REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER – SEASON 1

Starring

Josh Radnor (The Hunt)
Jason Segel (Sex Tape)
Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Endgame)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Bob Saget (Full House)

Neil Patrick Harris, Joe Nieves, Josh Radnor, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass)
David Henrie (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Marshall Manesh (Will & Grace)
Joe Nieves (Stuck In The Middle)
Jon Bernthal (The Punisher)
Anne Dudek (Mad Men)
Charlene Amoia (American Pie: Reunion)
Jayma Mays (Heroes)
Camryn Manheim (Scary Movie 3)
Martin Starr (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Bill Fagerbakke (Spongebob Squarepants)
Suzie Plakson (Disclosure)
Danica McKellar (Young Justice)
Kathleen Rose Perkins (Gone Girl)
J.P. Manoux (Euro Trip)
Jackie Geary (13 Reasons Why)
Ashley Williams (A Most Violent Year)
Virginia Williams (Fuller House)
Kelly Stables (Two and a Half Men)
Bryan Callen (The Hangover)
Taran Killam (12 Years a Slave)
Diane Salinger (Batman Returns)
Alexis Denisof (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
George Cheung (Rush Hour)
Erinn Bartlett (Shallow Hal)
David Burtka (Neil’s Puppet Dreams)
Eric Allan Kramer (Mike & Molly)
America Olivo (Bitch Slap)
Nate Torrence (Get Smart)
Amy Acker (The Gifted)

 

Premiering in Sept. 2005, created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and billed as “a love story in reverse,” How I Met Your Mother turns the “Friends” formula on its head by having one of its main characters, Ted Mosby (voiced by Bob Saget), some 30 years after the modern day events of the show, relaying the twists and turns of said events to his two, often disinterested children (David Henrie and Lyndsy Fonseca).It’s a nifty approach to what would otherwise be well-worn material, although the chemistry of the ensemble cast goes a long way towards smoothing over any feelings of seen-it-before-ness. Joining the modern day Ted Mosby (winningly portrayed by Josh Radnor) are his quartet of New York City-dwelling companions: the goofy couple Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel), former flame Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) and the scene-stealing maniac Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris).

Josh Radnor and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)How I Met Your Mother wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining as it is without its cast — it’s unquestionably the show’s biggest strength, although some interesting creative choices by Bays and Thomas run a close second; the pilot episode ends with a mildly shocking twist: The woman that Ted has been avidly pursuing for the past 22 minutes is not, in fact, the mother of his children. It throws you off-balance and guarantees that you’ll tune in for ensuing episodes to see exactly how Ted ends up telling stories to two youngsters 30 years hence. It’s a pretty nifty narrative trick and one which ensured the show had longevity

REVIEW: TWO AND A HALF MEN – SEASON 2

Starring

Charlie Sheen (Hot Shots)
Jon Cryer (Supergirl)
Angus T. Jones (Bringing Down The House)
Marin Hinkle (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle)
Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures)
Conchata Ferrell (Krampus)
Holland Taylor (D.E.B.S.)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Sean Penn (Milk)
Elvis Costello (Austin Powers)
Harry Dean Stanton (Alien)
Ryan Stiles (Hot Shots)
Missi Pyle (Gone Girl)
Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager)
Camryn Manheim (Scary Movie 3)
Denise Richards (Valentine)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (The Vampire Diaries)
Jenifer Taylor (Shameless)
Paget Brewster (Batman and Poison Ivy)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Alicia Coppola (Another World)
Kristen Miller (Cherry Falls)
Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
David Starzyk (Veronica Mars)
Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why)
Gigi Rice (CSI)
Cynthia Preston (Carrie)
Chloe Webb (Twins)
Orson Bean (Innerspace)

