REVIEW: FIRST SUNDAY

Sarring

Ice Cube (21 Jump Street)
Tracy Morgan (Cop Out)
Katt Williams (Scary Movie 5)
Loretta Devine (Naked)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Regina Hall (Shaft)
Retta (Good Boys)
Malinda Williams (A Day In The Life)
Chi McBride (Human Target)
Clifton Powell (Lockdown)
Nicholas Turturro (Takers)
Olivia Cole (L.A. Law)
P. J. Byrne (Black Lightning)

Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan in First Sunday (2008)Durell (pronounced Darrell) (Ice Cube) and LeeJohn (Tracy Morgan) are best friends and bumbling petty criminals living in Baltimore. The two have are struggling to find stable jobs due to their criminal records. Simultaneously, Durell’s son will have to move to Atlanta unless Durell gives his ex some money to pay her lease on her business premises. Desperate for money, they sell wheelchairs provided by con man Blahka (Paul Campbell), but the duo lose them in a police chase. They are sentenced to 5,000 hours of community service and have 24 hours to pay Blahka $12,000 or they will be shot dead. They try to get a loan from a guy named Mordecai (Jasmine Masters) but it turns out to be facade. Durrel and LeeJohn attend a church service and LeeJohn comes up with a desperate scheme to rob their neighborhood church. Durell is against the idea but eventually agrees, seeing no other option.Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan in First Sunday (2008)They enter the church’s office and hold the church members hostage. The Deacon wants to move the church which angers some of the members including the Pastor’s daughter Tianna ((Malinda Williams)). Durrel explains to them how what he is there for but no one takes hims seriously, so he fires a gun into the air and gain the church’s attention. However, they find out that the money already been stolen. Enraged, they still hold the church hostage until the money turns up. Durrel interrogates everyone about the money’s whereabouts. He appears to suspect Tianna, who looks down on him for obvious reasons. Meanwhile, LeeJohn takes Timmy, a little boy, to the bathroom as he was making a fuss about wanting to go. When he says that he will return the child back to his mother the kind sister Doris (Loretta Devine), the boy reveals that his real mother has left him.Chi McBride in First Sunday (2008)The police pass by and Durrel orders everyone to the back room and orders Ricky (Katt Williams) to poke his head out the door and talk to the police and the police simply figure that he is eccentric. The church is hot and Durell fixed the broken air conditioner, while LeeJohn watches over the hostages. To LeeJohn’s bewilderment, sister Doris begins cooking for everyone, using the church’s kitchen. Doris gives him a plate, and fondly remembers how her husband loved her cooking on his birthday. He expresses his sadness at never having had a birthday, and is comforted by Sister Doris.After an awkward conversation, where Tianna warms to Durell and questions what he is doing, they finally get the air-conditioning going. Durell then orders everyone back to the lobby. The blind, deaf janitor finds the missing money. Durell receives a phone call from his son, which he is ashamed to answer. Momma T (Olivia Cole) then asks for Durell’s purpose for what he is doing. Durell claims that he is doing it for his son. Momma T rejects his claim and says that Durell is doing it for himself, as he is blaming everyone but the person responsible, himself.Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan in First Sunday (2008)He drops the money. Unfortunately, cops have surrounded the church. The pastor (Chi McBride) tells them to escape out the back, but the two are caught in a chase. At their trial, which the entire church attends, the Deacon (Michael Beach) says that they have been accused of stealing $64,000. But the amount of money he claims was almost stolen was twice the amount the Deacon claimed was collected. This puts the Deacon at question. The case is dropped after no one stands when witnesses are called. Durell goes back to Omunique’s (Regina Hall) apartment, where he is confronted by the men who gave them the wheelchairs.Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan, and Katt Williams in First Sunday (2008)After he explains his situation, the two men allow him to go and get his son. Omunique opens the door, yelling at Durell and asking him where the money come from. The money was left at her doorstep and Durell tells her it was a gift. He implores her not to take his son away, claiming that his son is all he has. She responds that she will stay. In the end, LeeJohn and Durell appear much happier. It is implied that Durell is closer to his ex-wife and son, while LeeJohn remains close to Doris and Timothy. The remaining money is used to restore the community and Tianna is seen painting a community center.Ice Cube, Keith David, and Tracy Morgan in First Sunday (2008)Is it a great movie? N0. Is it a terrible waste of time? Absolutely not. It is light-hearted entertainment with some serious twists. It is worth seeing.

