REVIEW: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE

CAST

Tom Cruise (Vanilla Sky)
Jon Voight (Pearl Harbor)
Emmanuelle Beart (8 Women)
Henry Czerny (The Exorcism of Emily Rose)
Jean Reno (Leon)
Ving Rhames (Julia X)
Kristin Scott Thomas (The Golden Compass)
Vanessa Redgrave (Atonement)
Emilio Estevez (Rated X)

Years after the events of the series, Jim Phelps and his team, the Impossible Missions Force (IMF), attempt to retrieve the CIA non-official cover list from the American embassy in Prague. Their mission fails: Phelps is shot, his wife Claire dies in a car bombing, and the rest of the team except Ethan Hunt are eliminated by unknown assassins. Meeting with IMF director Eugene Kittridge, Hunt reveals his awareness of a second IMF team sent to monitor them, and learns the job was a setup to lure out a mole within IMF, who is believed to be working with an arms dealer known as “Max” as part of “Job 314.” As Hunt is the only member left, Kittridge suspects him of being the mole, and Hunt flees.Returning to the Prague safe house, Hunt realizes “Job 314” refers to Bible verse Job 3:14, “Job” being the mole’s code name. Claire arrives at the safe house, explaining she escaped the bomb after Phelps aborted the mission. Hunt arranges a meeting with Max, and warns her that the list she possesses has a tracking device. He promises to deliver the real list in return for $10 million and Job’s identity. Hunt, Max, and her agents escape just as a CIA team arrives.Hunt recruits two disavowed IMF agents: computer expert Luther Stickell and pilot Franz Krieger. They infiltrate CIA headquarters in Langley, steal the real list, and flee to London. Kittridge, detecting the theft, has Hunt’s mother and uncle falsely arrested for drug trafficking. He provides media coverage of the arrest, forcing Hunt to contact him from Liverpool Street Station. Hunt allows the CIA to trace him to London before hanging up, but is surprised to find Phelps nearby. Phelps recounts surviving the shooting, naming Kittridge as the mole. Hunt realizes Phelps is the mole, having discovered that Phelps stole a Gideons Bible from a Chicago hotel. He also suspects Krieger as the one who killed the other IMF members on the Prague job, but is unsure whether Claire was involved. Hunt arranges with Max to exchange the list aboard the TGV train to Paris the next day.On the train, Hunt remotely directs Max to the list. Max verifies it and gives Hunt the code to a briefcase containing the payment along with Job in the baggage car. Ethan calls Claire and tells her to meet him there. Meanwhile, Stickell uses a jamming device to prevent Max from uploading the data to her servers. Claire reaches the baggage car, finds Phelps and tells him Ethan will arrive shortly. She questions the idea of killing Ethan, since they will need a fall guy for the money, when Phelps reveals himself to be Ethan in disguise, exposing her as a co-conspirator. When the real Phelps arrives and takes the money at gunpoint, Hunt dons a pair of video glasses that relays Phelps to Kittridge, blowing Phelps’ cover as the mole.Phelps threatens to kill Ethan, but shoots Claire instead when she intervenes. He climbs to the roof of the train, where Krieger is waiting with a helicopter and a tether. Hunt connects the tether to the train itself, forcing the helicopter into the Channel Tunnel after the train. Hunt places an explosive chewing gum on the helicopter windshield, killing Krieger and Phelps. Kittridge arrests Max and recovers the list, then reinstates Hunt and Stickell as IMF agents, but Hunt is unsure if he’ll accept. As he flies home, a flight attendant approaches him and asks, through a coded phrase, if he is ready to take on a new mission, just as she asked Phelps at the beginning.Fabulous cast, especailly strong support from Henry Czerny, Jean Reno and Jon Voight, and a great plot which alas was too complex for some but which weaves a web of deceit and intrigue as it unravels.

