REVIEW: RED HEAT

CAST

Arnold Schwarzenegger (Red Sonja)
Jim Belushi (K-9)
Ed O’Ross (Dick Tracy)
Peter Boyle (Everybody Loves Raymond)
Gina Gershon (Killer Joe)
Laurence Fishburne (Hannibal)
Richard Bright (The Godfather)
Brent Jennings (Moneyball)
Sven-Ole Thorsen (Terminator 2)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Heroes Reborn)
Brion James (Enemy Mine)
Peter Jason (48 Hours)

Christine Carlson (Linda Blair), an American college student, travels to West Germany to visit her fiancé Mike (William Ostrander), who is serving in the US Army there. She tries to convince him to marry her promptly, but he chooses to delay marriage in order to re-enlist. Distraught by Mike’s decision, Christine takes a late-night walk where she witnesses a kidnapping by the East German Stasi and gets kidnapped herself as well. She is transported to the East Zone, where she is brutally interrogated by the Stasi, forced to admit to false charges of espionage, and thrown into a women’s prison with the common criminals, including the gang leader Sofia (Sylvia Kristel), who is the prisoners’ “top bitch” and has de facto control of the entire prison population. Sofia takes pleasure in brutally tormenting and harassing Christine, until the latter loses her patience and fights Sofia in a no-holds-barred brawl. Meanwhile, Mike is determined to free his beloved, and tries to get the US Army and the West German BND to help him. At first they refuse, but ultimately they reluctantly go along with his plans and help him free Christine.Not the funniest comedy or the best action movie, not even the best movie featuring either of the leads, but undemanding fun from the late 80s.

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REVIEW: S1M0NE

CAST

Al Pacino (Scarface)
Catherine Keener (Captain Phillips)
Rachel Roberts (In Time)
Winona Ryder (Black Swan)
Jay Mohr (Cherry Falls)
Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)
Jim Rash (Community)
Jeffrey Pierce (Bosch)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Heroes Reborn)
Jason Schwartzman (Saving Mr. Banks)

When Nicola Anders (Winona Ryder), the star of out-of-favor director Viktor Taransky’s (Al Pacino) new film, refuses to finish it, Taransky is forced to find a replacement. Contractual requirements totally prevent using her image in the film, so he must re-shoot. Instead, Viktor experiments with a new computer program he inherits from late acquaintance Hank Aleno (Elias Koteas) which allows creation of a computer-generated woman which he can easily animate to play the film’s central character. Viktor names his virtual actor “Simone”, a name derived from the computer program’s title, Simulation One. Seamlessly incorporated into the film, Simone (Rachel Roberts) gives a fantastic performance, exactly controlled by Viktor. The film is immediately a huge success. The studio, and soon the world, ask “who is Simone?”Viktor initially claims that Simone is a recluse and requests her privacy be respected, but that only intensifies media demands for her to appear. Viktor intends to reveal the secret of her non-existence after the second picture. To satisfy demand, he executes a number of progressively ambitious stunts relying on misdirection and cinematic special effects technology. Eventually it escalates to simulated remote location video live interviews.In one instance, two determined tabloid reporters discover Viktor used out-of-date stock photography as a background during an interview instead of being on that site as claimed and blackmail him into getting Simone to make a live appearance. He arranges her to perform a song at a stadium event appearing in a cloud of smoke and then using flawless holographic technology. The perception of being in person is reinforced with realtime visualization on the stadium’s monitors. Simone becomes even more famous, simultaneously becoming a double winner for the Academy Award for Best Actress, tying with herself in the process.Once the pressure of serving his creation reaches a breaking point for Viktor, he decides to ruin Simone’s career as an act of vengeance. Simone’s next film, I Am Pig, is her directorial debut and a tasteless treatment about zoophilia intended to disgust audiences, which not only fails to achieve the desired effect of audience alienation, but also serves to foster her credibility as a risk-taking, fearless and avant-garde artist. Taransky’s subsequent attempts to discredit Simone by having her drink, smoke and curse at public appearances and use politically incorrect statements similarly backfire, when the press instead begins to see her as refreshingly honest. As a last resort, Taransky decides to dispose of Simone completely by using a computer virus to erase her and dumps the hard drive and floppy disks into a steamer trunk and buries it at sea, then announces to the press she has died of a rare virus contracted on her Goodwill Tour of the Third World. During the funeral, the police interrupt, open the coffin, and find only Simone’s cardboard cutout. He is arrested and shown a security camera video where he loads a large trunk on his yacht.After being charged with her murder, he admits that Simone is not a person, but a computer program. The chest containing the computer data is brought up empty. Viktor’s daughter Lainey and ex-wife Elaine enter his studio to try to help. They find Viktor’s forgotten virus source disk (Plague) and apply an anti-virus program to eradicate the computer virus. They revive Simone and have her appear on national television laughing while holding up a newspaper headline with her obituary. They pick up a confused Viktor who realizes that his connection with Simone is a life sentence. At the end, Simone and Viktor are remotely interviewed at home about their new (virtual) baby. Simone is concerned about her child’s future and decides to enter politics. The film shows how the fake is produced using the chroma key technique. A post-credits sequence shows Viktor creating fake footage of Simone in a supermarket, which one of her pursuers sees, believing it real.

