REVIEW: VERONICA MARS – SEASON 4

Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)

 

Starring

Kristen Bell (The GOod Place)
Jason Dohring (Izombie)
Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint)

Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Percy Daggs III (American son)
Francis Capra (Heroes)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
David Starzyk (Bring it On 5)
Adam Rose (Santa Clarita Diet)
Ryan Devlin (Big Shots)
Julie Gonzalo (Freaky Friday)
James Jordan (Wind River)
Dawnn Lewis (Izombie)
Kirby Howell-Baptiste (The Good Place)
Patton Oswalt (Two and a Half men)
Clifton Collins Jr. (Westworld)
Izabela Vidovic (Supergirl)
J. K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Tyler Alvarez (American Vandal)
Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica)
Mido Hamada (Unknown)
Kyle Secor (The Flash)
François Chau (The Tick)
Logan Miller (Escape Room)
Josh Duhamel (Transformers)
Patrick Cox (2 Broke Girls)
Rodney Rowland (Legacies)
Barry Livingston (Argo)
Clark Duke (Kick-Ass)
Jacqueline Antaramian (Side Effects)
Paul Karmiryan (In The Vault)
Lukas Gage (American Vandal)
Christopher B. Duncan (Legacies)
Patrick Wolff (Starship Troopers)

Chino and the ManIn Hulu’s revival of Veronica Mars, the title character (Kristen Bell) visits one of the many men she put behind bars as a teenager. Realizing that she’s still working as a private investigator, he snipes, “That was your job in high school, right?” Television shows are a product of a particular time in the lives of their characters, creators, and audiences. One of the biggest problems with the recent trend of belated-sequel seasons is that they try to act like nothing has changed for any of those groups when, say, a 32-year-old Rory Gilmore shouldn’t still be acting like a 20-year-old. This issue should be especially acute for Veronica Mars, which in its original run drew much of its power and verve from presenting a hard-boiled gumshoe who looked like she had just quit the school dance team. (She had, actually, in the wake of her best friend’s murder.)Chino and the ManBut the new eight-episode Hulu season is keenly aware that its heroine is stuck in neutral. It’s less surprising for her as an adult to be doing stakeouts and fending off gangsters at gunpoint. But it’s also sad and self-destructive — in a very film-noir kind of way — that she’s retreated to the role she had before she was old enough to vote. When her high school frenemy Weevil (Francis Capra) asks what’s wrong with her, she cracks, “You know, there are a range of opinions.” She spends as much of her narration beating herself up for mistakes and character flaws as she does helping us follow the complicated case that’s brought her back to television. And Bell is just as charismatic, vulnerable, and slick with the banter as she was when she could pass for an 11th-grader.newgirl-ep708_sc9-ray_1203_originalVeronica creator Rob Thomas presciently set the original series in a California beach town with no middle class — only the ultrarich and the people who work for them. The setting works even better amid our present-day class warfare, and the plot involves a series of bombings that may be connected to a movement to drive out the city’s few remaining mom-and-pop businesses. Chief among the early suspects: “Big Dick” Casablancas (David Starzyk), a real-estate mogul (and holdover from the original series; he’s the father of Ryan Hansen’s Dick) publicly insisting that “we need to get back to a better time.” There’s a healthy mix of new faces, including Patton Oswalt enjoying his celebrity as witness to the first bombing; J.K. Simmons at his most charming as an ex-con now working as Big Dick’s enforcer; Kirby Howell-Baptiste as a bar owner Veronica befriends; and Izabela Vidovic as a teen reminiscent of Veronica back in the UPN days. And Veronica of course works the case with her beloved father, Keith (Enrico Colantoni, appealingly relaxed as ever, even as Keith battles health issues), while still trying to make things work with high school flame Logan (Jason Dohring, who apparently lives at the gym now).9a8851bc-3c87-458d-9481-8e4ea386bca3-vmars_101_md_2021r_fThis is the second time Bell and Co. have returned to this world: A 2014 movie introduced us to Veronica as an adult. Perhaps because the film was funded by Kickstarter, Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright (who also co-wrote the new season) leaned hard into fan service, with a mystery that was largely an excuse to bring back as many old favorites as possible. It was fun in spots, but a violation of the bleak noir ethos of the original series, which was at its best when it denied the audience what it wanted and gave them what the story demanded. The Hulu version also features a host of familiar faces, like Max Greenfield as Veronica’s ex Leo (now an FBI agent looking into the bombings), but they turn up only when the plot calls for them. And the ending to this new mystery feels satisfying both to the narratives and to the themes of Veronica’s life as a woman who can’t stop looking for the truth, no matter how much it hurts.Keep Calm and Party OnThe conclusion is darker than some fans may want, but feels like a necessary corrective for this new phase of our heroine’s life. It’s a terrific return to form for one of television’s all-time great underseen gems

REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT

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CAST

Mark Wahlberg (Ted)
Josh Duhamel (Paradise Lost)
Gemma Chan (Humans)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
John Turturro (Barton Fink)
Laura Haddock (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Isabela Moner (Soldado)
Jerrod Carmichael (Bad Neighbors 2)
Santiago Cabrera (Heroes)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Liam Garrigan (24: Live Another Day)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Tony Hale (Chuck)
Gil Birmingham (Twilight)
Peter Cullen (Dungeons & Dragons)
Erik Aadahl (Godzilla)
Jim Carter (Dinotopia)
Omar Sy (Jurassic World)
John Goodman (Red State)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Tom Kenny (The Powerpuff Girls)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk empire)
Steven Barr (Fall From Grace)
Mark Ryan (Robin of Sherwood)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Jess Harnell (Animaniacs)
Andy Bean (Swamp Thing)

