REVIEW: SUPERGIRL – SEASON 2

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Starring

Melissa Benoist (Jay & Silent Bob Reboot)
Mehcad Brooks (Necessary Roughness)
Chyler Leigh (Not Another Teen Movie)
Jeremy Jordan (The Last Five Years)
Floriana Lima (The Punisher)
Chris Wood (The Vampire DIaries)
David Harewood (Hoemland)

Recurring/ Notable Guest Cast

Calista Flockhart (The Last Shot)
Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf)
Katie McGrath (Jurassic World)
Brenda Strong (Starship Troopers)
Frederick Schmidt (Mission Impossible: Fallout)
Andrea Brooks (When Calls The Heart)
Ian Gomez (The Morning Show)
Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman)
Sharon Leal (Dreamgirls)
Nadine Crocker (Cabin Fever)
Laura Benanti (Royal Pains)
Dichen Lachman (Dollhouse)
John DeSantis (Thirteen Ghosts)
William Mapother (Lost)
Jason Gray-Stanford (Bones)
Dean Cain (Lois & Clark)
Robert Gant (13 Reasons Why)
Helen Slater (City Slickers)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Harley Quinn Smith (Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Rahul Kohli (Izombie)
Brit Morgan (Friend Request)
Grant Gustin (The Flash)
Steven Valentine (Mike & Molly)
Peter Gadiot (Matador)
Ian Butcher (The 100)
Tamzin Merchant (Carnival Row)
Teri Hatcher (Lois & Clark)
Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Darren Criss (American Crime Story)
Michael J Rogers (Siren)
Rahul Kohli (Izombie)
Gregg Henry (Black Lightning)
Jordana Taylor (A Wrinkle In Time)
Malina Weissman (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
Mark Gibbon (Man of Steel)

Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)Supergirl went through some pretty fundamental changes in the transition from Season 1 to Season 2. Not only did the series add several key new cast members (and lose another), production shifted from Los Angeles to Vancouver as the series itself hopped from CBS to The CW. That shake-up wound up working in the show’s favor. unfortunately, over time it became clear that Supergirl still has some significant problems to work through before it can stand alongside the best of the Arrowverse.
The move to The CW did seem to work in the show’s favor for the most part. Even ignoring the fact that that it made crossovers with the other Arrowverse shows much easier, that shift helped Supergirl feel slightly more cohesive when held alongside its siblings. Stylistically and tonally, Supergirl felt very much like like a good-natured sister series to The Flash. And with The Flash often being unnecessarily mired in its own darkness this year, it often fell to Supergirl to be the bright, cheery, optimistic alternative.
Tyler Hoechlin and Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)There’s also the fact that the crew working on these Arrowverse shows have gotten pretty skilled at making the most of their limited VFX budgets. Supergirl was a very expensive series for CBS, yet the often lackluster special effects didn’t always make it apparent how much money was being poured into the show. In Season 2, however, Supergirl looked better despite costing its new network less. That was especially true with the shots of Kara flying or those depicting Martian Manhunter in his true form. There were still cases where the show’s reach clearly exceeded its grasp in terms of special effects (particularly in the season finale), but on the whole Supergirl became a better-looking series in its second season.Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood in Supergirl (2015)Bucking the usual trend, the new season picked up exactly where the previous one left off, with Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and Martian Manhunter (David Harewood) examining the mysterious space pod that crashed outside National City. That paved the way for the introduction of Mon-El (Chris Wood), a Daxamite refugee and new love interest for Kara. Mon-El’s arrival signaled a general change in direction for the series, one that saw the DEO set up a new headquarters in National City and the focus shift more towards the growing tension between Earth’s human citizens and the growing number of alien immigrants. The main villains of the season (including Brenda Strong’s Lillian Luthor and the members of Cadmus) sought to take advantage of that human/alien tension. Given the general state of the world these days, showrunners Andrew Kreisberg and Ali Adler could hardly have picked a more inspired and relevant direction for Season 2.Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)That general direction worked because it was clearly and immediately topical and more because it spoke to the general appeal of the Superman franchise. More than ever, Kara emerged as a shining beacon of hope and optimism in troubled times. The season’s political elements were never really more political or controversial than a call for empathy and understanding among all peoples. And with a lead actress as charming as Benoist lighting the way, it’s impossible not to be won over by the show’s feel-good approach to superhero storytelling. More than ever, Benoist is the rock upon which this series rests.Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)Mon-El’s debut only furthered Kara’s growth this year. Wood proved a fun addition to the cast, but his character really shone whenever the series focused on the growing romance between Mon-El and Kara. As the prince of a xenophobic and hedonistic world, Mon-El arrived on his new homeworld with plenty of rough edges. It was a lot of fun watching Kara help smooth over those edges and inspire Mon-El to become a hero even as the two fell in love. The two characters experienced their share of ups and downs over the course oft he season, and while the general trajectory of their romance was often predictable, the execution never failed to impress.
Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)Mon-El wasn’t the only high-profile addition to the series in the early Season 2 episodes. The show finally stopped playing coy with Superman and cast an actual actor in the role (Tyler Hoechlin) rather than simply obscuring a stunt double in shadow. That may well be the best change the series made in Season 2. Within seconds, it became clear that Hoechlin was a worthy successor to actors like Christopher Reeve and Dean Cain, bringing a warmth and charisma to the part that’s been sorely lacking in certain other live-action Superman performances lately. The only disappointing part about Superman’s inclusion this year is that he didn’t appear more often. I can understand the desire to keep the series focused on its title character, but the Kara/Clark dynamic is simply too good not to exploit to its fullest.Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood in Supergirl (2015)This season also introduced two members of the Luthor clan in the form of the aforementioned Lillian and her estranged daughter, Lena (Katie McGrath). Lillian left quite a bit to be desired. One of the biggest problems with Season 1 was the show’s inability to generate nuanced, three-dimensional villains. Between Strong’s overly intense performance and the character’s general lack of memorable characteristics, Lillian did nothing to reverse that trend. Lena, at least, fared better than her mother, mostly because the writers had the foresight not to treat her as a villain. Instead, her defining struggle all season was her desire to redeem the Luthor name and prove that she shouldn’t be defined by her brother’s actions. The fact that Lena and Kara became close friends over the course of the season added an extra appeal to Lena’s character arc, as it only served to highlight the question of whether Lena is truly as selfless and noble as she claims. The season failed to deliver a satisfying conclusion to that arc, but I’ll get to that in a bit.Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood in Supergirl (2015)Alex (Chyler Leigh) proved to be another dependable member of the Supergirl cast this year, with some of the season’s best moments focusing either on the bond between Alex and her sister or the romance between Alex and Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima). Alex’s struggle to come to terms with her sexuality proved to be one of the more compelling subplots of the season, particularly thanks to the terrifically executed coming out scene in “Changing.” As much as the Arrowverse can frustrate with the insistence on forcing every available character into some sort of romantic subplot, the Alex/Maggie material gave this season real sense of emotional weight. In a show crammed full of metahumans and aliens, the ordinary human drama often stood out more than anything else.Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)If any portion of the show was damaged by the shift to The CW, it was the CatCo characters. Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) all but vanished this season as the move to Vancouver ƒwled to Flockhart departing as a series regular. The show was poorer for her absence. Worse, Cat’s absence called into question whether Supergirl even needs the CatCo elements at all, a question the show was never really able to answer this season. Sure, the perpetually cranky Snapper Carr (Ian Gomez) made for an entertaining foil to the Kara as she pursued her budding journalism career, but too often the CatCo subplots felt superfluous and unnecessary to the larger picture. Does Kara actually need a day job in addition to her DEO work?Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)The two real casualties of the Season 2 shift were James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) and Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan). The Kara/James romance was basically cut short as soon as it began in the Season 1 finale, leaving the latter character adrift and in search of a new purpose. That was disappointing, but the real frustration came with the decision to transform James from intrepid photojournalist to honest-to-goodness superhero. James’ transformation into Guardians never felt like a logical extension of his Season 1 journey. Nor did his ongoing Guardian exploits add anything to the show. Equally frustrating is the way Winn became sucked into James’ delusions of superhero grandeur, preventing him from having any real storylines of his own (apart from a rather underwhelming romance with an alien). Just as the show has been struggling to justify the continued focus on CatCo as a whole, this season did little to suggest that James should remain an active player going forward.Melissa Benoist and Katie McGrath in Supergirl (2015)I mentioned how the move to The CW helped Supergirl in terms of facilitating more Arrowverse crossovers. The weird thing is that Supergirl itself didn’t benefit much from that trend. Yes, Kara was aMelissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015) big part of the “Invasion!” crossover, but the Supergirl episode, “Medusa,” barely tied into that crossover other than a bit of quick setup at the very end. And while the Flash/Supergirl musical team-up more than lived up to the hype, that was a Flash episode, not Supergirl. I’d like to see Supergirl benefit more directly from these crossovers in the future. Fortunately, that seems to be the case with next year’s four-way crossover. Supergirl definitely had its ups and downs over the course of Season 2, as all the Arrowverse shows tend to do. In general, the season hits its peak in February thanks to a string of excellent episodes focused on Lena’s troubled family history and the resurgent threat of Cadmus. Unfortunately, the show seemed to lose its momentum after that point, with the final three episodes ranking among the worst of the season. Supergirl seems to have inherited Arrow’s habit of completely falling apart in the homestretch.Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood in Supergirl (2015)In many ways, Supergirl improved in its second season as the show moved to The CW and bolstered its already solid cast with several new favorites. This season not only looked better, it managed to blend epic superhuman conflicts with very real, authentic character drama and a status quo marked by plenty of anti-alien sentiment in National City.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: CABIN FEVER (2016)

