REVIEW: NOW YOU KNOW

 

 

CAST

Jeff Anderson (Clerks)
Jeremy Sisto (Thirteen)
Todd Babcock (GOds and Monsters)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Paget Brewster (Another Period)
Anthony Denison (wiseguy)
Debbe Dunning (Leprechaun 4)
Trevor Fehrman (Clerks II)
Heather Dubrow (That’s Life)
Rashida Jones (The Muppets)
Will Rothhaar (Battle: Los Angeles)
Jennifer Schwalbach Smith (Jersey Girl)
Kevin Smith (Teen Titans: TJC)

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On the eve of his bachelor party, Jeremy (Jeremy Sisto) learns that his fiancée, Kerri (Rashida Jones), wants to call off their wedding without providing a reason. He tries to determine what caused this sudden decision. The unmarried couple return to New Jersey to sort out their relationship. When Jeremy gets home, he hangs out with Gil and Biscuit, his old friends, who have made a hobby out of breaking into other people’s homes and rearranging the objects to freak out the homeowners. Their activities have begun to unnerve one unfortunate homeowner in particular, Mr. Victim (Stuart Pankin). Jeremy, Gil and Biscuit go to their local bar for a few drinks and talk about women and Jeremy’s aborted wedding. Meanwhile, Kerri and her best friend Marty go to a lesbian bar, when Marty tells her she is pregnant.nyk3The next morning Jeremy’s friend from Vegas, Shane, comes to visit as Biscuit and Gil throw him another bachelor party. The bachelor party goes awry when the stripper Biscuit hired arrives, and is revealed to be a transvestite, who tells Jeremy that she saw Kerri at the lesbian bar the night before, and everyone thinks she is in a lesbian relationship with Marty. Gil and Biscuit take Jeremy and Shane to go mess with the house again, but Mr. Victim has become paranoid and shoots wildly at them, grazing Jeremy’s ear. Faced with his own mortality, Jeremy, and the others drive to Kerri’s so he can talk to her. She tells him that he took her for granted. Jeremy tells her that he would do anything to have her back, just as Gil walks in, telling them that Marty is beating up Biscuit on the front lawn. Biscuit, thinking Marty and Kerri were gay, asked Marty if he could be their manager. During the fight, the men learn that Marty is pregnant, and that Gil is the father. Kerri and Jeremy give Gil and Marty their plane tickets that were for their honeymoon in Florida so the new couple can have some alone time, while Kerri and Jeremy hold hands, hinting toward a possible reconciliation.nyk2Jeff Anderson’s debut feature is very much a grown up romantic comedy. Admittedly I was expecting a Randal Graves style of humor that wasn’t delivered but that didn’t stop my enjoyment of the flick. I was pleasantly surprised at the sincerity of the characters and the believability of the dialogue. I’m certain that a lot of the more serious scenes would have been crude and sentimental in lesser hands. The Gil and Biscuit scenes give it just enough humor to counter the central storyline. There are of course certain issues with both Andersons direction and his own limited acting abilities, but in their own way they’re sort of charming. In short, the film is very enjoyable and Jeff shows a lot of potential as a Writer-Director.

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REVIEW: THIRTEEN

CAST

Nikki reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)
Vanessa hudgens (Powers)
Holly Hunter (Batman v Superman)
Brady Corbet (Melancholia)
Sarah Clarke (Twilight)
Kip Pardue (Driven)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn)
Cynthia Ettinger (The Silence of The Lambs)
Deborah Kara Unger (Highlander III)

