REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN: THE NEW ANIMATED SERIES (2003)

MAIN CAST (VOICES)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Lisa Loeb (Legally Blonde)
Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills, 90210)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Ethan Embry (Eagle Eye)
Jeff Fischer (American Dad)
Jennifer Hale (Batman: Assault on Arkham)
Julie Nathanson (The Zeta Project)
Rino Romano (The Batman)
Cree Summer (Batman Beyond)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Eve (4.3.2.1.)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
Gina Gershon (The Batman)
John C. McGinley (Highlander 2)
Xander Berkeley (Poison Ivy 2)
Virginia Madsen (Sideways)
Susan Blu (Transformers)
Keith Carradine (The Big Bang Theory)
James Marsters (Buffy)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Clancy Brown (Sleepy Hollow)
Jane Lynch (Paul)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Tara Strong (Teen Titans)
Jeffrey Combs (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012)
David DeLuise (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Devon Sawa (Final Destination)
Stan Lee (Agent Carter)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Truly one of the best ever incarnation of Spiderman and the best animated show ever Compared to previous animated Spidey’s this was bold move, taking it in new, more mature and realistic directions.
Taking place after the Spider-Man movie this show revolves around the college adventures of Peter, Mary-Jane and Harry who have much better chemistry, character and dialogue than the movie ever offered. Each episode provides more drama and development and creativity. The stories are very imaginative and are obviously written by people who are passionate about Spiderman rather than a studio hashing a product together.
 The computer animation is superb and resembles The Ultimate Spiderman comic book (my fave) more than anything. And I know Mary-Jane is only a CGI character but she is so beautiful, and she’s voiced by the equally gorgeous Lisa Loeb. Neil Patrick Harris is the voice of Peter Parker and even in this performance he is a hundred times better than Tobey Maguire.
 The show also offers some new, interesting characters like Indy, Cheyenne and Silver Sable and gives us alternate takes on Electro and Kraven. Though I was curious as to why Aunt May was not involved.
There is plenty of action and excitement to be had in every episode, all backed up to great music.
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REVIEW: THE HAUNTING (1999)

 

CAST

Liam Neeeson (Batman Begins)
Catherine Zeta Jones (Chicago)
Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers)
Lili Taylor (The Conjuring)
Bruce Dern (Django Unchained)
Virginia Madsen (Highlander 2)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)

FEkT

Eleanor “Nell” Lance (Lili Taylor) has cared for her invalid mother for 11 years. After her mother dies, her sister Jane (Virginia Madsen) and Jane’s boyfriend Lou (Tom Irwin) eject her. Nell receives a phone call about an insomnia study, directed by Dr. David Marrow (Liam Neeson) at Hill House, a secluded manor in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, and applies for it. At the house, she meets Mr. and Mrs. Dudley (Bruce Dern, Marian Seldes), a strange pair of caretakers. Two other participants arrive, Luke Sanderson (Owen Wilson) and Theodora (Catherine Zeta-Jones), along with Dr. Marrow and his two research assistants. Unknown to the participants, Dr. Marrow’s true purpose is to study the psychological response to fear, intending to expose his subjects to increasing amounts of terror. Each night, the caretakers chain the gate outside Hill House, preventing anyone from getting in or out until morning. During their first night, Dr. Marrow relates the story of Hill House. The house was built by Hugh Crain (Charles Gunning)—a 19th-century textile tycoon.
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Crain built the house for his wife, hoping to populate it with a large family of children; however, all of Crain’s children died during their birth. Crain’s wife Renee killed herself before the house was finished and Crain became a recluse. After the story, Marrow’s assistant’s face is slashed by a snapped clavichord wire. The freak accident causes Marrow’s research assistants to leave. Nell begins to suspect that it was no accident, as she notices that the wire was unwound by someone or something. Theo and Nell begin to experience unusual happenings within the house, such as a mysterious force trying to open the door, Nell starts seeing ghosts of children in curtains and sheets, Hugh Crain’s wood portrait morphs into a skeletal face and is vandalized with the words “Welcome Home Eleanor” written in blood. Theo and Luke try to establish their innocence, but Nell tells them that they don’t know her.
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Nell becomes determined to prove that the house is haunted by ghostly children who are only terrorized and killed by Crain’s cruelty. She learns that Crain kidnapped the children from his cotton mills and slaughtered them, then burned their bodies in the fireplace, trapping their ghosts and forcing them to remain with him, providing him with an ‘eternal family’. She also learns that Crain had a second wife named Carolyn, from whom she is descended. Dr. Marrow is skeptical of Eleanor’s claims, until he realizes he made a mistake by bringing them to Hill House when a statue tries to drown him in a pool of water in a greenhouse. After several more terrifying events, Nell insists that she cannot leave the ghosts of the kids to suffer for eternity at Crain’s hands. Trying to convince Eleanor to leave the house with them, Theo offers to let Nell move in with her, but Nell reveals her relation to Carolyn and claims she must help the children to “move on” to the afterlife.

