31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D

CAST

Alexandra Daddario (San Andreas)
Dan Yeager (Metal Heads)
Trey Songz (Baggage Claim)
Scott Eastwood (Fury)
Tania Raymonde (Lost)
Shaun Sipos (Final Destination 2)
Keram Malicki-Sánchez (Punisher: Warzone)
Thom Barry (Cold Case)
Richard Riehle (Office Space)
Bill Moseley (Halloween)

Watching Texas Chainsaw 3D, the latest screen incarnation of the iconic chainsaw-wielding maniac Leatherface, the mind fairly reels. This purported direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror classic cheerfully ignores that director’s own 1986 follow-up, the 1997 and 2003 remakes, the 2006 prequel and even its basic timeline. It scores points for sheer brazenness.

The opening sequence takes place directly after the final scene of Hooper’s film, depicting a Waco-like encounter in which the house containing Leatherface and his cannibalistic family burns to the ground with all its occupants presumably dead. Except for a baby, who is promptly adopted and, as we soon see, grows up in Oklahoma to be the beautiful Heather (Alexandra Daddario).

Cut to roughly 20 years later, when Heather learns of her origins after being left a Texas mansion by her late grandmother. She and her friends promptly head off in a van to check out her inheritance — which, unbeknown to them, still is the home of the hulking Leatherface (Dan Yeager).

The film’s first half follows conventional horror movie tropes as the heroine and her hottie companions — boyfriend Ryan (singer Tremaine “Trey Songz” Neverson), BFF Nikki (Tania Raymonde), her new crush Kenny (Keram Malicki-Sanchez) and a hunky hitchhiker (Scott Eastwood) — are pursued by the chainsaw-wielding inhabitant with predictably lethal results. But not before all of them bare as much skin as possible.

Things take a somewhat more complex turn later on when Heather finds herself in an unlikely alliance with her deranged relative against the town’s corrupt mayor (Paul Rae) and his minions. Leatherface is even given a rather sympathetic treatment, depicted as being something of a misunderstood, overgrown child whose propensity for tearing off his victims’ faces is but an extreme example of adolescent rebellion.

That the film obviously takes place in the present day — a key sequence involves a camera phone — is something of a puzzler because that would make Heather nearly 40, something that the tightly toned, midriff-baring Daddario clearly is not. But hey, what’s a couple of decades more or less?

Director John Luessenhop takes advantage of the 3D by shoving blood spurts and the occasional chainsaw directly into viewers’ faces Devoted fans of the original will be gratified by the cameos from several of that film’s castmembers, including original Leatherface Gunnar Hansen, though they are mostly of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-them variety.

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REVIEW: PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS

CAST

Logan Lerman (Fury)
Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw)
Douglas Smith (Big Love)
Leven Rambin (The Hunger Games)
Stanley Tucci (Easy A)
Jake Abel (Love & Mercy)
Anthony Head (Buffy: TVS)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Brandon T. Jackson (Fast & Furious)
Octavia Spencer (Mom)
Craig Robinson (Pineapple Express)
Robert Knepper (IZombie)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Robert Maillet (Hercules)
Paloma Kwiatkowski (Bates Motel)
Shohreh Aghdashloo (Flashforward)
Missi Pyle (Gone Girl)
Yvette Nicole Brown (500 Days of Summer)
Derek Mears (Hatchet III)
Alisha Newton (Heartland)

