HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: HOSTEL

CAST

Jay Hernandez (Suicide Squad)
Derek Richardson (Anger Management)
Barbara Nedeljakova (Children of The Corn: Genesis)
Jan Vlasák (Empties)
Jennifer Lim (When Evil Calls)
Keiko Seiko  (Natural Born Killers)

College students Paxton (Jay Hernandez) and Josh (Derek Richardson) are traveling across Europe with their Icelandic friend Óli (Eyþór Guðjónsson). In Amsterdam, the three meet a man named Alexei (Lubomir Bukovy), who convinces them to visit a hostel in Slovakia filled with beautiful women. The three board a train to Slovakia, where they encounter a strange Dutch Businessman (Jan Vlasák). When they arrive at the hostel, they are greeted by Natalya (Barbara Nedeljáková) and Svetlana (Jana Kaderabkova), who invite them to the spa, and later to the disco. That night, Paxton and Josh sleep with Natalya and Svetlana, while Óli sleeps with the desk girl, Vala (Jana Havlickova). The next morning, they are surprised to see that Óli hasn’t returned, and they are unable to contact him. They are later approached by a Japanese girl named Kana (Jennifer Lim), who shows them a photo of Óli and her friend Yuki (Keiko Seiko), who has disappeared as well.

Although Josh is anxious to leave, Paxton convinces him to stay one more night. That night, Josh and Paxton are slipped tranquilizers, and Josh stumbles back to the hotel room, while Paxton passes out in the disco’s storage room. Josh wakes up in a dungeon-like room, and is approached by a man who drills holes into his chest and legs. The man removes his mask, revealing himself as the Dutch Businessman, and tells Josh about his failed dream of becoming a surgeon. After Josh begs to be set free, the Dutch Businessman slices Josh’s achilles tendons, and removes his restraints. Unable to walk, Josh attempts to crawl to the door, but the Dutch Businessman slices his throat with a scalpel, killing him.

Paxton wakes up the next morning and returns to the hostel. He gets frustrated with the desk clerk (Milda “Jedi” Havlas), who insists that he already checked out. When he returns to his room, he is greeted by two women, who invite him to the spa in an eerily similar manner to Natalya and Svetlana. Paxton finds Natalya and Svetlana at a pub and asks them if they know where Josh is. Natalya tells him that Josh and Óli are visiting an art exhibit, and she agrees to take him there. They arrive at an old factory, and Paxton is horrified to find Josh’s mutilated corpse being stitched together by the Dutch Businessman. Paxton is then ambushed by thugs and dragged down a hallway, passing by rooms where people are being brutally tortured to death. He is then brought into a cell, where he is restrained in a chair and joined minutes later by a German client named Johann (Petr Janiš).

After severing two of Paxton’s fingers with a chainsaw, Johann unintentionally removes his restraints as well. Johann charges at Paxton with the chainsaw but slips and severs his own leg. Paxton reaches for a gun and shoots Johann in the head. A guard enters the room but Paxton shoots him and escapes the cell. Paxton enters another room and hides in the bottom of a cart filled with corpses, and severed limbs. A butcher takes the corpses to the bottom floor to be incinerated, and Paxton bludgeons him with a sledge hammer. He then takes the elevator to the top floor and enters the dressing room, where he changes into business clothes, and meets an American client (Rick Hoffman), who mistakes him for another customer.Image result for hostel (2005)Paxton escapes the factory but returns after hearing cries for help. He enters another room and discovers Kana being tortured by the American client. After killing the American client, Paxton and Kana flee in a stolen car, pursued by guards. While driving, Paxton sees Natalya, Svetlana, and Alexei, and runs them over, killing them. Paxton and Kana arrive at the train station, but after seeing a reflection of her disfigured face, Kana leaps in front of an oncoming train. This creates a distraction, allowing Paxton to board another train unnoticed.Image result for hostel (2005)Once aboard, Paxton hears the voice of the Dutch Businessman. When the train stops in Vienna, Austria Paxton follows him to a public restroom and throws the Elite Hunting Club’s card under his stall. When the Dutch Businessman reaches down to pick it up, Paxton grabs his hand and cuts off the same fingers he lost during his escape. He breaks into the stall and nearly drowns the Dutch Businessman in the toilet, but allows him to see his reflection before slitting his throat and killing him. Paxton then leaves to board another train.Image result for hostel (2005)

Alternate Ending

In the Director’s Cut, Paxton kidnaps the Dutch Businessman’s daughter instead of killing him. After finding her teddy bear in the restroom she was supposed to be in, the Dutch Businessman searches for his missing daughter unaware that Paxton’s train has just left.Image result for hostel (2005)Hostel is a gory horror movie that is entirely about being repulsed and thrilled by the graphic and sadistic acts portrayed with excellent special effects. Those looking for this will be pleased with it but the majority will be turned off. For some it will simply be too gory to watch and they will get no pleasure from witnessing hell on earth.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: ANGER MANAGEMENT: CHARLIE AND THE DEVIL

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CAST

Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half men)
Shawnee Smith (Iron Eagle)
Daniela Bobadilla (Smallville)
Noureen DeWulf (Pulse 2 & 3)
Michael Arden (Bride Wars)
Derek Richardson (Hostel)
Barry Corbin (Critters 2)
Brian Austin Green (Terminator: TSCC)
Laura Bell Bundy (Scream Queens)

GUEST CAST

Martin Sheen (The West Wing)
Bob Clendenin (Dude, Where’s My Car?)

