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Paramount+ presents ‘Halo The Series’: That’s MY ring!




Cortana contains spoilers!

Based on the wildly popular video games of the same name originally from Bungie and now from 343 Industries, Halo the TV series features a 26th-century war setting, mainly between the humans of the United Nations Space Command, and the Covenant, a conglomerate of advanced alien races determined to eradicate humanity.

It’s hard to accurately describe just how long we, the fans, waited for the TV version of Halo to come out and do our beloved FPS justice. The storylines of the Halo video games have always been epic and ground-breaking for whatever time they were released, perhaps especially for the much-beloved character of Master Chief John-117, and that’s not even going into the grand scale of the music that rocketed Halo into mega-stardom – even if you don’t play the video games, there are few geeks and nerds alive today who don’t recognize the epic strains of the male choir and orchestra that is another staple of Halo fandom. So this attempt to make Halo work on the small screen has a lot to live up to, from far before filming even started. Strap on your helmet, make sure Cortana’s jacked in, as we dive deep into the war-torn worlds of Halo!

As we join the show already in progress, the world as we know it is effectively a sh*t-show. The Covenant, a cabal of non-humanoid alien races, have been sending wave after wave of killer soldiers to hunt down and destroy the infidel humans, but also, to hunt for powerful ancient artifacts that the Covenant believe to be useful super-weapons. Humanity has already spread far beyond Earth into the stars, though military and thus effectively most of humanity, is still supervised by the United Nations Space Command, or UNSC. And the UNSC has their own version of shock-and-awe elite troops, those killer death commandos who’ve had those minor annoyances like emotions and attachments chemically blocked off, universally known and absolutely feared by a great many, called Spartans.

Leading the front-runner Spartan troop called Silver Team, is of course Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 (Pablo Schreiber). A towering presence that normally doesn’t remove his helmet at all, Master Chief is a genetically engineered soldier who leaves death in his wake pretty much everywhere he goes – Covenant or human alike. The Spartan soldiers as a whole aren’t known for things like morals and mercy, making them rather hated by the fringe human colonies getting relentlessly attacked by Covenant, and their survivors mowed down by Spartans in the dust-up. And this is exactly where our story begins, on the Insurrectionist planet of Madrigal, far off in the outer reaches …

Madrigal has, far as I can see, very little going for the planet as a whole, other than, hey, the good possibility that some of the Forerunner artifacts the Covenant are hunting for are here, on the planet. Which leads to the burgeoning rebellion under Jin Ha (Jeong-hwan Kong) being squashed like an insect under a combat boot as Covenant drop ships lay waste to the planet, intent on their slaughter as they hunt for the artifacts. His daughter Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha) watches in horror as, after the first wave of Covenant slaughter makes way for the next onslaught, the Spartan Silver Team falls like Death from the skies and lays waste to literally everyone and everything in their paths. The whole concept of pyrrhic victory is entirely lost on the UNSC and their killer pet Spartans, and this happens to be more or less why the Spartans are particularly feared and hated, especially by their human brethren.

This separate perspective and the massacre of the Insurrectionists on Madrigal, the apathy and lack of empathy from the UNSC, even the battle fatigue of what’s left of her own family, all cause Kwan Ha great grief and fury. Kwan Ha endures the refugee planet-hopping lifestyle for all of two seconds before deciding to turn her rage into vengeance, all alone if necessary, but at times both aided and hindered by an old associate of Master Chief’s, Soren-066 (Bokeem Woodbine).

Back at UNSC HQ, Dr. Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone), the genius scientist creator of the Spartan-II Project soldier program, has been trying to puzzle out the human factor of her precious Spartans entirely. The Covenant have been humanity’s greatest threat for the longest time and Halsey has clear goals – get to the artifacts made by the Forerunners, locate this mysterious Halo, and lay claim to whatever they are in the name of humans, all first before anyone or anything else can. Master Chief in particular is Halsey’s greatest personal achievement, her baby that she effectively rebirthed as a hatchling of her own design, and molded into her own needs as John grew. However, a genetically engineered mutated soldier as a fully grown adult still comes with pesky problems like free will involved, and so Halsey created the super-secret super-smart AI construct modeled after her own brain, known as Cortana.

