REVIEW: BLACK CHRISTMAS (2019)

Starring

Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later)
Aleyse Shannon (Charmed)
Lily Donoghue (The Goldbergs)
Brittany O’Grady (Star)
Caleb Eberhardt (The Post)
Cary Elwes (Saw)
Simon Mead (Golden Boy)
Madeleine Adams (Power Rangers Beast Morphers)
Nathalie Morris (Killer Sofa)
Ben Black (Roman empire)
Zoë Robins (Power Rangers Ninja Steel)

Imogen Poots in Black Christmas (2019)While walking home, Hawthorne College student Lindsey is impaled with an icicle by a trio of masked figures. The rest of Hawthorne College is preparing for the Christmas holiday break. Riley Stone, a student at the College’s Mu Kappa Epsilon (ΜΚΕ) sorority, is still struggling to move on from being raped by Delta Kappa Omicron (DKO) fraternity president Brian Huntley (which no one besides her close friends believed her about despite Brian being forced to leave).Imogen Poots and Aleyse Shannon in Black Christmas (2019)Her sorority sisters Kris, Marty, Jesse, and Helena are taking part in the DKO talent show with a dance choreographed by Riley. Riley gives Helena her lucky comb. Meanwhile, Kris has drawn the ire of the DKO fraternity and Riley and Marty’s lecturer Professor Gelson following a petition from her requesting that university founder and notorious misogynist Calvin Hawthorne’s bust be moved away from the main building and another requesting Gelson be fired due to his refusal to teach books written by women. While at her job at a coffee shop, Riley learns that Brian will be back in town to oversee the talent show. She also meets Landon, a friendly boy from the DKO fraternity who takes a liking to her.Imogen Poots and Jonny McBride in Black Christmas (2019)The group arrives at the DKO fraternity where Riley catches a glimpse of a strange ritual involving new pledges for DKO and a black goo leaking out of the Calvin Hawthorne bust. She also stumbles across Helena about to be sexually assaulted by one of the frat boys. Riley intervenes and sends a tipsy Helena home. Riley takes Helena’s place in the talent show and upon seeing Brian in the crowd, performs a song with her sorority sisters blasting the rape culture at the fraternity and stating that Brian did rape Riley.Jonny McBride in Black Christmas (2019)The girls leave in high spirits and Riley bonds with Landon. Meanwhile, back at the MKE house, Helena is abducted by Lindsey’s attacker. The next day the girls start to receive threatening DMs from a Calvin Hawthorne account similar to what Lindsey had received before she was murdered. Meanwhile, sorority sister Fran is also killed by the masked man. Concerned that Helena has seemingly not gone home to her parents as planned, Riley alerts campus security who are apathetic and assume Helena has run off with a boyfriend. After a strange encounter with Gelson outside the DKO fraternity, where she finds a list of the MKE girls among some papers he dropped, Riley returns home.Jonny McBride and Brittany O'Grady in Black Christmas (2019)Marty and her boyfriend Nate have an argument and she kicks him out of the house that night while Riley and Kris argue over Kris’ uploading the talent show video online and Riley now fears retaliation from members of the fraternity. Jesse goes to the attic to get some Christmas lights and is murdered, her body left in the attic. Riley, Kris, and Marty receive more threatening messages before being attacked by a bow-wielding assailant who injures Marty. The girls lock themselves in a room and Riley ventures out to retrieve her phone. Meanwhile, Kris goes to the attic to warn Jesse and discovers her body. Nate arrives back at the house looking to apologize and is promptly murdered. Riley then uses Nate’s car keys to kill the masked man. She reunites with Kris and Marty and they are attacked by two other masked men. Marty is gravely wounded but manages to buy Riley and Kris enough time to hide in the kitchen before dying. The pair overpower and kill the attacker. They remove his mask after being alarmed that they are covered in black goo instead of blood. Riley identifies him as an DKO pledge she saw at the ritual and is alarmed by a strange look in the pledge’s eyes.The pair escape the house in Nate’s car and Riley theorizes that Hawthorne, who was known for dabbling in black magic, is responsible for the killings via his bust and the black goo it emitted. Kris shoots down the idea and suggests they go to the police but Riley demands they go to the DKO fraternity to fight. They argue and Riley heads off to confront the frat herself. She encounters Landon and enlists him to help her enter the fraternity. Meanwhile, Kris stumbles across Lindsey’s sorority, which had angered DKO for not wanting to take part in the talent show. She discovers Lindsey’s sorority sisters are also being attacked by other DKO pledges and manages to rescue them. At the DKO house, Riley and Landon break in, but Landon is cornered by the frat brothers who convince him to be a pledge. Riley witnesses the Hawthrone bust leak the black goo before discovering Helena, who is tied up but still alive. Attempting to rescue Helena, Riley unties the bonds securing Helena’s hands behind her back but is suddenly knocked unconscious by an DKO member.Imogen Poots in Black Christmas (2019)Riley awakens to find herself sitting tied up on a chair. She is confronted by Gelson, Brian, and the DKO frat boys who have inducted Landon as a pledge. Gelson explained that after Kris forced the bust’s relocation to the fraternity they discovered Hawthorne’s plan, involving a spell and the black goo, to keep unruly women in check. The goo allows the spirit of Hawthorne to possess the fraternity’s pledges and send them out to murder any women that stepped out of line.Imogen Poots, Caleb Eberhardt, and Aleyse Shannon in Black Christmas (2019)It is also revealed that Helena has been secretly working with the fraternity and stole several items from her sisters that allowed the possessed pledges to easily locate their targets. One of the pledges murders Helena despite her willingness to be a “good woman” to the frat as a show of power to Riley. Brian forces Riley to bow to him, but she plans to attack him; at the same moment Kris and Lindsey’s surviving sorority sisters enter and fight the fraternity. Riley overpowers and kills Brian. She then smashes the Hawthorne bust. Kris sets Gelson on fire and the women and Landon escape, locking the frat brothers inside and leaving them to burn to death. As the traumatized group watch the frat house burn, Riley watches with newfound bravery. In a mid-credit scene, the cat that was the MKE sisters’ pet is seen licking the black liquid.Lily Donoghue in Black Christmas (2019)As a remake, it misses the mark horrendously. As a horror film, it leaves a lot to be desired. It may not be a bad film, but it’s an incredibly boring one.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: A CHRISTMAS CAROL (2009)

