REVIEW: LEATHERFACE (2017)

CAST

Stephen Dorff (Blade)
Sam Strike (Monster Party)
Lili Taylor (The Conjuring)
Christopher Adamson (Mutant Chronicles)
Finn Jones (Iron Fist)
James Bloor (Go North)
Jessica Madsen (Tina and Bobby)
Vanessa Grasse (Roboshark)

At the Sawyer homestead, a birthday party is being held by the family matriarch Verna Sawyer (Lili Taylor) for the youngest member of the Sawyer family, Jedidiah. As his birthday present and to induct him into the murderous family rituals, he is presented with a chainsaw and is urged to slaughter a man who they have accused of attempting to steal from them. Jed refuses, visibly disturbed, and the victim is killed by Grandpa Sawyer.In 1955, couple Betty Hartman and Ted Hardesty are driving down a country road when they come across the seemingly wounded Jedidiah Sawyer. Betty follows him to a dilapidated barn, where she is promptly killed by the Sawyer family. Her father, Sheriff Hartman (Stephen Dorff), is called to the crime scene, where he is shocked to find his daughter deceased. Despite the efforts of Verna, Hartman quickly takes Jedidiah into custody as revenge, sending him to a mental institution known as the Gorman House Youth Reformery.Ten years later, recently-hired nurse Elizabeth White (Vanessa Grasse) forms a bond with patients Bud and Jackson (Sam Strike) at the Gorman House. Verna arrives later that night with an injunction to allow family visitation for a now teenage Jedidiah, only to be rejected by the director of the facility, Doctor Lang. On the way out, she violates security, causing a riot during which many of the nurses and patients are killed. Elizabeth is saved by Jackson, who gets her outside to safety where the two are taken hostage by crazed escapees Ike (James Bloor) and Clarice. As they leave, they come across a bloodied Bud, having just killed Director Lang in a fit of rage, and decide to take him with them.The group arrives at a rest stop diner shortly after changing clothes. Following an altercation with waitress Tammy (Nicole Andrews), Ike and Clarice begin a murder spree within the diner in which Bud is injured and the group is forced to flee. Hartman arrives on the scene with Deputy Sorells (Finn Jones) and discovers that one of the escaped inmates is in fact Jedidiah. That night, the escapees take refuge in an abandoned mobile home where Clarice and Ike engage in sexual intercourse, revealing her scarred body and involving the corpse of the former home owner in the debauchery. While everyone is asleep, Elizabeth tries to escape but is stopped by Ike. Ike continually insults Bud, provoking him to brutalize him to death when the others aren’t around. The next morning, Clarice notices Ike is missing and heads off to find him; Jackson and Elizabeth find Bud sleeping on Ike’s corpse and quickly take him away.Clarice is apprehended by Hartman and, upon disparaging both him and his dead daughter, is shot in the head as the others watch from a distance. Jackson and Bud continue on with Elizabeth in tow. As a Deputy passes, Elizabeth screams out, inadvertently leading to Bud getting shot. Bud’s death sends Jackson into a rage, as he kills the Deputy and has Elizabeth drive them in the deputy’s vehicle in attempt to reach safety. During their drive, the two are pursued by the deranged Hartman, who opens fire on the two with one of the bullets severing Jackson’s face and causing the vehicle to careen off the side of the road. Later that night, Elizabeth awakes handcuffed in Hartman’s car and answers a dispatch call, alerting Sorells to her location. Sorells visits Verna and reveals to her that Hartman has Jedidiah at the old barn where Betty was killed. Verna feeds Sorells to her pigs and then gathers the family to converge on Hartman’s location. At the barn, Hartman takes Elizabeth and the injured Jackson hostage, revealing that Jackson is Jedidiah Sawyer. Verna arrives and Hartman is soon incapacitated by the other Sawyers.Back at the Sawyer home, Verna stitches the remnants of the mentally-scarred Jedidiah Sawyer’s face and applies a muzzle to hold them together. She then leads him into a room where his siblings are holding Elizabeth and Hartman captive. She gifts Jedidiah with his original chainsaw and Elizabeth watches on in horror as he bisects Hartman to death. As the family celebrates, Elizabeth flees into the woods while the Sawyers give chase. She nearly escapes, only to be caught in a bear trap. Elizabeth attempts to appeal to Jedidiah’s sympathy, while Verna encourages him to kill her to protect their family. Jedidiah begins to listen to Elizabeth’s pleas that he is not a killer, unable to recall events prior to his injury, until she insults Verna. This causes him to decapitate her in retaliation.The next morning, Verna burns the evidence of the prior night’s events and the other Sawyers feed the remains of their victims to the pigs. In the house basement, Jedidiah crafts Elizabeth’s flesh into a mask and dons it to a mirror as he applies lipstick. The film ends with him smashing the mirror at the sight of his reflection.This movie is a wonderful prelude to an already brilliant franchise of the horror genre. Lily Taylor demonstrates such a superb performance as the family matriarch. A family’s misunderstood existence breeds both fear and hatred. A truly unique franchise that goes to show that blood is indeed thicker than water and there is no better way to serve revenge but ice cold and in the grinder. Much to look forward to is the rise of Leatherface! Bring on the next installment, we are waiting!

