REVIEW: BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – VOLUME 1

Starring

Kevin Conroy (Justice League Doom)
Loren Lester (Red Eye)
Bob Hastings (General Hospital)
Robert Costanzo (Total Recall)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Hot Shots)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Lloyd Bochner (Point Beak)
Clive Revill (Transformers: The Movie)
Marc Singer (Arrow)
Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek: DS9)
Meredith MacRae (The Rockford Files)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Mari Devon (Digimon)
Henry Polic II (Mork & Mindy)
Pat Fraley (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Diane Pershing (Gotham Girls)
Ingrid Oliu (Real Women Have Curves)
Michael Pataki (Halloween 4)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Dorian Harewood (Space Jam)
George Murdock (Star Trek V)
Jim Cummings (Aladdin)
Justin Shenkarow (Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse)
Robert DoQui (Robocop)
Murphy Cross (Taxi)
John Vernon (Dirty Harry)
Linda Gary (He-Man)
Townsend Coleman (The Tick)
Jeff Doucette (Bedazzled)
Peter Jason (They Live)
Josh Keaton (Voltron)
Eugene Roche (Soap)
Lndsay Crouse (Buffy: TVS)
Paul Williams (Adventure Time)
Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs)
Michael Ansara (The Message)
Michael Bell (Transformers: The Movie)
Adrienne Barbeau (Argo)
Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager)
Mary McDonald-Lewis (Grimm)
Neil Ross (An Americal Tail)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Michael Gross (Tremors)
Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Jean Smart (Garden State)
Brock Peters (Star Trek IV)
Adam West (60’s Batman)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Ed Begley Jr. (Better Call Saul)
Dick Gautier (Get Smart)
Arleen Sorkin (Days of Our Lives)
Aron Kincaid (Transformers)
Alan Rachins (Showgirls)
Jeff Bennett (Johnny Bravo)
Diana Muldaur (Star Trek: TNG)
Jeffrey Tambor (The Hangover)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
Kimmy Robertson (Speed 2)
Loretta Swit (M*A*S*H)
Takayo Fischer (Moneyball)