In 484 AD, King Arthur and his knights struggle in a battle against the Saxons. Meanwhile, Merlin begs for help from the Knights of Iacon, a group of twelve Transformers who have hidden on Earth. They give Merlin an alien staff and combine themselves into a huge robotic dragon named Dragonstorm to help Arthur triumph over the Saxons, but not before warning Merlin that a great evil will one day come for the staff.In the present, five years after the Hong Kong battle, the Transformers are declared outlaws by all governments on Earth, to which the Transformer Reaction Force (TRF) is formed from the fallen Cemetery Wind to eradicate the alien robots, despite more Transformers continuously arriving on Earth. All the while, enormous metallic horns begin to rise from different parts of the world. In a part of war-torn Chicago, a group of children find a ship with a knight inside before being caught by a TRF drone. Izabella, a survivor of the Battle of Chicago, saves the children along with her Transformers companions Sqweeks and Canopy. The drone mistakes Canopy for a Decepticon and kills him before Bumblebee and Cade Yeager (who are also being hunted by the TRF) arrive and help the children, Izabella, and Sqweeks escape from the drones. Cade finds the knight in the ship, who attaches a talisman to his arm. The Decepticon Barricade observes this act and reports the discovery to Megatron. After a brief standoff with the TRF, Cade returns to his junkyard in South Dakota (with Izabella and Sqweeks hitching a ride with him) where the remaining Autobots are hiding from the TRF, including Bumblebee, Hound, Drift, Crosshairs, Wheelie, Grimlock, Slug, Daytrader, Trench, and three Mini-Dinobots.TRF member and former Autobot ally William Lennox brokers a deal between the TRF and Megatron so he can find Cade and recover the talisman. In exchange, Megatron demands the release of a squad of Decepticons, including Nitro Zeus, Dreadbot, Mohawk, and Onslaught (Megatron tries to get Berserker, but they won’t let him because he is far too dangerous). Meanwhile, in deep space, Optimus Prime crash-lands on Cybertron, discovering that it is heading directly for Earth. He encounters Quintessa, the self-proclaimed creator of the Transformers, who brainwashes Optimus and renames him “Nemesis Prime”. Quintessa charges him with recovering the staff from the Knights who stole it from her.Earth, she reveals, is actually Cybertron’s ancient enemy Unicron and she intends to drain its life force using the staff, so that Cybertron can be restored. Back on Earth, Megatron and the TRF locate Cade, his coworker Jimmy, Izabella, Sqweeks, and the Autobots, thanks to a tracker planted on Bumblebee during the standoff. They flee to an abandoned town where they discover Bumblebee’s tracking device. In the ensuing battle, Dreadbot, Onslaught, Mohawk, and several TRF soldiers are killed by Grimlock, Slug, Crosshairs, Drift, and Bumblebee. As a result, Megatron, Nitro Zeus, and Barricade are forced to retreat. While fighting off a unit of TRF drones, Cade is approached by Cogman, a Transformer envoy who takes him and Bumblebee to England to meet his master, Sir Edmund Burton.

There, Burton arranges a meeting between Cade and Viviane Wembly, an Oxford professor, who had just been kidnapped by the Autobot Hot Rod under Burton’s orders. Burton introduces himself as the last living member of the “Witwiccan” order, an ancient brotherhood dedicated to guarding the secret history of Transformers on Earth. He reveals that Cade’s talisman indicates that he is the Last Knight of Iacon. He also reveals that Viviane is Merlin’s last descendant and that she must find and use his staff to prevent the impending destruction of Earth by Cybertron. MI6 and the TRF arrive at Burton’s mansion, forcing the group to flee.After escaping from MI6, the TRF, and Barricade, Cade, Viviane, Bumblebee, and Cogman follow the clues left by Viviane’s father and take the museum submarine HMS Alliance (after Burton shuts down the attraction and evicts the tourists) into the sea to find the Cybertronian Knights’ sunken ship while the TRF pursue them with submarines of their own. Burton meets with the Prime Minister to engage the military at Stonehenge, which he deduces is the access point to Unicron. In the ship, Cade and Viviane discover the tomb of Merlin and the staff. Viviane activates the staff, which causes the ship to rise towards the surface. The TRF confronts the group and attempts to take the staff from them before Nemesis Prime intervenes and forces them to hand over the staff. Bumblebee chases after Optimus and the two Autobots fight each other at the top of the ship. Before Optimus can kill Bumblebee, the mute Autobot finally speaks, freeing Optimus from Quintessa’s control. Suddenly, Megatron, revealed to be conspiring with Quintessa, arrives to steal the staff and flees while the Knights attack Optimus for his presumed betrayal. Cade stops the Knights with the talisman, which transforms into King Arthur’s sword Excalibur. The Knights yield to Cade as the Last Knight of Iacon, and Yeager urges Optimus to fight for Earth once more.As Cybertron anchors itself to Earth, Megatron, Nitro Zeus, and Barricade deliver the staff to Quintessa, who begins draining the life force of Earth from Unicron. Burton and the British military intervene, and Megatron shoots Burton, who dies with Cogman at his side. The Autobots arrive to join the fight with the TRF, Cade, Viviane, Izabella, and Sqweeks, landing on Cybertron and battling against Megatron and Quintessa’s minions, the Infernocons. Vanquishing their foes with help from the Knights as Dragonstorm, the Autobots reach the chamber where the staff and Quintessa are. Optimus defeats Megatron by kicking him through the Ignition Chamber’s wall, sending him flying to Earth, while Bumblebee kills Nitro Zeus. Together, Optimus and Bumblebee seemingly kill Quintessa. Viviane removes the staff, stopping Cybertron’s destruction of Earth but leaving both worlds connected. Optimus declares that humans and Transformers must now work together to rebuild their worlds and sends a message calling any surviving Autobots to come home.In a mid-credits scene, scientists inspect one of Unicron’s horns in a desert. Quintessa, who has survived and is disguised as a human, arrives and offers them a way to destroy Unicron.The transformers movies are known for being hated. Me I personally think these movies are just fun. That’s why we watch them, not for an outstanding Oscar worthy film. I know I am in the minority that I love Age of extinction. So I was pretty excited to see this film. I was not disappointed.

REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON

CAST

Shia LaBeouf (Eagle Eye)
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Josh Duhamel (Paradise Lost)
John Turturro (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Tyrese Gibson (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Patrick Dempsey (Made of Honor)
Kevin Dunn (Samantha Who?)
Julie White (Lincoln)
John Malkovich (Red)
Frances McDormand (Hail, Caesar!)
Keiko Agena (13 Reasons Why)
Lester Speight (Faster)
Josh Kelly (Jarhead 2)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Mark Ryan (Robin of Sherwood)
Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Buzz Aldrin (The Big Bang Theory)
Elya Baskin (Heroes)
Peter Cullen (Dungeons & Dragons)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek)
Jess Harnell (Little Nicky)
James Remar (Mortal Kombat: Annihilation)
Francesco Quinn (Hell Ride)
George Coe (The West Wing)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Tom Kenny (The Powerpuff Girls)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Greg Berg (The Muppets)
Lindsey Ginter (S.W.A.T.)
Anthony Azizi (Lost)
Robert Foxworth (Beyond The Stars)

Ravil Isyanov (Octopus)

In 1961, the “Ark”, a Cybertronian spacecraft carrying an invention capable of ending the war between the benevolent Autobots and the malevolent Decepticons, crash lands on the dark side of Earth’s Moon. The crash is detected on Earth by NASA, and the President authorizes a mission to put a man on the Moon as a cover for investigating the spacecraft. In 1969, the crew of Apollo 11 lands on the Moon.In the present, the Autobots assist the United States military in preventing major conflicts around the globe. During a mission to Chernobyl to investigate suspected alien technology, Optimus Prime finds a fuel cell from the “Ark”, discovering that it had survived its journey from Cybertron. The Autobots are then attacked by Shockwave, a Decepticon scientist, who manages to escape. After learning of the top-secret mission to the Moon, the Autobots travel there to explore the “Ark”. They discover a comatose Sentinel Prime – Optimus’ predecessor as leader of the Autobots – and the Pillars he created as a means of establishing a Space Bridge between two points to teleport matter. After returning to Earth, Optimus uses the energy of his Matrix of Leadership to revive Sentinel Prime.Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky is frustrated that he is unable to work with the Autobots or find a job. He also becomes envious of the close relationship between his new girlfriend, Carly Spencer, and her boss Dylan Gould. After finding work, Sam is provided information by his eccentric co-worker Jerry Wang about the “Ark”, before Jerry is assassinated by the Decepticon Laserbeak. Sam contacts the now-independently wealthy Sector 7 Agent Seymour Simmons, and together they realize that the Decepticons and their leader, Megatron, are murdering people connected to the American and Russian space missions to the “Ark”. They locate two surviving Russian cosmonauts, who reveal satellite photos of hundreds of Pillars being stockpiled on the Moon. Sam realizes that the Decepticons raided the “Ark” long before the Apollo 11 mission to the moon and intentionally left Sentinel and the five Pillars behind to lure the Autobots into a trap with Sentinel being the key to activating the Pillars and the Decepticons lacking the means to revive him. The Autobots rush to return Sentinel to their base for protection, but Sentinel betrays them and murders the Autobot Ironhide, revealing he had made a deal with Megatron to ensure Cybertron’s survival.Sentinel uses the Pillars to transport hundreds of concealed Decepticons from the Moon to Earth. Carly is later captured by Gould, who is revealed to be in service of the Decepticons. The Autobots are exiled from Earth at the demand of the Decepticons to avoid war, but as their ship leaves Earth it is destroyed by Megatron’s second-in-command, Starscream, seemingly killing the Autobots. The Decepticons, led by Megatron and Sentinel, invade Chicago as their agents place Pillars around the world. Gould reveals to Carly that the Decepticons plan to transport their homeworld of Cybertron to the Solar System, then to enslave humanity and use Earth’s resources to rebuild their world. Sam teams up with former USAF Chief Robert Epps and ex-NEST soldiers to go into Chicago to save Carly, but they are nearly killed by Decepticon forces before the Autobots intervene, revealing they concealed themselves during the launch of their ship to convince the Decepticons they were destroyed.Working together, the Autobots and human soldiers manage to rescue Carly and kill Laserbeak, Starscream, Soundwave and Shockwave, with Optimus using Shockwave’s arm-cannon to blast the Control Pillar, disabling the Space Bridge. Sam confronts Gould as he reactivates the Control Pillar, and knocks Gould into the Pillar, electrocuting him. Bumblebee and Ratchet arrive and destroy the Control Pillar, permanently disabling the Bridge and causing the partially transported Cybertron to implode. Optimus and Sentinel fight while Carly convinces Megatron that he will be replaced by Sentinel as leader of the Decepticons. Sentinel severs Optimus’ right arm, and is about to execute him when Megatron intervenes, incapacitating Sentinel. Megatron slyly proposes a truce, having the desire to become the one in charge again, but Optimus instead attacks Megatron, decapitating and killing him. Sentinel pleads for his life, but Optimus executes him too for betraying his own principles. With the Decepticons defeated, Carly and Sam are reunited and the Autobots accept that, with Cybertron gone for good, Earth is now their home.Ultimately, Bay’s primary success here is casting. In addition to Dempsey (pleasingly cynical), Dark of the Moon boasts an elaborate roster of recognizable, exceptional professionals, like John Malkovich (ridiculous), Frances McDormand (deadly serious), Ken Jeong (psychotic), and Alan Tudyk (over-the-top), who give the film color. McDormand in particular adds a level of gravitas to the first half of the movie that really greases the wheels, and even though she’s relegated to the far back in the last third, she shares her time with returning player John Turturro, with whom she has amusing chemistry. Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Dunn, and Julie White also return. Everything else is action, action, action. This time, Bay is better with his action geography and choreography, illustrating fights from a distance and turning down the dust clouds a little bit.

REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN

CAST

Shia LaBeouf (Eagle Eye)
Megan Fox (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Tyrese Gibson (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Josh Duhamel (Paradise Lost)
John Turturro (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Ramón Rodríguez (Iron Fist)
Kevin Dunn (Samantha Who?)
Julie White (Lincoln)
Isabel Lucas (The Loft)
John Benjamin Hickey (The Ex)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Matthew Marsden (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Rainn Wilson (Star Trek Discovery)
Marc Evan Jackson (The Good Place)
Katie Lowes (Scandal)
Peter Cullen (Dungeons & Dragons)
Mark Ryan (Robin of Sherwood)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
André Sogliuzzo (Family Guy)
Jess Harnell (Little Nicky)
Grey DeLisle (Ultimate Avengers)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Josh Kelly (Jarhead 2)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Tom Kenny (The Powerpuff Girls)
Michael York (Logans Run)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Robin Atkins Downes (Babylon 5)
Andrew Howard (Bates Motel)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Robert Foxworth (Beyond The Stars)

In 17,000 B.C., the Seven Primes travel the galaxy to create Energon with star-absorbing machines named Sun Harvesters. The Primes followed a rule: never destroy planets with life; however, one of them, Megatronus Prime, later known as The Fallen, defies this and establishes a Sun Harvester on Earth. He is confronted by the other Primes, who imprison him before he can harvest the planet’s Sun with the Matrix of Leadership. The Primes then sacrifice themselves to hide the Matrix in an unknown location.In the present day, two years after Megatron’s defeat, the Autobots have formed the Non-Biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty (NEST), a classified international military task force dedicated to eliminate the surviving Decepticons. In Shanghai, the Autobots intercept two Decepticons, Demolisher and Sideways. They send in new recruits: Sideswipe, Skids, Mudflap, Arcee, Chromia, and Elita One to hunt them down. Sideswipe successfully kills Sideways, while Optimus Prime kills Demolisher, but not before he warns them of the Fallen’s return. At NEST’s headquarters in Diego Garcia, National Security Adviser Theodore Galloway scolds the task force sarcastically for their tactics, reminding them that Megatron’s corpse is still at the bottom of the Laurentian Abyss and the last known AllSpark shard is locked up in the base. Soundwave hacks into a military satellite, overhears the information, and sends Ravage to retrieve the shard.Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky is preparing to attend college, leaving his girlfriend Mikaela Banes and guardian Bumblebee behind. He finds a smaller AllSpark shard and picks it up, causing him to start seeing Cybertronian symbols and accidentally brings multiple kitchen appliances to life. After Bumblebee destroys the rampaging appliances (along with part of the Witwicky’s house), Sam gives the shard to Mikaela, who later captures the Decepticon Wheelie when he attempts to steal it. The Constructicons resurrect Megatron by ripping apart the smallest Constructicon Scrapmetal to provide parts for him, as well as using the stolen shard.Megatron then travels to one of Saturn’s moons, where he reunites with his master, the Fallen, who orders him to capture Sam alive and kill Optimus, the only Transformer who can defeat the Fallen. Sam, Mikaela and his college roommate, Leo are attacked by Alice, a Decepticon Pretender posing as a college student. After killing her, they are captured by the Decepticon Grindor and taken to an abandoned factory. Megatron reveals that the symbols in Sam’s mind will lead the Decepticons to a new Energon source before the Autobots arrive to rescue the trio. Optimus rescues Sam and engages Megatron, who is accompanied by Starscream, and Grindor. Initially overpowered, Optimus manages to injure Starscream by cutting off his arm before killing Grindor. Megatron then ambushes Optimus and blasts his spark, destroying it and leaving him fatally wounded; Optimus dies shortly after telling Sam to run without him. The other Autobots arrive and repel the Decepticons, forcing Megatron and Starscream to retreat. The Decepticons launch devastating simultaneous attacks around the world, destroying ships in the Second Fleet and damaging Paris. The Fallen hijacks Earth’s telecommunications systems, demanding that Sam be handed to him.Sam, Mikaela, and Leo enlist the help of former Sector 7 agent, Seymour Simmons, who reveals that the Transformers visited Earth eons ago and the most ancient, known as Seekers, live in secret. With help from Wheelie, they track down a Decepticon Seeker named Jetfire at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. They use their shard to revive Jetfire, who teleports the group to Egypt and explains the story of the Fallen. Jetfire and Wheelie turn against the Decepticons, and order them to locate the Matrix, which could revive Optimus. Sam’s group finds the Matrix in Petra, but it disintegrates into dust in Sam’s hands. Undeterred, Sam stuffs the Matrix’s remains into his sock. Meanwhile, NEST forces and the Autobots land near the Giza pyramid complex but are attacked by a large force of Decepticons. During the battle, many Constructicons combine to form Devastator, who destroys one of the pyramids, revealing the Sun Harvester inside, before he is killed by a battleship’s railgun called in by Simmons. Under Megatron’s orders, the Decepticons Rampage and Ravage spring a trap with Sam’s parents (who were captured during the Paris attack) as bait in order to force Sam to give them the Matrix, but Bumblebee interferes and kills both Decepticons. Lennox and Epps call in an airstrike, which kills a large portion of the Decepticon ground forces. However, Megatron manages to shoot Sam, seemingly killing him, before retreating upon getting attacked. Nearing his death, the Primes contact Sam through a vision, telling him the Matrix is earned, not found, and that he earned the right to bear it. They restore Sam’s life and the Matrix, which he uses to revive Optimus.The Fallen teleports to their location and steals the Matrix from Optimus, then returns to the pyramid with Megatron and activates the Sun Harvester. Jetfire, who was wounded by Scroponok but did manage to kill him, sacrifices himself in order for Optimus to gain his parts, which give him immense strength and the ability to fly. Optimus knocks the Fallen and Megatron off the pyramid, destroying the Sun Harvester in the process. In the battle, Optimus disables Megatron and kills the Fallen; vowing vengeance, Megatron retreats with Starscream. The victorious Autobots and their allies then return to the United States, having saved the world.This builds things up to a much greater scale than the first film, and it brings in a lot more of the robots, both good and bad ones. The plot does involve you to have to work at it, a little more than you might expect from a piece of escapist entertainment. And yet, whilst it’s not as focused as the first film, it does come up with a big action battle climax.  As humans and alien robots alike battle evil forces and strive to do the right thing and are quite prepared to put their lives on the line, it’s not hard to find yourself rooting for them all the way.

REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS (2007)

 

CAST

Shia LaBeouf (Eagle Eye)
Megan Fox (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Tyrese Gibson (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Josh Duhamel (Paradise Lost)
Anthony Anderson (Kangaroo Jack)
Rachael Taylor (Jessica Jones)
John Turturro (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Jon Voight (Pearl Harbor)
Michael O’Neill (Bates Motel)
Kevin Dunn (Samantha Who?)
Julie White (Lincoln)
Amaury Nolasco (The Rum Diary)
Zack Ward (Bloodrayne 2)
W. Morgan Sheppard (Star Trek)
Bernie Mac (Bad Santa)
Travis Van Winkle (Friday The 13th)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Peter Cullen (Dungeons & Dragons)
Mark Ryan (Robin of Sherwood)
Darius McCrary (Anger Management)
Robert Foxworth (Beyond The Stars)
Jess Harnell (Little Nicky)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Charlie Adler (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Samantha Smith (Supernatural)
Tom Lenk (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Odette Annable (Supergirl)
Colton Haynes (Arrow)

Tom Everett (XXX)

Several thousand years ago, the planet Cybertron was consumed by a civil war between the two Transformer factions, the Autobots led by Optimus Prime and the Decepticons led by Megatron. Optimus jettisoned the AllSpark, a mystical artifact that brings life to the planet, into space, but Megatron pursued it. Megatron crashed in the Arctic Circle and froze, and was discovered in 1895 by explorer Archibald Witwicky. Witwicky inadvertently activated Megatron’s navigational system, which etched the AllSpark’s coordinates into his glasses. The glasses end up in the possession of his great-great-grandson Sam Witwicky. In the present, Sam buys his first car, a rusting Chevrolet Camaro, but discovers it has a life of its own.In modern Qatar, Blackout attacks and destroys a United States military base in a failed attempt to hack the military network to find information on Megatron and the AllSpark. A team of Army Rangers led by Captain William Lennox escape across the desert, pursued by Blackout’s drone Scorponok. They fight Scorponok off, aided by aerial reinforcements, and travel home with Scorponok’s stinger, discovering sabot rounds damaged its armor. At the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense John Keller leads the investigation into the attack. Sound analyst Maggie Madsen catches another Decepticon, Frenzy, hacking into the U.S. military network while onboard Air Force One. While the hack is thwarted, Frenzy downloads files on Archibald’s glasses, tracking down Sam with Barricade, disguised as a police car.Sam and his high school crush Mikaela Banes are rescued from Barricade and Frenzy by the Camaro who turns out to be Autobot scout Bumblebee, but he is mute and has to communicate through his car radio. Previously sending a beacon to his fellow Autobots, Bumblebee takes Sam and Mikaela to meet the new arrivals – Optimus, Jazz, Ironhide, and Ratchet. Optimus explains the details of their situation, revealing that if Megatron gained the AllSpark he would transform Earth’s machinery into a new army and exterminate mankind. Sam, Mikaela, and the Autobots travel to Sam’s house to retrieve the glasses, but the teenagers are captured by agents of Sector Seven, a top secret government branch, led by Seymour Simmons. The Autobots stop the agents, but they call for backup, who take Sam, Mikaela, and Bumblebee into custody, while Optimus obtains the glasses, and uses them to locate the Allspark.The respective groups connected to the Transformers are gathered together at Hoover Dam by Sector Seven’s director Tom Banachek, who reveals Megatron, still frozen, and the AllSpark. Frenzy, who smuggled away in Mikaela’s bag, summons the other Decepticons to attack and sabotages Megatron’s cryonic system. Bumblebee is released to protect the AllSpark, shrinking it down to a handheld size so it can be transported to safety. Megatron escapes the dam after thawing out. Frenzy attacks Secretary Keller, Madsen and Agent Simmons in the Dam’s radio room, trying to prevent them from summoning the Air Force, but is decapitated by his own ricocheting shuriken.A lengthy battle occurs in Mission City, with most of the Decepticons being killed, but Megatron murders Jazz. He prevents Sam’s attempted escape with the AllSpark, and begins to fight Optimus. After a long brawl Megatron seems to get the upper hand. Optimus then tells Sam to push the cube into his chest in order to ensure their mutual destruction, but Sam rams it into Megatron’s chest instead, extinguishing his spark. Starscream and Barricade are the only Decepticons to survive the battle and escape.Optimus salvages a shard of the AllSpark from Megatron’s body. The United States government shuts down Sector Seven, disposing of the dead Decepticons in the Laurentian Abyss. Sam and Mikaela then start a relationship while the Autobots secretly hide out on Earth, Optimus sends a transmission into space inviting any surviving Autobots to join them. A brief mid-credits scene shows Starscream escaping into space to rally other Decepticons and summon them to Earth.Granted, these aren’t your granddaddy’s Transformers. Souped up to resemble high-tech living robots while fighting and the latest in automobile trends in car form, Bay and the producers have mucked around considerably with the look of the Autobots and Decepticons, putting the infamous flames on Optimus Prime and turning Megatron into an alien jet. Supporters of the all-holy “G1” have every right to scoff, but “Transformers” has a wonderful way of making these ludicrous alterations fit into the bigger, slicker picture, pressing down hard on the extra-terrestrial angle of our visitors. It’s only a matter of moments before you buy these reinvented incarnations of popular characters and another few seconds before you start to root for their victory and defeat. Running at 140 minutes, Transformers never runs out of juice.

