REVIEW: SCOOB!

 

Scoob! (2020)

Starring

Mark Wahlberg (2 Guns)
Jason Isaacs (Star Trek: Discovery)
Gina Rodriguez (Annihilation)
Zac Efron (17 Again)
Amanda Seyfried (Mean Girls)
Mckenna Grace (Fuller House)
Kiersey Clemons (Flatliners)
Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Will Forte (Good Boys)
Iain Armitage (Young Sheldon)
Tracy Morgan (Cop Out)
Billy West (Futurama)
Simon Cowell (American Idol)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Henry Winkler (Happy Days)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Kevin Heffernan (Super Troopers)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Justina Machado (The Purge: Anarky)

Mark Wahlberg, Will Forte, Ken Jeong, Frank Welker, Amanda Seyfried, Zac Efron, Gina Rodriguez, and Kiersey Clemons in Scoob! (2020)Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang make the leap to CG feature animation in Scoob!, a sweet, amusing family flick that was supposed to open in theaters until well, you know, and is now debuting on VOD instead. At a brisk 90 minutes, Scoob! is a nice, light snack for parents and kids stuck at home these days, with enough silly gags for children to get a kick out of and enough knowing references for adults to appreciate.The more one knows about classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons the better as Scoob! is essentially a shared universe film. New viewers will learn enough about these reimagined and contemporized versions of Blue Falcon, Dynomutt, Dick Dastardly, Dee Dee Skyes and the like to get it — this isn’t exactly a complex mythology audiences have to wrap their heads around here — but the greater the knowledge one has of these old toons the more all the references and Easter eggs will be appreciated. The standout among the film’s Hanna-Barbera additions is by far Mark Wahlberg’s obliviously unready yet overconfident superhero Blue Falcon, who plays a much larger role here than some might expect, with Jason Isaacs’ gleefully mean Dick Dastardly a close second.Frank Welker and Iain Armitage in Scoob! (2020)As for the hotly debated casting of Will Forte as Shaggy, while it’s understandable that some fans may have grown attached to Matthew Lillard’s incarnation of the character (in both live-action and animation) and are upset that a new actor is voicing Shaggy here, it bears reminding that Lillard himself took over the role following another actor’s iconic interpretation and faced backlash online at the time. Forte’s interpretation of the character is fine, perhaps sounding a bit less scratchy than Lillard or Casey Kasem’s voices, but his Shaggy is as sweet, dopey, and easily rattled as his predecessors.Will Forte and Frank Welker in Scoob! (2020)Of the main Mystery Inc. quintet, Fred — ably voiced by Zac Efron — is the character who has been tweaked the most. He has a bit more personality and is less wooden than some past incarnations, his ascot is gone, and while he still does all the driving, Fred’s not exactly the team’s de facto leader here as each member gets their moment to take charge or make an important decision. That said, this movie is decidedly a Shaggy and Scooby story through and through. An extended pre-credits prologue reveals not only how young Shaggy met little Scoob but also how the Mystery Inc. gang came to be and their first ghostbusting mission as kids. Shaggy and Scooby’s meet-cute is as adorkable as you’d hope, with each character filling a void in the other’s life. The movie has a lot of heart and keeps the thematic emphasis throughout on friendship — not just between humans but also between people and their pets.Jason Isaacs and Frank Welker in Scoob! (2020)The film’s exploration of the human-canine bond goes beyond just Shaggy and Scoob to Blue Falcon and Dynomutt and even to villain Dick Dastardly, who fans will recall had his own four-legged sidekick named Muttley in the old cartoons. Dogs, in this story, are there to help transform the characters of their owners. Best friends have their ups and downs even if one is a cowardly teen and the other a talking dog. The movie’s messaging isn’t terribly novel or deep as it is aimed squarely at children and dog lovers so anything beyond the simplistic would arguably belong in a different sort of movie altogether.Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Will Forte, Ken Jeong, Frank Welker, Amanda Seyfried, Zac Efron, Gina Rodriguez, and Kiersey Clemons in Scoob! (2020)Scoob! is also a save-the-world adventure film, complete with superhero allies and a big bad with a robot army. The action is plentiful, with lots of sci-fi gadgetry and vehicular set-pieces thanks to Blue Falcon and Dick Dastardly. The film’s CG animation retains the recognizable traits of the iconic Scooby-Doo characters without making them look like yet another riff on Pixar and DreamWorks’ styles, but 2015’s The Peanuts Movie remains the most faithful adaptation yet of an original 2D cartoon to CG feature animation.Will Forte, Frank Welker, Amanda Seyfried, Zac Efron, and Gina Rodriguez in Scoob! (2020)The earnest and entertaining Scoob! is a perfectly fine distraction for kids and parents stuck at home, with enough cute and amusing elements throughout to keep viewers engaged. The movie gets a lot of heartfelt mileage out of its exploration of the relationship between man and his four-legged best friend, even if its messaging is simplistic and superficial. Scoob! also serves as a springboard for a possible Hanna-Barbera shared movie universe with its inclusion of a number of iconic characters and elements from the famed animation company’s classic cartoons.

