REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN (1994) – SEASON 1-5

 

 

CAST

Christopher Daniel Barnes (The Little Mermaid)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Linda Gary (He-Man)
Rodney Saulsberry (The Animatrix)
Jennifer Hale (Wreck-It Ralph)
Gary Imhoff (The Green Mile)
Sara Ballantine (Batman Year One)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Liz Georges (As Told By Ginger)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Joseph Campanella (Ben)
Patrick Labyorteaux (Yes Man)
Maxwell Caulfield (Alien Intruder)
Neil Ross (Rambo)
Roscoe Lee Brown (Babe)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Batman: TAS)
Dawnn Lewis (Futurama)
Martin Landau (Ed Wood)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
George Buza (Mutant X)
Cedric Smith (Earth: Final Conflict)
Norm Spencer (Rescue Heroes)
Catherine Disher (Forever Knight)
Alison Sealy-Smith (You Kill Me)
Alyson Court (Beetlejuice TV)
Chris Potter (Heartland)
Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek Generations)
J.D. Hall (Undercover Brother)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday the 13th – Part 8)
George Takei (Star Trek)
John Vernon (Batman: TAS)
Courtney Peldon (Frozen)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Robert Hays (Airplane)
Barbara Goodson (Power Rangers)
James Avery (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 80s)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Dorian Harewood (Earth: Final Conflict)
Jack Angel (A.I.)
Jeff Corey (Conan The Destroyer)
Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Mira Furlan (Lost)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
David Hayter (X-Men)
Roy Dotrice (Hercules: TLJ)
Paul Winfield (Star Trek II)
Majel Barrett (Star Trek)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)

The set itself is well presented, although the artwork is a little cheap, and clearly done in a way as to mimic the style of the 90s series. Anyone who has the recent X-Men Season releases will be familiar with this. Unlike those, this one also has a slipcase. A booklet with episode synopses is also included.

Spider-Man has season-long arcs, which when viewed in succession make for great television. Christopher Barnes is brilliant as Spider-Man (especially in those fleeting moments of extreme rage), and the guests were memorable too, particularly Rob Paulsen’s oafish Hydro Man and Jennifer Hale as Felicia Hardy/ Black Cat.

The music was great too, but while Spider-Man relied on several repeated  cues,  Another thing about Spider-Man is that even after all these years I find myself being surprised by some of the plot twists, which were even more abundant upon first viewing. Thankfully, John Semper (creative head of the show) was bold enough to change much of the original stories to make them worth animating in the first place. What else? A minor triumph, but the colouring on this cartoon is the best of any I’ve ever seen. A simple praise. While the show lost its way during the muddled fourth year it had some great episodes in the last series, with one of the greatest resolution-with-cliffhanger endings in animation history. A rare treat in that its much, much better than you remember it.

Some of the best episodes were – the three-parter, “The Alien Costume”- a marvellous introduction for the ultimately underused Venom (a deliciously insane Hank Azaria)- and the two-part “Hobgoblin” are among the best in the show’s five-year run. “Night of the Lizard”, a pilot of sorts, is interesting in that there’s an awful lot more effort put into the animation than in later episodes, as is often the case.

Animation from the 1990s doesn’t come much better than this, and Marvel have yet to top it.

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REVIEW: MELISSA & JOEY – SEASON 1-4

 

