HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER

 

CAST

Jennifer Love Hewitt (Heartbreakers)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Cruel Intentions)
Ryan Phillippe (Crash)
Freddie Prince Jr. (Scooby-Doo)
Anne Heche (Wag The Dog)
Bridgette Wilson (Mortal Kombat)
Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory)
Muse Watson (NCIS)

On the Fourth of July, Julie James, her boyfriend Ray, Julie’s best friend Helen and Helen’s boyfriend Barry drive home from a party. While driving, Ray becomes distracted, accidentally hitting a pedestrian. Max, who has a crush on Julie, stops nearby. Julie convinces him everything is okay, so he leaves. The group decides to dispose of the body. At the docks, the man revives, but falls into the water and apparently drowns.The following year, Julie is home from college for the summer. She receives a letter stating, “I know what you did last summer.” She tells Barry and Helen about the note; Barry suspects Max. The trio go to the docks where Max works as a fisherman. Barry threatens Max with a hook. Julie discovers that Ray works there, and he tries reconciling with Julie. That evening, Max is secretly killed by a figure in a rain slicker wielding a hook. Barry discovers a note in his gym locker containing a picture of his car and the message, “I know.” Barry gets his jacket stolen and is almost run over by the slicker-wearing figure, driving Barry’s car. Julie realizes that the person they hit was David Egan. She and Helen head out to the Egan home. They find David’s sister Missy, who explains that David’s death devastated their family. Missy tells them that an old friend, Billy Blue, paid his respects after David died.As Helen prepares for the Fourth of July parade, the killer sneaks into her house, cuts off her hair and writes, “Soon,” on her mirror. As Julie rushes to Helen’s house, she finds Max’ corpse wearing Barry’s jacket in her trunk. When she goes to show the others, the body is missing. Julie, Helen, and Barry confront Ray about recent events. Ray claims to have received a similar letter. As Helen and Barry participate in the parade, Barry notices people wearing the same kind of slicker. Chasing one, Barry leaves Helen on one of the parade floats. As it passes by a building, she notices a shadowy figure in a slicker wielding a hook threateningly.That same day, Julie revisits Missy. Missy tells Julie that David left a suicide note. As the writing matches that of the note she received, Julie tries convincing Missy that it is not a suicide note but a threat. Missy forces her to leave. At the Croaker Pageant, Helen witnesses Barry being murdered while he is watching from a balcony. Helen rushes to the balcony with a police officer but finds no sign of the killer or Barry. The officer offers to drive Helen home.Julie researches David Egan’s death. A year before the accident, he and his girlfriend Susie were involved in a car crash near the scene of the foursome’s accident. David survived but Susie died. The research mentions Susie’s father, Ben Willis. Julie deduces they ran over Ben, who had just killed David. While driving home, Helen and the officer are stopped by a stalled truck. The officer is killed by a dark figure with a hook. Helen rushes to her family’s store, where her sister Elsa lets her in. The killer enters through a side door and kills Elsa. Helen finds Elsa’s body and attempts to flee. The killer drags Helen away and slashes her to death, her screams being drowned out by the noise of the parade.Julie discovers that Ben Willis, a fisherman, is the real killer. He apparently murdered David after his daughter Susie was killed in the accident. On the way home, Ben was run down by the group. Julie meets up with Ray and tries to explain, but Ray refuses to believe her. Ben knocks Ray out and puts Julie in his boat. Looking around, she finds a room containing photos and articles about her and her friends, and pictures of Susie Willis. Julie realizes she is on Ben Willis’s boat. Ben sets the boat adrift, but Ray awakens and boards Ben’s boat with a motorboat. He uses the rigging to sever Ben’s hook-carrying hand and plummet over the side. When the police question Julie and Ray, they, to cover up the car accident, deny knowing why Ben attempted to kill them. A year later, Julie returns home to see Ray. As she enters the shower, she notices one of the mirrors has the sentence “I still know” written on it. A dark figure crashes through the mirror.I think the movie’s appeal plays in a couple of different ways; first off, at its base is a story that has been told time and time again through the years. Someone who’s supposedly killed and comes back to haunt and kills with a hook. The story is told in a convincing way by the actors, who use Williamson’s script (and Gillespie’s direction) to its full advantage, smartly mixing in moments of horror and humor, as Williamson did in the Scream films.

