Tag Archives: FBI

Are You Ready to Rumble? – A Recap of Teen Wolf’s Season 3A Finale “Lunar Ellipse”

im the alpha

alpha now

im the alpha

stiles alphabet 1 allisonargents

When I was little, my dad used to love watching WWF Wrestling.  I never got the appeal, personally.  The fat ugly guys dressed in weird costumes . . . the fake fights . . . the ridiculously badly written skits the various fighters would be forced to act out prior to each match . . . the fact that every match began with a pre-ordained Designated Loser, thereby taking all the intrigue and guesswork out of the entire viewing experience.

rip my blouse

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One thing I did enjoy about WWF Wrestling was the announcer . . . and how, before every match, he’d say in this booming voice, “Let’s get ready to RUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEE,” always carrying out the last syllable of the word “rumble” for as long as humanly possible.

Now, that guy was awesome!  In fact, I spent a good portion of my childhood, trying to be That Guy.  So much so, that I’d been known to run around my house repeating those words, ad nauseam.  “Are you ready to rumblllle?  Are you ready to rummblllllleee?  Are you ready to rumbllllllle?”

stop hounding me

In case you haven’t guessed it by now, I was kind of an annoying kid . . .

In WWF Wrestling, every once in a while, they’d have these events called Cage Matches, where pretty much the entire cast . . . Good Guys, Bad Guys, and Designated Losers . . . would get thrown into the ring at the same time.  Sometimes a few of the fighters would form alliances with one another . . . good guys versus bad . . . plotting, strategizing, taking turns at fighting, so as not to tire themselves out.

dancing derek and ennis

But most of the time they all just beat the crap out of one another, with no rhyme or reason at all . . .

not sure how to stop

“Lunar Ellipse” kind of reminded me of one of those Cage Matches.

In a season that contained more villains than any one preceding it, this week’s finale had the unenviable task of deciding what to do with them all.   Putting them in the same room, and letting them beat the crap out of one another, must have seemed like the most logical solution . . .

kung fu fighting - Copy

This is not to say it was a bad episode.  It wasn’t . . . at all.  “Lunar Ellipse” offered a ton of action, some solid fight scenes, and a neat little conclusion, which, while providing the kind of closure fans need going into a four-month hiatus, also paved the way for some intriguing future story lines.  I just suspect that the episode appealed a lot more to people who are fans of say . . . WWF Wrestling, than fans like me . . . who spent half the length of her last recap dissecting a 15-second long kiss between Stiles and Lydia . . . which this episode never mentioned, by the way.  It was almost as if it never happened  . . .

sex me now

[Of course, I must thank my good pal Andre for working tirelessly each week to provide me, and the five people who read this, a collection of some of the best Teen Wolf screencaps you’ll find on the internet.  And I can say that, without being conceited, because I have no hand in their creation, whatsoever. You rock, Andre.  And I’d totally want you at my side, if I ever found myself in a cage match . .  .]

crying stiles

And so, without further adieu, “Let’s get ready to RUMMMMMMBBBBBBBLLLLLLLLLEEEE!”

The Wet Nap

When we last left our heroes, Stiles, Scott and Allison had decided to cope with the prospective loss of their parental units by taking baths.

tsst

glurg

burgle

This, coincidentally, is the solution Trusty Veterinarian Deaton suggests for all all major problems on this show.  It’s his deus ex bath-shina.  Then again, maybe he’s just really into hygiene.

cryptic vet

magic eraser

When the episode opens, the threesome awaken, surprised to find that their bathtubs have been moved to some random empty office building with a big ole tree stump in the center.  Basically, this whole scene can serve as a PSA for the dangers of smoking too much weed, before taking your deus ex bath-shina.

in tub

office space

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the tree

Sorry . . . I just couldn’t help myself.

Stiles, Scott and Allison each touch the tree, triggering their memories of the time they first encountered it, which, coincidentally, happened to all three of them on the same night.

touching the tree

Of course, I’m referring to the night from the pilot episode.  You know, the one where Scott and Stiles went out into the woods in search of a dead body, the night before the first day of school.  Then, Scott ended up getting bitten by Werewolf Peter Hale AND almost hit by a car driven by Allison Argent’s mom.

baby scottdead girl

“Remember me?”

big eyes

goofy stiles

why do i

Why do I look significantly older than everyone else?  Oh yeah . . . because my scene wasn’t shot three years ago.”

i love youuuu

“I love you Allisssssssssoooooooooon!”

You all recall seeing a big fat tree stump in that scene, don’t you?

memba tree

“Remember tree?”

look confused

No?  Well, that, my friends, is what we in The Biz ” (I’m not really in The Biz.  Being in The Biz would require me to actually get paid for doing this.) call RET-CON.

(I do, however, remember Scott almost getting hit by a car. And I’m intrigued by the notion that Davis always planned to have the Argents play the role of Hit-and-Runners.  If so, that was some pretty crafty story boarding on his part.  If not . . .)

stefan shrug

Upon waking up back in Deaton’s office, the kids learn they’ve been snoozing in their bathtubs for SIXTEEN HOURS!  SIXTEEN HOURS . . . that’s almost an entire day!  I thought they’d be more, you know, brain dead, from lack of oxygen . . . or at least a little pruney.

dont get it wet

Before . . .

wet gremlin

After . . .

