25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: SILENT NIGHT

Starring

Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations)
Jaime King (The Spirit)
Donal Logue (Gotham)
Ellen Wong (The Circle)
Lisa Marie (Planet of The Apes)
Courtney-Jane White (The Lookout)
Cortney Palm (Zombeavers)
John B. Lowe (The Butterfly Effect)
Brendan Fehr (Roswell)

Rick Skene in Silent Night (2012)A mysterious man dresses in a Santa Claus suit, complete with a mask. Once dressed, “Santa” captures and kills Jordan (Brendan Fehr), a police officer in the small town of Cryer, Wisconsin. Jordan is sleeping with the married Alana Roach (Ali Tartaryn) and is electrocuted with Christmas lights in his home. The following day, Christmas Eve, the Sheriff of Cryer, Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell), calls Deputy Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King) in on her day off when Jordan doesn’t arrive at work. Aubrey is a new addition to the police force, and is still reeling from the unexpected death of her husband John. She doesn’t think she’s a good officer as she is trying to live up to her father, who is a retired cop. Aubrey was going to spend the holiday with her parents but instead goes out to check on Jordan, finding his mangled body and Roach torn apart later in the day. Sheriff Cooper decides not to tell Mayor Revie (Tom Anniko) until the case is solved.Jaime King in Silent Night (2012)Meanwhile, the masked Santa killer goes on a murder spree, killing those who have done something he considers ‘naughty.’ His next victim is a bratty teenage girl who he kills with a taser, then he makes his way to the local motel, murdering a group of people during a softcore porn shoot. One woman manages to escape and tries to hide inside a Christmas Tree farm, but the killer chops off one of her legs and throws her feet-first into a woodchipper. Sheriff Cooper calls in Deputy Stanley Giles (Andrew Cecon) and goes out to find the killer himself, but comes back empty handed. Aubrey starts to suspect Santa Jim Epstein (Donal Logue), a local drunken Santa portrayer, drug dealer Stein Karsson (Mike O’Brian), and the perverted Reverend Madely (Curtis Moore).Rick Skene in Silent Night (2012)Aubrey attempts to interrogate Karrson, but he flees. Aubrey gives chase, but is nearly killed and only saved by Cooper. That evening, during the town’s annual Christmas parade, Aubrey searches for the killer, but is unable to identify him among a crowd of men dressed in Santa Claus suits, though she arrests Jim when he flees from her. The killer Santa continues on his spree, murdering Mayor Revie, his porn star daughter Tiffani (Courtney-Jane White), and her boyfriend Dennis (Erik J. Berg). The killer then arrives at the church and kills Reverend Madely for stealing donation money. Aubrey goes to Karrson’s motel room to arrest him, and is forced to kill him when he draws a gun.Rick Skene and Cortney Palm in Silent Night (2012)Aubrey notices a gift box that contains a piece of coal, and recalls that both the station and her father had received the same gift. Aubrey arrives at her parents’s home, only to find her father dead. Meanwhile, the killer attacks the station, killing Cooper, Giles, and Jim. Aubrey, along with the station secretary Brenda (Ellen Wong), are cornered by the killer inside the police station, where the killer tries to burn down the place with a homemade flamethrower. Aubrey is able to overpower the killer Santa and sets him on fire, but in the end he manages to escape.Rick Skene in Silent Night (2012)It is later revealed that the killer Santa is Ronald Jones Jr., owner of a local chimney cleaning and repair service, and he survived the flamethrower attack. During the hunt for the killer, Aubrey learns from another Santa portrayer that Ronald Sr. had crashed his ex-wife’s Christmas party many years ago, burning her alive with the homemade flamethrower. Aubrey’s father was the police officer that responded to the situation and gunned him down, only to find out that Ronald Jr. was in his father’s truck watching the entire time. The tragedy caused Ronald Jr. to go insane and seek revenge, dressing as Santa so he would not get caught during Cryer’s Christmas festivities.Rick Skene in Silent Night (2012)Now this is not a straight forward remake of SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT, but it does pay homage in a few scenes, if you remember how Linnea Quigley dies in the original you’ll know what i mean….its a solid film based on its own merit and storyline, some great gore and death scenes, and good acting by the most of the cast..unfortunately apart from Malcolm Mcdowell, who plays the sheriff, terrible dialogue and terrible acting, that was the only issue i had with it, because all round a great seasonal slasher, this will definitely be on the slasher/ horror list to watch every Christmas with all the rest,

