CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: BAD TEACHER

CAST

Cameron Diaz (Sex Tape)
Lucy Punch (into The Woods)
Jason Segal (How I Met Your Mother)
Justin Timberlake (Freinds With Benefits)
Phyllis Smith (The 40 YEar Old Virgin)
John Michael Higgins (Yes Man)
Eric Stonehnart (Modern Family)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Nat Faxon (Tammy)
Alanna Ubach (Still Waiting…)
Paul Feig (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)
Molly Shannon (Scary Movie 4)

Positioning itself as the academic answer to Bad Santa, Jake Kasdan’s Bad Teacher threatens a schoolyard tussle but refuses to hit below the belt. Screenwriters Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg dish up shameless misbehavior but never approach the depravity of the earlier film — probably a smart choice for the movie’s box office prospects, which are solid, but one that places a certain tier of shock-hilarity out of reach.

Cameron Diaz comes to the picture ready to offend. Her eyes have never been harder, and on the rare occasion that the script offers her a line like “I’m gonna suck your dick like I’m mad at it,” she spits it out convincingly.

But for all her desk-stashed booze and inappropriately tight skirts, the movie offers Diaz a pretty bland badness. She plays Elizabeth Halsey, a teacher desperate to land a rich husband and quit her job; having decided that a fresh pair of breasts would help with that, she embarks on a series of petty moneymaking schemes to buy implants. She cajoles parents into paying her for “private tutoring,” pawns the contents of the lost & found and embezzles from a fundraising car wash made vastly more successful when she uses her cutoff-clad body as a chamois.

Justin Timberlake is amusingly ingenuous as the wealthy but dimwitted newcomer Elizabeth hopes to seduce, though (with the exception of one bizarre dry-humping gag) the movie doesn’t exploit his capacity for self-mockery as well as Saturday Night Live sometimes has. The purposeful tortoise to Timberlake’s peppy hare, Jason Segel steals scenes as the gym teacher who keeps flirting despite Elizabeth’s many rejections. The picture’s most entertainingly unhinged element, though, is Lucy Punch, whose overachieving social studies teacher seethes with a goody-goody neurosis that threatens to erupt as she watches her colleague get ahead despite treating students like animals. Happily showing more restraint than she did as the lustful stalker in Dinner for Schmucks, Punch makes a highlight out of what could have been a tiresome role.

Concocting the inevitable redemption for a character as intentionally unsympathetic as Elizabeth is a challenge, and the script doesn’t quite rise to it. It points in the right direction during a field-trip scene, where her contempt for a student’s romantic cluelessness convincingly motivates an act of kindness.

But there are a couple of steps missing between that moment and the relative maturity with which Elizabeth eventually weighs the contest between the milquetoast millionaire and Segel’s earthy schlub. Barely an hour and a half long, the film could have spared a few minutes to sell her turnaround.

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CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

Image result for 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN LOGO
CAST
John Lithgow (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Kristen Johnston (Ugly Betty)
French Stewart (Mom)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper)
Jane Curtin (The Heat)
Simbi Khali (Plump Fiction)
Elmarie Wendel (The Loax)
Wayne Knight (Jurassic Park)
JOLLY OLD ST. DICK
GUEST CAST
Shay Astar (Ernest Scared Stupid)
Ian Lithgow (Rice Girl)
David Deluise (Vampires Suck)
Chris Hogan (EDTV)
Danielle Nicolet (The Flash)
Ileen getz (Changing Lanes)

The Solomons are excitedly preparing for Christmas. Sally has a festive job as a gift wrapper and Harry as Santa’s assistant in the mall, but their Christmas spirit is drowned when Dick is arrested for attempting to cut somebody’s tree down for his living room, Sally and her shoppers get into an argument and Harry discovers that the Santa he is working for isn’t the real one, while Tommy is frustrated that girlfriend August won’t tell him what she wants for Christmas. A classic Christmas episode teaching the Solomons what Xmas is all about. Sally working at the mall was a highlight and Dick thinking the mistletoe is weeds growing on the wood. all in all a great episode and I love watching it every year.

