REVIEW: STAR TREK: DISCOVERY – SEASON 1 – PART I

MAIN CAST

Sonequa Martin-Green (The Good Wife)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)
Shazad Latif (Penny Dreadful)
Anthony Rapp (A Beautiful Mind)
Mary Wiseman (Longmire)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
Mary Chieffo (Miss Dial)
James Frain (Gotham)
Chris Obi (Ghost In The Shell)
Emily Coutts (Crimson Peak)
Bonnie Morgan (Rings)
Chris Violette (Power Rangers SPD)
Kenneth Mitchell (Odyssey 5)
Rekha Sharma (Battlestar Galactica)
Jayne Brook (Gattaca)
Wilson Cruz (13 Reasons Why)
Rainn Wilson (Super)
Clare McConnell (Dim The Fluorescents)
Mia Kirshner (The Vampire Diaries)
Katherine Barrell (Wynonna Earp)
Peter MacNeill (Crash)
Conrad Coates (Tron: Legacy)

Where do I start? This is the trek that we have waited for, for 12 years now. Ever since Enterprise was unceremoniously cancelled I’ve waited for the next weekly trek fix to come along. Let me preface by saying that this isn’t your Fathers Star Trek, and really isn’t your grandfathers Star Trek. This is Star Trek re-envisioned for the modern audience. Although it’s a prequel to the original TOS series (set 10 years before Kirk and Spock took charge of the 1701) this series is free of any design ties, and sometimes technological ties too. If you’re new to the show, go into it with an open mind and be prepared to perhaps compromise on any hard-core, Religious fundamentalist style adherence to Canon and Plastic scenery/monsters. This show has SO much good going for it. Essentially the first 3 episodes serve as Pilots 1 and 2 (Very “The Cage” and “WNMHGB”). By the time the mysterious and incredibly intriguing Captain Gabriel Lorca turns up on the Discovery you should be well adjusted and hooked to the show. The effects are amazing. The opening shot of Discovery is nothing short of breathtaking. The plots are detailed and dovetail together nicely. The arc driven story line works and drip feeds at a substantive rate. This is Fun. It feels new and Fresh yet familiar and comfortable. The Easter eggs for fans are a genuine treat with some real thought behind them.The first 8 Episodes are amazing, and leaves you waiting for the second half of the season (In January). With a Season 2 also ordered this show should be around for some time to come.

 

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REVIEW: 30 DAYS OF NIGHT: DARK DAYS

CAST

Kiele Sanchez (The Purge: Anarchy)
Rhys Coiro (The Unborn)
Diora Baird (Transit)
Mia Kirshner (The Vampire Diaries)
Monique Ganderton (Smallville)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Ben Cotton (Stargate: Atlantis)

Photography by Chris LargeA year after the Alaskan town of Barrow’s population was decimated by vampires during its annual month-long polar night, Stella Oleson (Kiele Sanchez) travels the world trying to convince others that vampires exist. She is fully aware of the risk to her life that her work could bring, but does not care due to her grief over the death of her husband, Eben.30-days-of-night-dark-days-01

Following instructions from a mysterious individual named Dane, she travels to Los Angeles to give a lecture on the existence of vampires. Aware that vampires are in attendance when she speaks, she activates overhead ultraviolet lamps that incinerate several of the vampires in the audience, in front of the humans. She is quickly arrested and harassed by Agent Norris, who she learns is one of the human followers of the vampires, charged with keeping their activities covered up. After her release from custody, she returns to her hotel to find Paul (Rhys Coiro), Amber (Diora Baird) and Todd (Harold Perrineau), sent by Dane to recruit her to hunt the vampire queen, Lilith. As Lilith is responsible for the vampires’ every move and for keeping them hidden, the hunters are convinced that once she is eliminated, the vampires will fall into dormancy. When Stella learns that Lilith was responsible for the slaughter at Barrow, she agrees to meet Dane (Ben Cotton), and is shocked to discover that he too is a vampire. Due to a superficially inflicted wound, he has maintained a grasp of humanity, only drinking blood from packaged hospital stocks he keeps. Stella hesitates to join a plan to attack a vampire nest, but Paul eventually convinces her, revealing that vampires were responsible for his daughter’s death and the resulting divorce from his wife.30-days-of-night-dark-days-ending-stella-oleson-blood-bath-kiele-sanchez

