REVIEW: THE BOY

CAST

Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead)
Rupert Evans (Hellboy)
James Russell (Forever)
Jim Norton (American History)
Diana Hardcastle (If Only)
Jett Klyne (Beyond)

Greta, a young woman from Montana, escapes an abusive relationship by getting a temporary job as a nanny for the British Heelshire family. Upon arrival in the United Kingdom and the Heelshire residence, Greta introduces herself to Mr. and Mrs. Heelshire before meeting the elderly couple’s young son, Brahms. To Greta’s surprise and amusement, Brahms is a porcelain doll, treated like a living child by his “parents”. The real Brahms perished in a fire back in 1991, at the age of eight. Mrs. Heelshire, referring to the porcelain doll, states that Brahms has met “many nannies”, all of whom were “rejected”. Before the Heelshires leave on holiday, they give Greta a list of rules to follow, warning her that Brahms is not a normal child.Initially, Greta follows a relatively normal routine, choosing to ignore the rules set in place for Brahms. She regularly calls her sister, Sandy, and befriends the Heelshires’ flirtatious grocery boy, Malcolm. Soon after Greta’s refusal to follow Brahms’ rules, strange things begin to happen—a child’s sobs are heard in the hallways, phone calls are cut off and Brahms seems to move on his own, vanishing before reappearing in other sections of the house. Greta finds herself locked in the attic by an unseen force and discovers pictures of the real Brahms playing with a little girl, his childhood friend, Emily. After she is served a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich outside her door, she begins to believe that Brahms’ spirit lives on in the doll. Meanwhile, the Heelshires are seen on a coastline writing a good-bye letter to Brahms and filling their pockets with rocks before committing suicide by drowning.After Greta demonstrates Brahms’ ability to move by himself, Malcolm begins to frequent the house. He informs Greta that the real Brahms was friends with a young girl about his age, who disappeared after a playdate with him in the forest. The girl’s body was later found with her skull crushed. Malcolm warns Greta not to stay in the house, but Greta, having previously suffered a miscarriage, feels obligated to care for Brahms and begins to follow his rules. One evening, Greta discovers her ex-boyfriend Cole playing snooker in the Heelshires’ home. He questions why she has the doll, and wishes to see the real boy. After establishing that there is not a boy, Malcolm arrives while the three of them eat dinner. Malcolm leaves the house but stays in his car in case anything bad happens. During dinner, Cole shows Greta plane tickets and is determined to bring her home, which she refuses to do, making him angry.Greta then goes upstairs to put Brahms in bed, and asks him for help. Later on, Cole becomes even more enraged by the appearance of a message written in blood, as he presumed that Greta wrote it to scare him away. Greta says the doll may have done it, which he does not believe. He then pushes Greta and tries to take the doll, and upon hearing the commotion, Malcolm enters the room and an argument breaks out. Cole then loses his temper and smashes the porcelain doll. Immediately after, the house begins to shake, and the lights flicker. Cole goes to investigate a mirror in the room, when suddenly the mirror smashes open and the real adult and very much alive Brahms crawls through the shattered mirror. It is revealed that he was living within the walls of the house the whole time.Brahms immediately attacks the group, trying to take Greta with him. Then, after overpowering the group, he kills Cole by stabbing him in the neck with a shard of the broken porcelain doll and then chases Greta and Malcolm throughout the house. They eventually escape to the attic where she discovers the room Brahms was living in, with a straw doll on a bed wearing her dress and jewelry, and embodying her image. Greta realizes that Brahms has been alive all along and was the one who was moving the porcelain doll throughout the house, stealing her possessions, and watching her every move. The Heelshires offered Greta (and the nannies before her) as a form of sacrifice to Brahms for “his keeping”. Soon, the chase resumes and they find a little opening that leads outside of the house. Brahms incapacitates Malcolm after hitting him with a bat twice, and Greta escapes through the opening. Brahms is yelling after her saying that he will kill Malcolm if Greta leaves. She immediately returns after realizing that she needs to save Malcolm.She returns, takes a screwdriver out of the cupboard and slips it into the back of her pants pocket. Greta confronts Brahms, telling him that she won’t leave. She then orders Brahms to go to bed, treating him as she would the doll (Brahms is still a feral child in this regard). After Greta tucks him into bed, he asks for a good night kiss, which she begrudgingly accepts. However, when he tries to pull Greta in and make out with her, she changes her mind and stabs him in the stomach with the screwdriver. Still alive, Brahms retaliates by throwing her against a wall and begins to strangle her. Greta then reaches down to the screwdriver (still stuck in his stomach) and twists it in deeper causing him to drop her and presumably die. Afterwards, she escapes, rescuing Malcolm and leaving the Heelshire estate gate open behind her. The film cuts to a scene of the open gate and then to a hand putting the porcelain doll back together, implying that Brahms is still alive. The film ends with a final glimpse of the repaired doll’s face.Definitely exceeded expectations! Started off as another Annabelle type of film but turned into something way more intriguing.

