REVIEW: SLEEPY HOLLOW – SEASON 3

 

MAIN CAST

Tom Mison (Venus)
Nicole Beharie (Shame)
Lyndie Greenwood (Nikita)
Nikki Reed (Twilight)
Zach Appelman (Beauty and The Beast)
Lance Gross (Star)
Jessica Camacho (The Flash)
Shannyn Sossamon (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)

Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Peter Mensah (Spartacus)
Maya Kazan (Boardwalk Empire)
Bill Irwin (Legion)
James McDaniel (Malcolm X)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Michael O’Keefe (Fear)
Nicholas Guest (Big Hero 6)
Derek Mears (Friday The 13th)
C. Thomas Howell (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Emily Deschanel (Bones)
David Boreanaz (Bones)

Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Months have passed since the tragic events where Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) lost his wife and son, as they both turned to the dark side. While averting the apocalypse, the loss of his family caused Ichabod to need some time for himself to process all that has transpired. When he finds himself locked in a prison cell for trying to import undocumented relics, he calls Abbie (Nicole Beharie) to come bail him out. Abbie has also moved on from the events, as she traded her job at the local law enforcement for a more exciting job at the FBI. Even though she misses the bond she had with Crane, she hopes she can leave the past behind her, as she has seen more than enough monsters for an entire lifetime. Sadly, Ichabod has not been sitting by idly, and has discovered that their role as ‘witnesses’, did not stop when they stopped the spawn of hell, Moloch.Sleepy Hollow (2013)As expected, there’s a new demonic presence lurking in the shadows, namely Pandora (Shannyn Sossamon), who we know from Pandora’s box, the box that contains all the evil of the world. She indeed follows the main concept of this legendary tale, and has a box, which contains the world’s most vile demons, who she then slowly starts to unleash upon Sleepy Hollow. The horrible incidents that unfolds may involve the witnesses, but in reality Pandora is trying to revive her love, an omnipotent god named ‘The Hidden One’ (Peter Mensah), a deity that was known for its cruel behavior. Fending off demons is one thing, tampering with the divine will prove to be a different task altogether.SH303_SCN44_CB-602_hires1The series follows the typical formula like the first two seasons, where one thread runs through all episodes, while the witnesses and their allies tackle cases which are usually cracked in the course of one episode. In many ways this means you’ll get to see a new monster per episode, which is often based on legendary figures or demons we have seen for the umpteenth time, with an original Sleepy Hollow twist added to them. Even though everything remains qualitative and interesting, this season feels a bit like ‘been there, done that’, as it may look as if the story just underwent a reboot, with a new enemy in the shadows. Again, this isn’t really a bad thing, but to some it may seem that the series is just being dragged out.Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Overall the cast hasn’t gone through any considerable changes, thus you can expect more of the same, guaranteeing you a qualitative experience. Tom and Nicole still play the perfect counterparts, with enough natural chemistry between them to make you wish they would just let their characters come to terms with their feelings. This season has a few new faces, namely Shannyn Sossamon, who plays Pandora, and Peter Mensah, who plays ‘The Hidden One’. Both play their supernatural roles quite good, and play out the role as the new nemeses of the forces of good perfectly.Sleepy Hollow: Season 3 will still be a delight for fans of the first two seasons, but in many ways the season is just clamping to a new bad guy to drag it out further, which seems to be the norm nowadays. Nonetheless, the continuation of this new story direction does not interfere with the story and acting quality, allowing the series to run strong. If you’re fond of the supernatural, a hefty dose of British accents, a healthy dose of humor and of course the peculiar town of Sleepy Hollow, you’re still in for a treat.

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REVIEW: EMPIRE STATE (2013)

CAST

Dwayne Johnson (Baywwatch)
Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Michael Angarano (Sky High)
Paul Ben-Victor (The Wire)
Jerry Ferrara (power)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Michael Rispoli (Summer of Sam)

