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: 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: 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.The 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.