31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: SCREAM QUEENS – SEASON 1

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MAIN CAST

Emma Roberts (4.3.2.1.)
Skyle Samuels (The Stepfather)
Lea Michele (Glee)
Glen Powell (Ride Along 2)
Diego Boneta (Mean Girls 2)
Abigail Breslin (Zombieland)
Keke Palmer (Barbershop 2)
Oliver Hudson (The Breed)
Nasim Pedrad (New Girl)
Lucien Laviscount (Trollied)
Billie Lourd (Star Wars 7)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Ariana Grande (Victorious)
Jan Hoag (Faster)
Nick Jonas (Goat)
Breezy Eslin (Faking It)
Grace Phipps (The Vampire Diaries)
Niecy Nash (Guess Who)
Charisma Carpenter (Angel)
Chad Michael Murray (Agent Carter)
Patrick Schwarzenegger (Grown Ups 2)

Scream Queens never has been and never was going to be a show that worked for everyone. From the start, its sense of humor, its “girls are better” commentary and its writing style were divisive; either you found it hilarious and were on or you were turned off from the get-go and weren’t going to tune back in. I fell into the first category. Emma Roberts’ performance as Chanel Oberlin was fantastic camp, the bathtub baby story at the core of the show was a fun mystery and I appreciated the balance of horror movie and teen/college comedies tropes that creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan played with.We’ve gone from a time where 24-episode seasons were the norm to a time when 10- to 13-episode arcs is a preferred storytellers medium, but in Scream Queens’ case it works well. It’s clear that Murphy, Brennan and Falchuk revelled in writing to their premise, and it was in standalone sequences which showcased that fun that Scream Queens was at its best. When I think back to the highlights of Season 1, I think of Chanel’s scathing missive in “Dorkus” and the running cotton balls-as-meals gag and the hilarious ways Denise Hemphill would tell ghost stories. Every time I try to keep track of how Gigi, Boone and Pete (and to a lesser extent Hester) would go back and cover their tracks and get away with murdering people but not being suspected, I get a headache.The actors who shone in Scream Queens were the ones who were able to fully commit themselves to the camp. Glen Powell stole the show as Chad Radwell, and it’s a shame he was so lacking toward the end of the season. Niecy Nash was perfectly ludicrous as Denise Hemphill, and the music cues that went along with her character complimented that fantastically.Two Murphy alums, Emma Roberts and Lea Michele, continued to prove that they’re great at delivering his dialogue. Roberts in particular was a standout for me, and I relished every bitchy, whiny Chanel line she would give us. There’s one scene in particular from the finale when Denise’s stripper cops were arresting Chanel and she was resisting with all the loose-limbed anguish of a toddler having a temper tantrum that highlighted for me just how much she understood this part. Chanel is the caricature of the popular girl stereotype, but she is so committed to herself being the hero of her story — something that’s hilariously highlighted in episodes where she narrates — that most of the joke is how obtusely un-self-aware she is.For Michele, she had the burden of playing the mastermind for a season without knowing that Hester was the lead killer. Michele was so playing against type that it was fun to see her sink her teeth into a grotesquely unattractive character like Hester. It will be fun to go back and rewatch from the beginning with the knowledge that Hester is the one pulling the strings, but the fact that Michele didn’t find out about that until the final episode likely means there’s not going to be too much new information to glean from her performance.Other flashy additions to the cast, like Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Jonas, made their characters their own, but other stars like Skyler Samuels as Grace, Oliver Hudson as Wes, Diego Boneta as Pete, Abigail Breslin as Chanel #5 and Keke Palmer as Zayday each of them had memorable scenes and clear highlights from Season 1.At least Scream Queens did stick the landing, as the final hour, “The Final Girl(s),” was the best episode of the series since the premiere. Finally fully understanding the full scope of the Red Devil Killers’ plan — and particularly Hester’s role in it — was a great payoff, and Michele chewed screen time now that she finally knew what she was playing to.The Season 1 ride was a fun ride, with season 2 now airing it’s gping to be great to see what the seconded chapter holds.

