CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: FROZEN

CAST (VOICES)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Idina Menzel (Enchanted)
Jonathan Groff (American Sniper)
Josh Gad (New Girl)
Santino Fontana (Sisters)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Ciaran Hinds (Game of Thrones)
Robert Pine (Red Eye)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
 Elsa, Princess of Arendelle, possesses cryokinetic powers, with which she is able to produce or manipulate ice, frost and snow at will. One night while playing, she accidentally injures her younger sister, Anna. Their shocked parents, the king and queen, seek help from the troll king, who heals Anna and removes her memories of Elsa’s magic. The royal couple isolate the sisters in the castle until Elsa learns to control her magical powers. Afraid of hurting Anna again, and with her ability to control her powers deteriorating, Elsa spends most of her time alone in her room, refusing even to speak to Anna and a rift develops between the sisters as they grow up. When the girls are teenagers, their parents die at sea during a storm.
When Elsa comes of age, the kingdom prepares for her coronation. Among the guests is the Duke of Weselton, who seeks to exploit Arendelle for profit. Excited to be allowed out of the castle again, Princess Anna explores the town and meets Prince Hans of the Southern Isles; the two quickly develop a mutual attraction. Despite Elsa’s fears, her coronation takes place without incident. During the reception, Hans proposes to Anna, who hastily accepts. However, Elsa refuses to grant her blessing and forbids their sudden marriage. The sisters argue, culminating in the exposure of Elsa’s abilities in an emotional outburst.
Panicking, Elsa flees the castle, while inadvertently unleashing an eternal winter on the kingdom. High in the nearby mountains, she abandons her restraint, vowing to never return and building herself a solitary ice palace. Meanwhile, Anna leaves Hans in charge of Arendelle and sets out in search of her sister, determined to return her to Arendelle, end the winter and mend their relationship. While obtaining supplies, Anna meets an iceman named Kristoff and his reindeer, Sven, and convinces Kristoff to guide her up the North Mountain. On their journey, the group encounters Olaf, Anna and Elsa’s childhood snowman whom the latter recreated and unknowingly brought to life, who leads them to Elsa’s hideaway.
Anna and Elsa reunite, but Elsa still fears hurting her sister. When Anna insists that Elsa return, she becomes agitated and her powers lash out, accidentally striking Anna in the heart. Horrified, Elsa forces Anna, Kristoff and Olaf to leave by creating a giant snow creature named Marshmallow that chases them away from her palace. As they flee, Kristoff notices Anna’s hair turning white and deduces that something is very wrong. He seeks help from the trolls, his adoptive family, who explain that Anna’s heart has been frozen by Elsa. Unless it can be thawed by an “act of true love”, she will become frozen solid forever. Believing that only Hans can save her with a true love’s kiss, Kristoff races back with her to Arendelle. Meanwhile, Hans, who is leading a search for Anna, reaches Elsa’s palace. In the ensuing battle against the duke’s men, Elsa is knocked unconscious by a falling chandelier and imprisoned in Arendelle. There, Hans pleads with her to undo the winter, but Elsa confesses that she has no idea how. When Anna reunites with Hans and begs him to kiss her to break the curse, Hans refuses and reveals that his true intention in marrying her is to seize control of Arendelle’s throne. Leaving Anna to die, he charges Elsa with treason for her younger sister’s apparent death.
Elsa escapes and heads out into the blizzard on the fjord. Olaf comes across Anna and reveals Kristoff is in love with her; they then escape onto the fjord to find him. Hans confronts Elsa, telling her Anna is dead because of her. In Elsa’s despair, the storm suddenly ceases, giving Kristoff and Anna the chance to locate each other. Nevertheless, Anna, seeing that Hans is about to kill Elsa, throws herself between the two just as she freezes solid, blocking Hans’ attack. As Elsa grieves for her sister, Anna begins to thaw, since her decision to sacrifice herself to save her sister constitutes an “act of true love”. Realizing love is the key to controlling her powers, Elsa reforms by thawing the kingdom and helps Olaf survive in summer. Hans is deported to the Southern Isles to face punishment for his crimes against the royal family of Arendelle, while Elsa cuts off trade with Weselton. The two sisters reconcile and Elsa promises never to shut the castle gates again.
This is really a lovely, enjoyable cartoon. And it’s just that a lovely, enjoyable cartoon. And basically a fairy tale. Frozen turns out to be as spectacular as we wanted it to be.
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REVIEW: PIRANHA 3DD

CAST

Danielle Panabaker (The Flash)
Matt Bush (Adventureland)
Katrina Bowden (30 Rock)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Chris Zylka (The Secret Circle)
Gary Busey (Predator 2)
Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Adrian Martinez (A Perfect Murder)
Paul Scheer (Year One)
Clu Gulager (The Tall Man)
Jean-Luc Bilodeau (LOL)
Megan Tandy (Teen Wolf)
Eli Roth (Inglourious Basterds)
David Hasselhoff (Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

A year after the massacre on Lake Victoria by prehistoric piranhas, an eradication campaign has left the lake uninhabitable, and the town itself has been largely abandoned as a result of the drying-up of the lake. Meanwhile, at Cross Lake, two farmers (Gary Busey and Clu Gulager) search the waters to recover the body of a dead cow. Piranha eggs that have been laid inside the cow hatch, and the farmers are killed by the swarm, but before they both die, one farmer pops out of the water, bites the head off one of the piranhas and spits it into the air before sinking back into the water.

