REVIEW: POWERLESS

Christina Kirk, Alan Tudyk, Vanessa Hudgens, Danny Pudi, and Ron Funches in Powerless (2017)

MAIN CAST

Vanessa Hudgens (Beastly)
Danny Purdi (Community)
Christina Kirk (D.E.B.S.)
Ron Funches (Trolls)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Jennie Pierson (Freak Dance)

Alan Tudyk and Vanessa Hudgens in Powerless (2017)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Marc McClure (Superman)
Kimani Ray Smith (I, Robot)
Michael D. Cohen (Whiplash)
Claire Titelman (Veronica Mars)
Corbin Bernsen (KIss Kiss Bang Bang)
Robert Buckley (Izombie)
Deanna Russo (Knight Rider)
Natalie Morales (Santa Clarita Diet)
Adam West (Batman)
Phil Morris (Smallville)

Christina Kirk, Danny Pudi, and Ron Funches in Powerless (2017)Powerless is a half-hour workplace comedy that also happens to be the latest television show from DC Comics. The series traffics in typical office concerns, but is set within a world where superheroes and villains regularly spar just outside the company’s glass windows. The first episode, which premieres Thursday at 8:30 on NBC and is the only one the network made available in advance, is peppy and full of promise. But like every future crime fighter does in his or her origin story, this sitcom is clearly still trying to get a firm grasp on how to use its abilities.Alan Tudyk, Vanessa Hudgens, and Mike McKee in Powerless (2017)The pilot briskly establishes the cast of characters, led by Emily Locke (Vanessa Hudgens), the newly hired head of research and development at Wayne Security, a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises focused on launching products that keep individuals safe in the current conflict-heavy environment. Alan Tudyk, Vanessa Hudgens, and Jennie Pierson in Powerless (2017)During her first day on the job, Emily meets her quirky direct reports, played by Danny Pudi, comedian Ron Funches, and Jennie Pierson, and learns they’ve been saddled with multiple bosses in recent months and, therefore, are super-skeptical of her. She doesn’t get much more in the way of support from her supervisor, Van Wayne (Alan Tudyk), who is more fixated on impressing his overseer and cousin — Bruce, you may have heard of him — and on getting the heck out of Charm City so he can live larger in Gotham. Within what feels like 30 seconds of Emily’s arrival, there are already rumblings that Wayne Enterprises could fold, which forces Emily and her team to come up with a gadget that will save the company!Vanessa Hudgens, Danny Pudi, Ron Funches, and Jennie Pierson in Powerless (2017)Within that fairly pat framework, there are some clever moments. Brief glimpses of the creations spearheaded by Wayne Enterprises and their competitor, LexCorp, suggest that the cleverness of the show’s gadgets, always one of the pleasures of any story related to Batman, will be a running source of delight.  The dialogue also suggests that the writers have a good feel for start-up speak. When Emily is introduced to Pudi’s Teddy, Wayne Security’s chief design officer, she asks, “What do you do here?” His immediate, smug response: “I disrupt.”Vanessa Hudgens, Danny Pudi, Ron Funches, and Jennie Pierson in Powerless (2017)Powerless was a good comedy for DC Comcis sadly cancelled after 12 episodes we wilol never see where this show  could of gone.

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REVIEW: THE TICK (2017) – SEASON 1 – PART 2

The Tick (2017)

MAIN CAST

Peter Serafinowicz (spy)
Griffin Newman (Draft day0
Valorie Curry (Blair Witch)
Brendan Hines (Lie To Me)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Yara Martinez (Jane The Virgin)

Peter Serafinowicz in The Tick (2017)

RECURRING NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Francois Chau (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Townsend Coleman (Black Moon Rising)
Bryan Greenberg (Prime)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Scott Speiser (6 Ways To Die)