HAPPY NEW DICK
GUEST CAST
Ileen getz (Changing Lanes)
Steve Larson (Gia)
Jim Beaver (Mike & Molly)
Jeff Doucette (Bedazzled)
Nancy Yee (Enemy of the State)
Ron West (Anger Management)

As 1998 comes to close, Dick worries that he hasn’t accomplished anything worthwhile and struggles to do something to make the past year count. Meanwhile, Officer Don becomes annoyed with Sally after she uses her feminine wiles to persuade him to get tickets for Rutherford’s exclusive Starlight Room, then changes her mind when he succeeds. At Happy Doug’s bar, Harry and Tommy plan an explosive New Year’s party and Harry hires on his old night school friends, Larry and Mrs. Deguzman, but they turn out to be layabouts.

Another decent episode as always Sally trying to manipulate Don in buying her stuff is hilarious and Dick trying seek out meaning in the year that has just passed, only to find it in the woman he loves.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: WARM BODIES

CAST

Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Teresa Palmer (The Grudge 2)
Rob Corddry (Old School)
Dave Franco (Bad Neighbours 1 & 2)
Analeigh Tipton (The Green Hornet)
Cory Hardrict (Battle: Los Angeles)
John Malkovich (Red)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)

About eight years after a zombie apocalypse, R, a zombie, spends his days wandering around an airport which is now filled with hordes of his fellow undead, including his best friend M. R and M achieve rudimentary communication with grunts and moans and occasional near-words. As a zombie, R constantly craves human flesh, especially brains, as he is able to “feel alive” through the victims’ memories he experiences when he eats them.While R and a pack of zombies are out hunting for food, they encounter Julie Grigio and a group of her friends, who were sent out by Julie’s father from a heavily fortified, walled-off human enclave in a nearby city to recover medical supplies from abandoned buildings. R sees Julie and is drawn to her. After being shot in the chest by Julie’s boyfriend, Perry, R kills him while Julie is distracted, and eats his brain, giving R his thoughts and memories, making his attraction to Julie even stronger. He rescues Julie from the rest of the pack by wiping some zombie blood on her face, masking her scent, and takes her back to an airplane he resides in at the airport to keep her safe.Julie is initially terrified of R, and suspicious of his intentions. Julie starts to trust R after he rescues her during a failed escape attempt and finds her some food. R insists that Julie has to stay with him for a few days until he deems it safe enough for her to leave. The two bond, listening to LP records and playing games to kill the time, causing R to slowly begin to come to life. After a few days, Julie gets restless, and tries to return home, yet attracts swarms of zombies, requiring R to rescue her. After fending off a group of zombies, including M, who is confused by R’s actions, R decides it is time to return her to the human enclave.On the way, R reveals to Julie that he was the one that killed Perry, which prompts her to abandon him and return to her home alone. R begins to make his way back to the airport, heartbroken. He then sees that M and other zombies are also beginning to show signs of life, making all of them targets for the Boneys – skeletal zombies who, having lost all traces of their humanity, have shed their flesh and prey on anything with a heartbeat. R and M lead a group to the human enclave, where R sneaks inside the wall. There, he finds Julie and meets her friend Nora, who is initially shocked. When R reveals that the other corpses have also been coming back to life, the three of them attempt to tell Colonel Grigio, Julie’s father and leader of the survivors. Colonel Grigio, however, refuses to believe corpses can change and threatens to kill R, stopping only when Nora pulls a gun on him. Julie and R escape to a baseball stadium where the rest of R’s group is waiting, but soon find themselves under attack by a horde of Boneys.While M and his gang of zombies square off against the Boneys, Julie and R run, but find themselves trapped. Taking the only escape route, R jumps with Julie into a pool far below, shielding her from the impact. After Julie pulls R from the bottom of the pool, they kiss. Colonel Grigio arrives and shoots R in the shoulder without warning. Julie attempts to persuade him that R has changed, when she notices that he is bleeding from his wound – revealing that he has completely revived and is human once more. The humans and zombies combine forces and kill most of the Boneys while the rest die off from starvation and the zombies slowly assimilate into human society. The film ends with a now fully alive R and Julie watching a wall surrounding the city being demolished, signifying the end of the apocalypse.As well as having great characters, Warm Bodies is also really well paced. The plot is extremely interesting, with us getting to know R and his way of life to begin with. It doesn’t take much time for him to run into Julie though and from there, the film only gets better. As the two characters get to know each other, their characters really come to life… literally in R’s case. It was lovely to see the character development here through two people getting to know each other and what they enjoy. Overall, Warm Bodies is a fantastic movie adaptation of one of my favourite young adult books.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: MELISSA & JOEY – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

