drama, movie, movie review, musical

Flashback Review: May 5th, 2014 Movie – Black Snake Moan

black snake moan

Now this is one of those movies that when you first saw the trailer for it, you didn’t quite know what you were going to get. I mean, is this a racially charged drama or some sort of a soft core porn disguised as a big budget picture. I have to be honest, nothing about this movie really enticed me into seeing this movie in theaters when it first came out. About a year later, during a dark time in my life, I wound up renting it from Blockbuster only to have the copy I rented be damaged and unable to play. I took it back and tried to grab another copy only to find they were all out. Well, this just served to make me want to watch it even more and I ended up just buying a used copy, because at the time it made sense. So that, dear readers, is how I ended up with a copy of Black Snake Moan, yet another of my random Blockbuster purchases.

The plot: In a small, rural Tennessee town, Lazarus Redd meets with his wife Rose, who had been having an affair with his brother, and he tries to convince her to come to church for counselling but she refuses, saying she doesn’t love him anymore. As she goes to leave, Lazarus grabs her hand and tells her he will pray for her over what she did to him and she yells at him before storming out of the diner. Meanwhile, Rae Doole and her boyfriend, Ronnie Morgan, are having sex before Ronnie begins packing to leave for deployment with the National Guard, though he suffers from severe anxiety disorder. As he goes to leave, he gives Rae a watch that is synchronized to his, so that when the alarm goes off, they will know the other is thinking of them. As Ronnie gets his friend Gill to give him a lift, Rae chases after Gills truck before falling to the ground.She then starts moaning to herself and rubbing her legs before succumbing to her nyphomaniac tendencies and ends up sleeping with a man named Tehronne. Afterwards, she asks him for money and a ride into town and as she walks to the store, she is shocked to see her mom working there and quickly leaves. Elsewhere, Lazarus gets some supplies for his farm and heads home to begin working the yard when he ends up running over his wife’s flower beds with his tractor. That night, Lazarus is having a beer at the bar as a woman starts flirting with him but Lazarus is currently sour on women after what his wife did to him. When Lazarus’ brother enters the bar, the bartender warns Lazarus to keep his cool. Lazarus’ brother tries to apologize for hurting him and as they start to argue, Lazarus breaks a bottle and threatens to use it on him before leaving the bar and returning home, where he begins playing the guitar and singing a blues song about his cheating wife. Elsewhere, Rae is at a party with some friends when she takes some drugs and ends up having sex with a random guy at the party. As she stumbles around in a pair of panties and some shoulder pads, Gill walks up to her and takes the pads off before taking her home. Along the way, he pulls over and comments about her cheating on Ronnie all the time and tries to have sex with her but when she laughs at him, he gets mad and starts beating her. When he stops, Rae isn’t moving and, thinking he killed her, he dumps her out of her truck and drives off, leaving her on the side of the road in her panties and a skimpy t-shirt. The next morning, Lazarus is taking some trash to the side of the road for pick-up when he sees Rae on the side of the road. He goes to check on her and when she begins coughing, he brings her to his house to tend to her. As Lazarus tries to talk to her, Rae incoherently mutters Tehronne’s name and Lazarus thinks he did this to her and heads out to town to get some medicine for her and speaks with Angela, the local pharmacist, who talks briefly with her before going to get some medicine for him. After getting his medicine, Lazarus leaves and starts to head home when he sees Tehronne’s car and heads to the nearby pool hall to talk with him. Lazarus talks with Tehronne about Rae, thinking he is the one to beat her, but Tehronne denies it and simply says that she is a freak who has sex with anyone when her boyfriend isn’t around, calling it a sickness. At Lazarus’ house, Rae continues to have hallucinations and ends up falling to the floor, where Lazarus finds her. As he tries to help her up, she kisses him and then begins writhing on the floor, disturbing Lazarus and causing him to rush out of the house before running a cold bath to try and break Rae’s fever. Later that night, Rae, still in a delirium, ends up running through Lazarus’ vegetable garden looking for Ronnie when Lazarus finds her. He brings her back inside and helps her get back to sleep, then heads out to his barn and grabs a length of chain that he has in there. The next morning, Rae wakes up and is apparently feeling better, but is somewhat leery of Lazarus. She goes to leave when she discovers that Lazarus has chained her