The following day, the four hunters enter a vampire nest, only to be ambushed by a group of them. During their attempt to flee, Todd is bitten. After the four lock themselves in a cellar, Todd turns into a vampire. When Paul hesitates to act against his friend, Stella kills him by smashing in his head with a cinder block. The trio decide to wait for nightfall, when the vampires leave to feed, in order to make their escape. After night falls, Dane comes and frees them. On their way out, they capture a vampire and interrogate him with the ultraviolet lamps, eventually following him back to another nest. They invade the nest and rescue Jennifer, a captive being used as a feeding station. Jennifer’s knowledge of Lilith’s lair being aboard a ship in the bay allows the hunters to plan an attack on Lilith directly. Returning to Dane’s place, Stella and Paul become intimate. Meanwhile, Lilith (Mia Kirshner) decides that Agent Norris should prove his worth to become a vampire (in order to cure the cancer he has been suffering from). He bites the neck of a captive girl, Stacey (Katharine Isabelle), drinking her blood until dead. Satisfied, Lilith turns him to hunt Stella and the others.maxresdefaultNorris kills Dane and the others flee with Jennifer to a boat yard where Jennifer points out the boat that the vampires are set to sail to Alaska in for another 30-day feeding period. After telling Jennifer to leave, the three hunters stow away on the ship where they discover that they can be resurrected after death if they are fed human blood. At gunpoint, they confront the human captain who says he is cooperating because the vampires had threatened his family. Amber is suddenly pulled away from behind, causing her gun to fire and kill the captain. Stella and Paul are too late to save her from being eaten and are quickly captured by Norris and Lilith who orders that they be bled dry. Stella manages to free herself when they are alone with Norris and kills him, but they are subsequently attacked by Lilith when attempting to sabotage the ship and Paul is killed. After being outmatched in hand-to-hand combat, Stella hides from Lilith and when the queen comes looking for her, Stella emerges from her tub of blood and manages to decapitate her. The other vampires appear, but seeing that she killed Lilith, they quietly stand aside and let her pass without a fight, and she returns to Barrow.VIwWP7lHvrIjAz_2_hd

Stella digs up Eben’s grave and recovers his body to feed him her own blood. It appears not to work and she lies down slowly dying from blood loss. After a time, she sees Eben has returned to his former health and she stands to greet him with a hug. As they embrace, Eben pulls back her shoulder and his sharp teeth come down on her neck before the screen goes dark.2826

Once the film moves past exposition and into bat country, “Dark Days” ramps up the fear factor, kicking off a series of encounters that take advantage of all the low-budget  Heavily armed and ready for a fight, our heroes proceed to blast their way into the vampire hive, creating a few hearty sequences of splattery chaos. Criminally, Ketai elects to mimic original director David Slade’s infuriating obsession with shaky-cam, slamming the camera and lights around to create a blizzard of violence.

REVIEW: PARTY MONSTER

CAST

Seth Green (Family Guy)
Macaulay Culkin (Home Alone)
Diana Scarwid (Wonderfalls)
Marilyn Manson (Jawbreaker)
Dylan McDermott (The Practice)
Mia Kirshner (The Vampire Diaries)
Wilmer Valderrama (That 70s Show)
John Stamos (Scream Queens)
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie)
Chloe Sevigny (Big Love)

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Based on the book Disco Bloodbath, by James St. James, the film opens with Michael Alig as a small-town outcast who lived with his mom before moving to New York. Michael learns the New York party scene from James St. James, who teaches him the “rules of fabulousness”, which mostly revolve around attracting as much attention to oneself as possible.Image result for PARTY MONSTER 2003Despite James’ warning, Alig hosts a party at The Limelight, a local club owned by Peter Gatien. With Alig as its main attraction, The Limelight soon becomes the hottest club in New York. Alig is named “King of the Club Kids” and goes on a cross country journey in search of more club kids. Alig and James pick up Angel Melendez, Gitsie, and Brooke. Gitsie becomes Michael’s latest sidekick although the movie implies the relationship was a little more than platonic. However, after Michael descends further into drug abuse, his life starts to spiral out of control, eventually culminating in his involvement in the murder of Angel. Gitsie and Michael decide to go to rehab but ultimately return to NY with the same drug problems as before causing Michael to lose his job and end up in a motel in New Jersey. James then begins to write his “Great American Novel” published as Disco Bloodbath and later as Party Monster.Image result for PARTY MONSTER 2003I couldn’t possibly think of a fault in this film. The acting (in particular on the parts of Culkin and Green) is sublime, and, with the considerable help of an exquisite wardrobe and soundtrack, perfectly portrays the drug-fuelled hedonism of the New York Club Kids. This is easily one of the most underrated films of the 21st century.

REVIEW: THE CROW 2: CITY OF ANGELS

CAST

Vincent Perez (Queen of The Damned)
Mia Kirshner (The Vampire Diaries)
Richard Brooks (Blue Jean Cop)
Iggy Pop (Persepolis)
Thomas Jane (Dreamcatcher)
Thuy Trang (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)

The film is set in Los Angeles, where drug kingpin Judah Earl (Richard Brooks) has mechanic Ashe Corven (Vincent Pérez) and his eight-year-old son Danny (Eric Acosta) killed after they witness a gang of Judah’s thugs murdering a fellow drug dealer.

Sarah from the first film (Mia Kirshner) is now an adult, working in a tattoo parlor by day, and painting surreal images of death and resurrection in her apartment at night. She is haunted by disturbing dreams about Ashe and Danny, and after a day’s work in the tattoo parlor, Sarah is visited in her apartment by a large crow as she contemplates a ring that Eric Draven gave her years before.

Sarah follows the crow to the harbor at night on All Saints’ Day, and witnesses Ashe’s resurrection and frantic escape from his watery grave. She takes him to her apartment. When Sarah tells Ashe he is dead, he panics and runs screaming into the night, ending up at his own home, where he relives the final moments of his life.

Sarah arrives there to find Ashe brooding, and she explains to him why he has been resurrected by the Crow so he can take revenge against the criminals who killed him and Danny. With the guidance of the crow, Ashe starts killing Judah’s henchmen, one by one. Ashe first visits Spider-Monkey (Vincent Castellanos) in a drug warehouse and interrogates him as to who else was involved in the murders. Ashe then kills him by blowing up the building. Another of Judah’s lackeys, Nemo (Thomas Jane), is spending the night at a peeping booth. Ashe appears in the booth, kills him, and leaves him with a doll stuffed in his pants, and a paper crow in his mouth.

