REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE – SEASON 2

Main Cast

Kevin Conroy (Justice League Doom)
George Newbern (Law & Order: SVU)
Susan Eisenberg (Lego aquaman)
Phil LaMarr (Futurama)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Maria Canals (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Corey Burton (Transformers)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek: DS9)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Mitchell Ryan (Halloween 6)
Rob Paulsen (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Tom Kenny (The Super Hero Squad Show)
William Atherton (Die Hard)
Fairuza Balk (The Craft)
Dana Delany (Tombstone)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Peri Gilpin (Frasier)
Mark Rolston (Aliens)
Jason Marsden (Hocus Pocus)
David Kaufman (Prom Night)
Dorie Barton (Down With Love)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Larry Drake (Darkman)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Kim Mai Guest (TMNT)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Michael Jai White (Arrow)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Diane Pershing (Gotham Girls)
Bruce McGill (Lincoln)
Ted McGinley (No Good Nick)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Lukas Haas (Inception)
Tracey Walter (batman)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)
Brian Doyle-Murray (JFK)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Scott Rummell (Six)
Kristin Bauer van Straten (Nocturnal Animals)
Powers Boothe (Sin City)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lamabs)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Brad Garrett (Tangled)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Hot Shots)
Arleen Sorkin (Days of Our Lives)
Khary Payton (The Walking Dead)
Greg Cipes (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans Go)
John C. McGinley (Scrubs)
Hynden Walch (Groundhog Day)
Ian Buchanan (Panic Room)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
Kimberly Brooks (Voltron)
Robert Ito (Midway)
Victor Rivers (The Mask of Zorro)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Elizabeth Peña (The Incredibles)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)

MV5BMTkxOTY5NTY5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjEwOTM2MjE@._V1_Now this is more like it. Justice League’s second season takes all of the wrinkles found in the first year and smoothes them over. The action is bigger, the stories are more exciting, and Batman’s rating on the cool-o-meter reaches new highs – exactly how things should be. The result is a boxed set that offers perhaps the finest collection of superhero animation that your hard-earned dollars can buy. They don’t come any better then this, kids.MV5BODg3ODYzM2QtNTIwOS00YzhjLThmMDItZTY4MDc0NzU1NDhkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_Much like the comic book universe from which these characters came, the Warner Bros. superhero shows headed by Bruce Timm and friends (Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond) have created a continuity and universe all their own. Justice League is the latest (and, sadly, final) entry in this cartoon universe and it takes all of the best stuff from what has come before it and combines it into a near-perfect superhero animated series. While the first season was light on character development and solid storytelling, the second season gets the balance of action, story, and character just right. Again we’ve got great supporting characters and villains from the DC universe; Darkseid, John Dee, Despero, and even Doomsday all make appearances.MV5BMTQxNzgzNDg3OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTAwOTM2MjE@._V1_The action is also a lot more exciting, with more imagination having gone into the writing of the fights. Furthermore, this season we’ve got some great CG effects (used for vehicles and ships) – the air dogfight in Maid of Honor between the Batwing and some jetfighters is especially cool to watch.  