Actually, the whole “out for 16 hours” conceit really seems like nothing more than a plot-manufactured time jump to get us closer to the time when the Lunar Eclipse is meant to occur.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I loved the way the Surrogate  Sacrifices concept was portrayed in the last few moments of Alpha Pact, and the opening moments of this episode.  It was poignant, visually appealing, and compellingly morbid.  I adored how each hero carried a totem of his or her parent into the water, and how Stiles, Allison and Scott each literally put their lives in the hands of someone they cared about.  It was all very Inception-esque. . . in a good way.

inception water

spinning-top-inception

But there was one teensy tiny problem with this whole design .  . . THERE WERE NO ACTUAL SACRIFICES!!!!

verbal keyboard smash

By temporarily suiciding themselves in bathtubs, Stiles, Scott and Allison did not, as was initially suggested, free their parents from the Darach’s clutches.  Instead, it just made them into Human GPS’s for a big ole’ tree stump that, honesty, didn’t look all that hard to find in the first place.

ep 9 obviously stiles

And since I’m nitpicking, what exactly did Isaac, Deaton and Lydia do for those sixteen hours, while their friends were “dead?”  Sleep?  Pray?  Marathon the entire first two seasons of Teen Wolf?  (Without commercials, of course.)

ep 5 not watching notebook again

I’m just saying there were probably at least one or two more efficient ways the Scooby Gang could have spent their time, during the last sixteen hours before the Druid Apocalypse, than Bath Time with Rubber Duckie . . .

rub my ducky

pissed at sleeping

“Couldn’t you have put an alarm clock in there or something?”

Also sleeping on the job, since last week?  Der Bear.

grooming

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We find him in his loft, being lovingly coddled by a no-longer-spewing-black-goo Cora.  Meanwhile, Peter Hale screams at him to hurry up and actually do something heroic, and/or run and hide under a table from that wacky lady with foot fungus, who seems intent on murdering them all . . . whichever he prefers . . .

lizard people, geriatric psycho

Hiding under the table is looking like a more attractive option, by the minute . . .

Breaking and Entering

Back at the Vet’s office, Ethan . . .

ethan

gay one

. . . pops by to see Lydia.  And I’m wondering how he knew she was there.  Is her scent so strong that it could be tracked after sixteen hours?  That’s a LOT of perfume . . .

what are you doing here

DEATON: “Why is he here?  I thought you were dating the other one?”

LYDIA: “Beats me.  I’ve been screwing the guy for months, and I still can’t tell the two of them apart.”

Perhaps, he popped by her mom’s house, and asked if the red-headed teen could come out to play.  Then, Mama Martin replied, “I’m sorry Sexy Teen.  Lydia isn’t home.  In fact, she hasn’t been home for over 24 hours.  Last I checked, she went to visit that creepy veterinarian at his office, after hours.  Hmmm . . . I wonder if I should be concerned for her well-being.  Probably not.  I mean I did her hair this morning, and she looked so cute.  Girls with cute hair NEVER get murdered by creepy veterinarians who have no friends their own age, right?”

harm a hair lol

Lydia and Ethan head to Chez Derek to confirm for him, what he pretty much already knows . . . that Kali Toe Jam is coming to his house to kill him.

lyd back

chatting together

So, now would be a good time to run screaming like a little girl.  Lydia helpfully notes using her Banshee-Spidey Senses that she feels like she’s standing on a graveyard, which the Hales immediately take to mean that if Derek stays at home he’ll die there.  But, I don’t know . . . didn’t Boyd die in Derek’s house?

boyd kicking ass

too soon haha - Copy

Back in “Scott-Land,” McCall and Co. are skipping around to their various homes, so that the wolf can smell Allison’s and Stiles’ dad’s personal items, and “follow his nose” to the Darach’s lair.

in home

“Don’t worry Stiles.  I won’t mistake your underwear for your dad’s.  I’ve sniffed your boxers before.  They have a very distinct scent . . . particularly after lacrosse practice.”

Wait . . . what?  Don’t they know where the parents are already?  Isn’t that what the 16-hour wet dream was for?  Is there a plot specific purpose for Scott’s inexplicable desire to sniff Chris Argent’s boxers?

sniffing

smell something

Oh . . . now I get it . . . they had to run back to Allison’s house, so that they could have a run-in with This Guy . . .

daddy o

. . . a.k.a. FBI Douche . . . a.k.a. Scott’s Dad . . .

not you

ALLISON: “Is that what you are going to look like in 25 years?  Because I could live with that.”

ISAAC: “Me too.  He’s kind of a DILF.”

How did he get in?  I hope he has a warrant.  Nevermind.  This is Beacon Hills we are talking about here.  The only laws that matter here, are the Laws of the Jungle .  . .

Jungle Boogie

How many Alpha Males do you know that let girls fight their battles for them?

ep 9 yeah derek just teenwolf

So, Derek goes to hide under a rock somewhere, leaving Lydia and Ethan to house sit for him.  (You know, because he has so much expensive furniture for people to steal.)

ill get you

“I’ll slay you with my snide comments about your poor personal hygiene, and uninspired fashion sense.”

A few seconds later, that car alarm Derek installed in his wall, goes off, and in comes Kali Feet-for-Brains . . .

kali here

“Bored now . . .”

. . . along with Aiden . . .

and aiden

straight one

Aiden starts off fighting at Kali’s side.  But his alliance shifts quickly when Kali starts talking smack on his showmance girlfriend Lydia.  Do I smell a Character Rehabilitation?

mad ethan

Josh-can-smell-something-being-human-us-17734049-400-210

“Smells like Jackson’s replacement.”

Something is missing from this little party.  What can it be?  Oh, wait, I know . . . an Evil Druid in tight leather pants!

came through ceiling

That’s better.  Now, we can REALLY have some fun . . .

stiles dancing at gay bar melchiors

Cue the 80’s Video Game Theme Music.  It’s time for a Girl Fight!

Now, as much as I usually snooze through extended battle scenes, I have to say, this one is pretty awesome.  There is something elegant, and almost graceful about the well choreographed way Jenny the Darach and Kali attempt to kick one another’s asses.

dancing kali and jen dancing jen 2 dancing 3 dancing 4 dancing 5

lets put our heads together

“Let’s put our heads together and strategize.”

not happening

“Not so fast, Siamese Lunkhead Twins.”

(I guess they should have merged by Aiden fisting Ethan, like they did last time . . . These guys brains are clearly not their strongest organs.)

And then, all of the sudden, they stop fighting, and the music gets all cheesy and romantic.  Jenny is talking about how much prettier she is, now that she has her Magic Coochie, and doesn’t have to look like Lord Voldemort 24-7.  Then she starts levitating, while Kali gazes at her lovingly.  And I’m thinking, if this were another show, these two chicks would make for some really hot lesbians . . .

looking loving

looking loving 2

Then, Jenny throws some glass from the ceiling in Kali’s face, and she dies instantly.

opens ceiling glass blower glass in face

dead kali

BabyScared

Wait . . . WHAT?  Did I miss something?

