REVIEW: SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE

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CAST

Demi Lovato (Camp Rock)
Mandy Patinkin (Dead Like Me)
Joe Manganiello (Magic Mike)
Rainn Wilson (Super)
Jack McBrayer (Wreck-It-Ralph)
Danny Purdi (Powerless)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and The Furious)
Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street)
Julia Roberts (Closer)
Ariel Winter (Modern Family)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Josh Keaton (Green Lantern: TAS)
Yuri Lowenthal (Legion of Super Heroes)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Kari Wahlgren (Rick and Morty)

In Smurf Village, the Smurfs live peacefully among themselves. Their leader is the wise, eldery, and a bit overprotective, Papa Smurf. Some of the Smurfs include the klutsy and slow-witted Clumsy Smurf, the intelligent and eccentric Brainy Smurf, the strong and gutsy Hefty Smurf and the beautiful Smurfette, who feels out of place in Smurf Village as the only girl. Smurfette was created by the villainous wizard Gargamel from a lump of clay, but was redeemed by Papa Smurf and became part of the village. Gargamel makes it his mission to capture the Smurfs, steal all of their essence, and become the most powerful wizard in the world.After Smurfette accidentally breaks an invention by Brainy, made up by a fun day snowboarding with Clumsy, Brainy and Hefty, Smurfette sees a blue creature hidden by a leaf and follows it straight into the forbidden forest, which Papa Smurf forbids the Smurfs from entering, believing the creature to be a Smurf. She loses sight of the creature but she discovers a hat that was dropped by the possible Smurf. Smurfette ends up being captured by Gargamel and at his castle, she ends up inadvertently revealing the hat, enabling Gargamel to mix up a brew that causes him to locate the village on a map. Soon enough Clumsy, Brainy, and Hefty, who followed Smurfette, help her escape and return to Smurf Village, where they are reprimanded by Papa Smurf for disobeying his orders and confines them to their houses while dismissing their claims of a lost village filled with Smurfs.However, Smurfette, still wanting to find her place, sneaks out into the night, with Brainy, Clumsy, and Hefty volunteering to come with her. Gargamel soon discovers them trying to find the lost village and heads out with his cat Azrael and giant bird Monty to stop them. The four best friends follow the map and end up in various predicaments and misadventures, like being attacked by monster flowers and getting caught in a stampede of luminescent rabbits, one of whom they befriended and named Bucky, who helps them on their quest. After setting sail on their handmade raft along the river, they encounter Gargamel, Azrael, and Monty. Following a brief chase, Gargamel was thrown out of his own raft. Hefty and Smurfette convince the others to help save him. They do so but instead of thanking them, he pushed them out of their raft, leaving them to plunge down a waterfall.Meanwhile, back at Smurf Village, Papa Smurf tries to reconcile with Smurfette over his actions on the previous night, but soon discovers that she, Brainy, Hefty, and Clumsy are gone, so he sets out to find them and set things right. Back with the Smurf group, after surviving the waterfall and washed ashore, they are soon captured by the leaf-covered creature from earlier along with a few others and they soon reveal themselves to be female Smurfs. They are taken to their village, which is called Smurfy Grove, in the trees and get to know all the girl Smurfs, including the leader Smurf Willow, the tomboyish Smurf Storm, the hyperactive Smurf Blossom, the gentle Smurf Lily and the music-loving Smurf Melody. They all welcome the Smurfs, especially Smurfette, to their humble home. After a while of showing them what they do, Smurf Storm and Clumsy come back with her telling that Smurfette was created by Gargamel. Before they can attack her for being considered a traitor, Papa Smurf appears, and the female smurfs accept him into their home. Then, Gargamel comes and destroys Smurfy Grove, capturing all the Smurfs, all except Smurfette, who is now alone, feeling guilty for her actions. However, Brainy’s pet Snappy bug shows her a picture of her and the others, and she soon realizes that she is not a real Smurf, and heads back to Gargamel’s lair with Snappy and Bucky to save the Smurfs.At Gargamel’s lair, where all the Smurfs are, Brainy makes a plan to escape. Papa Smurf hears their plan and he and Smurf Willow decide to help them. Hefty, Brainy, Clumsy, and some of the female Smurfs succeed at the plan until Gargamel and Azrael spot them and put some of the female Smurfs and Clumsy into his Smurfilator, extracting their essence. Smurfette appears, tricking Gargamel that she wants to be an evil smurf again. When Gargamel tries to turn Smurfette into an evil smurf, he realizes that Smurfette is absorbing his magic powers instead, a skill she found earlier after destroying Brainy’s invention. The lair explodes, sending Gargamel, Azrael, and Monty into a lake full of piranhas. Unfortunately, Smurfette has reverted to her original lifeless clay form. Back at Smurf Village, all the Smurfs mourn the loss of Smurfette. Using their energy, Smurfette comes back to life and becomes a Smurf again and everybody celebrates. After which, Smurf Village and Smurfy Grove become united with each other and Smurfette finds her purpose, being anything she wants to be and most of all, a true-blue Smurf.Smurfs: The Lost Village is a story that fits nicely between the classic Peyo comics and the Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon. The animation is beautifully done. There is no way you can take every little detail in with just one viewing. The plot is fairly straightforward with adventure at the forefront. This film avoids the misplaced pop culture references and overused Smurf puns that many disliked about the previous movies. “Smurfs: The Lost Village” aims for a younger audience, but adults shouldn’t have a problem remembering why they liked these characters themselves.

