REVIEW: GOTHAM – SEASON 3

 

MAIN CAST

Ben McKenzie (Batman: Year One)
Donal Logue (Ghost Rider)
David Mazouz (New Girl)
Morena Baccarin (Homeland)
Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers)
Robin Lord Taylor (Cold Comes The Night)
Erin Richards (The Quiet Ones)
Camren Bicondova (Girl House)
Corey Michael Smith (Wonderstruck)
Jessica Lucas (Cloverfield)
Chris Chalk (12 Years A Slave)
Drew Powell (Straw Dogs)
Maggie Geha (Ted 2)
Benedict Samuel (The Walk)
Michael Chiklis (Fantastic Four)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Leslie Hendrix (Arthur)
James Carpinello (Gangster Squad)
Jamie Chung (The Gifted)
John Doman (Blue Valentine)
Jada Pinkett Smith (Magic Mike XXL)
B.D. Wong (Jurassic World)
Chelsea Spack (Blue Bloods)
Raymond J. Barry (Training Day)
Richard Kind (Stargate)
Naian Gonzalez Norvind (The Devil You Know)
Anthony Carrigan (The Flash)
Ivana Milicevic (Vanilla Sky)
Cameron Monaghan (Amityville: The Awakening)
James Remar (Black Lightning)
Nathan Darrow (Preacher)
Camila Perez (Star)
Tonya Pinkins (The Book of Henry)
Paul Reubens (Batman Returns)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Clare Foley (Sinister)
David Dastmalchain (Ant-Man)

Maggie Geha in Gotham (2014)Gotham is the crime drama series based on DC Comics’ Batman universe. Having premiered on Fox in the autumn of 2014, the show initially focused on young versions of James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). Over time, though, the series introduced younger iterations of well-known villains in the Batman franchise, as well as lesser-known characters to provide a wider representation of the Dark Knight’s universe. Additionally, with Season Two, the episodes were grouped into “Rise of the Villains” (Episodes 1-11) and “Wraith of the Villains” (Episode 12-22), and that concept was continued in Season Three, with Episodes 1-14 grouped into “Mad Love” and Episodes 15-22, under the subtitle of “Heroes Rise.”Benedict Samuel in Gotham (2014)Concepts deriving from the overarching themes were weaved throughout the various storylines. Betrayal is often associated with love, and this theme was well represented throughout the season. Between lovers, siblings, work colleagues, and enemies, betrayal was a symptom of the deterioration of Gotham. Gordon tried to take the high road with his ex-fiancé Lee (Morena Baccarin) who moved on to a relationship with Dr. Mario Falcone (James Carpinello) and fell into an uneasy sexual relationship with Valerie Vale (Jamie Chung) that included a number of lies and betrayals due to their goals arising from their respective jobs – bounty hunter and reporter. But, the downfall between Gordon and Vale came when he is forced by Jervis Tetch (Benedict Samuel) to choose between Vale or Lee in “Follow the White Rabbit” (Episode 6). Although he chooses Vale, all parties easily infer that Gordon is still in love with Lee. Later in the season, Bruce commits a deadly betrayal against Alfred (Sean Pertwee) in “Destiny Calling” (Episode 21) after being kidnapped by the Court of Owls to spend time with The Shaman (Raymond J. Barry) and meeting Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig). Surprisingly, one ray of light occurred between Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor). Desperate to know why she didn’t kill him, Penguin was surprised and humbled that Fish saw in him her greatest creation (“Burn the Witch” Episode 2).Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith in Gotham (2014)

As often that a character was turning on another individual, sometimes the betrayal came from within. Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) seemed to be one of the most conflicted characters through the season, trying to answer the question, “Who am I?” His identity, publicly as Penguin’s Chief of Staff, and privately as Penguin’s mastermind, resulted in a vacuum of questions after Nygma shot Penguin, believing he had killed his best friend who overshadowed and defined him. As a result, Nygma tested a number of the city’s intelligent people for assistance in determining his own identity separate from Penguin. The Tetch virus enhanced and brought out certain traits of characters and finding themselves at odds with themselves. Captain Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis) received a drop of blood from Alice Tetch (Naian Gonzalez Norvind) which heightened his commitment to the concept of justice, becoming judge, jury, and executioner as well as embodying the law (“New Day Rising” Episode 4). Marios jealousy was amplified, and Lee became a bad girl looking for the bad boy in Gordon, who was forced to self-infect the virus on himself in “Pretty Hate Machine” (Episode 20). As one of the heroes, Gordon was the only one who could control his magnified emotional state.

