REVIEW: ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES

CAST

Anjelica Huston (50/50)
Raul Julia (Street Fighter)
Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future)
Christina Ricci (Lizzie Borden Took An Axe)
Jimmy Workman (As Good AS It Gets)
Joan Cusack (Working Girl)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Carel Struycken (The Witches of Eastwick)
David Krumholtz (Serenity)
Dana Ivey (Two Weeks Notice)
Christopher Hart (Idle Hands)
Peter MacNicol (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Mercedes McNab (Angel)
Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City)
David Hyde Pierce (Hellboy)
Peter Graves (Airplane)
Monet Mazur (Just Married)
Ian Abercrombie (Birds of Prey)
Tony Shalhoub (Men in Black)
Sam McMurray (Drop Dead Gorgeous)
Nathan Lane (The Producers)

addams-family-values-DI-2One of the rare sequels that actually equals the output of the first film, “Addams Family Values” shows the material still has enough not yet mined for a second picture – it works. I wouldn’t think of doing another one of these pictures, but “Addams Family Values” manages to be successful, mainly due to the return of director Barry Sonnenfeld, who gets the tone and humor exactly right. Not only that, but he even has a small role in the picture.
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The film starts off with Morticia(Angelica Huston) announcing that she’s going to have a baby. “Right now”, she says, in her usual deadpan manner. Taking enjoyment in the pain of delivery, the Addams soon have another member of the family, which they name Pubert. They find the need for a nanny to take care of the new addition, and Debbie Jalinsky(Joan Cusack) arrives. At first, she seems like the perfect nanny. She’s good with the children and doesn’t seem to mind the upside-down world the Addams live in.

Soon though, her intentions are revealed. She marries rich men and her newest target is Fester(Chistopher Lloyd). While the gags during the early portion of the film when the baby is new in the house are funny, there are a number of equally funny moments when the two kids are sent to Summer camp.addams-family-value-stillIt’s a very funny movie and a solid sequel, proving that the characters had enough good material to make a second movie work.

REVIEW: HIGH FIDELITY (2000)

Starring

John Cusack (The Butler)
Iben Hjejle (Defiance)
Jack Black (Goosebumps)
Todd Louiso (Snakes on a Plane)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Mask of Zorro)
Lisa Bonet (Biker Boyz)
Sara Gilbert (The Big Bang Theory)
Lili Taylor (The Conjuring)
Joan Cusack (Addams Family Values)
Tim Robbins (Howard The Duck)
Joelle Carter (justified)
Natasha Gregson Wagner (Buffy: TVS)
Drake Bell (American Satan)
Alex Désert (The Flash)
Beverly D’Angelo (Shooter)

Rob & Laura

Rob Gordon is a music-loving man with a poor understanding of women. After being dumped by his long-term girlfriend, Laura, he tries to understand how he failed in his relationships by seeking out his old partners. By day, he works at his record store, Championship Vinyl, where customers drift through. He and his employees Dick and Barry, armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of all things musical, compile “Top 5” lists for every conceivable occasion, openly mock the tastes of their customers, and sell a few records.Barry, Dick, Rob & MarieTwo shoplifting, skateboarding teenagers, Vince and Justin, are an annoyance to them until Rob listens to a recording that they made as The Kinky Wizards. He offers them a record deal, the first under his own label, Top 5 Records. During his off-hours, he pines for Laura and tries to win her back. Laura’s father, who liked Rob, dies. Rob attends his funeral with Laura. Shortly after the reception, Rob realizes he has always had one foot out of the door and never committed to her — and in doing so, neglected his own future. They resume living together. He meets a music columnist and develops a crush, but wonders while making a mixtape for her if he would always be jumping from rock to rock.John Cusack stars as Rob GordonRob tells Laura that other men and women are just fantasies, Laura is reality, and he never tires of her. He proposes marriage; she thanks him for asking. She arranges for him to revisit his former love of dee-jaying. At the celebration of the newly released single by Vince and Justin, where Barry’s band Sonic Death Monkey plays “Let’s Get It On”, Rob is surprised that Barry’s band is not a disaster. Rob makes a mixtape for Laura and feels he has finally learned how to make her happy.John Cusack, Jack Black, and Todd Louiso in High Fidelity (2000)As with Grosse Point Blank, another Cusack/Pink production, sound tracking is everything, and naturally given the setting of the story there is an abundance of classic tunes to delight in. All told it’s a special movie, for all sexes and for all music lovers, but especially for anyone who has had relationship problems.

