REVIEW: THE TICK (2017) – SEASON 1 – PART 2

The Tick (2017)

MAIN CAST

Peter Serafinowicz (spy)
Griffin Newman (Draft day0
Valorie Curry (Blair Witch)
Brendan Hines (Lie To Me)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Yara Martinez (Jane The Virgin)

Peter Serafinowicz in The Tick (2017)

RECURRING NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Francois Chau (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Townsend Coleman (Black Moon Rising)
Bryan Greenberg (Prime)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Scott Speiser (6 Ways To Die)
Jacqueline Antaramian (Counterpart)
Thomas Kopache (Cath Me If You Can)
Matt Gehring (Dates Like This)
Geoffrey Cantor (Daredevil)
Patricia Kalember (Signs)

The Tick (2017)I’ll admit it. When I heard Amazon was rebooting superhero sendup “The Tick,” I wasn’t exactly thrilled. I started watching the first six episodes mostly opposed to the idea, arms crossed, mumbling things like “this isn’t my ‘Tick.'” You know what? I was wrong. Completely wrong. Please accept my apologies for being such an obstinate fool. Now that I’ve seen a full season of “Tick” creator Ben Edlund’s and Executive Producer Barry Josephson’s vision for rebooting the franchise, I’m convinced this might be the best iteration yet. We still get to enjoy the goofball antics of Tick and Arthur, complete with hilarious sight gags, puns and awkward moments, but by making Arthur (Griffin Newman) the focus this time around, there’s an added thread that offers better opportunities for characters to evolve and grow.Peter Serafinowicz in The Tick (2017)If the original live-action series offered nonstop laughs in an insane asylum, this “Tick” provides a laugh a minute, but they’re far more satisfying. Don’t worry though, hard-core fans: classics like “SPOON!” still work comfortably within the show’s framework. Peter Serafinowicz’s version of the Tick is the same one we’ve known and loved for over 30 years: a superpowered, super joyful, big blue something or other with a head full of cotton balls. After six episodes, Arthur finally came to some acceptance of his role as a kind-of-hero in this world where supers and villains are the norm. The back half of the season deals with the return of diabolical evildoer The Terror (perfectly depicted by psychopath-playing expert Jackie Earle Haley) and his plot to kill beloved superhero Superian (Brendan Hines). In those second six eps, the show sets up some decent stakes, pays off nearly every storyline it opens up, and still manages to leave a couple of juicy morsels for the next round.Scott Speiser in The Tick (2017)The Tick still seeks answers as to who (or what) he is, and Arthur continues to grapple with what it means to be a hero and whether he’s accepting that answer. Edlund and Josephson are clearly dedicated to world-building beyond their two main characters, and the show absolutely benefits from a three-dimensional secondary cast. Even characters like hard-core vigilante Overkill (Scott Speiser) and Arthur’s sister Dot (Valorie Curry) experience good growth throughout the season. In a world where superheroes rule, watching “The Tick” is a refreshing roast of all the ridiculous tropes and cliches we’re so used to seeing in just about every other genre show out there. Now that Amazon Video is available on Apple TV (and most other streaming platforms and devices), there’s no excuse for you to miss out. Each episode is only 25 minutes long, so binging all 12 shouldn’t take you more than six hours, but you’ll definitely know if you’re on board for “The Tick” or not after the first half dozen. Amazon already gave the green light to a second season, which should bow sometime in early 2019. The entire season 1 is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.Peter Serafinowicz and Griffin Newman in The Tick (2017)

 

REVIEW: THE TICK (2017) – SEASON 1 – PART 1

MAIN CAST

Peter Serafinowicz (Dpy)
Griffin Newman (Draft Day)
Valorie Curry (Blair Witch)
Brendan Hines (Lie To Me)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Yara Martinez (Jane The Virgin)

