REVIEW: KAMEN RIDER GHOST

Image result for KAMEN RIDER GHOSTAfter the sheer insanity/genius of giving a Kamen Rider a car instead of a bike, it’s almost as if Toei went motif crazy in order to make the 2015-16 Rider seem just as innovative. Eyeball collectibles, hoodies, historical figures, a pirate ship that can transform into a giant iguana – these are just some of the facets that make up Kamen Rider Ghost. Spanning a total of 50 episodes, including a crossover with currently airing Super Sentai series Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger, the 17th Heisei era Kamen Rider series (and 26th in total) marks Takuro Fukuda’s debut as lead writer and stars Shun Nishime as the titular character.Image result for KAMEN RIDER GHOSTOn his 16th birthday Takeru Tenkuji, the son of a ghost hunter who died ten years prior, is killed by a monster known as a Ganma while trying to protect his friends from its attack. Resurrected by a mysterious hermit and bestowed with a device known as the Ghost Driver, Takeru gains the ability to transform into Kamen Rider Ghost using orb shaped trinkets known as Eyecons. However Takeru now only has 99 days to gather 15 additional Eyecons contain the souls of historical figures, which when brought together will grant him one wish – to be brought back to life.Image result for KAMEN RIDER GHOSTOn his journey Takeru re-encounters his childhood friend Makoto Fukami, who along with his sister was sucked into the Ganma world ten years ago and has now taken the guise of Kamen Rider Specter. Though initially clashing, the two Riders also face off against the Ganma forces who are devoted to invading our world and reshaping it in their image of perfection. Enemies include the Ganma prince Alain (later becoming Kamen Rider Necrom) and his brother Adel – who also allies himself with the Ganmeizers, 15 deities that defend the Ganma world.Image result for KAMEN RIDER GHOST CASTThe series opens with Takeru on his 99-day quest to collect the 15 Dragon Balls Eyecons and wish for his mortality back from the Eternal Dragon Great Eye, during which he encounters past historical figures and gains new power ups along the way. Each Eyecon grants a new form, which means there are a total of 15 forms on offer before the series is even halfway through. Takeru himself doesn’t receive all of these initially, but even with that in mind it’s still a case of him receiving a new form almost every episode. Even the first episode pulls no punches about how quickly they’re sped through, as Ghost receives the first of his Heroic Eyecons (Musashi) before the audience has even properly gotten to grips with his base form. The speed they’re gone through not only means that many of them don’t really get a decent amount of exposure.12522977_1188615781165919_904208118060116510_nHowever this initial premise only lasts a mere 11 episodes, as Takeru sacrifices his wish to bring Makoto’s sister Kanon back to life instead. Rewarded with a reset countdown and an upgraded base form, the Eyecon gathering starts anew as the Ganma threat becomes properly realised. This is where the show becomes a little more interesting as Alain’s character development takes centre stage, with the Ganma’s argument that humans don’t deserve their world providing that dash of morality that makes Kamen Rider villains so interesting. From there the show moves into yet another arc as it introduces Adel and the Ganmeizers, returning to the “victim of the week” format as this time the cast connect with the Heroic Eyecons rather than finding them. This is the point the show decides to go big on themes (“humanities potential is infinite” etc.)Image result for KAMEN RIDER GHOST CASTKamen Rider Ghost is a great addition to the Kamen Rider family, Thou not as good as Kamen Rider Drive it still holds its own and the last episode gives us a tease of Kamen Rider Ex-Aid which looks to be very intresting.

REVIEW: LUKE CAGE – SEASON 1

CAST

Mike Colter (Ringer)
Mahershala Ali (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay)
Simone Missick (A Taste of Romance)
Theo Rossi (Cloverfield)
Alfre Woodard (Star Trek: First Contact)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Rosario Dawson (Sin City)
Frank Whaley (Broken Arrow)
Sônia Braga (Alias)
Frankie Faison (The Silence of The Lambs)
Rob Morgan (Stranger Things)
Sean Ringgold (American Gangster)
Parisa Fitz-Henley (Even Money)
Karen Pittman (The Ameircans)
Erik LaRay Harvey (Twister)
Ron Cephas Jones (Mr. Robot)
Sonja Sohn (The Originals)
Rachael Taylor (Jessica Jones)

