REVIEW: LONG TIME DEAD

CAST

Joe Absolom (I Spit on Your Grave 2)
Lukas Haas (Alpha Dog)
James Hillier (The Crown)
Marsha Thomason (Lost)
Tameka Empson (Street Dance 3D)
Alec Newman (Dune)
Tom Bell (The Krays)

vlcsnap-2015-12-08-21h43m29s244The film begins showing people using a ouija board in Morocco. Throughout the scene, something is seen from first person perspective coming at high speed towards the people. The main film begins with four housemates (Rob (Joe Absolom), Liam (Alec Newman), Stella (Lara Belmont) and Spencer(James Hillier) ) deciding to go out and party. Also going to the party is Lucy(Marsha Thomason)(a friend of Stella’s and Spencer’s girlfriend), Webster (Lukas Haas), Joe (Mel Raido)(a new housemate of the first three) and Annie(Melanie Gutteridge)(Liam’s girlfriend). As the night progresses, they all try to find the biggest buzz they can, until Spencer suggests a ouija board, saying it is the weirdest buzz he’s ever had. The partygoers agree and participate, all placing their right index fingers on an upside-down glass with the alphabet and the words ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ written in a circle around the glass. Lucy tells them that under no circumstances should they remove their fingers from the glass early – otherwise the spirit they summon will not be able to return.6u567u65

At first, the glass moves slowly, spelling out ‘DJINN’, but when Liam asks if it can predict the future, the glass sharply goes to ‘Yes’. It then proceeds to spell out ‘ALL DIE’ and then Annie’s name. Before the ritual can continue, however, Liam experiences visions similar to the prologue that causes him to run away. Annie goes to see him to check if he’s alright, but Liam refuses to talk. Annie realises she has left her inhaler in the room that they used the ouija board in, and goes back to get it. When she gets there, she becomes frightened by noises. Eventually she sees something that the camera does not see, and it gives chase (as shown through the first person view that was used in the prologue). Finding Liam nowhere and with her exits barred, she attempts to climb over a glass roof to safety, but the thing giving chase grabs her legs and she falls through the glass roof into the party below, dying instantly. As the camera pans out, severe burn marks are seen on her legs.longtimedead1The group are distraught by her death, but while Spencer goes to find some hash to calm himself down, Lucy goes back to her boat and does some research. She comes across a description of a djinn, explaining that it’s made of fire. She learns that it can be banished by using lawful magic. She is suddenly disturbed by banging all around her, but it turns out to be a boatman who is telling her that the electrics are down. Lucy and Spencer go to the house where everyone else lives and discuss the events of the night. Lucy suggests to the housemates that they may have summoned a djinn, saying the burns on Annie are signs of this being true. The housemates are still skeptical, so they watch the tape they recorded of the ‘summoning’ to check if anyone was pushing it. Soon after Liam freaks out in the video, however, the electricity in the house goes out. Webster and Spencer break into Becker (Tom Bell), the landlord’s, flat and find a hidden shrine of sorts to the Djinn with grisly photos and newspaper cuttings. It is also revealed that Liam’s father, Paul Brennan, had been in the same predicament once (as shown in the prologue) and killed his mother as a result. He pleaded insanity and was put in a mental hospital. Joe attempts to get information out of Liam about it the next day at college, but he gets angry and leaves. Stella also leaves soon after, and goes to the toilet. She starts to freak out about a burning smell when an unnamed female black student (Tameka Empson) tells her it’s just a joint. Calming down, Stella goes to leave, but is pulled into another stall, where she is brutally murdered (the viewer can only see her feet lifting off the ground as they slowly become covered in her own blood). Her body is discovered by the female student. Liam goes to see his father to get answers but it quickly descends into a row. When Liam mentions Becker his father shouts that he is there to protect Liam. Liam leaves without hearing this.long-time-dead

Meanwhile, Joe and Webster sneak back into the house (now under police guard) to get the camera which recorded the ritual and Webster insists on watching it there. Joe goes to the kitchen to get a light for his cigarette. Meanwhile, Webster is thrown into a panic by something on the film. He goes to look for Joe. In the hallway he turns the lights on and realises he is standing in a pool of blood. He runs for the front door which is locked, so he rushes back upstairs to get the keys. He has to hide under the bed as he is being chased by the djinn. While the djinn does not see him, it dumps Joe’s dead body in the room – his throat has been slit. Webster silently exits the room with keys in hand but steps on a broken light bulb, alerting the djinn. He races back down to open the door, but the djinn catches up and kills him before he can succeed. Rob and Spencer return to Lucy’s boat and tell her of Stella’s death. Lucy demands that they perform the banishing ritual, so they return to the warehouse where the party was held. Liam attempts to catch up with them, but upon arriving at their boat, they have already left. Lucy, Spencer and Rob begin the ritual, but as they are performing it, a sudden burst of flame from the ouija board frightens them all off. Spencer runs off and tries to look around, but when he drops a large metal pole he alerts the djinn, who has already arrived, to his location. He hides in a cupboard. We then learn that the djinn has possessed Rob. The djinn walks off, making Spencer think he is safe, until he bursts into the cupboard from behind and kills Spencer after knowing he was there by smelling the blood on his cut hand on a shard of glass he’s holding tightly in fear.vlcsnap-2015-12-08-21h06m01s15Liam enters the building, as does Mr. Becker, who is holding a petrol can. As Liam walks into the ritual room, Rob runs out, shouting “Liam, it’s Becker, he’s here!” but is interrupted by Becker who hits him with a bat and proceeds to douse him with petrol. Liam, thinking Becker is the djinn, runs in to save Rob, accidentally pushing Becker down some stairs. When he goes back to look Becker has disappeared. Later Becker reappears and Liam is about to kill him in revenge for Annie until Rob rushes in and stops him. Seconds later, Rob kills Becker in a panic when Becker attempts to choke him. They start to leave, Rob attempting to convince Liam there really was no djinn but Liam remembers Lucy and they go looking for her. Liam finds her hanged in the lift shaft. Rob reveals to Liam that he is the djinn, telling Liam that it’s his turn as his father sent him somewhere terrible, so now Liam will know the pain that he has. Liam attempts to stab him, but Rob blocks it with his hand, which bleeds but also starts a small flame. As Rob taunts Liam, Liam realises through another flashback that fire will kill the djinn. He grabs the nearby lantern and wards off Rob with it, but as Rob attempts to fake being unpossessed (by crying and admitting fear) Liam tosses the lantern at him, setting him ablaze. Liam kicks him down the lift shaft, but a few seconds later he grabs onto Liam’s shin (now heavily burned and scarred). Liam finishes him by shutting the lift door on him, causing him to fall all the way down. After a while Liam opens the door to check he is dead, but a burst of flame pushes him back, signalling his body has been destroyed.untitled

