REVIEW: FROZEN II

Starring

Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Idina Menzel (Enchanted)
Jonathan Groff (American Sniper)
Josh Gad (New Girl)
Sterling K. Brown (BLack Panther)
Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Martha Plimpton (The Goonies)
Jason Ritter (The East)
Rachel Matthews (Happy Death Day)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Ciaran Hinds (Game of Thrones)
Phil LaMarr (Futurama)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Grey Griffin (The Book of Life)
Kari Wahlgren (DC Super Hero Girls)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)

 

Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, and Jonathan Groff in Frozen II (2019)King Agnarr of Arendelle tells a story to his young children, Elsa and Anna, that their grandfather, King Runeard, established a treaty with the neighboring tribe of Northuldra by building a dam in their homeland, the Enchanted Forest. However, a fight occurs, resulting in Runeard’s death and enraging the elemental spirits of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air of the forest. The spirits disappear and a wall of mist traps everyone in the Enchanted Forest. Young Agnarr barely escapes due to the help of an unknown savior.Idina Menzel in Frozen II (2019)Three years after her coronation, Elsa celebrates autumn in the kingdom with Anna, Olaf the snowman, Kristoff the ice harvester, and Kristoff’s reindeer Sven. One night, when Elsa hears a mysterious voice calling out to her, she follows it and unintentionally awakens the elemental spirits, which forces everyone in the kingdom to evacuate. Grand Pabbie and the Trolls colony arrive at Arendelle and Pabbie informs that they must set things right by discovering the truth about the kingdom’s past.Idina Menzel in Frozen II (2019)Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven embark to the Enchanted Forest, following the mysterious voice. After the mist parts at Elsa’s touch, the Air spirit, in the form of a tornado, appears and sweeps everyone in its vortex. Elsa stops it, forming a set of ice sculptures. The sisters discover the sculptures are images from their father’s past. They encounter the Northuldra and a troop of Arendellian soldiers who are still in conflict with one another. When the Fire spirit appears, Elsa discovers the spirit to be an agitated magical salamander, and calms it down. Elsa and Anna arrange a truce between the soldiers and the Northuldra after discovering that their mother, Queen Iduna, was a Northuldra who had saved Agnarr, an Arendellian. They later learn the existence of a fifth spirit who will unite people and the magic of nature.Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, and Jonathan Groff in Frozen II (2019)Elsa, Anna and Olaf continue to head north, leaving Kristoff and Sven behind. They find their parents’ wrecked ship and a map with a route to Ahtohallan, a mythical river told by their mother to contain all explanations of the past. Elsa sends Anna and Olaf away to safety and continues alone. She encounters and tames the Nøkk, the Water spirit who guards the sea to Ahtohallan. Reaching Ahtohallan, a glacier, Elsa discovers that the voice calling to her was the memory of young Iduna’s call; that her powers were given to her by nature because of Iduna’s selfless act of saving Agnarr; and that Elsa herself is the fifth spirit.Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel in Frozen II (2019)Elsa then learns that the dam was built as a ruse to reduce the Northuldra’s resources because of King Runeard’s dislike of the tribe’s connection with magic and his intention to incorporate the region into his kingdom. She also learns he was the one who initiated the conflict by killing the unarmed leader of the Northuldra. Elsa sends this information to Anna before becoming frozen due to venturing into the most dangerous part of Ahtohallan. This in turn causes Olaf to fade away. Anna receives Elsa’s message and concludes that the dam must be destroyed for peace to be restored. Anna finds and awakens the gigantic Earth spirits and lures them towards the dam. The giants hurl boulders aimed at Anna which destroy the dam, sending a flood down the fjord to the kingdom. Elsa thaws out and returns to Arendelle, diverting the flood and saving the kingdom.As the mist disappears, Elsa reunites with Anna and revives Olaf. Kristoff asks Anna to marry him and she accepts. Elsa explains that she and Anna are now the bridge between the people and the magical spirits. Anna becomes the Queen of Arendelle while Elsa becomes the protector of the Enchanted Forest, who regularly visits Arendelle as peace has been restored. In a post-credit scene, Olaf visits Elsa’s ice palace and recounts the events he experienced to Marshmallow and the SnowgiesKristen Bell and Idina Menzel in Frozen II (2019)Compared to the first film, Frozen 2 does have a more complicated plot and, maybe, hard to digest for young children. Not only that, the nuances throughout the film are also darker than the first. However, Frozen 2 still deserves to be called a very neat film, especially visually. Makes you curious? You have to watch it so that all your questions are answered …