The Tick (2017)I’ll admit it. When I heard Amazon was rebooting superhero sendup “The Tick,” I wasn’t exactly thrilled. I started watching the first six episodes mostly opposed to the idea, arms crossed, mumbling things like “this isn’t my ‘Tick.'” You know what? I was wrong. Completely wrong. Please accept my apologies for being such an obstinate fool. Now that I’ve seen a full season of “Tick” creator Ben Edlund’s and Executive Producer Barry Josephson’s vision for rebooting the franchise, I’m convinced this might be the best iteration yet. We still get to enjoy the goofball antics of Tick and Arthur, complete with hilarious sight gags, puns and awkward moments, but by making Arthur (Griffin Newman) the focus this time around, there’s an added thread that offers better opportunities for characters to evolve and grow.Peter Serafinowicz in The Tick (2017)If the original live-action series offered nonstop laughs in an insane asylum, this “Tick” provides a laugh a minute, but they’re far more satisfying. Don’t worry though, hard-core fans: classics like “SPOON!” still work comfortably within the show’s framework. Peter Serafinowicz’s version of the Tick is the same one we’ve known and loved for over 30 years: a superpowered, super joyful, big blue something or other with a head full of cotton balls. After six episodes, Arthur finally came to some acceptance of his role as a kind-of-hero in this world where supers and villains are the norm. The back half of the season deals with the return of diabolical evildoer The Terror (perfectly depicted by psychopath-playing expert Jackie Earle Haley) and his plot to kill beloved superhero Superian (Brendan Hines). In those second six eps, the show sets up some decent stakes, pays off nearly every storyline it opens up, and still manages to leave a couple of juicy morsels for the next round.Scott Speiser in The Tick (2017)The Tick still seeks answers as to who (or what) he is, and Arthur continues to grapple with what it means to be a hero and whether he’s accepting that answer. Edlund and Josephson are clearly dedicated to world-building beyond their two main characters, and the show absolutely benefits from a three-dimensional secondary cast. Even characters like hard-core vigilante Overkill (Scott Speiser) and Arthur’s sister Dot (Valorie Curry) experience good growth throughout the season. In a world where superheroes rule, watching “The Tick” is a refreshing roast of all the ridiculous tropes and cliches we’re so used to seeing in just about every other genre show out there. Now that Amazon Video is available on Apple TV (and most other streaming platforms and devices), there’s no excuse for you to miss out. Each episode is only 25 minutes long, so binging all 12 shouldn’t take you more than six hours, but you’ll definitely know if you’re on board for “The Tick” or not after the first half dozen. Amazon already gave the green light to a second season, which should bow sometime in early 2019. The entire season 1 is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.Peter Serafinowicz and Griffin Newman in The Tick (2017)

 

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.

REVIEW: AMERICAN DAD – VOLUME 12

MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Wendy Schaal (Small Soldiers)
Scott Grimes (Robin Hood)
Rachael MacFarlane (The Batman)
Dee Bradley Baker (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

RECURRING NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Manu Bennett (Arrow)
Kevin Dunn (transformers)
Susie Essman (Bolt)
Edward Herrmann (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Peter MacNicol (Ghostbusters II)
Jon Polito (Miller’s Crossing)
Matt McKenna (Igor)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk vs)
Curtis Armstrong (New Girl)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Jeff Fischer (Happy Feet)
Michael Landes (Final Destination 2)
Eddie Kaye Thomas (Ameircan Pie)
Daisuke Suzuki (Hibakusha)
Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical)
Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead)
Patrick Stewart (Logan)
T.E. Russell (Toy Soldiers)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Jason Mantzoukas (Dirty Grandpa)
June Diane Raphael (Bride Wars)
George Takei (Heroes)
Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa)
Eric Andre (2 Broke Girls)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Jason Lee (My Name is Earl)
Michaela Watkins (Enough Said)
Sam Elliott (The Ranch)
Patton Oswalt (Caprica)
Craig Robisnon (Zack & Miri Make a Porno)
Tyrese Gibson (Fast & Furious 8)
Missy Elliott (Shark Tale)
Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad)
Tom Kenny (Spongebob)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Max Charles (The Strain)
Stephen Merchant (Logan)
Patricia Clarkson (Lars and The Real Girl)
Billy Van Zandt (Jaws 2)
Andy Richter (Santa Clarita Diet)
Ed Gathegi (X-Men: First Class)
Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek)
Liam James (2012)
Lance Henriksen (Millenium)

