REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 1

Starring

Zooey Deschanel (Bridge to Terabithia)
Jake Johnson (Jurrasic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Damon Wayans, Jr. (Let’s be Cops)
Lamorne Morris (Game Night)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)

Zooey Deschanel and Hannah Simone in New Girl (2011)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Santa Clarita Diet)
Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Ian Wolterstorff (The Neighbours)
Lauren Dair Owens (Astrid Clover)
Katie Cassidy (Black Christmas)
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie)
Lake Bell (In a World…)
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved!)
Michaela Watkins (Casual)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Blake Garrett Rosenthal (Mom)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Rachael Harris (Lucifer)
June Diane Raphael (Year One)
Kali Hawk (Bridesmaids)
Clyde Kusatsu (Midway)
Jeff Kober (Buffy: TVS)
Clark Duke (Two and a Half Men)
Ryan Kwanten (True Blood)
Joey King (The Conjuring)
Randall Park (The Interview)
Dermot Mulroney (Young Guns)
Martin Starr (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Natalie Dreyfuss (The Originals)
Katrina Bowden (Piranha 3DD)
Annalise Basso (Ouija: Orin of Evil)
Rebecca Reid (I Live With Models)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)

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.Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, Jake Johnson, and Ian Wolterstorff in New Girl (2011)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.Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)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.

REVIEW: INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

INDEPENDEDNCE DAY 2 3D

CAST

Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games)
Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park)
Jessie Usher (Almost Christmas)
Bill Pullman (The Grudge)
Maika Monroe (The 5th Wave)
Sela Ward (Gone Girl)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Judd Hirsch (Tower Heist)
Corin Nemec (Stargate SG.1)
Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG)
Vivica A. Fox (Idle Hands)
Angelababy (Hitman: Agent 47)
Robert Loggia (Psycho II)
Joey King (The Dark Knight Rises)
Chin Han (Arrow)
Ryan Cartwright (Bones)
Mckenna Grace (I, Tonya)

Twenty years after a devastating alien invasion, the United Nations has set up the Earth Space Defense (ESD), a global defense and research program to reverse-engineer alien technology and serve as Earth’s early warning system against extraterrestrial threats. The main defense force utilizes equipment salvaged from the remains of the alien forces and operates military bases built on the Moon, Mars, and Rhea. The Area 51 base in Nevada has become the ESD Headquarters.The world is preparing to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of their survival after the invasion. In the provincial African state Republique Nationale d’Umbutu, ESD Director David Levinson meets with Dr. Catherine Marceaux and warlord Dikembe Umbutu, who lead him to an intact alien destroyer. Aboard the ship, they discover that the alien occupants sent a distress call to their home planet before being defeated. Furthermore, Umbutu, former U.S. President Thomas Whitmore, and Dr. Brackish Okun (who awakens at Area 51 after a twenty-year coma)—all of them once telepathically linked with the aliens ever since their personal encounters with them—have of late been receiving strange visions of an unidentifiable spherical object.An unidentified spherical ship, with design and technology different from that of the aliens who attacked 20 years earlier, emerges from a wormhole near the ESD’s Moon defense headquarters. Levinson believes that it belongs to another extraterrestrial race that might be benevolent and urges the world’s Security Council not to attack, but they vote to shoot it down regardless. Against the Council’s orders, pilots Jake Morrison and Charlie Miller pick up Levinson, Marceaux, Umbutu, and U.S. federal controller Floyd Rosenberg on a space tug, and they head for the wreckage near the Van de Graaff crater, where they recover a container. An alien mothership 3,000 miles (4,800 km) in diameter suddenly emerges and destroys Earth’s planetary defenses before approaching the planet. The space tug is caught in the mothership’s gravitational pull, which lifts objects from across Asia, causing massive damage on its path. The debris falls all over Europe, where the tug manages to escape before heading on to Area 51. The mothership lands over the north of the Atlantic Ocean, destroying cities on the Eastern Seaboard, and begins drilling a hole through the bottom of the ocean floor to harvest the Earth’s core for fuel, which will destroy both its magnetic field and atmosphere in the process, killing all life.Whitmore’s group interrogates one of the aliens held in captivity from the war, who has recently awoken from a 20-year catatonic state. The ESD learns that the aliens exist in eusociality and that one of their colossal Queens is commanding the invasion. Levinson hypothesizes that, if they kill the supervising Queen, her forces will cease drilling and retreat. An ESD aerial fleet, led by Captain Dylan Dubrow-Hiller, stages a counterattack on the Queen’s chamber, but they are caught in a trap within the mothership, which nearly wipes out the entire unit. In Area 51, Okun opens the container and releases a giant white sphere of virtual intelligence; indeed benevolent and more advanced than the attacking aliens. It reveals that its mission is to evacuate survivors from worlds targeted by the aliens, whom it calls “Harvesters”, and that it has gathered a viable resistance force against the Harvesters, hidden in a refugee planet at a location unknown to the Harvesters. Despite being the last of its kind, the sphere implores the humans to destroy it in order to prevent the Harvesters from discovering the location of the planet where it has hidden the survivors. In the mothership, Dylan, Jake, and other survivors manage to escape by hijacking enemy attack craft, and pursue the Queen’s personal ship, which is heading to Area 51 with its convoy.Knowing the Queen has become aware of the sphere’s presence, the ESD forces hide it in an isolation chamber and use a decoy to lure the Queen’s ship to a trap filled with fusion weapons. Against his daughter Patricia’s wishes, Whitmore volunteers to pilot the space tug on the suicide mission, leading the warship to the trap and detonating the bombs, thus sacrificing himself and destroying the ship. However, the Queen survives by using an energy shield on her biomechanical suit. Several fighters fire at the Queen, but the shield protects her.However, Patricia manages to fire through a gap in the shield when the Queen prepares to fire her own gun, thereby disabling the Queen’s shield, allowing Dylan’s arriving party to kill the Queen before she can take the sphere. With the Queen dead, all the remaining alien fighters are rendered inactive, while the mothership stops drilling and retreats to space. Okun reveals that the sphere has asked humanity to lead its resistance and has offered the humans new technology in preparation for a counterattack to assault the Harvesters’ home world and take the fight to the aliens.The action is decent. The jeopardy level is good. What it can’t quite offer is the shock of the new that the original gave us. But for fun science fiction action blockbuster escapism, it’s not bad. So it’s an entertaining watch.