Another standout this season is the music. The series composers (Lolita Ritmanis, Michael McCuistion, and Kristopher Carter) have created some amazing stuff here. In each episode you’ll find several musical cues that will really get your attention and at least one that will tug at the ol’ heartstrings. The music knows when to fade into the background and let the images do the work and when to take centre stage. With stuff this good you want the music to take centre stage as much as possible. There is a Princess Mononoke-esque “nature endures” moment in Hearts and Minds where the score was just wonderful. The music in these episodes is too good for a cartoon TV show.MV5BMTQ1MjM0MTMwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjc5ODM2MjE@._V1_So the action is awesome, Superman is fixed, and the music is one-of-a-kind. All that’s left is the writing… and it’s the best part. The writing here is really great, with story and character always being the focus of each episode. A Better World answers a simple question in an interesting way: what if Superman crossed the line? In an alternate universe, Superman realizes that Luthor really is an unredeemable villain and he kills him. We see that the murder – even the murder of a monster like Luthor – changes both Superman and the League. They become Big Brother-like sentries of the planet. When a cross-dimensional rift is opened, this “darker” league (known as the Justice Lords) has a showdown with our untainted heroes. The episode brings up some very interesting questions and is a blast to watch.MV5BMTYwOTU0OTUwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTk5ODM2MjE@._V1_We’ve also got some fantastic variety. The Paul Dini-penned Comfort and Joy is a very touching Christmas episode, while Hereafter transports Superman to a Planet of the Apes-ish future where he is the planet’s sole survivor (he even grows a Robinson Crusoe beard and fashions himself a jungle-machete!). The Terror Beyond makes for a very fun H.P. Lovecraft-inspired romp which sees Solomon Grundy fighting his way into the brain of the massive Ichthulhu (voiced by Rob Zombie) and wrestling a nightmare creature inside this thing’s head. Very bizarre, but very cool. Finally there’s the three-part season finale, Starcrossed. This is a balls-to-the-wall action spectacular which culminates in Batman piloting the League’s watchtower into the planet, while Green Lantern and Hawkgirl’s relationship is torn to shreds.MV5BMTkxMDQzODI2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDIwOTM2MjE@._V1_This is a fantastic collection of episodes, to be sure, but there are still a few nitpicks that keep the set from getting a perfect score. For one, while Superman is tougher, much of the new attitude doesn’t feel genuine – it seems that they wanted to make him “cooler” so they made him more badass. Problem is, Superman isn’t a badass character. Second, there are a few episodes (Maid of Honor and Eclipsed) that feel somewhat stale, and one episode, Wild Cards, that, sadly, let its driving gag get the better of the story. On TV you’ll find many cartoons, but you’ll only find one Justice League – its second season is a shining example of superhero animation done right in virtually every respect. Most importantly, the show’s creators have crafted a series that respects the intelligence, attention-span, and maturity of its audience. This isn’t just a kids show nor is it just a television show. It’s Justice League – and it’s great.