REVIEW: SUPERMAN DOOMSDAY

CAST
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Anne Heche (Spread)
James Marsters (Smallville)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Tom Kenny (The Batman)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Cree Summer (Inspector Gadget)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Adam Wylie (The Smurfs 2)
Chris Cox (Ted)
James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Townsend Coleman (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns)
Kimberly Brooks (Justice League War)
Kevin Smith (Clerks)

Though not an outright adaptation of the “Death of Superman” comic story arc, this film(the first of Warner Premiere’s direct to video animated movies) does borrow a number of elements from there but ends up carving out its own unique storyline. The PG-13 violence is slightly more brutal than that seen in Justice League Unlimited or the Marvel Animated “Ultimate Avengers”. Where the animation excels in a high frame rate leading to smooth character actions, scene transitions and fight scenes, the level of art detail is painfully low. The artwork in this film is more detailed than in previous DC animated TV series.

From the start, we get into this new portrayal of Lex Luthor. Here he is not a madman obsessed with world domination or a underhanded business mogul. He is a genius who feels threatened by a Superior adversary, Superman. His obsession with defeating the man of steel is not so much because Superman keeps thwarting Luthor’s plans or to be rid of a nuisance. Rather, Luthor just wants to reaffirm his own superiority, that he is the “best of the best”, hence why only he deserves to take down Superman. We also get to see a deep budding romance between Superman and Lois Lane; very well developed love story there that only makes the loss that comes later, all the more tragic.

From there, the second act is where the film truly shines. We get to see how the characters react to his death. Many heart wrenching scenes include Martha Kent having to mourn the death of her son in secret;the son that nobody knows is hers, to Lois Lane’s tough and strong willed exterior finally crumbling into a sense of utter loss. The emotional impact is very clear on the people of Metropolis and translate very well to the viewers. The portrayal of events that take place following Superman’s death is just so believable, with rampant riots and soaring crime rates. Even Lex Luthor is emotionally torn; having been cheated of his dream, and Superman’s robot butler sinks into sorrow as well, having lost the one thing in his existence that gave his existence purpose. A number of good underlying themes such as human psychological nature in dealing with a loss, the question of purpose and shattered hope. The 3rd act is about Supermans Resurrection and the clone Luthor creates.. The theme especially of Superman’s conflicting views on justice and morality, embodied by a very creepy dialogue between him and another Superman, stands out as one of the high points of the act. It is almost as if the entire fight is actually a metaphor for Superman wrestling against himself; his inner doubt and his fears.

Overall, this movie is a very well crafted piece of work. As an adaptation of “Death of Superman”, this film strays very far from the source,  But viewed as a separate piece of work altogether, it allows this movie to truly shine.

REVIEW: AGAINST THE WALL

 

 

 

CAST

Kyle MacLachlan (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Samuel L. Jackson (Avengers Assemble)
Clarence Williams III (American Dragon)
Frederic Forest (Shadow Hours)
Harry Dean Stanton (Alien)
Carmen Argenziano (Stargate – SG.1)
Anne Heche (Spread)
Danny Trejo (Machete 1 & 2)
Steve Harris (The Batman)
David Ackroyd (Xena)

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Legendary filmmaker John Frankenheimer made an impact as perhaps televisions greatest director in the 1990’s (after directing several big-screen classics earlier in his career). With “Against the Wall” he shatters all our illusions about America. The United States really is the land of opportunities, but the government has also branded it’s reputation with some ugly events through the years. The Attica riot of 1971  certainly is one of it’s ugliest moments.

