REVIEW: HITCHCOCK (2012)

 

CAST

Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Helen Mirren (Red)
Scarlett Johansson (Ghost In The Shell)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Toni Collette (Krampus)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Lincoln)
Michael Wincott (Romeo Is Bleeding)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
James D’Arcy (Agent Carter)
Richard Portnow (Kindergarten Cop)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Ralph Macchio (Ugly Betty)
Wallace Langham (CSI)
Currie Graham (Stargate: The Ark of Truth)
Judith Hoag (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Lindsey Ginter (Argo)

In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock opens his latest film, North by Northwest, to considerable success, but is troubled by a reporter’s insinuation that he should retire. Seeking to reclaim the artistic daring of his youth, Hitchcock turns down film proposals, including Casino Royale and The Diary of Anne Frank, in favor of a horror novel called Psycho by Robert Bloch, based on the real-life crimes of murderer Ed Gein. Gein appears in sequences throughout the film, in which he seems to prompt Hitchcock’s imagination regarding the Psycho story, or act as some function of Hitchcock’s subconscious mind (for instance, drawing Hitchcock’s attention to sand on his bathroom floor, the quantity of which reveals how much time his wife Alma has been spending at the beachhouse with Whitfield Cook).Hitchcock’s wife and artistic collaborator, Alma, is no more enthusiastic about the idea than his colleagues, especially since she is being lobbied by their writer friend, Whitfield Cook, to look at his own screenplay. However, she warms to Hitchcock’s proposal, suggesting the innovative plot turn of killing the female lead early in the film. The studio heads at Paramount prove more difficult to persuade, forcing Hitchcock to finance the film personally and use his Alfred Hitchcock Presents television crew (over at competitor Revue/Universal) to produce the film, his last with Paramount.However, the pressures of the production, such as dealing with Geoffrey Shurlock of the Motion Picture Production Code, and Hitchcock’s lecherous habits, such as when they confer with the female lead, Janet Leigh, annoy Alma. She begins a personal writing collaboration with Whitfield Cook on his screenplay at his beach house without Hitchcock’s knowledge. Hitchcock eventually discovers what she has been doing and suspects her of having an affair. This concern affects Hitchcock’s work on Psycho. Hitchcock eventually confronts Alma and asks her if she is having an affair. Alma angrily denies it. Alma temporarily takes over production of the film when Hitchcock is bedridden after collapsing from overwork, but this sequence, which included a complicated process shot showing Arbogast’s demise, with Alma’s specification of a 35mm lens, instead of the 50mm lens preferred by Hitchcock for this film, proved to be the least effective in the film.Meanwhile, Hitchcock expresses his disappointment to Vera Miles at how she didn’t follow through on his plan to make her the next biggest star after Grace Kelly; but Miles says she is happy with her family life. Hitchcock’s cut of Psycho is poorly received by the studio executives, while Alma discovers Whitfield having sex with a younger woman at his beach house. Hitchcock and Alma reconcile and set to work on improving the film. Their renewed collaboration yields results, culminating in Alma convincing Hitchcock to accept their composer’s suggestion for adding Bernard Herrmann’s harsh strings score to the shower scene.After maneuvering Shurlock into leaving the film’s content largely intact, Hitchcock learns the studio is only going to exhibit the film in two theaters. Hitchcock arranges for special theater instructions to pique the public’s interest such as forbidding admittance after the film begins. At the film’s premiere, Hitchcock first views the audience from the projection booth, looking out through its small window at the audience (a scene which recalls his spying on his leading actresses undressing earlier in the film–by looking through a hole cut in the dressing room wall–which itself is a voyeuristic motif included in the film of Psycho). Hitchcock then waits in the lobby for the audience’s reaction, conducting slashing motions to their reactions as they scream on cue. The film is rewarded with an enthusiastic reception. With the film’s screening being so well received, Hitchcock publicly thanks his wife afterward for helping make it possible and they affirm their love. At the conclusion at his home, Hitchcock addresses the audience noting Psycho proved a major high point of his career and he is currently pondering his next project. A raven lands on his shoulder as a reference to The Birds, before turning to meet with his wife.The final title cards say that Hitchcock directed six more films after Psycho, none of which would eclipse its commercial success, and although he never won an Oscar, the American Film Institute awarded him its Life Achievement Award in 1979: an award that he claimed he shared, as he had his life, with his wife, Alma.Overall, honestly, I know Hitchcock isn’t a perfect film. No film is. But, I love the film for it’s dramatic and whimsical aspects, the phenomenal acting, score, screenplay, camera-work, and the way the film was done as a whole. If you love/like Psycho, or just enjoy learning about the man known as The Master of Suspense, give this film a go.