REVIEW: ARTHUR CHRISTMAS

CAST

James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class)
Hugh Laurie (Tomorrowland)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Jim Broadbent (Cloud Atlas)
Imelda Staunton (Maleficent)
Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty)
Marc Wootton (Nativity)
Laura Linney (The Truman Show)
Eva Longoria (Over Her Dead Body)
Ramona Marquez (Outnumbered)
Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter)
Joan Cusack (Addams Family Values)
Rhys Darby (Yes Man)
Jane Horrocks (Little Voice)
Sanjeev Bhaskar (Notting Hill)
Iain McKee (The Parole Officer)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
Dominic West (The Affair)
Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf)
Jerry Lambert (American Housewife)

On Christmas Eve, hundreds of Christmas elves helm the command centre of Santa Claus’ mile-wide, ultra-high-tech sleigh-esque craft, the S-1. The current Santa (Malcolm) and the Christmas elves deliver presents to every child in the world using advanced equipment and military precision. These complex operations are micromanaged by thousands more elves, under the command of Malcolm’s militaristic eldest son Steve and his obsequious elfin assistant Peter at mission control underneath the North Pole. Meanwhile, his younger son – the clumsy, fearful yet enthusiastic Arthur – devotedly answers the letters to Santa. During one of the delivery operations in Germany a child wakes up and almost sees Malcolm; in the tense escape operation, a Christmas elf aboard the S-1 inadvertently leans on a button, causing a present to fall from the supply line and go unnoticed.Having completed his 70th mission, Malcolm is portrayed as far past his prime and whose role in field operations now is largely symbolic. Nonetheless, he is held in high esteem, and delivers a congratulatory speech to the enraptured elves. Malcolm announces he looks forward to his 71st, much to the frustration of heir-apparent Steve, who had prepared to succeed his father as Santa at the conclusion of this mission. During their family Christmas dinner, Arthur’s suggestion for the family to play a board game degenerates into a tense quarrel between Malcolm and Steve, while Malcolm’s father and predecessor Grandsanta, bored by retirement, resentfully criticises their over-modernization. After Grandsanta knocks the board off the table, Steve’s PDA (a high tech device named a ‘HOHO’) flashes and he leaves the table in a hurry. Later, their father shares with his wife Margaret his grave doubts about his self-identity should he retire.Arthur follows Steve, and the two learn that a Christmas elf named Bryony found the missed present – a wrapped bicycle for a little girl in England called Gwen, to whose letter Arthur had personally responded. Arthur alerts his father, who is at a loss as to how to handle the situation; Steve argues that one missed present out of billions is an acceptable error whose correction can wait a few days, citing this year’s Christmas as the most successful in history. Grandsanta on the other hand, on learning of the dire situation, proposes delivering the gift using Eve, his old wooden sleigh, and the great-great-grandchildren of the original eight reindeer, forcefully whisking away a reluctant Arthur and a stowaway Bryony. In the process the three get lost in three different continents, lose several of their reindeer, and land in danger several times, ultimately being mistaken for aliens and causing an international military incident. Through all this, Arthur eventually learns, to his compounding disappointment, that Grandsanta’s true motive is to fulfill his ego, Steve refuses to help them out of petty resentment and possibility of his brother being made hero overshadowing his work, and that his own father has gone to bed, apparently content even though a present was not delivered.Finally, stranded in Cuba after losing the sleigh and the remaining reindeer, Arthur renews his sense of purpose: that it all comes down to having presents delivered, regardless of how it is done and who did it. With Grandsanta’s and Bryony’s help, he manages to recover the sleigh. Meanwhile, the elves grow increasingly alarmed at rumours of the neglected delivery and the Clauses’ unthinkable indifference, sending them into a panic. In response, Malcolm, Margaret, and Steve take the high-tech sleigh-craft to deliver a superior present… albeit to the wrong child.Arthur and his party manage to reach England, but lose the remaining reindeer; furthermore a US Predator drone scrambled by Chief De Silva of UNFITA intercepts and opens fire on the sleigh believing them to be aliens. Grandsanta sacrifices the sleigh, while Arthur and Bryony to parachute to the ground. Ultimately with Margaret and Bryony’s help, all the male Clauses arrive at Gwen’s house before she awakens, only to have all but Arthur quarrel about who gets to actually place the gift. Noticing that only Arthur truly cares about the girl’s feelings, the elder Clauses collectively realize that he is the sole worthy successor. As a result, Malcolm gives Arthur the honour and Steve, recognizing his own shortcomings, forfeits his supposed birthright and acknowledges his brother’s worthiness to take up the mantle. In a fitting conclusion, Gwen glimpses a snow-bearded Arthur in a wind-buffeted sweater just before he vanishes up into the S-1.With the crisis resolved, Malcolm goes into a happy retirement with Margaret; he also becomes Grandsanta’s much-desired new companion and plays Arthur’s board game with him for many happy hours. Meanwhile, Steve finds true contentment as the Chief Operating Officer of the North Pole, while Bryony is promoted to Vice-President of Packing, Pacific Division. In a nod to traditionalism once neglected, the high-tech S-1 is re-christened EVIE in honour of Grandsanta’s old sleigh and refitted to be pulled by a team of five thousand reindeer – led by the original eight, all of whom managed to return home safely via innate navigational abilities. Finally, Arthur happily guides the entire enterprise in the proper spirit as the new Santa.Everything you would wish from a Chistmassy film. Strong story and lovely ideas about Father Christmas and the challenge of delivering a present to every child. A great family movie.