REVIEW: THE FLASH – SEASON 3

The-Flash-Season-3-Poster-e1497470774907

Starring

Grant Gustin (Glee)
Candice Patton (The Guest)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (Vixen)
Keiynan Lonsdale (THe Turning)
Tom Cavanagh (Scrubs)
Jesse L. Martin (Injustice)
Tom Felton (Harry Potter)

Matt Letscher and Grant Gustin in The Flash (2014)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Alex Désert (Swingers)
Michelle Harrison (Tru Calling)
Matt Letscher (Her)
Todd Lasance (The Vampire Diaries)
John Wesley Shipp (Dawson’s Creek)
Tobin Bell (Saw)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Joey King (Slender Man)
Violett Beane (God Friended Me)
Peter Flemming (Staragte SG.1)
Wentworth Miller (Underworld)
Danielle Nicolet (Central Intelligence)
Grey Damon (Aquarius)
Ashley Rickards (Pretty Little Stalker)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)
Susan Walters (The Vampire Diaries)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Victor Garber (The Orville)
Franz Drameh (See)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Dominic Purcell (Prison Break)
David Ramsey (Dexter)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Melissa Benoist (Whiplash)
Audrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
Christina Brucato (The Intern)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Jerry Wasserman (I, Robot)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow)
Jessica Camacho (Watchmen: The Series)
Stephen Huszar (Faces In The Crowd)
Andrea Brooks (When Calls The Heart)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Vanessa Williams (Candyman)
Robbie Amell (The Duff)
Rick Cosnett (The Vampire Diaries)
John Barrowman (Torchwood)
David Harewood (Homeland)
Jeremy Jordan (The Last Five Years)
Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries)
Darren Criss (Glee)
David Dastmalchian (Reprisal)
Anne Dudek (White Chicks)

 

John Wesley Shipp and Grant Gustin in The Flash (2014)Season 3 appears to be the real test for The CW’s Arrowverse shows. Arrow followed up its first two seasons with a much rockier third season, leaving that series in a hole of which it’s only just now managed to climb out. The Flash went through a similar series of hurdles this year. The Flash: Season 3 was noticeably more uneven than its predecessors, suggesting that maybe Barry Allen’s best days are behind him. Luckily, the show was able to recapture its footing where Arrow continued to struggle. The strong last couple months of the season went a long way towards making up for the mistakes that came before.Grant Gustin and Violett Beane in The Flash (2014)It was clear right away that Season 3 faced a long, uphill battle. Season 2 ended with an exciting cliffhanger, as Barry (Grant Gustin) traveled back in time, undid his parents’ deaths and created the alternate timeline known as Flashpoint. Anyone who’s read the Flashpoint comic or watched the animated movie Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox was surely salivating at the thought of seeing a twisted, dystopian vision of the Arrowverse. What the premiere episode, “Flashpoint,” actually delivered was slightly less exciting. Aside from a few key differences, this world wasn’t a particularly dramatic change from the norm. There was still a definite appeal in seeing Barry briefly granted the happy, quiet life he’s always dreamed of.Tobin Bell in The Flash (2014)
Looking back at  the first half of Season 3, it wasn’t until the midseason finale that any episode scored above the low 8 range. That pretty much encapsulates the problems with the season right there. The show was often perfectly fine on a week-to-week basis, but it was rare for any episode to really stand out from the pack. The general status quo in the first half of the season too often struggled to measure up to the Reverse-Flash and Zoom conflicts from seasons past. The end result of Barry’s three months spent living in Flashpoint was a handful of changes to the Team Flash dynamic, many of which became all but irrelevant after a week or two. Flashpoint also resulted in the rise of two new villains – Doctor Alchemy and Savitar (both voiced by Tobin Bell). Alchemy never amounted to much more than a shadowy, mysterious string-puller, while it wasn’t until the final few episodes of the season that Savitar truly came into his own.Danielle Panabaker in The Flash (2014)There was plenty of character drama to work through early on, much of it the direct result of Barry’s time-meddling. Iris (Candice Patton) and Joe (Jesse L. Martin) dealt with a mutual estrangement. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) mourned the death of someone close to him. Both Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) and Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) dealt with the spontaneous appearance of metahuman powers (with the former dreading her transformations into Killer Frost and the latter relishing his opportunity to follow in Barry’s footsteps). That’s to say nothing of the complications created by Barry’s new co-worker/frenemy, Julian Desmond (Tom Felton). When all else failed, the Team Flash family drama could usually be relied upon to keep the show humming along.Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin in The Flash (2014)Julian proved an entertaining and somewhat unpredictable addition to the recurring cast, adding a unique voice and temperament to the Team Flash dynamic. But the best addition this year was H.R. (Tom Cavanagh), the latest alternate universe incarnation of Harrison Wells. It’s part of The Flash’s charm that there must always be a Wells in the picture, even if Cisco and friends have to go on a recruitment drive to find one. Cavanagh again proved to be one of the show’s MVP’s, playing H.R. as a wholly distinct character compared to Season 1’s Dr. Wells and Season 2’s Harry. There were even a few opportunities to see Cavanagh play multiple Wellses in the same scene, just for kicks.Grant Gustin and Keiynan Lonsdale in The Flash (2014)

