REVIEW: THE SCORPION KING 3: THE BATTLE FOR REDEMTPION

CAST

Victor Webster (Mutant X)
Bostin Christopher (Unbreakable)
Temuera Morrison (Spartacus: Gods of The Arena)
Krystal Vee (The Lazarus Papers)
Selina Lo (28 Weeks Later)
Kimbo Slice (Blood and Bone)
Dave Bautista (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Billy Zane (Zoolander)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
J.D. Hall (Jaws 4)

A handful of years after giving Mathayus the prophecy that his peaceful kingdom wouldn’t last forever, Cassandra dies. Mathayus allows his kingdom to fall apart in the aftermath of the deadly plague which claimed his wife’s life and he believes his reign of nobility to be over. Mathayus then becomes a mercenary once more, just as he was prior to his war with Memnon. Talus is the younger brother of Horus, a powerful king of Egypt wishes to conquer his brother’s kingdom since Horus was made the king over him. In order to do so Talus, along with his army, goes to the Far East to steal the Book of the Dead from Ramusan, a king who is an ally of Horus. To stop Talus, Horus hires Mathayus and pairs him up with the Scandinavian warrior Olaf. In turn, Talus kidnaps Ramusan’s daughter, Silda. Ramusan then tells Mathayus that if he can save his daughter, he will have the right to wed her and once again raise a kingdom.Before Mathayus manages to rescue Silda, she is whisked away by the ninja army of the mysterious “Cobra”. Talus hires Mathayus and Olaf to bring back the princess as well as Cobra’s head. They wind up in an exiles’ camp led by Cobra, who turns out to be Silda herself. Talus then arrives at Ramusan’s palace and takes the Book of the Dead while injuring Ramusan. With this, he reanimates the dead warriors Zulu Kondo, Agromael and Tsukai. In a test to see their strength, Talus orders them to kill his best men which they do easily. Tsukai and Zulu Kondo are ordered to attack the exiles’ camp. Working together, Mathayus, Olaf and Silda’s ninjas manage to defeat Zulu Kondo in battle. However, Tsukai manages to escape.Mathayus and Olaf return to Ramusan’s palace, now Talus’ headquarters. They pretend to have rescued Silda and present a severed head supposedly belonging to Cobra. Talus still intends to marry Silda and takes her to his sleeping chambers. Mathayus attacks Talus, who is saved by the timely intervention of Tsukai. Mathayus pursues Talus while Silda faces Tsukai. At the same time, Olaf attempts to get the Book of the Dead but has to fight Agromael. While Talus faces the wrath of the ninjas, Mathayus somehow finds the ailing Ramusan and together they use the Book of the Dead to prevent Tsukai and Agromael from killing Silda and Olaf, respectively.With Ramusan dying in his daughter’s arms and Talus left to face the wrath of the ninjas, Tsukai and Agromael bow down to Mathayus as the new ruler of Ramusan and Talus’ kingdoms. When Horus arrives at the city gates, he is greeted by Mathayus, who has taken up the mantle of Scorpion King once more. During the credits, it’s revealed Mathayus and Silda shared a kiss on the night of their earlier party, though Silda appears to leave the prospects of a relationship with him behind as she bestows him the artifact which could one day be used to contact Anubis.Unlike the second film this is set after the first movie. Victor Webster takes over the role of Mathayus and does a great job of it. There is a lot of action and fighting in this movie, and it works out well enough. The fight scenes are well choreographed and are set at a high pace full of adrenaline. I liked what I saw. The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption is a decent enough action movie that will entertain most people.

REVIEW: REPRISAL – SEASON 1

Reprisal (2019)

Starring

Abigail Spencer (Cowboys & Aliens)
Rodrigo Santoro (300)
Mena Massoud (Aladdin)
David Dastmalchian (The Suicide Squad)
Rhys Wakefield (The Purge)
Madison Davenport (Sharpe Objcts)
Craig Tate (12 Years a Slave)
Wavyy Jonez (See You Yesterday)
W. Earl Brown (Bates Motel)
Gilbert Owuor (Mute)
Shane Callahan (American Soul)
Rory Cochrane (Argo)
Bethany Anne Lind (Doom Patrol)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)