REVIEW: DEATH AT A FUNERAL (2010)

 

CAST

Chris Rock (Dogma)
Martin Lawrence (Bad Boys)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Loretta Devine (Crash)
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
Ron Glass (Firefly)
Danny Glover (Earthsea)
Regina Hall (Scary Movie)
Kevin Hart (Ride Along)
James Marsden (Gossip)
Tracy Morgan (Cop Out)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Columbus Short (The Losers)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)

The film revolves around the funeral service for the father of Aaron (Chris Rock) and Ryan. Aaron, the older son, and his wife Michelle (Regina Hall) live at his parents’ home. For the past five years, Aaron has been taking care of his parents, as his job as a tax account has been supporting them. Aaron and Michelle have been trying to buy their own home and have children but have been unsuccessful. Aaron envies Ryan (Martin Lawrence) because Ryan is a successful author, while he has not yet had his novel published, and resents his brother because Ryan would rather spend money on a first class airline ticket than help him pay for the funeral expenses.

Aaron and Ryan’s cousin Elaine (Zoe Saldana) and her boyfriend Oscar (James Marsden) are on their way to pick up Elaine’s brother Jeff (Columbus Short) before heading to the funeral. To ease Oscar’s nerves, she gives him a pill from a bottle labeled as Valium. Jeff later reveals to Elaine that it is actually a powerful hallucinogenic drug he has concocted for a friend. Chaos ensues when Oscar hallucinates that the coffin is moving. He knocks it over, and the body falls out of the coffin. Aaron is approached by an unknown guest, a dwarf named Frank (Peter Dinklage), who reveals himself to be the secret lover of his late father. Frank shows Aaron photos as proof and threatens to reveal them to Aaron’s mother unless he is paid $30,000. Aaron tells Ryan, who suggest Aaron pay the money because Ryan claims he is buried in debt. While Aaron and Ryan meet with him to pay him, Frank starts to deride Aaron’s ability as a writer and Aaron refuses to pay.

Frank begins to turn violent and puts his hand in his pocket, and tries to leave the room. Ryan attacks Frank and both Aaron and Ryan tie Frank up to prevent him from leaving. Norman (Tracy Morgan) comes in and sees what has happened. He gives Frank several doses of what he also believes is Valium to try to calm him down, before Jeff tells them it is actually the same hallucinogen Oscar took earlier. While Jeff and Norman who are supposed to be watching Frank get distracted by Uncle Russell (Danny Glover), Frank frees himself from his bonds, jumps off the couch, and hits his head on the coffee table. With Aaron, Ryan, Jeff and Norman believing Frank is dead, they plan to put him in the coffin. While everyone is outside watching Oscar, who is now naked on the roof, threatening to jump because he saw Elaine’s ex-boyfriend Derek (Luke Wilson) kissing her, Aaron and Ryan put Frank in the coffin.

