REVIEW: THE JOB

CAST

Daryl Hannah (Kill Bill)
Brad Renfro (Ghost World)
Dominique Swain (Lolita)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Alex Rocco (The GOdfather)
Joseph Whipp (The Midas Touch)

4141295,Q9dpB8jitxuDkdRiMYAXLdPnWFqRtVXKAO28Io7_jhBbMtSCVai_EnHoxeVgiZb1aX+nfpXBgAMmtjWsCqzvHg==Carol Jean “CJ” March is a professional killer that works to the mobster Vernon Cray. CJ fails in her last work for Vernon, when she kills a man to retrieve half-million dollars in drugs, but she realizes that his briefcase that is empty was switched by another man. CJ hunts the man down to finish her job and discovers his name, Roger Washington, and address. Meanwhile Roger is murdered by the punk Troy Riverside that wants to sell the drugs to move to Arizona with his pregnant girlfriend Emily “Em” Robin. CJ, who is the daughter of a prostitute and orphan since she was seven, finds that she is pregnant and she tries to have an abortion in a clinic. screenshot3Then she goes to a bar to get drunken and laid and she meets the former priest Rick that gets closer to her. When CJ finds Roger murdered, she seeks out Troy and finds Emily. However she is not capable to kill her because Emily is pregnant. Will CJ finish her last job? 500px-Daryl_Hannah-SW38Daryl Hannah as CJ’s is splendid. She is an underrated actress, but in here she shows a range that is not immediately associated with her work before. Brad Renfro and Dominique Swain are good as the couple CJ is pursuing; they elude her most of the time, until the final show down. Alex Rocco as the CJ’s employer strikes the right note as the man without scruples who manipulates people into committing crimes for him. Also effective is Eric Mabius who is too good for CJ, and eventually, her salvation. As a moody film of suspense it proves satisfying as it keeps the viewer interested in every turn of the action.

REVIEW: THE ENTITY (1982)

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CAST

Barbara Hershey (Insidious)
Ron Silver (Blue Steel)
David Labiosa (Seinfeld)
George Coe (13 Sins)
Margaret Blye (The Italian Job)
Jacqueline Brookes (Paternity)
Alex Rocco (The Simpsons)
Allan Rich (Highlander II)

Image result for the entity 1982The movie begins as single mother Carla Moran (Barbara Hershey) is violently raped in her home by an invisible assailant. A subsequent episode of poltergeist activity causes her to flee with her children to the home of her friend Cindy (Margaret Blye).

Image result for the entity 1982They return to Carla’s home and the following day, Carla is nearly killed when her car mysteriously goes out of control in traffic. Urged by Cindy to see a psychiatrist, Carla meets with Dr. Sneiderman (Ron Silver) and tentatively agrees to undergo therapy. A subsequent attack in her bathroom leaves bite marks and bruises, which Carla shows to Dr. Sneiderman, who believes she has inflicted them on herself (despite the marks showing up in places impossible for her to reach). We learn that Carla suffered a variety of traumas in her childhood and adolescence, including sexual and physical abuse, teenage pregnancy and the violent death of her first husband. Dr. Sneiderman believes her apparent paranormal experiences are delusions resulting from her past psychological trauma.Image result for the entity 1982Carla is attacked again, this time in front of her children. Her son tries to intervene but he is hit by electrical discharges and his wrist is broken. Dr. Sneiderman urges her to commit herself to a psychiatric hospital for observation, but she refuses.Image result for the entity 1982After Cindy witnesses an attack, the two discuss possible supernatural causes. While visiting a local bookstore, Carla happens to meet two parapsychologists, whom she convinces to visit her home. Initially skeptical, they witness several paranormal events and agree to study the home. During their study, Dr. Sneiderman arrives and confronts Carla, trying to convince her that the manifestation is in her mind, but she dismisses him. Reassured that her case is being taken seriously, Carla begins to relax. Her boyfriend Jerry (Alex Rocco) visits and she suffers a particularly disturbing attack, which he witnesses. Hearing the commotion, Carla’s son enters the room and believes that Jerry is harming her, prompting him to attack Jerry. Later at the hospital, Jerry is so troubled by the experience that he ends their relationship.Image result for the entity 1982Desperate for a solution to her problem, Carla agrees to participate in an elaborate experiment carried out by the parapsychologists. A full mock-up of her home is created to lure the entity into a trap. Liquid helium will be used to freeze the entity, once inside. Before the experiment can begin, Dr. Sneiderman unsuccessfully tries to convince Carla to leave. The entity arrives but unexpectedly takes control of the liquid helium jets and uses them against Carla. She defiantly stands up to it, stating that it can never have her. Dr. Sneiderman rushes in and saves her. As they look back, they see the entity frozen for a brief period into a very large mass of ice. It eventually breaks free and vanishes, but Dr. Sneiderman realizes that Carla was telling the truth the whole time. Carla returns to her house the next day. The front door slams by itself and she is greeted by a demonic voice which says, “Welcome home, cunt”. She calmly opens the door, exits the house, gets in a car with her family and leaves. A closing disclaimer verifies that Carla and her family have moved to Texas. Carla still experiences attacks from the entity, although they have lessened in frequency and severity.

Image result for the entity 1982The Entity provides a lot of scares. Hershey gives a terrific performance in an early film role that could have been demeaning but isn’t. All-in-all it’s an effective horror film.

