REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2012) – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Kristin Kreuk (Smallville)
Jay Ryan (Mary Kills people)
Austin Basis (J. Edgar)
Nina Lisandrello (The Devil Wears Prada)
Brian White (The Cabin In The Woods)
Max Brown (Agent Carter)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes)

Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan in Beauty and the Beast (2012)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Yannick Bisson (Mutant X)
Britt Irvin (Big Eyes)
Khaira Ledeyo (Da Vinci’s Inquest)
Peter Outerbridge (Lucky Number Sleven)
Rob Stewart (Painkiller Jane)
Nicole Gale Anderson (Mean Girls 2)
Luke Macfarlane (Killjoys)
Elizabeth Blackmore (The Vampire Diaries)
Lara Jean Chorostecki (Hannibal)
Mädchen Amick (Twin Peaks)
Alex Carter (Out of Time)
Jenn Proske (Vampires Suck)
Kelly Overton (Van Helsing)
Mike Dopud (Stargate Universe)
Rachel Skarsten (Reign)
Hal Ozsan (Jessica Jones)
Bianca Lawson (Buffy: TVS)
Rena Sofer (Traffic)
Bridget Regan (Agent Carter)
Luke Roberts (Black Sails)
Brendan Hines (Lie To Me)
William deVry (Earth: Final Conflict)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Ed Gathegi (X-Men: First Class)
Steve Lund (Bitten)
Shantel VanSanten (The Flash)
Ted Whittall (Smallville)

Beauty and the Beast is a remake of the 1987 series of the same name. That show starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman and while it only lasted three seasons  it developed a very loyal fan base. This remake was not greeted with a lot of critical praise.The show begins in 2003 with Kristin Kreuk as Catherine Chandler. She works at a bar while preparing for her LSAT. She’s asked to close the bar, but when she tries to leave, her car won’t start, so she calls her mom. However, after her mom gets there, they are approached by two men. Her mother tells her to get in the car, but before she can, the men shoot her mother, so Cat runs into the woods. She doesn’t get too far before she trips and smacks her head. It looks like she will be killed, but then something attacks the two men and kills them. She can’t tell what it is, because of her concussion, but she thinks it is some kind of beast.Nine years later, Cat is a detective with the NYPD and while her mother’s murder hasn’t been solved yet, she’s mostly put it past her. However, that changes when there’s a new case she and her partner, Tess Vargas, are working on. There’s two main clues, a fingerprint and some DNA evidence. The DNA evidence is curious, as it points to mixed species. This is exactly what happened nine years ago with her mother’s murder. The finger print belongs to Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan) a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan years ago. While trying to find information on Vincent, she tracks down his old roommate, J.T. Forbes, and suspects he’s hiding something. She’s right, he’s hiding Vincent. Vincent underwent a super-soldier program in the military, but there were side effects. When angry, he transformers into a beast. He faked his death and is in hiding, because everyone else who underwent the procedure is dead. The company, Muirfield, killed everyone to cover their tracks, and they are willing to kill again to keep their secret. However, they didn’t count on Cat and Vincent teaming up to uncover what they covered up.Jay Ryan in Beauty and the Beast (2012)As I was watching the first season of Beauty and the Beast, It was slow at first, as the show was trying to find it’s feet, wth introduction of Sendhil Ramamurthy near the end of the season it did pick up.The cliffhanger does leave you clammering for more and thankfully this show did continue for another 3 seasons.

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REVIEW: SLEEPY HOLLOW – SEASON 2

 

MAIN CAST

Tom Mison (Venus)
Nicole Beharie (Shame)
Orlando Jones (Evolution)
Katia Winter (Legends of Tomorrow)
Lyndie Greenwood (Nikita)
John Noble (Lord of The Rings)

Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

John Cho (Total Recall)
Neil Jackson (Blade: The Series)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Jill Marie Jones (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Matt Barr (Hellcats)
Laura Spencer (Bones)
Derek Mears (Friday The 13th)
Sakina Jaffrey (The Guru)
Timothy Busfield (Strays)
Aunjanue Ellis (The Help)
Onira Tares (Project Almanac)
Sharif Atkins (Light it Up)
Johnathon Schaech (Legends of Tomorrow)
Zach Appelman (Beauty and The Beast)
Heather Lind (Boardwalk Empire)
Francie Swift (Cop Out)
Max Brown (Agent Carter)
Jaime Murray (The Originals)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy)
Eddie Spears (Longmire)
Cynthia Stevenson (Dead Like Me)
Ron Rogge (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)

 

Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Making the balance between humor, horror and action look easy, season 1 of Sleepy Hollow set the bar high. An expanded season 2 (jumping to 18 episodes from 13) more than met that standard in the first half, throttling though the high-stakes plot of Moloch trying to escape Purgatory and the Witnesses gaining more allies. And while the series struggled to find itself after that story came to end—likely due to the network-mandated order to become less serialized—the show always remained worthwhile and very enjoyable due to the solid characters and relationships that had been established. Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)This season felt inspired from the start, with the terrific premiere episode “This is War” displaying sly storytelling as Abbie and Ichabod struggled to escape Purgatory. The later introduction of Benjamin Franklin (in flashbacks), more revelations about the Mills family history and the remarkable episodes leading up to the midseason finale all made for a rollicking first half. Despite meandering with the back half standalone episodes, the finale more than made up for any aimlessness by giving us what we watch for in the first place: Abbie and Ichabod, BFFs.Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)With Abbie and Ichabod already firmly entrenched as partners in the war against evil, the show was able to widen its focus to other characters. The best results were with Jenny, who became better-rounded and an integral part of the team. But Abraham/Headless benefitted from more attention as well, as we got to know his motivations. Even the risky addition of Hawley paid off better than expected, and by the time he got his send-off episode his connection to Jenny and the Witnesses felt earned and real. Less successful was the addition of Captain Reyes. Introduced as an intriguing possible foil or ally, she was relegated to popping up occasionally to praise or scold and was essentially forgotten by the end of the season. There were some tantalizing hints that she might have known more than she was letting on, but that could have been yet another casualty of the shift to more standalone episodes.Neil Jackson and Katia Winter in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Irving also wound up being a bit shortchanged, as the show had written him into the corner of the psych ward for murdering cops. When he was tricked into signing over his soul to Henry it looked like a rich storyline in the making but nothing much ever came of it and everything involving him seemed made up on the fly, almost as an afterthought. Despite this I was glad to see him get some terrific moments, both big and small—his sacrifice (which wound up being temporary) in the midseason finale and his intimate scenes with Jenny towards the end.John Noble and Neil Jackson in Sleepy Hollow (2013)John Noble continued to be a tremendous presence whenever he appeared. The reveal at the end of season 1 that he was the Crane’s son gave him plenty to dig into this year and Noble made Henry’s bitterness and hurt come through with intensity. Once he dispatched Moloch, though, the show didn’t seem to know what to do with him and his death wound up being pretty anticlimactic, even it did serve to set off the season endgame for the marvelous “Tempus Fugit”.Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)More problematic was the character of Katrina. She simply never worked. Not as a damsel in distress, not as the third wheel and not as an abruptly-turned villain. It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying, as the writers tried to integrate her into Team Witness several times with lukewarm results. I didn’t buy her sudden shift from ally to enemy, but it was a quick and painless way to give her character a good exit in service of the story. The trouble was that Beharie and Mison had established such rare buddy chemistry that Ichabod finally getting his lost love out of Purgatory threw a wrench into it. Even at her best, as in “Pittura Infamante”, it wasn’t enough to match any given scene between Abbie and Ichabod. That pretty much left the show with few options; either relegate her to the sidelines or kill her off.Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)But the biggest stumbling block this season came down from on high: FOX wanted to series to become less serialized, and Sleepy Hollow tried hard to accommodate the order. The result was an awkward stop-and-start second half, with several scenes of Abbie and Ichabod wondering out loud what their purpose was now that Moloch had been defeated. I had no problem with the death of Moloch, since he wasn’t much of a bad guy, but the absence of a Big Bad was immediately felt. Knowing full well that this might have been it for the series, the show rallied and came up with a very satisfying ending that conclusively wrapped up loose ends while leaving the door wide open for a return. Sleepy Hollow’s best hours have been the ones dealing with ongoing stories while the self-contained episodes were much more hit-and-miss, but this is a creative team that’s proven it knows how to put together a great show I’m hopeful that they get a chance to find that balance because when this series is in a groove it’s a joy to watch.Tom Mison in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Despite any problems Sleepy Hollow ran into, though, Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison were the rocks at the center the show. Their extraordinary chemistry has been the single greatest asset of an awfully good series from the start, able to shift gracefully from easygoing humor to partners in lockstep to dear friends dealing with life and death stakes in a single hour. They’re a microcosm of the show itself, one that at its best could deliver laughs and thrills side by side with terrific characters we cared about throughout. Despite difficulty adjusting to less-serialized storytelling in the back half, season 2 of Sleepy Hollow started and ended strong enough to measure up well with its stellar first year.

