REVIEW: BLACK PANTHER

CAST

Chadwick Boseman (Gods of Egypt)
Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic Four)
Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave)
Danai Gurira (The Visitor)
Martin Freeman (The Hobbit)
Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)
Letitia Wright (The Commuter)
Winston Duke (The Messengers)
Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
Angela Bassett (Green Lantrn)
Forest Whitaker (Rogue One)
Andy Serkis (Kong Kong)
Sydelle Noel (Arrow)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Sebastian Stan (I, Tonya)
John Kani (Endgame)
Florence Kasumba (Wonder Woman)

Florence Kasumba, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, and Lupita Nyong'o in Black Panther (2018)Five African tribes war over a meteorite containing vibranium. One warrior ingests a “heart-shaped herb” affected by the metal and gains superhuman abilities, becoming the first “Black Panther”. He unites all but the Jabari Tribe to form the nation of Wakanda. Over centuries, the Wakandans use the vibranium to develop advanced technology and isolate themselves from the world by posing as a Third World country.Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther (2018)In 1992, King T’Chaka visits his brother N’Jobu, who is working undercover in Oakland, California. T’Chaka accuses N’Jobu of assisting black-market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue with stealing vibranium from Wakanda. N’Jobu’s partner reveals he is Zuri, another undercover Wakandan, and confirms T’Chaka’s suspicions.Angela Bassett, Connie Chiume, Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, and Danai Gurira in Black Panther (2018)In the present day, following T’Chaka’s death, his son T’Challa returns to Wakanda to assume the throne. He and Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje regiment, extract T’Challa’s ex-lover Nakia from an undercover assignment so she can attend his coronation ceremony with his mother Ramonda and younger sister Shuri. At the ceremony, the Jabari Tribe’s leader M’Baku challenges T’Challa for the crown in ritual combat. T’Challa defeats M’Baku and persuades him to yield rather than die.Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Connie Chiume, Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o, and Daniel Kaluuya in Black Panther (2018)When Klaue and Erik Stevens steal a Wakandan artifact from a London museum T’Challa’s friend and Okoye’s lover W’Kabi urges him to bring Klaue back alive. T’Challa, Okoye, and Nakia travel to Busan, South Korea, where Klaue plans to sell the artifact to CIA agent Everett K. Ross. A firefight erupts and Klaue attempts to flee but is caught by T’Challa, who reluctantly releases him to Ross’ custody. Klaue tells Ross that Wakanda’s international image is a front for a technologically advanced civilization. Erik attacks and extracts Klaue as Ross is gravely injured protecting Nakia. Rather than pursue Klaue, T’Challa takes Ross to Wakanda where their technology can save him.Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther (2018)While Shuri heals Ross, T’Challa confronts Zuri about N’Jobu. Zuri explains that N’Jobu planned to share Wakanda’s technology with people of African descent around the world to help them conquer their oppressors. As T’Chaka arrested N’Jobu, the latter attacked Zuri and forced T’Chaka to kill him. T’Chaka ordered Zuri to lie that N’Jobu had disappeared and left behind N’Jobu’s American son in order to maintain the lie. This boy grew up to be Stevens, a U.S. black ops soldier who adopted the name “Killmonger”. Meanwhile, Killmonger kills Klaue and takes his body to Wakanda. He is brought before the tribal elders, revealing his identity and claim to the throne. Killmonger challenges T’Challa to ritual combat, where he kills Zuri, defeats T’Challa, and hurls him over a waterfall to his presumed death. Killmonger ingests the heart-shaped herb and orders the rest incinerated, but Nakia extracts one first. Killmonger, supported by W’Kabi and his army, prepares to distribute shipments of Wakandan weapons to operatives around the world.Nakia, Shuri, Ramonda, and Ross flee to the Jabari Tribe for aid. They find a comatose T’Challa, rescued by the Jabari in repayment for sparing M’Baku’s life. Healed by Nakia’s herb, T’Challa returns to fight Killmonger, who dons his own Black Panther suit and commands W’Kabi and his army to attack. Shuri, Nakia, and the Dora Milaje join T’Challa, while Ross remotely pilots a jet and shoots down the planes carrying the vibranium weapons. M’Baku and the Jabari arrive to reinforce T’Challa. Confronted by Okoye, W’Kabi and his army stand down. Fighting in Wakanda’s vibranium mine, T’Challa disrupts Killmonger’s suit and stabs him. Killmonger refuses to be healed, choosing to die a free man rather than be incarcerated.Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther (2018)T’Challa establishes an outreach center at the building where N’Jobu died, to be run by Nakia and Shuri. In a mid-credits scene, T’Challa appears before the United Nations to reveal Wakanda’s true nature to the world. In a post-credits scene, Shuri helps Bucky Barnes with his recuperation.Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther (2018)Like many others, i have waited for months for Black Panther to come out. Although i was incredibly excited, a little part of was worried that the movie wouldn’t live up to the expectations placed upon it. But boy, did it blow my mind. It ended up surpassing my expectation by miles (and i was expecting a lot). It was truly an exquisite film. Chad Boswick acting as the Black Panther was perfection…not one thing was forced, everything he did, he did with grace and ease. Danai Gurira as Okoye was beyond words; she was fierce, elegant and a total badass. Lupita Nypngo, Letita Wright, Micheal B Jordan, Martin Freeman etc..were incredibly as well. The heartfelt acting shined through every actor and actress. The visuals were glorious, the portrayal of African culture in all its beautiful halo was something of a sight to behold.  This is a film that is educational, honest, visually stunning, humbling and historical. It does not bullshit or gloss up. Do yourself a favor and go watch it.

