REVIEW: SCREAM QUEENS – SEASON 2

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MAIN CAST

Emma Roberts (4.3.2.1)
Kirstie Alley (Star Trek II)
Taylor Lautner (Twilight)
Lea Michele (Glee)
Abigail Breslin (maggie)
Keke Palmer (Scream: The Series)
Billie Lourd (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
James Earl (Gridiron Gang)
John Stamos (Fuller House)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Niecy Nash (Claws)
Colton Haynes (Arrow)
Brooke Shields (Freaked)
Glen Powell (Hidden Figures)
Oliver Hudson (Black Xmas)
Trilby Glover (88 Minutes)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management)
Cheri Oteri (Scary Movie)
Alec Mapa (Ugly Betty)
Ivar Brogger (Andromeda)

Scream Queens’ second season, which manages against all odds to keep continuity with the absurd and funny first season. There’s a similar framing to Season 1, with a mysterious child and a murder kicking off the horror side of the story, but Season 2 seems to be much more interested than riffing off TV hospital dramas than horror tropes. Showrunners Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan found an excuse to bring back the Chanels, Zayday, Dean Dr. Munsch and even Denise Hemphill; later in the season Hester and, yes, Chad returns later in the season. We have newcomers Brock Holt (John Stamos), Cassidy Cascade (Taylor Lautner) and Chamberlain Jackson (James Earl). Jamie Lee Curtis is as fantastic as ever as Dr. Munsch, who used her New New Feminism platform to get the honorary doctorate taken away from Bill Cosby, and decides to take down America’s flawed health care system by creating a new hospital which aims to cure diseases modern medicine has deemed incurable. Everything about this premise is top notch, and echoes the best parts of Scream Queens: Season 1. It’s smart, it’s biting, it’s timely and politically aware, and it lets Curtis do her thing with much pomp and circumstance.There’s a bit of a course correction from Season 1’s finale, which was humorously inspired by the successes of Making a Murderer and The Jinx. Though Hester got away with framing the Chanels, an award-winning Netflix documentary revisited the case and Hester accidentally confessed her crimes to Denise due to a lack of understanding how double jeopardy works. Thus Hester was incarcerated and the Chanels set free, only to still be shunned by society and forced to work odd jobs in the medical industry in an attempt to do some good for the world and rehabilitate their image.

It’s all a convoluted way to get the Chanels, Zayday, Munsch and newcomers Brock and Cassidy in the same place: a hospital that just so happens to be the same one where a murder took place 32 years prior that birthed a green-masked serial killer. Will the murderer be the baby of the murdered man, like in Season 1, or did that swamp actually cause the discarded patient to turn into a mutated monster?Season 2 was a great season, sadly the cliffhanger will never be resovled and we are left wanting more that sadly wont happen.

 

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REVIEW: SCREAM QUEENS – SEASON 1

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MAIN CAST

Emma Roberts (4.3.2.1.)
Skyle Samuels (The Stepfather)
Lea Michele (Glee)
Glen Powell (Ride Along 2)
Diego Boneta (Mean Girls 2)
Abigail Breslin (Zombieland)
Keke Palmer (Barbershop 2)
Oliver Hudson (The Breed)
Nasim Pedrad (New Girl)
Lucien Laviscount (Trollied)
Billie Lourd (Star Wars 7)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Ariana Grande (Victorious)
Jan Hoag (Faster)
Nick Jonas (Goat)
Breezy Eslin (Faking It)
Grace Phipps (The Vampire Diaries)
Niecy Nash (Guess Who)
Charisma Carpenter (Angel)
Chad Michael Murray (Agent Carter)
Patrick Schwarzenegger (Grown Ups 2)