REVIEW: CHLOE

 

CAST

Julianne Moore (Carrie)
Liam Neeson (Taken)
Amanda Seyfried (Red Riding Hood)
Max Thieriot (Bates Motel)
R. H. Thomson (Bone Daddy)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Meghan Heffern (The Shrine)
Natalie Lisinska (Total Recall)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (I, Robot)

Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson in Chloe (2009)In a voice-over, Chloe discusses her business as a call girl. Catherine is a gynecologist and her husband David is a college professor. Catherine suspects David of having an affair after she sees a cell-phone picture of him with a female student. Catherine stops by the hotel bar where Chloe waits for clients, telling Chloe that she wants to hire her to test David’s loyalty. Chloe later tells Catherine that David asked her if he could kiss her, which he did. Catherine is angered but insists that Chloe meet with David again.Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried in Chloe (2009)Over the next few days, Catherine and Chloe meet multiple times, and Chloe describes in explicit detail her encounters with David, which arouses Catherine during one meeting; Chloe kisses Catherine, and Catherine, surprised by this, abruptly leaves. Later, when meeting with David at a get-together, she is taken aback by his awareness of the scent of her lotion; it is the same lotion that Chloe wears. Upset by this, Catherine leaves and meets with Chloe at a hotel. The two go into a hotel room, where Catherine starts undressing Chloe before asking Chloe to tell her how David touches her, visibly aroused. Chloe then dominates Catherine and has erotic sex with her. After having sex with Chloe, Catherine arrives home later than usual, leading David to ask her if she has been unfaithful. Catherine tells him she thinks he has been unfaithful as well, and the two argue, stopping after being interrupted by their son, Michael.Amanda Seyfried in Chloe (2009)Catherine meets with Chloe and calls off their relationship but later asks her to meet her at a coffee house frequented by David. While there, she demands that David admit that he is having an affair. Chloe walks in, and David does not recognize her. Chloe leaves quickly, and Catherine realizes that Chloe made up her encounters with David. David admits that he has fantasized about other women, and expects Catherine to make a similar admission with regard to men. When she does not, David becomes agitated. Catherine then confesses her passionate sexual encounter with Chloe. She apologizes, saying that she felt she became invisible to David as she aged, while David became more attractive to her, and that this got in the way of their sex life. The couple reconciles.Amanda Seyfried in Chloe (2009)Chloe goes to Catherine and David’s house and seduces Michael before having sex with him in Catherine’s bed. Catherine arrives home, and Chloe tells Catherine that she is in love with her. She threatens to hurt Catherine with her hairpin. Catherine asks Chloe what she wants. Chloe requests a kiss, and Catherine complies. Michael sees, startling Catherine and causing her to push Chloe into the bedroom window. Chloe manages to grab hold of the frame, but she intentionally lets go and falls to her death. Sometime later, Catherine attends Michael’s graduation party and wears Chloe’s hairpin in her hair.Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried in Chloe (2009)Chloe is a very solid and well done film. Unfortunately it has one major flaw, the predictably of the plot. I saw the twist coming from a mile way and I think any avid movie-goer will too. Still, it was a great watch, very entertaining and extremely well acted. Worth seeing.

REVIEW: MEAN GIRLS

CAST

Lindsay Lohan (Freaky Friday)
Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes)
Tina Fey (Date Night)
Tim Meadows (Son of Zorn)
Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)
Ana Gasteyer (Suburgatory)
Lacey Chabert (Not Another Teen Movie)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Amanda Seyfried (Ted 2)
Daniel Franzese (Conviction)
Jonathan Bennett (Veronica Mars)
Diego Klattenhoff (Pacific Rim)

Sixteen-year-old homeschooled Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) and her zoologist parents (Ana Gasteyer and Neil Flynn) return to the United States after a 12-year research trip in Africa, settling in Evanston, Illinois. Cady attends a public school for the first time, meeting new classmates Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damien (Daniel Franzese). The two warn Cady to avoid the school’s most exclusive clique, the Plastics, who are led by queen bee Regina George (Rachel McAdams). The Plastics take an interest in Cady, however, and start to invite her to sit with them at lunch. Seeing that Cady is slowly becoming one of The Plastics, Janis hatches a plan of revenge against Regina, using Cady as the infiltrator.Cady soon learns about Regina’s “Burn Book”, a notebook filled with rumors, secrets, and gossip about the other girls and some teachers. Cady also falls in love with Regina’s ex-boyfriend, Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett), whom a jealous Regina steals back at a Halloween party. Cady continues with Janis’s plan to cut off Regina’s “resources”, which involve separating her from Aaron; tricking her into eating nutrition bars that make her gain weight; and turning Regina’s fellow Plastics – insecure rich girl Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert) and sweet but ditzy Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried) – against her. In the process, Cady unwittingly remakes herself in Regina’s image, becoming spiteful, superficial, and abandons Janis and Damian.

When Regina is finally made aware of Cady’s treachery, she responds by spreading around the contents of her Burn Book, quickly inciting a riot. To avoid suspicion, Regina inserts a fake libel of herself in the book in order to blame the only female students not mentioned in the book, The Plastics. Principal Ron Duvall (Tim Meadows) soon quells the riot, and ends up sending all the girls in the school to gather in the auditorium. Math teacher Ms. Sharon Norbury (Tina Fey), whom the Burn Book slandered as a drug dealer, makes the girls mentioned in the book fess up to the rumors and apologize to the other students and teachers. When Janis’s turn comes, she confesses her plan to destroy Regina with Cady’s help and openly mocks Regina with the support of the entire school. Pursued by an apologetic Cady, Regina storms out and gets hit by a school bus, breaking her spine.Without any friends, shunned by Aaron, and distrusted by everyone, Cady takes full blame for the Burn Book. Her guilt soon dissolves and she returns to her old personality. As part of her punishment for lying and failing Norbury’s class, she joins the Mathletes in their competition. There, while competing against an unattractive girl, Cady realizes that mocking the girl’s appearance would not stop the girl from beating her. She then realizes that the best thing to do is just solve the problem in front of you and ends up winning the competition after her opponent answers incorrectly. At the Spring Fling dance, Cady is elected Queen, but declares that all her classmates are wonderful in their own way, whereupon she breaks her plastic tiara and distributes the pieces. Cady makes amends with Janis and Damian, reconciles with Aaron, and reaches a truce with the Plastics, who then disband.
By the start of the new school year, the fate of the newly disbanded Plastics are shown. Regina joins the lacrosse team, Karen becomes the school weather reporter, while Gretchen joins and befriends the “Cool Asians.” Aaron graduates from high school and attends Northwestern University, Janis and Kevin Gnapoor begin dating, and Cady declares that she is now normal. Regina walks past Cady and smiles, showing that they are now kind to one another. As this happens, Damien points to Cady the new “Junior Plastics” walking by, and Cady imagines the Junior Plastics being hit by a bus.Mean Girls is often clever and hilarious, with several great one-liners and performances. The film seems tamed down a tad for the PG-13 rating, but it’s still sharp and effective more often than not.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: RED RIDING HOOD

