Following the demise of Buffy and Angel, it’s been a struggle to find any good horror themed shows on TV. Since I’m not a big Dushku fan, I passed on Tru Calling; and since I don’t have Showtime, I couldn’t watch Dead Like Me. NBC’s and ABC’s current offerings of Medium and Lost have filled the void a bit, but the realistic crime solving angle of the first and the no one knows what the hell is going on (not even the writers) vibe of the second have left me dissatisfied. Plus, they’re both lacking that whole end-of-the-world, Apocalypse coming now problem those crazy kids Buffy and Angel were always facing and fighting. But then along came Point Pleasant to pique my interest, especially after I heard that Marti Noxon was one of the creators of the show. After watching two episodes, I’m not completely won over, but I am curious enough to keep tuning in to see if it improves with time or just devolves into the next Dawson’s Party of the PP.
Set in the coastal (so we have an excuse to see hard bodies in bathing suits) town of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, the show is shaping up to provide your classic good vs. evil showdown with just enough T&A and soapsuds along the way to keep it suitable for Fox. The main characters are Christina (Elisabeth Harnois), daughter of the Devil and a God-fearing, possibly holy in some way, woman whom Christina has never known but is searching for; Jesse (Samuel Page), the lifeguard who saves her from drowning in the first episode; Amber and Paula (Dina Meyer and Cameron Richardson), a slutty mother/daughter team who, intentionally or not, provide most of the comic relief; and Lucas Boyd (Grant Show), the Devil’s right-hand man whose main purpose seems to be making sure Christina gets in touch with her dark side. As the tagline suggests, she has “two sides” to her soul, and it is this aspect of the show that gives me hope. I can deal with a bit of glitz and cheesiness if Point Pleasant delivers on the scares and the nasties, and considering that one potentially important character has already been killed off after only two episodes, I’m keeping my faith with Marti.
Speaking of faith, the Christian aspects of the eternal struggle are quite evident in Point Pleasant. Whereas Buffy and Angel focused more on the demon side of things, this show has already brought religion into play. Christina’s mother’s family is somehow deeply involved in the Church, and there are two priests hot on Christina’s tail, the younger of whom could turn out to be very intriguing if nurtured in Noxon’s typical character driven style. The rest of the cast is rounded out by a sympathetic doctor, his wife, and their daughter who take Christina in after her near drowning; Jesse’s parents, a cop and a Church secretary; and a sidekick for Lucas who prefers to encourage Christina’s human side and wants to take her “home” – wherever that is. Actually, the chemistry between those two men is one of the most appealing parts of the show to me, and I hope they both remain pivotal players.
Sex, of course, also figures prominently on the show, but not always in the way you might expect. Lucas’ rebuttal to Amber’s advances was superb as was her subsequent rejection by the good doctor, and his seduction of Jesse’s churchified mom should be quite entertaining if that’s the direction the storyline takes.
While most of the comments I’ve read about Point Pleasant are critical of its OC-like veneer and a lot of people seem to have already written it off, I’m willing to hang in for at least a few more weeks. I find the acting acceptable overall, the locations arresting, and the premise quite appealing compared to about 90% of what else is available out there in TV Land. At least it’s fantasy and not just another awful reality show to complain about. If the Lucas character is allowed to be as wicked as he should be and if the supernatural elements get kicked up a notch, Point Pleasant has the possibility of being quite good, and who wouldn’t want that? Of course, if it doesn’t happen, I’ll just pop in my new Millennium DVDs and ride off into the doom and gloom with Frank Black.
POINT PLEASANT (2005-????)
(Fox Television Network)
Directed by Michael Lange and Rick Rosenthal
Starring Elisabeth Harnois, Grant Show, Samuel Page, Aubrey Dollar, Dina Meyer, Richard Burgi, Susan Walters, James Morrison
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Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View
Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly
Directed by Marcel Sarmiento
Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as
17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?
What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.
Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?
IAMX’s Alive in New Light Review – A Dark, Hypnotic, and Stunning Musical Endeavor
Recording eight albums is an achievement no matter the artist, group, or band. This is especially true for Chris Corner’s IAMX, his solo project after the trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, which has enchanted listeners since 2004’s Kiss + Swallow with its dark electronic aesthetic. There’s something fascinating about the music Corner puts out as IAMX. Perhaps it’s the underlying melancholy that seems to pervade the music, almost certainly a result of the musician’s battle with depression and chronic insomnia [Source]. Perhaps it’s the unexpected melodies that reveal themselves with each new measure. Whatever it is, IAMX’s music is a constant delight.