REVIEW: SECRET IN THEIR EYES

Starring

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity)
Nicole Kidman (To Die For)
Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Michael Kelly (Now You See Me)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Zoe Graham (Boyhood)
Lyndon Smith (The Forger)
Joe Cole (Green Room)
Donald Patrick Harvey (Taken 3)
Mark Famiglietti (Flashforward)
Ross Partridge (Amityville: A New Generation)
Noel Gugliemi (The Fast and The Furious)

Julia Roberts in Secret in Their Eyes (2015)In 2002, shortly after 9/11, Ray Kasten (Ejiofor), a counterterrorism agent for the FBI, and his friend Jessica “Jess” Cobb (Roberts), an investigator for the Los Angeles district attorney’s office, meet new ADA Claire Sloan (Kidman). Jess and Ray receive a call about an unknown female body found in a dumpster near a local mosque, which Ray has been investigating for possible terrorist links. At the crime scene, both are devastated to discover that the victim is Jess’s 18-year-old daughter, Carolyn (Zoe Graham), whose body has been bleached inside and out to destroy DNA evidence of both rape and murder.Chiwetel Ejiofor and Dean Norris in Secret in Their Eyes (2015)Ray, who was supposed to meet Carolyn to plan a surprise party for Jess, feels responsible for what happened to her, while Jess feels the increasing need to move out of the city. While helping Jess pack, Ray notices pictures from a picnic thrown for law enforcement in which a young man is seen staring at Carolyn. Ray scans the photo and matches it to Anzor Marzin (Cole), who is an informant in the terrorism probe. D.A. Martin Morales (Molina) is reluctant to go after Marzin, fearing it would compromise the terrorism investigation. Officer Reggie Siefert (Kelly) brings in a suspect named Aban Ghazala (Amir Malaklou), who Ray realizes is not the killer.Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Kelly in Secret in Their Eyes (2015)Ray forces Siefert to admit that he set up Ghazala as a patsy to protect Marzin. Ray and Detective Bumpy Willis (Norris) track down and arrest Marzin at Dodger Stadium. Claire argues with Ray over his methods while seemingly defending Marzin, saying he wasn’t capable of the crime. Claire taunts Marzin, provoking him to expose himself and punch her, saying he’s going to give Claire what Carolyn got. Ray beats Marzin, which leads to Morales ordering Marzin released. As Marzin gloats, an enraged Ray suggests they kill him before he gets away, but Jess refuses to go that route, saying death would be too easy on him. After his release, the police find Marzin’s van, but Siefert burns it to destroy the evidence against Marzin.Chiwetel Ejiofor in Secret in Their Eyes (2015)Thirteen years later, Ray, now head of security for the New York Mets, returns to Los Angeles and reunites with Claire, now the D.A. Jess, who has been asocial since the loss of her daughter, is Claire’s top investigator. Ray has found a man named Clay Beckwith (Cole), who he believes is Marzin living under an alias. The investigation eventually leads to a shootout with Beckwith in which Siefert is killed. Beckwith and his men are arrested, but Jess insists that Beckwith is not Marzin. When Ray and Claire pay a visit to Jess’s isolated farmhouse, she confesses that she found and killed Marzin thirteen years previously, shortly after Ray left Los Angeles. Later, Ray follows Jess into her barn and discovers that Marzin is actually alive, having been imprisoned in a cage for over a decade. Marzin begs Ray to ask Jess to talk to him. Ray pulls out his gun and leaves it with Jess as he goes outside and starts digging a grave. Ray hears Jess shooting Marzin. The two meet each other with a sense of relief while Claire officially closes Carolyn’s case.Nicole Kidman in Secret in Their Eyes (2015)I am certainly not saying that the original might not be much better. I have it on my list to watch but in my opinion, if you like thrillers and movies with some twists and turns and want to be entertained I recommend giving it a chance.

