25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: EDWARD SCISSORHANDS

CAST
Johnny Depp (Public Enemies)
Winona Ryder (Black Swan)
Dianne Wiest (The Lost Boys)
Anthony Michael Hall (The Dark Knight)
Kathy Baker (13 Going on 30)
Conchata Ferrell (Two and A Half Men)
Vincent Price (The Fly)
Alan Arkin (Argo)
Marc Macaulay (Swamp Thing: The Series)
An elderly woman tells her granddaughter a bedtime story of where snow comes from, by telling her the story of a young man named Edward who has scissors for hands. As the creation of an old Inventor, Edward was a human-like boy who had everything except for hands. The Inventor suffered a fatal heart attack and died before he could give real hands to Edward.
Local Avon saleswoman Peg Boggs visits the decrepit Gothic mansion on the hill where Edward lives. She finds Edward alone. She is at first startled, but, upon realizing he means well and is virtually harmless, takes him to her home. Edward becomes friends with Peg’s young son Kevin and her husband Bill. He later falls in love with the Boggs’ beautiful teenage daughter Kim, despite her initial fear of him.
Peg’s neighbors are impressed by Edward’s adept hedge-trimming and hair-cutting skills, though an eccentric religious fanatic named Esmeralda and Kim’s overbearing boyfriend Jim are fearful and contemptuous of him. Joyce, an ageing, unfaithful housewife in the Boggs’ neighborhood, has become fascinated with Edward and suggests that Edward open a hair-cutting salon with her. While examining a proposed site, she attempts to seduce him in the back room, causing Edward to leave in a panic.
Wanting money for a van, Jim takes advantage of Edward’s ability to pick locks to break into his parents’ house to steal from his wealthy but bullying father. The burglar alarm sounds and everyone except Edward flees after he is trapped by the automatic locks triggered by the alarm, despite Kim’s insistence that they return for him. Edward is arrested and released when a psychological examination reveals that his isolation allowed him to live without a sense of reality and common sense. Upon questioning by Peg, Edward takes full blame for the robbery. Infuriated by Edward’s rejection, Joyce claims that he had tried to rape her. During the Christmas season, Edward is feared and cast out by almost everyone except the Boggs family. When Edward returns home he reveals that he knew it was Jim’s house they were trying to rob and that he did it because Jim asked him to, much to Kim’s shock. This in turn causes Kim to show a sour demeanor towards Jim.
While the family is setting up Christmas decorations, Edward creates a large angel ice sculpture (modelled on Kim). The shavings create an effect of falling snow, which Kim dances under. Jim arrives and calls out to Edward, startling him, resulting in Edward accidentally cutting Kim’s hand. Jim accuses Edward of intentionally harming her and attacks him. Edward runs away, wandering the neighborhood in a rage. Kim, fed up with Jim’s behavior towards Edward, breaks up with him, and he goes to his friend’s van to get drunk. While Peg and Bill search for Edward, he returns and finds Kim alone in the Boggs’ house. She asks Edward to hold her, but he is afraid that he will hurt her. She pulls his arms around her and they embrace. Jim returns to the Boggs’ house in a drunken rage to confront Kim, forcing his friend to drive his van while inebriated. Kevin is almost run over, but Edward pushes him out of the way, cutting Kevin’s arms and face, causing witnesses to think he is attacking him. When the police arrive, Edward flees to his hilltop mansion as the neighbors pursue. Kim runs to the mansion, reuniting with Edward. Jim follows her and attacks them with a handgun, beating Edward severely, who refuses to fight until Jim strikes Kim across the face when she intervenes. Edward stabs Jim in the stomach, causing him to fall out a window to his death. Kim confesses her love for Edward and they share a kiss before saying goodbye. Kim tells the townspeople that Edward and Jim fought each other to death and tells them that the roof caved in on Edward, showing them a discarded scissor-hand from the Inventor’s lab. The neighbors return home with Joyce feeling guilty for framing Edward being the one causing the neighbors to hate Edward.
The elderly woman, revealed to be Kim herself, finishes telling her granddaughter the story, saying that she never saw Edward again. She chose not to visit him because she wanted him to remember her the way she was in her youth. She believes that Edward is still alive, seemingly immortal since he can never age. It is revealed that Edward creates the town’s snow by carving ice sculptures that scatter shavings over the neighborhood.
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This has always been my fav childhood film & now it looks even more amazing than it did back then.