This season also got a lot of mileage out of John Wesley Shipp’s new role as the real Jay Garrick. Like Cavanagh, Shipp successfully managed to set his new character apart from the old, casting Jay as a grizzled veteran not entirely comfortable with his status as mentor to Barry and his fellow speedsters. The only complaint here is that the season never used Jay as often as it could. That was especially true with the midseason finale, “The Present,” which offered a tantalizingly brief glimpse of Jay’s rivalry with Earth-3’s Trickster (Mark Hamill).Grant Gustin, Keiynan Lonsdale, and Violett Beane in The Flash (2014)Looking back, the one character who felt oddly underutilized this year was Wally. On paper, it was a big year for Wally, as he gained his speed powers and took his place alongside Barry. That paved the way for several memorable speedster team-ups (including one with Violett Beane’s Jesse Quick thrown in for good measure). But there was a specific point in the season where it seemed like the writers completely lost interest in Wally. He all but completely faded to the background and never recovered as a result. Andre Tricoteux in The Flash (2014)The character drama gave the early episodes weight where villains like Alchemy faltered, but that drama brought about its own set of problems. Not only was the scope of Flashpoint itself disappointingly limited, the fallout often felt small and perfunctory. Some subplots, particularly the Joe/Iris rift, were quickly resolved and forgotten, almost like they never happened at all. And at some point, the series simply felt too mired in darkness. Character drama is great, but this series has always thrived on its ability to balance that drama with lighthearted adventure and that ever-important sense of hope. But Barry Allen became more morose than ever this year, and his misery seemed to envelop everyone around him. It didn’t help that The Flash was airing new episodes at the same time as fellow Arrow-verse/CW series Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow, two shows that did a much better job of balancing character drama with lighthearted fun this year.Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin in The Flash (2014)Once the reveal came and Savitar’s true endgame became apparent. The final five episodes went a long way towards reviving the Savitar conflict and building the character into someone worthy of Reverse-Flash and Zoom. That doesn’t necessarily excuse the writers for keeping their cards close to the vest for so long, nor their decision to focus on a third speedster villain when there are so many other worthy Flash villains who haven’t gotten their due yet.. But at the same time, the reveal did make it apparent why that prolonged secrecy was necessary. Moreover, the reveal wound up tying the season together, forcing Barry to confront his mistakes and his habit of being the architect of much of his own misery. For a villain who remained so aloof for much of the season, Savitar wound up becoming a surprisingly personal villain in the end.Grant Gustin in The Flash (2014)It also didn’t hurt that the later episodes placed so much emphasis on Caitlin’s fall from grace. I still maintain that Killer Frost should have been the central villain of Season 3. But even as a supporting player in the Savitar conflict, Caitlin added a great deal of dramatic weight to the series, with the writers banking heavily on the strong bond linking Barry, Cisco and Caitlin and the tragedy that arose when those bonds were shattered. This was also a valuable chance for Panabaker to play Killer Frost not as an overt villain, but someone torn between her twisted metahuman side and the good, loyal friend that still remained within.
As for the dark tone, it’s no coincidence that some of the best episodes this season were those that diverged from the Savitar conflict and focused on the lighter side of Barry’s world. The two-part Gorilla Grodd storyline was very entertaining, offering fans their first real glimpse of Earth-2’s Gorilla City and suggesting that Grodd would make for an excellent recurring villain if not for the sheer expense involved in bringing the character to life. The series even took the opportunity to throw in a little levity right before the end, as “Infantino Street” offered a wonderfully entertaining Flash/Captain Cold team-up before moving into the dramatic fallout of Savitar’s final attack.But nowhere did the series shine brighter this season than in the long-awaited musical episode/Supergirl crossover “Duet.” For one glorious hour, all the darkness fell away and Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist were given free reign to sing, dance and just have fun playing superheroes. It certainly didn’t hurt that so many actors involved, including Victor Garber, John Barrowman and Jesse L. Martin have serious musical theater chops of their own. Not only did that episode strongly suggest that the musical crossover needs to become an annual tradition, it served as a crucial reminder of how enthralling The Flash can be when it focuses on the lighter side of Barry Allen’s life. Hopefully that episode, and the generally improved state of the series in the second half of Season 3, are signs of what to expect when the show returns in the fall.
The Flash: Season 3 is a clear step down from the show’s first two years. It’s not that there were many truly bad episodes this year, but more that the show struggled too long to find a compelling status quo and make the most of the fallout from “Flashpoint.” Some of the best episodes this season had little to do with the overarching Savitar conflict. Luckily, the show did find its footing in the final two months of Season 3, and that strong finish went a long way toward redeeming the season as a whole.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE NICE GUYS

