HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: DEVIL’S DUE

Starring

Zach Gilford (Super)
Allison Miller (13 Reasons Why)
Sam Anderson (Lost)
Madison Wolfe (The Conjuring 2)
Aimee Carrero (The Last Witch Hunter)
Vanessa Ray (Blue Bloods)
Michael Papajohn (Spider-Man)
Robert Belushi (How I Met Your Mother)

Allison Miller in Devil's Due (2014)A young couple, Zach and Samantha McCall, are about to get married when Zach decides he wants to document their life together since Sam was raised in foster homes and doesn’t know much about her history or roots. After their wedding, they go to the Dominican Republic for their honeymoon. During Carnival, the couple meet a fortune teller (DeMaris Gordon), who declares Sam was “born from death” and repeats to Sam that “they have been waiting” for her. Creeped out, the couple quickly leave. On their way out, a strange man watches them.Allison Miller in Devil's Due (2014)They get lost on the way home and a cab driver (Roger Payano) offers to take them to a local club. There are numerous strange symbols marking the area on their way there. At the club, the same man from the fortune teller’s watches them and speaks with the cab driver. Unaware they are being trapped, the couple is drugged and taken to an underground chamber beneath the nightclub where a ritual is performed and an unseen force fills the room. The next morning, Zach and Sam wake in their hotel with no memory of the previous night.Zach Gilford and Allison Miller in Devil's Due (2014)A couple of weeks after the honeymoon, Sam discovers she is pregnant despite claiming to have taken birth control pills “religiously” ever since the wedding. Though shocked, Zach and Samantha are overjoyed and tell their family and friends the news. The couple later attend their first ultrasound scan where the doctor says that the baby looks healthy and Sam is due by the end of March. At that moment, the ultrasound screen goes static but recovers after a moment.Allison Miller in Devil's Due (2014)Throughout the course of her pregnancy, Sam begins to experience nosebleeds, stomach bruising, cravings for raw meat (despite being a vegetarian), superhuman strength, telekinetic abilities and unexplained feelings of rage whenever she or the baby appear to be threatened. Also, Zach and Sam keep seeing odd-looking people watching them from afar. Sam becomes convinced something is seriously wrong with the baby and that they are being watched. After a second visit to the doctor, a new doctor (Robert Aberdeen) appears and performs an amnio after Sam appears nauseous. He has no answer as to the whereabouts of their original doctor and the couple is suspicious. Before the couple return home, masked men set up hidden cameras inside their home to monitor her progress and make sure she does not hurt the baby.When Sam is eight months pregnant, the couple attend a holy communion at their church. Their usually friendly niece (Madison Wolfe) is oddly scared of Sam now, and the priest (Sam Anderson) who officiated Zach and Sam’s wedding looks at Sam during the service and violently coughs up blood. Later at home, when Zach is reviewing the communion footage he filmed, he sees the mysterious cab driver from their honeymoon sitting in a pew. He visits the priest in the hospital, who explains the symbol is related to summoning the Antichrist. He warns Zach that the symbol is the gateway for the Antichrist, and that the followers of the cult will dress the house in ash to prepare for the arrival. After he finds ash all over his house (and the cops will not do anything), Zach chases the people watching their house and finds out where they are living. He asks his sister Suzie to stay with Sam while he breaks into the supposedly abandoned house at the end of his street where the cult is staying, and there he finds the CCTV footage of his house and the missing ultrasound. He is almost caught by the cult when he goes to leave. Performing the ritual with the other cult members is the McCall’s mysterious second doctor, as well as the man who has been watching their house and the cult leader (who they initially saw at the fortune teller’s place and later at the club). Zach barely manages to escape. Meanwhile, Suzie goes to check Sam, only to find that she is drawing the cult symbol before being attacked by unseen force.Devil's Due (2014)Upon returning home, Zach finds the house surrounded by the masked men who have been watching them all along. Inside, he finds Suzie dead and hears Sam scream as the house is being destroyed by some unseen force. He finds Sam in the baby’s nursery standing in a trance-like state with a knife to her stomach (the knife was a mysterious gift at her baby shower). She is standing atop the cult symbol that she has carved into the floor. Zach screams for her to stop, but she presses the knife to her stomach anyway and there is a violent blast of light. When Zach recovers, he finds Sam lying in her own blood with her stomach cut. Sam cries and wonders if the baby is all right before dying in his arms. Zach breaks down in grief before the cab driver and the second doctor arrive. Zach begs the intruders to leave them alone, but the doctor takes the baby regardless. The baby glows a deep red as he takes it from Sam’s body. The cult takes his camera and tapes, removing all evidence. Zach is arrested and interrogated by the police about the death of his wife and sister, and disappearance of his child, crimes for which he looks guilty. Before the credits, the screen shows another young couple, on their honeymoon in Paris, where the same cab driver offers them a lift, hinting that the events are about to repeat all over.Devil's Due (2014)All things considered, “Devil’s Due” is an oddball in the sub genre in which it’s been placed. The film doesn’t make any claims to reality, doesn’t ascribe to jump scares or a surprise ending, has shockingly worthwhile performances, and, most importantly, isn’t actually a “found footage” movie at all. The references to “Paranormal Activity” and “Rosemary’s Baby” are indubitable, and despite the film’s burnout ending, I still was mildly happy with it, probably because it did the opposite of what I expected it to do in a lot of ways. The flip side of that is that the film doesn’t have much in way of surprises, but the above-average performances and a handful of crafty scenes elevated it above any other hand-held and/or found footage horror film to come out in the past five years.

REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER – SEASON 9

Starring

Josh Radnor (The Hunt)
Jason Segel (Sex Tape)
Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Endgame)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Cristin Milioti (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Bob Saget (Full House)

Jason Segel and Sherri Shepherd in How I Met Your Mother (2005)RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Sherri Shepherd (Precious)
Wayne Brady (Foodfight!)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eye)
Marshall Manesh (Will & Grace)
Robert Belushi (Devil’s Due)
Roger Bart (Good Trouble)
Frances Conroy (Catwoman)
Virginia Williams (Fuller House)
Edward Herrmann (The Lost Boys)
Rhys Darby (Yes Man)
Harry Groener (Buffy)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Nancy Lenehan (Two Guys and a Girl)
James Van Der Beek (Varsity Blues)
Alan Thicke (Growing Pains)
Stacy Keibler (The Comebacks)
Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland)
April Bowlby (Doom Patrol)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved)
Joe Nieves (Stuck In The Middle)
Adam Paul (One For The Money)
Lou Ferrigno Jr. (S.W.A.T.)
Sarah Chalke (Scrubs)
Ashley Williams (A Most Violent Year)
Bill Fagerbakke (spngebob Squarepants)
Abby Elliott (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Matt Walsh (Ted)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Tracey Ullman (Into The Woods)
Lucy Hale (Truth Or Dare)
Chris Kattan (Undercover Brother)
Jon Heder (School for Scoundrals)
Chris Elliott (The Abyss)
Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks)
Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management)
Emily Chang (The Vampire Diaries)
Jorge Garcia (Lost)
Kal Penn (Superman Returns)
Jennifer Morrison (Star Trek)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
David Burtka (Neil’s Puppet Dreams)
Abigail Spencer (Cowboys and Aliens)
Taran Killam (12 Years a Slave)

