REVIEW: KIDDING – SEASON 2

Jim Carrey in Kidding (2018)

Starring

Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Cole Allen (May I Be At Peace)
Juliet Morris
Catherine Keener (Get Out)
Justin Kirk (Molly’s Game)

Jim Carrey in Kidding (2018)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Bernard White (Silicon Valley)
Matt Gourley (Time Belt)
Dick Van Dyke (Mary Poppins)
Nicole Marie Appleby (Killer Therapy)
Tara Lipinski (7th Heaven)
Joel Swetow (THe Orville)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Carrie Ann Inaba (Austin Powers in Goldmember)
Marie Osmond (Rooster)
Sharon Osbourne (Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties)
Eve (XXX)
Sheryl Underwood (The Bold and The Beautiful)
Mae Whitman (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Ariana Grande (Sam & Cat)
Lesley Stahl (Eagle Eye)
Stacy Keach (THe BOurne LEgacy)
Arnold Chun (Rampage)
Sala Baker (Braven)
Annette O’Toole (Smallville)
Matthew Hancock (Electric Love)
Andy Milder (Apollo 13)
Mariana Paola Vicente (Self/Less)
Jennie Pierson (Powerless)

Jim Carrey in Kidding (2018)Season 1 of Showtime’s Jim Carrey–led dark comedy Kidding was one of the best and most underrated television shows of 2018. The story of a children’s TV host (not Mr. Rogers, but Rogers-adjacent) whose inability to express negative emotion after a lifetime of repression is as relevant as ever in 2020, when the question of what to do with bad feelings generates unyielding discourse on mental health, trauma, and masculinity.Jim Carrey and Juliet Morris in Kidding (2018)Season 2 picks up after Jeff’s bottled rage exploded in a worst-case scenario for his character and sprints towards a remarkable exploration of what it means to acknowledge pain. It might seem hyperbolic to describe Kidding as TV’s most brilliant comedy, but the evidence is abundant in every single episode of Season 2. The writing is close to perfect, with laugh-out-loud one liners and gut-punch realizations that unravel the characters and always serve the core message of the show. None of Kidding’s dialogue comes off as a throwaway line or unimportant aside (even in the episodes featuring a talking baguette), which makes each 30-minute chapter of Jeff’s story feel dense and satisfying in a way many individual dramedy episodes lack.Jim Carrey in Kidding (2018)Season 2 picks up after Jeff’s bottled rage exploded in a worst case scenario for his character and sprints towards a remarkable exploration of what it means to acknowledge pain.  That dialogue is brought to life by Kidding’s incredible cast, with Frank Langella and Catherine Keener performing particularly well as Jeff’s father Seb and sister Deirdre. Kidding’s blended tone of magical realism and hard truth is difficult to nail and those two show up wielding sledgehammers. Keener’s exasperated reactions to the chaos surrounding her, and the position of authority she assumes to manage it, make for some of the funniest scenes of the season. As for Langella, he pulls double duty in playing Seb and also voicing the younger version of his character. Also, young actor Juliet Morris deserves an Emmy in every category for her performance as Deirdre’s potentially evil, axe-wielding daughter Maddy. Everything that comes out of that kid’s mouth toes the line between abjectly horrifying and wildly inappropriate. Her world-weary deadpan delivery is one of Kidding’s secret weapons.Jim Carrey and Judy Greer in Kidding (2018)And then there’s Jim Carrey. The Mashable review of Season 1 pointed out the similarities between Carrey and his character, two megastars whose inner life is overshadowed by the emotionally blunted comedic characters that made them famous. Kidding isn’t afraid to utilize Carrey’s recognizable comedic strengths — funny voices, rubbery expressions, and supernatural powers of rapid enunciation — to fuel the meta-comparison, and proves in Season 2 that no one could play Jeff and elicit the same depths of emotion and understanding from his audience. No one could play Jeff and elicit the same depths of emotion and understanding from his audience. Carrey can make a goofy face look devastating and make devastation look goofy. He deserves another Golden Globe nomination for Kidding, if not an Emmy this time. Preferably with a win.Ariana Grande in Kidding (2018)One of Kidding’s episodes this season will serve as the bar every other TV show must meet or surpass to become the best 30-minute comedy episode of the year. It’s only February, but the technical sophistication and emotional arc of episode 2, “Up, Down, and Everything in Between,” is just that good. In it, transitional camera work moves Jeff from the real world to the world of his television show in a bafflingly beautiful single take that gives off an illusion similar to seeing the Land of Oz in color for the first time. The rest of the episode follows him on a musical adventure that has Jeff singing, dancing, getting roasted by puppets, and finally confronting the root of his emotional repression in a finale that may or may not have made a Mashable reviewer cry three times while rewatching and once when she glanced at a completely unrelated vacation advertisement that made her think about it on the subway.Jim Carrey in Kidding (2018) Kidding is a smart show that knows its tone and feels entirely sure of what it’s doing at all times. It’s superlative television. .