 

REVIEW: THE DA VINCI CODE

CAST

Tom Hanks (Sully)
Audrey Tautou (Priceless)
Ian McKellen (X-Men)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Jürgen Prochnow (Dune)
Jean Reno (Mission Impossible)
Paul Bettany (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Seth Gabel (Arrow)

Tom Hanks and Jean Reno in The Da Vinci Code (2006)Jacques Saunière, the Louvre’s curator, is pursued through the Grand Gallery by an albino Catholic monk named Silas, who demands the location of the Priory’s “keystone” to find and destroy the Holy Grail. Saunière gives him a false lead and is murdered. When the police arrive, they find his body posed like Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. The police captain, Bezu Fache, sends his lieutenant, Jérôme Collet, to summon American symbologist Robert Langdon, in the midst of signing autographs after one of his public talks, to examine Saunière’s body.Tom Hanks, Ian McKellen, and Audrey Tautou in The Da Vinci Code (2006)At the museum, Langdon is shown the body, and a secret message, readable only by blacklight, that contains an out-of-order Fibonacci sequence. Sophie Neveu, a police cryptographer and Saunière’s granddaughter, reveals to Langdon that Fache planted a tracker on him after finding the words “P.S. Find Robert Langdon” at the end of Saunière’s secret message, leading Fache to believe Langdon murdered Saunière. The two get rid of the tracker, distracting the police, and sneak around the Louvre, finding more clues in Leonardo da Vinci’s works, eventually leading to Langdon to deduce that Saunière was the grand master of the Priory of Sion.Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou in The Da Vinci Code (2006)Silas is revealed to be working for an anonymous person named the Teacher, along with members of Opus Dei, led by Bishop Aringarosa. Evading the police, Langdon and Sophie travel to the Depository Bank of Zurich, where they access a safe deposit box of Saunière’s, using the Fibonacci sequence. Inside the box is a cryptex, a cylindrical container that can only be safely opened by turning dials to spell a code word, and which contains a message on papyrus. The police arrive outside and Langdon and Sophie are aided by the bank manager, Andre Vernet, only for him to attempt to take the cryptex and murder them. Langdon disarms Vernet and flees with Sophie and the cryptex.Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou in The Da Vinci Code (2006)The two visit Langdon’s friend, Sir Leigh Teabing, a Holy Grail expert who walks using crutches, who claims the Grail is not a cup but instead Mary Magdalene, Jesus Christ’s wife. Teabing argues that she was pregnant during His crucifixion, and the Priory was formed to protect their descendants. The Opus Dei have been trying to destroy the Grail to preserve the credibility of the Vatican. Later, Silas breaks into Teabing’s house, but Teabing, using one of his crutches, disables him. The group escapes to London via Teabing’s private plane, along with his butler, Remy Jean. They travel to the Temple Church, but the clue to unlocking the cryptex is a red herring. Silas is freed by Remy while claiming to be the Teacher and taking Teabing hostage, dumping him in the car trunk, and taking Silas to hide out in an Opus Dei safe house. Teabing later poisons Remy and sends the police after Silas. Silas is shot by police after accidentally wounding Aringarosa, who is promptly arrested by Fache, who resents being used to hunt Langdon.Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou in The Da Vinci Code (2006)Langdon and Sophie are confronted by Teabing, who is revealed to be the Teacher, and who wants to bring down the Church for centuries of persecution and deceit. The trio goes to Westminster Abbey to the tomb of Isaac Newton, a former grand master of the Priory. Teabing demands that the pair open the cryptex. Langdon tries and then tosses the cryptex into the air. Teabing dives for it, catches it, but acid dribbles and the papyrus thought destroyed. The police arrive to arrest Teabing, who realizes Langdon must have solved the cryptex’s code and removed the papyrus. The code is revealed to be “APPLE”, after the apocryphal myth of the apple which led Newton to discover his law of universal gravitation. The clue inside the cryptex, which tells of the Grail hiding “‘neath the rose”, leads Langdon and Sophie to Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland.Inside the chapel, they discover Magdalene’s tomb has been removed.Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code (2006)Langdon, after searching through documents, realizes that Sophie’s family died in a car crash, that Saunière was not her grandfather but her protector, and that she is the last descendant of Jesus Christ. The two are greeted by several members of the Priory, including Sophie’s grandmother, who promises to protect her. Langdon and Sophie part ways, the former returning to Paris. While shaving, he cuts himself and has an epiphany when his blood curves down the sink, reminding him of the Rose Line. Realizing the true meaning of the cryptex clue, he follows the line to the Louvre, concluding the Holy Grail, the sarcophagus of Mary Magdalene, is hidden below the Pyramide Inversée. Langdon kneels above it.Audrey Tautou in The Da Vinci Code (2006)In the end, in spite of all the controversies, perhaps Robert Langdon’s line is poignant – if given a chance, would you rather destroy faith, or renew it? The book and the movie have provided an opportunity for the faith to renew itself, to debunk the myths and theories (which were developed loosely to make the story flow of course), and to generally point the curious to the direction and light the faith wants to show.  This Ron Howard movie makes a good summer popcorn flick, with the usual thrills and spills you’d come to expect with its superb production values.

