FOX Broadcasting Co.
After one fist-clencher of a finale, the recent Sleepy Hollow casting news is pretty darn interesting. What to make of the fact that John Noble and Lyndie Greenwood are now series regulars? Warning: spoilers for the first season abound below.
Now that Abbie's sister Jenny Mills seems to be a permanent part of the show's Scooby gang, Greenwood's new slot is less surprising. The growing closeness of the sisters seemed to spell certain doom for Jenny, so we're just thrilled she made it out of the season finale alive. And, unless the show's creators are trying to fake us out and destroy us emotionally, she'll also survive the Season 2 premiere and the resolution of that merciless cliffhanger. Looks like the other Miss Mills will be around to assist Abbie and Ichabod in their defense against the dark forces of Sleepy Hollow for quite a while.
What's really interesting/disturbing is the permanent placement of John Noble. His character — the man we knew as Henry Parrish — was revealed in the two-part finale to be not only Katrina and Ichabod's son Jeremy, but also the Second Horseman. (A must-add to our list of scariest Sleepy monsters.) And once he made his Bond-villain-style confession, Jeremy buried his father alive and trapped Abbie in a giant, creepy dollhouse. We don't know how our heroes will make it out of their respective prisons, but we now know that Jeremy won't be completely vanquished anytime soon. Then again, we're talking about Sleepy Hollow here, so let's not rule out body-switching or talking corpses or any other method of keeping Noble around while still getting rid of the bad guy.
What do you think this casting means for the second season of Sleepy? Leave your predictions in the comments.
FOX Broadcasting Co.
George Washington, Ever The Indispensable Man
If you watched last night's season finale of Sleepy Hollow, chances are you're still in recovery. The Mommy issues! The Daddy issues! And almost as frightening -- the beginning of the apocalypse! Suffice to say, we were not ready.
The episode started off innocently enough, and we all looked on proudly as Ichabod attempted to send his first text message to Abbie. It was adorable. Our favorite duo of witnesses dug further into the George Washington bible conundrum. They unveiled more hidden messages from Washington and found that he wrote directly to Ichabod ... as a zombie of sorts. He warned of the apocalypse and explained that he'd drawn a map from Earth to Purgatory, whch Ichabod immediately realized he could use to save his wife Katrina.
But what was most compelling about last night's episode was this question of prophecy. It was prophecied that Ichabod would betray Abbie and turn her over to Moloch, and even though Abbie did not want to believe it -- and Ichabod agreed that the very idea was ridiculous -- both of them (especially Abbie) had their doubts, but went about their work anyway.
They teamed up with the Sin Eater AKA Henry Parrish, and it was great to see this trio working together again, although things got pretty creepy pretty fast. They had to track down the body of the priest who used to consult with Corbin, because he had been buried with beads that would guide them to Washington's grave. The Sin Eater risked his life having a vision through the beads which had been hexed. The vision was ultimately helpful and they were able to find the tomb containing Washington's corpse and the map to Purgatory. This proved to be quite the adventure, with a new, terrifying version of Brooks chasing after them all the way (sidenote: Brooks totally confessed his love to Abbie at the beginning of the episode ... craziness!), and they ended up destroying the whole tomb once they got the map. We're assuming this means that Brooks is dead, although he was already dead and possessed by Moloch. We'll have to wait 'til season two to see if he's now, really, really dead.
While all this was going on, Frank Irving was going through hella drama after questions were raised about all of the dead bodies left behind at his safe house. Unable to explain the whole my-daughter-was-possessed-and-so-she-killed-people-but-it-totally-wasn't-her-fault thing, he chose to turn himself in before they could accuse his daughter. You know things are going badly in Sleepy Hollow when the Chief of Police catches a double homicide case.
At the end of the episode, we watched Ichabod do the unthinkable as he burned Washington's map to Purgatory. Abbie had warned him that keeping the map around would only invite more harm, as the Moloch was desperately after it. But burning it would mean losing Katrina forever, since he would be unable to rescue her from Purgatory. As Ichabod set Washington's map on fire he swore to Abbie that their relationship as witnesses and the fate of the world took precendence over his own selfish desires to be reunited with Katrina; he wouldn't risk all for the chance to save her. This was such a great scene because we got to see a real love between the witnesses and Abbie was clearly relieved, assuming that they were no longer in danger of fulfilling that troubling prophecy. Unfortunately, none of this could stop the coming of the second horseman, and the episode ended with the Sin Eater declaring that the apocolypse was nigh.
Bad Blood, Indeed
Oh, drama! It's a good thing this season finale was a two-parter because we definitely needed the opening episode to help mentally prepare us for what came next. Remember how Ichabod burned the map and promised Abbie to let the whole rescuing-Katrina-from-Purgatory thing go? Well, as you watched him burn that map, you may have been secretly thinking about how Ichabod has an eidetic memory, and how burning the map didn't technically mean anything at all. Yeah, so were we. And voila! Next thing we know, Ichabod's all drawing the map from memory, tears rolling down his face because he knows this might be the worst idea ever.
