REVIEW: JEEPERS CREEPERS 3

 

CAST

Jonathan Breck (Spiders)
Meg Foster (The Originals)
Gabrielle Haugh (13 Reasons Why)
Stan Shaw (Snake Eyes)
Joyce Giraud (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Gina Philips (The Anarchist Cookbook)

The film opens with a shuriken (flying star) flying through the air and hitting a wooden post, as a man runs for his life. When the man reaches the road, the Creeper suddenly drops from the sky and flies off with him while another man watches from his truck. When he gets out to investigate, he looks up in the air and sees a severed hand fall from the sky.Twenty-three years later, shortly after the events of the first film, the police discover the Creeper’s truck filled with dead bodies. The truck has been rigged with several booby-traps, including spikes that emerge from the back, and a spear that shoots out from the tail-pipe. When Sheriff Dan Tashtego arrives, Sergeant Davis Tubbs tells him what happened and Tashtego informs him that the Creeper has been around for thousands of years and must be stopped. They then rush to get the Creeper’s truck back after learning it is headed for the impound. As Frank and Deputy Lang transport the vehicle, the Creeper lands on the tow truck and severs the cables. They then watch as the truck drives off seemingly on its own, while the Creeper stands on top of it. When the truck turns around, the Creeper lands on Frank and abducts him while Lang froze in fear, pointing her gun at it. The next day, Gaylen Brandon sees a vision of her son Kenny, who was killed by the Creeper twenty-three years earlier. He warns her that the Creeper will return soon to uncover something buried on the property and will kill anyone there, including her and her granddaughter, Addison.Meanwhile, Tashtego informs Tubbs that he has put together a small team to hunt down the Creeper and kill it once and for all. Later, a group of teenagers discovers the Creeper’s truck in a field. After finding the bodies, they take off on dirt bikes but one of them, Kirk, is shot in the leg with the spear. As two of the other boys try to free him, the Creeper returns and kills them both with another spear. The last boy is abducted by the Creeper as he tries to escape for peeing on the Creeper’s truck. Later, Addison goes into town to buy hay for her horse. When she can’t pay for it, her friend Buddy helps her out and the two drive up to a plantation house to deliver more hay. There they find the owner and a couple other men hiding under cars, but before they can get help the Creeper arrives and abducts Addison, leaving Buddy traumatized. Gaylen discovers a sack containing the Creeper’s severed hand buried in her front yard, and when she touches it she goes into a hypnotic state. When Tashtego and Tubbs arrive with the team, she reveals that the hand contains secrets about the Creeper’s origins, and Tashtego decides to touch it to uncover a possible way to kill it. Addison wakes up in the Creeper’s truck, along with Kirk and together they try to find a way out. When Kirk reaches for the door handle a spear shoots out from between the seats and impales him in the head.Meanwhile, Tashtego and Tubbs discover the Creeper’s location and they head off to find him, along with Michael who has a machine gun attached to his car. They find the Creeper driving down the highway in his truck, but when they shoot at it the bullets deflect, and Michael is killed. A small explosive is then ejected from the bottom of the Creeper’s truck. When it goes off, Tashtego and Tubbs car lands in a field. Tubbs gets out and tries to shoot the Creeper, but all of his attempts fail. Before the Creeper can kill Tubbs, Tashtego calls him and he goes for him instead. When the Creeper jumps in the air Tashtego shoots him several times with the machine gun, but the bullets have no affect and he is tackled to the ground by the Creeper and struck in the head with an axe. When the Creeper stands he removes his axe from Tashtego’s head and walks away, while Tubbs watches from afar. That night, the Creeper discovers that Addison is still alive but before he can kill her, she causes the spear to shoot out and impale him in the head. She quickly escapes and runs through a field. Unable to run, he throws a spear at her which barely misses her. He is then hit by a truck and Addison runs away. When the truck driver gets out to see what happened, he is killed by the Creeper. Addison runs and hides in the field, but she is found by Gaylen and Buddy and the three leave together. The Creeper then returns to Gaylen’s house where he finds a sign that says ‘We know what you are’ along with the hand, and yells out in anger.The next day, Addison says goodbye to Buddy as he leaves for a high school basketball game in the same bus that is attacked by the Creeper in the second movie. Twenty-three years later, Trish Jenner is seen typing a letter on a computer calling for people to fight against the Creeper when it returns, and vows to get revenge on the Creeper for the death of her brother, Darry.For a lower budget horror film, JC3 does an admirable job in living up to the quality of its predecessors. The film takes place between the events of the first and second films and also brings Trish (Gina Philips) back for a nod to a potential fourth installment. The infamous truck is back and is as diabolical as ever, with a few new twists. Editing really lends itself to a thriller-type feel, but still with a good deal of kills/blood in keeping with the canon. Acting by the principals was generally excellent, Jonathan Breck is still in top form. CGI weaker in quality than most films today, given the budget shortcomings, but not any worse than the first film. All-in-all, thought it was better than the trailer hinted, and am looking forward to the re-match between Trish and the Creeper should they make jeepers 4.

