REVIEW: BATES MOTEL – SEASON 5

MAIN CAST

Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring)
Freddie Highmore (The Good Doctor)
Max Thieriot (House At The End og The Street)
Olivia Cooke (Ouija)
Nestor Carbonell (Lost)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kenny Johnson (Cold Case)
Ryan Hurst (Taken)
Brooke Smith (The Silence of The Lambs)
Isabelle McNally (Before I Disappear)
Austin Nichols (The Day After Tomorrow)
Jillian Fargey (Protection)
Damon Gupton (Whiplash)
Natalia Cordova-Buckley (Agents of SHIELD)
Rihanna (Battleship)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon A Time)
Aliyah O’Brien (If I Stay)
Ian Tracey (Sanctuary)

Bates Motel, which was always plotted to be a five-season story, closed its doors for business this year with a 10-episode run full of stunning tragedy, deft surprises, and a nice sense of closure. Overall, with Seasons 4 and 5 being representing the very best of the series, Doing the Marion Crane Psycho-arc midseason (with a fun bit of stunt casting in Bates super-fan Rihanna) allowed the series to officially state, before the end, that things would be playing out differently than the classic film it was adapting. If you still, for whatever reason, were under the assumption that Psycho was the endgame, you’d have to adjust your expectations and get ready for the show to take you to a brand new place. Freddie Highmore was exemplary throughout this saga, as Norman often underwent massive mental meltdowns and changes that caused him further bury himself in delusion. He had a good few years, between seasons, of living within his demented fantasy life, but he was always on borrowed time. It could never hold. By the end, all that was left of him was a beat up boy who just longed for everything to be different. I loved how, during this final this season, the show got to explore, more in depth, the Mother persona and how she reacted to Norman’s rejection. She’d actually take over, black Norman out, and hit up bars to hook up with strangers — men, in fact — using Norman’s body. It was a fascinating discovery. Especially since Norman would never allow himself (because Mother was watching) to get close to any other woman. His nagging subconscious would always interrupt and disapprove. All of this meant that when Marion showed up at the motel, Norman wasn’t “Hitchcock Norman.” He knew more about himself, and knew enough to spare her life.He also came to realize all the horrors he’d committed as “Mother,” which then caused him to commit his first — I suppose — enlightened murder. Oh, he was still in a fever, or haze, when he stabbed Sam in the shower, but he also wasn’t Mother. He was Norman and he was stabbing away. Because of this clumsy clarity, Dylan managed to live through the series because Norman held back. He controlled Mother. In fact, looking back, Dylan and Emma, along with their child, were the intended survivors. Everyone else had to drop away in order for them to emerge as something new and, hopefully, happy.Caleb, Chick, Romero and, finally, Norman had to pass so that Dylan and Emma could, presumedly, rise up from the ashes. I guess you can count Emma’s mother as part of this cleansing fire too. Everyone who complicated their past, separately, could now do so as one collective ghost. And Dylan’s final “handling” of Norman — which he didn’t want to do but got tricked into doing by Norman himself — was laced with the show’s permeating theme regarding the harmful effects of denial and inaction. Norma let Norman’s illness progress too far. Dylan left them both behind even though he knew Norman was dangerous, and even suspected foul play. In the end, guilt played a huge factor in informing Dylan’s sense of responsibility toward his bother.The one thing, story-wise, that Romero’s rage did, was allow us to see Norman once last time. If Norman has remained incarcerated, and assumedly sentenced to death or life in a hospital, Mother may have been all that was left of him. Norman’s insane life of illusion was a noble feat and an understandable ideal for the young man, so to have the final season begin and end with that concept — though the final version was a truly and desperately warped version of the already twisted idea — felt right. And this final season was thoughtful and provocative end to a complex multi-year tragedy.