Maddy (Danielle Panabaker), a marine biology student, returns home for the summer to the waterpark she co-owns. She finds to her horror that the other co-owner, her step-father Chet (David Koechner), plans to add an adult-themed section to the waterpark with “water-certified strippers”, and re-open it as “Big Wet”. At a party at the waterpark that night, Maddy encounters several old acquaintances, including her policeman ex-boyfriend Kyle (Chris Zylka) and Barry (Matt Bush), who has secretly had a crush on her since grade school. She also runs into two of her close friends, Ashley (Meagan Tandy) and Shelby (Katrina Bowden). Shelby and her boyfriend Josh (Jean-Luc Bilodeau) go skinny-dipping in the lake, where a piranha makes its way inside her vagina. Meanwhile, Ashley and her boyfriend Travis begin to have sex in their van, but Ashley accidentally trips the handbrake with her foot, causing the van to roll into the lake. Travis, handcuffed to the van during foreplay and unable to escape, is devoured while Ashley, on the roof of the van, calls for help. With no one around to hear her cries, the van sinks into the lake and she is eaten alive by the killer fish.

The next day, Maddy is consoling Shelby about their missing friends. While sitting on a jetty, they are both attacked by a swarm of piranhas. They manage to kill one, and Maddy, Kyle and Barry take it to marine expert Carl Goodman (Christopher Lloyd) to examine. He informs them that the piranhas may be moving via sewage pipes and underground rivers between lakes, attracted by chemicals involved in swimming pool cleansers that match their spawning routes. However, the wider world wouldn’t listen to his theory that the fish could evolve to become terrain-viable. The trio return to the lake, where they establish that the piranhas cannot make their way into the outflow pipes connecting the lake and the waterpark. While Shelby and Josh are having sex, the piranha in Shelby’s vagina bites Josh’s penis, forcing him to chop the organ off with a knife. Both are hospitalized, but survive. Kyle is revealed to be corrupt and taking bribes from Chet, who is secretly pumping water from an underground river into the waterpark, lowering his costs and boosting his profits. Chet orders Kyle to keep Maddy from finding out about his nefarious plans.

“Big Wet” opens the next day. Among the first guests are Deputy Fallon (Ving Rhames), who survived his previous ordeal with the piranhas but lost his legs, and former cameraman Andrew Cunningham (Paul Scheer). While the duo attempts to overcome their fear of the water after they were attacked a year ago, David Hasselhoff also makes an appearance as a celebrity lifeguard.

Discovering the connection between the park and the underground river, Maddy attempts to shut the waterpark down, but is stopped by Chet and Kyle. The piranhas make their way to the area and attack, killing many of the lifeguards and waterpark-goers. Fallon attaches a shotgun prosthesis to his legs in order to save the visitors, while Hasselhoff, after rescuing a small boy named David (Matthew Lintz), is pleased that he has finally become a real lifeguard. In the chaos, Chet refuses to help any survivors, including Kiki (Irina Voronina), who is eaten by the fish. He reluctantly offers some cash to a young girl whose mother is dead, but then accidentally reverses over her with his golf cart. As he attempts to drive off to safety, Chet is then decapitated by a hanging cable.

Maddy instructs Barry to begin draining the pools; however, while rescuing people from the water, she becomes caught in the suction and is dragged down to the bottom of the pool. After Kyle refuses to save her because of his fear of piranhas, Barry, despite being unable to swim, leaps down and brings her to the surface, whereupon Maddy is revived. She and Barry then kiss.
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Another employee, Big Dave, pours pure chlorine into the pipes, followed by a lit joint. The resulting explosion kills most of the piranhas, while Kyle is killed by a falling trident. The celebrations are cut short, however, when Maddy takes a phone call from a horrified Mr. Goodman, who informs them that the escaped piranha are evolving and are now able to move on land, to which Maddy replies that she knows. The film ends as the Piranha Queen emerges from the pool and decapitates David (the small child who Hasselhoff saved earlier), leading Hasselhoff to quip “Little ginger moron”, while the surviving visitors pick up their phones and take pictures of the dead child.
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In a post-credits scene, Hasselhoff is running on a beach holding a trident, which is an advertisement for a film titled Fishhunter.Image result for piranha 3ddI found it a gross and funny B-Movie, with stupid but hilarious characters. The director knows the B-movie formula, with teats and beautiful girls. Christopher Lloyd has become stereotyped as the mad scientist in American comedies . The uncredited Ving Rhames afraid of the water and shooting with his leg is comical. But David Hasselhoff steals the movie making fun of himself as the most famous lifeguard of all times. If you shutdown your brain, you will certainly enjoy this movie.

