REVIEW: UGLY BETTY – SEASON 4

Starring

America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Judith Light (Transparent)
Michael Urie (Uptown Girls)
Becki Newton (How I Met Your Mother)
Ana Ortiz (Ralph Breaks The Internet)
Tony Plana (Lone Star)
Mark Indelicato (Dead of Summer)
Daniel Eric Gold (War of The Worlds)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Lynn Redgrave (Kinsey)
David Rasche (Men In Black 3)
Yaya DaCosta (In Time)
Alec Mapa (Doom Patrol)
Ralph Macchio (Cobra Kai)
Kristen Johnston (Mom)
Hamish Linklater (Legion)
Jamie-Lynn Sigler (The Sopranos)
Grant Bowler (Lost)
Adam Ferrara (Rescue Me)
Dylan Baker (Spider-Man 2)
Brooklyn Decker (Battleship)
Adam Rodriguez (Roswell)
Sarah Lafleur (Earth: Final Conflict)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family)
Fisher Stevens (Hackers)
Frank Whaley (Luke Cage)
Patricia Velasquez (The Mummy)
RuPaul (EDTV)
Katrina Bowden (Sex Drive)
Carol Kane (The Princess Bride)
Dana Ivey (The Addams Family)
Donna Murphy (Spider-Man 2)
Freddy Rodríguez (Planet Terror0
Ashley Jensen (Sherlock Gnomes)
Christopher Gorham (2 Broke Girls)
Bryan Batt (Scream: The Series)
Luna Lauren Velez (Oz)

After four years and 85 episodes, the braces came off and Ugly Betty, the fish-out-of-water PA from Queens, finally became Betty Suarez, publisher of her own magazine in the UK.Vanessa Williams and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)The first nine episodes focussed mainly on self-contained storylines. Betty’s struggles to establish herself in her new role as a junior editor as ex-boyfriend Matt, now her boss, is petty and mean to her. An emotionally vulnerable Daniel Meade is drawn into a cult as he tries to deal with Molly‘s death. A ludicrous murder side-plot involving Nico Slater, which triggers Wilhelmina leaving Mode.Ana Ortiz and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)A few ongoing plots are also teed up. Amanda starts to think about her future. Claire Meade sets off in search of the son, Tyler, she had with Cal Hartley but was forced to give away. Hilda hooks up with Bobby Talercio, an old high school flame. Each of these becomes significant down the stretch, but are only touched upon initially. London Calling, starts to set up the finale, as well as giving us a sentimental excuse to welcome back Christina and ex-boyfriends Gio and Henry.America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)The final episode gives us the closure we had all been waiting for, and does so with style. Hello Goodbye is as much about discovery as it is about departure, with every character getting their turn to take a final bow. Hilda, married and no longer tied to the Suarez house by her salon, gets her dream move to Manhattan. Justin finds contentment with Austin. Amanda finds her father. Daniel steps down as co-editor-in-chief to pursue the opportunity to find himself. Wilhelmina finds redemption, her lost love Connor and then, suddenly, without the need for scheming, she finally achieves her heart’s desire: Mode – a direct result of her altruistic act of saving Claire. Marc is shown the path to becoming creative director by Wilhelmina, and finds love and the possibility of a real relationship with Troy, after a lovely reversal where Justin returns the favour by turning into his mentor.Eric Mabius and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)There is one touching moment at the farewell party where we linger on Betty, Marc and Amanda – the triumvirate who have always been the beating heart of the show – dancing joyfully together, all previous bitchiness put aside as their friendship is finally affirmed.It was a fitting end, and one which suited the series better than the ending of its Colombian parent, Betty la Fea, would have done, where Betty marries Daniel’s equivalent, Armando. Betty has come a long way since she first walked through the door at Mode

REVIEW: UGLY BETTY – SEASON 3

Starring

America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Judith Light (Transparent)
Vanessa Williams (Shaft)
Becki Newton (How I Met Your Mother)
Ana Ortiz (Ralph Breaks The Internet)
Ashley Jensen (Sherlock Gnomes)
Tony Plana (Lone Star)
Michael Urie (Uptown Girls)
Mark Indelicato (Dead of Summer)

Tony Plana and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)
Christopher Gorham (2 Broke Girls)
Kelly Ripa (American Housewife)
Eddie Cibrian (The Cave)
Freddy Rodríguez (Planet Terror)
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)
Derek Riddell (Gunpwder)
Alec Mapa (Doom Patrol)
Barry Bostwick (Spy Hard)
Ralph Macchio (Cobra Kai)
David Blue (Stargate Universe)
Grant Bowler (Lost)
Lenny Venito (The Neighbours)
Sarah Lafleur (Earth: Final Conflict)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Toks Olagundoye (Castle)
Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray)
Kevin Kilner (Dollhouse)
Luna Lauren Velez (Oz)
Bernadette Peters (Smash)
Daniel Eric Gold (War of The Worlds)
Michael Stuhlbarg (The Shape of The Water)
Steve Schirripa (The Sopranos)
Peter McRobbie (Daredevil)
Cheyenne Jackson (Watchmen TV)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Brennan Brown (Focus)
David Rasche (Men In Black 3)
Dreama Walker (Compliance)