 

 

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: IT’S A VERY MERRY MUPPET CHRISTMAS MOVIE

CAST

Dave Goelz (Labyrinth)
Steve Whitmire (The Dark Crystal)
Jerry Nelson (Sesame Street)
Bill Barretta (Kim POssible)
Eric Jacobson (Pinky Dinky Doo)
Brian Henson (Return To Oz)
Kevin Clash (Labyrinth)
David Arquette (Scream)
Joan Cusack (Arthur Christmas)
Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo)
Whoopi Goldberg (Star Trek: Generations)
William H. Macy (Jurassic Park III)
Mel Brooks (Spaceballs)
Chantal Strand (Life Size)
Dave “Squatch” Ward (Earthsea)
Zach Braff (The Ex)
Sarah Chalke (Mother’s Day)
Carson Daly (Josie & The Pussycats)
Neil Flynn (Home Alone 3)
John C. McGinley (Highlander 2)
Judy Reyes (Claws)
Kelly Ripa (Batman: Mystery of The Batwoman)
Molly Shannon (Never Been Kissed)

its-a-very-merry-muppet-christmas-01A snowman named Joe Snow (voiced by Mel Brooks) recounts how the Muppet Theater was going through financial hardship, and the Muppets seeking Kermit the Frog for guidance. Kermit eventually feels he is not useful to anyone and an angel named Daniel (David Arquette) brings this up with his Boss (Whoopi Goldberg) as they review what has gone on with Kermit in the past hours.191849-tt0329737Hours earlier, Kermit prepares a Christmas show with his fellow Muppets with Bobo the Bear playing Santa Claus. Kermit is approached by Rachel Bitterman (Joan Cusack), a banker/real estate agent who says that she will foreclose the Muppet Theater if Kermit does not pay her. Pepe the King Prawn leaves the Muppets because he has fallen in love with Bitterman. While trying to raise money to pay Rachel, Kermit tries to find a celebrity to participate in his Christmas play to no avail. Meanwhile, after learning from Pepe that the deadline is midnight, Bitterman changes it to 6:00 p.m. When he sees her with another man however, Pepe leaves her and warns Kermit about the deadline change. Upon learning this, Kermit sends Fozzie to deliver the money to Bitterman. Fozzie confronts a crazed nature-show host (spoofing Steve Irwin), Joe Snow (who gets shot with a tranquilizer by the nature-show host), and a gang of Whos after being dyed green at a Christmas tree lot and mistaken for the Grinch. Fozzie goes through the steam baths and ends up back to normal. When Fozzie eventually makes it to the bank and Bitterman’s office, he goes through a gigantic web of burning lasers leading to Bitterman’s office several times before finally discovering that he’s too late and that he has grabbed the wrong bag containing clothes for the Salvation Army following his incident at the Christmas tree lot.10750_1After witnessing these events, the Boss allows Daniel to help Kermit. When Daniel arrives, and after Kermit wishes he has never been born, he ends up showing Kermit what would have happened if he had not existed. In the world without Kermit, Bitterman has turned the park near the Muppet Theater into a shopping mall called Bitterman Plaza, the Muppet Theater itself has become a nightclub called Club Dot owned by Bitterman, Doc Hopper’s French-Fried Frog Legs has become a famous fast-food restaurant, and all of Kermit’s friends have fallen into various detrimental situations. Kermit has Daniel restore him back to his reality and returns to the Muppet Theater. However, Bitterman arrives to shut the theater down and fights with Miss Piggy. Pepe arrives and announces he has made the Muppet Theater into a historical landmark, foiling Bitterman’s plan. Embittered and defeated, Bitterman storms out of the Muppet Theater. Outside, the Muppets and Joe Snow sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”.its-a-very-merry-muppet-christmas-08If you are a Muppet/Henson fan check this out for sure. If you enjoy Christmas films with heart lovable characters you’ll like it as well. but don’t expect anything drastically original.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: KLAUS

Joan Cusack, Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones, Sergio Pablos, Will Sasso, J.K. Simmons, and Neda Margrethe Labba in Klaus (2019)

Starring

Jason Schwartzman (Big Eyes)
J. K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Rashida Jones (The Grinch)
Joan Cusack (Let It Snow)
Will Sasso (Mom)
Norm Macdonald (Dr. Dolittle)

