REVIEW: SUPERGIRL – SEASON 3

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Starring

Melissa Benoist (Jay & Silent Bob Reboot)
Mehcad Brooks (Necessary Roughness)
Chyler Leigh (Not Another Teen Movie)
Jeremy Jordan (The Last Five Years)
Katie McGrath (Jurassic World)
Odette Annable (The Unborn)
Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries)
David Harewood (Homeland)

Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)

Recurring/ Notable Guest Cast

Calista Flockhart (The Last Shot)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Floriana Lima (The Punisher)
Emma Tremblay (The Giver)
David St. Louis (The Secret Path)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Sharon Leal (Dreamgirls)
Yael Grobglas (Reign)
Andrea Brooks (When Calls The Heart)
Helen Slater (City Slickers)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Chad Lowe (Young Justice)
Anjali Jay (Power Rangers)
Sofia Vassilieva (Black Lightning)
Alex Zahara (Horns)
Khaira Ledeyo (Beauty and The Beast)
Emy Aneke (Izombie)
Izabela Vidovic (Veronica Mars)
Amy Jackson (Theri)
Betty Buckley (Split)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Victor Garber (The Orville)
Jesse L. Martin (Injustice)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Tom Cavanagh (Yogi Bear)
Candice Patton (The Guest)
Dominic Purcell (Blade: Trinity)
Franz Drameh (See)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Keiynan Lonsdale (Love, Simon)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Secret Circle0
Danielle Nicolet (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)
Christina Brucato (The Intern)
William Katt (Carrie)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of SteeL)
Briana Venskus (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Jesse Rath (The Howling Reborn)
Brit Morgan (Friend Request)
Krys Marshall (For All Mankind)
Sarah Douglas (Superman II)
Brenda Strong (Starship Troopers)
Laurie Metcalf (THe Big Bang Theory)
Brooke Smith (The Silence of Lambs)
Angela Zhou (Hell of Wheels)
Cynthia Stevenson (Dead Like Me)
Nesta Cooper (See)
Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
Carrie Anne Fleming (Izombie)
Esmé Bianco (Game of Thrones)
Michael Reilly Burke (Mars Attacks)

Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)With The Maid of Might’s third season we find ourselves given a very different Supergirl as Season Three opens. Following last year’s heartstring-tearing romance with Mon-El, we find a Kara who is now all business. Kara Danvers is on the backburner, as Kara Zor-El fully throws herself into the superhero game. But as ever, new threats, new questions, and new revelations await just around the corner for the Girl of Steel.Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)First and foremost, let’s just put it out there: Supergirl is an utter joy to watch. In terms of bringing a comic book character to life, this CW series is a fantastic example of how to do that so well. Never afraid to be fun, loud, and imaginative, Supergirl manages to be pure spectacle whilst similarly retaining a true sense of heart. And there’s certainly plentiful heartfelt beats in this third year. While Kara herself is questioning her place in the world, newcomer Samantha (Odette Annable) soon finds herself undergoing her own personal struggle as the nefarious Worldkiller known as Reign begins to cause all kinds of chaos and carnage in National City. As Samantha becomes BFFs with Kara, Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh), and Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath), she has to rely on her new pals to help her with her ever-expanding problems. But it’s not merely Kara and Samantha who are on their own personal journeys here, for Supergirl again does what Supergirl has done so well previously: it makes each and every one of its core cast feel like a major deal, a real person with their own purpose in the show and not just simply there to fill the narrative or to let the show’s titular heroine take all of the spotlight.Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin in Supergirl (2015)As ever, Melissa Benoist is absolutely note perfect as both Kara Danvers and Kara Zor-El, proving to be vulnerable yet strong, human yet otherworldly, naive yet wise. With familiar faces and newbies all excelling in their respective roles, Benoist’s charming, multi-layered performance is just the tip of the iceberg, with Supergirl proving to again reward both newcomers to the character and those who are more well-versed in Super-lore. And that’s so often one of Supergirl’s greatest traits, that it feels so all-encompassing, be it in the array of different characters on display or in its approach to its audience.Supergirl (2015)After a slightly rocky start at CBS for its debut year, Supergirl has gone from strength to strength, and Season Three is the most intriguing, engaging, and spectacular season of the series to date. In fact, there’s a strong argument to be made that this most recent season is right up there as one of the best seasons offered up by the Arrowverse, period.