Please tell me that Jenny Darach didn’t murder virgins, soldiers, philosophers, and countless birds, just so that she’d have enough strength to shove a one-inch thick shard in someone’s face.

Solstice Sunglass Boutique - Safilo USA at the HBO Luxury Lounge In Honor Of The 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Day 1

Should have worn these . . .  could have saved her life.

I’ve seen carpenter ants that are harder to kill than Kali .   . .

Anyway, nice knowing ya, Wolf Girl.  I hope they find a coffin for you that’s large enough to fit your massively long toe nails . . .

feet

Worry not, Lydia.  It’s Shrek to the rescue!

shrek to the res

offended shrek

. . . or . . . maybe not.

neck snap down on floor

You know that old adage about always wearing clean underwear, so that, if you die, you don’t have to be embarrassed about the state of your skivvies?  Well, I’m pretty sure the same goes for wearing YOUR OWN PAIR OF PANTS . . .

Sensitive chick that she is, Jenny Darach tries to cheer up a bereft Lydia, by quoting, the always Hilarious Coach Crackhead . . .

bigger bigger

“The bigger they are . . . the harder they fall the bigger they are . . . indeed.

Where there’s smoke, there’s a screamer.

Boys and their toys .  . .

sitting showing weapons

Allison cleverly uses her impressive knowledge of advanced artillery to mesmerize Scott’s dad, before gassing him with a grenade, and using the diversion she created to escape with her harem of wolf men . . .

can of whoop ass

“And this weapon is what I like to call a Big Ole Can of Whoop Ass.”

Elsewhere in town, an abnormally thick fog causes Stiles to get into a car accident, and Lydia screams . . . though the two events aren’t necessarily related.

driving stiles fogcrash

lyd screams

Derek hears Lydia scream, and decides to return to town, which kind of seems counter intuitive to me.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Derek running away like a little wussy, BECAUSE Lydia sensed death?

ep 9 no fit gravyjones

And since she’s a banshee, isn’t Lydia’s scream supposed to signify that someone’s death is imminent . . . someone like Derek?

nodding oh yeah

Do they not teach logic in Werewolf School?

View to a Death

All over Beacon Hills, heroes and villains are preparing for their battle royale.  Allison and Isaac FINALLY find that damn root cellar, where all the parents are being held . .  .

find cellar 1

find cellar 2

Scott reluctantly agrees to join forces with Deucalion against the Darach.

with deuc

Derek inexplicably links himself with Jenny once again.  (That must be one SERIOUSLY POWERFUL Magic Coochie.)

dennifer

And Stiles . . . Stiles?  Bueller?

sleeping stiles

Back in La Casa de Ineffective Alpha, Cora and Lydia watch Shrek morph back into two teenage boys, each with their own pair of pants.

find boys

find boys 2

“These two are so much more likeable when they are unconscious.”

They decide to bring the pair to Vet Deaton.  Maybe he’ll make them take a bath, like he does with everyone else . . .

magic eraser

And then, because this episode hasn’t satisfied its product placement quote, Scott sends the Evil Darach a message on her Android phone . . . you know, because villains use Androids and heroes use iPhones, just saying . . .

revenge sign

reading text

“Is he for real with this sh*t?”

Who’s Your Alpha?

It’s fitting that the final Cage Match between all our characters occurs right under the revenge sign Ennis made, back in “Visionary.”  The Same Vengeance Sign that led to Gerard blinding Deucalion, which led to Deucalion creating his Alpha Pack, which led to his Alpha Pack killing their emissaries, which led to Kali not-quite killing Julia Baccaria / Jennifer Blake.   This was the Vengeance Sign that started everything.  And it would be a great place for everything to end, except for the fact that Scott and Derek are both under the delusion that being a “Good Guy” means having to be a “Doofus.”   But we’ll get to that soon enough . . .

ephemeral

Anyway, our chance to see Death -Destroyer-of-Worlds Deucalion’s Alpha Form has finally arrived.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

cyber smurf

Interesting . . . he’s kind of like a cross between an Evil Cyborg . . .

terminator

.  . . and a Smurf.

Movie_Grouchy_Smurf

Or, maybe like a blue version of Jim Carrey’s character in The Mask.

jim carrey mask

Sure, Peter’s Gorilla-Alpha, and Jackson’s Kanaima were scarier.  But Demon Wolf gets points for making a fashion statement.  Blue is, after all, the new black.  Smurf-Borg does to a pretty good job of kicking Jenny the Darach’s ass . . . at least until Scott creates a familiar diversion . . .

come at me bro

come at me bro! noo hahahah familiar diversion

Annnnnnnd then comes the Lunar Eclipse.

luna r e

Welcome back, Lord Voldemortette.  We’ve missed you!

voldemorteet

“Wait . . . let’s talk about this Jenny the Darach.  Before you kill Deucalion, don’t you want him to see how ugly you look in the morning without your makeup on,” Derek offers hopefully.

your adorable prettylittlegossipgirl

Come on, Jenny.  You’ve been a fairly intelligent villain up until now.  You aren’t going to fall for this one, are you?

But she does!  Perhaps, the Lunar Eclipse not only deprives werewolves of their powers, it also makes television characters into morons.  Knowing that she only has 15 minutes to kill the guy she’s been waiting eagerly to kill since 2002, Jenny the Darach suddenly decides that it’s more important to (1) fix his eyesight, so that he can WATCH her kill him, and (2) play pattycake with Derek!

eye fix

der and jen

Villains the world over, are hanging their heads in shame . . .

draco malfoy facepalm

I like how the writers analogized Derek’s endurance of his Stage-Five-Clinger Girlfriend’s ineffective punches to his human form, to Derek’s endurance of his errant werewolf children’s scratches, back when they went all rabid batty, early on in the season . . .

torn up derek 1

Then, the Lunar Eclipse is over, and everyone’s back to Werewolf Cage Fighting . . . except for Jenny, who has a meme to share with all of you.

mountain ash

“I know you like cages, so I put a cage in your cage,” she says.