S1m0ne is a highly entertaining satire about obsession with celebrity movie stars, and although not in the same league as Robert Altman’s magnificent The Player still holds its own as an enjoyable gentle farce.

 

REVIEW: MONSTER (2003)

 

CAST

Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Christina Ricci (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Bruce Dern (The Hateful Eight)
Lee Tergesen (Oz)
Annie Corley (The Killing)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Heroes Reborn)
Marco St. John (Thelma & Louise)
Marc Macaulay (Swamp Thing: The Series)
Kane Hodder (Jason X)

After moving from Michigan to Florida, Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute, meets Selby Wall in a gay bar. After initial hostility and declaring that she is not gay, Aileen talks to Selby over beers. Selby takes to Aileen almost immediately, as she likes that she is very protective of her. Selby invites her to spend the night with her. They return to the house where Selby is staying (temporarily exiled by her parents following the accusation from another girl that Selby tried to kiss her). They later agree to meet at a roller skating rink, and they kiss for the first time. Aileen and Selby fall in love, but they have nowhere to go, so Selby goes back to her aunt’s home.

After being raped and brutalized by a client, Vincent Corey, Aileen kills him in self-defense and decides to quit prostitution. She confesses her action to Selby, while Selby has been angry with her for not supporting the two of them. Aileen tries to find legitimate work; but because of her lack of qualifications and criminal history, prospective employers reject her and are occasionally openly hostile. Desperate for money, she returns to prostitution. She robs and kills her johns, each killed in a more brutal way than the last, as she is convinced that they are all trying to rape her. She spares one man out of pity when he admits he has never had sex with a prostitute but eventually kills another man who, instead of exploiting her, offers help. Aileen uses the money she steals from her victims to indulge herself and Selby.

However, as Selby reads in the papers about the string of murders, she begins to suspect that Aileen may have committed them. She confronts Aileen, who justifies her actions by claiming she was only protecting herself. Horrified, Selby returns to Ohio on a charter bus. Aileen is eventually arrested at a biker bar and speaks to Selby one last time while in jail. Selby reveals some incriminating information over the telephone and Aileen realizes that the police are listening in. To protect her lover, Aileen admits she committed the murders alone. During Aileen’s trial, Selby testifies against her. Aileen is convicted and sentenced to death. On October 9, 2002, Aileen is executed by lethal injection.untitledMonster isn’t an easy presentation to watch.  The rape scene that sets Aileen on her murderous path is vicious. And it doesn’t get any easier with the individual killings, especially the last when any vestige of sympathy the audience might have for Wuornos is forfeit.