REVIEW: UNKNOWN

CAST

Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Dian Kruger (The Host)
January Jones (X-Men: First CLass)
Aidan Quinn (Elementary)
Bruno Ganz (Downfall)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)

finds that Liz has written a series of numbers that correspond to words found specific pages. Using his schedule, Martin confronts Liz alone; she tells him he left his briefcase at the airport. Meanwhile, Jürgen receives Cole at his office and deduces that Cole is a former mercenary and potent killer. Realizing Cole is there to kill him and he has no way of escaping, Jürgen commits suicide by ingesting cyanide to protect Martin.

After retrieving his briefcase, Martin parts ways with Gina. When she sees him kidnapped by Cole and Jones, she steals a taxicab and chases them. When Martin wakes, Cole says Martin Harris is a cover name and that he was sent to target the summit with Liz. Liz notified Cole that Martin was starting to believe his cover story was his actual life. Cole explains, that’s why Martin B was sent as his replacement. Because he injured his head during the car crash, his memory was altered and he believed his fake Martin Harris persona was his own identity. Gina runs over Jones before he can kill Martin, then rams Cole’s van, killing him. After Martin finds a hidden compartment in his briefcase containing two Canadian passports, he remembers that he and Liz were in Berlin three months prior to plant a bomb in the suite to be occupied by Prince Shada.

Now aware of his own role in the assassination plot, Martin seeks to redeem himself by thwarting it. He heads to the hotel with Gina. Security immediately arrests them, but Martin convinces them of his presence in the hotel three months earlier. Liz uses her own copy of the book’s secret codes to remotely access Bressler’s laptop and steal the data. After being convinced of the bomb’s presence, security evacuates the hotel.

Martin suddenly realizes that Prince Shada is not the target, but Bressler, who has developed a genetically modified breed of corn capable of surviving harsh climates. With Bressler’s death and the theft of his research, billions of dollars would fall into the wrong hands. Seeing their assassination attempt has been foiled, Liz dies attempting to disarm the bomb. Martin kills Martin B, the last remaining terrorist, before the latter can murder Bressler. Bressler announces that he is giving his project to the world for free, while Martin and Gina board a train with new passports and identities.This action/thriller/mystery is a little far fetched to say the least but great fun non the less.

REVIEW: NOAH

Starring

Russell Crowe (The Nice Guys)
Jennifer Connelly (Hulk)
Emma Watson (Harry Potter)
Ray Winstone (The Gunman)
Logan Lerman (The Three Musketeers)
Douglas Booth (Jupiter Ascending)
Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Madison Davenport (Sharp Objects)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Nick Nolte (Gangster Squad)
Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Jack Angel (A.I.)

Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe in Noah (2014)As a young boy, Noah witnesses his father, Lamech, killed by a young Tubal-cain. Years later, an adult Noah lives with his wife Naameh and their sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. After seeing a flower grow instantly from the ground and being haunted by dreams of a great flood, Noah takes them to visit his grandfather Methuselah.Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Douglas Booth, and Leo McHugh Carroll in Noah (2014)They encounter a group of people recently killed and take in and adopt the lone survivor, a girl named Ila. Ila is treated for an abdominal wound and will survive, but Naameh determines that she will be unable to have children. Noah and his family are chased by the murderers and seek refuge with the fallen angels known as the “Watchers”, in whose territory Methuselah lives. The Watchers are confined on Earth as stone golems for helping humans banished from the Garden of Eden. Methuselah gives Noah a seed from Eden and tells Noah that he was chosen for a reason. Returning to his tent that night, Noah plants the seed in the ground. The Watchers arrive the next morning and debate whether they should help Noah until they see water spout from the spot where Noah planted the seed. After a forest grows instantly, the Watchers agree to help Noah and his family build an ark.Emma Watson in Noah (2014)After birds fly to the ark, Tubal-cain arrives with his followers and confronts Noah. Noah defies Tubal-cain and remarks that there is no escape for the line of Cain. Tubal-cain retreats and decides to build weapons to defeat the Watchers and take the ark. As the ark nears completion, animals of various species enter the ark and are sedated with incense. With Ila having become enamored of Shem, Noah goes to a nearby settlement to find wives for Ham and Japheth but, seeing the settlers selling their daughters for food, he abandons his effort and begins believing that the Creator wants all of humanity dead. He tells his family that he will not seek wives for his younger sons. After the flood, they will be the last humans and there will be no new human generations.Russell Crowe in Noah (2014)Devastated that he will be alone his entire life, Ham runs into the forest. Naameh begs Noah to reconsider but, when he will not, she goes to Methuselah for help. Ila encounters Methuselah who cures her infertility. Ham, searching for a wife on his own, befriends the refugee Na’el. After it starts raining, Tubal-cain becomes angry that he was not chosen to be saved and incites his followers to make a run for the ark. Noah finds Ham in the forest and forces Ham to save himself, but leaves Na’el to die when she is caught in an animal trap. Noah’s family enter the ark except for Methuselah, who remains in the forest and is swept away by the rushing waters. The Watchers fight off Tubal-cain and his mob of followers, sacrificing themselves and ascending to heaven, their reward for protecting Noah. As the flood drowns the remaining humans, an injured Tubal-cain climbs onto the ark and solicits Ham, playing on anger toward Noah for allowing Na’el to die.Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe in Noah (2014)Ila discovers she is pregnant as the rains stop and begs the Creator to let the child live. Noah interprets the ending of the rain to mean he must ensure the extinction of humans and, against his wife’s protests, resolves that, if the child is a girl, he will kill her. Months pass, and Ila and Shem build a raft to escape Noah’s resolve, but Noah discovers and burns it. Ila then starts feeling labor pains and gives birth to twin girls. After Ham calls Noah telling him the beasts are awake and eating each other, Tubal-cain emerges and attempts to hit Noah. Noah and Tubal-cain engage in combat. Shem promises Ila that Noah will not harm their daughters and goes to stop him. He attacks Noah as Tubal-cain falls to the ground only to be knocked out. Tubal-cain eventually forces Noah to the edge of the raft, but Ham kills him with a dagger before he can shove Noah in the ocean. Noah picks himself up and finds Ila and the babies, intending to kill the children, but spares them upon looking at his granddaughters and only feeling love.Jennifer Connelly in Noah (2014)Upon exiting the ark on the new land, a shameful Noah goes into isolation in a nearby cave, making wine in which to drown his sorrows. Ham expresses disappointment for his father’s current state of unseemly drunkenness and nakedness before leaving his kin to live alone. Having reconciled at the behest of Ila, Noah blesses the family as the beginning of a new human race and all witness waves of immense celestial rainbows.Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Douglas Booth, and Leo McHugh Carroll in Noah (2014)There is a lot of brutal, gory, violent and disturbing content and some sexuality in this, none of it gratuitous. I recommend this to anyone not put off by it being based on a Genesis account or the fact that it takes liberties with it.

REVIEW: KIDDING – SEASON 1

Kidding (2018)

MAIN CAST

Jim Carrey (Ace Ventura)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Catherine Keener (The Incredibles 2)
Cole Allen (Round of Your Life)
Juliet Morris

Jim Carrey in Kidding (2018)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Justin Kirk (Molly’s Game)
Bernard White (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Ginger Gonzaga (Ted)
Riki Lindhome (The Lego Batman Movie)
Tara Lipinski (Ice Angel)
Jennie Pierson (Powerless)
Louis Ozawa Changchien (Predators)
Alex Raul Barrios (V/H/S Viral)
T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh (That’s So Raven)
Joel Swetow (The Orville)