REVIEW: KILLER JOE

Starring

Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
Emile Hirsch (Lone Survivor)
Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises)
Gina Gershon (Riverdale)
Thomas Haden Church (Spider-Man 3)
Marc Macaulay (My Bloody Valentine)

Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe (2011)In West Dallas, Texas, 22-year-old drug dealer Chris Smith comes to the house of his father Ansel and step-mother Sharla, after his mother, Adele, threw him out of her house. To make matters worse, Adele stole his cocaine money and spent it on fixing her car, and now Chris is desperate to pay off his debt to his dealer, Digger Soames, so he decides to murder his mother to collect the $50,000 life insurance of which his sister Dottie is the sole beneficiary. Assuming Dottie would share the money with Chris and their father, Chris manages to rope the dim-witted Ansel into hiring Joe Cooper, a police detective who has a side career as a contract killer, to kill Adele (Ansel’s ex-wife) to get the money. Chris and Ansel decide that after paying Joe from the proceeds of the life insurance policy, they will split the remainder four ways between themselves, Dottie, and Ansel’s wife Sharla. Dottie hears the plan as they are talking, and agrees that it’s a good idea.Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple in Killer Joe (2011)The plan almost fails when Joe demands all of the money in advance, which of course Chris and Ansel do not have. However, Joe is interested in the odd, childlike Dottie and offers to take her as a “retainer” until the insurance comes through. Through Dottie’s interaction with Joe, it is revealed that Adele tried to kill Dottie once when she was an infant. Joe “dates” Dottie and then appears to be staying over at their home and having sex with her regularly. Chris has a change of heart and asks him to call off the hit, only to discover that Joe has already killed Adele. With Chris’ reluctant help, Joe hides the body in a car and torches it.Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe (2011)After Adele’s death is discovered, the family learns that the insurance beneficiary is actually Rex, Adele’s boyfriend, rather than her daughter Dottie. Chris then admits he originally heard the details about the policy from Rex, who also told him about Joe. Ansel then realizes that Rex duped Chris into hiring Joe to kill Adele. Immediately afterwards, Chris tries to talk Dottie into running away with him to escape Digger, who has already had two of his goons severely beat Chris up for not having repaid him. Dottie says she will go with him, but she must see Joe again first.Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch in Killer Joe (2011)When Ansel and Sharla return home from Adele’s funeral, they find Joe inside with Dottie. He comes out of her room and asks increasingly pointed questions of Sharla, which ultimately leads her to admit that she knew the policy was really $100,000 (accidental death is double). Joe shows them a check of that amount payable to Rex, as well as incriminating photos which prove Sharla was having an affair with Rex. Angered, Ansel declines to protect Sharla when Joe punches her and forces her to simulate oral sex on a fried chicken drumstick.Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch in Killer Joe (2011)Joe knows Chris is coming to take Dottie away and he threatens to kill Ansel and Sharla if they don’t stop him. After Chris is seated for dinner, Joe announces that he and Dottie will be married. Chris refuses to let them, ordering Dottie to leave with him; Joe tells her to stay where she is. For a moment Dottie sits there, then she gets up and turns and, while the men yell out at her, Chris threatens Joe with a gun and the two struggle. Ansel and Sharla jump in to assist Joe as he brutally beats Chris, not wanting to be killed by Joe if Chris flees with Dottie. In all the confusion, Dottie recovers the gun and, in a rage, she fires several shots, killing Chris and seriously wounding Ansel. Dottie turns the gun on Joe, telling him that she is pregnant. Joe appears overjoyed as he inches closer to Dottie. The film ends just as Dottie moves her finger back on the trigger.Killer Joe (2011)Killer Joe is a lot of things, but one thing it’s not is scatterbrained. It’s entirely focused and cohesive. All the genres it glosses over fit right into this depraved story arc, and it grips you to the screen from beginning to end. This movie certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you can stomach Killer Joe, you won’t soon forget it.