Starring

Russell Crowe (Man of Steel)
Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson)
Angourie Rice (Spider-Man: Far From Home)
Matt Bomer (Doom Patrol)
Margaret Qualley (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
Yaya DaCosta (Tron Legacy)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Beau Knapp (The Gift)
Lois Smith (Lady Bird)
Murielle Telio (The Duff)
Gil Gerard (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century)
Kim Basinger (Batman)
Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3)
Hannibal Buress (The Secret Life of Pets 2)
Robert Downey Jr. (Avengers Endgame)

9d221-episode2bstill_22b252862529In 1977 Los Angeles, a young boy named Bobby admires a magazine centerfold of porn star Misty Mountains, when Misty herself crashes her car through the boy’s house and is found dead afterwards. Down-on-his-luck private eye Holland March is hired by Misty’s aunt, who claims to have seen her niece still alive. March’s investigation leads him to Amelia Kuttner, who becomes increasingly scared and eventually pays muscle-for-hire Jackson Healy to scare March away. Healy barges into March’s house and breaks his arm before leaving.5498preHealy is interrogated by two thugs, “Blueface” — so named after he sets off a dye pack while searching Healy’s apartment — and Older Guy, about Amelia’s whereabouts. Healy wards them off with a shotgun, and teams up with a reluctant March to find Amelia first. March and Healy question Amelia’s anti-pollution protest group and meet Chet, who brings them to the burnt-down house of Amelia’s boyfriend Dean, who died in the fire. They learn that Amelia and Dean were working with Misty on an “experimental film” — combining pornography and investigative journalism — called How Do You Like My Car, Big Boy? The two infiltrate a party in search of the film’s financier, Sid Shattuck. Healy discovers the film is missing, while a drunken March finds Shattuck dead, and unknowingly crosses paths with Amelia. March’s daughter Holly, having snuck along to the party, manages to stop Blueface from killing Amelia. Blueface is struck in a hit-and-run, and Amelia flees. Healy subdues Older Guy and finds Blueface dying, who tells Healy his boss has dispatched a hit man named John Boy to kill Amelia, March, and all other witnesses. Healy discreetly strangles Blueface.220778be0be3d76c_wMarch and Healy are met by Amelia’s mother, Judith Kuttner, a high-ranking official in the United States Department of Justice, who claims Amelia is delusional and believes Judith wants her dead. Judith hires the duo to find her daughter. March and Healy make their way to an airport hotel where Amelia is meeting with distributors for the film. John Boy has arrived ahead of them; they witness the businessmen being slaughtered and hastily retreat, only for Amelia to land on their car and shoot at them, knocking herself unconscious. They take her to March’s house, where she reveals that her mother is in the pocket of a cabal of Detroit automakers. After uncovering evidence that they suppressed the catalytic converter, which regulates exhaust emissions, Amelia created the film to expose their collusion, and her mother has had everyone connected to the film killed.maxresdefaultJudith has her assistant Tally arrange for March and Healy to deliver a briefcase of $100,000; March tells her they have found Amelia. When March falls asleep while driving and crashes the car, the briefcase flies open to reveal shredded magazines; the delivery was a diversion to leave Amelia unprotected. John Boy arrives at March’s house, attacking Holly and engaging in a shootout with March and Healy before evading the police. Amelia flees the house only to be killed by John Boy when she unwittingly flags down his car. March and Healy try to bring the matter to court but have no evidence. At Misty’s house, they discover the nearsighted Mrs. Glenn only saw projected footage of her niece — the missing film.MV5BNzJlMmU4NDYtY2YyZC00NDNiLWJhOGItNDc4NzBjMTQ3ZjFmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTMzNzQ3NA@@._V1_They realize that Chet is the projectionist for the Los Angeles Auto Show and will try to screen the film. At the auto show, Healy and March are intercepted at gunpoint by Tally, who is distracted by Holly and knocked unconscious. Healy finds Chet, who has spliced the film into the auto show presentation. The film plays to the entire auto show, implicating the auto executives. On the roof, March struggles with Older Guy, who falls to his death while March lands in the pool. Holly stops Tally from reaching the film. Healy overpowers John Boy, but spares his life at Holly’s behest, and March secures the film. Judith is arrested, but insists she did not want Amelia killed and that “what is good for Detroit is good for America”, while Healy and March continue working together as private eyes, naming their agency “The Nice Guys”.MV5BNTZhMThkNDYtMTM0MS00MTM3LTlkNmItMGU0MDBlMmYzNmI0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTA5MTkxNjY@._V1_UY268_CR148,0,182,268_AL_A comedy with brains, Black’s latest benefits from a superb script and great performances from Crowe, Gosling, and it’s secondary cast members. When it comes to value for money this summer, you’ll be hard pressed to find a film that can offer it quite like The Nice Guys does.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE THING (1982)

CAST

Kurt Russell (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2)
Wilford Brimley (Coccon)
T.K. Carter (Domino)
David Clennon (Gone Girl)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Richard Dysart (Being There)
Charles Hallahan (The Fan)
Peter Maloney (Summer of Sam)
Richard Masur (Risky Business)
Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog)

