REVIEW: THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT 3: REVELATIONS

CAST

Chris Carmack (Into The Blue 2)
Rachel Miner (Supernatural)
Melissa Jones (Retardead)
Kevin Yon (What IF..)
Lynch R. Travis (Dogman)
Sarah Habel (Hostel: Part 3)
Mia Serafino (Oz The Great and Powerful)

Sam Reide (Chris Carmack) witnesses a woman being killed, then wakes up in an ice-filled bathtub, his vitals being monitored by his sister Jenna (Rachel Miner). Sam can travel back to any time and location during his lifetime (occupying the body of that time in his life), needing only to concentrate on where and when he wishes to arrive. He has helped the local police capture criminals under the guise of being a psychic. Sam pays his sister Jenna’s rent and buys her groceries, and that she rarely leaves the apartment and lives in squalor. Later that night, Elizabeth (Sarah Habel), the sister of Sam’s murdered girlfriend Rebecca (Mia Serafino), arrives at Sam’s apartment. She believes that the man about to be executed for her sister’s murder, Lonnie Flennons (Richard Wilkinson), is innocent, and she offers to pay Sam to find the real murderer. Sam turns her down, but goes to speak with the man who tutored him on time travel, Goldburg (Kevin Yon), who reminds him of the cardinal rules: he’s not to alter his own personal past, nor travel in time with his body left unsupervised. When Sam was 15, a house fire claimed Jenna’s life, but Sam altered time so that Jenna survives. However, Sam’s interference with events resulted in the fire killing his parents instead. After Goldburg’s departure, their bartender Vicki (Melissa Jones) seductively offers Sam a seductively-named cocktail; he and Vicki have sex, but upon seeing Rebecca’s photo, he cannot continue.

Sam changes his mind and agrees to help Elizabeth out. He tries to help Lonnie without time-traveling, but Lonnie refuses the help, believing Sam to be the culprit. Frustrated, Sam travels back to June 1998. He first runs into a drunk Elizabeth, and tells her to stay in her locked car. He goes into Rebecca’s bedroom to find her already dead; meanwhile, Elizabeth is attacked in her car from behind and killed. Sam returns to the present, to learn he no longer owns a car, is renting his couch to a roommate named Paco (Ulysses Hernandez), and no longer works for the police. Instead, he is an obsessed former suspect for Rebecca’s murder who has repeatedly asked for the case file. He goes to see Lonnie, who in this present is a wheelchair-bound lawyer. He tells Sam he had driven by, saw Elizabeth and Sam talking, and did not stop. Sam visits Goldburg, who suggests he go back to the scene of the third murder and this time only observe. Sam also visits Jenna, who is significantly better off and living more cleanly; she refuses to help him.

Sam travels back to September 2000 and witnesses the third victim, Anita Barnes (Chantel Giacalone), being attacked, only to learn it is her boyfriend attempting to cater to her rape fetish. He is discovered and her boyfriend’s punch sends him back to the present, where now Sam is renting a couch from Paco, who is about to evict him for non-payment. Goldburg is missing, and Lonnie is now the third victim, while Anita remains alive, pepper-spraying Sam in the face after he approaches her in the street. At her apartment, Jenna tells Sam that Goldburg was about to implicate him in the murders, and furthermore tells him she fears a future Sam is the murderer. Sam complains he is now “too stupid” to fix things; Jenna pinky-swears him to not time-travel anymore. Drunk at the bar, Sam propositions Vicki, who is engaged in this timeline. After Sam leaves, the killer shows up and murders Vicki; her body is found by the police near a car body plant. As Sam left his bar receipt behind, he is hauled in by the police. Jenna extricates him; the police put a tail on him as he leaves. As he leaves, he takes Det. Glenn’s (Lynch Travis) evidence notebook, which he uses to look at the scene of the crime and travel back to September 2004, before the bodies were found by the police.He returns to the present to find himself on Jenna’s couch as she leaves for work, reminding him to clean up after himself and have dinner ready for her return; their positions now effectively reversed from the beginning of the film. Sam returns to the auto plant, where the police lie in wait to arrest him. Sam convinces Det. Glenn to release him by telling him how his wife (Andrea Foster) mistook Glenn for M.C. Hammer on their first meeting. Returning home, Sam accidentally inhales some burundanga flowers, sent from Goldburg’s greenhouse, and can barely haul himself into the bathtub, before time-traveling back to the abandoned auto plant, where he finds a severely injured Goldburg. Running for help, Sam is felled by a foothold trap.

