REVIEW: RIPPER (2001)

 

CAST

A.J. Cook (Final Destination 2)
Bruce Payne (Highlander: Endgame)
Ryan Northcott (Mystery, Alaska)
Claire Keim (The Girl)
Derek Hamilton (Arrow)
Daniella Evangelista (Wishmaster 3)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Kelly Brook (Smallville)
Jurgen Prochnow (Das Boot)
Courtenay J. Stevens (Stargate SG.1)

fe109-spiderman-animatedMolly Keller (A. J. Cook) narrowly avoids being murdered by a serial killer, after managing to escape an island. Five years later, she takes a forensic psychology class taught by Marshall Kane (Bruce Payne), a world-renowned expert on deviant violent offenders. Also taking the class are Jason Korda (Ryan Northcott), Chantal Etienne (Claire Keim), Marisa Tavares (Kelly Brook), Eddie Sackman (Derek Hamilton), Mary-Anne Nordstrom (Daniella Evangelista), Andrea Carter (Emmanuelle Vaugier) and Aaron Kroeker (Courtney J. Stevens). During one lesson, Marshall pranks his class by pretending to murder one of the students, his intention being to demonstrate the potential of anyone to be a killer. The unorthodox lesson prompts Aaron to reveal to Molly that he is aware of her past, which angers her as she does not want to discuss the trauma she endured. Her mood is further upset by Eddie when he attempts to hit on her, only to be firmly rejected. Later that night, the group, excluding Aaron, meet up for a study session, which soon degenerates into an argument over Molly’s overtly hostile attitude. To ease the mounting tension, they decide to go to a party taking place in a nearby abandoned building. Here, Jason makes a genuine attempt to get to know Molly better, but she remains distant. Marisa, meanwhile, has sex with a masked man, after which she overhears Chantal and Andrea talking about her. Feeling hurt, Marisa decides to leave, but the elevator instead takes her up to an isolated floor of the building. Upon stepping out of the elevator, Marisa is attacked and viciously stabbed by a masked assailant. In her panic, she stumbles and falls out of a window, but a chain wrapped around her ankle catches her, enabling the killer to hoist her back up, where he brutally and graphically stabs her to death, before sending her body crashing through a window into the party below.ranking-the-spider-man-animated-series_cgbj

The next day, the group mourn Marisa’s death, while deciding they will try and identify who the killer is. Molly meets Detective Kelso (Jürgen Prochnow), who was part of the investigation of the previous murders. The pair go to the murder scene where Detective Kelso warns Molly that he believes the killer is back. Mary-Anne is driving home to see her family when a black truck begins to ram into the back of her car. She attempts to drive away, but the truck pushes her to the side of a cliff. As she attempts to get out, the truck hits her car again, causing her to crash through the windshield and plummet to her death. Detective Kelso finds her body in a nearby shed, where the killer has stabbed her repeatedly. Molly challenges Marshall, and shows the killer is following the pattern of the famous serial killer Jack the Ripper. Jason manages to persuade the group to continue investigating despite their doubt. Molly and Jason discover a murderer previously held Marshall hostage. Chantal kisses Jason, but soon apologises to Molly for doing so, and the pair make friends. While Andrea is at the morgue identifying Mary-Anne’s wounds, she is pursued by the killer, who drugs her before gutting her.ripper-letterfromhell_9Jason, Chantal, and Eddie find out about Molly’s past, which causes an argument resulting in Molly removing herself from the group. An upset Molly is comforted by Marshall. The following night, Molly, Jason, Eddie, Chantal, and Marshall are taken to a cabin where they realize the victims share the same initials of the victims of Jack the Ripper. Suspicion falls on Aaron, who was the one that assembled the study group. They attempt to phone Detective Kelso, but the phone is not working. After Molly and Chantal fall out, Eddie, Jason, and Chantal leave to try and fix the phone satellite on top of the mountain. Their car soon breaks down, forcing Jason to proceed on foot. Eddie attempts to fix the car, while Chantal remains inside. The killer soon appears and knocks out Chantal before Eddie’s hand is trapped inside the bonnet of the car. Chantal wakes up and panics, driving the car forward into a tree which crushes Eddie’s back, killing him. The killer chases Chantal to a factory, where she accidentally activates a log splitting machine. She bumps into Aaron, who warns her he knows who the killer is. She tries to escape, but they fall into the machine, where they are both mutilated by the circular saws.ripper-letterfromhell_29Back at the cabin, Molly becomes suspicious of both Jason and Marshall. As Jason arrives back, Molly knocks him out before running into the forest. She encounters Jason again and flees while the killer hacks him to death with an axe. Molly discovers Marshall standing over a murdered Jason, before Detective Kelso arrives and knocks out Marshall. Molly then hallucinates and sees her younger self in the forest, gesturing to the two men and suggesting that Molly is the one who killed them all. Later, Marshall is executed for the murders, and due to visible mental problems, Molly is put in an insane asylum. It has been said that the killer was never definitively named in the film, and there is suggestion that Detective Kelso is actually the killer. During the opening murder scene, as the young Molly escapes on a boat, she stabs the killer in the hand while he attempts to climb onto the boat after her. Detective Kelso is seen in every scene in the movie to be wearing only one glove on the same hand that the killer was stabbed in. spidey_wp-01The film has its good, thrilling moments, however some parts can seem to drag on a bit for example a murder secne that would normally take about five minutes  instead took fifteen, some parts of the film can be boring and uninteresting but they are worth watching for the better scenes that emerge later on in the film.

