REVIEW: BONES – SEASON 5

Starring

Emily Deschanel (Boogeyman)
David Boreanaz (Angel)
Michaela Conlin (Yellowstone)
Tamara Taylor (Lost)
T. J. Thyne (Ghost World)
John Francis Daley (Game Night)

David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Cyndi Lauper (Here and There)
Patricia Belcher (Jeepers Creepers)
Michael Grant Terry (Grimm)
Christopher B. Duncan (Veronica Mars)
Michael Arden (Bride Wars)
Riki Lindhome (The Muppets)
Eugene Byrd (Arrow)
Tiffany Hines (Nikita)
Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)
Kaitlin Doubleday (Empire)
Pej Vahdat (Shameless)
Leonardo Nam (Westworld)
Reggie Austin (Agent Carter)
Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly)
Cheryl White (Major Crimes)
Paula Newsome (Guess Who)
Josie Davis (The Hot Seat)
Amy Gumenick (Arrow)
Carla Gallo (Superbad)
Diedrich Bader (American Housewife)
Andy Umberger (Buffy: TVS)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
Joel David Moore (Avatar)
Stephen Fry (V For Vendetta)
Ryan Cartwright (Alphas)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Debbie Lee Carrington (Total Recall)
Wynn Everett (Agent Carter)
Martin Klebba (Scrubs)
Sarah Rafferty (Suits)
Lindsay Hollister (Get Smart)
Ralph Waite (The Waltons)
Nakia Burrise (Power Rangers Zeo)
Mickey Jones (Total Recall)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Ryan O’Neal (Love Story)
Dorian Missick (The Cape)
Dale Dickey (Iron Man 3)
Penny Johnson Jerald (The Orville)
Richard T. Jones (Terminator: TSCC)
Brendan Fehr (Roswell)
Dilshad Vadsaria (The Oath)
Fay Masterson (Eyes Wide Shut)
Robert Gant (Supergirl)
Joshua Malina (The Big Bang Theory)
Henri Lubatti (Angel)
Amanda Schull (Pretty Little Liars)
Rusty Schwimmer (Highlander 2)
Clea DuVall (Better Call Saul)
Eric Millegan (Phobic)
Megan Hilty (Smash)
Jenica Bergere (Rat Race)
Victor Webster (Mutant X)
Ben Falcone (New Girl)
Suzy Nakamura (Dead To Me)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
Ravil Isyanov (Transformers: Dark of The Moon)
Rena Sofer (Heroes)
Michael Des Barres (Poison Ivy 3)
Kate Vernon (Battlestar Galactica)
William Stanford Davis (A Lot Like Love)
Deirdre Lovejoy (The Blacklist)
Billy Gibbons (Two and a Half Men)