Netflix’s latest drama may not be a great superhero series, but it’s searingly relevant and entertaining. Premiering on Friday, Sept. 30, Luke Cage is vital and alive and of-the-moment. It sings with the rhythms and swagger of Harlem and it’s a genre show that wears its intellectual curiosities like a badge. It’s so satisfying as badass street poetry and muscular urban renewal parable that after watching the seven episodes made available for critics, I barely cared that as a superhero show, Luke Cage is often repetitive and a little underwhelming. It’s the logical extension of Marvel’s niche-y approach to its Netflix offerings, a specificity that has yielded shows that are far more provocative, but far less universally accessible than the company’s blockbuster movies.The Marvel movies try to tick every box, but staying true to Netflix’s general business model, their comic book shows have just gone after one or two boxes aggressively. Jessica Jones used a snarky heroine and a mind-controlling bad guy to craft a story about consent and the power of sisterhood. Daredevil was using blindness and the darkness of Hell’s Kitchen as a platform for a story of Catholic guilt and challenged faith. Run by Cheo Hodari Coker, Luke Cage is the Harlem Renaissance intersecting with the comic book renaissance, a confrontational act of all-too-real wish fulfillment imagining a young black male as bulletproof.

Mike Colter’s Luke Cage was introduced in Jessica Jones as a haunted love interest for the main character, where we learned about his powers, basically being super-strong and impervious to bullets (or pretty much anything that might pierce/penetrate/crush his skin). We pick up with Luke sweeping the floors at the neighborhood barbershop run by Frankie Faison’s Pop. It’s the sort of community institution where people sit around all day debating the coaching styles of Pat Riley and Phil Jackson or whether Easy Rawlins or Kenyatta was the better urban fiction hero. By night, he works as a dishwasher at Harlem’s Paradise, a nightclub with a tremendous talent booker and operated by mobster Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali), cousin of local politician Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard). Immediately, we see a harsh contrast between the greedy capitalist renewal espoused by Cottonmouth and Dillard and the grassroots Harlem that Luke Cage wants to be a part of and wants to elevate. Naturally, conflict is a-brewing between the two Harlems.Like Wilson Fisk in Daredevil, Cottonmouth is a vicious, remorseless killer, but he’s also got a somewhat noble sense of how what he’s doing is good for the borough he grew up in. Cottonmouth’s ties are to family and also to the idea of legacy and the protection of a renowned family name, key details that Coker and his writers hit hard.The Marvel movies rely on outsized special effects to capture their heightened take on reality, but the Netflix shows don’t have the budget for that, so they opt for outsized thematics instead. Like Jessica Jones before it, Luke Cage is aggressively unsubtle, but it’s also aggressively smart. Sure, having Luke Cage wandering around, wearing a hoodie as an act of defiance, reading Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man feels a bit on the nose, but once you throw in the references to Walter Mosley and Donald Goines and Ta-Nehisi Coates, it becomes clear that this show doubles as a superlative summer reading list, which has value beyond computer-generated scenes of mass destruction or a really cool mocap villain.The early episodes are so charmingly brainy and move with such a light step — Paul McGuigan of Sherlock and Scandal knows his way around a flashy pilot — and the cinematography is so stylish — not surprisingly, everybody loves photographing Mike Colter — that you only sometimes realize that the things you expect to get out of a superhero show are largely missing. Luke Cage is, to his great detriment, initially much too powerful, and while he’s certainly a reluctant hero, when he actually goes to work on the bad guys, it’s pointless to try stopping him. The “Ruckus” set piece in the third episode stands out because nothing else even comes close in scope or action execution. Of the seven episodes, the one that was least successful for me, and by a wide margin, was the most comic book-y, an origin-story fourth episode that hews reasonably closely to Luke’s ’70s Marvel origins. It’s fitting that Luke would want to debate pulp and elevated pulp-fiction African-American heroes, because that’s the tradition Luke Cage operates best in, which is great if that’s what you’re looking for the show to be.Ali makes great use of a classic villain cackle, and he gives Cottonmouth a coiled, psychotic rage and disarming glimpses of reasonableness. Woodard’s Mariah is Cottonmouth’s opposite, all superficial gentility and then undercurrents of something unhinged that become more frequent. Faison and Ron Cephas Jones, as a barbershop chess wiz named (or nicknamed) Bobby Fish, offer grounded decency, and I’m enjoying what Theo Rossi is doing, skulking around the edges, as a criminal intermediary dubbed Shades. Simone Missick’s Misty Knight and Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple are there half as proactive female leads, half as potential love interests for Luke, but sometimes are confusing reminders that Luke was mighty hung up on a deceased ex — and then on Jessica Jones — just one TV show ago and they feel like they ought to be mentioned.Just as Colter moves with purpose, Luke Cage moves with purpose, even if that purpose isn’t the same as what Civil War or Age of Ultron have led audiences to anticipate from Marvel. It’s a series infused by the conversations we’re having about race and gender and the American urban space in 2016, and it’s a series built to inspire additional conversations about black masculinity and representations of heroism in an age in which the news is too often focused on the tragic disposability of black masculinity. Luke Cage is another great staple for Marvel and its Cinematic Universe.

