Archive for the Sci-Fi Category

Portland Horror Film Festival 2017: Short-Length Horror Shorts Part 2

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, horror, Movies, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2017 by aliciamovie

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‘Blackbird’

Country: UK

Director: Tim Fellingham & Charlotte Stente Nielsen

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

What happens when the one you think is your savior, turns out to have been your tormentor all along? Here on a lonely stretch of nowhere, a man with a concussion and severe memory loss, apparently from getting tossed from his motorcycle, goes to save a runaway maiden in a nightgown. The both of them hole up together trying to figure out what they’re running from, and through a series of dreams and flashbacks and one horrible “gotcha!” moment involving a blackbird tattoo, discover they really do know each-other, a little too well for either ones comfort.

The use of Memento-like timelines and flashbacks can be perfectly fine, but I thought a little too much emphasis was placed on atmosphere and not enough on the story itself. If a movie, either short or feature-length, has only two actors in it, it is very likely that the villain is one of them; it kind of lessens the potential shock value. Nevertheless, should the story be expanded, the short could have real potential.

‘The Dark Hunger’

Country: USA

Director: Anthony Williams

Review Rating: 8 out of 10

What to do when one discovers a supernatural cannibal terrorizing your neighborhood? No calling in the CIA or some paranormal equivalent, no, some sort of mafia-like gang kidnaps the man they call Dead Fred and stick him in a cell, to be fed their enemies. Because Dead Fred is a full cannibal and always cleans his plate, so there’s no evidence left behind. And when we meet up with our cannibal hero, it looks like he’s been enduring this setup for awhile.  His Dark Passenger, the actual cannibal vampire in his skull with the awesome deep voice, is content to stay in prison so long as the captors keep feeding it, but Fred has other ideas. Despite that not actually being his real name, Dead Fred decides to embrace the pseudonym and make a deal with his Dark Passenger to get out of this prison and find the man at the top, the real mastermind monster who put Fred here in the first place!

It’s never easy to combine a supernatural element with an attempt at Hannibal Lecter-like characters, and yet somehow The Dark Hunger manages it nicely. The short reads like a trailer for a film that I would certainly watch, and I sincerely wished the short was one of the longer short films, so I could pretend it was a movie. With even some of the better notes of 30 Days of Night thrown in, The Dark Hunger should make Director Williams an up-and-comer worthy of keeping an eye on.

‘Chateau Sauvignon: Terroir’

Country: USA

Director: David E. Munz-Maire

Review Rating: 7.5 out of 10 

If you could ever imagine what a winery run by Children of the Corn would be like, then the Chateau Sauvignon is for you. The stark landscape, dead animal skulls and eerie wine-making equipment that looks suspiciously like butchery pressings all serve to provide an atmosphere that screams Horror. And almost immediately, it turns out, the vitner equipment really does still make wine for the tourists and all, but is also being used in the butchery of at least some of those tourists, to keep Mom alive. (Whether Mom is a zombie, some kind of vampire, cannibal or anything else, is unclear.) But the meat juice is beginning to run out, Son is becoming concerned, and Dad is just trying to hold everything together, despite Moms condition. Two new tourists have come late to the winery and Son wants to give them the full tour, no matter what Dad says – here sample some of our wine, over here is some of the processes we use to make our vintages, and by the way, your son is a jackass, here’s a glass pouring beaker shoved into your skull. Because Mom needs to be fed, and wine isn’t cutting it anymore.

A very fine short, all kinds of atmospheric and moody, though I would have liked to have a bit more to the story. What kind of creature is Mom now, how did she get this way, what happens to all of them when the meat juice finally runs out? Perhaps for the next series of Horror shorts from Director Munz-Maire, or, he could turn the whole thing into a feature-length jaunt – I would watch it.