Michaela Conlin, Emily Deschanel, Tamara Taylor, and T.J. Thyne in Bones (2005)At the beginning of the fifth season of the wildly popular forensic drama “Bones,” many viewers tuned in trepidatiously after the spectacularly strange fourth season finale. Thankfully, all fears were allayed and relieved when the fifth season kicked into high gear in the very first episode and maintained that pace throughout the season; “Bones”‘ fifth season is perhaps its greatest yet.David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, and Randy Oglesby in Bones (2005)The one thing that has always set “Bones” apart from the countless other procedurals on the airwaves right now is the focus on the characters solving the crimes rather than the crimes themselves, and the strength of this approach shines through brilliantly in every episode of this season.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel return to the roles of Booth and Bones and deliver their strongest performances yet as each character is shaken to their core. As Booth struggles to regain his sense of self, he has to confront the knowledge of his feelings for his partner, while Bones herself goes through a whirlwind of emotion as the emotional barriers she has erected around her heart begin to crumble down, leaving her questioning not only herself but her relationship with Booth as well as her work at the Jeffersonian itself. The tension between the two has never been more delicious or more addictive, and both lead actors knock their roles absolutely out of the park.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)But while the relationship between Booth and Brennan becomes increasingly more complex, the wonderful supporting cast of engaging characters at the Jeffersonian keep the show moving along briskly and lightly. Cam (Tamara Taylor) must run the lab while dealing with the challenge of being a good mother, guiding the team effectively toward each conclusion; Sweets (John Francis Daley) continues to provide invaluable insight into the minds of the team; Angela (Michaela Conlin) remains the emotional heart and soul of the team as she opens her heart to love’s possibilities; and Hodgins (TJ Thyne) struggles with his feelings for Angela as he returns to his abrasive, loveable self.David Boreanaz, Dan Castellaneta, and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)The cases themselves have regained a fascinating light as the mysteries the team confronts become more complex, and the special effects department has outdone themselves in the gore and goop department this year as Booth and Bones investigate some of the most gruesome crime scenes in history, all moved along by the brisk black humor the show excels at; the team investigates a possible secret agent locked in a truck for days, a would-be rocker torn to pieces by an industrial washer/dryer, a gamer literally melted in a vat of fast-food grease, and a dozen more cheerfully disgusting cases where the outcomes of the mysteries hold the power to shock and surprise the audience; the writers have once again caught the perfect balance between the whodunnit and the drama to craft a truly unique show.David Boreanaz and Ralph Waite in Bones (2005)But it’s not merely the cases that hold the viewers’ attention this season; season five is full of true powerhouse episodes: heartbreaking cases like “The Plain in the Prodigy”; darkly comical shows like “The Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”; truly shocking mysteries like “The Proof in the Pudding,”; and even a historically fascinating case written by the author of the original Temperance Brennan novels Kathy Reichs herself (“The Witch in the Wardrobe”) — however, all of these merely lead up to the three knockout moments of the season:David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)In the fifth