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: HOME ALONE 5: THE HOLIDAY HEIST

Starring

Christian Martyn (Anne With an E)
Jodelle Ferland (The Cabin In The Woods)
Malcolm McDowell (31)
Debi Mazar (Be Cool)
Eddie Steeples (My Name Is Earl)
Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Doug Murray (Miss Sloane)

Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (2012)The Baxter family move from California to Maine and settle into their new house during the Christmas season. 10-year-old Finn Baxter (Christian Martyn) and his older sister, Alexis (Jodelle Ferland), are technophiles, who isolate themselves from their parents Curtis (Doug Murray) and Catherine (Ellie Harvie) and the outside world. Finn is often playing video games and Alexis is often on her phone. Encouraged by his dad to socialize, Finn befriends his neighbor, Mason (Peter DaCunha), who informs him about the legend of a smothered gangster whose ghost haunts the Baxters’ new home, leaving Finn paranoid.Jodelle Ferland, Ellie Harvie, Doug Murray, and Christian Martyn in Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (2012)While the family leaves their home to go Christmas shopping, a group of thieves consisting of leader Sinclair (Malcolm McDowell), the glamorous Jessica (Debi Mazar) and their new safecracker Hughes (Eddie Steeples), carry out their plan to break in and steal an old, long lost Edvard Munch painting valued at $85 million, unaware the house is occupied. They are unable to locate the painting in the basement safe, and as the Baxters return home, the thieves quickly flee. At night, Curtis and Catherine leave for a Christmas party hosted by Catherine’s new boss, Mr. Carson (Edward Asner). Finn and Alexis stay behind; however, Finn’s controller is confiscated by his parents. He is not permitted to play video games and Alexis can only use her phone for emergency calls.Jodelle Ferland and Christian Martyn in Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (2012)That night after having seen the party invitation earlier, the thieves plan to return, thinking the house will be cleared of the entire family. Sinclair confides in Jessica and Hughes that the painting they seek is The Widow, a portrait of his great-grandmother and her family that was stolen decades ago. Meanwhile, Finn adventures in the house and finds a spare controller. He starts playing video games. Searching for new batteries for his controller, he accidentally drops one that rolls down into the basement. Finn has Alexis accompany him to retrieve it and they find the safe unlocked and a secret room behind it, which houses the painting Sinclair is looking for. Frightened by the portrait, Finn flees and Alexis accidentally triggers a trap and ends up locked in the room.Jodelle Ferland and Christian Martyn in Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (2012)As an ongoing snowstorm worsens, Curtis and Catherine are forced to stay at the Christmas party, worrying about their kids at home. With Alexis locked behind the safe, Finn goes to shop for supplies at a hardware store to break her out, only being able to afford string which is virtually useless. After stumbling across Sinclair, he overhears the trio discuss plans to break into his house. Rushing home, Finn tells his online video game friend and young college student, Simon (Bill Turnbull) about the situation, but Simon is initially oblivious. Finn sets up numerous booby traps around the house, including ice on the patio (a trap from the original film), a snow blower blowing marbles in the garage, a carton full of tar, a coal-filled stocking, some nasty-tasting gingerbread cookies, and cotton balls and flour flying out of the sink. The thieves are forced to go through the booby traps, getting injured as they do so, with the glamorous Jessica getting covered in tar. Soon enough, Curtis and Catherine are able to drive home. Using Finn’s gamertag and his parents’ credit card details, a concerned Simon contacts them to warn about the danger their kids are in, but they call the police on him instead, thinking that Simon kidnapped them.Back at the house, Sinclair, Jessica, and Hughes capture Finn and detain him in the van. Sinclair and Hughes go to open the safe. Mason, however, saves Finn by throwing snowballs at the leather-clad Jessica, who is now very dishevelled from her normal glamorous state as she has been through the booby traps. She is eventually knocked out by the snowballs. Meanwhile, Sinclair and Hughes gain entry to the safe, finding the painting and Alexis, who threatens to destroy it. Finn flees and frees Alexis, while triggering the trap that locks the duo in the basement, which is seen on Simon’s television by Simon and the police officers who detained him. With Jessica encased inside a snowman, the police arrive to arrest the burglars. The family receives four museum passes and $30,000 as a reward for capturing the criminals and recovering the painting. As an apology, Finn’s parents send Simon a plane ticket to return home and spend Christmas with his family.EDDIE STEEPLES, DEBI MAZAROn Christmas Day, Finn receives a snowboard and an expansion pack to “Robo Infantry 3”. Alexis gets a tablet computer, and Finn and his dad get a camping guide. Finn decides to take a break from video games and go snowboarding with Mason, who is now his best friend. The final scene shows the criminals having their mug shots taken at the police station as a female police officer splices a copy of the mug shots into a portrait.homealone5It’s not the most brilliant film you’ve ever watched, but no one expects it to be. For me, it was a surprise how good this was. It made me nostalgic, having grown up with the originals, and I think kids would really dig it. It does what it sets out to do quite well and manages to be entertaining. Definitely worth a look.

