REVIEW: DESPICABLE ME 2

CAST

Steve Carell (Get Smart)
Kristen Wiig (Mother!)
Benjamin Bratt (Doctor Strange)
Miranda Cosgrove (School of Rock)
Russell Brand (Arthur)
Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder)
Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
Dana Gaier (The Ice Cream Truck)
Elsie Fisher (Dirty Girl)
Moisés Arias (Nacho Libre)
Nasim Pedrad (New Girl)
Pierre Coffin (Brad & Gary)
Chris Renaud (The Lorax)
Vanessa Bayer (Trainwreck)
Kristen Schaal (Norbit)
Lori Alan (Family Guy)
Jack Angel (A.I.)

Despicable Me 2 (2013)A mysterious vehicle using a huge magnet steals a highly potent mutagen known as PX-41 from a secret laboratory in the Arctic Circle. The Anti-Villain League (AVL), headed by Silas Ramsbottom, tries to recruit former supervillain Gru to track down those responsible and recover the mutagen, but Gru refuses, claiming that he is now a legitimate businessman as well as the devoted father of Margo, Edith, and Agnes. Dr. Nefario, Gru’s friend and assistant, longs to go back to villainy and leaves Gru for new employment. Gru reluctantly agrees to investigate the theft, and is partnered with undercover AVL agent Lucy Wilde.Despicable Me 2 (2013)The pair begin their search in the Paradise Shopping Mall, disguised as bakery employees. Gru immediately comes to suspect Mexican restaurant owner, Eduardo Pérez, of being the infamous “El Macho”, a legendary supervillain who supposedly died by riding a shark into the mouth of an active volcano with 250 pounds of dynamite strapped to his chest. Gru and Lucy break into Eduardo’s restaurant at night, but find no proof. Meanwhile, Agnes, confiding in her dream to one day have a mother, believes that Gru will fall in love with Lucy, though Gru states that his relationship with Lucy is professional.Despicable Me 2 (2013)Although holding Eduardo as his chief suspect, Gru agrees to pursue others, including wig merchant Floyd Eagle-san. After witnessing Eduardo’s two-timing son, Antonio, woo Margo and invite everyone to his Cinco de Mayo party, Gru renews his focus on Eduardo. He is then set up on a dinner date with a vacuous woman named Shannon. The date goes horribly, and Shannon is about to humiliate Gru after she spots his wig, until Lucy, visiting the restaurant herself, saves Gru and renders Shannon unconscious with a tranquilizer gun. While they take Shannon home, Gru and Lucy spend personal time together, and Gru falls in love with her, proving Agnes right.Despicable Me 2 (2013)The next day, the AVL arrest Eagle-san after finding an almost-empty jar of the mutagen in his shop, and the investigation is closed by Ramsbottom. Lucy is reassigned to Australia, but gives Gru her lipstick Taser as a gift before leaving. A heartbroken Gru, having lacked the courage to ask Lucy out on a date, instead takes his girls to the Cinco de Mayo party. While there, he follows Eduardo and discovers a secret musical steps-activated elevator, where he finally finds proof that Eduardo is El Macho.Despicable Me 2 (2013)On her flight, Lucy, realizing that she has also fallen in love with Gru, jumps out of the plane and hang glides down to the party. Gru discovers that Macho, who is revealed to have hired Nefario as a partner, has been abducting Gru’s Minions and using the stolen PX-41 serum to make them evil. Macho plans to launch rockets full of the mutated Minions into major cities in order to achieve world domination. He gives Gru the chance to team up with him, but Gru walks away.Lucy later arrives at the party, but Macho captures Lucy after Pollito, Macho’s pet chicken, retrieves her AVL ID badge from her purse. Nefario rejoins Gru, who fakes being captured with two other minions to help him rescue Lucy. Fighting alongside his daughters and Nefario, Gru and his team return the Minions to their normal, friendly, yellow state using jelly containing a powerful antidote that was created by Nefario. Macho then takes the mutagen himself and turns into a monster, but Gru and Nefario defeat him using Lucy’s lipstick Taser and a fart gun. Gru finds Lucy strapped to a TNT-loaded shark rocket and starts to untie her, but Pollito launches the rocket, sending it flying towards the same volcano where Macho previously faked his death. Lucy accepts Gru’s invitation for a date, and the pair dive into the ocean seconds before the rocket enters the volcano and violently explodes. Gru rejoins the AVL, and then he and Lucy get married, and Margo, Edith and Agnes finally have someone close to a mother.Despicable Me 2 (2013)The first Despicable Me was a wonderful film, so while there is the worry of whether a sequel would work you can’t help wanting to see it anyway. Despicable Me 2 was just as good as the first one, maybe not as fresh in terms of plot but what worked so well in the first works equally well here. The animation, also having the advantage of staying true to the style and look that the first had, is bursting with vibrancy and colour without looking too over-saturated as well as having a lot of detail to it. T