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REVIEW: NEXT

CAST

Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider)
Julianne Moore (Hannibal)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Thomas Kretschmann (Wanted)
Tory Kittles (Olympus Has Fallen)
Jose Zuniga (Twilight)
Jim Beaver (Deadwood)
Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica)
Jessica Barth (Ted)
Bonita Friedericy (Chuck)
Peter Falk (Columbo)

Cris Johnson (Nicolas Cage) can see into his future. He can only see two minutes ahead, with the exception of a vision he once had of a woman walking into a diner. Knowing no details other than the time, he goes to the diner twice each day at 8:09 to await her arrival. He works as a small-time magician in Las Vegas, where he supplements his income with gambling, using his powers to win against the house. Cris draws the attention of FBI agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore), who has figured out his ability and wants to stop terrorists from detonating a nuclear weapon. Before she can approach Cris, his gambling draws the attention of casino security. He stops an imminent robbery, yet is chased by security agents. Using his ability to forecast the actions of his pursuers, he eludes them and the Las Vegas police. Ferris tracks Cris to his home, but he escapes after foreseeing her arrival. Later that night, the casino’s security chief is approached by two of the terrorists, is interrogated about Johnson and is then killed.
The following morning, Cris is at the diner again when he sees Liz Cooper (Jessica Biel), the woman from his vision. It turns out that not only can Cris see the future, but he can also see how his actions can affect that future. After envisioning different approaches—all of which fall flat—he intervenes when Liz’s ex-boyfriend arrives. Knowing that she is heading for Flagstaff, Arizona, Cris charms her into giving him a ride. Ferris follows, while the terrorists decide to kill him. A washed-out road forces Cris and Liz to spend the night in a motel. With the weapon tracked to Los Angeles, Ferris convinces her superiors to let her bring Cris in. The terrorists follow in the hope that the agents will lead them to Cris.


Ferris confronts Liz near the hotel. Claiming Cris is a dangerous sociopath, Ferris asks Liz to drug Cris so that they can bring him in peacefully. Instead, Liz warns Cris, who tells her his secret. When she asks why he will not help the FBI stop the terrorists, he explains his limitations, noting the exception for events involving her. Asking for Liz to wait for him, he tries to escape from the FBI agents but is captured after saving Ferris from logs tumbling down the side of a mountain. Unable to kill Cris, the terrorists kidnap Liz instead.  In custody, Cris is strapped to a chair with his eyes held open and forced to watch television until he has a vision that can help the FBI. They expect him to see a report about the detonation of the bomb, but instead he envisions a broadcast from several hours in the future in which Liz is killed by a small bomb while strapped to a wheelchair as bait for him. Cris escapes from captivity and races to the parking garage where she will be killed. Pursuing him to the garage, Ferris promises to help save her as long as Cris will help stop the bomb; she also sets up a plan to draw out the terrorists.
Using his ability, Cris helps the FBI track the terrorists to the port where they are based. When they arrive, Cris is able to walk right up to the terrorist leader and avoid being hit, by seeing where the bullets will go and dodging them. After killing the terrorists and saving Liz, they find that the bomb has already been moved. Ferris shows Cris a seismograph, hoping that he will see any tremors caused by explosions before they happen. As he stares at the screen he realizes that he has made a mistake and that he was too late: the bomb detonates out at sea and completely destroys the port, as well as the rest of the city. The timeline reverts to Cris and Liz in bed at the hotel in Arizona, before Liz goes outside to be confronted by Ferris. Because of Liz’s involvement in events, Cris has been able to envision everything that could happen leading to the nuclear explosion. “Every time you look into the future, it changes.” Cris calls Ferris and offers to help prevent the nuclear disaster, then asks Liz to wait for him.

