REVIEW: MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA

CAST

Zhang Ziyi (House of Flying Daggers)
Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins)
Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
Gong Li (Hannibal Rising)
Samantha Futerman (21 & Over)
Mako (Conan The Barbarian)
Elizabeth Sung (Death Ring)
Kaori Momoi (Ghost In The Shell)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs)
Karl Yuen (Arrow)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Showdown In Little Tokyo)
Minae Noji  (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Julia Ling (Chuck)

Chiyo Sakamoto (Suzuka Ohgo), a young girl from a poverty stricken fishing village, is sold along with her older sister Satsu (Samantha Futerman) into a life of servitude by her aging father (Mako). Chiyo is taken in by Mrs. Kayoko Nitta (Kaori Momoi), the Mother (proprietress) of a geisha house in Gion, one of the most prominent geisha districts in Kyoto, whereas Satsu is sold to a prostitution brothel. At the okiya, Chiyo meets another young girl named Pumpkin (Zoe Weizenbaum), the cranky Granny (Kotoko Kawamura), and the okiya’s only working geisha, Hatsumomo (Gong Li) who is famous for her breathtaking beauty. Chiyo soon discovers Hatsumomo is secretly a cruel and jealous woman that views Chiyo as a potential rival due to her striking bluish-gray eyes along with being a change in Mother’s future financial dependence. Hatsumomo then goes out of her way to deliberately make Chiyo’s new life miserable by having her take the blame for everything and intentionally withholding information to her sister’s whereabouts in the pleasure district. However, Auntie (Tsai Chin) is aware of this and warns Chiyo against trusting and angering Hatsumomo, given her history with the ill-manner geisha.Chiyo tracks down Satsu and makes plans to run away together. However, upon returning to the okiya she discovers Hatsumomo with her boyfriend, Koichi (Karl Yune), which is against the rules of the Geisha lifestyle. When they are caught, Hatsumomo attempts to twist the situation by accusing Chiyo of stealing. Chiyo denies this and informs Mother of what she saw in the shed. As a result, everyone is barred from leaving the okiya at night except to attend work engagements and this further increases Hatsumomo’s anger towards Chiyo. On the night of their planned escape, Chiyo attempts to sneak out but falls off the rooftop and is seriously injured. As punishment for dishonoring the okiya, Mother tells Chiyo that she won’t invest any more money in her geisha training. She also informs Chiyo that both her parents (Mako and Elizabeth Sung) are dead. Chiyo misses her chance to flee and never sees Satsu again. She is also demoted from geisha training to working as a slave to pay off her increasing debts to Mother.One day, while crying on a riverbank, Chiyo is noticed by the Chairman (Ken Watanabe) and his geisha companions. He buys her a shaved ice dessert and gives her his handkerchief with some money in it. Inspired by his act of kindness, Chiyo resolves to become a geisha so that she may one day become a part of the Chairman’s life.Several years later, Pumpkin (Youki Kudoh) has begun her training as a maiko under Hatsumomo’s tutelage and Chiyo (Zhang Ziyi) is envious of it as she remains a maid under Mother. She is unexpectedly taken under the wing of Mameha (Michelle Yeoh), one of Gion’s most successful geisha and long time rival of Hatsumomo’s. Although initially reluctant, Mother is persuaded by Mameha to allow Chiyo to train as a geisha. Under Mameha’s tutelage, Chiyo becomes a maiko and takes the name of Sayuri. She grows in popularity and Hatsumomo grows desperate that she tries to ruin Sayuri’s reputation. Predicting this, Mamaeha takes her to a sumo wrestling match where Sayuri reintroduced to the Chairman, who seems unaware of her previous identity as Chiyo, as well as his business associate Nobu Toshikazu (Kōji Yakusho), who takes a liking to her and of whom Hatsumomo finds repulsive. Meanwhile, Mameha orchestrates a bidding war for Sayuri’s mizuage between two men: Nobu and Dr. Crab (Randall Duk Kim), which will make her a full geisha. Upon learning what Mameha has planned, Hatsumomo spreads cruel rumors that Sayuri had been deflowered to Dr. Crab. However, Sayuri is named the lead dancer for a popular performance, which angers Hatsumomo as she was hoping for Pumpkin to be named the lead.At the performance, she