 

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REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI

 

CAST

Mark Hamill (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Carrie Fisher (Sorority Row)
Daisy Ridley (Murder on The Orient Express)
John Boyega (Pacific Rim: Uprising)
Adam Driver (Logan Lucky)
Oscar Isaac (Mojave)
Andy Serkis (King Kong)
Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther)
Domhnall Gleeson (American Made)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones)
Kelly Marie Tran (XOXO)
Laura Dern (Jurassic Park)
Frank Oz (The Dark Crystal)
Benicio del Toro (The Wolfman)
Billie Lourd (Scream queens)
Justin Theroux (American Psycho)
Kate Dickie (Prometheus)
Lily Cole (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)

Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)Resistance forces, led by General Leia Organa, flee D’Qar when a First Order fleet arrives. Poe Dameron leads a costly counterattack that destroys a First Order dreadnought, but after the Resistance escapes to hyperspace, the First Order tracks them and attacks the Resistance convoy. Kylo Ren, Leia’s son, hesitates to fire on the lead Resistance ship after sensing his mother’s presence, but his TIE fighter wingmen destroy the bridge, incapacitating Leia. Disapproving of new leader Vice Admiral Holdo’s passive strategy, Poe helps Finn, BB-8, and mechanic Rose Tico embark on a secret mission to disable the tracking device on the lead ship.Mark Hamill in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)Meanwhile, Rey arrives on Ahch-To with Chewbacca and R2-D2 aboard the Millennium Falcon to recruit Luke Skywalker to the Resistance. Disillusioned by his failure to train Kylo as a Jedi, and under self-imposed exile from the Force, Luke refuses to help—even after he learns of Han Solo’s death at Kylo’s hands—and believes that the Jedi should become extinct. Unbeknownst to Luke, Rey and Kylo can communicate through the Force, puzzling the two enemies. As the rival Force users learn about each other, each has future visions of themselves as partners.Gwendoline Christie and James Cox in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)R2-D2 persuades Luke to train Rey. After Kylo tells Rey what happened between him and Luke that caused him to choose the dark side of the Force, Luke confesses that he momentarily contemplated killing Kylo upon sensing that Supreme Leader Snoke was corrupting him, causing Kylo to destroy Luke’s new Jedi Order in retaliation. Convinced that Kylo can be redeemed, Rey leaves Ahch-To to confront Kylo without Luke. Luke prepares to burn the Ahch-To Jedi temple and library, but hesitates. Yoda’s ghost appears and destroys the temple by summoning a thunderstorm, claiming Rey has all she needs to learn, and encourages Luke to learn from his failure.Adam Driver in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)Holdo reveals her plan to discreetly evacuate the remaining Resistance members using small transports. Believing her actions cowardly and risky, Poe leads a mutiny. Finn, Rose, and BB-8 travel to the Canto Bight casino and acquire the help of the hacker DJ, who says he can help them disable the tracking device. They infiltrate Snoke’s ship, but all but BB-8 are captured by Captain Phasma. Meanwhile, Rey lands on the ship, and Kylo brings her to Snoke, who claims that he facilitated the mental connection between her and Kylo as part of a plan to destroy Luke. Ordered to kill Rey, Kylo instead kills Snoke and, with Rey, defeats Snoke’s guards. Rey believes that Kylo has returned to the light side of the Force, but he instead invites her to rule the galaxy with him, which she refuses. They use the Force to fight for possession of Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber, which splits in two.Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)Leia recovers and stuns Poe, allowing the evacuation to begin. Holdo remains on the ship to mislead Snoke’s fleet as the others flee to an abandoned Rebel Alliance base on Crait. DJ reveals the Resistance’s plan to the First Order, and the evacuation transports are slowly destroyed. Holdo sacrifices herself by ramming Snoke’s fleet at lightspeed; Rey escapes in the chaos, while Kylo declares himself Supreme Leader. BB-8 frees Finn and Rose, who escape after defeating Phasma, and they join survivors on Crait. When the First Order arrives, Poe, Finn, and Rose attack with old speeders. Rey and Chewbacca draw the TIE fighters away with the Falcon, while Rose stops Finn from completing a suicide run against the enemy siege cannon, which penetrates the Resistance fortress.Luke appears and confronts the First Order to enable surviving Resistance members to escape. Kylo orders the First Order’s forces to fire on Luke to no effect. He then engages Luke in a lightsaber duel; upon striking Luke, Kylo realizes he has been fighting a Force projection of him. Rey uses the Force to help the Resistance escape on the Falcon. Luke, exhausted, dies peacefully on Ahch-To. His death is sensed by Rey and Leia, but Leia tells surviving rebels that the Resistance has all it needs to rise again. At Canto Bight, one of the children who helped Finn and Rose escape grabs a broom with the Force and gazes into space.Mark Hamill in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)This movie was fun, exciting, and expanded the Star Wars universe more. Since when has Star Wars been about answering all of the nitty gritty questions of how the force and the universe work. When people are upset about that, I am astounded that they “expected more” explanation from the series. Since the prequels, people have been crying that there was too much revealed, and not enough mystery, as there had been with the originals. I for one am glad that we are introduced to characters who aren’t fleshed out here, that leaves room for the imagination and the extended universe to delve into. I’ve seen some reviewers complain that the movie is too slow, some that it is too scatterbrained, but I think the nuance of the movie outweighs either of these.  I think that what they did with each character felt good, and by no means did I feel cheated by the movie. I loved the questions it left unanswered and the new questions it posed, and am excited to have months of speculative discussions again.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS CHRISTMAS EPISODES – PART 2

CAST
Dan Castellaneta (Fantastic Four)
Julia Kavner (Dr. Dolittle)
Nancy Cartwright (All Grown Up!)
Yeardley Smith (As Good As It gets)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Pamela Hayden (Hey Arnold!)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)