Judah has in his employ a blind prophetess named Sybil (Tracey Ellis) who is able to ascertain Ashe’s link to Sarah and to the crow that is the source of his powers. Judah captures Sarah in order to draw Ashe to him and steal his power.

One of the murderers, Kali (Thuy Trang), goes to Sarah’s apartment to draw Ashe out. While battling her, Ashe realizes that Kali is the one who killed Danny; enraged, he throws her against a wall that breaks her leg, and then out a window, leaving a crow-shaped blood pattern. Ashe then pursues Judah’s right-hand-man, Curve (Iggy Pop), in a motorcycle chase. Ashe shoots Curve’s motorcycle, which blows up and throws Curve onto the road. Ashe then drags Curve into the nearby river, leaving him to die as local parishioners cast down flower petals in the shape of a crow. On the day of the annual Day of the Dead festival. Judah captures the crow and impales its wings with knives before killing it. He then ingests the crow’s blood, stealing Ashe’s power. Suddenly mortal, Ashe nearly dies from the shock, but is revived after seeing a vision of Danny telling him to keep fighting. Ashe must now attempt to rescue Sarah by seeking out Judah in his lair, an abandoned church. Judah gets the best of the weakened Ashe in the ensuing fight. Judah ties a rope around Ashe and savagely whips him, intending to hang him.

Sarah rushes up and stabs Judah in the forehead, causing Judah to drop Ashe. Judah pulls out the knife and starts moving toward Ashe. Sarah gets in the way, and Judah stabs her in the stomach. Ashe gets up and impales Judah on a metal pipe, but this does not kill Judah either. While Judah is still impaled, Ashe calls upon a murder of crows, which devour Judah. Sarah dies in Ashe’s arms, a tableau reminiscent of a painting she had completed earlier in the film. Ashe returns to death, knowing that he can rest in peace with Sarah, and his son.
Image result for THUY TRANG THE CROWAlthough this film was assaulted straight away by critics and crow fans alike i think it was mostly ok. This film was not done justice in my opinion, The lack of Brandon Lee from the first film gave it bad write ups which is unfair. Complaints about how the film was a rehash of the first is also unfair, There’s quite a limited way of showing how a man comes back from the dead to avenge his murder. The film in my opinion is a good attempt at bringing the Crow back. The film’s downfall is however the fault of Miramax. The movie was edited to Make the main character Ashe Corven a nice guy, in the unedited version he was unkind and gave up on his mission, not allowing himself to rest in peace. Overall i liked this film. As in the previous Crow film the soundtrack does it justice.

REVIEW: THE BLACK DAHLIA

CAST

Josh Hartnett (Halloween: H20)
Scarlett Johannson (Lucy)
Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight)
Hilary Swank (The Reaping)
Mia Kirshner (The Vampire Diaries)
Mike Starr (Funny Farm)
Rose McGowam (Jawbreaker)
Rachel Miner (The Butterfly Effect 3)
Gregg Henry (Star Trek: Insurrection)
Jemima Rooper (Hex)
Ian McNeice (Dune)