Kurt Russell and Charles Hallahan in The Thing (1982)In Antarctica, a Norwegian helicopter pursues a sled dog to an American research station. The Americans witness the Norwegian passenger accidentally blow up the helicopter and himself. The Norwegian pilot fires a rifle and shouts at the Americans, but they cannot understand him and he is shot dead in self-defense by station commander Garry. The American helicopter pilot, R.J. MacReady, and Dr. Copper leave to investigate the Norwegian base. Among the charred ruins and frozen corpses, they find the burned remains of a malformed humanoid which they recover to the American station. Their biologist, Blair, performs autopsies on the remains and finds a normal set of human organs.Kurt Russell in The Thing (1982)Clark kennels the sled dog, and it soon metamorphoses and absorbs the station dogs. This disturbance alerts the team and Childs uses a flamethrower to incinerate the creature. Blair autopsies the new creature and learns that it can perfectly imitate other organisms. Recovered Norwegian data leads the Americans to a large excavation site containing a partially buried flying saucer, and a smaller, human-sized dig site. Norris estimates that the saucer has been buried for at least 100,000 years. Blair grows paranoid that the creature could assimilate all life on Earth in a matter of years. The station implements controls to reduce the risk of assimilation.The Thing (1982)The “dead”, malformed humanoid creature assimilates an isolated Bennings, but Windows interrupts the process and MacReady burns the Bennings-Thing. Blair sabotages all the vehicles, kills the remaining sled dogs, and destroys the radio to prevent escape. The team imprison him in a tool shed. Copper suggests a test to compare each member’s blood against uncontaminated blood held in storage, but after learning that the blood stores have been destroyed, the men lose faith in Garry, and MacReady takes command.MacReady, Windows and Nauls find Fuchs’s burnt corpse and surmise he committed suicide to avoid assimilation. Windows returns to base while MacReady and Nauls investigate MacReady’s shack. On their return, Nauls abandons MacReady in a snowstorm, believing he has been assimilated after finding his torn clothes in the shack. The team debate whether to allow MacReady inside, but he breaks in and holds the group at bay with dynamite. During the encounter, Norris appears to suffer a heart attack.Kurt Russell in The Thing (1982)As Copper attempts to defibrillate Norris, his chest transforms into a large mouth and bites off Copper’s arms. MacReady incinerates the Norris-Thing, but its head separates from the body and attempts to escape before also being burnt. MacReady is forced to kill Clark in self-defense when he refuses to follow MacReady’s orders. He hypothesizes that the Norris-Thing’s head demonstrated that every part of the Thing is an individual life form with its own survival instinct. He sequentially tests blood samples with a heated piece of wire. Everyone passes the test except Palmer, whose blood jumps from the heat. Palmer transforms and infects Windows, forcing MacReady to burn them both.The Thing (1982)Childs is left on guard while the others go to test Blair. They find that Blair has escaped, and has been using vehicle components to craft a small spaceship. On their return, Childs is missing and the power generator is destroyed. MacReady speculates that the Thing intends to return to hibernation until a rescue team arrives. MacReady, Garry, and Nauls decide to detonate the station to destroy the Thing. As they set explosives, Blair kills Garry and Nauls disappears. Blair transforms into an enormous creature and destroys the detonator. MacReady triggers the explosives using a stick of dynamite, destroying the base. MacReady sits nearby as the camp burns. Childs returns, saying he became lost in the storm while pursuing Blair. Exhausted and slowly freezing to death, they acknowledge the futility of their distrust and share a bottle of scotch. Kurt Russell in The Thing (1982)This is one of Carpenters best films, right up there with The Fog and Halloween. All of the actors give strong, realistic performances and the special effects are so powerful that they stand as their own main character. This film has something for any lover of the horror genre. Don’t miss it.!