MAIN CAST

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

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Lucy DeVito (Girls)
Elizabeth Ho (Fifty Shades of Black)
Megan Hilty (Shrek The Third)
Rachel G. Fox (Dream House)
Scott Michael Foster (The Pact 2)
Chris Brochu (The Vampire Diaries)
Christopher Rich (Boston Legal)
Anya Monzikova Iron Man 2)
Joel McKinnon Miller (Super 8)
Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings)
Gregg Sulkin (Runaways)
Cody Linley (Sharknado 5)
Rita Rudner (The Wrong Guys)
Trevor Donovan (Savages)
Justin Hartley (Smallville)
Sterling Knight (17 Again)
Sadie Calvano (Mom)
Jada Facer (Henry Danger)
Brooke Burke (The Wraith)
Matthew Lawrence (Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad)
Kevin Fonteyne (Sun Records)
Hayley Erin (General Hospital)
Greer Grammer (The Middle)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves ryamond)
Ian Reed Kesler (Birds of Prey)
George Wyner (Spaceballs)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: TTW)
Andrew Lawrence (Bean)]
Meaghan Martin (Mean Girls 2)
Vivia A. Fox (Independence Day)
Lesliee Grossman (The Neighbours)
John Ratzenberger (Cheers)
Debi Mazar (Batman Forever)
Jaime Pressly (Mom)
John Ross Bowie (The Big Bang Theory)
David Lascher (Sabrina: TTW)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
John Ducey (Bones)
Alimi Ballard (Dark Angel)
Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie)
Marla Sokoloff (Fuller House)
Elizabeth Berkley (Saved By The Bell)
Yvette Nicole Brown (Community)
Mo Gaffney (That 70s Show)
Sean O’Bryan (London Has Fallen)
Krista Allen (The Final Destination)
Elisa Donovan (Sabrina: TTW)
David Starzuk (Veronica Mars)
Danny Woodburn (Bones)
Jessica Barth (Ted)
Nakia Burrise (Power Rangers Zeo)

Mel Burke is having trouble with her niece, Lennox. As she tries to juggle being a councillor and a guardian, she gets a little overwhelmed. Her assistant, Rhonda, suggests she get a nanny. Mel is hesitant to do so until she finds out Lennox wrote a poem about her principal, Miss Lunt (Vernee Watson), that wasn’t so nice. Mel relents and decides to hire a nanny. Before leaving for a meeting, Joseph “Joe” Longo knocks on her door. He apologizes for an outburst and asks if she can get him a job. Mel realizes he was the head of her brother-in-law’s company. (It is mentioned that her brother-in-law ran off leaving the company in disarray and it is implied that he ran off with the millions Joe made for him and left his wife to take the blame. The result is her being in federal prison and the reason for the children having to stay with Mel.) She explains that there is a hiring freeze downtown so she can’t get him a job. Joe then offers to be her new nanny. Joe takes Ryder to school so Mel won’t miss her meeting. Mel comes home later to take Lennox to school so she can apologize to Miss Lunt. If she doesn’t apologize, Lennox cannot go back to school. Mel finds that Ryder is still at home and Lennox is gone. After leaving, Joe sees an online posting from Lennox and realizes she is on the roof. He convinces her to go eat her “big bowl of stink” instead of letting Mel eat it for her. Mel comes back impressed until she finds out Joe paid Lennox fifty dollars to go to the school and apologize to the principal. They later decide to give him a try being the nanny.This show has a bit if everything. Witty humour. Not so witty humour. Moments of nostalgia for those of us who loved Melissa Joan hart in Sabrina and Clarissa explains it all. But this show also has moments of real emotion that stop you in your tracks for a second and keep you gripped to the underlying story lines. Each character has their own quirks and as you get to know them you really begin to appreciate the level of detail the writers have gone to in order to keep the characters alive and interesting.

REVIEW: FREAKED

CAST

Alex Winter (Bill & Ted)
Michael Stoyanov (The Dark Knight)
Megan Ward (Crash and Burn)
Randy Quaid (Independence Day)
Keanu Reeves (Speed)
Mr. T (The A-Team)
Bobcat Goldthwait (One Crazy Summer)
Derek McGrath (Sherlock Hound)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Jon M. Chu (Once A Cop)
Lee Arenberg (Once Upon a Time)
William Sadler (Iron Man 3)
Brooke Shields (Lipstick Jungle)
Morgan Fairchild (The Seduction)
Deep Roy (Charlie and The Chocolate Factory)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)

