REVIEW: BONES – SEASON 8

 

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

Ryan O’Neal (Love Story)
Patricia Belcher (Jeepers Creepers)
Eugene Byrd (Arrow)
Andrew Leeds (Office Christmas Party)
Reed Diamond (Dollhouse)
Luke Kleintank (The Man In The High Castle)
Alexandra Holden (The Hot Chick)
Drew Powell (Gotham)
Lori Alan (Family Guy)
Danielle Panabaker (The Flash)
Carla Gallo (Superbad)
James Patrick Stuart (Gettysburg)
Abraham Benrubi (Buffy: TVS)
Joel David Moore (Avatar)
Michael Grant Terry (Grimm)
Pej Vahdat (Shameless)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Charlayne Woodard (Glass)
Brad William Henke (Lost)
Ralph Garman (Family Guy)
Cyndi Lauper (Henry & Me)
Amy Yasbeck (The Mask)
Gary Grubbs (Angel)
Henry Simmons (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Vik Sahay (Chuck)
John Rubinstein (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Sydelle Noel (Arrow)
Larry Poindexter (Blade: The Series)
Tamlyn Tomita (The Eye)
Brooke Langton (Swingers)
Tiffany Hines (Nikita)
Brian Klugman (Cloverfield)
Maurice Compte (Narcos)
Danny Woodburn (Watchmen)
Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine (Treme)
J.D. Walsh (Two and a Half Men)
Nishi Munshi (The Originals)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Dave Thomas (Rat Race)
Allison Scagliotti (Warehouse 13)
Danielle Harris (Halloween 4)
Robert Pine (Red eye)
Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner)
Mackenzie Astin (The Magicians)
Kenneth Mitchell (Star Trek: Discovery)
Alimi Ballard (Sabrina: TTW)

David Boreanaz, Patricia Belcher, Reed Diamond, and Andrew Leeds in Bones (2005)The end of the seventh season of “Bones” left Bones on the run with her infant child after being framed for murder by the highly skilled serial killer Christopher Pelant. The opening of the eighth season finds Booth and her colleagues at the Jeffersonian Institute trying to clear her name. Fortunately for the series, they succeed, although Pelant eludes justice to pose a future threat. This eighth season continues to feature crime-of-the-week murders for Bones, Booth, and the Jeffersonian lab rats to solve through clever forensics and Booth’s old-fashioned police work.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)One of the most interesting episodes is told through the eyes of the murder victim, with the assistance of a psychic (a well-cast Cindy Lauper). Another standout episode involves a group effort to resolve a cold case whose victim turns out to be a forgotten hero of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.Emily Deschanel and T.J. Thyne in Bones (2005)Outside the lab, Bones has an uncomfortable but touching period of readjustment to living with Booth, after her time on the run. Her changed perspective will lead to some of the most interesting conversations as she and Booth commute to crime scenes. Just to complicate things, staff psychiatrist Dr. Sweets will temporarily move in with the couple right after he breaks up with girlfriend Daisy, a technician in the lab. Series regulars Angela and Hodgins will have their own challenges as working parents.

The continuing parade of interns through the Jeffersonian crime lab will feature in several episodes, and one of them will become a surprising emotional complication for Dr. Saroyan. Christopher Pelant will return to menace the team in a gut-wrenching season finale.

REVIEW: RUNAWAY JURY

CAST

John Cusack (2012)
Gene Hackman (Superman)
Dustin Hoffman (Hook)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Jeremy Piven (Mr. Selfridge)
Bruce Davison (X-Men)
Bruce McGill (Timecop)
Marguerite Moreau (Wet Hot American Summer)
Nick Searcy (The Dead Girl)
Leland Orser (Taken)
Lori Heuring (8mm 2)
Joanna Going (Nixon)
Dylan McDermott (Texas Rangers)
Stanley Anderson (Red Dragon)
Celia Weston (Hulk)
Bill Nunn (Money Train)
Cliff Curtis (Blow)
Nora Dunn (Bruce Almighty)
Rusty Schwimmer (The Perfect Storm)
Jennifer Beals (The Prophecy II)
Guy Torry (American History X)
Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow)
Gary Grubbs (Angel)
Luis Guzmán (Traffic)