CAST

Gage Golightly (The Asylum)
Matthew Daddario (Delivery Man)
Samuel Davis (Machete Kills)
Nadine Crocker (Deadgirl)
Dustin Ingram (Sky High)
Randy Schulman (Wild)
George Griffith (Insecurity)
Louise Linton (The Echo)
Teresa Decher (The Waiting List)

While not a shot-for-shot remake (the angles and cinematography are different), this remake uses the same script as the 2002 original with slight alterations. Despite this seemingly pointless exercise, I was prepared to give it a chance and not hate it for failing to aspire to anything original. I’ll go on the record saying I -wanted- to like this film, despite some unease after watching the trailer. I’m sad to say it fails to live up to the original in nearly every regard.

What sets this remake apart from it’s 2002 predecessor is the lack of any chemistry between the actors. It’s not that any one particular actor is singularly bad, it’s that none of them feel like they’re in the same movie. It literally feels as if they pulled random strangers off the streets and asked them to make-believe they were friends for a weekend. I simply couldn’t buy that any of them would take off for a weekend together, much less have known one another for years, as is the case for at least two of the characters. They feel like strangers and it doesn’t help that all of them seem to be acting as if they’re in completely different films–the disconnect is that apparent. It’s upsetting that, despite having many of the same scenes and lines as their original characters, everyone in the cast feels so disconnected from the script that they utterly fail to bring any of their characters to life. They’re the ghosts of what we saw in the original film, the acting completely lifeless. It’s as if none of them wanted to be there.

Roth’s trademark humor is also excised in favor of a few random throwaway jokes, delivered in such a deadpan tone by the actors that each one falls flat on its face. This time around, the director goes for a more serious approach to the material (a mistake, I believe) and attempts to paint the film as a tragedy. Nothing attempts to sell this more than the overly-ambitious music score, which is so epic at times that it feels like it belongs in a big-scale war movie. The composer feels the need to John Williams this thing up at times, which just leaves the viewer scratching their heads at why such a big spectacle of a score is being utilized for a film that largely takes place in a single cabin.71740755_2986547011420550_8298960998761496576_nAs if to keep from being too familiar, the deaths are altered just enough to qualify as being original, as long as you don’t count on being surprised. Practically everything is telegraphed a mile in advance thanks in no small part to the reliance on the original script so that even the prospect of new deaths isn’t enough to warrant much excitement. Perhaps the biggest blunder is the recasting of Deputy Winston as a woman, played by an actress with zero comedic timing (although this doesn’t stop her from being handed humorous dialogue). The character is a painful reminder that no one invested in this remake knows how to bring life to their character.The entire film is permeated with a depressing lack of passion on or off camera. It’s as if no one wanted to be doing this. Roth’s Original  film, while certainly underrated by many, at least felt as if it was made by someone who cares. This is a lifeless remake.

REVIEW: THE AMITYVILLE HAUNTING

CAST

Luke Barnett (Gone Dark)
Devin Clark (The Dead Kid)
Casey Campbell (Reality Check)
Steven Dell (Assassin X)
Gracie Largent (Discarded)
Nadine Crocker (Cabin Fever)

photo-55621Prolouge: So we open with some dumb ass kids breaking into a house, to do what you might ask, well sex of course. Guess what, they get killed, hilarious movie, hilarious. They leave behind their iPhone with video of their deaths.  Act 1 So a generic family moves in to the crime scene house. And of course there is a kid filming every thing. Heres my problem so far, the kid has already recorded supernatural events, and two people die in their first day in the house. And nobody thinks something funny is going on, oh yeah, and it’s incredible stupid. Another thing you notice right off the bat, the camera keeps getting distorted and keeps making a ringing noise. That literally happens throughout the rest of the film, talk about annoying. There is a lot of pointless 30 second scenes here as well. But our main character ,Tyler is the biggest loser I have ever seen. He can’t act even if his life was on the line. And he also video tapes his sister while she is getting naked, what an incestuous little freak. Then we are led to the back door opening segment.