The killer approaches the trapped Sam, removing his mask as he does so, to reveal that the killer is actually Sam’s sister Jenna, who can also time travel. She has an incestuous love for her brother, having killed the women, either because she perceived them as rivals for Sam’s affections, or because they were new witnesses, introduced by Sam’s rescue attempts. Sam travels back in time to the day of the fire that killed his parents; instead of saving Jenna (Catherine Towne), he traps her in her burning room. He awakes in a new timeline where he has married Elizabeth (not Rebecca), and he, Elizabeth and their daughter Jenna (named after his now-dead sister) (Alexis Sturr) are pulling up to a family barbecue, where he is greeted by his parents and a perfectly healthy Goldburg. The film closes as Sam’s daughter Jenna puts her fashion doll on the grill and smiles as it begins to melt.

This is a recommended thriller, especially if you are a fan of the original. It tries to do something different by adding the element of a serial killer into the mix and gives the protagonist much more stake in the movie rather than just saving the life of a loved one.

 

REVIEW: THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT 2

CAST

Eric Lively (American Pie)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Dustin Milligan (Shark Night)
Gina Holden (Flash Gordon 2007)
Andrew Airlie (Final Destination 2)
David Lewis (Bates Motel)
JR Bourne (Stargate SG.1)
Susan Hogan (Phobia)
Lindsay Maxwell (Jingle All The Way 2)

Julie (Erica Durance) and her boyfriend, Nick (Eric Lively), are celebrating Julie’s 24th birthday with their friends Trevor (Dustin Milligan) and Amanda (Gina Holden). Julie and Nick start to discuss their future when Nick is called in to work, urgently. He has to go to the meeting because he is up against co-worker Dave (David Lewis) for a promotion. As the four friends drive back to the city there’s an accident with a semi-truck. Of the four friends, Nick is the only survivor. Later, when looking at a photograph of himself and Julie, everything in the room begins to shudder and shake, while the people in the photograph begin moving. One year later, Nick suffers a blinding headache and nosebleed at work, while presenting an important sales pitch to investors. As a result he is given a week’s suspension. Back home, Nick looks at photographs from Julie’s birthday and somehow manages to transport himself back to the moment just before the fatal accident. This time, he knows how to avoid the accident and he awakens in a new timeline where Julie is living happily with him. However, in this reality, Nick’s life is ruined when he is fired for backing up his friend and now work colleague Trevor.Later, Nick sees a Christmas photograph of him, his friends and work colleagues, and realizes that this was the point at which a crucial deal was made, resulting in Dave’s promotion. Nick decides to try to alter this in his favor, so he concentrates on the photo in order to trigger another episode. Sure enough, he finds himself at the party. After deliberately spilling a drink on Dave to distract him he finds the paperwork for the crucial deal. He then returns to the present in a new version of reality. In this reality, Nick is the vice-president of the company, but he and Julie have split up and he is living the bachelor lifestyle. Also, Trevor and Nick end up on the wrong side of a shady investor, and the company is broke. Nick confesses everything to his mother, who tells him that he can’t ‘control everything’. She says his father also tried to control things and ultimately committed suicide.