In New Orleans, a failed day trader at a stock brokerage firm shows up at the office and opens fire on his former colleagues, then kills himself. Among the dead is Jacob Wood. Two years later, with attorney Wendell Rohr, Jacob’s widow Celeste takes Vicksburg Firearms to court on the grounds that the company’s gross negligence led to her husband’s death. During jury selection, jury consultant Rankin Fitch and his team communicate background information on each of the jurors to lead defense attorney Durwood Cable in the courtroom through electronic surveillance. In the jury pool, Nick Easter tries to get himself excused from jury duty. Judge Frederick Harkin decides to give Nick a lesson in civic duty and Fitch tells Cable that the judge has now given them no choice, and that he must select Nick as a juror. Nick’s congenial manner wins him acceptance from his fellow jurors, but Frank Herrera, a Marine veteran, takes an instant dislike to him.A woman named Marlee makes an offer to Fitch and Rohr: she will deliver the verdict to the first bidder. Rohr dismisses the offer, assuming it to be a tactic by Fitch to obtain a mistrial. Fitch asks for proof that she can deliver, though, which Nick provides. Fitch orders Nick’s apartment searched, but finds nothing. Marlee retaliates by getting one of Fitch’s jurors bounced. Nick shows the judge surveillance footage of his apartment being searched, and the judge orders the jury sequestered. Fitch then goes after three jurors with blackmail, leading one, Rikki Coleman, to attempt suicide. Rohr loses a key witness due to harassment, and after confronting Fitch, decides that he cannot win the case. He asks his firm’s partners for $10 million. Fitch sends an operative, Janovich, to kidnap Marlee, but she fights him off and raises Fitch’s price to $15 million. On principle, Rohr changes his mind and refuses to pay. Fitch agrees to pay Marlee to be certain of the verdict.Fitch’s subordinate Doyle travels to Gardner, Indiana, where he discovers that Nick is really Jeff Kerr, a law school drop-out, and that Marlee’s real name is Gabby Brandt. Gabby’s sister died in a school shooting. The town sued the gun manufacturer and Fitch helped the defense win the case. Doyle concludes that Nick and Marlee’s offer is a set-up, and he calls Fitch, but it is too late. Nick receives confirmation of receipt of payment and he steers the jury in favor of the plaintiff, much to the chagrin of Herrera, who launches into a rant against the plaintiff, which undermines his support. The gun manufacturer is found liable, with the jury awarding $110 million in general damages to Celeste Wood. After the trial, Nick and Marlee confront Fitch with a receipt for the $15 million bribe and demand that he retire. They inform him that the $15 million will benefit the shooting victims in Gardner.This was a movie that wasn’t over-hyped, filled with talented actors and kept you watching all the way through.  Hackman was flawless as usual as an actor and once again maintained his great screen presence. Hoffman really portrayed the idealistic lawyer character well. Weisz played the female lead with the right mix of the strong and vulnerable.  The plot twists were not overdone but did offer some slight surprises which were hinted at along the way if you payed attention. Overall I’d recommend this movie to anyone, especially those who take their movies seriously

REVIEW: WEATHER WARS

CAST

Jason London (Carrie 2)
Wes Brown (True Blood)
Gary Grubbs (Angel)
Lance E. Nichols (House of Cards)
Indigo (Weeds)
Erin Cahill (Power Rangers Time Force)
Stacy Keach (Two and a Half Men)

A series of freak weather occurrences around Washington, D.C. reunites two estranged brothers who are the sons of a once prestigious climate scientist. One of them suspects their father is behind it and upon further investigation, they discover that all of their father’s enemies are dead – victims of freak weather accidents. Soon their suspicions are confirmed as their father hijacks radio and TV transmissions to relay the message that unless a certain Senator who canceled his United States Department of Defense contracts is handed over, the city of Washington D.C will suffer the consequences. As the brothers race to form a plan that can defeat their father, he lets loose a variety of diabolical weather weapons on the Smithsonian, Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, and National Mall.Erin Cahill and Wes Brown in Storm War (2011)I really enjoyed the movie. However, there were moments that I felt like I was watching a movie on Hallmark or Lifetime.  I thought that Stacey Keach did a great job as well as Jason London, Erin Cahill, and Wes Brown. So, if you are looking for a real movie, Storm War is a good choice! But, if you want another campy SyFy movie with horrible effects, poor lighting, and laughable acting…then you shouldn’t watch this movie! Storm War was in no way perfect. The visual effects were actually really really good and way better than I expected from a SyFy movie. So, there are lots of things that I liked about this movie and some that I didn’t like…but overall it is worth the watch!