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: SMILEY

CAST

Caitlin Gerard (Magic Mike)
Melanie Papalia (Postal)
Shane Dawson (Not Cool)
Andrew James Allen (The Lovely Bones)
Liza Weil (Year of The Dog)
Toby Turner (Why Him?)
Roger Bart (King David)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Michael Traynor (Rectify)

MV5BMTFiYjZlMDgtYjczMC00NTljLTllNzktMDZmNzFiY2E1YzQ1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjUxMjc1OTM@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,766_AL_The plot revolves around the titular Smiley killer, the subject of an Internet myth. Supposedly, if a person on a Chatroulette-style website types the phrase “I did it for the lulz” three times, their chat partner will be murdered by a killer called Smiley, so named because he mutilated his own face by stitching his own eyes shut and carved his mouth into a smile, before they themselves are killed. A college student named Ashley (Gerard) becomes roommates with Proxy (Papalia). Ashley decides to go to a party where she meets Zane (Allen), Mark (Turner) and Binder (Dawson), who is mocked by his classmates for having reported a case of pedophilia, earning him the nickname Pedobear.Smiley (2012)One night Ashley and Proxy test out the Smiley myth with a random person online. After typing “I did it for the lulz” three times, to their horror, the stranger is murdered. Proxy convinces Ashley to stay silent. However, Ashley begins experiencing guilt over the stranger’s death. She also begins to believe that Smiley is stalking her and intends to kill her; her friends and a psychiatrist write this off as anxious hallucinations and nightmares. Ashley eventually goes to the police; there she tries to convince them, to no avail, to investigate the murders caused by Smiley. The police basically dismiss her, implying that she is going crazy and quite possibly on the receiving end of a large, elaborate prank.When Proxy loses contact with Zane, she video chats Ashley, in hysterics. Ashley goes to his house to check on him, only to find him shot dead with a handgun he purchased for self-defense. Instead of calling the police, Ashley picks up the gun and orders Proxy to type “I did it for the lulz” three times, hoping to ambush and kill Smiley. However, she accidentally shoots Binder, who had been coming over to check on her. Moments later, Smiley appears and slits Binder’s throat. Ashley is then attacked by multiple Smileys, finally throwing herself out a window to her presumed death to escape them. It is then revealed that all Ashley’s classmates, including Proxy, Binder, and the babysitter murdered in the opening, are all part of a fringe group of Anonymous. They created the Smiley myth as a large-scale prank, although they are satisfied with Ashley’s death. Binder states that Smiley will likely live on long after them and inspire copycat killings.Smiley (2012)Later, Proxy is video-chatting with Zane, questioning their morality. Zane dismisses her worries and types “I did it for the lulz” three times as a joke. However, a real Smiley appears behind Proxy, kills her, and then waves at Zane via webcam. In a post-credits scene, Ashley is revealed to have survived her fall.  I liked the acting, I liked the storyline. It’s nothing original no but it was still quite entertaining.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: CHAIN LETTER