REVIEW: LEGENDS OF OZ: DOROTHY’S RETURN

CAST

Lea Michele (Scream Queens)
Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters)
Jim Belushi (Red Heat)
Kelsey Grammer (Bad Neighbours 2)
Tracey Adams (American Horror Story)
Michael Kravic (Ghosts of Mars)
Martin Short (Mars Attacks)
Bernadette Peters (Annie)
Oliver Platt (2012)
Hugh Dancy (Hannibal)
Brian Blessed (Flash Gordon)
Megan Hilty (The Good Wife)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Richard Steven Horvitz (Power Rangers)
Tom Kenny (Super Hero Squad)
Cam Clarke (He-Man 2002)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)

In the Land of Oz, the Emerald City’s co-leaders the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion discover that an evil Jester has stolen the broomstick of the late Wicked Witch of the West and taken control over the Flying Monkeys. With Oz’s future at stake, the Scarecrow decides to use his invention called the Rainbow Mover to summon Dorothy Gale to save the kingdom again. But flying monkeys invade the castle and force the trio out the window.

In Kansas, Dorothy’s farm has been wrecked by a tornado, leaving it in disrepair. A sleazy man claiming to be a government appraiser arrives and condemns the farmhouse, handing the Gales an eviction notice. Dorothy discovers people all across town have been handed the same notices and are moving on. Dorothy and Toto encounter a rainbow which abducts them, transporting them to Oz, but not to the Emerald City as intended.

Dorothy meets Wiser, an overweight but intelligent owl who cannot fly. They enter Candy Country, where everything is made out of confectionery including the people. They are promptly arrested by Marshal Mallow for breaking the “no eating anything made of candy rule” due to the Jester tampering with the signs and taken before a court presided over by Judge Jawbreaker. When Judge Jawbreaker finds them guilty, the lollipop stenographer asks for their names to put on the death certificates. Upon realizing who Dorothy is, Judge Jawbreaker drops the charges of eating candy and releases her and Wiser. under the suggestion of Judge Jawbreaker, Mallow joins the group on their way to the Emerald City as a promise he made to find the missing General Candy Apple. Meanwhile, Glinda confronts the Jester in his castle, who has attached his sister’s crystal ball to her broomstick, creating a magic staff which he has used to turn Oz’s leaders (with General Candy Apple among them) into subservient marionettes. Glinda also falls victim to this as well.

Dorothy’s company enter the Dainty China Country and require permission from the vain China Princess to pass through her kingdom. With Mallow posing as a suitor, the group enter the China Princess’ castle and see her rejecting potential suitors but is enchanted by Mallow’s singing. An earthquake caused by the Jester damages the land, prompting an angry China Princess to blame Dorothy for the Jester’s torment but agrees to allow her group to pass through on the condition she accompanies them. Finding a bridge to the Emerald City destroyed, the group decide to construct a boat but all the talking trees refuse to co-operate, except an aging tree named Tugg who is carved into a galleon. They sail into the Emerald City, finding it abandoned, only to be attacked by the Flying Monkeys. Dorothy’s group escape into a cave system but tumble down a waterfall.

The China Princess is shattered by the fall and presumed dead, prompting Dorothy to head for the Jester’s palace alone. Mallow mourns the princess, and sings to her about his newfound love for her, discovering she is alive and fixes her. Mustering up his confidence and strength, Wiser manages to fly off to aid Dorothy. Dorothy and Toto confront the Jester, who plans to kill her, only for Toto to drop a curtain on his head, with the lead Flying Monkey named “You” stealing the Jester’s staff to regrow its wings after the latter shrunk them. As the Jester gives chase, Dorothy reunites with her captured friends and they confront the Jester on the rooftop. In the ensuing fight for the staff, Dorothy falls off the roof but is caught by Wiser.