Jim Carrey and Riki Lindhome in Kidding (2018)In the world of sad clowns, there are the ones who hide how much they’re crying on the inside, because they want to give the people what they want. And then there are the ones who let their inner darkness out as early and often as possible.Jim Carrey, Danny Trejo, and Conan O'Brien in Kidding (2018)Jim Carrey belongs to the latter group. He rose to TV fame playing comic grotesques like burn victim Fire Marshal Bill and steroid abuser Vera de Miloon on In Living Color, then became a movie sensation with the 1994 trifecta of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask and Dumb and Dumber. But every chance he’s had, he’s gone for dramatic work, apparently adopting the “one for them, one for me” career philosophy, not always to stellar effect. His first extracurricular job during the sketch comedy days was a weepy family TV-movie called Doing Time on Maple Drive, in which he played an alcoholic. At the time, the notion of him playing serious seemed so far-fetched that I first mistook an ad for it to be an In Living Color parody trailer that was taking too long to get to the punch line.Jim Carrey in Kidding (2018)Soon, that creative whiplash would be an accepted part of the deal. Carrey followed the Ace Ventura sequel with the strange anticomedy The Cable Guy. He followed Liar Liar with both The Truman Show (a melancholy takedown of reality TV) and Man on the Moon (an Andy Kaufman biopic for which he became so immersed in the role of performance artist, a documentary was made about the craziness of it all). Some of these dramatic leaps worked (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind remains one of the best films of this century), while others didn’t (The Majestic, anyone?). But it was clear Carrey’s heart lay more with them than with the sillier projects that paid the bills, and that he had the chops to do great things with the right role. Last year, he returned to TV in a way as a producer on Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here, a story about ’70s stand-up comedians that, true to Carrey’s taste, is almost wholly dramatic in depicting how miserable the business makes everyone.So the fact that his first regular TV role in close to 25 years is an utterly tragic one shouldn’t be a surprise. Nor should the fact that he’s superb in Showtime’s Kidding (it debuts September 9; I’ve seen four episodes) as a beloved PBS children’s show host struggling to cope with the death of a son. It feels like no accident that Carrey’s returning to the spotlight as a character who just wants to be sad, if only his adoring public would let him. It’s the part he was born to play.Created by Weeds alum Dave Holstein, with the first two episodes directed by Eternal Sunshine‘s Michel Gondry, Kidding casts Carrey as Jeff Pickles, who is basically Mister Rogers, only a generation younger and with longer hair. For 30 years, he has delighted and comforted children (and children at heart) with the help of his puppet pals and songs featuring lyrics like, “It’s you who’s doing the feeling, and that makes it OK, and if you don’t know who you are yet, you can feel it anyway.”But if Jeff provides solace and wisdom to his audience, he has no one to return the favor after the death of his son Phil (played, as is a surviving twin brother Will, by Cole Allen), which ended his marriage to Jill (Judy Greer). (Yes, Mr. Pickles is the kind of guy who gives his kids names that rhyme with their mother’s.) He wants to use his show to both work through his feelings and prepare kids for tough concepts like death; his producer Seb (Frank Langella) doesn’t want him to do anything to disrupt the merchandising empire Jeff has inadvertently created. “Kids know the sky is blue,” Jeff argues. “They need to know what to do when it’s falling.”Carrey is wonderful, making Jeff feel like a fully-realized person, Carrey’s worth the price of admission, though, it’s funny at time and others dramatic. With a second season already commissioned, it looks like Jeff will be sticking around for a while.

REVIEW: WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS

CAST

Michael Douglas (Traffic)
Shia LaBeouf (Eagle Eye)
Carey Mulligan (Drive)
Josh Brolin (Planet Terror)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Jason Clarke (Terminator Genisys)
Charlie Sheen (Rated X)
Eli Wallach (The Godfather- Part III)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Natalie Morales (Santa Clarita Diet)

