25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE VAMPIRE DIARIES – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES – PART 2

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MAIN CAST

Paul Wesley (Killer Movie)
Ian Sommerhalder (Pulse)
Kat Graham (Honey 2)
Zach Roerig (As The World Turns)
Candice King (Juno)
Matthew Davis (Bloodrayne)
Michael Malarkey (The Selection)

THE NEXT TIME I HURT SOMEBODY, IT COULD BE YOU

GUEST CAST

Nathalie Kelley (Take Me Home Tonight)
Wolé Parks (Premium Rush)
Joel Gretsch (V)
Kristen Gutoskie(Containment)

Selling your soul to the Devil isn’t exactly how one wants to spend the holidays. Stefan Salvatore finds himself confronting the Ghost from Christmas Past on The Vampire Diaries Season 8 Episode 7 titled, “The Next Time I Hurt Somebody, It Could Be You.” As Cade takes his new servant down memory lane, Damon regains a memory, Bonnie discovers a psychic link, and Seline tries to make things right with Alaric. Stefan wants to make his last day with Caroline perfect. Unfortunately it doesn’t take long for Damon and Sybil to show up ruining any chance for a peaceful day.

After getting Stefan alone upstairs, Damon stabs him in the heart, leaving him dead on the floor. Of course this is all so Stefan can have a meeting with the man he will be answering to for the rest of time.  Cade takes Stefan on a journey to the past where he explains why Stefan is the perfect man for the job. We’ve long heard the stories of the “Ripper of Monterey”, but now we finally get to see just what Stefan did. Many years ago, Stefan slaughtered an entire camp (including children). It was this act that made Cade interested in Stefan. However, Stefan doesn’t seem to remember that he killed all those people on Christmas Eve. Turns out his mind was meddled with by none other than Seline.

I kind of have to roll my eyes a bit as Seline only sees anguish in Stefan’s soul. We know that Stefan has taken delight in hurting people, especially when he’s in Ripper mode. I’d argue that Stefan has taken the same if not more pleasure in killing people as Damon has over the years.  I think the more telling conversation is the one Cade has with Stefan as he brings him back to Mystic Falls High School just moments before Stefan inserts himself into Elena’s life. The Devil may be evil, but he’s not wrong about Elena’s path. Stefan could have saved Elena’s life from the car accident and walked away. Instead, he “had to know her.” By coming into her life, Stefan changed the course of her soul.

We may root for these characters, but the majority of them have killed and done terrible things. Their souls are tainted, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Elena’s soul is in the bad place right now as she takes her long nap. Cade is drawn to the souls that are close to getting into Heaven, but make decisions or are swayed to do horrific things that bring them closer to Hell. Stefan is an example of that soul. Stefan also is able to influence those types of souls, like Elena. In order to find some way out of his eternal damnation, Stefan asks Cade for a one year deal. He will serve Cade for one year as his Ripper self. He will get the job done faster, and he won’t be able to feel emotional as he hands people over to Cade.

Stefan is certain after the year is done that he will be able to flip his switch and want to leave. Cade’s not certain and neither am I. As we’ve seen time and time again on this show, it’s easier to turn off your humanity than it is to turn it back on. Still, the offer is too enticing for Cade to pass up. He agrees, and that only leaves a little time left for Stefan to say goodbye to Caroline. Their farewell is devastating. He can’t even bring himself to say what he is about to do, but Caroline knows. As Stefan is off with Cade, Damon and Sybil make sure Caroline’s Christmas is as stressful as possible. Alaric and Matt are stunned by his walking and talking considering they thought they killed him. However, as most of us suspected, Damon’s deal with the Devil provided a loophole for death.

Damon insists that he will kill someone’s tainted soul by the end of the night (other than Stefan). After some low blows to Matt about killing Penny, Damon looks set on taking down Peter. However, instead of killing him, he just makes him confess that there was no real good reason why he walked out on Matt and his family. Caroline has enough foresight to know Damon will be back to himself one day and will need her forgiveness. She hands him a gift that Damon decides to give Sybil after they leave. When she opens it, she pulls out Elena’s necklace. This triggers memories of Elena that Sybil either tried to replace herself with or destroy in Damon’s subconscious. It’s unclear if Damon remembers everything about his feelings for Elena, but he definitely knows Sybil has been messing with his mind. That’s why it doesn’t take him long to rip out Sybil’s heart and leave her on a bench.