 

REVIEW: THE BOOK OF ELI

Starring

Denzel Washington (Flight)
Gary Oldman (Bram Stokers Dracula)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Ray Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone)
Jennifer Beals (Lie To Me)
Evan Jones (Gangster Squad)
Frances de la Tour (The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle)
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter)
Tom Waits (Domino)
Chris Browning (Agen Carter)
Malcolm McDowell as Lombardi (Star Trek: Generations)
Richard Cetrone (Thor)

Denzel Washington and Evan Jones in The Book of Eli (2010)Thirty years after a nuclear apocalypse, Eli travels on foot across the wasteland of the former United States. He demonstrates uncanny survival and fighting skills, hunting wildlife and defeating a group of marauders. Searching for water, he arrives in a ramshackle town ruled by a warlord named Carnegie, who seeks to control the people through the power of a certain book, which his henchmen have been unable to find.Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli (2010)Eli barters with a store owner, the Engineer, to recharge the battery of his portable music player. At the town bar, he is attacked by a gang of bikers but swiftly kills them all. Impressed, Carnegie invites Eli to join his employ, but Eli declines. Realizing Eli is a literate man like himself, Carnegie forces him to stay the night under guard. After Carnegie’s blind mistress Claudia brings Eli food and water, Carnegie orders her daughter Solara to seduce Eli, but he rebuffs her. Solara sees Eli has a book, and he offers to share his food, saying grace before they eat. In the morning, Carnegie overhears Solara repeat the prayer to her mother, and realizes Eli has the book he has been seeking – a Bible.Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli (2010)Eli sneaks away, but Carnegie and his henchmen confront him in the street. When Eli refuses to give up the book, Carnegie orders him killed; the ensuing battle leaves Eli untouched, but many henchmen dead and Carnegie shot in the leg. Solara catches up to Eli and leads him to the town’s water supply, hoping to accompany him on his travels, but he traps her inside and continues alone. Solara escapes and is ambushed by two bandits who attempt to rape her, but Eli reappears and kills them. Continuing toward the west coast, Eli explains his mission: his book is the last remaining copy of the Bible, as all other copies were intentionally destroyed following the nuclear war. He says that he was led to the book by a voice in his head, directing him to travel westward to a place it would be safe, and assuring that he would be protected and guided on his journey.Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli (2010)At an isolated house, Eli and Solara fall into a trap but manage to allay the suspicions of the residents, George and Martha, who invite them in for tea. Realizing that the couple are cannibals, Eli and Solara attempt to leave just as Carnegie and his men arrive. In the ensuing shootout, George, Martha, and many of Carnegie’s men are killed, and Eli and Solara are captured. Threatening to kill Solara, Carnegie forces Eli to surrender the Bible before shooting him and leaving him for dead, departing with his caravan. Solara escapes, destroying one truck with a hand grenade and driving back in another to find Eli. With his remaining vehicle low on fuel, Carnegie returns to town. Solara finds Eli, and they drive until they reach the Golden Gate Bridge, and row to Alcatraz Island, where they find a group intent on preserving what remains of literature and music. Eli tells the guards that he has a copy of the Bible. Taken inside, Eli is revealed to be blind, and dictates the New King James Version of the Bible from memory to Lombardi, the sanctuary’s leader.Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli (2010)In the town, the Engineer opens Eli’s locked Bible, which Carnegie discovers is in Braille. Claudia, pretending she cannot remember how to read it, tells Carnegie that his leg wound has become infected and the loss of his enforcers has led the people to run amok. At the sanctuary, Eli has died, but not before reciting the entire book. A printing press begins producing copies of the Bible, and Lombardi places one on a bookshelf between the Tanakh and the Quran. Offered sanctuary, Solara chooses to return home, taking up Eli’s machete and other possessions.This film is masterfully shot. Solid cast that you really become invested in. Beautiful! Definably an Epic of Biblical Proportions.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: EXCISION