REVIEW: SWAMP THING: THE SERIES

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CAST

Dick Durock (The Enforcer)
Mark Lindsay Chapman (Lois & CLark)
Jesse Zeigler (Captiva Island)
Carrell Myers (Problem Child 2)
Scott Garrison (Xena)
Kari Wuhrer (Eight Legged Freaks)
Kevin Quigley (Sheena)
Anthony Gaide (Just One of The Guys)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Martha Smith (Animal House)
Marc Macaulay (Monster)
Roscoe Lee Browne (Babe)
Jacob Witkin (Hail, Caesar!)
Summer Phoenix (The Faculty)
Sandahl Bergman (Red Sonja)
Patrick Neil Quinn (Days of Our Lives)
David Ackroyd (After Mash)
Kevin Nash (The Punisher)
Christie Lynn Smith (Bones)
Elizabeth Fendrick (Vacation)
Janet Julian (King of New York)
Heather Thomas (The Fall Guy)
Tyne Daly (Cagney & Lacey)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Cheryl Hines (The Ugly Truth)

I enjoyed the Swamp Thing films but didn’t know what to expect of a weekly show that would have a small budget. Looking back, I feel the series succeeded as often as it failed.

The best episodes were those that focused on Swamp Thing (or ‘Alec’ as he was referred to by the people who knew him). The series started out on shaky footing, and had Swamp Thing act out of character. In the first episode he turns a bad guy into a tree until the writers establish that he would never take a human life. Any episode that had him turn back human was well done.

Most of the episodes made him a Rod Serling of the swamp, taking a back seat to the action. A lot of these weren’t too bad. These boiled down to two plots: bad guys hide out in the swamp, only to have to face their crimes in a nightmareish way, or people with problems wander in the swamp, to become better by facing their fears. The best of these was when Ray Wise (Dr. Holland from the original movie) guest starred as someone who might be an alien and almost kills Swamp Thing.

I enjoyed the show Although it could have been so much more, it was certainly better than many other shows or movies based on comic books.

REVIEW: MY BLOODY VALENTINE (2009)

CAST

Jensen Ackles (Supernatural)
Jaime King (Sin City)
Kerr Smith (Final Destination)
Betsy Rue (Halloween II)
Ed Gathegi (X-Men: First Class)
Tom Atkins (Halloween III)
Kevin Tighe (Lost)
Megan Boone (The Blacklist)
Marc Macaulay (Swamp Thing: The Series)

On the Valentine’s Day of 1997, in a small town, a cave-in on the north side of a Hanninger mine trapped six miners. Six days later, rescue teams found five dead miners and the comatose Harry Warden (Richard John Walters), who survived by killing the other miners with a pickaxe, allowing himself to breathe. Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles) the owner’s son, was blamed for the mine disaster because he forgot to vent the methane lines and caused a cave-in, but also Harry Warden for killing the miners.
A year later, Valentine’s Day, Warden wakes from his coma in the hospital, and goes on a murderous rampage. Soon after, Sheriff Burke (Tom Atkins) arrives, finding multiple mutilated bodies many of which have been severed in half and the heart of a nurse inside a candy box. Burke and his partner come to the conclusion that Warden had awoken from his coma and, realizing they don’t have much time left, they try to figure out where he’s headed. Meanwhile, at the abandoned mine shaft that was the site of the disaster, a party is in full swing, attended by many teens, including Axel Palmer (Kerr Smith), his girlfriend, Irene (Betsy Rue), Tom Hanniger and his girlfriend, Sarah (Jaime King). Tom was initially reluctant to go, but he goes anyway. He leaves Sarah and goes back to his car to pick up some beers before going inside.

Sarah goes alone and gets lost looking for Axel and Irene. She runs across a teen and a few seconds later, he is stabbed through his eye. She is confronted by Warden in full miner’s garb, carrying a bloody pickaxe, and she flees, finding several dead bodies. Axel grabs her and they, along with Irene, hide from the killer. Warden eventually sees the trio, and they run out of the mine, meeting Tom as he comes in. Warden hits Tom with the pickaxe, injuring him, while the other three run for the car. Sarah tries to go back for Tom but Warden throws a pickaxe into the windshield of Axel’s truck, just an inch away from stabbing Sarah in the eye. Axel, realizing he has no other choice starts up his truck and leaves Tom behind. Warden turns his attention towards Tom, who runs back into the mine in an attempt to escape from him. Before Tom can be killed, Burke and his partner arrive and shoot Warden, who makes his getaway back into the mine. Tom also appears shocked by the events.  Ten years later, in 2008, Tom’s father, from whom Tom has been estranged, dies and Tom inherits the mine. Tom returns to town after his father’s funeral to sell the mine, having vanished since the incident; it was unknown where he was, since he was devastated by the events and unable to see Axel and Sarah after they had abandoned him in the mine to die. Axel is now sheriff and married to Sarah and they have a son, but he is cheating on her with Megan (Megan Boone), who works with Sarah at Sarah’s grocery store.

