REVIEW: AGENT CODY BANKS

CAST

Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle)
Hilary Duff (Cheaper By The Dozen)
Angie Harmon (Law & Order)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Ian McShane (Hercules)
Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy)
Martin Donovan (Ant-Man)
Daniel Roebuck (Lost)
Cynthia Stevenson (Dead Like Me)
Connor Widdows (Battle Galactica)
Darrell Hammond (Scary Movie 3)
Peter New (Antitrust)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)

Cody Banks (Frankie Muniz), a 15-year-old high school junior, applies for a junior field ops position at the Central Intelligence Agency’s SAD (Special Activities Division) after completing a training summer camp. Answering to his handler Agent Ronica Miles, Cody is called upon a mission to find information about a scientist named Dr. Albert Connors. Connors is employed by a SPECTRE type organization named ERIS led by Dr. Brinkman, and his henchman François Molay. As all CIA agents are known to Brinkman’s organization, the CIA uses the unknown Banks, who is placed into the prep school of Dr. Connors’ daughter Natalie (Hilary Duff), the William Donovan Institute.
Cody soon finds he has no social skill with girls and has no time to do this while balancing his chores and homework. The CIA decides to help by doing his chores and homework, trying to build his status, and going into the school to set him up with Natalie. The CIA also assemble a varying team of “experts” to train Cody into how to talk to girls, and issue him with a variety of gadgets with various functions. Eventually, Cody befriends and falls in love with Natalie after saving her from falling off a ladder while putting up a banner, and he is invited to her 16th birthday party, where he goes undercover to her father’s lab. Cody finds that Dr. Brinkman is planning to use nanobots — which can destroy any carbon or silicon-based substance — to destroy the world’s defense systems so he can threaten anyone who opposes him. Since the nanobots are inactive in the cold, he plans to use ice cubes to distribute them. After Connors, Dr. Brinkman, and François leave the lab, Cody tries to take one of the ice cubes, only for it to melt when in his possession.
Shortly after this, Cody gets into a fight with a number of bullies, at the party. The fight makes the school newspaper, and the CIA suspends Cody from the mission. Meanwhile, with Connors refusing to aid him in his plans, Dr. Brinkman sends François and some men to catch Natalie and bring her into his base in the Cascade Mountains. Meanwhile, disobeying orders to leave her out of it, Cody and Natalie eat ice cream at a restaurant. Cody attempts to explain things to Natalie but François and a group of men come over to their table and fight with Cody, knocking him unconscious and taking Natalie. Cody is removed from the mission, and his parents ground him for staying out past his curfew.
Cody gets his brother Alex to make sure his parents do not find out that he is gone by giving him the $5,000 the CIA gave him. Knowing Natalie’s location via a tracking device in a necklace he gave her as a birthday present, Cody breaks into the CIA weapons hold and steals a rocket powered snowboard and other devices to rescue Natalie. Cody gets a ride to the top of the mountain and snowboards to the factory where Natalie is held. On the way, he gets caught in a grove of trees as Ronica finds him using a SoloTrek XFV. After convincing her that they need to rescue Natalie, the pair infiltrate the laboratory and Cody rescues Natalie, also explaining the truth about why he went out with her.
However, the trio are captured by Brinkman’s men, although Cody quickly manages to escape. Natalie is held hostage by Dr. Brinkman, who puts an ice cube with a nanobot inside on her forehead to make her father program the system. Cody sets off a series of explosive charges he and Ronica planted throughout the base, and in the ensuing battle, Ronica fights off several of Dr. Brinkman’s men and Natalie kills Dr. Brinkman by placing the ice cube with the nanobots into his mouth, causing it to melt, and the nanobots to devour him from the inside out. Cody later defeats François and sends him to the CIA using the SoloTrek XFV, before fleeing the facility with Ronica, Natalie and Dr. Connors before it explodes. Back at headquarters, the CIA welcomes Cody back to the team and congratulates him for completing the mission. The CIA Director asks Cody if there is anything else he needs and Cody asks them if they could help Natalie get her driver’s license, which she receives. Cody and Natalie are now a couple and the film ends with them sharing their first kiss.Agent Cody banks was absolutley great. Both Frankie Muniz and Hilary Duff were excellent and the rest of the cast supported them very well. A great overall movie.