CAST

Jim Carrey (How The Grinch Stole Christmas)
Gary Oldman (The Dark KNight)
Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
Bob Hoskins (Hollywoodland)
Robin Wright (Wonder Woman)
Cary Elwes (Saw)
Fionnula Flanagan (Transamerica)
Steve Valentine (Mars Attacks)
Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids)
Molly Quinn (Castle)
Paul Blackthorne (Arrow)
Callum Blue (Smallville)
Sammi Hanratty (Salem)

In 1843, on Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old moneylender at a London counting house, does not share the merriment of Christmas. He declines his cheerful nephew Fred Holywell’s invitation to a Christmas dinner party, and rejects two gentlemen’s offer to collect money for charity. His loyal employee Bob Cratchit asks Scrooge to allow him to have a day off on Christmas Day to spend time with his family, to which Scrooge reluctantly agrees before leaving. In his house, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his deceased business partner Jacob Marley, who warns him to repent his wicked ways or he will be condemned in the afterlife like he was, carrying heavy chains forged from his own greediness. Jacob informs Scrooge that three spirits will visit to guide him out of his misery.Scrooge is visited by the candle-like Ghost of Christmas Past, who takes him back in time to his early life. They visit Scrooge’s boarding school and Scrooge sees his sister Fanie, who died after giving birth to Fred. Scrooge later begins a successful career in business and money lending as an employee under Fezziwig, and he becomes engaged to a woman named Belle. However, the Ghost shows Scrooge how Belle left him when he became obsessed with wealth. A devastated Scrooge extinguishes the spirit with its candle snuffer cap but Scrooge is rocketed thousands of feet into the air while clinging onto the snuffer, only to have it disappear, resulting in Scrooge falling down to earth, back into his bedroom for the next visitation.Scrooge meets the merry Ghost of Christmas Present, which shows him the joys and wonder of Christmas Day. Scrooge and the Ghost visit Bob’s house, learning his family is content with their small dinner, Scrooge taking pity on Bob’s ill son Tiny Tim. The Ghost abruptly ages, commenting that Tiny Tim will likely not survive until next Christmas. The Ghost warns Scrooge about the evils of “Ignorance” and “Want”; Big Ben begins tolling midnight as “Ignorance” and “Want” manifest themselves before Scrooge as two wretched children who grow into violent, insane individuals, leaving the spirit withering away, dying at length when midnight strikes (to the point of dissolving into a skeleton before the twelfth strike).The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come arrives, appearing as a dark shadow, and takes Scrooge into the future. He witnesses a group of businessmen discussing the death of an unnamed man where they would only attend the funeral if lunch is provided; Scrooge is then chased across London by the Ghost and later discovers that his possessions are stolen and sold by his maid Mrs. Dilber. Shortly afterwards, Scrooge sees a covered corpse on a bed, followed by a family that is relieved he is dead, as they have more time to pay off their debt. The spirit transports Scrooge to Bob’s residence, discovering that Tiny Tim has died. Scrooge is then taken to a cemetery, where the Ghost points out his own grave, confirming Scrooge was the man who died. Scrooge promises to change his ways just as the Ghost forces him to fall into his empty coffin lying in a deep grave that sits above the fires of Hell.Waking up in his own room on Christmas Day, with love and happiness in his heart, a gleeful Scrooge decides to surprise Bob’s family with a turkey dinner, and ventures out with the charity workers and the citizens of London to spread happiness in the city, and later attends his nephew’s annual Christmas dinner, where he is warmly welcomed. The following day, he gives Cratchit a raise and becomes like “a second father” to Tiny Tim, who escapes death. A changed man, Scrooge now treats everyone with kindness, generosity, and compassion; he now embodies the spirit of Christmas.Jim Carrey is full of surprises and the entire movie is a theatrical outburst of his talent, under the brilliant direction of Robert Zemeckis. Brilliant because it manages to take the Dickens story and walk us through all its dimensions.  It’s an enchanting story and I encourage you all to see it.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE PRINCESS BRIDE

CAST

Peter Falk (Columbo)
Fred Savage (The Wonder Years)
Betsy Brantley (Dougle Jeopardy)
Cary Elwes (Hot Shots!)
Robin Wright (Unbreakable)
Chris Sarandon (Childs Play)
Mandy Patinkin (Dead Like Me)
Christopher Guest (This Is Spinal Tap)
Andre The Giant (Conan The Destroyer)
Wallace Shawn (Family Guy)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Billy Crystal (Analyze This)
Peter Cook (Supergirl)
Mel Smith (European Vacation)
Margery Mason (Love Actually)

In a frame story, a man (Peter Falk) reads a book, The Princess Bride, to his sick grandson (Fred Savage). Scenes of the reading occasionally interrupt the main story.  A young woman named Buttercup (Robin Wright) lives on a farm in the country of Florin. Whenever she gives her farm boy Westley (Cary Elwes) an order, he answers “as you wish” and happily complies. Eventually, she realizes that he means “I love you”—and that she loves him too. Westley leaves to seek his fortune so they can marry, but his ship is attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who famously never leaves anyone alive.Screenshot_20181231_154505Five years later, Buttercup reluctantly agrees to marry Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), heir to the throne. Before the wedding, she is kidnapped by three outlaws: a Sicilian boss named Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), a giant named Fezzik (André the Giant), and a Spanish master fencer named Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), who seeks revenge against the six-fingered man who killed his father. Two separate forces pursue them: Prince Humperdinck with a complement of soldiers, and a masked man dressed in black. The outlaws were actually hired by Humperdinck himself to make a pretext for war by leaving Buttercup’s dead body on the shores of rival country Guilder.

The man in black catches up to the outlaws at the top of the Cliffs of Insanity, where he defeats Inigo in a swordfight and knocks him unconscious. He then defeats Fezzik in hand-to-hand combat, choking him until he blacks out. Finally, he kills Vizzini in a battle of wits by tricking him into drinking poison, and so captures Buttercup. When he tells her he is the Dread Pirate Roberts, she becomes enraged at him for killing Westley and shoves him down a slope. As he falls he calls out “As you wish” and Buttercup realizes that the man is, in fact, Westley. Buttercup chases after him and learns that the previous Dread Pirate Roberts had offered his identity to Westley in order to be able to retire—which was also how that “Roberts” had acquired his identity.Kamen Rider Zi-OThe duo manage to cross the Fire Swamp with its fire spouts, lightning sand, and Rodents of Unusual Size, but are captured by Humperdinck and his sadistic six-fingered vizier Count Rugen (Christopher Guest). Buttercup agrees to return with Humperdinck in exchange for Westley’s release, but Humperdinck secretly has Rugen imprison and torture Westley in the Pit of Despair. Later, when Buttercup expresses unhappiness at marrying Humperdinck, he promises to search for Westley. Eventually Buttercup realizes he is lying and taunts him as a coward. Humperdinck, enraged, tortures Westley to his death. Meanwhile, Fezzik finds Inigo and informs him of Rugen’s existence. Inigo decides that they need the man in black’s help to get into the castle. Hearing cries of anguish, they reach Rugen’s torture chamber only to find Westley dead. But they take him to Miracle Max (Billy Crystal), who explains that Westley is “only mostly dead”, and supplies a pill to revive him. With the wedding imminent, they give Westley the pill too early and he awakens partially paralyzed. Still, Westley, Inigo, and Fezzik invade the castle. Humperdinck drastically abridges the wedding ceremony and locks Buttercup into her chambers.

