REVIEW: MIKE & MOLLY – SEASON 6

CAST

Billy Gardell (My Name Is Earl)
Melissa McCarthy (Spy)
Reno Wilson (R.S.V.P.)
Katy Mixon (Two and a Half Men)
Nyambi Nyambi (LAw & Order)
Louis Mustillo (One For The Money)
Rondi Reed (Seinfeld)
Cleo King (The Hangover)
David Anthony Higgins (Ellen)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Eric Allan Kramer (The Incredible Hulk Returns)
Juliette Goglia (Two and a Half Men)
Joel Murray (Beethoven)
Jack McGee (Scrooged)
Jamie Denbo (Happy Endings)
Jessica Chaffin (The Heat)
Wallace Langham (CSI)
Jessy Hodges (Greek)
Amy Farrington (Just Shoto Me)
Rose Abdoo (Cake)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang Theory)

I have loved Mike & Molly since the pilot, and thoroughly enjoyed every episode all the way through the series finale. There was a special magic that the series had. A genuine mix of hardcore laughs and real heart that made the show’s characters multi-dimensional and downright entertaining. They were characters you wanted to watch, wanted to see in their greatest moments and darkest defeats. Mike & Molly delivered so many memorable moments over its much too short six season run. It’s a series that I will definitely miss.When I heard the series was being cancelled and that the final season would be cut down to only 13 episodes, I was a bit surprised. It’s a solid Chuck Lorre series, the man who brought us Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, and Mom, had yet another feather in his cap with Mike & Molly. It had even earned star Melissa McCarthy an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.Mike & Molly mixed edgy, broad comedy with heartwarming moments from flawed, outspoken characters. It was unapologetic in its approach to getting laughs, much like Two and a Half Men. But while Two and a Half Men was joke-joke-joke, Mike & Molly had the ability to balance the joke-joke-joke formula with many touching and even tear-inducing moments over the course of its run. I think it’s what made it easier to connect with them: they weren’t just joke machines; they came across as real people in a lot of ways.Watching such a talented cast bring 110% to each episode was always a treat. Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell brought us Molly Flynn and Mike Biggs, two strangers who met at an Overeaters’ Anonymous Meeting. Their story grew from first date, to moving in together, to engagement, to marriage, to trying to have a baby, to changing careers, to deciding to adopt all in six short seasons.Along for the ride were Mike’s best friend Carl (Reno Wilson); Molly’s mom and sister, Joyce and Victoria, (Swoosie Kurtz and Katy Mixon); Carl’s eventual roommate, Samuel (Nyambi Nyambi); Joyce’s husband, Vince (Louis Mustillo); Mike’s mom, Peggy (Rondi Reed); and Carl’s Grandma (Cleo King). And, of course, we can’t forget Peggy’s dog, Jim (Suzie Q).When you have a supporting cast like these performers, it’s no wonder the series had as many laughs as it did. All of them were spot-on with their characters, never missing a beat, always on their game and ready to play comedy hardball. I feel the sign of a great cast is when you can mix random characters together and the comedy still plays. The Mike & Molly cast is one of these ensembles. You can have any character paired with any other character and there will be guaranteed laughs.Baby BumpI would like to add a note about Melissa McCarthy. She is amazing as a sitcom actor. It’s definitely a medium she is comfortable in and I would love to see her back doing it again. Her ability to not only deliver great comedic lines but also her penchant for physical comedy and her no-fear attitude puts her in the  book of great sitcom comediennes. So, what did I think of the final season? I loved it. It was short, but I loved every minute of it. I guess it’s better for the series to end on a high note than to end and people ask “Was that still on?” I have to admit I did shed a tear during the final moments of the finale.107713_wb_0168bI love it, I’ll miss it, but it’s on DVD forever so at least it’s not gone forever! Thank you, Mike & Molly cast and crew for six great seasons of laughs!

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REVIEW: GHOSTBUSTERS (2016)

CAST

Melissa McCarthy (The Boss)
Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids)
Kate McKinnon (Masterminds)
Leslie Jones (Trainwreck)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Neil Casey (Fort Tilden)
Andy Garcia (The Unsaid)
Cecily Strong (The Bronze)
Charles Dance (Game of Thrones)
Michael K. Williams (Gone Baby Gone)
Ed Begley Jr. (Veronica Mars)
Nate Corddry (Mom)
Katie Dippold (The Heat)
Jessica Chaffin (Spy)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Dan Aykroyd (Evolution)
Ernie Hudson (The Wrong Guys)
Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
Annie Potts (Pretty In Pink)
Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds)
Justin Kirk (Goats)

Physicists Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) are co-authors of a research book which posits the existence of paranormal phenomena such as ghosts. Erin has disowned the work and become a professor at Columbia University, while Abby continues to study the paranormal at a technical college with eccentric engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). Erin learns Abby has republished the book, threatening her bid for tenure at Columbia. She reunites with Abby and, in exchange for Abby removing the book from publication, reluctantly agrees to assist her and Jillian in a paranormal investigation.

The group witness a malevolent ghost (Bess Rous), renewing Erin’s belief in the paranormal. However, a video of their investigation is posted online, and Erin is denied tenure. She joins Abby and Jillian’s project, but when a new institute director learns its nature, he fires them. They open an office above a Chinese restaurant and call themselves the “Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination.” They build equipment to study and capture ghosts, and hire dimwitted but handsome Kevin Beckman (Chris Hemsworth) as a receptionist.