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Hugh Crain’s ghost seals up the house, trapping them all inside. A frustrated Luke defaces a portrait of Hugh Crain. Crain’s enraged spirit drags Luke to the fireplace where he is decapitated. Nell is able to lead Crain’s spirit towards an iron door. The spirits pull Crain into the door, dragging him down to Hell. Nell is pulled with him, inflicting fatal trauma on her body, but the ghosts gently release her on the ground. Her ghost rises up to Heaven, accompanied by the children’s ghosts. After Nell’s death and when she moved on to Heaven along with the ghosts, Theo and Dr. Marrow wait by the gate outside until the Dudleys come in the morning.

The Dudleys approach as the sun rises. Mr. Dudley asks Dr. Marrow if he found what he wanted to know, but the traumatized psychiatrist does not give an answer, and neither does Theo. When the gate opens, the two silently walk out and down the road, leaving Hill House behind them.

Its not particularly scary, however it is a fabulous storyline. Has a great cast, Liam Neeson, Owen Wilson, Lily (can’t remember her name!) and Catherine Zeta Jones before she got really famous.

 

REVIEW: THE PROPHECY

CAST

Christopher Walken (Pulp Fiction)
Elias Koteas (Crash)
Virginia Madsen (Sideways)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Viggo Motensen (Lord of The Rings)
Amanda Plummer (drunks)
Adam Goldberg (A Beautiful Mind)
Steve Hytner (Roswell)
Sandra Ellis Lafferty (Walk The Line)

