Titans S3 Ep6, “Lady Vic”, Review by Case Wright

The holidays are over and I know A LOT about Electricity, Magnetism, and Titans. The episode opens with a brutal scene of a woman killing two cops. I almost had to look away. It is NOT for the faint of heart. What got to me was the cold psychopathy of it. The reason for this little Kill-spree is poorly developed. It quickly cuts to Wayne Manor and Blackfire is now a quasi-Titan and she still prevents me from totally concentrating. She and Superboy have REAL chemistry. So… pretty sure that’s happening very soon. Kyptonians get all the luck!

Lady Vic really more of a B-Storyline. We see how Barbara Gordon and Dick became an item. Boy knows girl, boy and girl both dress flamboyantly, and boy and girl knock over a museum for an old trinket, which of course leads to Knocking Boots. There’s a lid for every pot, but museum heist leading to intercourse doesn’t seem like a direct route to me, but what do I know- I study hours of Math …. for fun. Through flashbacks, we learn that Babs and Dick went on heists for fun, but ended up killing Lady Vic’s husband, brother… or something.

I guess that I have to note that there is a plotline of when will Blackfire and Superboy hook up? However, this plot-line is just so predictable that it’s not great. The show needs Hawk back. He added a terrific wisecracking element and Gar and Superboy just don’t quite make up for his loss.

Jason Todd is still Red Hooding with Dr Crane. Lady Vic works for him too, but just as a side-hustle.

This episode was more disjointed than a knee replacement, but I guess you have to watch it to prepare for the next episodes.

New Jersey Drive (1995, directed by Nick Gomez)

New Jersey Drive takes place in Newark, New Jersey or, as it was known in the 90s, “the car theft capital of the world.”

Jason Petty (Sharron Corley) and Midget (Gabriel Casseus) are teenagers in Newark.  Neither one of them is dumb but, as young African-American males living in the inner city, neither one feels that they have much to look forward to in the future.  They can’t even walk down the street, without getting hassled by the police.  So, they live for the present and that means stealing cars.  At first, stealing cars is just something that they do for fun.  It’s the challenge that attracts them.  However, one night, a cop’s car gets stolen.  That cop is a corrupt racist named Roscoe (Saul Stein) and he is soon going out of his way to make Jason and Midget’s life miserable.

New Jersey Drive may sound like an early version of one of the Fast and Furious films (the first F&F came out six years after New Jersey Drive) but, at heart, New Jersey Drive is less about stealing cars and more about a generation of young men who, because they have nothing to look forward to in the future, have no problem taking dangerous and sometimes stupid risks in the present.  While Midget is the one who truly loves cars and Jason is the one who is mostly just along for the ride, both characters seem to be aware that it’s only a matter of time before they either get caught or get killed for stealing the wrong car.  Today, we would say that Midget and Jason have no respect for authority but can you blame them when the only authority figures that they ever see are racists like Roscoe?  The police in New Jersey Drive come across like an invading army, a sea of white faces driving up and down black neighborhoods and searching for people to arrest.  For all the cars that Jason and Midget steal, they’re just as likely to get in trouble just for walking down the street.

Sometimes, New Jersey Drive is predictable.  In the years immediately following the release of Boyz ‘N the Hood, there were a lot of films about young men growing up in poverty-stricken neighborhoods and having to deal with a combination of racist cops and dangerous gangs.  New Jersey Drive‘s story hits a lot of the expected beats but there were also some scenes that took me by surprise.  When one of the two main car thieve is arrested and incarcerated, the film went off in a different direction than what I was expecting.  At first, Jason and Midget seem like stereotypes.  Midget is the wild and crazy friend while Jason is the smart one who is always hanging out with the “wrong crowd.”  By the end of the film, though, both Midget and Jason have shown some unexpected complexity and they both feel like real people instead of just plot devices in a movie.

Nick Gomez, who has done a lot of television work since the release of this film, does a good job directing New Jersey Drive.  The film captures the high that Jason and Midget feel when they successfully steal a car and Gomez also does a good job of capturing the feeling of the world closing in on the two of them as the story unfolds.  New Jersey Drive is an underrated piece of work that still has the power to inspire audiences to stay the Hell out of New Jersey.



Cleaning Out The DVR Yet Again #12: Day of Reckoning (dir by Joel Novoa)

(Lisa recently discovered that she only has about 8 hours of space left on her DVR!  It turns out that she’s been recording movies from July and she just hasn’t gotten around to watching and reviewing them yet.  So, once again, Lisa is cleaning out her DVR!  She is going to try to watch and review 52 movies by Wednesday, November 30th!  Will she make it?  Keep checking the site to find out!)