Advertisements

REVIEW: BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

CAST
Ben Affleck (Argo)
Henry Carvill (Immortals)
Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
Diane Lane (Hollywoodland)
Laurence Fishburne (Hannibal)
Jeremy Irons (Lolita)
Holly Hunter (Crash)
Gal Gadot (Fast And Furious 6)
Scoot McNairy (Monsters)
Tao Okamoto (The Wolverine)
Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead)
Michael Shannon (Boardwalk empire)
Michael Cassidy (Smallville)
Ray Fisher (The Astronaut Wives Club)
Ezra Miller (Trainwreck)
Harry Lennix (Dollhouse)
Joe Morton (Speed)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Losers)
Carla Cugino (Watchmen)
Patrick Wilson (Hard Candy)
Jason Momoa (Stargate Atlantis)
Jena Malone (Saved)
Eighteen months after the destructive attack by General Zod in Metropolis from Man of Steel, Superman has become a controversial figure. Daily Planet journalist Clark Kent, Superman’s alter ego, has moved in with Lois Lane. Bruce Wayne, who has operated in Gotham City as the vigilante “Batman” for nearly two decades, sees Superman as a potential threat to humanity. After learning of Batman’s activities, Superman also views him as a threat, and seeks to stop him via the Daily Planet articles authored by him as Kent.
Wayne learns that Russian weapon-trafficker Anatoli Knyazev has been contacting LexCorp’s mogul Lex Luthor. Meanwhile, Luthor tries to convince Senator June Finch to allow him to import Kryptonite retrieved from the Indian Ocean following the results of Zod’s terraforming attempt, claiming to use it as a “deterrent” against Kryptonians, but she denies the request. He also makes side dealings with Finch’s subordinate and demands access to Zod’s body and the Kryptonian scout ship.
Wayne attends Luthor’s party at LexCorp, where he meets mysterious antiques dealer Diana Prince, and retrieves data from the company’s mainframe. The data drive, however, is stolen by Prince, who later returns it to Wayne after she is unable to decrypt the data. While decrypting the drive at the Batcave, Wayne has a dream of a post-apocalyptic world, where he leads a group of rebels against Superman. He is snapped out of the dream by an unidentified time traveler, who warns him of Lane’s crucial role in the distant future, and urges him to find “the others”. Wayne later realizes that Luthor is not only experimenting with Kryptonite, but also investigating metahumans. One of them is Prince herself, who is an immortal warrior. Wayne admits to Alfred Pennyworth that he plans to steal the Kryptonite to weaponize it, should it become necessary to fight Superman. Batman pursues a convoy carrying the Kryptonite to LexCorp, but Superman interferes and orders him to cease his activities.
Luthor orchestrates a bombing at a congressional hearing where Finch is questioning Superman on the validity of his actions, which have resulted in deaths of civilians. The bomb kills dozens of people, including Finch. Frustrated with failing to save people, Superman goes into self-imposed exile. Batman breaks into LexCorp and steals the Kryptonite, planning to use it to battle Superman by building a powered exoskeleton, and creating a Kryptonite grenade launcher and a Kryptonite-tipped spear. Meanwhile, Luthor enters the Kryptonian ship and learns of its functions, as well as recorded alien worlds.
Luthor kidnaps Martha Kent, Clark’s adoptive mother. He reveals that he has manipulated Superman and Batman by fueling their animosity of each other. Luthor forces Superman to fight and kill Batman in exchange for Martha’s life. Superman tries to reason with Batman, but Batman instigates a fight and ultimately gains the upper hand thanks to the kryptonite grenades. Before Batman can kill Superman with the spear, Superman urges Batman to “save Martha”, whose name is also shared with Wayne’s late mother. Lane arrives and explains the situation, convincing Batman that Superman is not a threat. Upon learning of Luthor’s plan, Batman leaves to rescue Martha, while Superman confronts Luthor on the scout ship.
Surprised at his own defeat, Luthor executes his backup plan, unleashing a genetically-engineered monster with DNA from Zod’s body and his own. However, Diana Prince arrives unexpectedly. Revealing her metahuman nature, she joins forces with them to fight the creature. However, they are soon outmatched by its power, as it is can absorb and redirect energy. Realizing that it is vulnerable to Kryptonite, Superman retrieves the Kryptonite spear and attacks the monster. With Batman and Prince’s help distracting it, Superman impales the creature. As it dies, the creature stabs and kills Superman with one of its bone protrusions.
Luthor is arrested, and while speaking to Batman he gloats that Superman’s death has made the world vulnerable to powerful alien threats. A memorial is held for Superman in Metropolis. Clark is also declared dead and Wayne, Lane, Martha, and Prince attend a private funeral for him in Smallville. Martha gives an envelope to Lane which contains an engagement ring from Clark. After the funeral, Wayne reveals to Prince that he plans to form a team of metahumans, starting with the ones from Luthor’s files, to help protect the world in Superman’s absence. After they leave, a faint heartbeat echoes from Clark’s coffin and the dirt around it begins to levitate.

Once a movie that i was extremely nervous about stepping into, just happened to turn out to be my favorite superhero movie, and probably will for years to come, very interesting aspect of the movie was using the flaws of the first installment of the comic book universe and building upon those mishaps to create a much better and more compelling story. In this Ultimate Edition, there are both Theatrical Version (151 mins, in both 2D and 3D) and the Ultimate Version (extended Cut, 182 mins, only in 2D). I would strongly recommend the Extended Cut, because the extra information is helpful to tie in different events.

REVIEW: CHUCK – SEASON 4

 

CAST

Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Mekenna Melvin (Lie To Me)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Timothy Dalton (Flash Gordon)
Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Isaiah Mustafa (The Island)
Stacy Keibler (How I Met Your Mother)
Dolph Lundgren (Masters of The Universe)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead)
Robin Givens (God’s Not Dead 2)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Richard Chamberlain (Shogun)
Mini Anden (Tropic Thunder)
Larry Cedar (Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas)
Katie Cleary (Tomorrow’s End)
Harry Dean Stanton (Alien)
Lou Ferrigno (The Scorpion King 4)
Bronson Pinchot (Lois & Clark)
Karolina Kurkova (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra)
Nicole Richie (The Simple Life)
Steve Austin (The Expendables)
Armand Assante (Judge Dredd)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Dave Bautista (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Morgan Fairchild (Roswell)
Ana Gasteyer (Mean Girls)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
James Lew (G.I. Joe: Retaliation)
Monet Mazur (Just Married)
Matthew Willig (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
John Larroquette (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
Clare Carey (Hercules: TLJ)
Lesley-Ann Brandt (Lucifer)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Stargate Universe)
Mercedes Mason (The Finder)
Francois Chau (Lost)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Heroes)
Gary Cole (Crusade)

Season three of Chuck found the show getting more serious as it found the main character fully embracing his new life as a spy. Season four continued that streak. When we last left our characters, we were watching the Buy More  going up in flames. Meanwhile, Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) was promising his sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) that he would give up the dangerous world of spying.

The season four premier picks up several months later. Chuck and his best friend Morgan (Joshua Gomez) are conducting a secret mission of their own. They are attempting to use clues left behind by Chuck’s dad to find Chuck’s mom, a woman who disappeared 20 years ago. When it turns out that Chuck’s former government handers Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) and John Casey (Adam Baldwin) are on the same hunt, Chuck goes back to work for the CIA. Meanwhile, the CIA rebuilds the Buy More as a continued cover for their Southern California base and giving the old Buy More gang their old jobs back in the process. Morgan begins dating Casey’s daughter. Ellie starts investigating her family history, and she and husband Devon (Ryan McPartlin) announce they are expecting. Plus Chuck and Sarah’s relationship continues to build as they work through various issues.

But that’s nothing compared to what happens when Chuck actually tracks down his mother Mary (recurring guest star Linda Hamilton) who is working for the Russian Alexei Volkoff (recurring guest star Timothy Dalton). Can she be trusted? Or is Chuck about to be hurt worse for having tracked her down? As the season unfolded the twists to the story were interesting, and I spent much of the season wondering exactly which side Mary was really on.

And there are some fun sub-plots to the season. Probably my favorite involves Morgan and Casey. The no-nonsense NSA agent has little patience for Chuck’s bumbling best friend, and the fact that they have to work together on missions is nothing compared to when he realizes that Morgan is dating his daughter. Those moments are priceless. The writers and producers did a good job of developing Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. They have managed to avoid the curse of killing a show when you get the main couple together by developing their relationship and giving them realistic things they need to work on. It’s interesting watching it develop, and I like that.