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REVIEW: TEEN TITANS: THE JUDAS CONTRACT

CAST (VOICES)

Stuart Allan (Rise of the Guardians)
Taissa Farmiga (The Nun)
Brandon Soo Hoo (Ender’s Game)
Jake T. Austin (The Fosters)
Kari Wahlgren (Wolverine & The X-Men)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
Christina Ricci (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Gregg Henry (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Meg Foster (Masters of The Universe)
Maria Canals-Barrera (Justice League Unlimited)
Crispin Freeman (Young Justice)
Masasa Moyo (Paris)
Kevin Smith (Clerks)
Jason Spisak (Piranha 3D)
David Zayas (Gotham)
David Kaye (Beast Wars)

Five years ago, the original Teen Titans (consisting of Dick Grayson as Robin, Speedy, Kid Flash, Beast Boy and Bumblebee) rescue Princess Starfire of planet Tamaran from her captors sent by her evil older sister Blackfire who had staged a coup and forcibly took the throne. As she is no longer able to return to her world, the Titans offer her a home on Earth as one of them.In the present, Dick Grayson (now called Nightwing) rejoins the Teen Titans to track down a terrorist cult led by Brother Blood who plans on capturing the team to absorb each of their unique abilities with a machine that he has tested on Jericho (whom his assistant and lover Mother Mayhem quickly shoots afterwards). Brother Blood hires the mercenary Deathstroke to deliver the Titans to him, which he obliges to do for both the money and get revenge on Damian Wayne for foiling his evil plans a few years ago and replacing him as Ra’s al Ghul’s heir before Damian turned against the League of Assassins. Deathstroke monitors the Titans through his double agent that joined the team a year prior named Terra whom he rescued after her parents turned their whole village against her and tortured her. When Damian grows suspicious of Terra’s behavior and starts tracking her, he is captured by her and Deathstroke, thus revealing herself as a spy to Damian.Terra acts cold and distant towards the other Titans despite their welcoming attitude, but eventually warms up to them over time. During the night celebrating her one year anniversary with the Titans, she shares a tender moment with Beast Boy and kisses him. The next day, Deathstroke kidnaps Blue Beetle at the soup kitchen he works at, Beast Boy at a convention where he thought he would do a podcast with filmmaker Kevin Smith, and Starfire at the apartment shared by her and Nightwing. Dick discovers what happened to the other Titans and is attacked by Deathstroke at his apartment. He manages to escape by faking his own death, while Terra captures Raven in Titans’ Tower.Deathstroke and Terra bring the Titans to Brother Blood, but since the machine cannot operate properly without a sixth Titan (as Slade had failed to capture Nightwing), Slade hesitantly offers him Terra instead. Brother Blood starts draining the Titans of their powers and ascends to godlike status, but they are rescued by Nightwing. Nightwing and Robin fight Deathstroke while the rest take on Brother Blood, who has absorbed all of their powers. The two villains are stopped by the intervention of Terra, who is thoroughly hurt and enraged at Slade for his betrayal. Brother Blood is depowered by Raven unleashing her inner fury as a demon, and killed by Mother Mayhem while Deathstroke is buried underneath multiple rocks thrown by Terra. Too ashamed to face her former allies after betraying their trust, Terra decides to bring down the entire area. Beast Boy attempts to assist Terra in escaping the crumbling fortress, but Terra pushes him back and is buried underneath multiple layers of rubble. Beast Boy digs her up and she dies in his arms.In the epilogue, Beast Boy goes on Kevin Smith’s podcast and talks about the Titans with the host. He mentions that the team has a “wonderful new member” and that he will always miss Terra. In a post-credits scene, Jericho is shown to have survived the bullet Mother Mayhem shot at him earlier.The action is exciting, the screenplay is very well written and the animation keeps a solid level; but what I liked the most was to feel the Teen Titans as an authentic team, well balanced and united despite their differences with each other. To sum up, I enjoyed Teen Titans: The Judas Contract very much, and I will now be expecting their next movie with enthusiasm.