MAIN CAST
Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina)
Joey Lawrence (Blossom)
Taylor Spreitler (Amityville The Awakening)
Nick Robinson (Jurassic World)

A NEW KIND OF CHRISTMAS

GUEST CAST
Jaime Pressly (Mom)
Rick Pasqualone (Hop)

Mel’s sister, Meredith (Jaime Pressly), comes home from prison on furlough to celebrate Christmas with the kids and Mel, and seems unruffled by Joe’s obvious animosity towards her.

Jaime Pressly adds a new dynamic to the characters, sadly this was the only time she guest starred in the shows for season run. It was good to finally see the character as she had been mentioned on the shoe countless times. all in all a good Christmas episode to what has become a missed show.

 

A MELANIE AND JOSIAH CHRISTMAS

GUEST CAST
Christopher Rich (Perception)
Trevor Donovan (Savages)
Michael Rider (Road House)
Mel and Joe are about to celebrate their first Christmas as a married couple, which leads to a competition over whose family ornament should take the top spot on the tree. Both Mel and Joe have a flashback set in southern North America in the 1800s.

Now this Christmas episode is one of the most bizarre having Melissa tell a story of her alleged ancestors is intriguing  though it does seem a little out of place but then so did the Halloween episode. This became the final Christmas episode as the show was let go after season 4.

 

 

 

 