Elaine tells Oscar that Derek forced himself on her and calms him down by revealing she is pregnant. With everyone back inside, they continue the eulogy. While Aaron awkwardly tries to give his speech, Frank shakes the coffin from inside it; then suddenly forces it open and emerges. The pictures fall out of his pocket, and Cynthia (Loretta Devine), who is Aaron and Ryan’s mother and the widow, sees the pictures, screams at Frank, and starts to attack him. Aaron yells for everyone’s attention as he delivers a moving, impromptu eulogy saying that his father was a good man with flaws like everyone else. The film ends with Aaron and Ryan saying goodbye while Ryan gets a ride to the airport by Martina, whom he had been trying to seduce all day. Aaron and Michelle are finally alone and going to try to have a baby. Aaron asks where Uncle Russell is and Michelle tells him that she gave him what she believes is Valium to calm him down. In the final scene Uncle Russell is on the roof naked, like Oscar had been, complaining about how “everything is so green”.

A fun and watchable film with a great supporting cast, including James Marsden, Zoe Saldana and Kevin Hart.

REVIEW: ARMAGEDDON (1998)

CAST
Bruce Willis (Cop Out)
Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa)
Ben Affleck (Gone Girl)
Liv Tyler (The Incredible Hulk)
Will Patton (Romeo Is Bleeding)
Steve Buscemi (Ghost World
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
Peter Stormare (The Brothers Grimm)
Jessica Steen (Mutant X)
Keith David (The Cape)
Jason Isaacs (Resident Evil)
Eddie Griffin (The New Guy)
Stanley Anderson (Spider-Man)
Udo Kier (Blade)
Judith Hoag (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Shawnee Smith (Anger Management)
John Mahon (Angel)
Grace Zabriskie (Arrow)
John Aylward (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
Christian Clemenson (Apollo 13)
Frederick Weller (The Shape of Things)
Charlton Heston (Planet of The Apes)
Lawrence Tierney (Reservoir Dogs)
A massive meteor shower destroys the orbiting Space Shuttle Atlantis and bombards a swath of land from the U.S. East Coast from South Carolina through Finland. NASA discovers that a rogue asteroid the size of Texas passed through the asteroid belt and pushed forward a large amount of space debris. The asteroid will collide with Earth in 18 days, causing an extinction event that will even wipe out bacteria. NASA scientists, led by Dan Truman, plan to trigger a nuclear detonation 800 feet (240 m) inside the asteroid to split it in two, driving the pieces apart so both will fly past the Earth. NASA contacts Harry Stamper, considered the best deep-sea oil driller in the world, for assistance. Harry travels to NASA with his daughter Grace, to keep her away from her new boyfriend and one of Harry’s drillers, A. J. Frost. Harry explains he will need his team, including A. J., to carry out the mission. They agree to help, but only after their list of unusual rewards and demands are met.
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NASA plans to launch two shuttles, Freedom and Independence, to increase the chances of success; the shuttles will refill with liquid oxygen from the Russian space station Mir before making a slingshot maneuver around the Moon to approach the asteroid from behind. NASA puts Harry and his crew through a short and rigorous astronaut training program, while Harry and his team re-outfit the mobile drillers, “Armadillos”, for the job. The destruction of Shanghai by an asteroid fragment forces NASA to reveal the asteroid’s existence, as well as their plan. The shuttles are launched and arrive at Mir, where its sole cosmonaut Lev helps with refueling. A major fire breaks out during the fueling process, forcing the crews, including Lev, to evacuate in the shuttles before Mir explodes. The shuttles perform the slingshot around the moon, but approaching the asteroid, the Independence’s engines are destroyed by trailing debris, and it crashes on the asteroid. Grace, aware A.J. was aboard the Independence, is traumatized by this news. Unknown to the others, A.J., Lev, and “Bear” (another of Harry’s crew) survive the impact and head towards the Freedom target site in their Armadillo.
Meanwhile, Freedom safely lands on the asteroid, but overshoots the target zone, landing on a much harder metallic field than planned, and their drilling quickly falls behind schedule; in desperation, the military initiates “Secondary Protocol” to remotely detonate the nuclear weapon on the asteroid’s surface, despite Truman and Harry’s insistence that it would be ineffective. Truman delays the military, while Harry convinces the shuttle commander to disarm the remote trigger. Harry’s crew continues to work, but in their haste, they accidentally hit a gas pocket, blowing their Armadillo into space. As the world learns of the mission’s apparent failure, another asteroid fragment devastates Paris.
All seems lost until the arrival of the Independence’s Armadillo. With A.J. at the controls, they reach the required depth for the bomb. However, flying debris from the asteroid damages the triggering device, requiring someone to stay behind to manually detonate the bomb. The crew draw straws, and A.J. is selected. As he and Harry exit the airlock, Harry rips off A.J.’s air hose and shoves him back inside, telling him that he was the son Harry never had, and he would be proud to have A.J. marry Grace. Harry prepares to detonate the bomb and contacts Grace to bid his final farewell. After some last minute difficulties involving both the shuttle engines and the detonator, the Freedom moves to a safe distance and Harry manages to press the button at the last minute, while experiencing flashbacks of happy times in his last moments as the bomb successfully splits the asteroid, avoiding the collision with Earth. Freedom lands, and the surviving crew are treated as heroes. A.J. and Grace get married, with photos of Harry and the other lost crew members present.
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This movie is pure escapism fun, which has its place in my collection, movies like Independence Day and Armageddon are great fun to watch and as a bonus the characters weren’t bad the script was reasonable and action was indeed plentiful.

