25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: JINGLE ALL THE WAY 2

 

CAST

Larry The Cable Guy (Tooth Fairy 2)
Brian Stepanek (The Island)
Kennedi Clements (Poltergeist 2005)
Kristen robek (Pursued)
Rachel Hayward (Hellraiser: Hellseeker)
Eric Breker (Walking Tall)

Larry is a fifty-something blue collar worker, a truck driver and single father with an 8 year old daughter named Noel. Noel lives with her mum Trish, Larry’s ex-wife, who’s remarried into significant money.Larry lives in a rundown camper van in a forest and goes ice fishing to take his mind off things. Victor is the millionaire step-father who lives in a mansion and wants to play happy families with Noel and Larry’s ex-wife. The new husband disapproves of Larry’s down to earth lifestyle and regards the ex-husband as an inconvenience. Victor immediately wants to prove that he’s a better father than Larry and sets out to become number one in Noel’s affections. Larry’s parlous finances mean that he can’t even afford $160 for a small Christmas tree, whilst Victor demonstrates his financial superiority by paying $10,000 for a giant sized tree imported from Norway.It’s the lead up to the Christmas period and the hottest toy of the year is a talking furry bear, the Harrison Bear, a very cutesy fluffy toy which suddenly becomes the “must have” present for children. Larry resolves that his daughter will have a Harrison Bear when she makes it clear in a letter to Santa that this is what she really really wants for Christmas. Larry certainly can’t afford a $10,000 tree, but he determines to give his expectant daughter the next best thing.  When Victor discovers Larry’s ambitious plans for the looming festive period, he hatches a mean-spirited and nasty scheme to make sure that Larry will look like the bad guy on Christmas Day, when there’s no Harrison Bear under Noel’s tree.This movie is a sequel of sorts to Arnold Scwharzenegger’s Jingle All The Way, but this flick pales a little bit by comparison. The film’s fundamental weakness is that the whole story is predicated on the artificial conceit that a highly successful, multi-millionaire step-father, with a very sweet natured and glamorous wife, and an impeccably behaved step-daughter, would feel compelled to go to war with a perfectly affable and decent ordinary guy, who poses absolutely no threat to the new family unit.Jingle-All-The-Way-2-LB3-1This awkward plot device is crowbarred into a generally feel-good festive tale and the chief protagonists don’t really make it work – Victor just isn’t convincingly Machiavellian or nasty enough, whilst Larry doesn’t come across as objectionable in any way, and he’s certainly not the type who might incur the ire of any sane guy. Where the film is more successful is that the cast give generally likeable performances, especially Larry and Noel, which compensates to a certain extent for the implausibility and staginess of the central conflict between the two men. Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t deign to make a cameo appearance in this sequel, which is a pity, it might have helped the film to end on a high note if Arnie had somehow been involved in the denouement. Suffice it to say, this is overall a fair family flick for the festive period

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE – BLUE CHRISTMAS

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BLUE CHRISTMAS

MAIN CAST

Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly)
Diedrich Bader (Vampires Suck)
Meg Donnellly (The Broken Ones)
Daniel DiMaggio (Tales of Halloween)
Julia Butters (Pals)
Ali Wong (Savages)
Carly Hughes (Lucky Stiff)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Brian Stepanek (Jingle All The Way 2)
Nikki Hahn (Adventures In Babysitting)
Courtney Pauroso (Wolfgirl)