Meanwhile Inigo finds and duels with Rugen. Seriously wounded early in the battle, he begins repeatedly reciting his long-rehearsed greeting of vengeance: “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” This restores his focus and he finally slays his nemesis.Westley finds Buttercup about to commit suicide, and assures her that her marriage is void because they never said “I do.” Humperdinck confronts them but Westley bluffs him into surrendering, leaving him tied up, to contemplate his cowardice. Westley rides away triumphantly with Buttercup, Inigo, and Fezzik on horses that Fezzik conveniently discovers. As they leave, Inigo remarks that now that he has his revenge he isn’t sure what to do next; Westley suggests he become the next Dread Pirate Roberts. At last Westley and Buttercup share a passionate kiss. As the grandfather finishes the story and prepares to leave, the boy asks him to read the story again the next day. The grandfather smiles and replies, “As you wish.”

Crammed with adventure, true love, swordfights, pirates, casual villains, and a clergyman with a speech impediment, “The Princess Bride” is an adorable comic classic. A must-see.

REVIEW: BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA

CAST

Gary Oldman (Red Riding Hood)
Winona Ryder (Black Swan)
Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Keanu Reeves (Speed)
Richard E. Grant (Game of Thrones)
Cary Elwes (Saw)
Billy Campbell (Rocketeer)
Sadie Frost (Shopping)
Tom Waits (Fight Club)
Monica Bellucci (The Brothers Grimm)

In 1462, Vlad Dracula, a member of the Order of the Dragon, returns from a victory against the Turks to find his wife, Elisabeta, has committed suicide after receiving a false report of his death. Enraged that his wife is now damned for committing suicide, Dracula desecrates his chapel and renounces God, declaring that he will rise from the grave to avenge Elisabeta with all the powers of darkness. In a fit of rage, he stabs the chapel’s stone cross with his sword and drinks the blood which pours out of it.
In 1897, newly qualified solicitor Jonathan Harker takes the Transylvanian Count Dracula as a client from his colleague R. M. Renfield, who has gone insane. Jonathan travels to Transylvania to arrange Dracula’s real estate acquisition in London, including Carfax Abbey. Jonathan meets Dracula, who discovers a picture of Harker’s fiancée, Mina and believes that she is the reincarnation of Elisabeta. Dracula leaves Jonathan to be raped and fed upon by his brides and sails to England with boxes of his native soil, taking up residence at Carfax Abbey. His arrival is foretold by the ravings of Renfield, now an inmate in Dr Jack Seward’s neighboring insane asylum.
In London, Dracula emerges as a wolf-like creature amid a fierce thunderstorm and hypnotically seduces, then rapes and bites Lucy Westenra, with whom Mina is staying while Jonathan is in Transylvania. Lucy’s deteriorating health and behavioral changes prompts Lucy’s former suitors Quincey Morris and Dr Seward, along with her fiancé, Arthur Holmwood, to summon Dr Abraham Van Helsing, who recognizes Lucy as the victim of a vampire. Dracula, appearing young and handsome during daylight, meets and charms Mina. When Mina receives word from Jonathan, who has escaped the castle and recovered at a convent, she travels to Romania to marry him. In his fury, Dracula transforms Lucy into a vampire. Van Helsing, Holmwood, Seward and Morris kill Lucy out of mercy the following night.
After Jonathan and Mina return to London, Jonathan and Van Helsing lead the others to Carfax Abbey, where they destroy the Count’s boxes of soil. Dracula enters the asylum, where he kills Renfield for warning Mina of his presence. He visits Mina, who is staying in Seward’s quarters while the others hunt Dracula, and confesses that he murdered Lucy and has been terrorizing Mina’s friends. A confused and angry Mina admits that she still loves him and remembers her previous life as Elisabeta. At her insistence, Dracula begins transforming her into a vampire. The hunters burst into the bedroom, and Dracula claims Mina as his bride before escaping. As Mina changes, Van Helsing hypnotizes her and learns via her connection with Dracula that he is sailing home in his last remaining box. The hunters depart for Varna to intercept him, but Dracula reads Mina’s mind and evades them. The hunters split up; Van Helsing and Mina travel to the Borgo Pass and the castle, while the others try to stop the gypsies transporting the Count.
At night, Van Helsing and Mina are approached by Dracula’s brides. They frighten Mina at first, but she gives into their chanting and attempts to seduce Van Helsing. Before Mina can feed on his blood, Van Helsing places a communion wafer upon her forehead, leaving a mark. He surrounds them with a ring of fire to protect them from the brides, then infiltrates the castle and decapitates them the following morning. As sunset approaches, Dracula’s carriage arrives at the castle, pursued by the hunters. A fight between the hunters and gypsies ensues. Morris is stabbed in the back during the fight and at sunset Dracula bursts from his coffin. Harker slits his throat while a wounded Morris stabs him in the heart with a Bowie knife. As Dracula staggers, Mina rushes to his defense. Holmwood tries to attack but Van Helsing and Harker allow her to retreat with the Count. Morris dies, surrounded by his friends.
In the chapel where he renounced God, Dracula lies dying in an ancient demonic form. He asks Mina to give him peace. They share a kiss as the candles adorning the chapel light up, Dracula turns back to his younger self, and Mina shoves the knife through his heart. The mark on her forehead disappears as Dracula’s curse is lifted. She decapitates him, and finally gazes up at the fresco of Vlad and Elisabeta ascending to Heaven together.
A stylish production that does not cut any corners in terms of substance, this superb retelling of the story of Bram Stoker’s lengthy novel, Francis Ford Coppola’s “Dracula” stands as one of the most ravishing and enduring films in cinematic history.