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REVIEW: ARTHUR 3: THE WAR OF THE TWO WORLDS

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CAST

Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel)
Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers)
Mia Farrow (Rosemary’s Baby)
Lou Reed (Get Crazy)
Jimmy Fallon (Factory Girl)
Iggy Pop (Tank Girl)
Robert Stanton (Jason Bourne)
Penny Balfour (Flawless)

61ulpkqrdalFollowing the second film of the series, Maltazard has assumed human size, and left Arthur in miniature. Accompanied by Selenia and Betameche, Arthur attempts to retrieve an enlarging potion from his house, which Maltazard seizes to enlarge his followers, whereafter Arthur returns to human form using an Elixir of Life given by a queen bee. 91f3vrlpn5l__sl1500_Archibald convinces Darkos, Maltazard’s son, to change sides, and enlarges him with a second potion. Arthur and Darkos then confront Maltazard, until Selenia and Betameche shrink Maltazard back to his Minimoy size and Arthur captures him, while the U.S. Army overcome Maltazard’s forces. Maltazard thereafter remains a prisoner of Arthur’s family. During the credits Darkos sings David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel”.72247_frontNot a terrible film by all means, kind of an entertaining. The dialogue does feel bland and underwritten, and while the story has its moments and has its heart in the right place it does lack urgency and sometimes logic. The pacing comes alive in the final half-hour. The world of the minimoys is an attractive one, but not one that entirely draws you in, while the live-action sequences are still not as impressively written or staged. All in all, far from terrible and has some good things about it but not a sequel or final film of a trilogy that goes out on a bang, though not quite bad enough to be a whimper.

 

 

REVIEW: ARTHUR AND THE GREAT ADVENTURE (Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard)

 

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CAST

Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel)
Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers)
Mia Farrow (Rosemary’s Baby)
Lou Reed (Get Crazy)
Jimmy Fallon (Factory Girl)
Ron Crawford (Home of Angels)
Robert Stanton (Jason Bourne)
Penny Balfour (Flawless)
David Gasman (Code Lyoko)
Logan Miller (The Bling Ring)
Will.i.am (X-Men Origns)
Fergie (Nine)

MCDARAN EC098In 1963, protagonist Arthur stays with his grandparents for the holidays, during which the Bogo Matassalai (a fictitious African society) assign Arthur a series of tests including camouflage and environmental nonviolence. Having passed these tests, Arthur prepares to see the Minimoys to celebrate, until his father decides to take him and his mother back to the metropolis. 2When a spider gives Arthur a grain of rice containing a distress-call, which he believes has come from the Minimoys, he returns to his grandparents’ house, where the Bogo Matassalai’s attempt to give him Minimoy stature through a telescope fails, and they instead wrap him in vines of increasing tightness until he falls in a drop of sap into the Minimoy Max’s bar. En route to investigate the Minimoys’ condition, Arthur and Max rescue Betameche, who leads Arthur to the King.4He then learns that Selenia is held by Maltazard, who is inspired to invade the human world by increasing his own size. Maltazard tricks the Minimoys into completing this design. The telescope itself is destroyed in the process, leaving Arthur trapped at his Minimoy size.61ulpkqrdalThe animation and creativity is top notch and the story feels half finished only because it is meant to be watched as part of a trilogy. Do yourself a favor and ignore the negative reviews. Give this film a shot but watch it as part of the trilogy as intended and you will be very pleasantly entertained. I will agree that this is a kids film for adults and I would recommend it for ages

 

 

REVIEW: ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES

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CAST

Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel)
Madonna (Dick Tracy)
Jimmy Fallon (Factory Girl)
Mia Farrow (Rosemary’s Baby)
Ron Crawford (Home of Angels)
David Bowie (Labyrinth)
Jason Bateman (Identity Thief)
Robert De Niro (Red Lights)
Adam LeFevre (Jungle 2 Jungle)
Snoop Dogg (Training Day)
Penny Balfour (Flawless)
Chazz Palminteri (A Bronx Tale)
Harvey Keitel (Bad Lieutenant)
Erik Per Sullivan (Malcolm In The Middle)
Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Emilio Estevez (Mission Impossible)