attracts the attention of many men, including the Baron (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) (Mameha’s danna), with her performance. When Dr. Crab congratulates Sayuri, she secretly convinces him to listen to a different opinion before taking the word of someone who lies. The Baron invites Sayuri to his estate for a sakura-viewing party, which Mameha is reluctant to let Sayuri attend but lets her go anyway. When the Baron presents a kimono to Sayuri in private at the party, he undresses her against her will in order to “take a look”, but does not go any further.Sayuri’s mizuage is won with a record-breaking bid of fifteen thousand yen. Mother, seeing Sayuri as a financial asset, names her as her adopted daughter and heiress to the okiya. This crushes Pumpkin, who was hoping that she would get adopted so she could have security in her old age, and enrages Hatsumomo. She is then told by Mother that she must give up her spacious room to Sayuri, which further outrages Hatsumomo who tried to remind her of her previous financial contribution. Mameha later tells Sayuri that the bid had ended up a contest between Dr. Crab and the Baron, Nobu having refused to partake in the bidding because it was against his principles. Mameha let it go to Dr. Crab because of her romantic feelings for the Baron, despite his bid being even higher. When returning home from the mizuage ceremony, Sayuri finds a drunken Hatsumomo in her room, where she has found the Chairman’s handkerchief. A fight ensues, during which a gas lantern is knocked over and ignites a fire and the okiya is partially destroyed by the flames. Hatsumomo is then kicked out of the okiya by Mother, her belongings given to Sayuri, and she is banished from Gion with her fate left unknown.Sayuri’s successful career is cut short by the outbreak of World War II. Sayuri and Mameha are separated, with Sayuri going to the hills to work for a kimono maker, an old friend of Nobu’s and Mameha going to a physician, the Chairman’s old friend. After the war, Sayuri is reunited with Nobu who needs her help with impressing an American Colonel (Ted Levine) who has the power to approve funding for the Chairman’s firm. Sayuri reunites with Mameha, who now makes a living renting rooms for the poor. Although she is reluctant to return to the geisha lifestyle after what she’s been through, she agrees to help impress Derricks. Sayuri is reacquainted with Pumpkin, who is now a flirty escort. Sayuri goes on a trip with Nobu, the Chairman, Mameha, Pumpkin, and the Americans to the Amami Islands.At Amami, the Colonel propositions Sayuri, but is rejected. Nobu witnesses the incident and confronts Sayuri. He finally confesses his feelings, telling her that he wants to become her danna. Knowing that entering into a relationship with Nobu will destroy any chance of her being with the Chairman, Sayuri is distraught and devises a plan. Mameha catches on to it and warns her against it because of the kindness Nobu shown her. She wants Sayuri to accept him as her danna and not end up like Hatsumomo did. She refuses and enlists Pumpkin’s help to have Nobu catch her seemingly being intimate with the Colonel. However, because of her secret resentment of Sayuri, Pumpkin brings the Chairman instead, having full knowledge of Sayuri’s feelings towards him. When Sayuri confronts her, Pumpkin coldly tells her that she did a lot of favors for her in the past and she stole her chances of being adopted by Mother. She hoped by having the Chairman see her with Derricks, he would be disgusted by Sayuri’s behavior and she would have to accept Nobu as her danna.A few days later, after returning to Gion, Sayuri receives a call to go to the teahouse. Sayuri expects to see Nobu, but instead the Chairman comes and finally reveals to her that he has known all along that she was the girl at the riverbank. He tells her that he had told Nobu about the affair after confronting Pumpkin for her behavior, effectively destroying Nobu’s affections for Sayuri and his desire to be her danna. He also reveals that he was responsible for sending Mameha to her so that she could fulfill her dreams of becoming a geisha. Sayuri finally reveals her love to the Chairman, and the film ends with their loving embrace and kiss and a stroll through the garden.

Memoirs of a Geisha does not submit all its secrets on first viewing; there are many layers of meaning and mystery to be seen again and again.