Shia LaBeouf in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)In 2001, Gordon Gekko is released from prison after serving time for insider trading and securities fraud. In 2008, Gekko is promoting his new book Is Greed Good?, warning about a coming economic downturn. His estranged daughter, Winnie, runs a small, non-profit news website and is dating Jacob Moore, a top trader at Keller Zabel Investments (KZI). Jacob, a protégé of KZI managing director Louis Zabel, has been raising money for Dr. Masters and his fusion research project, which might create abundant clean energy. Jake is also financially assisting his mother, Sylvia, who has quit nursing to speculate in residential real estate.Michael Douglas and Shia LaBeouf in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)In the early stages of the downturn predicted by Gekko, KZI’s stock loses more than 50% of its value. Louis Zabel tries to arrange a bailout for KZI from other Wall Street banks but is blocked by Bretton James, head of rival firm Churchill Schwartz (Church), which KZI had refused to help during the dot-com bubble years earlier. Despondent, Zabel commits suicide by jumping in front of a subway train. A distraught Jacob proposes marriage to Winnie, who accepts. Jacob attends a lecture given by Gekko and introduces himself. Gekko tells him that KZI’s collapse started when Bretton spread rumors of KZI having toxic debt. Jacob and Gekko arrange a trade: Jacob will try to reconcile Winnie’s and Gekko’s relationship, and Gekko will gather information to destroy Bretton for his actions against KZI and for providing evidence against Gekko years ago. In revenge, Jake illegally manipulates the market by spreading rumors about the nationalization of a foreign oil field which Church has invested in. The company loses $120 million, but Bretton gives Jake a job, impressed by his initiative. Jake further impresses Bretton when he convinces Chinese investors to invest in the fusion project through Church.Michael Douglas, Josh Brolin, and Shia LaBeouf in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)Jake attends a $10,000-a-seat fundraiser with Winnie, buying a seat for Gekko to facilitate a “chance” meeting. Gekko confronts Bretton about what he did to him and to KZI. Bretton replies that no one cares what Gekko thinks anymore. Gekko also bumps into Bud Fox, and they discuss their shared experience going to jail. Gekko follows Winnie outside, where she explains why she blames him for everything that went wrong, stemming from his affairs and her brother Rudy’s suicide. Gekko claims he worked, from prison, to get the best therapists and even paid off a drug dealer to stop selling to Rudy, who died from an overdose. Winnie forgives him.Shia LaBeouf and Carey Mulligan in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)As the financial crisis accelerates, Bretton and business mentor Julius Steinhardt advise federal regulators to buy their multibillion-dollar subprime loans. As real estate collapses, Jake helps out Sylvia with his own money. Shortly after Winnie informs Jake that she is expecting their first child, Jake learns that Bretton is diverting the Chinese investment into underperforming solar panels, which are not a threat to his large position in fossil fuels. Gekko soon informs Jake that Bretton had secretly made huge profits betting against subprime loans yet still accepted the feds massive bailout. Gekko proposes using a $100 million trust fund account, which he hid in Switzerland for Winnie in the 1980s, to fund the fusion research. She signs the money over to Jake, not knowing he would entrust it to Gekko to complete the investment. When Gekko betrays them by leaving the country with the money, Winnie breaks up with Jake. Gekko sets up a hugely successful investment company in London, capitalized by the $100 million. Jake visits him to propose a new trade: Winnie gets her money back, and Gekko can participate in his grandchild’s life. Gekko refuses.Shia LaBeouf in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)Jake pieces together all the details of Bretton’s dealings, from KZI’s collapse through to his unnecessary government bailout of Bretton’s company. He gives the information to Winnie, telling her that revealing it will bring her website publicity and credibility. When Winnie runs the story, Bretton finds himself under intense government scrutiny while his company’s investors move all their money to Gekko’s firm, which recently posted a $1.1 billion return on investment. Jake has successfully reunited with Winnie in New York, when late one night Gekko appears, apologizes and tells them that he has anonymously deposited $100 million into the fusion research account. One year later, Gekko, Sylvia and other family and friends attend the first birthday party of Louis, Jacob and Winnie’s son.29825-001Not quite as good as the first Wall Street, but good enough in presenting a quintessential villain as an expository mouthpiece for the many failings of Western capitalism.

 

REVIEW: MUPPETS MOST WANTED

CAST

Ricky Gervais (Ghost Town)
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Steve Whitmore (The Dark Crystal)
Eric Jacobson (Sesame Street)
Dave Goetz (Inside Out)
Bill Barretta (When Families Grieve)
Matt Vogel (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Tony Bennett (Analyze This)
Hugh Bonneville (Paddington)
Jemaine Clement (Legion)
Sean Combs (Get Him To The Greek)
Rob Corddry (Warm Bodies)
Mackenzie Crook (One Chance)
Celine Dion (The Magic Sword)
Lady Gaga (Sin City 2)
Zach Gilifianakis (The Hangover)
Josh Grodin (The Hollars)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Tom Hiddleston (Thor)
Tom Hollander (Mission Impossible 5)
Toby Jones (Atomic Blonde)
Frank Langella (Superman Returns)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class)
Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Usher Raymond (She’s All That)
Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow)
Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones)
Russell Tovey (Being Human)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes)
Dylan Postl (Leprechaun Origins)