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: GARDEN STATE

 CAST

 Zach Braff (Scrubs)
Natalie Portman (No Strings Attached)
Ian Holm (Lord of The Rings)
Peter Sarsgaard (Knight and Day)
Jackie Hoffman (Down)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Jean Smart (Samantha Who?)
Ann Dowd (Compliance)
Struggling actor Andrew Largeman (Braff) wakes up from a dream—in which he apathetically sits on a crashing plane—to a telephone message from his father (Holm), telling Andrew that he needs to return home because his mother has died.
Andrew leaves Los Angeles and returns home to New Jersey to attend the funeral. He recognizes the grave-diggers as old friends Mark (Sarsgaard) and Dave (Alex Burns), who invite him to a party that night. At home, his father gets Andrew a doctor’s appointment for headaches he’s been having.
Later that night, Andrew goes to the party where he meets up with Mark, Dave and Jesse (Armando Riesco), an old friend who has just earned a fortune after creating silent Velcro. After smoking marijuana and taking ecstasy at the party he still remains detached.
The morning after the party, Andrew proceeds to the appointment. In the waiting room, he meets a young woman named Sam (Portman), who is a pathological liar. She later explains that most times she does not know why she lies and will always admit to them afterward. In Andrew’s meeting with his doctor (Ron Leibman), it is revealed that Andrew has been on lithium and other mood stabilizers, as well as antidepressants, for his entire adult life, but has recently stopped taking them. He also says that his father, who is his psychiatrist, put him on the medication. Andrew finds Sam outside the office and offers her a ride home. Sam invites him into her house, and he meets her mother, who inadvertently reveals that Sam has epilepsy. Andrew tells Sam of his mother’s death, and Sam tearfully eulogizes her hamster. After returning home, Andrew’s father confronts him and is insistent that they have a talk before Andrew leaves.
Later, Andrew and Jesse sit in the cemetery as Mark digs another grave. Andrew observes Mark stealing jewelry from the corpse he is burying. Andrew then returns to Sam’s house, and the two spend the rest of the day together, joining his friends later at Jesse’s mansion. Andrew tells her that when he was nine years old he pushed his mother in frustration, knocking her over a broken dishwasher in an accident that left her paraplegic; he says that his father blames him for his wife’s paralysis and put him on his medications to “curb the anger” he supposedly harbors. Sam listens, and Andrew then admits his feelings for her.
The next day, Mark tells Andrew that he needs help “tracking down” a going-away present for him. Sam, Andrew, and Mark spend the day together, ending it in a quarry in Newark where Mark talks to a man named Albert (Denis O’Hare), who is employed in keeping intruders out of the quarry. The three visitors discuss the reasons for which Albert and his wife choose to live in the quarry. Albert explains that living there and exploring the quarry is “doing something that’s completely unique, that’s never been done before,” mirroring an earlier speech by Sam. Finally, Albert explains that what actually matters is living with his family. Andrew is inspired by the conversation, and outside in the rain, he climbs atop a derelict crane and screams into the quarry, joined by Sam and Mark. He and Sam then share a kiss.
When Mark and Andrew look at the gift later on, it turns out to be Andrew’s mother’s favorite pendant, one of the items Mark stole from her grave, sold, and subsequently located. Andrew eventually talks with his father, and states that he was not to blame for his mother’s accident and that he will live the rest of his life without medications. He forgives his father and says he wants to build a better relationship with him.The morning after, Andrew says his goodbyes to Sam at the airport, while she begs him not to leave. He acknowledges that she has changed his life but that he still has to fix his personal problems before continuing the relationship. Andrew boards the flight, and Sam is left crying in a telephone booth. Andrew then returns, saying that he doesn’t want to waste any more of his life without Sam. He wonders what to do next, and the two then kiss.
Garden State is a great movie for rainy days and Saturday night at home with popcorn. The scene at the abyss is memorable – something to look forward to!

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: ARTHUR CHRISTMAS

CAST

James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class)
Hugh Laurie (Tomorrowland)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Jim Broadbent (Cloud Atlas)
Imelda Staunton (Maleficent)
Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty)
Marc Wootton (Nativity)
Laura Linney (The Truman Show)
Eva Longoria (Over Her Dead Body)
Ramona Marquez (Outnumbered)
Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter)
Joan Cusack (Addams Family Values)
Rhys Darby (Yes Man)
Jane Horrocks (Little Voice)
Sanjeev Bhaskar (Notting Hill)
Iain McKee (The Parole Officer)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
Dominic West (The Affair)

