25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: ALVIN AND CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKQUEL

CAST

Jason Lee (Dogma)
David Cross (Scary Movie 2)
Zachary Levi (Chuck)
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Matthew Gray Gubler (500 Days of Summer)
Jesse McCartney (Chernobyl Diaries)
Anna Faris (Mom)
Christina Applegate (Bad Moms)
Amy Poehler (Inside Out)
Wendie Malick (American Housewife)
Anjelah Johnson (Marmaduke)
Kathryn Joosten (Desperate Housewives)
Kevin Schmidt (The Butterfly Effect)
Chris Warren Jr. (Men of Honor)
Bridgit Mendler (Muppets Most wanted)
Brando Eaton (American Sniper)
Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Gregg Binkley (My Name Is Earl)
Sean Astin (The Goonies)
Brittany Anne Pirtle (Power Rangers Samurai)

Christina Applegate, Anna Faris, and Amy Poehler in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)During a benefit concert in Paris, France, David Seville is injured from a backstage accident. Having to recuperate there, Dave asks his aunt, Jackie, to look after the Chipmunks, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. Arrangements are also made for them to go to school at West Eastman High School. After Jackie also has an accident, the Chipmunks are left in the care of Toby, Jackie’s grandson. Meanwhile, Ian Hawke, who is broke and destitute, lives in the basement of JETT Records. Three singing female chipmunks, Brittany, Jeanette, and Eleanor, also known as The Chipettes, emerge from a FedEx packagee. Ian recruits and hires the Chipettes in an effort to resurrect his career.Justin Long, Jesse McCartney, and Matthew Gray Gubler in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)While at school, the Chipmunks are ridiculed by jocks, who threaten to kill them for drawing their girls’ attention away from them. They chase the Chipmunks around the school and give Simon a swirlie in a toilet. They visit the principal’s office, only to discover that the principal, Dr. Rubin is a huge fan, and enlists their help to raise money for a music program by participating in a contest. Meanwhile, Ian is shocked to find the Chipmunks on the front page of his newspaper. After he reads a story about them, he quickly sends the Chipettes to school.Justin Long, Kevin G. Schmidt, Chris Warren, and Bridgit Mendler in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)When the Chipmunks meet the Chipettes, a rivalry forms after the former group learns that the latter group are with Ian: with both groups wanting to compete in the Battle of the Bands, Dr. Rubin sets up a concert for them to compete in with the winners representing the school. Meanwhile, Alvin becomes popular with the jocks and joins the football team, not realizing that the next game is during the concert. At the concert, Theodore and Simon tell the fans that Alvin failed to show up, and that they cannot perform, leading to a victory for the Chipettes. When Alvin finally shows up after the concert is over, he finds the auditorium empty, and Brittany calls him out for his lack of responsibility. Alvin then returns home and attempts to apologize to his brothers, but is ignored. Theodore runs away the next day, until Alvin and Simon save him from an eagle, leading to the three making up.Christina Applegate, Anna Faris, and Amy Poehler in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)Soon, the Chipettes are hired, but learn that the concert at which they are to perform as an opening act for a Britney Spears concert at the Staples Center is on the same night as the school contest. Ian convinces them to call off the battle and perform at the concert, but refuses to give the same credit to Jeanette and Eleanor that he gives Brittany. She demands that they all perform together or not at all, until Ian threatens to send them to a barbecue restaurant unless they perform. Before the Battle of the Bands, Alvin receives a call from the Chipettes, who tell him that Ian has locked them in a cage, so Alvin races off to rescue them while Simon tells Jeanette how to open the cage over the cell phone. Simon and Theodore are on the verge of going out to perform until the others arrive just in time to perform at the contest. The Chipmunks and the Chipettes perform together and receive the money for the music program. Dave, who had left the hospital upon learning that Toby was looking after the Chipmunks, returns during the contest, happy to see the Chipmunks again. Meanwhile, Ian is further exposed at the concert of Staples Center he set up for the girls when he attempts to imitate them, only for him to be taken away by security guards. After the contest, Dave allows the Chipettes to stay with them.maxresdefaultIn the mid-credits scene, Dr. Rubin has the jocks scrape the gum off from under the bleachers in the gymnasium as punishment for making Alvin late for the show. In the post-credits scene, Ian is thrown into a dumpster.Alvin-and-the-Chipmunks-The-Squeakquel-starts-off-strongThe film is very cute, funny, and entertaining all the way through. The female-counterpart “Chipettes” add something new, but don’t take away from the Chipmunks. Zachary Levi and David Cross are charming and amusing in their respective roles. If you liked the first movie, then you will be entertained by the “squeakquel.”