 

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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: CHUCK – CHUCK VERSUS THE SANTA CLAUS

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CAST

Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)
Julia Ling (Love Sick Diaries)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tony Hale (The Heat)
Jed Rees (Deadpool)
Reginald VelJohnson (Die Hard)
Michael Rooker (Guardians of The Galaxy)

The morning before Christmas, a high-speed chase occurs near a Burbank, California shopping center, ultimately ending with the fugitive crashing his car through the Buy More front doors. Nathan “Needlenose Ned” Rhyerson (Jed Rees) exits the car and, desperate to buy presents for his children, takes Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi), Ellie Bartowski (Sarah Lancaster), Devon Woodcomb (Ryan McPartlin), and all the Buy More employees hostage. Ned communicates with the police via Chuck, and LAPD Lieutenant Frank Mauser (Michael Rooker) negotiates the release of Emmett Milbarge (Tony Hale) as a sign of good faith.

Meanwhile, Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) and John Casey (Adam Baldwin) watch news coverage of the situation and sneak into the store to rescue Chuck so that the media attention does not compromise his cover, only to be thwarted by Ned. Suddenly, Mauser exchanges himself for two hostages: Chuck’s handlers Casey and Sarah.


When Mauser enters, Chuck flashes on his watch, identifying him as a Fulcrum agent. Mauser tells Chuck that he knows that Casey and Sarah are CIA and that they are protecting an unknown asset. He reveals that Ned is a Fulcrum agent who caused the disturbance so Mauser could infiltrate the Buy More. At this point, it is revealed that Ned is far more competent than the hostages were led to believe, having intentionally shot Casey in the foot and separated Chuck from his handlers. Mauser threatens to shoot the hostages if Chuck does not reveal where Bryce Larkin and the government database the Intersect are. Chuck reveals to Mauser that the Intersect has been uploaded to his brain. As Mauser escorts him from the Buy More, Chuck urges Devon to disarm Ned. As Chuck is taken in an ambulance to a Fulcrum facility, Devon, Jeff Barnes (Scott Krinsky), Lester Patel (Vik Sahay), Big Mike (Mark Christopher Lawrence), and Morgan Grimes (Joshua Gomez) make a plan. Lester unsuccessfully tries to tackle Ned, but Morgan manages to distract Ned long for Big Mike and Devon to tackle him and end the hostage situation.

Meanwhile, Sarah and Casey learn that Ned is unmarried and had earlier called Mauser rather than his wife, as the hostages were led to believe. They follow the ambulance containing Chuck and Mauser and shoot its tires, sending the vehicle into a Christmas tree lot and allowing Chuck to escape. After a brief fight, Mauser surrenders, confident that Fulcrum will rescue him. To protect Chuck, Sarah executes Mauser. Unknown to Sarah, Chuck watches the entire confrontation in horror from afar. She lies to Chuck and tells him that Mauser has been arrested. At the Buy More, Ellie and Morgan’s girlfriend Anna Wu (Julia Ling) praise Lester for his act of bravery. Morgan watches as Lester grabs Anna and kisses her, turning away before Anna pulls away from Lester in disgust. The episode closes with both Morgan and Chuck heartbroken, Morgan believing Anna to be unfaithful, and Chuck believing Sarah to be a murderer.

Chuck vs. Santa Claus is a great episode. It’s got twists, turns, Fulcrum agents, and a heady does of sappy TV holiday spirit. Everyone in Chuck’s life is rounded up in one place in a hostage situation, bringing the peril ever closer (and personal) to the guy. And characteristic of the rest of the show, it’s got geeky shoutouts, too; I love that the hostage-taker is named Ned Ryerson. Which brings us to the gem in this crown: it’s the “Die Hard” episode. And it doesn’t take that lightly, either. It weaves the hostage scenario into the overall serialized plot, the humor therein is great, and they actually brought in Reginald VelJohnson to reprise his “Die Hard” role. That’s right, he’s actually Officer Al Powell! And they made him Big Mike’s cousin!

