REVIEW: BRICK

 

CAST

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper)
Nora Zehtner (Heroes)
Emilie de Ravin (Lost)
Matt O’Leary (Sorority Row)
Noah Fleiss (No Letting Go)
Lukas Haas (Mars Attacks)
Brian White (The Cabin In The Woods)
Meagan Good (Minority Report TV)
Noah Segan (Cabin Fever 2)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)

High school student Brendan Frye lives a lonely existence following his break up with ex-girlfriend Emily Kostich and the betrayal of his friend Jerr to the authorities. Brendan discovers a note leading him to a pay phone, where he receives a phone call from a terrified Emily begging him for help. She mentions a “brick”, “poor Frisco”, “Tug”, and the “Pin”, before abruptly hanging up. Her fear appears to have been caused by a passing black Ford Mustang, from which a distinctive-looking cigarette was thrown. Upon asking for information from his acquaintance named Brain, Brendan’s search for Emily leads him to Kara, another ex-girlfriend – which further leads him to a Halloween party attended by a flirtatious Laura and her boyfriend, Brad Bramish.Laura points Brendan in the direction of a local diner, where he arranges a meeting through Dode, leader of a stoner clique that Emily belongs to. Upon meeting, Emily recants what she had said on the phone and tells Brendan to let her go. Brendan steals her notepad during the encounter and finds a note that leads him directly to her dead body. Emotionally distraught by her death, Brendan takes it upon himself to solve her murder, enlisting the aid of Brain. Brendan hides the body to avoid police intrusion. Brendan discovers that “The Pin” is a local drug baron. After finding out that Brad is a regular customer of Pin’s, Brendan sets about getting his attention by beating up Brad Bramish. Afterwards, Brendan is beaten up by an unknown young man while speaking on the phone with Brain.Brendan visits Vice Principal Trueman to ask the vice principal if he could investigate the events, without mentioning Emily’s death, as a favour for turning in Jerr. While Trueman allows Brendan to continue his investigation, he warns that if Brendan gets caught, Trueman will “throw him under the bus”. Brendan visits Kara, to request more information about the Pin, although she fobs him off. Later while walking, Brendan sees the same black Ford Mustang in a parking lot. Before attempting to break into the car, he is noticed and beaten up by the car’s owner, who is the man who beat him previously. Brendan asks the man several times to meet The Pin. Reluctant at first, going so far as to drive away and then come back again, the young man takes Brendan to The Pin.Brendan meets with The Pin and persuades him to consider Brendan for a spot in his operation. It is also revealed that the unknown man is Tug, The Pin’s main grunt and muscle. The Pin tells Brendan he will either hire him or rub him out by the next day. On the walk back home Laura tells Brendan that The Pin had previously rejected Emily’s attempt to join, so she stole The Pin’s brick. Laura then offers to help Brendan, but he distrusts her. While Brendan awaits a response from The Pin at school, he is slashed by a knife wielding man. After a chase, Brendan incapacitates the assailant and The Pin accepts him. Brendan gets a call from Dode, who says he saw Brendan hide Emily’s body and, believing Brendan is the murderer, vows to ruin him. Brendan meets with The Pin, who suspects an uprising from Tug.Brain reports that “poor Frisco” is Frisco Farr, a student who fell into a coma after injecting poorly-cut heroin. At The Pin’s house, Tug tells Brendan that The Pin received a shipment of ten bricks and sold eight; one was stolen and replaced with another that had been doctored with detergent, causing Frisco’s coma, and the 10th brick remains to be sold. The Pin arrives and tells Tug about hearing from someone who knows what happened to Emily. Brendan, weakened from several recent fistfights, intercepts Dode before the meeting and discovers Emily was pregnant when she died. Dode hints to Tug and The Pin that he has information about who killed Emily, saying it is someone very close, but Tug goes berserk and beats Dode before shooting him in the head. Tug then threatens The Pin, who walks away as Brendan faints from a coughing fit. Brendan awakens in Tug’s bedroom, where Tug says he’s at war with The Pin.Brendan confronts Kara, accusing her of manipulating Dode by telling him Emily was carrying his baby and pushing him to sell his information to The Pin. Brendan arranges a meeting between Tug and The Pin, and waits in Tug’s bed; Laura enters to comfort him as he sobs over Emily, and they have sex. Brendan recognizes her post-sex cigarette as the same distinctive brand that was dropped from Tug’s black Mustang after Emily was frightened during the first phone call. At the meeting, chaos erupts when it is discovered that the tenth brick is now missing. Tug beats The Pin to death while Brendan flees, escaping just as police arrive. As he goes he passes the trunk of Tug’s car, where he has hidden Emily’s body to ensure that police pin her murder on Tug.