Liam goes back to the mental hospital to see his father face to face, and they reconcile only for Liam to reveal he too is now possessed. He kills his father. The djinn, now free, sets off. As the camera rolls back from the cell, it is revealed that Liam had killed a prison officer to get in, and Liam suddenly appears in front of the camera, and reveals his eyes are now permanently like the djinn’s.long_time_dead-4

Not bad for british. quite good but still felt it could a been a lot scarier

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REVIEW: THE HAUNTED MANSION

CAST

Eddie Murphy (Dr. Dolittle)
Terence Stamp (Superman)
Nathaniel Parker (Stardust)
Marsha Thomason (Lost)
Jennifer Tilly (Curse of Chucky)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Rachael Harris (The Hangover)
Steve Hytner (The Prophecy)
Deep Roy (Charlie and The Chocolate Factory)
Kelly Stables (Two and a Half Men)

Jim Evers (Eddie Murphy) is a workaholic real estate agent whose continuous pursuit for new deals leaves very little time with his family. He misses his wedding anniversary with his wife Sara (Marsha Thomason), but to make amends, he suggests going on vacation to a nearby lake. Beforehand, Sara is contacted by the occupants of Gracey Manor, located in the Louisiana bayou. Eager to make a deal, Jim drags Sara and his children, impatient Megan (Aree Davis) and arachnophobic Michael (Marc John Jefferies) to the mansion. They meet its owner Edward Gracey, his stern butler Ramsley, and other staff members Emma and Ezra. When a storm floods the nearby river, Gracey allows the Evers to stay the night; though everyone safe, Jim is unhappy with the idea. Ramsley takes Jim down to the library to have a talk with Gracey, but while he waits, Jim gets trapped in a secret passage.

Megan and Michael encounter a spectral orb and follow it up to the attic, where they find a portrait of a woman resembling Sara. Sara talks with Gracey in the library, who explains his grandfather hanged himself out of despair after his lover, a multiracial woman named Elizabeth Henshaw poisoned herself despite their plans to wed. Jim meets Madame Leota, a gypsy woman’s ghost whose head is encased in a crystal ball, but she scares him away. Jim runs into his children, Emma and Ezra, and returns to Madame Leota for answers about Elizabeth’s likeness to Sara. It is revealed that everyone in the mansion are ghosts, cursed a century ago by Gracey and Elizabeth’s suicides and can only go to Heaven when they are reunited, and Gracey believes Sara is Elizabeth’s reincarnation. Madame Leota sends the Evers off to the mansion’s expansive cemetery to find a key that will reveal the truth behind Elizabeth’s unusual death. Jim and Megan venture into a crypt where they find the key, but inadvertently disturb its undead residents. They escape with help from Michael, who overcomes his arachnophobia. Madame Leota then instructs them to find a trunk in the attic, Jim unlocking it to find a letter written by Elizabeth to Gracey, revealing she truly loved him and wanted to marry him, leading them to conclude that she was murdered. Ramsley suddenly appears, revealing he murdered Elizabeth to prevent Gracey from abandoning his heritage, believing their relationship was unacceptable. To hide the truth, he traps the children in a trunk and throws Jim out of the house, enchanting the house so Jim cannot break in and stop him.

As Gracey and Sara rendezvous in the ballroom, the former asks Sara if she can recognize him which confuses her. Desperate, he insists to Sara that she is his beloved Elizabeth. The room fills with dancing ghosts of the past which causes Sara to flee. As she runs up the stairs, Gracey reveals his true ghost-self to Sara begging her to understand and that they can finally be together. She shouts that she is not Elizabeth. Gracey begins to have second thoughts. But Ramsley insists that it is her and in time she will remember. Ramsley tells Sara to get ready for her wedding to Gracey. Sara refuses but Ramsley blackmails her into marrying Gracey in return for her children’s safety. Encouraged by Madame Leota, Jim drives his car through the mansion’s conservatory, rescues his children, and stops Sara and Gracey’s wedding ceremony where he gives Elizabeth’s letter to Gracey, revealing to him the truth about Elizabeth’s death and that Ramsley had lied to him about it all those years. Gracey confronts Ramsley, who rages at his master’s apparent selfishness for loving Elizabeth, and summons wraiths to kill the group for revenge. However, a fiery dragon emerges from the ballroom fireplace and drags Ramsley down to Hell for eternal damnation. Sara suddenly collapses, having been poisoned by Ramsley during the wedding, only for the spectral orb encountered by the children to appear and possess Sara, revealed to be Elizabeth’s ghost. Elizabeth and Gracey reunite, and Sara is revived. With the curse lifted, Gracey gives the Evers the mansion’s deed and departs to Heaven with Elizabeth, Emma, Ezra, and the other ghosts.

