El Orfanato (2007)

Written by Sergio G. Sánchez, El Orfanato (aka The Orphanage) was the directorial debut of J.A. Bayona.

The Spanish horror begins in the year 1975 where we see a young Spanish girl named Laura being adopted. Years later, adult Laura (Belén Rueda) returns to the closed orphanage, accompanied by her husband, Carlos (Fernando Cayo), and their seven-year-old son, Simón (Roger Príncep). Laura has big plans to reopen the orphanage as a facility for disabled children.

As they get used to the building Simón starts to talk about a new friend he has made – a boy named Tomás. Simón begins to draw pictures of Tomás wearing a sack mask.

Social worker Benigna Escobedo (Montserrat Carulla) visits the house to inquire after Simón, and the audience learn that Laura and Carlos adopted Simón and that he is HIV positive. Incensed at Benigna’s intrusion, Laura asks her to leave. Later that night Laura finds Benigna in the orphanage’s coal shed, but Benigna flees the scene.

Later, Simón teaches Laura a game which grants its winner a wish. Clues lead the two to Simón’s adoption file. Simón becomes angry, and says that Tomás told him that Laura is not his biological mother and that he is going to die soon.

During a party for the orphanage’s opening, Laura and Simón argue, and Simón hides from her. While looking for him, she encounters a child wearing a sack mask who shoves her into a bathroom and locks her inside. When Laura escapes, she realizes that Simón is missing and is unable to find him…

Review: Doctor Who – Empress of Mars (Season 10, Ep. 9)

Ever since the shows return in 2005 there has been a war between fans of Doctor Who. On one side you have the fans of the classic series that see modern ‘Who’ as pandering to the ‘Twilight / Potter’ generation; on the other fans of the modern series who see classic who as slow and dated. There are of course those like me, who love both modern and classic ‘Who’, and we sit there screaming “can’t we all just get along”! ‘Empress of Mars’ is one of those episodes where the two sides should come to celebrate as one.

The episode didn’t just nod it also winked suggestively to classic ‘Who’. If you look at it chronologically the follow up to this episode should be 1972’s ‘The Curse of Peladon’; there was even a nice cameo from ‘Alpha Centauri’ to link the two. That aside the pacing, story and even the ‘Ice Warriors’ themselves all felt like links to the past.

Last weeks episode ‘The Lie of the Land’ felt burdened by being part of the ‘Monks Trilogy’ and just didn’t live up to this seasons high standards. ‘Empress of Mars’ almost felt like a reset; this stand alone episode was fun, well paced and nicely moved the series running storylines along. Whilst you never felt it was breaking new ground you felt more than happy to go along for the retro ride.

So here we are nine episodes in and series ten is yet to give us a true dud. Let’s hope they keep up this standard.

Marks out of 10: 8

Luther to return for 5th Season

Idris Elba is set to reprise his role as everyone’s favourite homicide detective John Luther with a new four-part 5th season of Luther.

Series creator Neil Cross will also be returning and production is set to begin early next. Cross said he and Elba decided there was a great deal of “unfinished business” for the character to tackle in a new batch of episodes:

“Because we love John and wonder what he’s up to, in the end, we picked up the phone to some old friends and asked if they’d like to find out what happens next. It turns out, they would. So that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to find out what happens next.”

Elba added “I am thrilled that we have been able to bring it all together. I look forward to putting the coat back on.”

Glenne Headly passes away at the age of 62

It is Cult Faction’s sad duty to report that Glenne Headly has passed away at the age of 62 years old. The sad news was broken by her Rep:

“It is with deep sorrow that we confirm the passing of Glenne Headly. We ask that her family’s privacy be respected during this difficult time.”

Headly had many roles in film and TV including Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Paperhouse, Stars and Bars, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Fraiser, E.R., The X-Files, Encore! Encore!, Rugruts, The Burbs, Monk, Psych, Parks and Recreation, The Purple Rose of Cairo, and Fandango but it was her role as Tess Trueheart alongside Warren Beatty in Dick Tracy shot her onto the Cult Faction radar.

Headly was nominated for an Emmy for her role in the 1989 miniseries Lonesome Dove, as well as 1996’s Bastard Out of Carolina. She was in production on the Seth Rogen-Evan Goldberg produced Hulu comedy series Future Man at the time of her death. The series stars Ed Begley Jr., Eliza Coupe and Josh Hutcherson. It revolves around a janitor and gamer by night who is recruited by mysterious visitors to travel through time in order to prevent the extinction of humanity. The show’s producer Sony Pictures Television have announced that Headly’s role would not be recast but that she would remain in the episodes completed so far.

The Magician

The Magician was another of my favorite shows back in the day. It ran on NBC from 1973-1974.  Bill Bixby (the future Incredible Hulk), starred as Tony Blake a millionaire magician who solves crimes. Originally in the series pilot, his character was named Tony Dorian but was later changed because it conflicted with a real-life magician.

During the series, Bixby studied magic and became an amateur conjuror. He also insisted on doing all of his illusions without the assistance of trick photography. The premise behind the show was that Blake was unjustly imprisoned in South America years ago on espionage charges. He escaped the prison with his cellmate and was immediately exonerated of the crime. This episode in his life fueled his desire to help people through magic.

His cellmate ended up dying and Tony inherited millions of dollars. As a result, he got to live in a jet with his pilot, Jerry Anderson (Jim Watkins). Blake also drove around in a sweet Corvette Stingray that quickly became my dream vehicle. Halfway through the show’s run, the jet was dropped in favor of a swanky apartment in the Magic Castle. For those of you unfamiliar with that location, it is a well-known club that is huge in the magician community.

Occasionally, Tony was assisted by reporter Max Pomeroy (Keene Curtis) and his son Dennis (Todd Crespi). Along with the jet being replaced as a residence the supporting cast was also let go in favor of adding a new character brought in for comic relief, named Dominick (Joseph Sirola). Another recurring player would be cast as Tony’s assistant (Larry Anderson).

Although this program didn’t last very long, it exerted an influence on Chris Carter, the executive producer of The X Files. Carter was a fan of the show and had it written into the famous episode of Samantha Mulder’s abduction. The series was also mentioned in an episode of Quantum Leap when Sam Beckett jumped into an amateur prestidigitator that wanted to appear on Bixby’s show.

The Magician was cancelled because it was deemed too expensive to produce. Currently, Visual Entertainment plans to release the complete series on DVD in the future.

 

Hannah John-Kamen cast in Ant-Man and Wasp!

Whilst the plot to Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man and Wasp is being kept under wraps, as are details about who she will be playing, it has been confirmed that Hannah John-Kamen (Black Mirror, Tomb Raider, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Game of Thrones, Misfits,Killjoys) will be joining the cast.

All the best in Cult television, films, cartoons, video games and comics! #gotfaction?