Jason Schwartzman in Klaus (2019)Jesper (Schwartzman) comes from a wealthy family in the postal business, and is a selfish brat with no life ambitions whatsoever. When Jesper’s father puts him in the royal postal academy in an attempt to teach him that hard work pays and being from a rich family is not a shoo in to wealth, he deliberately distinguishes himself to be the academy’s worst student, and so his father comes up with another plan to teach him a lesson: he is stationed on a island above the Arctic Circle by his father, with the ultimatum that if he doesn’t post 6,000 letters in a year, he will be cut off from the family.After Jesper is brought to the island’s town of Smeerensburg by a sarcastic ferry boat skipper, it gradually becomes clear, including, by expecting a reception, his finding himself instead in the middle of a big fight, that the town inhabitants hardly exchange words let alone letters; they are divided, feuding locals filled with anger, bitterness, hatred and animosity. Trying desperately to figure out a way to post letters from the town, if not get the locals to send them at all, he notices on the map in his office a far off little establishment. Investigating, he finds a woodsman named Klaus (Simmons), with a skill of woodworking and a house with lots of handmade toys.Jesper is just about to finally give up when unexpected events unfold that give him the idea of having Klaus donate the toys in his house to the town kids who would ask him for them, and who, by doing so, would send letters. Klaus agrees to Jesper’s proposal of donating the toys, provided the deliveries will be at night, so he can accompany Jesper on them. When Jesper soon finds out that many of the kids can’t write, he tells them they can simply learn at school, and so they go to Ms Alva (Jones), a qualified teacher who Jesper met back on his first day in town, to learn how. The increasingly developing actions of Jesper and Klaus delivering of toys becomes the talk of the town kids, with the nature of said actions making them believe Klaus is not only solely responsible, but he also has certain quirks. Some of these quirks are also said to be magic, such as that he can enter homes through any chimney and can never be seen: the most astounding of them all is that he has a reindeer-pulled sleigh that can fly. When Jesper says to the kids that Klaus would not give toys to bad kids, he goes on to say Klaus always knows whenever any kid is naughty, and their attitude changes, even the town bully, as he also wants Klaus’ toys. Their resulting acts of kindness inspire the other townsfolk to do the same.Jason Schwartzman and J.K. Simmons in Klaus (2019)Jesper eventually finds out Klaus lost his wife and they could never have children, but he loves making kids happy and had made all the toys in his house for the ones he thought they would have. They soon receive help from a small community of kind Sámi people to fulfill Jesper’s prior idea of a delivery run to give toys to the kids on Christmas, but not only that, Jesper begins to change himself, no longer being selfish. While all of this has been happening, the heads of the town’s feuding families, through the families’ clearly inextinguishable, and thus, also, very long-standing hatred to each other, have been trying to stop Jesper and Klaus to preserve this tradition, and they agree on joining forces to do it. They eventually come up with a plan that involves making Jesper leave by using his past against him, but he ultimately makes his decision final to stay in Smeerensburg, and proceeds to do everything that he can to stop the rest of their plan. Though he finds out Klaus and Alva already knew what was coming and had made preparations to foil the plan, his actions cause events that make the families find themselves as in-laws.Jason Schwartzman in Klaus (2019)As things in Smeerensburg keep getting better, Jesper and Klaus continue delivering presents on Christmas, with their operation expanding further and further as time continues on. Then, on the twelfth year, Klaus suddenly disappears without a trace, joining his departed wife. Jesper and Alva get married and have two children together, and every Christmas Eve, Jesper gets to see the spirit of his friend, as he continues to deliver toys to kids around the world.Klaus was a heartwarming animation with a very unique take on the “Christmas origin”.  The animation was really well done and the characters were memorable.  It’s nice to have a different Christmas film but that has the spirit nevertheless. One of the best Christmas animations in awhile. Great film!

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: LET IT SNOW

Let It Snow (2019)

Starring

Isabela Merced (Sweet Girl)
Shameik Moore (The Get Down)
Kiernan Shipka (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Mitchell Hope (Descendants)
Liv Hewson (Santa Clarita Diet)
Anna Akana (You Get Me)
Odeya Rush (Lady Bird)
Mason Gooding (Booksmart)
Jacob Batalon (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Joan Cusack (Addams Family Values)
Miles Robbins (Halloween 2018)
D’Arcy Carden (The Good Place)
Hallea Jones (Locke & Key)