season, “Bones” reaches its 100th episode, “The Parts in the Sum of the Whole.” Likely the most beloved and most contested episode in the show’s history, the 100th episode completely redefined Booth and Brennan’s relationship as it showed the viewers the pair’s first meeting, something never before revealed, and circles around to one of the most hearbreaking and yet most powerfully hopeful moments of the series. “Parts” was also directed by David Boreanaz, one of the series’ leads, and the sheer emotion wrung out of Boreanaz and Deschanel by the end speaks volumes to the talent of the show’s leads.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)As the series continues, however, the characters were shocked to their cores as they were forced to come face-to-face with their most terrifying adversary yet: the cunningly frightening sociopath dubbed The Gravedigger, in “The Boy with the Answer,” a nail-bitingly tense hour of television that had viewers’ hearts pounding as Heather Taffet, the Gravedigger, proved that her true arena was the courtroom, tearing apart her victims and throwing the entire future of Brennan’s life into question.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)This only segues into the season’s amazingly dramatic finale, “The Beginning in the End.” As the team investigates the home of a hoarder, Bones questions what she truly wants to do with her life, Booth’s past comes calling, and Angela’s father blows back into town, all leading to a truly shocking season ender, a masterful finale that not only redefined the very foundations of the show and the characters but also continued to set the show on a rising point, ensuring that every faithful viewer of “Bones” will be frantically waiting for the sixth season to premiere in the fall.

REVIEW: BEDTIME STORIES

CAST

Adam Sandler (Jack &Jill)
Keri Russell (Waitress)
Guy Pearce (Prometheus)
Russell Brand (Get Him to The Greek)
Richard Griffiths (Harry potter)
Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies)
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Courteney Cox (Scream)
Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones)
Aisha Tyler (The Babymakers)
Allen Covert (The Weding Singer)
Kathryn Joosten (Desperate Housewives)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)
Nick Swardson (Bolt)
Carmen Electra (Scary Movie)
Sarah Buxton (Spread)
Debbie Lee Carrington (Total Recall)
Annalise Basso (Ouija 2)

Skeeter Bronson (Adam Sandler) is a hotel handyman who was promised by his father, Marty Bronson (Jonathan Pryce), to be the manager of the family hotel. A mysophobe named Barry Nottingham (Richard Griffiths) agreed to keep that promise when the Bronson family sold their hotel to him—then built a new hotel instead. Thirty years later, when the story begins, Skeeter is the hotel’s handyman while management is held by Kendall (Guy Pearce). Barry’s new hotel, the Sunny Vista Nottingham Hotel, is a hit, but he’s got plans to build an even more elaborate hotel, one designed around a theme that he’s keeping secret. Skeeter’s sister and principal of Webster Elementary School, Wendy (Courteney Cox), asks Skeeter to watch her kids, Bobbi (Laura Ann Kesling) and Patrick (Jonathan Morgan Heit), while she goes out of town. Skeeter does not know his niece and nephew very well, but agrees. Helping him during the day is Wendy’s friend, Jill Hastings (Keri Russell), a teacher who works at the same school as Wendy. That night, putting Bobbi and Patrick to bed, Skeeter tells them a story, one inspired by his own life as an “underappreciated” handyman: a downtrodden squire “Sir Fixalot” rivals the pompous “Sir Buttikiss” in competition for a new job. The kids add their own details such as the king giving Sir Fixalot a chance to prove himself, a mermaid based on Jill, and a downpour of gumballs when Fixalot prevails.

