REVIEW: WONDER WOMAN – SEASON 3

Starring

Lynda Carter (Supergirl)
Lyle Waggoner (The Carol Burnett Show)

Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Michael Lerner (Elf)
Leif Garrett (The Outsiders)
Lance LeGault (Stripes)
Craig T. Nelson (Poltergeist)
Ed Begley Jr. (Better Call Saul)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
Gavin MacLeod (The Love Boat)
Michael DeLano (Commando)
Wolfman Jack (Motel Hell)
Joan Van Ark (Knots Landing)
Eric Braeden (Titanic)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday The 13th 8)
Mako (TMNT)
Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek: DS9)
George Cheung (Rush Hour)
Tim O’Connor (Buck rogers)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Fam)
Judge Reinhold (Beverly Hills Cop)
Rick Springfield (Ricki and The Flash)
Barry Miller (Fame)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Bob Hastings (Batman: TAS)
Marc Alaimo (Star Trek: DS9)

Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)Wonder Woman still remains an icon to this day, thanks in many ways to the TV series and the performance of Lynda Carter in the lead role. As I stated in my Season 2 review, not many actresses could have pulled it off. But Lynda, however, had it, and still does. Between Seasons 1 and 2 of Wonder Woman things became a bit more modern. With Season 3 things seemed to change a bit more, and in my mind, for the better. Gone were the comic book-style captions. Although the comic book opening sequence and theme song were fun, it was nice to get something a little more serious for the third year. Diana Prince’s huge glasses also disappeared over time.Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)The Season 3 DVD set maintains a really nice packaging design that maintains the comic book roots of the original series while at the same time not looking cheesy. And, like I said, it’s nice to have all three sets side by side.Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)The set features commentary on the episode “My Teenage Idol Is Missing” with Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter. In the commentary, Ms. Carter talks about where she hoped the show would have ended, about the fads and feminism at the time of the show, and, of course, she talked about that episode’s guest star, then-teenage heartthrob Leif Garrett. (Leif did the rounds on late 70’s television during his pop star years… look for him also on other series such as CHiPs) Although it seemed that Carter had a list of things or a script she may have been referring to, it was really nice to hear her talking about it and even better considering it’s 25 years after the fact and she’s still willing to discuss it. The third season also features some of Wonder Woman’s alternative costumes, like the groovy motorcycle outfit, and she sometimes wears a cape.Wonder Woman (1975)Anyway, for comic book fans, or for fans of the Wonder Woman character, Wonder Woman is a great package, and a great series to own all the way through. I’ve only been able to watch a few of the episodes thus far, but the ones I’ve seen so far – particularly in this third season – I have liked a lot. Episodes that I haven’t watched yet, with titles like “The Boy Who Knew Her Secret,” sound very intriguing and I can’t wait to see more. Bonus! Look for guest stars like Craig T. Nelson, Ed Begley Jr., Joe E. Tata (“Nat” from 90210!), Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing!), Wolfman Jack, Knots Landing couple Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark, Rene Auberjonois, and Rick Springfield – all in the third season

 

