REVIEW: EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS

CAST

David Arquette (Scream)
Kari Wuhrer (Anaconda)
Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man 2)
Scott Terra (Daredevil)
Rick Overton (Lois & CLark)
Doug E. Doug (Snowmen)
Leon Rippy (Stargate)
Riley Smith (24)
Tom Noonan (Manhunter)

In the quiet mining town of Prosperity, Arizona, an accident involving a rabbit causes a barrel of toxic waste to land in a reservoir. An exotic spider farmer named Joshua Taft (Tom Noonan) has been making regular visits to the site, where he collects crickets for his spiders. Joshua shows Mike (Scott Terra), a local boy, his collection, which include Jumping spiders, Tarantulas, Trapdoor spiders, male orb-weaver spiders, and a female orb-weaver named Consuela. After Mike leaves, Joshua is bitten by an escaped tarantula and accidentally knocks down the spider cages, causing him to be killed by the spiders. After devouring him, the spiders grow to even bigger proportions.

On his way home, Mike is accosted by his mother, Sheriff Sam Parker (Kari Wührer) and Deputy Pete Williams (Rick Overton) pulling the toxic barrel out of the pond. Wade (Leon Rippy), the Mayor of Prosperity, is holding a town meeting in the mall about whether they should sell the mines and relocate. Chris McCormick (David Arquette), whose father owned the mines before he died ten years ago, shows up and stands against Wade’s proposition. Chris also sparks a romance with Sam.

Meanwhile, Harlan Griffiths (Doug E. Doug), an eccentric extraterrestrial enthusiast, is broadcasting his theory that various missing animals around town have been abducted by extraterrestrials. Inevitably his theory is dismissed as the product of a deranged imagination. Mike sneaks out on foot to find Joshua, but finds the farm covered in webbing and the spiders missing, along with Joshua’s remains. Although he saw a silhouette of an enormous spider in the mines and tells Chris and Sam about the spiders grown to enormous sizes (based on a giant spider leg he found at the mine entrance), they disbelieve his story. Moreover, the mines have reopened with the miners searching for a famous stash of gold.
One miner is eaten by a gigantic spider, whose clan have made the mines their home. Seeing as the entire town is connected in some way to the mines, spiders show up in many different places. Pete’s cat has a fight with a spider in the air vents before being eaten, and some of the ostriches on Wade’s farm are devoured by trapdoor spiders. After Sam’s daughter Ashley (Scarlett Johansson) breaks up with her boyfriend, Wade’s step-son Bret (Matt Czuchry), and he and his motorcyclist friends are chased by jumping spiders. Bret manages to get away, and the explosion of a gasoline truck cuts off the telephone line as he becomes trapped in the mine. Chris finds out that his Aunt Gladys (Eileen Ryan) and her dog have been abducted by a male orb-weaver in their basement, and then runs to the Parker’s house for help.
Sam is convinced Mike was right all along when she witnesses a giant male orb-weaver attempting to abduct Ashley. While Chris tries to hold it off with a chair, Sam runs to retrieve something from a glass case. Chris ends up pinned to the wall by webbing as well and the spider prepares to abduct them when it is distracted by Sam, she blasts it partially to bits with a shotgun. Meanwhile, Bret, still wandering the mines, finds the main part of the mine, where the now-giant Consuela is now living.

Sam contacts Pete and tells him to bring all of the guns in the police force’s possession and after killing several jumping spiders, they escape to Harlan’s trailer, knowing he has a radio station inside. As Sam broadcasts the threat over the radio, a giant tarantula, the “tank” of the horde, assaults the trailer, but they manage to escape. The townspeople initially refuse to take Sam’s warnings seriously, but soon change their tune when the spiders begin to swarm the town. In the chaos, many are attacked, eaten or taken captive by the spiders, Chris tries to convince Harlan that the spiders are extraterrestrial to make him happy, and Sam demands for everybody to evacuate to the mall.
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Many townspeople escape and barricade themselves in the mall, but Wade flees into the mines and locks the gate before the attack. The unarmed residents seize whatever they can use to defend themselves and briefly hold their own against the horde when the giant tarantula from before breaches the gates, and they are eventually forced to retreat to the basement. Meanwhile, Harlan and Chris climb onto the roof and ascend the radio mast to try to get a signal so they can call the army, but they are believed to be pranksters. After the tarantula breaks open the gates and lets the spiders enter the mall, Harlan jumps from the roof and lands in some bushes, where he meets up with Pete. The two run from spiders as Chris gathers the remaining townsfolk into the basement. Meanwhile, Bret encounters the cowardly Wade before his abduction.
Image result for EIGHT LEGGED FREAKSWhile the townsfolk are in the basement, Bret arrives on a forklift that brings down the locked gate, and they all head to through the mines straight to the front entrance, discovering the methane-filled tunnels. After losing Norman (David Earl Waterman) the janitor, and freeing Wade, Chris goes to look for Gladys in the mines and finds her and the gold his father was searching for, but is confronted by the gigantic Consuela. He uses perfume to distract the spider and then escapes using Bret’s motorcycle. Chris then blows up the spiders and the mines using Gladys’ cigarette lighter due to the high concentrations of methane gas. The police finally arrive. They had not believed the reports of the spiders but believed Harlan’s theory that the assailants were extraterrestrial in nature, until Pete tells them that the assailants were “just spiders, that had ingested extremely high levels of toxic waste.” He attempts to prove this by removing his hat, showing that he is bald. He runs his hand back and forth over his head saying; “All new growth, just look at this, all new growth!”

Image result for EIGHT LEGGED FREAKSAs the story ends, Harlan is heard making a radio report about the spiders. He concludes that the town has decided to cover up the whole incident, but have let Harlan continue broadcasting anyway, knowing nobody will believe him. He also mentions Chris reopening the gold mines and putting everyone back to work, but tells his listeners “that is another story altogether.” As the camera zooms in close on his mouth, it is clear that he now has three gold teeth.

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A good film which although was not received very well by the public or the critics is still very entertaining and is one of those films which doesn’t require you to think about the story too much. You just watch the film, enjoy it, and go home more scared of spiders than you went in. Recommended.