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REVIEW: RATED X

CAST

Charlie Sheen (Two and A Half Men)
Emilio Estevez (Mission Impossible)
Rafer Weigel (Free Enterprise)
Tracy Hutson (Pacific Rim)
Megan Ward (Arcade)
Terry O’Quinn (Lost)
Nicole de Boer (Stgar Trek: DS9)
Caterina Scorsone (Alice)
Kim Poirier (Awaken)

Based on the true story of Jim and Artie Mitchell, two brothers who entered the porn industry in the early 60’s. After creating such legendary porn films as “Behind the Green Door” and “Inside Marily Chambers”, they later became addicted to drugs and began a downward spiral leading to bankruptcy and murder.I had mixed expectations. This is, after all, a movie about the porn industry. It could be very graphic, shallow, poorly lit. It most certainly would have a nauseating soundtrack.  I was thoroughly amazed to see a very creatively produced film, whose formal perks were as interesting as its content. I was entertained by and sympathetic toward the characters, who were multi-dimensional and intense. Mostly, I was impressed by the film’s visual aesthetics– I’m not referring to the sex scenes here, though there was ample representation of that action– I’m talking about the piecing together of a beautifully shot film. But besides that, the soundtrack was refreshingly hip and the actors gave excellent performances. This is a Showtime feature that has exceeded its medium’s limitations,producing a movie that is given more justice in the theatres than where it will deign to be exhibited- on TV.

REVIEW: ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES

1

CAST

Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel)
Madonna (Dick Tracy)
Jimmy Fallon (Factory Girl)
Mia Farrow (Rosemary’s Baby)
Ron Crawford (Home of Angels)
David Bowie (Labyrinth)
Jason Bateman (Identity Thief)
Robert De Niro (Red Lights)
Adam LeFevre (Jungle 2 Jungle)
Snoop Dogg (Training Day)
Penny Balfour (Flawless)
Chazz Palminteri (A Bronx Tale)
Harvey Keitel (Bad Lieutenant)
Erik Per Sullivan (Malcolm In The Middle)
Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Emilio Estevez (Mission Impossible)

2

In the year 1960, protagonist Arthur lives with his grandmother Daisy in a quiet farm house on a dirt road, in a small rural community in Northeastern Connecticut (based on Sterling). His grandfather Archibald has recently gone missing and he sees little of his parents (who are away looking for work). Daisy entertains Arthur with stories of his grandfather’s adventures in Africa, featuring the tall Bogo Matassalai and the minuscule Minimoys, of whom the latter now live in Archibald’s garden, protecting a collection of rubies. Arthur becomes enamoured of a picture of Selenia, the princess of the Minimoys. When Daisy receives a two-day deadline to pay a large sum of money to a building developer named Ernest Davido, who plans to evict the two, Arthur looks for the rubies to pay off the debt, and discovers various clues left by his grandfather. He is met in the garden by the Bogo Matassala, who reduce Arthur to Minimoy size. From the Minimoys, Arthur learns that they are in danger from Maltazard, a Minimoy war hero who now rules the nearby ‘Necropolis’, after corruption by a weevil, by whom he has a son named Darkos.3

Arthur, reflecting his legendary British namesake, draws a sacred sword from its recess and uses it to protect the Minimoys from Maltazard’s soldiers; whereupon Sifrat, the ruler of the Minimoys, sends Arthur to Necropolis, with the princess Selenia and her brother Betameche. En route, they are attacked on two occasions by Maltazard’s soldiers. In Necropolis, Selenia kisses Arthur, marking him as her husband and potential successor, and confronts Maltazard alone. When Maltazard learns that she has already kissed Arthur and thus can no longer give him her powers and cure his corruption, he imprisons all three, who discover a Minimoy form of Archibald. Thereafter Arthur and his grandfather escape and return to human form, with little time to spare before Maltazard’s flood reaches the Minimoys. With the help of Mino, a royal advisor’s long-lost son, Arthur redirects the flood to Necropolis; whereupon Maltazard abandons Necropolis and his son, and the water ejects the rubies above ground. Archibald pays Davido with one ruby; and when he tries to take them all, the Bogo Matassalai capture him and give him to the authorities (scene deleted in the U.S. edition). The film ends with Arthur asking Selenia to wait for his return, and her agreement to do so.

Arthur and The Invisibles
The film isn’t flawless. Jimmy Fallon’s Betameche, while surely popular with the film’s younger viewers, at times borders on the unbearably annoying; while the casting of forty- eight year old Madonna as Princess Selenia seems a little odd. Her performance is perfectly adequate, but in effect she spends most of the time flirting with a schoolchild. Strange. But the gems in Arthur and the Invisibles far outshine any minor negatives. Mixing live action with CGI could quite easily look messy and unconvincing but, quite simply, it works and while there’s always a danger of such a tale descending into saccharine sludge, thankfully that doesn’t happen. Arthur’s quest is a joy to follow; it deserves to be anything but invisible.