And I bet you’ll never guess what that cage is made out of?  That’s right!

mountain ash

This annoying ass brown dirt is fast becoming a lead character on this show.  It’s the deus ex dirtshina.

making mountain ash

Now, Scott is miming again.  Get it?  He’s the man outside the box.  We’ve been here before . . .

more bubble

bubble pop 1

Jenny calmly tells him he should probably be thinking more about saving the parents, who are stuck underground in an avalanche, than putting on a show.  But Scott will not be deterred from his performance.  Besides, he knows that, as per usual, “his pack” will do all the dirty work of saving lives, while he pops bubbles with his mind  . . .

That’s right.  It’s Stiles . . . in the root cellar .  . . with his trusty bat.  How’s that for an answer in the game of Clue.

im batman haa

batman catwoman

im batman

(P.S. I’m so glad he didn’t die in that car accident.  I hope the massive head injuries he suffered from his airbag not deploying have no long-term impact.)

Speaking of not-dead, Deaton puts gas masks on the Alpha Twins, and they magically come back to life.  You know, because gas masks heal broken necks all the time!

saved

I’m teasing Mr. D.  In all seriousness, I’m proud of the guy.  At least he didn’t throw the twins in an ice bath, this time . . .

Back in the Cage Fight, “True Alpha” Scott finally pops that pesky bubble.

bigger bubble

And Deucalion easily dispenses with Jenny Darach, by gently nipping at her neck with his nails.  That’s embarrassing . . .

neck swipe 2

Surely, Scott and Derek are going to kill the Son of a B*tch now aren’t they?

done trying to kill

NO?  NOOOOO??? They are going to let the guy live, because they heard that one time, back in 2002, for a few days, he was a nice guy?

im a moron

“I’m a moron.”

HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATHS OF AT LEAST THREE PACKS OF WOLVES!!!!! AND THOSE ARE THE ONES WE KNOW ABOUT!  HE TRIED TO MANIPULATE SCOTT AND DEREK TO KILL EVERYONE THEY CARE ABOUT, AND VERY NEARLY SUCCEEDED.  AND THEY ARE JUST GOING TO LET HIM GO?  JUST BECAUSE?

smash 2

soap dish smash

smash

verbal keyboard smash

WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?

haha losers

“See ya in Season 3B, SUCKERS!”

I’m kind of relieved this season is over.   This show increases my blood pressure . . .

Back at the Argent house, Allison has chosen a new credo for the Werewolf Hunters, “We help those who can’t help themselves.”

help those

Nice right?  Except, the old credo: “Only kill werewolves that murder innocent humans,” was pretty nice too.  The problem was that NOBODY FOLLOWED THE CREDO, EXCEPT CHRIS ARGENT.

argents

Here’s hoping the Argent’s improve their reading comprehension in Season 3B . . .

At school, everything seems to have gone back to normal, except everyone seems to have coupled off.  And Scott and Stiles have to pretend they don’t care that they are the only two people out of their entire group of friends, who aren’t getting laid . . .

aid lyd better eth dan better isal stiles and scott

blue balls

never have sex

Also, Derek left town with Cora .  . . a major plot development that will probably last until about 10 minutes into Season 3B.

left town

. . . which brings us to our final scene, and it’s flashback . . . to about ten minutes ago in the episode.

Jenny Darach is ALLLLIIIIIIIIVE!  She’s crawling to her precious Nemeton . . . hoping it will save her a second time.

save me

But Magic Tree is having NONE of Magic Coochie.  Not when she had this great chance at World Domination and blew it so royally.   Nahh, Nemeton is going to grant its power to a WINNER this time around.  A winner like THIS GUY . . .

out on top

kills

always been the alpha

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And that’s all she wrote folks.  Thanks for sharing Teen Wolf with me this summer.  It’s truly been a blast.  See you January 6th!

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“I’ll see you again, on this side or the other.” – A Review of the film “The Town” (contains some spoilers)

I’m going to let you all in on a little secret.  I used to have a massive crush on Ben Affleck.  I mean MASSIVE!  Just to give you an idea of the intense LOVE I had for this man . . . up until very recently, I had a rather large poster over my bed that may or may not have looked something like this . . .

 . . . and a smaller one in my living room, that may or may not have looked something like this . . .

Then something happened.  A little movie came out.  For argument’s sake, lets just call that movie . . . Gigli.

All of the sudden, it was considered less than “cool” to have a “massive crush” on Ben Affleck.  Friends who used to be fairly supportive of my little obsession, started teasing me mercilessly about it.  And whenever I had boys over (not that THEY ever really liked those posters anyway), my fandom was a subject of constant ridicule.

And yet, I stuck with my guns, and hung on to those posters . . . for a little while longer, at least.  Then, shortly after I moved back to New Jersey, I sold them to a lovely gay couple at my Aunt’s Summer Yard Sale.  I like to believe they are in a better place now . . . one free of judgment and Gigli-related abuse.

Now, I have yet to see Ben Affleck’s directorial debut film, Gone Baby Gone . . .

. . . but I’ve read enough reviews and watched enough award shows to know that (1) it was pretty spectacular; and (2) much of its spectacular-ness can be attributed to what I would like to call “Ben’s Mad Directorial Skills.”

So, when the trailers for The Town started showing up in theaters, and I saw that it was, not only directed by, but also starred my former love,Ben Affleck.  And when I saw that the cast included the Dapper Don Draper himself, Jon Hamm . . .

. . . the enigmatic, Jeremy Renner . . .

 . . . and Gossip Girl‘s Blake Lively, playing a strung out, much dirtier, ho bag than Serena van der Woodsen could EVER be . . .

. . . I just knew that I HAD to see this film!  And, let me tell you, I am THRILLED I did!

Based on a novel by Chuck Hogan, entitled Prince of Thieves . . .