MV5BYTcwYzdlOTctNmRmMS00ODkxLThjZDgtNDRiMzMwNTgzZWFhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyODkwOQ@@._V1_In 1992, Warner decided to revive Batman for TV as an animated series. Luckily, they had a couple of talented individuals already working on Tiny Toons – animator Bruce Timm and background artist Eric Radomski, who were keen to take a stab at the character. They created a pilot film involving Batman and a Gotham City that was at the same time modern and a throwback to the pre-50’s styleMV5BNGQzNzZmNTgtYmJkZS00MzFlLTk0Y2YtOWUxZTg5M2FiMWM5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_It’s fitting that this set is called ‘Volume One’ and not ‘Season One,’ as the episodes were aired completely out of order, with a few episodes of this set not reaching airwaves until the second year. However, you get the first 28 shows to see production, which arguably contain the best of the series’ four-year run as well. As this series is a reinterpretation of the world created in the comics, most of the episodes here are origins of the villains, and for the most part the episodes work very well. What allowed this series to age so well (in fact, I think I can appreciate it even more now than when I was twelve) is that the writing is top notch. Each episode feels like a self-contained short film, and the writers have at once managed to give every character a great deal of humanity and individuality to underscore the directness of the visuals.MV5BODY0MmZlYmEtOWExMC00ZGFhLWEyZmEtZjFlZGE1ZjBjZTY5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_Paul Dini had been writing for television a decade prior to this, but Batman was where he finally got his chance to shine, and the episodes he crafted, particularly Heart of Ice are some of the most effective of the series. Timm, Dini and Radomski were able to create a world that was iconic without being one-sided or silly. The idea of a guy who runs around in a cape essentially beating enemies into submission can’t be presented effectively at face value, and the creators of this series were more than willing to delve into the psychological aspects of their characters. Batman is never entirely good, nor are most of his enemies entirely evil. Rather the show focuses on people who have been emotionally scarred in life, and deal with those scars by either seeking to help other people, or harm them. What drives Batman isn’t too different from what drives his villains. It’s not uncommon to feel more sympathy for one of the show’s villains than the hero himself, because more often than not the villain isn’t even entirely sure what they’re doing or why they’re doing it.MV5BNjBlMjNmMWUtMjczYy00YWU5LTg5MzEtNzIwM2I3MDQwMWMwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_The Two-Face episodes are a prime example of the quality of storytelling in the series, because the character, who is such a silly concept (a two-faced man flipping a two-headed coin to decide evil deeds) is handled very subtly, with the emphasis placed on childhood trauma and emotional repression. Not every episode shines, however. The two part introduction to Catwoman, The Cat and the Claw, is plagued with generic characters and situations, and plays too heavily on the environmental card. And there are a few other stinkers, although you can generally tell which episodes are going to be good by who’s writing each. MV5BN2MxNWJkZDktN2U5YS00OTc5LWI2NjMtODI5YjViYTJjMmEzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_Casting is absolutely perfect. As vocal director Andrea Romano discusses in the extras, rather than hire trained vocal artists to develop new characters, the producers instead sought out actors with specific character already in their voices. Mark Hamill has the performance of his career as the Joker, with just the right mix of menace and hilarity. Hellboy’s Ron Perlman shows up as Clayface for a few episodes, ’70s bombshell Adrienne Barbeau is sultry as Catwoman and Edward Asner features as a prominent crime boss. The cast list is an absolute who’s-who for any film buff.MV5BNTIxOTc5MDQtMGIxMi00ODgzLWFlMmMtOWI4ZmExMDc0NDAwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_But it’s episodes like “Beware of the Gray Ghost” where the casting really shines. Batman teams up with a former television hero who’s down on his luck. In an inspired decision the producers cast former Batman Adam West for the role, who brings such humanity and poignancy to the part that it ends up one of the best episodes in the series.MV5BOWIyOTg5ZTYtMjM4NC00MzMxLWFiMmItOGEzYTA3ZTNlYzQ5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_All minor quibbling aside however, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another collection with writing, acting and visuals this stellar from the early 90’s. The impact of “Batman: The Animated Series” was overwhelming to television, with a noticeable shift from the slapstick “Animaniacs / Tiny Toons” style to markedly darker action fare, many of the shows still being overseen today by Timm, Radomski and Dini themselves. “Batman: The Animated Series” changed what American TV animation could be, and this set is a fantastic glimpse into the origin of that.

 

REVIEW: GET HIM TO THE GREEK

CAST

Russell Brand (Hop)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Rose Byrne (Spy)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Sean Combs (Made)
Colm Meaney (intermission)
Kali Hawk (Bridesmaids)
Aziz Ansari (30 Minutes or Less)
Nick Kroll (Date Night)
Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Karl Theobald (Mortdecai)
Carla Gallo (Bones)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)
Kristen Schaal (Norbit)
Kristen Bell (The Boss)
Tom Felton (The Flash)
Rachel Roberts (Flashforward
Jim Piddock (Mascots)
Carlos Jacott (She Spies)
Rino Romano (The Batman)
Meghan Markle (Suits)

