HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: BRAM STOKERS 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)

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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 ADVENTURES OF TIN TIN: THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN

CAST

Jamie Bell (King Kong 2005)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
Daniel Craig (The Golden Compass)
Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz)
Simon Pegg (Shaun of The Dead)
Toby Jones (Captain America)
Mackenzie Crook (Solomon Kane)
Tony Curran (Gladiator)
Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride)
Sebastian Roché (The Originals)

Young journalist Tintin and his dog Snowy are browsing in an outdoor market in Brussels, Belgium. Tintin buys a miniature model of a ship, the Unicorn, but is then accosted by Barnaby and Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine, who both unsuccessfully try to buy the model from Tintin. Tintin takes the ship home, but it is accidentally broken, resulting in a parchment scroll slipping out of the model and rolling under a piece of furniture. Meanwhile, detectives Thomson and Thompson are on the trail of a pickpocket, Aristides Silk. Tintin, later finds that the Unicorn has been stolen. He then visits Sakharine in Marlinspike Hall and accuses him of the theft when he sees a miniature model of the Unicorn, but when he notices that Sakharine’s model is not broken, he realizes that there are two Unicorn models. Once Tintin returns home, Snowy shows him the scroll. Moments later, Barnaby arrives at Tintin’s residence, but is fatally shot and killed. After reading an old message written on it, Tintin puts the scroll in his wallet, but it is stolen by Silk the next morning.
The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
Later, Tintin is abducted by accomplices of Sakharine and imprisoned on the SS Karaboudjan. He learns that Sakharine formed an alliance with the ship’s staff and led a mutiny to take over control. On board, Tintin meets Captain Haddock, the ship’s nominal captain. Haddock is permanently drunk and thus unaware of the happenings on board his ship. Tintin, Haddock, and Snowy eventually escape from the Karaboudjan in a lifeboat but the ship’s crew tries to ram it. Presuming them to have survived, Sakharine sends a seaplane to find them, which the trio seize and use to fly towards the fictitious Moroccan port of Bagghar. They are forced to crash the seaplane in the desert, due to low fuel.
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While trekking through the desert, Haddock hallucinates and remembers facts about an ancestor of his, Sir Francis Haddock, who was a 17th-century captain of the Unicorn. Sir Francis’ treasure-laden ship was attacked by the crew of a pirate ship, led by Red Rackham. After defeating Red Rackham, Sir Francis sank the Unicorn and most of the treasure to prevent it from falling into Rackham’s possession. Sir Francis prepares three Unicorn models, each containing a scroll; together, the scrolls can reveal coordinates to the location of the sunken Unicorn and its treasure.
The third model is in Bagghar, possessed by Omar ben Salaad. In a concert by opera diva Bianca Castafiore, Sakharine causes a distraction allowing him to successfully steal the third scroll. Tintin gives chase, but Sakharine gains all the scrolls by ordering his gang to toss Captain Haddock and Snowy into the water, forcing Tintin to rescue them instead of saving the scrolls. Sakharine escapes, and Tintin is ready to give up but is persuaded by Haddock to continue. With help from officers Thomson and Thompson, Tintin and Haddock track Sakharine down, who is revealed to be a descendant of Red Rackham. They head back to their starting point and set up a trap, but Sakharine uses his pistol to resist arrest. His gang fails to save him, so Sakharine challenges Haddock to a final showdown. Sakharine and Haddock sword-duel with cranes and swords, but Sakharine is defeated and pushed overboard by Haddock. When climbing ashore, Sakharine is arrested by Thomson and Thompson. Tintin gathers the three scrolls and uncovers the solution to their riddle, leading him back to Marlinspike Hall. There, Tintin and Haddock find Red Rackham’s treasure and a clue to the Unicorn‍ ’s location in a walled-off room in the cellar. The film ends with both agreeing to continue their search of the shipwreck.
A fairly simple plot, very much in the style of adventure films both animated or not. The quality of animation is excellent throughout clearly a lot of effort has been put into the production. The film is quite fast paced,  The ending leaves the door  for other sequels.