REVIEW: BATMAN BEYOND – SEASON 1

Main Cast

Will Friedle (Batman Ninja)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Cree Summer (Bambi II)
Frank Welker (Transformers)

Terry_and_Bruce

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Teri Garr (After Hours)
Michael Gross (Tremors)
Sherman Howard (Sueprboy)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Ryan O’Donohue (Toy Story)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)
Clyde Kusatsu (Midway)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Shannon Kenny (7th Heaven)
Stockard Channing (Grease)
Mari Devon (Digimon)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Melissa Disney (Superman vs The Elite)
Bill Smitrovich (Ted)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Pauley Perrette (NCIS)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Michael Ansara (The Message)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Robert Davi (The Goonies)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Jeff Bennett (Enchanted)
Chris Mulkey (Cloverfield)
Olivia d’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
George Lazenby (Gettysburg)
Amanda Donohoe (Liar Liar)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Peter Jason (They Live)
Ian Ziering (Sharknado)
Larry Drake (Darkman)
Jon Cypher (Masters of The Universe)
Vernee Watson (The Kid)
Dorian Harewood (Terminator: TSCC)
William H. Macy (Shameless)
Kimmy Robertson (Speed 2)
Barry Dennen (The Dark Crystal)
Victor Raider-Wexler (Minority Report)
Paul Winfield (The Terminator)
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Cary Elwes (Saw)

MV5BZTIyYjQ5OWQtNjVjNC00ZGY2LWI4NmItNjRiOTZlMzA1NWJmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzExODYzNzc@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1333,1000_AL_Fifty years after Batman: The Animated Series came to a close, Gotham City is without a protector. Failing health and a chilling act of desperation prompted Bruce Wayne to give up Batman’s cape and cowl, and the corporation that had stayed in his family for generations has been wrest from him by a corporate raider named Derek Powers. Never married and abandoned by his sidekicks, the elderly, embittered Wayne lurks inside a sprawling mansion that seems more like a mausoleum than the stately manor of old. Derek Powers is using the remnants of WayneCorp to illegally manufacture an endlessly destructive but extremely profitable nerve gas, a secret that Wayne/Powers employee Warren McGinnis stumbles upon and pays for with his life.DziRsC4XQAEU01AHis troubled son Terry blames himself for the murder, but a chance encounter with Bruce Wayne results in the theft of a Batman suit brimming with cutting-edge technology and the revelation of the man truly responsible for his father’s death. By the time the two-part episode “Rebirth” is over, Bruce Wayne has agreed to guide Terry as the new Batman, and an irradiated Derek Powers is a walking fusion reactor.batman-beyondBatman: The Animated Series, Superman, and Justice League all drew heavily from the established mythos, but Batman Beyond is a largely original creation. Sure, there are quite a few nods to the original series — it’s still set in Gotham City, Barbara Gordon has taken the mantle of police commissioner, and there are winks to fans like the Grey Ghost costume in the Batcave.MV5BMjI4Nzg0NTQ4OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzY5OTQ1MjE@._V1_Terry McGinnis is a very different lead character than Bruce Wayne was in Batman: The Animated Series. In the previous series, it seemed more as if Batman was who this man really was and Bruce Wayne was just an occasionally convenient mask for him to wear. Terry is seen out of costume much more frequently than Bruce ever was and feels like more of a fleshed-out character. He has friends, he has family, and he has a life outside of the pointy-eared hood. Gotham City is still teeming with bad guys, but even though Batman has been transplanted to the future, he’s not squaring off against Joker II or The Riddler Redux. The rogue’s gallery of this futuristic Batman doesn’t lift much from the previous animated series or even from the comics. The only familiar faces are Mr. Freeze, The Royal Flush Gang, and, briefly and unrecognizably, Bane. The other villains are original creations with some striking character designs, such as the amorphous corporate saboteur Inque, sound-engineer-with-a-power-suit Shriek, and the hypnotic Spellbound. This season also doesn’t rehash the same villains over and over again, with Inque being the only baddie other than Derek Powers’ Blight to strike more than once.MV5BMTQ0ODcyNjYwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTU5OTQ1MjE@._V1_Several of the supervillains aren’t costumed-threats-of-the-week, but ordinary people in extraordinary situations: Willie Watt in “Golem” is a nerdy high schooler who seizes control of a two-story-tall construction robot to exact revenge on the bullies who torment him, and “The Winning Edge” is about high school athletes using steroids yet deftly avoids playing like ‘a very special episode of Batman Beyond’. One thing Batman’s adversaries, costumed and plainclothes alike, have in common is their origins. Nearly all of the villains in Batman Beyond are born of tragedy or greed, and that gives these episodes more of a resonance than something like The Joker pumping Gotham City with laughing gas for no reason in particular.AscensionAnother stand-out is “Shriek”, pitting Batman against an enemy whose technology enables him to manipulate sound. One of the most inventive sequences in the entire run of the series is set in a car factory where Batman starts setting off every piece of equipment in arm’s reach as a distraction. Shriek uses his technology to block out the noise and isolate Batman’s movements, resulting in an almost entirely silent battle with no dialogue, few sound effects, and a sparse, subtle score.126915This first season of Batman Beyond is remarkably consistent, offering perhaps the strongest debut of any DC animated series to date.

REVIEW: THE CAT’S MEOW

CAST

Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man)
Edward Hermann (The Aviator)
Eddie Izzard (Hannibal)
Cary Elwes (Saw)
Joanna Lumley (Ella Enchanted)
Jennifer Tilly (Bride of Chucky)
Claudia Harrison (New Tricks)
James Laurenson (The Bourney Identity 88)
Ronan Vibert (Hex)