America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)The Third Season of the amazing show “Ugly Betty” shows even further strengthening of the programme- from the very good Season One, the show improved to be excellent in Season Two and this season returns to be truly amazing. There’s brilliant character development this season and the plotlines and ongoing storylines in this season are excellent; with some truly outstanding drama and comedy moments.America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)Following on from the first two seasons, “Ugly Betty” continues the story of New York underdog Betty who dreams of being an editor for a magazine. The show centres around her adventures as the “ugly” and “fat” girl at America’s top fashion magazine ‘Mode’, working with shallow, stick-thin, martini sipping socialites and arrogant, womanizing men. The characterisation remains to be great, and there is some outstanding character developments during this season- especially Mark, Amanda and Justin who are audience favourites- the former infact finally gets a more front-seat role in this season- Mark has been an excellent character since the first episode and this season it feels like he finally gets the screentime and storylines he deserves.Image result for ugly betty the manhattan project.With better comedy, improved writing and great storylines, fans of the show are sure to adore this season- and for those who are tempted to mingle with the show, this certainly satisfy those appetites. An excellent season; a brilliant show; and I highly recommend this boxset.

REVIEW: UGLY BETTY – SEASON 2

Starring

America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)
Judith Light (Transparent)
Vanessa Williams (Shaft)
Becki Newton (How I Met Your Mother)
Ana Ortiz (Ralph Breaks The Internet)
Ashley Jensen (Sherlock Gnomes)
Tony Plana (Lone Star)
Michael Urie (Uptown Girls)
Mark Indelicato (Dead of Summer)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kevin Alejandro (Arrow)
Lorraine Toussaint (Selma)
Jayma Mays (Heroes)
Illeana Douglas (Ghost World)
Kurt Fuller (Ghostbusters II)
Alec Mapa (Doom Patrol)
Rick Fox (Oz)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Justina Machado (The Purge: Anarchy)
Freddy Rodríguez (Planet Terror)
James Van Der Beek (Pose)
John Cho (Star Trek)
Victor Garber (The Orville)
David Blue (Stargate Universe)
Bailey Chase (Buffy: TVS)
Megan Hilty (Smash)
Artemis Pebdani (Son of Zorn)
Juliette Goglia (Mike & Molly)
Derek Riddell (Gunpowder)
Mo’Nique (Domino)
Eliza Dushku (Wrong Turn)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Betty White (Bones)
Candace Kita (Masked Rider)
Annie Potts (Young Sheldon)
Bow Wow (Scary Movie 5)
Hannah Marks (After Everything)
Carol Ann Susi (The Big Bang Theory)
Barry Bostwick (Spy Hard)
Gabrielle Union (Bring It On)
Ava Gaudet (Hurt)
Kari Matchett (Cube 2)
Eddie Cibrian (The Cave)
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)

Christopher Gorham and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)In season two, the characters of Ugly Betty go through a whirlwind of drama and comedy. The whirlwind comes from a variety of new developments that include Betty’s complex romance with Henry and a new character Gio, Alexis losing her memory and rekindling friendship with the family, Daniel struggling to keep control of Mode, Mrs. Meade on the run, Hilda dealing with the loss of Santos, and more. It is a very dramatic season with several tidbits of comedy throughout. Overall, it is enjoyable like the season one.Ashley Jensen and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)“How Betty Got Her Grieve Back” is the season two premiere episode. In it, a lot of things happen. The biggest development involves Betty’s love life, or rather lack of. She comes to terms with Henry leaving for Tucsan to take care of the mother of his unborn baby. Later in the season, Harry returns to Mode to finish working. Betty and Henry have a complicated romance, as they try to figure out how they can be together with the unborn baby baggage. Also in the premiere, Amanda finds out her mother is Fey Sommers! Throughout the season, she tries to find answers about her parents. And Marc helps her. Wilhelmina also uses the events from the season one finale to her advantage. With Claire behind bars, she moves on Bradford.America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)Daniel struggles with his personal demons about Alexis’ condition.Image result for ugly betty how betty got her grieve backIn the Saurez household, there are two key subplots introduced. The first is about Hilda, Justin, and Santos. Both Hilda and Justin come to terms with Santos death. Hilda goes through a couple phases, which include being boarded in her room and hanging out with aged widows. Justin goes through a rebellious phase, where he tries to take on qualities of his dad (sports and woman). The other development is about Ignacio still stuck in Mexico. Betty goes against her principles to help him acquire US citizenship.As the season continues, there are a lot of new developments — many of which grow from the seeds planted in the season opener. Betty’s love life with Henry gets more complex in “Betty’s Wait Problem”. A new character and love interest named Gio is introduced.Ashley Jensen and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)Alexis comes out of the coma without memory of the last two years. Daniel, Bradford, and Wilhelmina take advantage of the situation. Daniel and Alexis also struggle with Wilhelmina, who is still trying to take over Mode. Claire resurfaces after escaping from prison, which complicates Wilhelmina’s diabolical plans. The season developments continue with even more wild escapades.America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)Overall, Ugly Betty’s second season is fun and entertaining. It has a similar light-hearted humorous tone with over the top, soap opera plotlines to season one. The major difference is that Betty is no longer trying to prove herself.