REVIEW: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

CAST

Christian Bale (The Machinist)
Gary Oldman (Robocop)
Tom Hardy (Inception)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper)
Anne Hathaway (Interstellar)
Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)
Morgan Freeman (High Crimes)
Michael Caine (Quills)
Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket)
Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones)
Nestor Carbonell (Ringer)
Juno Temple (Horns)
Josh Stewart (The Punisher)
William Devane (Lois & Clark)
Joey King (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Liam Neeson (Taken)
Cillian Murphy (Red Eye)
Desmond Harrington (Wrong Turn)
Ben Mendelsohn (Rady Player One)
Burn Gorman (Game of Thrones)
Daniel Sunjata (Gone)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Glen Powell (Scream Queens)
Ian Bohen (Young Hercules)
Noel Gugliemi (Training Day)
Patrick Cox (2 Broke Girls)
Wade Williams (Ganster Squad)
Josh Pence (Battleship)
Christopher Judge (Staragte SG.1)
Michael Papajohn (Spider-Man)

The story takes place eight years after the events of the second film in the Christopher Nolan Batman film series. The Dent Act, dedicated to the late district attorney Harvey Dent, grants the Gotham City Police Department powers which nearly eradicate organized crime. Police Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman) feels increasingly guilty for covering up Dent’s crimes. He writes a resignation speech confessing the truth but decides not to use it.

Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has become a recluse, broken by the death of Rachel Dawes. Batman, whom Bruce deems no longer necessary, has disappeared. Cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) obtains Bruce’s fingerprints from his home and kidnaps congressman Byron Gilley (Brett Cullen). She hands the fingerprints to Phillip Stryver (Burn Gorman), an assistant to Bruce’s business rival John Daggett (Ben Mendelsohn). In return, she asks him to have her criminal record erased. Stryver double-crosses Selina, but she uses the Gilley’s phone to alert the police to their location. Gordon and the police arrive to find the congressman, and then pursue Stryver’s men into the sewers while Selina flees. Bane (Tom Hardy), a masked mercenary, captures Gordon and finds his resignation speech. Gordon escapes and is found by John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a patrol officer. Gordon promotes Blake to detective, with Blake reporting directly to him. Bane attacks the Gotham Stock Exchange, using Bruce’s fingerprints in a transaction that bankrupts Bruce. Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine) reveals that Rachel had intended to marry Dent before she died. Alfred then resigns in an attempt to convince Bruce to move on from being Batman.