MV5BMTg2Mjc0NzcxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzQwMjg3MjE@._V1_In season two, there is a lot of hilarious happenings for the cast of Two and a Half Men. Their crazy antics include fun situations from Charlie and Alan dating the same woman, Charlie’s womanizing past coming back to haunt him (in multiple flavors), Alan exploring his sexual side, Judith’s new boyfriend, Charlie and Alan facing their childhood, and Jake’s all-around goofiness. In short, the second season, like the first, offers twenty-four solid episodes.MV5BMjA0ODg5MjkyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTcwMjg3MjE@._V1_One of the season’s funniest developments involves guest star Jeri Ryan. Ryan plays Sherri, who is essentially a female version of Charlie. Charlie first meets her in “Bad News From the Clinic”. He is shocked to learn that Sherri treats him as he usually treats his dates — purely for sex and pleasure. Charlie becomes obsessed with understanding why Sherri doesn’t want him more. It is a fun case of role-reversal for Charlie. In the episode “A Low, Guttural Tongue-Flapping Noise”, Ryan reprises her role as Sherri. This time she dates Alan. The relationship starts off on a good note, except for the fact that Alan’s brotherly obsession for competition gets in the way. It is a fun episode and twist.MV5BMjAzNTYwMDkxOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjEzMjg3MjE@._V1_Another strong development comes from Charlie’s past with women. As a womanizer, he has left a lot of broken hearts. In particular, one woman he had a one nightstand with started a website dedicated to Charlie bashing. After an attractive gal blows Charlie off, he learns about the website. In an attempt to correct his past mistakes, he quests to apologize to all of the girls who he thinks might be running the site. His apologizes are well received and he finds they are more than willing to give him a second “chance”. Charlie’s past also comes back to haunt him in episodes like “Woo-Hoo, A Hernia Exam!” and “Yes, Monsignor”.MV5BMjA2ODk0MDI1MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTMzMjg3MjE@._V1_Other fun developments include Charlie dating Jake’s neurotic teacher, Charlie acting as primary caregiver to Jake while Alan deals with an IRS audit, Alan falling in love with a woman who opened up his world sexually, Alan’s approval of Judith dating a well-to-do doctor, Judith moving into Charlie’s house, Jake and Evelyn trying to be friends, Alan and Charlie chasing after an old friend from high school — a geek-turned-hottie who wants them both, Alan going on a double-date with Evelyn, and Rose revealing an ironic truth about her background. Overall, season two has a lot of fun moments. The cast continues to give stellar performances with a wonderful chemistry together. Of note, Charlie Sheen is excellent and his carefree personality makes every scene he appears in a laugh riot. Jon Cryer is also quite good with his neurotic, goofy character. The youngest lead, Angus T. Jones, does a fine job complimenting the two older leads.

REVIEW: ERASER

CAST

Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Last Stand)
James Caan (Elf)
Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty)
James Coburn (The Great Escape)
Robert Pastorelli (Beverly Hills Cop II)
James Cromwell (Star Trek: First Contact)
Danny Nucci (Titanic)
Andy Romano (Under Siege 2)
Joe Viterelli (Analyze This)
Gerry Becker (Spider-Man)
Nick Chinlund (Below)
Michael Papajohn (Terminator 3)
K. Todd Freeman ( A Series of Unfortante Events)
John Slattery (Ted 2)
Roma Maffia (Nip/Tuck)
Melora Walters (Boogie Nights)
Camryn Manheim (Happiness)
Clayton Landey (Stargate: Atlantis)
Dave Mallow (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Sven-Ole Thorsen (Mallrats)