The next day, Brendan meets with Laura in the school’s football field. Brendan explains to Laura that he knows she set Emily up to take the fall for Laura’s theft of the ninth brick. She further manipulated Emily into meeting Tug who ultimately killed her, after letting him believe he was responsible for Emily’s pregnancy. It is revealed that Laura later stole the tenth brick as well. Brendan tells Laura he has put this truth in a note to Vice Principal Trueman of the school, who will find the brick in Laura’s locker if, in fact, what he says is true. Laura vindictively tells Brendan that Emily expressed regret that she couldn’t keep her pregnancy because she did not love the prospective father, and that Emily was three months pregnant when she died, implying that the baby was his. Brendan watches Laura walk away.

Brick takes all the elements of a 1940s gumshoe detective tale and fuses them with a modern day California high school drama. Instead of using witless Clueless style chit chat, the kids use bizarre detective slang which comes across a little precocious in my opinion but it’s a bold move that adds a distinct flavor to the film. All the performances are strong, especially Gordon-Levitt and Lukas Haas who plays a 26 year old drugs baron with an orthopaedic shoe and runs his crime empire from his mums house. There are many eccentricities that make Brick an entertaining watch.

 

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REVIEW: BEAUTY & THE BEAST – SEASON 1-3

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MAIN CAST

Kristin Kreuk (Smallville)
Jay Ryan (Young Hercules)
Austin Basis (J.Edgar)
Nina Lisandrello (The Devil Wears Prada)
Nicole Gale Anmderson (Mean Girls 2)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes)
Brian White (The Cabin In The Woods)
Max Brown (The Tudors)
Amber Skye Noyes (One Life To Live)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Yannick Bisson (Murdoch Mysteries)
Britt Irvin (V)
Khaira Ledeyo (Just Cause)
Peter Outerbridge (ReGenesis)
Rob Stewart (Painkiller Jane)
Elizabeth Blackmore (The Vampire Diaries)
Luke Macfarlane (Kinsey)
Lara Jean Chorostecki (Hannibal)
David Richmond-Peck (Sanctuary)
Kelly Overton (True Blood)
Mike Dopud (Stargate Universe)
Rachel Skarsten (Reign)
Bianca Lawson (Buffy)
Rena Sofer (Heroes)
Bridget Regan (Agent Carter)
Luke Roberts (Black Sails)
Brendan Hines (Lie To Me)
William deVry (Stargate SG.1)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Edi Gathegi (X-Men: First Class)
Shantel VanSanten (The Flash)
Steve Blund (Bitten)
Ted Whittall (Smallville)
Brian Tee (Jurassic World)
David de Latour (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Annie Ilonzeh (Arrow)
Riley Smith (Eight Legged Freaks)
Haley Webb (The Final Destination)
Elisabeth Rohm (Joy)
Paul Johansso (Highlander: The Raven)
Michael Filipowich (Earth: Final Conflict)
Tom Everett Scott (Scream: The Series)
Brennan Brown (The Man In The High Castle)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Steve Valentine (Mike & Molly)
Danielle Bisutti (Curse of Chucky)
Anthony Ruivivar (Starship Troopers)
Charlotte Arnold (Patriot)
Zach Appelman (Sleepy Hollow)
Natasha Henstridge (Species)
Alan Van Sprang (Reign)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Lochlyn Munro (Little Man)
Jason Gedrick (Iron Eagle)

This season revolves around Catherine and Vincent trying to pursue a relationship together, whilst being hunted down by a top-secret government organization named Muirfield who want Vincent dead. Muirfield are revealed to have conducted a high-profile secret experiment on soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. These experiments resulted in every soldier becoming physically stronger and faster, hoping this would win the war quicker. But, something went wrong, as the entire force went out of control with their new abilities. The government gave orders to kill them all, but Vincent escaped and has been in hiding ever since. Muirfield make several attempts to capture Vincent during this season, and even enlist the help of Cat and those close to her to capture him.Catherine’s family history is delved into in this first season, as her mother’s unsolved murder has preyed on her mind for nine years. Catherine witnessed her mother shot and killed by two hitmen who were then killed by Vincent. Catherine refused to believe the official police report that her mother’s death was that of carjacking gone wrong since the men who killed her mother suddenly appeared and began shooting without saying a word, as well as that the two dead killers identities were never found in any police record, leading Catherine to believe that her mother’s killing was that of a government conspiracy. It was later revealed that Catherine’s mother worked for Muirfield, conducting the experiments, and ultimately helped turn Vincent into a beast. Catherine must deal with conflicted feelings of her mother’s memory across this season, having been determined to solve her case for all this time. When Catherine watches her father get run over in the season finale, she then learns that, biologically, he was not her real father after all.

Vincent’s DNA mutates as the season progresses, as he becomes more beast-like. He begins experiencing black-outs, which J.T. associates with Catherine’s interference. Cat and Vincent will stop at nothing to see each other, however. Assistant District Attorney Gabriel Lowen visits Cat’s precinct to investigate the beast-like attack in the city and over time he reveals that not only does he know about Muirfield but that he shares the same ability as Vincent. At first an enemy, Gabriel goes on to become an ally to Vincent by the end of the first season and suggests he has found a cure to the virus inflicted on them by Muirfield. Vincent ultimately wonders if he wants to be cured or not.