Alyson Hannigan, Josh Radnor, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)With the exception of the very last episode, the entirety of season nine takes place in the 56 hours leading up to Barney and Robin’s wedding.Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel, Josh Radnor, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Marshall, who is stuck in Minnesota, desperately tries to find a way to get to the wedding in time. Meanwhile, in Farhampton, the time is slowly counting down to the wedding, with a new problem arising in almost every episode. It is revealed that Lily is pregnant and that she and Marshall will have a daughter. It was also revealed that Ted’s children are named Penny and Luke. In addition, the 200th episode detailed the Mother’s eight years before meeting Ted, while later episodes gave viewers a glimpse of Ted and the Mother together in flash forward scenes.Josh Radnor and Cristin Milioti in How I Met Your Mother (2005)In the series finale, it was revealed that after three years of marriage, Barney and Robin decide to divorce. Barney ends up fathering a child conceived through a one-night stand. Marshall eventually becomes a judge, and he and Lily have three children. Ted’s wife, Tracy, dies of illness in 2024, six years prior to Ted telling his children the full story of how they met. Upon finishing the story, at the urging of his kids, Ted decides to ask Robin out. Alluding to the first season, the finale ends with Robin looking out her apartment window to see Ted on the street holding the blue French horn.Josh Radnor and Cristin Milioti in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Season 9 may have a controversial ending but it’s nice to see a show have a proper ending with so many shows ending early they often fail to finish. How I Met You Mother proved it could stay the distance and the ending will be talked about for years to come.

REVIEW: AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE – SEASON 3

Katy Mixon in American Housewife (2016)

MAIN CAST

Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly)
Diedrich Bader (Meet The Spartans)
Meg Donnelly (Zombies)
Daniel DiMaggio (Daddy’s Home 2)
Julia Butters (Transparent)
Ali Wong (The Lego Ninjago Movie)
Carly Hughes (Brampton’s Own)

Katy Mixon in American Housewife (2016)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Sara Rue (Mom)
Tom Lenk (Buffy: TVS)
Kelly Ripa (Hope & Faith)
Jason Dolley (Good Luck Charlie)
Logan Pepper (Wolves)
Jerry Lambert (Graves)
Wendie Malick (The Ranch)
Jessica St. Clair (Wanderlust)
Peyton Meyer (Wayne)
Milo Manheim (Z-O-M-B-I-E-S)
Evan O’Toole (Wild)
Nikki Hahn (Adventures In Babysitting)
Leslie Bibb (Popular)
Ravi Patel (Master of None)
Victoria Justice (Victorious)
Barret Swatek (2 Broke Girls)
Carly Craig (Sideswiped)
Gregory Harrison (Picnic)
Patrick Duffy (Dallas)
Jay Mohr (Go)
Katy Perry (The Smurfs)
Jeannette Sousa (Castle)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Eddie Shin (Westworld)
George Hamilton (The Godfather – Part III)
Robert Belushi (How I Met Your Mother)
Reylynn Caster (The Matchbreaker)
Richard Riehle (Office Space)
Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings)

American Housewife (2016)Well the third season finale just aired and I must say that the stories have been jus tas fun as the previous season, ending on a musical is real highlight. This seasons highlights were…Diedrich Bader and Katy Mixon in American Housewife (2016)

Mom Guilt

Following the success of the spring gala, Katie goes back to work as a party planner, only to learn that her first client is Nancy Granville. Katie reluctantly leaves Greg to deal with Anna-Kat’s increasing OCD behavior, blaming it on her absence from the home. She also promises to pay for Oliver to go see his new favorite motivational speaker if he will help “parent” his little sister Taylor.

American Housewife (2016)

Cheaters Sometimes Win

Katie’s mother Kathryn arrives and immediately causes a stir when she tells Taylor it’s okay to not attend college, and instead become a flight attendant like herself. Oliver gets suspended for turning in a store-bought bird feeder for wood shop class, which he fears will now ruin his chances of getting into Harvard. Katie worries that both Oliver and Anna-Kat may have learned from her that it’s okay to cheat sometimes.

American Housewife (2016)

Enemies: An Otto Story

The rivalry between Katie and Chloe Brown Mueller comes to a head when Anna-Kat and Chloe’s daughter are running for the same student council position. Oliver wants to continue his ballet at an exclusive prep school, but Katie and Greg are strongly against it. Meanwhile, Greg suspects that Taylor’s new musical theater partner, Pierce, is trying to come between her and Trip.