MTA worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) witnesses a ghost in a subway line and contacts the group. They document the ghost and successfully test Jillian’s proton containment laser, but their findings are again dismissed. They continue to develop their technology and advertise their services as what pundits have dubbed the “Ghostbusters”. Patty joins the team, providing historical knowledge of New York City and a repurposed hearse, “Ecto-1”.

Unbeknownst to them, the ghosts are being summoned by devices built by Rowan North (Neil Casey), an occultist and mad scientist attempting to bring about the “apocalypse”. When Rowan plants another device at a live music venue, the Ghostbusters are called in and capture the ghost in front of the audience. When supernatural debunker Dr. Martin Heiss (Bill Murray) challenges the Ghostbusters, the incensed Erin releases the ghost as proof; it throws Heiss out a window before escaping. The Ghostbusters are brought to see Mayor Bradley (Andy García) and his loyal secretary, Jennifer Lynch (Cecily Strong), who reveals that the city and the Department of Homeland Security are aware of New York’s ghost problem. While privately supporting the team’s work, the mayor’s office and DHS publicly denounce them as fraudsters.

The Ghostbusters realize Rowan is planting his devices along ley lines which intersect at the Mercado Hotel in Times Square, a site with a history of paranormal activity, and discover Rowan building a portal to the ghost dimension in the hotel basement. To avoid capture, Rowan deliberately electrocutes himself to death, after which Jillian deactivates the portal. Erin discovers a copy of her and Abby’s book among Rowan’s possessions, and realizes that he killed himself so that he could become a ghost and command a spirit army. Rowan returns as a powerful ghost, possessing Abby and then Kevin. As Kevin, he opens the portal and releases hundreds of ghosts. The police and DHS are quickly subdued, but the Ghostbusters fight through the army of ghosts to reach the portal.

Rowan takes the form of the ghost in the Ghostbusters’ logo, grows to enormous height, and attacks the city. The team devises a plan to use Ecto-1’s nuclear reactor to close the portal and return the ghosts to their own dimension. The plan succeeds, but Rowan drags Abby into the portal with him; Erin leaps into the portal and rescues her. The mayor’s office agrees to secretly fund the Ghostbusters’ research while continuing to publicly denounce them as frauds. With new funding, the Ghostbusters move to a better facility, a disused fire house. Despite the mayoral smear campaign, New York lights up with thanks and tributes to the Ghostbusters. In a post credits scene, Patty listens to a recording of a ghost encounter and asks the others if they have heard of Zuul.

Don’t listen to the trolls. This was a great re-make of the original classic. The leading ladies did a great job and introduced their own personalities to the parts. The story includes some interesting backstory of the character’s history and how they met. The added details make the characters more interesting. Kate did a fantastic job with the “mad scientist” role. The cameos by some familiar faces was an added bonus. But it would’ve been nice for Slimer to have a bigger role. Overall the movie was funny and entertaining. Would definitely recommend it.

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 1,2,3 & 4

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MAIN CAST

Zooey Deschanel (Yes Man)
Jake Johnson (Jurassic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (The Guild)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)
Damon Wayans Jr. (Big Hero 6)


RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (The Grinder)
Ian Wolterstorff (The Neighbours)
Katie Cassidy (Arrow)
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie)
Lake Bell (In A World…)
Justin Long (Waiting…)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved)
Michaela Watkins (Casual)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Rachael Harris (The Hangover)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Kali Hawk (Bridesmaids)
Jeff Kober (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Clarke Duke (Kick-Ass)
Ryan Kwanten (True Blood)
Joey King (The Dark Knight Rises)
June Diane Raphael (Bride Wars)
Dermot Multoney (The Grey)
Martin Starr (This Is The End)
Natalie Drefuss (The Originals)
Rebecca Reid (Eastern Promises)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Nelson Franklin (Argo)
Parker Posey (Superman Returns)
David Walton (Bad Moms)
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Molly Cheek (American Pie)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
Rob Reiner (This Is Spinal Tap)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens)
Carla Gugino (Watchman)
Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Dennis Farina (Get Shorty)
Nate Corddry (Mom)
Brooklyn Decker (Battleship)
Brenda Song (The Social Network)
Odette Annable (The Unborn)
Margo Martindale (Mike & Molly)
Merritt Weaver (Signs)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Mary Lynn Rajskub (2 Broke Girls)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Riki Lindhome (Much Ado About Nothing)
Jon Lovitz (Big)
Taye Diggs (Chicago)
Jessica Chaffin (Spy)
Nakia Burrise (Power Rangers Turbo)
Brian Posehn (The Big Bang Theory)
Ben Falcone (The Boss)
Prince (Purple Rain)
Linda Cardellini (Scooby-Doo)
Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Kerri Kenney (Anger Management)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Ciara Hanna (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Kaitlin Olson (The Heat)
Alan Ritchson (Smallville)
Erinn Hayes (The Watch)
Julian Morris (Hand of God)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Amber Stevens West (22 Jump Street)
Greta Lee (St. Vincent)
Barry Bostwick (Spin City)
Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens)
Zoe Lister-Jones (Salt)
Nora Dunn (Bones)

Your desire to watch New Girl is probably predicated by Zooey Deschanel, her cutesy fringe and massive possum eyes but rest assured there is a lot more to this show than that. If you aren’t already a Zooey fan please don’t let the somewhat annoying portmanteau “Adorkable” put you off seeing this great show.In my opinion the first few episodes of the show’s run are a little weak, but as season 1 continues this show goes from strength to strength as the writers seem to be figuring out what works and getting rid of what doesn’t. If you have seen the first few episodes on TV and are not sure if this show is for you I would definitely recommend sticking with it as the characters become less cartoonish and more fleshed out. While there are lots of comedies about people in their 20s and early 30s struggling with quarter-life crises, this show find a fresh approach to these issues that both men and women of this age in particular should enjoy.