While in Camp Half-Blood, Percy recounts the story of Thalia and her sacrifice. A young Annabeth, Luke, Grover and Thalia are running to Camp Half-Blood while being pursued by monsters. Thalia sacrifices herself to get the others into the camp, and her father Zeus transforms her into a pine tree, creating a magical border around the camp. Soon a Cyclops passes through the border and is revealed to be Tyson, Percy’s half-brother. The camp is later attacked by a Colchis Bull who breaks through the border and ravages Camp Half-Blood. Percy defeats it with the help of Tyson, Annabeth, and Clarisse. Following this, Luke (who had survived his and Percy’s battle in the previous film) appears and confronts Percy, trying to convert him to his cause. When Percy refuses, Luke disappears.The campers realize that Thalia’s tree has been poisoned by Luke and they are vulnerable to attacks. Percy visits the Oracle, who tells him of a prophecy of a half-blood of the eldest gods either saving or destroying Olympus. Chiron tells Percy that he is the only living, human half-blood of the eldest gods, so the half-blood in the Prophecy may refer to him. Annabeth and Grover learn about the Golden Fleece, which has the power to heal anything, and propose a quest in which they retrieve the Fleece and use it to heal Thalia’s tree. Mr. D chooses Clarisse to lead the quest, much to Annabeth’s and Percy’s dismay. Percy convinces Grover and Annabeth to accompany him on the quest, and Tyson joins them. Annabeth hails the Chariot of Damnation, and Percy threatens the three drivers (the Graeae) to tell him of his prophecy, giving him coordinates for the Sea of Monsters (the Bermuda Triangle) before ejecting the group from the cab in Washington D.C. because they lack money.While walking down the street, Grover is kidnapped by Chris Rodriguez and taken to Luke. Percy, Annabeth, and Tyson first locate Luke with the help of Hermes, then ride a Hippokampos to his yacht, the Andromeda. Luke reveals his plan to revive Kronos using the Fleece so Olympus will be destroyed. Percy and they are then locked in the brig, though they later escape when Percy uses his ability to manipulate water. The group is consumed by Charybdis, and they discover Clarisse in the monster’s stomach. Percy and Clarisse work together to escape Charybdis by shooting a hole through its gut, and soon they arrive at Circeland, Polyphemus’s lair. Percy finds Grover, and the five escape Polyphemus, retrieving the fleece and trapping him in his cave. Afterwards, Luke arrives and demands the fleece from Percy, who refuses. Luke shoots a crossbow bolt at Percy, but Tyson takes the bolt in the chest and falls into the water below.Luke begins reviving Kronos and Annabeth encourages Percy to take leadership. The team escapes captivity, and Percy grapples with Luke over the Fleece, like the prophecy said they would, but Luke easily gains the upper hand. Luke is suddenly thrown away by Tyson, revealed to have survived his wound due to the water healing it, as he is Poseidon’s son. Kronos rises from the sarcophagus and consumes Luke and Grover before battling Percy. Percy realizes that Riptide is the “cursed blade” of the prophecy and slices Kronos into pieces imprisoning Kronos in the sarcophagus once again, causing him to regurgitate Grover and Luke, the latter landing in Polyphemus’s Lair. Their victory is short lived as Annabeth is stabbed by the Manticore, who is killed in turn by Clarisse and Grover. Annabeth dies in Percy’s arms but is resurrected by the Fleece. Percy then gives the fleece to Clarisse, and they return to Camp Half-Blood. Clarisse places the fleece on Thalia’s tree. The group returns the next day to find Thalia alive, as the fleece returned her to human form. Percy realizes that Thalia, as a child of Zeus, is another possible child of the prophecy about either preserving or destroying Olympus. The film ends showing the sarcophagus with Kronos’s remains in it glowing, implying that Kronos still has some degree of his power, and is still planning to return.Exciting fantasy film with excellent effects and light hearted banter, great for all ages, sequel to Percy Jackson and the lightening thief.

REVIEW: PERCY JACKSON & THE LIGHTNING THIEF

CAST

Logan Lerman (Fury)
Brandon T. Jackson (Fast & Furious)
Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw)
Jake Abel I Am Number Four)
Sean Bean (Game of Thrones)
Kevin McKidd (Dog Soldiers)
Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder)
Melina Kanakaredes (CSI: NY)
Rosario Dawson (The Denfendors)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Erica Cerra (Power Rangers)
Stefanie von Pfetten (Decoys)
Ona Grauer (V)
Serinda Swan (Smallville)
Conrad Coates (Tron Legacy)
Ray Winstone (Elfie HOpkins)
Uma Thurman (Kill BIll)
Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix)
Pierce Brosnan (The World’s End)
Julian Richings (Cube)
Catherine Keener (8mm)
Annie Ilonzeh (Arrow)
Bonita Friedericy (Chuck)
Marie Avgeropoulos (The 100)
Natassia Malthe (Elektra)
Chelan Simmons (Final Destination 3)
Maria Olsen (Paranormal Activity 3)