SKINNER’S SENSE OF SNOW

While the Simpsons attend a French Canadian circus called “Cirque de Purée”, a wild blizzard hits Springfield, turning it into a snowsquall overnight. However, Springfield Elementary School stays open regardless of the storm, even though every other local school closes. Only some students, including the classmates of Bart and Lisa, show up while Skinner and Willie are the only faculty members at the school that day. To pass the time, Skinner plays his professed favourite film, a very low-budget, long-running, 1938 holiday movie called “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t, But Then Was”. When the kids try to leave school, however, snow has piled up, trapping the kids inside with Skinner and Groundskeeper Willie, much to their horror.
Skinner tries to keep the children under control, forcing them to stay together in the cafeteria and eat apples, relish and (only if they behave well enough) mayonnaise and will not let them go home until the snow melts. After Nelson tries to escape, Skinner unearths his U.S. Army memorabilia and is reminded of the days when he commanded respect from his troops. Skinner tries to command respect from the students, and briefly succeeds after threatening to hang them in their clothes on hooks on the wall if they rebel. Bart tries to tunnel his way out, but Skinner stops him, and after Willie refuses to destroy the tunnel, Skinner tries to, but is stuck in the resulting cave-in. The students rebel and eventually tie Skinner up in a dodge ball bag. They then set about ‘going nuts’ such as racing trolleys in the school hallway, even burning numerous books in the school’s library.
Meanwhile, Homer, with the help of Ned Flanders, sets out to rescue the children but crashes Flanders’ car into a fire hydrant, which sprays water that freezes the car in place. Homer’s repeated gunning of the accelerator causes carbon monoxide to flood the front of the car. Flanders and Homer get high from the fumes and wildly hallucinate. While the trapped children go wild with power, Skinner uses the school hamster, named Nibbles, to get a message to the outside world. Nibbles makes it to Ned and Homer, breaking the window and reviving them: they crash into a salt silo, melting the snow around the school and badly rusting the car but freeing the kids in the process.
Superintendent Chalmers appears and is ready to blame Skinner for the school’s current poor state when Bart takes the place, amending things with Skinner. As he and Lisa leave with Homer and Ned, Homer starts hallucinating again making him see Lisa as a camel and Bart as a dancing girl. Homer tries to kiss Bart, who tries his best to escape, causing the car to lose control and crash, and camel Lisa, then says “Merry Christmas from the Simpsons”!

SHE OF LITTLE FAITH

 GUEST CAST
Richard Gere (Pretty Woman)
While watching a 1950s science fiction movie, Bart and Lisa see a commercial for a model rocket kit and Bart orders it by using Homer’s credit card number. Homer helps Bart and Milhouse build it, but it blows up before launching. Jealous that Ned Flanders built a superior rocket, Homer enlists the help of his former nerdy college roommates, Gary, Doug, and Benjamin, to build a rocket piloted by the hamster Nibbles. The rocket lifts off successfully, but it develops complications and Nibbles bails out. However, Homer makes an attempt to shoot down the rocket with a 12 gauge shotgun, but the rocket crashes into the church. The church council meets up to decide how to come up with money to fund the repairs to the church, and with no other aid available they accept help from Mr. Burns and Lindsay Naegle. The two rebuild the church as a commercial monstrosity, complete with advertising signs, a Lard Lad statue, and a Jumbotron. Lisa is appalled at this and abandons the church, feeling her religion has lost its soul.
That night, Lisa prays to God and assures him she has not turned her back on him, but plans to seek a new path to him. While on a walk around town passing many sacrilegious signs, she finds Springfield’s Buddhist temple. Inside she sees Lenny and Carl meditating, and Hollywood actor Richard Gere teaches the core concepts of Buddhism to her. An intrigued Lisa takes a pamphlet on Buddhism and studies it at home. It convinces her of the virtues of the faith, and Lisa announces out her window she has become, and forever will be, a Buddhist. Lisa plants her own bodhi tree in the back yard and begins to meditate, but Marge grows increasingly worried about Lisa’s soul and tries to convince her to come back to Christianity.
At the church council, Reverend Lovejoy tells Marge to use Christmas to bribe her back. Marge bakes cookies, decorates the home, and has Ralph and Milhouse dress as a pony in wrapping paper to tempt her, but Lisa runs from the home when she realizes what is happening. At the Buddhist temple she tells Richard Gere her family tried to trick her, but Gere informs her that while Buddhism is about one finding inner peace, it is also about respecting the diversity of other religions based on love and compassion – thus, Lisa is free to celebrate any holiday with her family including Christmas. Lisa goes back home, falling asleep beside the Christmas tree and tells everyone that she will be celebrating Christmas with them and continue paying lip service to Christianity while practicing Buddhism for the rest of her life. As Marge takes her to the kitchen to get some cookies for her, Lisa asks about her pony, and Marge tries unsuccessfully to change the subject as Lisa calls out for her gift.


DUDE, WHERES MY RANCH ?

GUEST CAST
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Smallville)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
David Byrne
It is Christmas time, and the Simpsons go caroling around Springfield. They sing to Snake (who is busy robbing the family he has gagged and tied up), Krusty and his dad, and Mr. Burns and Smithers. The Simpsons continue until they reach the Blue-Haired Lawyer’s house. He tells the family that they cannot sing Christmas carols, unless they pay a royalty. In response, Homer makes the lyrics for his own carol. Later, Ned Flanders comes in and tries to help Homer, until Homer kicks him out, but even then Flanders annoys him. Homer finds new inspiration in an anti-Flanders song, “Everybody Hates Ned Flanders”. He plays the song at Moe’s, and when David Byrne comes in, he likes the song so much, that he wants to produce and record the song. “Everybody Hates Ned Flanders” becomes so popular (even with Ned and his sons themselves) that even William Shatner does a cover of it. This leads to mass publicity, which annoys the Simpsons, who want to avoid it. They find a brochure for a dude ranch, the Lazy I Ranch, and go there.
The family arrives at the Lazy I Ranch, owned by the Rich Texan, who tells Lisa that the ranch was built on cruelty to animals and oppression of indigenous people, which annoys her. It makes her want to leave, until she meets a cowhand, named Luke Stetson, who stops her stepping on a rattlesnake egg, and shares her views on the ranch. The family meet a man called Cookie who shows them around and sets out some dinner. Homer and Bart also have their own adventure when they meet a tribe of Native Americans who want a dam removed so they can reclaim their land. Homer agrees to do so if they build a Casino on their land, which is accepted. They are confronted by beavers when trying to kick it apart and they start making Homer part of the dam, but Bart manages to tie a rope to Homer and drags him away on his horse, but the rope breaks and the beavers continue to bite Homer. They eventually destroy the dam after luring the beavers away with old wood and removing the master log, and give the land back to the Native Americans who include them in their tribe by giving them cups to drink from which contains bear urine (and then say it actually contains Fresca, at which point Homer and Bart spit it out). Meanwhile, Lisa thinks that Luke is off-limits, because she overhears him on the phone promising a last dance to a girl named Clara and telling her that he loves her; causing Lisa to think Clara is Luke’s girlfriend and she goes to her bed crying and jealous.
When Lisa encounters her, she deviously tricks her into going the wrong way. At the dance, Lisa finds out that Clara is Luke’s sister and runs to the beaver dam with Bart. They find Clara standing on a rock in the middle of a torrential river; she cries out to Lisa and Bart for help, explaining that she cannot swim. Bart taunts some beavers and runs up a tree; the beavers chew through the tree, causing it to fall and making a bridge that drowning Clara can go across. However, when Lisa comes clean about what happened to Clara, Luke is offended and they separate. As the Simpsons return to Springfield, they hear a self-deprecating cover version of the Andrea True Connection song “More, More, More”, (entitled “Moe, Moe, Moe”), on the radio, sung by Moe and produced by David Byrne (who Moe kidnaps earlier in the episode), and turn around to spend another week at the ranch.