On Alive in New Light, Corner reveals that his eighth album was a product he created as a way of “…breaking free from demons that have long plagued him,” per an official press release. Strangely enough, this uplifting attitude may easily be overlooked but repeat listens unveil a sense of hope and wonder that are simply breathtaking. The title track echoes with almost angelic choir pads that positively shine as Corner exultingly cries in a shimmering falsetto, “I’m alive in new light!” This comes after the Depeche Mode-esque “Stardust”, which offers the first collaboration with Kat Von D, whose pure voice is a beautiful addition to the pulsating track.
The third track, “Break The Chains”, has an opening that immediately called to mind Birds of Tokyo’s “Discoloured”, which is meant as a compliment. It’s followed by the Nine Inch Nails influenced “Body Politics”, which meshes Corner’s crooning vocals with a 90’s industrial backdrop. “Exit” has an almost sinister progression lurking in the background that builds to an aggressive, in-your-face third act. The cinematic Middle Eastern flairs of “Stalker” mutate effortlessly into a heartbeat pulse that features back-and-forth vocals between Corner and Von D. The haunted circus vibe that permeates through “Big Man” is mirrored by its playful gothic aura, ghostly “oohs” and “aahs” sprinkled carefully here and there.
While the album has been a delight up to this point, it’s the final two tracks that took my breath away and left me stunned. “Mile Deep Hollow” builds layer after layer while Corner passionately cries out, “So thank you/you need to know/that you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow/and I love you/you brought me home/because you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow.” The way the song’s melodies back these wonderfully uplifting lyrics feels grand and epic, as though a journey is coming to an end, which is where “The Power and the Glory” comes in. Far more subdued, it’s a beautiful song that feels almost like a religious experience, a hymn of a soul that is desperate to claw its way to salvation and escape a life of pain and darkness.
What makes Alive in New Light so wonderful is how much there is to experience. I got the album and listened to it no less than five times in a row without pause. I simply couldn’t turn it off because each return revealed something new in the music. Corner also makes fantastic use of Von D’s vocals, carefully placing them so as to make them a treat and not a commonplace certainty.
While some may be disappointed that there are only nine tracks, each of the songs is carefully and meticulously crafted to be as powerful and meaningful as possible. It really is a stunning accomplishment and I’m nothing short of blown away by how masterfully Alive in New Light plays out.
IAMX’s Alive in New Light is a triumph of music. Full of beauty and confidence, it doesn’t forget the foundation that fans have come to know and love for over a decade but instead embraces that comfortable darkness with open arms. Corner states that this album was a way to break free from his demons. It certainly feels like he’s made peace with them.
The Hatred Review – A History Lesson Dug Up From The Depths Of Hell
Starring Zelda Adams, Lulu Adams, John Law
Directed by John Law
I don’t know about the scholastic interests the masses had (or have) that read all of the killer nuggets that get cranked out on this site, but when I was an academic turd, one of my true passions was history, and it was one of the only subjects that managed to hold my interest, and when the opportunity arose to check out John Law’s ultra-nightmarish feature, The Hatred – I was ready to crack the books once again.
The setting is the Blackfoot Territory in the late 1800s, and the pains of a lengthy conflict have taken their toll on the remaining soldiers as food has become scarce, and the film picks up with soldiers on the march in the brutal cold and snow covered mountainside. In tow is a P.O.W. (Law), and the decision is made by the soldiers to execute him in earnest instead of having to shorten their rations by feeding him, so he is then hung (pretty harshly done), and left to rot as the uniformed men trudge along. A short time later the group encounters a small family on the fringes of the territory, and when the demands for food are rebuked, the slaughter is on and the only survivor is a young girl (Adams) who prays to an oblivious god that she can one day reap the seeds of revenge upon those who’ve murdered her family. We all know that there are usually two sides to any story, and when the good ear isn’t listening, the evil one turns its direction towards those who need it most, and that’s when the Devil obliges.
The answer to the young girl’s prayers comes in the resurrection of the prisoner that was hung a short time ago, and he has been dubbed “Vengeance” – together their goal will be achieved by harshly dishing out some retribution, and the way it’s presented is drawn-out, almost like you’re strapped into the front-row pew of a hellfire-cathedral and force-fed the sermon of an evil voice from the South side of the tracks. It’s vicious and beautiful all at once, Law’s direction gives this visually-striking presentation all the bells and whistles to please even the harshest of critics (hell, you’re reading the words of one right now). The performances, while a bit stoic in nature, still convey that overall perception of a wrong that demands to be righted, no matter how morally mishandled it might be. Overall, I can absolutely recommend The Hatred for not only those wanting a period-piece with ferocious-artistry, but for others who continue to pray with no response, and are curious to see what the other side can offer.
The Hatred is a visually-appealing look into the eyes of animus, and all of the beauty of returning the harm to those who have awarded it to others.
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