CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN: REINFORCEMENT

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CAST
Josh Keaton (Superman/Shazam)
Thom Adcox-Hernandez (Under Siege 2)
Xander Berkeley (Beware The Batman)
Steve Blum (The Boxtrolls)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Robert Englund (The Batman)
Crispin Freeman (Fast Sofa)
Elisa Gabrielli (South Park)
Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars Rebels)
This show does not mess around when it comes to using any and all characters from Spider-Man’s history!  I was very impressed and excited to see fairly obscure criminal underworld characters Blackie Gaxton and Patch appear in this episode.  This episode featured the return of the Sinister Six, albeit in a new configuration, with Mysterio and Kraven standing in for Doctor Octopus and Shocker. With that many villains, it’s not surprising that this was an episode with a ton of action, as it quickly turned into one prolonged chase/fight scene for Spider-Man.I loved how this fight moved from one environment to another, traveling to some very different places, from an ice skating rink to a pier, to a department store. Once again, this show proved to be one of the best on TV when it comes to action scenes, with a ton of visually exciting moments that sometimes are so quick, they beg you to rewind the DVR. Such a moment occurred when Spider-Man jumped to avoid a bunch of hurled tires while fighting Electro – and while he dodged some, he actually contorted himself right through the center of one, in a blink and you miss it moment. This was an episode that really reinforced Spider-Man as a clever and creative sparring partner for any of the villains he takes on. Whether it be using those aforementioned rubber tires to trap Electro, or goading Rhino onto ice not strong enough to hold him, or spraying perfume on the scent-sensitive Kraven, our wall-crawling hero was in top form here and it was incredibly fun to watch.
On a more bizarre but no less entertaining level, you also had the moment where Mysterio unleashed his mechanical bats at Spidey, and they could be heard squeaking stuff like, “Rematch! Rematch!”, clearly eager to get another shot at the guy who had beaten them two episodes ago.
Understandably, an episode this action-heavy was a little light on character moments, but the ones we got were solid. Peter’s already stuck debating between Liz and Gwen, so it was very funny when Mary Jane was trying to give him advice, only for him to begin daydreaming, thinking, “Would you look at her… She’s gorgeous!”
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CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: V (1984) – REFLECTIONS IN TERROR

REFLECTIONS IN TERROR
MAIN CAST
Marc Singer (Arrow)
Faye Grant (Drive Me Crazy)
Jane Badler (One Life to Live)
June Chadwick (This Is Spinal Tap)
Jennifer Cooke (Friday The 13Th – Part VI)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Lane Smith (Lois & Clark)
Blair Tefkin (Greenberg)
Michael Wright (The Interpreter)
Jeff Yagher (Alias)
GUEST CAST
Mickey Jones (Sling Blade)
James Daughton (Blind Date)

It’s a very special Lizardy Christmas Episode! I really liked the simplicity of this episode. There was no super weapon or dastardly plot to overthrow. It was all little parts of the war and it let characters develop. Basically the episode had three storylines, two of which interweave by episode’s end. The first is Donovan and Ham struggles with smuggling the children. The second is the Elizabeth Clone saga. The third is Nathan Bates vs. Julie Parrish and the Resistance Ham really is the star of this episode as we delve into his mysterious past. Is it a stretch that he does the whole Grinch arc? Yeah, a little, but you expect a little maudlin in holiday themed episodes of any TV show. But his interaction with Jennifer is some of the best that the series had to offer as her childish innocence is able to draw the man out of the stone cold killer. The return of Chris Faber is a mixed bag of sorts. I love the character and think he and Ham are a great team. Their introduction in The Final Battle is one of the more memorable sequences. However, one of the few things the weekly series had going for it was the great camaraderie between Donovan and Ham. Singer and Ironside had worked well together.