The rest of Dorothy’s friends arrive with Tugg built on wheels, engaging the Flying Monkeys in battle. The Jester tries to rid himself of Dorothy by summoning a tornado but Dorothy’s own magic breaks the spell damaging Oz and freeing the marionettes. The Jester is nearly sucked into the tornado, but is saved by Dorothy. However, when she casts the staff into the tornado, the Jester throws himself in after it and vanishes. Glinda appears and sends Dorothy and Toto home.

Reuniting with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, Dorothy rallies the townsfolk to stand up for their homes, discovering the appraiser is a con artist using multiple fake licenses to commit crimes. He is arrested by the sheriff while his lackey runs off. Everyone starts to rebuild their town with Dorothy’s farm being among those rebuilt.All in all this is a film that the whole family should find charming and fun. And at 88 minutes it is the perfect length to tell the new Oz story while keeping your attention. Ignore those critics complaining about the quality of the animation. Its a kids’ movie, for crying out loud!

REVIEW: DRAGON DYNASTY

CAST

Federico Castelluccio (The Pink Panther 2)
Stana Katic (Castle)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
Dion Basco (Dahmer)
Aaron Hendry (The Polar Express)
Peter Kwong (The Golden Child)

Image result for DRAGON DYNASTY (2006)The story, written by Berkeley Anderson and directed by Matt Codd, finds Marco Polo and his group of Italian explorers in China, after establishing trade relations with the country. The emperor is happy to give his guests a good send-off, however someone else has other plans. Shang Sei, played by Peter Kwong, does not trust the ‘Westerners’, so uses an ancient stone to call up two terrifying dragons from the netherworld to wreak havoc upon their journey home.Image result for DRAGON DYNASTY (2006)The positives of this film are its budget and the fact that it pretty much cuts straight to the action. There is no waiting around for tedious scene-setting and unnecessary dialogue, which is a good thing as the acting and story-telling is quite disappointing. We do however, get to see two dragons in all their flying, fire-breathing glory and the special effects in this area are good enough to keep you entertained, at least for a time. The dragons look impressive enough and when they breathe fire, you can almost feel it exploding out of your television screen, which is a compliment to the special-effects creators. While the special effects are not up to the same standard as high-profile, big screen productions, a good effort has been made to make fights, deaths and dragons look authentic. Dragon Dynasty‘s big budget, of an estimated $1,000,000, saves it from being just another cheesy production, although there is still a smattering of corny lines.Image result for DRAGON DYNASTY (2006)The cast includes James Hong, Federico Castelluccio and Stana Katic, who has gone on to better things and is now known as detective Kate Beckett on TV series Castle. Unfortunately, despite this illustrious cast, the acting in this film is not up to scratch, especially in the banter between Marco (Castellucio) and his explorer team. You can almost see the scripted words coming out of their mouths and the procession of events doesn’t evoke much emotion in the audience.Overall, the best thing about Dragon Dynasty is the special effects, the dragons in particular. It is let down by poor writing and many scenes that leave you wondering why on earth people think that fighting a dragon by standing on the ground with a sword and shield is ever going to work. However, if you are looking for some light,  dragon attack-themed, entertainment, then this film is worth a watch.

REVIEW: GALAXY QUEST

CAST

Tim Allen (The Santa Clause)
Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
Alan Rickman (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Tony Shalhoub (The Siege)
Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2)
Daryl Mitchell (House Party)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)
Robin Sachs (Buffy)
Jed Rees (News Movie)
Justin Long (New Girl)
Missi Pyle (Two and a Half Men)
Rainn Wilson (Super)
Dian Bachar (Orgazmo)
Gregg Binkley (My Name Is Earl)
Kevin McDonald (That 70s Show)

The former cast of the once-popular television space-adventure series Galaxy Quest spend most of their days attending fan conventions and promotional stunts. Though Jason Nesmith (Allen), who played the commander of the NSEA Protector, thrives with the attention, the other cast members—Alexander Dane (Rickman) as the ship’s alien science officer, Fred Kwan (Shalhoub) as the chief engineer, Gwen DeMarco (Weaver) as the computer officer, and Tommy Webber (Mitchell) as a precocious child pilot—all resent these events.