 

REVIEW: ABDUCTION

CAST

Taylor Lautner (Twilight)
Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Jason Isaacs (Star Trek: Discovery)
Maria Bello (The Cooler)
Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
Michael Nyqvist (John Wick)
Dermot Mulroney (Young Guns)
Nickola Shreli (Hostel – Part III)
Elisabeth Röhm (Joy)
Ilia Volok (Power Rangers: Wild Force)
Denzel Whitaker (The Purge TV)

Denzel Whitaker and Taylor Lautner in Abduction (2011)Nathan Harper (Taylor Lautner) is an 18-year-old high school senior living in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his parents Kevin (Jason Isaacs) and Mara (Maria Bello). He has troubles from recurring nightmares and has been seeing psychiatrist Dr. Geraldine “Geri” Bennett (Sigourney Weaver) to diagnose them. Nathan is teamed with Karen Murphy (Lily Collins) for a school research project on missing children. Nathan discovers he looks very much like an age-progression photo of a missing child, Steven Price. His investigations show that his parents are probably biologically unrelated. He approaches Mara and she confirms the truth. She goes off crying to get his father to help her explain it all to him. Two men claiming to be from the Department of Juvenile Justice arrive at Nathan’s home in the evening while Mara is on her way to get Kevin. Mara is suspicious and attacks the two, but is shot and killed by the intruders. Kevin is also killed, but not before subduing one agent, as well as yelling for Nathan to run. Nathan runs but returns for Karen, who is now captured by the remaining agent. Nathan overpowers the agent and rescues Karen, he attempts to find out who the man is, but is suddenly forced out of the house because a bomb planted there is about to detonate.Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins in Abduction (2011)The blast injures Karen, so Nathan takes her to the hospital and attempts to contact the police. His call is intercepted by CIA operative Frank Burton (Alfred Molina), who tells Nathan he is in danger and he will send two men to collect him. Nathan is suspicious and while he is trying to make sense of it all, Dr. Bennett appears and helps him and Karen escape. While driving away, Dr. Bennett explains that Nathan’s biological father, Martin (Dermot Mulroney), stole an encrypted list of 25 corrupt CIA operatives from the Serbian terrorist Nikola Kozlow (Michael Nyqvist) when Nathan was 3: Kozlow then planned on abducting Nathan to coerce Martin to hand over the list. Nathan had been given to his adoptive parents to protect him. Kozlow used the website to claim Nathan as the missing child Steven Price in order to find him. Dr. Bennett gives Nathan the address of a safe house in Arlington, Virginia and tells him to trust only his biological father Martin and a man named Paul Rasmus. Kozlow’s men follow them, but Bennett is able to help them escape. Meanwhile, Burton is warned by his superior to end the situation as soon as possible once he learns of the involvement of Bennett, who is revealed to be a former CIA operative.Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins in Abduction (2011)Arriving at the safehouse: the two obtain money, a gun, a photo of Nathan’s biological mother Lorna Price (Elisabeth Röhm), and a cell phone. Karen tries to call her family, but her call is intercepted by Burton and the CIA, forcing them to flee. Finding the address for his mother, the pair discover the address is a cemetery and that Lorna has died. Nathan and Karen visit her grave and find fresh flowers there, and, according to the graveyard attendant, the sender is Paul Rasmus, who lives in Nebraska. The two take an Amtrak passenger train to get there using fake IDs provided by their friend Gilly (Denzel Whitaker). En route they confess their feelings for each other and share a passionate kiss. They are unaware that they are being followed by Kozlow’s right-hand man who abducts Karen when she goes out for food. He leaves her bound and gagged with duct tape in a separate room, but she frees herself by using a piece of broken glass. Nathan fights the right-hand man and he throws him out the window. After the train stops the two make a run for it. Burton’s team finds Kozlow’s henchman and tracks them down.Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins in Abduction (2011)Burton explains the data that Martin had stolen contains Burton’s name on the list. As Burton tries to play that off, the agents are attacked by Kozlow’s snipers. Nathan and Karen take off in a car before they can be caught. As they flee, the cell phone from Kozlow’s man rings, the caller is Kozlow and he threatens to kill Karen’s parents if Nathan does not hand over the data. Nathan gets Kozlow to agree to make the transaction at a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game at their home stadium, the PNC Park.Alfred Molina and Taylor Lautner in Abduction (2011)Nathan works with Gilly to obtain tickets and secures a gun to one of the seats with the intent to kill Kozlow. Martin calls Nathan and warns him off, but Nathan refuses to listen. When Kozlow arrives, Karen takes Kozlow’s photo so Nathan can recognize him. The two meet and Kozlow tells Nathan how he killed his mother when Nathan was 3 after she refused to give up Martin’s location. Kozlow grabs the gun from Nathan and demands the list, Nathan bolts and Kozlow gives chase, followed by CIA operatives who have seen them in the crowd. Nathan is able to escape and Kozlow is killed by Martin. Burton, his superior and his agents arrive. Burton asks for the cell phone, promising to give the decrypted results to his superior. However, Martin had warned his superior about Burton’s corruption and takes the phone himself while Burton is taken into custody. Martin calls Nathan, apologizing for not being the father he should have been, Nathan asks him to show himself but Martin refuses. Bennett arrives with Karen and says she has arranged for Nathan to live with her until he decides what to pursue in his life. As the movie ends, Nathan and Karen go on a date in the empty PNC Park.Taylor Lautner in Abduction (2011)OK, we got to face that Abduction is not a ground-breaking title, but it’s far from trash. It’s a fine movie besides some goofs that you will only notice if you are watch every single scene several times. There is no riddles, nothing to put you trying to figure it out. A fast pacing movie enjoyable after a day at work. Twilight haters are being too harsh on the reviews, Abduction was never supposed to win an academy awards, but it’s not a waste of time neither money if you are looking for a light action movie.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE – SEASON 2