CAST

Nikki Reed (Twilight)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Brad Dourif (Child’s Play)
Betsy Russell (Saw III)
Cody Kasch (Asylum)
Michael J. Pagan (The Gospel)
Noah Segan (Cabin Fever 2)
Bai Ling (The Breed)
Michael Bailey Smith (Men In Black II)

The film opens in a garage with an unconscious young woman having her head wrapped in duct tape and her legs chained to the back of two cars. A man and woman walk to their cars on their way to work. As the couple start their cars they exit the driveway. The woman in the car notices the victim, but as she exits her car to warn the man, he drives off. Neil Conners (Cody Kasch) receives a chain letter from an anonymous person telling him that he is the first person who links the chain, and instructing him to forward it to five people or else he will die. His sister Rachael (Cherilyn Wilson) forwards the letter, but to only four recipients. Neil then adds his sister to the list and sends it.

Rachael’s best friend, Jessica “Jessie” Campbell (Nikki Reed), gets the letter and forwards it to five friends. Johnny Jones (Matt Cohen) also receives it but refuses to send it, believing it to be ridiculous. While he is getting a drink of water at the fountain in the gym, a black hooded figure slams his head on the fountain, knocking two of his teeth out. Unconscious, he is chained by his arms to a gym set and has his ankles sliced open. After which the killer uses the chains to slice his face open, killing him. Jessie becomes suspicious as more people start to die. While taking a bath, Rachael becomes suspicious of a possible intruder inside the house. She investigates and is attacked by the killer who whips her with the chain several times as she runs through the house to escape. Re-entering the bathroom, she locks the door and looks for a weapon, pacing back and forth with a cistern lid, waiting for him to attack. She walks up to the door and places her face next to it, listening. Suddenly realizing the killer is on the other side doing exactly the same thing, she rapidly backs away. Seconds later, the killer breaks through a side wall into the room, hitting her on the top of her head with the lid, splitting it open.

Outside the house, Jessie is greeted by Detective Jim Crenshaw (Keith David), who tells her to forward the chain letter on to him. Jessie figures out they are being spied on using a virus embedded in the chain letter so meets with Neil, and Michael (Michael J. Pagan) planning to try to stop the murders. Later on, as more people send Neil the message, he panics and decides to delete all of them in order to confront the killer. The killer, however, is on the roof of Neil’s room, and sends a chain smashing through his ceiling. Neil dies as he gets dragged up to the roof of his house by chains with various sickles and a hook. It is revealed that the man behind all the killings was a soldier. During the war, he was tortured by the enemy because he had a government-issued cell phone. He returned to the United States severely disfigured and disappeared from a hospital, starting a cult of “anti-technology” followers marked by barcode tattoos. It is then revealed that the woman chained to the cars in the beginning of the film is Jessie, who is killed because she sent the chain letter to Detective Crenshaw without sending it to four other people. Michael tries to save her but is too late; when her father pulls out of the driveway, Jessie is ripped apart. As the film ends, Detective Crenshaw is shown chained to a table while the killer makes chains.Predictable some parts may be but with plenty of ‘jumps’ and with extended drawn out gory deaths it’s likely to please most slasher/gore fans and is never dull. Yes there are flaws, but what film in this genre doesn’t have them, it is after-all about entertainment and as such this merits.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: CORALINE