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REVIEW: MUPPETS FROM SPACE

CAST

Dave Goelz (Inside Out)
Steve Whitmore (The Dark Crystal)
Bill Barretta (Muppets Most Wanted)
Jerry Nelson (Sesame Street)
Brian Henson (Tinseltown)
Kevin Clash (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Frank Oz (Star Wars – Episode V)
Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development)
F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)
Josh Charles (The Good Wife)
Ray Liotta (Killing Them Softly)
David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks)
Andie MacDowwell (Groundhog Day)
Kathy Griffin (Hall Pass)
Pat Hingle (Batman 1989)
Hulk Hogan (The Ultimate Weapon)
Gary Owens (Roger Ramjet)
Katie Holmes (Batman Begins)
Joshua Jackson (Cruel Intentions)

The Great Gonzo has always been identified as a “whatever”; but, after having disturbing dreams of abandonment and rejection, he begins to realize just how alone he is in the world. One of his nightmares involves his being denied entry onto Noah’s Ark by Noah. The next morning, Gonzo tells Kermit the Frog that he is getting tired of being called a “whatever.” After an alien race appears to be trying to send him a message through bowls of cereal, Gonzo realizes that he may not be so alone after all and climbs to the rooftop to start watching the sky. Using a bolt of lightning, Gonzo communicates with a pair of cosmic fish, revealing to him that he is an alien from outer space.

Unable to convince Kermit and his friends of the aliens’ existence, Gonzo is lured into the clutches of K. Edgar Singer of C.O.V.N.E.T., a government organization disguised as a cement factory. Singer has also taken note of the aliens’ attempts to communicate and thinks that Gonzo is his key to convincing his superiors that aliens do in fact exist. Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat are arrested by C.O.V.N.E.T. Agents and Agent Rentro. Rizzo’s antics cause himself to be flushed down a tube by the Man in Black. Rizzo ends up having to go through C.O.V.N.E.T.’s rat training and medical research held by Dr. Tucker, alongside the other rats like Bubba the Rat, Shakes the Rat, Fast Eddie, Troy, and The Bird Man. After Miss Piggy interrogated Agent Baker, she, Kermit, Fozzie Bear, Pepe the King Prawn, and Animal spring into action to rescue Gonzo and Rizzo from C.O.V.N.E.T., using such inventions as a door in a jar, a rubber duck that sprays invisibility spray, and mind control gas from Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker, which Miss Piggy uses on a gate guard).

A talking sandwich asks Gonzo where the alien ship can land, and Gonzo suggests Cape Doom (a beach), unaware that Agent Rentro is listening. At the military base, the gang arrives to rescue Gonzo and Rizzo. While on their rescue, everyone uses invisible spray but eventually becomes visible when Fozzie washes his hands upon exiting the restroom as Animal is unleashed upon a female guard. Rizzo frees Gonzo from the dissection table while the rats attack Dr. Phil Van Neuter, where Singer and General Luft witness the attack. General Luft leaves declaring that Singer “needs help.” When Singer hears of Gonzo’s escape, he has Agent Rentro prepare the Subatomic Neutro-Destabilizer to use on the aliens and heads to his car. When Agent Rentro tells him that the car is impounded due to the parking tickets that Agent Rentro forgot to take care of, Singer and Agent Rentro end up taking the company car which happens to be a cement truck.

The Muppets go to Cape Doom after rescuing Gonzo and, along with a crowd of alien-happy spectators, await their arrival. The ship comes to Earth and the aliens, who all resemble Gonzo, explain that many years ago they lost him but welcome him back into the fold. Singer shows up and tries to kill the Aliens, but thanks to Agent Rentro (who has disabled his Subatomic Neutro-Destabilizer by taking the part that fires the weapon), he cannot and is laughed at. Gonzo considers going into space with his long-lost family, but chooses not to. While grateful for his family for going through the trouble of locating and visiting him on Earth, he decides not to go with them, as he wants to stay with his fellow Muppet Show castmates. Singer is invited by the aliens to go with them, and leaves as Earth’s ambassador.

As the Muppets watching the stars on the roof, Gonzo tells Kermit he wonders why his family asked him to build a Jacuzzi. Pepe chuckles because he and Rizzo had pretended to be them and asked him to do it.

With “Muppets From Space”! I liked the story and thought Jeffrey Tambor was a hoot as the likeable villain. The other human cameos were hilarious, too. A great Muppet Movie

REVIEW: NEVER BEEN KISSED

 

CAST

Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks)
Michael Vartan (Alias)
Molly Shannon (Scary Movie 4)
John C. Reilly (Cyrus)
Garry Marshall (Life After Beth)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
Octavia Spencer (Insurgent)
Allen Covert (Mr. Deeds)
Leelee Sobieski (Roadkill)
Jeremy Jordan (Dreamers)
Jessica Alba (Sin City)
Marley Shelton (Planet Terror)
James Franco (This Is The End)
Jordan Ladd (Cabin Fever)
Giuseppe Andrews (Two Guys and a Girl)
Sara Downing (Roswell)

Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore) is an insecure copy editor for the Chicago Sun-Times who has never had a real relationship. One day, her editor-in-chief, Rigfort (Garry Marshall) assigns her to report undercover at a high school to help parents become more aware of their children’s lives.  Her first day at South Glen South High School is miserable. Josie reverts to the old geek persona that ruined her first high school career. She also has an unfortunate run-in with three obnoxious popular girls (Jordan Ladd, Jessica Alba, and Marley Shelton), and Guy Perkins (Jeremy Jordan), the school’s most attractive, popular student. Josie loses hope, but is reassured when a kind-hearted nerd named Aldys (Leelee Sobieski) befriends her. Aldys, who loathes Guy and his gang, invites Josie to join The Denominators, a group of intelligent students.

Josie develops a crush on her English teacher, Sam Coulson (Michael Vartan), and becomes the top student in his class. After reciting a romantic excerpt from Shakespeare to Sam, Josie has horrible flashbacks to when she read a romantic poem aloud in class to her high school crush, a popular boy named Billy Prince (Denny Kirkwood), who later asked her to their senior prom, making her dream come true. However, on the night of the prom, Billy arrives with another girl and both of them hurl eggs and insults at Josie, humiliating her and breaking her heart.