Abigail Spencer in Reprisal (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Blake Sheldon (Afterlife)
Lea DeLaria (Cars 3)
Happy Anderson (The Knick)
Blake Perlman (Hand of God)
Charles Halford (Constantine)
Scarlett Blum (The Outsider)
Jason Davis (The Accountant)
David Dastmalchain (The Dark Knight)

Still of Rebeca Robles and Madison Davenport in REPRISAL on HuluThe term “noir” gets slapped on a lot of things these days that don’t deserve it, as an all-purpose identifier for productions that are grim and violent and impressed with themselves. It’s there in the news release for Hulu’s new series “Reprisal”: “a hyper-noir story that follows a relentless femme fatale.”15-1“Reprisal” isn’t really noir, though. It doesn’t have the style or the romance or the fatalism. It’s an example — fairly diverting, but never entirely satisfying — of another currently popular television genre: the fairy tale of aggrieved American manhood, even though in this case the bitter hero is a heroine. Pumped up with rural gothic atmosphere and punctuated with self-consciously curated pop songs, these shows are what happen when you read “Mystery Train” and “Fight Club” and don’t find any appreciable intellectual distance between the two. These fantasias stretch across genres, and if you’re not looking for them you might not realize how common they are among the assertively woke shows that are drawing more attention at the moment. Notable examples include “Banshee” and “Rectify”; current shows like “True Detective” and “Watchmen” share some of the characteristics. Certain actors make a living off them — Ron Perlman, who’s completely in his element as a quietly menacing mob boss in “Reprisal,” has been a stalwart of the genre through “Sons of Anarchy” and “Hand of God.”c-i-a-ii-target-alexaThe settings are generally Southern (though occasionally Western or Midwestern), and “Reprisal” takes place in an imaginary South, unlocated except for a reference to its being 900 miles from Detroit. (The show was filmed in North Carolina.) Restaurants have names like Slimmy Hank’s Egg Pit and Bolo’s Worldwide Rathskeller; an important scene of the action is a motel called Donuts & Duvets. Time and history are also slightly unmoored. The crucial role of flip phones seems to put us in a more or less recent past, though the prevalence of Tommy guns and vintage hot rods argues for something further back. Newscasts report a glowing orange anomaly in the atmosphere, and characters recall their service in the War for the Archipelago.997768d2-460f-4cbd-a2ca-f0d5648b23faAt the center of this hothouse setting dreamed up by the writer and producer Josh Corbin is a monolithic road house called a Bang-a-Rang. It’s a little bit Cirque du Soleil, a little bit Kit Kat Klub (with Lea DeLaria in the Joel Grey M.C. role), all with a naughty-high-school-drama vibe, as if Baz Luhrmann and David Lynch had collaborated on an after-hours club inside a Walmart. It’s the headquarters of a criminal gang called the Banished Brawlers, who spend most of their time hanging out at the Bang-a-Rang and getting misty-eyed about how they’ve found a “family” based on shared pain and manly camaraderie. There is a story here also, but it feels wan and patched together — so much of the show’s imagination has gone into the world building and the artisanal Americana and the stylistic flourishes, like the bloody, crunching scenes of violence set to oddball musical choices like “25 or 6 to 4” or “Dammit, Janet” (from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”).ReprisalThe Brawlers are enjoying a period of peaceful coexistence with their rival gangs (who have equally pretentious names like the Happiness Ghouls), but they’re haunted by an original sin: the betrayal and brutalization years before of the gang leader’s sister, who was dragged behind a truck and left for dead. “Reprisal” — with the double meaning of revenge and repetition — traces her implacable campaign to clear her name and get satisfaction, with extreme prejudice, from the various men who wronged her. There are cultural-political themes and sexual politics in the mix here. The mostly white good old boys of the Bang-a-Rang feel their long-held privileges, and the sanctity of their fraternal bond, are under unfair assault. The sister is joined in her campaign by a formerly abused, newly empowered homemaker and a pair of small-time African-American Robin Hoods. Caught in the middle are the Bang-a-Rang’s strippers and entertainers, who pick up shotguns when needed. (A lot of the show’s budget went to red light filters, smoke and pasties.)15-1The sister is played by Abigail Spencer, whose sculpted features and reserved delivery give her an air of retro glamour that’s been exploited before in the lightweight time-travel adventure “Timeless” and the heavy drama “Rectify” — if you’re trying to bake up a noir, she’s the starter. If there’s a monotone quality to her performance here — as there is to that of Rodrigo Santoro (“Westworld”), who plays the most thoughtful of the Brawlers — it’s probably because the show doesn’t take their characters anywhere we can’t see coming. If you like the combination of violent action, sentimental fantasy, literary pretension and periodic slapstick humor that “Reprisal” offers, you may enjoy it well enough. Or you may wish you were watching something with the energy of “Banshee,” the clammy atmosphere of “Quarry” or the charm of “Hap and Leonard.” But that’s what streaming is for.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES: HOLIDAY KNIGHTS