‘Death Metal’

Country: USA

Director: Chris McInroy

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

Dude man, I get you, hail Satan and Metal is God and all that, you bet. But if you’re handed Grand-dad’s axe (as in guitar), that he supposedly got from the Dark Prince himself, along with three important rules to follow when using it, you’d want to adhere to them and be respectful wouldn’t you? It doesn’t seem as though frustrated metal-head Lars gives two damns about any of that, and immediately goes off to break all three rules jamming in the afternoon at the park on the axe. Is it any wonder that the axe-head breaks off from the rest of the guitar and goes hog-wild?

I saw Lars and his dumbassery at another Horror film festival and thought it was hilarious then, as now. It’s always so cute to see the Metalheads tossing the horns and headbanging for all they’re worth, because of course Satan’s all kinds of into that. Just never forget, Lucifer has a very wicked sense of humor, too.

‘As They Continue to Fall’

Country: USA

Director: Nikhil Bhagat

Review Rating: 8 out of 10

Whether you’re a fan of the Prophecy series, or saw the film Legion and the short-lived Syfy show it spawned, Dominion, Angels are fairly well-known these days as something other than the be-winged halo’d bringers of light and Gods love. What we have here is the somewhat now-familiar trope of the hobo hero hunting bad guys, in this case actual Angels, and it must be said, doing a fair job of it. From the looks of the feather trophies that line his coat, keeping him warm, our hobo hero is no-one to be trifled with. (Because really, depending upon which hierarchy of Angel you’re fighting, you could strap a nuke to the Angelic type and he’d laugh at you.) Our hobo hero has been dealing with Angelic visions all his life, but now after the apparent end of the world, has taken to hunting them down with vim and vigor. And who could blame him? What is an Angel, after all, but another Devil just waiting to fall?

Many of the minds who worked on this short have made major names for themselves elsewhere (Sinister, Deus Ex, The Thing, the NBC TV show Dracula, to name only a few), and they managed to cobble together a short awesome to watch. The future dystopian world where our hobo hero hunts Angels is clear and perfectly understandable, while much is still left open to audience interpretation and judgment, and in building a world like this, that is what we would prefer.

‘Beyond the Gates’: Go get those keys!

Posted in drama, horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Jackson Stewart

Studio: Destroy All Entertainment

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

A pair of brothers come together after a long estrangement to take care of their missing fathers effects, and come across an old board game that may very well hold the key to finding their father.

So, it’s not a bad premise to start off with. The very beginning of the movie shows a proud Dad (Henry LeBlanc) with his wife (Caryn Richman) and two younger sons, preparing to open what looks like a hole-in-the-wall comic-book-gaming-store. Then suddenly its some years later and the two older brothers have come back together after some time apart, to close down Dads store and pack everything away, since Dads been missing for some seven months now. The proposed timelines in the film, and the complete disappearance of Mom after that initial first scene, were kind of muddled, but whatever, we go on.

Gordon Hardesty (Graham Skipper) is the far more serious of the brothers, whereas his sibling John (Chase Williamson) is kind of flighty and humbly admits to not having a serious job or girlfriend when they reunite. John sports this drifter friend Hank (Justin Welborn), who seems like your average barfly asshole, and both brothers seem to recall not-so-fondly from their childhoods their acquaintance Derek (Matt Mercer), who’s now become a policeman in their old town. Gordon’s girlfriend Margot (Brea Grant) inevitably shows up at some point, because we need a female Protagonist in there somewhere too, and that mostly rounds out the roster of the movie. Which is fine, there doesn’t have to be a slew of actors in a given movie.

So Gordon and John discover this old VCR boardgame Beyond the Gates, and decide to play it for the hell of it, kind of a memorial to their father. And suddenly this ghoulish-looking woman, Evelyn, is on their TV giving commands on how to play the game and potentially free their father from, say it with me, beyond the gates.