to his radiator and Lazarus tries to explain the chain but Rae refuses to listen and starts screaming for help as she runs outside. The chain prevents her from getting far and as she scream for help, Lazarus tells her that nobody is coming and when she refuses to come inside, he uses the chain to drag her inside. Lazarus tells her it is his spiritual duty to cure her of her sinful ways, which he feels is why she was left for dead by his house and tries his best to tend to her but she doesn’t seem overly receptive to his help. The next day, Lazarus heads into town to get some clothes for Rae and while he is gone, she wakes up and begins snooping around his house. Eventually, a young teenage boy named Lincoln shows up, as he had promised to help Lazarus on his farm and when Lazarus returns some time later, he chases Lincoln out of his house, as he had been having sex with Rae. As Lincoln runs off, Lazarus’ pastor R.L. shows up and Lazarus tells him to leave, as he doesn’t want anyone around and R.L. takes offense to Lazarus’ attitude.  When Lazarus threatens to shoot him, R.L. grabs the gun and points it at his chest, then grabs the gun from Lazarus when he refuses to pull the trigger, then asks him what is the problem. When R.L. sees Rae chained to the radiator, he yells at Lazarus and asks what he is thinking and Lazarus tells him he hasn’t touched her and found her on the road by his house and was trying to care for her. R.L. asks about the chain and Lazarus tries to explain it, then asks that R.L. talk to her while he goes and talks with Lincoln, who was hiding in his barn. Later, Lazarus is fixing dinner and Rae, who puts on one of the dresses that Lazarus bought her, helps out, then sits at the table with Lazarus, R.L., and Lincoln as they eat dinner. Meanwhile, Ronnie has returned to town, having been discharged by the army for his anxiety, and he runs into Gill at the bar. Lazarus asks Gill if he has seen Rae and Gill lies about her at first, saying she is probably around somewhere, but eventually tells him the truth about Rae’s antics when he is gone. Ronnie doesn’t believe him and the two end up fighting before Ronnie steals Gill’s truck and goes looking for Rae. Back at Lazarus’ house, Lazarus and Rae are sharing some moonshine when Lazarus unlocks the chain, saying that he doesn’t have the right to judge her or try to change her life. Rae asks Lazarus to play a song for her and as he plays, a storm starts brewing outside and a scared Rae asks that he keep playing and singing. The next day, Lazarus takes Rae into town with him so she can confront her mother about their past while he sells his vegetables. While Rae is gone, Angela approaches Lazarus and invites him to a picnic lunch with her and the two sit on a bench and talk. Meanwhile, Rae approaches her mother and confronts her about how her mother’s boyfriend had sexually abused her as a kid while she was in the next room and did nothing to stop it. Rae gets upset when her mother denies anything happened and attacks her, causing a commotion that attracts Lazarus’ attention and he rushes into the store and helps her out, awkwardly refusing to meet Angela’s stare when she sees him with Rae. Back at his house, Lazarus works on comforting Rae and then decides they should go out for the night. As they head to the bar, where Lazarus is going to play with his old band, Rae’s alarm goes off on her watch and as she turns it off, she hears the alarm going off nearby and looks around but when she doesn’t see anything, she heads inside with Lazarus. Lazarus is surprised to see the place jam packed with people and he tells Rae to get a seat near the corner of the stage while he performs but soon Rae is dancing and having a good time, unaware that Ronnie is watching them through the window. The next morning, Lazarus is woken up by Rae trying to play one of his guitars and he sits down with her and plays while she sings when Ronnie sneaks into the room and strikes Lazarus. Pointing his pistol at Lazarus, he starts at yelling at them for what he believes she was doing and Lazarus taunts him about wanting to kill him. Lazarus’s taunting eventually overwhelms Ronnie, who collapses to the ground, and as Rae goes to comfort him, Lazarus hooks his phone up and calls R.L. and asks him to come over to talk to them. As R.L. talks with them and tries to help them through their issues, Lazarus heads over to Angela’s house to apologize and asks her a favor. Back at Lazarus’ house, Rae and Ronnie have decided to get married and Lazarus, who has become a father figure to Rae, gives her away. As the two drive off, Lazarus and Angela hold each other’s hands as they watch them leave. Rae and Ronnie are driving down the highway and when they become boxed in by some tractor trailers, Ronnie suffers another anxiety attack and has to pull over. As he is trying to deal with it, Rae starts feeling the effects of another episode but she is able to overcome it and helps Ronnie out, saying they will be ok.