Scream Queens never has been and never was going to be a show that worked for everyone. From the start, its sense of humor, its “girls are better” commentary and its writing style were divisive; either you found it hilarious and were on or you were turned off from the get-go and weren’t going to tune back in. I fell into the first category. Emma Roberts’ performance as Chanel Oberlin was fantastic camp, the bathtub baby story at the core of the show was a fun mystery and I appreciated the balance of horror movie and teen/college comedies tropes that creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan played with.We’ve gone from a time where 24-episode seasons were the norm to a time when 10- to 13-episode arcs is a preferred storytellers medium, but in Scream Queens’ case it works well. It’s clear that Murphy, Brennan and Falchuk revelled in writing to their premise, and it was in standalone sequences which showcased that fun that Scream Queens was at its best. When I think back to the highlights of Season 1, I think of Chanel’s scathing missive in “Dorkus” and the running cotton balls-as-meals gag and the hilarious ways Denise Hemphill would tell ghost stories. Every time I try to keep track of how Gigi, Boone and Pete (and to a lesser extent Hester) would go back and cover their tracks and get away with murdering people but not being suspected, I get a headache.The actors who shone in Scream Queens were the ones who were able to fully commit themselves to the camp. Glen Powell stole the show as Chad Radwell, and it’s a shame he was so lacking toward the end of the season. Niecy Nash was perfectly ludicrous as Denise Hemphill, and the music cues that went along with her character complimented that fantastically.Two Murphy alums, Emma Roberts and Lea Michele, continued to prove that they’re great at delivering his dialogue. Roberts in particular was a standout for me, and I relished every bitchy, whiny Chanel line she would give us. There’s one scene in particular from the finale when Denise’s stripper cops were arresting Chanel and she was resisting with all the loose-limbed anguish of a toddler having a temper tantrum that highlighted for me just how much she understood this part. Chanel is the caricature of the popular girl stereotype, but she is so committed to herself being the hero of her story — something that’s hilariously highlighted in episodes where she narrates — that most of the joke is how obtusely un-self-aware she is.For Michele, she had the burden of playing the mastermind for a season without knowing that Hester was the lead killer. Michele was so playing against type that it was fun to see her sink her teeth into a grotesquely unattractive character like Hester. It will be fun to go back and rewatch from the beginning with the knowledge that Hester is the one pulling the strings, but the fact that Michele didn’t find out about that until the final episode likely means there’s not going to be too much new information to glean from her performance.Other flashy additions to the cast, like Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Jonas, made their characters their own, but other stars like Skyler Samuels as Grace, Oliver Hudson as Wes, Diego Boneta as Pete, Abigail Breslin as Chanel #5 and Keke Palmer as Zayday each of them had memorable scenes and clear highlights from Season 1.At least Scream Queens did stick the landing, as the final hour, “The Final Girl(s),” was the best episode of the series since the premiere. Finally fully understanding the full scope of the Red Devil Killers’ plan — and particularly Hester’s role in it — was a great payoff, and Michele chewed screen time now that she finally knew what she was playing to.The Season 1 ride was a fun ride, with season 2 now airing it’s gping to be great to see what the seconded chapter holds.

REVIEW: SCREAM 4

CAST

Neve Campbell (Wild Things)
Courteney Cox (Masters of The Universe)
David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars)
Shenae Grimes-Beech (90210)
Anna Paquin (X-Men)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Britt Robertson (The Secret Circle)
Alison Brie (The Lego Movie)
Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica)
Hayden Panettiere (Heroes)
Marley Shelton (Sin City)
Roger Jackson (The Powerpuff Girls)
Rory Culkin (Mean Creek)
Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Adam Brody (The OC)
Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo)

maxresdefaultOn the fifteenth anniversary of the original Woodsboro murders, high school students Jenny Randall and Marnie Cooper are attacked and brutally killed by a new Ghostface. The following day, Sidney Prescott returns to Woodsboro to promote her new book with her publicist Rebecca Walters. After evidence is found in Sidney’s rental car, Sidney becomes a suspect in the murders and must stay in town until the murders are solved. Her cousin, Jill, who is dealing with the betrayal of her ex-boyfriend, Trevor Sheldon, gets a threatening phone call from Ghostface, as does her friend Olivia Morris. Jill and Olivia, alongside their friend Kirby Reed, are questioned about their calls by Dewey Riley, who is now the sheriff of the town, while one of his deputies, Judy Hicks, assists him in the case. Meanwhile, Dewey’s wife, Gale Weathers-Riley, is struggling with writer’s block. She gives up the writing and decides to investigate the murder instead.MV5BMTM4Mzc3MjEzM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTQwMTgzNA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1503,1000_AL_Sidney stays with Jill’s mother, Sidney’s aunt Kate Roberts. Later that night, Olivia, who lives next door to Jill and Kate, is attacked and murdered by Ghostface as Jill and Kirby watch in horror. Sidney and Jill rush in to save Olivia, but the killer injures them and gets away; Sidney and Jill are taken to the hospital. In the hospital’s parking garage, Ghostface murders Rebecca. Gale, trying to solve the murders, enlists the help of two high school movie geeks, Charlie Walker and Robbie Mercer, who explain that the killer is using the rules of movie remakes to murder. Charlie concludes that the killer will likely strike at a party being held that night. Gale goes to the party to investigate. Ghostface injures her but flees when Dewey arrives. Dewey takes her to the hospital. At Jill’s house, Sidney discovers that the policemen assigned to guard the house are dead. She also discovers that Jill has left the house and gone to Kirby’s. Sidney goes down to tell Kate, but the killer appears, kills Kate, and disappears again. After Deputy Judy Hicks arrives, Sidney rushes to Kirby’s house to save Jill on her own.Scre4m_CastJill, Kirby, Charlie, Robbie and Trevor are at Kirby’s house when Ghostface appears and murders a drunken Robbie. Sidney arrives at the house. Kirby is forced to answer horror movie trivia to save Charlie, who is tied up outside. Sidney goes upstairs to find Jill, promising to return to Kirby. After Kirby answers Ghostface’s questions, she goes outside to untie Charlie, believing that she has won the game. He suddenly stabs her in the stomach and reveals himself as Ghostface, before leaving her for dead. Sidney is confronted by Charlie and a second Ghostface, who is revealed as Jill. She explains that they want the attention Sidney got for surviving the murders, and that they intend to frame Trevor as Ghostface; she then pulls Trevor out of a closet and shoots him in the head. Jill then betrays Charlie and kills him too, to pin him as Trevor’s accomplice and to make herself the sole survivor. Jill stabs Sidney in the stomach and mutilates herself to make it seem as if Trevor attacked her. Later, Dewey, Judy, and the rest of the police stumble upon the carnage.scream-4Jill is then taken to the hospital. After discovering that Sidney had survived, she goes to Sidney’s hospital room and attempts to finish her. Dewey, Gale, and Judy intervene, having been clued by a detail about Gale’s injury that Jill somehow knew. Jill subdues Sidney’s rescuers, which gives Sidney the chance to shoot her in the chest, killing her. Dewey calls in all police units, as media reporters outside confirm Jill as the “sole-surviving hero”.Scream-4-screenshot-026Scream 4 is not only one of the best in the series, but also one of the best slasher movies in at least a decade.