Inevitably, the brothers need a series of keys to unlock the gates. And the finding of these keys involves a goodly amount of Voodoo-like bloodshed, but its in these scenes where the movie truly shines. Exploding heads and trailing guts as practical effects are hard to do well, but this movie managed it, I thought. But after keys are procured and more creepy instructions issued by Evelyn, the film kind of falters and seems to lose steam rather than gaining it. Did they run out of money, or ideas? I don’t know, but it was a pretty standard trope to have the girlfriend possessed, have the brothers go to hell (or wherever), fight a pair of demons and then roundaboutly save their father.

It would have been nice to have some more background on a great many things in Beyond the Gates – how Dad got involved in the boardgame in the first place, where the Curio shop fits into all of this, what the hells happened to Mom, etc. – but I guess there’s only so much time to fit in everything. The soundtrack is pretty good, and it’s always nice to see Barbara Crampton in yet another Horror role.

Look into what’s Beyond the Gates on Netflix!

San Diego Asian Film Festival presents ‘Train to Busan’: Grab your baseball bat!

Posted in Action, drama, Foreign, horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Sang-ho Yeon

Studio: Next Entertainment World

Review Rating: 8 out of 10

A South Korean train ride takes a deadly turn when a zombie apocalypse breaks out!

Yes, it’s Korean and therefore subtitled and, yes, it’s another zombie movie. Those things being said, Train to Busan is a terrific throwback to the original Romero-style zombie movies, where it’s half about the scary zombies and half about the potentially worse stuff we humans do to each-other during the zombie apocalypse. I can never remember the actual character names in many of these Korean flicks, so they get designations and you’ll just have to live with it – onward we go!

So Big Daddy (Gong Yoo) is a businessman, your typical Korean male who has little time and patience for his ex-wife’s shenanigans or his Daughter’s need to be with him, while he negotiates business deals on his cellphone all day long. It’s finally Big Daddy’s chore to take his sad little Daughter on the early-morning train to go see her mother, especially after missing what was meant to be her live singing performance at school and all. And this ill-fated train ride is where it all begins.

On the train itself, Big Daddy is still on his phone and mostly ignoring Daughter (Kim Su-An), while she attempts to familiarize herself with the other passengers. Here we meet Boxer (Ma Dong-Seok), the strapping muscle-bound train-goer with his very-pregnant wife, whom I’ve aptly dubbed MomtoBe (Jung Yu-Mi), and other everyday passengers as we go along – the Elderly Sisters (Ye Soo-Jung and Park Myung-Sin), two aged women taking a train ride together; the Baseball Team and their Cheerleader squad; the older gentleman who is anything but, that I designated NastyMan (Kim Eui-Sung); and of course, the Homeless Guy (Choi Gwi-hwa), who knew about everything going on before anyone else did.

Technically this first train Big Daddy and Daughter are on isn’t going to Busan, they just kind of end up getting thrust in that direction. The first train is where the outbreak begins, at least as far as train rides go, and these are virus-class zombies – get bit, you turn in just a few minutes; black veins on the face and white-blue death eyes are the main indicators; running and shrieking and attacking anything that moves, as the survivors eventually figure out, is the SOP here. Homeless Guy hopped onto this first train and as he sits muttering to himself about how they’re all dead, one thing leads to another and suddenly, everywhere, zombies!

Big Daddy thinks he can just call in favors to get himself and Daughter rescued, even as they try to switch trains in a station after several near-misses, and it just doesn’t work out in the end, so they have to board yet another train, this one being the one officially (eventually) heading for Busan. Here we meet NastyMan, the asshole who will not be denied, who incites everyone panicking into barricading themselves against the rescue attempt Big Daddy and Boxer have to go and make. Daughter and MomtoBe mistakenly end up stuffed in a bathroom and to get to them, Boxer and Big Daddy and the one remaining Baseball Boy (Choi Woo-shik) who wasn’t turned have to guard their arms and arm themselves with baseball bats and go through like 4 cars full of zombies, twice. (As in, go through 4 cars to get there, rescue everyone, and come all the way back.) Even after watching one of the Elderly Sisters sacrifice herself, NastyMan is doing everything he can to insist people not let the rescuers back in this one uninfected car, and that means he doesn’t see the other Elderly Sister go to open the other door to the zombies until its almost too late!