‘TIS THE FIFTEENTH SEASON

For Christmas, Carl gives Homer a DVD player and the first season of Magnum, P.I. with commentary by John Hillerman. However, Homer forgets he is Lenny’s secret Santa and gives him a pack of Certs out of desperation. Instead of giving bonuses, Mr. Burns gives everyone a cafeteria voucher and Homer a Joe DiMaggio rookie baseball card for Bart. To get money for Christmas shopping, Homer gives the card to Comic Book Guy, who gives Homer everything in his cash register. With their small fortune, the Simpsons go shopping at the Springfield Heights Promenade. Homer promises to buy a massive Christmas tree that will cause mudslides and flooding when it is removed, but he instead spends the tree money on a Personalized Talking Astrolabe for himself.
Homer gets shunned by his family when they find out, and becomes even more depressed when he finds out that the Astrolabe cannot be exchanged, thus meaning that Homer cannot undo his mistake. While staying up late at night, Homer watches Mr. McGrew’s Christmas Carol. There, he realizes just how selfish he is. Homer decides to reform his ways and become the nicest guy in town. Homer’s acts include giving hobos his old clothes, giving Lenny a photo cube, giving Marge the last pork chop (causing her to break down in tears of joy) and building a skating rink in the Simpsons’ backyard (to the delight of Comic Book Guy). After Gil Gunderson’s comment of “Homer, you’re the nicest man in town!”, and Nelson Muntz’s comment of “Haha! Your position has been usurped!”, the actions cause jealousy to stir in Ned Flanders.
Flanders finds himself barely able to control his anger. He decides to buy everyone in town a Christmas present (and gets the money by renting out his house to a fraternity). Homer begins to think of beating Flanders by buying everyone a car. However, Lisa tells him not to and that, as a Buddhist, she believes people would be happier without presents. Homer gets the idea to do the ultimate good deed: steal Christmas. In the morning, an angry mob confronts Homer. The mob calms down when they see a star which they think is a sign from God; it is actually a flare from Hans Moleman. Homer gives everyone back their presents and the entire town sings Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. During the carol, however, Snake steals Homer’s Astrolabe.


SIMPSON CHRISTMAS STORIES

.1 The First Do’h-El

When Reverend Lovejoy can not attend the Christmas sermon due to a horrible train wreck (on his train set), Flanders immediately takes over. However, he gets a paper cut and faints. Homer decides to lead the sermon and tells the story of the first Christmas, with Marge as Mary, Homer as Joseph, Lisa as the angel Gabriel, Mr. Burns as King Herod, and Bart as Baby Jesus.
Mary tells Joseph that she is pregnant, even though she is a virgin. The angel Gabriel appears to them and explains that Mary is going to give birth to the Son of God. The three wise men (Dr. Hibbert, Principal Skinner, and Professor Frink) tell King Herod that they are going to give gold, frankincense, and myrrh (which Professor Frink is re-gifting) to the King of the Jews. When Herod thinks that the gifts are for him, the men explain to him that they are for the infant. Herod becomes angry and claims that he will kill the baby.
At the Bethlehem Inn, the innkeeper (Moe) tells Mary and Joseph that he has plenty of rooms available with brand new carpeting. However, when Mary’s water breaks, he forces them to stay in the barn. Mary successfully gives birth to the baby, and the three wise men, along with the two shepherds (Lenny and Carl) come to see Jesus. Joseph is upset because he is not Jesus’s father, and when he drinks some wine, the baby turns it into water.
When the infant keeps crying, Mary gives him to Joseph. He entertains him by hurting himself and one of the wise men (Skinner). When Baby Jesus finally falls asleep, Herod and his troops find the manger that they are staying in. They escape and trick the soldiers by putting Jesus’ halo on a duck. On top of the hill, Joseph cuts down a pine tree, and as it rolls down, the soldiers get caught in it. The soldiers, along with Herod, are arranged like ornaments on the tree, and the duck, still wearing the halo, stands on top of the tree. Mary calls it a Christmas tree, and Homer concludes his service by ending his story with “And did you know that that little baby Jesus grew up to be….Jesus?”.

