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On My Watchlist: Helix, The Europa Report, Apollo 18, and the Golden Globes

– Posted in: Film Review

Renita Kalhorn – dead ringer for Dr. Walker in Helix

Is anyone watching Helix? I was definitely intrigued by the trailers, which seemed to suggest zombies in outer space. I am impressed enough by the pilot that I’ll watch this week. It’s nice to see Billy Campbell in a star turn again. I had to look up Jordan Hayes, who plays 26-year old genius Dr. Sarah Jordan, because I spent the whole episode wondering if she was related to Anna Kendrick. Turns out, Hayes has appeared in a bunch of sci fi/ horror I’ve recently seen on Netflix (House at the End of the Street, Exit Humanity) and yet I struggle to place her in any of those movies. That’s not a dig — I like her acting — but I guess she just has one of those faces where she can play anyone (especially Anna Kendrick’s sister). In another freakish resemblance, the other female lead, Kyra Zagorsky, looks and sounds like a good friend of mine, mental toughness coach Renita Kalhorn. Kalhorn (pictured right) would actually be good for the Helix team, as she is a black belt and coaches Navy SEAL candidates. Maybe she would have had better luck fending off Peter in that shower scene.

I watched The Europa Report and Apollo 18 on Netflix at the peak of the SAG Awards screening season. I had been watching tentpole movies at the various screenings (my favorites are Rush, Philomena, Saving Mr. Banks, and Her). I needed some fun action movies. I was very pleasantly surprised. The Europa Report is not the most original or the most thrilling movie, but it’s solidly acted and a terrific weekend popcorn selection. I especially loved how you had diversity in race and gender without any pandering – the Asian captain had no stereotypical accent, and the co-ed cast worked together without flirting!

Apollo 18 really surprised me in how much I enjoyed it. It’s a tight 90 minutes, which just goes to show you don’t have to be long-winded (I’m looking at you Wolf of Wall Street and Invisible Woman). Maybe I’m just personally biased, as Apollo 18 hit on my creature feature obsession – those aren’t just moon rocks! I so wish they could have had a little more budget (pull just 1% out of Oblivion or Gravity) to shoot the crater scene with some real light. The documentary, Blair Witch style of filming is way overdone.

Of course, I watched the Golden Globes. It just reminded me how little TV I watch. I couldn’t comment on any of the TV categories. On the film front, there is lots of good acting this year, so hard to argue with any of the winners. I’m sorry that Rush didn’t pick up anything. I’m thrilled that Her got a screenplay award, especially since Scarlet Johannsen was overlooked. Nominations were far more diverse than the winner’s circle, but it’s a step.

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