REVIEW: BATMAN: YEAR ONE

CAST (VOICES)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Ben McKenzie (Gotham)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Jon Polito (Gangster Squad)
Alex Rocco (The Simpsons)
Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica)
Sara Ballantine (Spider-Man 90s)
Jeff Bennett (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Roark Critchlow (V)
Grey Griffin (Justgice League: Cosmic Clash)
Robin Atkins Downes (Babylon 5)
Liliana Mumy (Cheaper By The Dozen)

We’ve seen the origin of Batman’s psychosis and motivation in several forms over the years, from Tim Burton’s creative ’89 reimagining to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. By relation, we’ve also seen earlier stretches of the Dark Knight’s career that follow after his emergence, where he stumbles while finding his footing as his persona, arsenal, and tactics for fighting injustice build within the dangers of Gotham City. The previous incarnations, strangely enough, all occurred with a particular series of comics available to the filmmakers’ and directors’ disposal (and, in the case of Batman Begins, used as a semi-direct source): the Frank Miller-written, David Mazzucchelli-drawn Batman: Year One, which took the character’s rookie year down a fierce, rough-and-tumble path. So when word arrived that the four-comic chronicle would arrive on the disc in the style of their recent animated pictures — like the largely successful Under the Red Hood, with hints hearkening to Mask of the Phantasm — it generated palpable excitement.

We’re shown a young Bruce Wayne (Ben McKenzie) grieving beside his murdered parents’ graves and experiencing flashbacks to their murder, all after he’s traveled abroad and honed his fighting skills for twelve years, while a brawny Jim Gordon (Bryan Cranston) transfers into the crooked Gotham City police force after a stint in dealing with Internal Affairs (as an accuser, not under investigation) elsewhere. The story carries natural gravity, reflected in the film’s tone; the struggles Gordon undergoes as he witnesses Gotham’s police corruption takes center-stage as he juggles his domestic life, while a grim Bruce Wayne endures a dark breaking-in process once he’s discovered the frightening vigilante identity that’ll come to personify him — and how he can use his wealth and position to purge evil from the city.

The creative team’s diligence towards staying faithful to Miller and Mazzucchelli’s content deserves hefty praise; the look and tone of the universally-flawed characters and the bleak but vivid setting feel reverent, from the neon lights of Gotham’s “red light district” to the stale air of Gordon’s office and the gloom permeating the mausoleum-like halls of Wayne Manor. As it tickers through the days through Batman and Gordon’s lives, it feels like thumbing through the pages of the book at almost the same rate as reading it, only with a slightly more vibrant visual tone. Scenes that linger in the shadows become brighter, handled in a more pragmatic art style. Ben McKenzie aptly sounds the part of a young Bruce Wayne and Batman. During dialogue scenes, McKenzie’s suitably gruff and intimidating; Bryan Cranston’s Jim Gordon, though the Breaking Bad actor fares even better

This is a great film which covers Batman’s origins and the complexity of Gordon’s relationship with work and his wife – with colleagues who stand for everything he fights against and a marriage in crisis, his personal story grabs your interest. The disc contains some impressive bonus features, my favourite being a documentary about rescuing Batman from the camp image he gained in the sixties and seventies. It looks at the grittier works which emerged and re-established him as a dark hero with depth. There are a couple of episodes from the animated series chucked in, but more importantly there’s an animated short about Catwoman which reminds you that this is intended for more mature audiences.

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – DVD SEASONS 1-5

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Seth MacFarlane (Flashforward)
Alex Borstein (Power Rangers Zeo)
Seth Green (IT)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Mike Henry (Ted)
Jennifer Tilly (Curse of Chucky)
Patrick Warburton (Scream 3)
Adam West (60s Batman)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST (VOICES)

Lori Alan (Wall-E)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Billy West (Futurama)
Joey Slotnick (Nip/Tuck)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Alex Rocco (The Simpsons)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Dick Van Patten (Spaceballs)
Fairuza Balk (Almost Famous)
Charles Durning (The Sting)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Patrick Duffy (Dallas)
Victoria Principal (Blind Witness)
Will Sasso (Movie 43)
Sam Waterson (Law & Order)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)
Norm MacDonald (Billy Madison)
Candice Bergman (Gandhi)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Lee Majors (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Faith Ford (Hope & Faith)
Will Ferrell (The Lego Movie)
Jay Mohr (Cherry Falls)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Groundhog Day)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
Michael Chiklis (Gotham)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Gary Cole (One Hour Photo)
Luke Perry (The Fifth Element)
Adam Carolla (Wreck-It Ralph)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
Haley Joel Osment (A.I.)
Leif Garrett (The Outsiders)
June Foray (Mulan)
Ray Liotta (Killing Them Softly)
Ron Jeremy (Orgazmo)
Alyssa Milano (Charmed)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Estelle Harris (3rd Rock From The Sun)
R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacet)
Majel Barrett (Star Trek)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Dakota Fanning (Taken)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Meredith Scott Lynn (Legally Blonde)
Valerie Bertinelli (Hot In Cleveland)
Tony Danza (Who’s The Boss?)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer)
Andy Dick (2 Broke Girls)
Jon Favreau (Iron Man)
Lauren Graham (Bad Santa)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Peter Riegert (The Mask)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Jonathan Lipnicki (Jerry Maguire)
Gina Gershon (Bound)
Judd Hirsch (The Big Bang Theory)
Indigo (Weeds)
Stacey Scowley (Dollhouse)
Jane Carr (Treasure Planet)
Cloris Leachman (The Iron Giant)
LeVar Burton (Star Trek: TNG)
Jessica Biel (Stealth)
Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons)
Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: TNG)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Gabrielle Union (Flashforward)
James Woods (Another Day In Paradise)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Mia Maestro (Alias)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
Sherman Hemsley (Lois & Clark)
Marion Ross (Happy Days)
Carol Channing (The Love Boat)
Jay Leno (The Simpsons)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Bryan Cranston (Argo)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Kate Jackson (Charlies Angels)
Betty White (The Golden Girls)
Chad Morgan (Pearl Harbor)
Judith Light (Ugly Betty)