REVIEW: PARADISE LOST (AKA TURISTAS)


CAST

Josh Duhamel (Transformers)
Melissa Goerge (Triangle)
Olivia Wilde (Cowboys & Aliens)
Desmond Askew (Roswell)
Beau Garrett (Tron: Legacy)
Max Brown (Beauty and The Beast)

Three young American tourists, Alex (Josh Duhamel), his sister Bea (Olivia Wilde), and a friend Amy (Beau Garrett), are backpacking in Brazil. They decide to go by bus and visit parts of the country instead of flying directly to the Northeastern beaches they wish to visit. After a bus crash leaves all the passengers stranded, they are joined by two English men, Finn (Desmond Askew) and Liam (Max Brown), and an Australian woman, Pru (Melissa George), who is fluent in Portuguese. The group find a cabana bar where several other tourists and locals are partying. After spending the day on the beach, they are served drugged drinks and pass out.
The next morning, they awaken on the deserted beach, robbed of their luggage, money, and documents. Looking for help in the nearby village, they encounter conflict with locals as they see some of their belongings worn or lying around. Offering help, Kiko (Agles Steib), a local who speaks some English, volunteers to take them to an isolated cabin in the forest, where they can wait for help. In a long walk through the wilderness, Kiko shows them a “secret” cave beneath a waterfall, but, taking a bad dive into the river, Kiko hits the rocky bottom, and is rendered unconscious and begins bleeding profusely from a cut in his head. Proceeding to the cabin in the jungle, they find food, clothes, and a number of prescription drugs, as well as a drawer filled with other people’s passports. They manage to heal Kiko’s wound and reluctantly decide to spend the night at the cabin.
They are awakened in the middle of the night by a helicopter bringing Zamora (Miguel Lunardi), a physician, and a few associates and doctors, surrounded by armed henchmen. A woman who arrives advises them to flee, but they are confused and try to fight them, only to be beaten into submission. Zamora proceeds to a makeshift operating room where he removes organs from a sedated Amy, while he explains to Finn, who is tied up, that organ theft for transplant from Brazilians[4] by rich gringos is part of a pattern of exploitation of Brazilian “resources”, and that it is time to “give back”. Victims’ usable organs are being harvested and sent to the People’s Hospital in Rio de Janeiro and used for the benefit of the poor. After her liver and kidneys are removed, Amy dies on the operating table.
Meanwhile, the rest of the group outside manages to break free from cages they have been contained in, and fight and kill one of Zamora’s associates, with the aid of Kiko, who returned after being sent away by Zamora. While Bea and Pru flee into the jungle, Alex, Kiko and Liam attempt to raid the cabin. They successfully rescue Finn, who is unable to walk because he has been sedated, but while they are running away from the cabin, Finn is shot in the head. Alex realizes they have to resume their escape, but Liam decides to stay behind to fight back, only to be shot and taken away to be “salvaged”. Bea and Pru are separated in the jungle, and Alex and Kiko find Bea the next morning hiding near the river. The three head to the flooded cave, eluding one of Zamora’s associates who is trailing close behind, armed with a bow and arrows. For a time, they are able to put some distance between themselves and their pursuers. They enter the cave where they find Pru hiding. Diving and swimming to the cavern’s secondary entrance, they find Zamora is also there, and he shoots them in the water, killing Kiko and injuring Alex.

The survivors are forced to backtrack into the water of the cave, where they can take air at only a few places. They are split up, looking for breathing points, trying not to be noticed and fall prey to the archer. Bea and the archer meet at the same breathing spot, but Bea grabs an arrow from the man, stabbing him in the neck and killing him. Alex, Bea and Pru get out of the cave only to run into Zamora at the exit. Alex attacks Zamora and repeatedly hits him in the head with a rock, but is interrupted by one of Zamora’s henchman who is armed with a rifle. Zamora instructs him to kill the foreigners. Seeing the trio of survivors vulnerable and scared, and Zamora in agony, the man hesitates. This infuriates Zamora, who orders the gunman to carry out the killing. Pru tries to convince the gunman to spare them, pointing out Zamora’s poor treatment of him. Zamora calls the gunman a coward, and is shot in the head by the gunman who turns and walks off. Soon after, the survivors, coming out of the jungle, meet local villagers who take them in. Later, Alex, Bea, and Pru stand in line, waiting to board an airplane in silence while a couple of tourists behind them argue over going by bus. Alex turns and advises them to take the plane. The male tourist (director John Stockwell) says “thanks man”, and they all board the plane. The last scene shows Alex, Bea and Pru sitting in the plane as it flies away.
Saying the film is just `average’ would be a little unfair. It’s definitely better than the vast majority of B-movie, cash-in, slasher films, but it’s no masterpiece. Basically, if you enjoy the genre, you should enjoy this one.