.2 I Saw Grampa Cussing Santa Claus

When Bart and Lisa find Grampa trying to stick a bear trap on top of the chimney, Grampa tells them that he is trying to get his revenge on Santa Claus. Bart asks why, and to their dismay, Grampa tells them one of his many stories. Back in World War II, Grampa and his brother Cyrus (not mentioned before or since this episode aired) were fighting off Japanese planes when Cyrus got shot down. Shortly after, Grampa, who was accompanied by Mr. Burns, have their plane’s wings shot off and are stranded on an island. After a few months, they see a plane in the sky, and Mr. Burns shoots it down. However, when they go over to investigate, they see that it is actually Santa Claus. They build him a new sleigh and gather up all the presents. When Santa is about to leave, Mr. Burns knocks him unconscious with a coconut and flies away in the sleigh and claims that he is going to keep all the presents.
Grampa catches up to him on Prancer, who has been left behind because Santa could not find him, and jumps on board the sleigh. After he beats Mr. Burns with a tricycle, he gives the sleigh back to Santa. As Santa leaves, he tells Grampa that he will be back in a few days. However, he never comes back, and Grampa has to get off using a jet ski he made out of coconuts. Bart and Lisa believe that it is just another one of Grampa’s far-fetched tales, but when they hear a thump in the den, they find that Santa is there. He tells them that Cyrus did not die, but instead crashed into Tahiti. Santa takes Grampa there, and they meet up with Cyrus and his fifteen wives. Santa explains to Grampa that he did not come back for him on the island due to his procrastination and eventually feeling embarrassed about it. When Abe comments on Cyrus’s fifteen wives and the sex he must have, Cyrus points out that they are wives, not girlfriends.

.3) The Nutcracker…Sweet

After the children of Springfield Elementary perform The Nutcracker, everyone begins to go about their business singing to the tune of the songs from the play. This is done after mentioning that these songs are in the public domain and thus can be (and are) played constantly for free. After the opening number (sung to the tune of “Marche”), Moe continues his holiday tradition (done to the tune of “Dance of the Flutes”) and attempts suicide thrice, first by hanging himself with popcorn string which breaks under his weight, next by riding a sleigh into open traffic only to have all the cars swerve and miss him, and then by shooting himself in the head with a revolver that sends a “Merry Christmas” flag out through his other ear. In a fourth attempt, Moe asks Barney to kill him instead of buying him a present, but Barney has already gotten him a wool hat and Moe gives up on the idea for now.
That evening, Marge tells Homer that he will like the present that she got him. Having forgotten to buy her anything and not wanting to upset her, Homer tells her that his present for her is outside; he then frantically rushes out to find a gift (sung to the tune of “Trepak”). Every store is closed, and all Apu has at the Kwik-E-Mart is some jerky made out of trout. Homer searches in garbage cans, gutters, trees, and he even chases down Milhouse, but he cannot find anything.
When he gets home, Marge gives Homer his present (done to “Pas De Deux”). He opens it and sees that it is another present with a tag that reads, “To Marge, From Homer.” Marge tells him that she knew that he would forget to give her a present, so she gave him one to give to her. He gives it to her and she unwraps it, and Homer sees that it is a picture of him dressed up as Santa with Marge on his lap. They hug and kiss, and Moe attempts suicide a fifth time by riding a sleigh toward a fully loaded tractor-trailer, without success (“Eighteen wheels and they all missed me!”).
 The next five episodes show a welcome return to Christmas, the best of the bunch would be Tis the Fifteenth season and has remained a favorite of mine over 10 years later. all the Christmas episodes are great to get out this time of year and just relax for some good decent laughs.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: ARTHUR CHRISTMAS

CAST

James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class)
Hugh Laurie (Tomorrowland)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Jim Broadbent (Cloud Atlas)
Imelda Staunton (Maleficent)
Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty)
Marc Wootton (Nativity)
Laura Linney (The Truman Show)
Eva Longoria (Over Her Dead Body)
Ramona Marquez (Outnumbered)
Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter)
Joan Cusack (Addams Family Values)
Rhys Darby (Yes Man)
Jane Horrocks (Little Voice)
Sanjeev Bhaskar (Notting Hill)
Iain McKee (The Parole Officer)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
Dominic West (The Affair)