Nick transports himself to the scene from the start of the movie, hoping to finally fix everything by breaking up with Julie. However, he didn’t bank on how upset she would be – and she confesses to being pregnant and speeds away in his car. Fearing a similar accident as the original, Nick speeds after her, but ends up facing an oncoming vehicle himself. He opts to save Julie rather than himself and drives off the cliff. One year later, Julie lives in New York with her son, Nick Jr., who has the same affliction as his father, since his environment becomes unstable while looking at a photograph of his parents and their friends.I really liked the first film. It was a bit of an original concept. I was skeptical when I stumbled across Butterfly Effect 2 thinking it must be bad if I didn’t know there was a second film. However, I decided to give it  a go. I am pleased I did as I think it was another clever film.

REVIEW: THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

CAST

Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Elden Henson (Daredevil)
William Lee Scott (October Sky)
Jesse James (Jumper)
Cameron Bright (Twilight: New Moon)
Melora Walters (Ed Wood)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Callum Keith Rennie (Flashforward)
Lorena Gale (Battlestar Galactica)
Logan Lerman (The Three Musketeers)

Growing up, Evan Treborn and his friends, Lenny and siblings Kayleigh and Tommy Miller, suffered many severe psychological traumas that frequently caused Evan to black out. These traumas include being coerced to take part in child pornography by Kayleigh and Tommy’s father, George Miller (Eric Stoltz), being nearly strangled to death by his institutionalized father, Jason Treborn (Callum Keith Rennie), who is then killed in front of him by guards; accidentally killing a mother and her infant daughter while playing with dynamite with his friends; and seeing his dog being burned alive by Tommy.Seven years later, while entertaining a girl in his dorm room, Evan discovers that when he reads from his adolescent journals, he can travel back in time and redo parts of his past. His time traveling episodes account for the frequent blackouts he experienced as a child, since those are the moments that his adult self occupied his conscious, such as the moment his father strangled him when he realizes that Evan shares his time-traveling affliction. However, there are consequences to his revised choices that dramatically alter his present life. For example, his personal time-line leads to alternative futures in which he finds himself, variously, as a college student in a fraternity, an inmate imprisoned for murdering Tommy, and a double amputee. Eventually, he realizes that, even though his intentions to fix the past are good, his actions have unforeseen consequences, in which either he or at least one of his friends does not benefit. Moreover, the assimilation of dozens of years’ worth of new memories from the alternative timelines causes him brain damage and severe nosebleeds. He ultimately reaches the conclusion that he and his friends might not have good futures as long as he keeps altering the past, and he realizes that he is hurting them rather than helping.Evan travels back one final time to the day he first met Kayleigh as a child. He intentionally upsets her so that she and Tommy will choose to live with their mother, in a different neighborhood, instead of with their father when they divorce. As a result, they aren’t subjected to a destructive upbringing, don’t grow up with Evan, and go on to have happy, successful lives. Evan awakens in a college dorm room, where Lenny is his roommate. As a test, he asks where Kayleigh is, to which Lenny responds “Who’s Kayleigh?”. Knowing that everything is all right this time, Evan burns his journals and videos to avoid altering the timeline ever again.Eight years later in New York City, an adult Evan exits an office building and passes by Kayleigh on the street. Though a brief look of recognition passes over both of their faces, they both decide to keep walking.

Directors’ cut

The director’s cut features a notably different ending. With his brain terribly damaged and aware that he is about to be committed to a psychiatric facility where he will lose access to his time travel ability, Evan makes a desperate attempt to change the timeline by travelling back to his pre-birth self (by viewing a family film of his father’s), where he strangles himself in the womb with his umbilicus so as to prevent the multi-generational curse from continuing, consistent with an added scene where a fortune teller describes Evan to Evan and his mother as “having no lifeline” and “not belonging to this world”. Kayleigh is then seen as a child in the new timeline having chosen to live with her mother instead of her father, and a montage suggests that the lives of the other childhood characters have become loving and less tragic.

