HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: DREAMCATCHER

CAST

Morgan Freeman (Lucy)
Thomas Jane (The Punisher)
Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl)
Damien Lewis (Homeland)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Tom Sizemore (Heat)
Donnie Wahlberg (Saw II)
Michael O’Neill (Transformers)
Rosemary Dunsmore (Orphan Black)
Ingrid Kavelaars (Stargate SG.1)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Michael Daingerfield (Smallville)
Kevan Ohtsji (Godzilla)
Dion Johnstone (Stargate SG.1)
Chad Rock (The Flash)

Jonesy, Beaver, Pete, and Henry are four friends on an annual hunting trip in Maine. As children, they all acquired telepathic powers which they call “the line” after saving a mentally handicapped boy named Douglas “Duddits” Cavell from bullies and befriend him.One night, Jonesy sees Duddits beckoning him to cross the street, but as he does so Jonesy is hit by a car. His injuries heal with mysterious speed and six months later he is able to make it for the group’s annual trip. Jonesy rescues a man lost in the forest named Rick McCarthy. He is very ill, so Jonesy and Beaver let him rest and recover inside their cabin. Suddenly, herds of forest animals flee past their cabin, followed by two military helicopters that announce the area is now quarantined. Jonesy and Beaver return to the cabin to find a trail of blood from the bedroom to the bathroom, where Rick is sitting semi-catatonic on the toilet, which is now covered in blood. Rick is thrown from the toilet, dead into the tub as a creature writhes and screams in the toilet. Beaver attempts to trap the creature under the toilet lid, but the three-foot long lamprey-like creature, with multiple rows of razor-sharp teeth, kills him. Jonesy tries to escape but is confronted by a large alien called Mr. Gray, who possesses Jonesy’s body and emits a red-dust around the entire cabin.Nearby, Henry and Pete crash their SUV to avoid running over a frostbitten woman from Rick’s original hunting party. Henry walks for help while Pete stays with the woman. She dies and also excretes a worm, which Pete barely manages to kill. Mr. Gray tricks and kidnaps Pete, but Jonesy telepathically warns Henry to stay hidden. Henry returns to the cabin to find Beaver dead and the worm that killed him laying a group of eggs. To kill all of the alien larvae, he sets fire to the cabin.Meanwhile, an elite military unit specializing in extraterrestrials, led by the slightly unhinged Colonel Abraham Curtis, seeks to contain everyone exposed to the aliens. Col. Curtis is planning to retire after this operation and will pass command, along with a pearl-handled stainless-steel .45 pistol, to Captain Owen Underhill, his trusted friend and second in command. The two lead an air-strike into a large forest clearing where the aliens’ spaceship has crash-landed. The aliens use telepathy to ask for mercy, but the helicopters massacre most of the aliens with mini-guns and missiles. The alien ship self-destructs, destroying the remaining aliens and two helicopters.Jonesy retraces his memories of the area while watching Mr. Gray use his body. Mr. Gray tries to coerce Pete into cooperating but bites him in half when he refuses. Jonesy realizes that Mr. Gray possessed him, not by chance, but to access past memories of Duddits which he needs. Henry arrives at the fenced-in concentration camp only to realize that Col. Curtis plans to kill all of those quarantined. Henry convinces Underhill to prevent this by going over Curtis’ head and having him relieved. Henry and Underhill break out of the camp and head to Duddits’ home. Duddits, who is dying of leukemia, informs them Mr. Gray is headed for the Quabbin Reservoir to seed the water with alien larvae. Curtis, realizing the danger looming to the entire planet, leaves the camp in his armed helicopter and tracks down Henry, Underhill, and Duddits via a micro-chip in the pistol. At the reservoir, Underhill is mortally wounded and dies shortly after he shoots Curtis down.In the reservoir’s pump house, Henry uses Underhill’s machine gun to kill Mr. Gray’s worm but cannot decide if Jonesy is possessed. Duddits confronts Mr. Gray, who finally exits Jonesy’s body. The two struggle as Duddits reveals himself to also be an alien of a different race. Both aliens explode in a cloud of red-dust which briefly resembles a dreamcatcher. Jonesy, now himself again, steps on the final alien larva before it can escape and contaminate the reservoir.Not a masterpiece, but still an enjoyable Sci-fi/Horror.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE – SEASON 1