REVIEW: PIRANHA 3D

CAST

Richard Dreyfuss (Tin Man)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Elisabeth Shue (Hollow Man)
Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future)
Steven R. McQueen (The Vampire Diaries)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Jessica Szohr (Ted 2)
Eli Roth (Inglourious Basterds)
Kelly Brook (Three)
Adam Scott (Kampus)
Riley Steele (Pirates II)
Richard Chavira (Desperate Housewives)
Dina Meyer (Birds of Prey)
Bonnie Morgan (The Devil Inside)
Paul Scheer (Year One)

Fisherman Matt Boyd is fishing in Lake Victoria when a small earthquake hits, splitting the lake floor and causing a whirlpool. Boyd falls in, and is ripped apart by a shoal of piranhas that emerge from the chasm.

Jake Forester is admiring attractive tourists as spring break begins. He reunites with his old crush Kelly Driscoll and meets Derrick Jones, a sleazy pornographer, as well as Danni Arslow, one of his actresses. Derrick convinces Jake to show him good spots on the lake for filming a pornographic movie. That night, Jake’s mother, Sheriff Julie Forester, searches for the missing Matt Boyd with Deputy Fallon. They find his mutilated body and contemplate closing the lake. This decision, however, is made difficult as two-thousand partying college students are on spring break, which is important for bringing revenue to the small town. The next morning, a lone cliff diver is attacked and consumed by the vicious, marauding piranhas.

Jake bribes his sister, Laura, and brother, Zane (Sage Ryan), to stay home alone so that he can show Derrick around the lake. After Jake leaves, Zane convinces Laura to go fishing on a small sandbar island. They forget to tie the boat down and are stranded in the middle of the lake. Meanwhile, Jake goes to meet with Derrick and runs into Kelly, who accepted Derrick’s invitation on board his boat, The Barracuda. Jake meets Crystal Shepard, another one of Derrick’s actresses, and cameraman Andrew Cunningham.  Julie takes a team of seismologist divers—Novak Radzinsky, Sam Montez, and Paula Montellano to the fissure. Novak speculates that the rift leads to a buried prehistoric lake. Paula and Sam scuba dive to the bottom and discover a large cavern filled with large piranha egg stocks. Both are killed by the piranhas before they can alert the others to the discovery. Novak and Julie find Paula’s corpse and pull it onto the boat, capturing a lone piranha, which they take to Carl Goodman, a marine biologist who works as a pet store owner. He explains that it is a highly aggressive prehistoric species, long believed to be extinct, and that the piranhas have survived through cannibalism. The species is able to vigorously devour its prey in seconds.
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Julie, Novak, Fallon, and Deputy Taylor Roberts try to evacuate the lake, but their warnings are ignored, until the piranhas begin to fiercely attack the tourists. Novak boards a jet-ski with a shotgun to help while Fallon drags people to shore, and Julie and Taylor try to get swimmers into the police boat. Almost everyone in the lake is either wounded, dismembered, or killed by the piranhas altogether, while the remaining surviving tourists escape. The party spot rapidly turns into a bloodbath.
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Meanwhile, Jake spots Laura and Zane on the island and forces Derrick to rescue them. Derrick crashes the boat into some rocks, flooding the boat’s lower deck and causing the boat to begin sinking. Kelly is trapped in the kitchen while Derrick, Crystal and Andrew fall overboard from the impact of the collision. Crystal is devoured, and Andrew escapes to shore unharmed. Meanwhile, Danni manages to get a partially eaten Derrick back on board, where he then dies.  Deputy Fallon makes a last stand, taking a boat motor and using its propeller to shred many piranhas, though he is presumed to be killed by the Piranhas. After the chaos settles, Julie receives a call from Jake pleading for help. Julie and Novak steal a speedboat and head off towards the kids. They reach Jake and attach a rope to his boat. Julie, Danni, Laura, and Zane start crossing the rope, but the piranhas latch onto Danni’s hair, causing her to lose her grip on the rope and fall into the water, where she is quickly devoured. The others make it across safely, but the rope comes loose. Using Derrick’s corpse as a distraction, Jake ties the line to himself and goes to save Kelly. He ties Kelly to him and lights a flare after releasing the gas from a pair of stored propane tanks. Novak starts the boat and speeds away just as the piranhas surround Kelly and Jake. They are dragged to safety as the propane tanks explode, destroying the boat and killing most of the piranhas.
Image result for piranha 2010Mr. Goodman calls Julie on the radio, and Julie tells him that they seem to have killed the majority of the piranhas. A horrified Goodman tells her that the reproductive glands on the piranha they obtained were not mature, which means that the fish they have killed were only the babies. As Novak wonders aloud where the parents are, the human sized-Piranha Queen leaps out of the water and eats him.