 

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REVIEW: FINAL DESTINATION 2

CAST

Ali Larter (Heroes)
A.J. Cook (Tru Calling)
Michael Landes (Lois & CLark)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
James Kirk (X-Men 2)
Lynda Boyd (Arrow)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
Jonathan Cherry (What If)
T.C. Carson (U-571)
Justina Machado (The Purge: Anarchy)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Sarah Carter (Smallville)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)

One year after the first film, college student Kimberly Corman is headed to Daytona Beach, Florida for spring break with her friends, Shaina McKlank, Dano Estevez, and Frankie Whitman. En route, Kimberly has a premonition of logs falling off a semi, causing a massive car crash that kills everyone involved. She stalls her car on the entrance ramp, preventing several people from entering the highway, including Lottery winner Evan Lewis; widow Nora Carpenter and her fifteen-year-old son Tim; businesswoman Kat Jennings; stoner Rory Peters; pregnant Isabella Hudson; high school teacher Eugene Dix; and Deputy Marshal Thomas Burke. While Thomas questions Kimberly, the pileup occurs. Shaina, Dano and Frankie are killed by a speeding truck, but Kimberly is saved by Thomas.

The survivors are brought to the police station, where they learn about the curse of Flight 180. Later, a chain reaction causes a fire in Evan’s apartment which he barely escapes; but when Evan slips the escape ladder falls and impales his eye. Thomas researches the survivors of Flight 180, and discovers that Alex Browning was killed by a falling brick. Kimberly visits Clear Rivers, the last survivor of Flight 180, who is now a voluntary inmate at a psychiatric ward. Clear refuses to help, but while arguing with Kimberly realizes that the survivors are dying in reverse, and warns Kimberly to look out for “signs” of Death. Upon arriving home, Kimberly has a vision of a flock of pigeons attacking her and she and Thomas rush to save Nora and Tim, but they arrive too late and Tim is crushed by a glass pane at a dentist. Clear decides to help and introduces Kimberly Thomas to mortician William Bludworth, who tells them that only “new life” can defeat Death. They believe that if Isabella has her baby it will ruin Death’s plan and they will all be safe.

Isabella is accused of driving a stolen van and taken into custody, while the other survivors reunite for safety. After Nora is decapitated by malfunctioning elevator doors, the group leaves to find Isabella, who has gone into labor at the police station, while the policeman on duty rushes Isabella to the hospital in her van. Along the way they discover they have all cheated death twice; had it not been for the survivors of Flight 180 they would all be dead, which explains why the survivors are dying in reverse. Since Thomas saved Kimberly from being hit by the truck, she is last on Death’s list.

The survivors’ vehicle suffers a blowout, prompting them to swerve onto a farm. The back of the car is penetrated by PVC pipes which injure Eugene, and he is rushed to the hospital. As rescuers arrive at the scene, Brian Gibbons, the son of a farm owner, is nearly killed by a speeding news van, but Rory saves him. Using the Jaws of Life Kat’s rescuer accidentally activates the airbag and her head is impaled by a pipe protruding from her headrest. Her cigarette falls out of her hand and into a gasoline leak leading to the news van, causing the van to explode, and sending a barbed wire fence flying through the air, which kills Rory.