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REVIEW: THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

CAST

Will Arnett (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Zach Galifanakis (The Hangover)
Michael Cera (Juno)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City)
Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter)
Jenny Slate (The Lorax)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Billy Dee Williams (BAtman)
Mariah Carey (Glitter)
Eddie Izzard (Hannibal)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Jemaine Clement (Men In Black 3)
Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street)
Jason Mantzoukas (Bad Neigbours)
Doug Benson (Super High Me)
Zoe Kravitz (Divergent)
Kate Micucci (The Big Bang Theory)
Riki Lindhome (Much Ado About Nothing)
Channing Tatum (Dear John)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Laura Kightlinger (Lucky Louie)
Ralph Garman (Ted)
Chris Hardwick (Terminator 3)

Three years after saving the Lego Universe with Emmet and Wyldstyle, Batman continues fighting crime in Gotham City. During a mission to prevent The Joker from destroying the city, Batman hurts his arch-rival’s feelings by telling him he is not as important in his life as he thinks he is, leading to the Joker to desire seeking the ultimate revenge on him.
The following day, Batman attends the city’s winter gala as his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, to celebrate the retirement of Commissioner Gordon and the ascension of his daughter Barbara as Gotham’s new police commissioner, but is infuriated when she announces her plans to restructure the city’s police to function without the need of Batman. The Joker crashes the party with the rest of Gotham City’s villains, but has all of them surrender to the police. Despite realizing that this makes him no longer relevant to the city’s safety, Batman suspects his arch-rival is up to something and decides to stop him by banishing him into the Phantom Zone, a prison for some of the most dangerous villains in the Lego Universe.
Before he can make plans to acquire the Phantom Zone Projector that Superman uses, Alfred intervenes and advises him to take charge of Dick Grayson, whom Bruce had unwittingly adopted as his ward during the gala to which he eventually agrees and fosters Dick as Robin. The pair manage to recover the Projector from the Fortress of Solitude, before breaking into Arkham Asylum and using it on the Joker. Annoyed at his reckless actions and suspecting that the Joker wanted this to happen, Barbara locks up Batman and Robin. While the Projector is being seized as evidence, Harley Quinn steals it back and uses it to free the Joker, who unleashes the villains trapped within the Phantom Zone to cause havoc upon Gotham, including Lord Voldemort, King Kong, Sauron, the Wicked Witch of the West, Medusa, Agent Smith and his clones, the Daleks, and the Kraken.
Realizing that the city does still need him, Barbara releases Batman and Robin and reluctantly teams up with them as “Batgirl” to stop the Joker, with the team joined by Alfred. Batman soon finds himself able to trust and rely on the others, allowing them to defeat Sauron, but upon reaching Wayne Island, he ditches the team out of fear of losing them like his parents, before confronting Joker alone. Upon seeing that the Batman will never change, Joker zaps him to the Phantom Zone, before stealing the Batcave’s stash of confiscated bombs and heading for the city’s Energy Facility. Arriving in the Phantom Zone, Batman witnesses the harm he has caused to everyone because of his selfishness and slowly accepts his greatest fear when Robin, Barbara and Alfred decide to come to his aid. Making a deal with the Phantom Zone’s gatekeeper, Phyllis, to bring back all the villains in exchange for returning to Gotham City, Batman arrives to save the trio and admits to them his mistakes, requesting their help to save the day.
Seeking to stop Joker from setting off the bombs beneath the Energy Facility, thus causing the plates beneath Gotham to come apart and send the city into the infinite abyss, Batman and his allies team up with the city’s regular list of villains, after they had felt neglected by Joker, with the group successfully sending back the escaped villains to the Phantom Zone. However, Batman fails to reach the bombs in time, the detonation causing the city to split apart. Realizing how to stop the city from being destroyed, Batman reluctantly convinces Joker that he is the reason for being the hero he is, and working together alongside Batman’s friends, the villains, and the city’s inhabitants, chain link themselves together, reconnecting the city’s plates and saving Gotham City.
With the city saved, Batman prepares to be taken back into the Phantom Zone to fulfill his bargain with Phyllis, only to be rejected by the gatekeeper who chooses to let him remain after she saw how much he had changed in order to save everyone. Batman allows the Joker and the rest of his rogues gallery to escape with the confidence that whenever they return, then they’ll be no match for the combined team of himself, Robin, Batgirl, and Alfred.Overall, this is a very enjoyable movie with a gripping story, fantastic animation that tops its predecessor and clever humor. I definitely recommend giving this a watch if you’re a fan of The Lego Movie.