 

REVIEW: STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE – SEASON 1-7

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MAIN CAST

Avery Brooks (Roots: The Gift)
Nana Visitor (Dark Angel)
Rene Auberjonois (Boston Legal)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Terry Farrell (Hellraiser 3)
Colm Meaney (Intermission)
Cirroc Lofton (Soul Food)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Nicole de Boer (Rated X)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Felecia M. Bell (Nightman)
Marc Alaimo (Total Recall)
Aron Eisenberg (Puppet Master 3)
Max Grodenchick (Apollo 13)
J.G. Hrtzler (Roswell)
April Grace (Lost)
Majel Barrett (Babylon 5)
Andrew Robinson (Hellraiser)
Gwynyth Walsh (Taken)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Rosalind Chao (I Am Sam)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Jennifer Hetrick (L.A. Law)
John De Lancie (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
Tom McCleister (Angel)
Gregory Itzin (Firefly)
Fionnula Flanagan (The Others)
Julie Caitlin Brown (Babylon 5)
Chris Latta (Transformers)
Barry Gordon (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Cliff De Young (Glory)
Jonathan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Keone Young (Men In Black 3)
Jack Shearer (Star Trek: First Contact)
Harris Yullin (Rush Hour 2)
Louise Fletcher (Heroes)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Stephen Macht (Galaxina)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
John Glover (Smallville)
Tim Russ (Samantha Who?)
Daphne Ashbrook (The Love Letter)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Salli Richardson-Whitfield (I Am Legend)
William Schallert (Innerspace)
K Callan (Lois & CLark)
Chris Sarandon (Child’s Play)
John Colicos (Battlestar Galactica)
Michael Ansara (Batman: TAS)
William Campbell (Dementia 13)
Tony Plana (Ugly Betty)
Michael Bell (Rugrats)
Alan Oppenheimer (Transformers)
Salome Jens (Superbot)
Martha Hackett (Leprechaun 2)
Ken Marshall (Krull)
Mary Kay Adams (Babylon 5)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Brett Cullen (Lost)
Jeffrey Combs (The Frighteners)
Tricia O’ Neil (Gia)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Deborah Van Valkenburgh (Free Enterprise)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Richard Lee Jackson (Saved By The Bell: The NEw Class)
Andrew Prine (V)
Tracy Scoggins (Lois & Clark)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Carlos Lacamara (Heroes Reborn)
Leland Orser (Seven)
Chase Masterson (Terminal Invasion)
Penny Johnson Jerald (Castle)
Andrea Martin (Wag The Dog)
Diane Salinger (Batman Returns)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Robert O’ Reilly (The Mask)
Obi Ndefo (Stargate SG.1)
Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5)
Galyn Gorg (Robocop 2)
Jeremy Roberts (Veronica Mars)
James Cromwell (Species II)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Conor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Robert Foxworth (Syriana)
Brock Peters (Soylent Green)
Casey Biggs (Broken Arrow)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Robert DoQui (Robocop)
D. Elliot Woods (Agents of SHIELD)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
Ron Canada (Just Like Heaven)
James Black (Anger Management
Meg Foster (Masters of The Universe)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
John Prosky (The Devil Inside)
Hilary Shepard (Power Rangers Turbo)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Charlie Brill (Silk Stalkings)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Marjean Holden (Hostage)
Brian Markinson (Arrow)
Christopher Shea (Bounty Killer)
Marc Worden (Ultimate Avengers)
Gabrielle Union (Ugly Betty)
Shannon Cochran (The Ring)
Iggy Pop (The Crow 2)
Brad Greenquist (Alias)
Leslie Hope (24)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Michael Weatherly (NCIS)
Henry Gibson (Sabrina: TTW)
James Darren (T.J. Hooker)
Bill Mumy (Babylon 5)
Kevin Rahm (Bates Motel)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
William Sadler (Roswell)

DS9 is one of my all-time favourite television shows. It edges out Star Trek’s original series just barely as my favourite in the franchise. I am not going to state that it’s the best Star Trek series, because it definitely will not appeal to everybody, but it is my favourite.