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In the year 1960, protagonist Arthur lives with his grandmother Daisy in a quiet farm house on a dirt road, in a small rural community in Northeastern Connecticut (based on Sterling). His grandfather Archibald has recently gone missing and he sees little of his parents (who are away looking for work). Daisy entertains Arthur with stories of his grandfather’s adventures in Africa, featuring the tall Bogo Matassalai and the minuscule Minimoys, of whom the latter now live in Archibald’s garden, protecting a collection of rubies. Arthur becomes enamoured of a picture of Selenia, the princess of the Minimoys. When Daisy receives a two-day deadline to pay a large sum of money to a building developer named Ernest Davido, who plans to evict the two, Arthur looks for the rubies to pay off the debt, and discovers various clues left by his grandfather. He is met in the garden by the Bogo Matassala, who reduce Arthur to Minimoy size. From the Minimoys, Arthur learns that they are in danger from Maltazard, a Minimoy war hero who now rules the nearby ‘Necropolis’, after corruption by a weevil, by whom he has a son named Darkos.3

Arthur, reflecting his legendary British namesake, draws a sacred sword from its recess and uses it to protect the Minimoys from Maltazard’s soldiers; whereupon Sifrat, the ruler of the Minimoys, sends Arthur to Necropolis, with the princess Selenia and her brother Betameche. En route, they are attacked on two occasions by Maltazard’s soldiers. In Necropolis, Selenia kisses Arthur, marking him as her husband and potential successor, and confronts Maltazard alone. When Maltazard learns that she has already kissed Arthur and thus can no longer give him her powers and cure his corruption, he imprisons all three, who discover a Minimoy form of Archibald. Thereafter Arthur and his grandfather escape and return to human form, with little time to spare before Maltazard’s flood reaches the Minimoys. With the help of Mino, a royal advisor’s long-lost son, Arthur redirects the flood to Necropolis; whereupon Maltazard abandons Necropolis and his son, and the water ejects the rubies above ground. Archibald pays Davido with one ruby; and when he tries to take them all, the Bogo Matassalai capture him and give him to the authorities (scene deleted in the U.S. edition). The film ends with Arthur asking Selenia to wait for his return, and her agreement to do so.

Arthur and The Invisibles
The film isn’t flawless. Jimmy Fallon’s Betameche, while surely popular with the film’s younger viewers, at times borders on the unbearably annoying; while the casting of forty- eight year old Madonna as Princess Selenia seems a little odd. Her performance is perfectly adequate, but in effect she spends most of the time flirting with a schoolchild. Strange. But the gems in Arthur and the Invisibles far outshine any minor negatives. Mixing live action with CGI could quite easily look messy and unconvincing but, quite simply, it works and while there’s always a danger of such a tale descending into saccharine sludge, thankfully that doesn’t happen. Arthur’s quest is a joy to follow; it deserves to be anything but invisible.

Arthur and The Invisibles

 

REVIEW: THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES

 

CAST

Freddie Highmore (Bates Motels)
Sarah Bolger (The Moth Diaries)
Mary-Louise Parker (Red)
Nick Nolte (Hulk)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Andrew McCarthy (Year of The Gun)
Joan Plowright (Equus)
David Strathairn (Alphas)
Seth Rogen (Green Hornet)
Martin Short (Mars Attacks)