Evil-Bong-EebeeThomas Dagget, a Catholic seminary student, loses his faith when he sees disturbing visions of a war between angels. Years later, Thomas is a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. Two angels fall to Earth: one, Simon, enters Thomas’ home and warns him of coming events, before disappearing. The second, Usiel, a lieutenant of the angel Gabriel, is killed in an altercation with Simon. Investigating the disturbance, Thomas finds in Simon’s apartment the obituary of a recently deceased Korean War veteran named Colonel Arnold Hawthorne and the theology thesis about angels which Thomas himself wrote in seminary. Meanwhile, in Chimney Rock, Arizona, Simon finds the dead veteran awaiting burial and sucks the evil soul out of the body.prophecy_1000_420_90_c1The medical examiner informs Thomas that Usiel’s body is like nothing he has seen before: it has no eyes, no signs of bone growth, hermaphroditism, and the same blood chemistry as an aborted fetus. Among the personal effects found on the body is an ancient, hand-written Bible, which includes an extra chapter of the Book of Revelation that describes a second war in heaven and prophecy that a “dark soul” will be found on Earth and used as a weapon. Unknown to Thomas, Gabriel arrives on Earth. Needing a human helper, Gabriel catches Jerry, a suicide, in the moment of his death and keeps him in a state of limbo. Unhappily dominated by Gabriel, Jerry retrieves Usiel’s belongings from the police station while Gabriel destroys Usiel’s body in the morgue. After finding Hawthorne’s obituary, Gabriel and Jerry head for Chimney Rock. Before Gabriel arrives, at the local reservation school Simon hides Hawthorne’s soul in a little Native American girl, Mary, who immediately falls ill and is taken care of by her teacher, Katherine.galleryimage_image_407After finding Usiel’s burnt body, all evidence of its oddity now lost, Thomas hurries to Chimney Rock. When Gabriel realizes Hawthorne’s soul is missing, he confronts Simon. Gabriel says Hawthorne’s soul will tip the balance to whichever side possesses it. Should the rebellious angels win, Heaven will become like Hell with earth in its thrall. Simon refuses to reveal its location, and Gabriel kills him, ripping out his heart. Mary shows signs of possession by the evil soul; she suddenly recounts an incident from Hawthorne’s harrowing war experiences in first-person perspective. Meanwhile, Thomas examines Simon’s remains and questions Katherine. In Hawthorne’s home, he finds evidence of war crimes. Thomas visits a church to reflect and is shaken by a verbal confrontation with Gabriel. He is beginning to understand the nature of the jealous angels who hate humans because God loves them most.The-Prophecy-UzielAt school, Katherine finds Gabriel questioning the children. After he leaves, she rushes to Mary’s home and finds Thomas there. As Mary’s condition worsens, Katherine takes Thomas to an abandoned mine where she had seen Gabriel. Inside, they find angelic script and experience together a terrible vision of the angelic war. They rush back to Mary’s home, only to find Gabriel and Jerry there. Thomas kills Jerry, who thanks him for the release. Katherine stops Gabriel temporarily when her wild gunshot misses him and blows up Mary’s trailer home. The three protagonists flee to a Native American site where Mary can be exorcised. In a hospital ICU ward, Gabriel recruits a new unwilling assistant, Rachael, just as she dies of a terminal illness. He needs her because he doesn’t know how to drive.The-Prophecy-1995-7That night, Lucifer confronts Katherine and tells her that “other angels” have taken up this war against mankind, and since then, no human souls have been able to enter Heaven. He knows of Gabriel’s plot to use Hawthorne’s soul to overthrow the obedient angels. He also knows that if Gabriel wins the war under his influence Heaven will ultimately devolve into another Hell, which Lucifer considers “one Hell too many”. The next day, Lucifer appears to Thomas and advises him to use Gabriel’s lack of faith against him. Gabriel arrives and attempts to disrupt the exorcism ritual. Thomas kills Rachel, and he and Katherine fight Gabriel.prophecy3Lucifer appears first encouraging the tribe to complete the exorcism. Then he confronts Gabriel telling him that his war is based upon arrogance, which is evil, making it Lucifer’s territory. Gabriel taunts Lucifer about his past when he fell from grace; Lucifer tells Gabriel he needs to go home and rips out his heart. Simultaneously Mary expels out Hawthorne’s soul, a rancid cloud of evil. The “enemy ghost” starts to attack the people but a bright light from Heaven immediately destroys it. With the threat to his evil kingdom eliminated, Lucifer tells Thomas and Katherine to “come home” with him. They staunchly refuse. “I have my soul…and my faith,” declares Thomas. Lucifer drags Gabriel to Hell. As morning comes, Thomas comments on the nature of faith and what it means to truly be human.walken004This movie is blessed with terrific acting. Christopher Walken in particular delivers a powerful portrayal of the tortured archangel Gabriel. There are some pretty good special effects, particularly those showing the horrors of the fighting among the angels in heaven itself. Most religious individuals should have no real problems with The Prophecy because it never portrays itself as representing some kind of truth or challenges its viewers’ own beliefs. While the movie has its flaws, it succeeds in presenting a problematical storyline with the required seriousness it requires in order to be effective.

REVIEW: DEAD RISING: WATCHTOWER

CAST

Jesse Metcalfe (Dallas)
Meghan Ory (Once Upon A Time)
Virginia Madsen (Sideways)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
Aleks Paunovic (Kindergarten Cop 2)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Gary Jones (Stargate Sg.1)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)

Set between the events of Dead Rising 2 and Dead Rising 3, the story follows online reporter Chase Carter and his camerawoman Jordan as they cover the stories of the people inside of the walled-in quarantined area in the fictional town of East Mission, Oregon, as the government (running an organization called F.E.Z.A.—Federal Emergency Zombie Authority) attempts to contain a viral outbreak that turns people into ravenous zombies. An anti-viral drug called Zombrex, that keeps the virus at bay, is being administered to those infected. When it becomes clear that the drug is no longer effective and a zombie outbreak purges the town and infects its inhabitants, Chase, Jordan, grieving mother Maggie, and survivor Crystal battle their way out of the city before it gets firebombed.Throughout the film, it is revealed that the Army implanted bad Zombrex in a refugee center to start another outbreak so that the government can be allowed to plant government-mandated Zombrex chips on the infected to track them, framing F.E.Z.A. for giving bad Zombrex to the infected. The coin that Jordan gave to Chase to open a newspaper vending machine at the beginning came in handy when she placed evidence of the Army sabotaging the Zombrex inside the vending machine for him to find. When General Lyons figures out that Jordan and Norton are aware of the Army’s actions, he has his men capture them to cover up the truth. In the end, Chase and Crystal managed to survive and get out of city and Jordan manages to get footage proving the Army’s compliance in the new outbreak to Chase, who finds it in the newspaper vending machine, but the same footage shows her being taken and probably killed by the military and the U.S. government are allowed to implant tracking chips on people who are infected.Overall Dead Rising: Watchtower is easily one of the best video game adaptation to date, fun filled, blood soaked entertainment.