 

REVIEW: DRIVE ANGRY

CAST

Nicolas Cage (Gone in 60 Seconds)
Amber Heard (Justice League)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Billy Burke (Twilight)
David Morse (The Rock)
Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly)
Charlotte Ross (Arrow)
Christa Campbell (The Mechanic)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Heroes Reborn)
Tom Atkins (Halloween III)
Jack McGee (The Fighter)

John Milton (Nicolas Cage) is an undead criminal who has broken out of Hell to kill Jonah King (Billy Burke), a cult leader who tricked Milton’s daughter into joining his followers in the wake of Milton’s death 10 years prior, only to kill her and her husband and steal their daughter -Milton’s granddaughter- to be sacrificed in a Satanist ritual, since King believes that if he kills the baby, he will unleash Hell over Earth. He also stole Satan’s personal gun, labeled The Godkiller.After interrogating and murdering some of King’s followers, Milton discovers that the ritual will take place in Stillwater, an abandoned prison in Louisiana. He heads there, but stops by a diner, where he meets Piper (Amber Heard), a waitress. Milton’s car is damaged in the pursuit, so he sabotages Piper’s car, a 1969 blue Dodge Charger R/T 440 and follows her to fix it in exchange for a ride on the way to Stillwater to find King.Entering her room, Piper walks in on her boyfriend, Frank (Todd Farmer), having sex with another woman. Piper beats up the woman and assaults Frank, getting knocked to the ground. Milton, in a phone booth nearby, hears the commotion and comes to Piper’s aid, kicking Frank in the face as he is about to continue assaulting Piper, and punching Frank repeatedly. Milton steals his car, taking Piper along with him driving to Stillwater. Meanwhile, a supernatural operative of Satan, The Accountant (William Fichtner), arrives on Earth with the mission to bring Milton back to Hell and take the rifle back. After interrogating Frank, he discovers that Milton and Piper are heading to Louisiana. After murdering Frank with a bat, he tricks a pair of state troopers into helping him by impersonating an FBI agent.At a shady hotel, Milton is attacked by King and his men, who heard about his return, but he kills most of them. The Accountant appears with the police and chases after Milton and Piper, who are chasing after King’s van. Milton uses The Godkiller to shoot the Accountant out of the road. They then follow King to a church, only to find it filled with King’s followers. They are ambushed and captured. Piper is kidnapped and Milton is shot in the eye and left for dead, but he awakens and kills King’s men before pursuing the RV once again. Inside, Piper breaks free and fights King before jumping out of the RV and onto Milton’s car. King then disables the car by repeatedly shooting its engine.Drive Angry - William FichtnerMilton and Piper then meet Milton’s friend Webster (David Morse), who provides them a new car, a 1971 red Chevrolet Chevelle SS. Piper discovers that Milton is literally undead and had to abandon his daughter to protect her from his former companions and that’s why she was so easily manipulated by King. Webster reveals that he died 10 years prior in a shootout, and that Webster personally carried his coffin. She also discovers that the Godkiller was stolen by Milton from Satan himself and has the power to completely destroy one’s soul, preventing it from going to either Heaven or Hell.

drive-angry-3d-film-reviewAfter arming himself, Milton tells Piper that he can not guarantee her safety and that she should leave, but she assures him that she has never had a worthy cause to fight for until now, and that she is with him regardless of the consequences. Milton tells Webster to stay behind, not wishing him to die. With the help of the Accountant, they evade the troops of Sheriff Cap (Tom Atkins) and finally arrive at Stillwater. The Accountant captures Piper and forces Milton to give up the Godkiller before he can engage King, but he allows Milton to go into battle against King and his followers to save his granddaughter, noting that Satan is more of a well-educated, calm warden of a very large prison, rather as a face of evil, and that he actually despises the sacrifices of innocent lives in his name.600px-drivea1911-4

While Milton slaughters King’s men before they can sacrifice the child, Piper escapes The Accountant’s clutches with the Godkiller. King eventually gets the upper hand on Milton and savagely beats him. Piper fires the Godkiller at King, but misses and hits one of his few surviving men instead. She is knocked out by the gun’s recoil. King orders one of his female servants to murder the child. However, the woman, who had been caring for the baby ever since King stole her, finds herself unable to carry out the deed, making King angry. The Accountant attracts King’s attention, allowing Milton to grab the Godkiller and shoot King, destroying his soul. The Accountant retrieves the baby. He allows Milton to say goodbye to her and Milton gives her to Piper, who promises to care for and protect her. Webster arrives and looks on as Milton “dies.”