There is lots of cringe-inducing humour and the show benefits from a great deal of physical humour and sight-gags as well as nerdy rapid-fire verbal comedy (which is my favourite!). I would definitely recommend getting this show on DVD, as it is incredibly rewatchable. Not only will you quickly come to really enjoy `hanging-out’ with these characters but sometimes the jokes and quips come so quickly you will definitely pick up on jokes you missed during the first watch.

The actors are all excellent and are perfectly cast in their different roles bringing a real warmth to the relationships between the main characters. Zooey is excellent as Jess and is a really refreshing comic lead. It is great to see a quirky, laid-back female character as so often actresses in sit-coms are relegated to being the nagging girlfriend/wife or to just commenting on the funny situations the male characters get themselves in to. Not only is Jess a witty character but also her lack of tact and weirdness are frequently sources of humour, as are the gaffs of her three roommates. Schmit is the break out character of the show for me. While in the first episode he comes across as an arrogant, shallow meat-head he quickly becomes more nuanced and sensitive and in my opinion is far and away one of the funniest characters on TV.The first season of New Girl established the will-they-won’t-they pairing of Nick and Jess and the they-did-will-it-last coupling of Schmidt and CeCe, so the second season is all about raising the stakes for them. For Nick and Jess this takes the form of bad relationships keeping their minds off messing with the loft dynamic by dating a roommate. Though each has some legitimate opportunities for happiness, be it Jess’ commitment-phobic Dr. Sam or Nick’s sexually adventurous stripper girlfriend (played by Olivia Munn.) However knowing that there remains a chance they could end up together leads to frequent self-sabotage.As much as Deschannel is the star of the show, Johnson has quietly become just as integral, as Nick grows and discovers himself, with the help of his future self and a water-massaging elderly Asian gentleman (the show can get weird sometimes.)For Schmidt and CeCe, reality is far less promising, as CeCe begins to sense her biological clock is ticking, and finds herself on a course for an arranged marriage to a pleasant man who just isn’t Schmidt. Meanwhile, the one true Schmidt seeks to alleviate the impending loss of his caramel queen by running back to his one true love, Elizabeth, a girl he dated in college, when he was hundreds of pounds heavier. It sets up a troubling love triangle, as the real Schmidt is just right for Elizabeth, but the Schmidt he wants to be is a perfect match for CeCe. While there’s a grimy aspect to Schmidt keeping two women secret from each other, on the other hand, Greenfield makes it work by showing Schmidt cares about both women and is, oddly, doing it to not hurt either of them, rather than out of some sort of romantic greed. It’s an unusual situation, and one the show handles well.The focus on Schmidt and CeCe this season unleashes the show’s secret weapon, as Simone proves to be one of the most consistently funny performers in the series, popping in a look or a delivery that’s just perfect for the situation. Many of the show’s best moments this season grow out of CeCe’s on and off again connection with Schmidt, with the season’s home-stretch existing only thanks to the culture clash that grows from her arranged marriage, Part of what makes her so entertaining is how her exotic beauty gets betrayed to hilarious effect by her ability to be wonderfully silly. (The other benefit of having CeCe around is the presence of her Russian modeling pal Nadia (Rebecca Reid), who is economically hysterical, with a higher laugh to word ratio than anyone on TV.)The mix in the loft is why the show works so well, as the quartet of roomies and friends behaves realistically, no matter how offbeat the situation may be or how odd the four may sometimes get. So whether it’s Schmidt feeling old thanks to some hipsters who have imoved in and befriended Jess, the exploration of the group’s most annoying aspects (a.k.a. “pogos”) or Winston struggling with his period, they mercilessly tease each other, but have each other’s back to the end. This is never more clearly illustrated than in “Virgins,” where the crew one-up each other with their horrible tales of their first sexual experiences. The way they interact is as close to real friends as anything on TV.With the series expanding upon the world created in the first season, we get to meet more of the people in the lives of the four roommates, and those additions were rather impressive, to go with returning speicial guests, like June Diane Raphael (playing Jess’ lesbian gynocologist.) The late Dennis Farina had a great turn as Nick’s con-man father, while Margot Martindale plays his brassy mom, Nick Kroll is his dim-witted brother and Bill Burr is his Beantown cousin. Meanwhile on Jess’ side, they snagged Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis to play her feuding parents (and Reiner should become a series regular as her dad). Add in Rob Riggle as Schmidt’s brother, Carla Gugino as his sexually-aggressive boss and Brenda Song as Winston’s new lady friend, and the show managed to cultivate a fine ensemble outside of the core five, expanding and improving the series.