Dwayne Johnson and Liam Hemsworth in Empire State (2013)After failing to get into the local police academy, Chris Potamitis (Hemsworth), settles for a security guard job with the Empire State Armored Truck Company. Chris makes the mistake of mentioning the company’s lax security to his best friend Eddie (Angarano), and is soon unwittingly drawn into an elaborate scheme to rob the abundant piles of cash being stored there – resulting in the largest cash heist ($11 million) to that point in U.S. history. As the stakes continue to rise, Chris and Eddie must outwit James Ransone (Johnson), the veteran NYPD Detective who is hot on their trail, as well as the local crime bosses who want to know who pulled a job on their turf to make sure the perpetrators suffer the consequences.Dwayne Johnson and Lucky Johnson in Empire State (2013)Empire State is based on a true story set during the 1980’s, about a bank heist gone terribly wrong. This film is moreso predictable which is the case with films based on true events, however the story here is interesting enough to continue watching. Empire State had a limited release, which is shame since the film could have made decent profit. Althugh there was far greater potential the what came from the final product. The lead played by Liam Hemsworth is decent, but with a better lead it could have been a far greater film. Also Dwayne Johnson is criminally wasted in this movie as a detective. Whenever he appeared on screen, my interest level was raised significantly, but that was much too seldom for my liking. Dwayne has a gift when it comes to charisma, and the fact that he has such a small role here is incorrigible. He was far too good to have such a small part in this movie. Emma Roberts is barely in this movie, aside from a few pointless scenes. Overall the film could have fared better with better direction, but it was a decent watch.

 

REVIEW: PAWN

CAST

Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Stephen Lang (Don’t Breathe)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Jessica Szohr (Love Bite)
Forest Whitaker (The Butler)
Michael Chiklis (Gotham)
Sean Faris (The King of Fighters)
Ray Liotta (Killing Them Softly)
Jonathan Benett (Mean Girls)
Common (Wanted)
Max Beesley (Torque)
Jordan Belfi (Surrogates)

An old gangster, with a hard drive containing records of who he paid off, is targeted by a competition between dirty cops, internal affairs, etc. The dirty cops hire a thug to get into the safe (in the back of a diner) at midnight. But he brings his friends and goes too early for the time-release lock. Another crooked cop shows up (for uncertain reasons). The shooting ensues and during hostage negotiations the thug tries to put the blame onto an ex-con who just got out of jail, so that no one notices the real target is the hard drive.Pawn is a low budget crime action thriller, The opening sequence sets the movie up nicely for what later unfolds to be a highly entertaining watch full of deception, conspiracy and twists aplenty. It’s tense and keeps you hooked right through until the closing credits.

REVIEW: THIRTEEN

CAST

Nikki reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)
Vanessa hudgens (Powers)
Holly Hunter (Batman v Superman)
Brady Corbet (Melancholia)
Sarah Clarke (Twilight)
Kip Pardue (Driven)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn)
Cynthia Ettinger (The Silence of The Lambs)
Deborah Kara Unger (Highlander III)