REVIEW: AMERICAN DAD – VOLUME 10

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Wendy Schaal (Small Soldiers)
Scott Grimes (Robin Hood)
Rachael MacFarlane (The Batman)
Dee Bradley Baker (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Curtis Armstrong (New Girl)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Larisa Oleynik (100 Girls)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Daisuke Suzuki (I Am Gangster)
Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Mariah Carey (Glitter)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Reggie Lee (Grimm)
Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Haley Joel Osment (A.I.)
Azura Skyke (28 Days)
Mae Whitman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turltes 2012)
Danny Glover (Earthsea)
Daran Norris (Veronica Mars)
Joey King (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jonathan Kite (2 broke Girls)
Kyle Chandler (Super 8)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (Vixen)
Echo Kellum (Arrow)
Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Terry Crews (White Chicks)
Dean Winters (Terminator: TSCC)
Andrea Savage (Izombie)
Laura Bell Bundy (Scream queens)
Sinbad (Jingle All The Way)

Belly-laugh up to the bar, folks and satisfy your thirst for hilarity with the all-new collection of uncensored American Dad! episodes from the spirited minds of Mike Barker, Matt Weitzman and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. Loaded with celebrity guest voices, including Mariah Carey, Terry Crews, Mark Cuban, Zooey Deschanel, Danny Glover and Olivia Wilde, This volumes intoxicating highlights are.

STEVE AND SNOT’S TEST-TUBULAR ADVENTURE:  After failing to get dates for the high school prom, Steve and Snot try using the CIA’s cloning machine to make dates, but the machine produces two fast-growing newborn babies, forcing the boys to father them in time for the prom. Meanwhile, Stan takes home the CIA’s cloned pet dodo with disastrous consequences.

POLTERGASM: In a spoof of the movie Poltergeist, the Smith home is haunted by Francine’s unsatisfied sexual drive every time she is left having to fake it, so it is up to Roger – as medium Ruby Zeldastein – to eliminate the ghost. Meanwhile, Hayley dates a young, Hispanic man named Mauricio, and Klaus goes to Atlantic City for a self-help seminar, but ends up breaking his back and forced to watch the hotel guide channel in his room.

CROTCHWALKERS:Just to show Steve she is still a “cool” mom, Francine teaches him various shoplifting techniques at the local mall “The Gash”. However, their efforts to pull off the ultimate heist result in Steve getting captured and sent to a Venezuelan sweatshop. Meanwhile, Roger, Hayley and Klaus become Langley Falls’ first Russian balalaika trio and Stan injures his groin and must use a whiteboard to communicate.

FAKING BAD: In this parody of Breaking Bad, Hayley tries to fit in with her old high school friends and discovers Steve’s talent for creating fake IDs that can easily be passed for real ones. Seeing this as a business opportunity, Hayley builds out Steve’s operation, but find themselves up against another fake ID kingpin in Langley Falls: Kevin Ramage (another of Roger’s disguises).

MINSTREL KRAMPUS: A notorious Christmas demon known as Minstrel Krampus kidnaps a bratty Steve, so Stan and Roger must travel to the North Pole to save him with the help of Stan’s estranged father. Meanwhile, Hayley takes a job at the airport to get her family Christmas presents.