REVIEW: MOVIE 43

CAST

Dennis Quaid (The Day After Tomorrow)
Greg Kinnear (Ghost Town)
Common (Wanted)
Hugh Jackman (Logan)
Kate Winslet (Divergent)
Liev Schreiber (The 5th Wave)
Naomi Watts (King Kong)
Anna Faris (Mom)
Chris Pratt (Passengers)
Kristen Bell (Bad Moms)
Seth MacFalrane (Family Guy)
Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Charlie Saxton (Hung)
Leslie Bibb (American Housewife)
Uma Thurman (KillBill)
Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man)
Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns)
Will Sasso (Happy Gilmore)
Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad)
Chloe Grace Moretz (The 5th Wave)
Odessa Rae (Hard Candy)
Terrence Howard (Iron Man 2)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Josh Duhamel (Transformers)
Tony Shalhoub (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Gerard Butler (Gamer)
Seann William Scott (American Pie)
Katie Finneran (Wonderfalls)
Halle Berry (X-Men)
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Jason Sudeikis (Son of Zorn)
Julie Claire (Devious Minds)
Stephen Merchant (The Office)
Johnny Knoxville (The Last Stand)
Richard Gere (Primal Fear)
Julie Ann Emery (Fargo)
J.B. Smoove (Date Night)
Jarrad Paul (The Grinder)
Katrina Bowden (30 Rock)
Kieran Culkin (Scott Pilgrim Vs The World)
Aasif Mandvi (The Dictator)
Julianne Moore (Carrie)
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek)
Fisher Stevens (Hail, Caesar!)
Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)
Julie McNiven (Doom Patrol)
Jimmy Bennett (Orphan)
Matt Walsh (Ted)
Emily Alyn Lind (Revenge)
Martin Klebba (Project X)

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Movie 43 is a series of different skits containing different scenes and scenarios.

Movie 43

The Pitch

The film is composed of multiple comedy shorts presented through an overarching segment titled “The Pitch”, in which Charlie Wessler (Dennis Quaid), a mad screenwriter, is attempting to pitch a script to film executive Griffin Schraeder (Greg Kinnear). After revealing several of the stories in his script, Wessler becomes agitated when Schraeder dismisses his outrageous ideas, and he pulls a gun on him and forces him to listen to multiple other stories before making Schraeder consult his manager, Bob Mone (Common), to purchase the film. When they do so, Mone’s condescending, humiliating attitude toward Schraeder angers him to the point that, after agreeing to make the film “the biggest film since Howard the Duck”, he confronts Mone in the parking lot with a gun and tries to make him perform fellatio on the security guard (Will Sasso) (Wessler had gotten on the lot by doing the same thing) and kill him if he does not make the film. Wessler tries to calm Schraeder down with more story ideas to no avail, but Mone pulls out a gun and shoots Schraeder to death. The segment ends with it being revealed that it is being shot by a camera crew as part of the movie, leading into the final segments.

Alternative version (The Thread)

The structure of the film released in some countries, like the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, differs. Instead of a pitch, the films are connected by a group of three teenagers searching for the most banned film in the world, Movie 43, which will ultimately lead to the destruction of civilization. Calvin Cutler (Mark L. Young) and his friend J.J. (Adam Cagley) make a video in the style of MTV’s Jackass and upload it on YouTube where it instantly reaches over 1,000,000 views. This turns out to be an April Fool’s prank from Calvin’s younger brother Baxter (Devin Eash), who cloned YouTube and hyper-inflated the views while working on his science project. Calvin and J.J. attempt to get revenge. They tell Baxter of a film that’s so dangerous it will cause the annihilation of the world. The movie is known as Movie 43. While J.J. and Baxter look for Movie 43 on Google, Calvin retrieves Baxter’s laptop and loads it with viruses from porn sites, and masturbates to the naked women on the porn sites in a bathroom. Baxter finds hundreds of results for Movie 43 on a website referred to by him as a dark corner of the Internet. They find the sketches starting from the 43rd search on the list of results. As he and J.J. keep watching videos, they are interrupted by a man known as Vrankovich (Fisher Stevens) and a group of Chinese mobsters (Tim Chou and James Hsu) who are tempted to find Movie 43, even going as far as to take J.J.’s classmate Stevie Schraeder (Nate Hartley), film executive Griffin Schraeder’s oldest son, hostage. Vrankovich warns them that if they find Movie 43, civilization will be left to ruins. They ignore his claims and keep searching. They eventually find the real, the one and only Movie 43, which turns out to involve Baxter as a profane commando who leads a group of recruits to survive after the world has ended. As Calvin finishes ruining Baxter’s laptop, their mother (Beth Littleford) enters, wearing the same shirt and shorts that the porn site women wear, causing Calvin to flip out, have visions, and find semen from his erect crotch on his hand in shock and horror. Afterward, a deadly earthquake rumbles and mankind is lost. However, a few years later the only survivor, a crippled Calvin, finds Baxter’s laptop still working despite viral infections. He watches the last remaining skits on the laptop. This version of the film was released in the U.S. as part of the Blu-ray Disc of Movie 43 as an unrated alternate cut of the film

The Catch

Beth (Kate Winslet) is a single businesswoman who goes on a blind date with Davis (Hugh Jackman), the city’s most eligible bachelor. When the two arrive together at a restaurant, Beth is shocked when he removes his scarf, revealing a pair of testicles dangling from his neck. Over dinner it confuses her that Davis fails to acknowledge his anatomical abnormality, and that nobody seems to be surprised by it. When two friends of Davis (Roy Jenkins and Katie Finneran) come by, one of them convinces him to give Beth a kiss. Davis agrees, but when he kisses her, his neck-testicles are dangling near Beth’s mouth, causing her to scream and budge out of the kiss.