REVIEW: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)
Drake Bell (Sueprhero Movie)
Ogie Banks (Superman vs The Elite)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Clark Gregg (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants)
Matt Lanter (Heroes)
Chi McBride (Human Target)
Caitlyn Taylor Love (I’m With The Band)
Logan Miller (Deep Powder)
J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Misty Lee (Killer Kids)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Tara Strong (The New Batman Adventures)
Eric Bauza (Batman: Assault on Arkam)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Stan Lee (Spider-Man)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Troy Baker (Lego Batman: The Movie)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Rob Paulsen (Teenae Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterpise)
Travis Willingham (Shelf Life)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Roger Craig Smith (Wreck-it Ralph)
Diedrich Bader (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Christopher Daniel Barnes (The Little Mermaid)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Jack Coleman (Heroes)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Rose McGowan (Planet Terror)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Freddy Rodriguez (Ugly Betty)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes)
Cameron Boyce (The Descendants)
Maria Canals-Barrera (Justice League)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Iain De Caestecker (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Elizabeth Henstridge (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
James Marsters (Caprica)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Billy West (Futurama)
Nika Futterman (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Wendie Malick (The Ranch)
Olivia Holt (Cloak & Dagger)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Nolan North (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Debby Ryan (Life of The Party)
Charlie Adler (Super Hero Squad)
Scott Porter (Prom Night)
Jon Polito (The Crow)
Keone Young (Men In Black 3)

I recently watched  Ultimate Spider-Man and I can honestly say that I have never wanted to stop watching a Spider-Man cartoon before in my life… until now. I have been a big fan of the Spider-Man comic series for many years and have liked almost all of the cartoon iterations of him, but this one just hurts to watch. I understand that Spider-Man is supposed to be a smart-mouthed teen who likes to make jokes while fighting crime, which is my favorite part about the character, but this show just takes it to an extreme.


I think one of the biggest problems for me was how much the stories are broken up by all of the “cut away” scenes.  I understand that Spider-Man is a show made for children and I get that the characters aren’t going to be nearly as serious as they are in the comics, but I feel like this was just too far from the source material for me to enjoy it. Another thing that bothered me was how just a few years ago we had, in my opinion, one of the best Spider-Man shows to date, Spectacular Spider-Man, and it was canceled in only it’s second season. I had really high hopes for Ultimate Spider-Man to fill the void that Spectacular Spider-Man left, but it just didn’t deliver at all.

As far as the voice acting on the show goes, they all seem to have done a really good job… with what they were given to read. So much of the writing in this show just seems so forced.why was Spectacular Spider-Man so much better and the most honest answer that I can give you is that it seems as though Marvel actually put a lot of work into Spectacular Spider-Man. I’m not saying that they didn’t put a lot of work into Ultimate Spider-Man, but it’s much harder to see in this one. The character designs in Spectacular Spider-Man may not have hit all of the right points for some people, but I really enjoyed it. The action in the show looked really good and it was easy to follow exactly what was happening, because you didn’t have a bunch of blur that you had to try and see everything through. The story for Spectacular Spider-Man was your standard Spider-Man fare, but while it was a show essentially for kids, it also appealed to many adults as well.


I really wanted to like Ultimate Spider-Man, but I just didn’t. I feel like if this show was about just another teen superhero other than Spider-Man it would have been much more forgivable, but for it to take such a dump on such a beloved character, it is just really sad to see. Now all that I can do is hope that the new Spider-Man movie can really bring something good to the table.

REVIEW: POSEIDON

CAST

Josh Lucas (Hulk)
Kurt Russell (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2)
Jacinda Barrett (Ladder 49)
Richard Dreyfuss (Tin Man)
Emmy Rossum (The Day After Tomorrow)
Mia Maestro (Alias)
Mike Vogel (Bates Motel)
Jimmy Bennett (No Ordinary Family)
Kevin Dillon (Entourage)
Freddy Rodriguez (Ugly Betty)
Fergie (Nine)
Andre Braugher (The Gambler)
Kirk B.R. Woller (The Chosen)
Valerie Azlynn (Julix X)
Austin Priester (Killjoy 2)

