REVIEW: THE RANCH – SEASON 2

MAIN CAST

Ashton Kucther (Two and A Half Men)
Danny Masterson (That 70s Show)
Debra Winger (Terms of Endearment)
Sam Elliott (Ghost Rider)
Elisha Cuthbert (The Girl Next Door)

RECURRING /NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kelli Goss (Victorious)
Debra Jo Rupp (That 70s Show)
Jim Beaver (Breaking Bad)
Grady Lee Richmond (Girlfriend’s Day)
Molly McCook (Excision)
Megyn Price (Rules of Engagement)
Wilmer Valderrama (That 70s Show)
Barry Corbin (Anger Managment)
Kathy Baker (Saving Mr. Banks)
Conchata Ferrell (Two and A Half Men)
Sharon Lawrence (Me, Myself and I)
Dawan Owens (All Night)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Chasty Ballesteros (FInal Destination 5)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)
John Amos (Two Evil Eyes)
Darlene Vogel (Beyond The Break)
Kurtwood Smith (Agent Carter)
Aimee Teegarden (Scream 4)
Maggie Lawson (Two and a Half Men)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)

A fun and enjoyable plot driven sitcom that hits home in terms of jokes, characters and an entertaining storyline. The show as a whole will never be the next friends but sometimes that’s what makes it so unique and intriguing to watch, a cute little show that many wont have seen but that you can be proud to have watched. Ashton Kutcher plays the lead role with his 70’s show castmate Danny Masterton playing his crude and wisecracking older brother. The rancher family is something that is rarely seen on-screen and shines in originality.The success of how each episode is structured with a wonderful bleed over between episodes that keeps the timeline flowing fantastically and makes it so seamless its hard not to like. The love interest being Elisha Cuthbert is subtle yet plays an important role in the show which takes it to another level but by far the main story is about how being a rancher is incredibly difficult, how hard times can fall upon them and how they cope with such troubles. This story is wonderful and I thoroughly loved watching it unfold. Season 2 deals with everything from child loss, heart attacks and wedding preperations. The show goes from strength to strenth with each episode.Overall a small show that packs a heavy punch of a story, greatly casted and acted with the timeline flowing effortlessly which adds up to a slick little gem of a show.

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CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: THAT 70s SHOW – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

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MAIN CAST
Topher Grace (Spider-Man 3)
Mila Kunis (Ted)
Ashton Kutcher (The Butterfly Effect)
Danny Masterson (Yes Man)
Laura Prepon (Karla)
Wilmer Valderrama (Minority Report)
Debra Jo Rupp( Big)
Kurtwood Smith (Robocop)
Tanya Roberts (The Beastmaster)
Don Stark (John Carter)
Lisa Robin Kelly (The Net: The Series)
Tommy Chong (Evil Bong)
Josh Meyers (Bruno)

THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER

GUEST CAST
Marion Ross (Anger Management)
The episode begins with  the gang hanging out in the basement watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Later, Eric asks if he can have a Christmas party in the basement, and surprisingly, Red says yes. when Eric asks for money for the party (for beer, actually) Red gives him $40 for the Christmas tree and says he can keep what money’s left over. However, the gang decides to chop down a tree at the side of the road in order to spend all the money on beer. At work, Bob asks Red if he’ll stay and work at the store on Christmas Eve. Bob says that since all the other stores are closed, some last-last-minute shoppers might swing by. To Red’s dismay, Kelso ends up being the only one to show up, and he buys a set of hot rollers for Jackie and plays few rounds of Pong with Red, who ends up purchasing that game for himself. Back at the house, a jealous Laurie pours rum in the punch Kitty made for Eric’s party. However, no one drinks it except for Jackie and three of her friends. Upstairs, two state troopers barge in to the party to inform Red and Kitty that their Christmas tree is a stolen one. Red then stops the party downstairs and takes Jackie and her friends home, and kicks everyone else out. Hyde then gives Donna her gift, a picture of the two in 5th grade. A jealous Eric then proceeds to give Donna White Shoulders perfume, the gift Hyde wanted to buy her but couldn’t afford.
A first Christmas for That 70s Show and a classic Eric trying to throw a party using the money he would of spent on a Tree. Laurie spikeing the punch making all the girls drunk and trying to seduce Fez is great.
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HYDE’S CHRISTMAS RAGER