Following the events of the previous film, The Muppets find themselves at a loss as to what to do until Dominic Badguy suggests the Muppets go on a European tour with him as their tour manager. As the Muppets begin their tour, a criminal mastermind named Constantine, a near-exact double for Kermit the Frog in appearance, escapes from a Siberian Gulag and joins his subordinate Dominic to begin a plot to steal the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.Once the Muppets arrive in Berlin, Germany, Dominic secures them a show at a prestigious venue. Frustrated with the group’s incessant requests and Miss Piggy’s insistence they marry, Kermit goes for a walk at Dominic’s suggestion. Constantine ambushes him and glues a fake mole onto his cheek then slips away. Mistaken for Constantine, Kermit is arrested and sent to the Gulag. Taking Kermit’s place, Constantine’s blunders in imitating him are covered by Dominic; however, Animal knows the truth. After the Berlin performance opens with Constantine freezing at the audience, Scooter has to introduce the show. Constantine and Dominic steal paintings from a museum while the Muppets perform. The next morning, Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon and CIA agent Sam the Eagle grudgingly team up to apprehend the culprit whom Napoleon believes to be his nemesis “The Lemur” – the number-two criminal in the world.Meanwhile, Kermit has attempted several times to escape the Gulag but is thwarted each time by prison guard Nadya, who is not only aware of his true identity but is as infatuated with him as Miss Piggy is. Nadya orders Kermit to help organize the prisoners’ annual talent show.Following hidden instructions on the stolen painting, Constantine and Dominic divert the tour to Madrid, Spain. Constantine allows the Muppets to perform whatever they wish, much to Walter’s confusion. During this show, Constantine and Dominic break into a museum and destroy a roomful of busts to find a key needed for their plan. Even though the performance is a disaster, the Muppets receive critical acclaim. Sam and Napoleon deduce that the connection between the crimes is the Muppet tour, and the pair interrogates the Muppets, only to find that they are too ill-equipped to be guilty. The instructions on the stolen key lead Constantine and Dominic to schedule the next show in Dublin, Ireland.In Dublin, Walter discovers that Dominic has been giving away show tickets and bribing critics to ensure a packed house and rave reviews, while Fozzie Bear notices Kermit’s resemblance to Constantine. They both realize that Constantine has taken Kermit’s place and brought in Dominic as his accomplice. Constantine attacks Walter and Fozzie, but Animal fends him off and the three escape from the train to rescue Kermit. During the Dublin performance, Dominic steals a locket from a museum and Constantine proposes to Miss Piggy onstage; Piggy accepts, and the pair plan a ceremony to be held at the Tower of London in London, England, where the Crown Jewels are kept.Fozzie, Walter, and Animal reach the Siberian Gulag on the night of the performance, and Kermit uses it as a front to allow them, himself, and all the prisoners to escape the Gulag. Kermit, Fozzie, Walter, and Animal infiltrate the Tower as the wedding begins, and Dominic (with the help of Bobby Benson’s Baby Band) manages to steal the jewels.Kermit interrupts the ceremony, revealing Constantine’s ruse, but the crook takes Piggy hostage and flees to a helicopter, where he is intercepted by Dominic, who is actually the Lemur and intends to double-cross him. Constantine ejects him from the helicopter and tries to take off with Piggy, but Kermit jumps aboard and the rest of the Muppets climb atop each other to stop the escape. Kermit and Piggy knockout Constantine and both criminals are arrested. Nadya arrives in London to arrest Kermit for escaping. The other Muppets tell her that if she arrests him, then she will have to take all of them as well; she relents, allowing Kermit to go free. The Muppets perform at the Gulag with Constantine and the prisoners participating, ending the film.The heart and soul of the film is about the way the characters manage to bring a sense of togetherness and unity to the Muppets and how this unity brings joy to all those around. Throughout the film, Kermit manages to be a core reminder as to why The Muppets are generously wonderful creations for the world: the optimism, the kindness, the laughter: everything combines to form a strong impression that both children and adults can feel completely enamoured by. This is a film that is full of magic and it sits alongside The Muppets magnificently and is not to be missed.