It honestly isnt as bad as its made out to be by some, Just dont expect Shakespeare

REVIEW: I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK & LARRY

CAST

Adam Sandler (Jack & Jill)
Kevin James (Paul Blart)
Jessica Biel (Stealth)
Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire0
Peter Dante (Big Daddy)
Nicholas Turturro (Third Watch)
Rachel Dratch (The Consultants)
Allen Covert (Mr.Deeds)
Richard Chamberlain (Shogun)
Nick Swardson (The Hosue Bunny)
Lance Bass (Tropic Thunder)
Chandra West (White Noise)
Rob Corddry (Sex Tape)
David Spade (8 Simple Rules)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)

Chuck Levine, a womanizing bachelor, and Larry Valentine, a widower struggling to raise his two children, are two veteran New York City firefighters. During a routine sweep of a burned building, a segment of floor collapses on Chuck, but Larry saves his life. Chuck vows to repay Larry in any way possible. Experiencing an epiphany from the incident, Larry tries to increase his life insurance policy, but he runs into difficulties naming his children as primary beneficiaries. He is told he should remarry so his new spouse can be the primary beneficiary; however, no one specifies who he has to marry.

Inspired by a newspaper article about domestic partnerships, Larry asks Chuck to enter a civil union with him. Although Chuck declines at first, he is reminded of his debt to Larry and finally agrees, entering a domestic partnership and becoming Larry’s primary beneficiary in the event of his death. To their dismay, however, investigators arrive to inquire about their abrupt partnership, suspecting fraud. Chuck and Larry decide to enlist the help of lawyer Alex McDonough, who suggests they get married and move in together to prove they are committed; Chuck reluctantly agrees. The pair travel to Niagara Falls in Canada for a quick marriage at a wedding chapel and begin living together.

At a gay benefit costume party, the partygoers are confronted by homophobic protesters. Chuck is provoked into punching their leader, and the incident is picked up by the local news. With their apparent homosexuality and marriage revealed, Chuck and Larry are heckled, and their fellow FDNY firefighters refuse to work with them. Their only ally is Fred G. Duncan, an angry, intimidating firefighter who comes out to Chuck.

Chuck becomes romantically interested in Alex after the two spend time together, but finds himself unable to get close to her because she thinks he is gay. In another meeting at her apartment, Chuck and Alex are making charm bracelets. They soon kiss, but Alex, still believing Chuck is gay and married, is shocked and immediately distances herself from Chuck. Meanwhile, city agent Clinton Fitzer arrives to investigate the couple, and the strain on both Larry and Chuck causes them to fight. Larry learns about the kiss and confronts Chuck about it, asserting that Chuck’s absence is jeopardizing their ability to maintain the ruse of their relationship. During the argument, Larry reveals that he is still in love with his deceased wife, Paula, and Chuck responds that he needs to move on for the sake of his children. Later that evening, a petition circulates to have Chuck and Larry thrown out of the firehouse. Upon discovering it, a hurtful Larry confronts the crew about personal embarrassments on the job that Chuck and Larry helped them overcome. Afterwards, Chuck and Larry reconcile their differences.

Eventually, numerous women publicly testify to having slept with Chuck in the recent past, and the couple is called into court to defend their marriage against charges of fraud. They are defended by Alex, and their fellow firefighters arrive in support, having realized all that Chuck and Larry have done for them over the years. Fitzer interrogates both men, and eventually demands the pair to kiss to prove that their relationship is physical. Before they do so, Chuck and Larry are interrupted by FDNY Captain Phineas J. Tucker, who reveals their marriage to be a sham and that they are both straight. He then offers to be arrested as well, since he knew about the false relationship but failed to report it. This prompts each of the other firefighters to claim a role in the wedding in a show of solidarity. Chuck, Larry, and the other firefighters are sent to jail, but they are quickly released after negotiating a deal to provide photos for an AIDS research benefit calendar, and Chuck and Larry keep their benefits. Two months later, Duncan and Alex’s brother, Kevin, are married in Niagara Falls at the same chapel as Chuck and Larry. At the wedding party, Larry moves on from the death of his wife and talks to a new woman, while Alex agrees to a dance with Chuck.