DS9 deviates from the Trek franchise formula in an important way – it is based on one location – a Cardassian-built space station near the planet Bejor. So even the architecture of the main set is alien – not another sterile militaristic star ship inhabited by a primarily white European crew – but a true Babel. Bejor has just been liberated from 60 years of occupation by an expansionist militaristic race – the Cardassians. Both Bejorans and Cardassians will play important roles throughout DS9. Since the station does not move much during the show’s seven year run, DS9 has a much stronger sense of place than the other ST series, and is able to develop story arc and character continuity much more powerfully than the others.

All of the major characters and most of the frequent returning characters have their own interwoven story arcs – most of which span the entire series. Ben Sisko (Avery Brooks), the station’s commander, is a somewhat disgruntled Star Fleet officer who has several personal vendettas which have almost driven him from Star Fleet. He is also a single parent and a genius. In the very first episode, Sisko’s arc begins and it is clear that his story will be the frame within which the entire series is organized – though the reasons for this will no become entirely clear until near the end. Also memorable are the gruff, shape-shifting Chief Constable Odo(Rene Auberjunois) who does not know what he is and where he came from; Kira (Nana Visitor) Sisko’s aggressive and intense Bajoran second officer; Garak (Andy Robinson) a Cardassian Tailor and – possibly – spy, who is easily the most well-developed, well-acted and interesting recurring guest star Star Trek has ever had; Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) – the beautiful Trill science officer whose consciousness is enhanced by the memories and personality of a 600 year old symbiotic slug who lives in her stomach and has inhabited dozens of previous hosts; Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) the station’s young, brilliant, adventurous and naive doctor; and Quark (Armin Shimmerman), the greedy, conniving, but entirely lovable Ferengi casino owner.

The characters, cast, and serialized stories make DS9 stand apart from the franchise as the most powerfully plotted, intensely dramatic and politically charged Star Trek ever. The show is, however, not for those with limited attention spans and a disdain for complexity. While it isn’t exactly hard to follow, the dialog is often dense and DS9 – more than any other Trek show – uses non-verbal communication very well. Brooks, Visitor and Robinson – all of whom are masters at this – are particularly non-verbal and make a big impression from the first few episodes.

Throughout the series, there are constant underlying political intrigues and surprisingly little filler. Almost every story connects with the main story arc (Sisko’s and Bejor’s) in one way or another, and no time is wasted with aimless experimentation by the writing team (a problem Voyager and Enterprise both suffered from).

The production is consistently theatrical in scope. The special effects are still – even today – above average for television, and even the new BSG doesn’t approach the scope and coherence of the plot.Highly recommended for bright people looking for something more than typical TV drama normally delivers.

REVIEW: THE ORIGINALS – SEASON 1 & 2

MAIN CAST

Joseph Morgan (Hex)
Daniel Gillies (Young Hercules)
Claire Holt (Mean Girls 2)
Phoebe Tonkin (Bait)
Charles Michael Davis (The Game)
Daniella Pineda (The Detour)
Leah Pipes (Sorority Row)
Danielle Campbell (Prison Break)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Nathaniel Buzolic (Significant Mother)
Shannon Kane (Brooklyn’s Finest)
Eka Darville (Power Rangers RPM)
Callard Harris (Dallas)
Sebastian Roche (Odyssey 5)
Malaya Rivera Drew (The L Word)
Steven Krueger (Goosebumps)
Raney Branch (Ringside)
Todd Stashwick (Gotham)
Shannon Eubanks (The Patriot)
Yasmine Al-Bustami (Nashville)
Michael Trevino (The Vampire Diaries)
Elyse Levesque (Stargate Universe)
Peta Sergeant (Winners and Losers)
Chase Coleman (Boardwalk Empire)
Nathan Parsons (The Roommate)
Natalie Dreyfuss (2 Broke Girls)
Yusuf Gatewood (The Interpreter)
Daniel Sharman (Immortals)
Nishi Munshi (Bones)
Sonja Sohn (The Wire)
Colin Woodell (XOXO)
Alice Evans (102 Dalmations)
Lloyd Owen (Apollo 18)
Riley Voelkel (Prom)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (Legends of Tomorrow)
Keri Lynn Pratt (Veronica Mars)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Meg Foster (Masters of The Universe)
Claudia Black (Stargate SG.1)