In New York City, Zeus and Poseidon meet at the top of the Empire State Building, where Zeus reveals that his master lightning bolt has been stolen and accuses Poseidon’s demigod son, Percy Jackson, of the theft. Poseidon reminds him that Percy is unaware of his true identity, but Zeus declares that unless his master bolt is returned to Mount Olympus before the summer solstice, in two weeks’ time, war will be waged between all the gods.Percy is a 16-year-old boy who appears to his peers to be dyslexic and has a unique ability to stay underwater for a long time. While on a school trip to the local museum, Percy is attacked by Alecto, a Fury disguised as his substitute teacher, Mrs. Dodds who demands the lightning bolt. Percy’s best friend, Grover Underwood, and his Latin teacher, Mr. Brunner — both of whom appear disabled — help Percy and scare off the fury using a pen from Brunner. Grover tells Percy to use the pen, and Percy discovers it is a sword. Upon learning of the Fury’s reason for the attack, Brunner has Grover take Percy and his mother Sally to Camp Half-Blood, leaving behind Sally’s abusive husband, Gabe Ugliano. However, the three are attacked by a minotaur that appears to kill Sally, who is unable to enter the camp. He uses his sword to fight the Minotaur, without initial success. Percy kills the minotaur with its own horn, then faints from shock.Three days later, Percy wakes up in the camp. He learns he is the son of Poseidon, Grover is a satyr and his protector, and Brunner is the centaur Chiron, also initially disguised. Chiron suggests that Percy go to Mount Olympus to convince Zeus of his innocence. Percy begins training to use his demigod powers, which include water manipulation and using water to heal. He also meets other demigods, including Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena; and Luke Castellan, son of Hermes. Percy is visited by a fiery apparition of his uncle Hades, who reveals that Sally is with him in the Underworld and that he will return her safely if Percy hands over the lightning bolt. Defying Chiron’s orders, Percy decides to go to the Underworld, joined by Grover and Annabeth. They visit Luke, who gives them a map showing the location of three pearls belonging to Hades’ wife, Persephone, which they can use to escape the Underworld. They are also given a pair of winged sneakers Luke stole from his father and a shield Luke describes as his favourite.The trio heads out, locating the first pearl at an old garden center before they suddenly encounter Medusa, who tries to kill them until decapitated by Percy; they take her head with them for later use. They locate the second pearl in the Parthenon in Nashville; Percy uses the winged shoes to take it from a statue of Athena. However, they are then confronted by the Hydra, which Grover turns to stone and kills using Medusa’s head. The third pearl is located at the Lotus Casino in Las Vegas, where the three eat lotus flowers and forget their reason for being there. They stay in the casino for five days until Poseidon speaks in Percy’s mind, helping Percy return to his senses. Percy frees Grover and Annabeth from the effects of the flowers and they flee, discovering that the casino is run by the Lotus-Eaters, and they had been keeping people captive since ancient times. With all three pearls, Percy, Grover, and Annabeth head into the Underworld, the portal to which is located in Hollywood.In the Underworld, they meet Hades and Persephone. Though Percy tells Hades that he does not have the lightning bolt, Hades finds it hidden inside Luke’s shield, revealing that Luke is the lightning thief. Persephone knocks Hades unconscious with the lightning bolt to get her revenge on him for imprisoning her for all eternity and hands the bolt to Percy. However, because they only have three pearls, Grover remains with Persephone to allow Percy’s mother to leave. Percy, Annabeth, and Sally teleport to the Empire State Building but are attacked by Luke, who wants to destroy Mount Olympus to secure the demigods’ place as the new rulers of Western Civilization. After a fight across Manhattan, Percy defeats and apparently kills Luke and returns the lightning bolt to Zeus, who forgives Percy and allows Poseidon to briefly speak with his son. The film ends with Percy and Annabeth reuniting with Grover, furloughed from Hades and sporting a new pair of small horns that designate his promotion to senior protector. Percy and Annabeth are reunited, and they nearly kiss but Annabeth tricks Percy and they continue to train. In the post credits-scene, Ugliano is kicked out of the apartment. He decides to get a beer but finds a note from Percy saying that he should not open the refrigerator. He breaks the lock anyway and is turned to stone and killed by Medusa’s head inside, though this occurs off-screen as the movie fades to black.A fun movie,  I  enjoyed the plot, action, fabulous cast and special effects, looking forward to watching the second one.

 

REVIEW: SAN ANDREAS

CAST

Dwayne Johnson (Fast & Furious 8)
Carla Gugino (Faster)
Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife)
Paul Giamatti (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Art Parkinson (Dracula Untold)
Will Yun Lee (The Wolverine)
Kylie Minogue (Sample People)
Colton Haynes (Arrow)