MCDFREA EC006Skye (Brooke Shields) is interviewing beloved former child star Ricky Coogin (Alex Winter). Rather bluntly, Skye asks how Ricky so quickly went from one of America’s sweethearts to a name that makes children scream in terror.
51imjaqljqlIt all began when he accepted a job from the slimy mega-corporation E.E.S. to promote “Zygrot 24”, a controversial and lethal toxic fertilizer, in South America. Although hesitant at first, the greedy, self-centered Coogin caves in after their sleazy chairman (William Sadler) offers him $5,000,000 and he hops on the first plane to South America with his buddy Ernie (Michael Stoyanov). During their flight, the duo have a run-in with Ricky’s 12-year old number one fan Stuey Gluck (Alex Zuckerman). Once Ricky and Ernie arrive in the country of Santa Flan, they cross paths with a group of protesters, specifically the hard-willed and attractive young environmentalist Julie (Megan Ward). The two con Julie into thinking they’re also environmentalists and she agrees to join them on a trip to an anti-Zygrot 24 protest. However, she soon finds out their true identities and the three are stuck with each other for the rest of the drive. They decide to take a detour to see Freek Land, a freak show, and they wind up in the clutches of demented proprietor Elijah C. Skuggs (Randy Quaid) and his henchman, the long-tongued Toad (Jaime Cardriche). Skuggs introduces them to his “Tasty Freekz Machine”, a contraption powered by Zygrot 24 that morphs regular people into “Hideous Mutant Freekz” to become part of his show. Julie and Ernie are merged into a pair of conjoined twins and Ricky is transformed into a hideous half-man, half-monster.
dorian-gray-pics-hd-ben-barnes-8952311-1200-8003Ricky meets the other freaks: Ortiz the Dog Boy (Keanu Reeves), the self-proclaimed “Leader of the Freaks”; Worm (Derek McGrath), the half-man, half-worm; Nosey (Jeff Kahn), whose entire head is one big nose; Cowboy (John Hawkes), the half-man, half-cow; the Bearded Lady (Mr. T); Sockhead (Bobcat Goldthwait), who has a sock puppet for a head; The Eternal Flame (Lee Arenberg), who has constant flaming flatulence; Rosie the Pinhead; The Hideous Frogman (Tim Burns), a Frenchman in a scuba suit; and the skeleton of Paul Lynde. At first, Ricky wants nothing to do with any of the other freaks, but soon warms up to them after hearing their stories of how they came to be here. Meanwhile, he discovers that he’s developed a telepathic bond with Stuey and summons him to get help. Stuey manages to sell Ricky’s story to the Weekly World News, but ends up being captured by a group of shady businessmen that presumably work for Elijah.
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Ricky eventually finds out that Elijah’s Zygrot suppliers are none other than E.E.S., who arrive at Freek Land with a shipment of Zygrot and an imprisoned Stuey Gluck. As they discuss their plans to mutate the world’s population into an efficient workforce, Stuey follows a telepathic tip from Rick and manages to escape, grabbing the tainted batch of Zygrot along the way. Elijah goes ahead and infects Ricky with his own Zygrot, turning him into an equally grotesque seven-foot monster. As the Ricky Monster and Stuey Monster battle to the death onstage, Elijah catches the E.E.S. executives double-crossing him and stealing his “Tasty Freaks Machine”. Right before the Ricky Monster is about to destroy the Stuey Monster, however, a wave of compassion comes over him, and he drops his weapon and gives Stuey a hug. Enraged, Elijah unsuccessfully tries to fight the Ricky Monster, who bashes him in the head, paralyzing him.
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They are then joined by the still-mutated Ortiz and the Stuey Monster before it’s revealed that Skye Daley is actually Elijah C. Skuggs. Skuggs lunges after Ricky with a machete, only to be gunned down by the now normal Julie. As she embraces Ricky, Skye rises again, this time to be gunned down by Ernie.MCDFREA EC001The main thing people should know about this film is that it stars Bill and Ted and Death, Keanu Reeves stars as Ortiz the dog boy and he spends the whole film in heavy dog makeup. if that is not enough then how about Mr T as the bearded lady?! Brooke Shields as a talk show host with hideous legs? 13 milkmen (including one in a frogsuit, one as a cow, one as a worm, one as a sock puppet and one which is a hammer) and some of the funniest visual humor you have ever seen involving a ginger troll. A Classic film thats still fun to watch all these years later

REVIEW: ARCADE

CAST

Megan Ward (Crash and Burn)
Peter Billingsley (Death Valley)
John de Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)
Sharon Farrell (Beyond Desire)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
A. J. Langer (Escape From LA)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)