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REVIEW: DESPICABLE ME

CAST

Steve Carell (Get Smart)
Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother)
Russell Brand (Arthur)
Miranda Cosgrove (School of Rock)
Dana Gaier (The Ice Cream Truck)
Elsie Fisher (Dirty Girl)
Will Arnett (The Lego Batman Movie)
Kristen Wiig (Mother!)
Julie Andrews (The Princess Diaries)
Pierre Coffin (Brad & Gary)
Chris Renaud (The Lorax)
Jemaine Clement (Legion)
Jack McBrayer (Smurfs: The Lost Village)
Danny McBride (Pineapple Express)
Mindy Kaling (Ocean’s 8)
Rob Huebel (Life as We Know it)
Ken Leong (The Hangover)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
James Kyson (Heroes)

Despicable Me (2010)Gru, a supervillain, is disheartened when an unknown supervillain steals the Great Pyramid of Giza. Gru, with the assistance of his colleague Dr. Nefario and his Minions, resolves to one-up this mystery rival by shrinking and stealing the Moon. As it would be costly to steal the moon, Gru seeks a loan from the Bank of Evil. Bank president Mr. Perkins is impressed by the plan but will provide the money only if Gru can obtain the necessary shrink ray first. Upon learning that an up-and-coming villain named Vector was responsible for the pyramid theft, Gru starts a rivalry with him.Gru and the Minions steal the shrink ray from a secret base in East Asia, but Vector intercepts them and steals it for himself. Gru attempts to break into Vector’s fortress to recover the shrink ray but is defeated by numerous booby traps. However, he notices three orphan girls, Margo, Edith, and Agnes, who are able to easily walk into the base because they are selling cookies. Gru disguises himself and adopts the girls, planning on using them to infiltrate Vector’s base so he can get the shrink ray back. However, Gru has trouble nurturing them properly due to their rambunctiousness, their ballet classes, and his own ineptitude as a parent.Despicable Me (2010)Eventually, Gru and the girls arrive at Vector’s fortress, and Gru steals the shrink ray. The girls then suggest a day at a theme park; Gru agrees, believing he can abandon the girls there, but instead he warms up to them. Later, Gru contacts Perkins via video chat, stating that he finally has the shrink ray. Margo, Edith, and Agnes interrupt the meeting, and Perkins announces that he has lost confidence in Gru and will no longer fund his operations. As Gru tells the Minions he can no longer pay them for their services, the girls offer the contents of their piggy bank. Gru, inspired, sells parts of his lair to construct a spacecraft. Gru plans to steal the Moon when it is nearest the Earth, but this is the same day as the girls’ ballet recital. Gru becomes conflicted, and Dr. Nefario, seeing the recital as interfering with the plan, arranges for the girls to be returned to the orphanage. At the same time, Perkins informs Vector, revealed to be Perkins’ son, of Gru’s possession of the shrink ray and the adoption of the three girls, encouraging Vector to act.Despicable Me (2010)Gru successfully shrinks and steals the Moon, and rushes back to Earth to attend the recital—only to find a ransom note from Vector, who has kidnapped the girls. After arriving at Vector’s headquarters, Gru surrenders the Moon, but Vector reneges on the deal, flying off with the girls and the Moon. Meanwhile, Dr. Nefario has discovered that the effects of the shrink ray are temporary; the bigger the object’s original size, the faster the shrinkage will wear off. As the Moon starts to expand in Vector’s ship, Gru, Dr. Nefario, and the Minions execute a daring mid-air rescue of the girls just as the Moon explodes out of Vector’s ship and launches itself back into orbit, with Vector trapped on it. Sometime later, Gru has returned the Great Pyramid and re-adopted the girls, writing them a bedtime storybook framed around his own experience. The film ends with the girls performing their own ballet recital for Gru, his mother Marlena, Dr. Nefario, and the Minions.Despicable Me (2010)Overall, this animated film is a great fun time for the kids and family to see, and even some teens will get many laughs out of it as well. This is a very adorable film, full of charm and heart, and with a funny and lighthearted storyline.