Recently divorced Helen Grace (Mary-Louise Parker) moves into the Spiderwick Estate in the woods with her children when it is given to her by her elderly aunt Lucinda (Joan Plowright), though identical twins Jared and Simon (Freddie Highmore) and their older sister Mallory (Sarah Bolger) do not want to move from New York. When Jared uncovers a dumbwaiter system behind a wall, he finds a monogrammed key and discovers the study of the late owner of the estate, Arthur Spiderwick (David Strathairn). Jared then uses the key to open a chest. In it, he finds Spiderwick’s field guide to fairies; although an attached note warns him not to read it, he does so anyway. When Jared explained about his discovery on the existence of magical creatures, Helen and Mallory don’t believe him.Soon after, Jared meets a brownie named Thimbletack (Martin Short), who explains that magical creatures are normally invisible, but can reveal themselves at will. He tells Jared about a protective circle that Arthur Spiderwick placed around the house and gives him a stone with a hole through which he can see fairies.However, a shapeshifting ogre named Mulgarath (Nick Nolte) wants the field guide for himself so he can rule over all fairy-kind. He sends his goblins, led by Redcap the Pompous Goblin General, to obtain it and they kidnap Simon, mistaking him for Jared. Meanwhile, Jared meets Hogsqueal (Seth Rogen), a hobgoblin and bitter enemy of Mulgarath because Mulgarath killed his entire family. Hogsqueal gives Jared the ability to see fairies without the aid of the stone by spitting in his eyes. Mulgarath lets Simon go and berates Redcap for failing his master. Jared finds Simon and both fight over the book, which is spotted by the goblins. Together, the twins flee to the house, though Simon is injured when one bites his leg. Mallory is then attacked by the goblins, but manages to kill several using her fencing skills, making her finally realize that Jared is right. Inside, Thimbletack informs them that Mulgarath will kill all humans and fairies who oppose him if he gets the book.They resolve to destroy the book by cremating it in a fire, but the flames do not harm it due to a protective spell placed upon it. With no other options, the children decide to visit their great-aunt Lucinda, now in a psychiatric hospital, for advice. While Simon distracts the goblins, Mallory and Jared manage to reach a tunnel under the estate. They are pursued by a mole troll and only narrowly escape it when it is struck by an oncoming vehicle. Lucinda tells them that they need to find Arthur Spiderwick and have him destroy the book. However, Arthur is being held captive by Sylphs, a type of fairie. Suddenly, Mulgarath’s goblins attack them and steal several pages from the book before they are driven off. In the woods, Mulgarath violently berates Redcap for not bringing all of the book, as most of the information in the stolen pages were useless, but he is pleased by when he discovers that one of them has information that tells them how to break the protective circle by moonrise. Mulgarath and Redcap prepare to make the potion for the upcoming night. Meanwhile Helen, who drives Jared and Mallory home, doesn’t believe them on what’s going on and accuses them of using that as an excuse for wanting to go back to New York. Jared then gets in a heated argument with her on why his father left her because of her not listening and starts yelling. Once home, Jared tells Helen he hates her and doesn’t want to live with her. Later, Hogsqueal warns Jared, Simon, and Mallory about Mulgarath’s plan and gives Simon and Mallory the ability to see fairies. Jared then tries to call his father, but Mallory tells him he has moved in with another woman and will not return to them as he promised, making Jared regret his angry words he told Helen.Jared, Simon, and Mallory use the book to summon Arthur Spiderwick’s pet, a griffin, which takes them to the realm of the Sylphs. There they meet Arthur, who has not aged but is also unaware of the time he has spent there. The children ask him to destroy the book only to find that Thimbletack had switched the pages. He also informs them that the Sylphs won’t allow them to leave as they’ll be held captive like he is, but helps them escape by distracting them. Once home, they try to convince Helen of the imminent threat of the goblins and the existence of magical creatures. At first, Helen refuses to listen until Thimbletack appears and they show her the goblins outside, finally shattering her disbelief and making her agree to help stop the attack. At this time, the goblins have finished spreading the potion, which successfully breaks the circle when the moon rises. Jared, Simon, Mallory, and Helen arm themselves with steel knives and home-made tomato sauce/salt bombs prepared by Simon earlier. The family successfully fend off the attacking goblins, though the house suffers considerable damage in the process. When they are forced into the kitchen by Mulgarath’s arrival, they place all of their bombs into the oven, detonating them and killing all of the goblins, including Redcap.Richard (Andrew McCarthy) enters the house and tells Jared that he came to apologize. Jared, realizing that it is not his father, stabs him in the stomach, revealing him to be Mulgarath in disguise. Jared escapes with the book through the dumbwaiter while Mulgarath gives pursuit in snake form and injures Thimbletack. On the roof, Jared throws the book into the air; Mulgarath transforms into a raven and catches it, but he is snatched and eaten by Hogsqueal, avenging his family and the scattered pages fall on the ground. Jared then climbs down the roof and he and Helen reconcile for their argument earlier and for the latter to apologize for not believing him. Hogsqueal and the Graces pick up the scattered pages of the Field Guide.The Graces bring Lucinda back to the house, showing her the repairs being made to the house in the aftermath of the goblin attack and reintroducing her to Thimbletack, who is alive. Suddenly, the Sylphs appear, bringing Arthur, as he was allowed to visit his home since the book was now safe. He cannot remain outside of the fairie realm, or he will turn to dust. Lucinda asks to be taken with him instead; the Sylphs transform her back into her six-year-old self and spirit the two away as the Graces watch and then resume their normal lives with Thimbletack, Hogsqueal, and the Griffin.A very good adaptation of the popular series of books by Tony DiTerllizi and Holly Black, The Spiderwick Chronicles is one of the few family films in recent years to seamlessly integrate magical elements with a potent drama that will strike a chord with many kids and adults.