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: NEW GIRL- THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES – PART 1

 Image result for NEW GIRL LOGO
MAIN CAST
Zooey Deschanel (Your Highness)
Jake Johnson (Jurassic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (BLack Rapunzel)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)
Damon Wayans Jr. (Happy Endings)

THE 23rd

GUEST CAST
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Michaela Watkins (Wanderlust)
Winston rolls around the apartment on the rollerskates Jess got him. Schmidt hates Christmas because everybody goes home. They’re all planning on going to his office party tonight. He dresses up like Santa and gets dirty on all his coworkers when they tell him what they want and he uses that information to undermine and manipulate them the rest of the year, in the true spirit of Christmas. Schmidt gets up and we see he’s in skates, too. He tries to tackle Winston at a slow roll. Nick, also in skates, tries to intervene, but they end up in a pile. Jess comes in, needing their help on getting a present for Paul. After only a month, she’s not sure what’s appropriate. She shows Nick the card she made for “Nerdy weird sex that works for both of us”.
On the way from the mall, Jess drives them through a neighborhood decked out with Christmas decorations. She wants to come back at night on the way from the office party to the airport, but Nick is resolved not to miss his flight for the fifth year in a row. CeCe is at work on a set in a bra and panties. Schmidt drops by with a gift. It’s a shoot for a before and after for a Bolivian diet pill. They’re interrupted by Kyle, who frenches CeCe hello. Schmidt explains he designed the perfume for her. It gets awkward. Paul and Jess exchange gifts. He got her tickets to Vienna and passes to a show. She got him an anatomically correct fuzzy heart of a 50 year old non-smoker. It beats. She wants to get him something better, but he tells her it’s fuzzy and quirky and sweet, just like her. He says he loves it several times, then hugs her and says he loves her. She pauses, then goes with “Thank you.” The gang arrives for Schmidt’s office party. They find him wearing only red boxers and dressed as “sexy Santa.”
Jess tells Nick what Paul says and he advises her to tell Paul if she doesn’t feel the same way. She tells him she’ll do it. Instead, Jess hides in the bathroom. Nick sees Paul standing alone outside and goes to talk to him. He asks if Jess talked to him and Paul says yes, so Nick reassures him that just because Jess doesn’t love him now doesn’t mean she won’t one day. Paul says she told him they might have to leave for the airport early. Nick tries to pretend he’s drunk, or joking or anything to rescue the situation, but it’s too late. Jess and CeCe hide in the bathroom. Kyle wants to go to another party. Jess thinks he’s the “living worst” and asks if he even got her anything. He didn’t. CeCe tries her Schmidt perfume, but inhales and hacks ferociously. Winston complains to someone about the rigors of having a job and office life. We see it’s a kid. Schmidt’s boss Gina comes over, it’s her son. She’s impressed he’s talking to Winston since he doesn’t usually talk to people.Schmidt sees Kyle mock CeCe for wearing the mustache Jess gave her. CeCe hears Schmidts mean coworker harassing him and tries to tell him to stand up for himself. He notices the bad smell and she tells him it’s his perfume, but he’s just glad she wore it.
Outside on the awkward balcony, Paul begs Nick to tell him what Jess says. Nick tells him that Jess said the sex was incredible but she doesn’t want to rush into anything. Jess sees them hugging and goes outside. Paul tries to cover for what they were talking about but only comes up with they both like jazz music. Nick confesses he told Paul she doesn’t love him. Jess starts yelling at him and Nick tries to leave, only to find he’s locked out on the balcony with them. Jess tries to talk to Paul gently, saying she feels overwhelmed. She says she got really badly hurt and is trying to not get hurt again. Nick’s cell phone rings and he answers, explaining that he can’t talk because he’s in a weird situation. Jess asks if they can keep going, just slow things down. Paul says he’s not sure he can. Nick pipes up, but Jess shushes him. Schmidt finds Kim in the supply room with a bunch of women and tells Kim he’s done being Santa. “Santa’s dead, I killed him!” Schmidt says. Gina’s son hears and runs screaming. Schmidt tells him she needs to start taking him seriously, so no more Sexy Easter Bunny, Cinco de Sexy or Sexy Martin Luther King Day. Kim says she can’t believe it took him five years to say so. Winston fields a call from Nick’s mom and assures her he’ll make his flight. Gina comes over, panicked that she can’t find her son. Winston helps look, sure somehow it’s Schmidt’s fault.
Back outside in awkwardtown, Paul tells Jess he can’t slow down and if she needs to then he can’t do this anymore. Jess says OK. Nick, the peanut gallery, tells Paul to consider the fact it’s Christmas. Winston interrupts looking for the kid, freeing Nick from his awkward prison by opening the patio door. Winston wanders out front and finds Alvin in an igloo. He assures him Santa isn’t dead. Alvin asks if Schmidt was just being a “d-bag”, because that’s what his mom said. Winston assures him he’ll get extra presents this year. Alvin thanks Winston, but calls him “LeBron.” Gina finds them and gives Winston her card. She says if he ever wants to hang out with Alvin again she’ll pay him a lot of money, like whatever he’s thinking, plus a lot more. The guys, Jess and CeCe drive to the airport. Nick, the driver, sees that Jess is bumming out and makes a detour. They pull into Candycane Lane, but it’s late and the lights are all off. Jess laments her bad timing. Nick goes to knock on the people’s door, shouting that there’s a girl who really wants to see the lights. Everyone joins in, shouting at all the houses to turn on the lights. One by one they all come on, in an explosion of wonderful tacky lights. Back in the car, Nick gets a call from his mom and tells her he’s going to miss his flight. He hands the call off to Winston as the lights go off.
 A really fun first Christmas for the New Girl team, The light up scene at the end was beautiful.