CAST

Amanda Seyfried (Ted 2)
Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight)
Billy Burke (Twilight)
Shiloh Fernandez (Evil Dead 2013)
Max Irons (The Host)
Virginia Madsen (Sideways)
Lukas Haas (Inception)
Julie Christie (Finding Neverland)
Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica)
Shauna Kain (X-Men: The Last Stand)
Adrian Holmes (Arrow)
Christine Willes (Dead Like Me)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
Kacey Rohl (Hannibal)
Michael Adamthwaite (Supergirl)

Red Riding Hood Movie Review
Catherine Hardwike’s film is much closer to the 1984 movie “Company of wolves” (based on Angela Carter short stories) than to the original Charles Perrault tale – and like the former, it is definitely not for children.


The cast. Amanda Seyfried is excellent as Valerie, a young girl who reached the time to be married and gets from her grandmother a red cape as wedding gift. The name Red Riding Hood is never used in the movie, everybody calls her just Valerie – but we of course know better… Amanda Seyfried wears this red cape with a great grace and the effect (especially for the male public) is quite pleasant. It is even more pronounced when the snow falls. Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons give a good performance as two young village men, wild, bold and violent Peter and shy, peaceful and more sophisticated Henry, who both want to marry Valerie. Those two rivals and sworn enemies both have their good and bad points and with the time Valerie will have more and more trouble to choose between them.

Virginia Madsen plays Valerie’s mother – her character, although secondary, is quite important for the plot so pay good attention to everything she says. Julie Christie is Valerie’s grandmother, who lives in a house deep in the forest, away from the village – and she is (obviously) even more important to the story.  Michael Hogan (who is well remembered for his role in “Battlestar Galactica”) plays village’s reeve, a fearless no-nonsense man, who trusts his faithful silver dagger and is not afraid of the wolf. Gary Oldman plays an inquisitor, Father Solomon, whose body and soul were once so terribly hurt by a werewolf, that he devoted his life to destroy those monsters. As usual for Gary Oldman’s characters, Father Solomon is barking mad and definitely not a good person but he is clever and quite consequent and credible in his fanatism.
A special mention goes to Billy Burke, who plays the small role of Valerie’s father, a burned out, heavily drinking wood cutter, used and worn out by the hardships of life and constant struggle with poverty. And finally there are Shauna Kain, Carmen Lavigne and Kacey Rohl as Roxanne, Rose and Prudence, Valerie’s best friends and young Cole Heppel, as Claude (Roxanne’s brother), a retarded village boy. Those characters, although minor in the beginning of the movie, also have some important role to play. The views of the mountains and the forest in this film are amazing. The village is extremely well designed, as are the costumes of the villagers and the soldiers who came with Father Solomon. This movie is visually very pleasant. The third good point is the plot, which is not stupid at all. The main mystery is very skilfully kept until the end. And the ending itself is a very good one – especially for anybody who knows Angela Carter’s short stories about wolves, werewolves and Red Riding Hood.
But the best thing in this movie is the general atmosphere, which is frequently quite erotic, when in the same time there is absolutely no sex and no nudity. Somehow, the simple presence of a flock of nubile girls and young men who court them and the always present menace of a half human Beast which enjoys preying on young females is enough to generate the very special mood of this Red Riding Hood. Amanda Seyfried, her blond hair and her red cape contrasting with the virginal white snow certainly contribute a lot to this atmosphere. There are some violent moments in this film, but here also it is much less brutal than “Company of wolves”.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: JENNIFER’S BODY

CAST

Megan Fox (New Girl)
Amanda Seyfried (Ted 2)
Johnny Simmons (The Spirit)
Adam Brody (Scream 4)
Christ Pratt (Jurassic World)
Kyle Gallner (Verronica Mars)
J.K Simmons (Terminator Genisys)
Cynthia Stevenson (Dead Like Me)
Lance Henriksen (Legends of Tomorrow)
Amy Sedaris (Elf)
Eve Harlow (Heroes Reborn)
Genevieve Buechner (Caprica)
Adrian Hough (The Fog)
Gabrielle Rose (If I Stay)
Bill Fagerbakke (How I Met Your Mother)
Joel Swetow (The Orville)
Valerie Tian (Izombie)

Anita “Needy” Lesnicki, once an insecure and bookish teenager living near Devil’s Kettle, Minnesota, is now a violent mental inmate who narrates the story as a flashback while in solitary confinement. She has been friends with a selfish and popular cheerleader, Jennifer Check, since childhood, despite having little in common. One night, Jennifer takes Needy to a local dive bar to attend a concert by indie rock band Low Shoulder. A suspicious fire engulfs the bar, killing several people, and Jennifer, who is in shock, agrees to leave with the band despite Needy’s protests. Later that evening, Jennifer, covered in blood, appears in Needy’s kitchen and proceeds to eat food from the refrigerator. Unable to digest the matter, she vomits a trail of black, spiny fluid and then leaves in a hurry as Needy calls after her.