As always with this show, the acting is top notch. As with last season, the show was originally renewed for 13 episodes and then picked up for a back 11. That means that the first 13 episodes tell their own story with a second story springing off that one in the second half. Even the second half of the season reveals some secrets about the Bartowski family legacy. It also means that this season set includes 24 episodes of the show in original wide screen and full surround. In addition to the gag reel and deleted scenes, there’s a featurette about Zachary Levi stepping behind the camera to direct the Thanksgiving episode as well as a collection of Webisodes featuring Jeff and Lester’s quest for a video game.  The characters are still endearing and the storylines worth watching. If you haven’t caught all of season four, fix that today and prepare for season five.

REVIEW: THE VAMPIRE DIARIES -SEASON 1-6

Image result for the vampire diaries logo

MAIN CAST

Nina Dobrev (Never Cry Werewolf)
Paul Wesley (Killer Movie)
Ian Somerhalder (Pulse)
Steven R. McQueen (Piranha 3d)
Sara Canning (Primeval: New World)
Kat Graham (Honey 2)
Candice King (Juno)
Zach Roerig (Rings)
Kayla Ewell (Impact Point)
Michael Trevino (The Riches)
Matthew Davis (Cult)
Joseph Morgan (Hex)
Michael Malarkey (The Selection)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Chris William Martin (Dollhouse)
Benjamin Ayres (Saving Hope)
Chris J. Johnson (Betrayal)
Marguerite MacIntyre (Red Dragon)
Robert Pralgo (Fast & Furious 7)
Susan Walters (The Flash)
Jasmine Guy (Dead Like Me)
Arielle Kebbel (Ballers)
Bianca Lawson (Beauty and The Beast)
Mia Kirshner (30 Days of Night: Dark Days)
Malese Jow (The Flash)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Sean Faris (Never Back Down)
James Remar (The Shannara Chronicles)
Kelly Hu (Arrow)
Melinda Clarke (Spawn)
David Anders (Izombie)
Spencer Locke (Resident Evil: Afterlife)
Taylor Kinney (Zero Dark Thirty)
B.J. Britt (Agents of SHIELD)
Tiya Sircar (The Internship)
Maiara Walsh (The Starving Games)
Natashia Williams (Smiley Face)
Lauren Cohan (Chuck)
Trent Ford (Smallville)
Daniel Gillies (Young Hercules)
Dawn Olivieri (American Hustle)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Michaela McManus (Law & Order: SVU)
David Gallagher (Super 8)
Jack Coleman (Heroes)
Sebastian Roche (Odyssey 5)
Claire Holt (Mean Girls 2)
Anna Enger (Anchorman 2)
Alice Evans (Lost)
Torrey DeVitto (The Rite)
Robert Ri’chard (Veronica Mars)
Perisa White (Blood Dolls)
Nathaniel Buzolic (Out of The Blue)
Cassidy Freeman (Smallville)
Casper Zafer (Coffe Sex You)
Michael Reilly Burke (Mars Attacks)
Todd Williams (San Andreas)
Grace Phipps (Scream Queens)
Phoebe Tonkin (The Secret Circle)
David Alpay (Ararat)
Alyssa Diaz (Red Dawn)
Madeline Zima (Californication)
Rick Worthy (Collateral Damage)
Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Arrow)
Charles Michael Davis (Battle Scars)
Daniella Pineda (American Odyssey)
Leah Pipes (Fingerprints)
Callrd Harris (The Real St.Nick)
Eka Darvill (Spartacus)
Olga Fonda (Real Steel)
Hayley Kiyoko (Scooby-Doo 3 & 4)
Rick Cosnett (The Flash)
Janina Gavankar (The L Word)
Kendrick Sampson (Gracepoint)
Shaun Sipos (Texas Chainsaw 3d)
Caitlin McHugh (I Am Legdn)
Penelope Mitchell (Curve)
Chris Brochu (Soul Surfer)
Raffi Barsoumian (NCIS)
Colin Ferguson (Eureka)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (Halloween: H20)
Emily Chang (Total Recall)
Gabrielle Walsh  (The Hive)
Marco James Marquez  (The CLient List)
Chris Wood (Supergirl)
Tristin Mays (The Wedding Ringer)
Annie Wersching (Bosch)
Christopher Cousins (Wicker Park)

 


There are vampires, and there are indeed diaries. One of these diaries is being kept by Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev). Elena’s been writing down her thoughts for quite some time now, but in these dark days, her diary is her only outlet for the way she really feels. She’s still reeling from the deaths of both of her parents just a few short months ago, and while she tries to present a smiling face to the world at large, she’s emotionally ravaged inside. Elena has been keeping almost everyone around her at arm’s length, dumping one of her oldest friends who she’d only recently started to date and tearing just about every last page out of her social calendar. She’s dead inside.

Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), meanwhile, is dead, period. He too keeps a journal, although having been alive…well, undead…for around 150 years, Stefan has had quite a bit more to write about than Elena. One of the first things Stefan did upon his return to his ancestral home of Mystic Falls, Virginia is re-enroll in high school. As an eternal 17 year old, he doesn’t run into any trouble looking the part. It certainly doesn’t hurt that as one of the few surviving vampires who doesn’t sizzle and smolder under the light of day, there’s little reason for anyone to suspect that Stefan is one of the undead. Stefan and Elena are inexorably drawn to one another, and the two of them are almost immediately established as a couple. Epic romance. Moony eyes. You know the drill.

Stefan can’t escape his blood. You can take that in the most literal sense: there’s the blood he must ingest in order to survive, although he’s long since sworn off feeding from humans, living instead off of small animals in the woods around his palatial family estate. This makes it easier to for Stefan to more seamlessly blend into mainstream society rather than feasting off it from the fringes, but it leaves him weaker than most other vampires as a result. It’s just not as potent as what’s coursing through our veins. There’s that sort of blood — the crimson, sticky kind — and then there’s the blood of his family. Stefan’s brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder) is also a creature of the night, and he long ago swore to make every last second of Stefan’s existence an eternal hell. Damon kills without hesitation…not only to feed, and not only to hide the existence of vampires from the world at large, but simply because he likes it. There’s more to Damon’s return to Mystic Falls than revenge, though. There’s a much greater — a much darker — motivation behind it all. At the same time, Mystic Falls isn’t being caught as unaware as Damon might like to think.

The Vampire Diaries finds its footing startlingly quickly. Take Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, for instance: as universally adored as those two series are, neither of them were really any good at all until the tail-end of their first seasons. Even with as strong as Supernatural quickly became in its first year, it got off to somewhat of a shaky start, and a fair number of the episodes from its first season are hit-or-miss. The Vampire Diaries, on the other hand, is just about perfect by the time the third episode rolls around. There really aren’t any weak episodes after that. There’s no filler dumped in just to pad out the rest of the season, and it doesn’t spin its wheels the way a lot of shows do when leading up to the big finale. It’s impressive enough that The Vampire Diaries hits such dizzying heights in its very first season, but to maintain that sort of consistency across virtually every episode…that’s exceptionally rare.