(which the publishers have since cleverly renamed The Town, and slapped Ben Affleck’s pretty, but gritty, mug on the cover)

. . . The Town follows career criminal, Doug McRay (played by Affleck), as he tries repeatedly to “go straight.”  But when you live in a town like Charlestown, Massachusetts — which churns out bank robbers and crooks, like Yale University churns out lawyers and politicians — and when your best friends are THESE GUYS . . .

 . . . “going straight” is easier said than done. 

The film begins, as most films of this genre tend to begin, with a “routine” bank robbery.  And it only takes a few minutes, for us viewers to realize just what good criminals, McCray and his crew are.  From the creepy face-obscuring masks they wear on their mugs, to the inside men who disable the security cameras immediately upon their arrival, to the way they torch the place upon leaving, to destroy all the evidence, it’s clear that these are NO amateurs. 

That is one UGLY nun!

Yet, despite all of their painstaking preparation and skill, McCray’s crew runs into a little snag during the heist, and is forced to take a hostage.  They decide on Assistant Bank Manager, Claire Keesey (played by Rebecca Hall).

 They blindfold Claire, and pack her into the getaway car, but, ultimately, let her go.  Afterward, some of the crew express concern about Claire, and her ability to identify them to the FBI.  These concerns are intensified when a look at Claire’s driver’s license (which they stole) reveals that she lives in the neighboring town, just a few blocks away from the crew’s headquarters.  McCray’s best friend, the hotheaded, but loyal-to-a-fault, Jem Coughlin (played by Jeremy Renner), whose idea it was to take Claire as a hostage in the first place, offers to “take care of her.”  McCray, however, doesn’t want to see Claire get hurt (if such a thing could be avoided) and offers to take care of the situation, himself.

So, McCray stalks Claire a bit, and figures out that she leads a fairly solitary life (no quirky “Best Gal Pal” in this movie).  Eventually, he follows her into a laundromat (where all the cutest movie couples meet), charms her a bit, and asks her out for a drink.

Well, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happens next. Of course, they fall in love!  (Duh!)  But what’s interesting about the way this plotline is acted and directed, is that, while certainly cliche, the relationship between Doug and Claire doesn’t seem all that contrived.  Affleck and Hall have a real natural chemistry.  Right away, you can see what appeals to these two characters about eachother. 

Claire is quietly unassuming, and incredibly straitlaced, without seeming judgmental or self-righteous.   She gardens during her spare time, and volunteers at the local Boys and Girls Club.  Doug, for all his tough beginnings, and dark past, is surprisingly shy and sweet.  He listens to Claire when she speaks, and genuinely expresses a desire to take care of her. 

And I’ll be darned if this odd couple didn’t end up having a remarkably normal courtship!  They go out to dinner together.  They take walks in the park.  They go out for coffee.  He buys her a pretty diamond necklace (probably with dirty money).  They have nice gentle sex in Claire’s Pottery Barn-decorated bedroom.  Bank robberies and hostages-takings aside, Doug and Claire are probably a lot like you and your significant other.

Suddenly, Doug’s desire to get out of the “racket,” becomes more than just an empty platitude.  Now, he really means it.  Because, now, he really has something, or, rather, SOMEONE to lose if he fails.  Now, if he could just get through this “One Last Job”  (well . . . maybe two).

It may sound odd, but, believe me when I say this: The Town is the perfect date movie.  It’s got enough action, chase scenes, explosions, and crook versus cop shoot-em-ups to please even the manliest of men.  At the same time, it boasts an intelligent script, complex likeable characters, some VERY pretty faces, and a surprisingly adorable romance, all of which are sure to satisfy even the girliest of females.

In addition to great plotting, exciting action, and a heartwarming romance between its two leads, The Town also offers a very strong supporting cast.  Jon Hamm is wonderful, as the tough-as-nails, gruff, and very-un Don Draper-like FBI Agent, Adam Frawley.  A lesser actor could have made this a very forgetable role.  But Hamm’s charm, intelligence, wit and natural grace, help make the Frawley character more likeable than a cop in a film about a criminal-with-a-heart-of-gold has any right to be.

Speaking of characters that you like more than you should, Jeremy Renner does a remarkable job of making Jem Coughlin a three-dimensional and tragic figure.  In many ways, Renner’s character is very similar to the one Affleck himself inhabited back when he played opposite Matt Damon in the spectacular Good Will Hunting (except Renner’s character is armed and dangerous).  Unlike McRay, Coughlin has resigned himself to a life of crime, running from the cops, and being relatively poor.  And yet, despite his knowledge that his best friend is smarter than he is, and perhaps destined for a better future, Coughlin still remains loyal to McRay.  He would literally do anything for him, even if that meant going to jail or losing his life.  Though you might not agree with his lifestyle choices, you’ve gotta respect a guy like that.

And then there’s Blake Lively, who absolutely impressed me with her portrayal of strung out ho-bag / baby mama, Krista Coughlin.

I’m SERIOUS!  This was NOT an easy role to play.  In the wrong hands, this role could have been at the very least, annoying, and at the worst, positively laughable.  But Blake brings Krista to life.  Her Boston accent is authentic.  Her breathy intonations, and pathetic attempts at seduction, speak to a life spent on one’s backside, screwing crooks, popping pills, and inhaling toxic fumes.  Blake more than held her own, during her scenes with Affleck, Hamm, and Renner. 

And you know what else?  Blake was FUNNY!  A few of her lines had me laughing out loud.  I certainly wasn’t expecting that.

Of course, no crime caper would be complete without Pete Postlewaite, of The Usual Suspects fame.

There’s just something about this guy’s face and demeanor — a hidden menace, perhaps.  Whatever, it is, the dude always manages to scare the stuffing out of me, even when he is doing nothing more exciting than cutting the thorns off a rose.

In short, The Town is highly entertaining and intriguing film.  The acting is nearly flawless, the plotting is tight, the action is high octane, and the directing is commendable.  Its enough to make me almost wish that I never sold those Ben Affleck posters .  . . almost.