RECURRING NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Christian Navarro (13 Reasons Why)
Whoopi Goldberg (The Muppets)
François Chau (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2)
Bryan Greenberg (Prime)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Scott Speiser (6 Ways To Die)
Patricia Kalember (Signs)
Townsend Coleman (The Grinch)
Michael Cerveris (Gotham)
Joshua Schubart (Seven Seconds)

This new Tick series (following the famous ’90s animated series and the ill-fated first go at live-action on FOX back in 2001) takes a bit of a subtle left turn into soft Rated-R territory, allowing things to feel a little more grounded and grittier while also permitting the occasional F-bomb to fly free. Yes, it’s weird to think that the mostly-jovial world of The Tick could exist alongside actual carnage and bloodshed, plus profanity, but it works really well. As does the show’s parody of a Punisher-style murder hero named Overkill (Scott Speiser). After striking oil with the perfect tone for a Tick live-action series, this show also cunningly crafted its sweet and salty spine by casting Peter Serafinowicz as The Tick and Griffin Newman as Arthur – and then allowing the two of them to explore the actual mental maladies involved with this particular hero dynamic.The first episode introduces us to a very different take on Arthur. A traumatized Arthur who’s almost incapable of functioning as an adult without medication and the supervision of his sister Dot (Valorie Curry). Arthur is on a hero’s journey, obsessed with revealing the truth about a thought-to-be-dead supervillain named The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley), but he lacks the muscle and confidence to follow through. He’s all conspiracy theories and crime boards (and Reddit threads), but no real desire to bring about justice himself. From…wherever The Tick comes from. The second episode deftly toys with the idea of Tick possibly being some sort of mental manifestation of Arthur, like a Tyler Durden. Or even The Maxx, if you’d like to stick to comics and possible avatars of past trauma. Arthur has the intel and the personal vendetta while bullet-proof Tick has the ability to waltz in and lay waste to a villainous lair. Meanwhile, Tick isn’t quite sure of his own origins and keeps speechifying about doing good and answering the call of one’s true fate. It’s a pairing too serendipitous to ignore as both, right when they find each other, need the other.Serafinowicz’s Tick is pitch-perfect. Hallmarks, and expectations, set up by the animated series dictates that Tick be large, barrel chested, baritone, and brave. But important to the story too is the friendship that he and Arthur eventually cultivate. Arthur needs to be annoyed with everything at first, but you need Tick to be soft and supportive enough so that Arthur will eventually see him as a light in all the darkness. Tick, in his own right, needs to be rather unflappable in his pursuit of evil-doers, but he also can’t want to go after the villains without his trusted chum because Tick, aside from being his own particular style of doofy do-gooder, is meant to be therapeutic for poor Arthur. Despite taking place in the ream of super-powered heroes and villains, The Tick is a small series. The meager budget shows at times, but when VFX are used, they’re well-placed and important. The fact that the tone of the show is meant to ground everything and make the heightened feel a bit more real means that things tend to operate like they would in every day life. If you’re, say, a crime lord like Yara Martinez’s Ms. Lint or Michael Cerveris’ Ramses and you only have, maybe, a dozen paid thugs in your employ, you’d basically be without goon support if someone came and thrashed all of them. You don’t have an endless supply.This is a show where, as part of the world’s backstory, the aforementioned Terror actually succeeded in killing off America’s top hero team, the Flag Five. There are realistic consequences mixed in with the superhero silliness and that helps create a foundation with stakes. You understand why Dot is so afraid for Arthur when he embarks on his misadventures with Tick (complete with a impenetrable flying battle suit that imprints itself on Arthur – and yes, resembles a moth for reasons unknown). Their entire family had been ripped apart due to collateral damage from super-powered beings warring up above so you’re fully immersed the life or death aspects of the story. Nothing ever goes so dark that it all becomes Watchmen, but it does start to hit home like a more jagged version of The Incredibles. The Tick is a quick, delightful binge that perfectly captures the spirit of the 90s animated series while shading things a bit darker in order to present a more grounded world for a live-action setting.  Peter Serafinowicz’s Tick is also awesome as daft mysterious hero who appears to help a troubled man cross the finish line on a life’s journey to find justice.