Brielle Barbusca, Nikki Hahn, Daniel DiMaggio, and Logan Pepper in American Housewife (2016)

Trust Me

After Taylor lies about adult supervision at a Halloween party she wants to attend, Katie wants to make her stay home but Greg says they should trust her and see where it goes. Oliver and Cooper attend a party with Gina and Gina’s cousin, and both are a little apprehensive when the girls promise a make-out session in a closet. This happens to be a party Katie has planned, and the boys are let off the hook when pregnant Viv arrives and Katie is forced to deliver her baby in front of several horrified teens. At home, Anna-Kat thinks she is too grown up for Halloween, but later regrets her decision while handing out candy.

American Housewife (2016)

Body Image

Now that the formerly fattest housewife in Westport has had gastric bypass surgery, Chloe Brown Mueller can’t wait to flaunt the woman in front of Katie. Convinced that Chloe has had work done, Katie enlists Doris and Angela to help her dig up an unflattering photo of Chloe from a high school yearbook. At the same time, Katie worries about her children becoming too body conscious. Taylor tries to do something about the thin lips she inherited from Grandma Kathryn, Oliver becomes obsessed with developing well-defined calves like the new guy in his ballet class, and Anna-Kat is curious about her teacher’s new boob job.

Katy Mixon and Carly Craig in American Housewife (2016)

Trophy Wife

When Katie learns that a hot young trophy wife has a stepdaughter in Anna-Kat’s class, she convinces the woman to become a room parent for the sole purpose of annoying and worrying the older judgmental moms in town. This backfires when it causes Anna-Kat’s choice for Friday movie to get nixed by the new room parent. Meanwhile, Greg enlists the help of Oliver and Taylor to get Grandma Kathryn to talk about something other than herself, but it proves to be difficult.

Milo Manheim and Meg Donnelly in American Housewife (2016)

Saving Christmas

Katie’s father Marty (Patrick Duffy) arrives unexpectedly for the holidays, not knowing that his ex-wife Kathryn is living there. Despite Katie’s attempts to keep the two apart, they end up in bed together. Meanwhile, Anna-Kat tries to help Trip win back Taylor, and Oliver has a humbling experience during his ballet troupe’s holiday performance.

Diedrich Bader and Cheyenne Jackson in American Housewife (2016)

Disconnected

While Katy goes boot shopping with Taylor to try and reconnect with her, Greg agrees to take Oliver to see motivational speaker Johnny Diamond in hopes of bonding better with his son. This leaves Anna-Kat feeling like her status as the favorite child is in jeopardy.

American Housewife (2016)

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

Greg and Katie decide to get frivolous with Katie’s bonus check and go to a fancy Westport hotel, which leaves Taylor in charge of the house. Trying to prove he can be a “bad boy”, Oliver takes his parents’ other car without permission to drive Cooper and himself to a party.

Leslie Bibb and Katy Mixon in American Housewife (2016)

Baby Crazy

Overwhelmed as a single parent, Viv drops off her baby with the Ottos which has Greg thinking he would like another child. When Viv’s ex-husband returns, insisting he’s a changed man, Katy has to convince the exhausted Viv that she is still better off without him. Meanwhile, Taylor schemes to get Oliver’s help in retrieving an expensive earring that the dog ate.

Meg Donnelly in American Housewife (2016)

American Idol

When Taylor expresses her desire not to go to college and to become a professional singer instead, Katy solicits the help of Doris’ kids’ hypercritical music teacher to diminish Taylor’s interest. At home, Oliver and Anna-Kat help Greg create a viral message to promote membership in his historical society. Meanwhile, Katy is hired to plan a party for a Westport businesswomen’s association, only to learn it is all her frienemies pretending to be important.