Raymond “Ray” Gaines is a Los Angeles Fire Department Air Rescue pilot in the midst of a divorce from Emma and planning a trip to San Francisco with his daughter Blake. Meanwhile, Caltech seismologist Dr. Lawrence Hayes and his colleague Dr. Kim Park are at Hoover Dam doing research for a new earthquake predicting model when a nearby and previously unknown fault ruptures. This triggers a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that collapses the dam and kills Park after he rescues a little girl and throws her to Hayes as he falls to the collapsing ground. When Ray is called into work because of this, Blake goes with her mother’s new boyfriend Daniel Riddick to San Francisco, instead of Ray.Hayes discovers that the entire San Andreas Fault is shifting and will soon cause a major earthquake, thereby destroying cities along the fault line. Emma is having lunch at a hotel in Downtown LA with Daniel’s sister Susan when the fault shifts triggering a 9.1 magnitude earthquake, with Susan among the casualties during the event. Rather than reporting for emergency rescue duty, Ray saves Emma from the collapsing building, and they escape the city aboard his helicopter, barely managing to swerve around the US Bank Tower as it comes crumbling down.In San Francisco, Daniel brings Blake to his office where she meets Ben, an engineer from England seeking employment and his brother, Ollie. Daniel and Blake leave the premises, but they become trapped in their car in the parking garage after a string of earthquakes, with Blake getting her legs pinned in the event. Daniel flees but Blake is found by Ben and Ollie, who help her escape. They then find a working phone in Chinatown and Blake calls Ray and Emma, who fly to San Francisco to save her.En route, Ray’s helicopter fails, forcing him to make an emergency landing at a shopping mall in Bakersfield. Amid the chaos of looting, he steals a truck and he and Emma escape. They come across an older couple broken down on the side of the road where the San Andreas Fault has opened up, blocking the road and the couple, who happen to own an airplane, agree to give it up in exchange for Ray’s vehicle. In San Francisco, Blake, Ben and Ollie are trying to find a place to signal Ray, as the point they agreed to meet at, Coit Tower, is engulfed in flames. On approach, Ray and Emma are forced to parachute in the city when a 9.6 magnitude quake hits the city, becoming the largest earthquake in history. Much of the city is left in ruins and Blake, Ben and Ollie narrowly survive. Ray and Emma, realizing they cannot make their way through the destroyed city, are able to commandeer a boat only to see that the water in the bay is beginning to recede, indicating that a megatsunami is approaching.As it approaches, Blake, Ben, and Ollie run into a building under construction which Daniel helped design. Ray and Emma, accompanied by dozens of other people in boats, manage to make it over the wave before it crests, barely avoiding a huge cargo ship getting caught up in the wave. They then watch in horror as the giant tsunami hits the Golden Gate Bridge with the enormous cargo ship, which snaps the center span cleanly in two; Daniel is among those killed when a loose shipping container crushes him. The wave then proceeds into the ruined city, swamping cruise ships, killing thousands and flooding the building Blake is in. Emma and Ray make their way through the flooded downtown area and are finally able to locate Blake, Ben, and Ollie as the building begins to sink beneath the water. Ray dives into the building to save Blake as she becomes unconscious while trapped underwater, while Emma breaks into the building with the boat and rescues everyone just as the building also collapses; however, it appears too late as Blake has seemingly drowned. Ray, however, manages to resuscitate her, and the family is happily reunited.They head to a relief camp where the reconciled Ray and Emma talk about their future; on the remains of the Golden Gate Bridge, an American flag unfolds, giving hope that the city will recover and rebuild as rescue vehicles descend on the radically altered landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area. Then the camera zooms out to see the whole Bay Area, showing that the bay now extends south from San Jose to Santa Cruz, turning the San Francisco peninsula into an island.Typical Rock actioner with great special effects and so so acting but I don’t think anyone expected an Oscar. The Rock does what he does best and it makes for an enjoyable watch.Classic popcorn movie.

31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: BURYING THE EX

CAST

Anton Yelchin (Star Trek)
Ashley Greene (Twilight)
Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw)
Oliver Cooper (Project X)
Archie Hahn (This Is Spinal Tap)
Mark Alan (Magic Hour)
Gabrielle Christian (American Gun)
Mindy Robinson (Iron Man 3)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)

Nice guy and horror fanatic Max (Anton Yelchin) is dating the beautiful-but-manipulative Evelyn (Ashley Greene). Evelyn is an extreme environmentalist working for a blog company that promotes “going green”, while Max works a dead-end job at the local horror shop named Bloody Mary’s. In many situations, Max often finds himself trapped trying to do whatever he can to keep Evelyn happy, including changing his diet and selling his old car. In addition to this, Max dreams of opening up a horror memorabilia shop of his own in the future, much to Evelyn’s dismay. One day at the shop, Max unloads the latest shipments and finds a Satan Genie, an object that claims it can grant anyone’s wants or desires. Believing it to just be another silly item for the shop, Max places it on the shelf in the storage room and dismisses it. Later that night, he and Evelyn have sex in the shop and make a promise to each other that they’ll be together forever. Shortly thereafter, Max has Evelyn move in with him. Max and Evelyn initially decide to celebrate this new development in their relationship by grabbing a bite to eat. Wanting Evelyn to try something he enjoys for a change, Max suggests they go to I-Scream, a malt hot-spot run by Olivia (Alexandra Daddario). Evelyn is immediately unkind to Olivia and believes her and Max were flirting with each other. As Max pleads his case to her, Evelyn tearfully admits that she doesn’t want to lose him and that he’s the only thing in her life that has made her happy since her mother’s death.