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This film was of course, filmed in 3D (there are two discs, one 2D, one 3D) with dismembered body parts and voracious piranhas coming at you in abundance. Strangely enough, I found that the 3D effects worked rather better in 2D and wearing the gasses provided was little more than a gimmick and made everything a bit monochrome. Still, it is all great fun and I enjoyed every bloody minute of it and, provided that you throw your artistic sensibilities out of the window, so, I am sure, will you!

REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

CAST

Andrew Garfield (The Social Network)
Emma Stone (Easy A)
Jamie Foxx (Ray)
Dane DeHaan (Life After beth)
Colm Feore (Thor)
Felicity Jones (Rogue One)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Embeth Davidtz (Army of Darkness)
Campbell Scott (The Exorcism of Emily Rose)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold)
Skyler Gisondo (Vacation)
Stan Lee (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2)
Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity)
Denis Leary (Rescue Me)
Martin Sheen (The West Wing)
Michael Massee (Flashforward)

In 2000, Oscorp scientist Richard Parker records a video message to explain his disappearance. Later, he and his wife, Mary, are aboard a private jet hijacked by a man sent to assassinate Richard. The plane crashes, killing both Richard and Mary, after he uploads the video.Fourteen years later, Richard’s son Peter continues to fight crime as Spider-Man. He pursues and apprehends Aleksei Sytsevich. Later, Peter meets with Gwen at their high school graduation ceremony and, insisting he keep his vow to her father, ends their relationship. Peter’s childhood friend, Harry Osborn, returns to Manhattan to see his terminally-ill father, Norman, CEO of OsCorp. Norman explains his illness is genetic, and Harry is at the age where it first develops. Norman gives Harry a small device he claims contains his life’s work. The next day, Norman dies and Harry is appointed the new OsCorp CEO.While working in an OsCorp laboratory, electrical engineer Max Dillon shocks himself by accident and falls into a tank of genetically-engineered electric eels. They attack him, and he mutates into a living electric generator. Meanwhile, Peter attempts to maintain a friendship with Gwen, but she reveals that she may move to England for schooling. Before they can discuss it, Dillon wanders into Times Square, accidentally causing a blackout, and is stopped by Peter after a battle. Dillon is taken to Ravencroft Institute, where he is studied by German scientist Dr. Kafka. Meanwhile, the first symptoms of Harry’s illness are showing, and he uses the device Norman gave him to deduce that Spider-Man’s blood could help save him. He asks Peter, who has been selling photos of Spider-Man to the Daily Bugle, to aid him in finding Spider-Man. Peter refuses, unsure of what effects the transfusion would have. Although he later comes to Harry as Spider-Man, he still refuses, and Harry develops an intense hatred towards Spider-Man. The OsCorp board-members, in particular the vice-president, Donald Menken, frame Harry for covering up Dillon’s accident, remove him as CEO, overthrow him and take control of Oscorp. Harry’s assistant, Felicia Hardy, informs him of equipment that could help him, so he makes a deal with Dillon, who now calls himself “Electro,” to get him back inside the OsCorp building. There he finds a suit of armour and other equipment made by Norman, as well as venom from the now-destroyed genetically-altered spiders. The venom accelerates Harry’s illness and transforms him into a goblin-like creature, but the suit’s built-in emergency protocol restores his health and cures his disease.Peter uses information left by his father to locate the video message in an abandoned subway station’s hidden lab. Richard explains he had to leave because he refused to cooperate with Norman’s biogenetic weaponization plans. Peter then hears a voicemail from Gwen, telling him she was offered the British scholarship and is heading to the airport earlier than expected. He manages to catch her and professes his love for her, and, vowing to go wherever she goes, they agree to go to England together. Electro causes another blackout, and Peter heads off to fight him as Spider-Man. Gwen follows, and together they restore power and overload Electro’s body, killing him.The transformed Harry, who now calls himself “Green Goblin”, arrives equipped with Norman’s armor and weaponry. Upon seeing Gwen, he deduces Spider-Man’s secret identity and, swearing revenge for being refused the blood transfusion, kidnaps her and takes her to the top of a clock tower. Peter manages to defeat the Green Goblin, but his webbing breaks during the battle and Gwen falls to her death. Peter, depressed and distraught, mourns over Gwen’s death and ends his career as Spider-Man. Five months later, Harry is coping with the aftereffects of his transformation while incarcerated at Ravencroft. His associate, Gustav Fiers, visits Harry and the pair discuss forming their own team. Harry orders Fiers to start with Sytsevich. Later an unknown team of men break Sytsevich out of prison. Equipped with electromechanical suit armor, Sytsevich calls himself the Rhino and rampages through the streets. Peter, inspired by Gwen’s graduation speech, resumes his role as Spider-Man and confronts him.The Amazing Spider-Man 2 nearly earns an honest emotional response over this pairing. The writing could be better, but Garfield and Stone do an excellent job selling their roles and this movie. I am a big fan of Stone, and she elevates Garfield’s already solid performance. Webb does not quite find the balance between this drama and spectacle, and the film understandably includes a number of rollicking action sequences. The visual effects are strong, but the bullet-time slow motion feels a bit stale. There is a lot of flash to these bits, but not much substance. This is an entertaining film that could be better.

REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

CAST

Andrew Garfield (The Social Network)
Emma Stone (Birdman)
Rhys Ifans (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Denis Leary (Rescue Me)
Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Irrfan Khan (Jurassic World)
Campbell Scott (Royal Pains)
Embeth Davidtz (Army of Darkness)
Chris Zylka (The Secret Circle)
C. Thomas Howell (E.T.)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Jennifer Lyons (That 70s Show)
Michael Massee (Flashforward)
Zoey Deutch (Ringer)

A young Peter Parker discovers his father Richard Parker’s study has been burgled. Peter’s parents gather hidden documents and take Peter to the home of his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, then mysteriously depart.Years later, a teenaged Peter attends Midtown Science High School, where he is bullied by Flash Thompson and has caught the eye of Gwen Stacy. At home, Peter finds his father’s papers and learns his father worked with fellow scientist Dr. Curt Connors at Oscorp. Sneaking into Oscorp, Peter enters a lab where a “biocable” is under development from genetically modified spiders, one of which bites him. He later discovers he has developed spider-like abilities, such as sharp senses, reflexes and speed.After studying Richard’s papers, Peter visits the one-armed Connors, reveals he is Richard’s son and gives Connors his father’s “decay rate algorithm”, the missing piece in Connors’ experiments on regenerating limbs. Connors is being pressed by his superior, Dr. Ratha, to devise a cure for the dying (but unseen) head of Oscorp, Norman Osborn. In school, Peter gets into trouble after a basketball challenge with Flash in which Peter accidentally shatters the backboard glass. His uncle changes work shifts to meet with the principal and asks Peter to walk May home for him that night. Peter forgets to do so, distracted while at Oscorp helping Connors regenerate the limb of a laboratory mouse. At home, he and Ben argue and Peter leaves. At a nearby deli, a cashier refuses to let Peter buy milk when Peter is two cents short; when a thief suddenly raids the store, Peter indifferently observes. While searching for Peter, Ben attempts to stop the thief and is killed. The thief escapes as Peter finds Ben dead on the sidewalk.Afterward, Peter uses his new abilities to hunt criminals matching the killer’s description. After a fall lands him inside an abandoned gym, a luchador-wrestling poster inspires him to create a mask to hide his identity. He adds a spandex suit and builds mechanical devices to attach to his wrists to shoot a biocable “web”. Later, at dinner with Gwen’s family, he has a tense conversation with her father, police captain George Stacy, over the new masked vigilante’s motives. After dinner, Peter reveals his identity to Gwen and they kiss.After seeing success with the mouse using lizard DNA, Ratha demands Connors begin human trials immediately. Connors refuses to rush the drug-testing procedure and put innocent people at risk. Ratha fires Connors and decides to test Connors’ serum at a Veterans Administration hospital under the guise of a flu shot. In an act of desperation, Connors tries the formula on himself. After passing out, he awakens to find his missing arm has regenerated. Discovering that Ratha is on his way to the VA hospital, Connors, whose skin is turning green and scaly, goes to intercept him. By the time he gets to the Williamsburg Bridge, Connors has become a violent hybrid of lizard and man, tossing cars, including Ratha’s, over the side. Peter, now calling himself Spider-Man, snatches each falling car with his web-lines.Spider-Man suspects Connors is the Lizard and unsuccessfully confronts the creature in the sewers. The Lizard learns Spider-Man’s real identity via the name on an abandoned camera and follows Peter to school, where they fight. Police start a manhunt for both Spider-Man and the Lizard. Captain Stacy discovers that Spider-Man is really Peter. The Lizard plans to make all humans lizard-like by releasing a chemical cloud from Oscorp’s tower, to eliminate the weaknesses he believes plague humanity. Spider-Man eventually disperses an antidote cloud instead, restoring Connors and earlier victims to normal, but not before the Lizard mortally wounds Captain Stacy. Before his death, Captain Stacy requests Peter avoid Gwen, in order to keep her safe. Peter initially does so, but later at school suggests to Gwen he may see her after all. In a mid-credits scene, Connors, in a prison cell, speaks with a man in the shadows who asks if Peter knows the truth about his father. Connors replies, “No”, and demands Peter to be left alone before the man disappears.I began watching The Amazing Spider-Man with muted expectations, and without anticipation. I walked out of my experience feeling as though the film was actually good not amazing.I think this franchise was too soon for a reboot.