So basically it took the team of Donovan and Ham and made it Ham and Chris again. The Elizabeth Clone portion of the story leaves a lot to be desired. Of course it reminds me that the superior alien race has yet to produce an anti-toxin. Now maybe this is the non scientist in me, but I would think that Diana should be able to work up something from Elizabeth’s blood sample as I think that was all Robert Maxwell and Julie were working off of. In addition the yo-yo of Elizabeth is in full effect. Not 5 episodes ago, Julie wouldn’t let her out of the Club Creole because it was too dangerous for her to be out by herself. Now she can walk around by herself and Christmas shop, no problem. This episode she also seems like she is the more mature Elizabeth…basically, there is little consistency to her character at all. I enjoyed Nathan Bates’ storyline in this episode. Rarely do we see Nathan this angry and determined. It gave Lane Smith a couple of scenery chewing moments which were welcome.

The destruction of the Club Creole was not as good, as it really served as a good cover operation. The one question that wasn’t answered at episodes end really is how the resistance knew of Bates’ sting. It’s not quite clear if Chiang’s men set the explosives and Chris re-worked them or if Chiang’s men who attacked WAS the only planned attack and Chris set up the explosives as a way to pretend it was destroyed. Either way, it still leaves the question open, how did they know? Overall, it was a feel good episode.

REVIEW: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN – SEASON 1-2

CAST (VOICES)

Josh Keaton (Green Lantern:TAS)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)
Grey Delisle (The Replacements)
James Arnold Taylor (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Alanna Ubach (Legally Blonde)
Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars Rebels)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Peter MacNicol (Ghostbusters 2)
Daran Norris (Veronica Mars)
Alan Rachins (LA Law)
Kath soucie (Rugrats)
Crispin Freeman (Digimon)
Cree Summer (Batman Beyond)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Elisa Gabrielli (Mulan)
Kelly Hu (Arrow)
Tricia Helfer (Powers)
Courtney B. Vance (Flashforward)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Nikki Cox (Las Vegas)

It would be hard to argue that any comic book superhero has enjoyed a more sustained popularity over the last five decades than Spider-Man. The Marvel Comics character, the mainstay of that company’s flagship publication The Amazing Spider-Man, has been spun off  into numerous other venues, from cartoon and live action television shows to a rock album, a series of wildly popular theatrical movies, and even a recurring part in the old PBS series The Electric Company.

The Spectacular Spider-Man is a current incarnation of this comics legend that takes its name from a now-defunct spin-off comic book title. It’s a half-hour cartoon series, aimed primarily at kids but with some postmodern nods to adults, and basically offers an early 21st century update of the original Spider-Man comic books. Here, Peter Parker (voiced by Josh Keaton) attends high school with Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacey. Bully Flash Thompson is also around, and Parker’s future wife Mary Jane Watson transfers to his school midway in the series. Parker lives at home with his Aunt May, and moonlights as the crimefighting Spider-Man whenever he can. As he battles colorful super-villains, he’s taking snapshots of himself for the newspaper Daily Bugle. Several of the classic characters from that fictional periodical are here, including Betty Brant and the obnoxious J. Jonah Jameson (voiced hilariously by Daran Norris).spidey_wp-01

The series is light and fun, with a nice sense of humor. As such, it captures the essence of Spider-Man fairly well. Each episode is relatively self-contained, although certain plot points connect the episodes into a larger whole. The animation strikes me as bright and colorful – and certainly competent for a weekly television program. The characters are presented with some awkward angularity at times, but at least it’s consistent and uniform in presentation. As an old comics fan, I enjoyed this updating of the Spider-Man mythos, and I certainly imagine that it will entertain its core audience: adolescents.ranking-the-spider-man-animated-series_cgbj