American Dad! returns for an iconic series’ 11th volume. The series centers on super-patriotic CIA agent Stan Smith and the misadventures of his unconventional family in Langley Falls, Virginia. Stan’s blissfully unaware wife Francine has an unfaltering loyalty that allows her to turn a blind eye toward Stan’s unabashed arrogance. Meanwhile, Stan constantly butts heads with his 18-year-old, left-wing activist daughter Hayley who knows just how to push her father’s buttons, whether it’s by helping the homeless, demanding women’s rights or advocating gun control. Hayley’s 14-year-old brother is the geeky-yet-confident Steve, is a kid who spends his time playing video games and obsessing about the opposite sex. The Smith cabinet is rounded out by two rather unconventional members: Roger, the sassy, sarcastic and routinely inappropriate space alien who is constantly trying on new disguises and, with them, new personalities, and Klaus, the attention-starved goldfish with the brain of a German Olympic skier who always throws in his two cents, regardless of whether anyone is listening.The Highlights on this Volume are.American-Dad-Season-13-Episode-1-2-b27e

ROOTS

Stan is in favor of a new football stadium being built in Langley Falls, until he learns its construction will destroy a sacred tree from his childhood. Meanwhile, after Steve learns that he hasn’t grown an inch in several years, he considers surgery to increase his height, and turns to a child physician named Dr. Calgary, whom Steve discovers is actually a mad surgeon from Germany.

THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE SMITH

Steve is determined to become a varsity athlete in an attempt to impress some girls. Steve immediately tries to join the water polo team, but fails to, and enlists the help of Klaus to guide his swimming by hiding in Steve’s bathing suit. Meanwhile, Stan and Roger purchase a boat at a CIA auction, but Roger’s motivations to work on the boat begin to get to him.American-dad-se11e3-hayley-smith-seal-team-six

HAYLEY SMITH, SEAL TEAM SIX

In an effort to bring back a long-lost sense of joy and innocence, Roger’s persona Dr. Penguin hypnotizes Hayley to get to the root of the problem. The plan backfires when Dr. Penguin accidentally causes her mind to regress to that of a six year old instead. As the family enjoys the happier Hayley, Jeff and Klaus set out to progress Hayley back to her original state. Meanwhile, Steve and his friends are approached by a shady, trenchcoated man who talks them into buying one of his slow-cookers.

N.S.A. (NO SNOOPS ALLOWED)

Steve goes to work with Stan to help him troubleshoot his computer — and ends up entangled with the NSA after Steve gets mad at Stan for mocking him. Meanwhile, Hayley goes on a meat-eating spree after eating Klaus’ hazelnut omelette (which has veal in it).qM4YSxW8C0b7LnE29I71uR2L3iE

STAN SMITH AS KEANU REEVES AS STANNY UTAH IN POINT BREAK

Stan finds himself stressed out on his day-off from work, due to Steve’s new friendship with a murderous derelict, Hayley and Jeff’s pregnancy scare, Francine’s shoplifting, and Roger’s attempts to get the 2016 World Cup to be held in the house. As Stan returns to work, Bullock believes that surfers may be the cause of a recent cyber attack after watching Point Break, and volunteers to go undercover as a surfer in order to relax and put his stress behind him.

KISS KISS CAM CAM

Stan begins to question his marriage with Francine when they have a terrible “Kiss Cam” experience. Meanwhile, Steve and Roger travel to Carson City in order for Roger to re-elect himself on the Nevada legislature to fulfill his promise of keeping polluted water clean.

THE DEVIL WEARS A LAPEL PIN

When Stan is chosen to put together the annual CIA pin-up calendar, he attempts to find an assistant. However, when he fires assistant after assistant, Hayley takes the assistant job in order to get revenge by destroying the calendar, after having him destroy a picture she drew as a child. Meanwhile, Roger gets a Discovery Card on his first (and only) day of college, but finds that no one takes Discovery (except for a secret section of the local mall that hasn’t been touched since the 1980s) and must fake his death when he can’t pay the bill.