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HOLIDAY KNIGHTS

CAST
Kevin Conroy (Batman Beyond)
Bob Hastings (Wonder Woman)
Matthew Valencia (Lawnmower Man 2)
Robert Costanzo (Total Recall)
Liane Schirmer (Batman: TAS)
Tara Strong (Sabrina Goes To Rome)
Mark Hamill (The Flash)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Arleen Sokin (Comic Book: The Movie)
Diane Pershing (Gotham Girls)
Marilu Henner (The Crazy Ones)

December 22

Harley Quinn bemoans her fate to her friend, Poison Ivy, as they stay holed up in a scuzzy hotel. With a raised eyebrow of devious foreboding, Ivy assures her that she has a plan that will make it “the happiest holiday ever”. Later on, at the Vreeland estate, we catch up with Bruce having a pleasant conversation with heartthrob Veronica about forthcoming vacation plans. Much to “Brucey’s” chagrin, his quiet moment is interrupted by a gaggle of suitors all intent on snagging a moment with Gotham’s most eligible bachelor under the mistletoe. Backing away in order to make an escape, he finds himself in the arms of a shadowy female figure who – seizing him by his necktie – plants a big one right on his kisser. Finding himself completely discombobulated as to what exactly just transpired, he makes his way outside with the intent to head home.
On his way to his car, however, he’s intercepted by Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, with a look on his face like he cannot resist their every command no matter how hard he tries. While in the car, Harley kindly reveals exactly what happened: Poison Ivy used a special lipstick laced with a chemical in order to infect Bruce, via the aforementioned kiss. They also boldly pronounce that they intend to have a night on the town at Mr. Wayne’s expense. The girls shop endlessly buying clothes and jewels, all the while Bruce begrudgingly (yet uncontrollably) puts it all on his credit cards. Finally, Bruce begins building up a will as the chemical’s potency begins to wane. Vocalizing his discontent, the girls decide it’s time for another dose; backing away from Harley’s approach, however, Bruce falls down a conveniently placed ‘out of order’ open elevator shaft. Believing the slip to be his last, Harley and Ivy leave Bruce for dead, yet as they turn their backs and walk away, a portentous hand reaches out of the abyss and grips the edge of the floor. As the duo burn rubber away from Bergduffs Department Store, the silhouette of the Batman can be seen swooping after them. When Harley spots him through the back window, Ivy wastes no time in making an escape: she grabs the wheel of the car and ram raids the Wacko Toys shop. Probing through the pitch black with his flashlight, Batman soon needn’t wonder where they’ve gone to as a huge toy soldier comes crashing down nearly upon him. Looking up, he can see them taunting him atop a citadel of toys. Not one to decline a challenge, Batman eagerly ascends the tower only to find a boxing glove by Poison Ivy and a wooden sledge hammer from Harley Quinn. Plummeting to the bottom, the girls cannot resist a gloat as they make – what they believe will be – their exit. But the quick minded Batman has other plans: he uses his grappling hook to snag the base of a massive Christmas tree, which he then yanks hard, causing it to topple over directly on the would-be escapees.

December 24

In Mayfields Department Store, Barbara is just purchasing a new tie for her father when all of a sudden an ear-piercing wail cuts through the air. The shop attendant comments on how they’ve been crying all day, at which point we see why: Harvey Bullock is playing Santa. With his partner, Montoya, he’s on a stakeout. Bullock, showing rare sensitivity, comforts a young girl who’s father he put in prison, and winds up giving her cash to soothe her Christmastime woes.
Barbara, walking through the store, happens to spot a child shoplifting, but when she tries to apprehend him, his clothes and hand seem to dissolve into nothing. Then, Montoya gets a call through her earpiece that detectives are in pursuit of four child bandits in the store. Just when the children seem to be trapped, they meld together into… Clayface. He begins tearing up the place and no one can stop him, that is, until Barbara gets changed into her Batgirl outfit and delivers a blow to the head the sends him crashing out the window and into the skating rink below. Montoya and Bullock arrive on the scene and with a little guidance from Batgirl, succeed in halting the giant shapeshifter by way of electrocution.