John Kruger is a U.S. Marshal working for the Witness Security Protection Program (WITSEC) specializing in “erasing” high-profile witnesses, faking their deaths to keep them safe from those who may wish to silence them. John is assigned by his boss, Chief Arthur Beller, to protect Lee Cullen, a senior executive for the defense contractor Cyrez Corporation, as Lee informed the FBI that her employer William Donohue, the corrupt CEO of Cyrez, plans to sell a top secret electronic pulse rifle on the black market.To procure evidence, Lee copies critical data from the Cyrez mainframe onto two discs: one for the FBI, and the other as her own security. However, Donohue catches wind of Lee accessing the mainframe and orders her into his office. After confiscating Lee’s hidden camera and threatening her with a pistol, Donohue commits suicide in front of her. Disgruntled with the FBI because of failure to guarantee her safety, she delivers the evidence but refuses to submit herself to WITSEC, despite John’s advice. Unfortunately, the FBI’s disc is intercepted by a mole working for Undersecretary of Defense Daniel Harper, who is revealed to be the true mastermind behind the arms sale.That night, Lee’s house is attacked by armed gunmen led by a man with an EM rifle. John rescues Lee and takes her to New York City to hide her, keeping her location secret even from WITSEC. However, John soon learns from his mentor, fellow Marshal Robert DeGuerin, that several witnesses have been murdered because a mole in WITSEC is leaking information and they must relocate their witnesses. They raid a remote cabin and kill the mercenaries holding DeGuerin’s witness hostage, but DeGuerin discreetly kills her during the raid, revealing he is the mole and a key player of the arms sale. By the time John realizes DeGuerin is the mole, DeGuerin has already traced Lee to NYC and has framed John as the mole by murdering WITSEC Deputy Monroe with John’s gun. John escapes and rescues Lee from DeGuerin’s gunmen in the nick of time. With Lee and John in the wind, DeGuerin has them both branded fugitives, cutting off any escape out of the city.John, Lee, and Johnny Casteleone, a mob witness whose life John saved in the beginning of the film, penetrate Cyrez’s office to read Lee’s security-encoded copy. The disk reveals that at the Baltimore docks, DeGuerin and his conspirators plan to sell 1000 units of EM rifles to the notorious Russian Mafia boss Sergei Ivanovich Petrofsky, which threatens to usher in a dangerous new era of global terrorism. Cyrez operatives pinpoint their whereabouts and DeGuerin kidnaps Lee and has her brought to the docks where a railgun shipment is being loaded onto a Russian freighter. Fortunately, Johnny has his mobster cousin Tony Two-Toes and his two associates use their union connections to help John stop the shipment by killing all of DeGuerin’s and Petrofsky’s henchmen, including Petrofsky. In a final struggle atop a shipping container, DeGuerin holds Lee hostage, but John manages to free her and destroy the lock on the container crane, dropping DeGuerin and the container to the ground and exposing the presence of the rifles to the arriving authorities. John rescues the critically wounded DeGuerin and leaves him to be detained by Chief Beller and the authorities, clearing his and Lee’s names in the process.DeGuerin, Harper, and Morehart are indicted for treason. A few weeks later a hearing is held, but with the implication that under civil law jurisdiction a conviction and sentence of the culprits will not be possible. After the hearing, as the conspirators enter their limo, all smiles, John publicly fakes his own death along with Lee’s a couple of hundred yards away. While the conspirators debate whether to start a new operation, their limo pulls onto a train track and stops and the driver, who turns out to be Johnny in disguise, locks the doors and exits the vehicle. The phone rings, Harper answers it and gives it to John, knowing that he won’t be safe, John taunts DeGuerin with a final message: “You’ve just been erased” as a train crashes into the limo, killing the conspirators in a fiery explosion.As one of the later Arnold movies and a suspicious title, there are initially serious worries about how good this film will be. Fortunately it turned out to be a great movie in the end. The only nitpick would be those obviously fake CGI crocodiles used in one scene but otherwise, the movie has consistency in quality.