image-w1280Thirteen-year-old Tracy Freeland begins her school year as a smart and sweet honor student at a middle school in Los Angeles. Her divorced mother Melanie is a recovering alcoholic, who struggles to support Tracy and her older brother Mason as a hairdresser. Tracy feels ignored by her mother, who is too busy with her fellow ex-addict boyfriend Brady to address Tracy’s increasing depression. After being teased for her “Cabbage Patch” clothes, Tracy decides to shed her ‘little girl’ image and gets her mother to purchase trendier clothes. When Tracy wears one of her new outfits to school, she is complimented by Evie Zamora, one of the most popular girls at school. Evie invites Tracy to go shopping on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood but gives her a fake phone number as a prank. Nevertheless, Tracy determinedly shows up on Melrose Avenue and meets up with Evie and her friend Astrid. Tracy is uncomfortable with the two shoplifting and excuses herself to sit outside the store on a bench.3When a distracted rich woman sits next to Tracy, Tracy takes the chance to steal the woman’s wallet, which impresses Evie and Astrid. The three go on a shopping spree with the stolen money and Tracy and Evie become fast friends. Evie introduces Tracy to her world of sex, drugs, and criminal activity, much to Tracy’s delight. When Evie tells Melanie that her legal guardian/cousin Brooke sent her an email, about going to a convention in Bakersfield for 2 weeks, she temporarily moves into the Freeland household and discovers that Tracy regularly cuts herself to cope with stress. The two promise to stay friends forever and continue with their self destructive exploits. Although Melanie is concerned about the change in Tracy’s behavior and worries about the extent of Evie’s influence, she cannot find a way to intervene. Melanie attempts to send Evie home but Evie claims her guardian’s boyfriend is physically abusive. A torn Melanie reluctantly agrees to let her stay. As Tracy and Evie become closer, Tracy shuts Melanie further out of her life.MCDTHIR FE001Evie and Tracy get increasingly out of control, each egging the other on. The pair attempt to seduce Tracy’s neighbor Luke, a lifeguard in his early twenties, and ditch a family movie night to get high on the streets. Mason is shocked when he bumps into Tracy wearing sexualized clothing, including thong underwear, but Tracy dismisses his concerns. Later on, the girls take turns inhaling from a can of gas duster for computers for fun and become so intoxicated that they hit each other, accidentally drawing blood. Melanie attempts to break the girl’s friendship by sending Tracy to live with her father but he refuses. Meanwhile, Melanie goes over to Brooke’s house, with Tracy and Evie, to find out what is going on, because she’s been calling Brooke for two weeks. They find that Brooke was hiding because of bad plastic surgery she received. Evie asks Melanie to formally adopt her but Melanie refuses. Tracy meekly supports her mother’s decision. Angry and hurt, a tearful Evie storms off. At school, Evie turns her friends against Tracy and, depressed, Tracy slowly begins to realize the negative effects of her lifestyle when she is told she might have to repeat the seventh grade. To her surprise, Brady finds her walking home from school and takes her home where Melanie, Evie, and Brooke are sitting quietly in the living room waiting for her.thirteenBrooke confronts Tracy about her drug use and stealing, having been convinced that Tracy was the bad influence by Evie. Outraged, Tracy insists that Evie was the instigator but Brooke refuses to listen and announces that she is moving Evie to Ojai to keep her away from Tracy. Melanie defends Tracy’s innocence but then Brooke pulls Tracy’s sleeve up to show Melanie Tracy’s self-harm scars, showing that Tracy was troubled long before she met Evie. After a screaming match, Brooke and Evie leave. Tracy weeps in Melanie’s arms and attempts to fight against her mother’s love, but Melanie embraces her and insists that she loves Tracy regardless. Tracy tearfully pleads with Melanie to let go, with no success. The two fall asleep on Tracy’s bed. The last scene shows Tracy spinning alone and screaming on a park merry-go-round during the daytime.10386826_3This film pulls no punches, and viewers should be aware that this is a serious and at times disturbing portrait of female adolescence – not family viewing.Thirteen allows the outside world to get a small glimpse at what impressionable teenagers have to deal with in a overly demanding society.