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It’s Christmas morning at the Ottos. The kids are itching to open presents, but Katie insists they follow their yearly Christmas tradition first – build a fire, eat a big breakfast, talk about the true meaning of Christmas, Greg’s seasonal hypochondria flairs up, etc. Then, the landline rings. (What’s making that noise?” “Sounds familiar…It’s the landline!”) In Katie and Greg’s words, no one calls the landline unless somebody’s dead…or it’s that computer that tries to trick you into thinking it’s a real person.”  It’s Doris. She’s been texting Katie, who hasn’t seen any of the texts, so she’s finally tried the landline. She’s in labor and all alone, having sent the rest of her family to Aspen for Christmas. And she’s “not giving birth alone like some teenage crack whore!” so Katie has to hurry on over to the hospital.148032_6850_595_MiniLogoTVwhite-GalleryWhen Katie leaves, she demands Greg make the kids wait to open presents, so they can continue the family tradition of opening them together. This is easier said than done. So Greg resorts to locking himself in the office with the presents. (“Open the damn door, Greg!”) The kids even try to fake an injury on Anna-Kat to get him to unlock the door. Fortunately, he’s smart enough to demand that they “slide something under the door with her blood on it” first.  At the hospital, Doris is enjoying the deluxe “1% suite,” when Greg and the kids arrive. Greg’s decided that instead of waiting at home for Katie, they’ll all be together at the hospital, and the kids can, therefore, open their presents. Since Doris is in the super-rich-person suite, there’s plenty of stuff to fulfill the Christmas tradition – a fireplace, a fancy breakfast, even a nice Christmas tree.maxresdefaultBefore they can start opening the presents, Doris’s monitor begins beeping and they have to leave. (She’s fine. Katie just unplugged the monitor to charge her phone!). In the waiting area, Taylor, who’s mourning her breakup with Ayo, encourages Oliver to practice asking out the girl from ballet to the Nutcracker on the gift shop cashier. He fails miserably, several times, each time ending the conversation by grabbing a random nameplate key-chain and asking “If you don’t have anything to do, would you like to…sell me this license plate key-chain?” On the third try, he finally succeeds in mentioning the nutcracker tickets. Only, this woman doesn’t realize he’s practicing and starts crying that her newly deceased mother used to take her and her sister to the Nutcracker every year and how Oliver’s a Christmas angel. (Maybe she “won’t turn back to drugs after all!”) In an  uncharacteristically selfless moment for Oliver, he gives her the tickets. While there, Greg runs into one of his re-enactor friends who’s a doctor and gets him to take a look at his hands, which he’s determined are turning blue and tingling. american-housewife-1968-s2e10-blue-christmasUnfortunately, Dr. Not-Irwin seems to think that something is actually wrong with his hands. Blue and tingling could be gangrene. (At this, Anna-Kat gets quite excited at the prospect of amputation.  With it looking like Greg might actually be sick, Kate’s left running between him and Doris. Katie leaves Angela on webcam to support Greg while she tries to reassure Doris that even though she’s been kind of a horrible parent with her first three kids, this baby can be different. (“A do-over baby!”)  While Katie’s with Doris, Angela starts looking up Greg’s symptoms on the internet, which Katie has banned Greg from trying. Angela finds where rubbing your hands on new jeans (which Greg has been doing) can cause the dye to come off and turn your hands blue. She tells Greg to try rubbing alcohol. Unsurprisingly, this takes the blue right off!  As Greg celebrates the fact that he’s not about to lose his hands, Katie comes in, apologizing and vowing to be there for him when he needs her. Of course, he waits until the end of this apology to tell her he’s fine.  The episode ends with Katie rushing off to be with Doris, who finally has her “do-over baby.” Afterwards, she finds Greg and the kids ready to open presents in the waiting room, even though she’d caved and told them to go home and open presents without her. And Oliver asks out the girl from ballet. She says “okay.”hA great Christmas episode that’s just as awesome as the first a great watch for the holiday season.