VISION: IMPOSSIBLE:  A car accident gives Roger the power to foresee the future, causing the Smiths to pester him with questions of what will happen.

FAMILYLAND: At Francine’s insistence, the Smiths go on vacation at a Disneyland-esque theme park called Familyland. Unfortunately, the visit turns disastrous when Roger, Hayley, Stan and Steve all separate to go to different regions of the park. Francine, disappointed in how the park broke up her family, complains in front of a statue of the park’s founder Roy Family. As Francine walks off with Klaus, the statue begins to cry and eventually crack revealing the original Roy Family inside. Roy, angry at how his park has failed to be a good influence over families decides to shut down the park and lock in all visitors. After one week, each member of the Smith family carves out their own personal “kingdom” out of the park while Francine struggles to find a way to end the chaos.

COCK OF THE SLEEPWALK: After Stan completes his 100th kill, he accidentally releases a benevolent persona of himself while sleeping, and this new incarnation goes on a spree of doing good deeds that the real Stan would never undertake.

Image result for american dad introducing the naughty stewardessesINTRODUCING THE NAUGHTY STEWARDESSES: In a parody of Face/Off, Roger switches faces with Steve to help him win over the hot girl at school, but soon decides he wants her for himself – until the girl reveals that she is pregnant with her jock ex-boyfriend’s baby. Meanwhile, in a parody of Charlie’s Angels, Stan and Francine’s vacation to Sacramento gets sidetracked when they befriend a quartet of sexy stewardesses and go undercover to help them thwart Mark Cuban’s plan to blow up the sun.

I AIN’T NO HOLODECK BOY: Against Francine’s wishes, Stan takes Steve and his friends into the woods for some outdoor playtime, where they wind up on the CIA’s holodeck. Meanwhile, Hayley claims she is Roger’s queen after purchasing his home star on an international star registry.

STAN GOES ON THE PILL: Unable to listen to Francine’s constant chatting, Stan takes an experimental estrogen pill which allows him to be able to listen to women without zoning out. Things get complicated, however, when Stan’s dosage turns him into a woman and Avery Bullock begins making romantic advances towards the now-female Stan. Meanwhile, Roger and Klaus start their own business selling the suits Stan wore as a male, which doesn’t go according to plan.

HONEY, I’M HOMELAND: Stan infiltrates an Occupy Wall Street protest and ends up being kidnapped and brainwashed. Meanwhile, Roger buys thousands of candles and is unable to sell them, resulting in him and Steve getting carried away while giving each other massages in the attic in an attempt to use them all up.

RUBBERNECKERS: CIA budget cuts leave Stan out in the cold, and since his company work record is classified, his only employment opportunity is at a local grocery store that is managed by Steve. Meanwhile, Roger and an annoying coffee-shop musician engage in a wager that leads Roger into a Faustian pact with an infomercial guitar instructor.

THE LONGEST DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP: is still heartbroken and trying to get over Jeff’s abduction, and meets a millionaire named Matt, who helps her deal with the tragedy. However, Steve and Snot discover that Jeff is alive and, along with the ghost of Sinbad, is trying to make his way back to her. Ultimately, Jeff learns that by the time he can make it back to Earth, Haley will be sixty and would have spent her entire life waiting for him. He goes back in time through the wormhole that he used to enter into Earth, and tells Hayley that he isn’t sure if he can make it back to Earth after all, and that he wants her to move on. She accepts, saying she will never forget him, and goes to begin life with Matt, only for him to be killed by Roger upon finding out he is an alien.

This has to be one of the best adult cartoons ever created. A great season fo episodes that keeps you wanting more… role on volume 11.