On Christmas Eve, hundreds of Christmas elves helm the command centre of Santa Claus’ mile-wide, ultra-high-tech sleigh-esque craft, the S-1. The current Santa (Malcolm) and the Christmas elves deliver presents to every child in the world using advanced equipment and military precision. These complex operations are micromanaged by thousands more elves, under the command of Malcolm’s militaristic eldest son Steve and his obsequious elfin assistant Peter at mission control underneath the North Pole. Meanwhile, his younger son – the clumsy, fearful yet enthusiastic Arthur – devotedly answers the letters to Santa. During one of the delivery operations in Germany a child wakes up and almost sees Malcolm; in the tense escape operation, a Christmas elf aboard the S-1 inadvertently leans on a button, causing a present to fall from the supply line and go unnoticed.Having completed his 70th mission, Malcolm is portrayed as far past his prime and whose role in field operations now is largely symbolic. Nonetheless, he is held in high esteem, and delivers a congratulatory speech to the enraptured elves. Malcolm announces he looks forward to his 71st, much to the frustration of heir-apparent Steve, who had prepared to succeed his father as Santa at the conclusion of this mission. During their family Christmas dinner, Arthur’s suggestion for the family to play a board game degenerates into a tense quarrel between Malcolm and Steve, while Malcolm’s father and predecessor Grandsanta, bored by retirement, resentfully criticises their over-modernization. After Grandsanta knocks the board off the table, Steve’s PDA (a high tech device named a ‘HOHO’) flashes and he leaves the table in a hurry. Later, their father shares with his wife Margaret his grave doubts about his self-identity should he retire.Arthur follows Steve, and the two learn that a Christmas elf named Bryony found the missed present – a wrapped bicycle for a little girl in England called Gwen, to whose letter Arthur had personally responded. Arthur alerts his father, who is at a loss as to how to handle the situation; Steve argues that one missed present out of billions is an acceptable error whose correction can wait a few days, citing this year’s Christmas as the most successful in history. Grandsanta on the other hand, on learning of the dire situation, proposes delivering the gift using Eve, his old wooden sleigh, and the great-great-grandchildren of the original eight reindeer, forcefully whisking away a reluctant Arthur and a stowaway Bryony. In the process the three get lost in three different continents, lose several of their reindeer, and land in danger several times, ultimately being mistaken for aliens and causing an international military incident. Through all this, Arthur eventually learns, to his compounding disappointment, that Grandsanta’s true motive is to fulfill his ego, Steve refuses to help them out of petty resentment and possibility of his brother being made hero overshadowing his work, and that his own father has gone to bed, apparently content even though a present was not delivered.Finally, stranded in Cuba after losing the sleigh and the remaining reindeer, Arthur renews his sense of purpose: that it all comes down to having presents delivered, regardless of how it is done and who did it. With Grandsanta’s and Bryony’s help, he manages to recover the sleigh. Meanwhile, the elves grow increasingly alarmed at rumours of the neglected delivery and the Clauses’ unthinkable indifference, sending them into a panic. In response, Malcolm, Margaret, and Steve take the high-tech sleigh-craft to deliver a superior present… albeit to the wrong child.Arthur and his party manage to reach England, but lose the remaining reindeer; furthermore a US Predator drone scrambled by Chief De Silva of UNFITA intercepts and opens fire on the sleigh believing them to be aliens. Grandsanta sacrifices the sleigh, while Arthur and Bryony to parachute to the ground. Ultimately with Margaret and Bryony’s help, all the male Clauses arrive at Gwen’s house before she awakens, only to have all but Arthur quarrel about who gets to actually place the gift. Noticing that only Arthur truly cares about the girl’s feelings, the elder Clauses collectively realize that he is the sole worthy successor. As a result, Malcolm gives Arthur the honour and Steve, recognizing his own shortcomings, forfeits his supposed birthright and acknowledges his brother’s worthiness to take up the mantle. In a fitting conclusion, Gwen glimpses a snow-bearded Arthur in a wind-buffeted sweater just before he vanishes up into the S-1.With the crisis resolved, Malcolm goes into a happy retirement with Margaret; he also becomes Grandsanta’s much-desired new companion and plays Arthur’s board game with him for many happy hours. Meanwhile, Steve finds true contentment as the Chief Operating Officer of the North Pole, while Bryony is promoted to Vice-President of Packing, Pacific Division. In a nod to traditionalism once neglected, the high-tech S-1 is re-christened EVIE in honour of Grandsanta’s old sleigh and refitted to be pulled by a team of five thousand reindeer – led by the original eight, all of whom managed to return home safely via innate navigational abilities. Finally, Arthur happily guides the entire enterprise in the proper spirit as the new Santa.Everything you would wish from a Chistmassy film. Strong story and lovely ideas about Father Christmas and the challenge of delivering a present to every child. A great family movie.

 

 

REVIEW: WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

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CAST

Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four)
Amiah Miller (Lights Out)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Andy Sekris (The Hobbit)
Steve Zahn (Roadkill)
Karin Konoval (2012)
Gabriel Chavarria (Hunter Killer)
Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries)
Aleks Paunovic (Kindergarten Cop 2)
Ty Olsson (Izombie)
Michael Adamthwaite (Stargate SG.1)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Roger Cross (Arrow)
Chad Rock (THe Flash)

 

Some time after the U.S. military was called to fight off an increasingly intelligent and dangerous tribe of apes, the apes clan, led by the chimpanzee Caesar, are attacked in the woods by a rogue paramilitary faction known as Alpha-Omega, led by a ruthless Colonel. Alpha-Omega also has in its service apes they call “Donkeys” that had previously followed Koba, a human-hating bonobo who led a failed coup against Caesar. During the attack, the Alpha-Omega militants are met by heavy ape resistance, and several soldiers, including the gorilla Red, are captured by the apes. Caesar arrives and orders the four human soldiers to be released, with a message to the Colonel that he did not start the war, and that he desires peace between the humans and apes. Caesar orders that Red be imprisoned for his crimes, but before he can be imprisoned, Red escapes, injuring an albino gorilla named Winter. Soon after, Caesar’s son Blue Eyes and his lieutenant Rocket return from a journey to find a safe haven for the apes.They report that they have found a place across the desert that is perfect for the clan. Winter, still frightened from the soldiers’ attack, wants to leave immediately, but Caesar does not think they are prepared to leave so soon. That night, a group of Alpha-Omega soldiers, led by the Colonel, infiltrates the apes’ home behind a waterfall and the Colonel kills Caesar’s wife, Cornelia, and Blue Eyes. Winter cannot be found, and Luca, a gorilla, believes that Winter has betrayed them because he was frightened.Leaving his younger son, Cornelius, in the care of Blue Eyes’ mate, Lake, Caesar departs to exact revenge on the Colonel for the death of his family. He is accompanied by Maurice, an orangutan and Caesar’s advisor, Luca, and Rocket, while the other apes head for the desert. During their journey, the apes encounter a soldier living in an abandoned village and Caesar shoots him when he reaches for his rifle. Caesar, Maurice, Luca, and Rocket search the dead soldier’s home. Maurice discovers the soldier’s daughter who is apparently unable to speak. Maurice befriends the girl, giving her a small rag doll, and insists that they take her with them.Along the way Caesar’s party encounters Winter in an Alpha-Omega camp on the beach where he has volunteered to become a “donkey” for the soldiers in return for sparing his life. He tells Caesar’s group that the Colonel has departed for a location referred to as the “border.” Winter tries to call out to Alpha-Omega soldiers to save him, but Caesar and the others smother him to keep him quiet, killing him. Caesar begins to worry that he is becoming like Koba by killing apes and seeking revenge. While following the soldiers to the border, they discover some soldiers who have been shot and left for dead. Their examination of a soldier who survived reveals that he, like the girl, cannot speak. Later the group meets Bad Ape, an intelligent chimpanzee hermit who lived in the Sierra Zoo before the Simian Flu pandemic. Bad Ape reveals that the human soldiers are encamped at the border and hesitantly agrees to lead them there.When the group arrives at the border, they see hundreds of apes held captive inside a former quarantine facility. While getting a closer look, Luca is killed protecting Caesar from an AO patrol, angering Caesar and causing him to proceed alone. Caesar discovers the rest of his ape clan has been captured, and are being forced to build a wall with no food or water; he is captured by Red. The Colonel reveals to Caesar that the Simian Flu virus has mutated and now causes humans who survived the original strain to devolve, becoming mute and regressing back to a primitive state. Caesar deduces that the Colonel is barricading himself in the facility to fend off remnants of the U.S. Army from the North who are coming to execute him because he favors killing any infected humans including his own son to stop the spread of the virus. Caesar is commended by the Colonel for his intelligence, and the Colonel explains he is fighting a “holy war” for the survival of mankind.While Caesar is tortured with starvation, the mute girl, whom Maurice names Nova, sneaks into the facility to give Caesar her rag doll given to her by Maurice, food, and water. To prevent her from being discovered, Rocket allows himself to be captured as a diversion. The next day, the Colonel comes to see if Caesar is still alive, discovers the doll, and asks both Caesar and Preacher how the doll got inside the cell. The Colonel decides to take the doll. Together Caesar and Rocket are able to work out a means of escape via an underground tunnel that leads out of the facility. Maurice and Bad Ape use the tunnel to rescue the apes, and Caesar orders the others to escape while he goes to confront the Colonel. As the facility comes under attack by the northern army, Caesar reaches the Colonel but realizes that he has fallen victim to the virus that he feared and has become unable to speak. As Caesar is about to kill the Colonel, he sees the mute girl’s rag doll on the ground. Caesar puts down his gun and spares the Colonel who then uses it to kill himself.During the battle between Alpha-Omega and the Northern Army, the escaping apes come under fire from Alpha-Omega. Caesar attempts to attack Alpha-Omega from behind, but is shot with a crossbow by Preacher, one of the Alpha-Omega militants he had previously set free. Red saves Caesar’s life by killing Preacher with a grenade launcher and is executed by an Alpha-Omega superior as a result. Caesar blows up the facility’s fuel supplies causing a cascading explosion, which wipes out Alpha-Omega and allows the Northern Army to win the battle. However, the army is subsequently buried and decimated by an avalanche, which Caesar and the other apes, carrying Nova, survive by climbing nearby trees. The remaining apes depart the facility and cross the desert to find an oasis. While the other apes joyously celebrate their new home, Maurice discovers Caesar’s wound. Maurice then speaks letting Caesar know that Cornelius will know what his father believed in and did to protect the apes. Caesar slowly and silently succumbs to his wound, and Maurice mourns his passing watching over the other apes.What makes War Of The Planet Of The Apes a masterpiece? Because it has some extremely well handled dramatic moments in it, boasting visually stunning cinematography and masterful acting to carry it off. War Of The Planet Of The Apes is not just about the horror about the battle of war, it’s also about the revolutionary shouts from the people being affected by it, in this case the apes. It’s an emotional roller- coaster, except instead of over-done sentimentality it displays raw emotion to get into the viewer watching the film. War Of The Planet Of The Apes, in my opinion, marks as the best of the Planet Of The Apes prequel films..