Shameik Moore and Isabela Merced in Let It Snow (2019)On Christmas Eve in Laurel, Illinois, Julie Reyes runs into rising pop star, Stuart Bale, on a train. He mistakes her as paparazzi when she tries to return his phone to him, to which she takes offense, despite his apologies. After the train is stopped by snowed over tracks, Julie gets off to walk home, Stuart joins and offers lunch at a local diner called Waffle Town. She reluctantly agrees and also saves Stuart from a group of fan girls cheerleaders. She reveals to Stuart she got accepted in Columbia University in New York and her mom is also deathly sick, but if she delays leaving, she’ll lose the scholarship.Odeya Rush and Liv Hewson in Let It Snow (2019)The pair ended up going sledding and meet Julie’s mom, Debbie. They go back to Julie’s house where Stuart is introduced to Julie’s grandpa and they bond over Mick Jagger and everyone dances to one of his songs. During which Debbie throws a coughing fit, causing Julie concern. Stuart offers to get her a nurse for her mom, but Julie sees it as a charity case to which Stuart dismisses, stating he offered it cause he cares about Julie. The two almost kiss when Stuart’s publicist shows up to take him back to his hotel. Stuart offers for Julie to come with him, but she declines, feeling a need to stay with her mom.Kiernan Shipka in Let It Snow (2019)Across town, Waffle Town employee, Dorrie, tries to juggle her best friend, Addie, who’s worried that her boyfriend is going to break up with her and telling a cheerleader she hooked up that she likes her who visits Waffle Town with her friends. She receives a cold response from the girl, Kerry, and Addie makes a scene with her boyfriend in the diner. Dorrie tries to calm her down, but she storms off. Meanwhile, Tobin plans to tell his best friend, Angie, nicknamed The Duke, that he likes her. The two are invited to a party by Duke’s friend, JP, who Tobin sees as competition. The three end up stealing the keg from the party and ended up in a ditch. They wait for the tow truck in a nearby church where Duke has Tobin play “Whole of the Moon”, but when JP and Duke start dancing together, Tobin leaves. Duke attempts to talk to Tobin about it, who brushes her off, angering her.Isabela Merced in Let It Snow (2019)Tobin’s friend, Keon, attempts to arrange a party to impress a big time DJ, but his parents shut down the party attempt at his house and gets called into work at Waffle Town. His friend and fellow co-worker, Billy, offers Waffle Town as a party spot, provided he get the necessary supplies. Back at home, Julie’s mom convinces her to go to Columbia, stating “when life offers you something special, you take it”.Let-It-SnowEveryone ends up at Keon’s party after Tobin arrives with the stolen keg. Duke arrives and Tobin confesses his love for her, to which she admits the same. Addie returns to Waffle Town and apologizes to Dorrie for her rude behavior. Kerry apologizes to Dorrie for her hot and cold behavior, kisses her in the open, and the two begin a relationship. Dorrie and Julie tell each other about their day when Stuart returns, wanting to see Julie again before he left town. The two kiss and make plans to meet in New York when Julie moves to Columbia. Keon’s party ends up a success, despite the DJ not coming anymore and everyone dances all night long.tmp_hqzVfr_ee7f23718d575e17_edit_img_image_original_46799927_1571861248It was very interesting and engaging all the time. Like, there was no time when I felt that it’s way too long or slow. I guess it was perfect in everything like the cast and all but yeah, the film could have been better. It had good comedy and romance which I was expecting from it. So, in that scenario it was up to my expectations. It’s a nice film to watch this Christmas.

 

 

REVIEW: SCHOOL OF ROCK

CAST

Jack Black (Goosebumps)
Joan Cusack (Addam Family Values)
Mike White (The Good Girl)
Sarah Silverman (Evolution)
Miranda Cosgrove (Yours, Mine and Ours)
Aleisha Allen (Are We There Yet?)
Frank Whaley (Luke Cage)
Amy Sedaris (Elf)