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This shocking dramatization shows us everything that’s wrong with America in a way that will almost send you reaching for a vomit-bag in disbelief. A great job by Frankenheimer and it’s actors, particularly worth mentioning: Kyle MacLachlan, Samuel L. Jackson, Frederic Forrest, Clarence Williams III, Harry Dean Stanton, a young Steve Harris and Danny Trejo. This was a good movie. The character played by Kyle Maclachlan was a a way for us to see things through an innocent standpoint. This was a movie about a prison that was not contained to the proper ordinance and showed what could happen if it wasn’t. In that result, it played out to be a movie that can keep you at *awe* and utter despair for the prison gaurds. The role played by Samuel L. Jacson was a good one as well. He really shined in this one.  I enjoyed the film to it’s fullest. Frankenheimer did a good job directing this one

REVIEW: CEDAR RAPIDS

CAST
Ed Helms (The Hangover)
John C. Reilly (Cyrus)
Anne Heche (Wag The Dog)
Isiah Whitlock Jr. (25th Hour)
Sigourney Weaver (Avatar)
Stephen  Root (Finding Nemo)
Kurtwood Smith (Agent Carter)
Alia Shawkat (Whip It)
Rob Corddry (Warm Bodies)
Mike O’Malley (My Name Is Earl)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Naive and idealistic insurance agent Tim Lippe welcomes a former teacher into his home, addressing her as Mrs. Vanderhei. After having sex with her, he reminisces about his experiences as her student. In his position as an insurance agent, he is sent to represent his company, Brownstar Insurance, at a regional conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as a replacement for his co-worker, Roger Lemke, who died in an auto-erotic asphyxiation accident. Tim idolized Roger, believing that his death was merely an unfortunate accident, and that he embodied all it was to be a moral Christian, the key criterion used to judge the winner of the coveted “Two Diamonds” award, which Roger had won three years in a row. Tim’s boss, Bill, pressures him to win again to ensure they keep the company afloat. At the conference, Lippe meets fellow insurance agents Ronald “Ronimal” Wilkes, Dean “Dean-Z” Ziegler, and Joan “O-Fox” Ostrowski-Fox. He also meets Bree, a sex worker who works the parking lot in front of the hotel. She affectionately calls him “Butterscotch” after he offers her candy. Initially wary of the conference-goers, he spends more time with Ron, Dean, and Joan, and develops genuine friendships, including a crush on Joan. All the insurance agents participate in a scavenger hunt. Tim is paired with Joan, and, after they win, they become intoxicated with Dean in the hotel swimming pool. Tim and Joan’s sexual tension builds to a head and, after making out in the pool, they have sex in Joan’s hotel room. They were all seen in the pool by ASMI president Orin Helgesson.
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The next morning, Tim is guilt-ridden and calls Vanderhei to confess, before desperately asking her to marry him. After explaining she has been sleeping with other people and desires freedom, she suggests he take the opportunity to start a new life. Tim returns to Joan, who attempts to comfort him by telling him what Lemke was really like: she was his lover but left him after his sexual appetites became too twisted for her, and he bribed Helgesson for each one of his awards. Tim refuses to believe this and flees Joan’s room, accusing her of being a “prostitute” sent to destroy his life.
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He runs into Dean and accidentally lets slip Lemke’s bribery. As his friend, Dean swears to not tell anyone. After receiving advice from Dean, Tim goes to Helgesson for his assessment; it does not go well, and under the pressure he ends up also bribing Helgesson for the award, leaving him penniless and ashamed. Tim later comes across Bree and accompanies her to a party, where he gets high on crystal methamphetamine and inadvertently starts a fight. Ron, Joan, and Dean show up just in time to rescue him and Bree, who says she is in love with Tim. The night ends as Bill appears at Tim’s door to inform him that with the successful acquisition of another Two Diamond award, he has received a generous offer for the company; despite meaning the branch’s closure, he has chosen to sell. While Bill formally announces the sale, Tim bursts in, takes over the podium, and reveals that his company has unethically acquired the award every year by bribing Helgesson and confesses to doing so himself. Helgesson flees the room, his reputation in tatters, and a furious Bill confronts Tim, his revelations having cost Bill the sale of his company. Tim responds by announcing his intention to leave the company and start another with his clients from Brownstar, 17 of which have agreed to stay with him. Bill storms off, dumbfounded.
As the four friends say their goodbyes and prepare to see each other next year, Joan and Tim are shown happy as friends, and Dean invites Ron and Tim to stay at a wealthy friend’s cabin in Canada for the summer; both of them surprise Dean by gleefully accepting. The three of them go on to start their own company together called Top Notch, with Joan involved, too.
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With some terrific support from John C. Reilly as a wild-man partier at the convention, Isaiah Whitlock Jr. as a straight-laced black room-mate (who has more humor, and more of a sense of fun than you might think), and Anne Heche as a party girl. Maybe not quite a great film, but a good hearted and very enjoyable one.

