25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: UGLY BETTY: THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

Dr-Seuss-How-The-Grinch-Stole-Christmas-Gallery-6
CAST
America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Tony PLlna (Vampire Bats)
Ana Ortiz (Devious Maids)
Ashley Jensen (Arthur Christmas)
Becki Newton (American Dad)
Mark Indelicato (White Bird In a Blizzard)
Vanessa Williams (Eraser)
Michael Urie (Uptown Girl)
Judith Light (Dallas)
Christopher Gorham (Odyssey 5)
Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)

FAKE PLASTIC SNOW

GUEST CAST
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Kevin Sussman (The Big Bang Theory)
Brett Cullen (Ghiost Rider)
Ava Gaudet (Evil Angel)
Betty is at her desk working on an expense report for Daniel when Henry comes by and asks her if she’s making her Christmas list. He spots mistletoe on her desk. She says it’s just holly, but he kisses her anyway and tells her she’s the girl he’s been looking for. But it looks like this was all a fantasy as Betty wakes up in a shock from this dream and glares at the photo of Walter by her bed before throwing the sheets over her face. Back at Daniel’s place, Sofia wakes up beside Daniel. Worried that she will miss her flight, she says that they need a breather so they can see if what they have is real. He insists that he loves her but Sofia says it’s just hormones and sex. If this is real, he should see other women while she’s gone. If he doesn’t get sweaty palms with them, maybe he does love her. He says that this is crazy but she tells him that this will convince her that he really feels this only for her. Back at the Suarezes, Betty tells Hilda her dream, but Hilda tells her that dreams don’t mean anything and tells her sister should just avoid Henry and everything will be fine. Meanwhile Ignacio, who was arrested by Immigration a few days ago but was let go, comes down and Betty gives him his pills. He has a caseworker coming to work with him next month. Hilda gets in a fight with their neighbor Gina after she runs over her Christmas tree while it’s sitting in the street.
wilhelmina-man-in-black-and-marc
Meanwhile, in Wilhelmina’s office, Marc, in the wake of him now knowing the truth of his boss’ intentions, is bringing Wilhelmina her breakfast and asking if Nico is coming home. He lithely snatches her whole wheat bagel causing her to almost bite his head off before he reminds her that they’re ‘sharing things’ now that he knows her little secret. Over at an office meeting in the conference room, Daniel announces that Betty has been offered a job and she will be accepting resumes for her position. The news brings a round of applause for Miss Suarez. Amanda and Marc wonder if they need to invite her to her own leaving party. Betty is surprised he’s announced this, but he says that her going to work with Sofia is what’s best for her. Amanda is already confident that she’s the best one to take the job. Daniel then takes Betty into his office to tell her that Sofia wants him to have an affair while she’s away. He’s through with being a bachelor and places half a dozen rings across his desk to try to pick out which will be perfect. After leaving Daniel’s office, Betty goes to her desk and opens a gift waiting for her, which turns out to be a notebook. She assumes this is from Daniel and gives him the thumbs up but he doesn’t know what she’s doing, since it didn’t come from him. She walks down the hall to Amanda who tells her flatly that she is the right person to replace her and she’ll prove it: She’ll help Betty plan the Christmas party. Betty reluctantly accepts the offer. A bundle of fake snow arrives and Betty walks it into Henry, spilling it all over both of them. He tries to pull some out of her hair but feel bashful. He then makes a series of unintentional double entendres while Betty tries to hide her excitement when he tells her that he will be ‘on top of her’ for the next few days overseeing the party budget.
Meanwhile, half a dozen lingerie models arrive to pose the new collection for Daniel. They include the first supermodel he was ever with, Aerin. Betty leaves to try to sort through resumes before she rushes in again to stop Daniel from easy temptation and announces that the photographer is ready for the models. Across town later that day, Betty and Walter are at the Christmas party for the store where he works. They have their photo taken with Walter’s boss and his wife. The wife of Walter’s boss tells her that she used to work in Manhattan too, but they’re Queens’ girls and this is where they belong. Betty stares at Walter and his boss with a less than enthusiastic feeling. Betty asks the woman when she knew that her husband was the one. She just knew; when did Betty know Walter was? She’s not sure yet. Upset that Marc wants in on her secret, Wilhelmina gets a call from her mysterious friend who’s concerned about having Marc silenced. Wilhelmina states that he will be permanently silenced very soon. She adjusts the Christmas tree ornaments and walks out revealing Marc hiding behind the tree. He’s terrified and takes a breath of his inhaler. In another part of the MODE building, it’s late in the office and Amanda is still there, rummaging through Daniel’s desk and trying on the rings he bought for Sofia. Her feelings for Daniel aren’t exactly as simple as she wishes they were. One ring gets stuck on her finger. Also later on in another location at the Meade Building, Bradford is being visited by Mr. Greene. He’s managed to find proof that Fey Sommers is really dead after visiting the coroner at the cemetery, which leads to new questions over who the mystery woman really is, now that a relative has claimed Fey’s remains.