The Evers head off on a proper vacation, accompanied by Madame Leota, and four singing busts strapped to the back of their car. In a post-credits scene, Madame Leota bids farewell to the audience, inviting them to join the dead using dialogue from the Disneyland attraction.Those looking for a light scary movie will enjoy this.  A good film to make a family Halloween tradition.

REVIEW: LOST – SEASON 1-6

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MAIN CAST

Matthew Fox (Alex Cross)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man)
Naveen Andrews (Planet Terror)
Jorge Garcia (Alcatraz)
Emilie de Ravin (Roswell)
Maggie Grace (The Fog)
Josh Holloway (Colony)
Yunjin Kim (Shiri)
Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent)
Dominic Monaghan (Flashforward)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Malcolm David Kelley (Saving Grace)
Ian Sommerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)
Terry O’Quinn (Alias)
Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and The Furious)
Cynthia Watros (Finding Carter)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Suicide Squad)
Elizabeth Mitchell (V)
Henry Ian Cusick (24)
Rodrigo Santoro (Westworld)
Kiele Sanchez (30 Days of Night: Dark Days)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal)
Michael Emerson (Saw)
Rebecca Mader (Iron Man 3)
Ken Leung (X-Men: The Last Stand)
Jeff Fahey (The Lawnmower Man)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Zuleikha Robinson (Homeland)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Fredric Lehne (Zero Dark Thirty)
L. Scott Caldwell (The Net)
Kimberley Joseph (Xena)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Billy Ray Gallion (Castle)
John Terry (Zodiac)
Veronica Hamel (The Last Leprchaun)
Neil Hopkins (The Net 2.0)
Michael Deluise (Wayne’s World)
Kristin Richardson (Rock Star)
William Mapother (Powers)
Mira Furlan (Babylon 5)
Andrea Gabriel (2 Broke Girls)
Nick Jameson (24)
Keir O’Donnell (Wedding Crashers)
Charles Mesure (V)
Tamara Taylor (Bones)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Kevin Tighe (K-9)
Zack Ward  (Postal)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Daniel Roebuck (Final Destination)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: TTW)
Anson Mount (CDollhouse)
Saul Rubinek (Warehouse 13)
Katey Sagal (8 Simple Rules)
Sam Anderson (Angel)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
DJ Qualls (Road Trip)
Brett Cullen (Injustice)
Rachel Ticotin (Total Recall)
Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead)
Lindsey Ginter (Hercules: TLJ)
Francois Chau (Stargate SG.1)
Adetokumboh M’Cormack (Blood Diamond)
M.C. Gainey (Django Unchained)
Kim Dickens (Hallow Man)
Kevin Dunn (Samantha Who?)
Theo Rossi (Luke Cage)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Evan Handler (Californication)
Gabrielle Fitzpatrick (MMPR: The Movie)
Michael Bowen (KIller x)
April Grace (A.I)
Alan Dale (Ugly Betty)
Paula Malcolmson (Caprica)
Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster)
Aisha Hinds (Cult)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Fionnula Flanagan (The Others)
Diana Scarwid (Wonderfalls)
Cheech Marin (Machete)
Sung Hi Lee (Nurse Betty)
Shaun Toub (Iron Man)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Patrick J. Adams (Legends of Tomorrow)
Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars)
Sonya Walger (Flashforward)
Marsha Thomason (White Collar)
Carrie Preston (True Blood)
Tracy Middendorf(Scream: The Series)
Lance Reddick (Fringe)
Fisher Stevens (Hackers)
Thekla Reuten (Highlander 5)
Anthony Azizi (Eagle Eye)
Graham McTavish (The Hobbit)
Andrea Roth (Ringer)
Grant Bowler (Ugly Betty)
George Cheung (Dark Angel)
Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins)
Faran Tahir (Supergirl)
Michelle Forbes (Powers)
Raymond J. Barry (Cold Case)
Said Taghmaoui (American Hustle)
Reiko Aylesworth (24)
Eric Lange (Cult)
Alice Evans (The Originals)
Mark Pellegrino (Chuck)
Titus Welliver (Agents of SHIELD)
Brad William Henke (Fury)
Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Heroes)
Dylan Minnette (Goosebumps)
William Atherton (Ghostbusters)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (Halloween: H20)

Lost Season 1 succeeds first and foremost in character development. Lost is about relationships and before we can understand the dynamic behind the various relationships that develop over the course of a season, we need to understand what motivates these characters. This shows approach of having an individual episode focus on a single character through flashback, while formulaic, is a brilliant decision.

Episodes like “The Moth” (Charlie), “Confidence Man” (Sawyer) and “Walkabout” give us a wealth of information about the people we are being introduced to. These episodes and others are entertaining, exciting and contain pivotal character moments that are still important to the story even in season four and undoubtedly beyond. As I’ve said, this is the foundation for the whole universe that we are being presented and the team behind Lost nailed it right from the “Pilot”.

With character being such an important focus of the first season, the major story and mysteries surrounding the island are deliberately underdeveloped. After the survivors’ first night and their encounter with the monster we know this island is anything but normal, but we are only given glimpses from that point on. Over the course of the season we discover that there are other people on the island but beyond that we really don’t learn anything. The truth is that if the writers had tried to develop the story at the same pace as the characters it would have all been too much, too soon and the whole world they are trying to build would have come tumbling down like a deck of cards. Saying that the story is underdeveloped may sound like a complaint but I feel that it was the best decision. We are given a thin vertical slice of what is to come in later seasons and that is all we really need.