REVIEW: HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE

CAST
Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones)
Josh Hartnett (Lucky Number Sleven)
Lena Olin (Alias)
Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek)
Isaiah Washington (Bionic Woman 2007)
Lolita Davidovich (Santa Fe)
Keith David (The Cape)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Stargate Universe)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Martin Landau (Ed Wood)
Eric Idle (Shrek The Third)
Robert Wagner (Austin Powers)
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker)
Valerie Rae Miller (Dark Angel)
Meredith Scot Lynn (Legally Blonde)
Christopher Wiehl (Cold Hearts)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Heroes)
Clyde Kusatsu (Midway)
Dwight Yoakam (Wedding Crashers)
Sergeant Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) is a financially strapped Hollywood homicide detective who began moonlighting as a real estate broker seven years ago. His partner is K. C. Calden (Josh Hartnett), a much younger officer who teaches yoga on the side and wants to be an actor. The duo are assigned to investigate the murders of four men, members of a rap group called H2OClick who were gunned down in a nightclub by two unidentified assailants. While investigating the murders, the detectives discover there had been a witness in the nightclub who later escaped unnoticed, and work together to track him down. In the midst of it all, Gavilan has to deal with a looming real estate deal that may be the key to getting out of debt, while Calden further pursues his dreams of acting by trying to be scouted by talent agents.
Unknown to the two detectives, Antoine Sartain (Isaiah Washington), the manager and producer of H2OClick, has his head of security eliminate the two hitmen they had hired to carry out the murders of the group, and also reveals to have hired them to kill Klepto, a rapper whom he’d also managed and produced, whose murder case is still open. Initially, Gavilan and Calden had believed the murders were gang-related, but Calden later sees the bodies of the hitmen at the morgue and puts two-and-two together to conclude that the murders were being calculated by someone else. The detectives also notice some eerie similarities between the H2OClick and Klepto homicides and figure that the two cases are connected. Gavilan learns from an undercover officer posing as a prostitute that the songwriter for H2OClick, a man named K-Roc, had suddenly gone missing, and Gavilan believes he is the murder witness they had been tracking. However, it proves difficult to track down K-Roc when they cannot determine his real name, but it is later discovered that K-Roc is Oliver Robideaux, the son of Olivia Robideaux (Gladys Knight), a former Motown singer.
Meanwhile, the arrival of Lieutenant Bernard “Bennie” Macko (Bruce Greenwood) at headquarters unnerves Gavilan—both have had a bad history with one another ever since Gavilan proved him wrong on a case years ago. It also turns out that Gavilan’s love interest, a psychic named Ruby (Lena Olin), used to date him. Macko is intent on taking away Gavilan’s badge, going so far as to try to frame him and place both detectives in interrogation. After they are released, Gavilan and Calden seem to have formed a closer bond, and Gavilan offers to help the latter when he reveals that his father Danny Calden who had also been a cop had been mysteriously gunned down during a sting operation gone wrong. His partner at the time, Leroy Wasley, was implicated in the murder, but later released on lack of evidence.
Gavilan and Calden continue the investigation—they track down K-Roc to his home, where Olivia Robideaux professes her son’s innocence and that Antoine Sartain, the manager of the group, was the real culprit. Sartain had been embezzling money from both Klepto and the members of H2OClick for years, and when they later found out, they threatened to hire lawyers to nullify their contracts. Enraged, Sartain had ordered the murders that were later carried out by the hitmen as a “lesson” to all the other members under his record label. It also turns out that Sartain’s head of security is none other than Leroy Wasley, and that Macko is also in league with him as well.
They prepare to arrest Sartain and Wasley, but can’t seem to find their location. Desperate, Gavilan enlists the help of Ruby, who, after a brief meditating session, leads the two detectives to a clothing store. Just then, Sartain and Wasley happened to drive by the store, and Gavilan and Calden follow suit in a wild car chase that leads them through the streets of Los Angeles, that later separates and pits them against Sartain and Wasley, respectively. While struggling against Sartain, Gavilan manages to overthrow him, and Sartain winds up falling from the top of a building to his death in a dumpster. Meanwhile, Wasley has a gun drawn on Calden and admits to killing his father. But Calden utilizes his acting skills to distract Wasley just as he is about the pull the trigger, incapacitates him, and overcoming his desire to kill the man who murdered his father, arrests him. Gavilan and Calden reunite as LAPD officers swarm the scene in the background, but Macko appears and calls for the arrests of the two officers. However, Macko winds up being the one led away in handcuffs for his affiliations with Sartain and Wasley.
 The next scene shows Gavilan and Ruby (wearing the dress she bought at the clothing store) attending a production of A Streetcar Named Desire, in which Calden was playing a lead role. It is implied that Gavilan successfully brokered the real estate deal, and Calden is giving his all in the pursuit of his acting dream. However, both of them receive calls from police headquarters and leave in the middle of the play. In the end, Gavilan is heard ordering a cheeseburger, saying it would be “a long night”.
The movie succeeds at what it intends to be, a buddy-cop comedy where the cops actually feel like buddies and not hot-headed partners always at each other’s throats over trivial matters. Such an approach may be what you’re expecting, but believe me, the movie feels much fresher the way it is and is all the more enjoyable for that reason