Black Snake Moan met with positive results from the critics, holding a 66% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Uninhibited performances, skillful direction, and a killer blues soundtrack elevate Black Snake Moan beyond its outlandish premise.” In the party scene, a guy suggests getting high on Coricidin. The pharmacist in the movie, is the spokesperson in the Coricidin HBP commercials. The same year, Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci co-starred in Home of the Brave (2006), which also starred Justin Timberlake’s wife Jessica Biel. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $10.9 million off of a $15 million budget.

Well, it wasn’t quite what I expected, which is actually a good thing. This is a slow paced movie but is actually pretty decent. Samuel L Jackson (Lazarus) and Christina Ricci (Rae) did great jobs in their roles and I liked the interaction they had with each other; especially towards the end when they started treating each other as a sort of surrogate family. The story was a little disturbing to be honest, as I feel like it was intentionally made to make people feel uncomfortable. Seeing how it was set in the South, there was a bit of a racial overtone, one which Lazarus commented on when he told R.L. about what would have happened had he gone to the police with Rae when she was beat up. The sexual drama seemed rather over the top, even the times Rae was drugged up. I don’t know if this is going to be one of those cult cinematic movies that will be looked at favorably years later, but I can say that it is at least worth a watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

action, adventure, animation, movie, movie review, superhero

January 26th, 2018 Movie – Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

teen titans the judas contract

Another day, another superhero movie. One of the main reasons that the DC animated films have done so well is that there is so much history to use for the stories. Take today’s movie for instance. “The Judas Contract” is probably one of the best stories involving the Teen Titans to ever be written and is notable for Dick Grayson dropping the Robin identity and becoming Nightwing. The funny thing is that this isn’t the first time that this story received an animated telling, as almost the entire second season of the Teen Titans cartoon was loosely based on this story. However, that telling was more of a kid friendly version, so let’s see how they do with a little more adult version as I watch today’s movie, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract.