The following day, while fixing Barry’s television, Skeeter learns that the new hotel’s surprise theme will be rock and roll. He shocks Barry by telling him of the Hard Rock Hotel. Barry offers Skeeter a chance to compete with Kendall for a better theme. While driving, Skeeter is suddenly greeted with a shower of gumballs caused by a crashed candy delivery truck he doesn’t see, so he concludes that the story had come true and quickly develops a plan. His next story, a Western in which he is given a horse named “Ferrari” by a Native American horse trader (Rob Schneider). The children have him save a damsel in distress and, deserving a reward kiss, gets kicked by a dwarf instead. That night, out in search of his Ferrari, he meets a man (also played by Rob Schneider), who steals his wallet. He rescues Barry’s daughter, Violet Nottingham (Teresa Palmer), from the paparazzi, and, just as he is about to kiss her, he is kicked by a dwarf. At this point, with no Ferrari to be found, he determines that only the children’s story changes come true.

The following night’s story is about a Greek gladiator, Skeeticus, who, after impressing the emperor and a stadium of onlookers, attracts the attention of the most beautiful maiden. After a meal in which all the girls who used to pick on him in high school were so impressed by the beautiful maiden he is with, they start randomly singing the “Hokey Pokey.” After Skeeticus saves a man’s life, a rainstorm sends him and the maiden into a magical cave which has Abraham Lincoln in it. Skeeter loses his patience with the story and upsets the children, telling them that their stories have nothing to do with real life. Unable to get them to continue, the story ends. The next day, Skeeter learns Violet will not be meeting with him per the story design, but unexpectedly runs into Jill at the beach who invites him to lunch. Recognizing girls at the restaurant from his high school days, Skeeter asks Jill to pretend to be his girlfriend. The girls are plainly impressed and then inexplicably break into the “Hokey Pokey.” Walking on the beach with Jill, Skeeter casually saves the life of a man before a sudden rainstorm sends them under the dock. Skeeter realizes that the girl in the stories is Jill, not Violet, and that he is falling in love with her. As they are about to kiss, Skeeter remembers that Abe Lincoln is supposed to appear and moves away. Instead, an American penny (with Lincoln’s face on it) falls from through the cracks of the dock, completing the story.

For Skeeter and the kids’ final night together, a space-themed story begins with Skeeter’s character who battles Kendall’s character in anti-gravity. Skeeter’s character, who speaks in alien gibberish, wins and Skeeter quickly ends the story. Patrick interjects that the story is too predictable and—remembering Skeeter’s argument against whimsically happy endings—pointless. Instead, Skeeter’s character is incinerated by a fireball and there ends the story.

Panicking, Skeeter sees/hears signs of fire everywhere. At Barry’s luau-themed birthday party, while dodging many fiery hazards, Skeeter’s tongue is stung by a bee, making him as hard to understand as his character was in the last of the stories. Luckily, Skeeter’s best friend, Mickey (Russell Brand), can still understand him and offers to translate for him. Kendall’s idea is for a hotel with a theme celebrating Broadway musicals—an idea that impresses no one. Barry much prefers Skeeter’s approach—simply reminding them of how much fun children have when staying at a classy hotel. After winning the competition, Skeeter thinks he’s found his happy ending. Instead, Kendall reveals to Skeeter that the new hotel is replacing Jill, Patrick and Bobbi’s school, which is to be demolished the next day. Stunned at that, Skeeter then panics when he sees Barry’s oversized birthday cake. Skeeter douses the candle and Barry with a fire extinguisher. Barry immediately tells Skeeter that he’s fired.