SANTA

David Walton (Fired Up!)
Olivia Munn (Iron Man 2)
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The episode begins with Jess, Nick, Schmidt and Winston having some good old Christmas themed loft chats. The gang realise that evening is their last chance to have a ‘holiday hang’ before they go their separate ways before Christmas. They talk about the many parties taking place and agree to try hit them all. At the first party they attend Schmidt and Cece feel awkward and uncomfortable around each other and are not shy of admitting it. Jess freaks out when she sees Sam, who sees her at the last minute. Nicks new girlfriend Angie suggests they have sex, Nick pretends to be okay with doing it at a public place and to be as sexually adventerous as her.
Sam follows Jess to the nex party and tells her he wants her back. She says no. Nick admits to Angie that he is not like her and misuses the word stripper. She leaves the party in anger. Cece gives Schmidt a gift and is hurt when he passes it on to another woman, without even looking at it. At the third party Jess thinks about rejecting Sam. Nick tells her he believes in second chances. Angie turns up Nick apologizes and they are back together. Cece tells Schmidt what the gif was and that she gave it to him as a thank you for him loving her. Jess keeps changing lanes when driving home as she is choosing whether or not to go see Sam. The car is pulled over by a big hearted Santa looking cop, who lets the Jess go free and who the gang dub ‘black Santa’. Jess goes to the hospital to see Sam. They kiss. Schmidt tells Cece he never really gave away the gift. Nick and Angie are missing, everyone assumes they are off having sex.
Another great Xmas episode the two main relationships were the focus of the story and made it a heartwarming ending at the hospital.

CLAVADO EN UN BAR

GUEST CAST
Curtis Armstrong (Southland Tales)
Brian Posehn (The Devil’s Rejects)
In an interesting move, New Girl’s – season 3 midseason return kicked off with a bottle episode at Clyde’s Bar — hence the episode’s title “Clavado En Un Bar,” which is not only a single by Mexican rock band Maná, but literally translates into “Stuck In A Bar.” However, this installment was mainly driven by flashbacks — told in near-realtime, at that — as Jess came to the guys for advice on a big career decision that needed to be made in exactly 20 minutes — well, 19 minutes, according to Coach and his faithful stopwatch. (“I don’t watch movies. I time them.”) Of course, the majority of this episode was a round robin of origin stories, with each guy recalling their own critical life decisions and how they ended up where they are today. For Winston, this meant recounting his days as a Latvian basketball player. While these flashbacks weren’t all that amusing, the payoff came at the end of his story, when Winston made the realization that he, in fact, had never actually made a decision in his life. I particularly laughed at Coach’s matter-of-fact observation, “You decided nothing. That story contained zero decisions.” Schmidt’s story was perhaps the most bizarre, as we learned about his whirlwind transformation from hospital candy-striper to Christmas tree salesman to marketer. This account took a few too many oddball turns to really be considered funny — more just weird for weird’s sake. This string of flashbacks was made all the more strange by a totally random cue of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise,” and not it in a clever, anachronistic way. Coach’s flashback, meanwhile, was a bit more entertaining, if only because we learned that his birth name is Ernie.
New Girl’s 3rd run midseason return (which in actuality was probably supposed to be the midseason finale, judging by the Christmas tree subplot and bar decorations) was a strong entry in so far as shaking up the characters’ career paths.