REVIEW: PUBLIC ENEMIES

CAST

Christian Bale (Batman Begins)
Johnny Depp (Dark Shadows)
Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises)
David Wenham (Van Helsing)
Jason Clarke (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Christian Solte (Road To Perdition)
Stephen Dorff (Blade)
Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe)
Carey Mulligan (Wall Street 2)
Emilie De Ravin (Roswell)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Billy Crudup (Watchmen)
Shawn Hatosy (Alpha Dog)
Lili Taylor (The Conjuring)
Matt Craven (Timeline)
Leelee Sobieski (Roadkill)
Rory Cochrane (Argo)
Casey Siemaszko (Young Guns)
John Ortiz (Fast & Furious)
Stephen Lang (Don’t Breathe)

After killing Charles Floyd (Channing Tatum), FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Bale) is promoted by J. Edgar Hoover (Crudup) to lead the hunt for bank robber John Dillinger (Depp). Purvis shares Hoover’s belief in using scientific methods to battle crime, ranging from cataloging fingerprints to tapping telephone lines.
In between a series of bank robberies, Dillinger meets Billie Frechette (Cotillard) at a restaurant and woos her by buying her a fur coat. Frechette falls for Dillinger even after he reveals his identity, and the two become inseparable.
Purvis leads a failed ambush at a hotel where he believes Dillinger is staying, and an agent is killed by Baby Face Nelson (Graham), who escapes with Tommy Caroll (Garrett). Purvis requests that Hoover bring in professional lawmen who know how to catch criminals dead or alive, including Texan Charles Winstead (Lang).
Police arrest Dillinger and his gang in Tucson, Arizona, after a fire breaks out at the Hotel Congress, where they are staying. Dillinger is extradited to Indiana, where Sheriff Lillian Holley (Taylor) has him locked up in the Lake County Jail in Crown Point. Dillinger and other inmates use a fake gun to escape. Dillinger is unable to see Frechette, who is under tight surveillance. Dillinger learns that Frank Nitti’s (Camp) associates are unwilling to help because his crimes are motivating the FBI to prosecute interstate crime, which imperils Nitti’s bookmaking racket, thus severing his connections with the Mafia.
Carroll goads Dillinger into robbing a bank in Sioux Falls with Baby Face Nelson. During their escape, both Dillinger and Carroll are shot, and they have to leave Carroll behind. The group retreats to the Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin and realize their haul is significantly less than Nelson said it would be. Dillinger hopes he can free the rest of his gang from prison, including Pierpont (Wenham) and Makley (Stolte), but Red Hamilton (Clarke) convinces him this is unlikely.
Purvis and his men apprehend Carroll and torture him to learn the gang’s location. Purvis organizes an ambush at Little Bohemia. Dillinger and Hamilton escape separately from the rest of the gang. Agents Winstead and Hurt (Frye) pursue Dillinger and Hamilton through the woods, engaging in a gunfight in which Hamilton is fatally wounded. Trying to escape, Nelson, Shouse, and Van Meter hijack a Bureau car, killing Purvis’ partner Carter Baum (Cochrane) in the process. After a car chase, Purvis and his men kill Nelson and the rest of the gang. Hamilton dies that night. Dillinger meets Frechette, telling her he plans to commit one more robbery that will pay enough for them to escape together. When Dillinger drops her off at a tavern he thinks is safe, she is arrested. Frechette is beaten during interrogation to learn Dillinger’s whereabouts, which she does not reveal; Purvis and Winstead eventually arrive and intervene. Dillinger agrees to participate in a train robbery with Alvin Karpis (Ribisi) and the Barker Gang, intending to flee the country the next day. He receives a note from Billie through her lawyer, Louis Piquett (Gerety), telling him not to try to break her out of jail.
Through Zarkovich, Purvis enlists the help of madam and Dillinger acquaintance Anna Sage (Katić), threatening her with deportation if she does not cooperate. She agrees to set up Dillinger, who she believes will come to hide out with her. Dillinger and Sage see Manhattan Melodrama at the Biograph Theater. After the film, Purvis signals other agents upon seeing them leave. Dillinger spots the police but is shot before he can draw his gun. Winstead listens to Dillinger’s last words. Purvis goes to inform Hoover of Dillinger’s death. Winstead tells Frechette, still incarcerated, that he thinks Dillinger’s dying words were, “Tell Billie for me, ‘Bye bye Blackbird'”. Billie sheds a tear – ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’ was the song the houseband was playing when Billie and Dillinger first met each other and danced together in a dinner-club. The closing text reveals that Melvin Purvis quit the FBI in 1935 and died by his own hand in 1960, and that Billie lived out the rest of her life in Wisconsin following her release in 1936.
 Depp at his best. Not too be underrated,  A really enjoyable film.