Wayne Enterprises is unprofitable after Bruce discontinued his fusion reactor project when he learned that the core could be weaponized. Fearing that Daggett, Bane’s employer, would gain access to the reactor, Bruce asks Wayne Enterprises board member Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) to take over his company. Catwoman agrees to take Batman to Bane but instead leads him into Bane’s trap. Bane reveals that he intends to fulfill Ra’s al Ghul’s (Liam Neeson) mission to destroy Gotham with the League of Shadows remnant. He engages Batman and delivers a crippling blow to his back, before taking him to a foreign, well-like prison where escape is virtually impossible. There, the inmates tell Bruce the story of Ra’s al Ghul’s child, born in the prison and cared for by a fellow prisoner before escaping—the only prisoner to have ever done so. Bruce assumes the child to be Bane.
Bane lures Gotham police underground and traps them there. He kills Mayor Anthony Garcia (Nestor Carbonell) and forces Dr. Leonid Pavel (Alon Abutbul), a Russian nuclear physicist he kidnapped from Uzbekistan six months prior, to convert the reactor core into a nuclear bomb. Bane uses the bomb to hold the city hostage and isolate Gotham from the world. Using Gordon’s stolen speech, Bane reveals the cover-up of Dent’s crimes and releases the prisoners of Blackgate Penitentiary, initiating anarchy. The wealthy and powerful have their property expropriated, are dragged from their homes, and are given show trials presided over by Dr. Jonathan Crane (Cillian Murphy), where all are sentenced to death.

After spending months recovering and re-training, Bruce escapes from the prison. He enlists Selina, Blake, Tate, Gordon, and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) to help stop the bomb’s detonation. He hands the Batpod to Selina, tasking her with helping people evacuate and saving herself. She asks him to come along, leaving Gotham to its fate, but he refuses. While the police and Bane’s forces clash, Batman overpowers Bane. He interrogates Bane for the bomb’s trigger, but Tate intervenes and stabs him. She reveals herself to be Talia al Ghul, Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter. Bane is her protector, who aided her escape from the prison. She uses the detonator, but Gordon has successfully approached the bomb and blocks her signal, preventing remote detonation. Talia leaves to find the bomb while Bane prepares to kill Batman, but Catwoman returns on the Badpod and kills Bane. Batman and Catwoman pursues Talia, hoping to bring the bomb back to the reactor where it can be stabilized. Talia’s truck crashes, but she remotely destroys the reactor before dying. With no way to stop the detonation, Batman uses the Bat to haul the bomb over the bay, where it detonates. In the aftermath, Batman is presumed dead and is honored as a hero. With Bruce Wayne also presumed dead, Wayne Manor becomes an orphanage, and Bruce’s remaining estate is left to Alfred. Fox discovers that Bruce had fixed the Bat’s autopilot, Gordon finds the Bat-Signal refurbished and Alfred sees Bruce and Selina together while visiting Florence. John Blake resigns from the police force and inherits the Batcave.Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises (2012)A great end to the Dark Knight trilogy, this along with the first two will always remain three of my favorite films.

REVIEW: OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

CAST

James Franco (This Is The End)
Mila Kunis (Ted)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)
Zach Braff (The Ex)
Bill Cobbs (The Bodyguard)
Joey King (The Dark Knight Rises)
Tony Cox (Bad Santa)
Stephen R. Hart (Silent Hill)
Abigail Spencer (Rectify)
Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Ted Raimi (Xena)
Martin Klebba (Project X)

In 1905 Kansas, Oscar Diggs works as a magician in a traveling circus. An inveterate womanizer, Oscar flirts with the circus strongman’s wife, and the strongman threatens him. Oscar escapes in a hot air balloon, but is sucked into a tornado that takes him to the Land of Oz. There, he encounters a kind and naive witch, Theodora. She believes him to be a wizard prophesied to destroy the Wicked Witch who killed the King of Oz and take his place; the idea of being an immensely wealthy monarch makes him immediately accept. En route to the Emerald City, Theodora falls in love with Oscar, though he does not reciprocate her feelings. They encounter the flying monkey Finley, who pledges a life debt to Oscar when he saves him from a lion. Oscar reveals his deception to Finley along the way, forcing him to help maintain the lie that he is the ‘Wizard’, much to Finley’s irritation.

