31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN REVIEW: SCREAM 3

CAST

Neve Campbell (Wild Things)
Courteney Cox (Masters of The Universe)
David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks)
Jamie Kennedy (Son of The Mask)
Liev Schreiber (The Fifth Wave)
Kelly Rutherford (Gossip Girl)
Heather Matarazzo (The Princvess Diaries)
Beth Toussaint (Red Eye)
Richamond Arquette (Zodiac)
Patrick Dempsey (Transformers 3)
Scott Foley (Felicity)
Lance Henriksen (Aliens)
Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men)
Emily Mortimer (Hugo)
Parker Posey (Superman Returns)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
Roger Jackson (The Powerpuff Girls)
Kevin Smith (Mallrats)
Jason Mewes (Dogma)

Jenny-McCarthy-Scream-3Three years after the events of the previous film, Cotton Weary, now living in Los Angeles and the host of a nationally syndicated television show, 100% Cotton, is called by Ghostface, who demands the whereabouts of Sidney Prescott, who has gone into hiding ever since the Windsor College murders. Cotton refuses to cooperate, and when Ghostface comes to his home, Cotton and his girlfriend Christine are murdered.S3Detective Mark Kincaid contacts Gale Weathers to discuss the murders, prompting her to travel to Hollywood, where she finds Dewey Riley working as an adviser on the set of Stab 3, the third film in the film within a film series based on the Ghostface murders. Using a voice changer as a ruse, Ghostface kills Stab 3 actress Sarah Darling. Meanwhile, Sidney is now living in seclusion as a crisis counselor for an abused women’s hotline, as she is fearful that another killer may strike. Having discovered Sidney’s number, the killer begins taunting her by phone, forcing her out of hiding and drawing her to Hollywood. As the remaining Stab 3 cast, along with Dewey and Gale, gather at the home of Jennifer Jolie, Ghostface murders her bodyguard and uses a gas leak to cause an explosion, killing fellow actor Tom Prinze in the process. Martha Meeks, the sister of Sidney’s deceased friend Randy, visits Sidney and the others to drop off a videotape that Randy had made before his death, posthumously warning them that the rules of a horror film franchise in the third and final film do not apply to anyone, and that any of them, including the main character (Sidney), could die.scream-3-campbellDewey, Gale, Jennifer, and the remaining Stab 3 actors, Angelina and Tyson, attend a birthday party for Stab 3’s director Roman Bridger, where Ghostface strikes. Gale discovers Roman’s seemingly dead body in the basement. Angelina, refusing to stick with Gale and Jennifer, wanders off alone before she is murdered. Tyson attempts to fight Ghostface but the killer manages to wound him before throwing him off a balcony to his death. Jennifer tries to escape through a secret passage, but Ghostface kills her. The killer then orders Sidney to the mansion to save Gale and Dewey, who are being held hostage. When she arrives, Ghostface forces Sidney to remove her firearm and lures her inside, as Gale and Dewey are bound and gagged with duct tape. As Sidney is untying Gale and Dewey, Ghostface appears, though Sidney gains the upper hand using a second hidden gun to fight off Ghostface. Detective Kincaid shows up but is knocked unconscious by Ghostface.scream-DI-3Sidney flees and hides in a secret screening room where she encounters Ghostface. He reveals himself as Roman, having faked his death and survived being shot due to a bulletproof vest. Roman admits to being Sidney’s half-brother, born to their mother Maureen Prescott when she was an actress in Hollywood. Years ago, he had unsuccessfully tried reuniting with her. Bitter over the rejection, Roman would film all the men she philandered with. He showed Billy Loomis the footage of his father with Maureen, which motivated him to kill her (thus setting off the events in Scream and Scream 2). However, when he discovered how much fame Sidney had attracted due to those events, Roman snapped and lured Sidney out of hiding.Roman then tells Sidney of his plan to frame her for the murders, before killing Stab producer John Milton. Sidney angrily tells Roman that he is responsible for all of the events that have occurred. A fight ensues between Sidney and Roman, ending when Roman shoots Sidney in the chest, seemingly killing her. While preparing for Gale and Dewey to arrive, Sidney disappears, giving her the upper hand to stab Roman in the back. As he slowly dies, Sidney shows him that she too was wearing a bulletproof vest. She then plunges Roman’s knife into his chest, apparently killing him. Dewey and Gale arrive before Roman recovers, only for Dewey to finally kill him. Sometime after, Dewey proposes to Gale, who accepts. Sidney arrives back at her home and is invited to join Dewey, Gale, and Detective Kincaid to watch a movie. As she goes to join the others, a door behind her opens, but she walks away leaving it as is, finally confident that the murders have ended and she is now safe.The suspense of the film is quite good and the audience is continually left guessing who the murderer might be. The killing scenes are at times graphic but will often leave viewers on the edge of their seats. Wes Craven unquestionably proves his mettle as a master of horror and suspense and does a good job of crowning off the trilogy with a good film. While many other horror franchises, including Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street have gone on to boast a series of eight or more films, Craven deserves a great amount of credit for making the film into a trilogy and settling there. This film does have a number of parallels with “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare,” the first horror film in the genre to truly deconstruct the genre from within, but even for those who have seen “New Nightmare,” Scream 3 is still a very enjoyable film