The plot: 5 years ago, the Teen Titans (Robin (Dick Grayson), Beast Boy, Bumblebee, Kid Flash, and Speedy) are patrolling their city when they see a portal in the sky, and Starfire being attacked by some flying lizard men. When the lizard men capture Starfire, Robin leads the Titans into rescuing her, then has Speedy fire an explosive arrow into the portal, causing it to turn into a vortex that sucks the lizard men back into it. Robin manages to save Starfire from being sucked into the vortex and she thanks him in her native language before kissing him, then thanks him again in English, explaining that she can learn languages through kissing. Starfire tells him that her sister, Blackfire, staged a coup and she was forced to flee her homeworld but she vows to return and free it. As she has no place to call home, Robin offers to let her stay with the Titans and when she accepts, he introduces her to the rest of the team. In the present, Nightwing rejoins the Titans (now led by Starfire and consisting of Beast Boy, Raven, Robin (Damien Wayne), Blue Beetle, and Terra) to take down a hive base. Inside the base, Mother Mayhem is warned of the Titan’s approach by Deathstroke but, seeing no signs of them, dismisses his warning at first but when the Titans attack, she orders the base abandoned, taking the equipment with her. During the battle, Nightwing heads to the computer room to download the data, with Starfire covering him, and the two discuss their relationship. With the battle over, Nightwing asks Starfire to move in with him and she accepts. Returning to Titans Tower, the group unwinds, with Beast Boy trying to get Terra to open up to him, while Beetle has a video call with his family, which doesn’t end as well as he wished. Nightwing is going over the data recovered from the mission, adding it to the data they collected from other raids. As he lets the computer work, he watches an interview on Brother Blood, a cult leader who also leads Hive, before he is interrupted by Robin, Starfire, and Terra. When they notice Beetle acting upset on the monitors, Starfire has Beast Boy and Terra go talk to him. The three end up walking around the city and when they come to a homeless shelter, Beetle decides to volunteer, as it reminds him of helping out at one in his hometown and it will help the scarab get better acclimated to being around humans. While she is there, Terra has a flashback to her own past, causing her to get uncomfortable and she leaves. That night, Terra has a nightmare which causes her powers to act up and when the others go to check on her, she gets defensive and tells them to leave her alone. Meanwhile, Mayhem approaches Brother Blood, who is bathing in the blood of the reporter that had interviewed him earlier, and expresses her concerns about the Titans but he says not to worry, as Deathstroke will take care of them when the time is right. They then head down to the lab, where an experiment takes place that infuses the life force of some volunteers into their test subject, a man named Jericho, making him stronger. Seeing the test is a success, Blood says it is time to move their plan to the next phase, while Mayhem shoots Jericho in the head. Blood then meets up with Deathstroke and tells him to move things up a week, which Deathstroke doesn’t like but Blood tells him he will double his pay and to make sure to capture all of the Titans. The next day, the Titans are doing some training exercises and when Beast Boy and Terra spar against each other, Beast Boy, as a snake, wraps her up but this triggers another flashback from Terra, who loses control and lashes out at Beast Boy. The Titans quickly rescue Beast Boy and stop Terra, who apologizes and is uncomfortable with the Titans showing such concern over her. Later, Robin and Raven express some suspicions about Terra to Nightwing and Starfire but Nightwing says Starfire thinks she is worth giving a chance and shoots there concerns down. That night, Terra secretly leaves the Tower and Robin follows her but she confronts him about tailing her. Suddenly Deathstroke shows up and starts attacking Robin but just when Robin starts to get the upper hand, Terra attacks Robin and captures him, revealing herself to be a double agent. Later, Terra visits Slade and attempts to seduce him but he tells her now is not the time and that they have to finish the mission, as the money Blood is paying them will allow them to start their own League of Assassins, with the two of them at the head. The next day, the Titans throw a surprise party for Terra’s one year anniversary with the team, catching Terra off guard with their kindness, and as the celebrate, the computer finishes it’s analysis of the data and points them to a hive scientist. The Titans head out to the scientist’s lab and find him deleting all his files so they try to stop him but he sends out some robot drones to attack them. The Titans manage to destroy the drones and Raven captures the scientist but before they can question him, Deathstroke, who takes control of a drone remotely, kills him. Seeing that the scientist had photos and files on all of the Titans, Starfire warns them to be careful as they go about their daily routines. Later, Terra is sitting on the edge of the island staring at the water when she is joined by Beast Boy, who talks to her and tries to explain that all of the Titans have faced hardships and she isn’t the only one that has had it rough. The two end up kissing, causing Beast Boy to get excited, and while he celebrates, Deathstroke contacts Terra and tells her that they will take the Titans down tomorrow. The next day, Nightwing goes to check on Beetle and Beast Boy only to find evidence of them being kidnapped. When he returns to his apartment to check on Starfire, he finds her missing just as Deathstroke bursts in and attacks him. The two begin fighting, with Deathstoke overpowering Nightwing, and as the fight carries them outside and onto the docks, Deathstroke ends up shooting Nightwing, who falls into the water. Deathstroke contacts Terra, who has captured Raven, and after he leaves, Nightwing emerges from the water, having used a block of wood as a makeshift kevlar to stop the bullet. After returning to the Tower, Nightwing figures out that Terra had double crossed them and tracks her phone so he can rescue the others. At the Hive base, the Titans find themselves strapped into Blood’s machine when Deathstroke appears and starts taunting them, then reveals that Terra is working with him. When Blood and Mayhem appear, Blood tells Deathstroke that their contract isn’t complete, as he failed to bring Nightwing’s body to him. When Blood suggests that he substitute Terra for Nightwing, Deathstroke agrees and Mayhem shoots Terra with a tranquilizer as she stares in shock at being betrayed. Terra is hooked up to the machine and as Blood gives a speech to his followers, he activates the machine and begins to absorb their powers and abilities. Nightwing shows up and disables the machine, saving the Titan’s lives but Blood begins attacking them with their own powers. Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, and Beetle begin attacking Blood, while Nightwing and Robin attack Deathstroke, who is easily able to beat them. Terra regains consciousness and her anger at being betrayed causes her to lash out, striking Blood as she heads towards Deathstroke and begins attacking him. While they are fighting, the Titans get the upper hand on Blood and Raven, using her demon powers, rids Blood of all their powers and Mayhem kills him to avoid having him captured. Meanwhile, Terra’s fight with Deathstroke continues and she eventually manages to bury him in rocks, then cries out in anguish. She sees Beast Boy staring at her and apologizes to him, then uses her powers to push him to safety as she starts to bring the temple down around her. Afterwards, Beast Boy digs Terra from the rubble and holds her as she looks up at him and smiles briefly before she dies. Some time later, Beast Boy is on Kevin Smith’s podcast and is discussing the Titans and how they deal with the pressure of being heroes and after Kevin brings it up, he talks about Terra’s circumstances. Beetle is shown to still work at the shelter and receives a visit from his family and he happily hugs them. Robin is on the roof of Titans Tower staring at Deathstroke’s mask when he is joined by Raven, who shows him a puppy she got while the Titan’s newest member, Wonder Girl, flies overhead, and Nightwing and Starfire are shown to be relaxing on their couch watching TV.