REVIEW: TWO AND A HALF MEN – SEASON 11

Starring

Ashton Kutcher (The Ranch)
Jon Cryer (Supergirl)
Amber Tamblyn (Girlfriend’s Day)
Conchata Ferrell (Krampus)

Jon Cryer and Amber Tamblyn in Two and a Half Men (2003)
Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Holland Taylor (D.E.B.S.)
Carl Reiner (Oceans Eleven)
Courtney Thorne-Smith (Melrose Place)
Shanti Lowry (Code Black)
Nicole Travolta (Anger Management)
D.B. Sweeney (The Cutting Edge)
Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Madison Dylan (Femme Fatales)
Spencer Locke (Resident Evil: Afterlife)
Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures)
Brian Stepanek (Young Sheldon)
Paula Marshall (Cupid)
Kate Miner (Fifty Shades of Black)
Diane Farr (Roswell)
Aly Michalka (Izombie)
Odette Annable (Supergirl)
Clark Duke (Kick-Ass)
Brooke Lyons (2 Broke Girls)
Marion Ross (Happy Days)
Carl Reiner (Oceans Eleven)
Tim Conway (Coach)
Steve Lawrence (The Blues Brothers)
Garry Marshall (Murphy Brown)
Marin Hinkle (Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle)
Kimberly Williams-Paisley (The Flash)
Brooke D’Orsay (The Skulls 3)
Mila Kunis (Ted)
Ken Davitian (Borat)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Diedrich Bader (American Housewife)

Jon Cryer, Ashton Kutcher, and Amber Tamblyn in Two and a Half Men (2003)The creators decided to spice things up and give Charlie’s daughter Jennifer a prominent role in the series. Yes, apparently one time, Charlie wasn’t careful enough when he was dating a certain woman and so along came ‘Jenny’ (Amber Tamblyn). The minute she appears on the show, you can clearly see why the makers of Two and a Half Men decided to bring her along for the ride. She’s just another Charlie, but in the form of a lesbian girl. And she’s just as hilarious as her late father.Conchata Ferrell, Ashton Kutcher, and Carl Reiner in Two and a Half Men (2003)Besides Jenny, there’s another new recurring character who’s called Barry Foster (Clark Duke). Barry is a typical geek: very naïve, not that good with the ladies and a bit socially awkward. The newcomers are a much needed fresh wind in the series and they add a lot to the creation of hilarious moments. Besides those newcomers, you’ll see a lot more from Alan and Charlie’s mother Evelyn (Holland Taylor) as she has found a new lover (not coincidentally a very old man with lots and lots of money). Although Evelyn herself isn’t such a caricature like, for example, Alan or Jenny; she always succeeds in waiting for the right moment to drop sarcastic and ironic one-liners. As her screen time is mostly quite brief, it’s fantastic to notice how much of an impression she leaves behind every single time she crosses paths with the main actors. The same can be said of the-always-napping-housekeeper Berta (Conchata Ferrel) for that matter.Two and a Half MenStory wise, season 11 offers a lot of variety which keeps the viewer from getting bored with the plot. Acting performances are pretty good. Especially newcomer Amber Tamblyn knows how to put down a very likeable character without getting annoying. It’s great to see how Charlie’s role has been transferred to his daughter and it really fits the show perfectly. Kutcher too does a fantastic job with his Walden personage and of course, Two and a Half Men wouldn’t be the same without Jon Cryer.

REVIEW: TWO AND A HALF MEN – SEASON 9

Starring

Ashton Kutcher (The Ranch)
Jon Cryer (Supergirl)
Angus T. Jones (Bringing Down The House)
Marin Hinkle (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle)
Conchata Ferrell (Krampus)
Holland Taylor (D.E.B.S.)

Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in Two and a Half Men (2003)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Jenna Elfman (Fear The Walking Dead)
Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds)
John Stamos (Full House)
Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)
Katherine LaNasa (The Campaign)
Jenny McCarthy (Dirty Love)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (The Vampire Diaries)
Missi Pyle (Gone Girl)
Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager)
Jennifer Taylor (Shameless)
Liz Vassey (The Tick)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Human Target)
Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures)
Ryan Stiles (Hot Shots)
Joel Murray (Mad Men)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Stephany Jacobsen (Terminator: TSCC)
Courtney Thorne-Smith (Melrose Place)
Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Joe Manganiello (Rampage)
Macey Cruthird (Hope & Faith)
Taylor Cole (The Originals)
Rebecca McFarland (Scream 2)
Amanda Schull (Suits)
Gary Busey (Predator 2)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang Theory)
Sophie Winkleman (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad)
Graham Patrick Martin (Major Crimes)
Jim Piddock (Best in Show)
Jane Carr (Legends of Tomorrow)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Travis Van Winkle (Transformers)
Talyan Wright (Five)
Patton Oswalt (Young Adult)
Brian Stepanek (Young Sheldon)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Eddie Shin (Westworld)
Jason Alexander (Shallow Hal)