In season 2 Peter Parker’s life becomes significantly more complicated as he finds himself torn between Gwen Stacy and Liz Allan, both of whom have confessed their feelings for him; he eventually chooses Liz. Norman Osborn takes on the role of Peter’s mentor, pulling strings to re-establish his job as Dr. Connors’ lab assistant, as well as overseeing the installment of the conniving Dr. Miles Warren into the ESU Labs. Meanwhile, as Spider-Man, Peter encounters new villains Mysterio and Kraven the Hunter, leading him to investigate the activities of a mysterious new crime lord known as the “Master Planner”.fe109-spiderman-animatedWhen the Master Planner’s first scheme fails, Spider-Man is faced with a three-way gang war between the Planner’s super-villain forces, the Big Man’s established order, and the old guard of Silvio “Silvermane” Manfredi’s family. Peter’s search for Eddie Brock also leads to the return of Venom, who attempts to expose Spider-Man’s secret identity and remove his powers. Finally, when the three major crime lords are arrested, Spider-Man once again goes up against the Green Goblin, who is once again bent on eliminating the wall-crawler once and for all.

ranking-the-spider-man-animated-series_cgbjOther new characters introduced in the second season include Calypso, Sha Shan Nguyen, Silver Sable, Roderick Kingsley and Molten Man. Quentin Beck and Phineas Mason return as Mysterio and the Tinkerer respectively.fe109-spiderman-animatedIt appears that the episodes in this eighth volume of The Spectacular Spider-Man are the swan song of the series. That’s a shame as this was a fun and energetic cartoon take on the classic Marvel superhero. Based upon content, The show was cancelled to make way for the Ultimate Spider-man cartoon which as we all know is just a train wreck.spidey_wp-01

REVIEW: NEVER SLEEP AGAIN: THE ELM STREET LEGACY

 

CAST

Robert Englund (Wishmaster)
Heather Langenkamp (Hellraiser: Judgement)
Wes Craven (Scream 4)
Robert Shaye (New Nightmare)
Amanda Wyss (Highlander: THe Series)
Jsu Garcia (Along Came Polly)
Johnny Depp (Blow)
John Saxon (From Dusk Till Dawn)
Leslie Hoffman (Star Trek: DS9)
Robert Rusler (Weird Science)
Kim Myers (Hellraiser 4)
Clu Gulager (The Virginian)
Marshall Bell (Total Recall)
Ken Sagoes (Intolerable Cruelty)
Rodney Eastman (I Spit On Your Grave)
Penelope Dudrow (After Midnight)
Jennifer Rubin (Screamers)
Ira Heiden (Alias)
Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Priscilla Pointer (The Flash
Brooke Bundy (General Hospital)
Lisa Wilcox (Watchers Reborn)
Tuesday Knight (The Fan)
Lisa Zane (Bad Influence)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
Kane Hodder (Jaxon X)
Breendan Fletcher (Bloodrayne 3)
Zack Ward (Transformers)

The documentary itself lasts just under 4 hours, each film gets at least 25 minutes dedicated to it, and Freddy’s Nightmares and New Line Cinema get a brief discussion as well. Asides from Johnny Depp and Patricia Arquette more or less everyone from the 8 films is interviewed. I watched the whole documentary in one sitting, at no point does it drag. It isn’t just talking heads there are interesting behind the scenes photos and videos, some of which feature unused special effects and deleted scenes – including a replacement for Robert Englund if he had wanted to much of a pay rise for the second film, I’ll say this, thankfully the two parties came to agreement! The interviewees don’t just pander to one another and pat each other on the back, they are quick to point out flaws in their own performances and disappointment with others.

Highly recommended. It is the perfect companion to the films.

REVIEW: FREDDY VS JASON

CAST

Robert Englund (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
Ken Kirzinger (Stan Helsing)
Kelly Rowland (Empire)
Monica Keena (The Devil’s Advocate)
Jason Ritter (Girls)
Chris Marquette (Fanboys)
Brendan Fletcher (News Movie)
Katharine Isabelle (American Mary)
Lochlyn Munro (Little Man)
Kyle Labine (Grand Star)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)
David Kopp (Romeo Must Die)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Garry Chalk (Arrow)
Evangeline Lilly (Lost)
Chris Gauthier (Earthsea)

Freddy Krueger is trapped in Hell, it’s 2003 and 4 years after the events and time of the sixth film and due to the fact the teenage residents of his town of Springwood, Ohio have forgotten about him, rendering him powerless, he can no longer return to Springwood, because there’s no fear of him left in the entire town. He “can’t come back if nobody’s afraid”, so, under the guise of Jason Voorhees’ mother, Freddy manipulates Jason, who he’d been looking for over a period of time to do so, into killing the teenage residents of Springwood, hoping the mass fear will restore his powers. Since the residents of Springwood were terrorized by him and not Jason, Freddy reasons, the fear will be directed towards him, giving him more power than ever hoped for. His plan succeeds and Freddy is allowed to return.