LAXMAS

GUEST CAST
Julian Morris (Cry Wolf)
Billy Eichner (What Happens in Vegas)
LAXmas

LAXmas tries to let all of the show’s characters head off in different directions but finds a way to keep them together for just a little bit longer when all of their flights get delayed. Jess, who has agreed to spend Christmas in London with Ryan and his family, takes the delay as an omen of what’s to come; maybe she’ll be a giant disappointment to Ryan’s parents, even with all of the presents that she’s bought for them (which are stolen by “Reverse Santa” . And Jess isn’t alone in her hesitation to travel for the holidays. Schmidt is reluctantly heading back home to Long Island, a place he’s happy to have escaped from, while Coach can’t get over the guilt of leaving his family behind to go on a Christmas vacation all by himself. Nick and Winston, on the other hand, have an entire plan for their return to Chicago, which involves lots of beer and women. Ultimately, New Girl uses this time at the airport to re-solidify connections between the group before they leave for the holidays. Not only do we have Jess doing everything she can to convince Billy Eichner’s airline worker to book the soonest flights available for her friends (before ultimately bonding with him and scoring Nick and Winston some sweet first class seats), but we also have Schmidt and Cece’s moments in the high-class, gold members’ club before they ditch a jerky Barry Bostwick (with Schmidt embracing his Long Island identity: “New York. Long Island. Billy Joel. Nassau County. Billy Joel. Again. Goodnight Saigon”) and share sodas in the food court.d6a81936c1eef9c128aa11a48d80041a546a9c52It’s there, in the food court, that we get the first of two standout moments from the episode, when Cece tells Schmidt that “I really like being your friend,” a sentiment that he repeats back to her even though there’s clearly romantic tension between them. Between that exchange and Schmidt’s immediate refusal to even contemplate Bostwick’s character’s proposal , New Girl appears to be on the path of reuniting this dysfunctional couple. The other standout sequence from tonight’s New Girl may have been slightly more predictable, but it still landed for me, as Nick’s reassuring of Jess, telling her to go to England, proves yet again that this series will always come down to these two characters. Sure, the rest of the roommates and Cece join Nick outside the airport in order to fully convince Jess to fly to London and be with Ryan, but it’s Nick Miller who throws away first class and risks getting kicked off the plane entirely in order to stay on the phone with Jessica Day for just a couple minutes more. It’s a heartwarming moment that could be called cheesy if not for the steadily built connection between Nick and Jess.

LAXmas is a Christmas episode that directly references and even insults holiday favorites like Love Actually.  However, the episode’s at its best when it embraces these conventions and puts New Girl’s signature stamp on them, serving as a reminder to fans that this is a show that’s meant to make you laugh but also make you feel. New Girl’s specialty is blending wacky humor with real, genuine emotion, and it pretty much perfects that recipe in “LAXmas”

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: DRAG ME TO HELL


CAST

Alison Lohman (Big Fish)
Justin Long (Waiting)
Lorna Raver (Freeway)
Dileep Rao (Avatar)
David Paymer (Howard The Duck)
Molly Cheek (Spider-Man)
Octavia Spencer (Insurgent)
Ted Raimi (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Alexis Cruz (Stargate)
Bridget Hoffman (Total Recall)

In 1969 Pasadena, California, a couple seeks the aid of the medium Shaun San Dena (Flor de Maria Chahua) saying their son (Shiloh Selassie) has been hearing evil spirits’ voices after stealing a silver necklace from gypsies. San Dena aids the family by carrying out a seance, but they are attacked by an unseen force that pulls the boy into Hell. The medium says she will encounter the force again one day. In present-day Los Angeles, bank loan officer Christine Brown hopes to be promoted to assistant manager over her co-worker Stu Rubin. Her boss, Jim Jacks, advises her to demonstrate that she can make tough decisions to get a promotion. Christine is visited by an elderly gypsy woman, Sylvia Ganush, who asks for an extension on her mortgage payment. Though empathetic with the old woman’s crisis, Christine denies Ganush an extension to prove herself to her boss. Ganush begs Christine not to repossess her house and kneels in front of her. Christine gets scared of the woman’s bizarre pleading as she is helping her to stand up and calls security, who take Ganush away while Ganush blames Christine for “shaming” her and vows to take revenge. Jim compliments Christine on how she handled the situation.
When Christine goes to the bank parking garage to drive home, Ganush attacks Christine in her car, rips a button off Christine’s coat and uses it to place a curse on Christine. Later, Christine and her boyfriend Clay Dalton meet the fortune teller, Rham Jas who tells Christine that she is being haunted by an evil spirit. At home, Christine is attacked by the spirit and has nightmares about Ganush. At work the next day, Christine snaps at Stu and has a projectile nose bleed that soaks her boss in blood. She runs away and Stu secretly takes a file off Christine’s desk.

Christine goes to talk to Ganush but learns that she died the previous night. Christine returns to Rham Jas, who explains that as long as Christine is the owner of an accursed object, she will be haunted by a powerful demon called the Lamia (loosely based on the Greek child-eating demon) that will torment her for three days before taking her to Hell for eternity. He suggests a sacrifice to appease the demon. Desperate to stop the attacks, Christine reluctantly sacrifices her pet kitten. At a dinner party with Clay and his parents, she is again tormented by the Lamia, but this time through the use of illusions, which frightens the Daltons.Screen-Shot-2015-03-20-at-1.01.31-PMChristine returns to Rham Jas who says that Shaun San Dena will risk her life to stop the demon for a fee of $10,000. San Dena prepares a seance to trap the Lamia’s spirit in a goat and kill it, and then allows the Lamia to inhabit her body. Rham Jas tries to persuade it not to steal Christine’s soul, but it vows never to stop until Christine dies. Christine then places San Dena’s hand on the goat, causing the spirit to enter its body. San Dena’s assistant, Milos, attempts to kill the goat, but is bitten by the goat and becomes possessed, attacking the members of the seance. San Dena banishes the Lamia from the seance, but dies in the process. Christine thinks the medium has overcome the Lamia, but Rham Jas explains that she only managed to drive the spirit away until the next day. Then he seals the cursed button in an envelope and tells Christine that she can get rid of the curse by giving the button to someone as a gift, thereby passing the curse on to that person.