REVIEW: DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

CAST
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Jason Clarke (Terminator Salvation)
Gary Oldman (Robocop 2014)
Keri Russell (Waitress)
Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four 2015)
Kodi Smith-McPhee (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Kirk Acevedo (Fringe)
Judy Greer (Ant-Man)
Ten years after the worldwide pandemic of the deadly ALZ-113 virus, or Simian Flu, human civilization is completely destroyed following martial law, civil unrest and the economic collapse of every country in the world. Over 90% of the human population has died in the pandemic, while apes with genetically enhanced intelligence have started to build a civilization of their own. Near the ruins of San Francisco, Caesar leads and governs an ape colony located in the Muir Woods. While walking through the forest, Caesar’s son Blue Eyes and his friend Ash encounter a human named Carver, who panics and shoots Ash, wounding him. Carver calls for the rest of his small party of armed survivors, led by a man named Malcolm, while Blue Eyes calls for the other apes. Caesar orders the humans to leave. The remaining humans in San Francisco, who are genetically immune to the virus, are living in a guarded and unfinished high-rise tower within the ruined city. Prompted by Koba, a scarred bonobo who holds a grudge against humans for his mistreatment, Caesar brings an army of apes to the city tower where he conveys the message that while the apes do not want war, they will fight to defend their home. He demands that the humans stay in their territory and states the apes will stay in theirs too.
Malcolm convinces his fellow leader Dreyfus to give him three days to reconcile with the apes to gain access to a hydroelectric dam in their territory, which could provide long-term power to the city. Dreyfus, distrustful of the apes, arms survivors using an abandoned armory. Malcolm then travels into the ape village, but is captured by gorilla guards, who bring him to Caesar. After a tense discussion, Caesar allows Malcolm to work on the dam’s generator, if they surrender their guns. As Malcolm, his wife Ellie and son Alexander work, they bond with the apes. Mutual distrust of both sides gradually subsides; the truce is endangered when Caesar’s infant son Milo discovers a shotgun smuggled in by Carver, but the two sides reconcile when Ellie offers to help treat Caesar’s ill wife Cornelia with antibiotics. Meanwhile, Koba discovers the armory and confronts Caesar, questioning his allegiance and taunting him over his “love” for humans. In response, Caesar severely beats Koba, but at the last moment refrains from killing him; adhering to his philosophy that “ape not kill ape”, Caesar hesitantly forgives Koba. The furious Koba then returns to the armory, where he steals an assault rifle and murders two human guards. Returning home, he secretly kills Carver, stealing his lighter and cap.
The dam is eventually repaired, restoring power to the city. During the celebration, Koba sets fire to the apes’ home, then, unseen to anyone else, shoots Caesar in the shoulder, causing him to fall from the settlement’s main tree. In the panic of the loss of the alpha and the fire, Koba takes charge, and having planted Carver’s cap at the scene of the shooting, urging the apes to fight against the humans. Malcolm’s group hides as Koba leads the apes into San Francisco. The apes plunder the armory and charge the tower’s gates. Despite heavy casualties, the apes breach the gates using a hijacked tank, overrun the tower and imprison all the humans as Dreyfus flees underground. When Ash refuses Koba’s orders to kill unarmed humans, citing Caesar’s teachings, Koba kills Ash and imprisons all those known to be loyal to Caesar.
Malcolm’s group finds Caesar barely alive and transport him to his former home in San Francisco. Caesar reveals to Malcolm that Koba shot him, realizing his notion that apes were better than humans was naïve and that apes can be as violent as humans. Malcolm leaves the group and heads to the city to find medical supplies for Caesar. While looking for medical supplies, Malcolm encounters Blue Eyes; disenchanted with Koba’s leadership, the young ape spares Malcolm’s life and returns to the house with him, where he reconciles with his father. Caesar grows nostalgic watching a video clip from his childhood of his former owner and father figure Will Rodman on his old camcorder as Malcolm learns of Caesar’s past. A plan is put into action: Blue Eyes returns to the tower and frees the caged humans and apes loyal to Caesar, then Malcolm leads the apes, unseen, into the tower from below. After accomplishing this, Malcolm encounters Dreyfus, who informs him that his men have made radio contact with military survivors at a base to the north, who are on their way to help fight the apes. Caesar confronts Koba at the top of the tower, but as they battle, Dreyfus detonates C-4 charges he has planted beneath the tower. The resulting explosion kills him and collapses part of the tower. Caesar overpowers Koba, with Koba hanging over the edge of the tower. Pleading for his life, Koba reminds Caesar that apes do not kill apes, but Caesar states that Koba is not an ape and lets him fall to his death.
Malcolm informs Caesar of the impending arrival of human military reinforcements and both lament the lost opportunity for peace. Caesar tells Malcolm that the humans will never forgive the apes for the war they started and advises him to leave with his family for safety as the two of them acknowledge their friendship. As Malcolm disappears into the shadows, Caesar stands before a kneeling mass of apes, awaiting the war to come.
The exhilarating action scenes and set pieces are of a grander scale than in ‘Rise’ and with the use of some truly spectacular digital effects that are as realistic as any you will see, makes for an absorbing visual feast. But the finest achievements of the film lie in it’s thoughtful, emotional core, that cleverly aligns our sympathies with both apes and humans and makes for a moving and thoroughly rewarding experience that is far removed from the one-dimensionality of today’s brainless blockbusters.