Sadly this doesn’t appear to be the last we’ve seen of Sybil as she pops up in the promo for the next episode. However she manages to survive, she’ll be pissed Damon literally and metaphorically ripped her heart out. Damon, now riding solo, picks up Stefan heading out of Mystic Falls. As Stefan turns off his humanity, I can’t help but be both excited and sad for these last remaining episodes. I’m excited because we have never seen both brothers with their switches flipped at the same time. This development offers an exciting change in their dynamic going forward.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: URBAN EXPLORERS (AKA THE DEPRAVED)

CAST

Nathalie Kelly (The Vampire Diaries)
Nick Eversman (Hellraiser 9)
Max Riemelt (The Wave)
Catherine de Léan (Trauma)

Four young urban explorers from the USA, South America, Asia and Europe meet up in Berlin via internet to explore the subterranean relics of Nazi Germany. The destination for the illegal tour, through a labyrinth of tunnels, sewers and catacombs, is a special bunker, the Fahrerbunker (Hitler’s subterranean garage) which is the center of many legends, where they expect to find the debris of forbidden Nazi wall murals. But when tragedy strikes the group’s leader, they soon realize not all things go according to plan.All in all this movie is going into my library once released as a must see for fan of the genre.

 

REVIEW: THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT

CAST

Lucas Black (Jarhead)
Zachary Ty Bryan (The Rage: Carrie 2)
Bow Wow (Like Mike)
Nikki Griffin (The OC)
Sung Kang (Die Hard 4.0)
Brian Tee (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: OOTS)
Nathalie Kelley (The Vampire Diaries)
Lynda Boyd (Sanctuary)
Jason Tobin (Jasmine)
Keiko Kitagawa (Paradise Kiss)
Vin Diesel (XXX)
Amber Stevens West (22 Jump Street)
Vincent Laresca (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Nathalie Kelley (The Vampire Diaries)
Leonardo Nam (Westworld)

In Oro Valley, Arizona, 17-year-old high school students Sean Boswell and Clay race their cars to win the affections of Clay’s girlfriend Cindy. When Sean cuts through a structure and catches up to Clay, Clay hits Sean’s car repeatedly until they reach a high-speed turn, which causes both cars to crash; Sean’s car is totaled. Clay and Cindy’s wealthy families help them escape punishment, but Sean is sent to live in Tokyo with his father, a U.S. Navy officer, in order to avoid juvenile detention or jail.While in Tokyo, Sean befriends Twinkie, a military brat who introduces him to the world of drift racing in Japan. Sean has a confrontation with Takashi — the Drift King (DK) — over Sean talking to Takashi’s girlfriend, Neela. Though forbidden to drive, Sean decides to race against Takashi, who has ties to the Yakuza. He borrows a Nissan Silvia from Han Lue, now a business partner to Takashi, and loses, totaling the car due to his inability to drift.To repay his debt for the car he destroyed, Sean agrees to work for Han. This leads to the duo becoming friends, with Han agreeing to teach Sean how to drift. Han also loans him another car for future races, explaining that he is helping him as Sean is the only person willing to stand up to Takashi. Sean moves in with Han and soon masters drifting, gaining some repute after defeating DK’s right-hand man, Morimoto. Sean soon asks Neela out on a date, and learns that after her mother died, she moved in with Takashi’s grandmother, which resulted in their relationship. Takashi beats up Sean the next day, telling him to stay away from Neela; Neela subsequently leaves Takashi and moves in with Sean and Han.

Takashi’s uncle Kamata, the head of the Yakuza, reprimands Takashi for allowing Han to steal from him. Takashi and Morimoto confront Han, Sean, and Neela about the thefts. Twinkie causes a distraction, allowing Han, Sean, and Neela to flee, who are then pursued by Takashi and Morimoto. During the chase, Morimoto is killed in a crash, leaving Takashi to pursue the trio on his own. Han allows Sean to overtake him in order to hold Takashi off, but the chase ends when Sean and Neela crash. Meanwhile, moments after escaping from Takashi, Han is critically injured when his Mazda RX-7 is rammed by another car. Han’s car explodes, killing him just seconds before Sean has a chance to save him.

Takashi, Sean, and his father become involved in an armed standoff which is resolved by Neela agreeing to leave with Takashi. Twinkie gives his money to Sean to replace the money Han stole, which Sean then returns to Kamata. Sean proposes a race against Takashi, with the loser having to leave Tokyo. Kamata agrees to the challenge, but on the condition that the race take place on DK’s mountain. With all of Han’s cars impounded, Sean and Han’s friends then build a 1967 Ford Mustang that Sean’s father was working on, with a Nissan Skyline engine salvaged from Han’s Silvia that was totaled by Sean in his first drift race, and other spare parts. That night, on the mountain, crowds gather to see the race; Takashi takes the lead initially, but Sean’s training allows him to catch up. Determined to win, Takashi resorts to ramming Sean’s car, eventually missing and driving off the mountain while Sean crosses the finish line. Kamata keeps his word, and lets Sean remain in Tokyo and is now christened the new Drift King. The next night, Sean is challenged by and races Dominic Toretto who claims Han was family.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is the least popular of the Fast and Furious franchise but it’s also the most underrated. it was still a great movie in its own right and one that can stand alone without the others.