Kimberly, Clear and Thomas rush to the hospital, and Kimberly has another vision of Dr. Ellen Kalarjian “strangling” Isabella. After Thomas immobilizes Dr. Kalarjian, Kimberly and Thomas witness Isabella give birth and assume they have cheated death. However, Kimberly has another vision of someone with bloody hands in a submerging van and realizes that Isabella was never meant to die in the pile-up.

Clear searches for Eugene, but accidentally causes his room to explode from an oxygen combustion, killing them both. Kimberly realizes the person in her vision was herself and immerses a van in a lake to drown herself. Kimberly is rescued by Thomas and resuscitated by Kalarjian, which was her actual premonition, granting her new life. Sometime later, Kimberly and Thomas have a picnic with Brian’s family and Kimberly’s father to celebrate their survival. There they learn of Brian’s deterrence from Death when his father tells them he was almost hit by a van, but Rory saved him. The group then see a malfunctioning barbecue grill explode, killing Brian.

It is a rare event for a sequel to improve on it’s predecessor, but Final Destination 2 does just that. It build’s and evolves on what made the first film great. This film really is just a powerhouse of thrills and spills. Again all the death scenes are perfectly graphically portrayed. These factors alone make the film a must see and you will on the edge of your seat straight away after the opened scene which shows the worst highway pile-up disaster you can imagine.

REVIEW: GOOSEBUMPS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

 

 

 

 

 

NOTABLE CAST MEMBERS

R.L. Stine
Kathryn Long (Crossing The Line)
Colin Fox (Scanners III)
Anne Marie Deluise (Smallville)
John White (American Pie: Beta House)
Kristine Boone (Mean Girls)
Eugene Lipinski (Arrow)
Chris Benson (Resident Evil: Apocalypse)
Michèle Duquet (The Virgin Suicides)
Boyd Banks (Dawn of The Dead)
Erica Luttrell (Stargate: Atlantis)
Daniel DeSanto (Totally Spies)
Maggie Castle (The Time Traveller’s Wife)
Blake McGrath (Chicago)
Barclay Hope (Stargate SG.1)
Suzanne Cyr (Cake)
Katharine Isabelle (American Mary)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Ryan Gosling (Young Hercules)
Scott Speedman (Underworld)
Corey Sevier (Immortals)
Brendan Fletcher (Bloodrayne 3)
Don Francks (La Femme Nikita)
Maria Ricossa (American Pie: The NAked Mile)
Melody Johnson (Jason X)
Maurice Godin (Boat Trip)
Adam West (Batman 60S)
Tabitha Lupien (Ready or Not)
Charlotte Sullivan (Rookie Blue)
Kevin Zegers (Wrong Turn)
Michael Copeman (The Fly)
Kris Lemche (Final Destination 3)
Kyle Labine (Freddy vs Jason)
Joy Tanner (Mutant X)
Lori Alter (House at The End of The Street)
Desmond Campbell (The Bone COllector)
Amy Stewart (Ice Princess)
A.J. Cook (Ripper)
Hayden Christensen (Star Wars – Episode 2 & 3)
Jordan Prentice (Mirror, Mirror)
Brooke Nevin (I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer)
Anthony De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
Lauara Vandervoort (Bitten)
Shawn Roberts (X-Men)
Victor A. Young (Earth: Final Conflict)
Terra Vnesa (Wrong Turn 4)
Janet-Laine Green (Cowboys Don’t Cry)
Caterina Scorsone (Alice)
Philip Akin (Highlander: The Series)
Nicole Underhay (Saving Hope)
Fiona Highet (Saint Ralph)
Yani Gellman (Izombie)