 

 

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: SCREAM QUEENS – BLACK FRIDAY

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MAIN CAST

Emma Roberts (4.3.2.1.)
Skyle Samuels (The Stepfather)
Lea Michele (Glee)
Glen Powell (Ride Along 2)
Diego Boneta (Mean Girls 2)
Abigail Breslin (Zombieland)
Keke Palmer (Barbershop 2)
Oliver Hudson (The Breed)
Lucien Laviscount (Trollied)
Billie Lourd (Star Wars 7)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Niecy Nash (Guess Who)

After the events of the Thanksgiving where Gigi (Nasim Pedrad)’s head was served as the main dish, everyone is still in shock. Wes (Oliver Hudson), Pete (Diego Boneta), and Grace (Skyler Samuels) go to the police station to report the incident, but Detective Chisolm (Jim Clock) revealed that the entire police department has been fired due to wasting resources, and he himself will be transitioning to furniture related job, something he is happy with. Regardless of the events, Chanel (Emma Roberts) explains that Black Friday is her favorite holiday, where she buys forgettable, cheap presents for her friends and good ones for herself. She also explains how every year she bribes the store’s worker to open the store earlier for her so she can buy all the things from the sale and leave only one in the display, thus leaving the people who have been waiting for the store to open angry and devastated, all just for her joy. She is about to go to the mall when Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) stops her and the other Chanels. They insist on going though, and after a heated speech by Chanel explaining why she loves the holiday so much and pointing out how there’s nothing they can currently do about the situation, Dean Munsch desists.At the mall, The Red Devil shows up. The Devil turns off all the lights and manages to trap the Chanels inside. The other Chanels escape, but Chanel stays behind to face it, thinking the Devil is Dean Munsch. She ends up getting shot with a crossbow. She survives after Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) and a mall cop come to the rescue for a showdown with the Red Devil. Denise explains to Chanel that she is promoted to police chief. However, while she is talking, her henchman gets shot by the Red Devil, and alarmed, she chases after the masked killer. After the entire incident, the Chanels, Zayday, and Grace have a meeting about how they could protect each other from getting killed while everybody thinks that the murderer is Dean Munsch except Zayday (Keke Palmer). Chanel has the idea to kill Dean Munsch, though Zayday disapproves. Grace unexpectedly agrees with Chanel and they both have the idea to poison Dean Munsch.Chanel and Grace meet up with the Dean at her house pretending that they, particularly Chanel, wants to make amends with Cathy. They present her with apple cider, knowing it is her favorite beverage. Unbeknownst to her, they put blowfish venom in it, supposedly enough to kill several people. Dean Munsch drinks it all, and doesn’t even feel slightly ill. Instead, she gave Chanel and Grace an essay assignment about the university. Chanel is baffled as to how Dean Munsch survived this, but later, the Chanels hatch another plan. Grace and Pete are discussing Grace’s and the girls’ plan to kill Dean Munsch. They discuss it while making out, and Pete disagrees with her plan to kill someone just as Grace stops him from going too far, as she isn’t ready to have sex yet. After the talk, she decides to quit the mission. In turn, Zayday also changes her mind from her previous statement, thinking killing Dean Munsch is the right thing to do. Chanel then kicks Grace out of the sorority. Wes and Pete research information about Gigi and find out her birth name was Jess Meyer, and that she is the sister of Amy Meyer (Chelsea Ricketts), the girl from the 1995 flashback who holds Sophia (McKaley Miller)’s baby. It is also revealed that Amy committed suicide due to the stress of the event and Gigi then took care of the baby after Amy’s suicide. Wes tells Grace about this discovery.Meanwhile, Chad (Glen Powell) brings Pete to the Dickie Dollar Scholars house and reveals that Boone (Nick Jonas) left most of his possessions to Pete, despite the fact that they barely knew each other. Chad suspects that Boone and Pete were lovers. However, Pete admits that Boone was his source for a story about the negative effects of the College Greek system. It was revealed here that Pete was trying to pledge The Dickie Dollar Scholars, but got rejected by Chad, Earl Grey (Lucien Laviscount), Roger (Aaron Rhodes), Dodger (Austin Rhodes), and Caulfield (Evan Paley) because he doesn’t fit their criteria. He was deemed the worst Dollar Scholars pledge ever, explaining Pete’s hatred to the College Greek system. In response to Boone’s friendship, Chad decides to offer Pete membership to the Dickie Dollar Scholars since all of the other members have either left campus or been murdered. Pete refuses and leaves an enraged Chad at the house.The girls decide to freeze Dean Munsch to death using a cryotherapy chamber. Dean Munsch agrees to try cryotherapy with them, and while she’s in the chamber, Chanel sets it below zero for 30 minutes. When Chanel opens the door, Dean Munsch is shown covered in ice, still alive. Chanel comes up with one last idea to drown her. She gave the Chanels’ and Zayday new smartphones. She will use this to call them when she thinks it’s the right time to kill her. Chanel #3, and 6 are in the mall with Chanel #5 asking the store’s worker to change an underwear size tag to another, which is impossible. Their cellphones rings as they argue. Chanel nervously waits in the pool as her call doesn’t get an answer. The Dean arrives, and after Chanel gives some unconvincing answers to the Dean’s questions, she get suspicious and puts Chanel on risk. At the end of the episode, Grace visits Pete’s room and tells Pete she’s finally ready to have sex with him. Pete refuses, telling her he doesn’t want her first time to be with a murderer, shocking her and ending the episode.A very fun episode to see how the chanel’s celebrate the holiday season was fun and was a nice episode to send us into the double finale that aired the following week.