REVIEW: AMERICAN DAD – VOLUME 11

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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)
Jane Krakowski (Alfie)
Daisuke Suzuki (I Am Gangster)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Paul Reubens (Batman Returns)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Kim Kardashian West (2 broke Girls_
Constance Marie (Puss In Boots)
Corey Stoll (Ant-Man)
Cristian Solimeno (Highlander: The Source)
Kat Purgal (Her Story)
Cedric Yarbrough (The Boss)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
DJ Qualls (Road Trip)
Stephen Fry (Bones)
Lorenzo Lamas (CIA)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Kerri Kenney (Anger Management)
Andrea Martin (Wag the Dog)
Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
Peter MacNicol (Agents of SHIELD)
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
Lyndsy Fonseca (Agent Carter)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn)
June Diane Raphael (New Girl)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager)
Carl Reiner (Two and a Half Men)
Mickey Rooney (Night at The Museum)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Robert Wuhl (Batman)
Ted Danson (Cheers)
Sinbad (Jingle All The Way)

American Dad! returns for an iconic series’ 11th volume. The series centers on super-patriotic CIA agent Stan Smith and the misadventures of his unconventional family in Langley Falls, Virginia. Stan’s blissfully unaware wife Francine has an unfaltering loyalty that allows her to turn a blind eye toward Stan’s unabashed arrogance. Meanwhile, Stan constantly butts heads with his 18-year-old, left-wing activist daughter Hayley who knows just how to push her father’s buttons, whether it’s by helping the homeless, demanding women’s rights or advocating gun control. Hayley’s 14-year-old brother is the geeky-yet-confident Steve, is a kid who spends his time playing video games and obsessing about the opposite sex. The Smith cabinet is rounded out by two rather unconventional members: Roger, the sassy, sarcastic and routinely inappropriate space alien who is constantly trying on new disguises and, with them, new personalities, and Klaus, the attention-starved goldfish with the brain of a German Olympic skier who always throws in his two cents, regardless of whether anyone is listening.The Highlights on this Volume are.ROGER PASSES THE BAR: Roger is forced to sell his beloved attic bar to a restaurant chain after suffering a heart attack, and a new next-door neighbor (Jane Krakowski), who was recently registered as a sex offender, promises to take Steve and his friends’ virginity in return for housework.A BOY NAMED MICHAEL: Roger moves in with Greg and Terry as their adopted Russian son “Michael” after growing tired of the Smiths not being sophisticated. Meanwhile, Stan orders a La-Z-Boy and slowly becomes white trash to annoy Roger while he’s living with the Corbin/Bates.