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REVIEW: THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT

CAST

Virginia Madsen (Sideways)
Martin Donovan (Ant-Man)
Elias Koteas (Crash)
Kyle Gallner (Smallville)
Amanda Crew (Sex Drive)
Spohpi Knight (Rookie Blue)

In 1987, Sara Campbell (Virginia Madsen) is driving her son Matthew (Kyle Gallner) home from the hospital where he has been undergoing cancer treatments. Sara and her husband Peter (Martin Donovan), a recovering alcoholic, discuss finding a rental house closer to the hospital. On another hospital visit, Sara finds a man putting up a “For Rent” sign in front of a large house. The man is frustrated and offers her the first month free if she will rent it immediately. The following day, Peter arrives with Matt’s brother Billy (Ty Wood) and cousins Wendy (Amanda Crew) and Mary, and they choose rooms. Matt chooses the basement, where there is a mysterious door. After moving in, Matt suffers a series of visions involving an old, bearded man and corpses with symbols carved into their skin. The next day, Peter learns that the house was supposedly a funeral home; the room behind the mysterious door is a mortuary.Matt tells another patient, Reverend Nicholas Popescu (Elias Koteas), about the visions. Nicholas advises him to find out what the spirit wants. Later, Matt finds a burned figure in his room who begins to move toward him. When the family comes home, they find a shirtless Matt with his fingers blood-covered from scratching at the wall.The family begins to crack under the stress of Matt’s illness and bizarre behavior. The children find a box of photographs, which show Jonah, a young man from Matt’s visions, at a séance, emitting ectoplasm. Wendy and Matt find out that the funeral home was run by a man named Ramsey Aickman. Aickman also conducted psychic research and would host séances with Jonah as the medium. At one séance, all those attending, including Aickman, were found dead and Jonah disappeared.Nicholas theorizes that Aickman was practicing necromancy in an attempt to control the dead and bind them to the house. That night, Nicholas finds human remains in the house and removes them. Matt awakens to find Aickman’s symbols carved into his flesh. He is taken to the hospital, where he encounters Jonah. Nicholas and Matt begin to have simultaneous visions. Everyone in the séance is burnt, after a flash of bright light. The barely alive Aickman told Jonah to get out of the house, concerned that the demonic presence will get him next. Jonah uses a dumbwaiter to escape, calling for help. Entering an unknown chamber, Jonah realizes that he has entered the crematory. The spirit traps Jonah in the crematory, and cremates him alive.Peter and Sara learn that Matt’s cancer treatments have had no effect. They then discover that Matt has escaped the hospital. Back at the house, Nicholas leaves a message telling the family to get out of the house immediately – Jonah’s spirit was actually protecting them from the spirits. Matt breaks through the walls in the front room with an axe, revealing the dusty corpses Aickman hid in the walls. He forces Wendy and the children to get out, barricading himself inside and tearing down the other walls, as corpses begin to tumble into the room. The view switches from Matt to Jonah, who seems to be occupying Matt’s body. Matt lights the bodies and the room on fire.As the fire department arrives, Sara and Peter frantically try to get in to save Matt. The spirits, finally freed, disappear. Outside, everyone watches tearfully as the emergency crew attempts to resuscitate a dying Matt. As Matt slips away, he has a vision of himself standing in the graveyard where he sees Jonah, no longer appearing burnt. He seems about to follow Jonah when he hears his mother’s voice.He returns to his body and Jonah’s spirit leaves him. Matt’s cancer disappears, and the house was rebuilt and resold with no further reported incidents of haunting.While there are some questions that may not be answered, the story itself was more than satisfying. Special effects were kept to a minimum but used effectively and when needed. Acting was not Oscar worthy but good enough to make it all seem real. Fun when you want it and scary when you need it.

 

REVIEW: CONVICTION

MAIN CAST

Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter)
Eddie Cahill (CSI: NY)
Shawn Ashmore (Smallville)
Merrin Dungey (alias)
Emily Kinney (The Flash)
Manny Montana (Graceland)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Daniel Franzese (Mean Girl)
Bess Armstrong (Jaws 3D)
Cassandra Freeman (Inside Man)
Mike Doyle (Green Lantern)
Teri Polo (Meet The Parents)
Tim Guinee (Stargate SG.1)
Susan Hayward (Powers)
Carlo Rota (Stargate Universe)
Matthew Bennett (Battlestar Galactica)
Richard Thomas (IT)
Jordan Hayes (Helix)
Shawn Parsons (Containment)
Martin Donovan (Ant-Man)
Rob Stewart (Painkiller Jane)
Mark Moses (Platoon)