 

REVIEW: 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN – SEASON 2

 

MAIN CAST

John Lithgow (Rise of the Planet of The Apes)
Kristen Johnston (ugly Betty)
French Stewart (Mom)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jane Curtin (The Heat)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Elmarie Wendel (Rumpelstiltskin)
Simbi Khali (Plump Fiction)
Wayne Knight (Jurassic Park)
Ian Lithgow (Rice Girl)
David DeLuise (Stargate SG.1)
Chris Hogan (Grounded For Life)
Danielle Nicolet (The Flash 2014)
Dennis Rodman (Blunt Movie)
George Takei (Star Trek)
John D’Aquino (Seaquest)
Ileen Getz (That 70s Show)
Jennifer Rhodes (Heathers)
Harry Morgan (M*A*S*H)
John Aylward (The Crazies)
Dan Gilvezan (Transformers)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Shay Aster (Ernest Scared Stupid)
Laraine Newman  (Wall-e)
Danny Strong (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Animated Series)
Tom Towles (The Devil’s Rejects)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Chuck)
Jan Hooks (The Simpsons)
Dick Martin (Two Guys and A Girl)
George Hertzberg (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Curtis Andersen (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)
Philip Baker Hall (Bruce Almighty)
Michael Milhoan (That 70s Show)
Richard McGonagle (500 Days of Summer)
Jim Pirri (Lois & Clark)
Nicki Aycox (Roadkill 2)
Ron West (Anger Management)
Linda Cardellini (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Nancy Lenehan (Two Guys and a Girl)
Henry Woronicz (When The Cradle Falls)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)

3rd Rock From the Sun is one of the richest and hilarious television comedies to air. The series first aired in 1996 and lasted for a total of six seasons. The show molds science fiction into a sitcom and the results are a blast. A team of aliens from Mars take on human form in Rutherford, Ohio and integrate themselves into the local populace. Their goal is to learn everything they can about humans in a couple of days. Of course, it turns out humans are much more complex than expected and the team of aliens decide to stay a while longer. The strongest aspect of this show is its cast. They are remarkable together. Within minutes of any episode, it is apparent how well they interact and play off of each other. The show’s writing is also top notch and delivers one great joke after another. For more details about this series and its cast, please refer to my review of the first season.I had a lot of fun watching season one and I’m wasn’t really surprised I had an even better time with season two. All of the actors and actresses give stunning performances. The season two writing is clever, witty, and most importantly, funny. I think Lithgow says it best in the interview featurette included as an extra with this set. He makes a couple of comments regarding just how good the show was and his evidence is the cast, the writing, and the unique and very absurd situations they were allowed to get away with. And the truth is that Lithgow was right on every level. 3rd Rock From the Sun is one hell of a funny show and this second season speaks wonders.The second season picks up where the first season ended. In “See Dick Run – Part I”, the season one finale, Dick was replaced by Evil Dick after the Big Giant Head decided he was failing his duties as high commander. The second season concludes the story with “See Dick Continue to Run – Part II” and “See Dick Continue to Run, Continued – Part III”. In this three part episode Lithgow gives a stellar performance playing both his normal character and an evil diabolic version of himself. There are also some stunning performances with Lithgow and Stewart doing physical comedy. These episodes set a great tone for the rest of the season.The episode “World’s Greatest Dick” is perhaps the funniest this season has to offer. Sally goes into a gay bar and meets a really great guy named Glenn. Unfortunately, he thinks Sally is a man. Of course it takes her the entire episode to realize what’s going on in his mind. What makes this funny is not that it takes the common stereotypical gay guy, but rather that Sally as an alien doesn’t understand the stereotype. She just thinks Glenn is the perfect guy. “Proud Dick” is another episode that will leave you chuckling. As we’ve come to know the high commander, he’s a bit of an egotist. In this episode Mary gets a better parking space and Dick is furious he didn’t get it. So he goes to the university president and quits his job over the matter. Dick ends up working at a fast food joint. What makes this a funny episode is simply how Dick carries himself and the way the other cast members respond to his situation. Another fun part about this episode is getting to see Harry in a different light. He hits his head and undergoes amnesia. After spending some time with the family, he begins to believe the world is being taken over by aliens.3rd-Rock-from-the-SunThe two holiday episodes, “Gobble, Gobble, Dick, Dick” and “Jolly Old St. Dick”, which respectively cover Thanksgiving and Christmas are also worth noting. The Solomon family having arrived on Earth in January, they haven’t experienced America’s two biggest holidays. Their inexperience makes both of these episodes a riot. In the Thanksgiving episode, Sally rushes home after going to the grocery store on Thanksgiving. Now think about the last minute crowds at the grocery, grabbing up turkeys, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and just about everything imaginable. So naturally when Sally runs into these crowds, she thinks something bad is on the horizon, like the end of the world. Of course the Solomon’s find out what is really going on and trying to keep their human facade going, invite Mary, Mrs. Dubcek and her daughter over for an authentic Thanksgiving dinner. The Christmas episode is also full of laughs. They all learn what the Christmas spirit is all about, which includes the truth about old Saint Nick. I’m not sure if there is anything quite as funny as a grown man, err… Harry, learning that Santa isn’t real.The remaining season episodes are a blast. Our friend Wayne Knight best known for his role as Newman in Seinfeld appears in his reoccurring role as Don Orville, the cop who make san odd match for the beautiful Sally. He shows up in a number of episodes and the ridiculous and overzealous way he handles his character makes him a perfect match for the rest of the cast. This season also has a couple of big names as guests. In “Hotel Dick”, the Solomon’s go to a science-fiction movie about killer aliens and fear the general public has the wrong idea about them. In order to get the good word out, they go to a science fiction convention, where George Takei from Star Trek: The Original Series guest stars. In “Fifteen Minutes of Dick”, Sally punches out Star Wars’ Mark Hamill and becomes a local celebrity in Rutherford. The amount of attention she receives leaves Dick jealous beyond belief. In both episodes Hamill and Takei are portrayed in “I’m a washed up actor striving for attention” and damn it’s funny.Some other fun things that happen in this season include Sally coming to terms with being a virgin, Harry is pushed into running for city council, Dick learns what being a sports fanatic is like, Dick takes a sensitivity class, Dick tries to replace Nina with Harry, Harry gets a girlfriend, Tommy falls for glee club teacher, Sally finds out what it’s like to be a mother, Mary and Dick take the next step in their relationship, and plenty more. Overall this season promises to deliver even funnier and racier content than the first season. I repeatedly found myself laughing hysterical until it hurt and then rewinding the last scene to laugh just as hard again. Season two of 3rd Rock From the Sun is a must buy.What can I say? 3rd Rock From the Sun makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. The first season got off to a great start and this second season continues with episodes that are hilarious, riveting, amusing, ridiculous, and just a lot of fun. The characters are all handled extremely well in how they interact with each other, deliver dialogue, and use body language to the fullest. This season should make you laugh, cry, and leave you wanting more. Highly recommended.