image-w1280Thirteen-year-old Tracy Freeland begins her school year as a smart and sweet honor student at a middle school in Los Angeles. Her divorced mother Melanie is a recovering alcoholic, who struggles to support Tracy and her older brother Mason as a hairdresser. Tracy feels ignored by her mother, who is too busy with her fellow ex-addict boyfriend Brady to address Tracy’s increasing depression. After being teased for her “Cabbage Patch” clothes, Tracy decides to shed her ‘little girl’ image and gets her mother to purchase trendier clothes. When Tracy wears one of her new outfits to school, she is complimented by Evie Zamora, one of the most popular girls at school. Evie invites Tracy to go shopping on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood but gives her a fake phone number as a prank. Nevertheless, Tracy determinedly shows up on Melrose Avenue and meets up with Evie and her friend Astrid. Tracy is uncomfortable with the two shoplifting and excuses herself to sit outside the store on a bench.3When a distracted rich woman sits next to Tracy, Tracy takes the chance to steal the woman’s wallet, which impresses Evie and Astrid. The three go on a shopping spree with the stolen money and Tracy and Evie become fast friends. Evie introduces Tracy to her world of sex, drugs, and criminal activity, much to Tracy’s delight. When Evie tells Melanie that her legal guardian/cousin Brooke sent her an email, about going to a convention in Bakersfield for 2 weeks, she temporarily moves into the Freeland household and discovers that Tracy regularly cuts herself to cope with stress. The two promise to stay friends forever and continue with their self destructive exploits. Although Melanie is concerned about the change in Tracy’s behavior and worries about the extent of Evie’s influence, she cannot find a way to intervene. Melanie attempts to send Evie home but Evie claims her guardian’s boyfriend is physically abusive. A torn Melanie reluctantly agrees to let her stay. As Tracy and Evie become closer, Tracy shuts Melanie further out of her life.MCDTHIR FE001Evie and Tracy get increasingly out of control, each egging the other on. The pair attempt to seduce Tracy’s neighbor Luke, a lifeguard in his early twenties, and ditch a family movie night to get high on the streets. Mason is shocked when he bumps into Tracy wearing sexualized clothing, including thong underwear, but Tracy dismisses his concerns. Later on, the girls take turns inhaling from a can of gas duster for computers for fun and become so intoxicated that they hit each other, accidentally drawing blood. Melanie attempts to break the girl’s friendship by sending Tracy to live with her father but he refuses. Meanwhile, Melanie goes over to Brooke’s house, with Tracy and Evie, to find out what is going on, because she’s been calling Brooke for two weeks. They find that Brooke was hiding because of bad plastic surgery she received. Evie asks Melanie to formally adopt her but Melanie refuses. Tracy meekly supports her mother’s decision. Angry and hurt, a tearful Evie storms off. At school, Evie turns her friends against Tracy and, depressed, Tracy slowly begins to realize the negative effects of her lifestyle when she is told she might have to repeat the seventh grade. To her surprise, Brady finds her walking home from school and takes her home where Melanie, Evie, and Brooke are sitting quietly in the living room waiting for her.thirteenBrooke confronts Tracy about her drug use and stealing, having been convinced that Tracy was the bad influence by Evie. Outraged, Tracy insists that Evie was the instigator but Brooke refuses to listen and announces that she is moving Evie to Ojai to keep her away from Tracy. Melanie defends Tracy’s innocence but then Brooke pulls Tracy’s sleeve up to show Melanie Tracy’s self-harm scars, showing that Tracy was troubled long before she met Evie. After a screaming match, Brooke and Evie leave. Tracy weeps in Melanie’s arms and attempts to fight against her mother’s love, but Melanie embraces her and insists that she loves Tracy regardless. Tracy tearfully pleads with Melanie to let go, with no success. The two fall asleep on Tracy’s bed. The last scene shows Tracy spinning alone and screaming on a park merry-go-round during the daytime.10386826_3This film pulls no punches, and viewers should be aware that this is a serious and at times disturbing portrait of female adolescence – not family viewing.Thirteen allows the outside world to get a small glimpse at what impressionable teenagers have to deal with in a overly demanding society.

REVIEW: CHAIN LETTER

CAST

Nikki Reed (Twilight)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Brad Dourif (Child’s Play)
Betsy Russell (Saw III)
Cody Kasch (Asylum)
Michael J. Pagan (The Gospel)
Noah Segan (Cabin Fever 2)
Bai Ling (The Breed)

The film opens in a garage with an unconscious young woman having her head wrapped in duct tape and her legs chained to the back of two cars. A man and woman walk to their cars on their way to work. As the couple start their cars they exit the driveway. The woman in the car notices the victim, but as she exits her car to warn the man, he drives off. Neil Conners (Cody Kasch) receives a chain letter from an anonymous person telling him that he is the first person who links the chain, and instructing him to forward it to five people or else he will die. His sister Rachael (Cherilyn Wilson) forwards the letter, but to only four recipients. Neil then adds his sister to the list and sends it.

Rachael’s best friend, Jessica “Jessie” Campbell (Nikki Reed), gets the letter and forwards it to five friends. Johnny Jones (Matt Cohen) also receives it but refuses to send it, believing it to be ridiculous. While he is getting a drink of water at the fountain in the gym, a black hooded figure slams his head on the fountain, knocking two of his teeth out. Unconscious, he is chained by his arms to a gym set and has his ankles sliced open. After which the killer uses the chains to slice his face open, killing him. Jessie becomes suspicious as more people start to die. While taking a bath, Rachael becomes suspicious of a possible intruder inside the house. She investigates and is attacked by the killer who whips her with the chain several times as she runs through the house to escape. Re-entering the bathroom, she locks the door and looks for a weapon, pacing back and forth with a cistern lid, waiting for him to attack. She walks up to the door and places her face next to it, listening. Suddenly realizing the killer is on the other side doing exactly the same thing, she rapidly backs away. Seconds later, the killer breaks through a side wall into the room, hitting her on the top of her head with the lid, splitting it open.