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31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN REVIEW: JENNIFER’S BODY

CAST

Megan Fox (New Girl)
Amanda Seyfried (Ted 2)
Johnny Simmons (The Spirit)
Adam Brody (Scream 4)
Christ Pratt (Jurassic World)
Kyle Gallner (Verronica Mars)
J.K Simmons (Terminator Genisys)
Cynthia Stevenson (Dead Like Me)
Lance Henriksen (Legends of Tomorrow)

Anita “Needy” Lesnicki, once an insecure and bookish teenager living near Devil’s Kettle, Minnesota, is now a violent mental inmate who narrates the story as a flashback while in solitary confinement. She has been friends with a selfish and popular cheerleader, Jennifer Check, since childhood, despite having little in common. One night, Jennifer takes Needy to a local dive bar to attend a concert by indie rock band Low Shoulder. A suspicious fire engulfs the bar, killing several people, and Jennifer, who is in shock, agrees to leave with the band despite Needy’s protests. Later that evening, Jennifer, covered in blood, appears in Needy’s kitchen and proceeds to eat food from the refrigerator. Unable to digest the matter, she vomits a trail of black, spiny fluid and then leaves in a hurry as Needy calls after her.

The next morning at school, Jennifer appears fine and shrugs off Needy’s concerns. While the whole town is devastated by the deaths caused by the fire, Jennifer seduces the school’s football captain in the woods and then kills him; his disemboweled corpse is later found. Meanwhile, the members of Low Shoulder gain popularity due to their rumored heroism during the fire and offer to make a charity appearance at the school’s spring formal.
A month later, Jennifer is beginning to look pale, and accepts a date with school goth/emo Colin, whom she brutally kills that night. While Needy and her boyfriend, Chip, have sex, Needy senses something dreadful has happened. She leaves in a panic and almost runs over Jennifer, drenched in blood. She rushes home and finds Jennifer in her bedroom. Jennifer kisses her, initiating a brief makeout session, and soon explains what happened after the fire: Low Shoulder took her into the woods and offered her as a virgin sacrifice to Satan in exchange for fame and fortune. Although the sacrifice and greedy exchange were a success, Jennifer was in fact not a virgin, and when the lead singer Nikolai murdered her, the ritual backfired and a demonic spirit took over her body. Unbeknownst to Needy, Jennifer also encountered the Indian exchange student Ahmet after the fire and, upon hearing that no one knew he had survived, took him into the woods and ate him, rendering him her first victim. Jennifer states that she can withstand virtually any injury without pain and is rather difficult to kill.
The next day at school, as the town is stunned by Colin’s death, Needy goes to the school library’s occult section and surmises that Jennifer is a succubus; she is weakest when she is hungry, and must feed on flesh in order to sustain her life and appearance. Needy tells Chip about her discoveries and warns him not to attend the school dance. He does not believe her and she subsequently breaks up with him in order to protect him. Chip goes to the dance, hoping to meet with Needy, but is instead intercepted by Jennifer, who seduces him and takes him to an abandoned pool house. Needy arrives there and finds Jennifer feeding on Chip. Needy tries to drown Jennifer but Jennifer, hovering in the air, attacks her. She is then stabbed by Chip with a pool skimmer. Jennifer escapes while Needy watches her boyfriend die.