REVIEW: BLUE TIGER

CAST

Virginia Madsen (Highlander II)
Tōru Nakamura (Tokyo Raiders)
Ryo Ishibashi (The Grudge)
Yuji Okumoto (Pearl Harbor)
Harry Dean Stanton (Alien)
François Chau (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)

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Gina is a sweet and dedicated mother to her little son. One day, while shopping with him for a Halloween mask, her son is accidentally shot through the chest by a Japanese gunman who is trying to kill an opposing gang of bus operators. Gina notices that the gunman has a picture of a blue tiger tattooed on his chest. She becomes obsessed with vengeance and has an identical red tiger etched into her skin. She then tracks down the killer and plots his death. This leads her into the world of the Japanese Mafia, where she uses her sexual allure and newfound knowledge of the Japanese language to search the tattooed men for the same blue tiger bearer that killed her son.18429925_jpg-r_640_600-b_1_D6D6D6-f_jpg-q_x-xxyxxThe surprising thing about this movie is the pace. It’s relentless, and it has that moody low budget Ferrara/Cohen urgency about it from start to finish. Great performances all round from a decent cast. Shame the mob guys looked like extras from the Kojak school of pie munching. Seeing as their main role is as cannon fodder, that’s forgivable. At just under 80 minutes, this movie feels way too short. It’s a good lesson in lean mean movie making , and appears to have left all the excess baggage on the cutting room floor. Worth the price of the DVD if you can find one, and worthy of a few brews if it turns up on cable.

REVIEW: THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT

CAST

Virginia Madsen (Sideways)
Martin Donovan (Ant-Man)
Elias Koteas (Crash)
Kyle Gallner (Smallville)
Amanda Crew (Sex Drive)
Spohpi Knight (Rookie Blue)

In 1987, Sara Campbell (Virginia Madsen) is driving her son Matthew (Kyle Gallner) home from the hospital where he has been undergoing cancer treatments. Sara and her husband Peter (Martin Donovan), a recovering alcoholic, discuss finding a rental house closer to the hospital. On another hospital visit, Sara finds a man putting up a “For Rent” sign in front of a large house. The man is frustrated and offers her the first month free if she will rent it immediately. The following day, Peter arrives with Matt’s brother Billy (Ty Wood) and cousins Wendy (Amanda Crew) and Mary, and they choose rooms. Matt chooses the basement, where there is a mysterious door. After moving in, Matt suffers a series of visions involving an old, bearded man and corpses with symbols carved into their skin. The next day, Peter learns that the house was supposedly a funeral home; the room behind the mysterious door is a mortuary.Matt tells another patient, Reverend Nicholas Popescu (Elias Koteas), about the visions. Nicholas advises him to find out what the spirit wants. Later, Matt finds a burned figure in his room who begins to move toward him. When the family comes home, they find a shirtless Matt with his fingers blood-covered from scratching at the wall.The family begins to crack under the stress of Matt’s illness and bizarre behavior. The children find a box of photographs, which show Jonah, a young man from Matt’s visions, at a séance, emitting ectoplasm. Wendy and Matt find out that the funeral home was run by a man named Ramsey Aickman. Aickman also conducted psychic research and would host séances with Jonah as the medium. At one séance, all those attending, including Aickman, were found dead and Jonah disappeared.Nicholas theorizes that Aickman was practicing necromancy in an attempt to control the dead and bind them to the house. That night, Nicholas finds human remains in the house and removes them. Matt awakens to find Aickman’s symbols carved into his flesh. He is taken to the hospital, where he encounters Jonah. Nicholas and Matt begin to have simultaneous visions. Everyone in the séance is burnt, after a flash of bright light. The barely alive Aickman told Jonah to get out of the house, concerned that the demonic presence will get him next. Jonah uses a dumbwaiter to escape, calling for help. Entering an unknown chamber, Jonah realizes that he has entered the crematory. The spirit traps Jonah in the crematory, and cremates him alive.Peter and Sara learn that Matt’s cancer treatments have had no effect. They then discover that Matt has escaped the hospital. Back at the house, Nicholas leaves a message telling the family to get out of the house immediately – Jonah’s spirit was actually protecting them from the spirits. Matt breaks through the walls in the front room with an axe, revealing the dusty corpses Aickman hid in the walls. He forces Wendy and the children to get out, barricading himself inside and tearing down the other walls, as corpses begin to tumble into the room. The view switches from Matt to Jonah, who seems to be occupying Matt’s body. Matt lights the bodies and the room on fire.As the fire department arrives, Sara and Peter frantically try to get in to save Matt. The spirits, finally freed, disappear. Outside, everyone watches tearfully as the emergency crew attempts to resuscitate a dying Matt. As Matt slips away, he has a vision of himself standing in the graveyard where he sees Jonah, no longer appearing burnt. He seems about to follow Jonah when he hears his mother’s voice.He returns to his body and Jonah’s spirit leaves him. Matt’s cancer disappears, and the house was rebuilt and resold with no further reported incidents of haunting.While there are some questions that may not be answered, the story itself was more than satisfying. Special effects were kept to a minimum but used effectively and when needed. Acting was not Oscar worthy but good enough to make it all seem real. Fun when you want it and scary when you need it.