REVIEW: TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT

CAST
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Anna Faris (Mom)
Dan Fogler (Balls of Fury)
Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies)
Chris Pratt (Jurasic world)
Michael Biehn (Cherry Falls)
Jessica Hackett (The Words)
Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher)
Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy)
Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad)
Angie Everhart (Last Action Hero)
Edwin Hodge (The Purge)
Seth Gabel (Arrow)
Ginnifer Goodwin (Walk The Line)
Michael Ian Black (Insatiable)
Candace Kroslak (Planet of The Apes)
Nathalie Kelley (THe Vampire Diaries)
The film is set in 1988 Los Angeles. Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) is a recent MIT graduate who works at a Suncoast Video store while trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life, something that his police officer father (Michael Biehn) has grown impatient with. While working one day, Matt’s high school crush, Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer), randomly walks into the store. After pretending that he doesn’t work there and saying that he works at Goldman Sachs in an effort to impress her, Tori invites Matt to a Labor Day party, hosted by Matt’s twin sister Wendy’s (Anna Faris) boyfriend, Kyle Masterson (Chris Pratt), at his hillside home.
Later that night, Matt, Wendy, and Matt’s best friend, Barry Nathan (Dan Fogler), head to the party. On the drive over, Barry steals a brand new Mercedes-Benz convertible from the car dealership he got fired from earlier that day, justifying his actions by saying that Matt needs the convertible if he really wants to impress Tori. The trio arrive at the party. While there, Matt catches up with an old classmate (who actually works at Goldman Sachs) and then awkwardly tries to woo Tori. Barry snorts some cocaine he found in the glove box of the stolen convertible and gets involved in a dance-off, and Wendy’s boyfriend proposes to her in front of everyone at the party. She says yes, upsetting Matt, who doesn’t think that Kyle will support her in her dream to attend graduate school at the University of Cambridge. Tori eventually invites Matt and Barry to another party her boss is hosting in Beverly Hills. Matt takes Tori there in the Mercedes, while Barry rides with her two friends in another car, using the cocaine as an enticement to let him go along. Barry has a wild sexual encounter with an older woman while Matt and Tori continue to mingle with each other, after Matt’s successful ‘put down’ of Tori’s boss, a habitual sexual harasser. They leave the party to go into a neighbor’s backyard where they jump on a trampoline, play truth or dare, and end up having sex.
Meanwhile, Wendy shares her unopened admissions letter from Cambridge with Kyle, and it is revealed that she was not accepted. Kyle is visibly relieved, while Wendy is visibly upset. Matt confesses to Tori that he doesn’t actually work at Goldman Sachs. Tori gets extremely upset at his deception and storms off, back to her boss’s party, leaving Matt guilt-ridden. Matt finds Barry there and they leave the party, and Matt tells Barry about how he told Tori the truth about his job. Barry patronizes him for not trying to have just one night of enjoyment and attempts to lighten the mood by offering Matt a line of cocaine, despite him driving. Matt, feeling vulnerable, attempts to snort the cocaine, but ends up driving the convertible off the road and into a ditch. A police cruiser soon arrives, and it turns out to be Matt’s dad and his police partner. Already disappointed with Matt’s unwillingness to choose a career path, Mr. Franklin damages the convertible even more as a means of coercing Matt to get a better job in order to pay off the damages. He takes Matt and Barry into custody, but lets them off in the neighborhood with a warning. Matt apologizes to his dad for being such a failure, to which his dad replies that because he’s never even tried to succeed, he’s actually less than a failure. Then, in a less condescending tone, he encourages Matt to take a shot at anything in life.
Knowing Tori has left her car at the party, Matt and Barry make their way back there, where bets are being placed on who will “ride the ball”, a giant, steel sphere that someone enters and rides as it’s rolled down a hill (something Matt’s dad has stated that nobody has done since he himself was a kid). Matt finds Tori at the party and tries to apologize, but Tori is unwilling to forgive him. Feeling he has nothing to lose, Matt volunteers to “ride the ball”. When he does the ball rolls downhill uncontrollably, hitting several parked cars and eventually flying off an embankment before landing in a backyard swimming pool. Matt almost drowns as the ball sinks, but manages to escape just in time. Barry rushes to the scene and walks with Matt back toward the party, meeting up with Wendy and Tori, who are elated to discover he wasn’t killed. Matt apologies to Tori, and she forgives him after playing a little hard-to-get and then gives him her phone number. All four return to the party, which is beginning to wind down as dawn approaches. All who are still there ‘whoop’ it up at Matt’s successful return.
Wendy, after realizing Matt was right all along, ends the engagement and breaks up with Kyle, who experiences a crying breakdown. Pondering his future with a Goth-type girl he met at the party, Barry is told by her that maybe he should go to college. Outside, as she leaves the party, Matt boldly kisses Tori goodbye. Matt’s dad is shown investigating the scene where the steel ball was found. He finds Matt’s Suncoast Video name tag floating in the pool, and smirks proudly. Barry staggers out of the party house, now in a shambles, to meet up with Wendy and Matt, who asks “Who wants breakfast?”, and the three leave together as the sun is rising.
All in all, a great feel-good 80’s experience with some side-splitting scenes courtesy of Dan Fogler.