Afterwards, Jill, Patrick, and Bobbi discover that the school where they all work and attend is to be knocked down to make way for the new hotel, and they are all upset with Skeeter, refusing to believe that he didn’t know about the location. Wendy believes him, but is upset because he taught her children not to believe in happy endings. She confesses that she had always been jealous of his and their father’s ability to believe in made up stories and have fun the way she never did and had secretly hoped that, by leaving her children with him, his fun loving nature would rub off on them. When they attend the demolition to protest, Skeeter is inspired to prevent the school from being demolished—Donna Hynde (Aisha Tyler), one of the girls from his high school days, is a zoning commissioner, and helps find Barry Nottingham an alternative location on the beach in Santa Monica. Skeeter takes Jill on a wild motorcycle ride (during which Skeeter steals back his wallet from the thief (Rob Schneider) who stole it) which ends at the school and manages to stop the countdown of the demolition. As a reward, Skeeter asks Jill for a kiss and she gladly complies.

Sometime later, Skeeter opens Marty’s Motel (named after his late father) while Kendall and his scheming partner, Aspen (Lucy Lawless), are demoted to Skeeter’s motel wait staff. In the film’s conclusion, Marty Bronson narrates that Barry Nottingham overcame his fear of germs to the degree that he left the hotel business to become a school nurse at Webster Elementary School. His daughter, Violet Nottingham, became the new owner of her father’s hotel business and married Mickey, while Skeeter and Jill got married as well and live happily ever after.The idea of the film is hilarious, and Disney have managed to pull it off very well.Overall a great family sci-fi / comedy for children and adults.

REVIEW: THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES

CAST
Tom Hanks (The Road To Perdition)
Bruce Willis (Armageddon)
Melanie Griffith (Tempo)
Kim Cattrall (Star Trek 6)
Saul Rubinek (Memory Run)
Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)
Kurt Fuller (Ghostbusters 2)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
Rita Wilson (Jingle All The Way)
Vito D’Ambrosio (The Flash)
Donald Moffat (The Thing)
Marjorie Monaghan (Babylon 5)
Sam Sorbo (Hercules:TLJ)
Camryn Manheim (Scary Movie 3)
Richard Belzer (Law & Order: SVU)
F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus)
Terry Farrell (Star Trek: DS9)
Debbie Lee Carrington (Total Recall)
Sherman McCoy (Tom Hanks) is a Wall Street investor who makes millions while enjoying the good life and the sexual favors of Maria Ruskin (Melanie Griffith), a Southern belle gold digger. Sherman and Maria are driving back to Maria’s apartment from JFK Airport when they take a wrong turn on the expressway and the two find themselves in the “war-zone” of the South Bronx. They are approached by two suspicious black youths after Sherman gets out of the car to move a tire placed purposely in the middle of the road. Sherman jumps back into the car and Maria guns the engine in reverse, running over one of the teenagers and putting him in a coma. The two drive away and decide not to report the accident to the police.
Meanwhile, indigent alcoholic journalist Peter Fallow (Bruce Willis), anxious for a story to make good with his editor, comes upon the hit-and-run case as a rallying point for the black community calling upon Jewish district attorney Abe Weiss (F. Murray Abraham), who is the Bronx District Attorney seeking re-election. According to Judge Leonard White (Morgan Freeman), almost all of DA Weiss’ prosecutions end up with black and Puerto Rican defendants going to prison and Weiss is seeking a white defendant for purposes of convincing the minority-majority community that he is worth re-electing.
Weiss recognizes the press coverage inherent in prosecuting the callow Sherman, who has been discovered as the hit-and-run driver, in order to cultivate the image as an avenger for the minorities and be propelled to the mayorship of New York City. As Sherman is brought to his knees, New York City fragments into different factions who use the case to suit their own cynical purposes.
Finally, Sherman is left without any allies to support him except for the sympathetic Judge Leonard White and the remorseful Fallow. Fallow gains a tremendous advantage and insight into the case when he is dating a woman who is the sub-letting landlady of Maria’s apartment, and knows of secret recordings of conversations in the apartment made by the authorities to prove that the woman is not in fact living in the rent-controlled apartment herself. She discovers information about the McCoy case (where Maria states she was driving the car), which she gives to Fallow, who in turn covertly supplies it to Sherman McCoy’s defense lawyer. Sherman gets his hands on a tape and plays the recording in court, where it reveals Maria directly contradicting the evidence she has just given, showing she has been perjuring herself and causing her to faint. Sherman plays the tape in a tape recorder inside his briefcase connected to a small loudspeaker that he holds on the desk.
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When the judge orders that he approach the bench with this evidence, he asserts that the tape is all his (making it admissible evidence and it is technically truthful since it refers only to the dummy tape he was holding and ignores the real tape that is hidden which is not his), resulting in his acquittal. The people in the court go into an uproar, to which Judge White launches into a tirade that they have no right to act self-righteous and smarmy, or that they are above Sherman, considering Reverend Bacon (John Hancock) claims to help disadvantaged New Yorkers but actually engages in race baiting, or that the District Attorney Weiss pushed this case not in the interest of justice but in the interest of appealing to minority voters to further his political career by appealing to their desire to “get even”. After the Judge made his point, he begs the people to be decent and change their ways, letting Sherman go.
The film ends as it begins, where there is a large audience applauding Peter Fallow’s premiere of his book. Fallow says that Sherman McCoy has moved away from New York City to an unknown destination, presumably to live in obscurity.
I still can’t understand, after all these years, why this film was and still is so underrated. To me is one of De Palma’s masterpieces, where you can enjoy all his talents but still you breathe all the focused and cruel genius of Tom Wolfe and his best book. Not to mention that the adaptation of the book is brilliant and manges to keep the core and the best of it in a just 2 hours movie, even adding some moments that were not present in the books but sound absolutely brilliant, coherent and useful to carry on the story. Actors are funny and acting direction absolutely perfect, both in comical timing, and in the way actors approach their characters.