Main Cast

Kevin Conroy (Justice League Doom)
George Newbern (Law & Order: SVU)
Susan Eisenberg (Lego aquaman)
Phil LaMarr (Futurama)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Maria Canals (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Gary Cole (Fam)
Jason Marsden (Young Justice)
Susan Sullivan (Castle)
Corey Burton (Transformers)
Clyde Kusatsu (Midway)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
James Remar (Black Lightning)
Kurtwood Smith (Robocop)
Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek: DS9)
Garrett Morris (2 Broke Girls)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Scott Rummell (Six)
Kristin Bauer van Straten (50 First Dates)
Xander Berkeley (Terminator 2)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
John Rhys-Davies (Lord of The Rings)
Eric Roberts (The Finder)
William Smith (Laredo)
David Ogden Stiers (Two Guys and a Girls)
Cathy Cavadini (THe Powerpuff Girls)
Bill Duke (Black Lightning)
Virginia Madsen (Better Watch Out)
Keone Young (Crank)
Powers Boothe (Sin City)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Olivia d’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Stephen McHattie (300)
David Naughton (The Gathering)
Stephen Root (Barry)
Ted McGinley (No Good Nick)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Udo Kier (Iron Sky)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Jeffrey Jones (Howard The Duck)
William Katt (Carrie)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Ian Buchanan (Panic Room)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha)
Grant Heslov (THe Scorpion King)
Michael T. Weiss (The Pretender)
Pam Grier (Jackie Brown)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Dave Thomas (Coneheads)
Cam Clarke (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Michael Bell (Transformers: The Movie)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Tom Sizemore (Red Planet)
Patrick Duffy (Dallas)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)

secret-origins-pan-01They’re the rockstars of the DC universe and they’re a heck of a lot of fun to be around. Giant robot rampaging through the city and Superman alone can’t stop it? Insidious villain plotting to invade the world with an army of zombies and the task is too much for Wonder Woman? Puzzling crime-spree that Batman can’t – er, wait. Strike that last one. Given enough time, Batman can do just about anything. Even so, when the world is in dire need of saving, it’s a job for the Justice League. MV5BMDMyN2UzOWQtZjg4OS00MmFiLTk0MzItNTlkZTk3NTRjZWRmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_This series is the culmination of nearly ten years of animation continuity headed up by animation producer Bruce Timm and friends. It’s very rare for a consistent creative team to play around in what is essentially the same sandbox for so long. From the writers to the directors to the voice actors – Kevin Conroy has been voicing Batman for over ten years now – Justice League is the spiritual conclusion to the DC animated universe that Batman: The Animated Series helped kick off way back in 1992.MV5BM2Y5M2JmYTEtNWRiMy00OTgwLTkwOGMtMzI2ZWIxZmM3ODAwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_The creative team has taken everything they’ve learned in their previous shows (Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond) and brought it to the next level. Justice League features seven main heroes and a host of villains. If that wasn’t enough, in its later seasons the series would expand its roster to include virtually the entire DC comic book universe. MV5BOTUyYzZlMDUtOTk2ZC00NGQxLTkxNzMtZmVmMjNjNWNhNGYzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_Obviously, since the show features the world’s greatest superheroes, you’ve got to come up with some pretty challenging foes for them to face. At the same time you’ve got to ensure that the characters maintain unique personas and don’t step over each other’s ground. This is not an easy task, especially when confined to the constraints of a kids’ show. The greatest weakness of the first season is the show’s inability to keep its characters distinct and interesting at the same time. Sure, it’s easy making Batman cool – and it never gets old – but its somewhat more difficult peeling the other characters apart. For example, Superman and Hawkgirl seem to be identical characters in terms of functionality. They both fly, are very strong, and can tear things apart. The only difference is that Hawkgirl uses a mace.MV5BMTYzMjA5NzEyNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTEwOTM2MjE@._V1_The best way to keep characters with overlapping powers interesting is to develop them as individuals. Sadly, the show’s first season seems more interested in flashy action than character development. Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and J’onn J’onzz get some great moments, but The Flash, Superman, and Hawkgirl are left out in the cold. My personal pet peeve this season is that Superman gets dumbed down to the point of uselessness. Bruce Timm admits in the extras that they thought having Superman get beaten up so often would make their villains look even scarier. After all, if something can take down Superman it’s got to be tough. However, after a while Superman gets beat up so often that the “Super” is sapped out of him. If you see anything electrical it’s a guarantee that it will shock ol’ Supes and put him out of action. If you’re willing to forgive a few missteps (I certainly was) then you’ve got a real treat in store for yourself.MV5BODQ1Nzk0OGQtYWNmYy00N2M0LWFmYTgtZjA4MDhjYmVjNjUzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_In a wise move by the show’s producers, the first season (along with the second) is divided into a series of two-part episodes. This gives the show forty-four minute episodes in which to tell more complicated stories than would be possible in the standard twenty-two minutes. The result is a four disc set packed with high-flying superhero fun. From Injustice For All, where our heroes battle an evil society headed-up by a terminally diagnosed Lex Luthor, to The Enemy Below, where the League team up with Aquaman, this entire boxed set is full of great action and enjoyable comic book storytelling.MV5BYjQ4NmY2NzEtMTM1Yi00YzY2LWEyMjItZjlkODE3M2E1N2JmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_If you’re willing to forgive some unbalanced character development then you’ll have a great time with this first season. Justice League is a very entertaining show that any fan of superhero animation should not be without. These guys were the world’s first superhero team and they set the template for everyone that came after. They were the best then, and thanks to this show, they’re the still the best today.

