Belated Halloween Film Review: Twitches Too (2007, dir. Stuart Gillard)


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Okay, I exaggerated a little about how bad this movie is, but it still stinks. Let’s go back to the way I started the review of Twitches. There I likened it to finding that burning bag of dog poop on your doorstep. Now a story from my childhood which did involve twins. One time as a prank, these twin girls that moved into my neighborhood when I was in high school decided to do the dog poop thing at a friend’s house. They had a bag. They had poop. They rang the doorbell. They forgot to set it on fire. That meant my friend answered the door to just find a bag of poop on his doorstep and nothing else. That’s Twitches Too. It get’s rid of Jennifer Robertson as Illeana and replaces her with Leslie Seiler. However, Pat Kelly does return as Karsh. Seiler and Kelly are nowhere as good together as Robertson and Kelly. Also, this movie does something I never would have expected in a Disney Channel Original Movie. The boom mic drops into the frame.

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That kind of screw up I would expect in a low budget horror film, an exploitation flick, or Chatterbox! (1977) where it pops in from the bottom as if her vagina can actually talk. It’s in at least two movies I’ve reviewed: Trancers and Prom Night III: The Last Kiss. A B-Movie and a low budget horror flick.

So what is Twitches Too about? Well, what do you think it’s about? The darkness is not quite gone and their actual father might be in there somewhere. Oh, and the “Go, Twitches” thing makes a return in this movie. Just great! Oddly, this one also has a cast member from Degrassi: TNG in it.

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That’s Nathan Stephenson.

There really is very little to talk about with Twitches Too. They have some fun with magic. Illeana and Karsh aren’t as good as they were in the first film. There’s more of Coventry since that’s no longer a secret from the girls. And ultimately it comes down to the girls and their birth mother fighting off the bad guy from the first one and brining back their birth father from the shadows. I mean literally the shadows. At one point he is hiding in the shadow of a lady.

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Yeah, we are supposed to be scared for her in this scene near the end, but I didn’t care because the rest of the film was terrible. Whereas this similar scene in Blow Out (1981) does work and is heartbreaking because the film is amazing.

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Don’t let your children watch this, don’t let them make you watch it, and just simply don’t watch Twitches Too for any reason.

Belated Halloween Film Review: Twitches (2005, dir. Stuart Gillard)


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I know Halloween already happened, but I did promise to review the two Twitches movies when I reviewed Return To Halloweentown. So here they come. And it’s kind of like answering the doorbell and finding that burning bag of dog poop.

Also, just for your information, there’s no way I am going to be able to keep Tia and Tamera straight. I knew twins in real life growing up and couldn’t tell which was which so I’m not even going to try. Not that I’m gonna talk much about them anyways.

The movie starts off with two twin witches (Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Tamera Mowry-Housley) being taken away by the two most entertaining people in this movie as darkness envelopes Coventry.

This is Illeana (Jennifer Robertson).

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This is Karsh (Pat Kelly).

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They are the bright points of this movie. It begins with them rescuing the twin witches and taking them to the human world to hide them from the darkness. Illeana makes it to a hospital, and Karsh makes it away safely as well, but first he encounters something horrifying.

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That’s right. It’s Jake Goldsbie from Degrassi: TNG out trick-or-treating. Apparently, whether it’s Lifetime, Hallmark, or Disney, you’ll likely see actors from Degrassi: TNG pop up. Actually, I just saw Aislinn Paul on Heroes Reborn so I guess they’re everywhere!

Anyways, getting back to the lousy movie. 21 years later, on Halloween, we find that one of the Twitches has grown up in privilege while the other hasn’t. Standard stuff. We also find out that all this time Illeana and Karsh have been hanging around waiting for them both to reach 21.

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These two really are good in this movie. They bicker like an old couple. They have far more chemistry than most of the couples in those Hallmark movies I watch. I could have watched a prequel to this that just has them following around the Twitches while cracking jokes. I love when Illena walks through a wall, then proceeds to complain about the fact that she had to pass through 70’s wallpaper. Honestly, if I knew of a supercut of this movie that only had their scenes then I would embed it below. Unfortunately, while they are being funny, this is going on.

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I can’t tell you how much it irritated me when they would say “Go, Twitches. Go, Twitches”. I really just wanted Illeana and Karsh.

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The Twitches just return home and vanquish the darkness. Blah, blah, blah. Seriously, I want my Illeana and Karsh movie! I know that kind of movie can be done. Heart And Souls did it back in 1993. That movie had actors like Charles Grodin and Alfre Woodard following around Robert Downey, Jr. as ghosts and they were funny. That’s essentially what Illeana and Karsh did for all those 21 years.