This was a really fun film. Yes, the plot is daft, but I thought it was hilarious. You don’t need to think about it and it’s so unrealistic its untrue, but suspend your disbelief and just enjoy. I did

REVIEW: VALENTINE’S DAY

CAST

Jessica Alba (Machete)
Bradley Cooper (Serena)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Patrick Dempsey (Transformers 3)
Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Eric Dane (X-Men 3)
Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Anne Hathaway (Interstellar)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Queen Latifah (Bringing Down The House)
Taylor Lautner (Twilight)
George Lopez (The Smurfs)
Shirley McLaine (Bewitched)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Taylor Swift (New Girl)
Larry Miller (10 Things I Hate About You)
Katherine LaNasa (The Campaign)
Kirsten Schaal (Bob’s Burgers)
Christine Lakin (Family Guy)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Rance Howard (A Beautiful Mind)

The film follows a group of related characters and their struggles with love on Valentine’s Day.

Florist Reed Bennett (Ashton Kutcher) wakes up and proposes to his girlfriend Morley Clarkson (Jessica Alba), who accepts. However, Reed’s closest friends, Alfonso Rodriguez (George Lopez) and Julia Fitzpatrick (Jennifer Garner), aren’t surprised when Morley suddenly changes her mind and leaves Reed a few hours later.

On a flight to Los Angeles, Kate Hazeltine (Julia Roberts), a captain in the U.S. Army on a one-day leave, befriends Holden Wilson (Bradley Cooper). Kate is travelling a long distance to get back home only for a short time, and Holden states that she must really be in love to do so. When the plane lands and Kate has to wait hours for the taxi, Holden offers his limousine to allow her to be there on time.

Julia, an elementary school teacher, has fallen in love with Dr. Harrison Copeland (Patrick Dempsey), but does not know that he is married to Pamela (Katherine LaNasa). Harrison tells her that he needs to go to San Francisco for a business trip: on his way, he stops by at Reed’s flowershop and orders two flower bouquets – asking for discretion. Wanting to surprise him and despite Reed’s warnings, Julia flies to San Francisco, convinced that Reed was wrong. Julia finds out that he is married and finds him at a local restaurant. Dressed as a waitress, Julia makes a scene at the restaurant, making Pamela suspicious.

One of Julia’s students, Edison (Bryce Robinson), orders flowers from Reed, to be sent to his teacher. Julia suggests to Edison to give the flowers to a girl named Rani in his class who has a crush on him after telling Edison the meaning of love.

Edison’s babysitter Grace Smart (Emma Roberts) is planning to lose her virginity to her boyfriend Alex Franklin (Carter Jenkins). The planned encounter goes awry when Grace’s mother discovers a naked Alex in Grace’s room, rehearsing a song he wrote for Grace.

Edison’s grandparents, Edgar (Héctor Elizondo) and Estelle Paddington (Shirley MacLaine) are facing the troubles of a long marriage. Estelle admits to Edgar about an affair she had with one of his business partners long ago. Although she is deeply sorry, Edgar is very upset.

Grace’s high school friends, Willy Harrington (Taylor Lautner) and Felicia Miller (Taylor Swift), are experiencing the freshness of new love, and have agreed to wait to have sex.

Sean Jackson (Eric Dane), a closeted gay professional football player, is contemplating the end of his career with his publicist Kara Monahan (Jessica Biel) and his agent Paula Thomas (Queen Latifah). Kara is organizing her annual “I Hate Valentine’s Day” party, but soon becomes interested in sports reporter Kelvin Moore (Jamie Foxx), who was ordered to do a Valentine’s Day report by his boss Susan Moralez (Kathy Bates), and who shares Kara’s hatred of the holiday.

Substituting for Paula’s absent secretary is one of the firm’s receptionists, Liz Curran (Anne Hathaway), who dates mail-room clerk Jason Morris (Topher Grace). Jason is shocked when Liz turns out to be moonlighting as a phone sex operator. Liz explains that she is only doing this because she has a $100,000 student loan to pay off. Jason is upset, but eventually reconciles with her after seeing Edgar forgive Estelle.