Act 2 Yes, this back down is literally the only thing that tries to scare you until the last 5 minutes of the film. All that happens here is conflict. The dad thinks Lori(sister) is sneaking out at night, so he sets up a wild home security system. Tyler enrages every one around him, he’s like the paparazzi. Tyler finds the iphone which has magically hidden itself in under a counter-top. He likes what the kids are doing in the video, so he shows it to his parents, yeah I don’t know why. The father is becoming increasingly psychotic. Lori is questioned harder, Tyler annoys every one, and the mom breaks down. So it turns out Lori was sneaking out when with some random boy, and they father puts him in his place. That teen boy is then killed outside by the ghost, Tyler records it and doesn’t tell anyone. So the little girl of the family has been talking to a ghost for this whole time, but the father thought it was BS. That was until he saw the invisible boy on one of his camera monitors. Everyone is convinced that there is a Ghost.

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Act 3 So what do they do, why hold down in the house of course. With only two days left before the mom takes the kids out of the house (I don’t know why they just didn’t go to a hotel) all they have to do is stick together. So they sleep in the same room, except for Lori. All they have to do is stay together, but instead they all leave the room by themselves in the middle of the night. Lori is the first to go in a particularly graphic and painful way, poor Lori. Then the mom dies, because she seams to have forgotten there was ghosts in the house. The son goes looking for her, and he gets the axe in about the only have way decent jump scare. And lastly the little girl is now possessed and kills the father, that reminded me of Sinister, including her final words to her father.The-Amityville-Haunting-2012-movie-4So the film pretty bad, but it was watchable, even if it was really stupid. Take it for what you will.

REVIEW: NO ORDINARY FAMILY

MAIN CAST
Michael Chikilis (Gotham)
Julie Benz (Angel)
Kay Panabaker (Two and a Half Men)
Jimmy Bennett (The Amityville Horror)
Autumn Reeser (Human Target)
Romany Malco (Blades of Glary)
Stephen Collins (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
Michael Chiklis in No Ordinary Family (2010)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Christina Chang (28 Days)
Tate Donovan (Argo)
Jamie Harris (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Josh Stewart (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jason Antoon (Minority Report)
Reggie Lee (Drag Me To Hell)
Joanna Walsh (Faster)
Guillermo Diaz (The Terminal)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Rachel Miner (The Butterfly Effect 3)
Max Greenfield (New Girls)
Amy Gumenick (Arrow)
Jackson Rathbone (Twilight)
Cybill Shepherd (Moonlighting)
Bruce McGill (Collateral)
Amy Acker (Dollhouse)
Mimi Kennedy (Mom)
Connor Leslie (Titans)
Katelyn Tarver (Dead on Campus)
Annie Wersching (The Vampire Diaries)
Jason Wiles (Zodiac)
Luke Kleintank (Bones)
Rebecca Mader (Lost)
Joanne Kelly (Mutant X)
Katrina Begin (Zookeeper)
Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Anthony Michael Hall (The Dead Zone)
Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)
Eric Balfour (Skyline)
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Michael Maize (Eagle Eye)
Tom Amandes (Arrow)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Nadine Crocker (Cabin Fever)
James Earl (Scream Queens)
Jonna Walsh (Couples Retreat)
Shaun Parkes (The Mummy Returns)
Mercedes Colon (The Fosters)
Raphael Sbarge (Risky Business)
John Rubinstein (Angel)

The Powells are a typical American family living in fictional Pacific Bay, California, whose members gain special powers after their plane crashes in the Amazon. The show is very light hearted and manages to mix comedy with action and drama extremely well. The family are quite cliché and the powers aren’t exactly ‘original’ but they make it work.The cast do a great job portraying their characters, Michael Chiklis (Star of The Shield and Fantastic Four) does a brilliant job as the father while Julie Benz (formerly Rita Morgan in Dexter) puts on a strong performance as the mother of the family. You also have Kay Panabaker and Jimmy Bennett as the kids.

