HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE CELL 2

CAST

Tessie Santiago (Queen of Swords)
Chris Bruno (The Fosters)
Frank Whaley (Pulp fiction)
Bart Johnson (The Client List)
Michael flynn (Halloween 4)
Amee Walden (Ice Spiders)
Charles Halford (Constantine TV)

Maya Castaneda (Tessie Santiago) is an investigator with psychic abilities — a power which she gained during a yearlong coma, the result of her having been victimized by a notorious serial killer known as the Cusp. Now the killer is back in action, and Maya must summon her psychic talents to delve into the dark mind of this notorious maniac, in the hopes of saving his next victim — before time runs out. From out of the ashes of the wonderfully vivid and visually captivating “The Cell“, comes a brand new follow-up by the simple moniker of “The Cell 2“. Though this time around no Jennifer Lopez, no elaborate renaissance nightmare feeling sets and no Vincent D’Onofrio. So what gives? I anticipated a follow up for quite some time coming off the first film, though this round was simply a disappointment.
The film itself is radically different than “The Cell”, which is a shame as the original film direction was what made the franchise special. To begin, we receive narration that the FBI has started to enlist special individuals who hold extraordinary gifts. This solicitation acts as an aid to hunt down serial killers, psychos and madmen. Kessel, the FBI head is in charge of the justice task force. The focus of recent investigations centers on one individual who calls himself “The Cusp”. Maya Casteneda(Tessie Santiago) is there ace in the hole who is able to psychically concentrate on individuals possessions to get inside there head. Her viewpoint is from the eyes of the individual. This talent was acquired when Maya was killed 6 times and brought back by “The Cusp” as a cruel form of torture. The afterlife visits enabled Maya with this special gift of hers.  “The Cusp” has eluded the police on over 23 victims and has shown no signs of stopping his indulgent serial killer activities. Maya is the only solution to finding him and identifying the killer. The Cusp in essence kidnaps young girls, tortures them, and kills them only to bring them back to do it all again. On the other end he is an intelligent medically knowledged individual who delves into the realms of parapsychology and is strangely afraid of the dark. He keeps his captives tied to a chair with a “Saw” looking wooden box latched around their heads.Clearly a lower budget offering the great set work that we enjoyed previously was replaced by cheesy CGI sets. By cheesy I mean they kind of look like left over video game sets. Clearly green screened and pasted it. The production look just didn’t pop and make ya feel like the the actors were really caught in any nightmare world. In fact even if it was CGI, the environments could of been made to be presented a whole lot creepier and interesting. A pedestal in a big room…., a hallway full of memories…., a room with some wave filter applied over it…., that’s it folks. That’s the nightmare world that exists in the serial killers mind. I felt really cheated if you ask me. The best scene is actually some leftover footage they start the film with from “The Cell”