All seems to be great until Max comes back home to discover that Evelyn has redecorated their entire apartment to what she feels is aesthetically pleasing and has put away all of Max’s collectables and posters, ruining their price values. This leads to an argument where Max states that he and Evelyn should be making decisions together instead of her taking the reins on every little thing all the time. Feeling that Evelyn’s overbearing nature will lead him to be unhappy for the duration of their relationship, Max plans to break up with her but is too scared to do so. Max turns to his slacker half-brother Travis (Oliver Cooper) for advice. Travis suggests that Max break up with Evelyn in a public place so he can make a quick getaway and have everyone present see her for the control freak she truly is. However, the plan backfires when Evelyn accidentally gets hit by a bus on her way to the park. She dies in the middle of the road as a tearful Max watches.A couple weeks go by and Max has shut himself off emotionally, feeling responsible for Evelyn’s death. Travis swings by his place and, after seeing the funk he’s in, encourages him to get back out and move on. Max eventually runs into Olivia again and starts to hit it off with her. As the night progresses, Max and Olivia learn that they both share the same fascination for horror. But when Max and Olivia visit the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Evelyn is shown to have risen up from the dead and has dug herself up out of the ground. After Olivia walks Max back home, he’s quickly greeted by an undead Evelyn at the door. Evelyn is overjoyed and believes hers and Max’s love is being given a second chance and thinks they’re still dating. Frightened, Max realizes that the Satan Genie from the shop made their wish of being “together forever” come true and has brought Evelyn back from the dead. Still wanting to pursue Olivia, Max actively attempts to hide Evelyn from her. He’s also left to ponder how exactly he’s going officially dump Evelyn. Max presumes that the answer to his problems lie with the Satan Genie, only to have it shatter on the ground when he loses his footing. For his backup plan, Max then researches the occult/spell books the shop has available in the hopes of finding something that will send Evelyn back to her grave. He tries these techniques, but to no avail; as they have no effect on Evelyn whatsoeverTravis stumbles upon Max with a drunken Evelyn, and is reluctant to help him. He soon has a change of heart and tells Max that the only true way he can get rid of Evelyn is to decapitate her with a machete. Max tries to accomplish this but backs out at the last minute. The day before Halloween, Olivia drops by the shop to visit Max. It’s later interrupted by a phone call from Evelyn. Olivia (who still doesn’t know that Evelyn’s a zombie) thinks Max still hasn’t gotten over her just yet, but offers him an invitation to a screening of Night of the Living Dead at the cemetery. Travis steps up to the plate and offers to kill Evelyn so Max can meet Olivia at the movie. Travis shows up at the apartment under the guise of searching for an old DVD Max never returned to him and intentionally prolongs his stay, annoying Evelyn. She then develops a sudden craving for brains and ends up eating Travis. Meanwhile, Max and Olivia are enjoying each other’s company and end up having sex in the back of Olivia’s car.Upon Max’s return, he discovers Travis’s corpse in the living room. Knowing that Evelyn is now determined to kill anyone who gets in her way, Max tricks her into drawing a hot bubble bath for themselves in order to barricade the bathroom door and trap her inside. He rushes out of the apartment to get the police but leaves his cell phone behind. Evelyn doesn’t take too long to break free and escapes. She then kidnaps Olivia after she’s read the texts between her and Max. Having had no luck with the police, Max hears through one of the police scanners about someone knocking over a malt shop and realizes Olivia’s in trouble. Back at the apartment, Max sees Olivia tied up and Evelyn threatens to kill her. A battle ensues between Max, Evelyn, and Olivia, ending with Travis (now revealed to be a zombie himself) fatally stabbing Evelyn through the chest with the machete. With Evelyn finally gone, Max and Olivia take her body back to the cemetery and bury her. One year later, Max and Olivia’s relationship is still going strong. Max has long since quit his job at Bloody Mary’s, became business partners with Olivia—having joined his horror memorabilia store and her malt shop as an enterprise of their own—and is now truly happy. Max then surprises Olivia with an engagement ring, which she gladly accepts. And Travis, still in his zombie form, is shown sign-spinning outside the shop.A brilliant movie and definitely one to watch more than once