One night while out driving with Aldys, Josie encounters Guy and his gang at a local hangout called “The Court” where promiscuity and underage drinking take place. Her managing editor Augustus “Gus” Strauss (John C. Reilly) loses patience with Josie after a rival paper scoops The Court story, and orders Josie to become friends with the popular kids. He arranges for her to wear a hidden camera, and soon the whole office becomes obsessed with her story. Josie confides in her brother Rob (David Arquette) about her fears. Rob, who was their high school’s most popular boy in his teens, urges her to let go of her old self and start anew. To help her, Rob enrolls as a student and becomes an instant hit. He then uses his influence to draw Josie into the cool crowd, much to the dismay of Aldys.

Sam and Josie grow closer, but Sam struggles with his feelings as he thinks she’s a student. Guy and Josie attend the prom as Rosalind and Orlando from Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Anita, Gus and Josie’s other co-workers watch through the camera and are overjoyed as she is voted prom queen. As Guy dances with Aldys as an alleged act of friendship, the mean girls attempt to dump dog food over Aldys. Outraged, Josie throws her crown away and reveals her true identity. She praises Aldys for her kindness and warns the students that one’s persona in high school means nothing in the real world. Sam is hurt by her lies and states he wants nothing to do with her. Also angered is Rob, who as a phony student received a second chance at baseball. Josie, ultimately making amends, secures him a coaching job.

Josie vows to give Gus a story and writes an account of her experience. In it, she admits she’s never been kissed, describes the students of South Glen South, and avows her love for Sam; the entire city is moved by it. She writes she will stand in the middle of the baseball field and wait for Sam to come and kiss her. Josie waits, but the clock runs out with no sign of Sam. On the verge of giving up… cheers, then a booming roar, as Sam emerges to give her a romantic kiss.

Barrymore is brilliant in this, and she is backed up by a great cast. It is a good rom-com where the romance is not overdone and though it is slightly predictable, it is very enjoyable and good for a night in.

 

REVIEW: PUSHING DAISIES – SEASON 1 & 2

CAST

Lee Pace (The Hobbit)
Anna Friel (Limitless)
Chi McBride (Human target)
Ellen Greene (Little Shop of Horrors)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Kristin Chenoweth (Bewitched)
Jim Dale (Carry on Columbus)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul)
Riki Lindhome (Million Dollar Baby)
Raul Esparza (Hannibal TV)
Jayma Mays (Heroes)
Hamish Linklater (The Crazy Ones)
Christine Adams (Agents of Shield)
Mark Harelik (The Big Bang Theory)
Molly Shannon (Bad Teacher)
Grant Shaud (Wall Street)
Paul Reubens (Gotham)
Missi Pyle (Two and a Half Men)
French Stewart (Mom)
Autumn Reeser (The OC)
Diana Scarwid (Wonderfalls)
Rachael Harris (The Hangover)
Lee Arenberg (Once Upon A Time)
Graham McTavish (The Hobbit)
David Arquette (Scream)
Dana Davis (Heroes)
Hayes MacArthur (Life As We Know It)
Colton Haynes (Arrow)
Stephen Root (Finding Nemo)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)
David Koechner (American Dad)
Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow)
Ivana Milicevic (Vanilla Sky)
George Segal (The Cable Guy)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)
Constance Zimmer (Agents of Shield)
Rachel Cannon (Two and a Half Men)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Nora Dunn (New Girl)
Joey Slotnick (Nip/Tuck)

 

 

This show is like nothing you have ever seen before. And that is a good thing. It is the story of the Pie Maker aka Ned (Lee Pace). To the world, he is best known as the owner of The Pie Hole, where he serves delicious pies with his assistant/waitress, Olive (Kristen Chenoweth). But Ned has a secret. With his touch, he can bring the dead back to life. Of course, there are some conditions. If he touches them again, they are dead for ever and ever. And if he doesn’t touch them again in one minute, someone else nearby dies instead.

Since The Pie Hole doesn’t pay all the bills, Ned works with private investigator Emerson Cod (Chi McBride). He brings murder victims back to life to find out who killed them, then the two split the reward.


Everything is going along fine until the next murder victim is the girl he calls Chuck, aka Charlotte Charles (Anna Friel). Chuck was Ned’s childhood sweetheart, and he just can’t bear to let her die, so he keeps her alive. While the two build a non-touch romance, Chuck’s two aunts, Vivian and Lily (Ellen Greene and Swoosie Kurtz) mourn her death.

But Chuck’s death is just the beginning of the weird cases. There are the human crash test dummies, the dog breeder with four wives, the bodies in the snowmen, and the exploding scratch and sniff book. And that doesn’t even mention my favorite case, the headless horseman who is after Olive. So by now I’m sure you’ve figured out just how weird this show really is. But it is so much fun, too. While it is a mystery, the mysteries are only a background to explore the relationships of the characters in the show. Each week, those relationships advance, grow, and change. You never know just where they will wind up.


Yes, this show is quirky and odd. But please don’t let that stop you. Get this set and give it a try. You’ll be hook on the quirky before you know what hit you.

Pushing Daisies is one of the best TV shows there has ever been. Pushing Daisies wasn’t given much advertisement by ABC thus no one tuned in apart from the hardcore fans because nobody even knew it was on! Hence, lack of high ratings which lead to ABC being able to have an excuse to stop the show .

No the end doesn’t give closure. Only a little, but not much. It rushes to tie up ends and tell us what the characters do next but there is no closure whatsoever, just a MASSIVE cliffhanger and some really tasty leads that weren’t followed up. What a crushing disappointment. Anna Friel and Lee Pace were extremely angry at PD being taken off the air and legions of fans are left weeping and have nothing left but to endlessly discuss what ‘might’ have happened.
Series 2 is just as much as a visual and aural delight as series one. Brilliant plots and character development, beautiful music usage and faultless scripting. Great introduction of sub-characters that don’t jarr the main casting too much. Just ..well, perfect.