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After both Piper and Webster have left, Milton is revealed to be still “alive” and with the Accountant. Following this, Milton makes good on his earlier promise to Webster, and nonchalantly drinks a beer out of what is left of King’s skull. He agrees to go back to Hell, but warns that if he is punished too severely for his actions, he will escape again. The Accountant claims that he looks forward to it, insinuating that chasing Milton is the most fun he has ever had. The Accountant then wiggles his keys and manifests a black 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air before throwing the keys to Milton. They then drive off into the gates of Hell.An exploitation film with cool action and all the other things you want in a movie like this.

REVIEW: HIGHLANDER: THE SERIES – SEASON 1-6

Image result for highlander the series logo

MAIN CAST

Adrian Paul (Eyeborgs)
Alexander Vandernoot (Pret-A-Porter)
Stan Kirsch (Shallow Ground)
Amanda Wyss (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
Elizabeth Gracen (Death of The Incredible Hulk)
Jim Byrnes (Sanctuary)
Philip Akin (Robocop 2014)
Michel Modo (My Father’s Glory)
Lisa Howard (Earth: Final Conflict)
Peter Wingfield (Caprica)

RECURRRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Christopher Lambert (Fortress)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Wendell Wright (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Peter Deluise (21 Jump Street)
Matthew Walker (Andromeda)
Soon-Tek Oh (Mulan)
Vincent Schiavelli (Buffy)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)
Garry Chalk (Dark Angel)
Joan Jett (The Sweet Life)
Gary Jones (Stargate SG.1)
Wes Studi (Mystery Men)
Marc Singer (V)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix)
Stephen Macht (Galaxina)
Scott McNeil (Beast Wars)
Vanity (52 Pick-Up)
J.G. Hertzler (Star Trek: DS9)
Tom Butler (Freddy vs Jason)
Werner Stocker (The White Rose)
Peter Howitt (Defying Gravity)
Roland Gift (Brakes)
Dee Dee Bridgewater (Another Life)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Nigel Terry (Troy)
Anthoyn Head (Buffy)
Marion Cotillard (Contagion)
Peter Guinness (Alien 3)
Roger Daltrey (Tommy)
Peter Hudson (Hitman)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
Cameron Bancroft (Legends of Tomorrow)
Douglas Arthurs (Stargate SG.1)
J.H. Wyman (Sirens)
Geraint Wyn Davies (Cube 2)
Traci Lords (Zack & Miri Make a Porno)
Andrew Jackson (Earth: Final Conflict)
Kendall Cross (Caprica)
Sheena Easton (Young Blades)
Don S. Davis (Stargate SG.1)
Robert Wisden (Watchmen)
Mitchell Kosterman (Smallville)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Robert Ito (Quincy M.E.)
Dustin Nguyen (21 Jump Street)
Bruce A. Young (Jurassic PArk III)
Andrea Roth (Ringer)
Roddy Piper (They Live)
Bill Dow (Stargate Atlantis)
Gabrielle Miller (Down River)
Bruce Weitz (Hill Street Blues)
Nicholas Lea (V)
Lochlyn Munro (Little Man)
Jonathan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Ed Lauter (The Number 23)
Roark Critchlow (V)
Jeremy Brudenell (Wish Me Luck)
Peter Firth (Victoria)
Angeline Ball (My Girl 2)
Nia Peeples (Pretty Little Liars)
James Faulkner (X-Men: First Class)
Nadia Cameron-Blakey (Batman Begins)
Emile Abossolo M’bo (Hitman)
Martin Cummins (Bates Motel)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Tamlyn Tomita (Heroes)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Randall Cobb (Liar Liar)
Chandra West (White Noise)
Brion James (Blade Runner)
Jason Gray-Stanford (Bones)
Alan Scarfe (Andromeda)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
Myles Ferguson (Little Criminals)
Jesse Moss (Ginger Snaps)
Sherry Miller (Bitten)
Laura Harris (Dead Like me)
Garwin Sanford (Stargate SG.1)
