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Hiroyuki Sanada

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  • TV Picks: 'Helix,' 'Shakespeare,' 'Parks and Rec,' 'Greenville'

    TV Picks: 'Helix,' 'Shakespeare,' 'Parks and Rec,' 'Greenville'
    "Helix" (Syfy, Fridays). Ronald D. Moore, who rebooted "Battlestar Galactica" and brought the highland romantic fantasy "Outlander" to the TV screen, is an executive producer of and contributing writer to this well-wrought sci-fi suspense serial, now in its second season. It's what might be called variously derivative -- a scrap-yard machine whose component parts have included an isolated Arctic setting, an out-of-control super-virus, quasi-zombies, a shadowy corporate cabal and dangerous immortals. You know the drill. But the package is classy, even classical; the performances are good; and the attitude is just perverse enough for the show to be genuinely surprising and even shocking at times. This year, the aforementioned arctic laboratory having gone up in flames, the setting has shifted to a mysterious island, which, though non-tropical, brings with it thoughts of "Lost" -- an impression strengthened by the series' newly introduced dual timelines (the current season takes place now and 30 years from now), cult in a compound, things that go bump in the woods and the presence of Hiroyuki Sanada (temple master Dogen in "Lost" season 6). But unlike "Lost," it does not seem to be making itself up as it goes along, and though bits and pieces are held back for dramatic mystification and delayed gratification, the long arc, even from here, feels structurally sound and essentially straightforward. (The creative team includes "The Middleman" man -- and "Lost" writer-producer -- Javier Grillo-Marxuach, who has thought deeply about these things: See his much-circulated essay on "operational themes.") Once again, the CDC is on the case -- new season, new virus -- although former team leader Billy Campbell is pursuing a dark agenda of his own. (He knows things, presumably horrible things.) Icky, loopy fun.
  • Review: 'The Railway Man' ★★ 1/2

    Review: 'The Railway Man' ★&#9733 1/2
    The concept of manly grief leads into so many dark areas and cultural expectations — questions about how men are expected to bury their trauma long after the traumatizing event. Or else, how men are expected to examine it, reckon with it...

    Review: 'The Railway Man' deftly deals with war's emotional trauma

     Review: 'The Railway Man' deftly deals with war's emotional trauma
    An alternately delicate and brutal retelling of the memoir by former World War II British Army officer Eric Lomax, "The Railway Man" is an impressively crafted, skillfully acted, highly absorbing journey into a dark corner of world history. Colin...

    Amazon Prime Nabs Exclusive U.K. Rights to Halle Berry Starrer 'Extant'

    LONDON -- Video streaming service Amazon Prime Instant Video has nabbed exclusive U.K. rights to Halle Berry starrer "Extant," which is produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television. Episodes from the sci-fi series, which is distributed by CBS Studios...

    Reel Critics: 'Transcendence'? Not quite

    Reel Critics: 'Transcendence'? Not quite
    Wally Pfister is one of Hollywood's most renowned cinematographers of complex visual screenplays. He won an Oscar for his work on the groundbreaking sci-fi twister "Inception." He was nominated for "The Prestige" and two Batman movies. He was director...