The Town is in theaters now.  Will YOU see it?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under Ben Affleck, Movie Review, The Town

The Scavenger Hunted – A Recap of Pretty Little Liars’ Summer Finale “Keep Your Friends Close”

“Afraid of driving alone at night?  Not sure what dangers may be in the store for you, just around the corner?  Put an inflatable Creepy Toby in your back seat TODAY, and drive in ‘comfort’ TOMORROW!”

WOAH!  Pretty Little Liars gave us quite the little twisty, turny Season Finale, didn’t they?  And talk about piling on the potential suspects!  At this point, ANYONE can be “A,” can’t they?  Heck, I could be “A!” But I’m not . . . (or am I?). 

In addition to keeping us guessing as to the identity of Ali’s killer, “Keep Your Friends Closer” also provided fans with a whole bunch of information about what (and WHO) Ali was doing, outside Spencer’s farm house, on the night she was murdered.  But no matter how much information we learned, everything seemed to keep leading us back to THIS GUY . . .

 . . . who I will hereinafter refer to as “Pedophile Ian.”  (You’ll understand why, soon enough . . .)

So, without further adieu, LET THE HUNT (and the scavenging) BEGIN!

My Super Schmucky Sweet 16!

When the episode begins, the girls each receive invitations from Mona the A**hole to attend a party, in honor of her being born 16 years prior.  (Perhaps, a Day of Mourning would be more appropriate?)  The girls reluctantly accept the invitiations.  However, (all except Hanna) plan on bailing on the b*tch.  That is, until they get a text message that reads, “Camp Mona is a scavenger hunt, and I’m the prize.  Come find me b*tches! – A” 

GAME ON!  Looks like our girls will be “glamping” after all.  (Whatever the heck that means!)

“Mirror, Mirror, on the wall.  Who’s the most annoying castmember of them all?   IT’S ME!”

Later, Mona the A**hole (who had WAY TOO MUCH screentime this week, if you ask me) arrives at Hanna’s house begging for handouts.  Apparently, having a spa party named after her wasn’t enough.  This b*tch wants a fancy dinner too.  Hanna tries to get out of it, because who the heck would want to spend time with this horrible troll she doesn’t have the money to pay for dinner.  But Hanna’s mom, who has overheard the exchange and feels super guilty about all the sacrifices her daughter is making, due to the family’s precarious financial situation, spots Hanna the only $100 bill in her wallet.

“Don’t sweat it, honey!  You can turn tricks to pay me back tomorrow!”

But when Hanna ends up canceling on Mona anyway, due to being stuck in the principal’s office (more on that later), her “Best Friend” turns on her completely, by (1) starting some rumor that Hanna got thin through liposuction; and (2) disinviting Hanna to her lame party.  OH THE HUMANITY!

But I really had my heart set on getting BLOWN (dry . . . in the Blow Room, of course). . .

Now, about that liposuction rumor . . . Mona claims she got a text about it from “A.”  Really?  Because it doesn’t seem like Hanna ever told Mona about “A.”  And if Mona doesn’t know who “A” is, why would she listen to “A” over Hanna?   Unless of course, MONA IS “A?”

“Does this mean we don’t have to go this lame ass party?”  Emily asks, hopefully, upon hearing about Hanna’s and Mona’s “messy breakup.”

But Hanna forces them to go, because she’s tired of “A’s” games, and she wants to “scavenge” her.  Besides, Hanna plans on crashing Camp Mona, so that SHE can hunt for “A” too  . . . 

(Please take Lucas with you, please take Lucas with you, please take . . .)

Hanna DIDN’T take Lucas to the party, nor did she take my OTHER fave Pretty Little Liar man . . .

(Not like she even knows Wren to take HIM, but still!)

 I can’t help but wonder, whether things would have ended up better for her, if she had brought company along  . . .

Move over Deputy Douchey!  You’ve Been Replaced (by the FBI . . .)

“So, I parade around your television screen half-naked, and THIS is the thanks I get!  I’m FIRED?   WTF!”

Once again, the Fabulous Four are called to the Principal’s office together, and once again, their meeting is “All About Ali.”

Apparently, in addition to terrorizing her classmates, reading the classics, and eating cute little puppies for lunch, Dead Ali was also quite the Child Porn Star, in her day! 

Observe Ali’s expert “O” Face!

But Ali’s hottest video, was the one made on the day of her death (which I guess makes it Snuff Porn?).  The video was sent to the Rosewood Police Department by an “Anonymous” party, the day before.  And it was the receipt of this video that forced the local rent-a-cops to come to the conclusion that they were out of their league, and that bigger guns were needed.  In the video, Ali is stripping out of a hideous green button-down sweater, and “making love” to the camera.  “I know you wanna kiss me,” she says seductively to her audience. 

Honestly, after seeing some of the places that mouth has been?  No, not really . . .

The girls confirm that the yellow dress Ali is wearing in the video is the one she wore on the night of her disappearance.  But the origins of that hideous green sweater remain a mystery.  Emily also notes that the place where the video was filmed has been creatively named “Kissing Rock.”  In return for this information, the FBI let the girls in on the fact that the still MIA Creepy Toby remains their primary murder suspect.

Later, a news broadcast on television informs the girls that a warrant has been issued for Creepy Toby’s arrest.  Apparently, the jacket Ali was wearing in her Child Porn Flick was Toby’s and the blood on it matched his blood. 

What?   Does this mean Ali and Toby “Sister F*&ker” Cavanaugh were SECRET LOVERS? 

How is that even possible?  Well . . . I KNOW how it’s possible . . . but . . . you get my drift.

Pedo Ian Rides (Everyone) Again . . .

“Why do I get the feeling, I’ve been here before?”

Remember early in this season, when Spencer met her sister’s fabulous then-fiance, Wren, and the two hit it off like perfect soulmates . . .

 . . . and started going at it like horny bunny rabbits?

(Well, I’m glad YOU do, because the writers of Pretty Little Liars certainly don’t seem to!)

But I digress .  . .  apparently, this wasn’t the FIRST time, Spencer swapped spit one of her sister’s men. 

From a flashback scene, we learn that Melissa’s then-boyfriend, Ian, used to help Spencer with her “hockey swing” (insert sexual euphemism here), and sometimes ended up helping her with her TONGUE- SWING . . .