In Conviction Hayley Atwell plays Hayes Morrison, a complex character with obvious flaws. She is the daughter of an ex-President and a politician running for Senator. First an attorney, then a law professor, she was always a rebel and a liability for her parents due to her “extremely controversial lifestyle” and run-ins with the law. She is blackmailed into heading the CIU, a new department in the DA’s office dedicated to investigating possibly wrongful convictions. She has all of the necessary tools, including a dedicated staff, but she lacks the Conviction.The pilot moves quickly, allowing Hayes to experience many emotions. You will not see a finer job of acting in a pilot. Atwell is remarkable. Her character is uncaring, self-indulgent and the product of years of political posturing (by her family) and being in the spotlight. She knows how to paint on a smile, but she shows us so many levels beneath it. Her character might seem unlikable and this might look like just another crime solving drama, but the writers have given the viewer plenty of hints at how this show might develop, along with the characters in it.
The supporting actors are also excellent, including Shawn Ashmore, Merrin Dungey,  Emily Kinney, Eddie Cahill, and Manny Montana. Her team of investigators have diverse backgrounds and very different perspectives.
The twist is that they only have five days to investigate each case–a factor that sounds contrived but it fits the story. In the first episode, they investigate an 8-year old conviction and Hayes has a crisis of conscience, proving she has one. Other Episode Highlights are(2) Bridge and Tunnel Vision

Hayes decides to go after one of Wallace’s career-making cases, the Prospect 3. They were three boys charged with raping and assaulting a woman, Zadie Daniels, on her way from work. Zadie was hit in the head by a brick, so she does not remember the attack, but the media called her a hero. None of the members of the group—Mike, Brian, and Seamus—was a DNA match for the semen in the rape kit, but they confessed after exhaustive interrogations, each one blaming the others. After learning that the timelines did not match up, the CIU discovered that Zadie had sex with a married man the night of the assault, the source of the semen. They also learn that Brian had previously attacked other females, including his foster sister, which is why Wallace was sure that the three boys were the culprits. Hayes gets Brian to admit that he was the only person responsible for the assault, freeing Mike and Seamus. Although she proves two people innocent, Hayes feels depressed, as Zadie’s reputation is now ruined.

(3) Dropping Bombs

To spite Wallace after his comment about “the new Hayes Morrison,” Hayes digs up the case of bigoted activist Rodney Landon, convicted of planting a bomb in a mosque office and killing four men, including the Imam. The CIU team finds Landon was primarily a suspect because of an illegal search by the Counter-Terrorism Unit and that, although he didn’t plant the bomb, he was planning a far more deadly attack. Because the illegal search would throw out most of the evidence against Landon and get him released, Sam talks to a skinhead in prison. Hayes is notified that Landon was attacked due to rumors of his being a snitch and stabbed his attacker with a shiv. By committing a felony on camera, he will remain in prison. The actual bomber turns out to be the wife of the Imam, who was angry because of his multiple affairs. Hayes’ cocaine arrest becomes public when a video of her in jail is released to the media.(4) Mother’s Little Burden

The CIU works on the case of Penny Price, a stay-at-home mom who vlogged about taking care of her violent autistic son, Owen. Penny was charged with second degree murder via leaving a bottle of soy sauce outside, which Owen drank in its entirety. However, Frankie finds out from the case’s toxicologist that Owen did not die from a sodium overdose, but from a lack of sugar due to a deliberately administered insulin shot. They go to Penny’s husband, Greg Price, a pharmacist who was having an affair, as well as Owen’s caretaker, Eduardo, whose sister had dangerously low insulin levels on the day of Owen’s murder. Hayes realizes that the only person with means and motive was Penny’s daughter, Emily. Penny tells Emily to keep quiet and says that she will take the blame, telling Hayes that her daughter deserves a life. Meanwhile, Hayes must juggle solving the case and working with her brother, Jackson, to prepare for a “mea culpa” television interview. Jackson drills her on what to wear (the right suit and her mother’s pearls), what to say, and how to say it. During the interview, she uses her charm and the rehearsed responses, but eventually her lies and the pearls begin to choke her. She then candidly explains that she got her do-over and job as a result of her privilege and that she is now attempting to use some of it to free innocent people. Although this decision earns her immediate public approval, it severely hurts her mother’s campaign and throws Wallace under the bus. The night after solving the case, Hayes goes home to Jackson’s apartment, only to find that he has kicked her out.(6) #StayWoke

After a black teenager is killed by a cop which causes an argument among the team, Hayes decides to choose the case of Porscha Williams, a black activist who was convicted of the shooting murder of Sergeant Kelsey Blake during a protest. Maxine feels conflicted as she is both black with a son and an ex-cop. Meanwhile, Hayes meets with Naomi, Wallace’s lawyer, who flirts with Hayes. Tess tells Frankie about being an eyewitness to her aunt’s murder at age 12 and identifying the wrong man. The man, Matty Tan, was cleared by DNA after five years in prison and that she has been going to his coffee-cart frequently without him knowing her connection. The team finds that one eyewitness lied under oath and that other witnesses may have confused Porscha with another woman. Then they discover that the Medical Examiner’s van was near the scene longer than necessary, and that the entry and exit wounds may have been mixed up, meaning that Kelsey may have been shot from behind. Using the new angle, the team discovers that one of the other witnesses, George Stayner, was responsible. George, when confronted, says it was an accident and then commits suicide. After Porscha is released, Hayes finds Naomi and Wallace kissing each other.(7) A Simple Man