REVIEW: BATES MOTEL – SEASON 4

CAST

Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring)
Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland)
Max Thieriot (House at The End of The Street)
Olivia Cooke (Ouija)
Nestor Carbonell (Lost)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Damon Gupton (Whiplash)
Jaime Ray Newman (Veronica Mars)
Andrew Howard (Agents of Shield)
Terence Kelly  (The Beachcombers)
Ryan Hurst (Taken)
Aliyah O’Brien (Smallville)
Kevin Rahm (Nightcrawler)
Alessandro Juliani (BAttlestar Galactica)
Kenny Johsnon (Cold Case)
Lindsey Ginter (Lost)
Carmen Moore (Artic Air)
Jay Brazeau (highlander: The Series)
Molly Price (Third Watch)
Karina Logue (Scream: The Series)
Louis Ferreira (Stargate Universe)
Keenan Tracey (The Hunters)
Anna Hagan (Highlander: The Series)

Image result for BATES MOTEL Goodnight, MotherBates Motel’s best and most tragic season to date zeroed in on Norman’s mental maladies while also bringing Sheriff Romero into the family fold. Also, gone was the idea of the “local bad guy of the season” and in its place was a much more focused, emotional story of a young man with dangerous problems and a mother incapable of seeing beyond her co-dependency.Image result for BATES MOTEL Til Death Do You PartIn fact, not many threads remain un-snipped as we now head into the show’s final bow. Romero will most certainly have an axe to grind with Norman. And Dylan and Emma could easily be brought back into the story somehow. Their arc represented a shred of happiness this season so it’s only fitting that they return to the darkness as all will most likely end badly for those who aren’t Norman. The way this season ended, given the final two episodes, it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to just jump ahead to the Hitchcock movie. The daring move was made to kill of Norma in the penultimate episode, leaving Norman alone in a house full of illusions. A snow globe that he’s now made for himself, and one that he’ll probably protect vehemently and violently. And so aside from all the characters who still remain on the show, who could come knocking on Norman’s door, he’s set. He’s the younger version of the character we’ve come to know as a horror icon. All that’s left is a little spring cleaning.Image result for bates motel unfaithfulWhich might easily make this season the most effective and dramatic of the bunch. Not just given the fact that Norma got killed off, but because Norman himself was also ready to die. He’d reached a savage impasse. He’d first blamed his mother for his own crimes but then came to realize, truthfully, that he didn’t know himself at all. And was perhaps responsible. He never came to a hard answer, but the ambiguity was enough to bring him to a dark place where he thought the both of them dying would be a good thing.Image result for bates motel FOREVERFor the first time too, Nestor Carbonell’s Romero felt like a vital part of the story and not someone who wandered around giving Norma the side-eye. And the quick, honest relationship he had with Norma this year (which began as a marriage of convenience – and guilt) was a nice surprise. A flickering pause of happiness for Norma while Norman was off at Pineview. Albeit briefly, she was allowed to be in a bubble with someone else. All while Norman got better at both manipulating and resenting.Image result for bates motel FOREVERBates Motel’s haunting and focused fourth season brought Norman to an extreme breaking point. One that unexpectedly cost him dearly as a huge character exited the show before we expected. This was the year that Norman both realized that he was dangerously unstable and realized that he preferred to ignore that fact and live in a delusional world of his own mad design. There are those out there who can still call Norman’s actions into question, but for now this is the man who will believably grow into Norman Bates from the classic horror franchise.