On Christmas Eve, hundreds of Christmas elves helm the command centre of Santa Claus’ mile-wide, ultra-high-tech sleigh-esque craft, the S-1. The current Santa (Malcolm) and the Christmas elves deliver presents to every child in the world using advanced equipment and military precision. These complex operations are micromanaged by thousands more elves, under the command of Malcolm’s militaristic eldest son Steve and his obsequious elfin assistant Peter at mission control underneath the North Pole. Meanwhile, his younger son – the clumsy, fearful yet enthusiastic Arthur – devotedly answers the letters to Santa. During one of the delivery operations in Germany a child wakes up and almost sees Malcolm; in the tense escape operation, a Christmas elf aboard the S-1 inadvertently leans on a button, causing a present to fall from the supply line and go unnoticed.Having completed his 70th mission, Malcolm is portrayed as far past his prime and whose role in field operations now is largely symbolic. Nonetheless, he is held in high esteem, and delivers a congratulatory speech to the enraptured elves. Malcolm announces he looks forward to his 71st, much to the frustration of heir-apparent Steve, who had prepared to succeed his father as Santa at the conclusion of this mission. During their family Christmas dinner, Arthur’s suggestion for the family to play a board game degenerates into a tense quarrel between Malcolm and Steve, while Malcolm’s father and predecessor Grandsanta, bored by retirement, resentfully criticises their over-modernization. After Grandsanta knocks the board off the table, Steve’s PDA (a high tech device named a ‘HOHO’) flashes and he leaves the table in a hurry. Later, their father shares with his wife Margaret his grave doubts about his self-identity should he retire.Arthur follows Steve, and the two learn that a Christmas elf named Bryony found the missed present – a wrapped bicycle for a little girl in England called Gwen, to whose letter Arthur had personally responded. Arthur alerts his father, who is at a loss as to how to handle the situation; Steve argues that one missed present out of billions is an acceptable error whose correction can wait a few days, citing this year’s Christmas as the most successful in history. Grandsanta on the other hand, on learning of the dire situation, proposes delivering the gift using Eve, his old wooden sleigh, and the great-great-grandchildren of the original eight reindeer, forcefully whisking away a reluctant Arthur and a stowaway Bryony. In the process the three get lost in three different continents, lose several of their reindeer, and land in danger several times, ultimately being mistaken for aliens and causing an international military incident. Through all this, Arthur eventually learns, to his compounding disappointment, that Grandsanta’s true motive is to fulfill his ego, Steve refuses to help them out of petty resentment and possibility of his brother being made hero overshadowing his work, and that his own father has gone to bed, apparently content even though a present was not delivered.Finally, stranded in Cuba after losing the sleigh and the remaining reindeer, Arthur renews his sense of purpose: that it all comes down to having presents delivered, regardless of how it is done and who did it. With Grandsanta’s and Bryony’s help, he manages to recover the sleigh. Meanwhile, the elves grow increasingly alarmed at rumours of the neglected delivery and the Clauses’ unthinkable indifference, sending them into a panic. In response, Malcolm, Margaret, and Steve take the high-tech sleigh-craft to deliver a superior present… albeit to the wrong child.Arthur and his party manage to reach England, but lose the remaining reindeer; furthermore a US Predator drone scrambled by Chief De Silva of UNFITA intercepts and opens fire on the sleigh believing them to be aliens. Grandsanta sacrifices the sleigh, while Arthur and Bryony to parachute to the ground. Ultimately with Margaret and Bryony’s help, all the male Clauses arrive at Gwen’s house before she awakens, only to have all but Arthur quarrel about who gets to actually place the gift. Noticing that only Arthur truly cares about the girl’s feelings, the elder Clauses collectively realize that he is the sole worthy successor. As a result, Malcolm gives Arthur the honour and Steve, recognizing his own shortcomings, forfeits his supposed birthright and acknowledges his brother’s worthiness to take up the mantle. In a fitting conclusion, Gwen glimpses a snow-bearded Arthur in a wind-buffeted sweater just before he vanishes up into the S-1.With the crisis resolved, Malcolm goes into a happy retirement with Margaret; he also becomes Grandsanta’s much-desired new companion and plays Arthur’s board game with him for many happy hours. Meanwhile, Steve finds true contentment as the Chief Operating Officer of the North Pole, while Bryony is promoted to Vice-President of Packing, Pacific Division. In a nod to traditionalism once neglected, the high-tech S-1 is re-christened EVIE in honour of Grandsanta’s old sleigh and refitted to be pulled by a team of five thousand reindeer – led by the original eight, all of whom managed to return home safely via innate navigational abilities. Finally, Arthur happily guides the entire enterprise in the proper spirit as the new Santa.Everything you would wish from a Chistmassy film. Strong story and lovely ideas about Father Christmas and the challenge of delivering a present to every child. A great family movie.