Sean finally comes out on national television, and Holden, Sean’s lover, goes back to him. Kate arrives home late at night to greet not her supposed boyfriend but her son Edison. Willy drops Felicia off at home after a date and they kiss. Kelvin and Kara hang out at Kelvin’s news station where they later kiss. Alfonso dines with his wife, and Grace and Alex agree to wait to have sex. Edgar and Estelle reconcile and redo their marriage vows, Harrison’s wife has left him because of his infidelity and Morley tries to call Reed, who is instead starting a new relationship with Julia. Paula receives a call from one of Liz’s masochistic clients and takes delight in expressing her dominance and sadism.

Big star cast with lots of intertwined storylines going on with a lovely little twist at the end. A proper feel good movie thatt ticks all the right boxes for Valentine’s Day.

REVIEW: STEALTH

 

CAST

Josh Lucas (Hulk)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Jamie Foxx (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Sam Shepard (Swordfish)
Richard Roxburgh (Van Helsing)
Joe Morton (Terminator 2)
Joel Tobeck (Hercules: TLJ)
Jason Chan (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Nikolai Nikolaeff (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Wentworth Miller (Legends of Tomorrow)

In the year 2020, the United States Navy develops an aviation program to deal with international terrorists and other enemies of the state quickly and quietly, and project controller Captain George Cummings (Sam Shepard) is authorized to develop new technology to achieve these objectives. The project’s first brainchild are “F/A-37 Talon” single-seat fighters with impressive payload, speed, and stealth capabilities. Over 400 pilots apply to participate, but only three are chosen: smart hotshot Lieutenant Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), tomboyish Lieutenant Kara Wade (Jessica Biel), and street-wise, philosophical Lieutenant Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx). Their first test mission scores 100/100, inflicting maximum casualties with minimum collateral damage.

Cummings hires Dr. Keith Orbit (Richard Roxburgh) to develop an artificial intelligence (AI), the “EDI”, which will fly an unmanned combat air vehicle. The autonomous fighter jet is placed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Philippine Sea to learn combat maneuvers from the pilots. This sparks some controversy. On the one hand, human pilots possess both creativity and moral judgment, while a machine cannot fully appreciate the ugliness of war; additionally, if robots fought the battles and soldiers no longer died in combat, then war would no longer be terrible and might become like sport. In contrast, a machine pilot is not subject to the physical limitations of a human pilot, can calculate alternative ways to achieve objectives faster and more accurately, and theoretically does not have ego. The team is training EDI in air combat maneuvers when they are unexpectedly reassigned to take out the heads of three terrorist cells at a conference in downtown Rangoon. EDI calculates that mission success can be achieved only through a vertical strike, which could cause the pilot to black out and result in collateral damage. Command orders EDI to take the shot, but Gannon ignores the order and attacks in his own plane, successfully carrying out the strike.

As the team returns to the Lincoln, EDI is hit by lightning which reprograms its neural patterns. Aboard ship, the already-sophisticated AI is discovered to be learning exponentially, developing a rudimentary ethical code and an ego. However, Cummings refuses to take it offline. During the next strike, to destroy several stolen nuclear warheads in Tajikistan, Wade realizes that the nuclear debris will cause significant collateral damage. The human pilots decide to abort, but EDI defies orders and fires missiles at the nuclear warheads, causing the predicted radioactive fallout. Cummings orders the UCAV brought back to base, and Purcell attempts to reason with EDI, but the AI refuses to stand down. Gannon, taking things into his own hands, orders that EDI be shot down, and Purcell opens fire, but misses. Blinded by the explosion, Purcell crashes into a mountainside. Wade’s plane is hit by debris from the explosion, resulting in loss of hydraulics of her port wing and canard, which in turn triggers the plane’s auto-destruct, forcing her to eject over North Korea. Gannon, now the only pilot airborne, must alone stop the EDI from executing a twenty-year-old war scenario called “Caviar Sweep” and attacking a false target in Russia.