There are rumours of a movie or a comic being made but this is all doubtful, the cast have already moved onto other projects and now Pushing Daisies is left drowning in a sea of shows that had the potential to be groundbreaking if given a bit more time but never got given the chance. Such a shame. Same thing happened with Wondefalls also made by chap Bryan Fuller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (1992)


CAST

Kristy Swanson (Phantom)
Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games)
Paul Reubens (Gotham)
Rutger Hauer (Batman Begins)
Luke Perry (The Fitfth Element)
Michele Abrams (Junior)
Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby)
Paris Vaughan (Laker Girls)
David Arquette (Scream)
Randall Batinkoff (Kick-Ass)
Stephen Root (Finding Nemo)
Natasha Gregson Wagner (Urban Legend)
Candy Clark (Zodiac)
Thomas Jane (The Punisher)
Ben Affleck (Argo)
Alexis Arquette (Xena)

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High school senior Buffy Summers (Kristy Swanson) is introduced as a stereotypical, shallow cheerleader at Hemery High School in Los Angeles. She is a carefree popular mean girl whose main concerns are shopping and spending time with her rich, snooty friends and her boyfriend, Jeffrey. While at school one day, she is approached by a man who calls himself Merrick (Donald Sutherland). He informs her that she is The Slayer, or Chosen One, destined to kill vampires, and he is a Watcher whose duty it is to guide and train her. She initially rebukes his claims, but is convinced that he is right when he is able to describe a recurring dream of hers in detail. In addition, Buffy is exhibiting uncanny abilities not known to her, including heightened agility, senses, and endurance, yet she repeatedly tries Merrick’s patience with her frivolous nature and sharp-tongued remarks.Image result for buffy movie
After several successful outings, Buffy is drawn into conflict with Lothos (Rutger Hauer), a local vampire king and his acolyte, Amilyn (Paul Reubens). Two young men, Oliver Pike (Luke Perry), and best friend Benny (David Arquette), who resented Buffy and her friends due to differing social circles, are out drinking when they are attacked by Amilyn. Benny is turned but Pike is saved by Merrick. As a vampire, Benny visits Pike and tries to get him to join him. Later, when Pike and his boss are discussing Benny, Pike tells him to run if he sees him. Not only this, but a studious girl from Buffy’s class, Cassandra, is abducted one night by Amilyn and sacrificed to Lothos. When her body is found, the news spreads through LA and Hemery High, but her murder is met with indifference from Buffy’s clique.

When Pike realizes there is something wrong with Benny and that he is no longer safe, he decides to leave town. His plan is thwarted, however, when he encounters Amilyn and his tribe of vampires. Amilyn hitches a ride on the hood of his van which crashes into a tree just before Amilyn loses an arm. Buffy and Merrick arrive to rescue him and Amilyn flees the fight to talk to Lothos. After this encounter, Buffy and Pike start a friendship, which eventually becomes romantic and Pike becomes Buffy’s partner in fighting the undead.

During a basketball game, Buffy finds out that one of the players, and a friend of Jeffrey’s, is a vampire. After a quick chase to a parade float storage yard, Buffy finally confronts Lothos, shortly after she and Pike take down his gang. Lothos puts Buffy in a hypnotic trance, which is broken due to Merrick’s intervention. Lothos turns on Merrick and impales him with the stake he attempted to use on him. Lothos leaves, saying that Buffy is not ready. As Merrick dies, he tells Buffy to do things her own way rather than live by the rules of others and he says “remember about the music.” Because of her new life, responsibilities, and heartbreak, Buffy becomes emotionally shocked and starts dropping her Slayer duties. When she arrives at school, she attempts to explain everything to her friends, but they refuse to understand her as they are more concerned with their upcoming school dance, and Buffy falls out with them as she realizes she is outgrowing their immature, selfish behavior.

At the senior dance, Buffy tries to patch things up with her friends but they turn against her, and she is dismayed to find Jeffrey has dumped her for one of her friends. However, she meets up with Pike and as they start to dance and kiss, Lothos leads the remainder of his minions to the school and attacks the students and the attending faculty. Buffy confronts the vampires outside while Pike fights the vampiric Benny. After overpowering the vampires, she confronts Lothos inside the school and kills Amilyn. Lothos hypnotizes Buffy again and when the dance music stops, she remembers Merrick’s words and is ready to defend herself and fight. Lothos ignites her cross but she uses hairspray to create a makeshift flame-thrower and burns him before escaping back into the gym. Buffy sees everybody recover from the attack, but Lothos emerges again getting into a fight with Buffy, who then stakes him.

As all of the survivors leave, Buffy and Pike decide to finish their dance. The film then ends with the two of them leaving the dance on a motorcycle, and a news crew interviewing the students and the principal about the attack during the credits.

Image result for buffy movieThe movies biggest flaw is that it spawned such an incredible television series. Supposedly Fox convinced Buffy scribe Joss Whedon to tone down the horror elements and crank up the comedy a few notches, and the end result is a movie that’s neither particularly funny nor particularly scary.  The pacing is decent, and it’s engaging enough. Buffy The Vampire Slayer is decidedly average. Though it rarely approaches the brilliance of the long-running television series, fans of the show may find this disc worth a purchase out of curiosity if nothing else.