During one event, Nesmith is approached by Mathesar (Colantoni) and others calling themselves “Thermians” and request his assistance, which he agrees to, thinking this is a planned and paying fan event. Later at that same convention, Nesmith becomes despondent after overhearing attendees speaking of him as a laughing stock by fans and his fellow actors, and he loses his temper with an avid fan, Brandon (Long). After Nesmith spends the night drinking heavily, the Thermians arrive to pick up a hungover Nesmith in the limo he had requested. Unaware that they are truly octopoidal aliens, using technology to appear human, the barely conscious Nesmith is oblivious to his limo being beamed aboard the Thermian’s spaceship. Aboard their ship in deep space, Nesmith goes through the motions of commanding the ship and asks to be returned home. When they send him back to Earth via a transporter, Nesmith realizes that it is all real. He races to meet his cast, accidentally bumping into Brandon and misplacing a Thermian communicator Mathasar gave him with Brandon’s fan-made replica. Nesmith eagerly relates his experience to the crew, who think he is drunk again. When another Thermian appears and request the entire crew’s help, Nesmith manages to convince them, along with their handler Guy Fleegman (Rockwell), an actor who played a unnamed security officer on one episode before being killed off, to come along. They are all transported to a perfect reproduction of the NSEA Protector in deep space, and are shocked by the reality of the situation.

Mathesar begs the crew to command the Protector, as Nesmith’s previous actions (namely, blowing up the opposing ship) have enraged Sarris (Sachs), a reptilian humanoid that seeks to wipe out the Thermians. While they were able to recreate the ship from the broadcast episodes, the Thermians have no idea how to pilot it. The crew hesitantly take the controls, and despite their ineptitude, the Thermians cheer them on. After the second encounter with Sarris’ ship, they barely evade his attack by flying through a minefield, severely damaging the ship. The humans take a shuttle to a nearby planet to find a replacement beryllium sphere as a new power source. They manage to secure the sphere after a run-in with the hostile alien species on the planet. Once back aboard the Protector, they find that Sarris and his soldiers have captured the ship.

Sarris interrogates the humans, discovering they are only actors, and recognizes that the Thermians have no concept of fiction, believing the show to have been real. Sarris sets the Protector to self-destruct and departs, leaving a few sacrificial soldiers to guard the humans. Nesmith and Dane use a gambit from the show to engineer their escape, and then Nesmith orders his fellow cast members to help rescue the other Thermians, finish repairs to the Protector, and prepare to engage Sarris in combat. Nesmith and DeMarco then set off into the bowels of the ship to stop the self-destruct sequence, using help from Brandon and his group of friends via the swapped communication device. Along the way, they encounter Omega 13, a plot device introduced in the final episode but never used; Brandon notes it could either destroy all matter in the universe or rewind time by 13 seconds, “enough time to undo one mistake”.

Having finally accepted their roles on the ship and gained confidence in themselves, Nesmith and his crew use the minefield as a weapon against Sarris’ ship, destroying it. They prepare to head to Earth when Sarris, who has transported over at the last moment, starts killing the crew. A desperate Nesmith activates the Omega 13, which reverses time far enough for him to knock out Sarris. They near a wormhole to return the humans home via the command module, and Nesmith assures Mathesar he has the ability to command the Protector along with the other Thermians. The humans, along with Laliari (Pyle), a Thermian that has fallen in love with Kwan, return home. The command module crashes into Earth near a fan convention and comes to a stop after crashing through one wall, which the audience takes as part of the show. As the crew exits the module, Sarris wakes up and tries to fire on them, but Nesmith reacts faster, and disintegrates Sarris with a phaser-like weapon. The crowd erupts into cheers. Some time later, Galaxy Quest is revived as a new series, starring the same cast along with Fleegman and Laliari.Great film, so very well written. A homage/parody to Star Trek, it’s also very well acted by those within it. And very, very funny.

REVIEW: LITTLE NICKY


CAST

Adam Sandler (Click)
Patricia Arquette (Stigmata)
Reese Witherspoon (Cruel Intentions)
Harvey Keitel (Bad Lieutenant)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Tom Lister Jr.(The Dark Knight)
Robert Smigel (Happy Gilmore)
Allen Covert (Mr. Deeds)
Henry Winkler (Happy Days)
Rodney Dangerfield (Caddyshack)
Kevin Nealon (Weeds)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Dana Carvey (Wayne’s World)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)
Carl Weathers (Rocky)
Jon Lovitz (The SImpsons)
Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs)
Clint Howard (Backdraft)
John Witherspoon (A Thousand Words)

The story revolves around a struggle to determine which of Satan’s (Harvey Keitel) three sons will succeed their father as ruler of Hell. Adrian (Rhys Ifans) is the most intelligent, Cassius (Tom Lister Jr.) is the toughest, and Nicky (Adam Sandler) is their father’s favorite, even though Nicky has had a speech impediment and a disfigured jaw since Cassius hit him in the face with a shovel. Furthermore, Adrian and Cassius enjoy tormenting Nicky by claiming that his mother was a goat and assault him by controlling his body with their minds.