Goosebumps Complete Collection is a box-set that contains all four seasons of the old 1990’s television show, Goosebumps. Goosebumps is a family horror show that tells tales in an episodic format much like the shows The Twilight Zone (1959 – 1964) and Tales From the Crypt (1989 – 1996). The episodes themselves are all based on the Goosebumps books and some episodes are even hosted by the author of the books, R.L. Stine. Some of the tales of terror you can expect in this show includes: A girls unfortunate experience with a haunted Halloween mask.  An evil dummy trying to get people in trouble.  A story of an evil comic book villain coming to life.  A young boy’s adventure in the jungle with a shrunken head.  Several episodes about werewolves.  A bunch of ghost tales.  Plus way too many more to even mention as it’s the complete collection.
I really enjoyed watching this again after so many years. I remember watching it on  Fox Kids way back in the day and was very excited when I heard it was finally getting a DVD release. for the first season Each episode has a different story about different characters, except for the 2 parters, and it’s always a whole lot of fun to watch. It’s sometimes scary and sometimes funny and all around really nostalgic and awesome.
The writing improves greatly in season two onwards and it becomes a much more entertaining show with stories that you can really get into.  The characters become more interesting, the acting becomes much better, and the show becomes more scary.  There will still be a bad plot twist here and there and they are just as painful to watch.  Season three is a season that I have some weird feelings towards as it likes to use references to prior episodes.  Some references I have no problem with but there are a lot that feel grossly out of place to where it feels very weird and awkward.

Season four is the smallest of all of the seasons as it only ran for eight episodes but that doesn’t mean that it is lacking everywhere else.  The last season is made up of four two-part episodes and the writing was really good as the two-part format really helped to make the stories more fleshed out and more in-depth.  The season four episodes are also much tighter and also push the boundaries a bit more to where it looked like that they were aiming it towards teenagers.  Season four was very entertaining and you will be drawn into it.  Season four was so well done, it became my favorite season out of the lot and is really worth checking out.
8 ways Goosebumps will stay with you forever
Classic episodes include “Welcome to Dead House”, it is about a family that moves into a house in a town that is ran by ghouls.  This episode is much more scary than what I make it out to be, the reason why was because the atmosphere is brilliant and the way the story progresses will leave you on the edge of your seat.  There are two other episodes that still spooks people out but not as spooky as the episode that I mentioned before.  Those two episodes are, “The Werewolf of Fever Swamp” and “Ghost Beach” and I am very surprised that all the episodes I mentioned above got away with what they did as those episodes certainly push the boundaries to what kids shows can get away with.  Those episodes are probably the reason why this show is now released with an M15+ rating, opposed to the G and PG rating it got back in the day.

The standard episodes and movie length episodes do have a difference in looks to them.  The standard episodes look like that they were made on the cheap, while the movie length episodes were made on a much higher budget and have a better look to them.  Actually, that’s not fully true as all of the season four episodes look much nicer in budget than seasons one – three, but not as good quality as the movie length episodes.  This show doesn’t simply cover horror as there are some episodes that cover other genres like: Science-fiction (“Say Cheese and Die”, “Say Cheese and Die… Again”), adventure (“How I Got My Shrunken Head”), drama (“The Ghost Next Door”), and even comic book styled action (“Attack of the Mutant”).  I must admit that it is weird seeing other genres other than horror in this show but it was all done well and adds variety and freshness to the show.

The green screen and computer effects have aged poorly to where you can’t take them seriously and will laugh every time you see them.  Some of them are too painful to even witness but most of them are just so bad that it is fun to watch.  The prop effects look so much better and those are things you will mostly take seriously.  The props are mostly very spooky looking and will send chills down your spine but there is also a good chunk where the props aren’t very frightening at all and just end up looking stupid, not as stupid as the green screen and computer effects though.  The music in this series has a lot of tracks that sounded terrible and goofy but they all go with the show very well and help build up an atmosphere.  The most classic tune of them all just has to be the Goosebumps theme as it puts you in the mood and is also very memorable.Overall, this show has aged (as you’d expect) but it is still full of some really good stuff that is worth watching all these years later.  Classic show.

