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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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Frogfathers lessons from the Normandy surf



Frog Fathers: Lessons from the Normandy Surf” is a deeply moving documentary directed by Bob Whitney, narrated by John C McGinley, and presented by World of Warships and FORCE BLUE. It chronicles the journey of four Navy SEAL veterans revisiting the site of the D-Day landings to honor their forefathers and gain a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made during World War II.

The film’s strength lies in its raw emotional impact and historical significance. It blends personal narratives with archival footage, offering a poignant tribute to the bravery and resilience of those who fought on June 6, 1944. The veterans’ reflections and the cinematography effectively capture the solemnity and reverence of their pilgrimage.

While the documentary focuses primarily on the veterans’ experiences, it also serves as an educational tool, highlighting the strategic importance of the Normandy invasion and its pivotal role in shaping modern history. The film’s respectful approach and engaging storytelling make it a compelling watch for anyone interested in military history and the enduring legacy of the D-Day heroes.

Overall, “Frog Fathers” is a powerful and heartfelt documentary that honors the past while inspiring present and future generations to remember the sacrifices made for freedom 

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American Horror Story: Delicate



As most of us are already aware, the 12th Season of AHS has been fraught with all kinds of differences to the previous seasons, mainly in that this is the first one to be based entirely off a novel, ‘Delicate Condition’ by Danielle Valentine. The first half of the season aired in October 2023 to mediocre reviews, while the SAG-AFTRA strike caused production and airing delays for the latter half of the season, and the episodes of Part 2 were all cut to less than an hour long apiece. And none of that is even getting into the disjointed attempt at storytelling for Season 12, so let’s dive into this! 

Meet Anna Victoria Alcott (Emma Roberts), former young ling star of Hollywood now struggling to recapture fame as an adult, who wants a baby, very very badly. Bad enough to drive herself and her husband Dex (Matt Czuchry) through multiple unsuccessful rounds of IVF (in-vitro fertilization), bad enough to keep trying no matter how crushing each failure turns out to be, bad enough to involve her purported best friend and bougie publicist Siobhan Corbyn (Kim Kardashian) in her struggles, and maybe, just maybe, bad enough to give up on a burgeoning resurgence of her career after interest in her comeback role for The Auteur begins garnering her Oscar-worthy attention. 

So, Anna and Dex are going to go through yet another round of IVF, likely one of their last attempts at it, from a different doctor, Dr. Andrew Hill (Denis O’Hare), and clinic based on Siobhan’s recommendation. And already, strange things are beginning to happen to Anna – her appointments that she set herself begin springing up incorrectly, a doom saying woman called Preacher (Julia White) shows up spouting warnings about trusting no one, dire warnings appear in unlikely places, and BTW, it seems as though long-suffering but good-nurtured Dex has a side-piece too. It doesn’t help that Dex’s new partner at his art gallery, Sonia Shawcross (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), bears a striking resemblance to his dead ex-wife Adeline, either. Those spiked emerald heels start appearing weirdly too, and it seems as though no one will listen to Anna as she grows more and more suspicious that some sort of sinister cult has designs on her as-yet-unborn baby. At the same time, Anna tries to live the life of a successful returning actress, attending parties and gallery openings while draping her rapidly-expanding middle in shimmering fabrics and actively ‘campaigning’ for that little golden statue that most actors covet. Competition is fierce, even among her co-stars of The Auteur, and while Anna wants to be supportive of her fellow entertainers, she clearly appears to be incapable of doing both at the same time – wanting the baby and the little gold award at the same time is too much to ask, apparently. 

Elsewhere, mostly in the past, various women in states of desperation formed from one situation or another are visited by sinister-looking women in prim black dresses, headgear reminiscent of – to me anyway – an odd cross betwixt birds and bunnies, my guess is an ostensive nod to fertility in general, and a general feeling of blood-bound witchery about them at critical moments of crossroad choices. 

Though the second half of the season moves a good deal faster than the first, the attempts at callbacks and reminder flashes to Part 1 hit with all the impact of a dropped bag of garbage onto their friends Talia’s (Julia Canfield) borrowed bougie kitchen floor – splat, into incomprehensible silence, from all parties, both characters and audience, concerned. Even the reminders that, in Part 1 of Delicate Dex’s mother Virginia Harding (Debra Monk) did indeed have perfectly valid memories of abuse at the hands of a black cult and Dex’s own father Dex Sr. (Reed Birney), the revelation pales and peels away in the face of Dex’s true parentage. 