December 31

In Commissioner Gordon’s office, Batman and Robin have just reviewed a taped broadcast by the Joker, who reveals some good news and bad news: the good news is that for the next year, he will not kill anyone; the bad news is that he intends to make up for the loss in activity that very night. Gordon tells Batman the only murder that day was a GothCorp scientist who specialized in sonics. This Dr. Erikson had been working on a sonic based weapon powerful enough to kill anyone in ‘earshot’. Using some rudimentary deductive skills, Batman concludes that the New Year’s Day countdown at Gotham Square is assuredly the place where the Joker will set off the bomb.
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Indeed, the Joker is setting up, and Batman is close at hand, but – always with a trick up his sleeve – the Joker has prepared a mass of plastic joker masks in order to help him blend in with the crowd. Batman is not amused. Using his ‘Batnoculars’, he easily spies the real Joker (with a huge clown wearing ear muffs on either side of him) playing the piano on stage. So just before swooping in, he makes his presence known with a well-timed Batarang to the head, removing the Joker’s ear muffs. Then, instead of going after the Joker directly, Batman and Robin take out the muscle on either side of him. This seemingly simple task, however, proves to be too much for the caped crusaders and they find themselves in the clutches of the Clown Prince of Crime. As the bell is rising to ring in the New Year, the Joker is having himself one final gloat by standing next to Batman with a bottle of champagne. The ever-alert Dark Knight snatches the bottle and sprays it all over the controls, shorting the wires and eventually exploding the bell’s pulley, resulting in a falling, massively heavy bell. As luck would have it, the giant object lands right on the Joker.
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A few hours after midnight, Gordon enters a small tavern and has a seat, while the barkeep ushers out the remnants of the punters. He speculates that “he” might not show due to the hectic day “he’s” had, but the Commissioner is sure he will show so not to break tradition. Naturally, it’s Batman who they’re talking about and who makes an entrance from the kitchen. He sits; they chat for about ten seconds; he slips away like a shadow, leaving money for the bill behind. Gordon, surprised, swears that one day he’ll beat him to the check, then heads home with a swinging Bat close behind him.
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 A Great Holiday episode showing how Batman, Batgirl and Robin spend the holiday season fighting the bad guys. the villains of the episodes are all brilliant and each bring there own villainy to the capers. The ending is touching showing just how much respect batman and Jim Gordon have for each other

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1989) – GOD BLESS THE CHILD

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MAIN CAST

Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Roy Dotrice (Game of Thrones)
Jay Acovone (Stargate SG.1)

GUEST CAST

Katy Boyer (Minority Report)

After meeting with a pregnant former prostitute named Lena who called a help line, Catherine convinces Vincent and Father to welcome her to the “World Below” where she can have her baby and be part of the community. Before actually meeting Vincent, Lena hears stories about him and once she encounters him in person, a crush develops into something more for her. After the baby is born, she offers her love to Vincent, who rejects her advances gently but firmly. She runs away, leaving her child behind. Catherine tracks her down and convinces her to return to her new home, where in a naming ceremony Lena calls the baby girl after Catherine.9685TunicGodBlessTheChildA great thing about this episode, is that it allows the viewer to vicariously experience what it would be like to go into Vincent’s world and be accepted. Like Catherine once said on the show, Vincent’s world gave her the family she always wanted. That happened to Lena, too. And the viewer gets to experience it in this episode. There is a part of all of us who would love to go live In Vincent’s world. An excllent christmas episode.