November 15, 1924: Among those boarding the luxury yacht Oneida in San Pedro, California are its owner, publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, and his mistress, silent film star Marion Davies; motion picture mogul Thomas H. Ince, whose birthday is the reason for the weekend cruise, and his mistress, starlet Margaret Livingston; international film star Charlie Chaplin; English writer Elinor Glyn; and Louella Parsons, a film critic for Hearst’s New York American.Several of those participating in the weekend’s festivities are at a crossroads in their lives and/or careers. Chaplin, still dealing with the critical and commercial failure of A Woman of Paris and rumors he has impregnated 16-year-old Lita Grey (who appeared in his film The Kid) is in the midst of preparing The Gold Rush. Davies longs to appear in a slapstick comedy rather than the somber costume dramas to which Hearst has kept her confined. Ince’s eponymous film studio is in dire financial straits, so he hopes to convince Hearst to take him on as a partner in Cosmopolitan Pictures. Parsons would like to relocate from the East Coast to more glamorous Hollywood. Hearst suspects Davies and Chaplin have engaged in an affair, a suspicion shared by Ince, who seeks proof he can present to Hearst in order to curry favor with him. In the wastepaper basket in Chaplin’s stateroom, Ince discovers a discarded love letter to Davies and pockets it with plans to produce it at an opportune moment. When he finally does, Hearst is enraged. His anger is fueled further when he finds a brooch he had given Davies in Chaplin’s cabin. Hearst concludes it was lost there during a romantic liaison, and he rifles Marion’s room for further evidence.Armed with a pistol, Hearst searches the yacht for Chaplin in the middle of the night. Ince, meanwhile, runs into Davies and the two sit and talk with Ince donning a hat Chaplin had worn. Davies explains to Ince her love for Hearst and her regret at an earlier affair with Chaplin. She states “I never loved him” just as Hearst arrives behind them. Thinking Davies is referring to him, and mistaking Ince for Chaplin, a jealous Hearst shoots Ince. The assault is witnessed by Parsons, who had heard noises and went to investigate.Hearst arranges to dock in San Diego and have a waiting ambulance take the dying Ince home. He phones the injured man’s wife and tells her Ince attempted suicide when Livingston tried to end their affair, assuring her the truth won’t reach the media. To the rest of his guests he announces Ince’s ulcer flared up and required immediate medical attention. Davies, of course, knows the truth, and confides in Chaplin. Also armed with that knowledge is Parsons, who assures Hearst his secret will be safe in exchange for a lifetime contract with the Hearst Corporation, thus laying the groundwork for her lengthy career as one of Hollywood’s most powerful gossip columnists. After seeing Ince off, Hearst confronts Davies and Chaplin. He is berated by Chaplin, who expects Davies to join him. Hearst, however, challenges Chaplin to guarantee Davies that he can promise her a happy life. When Chaplin fails to answer, Hearst informs Chaplin of the vow of silence he and the fellow guests have made to keep the weekend’s activities a secret. Chaplin despairs as he realizes the murder has strengthened Davies’ love for Hearst. The film concludes with the guests leaving Ince’s funeral, as Glyn relates what became of them: Livingston went on to star in a number of successful films and her film salary “inexplicably” went from $300 to $1000 a film. Davies starred in more of Hearst’s films before finally being allowed to feature in a comedy The Hollywood Revue of 1929, which was (as Chaplin predicted) a success. She stayed by Hearst’s side until his death in 1951. Chaplin married his teenage lover Lita Grey in Mexico and his film The Gold Rush was an overwhelming success. Parsons worked for Hearst for many years and subsequently became one of the most successful writers in the history of American journalism. Tom Ince was largely forgotten after the events of his death. Very few newspapers reported it, no police action was taken, and of all the people on board only one was ever questioned. It is concluded that in Hollywood, “the place just off the coast of the planet Earth,” no two accounts of the story are the same.The setup and the performers are excellent and the depiction of Hollywood in the late 1920s is well done and the murder and resulting cover-up are believable. While perhaps a bit too much of an “inside Hollywood legends” tale for the mainstream.. the film is well done and entertaining enough that I would definitely recommend it

REVIEW: HOT SHOTS!

CAST

Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men)
Cary Elwes (Saw)
Valeria Golino (Year of The Gun)
Lloyd Bridges (Airplane!)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
William O’Leary (Terminator 3)
Kristy Swanson (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr.(Batman: TAS)
Bill Irwin (Legion)
Ryan Stiles (Whose Line Is It Anyway?)
Ryan Cutrona (Changeling)

The film begins at Flemner Air Base 20 years in the past. A pilot named Leland “Buzz” Harley (Bill Irwin) loses control of his plane and ejects, leaving his co-pilot Dominic “Mailman” Farnum (Ryan Stiles) to crash alone; although Mailman survives, he’s mistaken for a deer owing to the branches stuck to his helmet and is shot by a hunter. Topper Harley (Charlie Sheen) wakes up from a nightmare he’s having about the event when Lt. Commander Block (Kevin Dunn) asks him to return to active duty as a pilot in the U.S. Navy, to help on a new top secret mission: Operation Sleepy Weasel. Harley starts to show some psychological problems, especially when his father is mentioned. His therapist, Ramada (Valeria Golino), tries to keep Topper from flying, but she relents, and also starts to build a budding romance with Topper. Meanwhile, Topper gets into a rivalry with another fighter pilot, Kent Gregory (Cary Elwes), who hates Topper because of the loss of his father “Mailman” to Buzz Harley, and believes Topper may do the same to him.Meanwhile, Block starts privately meeting with an airplane tycoon, Mr. Wilson, who has recently built a new “Super Fighter” that will make the American pilots superior. Block reveals that he brought back Topper for the reason of making Sleepy Weasel fail. Block would then report that it was the Navy’s planes that were the real reason for the mission failure and that they need to be replaced with Wilson’s planes. During one of the last training missions, an unfortunate accident between Pete “Dead Meat” Thompson (William O’Leary) and Jim “Wash-Out” Pfaffenbach (Jon Cryer) occurs, leaving Dead Meat dead and Wash Out reassigned to radar operator. Block believes this is enough to convince the Navy to buy new fighters, but Wilson brushes it aside as a “minor incident”, and the planes need to fail in combat for anyone to take notice.Meanwhile, Topper starts to show more and more feelings for Ramada, but she is also smitten with Gregory, who believes Topper cannot handle combat pressure. On the carrier U.S.S. Essess, Block reveals the mission to be an attack of an Iraqi nuclear plant and assigns Topper to lead the mission, much to Gregory’s chagrin. Meanwhile, Wilson, who is also on board, coerces a crew member to sabotage the planes, putting the pilots’ lives at risk. At first, the mission goes according to Block’s plan. He mentions Buzz Harley to Topper, who becomes overcome with emotion and unable to lead the mission. Block just starts to call out for the mission to be aborted when Iraqi fighters attack the squadron. All the planes’ weapons fail and Block realizes what has happened. He then tells Topper that he saw what really happened with Buzz and Mailman, that Buzz tried to do everything possible to save Mailman, but ended up falling out of the plane, failing in his attempts. Inspired, Topper single-handedly beats the Iraqi fighters and bombs the nuclear plant, despite sustaining heavy damage. Back aboard ship, Block decides that American planes will always be superior with pilots like Topper (and German parts). Wilson’s plan is revealed and his standing with the military is lost. Back in port, Gregory accepts Topper as a great pilot and lets Ramada be with Topper and the two begin a loving new relationship.Hot shots! is a great movie. It will keep you laughing from the begining to the end. It has some really unusual gags thrown in gratuitously, making it crazier and funnier by the minute. I highly recommend this comedy to all every one, and I guarantee that you will not be disappointed in this one.