The following morning, a worried Marc brings Wilhelmina her whole wheat. She asks him for his home address; she’s sending a special delivery his way. He panics and takes another hit off his inhaler. Amanda updates Betty on all the elaborate party preparations that she’s done. Betty says she appreciates the help, but it doesn’t erase her history with Daniel; she’s not right for the job. Betty goes to her desk when Henry appears with ornaments. She tries to ignore him, but he tells her that he never saw snow until he moved to New York and she’s so charmed that she can’t stop staring at him. They begin to chat and she starts to fantasize about him before freezing up and telling him she has to get back to work. Betty is pushing ornaments into Amanda’s arms when she sees one of Daniel’s rings on her fingers. Betty chases her around the office before they try to get it off together. Betty spits on an appalled Amanda’s finger and starts to pull while she tells her that she doesn’t feel anything for Daniel anymore. Betty falls over pulling and Amanda walks off. Marc arrives at the party. At first, he’s stuck in an elevator with a man who seems to be a hitman. He rushes past him and asks Amanda if she has a gun. Amanda says that no one would sell guns to anyone at the party. Marc rushes off to hide from the wrath of Wilhelmina and Amanda goes to stand by Betty to pester her about the job. Betty thinks that Daniel needs someone who can look after him. Amanda says that she’ll run interference between Daniel and the models just to prove that she can fill Betty’s shoes. After glancing at Betty’s clogs, she takes a swig and stomps off. Betty is left alone while Henry stands across the room flirting with her. Christina is drunk on Santa’s lap and slurs out a wish list of presents for her co-workers, “A heart for Wilhelmina, courage for Marc and brains for Amanda.” Marc runs by while Betty moves around the room and under desks while trying to hide from Henry. She bangs her head and her painful yelp brings her to Henry’s attention. He helps her up with a string of condoms in her hand but he was only there for a corkscrew. Christina walks by them dragging Santa into the bathroom as an appalled Marc runs out. Wilhelmina and the ‘hitman’ spot him and call him into her office. They take Marc to the parking garage and, just when he thinks they’re going to kill him, they flip on a light to reveal a Hummer, delivered to him by the ‘hitman’, who happens to be an auto dealer. He’s relieved to see that they’re just trying to buy his silence.
Daniel goes into his office followed by Erin, who starts making out with him. Amanda promptly interrupts and reminds him that he’s supposed to be engaged. Daniel agrees, telling Erin that he’s in love with someone else. When Erin thinks it’s Amanda, she suggests a threesome (and possibly a ménage à trois), but Daniel explains that’s not what he meant. Erin then leaves. Afterwards, Betty tells Daniel that the only person she’s seen that she could leave to look after him is Amanda. If he’s serious about her going, this is goodbye. He gives her a silver business card holder and tells her that he’s proud of her; she’s destined for bigger things. She hugs him and tries not to cry. Before she leaves, she asks him if the other gifts she’s been receiving were from him. They weren’t. Daniel calls Sofia to tell her that he loves her and his heart doesn’t race for anyone else. Betty walks out to her desk and looks at Henry. They exchange waves before someone walks by and kisses him but he pushes her away. Betty is crushed at the sight and rushes away to the elevator while he runs after her. The ring falls off Amanda’s finger. Back in Queens, Hilda is going through Justin’s gift list when they look out the window and see Gina obscenely defaming their Christmas lawn ornaments. By evening, she returns with a decapitated glowing reindeer and the lights go out. Hilda walks out to find Gina collapsed on the porch. They’ve been competing since they were teenagers and Gina always loses. After Gina admits that her parents are away and she is spending Christmas alone, Hilda takes pity and invites her in for eggnog and brandy. It looks like they buried the hatchet for now.  Later on at MODE, Amanda is trying to clear up after the party. Daniel tells her that Betty thinks she should be his new assistant, but can she do it? They promise to be professionals. Meanwhile, Ted the Texan walks in on Wilhelmina as she’s about to leave and her heart starts to race. Betty gets home and wonders if she’s doing what’s best with her life. She shows Hilda the photo of her with Walter. Hilda says that she should appreciate Walter more. Within moments, Walter arrives with her last present; it was him who was using Daniel to sneak her presents at work. Henry calls but Hilda tells him that Betty is busy and throws away the message that he leaves with her. Walter tells Betty that he’s trying to understand her life in Manhattan, but she feels cold and it becomes clear to her that she doesn’t love him.
Image result for ugly betty fake plastic snowA Great first Christmas for Betty and the gang, Daniel trying to prove that he is in love Sofia was a great story and Amanda looking out for him  was a nice touch. The Henry and Betty scenario was sweet too.