REVIEW: WISHMASTER 3: DEVIL STONE

 

CAST
John Novak (Legends of The Fall)
A.J. Cook (Final Destination 2)
Jason Connery (Smallville)
Tobias Mehler (Disturbing Behavior)
Daniella Evangelista (Ripper)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Louisette Geiss (Novel Romance)
Aaron Smolinski (Superman)
Jennifer Pudavick (Wrong Turn 4)
Sarah Carter (D.O.A.)
For the third time, the evil Wishmaster returns with more evil to wreck the lives of more innocents. This time, his victim is a beautiful, innocent and studious teenage girl named Diana Collins who accidentally opened up the Djinn’s tomb (a strange box with a jewel inside) and released him. After gaining his freedom, the Djinn is asked by Professor Barash to let him be the one who makes the wishes. The professor wishes for two of the world’s loveliest ladies to be with him, in love. However, as soon as the Djinn grants this wish, the women (who were dressed in very revealing belly-dancer outfits and being seductive) kill the professor; the Djinn takes the face off of the dead professor and is able to steal his identity. He then kills a secretary by her wishing for “files to burn up” but instead of the files, she burns, along with his needing the student file of Diana as an effort to find her and force her to fulfill her three wishes. While Diana is on the run, she must endeavor to prevent the Djinn from subjecting the entire world to Hell’s wrath. While in a Church thinking it was safe, the Djinn is there instead of the priest where apparently her friend Ann is now the “professor’s Teaching Assistant” and made the wish of “wanting to lose a little weight” to which she pukes up her guts in pain. Diana uses her first wish for her to stop having pain, but of course that to the Djinn means to kill Ann.
Diana noting that she is in a St. Michael church, uses another wish to summon the archangel Michael who possesses the body of her boyfriend, Greg (it was about to be her body, but Greg pushed her away as the spirit went into him). A slight fight ensues with the Djinn actually somewhat winning, but Michael and Diana escape into a stage theater. Meanwhile as the Djinn tries to follow them, he goes a different way and encounters a female student named Elinor who puts the moves on him, and then wishes for him to “break her heart”, in which he literally does resulting in her death. Next, the Djinn goes into the room of Diana where her friend Billy is, with some sort of strangling him Billy tells the Djinn to “blow him” in which he does blow his body into a wooded head of a bull in which the horns pierce into the body of Billy in which the bleeding kills him. The Djinn then picks up a photo of Diana and her friends, and threatens to hurt Katie unless Diana makes her 3rd wish. Michael has revealed to her that only her using his sword can she kill the Djinn, but she isn’t ready and when he does try to give her the sword, it severely burns her arm, but Michael heals it.
Katie happens to find the dead body of Billy and finds herself being pursued by the Djinn in a chase, it ends in a science room as the Djinn tricks her into thinking she could successfully hide from him, and then she wishes “for a place to hide” with him sticking her head into a cage of lab rats that presumably nibble at her head, resulting in her death. A 2nd battle ensues between Michael and the Djinn, actually resulting in the Djinn’s hand being cut off by the sword, but it grows back. Michael is now in a car with Diana but then the Djinn runs to the car, jumps on top of it, and tries to hurt them but then Diana drives his side unto another car, thus making him fall off. In a crazy twist, she then drives into an information post and the car in flipped into a similar position in which her parents died in a car crash explosion, luckily this time no fatalities as it blows up. In the end, Diana’s attempt to commit suicide by jumping off a building which if killed her would have the Djinn defeated (but then the Djinn saved her) actually gives her the ability to wield Michael’s sword and she kills the Djinn with it, but is fatally injured when they both fall in the process. Michael heals her wounds before returning to Heaven, and Diana is finally able to admit she loves her boyfriend, who has returned to normal, though injured.
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This is the third instalment of the Wishmaster films and carries on from the second film. The story is pretty formulaic and predictable but no less enjoyable. Once again the special effects are improved upon and the acting is pretty good which makes for an enjoyable experience.

 