REVIEW: SAW

CAST

Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride)
Leigh Whannell (Raze)
Danny Glover (Shooter)
Ken Leung (Rush Hour)
Dina Meyer (Birds of Prey)
Michael Emerson (Lost)
Benito Martinez (The Shield)
Shawnee Smith (Anger Management)
Makenzie Vega (Sin City)
Monica Potter (Patch Adams)
Ned Ballamy (Django Unchained)
Tobin Bell (Boogeyman 2)

Adam, a photographer, awakens in a bathtub in a large dilapidated bathroom, and finds himself chained at the ankle to a pipe. Lawrence Gordon, an oncologist, is similarly shackled across the room, and between them is a corpse holding a revolver and a microcassette recorder. Each man has a tape in his pocket, and Adam is able to retrieve the recorder. Adam’s tape urges him to escape the bathroom, while Lawrence’s tape tells him to kill Adam by six o’clock, or his wife and daughter will be killed and he will be left to die. Adam finds a bag containing two hacksaws inside a toilet tank; they attempt to cut through the chains, but Adam’s saw breaks and he throws it at the mirror in frustration, revealing a hidden camera behind the mirror. Lawrence realizes that the hacksaws are meant for their feet and identifies their captor as the Jigsaw Killer, whom Lawrence knows of because he was a suspect five months before.Flashbacks show that while Lawrence was discussing the terminal brain cancer of a patient, identified as John by an orderly named Zep Hindle, with his medical students, he was approached by Detectives David Tapp and Steven Sing, who found his penlight at the scene of a Jigsaw “game”, of which at least three have been investigated. Lawrence’s alibi clears him, but he reluctantly agrees to view the testimony of the only known survivor, a heroin addict named Amanda Young, who believes Jigsaw has helped her from a “reverse bear trap”.Meanwhile, Alison and Diana Gordon are being held captive in their home by Zep, who is watching Adam and Lawrence through a camera behind a two-way mirror in the bathroom. The house is simultaneously being watched by Tapp, who has since been discharged from the force. Flashbacks show that Tapp became obsessed with the Jigsaw case after hearing Amanda’s testimony, and eventually found Jigsaw’s warehouse using the videotape from her game. He and Sing entered the warehouse, where they apprehended Jigsaw and saved a man from a drill trap, but Jigsaw escaped after non-fatally slashing Tapp’s throat, and Sing was killed by a quadruple shotgun walkway while pursuing him. Convinced that Lawrence is Jigsaw, Tapp began stalking him after his discharge.In the bathroom, Lawrence finds a box containing a lighter, two cigarettes, and a one-way cellphone. He then recalls his abduction: he was trying to use his phone after being trapped in a parking garage, and was suddenly attacked by a pig-masked figure. They try to use a cigarette dipped in the corpse’s blood, which is in fact cyanide, to stage Adam’s death, but the plan fails when Adam is zapped through his ankle chain. Adam then recalls his own abduction: he was in his photo development room when the power went out and, after finding a puppet, was attacked by a similar pig-masked figure. At gunpoint, Alison calls Lawrence and tells him not to trust Adam, who admits that he was being paid to take photos of Lawrence, many of which were in the hacksaw bag. Adam also reveals his knowledge of Lawrence’s affair with one of his medical students; Lawrence had been with her before he was abducted. Lawrence realizes from Adam’s description that Tapp was paying him. Adam finds a photo that he didn’t take, of a man staring out a window of Lawrence’s house, whom Lawrence identifies as Zep. Unfortunately, the clock then strikes six as he realizes this.As Alison, who managed to free herself, calls Lawrence at gunpoint again, she fights Zep for the gun. The struggle gets Tapp’s attention, and he saves Alison and Diana and chases Zep to the sewers, where he is eventually shot in the chest during a struggle. Lawrence, aware only of gunshots and screaming, is zapped as well and loses reach of the phone; in desperation, he saws off his foot and shoots Adam with the corpse’s revolver. Zep enters the bathroom to kill Lawrence, stating that “It’s the rules”, but Adam, who suffered only a flesh wound, overpowers Zep and bludgeons him to death with the toilet cover. As Lawrence crawls out of the room to find help, Adam searches Zep’s body for a key and finds another microcassette recorder, which reveals that Zep was another victim, following the rules of his own game to obtain an antidote for a slow-acting poison in his body.The famous Hello Zepp plays in the background as the truth about Zep is revealed. As the tape ends, the “corpse” rises and is revealed to be Lawrence’s patient, John, the real Jigsaw Killer. He says the key to the chain is in the bathtub, which was drained when Adam awoke. John zaps Adam when he tries to shoot him with Zep’s gun, turns off the lights, yells “game over”, and seals the door, leaving Adam to die in the bathroom.I strongly recommend this film who appreciate good stories, and aren’t easily scared by the garbage you see in theatres. For people who get squeamish, steer clear of this film. It is very nice graphic, and very sadistic at times. A brilliant debut, and a terrifying one.

 

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – DVD SEASON 16

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Seth MacFarlane (Flashforward)
Alex Borstein (Power Rangers Zeo)
Seth Green (IT)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Mike Henry (Ted)
Jennifer Tilly (Curse of Chucky)
Patrick Warburton (Scream 3)
Adam West (60s Batman)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST (VOICES)

Rachael MacFarlane (The Batman)
Sanaa Lathan (Blade)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk vs)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride)
Ed O’Neill (The Bone Collector)
Lucas Grabeel (Smallville)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters)
Gary Cole (Chuck)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Margaret Cho (Hurricane Bianca)
C.S. Lee (Dexter)
Chad L. Coleman (Arrow)
Christina Milian (Bring It On 5)
Martha MacIsaac (Superbad)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Sung Kang (Fast & Furious)
Rob Huebel (Baywatch)
Jerry Lambert (American Housewife)

This season is really season 14. The episodes this season are as follows.