Of course, there are a plethora of individual character stories that thrive over the course of the season. Jin and Sun’s tumultuous relationship and betrayal, Charlie’s battle with drug addiction, Claire copping with being a parent and the love triangle between Kate, Jack and Sawyer are just a small few of the intriguing storylines that take place. All of these work to strengthen our understanding of the survivors and

Definitely of note is the story of John Locke and his relationship with the island. It’s a fascinating story to watch unfold over the course of the season and Locke’s journey is very different from the rest of the survivors. He starts perceiving the island as a living entity and develops an understanding of it that everyone else fails to understand and they fear him for it. I wouldn’t call him the villain of the show — for the first season I would say “the unknown” is the nemesis — but Locke definitely has his own agenda. Terry O’Quinn does an exceptional job of portraying Locke’s development over the course of the season. He brilliantly presents a troubled and destroyed man who has experienced a profound miracle and is now trying to make sense of what has happened to him.

As long time fans have come to expect, Michael Giacchino’s score adds an extra amount of depth to the season. He stands out as one of the premiere composers on television and Lost would simply not be the same without him. Most of Lost’s twists and turns may not have the same impact the second time around but that doesn’t mean that their importance isn’t appreciated. This show’s opening season set the foundation for things to come over the course of the series.

Attempting to build on the strength of Season One, Lost Season Two introduces several new characters and a new mysterious group to keep viewers enthralled. The introduction of the tail section characters does serve a purpose early in the season as it reinforces the Others as formidable villains. While the survivors on the beach have had it relatively easy, the tailies experience 48 days of hell in which their numbers shrink to a handful. Beyond that, Libby slides into a cute love story with Hurley while Ana Lucia stands around and takes up space until she is shot to death by Michael. Neither contributes a substantial amount to the season or the series besides being canon fodder for Michael.

As for Mr. Eko, he does have a couple of good flashback episodes but it also feels like the writers are never quite sure what to do with him. At some points he’s a passive observer to events unfolding and the later he actively gets involved in the pressing of the button. Those last few episodes in which he finds himself destined to push the button almost seem as if the were a scramble to give the character something substantial to do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Eko but I feel as if his character was completely mismanaged from the outside.

Only Bernard, who really doesn’t do much himself, feels like a relevant addition from the tail section as he ties up the loose end regarding Rose’s husband. Their reunion alone makes his introduction worth the effort. The best new addition to the Lost cast is the person we see the least throughout the season – Desmond David Hume. His appearance in the first couple of episodes of the season were used solely to introduce the concept of the button but his flashback and story in the two hour finale presented an intriguing new character. He’s a hopeless romantic on a quest to regain his honor and reunite with his true love. Desmond’s story is leaps and bounds more exciting than the rest of the new cast.

Locke’s journey this season doesn’t really start to get interesting until the introduction of Henry Gale. For the first half of the season we get to see Locke at his most confident. He’s finally opened his hatch and discovered a bevy of new treasures inside to support his claims that the island and his connection to it are part of some much larger destiny. However, Gale’s arrival brings with it seeds of doubt as John’s world begins to fall apart. This culminates in the discovery of the Pearl Station and Locke’s complete loss of faith in the button and the island. It’s a good journey that has a great conclusion in the finale.

I really enjoyed Sawyer’s return to form midway through this season. Sure it didn’t make much sense for Sawyer to turn the entire camp against him in “The Long Con” but it was one of my favorite story lines of the season. His return to a nastier, less fan-friendly Sawyer was short lived however as he fairly quickly crept back into the good graces of the rest of the group.

Michael’s battle to get Walt back from the Others had him depart midway through the season but his return in the final few episodes of the season were thoroughly entertaining. His murder of Ana Lucia and Libby gave way to an interesting game of deception as Michael is forced to convince the survivors that Henry was behind their deaths. His absolutely disgust in himself for taking a life mixed with the continued desperation he has to reunite with his son makes for some of the best character moments of the entire season. Harold Parrineau does a fantastic job of portraying Michael’s spastic range of emotions in those final few episodes.

The real gem of this season and my favorite story arc is the introduction of Michael Emerson as Henry Gale. He spends most of his time confined in the Swan Station but that doesn’t stop him from being a formidable foe for the survivors of Flight 815. With the survivors fractured and keeping secrets from one another, Henry frequently manages to turn one survivor against the other. He’s favorite prey is John Locke who we already know is quite susceptible to snide comments and underhanded suggestions. Henry turns Locke inside out and uses him against Jack causing the group of survivors to lose focus. Its brilliant to watch unfold and Emerson brings a lot of weight to the role.

This season is easily broken down into two separate parts; the first six episodes that aired before an eight week hiatus and then the rest of the season. Even though the first six are considered part of the third season, they feel much more like a prologue. Very little time is spent with the survivors on the beach and the main focus of the story is Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lilly) and Sawyer’s (Josh Holloway) imprisonment by the Others. T

The second half of the season also featured some of the show’s best episodes to date. Including the brilliantly told “Flashes Before Your Eyes”, which is an interesting twist on Lost’s  flashback scenario. Other episodes like “The Man from Tallahassee” and “The Brig” answered long asked questions while “The Man Behind the Curtain” and “One of Us” gave us a much needed back-story on both Ben (Michael Emerson) and Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell).

Really, the only weak point of the final sixteen-episode run would be “Stranger in a Strange Land”, an episode that primarily focused on the origins and meaning of Jack’s tattoo. We still don’t really understand the significance and we’re not too sure if the writers do either as they never bring up the subject again for the rest of the season. Even “Expos¿”, an episode that featured fan-hated Nikki (Kiele Sanchez) and Paulo (Rodrigo Santoro), told an interesting “Twilight Zone” style story and we couldn’t be happier with the conclusion.

If you were to suggest that the theme for season one was man vs. the unknown and that season two’s was man vs. machine  it would be fair to suggest that the theme for season three is man vs. man, as the main crux of the season deals with the survivors of Flight 815 dealing with the Others. There is a constant power struggle between the two groups and the narrative frequently shifts back and forth from the Others camp to the survivor’s beach. Intertwined throughout, are personal struggles for several of the characters in both camps and we realize as the story pushes forward that even though they are enemies, their survival appears to be dependant on each other.