Despite mixed reviews prior to seeing this, I thought this film was an absolute gem. The cast were well introduced at the start and you were led thru the film with mysterious gaps which were filled later on, shocking the audience at times. Subject matter was occasionally difficult but this made it all the more believeable in our hero’s responses. Anything that offers a temporal paradox allows the mind to fulfil the ‘whatif’ question. It gets you thinking but this movie was difficult to 2nd guess which in my view makes for a great and unpredictable film

REVIEW: 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS

CAST

Bill Moseley (House of 1000 Corpses)
Lin Shaye (Ouija)
Trevor Wright (Vacancy 2)
Christa Campbell (Drive Angry)
Ahmed Best (Star Wars – Episode I-III)
Nivek Ogre (The Devil’s Carnival)

When this year’s round of unsuspecting Northerners fail to show up for their annual Guts N’ Glory Jubilee because the Feds are investigating the disappearances of Northerners over the years, the residents of Pleasant Valley take their twisted carnival on the road and head to Iowa, where they encounter spoiled heiresses, Rome & Tina Sheraton, and the cast and crew of their “Road Rascals” reality show. They begin killing the cast and crew. At the end, the residents of Pleasant Valley get an idea to use a TV commercial to lure in their victims.movies_images_2005_2001maniacs_movie-fs_01This film is defiantely not as good as the first, for starters no Robert Englund. However i still thought the film was quite good, it has quite a bit of humour and even some of the original cast did come back Lin shaye for instance. There are little problems though firstly the sound is not great in open spaces and the camera work does leave alot to be desired. Other than that i still think it is a desent film.

REVIEW: 2001 MANIACS

CAST

Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Lin Shaye (Ouija)
Giuseppe Andrews (Cabin Fever)
Jay Gillespie (Hellraiser: Revelations)
Marla Malcolm (The Watch)
Dylan Edrington (Close to Home)
Matthew Carey (Old School)
Peter Stormare (Nacho Libre)
Mushond Lee (Sunset Beach)
Christa Campbell (Drive Angry)
Eli Roth (Inglourious Basterds)
Kane Hodder (Jason X)
Dan Hicks (Evil Dead II)

2m91Six prep college students and a biker couple travel south towards Daytona Beach for Spring Break, but a detour leads them into the seemingly idyllic Georgia town of Pleasant Valley, which is holding its annual “Guts and Glory Jubilee” in honor of the American Civil War. While they stay in the town, completely isolated from the outside world, they are systematically separated and killed in gory fashion by the town’s residents. Two students manage to escape, but upon alerting the authorities they learn that “Pleasant Valley” is nothing but a cemetery – a memorial for 2001 Confederate villagers who were massacred 140 years earlier by renegade Union troops during the Civil War. A plaque reveals that the town’s residents will not rest until the crime has been paid back: 2001 villagers were killed, 2001 northerners must be killed – an eye for an eye.2001-Maniacs-1As the two students drive away on their motorcycle, they are decapitated by barbed wire. The heads are picked up by Hucklebilly who walks down the road and fades away.movies_images_2005_2001maniacs_movie-fs_01One of the most fun movies around, this is basically a free-for-all that is most centered on what can be done to entertain. It’s a simple film that is mostly recommended for gore-hounds or anyone else looking to be entertained for an hour and a half.

REVIEW: LEGION – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Dan Stevens (Downtown Abbey)
Rachel Keller (Hollidaysburg)
Aubrey Plaza (Life After beth)
Bill Irwin (Sleepy Hollow)
Jeremie Harris (Pariah)
Amber Midthunder (Hell or High water)
Katie Aselton (The Gift)
Jean Smart (Smanatha Who ?)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Hamish Linklater (Battleship)
David Selby (The Social Network)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of Steel)
Scott Lawrence (Avatar)
Jermaine Clement (Men In Black 3)