CAST
AnnaLynne McCord (Nip/Tuck)
Roger Bart (Hostel – Part II)
Ariel Winter (One Missed Call)
Traci Lords (Blade)
Matthew Gray Gruber (500 Days of Summer)
Jeremy Sumpter (Peter Pan)
Natalie Dreyfuss (The Originals)
John Waters (Seed of Chucky)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween 2007)
Marlee Martin (My Name is Earl)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
The film depicts the life of a disturbed and delusional high school student, Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord), with aspirations of a career in medicine and the extremes to which she goes to earn the approval of her controlling mother. Pauline has a younger sister named Grace (Ariel Winter) who suffers from cystic fibrosis. Pauline has vivid dreams about herself and others being mutilated with excessive amounts of blood; and after each dream wakes panting in an orgasmic state. Pauline decides to lose her virginity to a boy named Adam – explaining what she wants from him and gives him her number. Because of her fascination with blood she arranges their meeting while she is on her period. While having an orgasm she imagines herself choking Adam and the bed filling with blood. At the end she asks Adam to go down on her, which he obliges. After a few moments he runs to the bathroom disgusted by the blood, as he was unaware she was on her period.
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During sex class, Pauline takes a sample of her blood and puts it under a microscope to check for STDs. Later on she sees Adam on the bleachers with his girlfriend. She tells Adam she doesn’t have any STDs and asks his girlfriend if she has any, who states that she doesn’t. Pauline then tells them that if the girlfriend doesn’t have anything neither will she. After she walks away Adam’s girlfriend deduces that he was unfaithful.
 
Across the street from Pauline and Grace is a teenage girl that jumps rope in her drive way. Pauline invited the girl to jump rope with her, but she found Pauline weird and refused. Grace defends her sister and storms off, pulling Pauline with her. Adam’s now ex-girlfriend and her friend TP Pauline’s house and spray paint ‘cunt’ and ‘whore’ on it. Pauline, on an angry tirade at school, pushes Adam to the ground and slams his ex-girlfriend’s face into her locker, resulting in her being expelled from school.
 
While in her room she overhears her parents saying Grace’s doctor wants her on the lung transplant list. During dinner that night her sister has a severe coughing fit, which concerns her parents. In the morning their mother leaves and the father stays home. Pauline drugs her father with tea and when he falls asleep, ties him up and gags him. Pauline then lures the jump roping girl to the backyard under the false premise that there are several jump ropes she can have that Grace can no longer use because of her lungs. She places a cloth over her mouth and after a brief struggle the girl loses consciousness. Pauline talks to Grace and lovingly strokes her hair, stating that Grace may be confused by what is going to happen but she has only her best interest in mind. She drugs Grace with the same cloth, then cuts and shaves her own hair. Excision-2012-Movie-Scene-1024x576In the garage, Pauline has cut open both girls and continues with her surgery, moving the healthy girl’s lungs into her sister and placing the other lungs on ice, then sewing them both up. Pauline’s mother arrives home and sees her husband tied up. She panics and runs through the house frantically screaming for Grace. She opens the garage door and finds Pauline with the bodies. Pauline explains that it is her first surgery, and although it is messy, it is wonderful, and that she was unsure what to do with the jump roping girl’s body so she used her to practice her incisions. She then urges her mother to take a closer look, who runs towards her and grabs her, holding her and screaming hysterically. Pauline at first seems proud, but then begins to sob.
excision
If you’re in the mood for something which is a very grisly affair, mixed with pretty much every other genre, give this a go. It’s an indie film and it always will be, but everyone gives a good enough performance to elevate it to a cult film.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED – SEASON 2