The Originals is a spin-off series based upon characters created and introduced in The Vampire Diaries, and it is a creation of writer Julie Plec, who is the head-writer and showrunner of both series. The concept of the show revolves around a group of characters referred to as being the ‘originals’ – i.e. the first vampires to ever exist. They also happen to be family. These original vampires have existed for centuries and have the longest history of all: a complex back-story which unfolds over the course of the series storytelling, which alternates back and forth with telling the long-running back-story of these original vampires while focusing on a modern day setting in New Orleans.The world of television has spawned an immensely high number of series that take on some sort of science fiction or supernatural aspect, and one of the most popular staples has been found in vampire tales: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries being popular series chiefly placed amongst the pop culture echelon. Then there’s the fact that vampires are popular in films, too (including the teen-sensation series Twilight). Can another show join a lineup of other successful vampire-lore creations? It seems so, as The CW network has once again teamed with the creative mind behind The Vampire Diaries for another successful and entertaining entry in the genre’s growing list of successes.The cast consists of Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah (Daniel Gillies), Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin), Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), Camille (Leah Pipes), Davina (Danielle Campbell), Sophie (Daniella Pineda), and Rebekah (Claire Holt).

The basic plot of the series is to revolve around the story of the original vampire family after they decide to return to their former home in New Orleans. Upon returning, the originals find that the land they once knew has changed a great deal and their home and rule has been replaced by a character they once considered their own: Marcel. Meanwhile, there is also a war is brewing between vampires and witches and things complicate with Marcel working with a powerful young witch named Davina, who has abilities that could pose a threat to all the vampires.

Image result for the originals house of the rising sunKlaus, Elijah, and Rebekah are the main characters of The Originals. They are each returning characters from the Vampire Diaries universe. Klaus continues to make things difficult for everyone with his typical brooding self getting into the way of other vampire’s own agendas. Klaus finds a friend in Camille, a psychologist major who starts to have an unlikely connection to him. Meanwhile, Klaus’s blood-line as a werewolf/vampire hybrid (and his one-night stand with Hayley) results in Hayley’s pregnancy and a cult following for a baby born to a vampire. Elijah acts as if a guardian vampire of sorts who keeps his word (but who can also go totally vampire-bananas at times, as “necessary”), and Rebekah is a insecure and lonely vampire who gets into lots of mischief, causing problems for the originals (amongst others), but who really just wants a friend by her side and to be a normal human again. Of course, these characters (and their back-stories) lead to lots of surprising revelations and storytelling detours over the course of the show.

Marcel is a past connection to the original vampires who is now calling himself ‘the king’ and is ruling over New Orleans vampires as a sort of leader-vampire who calls the shots and has a big company of “minions” working for him (so to speak). Marcel makes vampires do his bidding to keep New Orleans a vampire-safe haven. Vampires will do his bidding to try and earn ‘daylight rings’, which allow for a select few to live in the day. There’s a big history between Marcel and Kalus, too, as Klaus raised him when he was a boy.

Aside from the pilot, which combines too much footage found in the “backdoor pilot” produced on The Vampire Diaries Season 4 under the title “The Originals”, the series finds a distinct and interesting creative voice. The first episode is a bit disappointing for fans of both series as it had borrowed so much (some scenes were basically “copy and paste” versions already featured upon the former), The Originals is interesting, original, and well-made with quality writing/directing. Assembling a hugely talented group of people for the production, the series reunites many of the same behind-the-scenes crew who made The Vampire Diaries a huge success, from some of the cinematographers, to the costume designer, o the composer to the production designer. It’s a big family of creative talents who united to create this compelling drama series.

The Originals has many things in common with its predecessor – starting with the fact that the characters that predominately reside are many of the same characters featured on The Vampire Diaries, but now with expanded roles – and that the group of writers and directors responsible for making the program are largely from the same creative pool. Yet it’s still a standalone series that newcomers who aren’t as familiar to previous lore should be able to discover. It offers a slightly different storytelling approach, though stylistically it shares a lot in common. If one can like The Vampire Diaries then they will surely enjoy The Originals, and vice-versa, so there’s certainly room for the show to both be followed by longtime fans of the characters and perhaps by new audience members.