Vincent is captured in the season finale as a helicopter drops a net on him and flies him away, leaving Catherine heartbroken. With Vincent captured, a gun is then aimed at Catherine’s head. But, someone orders them not to shoot; Agent Bob Reynolds –Catherine’s biological father.

A modern day take on the story which has Kristen Kreuk as ‘the Beauty’ & Jay Ryan as ‘the Beast’. A great series, plenty of ‘edge of your seat’ drama with a gentle love story woven through the plot.

Vincent was captured by Muirfield, an underground government organization that has been hunting him, in the previous season finale. Cat, the woman who he has fallen in love with and who accepts what he has been changed by Muirfield, will do anything to find him. This season, their love faces more challenges than ever before.  During the season, Vincent and Cat briefly break up with each other, due to Vincent having changed so much because of Muirfield wiping his memory. Cat starts a relationship with Gabe, a previous beast, now turned ally, while Vincent starts to date Tori, a wealthy socialite who has discovered that she is also a Beast. Eventually, after regaining his memories and Tori’s death during the season, Vincent realizes that he is still in love with Cat and tries to win her back, but she rejects his advances. However, slowly she starts to realize that she still loves him and they both get back together near the end of the season.

However, Gabe does not take the break up very well and starts to become obsessed with hunting down Vincent, by framing him for murder. He tries to hide his jealousy by claiming Vincent is dangerous, and he is only trying to protect Cat, while at the same time trying to win her back. However, he becomes more dangerous, as he suspends both Cat and Tess from the police force, becomes more ruthless and even goes so far as to kidnapping Cat’s sister Heather, who then later learns Vincent’s secret. However things become much worse after Gabe becomes a Beast again and starts killing those closest to Cat and Vincent. A final showdown will come between them finally ending the feud once and for all which could possibly end Vincent’s life.

The sizzling, on-screen chemistry between the two leads is not bettered by any paring on TV, anywhere. It’s what keeps the extensive, loyal fanbase watching this show. This Season exploring more and more the mythology the show add greater scope to the story.

Beauty and the Beast started off with a clear cut mission – save Vincent (Jay Ryan) from his unpredictable beast-infused self. As the narrative evolved and Vincent became both hero and victim in a multitude of ways, the writers took fans on a roundabout journey guided by Catherine’s (Kristin Kreuk) romantic entanglement with his character and her convenient position as a police detective. Although his beast side is still in tact after a series of near misses with potential antidotes, the writers have essentially given him a full pardon and put him squarely on the side of the do-gooders as he reenters the realm of living a “normal life.” No longer does Cat have to concern herself with the ramifications of his violent outbursts, for the most part, now they have other concerns. With Muirfield out of the picture, who has stepped in to fill their vast secret government agency shoes? This leads us to the overarching premise of season three.

With Vincent’s origin story largely revealed, the writers have veered away from some of the old storylines and brought in what appears to be a new antagonist, Liam who has links to the the past.


There were also some notable differences in the aesthetics of the latest beast. In the season three premiere of Beauty and the Beast, you’ll notice that there are almost no physical signs besides the increase in strength and agility, and glazed over eyes. This is unlike Vincent or any of the other past beasts who undergo a noticeable transition each time they beast out. One of the most interesting aspects of season three is clearly watching Cat and Vincent reconcile what it means to be a couple. It’s not a new concept for the show, entirely, but at the same time the writers have never had the opportunity to explore it without the constraints of Vincent’s under-the-radar lifestyle, which for the most part has been expunged along with his unflattering record. At the end of the season three opener, Vincent proposes to Cat. This proposal has been building over time.

At the core of Beauty and the Beast is Vincent and Cat’s relationship, and its ups and downs give the show a depth that balances out some of the more unrealistic events in the storyline. Despite the beast elements, there is a sense of relatability within their romantic struggles that fans find attractive.

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The return of Nicole Gale Anderson’s character, Heather, was an excellent choice for the season. Her relationship with her sister, Cat, offers fans a break from the monotony of the catching-bad-guys motif that streamlines its way through the show. Both sisters now being engaged also adds a lighthearted element to the proceedings. Heather is often times one of the most refreshing parts of BATB. Her limited knowledge previously made her a bit of a buzz kill at times, but overwhelmingly her avid perkiness acted as its own character on the show. Heather also represents the light at the end of the tunnel for Cat, in a way. After all of the tragedy that has enveloped her character in the last two seasons, somehow her relationship with her sister is stronger and more open than ever.


The third season breathed new light into the show, having a decent villain play out through the season was a good choice, hopefully season 4 will continue making this a show a great series.