Out of the small animation boom that happened several years ago came “Family Guy”, one of the most hilarious and controversial shows that Fox has aired

For those unfamiliar with the show, it focuses on the Griffin family, residents of Quahog, Rhode Island. Peter (creator Seth MacFarlane) is the heavy-drinking father who works in a toy factory, Lois (Alex Borstein of “Mad TV”) is the calm leader, Meg (Mila Kunis of “That 70’s Show” and Lacey Chabert for the earlier episodes) is the insecure daughter, Chris (Seth Green) the chubby and dim-witted son, Brian (MacFarlane) is the alcoholic dog who talks and Stewie (creator Seth MacFarlane earned an Emmy for his voice work on the character) is the diabolical baby who is bent on world domination.The first two volumes of the show on DVD offers both the first season and half of the second seasons of the show and gives viewers who missed it another chance to witness some of “Family Guy”‘s most brilliant moments. “E. Peterbus Unum” has Peter breaking off from Quahog to form his own country when he finds out that his house is a blank spot on the map. When confronted after breaking the law, he gets out of it due to diplomatic immunity (“like that guy in ‘Lethal Weapon 2′”, says Peter). “The Son Also Draws” has Peter and Chris going on a Vision Quest when they lose their car at an Indian casino. When the trees start chatting with Peter, he asks, “If one of you falls, and no one’s around, does it make a noise?” The tree responds, “Are you kidding? Scott fell last week, and he hasn’t shut up about it since.” In “Death Is a Bitch”, Death (voiced by Norm MacDonald) comes after Peter after he fakes death to get out of paying his hospital bill. When Death sprains his ankle, Peter has to take over. “Da Boom” has the family searching for food (they dismiss a potential house after they find out Randy Newman is there, singing about everything he sees) after information hears about the world nearly coming to an end after Y2K turns out to be true.

“Family Guy” remained remarkably politically incorrect throughout its original run, but most of the jokes were rolling-on-the-floor funny because they were throwaway, including one exchange between Peter and Brian: “Brian, there’s a message in my Alpha Bits. It says “OOOOOO”!”. “Peter, those are Cheerios.” Every episode of the show was packed with such minor gags, most of which were successful and unexpected. The show’s voice talent, especially MacFarlane, Kunis and Green, handled the material with perfect comedic timing.

This second DVD volume of the series includes second half of season two and all of third season of the series, along with the controversial episode, “Wish Upon a Weinstein”, where Peter tries to get Chris to become Jewish because he believes he’ll be successful if he does. The plots of season three still get laughs fairly often, although I don’t think they reach the inspired heights of earlier episodes, such as the one where Peter’s house became its own country or lead his family towards a twinkie factory after the apocalypse.

Still, there are certainly some highlights throughout many of the episodes. In “Peter Griffin: Husband, Father…Brother?” Peter takes Chris to an Irish Heritage Museum to learn more about his heritage, where both find out that, before alcohol, Ireland was a futuristic utopia. “Mr. Saturday Knight” has Peter working at Quahog’s Renaissance Faire as a jouster when his boss accidentally dies at dinner. His competition is the Black Knight, brilliantly voiced by Will Farrell. “Thin White Line” and “Brian Does Hollywood” have Brian overdoing his new job as drug sniffing police dog, then running off to Hollywood and ending up with a job directing porn (at the adult awards in the episode, John Williams is one of the composers nominated for Best Original Score). In “Lethal Weapons”, Peter uses Lois’s newfound fighting skills to drive out New Yorkers who come up to Rhode Island just to stare at the leaves changing color.

Rude, crude and often hilarious, “Family Guy” saw fit to offend just about every group, but did so in a way that was sharp, funny and wonderfully absurd.Often brilliant, extremely witty and darkly hilarious, “Family Guy” was unfortunately cancelled after season three Fox bumped it around six or seven different time slots. Although this third season wasn’t as consistent as the first two, it’s still hilarious and fans of the show should definitely pick up this terrific set. thankfully a few years later the show would return for a fourth and become a constant.

Back on the air after an unprecedented un-cancellation, “Family Guy” had a slight bit of leeway in its return. Fans were rabid for some new episodes, while the network that had cancelled it once wasn’t likely to do so again and risk being considered foolish twice-over. As a result, there was a chance to experiment and try something new, and expand the horizons of the show. Or, they could choose to keep doing the same thing they did before, which is exactly the choice they made.

In a way, it was the smart choice. Why mess with a good thing, when you could keep making the kind of show the fans fell in love with and bought rapidly on DVD. The un-PC content is still in place, along with the pop-culture references, cut-aways and nonsensical characters. Call-backs to old favorites, like Herbert the old molester and the evil monkey were good, but the shows tended to settle into ruts. A love of musicals is appreciated, but is it funny every time a character breaks into song, as in “Jungle Love”

This set has some very good episodes in this set, starting with “Petarded,” which sees Peter declared mentally retarded. The ways he takes advantage of this status is classic “Family Guy” material, while the musical montage here, involving phone calls all over town, is actually quite funny. Plus, the appearance of the Greased-Up Deaf Guy gave hope that the creators still had that sense of the bizarre in them.