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract met with positive reviews from the critics, holding an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that it was one of the best movies from DC’s animated line to date. An adaptation of “The Judas Contract” had originally been planned to be the third movie in DC’s animated universe, coming out after Superman: Doomsday and Justice League: The New Frontier but the project ended up being shelved. The movie had a bit of tragedy to it as on the same day Miguel Ferrer was announced as providing the voice for Deathstroke, he ended up dying of throat cancer.

This is a great movie and honestly makes me want to go get my trade and reread it. The acting was good, with Christina Ricci doing a great job as Terra, showcasing all of the various emotions she goes through during the movie. Just from what I remember, the movie seemed to follow the original comic fairly closely but there were some obvious differences, one of them being that Cyborg, who was a member of the Titans in the comic, was not in the movie, as he is a member of the Justice League in the current animated universe. I will say that the whole aspect of Terra trying to seduce Deathstroke, and his playing upon her feelings for his own benefit, was a little creepy. I mean, they never really say how old Terra is, or any of the other Titans for that matter, but it could be safe to say that it she is a teenager and she could be on the older side of that group but the scene where she is in lingerie and trying to get Slade to sleep with her was a little uncomfortable to watch. The animation was pretty good and I liked the design of Brother Blood after he had absorbed the Titans’ powers. A great movie that is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

fantasy, horror, movie, movie review, mystery

September 24th, 2017 Movie – Sleepy Hollow (1999)

sleepy hollow (1999)

It may not feel like it in some places, but it is Fall and that means the weather is going to, hopefully, get colder, night will come sooner, and the movies will start getting a little darker as we get closer to Halloween. One director who is somewhat synonymous with dark movies, even if they have nothing to do with Halloween, is Tim Burton. I have always liked his movies, ever since Beetlejuice, and when I heard that he was making a live action movie of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, I was immediately on board and ready to see it. So lets see how good of a job he did with today’s movie, Sleepy Hollow.