And according to IMDb reviewers, this is worse than I could have thought because it’s based on a series of books that of course it doesn’t follow well. Course I did just sit through Masters Of The Universe (1987) so how much worse could it be if it wasn’t true to the source material? Well, I don’t know, but I do know what happens when you swap out one half of the Illeana/Karsh duo with a different actress. That’s Twitches Too, where joy and happiness goes to die.

Congratulations to the Kansas City Royals: 2015 World Series Champions!


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Congratulations to the Kansas City Royals!

Tonight, after 12 innings and scoring 7 runs, the Kansas City Royals won the 2015 World Series!  It took them 5 games to defeat the New York Mets but their victory was never in doubt.  From the moment they defeated the Blue Jays for the AL Championship, the Royals had the momentum.  The Mets are a good team and put up a good effort but, from game one, it felt as if the Royals were unbeatable.  After spending 8 innings of Game 5 trailing 0-2, the Royals tied the game in the 9th inning and then scored 5 runs in the 12th.

I didn’t start as a Royals fan.  I love my Texas Rangers and I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t a part of me that wishes they could have been the ones winning tonight.  And my Rangers had a good season.  After being dismissed by everyone, they came on strong during the second half of the regular season and they won the AL West.  I’m proud of what they accomplished this season and I can’t wait to see what they do next season.

But tonight belongs to the Royals!  Congratulations, Kansas City, on a great team, a great series, and a great victory!  This is the 2nd World Series victory for the Royals and their first since 1985.  They earned it.

See you in April!

The Preacher Is About To Begin Mass


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Preacher the comic book that came out in 1995 and became the title that everyone gravitated to to balance out all the superhero titles that were coming out from Marvel, DC, Image and every small publisher in-between. The book was written by Garth Ennis and drawn by Steve Dillon. It was the book that took on the institutions of the Church, government and family in the most irreverent and blasphemous way one could think of at the time.

The book had been talked of within Hollywood since it’s release as one title that producers (seems all of them at one time or another) wanted to adapt for the big-screen. It wasn’t a superhero title so there was no need to worry about trying to adapt tights-wearing heroes and villains. Yet, the book’s subject matter which tended to go into the extreme at times became something that kept the title from being adapted.

After almost two decades of futile attempts to get Preacher up onto the big-screen it took the star-power of one big-screen star (Seth Rogen) to finally get the book adapted, but not on the big-screen, but on the small-screen to become part of AMC’s stable of unique series titles (The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, Into the Badlands).

So, fans of the books only have until 2016 to wait for their dreams of Preacher finally coming to live-action life and non-readers will finally see what all the hype has been all about.

Hallmark Review: Cloudy With A Chance Of Love (2015, dir. Bradford May)


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Okay, before I review this, I have to point out that this is the second Hallmark movie I’ve reviewed that stars Katie Leclerc which has a lazy title card. At least this one has something going on behind it. Unlike the plain white text on a black background for the movie The Reckoning.

With that out of the way. Let’s talk about this movie. Remember A Gift Of Miracles? Yeah, it’s the same setup here. A girl played by Katie Leclerc needs to get a research fellowship in order to get her PhD. The difference is that it in no way means she needs to believe in an afterlife, and she doesn’t get her pitch from a real world World Wildlife Federation report. So, there’s that going for this movie.

In digital computers there’s no such thing as a curve. Curves are approximated by a series of lines. Use enough of them and you get what looks like a curve. In movies, story arc and character arc are approximated with scenes instead of lines. Use enough of them and you get what looks like an arc. But if you don’t, then you end up with awkward jumps that have your audience asking questions like: “Why are they talking like she’s worked there for months? Didn’t they just hire her?” That’s this movie. It was also clearly done on the cheap, and it shows. Also, for fans of the Mystery Woman Hallmark movies.

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They show establishing exterior shots of the fictional Pacifica University that Leclerc’s character attends over and over and over again. I get it! You came up with a more realistic sounding university than California University from Beverly Hills, 90210, but every time you show it I notice that it says “Library and Learning Resource Center” on the building that also apparently houses this “Meteorology Weather Center”.

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The movie is about Deb, played by Katie Leclerc, who is a doctoral candidate meteorologist that gets called in at the last minute to replace a TV meteorologist. She’s encouraged to do it because it will make her stand out. The movie is about her trying to decide whether she really does want to pursue that research fellowship or if this TV thing is actually something she enjoys. Of course they need to give her a makeover. And who better than fashion victim survivor Stacey Dash. This girl.

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Who 20 years prior in Clueless (1995) was this girl.

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I mentioned this movie was done on the cheap. Here’s an example.

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That’s Leclerc standing in front of a green screen that we are supposed to know is a green screen, but then it cuts to a reporter on the scene.

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Oh, did I say “on the scene”? I meant in front of another green screen.