REVIEW: SCARY MOVIE 3

CAST

Anna Faris (Mom)
Regina Hall (Love & Basketball)
Simon Rex (Superhero Movie)
Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men)
Leslie Nielsen (The Naked Gun)
Queen Latifah (Bringing Down The House)
Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Kevin Hart (Death at a Funeral)
Camryn Manheim (Eraser)
George Carlin (Dogma)
Eddie Griffin (The New Guy)
Pamela Anderson (Scooby-Doo)
Jenny McCarthy (Scream 3)
Denise Richards (Valentine)
Ajay Naidu (Office Space)
Tom Kenny (The Batman)
Timothy Stack (My Name Is Earl)
Jeremy Piven (Entourage)
Simon Cowell (Popstar)
Frank C. Turner (IT)
Ja Rule (Half Past Dead)
Eric Breker (Stargate SG.1)
Master P (Hollywood Homicide)
Macy Gray (Domino)
Redman (How High)
Method Man (Jay and Silent Bob Reboot)
RZA (Repo Men)
Debbie Lee Carrington (Total Recall)

Katie (Jenny McCarthy) and Becky (Pamela Anderson) are talking about a tape, which Katie thinks is a sex tape, but Becky refers to a cursed tape (The Ring). After several odd occurrences, they die. In a farm outside Washington, D.C., widowed farmer and former reverend Tom Logan (Charlie Sheen) and his clumsy younger brother George (Simon Rex) discover a crop circle, saying “Attack Here!” .Meanwhile, Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris), now a blonde news reporter, announces the crop circles on the news. She then goes to pick up her paranormally endowed nephew Cody (Drew Mikuska) from school, where her best friend Brenda Meeks (Regina Hall) is his teacher. George Logan arrives to pick up his niece Sue, Tom’s daughter, who is in the same class. Cindy falls in love with George, who invites her and Brenda to a rap-battle with his rapper friends Mahalik (Anthony Anderson) and CJ (Kevin Hart) (8 Mile). George competes and proves to be actually quite talented, but due to unintentional racist blunders, he’s thrown out.Later, Brenda asks Cindy to keep her company, since she watched the cursed videotape. After playing several pranks on Cindy (fake seizures, burning hand, etc.), she gets the rest of the popcorn in the lounge, when the TV turns on. Brenda fails to turn it off. Tabitha (Marny Eng) climbs out of the well and the TV, Brenda gets into a fight with Tabitha. Tabitha ends up killing Brenda, since Cindy is ignoring the ruckus. George receives a phone call about the death, and Tom meets with Sayaman, who apologizes for the accident involving himself and Tom’s wife Annie (Denise Richards).During Brenda’s wake, George and Mahalik, due to a misunderstanding, wreak havoc on Brenda’s corpse in an unsuccessful attempt to revive her, only to blow up her body and end up getting kicked out of the house. Later, Cindy decides to watch the tape, finding it odd. She then gets a phone call, saying she’ll die in a week. She calls George, CJ and Mahalik for help. CJ offers that his Aunt Shaneequa might be able to help. Aunt Shaneequa (Queen Latifah), the Matrix Oracle, and her husband Orpheus (Eddie Griffin) agree to watch the tape. Shaneequa discovers the hidden image of a lighthouse, and gets into a fight with Tabitha’s mother. Shaneequa tells Cindy to find the lighthouse to break the curse. When Cindy returns home, she finds Cody watched the tape.Back at work, Cindy searches through pictures of lighthouses before finding the one from the tape. Desperate to save Cody, Cindy tries to warn everyone by entering a message into the news anchor’s teleprompter, but she is interrupted by her boss and a janitor who insults the manager on the teleprompter (which the anchorman blindly recites). The Logans hear the message and take it seriously since they encountered an alien disguised as Michael Jackson (Edward Moss), and President Baxter Harris (Leslie Nielsen), who personally visits the farm to investigate the crop circles. Cindy ventures to the lighthouse, where she encounters The Architect (George Carlin).The loquacious (and lecherous) old man explains Tabitha was his evil adopted daughter, whom his wife drowned in the farm’s well, but not before she imprinted her evil onto the tape. Unfortunately, he mistook the evil tape for a copy of Pootie Tang and returned it to Blockbuster instead, unleashing the curse. When Cindy asks about how this relates to the Aliens, the Architect speculates that Tabitha is summoning them to aid her in destroying the human race.Returning home, Cindy discovers her station has been broadcasting the evil tape for hours, and there have been various sightings of aliens around the world. Worse, Cody is missing. Cindy manages to track him back to the Logan farm, where he has taken refuge with George. Tom orders everybody into the basement for safety, as he, George and Mahalik go outside to fight off the extraterrestrials. The aliens (voiced by Tom Kenny) arrive but reveal they are friendly and have come to stop Tabitha, since they accidentally watched the tape on a broadcast they had intercepted, thinking it was Pootie Tang. In the basement, Cindy realizes the farm’s cellar is what is seen on the tape and she finds the well where Tabitha was drowned under the cellar floor. Suddenly, Tabitha appears behind her. A short fight ensues, during which Tabitha takes Cody hostage. Cindy and George appeal to her, offering her a place in their family. Tabitha appears to accept the offer, but then changes back to her monstrous form and advances to Cindy and the others, only to be accidentally knocked back into the well by President Harris. The aliens leave in peace, and Cindy and George get married. Leaving for their honeymoon, they realize they forget to take Cody with them. At first, Cody is about to get hit by Cindy’s car in an intersection, but she put the brakes this time to prevent it from happening, much to Cody’s relief. Unfortunately, causing Cody to be hit by another car passing through the intersection.Admittedly, the plot of this film is a bit of a shambles, and as a film it lacks the consistency of Hot Shots and the Naked Gun films. However, the film is very funny, with some great visual gags and bad taste comedy.