Lori Campbell now lives with her widowed father at 1428 Elm Street. Her friends Kia, Gibb, Trey, and Blake, spend the night, and Jason kills Trey by stabbing him in the back, before folding him in half with the mattress. The gruesomeness of the murder and the fact it happened in bed cause police to speculate Freddy was responsible. Later, Blake has a nightmare about Freddy, and awakens to find his beheaded father sitting beside him before Jason appears and kills Blake as well. The next day, the police blame the murders on Blake, who they say committed suicide.
Lori’s ex-boyfriend Will Rollins and his friend Mark Davis, are patients at Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital, forced to take Hypnocil to suppress their dreams. After seeing a news report on the murders, Mark devises a plan, and the two escape. He and Will return to Springwood, where Mark informs Lori and the others about Freddy. Mark later learns of the city’s plan to erase Freddy by making the population forget about him and realizes he may have ruined their plan. That night, Lori and the others attend a rave at a cornfield. A drunken Gibb believes she sees Trey and follows him to a silo, which turns out to be a dream trap set by Freddy. As Freddy is about to kill Gibb, Jason, who has arrived at the rave to slaughter partygoers, kills her in the real world. An enraged Freddy realizes Jason will not stop stealing his potential victims.

Linderman, a classmate who has a crush on Lori, and stoner Freeburg escape the rave unharmed along with Lori, and Kia. Lori confronts her father about her mother’s death and traps him in a lie. She and Will go to Mark’s house, only to find him being attacked by Freddy, who slashes his face with his bladed gloves. Deputy Stubbs suspects there is a copycat of Jason murderer, but his suspicions fall on deaf ears. He approaches Lori and her friends, who piece together Freddy’s plan. Learning of the Hypnocil, they decide to steal some from Westin Hills, but Freddy possesses Freeburg and disposes of the drugs. After electrocuting Stubbs, Jason is tranquilized by the Freddy-possessed Freeburg, whom Jason cuts in half before succumbing to the drugs.

The teens devise a plan to pull Freddy from the dream world and force the two killers to battle each other. They take the unconscious Jason to Crystal Lake; and should he defeat Freddy there, he’ll already be back home and will not come after the teens. Meanwhile, Freddy battles Jason in the dream world, and upon discovering Jason’s fear of water uses it to pull him into a nightmare of his drowning as a child. Lori enters the dream world to retrieve Freddy, saving Jason in the process. Enraged, Freddy attacks Lori, and reveals he was the one who killed her mother. In the real world, Jason awakens and chases the others into a cabin. Jason pushes Linderman into a shelf bracket and he is mortally wounded. The cabin catches fire, and Lori’s hand is dragged through flames, causing her to wake up and pull Freddy from her dream into the real world. Jason begins to fight Freddy while the others escape, and throws Freddy through the roof of another cabin.

Linderman dies, and Lori, Will and Kia encounter Freddy. Kia taunts him, but Jason kills her by slamming her into a tree with his machete. As Lori and Will escape, the two begin their final battle. An attempt to ram a mine cart into Jason goes wrong and both of them are hit and land on the boardwalk. Lori and Will igniting propane tanks that blow Freddy and Jason into the lake. Freddy makes one final attempt to kill Lori and Will; however, Jason saves them by using Freddy’s own arm to impale him through the chest, before falling back into the lake. Lori decapitates Freddy while Jason sinks below the water. Finally at peace with their past, Lori and Will leave Crystal Lake together. Later, Jason emerges from the lake holding Freddy’s severed head, which winks and laughs.