REVIEW: THE VIRGIN SUICIDES

CAST
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
Josh Hartnett (Lucky Number Sleven)
James Woods (Another Day In Paradise)
Kathleen Turner (Serial Mom)
Michael Pare (Bloodrayne)
Scott Glenn (Daredevil lTV)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
A.J. Cook (Wishmaster 3)
Hayden Christensen (Awake)
Sherry Miller (Bitten)
Melody Johnson (Goosebumps)
Andrew Gillies (Mutant X)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Joe Dinicol (Arrow)
The story takes place in the sleepy and decaying suburbs of Grosse Pointe, Michigan during the 1970s, as a group of neighborhood boys, now grown men acknowledging in voice-over (narrated by Giovanni Ribisi who speaks for the group as a whole) reflect upon their life-long obsession and memories of the five entrancing Lisbon sisters, ages 13 to 17, and whose beauty had bewitched them as teenagers. Strictly unattainable due to their Catholic and overprotective, authoritarian parents, math teacher Ronald (James Woods) and his homemaker wife (Kathleen Turner), the girls — Therese (Leslie Hayman), Mary (A. J. Cook), Bonnie (Chelse Swain), Lux (Kirsten Dunst), and Cecilia (Hanna R. Hall) — are the enigma that fill the boys’ conversations and dreams.
 The film opens in the summer with the suicide attempt of the youngest sister, Cecilia, as she slits her wrist in a bath. After her parents allow her to throw a chaperoned basement party intended to make her feel better, Cecilia excuses herself and jumps out her second story bedroom window, instantly dying when she is impaled on an iron fence below. In the wake of her act, the Lisbon parents begin to watch over their four remaining daughters even more closely. This further isolates the family from the community and heightens the intrigue and air of mystery about the girls to the neighborhood boys in particular, who long for more insight into the girls’ unfathomable lives. At the beginning of the new school year in the fall, Lux forms a secret relationship and short lived romance with Trip Fontaine (Josh Hartnett), the school heartthrob. Trip comes over one night to the Lisbon residence to watch television and persuades Mr. Lisbon to allow him to take Lux to the upcoming Homecoming Dance by promising to provide dates for the other sisters, to go as a group. After winning Homecoming king and queen, Trip persuades Lux to ditch the group and have sex on the school’s football field. Afterwards, Lux falls asleep and Trip, becoming disenchanted by Lux, abandons her. At dawn, Lux wakes up alone and has to take a taxi home. Several years later, Trip will admit to wrongfully abandoning Lux, but ironically confesses that he has never gotten over her.
Having broken curfew, Lux and her sisters are punished by a furious Mrs. Lisbon by being taken out of school and sequestered in their house of maximum security isolation. Unable to leave the house, the sisters contact the boys across the street by using light signals and sharing songs over the phone as a means of finally sharing their unrequited feelings. During this time, Lux rebels against her repression and becomes promiscuous, having anonymous sexual encounters on the roof of the house late at night; the neighborhood boys spy and watch Lux in action from across the street. Finally, after weeks of confinement, the sisters mysteriously leave a note for the boys, presumably asking for help to escape. When the boys arrive that night ready to run away with the girls, they find Lux alone in the living room, smoking a cigarette. She invites them inside to wait for her sisters, while she goes to start the car, leading the boys to believe they will soon elope with the girls. While they wait, the boys briefly fantasize the group of them driving blissfully away on a sun-soaked country road.
Curious, the boys wander into the dark basement after hearing a noise and discover Bonnie’s dead body hanging from the ceiling rafters. Horrified, they rush upstairs only to stumble across the dead body of Mary. The boys realize that the girls had all killed themselves in an apparent suicide pact moments before: Bonnie hanged herself; Mary died by sticking her head in the gas oven shortly after; Therese died by taking an overdose of sleeping pills and Lux, being the last one to go, died by Carbon monoxide poisoning, when she left the car engine running in the sealed garage. But there is no sole explanation why.
Devastated and puzzled by the suicides of all their children, Mr. and Mrs. Lisbon quietly flee the neighborhood, never to return. Mr. Lisbon had a friend clean out the house and sell off the family belongings, especially those belonging to the girls, in a yard sale; whatever didn’t sell was put in the trash, including the family photos, which the neighborhood boys collected as mementos. When the house is emptied, it is quickly sold to a young couple from the Boston area. Seemingly unsure how to react, the adults in the community go about their lives as if nothing happened or that the Lisbons ever lived there. But the boys never forget about the girls however much they try, though everyone else eventually does. And the girls will forever haunt them and remain a source of grief and lost innocence for them, long into adulthood. As the film closes, the men acknowledge in voice-over, saying that they had loved the girls. And that they will never find the pieces to put them back together, to understand why the Lisbon sisters went to be alone in suicide for all time.
This is a great film, despite the tragic end. Nicely shot and superb acting. The best film I’ve seen Kirsten Dunst in.