Alex Manning (Megan Ward) is a troubled suburban teenager. Her mother committed suicide and the school counselor feels that she has not dealt with her feelings properly. Manning and her friends decide to visit the local video arcade known as “Dante’s Inferno” where a new virtual reality arcade game called “Arcade” is being test marketed by a computer company CEO who is more than willing to hand out free samples of the home console version and hype up the game as if his job is depending on it, and it is.However, it soon becomes clear that the teenagers who play the game and lose are being imprisoned inside the virtual reality world by the central villain: “Arcade”. It would seem that “Arcade” was once a little boy who was beaten to death by his mother, and the computer company felt it would be a good idea to use some of the boy’s brain cells in order to make the game’s villain more realistic. Instead, it made the game deadly. The game’s programmer knew there would be a problem with this, and even tried, but failed, to convince the computer company, Vertigo/Tronics, to halt the game’s release because of the company’s unorthodox decision to use human brain cells in the game’s development.

arc2Nick and Alex enlist the help of the game’s programmer and head to the video arcade for a final showdown with “Arcade” and his deadly virtual world. While Alex is able to release her friends from a virtual prison, she also ended up freeing the evil little boy, who taunts Alex in the final moments of the film. In the original CGI version, however, the film ends on a somewhat happier note, with Alex, her friends, and Albert (the programmer) simply walking away from Dante’s Inferno, with the donor’s soul seemingly laid to rest.I first watched this movie when I was about ten. If you liked Tron, then you would like this. It has a killer ending to boot, the kind of twists that you don’t see in the high action movies today.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE – SEASON 1-7

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MAIN CAST

Avery Brooks (Roots: The Gift)
Nana Visitor (Dark Angel)
Rene Auberjonois (Boston Legal)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Terry Farrell (Hellraiser 3)
Colm Meaney (Intermission)
Cirroc Lofton (Soul Food)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Nicole de Boer (Rated X)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Felecia M. Bell (Nightman)
Marc Alaimo (Total Recall)
Aron Eisenberg (Puppet Master 3)
Max Grodenchick (Apollo 13)
J.G. Hrtzler (Roswell)
April Grace (Lost)
Majel Barrett (Babylon 5)
Andrew Robinson (Hellraiser)
Gwynyth Walsh (Taken)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Rosalind Chao (I Am Sam)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Jennifer Hetrick (L.A. Law)
John De Lancie (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
Tom McCleister (Angel)
Gregory Itzin (Firefly)
Fionnula Flanagan (The Others)
Julie Caitlin Brown (Babylon 5)
Chris Latta (Transformers)
Barry Gordon (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Cliff De Young (Glory)
Jonathan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Keone Young (Men In Black 3)
Jack Shearer (Star Trek: First Contact)
Harris Yullin (Rush Hour 2)
Louise Fletcher (Heroes)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Stephen Macht (Galaxina)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
John Glover (Smallville)
Tim Russ (Samantha Who?)
Daphne Ashbrook (The Love Letter)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Salli Richardson-Whitfield (I Am Legend)
William Schallert (Innerspace)
K Callan (Lois & CLark)
Chris Sarandon (Child’s Play)
John Colicos (Battlestar Galactica)
Michael Ansara (Batman: TAS)
William Campbell (Dementia 13)
Tony Plana (Ugly Betty)
Michael Bell (Rugrats)
Alan Oppenheimer (Transformers)
Salome Jens (Superbot)
Martha Hackett (Leprechaun 2)
Ken Marshall (Krull)
Mary Kay Adams (Babylon 5)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Brett Cullen (Lost)
Jeffrey Combs (The Frighteners)
Tricia O’ Neil (Gia)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Deborah Van Valkenburgh (Free Enterprise)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Richard Lee Jackson (Saved By The Bell: The NEw Class)
Andrew Prine (V)
Tracy Scoggins (Lois & Clark)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Carlos Lacamara (Heroes Reborn)
Leland Orser (Seven)
Chase Masterson (Terminal Invasion)
Penny Johnson Jerald (Castle)
Andrea Martin (Wag The Dog)
Diane Salinger (Batman Returns)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Robert O’ Reilly (The Mask)
Obi Ndefo (Stargate SG.1)
Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5)
Galyn Gorg (Robocop 2)
Jeremy Roberts (Veronica Mars)
James Cromwell (Species II)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Conor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Robert Foxworth (Syriana)
Brock Peters (Soylent Green)
Casey Biggs (Broken Arrow)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Robert DoQui (Robocop)
D. Elliot Woods (Agents of SHIELD)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
Ron Canada (Just Like Heaven)
James Black (Anger Management
Meg Foster (Masters of The Universe)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
John Prosky (The Devil Inside)
Hilary Shepard (Power Rangers Turbo)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Charlie Brill (Silk Stalkings)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Marjean Holden (Hostage)
Brian Markinson (Arrow)
Christopher Shea (Bounty Killer)
Marc Worden (Ultimate Avengers)
Gabrielle Union (Ugly Betty)
Shannon Cochran (The Ring)
Iggy Pop (The Crow 2)
Brad Greenquist (Alias)
Leslie Hope (24)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Michael Weatherly (NCIS)
Henry Gibson (Sabrina: TTW)
James Darren (T.J. Hooker)
Bill Mumy (Babylon 5)
Kevin Rahm (Bates Motel)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
William Sadler (Roswell)