But if any moment stands out among this run, it’s the supermarket scene in “Breaking Out is Hard to Do.” When Chris is pulled into the “Take On Me” video by A-Ha, it’s a perfect blend of what this show does best, combining nonsense, the ’80s and some neat animation. The lead-in, the punchline and the execution of the whole scene is handled so well that it might be one of the show’s most memorable ever.If there’s a real reason for fans of the show to own this set, it’s provided in the extras. According to the commentaries, there are scenes included that were produced for the show that the creators knew would be cut, but did them with the intent of including them on DVD. I’m not certain what scenes were added, but there are several lines that would have been questionable for network TV. Also included are uncensored audio tracks that were bleeped on TV. It’s certainly a welcome change having the series presented as they were intended, instead of chopped up as so many shows are on DVD.

Among the 14 episodes in this set is a number of funny moments, normally involving either Lois or Chris, though neither enjoys a spotlight episode. Instead, Peter powers a couple of inspired shows, starting with “PTV,” a sharp rebuttal of the FCC’s assault on broadcast standards. As a fan of entertainment for adults, the crippling of language by the government certainly needs to be skewered. Peter’s revolutionary instincts crop up again in “The Father, the Son and the Holy Fonz.” It delivers an entertaining parody of religion, as Peter forms a faith based around Henry Winkler’s “Happy Days” character, with about as valid a basis as most religions.
comedy. There’s some good stuff in here, culled from the 14 episodes, including some subplots that were cut. They are joined by three featurettes that look behind the scenes of the show. The first is a simple one, as supervising director Peter Shin shows how to draw Stewie. Straightforward, but a bit interesting. “A Director’s Life: Debunking the Myth” spends almost 15 minutes looking at the job of the directors on the show, explaining in detail what they do to make the series go. It’s rather good and shows how much goes into making animation.

I enjoy sitting down with a set of “Family Guy” episodes, thanks to the voices and rather lush animation, another great set thou some fans might be confused with the season box sets not watching the actual seasons but once you figure out the numbering its

REVIEW: BATMAN: THE COMPLETE 60’S SERIES

CAST

Adam West (Family Guy)
Burt Ward (Legends of The Super Heroes)
Alan Napier (Marnie)
Neil Hamilton (Tarzan The Ape Man)
Stafford Repp (Plunder Road)
Madge Blake (The Long, Long Trailer)
Yvonne Craig (Olivia)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Frank Gorshin (Star Trek)
Jill St. John (Diamonds Are Forever)
Burgess Meredith (Rocky)
David Lewis (The Apartment0
Leslie Parrish (Sex and The Single Girl)
Cesar Romero (The Thin Man)
Nancy Kovack (Marooned)
George Sanders (All About Eve)
Anne Baxter (I Confess)
Susan Silo (James Bond JR)
David Wayne (The Andromeda Strain)
Malachi Throne (Catch Me If You Can)
Myma Fahey (House of Usher)
Julie Newmar (Mckenna’s Gold)
Ziva Rodann (Forty Guns)
Victor Buono (Beneath The Planet of The Apes)
Olan Soule (The Toweing Inferno)
Francine York (The Family Man)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
Sherry Jackson (Brenda Starr, Reporter)
Julie Gregg (The Godfather)
Barbara Nichols (Where the Boys Are)
Art Carney (Last Action Hero)
Van Johnson (The Caine Mutiny)
Phyllis Diller (A Bug’s Life)
Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects)
Michael Pataki (Rocky 4)
Bruce Lee (Enter The Dragon)
Van Williams (Surfside 6)
Shelley Winters (Alfie)
Walter Slezak (Lifeboat)
Vincent Price (Edward Scissorhands)
Liberace (Another World)
Woodrow Parfrey (Dirty Harry)
Otto Preminger (Anatomy of Murder)
Carolyn Jones (The Addams Family)
Cliff Robertson (Spider-Man)
Ted Cassidy (Genesis II)
Maurice Evans (Rosemary’s Baby)
Michael Rennie (The Day The Earth Stood Still)
James Brolin (Hotel)
Lesley Gore (The Pied Piper of Astroworld)
Bob Hastings (batman: TAS)
Roger C. Carmel (Star Trek)
Alex Rocco (The Simpsons)
Seymour Cassel (Rushmore)
Lee Meriwether (Barnaby Jones)
Grace Lee Whitney (Star Trek)
Tallulah Bankhead (A Royal Scandal)
Eli Wallach (The Holiday)
Elisha Cook Jr. (Rosemary’s Baby)
Joan Collins (Dynasty)
Ethel Merman (Call Me Madam)
Gary Owens (That 70s Show)
Milton Berle (Hey, Abbott!)
Glynis Johns (Mary Poppins)
Rudy Vallee (Sunburst)
Eartha Kitt (Holes)
Barbara Rush (When Worlds Collide)
Dina Merrill (Caddyshack II)
Linda Harrison (Planet of The Apes)
Ida Lupino (High Sierra)
Howard Duff (Kramer vs Kramer)
Zsa Zsa Gabor (Jack of Diamonds)