The next morning at school, Jennifer appears fine and shrugs off Needy’s concerns. While the whole town is devastated by the deaths caused by the fire, Jennifer seduces the school’s football captain in the woods and then kills him; his disemboweled corpse is later found. Meanwhile, the members of Low Shoulder gain popularity due to their rumored heroism during the fire and offer to make a charity appearance at the school’s spring formal.
A month later, Jennifer is beginning to look pale, and accepts a date with school goth/emo Colin, whom she brutally kills that night. While Needy and her boyfriend, Chip, have sex, Needy senses something dreadful has happened. She leaves in a panic and almost runs over Jennifer, drenched in blood. She rushes home and finds Jennifer in her bedroom. Jennifer kisses her, initiating a brief makeout session, and soon explains what happened after the fire: Low Shoulder took her into the woods and offered her as a virgin sacrifice to Satan in exchange for fame and fortune. Although the sacrifice and greedy exchange were a success, Jennifer was in fact not a virgin, and when the lead singer Nikolai murdered her, the ritual backfired and a demonic spirit took over her body. Unbeknownst to Needy, Jennifer also encountered the Indian exchange student Ahmet after the fire and, upon hearing that no one knew he had survived, took him into the woods and ate him, rendering him her first victim. Jennifer states that she can withstand virtually any injury without pain and is rather difficult to kill.
The next day at school, as the town is stunned by Colin’s death, Needy goes to the school library’s occult section and surmises that Jennifer is a succubus; she is weakest when she is hungry, and must feed on flesh in order to sustain her life and appearance. Needy tells Chip about her discoveries and warns him not to attend the school dance. He does not believe her and she subsequently breaks up with him in order to protect him. Chip goes to the dance, hoping to meet with Needy, but is instead intercepted by Jennifer, who seduces him and takes him to an abandoned pool house. Needy arrives there and finds Jennifer feeding on Chip. Needy tries to drown Jennifer but Jennifer, hovering in the air, attacks her. She is then stabbed by Chip with a pool skimmer. Jennifer escapes while Needy watches her boyfriend die.

Needy decides she must kill Jennifer for the common good. She goes to Jennifer’s home and sees Jennifer picking out her next victims in her yearbook. Crashing through the window, Needy engages in a fight with Jennifer wielding a box cutter. Culminating with a stab to the heart, Needy finally destroys the demon and kills her. Jennifer’s mother enters and finds Needy with the box cutter on top of her daughter’s body. Soon after, Needy is brought to an asylum. Since she was bitten non-fatally by Jennifer, she has obtained some of Jennifer’s supernatural powers, such as the ability to hover in the air. Set upon revenge for what was done to Jennifer and her, she escapes the mental facility and hitchhikes a ride to the hotel where Low Shoulder are staying; there, she slaughters the members, whose killings are later discovered by local authorities.

A fun quirky film that is greatly underrated

 

REVIEW: VERONICA MARS – SEASON 2

Starring

Kristen Bell (The Good Place)
Teddy Dunn (Jumper)
Jason Dohring (The Originals)
Percy Daggs III (Detention)
Francis Capra (Izombie)
Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Kyle Gallner (American Sniper)
Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jeffrey D. Sams (Cupid)
Alona Tal (Cult)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Charisma Carpenter (Buffy: TVS)
Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy)
Bradley Joseph (Stone & Ed)
Kevin Smith (Jay & Silet Bob Strike Back)
Michael Muhney (The Young and The Restless)
David Starzyk (Cam Girls)
Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher)
Kristin Dattilo (Dexter)
Melissa Reneé Martin (The Secret Craft)
Miko Hughes (New Nightmare)
Valorie Curry (The Tick)
Cress Williams (BLack Lightning)
Brandon Hillock (Villains)
Laura Bell Bundy (Scream Queens)
Geoff Pierson (24)
Tina Majorino (Scorpion)
Dana Davis (Heroes)
Christine Estabrook (Spider-Man 2)
Jonathan Chesner (Bones)
Harry Hamlin (Clash of The Titans)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
Rick Peters (Holidays)
Joss Whedon (Angel)
Patrick Wolff (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
James Molina (Runner Runner)
Roy Werner (Power Rangers Time Force)
Christopher B. Duncan (Legacies)
Amanda Noret (Bunny Whipped)
Rodney Rowland (Legacies)
Duane Daniels (Fashion House)
Lucas Grabeel (Smallville)
Lisa Thornhill (Agter The Sunset)
Lucy Lawless (Xena)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Kevin Sheridan (Heart of Dixie)
D. Elliot Woods (Ballers)
B.J. Britt (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Curtis Andersen (Sabrina: TTW)
Jessy Schram (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Virginia Williams (Fuller House)
Dawn Olivieri (American Hustle)
Aaron Ashmore (Samllville)
Michael Cera (Juno)
David Tom (Swing Kids)
Kayla Ewell (Th Vampire Diaries)
James Jordan (Wind River)
John Prosky (Heroes)
Amanda Seyfried (Ted 2)
Erica Gimpel (God Friended Me)

The central arcs of Veronica Mars’ first season were all intensely personal: Veronica being abandoned by her mother, not to mention every one of her former friends, roofie-fueled date rape at a party a year earlier, and the brutal murder of her closest friend, Lilly Kane. How do you follow up a season like that? t’d be nearly impossible to craft another set of stories that’d resonate in quite that same way without retreading familiar ground, so season two of Veronica Mars takes a different approach, shifting the focus away from our plucky junior detective and more towards the sticky underbelly of Neptune, California as a whole.