Pilling Them Softly:


So this episode tries to tackle the issue of ADHD medication and whether or not it should be used on students who haven’t been paying attention in school. It’s pretty ambitious for the show to try and do this. On the Positive side  the episode handles the subject well and t demonstrates that some doctors would prescribe medication to the kid, even if he doesn’t need it. This can be done through not testing it and going off of what people see while the kid is at school. The sad truth is that there are parents out there that don’t ask their kid questions about what they learned in school, and it’s nice for this episode to show it


Papa Has a Rollin’ Son:


The main plot has Joe’s father coming to visit, but Joe doesn’t want that because he never told his dad that he was handicapped and his dad makes fun of handicapped people. It’s one of those situations where you can replace Joe’s father’s prejudice with anything and you can see how well this episode tackles the issue. It’s just as hard in real life as it sounds, and how this episode portrays the emotions realistically is damn impressive. The ending where Joe confesses to his father and reunites with him is very satisfying given how realistically portrayed it’s handled.

Guy, Robot:

The main plot has Stewie making a robot as a friend after Brian stole all of his jokes from Twitter for a stand up routine. While Brian did act like a dick stealing Stewie’s jokes, it’s actually neat of him to try and make it up to him by helping him stop the robots later on. The robots getting smarter leads to a joke about Asperger’s Syndrome, which I’m not really sure I get. Stewie says that the robots have Asperger’s because they are doing math on glass and invading each other’s personal space The majority of the main plot focuses on Stewie slowly being alienated by Lyle and the other robots, but I don’t like the implication that if you grow more intelligent, you see less intelligent people as beneath you. I don’t think the writers were intending to make it come off that way, but it’s still something I can’t ignore.

Peternormal Activity:


This episode is one that has a really good main plot,  I really like the idea here, being that Peter and his friends try to write their own horror movie after seeing a terrible one. So they go to a spooky asylum to write the movie, and lots of craziness happens from there. The ideas they come up with at the beginning of this plot are references to classic horror tropes, like the couple getting killed at Make Out Point, a person waking up in an empty hospital, and something that wouldn’t normally be scary being made scary. In this case, that ends up being a bar of soap, and it’s just as hilarious as it sounds.

Peter, Chris & Brian:

The episode begins with Peter being worried about his porn collection possibly being found by someone after his mother sold everything. I will admit, however, that it’s kind of dickish of him to only focus on his porn collection instead of his mother. Thankfully, that aspect isn’t focused on too much, so it doesn’t really become distracting. I love the little build up to Peter wanting to watch all his porno movies nonstop, and then through “11 minutes later”, he says that he will never watch another one of these movies ever again. That’s a pretty funny joke.


Peter’s Sister:

Peter’s sister Karen comes over for Thanksgiving, while Stewie goes a little too far as he and Brian go on a cleanse to avoid overeating.A fumy thanksgiving episode the highlight is the wrestling match at the end.

Hot Pocket-Dial:

Now this is a concept I can get behind: Quagmire’s feelings for Lois being brought to the forefront, and everybody having to deal with the consequences that can come from it. I never thought it would happen in this show, but I’m glad that the writers are finally doing something with this other than jokes. For the most part, the episode handles the concept fairly well. Everybody reacts like they really would in a situation like this, and there are some decent jokes that come from this. My favorite is the one where Peter accidentally lets everyone hear a message he said about an idea called “Fop Cop.” It’s so strange and out of nowhere that it’s damn funny.

Brokeback Swanson:


Joe becomes a quadriplegic while Brian has an affair with a married woman.  Despite some cringe-worthy jokes during this plot, it’s decently told, the characters act realistically, and the ending reveal of how Joe ended up being paralyzed is a funny twist.

A Shot in the Dark:

So this episode deals with the subject of hate crimes that have been going on in recent years. Peter ends up shooting Cleveland Jr while trying to protect the neighborhood, and he gets blamed for doing it from racism. In terms of that….it surprisingly does a good job of it!

Candy, Quahog Marshmallow:

This episode is a pretty good dramatic episode in regards to Quagmire’s story. I like the idea of him wanting to live a life in Korea with his old flame. It definitely leads to some good dramatic moments when he suggests that he’s going to stay there with her.

The Peanut Butter Kid:


After the Griffin family’s bank account begins to run dry, Peter and Lois have Stewie star in a peanut butter commercial. Peter and Lois soon start getting hooked on making Stewie a child star, which causes Brian to be concerned about their motives. A Good episode that  showcases those parents who push there kids to be famous so they can live off them.

Scammed Yankees:

Peter and Carter go to Africa to return Carter’s money he lost to a Nigerian scammer. Meanwhile, Brian tries to hook up with one of Meg’s friends after he finds out that she has a great body. Another great Brian episode.

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An App A Day:


Peter learns about phone apps and overloads his phone with them. He buys a new phone with more memory and gives his old phone to Chris, which causes a series of horrible events. Meanwhile, Stewie joins a tennis club and invites Brian to be his tennis partner.  A great episode that shows us just how addicted we all are to our apps and phones.

Underage Peter:


Thanks to dog years, Brian is the only one old enough to drink when Mayor West raises the drinking age to 50 following Peter’s latest drunken rampage, so Peter makes Brian buy his beer. There were several things that I genuinely enjoyed. Some of the jokes managed to get a chuckle out of me(aside from the confusing ones, like Thomas Edison’s cutaway), and when Peter isn’t taking advantage of Brian and coming across as unlikable, the episode does fine with the story and the moral it tries to teach.

A Lot Going On Upstairs:

The main plot of the episode reminds me somewhat of MLP’s Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep. This isn’t quite like that episode, since that dealt with a character’s depression(whether or not you think it worked depends on who you are), but the way the episode uses the dream sequences is just so incredible. Not only do the scary visuals actually have a point unlike in Seahorse Seashell Party, but it leads to some of the best and most creative animation the show has ever put out. It even manages to get some hilarious jokes, like Stewie’s perception of what the news is like. Watch that moment yourself if you want a good laugh. The main plot ends with Brian being revealed as the reason for Stewie’s nightmares, and it’s not from him being an asshole like you would think nowadays. It’s actually from Stewie not wanting Brian to be disappointed in him. That’s a feeling I think all of us can sympathize with, whether it relates to a parent, friend, or anyone, really. It’s a mature moment that is worth watching the episode alone.

The Heartbreak Dog:

Brian kisses Bonnie during her 46th birthday party and she (briefly) leaves Joe. Meanwhile, Meg starts stealing from a retirement home after the residents she volunteered to help mistreat her. The ending leaves me split down the middle. On the one hand, it’s nice that Joe is willing to listen to his wife and help her achieve her dreams that she never got to since his accident. That’s a nice, mature moment from him that bumps his likability up at least a little bit after the rest of the episode. On the other hand, it kind of feels like the episode is okay with someone’s wife cheating on them because of her lost dreams. That’s just how it came across to me.