In Los Angeles, on January 15, 1947, LAPD Detectives Dwight ‘Bucky’ Bleichert and Lee Blanchard, investigate the murder and dismemberment of Elizabeth Short, soon dubbed ‘The Black Dahlia’ by the press. Bucky learns that Elizabeth was an aspiring actress who appeared in a pornographic film. Through his investigation, Bucky learns that Elizabeth liked to hang out with lesbians. He goes to a lesbian nightclub and meets Madeleine Linscott, who looks very much like Elizabeth. Madeleine, who comes from a prominent family, tells Bucky that she was ‘very close’ with Elizabeth but asks him to keep her name out of the papers. In exchange for his silence, she promises him sexual favors. Continuing his relationship with Madeleine, Bucky meets her wealthy parents, Emmett and Ramona.Bucky’s partner, Lee, also becomes obsessed with Elizabeth’s murder. Lee’s obsession leads him to become erratic and abusive towards his long-time girlfriend Kay Lake, who is also one of Bucky’s close friends. After Lee and Bucky have a nasty argument about a previous case, Bucky goes to Lee and Kay’s to apologize, only to learn from Kay that Lee was responding to a tip about a recently released convict, Bobby DeWitt. Bucky goes to the location and gets into an altercation with DeWitt in the atrium of the building. DeWitt is gunned down by Lee, standing on the stairs across the atrium. Bucky sees a man sneak up behind Lee, wrapping a rope around Lee’s neck. Lee fights back while Bucky, paralyzed with shock, watches from across the atrium as a second shadowy figure steps out and slits Lee’s throat. Lee and the man holding the rope fall over the railing to their deaths several floors below. It is then that Bucky is helped by Millard and Morrie Friedman; a friend of Lee’s whom Bucky saw with Lee at the New Year’s party in 1946.
Dealing with the grief of losing Lee propels Bucky and Kay into a sexual encounter. The next morning, Bucky finds money from a bank robbery hidden in Lee / Kay’s bathroom. Kay reveals that she had been DeWitt’s girlfriend, that DeWitt had mistreated her, and that DeWitt had done the bank robbery; stealing a large sum of money from one of Benny “Bugsy” Siegel’s nightclubs. Lee had rescued Kay and stolen DeWitt’s bank robbery money. Lee needed to kill DeWitt now that he was out of prison; leading to the encounter that resulted in Lee’s death. Bucky leaves, furious with Lee and Kay for their actions and lies. He returns to Madeleine’s family mansion and continues his intense relationship with her. Kay is furious when she discovers the relationship, especially with the fact that Madeleine bears a striking resemblance to the same girl Lee obsessed over before he was killed, and leaves the scene.
Watching an old movie one night, Bucky notices that a bedroom scene matches the set in Elizabeth’s pornographic film. The credits at the end of the film includes the statement “Special Thanks to Emmett Linscott”, Madeleine’s father. Bucky’s search for answers leads him to an incomplete housing project that Madeleine’s father had started just below the Hollywoodland sign. In one of the empty houses, Bucky recognizes the set that was used to film Elizabeth’s pornographic movie. In a barn on the property, Bucky finds where Elizabeth was killed and her body butchered, as well as a drawing of a man with a Glasgow smile. The drawing resembles a painting in Madeleine’s family home and matches the disfiguring smile carved into Elizabeth’s face during her murder.
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Bucky confronts Madeleine and her father in their home, accusing them of murdering Elizabeth. Madeleine’s mother Ramona reveals that she was the one to kill Elizabeth, who looked so much like Madeleine. She confesses first that Madeleine was not fathered by Emmett but rather by his best friend, George. She further reveals that George had been on set when Elizabeth’s pornographic film was made, becoming infatuated with her. Finally, she felt that Elizabeth looked too much like Madeleine, was bothered that George was going to have sex with someone who looked like his own daughter, and decided to kill Elizabeth first. Upon finishing her confession, Ramona kills herself.
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A few days later, remembering something Lee had said during the investigation, Bucky visits Madeleine’s sister Martha with some questions. He learns that Lee knew about the lesbian relationship between Madeleine and Elizabeth and was blackmailing Madeleine’s father to keep it secret. Bucky finds Madeleine at a seedy motel, and she admits to being the shadowy figure who slit Lee’s throat. Although she insists that Bucky wants to have sex with her rather than kill her, he tells her she is wrong and shoots her dead. Bucky later goes to Kay’s house. Kay tells him to come in and closes the door as the film ends.

Image result for the black dahlia FILMBrian De Palma’s The Black Dahlia is an adaptation of James Ellroy’s novel. Like the book it is a sprawling tableaux of interweaving stories involving femme fatales, boxing, thwarted ambition and most of all a wounded male desire to rescue doomed princesses even if that aim can only be achieved retrospectively. The tone is one of soured romance, futility and regret. This is a very stylish film full stunning scenes and haunting music, What it isn’t is a true life crime recreation. Most of its alleged faults, from not sticking to the known facts, offering no realistic suspects to an over the top finale are inherent to the novel, which is primarily about its author’s attempt to come to terms with his traumatised childhood fascination with the unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short brought about by the murder of his mother. The film draws heavily upon the LA noire of the Big Sleep but is also steeped in an older gothic tradition. DePalma’s love of wordless imagery is referenced through the silent classic The Man Who Laughed, based on a famous story by Victor Hugo. The Black Dahlia is one of DePalma’s better later films. Structurally complex, thematically rich and visually stunning.

REVIEW: NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE

CAST

Chris Evans (Captain America)
Chyler Leigh (Supergirl)
Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl)
Eric Christian Olsen (Tru Calling)
Mia Kirschner (The Vampire Diaries)
Deon Richmond (Scream 3)
Eric Jungman (The Faculty)
Ron Lester (Varsity Blues)
Cody McMains (Bring It On)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)
Samm Levine (Pulse)
Cerina Vincent (Power Rangers Lost Galaxy)
Ed Lauter (The Number 23)
Mr. T (The A-Team)
Randy Quaid (Independence Day)
Molly Rignwald (Pretty In Pink)
Nathan West (The SKulls 2)
Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother)
George Wyner (American Pie 2)
Nick Bakay (That 70s Show)
Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina)
Sean Patrick Thomas (Save The Last Dance)
Riley Smith (Eight Legged Freaks)

In the stereotypical high school community of John Hughes High in Southern California, sexy Priscilla (Jaime Pressly), a popular cheerleader, separates from her football star boyfriend, Jake Wyler (Chris Evans). After Jake discovers that Priscilla is now dating peculiar Les (Riley Smith) just to spite him, one of Jake’s friends, Austin (Eric Christian Olsen), suggests seeking retribution by turning Janey Briggs (Chyler Leigh), a “uniquely rebellious girl”, into the prom queen.

Jake attempts to court Janey’s love, but faces adversity from his own sister, Catherine (Mia Kirshner), who is sexually attracted to him; Janey’s unnoticed admirer and best friend, Ricky Lipman (Eric Jungmann); and memories from his past football career. Catherine eventually assists her brother by slightly altering Janey’s appearance (by simply removing her glasses and ponytail), instantly making her drop dead gorgeous.