GUEST CAST
Robert Hays (Airplane)
Matt Battaglia (Mike & Molly)
Now Hyde has moved from the over-protective Forman home to his carefree dad, barman Bud, the basement boys look forward to a keg party there, too frat-type for the girls’ taste. Kitty nearly saw trough their ‘Christmas’ preparations aren’t innocent, so the unsupervised drinking games deliver Eric so drunk he pours unprecedented disrespect and vomit all over Red’s shoes. Kitty isn’t interested in punishment, she cares for the utter lack of educational guidance ‘her boy’ Steven gets from his dad, so Red is made against his convictions to go read Bud the parental responsibility riot act.
A Second Christmas for the and another great episode. Hyde trying to bond with his father  whilst being allowed to get away with anything. Red finding the best punishment for Eric is a great highlight. That 70s Show always does great Christmas episodes.

AN ERIC FORMAN CHRISTMAS

GUEST CAST
Kevin McDonald (Epic Movie)
Nick Bakay (Sabrina)
The gang grumbles Christmas isn’t real fun any more, like when they were little kids, except Kelso who looks forward to the traditional X-mas children’s specials, but Jackie won’t let him watch. Kitty gets them to volunteer for pastor Dave’s church pageant, with Eric as director, who has an all too hard time stopping everyone for modernizing their parts most un-biblically. When Dave tries to take over directing and the lead, he is irreverently tied up, enough for Leo to give the sacrilegers heaps. Meanwhile Red is so angry at Bob’s seasonal ‘noise’ that he hides his neighbors’ decorations.
This is one of my all time favorite episodes, the best part is seeing the end result of the church pageant which you get to see over the episodes ending credits.

CHRISTMAS

GUEST CAST
Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie)
Ashley Eckstein (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Shonda Farr (Crossroads)
Red is chosen to be Santa claus, instead of Bob who grudgingly accepts to assist as an elf with Kitty, who by signing up the kids for the same duty unknowingly convinced the boys to attend the school dance they had sworn never to join again. Donna is furious when she learns Eric hangs out there and is now popular with a few schoolgirls, so she turns up during her radio show. Fez fears the football team will again lock him up in a locker. Hyde only came for Jackie’s sake. Kelso only went to avoid going to the library as Brooke suggested
 It’s great to see the gang growing up seeing how much they have come along. Red as Santa is creepy and disturbing but that’s what makes it funny. Kelso has some lovely scenes especially when he realises he would rather spend Christmas with Brooke.

WINTER

GUEST CAST
Carolyn Hennesy (Click
Kelso accidentally took the police department-donated gifts for needy kids, but Eric begs to keep some as Red never gave him any toys, just a rain coat and a hose-down to test it; opening ‘just one’ package leaves nothing unwrapped. The girls are flattered when Kitty invites them to help out the stuck-up ‘Ladies of Point Place’ (LOPPs) with their height of the year, the Christmas party, but angry because the boys couldn’t care less, Jackie is furious Hyde even reneges on his promise to attend in favor of boyish basement toy-games. Posh Patty Ryals marches in to take charge instead of Kitty because of an incident in 1963, ‘Santa’ Bob fondly remembers dating Patty. Red catches the boys playing, but with rare seasonal mildness lets them bring the toys to the community center, forcing him and the gang to stall Kitty.
Kelso stealing the toys is hilarious with out realising they were meant for the needy kids, Red showing surprising Christmas spirit in not turning the kids in.  Poor Eric getting tricked into going down the chimney and landing in a cake shop. Thankfully Donna rescues him.

WHO NEEDS YOU

GUEST CAST
Jud Tylor (Andromeda)
Jim Rash (The Descendants)
Fez almost loses his apartment when Jackie floods it. He’s ready to say “Good day!” to their co-habitation, but Jackie manages to salvage things by bonding with Fenton, the landlord, over shopping, and convincing him to let them stay. Red and Kitty are concerned over the number of arguments that Hyde and Samantha are having. But when they learn the reason for all the fights, it causes some sparks to fly in their own relationship. Donna tries to raise money for charity through her radio show and ends up having to resort to less than considerable ideas to do it.
Not much of a Christmas episode with the exception of Santa showing up at the end but still a great episode in the shows final year