The MS Poseidon, a luxury ocean liner, is making a transatlantic crossing. Former New York City Mayor and FDNY firefighter Robert Ramsey (Kurt Russell) is traveling with his daughter Jennifer (Emmy Rossum) and her boyfriend Christian (Mike Vogel) to New York, soon to be engaged. Also on board is former Navy submariner-turned-professional gambler Dylan Johns (Josh Lucas), architect Richard Nelson (Richard Dreyfuss), Maggie James (Jacinda Barrett) and her son Conor (Jimmy Bennett), stowaway Elena (Mía Maestro), and waiter Valentin (Freddy Rodriguez).As the passengers are celebrating a New Year’s Eve party in the ship’s ballroom, officers on the bridge see a huge rogue wave bearing down on the ship. To survive the wave, they try to turn the ship to take the wave bow-first. However, the ship does not turn fast enough. The wave swamps and capsizes the ship, killing the bridge officers and many passengers. Badly injured, Captain Bradford (Andre Braugher) tries to restore order and assures the remaining passengers that help is on the way, and that they should remain in the ballroom. Unconvinced, Dylan leads Conor, Maggie, Robert, Richard, and Valentin towards the bow, where he believes they will have the best chance of escaping from the capsized liner.As they head up, they have to cross an elevator shaft, into which Valentin falls before being crushed by the falling elevator. They reunite with Jennifer, Christian, Elena, and gambler Lucky Larry (Kevin Dillon), who had all been in the nightclub section of the ship and to find that they are the last remaining survivors out of all of the occupants in the nightclub. The group crosses a makeshift bridge across the lobby, where Lucky Larry gets crushed by the engine. The pressure from the water finally cracks the ballroom windows, drowning and killing its occupants, including Captain Bradford and New Year’s singer Gloria (Stacy Ferguson). With the water rising rapidly, the group is forced to escape through an air duct and some ballast tanks, although Elena hits her head underwater and drowns.With the ship slowly sinking, the survivors soon find themselves in a crew lounge where they find the bow section is flooded, until an explosion of the engine room lifts it out of the water. The group enters the bow thruster room and are horrified to find the thrusters still running. With their path blocked by the propellers, and knowing that the control room is submerged in water, Robert swims away to turn off the engine. He finds the ‘shut off’ switch to be broken, but presses the reverse button instead, before drowning. With the propellers now spinning in the other direction, Dylan throws a nitrogen tank into it, causing an explosion that destroys the engine and leaving an opening for them to escape through. The group jumps out the thruster and swim to a nearby inflatable raft, and as they are getting into the raft, the ship starts to right itself. As they are paddling away, the waves push the raft further and further away from the sinking liner. Across the water, the survivors look on as the stricken ship sinks stern-first into the Atlantic. After firing a flare, two helicopters and several ships arrive to rescue the six survivors, having tracked the location of the Poseidon’s GPS beacon.Watching the latest version of the Poseidon Adventure, I wasn’t expecting much . But boy was I wrong! The first ten minutes of the movie are the usual for a disaster movie, we get to know the characters and why they are on the ship. But then a wave hits the Poseidon and the real thrills begin. This movie will keep you on the edge of your seat and make you wonder what is going to happen next. The Effects are some of the best I have ever seen and the acting is no where near as bad as everyone says it is. With a big name cast including Josh Luacs, Emmy Rossum and Kurt Russell, Poseidon is an excellent film and must be seen.

REVIEW: HARSH TIMES

 

CAST

Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises)
Freddy Rodriguez (Sin City)
Eva Longoria (Over Her Dead Body)
Tammy Trull (Havoc)
Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
J. K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Noel Gugliemi (Training Day)
Emilio Rivera (Venom)
Kenneth Choi (Spider-Man: Homecoming)

Jim Davis (Christian Bale) is a former U.S. Army Ranger who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Jim has a Mexican girlfriend, Marta (Tammy Trull), whom he is determined to marry, and bring into the United States to start a life together. With this in mind, Jim returns to Los Angeles, California. In Los Angeles, Jim meets up with his best friend Mike Alonzo (Freddy Rodriguez). Mike’s longtime girlfriend, Sylvia (Eva Longoria), a young attorney, is “on the warpath” over his failure to get a job (his previous job was outsourced) and she encourages Jim to help Mike hand out resumes. After being denied a position in the Los Angeles Police Department for failing the psychological profile, Jim gets drunk with Mike, forgetting all about the resumes.

The two go to visit Jim’s ex-girlfriend, but when her current boyfriend shows up, a fight ensues in which the boyfriend is backed up by a group of friends. Jim is able to get the upper hand and when Mike produces a gun, they subdue the men and rob them of their possessions, including marijuana and a handgun which they later decide to sell. Jim later leaves messages on Mike’s answering machine with several different voices, pretending to be companies responding to his resume.

The next day, when Jim goes to visit Mike, he finds Sylvia in a surprisingly good mood due to the callbacks. Jim and Mike end up wasting the day again, getting a friend of theirs to leave another message on Mike’s answering machine. They then go to a “paisa” bar to try to sell the gun, but leave after their potential buyer is stabbed in the neck and killed. Mike is horrified, but Jim is strangely excited by witnessing death again. When Mike arrives back home drunk, Sylvia is upset, so Mike plays back the answering machine, unaware that his friend didn’t hang up early enough and his voice is heard on the tape. Sylvia is enraged and throws Mike out of the house. He goes and stays at Jim’s place. Jim gets shortlisted for a position with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and after cheating on a urine test, it appears that he is going to be given a position.

Jim manages to pass the urinalysis test, but subsequently fails a polygraph test due to a question about his drug use. The only hope left for him is a government agent working out of Colombia, who appreciates Jim’s ability to “get things done”; Jim eventually accepts the position but is warned that he must not get married to a foreigner; his security clearance might be revoked. Jim is told to report to FLETC in a few days. Meanwhile, Mike gets a job when a company he applies at is now managed by an old friend. Jim goes to visit Marta along with Mike and another one of their friends, but before they leave, Mike goes to visit Sylvia and tells her that he has a job for real. She calms down and the two make love. Impatient, Jim goes inside and tells Sylvia that Mike is coming to Mexico with him for the weekend, as it is their last chance to hang out. Sylvia is angry and very much against the idea, and so Jim yells at both her and Mike. Mike decides to go with Jim to Mexico.