BLAGSNARST: A LOVE STORY: A furry pink female alien (Kim Kardashian) is discovered in the woods by Francine and Roger, who begins a relationship with her, but quickly tires of her many quirks and eccentricities after having a one-night stand. Roger makes several attempts to get rid of her, including calling the CIA, but then realizes that he can’t go through with it.Image result for AMERICAN DAD BLONDE AMBITIONBLONDE AMBITION: Hayley decides to become a blonde when her efforts to save the planet get no attention. Meanwhile, Stan and Steve go on a journey to search for a new Smith home.BIG STAN ON CAMPUS: When the CIA is forced to make cutbacks, Stan inadvertently volunteers to go on furlough and gets a job as a security officer at a local college. Meanwhile, Roger opens a bed and breakfast to boost the family’s income and must give in to the demands of an eccentric guest.Image result for AMERICAN DAD NOW AND GWENNOW AND GWEN: Hayley suspects that Gwen, Francine’s sister, is up to no good when she comes to town. Meanwhile, Roger tries to find out the location of a treasure from a guy in a coma, Stan teaches Steve the art of man-hugging, and Klaus shadows Roger’s dramatic comments.Image result for american dad dreaming of a white porsche christmasDREAMING OF A WHITE PORSCHE CHRISTMAS: In a parody of It’s a Wonderful Life, Stan wishes to have Principal Lewis’ swinging bachelor life, however, he soon regrets the wish when he finds out that Francine is married to Principal Lewis in an alternate reality.Image result for american dad lgbsteveLGBSTEVE: Steve has a gender identity crisis when Hayley convinces him to join an all-girls roller derby team with her. Meanwhile, Stan and Francine hire a magical repairman to fix the backyard, but everything he does makes them angry.MY AFFAIR LADY: Hayley considers having an affair with a married man when she gets a new job from the help of Roger, her new life coach. Meanwhile, Stan tags along with Steve and Francine to a mother-son dance.Image result for american dad a star is rebornA STAR IS REBORN: Stan and Francine win a trip to Los Angeles, however, upon arriving, an old starlet believes Stan is the reincarnation of her deceased husband. Meanwhile, Roger kennel-trains Steve and Hayley by trapping them in crates, after they disrespect Roger’s enjoyment of Bones.Image result for american dad Manhattan Magical Murder Mystery TourMANHATTAN MAGICAL MURDER MYSTERY TOUR: The Smiths head to the Big Apple when Francine is nominated for an award for her housewife novella. Meanwhile, Stan and Hayley hang out with actor Robert Wuhl and Roger and Steve re-create their fictional partnership, Wheels and the Legman.Image result for american dad holy s... jeff's backHOLY SHIT, JEFF’S BACK: Jeff makes his return from space after being abducted, but Hayley and Roger suspect that Jeff isn’t who he seems to be. Meanwhile, Steve looks after Snot’s hamster.Image result for american dad american fungAMERICAN FUNG: Stan has Francine committed to a mental hospital so he can hide the fact that he once again forgot their wedding anniversary. Meanwhile, American Dad! is sold to a Chinese billionaire.Image result for american dad seizures suit stannySEIZURES SUIT STANNY: When Stan warns Hayley about the dangers of texting, he soon learns of the enjoyment of texting, but when he gets into a car crash because of it, he fakes a seizure. Meanwhile, Roger helps Steve with his anxiety of performance.Image result for american dad seizures suit stannyThis has to be one of the best adult cartoons ever created. It’s hard for me to compare them with South Park. I think that in many aspects, American Dad is way better than South Park. Probably because it addresses to a much larger public, while South Park contains jokes that sometime require some background knowledge, before you can fully understand them. Even for non-Americans, this series are equally funny and enjoying. Great job! I recommend this to anyone who enjoys some good humor.

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: WRONG TURN

CAST

Eliza Dushku (Bring it On)
Jeremy Sisto (Suburgatory)
Emmanuelle Chriqui (100 Girls)
Desmond Harrington (Ghost Ship)
Kevin Zegers (Transamerica)
Lindy Booth (Cry_Wolf)
Julian Richings (Urban Legend)
Yvonne Haudry (Street Time)
Wayne Robson (Cube)

In the remote forest of West Virginia, Halley Smith (Yvonne Gaudry) and Rich Stoker (Joel Harris) are rock climbing on a cliff. As Rich prepares to help Halley, she witnesses his sudden murder. Someone begins to pull Halley up the cliff so she cuts the rope and falls to the ground. Halley then attempts to escape to her car but trips over a piece of barbed wire before being pulled back into the woods, screaming, by one of the three cannibalistic mutant mountain men.
Medical student Chris Flynn (Desmond Harrington) drives through the mountains of West Virginia. A chemical spill in the road ahead forces him to take a different route. He stops at a rundown gas station and meets an old man (Wayne Robson). The old man is not helpful, but Chris sees a map detailing another route heading to his destination. Chris decides to take the road, but on his way, he collides with a Range Rover stopped in the middle of the road. The car belongs to a group of friends on a hiking trip: Jessie Burlingame (Eliza Dushku), Carly (Emmanuelle Chriqui), her fiancé Scott (Jeremy Sisto), and a couple, Evan and Francine (Kevin Zegers and Lindy Booth). Their tires have been punctured by a piece of barbed wire.
Evan and Francine stay to watch the cars as the others go to find help. Evan goes to the woods to investigate a strange noise. After a while, Francine goes into the woods to look for him. She finds only his sneaker and his severed ear before she is killed with a strip of barbed wire by Saw Tooth (Garry Robbins), the oldest of the cannibals. Chris, Jessie, Carly, and Scott find an isolated cabin. After entering, they are surprised to find human body parts. Horrified, they attempt to escape, but they are forced to hide when they hear the occupants coming back. Three disfigured, cannibalistic mountain men (“Three Finger”, “Saw Tooth” and “One Eye”) enter the cabin, bringing Francine’s dead body. The four silently watch as her body is messily eaten. The four quietly escape after the cannibals fall asleep. However, Saw Tooth awakens, alerts the other cannibals, and begins to chase them through the forest. The group climbs up to a nearby clearing with many cars of the cannibals’ victims. Chris is shot in the leg by Saw Tooth, and Scott saves him by distracting the cannibals, allowing Jessie and Carly to steal one of the trucks. Chris gets into the truck, and they drive down a nearby path in search of Scott. Scott starts to make his way to the truck, but Saw Tooth kills him with arrows and takes his body back to their cabin.