 

Kristen Bell and Teddy Dunn in Veronica Mars (2004)Mayoral candidate Woody Goodman (Steve Guttenberg) has a vision for the glorified country club that is Neptune. Incorporating Neptune would have a Tide with Bleach effect, making the whites whiter and the rich richer as property values are boosted and less desirable elements are rezoned onto someone else’s doorstep. Woody’s plan is announced as the tensions between the haves and have-nots are already boiling over in Neptune.Logan Echols, the cocky son of an aging Hollywood action hero, has walked away unscathed from accusations of stabbing a Hispanic biker to death, prompting a series of vicious attacks from both sides.Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)The stark differences between the classes are also apparent after a school-sponsored trip; the rich kids hop in a limo and ride back in style, and the not-so-privileged cram into a rank schoolbus and careen off the side of a cliff. The town is torn apart by the tragedy, and Veronica, who’d barely missed the bus and was very nearly among the dead, is determined to find out if the crash was a terrible accident, suicide, or something much more ominous.Image result for veronica mars driver edIt’s a hectic season, with a bus crash, two murder trials, class-slash-racial tensions throughout Neptune, a sheriff race, the possibility of Neptune incorporating, the ambiguity about Wallace’s family life, a coma-baby, Beaver following in his shamed father’s footsteps as he tries to get his own real estate endeavour off the ground, the strife former baseball star Terrence Cook and his overbearing daughter Jackie (Tessa Thompson) bring to Neptune, the newly-introduced clan of Irish drug-peddlers known as the Fitzpatricks, and the machinations of Dick and Beaver’s scheming stepmother Kendall (Charisma Carpenter).Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)There’s enough to follow The season plays a lot better on DVD; it’s easier to keep the scores of characters and plot points fresh in the mind over the course of a few days as opposed to the better part of a year.

REVIEW: VERONICA MARS – SEASON 1

Starring

Kristen Bell (The Good Place)
Teddy Dunn (Jumper)
Jason Dohring (The Originals)
Percy Daggs III (Detention)
Sydney Tamiia Poitier (Death Proof)
Francis Capra (Izombie)
Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint)

Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Michael Muhney (The Young and The Restless)
Corinne Bohrer (The Flash 90s)
Amanda Seyfried (Les Miserables)
Lisa Thornhill (Agter The Sunset)
Kyle Secor (The Purge: Election Year)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
Brandon Hillock (Villains)
Bradley Joseph (Stone & Ed)
Patrick Wolff (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Duane Daniels (Fashion House)
Jonathan Chesner (Bones)
Christian Clemenson (Apollo 13)
Aaron Ashmore (Smallville)
Wilmer Calderon (Fast & Furious)
Paris Hilton (House of Wax)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Bobby Edner (The Amanda Show)
Paula Marshall (Murder In The First)
Alison MacInnis (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Kyla Pratt (Dr. Dolittle)
Adam Wylie (Child’s Play 2)
Robert Baker (Supergirl)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
Melissa Reneé Martin (The Secret Craft)
Lisa Rinna (Days of Our Lives)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Harry Hamlin (Clash of The Titans)
Amanda Noret (Bunny Whipped)
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dar Thirty)
Adam Kaufman (Buffy: TVS)
Steven Williams (Jason Goes To Hell)
Bonita Friedericy (Chuck)
Alona Tal (Cult)
Tina Majorino (Scorpion)
Erica Gimpel (God Friended Me)
Anastasia Baranova (Z Nation)
Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls)
Chris William Martin (The Vampire Diaries)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (That 70s Show)
Kevin Sheridan (Heart of Dixie)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
Christopher B. Duncan (Legacies)
Katie Leclerc (The Big Bang Theory)
Bridget Hoffman (Total Recall)
Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Jowharah Jones (Ugly Betty)
Ken Merckx (Masked Rider)
Christine Lakin (Family Guy)
Adam Scott (Krampus)
Leighton Meester (The Roommate)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: TVS)
Cynthia LaMontagne (Austin Powers)
Zachery Ty Bryan (Home Improvement)
Erin Chambers (Stargate: Atlantis)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Last Man Standing)
Theo Rossi (Luke Cage)
Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy)
Roy Werner (Power Rangers Time Force)
Kyle Gallner (American Sniper)