The next film that I watched off of the DVR was Day of Reckoning, a film that premiered on the SyFy network on October 8th.

Day of Reckoning was one of the handful of films that premiered as a part of SyFy’s 31 Days of Halloween.  There was a time when the SyFy network used to air a new film every week.  That was a golden age for those of us who enjoy live tweeting and snarking online.  Unfortunately, it would appear that the network made a change in their business model and SyFy drastically cut back on the number of original films that they produced and/or bought each year.  Now, if you want to see an original film premiere on SyFy, you either have to wait for Shark Week or October.  It’s unfortunate but that’s the way things are.

This year, it seemed as if almost all of SyFy’s October premieres were essentially remakes of It Follows.  Day of Reckoning is unique because it went the opposite route.  In no way is this film a rip-off of It Follows.

Instead, it’s more of a rip-off of The Purge: Anarchy.

16 years ago, during an eclipse, Earth was attacked by a pack of dogs from Hell.  That’s not just me being overdramatic.  Fissures literally formed in the ground and these dogs sprang out from the depths of Hell.  For 24 hours, the hellhounds terrorized and killed.  And then, much like a wealthy, mask-wearing murderer at the end of the annual Purge, they just vanished.  Naturally, the survivors built barriers over the fissures and hoped that the dogs would never return.  But now, another eclipse is approaching and some people are terrified that it’s going to happen again.

And you know what?

Those people are right.

Day of Reckoning follows one family and their effort to get to safety during the canine apocalypse.  The father (Jackson Hurst) is still feeling guilty for not being home when the dogs first showed up.  He’s determined not to fail his family for a second time.  His wife (Heather McComb), meanwhile, just wants a divorce and his teenage son (Jay Jay Warren) just wants to hang out with his girlfriend.

Fortunately, a crazy uncle is coming to the rescue!  Crazy Uncle Ted (Raymond J. Barry) has built an underground bunker and he’s invited the family to come join him and his wife (Barbara Crampton).  However, the family first has to reach the shelter and that’s going to mean dealing with not only dogs but a lot of stupid people as well.  You know how that goes.  Can the family survive 24 hours of hellhound purging?

Crazy Uncles have been getting blamed for a lot lately.  As of right now, you can go to about a hundred different sites and find all sorts of guides for how to talk to your crazy uncle during Thanksgiving.  Apparently, the solution is to repeat tired soundbites.  Personally, I would think a better solution would be not to worry about it and just enjoy your holiday but what the Hell do I know?  With the character of Ted, Day of Reckoning pays tribute to the occasional wisdom of the crazy uncle and therefore, it’s essential Thanksgiving viewing.

Beyond that, Day of Reckoning is pretty much a typical SyFy film.  It’s a bit more serious than most but, ultimately, it follows the same pattern.  A group of characters have to get from one location to another without getting killed by a paranormal threat.  It won’t take you by surprise but Raymond J. Barry and Barbara Crampton are both well-cast and, if you’re a fan of SyFy movies, you’ll probably enjoy Day of Reckoning.

2014 in Review: The Best of Lifetime and SyFy


Hello there and welcome to January!

This is the time of year that the Shattered Lens usually takes one final look back at the best and worst of the previous year’s offerings in cinema, television, literature, and music!  Last year, I kicked things off by taking a look at the best that the SyFy network had to offer.

Unfortunately, SyFy didn’t produce as many original films in 2014 as they did in 2013.

However, my beloved Lifetime network remained a consistent showcase for some of the best and worst melodrama that one could hope for.

With that in mind, here are my nominees for the best films and performances that were featured on either the SyFy or the Lifetime network last year!  As always, winners are listed in bold.


Best Film

Battle of the Damned

Flowers in the Attic

Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever

*Lizzie Borden Took An Axe*

Sharknado 2

Starving in Suburbia

Best Actress

Kate Beckinsale in The Trials of Cate McCall

Maria Bello in Big Driver

Annie Heise in The Good Mistress

Tara Reid in Sharknado 2

*Christina Ricci in Lizzie Borden Took An Axe*

Kierna Shipka in Flowers in the Attic

Best Supporting Actress

Kendra Anderson in The Good Mistress

*Ellen Burstyn in Flowers in the Attic*

Clea DuVall in Lizzie Borden Took An Axe

Heather Graham in Petals on the Wind

Tina Ivlev in Death Clique

Izabella Miko in Starving in Suburbia

Best Actor

Trevor Donavon in Bermuda Tentacles

Mason Dye in Flowers in the Attic

Michael Keaton in Blindsided

Dolph Lundgren in Battle of the Damned

Patrick Muldoon in Finders Keepers

*Ian Ziering in Sharknado 2*

Best Supporting Actor

James Cromwell in The Trials of Cate McCall

David Field in Battle of the Damned

*Griff Furst in Status Unknown*

Judd Hirsch in Sharknado 2

Mark McGrath in Sharknado 2

John Savage in Bermuda Tentacles

Best Director

Doug Campbell for Death Clique

Deborah Chow for Flowers in the Attic

Anthony C. Ferrante for Sharknado 2

*Nick Gomez for Lizzie Borden Got An Axe*

Christopher Hutton for Battle of the Damned

Tara Miele for Starving in Suburbia

Best Screenplay

Kayla Alpert for Flowers in the Attic

Tim Hill and Jeff Morris for Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever

Stephen Kay for Lizzie Borden Took An Axe

Thunder Levin for Sharknado 2

*Tara Miele for Starving in Suburbia*

Griff Furst and Marcy Holland for Status Unknown

Flowers in the Attic

Tomorrow, I’ll continue my look back at 2014 by revealing my picks for the 16 worst films of 2014!

Previous Entries in Our Look Back At 2014:

Things That I Dug In 2014 Off The Top Of My Head



Horror Review: The Walking Dead S3E02 “Sick”

“You think this is sick. You don’t want to know what’s outside.” — Daryl Dixon

[some spoilers]

There’s been an interesting pattern when it comes to The Walking Dead. The series has always had strong season opening (even mid-season returns) but the follow-up episode always seem to come up short. It happened with the second episodes of both first two season and even the episode which came after the mid-season return last season had some big stumbles throughout. It almost as if the writers (who at the time were still working under Frank Darabont’s directioneither as showrunner or the template he set up for the season) put everything they had into making the opening episode really strong and hoping the viewers would forgive them for not doing the follow-up episodes just as strong. Tonight’s season premiere follow-up looks to try and break that pattern. Time and reaction to tonight’s episode, titled “Sick”, will tell if it succeeded or not.

Tonight’s episode begins pretty much exactly where the season premiere left off with Rick and his group trying to save Hershel’s life who had gotten his leg bit during their attempt to clear out an adjoining cellblock. The premiere ended with Hershel minus his bit left ankle courtesy of Rick and his trusty axe and Daryl focusing the aim of his crossbow at the sudden appearance of a group of prisoners who happened to have survived almost a full year on their own in the prison cafeteria. It was this group’s reveal and how the two groups dealt with the knowledge that there were others who have survived just as long.

We learn much abouthow the time Rick and his group spent moving around the backwoods of Georgia between seasons. The episode doesn’t say what exactly happened during those months (a nice change for critics of the series who thought episodes after episodes during the first two season relied too much on exposition scenes to tell rather than show) but we see in the changes to the behavior and attitudes of the group members how those months were. It couldn’t have been a fun time for Rick and his group, but it looks to have made them much more harder and accepting of this new world’s harsh realities. Whether not letting her hopes up when it came to her father’s chances for survival after getting bit and having his bit leg chopped off to Carol becoming even more useful as a member of the group. In the season premiere we find out through a off-chance remark from Rick that she’s gotten quite good with the AK47 and tonight we find out that during their time in the Georgia backwoods Hershel had been teaching her how to perform first-aid and rudimentary battlefield medical work. The scene with Carol patching up Hershel actually gives some clues as to what Hershel’s backstory must be outside of being just a farmer.

Is there a chance that Hershesel could he have been in the military as a medic in his younger and wilder days or was he some sort of civilian emergency medical technician?

Tonight’s episode brought up such questions and without the characters sitting around explaining things that happened. This change in narrative style could be just temporary, but ever since Glen Mazzara took over as showrunner we get less and less exposition and more and more let the character’s actions convey the story. This less is more approach has made for a much more faster pace to the story even when there’s no killing of zombies. It also has made the actors much better in how they’re portraying their characters. Long scenes of quiet diaogue is always good, but in a show that tries to show that survival is a day-to-day or even an hour-to-hour task sometimes such long, extended scenes of just sitting around talking are luxuries that shouldn’t be used like they were a necessity.

There’s a chance that the show could slide back to what plagued the first two season, but for the time being Mazzara and his crew have done a great job with the first two episodes of season 3 to address some of the complaints fans and critics had with the show. We didn’t even have any scenes with Andrea and newcomer Michonne yet the writers avoided the temptation of trying to shoehorn scenes of them in tonight’s episodes which meant sacrificing some time in the prison. Tonight’s episode was all about Rick and Tomas butting heads to see who would end up being the alpha male of the two surviving groups.