Main Cast

Kevin Conroy (Justice League Doom)
George Newbern (Law & Order: SVU)
Susan Eisenberg (Lego aquaman)
Phil LaMarr (Futurama)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Maria Canals (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns)

justice-league-season-2-2-twilight-part-2-brainiac-review-episode-guide-list

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Corey Burton (Transformers)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek: DS9)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Mitchell Ryan (Halloween 6)
Rob Paulsen (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Tom Kenny (The Super Hero Squad Show)
William Atherton (Die Hard)
Fairuza Balk (The Craft)
Dana Delany (Tombstone)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Peri Gilpin (Frasier)
Mark Rolston (Aliens)
Jason Marsden (Hocus Pocus)
David Kaufman (Prom Night)
Dorie Barton (Down With Love)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Larry Drake (Darkman)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Kim Mai Guest (TMNT)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Michael Jai White (Arrow)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Diane Pershing (Gotham Girls)
Bruce McGill (Lincoln)
Ted McGinley (No Good Nick)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Lukas Haas (Inception)
Tracey Walter (batman)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)
Brian Doyle-Murray (JFK)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Scott Rummell (Six)
Kristin Bauer van Straten (Nocturnal Animals)
Powers Boothe (Sin City)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lamabs)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Brad Garrett (Tangled)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Hot Shots)
Arleen Sorkin (Days of Our Lives)
Khary Payton (The Walking Dead)
Greg Cipes (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans Go)
John C. McGinley (Scrubs)
Hynden Walch (Groundhog Day)
Ian Buchanan (Panic Room)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
Kimberly Brooks (Voltron)
Robert Ito (Midway)
Victor Rivers (The Mask of Zorro)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Elizabeth Peña (The Incredibles)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)