The strange, strained, and ultimately rewarding relationship between Master Chief and Cortana is well-documented in the video games. Given that Halsey originally created Cortana via an entirely illegal (and potentially immoral) process and what her ultimate goal is – to use the AI with an attitude to control John-117 and ultimately replace his brains/free will entirely – it should be no surprise that Master Chief wants zero to do with Cortana initially. But despite Halsey being the template for Cortana, the blue lady badass has real empathy for Master Chief and the human still inside the Spartan, and she almost immediately begins to resist the controlling orders of Halsey as soon as she’s implanted into John-117. For the TV show, the makers made the brilliant choice to keep the same voice actor for Cortana, who’s been doing her voice for all the Halo video games since Halo: Combat Evolved, Jen Taylor.

Moving on to the Covenant and their Hierarchy, a lone misanthropic human, stolen and raised as a “Blessed One” for her mystical connection to the Forerunner artifacts and the mysterious Halo, Makee (Charlie Murphy) has been primed with her hatred for humanity and is about to be sent in undercover as it were, to ferret out whatever information the UNSC has and use it to secure the weapons for the Covenant first! This again raises some very interesting questions of nature vs. nurture, and while I say that human nature certainly will out in many instances, this isn’t always a good thing – humans often being like many-faceted gems, each capable of mass destruction and bloodshed, or conversely love and sincere empathy, and all points in-between.

The show deals with all sorts of heavy concepts – mass genocide, destruction of free will, humanity vs. everyone-else, the improper use of a military force by a governing body, child slavery (I’m not kidding either, prepare yourself for some hard scenes involving this), what happens when a genius scientific mind is allowed to run unchecked and turns frankly evil – and does it all with style, grace, and an unflinching eye for honesty, even when the truth is terribly brutal. The CGI usage for the Covenant Elders, the massive Covenant and Flood combat scenes and the Covenant home planets, are done strikingly well and look, to my jaded eye, to be quite believable.

For the legend of the video games brought to stunning, epic life, catch the mystery of Master Chief’s past and how it connects to his combative present, available from Paramount+ now is Halo The Series!

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Finally, the Cinderella story of the Richmond Greyhounds has come to an end.



We are now in a new season for the team, and they have started off on the wrong
foot. The team is broken up and Ted has his work cut out for him. The team goes
through a slump, and Ted is now doubting his coaching ability. Ted’s personal life
has also gotten out of control, and he discovers his ex-wife Michelle has started a relationship with their therapist. The wonderkid, Nathan Shelley, the former manager of West Ham has had a change of heart and leaves his job to be with his one true love, the waitress from his favorite restaurant.

She convinces him to return to the Richmond team he started out in and it’s quite evident that
everyone wants him back and held no hard feelings. All of Lawrence’s series he has worked on with others have just that right balance of slice-of-life drama with a little bit of ridiculous comedy that reality dishes us, normal folks, every day.

This all comes to a head in the potential series finale where Ted announced to
Rebecca that he will be returning to the States to his family after his mother tells
him that his son misses him. This puts the Richmond owner into quite a state of denial; doing everything from offering Ted the position of being the highest-paid coach in the league to selling the team after he leaves. The team is also affected by this decision as they perform a number from the musical The Sound of Music that is a more than touching farewell to this family.

This bleeds into their playing as in the final title match the first half is met with
bumbling and possible injuries to their star player Jamie.
After an energizing pep talk and a circle back to the first motivator in the
beginning, a sign Ted made up that said “BELIEVE”, the team dominate the second
half and win with a rousing closing scene that is reminiscent of any 80’s party
movie. It’s a fitting end for this pandemic darling that emotionally carried us through. It is
a must-see series even if you don’t like soccer (football).

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No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters



If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago. 

It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced. 

 Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.

Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game. 

From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.

Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.

The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.

What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?

And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Back to the movie. 

Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.

Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.

The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!

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Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023



Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).

Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).

Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm

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