 

 

 

REVIEW: BRIDE WARS

CAST

Kate Hudson (Gossip)
Anne Hathaway (Alice Through The Looking GLass)
Chris Pratt (Jurassic World)
Bryan Greenburg Prime)
Steve Howey (DOA)
Candice Bergen (The Women)
Kristen Johnson (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Michael Arden (Anger Management)
June Diane Raphael (Year One)
Hettienne Park (Hannibal
Bridget Hoffman (Darkman)

Emma Allen and Olivia ‘Liv’ Lerner are best friends who have planned every detail of their weddings, since first witnessing a wedding 20 years ago at the Plaza Hotel. They both have made it a priority to be married in the same location in June.
The two get engaged at 26, and are expected to be each other’s maid of honor. They schedule their weddings with New York’s most famous wedding planner, Marion St. Claire, but due to a clerical error they are scheduled to have a wedding on the same day, June 6 (three and a half months later). A week of passive aggressive hostility passes before the two women make it clear that neither will compromise, especially after the headstrong Liv hopes that Emma’s passive nature would end their wait of who will surrender their date. Emma’s fiancé, Fletcher, begins to show signs of being controlling. The two women declare war after a slight misunderstanding that Liv already set her wedding date, outraging Emma who sets her date as well, which Liv becomes aware of at their shared shower party. The two exchange threats and insults in front of their friends who decide not to take sides.
Both women attempt to sabotage each other’s wedding, including Liv changing Emma’s dance instructor, Emma secretly sending Liv candy to make her too fat to fit into her dress, Liv making Emma’s tan turn bright orange, Emma tampering with Liv’s hair dye to turn Liv’s hair a shocking blue-white color, Liv registering Emma on Babies-R-Us as pregnant, and Emma showing up to Liv’s bachelorette party to out-dance her. Emma and Fletcher get into an argument regarding Emma’s maniac behavior of sabotaging Liv’s wedding and their friendship. Emma and Fletcher are shown to undergo strains in their relationship because of Emma’s new found opinionated and confident trait, a depart from her usual people-pleasing characteristics. Liv has learned to be more sensitive and expressive, which gives her a sense of relief to finally have the luxury of being able to let go and be less controlling.
Both brides-to-be are shown to be in the Plaza very shortly before they are due to be wed, separately. Right before Liv leaves to begin her march to the altar, she encounters Emma’s father and receives his blessing; immediately she regrets setting up a wild spring break DVD to play at Emma’s wedding. She sends her assistant Kevin to replace the DVD with the right one, filled with childhood memories. Thinking that the DVD is for a prank, he does not do so. Before the brides enter their respective venues, they share a moment of reconciliation as they both smile at each other.
Emma begins her walk down the aisle but stops when the footage of her spring break is shown. She loses her temper and tackles Liv after sprinting to the other section of the Plaza. The two brides wrestle in their dresses on the floor while the people closest to the brides having decided to let the brides resolve the problem. After tussling, Emma and Liv lie on the ground panting, and then make up. Emma stands up and walks over to Fletcher who is upset at Emma’s behavior. Emma tells him that she is not the same person he fell in love with ten years ago and that she has now changed, as it has been apparent that she learned to be more assertive. With that, the two tearfully call off their wedding. Liv’s wedding resumes with Emma participating and dancing with Nate, Liv’s brother and a well known magazine journalist.
The movie picks up a year later when Liv and Emma meet up for drinks, where it’s revealed that Emma married Nate. Emma and Liv also reveal to each other that they are pregnant and that their due dates are the same, March 3, and both friends get excited.

A fun comedy that passes a Saturday night, worth watching for Anne Hathaway.