GIVING UP THE GHOST

GUEST CAST
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Ileana Douglas (Ghost World)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
The story begins at the Suarez home, where Betty is sitting down at 2AM eating empanadas. As she goes to get the milk from the refrigerator, she is spooked by seeing the head of Bradford Meade inside. After she closes the door, Bradford is standing behind her and tells her that he is her subconscious and that he asks her why she turned down Daniel’s offer to return to work. Betty tells him that she doesn’t think she’s ready to return. He then disappears after he tells her to think about what Bradford told her before he died. The following day at the burial of Bradford at the cemetery, Claire is allowed to attend but arrives wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and is in shackles. Amanda ponders about whether she would be next in line to take over at the company, but Sheila, who arrived late and hears this exchange, tells her that two years as a receptionist doesn’t qualify. As Betty is delivering a eulogy, Wilhehima and Marc show up, hoping to make her last remarks. After Wilhelmina comments about Claire’s uniform, Claire trips Wilhelmina, causing her to fall into Bradford’s empty grave. Wilhelmina is fired by unanimous decision of Claire, Daniel, and Alexis.
Fumed by her termination from the company, Wilhelmina returns to her office at MODE to remove her belongings but before she goes, she deploys a computer virus called “Medusa X”, featuring a motif similar to the Versace logo, but with Wilhelmina’s head replacing Medusa, that removes all files pertaining to the upcoming issue. When Henry notices the virus in his office, he calls Betty, who was helping the family plan their annual Christmas tree decorations at home, to inform her about what happened. As she leaves, she gives directions to Hilda, Justin and Ignacio on how it’s normally decorated, although Hilda and Justin think that they should make changes to the tradition. Daniel and Betty lead the effort to resurrect the issue with an all nighter work session. Betty says she is back just for the night. But before they can start on the emergency issue, Wilhelmina and Marc interrupt this work session to announce their new magazine: SLATER and recruit many MODE staff. Wilhelmina also made her feelings known about Daniel and Alexis, prompting Alexis and Betty to try to contain their desire to knock her out. As Wilhelmina leaves, Marc tempted Amanda to defect, but she turns him down, thus ending their partnership. Among the all-night chaos, Daniel placed Sheila in charge and in turn finds replacements to do new articles, with Henry being tasked with writing a food column and Amanda volunteering to write the “Hot or Not” section. Unfortunately Sheila is not happy about having Amanda on the team, even as she sees the receptionist eating at her desk and not giving her an article. When Amanda sees a pizza delivery guy’s uniform, she finally comes up with one, but as she shows off her design, Sheila walks up to her and tells her that she actually knew, worked and “made out” with Fey Sommers, and that Amanda is “No Fey Sommers,” and scraps Amanda’s article. At the love dungeon, a distressed Amanda tells Christina that she hopes that when she finds her father, maybe she’ll know what type of talent that she might actually have.
Meanwhile at the Suarez home, the family decoration plans start to go awry when Hilda trips on a string of Christmas tree lights knocking the tree over and starting a small fire. As Betty is scrambling to help Daniel at work, she calls her Hilda about its progress until she figured out what has happened after hearing Justin and Ignacio in the background. Alexis decided to take upon the task of getting the printers to extend the hours, but as she goes to the printer’s office in an effort to charm him, she discovers that he has left the business to a dwarf-like successor, Harvey Milfree. After the two bicker and bluff all night, they end up discussing how both are ‘different’ and how their fathers treated them. Once the conversation is over, Harvey agrees to keep the presses open, much to the delight of Alexis.
The deleted issue also erased the cover spread featuring Cameron Ashlock, a famous actress and singer who has been making a lot of headlines. When Daniel decides that he is going to break her out of rehab, Betty tags along. At the centre where Cameron is staying, the two find her among candles and chanting and after much persuasion, they succeed in convincing her to do a reshoot. Unfortunately, that doesn’t go well as planned as Cameron goes ballistic on the set after Daniel told Betty the only way to do it is by giving her alcohol, which Betty thought was a bad idea. As Cameron is escorted off the shoot, Betty learned that Daniel never gave Cameron a drink, which is how she lost control in the first place. Daniel told Betty he couldn’t do it. Unable to reshoot the cover, Daniel opts for a solid black cover in tribute of the late Bradford Meade with an “In Remembrance of Bradford Meade” theme. Betty and the staff are impressed with this cover as a way to honour the late publisher. Betty then tells Daniel that she will return to MODE permanently, and as Daniel walks away, she sees the spirit of Bradford for one last time by sending him to his final “resting place.” Later, at Wilhelmina’s apartment, she tells the defected MODE staff that she will have the new magazine up and running soon. After they leave, Wilhelmina meets with her father, Senator Slater, to ask for a loan to get her new magazine established. He refuses, saying that the daughter he once knew and loved as Wanda has changed into someone else. After he leaves, Wilhelmina and Marc ponder other options on how to get the financial backing. Finally, knowing that Christmas is a time for family, Betty buys a pink artificial tree to replace the burned up one. As they finally decorate the new tree Ignacio places the angel on top as a remembrance of his late wife.
A great episode and a great way to bring back Alan Dale’s character despite being killed off in the previous episode. It’s also good to see Betty trying to stay the person she has always been and worrying about the woman she may become if she stays at mode. Having Betty being able to help save the magazine shows how much she has grown. We also get to see Wilhelmina go all super villain which is just scary and brilliant at the same time.