The plot: In 1799 in the village of Sleepy Hollow, wealthy land owner Peter Van Garrett is writing a new will and testament and has it witnessed by Jonathan Masbath, one of his servants. Van Garrett rides off in his stage coach, driven by his son, to deliver the new will when he hears a horse pass by them followed by a strange sound. When Van Garrett looks out of the stage coach, he finds his son has been decapitated and he quickly jumps from the now out of control coach. Making his way through a field, he pauses when he comes to a scarecrow only to hear a sound and as he turns around, his head is cut off. In New York City, Constable Ichabod Crane discovers a body in the river but while Crane wants to determine the cause of death, the police chief says the cause of death is drowning and has the body burned. As Crane argues that with the new century almost upon them, they should work on using more accurate, scientific means to solve crimes, the Burgomaster decides to have him put his methods to the test. He tells Crane about Sleepy Hollow and how 3 people (the Van Garretts and the widow Emily Winship) have been killed there within the past fort night, with their heads cut off, and tells Crane to use his methods to find the killer and bring him to justice. Crane arrives in Sleepy Hollow and heads to the home of the Van Tassels, where a party is underway and Crane ends up caught up in a game where he is kissed by Katrina Van Tassel. When Katrina’s suitor, Brom van Brunt, gets jealous, Baltus Van Tassel and his wife appear to calm things down and Crane introduces himself. Lady Van Tassel invites Crane to stay at their house while he is there and after he gets settled in, Crane heads downstairs and meets with Van Tassel and the other leaders of the community; Doctor Thomas Lancaster, Reverend Steenwyck, Magistrate Samuel Phillipse, and Notary James Hardenbrook. As Crane goes over what he was told of the murders, they tell him that the heads were never recovered and Hardenbrook tells him that they were taken back to hell by the Headless Horseman. They explain that the horseman was a Hessian mercenary that fought for the British during the revolution but was killed by American soldiers and beheaded with his own sword, then buried in the Western Woods, which has since become a haunted place. Crane doesn’t believe their stories of a ghost being behind the deaths and claims a real person is responsible and he will find out who it is. That night, Jonathan Masbath is killed by the horseman and the next day, Crane makes his own examination of the body. At the funeral, Jonathan’s son, Young Masbath, approaches Crane and asks to help but Crane refuses at first until Phillipse approaches him and tells him that Masbath was the 5th victim even though there were only 4 graves, and Crane tells Young MAsbath to find a room in the servants quarters at the Van Tassel house. At dawn the next day, Crane has the bodies dug up and discovers that along with her decapitation, the widow Winship also has a sword thrust into her stomach. Crane takes her body to Dr. Lancaster’s office and performs an autopsy, which upsets Steenwyck, and discovers that the widow was pregnant when she died. That night, Brom plays a joke on Crane by pretending to be the Headless Horseman and scare him off and Crane ends up fainting after being hit in the face with a jack-o-lantern and begins dreaming of his mother. When he wakes up, he finds himself in his room and as he heads downstairs, he finds Katrina reading by herself. The two start talking and Katrina explains how her family came to be in the position they are now, then takes Crane to the remains of her childhood home. That night, Crane sees an argument between Lancaster, Steenwyck, Phillipse, and Hardenbrook and after Phillipse leaves, Crane questions him about the widow Winship’s child and who the father is when the Horseman appears and kills Phillipse and takes his head. Though cowering in fear at first, Crane has more dreams about his mother which causes him to overcome his initial fears and vow to find the Horseman’s grave and asks for volunteers to go with him into the Western Woods but only Young Masbath volunteers to go. They head into the woods and after Crane asks if his father had dealings with the Van Garretts and Young Masbath explains that his father worked for them and a week before the murders started, there was an argument between Van Garrett and his son, after which Van Garrett sent for Masbath. The two come to a cave in the woods and find a reclusive witch inside, who sends Young Masbath outside while keeping Crane inside and summons the spirit of the Horseman to tell him where the grave is. As they make their way to the grave, they see someone on a white horse ahead of them and when Crane approaches the horse, discovers it is Katrina. The three find the Tree of the Dead and as Crane cuts away some of the lower branches to clear out a hollow, he finds the missing heads. Suddenly, the Horseman and his steed emerge from within the tree and heads towards town and Crane follows after him. In the town, the Horseman enters the home of the town’s midwife and kills her, as well as her husband and child, and goes to leave. Brom, who is on watch with his friends, tries to stop him but is injured and as he moves to continue fighting, Crane tries to stop him. Crane tells him that the horseman is only fighting because Brom attacked them and is not trying to kill them but Brom refuses to listen. As Brom begins fighting again, Crane joins in but soon realizes they are outmatched and convinces Brom to run but as they move through the bridge, the Horseman catches up to them and stabs Crane in the shoulder before cutting Brom in half. As Crane deals with his injuries, he tries to explain to Van