STAN-DAN DELIVER

Steve is sentenced to attend a class for delinquents and ghetto teenagers after Roger eats the chocolates Steve was supposed to sell for charity. Meanwhile, Stan and Francine decide to shop for retirement homes, but when Stan decides to stay, Francine, Hayley, and Jeff attempt to free him.

American-dad-se11e11-anchorfran

ANCHORFRAN

Greg has been depressed over Terry leaving him to go on tour with the band 311, so Francine attempts to help Greg out by joining him on the newscast. However, her newfound fame on the set leads to Greg’s suffering. Meanwhile, Hayley digs up her old “Dream Phone” game, leading Roger to go on a road trip to find a character from the game.

THE TWO HUNDRED

A tattooed Stan, along with Roger and Greg, set out to find the other Smiths when an unidentified entity known as “The Two Hundred” has turned Langley Falls into an apocalyptic wasteland and all the citizens, led by Principal Lewis, turn into savages and cannibals.

THE UNINCLUDEDS

Steve and Snot set out to throw a party for the unpopular students, but when the party they throw changes their futures, they are forced to make things right. Meanwhile, Roger is upset when a waiter compliments Hayley’s order at a restaurant and not his.

THE DENTIST’S WIFE

Roger finds himself in an identity crisis after he becomes interested in a local dentist’s wife named Meredith Fields. Meanwhile, Klaus tortures Stan, Steve, Hayley, and Jeff with a party with perverted guests when they become incredibly stiff and sore from a workout session with CrossFit.

WIDOW’S PIQUE

When one of Stan’s co-workers dies on assignment, Francine prepares herself for the possibility of becoming a widow should Stan die. Meanwhile, Steve and his friends put on a wrestling show, but Principal Lewis shows up to challenge them for a championship belt.

THE NOVA CENTAURIS-BURGH BOARD OF TOURISM PRESENTS: AMERICAN DAD

When Francine becomes upset that she can’t do anything she wants to, she joins Steve in his live-action role playing game in the park. Meanwhile, Stan confiscates a shark aquarium from a drug lord and is convinced by Roger to open it as an attraction named “Oceanland”, a Seaworld knockoff.

DAESONG HEAVY INDUSTRIES

Part one of two. Stan’s faith in God is shattered when he tries to teach Steve the Bible and Steve points out all the logical errors in the stories, leading Stan on a downward spiral of hedonism and self-destruction. Under Francine’s orders, Steve restores Stan’s faith when he discovers a Korean tanker the same measurements as Noah’s Ark — and things take a turn for the worse when Stan ropes the family into going to Korea to find the fabled tanker.

DAESONG HEAVY INDUSTRIES II: RETURN TO INNOCENCE

Conclusion. The Smiths (and Jeff, but not Klaus, who was thrown off the boat at the end of the previous episode) are still stuck on the Korean tanker, which blows up after Roger’s “If They Could See Me Now”-style musical number. Now shipwrecked, Stan and Francine end up washed up on an island with no clothes and no memory of who they are and become a modern-day Adam and Eve while Jeff and Hayley are rescued by the U.S. Navy and Steve is trapped on a lifeboat with a wolf and Roger’s dangerous survival tips.

CRISS-CROSS APPLESAUCE: THE BALLAD OF BILLY JESUSWORTH

When Stan wants to play a game of basketball with Roger, he ends up being rejected by him for being too old. But when Roger ends up breaking his ankle, Stan reluctantly invites him to join his basketball league in order to deviously relent him. Meanwhile, Steve recounts his day in a send-up of R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet.

MINE STRUGGLE

After years of dirtying up the patio, Francine forces Stan to clean it, but when using Roger’s modified power washer, the modifications cause a huge hole to be formed in the ground, leading them to discover a salt mine. As Stan and the family immediately want to offer it to the Gordon Salt Company, Steve turns out to be the actual owner of the mine and refuses to sell it, in order to keep sacred memories of their backyard.

Garfield_and_Friends

GARFIELD AND FRIENDS

When Stan drags Hayley to James A. Garfield’s former house for a tour in celebration for Presidents’ Day, Stan decides to bring President Garfield back to life to teach her about his life and history, when Hayley proves to be bored with the tour. Meanwhile, Steve joins the school newspaper, but his work ends up coming out as erotic stories.