The CIU team investigates the case of a man with a low IQ, Leo Scarlata, who was convicted of setting a fire in his family’s restaurant. The fire killed one man and injured another. Wallace approves a documentary film crew who have been working on Scarlata’s case, to follow the team around. The investigation finds that the fire didn’t start the way previously believed and that, although Leo was responsible, he just “followed the rules”. Those “rules” had been deliberately altered to cause the fire for the insurance payout. Leo is released.bountykiller01(8) Bad Deals

The CIU team takes on the case of Josh Fleck, a teacher convicted of kidnapping and murdering his high school student, Sierra Macy, ten years before. The reason for the case is because Sierra is alive and had just escaped from her basement prison only to find her captor dead. Sam was the prosecutor on the case and though the murder conviction will be dropped, he still insists that Fleck was involved in the kidnapping. The team finds that the waitress eyewitness lied, that the blood evidence could be explained away, and that Sierra was hauled away in a car trunk while Fleck drove a pickup. When Sam visits the waitress, Melissa, he hears the chimes that Sierra remembers. Melissa points a gun at him but the police burst in and rescue him. Fleck is released. The Justice Department drops its case against Wallace after Hayes provides information.bountykiller01(9) A Different Kind of Death

Wallace gives the CIU the case of Earl Slavitt (Richard Thomas), a death-row inmate who was convicted of the murder of Tom Simon, a federal prosecutor and Wallace’s friend. Earl was originally prosecuted by Tom for embezzling money from his job. After he was released from prison he made threats against Tom. Wallace asks Hayes to review the case, as Tom was against the death penalty and Earl is to be executed in five days. While the CIU reviews the case in New York, Hayes and Wallace go to Indiana to try and stop Earl’s execution. They have to deal with Bill Newton, the Assistant U.S. Attorney who was on the prosecution’s side for both cases and who gets in their way. The team finds that an ex-con was hired to kill Tom, and that Earl’s boss was the actual embezzler. Someone in the U.S. Attorney’s office was taking bribes. Hayes, after talking to Earl’s former co-worker, Nina, learns that Bill ordered the hit on Tom to cover his tracks. Hayes tries to contact Wallace to stop the execution but is too late. After hearing the news, Sam catches Maxine taking pain-killers.JORDAN HAYES, HAYLEY ATWELL(10) Not Okay

The team takes the case of Sophie Hausen, convicted of murdering Travis Carter, the college student whom she claimed raped her. Retesting the DNA on the murder weapon shows only a partial match and a recreation of the crime shows a potentially hazardous exit. While checking out other possible suspects the team finds out there were other victims who hadn’t reported the rapes because of Sophie’s treatment by officials. But they had all talked to a rape counselor, Elyse Salmon, who had decided to take matters into her own hands. Elyse confesses and Sophie is released. On a personal angle, Tess finally tells Matty about their connection and he doesn’t take it well. Plus Hayes, with a boost from Jackson, and Wallace decide to attempt their relationship againConviction - Series 01(11) Black Orchid

A current case ties back to an old one. A woman is found beaten to death. Her physical description, the manner of death, and the “Black Orchid” lipstick smeared on her mouth match the M.O. of a convicted serial killer, Clark Sims, from ten years before. The CIU team doesn’t know if Sims is innocent or if there is a copycat. They are able to explain away the fingerprint evidence against Sims. They also find that the man arrested for the recent murder couldn’t have done it. Figuring in the ten-year hiatus between crimes they speculate the killer was in prison. A search of inmates fitting the parameters locates a suspect, Donald Cutler, who was in the vicinity of the recent murder. Cutler goes after the woman who survived his attack years ago and she kills him. Sims is released.145458_5409_feat-770x433(13) Past, Prologue & What’s to Come

Hayes takes on the case of Gerald Harris, a man she unsuccessfully defended in Chicago nine years earlier against charges that he murdered his wife, Claire. Wallace prosecuted the case. As the team struggles to find a suspect who could have committed the murder, Hayes learns that Sam will be forced to testify during a trial for Rodney Landon, which will effectively discredit the CIU and subject all of its cases to review. Sam informs her that he intends to take the fifth, ending his career but keeping the CIU intact. Frankie eventually confirms that Claire died from a heart attack before she fell, the evidence of which was not found at her original autopsy. Although the subpoena against Sam is dropped, Wallace orders Hayes to fire him for going “rogue”. But she deliberately kisses Sam, committing sexual harassment in view of a witness, meaning he can’t be fired without her being forced to resign.EMILY KINNEY, EDDIE CAHILL, MANNY MONTANA, HAYLEY ATWELL, MERRIN DUNGEY, SHAWN ASHMORE

With all 13 episodes aired, this could be the end of the show, with the ratings not doing so hot, the show was not given a back order of episodes. It’s a shame as I really enjoyed the show, Hayley Atwell is as brilliant as ever and the cases were interesting, some were a little political but that was okay. It will certainly be missed if this is truly the end of the show.

