REVIEW: HELLBOY (2004)

CAST

Ron Perlman (13 Sins)
John Hurt (Alien)
Selma Blair (Anger Management)
Rupert Evans (Elfie Hopkins)
Karel Roden (Bulletproof Mink)
Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)
Doug Jones (The Neighbors)
David Hyde Pierce (Wet Hot American Summer)
Brian Steele (Dylan Dog)

In 1944, with the help of Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin, the Nazis build a dimensional portal off the coast of Scotland and intend to free the Ogdru Jahad—monstrous entities imprisoned in deep space—to aid them in defeating the Allies. Rasputin opens the portal with the aid of his disciples, Ilsa von Haupstein and Obersturmbannführer Karl Ruprecht Kroenen, member of the Thule Society and Adolf Hitler’s top assassin. An Allied team is sent to destroy the portal, guided by a young Trevor Broom, who is well-versed in the occult. The German team is killed and the portal is destroyed—in the process absorbing Rasputin—while Haupstein and Kroenen escape. The Allied team discovers that an infant demon with a right hand of stone came through the portal; they dub him “Hellboy” and Broom adopts him.

Sixty years later, FBI agent John Myers is transferred to the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) at the request of Broom and he meets the adult Hellboy and a psychic, amphibious humanoid named Abe Sapien. He learns that a third BPRD member, Liz Sherman, has recently checked into a mental hospital to protect others from her volatile pyrokinetic abilities. Despite regular visits and coaxing from Hellboy, she is determined not to return. Kroenen and Haupstein resurrect Rasputin in the mountains of Moldova and the three unleash a hellhound known as Sammael. Rasputin imbues Sammael with the power to reincarnate and split his essence, causing two of the creature’s eggs to hatch and mature each time one dies. Rasputin visits Liz as she sleeps, activating her powers and almost destroying the hospital. Myers convinces her to return to the Bureau.

Sammael’s ability to multiply becomes a problem, as Hellboy repeatedly kills it, dozens are born. Concluding the eggs are in the sewer, Hellboy, Abe and several FBI agents go down the sewer to destroy them. Abe is injured while looking for the eggs, Kroenen kills most of the agents. Kroenen, whose mutilated body is run by mechanical parts, shuts himself down, pretending to be defeated. Kroenen’s body is brought to the bureau. FBI Director Tom Manning is angered by Hellboy’s recklessness. Myers takes Liz out for coffee and to talk. Hellboy, jealous, covertly follows them, leaving the bureau unguarded. Kroenen reanimates himself and Rasputin appears at the bureau, confronting Professor Broom. Rasputin offers him a vision of the future, showing Hellboy is the agent that will destroy the world. Broom is stabbed in the neck by Kroenen and dies clutching a rosary.
Manning takes over the B.P.R.D. and locates Rasputin’s mausoleum in an old cemetery outside Moscow, Russia. A team led by Manning and Hellboy enter the mausoleum, but swiftly become separated. Hellboy and Manning find their way to Kroenen’s lair and defeat him. Hellboy reunites with Liz and Myers at Sammael’s new nest, but the creatures overwhelm them. Liz uses her pyrokinetic powers to incinerate the Sammaels and their eggs. Hellboy, Liz and Myers lose consciousness and are captured by Rasputin and Haupstein. Rasputin sucks Liz’s soul out of her body, then tells Hellboy to release the Ogdru Jahad in return for her soul. Hellboy awakens his true power as Anung un Rama, causing his horns to regrow, and begins to release the Ogdru Jahad. Myers breaks out of his restrain, subdues Haupstein, and reminds Hellboy that he can defy his destiny. Remembering his true self and what Bruttenholm brought him up to be, Hellboy breaks his horns, reseals the Ogdru Jahad and stabs Rasputin with one of his broken horns.
Rasputin has been possessed by a creature from the Ogdru Jahad. The tentacled Behemoth bursts out of his body and grows to immense size, killing him and Haupstein. Hellboy allows himself to be swallowed by the beast, then detonates a belt of hand grenades and destroys it from the inside. He whispered something in Liz’s ear and she is revived. When she asks how her soul was returned, Hellboy replies that he threatened the powers that control the other side that if they didn’t let her soul go he would come over there to claim it back “and then they’d be sorry.” Liz and Hellboy share a kiss.This is a seriously awesome movie. The effects amazing,  and the scenes are arranged with the care of a great director and the fast-paced yet somehow somber and dramatic feel of the comic. The film contains many in-jokes that only readers of the comic will get, and actually has the feel of Mignola’s work sprung to life.