REVIEW: BATMAN RETURNS

CAST
Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Danny DeVito (Drowning Mona)
Michelle Pfeiffer (Stardust)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Michael Gough (Corpes Bride)
Andrew Bryniarski (7 Mummies)
Pat Hingle (Talladega Nights)
Vincent Schiavelli (American Yakuza 2)
Jan Hooks (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)
Paul Reubens (Mystery Men)
Michael Murphy (Rogue)
Cristi Conaway (Timecop TV)
Branscombe Richmond (The Scorpion King)
Diane Salinger (Ghost World)
Sean Whalen (Superstore)
Robert Gossett (Dark Angel)
Felix Silla (Spaceballs)
Debbie Lee Carrington (Total Recall)
Anthony De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
Tucker and Esther Cobblepot, an aristocratic couple, throw their deformed infant child in a river, feeling that Gotham City’s high society would not approve after witnessing their son kill their pet cat. However, a flock of penguins living in an abandoned zoo’s arctic exhibit connected to the sewers rescue and raise him. 33 years later, the child becomes The Penguin (Danny DeVito) and the ring master of the Red Triangle Circus Gang, who appear in Gotham City during the annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony and cause a riot. As the police and Batman (Michael Keaton) deal with the riot, one of the guests at the ceremony, a prominent businessman named Max Shreck (Christopher Walken), is kidnapped and taken to the Penguin, who desires to become a citizen of Gotham and blackmails Shreck into helping him by threatening to expose evidence of his corporate crimes.
Meanwhile, Shreck’s secretary, Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer), accidentally finds out that the power plant which her employer wants to build will actually drain Gotham of its electricity. When Shreck confronts her after returning from his visit with Penguin, he pushes her out of a window to silence her but a series of curtains break her fall somewhat and a clutter of alley cats revive her by licking her wounds. Selina returns home, suffers a mental breakdown, and designs a black vinyl catsuit to become the costumed vigilante Catwoman.
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The Penguin sends one of his costumed henchmen to kidnap the mayor’s baby while he “saves” him, becoming a hero to the people of Gotham. However, Bruce Wayne is suspicious of his true motives. After some time in the Hall of Records, the Penguin discovers that his parents are dead and his name is Oswald Cobblepot, though he has secretly been taking notes on the first-born sons that live in Gotham City. Meanwhile, Batman’s alter-ego, billionaire Bruce Wayne, is dealing with Shreck’s persistence in having his new power plant built. As both Bruce and the current mayor will not approve of the power plant, Shreck decides to pull strings and make Penguin the new mayor. To do this, Penguin has the Red Triangle Gang create a riot, causing the citizens to lose all faith in the mayor. During the riot, Catwoman vandalizes Max’s Department Store to gain revenge on him. When Batman and the Penguin confront each other, she intervenes just as the store blows up and she slips away. The Penguin escapes as Catwoman fights Batman and gets pushed off a rooftop, but she is saved when she lands in a dump-truck filled with kitty litter.
The Penguin and Catwoman meet and collaborate on a plan to kill Batman out of mutual hatred for the Caped Crusader, but Selina finds herself developing a romantic relationship with Bruce Wayne as the two of them start to spend time together. That night, Penguin and his gang kidnap the actress chosen to turn on the Gotham City Christmas tree lights known as the “Ice Princess”, and frame Batman by leaving one of his weapons on the scene. After a fight with Catwoman, Batman finds the Ice Princess on a rooftop where the Penguin releases a swarm of flying bats and makes her fall to her death, further incriminating Batman. As Penguin and Catwoman celebrate their victory, Penguin tries to make advances towards her, which she rejects. Angered, Penguin ends their alliance and causes her to fall into a greenhouse. Batman escapes to the Batmobile and discovers that Penguin’s henchmen have broken into it and installed a remote control device. The Penguin takes it on a devastating rampage, but Batman regains control and escapes death. He also manages to record part of the Penguin’s taunts, which are being transmitted to the screen on his dashboard.
The next day, the Penguin and Shreck are using Batman’s rampage to push for an impeachment of the mayor. Batman turns the situation around by jamming the signal and broadcasting the Penguin’s contemptuous outburst. Enraged, the Penguin takes his notes from the Hall of Records and orders the Red Triangle Gang to kidnap all the first-born sons of Gotham so that he can throw them to their deaths in the sewer like his own parents did to him, and he personally kidnaps Max Shreck as revenge for being manipulated. Batman saves all the children, forcing the Penguin to execute an alternate plan to destroy the entire city with his army of rocket-armed penguin commandos. The plan backfires when Batman lures the penguins back to the Penguin’s sewer base before confronting Penguin directly and knocking him into the sewer water from a great height.
Catwoman appears with her costume torn after the greenhouse crash, and again tries to kill Shreck, but Batman stops her and reveals himself as Bruce Wayne. She does the same as Selina. Shreck then shoots Batman, before shooting Selina four times. She survives all the shots, counting out how many of her nine lives she has left, and once Shreck runs out of bullets, she puts an electrical taser between their lips while grabbing an electrical cable. As Batman, who was wearing body armor, regains consciousness, a tremendous explosion is caused that kills Shreck but leaves no trace of Selina. As the dust settles, the Penguin rises from the water and tries one more time to kill Batman, but collapses from his injuries and dies. The emperor penguins hold a funeral procession for their dead master and drag his corpse back into the sewer water, his resting place.
Afterwards, Alfred (Michael Gough) drives Bruce home, but Bruce spots a shadow of Catwoman in the alley and has the car stopped so he can check. All he finds is a black cat trying to keep warm, and so Bruce takes her home with him as he exchanges Christmas wishes with Alfred. As they leave, the Bat-Signal lights up in the night sky as Catwoman, with her costume fixed, watches from afar.
Batman Returns remains the greatest cinematic comic book movie to date and one of Tim Burton’s most uniquely accomplished films