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: CHUCK – CHUCK VERSUS THE CROWN VIC

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CAST

Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Chuck
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)
Julia Ling (Love Sick Diaries)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Michael Wiseman (Vegas)

chuck-vs-the-crown-vic-chuck-and-sarah-677994_400_225Chuck escorts Lester and Jeff to do an install on a private boat owned by philanthropist Lon Kirk (Michael Wiseman) to keep the two out of trouble. However Jeff and Lester still go below deck, where they find men counting a substantial amount of money. Chuck flashes on one of the bills and realizes that it’s counterfeit. Beckman begins to brief Chuck and Casey, but Sarah—who skipped work at the Wienerlicious—is absent. The two attempt to cover for her before she arrives late. Beckman orders Chuck and Sarah to infiltrate a charity casino being run by Kirk to investigate the counterfeiting operation. Chuck later remarks to Sarah how he expected her to be “halfway to Bryce,” but she tells him that this is her assignment. Regardless, the situation between them remains strained and is only made worse when, at the charity event that night, Chuck grows increasingly jealous while Sarah flirts with Kirk as part of the operation. He loses $100,000 at a roulette wheel as a result of trying to show up the philanthropist, but also flashes on an attache to the Taiwanese ambassador, whom he sees Kirk arguing with.
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The next morning Chuck watches Casey washing his prized 1985 Crown Vic, and asks what Beckman meant by Sarah using any means necessary to get close to Kirk as part of her investigation. Casey plays on Chuck’s jealousy by telling him Sarah will be seducing Kirk. Chuck goes back to work, where Morgan, who is having lunch with Anna and her parents, calls him to say he thinks he sees Sarah on someone’s boat. Chuck heads down to the marina to check up on things, while Casey angrily shows him a full team is in place keeping watch on things. Just as Kirk and Sarah are on their way below deck, one of Kirk’s men is bringing a crate on board which triggers a flash. Chuck believes the crate contains the counterfeit plates. The team moves in based on the Intersect intel, but discover medical supplies instead. Due to the humiliation of the botched op, Beckman benches the team.
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An angry Sarah, professing to believe that Chuck’s flash was faked out of jealousy, confronts him. He insists it was genuine. The heated discussion turns towards Bryce and their kiss,[1] and soon leads to an argument when Chuck asks if she had kissed him when they thought they were going to die because he just happened to be there, or if she actually felt something for him. Sarah angrily tells him it was a mistake that would not be repeated. During a briefing with Beckman and Graham, Casey and Sarah both appear suspicious that Chuck’s flash was fraudulent because of his jealousy. Afterward, an annoyed Casey demands to know if Sarah compromised herself with Chuck. Sarah somberly asks Casey if he’s ever wanted to have a normal life, to which he responds that sacrificing that to protect the nation and its people was the right choice. Sarah agrees to talk to Chuck, and if she cannot fix things, will request reassignment.
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Chuck returns to work where Morgan sends him a picture of himself taking a cruise with Anna and her parents, and catches a glimpse of one of Kirk’s crates. Chuck realizes Kirk put the counterfeit plates on the boat belonging to the attache whom Anna’s parents work for, but Casey refuses to act since Beckman has benched the team. Chuck then turns to Sarah, who initially tries to postpone the conversation. Chuck insists anyway, and after explaining and telling her Morgan and Anna are on the boat, she unhesitatingly jumps to help (against standing orders from Beckman and Graham). They are joined by Casey at the marina, who also decides to disregard his orders and join them in stopping Kirk. Chuck spots and flashes on a GPS transponder fixed to the Tawainese attache’s boat, and when he also flashes on a crate Kirk is loading onto his own boat, realizes that he’s going to destroy the plates and kill the attache, along with Morgan, Anna and her parents.
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While Sarah and Chuck use their cover to distract Kirk (Sarah wanting to go with Kirk, and Chuck as her jealous boyfriend), Casey sneaks aboard and disables the guards. A fight breaks out and Kirk disappears into the cabin. Chuck pursues him, but is nearly hit when Kirk fires off the missile (knocking himself unconscious from the blast at the same time). Casey and Sarah secure the boat, but the missile is now homing in on the GPS beacon. Chuck resets the missile’s homing device, but this sends it back to them. With no other choice, Chuck uses the GPS built into Casey’s Crown Vic and redirects the missile, destroying the car. Later at the Buy More holiday party, Chuck and Sarah reconcile their relationship and agree to remain friends. Meanwhile, Beckman calls Casey to inform him the new Intersect is nearly ready and that it would soon be time to “take care of Bartowski.”