 

REVIEW: HIGHLANDER: THE SERIES – SEASON 5

Starring

Adrian Paul (Arrow)
Stan Kirsch (Shallow Ground)
Jim Byrnes (Sanctuary)

 Cassandra

 Witch of Donen Woods

 The Highlander

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tracy Scoggins (Babylon 5)
Matthew Walker (Ginger Snaps Back)
Gerard Plunkett (Sucker Punch)
Anna Hagan (The Possession)
Chris William Martin (The Vampire Diaries)
Réal Andrews (The Bay)
Rachel Hayward (Jingle All The Way 2)
Gary Jones (Stargate SG.1)
Bruce A. Young (Jurassic Park 3)
Eric McCormack (Will & Grace)
Aaron Pearl (Staragte SG.1)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Marcia Strassman (Third Watch)
Michael Kopsa (Fantastic Four)
Alastair Duncan (The Batman)
Sandra Bernhard (2 Broke Girls)
Elizabeth Gracen (Marked For Death)
April Telek (Hell on Wheels)
Tom McBeath (Stargate SG.1)
Nicholas Lea (V)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)
Andrew Divoff (Lost)
Nathaniel DeVeaux (Andromeda)
Roger Cross (First Wave)
Steve Bacic (Androemda)
Kira Clavell (Frankie & Alice)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Peter Wingfield (Caprica)
Robert Wisden (Watchmen)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Musetta Vander (Wild Wild West)
Valentine Pelka (The Pianist)
Richard Ridings (Rise of TPOTA)
Marcus Testory (The Cyberstalking)
Anthony De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
Dolores Chaplin (The Ice Rink)
Michael Culkin (Dorian GRay)
Roger Daltrey (Tommy)
Michael J. Jackson (Emmerdale)
Jonathan Firth (Victoria & Albert)
Katie Carr (Heroes)
Michel Modo (The troops Get Married)
Peter Hudson (Hitman)