REVIEW: TWISTED

CAST

Ashley Judd (Divergent)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Andy Garcia (The Unsaid)
David Strathairn (Lincoln)
Russell Wong (The Mummy 3)
Camryn Manheim (Scary Movie 3)
Mark Pellegrino (Lost)
Titus Welliver (agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Richard T. Jones (Terminator: TSCC)
Leland Orser (Seven)
Veronica Cartwright (Alien)

Having solved a high-profile case involving a serial killer, Jessica Shepard (Ashley Judd) is a rising officer in the San Francisco Police Department. She is transferred to the homicide division and promoted to the rank of inspector. Her deceased father’s former partner, John Mills (Samuel L. Jackson), serves as her proud mentor. Shepard finds that she might once again have to prove herself in a department that takes no prisoners.

When one of her former one-night stands is murdered, Shepard and her new partner, Mike Delmarco (Andy García), are assigned to the case. Shepard, who has a drinking problem, soon falls under suspicion. Three more murders follow, each victim having had a relationship with her. Shepard begins to experience a mental breakdown, blacking out for increasingly long periods of time. Her father, a police patrolman, had gone on a killing spree back in the 1970s and then murdered her mother. She begins to fear that she has the same violent tendencies and that she has been committing murder in her disoriented state.

Shepard finds out that Mills is the killer. He killed all of her lovers, as well as her parents, because he considered it his mission to prevent her growing up to be a dissolute woman like her mother. As her father’s partner, Mills had felt the responsibility to inform him that his wife was a nymphomaniac, which drove him insane. As he had an illicit affair with Shepard’s mother, Mills felt the need to kill her lovers. Also ashamed that he destroyed his partner’s marriage and drove him insane, Mills decided to put him out of his misery by killing him. Shepard secretly transmits Mills’ confession on a mobile phone, allowing her old partner to track them down. When Mills tries to shoot her partner, Shepard shoots him in the chest and he falls off the dock. The film closes on him drifting on the ocean surface surrounded by sea lions as the cops look on.

This is a very good thriller with a twist towards the end so aptly named. Thoroughly enjoyable and totally recommended.