The character development in this series is great and the story is  highly entertaining. The characters relationships are believable and very engrossing. I think the pairing of Jim Powell (Michael Chiklis) and George St. Cloud (Romany Malco) is brilliant. The second prize for most hilarious character in this show has to go to Stephanie Powells best friend and work colleague Katie Andrews (Played by Autumn Reeser), she is incredibly geeky and so socially awkward, hilarious to watch.no-ordinary-familyIt’s light hearted, fun and easy to watch. Yes it has the sci-fi/fantasy element to it which is akin to shows like Chuck, Heroes, Supernatural, Buffy, Smallville etc. But it also has a more family oriented feel to it at times and what this show does brilliantly is applying super powers to every day events. A lot of people have been comparing it heroes but I find it far to light hearted to be compared to heroes. It’s nowhere near as dark and serious and has far more comedy integrated throughout. I’d say it’s more like Chuck than Heroes. It was cancelled after only 1 season but still its very much worth a watch.

REVIEW: 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU: THE SERIES

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MAIN CAST

Lindsey Shaw (The Howling: Reborn)
Meaghan Martin (Mean Girls 2)
Larry Miller (8 Simple Rules)
Ethan Peck (That 70s Show)
Nicholas Braun (The Watch)
Dana Davis (Heroes)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kyle Kaplan (Drillbit Taylor)
Suzy Nakamura (Deep Impact)
Chris Zylka (The Secret Circle)
Ally Maki (2 Broke Girls)
Audrey Wasilewski (Pushing Daisies)
Leslie Grossman (What I Like About You)
Leslie-Anne Huff (The Vampire Diaries)
Jolene Purdy (Donnie Darko)
Barret Swatek (Power Rangers Turbo)
Ryan Pinkston (Bad Santa)
Tiffany Hines (Bones)
Nadine Crocker (Cabin Fever)
Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers)
Gina Rodriguez (Annihilation)

I was positive that I would be in for bad acting and a horrible script (The Secret Life of the American Teenager, anyone?). However, upon watching the first few episodes I found that the only problem with this show is that is it way too short for me to get my fill. The show’s storyline is split between that of Bianca and Kat, two completely opposite people. Kat’s story consists of her efforts to make men value her more despite their sexist views, and of short, but charming, interactions between her and the school bad boy. Bianca’s consists of her quest for popularity and her obliviousness admirer, Cameron.  Both story lines can be amusing, but I doubt that anyone really watches for both. Either they’re a fan of Kat and Patrick, or they are rooting for Bianca to replace Chastity as a head cheerleader and steal her football-playing boyfriend . In the movie, the two story lines were linked together in some way, but in the show they only intertwine when Kat and Bianca argue at the dinner table, which is where the separation of fans comes from.Though Meaghan Martin plays a funny, bubbly teen very well, Dana Davis plays the bitchy popular girl so convincingly, and Nick Braun plays the awkward, dorky, and  secret admirer as if that is who he has been his entire life anyhow,  they really deserve accolades. Larry Miller plays the part of a psychotic father in such a charming and funny way that I can’t help but adore every scene he is in. There is definitely a reason he got the part of the father in both the movie and TV show. The strong acting is great since his character is responsible for what little tie the sisters have to one another in the show and creates good family humor.
Lindsey Shaw is so convincing in her character that I can’t imagine any other actress even attempting to play it. She has a natural energy that shines through in her character and she can deliver comical lines like no other. In fact, I probably laugh at her dialogue more than any other character’s simply because of the way it comes out of her mouth. Kat gradually goes through a personal growth throughout the show and the audience can watch as someone so sure of herself fights to stay on track and stick to what she has preached. It’s quite intriguing. Ethan Peck, though soft-spoken and not exactly convincing as the bad boy he is supposed to play, delivers a good, unique version of Patrick Verona. While in the movie the character really seemed as if he could have lived up to the rumors everyone had heard about him, I don’t get that from this version of Patrick. To me, he seems like the misunderstood kid that wants to appear scary only so that people will leave him alone and so that he can be sure anyone that does make an effort to get to know him is worthwhile.Overall, this show is just downright hilarious and the characters are endearing and addictive. The sarcasm alone is funny, but the characters themselves have such strong personalities, each one with their funny little quirks. The best thing is that the characters don’t seem one-dimensional like so many other TV characters are. Sadly it’s another show that lasted just one season but it is one heck of a good season.