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Another entertaining episode of “Chuck”. Loved hearing an approximation (to avoid copyright infringement) of the “James Bond Theme” as we see Chuck enter a casino with Sarah and say his alias like James Bond would say his own name when introducing himself. Morgan himself was hilarious when trying to impress Anna’s parents especially when he smokes a pipe and mentions Popeye as the person he idolized when he did that! The Buy More Christmas…uh, Holiday party was also pretty funny with the dreidel gambling and Run-DMC’s Christmas song playing in the background.

31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: CHUCK – CHUCK VERSUS THE SANDWORM

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CHUCK VERSUS THE SANDWORM
CAST
Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
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GUEST CAST

Jonathan Sadowski (She’s The Man)
C.S. Lee (Dexter)
Bonita Friedericy (Next)
David Burke (The Tick)
Ryan McPartin (Fuller House)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Terminator 2)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Julia Ling (Undoing)
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As the episode begins, a secret bunker out in the desert explodes and a disheveled young man fights his way past an armed agent to escape. In Burbank Chuck is approached by Big Mike regarding the pending interviews for the store’s Assistant Manager position, and warns him Morgan is a liability to him. Morgan is supposed to be working a double-shift, so Chuck is asked to track him down. He finds him playing video games out at an arcade built at the Santa Monica Pier, where he flashes on Morgan’s opponent: the young man from the opening, who Chuck identifies as Laszlo Mahnovski. Laszlo recognizes Chuck’s watch and flees.
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Chuck checks in with Sarah, and she confirms they are looking into the situation and gives him a picture of them cosplaying as Han Solo and Princess Leia at Comic-Con, which Chuck laments makes them almost look like a real couple. The next morning Casey angrily confronts Chuck about not being contacted. During a briefing Beckman confirms that Laszlo is a government technology wizard who recently killed and escaped from the team handling him, and is believed to be highly dangerous. Laszlo tracks Chuck to the Buy More and claims he was framed. Laszlo’s situation mirrors Chuck’s own, so he begins to trust the rogue asset and takes him to get something to eat. Laszlo reveals he was recruited at the pier where Chuck first identified him, and that he was responsible for any technology the government needed, including Chuck’s watch. Laszlo is so sheltered he doesn’t even understand the reference Chuck makes to him being like Q. Laszlo then warns him he shouldn’t even trust his own handlers.
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Chuck returns home to find that, as Laszlo predicted, his home has been bugged, even the picture Sarah gave him. Chuck angrily confronts Casey, who acknowledges the bugs are there for Chuck’s protection. Casey asks how he knew, and Chuck admits to having spoken with Laszlo. Chuck returns home again to find Laszlo in his room, and despite Chuck’s continued protests that his handlers can help, the rogue doesn’t believe him. Instead, Chuck agrees to hide Laszlo at the Buy More, where they watch A View to a Kill, as Laszlo has never seen a Bond movie. However, Laszlo interprets Max Zorin as the real hero, as he relates to his being the subject of government experimentation. He then reveals that he designed the Home Theater room and that it’s capable of tapping into military computers. Laszlo upgrades a nuclear-armed B-2 bomber to active status and sends it to bomb San Francisco, in honor of Max Zorin who attempted to destroy Silicon Valley (and inadvertently, San Francisco) in “A View to a Kill”, but relents when Chuck suggests he might enjoy Goldfinger. Meanwhile, Sarah is contacted by Agent Ben Katz, Laszlo’s chief handler, who warns her that Laszlo is dangerous and may be building a bomb. She leaves Chuck a voicemail warning him to get to his car and stay there. Chuck complies after checking his mail when Laszlo’s instability was revealed and he ran to get a copy of Goldfinger to distract him, but Laszlo is already there and takes control of the Herder. After a short chase with Casey, Laszlo ejects Chuck from the vehicle. At home, Chuck apologizes to Sarah for not trusting them and she sees that he threw away the fake picture of them together. The Herder’s tracking device reactivates, but when Sarah and Casey track it down they discover that Laszlo had removed it and thrown in onto another vehicle. Chuck flashes on a drawing Laszlo gave him and realizes that he intends to blow up the pier. Chuck arrives in time for Laszlo to activate the Herder’s amplified self-destruct device and begins to taunt Chuck on which wire to cut. When Laszlo makes a reference to Goldfinger—a film that he claimed to have never seen—Chuck realizes Laszlo had been lying to him all along, so he ignores Laszlo’s suggestion to cut the red wire, and cuts the green wire instead. The bomb is disarmed, and Laszlo is taken into custody.
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Chuck was a great series and will always remain a highlight for me, the first Halloween was great and seeing Sarah dresses Princess Leia was an extra highlight.