Meanwhile, Janey’s younger brother, Mitch (Cody McMains), and his friends, Ox (Sam Huntington) and Bruce (Samm Levine), make a pact to lose their virginity by graduation despite still being in their freshman year. Mitch tries to impress his longtime crush, the beautiful yet perverted Amanda Becker (Lacey Chabert) with a letter professing his love for her. Bruce says that he does not have a chance with her, mockingly stating, “Keep dreaming!”
As the prom draws near, Jake draws infamy among his peers after he fails to lead his football team to victory at the state championship game the year before. The situation is further worsened when Austin tricks Jake into telling Janey about his plan to spite Priscilla by pretending to whisper the secret bet in Janey’s ear, causing her to immediately leave Jake. During prom night, Austin and Janey go together; a jealous Jake and Catherine have a dance-off with Austin and Janey, with Catherine dancing in a sexual manner. Janey runs off crying. Meanwhile, Mitch and his friends are having a lousy time at the prom until Amanda arrives and Mitch gives her the letter and Ox later hooks up with Catherine.

Jake is awarded prom king and the principal reads out that the votes for prom queen are tied. Everyone thinks that it is between Janey and Priscilla, but they are shocked to find that Kara and Sara Fratelli (Samaire Armstrong and Nectar Rose), twins conjoined at the head, win prom queen. During the traditional prom king and queen dance, Janey supposedly left with Austin to go to a hotel.

Jake goes to the hotel room where he finds Austin having wild sex with a girl but is shocked to find that it is Priscilla not Janey while the weird Les videotapes with his pants down supposedly having an erection, Austin tells Jake that Janey “ran home to her daddy”. Jake angrily punches Austin and Priscilla, knocking them out cold, for what they had done to Janey. He then punches Les for “being really weird” (he also punches a plastic bag that happens to be floating next to Les); afterwards he runs to Janey’s house only to learn from her father (Randy Quaid) that she is going to Paris for art school.

Jake arrives at the airport and confronts her before she can board the plane, and uses a plethora of clichéd lines from other movies (such as She’s All That, Cruel Intentions, American Pie, The Breakfast Club, American Beauty, 10 Things I Hate About You, Can’t Hardly Wait, and Pretty in Pink) to convince her to stay in America. His final (and only original) speech suggests they would be better off apart, but Janey mistakenly believes he is quoting The Karate Kid, and she decides to stay with him.

This film is so funny great film very entertaining would recommend to any one if you want a good night in having a laugh

REVIEW: THE VAMPIRE DIARIES -SEASON 1-6

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MAIN CAST

Nina Dobrev (Never Cry Werewolf)
Paul Wesley (Killer Movie)
Ian Somerhalder (Pulse)
Steven R. McQueen (Piranha 3d)
Sara Canning (Primeval: New World)
Kat Graham (Honey 2)
Candice King (Juno)
Zach Roerig (Rings)
Kayla Ewell (Impact Point)
Michael Trevino (The Riches)
Matthew Davis (Cult)
Joseph Morgan (Hex)
Michael Malarkey (The Selection)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Chris William Martin (Dollhouse)
Benjamin Ayres (Saving Hope)
Chris J. Johnson (Betrayal)
Marguerite MacIntyre (Red Dragon)
Robert Pralgo (Fast & Furious 7)
Susan Walters (The Flash)
Jasmine Guy (Dead Like Me)
Arielle Kebbel (Ballers)
Bianca Lawson (Beauty and The Beast)
Mia Kirshner (30 Days of Night: Dark Days)
Malese Jow (The Flash)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Sean Faris (Never Back Down)
James Remar (The Shannara Chronicles)
Kelly Hu (Arrow)
Melinda Clarke (Spawn)
David Anders (Izombie)
Spencer Locke (Resident Evil: Afterlife)
Taylor Kinney (Zero Dark Thirty)
B.J. Britt (Agents of SHIELD)
Tiya Sircar (The Internship)
Maiara Walsh (The Starving Games)
Natashia Williams (Smiley Face)
Lauren Cohan (Chuck)
Trent Ford (Smallville)
Daniel Gillies (Young Hercules)
Dawn Olivieri (American Hustle)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Michaela McManus (Law & Order: SVU)
David Gallagher (Super 8)
Jack Coleman (Heroes)
Sebastian Roche (Odyssey 5)
Claire Holt (Mean Girls 2)
Anna Enger (Anchorman 2)
Alice Evans (Lost)
Torrey DeVitto (The Rite)
Robert Ri’chard (Veronica Mars)
Perisa White (Blood Dolls)
Nathaniel Buzolic (Out of The Blue)
Cassidy Freeman (Smallville)
Casper Zafer (Coffe Sex You)
Michael Reilly Burke (Mars Attacks)
Todd Williams (San Andreas)
Grace Phipps (Scream Queens)
Phoebe Tonkin (The Secret Circle)
David Alpay (Ararat)
Alyssa Diaz (Red Dawn)
Madeline Zima (Californication)
Rick Worthy (Collateral Damage)
Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Arrow)
Charles Michael Davis (Battle Scars)
Daniella Pineda (American Odyssey)
Leah Pipes (Fingerprints)
Callrd Harris (The Real St.Nick)
Eka Darvill (Spartacus)
Olga Fonda (Real Steel)
Hayley Kiyoko (Scooby-Doo 3 & 4)
Rick Cosnett (The Flash)
Janina Gavankar (The L Word)
Kendrick Sampson (Gracepoint)
Shaun Sipos (Texas Chainsaw 3d)
Caitlin McHugh (I Am Legdn)
Penelope Mitchell (Curve)
Chris Brochu (Soul Surfer)
Raffi Barsoumian (NCIS)
Colin Ferguson (Eureka)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (Halloween: H20)
Emily Chang (Total Recall)
Gabrielle Walsh  (The Hive)
Marco James Marquez  (The CLient List)
Chris Wood (Supergirl)
Tristin Mays (The Wedding Ringer)
Annie Wersching (Bosch)
Christopher Cousins (Wicker Park)