REVIEW: WAG THE DOG

CAST

Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
Anne Heche (Spread)
Denis Leary (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Willie Nelson (The Dukas of Hazzard)
Andrea Martin (Black Christmas)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
William H. Macy (The Cooler)
John Michael Higgins (Stil LWaiting)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eyed)
Woody Harrelson (The Hugner Games)
Suzanne Cryer (Veronica Mars)
Phil Morris (Jingle All The Way)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Craig T. Nelson (My Name Is Earl
David Koechner (Anchorman)
James Belushi (Red Heat)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Jack Shearer (Star Trek: First Contact)
Dustin Hoffman and Kirsten Dunst in Wag the Dog (1997)
The President of the United States is caught making advances on an underage “Firefly Girl” less than two weeks before Election Day. Conrad Brean (De Niro), a top-notch spin doctor, is brought in to take the public’s attention away from the scandal. He decides to construct a diversionary war with Albania, hoping the media will concentrate on this instead. Brean contacts Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Hoffman) to create the war, complete with a theme song and fake film footage of a photogenic orphan (Dunst) in Albania.
When the CIA learns of the plot, they send Agent Young (Macy) to confront Brean who convinces him that revealing the deception is against his best interests. The CIA announces that the war has ended, but otherwise maintains the deception and the media begins to turn back to the President’s abuse scandal. Motss decides to invent a hero who was left behind enemy lines, and inspired by idea that he was “discarded like an old shoe” has the Pentagon provide him with a soldier named Schumann (Harrelson) around whom he constructs a further narrative including T-shirts, additional patriotic songs, and faux-grassroots demonstrations of patriotism. At each stage of the plan, Motss continually dismisses setbacks as “nothing” and compares them to past movie-making catastrophes he averted.
When the team goes to retrieve Schumann, they discover he is in fact a criminally insane Army prison convict before their plane crashes en route to Andrews Air Force Base. The team survives and is rescued by a farmer, but Schumann attempts to rape the farmer’s daughter and the farmer kills him. Motss then stages an elaborate military funeral, claiming that Schumann died from wounds sustained during his rescue.
While watching a political talk show Motss gets frustrated that the media are crediting the president’s win to a tired campaign slogan of “Don’t change horses in mid-stream” rather than Motss’s hard work. Despite previously claiming he was inspired by the challenge, Motss announces that he wants credit and will reveal his involvement, despite Brean’s warning that he is “playing with his life”. Motss refuses to back down, so Brean reluctantly has him killed and makes it look as if he had a heart attack. The president is successfully re-elected and a news report about a violent incident in Albania is shown, but it is ambiguous whether this is a true event or simply a continuation of the fictional war.
“Wag the dog” gathers a very good cast to tell a clever story about politics and its close connection to the TV business. Although the story sometimes seems to be topped by real-life events (Clinton-Lewinsky) it still remains a very entertaining flick. This is due to the many great characters and its precise dialogue which delivers a whole lot of sharp little comments on the dirty business of politics.