The natural progression of the relationships between Nick and Jess and Schmidt and CeCe, along with the changes in the world around them, made for an entertaining season that balanced silly fun with genuine emotion.
Coach’s return was a little unexpected, there was already a great ensemble, why mess with it? For those who don’t know, Coach was one of the original characters from the pilot. Wayans’s was already cast in Happy Endings, but with Happy Endings suffering in the ratings, it was expected to be cancelled, leaving Wayans’s free to find another role. It didn’t get cancelled, and New Girl even benefited with the addition of Winston. Eventually, Happy Endings was cancelled, and Coach comes back.  Coach’s return to, guess what, coaching was inspired, and his slight change in focus really benefits both him and Schmidt, as well as the show as a whole. By the end of the season, it feels like Coach has always been there!
Then there is Winston. It really is a testament to Lamorne Morris’s ability as an actor and comic that he has got so much out of character that doesn’t really have much to do. I think he’s one of the least developed characters, and with so much focus on Nick & Jess, the re-introduction of Coach and Schmidt’s all round issues, he’s left to fill out episode storylines without getting much development himself. The comic relief Winston provides is necessary to balance out the drama with the other characters, but it’s a shame so much of it is just short story arcs or lasts just a single episode. If there’s any area I’d like season 4 to develop, it’s Winston. There is just too much talent and comedy to ignore.

New Girl continues its solid track record, producing a classic relationship season without losing the fact it’s a comedy at heart. Well executed by all involved.

Romantic relationships remain the primary concerns of Jess, her four dude roommates, and her best friend Cece (Hannah Simone). In season three, Jess and her cute slacker roomie Nick (Jake Johnson) made good on the will-they-or-won’t-they? dynamic teased in the previous seasons and are already peaceably broken up at this point. (The episode “Goldmine” nicely addresses the difficulty of getting people not to bail on dates with each of them after learning that they live in the same apartment as their ex.) At work, Jess has made it up the ranks from schoolteacher to vice principal, which is all well and good until she gets a crush on a new British teacher (Pretty Little Liars’ Julian Morris) with the saucy name Ryan Geauxinue (pronounced “Goes-In-You”); unfortunately for Jess, administrator-teacher couplings are a no-no, so she tries to ignore the hunk. (That doesn’t happen.) Nick finds Kai (Greta Lee), a lady who likes to lay about the apartment as much as himself; rookie cop Winston (Lamorne Morris) “investigates” her behavior for his roommate and decides she must be homeless. (She’s not.)
The show’s other key couple, former-model-turned-inept-bartender Cece (Hannah Simone) and metrosexual would-be player Schmidt (Max Greenfield), continue their pas de deux; Schmidt starts off the season overwhelmingly obsessed with Cece while she just wants to move on. As the season continues, Schmidt cools it a bit and finds a way to be Cece’s friend… which, of course, just makes her remember why she liked him in the first place. Unfortunately, by this point, Schmidt has started up with manipulative, career-driven city councilwoman Fawn Moscato (Zoe Lister-Jones). Fawn’s power excites Schmidty, but is this duo built to last?
 Wayans was a “recurring” cast member in season 3, but he’s a full-fledged co-star in season four. His presence in the show — besides demonstrating  that non-“niche” sitcom ensembles can have more than one black dude in them — is wonderfully layered with jock-y braggadocio, hidden tenderness, and amiable goofiness. Coach also reacts to relationship strife in the most entertaining ways possible, whether it’s emotionally breaking down as he tries to describe fertilization in a health class he’s teaching or attracting a bar full of ladies to grind up against him to the strains of Alannah Myles’s “Black Velvet.”
That just leaves Winston, who occasionally takes a break from studying for his police exam and from being in love with his cat to try to woo a human lady. I have to admit that Winston’s decision to become a cop just keeps reminding me of the later seasons of That ’70s Show, where Kelso’s decision to join the police academy also felt fairly arbitrary and strange. This is addressed in a subplot in the episode “Par 5,” which was actually co-written by  Lamorne Morris, in which the character feels forced to hide his profession when he starts dating a woman who actively protests the LAPD. This episode tries to add a little nuance and depth to Winston’s choice to be a policeman.
For a show with so many semi-arrested characters, gaining maturity and finding worthwhile career paths are unsurprisingly also an ongoing component of the show. Jess and Winston, of course, seem like they’re right where they want to be career-wise with the vice principal and police gigs respectively. Nick continues to flounder professionally, but eventually teams up with Schmidt to start their own entrepreneurial concern, and while their first concept — a suit made out of sweatsuit material — is a dud, the show seems optimistic about them finding fulfillment in working together. Cece finally goes to college, with some financial help from Coach and Winston, who consider it an investment that they expect to see repaid. When they find out Cece uses the opportunity to take somewhat esoteric liberal arts courses, the fellas are duly perturbed.
Once again, the show opens its doors to a number of excellent guest stars, including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson as Jess’s former classmate and potential stepmom (Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis return as Jess’s divorced parents), Jessica Biel as a romantic rival for Jess, Billy Eichner as a stressed-out, catty airport employee on Christmas, Childrens Hospital’s Erinn Hayes as a promiscuous school nurse, Lisa Bonet as the touchy-feely leader of a teachers conference, Nora Dunn as Schmidt’s overbearing mother, and on and on. Justin Long. Josh Gad. Michaela Watkins. Barry Bostwick. Sarah Burns. Kurt Braunohler. Regis Philbin. Funny people!
 The ensemble cast truly shines in this newest season of New Girl. Some episodes come in a little below expectations, but overall the season offers some interesting developments for the characters and oodles of great jokes. If you like the show, keep liking the show.