There have been so many vampire series and films that the market seems flooded with them and it can be a bit frustrating to see so many stories being told simultaneously with this concept. It’s certainly a concept that has been done again and again, and shows no signs of going anywhere. Yet the good news is that there are still writers who are telling vampire stories with writing of note, who are drawing forth more interesting elements by focusing on the dramatic elements more than anything else. This is a perfect example of what is happening here: the writing is elementally the main key to the quality of the program, and in this case, that’s a good thing. The writing here is solid. Fans of quality storytelling who have an inclination towards the supernatural genre will find this to be a well-produced, written, directed, and acted program. Without a good storyline backdrop, one could easily see The Originals being a faltering series. Yet there was more than enough storytelling potential for the core group of characters as seen in the storyline its parent series offered, and the writers have expanded on that universe of ideas so that a fully-fledged program can exist. This is a series well worth seeing out as one of the more interesting programs currently on air. Television viewers who enjoy a well told story will find much to appreciate.

Now that The Originals has made it to season two, the writers aren’t wasting any time with formalities. “Rebirth” brings back some familiar names with brand spanking new faces. This episode doesn’t really introduce viewers to the returning characters, as it makes the broad generalization that you’re already familiar with them from The Vampire Diaries – despite their dramatic new looks. Instead, it delves right into the setting the stage for a reunion that is sure to be memorable.

The Originals branded its second season a family reunion, and that’s exactly what the season premiere sets into motion. The Guerreros are out, and once again the Mikaelson’s are back in – all of them. It’s only a matter of time before Rebekah (Claire Holt) is lured back to New Orleans, and then the fun will really begin. In the meantime, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) has both parents and all his other siblings to occupy his schedule – good thing he doesn’t have changing diapers to distract him from whatever is coming.

Having Claire Holt leave the show full-time was hard last year, but there was a definite sense that she would be coming back, if only for an episode here and there (as has been the case). Now, that’s not a feeling The Originals mid-season finale leaves you with – Claire Holt is no longer occupying the role of Rebekah Mikaelson, and it seems that the whole body-jumping plotline was just leading us to this point.

Rebekah has been around since season three of The Vampire Diaries and, while she never got as much of the spotlight as Klaus, she has been a huge presence ever since. I wrote last week that Claire Holt gives the character something that can’t be replaced, and I honestly don’t know if the show can make me accept another actress as the face of Rebekah. It’ll be hard to keep an open mind, even I’m a little ashamed to admit it.But the episode Map of the Moments was great, with vintage moments for every single character. The long-awaited reunion between Hayley, Klaus and baby Hope didn’t disappoint, for starters, and provided a brief moment of happiness and contentment for a family so often at loggerheads. The moment in which they took a family photo mere moments before having to burn it should have been jarring and ridiculous, but it was actually the highlight of the hour. Looking back on that knowing what would happen to Rebekah by the end makes it even more heartbreaking, and a little bit of sunshine and happiness, albeit still tinged with sadness, was welcome in a show.The Revelation about Freya (the other Mikaelson Sister) being alive was a brilliant revelation along with Esthers sister Dahlia who is hellbent on taking baby hope. this leads to a series of events that brings us to the finale of season 2 . Season two of The Originals puts to rest the oldest family war and instills in its place a familiar mark between warring siblings. Lullabies are spoken and promises are made for the good of innocence and the threat of new evil likely to rear its head in New Orleans come the fall. All in all, the king of wolves and vamps settles in, ready to settle into fatherhood unaware of the future, but believing he has control of it.

There was some gorgeous imagery that fit in quite nicely upon the climax of “Ashes to Ashes.” The episode stood on its own and provided a much needed finality to the old generation of Mikaelsons and their sophisticated rival, Dhalia. The most fascinating aspect was of course how the battle played itself out, leaving the final segments as all too familiar approaches to goodbyes and promises of sardonic revenge. In many ways, it was the highlight of the season saving the best for last.

After linking with Dalia, Klaus stabs himself with the dagger and the two are returned to torpor. Elijah recovers Hope with Freya as Rebekah returns to her original body as a vampire once more. Convinced of Klaus’s plan, Elijah burns the body of their original mother and swaps the ashes with Kol’s when Davina attempts to user her “one time” ability to harness the coven’s power and use resurrection. Instead of Kol, Esther is brought back and captured immediately by the Mikaelsons. Dalia, still possessing power, melts the dagger in Klaus, awakens, steals Freya, and escapes. Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah later confront Dalia but are subdued by splinters of the white oak stake being ingested through Dalia’s power. Esther distracts Dalia long enough for Klaus to impale the two of them finally killing them both. In a final scene with the pair as their younger selves, Esther relents that she should have stayed by Dalia’s side. The two forgive each other and perish together. Later, during the full moon, Hayley makes Elijah promise to look after Hope even though he had no intention to remain at Klaus’s side. Freya magically heals Rebekah’s human body and Rebekah once more inhabits it with plans to decide which she intends to stay in at a later time. Klaus and Camille share a drink as both are essentially still awkward around each other but later, Klaus settles in with Hope in his arms, commenting on a new chapter in their lives.I had fun watching this season and it leaves you wanting me, with season 3 shapeing up to just as fun, it shows that a spin-off can work.