The trio arrive in Mexico, where they spend a relaxing night and morning the next day, preparing for a big party that night. At the party, Marta reveals that she is pregnant, and Jim responds violently, threatening to punch her in the stomach and shoot her in the head; in the end, this is a result of Jim’s severe PTSD. On the way back, Jim reveals that he is transporting 20 kilos of marijuana, much to Mike’s dismay. When Mike protests, Jim pulls a gun on him, flashing back, before breaking down in tears, horrified at what he is becoming. Mike, filled with pity for his friend, agrees to accompany Jim to the deal after all. When they arrive to sell the drugs, they realize one of the buyers was the same man they had earlier robbed and beaten, the boyfriend of Jim’s old flame.

Hostility ensues with both Jim and the other gang members pulling out guns, resulting in the other man’s death. The other members of the buying party present plead for their lives, but Jim kills them while suffering flashbacks due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While Jim and Mike are escaping in the car, a man from inside the house steps out and shoots at the car with an Armsel Striker; Jim is hit in the back and the side of his face, and subsequently paralyzed. He urges Mike to “step up” and shoot him, thus ending his suffering. After some hesitation, Mike and Jim say their goodbyes and Mike ends up killing Jim. The film ends with Mike returning to Sylvia, who was in the process of packing her belongings to leave for good. They embrace together as Mike breaks down crying.

The movie is an indictment of our culture and how messed up our priorities are, the choices we make, the choices we are given. It was written by David Ayer, who wrote Training Day and he directed it as well. This is in some ways a similar movie. it tackles similar themes from a slightly more askew angle. It’ a great movie, it has its slight faults but theres plenty to appreciate. If you like intelligent, adult fim making this is worth checking out.

REVIEW: AMERICAN DAD – VOLUME 1-3

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

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

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Curtis Armstrong (New Girl)
Carmen Electra (Scary Movie)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Kevin Michael Richardson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012)
Busy Philipps (The Smokers)
Daisuke Suzuki (I Am Gangster)
Stephen Root (King of The Hill)
Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Nat Faxon (Weeds)
Jeff Fischer (Happy Feet)
Sarah Silverman (Evolution)
Tori Spelling (Smallville)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Abraham Benrubi (Dark Angel)
William Fichtner (Mom)
Gina Gershon (Bound)
Seth Green (Austin Powers)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Elias Koteas (Fallen)
Matthew Lillard (Scream)
Ron Livingston (The Conjuring)
Megyn Price (Rules of Engagement)
Molly Shannon (Bad Teacher)
Marley Shelton (Planet Terror)
Stephen Colbert (The Venture Bros.)
Daran Norris (Veronica Mars)
Oded Fehr (V)
Forest Whitaker (Panic Room)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Grant Heslov (True Lies)
Jill Talley (Little Miss Sunshine)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Bryan Cranston (Total Recall)
Leslie Jordan (Ugly Betty)
Sandra Oh (Sideways)
Freddy Rodriguez (Planet Terror)
Jason Lee (Dogma)
Andy Richter (Chuck)
David Herman (Angel)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Jennie Garth (Beverly Hills, 90210)
Alex Borstein (Family Guy)
Peter Scolari (Gotham)
John Cho (Star Trek)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Alexandra Breckenridge (She’s The Man)
Chris Klein (American Pie)
Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5)
Kate Jackson (Charlie’s Angels)
Romany Malco (No Ordinary Family)
Thandie Newton (Westworld)
Seth Rogen (Bad Neighbours)
Christine Taylor (Zoolander)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Azura Skye (28 Days)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Stark Sands (Minority Report TV)
Elijah Wood (Lord of The Rings)
Ivana Milicevic (Banshee)
Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory)
John Krasinski (License To Wed)
Rusty Schwimmer (Highlander II)
Lisa Kudrow (Easy A)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Niecy Nash (Scream Queens)
Peter Graves (Airplane)
Patton Oswalt (Caprica)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Elliott Gould (Ocean’s Eleven)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Harve Presnell (Lois & Clark)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Richard Gant (Godzilla)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Eartha Kitt (60s Batman)
Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)
Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men)

A worthy successor to parent show Family Guy, this show tells the misadventures of an ultra right wing CIA Agent and his long suffering family.The characters are great. Stan Smith, the dad of the title is more capable than Family Guy’s Peter Griffin, but just as blinkered. He calls “French toast” smelly and ungrateful and prefers it to be known as “American toast”, has a questionable attraction to his gun and a fear of liberals.Wife Francine is a housewife who lacks ambition but every so often strikes out on her own. Their children are the geeky Steve and ultra left wing Hayley. Completing teh family are a German athlete who’s mind has been put in a fish Klaus (watch the pilot for the back story) and needy, TV and celebrity obsessed gender bending alien Roger. There are some great set ups e.g. Stan having Francine’s memory erased when he forgets a wedding anniversary, Roger apparently dying and the CIA hunting him as the area 51 alien who previously escaped and Stan being sent to Arabia as a punishment and finding it’s to his taste.The jokes fly thick and fast e.g. Roger telling Stan “Oh by the way your skin cream did wonders for my ‘roids, well if you won’t let me out of the house to buy my own I guess we’re ointment buddies!”, Stan saying “Should, well we don’t live in Shouldland. Ah Shouldland, what a wonderful place!” and Roger’s retort “yes I’m an alien and I have claws. You’re awfully fat. See? Kitty can scratch!”There are also some great turns from Patrick Stewart voicing CIA Deputy Director Bullock. Great commentaries and featurettes make a superb package!