At the core of this struggle is Benjamin Linus, and it would be a sin not to mention Michael Emerson’s fantastic performance as the enigmatic leader of the Others. He never once falters in portraying a creepy and unnerving nemesis for the survivors of Flight 815 and in particular, John Locke. Terry O’Quinn puts in an equally inspired performance and every time these two appeared on screen together, you knew something special was about to happen. Everything culminates in what can be described as one of the best season finales in recent memory. Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof deliver a brilliantly told story that is full of emotion, suspense and action.

After a stunning conclusion to the show’s third season, the bar was raised and much was expected of the fourth season of Lost. With the final three seasons reduced to sixteen episodes each and a clear finish line. The creative team could now focus on telling their story without having to worry about how many episodes they had left to work with. Season four is the first to benefit and delivers a faster paced and leaner story that expands the Lost universe in some unexpected ways and delves into the mystery that was introduced at the end of last season.The “flash-forward” at the end of last season introduced an exciting new way in which Lost stories could be told. The use of these flash-forwards continues through the fourth season, revealing that even more Oceanic survivors made it off the island and also introduces an intriguing conspiracy of silence regarding those who weren’t so lucky. This storyline is the backbone of the fourth season as we discovered who was fortunate enough to escape the island and who was left behind. This is arguably the series’ best story arc since the mystery surrounding the hatch and is a well-developed, tightly paced narrative that actually has a satisfying conclusion at the end of the season.

The benefit of a shortened schedule is apparent and this season has far less “filler” than previous outings. Less episodes means that every minute of screen time becomes that much more precious and the outcome is a season that doesn’t have what we’d consider a bad episode in the bunch. Even this season’s Kate-centric episode is decent when compared to previous years’ outings. There are plenty of episodes that you will want to revisit here, including the pivotal “The Constant” that is a game-changer when it comes to the series’ mythology. It also features Henry Ian Cusick’s best performance as Desmond to date and one of the more memorable Michael Giacchino scores. The rest of the season is filled to the brim with moments that will have any Lost fan riveted.


Acting wise, all the great performances that you have come to expect from the series’ regulars are present. Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn continue to put in stellar performances as Ben Linus and John Locke respectively. As has been stated many times throughout the last couple of seasons, these two have some phenomenal chemistry on screen and they spend a great deal of time verbally sparring with each other this season. The newcomers to the show are no slouches either. Veteran actor Jeff Fahey is memorable as helicopter pilot Frank Lapidus. Ken Leung has already become a series favorite as the sharp-tongued Miles Straume and while some fans have had a negative reaction towards Rebecca Mader’s Charlotte Lewis, it is hard to deny that she puts in a respectable performance here.

Jeremy Davies deserves special recognition for his portrayal of physicist – Daniel Faraday. Simply put, Davies’ is awesome as the polite and awkward scientist whose unique viewpoint of the island’s core mysteries is a benefit to the series. If given more screen time he would have probably stolen the show and he stands alongside Ben Linus and Desmond Hume as yet another exceptional new addition to the series.

With the introduction of new characters and the already expanded Lost cast, some regulars take a step back and are not featured as prominently as you would expect. Most notable are series heavyweights Jack and Kate, who are present and accounted for, but see their roles slightly reduced as other characters are brought to the forefront. As the cast and story expand, it has obviously become a necessity to focus on a wider range of characters. The series’ writers are equal to the task and do a good job of handling a large cast without forgetting anyone in the mix.

Last season, Lost successfully made the transition into the realm of science fiction with classic episodes like “The Constant” and of course, making the island literally disappear in “There’s no Place Like Home.” Season 5 dives head first into weighty science fiction concepts with time travel playing a major role in the narrative for the entire year. There are inherent risks with introducing time travel into a story that is already as complex as the one Lost has become over the past few years. For the most part, the writers do a good job of keeping the time travel aspect of the story from becoming too complicated, but there is no dispute that it is the driving force of the season’s narrative.

The first half of the season is comprised of two very distinct storylines. One of those being Jack Shephard’s desperate attempt to reunite the Oceanic Six in order to return to the island and the other being the journey of those left behind as they find themselves inexplicably traveling through time. The Oceanic Six storyline is definitely the weaker of the two. The story of the Six, hours before they return to the island was weakened by a slow start with the somewhat Hurley-centric “The Lie.” This is an episode that featured a little too much of Hugo Reyes’ wacky exploits as he transports an unconscious Sayid around Los Angeles. The rest of the Oceanic Six story is essentially a waiting game as we watch the pieces fall into place so that these characters can return to where we really want them to be – on the island. In fact, their return to the island in “316” feels rushed, almost as if the writers realized that the best place for these characters is back on the island.

The aptly named “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” is the best episode that takes place almost entirely off the island. The story chronicles John Locke’s attempt to convince the Oceanic Six that they need to return to the island in order to save those left behind. It’s a tragic story for John Locke who has spent the last four seasons in the belief that the survivors of Flight 815 are tied by a single destiny but only in death does he finally make people believe. It’s a well-scripted story and wonderfully acted by Terry O’Quinn who does a great job of portraying an interesting transition for Locke on screen.

Locke isn’t the only one who goes through a transition this season as Benjamin Linus is forced into a situation that is quite surprising for the character. Without delving into too much detail, the dynamic between Locke and Ben changes quite a bit but the great chemistry between O’Quinn and Michael Emerson is still as exceptional as it has always been. Linus fans should not be disappointed by some of the great developments for the character this season.