This is a brilliant film especially if you grew up watching these two maniacs before they both fought on the big screen in the same film. It does not disappoint and leaves you wondering who will win the fight between two of the cinemas most notorious killers.

REVIEW: WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE

CAST

Robert Englund (Wishmaster)
Heather Langenkamp (Hellraiser: Judgement)
Miko Hughes (Roswell)
John Saxon (The Night Caller)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
David Newsom (Runaway)
Fran Bennett (Jessabelle)
Wes Craven (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back)
W. Earl Brown (Bates Motel)
Jsu Garcia (Predator 2)
Tuesday Knight (Fame)
Rob LaBelle (Jack Frost)

Heather Langenkamp lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband Chase and their young son Dylan. Heather has become quite popular due to her role as Nancy Thompson from the Nightmare on Elm Street film series. One night, she has a nightmare in which she, Dylan, and Chase are attacked by a set of animated Krueger claws of an upcoming Nightmare film in which two of the workers are brutally murdered on set. Waking up to an earthquake, she spies a cut on Chase’s finger exactly like one he had received in his dream, but they quickly dismiss the notion.

Heather receives a call from an obsessed fan who calls and quotes Freddy’s nursery rhyme in an eerie Freddy-like voice. This coincides with a meeting she has with New Line Cinema in which she is pitched an idea to reprise her role as Nancy in a new Nightmare film, which Chase had been working on, unknown to her at the time. When she returns home, she sees Dylan watch her original film. When she interrupts him, he has a severely traumatizing episode where he screams at her. The frequent calls and Dylan’s strange behavior cause her to call Chase, who agrees to rush home from his work site, as the two men from the opening dream did not report in for work. But Chase falls asleep while driving and is slashed by Freddy’s claw, which results in his death. His death seems to affect Dylan even further, which causes concern for Heather’s long-time friend and former costar John Saxon. He suggests she seek medical attention for both him and for her after Heather has a nightmare at Chase’s funeral in which Freddy tries to take Dylan away.

Dylan’s health continues to destabilize, becoming increasingly paranoid about going to sleep and fearing Freddy Krueger even though Heather had never shown him her films. She visits Wes Craven, who suggests that Freddy is an entity drawn to his films, released after the series completed and now focuses on Heather, as Nancy, as its primary foe. Robert Englund also has a strange knowledge of it, describing the new Freddy to Nancy, only shortly after disappearing from all contact. After another earthquake, Heather takes a traumatized Dylan to the hospital, where the head nurse, suspecting abuse, suggests Dylan stay for observation. Heather returns home for Dylan’s stuffed dinosaur while his babysitter Julie tries to keep the nurses from sedating the sleep-deprived boy. Dylan falls asleep after the nurses sedate him, and Freddy brutally kills Julie in Dylan’s dream. Capable of sleepwalking, Dylan leaves the hospital of his own accord while Heather chases him home across the interstate as Freddy taunts him and dangles him before traffic. Upon returning home, Heather realizes that John has established his persona as Don Thompson. Upon Heather’s compliance in embracing Nancy’s role, Freddy emerges completely into reality and takes Dylan to his world. Heather finds a trail of his sleeping pills and follows him to a dark underworld. Freddy fights off Heather and chases Dylan into an oven. Dylan escapes the oven, doubles back to Heather, and together they push Freddy into the oven and light it. This destroys the monster and his reality altogether.

Dylan and Heather emerge from under his blankets, and Heather finds a copy of the film’s events as a screenplay at the foot of the bed; inside is a thanks from Wes for defeating Freddy and playing Nancy one last time. Dylan asks if it is a story, and Heather agrees that it is just a story before opening the script and reading from its pages to her son.

There are many great references to the original movie, but Craven’s biggest success is that he makes the character of Freddy terrifying once again. There are no jokes here and the movie is a dark one. This is a triumph given how Freddy had become quite a jokey character in the previous films.