Anthony De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
Vincent Gale (Van Helsing)
Tamara Gorski (Hercules: TLJ)
Stella Stevens (General Hospital)
Barry Pepper (The Green Mile)
Vivan Wu (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
Richard Lynch (Puppet Master III)
Eugene Lipinski (Arrow)
David Robb (Downtown Abbey)
Lynda Boyd (Sanctuary)
Kim Johnston Ulrich (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Ben Pullen (Elizabeth I)
Paudge Behan (Veronica Guerin)
Carsten Norgaard (Alien vs Predator)
Anna Hagen (The Messengers)
Laurie Holden (the Walking Dead)
Gerard Plunkett (Sucker Punch)
Kristin Minter (Home Alone)
Wolfgang Bodison (A Few Good Men)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Heroes Reborn)
Callum Keith Rennie (Flashforward)
Louis Ferreira (Stargate Universe)
Travis MacDonald (Warcraft)
Venus Terzo (Arrow)
Rachel Hayward (Jingle All The Way 2)
Nicholas Campbell (Da Vinci’s Inquest)
Peter Outerbridge (Beauty and the Beast)
Jill Teed (Battlestar Galactica)
Molly Parker (Deadwood)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half men )
Ann Turkel (The Fear)
Ron Halder (Stargate Sg.1)
Ocean Hellman (Voyage of The Unicorn)
Rae Dawn Chong (Commando)
Carl Chase (Batman)
Michael J. Jackson (Coronation Street)
Ricco Ross (Wishmaster)
Peta Wilson (La Femme Nikita)
Jamie Harris (Agents of Shield)
Crispin Bonham-Carter (Basil)
Stephen Tremblay (Unnatural Pursuits)
Jesse Joe Walsh (JCVD)
Tracy Scoggins (Lois & Clark)
Real Andrews (Born on The 4th of July)
Eric McCormack (Will & Grace)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Michael Kopsa (Dark Angel)
Alastair Duncan (The Batman)
Sandra Bernhard (2 Broke Girls)
April Telek (Walking Tall)
Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Kira Clavell (Ninja Turtles: Next Mutation)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Peter Hanlon (Scary Movie)
Musetta Vander (Stargate SG.1)
Valetnine Pelka (8mm 2)
Sonja Codhant (Navarro)
Jonathan Firth (Withering Heights)
Danny Dyer (Severance)
Rachel Shelley (The L Word)
Alexis Denisof (Angel)
Anita Dobson (Eastenders)
Jasper Britton (The New World)
Alice Evans (The Originals)
Andrew Bricknell (Victoria)
Justina Vail (Seven Days)
Sandra Hess (Encino Man)
Claudia Christian (Babylon 5)
Jack Ellis (Bad Girls)
Paris Jefferson (Xena)_
Martin McDougall (Batman Begins)

Few television series’ that are based on movies live up to the original version, either because they simply don’t have right qualities that made the movie great or they the people making the show just don’t give a damn. “Highlander: The Series”, however, is one of those rare exceptions.

Image result for highlander the seriesBased off of the original 1986 fan favorite and produced by same the executive producers William Panzer and Peter Davis, it continued the saga of the immortals, a race of beings destined to fight one another in sword fights in a centuries long event called the game and who can only be killed by decapitation, with the opponent taking their head and their power. In particular, the show centers around one such immortal named Duncan Macleod (Adrian Paul in his best role) of the Clan Macleod, a descendant of Connor Macleod (Christopher Lambert who reprises his role for the pilot) from the first film.Image result for highlander the seriesBorn in the highlands of Scotland in 1592, Duncan has roamed the world for 400 years, seen many different events, and has fought in many different wars and many battles with other immortals. And that last part is one of the things that made the show great. You could count on almost every episode to feature a spectacular sword fight with the villain of the week, a battle of life and death, with Duncan Macleod emerging victorious from yet another trying ordeal and even more spectacular quickening.