REVIEW: THE PROPOSAL

CAST
Sandra Bullock (The Heat)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Mary Steenburgen (Elf)
Craig T. Nelson (The Incredibles)
Betty White (Bones)
Denis O’Hare (The Good Wife)
Malin Akerman (Watchmen)
Oscar Nuñez (Baywatch)
Aasif Mandvi (This way Up)
Michael Nouri (The Terminal)
Niecy Nash (Scream Queens)
Margaret Tate is an executive editor in chief of a book publishing company. After learning she is about to be deported to Canada because she violated the terms of her work visa, she persuades her assistant, Andrew Paxton, to marry her. She reminds Andrew that if she’s deported, the work he put in as her assistant will be lost, and he’ll be set back in his dream to become an editor. Mr. Gilbertson, a U.S. immigration agent, informs them that he suspects they are committing fraud to avoid Margaret’s deportation. Gilbertson tells them that they’ll be asked questions about each other separately. If their answers don’t match, Margaret will be deported to Canada permanently and Andrew will be convicted of a felony punishable by a $250,000 fine and five years in prison. Andrew insists that Margaret make him an editor after their marriage and publish the book he’s been recommending to her. Margaret agrees.
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The couple travels to Sitka, Alaska, Andrew’s hometown, to meet his family. Margaret meets Andrew’s mother Grace and grandmother Annie a.k.a. “Gammy”. During the trip to the family home, Margaret notices that nearly every shop in town carries the name Paxton and learns that Andrew’s family is in fact very wealthy. During a welcome home party, Andrew confronts his father, Joe, who is angry about Andrew’s dating the boss he has so long disliked and thinks he is using her to get ahead in his career. After their argument, Andrew announces the engagement to everyone. Margaret also meets Gertrude, Andrew’s ex-girlfriend. The next day, Grace and Annie take Margaret to a local bar to watch a strip dance by a locally famous but over-the-hill exotic dancer, Ramone. Stepping away from the show, Margaret learns from Gertrude that Andrew wanted to become an editor and make his own life and that Andrew had proposed to Gertrude. However, Gertrude refused because she didn’t want to leave Sitka for New York. Returning home, Margaret learns of the conflict between Andrew and Joe. That night, Margaret asks Andrew about his relationship with his father, but Andrew refuses to talk. Instead, Margaret opens up to Andrew.
The next day, the family convinces them to marry while they’re in Sitka. After Margaret realizes how close Andrew’s family is, she becomes upset, gets on Andrew’s boat, and speeds away with him. She tells him she has been alone since she was sixteen years old after her parents died and had forgotten what it felt like to have a family. She lets go of the helm and stumbles to the back of the boat. Andrew makes a sharp turn to avoid hitting a buoy, and Margaret falls out of the boat. Andrew quickly turns the boat around and saves her because she can’t swim. At the wedding ceremony, Margaret confesses the truth about the wedding to the guests, including Gilbertson, who informs her she has twenty-four hours to leave for Canada. Margaret returns to the Paxton home to pack her things. Andrew rushes to their room only to find Margaret has already left, leaving the aforementioned book manuscript with a note of praise and a promise to publish it. Gertrude attempts to comfort Andrew and asks if he is going to go after her. As he rushes out to find Margaret, another argument arises between him and Joe. Annie fakes a heart attack and convinces them to reconcile before she “passes away”. After she succeeds in getting things moving again, she owns up to faking the heart attack. Andrew’s parents realize he really loves Margaret. He goes to New York and tells Margaret he loves her in front of the entire office staff. They kiss, then go to Gilbertson and inform him they are again engaged, but for real this time. The film ends with Gilbertson asking questions (some of them irrelevant) not only to Andrew and Margaret, but also Joe, Grace, Annie and Ramone.
There’s no surprises here, but there are good laughs and interesting scenarios, and if you are in the mood for a good comedy, this is a good pick me up.

REVIEW: WAG THE DOG

CAST

Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
Anne Heche (Spread)
Denis Leary (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Willie Nelson (The Dukas of Hazzard)
Andrea Martin (Black Christmas)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
William H. Macy (The Cooler)
John Michael Higgins (Stil LWaiting)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eyed)
Woody Harrelson (The Hugner Games)
Suzanne Cryer (Veronica Mars)
Phil Morris (Jingle All The Way)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Craig T. Nelson (My Name Is Earl
David Koechner (Anchorman)
James Belushi (Red Heat)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Jack Shearer (Star Trek: First Contact)
Dustin Hoffman and Kirsten Dunst in Wag the Dog (1997)
The President of the United States is caught making advances on an underage “Firefly Girl” less than two weeks before Election Day. Conrad Brean (De Niro), a top-notch spin doctor, is brought in to take the public’s attention away from the scandal. He decides to construct a diversionary war with Albania, hoping the media will concentrate on this instead. Brean contacts Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Hoffman) to create the war, complete with a theme song and fake film footage of a photogenic orphan (Dunst) in Albania.
When the CIA learns of the plot, they send Agent Young (Macy) to confront Brean who convinces him that revealing the deception is against his best interests. The CIA announces that the war has ended, but otherwise maintains the deception and the media begins to turn back to the President’s abuse scandal. Motss decides to invent a hero who was left behind enemy lines, and inspired by idea that he was “discarded like an old shoe” has the Pentagon provide him with a soldier named Schumann (Harrelson) around whom he constructs a further narrative including T-shirts, additional patriotic songs, and faux-grassroots demonstrations of patriotism. At each stage of the plan, Motss continually dismisses setbacks as “nothing” and compares them to past movie-making catastrophes he averted.
When the team goes to retrieve Schumann, they discover he is in fact a criminally insane Army prison convict before their plane crashes en route to Andrews Air Force Base. The team survives and is rescued by a farmer, but Schumann attempts to rape the farmer’s daughter and the farmer kills him. Motss then stages an elaborate military funeral, claiming that Schumann died from wounds sustained during his rescue.
While watching a political talk show Motss gets frustrated that the media are crediting the president’s win to a tired campaign slogan of “Don’t change horses in mid-stream” rather than Motss’s hard work. Despite previously claiming he was inspired by the challenge, Motss announces that he wants credit and will reveal his involvement, despite Brean’s warning that he is “playing with his life”. Motss refuses to back down, so Brean reluctantly has him killed and makes it look as if he had a heart attack. The president is successfully re-elected and a news report about a violent incident in Albania is shown, but it is ambiguous whether this is a true event or simply a continuation of the fictional war.
“Wag the dog” gathers a very good cast to tell a clever story about politics and its close connection to the TV business. Although the story sometimes seems to be topped by real-life events (Clinton-Lewinsky) it still remains a very entertaining flick. This is due to the many great characters and its precise dialogue which delivers a whole lot of sharp little comments on the dirty business of politics.