Needy decides she must kill Jennifer for the common good. She goes to Jennifer’s home and sees Jennifer picking out her next victims in her yearbook. Crashing through the window, Needy engages in a fight with Jennifer wielding a box cutter. Culminating with a stab to the heart, Needy finally destroys the demon and kills her. Jennifer’s mother enters and finds Needy with the box cutter on top of her daughter’s body. Soon after, Needy is brought to an asylum. Since she was bitten non-fatally by Jennifer, she has obtained some of Jennifer’s supernatural powers, such as the ability to hover in the air. Set upon revenge for what was done to Jennifer and her, she escapes the mental facility and hitchhikes a ride to the hotel where Low Shoulder are staying; there, she slaughters the members, whose killings are later discovered by local authorities.

A fun quirky film that is greatly underrated

 

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN REVIEW: WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (2006)

CAST

Camilla Belle (Push)
Tommy Flanagan (Sin City)
Katie Cassidy (Arrow0
Tessa Thompson (Veronica Mars)
Brian Geraghty (Flight)
Clark Gregg (Agents of SHIELD)
Derek de Lint (Deep Impact)
Karina Logue (Scream: The Series)
Lance Henriksen (The Terminator)

This remake is an exemplary piece of suspense. The opening credits gives you a three-minute preview of what to expect in the movie and the movie delivers. We then move to bright scene of a high school gym where we are introduced to our star, Camilla Belle, as Jill Johnson. She is a teenager that gets the perfect babysitting job. A rich family, a very large beautiful 1970’s style house built in glass and wood, a full fridge, and best of all, the children are already asleep. And what could be safer, the house is gated and has a security system.

But as the sun starts to set, the shadows start to make the large house look un-inviting and remote. She hears noises and creaks and we wonder what it is; is it someone, a pet, the children or our imagination. Then the phone call start to come and our baby sitter starts to grew less and less confident as she starts to realize perhaps danger is nearby. She does everything a baby sitter should do when scared; she calls her father, the parents of the children and the police. But at this time there is no reason for anyone to ask. After all it is just phone calls with no threats and she is in no danger. Then she gets the call that asks her, “Have you checked the children?” Once again our panicky babysitter phones the police who take her serious this time. They trace the call and find out they are coming from within the house. So of course she goes up to check on the children again and this quiet night of babysitting turns into her worst nightmare.

This movie is a classic thriller that is frightening. If you love Hitchcock’s films, you will appreciate this. If you are looking for just gore and horror, do not watch this film. This film requires you to take the journey with the babysitter and actually use your imagination as you hear or see things to try and figure out what is transpiring. It is the type of film we use to call a nerve-shattering thriller or suspense film. Since this could really happen anywhere you will experience the suspense. And Camilla has to convey the enter range of motions without dialogue. It is the things you do not see that scare you the most in real life. The film has three stars, Camilla Belle, the House itself and the phone. If you like to be frightened and have an imagination, this film is for you.

REVIEW: HANNIBAL – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Hugh Dancy (Our Idiot Brother)
Mads Mikkelsen (Rogue One)
Caroline Dhavernas (Devil)
Lauence Fishburne (Batman V Superman)
Hettienne Park (Bride Wars)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Gillian Anderson (The X-Files)
Scott Thompson (American Gods)
Aaron Abrams (Resident Evil: Apocalypse)
Raúl Esparza (Pushing Daisies)
Dan Fogler (Fanboys)
Kacey Rohl (Arrow)
Vladimir Jon Cubrt (Prisoner X)
Lara Jean Chorostecki (Designated Survivor)
Aidan Devine (Suicide Squad)
Richard Chevolleau (Earth: Final Conflict)
Chelan Simmons (Final Destination)
Mark Rendall (30 Days of Night)
Molly Shannon (Never Been Kissed)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Cynthia Preston (Carrie)
Eddie Izzard (Ocean’s Thirteen)
Anna Chlumsky (My Girl)
Ellen Greene (Little Shop of Horrors)
Demore Barnes (The Flash)
Lance Henriksen (Mom and Dad)
Torianna Lee (Pompeii)
John Benjamin Hickey (Flags of Our Fathers)
Ellen Muth (Dead Like Me)