By this time Abbie's sister Jenny had gotten involved with some research and the group discovered that, actually, they shouldn't have burned the map to Purgatory. One way to defeat the second horseman and to save the world from the apocolypse involved some light-to-heavy witchery. But the only living witch who could perform the spell was Katrina. Good thing for that eidetic memory, eh Crane?
So the new game plan involved Abbie and Ichabod going to Purgatory and rescuing Katrina so she could stop the world from ending because, well, nobody wants the world to end (other than the horsemen and Moloch, obviously). But Jenny pointed out that this was essentially a suicide mission for Abbie, who was putting herself one step closer to the fulfillment of the prophecy. Naturally, Abbie was determined to go, in hopes of finally putting an end to their life-long nightmare that was the Moloch.
Now. Can we talk about how awful Purgatory looked? Seriously! If that was Purgatory, what the heck is hell like? First Abbie and Ichabod had to pass these sort of psychological tests where their big, emotional desires appeared to have come true. In Abbie's vision she was getting ready to enjoy some apple pie à la mode with Corbin and Brooks, and Ichabod's vision introduced us to his father (played by Victor Garber), who heaped praises on him and offered him a celebratory drink. Just as the two witnesses were about to fall victim to their own desires, they remembered the warning of the Sin Eater (that food and drink would be offered as a trick) and barely escaped their dangerous visions. Surrounded by creepy, faceless beings stuck between heaven and hell (because Purgatory is the worst), Crane and Mills were only able to distinguish themselves from the bodies around them with a very contemporary fist bump. Boom! And then they found Katrina, who had good news and bad news.
The good news was that, technically, she could leave Purgatory and perform the spell to stop the second horseman. The bad news? Someone would have to play tradesies with her. AKA the prophecy had come true and Abbie would switch with Katrina and stay behind to face the Moloch. Nooo!
But Abbie was ready to play sacrificial lamb, because Abbie is everything. Between the eyeliner, her amazing body, and her willingness to face her real, live demons, Nicole Beharie's character is pretty much perfection. Watching her in that super-creepy dollhouse with her younger self and young Jenny? Such an amazing scene! And so terrifying, as she had to relive that day in the forest, 13 years ago when they first saw Moloch. Oh, and they also saw the Sin Eater. How is that possible? Exactly.
Well. Once Ichabod and Katrina (who, BTW, had zero romantic chemistry after all this time of being separated) made it back to Earth and Katrina began to perform her spell, the Sin Eater -- our beloved Henry -- turned on them! Wait. Whaaat?! Not only was he the bad guy, the one working for Moloch, the second horseman himself, he was ... wait for it ... wait for it ... you're still not ready ... wait for it ... JEREMY?! As in, Jeremy Crane?! As in, son of Ichabod and Katrina? Buried alive by the Coven? And really, really pissed about it? And then "rescued" and brought out of his dirty, dirty grave by the Moloch? Ugh. Jay Z addressed these kinds of issues in Meet The Parents. It's important to raise your kids, or they might try to kill you one day:
Now, back to the show. Henry/Jeremy/WTF brings the Headless Horseman into this, who then rides off with Katrina, and the very angry little boy turned grown man throws his Dad into the same box he'd been buried alive in. He was basically all like, "You're not even my real Dad! The Moloch is totally my Dad!" and it was pretty awful. So the season ended with Crane in a coffin, Abbie in Purgatory, Frank in prison, and oh yeah -- Jenny flipped over in her car because just as she realized who Henry really was, the horseman showed up and shot her off the road. She better be alive. That's all I'm sayin.'
And now, we all suffer through the rest of winter, spring, and summer as we impatiently await the return of this amazing show next fall. Let's all take this time to resolve our own Mommy/Daddy/abandonment issues, so that we don't accidentally become responsible for the next apocalypse. That would be bad.
Sleepy Hollow continues to be a fantastic mix of creepy monster-evil and traditional family drama. Last week Crane discovered that he was a father, as Katrina had given birth to his son after putting him under the spell that forever linked him to the Headless Horseman. This week he began a dangerous search to uncover the truth about his son’s life and the things he discovered were pretty frightful.
Christmastime = Family Drama, Forever
The episode began the way any proper Christmas episode should, with a few good quips about egg nog. Lieutenant Mills tried to school Crane on the modern-day Yuletide goings-on and he was (as usual) none too impressed by the way things had changed since back in his day. He also had more on his mind than the coming of Santa Claus, having invited an old friend -- the Sin Eater -- over for a supernatural session. The Sin Eater (AKA Henry Parrish) was able to send Crane over to Katrina’s realm where he confronted her about their child. Katrina revealed that she had been targeted by her coven after what she did to save Crane and -- in her attempt to evade them -- she fled to Europe where she discovered she was pregnant. She ran back to her safe haven (the home we were introduced to last week) to give birth to their son, Jeremy. Jeremy’s story once again linked Crane and Mills, as Katrina revealed that she had given the baby to Grace Dixon and her husband in hopes of keeping him safe from her coven. She had also made for him the creepiest looking doll ever, as a protectant.