REVIEW: BEST OF THE BEST 1 & 2

CAST

Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Phillip Rhee (Hell Squad)
James Earl Jones (Star Wars)
Sally Kirkland (Bruce Almighty)
Chris Penn (Reservoir Dogs)
Tom Everett (Air Force One)
James Lew (Frankenstein)
Simon Rhee (Safe)

The first “Best of the Best” never got a chance at the British box office. However, as a video release it did quite well from what I recall. Sadly this reputation was short-lived in Britain by its highly criticised sequel, which did make it to the big screen.


The 90’s were a very cynical time and at the time of Best of Best’s release martial arts cinema was in its the kickboxer-craze. In retrospect this was one of the worst times as far style in the genre goes, as kickboxing does not possess the asthetic quality of most styles. This was where Best of the Best stood out . It provided good characterisation, good actors such as Eric Roberts, James Earl Jones, Sally Kirkland, Christopher Penn et al and good martial artists. The dominant style in the film is Taekwondo, performed by great Korean exponents of the style. Phillip Rhee, who was involved in the production of the film, had a solid background in both Taekwondo and Hapkido (the latter you don’t see displayed until Best of the Best 2) and plays off superbly against Simon Rhee in the film’s climax.


Before Marc Dacascos showed the western world that it was possible to have a great martial artist and serious actor in the same package, Best of the Best lead the way. The sequel, although inferior, is also worth checking for a change in direction of the “Bloodsport” style films.

CAST

Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Phillip Rhee (Hell Squad)
Chris Penn (Reservoir Dogs)
Ralf Moeller (The Bad pack)
Meg Foster (Masters of The Universe)
Sonny Londham (Predator)
Wayne Newton (Licence To Kill)
Simon Rhee (Safe)
Claire Stansfield (Xena)
Frank Salsedo (Power Rangers Zeo)
Kane Hodder (Monster)
David Boreanaz (Bones)

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In an underground fight club, blackbelt Travis Brickley is killed after losing to the evil martial arts master Brakus. Travis’ death is witnessed by Walter Grady, the son of his best friend Alex Grady. Alex and his partner, Tommy Lee, vow to avenge their friend’s death by defeating Brakus and shutting down the fight club.

Tommy Lee, Eric Roberts, and Chris Penn are back as our Tae Kwon Do trio, now running a martial arts school. Chris, however, is bored of the antics and heads off to a place called The Coliseum, where folks basically fight for cash. Chris reckons he can take on the owner, a man so muscly he looks like a rubber glove filled with walnuts. This is Brakus, who thinks guns aren’t manly enough. Chris doesn’t do too well in the fight and the last time we see him he’s being lowered into the ground in a box. Luckily he was stupid enough to take Eric’s kid along to the fight so now Tommy and Eric are all out to get Brakus.

It gets better when Tommy smashes Brakus’ face against a mirror and now Brakus has a scar on his face and ends up pouting around the place in a dressing gown staring into a mirror and just getting madder and madder. So Tommy and Eric want to kill Brakus and Brakus wants to kill everyone related to Tommy and kill Tommy in the ring at the Coliseum.

They all have a friendly punch up and then it’s montage time! This time round the film get it right, and just in time too before some of Brakus’ men arrive in a helicopter and seemingly kill everyone except Tommy (Billy himself goes down fighting in an impressive Massimo Vanni style shoot-out). There’s also a massive explosion for all those massive explosion fans out there. So now Brakus has Tommy to fight in the ring and Tommy thinks everyone’s dead, so all he’s got left is the motivation to kick Brakus in the face several thousand times. Didn’t feel like Brakus thought that one through too much. This film is a lot more fun that the last one and is non-stop action and cheese from start to finish. A total winner! Even Eric’s hair is more dynamic and manageable this time round.

Buffy fans shud not David Boreanaz has a very small part in the film.