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – DVD SEASONS 11-15

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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)

Christina Milian (Bring it On 5)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Nana Visitor (Star Trek: DS9)
Carrie Fisher (Star wars)
Dana Gould (Mob City)
Arianna Huffington (The Cleveland Show)
Christine Lakin (Valetnine’s Day)
Bill Maher (A Million Ways To Die In The West)
Ashley Tisdale (Scary Movie 5)
David Boreanaz (Bones)
Gary Cole (Chuck)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Adam Carolla (Two Guys and a Girl)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Jessica Stroup (Ted)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Cheryl Tiegs (The Brown Bunny)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Meredith Baxter (Family Ties)
Julie Hagerty (Airplane)
Michael Gross (Tremors)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Chris O’ Dowd (St. Vincent)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk vs)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Scott Grimes (American Dad)
Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher TV)
Missi Pyle (Dodgeball)
Sanaa Lathan (Blade)
R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
Jessica Barth (Ted)
Marlee Matlin (My Name Is Earl)
Sara Fletcher (Icrime)
David Herman (Futurama)
Ellen Page (Super)
Ricky Gevais (Ghost Town)
Lucy Davis (Shaun of The Dead)
Scott Bakula (Chuck)
Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie)
Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit)
Anna Kendrick (The Voices)
Martin Spanjers (8 Simple Rules)
Dan Castellaneta (Fantastic Four)
Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Sandra Bernhard (2 Broke Girls)
John De Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Will Sasso (Anger Management)
Emily Osment (Mom)
Megan Hilty (The Good Wife)
Jessica Biel (New Girl)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Chad L. Coleman (Arrow)
Tony Sirico (Goodfellas)
Ashley Benson (Spring Breakers)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Lauran Bacall (The Big Sleep)
Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride)
Freddy Rodriguez (Planet Terror)
Keke Palmer (Scream Queens)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass)
David Thewlis (Harry Potter)
Hank Azaria (The SMurfs)
Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons)
Julie Kavner (Rhoda)
Yeardley Smith (As Good As It Gets)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Maya Rudlph (Bridesmaids)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty)
Lucas Grabeel (Smallville)
Ana Gasteyer (What A Woman Wants)
Glenn Howerton (That 80s Show)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Nat Faxon (The Descendants)
Harvey Fierstein (Mulan)
Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)

Season 11 is really the reamaing of episodes of season 9 but by now you get use to the dvd season. great epsiodes and more greats jokes and anyones fair game, be it the spiritual, who get assaulted in “Brian Writes a Bestseller,” as the dog writes a quickie self-help guide, but can’t defend it against Bill Maher’s questions, pretty much any minority and Meg, the family’s socially-awkward daughter, who not only tries to weasel her way into wheelchair-bound Joe’s life, but hooks up with her brother. Nazis, a standard part of the show after so many years, get their moment to shine as well, as the neighborhood pedophile Herbert recognizes Chris’ new friend as a war criminal, setting up an epic old-man fight, and perhaps one of the few times in history where you might find yourself rooting for a kid-toucher.
One of strangest jokes is where Peter is reminiscing about 1985, and notes that it gave us the gayest music video ever, before showing nearly half of David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s “Dancing in the Streets.” As it plays, you start wondering when we’ll get back to the show, before beginning to question if we’re ever going back. And then you start questioning how the video ever came into existence. Then you ask, how did they get the rights to use it in the show this way? Then you kind of forget you’re watching Family Guy. Then you kind of wish you were watching the video again, but that was the point of the episode doing it to mind screw you.

 This season is a pretty strong one. It has the mean-spirited episode is Screams Of Silence: The Story Of Brenda Q and it’s not only the strangest episode on the season but one of the strangest of the entire series. Basically Glenn’s sister gets into an abusive relationship and he, Peter and Joe decide to take care of the problem. The episode gets increasingly darker as it plays out and the ending, which is presented straight and without any obvious irony or attempt at humor, is pretty grim. The crew should get credit for tackling a serious social issue with at least some semblance of seriousness but is this really the right format to raise an issue like this? Opinions will vary, obviously, but this episode is twisted.