We’re whittling down the survivors on the way to Busan, and even the Conductor is starting to have his doubts about safety once there. A blocked train at a pull-in station forces our survivors to try and switch trains, but the trains are still running and crashing into each-other without Conductors and hordes of mad zombies are exploding out of broken windows to come get you! Will any of our survivors make it to Busan?

I don’t want to give away the ending, but believe me, it is heart-wrenching. Enough story snippets have been tossed in among the zombie carnage to make Train To Busan much more than just a brain-eating fest of a movie, and I thought it was excellent. Right down to NastyMan finally getting a well-deserved comeuppance, damn it.

Grab your baseball bat to watch Train To Busan right now on Netflix!

‘Colony’ Season Two finale: Total Rendition

Posted in Action, drama, horror, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Don’t let all the Spoilers alienate you!

So before diving into Season Two, a quick recap – some time ago, the world was invaded by actual aliens, in spaceships with scary technology and all that jazz, and they divided the world up by gigantic walls into blocs. The story of the Bowmans, the Authorities, the Resistance and yes, occasionally aliens, began in Los Angeles, and Season Two branches out into further what-was-California territory.

Our story continues with Will Bowman, despite his job with the Authorities clashing with his newfound awareness of his wifes activities within the Resistance, insisting on going to hunt down his youngest son Charlie in the Santa Monica bloc, of course by himself. He finds Charlie with the help of his old before-aliens-landed partner, who also takes a hell of a lot of chances helping Will and Charlie get out of the bloc, and ultimately, she comes off the worse for it.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, Katie Bowman is concerned about her daughter being taught what sure sound like cult ravings about The Greatest Day, which we gather is some kind of brainwashing about how to treat the alien overlords when they do finally come to lay claim to our planet in person. Katie’s sister Maddie and her ladder-climbing husband Nolan Burgess are attempting to hang on to their cushy Transitional Authority positions by any means necessary, and that includes betrayal most foul, occasionally of each-other.

The eldest Bowman boy, Bram, got himself tossed into a teenager work gang, which of course former-Proxy Snyder has to stick his nose into because, as he would say, leverage is wherever you find it. A shakeup in local TA leadership, handed on down from much higher authority that we see for the first time in Season Two, is bringing down all kinds of heat on Will, Snyder, and Broussard.

Yes, much as he really didn’t want to, Broussard has to come out of hiding with his Resistance cell, for all their sanities’ sake if nothing else. The Red Hand, another Resistance group causing all kinds of trouble for the TA and the Bowmans, prove to be yet another obstacle for Broussard to get anything with his own cell done. Yet word from other Resistance cells outside the L.A. bloc is trickling in, and even shows up in person in a latter episode.

It was, I think, Bram’s involvement with the terrorist attack his little friends at the work gang perpetrated on the alien ship, that began the hunt for the whole Bowman family. Then we had Katie stealing a census list from Maddie, that led us to understand the L.A. bloc is being emptied out for purposes unknown. And of course Will is trying to juggle working with the TA and simultaneously lying to his newly-saddled partner, along with the safety of his family and yes, sigh, his ultimate decision to actually aid the Resistance however he can. Aunt Maddie gets sacrificed by Nolan on the altar of self-preservation, and all the remaining Bowmans have to take to hiding, with only Brussard left from his entire cell being wiped out, to help. And then Snyder, we must never forget he’s a scheming little weasel, gets the news that the entire Los Angeles bloc has been sanctioned for total rendition, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Or is it? The Bowmans have made it out, yes, with that damn gauntlet and Snyder the tracking weasel is with them, but we only saw the spaceships coming for the refugees of Los Angeles. I guess I shouldn’t have expected the gathered ships above the bloc to blow shit up Independence Day style, that’s never really been Colony’s way. But because that’s all we saw, we won’t get to know until Season Three, yes there is one they’re already filming it, if Aunt Maddie was vaporized, sent to the Factory, or what!