No Vacancy, a rock band, performs at a nightclub three weeks before auditioning for Battle of the Bands. Guitarist Dewey Finn creates on-stage antics, and a stage dive that abruptly ends the performance when the crowd doesn’t catch him. The next morning, Dewey awakes in the apartment he lives in with Ned Schneebly and Ned’s girlfriend Patty Di Marco. They inform him he must make up for his share of the rent, which is four months overdue, or move out. When Dewey meets No Vacancy at a rehearsal session, he finds out that he has been replaced by another guitarist named Spider. Later, while trying to sell some of his instruments for money, Dewey answers a phone call from Rosalie Mullins, the principal of the Horace Green Prep School, inquiring for Ned about a short-term position as a substitute teacher. Desperate, Dewey impersonates Ned and is hired. On his first day at the school, Dewey adopts the name “Mr. S” (as he cannot spell “Schneebly”) and spends his first day behaving erratically, confusing the class about lunch and giving them recess, much to their delight.The next day, Dewey overhears the kids in music class and devises a plan to form them into a band to audition for Battle of the Bands. He casts Zack Mooneyham as lead guitarist, Freddy Jones as drummer, cello player Katie on bass, Lawrence on keyboard, and himself as lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist. He assigns the rest for backup singers, groupies and roadies, with Summer Hathaway as manager. The project eradicates teaching but helps the students embrace their talent. He reassures Summer, who is initially casted as groupie until researching about them on the Internet, Lawrence, worried of his social image, Zack, whose overbearing father disapproves of rock, and Tomika, not good enough to be a roadie and then worried to audition for being overweight despite having an amazing voice. During one lesson, he teaches the kids that rock and roll is the way to stick it to the man. Groupies Michelle and Eleni, with Summer’s approval, pitch the band name “The School of Rock.”Two weeks later, Dewey sneaks the band members out to audition, while the rest of the class stays to maintain cover. When Freddy wanders off, Dewey retrieves him but the group is rejected because the bill is full. Summer leads the band to fake a terminal illness, successfully auditioning. The next day, Rosalie decides to check on Dewey’s teaching progress, forcing Dewey to teach the actual material. She explains that a parents’ night will take place the day before Battle of the Bands.Dewey is finally exposed when Ned receives a paycheck from the school. Dewey confesses and begs Ned not to tell Patty, but she manages to reveal the truth out of Ned, and calls the police on Dewey. During the parents’ meeting, the parents question what Dewey was teaching until Ned, Patty, Rosalie, and the police confront him. Dewey reveals his real identity and is fired. Back home, Dewey admits what he did was wrong and giving up music isn’t easy for him. Ned admits it wasn’t easy for him to do so either, but that he had to know when to quit.The next morning, the parents uproar in front of Rosalie at her office, while the kids decide to go nevertheless. When the new substitute discovers that the kids are missing, she informs Rosalie, and Rosalie and the parents race to the competition. Ned decides to attend the competition, too, and breaks up with Patty. A school bus comes to pick up Dewey, who leads the kids to the Battle of the Bands and decides that they play a song written by Zack earlier on. Initially dismissed as a gimmick, the band wins over the entire crowd. While No Vacancy wins, the crowd call for The School Of Rock to return, and Dewey leads an encore of “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)”. Some time later, an after school program known as the School of Rock has opened as Dewey continues to coach the students he played with before while Ned teaches beginners.School of Rock is a movie that promises entertainment and delivers. Everything is as it says on the packet. For sheer feelgood factor, this movie is unbeatable.

 

 

 

REVIEW: A SERIES OF UNFORTANTE EVENTS – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
Malina Weissman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Louis Hynes (Barbarians Rising)
K. Todd Freeman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Presley Smith
Usman Ally (The Hunt)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Joan Cusack (Addams Family Values)
Aasif Mandvi (The Siege)
Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone)
Don Johnson (Machete)
Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage)
John DeSantis (Blade: The Series)
Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries)
Rhys Darby (Yes Man)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Will Arnett (The Lego Batman Movie)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Patrick Breen (Galaxy Quest)
Rob LaBelle (Jack Frost)
Avi Lake (Meeting Evil)
Dylan Kingwell (Big Eyes)

Published between 1999 and 2006, A Series Of Unfortunate Events told the story of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, three intelligent and resourceful children who are orphaned when their parents are killed in a mysterious fire that destroys their home. Over the course of the books they are met with misfortune after misfortune as the evil Count Olaf attempts to get his hands on the money their parents left behind, with the orphans always just barely managing to escape Olaf’s clutches. Eventually they start to realise that there is more to Olaf and the death of their parents than they realise, and their attempts to survive converge more and more with a huge conspiracy that drags them deeper into a web of very furtive danger.

The books are oblique, absurd, repetitive and relentlessly dark. The last attempt at adapting them wrangled three books into one film along with a simplified version of the convoluted mystery that characterised the back half of the book series, which it chose to more or less resolve, while ramping up the buffoonery of Olaf and toning down his more menacing moments. All of these were choices that made sense from a commercial perspective; yet the film was met with a shrug. So when it was announced that Netflix was taking on the series, it was hard not to wonder just how that might look and whether it would be more successful than the last version. Adapting this series presents a challenge; a faithful retelling of the books runs the risk of being kind of repetitive, not to mention very expensive considering each book takes place in a different bizarre setting with a mostly different cast of supporting characters. So how do they manage it?

As it turns out, very, very well. And very faithfully to boot. The television series devotes two episodes to each book, with the first season covering the first four. Essentially this means that each individual novel gets more time than the film allowed for three, meaning that not only can the series depict just about every scene from each book, but it can embellish and explore certain aspects while threading new, fascinating subplots throughout the more familiar material. Consequently, the series offers something fresh and interesting for those unfamiliar with Snicket while being full of surprises and easter eggs for those who spent their childhoods scouring the books for clues, hints or things we might have missed. This is an adaptation that does fan service right. If you know the books reasonably well, you will have ample reasons to squeal with delight or gasp at your television while never once feeling like somebody is pandering to you.