Christine decides to give the envelope to Stu in revenge for his stealing her work, but changes her mind after seeing how pathetic, tearful and panicky Stu is when he meets her. With guidance from Rham Jas, Christine learns that she can give it to Ganush even though she is dead. Christine digs up Ganush’s grave and jams the envelope in her mouth just in time before dawn. Christine returns home and prepares to meet Clay at Los Angeles Union Station for a weekend trip to Santa Barbara. She gets a message from her boss telling her that she landed her dream position after Stu confessed to stealing her work and was fired. At the station, Christine also buys a coat that she has been wanting as a sign of a new beginning. Clay, planning to propose, reveals to Christine that he found the envelope containing the cursed button in his car. Christine then realizes she mixed up her envelope with another that she gave to Clay when she accidentally dropped it. Horrified, Christine backs away and falls onto the tracks. As a train barrels towards her, fiery hands suddenly emerge from the tracks and drag Christine into the neverending flames of Hell, as a horrified Clay watches from the platform above with the cursed button still in his hands.This is the kind of film that Raimi was born to make, and it has his stamp and particular brand of chaotic and bizarre black humour all over it. Raimi is an absolute master of manipulation, and the scares and laughs come thick and fast, with plenty of gross-out moments. Projectile nose-bleeds, talking possessed goats, cat sacrifice and flying eyeballs are all on the agenda. Drag me to Hell is a film that has been skilfully created to make you jump, giggle and cringe in equal measure, and turns out to be one of the most enjoyable films in its genre for many years.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: JEEPERS CREEPERS 2

CAST

Nicki Aycox (Roadkill 2)
Justin Long (Waiting)
Jonathan Breck (Dreamland)
Garikayi Mutambirwa (Clockstoppers)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Diane Delano (The Wicker Man)
Bob Papenbrook (Power Rangers)
Josh Hammond (The Brotherhood)

On its twenty-second day of feeding, the Creeper, disguised as a scarecrow, abducts young Billy Taggart in front of his father Jack and elder brother Jack Jr. The next day, a school bus carrying a high school basketball team and cheerleaders suffers a blowout, after one of the wheels is hit by a hand-crafted shuriken (throwing star) made out of bone. Cheerleader Minxie has a vision of Billy and Darry Jenner, the Creeper’s victim from the first film, who attempt to warn her about the Creeper, before he blows out another tire, disabling the bus. With the party stranded, the Creeper abducts the coaches and the bus driver. When he returns he singles out several of the students, including: Dante, Jake, Scotty, Bucky, and Double D. Minxie has another vision in which Darry explains that every twenty-third spring, for twenty-three days, the creature emerges from hibernation to eat humans.After hearing several police reports, the Taggarts go hunting for the Creeper and make radio contact with the school bus. The Creeper attacks Bucky but Rhonda impales him through the head with a javeline. He then kills Dante, and uses his severed head as a replacement for its own. The students leave the bus, but when the Creeper returns, they are chased into a field, where the Creeper kills Jake and takes Scotty. After the Creeper attacks Bucky on the bus again, Taggart shoots it with a home-made harpoon; but the Creeper manages to escape and flips the truck. Izzy, Rhonda, and Double D attempt to escape in a truck and are chased by the Creeper, causing the vehicle to crash. Despite missing an arm and leg, the Creeper continues to pursue Double D until Taggart arrives and shoots it in the head with the harpoon. Taggart repeatedly stabs the Creeper in the chest but the creature goes into a hibernation state before it can die. Twenty-three years later, a group of teenagers drive to Taggart’s farm, where the Creeper is a sideshow attraction, and see Taggart watching it with the harpoon at his side. When they ask him if he is waiting for something, Taggart looks up at the Creeper and says, “About three more days, give or take a day or two.”Victor Salva makes great use of the ‘surprise element’. All the characters in Jeepers Creepers are equally meaningless so you never really know who will get killed next. Even the most popular jock, the most innocent child or the cutest girl can die at any time and this results in an exiting drop-out race of which you don’t want to miss a second. The film is not as gory as you might think and the stress is more laid on tension. Salva and his crew use the remote location to the fullest and the film contains eerie shots of wide cornfields and roads with no chance for shelter. The cast of young and inexperienced kids do a fairly good job. The only familiar face in Jeepers Creepers 2 is Ray Wise (from the cult series ‘Twin Peaks’). This film will never be a classic but at least its entertaining horror without much pretension.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: JEEPERS CREEPERS

CAST

Gina Philips (The Anarchist Cookbook)
Justin Long (New Girl)
Jonathan Breck (Dreamland)
Patricia Belcher (Bones)
Eileen Brennan (Miss Congeniality 2)
Brandon Smith (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series)