Veronica Mars is set in Neptune, California, a town without a middle-class. Everyone’s either a millionaire or works for one, and the man largely responsible for Neptune’s unparalleled success is Jake Kane (Kyle Secor), the resident billionaire software mogul. Kane and his family are still reeling from the murder of his daughter Lilly (Amanda Seyfried) some months earlier, and as if that loss wasn’t enough, the beloved Kane family was doggedly pursued by a county sheriff convinced that they were hiding something. Public sentiment turned against Sheriff Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni), who was ousted from office and abandoned by his wife.Kristen Bell and Jessica Chastain in Veronica Mars (2004)Cue the title character. His daughter Veronica (Kristen Bell) had already lost her best friend with Lilly’s death, but standing by her father also cost Veronica her friends, her social status, her house…even her mother. Veronica had already been unceremoniously dumped by Lilly’s brother Duncan (Teddy Dunn) shortly before her friend’s murder, and a defiant visit to face her former friends at a party weeks later led to Veronica being drugged and raped. Despite having lost so much, Veronica is resilient enough to move on with her life, and as her father struggles to stay afloat as a private eye, Veronica puts her smarts and determination to work to help ease the caseload at Mars Investigations. She also puts her talents to use to help her classmates with their troubles — for a price, of course. To cap it all off, Veronica’s faced with a couple of her own mysteries to solve. What convinced Lianne Mars to abandon her family, and where is she now? Who was it who drugged and raped Veronica last December? Also, is her father right — did someone other than disgruntled Kane Software employee Abel Koontz murder Lilly? If there is, who orchestrated the conspiracy that led to Koontz’ confession and why?Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)The dialogue in Veronica Mars has the same sparkle as Joss Whedon’s work…arguably better, even, since Buffy sometimes sounded like a deliberate attempt to be hip, whereas Veronica Mars manages to be witty and clever without feeling quite so forced. The writing doesn’t skew as young as one might expect from a TV show set in a high school. If anything, the target audience seems to be twentysomething — I don’t know how many fifteen year olds would be able to appreciate references to Archie comics or 21 Jump Street, f’r instance. Characterization is another strength of the series, and part of the reason Veronica Mars works as well as it does is that the audience truly does care about the characters. Despite having a seemingly endless array of talents, Veronica isn’t some sort of idyllic Mary Sue. She’s not always right. Her investigations frequently take morally questionable turns. Things don’t always go the way she wants. Not every episode has a happy ending.Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)Along with the cases that are solved in the space of forty minutes and change every week, a couple of mysteries are introduced in the pilot that are gradually explored throughout the entire length of the season. That’s right — unlike the hydra that is Lost, where answering one question spawns ten more, all of Veronica Mars’ mysteries are resolved by the time the season finale rolls around. (The finale tosses out a couple questions of its own, but if a second season hadn’t gotten the green light, it still would’ve been a fitting end to the series.)Veronica Mars has a capable cast to match the quality of the writing. Veronica is strong and cynical…bright and sarcastic…and even though all of the trauma she’s suffered over the past year has aged her somewhat, she’s still an emotionally vulnerable teenage girl.Kristen Bell and Alona Tal in Veronica Mars (2004)That’s a lot to juggle, but Kristen Bell is talented enough to make such a colossal task seem effortless and captivating enough to carry a show on her shoulders. Of course, Bell is joined by a strong enough supporting cast that she doesn’t have to shoulder it all herself.VM-S2D2_04After cutting down Wallace (Percy Daggs III), the new kid at school, who’d been stripped naked and duct taped to a flagpole, he and Veronica become best friends. In teen-TV land, it’s an immutable rule that people of different genders can’t just be pals…there’s this endless temptation to couple everyone. Veronica Mars manages to resist, resulting in one of the few platonic friendships like this left on television.Enrico Colantoni, who plays Veronica’s father, is another fan favorite, able to shift from warm, loving, and borderline-goofy to secretive and deadly serious when the situation calls for it. There’s also Eli “Weevil” Navarro (Francis Capra), the leader of a local biker gang from the wrong side of the tracks who engages in some mutual backscratching with Veronica.Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)The character who stands out the most — aside from Veronica, of course — is Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring). Like Kristen Bell, Dohring is endlessly engaging. He’s introduced as an “obligatory psychotic jackass”, but as the season progresses, Logan’s humanized without being watered-down; even when he’s doing something as thoroughly loathesome as bribing a homeless vet to join in on his homebrew Bumfights video, there’s an undercurrent of understanding why Logan is the way he is. The character changes throughout the season, but the shift feels deserved and natural, not just because that’s what’s scrawled on the whiteboard in the writing room.Other guest stars throughout the season include Napoleon Dynamite’s Tina Majorino as computer whiz Mac, Aaron Ashmore as a love interest with a shady past, Logan’s movie star family (played by Harry Hamlin, Lisa Rinna, and Alyson Hannigan), Anthony Anderson, Zachary Ty Brian, Joey Lauren Adams, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and, in a shameless bit of stuntcasting, Paris Hilton. Kristen Bell and Francis Capra in Veronica Mars (2004)The fact that the second episode of Veronica Mars manages to be really good despite a Paris Hilton guest spot really is a testament to how good a series this is. Oh, and, in true Laura Palmer fashion, just because Lilly Kane is dead doesn’t mean that Amanda Seyfried can’t rear her head in nearly every other episode.The conclusion to most of the mysteries caught me by surprise. Throughout the entire season, the only time I correctly guessed the culprit was in “Lord of the Bling”, and even then, the motivation and execution were well out of my reach. The many twists the stories take are clever, and watching these episodes a second time, I could spot all sorts of clues and hints that didn’t seem that important the first time through. Veronica Mars is a series that’s easy to dive into as a marathon, but for viewers catching these episodes for the first time, I’d recommend drawing it out a bit.

REVIEW: EPIC

EPIC 3D

Starring

Amanda Seyfried (Chloe)
Colin Farrell (Total Recall)
Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games)
Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes)
Aziz Ansari (Funny People)
Chris O’Dowd (St. Vincent)
Jason Sudeikis (Hall Pass)
Steven Tyler (Be Cool)
Beyoncé Knowles (Dreamgirls)
Blake Anderson (Bad Neighbours)
Judah Friedlander (Cabin Fever 2)
Thomas F. Wilson (Back To The Future)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Jeff Bennett (Enchanted)