Image result for highlander the seriesBased on that, you might expect a show centering on such a plot to become boring or same old, same old, and the show might very well have become so. But, the truth is the show managed to constantly entertain and thrill for most of its run in large part because of the talent the show had. Adrian Paul was more than capable of carrying a show, bringing not only charm and charisma to the role of Duncan but also a strong sense of honor and chivalry, thus making Duncan Macleod one of the great television heroes.Image result for highlander the seriesBut it wasn’t just Adrian’s acting that made the show great; it was also due to the well blending of strong supporting actors, guest stars and villains, writers, and set designers and directors. You had Richie Ryan (Stan Kirsch), a young man who becomes a part of Duncan’s world in a way he never imagined. Joe Dawson (Jim Byrnes) a member of a secret society of mortals called the Watchers who dedicate themselves to watching and recording the deeds and actions of the immortals; the always enjoyable Methos (the wonderfully charismatic Peter Wingfield), a 5,000 year old immortal and the oldest living of his kind; Amanda (Elizabeth Grace), an immortal who’s had an on again, off again relationship with Duncan throughout the ages and who’s not put off by an occasional high-value heist or two to make a living, and a slew of guest stars, villains and other supporting actors that added to the show every week.Image result for highlander the seriesPlus, one must also give credit to behind the scenes people, who not only managed to make things interesting in the present, but the past as well. Every episode featured dazzling historical flashbacks, flashbacks that were so good there isn’t one where you didn’t believe the characters weren’t where the show said they were, be it World War I France or British Colonial India (these flashbacks are even more remarkable when you consider the fact that the show, because it was syndicated, had a much smaller budget than shows tied directly to a network). It was also a show that, like the original film, caused the viewer to wonder what would it be like to live indefinitely and witness the changing of the times? What kind of person would you become if you witnessed your time, your religion, possibly even your entire culture disappear into the mists of time?Image result for highlander the seriesAll this must be credited to the writers, led by creative consultant David Abramowitz, who had a lot to do with the magic of the show. Not to say, of course, that weren’t imperfections; some episodes dragged, and one or two of them were pretty bad (the episode “The Zone” is a good example of this), not to mention the fact that the show badly lost steam in the last season, a thing that tends to happen to most shows in the end. However, that being said, the show did far more for the Highlander franchise than any of the sequels ever did. For that reason, it’s a show that all fans of action and fantasy should check out.

REVIEW: 13 SINS


CAST

Mark Webber (Green Room)
Devon Gaye (Dexter)
Tom Bower (Die Hard 2)
Rutina Wesley (Hannibal)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Heroes Reborn)
George Coe (The Entity)
Richard Burgi (Chuck)

Elliot Brindle, a meek salesman, loses his job despite his debt and the people who depend on him: Michael, his mentally handicapped brother; Shelby, his pregnant fiancee; and an unnamed, abusive father. Elliot receives a mysterious phone call that offers him $1,000 to assertively kill a fly that has been harassing him. After Elliot checks his bank account online and sees that he has been credited, he accepts the next challenge: to eat the dead fly. The caller explains that he will be offered a series of thirteen challenges, each of which will result in greater rewards. If he fails to complete any of them, interfere in the game, or reveals the game, he will forfeit all the money.

The next few challenges attract police attention: making a child cry, arson, and scamming a homeless person. When the child identifies Elliot in the police station based on wanted posters, Detective Chilcoat takes over the case. Shelby becomes concerned about Elliot’s secretive and odd behavior, and he explains that he is planning a surprise. For his sixth challenge, Elliot is forced to take a corpse out for coffee. Given a strict deadline, Elliot panics and brazenly steals a cup of coffee from a police officer. Elliot is credited with two challenges for his bold behavior after he threatens to file a complaint about the officer’s public intoxication.