 

REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION

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CAST

Mark Wahlberg (Ted)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Kelsey Grammer (X-Men: The Last Stand)
Nicola Peltz (Bates Motel)
Jack Reynor (Macbeth)
Titus Welliver (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Sophia Myles (Outlander)
Li Bingbing (Resident Evil: Retribution)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)
James Bachman (Paddington)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Peter Cullen (Dungeons & Dragons)
John Goodman (Red State)
Ken Watanabe (Godzilla)
Robert Foxworth (Beyond The Stars)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Mark Ryan (Robin of Sherwood)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Erika Fong (Power Rangers Samurai)
Richard Riehle (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Cleo King (The Hangover)

Sixty five million years ago, an alien race known as the “Creators” used devices called Seeds to terraform planet Earth, effectively wiping out the dinosaurs and covering it with an alloy called Transformium. In the present day, geologist Darcy Tirrel excavates the Transformium for K.S.I. Industries, which uses it to build man-made artificial Transformer drones.Five years after The Battle of Chicago, the humans have begun to view the Transformers as a threat, leading the U.S government to terminate all human-Autobot joint programs. Although the public believes that the Autobots have been granted sanctuary, they are being hunted by a rogue, vengeful and xenophobic CIA black ops division known as Cemetery Wind, led by opportunistic government official Harold Attinger, who believes that all Transformers should be exterminated regardless of their faction. They are aided by Lockdown, a Cybertronian bounty hunter working for the Creators, promising to give Attinger a Seed if his division manages to capture Optimus Prime. Cemetery Wind locates Ratchet in Mexico City and Lockdown kills him when he refuses to give up the whereabouts of Optimus Prime.Optimus, damaged in Mexico City and disguised as a rundown semi-truck, is discovered in an abandoned theater by Cade Yeager, a financially struggling Texan inventor, and brings him back to the farm. While his teenage daughter Tessa and business partner Lucas Flannery encourage him to turn Optimus over to the authorities after realizing what he really is, Cade instead fixes Optimus, hoping to understand his technology and unexpectedly revives him. Still skeptical of Optimus and worried about Cade’s safety, Lucas calls Cemetery Wind, who attacks and destroys the farm, but Optimus and Tessa’s boyfriend, Irish rally car driver Shane Dyson, come to the family’s aid.While on the run from Cemetery Wind and Lockdown, Lucas is killed by one of Lockdown’s grenades. After escaping from their attackers, they take refuge in an abandoned gas station. Later, Optimus scans a passing truck and turns into a Western Star 5700 Phantom Custom truck with the original red and blue paint with flames. Afterwards, Optimus summons the surviving Autobots – Bumblebee, Hound, Drift, and Crosshairs – who have come to distrust humans due to Cemetery Wind constantly hunting them down. Using a CIA drone which he stole during the home invasion, Cade discovers K.S.I.’s involvement in the attacks on the Autobots. Bumblebee later assumes an alternate form after scanning a passing car, while Optimus vows to personally kill Attinger for his actions against his brethren.Infiltrating K.S.I.’s headquarters in Chicago, Cade discovers the remains of Autobots and Decepticons are being melted down to make the drones. Joshua Joyce, the ambitious company CEO, is in league with Attinger to revolutionize global defenses and improve human society using the Seed. He has captured Brains and is using him and Megatron’s head to create prototype Transformer soldiers Galvatron and Stinger. In a fit of rage, the Autobots storm the building where they