MV5BMTkxOTY5NTY5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjEwOTM2MjE@._V1_Now this is more like it. Justice League’s second season takes all of the wrinkles found in the first year and smoothes them over. The action is bigger, the stories are more exciting, and Batman’s rating on the cool-o-meter reaches new highs – exactly how things should be. The result is a boxed set that offers perhaps the finest collection of superhero animation that your hard-earned dollars can buy. They don’t come any better then this, kids.MV5BODg3ODYzM2QtNTIwOS00YzhjLThmMDItZTY4MDc0NzU1NDhkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_Much like the comic book universe from which these characters came, the Warner Bros. superhero shows headed by Bruce Timm and friends (Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond) have created a continuity and universe all their own. Justice League is the latest (and, sadly, final) entry in this cartoon universe and it takes all of the best stuff from what has come before it and combines it into a near-perfect superhero animated series. While the first season was light on character development and solid storytelling, the second season gets the balance of action, story, and character just right. Again we’ve got great supporting characters and villains from the DC universe; Darkseid, John Dee, Despero, and even Doomsday all make appearances.MV5BMTQxNzgzNDg3OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTAwOTM2MjE@._V1_The action is also a lot more exciting, with more imagination having gone into the writing of the fights. Furthermore, this season we’ve got some great CG effects (used for vehicles and ships) – the air dogfight in Maid of Honor between the Batwing and some jetfighters is especially cool to watch.  Another standout this season is the music. The series composers (Lolita Ritmanis, Michael McCuistion, and Kristopher Carter) have created some amazing stuff here. In each episode you’ll find several musical cues that will really get your attention and at least one that will tug at the ol’ heartstrings. The music knows when to fade into the background and let the images do the work and when to take centre stage. With stuff this good you want the music to take centre stage as much as possible. There is a Princess Mononoke-esque “nature endures” moment in Hearts and Minds where the score was just wonderful. The music in these episodes is too good for a cartoon TV show.MV5BMTQ1MjM0MTMwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjc5ODM2MjE@._V1_So the action is awesome, Superman is fixed, and the music is one-of-a-kind. All that’s left is the writing… and it’s the best part. The writing here is really great, with story and character always being the focus of each episode. A Better World answers a simple question in an interesting way: what if Superman crossed the line? In an alternate universe, Superman realizes that Luthor really is an unredeemable villain and he kills him. We see that the murder – even the murder of a monster like Luthor – changes both Superman and the League. They become Big Brother-like sentries of the planet. When a cross-dimensional rift is opened, this “darker” league (known as the Justice Lords) has a showdown with our untainted heroes. The episode brings up some very interesting questions and is a blast to watch.MV5BMTYwOTU0OTUwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTk5ODM2MjE@._V1_We’ve also got some fantastic variety. The Paul Dini-penned Comfort and Joy is a very touching Christmas episode, while Hereafter transports Superman to a Planet of the Apes-ish future where he is the planet’s sole survivor (he even grows a Robinson Crusoe beard and fashions himself a jungle-machete!). The Terror Beyond makes for a very fun H.P. Lovecraft-inspired romp which sees Solomon Grundy fighting his way into the brain of the massive Ichthulhu (voiced by Rob Zombie) and wrestling a nightmare creature inside this thing’s head. Very bizarre, but very cool. Finally there’s the three-part season finale, Starcrossed. This is a balls-to-the-wall action spectacular which culminates in Batman piloting the League’s watchtower into the planet, while Green Lantern and Hawkgirl’s relationship is torn to shreds.MV5BMTkxMDQzODI2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDIwOTM2MjE@._V1_This is a fantastic collection of episodes, to be sure, but there are still a few nitpicks that keep the set from getting a perfect score. For one, while Superman is tougher, much of the new attitude doesn’t feel genuine – it seems that they wanted to make him “cooler” so they made him more badass. Problem is, Superman isn’t a badass character. Second, there are a few episodes (Maid of Honor and Eclipsed) that feel somewhat stale, and one episode, Wild Cards, that, sadly, let its driving gag get the better of the story. On TV you’ll find many cartoons, but you’ll only find one Justice League – its second season is a shining example of superhero animation done right in virtually every respect. Most importantly, the show’s creators have crafted a series that respects the intelligence, attention-span, and maturity of its audience. This isn’t just a kids show nor is it just a television show. It’s Justice League – and it’s great.