REVIEW: SPY

CAST

Melissa McCarthy (Ghostbusters)
Jude Law (A.I.)
Rose Byrne (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Jason Staham (Fast & Furious 7)
Miranda Hart (Miranda)
Jessica Chaffin (The Heat)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Will Yun Lee (The Wolverine)
Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man)
Peter Serafinowicz (Shaun of The Dead)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
50 Cent (Southpaw)
Paul Feig (Sabrina: TTW)

Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a desk-bound CIA analyst guiding her partner Agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) on a mission to Varna from a CIA office in the Washington, D.C. area. Fine kills Tihomir Boyanov after he sneezes without first finding a suitcase nuke whose location is known only to Boyanov. Meanwhile, the agency learns that Boyanov’s daughter Rayna (Rose Byrne) might know the location of her father’s device, so they send Fine to infiltrate her home. However, Rayna shoots Fine dead while Susan watches online. Rayna knows the identities of all the agency’s top agents, including Fine and Rick Ford (Jason Statham). Susan, who is unknown to Rayna, volunteers to become a field agent, and her boss, Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney), agrees. Ford quits in disgust over Susan being chosen for the assignment.
Susan is sent to Paris to spy on Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale). Later that night, Ford appears in the hotel Susan is staying at and insists that she will ruin the mission due to being an inexperienced field agent. The next morning, Susan sees an assassin working for De Luca, and one of his contacts, exchanging Ford’s bag for one with a bomb inside it. Susan warns Ford, then catches up to the assassin, but he is killed when they fight. Susan follows De Luca to Rome, where she meets her contact Aldo (Peter Serafinowicz), a suave Italian informant who makes inappropriate advances towards her. Susan meets Rayna in a casino, prevents Rayna’s assassination, and becomes part of her inner circle. When they fly in her private plane to Budapest, the steward kills the bodyguard and pilots and tries to kill Rayna, but Susan subdues him and lands the plane in Budapest.
Rayna believes Susan to be a CIA spy, but Susan convinces Rayna that her father hired her to be Rayna’s bodyguard. In Budapest, the two encounter Susan’s best friend Nancy B. Artingstall (Miranda Hart), who is sent by Crocker to provide back-up. After being shot at in the street, Susan orders Nancy to get Rayna to safety while she pursues the shooter’s vehicle. The shooter turns out to be CIA double agent Karen Walker (Morena Baccarin), who sold Rayna the names of the agents. As she is about to shoot Susan, Walker is killed by an unknown sniper. Later that night, Susan and Nancy accompany Rayna to a party. The contact is De Luca’s associate, Lia (Nargis Fakhri). Nancy creates a diversion so Susan can fight Lia, who is a skilled assassin. Just as Susan is about to arrest Lia, she is fatally stabbed in the chest by an unknown assailant, who turns out to be Bradley Fine. Susan is captured and is told that Fine faked his death so he could become Rayna’s lover.
After Susan is imprisoned with Aldo in a bunker, Fine appears and reveals to Susan that the real reason he faked his death was to gain intelligence on the device’s location, which could only happen if he gained Rayna’s trust. Fine also reveals that he was the one who assassinated Karen. Susan and Aldo escape after subduing two bodyguards. Eventually, Susan accompanies Rayna and Fine at De Luca’s mansion while posing as a double agent. Chechen terrorist Solsa Dudaev (Richard Brake) and his men arrive to purchase the device for a suitcase full of diamonds. Rayna then reveals the location of the device. However, De Luca, now in possession of the device and doubting that Dudaev can safely smuggle it into the United States, kills him and his men and keeps the diamonds. De Luca intends to sell the device to someone who can transport it to New York City within a week. As De Luca is about to kill Rayna, Ford appears and distracts him, allowing Susan to save Rayna’s life again.
De Luca escapes with the device and diamonds on his helicopter, with Susan and Ford clinging to the landing gear. Ford loses his grip, causing him to falls into the lake ocean, leaving Susan to confront De Luca in the helicopter alone. After Nancy and Aldo arrive in a helicopter and help Susan kill De Luca, Crocker shows up to recover the device. Rayna is arrested, but it is implied that she has come to like Susan as a friend. After Aldo reveals to Susan that his real name is Albert and he is an MI6 agent, he invites her to dinner should they ever cross paths in London, which Susan accepts. Susan declines a similar offer from Fine and instead opts for a girls’ night out with Nancy. The next morning, Susan is shown screaming after waking up amidst empty champagne bottles, realizing that she has slept with Ford.
I thought Spy would be just another parody of the James Bond-type of movies, cheap and cringy. But I was wrong! This is a highly entertaining and intelligent film. The leading lady Melissa McCarthy excels in this clever action-comedy galore. The ensemble of actors, the script, director’s work all makes for a great film.