Amongst chaos, the heroes rise; however, the idea of heroes is a double-edged sword, so the viewer’s traditional definition of hero will be challenged in Season Three. Executive Producer John Stephens said, “Everyone goes through a major character metamorphosis throughout the course of the yea,r” in an interview with Comicbook.com. What is the most dramatic event that a character could go through? Well, it seemed that death (or near-death) and rebirth was a common event for most of the characters. For instance, Ivy Pepper (Maggie Geha) was touched by one of Dr. Strange’s (B. E. Wong) monsters and not only did she age about 10 or so years, but it was the belief of Selina (Camren Bicondova) that Ivy had died. Fish Mooney, Victor Fries (Nathan Darrow), who became Mr. Freeze, and Bridgit Pike (Camila Perez), who became Firefly, actually died and were reborn. It should be noted that while some characters died, they did not embody their familiar mantle: Ivy isn’t known as Poison Ivy, Selena hasn’t become Catwoman, and Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) may have the iconic creepy wide smile, but nary a whisper of “Joker” has been heard – yet.David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova in Gotham (2014)The parallels amongst pairs of characters did deliver intriguing comparisons. For example, viewers witness the very public destruction of Penguin, each layer of his personae being taken away from him. The betrayal is deliberate, a conscious effort on the part of Nygma, Barbara Keen (Erin Richards), Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas), and Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell). Eventually, even Penguin’s life is taken from him; however, there is also a private betrayal occurring in Lee. She has internalized her loss and although she argues for justice and grabs for the preverbal straws, she finally realizes that she is the root cause of her own betrayal. She hits rock bottom and as a result, injects herself with the Tetch virus, embracing her ruin.Robin Lord Taylor in Gotham (2014)Due to the large ensemble cast of regular cast members, plus the recurring and special guests through the 22 episodes, one of the inherent issues is affording enough screen time to each character so that their origin story is fully explored, resulting in a well-developed character. While Gordon and Wayne/514A (David Mazouz, in a dual role) are central characters and will typically appear in each episode, some of the other regular characters, such as Selina Kyle, Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk), or Butch, seem to disappear from the storyline. For example, in the closing minutes of “How the Riddler Got His Name” (Episode 15), Edward Nygma/The Riddler reveals to Lucius that he is struggling with defining his identity separate and outside of the shadow of Penguin. After announcing to Lucius that he is the Riddler, Nygma knocks Lucius out in his car. Viewers next see Lucius in “Light the Wick” (Episode 18). Fish Mooney is another character that is missing for most of the season after appearing in the season’s opening episode, “Better to Reign in Hell…” Their disappearances do cause some gaps, such as where was Lucius for two episodes, 16 and 17 – one would assume that someone from the GCPD would notice Lucius sleeping off Nygma’s attack in the front seat of his car, parked across the street from the precinct.Drew Powell, Jessica Lucas, and Cory Michael Smith in Gotham (2014)The third season of Gotham provides intriguing complexities to the overarching denigration of the city into chaos and the telling of individual character origin stories. While the origin stories are fascinating, the fact that there is foreknowledge that most of the characters cannot die because they will one day face Bruce Wayne as Batman does cause a wrinkle with the audience’s engagement with the storylines. To compensate, spending more time on character development would alleviate some of the indifference inherent to the nature of prequel narratives. That said, Gotham is a binge-worthy show. The city is visually stunning, and the Steampunk feel captivating. Audiences unfamiliar with the origin stories will likely enjoy the show just as much or more so than those that come to the show with familiarity from reading the comics.

 

REVIEW: SUCKER PUNCH

 

CAST

Emily Browning (Sleeping Beauty)
Abbie Cornish (Limitless)
Jena Malone (Donnie Darko)
Vanessa Hudgens (Spring Breakers)
Jamie Chung (Once Upon A Time)
Carla Gugino (Watchmen)
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Jon Hamm (Mad men)
Scott Glenn (The Silence of The Lambs)
Monique Ganderton (Smallville)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Chrstine Willes (Dead Like Me)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Gerard Plunkett (Travelers)
A.C. Peterson (Shooter)
Michael Adamthwaite (Stargate SG.1)

 

