick. Continue reading “Review: The Man in the High Castle Season 2”

Watch This: Trailer for About Ray

Elle Fanning stars as a transgender (female to male) teen in About Ray. Ray’s mother is played by Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon plays his grandmother. Tate Donovan is his absent father. It’s an incredible cast, although there may be some criticism that an actual transgender actor didn’t get the part of Ray.

The film looks to be partly about Ray’s journey, but also about how Ray’s family reacts and reaches acceptance of his transition. It appears to be a bit of a bumpy ride, as you might expect. Ray is still in high school – does he want to change schools? Oddly, Ray’s grandmother Dolly, who is herself a lesbian, doesn’t understand the distinction between sexuality and gender. But Ray’s younger siblings might get it immediately. Here’s rooting for Dolly to figure it out.

The director is Gaby Dellal, who also wrote the story for the film. The screenplay was written by Nikole Beckwith. The story is set in New York City. The release date for About Ray is September 18, 2015.

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.

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