Two and a Half Men (2003)This season focus on Alan (Jon Cryer) and his son Jake (Angus T. Jones) moving on with their lives after Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) unexpectedly dies off-screen due to a subway train while in Paris with Rose with the help of their new housemate, internet billionaire Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher), who buys the Malibu Beach House which was put up for sale by Alan and Jake Harper. Walden, who is a dot-com billionaire, is in the process of being divorced by his wife.Jon Cryer, Conchata Ferrell, and Ashton Kutcher in Two and a Half Men (2003)Alan temporarily moved in with his and Charlie’s mother Evelyn after Charlie’s beach house was sold to Walden. Alan and Jake were invited to move back into Charlie’s beach house by Walden after Alan with the help of Walden’s ex-wife Bridget saved him from a con-artist. Walden, Alan and Jake eventually bond and formed a surrogate family unit. Walden starts to date Zoey, a British woman he met at The Malibu Grocery Store. Charlie pays Alan a visit from the afterlife, as a ghost trapped in a woman’s body (Kathy Bates) but his intentions for coming back are rather suspicious. Jake approaches adulthood fast pending his graduation from high school. Jake joins the army after graduation and leaves Malibu at the end of the season.Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in Two and a Half Men (2003)Although season 9 takes some getting use to without Charlie Sheen, I think Ashton Kutcher adds a freshness to the show, with his child like nature and blossoming friendship with Alan makes this season worth while. Waldans relationship with Zoey is just adorable and its nice to see her in several episodes

REVIEW: THE ISLAND

CAST

Ewan McGregor (Mordecai)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Sean Bean (Game of Thrones)
Steve Buscemi (Ghost World)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Shawnee Smith (Anger Management)
Trent Ford (Gosford Park)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Chuck)

Tom Everett (XXX)
Brian Stepanek (Young Sheldon)
Kathleen Rose Perkins (Gone Girl)
Glenn Morshower (Transformers)
Ray Xifo (Stargate SG.1)
Alex Carter (Out of Time)
Eric Stonestreet (The Loft)
Kim Coates (Goon)
Yvette Nicole Brown (Repo Men)
J.P. Manoux (VeeP)
Isaiah Mustafa (IT – Chapter Two)