After Megan and Axel have sex at his family’s old house in the woods, Megan gives Axel a Valentine’s Day card and a box of candy and tells him that she is pregnant with his child. Meanwhile, at the motel where Tom is staying, Irene is having sex with a local trucker named Frank (Todd Farmer). After they finish, Frank reveals that he has been filming her. Irene goes out completely naked and angry about the events, drawing a gun on him. After he reveals that the gun is empty, she throws it and hits him, but he ignores her. Just as he enters the truck, he is impaled with a pickaxe through the head by a man in full miner garb, face completely covered by his mask. The killer chases Irene through the motel, but she hides under the bed. The noise draws Selene (Selene Luna), the midget motel owner, into the room, and the miner kills her by impaling her whole body through the head on the lights above. Irene makes a noise and is discovered by the killer, who removes the bed mattress and stabs her to death. Axel is called to the scene of the crime, and finds Irene cut open, her heart missing; he also discovers Tom’s name on the register of people staying at the motel.

He returns to his office, where he sees a video of the miner following Irene. Axel and his partner Martin talk about how it can’t be Warden, despite the rumors. Then Axel receives a candy box with Irene’s heart inside, just like Warden had done with the nurse ten years ago. Meanwhile, Tom is visiting his newly inherited mine. In the mine, the killer traps Tom in a cage while William “Red” Kirkpatrick (Jeff Hochendoner) is calling for Ben, who is an old friend of the Hannigers. ‘Warden’ proceeds to murder Red and a group of miners show up seconds later. Suspicion falls on Tom, despite the fact that he was locked in a cage the entire time. At the hospital afterwards, Axel asks Burke what happened to the killer. Burke says that he and Ben Foley (Kevin Tighe), the mine manager, killed and buried Warden. But when Axel, Tom, and Sarah accompany them to the burial spot, Warden’s body is no longer there. Later on, Foley is at his house when he hears a noise. He goes outside with a shotgun to find nobody there, but when he goes back inside he is attacked by ‘Warden’, who knocks him down and impales his head with the pickaxe. The police find his body at the burial spot with his chest cut open. Axel, angry about the events, orders a police guard on his home to protect his son.Meanwhile, Sarah is with Megan at the store when ‘Warden’ arrives. He chases them through the store, but they lock themselves in the office. The window is locked, but Megan finds the key while Sarah is blocking the door with a table. Just as ‘Warden’ breaks a hole in the door and unlocks it, Megan goes through the window and Sarah, who is right behind her, turns around and notices that ‘Warden’ has disappeared from the office door. She quickly tries to pull Megan back into the office, knowing that ‘Warden’ is going to the outside window but she’s too late, as ‘Warden’ arrives outside and grabs Megan. Sarah runs back through the store and encounters Axel outside. They find Megan’s mutilated body in the alley with the message “Be Mine 4 Ever” scrawled in blood on the wall above. Sarah ponders why Megan was killed when she had no relation to the mine. Sarah comes to the conclusion that the killer was trying to get at Axel, and she admits she knew about their affair. Axel then sends her to the hospital. Meanwhile, at Axel and Sarah’s home, their son Noah is watching TV with his babysitter Rosa (Joy de la Paz), while Deputy Ferris (Karen Baum) is in the squad car watching the premises. Suddenly, ‘Warden’ arrives and impales Rosa with the pickaxe and throws her into the washing machine, scalding her. Burke arrives and warns Ferris about ‘Warden’s’ presence.

Ferris goes to check the house, while Burke is at the porch. Ferris finds Noah and warns him to hide, and she finds Rosa’s mutilated body in the washing machine. She warns Burke, but he is killed by ‘Warden’. Meanwhile, Sarah is in the hospital and Tom calls her and convinces her that Warden is not the killer. He tells her that he needs her to trust him as he has found something he needs to show her. On the road Tom tries to convince Sarah that Axel is the killer. Axel calls Sarah while she and Tom are in the car; Axel tells her that Tom has been in a mental hospital for the last seven years since Harry Warden’s rampage and that he is the killer.