REVIEW: ROBOCOP (1987)

CAST

Peter Weller (Odyssey 5)
Nancy Allen (Carrie)
Dan O’Herlihy (Halloween 3)
Ronny Cox (Total Recall)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Miguel Ferrer (Iron Man 3)
Robert DoQui (Original Intent)
Ray Wise (Swamp thing)
Felton Perry (Dark Breed)
Paul McCrane (The Shawshanl Redemption)
Tyrees Allen (Cold Case)

In the near future, Detroit, Michigan, is a dystopia and on the verge of total collapse due to financial ruin and a high crime rate. The mayor signs a deal with the mega-corporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP), giving it complete control of the underfunded Detroit Police Department. In exchange, OCP will be allowed to turn the run-down sections of Detroit into a high-end utopia called Delta City.OCP senior vice president Dick Jones proposes assisting the police with the ED-209 enforcement droid. At its first demonstration, however, ED-209 malfunctions and gruesomely kills employee Kinney. Bob Morton, an ambitious employee, uses the opportunity to introduce his own experimental cyborg design, “RoboCop”. To Jones’s anger, the company chairman (a.k.a. The Old Man) approves Morton’s plan. Meanwhile, police officer Alex Murphy arrives at his new precinct following an OCP-directed transfer where he is introduced to his partner Anne Lewis. On their first patrol, they chase down a gang led by the ruthless criminal Clarence Boddicker, tailing them to an abandoned steel mill, killing two gang members. When he and Lewis get separated, Murphy is caught and repeatedly shot by Boddicker’s gang just before Boddicker himself executes the helpless cop. Morton selects Murphy for the RoboCop program and replaces most of his body with cybernetics, except for his brain and part of his digestive system.RoboCop is given three primary directives: ‘Serve the public trust, Protect the innocent, and Uphold the law’, as well as a classified fourth directive that Morton does not know of. He single-handedly and efficiently begins to cleanse Detroit of crime, earning Morton a promotion to vice president of Security Concepts. Enraged, Jones hires Boddicker to murder Morton in his home. Meanwhile, Lewis realizes that RoboCop is really Murphy due to the way he handles his gun after using it, and tells him his real name. RoboCop remembers past events from his life and returns to his former home, only to find that his wife and son have moved away. He connects to the police database, looks up the deceased Murphy’s entry and discovers Boddicker’s gang, who were responsible for his death.Robocop then goes to a nightclub and sees Leon, forcing him to give up Boddicker’s location. He then tracks down Boddicker to a cocaine factory and after a long gun battle, threatens to kill him. Panicked, Boddicker admits his affiliation with Jones, verbally triggering RoboCop’s law-abiding programming. RoboCop arrests Boddicker and turns him over to the police. He then confronts Jones and attempts to arrest him, but begins to shut down. Jones reveals that he planted the fourth directive, which prevents RoboCop from arresting any member of OCP’s executive board. Jones explains his larger goal of taking over OCP, and confesses to Morton’s murder before activating his personal ED-209 to destroy RoboCop. During the ensuing battle, Jones calls the police claiming that Robocop has malfunctioned and gone rogue. Robocop manages to escape ED-209 (whose poor design is highlighted by its inability to descend stairs), but is soon cornered by heavily armed police units and is nearly destroyed. Lewis helps RoboCop escape, and takes him to the abandoned steel mill. As RoboCop repairs himself, he and Lewis discuss his former life.Under pressure by OCP and fearing their replacement by RoboCop, the police go on strike. Jones frees Boddicker and supplies his gang with anti-tank rifles and a tracking device to hunt down RoboCop. The gang converge on the steel mill, where RoboCop and Lewis are able to kill most of them until they are subdued by Boddicker, but RoboCop stabs Boddicker in the throat with his neural spike, killing him.RoboCop heads back to OCP headquarters, where Jones is presenting his improved ED-209 to the board. RoboCop once again faces off with an ED-209 guarding the building, but he easily destroys it using one of the anti-tank rifles from his encounter with Boddicker. Once inside, Robocop states Jones’ guilt of murder and explains that he cannot intervene due to the fourth directive. He plays a recording of Jones’ confession, exposing his role in Morton’s murder along with his sinister plans. Jones retrieves a nearby handgun and takes the chairman hostage, demanding a helicopter. The chairman verbally fires Jones from OCP, thereby releasing RoboCop from the fourth directive. RoboCop then repeatedly shoots Jones, who crashes through a window and falls to his death far below. Grateful, the chairman says, “Nice shooting, son—what’s your name?”, to which RoboCop smiles and simply replies, “Murphy,” indicating that his humanity has been restored.The movie is not only filled with some typical Verhoeven social satire elements but also with some trademark Verhoeven gore and violence. The way Murphy gets killed is very graphic and disturbing. But as always in most Verhoeven movies is the case, the violence is so over-the-top that it’s not really shocking to look at but almost more comical like because it’s just so over-the-top. Especially what happens to Emil at the end, the gore is way over-the-top there and I absolutely love it!  In a movie like this the characters are also always important. Especially the villains and yes, RoboCop has some highly entertaining and good villains. The group of Clarence, Leon, Joe and Steve are a bunch of entertaining, charismatic stereotypical villains. But also the more educated villains like Dick Jones (Ronny Cox) and Bob Morton (a very young Miguel Ferrer) who also isn’t a very nice person. But also the mechanical villain ED-209 is extremely cool and dangerous looking. All in all this is a brilliantly entertaining science-fiction/action movie that simply is perfect in every way, mainly thanks to Verhoeven his input.