REVIEW: THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES

CAST
Tom Hanks (The Road To Perdition)
Bruce Willis (Armageddon)
Melanie Griffith (Tempo)
Kim Cattrall (Star Trek 6)
Saul Rubinek (Memory Run)
Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)
Kurt Fuller (Ghostbusters 2)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
Rita Wilson (Jingle All The Way)
Vito D’Ambrosio (The Flash)
Donald Moffat (The Thing)
Marjorie Monaghan (Babylon 5)
Sam Sorbo (Hercules:TLJ)
Camryn Manheim (Scary Movie 3)
Richard Belzer (Law & Order: SVU)
F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus)
Terry Farrell (Star Trek: DS9)
Debbie Lee Carrington (Total Recall)
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Sherman McCoy (Tom Hanks) is a Wall Street investor who makes millions while enjoying the good life and the sexual favors of Maria Ruskin (Melanie Griffith), a Southern belle gold digger. Sherman and Maria are driving back to Maria’s apartment from JFK Airport when they take a wrong turn on the expressway and the two find themselves in the “war-zone” of the South Bronx. They are approached by two suspicious black youths after Sherman gets out of the car to move a tire placed purposely in the middle of the road. Sherman jumps back into the car and Maria guns the engine in reverse, running over one of the teenagers and putting him in a coma. The two drive away and decide not to report the accident to the police.
Meanwhile, indigent alcoholic journalist Peter Fallow (Bruce Willis), anxious for a story to make good with his editor, comes upon the hit-and-run case as a rallying point for the black community calling upon Jewish district attorney Abe Weiss (F. Murray Abraham), who is the Bronx District Attorney seeking re-election. According to Judge Leonard White (Morgan Freeman), almost all of DA Weiss’ prosecutions end up with black and Puerto Rican defendants going to prison and Weiss is seeking a white defendant for purposes of convincing the minority-majority community that he is worth re-electing.
Weiss recognizes the press coverage inherent in prosecuting the callow Sherman, who has been discovered as the hit-and-run driver, in order to cultivate the image as an avenger for the minorities and be propelled to the mayorship of New York City. As Sherman is brought to his knees, New York City fragments into different factions who use the case to suit their own cynical purposes.
Finally, Sherman is left without any allies to support him except for the sympathetic Judge Leonard White and the remorseful Fallow. Fallow gains a tremendous advantage and insight into the case when he is dating a woman who is the sub-letting landlady of Maria’s apartment, and knows of secret recordings of conversations in the apartment made by the authorities to prove that the woman is not in fact living in the rent-controlled apartment herself. She discovers information about the McCoy case (where Maria states she was driving the car), which she gives to Fallow, who in turn covertly supplies it to Sherman McCoy’s defense lawyer. Sherman gets his hands on a tape and plays the recording in court, where it reveals Maria directly contradicting the evidence she has just given, showing she has been perjuring herself and causing her to faint. Sherman plays the tape in a tape recorder inside his briefcase connected to a small loudspeaker that he holds on the desk.
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When the judge orders that he approach the bench with this evidence, he asserts that the tape is all his (making it admissible evidence and it is technically truthful since it refers only to the dummy tape he was holding and ignores the real tape that is hidden which is not his), resulting in his acquittal. The people in the court go into an uproar, to which Judge White launches into a tirade that they have no right to act self-righteous and smarmy, or that they are above Sherman, considering Reverend Bacon (John Hancock) claims to help disadvantaged New Yorkers but actually engages in race baiting, or that the District Attorney Weiss pushed this case not in the interest of justice but in the interest of appealing to minority voters to further his political career by appealing to their desire to “get even”. After the Judge made his point, he begs the people to be decent and change their ways, letting Sherman go.
The film ends as it begins, where there is a large audience applauding Peter Fallow’s premiere of his book. Fallow says that Sherman McCoy has moved away from New York City to an unknown destination, presumably to live in obscurity.
I still can’t understand, after all these years, why this film was and still is so underrated. To me is one of De Palma’s masterpieces, where you can enjoy all his talents but still you breathe all the focused and cruel genius of Tom Wolfe and his best book. Not to mention that the adaptation of the book is brilliant and manges to keep the core and the best of it in a just 2 hours movie, even adding some moments that were not present in the books but sound absolutely brilliant, coherent and useful to carry on the story. Actors are funny and acting direction absolutely perfect, both in comical timing, and in the way actors approach their characters.