 


There are vampires, and there are indeed diaries. One of these diaries is being kept by Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev). Elena’s been writing down her thoughts for quite some time now, but in these dark days, her diary is her only outlet for the way she really feels. She’s still reeling from the deaths of both of her parents just a few short months ago, and while she tries to present a smiling face to the world at large, she’s emotionally ravaged inside. Elena has been keeping almost everyone around her at arm’s length, dumping one of her oldest friends who she’d only recently started to date and tearing just about every last page out of her social calendar. She’s dead inside.

Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), meanwhile, is dead, period. He too keeps a journal, although having been alive…well, undead…for around 150 years, Stefan has had quite a bit more to write about than Elena. One of the first things Stefan did upon his return to his ancestral home of Mystic Falls, Virginia is re-enroll in high school. As an eternal 17 year old, he doesn’t run into any trouble looking the part. It certainly doesn’t hurt that as one of the few surviving vampires who doesn’t sizzle and smolder under the light of day, there’s little reason for anyone to suspect that Stefan is one of the undead. Stefan and Elena are inexorably drawn to one another, and the two of them are almost immediately established as a couple. Epic romance. Moony eyes. You know the drill.

Stefan can’t escape his blood. You can take that in the most literal sense: there’s the blood he must ingest in order to survive, although he’s long since sworn off feeding from humans, living instead off of small animals in the woods around his palatial family estate. This makes it easier to for Stefan to more seamlessly blend into mainstream society rather than feasting off it from the fringes, but it leaves him weaker than most other vampires as a result. It’s just not as potent as what’s coursing through our veins. There’s that sort of blood — the crimson, sticky kind — and then there’s the blood of his family. Stefan’s brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder) is also a creature of the night, and he long ago swore to make every last second of Stefan’s existence an eternal hell. Damon kills without hesitation…not only to feed, and not only to hide the existence of vampires from the world at large, but simply because he likes it. There’s more to Damon’s return to Mystic Falls than revenge, though. There’s a much greater — a much darker — motivation behind it all. At the same time, Mystic Falls isn’t being caught as unaware as Damon might like to think.

The Vampire Diaries finds its footing startlingly quickly. Take Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, for instance: as universally adored as those two series are, neither of them were really any good at all until the tail-end of their first seasons. Even with as strong as Supernatural quickly became in its first year, it got off to somewhat of a shaky start, and a fair number of the episodes from its first season are hit-or-miss. The Vampire Diaries, on the other hand, is just about perfect by the time the third episode rolls around. There really aren’t any weak episodes after that. There’s no filler dumped in just to pad out the rest of the season, and it doesn’t spin its wheels the way a lot of shows do when leading up to the big finale. It’s impressive enough that The Vampire Diaries hits such dizzying heights in its very first season, but to maintain that sort of consistency across virtually every episode…that’s exceptionally rare.


Admittedly, its pilot is kind of slow moving and sputters a bit, but the second episode is quite a bit stronger, and you’ll know from the end of “Friday Night Bites” if you’re in it for the long haul. Even with all of its genre underpinnings, at its core, The Vampire Diaries is a soap opera, complete with dead parents, drug abuse, adoption drama, alcoholism, and lots and lots of relationships. Don’t go in expecting it to be a Buffy clone or a Supernatural knockoff. The elements that make those series so brilliant are showcased here as well, but action, horror, and a snarky sense of humor don’t dominate. The great thing about The Vampire Diaries — and I write this from the perspective of someone who’s not the usual target demographic for this kind of show — is that the soapier elements are never overwhelming either. For instance, as the series opens, Elena’s younger brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) has turned to drugs in a failed attempt at trying to cope with the sudden deaths of his parents. In any other show, there’d be some sort of big, overwrought intervention…drenched in syrupy strings, a heartfelt monologue, and saucer-plate weepy eyes. That, or he’d bottom out in some sort of cartoonishly over-the-top way. Because The Vampire Diaries is so respectful to its characters and its audience, it doesn’t trot down either of those paths. People try to reach Jeremy and fail. He has to arrive at the decision to improve his lot in life himself, and he quickly does. Though Jeremy is certainly given a helpful nudge, his maturation is handled quietly and convincingly. The Vampire Diaries doesn’t have all that much interest in settling for the obvious, and it resists wringing out drama from the same plot points episode after episode.