Arthur and The Invisibles

 

REVIEW: YOUNG GUNS 1 & 2

CAST

Emilio Estevez (Bobby)
Kiefer Sutherland (24)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Stargate Universe)
Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men)
Dermot Mulroney (The Grey)
Casey Siemaszko (Stand By Me)
Terence Stamp (Superman 1 & 2)
Jack Palance (Batman)
Terry O’Quinn (Lost)

John Tunstall (Terence Stamp), an educated Englishman and cattle rancher in Lincoln County, New Mexico, hires wayward young gunmen to live and work on his ranch. Tunstall is in heavy competition with a well-connected Irishman named Lawrence Murphy (Jack Palance), who owns a large ranch; their men clash on a regular basis. Tunstall recruits Billy (Emilio Estevez) and advises him to renounce violence saying that “He who sows the wind will reap the whirlwind.” Tensions escalate between the two camps, resulting in the murder of Tunstall. Billy, Doc Scurlock (Kiefer Sutherland), Jose Chavez y Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips), Richard M. “Dick” Brewer (Charlie Sheen), “Dirty” Steve Stephens (Dermot Mulroney), and Charlie Bowdre (Casey Siemaszko), consult their lawyer friend Alexander McSween (Terry O’Quinn), who manages to get them deputized and given warrants for the arrest of Murphy’s murderous henchmen.
Billy quickly challenges Dick’s authority as leader, vowing revenge against Murphy and the men responsible for killing Tunstall. The men call themselves The Regulators and arrest some of the murderers, but hot-headed Billy is unable to wait for justice. He guns down unarmed men and goes on to kill one of his fellow Regulators (later arrival J. McCloskey) in the paranoid (but correct) belief that he was still in league with Murphy. The men are stripped of their badges, which they find out about by reading a newspaper. That same paper also confuses Dick for Billy, showing a picture of Dick labeled Billy the Kid, a nickname to which Billy takes an immediate liking.
While the local authorities begin their hunt for Billy and the boys, the Regulators argue about continuing with their warrants or to go on the run. One of the men on their list of warrants, Buckshot Roberts (Brian Keith), tracks them down, barricades himself in an outhouse, and Dick dies in an intense shootout. Billy appoints himself as the new leader, the gang becomes famous and the U.S. Army is charged with bringing them to justice under Murphy’s corrupt political influence.
The gang eludes attention for some time, and Charlie gets married in Mexico. While attending the wedding, Billy meets Pat Garrett (Patrick Wayne) who is not yet a sheriff, but warns Billy of an attempt on Alex’s life by Murphy’s men that will happen the next day. Thus the gang packs up and heads off to save Alex. Back in Lincoln, Murphy’s men, led by George W. Peppin, surround Alex’s house, trapping the Regulators, and a shootout begins. A ceasefire is called for the night. In the morning, accompanied by Murphy, the army comes in and torches the house, but Chavez escapes out the back. While the house is burning, the men come up with an escape plan. They begin throwing Alex’s possessions out the windows of the second floor. Billy places himself inside of a large trunk, and when it lands in front of the house, he leaps out and begins to open fire.Meanwhile, Doc bursts out of the side stairway, followed by Charlie and Steve. Everyone makes it to the lawn, but Billy is shot twice in his arms. Charlie challenges the bounty hunter John Kinney (Allen Keller); Kinney shoots Charlie and Charlie fires back, killing each other.
Chavez comes from behind the army on horseback, and jumps the barricade to get extra horses to the Regulators. Billy jumps on one horse, but Doc is shot trying to get on another. Doc still manages to pick up his girlfriend Yen Sun (Alice Carter), Murphy’s Chinese sex-slave, and they ride off. Chavez tries to get Steve on a horse, but is wounded and falls to the ground. Steve helps Chavez on to a horse, but is left alone and unarmed. The Army and Murphy’s men shoot and kill Steve. Alex cheers on the boys as they ride away. The army opens fire on him with a Gatling gun and he is killed. As the remaining men ride away, Murphy hurls threats and curses after them, but is stunned when Billy turns back and shoots Murphy right between the eyes, killing him. The final scene is a voice-over of Doc explaining what happened afterwards: Alex’s widow caused a congressional investigation into the Lincoln County War. Chavez took work at a farm in California. Doc moved east to New York and married Yen Sun, whom he had saved from Murphy. Billy continued to ride until he was found and shot dead by Pat Garrett. Billy was buried next to Charlie Bowdre at Fort Sumner. A stranger went to the grave of Billy the Kid late one night and made a carving in the headstone. The epitaph read only one word: “PALS”.
The film toils with emotions throughout and brings a slight comic relief. Emilio Estevez shone as the major star, although packed out with many big names Charlie Sheen, Lou Diamond Phillips, Kiefer Sutherland, Dermot Mulroney, Terence Stamp and Jack Palance. Deserved more awards when released and holds as a great film all these years later. Westerns usually become dated very quick but this holds tension throughout.