The “Laugh Alert” level is elevated with the release of this second volume of episodes that chronologically span seasons 1 and 2. You know the “there” that people talk about when they say, “Don’t go ‘there’?” Seth MacFarlane’s American Dad leaves “there” in the dust.Take the holiday–excuse me, Christmas–episode, “The Best Christmas Story Never,” which somehow melds Charles Dickens with a Ray Bradbury-esque cautionary tale of tampering with the past.CIA Agent and true patriot act Stan Smith (voiced by MacFarlane) loses the spirit of the season in a blizzard of PC secularism in which even the fugitive “Christmas rapist” must be referred to as “the holiday rapist.” In the “is nothing sacred” world of American Dad, Christmas can only be saved by Stan accompanying the Ghost of Christmas Past (Lisa Kudrow) back in time to (don’t ask) kill Jane Fonda (or Donald Sutherland), take over the direction of Taxi Driver from a drug-free Martin Scorsese, and shoot Ronald Reagan.

The Smith family–wife Francine, geeky son Steve, and “peace-pusher” daughter Hayley–is still not as vividly drawn as the Griffins on MacFarlane’s Family Guy (even Klaus, the talking German-accented goldfish admits in one episode that his “fish shtick” is getting thin), but one can’t help salute the audacity of the oft-inspired writing. In “Stannie, Get Your Gun,” Stan becomes a National Gun Association spokesperson after being accidentally paralyzed by his anti-gun daughter. “The American Dad After School Special” has an A Brilliant Mind-like twist as Stan battles an eating disorder brought about by Steve’s new overweight girlfriend. In “Helping Handis,” Steve becomes the big man on campus after he develops steroid-enhanced breasts.Two episodes are standouts for their animation. “Dungeons and Wagons,” as did South Park with “Make Love, Not Warcraft,” creates a video game universe in which Steve rules. Near the end of “Failure Is Not a Factory-Installed Option,” the screen adjusts to widescreen format, and the saga of the golden turd, begun in the first season episode, “Homeland Insecurity” compellingly continues with the jewel-encrusted oddity becoming the last temptation of an honest cop (Beau Bridges). American Dad is, as should be apparent, not for all tastes (or more sensitive viewers–the episode “Tears of a Clooney” drops some unbleeped F-bombs), but fans of the series are rewarded with this three disc-set’s prodigious extra features, including rowdy, chaotic commentaries for all the episodes, a wealth of hit and miss deleted scenes, and a segment devoted to the production of “Dungeons and Wagons.”

“I’m not beloved,” CIA Agent Stan Smith is shocked to discover after eavesdropping on his mocking neighbours in the episode, “I Can’t Stan You”. With all the resolve this “pig-headed” Red State poster boy and George “The Dub” Bush devotee can muster, he vows, “I will make these people like me.” For those still on the fence about American Dad, this collection of 18 episodes ought to do the trick.These characters may not be as indelible as the Family Guy clan, but these episodes rarely flag. If the outrageous storylines don’t grab you, the rapid-fire random gags will. Like King of the Hill’s Hank Hill , Stan (voiced by series co-creator Seth McFarlane) is oft confounded by a world seemingly gone mad. Unlike Hank, he is the voice of un-reason. In “Surro-Gate,” Stan’s dizzy wife, Francine (Wendy Schaal) agrees to be the surrogate for the Smith’s gay neighbors, prompting the disapproving Stan to kidnap the infant, as well as the brood of a lesbian couple.In “Black Mystery Month,” Stan reveals a Da Vinci Code-like conspiracy involving George Washington Carver that’s plain nuts. In another episode, “Bush Comes to Dinner” for a night of drunken debauchery; some easy-target Bush-bashing is redeemed when the President makes peace between Stan and his “lost cause” liberal daughter, Hayley (Rachael MacFarlane). Some of the best episodes focus more on the Smith family than politics. In “The Vacation Goo”, Francine demands a real family getaway after discovering that all previous vacations were artificially created memories. In “Haylias,” it is revealed that the unwitting Hayley is a brainwashed sleeper agent, who is activated by Stan to stop her from moving to France. “The 42-Year-Old Virgin” reveals another shocker: trigger-happy Stan has never actually killed anyone!American Dad revels in guy humour. As Stan tells an unamused Hayley at one point, “You don’t get a willy, you don’t get the silly.” American Dad brings the silly, but while the series is not above (or beneath) moth fart jokes, it is also smart enough to reference, say, “Equus” or the touching “When Somebody Loved Me” number from Toy Story 2. Stan’s geeky son, Steve (Scott Grimes), bitchy alien Roger (MacFarlane), and talking fish Klaus (Dee Bradley Baker) are no Chris, Brian, or Stewie, but this set contains some of their more memorable outings. In “Frannie 911,” it turns out that it actually would kill Roger to be nice. In “Surro-Gate,” Klaus vows revenge on Roger and Stan following a waterslide prank. American Dad fans will salute this three-disc set’s generous features, including a riotous Comic-Con cast table read of the episode, “The 42 Year-Old Virgin,” nearly a half hour of deleted scenes (deleted jokes would be more accurate), unrated versions (with unbleeped profanities) of certain episodes, and freewheeling audio commentaries (“Hey, aren’t we supposed to talk about the episode?” one participant tries to steer one digressive conversation