Having been the “prince of darkness” for ten thousand years, Satan assembles his sons to decide which of them will succeed him, but instead he keeps the throne for himself because his sons are not yet ready to be his successor and tells them that they need to learn to keep the balance between good and evil. Angered by this decision, Adrian and Cassius go to Earth to create a new Hell by possessing religious and political leaders in New York City. As they leave, they freeze the entrance to Hell, preventing more souls from entering and causing Satan’s body to begin decomposing via his body literally falling apart. To stop Adrian and Cassius, Satan sends Nicky to Earth with a silver flask that traps whoever drinks from it inside.

At first, Nicky has trouble staying alive on Earth. He is killed several times, landing in Hell and returning to New York each time. While learning how to eat and sleep, he meets a talking bulldog named Mr. Beefy (voice of Robert Smigel) (a friend of Nicky’s father), rents an apartment with an actor named Todd (Allen Covert), and falls in love with a design student named Valerie (Patricia Arquette).

Nicky’s first encounter with his brothers occurs when Adrian sees him with Valerie, takes mental control of his body and makes him scare her away. Then Nicky sees Cassius on television, possessing the referee (Dana Carvey) of a Harlem Globetrotters game. When he goes to the court and tricks Cassius into the flask, metalheads John (Jonathan Loughran) and Peter (Peter Dante) are so thrilled with his performance that they become his devoted fans. That evening, Nicky tries to apologize to Valerie. The meeting goes badly at first, but she accepts him after he explains who he is and why he is on Earth.

The next day, Adrian possesses the chief of the NYPD (Michael McKean) and accuses Nicky of mass murder using a rather badly edited scene from Scarface. Not knowing what to do, Nicky has Todd kill him so he can go back to Hell and ask his father for advice, but his father has trouble hearing because his ears have fallen off and his assistants are in a panic because the midnight deadline to capture Adrian and Cassius is only hours away. Back on Earth again, Nicky and his friends devise a plan to capture Adrian in a subway station; John and Peter inform the chief of the NYPD of Nicky’s whereabouts which leads to Todd and Mr. Beefy being arrested. While waiting for Nicky, Adrian discovers their trick when he realizes that John is keeping cool whereas Peter isn’t which leads him to realize that John is being possessed by Nicky. In the ensuing fight, Adrian grabs Valerie and dives onto the track as a train approaches, but Nicky throws her out of the way, leaving himself and Adrian to be killed by the train.

Arriving in Hell just minutes before midnight, Adrian dethrones his weakened father and takes over, rising into Central Park and starting a riotous party while all of the demons except Satan’s assistant Jimmy (Blake Clark) join Adrian on Earth. Meanwhile, Nicky wakes up in Heaven as a reward for sacrificing himself and meets his mother Holly (Reese Witherspoon), an angel who tells him he can defeat Adrian with the “inner light” that he inherited from her. After she gives him a mysterious orb, he goes to Central Park. The demons discover Nicky and try to attack him, but Nicky creates gifts for them which makes them respect Nicky enough to join him and stop Adrian, but they all run away when Adrian kills one of them. Nicky and Adrian then fight, which results in both of them sucked into the flask where they have a three-way battle with Cassius. Adrian appears to win a pitched battle by locking Nicky in the flask and turning himself into a bat, but Nicky (with Valerie’s help) escapes from the flask. When he shatters the orb, Ozzy Osbourne appears, bites Adrian’s head off and spits it into the flask (that scene was inspired by an actual incident in which Ozzy bit the head off of a real bat while on stage).

With his brothers captured, Nicky is ready to save his father. After he sins to make sure he goes to Hell by setting bees on Henry Winkler, he and Valerie express their love for each other and she kills him with a boulder given to her by Ozzy. With the flow of souls restored in Hell, Satan regains his body and recommends that Nicky go back to live on Earth. As for punishment, Adrian and Cassius (still inside the flask) are shoved up Adolf Hitler’s rectum. The film ends a year later, when Nicky and Valerie live in New York with their infant son, Zachariah. In in afterword in which what happens to the characters, it is mentioned that John and Peter have died in a plane crash and are now happily living in Hell in Nicky’s old bedroom.An absolutely brilliant and ingenious comedy.