Buffo (Pitbull) is a wheeler and dealer tough-guy toad who plays all the angles: he profits no matter which side wins or loses.17 year old Mary Katherine, or M.K., moves in with her eccentric scientist father Professor Bomba, who has been searching for tiny humanoid soldiers called Leafmen. They protect the forest that Bomba lives near from wicked creatures called Boggans and their malevolent leader Mandrake. An independent young soldier named Nod decides to quit, much to the ire of the no-nonsense Leafmen leader Ronin. The queen of the forest, Queen Tara, must choose an heir to her throne and goes out to a field of leaf pods, guarded by a laid-back slug named Mub and a wannabe Leafman snail named Grub. Immediately after she chooses a pod, the Boggans attack. Tara flees the area with the pod, and though her bodyguards do their best to protect her, they are soon overwhelmed by the sheer number of Boggans. Eventually, Ronin arrives for her and the pair fly off on his hummingbird mount. They are then attacked by Mandrake and his son Dagda. Dagda is killed by Ronin, but the former shoots Tara beforehand.Meanwhile, M.K. decides to leave after having an argument with Bomba about his research. Before she can leave, Bomba’s dog Ozzy runs into the woods. While looking for Ozzy, M.K. sees Tara falling. Dying, Tara gives her the pod and uses her magic to shrink her. She tells M.K. to take the pod to Nim Galuu, a glowworm wizard who is a con-artist, before she dies, and M.K. joins Ronin and the Leafmen, along with Mub and Grub. Ronin discovers that Nod has entered a race against other creatures and bugs on birds. Nod goes back on a deal with a short-tempered toad named Bufo to throw the race. Before Bufo and his two henchmen can feed Nod to a snake, Ronin intervenes and orders them to leave. A reluctant Nod joins him, M.K., Mub, and Grub after hearing about Queen Tara’s death, which Bufo overhears.Amanda Seyfried and Aziz Ansari in Epic (2013)Ronin, Nod, M.K., Mub, and Grub eventually track down Nim Galuu. He then leads them down to the scroll library, where M.K. discovers Tara’s brief message before shrinking her, and a message that will get her back to normal size. When Ronin leaves, Nod takes M.K. on a deer ride and they begin to fall in love. Meanwhile, Mandrake has had the Boggans bring Bufo to him, finding out the location of the pod. Mandrake goes to Nim Galuu’s place to steal the pod, which, if it blooms in darkness, will help Mandrake destroy the forest. He takes the pod and kidnaps Mub and Grub. Ronin scolds Nod for not being there to protect the pod. To get into Boggan territory undiscovered, M.K., Nod, and Ronin set out to Bomba’s house to get some disguises, where M.K. learns that the Leafmen have deliberately been leading Bomba off their trail. Bomba sees that he has visitors and captures M.K., fainting when he sees her. M.K. marks the location of Moonhaven on a map Bomba has made of the forest before rejoining Nod and Ronin.Colin Farrell, Beyoncé, Steven Tyler, Christoph Waltz, Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Chris O'Dowd, Pitbull, and Aziz Ansari in Epic (2013)When they reach the Boggan land Ronin distracts the Boggans while M.K. and Nod rescue Mub, Grub, and the pod. Mandrake discovers them and orders the Boggans to stop them. M.K., Nod, Mub, and Grub escape alive, but Ronin sacrifices himself to ensure their escape. Before the full moon can sprout the pod at Moonhaven, Mandrake’s bats block the light, causing the pod to begin sprouting in darkness. The Leafmen set out to fight the Boggans; M.K. tries to get help from her father by visiting his various cameras he had set in the forest. However, upon regaining consciousness, Bomba believes that he didn’t really see M.K. and that he has been insane all these years, and shuts down all his cameras. He changes his mind when he sees the red push-pin that M.K. had put on his map.Beyoncé in Epic (2013)Bomba is overjoyed to see that he has been right and he follows M.K. to Moonhaven. M.K. uses Bomba’s iPod to make bat sounds, luring Mandrake’s bats away. Meanwhile, Mub and Nim Galuu try to stop Mandrake from reaching the pod, but are unsuccessful. Just then, Ronin appears, bearing scars and bruises from the Boggans. Mandrake manages to outdo him, but is defended by Nod, who finally realizes the importance of teamwork. Before Mandrake can obtain his victory, the pod blooms in moonlight, defeating the Boggans, and sealing Mandrake into the burl of a nearby tree. The chosen heir is the flower child who helped save Tara earlier in the film. Grub becomes a Leafman, Nod and Ronin reconcile, and Nod and M.K. kiss before M.K. is returned to her original size. After reuniting with Bomba and becoming his assistant, the human family still keeps regular contact with their small friends as they continue the research of their world. Animation movies are all about the feel. Epic is a movie where the feel while watching the movie is brilliant.The level of detail that has gone into each frame in creating this world is mind boggling. The result is an aesthetically pleasing experience that deserves applause.

REVIEW: LES MISERABLES

CAST

Hugh Jackman (Logan)
Russell Crowe (Man of Steel)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Helena Bonham Carter (Dark Shadows)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Grimsby)
Amanda Seyfried (Gone)
Samantha Barks (Dracula Untold)
Aaron Tveit (Premium rush)
Colm Wilkinson (The Tudors)
Josef Altin (Game of Thrones)
Charlotte Hope (The Nun)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Hannah Waddingham (Game of Thrones)
Andy Beckwith (Queens)
Ella Hunt (Anna and The Apocalypse)

 

Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables (2012)In 1815, French prisoner Jean Valjean is released on parole from the Bagne of Toulon after serving nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread and trying to escape multiple times. On the outside, Valjean’s paroled status prevents him from getting work. He is offered shelter by the kindly Bishop of Digne, but Valjean steals his silverware. Captured by police and taken to the Bishop, Valjean is shocked when the Bishop says that he gave him the silver, telling him to use it to do something worthwhile with his life. Valjean breaks his parole to start a new life.Cavin Cornwall and Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables (2012)Eight years later, Valjean is factory owner and mayor of Montreuil, Pas-de-Calais. He is shocked when a Toulon prison guard Javert arrives as his new chief of police. Javert suspects Valjean’s identity when he rescues an injured worker trapped under a heavy cart. One of Valjean’s workers, Fantine, is dismissed by the factory foreman upon learning she is sending her earnings to her illegitimate daughter Cosette, who lives with the greedy innkeepers, the Thénardiers. To support her daughter, Fantine becomes a prostitute but is arrested by Javert when she attacks an abusive customer. Valjean, learning who she is, rescues her and takes her to the hospital.Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables (2012)Valjean learns a man has been wrongly identified as him, and reveals his true identity to a court before returning to the dying Fantine, promising to care for Cosette. Javert arrives but Valjean escapes, finding Cosette and pays Fantine’s debts to the Thénardiers. Valjean and Cosette flee Javert, hiding in a convent, aided by the worker Valjean rescued before. Nine years later, Valjean has become a philanthropist and helps the poor in Paris. General Lamarque, the only government official sympathetic to the poor, dies, and a group of revolutionists called the Friends of the ABC plot to rebel against the monarchy. Marius Pontmercy, a member of the Friends, encounters Cosette and they fall in love, asking Éponine, the Thénardiers’ daughter to help find her.Helena Bonham Carter in Les Misérables (2012)After Marius and Cosette meet and confess their love, Éponine prevents her father from robbing Valjean’s house. Valjean, believing Javert is near, makes plans to flee to England with Cosette. Cosette writes a letter for Marius, but Éponine hides it, intending on dying with Marius during the rebellion. During Lamarque’s funeral procession, the revolt begins and barricades are built across Paris. Javert pretends to be an ally to spy on the rebels but the street urchin Gavroche exposes him as a policeman. During the first skirmish against the soldiers, Éponine takes a bullet for Marius and dies in his arms, giving him Cosette’s letter and confesses to him beforehand. Gavroche takes Marius’ reply to Valjean, who joins the revolution to guard Marius.Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables (2012)Valjean offers to execute Javert but actually releases him, faking his death. By dawn, the soldiers are close to ending the revolution, storming the students’ barricade and execute everyone save Marius and Valjean, who escape into the sewers. Thénardier comes across Valjean and the unconscious Marius, stealing the latter’s ring, before pointing a way out. Valjean finds Javert waiting for him, ignoring his nemesis’ threats. Javert, morally confused by the mercy of Valjean, commits suicide by throwing himself in the Seine. Marius recovers but is traumatised by the death of his friends.Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne in Les Misérables (2012)Marius and Cosette plan to marry but Valjean, concerned his presence would threaten their happiness, makes plans to leave and reveals his identity to Marius, who promises to remain silent. Cosette and Marius marry but the Thénardiers crash the wedding to try and blackmail Marius, Thénardier saying he witnessed Valjean carrying a murdered corpse and produces the stolen ring. Marius assaults Thénardier who reveals Valjean is at the convent. The dying Valjean reunites with Cosette and Marius, giving them letters of confession, before peacefully dying, guided away by Fantine and the Bishop’s spirits.Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables (2012)This is a movie that both fans of the novel as well as fans of the musical can both fall in love with, since even though there are some deviations from the novel this is still the closest a film version has ever come to being completely faithful to the book. Additionally, this movie is a perfect chance for those who have never read the book or haven’t heard of or had a chance to see the Broadway show. I wholeheartedly recommend this film to everyone.