In the year 2019, Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta live with others in an isolated compound. Their community is governed by a set of strict rules. The residents believe the outer world has become too contaminated for human life with the exception of one contagion-free island. Every week, a lottery is conducted and the winner gets to leave the compound to live on the island.
Lincoln begins having dreams that he knows are not from his own experiences. Dr. Merrick, a scientist who runs the compound, is concerned and places probes in Lincoln’s body to monitor his cerebral activity. While secretly visiting an off-limits power facility in the basement where his friend, technician James McCord, works, Lincoln discovers a live moth in a ventilation shaft, leading him to deduce the outside world is not really contaminated. Lincoln follows the moth to another section, where he discovers the “lottery” is actually a disguise to remove inhabitants from the compound, where the “winner” is then used for organ harvesting, surrogate motherhood, and other purposes for each one’s sponsor, who is identical to them in appearance.
Merrick learns Lincoln has discovered the truth, which forces Lincoln to escape. Meanwhile, Jordan has been selected for the island. Lincoln and Jordan escape the facility, where they emerge in an Arizona desert. Lincoln explains the truth to her, and they set out to discover the real world. Merrick hires Burkinabé mercenary Albert Laurent to find and return them unharmed to the compound. Lincoln and Jordan find McCord, who explains that all the facility residents are clones of wealthy and/or desperate sponsors, who are kept ignorant about the real world and conditioned to never question their environment or history. McCord provides the name of Lincoln’s sponsor in Los Angeles, and helps them to the Yucca railway station, before mercenaries kill him. Jordan’s sponsor, model Sarah Jordan, is comatose following a car accident and requires transplants from Jordan to survive. Lincoln’s sponsor, Tom Lincoln, gives Lincoln some explanation about the cloning institute, causing Lincoln to realize he has gained Tom’s memories. Tom agrees to help Lincoln and Jordan but, secretly contacts Merrick who sends Laurent and the mercenaries to their location. Lincoln tricks Laurent into killing Tom, allowing him to assume Tom’s identity.
Merrick realizes that a cloning defect was responsible for Lincoln’s memories and behavior, resulting in him and every future clone generation to question their environment and even tap into their sponsor’s memories. To prevent this, he decides to eliminate the four newest generations of clones. Lincoln and Jordan, however, plan to liberate their fellow clones. Posing as Tom, Lincoln returns to the compound (allegedly to have a new clone created) to destroy the holographic projectors that conceal the outside world. Jordan allows herself to be caught to assist Lincoln’s plan. Laurent, who has moral qualms about the clones’ treatment after witnessing their fight for survival and learning that Sarah Jordan may not survive even with transplants from Jordan, helps Lincoln. Merrick is killed and the clones are freed, seeing the outside world for the first time. The film fades out with Lincoln and Jordan sailing off in a boat together.
This is a slow film to start of with but the second half more than makes up for this with some great chase scenes using some futuristic style vehicles! If you like a film with a good twist or great big budget action scenes, or a fan of Scarlett Johasson you’ll love this!

REVIEW: KISSING JESSICA STEIN

CAST
Jessica Westfeldt (Two Guys and a Girl)
Heather Juergensen (The Haunted Mansion)
Tovah Feldshuh (Lady in The Water)
David Aaron Baker (The Hoax)
Brian Stepanek (The Island)
Kevin Sussman (Ugly Betty)
Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer)
Michael Ealy (Flashforward)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Idina Menzel (Frozen)
Twenty-eight-year-old Jessica Stein, a copyeditor living and working in New York City, is plagued by failed blind dates with men, and decides to answer a newspaper’s personal advertisement containing a quote from Rilke that she had read and admired earlier. The advertisement has been placed by Helen Cooper, a thirtysomething bisexual art gallerist who is seeking a lesbian relationship to replace her unsatisfying and meaningless sex with men.
Given some of the men Jessica is shown to be test-dating at the start of the film, it’s no surprise she’d want to fan out her prospects a little. As nervous as Jessica is about dating Helen, she realizes after a surprise kiss that a different experience can be good. Through the early part of their relationship, Jessica finds in Helen everything she’d dreamed of finding in a man. They are compatible, they like many of the same things, and they are caring for one another. Even when Helen gets sick—which she says earlier in the film never happens to her—Jessica is there to care for her.
The only predicament for the relationship is Jessica’s nervousness concerning same-sex intimacy. Over the early weeks of their relationship, she and Helen slowly work on building up her confidence in this area by gradually extended make-out sessions. Eventually, they graduate to full intimacy, which is initiated by Jessica during an over night stay at her parents’ home in Scarsdale. In spite of Jessica’s happiness with Helen, she keeps the relationship secret. Jessica’s secrecy means that she has to endure scenes that would not happen had she been open about the two of them. One example occurs during a dinner to celebrate her brother’s engagement. Her mother had invited an IBM executive in hopes of setting him up with Jessica.
Helen and Jessica later get into a quarrel about Jessica’s refusal to inform her family of their relationship, resulting in an apparent breakup. It isn’t until later, as her brother’s wedding approaches, that her mother figures out that they are dating. Her mother reminds Jessica of when she was little and had been given the lead in the school play, but after the first rehearsal, Jessica had deemed her co-star not to be up to the task. She quit the play because she thought the play wouldn’t be “the best ever.” Her mother says that she worries about Jessica having this attitude towards life, and that sometimes she thinks back to that night and thinks that if Jessica went on, maybe it wouldn’t have been the best, but it might have been pretty good—and who knows, maybe it would have been the best ever. She then tells Jessica that she thinks Helen “is a very nice girl.”
This acceptance on her mother’s part gives Jessica the confidence to come out in the open with her relationship with Helen, and invites her as her guest to her brother’s wedding. Helen quickly becomes popular with the other women at the reception, who don’t seem to mind at all her lesbian relationship with Jessica. At the same time, Jessica gets a love confession from her ex-beau and current boss Josh, who declares he’s had feelings for her for a long time. Jessica rejects him, explaining that she already has Helen. Jessica and Helen move in together, but their relationship, while good in most respects, begins to suffer from a lack of frequent sexual intimacy. Jessica’s behavior towards Helen is more akin to that of a best friend rather than a sexual partner. The relationship ends amidst Jessica’s tears and Helen’s realization that she wants more than Jessica is willing to offer. After moving beyond the heartbreak, Jessica and Helen appear to remain friends, and it is suggested that Jessica might now have a renewed interest in Josh, after both have left the newspaper where they previously worked.
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Westfeldt and Juergensen first created and played the characters of Jessica and Helen for their stage play “Lipschtick,” which certainly explains why they are both so totally comfortable in their roles. As writers they have created a script that is smart and witty