Homeschooled

Having recently moved, Sean (Alex Cranmer) and Clare (Julie Ann Emery) have coffee with their new neighbors. The neighbors, Robert (Liev Schreiber) and Samantha (Naomi Watts) have a teenage son, Kevin (Jeremy Allen White), whom they have home-schooled. Sean and Clare begin inquiring about the homeschooling, and the numerous manners in which Robert and Samantha have replicated a high school environment within their home, going as far as hazing, bullying, and giving out detentions, are revealed. They also throw high school parties and Samantha instigates Kevin’s “first kiss” with him. Visibly disturbed, the neighbors end up meeting Kevin, who says he is going out and gives them the impression that all is fine: until he reveals a doll made of a mop with Samantha’s face on it, referring to the doll as his girlfriend.

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The Proposition

Julie (Anna Faris) and Doug (Chris Pratt) have been in a relationship for a year. When he attempts to propose to her, she reveals to him that she is a coprophiliac, and asks him to defecate on her in the bedroom. Urged by his best friend Larry (J.B. Smoove) and others to go along with it, he eats a large meal and drinks a bottle of laxative prior to the event. Wanting foreplay, Julie is angered when Doug wants to finish, and she runs into the street. Chasing after her, he is then hit by a car and graphically evacuates his bowels everywhere. She cradles him and apologizes; covered and surrounded by his excrement on the road, she exclaims that it is the “most beautiful thing” she has ever seen and accepts his marriage proposal.

Veronica

Neil (Kieran Culkin) is working a night shift at a local grocery store. His ex-girlfriend, Veronica (Emma Stone), comes through his line and the two begin arguing, which soon turns into sexual discussion and flirtation as they lament over their relationship; unbeknownst to them, Neil’s intercom microphone broadcasts the entire explicit conversation throughout the store, where various elderly people and vagrants tune in. After she leaves in tears, the customers agree to cover his shift while he goes after her.

iBabe

A developing company is having a meeting in their headquarters over their newly released product, the “iBabe”, which is a life-sized, realistic replica of a nude woman which functions as an MP3 player. The boss (Richard Gere) listens to his various workers (Kate Bosworth, Aasif Mandvi and Jack McBrayer) argue over the placement of a fan that was built into the genital region of the iBabe, which is dismembering the penises of teenage boys who attempt to have sex with them. The board members then agree to strongly emphasize the dangers of the product via its new commercials.

Superhero Speed Dating

Robin (Justin Long) and his cohort Batman (Jason Sudeikis) are in Gotham City at a speed dating establishment seeking out a bomb threat by their nemesis, Penguin (John Hodgman). While Robin attempts to connect with various women through speed dating including Lois Lane (Uma Thurman) and Supergirl (Kristen Bell), Batman encounters his ex Wonder Woman (Leslie Bibb) and attempts to stop Penguin from detonating Supergirl, who later turns out to be the Riddler (Will Carlough) in disguise, which Batman already knew and was screwing with Robin, who kissed “her” moments before unveiling.

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Machine Kids

A faux-Public service announcement about children stuck in machines and how adults’ criticism of these particular machines affect the feelings of the children stuck inside the machines. This commercial was paid for by the “Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Inside Machines”.

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Middleschool Date

Nathan (Jimmy Bennett) and Amanda (Chloë Grace Moretz) are watching television after school at Nathan’s house as their first “middle school” date. When they begin to kiss, his older brother Mikey (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) enters the living room and makes fun of them. Amanda then discovers she is menstruating and tries to hide it, and when Nathan sees blood on her pants, he panics and believes her to be bleeding to death, causing a debacle, which would later have Nathan and Mikey’s father Steve (Patrick Warburton) and Amanda’s father (Matt Walsh) involved. Amanda calls them out on their stupidity and feels embarrassed to know that she’s getting her first period in front of them and they don’t know what to do about it. When she leaves with her father, Nathan yells that the process of keeping the lining of her internal organs intact by inserting his erect phallus into her vagina is much too complicated and Mikey agrees. Steve cheers them up by farting in front of them. As Mikey goes to the bathroom, Nathan and Steve watch a game on television, which has a very graphic Tampax commercial in which a girl gets eaten by a shark due to her menstruating.

Tampax

Another faux-commercial involving two women who go swimming in the sea. As the women submerge into the water, a great shark suddenly appears and eats one of the women. A tagline appears, reading: “Tampax. Now Leak-Proof”

Happy Birthday

Pete (Johnny Knoxville) captures a leprechaun (Gerard Butler) for his roommate Brian (Seann William Scott) as a birthday present. After tying the leprechaun up in the basement, they demand he give them a pot of gold. The obscene leprechaun threatens that his brother is coming to save him. When he arrives, Brian and Pete are shot at but ultimately kill both leprechauns. At the end of the segment, Pete reveals he has also caught a fairy (Esti Ginzburg) who performs fellatio for gold coins.

Truth or Dare

Donald (Stephen Merchant) and Emily (Halle Berry) are on a date together at a Mexican restaurant. Tired of typical first dates, Emily challenges Donald to a game of truth or dare. She dares him to grab a man’s buttocks, and he follows with daring her to blow out the birthday candles on a blind boy’s cake. The game rapidly escalates to extremes, in which both of them get plastic surgery and tattoos, and humiliate themselves. When Donald and Emily arrive back at Emily’s apartment, they praise their date. Donald tries to kiss her, but she rejects him, claiming she’s not attracted to Asian men (which he was surgically altered to resemble). It is revealed that she was joking and invites him to have sex with her as she shows him her enlarged breasts.

Victory’s Glory

Set in 1959, Coach Jackson (Terrence Howard) is lecturing his all-black basketball team before their first game against an all-white team. Worried about losing the game, the timid players are lectured by the coach about their superiority in the sport over their white counterparts, which he expresses vulgarly. When the game ensues, the all-white team loses miserably yet rejoices in a single point they earn.