DS9 is one of my all-time favourite television shows. It edges out Star Trek’s original series just barely as my favourite in the franchise. I am not going to state that it’s the best Star Trek series, because it definitely will not appeal to everybody, but it is my favourite.

DS9 deviates from the Trek franchise formula in an important way – it is based on one location – a Cardassian-built space station near the planet Bejor. So even the architecture of the main set is alien – not another sterile militaristic star ship inhabited by a primarily white European crew – but a true Babel. Bejor has just been liberated from 60 years of occupation by an expansionist militaristic race – the Cardassians. Both Bejorans and Cardassians will play important roles throughout DS9. Since the station does not move much during the show’s seven year run, DS9 has a much stronger sense of place than the other ST series, and is able to develop story arc and character continuity much more powerfully than the others.

All of the major characters and most of the frequent returning characters have their own interwoven story arcs – most of which span the entire series. Ben Sisko (Avery Brooks), the station’s commander, is a somewhat disgruntled Star Fleet officer who has several personal vendettas which have almost driven him from Star Fleet. He is also a single parent and a genius. In the very first episode, Sisko’s arc begins and it is clear that his story will be the frame within which the entire series is organized – though the reasons for this will no become entirely clear until near the end. Also memorable are the gruff, shape-shifting Chief Constable Odo(Rene Auberjunois) who does not know what he is and where he came from; Kira (Nana Visitor) Sisko’s aggressive and intense Bajoran second officer; Garak (Andy Robinson) a Cardassian Tailor and – possibly – spy, who is easily the most well-developed, well-acted and interesting recurring guest star Star Trek has ever had; Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) – the beautiful Trill science officer whose consciousness is enhanced by the memories and personality of a 600 year old symbiotic slug who lives in her stomach and has inhabited dozens of previous hosts; Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) the station’s young, brilliant, adventurous and naive doctor; and Quark (Armin Shimmerman), the greedy, conniving, but entirely lovable Ferengi casino owner.

The characters, cast, and serialized stories make DS9 stand apart from the franchise as the most powerfully plotted, intensely dramatic and politically charged Star Trek ever. The show is, however, not for those with limited attention spans and a disdain for complexity. While it isn’t exactly hard to follow, the dialog is often dense and DS9 – more than any other Trek show – uses non-verbal communication very well. Brooks, Visitor and Robinson – all of whom are masters at this – are particularly non-verbal and make a big impression from the first few episodes.

Throughout the series, there are constant underlying political intrigues and surprisingly little filler. Almost every story connects with the main story arc (Sisko’s and Bejor’s) in one way or another, and no time is wasted with aimless experimentation by the writing team (a problem Voyager and Enterprise both suffered from).

The production is consistently theatrical in scope. The special effects are still – even today – above average for television, and even the new BSG doesn’t approach the scope and coherence of the plot.Highly recommended for bright people looking for something more than typical TV drama normally delivers.

31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: THAT 70S SHOW – THE HALLOWEEN EPISODES

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MAIN CAST

Topher Grace (Predators)
Mila Kunis (Family Guy)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half men)
Danny Masterson (Yes Man)
Laura Prepon (Orange Is the New Black)
Wilmer Valderrama (Minority Report TV)
Debra Jo Rupp (Big)
Kurtwood Smith (Robocop)
Tanya Roberts (Sheena)
Don Stark (John Carter)
Lisa Robin Kelly (Jawbreaker)

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GUEST CAST

Marion Ross (Happy Days)
Jordan Masterson (Last Man Standing)

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HALLOWEEN

 

The gang is at odds with each other after finding their old permanent records on Halloween night at their old, burned down elementary school. Many secrets are revealed. These include: that Donna used to streak; Kelso had to repeat the first grade; Jackie’s middle name is Beulah; Eric was responsible for the first time Hyde got in trouble; the time Hyde kissed Donna; and Jackie saying that Fez was a better kisser than Kelso. Meanwhile, Red and Kitty reminisce about their first Halloween at Point Place.

