REVIEW: MR. 3000

CAST

Bernie Mac (Bad Santa)
Angela Bassett (Critters 4)
Michael Rispoli (Kick-Ass)
Brian White (The Cabin In The Woods)
Ian Anthony Dale (The Bucket List)
Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas)
Chris Noth (The Good Wife)
Tom Arnold (True Lies)
Carmen Electra (Scary Movie)

Stan Ross (Bernie Mac) is the franchise player of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team. After recording his 3,000th hit, the selfish, narcissistic Ross immediately retires, leaving the team without one of its star players in the middle of the 1995 playoff race, showing every bit of disregard for his teammates’ feelings. During the next nine years, Ross uses his nickname as a business tool, owning several profitable properties under the name “Mr. 3000” that make him increasingly wealthy. In 2004, the Brewers retire Ross’ number so they can get rid of Ross for good, and also draw a large crowd. Although many fans come to the ceremony, other players, including teammates and fellow stars Robin Yount, Cecil Cooper and Paul Molitor, stay away. Only his best friend Anthony (Boca) Carter and a middle relief pitcher from his early days named Bill (Big Horse) Berelli in the majors attend, and the ex-pitcher chastises Ross for his arrogant attitude.Ross learns that, due to a clerical error, he retired with 2,997 hits instead of 3,000. The error also partially contributes to Ross not being voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame[1] and makes his “Mr. 3000” marketing gimmick inaccurate. Ross seeks to return to the game at the age of 47 to get three more hits, secure his place in the record books, and keep his local post-career marketing gimmick intact. A top Brewers executive (Chris Noth), citing the large attendance at Ross’ number retirement ceremony and the fact that the Brewers are out of playoff contention, agrees to bring Ross back during the September roster expansion. The team’s younger players only know of Ross as a self-centered player, and team superstar Rex “T-Rex” Pennebaker (Brian J. White), who is pompous and arrogant like Ross, sees him as unneeded and too old to play. Manager Gus Panas (Paul Sorvino) refuses to speak to Ross because of his abrupt retirement, and the sportswriters continually criticize him.Despite his predictions to the contrary Ross struggles to regain his baseball form. He goes hitless in his first 27 at-bats. His comeback is reported by television sportscaster Maureen “Mo” Simmons (Angela Bassett), who resumes a former romantic relationship with Ross. He gets two hits, including a home run, to increase his career total to 2,999. Ross becomes a mentor to the younger players and urges Pennebaker to learn from his own mistakes as a baseball star and to be a team player, so that Pennebaker will not end up like him – all alone. This inspires the Brewers to a late-season comeback and a respectable finish. Ross attempts to become serious with Simmons and make her a permanent part of his life, but she is reluctant to believe he is a changed man, particularly after he skips a team practice to go on national television with Jay Leno and begin boasting again.In his last at-bat of the season, with a chance to be a hero, Ross has a vision of his earlier years, when he was considered always dependable for the team. It inspires him to sacrifice his last chance with a bunt instead so the team can win a game and finish third in its division. Although Ross never reaches the “3,000” milestone, his newfound generosity and attitude gets him inducted into the Hall of Fame. He renames his businesses “Mr. 2,999.”Bernie Mac is wonderful here. “Mr. 3000” is that cool fantasy movie where one gets to atone and correct for being young and stupid. And I guess we all continue to do this is some way or fashion. “Mr. 3000” also does this with a sense of humor. This is a great thing.

 

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REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS

CAST (VOICES)

William Baldwin (Backdraft)
Mark Harmon (NCIS)
Chris Noth (Sex and The City)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
James Woods (Family Guy)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Brian Bloom (The A-Team)
Bruce Davison (High Crimes)
Josh Keaton (Transformers Prime)
Vanessa Marshall (STar Wars Rebels)
Nolan North (Ultimate Spider-Man)

In an alternate universe where evil usually triumphs over good and where the roles of the heroes and villains are reversed from their counterparts in the mainstream DC Universe, heroic analogues of Lex Luthor and the Joker (called the Jester) are attempting to steal a device, the “Quantum Trigger”, from the headquarters of the Crime Syndicate. The pair trip an alarm but manage to secure the device. The Jester sacrifices himself to allow Luthor to escape and kills J’edd J’arkus and Angelique (alternate versions of Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl respectively) with a radioactive bomb. Luthor is confronted by the remaining Syndicate members (Ultraman, Superwoman, Power Ring, Johnny Quick and Owlman) but escapes to the Earth of the heroic Justice League by activating a dimensional travel device.