REVIEW: WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: FIRST DAY OF CAMP

CAST
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Janeane Garafalo (Mystery Men)
David Hyde Pierce (Hellboy)
Michael Showalter (The Ten)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Michael Ian Black (This is 40)
Zak Orth (Music and Lyrics)
Bradley Cooper (Serena)
A.D. Miles (Role Models)
Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel)
Molly Shannon (Never Been Kissed)
Ken Marino (Veronica Mars)
Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad)
Amy Poehler (Mean Girls)
Marisa Ryan (Cold Hearts)
Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games)
Kevin Sussman (The Big bang Theory)
H. Jon Benjamin (Not Another Teen Movie)
Lake Bell (No Strings Attached)
Jason Schwartzman (Bored to Death)
Samm Levine (I Love You, Beth Cooper)
John Slattery (Ted 2)
Chris Pine (Star Trek)
Jon Hamm (Man Men)
Michael Cera (Scott Pilgram vs The World)
Kristen Wiig (paul)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)
Richard Schiff (The Cape)
Janeane Garofalo in Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (2015)
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp – the Netflix prequel series to 2001’s Wet Hot American Summer that we never knew we desperately wanted – is very funny. In fact, it’s freakin’ hilarious for uber-fans of the original. I can only assume it’s mildly amusing to those who’ve either never seen the movie or saw it and weren’t fans.The thing about it though is it’s really tethered to the movie. This is a prequel series made under extreme prequel rules. Not only is it specifically designed to be watched afterward, but many of the jokes won’t land if you don’t know what lies ahead come the “last day of camp.” Quick non-spoilery example: Comedian “Alan Shemper” is mentioned (perhaps I should have put comedian in quotes instead) and the young counselors of Camp Firewood freak out with excitement. Why? Well, the movie pre-answered that. And that’s just one of many instances that indicate that, despite this being a hyped-up Netflix Original event, you need to watch the movie.

Now, the original Wet Hot American Summer came with a loaded cast, many of whom went on to become even more famous than they were when the movie was released. One of the gateway jokes for the prequel is that everyone, in real life, is much older, but now they’re playing even younger versions of the characters they portrayed in the original. And it was even a stretch back then that they were playing teenagers. In fact, this “old teenager” gag was part of the original’s charm as well. Here, the joke isn’t as much of a joke as you’d think. Most everyone has held up fairly well. Noticeably older, sure, but not hilariously so. In fact, the only time it feels like a goof is whenever Showalter shows up as Coop, as he’s really the one who’s, let’s say, a much different shape than he used to be.
So let’s talk about the cast. Again, this was an impressive ensemble back in 2001. And everyone’s back. Showalter, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo, Marguerite Moreau, Zak Orth, Christopher Meloni, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino,  Michael Ian Black, and many more. Even director Wain has a recurring role this time around. And while it must have been difficult to get everyone back given people’s busy schedules, Wet Hot American Summer is set up to be an accommodating side/pet project. As in, it’s not often that all the characters interact, and most of the time they’re paired off and go about their separate stories. The actors weren’t as famous back in 2001, but that movie was still filmed super quick and designed to section people away from each other into different threads.
Now, some characters, given the rising careers of the actors who played them back in the original, have somewhat of an expanded presence. It’s understandable. For example, both Banks and Poehler have a lot more screen time here than they ever did in the movie. But this is also now a four-hour story, so there’s room for this type of change-up. And one of the best things this series does is create zany, clever origin stories for beloved elements from the movie. Not just characters, like Meloni’s Gene and Banks’ Lindsey, but actual things. Songs. Characteristics. Odd in-jokes. They all get a “beginning.” The way Poehler’s Susie came to be so hard on auditioners. The reason David Hyde Pierce’s Henry summers by the camp. The empty vegetable can voiced by H. Jon Benjamin. The freakin’ “Higher and Higher” song! All these things are given a backstory.
And this series didn’t just manage to get back its  original cast. There are also guest stars galore. Doing some amazing, quirky things here. Jon Hamm as a government assassin, Chris Pine as a mysterious hermit who lives on the camp grounds, Michael Cera as a ambulance-chasing lawyer given the case of a lifetime, Lake Bell as Coop’s “mixed signals” girlfriend. Hamm’s not even the only Mad Men’er around as John Slattery recurs as a “renowned” theater director and Rich Sommer stooges for Josh Charles’ snobby Camp Tiger Claw counselor Blake. Camp Tiger Claw which — instead of being a badass, evil Cobai Kai-type commune like the name suggests — has a “blue blood country club from the 50s vibe,” including evening socials that involve dancing the foxtrot.
Like the film, First Day of Camp takes place over the course of one day. And similar story beats and lunacy are employed. There are strained romances (Rudd’s Andy trying to fart his way into Moreau’s Katie’s heart, Coop wondering if Lake Bell’s Donna is faithful), a stressful stage production that has one day to come together for a nighttime performance (here it’s new wave musical “Electro City”), and a doomsday crisis that Garofalo’s Beth must avert in order to save the camp. There’s even a spectacular Victor Pulak chase scene. So the actual structure of the original is upheld.
es, I’d say that you definitely need to be a fan of the original Wet Hot American Summer movie to enjoy all First Day of Camp has to offer. The entire thing’s a love letter to itself and it’s wonderful. It’s great to see everyone back as well as all the new faces.