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TOO OLD TO TRICK OR TREATM TOO YOUNG TO DIE

The gang share a strange Halloween, complete with comic spoofs of several Alfred Hitchcock movies, including Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, Vertigo, and North by Northwest. Eric has vertigo after falling off the garage roof, Fez and Hyde spy on the Pinciottis, thinking Bob killed Midge, while Donna wants to prove to Eric that she’s not boring. Meanwhile, Kitty and Laurie have a hard time feeding a neighbor’s birds and a paperboy whom Red forgot to pay mistakes Kelso for someone in the Forman family and stalks him.

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That 7os Show will always be a fun show to watch, and these Halloween themes episodes highlight just how good the show was in it’s prime. These episodes are a must watch for Halloween.

REVIEW: JOHN CARTER

CAST
Taylor Kitsch (Battleship)
Lynn Collins (The Number 23)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
Samantha Morton (Minority Report)
Thomas Haden Church (Sideways)
Mark Strong (Kick-Ass)
Ciaran Hinds (Game of Thrones)
Dominic West (Punisher Warzone)
James Purefoy (Solomon Kane)
Bryan Cranston (Drive)
Polly Walker (Caprica)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Jon Favreau (Iron Man)
After the sudden death of John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), a former American Civil War Confederate Army captain, Carter’s nephew, Edgar Rice Burroughs (Daryl Sabara), attends the funeral. Per Carter’s instructions, the body is put in a tomb that can be unlocked only from the inside. His attorney hands Burroughs Carter’s journal, which Burroughs reads in the hope of finding clues to Carter’s cause of death and the reason he is willed heir. The bulk of the film is enactment of what Burroughs reads.
Burroughs reads of Carter’s exploits in the Arizona Territory as a prospector, where Union Colonel Powell (Bryan Cranston) arrests him. Powell, knowing about Carter’s military background, seeks his help in fighting the Apache, insisting that Carter owes it to his country. Carter refuses, stating that he paid any debt he had when he lost his family. Carter escapes his holding cell, but is pursued by Powell and his cavalry. After a run-in with a band of Apaches, Carter and a wounded Powell are chased until they take to hiding in a cave that turns out to be the object of Carter’s earlier searching, the “Spider Cave of Gold”. A mysterious being, called a Thern, appears in the cave at that moment; Carter kills him but accidentally activates the Thern’s powerful medallion, and is unwittingly transported to a ruined and dying planet, Barsoom, later revealed as Mars.
Because of his different bone density and Barsoom’s low gravity, Carter is able to jump high and perform feats of incredible strength. He is captured by the 4-armed Green Martian clan, the Tharks and their Jeddak (chieftain) Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe). Tars instructs Sola (Samantha Morton) to watch over Carter which results in her feeding him a liquid that enables him to understand the Martian language. Elsewhere on Barsoom, the human Red Martian city of Helium led by Thardos Mors (Ciarán Hinds) and the mobile scavenger city of Zodanga, led by the villainous Sab Than (Dominic West), have been at war for a thousand years. Sab Than, who wants to conquer Barsoom, is armed with a special weapon obtained from Matai Shang (Mark Strong), the leader of the Therns. He proposes a cease-fire and an end to the war by marrying Mors’ daughter, the Princess of Helium Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). Disguised as a soldier, the Princess escapes in a Helium ship.
When Tars Tarkas wants John Carter to show off his jumping abilities, a Thark states the sightings of one ship from Helium and one ship from Zodanga scattering the Tharks to their hiding place. John Carter takes action and saves Dejah from falling. He does manage to kill some Zodanga soldiers and have a brief fight with Sab Than. Following the fight, which leads to Sab Than’s ship retreating, John Carter is hailed as Dotar Sojat (which roughly translates to “My Right Arms”) by Tars Tarkas due to his strength and skill. Tarkas even has Dejah given to him as part of the Thark spoils. Sometime after that, Carter, accompanied by Dejah, tries to find a way to get back to Earth, and stumbles upon a temple ruin sacred to the Tharks where Sola encounters them and tries to stop them from entering, but fails. After discovering an inscription depicting a way back to Earth in the sacred river of Iss, Carter, Dejah, and Sola are caught by Sarkoja (Polly Walker) and Tal Hajus (Thomas Haden Church). The three are sentenced to death due to the Thark code, but are aided in their escape by Tars Tarkas, who reveals to Carter that Sola is his daughter. When Tal and Sarkoja find the prisoners gone, Tal Hajus states that Tarkas has betrayed them.