Part of this is probably due to the heavy involvement of Daniel Handler, who wrote the teleplays for the four episodes. The tweaks the television series makes to the novels play more like minor corrections, the new subplots like we’re seeing important deleted scenes rather than anything added inorganically to fill screen time and above all the series just feels extremely true to the spirit of its source material in a way that the movie never quite did. Part of this is the dialogue, part of this is the theatrical set design and part of this is the fact that the series is unafraid to get dark.The first book, The Bad Beginning, features many disturbing elements but two that stand out are Count Olaf’s insidious plan to marry fourteen year old Violet Baudelaire in order to get his hands on her fortune, and an earlier scene in which a drunk, angry Olaf strikes Klaus across the face for talking back to him. The film included both these plot points, but they were both buried in lots of Jim Carrey mugging. This created the uncomfortable feeling that some awful stuff was being played for laughs, or at least that the impact of it was being softened to avoid upsetting anyone too much. The series does not shy away from either of these moments. The marriage plot is exactly as disturbing as it should be, while the attack on Klaus is followed by a loaded silence that lets you feel just how dreadful the circumstances of the Baudelaires and the man behind them is. When the humour does come it’s a welcome relief rather than an attempt to bury disturbing content beneath silly voices and kooky lines.Neil Patrick Harris walks a very particular tightrope in his portrayal of Olaf. The villain of the series is a terrible actor who uses a variety of ridiculous disguises and bizarre plots in his attempts to capture the orphans, but when all is said and done this man is still a dangerous murderer and serial arsonist. Predictably Harris is very funny, but it’s that crucial undercurrent of darkness that sells the character in a way that Jim Carrey didn’t quite manage and means that, no matter how much you’re laughing at him, you never forget the danger that he poses.

Elsewhere, the acting is just as strong. Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes are both excellent as Violent and Klaus respectively, while K. Todd Freeman threatens to steal the show as inept banker Mr Poe. Aasif Mandvi makes for a warm and endearingly quirky Uncle Monty while Patrick Warburton very quickly becomes the only Lemony Snicket you’ll be able to imagine. Where Jude Law in the film depicted the narrator as a softly spoken reclusive writer, Warburton is more of a droll noir detective, walking in and out of scenes to comment on proceedings with wry humour and occasional flashes of melancholy and gravitas. In short, he is a pitch perfect, if unexpected, take on arguably the most important character in the series.

One of the most distinctive things about the books was how it handled its tone; veering quickly from oddball humour to reflective sadness. The television series handles this with deft expertise; just watch how Snicket reacts in pained silence to the Baudelaires learning about their parents’ death even as Mr Poe fumbles breaking the news. The series is not quite as funny as the trailers may have led you to believe, but this isn’t a bad thing. It only means that humour never disguises just how dire the circumstances of the orphans are. We feel for Violet, Klaus and Sunny and we hate Count Olaf even as we chuckle at his one liners and over the top behaviour. It’s a balancing act that could so easily fall apart but never does due to the simple fact that everyone involved in this series knows exactly what they’re doing.The series feels fresh, new and different to just about anything that has ever been on television before. Netflix took a risk on this and evidently let the creators do exactly what they wanted in bringing the novels to life. At its heart, A Series of Unfortunate Events is about the fact that life rarely goes the way we want it to and trouble and treachery can strike at the worst possible times. And while they may not offer a permanent solution, intelligence, curiosity, decency and literacy are lights in the darkness, tiny glimmers of hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. The plight of the Baudelaire orphans, ultimately, is not a case of relentless misery being played for our entertainment, but a story of hope and resilience built around the honest truth that life isn’t fair. Perhaps the greatest trick of the book series, and now the TV show, is disguising a message of hope in a story of seemingly endless gloom. In that regard, this brave, funny, exciting, imaginative new show is as big of a success as anyone could have hoped for. It’s an absolute treat.

REVIEW: HOODWINKED TOO! HOOD VS EVIL

CAST (VOICES)
Hayden Panettiere (Heroes)
Glenn Close (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
Joan Cusack (Addams Family Values)
David Ogden Stiers (Two Guys and a Girl)
Bill Hader (Superbad)
Amy Poehler (Inside Out)
Martin Short (Mars Attacks)
Brad Garrett (Finding Nemo)
Andy Dick (Road Trip)
David Alan Grier (Jumanji)
Cheech Marin (Cars)
Tommy Chong (That 70s Show)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Danny Pudi (Powerless)
Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs)
Bridget Hoffman (Hercules: TLJ)
Wendee Lee (Masked Rider)
Wolf (Patrick Warburton), Granny (Glenn Close), and Twitchy (Cory Edwards) are on a rescue mission to save Hansel and Gretel (Bill Hader and Amy Poehler) from an evil witch named Verushka (Joan Cusack). The plan goes wrong however and Granny is kidnapped as well. Meanwhile, Red (Hayden Panettiere) is in training with a mysterious group called the Sisters of the Hood where she learns that a secret all powerful truffle recipe has been stolen. She teams up with Wolf and Twitchy to find the recipe and save her grandma, but she and Wolf can’t get along and the team splits up. Meanwhile, Verushka, who stole the truffle recipe, tries to force Granny into making it for her.
Granny escapes and finds Hansel and Gretel, but learns that they are actually the masterminds behind the plot. Granny is recaptured and learns that Verushka was an old classmate of hers when they were both in training with the Sisters of the Hood; Verushka was always second behind Granny’s accomplishments. Eventually Red, Wolf, and Twitchy team back together and infiltrate Hansel and Gretel’s base. Red accidentally reveals the final ingredient for the truffle recipe and the truffles are made.
Hansel and Gretel eat the truffles transforming into giants and go on a rampage through the city. Hansel and Gretel betray Verushka, whereupon Granny convinces her to join forces with her, Red, Wolf, and Twitchy. They trick Hansel and Gretel into eating more truffles which make them so obese that they can no longer move their arms and legs, before the two are arrested.
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The Plot is not nearly as clever or well written as the original. However, since the characters are already developed, the the jokes are well presented, well timed and come quickly. This movie is far more action driven than the original. The plot seems merely the vehicle. Don’t expect unique take on an old tale as the movie primarily moves forward developing current characters and back stories. Additional fairly tail intersections are used for story structure. Overall it’s a fun movie and if you enjoyed the first one you will enjoy this.