Every episode has some sort of intensely action or horror driven sequence to unleash, and some sort of shock or surprise is always lurking around the next corner. I seriously found myself shouting at my TV — the good kind of shouting! — with the way The Vampire Diaries so deviously caught me off-guard over and over again. The twists are also well-thought-out and wholly earned, not just lazily yanking out the rug. Very few people here are safe, and characters I assumed would be a fixture for the entire run of the show are suddenly slaughtered after a few episodes. The cinematography can be impressively cinematic as well, and quite a few moments of “You’re Undead to Me” and “Haunted” in particular look as if they could’ve been culled from a big-budget Hollywood horror flick. Especially once the pilot has come and gone, the pace screams along at a very steady clip. There are never really any threads in the storyline that are left dangling for long. Plot points that look like they’d be dragged out over the course of the first season or two are instead revealed a third of the way through. Key moments that feel like they belong in the season finale swoop in closer to the halfway mark. I mean that as the highest compliment too. Nothing ever feels rushed or underplayed. It’s all presented quickly enough to keep The Vampire Diaries from stagnating but is still given enough time to have a meaningful impact…it’s a perfect balance. Also, every episode offers some sort of payoff to something established earlier, and there’s generally some kind of reveal as well. So much happens that part of me honestly wonders how they can keep up this manic pace in season two, although the writers have very much earned the benefit of the doubt after this exceptionally strong first outing. I’m having a hard time thinking of the last show I watched with cliffhangers this consistently addictive too. Especially now that it’s out on Blu-ray, The Vampire Diaries kind of demands to be devoured in marathon viewings.

The cast and characterization straight across the board are particularly great. There’s something magnetic about every last member of The Vampire Diaries’ ensemble, and no weak links leap out at me. There’s certainly an effort to keep them even-keeled. There’s something likeable or sympathetic about most everyone. Each character has some sort of glaring flaw as well, and that includes Elena and Stefan. Elena isn’t some sort of impossibly perfect Mary Sue character. She has her shortcomings, and her friends and family aren’t afraid to call her on them and take her down a peg either. In most any other show, everyone in the supporting cast would be boiled down to a three or four word description: “horny best friend” or “hyperaggressive jock”…that sort of thing. They’d be defined less by who they are and more by what the plot requires them to do that week. In The Vampire Diaries, just about everyone is infused with quite a bit more thought and dimension. This may not be at all apparent at first glance. Some of the folks who at first seem destined to be dead air are soon given some additional depth. Well, that, or they’re quickly mauled.

The body count this season is kinda stratospheric, and it doesn’t hurt that the werewolves hinted at last year have started snarling their way into the series. Season two is teeming with all sorts of unrepentant killers, and the standout early on is Katherine. Nina Dobrev pulls double duty as the wholesome, responsible Elena and as the centuries-old scheming murderess Katherine (several very different incarnations of her, actually), and she’s more than a little bit awesome in both roles. The series milks a few really great jolts from the uncertainty of who you’re looking at, exactly — if it’s Elena or if it’s Katherine playing dress-up — and Katherine’s sinister smirk after she’s had her fun never fails to make me cackle. Katherine also subscribes to the theory that people don’t amount to much more than Happy Meals on legs, and the swiftness, ferocity, and complete lack of remorse as she cripples and murders one random girl just to prove a point winds up being one of the season’s standout moments. I do have to admit that later in the season, The Vampire Diaries’ writers seem to run out of really compelling things for Katherine to do, and her appearances start to pack less and less of a wallop. There’s a point to it, exploring a facet of the character that she’d just as soon refuse to acknowledge even exists, but it does seem anticlimatic with as much of a sultry, destructive force of nature as Katherine is early on. The Vampire Diaries more than makes up for Katherine’s descent into shrugworthiness by introducing a couple of truly ancient vampires — Klaus and Elijah — who are charismatic, startlingly compelling, and also regal and adult…an appreciated change of pace from a show where the monsters are generally played by witty early-twentysomethings.

Ian Somerhalder still stands strong overall as the best thing about The Vampire Diaries, scoring all the snarkiest lines and clearly having a hell of a lot more fun than anyone else in front of the camera. Still, despite being so manipulative, exploitative, hot-tempered, and occasionally murderous, the show still finds a way to keep him completely likeable and sympathetic. Some of the shades of gray with Damon are erased this season, and he’s much more overtly a dependable hero-type. I chalk that up as character development, natch, and the fact that he frequently does seem to approach becoming the man Elena wants him to be makes his slips back into monster-dom that much more tragic.

The Vampire Diaries season 2  is just a hell of a lot of fun to watch, screaming ahead at a manic pace and never settling into any sort of comfortable routine. It’s shockingly well-acted, there’s hardly any filler or unnecessary distractions, and The Vampire Diaries probably gets the nod as the most infectious and consistently entertaining drama I’m watching these days. Even the soapier stuff and the over-the-top melodrama winds up being more engrossing than I ever would’ve thought possible.

 

he third season of The Vampire Diaries is about family…or, rather, trying to hold onto one. Elena’s is all but gone, limited to just her increasingly distant brother Jeremy. The two of them have a surrogate father in Alaric, but even he’s content to set up shop on the couch rather than settle into one of the house’s depressingly vacant rooms. A fractitious family at best seems as if it could collapse at any moment. Elena and Damon both are desperately hunting for Stefan. The previous season closed with Stefan unleashing the monster within, swearing allegiance to the millenium-old original vampire Klaus. ‘The Ripper’ has resurfaced. Though he obeys Klaus’ every command to murder and maim, Stefan isn’t some mindless, manipulated slave; he relishes in the kill.