Katy Mixon, Meg Donnelly, and Julia Butters in American Housewife (2016)

Phone Free Day

With Anna-Kat obsessing over using Taylor’s phone and Taylor constantly complaining about it, Katie proposes to give up her own phone for a day and give Taylor a new phone if she can do the same. But the plan backfires on Katie multiple times. Meanwhile, Oliver overhears two businessmen discussing something that would greatly affect their company stock. Wanting to take advantage of the situation but not able to purchase stock at his age, Oliver seeks advice from a pile of VHS tapes that Spencer left for him.

Katy Mixon in American Housewife (2016)

Field Trippin’

Upon realizing that work has kept her from spending quality time with Anna-Kat, Katie decides to chaperone Anna-Kat’s class field trip, only to find that her daughter doesn’t want her there. Meanwhile, Taylor and Oliver jointly fake being sick so they can play hooky with Trip and Cooper, respectively. But Greg has some fun spoiling their day upon figuring out the lie.Peyton Meyer and Meg Donnelly in American Housewife (2016)

The Dance

As the school dance approaches, Franklin asks Greg for permission to take his daughter. With all their children having dates for the dance, Greg and Katie look forward to a rare romantic night alone. But Franklin surprises everyone by asking Taylor to the dance instead of Anna-Kat, stating Anna-Kat is merely his best friend. Anna-Kat then asks Trip to the dance to make Franklin jealous, and Taylor encourages Trip to accept so they can at least be at the dance together. Meanwhile, Oliver and Brie see a psychic, who tells them a “romantic evening will end in disaster”, making Oliver fearful to attend the dance. In the end, it is Katie and Greg’s romantic evening that is ruined, as they rush to the dance to head off Brie’s mother, who says her daughter is not allowed to date yet and went behind her back.

Diedrich Bader and Meg Donnelly in American Housewife (2016)

A Mom’s Parade

Frustrated by the lack of appreciation for all she does, Katie decides to leave the family to fend for itself.

1600x640-Q90_95591d5e6fad2db38ef760797500a413In a world where weekly television series’ have to compete against streaming platforms like Netflix, it’s easy for shows like American Housewife to get lost in the shuffle. But what is clear to me is that this show has the power to stand up against the competition and you should tune in or at least add it to your watchlist. It’s guaranteed to be one of the funniest half hours of your week.

REVIEW: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – SEASON 1

CAST

Clark Gregg (When A Stranger Calls)
Ming-Na Wen (Stargate Universe)
Brett Dalton (Killing Lincoln)
Chloe Bennet (Nashville)
Ian De Caestecker (Filth)
Elizabeth Henstridge (Reach Me)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

J. August Richards (Angel)
Shannon Lucio (The O.C)
Ron Glass (Firefly)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Sarah Dumont (Don Jon)
Leonor Varela (Blade II)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight)
David Conrad (Roswell)
Ian Hart (Harry Potter)
Ruth Negga (World War Z)
Louis Ozawa Changchien (The Bourne Legacy)
Cullen Douglas (Pure Genius)
Vincent Laresca (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Titus Welliver (The Town)
Maximiliano Hernández (Ringer)
Ilia Volok (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Saffron Burrows (Deep Blue Sea)
Charles Halford (Constantine)
Peter MacNicol (24)
Erin Way (Colony)
Robert Baker (Supergirl)
Laura Seay (Superbad)
Maximilian Osinski (In Time)
Aiden Turner (All My Children)
Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why)
Daniel Zovatto (Don’t Breathe)
Christine Adams (BLack Lightning)
Maiara Walsh (The Vampire Diaries)
Carlo Rota (Saw V)
Stan Lee (Super Hero Squad)
Elena Satine (The Gifted)
Bill Paxton (Aliens)
Robert Belushi (How I Met Your Mother)
B.J. Britt (One Tree Hill)
Jaimie Alexander (Thor)
Dylan Bruno (Taken 3)
Brad Dourif (Cult of CHucky)
Adrian Pasdar (Heores)
Patton Oswalt (Young Adult)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Glenn Morshower (Transformers)