This is the show that set the tone for the Batman franchise for decades, good and bad, as its indelible mark is hard to erase. The power of the show is in how iconic it was, with every element so vibrant that it’s impossible to forget. Yes, it had the advantage of being the first modern-era mass-media representation of the character, and it also basically had the stage to itself forever, but there was so many memorable ingredients that made it the definitive Batman for generations. First among those were the performances of Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. Playing it completely straight–West with thoughtful gravitas, Ward with youthful enthusiasm–these actors kept the show from descending into parody. The world may be crazy, but our heroes remain vigilant defenders and detectives. The contrast makes their square-jawed heroics comedic, and the effect is enhanced when things get unusual like seeing Batman dance or surf, or when the Dynamic Duo are chilling out in the Batmobile eating burgers.
The structure of the series, which leans heavily on the style of the old serials and a well-defined formula, was also a big reason for the show’s success and long-lasting legacy. During the first two seasons, stories were split over two half-hour episodes, shown twice a week. The first episode would always end with Batman and Robin on the edge of destruction in some sort of insane death-dealing set-up, with the now classic refrain “same Bat-time, same Bat-channel” reminding viewers to come back to see the story’s weekly conclusion. These cliffhangers, along with the emphatic narration, the atmospheric music, the wonderfully detailed sets and costumes and the choreographed fight scenes, which feature the show’s famous “Pow!” and “Bam” visual sound effects, all serve to create a larger-than-life adventure series that’s great fun to watch.
Though West doesn’t appreciate the show being described as campy, it’s hard to think of a word that fits the series better. The thing is, you have to separate the ideas of bad and camp. Camp doesn’t have to be bad. It just has to be absurdly silly. So much of the show is obviously aiming for comedy, be it the way Batman solves impossible clues impossibly quick, the goofy names of the bad guys’ labeled henchmen, the villains’ strange obsession with personal branding, the overly literal signs seen all over the place, or the strangely specific gadgets Batman always has at the ready. I mean, really…an empty alphabet soup bat-container? Then there are the overtly humorous parts, like the cameos when Batman and Robin climb up the sides of buildings, which feature celebrity cameos from Sammy Davis Jr., Don Ho, Santa Claus and Lurch from The Addams Family. Elements like this earn plenty of chuckles throughout the series, but they don’t take away from the fun of the action or the crime-fighting plots. They also serve to make for what might be the most accessible Batman ever; enjoyable for young and old alike.
The show burned brightly, but only for three seasons, crashing hard considering the show’s immense popularity. Perhaps it was overexposure due to the twice-a-week schedule, with 58 episodes in season two, but the show was definitely showing signs of slowing down in the final season before cancellation, including mostly eliminating the cliffhanger, instead linking episodes via a coda at the end. Whether it was an artistic choice or otherwise, the weird way the show started to use “suggested sets,” in which parts of a set were placed in an otherwise black room to create the idea of the setting, made it seem like something had changed for the worse. Another major change in the third season also stood out somewhat negatively, as Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl (the crime-fighting alter-ego of police commissioner Gordon’s daughter Barbara) was added to the show as a regular. She didn’t bring a great deal to the party though, outside of a great costume design, as she often needed saving as much as she helped the team.
The other issue with Batgirl was she was further evidence of the show being a product of its time, as, in addition to the clothes, sets and language all being heavily dated to the ‘60s (especially in the third run), sexism is rampant throughout the series, whether display via the eye-candy molls of the villains or the drooling narration for the new distaff member of the Bat-team. The portrayal of women is pretty much entirely negative in the show, with flippant remarks about the vanity of women or their value, while one villain, Nora Clavicle, is actually a women’s rights activist, who replaces the police force with women, who are only interested in coupons and recipes. The rampant misogyny is odd considering the show was progressive enough to have an interracial flirtation between West’s Batman and Kitt’s Catwoman.
Though the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder are obviously the stars of the show, the villains are what defines the series, as has always been the case with Batman. In addition to his traditional rogues gallery, including Joker, Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman, this series introduced a number of freshly-minted felons, some of which eventually were incorporated into the comic books, like Victor Buono’s over-acted King Tut. The oft-ridiculous nature of these baddies, which were often created to give big celebrities of the day a chance to play, like Zsa Zsa Gabor’s Minerva, Milton Berle’s Louie the Lilac or Liberace’s Fingers, was a big part of why the show was viewed as campy.
As goofy as the new creation were, the originals were wonderfully evil, especially Cesar Romero’s Joker, Frank Gorshin’s Riddler and Julie Newmar’s Catwoman (though that shouldn’t take anything away from Eartha Kitt’s purr-fect turn in the cat suit in the show’s third season.) These three each brought something special to the show, be it Romero’s manic glee, Gorshin’s dark intensity or Newmar’s unrestrained sensuality. The problem with having the villains be such a focal point of the show is it makes the series uneven, as a weak villain, like Van Johnson’s Minstrel or Maurice Evans’ Puzzler, usually makes for a weak episode. The exception to that rule would have to the two-part “A Piece of the Action”/”Batman’s Satisfaction”, which had a terrible nemesis in the stamp-forging Colonel Gumm, but which is great fun because of a crossover with The Green Hornet, which meant Van Williams and Bruce Lee were on hand for twice the crime-fighting action. Just seeing Lee on Batman was great, but having two masked heroes and their rich alter-egos interacting without each other knowing made for a fun twist on the heroes.