REVIEW: 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN – SEASON 4

MAIN CAST

John Lithgow (Rise of the Planet of The Apes)
Kristen Johnston (ugly Betty)
French Stewart (Mom)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jane Curtin (The Heat)
Elmarie Wendel (Rumpelstiltskin)
Simbi Khali (Plump Fiction)
Wayne Knight (Jurassic Park)

3rd-Rock-from-the-Sun

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ian Lithgow (Rice Girl)
David DeLuise (Stargate SG.1)
Chris Hogan (Grounded For Life)
Danielle Nicolet (The Flash 2014)
Larry Miller (10 Things I Hate About You)
Jan Hooks (The Simpsons)
Ileen Getz (That 70s Show)
Ron West (Anger Management)
Michael Milhoan (That 70s Show)
Peter Jurasik (Babylon 5)
Erika Christensen (Swimfan)
J.P. Manoux  (Community)
Laurie Metcalf (The Big Bang Theory)
Jim Beaver (Deadwood)
Obi Ndefo (Stargate SG.1)
Larisa Oleynik (100 Girls)
Jeff Doucette (Bedazzled)
Kurtwood Smith (Robocop)
Elsa Raven (Titanic)
Jack Carter (Shameless usa)
Christine Lakin (Family Guy)
Courtney Peldon (Say It Isn’t So)
Jeanine Jackson (The Craft)
Julie Claire (Bloodline)
Jim Jansen (Liar Liar)
Marianne Muellerleile (The Terminator)
Bryan Cranston (Power Rangers)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers II)
Ron Rogge (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Richard McGonagle (500 Days of Summer)
Jake Thomas (A.I.)
Kevin Nealon (Weeds)
Anthony Tyler Quinn (Boy Meets World)
Eric Jungmann (Not Another Teen Movie)
Kathy Bates (Bad Santa 2)
Kim Johnston Ulrich (Lois & Clark)
William Shatner (Star Trek)
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)