Main Cast

Kevin Conroy (Justice League Doom)
George Newbern (Law & Order: SVU)
Susan Eisenberg (Lego aquaman)
Phil LaMarr (Futurama)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Maria Canals (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Powers Booth (Sin City)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Seymour Cassel (Dick Tracy)
Takayo Fischer (Moneyball)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
James Remar (Black Lightning)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Giselle Loren (Happy Feet)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween)
Kim Mai Guest (G.I. Joe: Reneages)
Nicholle Tom (Gotham)
Kin Shriner (Manhunter)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Alexis Denisof (Avengers Assemble)
Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon a Time)
Juliet Landau (Aquaman)
David Ogden Stiers (Two Guys and a Girl)
Sab Shimono (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Oded Fehr (V)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Amy Acker (The Gifted)
Virgina Madsen (Highlander II)
Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator)
Joanne Whalley (Willow)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Michael Ironside (Scanners)
Bud Cort (MASH)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)

MV5BMjQwMjQ0MTUzM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTAwOTM2MjE@._V1_Since I was just a young lad, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm have been showing me exactly what a superhero should be. They were some of the people behind the sublime Batman: The Animated Series, which is the definitive version of Batman in my eyes. They helped bring a certain Kryptonian to television screens in the late ’90s, taking an extra step into forming a coherent version of the DC universe to life. Hell, they even went so far as to help create a true successor to the Dark Knight. After doing all this, they managed to bring a clean, faithful and truly amazing assortment of champions of the DC Universe to life, showing us all exactly what a superhero should be.MV5BMTQxMjk3MTgxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDAwOTM2MjE@._V1_JLU – Season Two  remains faithful to its source material, which isn’t something you’ll find too often when translating a comic to a TV show or movie; whether it’s Green Arrow humming his own theme music while he’s fighting villains to Batman always being the baddest man in the room, the show conveys everything perfectly. A huge strength of the show lies within its voice talent, which is an assortment of voice-over veterans that have had some time to perfect their takes on characters: Kevin Conroy expertly delivers every line as Batman; Michael Rosenbaum has a wonderful, playful performance as Flash; and Clancy Brown is nothing short of brilliant as the ever-scheming, truly egotistic Lex Luthor. Though some of these actors have had over a decade to perfect their take on their respective characters, the guest stars who have little to no VO experience, much less know their characters, manage to be spot-on with their takes, making their characters memorable and charismatic.MV5BMTk4NTY4ODY4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDYwOTM2MjE@._V1_Not only that, some of the guest stars who appear are more than enough to cause a nerdgasm to any self-respecting comic geek. Names like Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Amy Acker, Morena Baccarin, Juliet Landau, Michael Ironside, James Remar, and Daniel Dae Kim all bring their characters to life in the best way possible, creating a lasting impact on the series. As the series progressed from the seven core heroes, requiring the talent of so many guest stars, some viewers may be inclined to think, “Wow, DC has a lot of lame heroes in its roster.” Almost at the exact point in the series that the thought occurred to me, the show comes out swinging with the episode “Patriot Act,” hitting the nail on the head. This episode has an Incredible Hulk type character wanting to face off against the JLU varsity squad (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc&#Array;), but what he gets is a slew of D and E-list heroes, like Stargirl, S.T.R.I.P.E., Shining Knight, Vigilante, Green Arrow and Speedy.MV5BMzcyNjI0Nzc5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODI5ODM2MjE@._V1_Though you may be thinking “who?” at this roster of leaguers, and though they get thoroughly trounced, the episode manages to make the point of despite who they’re fighting, these champions won’t ever quit, and it’s a theme that’s brought up more than once during the series without beating you over the head with it nor becoming cheesy, and that’s fine by me. The writing of the series is easily its greatest strength as it has fun with its storylines and it’s very obvious that everyone involved knows their craft. They don’t bother setting up any more characters – they already had four seasons to do so. Rather than exploring the universe further, they jump into tales that can be enjoyed by newcomers and longtime fans alike. The main story-arc of the season is a huge nod to an older crowd as it deals with the Legion of Doom – well, maybe not in name, but without a doubt in spirit: A gaggle of villains led by Lex Luthor who use a giant Darth Vader helmet as a base of operations.MV5BOTE5NTA5MTc1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTIwOTM2MjE@._V1_If that isn’t the Legion of Doom, I don’t know what is. The storyline revolves around Luthor’s quest to reunite with Braniac and become a god. Unfortunately, he unleashes one of the most dangerous and powerful foes in the DC universe and the events that follow make for one satisfying bookend to one of the most prolific takes on a comic universe.