REVIEW: TRU CALLING – SEASON 1 & 2

MAIN CAST

Eliza Dushku (Wrong Turn)
Shawn Reaves (Shadowheart)
Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover)
A.J. Cook (Final Destination 2)
Jessica Collins (Lois & Clark)
Benjamin Benitez (True Detective)
Jason Priestley (Beverly Hills, 90210)

Image result for tru calling
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Matthew Bomer (Chuck)
Kristopher Polaha (Ringer)
Hudson Leick (Xena)
Heath Freeman (Bones)
John Newton (Superboy)
Callum Rennie (Flashforward)
Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica)
Missy Peregrym (Heroes)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met YOur Mother)
Joe Flanigan (Stargate: Atlantis)
Leonard Roberts (Smallville)
Kal Penn (Van Wilder)
Alaina Huffman (Stargate Universe)
Brendan Fletcher (News Movie)
Evangeline Lilly (Lost)
Ryan Kwanten (True Blood)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Garwin Sanford (Stargate SG.1)
Chris William Martin (The Vampire Diaries)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Emily Holmes (Dark Angel)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (The Vampire Diaries)
Jennifer Spence (Stargate Universe)
Devon Gummersall (Roswell)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
Clare Kramer (Buffy)
Alexandra Holden (The Hot Chick)
Michelle Harrison (The Flash)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Rachel Hayward (Jingle All The Way 2)
Cotter Smith (Alias)
Wade Williams (Gangster Squad)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
Alec Newman (Dune)
Jesse Moss (Ginger Snaps)
Derek Hamilton (Disturbing Behavior)
Nick Wechsler (Roswell)
Daivd Lipper (Full house)
John Reardon (The Killing)
Carly Pope (Arrow)
Liz Vassey (Two and a Half Men)
Eric Christian Olsen (Not Another Teen Movie)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Parry Shen (Hatchet)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Maggie Lawson (Two and a Half Men)
William Sadler (Iron Man 3)

Image result for tru callingAfter the grant sponsoring her internship loses funding, an aspiring medical student (Tru Davies) takes a job at the local morgue. On her first day of work, incidentally the 10th anniversary of her mother’s death, one of the bodies from the crypt springs to life for a brief moment and asks her for help. Instantly, her day “rewinds” and she quickly realizes that it’s her responsibility to try and save the woman who called out to her from a death that should not have happened, all the while trying to repair the lives of her immature brother and drug-addicted sister. With the help of her clumsy but loveable boss at the morgue, Tru strives to put right what once when wrong and hoping each time that her next leap will be the leap home.

Eliza Dushku played prominent characters in a few popular films before Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it was her portrayal of Faith in the 3rd season of the popular television show that helped set her on the path to becoming a star. It’s understandable, then, that fans of the show were not particularly happy with her when she turned down a chance for a television series based around the Faith character in favor of Tru Calling. However, it’s equally understandable that as an actor, she would want to try new things, and carrying an unproven series with a new character offered her that opportunity.

On the surface, Tru Calling is a formula show. Borrowing elements from Quantum Leap, Early Edition and Goundhog Day, each episode follows a similar pattern. A body arrives in the morgue and asks for help triggering a rewind before the opening titles, and Tru spends the rest of the episode trying to piece together what caused the death and how to prevent it. The premise sounds interesting enough, but without clever writing and entertaining characters, such a concept could get stale very quickly, especially over an entire television season. Thankfully, the show’s creators appear to recognize this early on and make efforts to tweak the formula just enough to keep the stories fresh and interesting.

As with any show that hopes to build an audience, Tru Calling is not just about the “Death of the Week.” While it is the focus of each episode, not every day is a rewind, and Tru still has a life of her own and a family she cares about. The death of their mother and subsequent remarriage and general absence of their father has made things difficult on the Davies family, and Tru is struggling to keep them together. This is not an easy task as her sister Meredith (Jessica Collins) is a fast-paced businesswoman in denial over her drug habit, and her brother Harrison (Shawn Reaves) has a bit of a responsibility problem. And what superhero story would be complete without the lead character’s romantic relationships suffering from the strains of a secret double-life? Certainly not this one. All the pieces are there, including the loveable but awkward mentor (Zach Galifianakis) who always seems to know just a little more than he lets on.

The character of Tru is likeable and well meaning, and as she comes to empathize with those she is trying to help, the audience cannot help but do the same. Offsetting much of the dramatic tension is quite a bit of humor with Shawn Reaves’s performance as Harrison. He’s a complete screw-up, but he’s so charming and creative (not to mention very loyal to Tru) that his misadventures are a continuing source of entertainment. Equally effective is Davis who, although clumsy in his interactions with others, serves as a surrogate older brother and sounding board for Tru, something she desperately needs considering the double burden she carries.