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 1,2,3 & 4

Image result for NEW GIRL LOGO

MAIN CAST

Zooey Deschanel (Yes Man)
Jake Johnson (Jurassic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (The Guild)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)
Damon Wayans Jr. (Big Hero 6)


RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (The Grinder)
Ian Wolterstorff (The Neighbours)
Katie Cassidy (Arrow)
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie)
Lake Bell (In A World…)
Justin Long (Waiting…)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved)
Michaela Watkins (Casual)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Rachael Harris (The Hangover)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Kali Hawk (Bridesmaids)
Jeff Kober (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Clarke Duke (Kick-Ass)
Ryan Kwanten (True Blood)
Joey King (The Dark Knight Rises)
June Diane Raphael (Bride Wars)
Dermot Multoney (The Grey)
Martin Starr (This Is The End)
Natalie Drefuss (The Originals)
Rebecca Reid (Eastern Promises)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Nelson Franklin (Argo)
Parker Posey (Superman Returns)
David Walton (Bad Moms)
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Molly Cheek (American Pie)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
Rob Reiner (This Is Spinal Tap)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens)
Carla Gugino (Watchman)
Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Dennis Farina (Get Shorty)
Nate Corddry (Mom)
Brooklyn Decker (Battleship)
Brenda Song (The Social Network)
Odette Annable (The Unborn)
Margo Martindale (Mike & Molly)
Merritt Weaver (Signs)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Mary Lynn Rajskub (2 Broke Girls)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Riki Lindhome (Much Ado About Nothing)
Jon Lovitz (Big)
Taye Diggs (Chicago)
Jessica Chaffin (Spy)
Nakia Burrise (Power Rangers Turbo)
Brian Posehn (The Big Bang Theory)
Ben Falcone (The Boss)
Prince (Purple Rain)
Linda Cardellini (Scooby-Doo)
Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Kerri Kenney (Anger Management)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Ciara Hanna (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Kaitlin Olson (The Heat)
Alan Ritchson (Smallville)
Erinn Hayes (The Watch)
Julian Morris (Hand of God)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Amber Stevens West (22 Jump Street)
Greta Lee (St. Vincent)
Barry Bostwick (Spin City)
Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens)
Zoe Lister-Jones (Salt)
Nora Dunn (Bones)

Your desire to watch New Girl is probably predicated by Zooey Deschanel, her cutesy fringe and massive possum eyes but rest assured there is a lot more to this show than that. If you aren’t already a Zooey fan please don’t let the somewhat annoying portmanteau “Adorkable” put you off seeing this great show.In my opinion the first few episodes of the show’s run are a little weak, but as season 1 continues this show goes from strength to strength as the writers seem to be figuring out what works and getting rid of what doesn’t. If you have seen the first few episodes on TV and are not sure if this show is for you I would definitely recommend sticking with it as the characters become less cartoonish and more fleshed out. While there are lots of comedies about people in their 20s and early 30s struggling with quarter-life crises, this show find a fresh approach to these issues that both men and women of this age in particular should enjoy.

There is lots of cringe-inducing humour and the show benefits from a great deal of physical humour and sight-gags as well as nerdy rapid-fire verbal comedy (which is my favourite!). I would definitely recommend getting this show on DVD, as it is incredibly rewatchable. Not only will you quickly come to really enjoy `hanging-out’ with these characters but sometimes the jokes and quips come so quickly you will definitely pick up on jokes you missed during the first watch.