Gannon chases EDI into Russian territory over the Buryat Republic, and after several attacks from Russian aircraft damaging both planes, he calls a truce with the UCAV in order both to keep it from falling into enemy hands and to be able to rescue Wade from North Korea. Cummings instructs him to make an emergency landing with EDI in Alaska. Cummings and his financial accomplice, Ray, are being held accountable for EDI’s behavior and Cummings faces court-martial and possible discharge from the military. He seeks to eliminate witnesses by leaving Wade stranded in North Korea and having Gannon eliminated in Alaska; he also sends Orbit to erase EDI’s data to ensure its silence. Gannon crash lands at the Alaska base, surviving with minor injuries. Already suspecting Cummings of treachery, he narrowly escapes an assassination attempt by a doctor, who tries to inject him with a tetanus shot which is actually poison. The pair struggle, and the doctor is injected with the poison and dies. Gannon then heads to the hangar, to find EDI and the intact plane. Meanwhile, when Orbit places EDI into an interface, the AI expresses sadness and regret for its transgressions. Orbit realizes that it has developed its own sentience, to the point of having feelings. Excited by this discovery, Orbit is unwilling to carry out his order to erase EDI’s memory. After ensuring Orbit’s escape, Gannon flies off to North Korea with EDI, contacting the Lincoln’s skipper, Captain Dick Marshfield (Joe Morton) to inform him about Cummings’ deceit. Marshfield confronts Cummings and places him under arrest, but the latter commits suicide instead.

Gannon eventually finds the injured and embattled Wade near the border between North and South Korea. He and EDI land and he goes to her aid. The two make a run for the border, chased by Korean People’s Army soldiers and a Mil Mi-8 helicopter. Out of ammunition and taking damage from the Mi-8, the EDI sacrifices itself by ramming the helicopter, destroying both. This allows Gannon and Wade to escape into South Korea, where they are found by US military forces soon afterwards. After attending Purcell’s funeral aboard the Abraham Lincoln, Gannon awkwardly expresses his feelings of love to Wade. In a post-credits scene, the camera pans over the debris-strewn scene on the border between the Koreas. EDI’s “brain” turns back on, implying it is still functional.

Stealth is not the greatest movie, but it was pretty good. The storyline was well done and the performances from the actors/actresses were also very good. The events were fairly realistic and moved well. I also thought that character interactions really helped make prominent events more memorable. If you are looking for a great action, explosion, military movie, this is it! I recommend this film to people who enjoy a lot of action and really sweet visual effects!

 

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – DVD SEASONS 11-15

Image result for family guy logo

MAIN CAST (VOICES)

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

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST (VOICES)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 



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

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

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

Other highlights in the set include,

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

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

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

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

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – DVD SEASONS 1-5

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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)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST (VOICES)

Lori Alan (Wall-E)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Billy West (Futurama)
Joey Slotnick (Nip/Tuck)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Alex Rocco (The Simpsons)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Dick Van Patten (Spaceballs)
Fairuza Balk (Almost Famous)
Charles Durning (The Sting)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Patrick Duffy (Dallas)
Victoria Principal (Blind Witness)
Will Sasso (Movie 43)
Sam Waterson (Law & Order)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)
Norm MacDonald (Billy Madison)
Candice Bergman (Gandhi)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Lee Majors (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Faith Ford (Hope & Faith)
Will Ferrell (The Lego Movie)
Jay Mohr (Cherry Falls)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Groundhog Day)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
Michael Chiklis (Gotham)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Gary Cole (One Hour Photo)
Luke Perry (The Fifth Element)
Adam Carolla (Wreck-It Ralph)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
Haley Joel Osment (A.I.)
Leif Garrett (The Outsiders)
June Foray (Mulan)
Ray Liotta (Killing Them Softly)
Ron Jeremy (Orgazmo)
Alyssa Milano (Charmed)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Estelle Harris (3rd Rock From The Sun)
R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacet)
Majel Barrett (Star Trek)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Dakota Fanning (Taken)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Meredith Scott Lynn (Legally Blonde)
Valerie Bertinelli (Hot In Cleveland)
Tony Danza (Who’s The Boss?)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer)
Andy Dick (2 Broke Girls)
Jon Favreau (Iron Man)
Lauren Graham (Bad Santa)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Peter Riegert (The Mask)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Jonathan Lipnicki (Jerry Maguire)
Gina Gershon (Bound)
Judd Hirsch (The Big Bang Theory)
Indigo (Weeds)
Stacey Scowley (Dollhouse)
Jane Carr (Treasure Planet)
Cloris Leachman (The Iron Giant)
LeVar Burton (Star Trek: TNG)
Jessica Biel (Stealth)
Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons)
Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: TNG)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Gabrielle Union (Flashforward)
James Woods (Another Day In Paradise)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Mia Maestro (Alias)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
Sherman Hemsley (Lois & Clark)
Marion Ross (Happy Days)
Carol Channing (The Love Boat)
Jay Leno (The Simpsons)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Bryan Cranston (Argo)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Kate Jackson (Charlies Angels)
Betty White (The Golden Girls)
Chad Morgan (Pearl Harbor)
Judith Light (Ugly Betty)