GIFTED ME LIBERTY

When someone forgets to bring a gift to the annual “evil Santa” CIA gift exchange, Bullock becomes deeply upset and forces Stan to discover who that person was. Meanwhile, Steve scores a date for the Harvest Dance, but he soon discovers that he is being used as a cover up for her “bad” boyfriend. At first, he is outraged, but later decides to do the same thing for several other girls when they offer to pay him.

NEXT OF PIN

Stan sets out to find an activity that he can share with Steve and eventually does when he finds out he’s good at bowling, but when an expert bowling coach suggests that he is holding Steve back, Stan tries to get back to bonding with Steve, by ending his career with a stab in his foot. Meanwhile, Klaus challenges Hayley and Roger to watching hours of a documentary when the two argue over who has the worst attention span.

STANDARD DEVIATION

Stan becomes angry when Hayley refuses to have a plan for her future life, but when he brings her on a suicide mission, she refuses to deal with his logic. Later on, Hayley discovers that Bullock is working daily as a disc jockey at a nightclub. She immediately tells Stan, but when he confronts Bullock, Bullock tells him he’ll step down, but only if he can defeat him in a DJ battle. Meanwhile, Jeff begins drinking psychedelic teas and hallucinates a musical instrumental, leading Roger to help him find it as a prank.americandad1222.pngThis has to be one of the best adult cartoons ever created. It’s hard for me to compare them with South Park. I think that in many aspects, American Dad is way better than South Park. Probably because it addresses to a much larger public, while South Park contains jokes that sometime require some background knowledge, before you can fully understand them. Even for non-Americans, this series are equally funny and enjoying. Great job! I recommend this to anyone who enjoys some good humor.

REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON

CAST

Shia LaBeouf (Eagle Eye)
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Josh Duhamel (Paradise Lost)
John Turturro (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Tyrese Gibson (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Patrick Dempsey (Made of Honor)
Kevin Dunn (Samantha Who?)
Julie White (Lincoln)
John Malkovich (Red)
Frances McDormand (Hail, Caesar!)
Keiko Agena (13 Reasons Why)
Lester Speight (Faster)
Josh Kelly (Jarhead 2)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Mark Ryan (Robin of Sherwood)
Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Buzz Aldrin (The Big Bang Theory)
Elya Baskin (Heroes)
Peter Cullen (Dungeons & Dragons)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek)
Jess Harnell (Little Nicky)
James Remar (Mortal Kombat: Annihilation)
Francesco Quinn (Hell Ride)
George Coe (The West Wing)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Tom Kenny (The Powerpuff Girls)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Greg Berg (The Muppets)
Anthony Azizi (Lost)
Robert Foxworth (Beyond The Stars)