REVIEW: MY NAME IS EARL – SEASON 1-4

MAIN CAST

Jason Lee (Dogma)
Ethan Suplee (Mallrats)
Jaime Pressly (Mom)
Nadine Velazquez (War)
Eddie Steeples (Raising Hope)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Leo Fitzpatrick (Bully)
Gregg Binkley (Galaxy Quest)
Dale Dickey (Iron Man 3)
Carson Daly (Josie and The Pussycats)
Trace Adkins (The Virginian)
Silas Weir Mitchell (Birds of Prey)
Kathryn Joosten (Desperate Housewives)
Tracy Ashton (Stuck on You)
Jesse Heiman (ChucK)
Dax Shepard (Zathura)
Montel Williams (Golden Shoes)
Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar)
Abdoulaye NGom (VR Troopers)
Missi Pyle (Dodgeball)
Timothy Stack (Cast Away)
Chloe Grace Moretz (The Fifth Wave)
Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory)
Kristina Hayes (Expelled)
Beau Bridges (Stargate SG.1)
Niecy Nash (The Soul Man)
Blake Clark (50 First Dates)
Brett Butler (Anger Management)
John Ducey (Sabrina: TTW)
Jon Favreau (Iron Man)
Jeremy Howard (Accepted)
Lindsay Hollister (Bluberella)
Jessica Cauffiel (White Chicks)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Chuck)
Patricia Belcher (Bones)
Adam Goldberg (Deja Vu)
Christine Taylor (Zoolander)
Samm Levine (Veronica Mars)
Ben Falcone (New Girl)
Timothy Olyphant (Go)
Malcolm David Kelley (Lost)
Juliette Lewis (Some Girl)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Max Perlich (Blow)
Geoffrey Lewis (The Devil’s Rejects)
Miriam Shor (Bedazzled)
Shailene Woodley (Divergent)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Burt Reynolds (Boogie Nights)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Marlee Matlin (Reasonable Doubts)
Jonathan Slavin (Free Enterprise)
Beth Grant (Wonderfalls)
Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men)
Johnny Sneed (The Heartbreak Kid)
Christian Slater (True Romance)
John Leguizamo (Kick-Ass 2)
Jimmi Simpson (Date Night)
Ray Santiago (Ash vs Evil Dead)
DJ Qualls (Road Trip)
Bob Clendenin (That 70s Show)
Norm MacDonald (Dr. Dolittle)
Kurt Fuller (Ghostbusters 2)
Sean Astin (The Goonies)
Ben Foster (The Punisher)
Craig T. Nelson (The Incredibles)
Dee Wallace (E.T.)
Raymond Cruz (Training Day)
Alyssa Milano (Charmed)
Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly)
Mike O’ Malley (R.I.P.D.)
Tamala Jones (Castle)
Shawn Hatosy (Alpha Dog)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Paris Hilton (Bottoms Up)
Kevin Sussman (The Big Bang Theory)
Michael Pena (American Hustle)
Jon Heder (Blades of Glory)
Bonita Friedericy (Chuck)
Deborah Ann Woll (Daredevil)
Nancy Lenehan (Sex Tape)
Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Suzy Nakamura (8mm)
Brandon Soo Hoo (Tropic Thunder)
David Arquette (Scream)
Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly)
Jenna Elfman (EdTV)
Brooke Nevin (The Comebacks)
Scoot McNairy (Argo)
Michael Pena (American Hustle)
Joel David Moore (Julia X)
Courtney Gains (Children of The Corn)
Jane Seymour (Smallville)
Jason Priestley (Tru Calling)
Eric Lange (Lost)
Neil Hopkins (The Net 2.0)
Eric Allan Kramer (The Incredible Hulk Returns)
Morgan Fairchild (Chuck)
Danny Glover (Earthsea)
Curtis Armstrong (New Girl)

 

When I heard that Jason Lee has going to be starring in a new TV series, I was psyched. Ever since his star-making turn in Mallrats,  Earl (Lee), a 250-time loser and minor criminal, won $100,000 on a scratch-off ticket, and was promptly hit by a car. While healing in the hospital, he learns about karma from Carson Daly (on TV) and decides to change his life by making a list of all the people he’s wronged and making it up to them. It’s a simple concept.Earl’s family and friends, including his brother Randy (Ethan Suplee), his ex-wife Joy (Jamie Pressly), her husband Darnell the Crabman (Eddie Steeples) and his friend Catalina (Nadine Velazquez), are alternately positive and negative influences as he tries to fulfill his debt to karma. Randy, a dopey man-child, helps his brother as much as he can, but because he’s not too bright, he tends to screw things up. That’s ok though, as he may have the purest intentions of anyone in the show, since he’s unable to truly be underhanded. The only person purer than Randy is Darnell, otherwise known as Crabman. Even more innocent than Randy, he lives a simple life and is a simple man. That he’s married to Joy, a woman to whom no level of evil is out of reach, shows what he can put up with in life and remain good-natured. She’s also incredibly funny, as Pressly does the best work of her career, playing this trailer bitch to the max. She’s balanced by Earl and Randy’s pal Catalina, the highly sexy maid at their hotel. Though she’s good at heart, there’s an inherent darkness in her that shines through with solid comic timing.Though there’s not a lot of story that progresses from episode to episode, the theme of the list ties everything together nicely. Whether he’s helping a suicidal man find a reason to live or giving his mom the Mother’s Day she deserved, Earl spreads his “golden rule” message, making the show one of the few TV comedies today where there’s a positive message but not a ton of cheese. There are episodes that have as much heartfelt sentiment as any “very special effort” just without the melodrama. Instead, the series is very real in the way it depicts people. They are neither all good or all bad. They just are, and they do what they need to to get by. Darnell isn’t ruled by a strict code of ethics. He just does what feels right. Earl has a thread of bad-guy in him, but he believes in the concept of good. The writers have managed to create some of the most complete sitcom characters in recent history, as one can see in “Dad’s Car,” when Joy’s love for her kids is revealed.There’s something special in this show that you only see in truly great ensemble casts, and that’s memorable supporting characters that aren’t your average “wacky neighbors.” It’s almost guaranteed that a laugh is coming when Crabman or Catalina are on screen. Even one-time characters, like Earl’s clingy ex-girlfriend or the many fantastic guest stars, make the most of their screentime by integrating seamlessly with the regulars, creativing a cohesive universe, giving you more reason to come back and visit with your friends in Camden County.It’s not just the writing and acting that’s top-notch though. The choice of music is often inspired, with pop and rock songs helping the show reach new emotional and comedic heights, including a beautiful use of “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket” in the season finale. Today, you expect soundtracks with such popular, well-known songs to end up replaced on DVD, but it seems that these shows are presented with  the music intact. Just as creative are the inventive visuals, which help tell bigger stories in the small amount of time the show has. It’s the small details like this that show the kind of effort that goes into the series.