Tru Calling is an excellent example of a television series that can flourish if given time to grow. Many of the early episodes aren’t anything special. They’re a bit predictable and formulaic, but underneath them is a level of quality worth exploring. As they find their rhythm and tweak the show a bit, everything falls into place, and by the season finale, it’s a pretty darn good show. While Eliza Dushku is a capable actress and portrays Tru very well, much of the show’s quality can be attributed to outstanding performances by the supporting cast, most notably Zach Galifianakis and Shawn Reaves, as well as the addition of Jason Priestley, who elevates the show to another level. What he brings to the character and the show is both nuanced and compelling, and it’s fascinating to watch him on screen.

The second season only offered a very brief six episodes before being pulled.  Once again, the season continues to improve over the early goings, ratcheting up the tension between Jack and Tru, which is effective due to the chemistry between the two and the fact that Priestley’s menacing performance is his finest work. It’s really too bad that the series couldn’t have at least finished out this second season, as it continued to improve and the final episode here really isn’t much of a conclusion.

REVIEW: DEAD LIKE ME – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Ellen Muth (Hannibal)
Mandy Patinkin (The Princess bride)
Callum Blue (Smallville)
Jasmine Guy (The Vampire Diaries)
Rebecca Gayheart (Urban Legend)
Laura Harris (Severance)
Greg Kean (Black Xmas)
Britt McKillip (Trick ‘r Treat)
Christine Willes (Red Riding Hood)
Cynthia Stevenson (Tiger Eyes)

NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST

Jodelle Ferland (The Cabin In The Woods)
Blu Mankuma (Robocop: The Series)
Jackie Burroughs (The Dead Zone)
Gary Jones (Stargate – SG.1)
Erica Cerra (Blade: Trinity)
Lorena Gale (Smallville)
Tygh Runyan (Snakes on a Plane)
A.J. Cook (Final Destination 2)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Susan Saullivan (Castle)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Ben Bass (Bride of Chucky)
Sarah Lind (Blade: The Series)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine TV)
Ali Liebert (Legends of Tomorrow)
Sonya Salomaa (Andromeda)

What if life really begins only after you die? Georgia Lass never really lived in her 18 years before being killed by the toilet seat from the de-orbiting space station MIR. Sullen, bored, and apathetic, it is in death that she finds meaning and purpose in her life as she becomes a grim reaper, responsible for the transition of souls from death to their particular afterlife. In this series, death gives people like Georgia who never really lived their life to have a do-over and serve as a grim reaper. Of course they still are visible by the living, have to get jobs to support themselves, and can be stuck as reaper from decades, but this adds to the poetry of the premise. Overall the show is sarcastic,dark and subversive, but makes for highly entertaining television and included any number of laugh out loud moments.

Created by Brian Fuller, the genius behind Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me stars a wonderful cast headed by the note perfect Ellen Muth as Georgia and Mandy Patinken as Rube, the head of a small crew of Grim Reapers working the Seattle area. The supporting cast is solid, including Callum Blue as Mason, Laura Harris as Daisy A’dair, and Jasmine Guy as Roxy. Rebecca Gayheart appeared for a few episodes in the season. So being dead and stuck in a job that she didn’t choose and doesn’t particularly want, Georgia has to find meaning in an existence that is quite different from the one she had. She learns that she has to learn to let go of her family and little sister. She learns that friendship and family can be found in strange places, even the temp agency she works in, and that ultimately death has a purpose and a poetry for everyone, even her. What that purpose is, I don’t quite know yet, but I think it is to learn how to live and do-over the years she was alive. The backstory of reapers and death is explained slowly over the first season, but begins to connect the pieces by season’s end.

Rebecca Gayheart is written out of the show early on, this was because she accidentally hit and killed someone with her in real life, The network did not think it would be a good idea having someone portray a Grim Reaper who killed someone in real life.This is a highly entertaining show that will appeal to fans of shows like Wonderfalls, Hannibal and others that were way too smart to be on TV. This was a cable produced show so there are no restrictions on the language, but that in a way is refreshing. Highly recommended