REVIEW: NOVOCAINE

CAST

Steve Martin (Cheaper By The Dozen)
Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speach)
Laura Dern (Jurassic Park)
Elias Koteas (Fallen)
Scott Caan (Gone In 60 Seconds)
Kevin Bacon (A Few Good Men)
Keith David (Pitch Black)

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Generally, the film is a dark and quirky “tragicomedy”. The “everyman” protagonist, Dr. Frank Sangster (Steve Martin), is a dentist with a fairly pleasant but rather innocuous, ordinary and uneventful life. But all of this gets derailed, and Frank’s life descends into an increasingly complex mess, from the minute a beautiful and seductive new patient named Susan Ivey (Helena Bonham Carter) comes to him, seeking a root canal and a little pain relief…
On Susan’s initial office visit, Frank schedules her for a root canal the very next day, and offers her some Ibuprofen to address her pain in the meanwhile. Claiming that she is allergic to the offered medication, Susan requests a prescription for the addictive pain-killer Demerol. Frank provides the prescription, but only for five tablets. However, Susan changes the dosage from five tablets to fifty when she collects the medication from her pharmacist.
Susan arrives for her appointment twelve hours late, having mistaken the time. She seduces Frank, talking him into getting drunk and having sex with her. During the night, Susan steals all of Frank’s narcotics. The next day, there is a DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agent at Frank’s office demanding to see the dentist’s narcotics supply, because an 18-year-old has driven a car off a cliff under the influence of cocaine hydrochloride from a bottle registered to the dentist. Knowing that Susan has stolen his entire drug supply, Frank puts the agent off, saying he’ dispensed it all to patients. The agent leaves with the promise that if Frank fails to produce the empty containers in two days, the DEA will place him under arrest.
That night Frank goes to Susan’s hotel room to demand the empty containers, threatening that he’ll call the police if she doesn’t provide them. Once again, she overrides his initial intentions and seduces him – with the result that they have sex and he spends the night with her. The next day at his office, Frank is confronted by Susan’s brother, Duane Ivey (Scott Caan) having a violent scene, saying: “Stay the hell away from my sister” and “I don’t appreciate your threats”. Duane ends the conversation with, “I don’t ever want to see you again, because if I do, goddamn it, I’m gonna hurt you.”
That night, Frank returns to Susan’s hotel room and, assuming that Susan is the form he sees the bed, starts talking to her. The person under the blanket turns out to be not Susan but brother Duane, who leaps up and attacks Frank, attempting to strangle him. Frank takes scissors from a nearby desk and stabs Duane in the hand, impaling him and embedding the scissors. Frank flees, stopping off at a bar to calm down. On arriving at home, just minutes ahead of his girlfriend Jean (Laura Dern), he finds Duane dead on the floor.
Police arrive on the scene to question Frank. Comically adding to Frank’s distress and anxiety is actor Lance Phelps (Kevin Bacon), a hack actor doing research for a role, and permitted by the police to question Frank at aggressive levels that cause Frank heightened discomfort. After the police arrive and depart, Frank tells Jean about the whole ordeal. A while later, Frank is arrested for the murder of Duane Ivey based on finding Frank’s teeth marks on the body – that someone else put there after killing Duane. After Frank breaks free, all of Chicago is on the look out for him. He goes to his office in the night, only to find his brother Harlan lying dead. At this point, it is revealed that Frank’s girlfriend Jean is behind all of the killing. She killed Duane with a shotgun and created dentures of Frank’s teeth using his dental equipment and bit Duane’s corpse with them. She was also in cahoots with Harlan, with whom she was having an affair. Unfortunately for Harlan, her plan was to eventually kill him as well with the shotgun to tie up all loose ends and make it appear that Frank killed him after Duane. Realizing he’ll never be free without starting over, Frank pulls out all of his dead brother’s teeth, as well as all of his own. Frank uses his dental skills to place his own teeth into his dead brother’s skull, and then sets fire to the dental office with Harlan’s corpse, replete with replaced teeth, left inside. Frank and Susan, now lovers, escape to France, where they live happily ever after in a little cottage on the countryside.
Meanwhile, Jean’s attempts to frame Frank fall apart. Unbeknownst to her, Harlan was playing with a medical video camera while he was shot and the recovered footage shows Jean firing the shotgun at the camera holder but fails to show it was Harlan who was shot. Therefore, the police wrongly assume that Jean shot Frank and arrest her.
The movie was indeed a comedy, allbeit a dark comedy. It’s the kind of humor where you laugh, but with your hand over your mouth to cover up the fact that your humor is a bit deranged.Laura Dern, Steve Martin, Helena Bonham Carter, and Kevin Bacon all turn in super performances. It was a fun ride, and the who-done-it guessing game was much fun!

REVIEW: FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN

CAST (VOICES)