Also, this is one of those Hallmark movies where we can hear the rain in the scene, but it isn’t actually there. However, this movie does have an excuse for that. For plot convenience so that there’s conflict at the end, Deb’s friend is doing a documentary on the drought in my home state of California. I’m sure that’s why they didn’t use a rain machine. At least the scene is way better than the one I remember from one of the Garage Sale Mystery or Aurora Teagarden movies. In that one they were outside, umbrellas with drops on them, probably in Fall, with puddles around them, and the sound of rain, but there was no rain as noted by the perfectly still puddles.

Jumping ahead to the end. I totally believe this is not a backdrop behind them.

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Also…

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that’s Deb’s competition for the fellowship and that’s almost 100% of everything you see and hear her doing for that fellowship. And yet, the movie will constantly have Deb’s mentor saying that this girl is giving her really stiff competition and that she’s at serious risk for losing the fellowship. The least they could have done was tell us what she’s doing, right? Nope, there’s a speech at the end she gives, but we come in at the very end of it and they just have a generic blue Powerpoint card with the name of the university up throughout the whole scene.

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Does it matter who the guy is? Well, that’s him. That’s the scene where he and Deb talk as if they’ve worked together for months, but for the viewer she just got hired.

It really doesn’t matter what I say about this. It’s not worth watching. Leclerc is fine and the news anchor is a bright point in the movie. However, it’s done so cheaply and jumps so much plot and character wise that while it’s conceivably possible to push past all that, it’s like this actor trying to actually believe he’s outside.

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Review: Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 1 Episode 1 “El Jefe”


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Last night, like all good horror fans, I sat down and I watched the premiere of the new Starz show, Ash vs. Evil Dead!

And it was groovy!

Okay, I’m sorry.  I imagine that I am one of about 100,000 reviewers who started a review of Ash vs. Evil Dead by saying that it was groovy.  That is probably the most obvious thing that I could have possibly said and, as someone who prides herself on being both an original and a contrarian, I should be deeply ashamed.

But I’m not.  Because, seriously — groovy was the perfect description for this show.  Even if it wasn’t the catch phrase of both Ash Williams and Bruce Campbell, it would still be just the right word to use.  After all, when Ash vs. Evil Dead was first announced, I know that a lot of people were worried that the show would somehow fail to live up to the legacy of the Evil Dead.  They were worried that Starz would attempt to unnecessarily update the concept or that they would go The Walking Dead route and come up with a dark drama about a grim-faced Ash Williams trying to survive in a world that has been overrun by Deadites.

Well, after seeing the premiere episode, the world does seem to be in danger of being overrun by Deadites but Ash Williams is anything but grim-faced.  Perhaps he should be, since it’s all kind of his fault.

When the first episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead opened, we discovered that Ash was living in a trailer park and that actually seemed rather appropriate.  We also discovered that Ash is no longer encouraging people to “Shop smart.  Shop S-mart.”  No, instead he’s working at Value Mart.  His co-worker, Pablo (Ray Santiago) looks up to Ash even before Ash tells him about what happened during the first two Evil Dead films.  His other co-worker, Kelly (Donna Delorenzo), is a lot less impressed by Ash but he certainly likes her.

What does Ash spend his time doing?  Well, he likes to go down to the local bar and make up stories about why he has a “rosewood” hand.  And, during the first few minutes of the episode, he keeps seeing people suddenly transformed into Deadites.  Even when he’s at work, he ends up getting attacked by an apparently possessed doll, a scene that allows Bruce Campbell to show off his flair for physical comedy.

Why are the Deadites back?  Simply put, they’re back because Ash fucked up.  That shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone because that’s kind of what Ash does.  (Fortunately, he’s played by Bruce Campbell so we love him anyway.)  In this case, Ash was stoned and he decided to impress a one night stand by reading the Necronomicon Ex Mortis.

(If Ash actually learned from his mistakes, he just wouldn’t be Ash.)

One thing I liked about the first episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead is that it didn’t waste any time getting right to what everyone wanted to see.  It opened with the assumption that, if you were watching, you already knew about the twisted history of Ash and the Deadites.  This episode was directed by Sam Raimi and it was full of everything that you could possibly want — cray camera angles, insane tracking shots, slapstick comedy, and blood.  And I do mean a lot of blood.  Whenever the episode threatened to get too serious, Bruce Campbell popped up with another bit of physical comedy or a strangely inspired line reading.  Whenever things threatened to get too silly, a Deadite would suddenly show up and start screaming.  (The Deadites are always scary, regardless of how much comedy may be going on around them.)  Raimi and Campbell struck a perfect balance between comedy and horror.

I imagine that, for many, the premiere’s big applause scene came when Ash and his chainsaw met in mid-air.  It was a perfect moment and hopefully, the rest of the series will follow the premiere’s lead.

Because if it does, this show is going to be really …. groovy.

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