CAST

Emilio Estevez (Bobby)
Kiefer Sutherland (24)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Stargate Universe)
Christian Slater (Interview With The Vampire)
William Petersen (CSI)
Alan Ruck (Speed)
R.D. Call (Waterworld)
James Coburn (The Great Escape)
Balthazar Getty (Brothers & Sisters)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Viggo Mortensen (Lord of The Rings)
Leon Rippy (Stargate)
Tracey Walter (Conan The Destroyer)
Jenny wright (NEar Dark)
Richard Schiff (The Cape)
Ginger Lynn (The Devil’s Rejects)

Image result for young guns ii
In 1950, attorney Charles Phalen is contacted by an elderly man named “Brushy Bill” Roberts. Brushy Bill tells Phalen that he is dying and wants to receive a pardon that he was promised 70 years before by the Governor of New Mexico. When asked why he wants the pardon, Brushy Bill claims that he is really William H. Bonney aka “Billy The Kid”, whom “everyone” knows to have been shot and killed by Pat Garrett in 1881. Phalen then asks if Bill has any proof that he is the famous outlaw. Brushy Bill’s story begins with the remaining Regulators having gone their separate ways. Billy has become part of a new gang with “Arkansas” Dave Rudabaugh (Slater) and Pat Garrett (Petersen). The New Mexico governor has issued warrants for the arrests of those involved in the Lincoln County Wars, including Billy, Doc Scurlock (Sutherland), and Jose Chavez y Chavez (Phillips), who are dragged into town and imprisoned to await hanging.
Image result for young guns ii
Meanwhile, Billy meets with the new governor Lew Wallace who agrees to pardon Billy if he testifies against the Dolan-Murphy faction. Billy soon finds out that he was tricked into being arrested with no chance of testifying against his old enemies. After escaping, Billy along with the help of Rudabaugh and Garrett, pose as a lynch mob to spring Doc and Chavez from jail. When the gang successfully escape Lincoln, Billy mentions the Mexican Blackbird (a broken trail only he and few others know that leads down to Mexico). Garrett decides not to go with the gang and, instead, open a boarding house. As they make a run for the border along with farmer Henry William French (Alan Ruck) and 14-year-old Tom O’Folliard (Balthazar Getty), cattle baron John Simpson Chisum (James Coburn) and Governor Wallace approach Garrett to offer him the job as Lincoln County Sheriff and $1000 to use whatever resources he needs to hunt Bonney down and kill him. Garrett agrees and, forming a posse, begins his pursuit of the gang.
Billy and the gang soon come to the town of White Oaks where they meet up with former companion, Jane Greathouse (Jenny Wright) who runs a local bordello. Later that night, the town lynch mob comes for the gang and are intent on a hanging. Deputy Carlisle tries to negotiate a deal, “the Indian” (Chavez) for a safe rideout. Billy refuses the offer and pushes the Deputy out the door, who is then accidentally killed by the lynch mob. Garrett soon tracks Billy to the bordello, but is too late. Billy and his gang are continuously tracked by the posse, narrowly evading capture, but Tom (being mistaken for Billy) is soon shot dead by Garrett. As they hideout, Billy admits that the Mexican Blackbird doesn’t exist; it was just a pawn to get the gang back together and to keep riding. Doc is angered and tries to leave for home, but he is shot by one of Garrett’s men and sacrifices himself to enable his friends to escape. Billy the Kid is soon brought back into Lincoln by Garrett and is sentenced to death by hanging. He is visited by Jane Greathouse, who arranges to leave a pistol in an outhouse. Billy uses the pistol to kill two guards and escapes to Old Fort Sumner. By the time he arrives, Dave has abandoned the group to make his way to Mexico, and Chavez is dying from a bullet wound. During the night Garrett finds Billy unarmed. Billy asks Garrett to let him run to Mexico and tell the authorities that he killed him. Garrett declines because he believes Billy would not be able to resist coming back to the United States (which would lead to Garrett’s death for lying). Billy turns around, forcing Garrett to have to shoot him in the back, which he does not. In the morning, a fake burial is staged for Billy and Garrett’s horse is seen being taken by an unknown figure (implied to be Billy). Brushy Bill admits he never stole a horse from someone he didn’t like, and further admits he didn’t like Garrett; he loved him. Phalen, convinced that Brushy Bill is Billy the Kid, agrees to help him.
The epilogue reveals that Arkansas Dave was beheaded once he reached Mexico to discourage more outlaws from crossing the border; Garrett’s book detailing his pursuit of Billy was a dismal failure and he is eventually shot and killed in 1908; Brushy Bill met with the Governor of New Mexico but despite corroboration from several surviving friends of The Kid, he was discredited and died less than a month later; whether or not Brushy Bill was Billy the Kid remains a mystery. The final shot shows Billy pointing his gun at an off screen target, saying to the target “I’ll make you famous”.
Not only does Young Guns 2 have some explosive action scenes, it has some great drama, you will really feel for Billy and his pals as they meet their maker one by one. Christian Slater provides some brilliant humor in the role of ‘Arkansas’ Dave Rudabaugh – His comic foreplay with Emilio Estevez provides the film with some of it’s most memorable scenes.