REVIEW: BLOW

CAST

Johnny Depp (Public Enemies)
Penelope Cruz (Grimsby)
Franka Potente (Run Lola Run)
Rachel Griffiths (Brothers & Sisters)
Paul Reubens (Gotham)
Jordi Molla (Riddick)
Cliff Curtis (Training Day)
Migual Sandoval (Medium)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
Kevin Gage (Heat)
Max Perlich (Cliffhanger)
Jesse James (Jumper)
Tony Amendola (The Mask of Zorro)
Bobcat Goldthwait (American Yakuza 2)
Monet Mazur (Raging Angels)
Jaime King (Sin City)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)

The film opens to a young George Jung (Jesse James) and his parents Fred (Ray Liotta) and Ermine (Rachel Griffiths) of Weymouth, Massachusetts. When George is ten years old, Fred files for bankruptcy and loses everything, but tries to make George realize that money is not important.

As an adult, George (Johnny Depp) moves to Los Angeles with his friend “Tuna” (Ethan Suplee); they meet Barbara (Franka Potente), an airline stewardess, who introduces them to Derek Foreal (Paul Reubens), a marijuana dealer. With Derek’s help, George and Tuna make a lot of money. Kevin Dulli (Max Perlich), a college student back in Boston, visits them and tells them of the enormous market—and demand—for pot in Boston. With Barbara’s help, they start bringing the drugs to Boston.