REVIEW: RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

CAST
James Franco (Spring Breakers)
Freida Pinto (The Immortals)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Brian Cox (X-Men 2)
Tom Felton (Harry Potter)
David Oyelowo (Interstellar)
Tyler Labine (Deadbeat)
Jamie Harris (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
David Hewlett (Splice)
Will Rodman, a scientist at the San Francisco biotech company Gen-Sys, is testing the viral-based drug ALZ-112 on chimpanzees to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. ALZ-112 is given to a chimp named Bright Eyes, greatly increasing her intelligence. However, during Will’s presentation for the drug, Bright Eyes is forced from her cage, goes on a rampage, and is killed. Will’s boss Steven Jacobs terminates the project and orders the chimps euthanized. However, Will’s assistant Robert Franklin discovers that Bright Eyes had recently given birth to an infant chimp. Will agrees to take in the chimp, who is named Caesar. Will learns that Caesar has inherited his mother’s intelligence and decides to raise him. Three years later, Will introduces Caesar to the redwood forest at Muir Woods National Monument. Meanwhile, Will treats his dementia-suffering father Charles with ALZ-112, which seems to restore his cognitive ability.
When Caesar reaches adolescence and sees a dog on a leash like his own, he questions his identity and learns of his origins from Will. Meanwhile, Charles’s condition returns as his Alzheimer’s becomes resistant to ALZ-112. Caesar injures a neighbor, Douglas Hunsiker, while defending a confused Charles. As a result, he is placed in a primate shelter where he is treated cruelly by the other chimps and the chief guard, Dodge Landon. Caesar learns how to unlock his cage, gaining free access to the common area. With the assistance of a gorilla named Buck, he confronts the sanctuary’s alpha chimp and claims that position. Meanwhile, Jacobs clears development of a more powerful, gaseous version of the drug – ALZ-113 – when Will tells him it can not only heal brain diseases but also improve intelligence. Will takes the drug home to try to save his father, but Charles declines further treatment and dies overnight.
 
After attempting to test the drug on a scarred bonobo test subject named Koba, Franklin becomes exposed to ALZ-113 and becomes ill. Attempting to warn Will at his home, he sneezes blood onto Hunsiker and is later discovered dead. Will attempts to reclaim Caesar, but the chimp refuses to go home with him. Instead, he escapes from the facility and returns to Will’s house, where he takes canisters of the ALZ-113. Upon returning, Caesar releases the gas and allows it to enhance the intelligence of the other apes. When Dodge attempts to get him back into his cage, Caesar shocks him by speaking for the first time, yelling “No!” Caesar then electrocutes the cattle prod-wielding Dodge by spraying him with water, unintentionally killing him. The apes flee the facility, release the remaining chimps from Gen-Sys, and free more apes from the San Francisco Zoo.
A battle ensues as the ape army fights their way past a police blockade on the Golden Gate Bridge to escape into the redwood forest. Buck sacrifices himself to save Caesar by jumping onto the helicopter in which Jacobs is riding. The helicopter crashes onto the bridge, trapping Jacobs in the wreckage. Jacobs is then killed by Koba. As the apes find their way into the forest, Will arrives and warns Caesar that the humans will hunt them down, and begs him to return home. In response, Caesar hugs him and says that, “Caesar is home.” Will, realizing that this is indeed their last goodbye, respects Caesar’s wishes. In a mid-credits scene, an infected Hunsiker leaves his house for work as an airline pilot, arriving at San Francisco International Airport for his flight to Paris. His nose begins to drip blood onto the floor. A graphic traces the spread of the humanity-ravaging virus around the globe via international flight routes.
A  very clever attempt at a prequel, explaining how the rise of the apes began. Given the current news surrounding Ebola and its daily inexorable spread, the ending credits of this film are rather chilling to watch.