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‘3%’ Season 2: Wait, there’s three of them?



So, let’s just take stock here of the basic plot before we go ahead. Long ago, we’re talking like 100 years or so, the Founding Couple created the Offshore, an island that is said to be the last green place left on Earth.

The mainland might as well be called the badlands, living in poverty and disease as they do, but to them is offered the Process, the test that every person may take as they turn 21, to try and become part of the measly 3% that actually make it to that near mythical island paradise. The shocker ending of the first season of 3% showed us the extremely steep and permanent price to be paid for such a privilege, even after passing the Process. And now, here’s what happened some months after that.

Spoilers lurk in the Process!

Right away we begin with the massive reveal that the revered Founding Couple was, in fact, a Trio, and this is going to have a reverberating effect on what’s happening to our people here in the present. What could it mean? What happened to the extra woman? That will have to wait, we’re being whisked off to Michele and Rafael’s current drama.

As always, it’s hard to determine which way Rafael (Rodolfo Valente) will jump when he gets caught, as he far too often does, but it seems this season he is actually determined to be with the Cause, the rebellion of folk against the Process and its cruelties. He manages to infiltrate himself in the Offshore Militia, has a romantic relationship with an Offshore Doctor, and oh yeah, blunders about trying to gather things to contact the Cause back on the mainland. He gets himself sent back to the mainland eventually too, ostensibly as security for the next Process testers as they register, which affords him all sorts of opportunities for mischief. In the end move though, when push really came to shove and our small gang had to knuckle down to stop a bomb, he came through pretty well.

Michele (Bianca Comparato), as we recall from the previous season, passed the Process and made it onto the Offshore, but fell into Ezekiel’s immediate and suspicious care, which sent her to what is basically forced rehabilitation. Even subjected to that, Michele is strong, far stronger than anyone gave her credit for, though Ezekiel (Joao Miguel) at least had a taste of it, and could see the value in harnessing such a thing.

Despite her roots in the Cause, Michele finds herself torn at every turn, be it aiding the Process or the Cause, and finally decides her loyalty is only for her brother, currently held prisoner by the Offshore. And when Michele finally makes it to freeing her brother, it turns out he harbors a bunch of secrets of his own, and exploring those secrets is what makes a direct connection with the stunning scenes from the far past that dropped on us in the first episode of season two. It is a finely crafted bit of storytelling, worthy of ‘3%’ and what made the first season such a surprising hit.

Ezekiel, that slick Process leader we recall from the first season, has troubles of his own now. Mostly from the Offshore Militia commander Marcela Alvares (Laila Garin), introduced in this new season as the overly fanatical soldier, the commander who wants to take the Offshore militia to the streets of the mainland, and forcibly keep the peace that way. Marcela also happens to be the mother of Marco, the doubtful riot-inducing son who failed the Process in season one, and yes, Marco himself shows up to cripple-step all over her good times.

The reintroduction of Marco (Rafael Lozano) as the midseason shocker was strange, even for ‘3%’, but they somehow managed to make him an actual, if blundering, force to be reckoned with. Much as he was in season one, and just as violent too, though a bit slower now he’s missing a few limbs. Marco still can’t hold a candle to everyone’s favorite mainstay, the guy in the wheelchair who nonetheless can handle himself quite well in matters of speed, stamina, and sheer brains, Fernando.

Fernando (Michel Gomes) made a hell of a choice in season one, and with his father being a kind of priest of the Process, it’s all kinds of uncomfortable back at home on the mainland now. His little girlfriend Gloria is about to take the Process this year, and Fernando can’t help but try and warn her off of it, by any means necessary. He left before he learned the dark secret price of passing the Process, so Fernando just doesn’t want her involved in that kind of hell of pressure at all; he’s just that good a fella.

Gloria (Cynthia Senek) brings along with her the introduction of an obviously LGBTQ character, we’ll just leave it at that rather than trying to guess specifics and maybe be wrong, also taking the Process this year and it turns out quite a bit more violent than one would expect. But then, no-one actually expected the Process to be shut down, and the testees to storm the Process testing center in savage protest; who does that?

Only animals, primitives, would do that, and Marcela is using that and a few other shadowy things to justify her crackdown on the mainland and go slam-dancing against the protesters at the Process facility with the full might of the Offshore militia. Meanwhile elsewhere, Joana (Vaneza Oliviera) and Fernando, having reluctantly but damnit fully embraced the Cause by now, are struggling to stop a bomb, and it comes from inside their own splintering organization.