Admittedly, its pilot is kind of slow moving and sputters a bit, but the second episode is quite a bit stronger, and you’ll know from the end of “Friday Night Bites” if you’re in it for the long haul. Even with all of its genre underpinnings, at its core, The Vampire Diaries is a soap opera, complete with dead parents, drug abuse, adoption drama, alcoholism, and lots and lots of relationships. Don’t go in expecting it to be a Buffy clone or a Supernatural knockoff. The elements that make those series so brilliant are showcased here as well, but action, horror, and a snarky sense of humor don’t dominate. The great thing about The Vampire Diaries — and I write this from the perspective of someone who’s not the usual target demographic for this kind of show — is that the soapier elements are never overwhelming either. For instance, as the series opens, Elena’s younger brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) has turned to drugs in a failed attempt at trying to cope with the sudden deaths of his parents. In any other show, there’d be some sort of big, overwrought intervention…drenched in syrupy strings, a heartfelt monologue, and saucer-plate weepy eyes. That, or he’d bottom out in some sort of cartoonishly over-the-top way. Because The Vampire Diaries is so respectful to its characters and its audience, it doesn’t trot down either of those paths. People try to reach Jeremy and fail. He has to arrive at the decision to improve his lot in life himself, and he quickly does. Though Jeremy is certainly given a helpful nudge, his maturation is handled quietly and convincingly. The Vampire Diaries doesn’t have all that much interest in settling for the obvious, and it resists wringing out drama from the same plot points episode after episode.

Every episode has some sort of intensely action or horror driven sequence to unleash, and some sort of shock or surprise is always lurking around the next corner. I seriously found myself shouting at my TV — the good kind of shouting! — with the way The Vampire Diaries so deviously caught me off-guard over and over again. The twists are also well-thought-out and wholly earned, not just lazily yanking out the rug. Very few people here are safe, and characters I assumed would be a fixture for the entire run of the show are suddenly slaughtered after a few episodes. The cinematography can be impressively cinematic as well, and quite a few moments of “You’re Undead to Me” and “Haunted” in particular look as if they could’ve been culled from a big-budget Hollywood horror flick. Especially once the pilot has come and gone, the pace screams along at a very steady clip. There are never really any threads in the storyline that are left dangling for long. Plot points that look like they’d be dragged out over the course of the first season or two are instead revealed a third of the way through. Key moments that feel like they belong in the season finale swoop in closer to the halfway mark. I mean that as the highest compliment too. Nothing ever feels rushed or underplayed. It’s all presented quickly enough to keep The Vampire Diaries from stagnating but is still given enough time to have a meaningful impact…it’s a perfect balance. Also, every episode offers some sort of payoff to something established earlier, and there’s generally some kind of reveal as well. So much happens that part of me honestly wonders how they can keep up this manic pace in season two, although the writers have very much earned the benefit of the doubt after this exceptionally strong first outing. I’m having a hard time thinking of the last show I watched with cliffhangers this consistently addictive too. Especially now that it’s out on Blu-ray, The Vampire Diaries kind of demands to be devoured in marathon viewings.

The cast and characterization straight across the board are particularly great. There’s something magnetic about every last member of The Vampire Diaries’ ensemble, and no weak links leap out at me. There’s certainly an effort to keep them even-keeled. There’s something likeable or sympathetic about most everyone. Each character has some sort of glaring flaw as well, and that includes Elena and Stefan. Elena isn’t some sort of impossibly perfect Mary Sue character. She has her shortcomings, and her friends and family aren’t afraid to call her on them and take her down a peg either. In most any other show, everyone in the supporting cast would be boiled down to a three or four word description: “horny best friend” or “hyperaggressive jock”…that sort of thing. They’d be defined less by who they are and more by what the plot requires them to do that week. In The Vampire Diaries, just about everyone is infused with quite a bit more thought and dimension. This may not be at all apparent at first glance. Some of the folks who at first seem destined to be dead air are soon given some additional depth. Well, that, or they’re quickly mauled.

The body count this season is kinda stratospheric, and it doesn’t hurt that the werewolves hinted at last year have started snarling their way into the series. Season two is teeming with all sorts of unrepentant killers, and the standout early on is Katherine. Nina Dobrev pulls double duty as the wholesome, responsible Elena and as the centuries-old scheming murderess Katherine (several very different incarnations of her, actually), and she’s more than a little bit awesome in both roles. The series milks a few really great jolts from the uncertainty of who you’re looking at, exactly — if it’s Elena or if it’s Katherine playing dress-up — and Katherine’s sinister smirk after she’s had her fun never fails to make me cackle. Katherine also subscribes to the theory that people don’t amount to much more than Happy Meals on legs, and the swiftness, ferocity, and complete lack of remorse as she cripples and murders one random girl just to prove a point winds up being one of the season’s standout moments. I do have to admit that later in the season, The Vampire Diaries’ writers seem to run out of really compelling things for Katherine to do, and her appearances start to pack less and less of a wallop. There’s a point to it, exploring a facet of the character that she’d just as soon refuse to acknowledge even exists, but it does seem anticlimatic with as much of a sultry, destructive force of nature as Katherine is early on. The Vampire Diaries more than makes up for Katherine’s descent into shrugworthiness by introducing a couple of truly ancient vampires — Klaus and Elijah — who are charismatic, startlingly compelling, and also regal and adult…an appreciated change of pace from a show where the monsters are generally played by witty early-twentysomethings.

Ian Somerhalder still stands strong overall as the best thing about The Vampire Diaries, scoring all the snarkiest lines and clearly having a hell of a lot more fun than anyone else in front of the camera. Still, despite being so manipulative, exploitative, hot-tempered, and occasionally murderous, the show still finds a way to keep him completely likeable and sympathetic. Some of the shades of gray with Damon are erased this season, and he’s much more overtly a dependable hero-type. I chalk that up as character development, natch, and the fact that he frequently does seem to approach becoming the man Elena wants him to be makes his slips back into monster-dom that much more tragic.

The Vampire Diaries season 2  is just a hell of a lot of fun to watch, screaming ahead at a manic pace and never settling into any sort of comfortable routine. It’s shockingly well-acted, there’s hardly any filler or unnecessary distractions, and The Vampire Diaries probably gets the nod as the most infectious and consistently entertaining drama I’m watching these days. Even the soapier stuff and the over-the-top melodrama winds up being more engrossing than I ever would’ve thought possible.