Take a Letter:

The main plot has Lois find an old letter from Peter telling an old girlfriend that he was having doubts a week before his marrying Lois. While this plot is good for the most part, it does feel a little unfocused. The first two thirds of it focuses on Lois being worried about whether or not Gretchen and Peter were seeing each other. The last third has Gretchen go all yandere on Peter and trying to kill Lois so they can be together. The story does have many good moments.


The New Adventures of Old Tom:

This is actually a pretty good story for the show, even though it kind of feels like And It’s Joyce Kinney, except focusing on Tom Tucker. It does a decent job telling it, and even the climax where Peter gets Tom his job back is pretty satisfying. The only real problem I have with the main plot is Lois. She shows that she cares much more about how hot the new news anchor is than she is for her husband’s safety. When she does that, on top of leaving Peter at the mall to fend for himself, it kind of sours the moments when we’re supposed to care about her.

Run Chris Run:


Chris gets elected homecoming king, but Meg discovers that the cool kids only voted for him in order to prank him. Meanwhile, Peter and the gang get jealous when Cleveland starts hanging out with Jerome, so they try to get him back. A Good epiosde as the main plaot relates to me when I was at school the same thing happened to me.

Road to India:

Brian and Stewie go to India to find a tech support worker with whom Brian has fallen in love. Meanwhile, Peter becomes the center of attention when Joe invites him to bingo night. A great episode made me think of all the times I pranked the fake tech supporters.

Another great season and a must have for all Family Guy fans.

REVIEW: ELLA ENCHANTED

CAST

Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Hugh Dancy (Hannibal)
Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride)
Steve Coogan (The Parole Officer)
Aidan McArdle (No Angels)
Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting)
Vivica A. Fox (Independence Day)
Eric Idle (Nuns on The Run)
Parminder Nagra (Agents of SHIELD)
Jim Carter  (Brassed Off)
Patrick Bergin (The Lawnmower Man 2)
Joanna Lumley (Euro Trip)
Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher)
Jimi Mistry (The Guru)
In the kingdom of Frell, a baby girl named Ella (Anne Hathaway) is born to Sir Peter and his wife Lady Eleanor. She is given the “gift of obedience” by a misguided and obnoxious fairy called Lucinda (Vivica A. Fox). This turns out to be more of a curse, as it forces Ella to do anything she is told to do, even if the command is against her wishes. Ella’s mother, on her deathbed, warns her daughter not to tell anyone about the curse she is under for fear that someone might use it to exploit Ella. After her mother’s death, only Mandy (Minnie Driver), the household fairy, knows the secret.

Several years later, Ella’s father (Patrick Bergin) remarries to a wealthy socialite, Dame Olga (Joanna Lumley), who dislikes Ella. Her spoiled daughters Hattie (Lucy Punch) and Olive (Jennifer Higham) notice Ella’s obedience and start to humiliate her. Ella stumbles upon Prince Charmont (Hugh Dancy), the handsome heir who will soon take the throne, as he’s being pursued by his fan club of besotted young women. He invites Ella to the Coronation Ball, but Olga intercepts the invitation. Hattie and Olive, fan club members themselves, are overcome with jealousy. They force Ella to insult and cut ties with her best friend Areida (Parminder Nagra).

Ella cannot bear her situation a moment longer, and resolves to find Lucinda, as she is the only one who can reverse the spell. Mandy helps by lending Ella her boyfriend Benny (Jimi Mistry), who she accidentally transformed into a talking magical book that can show people in their current surroundings. During her journey, Ella encounters an elf named Slannen (Aidan McArdle), who wants to be a lawyer instead of an entertainer as the laws now require. They are both captured by a group of ogres, who want to eat them. Prince Charmont rescues them and accompanies them to a wedding in the land of giants, where Ella hopes to find Lucinda. En route, Ella opens Char’s eyes to the cruelty of the laws oppressing elves and giants established by the acting ruler, Char’s uncle Sir Edgar (Cary Elwes). Char invites Ella to visit the palace’s Hall of Records and find Lucinda faster. But Edgar’s talking snake, Heston (voiced by Steve Coogan), is spying on them.

At the palace, Heston tells Edgar about Ella’s obedience, which Hattie confirms when Edgar offers her Char’s hand in marriage. Knowing that Char intends to marry Ella, Edgar orders her to kill him when he proposes, and keep the plan a secret. Edgar also reveals that he murdered Char’s father. To save Char, Ella writes him a letter, saying she is leaving permanently and cannot explain why, which breaks his heart. She then asks Slannen to tie her to a tree and get the giants to help. Lucinda then appears before Ella, who asks her to undo the “gift” of obedience. Lucinda is offended that Ella doesn’t like her gift and simply tells Ella to remove it herself. She unties Ella, gives her a fancy dress, and tells her to attend the ball, where Char almost immediately takes her to the Hall of Mirrors and asks her to marry him.

Ella is about to stab him with the dagger Edgar provided, when she realizes Lucinda has provided the answer: looking into a mirror, she says, “You will NO LONGER BE OBEDIENT!” She drops the dagger and Char sees it. But Edgar is spying on them, and before Ella can explain, he orders the guards to lock her up and be executed the following day.

Meanwhile, Benny informs Slannen, the giants, and the ogres that Ella is in trouble, so they all sneak into the castle to rescue her. They find out that Edgar is poisoning the crown Char will receive during the ceremony. Ella and her allies burst in just in time to stop him putting it on. Edgar and Heston call for the knights and Red Guards, and a battle ensues. Ella explains everything while fighting alongside Char, while Mandy manages to transform Benny back into a human. When Edgar’s forces lose, Heston tries to bite Char, but is stopped by Ella. Caught trying to kill the prince, Edgar admits to the crowd that he killed the King, but says only he deserves the crown. Then, carried away by his own rhetoric, he puts it dramatically on his own head—poisoning himself.

Char and Ella kiss; her stepsisters arrive and order her to stop, but she happily refuses. Char once again asks Ella to marry him, and she agrees: “Now that I’ll do.” The movie ends with their wedding and a musical number. During all this, it’s shown that Slannen is in a relationship with a giant (Heidi Klum), Ella has rekindled her friendship with Areida, and Edgar has survived. The Narrator announces two final words: The End.A typical fairytale story brought up to date. It’s fresh and new for older audiences.