REVIEW: THE SENTINEL

CAST

Michael Douglas (Ant-Man)
Kiefer Sutherkabd (Pompeii)
Eva Longoria (Harsh Times)
Kim Basinger (Batman)
Martin Donovan (Saved)
David Rasche (Ugly Betty)
Kristin Lehman (Andromeda)
Gloria Reuben (Falling Skies)
Blair Brown (Fringe)

Pete Garrison (Michael Douglas) is a Secret Service agent and one of the personal bodyguards for First Lady of the United States Sarah Ballentine (Kim Basinger), with whom he is having an affair. He is one of the oldest and most experienced agents, having been involved in saving Ronald Reagan’s life. His close friend and fellow agent, Charlie Merriweather (Clark Johnson), is murdered. Garrison gets word from a trusted informant that the killing of Merriweather is related to an assassination plot against the President. The intelligence provided by the informant reveals the presence of a mole with access to the President’s security detail.

The Secret Service Protective Intelligence Division, led by Garrison’s estranged friend and former protégé David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland), with rookie partner Jill Marin (Eva Longoria), is tasked with investigating the plot. Breckinridge orders every agent to be subjected to a polygraph test. Meanwhile, the mole discovers the discussion with the informant and Garrison’s affair with the first lady, and attempts to blackmail Garrison by luring him to a coffee shop known to be a meeting point for a Colombian cartel. After delaying for some time, Garrison is subjected to a polygraph. The agent in charge of the Presidential Protective Division, William Montrose (Martin Donovan), decides to randomly select the means of transporting the president using a coin toss. As the President and first lady visit Camp David, Garrison’s informant calls, demanding that his payment be made at a shopping mall food court. Garrison goes to meet him, but he disappears in the crowd, and an assassin tries to kill Garrison. The agents pursue the assassin, but he escapes. Simultaneously, the presidential helicopter is shot down by a surface-to-air missile outside of Camp David, though neither the President nor his wife were aboard (due to Montrose’s coin “deciding” to use the motorcade instead).

Garrison failed the polygraph test due to concealing his affair with the First Lady. Breckinredge confronts him at his home and interrogates him, pinning him as the prime suspect. The source of rancor between them comes to light: Garrison supposedly had an affair with Breckinridge’s wife and caused the breakup of their marriage, which he denies. Garrison escapes capture and conducts his own investigation of the assassination plot. He tries to contact the informant who gave him the tip, but finds that he has been killed. In pursuit, Breckinridge gets the drop on Garrison but is unable to kill him, despite having given other agents “shoot to kill” orders. Using his contacts with sympathetic agents and family members, Garrison tracks down the location of one of the assassins, whom he kills in a firefight. He searches his apartment, finding evidence that shows the perpetrators are headed to Toronto to attack the president at a G8 summit. He leaves it in the apartment and tells Marin about it, but the Secret Service find the evidence and body of the assassin were removed before they arrived.

The President’s wife discloses her affair with Garrison to Breckinridge, who now understands why Garrison failed his polygraph test. Together in Toronto, Garrison and Breckinridge discover the identity of the assassins and the mole, senior agent William Montrose (Martin Donovan), who was never polygraphed. Montrose is in charge of directing security at the summit. The leader of the assassins (Ritchie Coster) blackmails Montrose into helping him, threatening the agent’s family. Emotionally torn, Montrose is instructed to jam Secret Service’s radios, and leave the summit with the President via a specific route.

On the night of the President’s speech, Breckinridge and Garrison race to the summit. The assassins, posing as Royal Canadian Mounted Police Emergency Response Team officers, kill several agents and corner Montrose and the President in a subterranean tunnel. Montrose reveals his treason to the President and purposely steps in front of one of the assassins, who kills him. Garrison, Breckinridge and Marin arrive, rescuing the President and the First Lady and killing the assassins. As they reach the ground level, Montrose’s handler comes forward dressed as an RCMP officer to personally perform the killings. He takes Sarah hostage and aims his pistol at the President, but Garrison shoots him dead. In spite of these events, Garrison is forced to take an early retirement due to the disclosure of his affair with the first lady, who looks on sadly from her window as Garrison leaves the White House. He does, however, make peace with Breckinridge, who finally realizes that Garrison did not sleep with his wife. Breckinridge tells Garrison that he has a date with her that evening.When I saw “The Sentinel”, I went in with all the bad reviews in mind. But it turned out to be one of those movies where you go in not expecting much and come away being very pleased with the overall result. Despite the little niggles this is a great movie and I thoroughly recommend it.