As the demand grows, they decide to start buying the drugs directly from Mexico with the help of Santiago Sanchez (Tony Amendola), a Mexican drug lord. But two years later, George is caught in Chicago trying to import 660 pounds of marijuana and is sentenced to two years. After unsuccessfully trying to plead his innocence (by reciting the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe” and insisting that he did no more than “cross an imaginary line with a bunch of plants”), George skips bail to take care of Barbara, who is suffering from, and eventually succumbs to, cancer. Her death marks the disbanding of the group of friends; even his friend, Tuna, flees their vacation home in Mexico and is never seen again.
While hiding from the authorities, George visits his parents back in New England. While he is having a heart-to-heart talk with his father, George’s mother calls the police, who come and arrest him. George is now sentenced to 26 months in a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. His cellmate Diego Delgado (Jordi Molla) has contacts in the Medellín cocaine cartel and convinces George to help him go into business. Upon his release from prison, George violates his parole conditions and heads down to Cartagena, Colombia to meet up with Diego. They meet with cartel officer Cesar Rosa to negotiate the terms for smuggling 15 kilograms (33 lb) to establish “good faith”. As the smuggling operation grows, Diego gets arrested, leaving George to find a way to sell 50 kg (110 lb) and get the money in time. George reconnects with Derek in California, and the two successfully sell all 50 kg in 36 hours, amassing a $1.35 million profit. George is then whisked off to Medellín, Colombia, where he finally meets the group’s leader, Pablo Escobar (Cliff Curtis), who agrees to go into business with them. With the help of main middleman Derek, the pair becomes Escobar’s top US importer. At Diego’s wedding, George meets Cesar’s fiancée Mirtha (Penélope Cruz) and marries her. However, Diego resents George for keeping Derek’s identity secret and pressures George to reveal his connection. George eventually discovers that Diego has betrayed him by cutting him out of the connection with Derek. Inspired by the birth of his daughter and chastened by a subsequent drug-related heart attack, George severs his relationship with the cartel and vows to leave the drug business forever.

All goes well with George’s newfound civilian life for five years, until Mirtha organizes a 38th birthday party for him. Many of his former drug associates attend, including Derek, who reveals that Diego eventually cut him out as well. The FBI and DEA raids the party and arrest George. Following George’s conviction, he becomes a fugitive. Meanwhile, his bank account—heretofore under Manuel Noriega’s protection in Panama—is seized. One night, he and Mirtha get into a fight while driving. They are pulled over by police and Mirtha tells them Jung is a fugitive and has stashed a kilogram of cocaine in his trunk. He is sent to jail for three years, during which time Mirtha divorces him and takes custody of their nine-year-old daughter, Kristina “Sunshine” Jung (Emma Roberts). Upon his release, George finds himself struggling to keep his relationship with his daughter on good terms.

George promises Kristina a vacation in California and seeks one last deal to garner enough money for the trip. George completes a deal with former accomplices but learns too late that the deal had been set up by the FBI and DEA, with Dulli and Derek having leaked the nature and location of the action in exchange for pardons for their involvement in his prior action. George is sentenced to 60 years at Otisville Correctional Facility in upstate New York. He explains in the end that neither the sentence nor the betrayal bothered him, but that he can never forgive himself for having to break a promise to his daughter.
While in prison, George requests a furlough to see his dying father, Fred. His unforgiving mother denies the request, saying a visit would only upset Fred. George is given a tape recorder to record a final message to his father. In the message, George recounts his memories of working with his father, his run-ins with the law, and finally, too late, his understanding of what Fred meant when he said that money is not “real”. The film closes with George as an old man in prison, imagining that his daughter (Jaime King) finally comes to visit him. She slowly fades away as a guard calls for George. The film concludes with notes indicating that Jung’s sentence will not expire until 2015, and that his daughter has yet to visit him. The film’s final image is a photograph of the actual George Jung.Johnny Depp is excellent in this role and you can share his excitement as the deals grow bigger and bigger and the money rolls in, as well as his sadness as things go downhill.  The film is accompanied by a great soundtrack, and despite it’s length it never feels dragged out.

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – DVD SEASONS 11-15

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Seth MacFarlane (Flashforward)
Alex Borstein (Power Rangers Zeo)
Seth Green (IT)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Mike Henry (Ted)
Jennifer Tilly (Curse of Chucky)
Patrick Warburton (Scream 3)
Adam West (60s Batman)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST (VOICES)

Christina Milian (Bring it On 5)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Nana Visitor (Star Trek: DS9)
Carrie Fisher (Star wars)
Dana Gould (Mob City)
Arianna Huffington (The Cleveland Show)
Christine Lakin (Valetnine’s Day)
Bill Maher (A Million Ways To Die In The West)
Ashley Tisdale (Scary Movie 5)
David Boreanaz (Bones)
Gary Cole (Chuck)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Adam Carolla (Two Guys and a Girl)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Jessica Stroup (Ted)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Cheryl Tiegs (The Brown Bunny)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Meredith Baxter (Family Ties)
Julie Hagerty (Airplane)
Michael Gross (Tremors)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Chris O’ Dowd (St. Vincent)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk vs)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Scott Grimes (American Dad)
Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher TV)
Missi Pyle (Dodgeball)
Sanaa Lathan (Blade)
R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
Jessica Barth (Ted)
Marlee Matlin (My Name Is Earl)
Sara Fletcher (Icrime)
David Herman (Futurama)
Ellen Page (Super)
Ricky Gevais (Ghost Town)
Lucy Davis (Shaun of The Dead)
Scott Bakula (Chuck)
Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie)
Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit)
Anna Kendrick (The Voices)
Martin Spanjers (8 Simple Rules)
Dan Castellaneta (Fantastic Four)
Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Sandra Bernhard (2 Broke Girls)
John De Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Will Sasso (Anger Management)
Emily Osment (Mom)
Megan Hilty (The Good Wife)
Jessica Biel (New Girl)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Chad L. Coleman (Arrow)
Tony Sirico (Goodfellas)
Ashley Benson (Spring Breakers)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Lauran Bacall (The Big Sleep)
Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride)
Freddy Rodriguez (Planet Terror)
Keke Palmer (Scream Queens)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass)
David Thewlis (Harry Potter)
Hank Azaria (The SMurfs)
Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons)
Julie Kavner (Rhoda)
Yeardley Smith (As Good As It Gets)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Maya Rudlph (Bridesmaids)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty)
Lucas Grabeel (Smallville)
Ana Gasteyer (What A Woman Wants)
Glenn Howerton (That 80s Show)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Nat Faxon (The Descendants)
Harvey Fierstein (Mulan)
Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)