 

he third season of The Vampire Diaries is about family…or, rather, trying to hold onto one. Elena’s is all but gone, limited to just her increasingly distant brother Jeremy. The two of them have a surrogate father in Alaric, but even he’s content to set up shop on the couch rather than settle into one of the house’s depressingly vacant rooms. A fractitious family at best seems as if it could collapse at any moment. Elena and Damon both are desperately hunting for Stefan. The previous season closed with Stefan unleashing the monster within, swearing allegiance to the millenium-old original vampire Klaus. ‘The Ripper’ has resurfaced. Though he obeys Klaus’ every command to murder and maim, Stefan isn’t some mindless, manipulated slave; he relishes in the kill.

 

In any other series, Stefan would be back to his righteous old self within two or three episodes, but…well, this is The Vampire Diaries. Things will never be the same again. Klaus has much of his true family within arm’s reach, though he prefers to keep the bulk of them skewered and subdued. His aim is to raise a new family, one that’s both more loyal and more like him: a hybrid of vampire and werewolf. The birthing of this army proves to be far more difficult than Klaus could ever have dreamt, and his torment grows that much greater when he finds the family tree of his birth to be more expansive and more vengeful than once believed. The dominance of family this season doesn’t stop there. Hell, we learn that the existence of vampires at all is predicated on the idea of protecting one’s own. No one in Mystic Falls escapes unscathed from all this, with the sorceress Bonnie, undead Caroline, and lycanthropic Tyler all struggling with parents who’ve either turned their backs on them or can’t accept their children for who they now are.

The Vampire Diaries does so much right, and approaching the top of that list is its disinterest in convention. Stefan and Elena form the core of the series in so many ways, and yet it’s quite a while before the two ever share the same frame this year. They’re kept physically apart for far more of the season than I would ever have thought possible, and even after that point, they’re hardly ‘together’. Stefan has changed profoundly. He may never return to the unwaveringly good guy he once was, and the journey back proves to be a whole hell of a lot more grueling As the third season of The Vampire Diaries came to a close, Elena died. This year follows her rebirth as a vampire, although if Stefan and Damon have their way, Elena will be re-reborn soon enough.You see, there’s a cure for vampirism, entombed for two thousand years with an immortal creature known only as Silas. Even with the crypt on the other end of the continent and before embarking on one epic quest after another to unlock it, they all start fantasizing about what they’ll do if they ever get their hands on the cure.

They could shove it down Klaus’ throat and at long last end his reign of terror, although who knows what kind of collateral damage would result from slaying an Original. Perhaps it’s the shot at redemption that Rebekah has been waiting for. Maybe it’s a chance for Stefan and Elena to enjoy a long but less than eternal life together as humans. It ought to go without saying that not everyone will be able to get what they want, especially since they’re not the only ones in search of the cure. Supernaturally-fueled vampire hunters have started to make their presence known for the first time in ages, and they aim to strip Silas of his immortality and end him once and for all. Anyone who gets in their way is expendable, and it kind of follows that Elena’s vampiric bodyguards don’t pose much of a threat to seasoned killers engineered to butcher the undead.

Season four is largely shaped by those three plot threads: Elena coming to grips with her vampirism, the search for the cure, and the resurrection of Silas. Most everything else that happens this year is fallout from one or more of the above. One of the people closest to Elena is saddled with the mantle of a Hunter, and the path to Silas’ tomb can only be unearthed by having him slaughter as many vampires as possible…a compulsion he’s all too eager to indulge. Cut off from the source of her mystical gifts, Bonnie begins to embrace darker magic. They imbue her with the power needed to unlock Silas’ tomb, but this raw, boundless energy may consume Bonnie before she’s given the opportunity.

Season 5 the doppelganger of Stefan or “shadow self” in the form of Silas certainly keeps things interesting. Silas is one of the more intense bad guys of the show and while Silas appears as if Stefan (as is performed by the same actor), the differences between characters is huge. The same can be said for the continuing story-line of the other double, the seemingly identical look-alike Katherine (who continues to look the same as Elena, but also is nothing like her). In Season 5, Katherine turns from a vampire to a human (as the sole recipient of the long-sought vampire cure), and things are complicated because of it. Seeing the way that actors Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley handle these scenes is part of the fun, and it’s an amazingly procifient example of the benefits of quality film editing to see the scenes where characters have interactions with one another as played by the same actor.

The production values of The Vampire Diaries are surprisingly strong for such a modest budget television production. The special effects are always minimally utilized so that when there are effects on the show they can count as something extra special. The efforts from the team that works on this show really impresses. The cinematography remains a constant things; always showcasing both the bright and dark elements of the storylines. The costumes fit with these performers well. The make-up department has their work cut out for them at times, and are capably bringing forth the supernatural elements to the show.

Considering relatively lower production costs compared to other network television series, it’s a very well produced creation that continues to impress with what the creator and producers have to work with.

In season six we get to find out what happened to Bonnie (Graham) and Damon (Somerhalder) after last season’s cliff-hanger, and what has become of the other side. There is also the introduction of a new coven of witches who have ties to some pre-existing characters. Last season’s new addition Enzo (Malarkey) also gets a much more beefed up role as well as back-story.

Amongst all of the new additions there are of course some exits, the most notable being that of leading lady. Audiences have spent the last six years investing in the life of Elena Gilbert, but now has come the time to say goodbye, and it isn’t easy. It’s not just Elena though as this year the show lost a total of four of its more long-standing cast members, and there isn’t going to be a dry eye in the house by the end of the season.

'The Vampire Diaries' Recap: Damon and Elena Return to 1994

What makes this box-set really special this season  is the extras. Thought has clearly been put into what to include, and it isn’t your standard deleted scenes and commentaries. Both of those elements are included, but the featurettes have been crafted with the true die-hard fans at the fore-front of their minds. Good Bit and Good Luck is an emotional documentary that gives the cast and crew a public forum to say goodbye to their co-stars. The second is a much more upbeat affair as the cast read out some of their favorite fan Twitter reactions to plot developments over the series. There’s never a dull moment in Mystic Falls and somehow, despite being over a hundred episodes old, the show manages to constantly reinvent itself and feel fresh. the cliffhanger leads into what is already starting to be an intriguing season 7.