REVIEW: PLANET TERROR

CAST
Bruce Willis (Armageddon)
Rose McGowan (Jawbreaker)
Freddy Rodriguez (Ugly Betty)
Josh Brolin (Gangster Squad)
Naveen Andrews (Lost)
Marley Shelton (Pleasantville)
Jeff Fahey (The Lawnmower Man)
Michael Biehn (The Terminator)
Rebel Rodriguez (Angels Sing)
Fergie (Nine)
Michael Parks (Red State)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Cheech Marin (Cars)
Zoe Bell (Oblivion)
Quentin Tarantino (Little Nicky
Corey Burton (Critters)
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In rural Texas, go-go dancer Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) decides to quit her low-paying job and find another occupation. She runs into her mysterious ex-boyfriend El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez) at the Bone Shack, a BBQ restaurant owned by J.T. Hague (Jeff Fahey) and his sheriff brother (Michael Biehn). Meanwhile, a group of officials at a nearby US military base, led by the demented Lt. Muldoon (Bruce Willis), are making a business transaction with a chemical engineer named Abby (Naveen Andrews) for mass quantities of a deadly biochemical agent known as DC2 (codename “Project Terror”). When Muldoon learns that Abby has an extra supply on hand, he attempts to take Abby hostage, and Abby intentionally releases the gas into the air. The gas reaches the town and turns most of its residents into deformed bloodthirsty psychopaths, referred to as “sickos” by the surviving humans. The infected townspeople are treated by the sinister Dr. William Block (Josh Brolin) and his unhappy, unfaithful bisexual anesthesiologist wife Dakota (Marley Shelton) at a local hospital.
Random zombie attacks begin along the highway, causing El Wray, with Cherry as his passenger, to crash his truck. In the aftermath, several zombies tear off Cherry’s right leg. Also falling victim, fatally, is Tammy (Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson), who was on her way to into town to reunite with her former lover Dakota. When Tammy’s body arrives at the hospital, Dr. Block recognizes her and by comparing text messages on the cellular phones of Tammy and his wife, realizes Dakota was about to leave him. He then attacks Dakota with her own anesthetic syringe needles, stabbing her repeatedly in the hands, rendering them useless, before locking her in a closet to tend to other patients, including Cherry, who is still alive.
El Wray is detained by Sheriff Hague based on past encounters between the two men. As the patients transform into zombies, El Wray leaves the police station and arrives at the hospital, attaching a wooden table leg to Cherry’s stump. As El Wray and Cherry fight their way out of the zombie-infested hospital, Dakota escapes to her car, but in struggling to open its door with her numbed hands, accidentally breaks her left wrist. She eventually manages to drive away. Meanwhile, Block becomes infected along with others, while Cherry and El Wray take refuge at the Bone Shack.
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Dakota retrieves her son Tony (Rebel Rodriguez) and takes him to her father, Earl McGraw (Michael Parks), a Texas Ranger. Tony, who was given a revolver by his mother, accidentally shoots himself in the face after being told not to point it at himself. Cherry and El Wray make love in J.T.’s bedroom. Due to a “missing reel”, what happens immediately following this is not known, but when the film returns, Sheriff Hague has been shot in the neck by one of his own officers, zombies are massing outside the Bone Shack, which is set on fire, and Wray has evidently told Hague who he really is, with both men hinting at some important backstory dialogue that probably happened during the “missing reel”. Dakota, Earl, and Tony’s crazed babysitter twins (Electra and Elise Avellan) arrive at the Bone Shack.
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With Sheriff Hague badly injured, the group decides to flee to the Mexican border, before being stopped by a large mob of zombies. Muldoon’s men arrive, and kill the zombies before arresting the group. They learn from Abby that the soldiers are stealing Abby’s supply of the gas because they are infected with it and the only treatment is by constant inhalation of the gas, which delays mutation. They also learn that a small percentage of population is immune to the gas, suggesting a possible treatment, which is why Muldoon quarantined the survivors. As Cherry and Dakota are taken away by two soldiers (Quentin Tarantino credited as “Rapist #1” and Greg Kelly credited as “Rapist #2”), the others defeat the security guards. J.T. sustains a gunshot wound in the process, and the group searches for Muldoon. Discovered by El Wray and Abby, Muldoon explains that he killed Osama bin Laden before he and his men were infected with DC2 and were ordered to protect the area. El Wray offers a respectful recognition of Muldoon’s military service before he and Abby shoot the mutating Muldoon.
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Meanwhile, Cherry is forced to dance by Rapist #1 while being held at gunpoint. Cherry attacks by breaking her wooden leg across the rapist’s face and stabbing him in his eye with the stump. Dakota, after realizing she has regained feeling in her hands, quick-draws her syringe launcher and stuns Rapist #2. El Wray and Abby arrive to rescue Cherry and Dakota, and El Wray replaces Cherry’s broken wooden leg with a modified M4 Carbine with a M203 grenade launcher attachment. She promptly kills Rapist #1 and several zombies with it.
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J.T., wounded and lying beside his dying brother, stays behind to detonate explosives to eliminate the zombies still in the complex while the others flee. The survivors make plans to escape by stealing helicopters but must fight past the remaining zombies. Abby dies (and hope for a cure with him) when a ballistic projectile blows his head up. An infected Block then arrives and is killed by Earl, shortly before the survivors use the blade tips of their transport helicopter to kill all the remaining zombies. However, while saving Cherry from a zombie, El Wray is fatally wounded. In the epilogue, Cherry (now sporting a minigun prosthetic leg) leads the group and many more survivors to the Caribbean beach at Tulum, Mexico, where they start a peaceful new society during a world-wide zombie outbreak. In the final moments of the film, it is revealed that Cherry Darling has given birth to El Wray’s daughter (alluded to earlier during El Wray’s final scene when he puts his hand on her stomach and restates his motto “I never miss”). In a post-credits scene, Dakota’s son Tony is sitting on the beach at the survivor’s “base” playing with his turtle, scorpion, and tarantula.
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Rodriguez has always handled the cinematography, editing, and music for his pictures– he coined the phrase “shot, chopped, and scored” for his Renaissance man approach to his pictures. The film is a visual extravaganza, not only for the gore and make-up artistry , but for Rodriguez’s keen eye for photography on films of this ilk as well as the artificial flaws he implants in the movie to lend authenticity to the idea that this film was meant for another era. Scratches on film, color errors, skipping frames, burn outs on reels as well as a missing reel give “Planet Terror” an atmosphere of cool.