The costume and lighting designers did a very nice job making Troian look younger in this scene.  Certainly closer to the 14 or 15 she was supposed to be in the flashback, than she is in real life.  But that only made her tryst with the 20-something Ian character more disturbing.

Hence, the nickname, Pedophile Ian.  (And don’t even get me started on his later romantic scenes with the ACTUAL 14-year old who plays, Ali, Sasha Pieterse . . .)

But if anything GOOD came from Pedo Ian’s unceremonious return to Rosewood, it was that it allowed Spencer to FINALLY attain forgiveness from her sister, Melissa, for singlehandedly ruining the latter’s upcoming nuptials . . .

Spencer even convinced Melissa to give Pedo Ian another chance, even though he had dumped her all those years prior.   (Then again, considering what happened at the end of this episode, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea.  But hey, if anyone can protect themselves from violent nutjobs, it’s Crazy Nanny Carrie from One Tree Hill!

Pedo Ian, consider yourself WARNED!

It’s EASY!  Like taking MONEY from Little Old Ladies!

There’s a special place in Hell reserved for people who bilk Grandmas out of their live savings.  And, from the looks of it Hanna’s mom is going there for sure!  It all started when Hanna’s mom, Ashley, started falling behind on her bills, as  a result of a difficult economy.  Cutbacks were made in Ashley’s life, and in the life of her daughter.  Fun Time in the Marin house was over.  No more caviar in the fridge . . .

  . . . no more douching . . .

or Deputy Douchey-ing . . .

No more inviting male prostitutes over for some “Afternoon Delight” . . .

In short, no more fun.  Unfortunately, for Hanna’s mom, all that cutting back may have come too little to late, because she had become delinquent on her mortgage payments, and her house was about to be foreclosed upon.

But don’t you count out Ashley just yet!  After all, she gave birth to Hanna, the best shoplifter in ALL of Rosewood!

Well .  . . except for that one time, when she got caught . . .

But, let me tell you, solid shoplifting genes like that?  They DON’T just appear out of nowhere.  Those are a BIRTHRIGHT!

For those of you who were always left wondering where exactly it was that Hanna’s mom worked, we finally got that answer in tonight’s episode.  She works at a bank.  A bank where little old ladies, who have NO relatives, receive gobs of money from other dead little old ladies, and leave hundreds of thousands of dollars of cold hard cash in a safety deposit box (Perish the thought of putting it in an ACTUAL savings account!), which they only visit once a year, after which, they conveniently forget to take back the deposit box keys.

So, of course, with “no other options,” Hanna’s mom absconds with the cash.  And she must work in a really bad neighborhood too!  Because, as she is driving away, this told wackjob creeper asks her for a ride.  Ashley firmly declines and guns it out of there like a Bat out of Hell.  I mean, look at the guy . . . wouldn’t you?

F*cking a Stranger in the Bar Bathroom may earn you an STD, but it also makes for a fabulous POEM!

Roses are Red,

Violets are Blue,

I have Genital Warts,

and, now, SO DO YOU!

Poor Aria!  Everytime she tries to get out from between Fitzy’s legs and begins to move on with her life, he pulls her back in.

“It’s my white, pasty stick legs!  They’re utterly irresisitible.”

Early in the episode, Aria is standing by her locker, trying to plan a first date with her new sort-of beau, Bushy Eyebrows Noel . . .

Bushy’s brilliant idea?  Stay at home and watch movies on TV.  Seriously Romeo?  For a FIRST date?  How old exactly do you think Aria is, 85?  Just because she DATES geriatrics, doesn’t mean she IS one!  As the two continue on their BORING conversation, a book conveniently falls out of Aria’s locker.  And, lo and behold, there is a note from “A” attached to it . . .

“Someone named A wants you to read page 22,” offers Noel, excitedly.  “You should TOTALLY do it.  Why not?  Be SPONTANEOUS!”  (Coincidentally, Noel’s idea of spontaneity is wearing black socks, instead of his usual white.)

Aria opens the book, which I presume is a school literary magazine, of some sort, to page 22.  Turns out, there’s a poem on that page .  . .  written by, who else . . . Ezra Fitz.

The poem is called B26, which, if I recall, represents the song playing on the jukebox in the bar where Aria and Fitzy first met, and later screwed, in the bar bathroom.  Ahhh, memories!  Apparently, for Fitzy, those couple of minutes spent with his back up against a dirty mirror, cheap soap running down his pant leg, toilet paper on his shoe, banging the living daylights out of some jailbait, was the single most romantic moment of his ENTIRE LIFE!  This was why he wrote a poem about it, and chose to publish it in the High School Literary Journal so everyone under the age of 18 could enjoy reading about his raunchy sexcapades.

When Aria reads the poem, she is absolutely infuriated by the mixed signals Fitzy has been sending her.  She rushes to his classroom to confront him.

Aria reams Fitzy a new one for claiming not to want anything to do with her, and then drafting this porny love poem about her for the entire student body to read.  Fitzy has very little to say in response.  And when, Aria tells Fitzy, loudly and in no uncertain terms, that she is through with him, who walks in?  THIS GUY . . .

It’s Bushy Eyebrows Noel!  And while Mr. Excitement, didn’t seem at all suspicious as to why “A” was telling Aria to read her English teacher’s poem, he totally seems clued in to the situation now.  And he looks PISSED!  It looks like Aria’s phantom “Boyfriend from Iceland” just got a whole lot closer to home.  To make matters worse, based on the portion of the conversation Noel heard, it totally seemed like Fitzy was making unwelcome advances toward Aria.  Yep, Bushy Eyebrows is TOTALLY going to rat Fitzy out to the PoPo for being a Baby Lover . . .

Creepy Toby:  Here TODAY, Gone to the Slammer, TOMORROW. . .

The FBI may be combing the town in search of Toby Cavanaugh, but apparently, they haven’t been looking in Emily’s car, because THAT’S where he is!  I never quite understood why, in these “sneak into the person’s car and scare them” scenes, the guy or girl always seem to wait in the backseat.  Because if it were me, I would be TOTALLY crouched down on the driver’s side. Then when he got into the car, I would grab his legs, and see how high I could get him to jump.  A total missed opportunity if you ask me.