 

 

 

REVIEW: COLD CASE – SEASON 1-7

CAST

Kathryn Morris (Mindhunters)
Justin Chambers (Grey’s Anatomy)
Danny Pino (Law & Order:SVU)
John Finn (True Crme)
Jeremy Ratchford (Angel Eyes)
Thom Barry (Texas Chainsaw)
Tracie Thoms (Looper)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Kate Mara (Fantastic Four)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Brett Cullen (Lost)
Jimmi Simpson (Date Night)
Daisy McCrackin (Halloween: Resurrection)
Lacey Beeman (Power Rangers Time Force)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
Vincent Ventresca (Dollhouse)
Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Barbara Tarbuck (American Horror Story)
Laura Regan (Minorty Report TV)
Christina Cox (Arrow)
Silas Weir Mitchell (My Name Is Earl)
Fredric Lehne (Lost)
Jeffrey Nording (Flight 93)
Josh Hopkins (The Perfect Storm)
Robert LaSardo (Nip/Tuck)
Blake Shields (Heroes)
Chelsea Field (Masters of The Universe)
Marc McClure (Superman)
Geoffrey Lewis (The Devil’s Rejects)
Leslie Silva (Odyssey 5)
Garrett M. Brown (Kick-Ass)
Molly Cheek (American Pie)
Autumn Reeser (The OC)
Amanda Wyss (Highlander: The Series)
Robin Riker (Big Love)
Nichole Hiltz (Bones)
Amber Benson (Buffy)
Maggie Grace (Lost)
Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica)
Marisol Nichols (Felon)
Mehcad Brooks (Supergirl)
Cameron Dye (Smallville)
Lee Garlington (Flashforward)
Michael Pare (Bloodrayne 3)
T.J. Thyne (Bones)
John Kassir (Pete’s Dragon)
Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed)
Barbara Niven (The Rat Pack)
W. Earl Brown (Bates Motel)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Sam Witwer (Smallville)
Mae Whitman (The Duff)
Aloma Wright (Scrubs)
Shirley Knight (As Good As It Gets)
Ian Bohen (Hercules: TLJ)
Jenna Fischer (The Office)
Chadwick Boseman (Captain America: Civil War)
Rance Howard (A Beautiful Mind)
Nicholas D’Agasto (Gotham)
Roxanne Hart (Highlander)
Chad Lindberg (Teh Fast and The Furious)
Daveigh Chase (S. Darko)
Virginia Williams (Fairly Legal)
Chad Donella (Smallville)
Nicki Aycox (Roadkill 2)
Bob Papenbrook (Jeepers Creepers 2)
John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Johnny Whitwroth (Empire Records)
Danielle Harris (Halloween 2007)
Michael O’Neil (Roswell)
Amy Sloan (The Aviator)
Brigid Brannagh (Angel)
Andrea Savage (Izombie)
Meredith Salenger (Lake Placid)
Clare Carey (Hercules: TLJ)
Dana Davis (Heroes)
Dee Wallace (ET)
Jay Acovone (Stargate SG.1)
Bradley Stryker (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Piper Laurie (Carrie)
Tessa Thompson (Veronica Mars)
Karina Logue (Bates Motel)
Sarah Brown (VR Troopers)
Brooke Anne Smith (Misschief Night)
Kristin Richardson (Lost)
Lindsay Hollister (Bluberella)
Nick Wechsler (Roswell)
Mimi Kennedy (Mom)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Thomas Kopache (Stigmata)
April Grace (Lost)
Edwin Hodge (The Purge)
Jon Huertas (Sabrina: TTW)
Phillip Jeanmarie (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Michael Grant Terry (Bones)
Deborah Van Valkenburgh (Mean Guns)
Robin Weigert (Deadwood)
James Handy (Alias)
Megan Follows (Reign)
Zachary Ty Bryan (Fast and Furious 3)
Alona Tal (Cult)
Meagen Fay (The Big Banng Theory)
Priscilla Pointer (The Flash 90s)
Tina Holmes (Taken)
Jeremy Davidson (Roswell)
Brennan Elliott (Paul Blart: Mall Cop)
Zeljko Ivanek (Heroes)
Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood)
George Coe (Smallville)
Laura Bell Bundy (Scream Queens)
John Rubenstein (Angel)
Meredith Baxter (Family Ties)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
K Callan (Lois & CLark)
Michelle Harrison (The Flash)
Peter Graves (Airplane 2)
Stacy Haiduk (Superboy)
Dale Dickey (Iron Man 3)
Mageina Tovah (Spider-Man 2 & 3)
Kenny Johnson (Bates Motel)
Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars)
Nestor Carbonell (The Dark Knight)
L. Scott Caldwell (Lost)
Neil Jackson (Alexander)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Rutanya Alda (Amityville 2)
George Newbern (Justice League)
Annie Wersching (The Vampire Diaries)
Eugene Robert Glazer (La Femme Nikita)
John Aylward (Alias)
Bobby Hosea (Xena)
Charles Mesure (V)
Conor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Sonja Sohn (The Originals)
Thomas Ian Girffiths (XXX)
Polly Shannon (Lie With Me)
Michael Trevino (The Vampire Diaries)
Jake McDorman (Limitless TV)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Lucinda Jenney (Rain Man)
Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica)
Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5)
Greg Finley (Izombie)
Paula Malcomson (Caprica)
Holmes Osborne (Donnie Darko)
Faran Tahir (Iron Man)
Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Whitney Able (Monsters)
AnnaLynne McCord (Excision)
Drew Powell (Gotham)
Erin Cahill (Power Rangers Time Force)
Carolyn McCormick (Enemy Mine)
Michael Massee (Flashforward)
Helena Mattsson (Iron Man 2)
Lynda Boyd (Sanctuary)
Justina Machado (Final Destination 2)
Cynthia Ettinger (Thirteen)
Bonnie Root (Home Invasion)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Shailene Woodley (Divergent)
Danielle Bisutti (Curse of Chucky)
Monet Mazur (Blow)
Justin Bruening (Knight Rider 2008)
Daphne Ashbrook (The Love Letter)
Rodney Rowland (Veronica Mars)
James Black (Anger Management)
Ralph Waite (Bones)
Aisha Hinds (Cult)
Jamil Walker Smith (Stargate Universe)
Jonathan Keltz (Reign)
Justin Hartley (Smallville)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creeprs 2)
Nikki Deloach (The Net 2.0)
Deirdre Lovejoy (Bones)
Keone Young (Crank)
Kim Coates (The Amityville Curse)
Timothy Omundson (Xena)
Jeffrey Combs (Gotham)
Kathleen Munroe (Stargate Universe)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries)
Brea Grant (Heroes)
Ronny Cox (Robocop)
Nichole Tom (Gotham)
M.C. Gainey (LosT)
James Karen (Hercules In New York)
Justin Leak (Powers)
Sean O’ Bryan (The Princess Diaries)
Cassidy Freeman (Smallville)
Patricia Belcher (Bones)
Jenna Leigh Green (Sabrina: TTW)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang Theory)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Joel Murray (Two and a Half Men)
Elena Satine (Revenge)
Nicole Bilderback (Buffy)
Erin Cummings (Spartacus)
Tania Raymonde (Lost)
Jonathan LaPaglia (Seven Days)
Keith Szarabajka (The Dark Knight)
Christine Woods (Flashforward)
Lee Majors (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Lindy Booth (Cry Wolf)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Raymond J. Barry (Lost)
Ttaylor Cole (Heroes)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Courtney Ford (True Blood)
David Starzyk (Veronica mars)
Bailey Chase (Buffy)
Wynn Everett (Agent Carter)
Brad Greenquist (Heroes)
Katherine LaNasa (Lie To Me)
Jeff Fahey (Planet Terror)
Clayne Crawford (Roswell)
Brit Morgan (Supergirl)
Jonathan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronciles)
Victoria Pratt (Mutant X)
Ryan Wynott (The Cape)
Jonathan Schaech (Legends of Tomorrow)
Valerie Azlynn (Julia X)
Muse Watson (I Know What You did Last Summer)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Daniel Baldwin (Vampires)
Ashley Johsnon (Dollhouse)
Erin Chambers (Finding Carter)
Tracey Walter (Batman)
Loren Lester (Batman: TAS)
Chris Browning (Supergirl)
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Steven Culp (Jason Goes To Hell)
Meagan Good (D.E.B.S)
Steven Williams (The X-Files)
Loretta Devine (Crash)
Yara Shahidi (Ugly Betty)
Nelson Lee (Blade: The Series)
Steven Krueger (The Originals)
Lolita Davidovich (Santa Fe)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heroes)
Chandra West (White Noise)
Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)
Justina Vail (Highlander: The Series)
Rachel Miner (the Butterfly Effect )
Sean Maguire (Meet The Spartans)
Lauren Cohan (Chuck)
Roddy Piper (They Live)
Susanna Thompson (Arrow)
John D’Aquino (Seaquest)
Azura Skype (28 Days)
Johnny Messner (Anacondas)
Rob Benedict (Birds of Prey)
JR Bourne (Stargate SG.1)