REVIEW: NATURAL BORN KILLERS

CAST
Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
Juliette Lewis (Some Girl)
Tom Sizemore (Black Hawk Down)
Rodney Dangerfield (Casper)
Jared Harris (Sherlock Holmes 2)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Heroes Reborn)
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
Balthazar Getty (Alias)
Tommy Lee Jones (Batman Forever)
Kirk Baltz (Face/Off)
Saemi Nakamura (Heroes)
Carl Ciarfalio (Casino)
Mark Harmon (Chasing Liberty)
Mickey Knox and his wife Mallory stop at a roadside café in the New Mexico desert. A group of rednecks arrive and one begins sexually harassing Mallory. She briefly encourages him before beating him to a pulp. Mickey and Mallory then murder all but one of the diner’s patrons, culminating in a morbid game of Eeny, meeny, miny, moe to decide who lives and dies. After executing the waitress Mabel, the couple ensures that the only survivor remembers their names before they embrace and declare their undying love.
Mickey and Mallory camp out in the desert, and Mallory reminisces about when they first met. A flashback (done in the style of a TV sitcom, including a laughtrack) shows Mickey as a deliveryman who came to the house where Mallory lived with her sexually abusive father, her neglectful mother, and her younger brother, Kevin. Mickey and Mallory fall in love instantly and leave together, as Mickey steals a car that belongs to Mallory’s father. Soon Mickey is arrested and imprisoned for grand theft auto, but he subsequently escapes from a prison work farm during a tornado and returns to Mallory’s house. The two kill Mallory’s parents, but spare Kevin, and go on the road together and get “married” on the side of a bridge, celebrating by taking a hostage. Furious with Mickey’s notion that they have a threesome, Mallory drives to a nearby gas station, where she flirts with the mechanic. They begin to have sex on the hood of a car, but Mallory kills him when he recognizes her as a wanted killer. During this time, Mickey rapes the hostage.
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The pair continue their killing spree, ultimately claiming fifty-two victims in New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada. Pursuing them is Detective Jack Scagnetti, who became obsessed with mass murderers after witnessing his mother being shot and killed by Charles Whitman when he was eight. Beneath his heroic facade, he is a violent psychopath, once strangling a prostitute to death. The killers are also followed by self-serving tabloid journalist Wayne Gale. Gale profiles Mickey and Mallory on his show, American Maniacs, soon elevating them to cult hero status.
Mickey and Mallory become lost in the desert and encounter Warren Red Cloud, a Navajo Indian, and his young grandson. After the two fall asleep, the Navajo, hoping to expel the demon he perceives in Mickey, begins chanting beside the fire, invoking nightmares in Mickey about his abusive parents. Mickey wakes up in a rage and fatally shoots Red Cloud before he realizes what he is doing. It is the first time Mallory and Mickey feel guilty for a murder. Fleeing from the scene through the desert, they stray onto a field of rattlesnakes and are both bitten. They drive to a drugstore to find snakebite antidote, but the pharmacist sets off the silent alarm before Mickey kills him. Soon police cars arrive and Mallory is captured and subsequently beaten by the police. A gunfight breaks out between Mickey and the others. Scagnetti arrives and tells Mickey that unless he surrenders, he will cut off Mallory’s breasts. Mickey gives up his guns, but attacks Scagnetti with a knife. The police taser him and the scene ends with Mickey and Mallory being beaten by a group of vengeful policemen as a Japanese news crew fronted by a female reporter films the action.