Which brings us back around full circle kinda sorta, to the only real character worth a damn in this entire miserable season of strange feminism and aspirations of world domination through a kind of idiotic Rosemary’s Baby nightmare scenario, we should have known she’d steal the show when Kardashian was cast for it, Siobhan Corbyn, leader of the blood cult her high and mighty (old) self. Throughout the whole show her character has remained exactly the same, and it’s a wonder Anna can stare at her all stupefied while Siobhan does her villain speech at the end of the last episode. Siobhan never masked her ambition or greed, her mysterious protective vibe and even deep love for Anna, and can always be counted on to have secret plans of her own, already in motion, bitch. 

The idea that Anna herself was used as a surrogate for Siobhan and her incestuous eugenicist plans, plus the sweet little demon baby she just birthed, has an ironic the-world-is-tilting-the-wrong-way kind of witchy madness to it. Sure, Anna really can have it all, the baby and the golden statue, if only she joins the patriarchy-crushing cabal of blood witches with world domination plans, got it. 

I have questions, or I would have, but things are moving on and Anna is being saved by … Dex’s dead ex, Adaline the former member of the coven right okay her, she’s going to show back up and offer Anna a simple chant to Hestia her patron Goddess, and that is somehow enough to deal with Siobhan entirely – poof. And finally, after all that rigamarole, decades of planning and scheming and witchy plotting finally settled, Anna really can have it all as a White Witch of Hollywood, heaven help us, with her perfectly human baby and that damned little golden statue, clutched in an only slightly desperate grip. 

As with any season of AHS there are a great deal of statements that could be implied just under the skin of the season – the canker way of ambition, the millenia-old pain of a woman giving birth, the savagery and bloodshed that comes with bringing forth life, pushback against both the patriarchy and ultra-feminism, the absolute desperation of humans wanting to have a child, and perhaps strangest and most open to interpretation of all, what it means to be feminine. The worlds population of women who can’t or don’t or simply won’t have children, for any reason or none, are relegated to servants, expendable servants at that, for this new world order that Siobhan is proposing, and that is far too close a comfort to things like outright slavery. A dictator is a dictator, no matter how great she looks in those emerald spiked heels. 

It’s not the really beautiful grotesquerie that Ryan Murphy and his AHS gang are often known for, nor is it utterly terrible and should be burned at the stake. What Delicate should be, is put back together with missing and cut footage, an hour long per episode again come on folks, fleshed some more of Siobhan’s baby-stealing adventures in the past and given us an actual reason to like anything about the whiny Anna, at least the Part 2 we as longtime AHS fans deserve. Toss in some more spidery hijinks! Give us the actual origin of those weird feather bunny-ear headdresses! 

American Horror Story Delicate the whole season can be seen on FX! 

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Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery in a World Gone Prehistoric!



Hold onto your hats, dino fans! The highly anticipated sequel to the adrenaline-pumping Camp Cretaceous saga is here, and it’s taking us on a wild ride six years in the making. Following the harrowing events of Camp Cretaceous, our beloved “Nublar Six” are back, but they’re not out of the woods just yet. In fact, they’re about to plunge headfirst into a world where dinosaurs roam freely alongside dangerous humans, and trust us when we say, it’s a Jurassic jungle out there!

Picture this: a world where survival isn’t just about avoiding sharp-toothed predators but also navigating the treacherous waters of human greed and deceit. As our resilient heroes reunite in the aftermath of a heart-wrenching tragedy, they quickly realize that danger lurks around every corner, and trust is a luxury they can’t afford. 

But wait, there’s more! Prepare to embark on a globetrotting adventure like no other as the Nublar Six find themselves thrust into the heart of a conspiracy that threatens not only the fragile balance between dinosaurs and humanity but also their very existence. From the lush jungles of Isla Nublar to the bustling streets of bustling cities, buckle up for a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions as our intrepid group races against time to uncover the truth about one of their own and, ultimately, save both dinosaur and humankind from certain doom.

So, dear readers, if you thought you’d seen it all in Jurassic Park, think again! With heart-stopping action, pulse-pounding suspense, and jaw-dropping revelations, this latest installment promises to be a game-changer in the Jurassic universe. Get ready to roar with excitement because Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery is about to take a bite out of your imagination and leave you hungry for more!

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