REVIEW: 2 BROKE GIRLS – SEASON 1-4

 Image result for 2 broke girlsMAIN CAST

Kat Dennings (Thor)
Beth Behrs (American Pie: The Book of Love)
Garrett Morris (Ant-Man)
Jonathan Kite (Pirates of The Caribbean)
Matthew Moy (No Strings Attached)
Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Brooke Lyons (Izombie)
Noah Mills (Sex and The City 2)
Dana Delorenzo (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Nick Zano (Legends of Tomorrow)
Travis Van Winkle (Friday the 13th)
Carla Gallo (Bones)
Marsha Thomason (Lost)
Dale Dickey (Iron Man 3)
Laura Spencer (The Big Bang Theory)
Martha Stewart (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Steven weber (Izombie)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Cedric The Entertainer (Ice Age)
Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars)
Jack DePew (The Fosters)
Brandon W. Jones (Pretty Little Liars)
Jessica Chaffin (The Heat)
Abby Elliott (How I Met Your Mother)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
Bianca Lawson (Buffy)
Barret Swatek (Power Rangers Turbo)
Andy Dick (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Missi Pyle (Two and a Half Men)
Deanne Bray (Heroes)
Beth Lacke (Mr. 3000)
Piers Morgan (The Campaign)
Mary Lynn Rajskub (24)
Gilles Marini (Devious Maids)
Eric Andre (The Internship)
Patrick Cox (Veronica Mars)
Rachel Cannon (Two and a Half Men)
Andrea Gabriel (Lost)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Waynes World)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha)
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)
Ben Lawson (No Strings Attached)
Carlos Jacott (Angel)
Natalie Dreyfuss (The Originals)
Jesse Metcalfe (Dallas)
Valerie Harper (Rhoda)
Ian Reed Kesler (Birds of Prey)
Sandra Bernhard (The King of Comedy)
Austin Falk (Devlish Charm)
Ilia Volok (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Caroline Rhea (Sabrina: TTW)

The titular characters in 2 Broke Girls are played by Kat Dennings and newcomer Beth Behrs (a genuine find), who portray waitresses in a down-and-dumpy diner in Williamsburg, a suburb of New York. Their boss is an obsequious, pint-sized Korean immigrant (Matthew Moy), the cook an over-sexed sleazeball (Jonathan Kite), the cashier a wise and hep older black dude (Garrett Morris). Although the “Alice for the Twitter Generation” setup provides the bulk of the show’s humor, there are a few sub-plots early on involving the Dennings character baby sitting for a ditsy socialite (the dryly hilarious Brooke Lyons) and carrying on a hot-and-cold relationship with a street artist (Nick Zano). Halfway through the season, another regular is introduced in the form of a bawdy Polish-American cleaning business proprietress who shares a place in the girls’ apartment building, done with a detached hilarity by Jennifer Coolidge.

Dennings’ character, Max, is the smart-mouthed, tough-living young woman who takes under her wing the down-and-out ex-heiress Caroline (Behrs) who lost everything when her father was caught swindling billions of dollars from investors. They become roommates, then co-workers and then partners in a struggling cupcake business. It might all sound familiar, but the writers and directors pump so much heart and soul into the characters and situations they make me actually care whether Martha Stewart loves their cupcakes (which, in the hysterical first-season finale, she did). It is to the writers’ credit that they have Max and Caroline become more than shallow stereotypes, while Dennings and Behrs make the women they play believable as best friends, despite their differing backgrounds.possible laugh. It was a fascinating experience seeing how differently a scene played with a slight inflection here or a different word there. All that hard work comes out in the episodes on these DVDs (some of the scenes cut from the final episode versions are included as welcomed extras).

When we last saw lead besties Max Black and Caroline Channing, they were over the moon about their unorthodox meeting with style maven Martha Stewart – who not only sampled one of their premium cupcakes (the Beer-Batter Maple-Bacon Spring-Break cupcake), but also said she liked it and admired them. What more sustenance would two struggling waitresses-turned-entrepreneurs need? A lot, it turns out, as season two of 2 Broke Girls gives us a taste of success &  failure.

Whereas season one of the hit CBS show was all about meeting cute, sharing dreams, and attempting to live down the fact that one of the fathers bilked investors out of millions of dollars, the second season is more about character and relationships: Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs) step closer and closer to their ever-elusive dream of a cupcake store; while diner-cook Oleg (Jonathan Kite) and entrepreneur Sophie (Jennifer Coolidge) begin sharing more than just sex. It is, like life, filled with ups and downs, steps forward and many more steps backward, never once letting the characters lose sight of their final destination. Max is overjoyed when they find the perfect space to open their cupcake store, insisting that it has a certain cache seeing how it was the site of a mass murder (complete with blood still on the walls). Where one sees disaster, Max sees opportunity: “If we go with red, it’s half painted.” This devil-may-care attitude balances nicely with Caroline’s Wharton-School pedigree of sense and sensibility, preventing either from going too far off the deep end. They establish such a mutual ground, in fact, that they both willingly don giant cupcake suits in an attempt to drum up business.

Elsewhere in Williamsburg, the relationship between Oleg and Sophie begins to deepen. Where it was once an excuse for crude comments about orgasms, it has developed into a touching pairing between two oddballs who are perfectly matched.  Sophie, the owner of a house-cleaning service who has a heart of gold, continues in her role of fairy godmother to the two girls. In season one, she made sure they had killer outfits to wear to the gala event where they hoped to meet Ms. Stewart. Here, she gives them the seed money to rent their prime space, stock up and begin selling cupcakes. She is a silent partner; but one who eats a lot of the profits – literally.