Ming-Na Wen, Clark Gregg, Iain De Caestecker, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, and Elizabeth Henstridge in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)When Marvel’s cinematic universe first took off, the next move was to make the leap to television, Marvel turned to Avengers director Joss Whedon’s brother Jed and his wife/collaborator Maurissa Tancharoen, who took the popular Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One character Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), the man who helped gather the heroes who became the Avengers, and made him the star of his own series, focused on his team at S.H.I.E.L.D., the international peacekeeping organization run by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson.) The hour-long drama would build off of the well-known heroics, and tell connected tales of espionage, as Coulson and his squad respond to threats to humanity around the world.Now, in case you haven’t seen The Avengers, you should know that in a climactic battle, Coulson was very badly injured, which became a rallying point for the heroes. Well, he’s back, but how he made it back is a large part of the series’ foundation, which is revealed in piecemeal over the course of the first season. Coulson’s search for the truth is intertwined with the arrival of the newest member of his team, a hacker known as Skye (Chloe Bennett), who has plenty of secrets of her own, in part due to her past as a rogue “hacktivist.” Trust is a massive theme in the series, as no one is sure about anyone else but they have to rely on each other if they are going to complete their missions, which remind one of Fringe in a big way, as the team investigates strange phenomena in order to keep humanity safe.Lorelei, Though certainly not a big-name Marvel character (her sister The Enchantress has a much higher profile) and not the first recognizable super-powered character on the show (that would be the cybernetic assassin Deathlok, whose origin is revealed over the course of the season), Lorelei tips the scales with her appearance because she, as an Asgardian, creates a direct link to the world of Thor, and also because she’s followed to Earth by Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander), the Asgardian warrior from the two Thor films. Finally, fans exclaimed, there’s some honest to goodness superhero action to be enjoyed, and that was followed by direct ties into the new Captain America movie, picking up the plot from the theaters and bringing its effects home. This was the crossover dream that comics mastered decades ago, and now Marvel was making happen between movies and TV (and you didn’t really even need to see both sides to enjoy them separately.)After offering this cookie to the fans, the series shifted back to the spy game though, where it would stay for the rest of the season, introducing Bill Paxton and Saffron Burrows in major roles) as Coulson’s organization crumbled around him and the team shifted from saving the world to saving each other. Coulson’s team, which, aside from Skye, includes Ward (Brett Dalton), a perfect soldier; badass pilot May (Ming-Na Wen) and science specialists Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), comes together quickly as a unit on the series, establishing their personalities right off the bat, with Skye serving as the show’s young star, showing the old guard how a new generation does the job (though still requiring saving and offering a hearty cry every now and then) and Fitz and Simmons serving as the audience’s tech-loving stand-ins, the most down-to-earth parts of a fantastical realm. May though, with her economy of words and excess of butt-kicking skill, is the “Wolverine” of the show, and her relationship with Coulson serves as a backbone for the series. Naturally, Gregg’s performance is integral to the show, and he continues to shine in the role of Coulson, giving us a smartass secret agent for the ages.While the show is a serial and does well at telling action-adventure arcs of mystery and intrigue, building the mythology and establishing a larger storyline, it could do one-offs as well, including two of the season’s best episodes, “FZZT” which ties into The Avengers while telling a standalone story that put a spotlight on Fitz and Simmons, and “T.R.A.C.K.S.”, which puts the team on a train and tries out some interesting storytelling structure. The show also has its humorous side, taking its tone from the Marvel films, which blend grits with grins (and though Patton Oswalt gets a featured role in one episode, for once, he’s not responsible for the laughs.) For the most part, this mix works well, as it helps illustrate the growing camaraderie between the teammates and keeps the tone light, but it can get out of hand very quickly. The final episode, where much of what’s been revealed over the course of the previous 21 episodes comes to a head, the lightheartedness (thanks to an appearance by a famous friend of the team) goes over the top.