23172596_2040879039477963_640705640536283652_n3rd Rock From the Sun is one of the richest and hilarious television comedies to air. The series first aired in 1996 and lasted for a total of six seasons. The show molds science fiction into a sitcom and the results are a blast. A team of aliens from Mars take on human form in Rutherford, Ohio and integrate themselves into the local populace. Their goal is to learn everything they can about humans in a couple of days. Of course, it turns out humans are much more complex than expected and the team of aliens decide to stay a while longer. The strongest aspect of this show is its cast. They are remarkable together. Within minutes of any episode, it is apparent how well they interact and play off of each other. ANA_Real_Women_have_curves_2002a_DVDrip_by_GalmuIn the closing of season three, Harry was kidnapped by Vicki’s enraged ex-boyfriend (played by Phil Hartman). In the aftermath “Dr. Solomon’s Traveling Alien Show”, the Solomon family is saddened by their loss and determined to find Harry again. And of all places, they find Harry in a county fair as the alien freak show. It is a fun way to begin the season with the cast acting as goofy as ever. In the following episode “Power Mad Dick”, Mary is promoted to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Dick believes Mary’s promotion is his promotion. He takes it upon himself to act with full power and privileges as dean. Dick misuses his newfound power to fire employees he doesn’t like, give raises, and authorize other such things he probably shouldn’t have. Of course, it blows up in his face when Mary cuts him off. This leads to his arch-rival in the cafeteria becoming Mary’s secretary. Another fun part about this episode is that Sally decides to lose her virginity to Don. While the act is not so funny in itself, how the cast reacts to the decision is. Dick, Tommy, and Harry treat the event like a birthday.1280x720-1pPIn the episode “Feelin’ Albright” the realization of Mary’s new position kicks in for Dick when he is referred to as Mrs. Albright, which is of course a damaging thrust to his ego. Sally also realizes Don had previous relationships and like a jealous girlfriend, she tracks them all down. In the episodes “What’s Love Got To, Got To Do With Dick?”, “I Am Dick Pentameter!”, and “DIII: Judgment Day” Laurie Metcalf guest stars as Dr. Jennifer Ravelli. Metcalf temporarily joins the cast as a new officemate and love interest for Dick. Mary’s new duties have kept her busy and Dick finds himself in the middle of a new relationship that takes a turn for the worse. Metcalf gives a riotous performance and is a blast to see across Lithgow.1280x720-6VN“Two-Faced Dick” is a chance for both Lithgow and Johnston to try different roles, each other’s. In this episode, the Big Giant Head grants a request Sally made three years ago to be given a man’s body. She didn’t want to be the woman on the mission, but after three years, she has grown to like being the woman. Unfortunately, the Big Giant Head grants the request and does it by switching Dick and Sally’s bodies. This mucks up their lives as they are forced to try to pretend to be each other. Both Lithgow and Johnston give some tremendous performances playing each other in terms of dialogue delivery, physical comedy, and other little quirks that make them so darn funny.84380The next episode “Dick Solomon of the Indiana Solomons” is a great episode. Dick is mistaken for someone else and receives an invitation to a family reunion. No one has seen “Richard” since he was a baby, so Dick believes the Ohio Solomons will fit in perfectly. And it turns out, they do. The fun from this episode comes from everyone trying to fit in and having no problem. “Sally Forth” is an episode about relationships. Don proposes to Sally and it doesn’t end with a happy note. Vicki also returns to date Harry once again. In “Paranoid Dick” Mary loses her job as the dean after listening to one of Dick’s crazed ideas. The other side of the episode has Sally recovering from her breakup with Don. Vicki takes her out for a girl’s night.cp5“The House That Dick Built” has a bunch of big and fun changes for the cast. After an odd dream, Vicki decides she and Harry should have a baby together. Sally also decides she should move out and takes a room above the garage. Dick reacts in a bad way because he feels like everyone is leaving him. In “Dick ‘The Mouth’ Solomon” the two happy couples of the season, Dick and Mary and Harry and Vicki go on a couples’ retreat to learn to communicate better. Of course, Dick being Dick and Harry being Harry, it never turns out quite right. “Dick v Strudwick” puts Dick against a new rival, who happens to be Tommy’s new girlfriend’s father. It ends with the two duking it out on live television. The two-part season finale “Dick’s Giant Headache” is a great way to finish the season. In this two-part episode, the mission gets a poor evaluation from the Big Giant Head. Dick is revoked of command and Sally is made high commander. William Shatner guest stars as the Big Giant Head, who is even more bizarre and wacko than Dick, Harry, Tommy, and Sally combined. It is a fun way to end the season with a few goofy surprises.dick1Overall this season was a lot of fun. Like past seasons, the cast gives great performances in their respective roles. The delivery of dialogue and physical comedy all add up to some hilarious fun. The stories in this season were especially riotous with some great tales about Dick, Sally, Harry, and Tommy get into a lot of crazy situations. If you have enjoyed past seasons, then season four should be a blast.