REVIEW: SMALL SOLDIERS

CAST

Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man)
Gregory Smith (The Seeker)
Phil Hartman (The Simpsons)
Denis Leary (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Ann Magnuson (Perfect Strangers)
Jay Mohr (Cherry Falls)
David Cross (Scary Movie 2)
Wendy Schaal (American Dad)
Alexandra Wilson (Diner)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Robert Picardo (Stargate SG.1)
Jackie Joseph (Police Academy 2)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Tommy Lee Jones (Batman Forever)
George Kennedy (The Boston Strangler)
Ernest Borgnine (From Here To Eternity)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Harry Shearer (The Simpsons)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy)
Christina Ricci (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Cheri Oteri (Liar Liar)
Rance Howard (Universal Soldier)
Marcia Mitzman Gaven (The Simpsons)

Top defense contractor GloboTech Industries acquires the Heartland Toy Company and as part of the move, Globotech CEO Gil Mars (Denis Leary) tells Heartland toy designers Larry Benson (Jay Mohr) and Irwin Wayfair (David Cross) to develop actual live-action toys capable of “playing back”. Mars selects Larry’s action figures, the Commando Elite, for the project and Irwin’s educational toys, the Gorgonites, for their enemies, with the toyline expected to hit the market in three months. Faced with such a tight deadline, Benson forgoes safety testing, then uses Irwin’s password and chooses GloboTech’s overly powerful X1000 microprocessor to control the toys.Teenager Alan Abernathy (Gregory Smith) signs off for a shipment of the toys at his family’s toy store without his father’s consent. He and delivery driver Joe activate the leaders for each group – Archer (Frank Langella) for the Gorgonites and Chip Hazard (Tommy Lee Jones) for the Commando Elite. Alan’s neighbor and love interest, Christy Fimple (Kirsten Dunst), buys Chip as a birthday present for her brother Timmy. Alan returns home to discover Archer in his backpack; he realizes Archer is sentient, but in the meantime, the Commando Elite awaken and apparently destroy the Gorgonites in the toy store. Alan calls the company and files a complaint. Later, when Larry and Irwin listen to Alan’s voice mail, Irwin is terrified to discover the X1000 was designed for smart munitions guidance; a Globotech engineer reveals the AI circuit is designed to learn over time, but mass production was scrapped due to issues with EMP shielding.

Meanwhile, Chip and his squad pursue Alan to his home and attempt to kill him and Archer; unlike the Gorgonites, the Commando Elite do not understand they are just toys. Alan is attacked by Nick Nitro (Clint Walker), whom he mortally wounds. The next day, Alan and Archer find the rest of the Gorgonites in a dumpster at the shop. At home, Alan learns the primary goal of the Gorgonites is to seek their homeland Gorgon, which they mistakenly believe to be in Yosemite. The Commandos learn of Alan’s interest in Christy and decide to take her hostage, immobilizing the Fimple household to force Alan into surrendering the Gorgonites.Alan and Archer sneak into the Fimple house to save Christy, but runs into her Gwendy dolls, whom Chip has engineered as auxiliary troops. Archer cuts Christy loose from her bonds and together they destroy the Gwendys before escaping with the Commando Elite’s kit-bashed vehicles in hot pursuit, but they are all destroyed during the chase. The two return to his house, only to find her family and his parents waiting for them. Phil (Phil Hartman) refuses to listen to Alan and Christy about what happened. Irwin and Larry arrive and talk to Alan over his voicemail. At that moment, Chip – who survived the chase – attacks the house with a new force of Commando Elites, having hijacked Joe’s shipment and equipped with more improvised vehicles and weapons, and a battle breaks out between the Commandos and the humans inside, cutting off the house’s electricity supply.

Having been guided by Irwin’s advice to create an EMP blast, Alan heads out to force an overload of the power lines; Christy, Irwin and Larry head to the Fimples’ house to turn on all electronic items inside and wedge the power transformers open for a larger surge. The normally peaceful Gorgonites exit the house and fight back against the Commando Elite. Chip flies to the top of the powerline pole to stop Alan, where he briefly battles and defeats Archer, but finds himself thrust by Alan into the powerline, triggering the EMP blast which kills Chip along with all of the remaining Commando Elite. Mars arrives in his helicopter during the police and fire department cleanup the next day. He pays Joe, the Fimples, and the Abernathys for damages as well as buying their silence from the media, and orders Larry and Irwin to prepare the Commando Elite for sale to rebels in South America. Amongst the craziness of the aftermath, Alan and Christy part on highly amicable terms, and Alan later discovers that the Gorgonites have screened themselves from the EMP blast by hiding underneath the Fimples’ large satellite dish. Alan brings the Gorgonites to Yosemite National Park, where he sends them out in a large toy boat from his father’s store to find their island home of Gorgon.

I enjoyed this movie and despite it not being an all time classic I do recommend it as an entertaining family film