REVIEW: GUESS WHO

CAST

Bernie Mac (Bad Santa)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Judith Scott (Dexter)
Sherri Shepherd (How I Met Your Mother)
Jessica Cauffiel (White Chicks)
Niecy Nash (Scream Queens)
Mike Epps (The Hangover)
Julia Ling (Chuck)

Theresa Jones (Zoe Saldana) takes her boyfriend, Simon Green (Ashton Kutcher) home to meet her parents on the occasion of her parents’ 25th wedding anniversary, planning to reveal that they are engaged. However, what Theresa has also left out is that Simon is white. Her father, Percy (Bernie Mac), dislikes Simon almost immediately because of his race. Wishing to impress Percy, Simon lies to him about being a NASCAR pit driver for Jeff Gordon, not realizing that Percy is one of his biggest fans. After catching Theresa and Simon in a compromising position, Percy tries to force Simon into a hotel, but all the hotels in town are booked. Instead, he allows Simon to sleep in his basement on the couch, where Percy also sleeps.
With the help of his personal assistant Reggie (Ronreaco Lee), Percy tries to dig up as much dirt on Simon as he can as well as creating the ideal black boyfriend for Theresa instead of revealing her boyfriend is white. He manages to get Simon to reveal that he lied about being a NASCAR driver and also that he needs a $50,000 loan. Simon discovers Percy’s lies just as Reggie reveals that Simon quit his job. Immediately, Percy goes to tell his daughter this new information, however Simon claims he wasn’t fired and instead quit. Angry that he didn’t tell her the truth, Theresa leaves while Percy’s snooping and plagiarism of his vows temporarily strains his relationship with his wife, Marilyn (Judith Scott).
The next morning Percy and Simon find the women to apologize, but while Marilyn and Percy reconcile, Simon and Theresa break up for good and he leaves. On the day of his anniversary, Theresa tells her father that she and Simon were going to get married. After wondering why a man planning to get married would quit his job, Percy realizes that Simon quit his job due to his boss’ disapproval of interracial relationships. Percy goes after Simon and brings him back to Theresa where they get back together, then the festivities begin.It’s not the funniest movie I watched this year, but I quite enjoyed it. It’s more like “Meet the Parents” with the added interracial aspect than “Guess who’s coming to Dinner”. Aside from some minor racial misconceptions and some racist jokes, the movie is more about love and really quite touching in places. Although occasionally funny, not all jokes work and some just remind too much of “Meet the Parents”.  It’s a movie that’s entertaining and refreshing to watch.

REVIEW: CHUCK – SEASON 3

CAST
Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)
Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Scott Holroyd (That 70s Show)
Kristin Kreuk (Smallville)
Scott Bakula (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Mekenna Melvin (Lie To Me)
Mark Sheppard (Supernatural)
Mini Andén (The Proposal)
Julia Ling (Undoing)
Tony Hale (Yoga Hosers)
Vinnie Jones (Arrow)
Armand Assante (NCIS)
Andrew Connolly (Heroes)
Angie Harmon (Law & Order)
Josie Davis (Dirty Teacher)
Steve Austin (The Expendables)
Leslie-Anne Duff (The Vampire Diaries)
Henri Lubatti (Angel)
Jim Piddock (The Prestige)
Johnny Messner (Running Scared)
Louis Lombardi (The Usual Suspects)
Diedrich Bader (Bones)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Clare Carey (Hercules: TLJ)
Roger R. Cross (First Wave)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Udo Kier (Blade)
The third season actually picks up a few months after the conclusion of season two. Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) has just returned to Burbank after some training that will help him use the enhanced features he got by downloading the intersect 2.0 into his brain. Now, instead of just flashing on information, he can also flash on skills needed like hand to hand fighting or laser avoiding. However, his emotions make these new upgrades glitchy, so his skills can come and go at the most inopportune times.