Aside from that, it’s more or less business as usual. There are some fun celebrity cameos here, the most obvious one being Ricky Gervais who provides the voice of a dolphin who helps Peter out and then demands a ridiculous amount of favors in return. The Lottery Fever series opener is a fun one which shows not only how Peter behaves after winning the lottery but how those around him will leach off of him when he does. We get to see Brian take mushrooms before a hurricane hits the town and then watch him trip out and see some seriously bizarre hallucinations. The Back To The Pilot episode also stands out as we see Stewie travel back with Brian in tow to January 31, 1999 (which was the broadcast date of the series’ first episode). This shows how the series has changed over the years and also how in just as many ways it has stayed the same.

Quahog news anchor Tom Tucker gets the spotlight in Tom Tucker: The Man And His Dream in which we learn about his acting career. It seems he played Michael Myers in Halloween IV and once Peter learns that, he and James Woods get involved in resurrecting his thesping profession. In Killer Queen Peter and Chris wind up at fat camp where a serial killer is at work, while back in Quahog, Stewie is terrified by the artwork of Queen’s New Of The World album cover. H. Jon Benjamin from Bob’s Burgers and a bunch of other great credits does a guest voice here. Stewie falls for a girl named Penelope, voiced by Kate Blanchett, in Mr. And Mrs. Stewie but of course that can’t end well even if she shares his love of weapons and math. Tea Party is another stand out. When Peter tries to open his own business and gets shut down, he becomes an advocate for small government and takes hardcore conservative Tea Party ideas to ridiculous extremes with predictably funny results.

All in all, this is a pretty great season. It’s also fairly daring, not that the show has ever really shied away from controversy but they definitely push things on a visual level here. That’s not a bad thing, so long as you’re accepting of the fact that as offensive as the series can be, it’s an equal opportunity offender and it provides a great opportunity to laugh at the absurdity that is all around us on a daily basis.

So how does this season hold up? In a lot of ways, it’s more of the same, but at the same time, by being more of the same there’s a certain expectation of unpredictability that this collection consistently meets and occasionally exceeds. You get to a point in the show where you expect the unexpected, and there’s a whole lot of unexpected to appreciate this time around. The season starts off strong with Into Fat Air where Lois runs into an ex-boyfriend who boasts about his family’s accomplishments. This gets Lois feeling competitive and before you know it, the Griffins are climbing Mount Everest. Shades of Alive run deep in this particularly perverse episode. The show takes on the Nielson Ratings in Ratings Guy. When the Griffins are selected to a Nielson family, Peter goes for a blatant abuse of his power to shape TV to his liking but is then tasked with trying to set things right. It’s actually a pretty amusing take at the fickle viewing habits of the general public. The health care industry and its corporate ties are taken on in The Big C when Peter finds out that his father in law has been keeping the cure for cancer his corporation has discovered secret in the name of making more profits off of treatment. As irreverent as this series gets, this episode will at least get you thinking.Family Guy (1998)The seemingly obligatory time travel episode in this season is Yug Ylimaf and once again Stewie and Brian cruise back in time and goof off. It’s old hat at this point but there’s comfort in familiarity. We get to learn more about Joe’s disability when the man who shot him and confined him to a live in a wheelchair goes on the lam and Peter, Joe and Quaigmire hunt him down to get revenge. The Jesus, Mary and Joseph! episode lets Peter tell us his own version of the Nativity Story in what is essentially a Christmas episode gone awry. Nothing is sacred, fans know that by now. Quagmire is the focus of The Giggity Wife, an episode that shows what happens when Glenn marries a skaggy old hooker on a trip with Peter and Joe. He realizes quickly that this was a horrible idea but she won’t grant him a divorce. Glenn tries to convince her that he’s actually gay, with Peter’s help. In Chris Cross the elder Griffin son swipes some money from his parents to go out and buy some cool new sneakers. When Meg finds out, she blackmails him but Chris quickly has his fill and decides to go live down the street with everyone’s favorite pedophile, his old friend Herbert. Meanwhile, Stewie convinces Brian to help him track down Canadian songstress Anne Murray. In Call Girl Lois uses her voice to make some extra money as a phone sex operator and in Turban Cowboy Peter befriends a Muslim and then converts to Islam. Phone sex might not be so topical these days, but the Islam episodes pushes some buttons in some clever ways.