REVIEW: The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom

CAST

Holly Hunter (Batman V Superman)
Beau Bridges (Stargate: Atlantis)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Elizabeth Ruscio (28 Days)
Gregg Henry (Payback)
Matt Frewer (Alice)
Eddie Jones (Lois & Clark)
Frankie Ingrassia (Election)
Gary Grubbs (JFK)
Frederick Koehler (Domino)
Andy Richter (Scary Movie 2)
Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar)
Richard Schiff (Man of Steel)

When Wanda Holloway was a teen, her father forbade her from trying out for her school’s cheerleading team. Many years later, when Wanda had a daughter of her own, she was determined that her daughter would fulfill the dream she was denied and become a cheerleader — which would allow Wanda to make up that part of her childhood by reliving it through her daughter. The film takes place in Channelview, Texas.Wanda enrolls her daughter, Shanna, in various dance and gymnastics classes in order to enhance her prospects of becoming a cheerleader. She forces Shanna to practice for hours on end, despite sickness or injury. Wanda’s best friend, Verna Heath, and her daughter, Amber, live next door to the Holloway family. Amber is the same age as Shanna and the two teenagers become friends. Verna had been a successful varsity twirler when she was young and holds the same ambition as Wanda for her own daughter.p14589_i_h12_abLeading up to the cheer-leading tryouts, jealousy sparks between Wanda and Verna, despite the fact that their daughters’ friendship remains solid. In the months prior to the tryouts, Wanda forces Shanna to concentrate completely on cheer-leading. At the tryouts, Amber impresses the judges but Shanna is unable to, despite all of her training. Amber makes the squad and Shanna does not, disappointing both Shanna and Wanda. The fact that Shanna did not make it onto the team causes Amber to end the friendship between Verna and Wanda. Wanda, however, does not give up on seeing her daughter become a cheerleader, and decides to try again next year.Every day until next year’s try-outs, Shanna practices frequently at her mother’s command. When the time arrives, Amber makes the team and is even promoted to co-captain, but Shanna is disqualified because of her mother’s attempts to bribe the judges and other students. The shock of her daughter’s failure for the second time puts Wanda into a mad fit of rage, anger and jealousy. Wanda decides that if it wasn’t for Amber, Shanna would have definitely been a cheerleader. She becomes obsessed with the notion that living next door to talented Amber had sapped Shanna’s confidence and ruined her chances of success. Wanda meets her brother-in-law Terry to take a hit out on Amber and Verna.PA0332_008C_1However, Terry is horrified by Wanda’s hate for a 13-year-old girl. He disagrees with the murder of a young vibrant girl — especially over something as petty as cheerleading. After the rendezvous, Terry decides to turn in Wanda to the police. He meets Wanda again, this time with a tape recorder in order to obtain proof of Wanda’s desire to commit homicide. Terry sends the recorded message, along with background information, to the police. Wanda is arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison, but is set free when it is discovered that a member of the jury at her trial was on probation. Wanda serves only six months for the attempted murder of Amber. In the end, Shanna decides it would be best to quit trying out for the cheerleading team. Presently, Shanna and Wanda reside in California, where Shanna is taking classes in modelling, singing and acting. Wanda hopes that one day, her daughter will be a famous Hollywood actress, no matter what it takes.Based on the true story of Wanda holloway,a Texan mum of a cheerleader who attempts to hire a hitman to kill her daughters rival & the rivals mother. This is actually a quality,very funny black comedy.Holly hunter gives an hilarious performance,she is truly mesmerizing & the mockumentary style works perfectly in dealing with what is actually quite a dark story!