BE-SHURE

GUEST CAST
Daniel Eric Gold (War of The Worlds)
Grant Bowler (Lost)
David Rasche (Burn After Reading)
Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid)
The story begins with the family getting ready for breakfast with Ignacio making potato latkes. Ignacio announces that he has invited his new girlfriend, Jean, over for a multi-culti Christmas–Hanukkah dinner. As Betty leaves, Bobby stops by, which upsets Hilda, even though Bobby was there to pick up Justin, while Ignacio holds up a Cabbage Patch Doll to show Bobby, who believes took a display of the baby Jesus 14 years earlier, which Bobby denied. After she leaves, Betty starts to feel queasy as does Hilda later on while she and Archie were visiting Macy’s to drop a letter to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. On Fashion TV, Suzuki reports on Wilhelmina in jumpsuits and Connor in jail. Claire and Daniel discuss hiring a new creative director despite the disagreements over Calvin running the company and Daniel being blamed for hiring Connor, while Marc is suffering from “Stockholm Syndrome”, due to Wilhelmina no longer with the company. Cal later stops by to introduce Daniel their new creative director, a clueless Hollywood mogul named Denise Ludwig, whom Daniel is not happy about and when he tries to reason with Cal as to why he was not consulted, Cal reminded him about who was running the company and it wasn’t Daniel.
919NuAZvl-L._SL1500_As Daniel prays that Connor rots in prison, it looks like Connor and Wilhelmina are getting hot and heavy behind bars, as Wilhelmina have been secretly been making surprise visits daily for the past two weeks, as they hope that as soon as they get the money back Wilhelmina will be back at Mode. When Wilhelmina returns to reclaim her job, Daniel tells her that it was filled. Wilhelmina then leaves, but prior to her visit, Marc suggests to Daniel, who wanted to get even with Cal by recovering the money, by enlisting Wilhelmina in an effort to get the money back. Hours later back at prison, Wilhelmina and Connor are interrupted by a phone call from Daniel. Connor goes to answer Daniel on the other end but Connor refuses to spill the beans and blames him for taking Molly and making Wilhelmina choose between him and the company, saying that he knows where the money is. However this was all planned, as Wilhelmina and Connor set up a scheme in an effort to get the Hartleys out of the company. This also sets up a scheme for Daniel to get the company back in family control, as Marc suggests to Daniel that Wilhelmina might be useful in retrieving the money from Connor. As they went to Wilhelmina’s place, the two agree to get the money back, on the condition that Wilhelmina gets a 50% stake in Meade Publications and non-veto power and that Daniel does not consult Claire. The two agree. In between the meelee, Marc begins to reminisce about Wilhelmina with Amanda, as they looked at Wilhelmina’s empty office and sees her empty chair, which he used to inject Botox into his former boss. Hours later, a deliveryman arrives to give Marc the Botox chair as a gift. Amanda later reaches Claire to tell her that a plane is ready for her flight to Rapid City, South Dakota to see her son Tyler. In Rapid City, Claire arrives at a bar and sees a bartender, who happens to be Tyler, after she asks him for a beer as a way to get to know more about him. As Tyler talks about his life, Claire listens to him, seeing that he has done well for himself and realizes that he has turned out pretty well. Claire then thanks Tyler for having a great conversation and leaves him a 2,000-dollar tip. As Claire leaves, she informs Amanda and tells her that she doesn’t want Tyler to know anything about her. However, as Tyler went to pick up his tip, he is stunned by the large cash that was left for him and sees an envelope that has Claire’s name and address on it.
As they avoid Amanda, who seem to have jumped on the jumpsuit trend thanks to Wili, Betty and Matt talk about the get-together at the Suarezes, then comment on Betty’s glow as she visualizes a future with Matt as Mrs. Suarez-Hartley. During the entire day, Betty still feels queasy and as she arrives to the bus stop, a waiting passenger notices Betty and gives her a seat because he thought that Betty looked like she was expecting and as the flashbacks come into the picture, her vision of her future changed completely as she sees a mirror image of herself as a pregnant woman. At the drug store, Betty asks for the Be-Shure pregnancy test kit from a pharmacist named Jean, without mentioning the name. Unfortunately, Hilda also shows up asking Jean for the same kit, but the siblings don’t see each other even though the two do see Ignacio shopping and try their best to avoid him like the plague. Back at home Betty and Hilda arrive to help Ignacio, while at the same time they separately head to the bathroom to pee so they can see if they are expecting. During the ensuing chaos, both try to keep each other and Ignacio from finding out as they fight for bathroom time. When Ignacio heads upstairs to ask for a band-aid, the sisters panicked as they were hiding something, and after he left the two separately discover a positive on their sticks thanks to a mix-up with their kits and both believed that they might be pregnant. But just as the two try to keep quiet about their double pregnancy, Ignacio welcomes a surprise guest – his Jewish girlfriend Jean, the pharmacist from the drugstore that gave the women the pregnancy test, but doesn’t recognize either of them. And to make matter worse, Archie and Matt also arrives, as does Bobby, who returns the baby Jesus and admits to Ignacio that he stole it.During the entire evening as Jean talked about her Jewish family members and being welcomed into a Christian family setting, the sisters try to keep their cool about the results and as they went back to the bathroom they saw the two sticks, but one turned up positive and the other negative. Betty believes that Hilda might be the one who is carrying but the two are not so sure and as Matt walks in on the two he sees Betty with the stick and is led to believe that Betty is the one with child. Betty tells Matt that she is not ready but Matt stuns Betty by saying he is ready. That’s when the two decide to retest to be sure, so Matt heads to the store. Later that evening, everyone gathers to see the lighting of the Nativity on the lawn. Ignacio invites everyone, including Bobby, back in the house, and when Jean prepares to light the menorah the chaos continued until a box of Be-Shure fell onto the floor, as does Jean’s menorah. Everyone sees this as Betty picks it up and Matt follows her to the bathroom.
In the bathroom, Betty and Matt wait for a few minutes, then a negative sign appears, as Betty breathes a sigh of relief that she is not the one who is pregnant, even though Matt was somewhat disappointed. Ignacio was also relieved as well regardless of the outcome and they returned downstairs to finish the celebration. Hours later after the celebration finished, a devastated Hilda tells Betty that she is afraid to tell Archie about the pregnancy and that he isn’t the father, now that she knows that Bobby is. Betty thinks its time for Hilda to come clean to Archie, when Archie comes by and see Hilda. However, its Archie who decided that it was better to end the relationship, but because he felt that there was someone out there who deserves Hilda and he wasn’t the one for her. After he leaves, Hilda sees Bobby, who wanted to tell her that he wouldn’t come by the place anymore, but Hilda tells him he can come over anytime. She didn’t tell Bobby about him becoming a father yet. As the evening finished, Ignacio was pleased that Jean liked the get-together and was looking forward to a having an Easter-Passover dinner down the road, while outside Betty and Matt talked about visualizing their future together if they ever decide to ever have a family, then they kiss.
Be-Shure sets up a lot of stories for the remainder of the series, as season 4 became the final season. This Christmas episode had many highlights especially the pregnancy story, keeping the audience guessing just which of the sisters is pregnant.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 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: LADY AND THE TRAMP (2019)