As the season comes to a close, in the Bigfat episode we find out what happens when Peter, Joe and Quagmire go on a trip to Canada. Peter goes missing for months and when they finally find him, he’s lost the ability to communicate like a ‘normal person.’ Total Recall is another ‘Rupert’ inspired episode where Stewie and Brian try to get the teddy bear back after a recall is done. Peter and friends try to save their favorite bar in Save The Clam while Peter takes up farming in Farmer Guy, but soon gives that up in favor of dealing meth. Road To Vegas sees Brian and Stewie clone themselves and head to Vegas where they have completely opposite experiences from one another and last but not least, No Country Club For Old Men gets the Griffin’s into a posh country club when Christ strikes up a romance with a girl who comes from the wealthiest family around. This doesn’t sit well with Carter, who winds up getting the boot.

It’s all pretty much non-stop insanity but hey, it wouldn’t be Family Guy if there weren’t a lot of guest voices, right? Right! Popping up throughout this collection are such luminaries as Elizabeth Banks, Ryan Reynolds, Sofía Vergara, Giovanni Ribisi, Jessica Biel, Drew Barrymore, Will Sasso, Emma Roberts, J.J. Abrams, Sandra Bernhard, Cheryl Tiegs, Anne Murray, Bill Maher, Sharon Osbourne and quite a few others. And we’d be remiss not to mention the mighty Robert Loggia shows up here too. There’s a lot of fun to be had in this set so long as you go in with an open mind and remember that pretty much every one from every walk of life is fair game.  This marks the second time a full season of the show has been released in one set (season 13 12 had the full season 11 on it). In prior years Fox, in its infinite wisdom, would release sets that had half of one season and half of another on it. It has really been a minor point because in terms of following the show, it is not like it ever has season long story arcs that need to be followed. You just have to have seen a prior episode to get a reference if they call back to something. But for those of us who do get the DVDs it has often meant paying the same price for a set with a partial season on it. So it is nice that they have come around to doing what they should have in the first place. It also makes for a pretty funny joke this season in one of the episodes.

As far as the show itself goes, it is pretty standard with what it has been doing the past few years. It can get repetitive with some of the gags (they do like vomit), but I do think they are still entertaining on a consistent enough basis to keep fans of the show entertained. This season has the controversial story line in the middle involving Brian (chances are everyone knows what it is and the cover of the DVD set basically gives it away) that definitely shook the show (and the fans) up. It also sees the return of Cleveland after the Cleveland Show’s cancellation. Like the show always has, it makes fun of pretty much any topic, and because the DVD is uncensored it replaces some of the tamer jokes from the broadcast version with harder edged versions. It is also worth noting that nothing gets bleeped out on the DVDs, so expect all the swearing to be in every episode.

 


For those who get the DVD set, as far as extras go, there are deleted scenes from every episode, a couple episodes showing the full animatics with the dialogue, and a short feature on the Brian storyline with show runners and Seth Green talking about the fan reaction. Pretty standard for what has been included before

This is really season 13, its the season featuring the Simpson/ Family Guy Crossover. The hour in Springfield started off in poignant, self-referential fashion, with Seth MacFarlane and co. recognizing that this was probably a “one time shot.” Cue the slew of Easter eggs and references for fans of The Simpsons, and the fan-service is appreciated for the most part. There are guest appearances from Apu (once in his natural habitat, and once as Stewie’s prisoner), and hilarious scenes with the likes of Cleveland and Quagmire meeting their Simpson counterparts.