REVIEW: SEX TAPE

CAST
Jason Segel (This is The End)
Cameron Diaz (Bad Teacher)
Rob Corddry (Warm Bodies)
Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street)
Rob Lowe (Waynes World)
Nat Faxon (Tammy)
Nancy Lenehan (Catch Me If You Can)
Jolene Blalock (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Jack Black (Mars Attacks)
Jay and Annie Hargrove are a married couple, which, after having two kids, have sex at every opportunity. After Jay struggles to get an erection, Annie suggests making a sex tape. They film themselves having sex in every position listed in The Joy of Sex. When done, Annie asks Jay to delete the recording, but he ends up instead inadvertently synchronizing the video to several iPads the couple had given away over time. After failing to get it out of the cloud, they set out to get back all of the gifted iPads, leading to a series of awkward encounters and close calls.
After collecting the iPads and deleting the videos, their friend’s son threatens to upload a copy of their sex tape to YouPorn unless they give him $25,000. After failing to get the money, they break into the YouPorn headquarters and begin to destroy their web servers. Their plan is quickly thwarted when an alarm sounds. The owner and his cronies confront them and threaten to call the police, but agree not to do so in exchange for $15,000 to cover the damage. He also removes their video and explains that all they had to do to have a video removed was send him an e-mail request for such removal. After they have deleted all but one copy of the video, Jay and Annie decide to watch the video once themselves. Afterwards, they take the USB flash drive containing the video and go outside to smash it with a hammer, blend it, burn it with fire, and bury the remains.
It’s not infallible, but it’s funny. It’s not as bullseye-funny as many of the Apatow comedies that Segal is more known for, but it was still funny. People expecting some cinematic masterpiece from a film called “Sex Tape” are aiming way too high. The movie delivered exactly as advertised.

REVIEW: IDENTITY THIEF

 

 CAST

Jason Bateman (Hancock)
Melissa McCarthy (The Boss)
Jon Favreau (Iron Man)
Amanda Peet (2012)
T.I. (Ant-Man)
Genesis Rodriguez (Hours)
Morris Chestnut (Kick-Ass 2)
John Cho (Flashforward)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)
Jonathan Banks (Highlander: The Series)
Ben Falcone (New Girl)
Clarke Duke (Two and A Half Men)
Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street)

There aren’t very many actresses who have received an Oscar nomination for their performance in a comedy, especially within the past decade. Melissa McCarthy was an absolute riot in the hit Bridesmaids and even delivers plenty of laughs to TV audiences in Mike & Molly. Under Seth Gordon’s direction, she now stars in the latest comedy called Identity Thief. There has been a massive campaign behind this picture, making McCarthy’s involvement the focal point, but don’t be fooled into thinking that this is the next Bridesmaids. While this comedy won’t be leaving theaters rolling in laughter, it will certainly deliver some laughs and even a little bit of heart.

Mild-mannered Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) is a successful man with a great job and a loving family. However, his life begins to fall apart when a deceptively harmless-looking woman, Diana (Melissa McCarthy), steals his identity. She spends large amounts of his money and commits numerous crimes under his name, which gets him in trouble at work and with law enforcement. Sandy departs on a journey from Denver to Miami to take Diana to the police in order to clear his name and get his life back. It doesn’t take long for Sandy to discover just how clever Diana can be.

Screenwriter Craig Mazin doesn’t waste a moment, as he instantly jumps into the bulk of the story. Sandy Patterson gets himself into a lot of trouble after he gives a substantial amount of his personal information out to a woman over the phone. The audience is kept in the dark as to who Diana really is. While we know that nearly every word that comes out of her mouth is a lie, we’re constantly trying to figure out who this character truly is. She’s quickly identified as the antagonist of the film, but we learn that there’s a lot more to her persona than just a sly criminal. She begins to open herself up a little bit as she spends more time with Sandy. Despite the unfortunate reasons for these characters having to meet, they learn a lot of values from each other through this eventful adventure. Identity Thief often plays with the irony of a thief and her morals. Despite the over-the-top and unnecessary subplots, the second half of the running time is quite a bit funnier than everything preceding it. Without giving too much away, Sandy and Diana experience some hilarious situations, especially the one found in the woods at night. A lot of the jokes have been heard before, but they’re used in an original context.

This film wouldn’t have worked without this particular cast. Jason Bateman delivers a solid performance as Sandy Patterson. He’s convincing in the role, as he easily relates to the audience as an ordinary man going through a difficult situation. Melissa McCarthy is the absolute star of this movie. She fills Diana’s character to the brim with the same charm and charisma that got her popular in the first place. Her delivery elevates average dialogue to something audiences will find rather funny. McCarthy has quite a bit of comedic chemistry with Bateman, which makes them a great match on screen. However, she also manages to draw viewers in through the more emotional moments the story has to offer. There are a variety of entertaining cameos offered by Eric Stonestreet, Jon Favreau, Ben Falcone, Ellie Kemper, and others. This is an excellent cast that makes this script much more appealing than it would have been with other actors.