REVIEW: INSOMNIA (2002)

CAST

Al Pacino (The Devil’s Advocate)
Robin Williams (One Hour Photo)
Hilary Swank (The Reaping)
Maura Tierney (Liar Liar)
Martin Donovan (Legends of Tomorrow)
Nicky Katt (School of Rock)
Paul Dooley (The Player)
Crystal Lowe (Final Destination 3)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Ian Tracey (Man of Steel)

In the small fishing town of Nightmute, Alaska, 17-year-old Kay Connell (Crystal Lowe) is found murdered. LAPD detectives Will Dormer (Al Pacino) and Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan) are sent to assist the local police with their investigation, at the request of police chief Nyback (Paul Dooley), an old colleague of Will’s. Also, an intense Internal Affairs investigation in Los Angeles is about to put Dormer under the microscope. Eckhart reveals that Internal Affairs has offered him an immunity deal in exchange for his testimony regarding one of Dormer’s past cases. Eckhart says that he has no choice but to accept the deal, to Dormer’s frustration.

Dormer comes up with a plan to lure the murderer back to the scene of the crime. The attempt fails, however, and the suspect flees into the fog. The police chase, and the suspect shoots one through the leg. Dormer soon fires at a figure in the fog. On his way to the fallen figure, he picks up a .38 pistol the suspect has dropped. He then discovers that he has shot Eckhart. As he dies, Eckhart accuses Dormer of murdering him. Because of Eckhart’s pending testimony against Dormer, Dormer knows that Internal Affairs will never believe the shooting was an accident. He tells his colleagues Eckhart was shot by the suspect. He doesn’t mention he has the .38 pistol. Ellie Burr (Hilary Swank), a young police officer, is put in charge of the investigation of Eckhart’s shooting. Police find the bullet that sliced the first officer’s leg, a .38 caliber. That night, Dormer walks to an alley and fires the .38 pistol into an animal carcass. He retrieves the bullet and cleans it, then visits the morgue. The staffer hands him the bagged bullet retrieved from Eckhart’s body. She is unfamiliar with its type. He leaves and switches the bullet with one from the .38.

Over the next few days, Dormer is plagued by insomnia, brought on by his guilt over killing Eckhart and further exacerbated by the perpetual daylight. He then starts receiving anonymous phone calls from the suspect, who claims to have witnessed Dormer kill his partner. After looking through her belongings, the police learn that Kay was a fan of a local crime writer named Walter Finch (Robin Williams). Dormer looks up his address and breaks into his apartment. Finch soon comes home, realizes the police have arrived, and evades Dormer after a chase.

Dormer returns to Finch’s apartment. While there, he plants the .38 to frame Finch. Finch later contacts him and arranges a meeting on a ferry. Finch wants help in shifting suspicion to Kay’s abusive boyfriend Randy Stetz (Jonathan Jackson) and will stay silent about Dormer’s role in the Eckhart shooting in return. Dormer gives advice on handling police questioning. After Finch leaves Dormer on the ferry, he shows the detective a tape recorder he used to record the conversation.

Finch calls Dormer and tells him that Kay’s death was “an accident” — he beat her to death in a fit of rage after she rejected his advances. The next day, Finch gives false testimony at the police station. When Finch claims Randy had a gun, Dormer realizes Finch has discovered his plant, and has hidden it at Randy’s home. He races to Randy’s house to find the gun before other officers, but is unsuccessful, and Randy is arrested. Finch offers to give Burr letters indicating that Randy abused Kay, and asks her to come and collect evidence from his summer home the next day.
Burr finds a 9mm shell casing at the scene, which conflicts with the bullet type found in Eckhart’s body. She reads old case files from investigations Dormer was involved in and learns he has carried a 9mm, suspecting he has been lying about who shot Eckhart. Dormer confides in the hotel owner, Rachel Clement (Maura Tierney) about the Internal Affairs investigation: He fabricated evidence to help convict a pedophile he was certain was guilty of murdering a child.
Dormer searches Finch’s apartment for an address for his lake house, and realizes Finch intends to kill Burr after finding Kay’s letters in the apartment. As Burr and Finch move through his house, Finch knocks Burr unconscious. Dormer reaches the cabin, but is too disoriented from lack of sleep to fight off Finch. Burr revives and saves Dormer, while Finch escapes. Burr reveals she knows Dormer shot Eckhart. He admits it, but says he is no longer certain if it was an accident. From his shed, Finch shoots at them, and Burr returns fire, allowing Dormer to sneak around to Finch’s location. Finch and Dormer shoot each other, killing Finch and fatally wounding Dormer. Burr rushes to Dormer’s aid and comforts him by affirming that Eckhart’s shooting was accidental, then moves to throw away the shell casing to preserve Dormer’s secret. Before he dies, he stops Burr, telling her not to lose her way.With three Oscar winners in the cast Nolan had some serious quality to direct, that Pacino, Williams and Swank deliver excellence is high praise for the British director. Pacino actually gives one of his finest late career performances, utterly compelling as Dormer, his haggard face tells of a thousand sorrows, his sleep deprived gait befits a man staring into the abyss. Wally Pfister’s photography is on the money, the blend of snow whites and green tinges sparkle from the vistas and the soft brown hues inside the hotel provide the rare moments of tranquillity available to Will Dormer. Across the board Insomnia is a cracker of a movie, a film that goes into the murky depths of the genre to reveal one of the best movies of 2002.