Mads Mikkelsen in Hannibal (2013)There was a lot of wariness of Hannibal initially. While the original source material were Thomas Harris’ books, the movies loomed so huge in the public’s mind. And going the prequel route? Not only has that not turned out so well in Hollywood in general, it’s already given us a disappointing prequel in this very franchise with Hannibal Rising.Hugh Dancy in Hannibal (2013)But lo and behold, not only was Hannibal good, it was great. There was always a major reason for optimism, amongst all the naysayers, and that was Bryan Fuller. An amazingly imaginative and distinct voice in TV, Fuller’s previous shows like Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies had proven he was someone whose work was always worth a look. And it became clear that he had a true passion for the story he was telling with Hannibal.Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, and Lara Jean Chorostecki in Hannibal (2013)It’s now a very daunting task for any actor to play Hannibal Lecter, thanks to how beloved and memorable Anthony Hopkins was in the role. But Mads Mikkelsen proved to be an excellent Lecter, giving the character an ever-cool, ever observational demeanor that conveyed both his intelligence and his danger while not behaving in such an arch manner that he would come off as too obvious a villain to those he interacted with.Hannibal (2013)As the true protagonist of the series, Hugh Dancy is also perfect as Will Graham, who goes far beyond the usual “eccentric but skilled” archetype of crime series heroes to portray someone with some genuinely traumatic issues – which only escalated through the season. Dancy managed the difficult task of portraying Will’s amazing skill set and his innate “goodness” while also showing that this guy has severe problems that would make him genuinely seem like he could be someone to keep an eye out for. If Hannibal was going to convince the world at large and possibly even Will himself that he was a killer, we had to see how that could sell, and Dancy’s performance did that perfectly.Caroline Dhavernas, Mads Mikkelsen, and Raúl Esparza in Hannibal (2013)When Hannibal was first announced, it sounded like the show would be about Hannibal and Will consulting together on killer-of-the-week cases, with Hannibal managing to keep the truth about who he was from Will for several seasons. All of which is to say, it sounded like it could be tedious. But Fuller quickly proved he wasn’t playing into our assumptions at all. Yes, Will’s job had him working several different cases this season, but it was hardly a bunch of one-off, unimportant stories. In fact, several of these cases would have repercussions in later episodes, or even the killers themselves (such as Gideon and Georgia) returning. The events in Hannibal were never self-contained. Will killing Hobbs in the premiere was a huge event that would haunt and shape Will through the entire season. The totem pole on the beach may have had no connection to the main story, but it would continue to resonate with Will as he began to hallucinate. The entire season felt like a well-constructed story where the majority of the cases Will worked contributed to the tapestry being completed.Mads Mikkelsen in Hannibal (2013)While Will and Hannibal’s relationship is the one at the core of this series, Jack Crawford – an integral character in Harris’ books – was hardly shortchanged. Laurence Fishburne, looking far more engaged than during his short time on CSI, was great as Crawford who had his own interplay with Hannibal occurring all season, while dealing with some huge issues at home. The story of Jack’s ill-fated attempt to use FBI trainee Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky) to help find the Chesapeake Ripper also was used to truly shape who Jack was and what was motivating him, rather than a bit of backstory thrown in and then barely touched upon.Overall though, the supporting characters were strong. Caroline Dhavernas had a tricky role she pulled off well as a protégé to Hannibal and a colleague of Will’s whose close ties to both men made it all the more difficult to suspect either was up to no good. Tabloid reporter Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) was equal parts vexing and amusing as she weaved in and out of the story – eventually seeing some truly depraved events occur while in the company of Dr. Gideon (Eddie Izzard). Despite only appearing a couple of times, Gina Torres brought a lot of power to Bella Crawford’s plight and rift with her husband. And it was a delight to see Gillian Anderson as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, Hannibal’s own psychiatrist, as we tried to figure out exactly what she and Hannibal knew about one another.Laurence Fishburne and Mads Mikkelsen in Hannibal (2013)Best of all was Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl), the daughter of serial killer Garett Jacob Hobbs. On a lesser procedural crime series Abigail would have been a one and done character; the damsel in distress Will saved. But here, the psychological damage her father had put her through long before his death, not to mention the horrific day he died (and killed her mother) cast a big shadow on the entire season. Abigail’s own secrets and her growing bond with both Hannibal and Will made for a compelling through line, as so many possibilities lay before her with two surrogate fathers who could help shape her into someone who stops murders or causes them.Mads Mikkelsen in Hannibal (2013)Regardless though, Hannibal has plenty to fuel its stories going forward. As I noted above, Fuller didn’t play into audience expectations at all – who would have guessed that Will would have figured out the truth about Hannibal by the end of the first season? But by having it occur in the manner it did, with Will disgraced, imprisoned and looking guilty of multiple murders, while Hannibal walks free, the entire dynamic has been upended in a very exciting way.