Jim Byrnes in Highlander (1992)The immortal suave and sword fighting style of Highlander: The Series continues for Season 5 – from BC to the nineties and then some. Immortal Highlander Duncan MacLeod (Adrian Paul) struggles with who he is and who is friends are- thanks to prophecies of good and evil and secrets withheld by the 5,000 year old Methos (Peter Wingfield). Watcher Joe Dawson (Jim Byrnes) also wrestles with his immortal friendships and the mortality they so often harbinger. Unfortunately, Amanda (Elizabeth Gracen) and Richie (Stan Kirsh) must also face immortal fame, infamy, and religion. imagesOne might think Highlander: The Series would retread a topic or two after such a solid syndicated tenure- but no. Faith and hope in immortal pacifism are tempted in “Little Tin God” and “The Messenger”; the uses and wastes of immortality are examined in “Haunted” and “The Modern Prometheus”; “The End of Innocence” questions the immortal mentor and student relationships. Yes, the season opener “Prophecy” and the finale “Archangel” do stray into a little mythical and magic fantasy much- but hey, what do you expect in a show about folks who live forever? Fortunately, there’s plenty of fun, too, especially in the period piece treats “Money is No Object” and “The Stone of Scone.” Despite its reduction to 18 episodes, Year 5 nicely balances one-off immortal explorations with ongoing storylines and multiple part shows. Instead of growing old and withered, Season 5 is the culmination of Highlander: The Series. The audience knows the mythos and the players well enough by now, so there’s no need for filler or fluff or straying beyond the exploration of our Immortal repertoire.highlanderWhile some of the Depression era hijinks are oft played, at least Duncan MacLeod has some fun in the past, from time to time, occasionally- just so long as he doesn’t get too fun and crazy in the present! MacLeod seems increasingly tired, weary, burned out beautifully by the likes of “The Valkyrie,” “Forgive Us Our Trespasses” and “Duende.” Perhaps part of that was indeed the growing stress of Adrian Paul- naturally so much rides upon him. However, it’s understandable that Mac gets tired of being the good guy after 400 years- in the same way he remains haunted by when he wasn’t always the good guy and made costly, nay deadly mistakes. Duncan clings to his friendships in an attempt to deal with all this routine death- the cost for his long life- but even his support system carries tragic consequences.s5-e16-5One thing that has always bugged me about the Watchers- you know the secret organization watching Immortals that isn’t really so secret and that isn’t supposed to interfere but always does- is that they’ve blindly keep their presence hidden from immortals. I’m so glad Joe Dawson at last gets his friendship with Mac out in the open. Why can’t the Watchers share on a case-by-case basis with immortals? Hey, he’s a good guy, I can ask him some questions about The Bronze Age and get the facts right! “Glory Days” again gives us a beautiful peak into Joe’s life thanks to Duncan and likewise, Joe provides wonderful reflection in, well, every episode he appears! By contrast, Amanda allows for more sexy fun and tongue in cheek cool with “Dramatic License.” Not without their immortal drama, it’s also great to see her and Mac wonder what their relationship really is under all the laughter and if their difficulties could not only survive mortal conventions, but immortal lifetimes. Then let’s toss in some competition from Nicholas Lea (The X-Files) as Cory Raines in “Money for Nothing” just to keep the romance on its toes. Of course, seeing Amanda and Roger Daltry’s Hugh Fitzcairn go head to head in “The Stone of Scone” is so, so sweet, too!highlander47I know I’ve mentioned some of the same episodes more than once- hey, they bear repeating- but most viewers probably remember ‘the horsemen ones’ most from Season 5, if not the entire series. Peter Wingfield guests in count ‘em seven episodes this year, and “Comes A Horseman” and “Revelation 6:8” finally give us a piece of the Methos mythos (hee). Not that “The Messenger” and “The Modern Prometheus” don’t, but seeing the wild side of Methos is an exceptional antithesis to do-gooder MacLeod. Toss in the lady scorned Tracy Scoggins (Babylon 5, The Colbys, and I always remember Watchers II for some reason) for 3 shows as immortal witch Cassandra, and oh me oh my! These storylines add to MacLeod’s own legend and the ancient presence of immortals without having to disastrously explain where they all come from- as in the various versions of Highlander 2. They are, they f*ck up, they move on. Highlander: The Series needs nothing else, indeed. Although I must say, I always thought I liked Fitz more than Methos, but now I’m not so sure. The Methos possibilities are just too interesting- be he good or evil, selfless and righteous for the greater good, or downright arrogant and self centered. highlander39Unfortunately, Richie always gets the short end of the sword and never quite gets a head above the rest. “The End of Innocence” tries to backpedal on Richie’s off screen whereabouts from last season- but if the audience is supposed to find all this so important, why weren’t we seeing snips of these adventures then? How ironic he’s a regular character who also appears in only 7 episodes. Sadly, in this rewatch, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t really like Richie. He isn’t treated as any more significant than the guest immortals, he’s kind of a jerk who always screws up or never really learns anything, or if so, the changes never stick as he comes and goes. All that being said, when Richie gets a spotlight show like “Haunted,” Highlander: The Series still can’t go wrong. Here’s a lovely episode again exploring what exactly a Quickening may be- is it the spirit or the soul? Does it live on in the immortal who takes the victor’s head; do they obtain the quirks and characteristics of their beheaded comrades? If that is the case, immortals must fight to the death in order to pass on all their greatness in one culmination towards The Prize. In a way, it’s almost as if the Quickening is a unique form of…procreation towards one glorious being. Such Intriguing thoughts like this, however, are given a backseat so Richie can have another one off romance and then disappear. Snark. The visiting Bruce A. Young’s (The Sentinel) Carl Robinson in “Manhunt” is far more interesting as the slave turned ball player with political hopes who can’t quite get past his own immortal racism. 25309860c90b36158_wSome of the narrations leading into the flashbacks this season are, however, a little unusual. Show don’t tell, after all. Some exotic locations like Peru or unexplored times and places like Andersonville, the 1970s, and Spain add more zest and fun to the always lovely and upscale period design. Again, perhaps Depression era crime and Nazi motifs are over played- and the dojo really looks ready to retire. How can a members only gym be open all the time yet be so empty? How can it close down and get wrecked all the time and expect to keep such bare clientele? Then again, episodes like “The Stone of Scone” make one wonder why Highlander: The Series didn’t do an entirely period episode at least once a season- or continue on with stand alone totally in the past television movies or multipart miniseries.  Those who know and love the Highlander franchise will absolutely adore Season 5.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: DOWN

 

DOWN

CAST

Naomi Watts (Birdman)
James Marshall (A Few Good Men)
Eric Thal (Close to Eden)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Edward Herrmann (The Aviator)
Dan Hedaya (Commando)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Kathryn Meisle (One Life To Live)
Martin McDougall (Batman Begins)