Like many men, when I saw the trailers appear for the film a number of things caught my eye immediately. First and foremost was the cast of hot scantily clad young women with cool sounding names like Baby Doll, Sweet Pea, Rocket, Amber, and Blondie. The next thing noticed was that it seemed to blend fantasy with a lot of ridiculously over the top action that involved zombie Nazis, fire-breathing dragons, robot samurai, and other entirely bizarre and irrational things that would surely only come out of the imagination of a weirdo who has a strong affection for anime, video games, and everything else considered genuinely bizarre: this was not the kind of thing I expected to see for a big-budget spectacle showpiece. The end result was that Sucker Punch ultimately looked to me like something that would only appeal to young men looking for thrills or pop-culture junkies. It seemed like it would have plenty of pretty images and little substance whatsoever. What could possibly be worthwhile about the film beyond some mere thrills.MV5BODk0MDI3NDI5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzc2MjA3NA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,825_AL_Sucker Punch begins with what essentially adds up to being a music video stylized opening that aims to bring audiences into the start of the story. Prepare to see a lot of this throughout the entire experience. I actually embraced it because it’s in part the kind of thing I always felt Snyder should be doing: making music videos or commercials. By placing an emphasis on the music and striking imagery I felt allowed to have a visceral experience that actually grabbed on to me and wouldn’t let me go. We discover early on that the girl we would soon know as Baby Doll (Emily Browning) was being sent to a mental institution by her stepfather. It’s no fault of her own mental health – she witnesses the murder of her younger sister who I presumed was also raped beforehand. The stepfather doesn’t stop there as he tries to rape and murder them both, and when Baby Doll fights back he somehow arranges it so that they believe the murder of her sister was why she was being committed into the mental institution in the first place.MV5BMTg1MjM1ODk3N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTc2MjA3NA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,828_AL_Upon entering the mental institution Baby Doll enters a fantasy-world she creates where the storyline of Sucker Punch allows her to enter a dream within another dream state of mind (and this really made me wonder if this had anything to do with why Christopher Nolan picked Snyder for the Superman reboot). She visualizes the mental intuition as actually being a dance hall – but the truth of the fantasy is that the director of the asylum, Blue (Oscar Isaac), is really trying to prostitute the girls out to clients in his role as the owner of the dance hall. The doctor of the mental institution, Dr. Vera Gorski (Carla Gugino), is now seen as the dance instructor and every time one of the characters ‘dances’ they are actually entering a deeper fantasy world where all of the crazy video-game/anime like qualities truly step in to play (such as the dragons and robots – oh my!). The dancing in the film is never visualized in the way most men probably want or expect – there isn’t a lot of ‘sexy moves’ on display in these moments and to my disappointment I have heard some complaints about this as a detractor. The dances in this movie are not ordinary dances at all but are in fact moments when Baby Doll enters her deeper fantasy state.MV5BMjA1MzYxNDUwOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDY2MjA3NA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,829_AL_Baby Doll has met the other girls Rocket (Jena Malone), Amber (Jamie Chung), Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), and Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens). Eventually, the girls team up in each of these sequences. During the first ‘deep dream’ sequence Baby Doll encounters a seemingly wise old man (Scott Glenn) while alone. He informs her that in order to become free she must collect five items: a map, knife, fire, key, and another item that she must discover on her own. He also gives her a handgun and sword that can be used while inside her dream world. Over the course of the story, Baby Doll convinces the other girls that following this plan of action is the only way for them to escape. Some of the girls are on board with the idea while others (mainly Sweet Pea) seem against it.MV5BMTM0NjM2MjgxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDc3ODIxNA@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_I realized at some point that there began to be a correlation between the first layer of the fantasy world and the second one. Actions taking place within the dream-world fantasy affected the other. Characters died unexpectedly and the result was their death and removal from both of the fantasy plot-lines taking place. Towards the end of the film the items gathered are used for the last surviving girls to escape and they are used in the film . In concluding the story, Baby Doll realizes that the fifth thing needed for her to escape was simply her, and then she helps one of the other girls to find freedom while she stays behind. Upon entering into the reality of the situation – in the mental hospital – we find that Baby Doll is about to have a lobotomy. Dr. Gorski enters the room and talks to the man performing the lobotomy (Jon Hamm). She questions why such a thing is happening, and soon realizes that a forgery was done of her signature for someone to make the lobotomy occur. Yet it was already far too late as the operation had just been completed.Baby Doll is led away by some guards to a room where Blue awaits her. He tells her that he can now do anything with her that he wants to do. The guards seem reluctant; saying something about being sick of letting him do what he wants to these girls. Dr. Gorski breaks into the room and stops whatever was about to happen. In a scene that appears as an epilogue thereafter, we see the lone girl who escaped get onto a bus with the same old man from Baby Dolls dream world as the driver.The audience just got sucker punched. The conversation held between Dr. Gorski and the man performing the lobotomy revealed that Baby Doll had actually done some of the things the audience witnessed in the fantasy world she created. In other words, the film blends reality and fantasy in a way that makes it hard to state what moments were real and what moments weren’t. Some will call this a cop out. I actually disagree for once. It had my own imagination going rather wild.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY

Starring

Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses)
Olivia Munn (The Babymakers)
T. J. Miller (Deadpool)
Jennifer Aniston (Just Go With It)
Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters)
Jillian Bell (Rough Night)
Courtney B. Vance (The Mummy)
Vanessa Bayer (Trainwreck)
Rob Corddry (Ballers)
Karan Soni (Deadpool)
Sam Richardson (Spy)
Randall Park (Bad Neighbours)
Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Jamie Chung (The Gifted)
Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Empire)
Matt Walsh (Bad Santa)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
Andrew Leeds (Bones)
Summer Fontana (The Originals)