REVIEW: FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS

CAST
Justin Timberlake (The Social Network)
Mila Kunis (American Psycho 2)
Patricia Clarkson (Lars and The Real Girl)
Jenna Elfman (ED:TV)
Bryan Greenberg (Bride Wars)
Richard Jenkins (The Cabin In The Woods)
Woody Harrelson (Zombieland)
Masi Oka (Heroes)
Emma Stone (Easy A)
Adam Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Tiya Sircar (17 Again)
Rashida Jones (The Social Network)
Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother)
Courtney Henggeler (Mom)
Jamie Rellis (Mila Kunis) is an executive recruiter for a leading job agency in New York City, and Dylan Harper (Justin Timberlake) works as an art director for a small internet company in Los Angeles. Jamie has the task of trying to recruit Dylan to interview for a job with GQ and begin working in New York City. Dylan comes to New York and after interviewing for the position learns from Jamie that he has been given an offer to work for GQ. At first Dylan is hesitant to accept the job and move from Los Angeles to New York. But after a fun night exploring the city with Jamie, Dylan agrees to accept the position.
The following day, Jamie presents Dylan with the contract to sign so she can land her commission for recruiting him. Not knowing anyone else in the city, he and Jamie quickly develop a strong platonic friendship. One night, they get on the topic of sex and relationships. They come to the conclusion that sex should not come with so many emotional attachments. As they both feel the need for a physical connection, they agree to have sex without emotion or commitment. After several trysts together, Jamie comes to the realization that this is not really what she wants and she would like to start dating again. She tells Dylan that they need to stop.
Jamie meets Parker (Bryan Greenberg), an oncologist, and they begin dating. After five dates, they consummate their relationship, only to break up the next morning. Trying to be sympathetic and to console her, Dylan suggests she travels with him to California over the Fourth of July weekend, while he visits his family. Initially hesitant, Jamie agrees after much persistence from Dylan. They fly to Los Angeles, where Jamie meets his sister Annie (Jenna Elfman), nephew Sammy (Nolan Gould), and father (Richard Jenkins), who suffers from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. While in California, they begin to develop strong emotional romantic feelings for each other, and share a passionate kiss, which leads to a night of close intimacy unlike any other they had shared before. However, the next day, Jamie overhears a conversation between Annie and Dylan, where Dylan admits to having no real feelings for Jamie. Hurt, she flies back to New York. A few days later, Dylan returns to New York, trying to reconcile his friendship with Jamie and find out why she has been ignoring him. He finally finds Jamie, and she informs him she overheard everything he said and has no interest in maintaining any kind of a friendship with him.
Soon after this, Jamie discovers that Dylan may be leaving the GQ position for another job before the year elapses on his contract, which would affect her commission. She confronts Dylan about this, which leads to another argument. Both begin to do some soul searching trying to come to terms with their feelings about their relationship. Jamie spends time with her mother, Lorna (Patricia Clarkson), while Dylan discusses it with Annie over the phone. His sister informs him that their father will be flying to Newark and he needs to be picked up at the airport. While at the airport, his father, in a moment of Alzheimer’s-induced confusion, incorrectly recognizes a passer-by as a woman from his past. Dylan asks him about the woman, and his father, upon regaining his lucidity, says that she was a woman he met in the Navy, that she was the love of his life, and he regrets decisions he made in his youth to let her go. He tells Dylan not to do the same thing, and to go after the woman he loves, if there is any chance of saving the relationship.
Dylan realizes how he really feels about Jamie after talking with his father, and decides to go after her. He calls Jamie’s mother to set up an excuse to get Jamie to go to Grand Central Station thinking she will be picking up her mother. He arranges to have a flash mob dance to “Closing Time” set up to surprise Jamie at the station. When the moment comes, he catches up with Jamie and tells her how he really feels. Surprised and happy by this turn of events, Jamie tells him to kiss her. After sharing a passionate kiss, Dylan suggests it is time they go on their first real date. They go across the street to the Pershing Square café and although they attempt to keep the date casual and relaxed, the film ends with them in a sensual embrace and passionate kiss.
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Enjoyable film. Good acting by main actors especially Mila Kunis.