REVIEW: TWO AND A HALF MEN – SEASON 6-8

 

MAIN CAST

Charlie Sheen (Hot Shots)
Jon Cryer (Superman 4)
Angus T. Jones (Bringing Down The House)
Marin Hinkle (I Am Sam)
Holland Taylor (D.E.B.S.)
Conchata Ferrell (Krampus)
Jennifer Taylor (Rumor Has It..)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Rena Sofer (Heroes)
Ryan Stiles (Hot Shots)
Alicia Witt (Two Weeks Notice)
Helena Mattsson (Iron Man 2)
Kelly Stables (The Exes)
Emilio Estevez (Mission Impossible)
James Earl Jones (Star Wars)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
J.D. Walsh (Bones)
Melanie Lynskey (Up In The Air)
Meagen Fey (The Big Bang Theory)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Human Target)
Joel Murray (Mad men)
Will Sasso (Movie 43)
Annie Potts (Ghostbusters)
Steve Hytner (Roswell)
Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly)
Verne Troyer (Austin Powers)
Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)
Carl Reiner (The Cleveland Show)
Stacy Keach (The Simpsons)
Courtney Thorne-Smith (Melrose Place)
Graham Patrick Martin (Major Crimes)
Elizabeth Ho (Fifty Shades of Black)
Katherine Lanasa (Lie To me)
Ming Na (Agents of Shield)
Rachel Cannon (The Big Bang Theory)
Rebecca McFarland (Faking it)
Jodi Lyn O’ Keefe (The Vampire Diaries)
Missi Pyle (Dodgeball)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club)
Erinn Hayes (The Watch)
Liz Vassey (Tru Calling)

 

Season six is a busy season for Charlie, Alan, and Jake. There are several new developments, which include Charlie trying out a monogamous relationship again, Alan getting too involved with Judith and Herb, Jake and Evelyn bonding, and more. Along the way, there are plenty of laughs, as the cast continues to work very well together. The show also has excellent writing and plotlines that keep the content fresh.

The season begins with the episode “Taterhead Is Our Love Child”, which marks a new era for Charlie — he starts to think about people other than himself. In this episode, he runs into an old girlfriend. She has a kid named Chuck who is the spitting image of Charlie. Charlie contemplates the effectiveness of condoms, as well as having his own child. It is a fun way to start the season with lots of goofiness coming from the main characters. “A Jock Strap In Hell” is another episode that highlights Charlie’s growth and maturity as a human being. Back in season two, Charlie dated Jake’s 5th grade teacher Miss Pasternak. Unfortunately, after he dumped her, she went a little crazy. In a very awkward, yet comical moment, Charlie, Alan, and Jake run into her at the local drug store. Her life is a mess and she has gone from teacher to stripper. Charlie feels guilt and helps her regain part of her life back. Of course, the situation blows up on everyone. The end result is a riot!