REVIEW: PAIN & GAIN

 

CAST

Mark Wahlberg (Contraband)
Dwayne Johsnon (Fast & Furious 8)
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker)
Tony Shalhoub (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Ed Harris (The Truman Show)
Rob Corddry (W.)
Rebel Wilson (Grimsby)
Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
Bar Paly (Non-Stop)
Michael Rispoli (Kick-Ass)
Tony Plana (Tony Plana)
Emily Rutherfurd (Van Wilder)
Peter Stormare (Arrow)
Brian Stepanek (Young Sheldon)

Mark Wahlberg, Tony Shalhoub, and Dwayne Johnson in Pain & Gain (2013)In 1995, schemer Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) is a recently released convict who had served time for Medicare fraud. Sun Gym owner John Mese (Rob Corddry) hires him to increase membership and make the gym more fitness-based. Lugo increases the gym’s membership by 75% within six weeks and befriends trainer Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie), a bodybuilder rendered impotent due to his steroid use. Lugo soon lusts after the earnings and lifestyle achieved by Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), a sleazy new member he begins to train, who Lugo believes is a crook. Inspired by motivational speaker Jonny Wu (Ken Jeong), Lugo decides to be a “do-er” and hatches a plan to extort Kershaw for his assets by kidnapping and torturing him.Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Mackie in Pain & Gain (2013)Lugo recruits accomplices Doorbal and Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson), a recently released, cocaine-addicted convict who has turned to Christianity. Though Doyle is reluctant to join the team, he soon acquiesces after a violent altercation with his priest. This “Sun Gym gang” unsuccessfully attempts to kidnap Kershaw at home, and a second time in public, but later incapacitates him with a taser outside his deli and takes him to a small warehouse he owns (which is stocked with sex toys). The kidnappers wear masks and Lugo disguises his voice, but Kershaw identifies Lugo from his distinctive cologne. The scheme goes as planned otherwise: Kershaw makes calls, under duress, to provide false explanations for his disappearance, gets his family to move out of state, and signs the documents that transfer his assets to Lugo. Lugo even bribes John Mese to notarize documents in Kershaw’s absence, by presenting documents signed by Kershaw and using Kershaw’s money to sponsor the Sun Gym.Dwayne Johnson and Bar Paly in Pain & Gain (2013)The Sun Gym gang is able to collect Kershaw’s money and assets, but they realize releasing him is a bad idea. Therefore, Lugo concocts a plan to kill Kershaw by forcing him to drink liquor and crash his BMW, making it appear like a drunk driving accident. When Kershaw survives the crash, the gang burns the car with Kershaw in it. Kershaw escapes the blazing vehicle, so the gang runs over his body, twice, and leave him for dead. Unbeknownst to them, Kershaw survives and is hospitalized. The Sun Gym gang members spoil themselves with Kershaw’s riches. Lugo takes over Kershaw’s car and his home in a ritzy Miami suburb; Doorbal marries the nurse who has been treating his impotence, Robin (Rebel Wilson), and uses his cut to purchase penile erection treatments; and Doyle abandons his restraints of religion and sobriety, and blows away his money on cocaine and his new stripper girlfriend. Kershaw reports what happened to the police, but they are turned off by his unpleasant manner and do not believe his bizarre story even when he gives them Daniel Lugo’s name, particularly because of Kershaw’s blood alcohol level, and the fact that Kershaw was born in a South American country well known for its involvement in the drug trade. He then contacts Ed Du Bois, III (Ed Harris), a retired private investigator – who declines to take the case but warns Kershaw to quickly leave the hospital before the gang returns to kill him. Kershaw takes his advice and hides in a cheap motel. Upon reflection, Du Bois takes Kershaw’s case and tails the Sun Gym gang. He visits the Sun Gym and meets with Lugo, who becomes suspicious after Du Bois mentions Kershaw’s name.Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, and Anthony Mackie in Pain & Gain (2013)When Kershaw furiously calls Mese about his stolen money, Lugo, Doyle, and Doorbal *69 the call, thereby identifying where it originated, and go to the motel to kill Kershaw; however, they arrive too late, as he has checked himself out and is hiding at an abandoned baseball stadium. When Lugo and Doorbal discover that Du Bois is paying for Kershaw’s room using his own credit card, they plan to kidnap Du Bois at his home. They arrive at the house, but the plot is thwarted when the police stop by to drop off Du Bois. In order to evade arrest, Lugo and Doorbal run and jump off Du Bois’ dock into the water. Du Bois gets a message from Kershaw and goes to the stadium to take him home. Meanwhile, Doyle (who has wasted all of his share of the spoils) attempts to rob an armored car. However, dye packs planted in the money bag explode, and he narrowly escapes the police, getting his toe shot off in the process. He and Doorbal (who depleted his share on payments for treatments, his and Robin’s wedding, and a new home) explain to Lugo they need more money, and the gang plans another kidnapping.Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, and Anthony Mackie in Pain & Gain (2013)They target the wealthy Frank Griga (Michael Rispoli), who owns a phone sex operation. After a promising discussion at Griga’s mansion, the gang invites Griga and his wife Krisztina Furton (Keili Lefkovitz) to Doorbal’s home to propose an investment scheme. Griga insists on meeting with someone more senior and questions Lugo’s amateurish business savvy. This angers Lugo, who attacks Griga and accidentally kills him. Krisztina discovers this and tries to shoot Lugo, but Doorbal injects her with a potent horse tranquilizer. Lugo and Doyle try to use the combination obtained from a heavily sedated Krisztina to open a safe at her and Griga’s home, but the combination does not work. When Krisztina rouses and tries to escape, Doorbal gives her a second injection, accidentally causing her to fatally overdose. Lugo and Doorbal purchase equipment to dismember and dispose of the bodies and dump the parts in oil drums (which they sink in a secluded swamp outside Miami), while Doyle incinerates their hands on a barbecue grill to eliminate their fingerprints. Doyle, perturbed by the violence he committed, leaves the gang and returns to the priest’s church. The police learn of Griga and Krisztina’s disappearances, and with evidence from Du Bois, they set a plan to arrest the Sun Gym gang.Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, and Anthony Mackie in Pain & Gain (2013)The film returns to June 17: the police arrest Doyle at the church, Doorbal at home, and Mese at the Sun Gym. Lugo, also at the gym, spots the approaching police force and flees. Although struck by a police cruiser, he escapes and heads out by sea in Kershaw’s speedboat. Kershaw and Du Bois deduce Lugo is going after the former’s hidden bank account in Nassau, Bahamas and accompany the police to capture him. Lugo’s pursuers catch up with him, and he attempts to escape. Du Bois shoots Lugo, Kershaw chases him in a car and incapacitates him, and the authorities arrest him. Lugo is brought back to the United States and stands trial with Doyle, Doorbal, and Mese. At the trial, Doyle rolls over on Doorbal and Lugo with a full confession, and meanwhile Robin has divorced Doorbal the night before and testifies against him. Ultimately, the four are convicted.Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, and Anthony Mackie in Pain & Gain (2013)