On the island, Sawyer and the rest of the survivors left behind are forced to cope with the fact that they are constantly flashing through time, either to the past or the future. The approach taken here is straightforward and clearly laid out in the first episode of the season; you cannot change events in the past – whatever happened, happened and couldn’t of happened any other way. Faraday acts as the mouth piece for much of the technobabble in the early part of the season with Sawyer playing the part of the ‘everyman’ who constantly questions why things are happening the way they are. This allows the writers an opportunity to ease the audience into this shift of events without making things too complex to follow. There is plenty of exposition, but with Sawyer’s classic charm to offset Faraday’s jargon, it makes it a lot easier to swallow.

Time travel is utilized to its fullest here to reveal some of the island’s back-story over the last 50 years. Sawyer and co. pay a visit to the Others of the 1950s and are introduced to past leaders of the mysterious group. We also see some much-needed loose ends tied up as we finally learn more about Rousseau and her research team and we also discover why Richard Alpert visited a young Locke just one season ago. As secrets are revealed and key puzzle pieces are slid into place it’s surprising to see just how well everything fits together. Some of this is certainly due to the asset of knowing how many episodes you have left to tell your story in, but I’m hard pressed to find many plot holes in any of the explanations given. Cuse and Lindelof deserve credit for maintaining a watertight narrative throughout most of the season.

Season 6 of Lost is quite possibly the most scrutinized season of television in history. With both longtime fans of the series and curious outsiders wondering if this season would deliver both on answers and a satisfying conclusion, series show runners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse had an incredible task on their hands. With an edge-of-your-seat conclusion to Season 5, the small band of survivors we’ve grown to love set out on their final journey against a villainous shape shifter on an island of mystery.

In Season 4, “The Constant” established Lost as a science fiction series when it introduced time travel into the equation. From that point forward, until the conclusion of Season 5, the series maintained and expanded on that concept by sending the survivors hurtling through time until they eventually landed in 1974 (or 1977, for those on Ajira 316). Season 6 drops the time travel story completely and introduces a different sci-fi concept: alternate realities. It appears that the detonation of Jughead in “The Incident” created a parallel universe in which events played out slightly different and Oceanic Flight 815 never crashed.Much like flash-backs and flash-forwards, we experience this parallel universe through a series of “centric” flash-sideways featuring the lives of these characters as if the crash had never happened. This gives Lindelof and Cuse a unique opportunity to reexamine the lives of these characters from a completely different perspective. The flash-sideways giving us incredibly important character moments and an intriguing new story that’s both surprising and engaging. With each “centric” flash-sideways story, parallels are drawn to the character’s plight while they are on the island. This relationship between timelines establishes a key connection between both storylines that give the flash-sideways an importance outside of simply being a different perspective on how things could have ultimately played out.

Connections between the two universes are explored more thoroughly as the series progresses and we do ultimately get a resolution to the flash-sideways storyline. How satisfying that resolution is will ultimately be based on a number of factors that stem from your own expectations. In other words, it’s a polarizing conclusion to a very unique story and you’re probably either going to love it or hate it. I loved the way the flash-sideways story ended because it satisfied the need for closure.

“Happily Ever After” stands out as the episode that had the most impact on both universes. Living, breathing Desmond David Hume (Henry Ian Cusick) has his consciousness transported into what we now know to be the afterlife and acts as the genesis for everything that happens in the “flash-sideways” realm after his departure. Desmond is also the catalyst for most events that occur leading up to and including the finale. He’s seen as nothing more than a tool by those around him; a means to an end. However, Desmond is infused with his own sense of purpose. With the events he experienced in the other universe infecting his mind, Desmond sets out to free those remaining on the island from their pain and suffering and take them to a better place. It’s funny how both Desmonds are essentially driven by the same goal, with only one succeeding. But Desmond’s error on the island gives Jack and Kate (Evangeline Lilly) the window they need to stop the Man in Black.untitledTerry O’Quinn, who spent most of the past five seasons playing John Locke, slips into his new role as the embodiment of dark temptation with ease. We actually saw him as the Man in Black last season, but even O’Quinn didn’t realize that he was technically playing a different character until close to the finale. Here he’s allowed to truly enjoy portraying a villain and it’s obvious he’s having a hell of a lot of fun in the role.The Man in Black tests the survivors like never before. Offering them freedom, survival and even  answers to some of the island’s more pressing mysteries. The way that the survivors respond to this temptation ultimately defines who they truly are, even if it takes them some time to make the right decision. Again, just like the flash-sideways, this gives us yet another fascinating new perspective on these characters. We see them at both their weakest and their strongest this season.Season 6 does a good job of explaining some mysteries while others are left up to the viewer to dissect for years to come. Lost: Season 6 is a strong conclusion to what has been an extraordinary series. All the elements that made the past five seasons so great are here, with the added bonus of this being the final season and the stakes being raised for all the characters. Whether or not the answers provided are satisfying or cover enough ground will vary drastically for different viewers, but ultimately, Lost: Season 6 delivers closure on a story that has captivated us for so long.

REVIEW: 2 BROKE GIRLS – SEASON 1-4

 Image result for 2 broke girlsMAIN CAST

Kat Dennings (Thor)
Beth Behrs (American Pie: The Book of Love)
Garrett Morris (Ant-Man)
Jonathan Kite (Pirates of The Caribbean)
Matthew Moy (No Strings Attached)
Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie)