REVIEW: GOTHAM – SEASON 1

CAST

Ben McKenzie (Batman: Year One)
Donal Logue (Ghost Rider)
David Mazouz (Touch)
Zabryna Guevara (All Good Things)
Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers)
Robin Lord Taylor (Another Earth)
Erin Richards (The Quiet Ones)
Camren Bicondova (Girl House)
Corey Michael Smith (Carol)
Jada Pinkett Smith (Collateral)
John Dorman (The Wire)
Victoria Cartagena (Salt)
Andrew Stewart -Jones (Beauty and The Beast)
Drew Powell (Straw Dogs)
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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Richard Kind (Stargate)
Grayson McCouch (Armageddon)
Brette Taylor (Rescue Me)
Clare Foley (Win Win)
Lili Taylor (The Conjuring)
Carol Kane (The Princess Bride)
David Zayas (Dexter)
Jeremy Davidson (Roswell)
Margaret Colin (Independence Day)
Susan Misner (The Forgotten)
Kim Director (Blair Witch 2)
Christopher James Baker (Sanctum)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Nicholas D’Agasto (Final Destination 5)
Makenzie Leigh (The Slap)
Lesley-Ann Brandt (Spartacus: Blood and Sand)
Morena Baccarin (Firefly)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Peter Scolari (The Polar Express)
Dash Mihok (Silver Linings Playbook)
Anthony Carrigan (The Flash)
Julian Sands (Smallville)
Maria Thayer (Hitch)
Cameron Monaghan (The Giver)
Jeffrey Combs (Star Trek: DS9)
Colm Feore (Thor)
Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes)
Willa Fitzgerald (Scream: The Series)
Chris Chalk (12 Years a Slave)

MV5BNTQ4MDU3NDQ5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjc0OTM3MjE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1445,1000_AL_Gotham City has an old, relatively vague history independent of when Thomas and Martha Wayne were shot down in an alleyway, usually the first and primary thing that comes to mind about the motivation that drives Batman: the crime that got so bad that it took his good-natured parents away from him. The surroundings responsible for the billionaires’ murder weren’t created overnight, though, and intensified in response to their death, a time period that often goes unaddressed unless a detail about Bruce Wayne’s transformation into the brooding hero needs mentioning. As a response to the character’s unrelenting popularity the folks at DC aim to use that largely unexplored space to provide an origin story for the city’s violence and corruption, an attempt to recapture the magic of Smallville in a darker environment. The result is Gotham, a blend of crime-case procedure and mobster politics that also fills in the gaps between the orphaning of Bruce Wayne to where Batman begins.Taking pages out of the playbook of the comic-book series “Gotham Central”, the show largely focuses on the interworking parts of the Gotham City Police Department, notably the arrival of rookie detective Jim Gordon in the midst of rampant corruption. The OC star Ben McKenzie brings initiative and fire to the character, a war veteran and straight-laced servant of the law who’s thrown together with a dirty partner in Harvey Bullock, whose sympathetic flaws are marvelously embodied by Donal Logue. Their first case together? The murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, later revealed to be connected to the city’s organized crime activity. In their investigation, Gordon quickly gets introduced to key players pulling the strings in Gotham, notably a swanky nightclub operator in Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) and her aging, rational boss, Carmine Falcone (John Doman). Then, there’s Oswald Cobblepott (Robin Lord Taylor), an attendant to Fish whose wavering allegiances also come to the surface in response to Gordon and Bullock’s investigation, working him into a position of persistent danger and upward mobility if he plays his cards right.Against the backdrop of a Gotham City that combines Tim Burton’s gothic vision with Christopher Nolan’s stark approach into a relatively timeless metro area, Gotham comes in hard and fast with its nods to the DC universe, eliminating any early concerns about how much of the mythology it’ll incorporate. In fact, the show actually suffers from an oversaturation of these references, especially in how many of the classic villains have benign links to the GCPD in their pasts and, quite simply, how many have already shown up and taken shape into their well-known personalities. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, nor with tweaking what’s known about the universe into its own continuity, but it does detract from the production succeeding as a credible prequel to the age of Batman — touted early on as a selling point for the show.It’s fascinating to see the riddlesome Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) as an awkward, morbid Dexter-like puzzle-solver working in the precinct, and to see a young Catwoman giving prowler pointers to a young Batman not long after she witnessed the infamous Wayne murder.The areas where Gotham works are within the politics of the GCPD and the evolving criminal element, and, by association, the origin stories of Jim Gordon’s fight against the department and The Penguin’s ascent up the crime ladder. Elevated by Gordon’s furious diligence against the powers-that-be who keep him from properly doing his job. Gotham is in a comfort zone while exploring maneuverings of Robin Lord Taylor’s brilliantly grimy performance as Oswald Cobblepott. Combining the knowledge that he’ll eventually become a massive player in Gotham with the unpredictable, volatile nature of his younger self exemplifies what a prequel can accomplish.Gotham really exposes the crux of its issues in the origin story of Bruce Wayne, built around the young orphaned billionaire developing the gumption and skill to investigate his parents’ murder, planting the seeds for his growth into the Caped Crusader. As Gotham grows in it’s first season it becomes fascinating show dealing with the city before Batman came along and as it heads into it’s second season who can truly see the show has found it’s footing and will hopefully be around for sometime to come.