Season Two made a conscious effort to expand beyond the small borders of the first Season of Colony, and that’s good because they kind of needed to do that to keep the story interesting. All the Bowmans got their own screen time and own story, which they tried their best to intertwine with the main narrative; most of the time, they succeeded. More than anything, Colony is a human drama centered around a relatively small core of Scifi, so we can’t expect Ridley Scott alien visions – yet. Because the L.A. bloc is now done one way or another, the show will have no real choice but to begin to delve further into the RAP aliens – or risk alienating their audience. But strong acting performances all around and solid story to build on, Season Three of Colony will literally be the one to watch for.

DC’s ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Season Two Finale: Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom!

Posted in Action, comedy, Comics, drama, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Sci-Fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2017 by aliciamovie

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 Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Spoilers are totally Legendary!

Time is never on the Legends’ side, so we’re diving right into this! So, what do we know? The beginning of the season had Captain Rip Hunter missing and Sarah Lance taking his place, mostly to the agreement of the rest of the Legends. Whilst searching for Rip, the team picked up some stray new Legends, mainly from the 1940’s Justice Society of America in the form of Amaya, and Nate Heywood, historian and time investigator who gets himself some spiffy powers along the way. The search for Rip Hunter also brought together the aptly named Legion of Doom, comprised of original members Eobard Thawne a.k.a. Zoom from the Flash-verse; Malcolm Merlyn of the Arrow world, former League of Assassins boss; and Damien Darhk, also of the Emerald Archer’s life, magic-using baddie and the slayer of the Black Canary, making him a personal mark for Captain Lance. And unfortunately the Legion gets ahold of Rip Hunter first, cuing him for a brief turn as a bad guy while everyone else gears up for the hunt of the ultimate legendary artifact, the Spear of Destiny!

Yes, LOT went there, it is a show about fighting bad guys through time and all. So in this world, the Spear of Destiny is the thing that pierced the side of Christ himself, yes that thing, that when wielded with a certain incantation of some ancient book, can rewrite reality itself according to the users desires. Of course the Legion wants the Spear, every one of them has stuff in their past they’d much rather erase or change the outcome of, but Thawne in particular was a very bad boy and is being pursued through time and space by the Black Flash. The Black Flash is a form of Death in the Speedforce and in this world the manifestation of what became of enemy Hunter Zolomon after he was carted away by two Time Wraiths. (I know; just go with it.)

So skimming Rip Hunter’s brain led them to search for the pieces of the Spear, that Rip Hunter had judiciously broken up and hidden all over time and space. The hunt for the pieces and the Spear itself, once put back together again, has a tendency to bring out the bad ghosts in our various Legends, but none more so than our firebug thief Rory, still missing his beloved partner Leonard Snart after all this time. So of course, to persuade Rory to join the purported winning side, the Legion of Doom scurries back to Central City in 2014, before Snart joined the Legends and became a reluctant Hero, and pops him out to recruit his partner into stealing the Spear for the lot of them. And yes, sadly, it does work. (I love me some Wentworth Miller forever, and yes I’m very well aware Captain Cold is originally a bad guy, but this villainous return in the latter half of LOT Season Two is a shade disheartening.)

The last couple of episodes of the season are basically an alternate version of reality even for LOT, after the Legion went Spear-happy. And while seeing our familiar characters as darker alternate versions of themselves may be amusing for a few minutes, it gets tired real fast. Then again, the season finale has the entire team going back in time to an event they already visited and changed, resulting in multiple versions of most of them arguing amongst themselves even as they try to fight the Legion for control of that damnable Spear!

So what are we doing back in 1914 with a certain soldier named John Tolkien, again? We’re going to get the blood of Christ in the hidden vial on a war-torn battlefield to get the Spear to work, but plans are being thwarted by alternate-Legends and of course the Legion of Doom’s interference too. After doubt and discussion, every single last one of our Legends is coming out swinging, even as Zoom shows up with an ass-load of yellow Speedster reinforcements! What to do?