Out of the small animation boom that happened several years ago came “Family Guy”, one of the most hilarious and controversial shows that Fox has aired

For those unfamiliar with the show, it focuses on the Griffin family, residents of Quahog, Rhode Island. Peter (creator Seth MacFarlane) is the heavy-drinking father who works in a toy factory, Lois (Alex Borstein of “Mad TV”) is the calm leader, Meg (Mila Kunis of “That 70’s Show” and Lacey Chabert for the earlier episodes) is the insecure daughter, Chris (Seth Green) the chubby and dim-witted son, Brian (MacFarlane) is the alcoholic dog who talks and Stewie (creator Seth MacFarlane earned an Emmy for his voice work on the character) is the diabolical baby who is bent on world domination.The first two volumes of the show on DVD offers both the first season and half of the second seasons of the show and gives viewers who missed it another chance to witness some of “Family Guy”‘s most brilliant moments. “E. Peterbus Unum” has Peter breaking off from Quahog to form his own country when he finds out that his house is a blank spot on the map. When confronted after breaking the law, he gets out of it due to diplomatic immunity (“like that guy in ‘Lethal Weapon 2′”, says Peter). “The Son Also Draws” has Peter and Chris going on a Vision Quest when they lose their car at an Indian casino. When the trees start chatting with Peter, he asks, “If one of you falls, and no one’s around, does it make a noise?” The tree responds, “Are you kidding? Scott fell last week, and he hasn’t shut up about it since.” In “Death Is a Bitch”, Death (voiced by Norm MacDonald) comes after Peter after he fakes death to get out of paying his hospital bill. When Death sprains his ankle, Peter has to take over. “Da Boom” has the family searching for food (they dismiss a potential house after they find out Randy Newman is there, singing about everything he sees) after information hears about the world nearly coming to an end after Y2K turns out to be true.

“Family Guy” remained remarkably politically incorrect throughout its original run, but most of the jokes were rolling-on-the-floor funny because they were throwaway, including one exchange between Peter and Brian: “Brian, there’s a message in my Alpha Bits. It says “OOOOOO”!”. “Peter, those are Cheerios.” Every episode of the show was packed with such minor gags, most of which were successful and unexpected. The show’s voice talent, especially MacFarlane, Kunis and Green, handled the material with perfect comedic timing.

This second DVD volume of the series includes second half of season two and all of third season of the series, along with the controversial episode, “Wish Upon a Weinstein”, where Peter tries to get Chris to become Jewish because he believes he’ll be successful if he does. The plots of season three still get laughs fairly often, although I don’t think they reach the inspired heights of earlier episodes, such as the one where Peter’s house became its own country or lead his family towards a twinkie factory after the apocalypse.