 

REVIEW: AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING

CAST

Bella Thorne (The Babysitter)
Cameron Monaghan (Gotham)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful eight)
Mckenna Grace (I, Tonya)
Thomas Mann (Kong: Skull Island)
Taylor Spreitler (Melissa & Joey)
Jennifer Morrison (How I Met Your Mother)
Kurtwood Smith (Agent Carter)
Cleopatra Coleman (The Last Man on Earth)

A single mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) moves into a new home with her three children, but the miraculous recovery of her previously comatose teenage son (Cameron Monaghan) leads to a series of sinister events that leave the frightened family fighting for their lives. Bella Thorne and Kurtwood Smith co-star.Amityville: The Awakening is notable for a variety of reasons, and many of them have nothing to do with the quality of the film. For starters, it was completed back in 2012 and has been re-scheduled half a dozen time; it was most recently pulled last June mere weeks before it was set to hit theaters. So, for those of us who have been watching and waiting for Amityville: Awakening, following the film along every bump in the road, the fact that it finally came to fruition is kind of a big deal. But while the release is long overdue, it also coincides with an unprecedented Hollywood scandal: The revelations of sexual misconduct by The Weinstein Company co-founder Harvey Weinstein. Since Weinstein was fired by the company he created, Amityville: The Awakening is the first of his productions to be released. Tellingly, the fallen mogul’s name was removed from the film’s opening credits. Whether there is a resulting Weinstein backlash that will hurt the film’s performance remains to be seen, as fans mull turning their backs on anything that might end up putting money in his pocket.Amityville: The Awakening arrived for a limited time on Google Play today; this will be followed by a limited theatrical release beginning on October 28th. The fact that Amityville: The Awakening was pulled from release so many time indicates that the studio had no faith in the film; it feels like it’s only reluctantly being released at all, and giving it away for free on Google Play suggests Dimension Films already considered it a complete loss. But even with tempered expectations, Amityville: The Awakening is genuinely, objectively fantastic. I don’t know if all the fine-tuning paid off, or if the Weinsteins simply misjudged a winner, but the movie is one of the best PG-13 horror movies of the 21st Century. Had it pursued a hard R, it could have rivaled The Conjuring.As for its ranking within the loosely connected Amityville franchise (a rag-tag assemblage of mostly low-quality knock-offs capitalizing on the infamous address’s legacy), it’s easily number 3; right behind 1979’s classic and 1982’s Amityville II: The Possession. While it can’t touch the original, it’s a treat for those fascinated by the happenings at f 112 Ocean Ave. in Long Island. The film opens with historical documents from the actual DeFeo Family murders that occurred in 1974. From there, and combines several past approaches to the cinematic property; while firmly rooted in the haunted house subgenre, there’s also an emphasis on possession motifs. Like the prequel, there’s a brother/sister dynamic and family dysfunction at the core of Amityville: The Awakening—one that provokes the audiences on several levels.Most surprisingly, and impressively, Amityville: The Awakening is a meta-film. Not only does it retain the “based on a true story” status touted by the original, it exists in a universe where all of the Amityville movies actually exist; essential, it’s a work of fiction that takes place in real life. So, imagine being a fan of the franchise and the chilling paranormal history of 112 Ocean Avenue, and then being given an opportunity to roam the property. That’s essentially what you get: A virtual tour of the iconic Amityville house, complete with windows that look like creepy eyes and a sinister red room hidden behind a wall in the basement. Imagine watching 1979’s Amityville Horror in the actually Amityville house! It would be an opportunity horror and supernatural geeks would pay an arm and a leg for. So, it’s will no small amount of vicarious satisfaction that we see a fictional film nerd do just that.Divorced from the Amityville franchise, Amityville: The Awakening is still a powerful haunted house movie, so one needn’t have seen the original (or the 2005 remake) to dig it. Though there are Easter Eggs and nods to the original aplenty, it fits all the motifs associated with angsty teens in peril. There are some incredible jump-scares, and they’re pulled early; this sets the audience on edge from the get-go and the proceeding suspense works perfectly. There are also elements of medical and body horror; Cameron Monaghan plays James, a teen who’s been in a coma for years and, as a result, his body has atrophied into a waxy, twisted abomination (think Zelda from 1989’s Pet Sematary)—complete with bedsores. It’s got one serious gross-out moment, and could have only benefitted from more; I have no doubt that upping the ante and making The Awakening R-Rated would have only strengthened the end result.While the audience associates the lead protagonist Belle (played by Bella Thorne), James is the personification of paralyzing fear. The claustrophobia of a haunted house is magnified exponentially when one loses the ability to run, react, or even scream. It’s a portrayal of helplessness that most teens, with their lives ahead of them and feelings of invincibility, would consider Hell. Amityville: The Awakening succeeds by rooting itself in the established franchise mythology, then compounding the inherent horror with extreme family dysfunction.I liked Amityville: The Awakening way more than I expected to, and I had higher than average expectations. In many ways, it’s a movie made for Amityville Horror fans, but you needn’t be familiar with the past films or a true-crime buff to get a lot out of this tense and thrill-ride. The film stars strong and maintains its intensity. While not without flaws, this Amityville fan loved it; I’d recommend it to any fan of supernatural horror for an effective & surprisingly nuanced shocker.