REVIEW: CONSTANTINE (2014) THE TV SERIES

Image result for CONSTANTINE TV LOGO

MAIN CAST
Matt Ryan (Layer Cake)
Angelica Celaya (Dallas)
Charles Halford (Agents of SHIELD)
Harold Perrineau (Lost)
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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Lucy Griffiths (Preacher)
Jeremy Davies (Lost)
Leisha Hailey (The L Word)
Joelle Carter (Justified)
Michael James Shaw (Avengers: Endgame)
Sean Whalen (Superstar)
Jonjo O’Neill (Defiance)
Charles Parnell (The Warriors)
Emmett J Scanlan (The Fall)
Chasty Ballesteros (The Internship)
Niall Matter (The Predator)
Laura Regan (Minority Report TV)
Amy Parrish (One Tree Hill)
Juliana Harkavy (Arrow)
Megan West (How To Get Away With Murder)
Claire van der Boom (The Square)
Jose Pablo Cantillo (Crank)
Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad)
Amanda Clayton (John Carter)
William Mapother (Lost)
Robert Pralgo (The Vampire Diaries)
J.D. Evermore (Cloak & Dagger)
Annalise Basso (Ouija 2)
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DC/Vertigo’s John Constantine leapt from the sordid, scary pages of his Hellblazer comics thanks to EPs David Goyer (The Dark Knight, Man of Steel) and Daniel Cerone (Dexter, Charmed). Matt Ryan, as the titular hero, was really effective in bringing Constantine to life on screen. Flippant when called for. Vulnerable when need be. All the while – whether casting out a demon from some poor body or battling one within himself – creating a very commanding, likable presence on screen. John Constantine was a the sort of hero you had to get right immediately and Ryan excelled.
John’s back up proved reliable from a charismatic standpoint. Chas and Zed were great characters and as the serious progressed we got to see their back story’s and what made them the way they are.I really liked that Newcastle was used as the show’s jumping off point, and that throughout the season John would have to atone in various ways with scattered members of that ill-fated team, but his own team often suffered. Even though we’re only talking about 13 episodes here, the show still made good use of a seasonal arc format. Even using the “Rising Darkness” to both inform and be the cause of a procedural “case of the week” structure . The “Scry Map” gave John demons and ghosts to chase, all under the umbrella that hell was slowly encroaching upon the world of the living. And while not every “case of the week” landed, a couple of stories ripped from the comics came alive in (remixed) cool ways (“A Feast of Friends,” “The Saint of Last Resorts: Part 1” and “Waiting for the Man”). Along with some DC notables like Felix Faust, Eclipso’s Black Diamond, and Jim Corrigan.I liked that Manny turned out to be the villain right at the end of the finale. Mostly because the “Rising Darkness” needed a face. The Brujeria were mentioned quite a bit, but never shown. Was the twist worth sitting through a handful of episodes where I wondered why Manny was even there at all? Maybe, maybe not. But the show needed a “big bad,” and whether or not Manny turns out to be Satan himself or just an evil angel, he still fits the bill nicely.Constantine had a cool look, an awesome lead, and a confidence that you don’t see in most fledgling series. As the series went on it became an intriguing show with many dimensions that would of been worth exploring in later seasons, this is a show that was cancelled too soon and now with a unresolved cliffhanger we may never know where it will lead. On the plus side  Matt Ryan’s Constantine is coming too Arrow, so we at least get to see him at least one more time.

 

REVIEW: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – SEASON 1

CAST

Clark Gregg (When A Stranger Calls)
Ming-Na Wen (Stargate Universe)
Brett Dalton (Killing Lincoln)
Chloe Bennet (Nashville)
Ian De Caestecker (Filth)
Elizabeth Henstridge (Reach Me)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

J. August Richards (Angel)
Shannon Lucio (The O.C)
Ron Glass (Firefly)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Sarah Dumont (Don Jon)
Leonor Varela (Blade II)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight)
David Conrad (Roswell)
Ian Hart (Harry Potter)
Ruth Negga (World War Z)
Louis Ozawa Changchien (The Bourne Legacy)
Cullen Douglas (Pure Genius)
Vincent Laresca (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Titus Welliver (The Town)
Maximiliano Hernández (Ringer)
Ilia Volok (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Saffron Burrows (Deep Blue Sea)
Charles Halford (Constantine)
Peter MacNicol (24)
Erin Way (Colony)
Robert Baker (Supergirl)
Laura Seay (Superbad)
Maximilian Osinski (In Time)
Aiden Turner (All My Children)
Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why)
Daniel Zovatto (Don’t Breathe)
Christine Adams (BLack Lightning)
Maiara Walsh (The Vampire Diaries)
Carlo Rota (Saw V)
Stan Lee (Super Hero Squad)
Elena Satine (The Gifted)
Bill Paxton (Aliens)
Robert Belushi (How I Met Your Mother)
B.J. Britt (One Tree Hill)
Jaimie Alexander (Thor)
Dylan Bruno (Taken 3)
Brad Dourif (Cult of CHucky)
Adrian Pasdar (Heores)
Patton Oswalt (Young Adult)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Glenn Morshower (Transformers)