As it turns out, Creepy Toby is stalking Emily because he wants to tell her HIS side of the story, you know the one he never got to tell her at prom because he was too busy crashing into glass, and she was too busy, falling on her face and being knocked unconscious.

“Good times.”

Emily takes Toby to a small secluded wooded area (REAL SMART, there girl!  Because someone will SURELY hear you, if you scream THERE!).  Toby then explains that Ali misunderstood his relationship with Blind Jenna.  She saw the siblings BONING . . .

 . . . and automatically assumed Blind Jenna was being raped.  But according to Toby, these two are IN LOVE . . . and not a brotherly- sisterly love, either.

And, NO, in case you were wondering, the fact that these two AREN’T related by blood doesn’t help me feel better about this situation AT ALL!

In terms of Alison, Toby explains that he DID meet her in front of Spencer’s barnhouse the night she disappeared, but only to talk to her.  And he gave her his sweater, to warm her up when she was cold.  The last Toby saw Ali, according to him, was when she was getting into the car with “some old dude.”  Despite telling Emily all this, Toby inexplicably would like to speak with her more, and tells her where he will be for next few hours, until he goes out on the lam again.  And it is in this exact spot where the coppers pick him up and arrest him.

Now, as you know, I’ve never exactly been Creepy Toby’s biggest fan, but, based on what we’ve seen in this episode, I think we could all pretty safely assume that HE is neither “A” nor Ali’s killer.  Therefore, you’ve got to feel bad for a guy who may very well have been wrongly accused.  And for that reason, I offer this to YOU, Young Cavanaugh . . .

(Special thanks go out to Amy over at Imaginarymen for providing me with the inspiration for the FABULOUS tee!)

In Other News . . .

Emily’s dad returned home from Iraq, today . . .

But her mother mysteriously received an envelope containing Emily’s “tonguing Maya” photos .  . .

And the look on her face upon reviewing them was none too pleased . . .

“I attended Camp Mona, and all I got were these damn skidmarks on my face!”

“Well, heck.  At least I didn’t have to get BLOWN, like Aria and Emily!”

“Oh stuff it, Half-Dead Hanna!  You WISH your hair was big enough to warrant its own zip code!”

Over at Mona’s self-indulgent bore of a birthday party (16-years old and no boys allowed?   SERIOUSLY?)  . . .

I’m thinking that the girl-to-guy ratio at this party might be a bit more Emily’s speed, than Aria and Slightly Slutty Spencer’s

 . . . Spencer, Aria and Emily, begin receiving clues from “A” for their “scavenger hunt”.  Their first hunch leads them to where they found Ali’s bracelet a few episodes back.

A’s not there.  But a “Jenna” necklace is.  (OK, so what’s the deal here?   Does EVERYBODY get an ugly fabric bracelet with their name on it?  Do I get one?   Seriously, it’s like Ali bought stock in the Ugly Bracelet Company before she died . . .)

Next to the ugly “Jenna” bracelet is a note from “A” informing the girls that they are in the wrong place.  (Well, DUH, A’s not here, so it HAS to be the wrong place!)  Spencer, however, who is clearly a bit wiser than I am, recognizes the double-meaning inherent in the world “Wrong.”  She ultimately determines that “A” is hiding in a place called “Wright’s Playground.” There, Spencer finds a heart etched into a tree saying “Alison loves Ian.” 

Meanwhile, Aria gets a text from Fitzy, in which he says he needs to see her.  He conveniently parks somewhere near Wright’s Playground (hmmmmm . . .  interesting).  Once Aria gets in the car, Fitzy tells her that he always loved her, and was looking for a job elsewhere so that he and she could be TOGETHER without fear of repercussion, NOT to run away from her, as Aria had initially suspected. 

However, when Fitzy caught Aria flirting with Bushy Eyebrows, he thought the high school GUY might be more appropriate for a high school girl.  Aria chastizes Fitzy for not recognizing the strength of her feelings for him.  Then the two engage in an encore of their infamous “Car Makeout Scene” from a few episodes back.

In a truly creepy scene, we see a ghostly figure looming over the back of the car, as Aria and Fitzy go at it, oblivious to the SCARY THING behind them.  Fortunately, that “thing” is not out to kill them, it is just out to leave a cute little love note on Fitzy’s car.   “I SEE YOU,” the oh, so, mature “A” writes on the back of the car, using the condensation from the window as her (or his) canvas.  Though genuinely frightening, the whole thing was also a bit cliche, and reminded me a bit too much of that very special scene from the film I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, where the killer took the same tired approach to scare its victims, as “A” did . . .

By this time, Hanna has successfully crashed the party . . .

She quickly locates Wright’s Playground, and hangs out nearby, waiting for something to happen.   Something DOES!  Hanna takes out her binoculars, and spies Aria and Fitzy making out inside the car.  Then she sees SOMETHING ELSE, and that SOMETHING ELSE may be the key in figuring out who A is.  It IS definitely the key for Hanna, who immediately texts Spencer that she knows “who A is.”  But, as Hanna is walking toward the girls, to spread the news, she is HIT BY A CAR, AND KNOCKED UNCONSCIOUS!  She even stops BREATHING!

And where was Fitzy when all this was going down, you ask?

Who knows?  Perhaps, he was writing poetry about girls who get hit by cars, and the boys who love them .  . .

Sigh!  Poor Lucas!

The rest of the Pretty Little Liars instantly gather around Hanna, screaming, crying, and calling for an ambulance.  It was admittedly a highly emotional scene.  I was very moved.

As the credits roll, we are treated to the final portion of Ali’s Child Porn Star video, the portion which its author had apparently excised from the  copy he or she had sent it to the FBI.  At the end of the video, Ali turns the camera around to face her boyfriend who is doing the videotaping, and that boyfriend is THIS GUY . . .

And, here, you thought I was kidding about the whole “pedophile” thing .  . . 😉

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under Pretty Little Liars