Looking at the set as a whole, it’s easy to wonder why the first 12 discs are extras-free. There’s not a commentary to be found. Considering how long the wait has been, and how influential and popular the show is, you’d think there would be plenty of people that would want to sit down and talk about this show. It’s bad enough that the lengthy delays have resulted in many of the cast and creators passing before its release, but to not have any contemporary perspectives is just doubling down on this problem.
There’s also the fact that two separate releases of bonus content that have been released in the past, “Holy Batmania!,” which offered four documentaries on the series, and “Adam West Naked,” a collection of recollections produced by West himself. Some of this contest should have been included on the third disc of season three, which has just two 30 minute episodes. What’s worse is Warner Brothers is offering “Adam West Naked” as part of an odd package online that includes the first 64 episodes, the Batman ‘60s movie and some ephemera.
Thankfully the 13th disc fills in a lot of the gaps holding all of the set’s bonus content, most of which is courtesy of master extra maker Alexander Gray, who has produced and directed this kind of material for loads of DC-related DVDs. It all starts with “Hanging with Batman” (29:56), which focuses on West, looking at his life, from his childhood to his acting career, with plenty of time on his experiences as Batman and the legacy of that performance. The piece, which is loaded with archival photos and video, isn’t fluffy in any way, touching on some of the darker moments of West’s life, including controversy that surrounded him at his peak as a star and his personal and professional struggles in the wake of the show’s cancellation and the character’s rebirth with the Tim Burton movies. An excellent profile of a charismatic man with an interesting life.
“Holy Memorabilia, Batman!” (29:59) looks at the fans, a few in particular, and the collecting that sprung up around the show, including the key pieces and the process of acquiring them. With Toy Hunter’s Jordan Hembrough providing expert (and some personal) perspective, the featurette checks out the collections of actor Ralph Garman (Family Guy, the Hollywood Babble-On podcast) and Guinness record-holder Kevin Silva, as well as the work of Mark Racop, who builds replica Batmobiles. The Garman segments also feature a visit by West to check out (and even try on) the goods, and the result is an excellent look at a side product of the series.
An odd inclusion is “Na Na Na Batman” (12:15) which features a huge roster of producers and directors from Warner Brothers-produced series talking about the Batman series, including their memories of watching the show (if they are old enough) along with the costumes and villains. The connection to the show for most of these participants, which include Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Mike O’Malley, Stephen Amell, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins and Jensen Ackles, is beyond tangential, which coats the whole piece with a sheen of promotion, but if you’re a fan of shows like Supernatural, Arrow, The Following and The Mentalist, perhaps you’ll enjoy these worlds crashing together. Wedged in here with all these people is West and Burt Ward, bringing things back to center a bit.
The point of “Batmania Born!” (29:41) isn’t entirely clear, as it can get a bit scattered in terms of the subject matter, but it seems to mainly talk about the look of the series, and mainly features the voices of people from the world of comic books and related TV series, though some production design and costuming people sneak in as well to discuss the visuals of Batman, including the influences of the comic books, the animated opening, the tights and, most interestingly, the negative effect the show had on comic books in the larger world of entertainment. Among those sitting down to chat are Jim Lee, Bruce Timm and Julie Newmar, long with archival clips of Cesar Romero and Frank Gorshin, making this catnip for comics fans.
Lee and Garman return in “Bats of the Round Table” (45:08), joining Batman superfan Kevin Smith and actor Phil Morris (Smallville), as they sit down for a meal with West. Unsurprisingly, the chat is dominated by Smith–a natural conversationalist–but they all chime in at some point, peppering West with questions and actually getting some interesting answers, including talk about dealing with a difficult Otto Preminger, who West’s favorite guest star and favorite Catwoman was, life on the set and a fun story about Ward and Bruce Lee. One wonders how the mostly unconnected Morris got in on this group (though he does have a Batman story of his own to share), but they all interact well in a smooth-flowing get-together. The ending may be slightly cheesy, but it’s a satisfying featurette.
Though there are no commentaries in this set, there are two pseudo-commentaries, in the form of the two-part “Inventing Batman: In the Words of Adam West.” These pieces, which run a total of 59:08, feature West, in occasional picture-in-picture appearances, reading excerpts from his shooting scripts for “Hi Diddle Riddle” and “Stuck in the Middle” while the episodes play. There’s a tremendous amount of dead air (probably more than half the episodes are just the original audio), which may explain the lack of commentaries, but it’s great when West shares the notes he made on the script during the production process and his thought process for the character.
The bonuses wrap up with a quartet of rarities, which are mostly great to check out. First up is the 7:54 pilot for Batgirl. This never-aired “episode” was intended to show the character could work, in advance of her introduction in Batman’s third season. This compact adventure, which features Batgirl fighting Killer Moth and his gang alongside the Dynamic Duo in a library, feels just like the Batman series, complete with the “Pow!”s, but with a lot more sexism, courtesy of the narrator and Batman himself. Today, it’s really kind of creepy.
Also included are a pair of screen tests for the show, which are truly fascinating. First up is West and Ward (6:16), in a proto-Wayne Manor and the Batcave, doing a pair of scenes, following by a brief tumbling and karate demonstration by Ward and some silent footage of the pair in the ‘Cave. The performances were so fully formed right off the bat (no pun intended) that it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the roles. That’s solidified when you see Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell try out for the parts (4:23), doing the same roles on the same sets, with the same sketchy costumes. Robin is more childish in Deyell’s performance, while Waggoner doesn’t bring the same measured intensity as West. Watching it though, allows you to picture an entirely different history for Batman.
The final entry is a James Blakely Tribute (2:24). The title is a bit misleading, as it’s just a clip of Blakely, post-production supervisor on the show, discussing the story of the series’ development and the idea of editing in the show’s iconic sound-effects graphics. It’s not really a tribute in the traditional manner.
 It’s only natural that waiting so long for these episodes to arrive on home video has made expectations unmeetable, but between the wonderfully silly show, the quality of the presentation and the excellent extras that actually have been included, this set is one all Batman fans will want to own.