At the Emerald City, Oscar meets Theodora’s older sister Evanora, the Royal Advisor. Evanora tells him the Wicked Witch resides in the Dark Forest and can be killed by destroying her wand, the source of her powers; only then will Evanora consent to make him King of Oz. Oscar and Finley are joined en route to the forest by China Girl, a young, living china doll whose village and family were destroyed by the Wicked Witch. Oscar fixes the China Girl’s broken legs with glue. They reach the forest and retrieve the wand, but they discover the “Wicked Witch” is Glinda the Good Witch who identifies herself as the daughter of the late King, revealing that Evanora is the true Wicked Witch. Evanora sees this with her crystal ball and tricks Theodora into thinking Oscar is trying to court all three witches. She offers the heartbroken Theodora a magic apple that she says will remove her bad feelings about Oscar; Theodora bites it and realizes that Evanora had been deceiving her, before she is transformed into a monstrous, green-skinned version of herself. Glinda brings Oscar’s group to her domain in the south of Oz to escape Evanora’s army of Winkies and flying baboons. She confides to Oscar that she knows that he’s not really a wizard, but still believes he can help stop Evanora. As he reluctantly takes charge of an “army” of Quadlings, Tinkers, and Munchkins, Theodora enters Glinda’s domain and angrily reveals her new, hideous appearance to Oscar. She threatens to kill him and his allies with the Emerald City’s well-prepared army. Oscar despairs of his chances. After telling China Girl about the exploits of his hero Thomas Edison, he conceives a plan that relies on trickery and makes preparations with Glinda and the Munchkins.
Glinda and her subjects mount a fake attack on the Emerald City using an army of scarecrow puppets whose true nature is hidden by thick fog. The witches are tricked into sending their Flying Baboons through a poppy field that puts them to sleep. However, two of the Flying Baboons and Evanora capture Glinda, but cannot find her wand, which was taken by China Girl. Glinda is then brought to the city square and chained. Oscar infiltrates the Emerald City with his allies, but appears to abandon them in a hot air balloon which he loads with stolen gold. Theodora destroys the balloon with a fireball, but Oscar was never actually in the balloon. As the Wicked Witches prepare to kill Glinda, Oscar secretly reveals his engineered death to his friends. Using a hidden smoke machine and image projector, he presents a giant image of his face amid smoke and flame as his “true form”, and calls upon “the stars themselves” (a fireworks display) to intimidate the Wicked Witches. Evanora fearfully hides in the castle, while Theodora eventually flies off on her broom after her attacks fail to hurt the “invincible” wizard. Oscar calls after her, telling her that she is welcome to come back if she overcomes her wickedness, but Theodora screams defiance at him and flies to the west, leaving Oscar saddened. China Girl frees Glinda, who engages in a magical duel with Evanora in the throne room. During the fight, Glinda destroys the Wicked Witch’s emerald necklace that hides her true, crone-like appearance. Defeated, the banished Evanora is rescued by the two remaining Flying Baboons, swearing revenge as she is carried east.
Oscar, now ruler of Oz, uses his projector to sustain the belief he is a powerful wizard. He also presents gifts to his friends: Master Tinker, who helped build his machines, receives Oscar’s camping tool; Knuck, the grumpy Munchkin herald, receives a mask with a smiley face; the long-suffering Finley receives Oscar’s friendship along with his top hat; and China Girl accepts her friends as her new family. Finally, Oscar takes Glinda behind the curtains of his projector, thanks her for making him a better person, and they kiss.
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The film, a prequel to ‘The wizard of Oz’, the tale  of the magician (played magnificently by James Franco) and his journey to Oz is well played out. It is a great tale and fun for everyone.