REVIEW: SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – VOLUME 3

Starring

Tim Daly (Madam Secretary)
Dana Delany (Desperate Housewives)
David Kaufman (Stargate SG.1)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Sharon Lawrence (The Ranch)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Renée Taylor (The Nanny)
Jack Carter (McCloud)
Brad Garrett (Christopher Robin)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Steve Sandor (The Yellow Rose)
Joseph Bologna (Big Daddy)
Bruce Weitz (Half Past Dead)
Victor Brandt (The Batman)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Carolyn Seymour (Congo)
Nicholle Tom (Gotham)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding)
Diane Michelle (Robotech: The Movie)
Clyde Kusatsu (Midway)
Peri Gilpin (Frasier)
William H. Macy (Fargo)
Peter Gallagher (The Gifted)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Mathew Valencia (The New Batman Advntures)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
John Glover (Smallville)
Paul Williams (Smokey and The Bandit)
Henry Silva (Above The Law)
Bob Hastings (The Poseidon Adventure)
Charity James (Space Jam)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Jason Priestley (Tru Calling)
Jason Marsden (Hocus Pocus)
Chad Lowe (Unfaithful)
Melissa Joan Hart (No GOod Nick)
Joely Fisher (The Mask)
Bud Cort (Harold and Maude)
Townsend Coleman (The Tick)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Gilbert Gottfried (Critters: A New Binge)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Carl Lumbly (Supergirl)
Sarah Douglas (Superman 1 & 2)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs)
Michael P. Greco (Bleach)
George Dzundza (Crimson Tide)
Peter Mark Richman (Defenders of The Earth)
Melissa Disney (Superman vs The Elite)
Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations)
Billy West (Futurama)
Stephen Root (Barry)
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
David Warner (Tron)
Olivia Hussey (Black Christmas)
Michael Horse (Roswell)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Hot Shots)
Jeff Bennett (Enchanted)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)