REVIEW: MOM AND DAD

CAST

Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider)
Selma Blair (Hellboy)
Anne Winters (13 Reasons Why)
Zackary Arthur (The 5th Wave)
Robert T. Cunningham (Knives and Dad)
Olivia Crocicchia (At The Devil’s Door)
Brionne Davis (Embrace The Serpent)
Samantha Lemole (Saw VI)
Lance Henriksen (Aliens)
Bokeem Woodbine (Total Recall)
Rachel Melvin (Sleepy Hollow)

104671_d1477bThe film begins with a mother putting on soothing music for her child as she sets her car on railroad tracks and leaves said child in the car to die. The Ryans are a family of four with a strained relationship. Brent, the father, does not approve of his daughter Carly’s new boyfriend; Carly is angry with her father, as well as her mother, Kendall, whom she considers out of touch. Carly also fights with her much younger brother, Josh, who annoys her. Carly is forced to cancel plans with her boyfriend, Damon, for dinner with her visiting grandparents.MV5BMTIxNTA2MzIyOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTYwNDY2._V1_As Carly is at school, an unexplained static starts transmitting through TV screens and radios. The effect is seen as the Ryans’ housekeeper murders her own daughter with a meat tenderizer in front of a terrified Josh and a mob of parents rushes Carly’s school in an effort to kill their children by any means they can (with Carly seeing one preteen classmate, Evan, being stabbed with a set of keys by his own mother after he scales a fence to reach her). Carly escapes the school with her friend Riley and hides out at her house, where Riley’s mom attacks and strangles Riley to death. Carly runs home in terror, running into Damon — who has killed his own father in self-defense — as she does. Damon tells Carly that the parents only want to kill their own kids, and accompanies her home to get Josh somewhere safe.213228-5429-clp-950After an exercise class, Kendall goes to the hospital to be present for her sister Jeannie’s baby, but the static transmits just after Jeannie gives birth, causing her to attempt to kill her baby daughter as Kendall protects her niece. Kendall escapes the hospital, seeing reports of the mass hysteria on television—the static gives parents a compulsion to slaughter their children. In an effort to protect her own children, Kendall heads home. Brent heads home as well, as he is bored at work.105315_d01086bHaving discovered her brother cowering under his bed Carly leads him downstairs after dismissing the house keeper because she had just killed her daughter, Lisa. Upon seeing Carly with Damon at home, the hysteria fully overtakes Brent, and he knocks Damon out and attacks Carly. Kendall joins him upon getting home; Carly and Josh escape them and lock themselves in the basement. After failing to coax them out, Brent and Kendall start using a power saw to get through the lock, Josh pulls out Brent’s gun from a backpack and fires continuously through the door, wounding his mother, with Kendall complaining to Brent about secretly getting a firearm with such an obvious lock combination (Josh’s birthday) while bandaging her injury. Kendall and Brent bond over their shared desire to kill their children, and run a hose from their oven’s gas pump to the basement in an effort to poison the kids. When Carly sees the gas, she rigs up a trap with matches at the basement door and hides with Josh in the house ventilation system. Brent cuts the door’s lock off and opens the door, igniting the gas and triggering an explosion that knocks Kendall and Brent out and wakes Damon up.105242_wb_0071bDamon helps Carly and Josh evade their parents, but Kendall wakes up, stabs him in the cheek with a wire hanger and pushes him over a stair railing, knocking him out again. The parents close in on the kids, but are interrupted by the doorbell; Brent’s parents have arrived for dinner. When he opens the door, his mother pepper sprays him and his father stabs him, revealing that the hysteria affects grandparents as well (with Josh begging his grandfather not to kill his dad, making him pause, allowing Brent to briefly disarm his father). Everyone chases each other through the house. Josh evades Brent, who attempts to hide from his father in his car in the garage. Kendall chases Carly outside and hits her on the head, but Brent’s mother attacks her. Brent starts the car, drives it out of the garage, and crashes it, killing both his parents and knocking himself out again. Kendall prepares to finish Carly off, but Damon knocks her out with a shovel to the head.MV5BZmE2YWRkNDktN2RjZC00YTE0LTgxMWUtZjVjZmVlNTk2MzBiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjEwNTM2Mzc@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,743_AL_Kendall and Brent wake up to find themselves restrained in the basement with Carly, Josh, and Damon watching them. They continue to exhibit symptoms of the hysteria, and the kids refuse to let them go. Kendall tearfully tells the children she loves them, and Brent continues, “But sometimes, we just want to—”. The film ends before he can finish his sentence.MV5BNjI1OTdmNDEtNDc4My00MWQ4LTk1MGUtMjljMTFmODhhN2JkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjEwNTM2Mzc@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,746_AL_Wonderful pitchblack comedy where Nic Cage shines once again. Brilliantly edited with a thumping score that meshes perfectly with the violence, this film gets your blood going and isn’t afraid to cross all boundaries. The flashbacks are a little grating, and serve to break the films pacing more than anything else, instead of serving the – perhaps not fully implemented – metaphor that everybody has a breaking point and hates the people they’re supposed to love from time to time. But apart from that, a great, roaring action-comedy-thriller-horror.