 

 

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: KISS KISS BANG BANG

CAST
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)
Michelle Monaghan (Mission Impossible III)
Corbin Bernsen (The Tomorrow Man)
Dash Mihok (Gotham)
Larry Miller (10 Things I Hate About You)
Shannyn Sossamon (Sleepy Hollow)
Ariel Winter (Excision)
Martha Hackett (Star Trek: Voyager)
Laurence Fishburne (Hannibal)
At a Los Angeles party, Harry Lockhart recounts recent events. Fleeing a botched burglary, Harry’s friend is shot, forcing Harry to evade police by ducking into an audition. Harry unintentionally impresses the producers with an outburst of remorse they mistake for method acting. At a Hollywood party before a screen test, Harry meets private investigator Perry van Shrike, hired to give Harry on-the-job experience for his role, and party host Harlan Dexter, a retired actor who recently resolved a ten year feud over his wife’s inheritance with his daughter, Veronica. He also encounters his childhood crush Harmony Lane, but wakes up in bed with her hostile friend. He runs over to Harmony’s place at 6am to apologize.
Perry and Harry witness a vehicle being dumped in a lake and are spotted by the apparent killers. Perry shoots the trunk lock in a rescue attempt, but accidentally hits the female corpse inside as well. They cannot report the body because it appears Perry killed her.
Harmony contacts Harry, explaining that her sister Jenna came to L.A., stole Harmony’s credit cards, and later killed herself. Believing Harry is a detective, Harmony asks him to investigate Jenna’s death as a murder. After she leaves, Harry discovers the lake corpse in his bathroom and a planted pistol. Harry and Perry dump the corpse, later identified as Veronica Dexter by police. Harry discovers it was Harmony’s credit card that was used to hire Perry to come to the lake, tying Jenna to their case. He goes to see Harmony, who (accidentally) slams the door on his finger, cutting it off, and she takes him to the hospital.
They go to a party but Harry is abducted, beaten and threatened to cease the investigation by the killers from the lake, and then let go. While taking Harry back to the hospital, Harmony sees the killers heading to Perry’s stakeout. Realizing that Perry is heading into a trap, she leaves Harry in her car and rushes off to the stakeout, where she saves Perry and one of the killers gets shot to death by a food-cart operator. A pink-haired girl, affiliated with the killers, steals Harmony’s car and unwittingly drives an unconscious Harry to her safe house. The remaining lake killer arrives and shoots her; Harry recovers the pistol and shoots the thug. His finger has fallen off again so he puts it on ice, but a dog jumps up and eats it. Harmony meets Harry at his hotel where she reveals she had told Jenna that Harlan Dexter was her real father. They quarrel in bed, when Harmony reveals she had previously slept with Harry’s best friend, and he throws her out, being careful not to slam her fingers in the door.
After Harmony disappears following a lead, Harry and Perry investigate a private health clinic owned by Harlan Dexter. Perry realizes Veronica Dexter was incarcerated there by Harlan so an impostor could drop her court case. The pair capture a guard to question him but accidentally kill him, and then are captured by Dexter. He reveals he now plans to cremate his daughter’s corpse to remove any remaining evidence. Harry calls Harmony, who had not actually disappeared, but had simply gone to work. Harmony steals the van containing the coffin. Harry and Perry escape, but Harmony crashes the van. Perry is incapacitated in the ensuing shootout; Harry manages to kill Dexter and his thugs, but is also shot.
Waking in a hospital, Harry finds that Perry and Harmony are fine. Perry reveals Harmony’s sister was not murdered but committed suicide. Jenna had escaped incest in Indiana and located Dexter, believing him to be her real father. She accidentally witnessed Dexter having sex with Veronica’s impostor, the pink-haired girl. Believing this father was also incestuous, Jenna commissioned Perry and committed suicide. Perry travels back to Harmony’s home town and confronts Jenna’s father who is now bed-ridden, slapping him multiple times and calling him an animal. When the old man berates Perry for attacking a helpless old man, Perry says simply, “Yeah. Big tough guy,” and leaves without further explanation. Having lost the movie role to Colin Farrell, Harry gets a job working for Perry.
Some people will hate it for being different, dark, and not falling into the normal categories, with difficult dark humour – I loved it for all the same reasons. It’s worth a watch to make up your own mind!