In 1961, the “Ark”, a Cybertronian spacecraft carrying an invention capable of ending the war between the benevolent Autobots and the malevolent Decepticons, crash lands on the dark side of Earth’s Moon. The crash is detected on Earth by NASA, and the President authorizes a mission to put a man on the Moon as a cover for investigating the spacecraft. In 1969, the crew of Apollo 11 lands on the Moon.In the present, the Autobots assist the United States military in preventing major conflicts around the globe. During a mission to Chernobyl to investigate suspected alien technology, Optimus Prime finds a fuel cell from the “Ark”, discovering that it had survived its journey from Cybertron. The Autobots are then attacked by Shockwave, a Decepticon scientist, who manages to escape. After learning of the top-secret mission to the Moon, the Autobots travel there to explore the “Ark”. They discover a comatose Sentinel Prime – Optimus’ predecessor as leader of the Autobots – and the Pillars he created as a means of establishing a Space Bridge between two points to teleport matter. After returning to Earth, Optimus uses the energy of his Matrix of Leadership to revive Sentinel Prime.Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky is frustrated that he is unable to work with the Autobots or find a job. He also becomes envious of the close relationship between his new girlfriend, Carly Spencer, and her boss Dylan Gould. After finding work, Sam is provided information by his eccentric co-worker Jerry Wang about the “Ark”, before Jerry is assassinated by the Decepticon Laserbeak. Sam contacts the now-independently wealthy Sector 7 Agent Seymour Simmons, and together they realize that the Decepticons and their leader, Megatron, are murdering people connected to the American and Russian space missions to the “Ark”. They locate two surviving Russian cosmonauts, who reveal satellite photos of hundreds of Pillars being stockpiled on the Moon. Sam realizes that the Decepticons raided the “Ark” long before the Apollo 11 mission to the moon and intentionally left Sentinel and the five Pillars behind to lure the Autobots into a trap with Sentinel being the key to activating the Pillars and the Decepticons lacking the means to revive him. The Autobots rush to return Sentinel to their base for protection, but Sentinel betrays them and murders the Autobot Ironhide, revealing he had made a deal with Megatron to ensure Cybertron’s survival.Sentinel uses the Pillars to transport hundreds of concealed Decepticons from the Moon to Earth. Carly is later captured by Gould, who is revealed to be in service of the Decepticons. The Autobots are exiled from Earth at the demand of the Decepticons to avoid war, but as their ship leaves Earth it is destroyed by Megatron’s second-in-command, Starscream, seemingly killing the Autobots. The Decepticons, led by Megatron and Sentinel, invade Chicago as their agents place Pillars around the world. Gould reveals to Carly that the Decepticons plan to transport their homeworld of Cybertron to the Solar System, then to enslave humanity and use Earth’s resources to rebuild their world. Sam teams up with former USAF Chief Robert Epps and ex-NEST soldiers to go into Chicago to save Carly, but they are nearly killed by Decepticon forces before the Autobots intervene, revealing they concealed themselves during the launch of their ship to convince the Decepticons they were destroyed.Working together, the Autobots and human soldiers manage to rescue Carly and kill Laserbeak, Starscream, Soundwave and Shockwave, with Optimus using Shockwave’s arm-cannon to blast the Control Pillar, disabling the Space Bridge. Sam confronts Gould as he reactivates the Control Pillar, and knocks Gould into the Pillar, electrocuting him. Bumblebee and Ratchet arrive and destroy the Control Pillar, permanently disabling the Bridge and causing the partially transported Cybertron to implode. Optimus and Sentinel fight while Carly convinces Megatron that he will be replaced by Sentinel as leader of the Decepticons. Sentinel severs Optimus’ right arm, and is about to execute him when Megatron intervenes, incapacitating Sentinel. Megatron slyly proposes a truce, having the desire to become the one in charge again, but Optimus instead attacks Megatron, decapitating and killing him. Sentinel pleads for his life, but Optimus executes him too for betraying his own principles. With the Decepticons defeated, Carly and Sam are reunited and the Autobots accept that, with Cybertron gone for good, Earth is now their home.Ultimately, Bay’s primary success here is casting. In addition to Dempsey (pleasingly cynical), Dark of the Moon boasts an elaborate roster of recognizable, exceptional professionals, like John Malkovich (ridiculous), Frances McDormand (deadly serious), Ken Jeong (psychotic), and Alan Tudyk (over-the-top), who give the film color. McDormand in particular adds a level of gravitas to the first half of the movie that really greases the wheels, and even though she’s relegated to the far back in the last third, she shares her time with returning player John Turturro, with whom she has amusing chemistry. Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Dunn, and Julie White also return. Everything else is action, action, action. This time, Bay is better with his action geography and choreography, illustrating fights from a distance and turning down the dust clouds a little bit.