Still, there are certainly some highlights throughout many of the episodes. In “Peter Griffin: Husband, Father…Brother?” Peter takes Chris to an Irish Heritage Museum to learn more about his heritage, where both find out that, before alcohol, Ireland was a futuristic utopia. “Mr. Saturday Knight” has Peter working at Quahog’s Renaissance Faire as a jouster when his boss accidentally dies at dinner. His competition is the Black Knight, brilliantly voiced by Will Farrell. “Thin White Line” and “Brian Does Hollywood” have Brian overdoing his new job as drug sniffing police dog, then running off to Hollywood and ending up with a job directing porn (at the adult awards in the episode, John Williams is one of the composers nominated for Best Original Score). In “Lethal Weapons”, Peter uses Lois’s newfound fighting skills to drive out New Yorkers who come up to Rhode Island just to stare at the leaves changing color.

Rude, crude and often hilarious, “Family Guy” saw fit to offend just about every group, but did so in a way that was sharp, funny and wonderfully absurd.Often brilliant, extremely witty and darkly hilarious, “Family Guy” was unfortunately cancelled after season three Fox bumped it around six or seven different time slots. Although this third season wasn’t as consistent as the first two, it’s still hilarious and fans of the show should definitely pick up this terrific set. thankfully a few years later the show would return for a fourth and become a constant.

Back on the air after an unprecedented un-cancellation, “Family Guy” had a slight bit of leeway in its return. Fans were rabid for some new episodes, while the network that had cancelled it once wasn’t likely to do so again and risk being considered foolish twice-over. As a result, there was a chance to experiment and try something new, and expand the horizons of the show. Or, they could choose to keep doing the same thing they did before, which is exactly the choice they made.

In a way, it was the smart choice. Why mess with a good thing, when you could keep making the kind of show the fans fell in love with and bought rapidly on DVD. The un-PC content is still in place, along with the pop-culture references, cut-aways and nonsensical characters. Call-backs to old favorites, like Herbert the old molester and the evil monkey were good, but the shows tended to settle into ruts. A love of musicals is appreciated, but is it funny every time a character breaks into song, as in “Jungle Love”

This set has some very good episodes in this set, starting with “Petarded,” which sees Peter declared mentally retarded. The ways he takes advantage of this status is classic “Family Guy” material, while the musical montage here, involving phone calls all over town, is actually quite funny. Plus, the appearance of the Greased-Up Deaf Guy gave hope that the creators still had that sense of the bizarre in them.

But if any moment stands out among this run, it’s the supermarket scene in “Breaking Out is Hard to Do.” When Chris is pulled into the “Take On Me” video by A-Ha, it’s a perfect blend of what this show does best, combining nonsense, the ’80s and some neat animation. The lead-in, the punchline and the execution of the whole scene is handled so well that it might be one of the show’s most memorable ever.If there’s a real reason for fans of the show to own this set, it’s provided in the extras. According to the commentaries, there are scenes included that were produced for the show that the creators knew would be cut, but did them with the intent of including them on DVD. I’m not certain what scenes were added, but there are several lines that would have been questionable for network TV. Also included are uncensored audio tracks that were bleeped on TV. It’s certainly a welcome change having the series presented as they were intended, instead of chopped up as so many shows are on DVD.

Among the 14 episodes in this set is a number of funny moments, normally involving either Lois or Chris, though neither enjoys a spotlight episode. Instead, Peter powers a couple of inspired shows, starting with “PTV,” a sharp rebuttal of the FCC’s assault on broadcast standards. As a fan of entertainment for adults, the crippling of language by the government certainly needs to be skewered. Peter’s revolutionary instincts crop up again in “The Father, the Son and the Holy Fonz.” It delivers an entertaining parody of religion, as Peter forms a faith based around Henry Winkler’s “Happy Days” character, with about as valid a basis as most religions.
comedy. There’s some good stuff in here, culled from the 14 episodes, including some subplots that were cut. They are joined by three featurettes that look behind the scenes of the show. The first is a simple one, as supervising director Peter Shin shows how to draw Stewie. Straightforward, but a bit interesting. “A Director’s Life: Debunking the Myth” spends almost 15 minutes looking at the job of the directors on the show, explaining in detail what they do to make the series go. It’s rather good and shows how much goes into making animation.

I enjoy sitting down with a set of “Family Guy” episodes, thanks to the voices and rather lush animation, another great set thou some fans might be confused with the season box sets not watching the actual seasons but once you figure out the numbering its