CAST

Dakota Fanning (War of The Worlds)
Teri Hatcher (Lois & Clark)
Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous)
Dawn French (The Vicar of Dibley)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Ian McShane (Hercules)

In the opening credits, hands made of sewing needles create a button-eyed doll to resemble a girl before sending it out into a void. The doll is of Coraline Jones, an 11-year-old who moves with her parents to Ashland into the Pink Palace Apartments. The other residents include retired actresses Miss Spink and Miss Forcible and eccentric Russian acrobat Mr. Bobinsky.Coraline’s parents neglect her, being busy working on a garden catalogue. She meets Wyborn “Wybie” Lovat, the grandson of the landlady, Mrs. Lovat, and also meets a black cat that follows him. While exploring, she is given a doll that resembles her by Wybie and finds a small brick-sealed door which can be unlocked only by a small black key with a button handle. That night, Coraline follows a mouse through the door, where she discovers the bricks gone, replaced by a corridor. Coraline goes through into the Other World, where doubles of the real-world residents have buttons for eyes. Her Other Mother and Father are more warm and attentive than her real parents. After dinner, she goes to sleep in her Other Bedroom. To her dismay, Coraline wakes up in her real bedroom and is unable to convince her parents that she visited the Other World.Despite vague warnings from her neighbors, Coraline frequents the Other World during night. She meets the mute Other Wybie, the Other Mr. Bobinsky, and the Other Misses Spink and Forcible, who are young and perform theatrical acts. When the Cat also enters the Other World, it is able to talk.On the third visit, the Other Mother invites Coraline to stay forever, but buttons must be sewn over her eyes. Horrified, Coraline attempts to flee. The Cat reveals to her the true sinister nature of the Other Mother and the Other World. She demands the Other Mother let her go home, but she transforms into a grotesque version of herself and imprisons Coraline in a dark chamber behind a mirror. Inside, Coraline meets the ghosts of the Other Mother’s previous victims, including Mrs. Lovat’s long-lost twin sister. The ghosts reveal that the Other Mother sent them rag dolls that resembled them in order to spy on them and find out what was wrong with their lives. The Other Mother then lured them into the Other World, where she promised them endless games and entertainment, but once they accepted her offer, she sewed buttons over their eyes and “ate up their lives”. To free their souls, their real eyes need to be retrieved. Coraline promises to find them.She is suddenly pulled out by the Other Wybie, whose mouth has been stitched shut. He helps her escape. Back in the real world, Coraline is led by the Cat to a mirror in which she sees her parents writing “HELP US”. She also discovers a rag doll that resembles them fused together, indicating that the Other Mother has kidnapped them. Coraline then burns the doll.Coraline returns to the Other World to propose a “game” to the Other Mother. If she cannot find her parents and the children’s eyes, she will stay forever. Coraline manages to retrieve the children’s eyes. The Other World gradually turns into grey stone and disintegrates, leaving only the living room in the Other Pink Palace. She confronts the Other Mother, who now has an arachnoid form, with sewing needles for hands. A ghost child warns her that the Other Mother will never let her go, even if she wins. Coraline finds and frees her parents from a snow globe and throws the Cat onto the Other Mother’s face; the Cat rips her button eyes out. Coraline escapes, slamming the door on the Other Mother’s hand, severing it. Her parents return home with no memory of what occurred.

The ghosts appear to Coraline in a dream to warn her that she must get rid of the key. As Coraline prepares to drop the key into a well, she is attacked by the Other Mother’s severed hand, but is saved by Wybie, who crushes it with a rock. Coraline throws the key and the pieces of the hand down the well. The next day, Coraline hosts a garden party for her neighbors and prepares to tell Mrs. Lovat about her sister.

Good and imaginative story, delighting visuals, creepiness from the beginning and a couple scary scenes make this an enjoyable film.