 

REVIEW: IN HER SHOES

CAST

Cameron Diaz (Bad Teacher)
Toni Collette (Japanese Story)
Shirley MacLaine (Rumor Has It…)
Ken Howard (The Net)
Brooke Smith (Bates Motel)
Candice Azzara (Catch Me If You Can)
Richard Burgi (Cellular)
Anson Mount (Inhumans)
Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains)
Eric Balfour (Haven)
Francine Beers (Keeping The Faith)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heroes)
Ivana Milicevic (Gotham)

Maggie (Cameron Diaz) and Rose Feller (Toni Collette) are sisters with nothing in common but their shoe size. They were raised by their father Michael (Ken Howard) and stepmother (Candice Azzara) after their mother Caroline died in a car accident. Rose is the eldest; an ostensibly plain and serious lawyer who is protective of Maggie despite her flaws. Maggie is a free spirit who is unable to hold a steady job (due to her virtual inability to read) and turns to alcohol and men for emotional and financial support. Rose grudgingly allows Maggie to move in with her in her Rittenhouse Square apartment in Philadelphia when their stepmother throws her out of the house. Their already difficult relationship ends when Rose catches Maggie in bed with Jim (Richard Burgi), her boyfriend. Maggie subsequently disappears from Rose’s life.A few days before, while secretly looking through her father’s desk for money, Maggie discovered a bundle of old greeting cards containing cash. She was astonished to discover that the cards were addressed to both her and Rose and were from their grandmother Ella (Shirley MacLaine). Now, homeless and without job prospects, Maggie travels to Florida to find her and hopefully a new source of income. When Ella first hears from Maggie, she invites her to stay in her home, She admits to her close friend Ethel how Caroline was bipolar, and sent her a note several days before her death to look after her girls. So she letting Maggie stay with her partially out of guilt for abandoning her responsibilities as a grandmother. However, as time passes, Ella discovers that Maggie has come to do nothing but sunbathe and take money from her. Maggie asks Ella to finance an acting career for her; Ella agrees to match her salary dollar for dollar if she accepts a job with the assisted living section of her grandmother’s retirement community. Meanwhile, Rose has decided to quit her job, become a dog-walker, and date Simon Stein (Mark Feuerstein) whom she had previously ignored. They become engaged.Maggie befriends one of her patients, a blind retired professor of English literature (Norman Lloyd), who has asked Maggie to read works of poetry to him. She does so, but with great difficulty. After asking if she is dyslexic, the professor encourages Maggie to continue reading to him while offering emotional support to her. Maggie finds a friend in the professor, the first person in her life who does not ridicule her difficulties with reading (and actually helps her to improve in this area). As time passes with the professor, Maggie’s confidence grows not only with reading but with her general image of herself. In addition, she also becomes friendly with the residents of the retirement community. In doing so, Maggie discovers a livelihood that is greatly needed among the elderly women: a personal clothing shopper, an activity for which Maggie shows enormous talent. Ella (who also does not ridicule her difficulties with math) offers to run the financial aspects of the business. In the process, they become close and resolve their history. Meanwhile, Rose’s reluctance to talk about Maggie is straining her relationships with those around her, such as Simon, her father, and stepmother. While Michael remains oblivious to his daughters’ falling out and the stepmother does not care much of the sisters, Simon tries to get Rose to talk about Maggie. When he sees Rose and former boyfriend Jim converse about how Rose cannot talk about Maggie to anyone, Simon’s patience has grown thin and effectively dumps Rose after she keeps protecting Maggie by staying silent.Ella has also secretly contacted Rose and sends a plane ticket asking her to come for a visit. Rose is excited to hear from her long-lost grandmother, but her pleasure quickly sours when she arrives and discovers that her sister already lives there. After a long conversation with Ella, Rose reveals that after Caroline took Rose and Maggie on a spontaneous trip to New York (without Michael’s knowledge), Michael and Caroline got into a huge argument, with Michael threatening to put her in a mental institution. Caroline killed herself 2 days later and sent a note to Ella, pleading with her to take care of her daughters. Maggie does not remember this as Rose shielded her from the events to protect her. Ella never recovered from Caroline’s death and never resolved her feelings towards Michael; for she felt he ignored the signs that his wife had problems. The three women bond and learn to resolve their complicated past. Meanwhile, Maggie has contacted Simon telling that Rose is in Florida and “in trouble” and arranges him to meet Rose at the elderly residents’ party. The two rekindle their engagement after Rose finally opens up about Maggie’s personality and Rose’s desire to protect her fearing that Simon will come to hate Maggie. Maggie decides to throw Rose’s wedding, preparing the Jamaican/reggae theme in order to show Rose how much she loves her. At Rose’s wedding, Ella also reconciles with Michael and Maggie reads a poem to Rose as a wedding gift.Compassionate, moving yet hilarious. Through the hardest negative efforts to find a flaw to this, I just can’t insult this honest faultless gem.