REVIEW: WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER

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CAST
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Janeane Garafalo (Mystery Men)
David Hyde Pierce (Hellboy)
Michawl Showalter (The Ten)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Michael Ian Black (This is 40)
Zak Orth (Music and Lyrics)
Bradley Cooper (Serena)
A.D. Miles (Role Models)
Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel)
Molly Shannon (Never Been Kissed)
Ken Marino (Veronica Mars)
Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad)
Amy Poehler (Mean Girls)
Marisa Ryan (Cold Hearts)
Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games)
Kevin Sussman (The Big bang Theory)
H. Jon Benjamin (Not Another Teen Movie)
Kyle Gallner (Smallville)
Samm Levine (Not Another Teen Movie)
Kerri Kenney (Anger Management)
In 1981, Camp Firewood, a summer camp located near Waterville, Maine, is preparing for its last day of camp. Counselors have one last chance to have a romantic encounter with another person at Camp Firewood. The summer culminates in a talent show.
Beth (Janeane Garofalo), the camp director, struggles to keep her counselors in order—and her campers alive—while falling in love with Henry (David Hyde Pierce), an astrophysics associate professor at Colby College. Henry has to devise a plan to save the camp from a piece of NASA’s Skylab, which is falling to Earth.
Coop (Michael Showalter) has a crush on Katie (Marguerite Moreau), his fellow counselor, but has to pry her away from her rebellious, obnoxious, and obviously unfaithful boyfriend, Andy (Paul Rudd). Only Gene (Christopher Meloni), the shell-shocked Vietnam war veteran and camp chef, can help Coop win Katie—with some help from a talking can of vegetables (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin). All the while, Gary (A.D. Miles), Gene’s unfortunately chosen apprentice, and J.J. (Zak Orth) attempt to figure out why McKinley (Michael Ian Black) hasn’t been with a woman, the reason being that McKinley is in love with Ben (Bradley Cooper), whom he marries in a ceremony by the lake; Victor (Ken Marino) attempts to lose his virginity with the resident loose-girl Abby (Marisa Ryan); and Susie (Amy Poehler) and Ben attempt to produce and choreograph the greatest talent show Camp Firewood has ever seen.
This has to be one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. David Hyde Pierce is great in this comedic role – and the deleted scenes are twice as funny as the film.

REVIEW: ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES

CAST

Anjelica Huston (50/50)
Raul Julia (Street Fighter)
Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future)
Christina Ricci (Lizzie Borden Took An Axe)
Jimmy Workman (As Good AS It Gets)
Joan Cusack (Working Girl)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Carel Struycken (The Witches of Eastwick)
David Krumholtz (Serenity)
Dana Ivey (Two Weeks Notice)
Christopher Hart (Idle Hands)
Peter MacNicol (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Mercedes McNab (Angel)
Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City)
David Hyde Pierce (Hellboy)
Peter Graves (Airplane)
Monet Mazur (Just Married)
Ian Abercrombie (Birds of Prey)
Tony Shalhoub (Men in Black)
Sam McMurray (Drop Dead Gorgeous)
Nathan Lane (The Producers)

addams-family-values-DI-2One of the rare sequels that actually equals the output of the first film, “Addams Family Values” shows the material still has enough not yet mined for a second picture – it works. I wouldn’t think of doing another one of these pictures, but “Addams Family Values” manages to be successful, mainly due to the return of director Barry Sonnenfeld, who gets the tone and humor exactly right. Not only that, but he even has a small role in the picture.
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The film starts off with Morticia(Angelica Huston) announcing that she’s going to have a baby. “Right now”, she says, in her usual deadpan manner. Taking enjoyment in the pain of delivery, the Addams soon have another member of the family, which they name Pubert. They find the need for a nanny to take care of the new addition, and Debbie Jalinsky(Joan Cusack) arrives. At first, she seems like the perfect nanny. She’s good with the children and doesn’t seem to mind the upside-down world the Addams live in.

Soon though, her intentions are revealed. She marries rich men and her newest target is Fester(Chistopher Lloyd). While the gags during the early portion of the film when the baby is new in the house are funny, there are a number of equally funny moments when the two kids are sent to Summer camp.addams-family-value-stillIt’s a very funny movie and a solid sequel, proving that the characters had enough good material to make a second movie work.