Justin Theroux and Tessa Thompson in Lady and the Tramp (2019)

Starring

Thomas Mann (Project X)
Kiersey Clemons (Flatliners)
Yvette Nicole Brown (Mom)
Adrian Martinez (Army of One)
F. Murray Abraham (Last Action Hero)
Arturo Castro (Narcos)
Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok)
Justin Theroux (Bumblbee)
Sam Elliott (The Ranch)
Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty)
Janelle Monáe (Rio 2)
Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)

Justin Theroux and Tessa Thompson in Lady and the Tramp (2019)Disney’s glossy live-action update of Lady and the Tramp, like the majority of the studio’s other IRL remakes, exists purely because it has to rather than because it should do, a product born not from a creative brainwave but from a commercial inevitability. The hugely profitable, and mostly tiresome, trend of dusting off handcrafted classics and rehauling them for a new audience has sped up this year with Aladdin, The Lion King, Dumbo and a Maleficent sequel all released theatrically, the underwhelming box office of the latter two hinting at growing audience fatigue. The decision to premiere Lady and the Tramp digitally, morphing it into a TV movie, launching Disney’s splashy new content platform Disney+, is therefore a wise one and taken as such, it’s adequate if wholly unnecessary entertainment, ending up somewhere between a lady and a tramp.Justin Theroux and Tessa Thompson in Lady and the Tramp (2019)The story, still simple and still effective, tells of romance across class borders between two dogs: Lady (voiced by Tessa Thompson), who lives a comfortable life as the surrogate child of a human couple (Kiersey Clemons and Thomas Mann), and Tramp (voiced by Justin Theroux), a street-dwelling loner whose day-to-day depends on whatever scraps of food he can find. Lady’s domestic bliss is sent into a tailspin when an actual human baby arrives and through a frantic set of circumstances, she finds herself on the street, roughing it with her unlikely new friend.Justin Theroux and Tessa Thompson in Lady and the Tramp (2019)There’s some low-stakes enjoyment to be had here, benefited largely from the film’s Disney+ drop. It’s certainly slick and boasts higher production values than the average streaming premiere but it’s a comparatively modest Disney remake that would have felt dwarfed, in a number of ways, on the big screen. The 1955 original was a breezy 76 minutes and in updating, The Lego Ninjago Movie director Charlie Bean has added almost half an hour, a considerable amount of padding and one that didn’t do Kenneth Branagh’s 38-minute-longer take on Cinderella any favours. It’s a smoother expansion here, the film’s laid-back pace pairing nicely with the Savannah setting and a jazzy soundtrack, even if the extended plot doesn’t add a whole lot more of notable worth (although thankfully the uneasy orientalism of the Siamese Cat Song has been replaced with something far less problematic).Lady and the Tramp (2019)The central dogs are impressively trained and cute to watch but there’s a lingering problem that also affected this summer’s big-budget remake of The Lion King. In trying to make talking animals look as real as they can, there’s an emotional depth missing from their expressions when they’re speaking. Thompson and Theroux, along with fellow voice actors Janelle Monáe, Sam Elliott and Ashley Jensen try hard, but there’s something not quite, ahem, animated enough about their on-screen incarnations.Lady and the Tramp (2019)There’s also a frustrating waste of Clemons, who was so incredibly charming in last year’s little-seen music indie Hearts Beat Loud, stuck here with little to do, or sing, as the human lady of the house. But perhaps the strangest thing about the film is that it was co-written by the “godfather of mumblecore”, Andrew Bujalski, an indie auteur whose acclaimed lo-fi films often feel improvised in nature, given his rejection of so many traditional scripting standards. His influence is sadly invisible here and any hope that the film might have followed in the footsteps of 2016’s exceptional Pete’s Dragon, a remake from similarly mismatched arthouse staple David Lowery, is left out on the street. The script, like so much of the film, is serviceable at best, never once explaining to us why Bujalski would want to get involved other than for financial reasons, which one wouldn’t begrudge him given the scale of his output to date.Lady and the Tramp works well enough on its own simple terms as watchable, competently made home viewing.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: UGLY BETTY – THE LYIN, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE

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THE LYIN, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE

MAIN CAST

America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Tony Plana (Primal Fera)
Ana Ortiz (Devious Maids)
Ashley Jensen (Gnomeo & Juliet)
Becki Newton (How I Met Your Mother)
Mark Indelicato (Disposal)
Vanessa Williams (Shaft)
Michael Urie (The Decoy Bride)
Image result for ugly betty THE LYIN, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
GUEST CAST

Christopher Gorham (Jake 2.0)
Kevin Sussman (The Big Bang Theory)
Patrick Fabian (The Last Exorcism)
Jowharah Jones (The Client List)
Judith Light (Who’s The Boss?)

It’s Halloween, and in the Suarez household the day starts with both Betty and Hilda asking their dad about his false Social Security card, but he seems too busily immersed in the festivities. Justin on the other hand dresses up as a sailor (he’s channeling Gene Kelly from On the Town). Betty’s idea of celebrating is to dress up as a butterfly for what is supposed to be a work party. Image result for ugly betty THE LYIN, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
At work, Betty shows up in her outfit… only to discover that there is no costume party (it looks like Marc made a series of prank e-mails). Betty is about to have her work cut out for her when Daniel asks her to track down his lost watch, which he left at a girlfriend’s place, but he can’t remember which one. He tells Betty to get Amanda to help her, but it appears that Amanda may be holding back in a jealous fit, for it turns out that she has the watch. Betty finally puts two and two together, and confronts Amanda in the bathroom. Amanda reveals to Betty that she always wanted Daniel for herself but she is tired of his constant one-night stands with other women and admits her hope that he’ll pick her, knowing it’ll never happen. Having got this off her chest, Amanda pulls her self together, and tells Betty to forget what she just said. She gives the watch to Betty, who in turn passes it back to Daniel.
In between the melee, Betty finds herself smitten by Henry from accounting, who has come down to chat to Betty. Earlier in the day, Walter gave Betty a gift of a hollow pumpkin with candy in the middle. He told Betty to eat the candy in the pumpkin until she finds her gift. The gift is the key to Walter’s apartment, with a note asking her to move in with him. With so many things distracting her, Betty has no time to give Walter an answer but does find time to have lunch with Henry after he invites her to the Sushi bar across the street. When Walter turns up at Betty’s work and asks where she is, Amanda tells him. Walter arrives just as Henry is about to let Betty taste the sushi, confronts the two and walks off. In the end Betty tells Henry that she wants to work things out with Walter. She does just that, with Walter nixing the living arrangements and agreeing to continue dating for now.
As for Daniel, his day is spent visiting his mother Claire, who has been in a rehab clinic for over a month for her drinking problems, the result of her troubled marriage to Bradford after his admitted affair with Fey. While Daniel asks his mother about the music box and the night she burned the magazines, Claire asks her son to take her out for lunch at a restaurant. Daniel is leery about taking her to a place that serves alcohol. They go and during the lunch conversation Claire tells Daniel that he is going the same route as his dad, but this wasn’t something Daniel wants to hear…then she tells him to give her the glass of wine so she can have a ‘sip’ (she swallows the whole glass). Claire tells Daniel that the affair between Bradford and Fey had been going on for twenty years. When she and Fey went to confront Bradford in his office to make him choose, she tells Daniel to guess who ended up dead and who ended up in rehab. Later that day Daniel confronts Bradford about the affair. Bradford says that he didn’t want to hurt Daniel or Claire and regrets making that mistake. Daniel discloses to Bradford his knowledge of the burned glasses and license plate from Fey’s music box (which Bradford had hidden away to cover his tracks, but lost). Bradford had told Steve to seek out the person who’s been leaking the info to Daniel with the aim of having his son turn against him.
After leaving the office Daniel is left confused. Amanda runs into him in the lift and suggests seeing him that night, even just to chat. Daniel is too distracted, wants to be alone, and turns down her offer. Meanwhile Wilhelmina’s plan for a date with a younger man takes a turn for the worse when she is called a cradle robber on Fashion TV, and it appears that Marc, who is dressed up as “Halloween Betty” and was jokingly given a raise for it (but not anymore), may have something to do with it. So she makes him find a replacement date that she can take to a major event and gets Christina (Wilhelmina calls her “Carlotta” since she doesn’t know her name) to create a dress for her. When Wilhelmina attempts to try it on she is horrified to learn that she can’t fit into the size-2 designer gown, with Christina blurting out that Slater has gained weight. Wils decides to shed some pounds, using steam and diet, which helps as Christina finally gives her a dress that fits better and just in time to take the same young guy out to the event until her daughter Nico shows up. Later Wilhelmina talks to the mystery woman about what happened between Daniel and Bradford, which prompts the semi-bandaged person to make plans for the return of Fey Sommers. As Halloween comes to a close, Ignacio finally comes clean to Betty, admitting that he came to the United States illegally, and leaving Betty shocked and stunned by his confession.
A great halloween episode a typically mesmerizing hour reminded us, it’s foolish to make snap judgments about anything (or anyone) in the Bettyverse.