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)
Jerry Lambert (American Housewife)
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.Family Guy (1998)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.Comic-Con-Family-Guy-The-SImpsons-Crossover-SG-21

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: LADY IN THE WATER

 CAST

Paul Giamatti (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic world)
Bob Balaban (Ghost World)
Jeffrey Wright (The Hunger Games 2, 3 & 4)
Sarita Choudhury (Gloria)
Freddy Rodriguez (Planet Terror)
Bill Irwin (Interstellar)
Jared Harris (Sherlock Holmes 2)
Noah Gray-Cabey (Heroes)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)
David Ogden Stiers (Two Guys and a Girl)
John Boyd (Bones)
Monique Gabriela Curnen (The Dark Knight)
Cindy Cheung (13 Reasons Why)

hqdefaultThe woman of the title isn’t a lady so much as a sea nymph, otherwise known as a “narf” in the fairytale parlance dreamed up by Shyamalan. And the waterlogged universe she inhabits is a swimming pool at a dingy Philadelphia apartment complex called The Cove. But the poor narf, named Story (Bryce Dallas Howard), is in dire straits. She needs the help of humans to return to her magical universe, and so Story gleans hope one night when she is discovered in the pool by The Cove’s sad-sack handyman, Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti).

Cleveland, who keeps to himself in a tiny cottage adjacent to the apartment building, suffers the scars of a tragic past that he keeps under wraps. Story’s plight suddenly gives purpose to this lonesome man; in no time at all, he is helping protect the narf from a vicious creature known as a “scrunt,” which lurks in the woods surrounding The Cove. Moreover, Cleveland sets out to deduce which of the apartments’ tenants have preordained roles in Story’s rescue.MV5BOTcwMjQ2MTA1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzA4NzkyMw@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_Randomness does not exist is the hermetically sealed world of M. Night Shyamalan. As Cleveland learns that Story is part of a fairytale brought to life, Lady in the Water takes on the risible everything-has-a-purpose theme that turned the filmmaker’s Signs into dross. Still, the neatly constructed order induces fewer eye rolls this time around, since Shyamalan can simply hide behind the kitchen-sink dynamic of fairytales. All the silliness Shyamalan tosses in about guardians, healers, a guild and the like reminds me of the Rob Lowe character in Thank You for Smoking, who notes that movies can remedy any inconsistency with “one line of dialogue: ‘Thank God we invented the … whatever device.'”MV5BMzMzNzM4ODY5NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDU3NzkyMw@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_A lot of whatever devices turn up in Lady in the Water, a film that shamelessly displays the seams of its bedtime-story origins. Cleveland learns about Story’s magical world, and what must be done to return the narf to her kingdom, from an elderly Asian woman (June Kyoto Lu) with an unnerving command of the mighty obscure fable. Neither the woman nor her Americanized granddaughter (Cindy Cheung) gives it a second thought that Mr. Heep, who quickly accepts Story’s story, keeps popping up with hypothetical questions about the world of narfs and scrunts. Another resident reads magical messages on cereal boxes.

The cast tries to jumpstart things, albeit with mixed results. Howard, who was perhaps the best thing about The Village, is well-cast as the pale, ethereal sea nymph, but she is given precious little to do. Giamatti is also a gifted actor, but he isn’t asked to do much more than stutter and project melancholy. Some very good character actors — including Jeffrey Wright, Freddy Rodriguez, Mary Beth Hurt and Bill Irwin — are wasted in one-dimensional roles as The Cove’s apartment dwellers.

And then there is the director himself. Shyamalan has appeared in his films before, but Lady in the Water marks his first significant acting part. Here he portrays a struggling writer whose manuscript, “The Cookbook,” might just be pretty darned important. As a filmmaker, Shyamalan is a bona fide original. As an actor, he is merely insipid. Then again, maybe Shyamalan’s casting of himself as the unappreciated, world-changing artist just fills some deeply rooted narcissistic need of his.