rescue Brains and destroy the laboratory, but they soon leave after Joshua announces that they are no longer needed. Attinger forces Joshua to deploy Galvatron and Stinger to attack the Autobots. During the battle, Galvatron’s behavior becomes slightly erratic when he starts destroying vehicles. As Galvatron battles Optimus, it frees itself from control and speaks to Optimus. Lockdown then arrives and abducts Optimus while Galvatron and Stinger retreat; Tessa is inadvertently captured alongside Optimus in the midst of the chaos, leaving Cade and Shane devastated.While Lockdown’s large prison spacecraft hovers over Chicago to hand over the Seed, Cade, Shane, and the Autobots use this opportunity to sneak on board and rescue Optimus and Tessa. They hijack a smaller ship, containing a number of other Autobots called the Dinobots, just before Lockdown leaves Earth. The Autobots reveal to Cade that “Galvatron” is in fact Megatron, who had transferred his consciousness into the Galvatron drone after K.S.I. officials had accidentally revived him. They realize that Galvatron is plotting to use the Seed and the K.S.I. drones to conquer the world, by detonating the Seed in Hong Kong. K.S.I.plans to use the Seed in the remote Mongolian desert to create vast amounts of usable Transformium. Cade informs Joshua of Megatron’s presence, causing him to have a change of heart and agreeing to hand over the Seed with help from Darcy and his Chinese business associate Su Yueming. Meanwhile, Lockdown discovers that Optimus has escaped and stole a part of his ship, forcing him to return to Earth to retrieve them. Back at the facility, Joshua gets into a disagreement with Attinger when the former becomes aware of the latter’s nefarious activities, whilst Attinger gradually deduces Joshua’s plot to betray him. Galvatron unexpectedly reactivates himself and promptly takes control of the K.S.I. drones, and a battle follows in Hong Kong’s streets between Cade’s group, the Autobots, Cemetery Wind, Galvatron, and his drones. During the fight, Optimus gains the alliance of the Dinobots, who become essential to the Autobots’ victory while Bumblebee kills Stinger.Lockdown returns to capture Optimus and the Dinobots, using a large magnet in his ship that picks up and drops metal objects, causing destruction to the city. After disabling the magnet, Optimus fights Lockdown at an abandoned factory. In the ensuing duel, Optimus kills Attinger (who still deems all Cybertronians aside from Lockdown as a threat) to save Cade, and avenging the deaths of his fellow Autobots. However, this allows Lockdown to pin Optimus down by impaling his chest with his own sword, damaging his spark. Cade, Bumblebee, Tessa, and Shane fight Lockdown, with Cade ending up fighting him one-on-one while Tessa and Shane use a tow truck to free Optimus, who kills Lockdown before using one of his grenades to finish off the remaining drones. Galvatron, the only surviving Decepticon, retreats with Lockdown’s ship, vowing to return. Optimus tells the Autobots to protect the Yeagers (with Joshua offering to help the Yeagers build a new home) and lets the Dinobots go, before flying away into space with the Seed, sending a message to the Creators that he is coming for them.Tucci is always funny in tense situations, and comedian T.J. Miller gets some laughs as Cade’s borderline annoying best friend. Wahlberg is different he gives a committed performance here, and makes the dialogue believable. I like that Bay and company made Cade a single dad, and Peltz’s Tessa is surprisingly not annoying. The first hour, set at the Yeager homestead in Texas, is my favorite. I enjoyed watching Cade and Tessa meet Optimus and flee from Cemetery Wind. Scenes on Lockdown’s imposing prison ship are also good.  This was intended to be the first film in a new trilogy,with transformers 5 already in the pipeline. The last scene opens the transformers cinematic universe, leaving it open for the fifth to explore further the transformer mythology.