After he flees the scene, the caller tells Elliot that he has left behind evidence; however, if he wins the game, his record will be purged. At the same time, Chilcoat tracks a conspiracy theorist that has been investigating the game. Paranoid, the man flees Chilcoat but advises him to kill Elliot at his first opportunity. For his next challenge, Elliot receives no instructions and is taken to a rural motel. There, a man identifies himself as a former childhood bully, and the caller tells Elliot to sever the man’s right arm with a surgical saw, an action which the man has apparently consented to. Elliot initially refuses, believing the man to be coerced by the caller, but the man deliberately provokes Elliot into cutting off his arm below the elbow. After driving the man to the hospital, Elliot savagely beats the man’s brother, who was also involved in bullying Elliot and Michael, and once urinated on Michael’s face. As a result, he is credited with two more completed challenges.

When the police arrive at the banquet hall where Elliot and Shelby are having their rehearsal dinner, Elliot is surprised to discover that they are interested in Michael. In order to give Michael time to escape, he accepts his next challenge, to destroy the banquet hall while singing The Internationale. Disappointed in his reluctance to break social norms, the caller instructs Elliot to surrender to the police, from whom Elliot learns that another person has been playing the game. Elliot takes and accidentally wounds a hostage in order to escape and complete the game before the other competitor. As he escapes, he leaves behind his cell phone. Desperate, he takes an old woman hostage when she shows up, sure that she is involved in his next challenge.

After feigning ignorance, the old woman reveals his next challenge: to set a stainless steel wire across the road. Elliot is horrified when he realizes that a group of bikers have been instructed to speed down the road. Although he disarms the trap in time, the other competitor rearms the trap, and the cyclists are decapitated. Disgusted, Elliot quits the game, and, when he returns home, discovers that Michael is the other competitor. Michael reveals that the final challenge is to kill a family member. Although Elliot originally tries to talk Michael out of killing their father, Elliot becomes homicidal when their father reveals he won the game by killing their mother. To prevent his sons from experiencing the horror of winning the game, their father commits suicide.

However, Michael refuses to stop playing the game and attempts to kill Elliot. Elliot kills Michael in self-defense, though he is stabbed multiple times. Elliot is credited for his final challenge, but he forfeits all the money when he interferes with the game by killing Chilcoat, who has murdered the conspiracy theorist and has now arrived to clean up the crime scene. In the final scene, Elliot learns that Shelby has declined to play the game, and he collapses laughing, but in the next shot it is revealed that she in fact killed the fly but refused to eat it for six thousand dollars, stating that it is “vile” and is shown throwing it into the trash.13 Sins  was totally unexpected. While it’s not a comedy per se, it certainly has an element of dark humour to it, but don’t let that mislead you. It’s grisly, it’s gruesome, it’s great and gory fun, with a wonderfully tense atmosphere. There are scenes of extreme and outrageous violence. The ending was unexpected too and a nice and tidy finish to an enjoyable but bumpy ride. Horror lovers should love it.

 

REVIEW: BEAUTIFUL CREATURES

 

 

CAST

Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!)
Alice Englert (New Worlds)
Jeremy Irons (Batman V Superman)
Emmy Rossum (Mystic River)
Thomas Mann (Fun Size)
Emma Thompson (Love Actually)
Margo Martindale (Mike & Molly)
Eileen Atkins (Vanity Fair)
Zoey Deutch (Vampire Academy)
Tiffany Boone (The Following)
Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars)
Rachel Brosnahan (The Unborn)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Heroes Reborn)

In Gatlin, South Carolina, Ethan Wate awakens from a recurring dream of a girl he does not know. In voice-over narration, he describes his enjoyment of reading banned books, his despair of his small-town existence, and his dreams of leaving for college. Arriving for his first day of junior year, Ethan notices newcomer Lena Duchannes, who resembles the girl he has been dreaming about. The other students do not take kindly to her and spread gossip regarding Lena’s reclusive uncle, Macon Ravenwood, and suggest that her family includes devil worshippers. Overhearing these whispers, Lena tenses, and the classroom windows shatter, amplifying the fears and suspicions of the class and the townspeople at large that she is a witch.