We saw how the differences in how the two groups survived has affected them. Tomas and his group of inmate survivors did so almost by luck and having to depend on their prison-honed instincts to get them through. How they’ve managed to survive even with just the zombies in the prison and not knowing the full extent of the crisis would be seen by Rick as a miracle. Our main group on the other hand had to go through almost everything this new post-apocalyptic world could throw at them and they’ve survived. It’s this time out on the road, surviving day-to-day, supplies always on the verge of running out and not knowing if tomorrow might be their last day that has forged this group into hardened battlefield veterans. Make no mistake about it Rick and his group look and behave like war veterans still fighting to survive and having almost having learned an almost preternatural instinct to see danger lurking about.

This doesn’t mean that Rick and his group have come out of their time out in the wilderness surviving fully unscathed. Carl has become more useful and capable of taking care of himself, but at the cost of his innocence and childhood wonder at the world. Even T-Dog has become a very integral part of the group (thank you writers) and has become not just the “red-shirt” waiting to be knocked off for expediency’s sake. The biggest change has been to Rick who seem to have lost whatever optimism he might have had about finding peace and quiet in this new world. He’s now all about keeping his people alive and if that means killing other humans who might pose a danger to him fulfilling that mission statement then he’ll do whatever it takes. We see this change in Rick not through some exposition (something the character loved to do in the first two season) but in how he dealt with Tomas and other prisoners. It will be interesting how Mazzara and his team of writers will deal with Rick and the Governor who, if they’re following the basic outline of the comic book character, had to do almost the same exact things to keep his town of survivors alive through the crisis.

With the episode ending with Rick firmly in control of not just his group, the prison and the rest of the surviving prisoners (not to mention Hershel looking to have survived his encounter with the walker bite and Rick’s axe) it looks like next week’s episode will be focusing on the adventures of Andrea and Michonne and what looks like the introduction of this season’s main villain in David Morrissey’s own brand of despotic ruler in Philip Blake aka The Governor.


  • Tonight’s episode was written by show newcomer Nichole Beattie and directed by show veteran Billy Gierhart.
  • Anyone who thought that Tomas and his group of prisoner will get through the episode unscathed can’t be blamed for that assumption. If this was season two there’s a chance they would’ve lasted intact for half the first half of the season. New regime looks to avoid that and keep the number of survivors from spiraling out of control to the show’s detriment.
  • Sarah Wayne Callies has done a very good job in a tough role that only seems to get tougher. I don’t think she’ll ever become a sympathetic character for the fans of the show, but then again not everyone on the show needs to be sympathetic.
  • Then she blows up at Carl for putting himself in danger even though what he did probably saved Hershel’s life for the  moment.
  • Kudos to all Glen Mazzara and his team of writers for actually making a follow-up episode to the season premiere not have such a huge drop in quality. Tonight’s episode was a strong one.
  • The change in how the two Greene sisters acted in tonight’s episode reversed the role Maggie and Beth had while at the Farm. Maggie Green has become hardered by the intervening months between Season 2 and 3 while Beth has become much more optimistic.
  • The prisoners were all very interesting but kudos for the writers for not lingering too much in exploring the group’s dynamic with Rick’s own group.
  • Love how Daryl’s completely in Rick’s corner now and even willing to do the dirty work for him if and when Rick gives him the signal. Show’s that for all his faults in the early goings with the group Daryl understands that it was with Rick and not Shane that the group had the best chance of surviving. Rick may be doing the very same things Shane was advocating in the first two seasons, but Rick does so with a clear head and focus that Shane never really had.
  • The show may never have the Tyrese character from the comic book, but having Daryl Dixon in Rick’s corner more than makes up for it.
  • Killing other survivors still doesn’t sit well with Rick, but he looks to have learned that outside the group itself everyone else is expendable. He may not like murdering other people but he will if it keeps his group alive. This may be an ongoing theme for this season.
  • With the show having deviated from the comic book’s narrative it’s interesting to see how the show’s writers are starting to mine particular scenes from issues and storylines that happens much later in the comics to use in the show.
  • The relationship between Rick and Lori looks to be even more broken in the show than it as in the comic book. The question now is whether the writers will find a balance in keeping their relationship from being too broken. I do like how Rick at the end doesn’t seem ready to break the iceberg between her and Lori or if he ever wants to.
  • It’s good to see Lori admitting it on-screen just how much of a bad wife she has been since Rick returned. Her character has always been the one who was in real denial of her situation especially when it came to Rick and Shane now with the months leading up to this season it looks like Rick’s arctic attitude towards her has finally settled in her mind as to who really put the conflict between Rick and Shane into it’s violent end.
  • The zombie effects tonight wasn’t as extensive as the season premiere but Greg Nicotero and his men at KNB EFX still did a great job as usual.
  • Zombie Kill Count for tonight’s episode: between 20-25.