For those among you who, like me, love some of the slightly weirder superheroes out there (especially of the mutant kind and preferably in the X-Men universe) but feel most of those guys’ screen outings so far were either constricted by the 2-hour format or held back by the need to appeal to mainstream audiences, I’m happy to report there is finally a full length TV-show that dares to fully embrace the craziness of its source material without taking any prisoners. The show’s name is ‘Legion’ (and I’m already pretty sure its fans will be many).Following the storyline may seem a little difficult (at least at the beginning) for ‘Legion’ plunges us head first into the confused mind of its hero, and the narrative is – deliberately – often just as fractured as David Haller’s personality. Right from the start this show makes it very clear how committed it is to convey its protagonist’s unstable state of mind – and boy does it succeed: through David’s eyes we experience an often terrifying (albeit colorful) world where we can never be sure what’s real and what’s imagined; nor can we get a grasp on where we are, when we are, or even who we are.But this trip down the rabbit hole is well worth taking (even if it does turn into a horror trip at times) for it’s a psychedelic ride that has been designed by very talented people. Creator Noah Hawley, who has already given us the excellent show ‘Fargo’, obviously knows what he’s doing, and watching the show feels like listening to a perfectly composed concept album from a seventies rock band. The cast is terrific (especially Dan Stevens as David Haller); the visuals and the production design are a wonderfully weird mix of retro and modern elements which fits David’s distorted perception of time and reality like a glove, and the mystery surrounding David as he desperately tries to cut through the haze and figure out what’s going on will keep you glued to the screen throughout.Insanity is a tricky subject to tackle, and the possible pitfalls are many; present it with too much levity and you risk the accusation that you’re making fun of people with a terrible illness – yet if you portray it as tragic and bleak as it often is  you will lose your audience. So to find the right tone here was not an easy thing to do, but I believe the show – just as Marvel did in the comic books – does an outstanding job at never coming across disrespectful while still offering fantastic entertainment.So to sum up my first impression: ‘Legion’ represents a refreshingly different side of Marvel (compared to the films and shows based on Marvel Comics’ more “grounded” creations that we’ve seen so far) and by fully embracing the source material’s “weirdness” the show is a testament to just how insanely (in the true sense of the word) inventive and versatile Stan Lee and his band of brothers were/are. This show is wilder, more surreal and generally much, much crazier than your average superhero story and there are moments where you feel reminded of the works of David Fincher, Charlie Kaufman or even David Lynch. I’d highly recommend it especially to adult comic book fans and those among you who don’t demand everything be explained within the first episode. Personally, I feel this is Marvel at its best and most complex.

REVIEW: IZOMBIE – SEASON 2

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MAIN CAST

Rose McIver (Power Rangers RPM)
Malcolm Goodwin (The Bellman)
Rahul Kohli (Happy Anniversary)
Robert Buckley (Killer Movie)
David Anders (Alias)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Aly Michalka (Two and a Half Men)
Steven Weber (2 Broke Girls)
Leanne Lapp (No Clue)
Brian Markinson (Arrow)
Molly Hagan (Sully)
Nick Purcha (Angels In The Snow)
Adam Rose (Up In The Air)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Justin Prentice (13 Reasons Why)
Kurt Evans (Sanctuary)
David Starzyk (Hot In Cleveland)
Ona Grauer (V)
Jessica Harmon (Hollow man 2)
Bryce Hodgson (Falling Skies)
Ian Reed Kesler (2 Broke Girls)
Eddie Jemison (Waitress)
Jerry Trimble (Heat)
Steven Williams (LA Heat)
Greg Finley (The Flash)
Brooke Lyons (2 Broke Girls)
Anna Galvin (Warcraft)
Daniella Alonso (The Hills Have Eyes 2)
Fiona Vroom (Power Rangers)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Bradley Stryker (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint)
Kacey Rohl (Hannibal)
Ali Liebert (Bomb Girls)
Sarah Grey (Legends of Tomorrow)
Andrea Savage (Episodes)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)