The entire premise of this episode (an attempt to put the rumors of any Family Guy vs The Simpsons feud to rest) hinges on each show taking some low blows and wearing it’s respective heart on it’s sleeve. Whether it’s The Simpsons (or Duff Brewery’s) longevity, which invites criticism about it’s consistency, or Family Guy’s (and Pawtucket Brewery’s) questionable originality and knack for what may seem like “pale imitation,” this episode takes stabs at both parties involved. The argument begins in a bar at the start of the third act, and spirals out of control into an absurd, and probably overlong, classic chicken fight.Comic-Con-Family-Guy-The-SImpsons-Crossover-SG-21

Other highlights in the set include,

The 2000 Year Old Virgin where Jesus shocks peter by saying that he has never had sex. Determined to change this, Peter enlists the help of Cleveland, Joe and Quagmire so Jesus can lose his virginity for his 2000th birthday.

Stewie, Chris, & Brian’s Excellent Adventure where Stewie and Brian invite Chris on a journey through time to help him pass a test that is his only hope of finishing ninth grade, and the three end up stuck in 1912 aboard the Titanic.

and of course the Fight Irish episode where Peter claims that he could beat Liam Neeson in a fight, but his skills are put to the test when Neeson himself actually shows up. Meanwhile, Stewie is annoyed with Lois when she becomes a class mom and starts paying more attention to other children.

Another classic season with great jokes and great guest stars, The Simpson Guy being the biggest highlight now we can own it on dvd

REVIEW: NO STRINGS ATTACHED

CAST

Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Kevin Kline (Dave)
Cary Elwes (The Alphabet Killer)
Greta Gerwig (Eden)
Lake Bell (In A World…)
Olivia Thirlby (Dredd)
Ludacris (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Mindy Kaling (This Is The End)
Ophelia Lovibond (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Ben Lawson (The Little Death)
Abby Elliott (How I Met Your Mother)
Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens)
Matthew Moy (2 Broke Girls)

After first meeting at a summer camp as teenagers, Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) run into each other a few times as young adults but never keep in touch. Emma becomes a doctor in Los Angeles, Adam a production assistant for a musical television show. Adam’s father Alvin (Kevin Kline), the well-known star of a former hit television comedy series, has begun a romance with Adam’s ex-girlfriend, Vanessa (Ophelia Lovibond). Adam finds out, gets drunk and calls the women in his phone seeking a hookup. The next morning, he wakes on a sofa wearing nothing but a small towel. It turns out that he texted Emma and then came to the apartment she shares with some other residents—Patrice (Greta Gerwig), Shira (Mindy Kaling), and Guy (Guy Branum). Once there, he took off all his clothes and then passed out. Emma leads Adam to her bedroom to retrieve his missing pants and they end up having sex.

The two have sex again at Adam’s house and before she leaves Adam agrees to her proposal for a casual relationship (as she puts it, using each other for sex and nothing else). Adam warns Emma about falling in love with him, but she dismisses the idea and sets ground rules to keep what they’re doing from becoming too serious. At first things go well, but Adam becomes jealous when Sam (Ben Lawson)—another resident—seeks her attention. Adam brings Emma a gift (a mix CD) and she rebuffs him, saying they should stop for a while and hook up with other people. But after being apart for two weeks Emma returns to Adam and they continue being sex friends only.

Adam’s birthday comes along a few months later. He goes out for dinner with Alvin and Vanessa, who announce their plan to have a baby together. Emma berates the other couple while defending Adam. He persuades her to go out together on Valentine’s Day. Things fall apart when she becomes too uncomfortable during the date. An angry Emma advises Adam that he should find someone else who won’t hurt him. Adam tells Emma that he loves her—something she’s not at all receptive to hearing—they have a fight, ending their arrangement.

Six weeks later, a script Adam wrote is being filmed. He gets a regular writing job on the show with the help of Lucy (Lake Bell), the show’s assistant director (Jennifer Irwin), who is clearly attracted to Adam. Meanwhile, Emma is depressed over not being with Adam. The situation is compounded and complicated by her younger sister Katie’s (Olivia Thirlby) wedding the next day and her widowed mother (Talia Balsam) arriving for the event with a male companion (Brian Dierker) of her own. Emma feels she is being strong for her mom by not letting herself get too close to anyone so she won’t become upset by seeing Emma get hurt if a relationship ends poorly. Emma’s mom tells her to stop.