REVIEW: RANGO

Starring

Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Ilsa Fisher (Wedding Crashers)
Timothy Olyphant (Santa Clarita Diet)
Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens)
Ned Beatty (Superman)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Stephen Root (Dodgeball)
Bill Nighy (Dad’s Army)
Harry Dean Stanton (Avengers Assemble)
Ray Winstone (Elfie Hopkins)
Ian Abercrombie (Birds of Prey)
Claudia Black (The Originals)
Beth Grant (Child’s Play 2)
Ryan Hurst (Bates Motel)
Vincent Kartheiser (Angel)
Alanna Ubach (Waiting…)
Kym Whitley (Fuller House)

Johnny Depp and Abigail Breslin in Rango (2011)A pet chameleon (Johnny Depp) becomes stranded in the Mojave Desert of Nevada after his terrarium falls from his owners’ car by accident. He meets an armadillo named Roadkill (Alfred Molina) who is seeking the mystical “Spirit of the West”. While wandering the desert, he narrowly avoids being eaten by a vicious red-tailed hawk before meeting the desert iguana Beans (Isla Fisher). Beans takes him to Dirt, an Old West town populated by desert animals.Johnny Depp in Rango (2011)The chameleon presents himself to the townsfolk as a tough drifter named “Rango”. He quickly runs afoul of outlaw Gila monster Bad Bill (Ray Winstone) but avoids a shootout when Bill is scared off by the hawk’s return. Rango is chased by the hawk until he accidentally knocks down an empty water tower which crushes the predator. The town mayor (Ned Beatty), an elderly tortoise, appoints Rango as the new sheriff. Meanwhile, the townsfolk worry that with the hawk dead, the gunslinger Rattlesnake Jake (Bill Nighy), who is afraid of hawks, will return.Johnny Depp, Gil Birmingham, and Abigail Breslin in Rango (2011)After discovering Dirt’s water reserves—stored in the town bank inside a water cooler bottle—to be near empty, a skeptical Beans demands Rango investigate where the water has gone. That night, Rango inadvertently assists a trio of bank robbers, led by a mole named Balthazar (Harry Dean Stanton), mistaking them for prospectors. The townsfolk find their water bottle stolen the next morning, so Rango organizes a posse. During the search, they find the banker, Mr Merrimack (Stephen Root) in the middle of the desert dead, but oddly the cause of his death was drowning. The posse tracks the robbers to their hideout. They fight Balthazar’s bat-riding clan over the stolen water bottle before discovering it to be empty. The robbers profess that they found it empty, but the posse brings them to town to put them in jail while the citizens want to lynch them.Johnny Depp and Ned Beatty in Rango (2011)Rango confronts the mayor about his buying of the land around Dirt, but the mayor denies any wrongdoing and shows Rango that he is building a modern city with the purchased land. The mayor then summons Rattlesnake Jake, who forces Rango to admit that he lied to the townsfolk and runs him out of town. Rango returns to the road where he fell from the car, crosses to the other side, and passes out. Rango wakes and meets the Spirit of the West (Timothy Olyphant), whom Rango identifies as the Man with No Name. After telling him what he did to the citizens of Dirt, the Spirit tells Rango that he must go back and set things right, telling him that “No man can walk out on his own story.”Johnny Depp, Ned Beatty, and Abigail Breslin in Rango (2011)With the aid of Roadkill and mystical moving yuccas, Rango learns that Dirt’s water supply is controlled by an emergency shut-off valve in a water pipeline to Las Vegas, which the mayor has been manipulating to cause a water shortage so he could buy the land. Rango returns to Dirt to challenge Jake to a duel, a diversion so the yuccas can turn the pipeline’s valve to flood the town. Rango then holds Jake at gunpoint and makes clear his resolve. The mayor, however, forces Rango to surrender by threatening Beans’ life and locks them inside the glass bank vault to drown. He then tries to shoot Jake with Rango’s gun, intending to kill Jake along with the rest of the Old West, but the gun is empty. Rango has taken the bullet, which he uses to crack the glass and shatter the vault, freeing himself and Beans. Impressed, Jake salutes Rango and drags the mayor into the desert. The citizens of Dirt celebrate the return of the water and recognize Rango as their hero.Johnny Depp in Rango (2011)Great animation coupled with strong characters, a good story and an inspired score, there’s a lot to love here. Even with some minor flaws too trivial to mention Rango is top-class entertainment.