REVIEW: THE ALPHABET KILLER

CAST

Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Cary Elwes (Liar Liar)
Timothy Hutton (Taps)
Tom Malloy (Love N’ Dancing)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects)
Tom Noonan (Manhunter)
Melissa Leo (Red State)
Martin Donovan (Legends of Tomorrow)

Image result for THE ALPHABET KILLER 2008Megan Paige (Eliza Dushku) is an investigator for the Rochester Police Department investigating the murder of a young girl named Carla Castillo. Her body was found in the nearby village of Churchville, New York with white cat hair on it. Against opposition of her colleagues and boyfriend Kenneth Shine (Cary Elwes), Megan insists that the murder is a work of a serial killer. Despite Megan’s considerable efforts she fails to catch the killer. Stress and obsession of the investigation causes Megan to hallucinate the victim’s image. She ultimately has a nervous breakdown after being kicked off the case and tries to commit suicide.
Image result for THE ALPHABET KILLER 2008
Following two years of medical treatment and attending a support group headed by a wheelchair-bound man named Richard Ledge (Timothy Hutton), Megan rejoins the police department in an office job. Following a similar murder of another young girl, Wendy Walsh, whose body is found in Webster with some white cat hair on it, Megan successfully lobbies to rejoin the investigation. Partnered with Steven Harper (Tom Malloy), they try to find links between the girls. Then another girl, Melissa Maestro, is killed in Macedon. They find a number of commonalities between Wendy and Melissa, but fail to connect these to the first victim. The Webster Police Department, which has jurisdiction over the latest murder but are uncooperative, receive a call from 19-year-old Elizabeth Eckers who is being held hostage in a house. Megan is convinced the suspect is not the Alphabet Killer and breaks procedure to preempt a police raid. Megan defuses the situation, but an officer shoots the suspect through a window and kills him. Webster police declare that the Alphabet Killer is dead and announce the discovery of white cat hair in the house. Megan spirals into another nervous breakdown.Image result for THE ALPHABET KILLER 2008
Certain that the Webster police planted the evidence in order to justify killing an innocent, Megan continues the investigation on her own. Megan discovers that all three girls attended St. Michael’s Church in Rochester. Still suffering from hallucinations of the victims, Megan visits the church and tries to question the pastor, but suffers another breakdown and is hospitalized. Megan flees from the hospital and takes refuge in Ledge’s home. There, she finds out that he used to work as the math teacher for the St. Michael’s Church which finally reveals that he is the killer. Before she can act, he leaps from his wheelchair – having only pretended to be disabled – and attacks her. Ledge knocks her unconscious and drives to a remote spot near the Genesee River to kill her. Before Ledge can inject her with a sedative and dump her in the river, Megan breaks free and shoots him with his own gun. Ledge falls into the river just past a large waterfall – though it’s unclear if he is dead. Unsure whether Ledge is dead and confused by her surroundings, Megan is driven by the intense situation to another, longer breakdown.
Image result for THE ALPHABET KILLER 2008Megan is hospitalized and kept under intensive psychiatric care. The final scenes of the film show Megan heavily sedated and strapped to a bed in a psychiatric ward. There is no one else in the room, but in her state, she envisions the spirits of the victims waiting for her to return and seek justice for them. The final scenes of Megan are intercut with scenes of Ledge who, having survived Megan’s attempts to kill him, has altered his appearance. He is shown in church, receiving communion and exchanging glances with a potential victim. It is unclear if these scenes of Ledge are actually occurring or are part of Megan’s psychosis. A title card announces: “In 2006, police exhumed a fireman’s body and posthumously cleared him as a suspect. To date, the Alphabet Killer has not been found.”Image result for THE ALPHABET KILLER 2008This story has plenty of twists to it with a surprisingly starry cast for its straight to video status, however what holds it together is a performance by Eliza Dushku. Add to that a very creepy ending, and you have a very decent film that isn’t an all-time great, but should be better and more remembered that it’s probably gonna be