The second season of the show didn’t mess with success, maintaining the things that worked so well for the series, including a very funny cast, a well-developed dynamic and a style that’s unique and energetic. What did change was part of a natural evolution, as the show’s smaller stories, which make up Earl’s karmic quest, are joined by a larger, season-long arc surrounding his ex-wife Joy (Jaime Pressly) and her effort to get revenge on a local store for refusing her return without a receipt. Not exactly the brightest bulb, she decides that the scales will be balanced if she steals one of the store’s trucks. Unfortunately for her, worst-laid plans are especially susceptible to failure and things spiral well out of her control, as, when she’s inevitably caught, it’s her third strike, which would mean a prison term, thus setting up Earl and his friends’ attempt to keep Joy out of the big house. Of course, this isn’t exactly a crackerjack squad of schemers, so things certainly don’t go smoothly, which makes for a hilarious running subplot.Despite the overarching Joy in Jail plot, the show doesn’t lose sight of its core concept: Earl and his list. As he knocks off item after item on the record of bad things he’s done, we get to meet more of the residents of Camden County, including the members of a circus freak show, a French exchange student Earl ran out of the country and an aging rocker. There are also a few familiar faces to help, including his gay friend Kenny, the lovably laid-back Crabman (Eddie Steeples, one of the TV’s most underrated actors) and Earl Hickey. Yep, after realizing he wrecked his own life, Earl adds himself to the list and spends a few episodes taking care of his own business.Earl’s not the only Hickey in the spotlight though this season, as his adorably simple brother Randy (played wonderfully by Suplee) is increasingly a focus on the show, even getting a few love interests, including the gorgeous and hilarious Catalina (Nadine Velazquez.) A huge part of what’s so beautifully and positively human about the series emanates from the good-hearted Randy, who, in many ways lives to be loved, especially by Earl. It’s that personality that makes an episode like “South of the Border,” in which Randy feels wronged by Earl, and the hurt overwhelms him. In Suplee’s capable hands, a character that might otherwise be a cartoon, is fully realized and truly real, as “Larceny of a Kitty Cat” shows, in exploring how Randy reacts to heartbreak, with the help of “Strangers with Candy” star Amy Sedaris.Sedaris is one of many guest stars who are seamlessly integrated into Earl’s world, including Christian Slater, Roseanne Barr, Judy Greer, Jenny McCarthy, John Leguizamo, Kathy Kinney, Mike O’Malley, DJ Qualls, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Charles S. Dutton, Sean Astin and John Waters. Each one works great in the context of the series, especially returning guests like Beau Bridges (as Earl’s dad,) Giovanni Ribisi (Earl’s insane friend Ralph) and Tim Stack (portraying TV’s Tim Stack in a great meta joke) and repeated guest star Marlee Matlin, who’s fantastic as Joy’s deaf lawyer (along with her interpreter Jonathan Slavin.) But none of them were as fantastic or as inspired as the addition of Chubby, the owner of the local strip club, dry cleaner and rib restaurant. Considering Lee’s use of the phrase “Reynolds style” in films and Earl’s glorious ‘stache, getting Burt Reynolds to play the utterly mental Chubby was brilliant, as was his performance in “Jump for Joy,” the Catalina-centered episode that will make any hetero man a fan of “Jump Around.” But even better than that, was the appearance of Chubby’s son in “Two Balls, Two Strikes.” If Reynolds’ casting was inspired, there is no phrase to describe the choice of Norm MacDonald to play his son, considering MacDonald’s famously bad “SNL” impersonation.It’s this kind of decision-making that makes the series so original and fun, and its seen frequently throughout the season. “Buried Treasure” takes the old “Rashomon” concept and recasts it into a series of mini episodes of “Earl,” using the show’s style (and iconic opening) to great result, while “Our ‘Cops’ is On” takes the popular police show and brings it to Earl’s neighborhood. Though the concept is pretty consistent from episode to episode, there’s no such thing as your average installment of “Earl,” as each is a 20-minute masterpiece of comedy and creativity, starring one of the finest comedic casts working today.

By putting Earl behind bars for almost half the season, the series proved it was bigger than its concept, as the situation let him be the man he’s been for two seasons, while changing him organically, as he adapts to prison life. Admittedly, his time in jail isn’t too different for him, with the warden (a marvelously inept Craig T. Nelson) taking Karma’s place, as Earl helps him out in exchange for an early release. But the warden isn’t quite as generous as his cosmic benefactor, so life isn’t quite as rewarding, which pushes Earl back toward the dark side. Not to spoil anything, but Karma’s not a big fan of Bad Earl, and let’s him know so, quite forcibly.

Things aren’t all bad for Earl though, as his pals, including his dense brother Randy and Joy’s husband Crabman, help him out when he really needs it, which this season is for an extended period of time that sets up one of the show’s more unique conceits, as Earl finds himself in a fantasy sitcom world that’s genuinely amusing to enjoy. Earl also meets a special new lady in his life, when he falls for Billie (Alyssa Milano) the girlfriend of his prison pal Frank (Michael Rappaport.) Though we’ve seen Earl on the short end of the relationship stick, this new girl tests Earl’s patience, as well as what he believes he is all about. To say that Billie is a bit on the confusing side, is a massive understatement, as her mood swings and mindset change with the breeze. That said, we have rarely seen Earl under these conditions, it makes for some genuine comedy. The two-part season finale, which pits Billie against Earl’s list brings everything back to center.

One of the best parts about the show is the world in which these characters live, which has been enhanced by repeat guest stars and unique episode concepts. In addition to Nelson as the warden, new arrivals to Camden County include Vincent Pastore, Jane Lynch, Paris Hilton, Jon Hader, John Henson and Shawn Hatosy, some of whom fit in better than others.  Meanwhile, returning this season as guests are Giovanni Ribisi, Tim Stack, Beau Bridges and DJ Qualls, who help make Camden County feel real. Thus, when the show goes back to the well for a two-part “Cops” episode, this time titled “Our Other ‘Cops’ Is On,” it just makes sense that this town could be captured twice by the cameras of the popular police show, and feel no shame about it.Though the unique situations in this season make for some great episodes, the best would have to be “Creative Writing,” which finds Earl taking part in a creative writing class in prison. Though Earl struggles with the inspiration to write, it quickly spreads to his friends and family, which results in ridiculous fantasy scenes, including an animated sequence, Randy’s spy fantasy, a telenovela starring Catalina and, best of all, a smooth R&B jam from Crabman. It’s the show’s ability to bounce between the more realistic adventures of Earl and pals and sequences like these that makes it such a treat to watch a show on a regular basis, because you never know what you’re going to see next.