Sara Lance has long been the standout character on this show. From her League of Assassins on Arrow origins in the Black Canary leathers that she left her sister Laurel as a legacy, to the white leathers she wore in Season One of LOT, where she swayed hearts and minds alike with sincere care of her friends and family, and unapologetic joyful bisexuality, Sara Lance was the right choice for replacement Captain in Season Two. So when Sara is holding the Spear of Destiny and everyone’s about to get annihilated by the Legion of Doom, we can trust that even though she protests she’s too full of darkness, that as Rip Hunter says, “I believe in you.” Her final method of dealing with Zoom, arguably the leader of the Legion of Doom in this incarnation, is justifiably clever and very much a White Canary move.

Of course none of that mattes when, after depositing the surviving Legion guys into summary punishments and saying some other goodbyes, the Waverider is rocked by a time-quake and our Legends are tossed out of the time-stream into some totally messed up version of reality that’s like an Escher fever-dream – skyscrapers twisted into fantastical shapes, dinosaurs roaming freely, and way too many different timeline styles all jumbled together! Captain Lance’s statement of, “Guys, I think we broke Time,” appears to be a massive understatement.

Season Two lacked a good deal of the main plot points from Season One, mainly Vandal Savage and the Hawk-peoples, but these can actually be considered strengths for this new Season. Instead we have the formation of the Legion of Doom, and honestly, the Doom-centric episodes of LOT are just some of the most adorable, bumbling arguing-amongst-yourselves villainy ever, and a sheer joy to watch. Picking up these new Legend character, Amaya and Nate, may have been a long shot, but the Hawk folk needed replacing. Amaya happens to be (or will be, whatever) the Grandmother of future Arrow heroine Mari McCabe also known as Vixen, which has already happened on the other show and is therefore canon, so Amaya struggles with the concept of proposed destiny holding her back from living her current life. As for Nate Heywood, he also has roots through his father and grandfather in the JSA, and a long comic book history of repeated use of the name Steel, both powered and not. Taken altogether, the newer parts of Legends of Tomorrow are mostly pluses, and far outweigh any comic book canon minuses. And the setup for Season Three of Legends of Tomorrow opens doors for all sorts of other well-known and lesser-known DC heroes, villains, and show cross-overs!

‘Sleepy Hollow’ Season Four Finale: All Four of them damned Horsemen

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Historical, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

 When we last left our intrepid supernatural freedom fighters, things weren’t going very well. Agent Mills had died, Crane (Tom Mison) got himself forcibly recruited to the Washington branch of Agency 355, the supernatural agency and library built by Washington himself, and fans of the show were pretty disappointed all around in the cult-y dark horse favorite Sleepy Hollow. This new season had a ton to make up for if the show expected to keep even half of their loyal viewership. Let’s get into this, and see how they did!

Spoilers – bear Witness! 

So we all know, it has to be two Witnesses, no more and no less. The uncertain nature of the second Witness in this season managed to not become annoying, but only just. First we swore it had to be Agent Thomas (Janina Gavankar) of Homeland Security, because one of the main side plots of this season focuses on Crane’s grand faith in America and D.C. in particular, so we needed a way to get to the President. (Who, on this show, is a black woman, potentially a clear apology from the showrunners about the previous death of Abbie Mills, a beloved character who happened to be a black woman and got a huge fan backlash for it. ) Then the show swore up and down that it’s actually Agent Thomas’ daughter Molly (Oona Yaffe), the odd little girl who can draw mysterious supernatural portraits like no-one’s business, who just up and decides to stop talking to anyone until she meets Ichabod Crane in person. And for awhile, the little girl gets to be the focus of the show, fighting monsters and supernatural stuff while the adults try to keep abreast of everything else going on.