Jason Bateman and Kate McKinnon in Office Christmas Party (2016)In December 2016, Josh Parker (Jason Bateman), Chief Technical Officer of Zenotek’s Chicago branch, meets with his lawyer, Ezra (Matt Walsh), to finalize his divorce in time for the holidays. Zenotek meanwhile has failed to meet its quarterly quota, and interim CEO Carol Vanstone (Jennifer Aniston) threatens to lay off 40 percent of the staff, cut bonuses, and cancel the annual Christmas party. Her brother, branch manager Clay (T. J. Miller), is desperate to keep his staff.Jennifer Aniston in Office Christmas Party (2016)Carol harbors resentment toward Clay, whom she believed was her father’s favorite, and threatens to shut down the branch. Josh and Clay, along with Josh’s head of tech, Tracey Hughes (Olivia Munn), propose partnering with financial giant Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance), whom they are having lunch with later that day, and Carol gives them the chance to win his business. Walter is pleased with the pitch, but concerned with another recent branch closure at Zenotek, and feels the company is more about the budget than their people. Clay invites him to their Christmas party in hopes of showing him that their company is in good standing. Before leaving town, Carol offers Josh a position at her New York headquarters, confident her brother will fail.T.J. Miller in Office Christmas Party (2016)Clay funds an exorbitant Christmas party, much to the chagrin of Mary (Kate McKinnon), the head of Human Resources. Joel (Sam Richardson) takes DJ duty, but the party struggles to pick up even with Tracey inviting Chicago Bulls player Jimmy Butler as a friend. Though initially reluctant, Walter is inadvertently doused with cocaine when it is accidentally fed into a snow machine and succumbs to his free-spirited nature. Throughout the party, various employees cut loose: Nate (Karan Soni) tries to impress two of his staff, Tim and Drew (Andrew Leeds and Oliver Cooper), by hiring an escort named Savannah (Abbey Lee) to pretend to be his girlfriend, though Nate is found out when she gives a handjob to a fellow employee; Clay’s assistant and single-mom Allison (Vanessa Bayer) attempts to hook up with new hire Fred (Randall Park) but stops when he reveals he has a mother-child fetish; and customer service supervisor Jeremy (Rob Corddry) cuts loose on the dance floor with Mary, whom he previously despised. Josh and Tracey get stuck on the roof and nearly kiss before Jeremy interrupts them. Back on the dance floor, Clay wins over Walter’s business, and Clay promises everyone they’ll keep their jobs and receive their bonuses. The party gradually grows more and more chaotic as employees begin partaking in orgies, damaging company property, and doing drugs.T.J. Miller in Office Christmas Party (2016)Carol’s flight is cancelled due to weather, and she rushes back to the office when she hears about the party from her Uber driver (Fortune Feimster), who took people to the party. Though Carol is initially impressed with receiving Walter’s business, Walter injures himself attempting to swing off a balcony after a conversation with Clay, and is later discovered to have been fired from his firm, nullifying any contract and thus no longer bringing in any new money to Zenotek. Carol decides then and there to shut down the branch. To add insult to injury, she reminds Josh about the job offer aloud to everyone, especially Clay. Even though Josh says he didn’t accept it, the surrounding employees angrily ignore and shun him. Tracey reveals that she was given the same offer but explicitly rejected it where Josh kept it open. Feeling betrayed about what he heard from Carol, Clay rushes off with Savannah’s emotionally unstable pimp, Trina (Jillian Bell), to party elsewhere, though Trina is more interested in robbing Clay of his wealth that he is actually keeping on his person. Josh, Tracey, Mary, and Carol race off to save Clay.Jason Bateman and Olivia Munn in Office Christmas Party (2016)Many of the other employees learn about the termination Carol announced earlier. Believing that everyone is to lose their jobs, they throw out and destroy all the company equipment and burn everything in sight, forcing security guard Carla (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) to put down the unruly, now destructive and rebellious party. Clay ends up racing Trina’s car towards an opening drawbridge, attempting to jump the gap, a feat he’d earlier mentioned to Josh. Josh drives Mary’s minivan alongside him, and tries to convince Clay not to jump, but he is still angered and heartbroken from Carol offering Josh the job, as much as remembering her insults. Believing he’s worthless, he still decides to jump, regardless of whether he makes it and lives or dies. After everyone, including Trina, fails to convince Clay to pull over, Josh threatens to jump the gap with him, and Clay reluctantly allows it. Not willing to die, Carol forcefully moves the steering wheel from Josh, causing the car to swerve into Clay’s car, crashing both vehicles. Clay’s car hits an internet hub, disconnecting the entire city.Jason Bateman and T.J. Miller in Office Christmas Party (2016)Trina and Savannah are arrested for their crimes, while Clay is taken to the hospital. In the wake of the internet blackout, Tracey realizes how to run a new innovation she’d been working on for several years that combines internet WiFi with wired connections through the city’s power grid, which had previously failed due to her inability to take the real-world interference of the existing internet signals into account. They race back to the destroyed office to set up her tech, and when it works, internet is restored to Chicago. This new innovation saves the jobs of the entire team, with Clay apologizing for how his father treated Carol. Walter, who is in the same hospital as Clay, agrees to join the team. Josh and Tracey kiss amidst the ruins of their office. Jeremy opens up to Mary, and Nate and Allison agree to go on a date. The whole group meets Carol and Clay as he’s released from the hospital, and they all go out for breakfast, driving recklessly on the way.Jason Bateman and T.J. Miller in Office Christmas Party (2016)Good for a laugh, plus for pointing out how stupid companies (and individuals) have gotten in their aversion to Christmas celebrations.