REVIEW: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

CAST

Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Helena Bonham Carter (Alice In Wonderland)
Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel)
David Kelly (Stardust)
Noah Taylor (Powers)
Missi Pyle (Two and a Half Men)
Christopher Lee (Lord of The Rings)
AnnaSophia Robb (Race To Witch Mountain)
Adam Godley (Battleship)

Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) is a kind and loving boy living in poverty with his parents (Noah Taylor and Helena Bonham Carter) and four bedridden grandparents. They all rely on his father for income, employed at a toothpaste factory, responsible for putting the caps on the tubes. Down the street is Willy Wonka’s (Johnny Depp) chocolate factory, which reopened after industrial espionage forced him into seclusion and sacking his employees. Charlie’s Grandpa Joe (David Kelly) worked for Wonka before the termination.Wonka announces a contest whereby children that find five Golden Tickets hidden in Wonka bars will be given a tour of the factory and one a chance to be presented with an unknown grand prize. Four tickets are quickly found: the greedy and gluttonous Augustus Gloop (Philip Wiegratz) from Düsseldorf; the spoiled and rotten Veruca Salt (Julia Winter) from Buckinghamshire; the competitive and boastful Violet Beauregarde (AnnaSophia Robb) from Atlanta; and the arrogant and aggressive Mike Teavee (Jordan Fry) from Denver. Charlie hopes to find a ticket but his chances are small as money is tight, and the best has to be made of his annual birthday present of one Wonka bar and a bar bought by Grandpa Joe’s money, both of which yield no tickets. All hope is crushed when the last ticket is apparently claimed in Russia. Charlie, on finding some money in the street, just intends to enjoy one chocolate bar when news breaks that the Russian ticket was fake. Charlie finds the bar he just bought has the last Golden Ticket. Bystanders attempt to separate him from it, only for the shopkeeper (Oscar James) to see that he keeps the ticket and gets back home with it.Grandpa Joe offers to accompany Charlie on the tour, but Charlie explains how he was offered money for the ticket and intends to sell it. Grandpa George (David Morris) reminds Charlie that money is far more common than the tickets, and convinces Charlie to keep it. The visitors find Wonka to be peculiar, lonely and acting odd at the mention of “parents”. The tour shows how fantastical the factory operates under the efforts of the short humans called Oompa-Loompas. The other four children succumb to temptation, and end up being caught in the factory workings and have to be safely recovered by the Oompa-Loompas, albeit in worse shape than at the start of the tour: Augustus falls into a river of chocolate and has been sucked up by a pipe before being rescued from the fudge processing center; Violet expands into an oversized blueberry when she tries an experimental piece of chewing gum; Veruca is thrown away as a “bad nut” by trained squirrels; and Mike is shrunk down to a few inches in height after being the first person transported by Wonka’s new television advertising invention.Charlie is congratulated as the only remaining child and the winner of the grand prize, Wonka’s heir to the factory. Unfortunately, Wonka stipulates that Charlie’s family has to stay behind; therefore, Charlie rejects the offer. Charlie learns that Wonka had a troubled past with his father, Wilbur Wonka (Christopher Lee), a dentist. Willy was forbidden from eating candy of any type or quantity and had torture device-like braces affixed to his teeth. But once Willy got a taste, he wanted to become a confectioner, against his father’s wishes and he left home to follow his dream. Wonka later returned to find his father and home completely gone. Wonka’s candies are selling poorly and he comes to associate his unhappiness with the sorry financial state of his company, so he makes an effort to find Charlie who helps him locate Wilbur. When they visit, it appears that despite his strict avoidance of candy, the dentist has followed Willy’s success and they reconcile. Wonka allows Charlie’s family to move into the factory while he and Charlie plan new product lines to produce.Most people will think of this as an immature movie, but I liked it more and more as I watched. The fast pace, the cast, the music, and, most importantly, the visual effects make this a movie for everyone to see.