I’m glad I got the opportunity to catch this show. It’s no doubt one of the best shows on TV, between 2003-2010. it was a very well written show. The episodes always has their twist even though the cases, at first sight, might seem pretty much alike. This show captures the individuality of each crime, the persons involved and the surroundings in a very good way.The fact that the crimes have been committed years ago and that everything involved has changed over the time, gives this show something different then every other cop show. It also captures the humanity of both the victims the suspects and the investigators. There are a lot of feeling in it and it often gets rather touching. Some episodes might contain elements from the characters personal life. It just gives the characters a life beyond the job and this is good as it never takes over the episode or is used to cover a bad plot. The show involves several investigators and you get to know them as well. They got lives and personalities too, yet they don’t steal the show from Rush, witch in the end is the star of the show.The cast is great. Kathryn Morris does a great job portraying Rush. The cinematography and lightning of this show is just beautiful. It all looks great. Both scenes from past and present. They have given the show a unique look. A kind of white or blue, cold look. They also manage to capture the unique eras in witch the crime was committed. You know just by looking witch decade we’re in. It’s the colors, the way they shoot, the quality and the overall look that make this. The art director, production designer, costume etc. deserves credit for this too. Making the sets and such fit the era.

The original music of this show it catching and good. In addition there is a lot of none original music from the year the crimes are committed. This really gives the right feel and easy gives you the idea of witch year we’re in. The only downside to the use of music of the era means that copyright laws prohibit them being used on DVD and this is why the show has yet come to disc.

REVIEW: VAN WILDER 1,2 & 3

CAST

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Tara Reid (American Pie)
Tim Matheson (The West Wing)
Kal Penn (How I Met Your Mother)
Teck Holmes (Love Song)
Daniel Cosgrove (Guiding Light)
Deon Richmond (Not Another Teen Movie)
Emily Rutherfurd (Pain & Gain)
Paul Gleason (Die Hard)
Erik Estrada (Chips)
Curtis Armstrong (New Girl)
Chris Owen (The Mist)
Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory)
Teresa Hill (Cruel Intentions 2)
Sean Marquette (13 Going on 30)
Tom Everett Scott (Scream: The Series)

Van Wilder (Ryan Reynolds) is an extremely popular student at Coolidge College who has been in school for seven years. For the past six semesters, he has made no effort to graduate, instead spending his time organizing parties and fundraisers, doing charity work, helping other students, and posing for figure drawing classes. When Van’s father (Tim Matheson) discovers that Van is still in college, however, he decides to stop paying Van’s tuition.

Meanwhile, Gwen Pearson (Tara Reid), a star reporter for the student newspaper, is asked to do an article on Van. It proves to be so popular that she is asked to write a follow-up article for the front page of the graduation issue. Although that would be a big win, she is rather put off when Van interprets her attempts to schedule interviews as romantic advances—when she already has a boyfriend, Richard “Dick” Bagg (Daniel Cosgrove). Van and Richard dislike each other immediately, and perform increasingly disgusting pranks on each other. In one infamous scene, Van and his friends replace the cream inside some pastries with semen from Van’s pet bulldog, Colossus, and send them to Richard’s fraternity, where the frat brothers do not realize what they are eating until it is too late.

At one point, Richard has sex with another woman from a sister sorority, which would be the final straw for Gwen later on. Richard also sets up Van at one of his own parties in which there are some (very) underage drinkers and reports it to the police, which leads to Van almost being expelled. However, Van proposes an alternative punishment: that the school force him to complete a semester’s worth of work in the six days remaining, and then graduate. The committee agrees to this by a three-to-two decision.

Gwen is impressed that Van is taking the initiative to get his life together. She then learns of Richard’s setting up of Van, as well as his infidelity, and decides to take retribution. On the morning of Richard’s MCAT and interview with Northwestern Medical School, Gwen laces his ritualistic protein shake with a powerful laxative. Since there are no bathroom breaks allowed during the test, Richard rushes through the 2-hour exam in 20 minutes, “dialing down the middle” while disgusting the other test-takers with frequent flatulence. Afterwards, just as he’s about to reach the bathroom, he unexpectedly runs into the medical school interview committee. They pull him aside into an office to begin the interview and Richard ends up defecating explosively into a trash can while in their presence. He is briefly seen again in the film, reading Gwen’s article in the school paper in the bathroom (presumably, his medical school dreams are ruined, as he mentions to Van in a deleted scene). Meanwhile, Van does well on his finals and celebrates his graduation with a party, where his father and Gwen congratulate him.

A subplot depicts the saga of Taj Mahal Badalandabad (Kal Penn), an Indian foreign exchange student who is accepted (out of many “talented” applicants) to be Van’s personal assistant. The main reason for his application for this position, Taj explains, is he wants to have sex with an American girl before he goes home. He meets a girl named Naomi (Ivana Bozilovic), and Van pushes Taj to go for her, but Taj accidentally sets himself on fire with massage oil. At the end of the film, Taj meets an attractive Indian girl (Teesha Lobo), and it seems like they are going to hit it off.

Van Wilder is a simple crude story wrapped with a wonderful central performance by Reynolds. Where this 2001 picture won’t give fans the same satisfaction and buoyancy as American Pie or Euro trip, there is enough crude comedy to reward the target youthful audience for their money.