REVIEW: THE CRAZY ONES

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CAST
Robin Williams (Jumanji)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy)
James Wolk (For a Good Time Call…)
Hamish Linklater (Pushing Daisies)
Amanda Setton (Beauty and the Beast 2012)
NOTABLE GUEST CAST / RECURRING CAST
Kelly Clarkson (American Dreams)
Gail O’Grady (Superboy)
J.D. Walsh (Two and A Half Men)
Saffron Burrows (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Josh Groban (The Muppets)
Brooke Lyons (2 Broke Girls)
Brad Garrett (Garfield)
Ashley Tisdale (Scary Movie 5)
Missi Pyle (Dodgeball)
Kurt Fuller (Superhero Movie)
Sarah Baker (Mike & Molly)
Marilu Henner (Vamps)
Joshua Gomez (Chuck)
Alan Rachins (Showgirls)
Fred Melamed (A Serious Man)
Barry Shabaka Henley (The Terminal)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Brian Stepanek (Young Sheldon)
Cheryl Hines (Son of Zorn)
Steve Talley (The 100)
Jessica Chaffin (The Heat)
Tiya Sircar (Supergirl)
Robin Williams was finally back to doing what he’s always done best — off-the-cuff riffing on whatever subject you put in front of him. He’s brilliant. While America’s sense of humor has changed a bit since Mrs. Doubtfire, Williams’ ability to turn his incredible sense of humor into a source of drama  shows that as an actor, he’s gone from silly to serious and come back out the other side with a remarkable ability to showcase the two simultaneously and sensitively.
Sarah Michelle Gellar is perfectly cast in her role, as a foil for Williams. Her ability to  see the serious and important sides of absurd and silly situations is exactly what Williams’ character needed to have the truth of his tragicomic situation highlighted.
This show isn’t going to appeal to everyone — it’s paced like Scandal, has the emotional volatility of the Newsroom, and the pop culture references of Franklin & Bash. The problem is that it’s billed as a zany comedy/Mad Men with Robin Williams, but the truth is that it’s actually a very dramatic story hidden beneath zaniness, and a lot of people are going to have a problem with that.
Sadly the show lasted one season and not long after we lost Robin Williams. It’s a good show to see just how good he was as an actor.