REVIEW: TED 2

CAST

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Mark Wahlberg (The Other Guys)
Amanda Seyfried (Pan)
Jessica Barth (Next)
Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight)
John Slattery (Mad men)
Patrick Warburton (Get Smart)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: Ds9)
Bill Smitrovich (The Phantom)
Cocoa Brown (Big Fat Important Movie)
John Carroll Lynch (The Founder)
Jessica Szohr (Love Bite)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon)
Sebastian Arcelus (Split)
Dennis Haysbert (Heat)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Patrick Stewart (Ameircan Dad)
Nana Visitor (Star Trek: Ds9)
Ralph Garman (The Lego Batman Movie)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Maggie Geha (Gotham)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Bobby Moynihan (The Secret Life of Pets)
Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters)
Taran Killam (122 Years a Slave)
Dustin Ybarra (US)
Avan Jogia (Shaft)
Martin Klebba (Left Behind)
David Hasselhoff (Knight Rider)

John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) has been divorced from Lori Collins for six months. Meanwhile, his best friend Ted (Seth MacFarlane), marries his girlfriend, Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). One year later, with their marriage is beginning to break-down so they decide to have a child. As Ted can not have children, John agrees to help Ted find a sperm donor, They asked Sam J. Jones but he refuses due to a low sperm count, they try unsuccessfully to break into Tom Brady’s house and steal his sperm. Ultimately, John offers to donate his sperm.Despite Ted and John’s efforts, Tami-Lynn’s historical drug use has rendered her infertile and the couple decide to adopt. As background checks are carried out, Ted brings his legal status as a person into question. The state authorities of Massachusetts declare Ted property rather than a person, resulting in the loss of his job at a grocery store – shortly after reassuring a customer (Liam Neeson) that buying a box of Trix, as an adult, will not bring him to any harm. Furthermore, his marriage to Tami-Lynn is annulled.John suggests that they take the state to court, and their case is assigned to a novice lawyer pro-bono, Samantha Leslie Jackson (Amanda Seyfried). The three bond over their love of marijuana as they prepare to present the case.Meanwhile, Donny (Giovanni Ribisi), Ted’s life-long stalker and would-be abductor, is now employed as a janitor at the headquarters of toy company Hasbro, in New York City. He convinces the company CEO to hire an expert attorney (John Slattery) to ensure that Ted maintains his status as property, therefore leaving him open to seizure by the firm to create more living teddy bears.Despite Samantha’s best efforts, the court rules against Ted. Disheartened but desperate, the trio contact Patrick Meighan (Morgan Freeman), a highly respected civil rights attorney, hoping he’ll take the case and overturn the court’s decision. Driving to Manhattan to meet him, Ted crashes into a hidden marijuana patch, where Samantha and John realize their attraction for each other. The next day, the trio meet Meighan, who is sympathetic to Ted’s plight but ultimately refuses the case, as he believes he has not significantly contributed to humanity due to his juvenile slacker lifestyle.Ted, angry at the injustice and jealous of Samantha and John’s new relationship, runs off. Donny follows him as he wanders into the New York Comic-Con. Once inside, Donny attempts to kidnap Ted, who flees and contacts John for help. John and Samantha arrive at Comic-Con and search for Ted, arriving as Donny is about to cut him open. As they make their escape, Donny cuts the cables holding up a model of the USS Enterprise and it swings towards Ted. John pushes Ted out of the way, takes the hit, and is knocked unconscious. Ted identifies Donny and he is arrested.At the hospital, Samantha, Ted and Tami-Lynn rejoice when John recovers. Patrick Meighan decides to take the case, telling them he has been inspired by John’s selflessness and Ted’s emotions over his fallen friend. Meighan gets the ruling overturned by demonstrating that Ted is self-aware, that he feels complex emotions, and is capable of empathy. Outside the court, Ted re-proposes to Tami-Lynn. After they are re-married, Ted and Tami-Lynn, adopting the surname of “Clubberlang”, adopt a baby boy, whom they name Apollo Creed, while John and Samantha happily pursue their own relationship.A good laugh, even  better than the original in my opinion. If you like Ted/Family Guy/other Seth Macfarlane shows, I’d definitely recommend this