In 2008, British cheeky chappy rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) releases an album and a titular single — “African Child”, which is a commercial and critical failure. In an interview, despite having been teetotal and free of drugs, along with his pop-star girlfriend Jackie Q (Rose Byrne), she drunkenly declares they have a boring life in an interview. He relapses — which effectively ends his relationship with her, makes him lose custody of their son, Naples, sabotages his career and makes him become a slacker. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) works as a talent scout at Pinnacle Records, a successful record company. He lives with his girlfriend, Daphne (Elisabeth Moss), a doctor. Pinnacle Records is performing badly as a result of poor record sales, and the head of the company, Sergio Roma (Sean Combs), asks for ideas. Green proposes that Aldous Snow play at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on the tenth anniversary of his legendary performance there in 1999.
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Sergio sends Aaron to London to escort Aldous to the performance. Before he leaves, Daphne informs Aaron that she has received a job offer in Seattle and that they are moving there, which leads to an argument resulting in an apparent break-up. After retrieving Aldous from his apartment, Aaron learns that Aldous had not been expecting him and that he had thought the concert was not for another two months. They then bar-hop across the city and Aaron futilely tries to get Aldous to catch one of many missed flights. Daphne calls Aaron to apologize for the fight, only to learn that Aaron believes that they are broken up. Throughout his partying, Aaron’s cellphone accidentally calls Daphne periodically, informing her of Aaron’s activities. Aaron and Aldous travel to New York City for Aldous’s appearance on Today. To keep Aldous sober for his performance, Aaron imbibes all of Aldous’s whiskey and marijuana. Minutes before the performance, Aldous realizes he is unable to remember the lyrics to his most recent and unpopular song, “African Child”, and replaces it with an older hit, “The Clap”, to cheers and excitement from the audience.
About to embark on a flight to Los Angeles, Aldous forces Aaron to smuggle heroin in his rectum. During their travels, Aaron learns that Aldous has become depressed and troubled, as he misses his son and has been alienated from his own father Jonathan (Colm Meaney) for years. Aaron suggests he visit him after the show; instead Aldous insists they go to Las Vegas to see Jonathan. Sergio soon arrives, with plans to “mindfuck” Aldous to Los Angeles. Sergio hooks up Aaron with a sexually violent girl named Destiny (Carla Gallo), who takes him to a hotel room and rapes him. After Aaron tells Aldous that he has been raped, Aldous gives him a “Jeffrey”, a joint described as “a Neapolitan of drugs”. Aaron panics and starts to have a bad trip, believing he is having a heart attack. Jonathan makes the trip worse by agreeing that Aaron is having a heart attack while Aldous attempts to calm Aaron down, primarily by the comforting sensation of stroking the furry walls of the hotel suite. Aldous fights with his father; Sergio (who is also high) jumps in the fight, and inadvertently sets the lounge on fire.
Aldous attempts to help Aaron by giving him an adrenaline shot and they run out of the hotel, chased by Sergio, who is hit by a car but comes out unharmed. Aldous and Aaron flee to Los Angeles, where Aaron convinces Aldous to visit Jackie Q. She has been sleeping with Metallica’s drummer, Lars Ulrich (playing himself) and confesses that Naples is not actually his biological son, but instead is a photographer’s son. This makes him even more miserable. Meanwhile, Aaron goes to his home to apologize to Daphne. They are interrupted when Aldous arrives at their house and proposes that he, Aaron, and Daphne engage in a threesome; Daphne (who is mad at Aaron) agrees and Aaron hesitantly goes along. During the threesome, Aaron angrily decides to kiss Aldous, breaking it up. Daphne and Aaron both immediately regret the threesome, and Aaron angrily tells Aldous to go, criticizing Aldous’s overall mental state. Instead of preparing for his show, Aldous goes to the rooftop of the Standard Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, and calls Aaron, threatening to jump. Aaron rushes to the hotel, and attempts to coax Aldous down from the roof.
Instead, Aldous jumps into a rooftop pool several floors down, accidentally breaking his arm. Aldous tells Aaron that he is lonely, sad and embarrassed, but Aaron reminds Aldous that thousands of fans love him and are waiting just to see him. Aldous decides to perform at the Greek Theatre despite his injury, even though Aaron pleads for him to go to the hospital. Upon their arrival, Sergio offers Aaron drugs to give to Aldous so he will not cancel the concert. Aaron, tired of the abuse Sergio has given him, refuses and quits his job on the spot, much to Sergio’s dismay. Aaron walks stage-side with Aldous, trying to convince him to go to the hospital instead. However, Aaron sees how happy Aldous is while performing and heads home to reconcile with Daphne. Months later in Seattle (where Aaron and Daphne have moved), Aldous, sober once again, has returned to fame with a single “Furry Walls” produced by Aaron (now his official producer) based on events from their night in Las Vegas, performing on the VH1 Storytellers program.

Probably one of the most insanely hilarious movies I have ever seen. Who knew that Rose Byrne was actually a comedian all along. Also, I think that Aldus Snow is more a not so alter, alter ego for Russell Brand because it just looks, sounds and feels so genuine. This is not a movie than anyone could ever regret watching .