What else is going on? Mainly, this super-rich batshit crazy guy Malcolm Dreyfuss (Jeremy Davies), well he made a deal with the Devil for his soul, like you do, and is now spending most of his efforts and money into making himself immortal, thereby negating said deal. Even his pet demon servant Jobe (Kamar de Los Reyes), he’s more like the butler from Black Butler, and does a fair job of it too. Condensing it all down, Dreyfuss wants to put together the Philosopher’s Stone with the right other ingredients to make himself immortal, and of course somehow the blood of Ichabod Crane and his line gets muddled in there too.

Back at Agency 355, Jenny Mills (Lyndie Greenwood) has unsurprisingly shown up to help fight off evil creatures, gather magical artifacts, and in general be another badass (potential apology) black woman character. Her character gets little in the way of personal storyline this season, but she’s had that in previous seasons, and we need to get on to the newer members of the group! Alex Norwood (Rachel Melvin) and Jake Wells (Jerry MacKinnon) had previously been lackadaisical caretakers of Agency 355, when Crane and company showed up and turned everything on its head, because magic and the supernatural and such is really real, yall. Alex is our somewhat skeptical engineer type, she struggles with the holy-shit aspects of having to fight the supernatural on a regular basis. Jake on the other hand is a total fanboy of all things occult and Witness-y, fawning over Crane initially and still giddily trippin about it by the season finale. These new characters are a little like us fans got to be in the show as them, all boring and normal until suddenly one day, damn man, that’s Ichabod freaking Crane and we’re shooting at zombie militia now!

So, up to speed now, Dreyfuss has managed to do his thing with the Philosopher’s Stone and is no in theory immortal, he’s begun having visions of remaking America in his own tyrant-y little image, annnnnd Molly-from-the-future just showed up. This third incarnation of the second Witness is the young adult version of Molly, from an alternate future where Dreyfuss has fucked America ten ways from Sunday but for some reason also adopted Molly as his protégé-daughter, re-naming this alternate version Lara (Seychelle Gabriel). Discovering this new development, Dreyfuss decides to go ahead with his diabolic plans of raising all four of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and through some bloody supernatural skull-duggery, Henry Parrish rises again to fight for the mantle of War.

The finale episode sees Dreyfuss attempting to send all four of the Horsemen to attack and subdue the President of the United States herself, and of course the Witnesses and their cohorts have to come out and stop them!

The speech Ichabod Crane gives to his son Henry Parrish (John Noble), even as War is about to cut them down, was very patriotic in a kind of subtle way, and could also in theory be taken as a reminder to our politicians right now – we are a nation built on freedom, and we are willing to do damn near anything for that freedom, including giving that sissy talking and peace a chance, ugh, okay, truce for a bit. Crane was a wonderful Hamilton-like character throughout most of the season, but him making a deal with the Devil when they voluntarily went to Hell, as a potential build-up for what Crane will be facing next season, I thought was a little contrived. Though I must admit, Terrence Mann as the Devil himself did a very fine job, and it was a lot better as him than if FOX had put Tom Ellis in that spot. Just saying.

We see the President (Charmin Lee), her own bad black woman self, make Ichabod Crane an actual citizen of the United States, and how it touches him so, reminding us that to be from American is supposed to be something to be proud of. The new characters are pretty good, the old ones have been polished up some, and the bad guys are plentiful in the Sleepy Hollow horseman tradition. Season Four made up for quite a bit Season Three lacked, so yes, if there is a Season Five, I’d watch it and suggest you do the same.

‘Cosplay Melee’ Premiere: Swing for the Fences!

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, Comics, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, Historical, horror, Movies, Musical, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

So the SyFy channel is taking another stab at the fandom with the mostest, the cosplayers! You know, those insane peoples who like to make their own, often movable, skit-able, even stage and screen-ready costumes, to bring their favorite fandoms to life! One can’t even say it’s a kids or younglings game anymore, in the premiere episode one of the contestants was over 40. This is a fandom that people of all ages, genders, colors and backgrounds love, and is generally acknowledged by true cosplayers as all-inclusive, meaning no-one should ever be excluded or discouraged from cosplaying, for really any reason. (The so-called Ambassadress of Cosplay, Yaya Han, got herself some disapproval after she claimed on the short-lived SyFy show Heroes of Cosplay that cosplaying isn’t necessarily for people with larger body types. And that was the nice way of re-wording what she said.)