REVIEW: BLADES OF GLORY

 

CAST

Will Ferrell (Zoolander)
Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite)
Will Arnett (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Amy Poehler (Mean Girls)
Jenna Fischer (Slither)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Craig T. Nelson (The Incredibles)
Romany Malco (No Ordinary Family)
Nick Swardson (Bolt)
Luciana Carro (Falling Skies)
Andy Richter (Scary Movie 2)
Rob Corddry (Operation: Endgame)
Nick Jameson (Frozen)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
Katharine Towne (Evolution)

Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)

Professional figure skating is a subject so ripe for cinematic satire that it’s truly a wonder that ‘Blades of Glory’ is first big budget comedy to exploit it. The costumes, the music, the pageantry, the preening — as much as we may watch in awe as the enormously talented athletes create magic on the ice, it’s hard not to also stifle a giggle at the grandiose excess of it all.Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)

Much the same way he did with formula one racing in “Talladega Nights” Will Ferrell lampoons the sport to great effect with ‘Blades of Glory.’ This fantastically silly, utterly preposterous comedy was the sleeper hit of early 2007, grossing over $100 million and for once delivering all the laughs its trailers promised.

Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)

Ferrell stars as Chazz Michael Michaels, an uber-hetero world-class figure skating champion (and adult film star, but nevermind that). After a on-rink run-in with his rival, the angel-cheeked skating prodigy Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder, not straying too far from his classic ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ persona), both are stripped of their gold medals and permanently banned from men’s single competition. However, after a few desperate years stuck on the has-been, quasi-celebrity skating circuit, the two find a loophole that will allow them to qualify as the world’s first all-male pairs team. Here is where ‘Blades of Glory’ could have simply been another of those one-joke movies — nothing more than a series of cringe-inducing homophobic barbs about how funny men in tights are. But if ‘Blades of Glory’ isn’t exactly high-brow, Ferrell and Heder find just the right tone in satirizing not “gayness,” but instead the male discomfort with the sexual stereotypes of “effeminate” sports like figure skating. Ferrell in particular creates such a hyper-masculine alpha male in Chazz — one who’s overcompensating to a ridiculous degree, that it becomes truly inspired social commentary. ‘Blades of Glory’ is actually quite astute, even sublime, in skewering male anxieties.Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)The film also doesn’t limit itself to obvious satire by having a field day with the highly-competitive nature of Olympic sports. Fulfilling the villain requirement are Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg, a brother-sister team of rival German skaters who will do anything to defeat Chazz and Jimmy. As played by Will Arnett and Amy Poehler (who also happen to be married off-screen), they’re like Boris and Natasha on ice, twirling their mustaches as they hatch a series of increasingly bizarre schemes. It all leads to an extended chase sequence, as Stranz chases Chazz over ice, through a crowded shopping mall and finally onto the rink in a madcap bit of lunacy that is one of the movie’s highlight sequences.MV5BMTU3NjYxNzc1NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTUyMjI0Nw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1494,1000_AL_If ‘Blades of Glory’ were only spandex and slapstick, however, it probably would have been nothing more than a second-rate “SNL” sketch that quickly wore out its welcome. But typical of Ferrell’s more recent penchant for humanistic comedy over sheer satire, he sets the tone for the rest of the film by plumbing some genuine (if completely ridiculous) pathos out of these larger-than-life characters. When Chazz is forced to endure a stint inside a giant furry animal costume in the kiddie spectacular “Grumlets on Ice” (a pitch-perfect parody of those awful Icecapades shows), he somehow manages to make it simultaneously sad, touching, and hilarious. Indeed, we will come to like all of the characters in ‘Blades of Glory,’ because however over-the-top they may be, there is a kernel of recognition to even their most outlandish behavior that rings true. Of course, ‘Blades of Glory’ is ultimately impervious to critical analysis, because it aims to be nothing more than just a very funny movie. It takes a sport that just cries out to be made fun of, hits the laugh bull’s-eye more than it misses.