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REVIEW: BRIGHT LIGHTS: STARRING CARRIE FISHER AND DEBBIE REYNOLDS

CAST

Carrie FIsher (Star Wars)
Debbie Reynolds (Singin’ in The Rain)
Todd Fisher (These Old Broads)
Catherine Hickland (Loving)
Griffin Dunne  (After Hours)
Billie Lourd (Scream Queens)

When Carrie Fisher passed away unexpectedly late last year, at that time knowing nothing about the health of her mother, Debbie Reynolds, only her age – 84 – I thought to myself, this kind of a shock could do a person in at that age. And the next day it did. This documentary shows these two as much more than just mother and daughter, but fast friends. It is a great tribute to both ladies. It talks a little bit about Debbie’s past problems – being abandoned by her husband with two small children, then marrying a guy she thought would bring her family some stability and security, but it didn’t – he in fact bankrupted them with his compulsive gambling. And she faced all of this with dignity and was a fighter.ranking-the-spider-man-animated-series_cgbjDebbie doesn’t do that much talking for or about herself. In fact through most of the documentary it is mentioned how she is feeling just awful, but you’d never guess it. She is always dressed to the nines and smiling – something Carrie said she learned as a recruit in the old studio system at MGM. And then, feeling awful, Debbie books a Las Vegas show and brings her children into the act because she simply can’t do the whole show. She just couldn’t retire outright because she loved entertaining and loved the audiences. Carrie does most of the talking. Like mom, she is a fighter, and also has quite a sense of humor. She fought her way back from a childhood in which she was abandoned by her dad, Eddie Fisher, in every way possible. It’s like he just left them behind like they were part of a past life – until Carrie had some success and he came back asking for money. She fought her way back from drug addiction and her failed marriage to Paul Simon, who was much older than she, and during the documentary she is quite open about her battle with her weight as she tries to get the pounds off with the help of a trainer in preparation for the Star Wars film, “Episode 7”. The trainer keeps trying to take her sodas away from her – which she keeps replenishing.fe109-spiderman-animatedCarrie has a visit from old childhood chum Griffin Dunne, and they easily talk about their youth. After all of the awful stuff you have just learned about her dad, Eddie Fisher, and his parental negligence, Carrie goes to visit him, and he does look like death warmed over at this point, and Carrie tells him that she loves him and she seems to really mean it. It is revealed during the documentary that Eddie Fisher was a drug addict too, and I think having that common experience with her dad has made it easier for her to forgive him. What a classy lady. Eddie Fisher passed away in 2010, so obviously this part of the documentary was shot much earlier.Todd, Carrie’s younger brother, is in the documentary too, but he doesn’t have much to say. The documentary is not in “this is your life” style. It is more just following Debbie and Carrie around and showing the deep relationship and love they had for one another.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: SCREAM QUEENS – BLACK FRIDAY

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MAIN CAST

Emma Roberts (4.3.2.1.)
Skyle Samuels (The Stepfather)
Lea Michele (Glee)
Glen Powell (Ride Along 2)
Diego Boneta (Mean Girls 2)
Abigail Breslin (Zombieland)
Keke Palmer (Barbershop 2)
Oliver Hudson (The Breed)
Lucien Laviscount (Trollied)
Billie Lourd (Star Wars 7)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Niecy Nash (Guess Who)