The story picks up one year later: the homicidal couple have been imprisoned, and are due to be moved to a mental hospital after being declared insane. Scagnetti arrives at the prison and encounters Warden Dwight McClusky, with whom he plans to murder the two criminals. McClusky will arrange for Scagnetti to be the driver for the Knoxes’ transfer. Alone with the pair, Scagnetti will murder them, then claim that they tried to escape.
Meanwhile, Gale has persuaded Mickey to agree to a live interview that will air immediately after the Super Bowl. Mallory is held in solitary confinement elsewhere in the prison, awaiting her transport to the mental hospital. During the interview, Mickey gives a speech about how murder provides enlightenment and declares himself a “natural born killer”. His words inspire the other inmates (who are watching the interview on TV in the recreation room) and incite them to riot. McClusky, upon learning of the riot, orders the interview terminated despite Gale’s vehement protests. Mickey is left alone with Gale, the film crew and several guards. Using a lengthy joke as a diversion, Mickey overpowers a guard and grabs his shotgun. He kills most of the guards with it and takes the survivors hostage, leading them through the prison riot. Gale follows, giving a live television report as people are beaten and killed around him.
Scagnetti enters Mallory’s cell and attempts to seduce her. Mallory, feigning to reciprocate at first, rebuffs his efforts, smashing his face against the wall and breaking his nose, before two guards subdue her, and Scagnetti sprays her face with tear gas in revenge. Still live on national television, Mickey arrives at Mallory’s cell, where he kills all the guards and engages in a Mexican standoff with Scagnetti, eventually feigning a concession. Mallory then approaches Scagnetti from behind and slashes his throat with a shank. To Scagnetti’s horror, Mickey tells him that he was out of shotgun shells during the standoff. Mallory then picks up Scagnetti’s gun and kills him.
Mickey and Mallory continue to escape through the riot torn prison, with Gale’s entire TV crew getting killed. Gale himself snaps, succumbing to Stockholm syndrome as well as indulging in his own longtime fascination for murder, and begins to shoot at the guards with a pistol that he has taken from one of the dead guards, but gets so frenzied that Mickey prefers to disarm him. After being rescued by a mysterious prisoner named Owen Traft, the trio of Mickey, Mallory, and Gale run into McClusky and a heavily armed posse of guards. The trio takes cover in a blood-splattered shower room. McClusky threatens to storm the shower room; Mickey, in turn, threatens to kill both Gale and a guard on live TV, and the prisoners walk out the front door, to McClusky’s utter dismay, as he helplessly threatens to hunt them down. McClusky and his guards are then quickly massacred by hordes of inmates.
Mickey and Mallory steal a van and kill the last guard; Owen’s fate is unknown. Escaping to a rural location, they give a final interview to Gale, whose ear they have seemingly removed (implied, but as a camera track reveals), before they tell him he must die also. He attempts various arguments to change their minds, finally appealing to their trademark practice of leaving one survivor; Mickey informs him they are leaving a witness to tell the tale, his camera. Gale accepts his fate and extends his arms as if on a cross as they shoot him dead while his unattended camera continues to roll. The couple is shown several years later, in an RV, with Mickey driving and a pregnant Mallory watching their two children play.
Natural Born Killers is Oliver Stone’s “take-no-prisoners” assault on the media that is cinematic eye-candy to the teeth. It’s an uneasy satire to watch, but it is an extremely effective film that is both thrilling and funny.