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CHARLIE AND THE DEVIL

Charlie invites a new therapy patient named Bob (Bob Clendenin) into the group, who casually tells everyone that he is the devil. Nolan makes a deal with Bob to sell his soul in exchange for Lacey falling in love with him. When Lacey is all over Nolan at the next session, even the skeptical Charlie starts to wonder. Meanwhile, Jen falls for a new neighbor while Sam falls for a young man who appears to be the neighbor’s son, but the two are later revealed to be gay.

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A great Halloween themed episode, showcasing what Anger Management could of been had the show continued. Bob was a great character and its a shame he wasn’t brought back.

REVIEW: ANGER MANAGEMENT – SEASON 1-2

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MAIN CAST

Charlie Sheen (Machete Kills)
Selma Blair (Hellboy)
Shawnee Smith (Saw)
Noureen DeWulf (American Dreamz)
Michael Arden (Bride Wars)
Daniela Bobadilla (The Middle)
Derek Richardson (Hostel)
Barry Corbin (Windsor)
Brian Austin Green (Terminator: TSCC)
Laura Bell Bundy (Scream Queens)
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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Brett Butler (Grace Under Fire)
Michael Boatman (Hamburger Hill)
James Black (Kick-Ass 2)
Darius McCrary (15 Minutes)
Aldo Gonzalez (Sons of Anarchy)
Stephen Monroe Taylor (Texas Rising)
Kerri Kenney (Role Models)
Denise Richards (Valentine)
Martin Sheen (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Meredith Salenger (Lake Placid)
Mimi Kennedy (Mom)
Steve Valentine (Mike & Molly)
Stacy Keach (Two and a Half Men)
Danielle Bisutti (Curse of Chucky)
CeeLo Green (Sparkle)
Ken Lerner (The Running Man)
Bryce Johnson (Popular)
Lindsay Lohan (Scary Movie V)
Eddie Shin (That 80s Show)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Marion Ross (Happy Days)
Steven Krueger (The Originals)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Nicole Travolta (House of Dust)
LeAnn Rimes (Reel Love)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Kristina Anapau (Black Swan)
Brea Grant (Heroes)
Anna Hutchison (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Bob Clendenin (Birds of Prey)
Ajay Mehta (Spider-Man)
Meera Simhan (Miss India America)
Gina Gershon (Ugly Betty)
Odette Annable (The Unborn)
George Wyner (Spaceballs)
Ron West (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Bary Livingston (Argo)
Cheech Marin (Machete)
Carla Gallo (Bones)
Julia Duffy (Looking)
Brooke Lyons (Izombie)
Fred Stoller (Little Man)
Isaiah Mustafa (Chuck)
Aly Michalka (Izombie)
Tiffany Dupont (Greek)
Michael Gross (Tremors)
Elaine Hendrix (The Parent Trap)
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Arrow)
Ivar Brogger (Andromeda)
Eric Steinberg (Stargate SG.1)
Will Sasso (Movie 43)
Arden Myrin (Shameless USA)
Mercedes Mason (The Finder)
Gilbert Gottfried (Aladdin)
Ciara Hanna (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Robin Riker (Big Love)
Izabella Miko (The Cape)
Corbin Bernsen (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)