REVIEW: SABRINA: THE TEENAGE WITCH – SEASON 1-7

MAIN CAST

Melissa Joan Hart (Melissa & Joey)
Nick Bakay (That 70s Show)
Caroline Rhea (2 Broke Girls)
Beth Broderick (Lost)
Nate Richert (Gamebox 1.0)
Jenna Leigh Green (Hard Sell)
Michelle Beaudoin (Ginger Snaps 2)
Paul Feig (Spy)
Penn Jillette (Hackers)
Martin Mull (Two and a Half Men)
Lindsay Sloane (Bring It On)
Alimi Ballard (Dark Angel)
David Lascher (Blossom)
Jon Huertas (Slash House)
China Shavers (Not Another Teen Movie)
Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster)
Elisa Donovan (Clueless)
Trevor Lissauer (Roswell)
Diana-Maria Riva (17 Again)
Andrew Walker (Laserhawk)
John Ducey (How I Met Your Mother)
Bumper Robinson (Enemy Mine)

RECURRING /NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tom McGowan (Bad Santa)
Eddie Cibrian (The Cave)
Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes)
Emily Hart (Nine Dead)
Robin Riker (Big Love)
Brian Austin Green (Terminator: TSCC)
Nicole Bilderbck (Dark Angel)
Raquel Welch (Legally Blonde)
Andrew Keegan (O)
Donald Faison (Scrubs)
Curtis Andersen (That 70s Show)
Coolio (Dardevil)
Dana Gould (Gex)
Billy West (Futurama)
Kathy Ireland (Loaded Weapon 1)
Ed Begley Jr. (Veronica Mars)
Henry Gibson (Wedding Crashers)
Chris Elliott (How I Met Your Mother)
Dann Florek (Law & Order: SVU)
Beverly Johnson (Lois & Clark)
Mika Boorem (Blue Crush)
Phil Fondacaro (Willow)
Bryan Cranston (Godzilla)
Mary Gross (Jailbait)
Cee Cee Michaela (Gia)
Andrea Savage (Veep)
Patrick Thomas O’Brien (Catch Me If You Can)
Sarah Lancaster (Chuck)
Walter Jones (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Loni Anderson (A Night at Roxbury)
Caroline Williams (TExas Chainsaw Massacre 2)
Bobcat Goldthwait (Blow)
Beth Grant (Wonderfalls)
John Ratzenberger (Cheers)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Shelley Long (The Money Pit)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Steve Allen (The Player)
Kel Mitchell (Mysten Men)
Kenan Thompson (Snakes on a Plane)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Carol Ann Susi (The Big Bang Theory)
Dom Deluise (Spaceballs)
Shannon welles (Inception)
Gary Owens (That 70s Show)
Jacon Witkin (Showgirls)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Fred Stoller (Little Man )
Jason Schwartzman (I Heart Huckabees)
Daveigh Chase (S. Darko)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha)
Jerry Springer (Austin Powers 2)
Justin Timberlake (Friends with Beefits)
Hallie Todd (The Lizzie McGuire)
Glenn Shadix (Beeteljuice0
Alex Rocco (The Simpsons)
Britney Spears (Crossroads)
Jordan Belfi (Surrogates)
Shirley Jones (The Music Man)
Audrey Wasilewski (Pushing Daisies)
Paula Abdul (Bruno)
Ginger Williams (Cruel Intentions)
Tim Thomerson (Trancers)
Bebe Newuwirth (Jumanji)
George Wyner (American Pie 2)
Eric Jungman (Not Another Teen Movie)
Matt Battaglia (Mike & Molly)
Dick van Dyke (Mary Poppins)
Richard Riehle (Office Space)
Barry Livingston (Argo)
J.G. Hertzler (Star Trek: DS9)
Brian Gross (Red Tails)
Charles Shaughnessy (Stargate SG.1)
Kal Penn (Van Wilder)
Keri Lynn Pratt (Cruel Intentions 2)
Gedde Watanabe (Mulan)
Leslie Jordan (Ugly Betty)
David Starzyk (Veronica Mars)
Molly Cheek (American Pie)
Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica)
Estelle Harris (Stand and Deliver)
E.J. Callahan (Wild Wild West)
Richard Steven Horvitz (Mighty Moprhin Power Rangers)
Patricia Belcher (Bones)
Larry Poindexter (Blade: The Series)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heroes)
Nicole Scherzinger (Men In Black 3)
Sisqo (Get Over it)
Winston Story (Masked Rider)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
D. Elliot Woods (Star Trek: Insurrection)
Carnie Wilson (Bridesmaids)
Usher (She’s All That)
Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory)
Conchata Ferrell (Krampus)
Brandy Norwood (I Still Know What You did Laster Summer)
Masi Oka (Heroes)
Chyna (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Lori Alan (Family Guy)
Sean Cw Johnson (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Nakia Burrise (Power Rangers Zeo)
Ashanti (John Tucker Must Die)
J.P. Manoux (Birds of Prey)
Clare Kramer (Buffy)
Verne Troyer (Jack of All Trades)
Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle)
Sandra McCoy (POwer Rangers Wild Force)
Sally Struthers (Nine To five)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Christina Vidal (Freaky Friday)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Faith Prince (Dave)

All seven seasons of the show are available on DVD (that’s 163 episodes!)It is best to watch the show from start to finish as you can follow Sabrina’s life and understand the story lines. She changes boyfriends a few times so you need to remember which one she’s dating.