REVIEW: FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE

CAST

Robert Englund (Wishmaster)
Lisa Zane (Monkeybone)
Shon Greenblatt (Luster)
Lezlie Deane (Plump Fiction)
Breckin Meyer (Road Trip)
Ricky Dean Logan (Back To The Future)
Yaphet Kotto (Alien)
Roseanne Barr (Roseanne)
Tom Arnold (True Lies)
Johnny Depp (Blow)
Tobe Sexton (Offerings)
Alice Cooper (Dark Shadows)

In 1999, Freddy Krueger has returned and killed nearly everyone in the town of Springwood, Ohio, excluding Alice Johnson and her son Jacob, who are revealed to have moved away. The only surviving teenager, known only as “John Doe”, finds himself confronted by Freddy in a dream and is knocked past the town of Springwood’s city limits by Freddy. The city limits serve as a barrier that Freddy cannot cross, and the hole John makes when he goes through the barrier closes as soon as Freddy touches it. However, when John goes through the barrier, he hits his head on a rock and does not remember who he is or why he is outside of Springwood.

At a shelter for troubled youth, Spencer, Carlos, and Tracy plot to run away from the shelter. Carlos was physically abused by his parents, resulting in a hearing disability; Tracy was raped by her father; and Spencer was a stoner. John, after being picked up by the police, becomes a resident of the shelter and a patient of Dr. Maggie Burroughs. Maggie notices a newspaper clipping in John’s pocket from Springwood. To cure John’s amnesia, she plans a road trip to Springwood. Tracy, Carlos, and Spencer stow away in the van to escape the shelter, but they are discovered when John has a hallucination and almost wrecks the van just outside Springwood.

Tracy, Spencer, and Carlos, after trying to leave Springwood, rest at a nearby abandoned house, which transforms into 1428 Elm Street, Freddy Krueger’s former home. John and Maggie visit Springwood Orphanage and discover that Freddy had a child. John believes he is the child because Freddy allowed him to live. Back on Elm Street, Carlos and Spencer fall asleep and are killed by Freddy. Tracy is awakened by Maggie, but John, who went into the dream world with Tracy to try to help Spencer, is still asleep. Maggie and Tracy take him back to the shelter. On their way back, Krueger kills John in his dream, but not before revealing that Krueger’s kid is a girl. As John dies, he reveals this information to Maggie. Tracy and Maggie return to the shelter, but they discover that no one remembers John, Spencer, or Carlos except for Doc, who has learned to control his dreams. Maggie remembers what John told her and discovers her own adoption papers, learning that she is Freddy’s daughter. Her birth name was Katherine Krueger. Her name was legally changed to Maggie Burroughs

Doc discovers Freddy’s power comes from the “dream demons” who continually revive him, and that Freddy can be killed if he is pulled into the real world. Maggie decides that she will be the one to enter Freddy’s mind and pull him into the real world. Once in the dream world, she puts on a pair of 3-D glasses and enters Freddy’s mind. There, she discovers that Freddy was teased as a child, abused by his foster father, inflicted self-abuse as a teenager, and murdered his wife. Freddy was given the power to become immortal from fiery demons. After some struggling, Maggie pulls Freddy into the real world.

Maggie and Freddy end up in hand-to-hand combat against one another. While Maggie continues to battle Freddy, she uses several weapons confiscated from patients at the shelter. Enraged by the knowledge of what he has done, she disarms him of his clawed glove. Eventually, Maggie stabs Freddy in the stomach with his own glove while she is close to him. Tracy throws Maggie a pipe bomb. After she impales Freddy to a steel support beam she throws the bomb in his chest. She says “Happy Fathers Day”, kisses him, and runs. The three dream demons fly out of Freddy after the pipe bomb kills him, unable to revive him in the real world. Maggie smiles at Tracy and Doc says, “Freddy’s dead.”

A fitting way to end the franchise. Freddy learns something about himself and his perverted life and he gets to go out in a bang! Lisa Zane, Yaphet Kotto and Freddy Krueger star in this final installment. Rosanne, Tom Arnold and Johnny Depp make special appearances. A whole lot better than the last one but it’s filled with a few dated jokes. If you enjoy the series then you don’t want to miss out on this one.