CAST

Kal Penn (How I Met Your Mother)
Lauren Cohan (Chuck)
Daniel Percival (Son of God)
Glen Barry (Dracula Untold)
Holly Davidson (Essex Boys)
Anthony Cozens (The Gathering)
Steven Rathman (The Magic)

Taj Badalandabad (Kal Penn), the personal assistant to the legendary Van Wilder, has just graduated Coolidge College and is now on his way to England’s Camford University. Taj plans to follow in the footsteps of his father- not only by obtaining a degree, but also to become a member of an exclusive campus Fraternal Guild, the Fox and Hounds, where Taj hopes he will become the next generation of Badalandabads to be deservedly nicknamed the “Sultan of Snatch.”

However, when Taj arrives at Camford, he is told by Pip Everett, the Earl of Grey (Daniel Percival), the stuffy head of the Fox and Hounds, that there had been a mistake and he has actually not been accepted into the Fraternal Guild. Devastated, Taj, with his faithful bulldog Ballzac in tow, instead takes the only housing opening available on campus and becomes the “Head of House” for a group of student misfits – Sadie (Holly Davidson), a gorgeous Cockney girl with a mouth like a gutter, Seamus (Glen Barry), an English-hating Irishman, Gethin (Anthony Cozens), the ultimate nerd, and Simon (Steven Rathman), a goofy-looking kid who rarely talks. Stuck with a band of misfits, Taj considers what Van Wilder would do in the same dismal situation, and in classic “Van” fashion he decides to take on the challenge and turn the house around. At the campus Society Inaugural Ball, Taj announces to the uptight crowd that he and his new mates are starting their own exclusive society – the Cock and Bulls. In addition, the Cock and Bulls declare that are going to compete in the venerable Hastings Cup – an ongoing series of campus academic events and athletic competitions.

Also, as part of his duties, Taj finds out that he will be a history teacher to his new mates and that his teaching supervisor will be Charlotte Higginson (Lauren Cohan), an English beauty, who just happens to be dating Pip Everett. Taj is instantly smitten with Charlotte. Charlotte instantly is not smitten in return. Taj and Charlotte clash over Taj’s less conventional traditional teaching methods until Charlotte points out that his new mates are in danger of flunking out of school because their grades are so low. Taj takes Charlotte’s challenge to heart and starts turning the mates around – their grades as well as their self-esteem.Meanwhile, much to the chagrin of Pip Everett, not only are the Cock and Bulls catching up to the Fox and Hounds in the Hastings Cup, but Taj and Charlotte are spending a lot of time together.

Pip sets out to get rid of Taj by attempting to humiliate him at the Royal Literary Ball and then sabotaging Ballzac at the Camford Dog Show, but both cases backfire and Pip ends up the one embarrassed. Much to Pip’s horror, Taj and Charlotte are clearly falling in love and the Cock and Bulls are moving into a close second behind the Fox and Hounds.

Pip decides to set up Taj and the Cock and Bulls by planting stolen test exams in their house. The plan works temporarily, and the mates are about to get expelled until Taj steps up and takes the blame for the theft – on the condition that his friends are allowed to stay in school. The school Provost agrees to the terms, and Taj has to leave Camford. Heart-broken, Charlotte tells Taj she never wants to see him again. The mates are now left to compete in the final event of the Hastings Cup without their fearless leader. But when Charlotte finds evidence that proves Taj’s innocence, she and Taj rush to the Hastings Cup, just in time for Taj to compete against Pip in the final event – fencing. A humiliated and furious Pip makes sure that the fencing match degenerates into an all-out sword fight, but in the end, Taj defeats Pip and the mates win the Hastings Cup. Pip gets expelled for planting the exams and Taj and Charlotte get to live happily ever after.

The only saving grace are the actors. Despite Kal Penn not bothering to hold his accent, everybody on screen appears to be having a good time.  They all seemed determined to give their best despite what they all must have known was horrendous material. Kal and the female lead (Lauren Cohan) admirably build some chemistry with little help from their lines. Holly Davidson also steals a couple of scenes as the “cockney” member of the group.

CAST

Jonathan Bennett (Veronica Mars)
Kristin Cavallari (Wild Cherry)
Kurt Fuller (Ghostbusters 2)
Steve Talley (Fuller House)
Linden Ashby (Mortal Kombat)

Van Wilder (Jonathan Bennett) has graduated from high school. He is supposed to go on a trip to Amsterdam with his dad (Linden Ashby), but his dad is busy with work, so Van ends up going alone. Van ends up going to Coolidge, following family tradition. His family has their name on a building there, Wilder Hall. However, when he gets there, Coolidge is no longer the fun loving school of his dad’s time, but a military-based institution run by Dean Reardon (Kurt Fuller). Reardon, a military man who hates the senior Wilder, wants to make the younger Wilder’s life miserable. He can not force him out because his dad is rich and has ties to the school, so he tries to make Van’s life a living hell. Van turns a one bedroom dorm into a two bedroom (by breaking down a wall). His roommate is Farley (Nestor Aaron Absera), a pothead from Jamaica. The boys decide to throw a party on campus, which is not allowed, along with kissing, drugs, alcohol, sex, or anything else that is ‘fun’. The only person to show up to the party is Yu Dum Fok (Jerry Shea). The boys try to find the girls, but they just find some religious, prudish girls led by Eve (Meredith Giangrande).

After she throws sacramental wine on them, Van pulls a prank on them during church. Reardon knows Van is behind the prank, so he commands his ROTC students, Dirk (Steve Talley) and his closeted sidekick Corporal Benedict (Nick Nicotera), on Van, trying to make him crack. Van falls for Dirk’s girlfriend, Kaitlin (Kristin Cavallari), causing Dirk to get even more upset. Kaitlin thinks, lives, and breathes the military, and believes in chastity before marriage. Of course, Van has to shake things up. After playing a military game with Reardon that results in him stepping down as dean and being tasered, Van and Kaitlin end up together and Van decides to finish college. The film ends as Van leaves Dirk and Benedict tied to each other in their underwear.

The first thing that hits you right in the face is Jonathan Bennett’s immense effort to look and act like Ryan Reynolds . Because, lets face it, he probably isn’t that good an actor by himself. Also Kristin Cavallari is insanely sexy and hot.  The plot is the same as in many other college movies of this kind and the first Van Wilder movie also. I have no problem with that, but in that movie Van Wilder is actually a compassionate human being, rather than an all out party and sex animal. Here we have his two friends, one a pot-head Jamaican and the other is a Chinese named, Yu Dumb Fok . There is also his dog, Collosus’s origin story here! There were some pretty hilarious moments though; the dildos beneath the bench at church was awesome, the dog sucking the Dean was funny too. Other than that, this was just another excuse to get girls naked and a cheap rip-off the Van Wilder franchise.