Meanwhile, his CIA handler Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) is back in town to rejoin the team despite the fact that Chuck broke her heart. NSA handler John Casey (Adam Baldwin) is thrilled that with each new mission, Chuck seems to be becoming a better spy. Sarah, on the other hand, is watching the man she fell in love with slip away behind the new spy Chuck.

And on the home front? Chuck’s best friend Morgan (Joshua Gomez) and Chuck become roommates. Chuck’s sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) gets a fellowship she wants while Ellie’s husband Devon, aka Captain Awesome, (Ryan McPartlin) tries to figure out a way to get Ellie out of the dangerous world that Chuck inhabits. The gang at the Buy More is still there to provide some comedy. And we finally learn something that Captain Awesome isn’t awesome at.

Underneath all this is a new group out to get the Intersect and steal all the secrets locked away in Chuck’s mind. Can the group bring them down while keeping Chuck’s true identity a secret?

This show finds the right balance between comedy and drama. The show takes itself seriously enough that we care for the characters and are concerned when they are in danger. But the characters are just as likely to get out of danger by some crazy coincidence as they are by some great bit of action. It’s that unpredictability and humor that keep me loving every minute.
This is such an amazing season well worth watching, if you haven’t seen the first two seasons then I strongly recommend watching them first.

REVIEW: CHUCK – SEASON 2

CAST

Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Julia Ling (Undoing)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Michael Clarke Duncan (Sin City)
Matthew Bomer (Tru Calling)
Melinda Clarke (Gotham)
Nicole Richie (The Simple Life)
Tony Hale (Stranger Than Fiction)
Clyde Kusatsu (American Pie)
Jordana Brewster (D.E.B.S.)
Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Gary Cole (Crusade)
Reginald VelJohnson (Die Hard)
Michael Rooker (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Dominic Monaghan (Lost)
Andy Richter (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty)
Jenny McCarthy (Two and A Half Men)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Patricia Rae (Life)
Katrina Law (Arrow)
Brooklyn Decker (Battleship)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy)
Shaun Toub (Iron Man)
Chevy Chase (Christmas Vacation)
Christopher Cousins (The Vampire Diaries)
Ken Davitian (Borat)
Lori Alan (Family Guy)
Scott Bakula (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Morgan Fairchild (Roswell)

Sarah Walker (Chuck)

For those of you who have not watched Chuck before, I would recommend that you check out Season 1. Although Season 2 is superior in my opinion, Season 1 really lays down all the groundwork for what is to come.
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For those of you who have see Season 1, you will not be disappointed by what the new season has to offer. In S1, Chuck was mainly the passive observer, the guy who flashed on things, and often made situations worse than before. However, at times he was given opportunity to save the day, in something I like to call a ‘Chuck Moment’. Season 1 had a few of them (setting off the fireworks to distract the guards to save Sarah and Casey would be one) but Season 2 is full of them – and better off for it. Now don’t get me wrong, Chuck can still be blundering and innapropriate, but in the new season, he always gets the opportunity to be the hero. The first episode has a particularly good example of this.
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The season starts off very strong, following on with the storyline that involves the governement trying to make a new intersect (and invariably the team have to go on missions to help furthur that cause). In fact, the majority of the season is brilliant television, apart from a few select episodes that are merely good, dotted around the season. The season has a much more coherent storyline, with a smallish story arc near the start, and a solid story arc that takes off around episode 13.
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The character’s pasts are delved into alot more in this season, with a great appearance from Sarah’s father, a conman. Chuck’s past gets more attention however, as the long talked of ex, Jill gets reinvolved in Chuck’s life. Best of all may be the casting of Scott Bacula as Chuck’s father, who does a great job of convincing the audience of his connection to both Chuck and Ellie. Unfortunately, Casey’s past does not get an episode that shows him in a new light, like the Ilsa episode, rather a fairly disappointing face-off between him and his old mentor.
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Morgan’s back, along with the rest of the buy-more crew, and a new face joins the buy-more – that of Emmet (played by Tony Hale, of Arrested Development fame) to provide more comic relief in that bizzare place.

A truly amazing series, with twists and turns abound, and an ending that will only leave you wanting more.