 

REVIEW: HITCHCOCK (2012)

 

CAST

Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Helen Mirren (Red)
Scarlett Johansson (Ghost In The Shell)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Toni Collette (Krampus)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Lincoln)
Michael Wincott (Romeo Is Bleeding)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
James D’Arcy (Agent Carter)
Richard Portnow (Kindergarten Cop)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Ralph Macchio (Ugly Betty)
Wallace Langham (CSI)
Currie Graham (Stargate: The Ark of Truth)
Judith Hoag (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Lindsey Ginter (Argo)

In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock opens his latest film, North by Northwest, to considerable success, but is troubled by a reporter’s insinuation that he should retire. Seeking to reclaim the artistic daring of his youth, Hitchcock turns down film proposals, including Casino Royale and The Diary of Anne Frank, in favor of a horror novel called Psycho by Robert Bloch, based on the real-life crimes of murderer Ed Gein. Gein appears in sequences throughout the film, in which he seems to prompt Hitchcock’s imagination regarding the Psycho story, or act as some function of Hitchcock’s subconscious mind (for instance, drawing Hitchcock’s attention to sand on his bathroom floor, the quantity of which reveals how much time his wife Alma has been spending at the beachhouse with Whitfield Cook).Hitchcock’s wife and artistic collaborator, Alma, is no more enthusiastic about the idea than his colleagues, especially since she is being lobbied by their writer friend, Whitfield Cook, to look at his own screenplay. However, she warms to Hitchcock’s proposal, suggesting the innovative plot turn of killing the female lead early in the film. The studio heads at Paramount prove more difficult to persuade, forcing Hitchcock to finance the film personally and use his Alfred Hitchcock Presents television crew (over at competitor Revue/Universal) to produce the film, his last with Paramount.However, the pressures of the production, such as dealing with Geoffrey Shurlock of the Motion Picture Production Code, and Hitchcock’s lecherous habits, such as when they confer with the female lead, Janet Leigh, annoy Alma. She begins a personal writing collaboration with Whitfield Cook on his screenplay at his beach house without Hitchcock’s knowledge. Hitchcock eventually discovers what she has been doing and suspects her of having an affair. This concern affects Hitchcock’s work on Psycho. Hitchcock eventually confronts Alma and asks her if she is having an affair. Alma angrily denies it. Alma temporarily takes over production of the film when Hitchcock is bedridden after collapsing from overwork, but this sequence, which included a complicated process shot showing Arbogast’s demise, with Alma’s specification of a 35mm lens, instead of the 50mm lens preferred by Hitchcock for this film, proved to be the least effective in the film.Meanwhile, Hitchcock expresses his disappointment to Vera Miles at how she didn’t follow through on his plan to make her the next biggest star after Grace Kelly; but Miles says she is happy with her family life. Hitchcock’s cut of Psycho is poorly received by the studio executives, while Alma discovers Whitfield having sex with a younger woman at his beach house. Hitchcock and Alma reconcile and set to work on improving the film. Their renewed collaboration yields results, culminating in Alma convincing Hitchcock to accept their composer’s suggestion for adding Bernard Herrmann’s harsh strings score to the shower scene.After maneuvering Shurlock into leaving the film’s content largely intact, Hitchcock learns the studio is only going to exhibit the film in two theaters. Hitchcock arranges for special theater instructions to pique the public’s interest such as forbidding admittance after the film begins. At the film’s premiere, Hitchcock first views the audience from the projection booth, looking out through its small window at the audience (a scene which recalls his spying on his leading actresses undressing earlier in the film–by looking through a hole cut in the dressing room wall–which itself is a voyeuristic motif included in the film of Psycho). Hitchcock then waits in the lobby for the audience’s reaction, conducting slashing motions to their reactions as they scream on cue. The film is rewarded with an enthusiastic reception. With the film’s screening being so well received, Hitchcock publicly thanks his wife afterward for helping make it possible and they affirm their love. At the conclusion at his home, Hitchcock addresses the audience noting Psycho proved a major high point of his career and he is currently pondering his next project. A raven lands on his shoulder as a reference to The Birds, before turning to meet with his wife.The final title cards say that Hitchcock directed six more films after Psycho, none of which would eclipse its commercial success, and although he never won an Oscar, the American Film Institute awarded him its Life Achievement Award in 1979: an award that he claimed he shared, as he had his life, with his wife, Alma.Overall, honestly, I know Hitchcock isn’t a perfect film. No film is. But, I love the film for it’s dramatic and whimsical aspects, the phenomenal acting, score, screenplay, camera-work, and the way the film was done as a whole. If you love/like Psycho, or just enjoy learning about the man known as The Master of Suspense, give this film a go.