Luthor locates a police station and is mistaken for the evil Luthor where he ends up strip-searched. The Justice League is summoned and Superman’s x-ray vision confirms Luthor’s reversed organs indicate that he is from a parallel Earth and that the evil Luthor is still incarcerated at Stryker’s Island. The Justice League take the alternate Luthor to the Watchtower, where they learn of the Syndicate threat. As the Justice League debates the matter, Luthor hides the Quantum Trigger on the satellite. With the exception of Batman, the rest of the Justice League (Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash and Martian Manhunter) travel to Luthor’s Earth. Arriving at the parallel Justice League’s base, the heroes begin to attack Syndicate targets. After a successful series of raids in which they capture Ultraman, the League confront United States President Slade Wilson, who releases Ultraman and explains that acceding to the Syndicate’s demands saves millions of lives. His daughter, Rose, however, regards him as a coward. Martian Manhunter inadvertently reads her mind and explains that as a military man her father actually holds life more dear than others. Martian Manhunter foils an assassination attempt on Rose and the pair fall in love.

Owlman constructs a weapon, the Quantum Eigenstate Device or Q.E.D., which the Syndicate intend to use as the equalizer to the threat of a nuclear reprisal. When pressed by Superwoman, Owlman admits the weapon can destroy entire worlds. Believing there are many parallel Earths, and that each one develops from the choices that each person makes, Owlman becomes obsessed with the idea that nothing he does can possibly matter, as there will always be parallel worlds where he explored another option. As a result, he begins fervently seeking Earth-Prime, the very first Earth from which all other universes originated, intending to use the Q.E.D. to destroy it and spark a chain reaction that would erase the entire multiverse, as it is the only action that would not result in the creation of another universe. He then sends Superwoman with three of her lieutenants to the League’s dimension, and on the Watchtower they battle Batman, Aquaman, Black Canary, Black Lightning, Firestorm, and Red Tornado. Superwoman and one of her lieutenants escape with the Quantum Trigger, but are followed by Batman.

Batman tricks and defeats Superwoman, and summons the League. J’onn and Rose bond, and Rose decides to learn the location of the Syndicate base to allow the Justice League to confront them. The League arrive at the Crime Syndicate’s moon-base with the captive Superwoman, and eventually battle the Syndicate. Owlman fights off Batman and takes the Q.E.D. bomb to Earth-Prime, finding it to be uninhabited and lifeless, having suffered an unknown cataclysm that caused it to leave solar orbit. Luthor speculates that a speedster might be able to vibrate and match the temporal vibration of the teleported Q.E.D. device and open a portal. Flash volunteers but Batman states that he isn’t fast enough, only Johnny Quick is. Johnny agrees and opens a portal.

Batman pursues Owlman to Earth-Prime and defeats him. He then teleports Owlman and the Q.E.D. device to another lifeless, uninhabited Earth. Although Owlman is able to abort the countdown and save himself, he realizes an alternate version of himself would make the opposite choice regardless, stating “It doesn’t matter.”, and allows the bomb to detonate and destroy that alternate Earth, killing himself in the process. Batman returns to discover that the strain of acting as a vibratory conduit has aged Johnny Quick to near death. Before dying, Johnny correctly deduces that Batman had lied about Flash not being fast enough and knew what would happen to him. Despite this, he shows no ill will toward Batman, dying with a smile. Martian Manhunter returns, accompanied by President Wilson and the U.S. Marines, and together they arrest Ultraman, Superwoman, and Power Ring. Wilson thanks the heroes, and although Rose asks Martian Manhunter to remain with her, the group return to their dimension. Batman and Superman later discuss a membership drive, with the five heroes summoned previously greeting the League.

This movie is smart, interesting, and grabs you from the get-go. The action is top notch, the animation is ultra sweet, and if these direct-to-video DC Universe movies have proven anything, it’s that they know how to make a good Justice League flick.