When Emma confesses that she can’t stop thinking about Adam, Katie insists that she call him to put things right. A nervous Emma phones Adam and tells she misses him. He responds that they were never really together. Realizing that she needs to speak with him in person, Emma leaves Santa Barbara where the wedding is taking place and drives to Adam’s house. Her plans are ruined – and she has to hide to avoid being seen—when he arrives home with Lucy. Emma assumes Adam has a new girlfriend and tearfully drives away. Vanessa calls Adam before he and Lucy can have sex—Alvin has overdosed on a cough syrup-based drink called “Purple drank”. Meeting Adam outside the hospital, Vanessa says that she is ending her relationship with Alvin and leaves for a party. Adam goes in to visit Alvin who surprisingly gives him some tender advice about falling in love.

Shira tells Emma about Adam’s dad being admitted to the hospital. As Adam leaves the building he calls Emma and tells her that she must be present if she is going to say that she misses him. Emma gets out of her car as the call ends and Adam is stunned to suddenly find her there. She tells Adam that she is sorry she hurt him and confesses that she really loves and cares about him and they reconcile. After eating breakfast together the next morning—something that never happened before—they arrive in Santa Barbara just before Katie’s wedding is starting. As they enter a room and pause Emma asks Adam what will happen next, and with a smile on his lips he silently intertwines her hand with his—for the first time they are holding hands together as a couple.
Ashton Kutcher in No Strings Attached (2011)The end credits show an epilogue in which Alvin and Lucy are in a relationship, and are in a restaurant waiting for Adam to arrive to tell him. Adam’s roommate (Jake Johnson) and Patrice are in a relationship and are shown meeting his two dads. Vanessa had told Adam that old people scare her and she is ridden with anxiety when she is trapped in an elevator full of senior citizens. Adam and Emma are seen kissing in the park. Sam and Shira are in a relationship, but he wants his freedom and isn’t pleased when she reveals that she’s already been seeing other men. Katie is having a baby and Emma is the delivering doctor. Guy lures a nervous-looking Sam into a hospital room. At last, Adam and Emma are shown peacefully sleeping together.Good film with a good cast. Surprisingly it’s the secondary actors that shine here. It’s not an Oscar winner but for simple entertainment you can do worse.

REVIEW: COMIC BOOK VILLAINS

CAST

Donal Logue (Gotham)
Cary Elwes (Saw)
Michael Rapaport (The 6th Day)
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie)
DJ Qualls (Road Trip)
Eileen Brennan (Jeepers Creepers)
Monet Mazur (Just Married)
Danny Masterson (That 70s Show)
Marshall Bell (Total Recall)

Image result for comic book villains 2002The setting: small town America and student Archie (DJ Qualls) is a nice, decent comic-geek who’s oily buddy Raymond McGillicuddy (Donal Logue) keeps a comic book store in need of major repairs and bitterly resents the rival store across town who pull in the kids with their accessories and appear more prosperous, though their taxes and overheads hang heavy, so when a double-dealing rich kid drops news of the recently deceased owner of some truly valuable old books potentially worth millions,suddenly Raymond and the other couple, played with imbecillic perfection by Michael Rapaport and his scarily single-minded and dangerous wife Judy (Natasha Lyonne) are beating a path to the dead guy’s mother’s door in blatantly obscene attempts to smooze up to her to get her to sell, played wonderfully by old screen stalwart Eileen Brennan.

But she’s a canny old dear, so sadly her polite but firm ongoing refusals tip the desperate pair’s fragile egos into stratospheric heights of lunacy as their rivalry flicks past farcical to violent. A psychotic loner from the McGillicuddy’s past (a quietly sinister Cary Elwes) is drawn into the deal and cements an explosive middle-section where a perhaps unexpected poignancy creeps in courtesy of a touching friendship between DJ’s character and the collector’s old mum, which sweetens the nastiness of the spiralling tone, and humanises the necessarily OTT machinations of this genre. Unlike virtually all villains in horror, the moral that greed doesn’t really pay and material things valued over decency to your fellow man and woman seems to hold strong for black comedies and this is so here.