 

In any other series, Stefan would be back to his righteous old self within two or three episodes, but…well, this is The Vampire Diaries. Things will never be the same again. Klaus has much of his true family within arm’s reach, though he prefers to keep the bulk of them skewered and subdued. His aim is to raise a new family, one that’s both more loyal and more like him: a hybrid of vampire and werewolf. The birthing of this army proves to be far more difficult than Klaus could ever have dreamt, and his torment grows that much greater when he finds the family tree of his birth to be more expansive and more vengeful than once believed. The dominance of family this season doesn’t stop there. Hell, we learn that the existence of vampires at all is predicated on the idea of protecting one’s own. No one in Mystic Falls escapes unscathed from all this, with the sorceress Bonnie, undead Caroline, and lycanthropic Tyler all struggling with parents who’ve either turned their backs on them or can’t accept their children for who they now are.

The Vampire Diaries does so much right, and approaching the top of that list is its disinterest in convention. Stefan and Elena form the core of the series in so many ways, and yet it’s quite a while before the two ever share the same frame this year. They’re kept physically apart for far more of the season than I would ever have thought possible, and even after that point, they’re hardly ‘together’. Stefan has changed profoundly. He may never return to the unwaveringly good guy he once was, and the journey back proves to be a whole hell of a lot more grueling As the third season of The Vampire Diaries came to a close, Elena died. This year follows her rebirth as a vampire, although if Stefan and Damon have their way, Elena will be re-reborn soon enough.You see, there’s a cure for vampirism, entombed for two thousand years with an immortal creature known only as Silas. Even with the crypt on the other end of the continent and before embarking on one epic quest after another to unlock it, they all start fantasizing about what they’ll do if they ever get their hands on the cure.

They could shove it down Klaus’ throat and at long last end his reign of terror, although who knows what kind of collateral damage would result from slaying an Original. Perhaps it’s the shot at redemption that Rebekah has been waiting for. Maybe it’s a chance for Stefan and Elena to enjoy a long but less than eternal life together as humans. It ought to go without saying that not everyone will be able to get what they want, especially since they’re not the only ones in search of the cure. Supernaturally-fueled vampire hunters have started to make their presence known for the first time in ages, and they aim to strip Silas of his immortality and end him once and for all. Anyone who gets in their way is expendable, and it kind of follows that Elena’s vampiric bodyguards don’t pose much of a threat to seasoned killers engineered to butcher the undead.

Season four is largely shaped by those three plot threads: Elena coming to grips with her vampirism, the search for the cure, and the resurrection of Silas. Most everything else that happens this year is fallout from one or more of the above. One of the people closest to Elena is saddled with the mantle of a Hunter, and the path to Silas’ tomb can only be unearthed by having him slaughter as many vampires as possible…a compulsion he’s all too eager to indulge. Cut off from the source of her mystical gifts, Bonnie begins to embrace darker magic. They imbue her with the power needed to unlock Silas’ tomb, but this raw, boundless energy may consume Bonnie before she’s given the opportunity.

Season 5 the doppelganger of Stefan or “shadow self” in the form of Silas certainly keeps things interesting. Silas is one of the more intense bad guys of the show and while Silas appears as if Stefan (as is performed by the same actor), the differences between characters is huge. The same can be said for the continuing story-line of the other double, the seemingly identical look-alike Katherine (who continues to look the same as Elena, but also is nothing like her). In Season 5, Katherine turns from a vampire to a human (as the sole recipient of the long-sought vampire cure), and things are complicated because of it. Seeing the way that actors Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley handle these scenes is part of the fun, and it’s an amazingly procifient example of the benefits of quality film editing to see the scenes where characters have interactions with one another as played by the same actor.

The production values of The Vampire Diaries are surprisingly strong for such a modest budget television production. The special effects are always minimally utilized so that when there are effects on the show they can count as something extra special. The efforts from the team that works on this show really impresses. The cinematography remains a constant things; always showcasing both the bright and dark elements of the storylines. The costumes fit with these performers well. The make-up department has their work cut out for them at times, and are capably bringing forth the supernatural elements to the show.

Considering relatively lower production costs compared to other network television series, it’s a very well produced creation that continues to impress with what the creator and producers have to work with.

In season six we get to find out what happened to Bonnie (Graham) and Damon (Somerhalder) after last season’s cliff-hanger, and what has become of the other side. There is also the introduction of a new coven of witches who have ties to some pre-existing characters. Last season’s new addition Enzo (Malarkey) also gets a much more beefed up role as well as back-story.

Amongst all of the new additions there are of course some exits, the most notable being that of leading lady. Audiences have spent the last six years investing in the life of Elena Gilbert, but now has come the time to say goodbye, and it isn’t easy. It’s not just Elena though as this year the show lost a total of four of its more long-standing cast members, and there isn’t going to be a dry eye in the house by the end of the season.

'The Vampire Diaries' Recap: Damon and Elena Return to 1994

What makes this box-set really special this season  is the extras. Thought has clearly been put into what to include, and it isn’t your standard deleted scenes and commentaries. Both of those elements are included, but the featurettes have been crafted with the true die-hard fans at the fore-front of their minds. Good Bit and Good Luck is an emotional documentary that gives the cast and crew a public forum to say goodbye to their co-stars. The second is a much more upbeat affair as the cast read out some of their favorite fan Twitter reactions to plot developments over the series. There’s never a dull moment in Mystic Falls and somehow, despite being over a hundred episodes old, the show manages to constantly reinvent itself and feel fresh. the cliffhanger leads into what is already starting to be an intriguing season 7.