On a drive home, Ethan nearly runs over Lena, whose car has broken down. He gives her a ride home, and the two bond over their shared love of poetry and having both lost their mothers. Ethan drops Lena off but later finds a locket and returns to the mansion to give it to her as a present. Touching the locket triggers a shared flashback to the American Civil War, after which Ethan awakens at his home. Macon disapproves of their love and fondness of each other, and conspires with Ethan’s family friend, Amma, to keep the two separated. However, Ethan continues to pursue Lena until she confesses that she and her family are “casters” capable of performing magical spells that change the weather or create illusions. On her sixteenth birthday, Lena’s true nature will steer her towards either the light or the dark; Lena fears the latter, as it entails being consumed by evil and hurting those she loves. Ethan and her family insists she is responsible for her own choices and reassures her that she is a good person.

Matters are complicated by the arrival of two immensely powerful dark casters who aim to push Lena to the dark: Ridley, Lena’s provocative cousin/childhood friend, and Sarafine, Lena’s mother, who has possessed Mrs. Lincoln, the mother of Ethan’s friend Link. Sarafine foresees that Lena will become an even more powerful caster and intends for Lena to use her newfound power to purge the Earth of humans, leaving casters to rule in their wake. Lena and Ethan use the locket to re-experience the whole flashback, which reveals their ancestors, caster Genevieve Duchannes and mortal Confederate soldier Ethan Carter Wate were in love. Ethan Carter was shot in battle, and Genevieve revived him using a forbidden spell that caused her to go dark and curse all the Duchannes family’s women. They consult with Amma, who is in a seer/keeper of a caster library beneath the town library. The most ancient of these books, the Book of Moons, reveals the secret to undoing the curse: someone Lena loves has to die. Unwilling to take Ethan’s life, Lena has a final moment together with Ethan in which Lena makes it snow and then erases all his memories of their time together.

Ridley seduces Link and gives him a bullet to use in an upcoming Civil War reenactment of the Battle of Honey Hill which will take place on Lena’s birthday. During the reenactment, Link and Ethan agree to “kill” each other so they can ditch the reenactment. While at the ceremony for her 16th birthday, Lena feels the shock of the curse being broken and runs off to Ethan, clutching his dying body as Ridley and Sarafine encourage her to surrender to grief and accept the dark. Lena lashes out in anger, sending lightning strikes through the crowd of reenactors until Ethan transforms into Macon, who had previously disguised himself as Ethan to become the needed sacrifice. His dying words encourage Lena to “claim yourself”; she then causes the moon to disappear, so it cannot claim her for the dark. Lena allows Ridley to flee and pulls Sarafine from Mrs. Lincoln’s body, using her power to seal Sarafine’s spirit away.

Six months later, a still-amnesiac Ethan stops by the library to visit Amma before leaving for an NYU college tour with Link. He apologizes to Lena for not having gotten to know her during their time in Gatlin. When he inquires if a “banned book” by Charles Bukowski (which she had shared with him when they first met) is any good and Lena asks him to define good (the same reply she gave the first time he asked), Lena then presents it to him as a “getting out of Gatlin present”. As Link drives away, Ethan reads a passage in the book that he had earlier associated with Lena, while Lena is revealed in the caster library to be a half light/dark caster, as one of her eyes turns a different color, just like those of her cousin. As they drive past the town line, Ethan glimpses the town’s burned welcome sign and remembers everything. The car skids to a halt, Ethan gets out of the car and yells Lena’s name. She hears him call, and is freed of her dark side before the screen fades to black.

I enjoyed this film it was entertaining enough, though I understand many fans are unhappy with the adaptation.Good supporting cast ,the acting was good as well, and Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert had nice chemistry as Ethan and Lena. Of course, Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, and Viola Davis gave great performances together. A nice little story about supernatural powers, good vs evil, love and the power of love. For those looking for a good fantasy movie with love, action, and funny moments, this is the film for you. It was good from the beginning to end.