REVIEW: BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS

 

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Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider)
Eva Mendes (Hitch)
Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)
Xzibit (Derailed)
Fairuza Balk (Almost Famous)
Shawn Hatosy (Alpha Dog)
Jennifer Coolidge (2 Broke Girls)
Tom Bower (Die Hard 2)
Brad Dourif (Curse of Chucky)
Shea Whigham (Agent Carter)
Michael Shannon (Man of Steel)
J.D. Evermore (CLoak & Dagger)
Gary Grubbs (Battleship)

Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans opens with the image of a snake swimming through the flood waters of New Orleans, and you’ll have go a long way to find a more apt metaphor to kick off a picture with. What follows is a wholly indescribable mishmash of the slick and the stank, the cool and the campy. It is, at risk of putting too fine a point on it, almost exactly the film you’d expect Herzog and Nicolas Cage to come up with together. What it is not is a sequel, remake, “reboot,” or “re-imagining” of Abel Ferrara’s 1992 film Bad Lieutenant. It is a different story, about a different guy, in a different place, and told in a completely different style (Ferrera’s film is a stark, gritty, grim character study, and Herzog’s picture, while frequently disturbing, plays as a pitch-black comedy). All it has in common with its namesake is that it is about a thieving, whoring, druggie cop; the carryover of the title (reportedly at the insistence of the two films’ shared producer Edward R. Pressman, who wanted a straight remake and should have known better if he was hiring Herzog) will probably confuse more than it will assist.

The story begins in the immediate wake of Hurricane Katrina, as New Orleans cops Terence McDonagh (Cage) and Stevie Pruit (Val Kilmer) survey their deserted station house and discover a leftover prisoner who is about to drown in the rising flood waters of his cell. They contemplate betting on how long it’ll take the water to kill the poor sap, but McDonagh ends up diving in to save him, hurting his back in the process. “I’m gonna write you a prescription for Vicadin,” his doctor tells him, and our junkie cop is off and running.

Six months later, McDonagh is in the throes of a full-on drug addiction, tooting up in his car on the way into a crime scene. The scene is the gruesome, execution-style slaying of a family of five; the patriarch was apparently a low-level drug dealer. Solving the crime becomes, in his words, his “primary purpose”–well, that and getting drugs. Lots and lots of drugs.

Broadly speaking, we find Herzog working within the framework of a glossy, well-produced, star-driven thriller; however, Nicolas Cage is no typical star, and this is no standard procedural. The actor has spent too much of the last decade slumming and sleepwalking through mindless paycheck pictures like Knowing, Ghost Rider, Bangkok Dangerous, and the soul-crushing National Treasure series, but every once in a while (I’m gonna say the last time was Lord of War) he gets his hand on a role with some power to it, and turns up the juice. This is the best work he’s done in years, a deliriously unhinged performance that you can’t take your eyes off of. He plays this guy from the outside in–the sheer physicality of the performance is impressive, not only in the expected addict’s tics but in his peculiar walk (he uses an odd sideways lope, as if the gun in his belt is throwing him off balance) and strange speech patterns (as he becomes more addicted, he uses a chewed-up, stylized speaking voice that sounds like a contrivance but totally works within the context of the characterization). He indulges himself a bit, sure; he resorts to mugging in some of his close-ups, and the sheer theatricality of the performance may turn some viewers off. But it’s a risky, impressive piece of work.

William M. Finkelstein’s screenplay has some good scenes (including at least one that reminds of, and rivals, the shock value of that horrifying traffic stop in the original Bad Lieutenant) and a sound structure that allows for the indulgences of its director and star; it somehow seems perfectly logical that, midway through, McDonagh ends up heading to Biloxi with a fifteen-year-old witness and his dad’s dog so that he can pick up his hooker girlfriend. The character is written with complexity beyond his vices; it is unfortunate but true that McDonagh is good at being a cop (even if he’s not a “good cop”). He’s got steady instincts, and he’s strong in the interrogation room. If only he weren’t having all those pesky hallucinations.

The screenplay provides a darkly comic motor to the picture, and much of it is played at that pitch, with great success–Cage’s jittery explosion at a pharmacy clerk and his gun-waving interrogation of two elderly women build to juicy and explosively funny comic payoffs. It’s got such a wicked and knowing sense of humor, in fact, that the mere phrase “property room” becomes a punchline by the picture’s end. It is, my no means, a “funny” movie in any kind of traditional sense, but it uses dark humor as a weapon to keep its viewers on their toes, adding to the unpredictability and oddball, insane style of the piece.