Trish Jenner and her brother Darry are traveling home from college for spring break. As they drive through the Florida countryside, an old rusty truck tries to run them off the road. The vehicle eventually passes them, and they later see the same truck parked next to an abandoned church with a man sliding what appears to be bodies wrapped in bloodstained sheets into a large pipe sticking out of the ground. The man notices Trish and Darry watching him and attempts to run them off the road a second time.After escaping, Darry convinces Trish to go back to the church and investigate. At the church, Darry hears noises coming from within the pipe and crawls inside with Trish holding on to his feet, but he ends up falling in. At the bottom, he finds a dying man with stitches running down his stomach, and hundreds of other bodies sewn to the walls and ceiling. After Darry escapes, the two flee the scene and attempt to contact the police at a diner. At the diner, they are phoned by a strange woman who warns them that they are in danger. Confused and frightened, they ignore her warning. Later, Trish and Darry leave, with two police officers providing a security escort. As they travel, the police learn that the church has caught fire, and any evidence of bodies has been destroyed. The police are then attacked and killed by the mysterious driver, who loads their bodies into his truck.Fleeing, Trish and Darry stop at a reclusive old woman’s house, and beg her to call the police. The woman complies until she notices the driver hiding in her yard. She attempts to kill him, but the driver kills her and reveals his inhuman face to Trish and Darry, before pursuing them once again. Trish runs the driver over with her car, but they are horrified to see a giant wing tear through his trench coat and flap in the air. They drive to the local police station, where they are approached by psychic Jezelle Gay Hartman. She reveals herself as the woman who called them at the diner and tells them the true nature of their pursuer: it is an ancient creature, known as “the Creeper”, which hunts every twenty-third spring for twenty-three days to eat human body parts, which then form parts of its own body. She also tells them that it seeks out its victims through fear, and, by smelling the fear from Trish and Darry, it has found something it likes, but she does not know what.The wounded Creeper arrives and attacks the police station. After cutting off the power, it gains entrance to the cells and eats prisoners to heal. The Creeper is swarmed by police but kills a number of them and evades capture. Trapped, Jezelle warns Trish and Darry that one of them will die a horrible death. Darry demands to know who, and Jezelle looks at Trish. The Creeper finds them, but spares Jezelle as she does not have anything it wants. The Creeper corners Trish and Darry in an upstairs interrogation room, and after sniffing and tasting them, the Creeper throws Trish aside and chooses Darry. Trish offers her life for her brother’s, but the Creeper escapes out of the window and flies away with Darry. The next day, Trish is picked up by her parents, and Jezelle returns home in regret. In the Creeper’s new hideout, an abandoned factory, it is revealed that the Creeper has removed the back of Darry’s head and taken his eyes.Jeepers Creepers has more in common with 1950’s EC horror comic books than any B Horror movies that have been made in the past twenty years. That fact isn’t bad, it’s great! There are a lot of horror plot ideas out there that have never seen decent expression. The film has some decent surprises along the way and the pace stays interesting. The identity of the monster stays a little mysterious. You’re not totally certain what it’s supposed to be. The plot is done intelligently for a Grade B movie. The dialog isn’t stupid or contrived.

REVIEW: VERONICA MARS (MOVIE)

CAST

Kristen Bell (Frozen)
Jason Dohring (The Originals)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Francis Capra (heroes)
Percy Daggs III (Izombie)
Chris Lowell (Enlisted)
Tina Mojorino (Santa Fe)
Enrico Colantoni (Powers)
Gaby Hoffmann (Wild)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Brandon Hillock (Villains)
Martin Starr (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Amanda Noret (City Guys)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
Duane Daniels (Murder on Vine)
Lisa Thornhill (Rush Hour 3)
Christine Lakin (Family Guy)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens)
Justin Long (Mom)
Dax Shepard (Hit and Run)
James Franco (Spider-Man)
Eddie Jemison (IZombie)
Jessica Camacho (The Flash)

Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring in Veronica Mars (2014)The world of cult TV is a peculiar one. Television shows are canceled all the time, but through the world of DVDs, Netflix, and Amazon, shows pulled from network schedules before their time now have the opportunity to grow a loyal, faithful audience long after the grass has grown over their graves.Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2014)Those fans often wonder if they’ll ever see their favorite characters again, and every once in awhile that wish comes true. Seven years after it was canceled, Veronica Mars, which became a cult phenomenon since it premiered its last new episode on The CW in 2007, returned for one more mystery, this time on the big screen. As any true fan can tell you, Veronica Mars was a witty, one-of-a-kind teen noir series that tackled everything from rape and murder to class warfare.A social outcast after her sheriff father (Enrico Colantoni) wrongfully accused a very rich, very powerful man of murdering his daughter (who was Veronica’s best friend and the sister of Veronica’s boyfriend), Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) was largely on her own in a town full of obnoxious and privileged children of movie stars and CEOs. But the Southern California town of Neptune was divided along class lines. Veronica didn’t fit in with the popular kids, known as the 09-ers, after her father’s wrongful accusation, but she didn’t fit in with the working class either on account of her former association to those same 09-ers. She became a fierce, independent teen whose weapon of choice against her enemies was her mind, her wit, and the occasional stun-gunning. Each episode of the series tackled a new mystery for Veronica to solve, while an overarching larger mystery unfolded over the course of the entire season. It’s not every day a series like Veronica Mars shows up on TV, and so it makes perfect sense that Veronica Mars in its film incarnation be as unique as the series from which it was born.veronicamarsFunded by fans via a Kickstarter that broke several records and reached its goal of $2 million in less than 12 hours, the Veronica Mars film was a labor of love for all parties involved. The movie, which looked great despite not having had the funds it would have had if it had been completely backed by the studio, felt like an extended episode of the TV series. Some people might look at that and see a failure, but to any Veronica Mars fan, that’s the highest form of praise. Instead of an ending, the movie felt like a brand-new chapter recently discovered at the end of a favorite book.Series creator Rob Thomas has always been cognizant of the fact that the film would not exist if it weren’t for the fans, and has said on more than one occasion that it was imperative that they make a film that would do right by the fans who donated their hard-earned cash to bring this beautiful work to life. And that’s what he did. He created a film that he knew the fans would love. And he should know, because he’s probably the series’ biggest fan outside of Kristen Bell herself. Without Thomas and Bell keeping alive their dream of one day shooting a film, fans might have given up hope of ever returning to the seedy seaside town of Neptune, California.Kristen Bell and Ryan Hansen in Veronica Mars (2014)By the time Veronica traded in her pin-straight hair and fancy New York lawyer duds for the jeans, jacket, and beach waves uniform she wore for three seasons, it was clear Veronica was never going to go back to the seemingly perfect life she had in New York with Piz (Chris Lowell). It doesn’t matter if everyone knew going in that she’d end up choosing Neptune over New York and ex-boyfriend Logan (Jason Dorhing) over Piz, because it’s exactly what the fans wanted to see. It’s what the fans paid upfront to see. It’s the open-ended ending the fans waited seven years for. In short: The film delivered.rs_560x415-140311131242-1024.Veronica-Mars-Kristen-Bell.ms.031114_copyThe movie, which followed the first case Veronica had worked since she transferred to Stanford after one year at Hearst College, and which happened to coincide with her 10 year high school reunion, felt exactly like that: A reunion. Because Thomas wanted to please the fans, the movie attempted to bring back as many original cast members from the series as possible, from the still-bitchy Madison Sinclair (Amanda Noret), to the dirty and shameless Vinnie Van Lowe (Ken Marino), who might actually be living in a van now, to the effortlessly charming Deputy-now-detective Leo (Max Greenfield). The movie was a parade of familiar faces, but to fans of the series, it felt a bit like home. Each time a character appeared on screen, it was a wink and a nod to fans.Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring in Veronica Mars (2014)It makes sense that the person to pull Veronica back to Neptune and the private eye world was Logan. He’d been part of the reason she’d left town and their self-proclaimed epic love story was left unfinished. If I take issue with anything in the film, however, it would be the way in which it portrayed her relationship with both Logan and the job of being a private investigator as a drug. Over the course of the series, it was clear her relationship with Logan was toxic, but Logan has grown up and matured considerably in the nine years since we last saw him. Yes, he was quick to resort to violence when Veronica’s sex tape played at the reunion, but that doesn’t change the fact that Logan has come very far since his self-destructive days. He joined the navy and became a pilot. He became a stabilizing force for his girlfriend, Carrie Bishop, whose murder was the central mystery of the movie.Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring in Veronica Mars (2014)Keith’s vocal opposition to Veronica leaving New York and the opportunities there felt real and were grounded in reality. He’s a father who only wants the best for his daughter. But it was never going to happen. The mystery of who killed Carrie Bishop wasn’t the most exciting or intricate case Veronica has ever tackled, but once again, the movie had to find a way to work in a case that would draw Veronica back to Neptune, as well as find a way to work in the cameos fans desperately wanted to see in a short, finite amount of time. Revealing Martin Starr’s new character Stu “Cobb” Cobbler to be Carrie’s murderer made sense, because having it be someone fans knew and loved would have been crushing to the audience. The fact that Dick really never knew the truth about what happened to Susan Knight on that boat was in line with the Dick that fans have come to love or come to love to hate. In short, everything that happened in the film felt just right.Success in this industry will always be measured by how much money a film makes, and there is a special dollar amount the movie must bring in to warrant a sequel, but to fans of the series, none of that really matters. It was never about the money, it was about seeing Veronica, Logan, Keith, Wallace, Mac, Dick, Weevil, and Piz again. Veronica Mars’ success will never be measured in dollar signs, but in whether or not the film made fans happy, and to that end it definitely succeeded.