The actors are all excellent and are perfectly cast in their different roles bringing a real warmth to the relationships between the main characters. Zooey is excellent as Jess and is a really refreshing comic lead. It is great to see a quirky, laid-back female character as so often actresses in sit-coms are relegated to being the nagging girlfriend/wife or to just commenting on the funny situations the male characters get themselves in to. Not only is Jess a witty character but also her lack of tact and weirdness are frequently sources of humour, as are the gaffs of her three roommates. Schmit is the break out character of the show for me. While in the first episode he comes across as an arrogant, shallow meat-head he quickly becomes more nuanced and sensitive and in my opinion is far and away one of the funniest characters on TV.The first season of New Girl established the will-they-won’t-they pairing of Nick and Jess and the they-did-will-it-last coupling of Schmidt and CeCe, so the second season is all about raising the stakes for them. For Nick and Jess this takes the form of bad relationships keeping their minds off messing with the loft dynamic by dating a roommate. Though each has some legitimate opportunities for happiness, be it Jess’ commitment-phobic Dr. Sam or Nick’s sexually adventurous stripper girlfriend (played by Olivia Munn.) However knowing that there remains a chance they could end up together leads to frequent self-sabotage.As much as Deschannel is the star of the show, Johnson has quietly become just as integral, as Nick grows and discovers himself, with the help of his future self and a water-massaging elderly Asian gentleman (the show can get weird sometimes.)For Schmidt and CeCe, reality is far less promising, as CeCe begins to sense her biological clock is ticking, and finds herself on a course for an arranged marriage to a pleasant man who just isn’t Schmidt. Meanwhile, the one true Schmidt seeks to alleviate the impending loss of his caramel queen by running back to his one true love, Elizabeth, a girl he dated in college, when he was hundreds of pounds heavier. It sets up a troubling love triangle, as the real Schmidt is just right for Elizabeth, but the Schmidt he wants to be is a perfect match for CeCe. While there’s a grimy aspect to Schmidt keeping two women secret from each other, on the other hand, Greenfield makes it work by showing Schmidt cares about both women and is, oddly, doing it to not hurt either of them, rather than out of some sort of romantic greed. It’s an unusual situation, and one the show handles well.The focus on Schmidt and CeCe this season unleashes the show’s secret weapon, as Simone proves to be one of the most consistently funny performers in the series, popping in a look or a delivery that’s just perfect for the situation. Many of the show’s best moments this season grow out of CeCe’s on and off again connection with Schmidt, with the season’s home-stretch existing only thanks to the culture clash that grows from her arranged marriage, Part of what makes her so entertaining is how her exotic beauty gets betrayed to hilarious effect by her ability to be wonderfully silly. (The other benefit of having CeCe around is the presence of her Russian modeling pal Nadia (Rebecca Reid), who is economically hysterical, with a higher laugh to word ratio than anyone on TV.)The mix in the loft is why the show works so well, as the quartet of roomies and friends behaves realistically, no matter how offbeat the situation may be or how odd the four may sometimes get. So whether it’s Schmidt feeling old thanks to some hipsters who have imoved in and befriended Jess, the exploration of the group’s most annoying aspects (a.k.a. “pogos”) or Winston struggling with his period, they mercilessly tease each other, but have each other’s back to the end. This is never more clearly illustrated than in “Virgins,” where the crew one-up each other with their horrible tales of their first sexual experiences. The way they interact is as close to real friends as anything on TV.With the series expanding upon the world created in the first season, we get to meet more of the people in the lives of the four roommates, and those additions were rather impressive, to go with returning speicial guests, like June Diane Raphael (playing Jess’ lesbian gynocologist.) The late Dennis Farina had a great turn as Nick’s con-man father, while Margot Martindale plays his brassy mom, Nick Kroll is his dim-witted brother and Bill Burr is his Beantown cousin. Meanwhile on Jess’ side, they snagged Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis to play her feuding parents (and Reiner should become a series regular as her dad). Add in Rob Riggle as Schmidt’s brother, Carla Gugino as his sexually-aggressive boss and Brenda Song as Winston’s new lady friend, and the show managed to cultivate a fine ensemble outside of the core five, expanding and improving the series.

The natural progression of the relationships between Nick and Jess and Schmidt and CeCe, along with the changes in the world around them, made for an entertaining season that balanced silly fun with genuine emotion.
Coach’s return was a little unexpected, there was already a great ensemble, why mess with it? For those who don’t know, Coach was one of the original characters from the pilot. Wayans’s was already cast in Happy Endings, but with Happy Endings suffering in the ratings, it was expected to be cancelled, leaving Wayans’s free to find another role. It didn’t get cancelled, and New Girl even benefited with the addition of Winston. Eventually, Happy Endings was cancelled, and Coach comes back.  Coach’s return to, guess what, coaching was inspired, and his slight change in focus really benefits both him and Schmidt, as well as the show as a whole. By the end of the season, it feels like Coach has always been there!
Then there is Winston. It really is a testament to Lamorne Morris’s ability as an actor and comic that he has got so much out of character that doesn’t really have much to do. I think he’s one of the least developed characters, and with so much focus on Nick & Jess, the re-introduction of Coach and Schmidt’s all round issues, he’s left to fill out episode storylines without getting much development himself. The comic relief Winston provides is necessary to balance out the drama with the other characters, but it’s a shame so much of it is just short story arcs or lasts just a single episode. If there’s any area I’d like season 4 to develop, it’s Winston. There is just too much talent and comedy to ignore.