REVIEW: WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT

CAST

Tina Fey (Mean Girls)
Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)
Martin Freeman (Black Panther)
Christopher Abbott (A Most Violent Year)
Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Sheila Vand (Argo)
Nicholas Braun (The Watch)
Steve Peacocke (Home and Away)
Evan Jonigkeit (Tallulah)
Scott Takeda (Gone Girl)
Josh Charles (The Good Wife)
Cherry Jones (The BEaver)
Sterling K. Brown (The Predator)
Thomas Kretschmann (King Kong)

Tina Fey, Nicholas Braun, and Christopher Abbott in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)In 2003 New York City, dissatisfied with the state of her career covering low-profile stories, television journalist Kim Baker (Tina Fey) agrees to take a short assignment as a war correspondent in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, to the disappointment of her boyfriend Chris (Josh Charles), who also spends a lot of time traveling. Assigned low-budget living quarters with other international journalists, she begins friendships with noted BBC correspondent Tanya Vanderpoel (Margot Robbie) and lecherous Scottish freelance photographer Iain MacKelpie (Martin Freeman). After a period of adjustment aided by her Afghan “fixer” Fahim Ahmadzai (Christopher Abbott), she begins taking well to the assignment, eliciting frank remarks on camera from soldiers questioning the value of their assignment there, and putting herself in harm’s way to capture combat incidents on video. American Marine commander General (previously Colonel) Hollanek (Billy Bob Thornton) takes a dim view of her as an inexperienced nuisance.Tina Fey and Margot Robbie in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)Despite the danger, Kim stays in Afghanistan for months, then years beyond her original assignment. She catches Chris unprepared with a middle-of-the-night video call, and finds him with another woman, ending their relationship. Against her better judgment, she begins a sexual relationship with Iain, which over time also develops into a more personal one. Although her status as a woman presents challenges in an Afghan Islamic society which places restrictive roles on women, she also uses it to her advantage, gaining access to women in a village who explain that they’ve been sabotaging the US-built well because they welcome the daily walk to the river away from the men, and recklessly, carrying a camera under a burqa to record a religious demonstration. She also walks a tightrope, taking advantage of the thinly-veiled sexual interest of Afghan Attorney General Ali Massoud Sadiq (Alfred Molina) to use him as a source. Fahim – who treated opium addicts before the war – cautions her, pointing out that danger can be like a drug.Margot Robbie in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)Despite their mutual friendliness, Kim remains in competition with other journalists for stories and for resources from their employers back home. After three years in Afghanistan, Kim flies to New York to argue for more support from her network’s new boss, only to discover that Tanya is slated to take over from her. Meanwhile, Iain is kidnapped for ransom while traveling cross-country to cover a developing story that Iain had earlier offered to bring Kim in on. Kim returns “home” to Afghanistan, where she blackmails her “special friend”, Ali, for information about Iain’s whereabouts, and impresses upon Hollanek the political value to him of rescuing Iain. The mission – accompanied by Kim’s cameraman – is a success, both militarily and journalistically. However, shortly after Iain’s rescue Kim becomes disillusioned with both her tentative relationship and her station. She then bids farewell to her colleagues and to Fahim, and returns to the U.S. to stay.Tina Fey in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)After returning, she looks up a Marine (Evan Jonigkeit) who was transferred, apparently because of his on-camera comments to her, and subsequently lost both of his legs to an IED. She tries to apologize for the consequences of her actions, but he refuses to let her take the blame. She moves on to an on-camera desk job, where she later finds herself interviewing Iain, who is going to be in New York soon as part of a tour for his new book, and who invites her to meet him for coffee.Tina Fey and Margot Robbie in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)This movie is much, much more than a simple rom-com or military comedy, it is a Comedy/Drama that brings quite a bit of heart to it. I would strongly encourage you to seek this one out, you’ll be glad you did.