Ming-Na Wen, Clark Gregg, Iain De Caestecker, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, and Elizabeth Henstridge in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)When Marvel’s cinematic universe first took off, the next move was to make the leap to television, Marvel turned to Avengers director Joss Whedon’s brother Jed and his wife/collaborator Maurissa Tancharoen, who took the popular Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One character Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), the man who helped gather the heroes who became the Avengers, and made him the star of his own series, focused on his team at S.H.I.E.L.D., the international peacekeeping organization run by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson.) The hour-long drama would build off of the well-known heroics, and tell connected tales of espionage, as Coulson and his squad respond to threats to humanity around the world.Now, in case you haven’t seen The Avengers, you should know that in a climactic battle, Coulson was very badly injured, which became a rallying point for the heroes. Well, he’s back, but how he made it back is a large part of the series’ foundation, which is revealed in piecemeal over the course of the first season. Coulson’s search for the truth is intertwined with the arrival of the newest member of his team, a hacker known as Skye (Chloe Bennett), who has plenty of secrets of her own, in part due to her past as a rogue “hacktivist.” Trust is a massive theme in the series, as no one is sure about anyone else but they have to rely on each other if they are going to complete their missions, which remind one of Fringe in a big way, as the team investigates strange phenomena in order to keep humanity safe.Lorelei, Though certainly not a big-name Marvel character (her sister The Enchantress has a much higher profile) and not the first recognizable super-powered character on the show (that would be the cybernetic assassin Deathlok, whose origin is revealed over the course of the season), Lorelei tips the scales with her appearance because she, as an Asgardian, creates a direct link to the world of Thor, and also because she’s followed to Earth by Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander), the Asgardian warrior from the two Thor films. Finally, fans exclaimed, there’s some honest to goodness superhero action to be enjoyed, and that was followed by direct ties into the new Captain America movie, picking up the plot from the theaters and bringing its effects home. This was the crossover dream that comics mastered decades ago, and now Marvel was making happen between movies and TV (and you didn’t really even need to see both sides to enjoy them separately.)After offering this cookie to the fans, the series shifted back to the spy game though, where it would stay for the rest of the season, introducing Bill Paxton and Saffron Burrows in major roles) as Coulson’s organization crumbled around him and the team shifted from saving the world to saving each other. Coulson’s team, which, aside from Skye, includes Ward (Brett Dalton), a perfect soldier; badass pilot May (Ming-Na Wen) and science specialists Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), comes together quickly as a unit on the series, establishing their personalities right off the bat, with Skye serving as the show’s young star, showing the old guard how a new generation does the job (though still requiring saving and offering a hearty cry every now and then) and Fitz and Simmons serving as the audience’s tech-loving stand-ins, the most down-to-earth parts of a fantastical realm. May though, with her economy of words and excess of butt-kicking skill, is the “Wolverine” of the show, and her relationship with Coulson serves as a backbone for the series. Naturally, Gregg’s performance is integral to the show, and he continues to shine in the role of Coulson, giving us a smartass secret agent for the ages.While the show is a serial and does well at telling action-adventure arcs of mystery and intrigue, building the mythology and establishing a larger storyline, it could do one-offs as well, including two of the season’s best episodes, “FZZT” which ties into The Avengers while telling a standalone story that put a spotlight on Fitz and Simmons, and “T.R.A.C.K.S.”, which puts the team on a train and tries out some interesting storytelling structure. The show also has its humorous side, taking its tone from the Marvel films, which blend grits with grins (and though Patton Oswalt gets a featured role in one episode, for once, he’s not responsible for the laughs.) For the most part, this mix works well, as it helps illustrate the growing camaraderie between the teammates and keeps the tone light, but it can get out of hand very quickly. The final episode, where much of what’s been revealed over the course of the previous 21 episodes comes to a head, the lightheartedness (thanks to an appearance by a famous friend of the team) goes over the top.