REVIEW: GROWN UPS

CAST

Adam Sandler (Jack & Jill)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Kevin James (Paul Blart)
Chris Rock (Rush Hour)
David Spade (8 Simple Rules)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)
Maria Bello (Secret Window)
Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids)
Colin Quinn (Trainwreck)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Tim Meadows (Son of Zorn)
Jamie Chung (Sucker Punch)
Norm MacDonald (Dr. Dolittle)
China Anne McClain (Black Lightning)
Cameron Boyce (Descendants)
Madison Riley (Fired Up!)

In 1978, five childhood friends win their junior high school basketball championship. During their celebration at a rented lake house, the friends’ coach, Robert “The Buzzer” Fernando (Blake Clark), encourages them to live their lives in a similar way to how they played the game.30 Years later in 2008, Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler) is an ambitious Hollywood talent agent who is married to fashion designer Roxanne Chase (Salma Hayek), and has three children—one daughter Becky (Alexys Nicole Sanchez) and two sons, Greg and Keith (Jake Goldberg and Cameron Boyce); his sons have become very spoiled much to his annoyance.Eric Lamonsoff (Kevin James) claims he is now a co-owner of a lawn furniture company, is married to Sally (Maria Bello) and has two children, Donna and Bean (Ada-Nicole Sanger and Morgan Gingerich). Much to Eric’s chagrin, Sally continues to breastfeed Bean.Kurt McKenzie (Chris Rock) is a stay-at-home father who is married to Deanne (Maya Rudolph), the primary breadwinner of the family, and has two children, Andre and Charlotte (Nadji Jeter and China Anne McClain). Deanne is pregnant with another child and her mother (Ebony Jo-Ann) also lives with the family. Rob Hilliard (Rob Schneider) has been divorced three times and has daughters Jasmine, Amber, and Bridget (Madison Riley, Jamie Chung, and Ashley Loren) from those marriages. His current wife, Gloria (Joyce Van Patten), is 30 years older than him.Marcus Higgins (David Spade) is a slacker and lothario. All five friends regularly harass each other in comedic fashion throughout the film: Lenny for being rich; Eric for being overweight; Kurt for being skinny and not being more useful; Rob for his way of saying “Maize!” and for having a much older wife; and Marcus for being sexually juvenile.When the five friends soon find out that Buzzer has died, they all reunite for the first time in three decades and later return to their hometown with their families to pay tribute to Buzzer at his private funeral. Lenny rents the lake house for the 4th of July weekend for his friends to stay at. However, Lenny cannot stay for the whole weekend because Roxanne has a fashion show in Milan. While at the lake house, Lenny is annoyed in which their kids would rather play video games than spend time outdoors, so that he and the other friends are forcing their kids to play outside during their stay instead. At a local restaurant, Lenny talks to his old nemesis, Dickie Bailey (Colin Quinn), who is still upset at Lenny because he allegedly had his foot on the outside line, in which his shot should not have been counted. Dickie challenges him and his friends to a rematch, but Lenny declines after noting that Dickie is decidedly out of shape. The next day, the five friends spread Buzzer’s ashes into the woods. Rob becomes depressed during this event, lamenting his failed marriages, and later says his three daughters from the past marriages are coming. After having to deal with Jasmine, Rob goes and hangs out with his friends, who were fishing. After making some jokes on Rob, the others elect to cheer him up with a game of arrow roulette. Rob remains in the circle the longest, making him the winner, but the arrow hits directly through Rob’s foot. When Gloria tries to use a maize-covered poultice, Rob snaps at Gloria. Lenny gets the kids interested in talking on cup-phones and Roxanne accidentally tells Becky that she is the “Tooth Fairy”. Happy that they are enjoying the same kind of fun he had as a child, Lenny installs an extensive cup-phone network in the house.Roxanne ultimately figures out that it is more important to stay at the lake house than going to Milan. The five friends decide to go to a water park, where Bean learns to drink milk out of a carton and Marcus flirts constantly with Jasmine and Amber, having bought them skimpy bikinis. Rob kicks a ride attendant down a water slide when the latter insults Bridget for being less attractive than her sisters. Eric ignores Donna’s warning about a chemical in the kiddie pool that turns urine blue, and chaos results when he and his friends urinate in the pool. The spouses try to attract a muscleman, but he is laughed off due to his high-pitched Canadian accent. Later, Lenny and the group go to the zip line and meet Dickie again, this time with his own group of friends and former teammates, including Wiley (Steve Buscemi), who is hospitalized when he slams on a shopping kiosk instead of landing in the swimming pool after sliding down the zip line by his feet. Lenny teaches his son how to shoot a perfect shot during basketball. Afterwards, the friends end the night by sharing their dance with their spouses. The next day, Roxanne picks up Lenny’s phone and confronts him on lying about canceling their flight trip before she agreed on staying for the family instead of going to Milan. Eventually, everyone starts to tell the truth about their feelings and lives. On their final day at the lake house, Lenny and his buddies are challenged once again to a basketball rematch by Dickie. At the game-deciding shot, Lenny purposely misses in order to allow Dickie and his team to win. Before the end of the film, Marcus plays another game of arrow roulette, this time with an entire crowd of people, and everyone takes off with Wiley accidentally getting his foot impaled by the arrow.Pretty funny, a bit puerile in places, but generally an easy way to spend a rainy afternoon.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: SORORITY ROW