Outside the house, Jessie is greeted by Detective Jim Crenshaw (Keith David), who tells her to forward the chain letter on to him. Jessie figures out they are being spied on using a virus embedded in the chain letter so meets with Neil, and Michael (Michael J. Pagan) planning to try to stop the murders. Later on, as more people send Neil the message, he panics and decides to delete all of them in order to confront the killer. The killer, however, is on the roof of Neil’s room, and sends a chain smashing through his ceiling. Neil dies as he gets dragged up to the roof of his house by chains with various sickles and a hook. It is revealed that the man behind all the killings was a soldier. During the war, he was tortured by the enemy because he had a government-issued cell phone. He returned to the United States severely disfigured and disappeared from a hospital, starting a cult of “anti-technology” followers marked by barcode tattoos. It is then revealed that the woman chained to the cars in the beginning of the film is Jessie, who is killed because she sent the chain letter to Detective Crenshaw without sending it to four other people. Michael tries to save her but is too late; when her father pulls out of the driveway, Jessie is ripped apart. As the film ends, Detective Crenshaw is shown chained to a table while the killer makes chains.Predictable some parts may be but with plenty of ‘jumps’ and with extended drawn out gory deaths it’s likely to please most slasher/gore fans and is never dull. Yes there are flaws, but what film in this genre doesn’t have them, it is after-all about entertainment and as such this merits.

REVIEW: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2

CAST
Kristin Stewart (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Robert Pattinson (Sword Xanten)
Taylor Lautner (Tracers)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Elizabeth Reaser (The Ex List)
Ashley Greene (Burying The Ex)
Jackson Rathbone (S.Darko)
Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Billy Burke (Red Riding Hood)
Maggie Grace (Lost)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Daniel Cudmore (X-Men 2)
Dakota Fanning (Taken)
Cameron Bright (The Butterfly Effect)
Mia Maestro (Alias)
Judith Shekoni (Heroes Reborn)
Lee Pace (The Hobbit)
 
Bella awakens from her transformation from human to vampire, aware of her new abilities, but unaware of changes within the coven, such as Jacob having imprinted on her child, Renesmee. It also appears that Bella’s father, Charlie, has been attempting to contact the Cullens for updates on Bella’s illness. They intend to tell him she didn’t survive, which requires that they move away from Forks, Washington to protect their identities. Jacob, desperate not to lose Renesmee, tells Charlie that Bella is in fact alive and well, and explains that Bella had to change in order to survive. He morphs into a wolf, revealing his tribe’s shape-shifting power, but does not tell Charlie about vampires.
 
Several months pass with Carlisle monitoring Renesmee’s rapid growth. On an outing in the woods, a bitter Irina sees Renesmee from a distance and believes her to be an immortal child. Immortal children were vampires who were changed in childhood, and because they could not be trained nor restrained, they destroyed entire villages. They were eventually executed, as were the parents who created them, and the creation of such children outlawed. Irina goes to the Volturi to report what she has seen. Alice sees the Volturi and Irina coming to kill the Cullens and instructs the others to gather as many witnesses as they can to testify that Renesmee is not an immortal. The Cullens begin to summon witnesses, such as the Denali family. One of the Denali, Eleazar, later discovers that Bella has a special ability: a powerful mental shield which had protected her from Edward’s mind reading even when she was human, and which she can now extend to protect others from mental attacks.
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As some of their potential witnesses are attacked and prevented from supporting the Cullens, Carlisle and Edward realize they may have to fight the Volturi. Their witnesses ultimately agree to stand with them in battle, having realized the Volturi increase the Guard by falsely accusing covens of crimes, destroy them and then recruit vampires with gifts. The Volturi arrive prepared for battle, led by Aro, who is eager to obtain the gifted members of the Cullen coven as part of his guard. Aro is allowed to touch Renesmee, and is convinced that she is not an immortal child. Irina is brought forth and takes full responsibility for her mistake, leading to her immediate death. Aro still insists that Renesmee may pose a risk in the future, validating his claim that battle is necessary. Before any violence, Alice shares with Aro her vision of the battle that is to come, during which both sides sustain heavy casualties, including Aro who would also die. Aro believes her, giving Alice and Jasper an opportunity to reveal their witness (a half mortal half vampire just like Renesmee). The witness proves that he is not a threat, supporting the notion that Renesmee is not a threat. The Volturi unhappily leave without a fight.
Back at the Cullen home, Alice glimpses the future, seeing Edward and Bella together with Jacob and a fully matured Renesmee also together. Edward reads Alice’s mind and feels relieved that Renesmee has Jacob to protect her. Alone in the meadow, Bella pushes her mental shield away and finally allows Edward a peek into her mind, showing him every precious moment she and Edward shared together and the two share a kiss after Bella telling Edward, “No one has ever loved anyone as much as I love you”, and both Edward and Bella saying they’ll love and be together forever. The end credits present the cast members from all five films.
I enjoyed seeing the characters develop, especially  Stewart who steals the show. She has grown into a respectable actress and she has turned a wooden and unlikable character (in the novel) into someone you root for in the film.