 

REVIEW: TEEN TITANS – SEASON 1-5

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Scott Menville (Full House)
Hynden Walch (Justice League War)
Khary Payton (The Walking Dead)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Greg Cipes (Anger Management)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Tom Kenny (Superhero Squad)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Tracey Walter (Conan The Destroyer)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Dave Coulier (Full House)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Malcolm McDowell (Heroes)
James Arnold Taylor (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass 2)
Ashley Johnson (Dollhouse)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons)
Thomas Haden Church (Sideways)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Henry Rollins (Wrong Turn 2)
James Hong (BLade Runner)
T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh (Cosby)
Freddy Rodriguez (Ugly Betty)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
Jason Marsden (Return to The Batcave)
Glenn Shadix (Beetlejuice)
Judge Reinhold (Ruthless People)
Virginia Madsen (Highlander II)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)

Teen Titans centers around the five main members of the superhero team: Robin (Scott Menville), the intelligent, capable leader of the Teen Titans; Starfire (Hynden Walch), a quirky, curious alien princess from the planet Tamaran; Cyborg (Khary Payton), a half-human/half-robot who is known for his strength and technological prowess; Raven (Tara Strong), a stoic girl from the parallel world Azarath, who draws upon dark energy and psionic abilities; and Beast Boy (Greg Cipes), a ditzy, good-natured joker who can transform into various animals. They are situated in Titans Tower, a large T-shaped structure featuring living quarters as well as a command center and variety of training facilities, on an island just offshore from the fictional West Coast city of Jump City.

The team deals with all manner of criminal activity and threats to the city, while dealing with their own struggles with adolescence, their mutual friendships, and their limitations. Slade, their main enemy, is a newly designed version of the DC villain Deathstroke. The team encounters several allies throughout the series; including Aqualad in the first season; Terra in the second season (who is integral to that season’s story arc), as well as Speedy, Hotspot, and Wildebeest; Bumblebee and Más y Menos in the third season (who join Aqualad, Speedy and bumblebee to form ‘Titans East’), and numerous other heroes adapted from the DC universe in the fifth season to aid in the battle against the Brotherhood of Evil.

I admit I wasn’t sure what to expect from Teen Titans. The show is nothing like the Teen Titans comic books, which it is based on. It ended up being more of a kids show. The characters are quite different than their comic book counterparts.


The animation is definitely inspired by Anime. It is borrowing elements from several children’s anime. There is a emphasis on exaggerated character facial expressions, that definitely add to the charm of the show. The show isn’t shy to admit its cultural inspirations by enlisting the Japanese pop band Puffy AmiYumi to perform the catchy theme song.
Teen Titans isn’t for everyone. Overall, I quite enjoy the show. It is worth giving it a try.