Season 11 is really the reamaing of episodes of season 9 but by now you get use to the dvd season. great epsiodes and more greats jokes and anyones fair game, be it the spiritual, who get assaulted in “Brian Writes a Bestseller,” as the dog writes a quickie self-help guide, but can’t defend it against Bill Maher’s questions, pretty much any minority and Meg, the family’s socially-awkward daughter, who not only tries to weasel her way into wheelchair-bound Joe’s life, but hooks up with her brother. Nazis, a standard part of the show after so many years, get their moment to shine as well, as the neighborhood pedophile Herbert recognizes Chris’ new friend as a war criminal, setting up an epic old-man fight, and perhaps one of the few times in history where you might find yourself rooting for a kid-toucher.
One of strangest jokes is where Peter is reminiscing about 1985, and notes that it gave us the gayest music video ever, before showing nearly half of David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s “Dancing in the Streets.” As it plays, you start wondering when we’ll get back to the show, before beginning to question if we’re ever going back. And then you start questioning how the video ever came into existence. Then you ask, how did they get the rights to use it in the show this way? Then you kind of forget you’re watching Family Guy. Then you kind of wish you were watching the video again, but that was the point of the episode doing it to mind screw you.

 This season is a pretty strong one. It has the mean-spirited episode is Screams Of Silence: The Story Of Brenda Q and it’s not only the strangest episode on the season but one of the strangest of the entire series. Basically Glenn’s sister gets into an abusive relationship and he, Peter and Joe decide to take care of the problem. The episode gets increasingly darker as it plays out and the ending, which is presented straight and without any obvious irony or attempt at humor, is pretty grim. The crew should get credit for tackling a serious social issue with at least some semblance of seriousness but is this really the right format to raise an issue like this? Opinions will vary, obviously, but this episode is twisted.

Aside from that, it’s more or less business as usual. There are some fun celebrity cameos here, the most obvious one being Ricky Gervais who provides the voice of a dolphin who helps Peter out and then demands a ridiculous amount of favors in return. The Lottery Fever series opener is a fun one which shows not only how Peter behaves after winning the lottery but how those around him will leach off of him when he does. We get to see Brian take mushrooms before a hurricane hits the town and then watch him trip out and see some seriously bizarre hallucinations. The Back To The Pilot episode also stands out as we see Stewie travel back with Brian in tow to January 31, 1999 (which was the broadcast date of the series’ first episode). This shows how the series has changed over the years and also how in just as many ways it has stayed the same.

Quahog news anchor Tom Tucker gets the spotlight in Tom Tucker: The Man And His Dream in which we learn about his acting career. It seems he played Michael Myers in Halloween IV and once Peter learns that, he and James Woods get involved in resurrecting his thesping profession. In Killer Queen Peter and Chris wind up at fat camp where a serial killer is at work, while back in Quahog, Stewie is terrified by the artwork of Queen’s New Of The World album cover. H. Jon Benjamin from Bob’s Burgers and a bunch of other great credits does a guest voice here. Stewie falls for a girl named Penelope, voiced by Kate Blanchett, in Mr. And Mrs. Stewie but of course that can’t end well even if she shares his love of weapons and math. Tea Party is another stand out. When Peter tries to open his own business and gets shut down, he becomes an advocate for small government and takes hardcore conservative Tea Party ideas to ridiculous extremes with predictably funny results.

All in all, this is a pretty great season. It’s also fairly daring, not that the show has ever really shied away from controversy but they definitely push things on a visual level here. That’s not a bad thing, so long as you’re accepting of the fact that as offensive as the series can be, it’s an equal opportunity offender and it provides a great opportunity to laugh at the absurdity that is all around us on a daily basis.