REVIEW: MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE

CAST

Dolph Lundgren (Kindergarten Cop 2)
Frank Langella (The Box)
Meg Foster (Hercules: TLJ)
Billy Barty (Legend)
Courteney Cox (Scream)
Robert Duncan McNeill (Star Trek: Voyager)
Jon Cypher (Batman Beyond)
Chelsea Field (Commando)
James Tolkan (Top Gun)
Christina Pickles (The Wedding singer)
Anthony De Longis (Highlander: The Series)

The battle between good and evil stretches across the galaxy in Masters of the Universe, starting on the planet Eternia in the height of a siege on Castle Grayskull by the sorcerer Skeletor (Frank Langella). He’s obtained a way of traveling across long distances, even time, with a “cosmic key” that gave him the advantage in taking Castle Grayskull, leaving its defenders in disarray across the land’s outskirts. In an attempt to reclaim the area with the help of Gwildor (Billy Barty), the scientist who designed the key, He-Man and his compadres, Man-at-Arms (Jon Cypher) and Teela (Chelsea Field), make an attempt to reclaim the castle; but, in a fit of desperation, are transported to 1980s Earth, and lose the key in the process. Masters of the Universe transforms into a fish-out-of-water action-comedy at this point — think Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home meets Conan the Barbarian — where He-Man and his team scramble to hunt down the cosmic key with the help of two kids formerly in love: Julie (Courtney Cox in her first film role) and Kevin (Robert Duncan McNeill). Skeletor’s minions, led by the piercing gazes of Evil-Lyn (Meg Foster), aren’t far behind, and they’ll make sure He-Man’s trip back won’t be an easy one.I Masters of the Universe throws together some fairly cool-looking sword-‘n-sorcery set pieces that blur from Eternia over to Earth, which still possess a certain draw through their practical application. Director Gary Goddard and his production/art crew concentrated their efforts to achieving a full-bodied visual style that’d enthrall a wide range of audiences; the throne room at Castle Gayskull is a grand, handmade mythical space that’s given depth through cleverly-placed matte paintings, while intricate costume work achieves a blend of cinematic curio and “toy-ready” appeal. Playing into that, Frank Langella disappears into the prosthetics and make-up of Skeletor, while the angles and contours created with his stark-white facial moldings still capture the stone-faced force of his performance. Also, the practical Star Wars-esque effects built within certain scenes — lightning from Skeletor’s hands, the crack of an electric whip, and the movement of air gliders — give it a familiar whimsy, while wearing influences clearly on its sleeve.Grandeur can’t hide the perfunctory, unimaginative plotting at its core though, overflowing with moustache-twirling villains and goofy keep-it-rolling storytelling that’s more of a chore than charismatic. While Gary Goddard and The Dark Crystal screenwriter David Odell (among other uncredited writers) draw influence from Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” comic series for its grand essence, basic contrivances are what flimsily glue the chapters together; secret passages conveniently lead to locations where He-Man and his crew need to be, grappling hooks grab things in the nick of time, and they always have the materials they need on-hand to repair elaborate tech. Perhaps that’s a part of making the film accessible to other audiences, almost like a darker version of one of the cartoons, but there’s a missing layer that prevents it from bottling the adventuresome magic needed. A few well-written “stranger in a strange land” moments add to the experience, such as how the Eternians react to eating a bowl of fried chicken, but they’re eclipsed by nagging goofball things like how Gwildor makes his cosmic space-travel device work by just sporadically banging on the keys for varying lengths of time.Still, Dolph Lundgren throws Masters of the Universe over his burly shoulders and stoically lugs it through active laser-pistol duels and frantic searches for the key to get back to Eternia, piecing together into a bearable journey that’s not without its own mindless fun. In his sparse warrior garb and shoulder armor that bare almost every muscle he’s got, Lundgren fits the bill of the sword-wielding hero really well — a visually-comparable, noble PG answer to Arnie’s Conan. His rapport with Skeletor is an overt black-and-white conflict, full of gallant speeches and calls of superiority in the cosmos, yet there’s an admirable quality in the straight-faced, scenery-chewing pomposity that Frank Langella evokes in the arch-nemesis. Clunky battles and higher-than-high stakes shove Gary Goddard’s film towards an unsurprising climax, but at least it stays consistent all the way up to that odd-defying moment everyone’s expecting: where the hero confidently stands and insist that he does, indeed, have the power.