REVIEW: TOTAL RECALL (1990)

CAST

Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator)
Sharon Stone (Catwoman)
Rachel Ticotin (Con Air)
Ronny Cox (Robocop)
Michael Ironside (X-Men: First Class)
Mel Johnson, Jr. (Hideous!)
Marshall Bell (Twins)
Robert Constanzo (Batman: TAS)
Marc Alaimo (Star Trek: DS9)
Dean Norris (The Cell)
Debbie Lee Carrington (Men In Black)
Lycia Naff (Star Trek: TNG)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Mickey Jones (V)
Rosemary Dunsmore (Orphan BLack)
Peter Kent (True Justice)

In 2084, Earthbound construction worker Douglas Quaid is having troubling dreams about Mars and a mysterious woman there. His wife Lori dismisses the dreams and discourages him from thinking about Mars, where the governor, Vilos Cohaagen, is fighting rebels while searching for a rumored alien artifact located in the mines. At “Rekall”, a company that provides memory implants of vacations, Quaid opts for a memory trip to Mars as a secret agent fantasy. However, during the procedure, before the memory is implanted, something goes wrong, and the story diverges between the question of what is real and what is hallucination. Apparently, Quaid starts revealing previously suppressed memories of actually being a secret agent. The company sedates him, wipes his memory of the visit, and sends him home. On the way home, Quaid is attacked by his friend Harry and some construction coworkers; he is forced to kill them, revealing elite fighting-skills. He is then attacked in his apartment by Lori, who reveals that she was never his wife; their marriage was just a false memory implant and Cohaagen sent her as an agent to monitor Quaid. He is then attacked and pursued by armed thugs led by Richter, Lori’s real husband and Cohaagen’s operative.
After evading his attackers, Quaid is given a suitcase containing money, gadgets, fake IDs, a disguise, and a video recording. The video is of Quaid himself, who identifies himself as “Hauser” and explains that he used to work for Cohaagen, but learned about the artifact and underwent the memory wipe to protect himself. “Hauser” instructs Quaid to remove a tracking device located inside his skull before ordering him to go to Mars and check into the Hilton with a fake ID. Quaid makes his way to Mars and follows clues to Venusville, the colony’s red-light district, primarily populated by people mutated as a result of poor radiation shielding. He meets Benny, a taxi driver, and Melina, the woman from his dreams; but she spurns him, believing that Quaid is still working for Cohaagen.
Quaid later encounters Dr. Edgemar and Lori, who claim Quaid has suffered a “schizoid embolism” and is trapped in a fantasy based on the implanted memories. Edgemar warns that Quaid is headed for lunacy and a lobotomy if he does not return to reality, then offers Quaid a pill that would waken him from the dream. Quaid puts the pill in his mouth, but after seeing Edgemar sweating in fear, he kills Edgemar and spits out the pill instead of swallowing it. Lori alerts Richter’s forces, who burst into the room and capture Quaid, but Melina rescues him, with Quaid killing Lori in the process. The two race back to the Venusville bar and escape into the tunnels with Benny. Unable to locate Quaid, Cohaagen shuts down the ventilation to Venusville, slowly asphyxiating its citizens. Quaid, Melina, and Benny are taken to a resistance base, and Quaid is introduced to Kuato, a parasitic twin conjoined to his brother’s stomach. Kuato reads Quaid’s mind and tells him that the alien artifact is a turbinium reactor that will create a breathable atmosphere for Mars when activated, eliminating Cohaagen’s abusive monopoly on breathable air. Cohaagen’s forces burst in and kill most of the resistance, including Kuato, who instructs Quaid to start the reactor. Benny reveals that he is also working for Cohaagen.
Quaid and Melina are taken to Cohaagen, who reveals the Quaid persona was a ploy by Hauser to infiltrate the mutants and lead Cohaagen to Kuato, thereby wiping out the resistance. Cohaagen orders Hauser’s memory to be re-implanted in Quaid and Melina programmed as Hauser’s obedient wife, but Quaid and Melina escape into the mines where the reactor is located. They work their way to the control room of the reactor, and Benny attacks them in an excavation machine. Quaid kills Benny, then confronts Richter and his men, killing them too.
Quaid reaches the reactor control room, where Cohaagen is waiting with a bomb. During the ensuing struggle, Cohaagen triggers the bomb, but Quaid throws it away, blowing out one of the walls of the control room and causing an explosive decompression. While reaching for the reactor controls, Quaid knocks out Cohaagen, which causes him to be sucked out onto the Martian surface, killing him. Quaid manages to activate the reactor before he and Melina are also pulled out. The reactor releases air into the Martian atmosphere, saving Quaid, Melina and the rest of Mars’ population. As humans walk onto the surface of the planet in its new atmosphere, Quaid momentarily pauses to wonder whether he is dreaming before turning to kiss Melina.
Good Si-Fi story. The special effects are, as expected, a little dated now but was state of the art for the 90’s. Story moves at a great pace and Arnie is at his usual best with great one liners “consider this a divorce” to Sharon Stone as his evil wife. I prefer this version to the re-boot in 2012.

REVIEW: SHE’S ALL THAT

 

CAST

Freddie Prinze. Jr (Bones)
Rachael Leigh Cook (Antitrust)
Paul Walker (The Fast and The Furious)
Matthew Lillard (Scream)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (The Vampire Diaries)
Kevin Pollak (Mom)
Usher (The Faculty)
Lil Kim (Superhero Movie)
Anna Paquin (X-Men)
Kieran Culkin (Home Alone 2)
Elden Henson (Daredevil TV)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy)
Gabrielle Union (Flashforward)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Alexis Arquette (Pulp Fiction)
Chris Owen (American Pie)
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Flex Alexander (The Hills Have Eyes 2)
Tamara Mello (Popular)
Debbie Lee Carrington (Total Recall)

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Taylor Vaughn (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) is supposed to be a lock for prom queen, but her newly-minted ex Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.) shrugs that off. Grab any girl on campus, give her the right look, and pair her with the right dude, and — flash forward a month and a half! — she’s the one getting a sparkly tiara placed atop her immaculately-coiffed head. Über-bro Dean Sampson (Paul Walker) sez that it’s a bet, and as part of the terms, he even gets to choose the girl. ‘Course, Dean’s not gonna make it easy.  The unwittingly lucky lady…? Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook)! A standoff-ish klutz.