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REVIEW: APPALOOSA

CAST

Ed Harris (Westworld)
Viggo Mortensen (Lord of The Rings)
Renée Zellweger (Jerry Maguire)
Jeremy Irons (Justice League)
Lance Henriksen (Aliens)
Adam Nelson (The Abyss)
Timothy Spall (Harry Potter)
Ariadna Gil (Talk of Angels)
James Gammon (Urban Cowboy)
Tom Bower (Out of The Furnace)
Rex Linn (Young Sheldon)

Ed Harris, Jeremy Irons, and Viggo Mortensen in Appaloosa (2008)In 1882, the small town of Appaloosa, New Mexico, is being terrorized by local rancher Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons), who killed the town’s marshal, Jack Bell, and two deputies when they came to Bragg’s ranch to arrest two men. The town hires lawman and peacekeeper Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and his deputy Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) to protect and regain control of the town. The pair agrees on one condition: that the town follow Cole’s law and essentially cede control to him. The lawmen begin by confronting four of Bragg’s men who are causing a disturbance in the saloon. Three men refuse to allow themselves to be arrested, forcing Cole and Hitch to kill them. The fourth man surrenders and leaves the saloon. Bragg has a meeting with Cole and Hitch, initiating a standoff.Viggo Mortensen in Appaloosa (2008)Hitch sees a woman, Allie French (Renée Zellweger), who just came to the town and immediately takes an interest in her. He follows her to the diner where Cole is having a breakfast. They make acquaintance with her and observing Cole and Allie are getting together well, Hitch keeps his silence. Soon, Cole and Allie begin a romantic relationship and buy a house together. However, Allie attempts to seduce Hitch when they are alone but Hitch refuses her advances out of his loyalty to Cole.Ed Harris in Appaloosa (2008)When one of Bragg’s men tells Cole and Hitch that he will testify against Bragg on the triple murder case, they arrest Bragg and keep him locked up until the trial in spite of the attempts of Bragg’s gang to free him. The trial finds him guilty and sentences him to death. Cole, Hitch and several deputies transport Bragg via train to the prison where he was to be hanged but when they stop for refueling over a bridge, hired guns Ring and Mackie Shelton (Lance Henriksen and Adam Nelson), old acquaintances of Cole, appear with Allie at gunpoint, forcing Cole to release Bragg to them.Ed Harris and Jeremy Irons in Appaloosa (2008)Cole and Hitch catch up with the outlaws and see Allie and Ring Shelton frolicking naked together in a stream. When the outlaws are attacked by Chiricahua Apache, Cole and Hitch force the Indians away. Hitch tells Cole that Allie’s promiscuity is the result of her insecurity and she really likes Cole. They then turn Bragg over to the sheriff of Beauville; unbeknownst to Cole, the sheriff is a cousin of the Shelton brothers. Knowing that Cole is determined to bring Bragg to the gallows, the Sheltons and the sheriff free Bragg and engage Cole and Hitch in a gunfight. Cole and Hitch are wounded but manage to kill Ring, Mackie and the sheriff. Bragg escapes on horseback and Cole and Hitch return to Appaloosa with Allie.Renée Zellweger and Ed Harris in Appaloosa (2008)After some time, Bragg is granted a full pardon by President Chester Arthur (whom he previously claimed to have known) and returns to Appaloosa in an attempt to publicly reform himself. He buys the hotel and ingratiates himself with the locals. Privately he brags before Cole and Hitch to infuriate them over their failure to hang him. Cole tells Hitch that he still wants to be with Allie, despite her fickleness. Hitch decides to leave the town to make some money and resigns as deputy. Later he discovers that Allie is having a relationship with Bragg and challenges Bragg to a duel. Cole attempts to stop him, but Hitch remains steadfast and asks Cole to permit the gunfight to occur. Hitch manages to fire first just before Bragg fires but Bragg’s shot misses, and Hitch hits Bragg in the throat, killing him. Hitch leaves town, seeing that Allie and Cole are together; his parting thoughts express his hope that Cole can find happiness with Allie and for him, he gladly walks into uncertainty in hope of finding adventure and fortune.Renée Zellweger, Ed Harris, Jeremy Irons, and Viggo Mortensen in Appaloosa (2008)Appaloosa is a subtle film, both in story and as a technical production. Beal’s score is unobtrusive, while Semler’s photography manages to deliver that old fashioned feel that Harris was after (the low lighting for the interiors is particularly on the money) . Harris’ direction is smooth and unhurried in pace, with the odd inspired bit thrown in for good measure (check out the up-tilt camera work during a train on a bridge sequence). While the production design can’t be faulted. All that and you got the likes of Henriksen and Timothy Spall in the support cast too. A lovely film that is as tight as the friendship at its core.

REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1987) – SEASON 3

MAIN CAST

Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Roy Dotirce (Game of Thrones)
Jay Acovone (Stargate SG.1)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Jo Anderson (Roswell)

2

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Mitchell Laurance (Cop Rock)
Kenneth Kimmins (Lois & Clark)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)
Bill Calvert (Spider-Man)
David Greenlee (Fame)
Stanley Kamel (Domino)
Patrick St. Esprit (Green Zone)
Lance Henriksen (The Terminator)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: TVS)
Suzie Plakson (Disclosure)
Tony Plana (Ugly Betty)
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Fionnula Flanagan (Lost)
Jeff Corey (Little Big man)
John Pleshette (Rocky II)

26aefdfe75e396171a91adf55d86b177The 3rd season of Beauty and the Beast definitely takes the series in a very different direction. As the new opening reveals, once Vincent gets past Catherine’s murder he will dedicate his life to avenging injustice – in other words, he has been recast here as a sort of beastly Batman, searching the skies for the Beast Signal which will let him know that his services are needed. Much of the first five or six episodes are focused more on the gritty world Above than on Vincent’s world in the tunnels – the photography is very different, with a sharper, darker overcast (much of the warmth associated with the tunnel worlds is lost). Additionally, character inconsistencies (especially with Roy Dotrice’s “Father”) undermine the overall fabric of the story for those of us who followed it closely the first two seasons. This is a much more violent show now, and it’s much more “black and white.” The new villain, Gabriel, who dominates many of the episodes, is simply evil personified – there is no development of his character, no understanding of his motivations. He is simply evil, and Vincent becomes the force of good which will win in the end. Gabriel is Paracelsus without the poetry, without the history that made his demonic persona work. There was always a hint with Paracelsus that what he really wanted was to be part of the tunnel community again, but he just couldn’t figure out a way to do it. The only thing we know about Gabriel is that he’s a monster.screen-shot-2011-12-30-at-7-38-41-pm.pngCatherine’s death itself is not what changed this series – actually, Diana’s character could very easily have become a new “Beauty” for Vincent, had the relationship been given a chance to develop. The problem is the new tone, the darker perspective, the shift away from the tunnel community that had dominated the second season, and the fans’ resistance to anything that even suggested that Vincent could move beyond his bond with Catherine and love another woman. The message of the first two seasons is clearly the power of love to conquer hate and fear; this would imply that Catherine’s love for Vincent should enable him to love again – after all, that’s what he always told her about the nature of love. Here, in Season Three, Vincent’s grief is palpable, and Ron Perlman does an amazing job demonstrating what it is to feel loss. But there are subtle moments between him and Diana that are hopeful and beautiful – and I, as a fan of the series, find solace in such hope.1202175761_1While watching the first episode (Though Lovers be Lost) is not easy, know that there are things beyond it of great value. Elliot Burch’s character, especially, is given both a chance to redeem himself and chance to give Catherine a beautiful gift. Diana becomes a fascinating and original character whose own connection to Vincent is believable and real – she is not Catherine, but rather an independent and introspective woman who may have much more in common with Vincent spiritually than Catherine ever did. It would be so easy to see Diana becoming a part of Vincent’s world. So, suffer through the difficult death and grieving scenes, be prepared for the shift in focus, but enjoy the new stories being told here about Vincent and the two worlds in which he lives. Yes, it’s flawed – but there is still enough beauty to justify a return visit.