3447328-absolute-powerSuperman is everywhere. He’s also been everywhere; for nearly seventy years now the character has been inspiring us with his tales of heroism, adventure, and fantasy. Seventy years is a long time and with a character as popular as Superman it equates to a lot of different interpretations. From the original comic books to a radio series to a handful of television shows, it seems that the Last Son of Krypton has done it all. We are very lucky then to have these DVDs, because in all of that time, throughout all the years, the stories found in Superman: The Animated Series are his best. The fifty-four cartoon episodes (spread across three boxed sets) that make up the complete run of Superman: The Animated Series aren’t just the best take on the character because they’re faithful. Nor is it because they’re animated, for all ages, or very imaginative. It’s for all of these reasons. And several more.3447300-little_big_head_manThe creative team behind the series has plundered the rich mythology of the character and come up with a fantastic take on each and every piece of the Superman universe. For starters, their Clark Kent and Lois Lane interpretation is spot-on. Clark isn’t too much of a goof, nor is he too simple. Similarly, Lois is fiery, funny, and lovely. Seeing the characters come together at the end of Legacy, Part 2 makes for a great cathartic moment. Superman has saved Lois a countless number of times, it is only fitting then that Lois save him when he needs it. The main arc of this season borrows from the comic book universe and brings Darkseid and his homeworld to the forefront. Hinted at earlier in the show, it’s in this third volume that the Lord of Apokolips finally gets his payoff – and his payback. In a trio of two-parters, Apokolips… Now!, Little Girl Lost, and Legacy, Superman fights one of his most ruthless foes in a series of episodes that offer some excellent action, drama, and science fiction fun.maxresdefault (1)While these episodes are very faithful to the mythos, we’ve also got a great selection of original stories that go to prove that with a character like Superman, there is no limit to the stories that you can tell. One of my favorites is Knight Time. When Batman goes missing, Superman pays a visit to Gotham City and tries to find out where his friend has gone. Supes inadvertently ends up masquerading as Batman – dressing up in the Dark Knight’s costume and everything! – and teams up with Robin to solve the mystery of the missing Bruce Wayne. Not only is the episode entertaining, but it’s also got a great sense of humor. Seeing Superman do his best impersonation of Batman is wonderful – Clark doesn’t know which utility pockets contain what, and his attempts at being grim (nodding his head instead of speaking) are great.stas-legacy7Watching these shows you get the feeling that it was during this final stretch of episodes that the show’s producers were finding new ways of playing with the formula that they had designed, and perfected, with both Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series. Not only do these Superman episodes have a lot of two-parters, but we’ve also got some great guest-stars; it seems that this show is the precursor to Justice League. We’ve got heroes, Kyle Rayner from In Brightest Day, and villains, Ra’s Al Ghul in The Demon Reborn, and everyone in between – everyone’s favorite master of the sea, Aquaman in Fish Story. We also get an expansion of the Superman supporting cast when Supergirl makes a welcome appearance in the Little Girl Lost two-parter.Superman_TAS_2x27_001The animation is somewhat more limited when compared to the fancy digital effects that more modern shows exhibit, but the handcrafted style gives the show a wonderful atmosphere. If you pay close attention you’ll notice that a lot of effort has gone into the design of the animation – much more so than most animated series. The framing here is frequently packed. Helping flesh out the world are all of the voice actors; everyone from Tim Daly (as Superman/Clark) to Clancy Brown (as Lex Luthor) is perfect in his or her role. The only thing holding the show back, and this is a small point, is the fact that the stories, due to their child-friendly animated nature, are a little more limited than the best television shows tend to be. Even so, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better adventure series – animated or live action.Superman_meets_SupergirlIn one of the episodes found in this collection, Superman pays his final respects to a recently departed friend. In the graveyard, Superman comes to realize something very important: “In the end, the world didn’t really need a Super man. Just a brave one.” This show gives us a character who is both brave and super. It gives us a real hero. It gives us Superman… as good as he’s ever been.

REVIEW: SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – VOLUME 2

Starring

Tim Daly (Madam Secretary)
Dana Delany (Desperate Housewives)
David Kaufman (Stargate SG.1)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Lisa Edelstein (House)
Robert Ito (Midway)
Robert Hays (Airplane!)
Jonathan Harris (Lost In Space)
Gilbert Gottfried (Critters: A New Binge)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
Sandra Bernhard (Hudson Hawk)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange)
George Dzundza (The Deer Hunter)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Joseph Bologna (Big Daddy)
Brion James (Blade Runner)
Lori Petty (Tank Girl)
Jim Meskimen (The Punisher)
Victor Brandt (Neon Maniacs)
Joanna Cassidy (Six Feet Under)
Brad Garrett (Tangled)
Dean Jones (Beethoven)
Mae Whitman (Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Aria Noelle Curzon (The Muppets)
Michael Horse (Roswell)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Bruce Weitz (Half Past Dead)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)
Robert Morse (Mad Men)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Arleen Sorkin (Days of Our Lives)
Bob Hastings (The Poseidon Adventure)
Robert Costanzo (Die Hard 2)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Hot Shots)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs)
Jennifer Lien (Star Trek: Voyager)
George DelHoyo (Rango)
Cree Summer (Voltron)
Dorian Harewood (Full Metal Jacket)
Cam Clarke (Akira)
Joely Fisher (The Mask)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)