Consistently offering clever, witty and fun episodes, iZombie solidified itself as one of the most entertaining series on TV in its second season. Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright had already created an offbeat yet inviting world in Season 1 and in Season 2 they built upon it, putting the characters into more intense and involving situations, all while still maintaining the show’s crucial, knowing sense of humor.The cast continue to be one of the most likeable you’ll find, anchored by the excellent Rose McIver. Okay, it’s one of the show’s reaches that pretty much every brain Liv eats is a very focused, specific type of person, but that’s just part of the deal here. And it gives McIver so much to work with, as she goes all in playing Liv taking on personas as varied as a coach, a stalker, a costumed vigilante or a tough stripper. Every week, McIver is given something different to play and she consistently nails it, with ongoing mileage gotten out of how out there and uncharacteristic Liv gets, depending on her latest brain meal.After his heartbroken ex-fiancé character take a surprising (and awesome) turn at the end of Season 1, Robert Buckley’s Major got a great storyline in Season 2, as he found himself working for Vaughn Du Clark (Steven Weber), tasked with assassinating zombies – all while actually locking them up instead, which put him in a very precarious position both with Du Clark and the cops and the FBI, who were getting closer and closer to him for his actions in both Season 1 and 2.The fact that those investigating Major’s crimes were Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) and his FBI partner/love interest Dale Bozzio (Jessica Harmon) only increased the tension, even while Clive and Dale made a great pairing – with Harmon effortlessly fitting in on the show, as the somewhat goofy Dale provided a great foil for the somewhat stoic Clive. And in the midst of this, having Clive begin to slowly notice the things that were off about Liv was continually intriguing, since it was inevitable that Clive would one day find out The Secret.Blaine (David Anders) in the meantime had to adjust to life as a human again – for awhile at least, as he never kept his nose clean and eventually became one of the undead again, with Anders always bringing a wonderfully quirky/funny approach to the character. McIver and Rahul Kohli continued to be a delightful duo in all the scenes between Liv and Ravi and Kohli shined throughout the season, though I do hope Season 3 can perhaps give Ravi more of his own storyline at some points beyond the ongoing search for a cure or the burgeoning love triangle between Ravi, Peyton (Aly Michalka) and Blaine. The end of the season, as Ravi began to suspect Major was up to no good – and their big confrontation about it – showed how strong it can be to use the usually comic presence of Ravi in a dramatic manner that would be interesting to explore again.As Season 2 progressed, one really strong element was how it began to bring together several storylines. We began to see Major’s growing interaction with Blaine begin to bring him even more in focus as a suspect for Dale and Clive, while Peyton’s return — it was good to see Michalka, who also fits in great with this cast, get more to do — had her wrapped up with Blaine (in more ways than one) and helping lead us to a new villain on the show, Stacey Boss (Eddie Jemison).

Best of all, the “brain of the week” storylines began to becoming increasingly tied into the main stories as well. And yes, this meant sometimes you had to accept a bit more coincidence on the show, but it still was exciting and gratifying to see how all the different elements were intersecting in different ways and how Liv could learn new info thanks to a new murder victim connected in ways that were sometimes not apparent on the surface.When it came to Big Bads, Vaughn Du Clark certainly delivered. Stephen Weber seemed to be having a ball in the role and was delightfully awful as the energetic, confident mega-douche of a sports drink company CEO. He was also given a great foil in Gilda (Leanne Lapp), his daughter, who was just as corrupt as her dad. Gilda has no qualms about manipulating Major, Liv or anyone else and Lapp brought just the right attitude to the character – even as we saw just how awful Du Clark was as a dad, giving us a tinge of sympathy, or at least understanding, about why she was the way she was, even as it was clear she needed to be stopped. The season also ended in an epic, satisfying manner, with Clive finally finding out the truth, an all-out “Romero Zombie” attack and both Du Clark and Gilda being taken out – all while we met a huge new player on the scene that looks to be upending the show in a huge way.Nearly every week, iZombie continued to deliver in its second season and the show easily overcame any sophomore slump worries. The creators and cast seem to know exactly the right  tone to go for here, offering up a show that has a fun, accessible vibe but can get suitably intense, dramatic and gory when need be. When the CW gave all of their series early renewals last year, iZombie was one of the ones I know I was celebrating the most. Bring on Season 3!