Shocked, Sarah attempts to get Tom to drive her home and, when he refuses, she grabs the wheel and crashes Tom’s car. Tom is knocked out momentarily and Sarah escapes. She calls Axel and he instructs her to go to his father’s old house. When she enters she finds hundreds of candy heart boxes and her old picture with Tom. The killer, confirming that he is not Warden, appears. Sarah distracts him and runs into the mine shaft where the original murders took place. She runs into Axel and steals his gun. Pointing the gun at Axel she asks him about the hundreds of candy boxes. He seems confused and blames Tom. Tom then appears and Sarah points the gun at him too. Both men accuse the other of being the killer.
Tom gives himself away when he points out that the message over Megan’s dead body (“Be Mine 4 Ever”) was the same as what Megan wrote to Axel in the Valentine card, revealing that he knows Megan is dead which is information that only Axel and Sarah knew. Tom begins to hallucinate when what seems to be Warden appears in the mine with them. Tom tries to warn Sarah but Axel points his flashlight into the area that Tom is pointing to and shakes his head no, she tells him that nothing is there. Warden walks right up to Tom then disappears. A montage then plays out all the murders in the film again, revealing Tom to be the true killer. Sarah tells Tom that Harry isn’t there with them, to which Axel replies “Oh, he’s here, aren’t you Harry? You living inside Tom?” Tom turns to him, smirks, and says, “Oh, I’m right here”. This also reveals that Tom has developed a split personality: as himself and as Harry Warden. Axel is infuriated and grabs the pickaxe, rushing at Tom. The two fight, Axel gains the upper hand and knocks Tom onto the ground, but Tom injures him with the pickaxe. Tom runs off and Sarah and Axel try to hide. Tom comes and finds them, smashing out lights with the pickaxe as he goes. As each light goes out, Tom flashes between being him, and being the miner. Sarah shoots Tom through his side and the bullet hits a gas tank, causing an explosion that causes the mine to collapse.

Rescue teams enter the mine, searching for the survivors. One lone rescuer finds Tom, barely conscious and covered in debris and planks of wood. He tells Tom not to worry, help is coming, when Tom suddenly grabs his pickaxe and impales the rescuer through his mask. Sarah and Axel get out, and Axel is taken away in an ambulance while Sarah is taken by Martin. Then a miner holding his injured side is seen leaving the mine. It is revealed to be Tom as he takes off the mask and walks away.Overall My Bloody Valentine, delivers an entertaining ride through dark alleys, mine shafts and the evil minds of writers Todd Farmer and Zane Smith. Slightly on the lighter side of the horror genre this film develops enough jump scares, with the help of three dimensional effects to deliver a fun and fast 101 minutes. See this one with a friend and laugh out loud when a 20′ branch comes screaming at your head (and try not to duck)!

 

REVIEW: 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS

CAST

Paul Walker (Brick Mansion)
Tyrese Gibson (Transformers)
Cole Hauser (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Eva Mendes (Ghost Rider)
Ludacris (No Strings Attached)
Thom Barry (Cold Case)
James Remar (Gotham)
Devon Aoki (Sin City)
Amaury Nolasco (Prison Break)
Michael Ealy (Flashforward)
Marc Macaulay (Swamp Thing: The Series)

In Miami, Brian O’Conner makes a living by participating in illegal street races. Tej Parker organizes a local street race, involving Suki, Orange Julius, and Slap Jack, however, the race lacks a fourth driver. Tej later calls Brian, who agrees to be the fourth needed for the race. Brian wins, giving a few thousand of his winnings to Tej to show his gratitude. The police then arrive, forcing all the racers to flee. Watched by undercover U.S. Customs Service agent Monica Fuentes, Brian is caught by the agents. He is taken into custody, but given a deal by his former boss, FBI agent Bilkins, and Customs agent Markham, to go undercover and bring down Argentinian drug lord, Carter Verone in exchange for the erasure of his criminal record.