Chris, Jessie, and Carly reach a dead end and have to continue on foot. They find a radio in an old watchtower and use it to call for help, but do not get a response. Later, they see the cannibals armed with torches, searching at the foot of the watchtower. The radio starts responding to their call, alerting the cannibals. The cannibals set the tower on fire. Chris, Carly, and Jessie escape by jumping out of the window into a nearby tree. As they escape from the tower, Three Finger (Julian Richings) catches Carly and decapitates her. After escaping, Chris and Jessie hide in a cave near a waterfall until the next morning. Just as they find a road out of the woods, the mountain men find them, pushing Chris down the hill and taking Jessie back to their cabin. Chris survives the fall and meets a police officer, but before Chris is able to convince the police officer of what is happening, the man is shot with an arrow. Chris attempts to drive away in the police truck, but cannot find the key, so he instead hitches a ride underneath the truck as it is driven back to the cabin. At the cabin, Jessie is tied to a bed and gagged. As Jessie is about to be killed, Chris, now driving the police truck, breaks through the cabin and runs into One Eye. Chris unties Jessie and they fight the cannibals. They escape as Chris manages to kill the cannibals by blowing up their cabin with a shotgun. Chris and Jessie, driving the cannibals’ truck, stop back at the gas station. Chris, badly injured, gets out of the truck and takes the map from the gas station while the old man (who was implied to be in league with the mountain men) hides in the store.The credits are interrupted by a scene showing a deputy sheriff investigating and picking over the remains of the destroyed cabin. Three Finger, who survived the explosion, kills the deputy. His insane laughter is heard, as the credits continue to roll.

All in all, this is a well-drilled and highly accomplished horror tale, with lashings of juicy blood and gore, but far more importantly, with appealing lead characters and memorable baddies. It’s very easy to see why this polished flick spawned a succession of sequels. Highly recommended

REVIEW: BATMAN VS ROBIN

CAST
Jason O’Mara (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Stuart Allan (Bad Teacher TV)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Trevor Devall (Justice League: Gods and Monsters)
Robin Atkins Downes (Babylon 5)
Grey Griffin (Adventure Time)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
David McCallum (NCIS)
Weird Al Yankovic (Spy Hard)
Peter Onorati (Goodfellas)