Characters come and go in the seasons. It was a shame Libby & Valerie left the show in season 4 because they were excellent characters. I think Sabrina’s aunts and Salem were the best characters. They always had good story lines and Salem got up to some crazy schemes (often roping whoever he could in to get some magical help). I loved Nick Bakay as the voice of Salem as he is very comical yet evil. The Salem animatronic improves over the course of the show and is put to good use in the later seasons. Another character I enjoyed was Morgan. I loved Elisa Donovan in Clueless  and she was so good as Sabrina’s clueless and fashionable roommate.

The best season would have to be season 3. It has the best storyline of Sabrina trying to work out the family secret and a lot of the shows characters were given major roles in these episodes. Season 3 also features the best episodes such as when the aunts need to rehab a bunch of pirates they’ve left locked up for years and Sabrina can’t control her addiction to pancakes.

I loved in season 4 when Hilda purchased the clock shop containing a magic time travelling clock. There is a hilarious scene when Hilda is trying to compete with the watch selling monkey outside her shop and she makes Salem do tricks whilst dressed up. Salem looked so cute in that little bell-hopper-style outfit! Caroline Rhea is so funny and I couldn’t image Aunt Hilda being played by anyone else. She had some of the best storylines and it was funny to watch what trouble she’d get herself into each episode.

The later seasons of the show get a bit bland and the story lines usually don’t revolve around magic. After leaving high school, Sabrina attends college where she lives with a bunch of mortals (Roxie, Morgan and Miles). In season 7, the aunts have left and Sabrina lives in the aunts house with Roxie, Morgan and Salem. Season 7 is not as bad as everyone  says, it may be the weaker season but is still good.

I was really happy when they brought Harvey back as a character. It made sense that his character left at the end of season 4, but the show didn’t feel the same without him. Nate Richert did a excellent job of playing Harvey and he was an important character in the show so he needed to come back. Harvey has some funny moments in the later seasons and it was great that he could interact with Salem cause he knew about Sabrina’s magic.

After watching this show since my childhood, Melissa Joan Hart is one of my favourite actresses. I love her expressions and she is quite funny. It’s really cute when she says Sabrina’s most common line “woo hoo!”. There was a short period where she had red hair in the show and I was so happy when she went back blonde.

Overall, I would recommend getting all seven seasons if you are a fan of the show. It is so much better when you watch it when you are older as it makes more sense and the jokes seem funnier. Plus you follow the storylines and remember which episodes are good or not. The sets are worth getting for any sitcom lover and once you start watching Sabrina’s crazy adventures, you won’t want to stop till you get to the end!

REVIEW: GET SHORTY

 

CAST

John Travolta (The Punisher)
Gene Hackman (Superman)
Rene Russo (Thor)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
Dennis Farina (Luck)
Delroy Lindo (Gone in 60 Seconds)
James Gandolfini (Killing Them Softly)
Jon Gries (Men In Black)
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Jack Conley (Angel)
Harvey Keitel (Reservoir Dogs)
Alex Rocco (The Simpsons)

In Get Shorty, John Travolta plays Chili Palmer, a mobster who works out of Miami and is affiliated with a big time thug named Ray Bones (Dennis Farina). Ray is a violent man who doesn’t like to be messed with, and Chili takes care of business for him. Ray sends Chili out to Las Vegas to collect on a sizable debt owed to him, but once he’s there, a casino big wig talks Chili into rerouting over to Los Angeles to collect an even larger amount owed by a filmmaker named Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman). Harry is an eclectic man, who produces and directs low budget b-grade horror movies out of California. When Chili heads out that way and gets a taste for filmmaking industry, he figures he can use the skills he learned while working in the mafia to produce his own movies, with a little bit of help from Harry.

Soon Chili gets involved with Harry and his cohorts – Karen Flores (Rene Russo), a b-movie actress and Harry’s go to girl for all of his films; Bo Catlett (Delroy Lindo), Harry’s money man who gets all of his disposable income and investment capital from selling drugs; and Martin Weir (Danny DeVito), Karen’s ex-husband who happens to be a pretty recognizable star in Hollywood, something his insanely inflated ego is only all too happy to tell you about. Weir’s nickname happens to be Shorty.

While Chili and his new friends are out in LA making movies, Ray Bones is wondering what happened to him and so he heads out to California to check things out for himself. Chile begins to fall in love with Karen as they spend more time together, and a whole lot of people are going on about a locker at the Los Angeles airport that’s got a whole lot of money stored inside of it.

John Travolta  plays his role with just enough smugness to remind us he’s a hood, but at the same time as the movie goes along and he gets involved with Karen and starts to make his film, we find he’s not a totally unlikable guy – and he never loses his cool. Travolta delivers the dialogue perfectly, as does the rest of the cast, notably Hackman and DeVito who are both great in their supporting roles. Dennis Farino does an admirable job playing the heavy, and seeing James Gandolfini in a small role playing a bodyguard is fun as well.

The main reason to see the film t is for the fun and witty story, and solid performances.