Image result for 2 broke girls

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Brooke Lyons (Izombie)
Noah Mills (Sex and The City 2)
Dana Delorenzo (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Nick Zano (Legends of Tomorrow)
Travis Van Winkle (Friday the 13th)
Carla Gallo (Bones)
Marsha Thomason (Lost)
Dale Dickey (Iron Man 3)
Laura Spencer (The Big Bang Theory)
Martha Stewart (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Steven weber (Izombie)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Cedric The Entertainer (Ice Age)
Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars)
Jack DePew (The Fosters)
Brandon W. Jones (Pretty Little Liars)
Jessica Chaffin (The Heat)
Abby Elliott (How I Met Your Mother)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
Bianca Lawson (Buffy)
Barret Swatek (Power Rangers Turbo)
Andy Dick (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Missi Pyle (Two and a Half Men)
Deanne Bray (Heroes)
Beth Lacke (Mr. 3000)
Piers Morgan (The Campaign)
Mary Lynn Rajskub (24)
Gilles Marini (Devious Maids)
Eric Andre (The Internship)
Patrick Cox (Veronica Mars)
Rachel Cannon (Two and a Half Men)
Andrea Gabriel (Lost)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Waynes World)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha)
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)
Ben Lawson (No Strings Attached)
Carlos Jacott (Angel)
Natalie Dreyfuss (The Originals)
Jesse Metcalfe (Dallas)
Valerie Harper (Rhoda)
Ian Reed Kesler (Birds of Prey)
Sandra Bernhard (The King of Comedy)
Austin Falk (Devlish Charm)
Ilia Volok (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Caroline Rhea (Sabrina: TTW)

The titular characters in 2 Broke Girls are played by Kat Dennings and newcomer Beth Behrs (a genuine find), who portray waitresses in a down-and-dumpy diner in Williamsburg, a suburb of New York. Their boss is an obsequious, pint-sized Korean immigrant (Matthew Moy), the cook an over-sexed sleazeball (Jonathan Kite), the cashier a wise and hep older black dude (Garrett Morris). Although the “Alice for the Twitter Generation” setup provides the bulk of the show’s humor, there are a few sub-plots early on involving the Dennings character baby sitting for a ditsy socialite (the dryly hilarious Brooke Lyons) and carrying on a hot-and-cold relationship with a street artist (Nick Zano). Halfway through the season, another regular is introduced in the form of a bawdy Polish-American cleaning business proprietress who shares a place in the girls’ apartment building, done with a detached hilarity by Jennifer Coolidge.

Dennings’ character, Max, is the smart-mouthed, tough-living young woman who takes under her wing the down-and-out ex-heiress Caroline (Behrs) who lost everything when her father was caught swindling billions of dollars from investors. They become roommates, then co-workers and then partners in a struggling cupcake business. It might all sound familiar, but the writers and directors pump so much heart and soul into the characters and situations they make me actually care whether Martha Stewart loves their cupcakes (which, in the hysterical first-season finale, she did). It is to the writers’ credit that they have Max and Caroline become more than shallow stereotypes, while Dennings and Behrs make the women they play believable as best friends, despite their differing backgrounds.possible laugh. It was a fascinating experience seeing how differently a scene played with a slight inflection here or a different word there. All that hard work comes out in the episodes on these DVDs (some of the scenes cut from the final episode versions are included as welcomed extras).

When we last saw lead besties Max Black and Caroline Channing, they were over the moon about their unorthodox meeting with style maven Martha Stewart – who not only sampled one of their premium cupcakes (the Beer-Batter Maple-Bacon Spring-Break cupcake), but also said she liked it and admired them. What more sustenance would two struggling waitresses-turned-entrepreneurs need? A lot, it turns out, as season two of 2 Broke Girls gives us a taste of success &  failure.

Whereas season one of the hit CBS show was all about meeting cute, sharing dreams, and attempting to live down the fact that one of the fathers bilked investors out of millions of dollars, the second season is more about character and relationships: Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs) step closer and closer to their ever-elusive dream of a cupcake store; while diner-cook Oleg (Jonathan Kite) and entrepreneur Sophie (Jennifer Coolidge) begin sharing more than just sex. It is, like life, filled with ups and downs, steps forward and many more steps backward, never once letting the characters lose sight of their final destination. Max is overjoyed when they find the perfect space to open their cupcake store, insisting that it has a certain cache seeing how it was the site of a mass murder (complete with blood still on the walls). Where one sees disaster, Max sees opportunity: “If we go with red, it’s half painted.” This devil-may-care attitude balances nicely with Caroline’s Wharton-School pedigree of sense and sensibility, preventing either from going too far off the deep end. They establish such a mutual ground, in fact, that they both willingly don giant cupcake suits in an attempt to drum up business.

Elsewhere in Williamsburg, the relationship between Oleg and Sophie begins to deepen. Where it was once an excuse for crude comments about orgasms, it has developed into a touching pairing between two oddballs who are perfectly matched.  Sophie, the owner of a house-cleaning service who has a heart of gold, continues in her role of fairy godmother to the two girls. In season one, she made sure they had killer outfits to wear to the gala event where they hoped to meet Ms. Stewart. Here, she gives them the seed money to rent their prime space, stock up and begin selling cupcakes. She is a silent partner; but one who eats a lot of the profits – literally.

Although much of the season takes place in settings outside the Williamsburg Diner, there is still plenty going on there. Put-upon diner-owner Han (Matthew Moy) has become a little more feisty, giving to the girls as good as he gets from them – and standing up to a robber who mistakenly thinks there are quick profits to be made. Stalwart Garrett Morris, as cashier Earl, continues to be the brightest star in the Williamsburg firmament, delivering caustic barbs and witty asides like the seasoned pro he is. Season two is filled with lots of characters who stop by for an episode or three, including Steven Weber as the notorious swindler who is father to Caroline, Ryan Hansen as the boyish proprietor of the candy shop across from the cupcake store who starts to fall for a certain Wharton graduate, and rapper 2 Chains appearing as himself in a surprisingly appealing episode.

The end of the second season provided the perfect set up for season three: while cleaning out the diner, they stumble onto a secret back room that has (surprise!) a set of doors that open onto the sidewalk. Can they create a walk-up cupcake business and make a success of it?.