The season continues to see Earl visiting others he’s wronged from his past, including one episode that involves his own parents (“Monkeys Take a Bath”). In the episode, Earl and Randy decide they want to apologize to their sensitive childhood neighbor (played by David Paymer). While the two thought the neighbor moved because of their teasing, he actually moved because of an affair with Randy and Earl’s mom. When Joy finds out, she approaches Earl’s mom, first calling her a hypocrite, then wondering why they couldn’t have gotten along if they were both so similar. Of course, Joy gets a negative – and, not surprisingly, familiar – response.
Later in the season, “Nature’s Game Show” offers up another darkly amusing gag as a twister (and the show’s attempt at showing a twister coming through is about the most hilariously cheap portrayal of a twister I’ve seen in ages) passes by the town, resulting in a “commonly accepted rule” coming into play: the rule of “finders keepers”, as townsfolk scatter to pick up whatever they can from the items that have been blown around by the twister.However, one of the biggest highlights of the season comes in the second half, with “Darnell Outed”, a 2-parter that starts with Earl trying to help Joy get on the new reality show, “Estrada or Nada”, starring the former “C.H.I.P.S.” actor. Upon seeing the ad for the show, Earl proclaims to Randy, “We truly live in the golden age of television.” Shortly after, Earl introduces Joy’s audition tape for “Fear Factor”. While Pressley has offered up some very funny performances during the four seasons of this series, this is certainly one of the best, even offering up a few genuinely touching moments. The episode sees Joy getting humiliated, which also results in Darnell’s witness protection program cover being blown. The second half has Joy (who renames herself Goldie) and Darnell finding themselves in a new life in the ‘burbs. Upset that he couldn’t make Joy’s dream of being famous come true, he sets off to find her – by mailing himself and Randy to Joy’s new forwarding address. A few episodes later, Earl and Randy have to explain to Mr. Turtle (who has had a long journey) what happened.
My Name is Earl remains a great series and the series certainly goes out on a high note with this terrific fourth and final season – there’s not a bad episode in the bunch, and a few are particularly funny. It does end on a cliffhanger so be warned.

REVIEW: SCREAM 1,2,3 & 4

CAST

Neve Campbell (Wild Things)
Skeet Ulrich (As Good as it Gets)
Courteney Cox (Masters of The Universe)
Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo)
David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks)
Jamie Kennedy (Son of The Mask)
Drew Barrymore (Charles Angels)
Liev Schreiber (The Fifth Wave)
Rose McGowan (Jawbreaker)
W. Earl brown (Bates Motel)
Roger Jackson (The Powerpuff Girls)
Joseph Whipp (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Linda Blair (The Exorcist)
Henry Winkler (Happy Days)

Sidney Prescott isn’t your typical hometown girl… at least, not anymore. She’s been trying to cope with the brutal rape and murder of her mother for almost a year now, but the town of Woodsboro just isn’t willing to let her move on. It’s a small town where hardly anything of interest ever happens, so it didn’t even take a heartbeat’s notice for a small time reporter, Gale Weathers, to start spreading tabloid propaganda about Sid’s mom. More or less, she pegged Mrs. Prescott as the town bicycle that everyone got a chance to ride, and unfortunately, this ongoing story has made it very difficult for Sidney to find peace with the biggest tragedy she’s ever had to face. Not that you can blame the poor girl, what with her mom’s good name and reputation constantly being soured and all. To top things off, her father is always away on business, and she’s catching some flak from her boyfriend for being intimately distant. Sid’s nightmare is about to get worse however, as a killer in a generic five-and-dime Ghostface costume has gutted two of her classmates. It isn’t long before Sid realizes that the timing of the latest deaths in Woodsboro (leading up to the one year anniversary of her mother’s death) isn’t a coincidence. After being put into protective custody by local Deputy Dewey, everyone close to Sidney starts dropping like flies, making it painfully clear that she’s at the center of the killer’s murderous rampage. Finding the killer will unfortunately be no easy feat however, as everyone is seemingly a suspect.
The plot’s implementation in Scream is what really allowed Wes Craven to once again change the face of the genre. Unlike any horror film before its time, the characters in Scream are completely self aware. That is, thanks to the Ghostface killer pretending like he’s the star in some slasher flick, everyone knows they’re playing by the rules of a horror movie – If you don’t want to die, don’t say something to foreshadow your own demise like ‘I’ll be right back’, don’t drink or do drugs, and above all else, you better hope to God that you’re a virgin.

Of course, despite the fact everyone is actually aware of the ‘horror movie as life’ analogy at play, most people dismiss the genre clichés that could potentially save their lives, and inevitably end up meeting their maker anyway. By taking the bold step to often times put the main characters in the very situations they’re attempting to satire. So, without question, Craven and Williamson revitalized the horror scene in 1996 with this film. Not only because it was actually able to deliver legitimate scares and keep the audience guessing who the killer was until the very end, but because it’s genuinely entertaining throughout its entirety.

CAST

Neve Campbell (Wild Things)
Courteney Cox (Masters of The Universe)
David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks)
Jamie Kennedy (Son of The Mask)
Liev Schreiber (The Fifth Wave)
Jada Pinkett Smith (Gotham)
Laurie Metcalf (The Big Bang Theory)
Omar Epps (House)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Gruel Intentions)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Joshua Jackson (Cursed)
Heather Graham (Killing Me Softly)
Duane Martin (Any Given Sunday)
Rebecca Gayheart (Dead Like Me)
Portia de Rossi (Stigmata)
Roger Jackson (The Powerpuff Girls)
Rebecca McFarland (Two and A Half Men)
Elise Neal (Hustle & Flow)
Lewis Arquette (Tango & CAsh)
Marisol Nichols (Riverdale)
Tori Spelling (Scary Movie 2)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
David Warner (Tenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2)
Selma Blair (Hellboy)
Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo)