MV5BMTQ5Mzg4MDE4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjUzNzU2MjE@._V1_Having written about virtually every Superman TV show released on DVD, I can say with more than a little certainty that the episodes found on The Animated Series – Volume 2 are some of the best Superman stories ever committed to film. Ever. You get it all – the whizzes, the bangs, the imaginative storytelling. After all, any show that has as much fun with Mr. Mxypltk as this one does deserves, in the parlance, “mad props;” seeing that fifth-dimensional imp cry “McGurk!” is both hilarious and classic at the same time.MV5BOTViZjU0MDAtYzJkYy00ZGVmLTg0ZGYtZjc1N2FjMzlhMDZiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_I went into this set expecting to like it, but not this much. Sure, I’ve always enjoyed the show – the first boxed set was good fun – but I don’t ever recall it being this entertaining. I mean, everyone knows that this series pales in comparison to its predecessor, Batman: The Animated Series, but I think these eighteen episodes prove that Superman: TAS can be just as excellent.MV5BMTQ2MzA4NzQyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjgyNzU2MjE@._V1_What’s perfect about these episodes is the balance the writers and animators strike between ol’ Supes being perfectly impervious to physical harm and yet imminently vulnerable to real and very human emotional frailty. Superman always suffers complaints that he’s plain too invulnerable – there’s nothing interesting to do with a character who can shrug off meteors like they were dandelions. But rather than offering yet another series of action set pieces or a collection of purely existential crises, this show gets it right, balancing the man with the super in a serendipitous combination that reminds audiences why he’s such an enduring and beloved character.MV5BMTkzNWJhNzMtMDdiNC00Y2NlLTk2MzEtMDQ3NWZmMmY1MjY4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_Take for example the Metallo episode “Action Figures,” in which the partly-human T-1000 finally emerges from his long walk across the bottom of the Ocean (where Superman sank him last season), having lost his memory. He arrives on an island that is being used as a volcanic research station where he makes friends with two little kids who are at first frightened of him, but quickly come to adopt him as a pet, or perhaps their own personal superhero.MV5BMTgwNjMxOTgxMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTQzNzU2MjE@._V1_Of course, the villain slowly regains his memory and reveals himself to be anything but a hero. Hearing reports of a robotic creature on the island, Clark Kent comes to investigate and quickly learns that his suspicions are confirmed: Metallo has returned. Naturally, the two duke it out, but not just in any old way; during the course of their fight the volcano on the island erupts, forcing Superman to save the civilians and battle the villain simultaneously. I’m sure that having one’s head dunked in flowing lava is painful, even for Superman. This episode is a great example of the balance between action, meaningful storytelling, and plain old cartoon fun.mxyzpixilatedMxyzpixilated is probably my favorite episode out of the bunch. It features the introduction of one of Superman’s goofiest (and funniest) villains, a fifth-dimension sorcerer imp named Mr. Mxyzptlk (Mix-Yez-Spit-Lick) who can only come to our dimension every ninety days. He makes a deal with Superman: if Supes can get him to say his own name, he’ll return to where he came from until the next inter-dimensional window is open, three months later. Of course, Superman finds creative ways to foil the little gnome every time.superman-animated-bannerOne of the episode’s gags had me laughing out loud. Frustrated with his failure, Mxyzptlk is seen in his home, over the three month period, constructing a massive robot battle-suit. A good three minutes is devoted to an amusing montage of him putting the thing together. Finally the moment of truth arrives: he jumps in the suit and teleports to Metropolis, ready to destroy Superman. However, we don’t follow him – the camera stays in his room. Five seconds later he teleports back, stomping around in the suit, obviously foiled again, “NUTS NUTS NUTS!” You’re led to believe the whole thing will lead to a massive Superman/Giant Robot showdown, and the episode (written by the excellent Paul Dini) has a great time undercutting the situation for humorous effect.maxresdefaultBrave New Metropolis gives us an alternate world where Lois dies and Superman becomes a fascist. Monkey Fun is essentially Superman versus King Kong. Ghost in the Machine sees the return of Brainiac. And World’s Finest is the excellent three-episode “movie” that sees Batman team up with Supes to take down the villainous duo of Lex Luthor and the Joker. These are all great Superman stories, making good use of the character’s strengths and smoothing over his weaknesses. The ratio of killer-to-filler episodes in this box is very high (in the good sense) and is easily equal to Batman’s best run. I went into this set expecting to have a good time, and I’m delighted to report that my expectations were off. I had a great time.