The film takes place at the Millennium building in New York City, which has 102 floors and 73 elevators. One evening, lightning strikes the building, which causes the elevators to begin acting strangely, resulting in a guard’s flashlight being crushed. The next day, a group of pregnant women are held up between floors 20 and 21. The elevator overheats rapidly, causing two women to give birth and hospitalizing the rest. Reporter Jennifer Evans (Naomi Watts) is called to write a report on the incident. After an investigation by METEOR elevator company technicians Jeff (Eric Thal) and Mark Newman (James Marshall), they determine that nothing is wrong with the elevators, a large part being Jeff’s inability to actually admit there is something wrong (he states throughout his scenes that the computer controlling the elevators has absolutely no defects). A short time later, a blind man and his guide dog disappear in the building. The two guards from the beginning of the film discover the dog’s corpse hanging from its collar on a shaft support. The discovering guard’s head is caught between the elevator doors. He is decapitated a short while later, his partner too horrified to help him. Once again, the METEOR executives find nothing wrong with the elevators. Evans interviews Newman, who sarcastically states “Nine people out of ten make it out of an elevator alive.” Evans places this in her report, causing a large controversy over his statement by his boss, Mitchell (Ron Perlman) and the police. During the same day, a roller skater is sucked into an elevator in the parking garage and shot from the 86th floor of the building to his death. The roller skater’s death is explained to media as suicide.

Evans visits Newman and shows him a tape of the roller skater’s death. She points out the time it normally takes for the elevator to go up 87 floors would take about 40 seconds to a minute. However, the elevator ascended the floors in less than two seconds, thus noting that there is definitely something wrong. When they try to show the tape to Jeff, he refuses to watch it and leaves abruptly. Instead, they go to Evans’ office and look up a man named Gunther Steinberg (Michael Ironside), who had been experimenting with organic reproducing computer chips using dolphin brains. However, the project had gone disastrously wrong and Steinberg was fired. Later the next morning Milligan (Edward Herrmann), who remains suspicious of the elevators throughout the film, discovers Jeff’s corpse in an elevator shaft. When Jennifer and Mark arrive, they are shocked to hear that the police have concocted a story that has Jeff being a terrorist and being behind the incidents and assure the public that the threat is over. Later during the day, an elevator cab flies to top floor at such a speed that the floor flies off and all the people in it are killed. This event reaches the President and is seen as an act of terrorism.

A terrorism unit is assembled at the building to get any further terrorists out of the building. Meanwhile, Jennifer and Mark discover a recent suicide could be linked to the incidents, as his extremely superstitious widow believes his soul has returned to punish others. Jennifer and Mark enter the building to discover and stop the threat once and for all. During the entry, Jennifer is taken into custody posing as a METEOR executive. During her first attempt to prove this fraud, she receives a phone call from a friend to explains that while Steinberg’s time working on the “fucking chips” as they are called in the movie, has been revoked, Steinberg continued to work on the project except not with dolphin brains. Eventually, Mitchell abandons Steinberg for fear of his own reputation being ruined. Mark manages to get into the Millennium Building and discovers a large bio-chip in the form of a brain in an elevator shaft. It is assumed that this brain is alive and controlling the elevators. He attempts to destroy using a screwdriver, but this attempt fails when it sends a flaming elevator down to kill him. Mark barely escapes while the elevator kills a SWAT officer who was barely out of the elevator shaft before he was sliced in half from his waist down with the upper half of his body sliding across the floor. Marshall gets a hold of a stinger missile launcher and is about to destroy the organ when Steinberg intervenes, threatening him. Jennifer appears, having escaped custody and frees Marshall. As Mark tries to destroy the organ a third time, the police enter, giving Steinberg the opportunity to hold Jennifer hostage. Jennifer manages to escape thanks to Steinberg being unable to recognize one of his superiors. Steinberg is grabbed by the elevator shaft cables and pulled in, along with Mark. At the last second, Jennifer kicks the stinger launcher to Mark, who proceeds to destroy the organ. Steinberg’s mutilated corpse falls seconds later.

Some time later, Mark and Jennifer leave a hospital where they find themselves trapped in an elevator. However, it proves to be a ruse for Mark to make a romantic overture toward Jennifer. The film then cuts out to Aerosmith’s song “Love in an Elevator”.