REVIEW: UGLY BETTY – SEASON 4

Starring

America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Judith Light (Transparent)
Michael Urie (Uptown Girls)
Becki Newton (How I Met Your Mother)
Ana Ortiz (Ralph Breaks The Internet)
Tony Plana (Lone Star)
Mark Indelicato (Dead of Summer)
Daniel Eric Gold (War of The Worlds)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Lynn Redgrave (Kinsey)
David Rasche (Men In Black 3)
Yaya DaCosta (In Time)
Alec Mapa (Doom Patrol)
Ralph Macchio (Cobra Kai)
Kristen Johnston (Mom)
Hamish Linklater (Legion)
Jamie-Lynn Sigler (The Sopranos)
Grant Bowler (Lost)
Adam Ferrara (Rescue Me)
Dylan Baker (Spider-Man 2)
Brooklyn Decker (Battleship)
Adam Rodriguez (Roswell)
Sarah Lafleur (Earth: Final Conflict)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family)
Fisher Stevens (Hackers)
Patricia Velasquez (The Mummy)
RuPaul (EDTV)
Katrina Bowden (Sex Drive)
Carol Kane (The Princess Bride)
Dana Ivey (The Addams Family)
Donna Murphy (Spider-Man 2)
Freddy Rodríguez (Planet Terror0
Ashley Jensen (Sherlock Gnomes)
Christopher Gorham (2 Broke Girls)
Bryan Batt (Scream: The Series)
Luna Lauren Velez (Oz)

After four years and 85 episodes, the braces came off and Ugly Betty, the fish-out-of-water PA from Queens, finally became Betty Suarez, publisher of her own magazine in the UK.Vanessa Williams and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)The first nine episodes focussed mainly on self-contained storylines. Betty’s struggles to establish herself in her new role as a junior editor as ex-boyfriend Matt, now her boss, is petty and mean to her. An emotionally vulnerable Daniel Meade is drawn into a cult as he tries to deal with Molly‘s death. A ludicrous murder side-plot involving Nico Slater, which triggers Wilhelmina leaving Mode.Ana Ortiz and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)A few ongoing plots are also teed up. Amanda starts to think about her future. Claire Meade sets off in search of the son, Tyler, she had with Cal Hartley but was forced to give away. Hilda hooks up with Bobby Talercio, an old high school flame. Each of these becomes significant down the stretch, but are only touched upon initially. London Calling, starts to set up the finale, as well as giving us a sentimental excuse to welcome back Christina and ex-boyfriends Gio and Henry.America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)The final episode gives us the closure we had all been waiting for, and does so with style. Hello Goodbye is as much about discovery as it is about departure, with every character getting their turn to take a final bow. Hilda, married and no longer tied to the Suarez house by her salon, gets her dream move to Manhattan. Justin finds contentment with Austin. Amanda finds her father. Daniel steps down as co-editor-in-chief to pursue the opportunity to find himself. Wilhelmina finds redemption, her lost love Connor and then, suddenly, without the need for scheming, she finally achieves her heart’s desire: Mode – a direct result of her altruistic act of saving Claire. Marc is shown the path to becoming creative director by Wilhelmina, and finds love and the possibility of a real relationship with Troy, after a lovely reversal where Justin returns the favour by turning into his mentor.Eric Mabius and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)There is one touching moment at the farewell party where we linger on Betty, Marc and Amanda – the triumvirate who have always been the beating heart of the show – dancing joyfully together, all previous bitchiness put aside as their friendship is finally affirmed.It was a fitting end, and one which suited the series better than the ending of its Colombian parent, Betty la Fea, would have done, where Betty marries Daniel’s equivalent, Armando. Betty has come a long way since she first walked through the door at Mode

REVIEW: UGLY BETTY – SEASON 3

Starring

America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Judith Light (Transparent)
Vanessa Williams (Shaft)
Becki Newton (How I Met Your Mother)
Ana Ortiz (Ralph Breaks The Internet)
Ashley Jensen (Sherlock Gnomes)
Tony Plana (Lone Star)
Michael Urie (Uptown Girls)
Mark Indelicato (Dead of Summer)

Tony Plana and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)
Christopher Gorham (2 Broke Girls)
Kelly Ripa (American Housewife)
Eddie Cibrian (The Cave)
Freddy Rodríguez (Planet Terror)
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)
Derek Riddell (Gunpwder)
Alec Mapa (Doom Patrol)
Barry Bostwick (Spy Hard)
Ralph Macchio (Cobra Kai)
David Blue (Stargate Universe)
Grant Bowler (Lost)
Lenny Venito (The Neighbours)
Sarah Lafleur (Earth: Final Conflict)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Toks Olagundoye (Castle)
Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray)
Kevin Kilner (Dollhouse)
Luna Lauren Velez (Oz)
Bernadette Peters (Smash)
Daniel Eric Gold (War of The Worlds)
Michael Stuhlbarg (The Shape of The Water)
Steve Schirripa (The Sopranos)
Peter McRobbie (Daredevil)
Cheyenne Jackson (Watchmen TV)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Brennan Brown (Focus)
David Rasche (Men In Black 3)
Dreama Walker (Compliance)