REVIEW: LEGENDS OF TOMORROW – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Victor Garber (Alias)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Arthur Darvill (Robin Hood)
Caity Lotz (The Machine)
Franz Drameh (Edge of Tomorrow0
Ciara Renée (The Flash)
Amber Pemberton (Anomaly)
Wentworth Miller (Underworld)
Dominic Purcell (Blade: Trinity)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Falk Hentschel (Knight and Day)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Katie Cassidy (Black Xmas)
Casper Crump (The Legend of Tarzan)
Peter Francis James (The Losers)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of Steel)
Cameron Bancroft (Code Name: Eternity)
Stephanie Corneliussen (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters)
Martin Donovan (Ant-Man)
Neal McDonough (Arrow)
Joseph David-Jones (Allegiant)
Jamie Andrew Cutler (Kick-Ass 2)
Callum Rennie (Flashforward)
Ali Liebert (Bomb Girls)
Matt Nable (Riddick)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Cory Gruter-Andrew (The 100)
Anna Deavere Smith (Nurse Jackie)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Anna Galvin (Caprica)
Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files)
Faye Kingslee (In Time)
Celia Imrie (Highlander)
Jessica Sipos (Slasher)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Isabella Hoffmann (Burlesque)
Katrina Law (Spartacus)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Patrick J. Adams (Suits)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Jonathan Schaech (Prom Night)

I’ve become so hooked on the DC Comics universe that has been unfolding on the CW that as soon as it was announced, I knew I’d be jumping on board with Legends of Tomorrow. After all, they were culling supporting characters from Arrow and The Flash, and both shows spent so much time setting up this spin off early in the season. I could hardly wait for season 1 to premier in January. And my faith was rewarded.

The show begins as Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) appears in 2016. He’s from the future, and he has a mission he needs help with. In the future, Vandal Savage (Casper Crump), an immortal, has taken over the world as a dictator. The only hope is for him to assemble a team from the present day to fight Vandal across time. This group of “heroes” include Ray Palmer and his Atom suit (Brandon Routh), both halves of Firestorm, Dr. Stein (Victor Garber) and Jax Jackson (Franz Drameh), Mick Rory and Leonard Snart better known as Heat Wave and Captain Cold (Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller), a resurrected Sarah Lance aka White Canary (Caity Lotz) and Kendra Saunders and Carter Hall also known as Hawkgirl and Hawkman (Ciara Renee and Carter Hall) who have had many run ins with Savage over the centuries.

However, it isn’t long before this ragtag group learns that this mission isn’t exactly sanctioned by the Time Lords that Rip Hunter claims to work for. Furthermore, defeating Savage appears to be even harder than they first thought. What other secrets is Rip hiding? Will this team be able to come together to defeat Savage?

Actually, Rip Hunter is the only character that viewers of Arrow and The Flash hadn’t already met since much of the backstory for the series was set up in the annual crossover event that aired in November. As a result, the two part season premier moved quickly since we could jump into the action once the team is assembled.

Since Rip has a time ship, we jump around in time quite a bit, which is a lot of fun. A visit to small town Oregon in the 1950’s becomes a bit preachy, but other than that, we focus on the story and the complications our heroes face in each time while tracking Savage. We spend time in Russia during the Cold War and even the Wild West. There are actually several two parters, or at least two shows set in the same period, which gives us some interesting cliffhangers. A few episodes stood on their own and even didn’t tie in directly to the quest to stop Savage, but they were always fun.

I was actually worried that with a cast this big, we wouldn’t get to know the characters that well. On the contrary, we got some great development for all the characters over the course of the season. Some episodes focused more on some characters than others, but everyone had something to do, and we had some nice arcs before the season was over.

Those looking for action will find plenty to enjoy here as well with several action scenes each episode; this is a comic book show after all. I think this show has more action than the others in the Arrowverse, but it could just be that the scenes can be more epic with the larger cast of heroes.
The acting is just a touch on the over the top side of the spectrum. This is especially true from Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell. Actually, this adds a very fun campy feel to the whole show, and I loved it. When the show called for a series moment, the actors always hit it out of the park.
And the writers give these characters some funny lines. There are some classic one liners in the show, mostly coming from Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell’s characters, but everyone gets their fair share of great lines.

So if you are looking for a fun trip through time fighting evil, Legends of Tomorrow is for you. Season 1 is pure escapism, and you’ll love every second of it.