So how does this season hold up? In a lot of ways, it’s more of the same, but at the same time, by being more of the same there’s a certain expectation of unpredictability that this collection consistently meets and occasionally exceeds. You get to a point in the show where you expect the unexpected, and there’s a whole lot of unexpected to appreciate this time around. The season starts off strong with Into Fat Air where Lois runs into an ex-boyfriend who boasts about his family’s accomplishments. This gets Lois feeling competitive and before you know it, the Griffins are climbing Mount Everest. Shades of Alive run deep in this particularly perverse episode. The show takes on the Nielson Ratings in Ratings Guy. When the Griffins are selected to a Nielson family, Peter goes for a blatant abuse of his power to shape TV to his liking but is then tasked with trying to set things right. It’s actually a pretty amusing take at the fickle viewing habits of the general public. The health care industry and its corporate ties are taken on in The Big C when Peter finds out that his father in law has been keeping the cure for cancer his corporation has discovered secret in the name of making more profits off of treatment. As irreverent as this series gets, this episode will at least get you thinking…

The seemingly obligatory time travel episode in this season is Yug Ylimaf and once again Stewie and Brian cruise back in time and goof off. It’s old hat at this point but there’s comfort in familiarity. We get to learn more about Joe’s disability when the man who shot him and confined him to a live in a wheelchair goes on the lam and Peter, Joe and Quaigmire hunt him down to get revenge. The Jesus, Mary and Joseph! episode lets Peter tell us his own version of the Nativity Story in what is essentially a Christmas episode gone awry. Nothing is sacred, fans know that by now. Quagmire is the focus of The Giggity Wife, an episode that shows what happens when Glenn marries a skaggy old hooker on a trip with Peter and Joe. He realizes quickly that this was a horrible idea but she won’t grant him a divorce. Glenn tries to convince her that he’s actually gay, with Peter’s help. In Chris Cross the elder Griffin son swipes some money from his parents to go out and buy some cool new sneakers. When Meg finds out, she blackmails him but Chris quickly has his fill and decides to go live down the street with everyone’s favorite pedophile, his old friend Herbert. Meanwhile, Stewie convinces Brian to help him track down Canadian songstress Anne Murray. In Call Girl Lois uses her voice to make some extra money as a phone sex operator and in Turban Cowboy Peter befriends a Muslim and then converts to Islam. Phone sex might not be so topical these days, but the Islam episodes pushes some buttons in some clever ways.

As the season comes to a close, in the Bigfat episode we find out what happens when Peter, Joe and Quagmire go on a trip to Canada. Peter goes missing for months and when they finally find him, he’s lost the ability to communicate like a ‘normal person.’ Total Recall is another ‘Rupert’ inspired episode where Stewie and Brian try to get the teddy bear back after a recall is done. Peter and friends try to save their favorite bar in Save The Clam while Peter takes up farming in Farmer Guy, but soon gives that up in favor of dealing meth. Road To Vegas sees Brian and Stewie clone themselves and head to Vegas where they have completely opposite experiences from one another and last but not least, No Country Club For Old Men gets the Griffin’s into a posh country club when Christ strikes up a romance with a girl who comes from the wealthiest family around. This doesn’t sit well with Carter, who winds up getting the boot.

It’s all pretty much non-stop insanity but hey, it wouldn’t be Family Guy if there weren’t a lot of guest voices, right? Right! Popping up throughout this collection are such luminaries as Elizabeth Banks, Ryan Reynolds, Sofía Vergara, Giovanni Ribisi, Jessica Biel, Drew Barrymore, Will Sasso, Emma Roberts, J.J. Abrams, Sandra Bernhard, Cheryl Tiegs, Anne Murray, Bill Maher, Sharon Osbourne and quite a few others. And we’d be remiss not to mention the mighty Robert Loggia shows up here too. There’s a lot of fun to be had in this set so long as you go in with an open mind and remember that pretty much every one from every walk of life is fair game.  This marks the second time a full season of the show has been released in one set (season 13 12 had the full season 11 on it). In prior years Fox, in its infinite wisdom, would release sets that had half of one season and half of another on it. It has really been a minor point because in terms of following the show, it is not like it ever has season long story arcs that need to be followed. You just have to have seen a prior episode to get a reference if they call back to something. But for those of us who do get the DVDs it has often meant paying the same price for a set with a partial season on it. So it is nice that they have come around to doing what they should have in the first place. It also makes for a pretty funny joke this season in one of the episodes.