REVIEW: THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

CAST

Anthony Hopkins (The Mask of Zorro)
Jodie Foster (The Beaver)
Scott Glenn (Daredevil)
Ted Levine (Evolution)
Anthony Heald (Deep Rising)
Brooke Smith (Interstellar)
Diane Baker (A Mighty Wind)
Frankie Faison (Luke Cage)
Charles Napier (Maniac Cop 2)
Tracey Walter (Batman)
Obba Babatunde (John Q)
Cynthia Ettinger (Gilmore Girls)

It’s always interesting to reflect on The Silence of the Lambs and remember that, though terribly iconic and singular, it’s a follow-up of sorts to Micheal Mann’s 1984 thriller, Manhunter, and an adaptation of Thomas Harris’ novel “The Silence of the Lambs”, a sequel to the original novel “Red Dragon”. Hannibal Lecter existed long before Anthony Hopkins took the reins, first given a more debonair cinematic air by a criminally-overlooked turn from Brian Cox, while the primary protagonists in this story arc was Will Graham at first, brought to life by the likes of William Petersen and Edward Norton. Lecter’s legacy of secondhand FBI assistance and cat-and-mouse psycho play with its agents has understandably taken many tones over the years.Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs (1991)But when we think about Hannibal Lecter, we instantly think of Anthony Hopkins toying with Jodie Foster’s Clarice like a predacious cat with its victim. There’s a reason for that: The Silence of the Lambs brings a director adept at communicating human emotion under dire circumstances together with the haunting inhumanity penned by story adapter Ted Tally. We’re introduced to Clarice Starling (Foster), an up-and-coming FBI student who has fallen into a dense and disturbing case involving psychotic serial killer Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). She begins her involvement by innocently interviewing Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins) about his knowledge of Bill, but it slowly evolves into a “quid pro quo” dance with the macabre as Lecter points her into specific directions that will allow her — and only her — to solve the paramount case.It takes the viewer into a world teeming with bizarre psychoses, one that drives us to feel compelled to relish in its shiver-inducing nature. Jonathan Demme not only appreciates the partition between fear and indulgence, but he takes his involvement with character nuance and clashes it all together into a bleak yet thoroughly engaging atmosphere. The Silence of the Lambs exists in a shadowy, antithetic environment filled with the slaughterings of innocent women and the bloodthirsty nature of the criminally insane, yet it never forgets to open doors that allow us to comprehend exactly what’s going on in their minds — and not in a blatantly monstrous way, but more in a contorted humanistic light that drives real fear into our bones. We get the quakes from mythical monsters that go “bump” in our dreams, but the true fright we feel exists in the monsters that walk the earth with us.As Starling begins her trip down the rabbit hole by way of Lecter’s profiling of Buffalo Bill, it’s clear that all of these odd underlying layers will largely rely on the dynamic that the FBI student develops with them. A few years out of her show-stealing (and show-making, to be frank) performance in The Accused, Jodie Foster takes her plummet into the mind of a serial killer and delivers a performance filled with lamb-like jitters and compelling ambiguity between masculinity and femininity. Her Clarice Starling is strong enough to back as a heroine, yet there’s coyness behind her strained vigor that makes her dance with Lecter compelling and, more importantly, involving enough to cement her post-Taxi Driver and Accused status as a powerhouse actress.