Scream 2 is a surprising success as a film and a sequel, instead of simply trying to play around the rules from the first film, Scream 2 builds a separate story while acknowledging the Rules of Sequels. Again, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson have teamed up to create an entertaining, suspenseful horror film that rises to a cerebral level unparalleled by all the films in the genre except its predecessor.While the film contains an exchange between Dewey (David Arquette) and Randy (Jamie Kennedy) the film’s slasher-fan movie geek about the rules of sequels, an even more impressive exchange is a classroom discussion of sequels and whether they are inherently inferior or if there are sequels which can actually outdo their predecessors. The discussion is an accurate and realistic one that real people, especially film students would have, mentioning such great sequels as “Aliens,” “Terminator 2,” and the Oscar-winning “The Godfather, Part II.”.Another great plot device in the film is the movie within the movie- “Stab”. Based on the events of the first film and starring  Tori Spelling, the film is basically a typical horror flick without ambition or originality. It also brings up the interesting issue of what relationship films, particularly violent films, have with the violence perpetrated by its viewers. Neither “Scream” nor “Scream 2” gets overly preachy on the subject, however, and Craven seems to ultimately reject any direct link.Scream 2 updates the story of Sydney Prescott, now in college and trying to get past her traumatic experiences, who once again hears a familiar voice on the telephone and soon finds her friends and acquaintances turning into victims of a familiar ghost-mask wearing killer. Once again, there are many “red herrings” throughout the film, as the audience must once again figure out who the mysterious killer might be, and Craven does cause the viewer to keep guessing throughout the film. As in Scream, the film is driven by an all-star cast, including the return of most of the principals from Scream, as well as Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jada Pinkett Smith, Laurie Metcalf, Jerry O’Connell and Omar Epps.Although Craven did a great job building suspense in the first film, he does manage to improve upon his efforts in the second film. While some of the killings are shockingly abrupt, the suspense in the film is quite impressive. While Scream will be revered for years as a modern horror classic, “Scream 2” is a worthy successor. While likely not destined to be a classic on its own, it is clear that Williamson and Craven did not rest on their laurels and truly put an impressive effort into this film, which pays off well, and helps to establish the whole trilogy as a landmark in the horror film genre.

CAST

Neve Campbell (Wild Things)
Courteney Cox (Masters of The Universe)
David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks)
Jamie Kennedy (Son of The Mask)
Liev Schreiber (The Fifth Wave)
Kelly Rutherford (Gossip Girl)
Heather Matarazzo (The Princvess Diaries)
Beth Toussaint (Red Eye)
Richamond Arquette (Zodiac)
Patrick Dempsey (Transformers 3)
Scott Foley (Felicity)
Lance Henriksen (Aliens)
Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men)
Emily Mortimer (Hugo)
Parker Posey (Superman Returns)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
Roger Jackson (The Powerpuff Girls)
Kevin Smith (Mallrats)
Jason Mewes (Dogma)

Scream 3 is a fitting end to the Scream trilogy. It contains much of what made the first two films great, lots of frights, a few laughs, a good cast, a few great cameos and a self-awareness of both the horror genre and the first Scream film expressed this time in the filming of “Stab 3” throughout much of the first half of the movie.


Because each of the three movies focuses in large part on who the killer is and there are references to the earlier culprits in this film, one should definitely watch the films in order and not watch Scream 3 first. Those who have seen the first two films however, will enjoy the subtle references made throughout the film to earlier events, particularly those in the original film.


Like the other two films before it, Scream 3 has an enjoyable cast, featuring returning cast members Courtney Cox Arquette, David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Jamie Kennedy and featuring new cast members Scott Foley, Lance Henriksen, Jenny McCarthy, Parker Posey, Emily Mortimer and Patrick Dempsey who does a surprisingly good job as a cop with more than a passing interest in the plight of Sydney Prescott, Neve Campbell’s character as the people she knows and the people playing the people she knows find themselves in grave danger. Also extremely enjoyable in the film are the cameos of Carrie Fisher, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, and in a larger role, Patrick Warburton, (“Puddy” from Seinfeld) Warburton’s use of the word “Aight” is a true high point in the film.


The suspense of the film is quite good and the audience is continually left guessing who the murderer might be. The killing scenes are at times graphic but will often leave viewers on the edge of their seats. Wes Craven unquestionably proves his mettle as a master of horror and suspense and does a good job of crowning off the trilogy with a good film. While many other horror franchises, including Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street have gone on to boast a series of eight or more films, Craven deserves a great amount of credit for making the film into a trilogy and settling there. This film does have a number of parallels with “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare,” the first horror film in the genre to truly deconstruct the genre from within, but even for those who have seen “New Nightmare,” Scream 3 is still a very enjoyable film

CAST

Neve Campbell (Wild Things)
Courteney Cox (Masters of The Universe)
David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars)
Shenae Grimes-Beech (90210)
Anna Paquin (X-Men)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Britt Robertson (The Secret Circle)
Alison Brie (The Lego Movie)
Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica)
Hayden Panettiere (Heroes)
Marley Shelton (Sin City)
Roger Jackson (The Powerpuff Girls)
Rory Culkin (Mean Creek)
Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Adam Brody (The OC)
Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo)

Scream 4 arrived in 2011 promising new rules for a new decade, suggesting innovation and inspiration provided by the Asian remake craze, torture porn, and reboots. Instead, the best thing about the new film is its insistence on preserving the formula that made it popular in the first place. As they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Once again, the film reunites survivors Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers-Riley (Courteney Cox), and Dewey Riley (David Arquette) in the town of Woodsboro. It’s the last stop on a nationwide tour promoting Sidney’s book about her experiences, but before she can sign a single copy, dead bodies start turning up and all-too-familiar feelings start flooding back. Among the targets: Sidney’s cousin Jill (Emma Roberts), her friends Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) and Olivia (Marielle Jaffe), and local film nerds Robbie (Erik Knudsen) and Charlie (Rory Culkin).

It’s a relief to discover that the screenplay by original writer Kevin Williamson is pointedly focused on Sidney, Gail, and Dewey, and remains refreshingly faithful to the tone and style of the original films. There’s one swipe at torture porn and an even better jab at remakes, but Williamson doesn’t seem that interested in what’s been going on in the genre since Ghostface last graced the silver screen. The script is careful to tread the line between heightened and over-the-top: any horror that has changed as a reaction to older trends is inherently meta, and it’d be easy for looping back even further to become obnoxious. Instead, Williamson saves his poison pen for a wicked, inspired ending.

In terms of direction, Craven brings his A-game. The original Scream made waves for its violence, which holds up even today as excruciatingly brutal. Scream is bloody, no doubt about it, but it’s less the splatter and more the almost sadistic glee with which Craven pummels some of its victims that keeps the original shocking. This new sequel never climbs to the same level of ferociousness, but Craven isn’t pulling his punches, either, splattering bedroom walls with a ridiculous amount of blood.Scream 4 is not only one of the best in the series, but also one of the best slasher movies in at least a decade.