Tassel and Lancaster that the Horseman is killing specific targets which means he is being controlled by whoever took the Horseman’s skull. Katrina gives him a drink to help him sleep and he ends up dreaming about his mother again and when he wakes, he tells Katrina about her death. The next morning, after he has recovered, Crane starts going over all of his notes and tries to figure out what the secret is that Phillipse and the other town leaders were keeping and decides to head to Hardenbrook’s shop. When they get there, they find Hardenbrook hiding and Young Masbath discovers his father’s satchel and they find the new will that Van Garrett had made, as well as the marriage certificate for Van Garrett and the widow Winship. Crane realizes that the new will left everything to the widow Winship but if nobody knew about it, then it would end up going to Baltus Van Tassel. When he returns to the Van Tassel house, he finds Katrina in his room and she says her father thinks it best that Crane head back to New York, as the notes crane wrote in his ledger upset him. After she leaves, Young Masbath discovers a design on the floor underneath Crane’s bed and says that someone is casting an evil spell on him. That night, Crane follows a cloaked figure out into the woods but discovers it is Lady Van Tassell, who is having an affair with Steenwyck. When Crane returns to his room, he finds all of the evidence is missing and heads to the Van Tassel’s former house, where he finds Katrina burning it. She admits she did so to prevent Crane from accusing her father and he tells her that he has no choice but to follow where the evidence leads him and the two argue over their feelings for each other before Katrina leaves. That night, a town meeting is called in the church and as Van Tassel is waiting on his wife to finish picking some flowers, he sees the Horseman approaching behind her and quickly flees. When he arrives at the church, he tells Katrina that her step-mother is dead but Steenwyck tries to force him back outside, telling him that he is the one the Horseman wants. As Crane notices that the Horseman can’t enter the church yard because it is holy ground, he goes to tell them but Van Tassel grabs Crane’s pistol and threatens Steenwyck. Lancaster starts to tell Van Tassel the truth about the conspiracy but Steenwyck kills him, prompting Van Tassel to shoot him. As some of the townfolk approach him, Van Tassel grabs another pistol and heads up to the balcony, declaring that there is a conspiracy against him. Outside, the Horseman has grabbed some rope and a fence post, which he uses as a make shift spear, and he throws it through the window and strikes Van Tassel, then drags him outside until his head is past the church yard, allowing him to cut it off. Seeing what happened, Katrina faints and as Crane stares at her, he looks up to see the same design that was under his bed drawn on the floor in the church where Katrina had been kneeling. Crane burns all of his notes and prepares to leave, with Young Masbath questioning why he thinks Katrina was the one to control the Horseman but Crane tells him that that can never be spoken. As his coach is leaving town, Crane notices them bringing the bodies of Baltus and Lady Van Tassel to the morgue and as he suddenly looks at the book of spells and charms Katrina had given him when he first came to town and discovers the design she had drawn was one of protection. Crane tells the driver to turn around and heads to the morgue, where he discovers that the body assumed to be Lady Van Tassel is not her, as the wound on her hand was inflicted after the body was dead, as opposed to the cut he saw Lady Van Tassel give herself. At the Van Tassel house, Katrina is approached by Lady Van Tassel and faints and it is revealed that she is the one who controls the Horseman and she summons it to kill Katrina. Lady Van Tassel takes Katrina to an old windmill and explains that she and her family lived in the cottage before the Van Tassels before her father died and Van Garrett kicked them out. Their mother was a witch and taught her and her sister her ways before she died and the two girls lived in the woods, where they saw the Hessian die and Lady Van Tassel swore her soul to Satan if he would resurrect the Hessian to help her get her revenge. She then explains why she had everyone killed, while also explaining why she killed the servant and her own sister. Young Masbath, who had followed Lady Van Tassel to the windmill, tries to knock out Lady Van Tassel but she knows he is there and he and Katrina run. Crane shows up with the stage coach just as the Horseman arrives and they lure the Horseman inside, then use the windmill blades to reach the ground while Crane lights a fire to blow up the windmill in order to slow it down. As it emerges from the wreckage, Crane and the others leave and head towards the Tree of the Dead, with the Horseman chasing after them and Crane does his best to slow it down. When they get there, they find Lady Van Tassel had beaten them there and Crane tells Katrina to run but Lady Van Tassel shoots him, then grabs Katrina and holds her for the Horseman. Crane didn’t die, as the bullet was stopped by Katrina’s book, and he tackles Lady Van Tassel and after Young Masbath knocks her out, he grabs the skull and throws it to the Horseman. The Horseman puts the skull back on his body and his face is restored and he then grabs Lady Van Tassel and, with the tree suddenly opening up, he takes her back to Hell with him, as her deal with him is finished since he has her head, and the tree closes around her as she screams, with only her arm sticking out among the bramble of roots. Crane heads back to New York City with Katrina and Young Masbeth, just in time for the new century.