Although much of the season takes place in settings outside the Williamsburg Diner, there is still plenty going on there. Put-upon diner-owner Han (Matthew Moy) has become a little more feisty, giving to the girls as good as he gets from them – and standing up to a robber who mistakenly thinks there are quick profits to be made. Stalwart Garrett Morris, as cashier Earl, continues to be the brightest star in the Williamsburg firmament, delivering caustic barbs and witty asides like the seasoned pro he is. Season two is filled with lots of characters who stop by for an episode or three, including Steven Weber as the notorious swindler who is father to Caroline, Ryan Hansen as the boyish proprietor of the candy shop across from the cupcake store who starts to fall for a certain Wharton graduate, and rapper 2 Chains appearing as himself in a surprisingly appealing episode.

The end of the second season provided the perfect set up for season three: while cleaning out the diner, they stumble onto a secret back room that has (surprise!) a set of doors that open onto the sidewalk. Can they create a walk-up cupcake business and make a success of it?.

The third season  continues to follow the two girls with their attempt to run their cupcake business, which has been “off and on” in a way that any sitcom relationship would be. This season, the girls have found the secret back room of the diner (which was the focus of the last episode of the second season) and have opened for business. “And the Soft Opening” and “And the Cronuts” are highlights, as the two find themselves with crowds after a British rock star croaks in front of the shop and the girls make an attempt to capitalize on the Cronut craze.


However, around the halfway point of the season, Max and Caroline head to pastry school and things get even more intresting. Max starts to have feelings for Deke (Eric Andre), while Caroline falls for a head baker (Gilles Marini), who has a secret. Meanwhile, Mary Lynn Rajskub  is thrown into the mix playing an oddball working at the front desk. Rajskub is extremely funny.

Alot of these threads conlude towards the end of the season. The last episode of the season, which sees Max heading back to her old high school to get her diploma, is a great example of the series – it’s genuinely funny, sweet and really shows the chemistry well between the two leads.

In Season Four Kim Kardashian pays the cupcake shop a visit, Caroline starts using an abandoned bike to make deliveries, but Max is unable to do her share because she cannot ride a bicycle, Max and Caroline rent their apartment via Airbnb to some models in town for the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, the girls find out two rich high school girls are selling knock-offs of their cupcake T-shirts.

Other Highlights are –

And the Zero Tolerance

When Caroline notices the girls’ bank balance is less than zero, she and Max desperately look for ways to make enough money for the payments on their T-shirt loan. Soon after, John (“Big Mary”) from Max’s pastry school comes by to say he’s working as a pastry chef at “The High”, a new upscale restaurant in Manhattan. He encourages Max to apply for the other pastry chef position that needs to be filled, and Caroline tags along to apply for a waitress job.

And the High Hook-Up

Joedth finds a hot, young Irish man named Nashit (Austin Falk) on a bench outside The High, and hires him, asking Caroline to train him as a waiter. Max is smitten and vows to get Nashit into bed, but doing so would violate Joedth’s strict “no hook ups among employees” policy. After the two are caught, Han hires Nashit to work as a dishwasher at the diner.

And the Grate Expectations

At Oleg’s bachelor party, Han inadvertently discloses a secret that leads Sophie to cancel the wedding. The girls and Big Mary open up a new branch of The High that, much to their dismay, is located in an airport.

And the Disappointing Unit

Sophie and Oleg get married, despite some challenges on their wedding day. Disappointing sales at the airport branch of The High put the girls’ future there in doubt. The Girls then end up going to Paris using the tickets they got to get into the airport to kidnap Nash. The episode ends with Max and Caroline drinking champagne from their cabin crew friends.

Another great season, with some great laughs, the show gets better and better every season and am looking forward to season 5.

REVIEW: THE HEAT

CAST

Sandra Bullock (Speed)
Melissa McCarthy (Spy)
Damian Bichir (Che)
Marlon Wayans (Scary Movie)
Michael Rapaport (The 6th Day)
Jane Curtin (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Taran Killam (How I Met Your Mother)
Michael McDonald (The Boss)
John Ross Bowie (The Big Bang Theory)
Tony Hale (Chuck)
Nate Corddry (Mom)
Jessica Chaffin (New Girl)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
Paul Feig (Sabrina: TTW)