The third season  continues to follow the two girls with their attempt to run their cupcake business, which has been “off and on” in a way that any sitcom relationship would be. This season, the girls have found the secret back room of the diner (which was the focus of the last episode of the second season) and have opened for business. “And the Soft Opening” and “And the Cronuts” are highlights, as the two find themselves with crowds after a British rock star croaks in front of the shop and the girls make an attempt to capitalize on the Cronut craze.


However, around the halfway point of the season, Max and Caroline head to pastry school and things get even more intresting. Max starts to have feelings for Deke (Eric Andre), while Caroline falls for a head baker (Gilles Marini), who has a secret. Meanwhile, Mary Lynn Rajskub  is thrown into the mix playing an oddball working at the front desk. Rajskub is extremely funny.

Alot of these threads conlude towards the end of the season. The last episode of the season, which sees Max heading back to her old high school to get her diploma, is a great example of the series – it’s genuinely funny, sweet and really shows the chemistry well between the two leads.

In Season Four Kim Kardashian pays the cupcake shop a visit, Caroline starts using an abandoned bike to make deliveries, but Max is unable to do her share because she cannot ride a bicycle, Max and Caroline rent their apartment via Airbnb to some models in town for the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, the girls find out two rich high school girls are selling knock-offs of their cupcake T-shirts.

Other Highlights are –

And the Zero Tolerance

When Caroline notices the girls’ bank balance is less than zero, she and Max desperately look for ways to make enough money for the payments on their T-shirt loan. Soon after, John (“Big Mary”) from Max’s pastry school comes by to say he’s working as a pastry chef at “The High”, a new upscale restaurant in Manhattan. He encourages Max to apply for the other pastry chef position that needs to be filled, and Caroline tags along to apply for a waitress job.

And the High Hook-Up

Joedth finds a hot, young Irish man named Nashit (Austin Falk) on a bench outside The High, and hires him, asking Caroline to train him as a waiter. Max is smitten and vows to get Nashit into bed, but doing so would violate Joedth’s strict “no hook ups among employees” policy. After the two are caught, Han hires Nashit to work as a dishwasher at the diner.

And the Grate Expectations

At Oleg’s bachelor party, Han inadvertently discloses a secret that leads Sophie to cancel the wedding. The girls and Big Mary open up a new branch of The High that, much to their dismay, is located in an airport.

And the Disappointing Unit

Sophie and Oleg get married, despite some challenges on their wedding day. Disappointing sales at the airport branch of The High put the girls’ future there in doubt. The Girls then end up going to Paris using the tickets they got to get into the airport to kidnap Nash. The episode ends with Max and Caroline drinking champagne from their cabin crew friends.

Another great season, with some great laughs, the show gets better and better every season and am looking forward to season 5.

REVIEW: INTO THE BLUE 1 & 2

 

CAST

Paul Walker (Hours)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Scott Caan (Gone In 60 Seconds)
Ashley Scott (Birds of Prey)
Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex)
James Frain (Gotham)

Jared (Paul Walker) is a  handsome scuba instructor living in a trailer in the Caribbean with his  attractive girlfriend Sam (Jessica Alba).  They are poor but happy.  After all they are in love, and if you’re in love you don’t need things like money.  At least according to Sam. Things change a bit when Jared’s friend Bryce (Scott Caan) comes down for a visit and brings along his coke-whore girlfriend Amanda (Ashley Scott).  While the four of them are scuba diving, Jared finds the remains of a sunken ship.

 

It appears to be the Zephyr, a ship that was loaded down with pirate-plundered gold.  The ship was scuttled by its captain in the 1800’s in order to confuse the Navy that was searching for him and his woman.  Instead of living a life of luxury, the pirate gave up a treasure so he could be with the woman he loved.

So, everything will be great just as soon as the quartet prove that the ship they discovered is the Zephyr.  Then they can lay claim to it and take their time harvesting the riches.  Before that however, anyone can steal their find.  The excavation is complicated by something else too.  Just a few hundred feet from the Zephyr is a downed plane full of cocaine worth a fortune.   Idiot Bryce and his skanky girlfriend want to sell the drugs to finance the recovery of the sunken ship, something the honorable Jared and Sam are opposed to.


The story is solid enough, and in truth it was well above expectations, captivating my interest very early on and remaining suspenseful and intriguing enough throughout the picture. The cast are all good enough, although they were probably chosen as much for their looks as their acting abilities, but who can deny that Jessica Alba and Ashley Scott did add a sexy feel for the male audience.

What really made the film for me was the truly fantastic scenery and the underwater camera work; it was flawless and stunningly beautiful in a way that is rarely captured on film.

CAST

Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Chris Carmack (The Butterfly Effect 3)
David Anders (Izombie)
Marsha Thomason (The Haunted Mansion)
Michael Graziadei (Booegeyman 2)
Mircea Monroe (The Change-Up)
Audrina Patridge (Scary Movie 5)

Into the Blue 2: The Reef follows the effervescent diving couple Sebastian and Dani. Their dream is to discover the San Cristobol wreck, but they take out diving anyone who’ll pay them some bucks. Played by television actors Laura Vandervoort (Smallville) and Chris Carmack (The O.C.).

One day, the ultra-evil Carlton (David Anders) and his mysterious martial arts girlfriend Azra (Marsha Thomason) show up claiming they too are looking for the San Cristobol and are willing to pay Sebastian and Dani their going rate to help them look for it. Of course, Carlton and Azra are not really looking for the San Cristobol; instead, they’re seeking a couple large containers that were dumped by smugglers upon a reef. And, Carlton claims, there are evildoers who will kill everyone.

I have seen some really bad sequels  but this is not one of them. I bought this one for my DVD collection to go right beside the first one that was also a great movie. I’m a huge fan of Laura Vandervoort and have been following her career every since she guest starred on Mutant X.