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‘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

sleepyhollows4

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.

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‘APB’ Premiere: Gave that cop a Cadillac, cops love Cadillacs

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2017 by aliciamovie

apb

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

So Gideon Reeves (Justin Kirk) is a genius engineer with far too much money and time on his hands, and yes, a need for attention. Sound like anyone we’re all familiar with? Comparing Reeves to the likes of Tony Stark is a bit of a stretch, but only a bit of one, because this story doesn’t involve mutants or killer gods or anything like that. Instead we’re introduced to Reeves in much the bombastic way we first met Stark in the movies, with fire and noise and arrogant showmanship, but also a proposed hidden inner core of the desire to do good in the world. So the death of his closest friend and business partner in a convenience store robbery propels Reeves to take his enormous fortune, humble engineering genius and need to see justice brought to Sully’s killer together and do something with all of them.

Then again, marching into a meeting with the Mayor of Chicago and instructing him to give over control of the 13th Police Precinct to Reeves himself, along with actual threats of being ousted out of the Mayors seat entirely, will not earn you any friends or allies. And no-one asked the cops of the 13th their opinion on the entire department getting a multi-million-dollar upgrade, complete with FBI-like computers and screen setups, new body armor and brand new high-powered zap gun to replace the traditional firearms, an oh-so-modern phone App for victims to use, and oh yes, don’t forget the overly-helpful presence of the madman who made it all possible, Gideon Reeves. But that is where we are now, so suck it up buttercup and onward we go to try out all these newfangled gadgets in the field. Hey, the new cars, which happen to be super-powered Cadillac CTS-Vs, are pretty bitchin.

In the real world, how does super-modern technology compare to the straightforward actions of the cops using the stuff? Murphy (Natalie Martinez) is Reeves favorite pick for the cop who’s going to help him find Sully’s murderer, so he gets very nervous while creepily sharing her body-cam movements with the entire precinct. The use of body-cams and drones and all that affords the show the opportunity to do shaky-cam shots and wide angles from other POVs and sure it hammers home the use of all this techno-crap but I just don’t need it. And in the real world for the first time, the techno stuff demonstrates its drawbacks, when the body armor fails and the drone wasn’t prepared for everything. The death of a cop, especially on the first trial run in the field with all this engineering genius crap, weighs heavily on everyone, perhaps extra hard on Reeves himself, and having the Mayor haul his ass off for the closedown warning doesn’t help. What will Gideon Reeves and the 13th Precinct do now?

The show is good fun and has all the hallmarks of a good Fox jaunt, but a good deal of it hinges on the performance of Justin Kirk as Gideon Reeves, and playing the Stark-like character that this nonsense is based on has to be nerve-wracking. I absolutely love Ernie Hudson as Captain Conrad of the 13th, though his characters slack-jawed admiration for the newfangled technology may get a little tiresome. As for the newfangled technology itself, trying to turn a Chicago Police Department into the equivalent of a combination military base and FBI headquarters may look cool, but is far too potentially damaging, in our times of hacker terrorists and other baddies. Just don’t turn into another attempt at Minority Report, where fancy techno visuals tried (and failed) to make up for flaccid story, and we’re good. APB has the chance to be a good entertaining diversion, and we could use casting cops in a good light right about now.

Catch the flying drones of APB on Fox, Mondays @ 9/8c!

San Diego Film Festival 2014 Opening Night Film presents Wild

Posted in drama, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2014 by aliciamovie

WILD_movie_poster

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Jean-Marc Vallee

Review Rating: 7

Based on a true story, Cheryl Strayed decides that walking the entire Pacific Coast Trail alone, armed with her wits and gear, will straighten out what’s left of the mess of her life.

Sooo many F-bombs – “wtf am I doing here?”, “wtf have I done to myself?” “F* youuu!” That last one happens quite often and isn’t so much directed at any one person, but it seems, at the world at large and at Cheryl’s (Reese Witherspoon) own mental demons. What mental demons, you ask? First off, and perhaps most importantly, is the death of her beloved and forever optimistic mother Bobbi (Laura Dern). All her life Cheryl listened to the beloved wisdom of her mother, who endured an abusive husband and returning to school when Cheryl was still there, to being rather suddenly stricken with cancer that wouldn’t allow her to ride her favorite horse anymore, to rather abrupt death merely a month after diagnosis. From here, Cheryl simply crumples into tissue paper, leaving her devastated brother to fend for himself while she dives into heroin and, ignoring her husband entirely, sleeps with anything male that holds still long enough. It’s only after telling a friend of hers that Cheryl thinks she’s pregnant in the midst of a depressing snowstorm, that Cheryl sees a book about the PCT in a store and fixates on walking the trail herself.

Cheryl doesn’t seem to have reckoned the sheer physical cost of it all, she keeps marveling at the bruises her overpacked gear setup leaves everywhere, along with yes those damned boots, and everything else. Some places on the trail have snow, others are simply sweltering, and Cheryl learns all too quickly that you can’t ever just say “F* it!” and down the last of your water, knowing there’s a water tank a mile or so nearby. Guess what? It’s empty. At least she does have iodine tablets for the festering waterhole in the woods. Losing entire toenails, that nasty conglomerate of smells coming off her own body, and don’t even get me started about her teeth. (Though the movie made damn sure every time Witherspoon smiled, it was those dazzling pearlies she’s known for. Unrealistic, but hey we the audience don’t want our star with brown teeth.) Nowhere in the film is there any indication that Cheryl’s done trail hiking before, and indeed, the packing of her gear and how she uses it (and it defuses her) seems to rather indicate she’s very much an unprepared city girl looking to get back to her roots. The folk she meets while on the trail are for the most part kind, nowhere near what one might normally think of the rape-y backwoods inbred types (though there is a scary scene or two with those types in it), and the part where the would-be reporter interviewing her as a female hobo gives her a “hobo care package”, is actually rather funny. Cheryl manages to make friends wherever she goes, be they the one female hiker she meets crossing the PCT too, or the good-ole-boy hiker trio who dub her “Queen of the PCT”, or even the wayward llama towards the end. (No, I’m not joking, a genuine runaway fuzzy pack llama.)

It’s a bit of a shame, really. I haven’t read the book the film is based on, but rather than being any kind of spiritual journey, the movie seems to be a journey of both self-flagellation and self-discovery. Mostly what Cheryl really needs, it seemed to me, is to forgive herself for all that she’s done up to this point – the cheating on her husband, the destructive heroin, the mercy killing of her mothers beloved horse, even her screaming at her own brother. The vision of the fox (it was never said if the cutie was real or not) that comes to her a few times could’ve been something deeply spiritual, even when Cheryl’s screaming at it, perhaps especially then, but no, nothing ever came of that. Instead, the turning point of the whole painful journey seems to come from the little boy who sopranos “Red River Valley” at Cheryl a little bit before she makes it to the Bridge of the Gods, which signifies the end of her walk. The film, despite Cheryl’s ending soliloquy, ends on an uncomfortably unfinished note and the whole thing has a rather frustrated if not depressing quality to it. But then, noone ever said conquering one’s own demons was pleasant.