New Girl continues its solid track record, producing a classic relationship season without losing the fact it’s a comedy at heart. Well executed by all involved.

Romantic relationships remain the primary concerns of Jess, her four dude roommates, and her best friend Cece (Hannah Simone). In season three, Jess and her cute slacker roomie Nick (Jake Johnson) made good on the will-they-or-won’t-they? dynamic teased in the previous seasons and are already peaceably broken up at this point. (The episode “Goldmine” nicely addresses the difficulty of getting people not to bail on dates with each of them after learning that they live in the same apartment as their ex.) At work, Jess has made it up the ranks from schoolteacher to vice principal, which is all well and good until she gets a crush on a new British teacher (Pretty Little Liars’ Julian Morris) with the saucy name Ryan Geauxinue (pronounced “Goes-In-You”); unfortunately for Jess, administrator-teacher couplings are a no-no, so she tries to ignore the hunk. (That doesn’t happen.) Nick finds Kai (Greta Lee), a lady who likes to lay about the apartment as much as himself; rookie cop Winston (Lamorne Morris) “investigates” her behavior for his roommate and decides she must be homeless. (She’s not.)
The show’s other key couple, former-model-turned-inept-bartender Cece (Hannah Simone) and metrosexual would-be player Schmidt (Max Greenfield), continue their pas de deux; Schmidt starts off the season overwhelmingly obsessed with Cece while she just wants to move on. As the season continues, Schmidt cools it a bit and finds a way to be Cece’s friend… which, of course, just makes her remember why she liked him in the first place. Unfortunately, by this point, Schmidt has started up with manipulative, career-driven city councilwoman Fawn Moscato (Zoe Lister-Jones). Fawn’s power excites Schmidty, but is this duo built to last?
 Wayans was a “recurring” cast member in season 3, but he’s a full-fledged co-star in season four. His presence in the show — besides demonstrating  that non-“niche” sitcom ensembles can have more than one black dude in them — is wonderfully layered with jock-y braggadocio, hidden tenderness, and amiable goofiness. Coach also reacts to relationship strife in the most entertaining ways possible, whether it’s emotionally breaking down as he tries to describe fertilization in a health class he’s teaching or attracting a bar full of ladies to grind up against him to the strains of Alannah Myles’s “Black Velvet.”
That just leaves Winston, who occasionally takes a break from studying for his police exam and from being in love with his cat to try to woo a human lady. I have to admit that Winston’s decision to become a cop just keeps reminding me of the later seasons of That ’70s Show, where Kelso’s decision to join the police academy also felt fairly arbitrary and strange. This is addressed in a subplot in the episode “Par 5,” which was actually co-written by  Lamorne Morris, in which the character feels forced to hide his profession when he starts dating a woman who actively protests the LAPD. This episode tries to add a little nuance and depth to Winston’s choice to be a policeman.
For a show with so many semi-arrested characters, gaining maturity and finding worthwhile career paths are unsurprisingly also an ongoing component of the show. Jess and Winston, of course, seem like they’re right where they want to be career-wise with the vice principal and police gigs respectively. Nick continues to flounder professionally, but eventually teams up with Schmidt to start their own entrepreneurial concern, and while their first concept — a suit made out of sweatsuit material — is a dud, the show seems optimistic about them finding fulfillment in working together. Cece finally goes to college, with some financial help from Coach and Winston, who consider it an investment that they expect to see repaid. When they find out Cece uses the opportunity to take somewhat esoteric liberal arts courses, the fellas are duly perturbed.
Once again, the show opens its doors to a number of excellent guest stars, including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson as Jess’s former classmate and potential stepmom (Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis return as Jess’s divorced parents), Jessica Biel as a romantic rival for Jess, Billy Eichner as a stressed-out, catty airport employee on Christmas, Childrens Hospital’s Erinn Hayes as a promiscuous school nurse, Lisa Bonet as the touchy-feely leader of a teachers conference, Nora Dunn as Schmidt’s overbearing mother, and on and on. Justin Long. Josh Gad. Michaela Watkins. Barry Bostwick. Sarah Burns. Kurt Braunohler. Regis Philbin. Funny people!
 The ensemble cast truly shines in this newest season of New Girl. Some episodes come in a little below expectations, but overall the season offers some interesting developments for the characters and oodles of great jokes. If you like the show, keep liking the show.