Time is running down, everyone is in a standoff against everyone else as chaos reigns on the very Day of the Process, and Michele and her brother just made a discovery that quite literally changes everything. Didn’t I say, way back at the beginning, that Michele is far stronger, and yes obviously way smarter, than anyone gave her credit for? The very last shocker of season two of ‘3%’ is incredible, as we the audience get to literally watch history, the new history of these characters, being made right before our eyes, by Michele and Fernando of all people, atop a high rise with new hope literally hanging in midair.

If you loved ‘3%’ Season one, and who didn’t it was excellent, season two will blow you away. Make your voice be heard, we need to see what happens with the Shell, in season three of ‘3%’!

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Joy Ride Is An Extremely Raunchy And Hilarious Comedy



Joy Ride is an extremely raunchy and hilarious comedy that takes the mantle of ensemble risky
comedies that at times, leave your mouth on the floor. Joy Ride focuses on two best friends
Audrey and Lolo (Ashley Sullivan and Sherry Cola) end up getting roped up into a trip to Asia,
they end up on gals pal cross-continent trek to find Audrey’s long lost birth mother so she
doesn’t lose a huge business deal.

The chemistry in this movie is superb. Every character has their moment to shine and there’s
rarely a scene where you don’t get a belly laugh. I was shocked at how crazy and bold this
movie got, continually pushing the line to get a laugh. The movie does a good job of getting to
the point and getting to the scenes that really make you chuckle. There are some editing choices where the story flies by some stuff, and it feels a little incomplete, but never at the expense of really enjoying being around for the journey.

I thought that this was a sleeper for this year and certainly a movie worth watching with your
friends some weekend. It’s great to throw on if you want a laugh and really just enjoy some
great actors riffing off each other. The focus on culture was a nice touch and really elevated the movie to another level. While I would say if you’re easily offended, this movie is not for you – if you’re looking for a no holds barred comedy, Joy Ride is a trip worth taking.

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Who Doesn’t Want To Wear The Ninja Suit Of Snake-Eyes Or Dress Like The Mandalorian?



Hasbro has had their pulse app out for a while now. It allows for access to items to buy, preorder, and a look into future projects and releases. It also allows for a very cool thing most nerds (a group of which I am a proud card-carrying member) have always wanted, the ability to make yourself into an action figure. I’ve contemplated making one for a time but, I finally got my chance to get my hands on one at Comic-Con this year. Now, of course, I had to wait in line as it was a pretty sought-after item. Who doesn’t want to have themselves wear the ninja suit of Snake-Eyes or dressed like a Mandalorian? I was approached by one of the booth staff as I was showing my nephew all the cool ways we could get him his own MIles Morales action figure with his face (as he’s a massive fan) and invited to take a seat and scan our faces into the Hasbro Pulse app with the help of their awesome team and make this dream a reality. My wife was with us, so of course she got in on the fun too. We scanned our faces in and it was very simple and quick. Then we all selected our figures to add our heads to. We all chose Power Rangers(Me as the Black Ranger, my wife chose the pink ranger and the nephew got the red ranger). Then we were told that we needed to wait about 4-6 weeks and we’d have our custom action figure team in our hands. This was a major part of our Comic-Con adventure and definitely, a memory my wife and nephew won’t forget (as it was both of their first Con ever). Thank you to Hasbro for being so generous(also getting me brownie points that home) and I highly suggest checking out Hasbro Pulse and all the cool stuff it has to offer.

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The Last Voyage of the Demeter: Double-knock on wood!  



Adapted and written largely from the Captain’s Log chapter of Bram Stoker’s magnum opus Dracula, The Last Voyage of the Demeter tells the story of Dracula’s journey by ship from Carpathia to London, and what happened to her crew in the interim.

So here we are in Bulgaria, middle of 1897, and Captain Eliot (Liam Cunningham) of the Russian schooner Demeter is here to take on some strange cargo from some unknown client and transport it to Carfax Abbey in London. In need of some extra hands, the Captain sends out his capable Second Wojchek (David Dastmalchian) to scout for some, and initially the roving black doctor and aspiring philosopher Clemens (Corey Hawkins) is passed over in favor of more work-roughened men. The adorable cabin boy of the Demeter, Toby (Woody Norman), narrowly misses being crushed by the mysterious dragon-marked crates being loaded onto the ship, saved by Clemens himself and switched out with the superstitious sailors running from the Demeter like they had been poisoned by the sign of Dracul. And now, armed with some nine or so crewmen, Doc Clemens, and Captain Eliot himself, the twenty-four strange what looks like coffins adorned with dragon signs brought mostly safely aboard, the Demeter can make for open water and the Hell that awaits them there.