Sleepy Hollow met with mixed to positive reviews from the critics, holding a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Sleepy Hollow entertains with its stunning visuals and creepy atmosphere.” In October of ’99, one month before the movie was to be released, the studio launched a website that featured live interviews with the filmmakers, a short behind the scenes featurette, view photos and trailers, and was described, at the time, as “the most ambitious online launch of a motion picture to date.” The movie would be a modest hit at the box office, earning $206.1 million off of a $100 million budget.

I always enjoy watching this movie, even if it does have some faults. The acting was pretty good and Burton gathered an incredible cast of talent to take part in this movie. Johnny Depp (Crane) and Christina Ricci (Katrina) were both great and I also liked how well Michael Gambon (Van Tassel), Miranda Richardson (Lady Van Tassel), and Richard Griffiths (Phillipse) did in their roles and how they would all be part of the Harry Potter world a few years later. The story was a bit of a departure from the source material but I think those changes were honestly necessary to make for a more compelling full length movie. I did think the change of Ichabod Crane to a police officer was interesting and they had an interesting bit of “science vs supernatural/superstition” theme going there. However, the whole flashback scenes regarding Ichabod’s mother really didn’t make a whole lot of sense, even if they were meant to show that Ichabod had some experience with the supernatural before coming to Sleepy Hollow. The special effects were very well done and I loved the visuals involved in the movie, as the colors were mostly dark while even some of the brighter colors seemed a little muted except for the color red, which seemed visibly brighter most times and seemed to pop off the screen to be noticed. I also liked the bit of a running gag that seemed to occur with Crane constantly getting blood squirted in his face. While I will always have a bit of a soft spot for the original animated short, this is a fun movie to watch and definitely something for the Halloween season.

Rating: 4 out of 5