Then, there’s Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, who’s only on-screen for a nudge over sixteen minutes in The Silence of the Lambs. It’s amazing to think that such a seminal entity could be so transient in the film that made him an everyday name alongside horror greats like Patrick Bateman and Jack Torrance. But his time on screen never feels short-lived, that’s for certain; as he gazes through his acrylic glass screen and mutters to us of eating a man’s liver with a “can of fava beans and a nice Chianti”, he shatters that fourth wall separating him from the audience in a way that gives us direct, eye-to-eye interaction with a well-mannered psychopath. It’s a cinematic luxury that we don’t get to indulge in very often, especially in a natural and effective fashion. His glances and bone-chilling words, though fleeting as they might be, float in our minds across the entire film as the contained, docile voice of one of many possible variations of Buffalo Bill’s psyche — a killer on the loose in the backwater crevices of southern America, potentially right around the corner of anyone’s neighborhood.Though Foster faultlessly captures the essence of an intelligent rookie FBI agent on the prowl and Hopkins, well, “makes” Hannibal Lecter, it’s the times when they’re face-to-face that transcends The Silence of the Lambs into a lasting piece of filmmaking. Their characters, when separate, are compelling in their own right, but it’s in the ways that they make slight alterations in their personalities that create the film’s signature sensations of vagueness in character archetypes. Each element surrounding Demme’s design in capturing their dialogue, from Badlands cinematographer Tak Fujimoto’s photography to the stellar emphasis on long pauses in Craig McKay’s editing, are impeccable, but it’s the actors’ subtle shifts in power struggle that grips us repeatedly in their startling-captured exchanges.


Once we follow Starling outside of the confines of Lecter’s cell, there’s a tense, blood-curdling air about her chase for Buffalo Bill that reinforces a sense of graspable danger. As we watch her combine forensic talent with Lecter’s clues, it becomes a downright thrilling procedural that never feels formulaic and remains exhilarating up until its expertly executed conclusion. All along the way, The Silence of the Lambs adorns her trials and tribulations with a medley of characters to play off of, from the sagely tutelage of FBI bigwig Jack Crawford (Scott Glen) to the quirky acts of sexual aggression from Dr. Chilton (Anthony Heald). They emphasize the near-androgynous nature of Starling’s persona, painting her dual-edged innocuous demeanor into an intriguing character study.The Silence of the Lambs taps heavily into a parallel between Starling and the “lamb” that she speaks of during arguably the most prolific character moment in the film, one that gives us a subtle reminder that she’s something of an puerile entity transforming into an investigator. It’s not the only splash of symbolism used in the film to illustrate the characters, as the metamorphosis of a demented mind repeatedly stands out with the focus on Death’s Head Moths later in the film. They circulate around Buffalo Bill’s character, a perfect example of the danger that arises when a deviant blossoms into a perverse serial killer. Yet the metamorphosis concepts also circle around Starling as the film presses forward, which continues the nerve-racking mechanic of balancing humanity with the killer’s mental instability.There’s a world of depth at your fingertips underneath The Silence of the Lambs — about as deep as you really want to dive into the criminal mind — but it’s first and foremost an exercise in skillfully crafted suspense. An innocent-yet-adept protagonist, a worthy villain, and a series of aptly strung-together clues wind tightly around the dangerously hypnotic presence of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, building into one of cinema’s more unique dynamics. Diving into the ominous mind of a killer isn’t the most pleasant experience in the world, but it’s certainly captivating in the eyes of a daring, young FBI agent willing to weave through a thrill-a-minute labyrinth to stop one. It’s Jonathan Demme’s call-to-fame, and a tour de force in the horror genre that’ll hold on to its unnerving presence for years to come.