The duty of showing Clemens around the ship falls to a cheerful Toby, who proudly shows him the living areas, the Captain’s quarters, the very-large cargo hold, the galley and kitchen where the overly-devout Joseph (Jon Jon Briones) cooks the crews meals, the various above decks, even the sails, and the rigging are all at least touched on, and the livestock pens that Toby himself is in charge of, including the handsome good-boy doggy Huckleberry, or just Huck. We the audience get a very clear feeling of what it’s like to actually be aboard the Demeter, just how large she really is, and what living on a ship for months at sea is really like, the reality and practicality and the dangers of it.

Everyone more or less settles in for a hopefully uneventful voyage, taking mess around the common table and exchanging ideas or aspirations for when they arrive in London early thanks to the fair winds, and receive a handsome bonus for their troubles. But that involves being alive and making it to London to spend said bonus and pay, and the coffin crates spilling dark soil from the motherland and disgorging all sorts of other nasty secrets, have some serious plans to the contrary.

First, it’s the livestock, innocent and shrieking in their locked pens as a monster takes great furious bites out of their necks, and of course, the creature just straight up ruins poor doggy Huck. Then there’s the fully grown girl that gets dislodged from an open coffin-crate, covered in bite scars and as pale as death, she eventually starts interacting and talking after several blood transfusions from Doc Clemens, Toby learns her name is Anna (Aisling Franciosi). And then, as the weather turns foul and the winds begin to be a serious problem, the attacks turn toward the remaining humans onboard the Demeter.

Most people these days are familiar with Dracula, that gorgeous cunning vampire Elder who can supposedly transform into a bat or a wolf, seducing women to voluntarily offer up their veins like an unholy sacrament, a being at once beautiful and powerful, but also horrific and murderous if given half a heartbeat to smell your blood. This is not Dracula.

Instead, the creature that hunts the humans occupying the Demeter is an absolute monster, not a single human feature left to it, barely even recognizable as humanoid-shaped, instead boasting not just full-length bat wings but an entire exo-skin of bat membranes that can be used for feeding, a mouth full of needle-like teeth akin to a predator of the deepest darkest parts of the ocean, those yellowed Nosferatu eyes that will not tolerate light in any way, and of course giant pointy bat-ears. This is a thing, a grotesque straight from the depths of Hell, and no amount of glamor magic can make this Dracula (Javier Botet) seem like anything other than what he, is – a parasitic demon who only wants your blood. There is no reasoning with it, no trapping it, not even really any talking to it (kinda hard to talk when your throat has been ripped out), and, like the much more frightening Dracula stories of old, no amount of pure faith behind a symbol does anything other than give false hope.

Coming face to face with an actual abomination does different things to different people. The formerly delightfully foul-mouthed Abrams (Chris Walley) dissolves into a blubbering mess; poor Larsen (Martin Furulund) didn’t even get to see his own death coming; and it turns out Olgaren (Stefan Kapicic) wants to live so badly, he’ll suffer becoming a blank-eyed Renfield if that’s what it takes. All of Cook Joseph’s purported pure faith didn’t stop him from trying to take the coward’s way out and didn’t save him anyway when the sound of unnatural bat wings descended on him. I find that kind of irony delicious. Dear Anna, resigned to her fate to be eternal food for the horror that terrorized her village, nevertheless wants to try and save whoever is left of the Demeter with her own sacrifice, and there aren’t many. Wojchek of course wants to kill Dracula, but for all his logic and solid practical nature, has no experience whatsoever with this sort of thing, and sure doesn’t want to sacrifice the Demeter, the beloved ship he called home that was promised to him by Captain Eliot himself, in order to destroy that demon. Even poor sweet Toby isn’t safe from the creature’s clutches, and what happens to the cabin boy of the Demeter is what finally sends Captain Eliot over the blooming edge. And who could blame him? For this sort of thing to happen during the last voyage of such a proud, solid ship as the Demeter, is some serious bullsh*t.

To leave such a film open for a potential sequel, especially when called the last voyage of something, was a pretty hefty ask, and somehow the filmmakers managed it. I personally think a different version of Van Helsing, the infamous vampire hunter, teaming up with a certain black doctor who nurses a serious grudge against Dracula, could be a kickass sequel. Until then, experience the doomed final journey of the Demeter and her poor crew in all it’s bloodstained glory, in theaters now!

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