REVIEW: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 1

 

CAST
Kristin Stewart (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Robert Pattinson (Sword Xanten)
Taylor Lautner (Tracers)
Billy Burke (Red Riding Hood)
Sarah Clarke (Thirteen)
Ashley Greene (Burying The Ex)
Jackson Rathbone (S.Darko)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Elizabeth Reaser (The Ex List)
Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Anna Kenderick (The Voices)
Christian Serratos (Flight 7500)
Michael Welch (All The Boys Love Mandy Lane)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd)
Mia Maestro (Alias)
Maggie Grace (Lost)
Daniel Cudmore (X-Men 2)

Bella Swan is getting ready for her wedding. During the reception, her best friend, Jacob Black the werewolf returns after hearing about Bella and Edward’s engagement. While dancing with him in the woods, away from everyone else, Bella admits that she and Edward plan to consummate their marriage on their honeymoon while she’s still human. Jacob becomes furious, knowing that Edward could easily kill Bella. The other wolves restrain him and leave.
The couple spends their honeymoon on Isle Esme and they make love for the first time. The next morning, Edward realizes that Bella has numerous bruises and is mad at himself for hurting her, though Bella insists she enjoyed the experience. Edward swears not to make love again until she becomes a vampire. Two weeks into their honeymoon, Bella realizes that she is pregnant with a half mortal half immortal child. Edward is terrified by the news, knowing that she may not survive the delivery. He says that Carlisle will remove the monster. She refuses, as she wants to keep the baby and convinces Edward’s sister, Rosalie, who has always wanted a child, to help protect her baby. They fly back home to Forks, Washington. She has only been pregnant for two weeks, but the baby is growing very fast.
Jacob rushes over to the Cullen’s mansion and finds Bella already heavily pregnant. He is angry, saying that they should remove it as soon as possible. Bella says that it is her choice. Jacob is disgusted by this. As Bella gets bigger, the quality of her health declines then rapidly improves as she starts drinking human blood to satisfy the baby’s vampiric thirst. Edward comes to love the baby as much as Bella does as he reads its thoughts, learning that his child loves Bella in return and doesn’t want to hurt her.
Soon after, Bella drops a cup of blood and as she bends down to pick it up, the baby breaks her back. She almost dies giving birth. To save her life, Edward injects Bella’s heart with his venom to transform her into a vampire, but nothing seems to happen and Bella is thought to be dead. Greatly distraught, Jacob attempts to kill the baby, but stops when he realises he has imprinted on the baby. When the werewolves hear of Bella’s death, they attack the Cullens’ house in an attempt to kill the baby as they fear it would become a threat. Edward, Alice and Jasper defend their home and their family, and are later helped by Carlisle, Esme, and Emmett. Jacob then runs outside to stop the battle and shape-shifts. Edward reads Jacob’s mind and announces that Jacob has imprinted on Renesmee and since it is the wolves’ law not to harm anyone who has been imprinted on they are forced to leave. After Bella is cleaned and dressed, her cuts from her difficult labour heal as the venom spreads through her body. The last scene shows Bella open her now blood red eyes as a newborn vampire.
What I loved most about this movie were the emotional extremes. Where the past three Twilight movies are subtle and reserved, this one goes all out, portraying everything from euphoria to unthinkable agony. The blissful scenes at the beginning are such a stark contrast to the agonizing scenes at the end.