After the events of the Thanksgiving where Gigi (Nasim Pedrad)’s head was served as the main dish, everyone is still in shock. Wes (Oliver Hudson), Pete (Diego Boneta), and Grace (Skyler Samuels) go to the police station to report the incident, but Detective Chisolm (Jim Clock) revealed that the entire police department has been fired due to wasting resources, and he himself will be transitioning to furniture related job, something he is happy with. Regardless of the events, Chanel (Emma Roberts) explains that Black Friday is her favorite holiday, where she buys forgettable, cheap presents for her friends and good ones for herself. She also explains how every year she bribes the store’s worker to open the store earlier for her so she can buy all the things from the sale and leave only one in the display, thus leaving the people who have been waiting for the store to open angry and devastated, all just for her joy. She is about to go to the mall when Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) stops her and the other Chanels. They insist on going though, and after a heated speech by Chanel explaining why she loves the holiday so much and pointing out how there’s nothing they can currently do about the situation, Dean Munsch desists.At the mall, The Red Devil shows up. The Devil turns off all the lights and manages to trap the Chanels inside. The other Chanels escape, but Chanel stays behind to face it, thinking the Devil is Dean Munsch. She ends up getting shot with a crossbow. She survives after Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) and a mall cop come to the rescue for a showdown with the Red Devil. Denise explains to Chanel that she is promoted to police chief. However, while she is talking, her henchman gets shot by the Red Devil, and alarmed, she chases after the masked killer. After the entire incident, the Chanels, Zayday, and Grace have a meeting about how they could protect each other from getting killed while everybody thinks that the murderer is Dean Munsch except Zayday (Keke Palmer). Chanel has the idea to kill Dean Munsch, though Zayday disapproves. Grace unexpectedly agrees with Chanel and they both have the idea to poison Dean Munsch.Chanel and Grace meet up with the Dean at her house pretending that they, particularly Chanel, wants to make amends with Cathy. They present her with apple cider, knowing it is her favorite beverage. Unbeknownst to her, they put blowfish venom in it, supposedly enough to kill several people. Dean Munsch drinks it all, and doesn’t even feel slightly ill. Instead, she gave Chanel and Grace an essay assignment about the university. Chanel is baffled as to how Dean Munsch survived this, but later, the Chanels hatch another plan. Grace and Pete are discussing Grace’s and the girls’ plan to kill Dean Munsch. They discuss it while making out, and Pete disagrees with her plan to kill someone just as Grace stops him from going too far, as she isn’t ready to have sex yet. After the talk, she decides to quit the mission. In turn, Zayday also changes her mind from her previous statement, thinking killing Dean Munsch is the right thing to do. Chanel then kicks Grace out of the sorority. Wes and Pete research information about Gigi and find out her birth name was Jess Meyer, and that she is the sister of Amy Meyer (Chelsea Ricketts), the girl from the 1995 flashback who holds Sophia (McKaley Miller)’s baby. It is also revealed that Amy committed suicide due to the stress of the event and Gigi then took care of the baby after Amy’s suicide. Wes tells Grace about this discovery.Meanwhile, Chad (Glen Powell) brings Pete to the Dickie Dollar Scholars house and reveals that Boone (Nick Jonas) left most of his possessions to Pete, despite the fact that they barely knew each other. Chad suspects that Boone and Pete were lovers. However, Pete admits that Boone was his source for a story about the negative effects of the College Greek system. It was revealed here that Pete was trying to pledge The Dickie Dollar Scholars, but got rejected by Chad, Earl Grey (Lucien Laviscount), Roger (Aaron Rhodes), Dodger (Austin Rhodes), and Caulfield (Evan Paley) because he doesn’t fit their criteria. He was deemed the worst Dollar Scholars pledge ever, explaining Pete’s hatred to the College Greek system. In response to Boone’s friendship, Chad decides to offer Pete membership to the Dickie Dollar Scholars since all of the other members have either left campus or been murdered. Pete refuses and leaves an enraged Chad at the house.The girls decide to freeze Dean Munsch to death using a cryotherapy chamber. Dean Munsch agrees to try cryotherapy with them, and while she’s in the chamber, Chanel sets it below zero for 30 minutes. When Chanel opens the door, Dean Munsch is shown covered in ice, still alive. Chanel comes up with one last idea to drown her. She gave the Chanels’ and Zayday new smartphones. She will use this to call them when she thinks it’s the right time to kill her. Chanel #3, and 6 are in the mall with Chanel #5 asking the store’s worker to change an underwear size tag to another, which is impossible. Their cellphones rings as they argue. Chanel nervously waits in the pool as her call doesn’t get an answer. The Dean arrives, and after Chanel gives some unconvincing answers to the Dean’s questions, she get suspicious and puts Chanel on risk. At the end of the episode, Grace visits Pete’s room and tells Pete she’s finally ready to have sex with him. Pete refuses, telling her he doesn’t want her first time to be with a murderer, shocking her and ending the episode.A very fun episode to see how the chanel’s celebrate the holiday season was fun and was a nice episode to send us into the double finale that aired the following week.

REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS

 

CAST
Daisy Ridley (Scrawl)
John Boyega (Attack The Block)
Oscar Isaac (Ex_Machina)
Mark Hamill (Batman: TAS)
Harrison Ford (Blade Runner)
Carrie Fisher (Sorority Row)
Adam Driver (Bluebird)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
Domhnall Gleeson (The Revenant)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)
Peter Mayhew (Killer Ink)
Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones)
Simon Pegg (The World’s End)
Kiran Shah (The Hobbit)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (The originals)
Warwick Davis (The Ewok Adventures)
Mark Stanley (Kajaki)
Ken Leung (Lost)
Billie Lourd (Scream Queens)
Thomas Brodie-Sangster (The Maze Runner)
Bill Hader (Superbad)
Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Ewan McGregor (Mordecai)
Approximately 30 years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the last remaining Jedi, Luke Skywalker, has disappeared. The First Order has risen from the fallen Galactic Empire and seeks to eliminate the New Republic. The Resistance, backed by the Republic and led by Luke’s twin sister, General Leia Organa, opposes them while searching for Luke to enlist his aid.
Resistance pilot Poe Dameron meets village elder Lor San Tekka on the planet Jakku to obtain a map to Luke’s location. Stormtroopers commanded by Kylo Ren destroy the village and capture Poe. Poe’s droid BB-8 escapes with the map, and encounters the scavenger Rey near a junkyard settlement. Ren tortures Poe using the Force, and learns of BB-8. Stormtrooper FN-2187, unable to bring himself to kill for the First Order, frees Poe, and they escape in a stolen TIE fighter; Poe dubs FN-2187 “Finn”. They crash on Jakku, and Finn survives but is unable to determine if Poe did as well. He encounters Rey and BB-8, but the First Order tracks them and launches an airstrike. Finn, Rey, and BB-8 flee the planet in the Millennium Falcon, which they steal from a junkyard.
The Falcon breaks down and is captured by a larger ship piloted by Han Solo and Chewbacca, looking to reclaim their former vessel. Two rival gangs, seeking to settle debts with Han, board and attack, but Han and company manage to escape in the Falcon. The gangs inform the First Order of the events. At the First Order’s Starkiller Base – a planet converted into a superweapon that harnesses energy from stars – Supreme Leader Snoke orders General Hux to use the weapon for the first time. Snoke questions Ren’s ability to deal with emotions relating to his father, Han Solo; Ren replies that Han means nothing to him.
The Falcon crew views BB-8’s map and determines it is incomplete. Han explains that Luke attempted to rebuild the Jedi Order but exiled himself when an apprentice turned to the dark side. The crew travels to the planet Takodana and meet with cantina owner Maz Kanata, who offers assistance in getting BB-8 to the Resistance. Rey is drawn to a vault on the lower level and finds the lightsaber that once belonged to Luke and his father Anakin Skywalker. She experiences disturbing visions and flees into the woods. Maz gives Finn the lightsaber for safekeeping.
Starkiller Base fires and destroys the Republic capital and fleet. The First Order attacks Takodana in search of BB-8. Han, Chewbacca, and Finn are saved by Resistance X-wing fighters led by Poe, revealing that he survived the earlier crash. Leia arrives at Takodana with C-3PO and reunites with Han and Chewbacca. Meanwhile, Ren captures Rey and takes her to Starkiller Base, but when he interrogates her about the map, she is able to resist his mind-reading attempts. Discovering she can use the Force, she escapes using a Jedi mind trick on a nearby guard.
At the Resistance base on D’Qar, BB-8 finds R2-D2, who has been inactive since Luke’s disappearance. As Starkiller Base prepares to fire on D’Qar, the Resistance devises a plan to destroy the superweapon by attacking a critical facility. Leia urges Han to return their son alive. Using the Falcon, Han, Chewbacca, and Finn infiltrate the facility and plant explosives. Han confronts Ren, calling him by his birth name, Ben, and implores him to abandon the dark side. Ren kills Han, enraging Chewbacca, who fires and wounds Ren. He sets off the explosives, allowing the Resistance to attack and destroy Starkiller Base.
Ren pursues Finn and Rey to the surface. A lightsaber battle between Ren and Finn ensues, leaving Finn badly wounded. Rey takes the lightsaber and uses the Force to defeat Ren, before they are separated by a fissure as the planet begins to disintegrate. Snoke orders Hux to evacuate and bring Ren to him to complete his training. Rey and Chewbacca escape with Finn in the Falcon. On D’Qar, the Resistance celebrates while Leia, Chewbacca, and Rey mourn Han’s death. R2-D2 awakens and reveals the rest of the map, which Rey follows with R2-D2 and Chewbacca to a distant planet. She finds Luke and presents him with the lightsaber.
Packed with action and populated by both familiar faces and fresh blood, The Force Awakens successfully recalls the series’ former glory while injecting it with renewed energy.