My take on this film is that it is a good B movie, or a very good C movie. The acting wasn’t bad, Ron Perlman and Michael Ironside were in it, and of course there’s the Naomi Watts eye candy element. And who doesn’t enjoy seeing people get sliced in half by elevators. Its Not going to win any Oscars.  It’s a classic B movie, and mostly because of the fact that it made so many creepy 9/11 predictions. Suspend disbelief, kick back, enjoy.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE BOOK OF LIFE

Starring

Diego Luna (Rogue One)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street)
Ice Cube (Ride Along)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Kate del Castillo (No Good Deed)
Christina Applegate (Bad Moms)
Héctor Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Ana de la Reguera (Goliath)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Grey Griffin (Danny Phantom)
Carlos Alazraqui (Family Guy)
Cheech Marin (Coco)
Miguel Sandoval (Oculus)

Christina Applegate in The Book of Life (2014)Mary Beth, a museum tour guide, takes a group of school detention students on a secret museum tour, telling them, with wooden figures, the story of a Mexican town called San Angel from the Book of Life, holding every story in the world.Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, and Channing Tatum in The Book of Life (2014)On the Day of the Dead, La Muerte, ruler of the Land of the Remembered, and Xibalba, ruler of the Land of the Forgotten, see Manolo Sánchez and Joaquín Mondragon competing over María Posada. They strike a wager: if María marries Manolo, Xibalba will no longer interfere in mortal affairs, but if she marries Joaquín, La Muerte and Xibalba will swap realms. However, Xibalba cheats by giving Joaquín his Medal of Everlasting Life, which grants the wearer invincibility.Ron Perlman and Kate del Castillo in The Book of Life (2014)Years later, Joaquín has become a hero with the Medal’s aid, but Manolo’s musical aspirations are suppressed by his father Carlos, who trains him to be a bullfighter in their family tradition. At Manolo’s first bullfight he defeats the bull but refuses to kill it, dismaying Carlos and the crowd but impressing María. That night, María is pressured by her father and mayor, General Ramiro Posada, to marry Joaquín for his protection from the Bandit King Chakal. María and Manolo both profess their love before dawn but are interrupted when Xibalba sends his dual-headed snake staff, who bites her and sends her into a coma. Devastated by María’s apparent death, Manolo allows Xibalba to kill him, believing he will be reunited with María in death.Diego Luna and Zoe Saldana in The Book of Life (2014)In the Land of the Remembered, Manolo reunites with his mother and his ancestral family. They travel to La Muerte’s castle, discovering Xibalba, now the ruler of the realm, who explains the bet. Manolo travels to the Cave of Souls to reach La Muerte. Inside, he meets the Candle Maker, the overseer of mortal lives and the Book of Life’s keeper. The Candle Maker sees that Manolo’s story in the Book of Life is blank and can be rewritten by himself, so he takes them to the Land of the Forgotten. They find La Muerte at Xibalba’s castle and expose his cheating. Furious, La Muerte lectures Xibalba before offering a new wager at Manolo’s request: Manolo’s life will be returned if he completes a challenge of Xibalba’s choosing, but if he fails, he will be forgotten and Xibalba will keep both realms. Xibalba sets Manolo against a giant bull skeleton made from the skeletons of every bull slain by the Sanchez family, believing that to be his greatest fear.Zoe Saldana in The Book of Life (2014)Meanwhile, María had been awaken from her coma, learns of Manolo’s death, and accepts Joaquín’s proposal. Their wedding is interrupted by Chakal, who leads his army to San Angel to find the Medal, which was previously his. Chakal kills Carlos, who arrives in the Land of the Remembered in time to see Manolo’s fight. Manolo, realizing his fear is actually of being himself, refuses to fight and instead sings an apology to the bull, appeasing it and touching everyone present. Impressed, the deities resurrect Manolo and send him and his family to San Angel to protect it. Manolo is knocked unconscious when Chakal destructs himself, but he is protected by the Medal, which Joaquín had slipped him earlier. Joaquín returns it to Xibalba and resolves to be a true hero, while Manolo and María are happily married as Xibalba and La Muerte reconcile.Diego Luna in The Book of Life (2014)In the present, Mary Beth finishes the story, and the amazed children leave the museum. Mary Beth and a security guard reveal themselves to be La Muerte and Xibalba in disguise. The Candle Maker appears and encourages the audience to write their own story.Zoe Saldana in The Book of Life (2014)This is a beautiful animated film. Very unique in comparison to other animated films out there. I loved that it had funny parts – for adults as well as kids – but it isn’t a silly comedy. It is a gorgeous, epic folkloric tale of family, tradition and finding your own way.  It felt very genuine and warm throughout but the sweet romantic story was especially touching. You could tell a lot of love went into making this film.