Despite Charlie’s attempts to become a better person, he still hits a few kinks in the journey. One of them is Alan’s receptionist Melissa (Kelly Stables) in “The Flavin’ and the Mavin'”. He wins her over, but ends their relationship after a passionate weekend. Of course, it does not turn out well for Alan. Melissa comes back later in “Thank God for Scoliosis” as Alan’s love interest. They hit it off, but her weed smoking mother complicates things. Going back to Charlie, he makes a huge breakthrough in the romance department. “Pinocchio’s Mouth” introduces Chelsea (Jennifer Taylor), who has an on and off relationship with Charlie. They fight over trivial issues that only would bother Charlie. As the season progresses, Chelsea becomes more permanent and she slowly tames the wild beast.

Another big season development for the Harpers involves Judith and Herb. The married couple has a rocky patch in “It’s Always Nazi Week” and they patch things up in “Best H.O. Money Can Buy”. In the first episode, she kicks him out of the house when he takes some bad advice from Charlie. It is a fun development, as Herb tries to become like Charlie. Meanwhile, Judith fears being alone the rest of her life and puts the moves on Alan. Out of this situation, a sticky mess is made involving Judith, Alan, and Herb. It will be interesting to see what comes of it in season six.

As for the rest of the season, there are a lot of fun things happening for the cast. Some highlights include “Smelled The Ham, He Got Excited”, Evelyn makes a generous offer and the Harper boys pound their heads to find out why, “The Mooch At The Boo”, Alan is caught in his mom’s shoes (and dress) and Jake falls for the neighbor girl whose overprotective father Jerome (Michael Clarke Duncan) is a former NFL player, “The Devil’s Lube”, Charlie contemplates death after his friend dies and almost makes a dramatic life changing decision, “David Copperfield Slipped Me a Roofie”, Alan turns forty and no one really seems to care, “The Two Finger Rule”, Charlie, Alan, Herb, and Jerome hang out at the house–it is a real funfest, and “Above Exalted Cyclops”, Chelsea introduces Rose to the Harper boys. Overall, Two and a Half Men’s sixth season is an absolute riot. The series continues to dazzle and amaze with nonstop comedy.

When we last Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) he had managed to complete a season with a steady girlfriend, Chelsea (Jennifer Bini Taylor), and when we pick things back up, once again, wedding bells for Charlie are on the horizon.  Charlie wastes no time consciously and subconsciously sabotaging his relationship through the reappearance of his previous fiancé, Mia and his general proclivities towards adultery.

Charlie continues to exhibit deplorable behavior and his drinking problem reaches new lows, with the character at one point so hung-over he vomits into an occupied baby carriage. The writers in a turn of originality don’t go for the instant reconciliation of Charlie and Chelsea, nor do they close the door on the relationship. It allows for some character development for the character. Other highlights include some hilarious cameos from Annie Potts as the deranged mother of one of Alan’s girlfriends, and Stacy Keach as Chelsea’s newly out-of-the-closet, man’s man father. Eventually John Amos turns up as Keach’s boyfriend. Last but not least, the dependable supporting trio of Jake (Angus T. Jones), Alan’s now foul-mouthed teenage son, Evelyn (Holland Taylor), Alan and Charlie’s abusive, self-absorbed mother, and Berta (Conchata Ferrell), are always dependable. Season seven brings more laughs but Season 8 would bring an end to the Charlie Sheen era.

Season 8 was filmed at the time Charlie Sheen had his meltdown. What is interesting is that although the real-life Charlie now seems to be a lot like the onscreen Charlie, the onscreen Charlie is a lot happier, a lot more care-free, a comic rather than tragic figure. But enough of the psycho-analysis, what’s the show like, given that this is Charlie’s last season?

Alan and Charlie are of course the classic comedy duo – the uptight dweeb and the anarchic, cool, funny guy – and although it is played very broadly and superficially, they are presented as essentially good, likeable characters. Jake remains a bit-player throughout the season, never really given any room to shine, which is a shame, but well-judged and very funny cameos from Jane Lynch, Ryan Stiles and Judd Nelson help break up the at times repetitive and derivative interplay between the leads.

The season opener is a stand-alone, but after that a series of plots lines are introduced which play out over a number of episodes, which proves much more satisfying. Most enjoyable are the episodes that involve Alan’s developing relationship with Lyndsey, the mother of one of Jake’s class-mates. It is one of those situations that is not milked to death, but is allowed to become at times desperately painful and embarrassing, but also very funny and enjoyable. The season seems to end awfully abruptly with the collapse of Alan’s Ponzi scheme and the various loose ends of Charlie’s relationship with his stalker, this was due to the fireing of Charlie Sheen and paved the way for Season 9 with a new lead.