REVIEW: TUCKER AND DALE VS EVIL

CAST

Tyler Labine (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Alan Tudyk (Powerless)
Katrina Bowden (Scary Movie 5)
Jesse Moss (Ginger Snaps)
Chelan Simmons (Final Destination 3)
Phillip Granger (The Killing)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)
Christie Laing (Arrow)
Travis Nelson (Wild Roses)
Sasha Craig (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)

A reporter and cameraman sneak into a closed off murder scene looking for anything the police missed in the hopes of breaking a bigger story. They are ambushed by a crazed man with half of his face badly injured. Allison, Chad, Chloe, Chuck, Jason, Naomi, Todd, Mitch and Mike are going camping in West Virginia. While at a gas station, they encounter Tucker and Dale, two well-meaning hillbillies who have just bought the vacation home of their dreams: a run-down lakefront cabin, deep in the woods. On Tucker’s advice, Dale tries to talk to Allison, but because of his inferiority complex and appearance, he only scares her and her friends.Tucker and Dale arrive at their decrepit cabin and begin repairing it. Nearby in the woods, Chad tells a story about the “Memorial Day Massacre”, a hillbilly attack which took place 20 years ago. The college kids go skinny-dipping where Tucker and Dale are fishing, and Allison, startled, hits her head. Tucker and Dale save her, but her friends think she was kidnapped. When Allison wakes up in Tucker and Dale’s cabin the next day, she is initially scared but befriends the two hillbillies. The other college kids arrive at the cabin to save Allison from her “psychopathic captors”, and Chuck runs away to get the police. While Dale and Allison are inside the cabin, Tucker angers some bees and frantically waves around his chainsaw, which the college kids misinterpret as hostility. They scatter through the woods, and Mitch accidentally impales himself on a broken tree, killing him. After finding Mitch’s body, Chad persuades the others that they are in a battle for survival.Alison’s friends follow Tucker and Dale back to their cabin and see Allison helping out with construction of an outhouse, but they assume she is digging her own grave. The college kids attack, but Todd and Mike end up accidentally killing themselves, and Allison is accidentally knocked unconscious again by Dale’s shovel. The other kids assume the hillbillies killed them when they see Tucker trying to save Mike from the wood chipper. Tucker and Dale think the college kids are suicidal and that contacting the police will make them murder suspects. Chuck arrives back with a sheriff, who expresses doubt over Tucker and Dale’s suicide pact theory. The sheriff goes inside the cabin and accidentally kills himself, and Chuck accidentally kills himself with the sheriff’s gun. Chad reappears and attempts to shoot Tucker and Dale but only manages to capture Tucker, whom he ties upside down to a tree. Chad then tortures Tucker and cuts Tucker’s fingers. He then sends a message to Dale to come and get Tucker.Dale leaves to rescue Tucker while Chad and Naomi return to the cabin to save Allison. When Allison tries to explain the situation, they accuse her of having Stockholm syndrome. Tucker and Dale return, and Allison attempts to lead a calm discussion. Chad says his grandmother told him that his father was killed in the Memorial Day Massacre, and his mother was the lone survivor. Jason and Chloe break in to save everyone, and a fire breaks out. Tucker, Dale, and Allison escape; Naomi, Chloe and Jason die, and Chad, insane and scarred, vows revenge. After a car crash, an injured Tucker tells Dale that Chad has taken Allison to an old sawmill, where he forcibly kisses her. Dale rescues Allison, and the two barricade themselves inside an upstairs office, where they discover news clippings that reveal Chad’s father to be the killer and rapist, not one of the victims. Chad becomes enraged, and Dale stops his attack by throwing a box of chamomile tea at Chad, which triggers a severe asthma attack. Chad, while standing near a window, convulses and falls to his apparent death.The police and a news crew arrive late at the cabin and broadcast a news report stating that the deaths appear to be the result of a suicide pact and a deranged killer; the reporter and cameraman are the two from the opening scene. Tucker watches the report on the news while convalescing in the hospital. Dale enters, and they discuss Tucker’s recovery. Tucker asks Dale whether he managed to invite Allison on a date and is happy to hear the two of them are going bowling. Later that night at the bowling alley, the two profess their feelings for each other and kiss.This film has instant cult classic written all over it as the standard hillbilly survival horror is turned on its head. You can’t help but root for the hapless pair but also groan in enjoyable frustration as the teens start to drop dead in lots of extremely gory accidents. A total joy from start to finish.