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If there is anything that can be said about Charlie Sheen it’s that he lands on his feet, even when having very public melt downs.  After losing his job on Two and a Half Men the fact he managed to find himself another show where he was the star is surprising in ways, but in others it could be said to be a cheap attempt to cash in on the fact that he is quite a huge public figure.  Anger Management Season One is a show that rests firmly on Sheen’s shoulders and relies on his talents, which is both a good and bad thing.
Charlie, played by Charlie Sheen is a failed baseball player who ended his own career when he lost his temper and tried to break a bat over his knee, doing more damage to himself than the bat.  Having to find another form of employment he becomes an anger management therapist ranging from a group that meet every week at his house to a group in prison who are in need of the therapy to curb their violent actions.  Managing his patient’s therapy while trying to control his own anger issues he finds things further complicated by his own therapist that he’s sleeping with, his ex-wife and their daughter who suffers from OCD.
It’s quite interesting that Anger Management starts with an opening scene where Sheen shouts into the screen with a blatant message to his past employers over at Two and a Half Men, because Anger Management is very similar to his past show.  His character, although he drinks less and actually seems quite a smart guy but he is very much Charlie.  The other characters also have that oddball appearance about them that you expect to see in Two and a Half Men, it’s just missing the people he left behind.  In the defence of Anger Management defence though I found the show to be quite likeable and the fact that Selma Blair, who is very easy on the eye spends most of it in various stages of undress is nothing to be complained about.  Of course she also provides sound advice as his therapist and constantly challenges him to do the right thing.
If we further compare the show to Two and a Half Men the reason that show worked and continues to survive is down to the characters themselves, although most recently it seems that not only Charlie Sheen are causing it issues.  Looking to Anger Management though, with a more well behaved Sheen, a guest appearance from his father Martin Sheen and a good ensemble cast and we have a show that Sheen can work off quite well.  Shawnee Smith as his ex-wife pulls off a suitably fiery performance, verbally sparring with Sheen and holding her own, she’s the type of actress who seems to effortlessly have that edge to her characters, and in this she does it to good effect, though it’s obvious she still cares about her ex-husband.  Daniela Bobadilla as his daughter Sam is one of the quirkier of the characters, with her OCD giving her quite a few episodes when she’ll get herself into strange situations just as part of her daily life.
The highlight of the show though is arguably Charlie’s patients, Lacey (Noureen DeWulf), Patrick (Michael Arden), Nolan (Derek Richardson) and Ed (Barry Corbin) who display different varieties of anger that needs to be managed.  The sessions where they tell their tales of being in “control” are some of the funnier moments and I’d say for me Barry Corbin (Ed) is the stand out with his hatred of everybody in equal measure.  There are even episodes where the theme actually looks at ways for them to curtail their anger, which is a nice change.
Anger Management is a show that is enjoyably, but it does rely on Charlie Sheen which is always a risk.  It’s interesting that the show plays off the events that took place in Sheen’s life, which does include the shadow of Two and a Half Men.  It will be nice to see in the second season if the show can pull itself out of that shadow and Sheen can move on with the success, and it is believable that both he and the show can.
Charlie Sheen is in heaven. ‘Anger Management’ is the perfect show for him. He gets to walk around a set, cracking badly written jokes while a laugh-track validates them. The entire show is laden with attractive women who were probably in grade school when Sheen was doing ‘Major League.’ He gets to pretend to have a sex-filled no-strings-attached relationship with Selma Blair. And, to top it all off, the man who once pronounced “I’m different. I have a different constitution. I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man,” is playing a psychologist. One of the world’s greatest ironies I guess.
The problem – well the show has a ton of problems, but the biggest – is the fact that ‘Anger Management’ doesn’t play on the Charlie Sheen is batshit insane. It tries to make him a level-headed psychologist who happens to simply be way too addicted to females. At least one thing carried over from Charlie’s real-life shenanigans. Whenever one of his patients professes something crazy, or over-the-top, Charlie rolls his eyes, the laugh-track guffaws, and then he tries to set them straight. How much funnier would a show be about a therapist who happens to be just as crazy as Sheen is in real-life?
The show’s formula hasn’t changed from the first season. Sheen begins almost every episode gathered in his living room with his group of patients. Season two features maybe one or two semi-interesting storylines. In one episode Charlie’s father (played by his real-life father Martin Sheen) comes to visit. The gimmick is light-hearted fun for the first 10 minutes. There are a couple other episodes that focus more on the patients, which is a nice respite from chronicling Charlie’s endless female conquests. Yet again, most of the season revolves around Charlie trying to get into the pants of (extremely) younger women. Yes, it’s just as sleazy as it sounds even if there is a laugh-track trying to lighten the mood.
Anger Management is neither a bad show, nor a great one. Though there are some fairly talented people involved, the show is mediocre at best, happy to recycle the same gags repeatedly. This third volume picks things up partway through the series’ second season, but you could pick up this series at any point and not miss much. The show continues to try and find comic gold in the interactions between therapist Charlie Goodson (Sheen) and his ‘interesting’ array of patients including cantankerous old codger Ed (Barry Corbin); sexpot Lacey (Noureen DeWulf); passive Nolan (Derek Richardson), who has an unreciprocated crush on Lacey; and gay, disingenuous Patrick (Michael Arden).Since the characters haven’t been developed much beyond a surface level, generating any genuine, lasting laughs is near impossible.
Derek Richardson and Noureen DeWulf in Anger Management (2012)
This volume also has a handful of episodes continuing the “will they or won’t they” angle of Charlie’s relationship with Dr. Kate Wales (Selma Blair). It’s worth noting that Selma Blair look utterly uncomfortable in her appearances, making the storyline seem ridiculous. As many with an interest in entertainment news are aware, Blair complained that Sheen was a menace to work with…Charlie subsequently fired her, and she was soon replaced by eventually replaced by Laura Bell Bundy as Dr. Jordan Denby, a rather airheaded psychologist.
To be fair, even a mindless show like Anger Management can muster a laugh or two on occasion, and I always enjoy Martin Sheen’s appearances as Charlie’s father. By and large though, Anger Management has the feel of a show that’s put together on the fly, so as to not interfere with Charlie Sheen’s busy social schedule. A Nice addition to the series was Anna Hutchison who played a reformed hooker who Charlie falls in love, this kept my interest for the remainder of the show as she is one of my all time favorite actresses.