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 4

 

Starring

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

Jessica Biel and Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jessica Biel (Next)
Reid Scott (The Big C)
Hina Abdullah (Margaret)
Ciara Hanna (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Chasty Ballesteros (The Internship)
Kaitlin Olson (Finding Dory)
Michaela Watkins (Wanderlust)
Rob Reiner (ED:TV)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Julian Morris (Pretty Little Liars)
Erinn Hayes (The Watch)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Angela Kinsey (The Office)
Brian Posehn (The Big Bang Theory)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Michael Stahl-David (Cloverfield)
Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw)
Amber Stevens West (22 Jump Street)
Lisa Bonet (Angel Heart)
Greta Lee (Money Monster)
Rebecca Reid (I Live With Models)
Billy Eichner (The Angry Birds Movie)
Barry Bostwick (Spy Hard)
Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens)
Zoe Lister-Jones (Band Aid)
Sarah Burns (Life As We Know It)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Meaghan Rath (Being Human)
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Nora Dunn (Bones)
Kiersey Clemons (Dope)
Artemis Pebdani (Son of Zorn)
Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)

Max Greenfield, Damon Wayans Jr., Hannah Simone, Lamorne Morris, and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)Romantic relationships remain the primary concerns of Jess, her four dude roommates, and her best friend Cece (Hannah Simone). In season three, Jess and her cute slacker roomie Nick (Jake Johnson) made good on the will-they-or-won’t-they? dynamic teased in the previous seasons and are already peaceably broken up at this point. (The episode “Goldmine” nicely addresses the difficulty of getting people not to bail on dates with each of them after learning that they live in the same apartment as their ex.) At work, Jess has made it up the ranks from schoolteacher to vice principal, which is all well and good until she gets a crush on a new British teacher (Pretty Little Liars’ Julian Morris) with the saucy name Ryan Geauxinue (pronounced “Goes-In-You”); unfortunately for Jess, administrator-teacher couplings are a no-no, so she tries to ignore the hunk. (That doesn’t happen.) Nick finds Kai (Greta Lee), a lady who likes to lay about the apartment as much as himself; rookie cop Winston (Lamorne Morris) “investigates” her behavior for his roommate and decides she must be homeless. (She’s not.)Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)The show’s other key couple, former-model-turned-inept-bartender Cece (Hannah Simone) and metrosexual would-be player Schmidt (Max Greenfield), continue their pas de deux; Schmidt starts off the season overwhelmingly obsessed with Cece while she just wants to move on. As the season continues, Schmidt cools it a bit and finds a way to be Cece’s friend… which, of course, just makes her remember why she liked him in the first place. Unfortunately, by this point, Schmidt has started up with manipulative, career-driven city councilwoman Fawn Moscato (Zoe Lister-Jones). Fawn’s power excites Schmidty, but is this duo built to last?Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)Wayans was a “recurring” cast member in season 3, but he’s a full-fledged co-star in season four. His presence in the show — besides demonstrating that non-“niche” sitcom ensembles can have more than one black dude in them — is wonderfully layered with jock-y braggadocio, hidden tenderness, and amiable goofiness. Coach also reacts to relationship strife in the most entertaining ways possible, whether it’s emotionally breaking down as he tries to describe fertilization in a health class he’s teaching or attracting a bar full of ladies to grind up against him to the strains of Alannah Myles’s “Black Velvet.”Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)That just leaves Winston, who occasionally takes a break from studying for his police exam and from being in love with his cat to try to woo a human lady. I have to admit that Winston’s decision to become a cop just keeps reminding me of the later seasons of That ’70s Show, where Kelso’s decision to join the police academy also felt fairly arbitrary and strange. This is addressed in a subplot in the episode “Par 5,” which was actually co-written by Lamorne Morris, in which the character feels forced to hide his profession when he starts dating a woman who actively protests the LAPD. This episode tries to add a little nuance and depth to Winston’s choice to be a policeman.Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)For a show with so many semi-arrested characters, gaining maturity and finding worthwhile career paths are unsurprisingly also an ongoing component of the show. Jess and Winston, of course, seem like they’re right where they want to be career-wise with the vice principal and police gigs respectively. Nick continues to flounder professionally, but eventually teams up with Schmidt to start their own entrepreneurial concern, and while their first concept — a suit made out of sweatsuit material — is a dud, the show seems optimistic about them finding fulfillment in working together. Cece finally goes to college, with some financial help from Coach and Winston, who consider it an investment that they expect to see repaid. When they find out Cece uses the opportunity to take somewhat esoteric liberal arts courses, the fellas are duly perturbed.Zooey Deschanel and Julian Morris in New Girl (2011)Once again, the show opens its doors to a number of excellent guest stars, including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson as Jess’s former classmate and potential stepmom (Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis return as Jess’s divorced parents), Jessica Biel as a romantic rival for Jess, Billy Eichner as a stressed-out, catty airport employee on Christmas, Childrens Hospital’s Erinn Hayes as a promiscuous school nurse, Lisa Bonet as the touchy-feely leader of a teachers conference, Nora Dunn as Schmidt’s overbearing mother, and on and on. Justin Long. Josh Gad. Michaela Watkins. Barry Bostwick. Sarah Burns. Kurt Braunohler. Regis Philbin. Funny people! The ensemble cast truly shines in this newest season of New Girl. Some episodes come in a little below expectations, but overall the season offers some interesting developments for the characters and oodles of great jokes. If you like the show, keep liking the show.