Beezel

Played mid-credits, Amy (Elizabeth Banks) worries that her boyfriend Anson’s (Josh Duhamel) cat, Beezel (an animated cartoon), is coming between their relationship. Beezel seems to detest Amy and anyone who comes between him and Anson, but Anson only sees Beezel as innocent. One day, Amy witnesses Beezel masturbating to summer vacation photos of Anson in a swimsuit. Beezel attacks her and violently urinates on her. Anson still finds his pet innocent but Amy threatens to leave if he doesn’t get rid of Beezel. Caring more about his relationship, Anson agrees to find a new home for him. That night, from a closet, Beezel tearfully watches the couple make love (whilst sodomizing himself with a hairbrush and dry humping a stuffed teddy bear). The next day when it comes time to take Beezel away, he is nowhere to be found. Amy goes outside to look. Beezel then runs her over with a truck and attempts to shoot her to death with a shotgun, but she chases him into the street and begins beating him with a shovel, which is witnessed by a group of children attending a birthday party at a neighboring house. When Anson approaches to see what is happening, Amy tries to explain Beezel’s motives. Beezel acts innocent and Anson sides with his cat. The children of the party then attack and murder Amy for beating up Beezel, stabbing her with plastic forks. Anson grabs Beezel, as Beezel again fantasizes about French kissing his owner.

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Find Our Daughter

In this segment that was cut from the film, Maude (Julianne Moore) and George (Tony Shalhoub) are looking for their breast-flashing daughter Susie (Jordanna Taylor) with the help of the private eye (Bob Odenkirk), who is behind the camera with only one clue which is a small video that features their daughter. The scene was released on Blu-ray.

Necrophiliac

This segment cut from the film stars a necrophiliac who worked at a morgue and had sex with the dead female bodies. The scene was included on the Blu-Ray release.

This film gets a lot of negative reviews, and I can see why – it’s definitely a marmite type ‘love it or hate it’ film. I doubt there’s any room for a grey area. Slapstick, crude toilet humour delivered in a very clever fashion. This isn’t so much a film as it is a series of interlinked sketches with an all-star cast

 

 

REVIEW: LIFE AS WE KNOW IT

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CAST
Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up)
Josh Duhamel (Transformers)
Josh Lucas (Hulk)
Christina Hendricks (Firefly)
Jessica St. Clair (Bridesmaids)
Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly)
Sarah Burns (I Love You, Man)
Will Sasso (Less Than Perfect)
Majandra Delfino (Roswell)
Jean Smart (Garden State)
Hayes MacArthur (Super Troopers 2)
Josh Lucas (Hulk)
Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl) is the owner of a small Atlanta bakery, and Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel), known as “Messer”, is a promising television technical sports director for the Atlanta Hawks. Their best friends Peter (Hayes MacArthur), an attorney, and Alison Novak (Christina Hendricks) set them up on a blind date that goes horribly wrong, and results in both hating each other. As the years go by, Peter and Alison get married, and have a baby girl named Sophie Christina, and select Holly and Eric as godparents of Sophie. They have become friends, but still tease and banter with each other.
After Sophie’s first birthday, Peter and Alison die in a car crash. Holly and Messer learn that in their friends’ wills, they were named Sophie’s joint guardians. Holly and Messer must put their differences aside and move into Sophie’s home to care for her. Living together proves to be a struggle. One night, Holly leaves Sophie with Messer while she covers an important catering job – the same night that he is given the opportunity to direct a big basketball game. Messer takes Sophie to the game, but she constantly distracts him with her crying. When they get home, Messer and Holly argue, but later they make up.
Holly meets Sam (Josh Lucas), Sophie’s pediatrician, and finds herself attracted to him. They arrange a date, which is cut short when Messer calls to tell Sam that Sophie has a high fever. Sam and Holly go to the hospital, and Messer sees Holly kiss Sam. As the two guardians continue to care for Sophie, they discover that raising a child is much more expensive than they had expected, and Holly can no longer afford to implement her plans to expand her business. Messer offers to invest in her company, and eventually Holly agrees. To cement the new relationship, they decide to go on a date. They end up having sex and begin to develop feelings for each other. Their Child Protective Services caseworker, who has previously advised them against getting involved, tells them they must make a firm commitment either to stay together, or break up. Anything in between would be bad for Sophie. Messer is offered a job in Phoenix, Arizona, and he seriously considers taking it up, as it has been his dream for several years, but doesn’t discuss it with Holly. Holly is upset when she finds out and tells him to take the job, accusing him of looking for a way out of raising Sophie. Messer goes to Phoenix.
At Thanksgiving Messer returns to Atlanta, hoping to patch things up with Holly (who is hosting a big dinner for neighbors and friends), but finds her in a relationship with Sam. Messer and Holly argue, because Sam mentions Holly is planning to sell the house soon, since it is too expensive to keep up. Messer insists it was Peter and Alison’s wish that Sophie be raised in their home, by them together. Holly consistently accuses Messer of deserting her and Sophie, while Messer points out how quickly she replaced him. Messer tells her he loves her, but leaves the dinner, planning to return to Phoenix. Once alone with Holly, Sam says that if he and his ex-wife had fought in the way that Messer and Holly did, they would still be together. He tells Holly it is obvious she needs to work out her feelings for Messer, and leaves.
The caseworker comes for the last appointment to determine whether Holly and Messer are fit parents for Sophie. Holly realizes that she can’t take care of Sophie without Messer, and that she loves him. She and Sophie drive to the airport with the caseworker. Holly rushes to buy tickets for all three of them to gain access to the departure gate, but on arriving at the gate, finds that they have missed Messer’s flight, which has departed. She returns to the house disappointed. To her surprise, she finds him sitting inside. He tells her he has realized that Peter and Alison chose them to be Sophie’s guardians because, together, they are a family. At Sophie’s second birthday party, all the neighbors and friends in attendance. Holly has made an elaborate cupcake display for Sophie, as well as another cake with the number 1 on it. When Messer asks what the cake is for, she says, “It’s for us, ’cause we made it a year.” They kiss. The guests sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Sophie.
Not just any romcom this was funny and heart warming (with some sadder moments). Obviously not the film for those who love action, but this film was well written, with some mildly intelligent plot lines and touches. I thought it was well acted on the whole, all of the actors were very funny.