Universal Stays on Track with ‘Fast and Furious 6’

by Stacey Longo

fast-and-furious-6-movie-poster-3Universal Pictures continues to tap into one of its most successful franchises with the release of Fast and Furious 6.

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are back as Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner, hiding out in Mexico (“no extradition,” Toretto points out early on.) O’Conner and Toretto’s sister,  Mia (played by Jordana Brewster) have just welcomed their first child into the world when Agent Lou Hobbs, portrayed by a well-muscled Dwayne Johnson, arrives to ask for help. It seems that Interpol is having difficulty stopping a group of mercenary drivers headed by criminal mastermind Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). The hook to ensure Toretto’s assistance is that Shaw’s crew includes Lettie Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), the love of Toretto’s life who was assumed to be killed in Fast and Furious, the fourth installment. Lettie’s alive, and Toretto assembles his team, currently spread across the world, enjoying the riches they earned from their last heist. Tyrese Gibson, Ludicris, Gal Gadot, and Sung Kang return to round out a fantastic supporting cast that gets Furious 6 racing into action.

This movie was fun and exciting. Toretto’s team provides comic relief along with several thrilling car chases and fight scenes.  Toretto’s encounters with Lettie are steeped with emotion and trepidation as Toretto tries hard to help Lettie remember who she once was. Rodriguez excels in brooding tough girl roles, and Lettie is no exception. Toretto’s racing scenes are impressive, but it’s his mid-air rescue of Lettie that will leave you cheering.

Brewster’s Mia has little screen time, and Walker also steps to the sidelines in this installment. One sequence, in which O’Conner returns to the states to interview a criminal, was amusing, but felt like it was only written in to give Walker something to do. However, don’t let this one script flaw keep you from seeing the movie.

Furious 6 was entertaining, well paced, exciting, and a great way to spend an evening.  Plus, with this lineup of action stars, how could you possibly go wrong?

‘Dallas’ Proves that Southfork Still Sizzles

‘Dallas’ Proves that Southfork Still Sizzles

By Stacey Longo

TNT is bringing Dallas back to viewers June 13. The original series, which enjoyed a 14-year run, still maintains a legion of fans, which may be why TNT decided to bring the residents of Southfork ranch back to television. The new series sets up a rivalry between a new generation of Ewings—J.R.’s son, John Ross (John Henderson) and Bobby’s adopted son, Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe).

Back to embrace the roles that made them household names, Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy are back as brothers J.R. and Bobby Ewing, still fighting for control of Miss Ellie’s ranch. Other original cast members include Linda Gray as Sue Ellen, J.R.’s ex-wife and now a candidate for governor; Charlene Tilton as Lucy, offering advice to her cousin John Ross; and Ken Kercheval as the still-vindictive Cliff Barnes.

The series, however, focuses on John Ross and Christopher, who both have very different plans for Southfork—John Ross wants to drill for oil, while Christopher dreams of using proceeds from the ranch to fund his alternative energy research. But getting in the way of both men’s ambitions are their fathers.

True to character, Bobby is still struggling to do the right thing in the face of adversity. And J.R. is still as deliciously devious as ever, not caring who he screws over to gain control of Southfork once and for all. One of the highlights of the new series is watching J.R. vow to his brother that he has turned over a new leaf, while backstabbing everyone around him behind the scenes. Larry Hagman is as formidable as ever, showing why J.R. Ewing’s name is known even to those who never watched the original show. Patrick Duffy slips in to the role of Bobby with easy familiarity, and while we are told Pamela Ewing “disappeared” years ago, Brenda Strong fills her shoes as Ann, Bobby’s new, but equally supportive and loyal, wife.

Fans of the original series will delight in seeing familiar faces (not all of whom are mentioned here,) as well as the winks throughout to the original show. (When Bobby’s wife Ann points a gun at J.R., he purrs “Bullets don’t seem to have an effect on me, darlin’.”) Plus, it’s fun to see little John Ross and Christopher all grown up, engaged in their own power struggle.

For those who never watched the original series, the dynamic trio of J.R., Bobby, and Sue Ellen, as well as the love triangle between John Ross, Christopher, and Elena (Jordana Brewster) will hook them quickly. Throw in a wife for Christopher (Rebecca, portrayed by Julie Gonzalo) and a bid for Southfork by Cliff Barnes, and you have a version of Dallas that’s sure to please.

Tune in to TNT tonight from 9-11 p.m. to watch the premiere of Dallas.

Editor’s Note:

To read an article with two of the cast members, click here.

‘Dallas’ Stars Excited for New Series

‘Dallas’ Stars Excited for New Series

By Jason Harris

 

Dallas stars Jordana Brewster and Julie Gonzalo. Photo by Jason Harris.

Dallas stars Jordana Brewster and Julie Gonzalo. Photo by Jason Harris.

Dallas is set to return to television Wednesday night for a new generation to learn about the Ewing clan.

Jordana Brewster (The Fast and the Furious) and Julie Gonzalo (television series Veronica Mars), two of the stars of the new series, recently came to Boston to promote the show.

Gonzalo said they were excited about the new series and shooting at Southfork.

“I don’t think it has set in that it’s such a big deal until now when the shows about to roll out,” Gonzalo said.

The original Dallas debuted in 1978 as a five-part mini-series and ran for fourteen seasons until 1991 on CBS.

Brewster and Gonzalo didn’t watch the original series until they got the job in the new one, they said. They have watched three seasons so far.

“We weren’t born when it came out,” Gonzalo said about the original Dallas.

They weren’t born until the third and fourth seasons came out. Brewster was born in 1980 and Gonzalo in 1981. Another obstacle to watching the show was the fact that they weren’t living in the United States.

“I grew up in a different country until 1990,” Gonzalo said.

Gonzalo and Brewster were living in Argentina and Brazil respectively.

The “beauty of the show” is the fact that you can see where these characters are 30 years later, which “no other show has ever done,” Gonzalo said.

The new show gives people a chance to see how the Ewings’ children turned out, Brewster said.

“Cynthia [Cidre] wrote an amazing script with great, well-crafted characters and many, many twists and turns so it was heavily plotted … ,” Brewster said.

Audiences will see for themselves tomorrow night at 9 p.m. on TNT. The first season has ten episodes. The pilot was shot in April 2011 while the rest of the season was shot between last October and this past February, Brewster said.

The shows’ stars are contracted for six seasons, which is standard for a television contract, Brewster said.

Gonzalo said it’s up to the audience and how it is received if the show continues past the first season. She said that after the season wrapped Patrick Duffy kept saying ‘only 13 more to go.’

Brewster said Duffy has “the Midas touch” when it comes to working on television.

Gonzalo thinks in Duffy’s entire television career he has only been unemployed for two months, one month between The Man from Atlantis and Dallas and another month between Dallas and Step by Step.

When asked about Duffy, Larry Hagman, and Linda Gray, the original stars of Dallas, Gonzalo said Duffy is like their dad, Gray like their mom, and Hagman is like a “funny uncle.”

Hagman, who “has had such a colorful life,” had the best and greatest stories, she said.

“We had a sense of family the minute we all met,” Gonzalo said.

Dallas starts Wednesday night with a two-hour episode airing on TNT at 9 p.m.

Editor’s note:

To read Stacey Longo’s review of the new series, click here.