When Orphan Black premiered in 2013, I knew right away it was a show I would root for – a Canadian sci-fi thriller airing on BBC America featuring a lead performance (performances?) with a stunningly high level of difficulty – all resting on the shoulders of an unknown actress whose name we would soon learn.
Yes, that’s Tatiana Maslany playing street-smart and suspicious Sarah Manning: a single mother whose life gets turned upside down when she witnesses a woman jump in front of a moving train, a woman who happens to look just like her. And yes, that’s Tatiana Maslany playing Alison Hendrix, a suburban soccer mom you do NOT want to meet in a dark alley, or even near a sink with a working disposal. And that’s Tatiana Maslany, as Helena, truly insane and yet somehow so delightful, who was raised in a Ukrainian convent and tortured by religious fanatics. And on and on. The running count on Wikipedia lists almost fifteen separate roles, though the number of regularly occurring ones is more like half a dozen.
Of course we wouldn’t care if it were a hundred different characters if it was just a matter of playing dress-up or trying on new accents. We’ve all seen Cloud Atlas (or maybe you haven’t #blessed). What Maslany brings to the show is more than a trick of appearances (though she does get some great costume changes). Her transformation for each part is so distinctive and authentic, that when she finally won an Emmy in 2016 (after years of what must be one of the most grueling work schedule in the business), millions of fans cried out, “Yeah…duh. Finally!”
As a fan myself, it felt incredible to see her talent finally recognized and equally great to see a show that’s critically acclaimed, smartly written science fiction and lead by a woman get renewed for the past four seasons. Orphan Black is the kind of television gem that you worry might get canned before its time. I really believe it’s Maslany’s buzz-worthy performance that allowed it to get where it is today – going into its fifth and final season, and (hopefully) ready to answer a heckuva a lot of questions.
At the start of season five, we’re picking up where four left off – on the island of Dr. (well I don’t know if he’s actually a doctor, it’s probably more like one of those “Dr.” Phil things) P.T. Westmoreland – the 170 year old guru whose cult is all “yay genetic experiments and immortality”. Luckily all our favorites are there too – Sarah, Alison, Helen, Cosima. Oh yeah and Rachel, who is the worst and needs to add some layers to that bob, is also present. Everyone’s fighting their battles – Cosima against her cancer, Helena to have her babies, all of them just to stay alive and have autonomy over their own damn bodies. And when Sarah uses a tampon to suture a wound, it’s just another fist-pumping moment of “females ARE strong as hell” in a show that delivers them regularly.
As I mentioned, there are plenty of questions to answer about how we got here and where we’re going – this episode has lots of talk about the future’s inevitability, which seems to be a nod to Westmoreland and his ilk wanting to bring their brand of genetic engineering to the masses. And my fingers are crossed that we’ll get a satisfying resolution for at least some of our girls (I’m picturing them all dancing together again, this time at Cosima and Delphine’s wedding). But I’m not worried. With Maslany at its helm, this show has proved it can do almost anything. So go ahead, one more time, send in the clones.
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!
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