REVIEW: THE TICK (2017) – SEASON 1 – PART 1

MAIN CAST

Peter Serafinowicz (spy)
Griffin Newman (Draft day0
Valorie Curry (Blair Witch)
Brendan Hines (Lie To Me)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Yara Martinez (Jane The Virgin)

RECURRING NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Christian Navarro (13 Reasons Why)
Whoopi Goldberg (The Muppets)
François Chau (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2)
Bryan Greenberg (Prime)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Scott Speiser (6 Ways To Die)

This new Tick series (following the famous ’90s animated series and the ill-fated first go at live-action on FOX back in 2001) takes a bit of a subtle left turn into soft Rated-R territory, allowing things to feel a little more grounded and grittier while also permitting the occasional F-bomb to fly free. Yes, it’s weird to think that the mostly-jovial world of The Tick could exist alongside actual carnage and bloodshed, plus profanity, but it works really well. As does the show’s parody of a Punisher-style murder hero named Overkill (Scott Speiser).After striking oil with the perfect tone for a Tick live-action series, this show also cunningly crafted its sweet and salty spine by casting Peter Serafinowicz as The Tick and Griffin Newman as Arthur – and then allowing the two of them to explore the actual mental maladies involved with this particular hero dynamic.The first episode introduces us to a very different take on Arthur. A traumatized Arthur who’s almost incapable of functioning as an adult without medication and the supervision of his sister Dot (Valorie Curry). Arthur is on a hero’s journey, obsessed with revealing the truth about a thought-to-be-dead supervillain named The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley), but he lacks the muscle and confidence to follow through. He’s all conspiracy theories and crime boards (and Reddit threads), but no real desire to bring about justice himself. From…wherever The Tick comes from. The second episode deftly toys with the idea of Tick possibly being some sort of mental manifestation of Arthur, like a Tyler Durden. Or even The Maxx, if you’d like to stick to comics and possible avatars of past trauma. Arthur has the intel and the personal vendetta while bullet-proof Tick has the ability to waltz in and lay waste to a villainous lair. Meanwhile, Tick isn’t quite sure of his own origins and keeps speechifying about doing good and answering the call of one’s true fate. It’s a pairing too serendipitous to ignore as both, right when they find each other, need the other.Serafinowicz’s Tick is pitch-perfect. Hallmarks, and expectations, set up by the animated series dictates that Tick be large, barrel chested, baritone, and brave. But important to the story too is the friendship that he and Arthur eventually cultivate. Arthur needs to be annoyed with everything at first, but you need Tick to be soft and supportive enough so that Arthur will eventually see him as a light in all the darkness. Tick, in his own right, needs to be rather unflappable in his pursuit of evil-doers, but he also can’t want to go after the villains without his trusted chum because Tick, aside from being his own particular style of doofy do-gooder, is meant to be therapeutic for poor Arthur. Despite taking place in the ream of super-powered heroes and villains, The Tick is a small series. The meager budget shows at times, but when VFX are used, they’re well-placed and important. The fact that the tone of the show is meant to ground everything and make the heightened feel a bit more real means that things tend to operate like they would in every day life. If you’re, say, a crime lord like Yara Martinez’s Ms. Lint or Michael Cerveris’ Ramses and you only have, maybe, a dozen paid thugs in your employ, you’d basically be without goon support if someone came and thrashed all of them. You don’t have an endless supply.This is a show where, as part of the world’s backstory, the aforementioned Terror actually succeeded in killing off America’s top hero team, the Flag Five. There are realistic consequences mixed in with the superhero silliness and that helps create a foundation with stakes. You understand why Dot is so afraid for Arthur when he embarks on his misadventures with Tick (complete with a impenetrable flying battle suit that imprints itself on Arthur – and yes, resembles a moth for reasons unknown). Their entire family had been ripped apart due to collateral damage from super-powered beings warring up above so you’re fully immersed the life or death aspects of the story. Nothing ever goes so dark that it all becomes Watchmen, but it does start to hit home like a more jagged version of The Incredibles. The Tick is a quick, delightful binge that perfectly captures the spirit of the 90s animated series while shading things a bit darker in order to present a more grounded world for a live-action setting.  Peter Serafinowicz’s Tick is also awesome as daft mysterious hero who appears to help a troubled man cross the finish line on a life’s journey to find justice.