Ming-Na Wen (Agents of SHIELD)
Alec Baldwin (Mission Impossible 5)
Ving Rhames (Julia X)
Steve Buscemi (Ghost World)
Peri Gilpin (Frasier)
Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games)
James Woods (Another Day In Paradise)
Keith David (Picth Black)
John DiMAggio (Futurama)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)After the runaway success of Final Fantasy VII on the original Playstation, Sony greenlit a Final Fantasy movie. The final result, The Spirits Within, didn’t appear on movie screens until 2001, the same year as Shrek. However, unlike the unfunny green ogre, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within failed to generate any meaningful business at the box office, and it was the biggest bomb in film history up to that point. It’s admirable for its sweeping alien vistas and imaginative space-age designs, but the story just doesn’t have enough in it to keep the audience’s interest.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)The film follows Doctor Aki Ross (Ming-na) as she and her mentor, Dr. Sid (Donald Sutherland) attempt to discover a way to clear Earth of a strange race of alien beings known as Phantoms. These Phantoms have made Earth uninhabitable, aside from a few protected cities. The film opens with Aki dreaming of an alien world, only to wake up on a space shuttle. She takes the shuttle down to Earth to find remnants of organic life. However, she’s soon trapped by Phantoms, determined to kill her, when she’s saved by a group of space marines, led by Captain Gray Edwards (Alec Baldwin), Aki’s former lover. It’s soon discovered that the plant Aki was after was part of a series of organisms that Aki and Sid are collecting to assemble a spiritual wave that they believe will counter the alien infestation at its source (a giant asteroid from which the Phantoms spawn).Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)Their theory is not a popular one, however. The human government still has armies, and their general, Hein (James Woods), has erected a giant space cannon which he intends to use to blow the asteroid to smithereens. Sid and Aki contend that this would irrevocably damage the planet, but without further proof, their protests fall on deaf ears. Now it’s up to Aki, Sid, Gray, and his team to find the remaining organisms so they can finish the wavelength before Hein uses the cannon. And Aki keeps having these strange dreams.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within feels like what Aliens might have been like had James Cameron been into New Age philosophy. The space marines (voiced by Steve Buscemi, Frasier’s Peri Gilpin, and Ving Rhames) are reminiscent of those more famous marines in Cameron’s film. The overall design feels like it could have been in line with that world, and the idea of the Phantoms infecting you and taking you over from the inside feels very similar to the parasitic nature of Alien’s xenomorphs. In point of fact, the one thing it doesn’t feel similar to in any way, shape, or form is the Final Fantasy series of video games from which it derives its name. Dr. Sid is the most notable callback, as in almost every Final Fantasy game there is a character named Cid. Also, some of the other character names vaguely resemble those found in the games. The Gaia theory posited in the film is very similar to the Living Planet of Final Fantasy VII, but to no real effect. I can understand wanting to create a fresh story that newcomers and old fans alike could enjoy.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)The film’s half-baked idealistic philosophies, combined with its often groan-inducing dialogue probably killed the movie more than any lack of resemblance to the video games. The whole conceit of the wavelength, while explained repeatedly and in excruciating detail, never quite gels. Similarly, Hein’s Zeus cannon doesn’t seem like a much better alternative, and it doesn’t help that he’s a terribly written villain. Of course, you have to respect James Woods’ ability to chew the scenery even when there isn’t any actual scenery to chew. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Woods, as he’s one of my favorite actors, but he’s so over the top here it hurts.The rest of the cast fare marginally better. Ming-na has a respectable voice acting pedigree that serves her well, as does Peri Gilpin (most recently heard in the animated Hellboy projects). Steve Buscemi and Ving Rhames don’t take their roles too seriously, which works to their advantage. Alec Baldwin, aside from being a great actor, lends his voice to one of the most memorable cartoon characters of recent memory (that of Leonardo Leonardo from the Clerks animated series), but he plays it straight here and is fairly disappointing. It doesn’t help that his character is animated to look exactly like Ben Affleck. I’m not kidding. This movie’s worth renting just to see how meticulously the filmmakers recreated every facet of Affleck’s face–only to give him Baldwin’s voice.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)That does bring up an important point, though. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was meant to be the first in a series of computer generated films that were photo realistic. And while it’s clear the film is CGI, it still looks damn impressive. The character models are exquisite, making the more cartoony offerings from Pixar or Dreamworks just seem amateurish by comparison (and I know that Pixar and Dreamworks aren’t striving for realism, I’m just saying how one looks against the other). The environments are amazingly detailed, and the movie is just a beauty to behold. Unfortunately, the film’s complete and utter financial failure bankrupted Square Pictures, although they did manage to make The Final Flight of the Osiris for Warner Bros. Animatrix project before closing shop. Square returned in 2005/2006 with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, which looked even more spectacular than Spirits Within, but did not see a U.S. theatrical release.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within deserved a better fate than it got at the box office, but that doesn’t mean it’s a great movie. While it certainly was a great technological breakthrough, it didn’t have the story or characters to make it work.