America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)The Third Season of the amazing show “Ugly Betty” shows even further strengthening of the programme- from the very good Season One, the show improved to be excellent in Season Two and this season returns to be truly amazing. There’s brilliant character development this season and the plotlines and ongoing storylines in this season are excellent; with some truly outstanding drama and comedy moments.America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)Following on from the first two seasons, “Ugly Betty” continues the story of New York underdog Betty who dreams of being an editor for a magazine. The show centres around her adventures as the “ugly” and “fat” girl at America’s top fashion magazine ‘Mode’, working with shallow, stick-thin, martini sipping socialites and arrogant, womanizing men. The characterisation remains to be great, and there is some outstanding character developments during this season- especially Mark, Amanda and Justin who are audience favourites- the former infact finally gets a more front-seat role in this season- Mark has been an excellent character since the first episode and this season it feels like he finally gets the screentime and storylines he deserves.Image result for ugly betty the manhattan project.With better comedy, improved writing and great storylines, fans of the show are sure to adore this season- and for those who are tempted to mingle with the show, this certainly satisfy those appetites. An excellent season; a brilliant show; and I highly recommend this boxset.

REVIEW: UGLY BETTY – SEASON 2

Starring

America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)
Judith Light (Transparent)
Vanessa Williams (Shaft)
Becki Newton (How I Met Your Mother)
Ana Ortiz (Ralph Breaks The Internet)
Ashley Jensen (Sherlock Gnomes)
Tony Plana (Lone Star)
Michael Urie (Uptown Girls)
Mark Indelicato (Dead of Summer)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kevin Alejandro (Arrow)
Lorraine Toussaint (Selma)
Jayma Mays (Heroes)
Illeana Douglas (Ghost World)
Kurt Fuller (Ghostbusters II)
Alec Mapa (Doom Patrol)
Rick Fox (Oz)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Justina Machado (The Purge: Anarchy)
Freddy Rodríguez (Planet Terror)
James Van Der Beek (Pose)
John Cho (Star Trek)
Victor Garber (The Orville)
David Blue (Stargate Universe)
Bailey Chase (Buffy: TVS)
Megan Hilty (Smash)
Juliette Goglia (Mike & Molly)
Derek Riddell (Gunpowder)
Mo’Nique (Domino)
Eliza Dushku (Wrong Turn)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Betty White (Bones)
Candace Kita (Masked Rider)
Annie Potts (Young Sheldon)
Bow Wow (Scary Movie 5)
Hannah Marks (After Everything)
Carol Ann Susi (The Big Bang Theory)
Barry Bostwick (Spy Hard)
Gabrielle Union (Bring It On)
Ava Gaudet (Hurt)
Kari Matchett (Cube 2)
Eddie Cibrian (The Cave)
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)

Christopher Gorham and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)In season two, the characters of Ugly Betty go through a whirlwind of drama and comedy. The whirlwind comes from a variety of new developments that include Betty’s complex romance with Henry and a new character Gio, Alexis losing her memory and rekindling friendship with the family, Daniel struggling to keep control of Mode, Mrs. Meade on the run, Hilda dealing with the loss of Santos, and more. It is a very dramatic season with several tidbits of comedy throughout. Overall, it is enjoyable like the season one.Ashley Jensen and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)“How Betty Got Her Grieve Back” is the season two premiere episode. In it, a lot of things happen. The biggest development involves Betty’s love life, or rather lack of. She comes to terms with Henry leaving for Tucsan to take care of the mother of his unborn baby. Later in the season, Harry returns to Mode to finish working. Betty and Henry have a complicated romance, as they try to figure out how they can be together with the unborn baby baggage. Also in the premiere, Amanda finds out her mother is Fey Sommers! Throughout the season, she tries to find answers about her parents. And Marc helps her. Wilhelmina also uses the events from the season one finale to her advantage. With Claire behind bars, she moves on Bradford.America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)Daniel struggles with his personal demons about Alexis’ condition.Image result for ugly betty how betty got her grieve backIn the Saurez household, there are two key subplots introduced. The first is about Hilda, Justin, and Santos. Both Hilda and Justin come to terms with Santos death. Hilda goes through a couple phases, which include being boarded in her room and hanging out with aged widows. Justin goes through a rebellious phase, where he tries to take on qualities of his dad (sports and woman). The other development is about Ignacio still stuck in Mexico. Betty goes against her principles to help him acquire US citizenship.As the season continues, there are a lot of new developments — many of which grow from the seeds planted in the season opener. Betty’s love life with Henry gets more complex in “Betty’s Wait Problem”. A new character and love interest named Gio is introduced.Ashley Jensen and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)Alexis comes out of the coma without memory of the last two years. Daniel, Bradford, and Wilhelmina take advantage of the situation. Daniel and Alexis also struggle with Wilhelmina, who is still trying to take over Mode. Claire resurfaces after escaping from prison, which complicates Wilhelmina’s diabolical plans. The season developments continue with even more wild escapades.America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)Overall, Ugly Betty’s second season is fun and entertaining. It has a similar light-hearted humorous tone with over the top, soap opera plotlines to season one. The major difference is that Betty is no longer trying to prove herself.