REVIEW: CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC

 

CAST

Isla Fisher (The Great Gatsby)
Hugh Dancy (Hannibal)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Joan Cusack (Martian Child)
John Goodman (Red State)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Kristin Scott Thomas (Mission Impossible)
Leslie Bibb (The Skulls)
Robert Stanton (The Quiet American)
Julie Hagerty (Airplane)
Kristen Connolly (The Cabin In The Woods)
Fred Armisen (Anchorman)
Lynn Redgrave (Gods and Monsters)
Wendie Malick (The Ranch)

Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) is a shopping addict who lives with her best friend Suze (Krysten Ritter). She works as a journalist for a gardening magazine but dreams of joining the fashion magazine Alette. On the way to an interview with Alette, she buys a green scarf. Her credit card is declined, so Rebecca goes to a hot dog stand and offers to buy all the hot dogs with a check, if the seller gives her back change in cash, saying the scarf is to be a gift for her sick aunt. The hot dog vendor refuses but a man offers her $20. When Rebecca arrives at the interview, she’s told that the position has been filled. However, the receptionist tells her there is an open position with the magazine Successful Savings, explaining that getting a job at Successful Savings could eventually lead to a position at Alette magazine. Rebecca interviews with Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy), the editor of Successful Savings and the man who just gave her the $20. She hides her scarf outside his office, but Luke’s assistant comes into the office and gives it back to her. Rebecca knows the game is up and leaves.

That evening, drunk, she and Suze write letters to Alette and Successful Savings, but she mails each to the wrong magazine. Luke likes the letter she meant to send to Alette and hires her. Rather than completing a work assignment for a new column, Rebecca goes to a clothing sale. While inspecting a cashmere coat she has just purchased, she realizes it is not 100% cashmere and she has been duped. This gives her an idea for the column, which she writes under the name “The Girl in the Green Scarf” and is an instant success.

Rebecca later returns home to renewed confrontations with her debt collector, so Suze makes her attend Shopaholics Anonymous. After one shopping spree she meets a friendly woman, Miss Korch (Wendie Malick), only to learn that she is the group leader and forces Rebecca to donate all the clothes she just bought, including a bridesmaid’s dress for Suze’s wedding and a dress for a TV interview. After the meeting Rebecca can’t afford to buy back both and buys back the interview dress. During the interview, the debt collector is in the audience and confronts Rebecca. Successful Savings terminates Rebecca’s column after the public confrontation for bringing discredit on the magazine and believing she is a risk for not paying debts. Suze is angry when she finds out that Rebecca lost the bridesmaid dress, and Rebecca feels like she let everyone down. Rebecca’s father (John Goodman) is more sympathetic, making a remark that the United States has not fallen despite its gigantic national debt, and offers to sell his recreational vehicle to help her. Rebecca declines his offer, saying that he earned the camper through years of hard work and saving, and that she will need to tackle her debts on her own. Alette offers Rebecca a position at the magazine, but she declines. Meanwhile, Luke starts a new company, Brandon Communications.

imagesThe members of Shopaholic Anonymous promote Rebecca’s clothes sale, which generates a lot of revenue, but not enough to retire her debts. She finally sells her green scarf when a woman bids on it, making it possible for her to give all the cash to the debt collector, which she pays in pennies – to give it to him in the “most inconvenient way possible”. Rebecca attends Suze’s wedding after reclaiming her bridesmaid dress, and Suze forgives her. Luke returns the green scarf to Rebecca after revealing that the person who bought it at an auction was acting as his agent. Rebecca becomes romantically involved with Luke and starts working at his new company.A good film. It is not an oscar worthy film, but it is still good none the less. This is based on the novels by Sophie Kinsella and loosely follows the first and second books in the series.