FBI agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is an expert and effective investigator in New York City, but is despised by her allied agents for her egotistical & vicious personality. When her manager assigns her to a mission Boston, she meets a detective named Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), a skilled but loudmouthed, bloodthirsty, sadistic, hot headed, & merciless cop who is part of the Boston Police Department. Ashburn’s ruthless philosophy clashes with Mullins’nefarious style of law work, proved during their attempt to interrogate local drug dealer Rojas (Spoken Reasons) who was captured by Mullins. Under pressure from Hale (Demián Bichir), her employer, Ashburn reluctantly agrees to work with Mullins as her ally.
Ashburn and Mullins tail a local nightclub manager named Hank LeSoire (Adam Ray) to his place of business known as Club Ekko and successfully place a bug on his cell phone in an effort to get information on a drug lord, Simon Larkin. As they leave the club, Ashburn and Mullins are confronted by DEA agents Craig (Dan Bakkedahl) and Adam (Taran Killam), who have been working the Larkin case for several months and are worried that their case will be compromised. Ashburn and Mullins discover a surveillance video in the DEA agents’ van showing Mullins’ brother, Jason (Michael Rapaport), apparently connected to Larkin’s organization. Jason was recently released from prison, having been put there by Mullins to keep him off the streets and out of trouble.
Ashburn convinces Mullins to go to her parents’ home to ask Jason for information on Larkin. On their arrival at the home, it becomes apparent that Mullins’ parents (Michael B. Tucci and Jane Curtin) (particularly her mother) and three other brothers, Peter (Joey McIntyre), Mark (Bill Burr) and Michael (Nathan Corddry) (two of whom have girlfriends, Gina (Jessica Chaffin) and Beth (Jamie Denbo) still resent Mullins for her involvement in Jason’s incarceration. However, Jason does not have any ill feelings toward his sister, and tips her off about the body of a murdered drug dealer by the name of Sal Netalie in an abandoned car. Chemicals on the victim’s shoes lead Ashburn and Mullins to an abandoned paint factory, where they witness a drug dealer being murdered by Julian Vincent (Michael McDonald), vicious criminal and second-in-command of Larkin’s organization. They apprehend Julian but are unable to extract any substantial information regarding Larkin’s whereabouts, even with Mullins going so far as to play Russian Roulette with Julian’s testicles.
The pair spend the evening bonding in a bar, where a drunk Ashburn reveals that her foster child past may be partly to blame for her attitude. After a night of raucous drinking and partying, Ashburn wakes up the following morning to discover that, in her drunkenness, she has given her car keys to Wayne (Steve Bannos), one of the bar patrons. After unsuccessfully pleading for the keys, Ashburn and Mullins watch as the patron starts the car and is killed by a bomb. They discover that Julian has escaped from custody and means to harm Mullins’ family, so Mullins moves her family into a motel. Jason leaves, intending to join the Larkin organization in an attempt to help Mullins solve the case. Jason gives her a tip about a drug shipment coming into Boston Harbor. Despite Mullins’ reluctance, Ashburn gets the FBI to take down the shipment. The FBI finds that the ship is actually an innocent pleasure cruise ship. Jason was being tested by Larkin, who shoots Jason for informing the FBI about the supposed drug shipment. Jason escapes death but falls into a coma. A falling out occurs between Mullins and Ashburn, with Mullins vowing to bring her brother’s attacker to justice. They then reconcile when they arrest several drug dealers as a way of gaining leads to Larkin’s whereabouts, including Rojas.
Ashburn and Mullins go to equip themselves with assault weapons from Mullins’ extensive personal arsenal, and infiltrate one of Larkin’s warehouses. Despite taking out several of Larkin’s men with a hand grenade, the two officers are captured and bound. Julian is about to torture them with knives when he gets called away by Larkin. Before Julian leaves, he stabs Ashburn in the leg and leaves the knife in the wound. Mullins removes the knife from Ashburn’s leg and uses it to cut the rope binding her hands. Before she can finish freeing herself and Ashburn, they are discovered by Craig and Adam. Craig begins to untie the two women, but is shot and killed by Adam. Ashburn and Mullins learn that Adam is actually Larkin, who has been working his own case from inside the DEA for several months. Julian returns and Larkin orders him to kill Ashburn and Mullins while he goes to the hospital to kill Jason. After Larkin leaves, Mullins manages to finish freeing herself and Ashburn incapacitates Julian with a head butt, after Mullins had stabbed him in the leg. Mullins and Ashburn race to the hospital to save Jason.
Upon their arrival, Mullins rushes to find Jason. Ashburn, hindered by the stab wound in her leg, lags behind, unable to move quickly. Mullins learns that, due to the foul language she and her family exhibit, the doctor moved Jason to another room in the hospital; she finds Jason’s room, only to be disarmed by Larkin. He is about to kill Jason when Ashburn, having had to crawl to the room, subdues Larkin by shooting him in the genitals (much to Mullins’ surprise, as she would never actually do so; scaring Julian earlier was only a way of making him talk). With Larkin captured, Ashburn requests to stay in the FBI’s Boston field office, having developed a strong friendship with Mullins. Jason is shown having fully recovered from his coma. The film ends with Mullins receiving a commendation from the Boston Police Department. Members of her family are present and they cheer Mullins, now having reconciled with her. Ashburn later gets a call from Mullins to look in her year book. Mullins had signed the back of Ashburn’s yearbook with the words, “Foster kid, now you have a sister”, showing the strong friendship that Mullins felt for a previously unpopular Ashburn.
As a surprise, Mullins brings to Ashburn the cat that she had found in Ashburn’s neighbor’s house, believing it was hers. Earlier, when Mullins saw a photo of Ashburn with the neighbor’s cat, Ashburn had lied and said it was her cat which had gone missing in New York. Mullins quickly deduces that the cat is not Ashburn’s; Ashburn confesses and the cat is boxed to be shipped back, ending the film.This is some of Melissa McCarthy’s best work. She is a funny lady, she simply does not have to do what she does in most things to get the laughs. Bullock is an understated yet pleasant surprise and the chemistry between the two clicks immediately and effectively.