Saturday, 24 July 2021

‘Tomorrow War’ battle to save Earth; CBS fall TV preview



‘THE TOMORROW WAR’ RATED PG-13 on AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

While the fare at movie theaters hasn’t quite returned to what it used to be, at least there is the alternative of your own home cinema with streaming services.

Amazon Prime Video offers up in “The Tomorrow War” the type of entertainment that would appear at the multiplex. In the hero role as Dan Forester, Chris Pratt is an ex-military guy unwillingly conscripted into a global war against alien species.

In the press notes, Pratt is quoted as saying “making a film where I get to fight aliens and save the world while cracking the occasional joke is right in my wheelhouse.”

During a televised World Cup soccer game, time-traveling soldiers from the year 2051 appear on the field with an urgent message that thirty years from now humanity faces extinction unless more citizens get transported to the future to fight aliens known as “white spikes.”

Having to leave behind his wife (Betty Gilpin) and their young daughter, Forester along with draftees that include Charlie (Sam Richardson) and Norah (Mary Lynn Rajskub) are shuttled to post-apocalyptic Miami Beach for an apparent suicide mission.

The fast-moving “white spikes,” armed with tentacles and rotting teeth, are ravenous creatures with an insatiable taste for human flesh. Scores of humans fall prey to aliens that are hard to kill.

Leader of the mission is a brilliant female scientist code-named Romeo Command (Yvonne Strahovski), who is revealed to have a connection with Forester’s present. Let’s just say there is an emotional element to the story for touching character development.

The political equation is fairly absent from the story unless you count Forester’s estranged father (J.K. Simmons) cracking wise of reporting the alien threat to “the U.N. and they can talk about it till we’re all dead.”

As a reluctant warrior, Sam Richardson is a delight for his comic wisecracks, and the likable Chris Pratt’s science teacher and devoted family man seems like the right man, with the help of a diverse group of draftees, to save humanity.

Who really cares if the premise of “The Tomorrow War” is far-fetched or cheesy? We come for the sci-fi thriller action of the fierce, the violent battle with slimy aliens, and are not surprised with the outcome.

CBS FALL TV PREVIEW

Legendary producer Dick Wolf may be the undisputed king of network television programming. Not satisfied with two full nights on the NBC fall schedule, Wolf is going for the trifecta by taking over Tuesday nights for CBS this coming fall.

NBC has Wolf’s “Law & Order” and “Chicago” series completing the lineup for Wednesday and Thursday nights, and now with CBS having Wolf’s “FBI” franchise taking over the entire Tuesday night, what’s left is to conquer Monday and Friday nights.

“FBI: International” takes the successful brand to follow elite operatives of the Bureau headquartered in Prague as they travel the world with the mission of tracking and neutralizing threats against American citizens.

Not allowed to carry guns, the international team of agents must rely on intelligence, quick thinking and brawn as they put their lives on the line. This new series will be bracketed by “FBI” and “FBI: Most Wanted,” creating a nice bridge to shore up the evening.

Another new drama that has its own franchise is “NCIS: Hawaii,” where Vanessa Lachey’s Jane Tennant, the first female Special Agent in Charge of NCIS Pearl Harbor, has thrived and risen through the ranks by equal parts confidence and strategy in a system that pushed back.

With an unwavering team of specialists, Tennant’s crew balance duty to family and country while investigating high-stakes crimes involving military personnel, national security and the mysteries of the sun-drenched island paradise itself.

There seems to be no end to crime drama franchises, and as if to prove the point, “CSI: Las Vegas” in another entry into the sweepstakes with “CSI” opening a new chapter in Sin City, a good a place as any to deploy the latest forensic techniques to preserve and serve justice.

A new team of investigators led by Maxine Roby (Paula Newsome) must enlist the help of old friends, Gil Grissom (William Petersen), Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) and David Hodges (Wallace Langham). Matt Lauria and Mel Rodriguez also star.

“Ghosts,” a single-camera comedy about cheerful freelance journalist Samantha (Rose McIver) and up-and-coming chef Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar), who throw caution and money to the wind when the decide to convert a huge rundown country estate they inherited into a bed-and-breakfast.

The problem is that they find the place is inhabited by the many spirits of deceased residents who now call it home.

The departed souls are a close-knit, electric group that experience anxiety when they realize Samantha is the first live person who can see and hear them.

The colorful spirits include a saucy Prohibition-era lounge singer, a pompous 1700s militiaman, a ‘60s hippie fond of hallucinogens, a cod-obsessed Viking explorer from 1009 and a sarcastic and witty Native from the 1500s, among others.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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