Cosplay is officially a full-fledged fandom these days, rather than any kind of hobby. And it would have to be, considering cosplay can now cost you would not believe how much money, often to make a single costume replication absolutely spot-on perfect, and yet still be able to wander around conventions wearing it the entire time, of course posing for multiple pictures too. Cosplayers rarely get paid (I wanted to say never but times are changing and cosplayers are being hired to advertise video games and such now), and the making of these fan-atical costumes require a ton of work, time, and energy. I think everyone should try it, but honestly not everyone can do a good Cosplay. If we’re gonna have a game show based around the ability to Cosplay, it had better be good, better, best, a passion, an obsession, a love that is almost scary. And that’s actually what this new show seems to be presenting, thank goodness.

We have a host who is also a judge, Yvette Nicole Brown, of Community fame and apparently a huge fangirl of all things geeky; LeeAnna Vamp, named as one of the “Best Comic-Con Cosplayers of All Time” and nerdy fashion model, fan-atic, and all-around jane of all things geekery; and Christian Beckman, builder, costume designer, creator, President of Quantum Creation FX, Inc., his creations have adorned movies like Tron: Legacy, Men In Black 3, and Ender’s Game, just to name a few. Basically, we have the “everyman, I love everything” Judge (Brown), the “make it pretty” Judge (Vamp), and the “make it work” Judge (Beckman); that totally works for me.

Four contestant cosplayers come in to the lab, very similar to the one they have for Face Off, they get given the theme for this contest, and then they go by rounds to get to this weeks winner. The pilot episode theme is Space Opera, and the opening challenge is to begin from the head down, with a helmet or headgear for your original character from whatever fandom you’ve chosen. On to our contestants!

Fred, the eldest at some 40+, loves him some SciFi, and of course the gateway drug to that world was inevitably Star Trek, so guess which space opera he picked for his character. Xavier is the tall and very quiet black guy, the huge Star Wars fan who’s already made a fan-film from the ‘verse and making that armor was what got him into cosplaying in the first place, so his characters theme is chosen too. Grace is a cop in real life, somehow even with that incomprehensibly long red hair, so she chooses a bounty hunter character in the Guardians of the Galaxy universe, where badass women abound, as it should be. And finally, Alicia of the mermaid hair is mildly uncomfortable in this genre, so she chooses the world of Chronicles of Riddick for her character, with their Necromonger armor as inspiration.

The first round concludes and while I didn’t agree with the judges’ elimination choice (as often happens on these kinds of SyFy shows), I stuck around to see what the remaining contestants would come up with and who would win the $10,000 prize. Round two consisted of mechanical parts being presented to the players, that they had to make some sort of flying jet-pack doohickey with as part of their characters’ costume. Hot glue, flying craft foam and mayhem ensue.

In the end, the quiet Star Wars fan who was bullied as a child took home the win, as his costume was the most cohesive and easily read as being from the Star Wars universe. The judges were all kind and helpful and reluctant to choose one over another and thereby eliminate anyone, but I felt that’s simply because they wanted to encourage the players to continue doing what they love, cosplay, and not play up any lack on their part that caused the loss of the contest.

So far it’s a fairly standard SyFy contest show, in the vein of Face Off and the like, that you could actually learn cosplay techniques from if you pay attention. Not everyone has access to giant portable heaters and hot glue guns and craft foam with designations like they came from an aircraft carrier, but the show is making sure to name at least some of the things they’re using, and sometimes suggesting cheaper alternatives. It’s a fun little show and worth giving a try at least once.

Celebrate all the fandoms and fan-atics with Cosplay Melee on the SyFy channel, Tuesdays @ 10/9c!