The direction is assured and flamboyant as a black comedy needs and suit the performances all perfectly tuned to suit the material. DJ Qualls is delightfully sensitive among a lot of nasty jerks who feel something should be theirs just cos they want it. Anyone with a love of comics or well-played dark comedies should collect ‘Comic Book Villains’ at once.

REVIEW: LIAR LIAR

 

CAST

Jim Carrey (Yes Man)
Maura Tierney (The Affair)
Justin Cooper (Brother’s Keeper)
Cary Elwes (Saw)
Anne Haney (Psycho)
Jennifer Tilly (Bride of Chucky)
Amanda Donohue (Bad Girls)
Jason Bernard (V)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Mitchell Ryan (Lethal Weapon)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Randall Cobb (Raising Arizona)
Cheri Oteri (Scary Movie)
Krista Allen (The Final Destination)
Jim Jansen (A.I.)
Terry Rhoads (Two and a Half Men)
Vitamin C (Get Over It)

MV5BN2YxY2E1OTYtMWNmZi00YzczLTk3MmQtOWYwODc5MDQyOGQwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTY3MDQzNTk@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_Liar Liar is a cute little comedy starring Jim Carrey as defense attorney Fletcher Reede; a talented litigator on the fast track at a major law firm. He is divorced from Audrey (Maura Tierney) with whom he has a precious son by the name of Max (Justin Cooper) that he loves dearly. The reason for the divorce was summed up nicely by Audrey in that Fletcher was having a lot more sex than she was, not so subtlety suggesting he was sleeping around rather than finding the wonders of self love preferable to her own bedroom antics.MV5BYTIzMmQ5ZmUtYzVkYy00YWIwLThlZjAtZWRmN2MwMzRmZmUzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyNDQ2NjI@._V1_A stereotypical lawyer, Fletcher gets by in life using his skillful manipulation of the truth; in short, he lies with a sense of abandon but does so in such an over the top manner that most people roll their eyes and just give him his way. In a deleted scene included on the disc, Fletcher is shown making his client, a bulking thug of a man, look like the innocent victim in a robbery case where it is clear the guy held up an old man at an ATM machine, stole his car, and then beat up the female police officer while resisting arrest. Yet the way Fletcher weaves the tale, his client was simply trying to assist the man after a case of mistaken identity, the lawyer thinking on his feet in the courtroom to incorporate anything he can to bolster his summation of the facts.Fletcher lives alone but spends a lot of time with the ladies, scoring like a juvenile delinquent with any cutie he sees fit to apply his lines on. His biggest goal in life is to make partner and he will do, and say, anything he can to achieve this goal, including neglecting his son on their visitation days, much to the chagrin of Audrey and Max. His son still loves him for all the goofy antics the man uses but has grown weary of the lies and on the eve of his fifth birthday Max makes a wish that his father tell the truth for once. By mystical means unknown, the wish is granted and Fletcher, having spent the night with one of the senior partners in the firm brushing up on his social skills , finds the harsh realities of his new condition when she asks him how good she was; the man answering that he has had better. This surprises him as much as her and sets the stage for Carrey to use his mugging comedy style in a series of dilemmas ranging from being pulled over by the police to a hilarious encounter with the storage lot personnel to his biggest career case of a tramp (perfectly played by Jennifer Tilly) trying to divorce her rich husband after Fletcher convinced her the day before how much of a victim she was for her seven indiscretions.Liar-LiarThe mulligan behind the reason Fletcher is forced to tell the truth is completely sidestepped here and truth be told, it was a wise decision on the part of Director Tom Shadyac (he mentions it in detail on the audio commentary) since that would force the story into a lot of details unimportant to the moral of the story. While an imperfect tale, Carrey pulls it off  Tilly gave a great performance, though limited in scope, and Cooper as the child was perfect for the role, but this was Carrey’s baby all the way.