REVIEW: TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY

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CAST

Will Ferrell (Elf)
John C. Reilly (Cyrus)
Sacha Baron COhen (Borat)
Michael Clarke Duncan (Sin City)
Leslie Bibb (Iron Man)
Gary Cole (Chuck)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Amy Adams (Man of Steel)
Andy Richter (Run Ronnie Run)
David Koechner (American Dad)
Pat Hingle (Batman)
Molly Shannon (Scary Movie 4)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)

Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) is a man who grows up dreaming of going fast. While working on the pit crew of Dennit Racing driver, Terry Cheveaux (Adam McKay), Bobby acts as a replacement driver after Terry decides to take a break while in last place. After starting in last place in place of Cheveaux, Bobby finishes in third place. Bobby becomes the new great in the NASCAR and gains fame and fortune at Dennit Racing. While racing, he meets his future wife, Carley (Leslie Bibb).
Bobby persuades Dennit Racing to sponsor an additional team car. Bobby arranges to have his best friend, Cal Naughton Jr. (John C. Reilly), on his team. While Bobby and Naughton succeed throughout competitions, their new teammate, French Formula One rival Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen) is tough to beat. He outperforms them to become Dennit Racing’s latest success story. Desperate to dominate, Bobby exceeds his limitations and crashes at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which included his car rolling and flipping in the air.

While paramedics attempt to take him to the hospital, Bobby runs around on the track. Wearing only his helmet and underwear, Bobby insists he is on fire. During his recovery, Bobby believes he is paralyzed. After deliberately stabbing himself in the leg, he realizes that he is not. Now, Bobby is eager to rejoin the NASCAR circuit. Before a race at Rockingham Speedway, Bobby completed a test drive, but fear caused him to drive exceedingly slow. Bobby is fired from Dennit Racing and his pit crew now works for Girard. Jamie McMurray acts as Bobby’s replacement for the Wonder Bread car.
Desperate to remain wealthy, Carley divorces Bobby and marries Naughton. After accusing Naughton of ruining his life, Bobby ends their friendship. Ricky moves in with his mom, Lucy Bobby (Jane Lynch). Bobby’s two sons, Walker and Texas Ranger (Houston Tumlin and Grayson Russell), join him as he works as a pizza delivery man. After colliding with a shopping cart, Bobby loses his driver’s license and he is reduced to using a bicycle.While Bobby is not well, his father, Reese (Gary Cole), teaches him to drive with a live cougar in his car. After his father leaves, Bobby talks to his assistant and partner, Susan (Amy Adams), who persuades him to return to NASCAR, since it is in his nature to drive fast. After deciding to take Susan’s advice and race at the Talladega 500, Bobby and Susan become love interests. With the Talladega 500 on his mind, Bobby gathers a race car and pit crew. Before the race, Bobby makes amends with Carley, Girard and Naughton, while uniting with his pit crew chief and close friend, Lucius Washington (Michael Clarke Duncan). Bobby is forced to start in last place, after spare parts were donated to build the engine in Bobby’s new race car. At the start of the race, Bobby passes all of the drivers, except Girard. In the closing laps, Naughton uses a slingshot technique for Bobby to pass Girard.
The replacement driver of Bobby’s Wonder Bread car causes a massive wreck that causes all drivers to crash, excluding Bobby and Girard. On the final lap of the race, Bobby and Girard collide with each other and their race cars roll towards the finish line. Bobby and Girard exit their cars and run towards the finish line. In the background, “We Belong” by Pat Benatar is playing. Bobby wins the race, but he and Girard are disqualified for exiting their cars, so Naughton officially wins the Talladega 500. At the time of the first major crash, Naughton was in third place. Bobby, Naughton and Bobby’s extended family correct their differences after the Talladega 500.Talladega is more likable to its subject than a strict satire, because it firmly implants itself in the Nascar world and picks on its more absurd elements. In particular, the heavy emphasis on sponsorship in NASCAR takes a heavy beating with things like Ricky Bobby being contractually obligated to include Powerade in his grace. The ensemble of characters doesn’t produce that same energy that Anchorman had, but Talladega Nights did have some priceless bits of humor and it works just as well, perhaps even better, as a feel-good movie.