 

CAST

Briana Evigan (S. Darko)
Leah Pipes (The Originals)
Rumer Willis (Return To Sender)
Jamie Chung (Gotham)
Audrina Patridge (Honey 2)
Julian Morris (New Girl)
Margo Harshman (The Big Bang Theory)
Carrie FIsher (Star Wars)
Matt O’Leary (Havoc)
Matt Lanter (Disaster Movie)
Caroline D’Amore (Daydreamer)

Theta Pi sorority sister Megan (Audrina Patridge) discovers that her boyfriend Garrett (Matt O’Leary) is cheating on her, and enlists the help of her friends and sorority sisters Cassidy (Briana Evigan), Jessica (Leah Pipes), Ellie (Rumer Willis), Claire (Jamie Chung), and Garrett’s sister Chugs (Margo Harshman) to pull a prank on him. After Megan fakes her own death while having sex with him, Garrett and the girls bring her to a lake, where they intend to dump her body. When Jessica mentions they need to release the air out of her lungs so her body will not float to the surface, Garrett actually kills Megan by stabbing her in the chest with a tire iron. Jessica, Claire, and Chugs dump Megan’s body and the tire iron in a nearby mine shaft. Everyone swears to never mention the incident to anyone, much to Cassidy and Ellie’s dismay.A year later, the girls are graduating from Rosman University and have put the incident behind them, but Cassidy has grown apart from the rest of the group. During the party held after graduation, the girls all receive a photo of a robed person holding the bloody tire iron sent to their cell phones. Suspicion immediately falls on Garrett, but Chugs insists he’s changed after Megan’s murder. Maggie (Caroline D’Amore), Megan’s little sister, arrives, wanting to honor her sister’s memory by attending the party, but Jessica does not allow this. Later, Chugs leaves to go to an appointment to visit her therapist. However, upon arriving for her appointment, an unknown figure also arrives and kills the therapist by throwing a spiked tire iron through his head. Not knowing that her therapist was murdered, Chugs lies down on a couch and drinks champagne. The killer suddenly appears and shoves the champagne bottle down her throat and slices her neck with the tire iron, killing her.Later that day, in the sorority’s shower room, Claire and Jessica talk about the night Megan was murdered. After they leave, a sorority girl named Joanna, who overheard their conversation, is murdered by the killer with the tire iron, who stabs her in the chin. At the party that night, Claire dumps her perverted boyfriend Mickey, and he continues hitting on a few girls at the party, including Ellie, but is continuously rebuffed. He is then attacked and murdered by the killer, who stabs him in the throat with the tire iron while he attempts to hide in the laundry chute, which Ellie witnesses while hiding. Cassidy, Claire, Jessica, and Ellie regroup and all receive a text containing the video of Megan’s death and a message telling them to go to the mine shaft in twenty minutes or the video will be sent to the police. The girls drive to the mine shaft, and encounter Garrett, who has cut his wrists. Thinking Garrett is the one stalking them, Jessica runs over him with her vehicle. However, they discover afterward that Garrett has been receiving the same text messages they have. Ellie suspects that Megan is the killer, believing that she did not actually die and is seeking revenge.To prove that Megan is dead, the girls lower Cassidy down the shaft to look, but instead of finding Megan’s body, she finds a message written in blood that says “Theta Pi must die”. Back at the now empty sorority house, the girls receive a text from Chugs’ cell phone, telling them that she is dead. Afterward, Claire is murdered with a flare gun, which severely burns her face. Searching the house for Jessica’s boyfriend, Kyle (Matt Lanter), the girls run into Maggie and their house mother, Mrs. Crenshaw (Carrie Fisher). After finding out about Megan’s murder, Mrs. Crenshaw tells the girls to lock themselves in Jessica’s bedroom and to call the police while she searches for the killer. Maggie is horrified when she learns what happened to Megan and leaves the room to find her.After a chase in the kitchen, Mrs. Crenshaw is killed by the tire iron stuck in the wall when the killer pushes the table towards her. With no cell phones around, Cassidy and Jessica decide to find Mickey’s body and use his cell, telling Ellie to run if she gets the chance. Downstairs, the killer confronts Maggie and throws a Molotov cocktail at her, setting the house on fire. Cassidy and Jessica run into Kyle, who injures Jessica after getting into a fight with her. Cassidy and Jessica flee to an under-renovation bathroom where they find Megan’s decomposing corpse hanging in a closet. Kyle attacks them and knocks out Jessica, but before he can harm Cassidy, Kyle is killed with an axe by Andy (Julian Morris), Cassidy’s boyfriend, who reveals himself to be the killer.Margo Harshman in Sorority Row (2009)As Jessica regains consciousness and tries to negotiate with Andy, he fatally stabs her in the mouth with the tire iron. Andy reveals that he had hoped for a bright future with Cassidy, but because she was involved with Megan’s murder, he feared that she would be found out, so he decided to kill everyone who knew of it. Despite Cassidy’s opposition, Andy tells her that they need to kill Ellie, the only other person who knows about Megan’s murder. Andy reveals that she was the one who confided in him about Megan’s murder, thus, she will likely report it the police. Devising a plan, Cassidy plays along and tells Andy that Ellie is in the basement and he goes looking for her. Just as Cassidy fetches Ellie from upstairs, they’re attacked by Andy, who is hurt that Cassidy would betray him. Urging Ellie to flee, Cassidy hits Andy with a lamp and tries to escape, but stops as she hears Maggie’s cries for help, who is trapped behind the flames. Cassidy tries to rescue her, but Andy comes and tries to kill Maggie, though Cassidy stops him. The floor then crumbles underneath Cassidy, and she is left hanging over the burning basement. As Andy is about to finish her off, Ellie appears and shoots him with Mrs. Crenshaw’s shotgun. He falls backward onto the burning floor, which collapses under him and he falls to his death into the flames. After Maggie and Ellie pull Cassidy back up from the hole in the floor, the three girls escape from the burning sorority house just as the fire department and other emergency personnel arrive.Months later, the Theta Pi building is being renovated from the fire and Maggie is now a Theta Pi sister. As the girls sing the Theta Pi song, a man comes into view, holding a garden trowel. The camera pans up to his wrist, revealing scars, implying that Garrett is still alive.Although there is nothing remotely original about this slasher. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. In what is mix of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer.  The cast are all hot, the smoking hot Jamie Chung being the standout. A hilarious cameo from Carrie Fisher and a rocking soundtrack all added to the enjoyment of this film.