During an investigation of missing children, Damian Wayne, AKA Robin, Batman’s son with Talia al Ghul, has taken the Batmobile out to an abandoned toy factory without Batman’s consent. He finds the perpetrator, Anton Schott, who has mutated some of the victims into dolls. Batman arrives, and in the resulting battle, Robin chases Schott while Batman knocks out the dolls with gas and frees the remaining children. Upon defeating Schott, Robin chooses to spare him, but an owl-masked assassin named Talon suddenly kills Schott and frames Robin for the murder. Batman is eventually convinced of Robin’s innocence after finding an owl feather at the crime scene.The next night, Bruce has dinner at Wayne Manor with fellow wealthy socialite Samantha Vanaver, who meets Damian. Later, he tries to connect with Damian, but he voices his frustration towards Bruce for never trusting him. Bruce goes out, leaving Damian with Nightwing to look after him (and calling off his date with Starfire in the process) and starts to investigate the owl feather, which leads him to the Gotham Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Owls. He is reminded of a childhood story about the Court of Owls, a secret society of wealthy men who ruled Gotham from the shadows and killed any who opposed them by sending agents called talons. On the night his parents were murdered, Bruce had seen an owl clutching a bat flying away from the crime scene. He became convinced that the Court of Owls was to blame, but after finding no evidence of their existence, Bruce dismissed the legend.While continuing to investigate, Batman is attacked by three undead, owl-masked assailants. After killing one, Batman witnesses the other two suddenly liquefying into black ooze. Meanwhile, Damian, having escaped Nightwing and fled the mansion, is approached by Talon, who encourages Robin’s choice of punishing criminals and offers Robin a chance to join him. Unsure of the decision, Robin returns home, where Bruce discovers him and warns him that he will be sent away to a school in Switzerland unless he learns to discipline himself.While driving to a date with Samantha, Bruce is kidnapped by white owl-masked people and he is brought before the Court of Owls, who offer Bruce a chance to join them. After Bruce leaves, given time to consider the offer, Talon reveals himself to be working for the Court of Owls, who are secretly raising an army of inhuman, undead talons to destroy Gotham City and allow the Court to rebuild it in their own image. However, their current talons are imperfect and dissolve after a period of time. It’s also revealed that Talon’s in a romantic relationship with Samantha, who’s secretly the Grandmaster of the Court of Owls. While the Court is planning for Talon to become one of their undead soldiers, with Robin serving as Talon’s replacement, Samantha’s secretly planning to save Talon from this procedure and have him become a member of the Court, so he can rule Gotham by her side.Damian, having contacted Talon, starts accompanying him to take out criminals, though he hesitates to kill them, which frustrates Talon. Sensing how Robin looks up to Batman as a father, Talon explains that after he gave his abusive thief father up to the police, who shot him, Talon was recruited by the Court of Owls. Batman shows up, having tracked Robin’s activity, but is blocked by Robin from capturing Talon. Batman tries to convince Robin that Talon and the Court of Owls are using him, but Robin is unconvinced, believing Batman is trying to hold him back from his potential. A confrontation breaks out between them, with Robin nearly getting the chance to kill Batman before leaving.Batman sneaks into the Court of Owls’s headquarters through the sewers, but is exposed to psychotropic gas by the Court, causing Batman to hallucinate. He is rescued by Nightwing and Alfred Pennyworth. Meanwhile, Talon introduces Robin to the Court and the Grandmaster. When Damian reveals himself to her, Samantha deduces that Batman is Bruce. When ordered to kill Damian, Talon instead turns against and overthrows the Court and kills every single member, including Samantha. Now in control of the Court’s army of talons, Talon leaves Damian behind, offering him another chance to join him once he has killed Batman.Talon and his soldiers attack Wayne Manor, breaking into the Batcave as Batman, Nightwing, and Alfred fight them off. Batman and Talon battle each other. Talon gains the upper hand until Robin, who escaped from the Court’s headquarters, intervenes and fights in Batman’s place. He eventually defeats Talon and holds a sai to his throat. However, Talon commits suicide by forcing Robin’s sai through his own neck, leaving Robin stunned and confused. Batman tries to welcome Robin back home, but Robin refuses, claiming he needs to sort out who he is. He leaves for a monastery in the Himalayas that Batman suggested to him.file_204535_4_Black_Moon_Rising_Tommy_Lee_JonesConsidering he began as the spawn of what was first considered one of DC’s non-canonical “Elseworlds” stories, Damian Wayne’s perseverance throughout the Batman narrative comes as a bit of a surprise, largely on the steam of Grant Morrison’s fondness for the character. Damian’s lineage and ruthless perspective add a dose of ideological conflict to the Batman formula that works towards justifying those misgivings. The key aspect of Batman vs. Robin comes, obviously, in that conflict between this volatile assassin-trained Robin and the life-preserving Batman, feeding into the rocky father-son relationship between the Waynes.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER

CAST
David Boreanaz (Angel)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Neil Patrick Harris (The Smurfs)
John Heard (Home Alone)
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Kyle MacLachlan (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Lex Lang (Constantine TV)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
Brooke Shields (The Blue Lagoon)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong turn)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Joe Mantegna (The Simpsons)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014)

Darwyn Cooke entered the comic book world via an animation career that included a stint on the staff of Batman: The Animated Series. He quickly impressed fans with his clean, classic illustration style, using old ideas as fodder for fresh visions. It’s kind of fitting, then, that things have come full circle, and now his old animation cohorts are adapting one of his comic books into a movie. Justice League: The New Frontier is directed by frequent Cooke collaborator David Bullock, and it is based on the 2004 comic book miniseries The New Frontier. In that drawn adventure novel, the writer/artist used his love of 1950s comics and culture to weave a complex tapestry using a host of genres, characters, and real world political touchstones. It is a gorgeous book, and for the most part, massively entertaining.

A 75-minute film is actually a far more compact means of expression than a sprawling comic book miniseries. Bullock, working with Cooke as a creative consultant, has dropped a lot of the backstory, relegating subplots on Monster Island with the Losers and the original Suicide Squad to quick mentions. This leaves the full running time devoted to the superhero mission and the rise of two new heroes.

Justice League: The New Frontier starts just at the end of the Korean War, putting America in the middle of the space race and the Red Scare. Superheroes have been swept up in the xenophobic hysteria, with the public being convinced that men hiding their identities behind masks are no better than the communists who plan revolutions behind closed doors. Superman (voiced by Kyle MacLachlan) is still functioning above board, having signed a loyalty oath to America. So does Wonder Woman (Lucy Lawless), though she is less enamored with the American Way the more paranoid and oppressive it gets. Other heroes, like Batman (Jeremy Sisto) and the Flash (Neil Patrick Harris), are still serving the public, but they risk arrest with every good deed they do. In the midst of all this fear and loathing, a primordial psychic force that has watched from the shadows as mankind has grown more dangerous and self-destructive over the centuries has begun shoring up its power to put an end to the human scourge. Calling itself “the Center” (as in “of all things”), this creature has become the stuff of cults and legends, controlling the minds of men and monsters alike.

Also coming to the fore at this time are two new super beings, and they are ostensibly the leads of the ensemble cast. Hal Jordan (David Boreanaz) is a veteran and a test pilot who many believe to be a coward due to his refusal to fire his guns in battle. His nobility will eventually lead to him being chosen as the Green Lantern, a cosmic defender assigned to protect Earth. The other hero is J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter (Miguel Ferrer), who through a quirk of science was teleported to and stranded on our planet. He is the most representative of the “other,” the things we fear because they are different. Jordan’s political ideas make him like the communists, whereas J’onzz’ green skin gives the storytellers room to tie his plight into race.

Justice League: The New Frontier is an entertaining animated adventure. Based on a multi-leveled comic book by Darwyn Cooke, it features the greatest heroes of the DC Comics universe banding together in the 1950s to fight a villain who is feeding on the hatred and paranoia of the times to rid the Earth of the human scourge. The movie is more streamlined and has a solid story that fits well into the new Warner Bros. effort to bring slightly more adult cartoons directly to DVD. The animation is mostly clean and dynamic, and as a whole, it’s an impressive two-disc release filled with lots of extras.