She’s All That isn’t exactly going to blindside you with outta-left-field twists or anything. You know Laney isn’t gonna give Zack so much as the time of day. You know he’ll wind up wearing her down and that the two of ’em will get to be buddies. You know they’re gonna fall in doe-eyed love. You know that whole bet thing will come back to bite Zack on the ass. You know they’ll break-up-to-make-up, that there will be a big thing at the prom, that the bad kids will get what’s coming to ’em, and that it’ll all end happily ever after. You know beat-for-beat how things are gonna go, and that predictability is kinda part of the appeal.it’s a film you can sit down to and not have to think much.

NOTE: there is a blink and miss it cameo from Sarah Michelle Gellar

REVIEW: BITCH SLAP

CAST

Julia Voth (Lilith)
Erin Cummings (Spartacus: Blood and Sand)
America Olivo (Mission Impossible 5)
Michael Hurst (Death Warmed Over)
Ron Melendez (Children of The Corn 3)
William Gregory Lee (Dark Angel)
Minae Noji (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Renee O’ Connor (Boogeyman 2)
Mark Lutz (Angel)
Zoe Bell (Death Proof)
Debbie Lee Carrington (Total Recall)

920x920Bitch Slap is everything you think it is. Girls. Guns. Catfights. Explosions. Lesbian romances. A story of bad guys, booty, alliances, betrayals, and secrets. It’s being billed as, “a post-modern, thinking man’s throwback to the B movie/exploitation films of the 1950s – 70s.This movie is irredeemably enjoyable, preposterous in both its story and its characters yet magnetic as a satire disguised as a schlocky male fantasy. It tells the story of three bad girls, all smoking hot, who find themselves in a plot to extort diamonds and weapons from an underworld kingpin, whose identity is a secret. The redhead is Hel, presumably short for Helen (Erin Cummings); she seems to be the leader of the group, tough but levelheaded, able to see the big picture and plan accordingly. The blonde is Camero (America Olivo), an oversexed hothead who’s on medication. She’s one of those people that hates everyone and is mad about everything, and has the dialogue to prove it. The brunette is a stripper named Trixie (Julia Voth), always upset, always overwhelmed, always wanting to play by the rules.1Every opportunity is taken to flaunt their feminine assets, and boy, do they have them – a basic shot is a slow-motion close-up of heaving breasts and deep cleavage, although some time is set aside for bare legs. There’s never a moment when they aren’t wearing high heels or don’t have makeup painted on their faces. And then there are times when they pause to do a little manual labor, such as digging in the middle of the desert. My, but it’s burning hot, and … is that a bucket of water sitting there? Maybe they should splash each other playfully in order to stay cool. Things will heat back up later on, when Trixie and Hel discover that their feelings for one another are deeper than they first imagined. That’s about when the situation goes completely out of control. Loyalties change. Identities are revealed. People get shot. Things blow up. And catfights.Intertwined with this is a ridiculous but somehow appropriate subplot about a notorious criminal known only as Pinky, never dealt with directly and never seen but fabled to be the most dangerous criminal mastermind who ever lived. When Trixie innocently brings up the subject, Hel and Camero speak in the same tones as someone telling a ghost story around a campfire. “Many believe Pinky’s a phantom,” says Camero. “Others think he sold his soul to the devil. I think he IS the devil.” Maybe so; a flashback sequence shows a silhouetted figure going nuts with what appear to be samurai swords, used to decapitate people left and right. Do we ever discover what Pinky looks like? With such gorgeous women displayed on the big screen, can you honestly say that you care?
When this movie is not going out of its way to be sexy, then it’s being incredibly goofy. Take Olivo, for example; the angrier she gets, the funnier she becomes, not only because she spews unbelievably inane profanity, but also because her character is the most aggressive. Bitch Slap is  indeed a great film, projected up on the screen in all its violent, foulmouthed, double-D glory. also Kevin Sorbo, Lucy Lawless, and Renée O’Connor all have cameos in Bitch Slap.