REVIEW: THE GIFTED – SEASON 2

The Gifted (2017)

MAIN CAST

Stephen Moyer (True Blood)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Sean Teale (Reign)
Natalie Alyn Lind (Gotham)
Percy Hynes White (Rupture)
Coby Bell (Burn Notice)
Jamie Chung (Office Christmas Party)
Blair Redford (Satisfaction)
Emma Dumont (Aquarius)
Skyler Samuels (Scream Queens)
Grace Byers (Empire)
Jason Davis (Reprisal)

Blair Redford in The Gifted (2017)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ray Campbell (Breaking Bad)
Danube Hermosillo (The Bold and The Beautiful)
Adam David Thompson (Glass)
Hayley Lovitt (Ant-Man)
Jeff Daniel Phillips (Westworld)
Frances Turner (Quantico)
Raymond J. Barry (Falling Down)
Erinn Ruth (Billions)
Michael Luwoye (The Magicians)
Kamar de los Reyes (Sleepy Hollow)
Laysla de Oliveira (Izombie)
Anjelica Bette Fellini (Margot)
Tom O’Keefe (The Path)
Peter Gallagher (A Bad Moms Christmas)
Sumalee Montano (10 Clvoerfield Lane)
Jermaine Rivers (MacGyver)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
Kate Burton (Max Payne)
Ken Kirby (Good Trouble)
Christopher Cousins (The Grudge 2)
Kathryn Erbe (Stir of Echoes)
Carsten Norgaard (The Three Musketeers)
Jeffrey Nordling (Big Little Lies)

Skyler Samuels in The Gifted (2017)The gifted is one of the most interesting shows on TV today. If only for the concepts on the show that overlap with our current political environment. I won’t lie the first episode did not captivate me, but it kept me interested long enough to get hooked by the second. The plot lines and the story keeps growing and getting better. To me that is due to the show’s premise a world with out the X men, more specifically Xavier. Professor X had land, money and political connections cause he was a rich white guy from an influential family. He used all of his assets to promote the welfare of mutant kind and support the Xmen, which he does long after his death as they still use his land. Now imagine a world without that influence no one rich or powerful helping you to promote the well being of your people. Got it good. That’s the Gifted. A group of people who decide to fight for equality in a world that does not want them, basically on their own.Jamie Chung and Blair Redford in The Gifted (2017)Their decisions good or bad in the face of their world is what keeps me coming back. Now to take a step back. The gifted is a little slow at times, there is not alot of action or enough for my taste for a show on mutants and it focuses a lot of time on the drama between characters til its almost soapy. But alot of that drama is tied to the premise of discrimination, alienation, xenophobia, abuse, trust and basic decency. The show continuing to get more action packed and the pace has considerably picked up with each episode especially in the second season. And probably the most important questions of all How do you fight for equality and compassion in a world devoid of it? and If there is no hope of wining is there a point in fighting? these and many other underlining questions give this show a great edge one they take advantage off. So try it, analyze it, love it the show is incredible. And it will get you to think and honestly I think thats something that a good sci fi show should do.