Carter, Dejah, Sola, and Woola (a Martian Calot – which is somewhat like a mixture of a lizard and a dog) embark on a quest to get to the end of a sacred river to find a way for Carter to get back home. They obtain information about the “ninth ray”, a means of utilizing infinite energy and also the key to understanding how the medallion works. But they are attacked by the Green Martian Clan of Warhoon, which were manipulated by Matai Shang to pursue them, as part of a new plan by Sab Than. After initially fleeing, Carter decides to buy the others time by fighting the horde himself as atonement for not being able to save his family. Though defeating many Warhoon, Carter is ultimately overpowered and is saved when a Helium ship intervenes. Sab Than is also in the company of Thardos Mors as he mentions that Sab came alone and stated that he organized the rescue party. The demoralized Dejah grudgingly agrees to marry Sab Than as Carter is taken to Zodanga to be healed.
When Carter awakens, he is guided to Dejah’s room. After the servant girls leave, Dejah gives Carter his medallion and tells him to go back to Earth. As Dejah leaves with Sab Than, Carter is met by Matai Shang, who takes Carter for a walk around Zodanga. In different Zodangan forms, Shang explains to Carter the purpose of Therns and how they manipulate the civilizations of different planets into total self-destruction, also revealing Sab Than’s secret plan that he will kill Dejah once he marries her and destroy Helium and rule Barsoom, at the same time completing the course the Therns have set for Barsoom. (Shang also mentions that he and the Therns have been doing the same process for millions of years.) Carter is able to make an escape thanks to Woola as he and Sola go back to the Tharks requesting their help. There, they discover Tars Tarkas has been overthrown by Tal Hajus. Tarkas, Carter, and Sola are put on trial in a Colosseum battle with two enormous vicious creatures, the four-armed Great White-Apes. After defeating them and then challenging and easily killing Hajus, Carter becomes the leader of the Tharks.
Carter and the Thark army charge on Helium and defeat the Zodangan army in a huge battle, killing Sab Than. Carter marries Dejah and becomes prince of Helium. On their first night, Carter decides to stay forever on Mars and throws away his medallion. Seizing this opportunity, Matai Shang, in the form of a Helium Guard, sends him back to Earth before leaving Mars forever. Back on Earth, Carter embarks on a long quest looking for clues of the Therns’ presence on Earth and hoping to find one of their medallions; after several years he appears to die suddenly and asks for unusual funeral arrangements — consistent with his having found a medallion, since his return to Mars would leave his Earth body in a coma-like state. He makes Burroughs his protector, giving him clues about how to open the tomb.
The film reverts to the present, where Burroughs runs back to Carter’s tomb and opens it, hoping to find Carter’s body. A Thern in the form of a man with a bowler hat, who had been following Carter over the ten years he’d returned, appears holding a knife, having followed Burroughs. But as he prepares to strike, both he and Burroughs see the tomb is empty. A shot suddenly rings out and the Thern drops dead. Carter emerges and confesses to Burroughs that he never found a medallion. Instead, he devised a scheme to lure a Thern into revealing himself in order to get that Thern’s medallion. After suggesting to Burroughs that he enjoy his life on Earth and to try writing books (alluding to the fact that Burroughs is the real-life author of the “Barsoom” novels), Carter takes the Thern’s medallion, whispers the code, and is then transported back to Barsoom and Dejah.
thought it was amazing.
I loved the way there was a mystery at the beginning of the film and it all got pieced together at the end. I also liked the really good CGI with the awesome aliens and battle ships. I would definitely recommend this to people looking for a good film to watch.