REVIEW: SUPERHERO MOVIE

 

CAST

Drake Bell (Ultimate Spider-Man)
Sara Paxton (The Last House on The Left)
Christopher McDonald (Fanboys)
Leslie Nielsen (The Naked Gun)
Kevin Hart (Extreme Movie)
Marion Ross (Happy Days)
Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars)
Robert Joy (Amityville 3)
Jeffrey Tambor (The Hangover)
Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG)
Tracey Morgan (Little Man)
Regina Hall (Scary Movie)
Pamela Anderson (Scooby-Doo)
Simon Rex (The Forsaken)
Craig Bierko (Scary Movie 4)
Robert Hays (Airplane)
Nicole Sillivan (17 Again)
Dan Castellaneta (The SImpsons)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Miles Fisher (Final Destination 5)
Charlene Tilton (Dallas)
Lil’ Kim (Zoolander)
Kurt Fuller (The New Guy)
Michael Papajohn (Spider-Man)
Amanda Carlin (Liar Liar)
Ajay Mehta (The Good Place)

maxresdefaultRick Riker (Drake Bell) is an unpopular student at Empire High School who lives with his Uncle Albert (Leslie Nielsen) and Aunt Lucille (Marion Ross) and has one friend and confidant, Trey (Kevin Hart). His crush is the breathtaking Jill Johnson (Sara Paxton), but she is dating bully Lance Landers (Ryan Hansen). One day, Rick and his class go on a school field trip at an animal research lab that is run by terminally ill businessman Lou Landers (Christopher McDonald), who is Lance’s uncle. During the trip, Rick accidentally saturates himself in animal-attraction liquid, which causes a group of animals to hump him. This also leads a chemically enhanced radioactive dragonfly to fly onto Rick’s neck and bite him.Aki Aleong in Superhero Movie (2008)Meanwhile, Lou Landers creates a machine designed to heal body illness. When he tests it on himself, he exhibits strange powers and decides to become a villain named “Hourglass”. During a science fair, Rick begins to experience strange physical traits which creates a number of mishaps, and later realizes he has developed superpowers from the dragonfly bite. Rick reveals his secret to his uncle and Trey and an argument starts between him and Albert. The next day, while visiting the bank with his aunt, Rick accidentally allows a bank robber to make off with stolen cash. The robber shoots Albert, landing him in the hospital. Rick is later met by Xavier (Tracy Morgan), who takes Rick to his school for mutants, where he meets Storm, Wolverine, Cyclops, the Invisible Woman and Mrs. Xavier, who convince Rick to become a superhero. At home, Rick creates a superhero costume and dubs himself “Dragonfly”. As Dragonfly, Rick starts watching over the city and fighting crime, quickly becoming a media sensation, despite being unable to fly. Later, Dragonfly attempts to stop Hourglass from robbing a warehouse full of “ceryllium” as part of his evil plan but fails, leaving himself injured and allowing Hourglass to escape.79PWeRoLater that night, Jill is attacked by thieves, but Dragonfly saves her and they share a kiss. Meanwhile, Landers plans to construct a machine that will kill people and give him enough life energy to make him immortal. Later that night, Landers and Lance have dinner with Rick’s family and Jill, but Landers secretly learns of Rick’s true identity when he notices the same injuries on Rick as on Dragonfly. Making up an awkward excuse, he and Lance leave. Landers returns minutes later as Hourglass and murders Aunt Lucille. After a comic funeral, Jill meets Rick and offers to begin a relationship with him. However, Rick fears that his enemies will come for Jill if there were together, and therefore rejects Jill, leaving her hurt and furious.

Rick decides to end his superhero career once and for all, but knowing that Hourglass would head to an awards ceremony to kill hundreds of people, he gets Albert to take him there. At the ceremony, Jill discovers that Landers is Hourglass. When Hourglass clashes with Dragonfly on a rooftop, he tries to activate his machine, but Dragonfly manages to kill him with a bomb that had been comically stuck onto his genitals after being thrown by Hourglass. Jill is thrown off the side of the building by the explosion, but Dragonfly finally manages to grow wings and save her. Jill learns Rick is Dragonfly and the two finally begin a relationship. After being thanked for saving the city, Rick flies away with Jill, but the two are unexpectedly rammed by a passing helicopter.Image result for superhero movieFor the first time in a long time, they have managed to make a spoof movie that works!  With superbly executed parody, intelligent observational humour, and the actors  playing it straight; Superhero works on just about all levels. It even works as a film in its own right! With the major narrative being based on the Spiderman Movie, this film incorporates touches from other such features, they are integrated with aplomb and subtlety. The added touches (reminiscent of the Naked Gun movies) with celebrity look-alikes being hurt is amusing; but the major laughs are in the SM spoofing.