 

REVIEW: THE HANGOVER – PART III

CAST

Bradley Cooper (Ameircan Sniper_
Ed Helms (Cedar Rapids)
Zach Galifianakis (Up In The Air)
Justin Bartha (Gigli)
Jeffrey Tambor (Dr. Dolittle)
Ken Jeong (Couples Retreat)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Melissa McCarthy (Ghostbusters)
Heather Graham (Say It Isn’t So)
Mike Epps (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Sasha Barrese (Let Me In)
Gillian Vigman (Deck The Halls)
Jamie Chung (Sucker Punch)
Sondra Currie (Alien Nation: Dark Horizon)

Two years after the events in Bangkok, Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) escapes from a maximum security prison, using a riot as cover. Meanwhile, in the United States, Alan Garner (Zach Galifianakis) causes a 20-car freeway pileup after he purchases a giraffe and accidentally decapitates it on a low overpass. Alan’s father Sid (Jeffrey Tambor), angry with Alan for his immature antics and never owning up to his mistakes, dies of a heart attack in the middle of a lecture. After the funeral, Alan’s brother-in-law Doug Billings (Justin Bartha) informs friends Phil Wenneck (Bradley Cooper) and Stu Price (Ed Helms) that Alan has been off his ADHD medication and is out of control. The group attends an intervention in which Alan agrees to visit a rehabilitation facility in Arizona where he can seek treatment, as long as “the Wolfpack” takes him there. On the way to Arizona, Phil’s minivan is rammed off the road by a rental truck and the group is taken hostage. They are later confronted by mob boss Marshall (John Goodman) and “Black Doug” (Mike Epps), his head enforcer.He tells them that a few weeks after their shenanigans Chow hijacked half of a $42 million gold heist and, seeing how Alan has been the only one to communicate with Chow during his imprisonment, deduced that the Wolfpack could locate him and retrieve the gold. Marshall kidnaps Doug and gives the others three days to find Chow, or else Doug will be killed. Alan sets up a meeting with Chow in Tijuana, Mexico, where Stu and Phil will hide and attempt to drug him. However, Alan seemingly, accidentally (but really on purpose) reveals their location and Chow forces them to confess that they are working for Marshall. Chow explains his plan to retrieve the stolen gold from the basement of a Mexican villa he previously owned. Stu, Alan and Phil break into the house and successfully retrieve the gold, but Chow double-crosses them by locking them in the basement, rearming the security system and escaping in Phil’s minivan. They are arrested but mysteriously released from the police station. They are picked up by a limousine and taken back to the villa, where they meet up with Marshall.They learn that Chow had lied to them; the villa was never his. In fact, it was Marshall’s own villa and the gold they stole was the other half Chow didn’t get from Marshall. Marshall forgives them for their mistake but kills “Black Doug” for his incompetence and reminds them of their now two-day deadline. The group tracks Phil’s phone, which was left in the minivan, outside a pawn shop in Las Vegas. The pawnshop owner, Cassie (Melissa McCarthy), tells them that Chow traded a gold brick for $18,000, far less than its usual sell rate of $400,000. Using Stu’s former lover Jade (Heather Graham) as their contact, they learn that Chow is barricaded in the penthouse suite of Caesars Palace. Phil and Alan sneak into his suite from the roof, but Chow escapes, jumping from the balcony and parachuting down to the strip. Stu catches up to Chow and locks him in the trunk of the limo that Marshall lent to them. They take the gold and meet with Marshall, who releases Doug back to the group. Although Marshall initially promised not to harm Chow, he shoots through the trunk of the car, presumably killing him. However, Alan had given Chow the means to escape from the trunk through a backseat compartment just moments earlier.Chow emerges from the limo and kills Marshall, allowing the Wolfpack to live because Alan saved his life. He offers Alan a bar of gold as a gift, but Alan turns him down and trolls Chow by pretending to end their friendship because of Chow’s unhealthy influence on the group (but pulls a fast one on Chow when he takes his hand back from a handshake) and Chow tells Alan he is “…cold as ice”. As Chow sadly watches them leave, they go to retrieve Phil’s minivan from the pawnshop and Alan makes a date with Cassie. Six months later, the two marry. Vowing to stop with his antics, Alan regretfully resigns from the Wolfpack but would still like for the gang to hang out on occasion. As the four walk to the ceremony, a montage of clips from the previous films play.In a mid-credits scene after the wedding, Alan, Cassie, Stu, and Phil appear to have staged another wild party that they cannot remember. Stu emerges from the bathroom wearing panties with breast implants and Alan remembers that the wedding cake was a gift from Chow; who emerges from the next room naked, laughing, holding a bottle of whiskey and wielding a katana. Crystal the capuchine monkey then jumps on Stu before the scene cuts to black.The jokes are a little hit & miss in some places, but they’re is some consistency with the laughs & situations they get into, from small subtle nuggets to in your face hilarity as Alan’s & Chow’s eccentric humor takes the front seat with Phil (Bradley Cooper) & Stu (Ed Helms) chipping in to good effect. The celebrity appearances by John Goodman & Melissa McCarthy add well to the film, Goodman’s larger than life menacing baddie heightens the threat element & McCarthy’s larger than life comedy injection rapport with Zach Galifianakis (Alan) is brilliant, although i may not eat a lolly again.