Brian agrees, but only if he is given permission to choose his own partner. This prompts him to travel to Barstow, California, where he enlists the help of Roman Pearce, his childhood friend who served jail time for housing stolen cars in a garage. Roman blames Brian for his arrest, and is currently on parole. Roman agrees to help, but only for the same deal Brian was offered. Roman and Brian are later hired by Verone, who tasks the duo to obtain a package from a confiscated car located in a lot. Markham follows the duo to the lot in order to obtain the package, however, Roman relents, and shoots at Markham to help maintain his cover. He later confronts him for interference with the mission. Brian is able to gain knowledge of the plan, however, and tells Bilkins Verone’s is aiming to launder his money in Miami, before escaping on his private jet.

Later, the team challenges a pair of muscle car drivers they raced when competing for Verone’s hiring, for pink slips. Despite engine and power output handicaps, Brian and Roman manage to win the race and the other two cars. Meanwhile, Roman confronts Brian about his attraction to Monica and the constant threat of Verone’s men. However, the two men patch up their differences, and focus on completing the mission. After witnessing Verone torture Detective Whitworth of the Miami Police Department into giving them a window of opportunity to make their getaway, Brian and Roman are warned by Monica that they will be killed once the drop is made. However, Markham refuses to call off the job, claiming that is their one chance to catch Verone.

On the day of the mission, Brian and Roman begin transporting duffel bags of Verone’s money, with Verone’s right-hand men, Enrique and Roberto, riding alongside to accompany the duo. Before the window is set, Whitworth decides to call in the police to move in for an arrest of the drivers of the cars used by Brian and Roman. This results in a high-speed chase across the city. The duo leads the police to a warehouse, where a “scramble” by dozens of street racers organized by Tej disorients the police. Following the scramble, the police manage to pull over the cars, only to find out that they were driven by Tej and Suki.

As Brian approaches the destination point in a Yenko Camaro, Enrique tells him to make a detour away from the airfield to the Tarpon Point Marina exit. Meanwhile, Roman gets rid of Roberto by using an improvised ejector seat in his Dodge Challenger powered by nitrous oxide. At the airfield, Customs agents have Verone’s plane and convoy surrounded, only to discover they have been duped into a decoy maneuver while Verone is at a boatyard several miles away. Verone reveals he knew Monica was an undercover agent, and purposely gave her wrong information on the destination point. When Brian arrives at the Marina, Enrique prepares to kill him when Roman suddenly appears and helps Brian kill Enrique. Verone makes his escape aboard his private yacht, but Brian and Roman use the Camaro to drive off a ramp, crashing on top of the yacht. The duo manages to apprehend Verone and save Monica. With their crimes pardoned, Brian and Roman ponder on what to do next in Miami, with the former suggesting starting a garage. They are revealed to have taken some of Verone’s money for themselves.

It’s not a bad follow up to the first movie, but not casting Vin Diesel wasn’t smart – it’s like missing a piece to a puzzle. Other than that, it’s still a decent watch with better music and well-staged action sequences.

REVIEW: I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS

CAST

Jim Carrey (Kick-Ass 2)
Ewan McGregor (Cassandra’s Dream)
Leslie Mann (This is 40)
Rodrigo Santoro (Lost)
Brennan Brown (Beauty and The Beast)
Louis Herthum (Westworld)
Aunjanue Ellis (Ray)
J.D. Evermore (Cloak & Dagger)
Marc Macaulay (Killer Joe)

MV5BMTM2MzQ5NTQ0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDgwNTk4Mw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1493,1000_AL_Steven Jay Russell is on his deathbed, recalling the events of his life that led him to this point. He spent his early adult years in Virginia Beach as a police officer. He plays the organ at church, has unenthusiastic sex with his wife, Debbie, and spends his off-hours searching for his biological mother, who had placed him for adoption as a child. Steven locates his biological mother, but she rejects him.
MV5BMTM2MzQ5NTQ0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDgwNTk4Mw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1493,1000_AL_After a car crash, Steven leaves his family and life behind, though he keeps in touch with his wife and young daughter, and explores the world as his true self – a gay man. He moves to Miami, where he finds a boyfriend, Jimmy, and they adopt a luxurious lifestyle. To keep themselves in the style to which they have become accustomed, Steven becomes a con man. Steven is pursued by the police; and, after narrowly surviving falling off a parking garage, he has a reunion with his lover, who at the time is dying of AIDS, and is sent to prison, where he falls in love with inmate Phillip Morris. Steven cannot bear to be separated from Phillip. After being released, he helps get Phillip freed from prison by posing as a lawyer, then attains wealth by fraudulently acquiring a position as Chief Financial Officer of a large medical management company called USAMM.