As far as the show itself goes, it is pretty standard with what it has been doing the past few years. It can get repetitive with some of the gags (they do like vomit), but I do think they are still entertaining on a consistent enough basis to keep fans of the show entertained. This season has the controversial story line in the middle involving Brian (chances are everyone knows what it is and the cover of the DVD set basically gives it away) that definitely shook the show (and the fans) up. It also sees the return of Cleveland after the Cleveland Show’s cancellation. Like the show always has, it makes fun of pretty much any topic, and because the DVD is uncensored it replaces some of the tamer jokes from the broadcast version with harder edged versions. It is also worth noting that nothing gets bleeped out on the DVDs, so expect all the swearing to be in every episode.

 



For those who get the DVD set, as far as extras go, there are deleted scenes from every episode, a couple episodes showing the full animatics with the dialogue, and a short feature on the Brian storyline with show runners and Seth Green talking about the fan reaction. Pretty standard for what has been included before

This is really season 13, its the season featuring the Simpson/ Family Guy Crossover. The hour in Springfield started off in poignant, self-referential fashion, with Seth MacFarlane and co. recognizing that this was probably a “one time shot.” Cue the slew of Easter eggs and references for fans of The Simpsons, and the fan-service is appreciated for the most part. There are guest appearances from Apu (once in his natural habitat, and once as Stewie’s prisoner), and hilarious scenes with the likes of Cleveland and Quagmire meeting their Simpson counterparts.

The entire premise of this episode (an attempt to put the rumors of any Family Guy vs The Simpsons feud to rest) hinges on each show taking some low blows and wearing it’s respective heart on it’s sleeve. Whether it’s The Simpsons (or Duff Brewery’s) longevity, which invites criticism about it’s consistency, or Family Guy’s (and Pawtucket Brewery’s) questionable originality and knack for what may seem like “pale imitation,” this episode takes stabs at both parties involved. The argument begins in a bar at the start of the third act, and spirals out of control into an absurd, and probably overlong, classic chicken fight.

Other highlights in the set include,

The 2000 Year Old Virgin where Jesus shocks peter by saying that he has never had sex. Determined to change this, Peter enlists the help of Cleveland, Joe and Quagmire so Jesus can lose his virginity for his 2000th birthday.

Stewie, Chris, & Brian’s Excellent Adventure where Stewie and Brian invite Chris on a journey through time to help him pass a test that is his only hope of finishing ninth grade, and the three end up stuck in 1912 aboard the Titanic.

and of course the Fight Irish episode where Peter claims that he could beat Liam Neeson in a fight, but his skills are put to the test when Neeson himself actually shows up. Meanwhile, Stewie is annoyed with Lois when she becomes a class mom and starts paying more attention to other children.

Another classic season with great jokes and great guest stars, The Simpson Guy being the biggest highlight now we can own it on dvd

REVIEW: 4.3.2.1.

CAST

Ophelia Lovibond (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Shanika Warren-Markland (Adulthood)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Tamsin Egerton (Grimsby)
Adam Deacon (Ali G Indahouse)
Ashley Thomas (24: Legacy)
Steven Cree (John Carter)
Sean Pertwee (Gotham)
Noel Clarke (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Michelle Ryan (Bionic Woman)
Kevin Smith (Dogma)
Mandy Patinkin (Dead Like Me)
Eve (XXX)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)

4.3.2.1 technically stands for 4 girls. 3 days. 2 cities. 1 chance. Yeah, that’s a bit off, but it sort of works in context. The primaries include: Joanne (Emma Roberts), Shannon (Ophelia Lovibond), Cassandra (Tamsin Egerton), and Kerrys (Shanika Warren-Markland). They’re four girlfriends from all walks of life ranging from working class to the filthy rich, but are bonded together by love. They’re best mates.

The gist of the story is that as they carry on with their lives they end up getting mixed up in a botched jewelry heist gone haywire. One of the thieves hides the diamonds in of the unsuspecting girls’ bags and hell ensues shortly after. It’s pretty straightforward but in a bit of a clichéd daze we are made to watch as each girl’s story arc is divided by four interweaving storylines that will ultimately join up at the end.

I was with the film all the way through due to really liking the main cast of girls with some very cool cameos sprinkled in throughout the film, which I will try to name if I can. We’ve got a very funny cameo by Kevin Smith (very self-deprecating, but funny), Eve (yes, the singer), Mandy Patinkin, Alexander Siddig (he steals the show with his bit part), Noel Clarke (Dr. Who, Kidulthood) & Adam Deacon (Anuvahood).
What I think works and makes for an enjoyable piece of entertainment isn’t necessarily that all four of our sexy protagonists are drop-dead gorgeous. It’s that they can handle themselves like badasses. They really do bring the beat downs on scumbags that deserve it. Not only that, but they’re fairly street-smart, savvy, independent, and don’t take crap from either sex.

4.3.2.1 is a fun and sexy romp-caper that should be experienced at least once. Give it a go.