The Truth About Jeremy
Crane, Mills, and their new partner in crossing-over-into-other-realms Henry the Sin Eater went to a historical library in search of answers about Crane’s progeny. They uncovered some devastating news – first, that Jeremy’s half-witchy blood started wreaking havoc on his community, as the sounds of his cries actually started whole fires (that scene was very Looper-ish). One of those fires resulted in the death of Grace Dixon and her family. And, second, Jeremy ended up in an orphanage, where he was the target of physical abuse at the hands of a priest. That abuse inspired such pain and anger in Crane’s son that the blood from his wounds brought his protectant doll (AKA the Golem) to life. And because Crane was now living, his existence called the golem back to Sleepy Hollow. His first kill was the librarian, who was actually a witch attempting to keep Crane from discovering the truth.
Like many characters in Sleepy Hollow, the Golem wasn’t entirely evil and wasn’t entirely good. On the one hand he was built to protect Jeremy, but he was also a dangerous killer. And pretty scary. Crane had to be the one to destroy him in the end, but first he discovered from the witches (known as the Four That Speak As One) that they had buried Jeremy alive. And after achieving victory over the golem and the coven (for their death was linked to Crane's arrival), Crane was faced with a familiar horror: the Moloch. The Moloch tells him that his death is also imminent, along with that of the other witness. This was interesting because earlier in the episode Captain Frank had learned that the two witnesses in the Bible suffer the same fate. It looks like we can expect Crane and Mills to spend much of the season running from death, and as Frank now functions as an apostle of sorts, he’ll be running from a similar fate.
A Few Questions To Ponder Until Next Week:
Where in the world was Abbie’s sister Jenny? This week there was some borderline romantic friction between Frank and his ex, but we’re still rooting for Jenny and Frank to bring all their drama together and make sweet Sleepy Hollow love down by the fire ... or at least go out on a date.
How much creepier are these monsters going to get? Last week it was a live scarecrow, this week a live doll? Whatever. We love it.
There's an allure to imperfection. With his latest drama Lawless director John Hillcoat taps directly into the side of human nature that draws us to it. Hillcoat finds it in Prohibition history a time when the regulations of alcohol consumption were subverted by most of the population; He finds it in the rural landscapes of Virginia: dingy raw and mesmerizing. And most importantly he finds it in his main character Jack Bondurant (Shia LaBeouf) the scrappy third brother of a moonshining family who is desperate to prove his worth. Jack forcefully injects himself into the family business only to discover there's an underbelly to the underbelly. Lawless is a beautiful film that's violent as hell striking in a way only unfiltered Americana could be.
Acting as the driver for his two outlaw brothers Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) isn't enough for Jack. He's enticed by the power of the gangster figure and entranced by what moonshine money can buy. So like any fledgling entrepreneur Jack takes matters into his own hands. Recruiting crippled family friend/distillery mastermind Cricket (Dane DeHaan) the young whippersnapper sets out to brew his own batch sell it to top dog Floyd Banner and make the family rich. The plan works — but it puts the Bondurant boys in over their heads with a new threat: the corrupt law enforcers of Chicago.
Unlike many stories of crime life Lawless isn't about escalation. The movie drifts back and forth leisurely popping in moments like the beats of a great TV episode. One second the Bondurants could be talking shop with their female shopkeep Maggie Beauford (Jessica Chastain). The next Forrest is beating the bloody pulp out of a cop blackmailing their operation. The plot isn't thick; Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave preferring to bask in the landscapes the quiet moments the haunting terror that comes with a life on the other side of the tracks. A feature film doesn't offer enough time for Lawless to build — it recalls cinema-level TV currently playing on outlets like HBO and AMC that have truly spoiled us — but what the duo accomplish is engrossing.
Accompanying the glowing visuals and Cave's knockout workout on the music side (a toe-tapping mix of spirituals bluegrass and the writer/musician's spine-tingling violin) are muted performances from some of Hollywood's rising stars. Despite LaBeouf's off-screen antics he lights up Lawless and nails the in-deep whippersnapper. His playful relationship with a local religious girl (Mia Wasikowska) solidifies him as a leading man but like everything in the movie you want more. Tom Hardy is one of the few performers who can "uurrr" and "mmmnerm" his way through a scene and come out on top. His greatest sparring partner isn't a hulking thug but Chastain who brings out the heart of the impenetrable beast. The real gem of Lawless is Guy Pearce as the Bondurant trio's biggest threat. Shaved eyebrows pristine city clothes and a temper like a rabid wolverine Pearce's Charlie Rakes is the most frightening villain of 2012. He viciously chews up every moment he's on screen. That's even before he starts drawing blood.
Lawless is the perfect movie for the late August haze — not quite the Oscary prestige picture or the summertime shoot-'em-up. It's drama that has its moonshine and swigs it too. Just don't drink too much.
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.