REVIEW: TO DIE FOR

CAST

Nicole Kidman (Paddignton)
Matt Dillon (Crash)
Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator)
Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone)
Illeana Douglas (Ghost World)
Dan Hedaya (Commando)
Alison Folland (The Fighter)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men)
Susan Taylor (Heat)
David Cronenberg (Jason X)
Tamara Gorski (Hercules: TLJ)

To-Die-For-movie-1080p-HD-free-downloadSuzanne Stone (Nicole Kidman) dreams of being a world-famous news anchor. To that end, she marries Larry Maretto (Matt Dillon), due to mutual attraction and because she believes his family business will keep her financially comfortable, and she starts attempting to climb the network news ladder, beginning as a meteorologist at a local cable station, WWEN.gx5X7KK3Uw2A81xuYxP4yXKHTkZWhen Larry starts asking her to take time off from her career to start a family, she immediately begins plotting to get rid of him. To this end, she uses the subjects of her TV documentary, a high school project called “Teens Speak Out”, and seduces one of her students, Jimmy Emmett (Joaquin Phoenix), and manipulates him and his friends, delinquent Russell Hines (Casey Affleck) and shy Lydia Mertz (Alison Folland), into killing Larry. With the help of Russell and Lydia, Jimmy ultimately commits the murder.2915D18500000578-3097590-On_the_big_screen_The_case_inspired_the_1995_movie_To_Die_For_In-a-58_1432652312603Though Larry’s death is ruled a burglary-murder, the police begin investigating when they stumble across a “Teens Speak Out” video of Suzanne at Jimmy’s school in which Jimmy discreetly hints at a relationship with Suzanne, provided by her boss, Ed Grant (Wayne Knight). Jimmy, Russell and Lydia are arrested. Lydia makes a deal with the police to converse with Suzanne while wearing a wiretap, and Suzanne unwittingly reveals her hand in the murder. To-Die-For

Despite this undeniable proof of Suzanne’s guilt, however, she is acquitted in court, on the basis that the police had resorted to entrapment, and walks free. Suzanne basks in the media spotlight as she talks to reporters about Larry’s death, and fabricates a story about her husband being a drug addict and being murdered by Jimmy and Russell as his dealers. Jimmy and Russell are sentenced to life in prison, though Russell appeals against his sentence and receives sixteen years instead, while Lydia is released on probation for her cooperation.MSDTODI EC006Larry’s father, Joe (Dan Hedaya), sees Suzanne lying about Larry on television and realizes that Suzanne was behind his son’s murder. He then uses his Mafia connections to have her murdered. The hitman (David Cronenberg) lures Suzanne away from her home by pretending to be interested in broadcasting her life story, kills her, and then buries her under a frozen lake. Lydia gains national attention by telling her side of the story in a television interview, becoming a celebrity. Larry’s sister, Janice (Illeana Douglas), practices her figure skating on the frozen lake where Suzanne’s corpse is hidden.563823627_640To Die For is entertaining from beginning to end, and the ending is especially satisfying. It’s funny in ways that almost make you feel a little guilty for laughing.