Steven eventually is caught embezzling from the company and goes back to prison. Phillip is also sent to prison as an accomplice and angrily tells Steven he never wants to see him again. Months later, Phillip learns from another inmate that Steven is dying of AIDS. Heartbroken, Phillip calls Steven while he is in the infirmary and confesses that, while he is still upset with Steven for lying to him, he still loves him. Phillip is later told that Steven has died. Sometime later, Phillip is taken to meet with his lawyer and finds Steven waiting for him. Steven describes how he faked dying of AIDS, to be allowed to see Phillip again, and promises never to lie to him again. He runs one last con to break Phillip out of prison, only to be caught when he runs into an old co-worker.

The end of the movie explains that the real-life Phillip Morris was released from prison in 2006; but Steven was given a life sentence and is in 23-hour lockup, only having one free hour a day to shower and exercise, which the film implies to be because an official involved in the sentencing had a nephew who was conned by Morris, in-universe and in the story it was based on. The last scene shows Steven laughing joyfully while running across the prison yard, guards in pursuit, in another attempt to be with Phillip.

Ultimately, I Love You Philip Morris ranks as a fine piece of drama that also works as a comedy, albeit it a bittersweet one. All in all, if you haven’t seen it, then see it!

REVIEW: MONSTERWOLF

CAST

Leonor Varela (Blade II)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Marc Macaulay (Swamp Thing: The Series)
Steve Reevis (The Longest Yard)
Jason London (Carrie 2)

Robert Picardo  is an oil exec with a permanent scowl on his face going door-to-door to convince the remaining citizens of this small town to sell their property to his company. When they say no, he reacts almost threatening. He treats every living thing around him with this same how-dare-you attitude. He’s such a cartoonish caricature I found myself disappointed he wasn’t adorned in a top hat and a cape so that he could end every scene making a theatrical exit like a silent movie fiend.Wild animal mutilating your crew? Old Native American defiantly opposing your corporate takeover of nature’s bounty? Time to call in a DMX look-a-like with braided goatee and his team of professional mercenaries. A quizzical recurring comment amongst these hired guns is that if you screw up, you’ll get sent to the Philippines, which I guess must be like the “Island of Misfit Toys” for incompetent assassins. If that’s the case, everyone on this team should have already purchased a one-way ticket to Manila.Blade 2‘s Leonor Varela is a local gal who moved away to become a big city lawyer and is now back because Picardo believes the locals he’s still trying to persuade to sell out will be more likely to do so if they’re dealing with a native. She quickly takes kindly to her old redneck boyfriend with an aversion to jury duty (Jason London) as she becomes increasingly disillusioned with her current employer. It won’t be long before this tattooed big city lawyer comes to remember how much nicer life is in a small Southern town where locals gift you with a basket of pastries to console you after your home is invaded by a monster wolf.Speaking of that incident, not sure how bright this lawyer gal is. The phantom wolf magically appears inside her house, and her first inclination is to call up her ex-boyfriend to come rescue her. You’d think her first phone call would be to her daddy – the sheriff, you know…the guy with the guns in command of other guys with guns who you would think would be more helpful in dealing with a wild animal in your home. Then again, this is the Deep South; a redneck with a shotgun probably is the best way to go when a wild animal runs amok in your bedroom.Monster Wolf is a fairly straightforward cliché-a-thon that wraps itself up in highly convenient third act character revelation that sure comes in handy when trying to send an eco-terrorist wolf monster back to its spiritual nature preserve. It’s also pretty watchable. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it pretty good, but it is certainly watchable in a nothing-better-on Saturday afternoon matinee sort of way. Director Todor Chapkanov keeps the pace breezy and bestows the nighttime scenes with a spooky illumination missing from most atmosphere-deprived Syfy broad daylight monster movies. Wolf attacks are presented with flashy editing that allows for better use of practical monster prosthetics, though there are too many instances of spotty computer effects to dampen the effectiveness of certain moments. It helps that Monster Wolf periodically lapses into abject silliness. The legend of the phantom wolf is recounted with an animation sequence so worthy of an episode of “Reading Rainbow” it should have been narrated by Levar Burton.