The end credits reveal the fates of the main characters:

Daniel Lugo was sentenced to death, plus 30 days for “being an asshole” to a guard.
Adrian Doorbal was sentenced to death.
Paul Doyle, for his full confession, was sentenced to 15 years, served seven years, was released, tried to apologize, and converted back to Christianity.
John Mese was sentenced to 15 years and died in prison.
Victor Kershaw’s name was changed in the film to protect the survivor.
Sorina Luminita’s name was changed in the film to protect the survivor. She’s currently not a movie star.

The movie ends with Lugo’s saying: “That’s the American dream”.Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, and Anthony Mackie in Pain & Gain (2013)Wahlberg and Johnson, what’s not to like! A lot of controversy about this film, but I don’t think they make light of the deaths of those people. It’s quite dark and gory in places, and you kind of feel sorry for Johnson’s character but his character doesn’t actually exist in real life, rather he is a conglomerate of several people. I think you have to remember that its just a movie and that the real people who committed the crimes were sick and very stupid and were given the death penalty. I think it’s an interesting take on a real life story.

REVIEW: FURRY VENGEANCE

 

CAST

Brendan Fraser (The Mummy)
Brooke Shields (Freeway)
Matt Prokop (Struck By Lightning)
Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
Angela Kinsey (License To Wed)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
Skyler Samuels (The Gifted)
Jim Norton (Louie)
Patrice O’Neal (Scary Movie 4)
Toby Huss (Jerry Maguire)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Alice Drummond (Ghostbusters)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)

In the wilderness of Oregon, a prairie dog screams after Riggs’ (Rob Riggle) car passes by and throws a cigar at it. This causes an unnamed raccoon to signal a mink to release a boulder that pushes Riggs’ car to the edge of a cliff, teetering back and forth. After that, the raccoon throws the cigar back to Riggs, who yells “you’re a bad raccoon!”. The raccoon then blows the car down the cliff. Riggs quits Lyman Enterprises.As a result of Riggs’ resignation, a real estate developer from Chicago named Dan Sanders (Brendan Fraser) is brought in as his replacement. He is given the task of turning the forest of Rocky Springs into a residential development by Lyman Enterprises CEO Neal Lyman (Ken Jeong). This all transpires much to the objections of Dan’s son, Tyler (Matt Prokop). His wife Tammy (Brooke Shields) is unhappy in Rocky Springs, she misses her life in Chicago. Unfortunately for Dan, the animals who are led by the raccoon refuse to sit back and watch their forest to be destroyed. They manage to turn the tables on him by disturbing his progress, interrupting his meetings, and humiliating him. Upon receiving some research from his love interest Amber, Tyler tells his father that Rocky Springs is a forest reserve where he warns his father that “many have tried to conquer it but they all fail.” Following an attack by a bear that traps him in a tipped over portable toilet, Dan signs orders to have a drill sergeant (Billy Bush) capture and cage all the animalsMeanwhile, Tammy is forced to plan an “eco friendly” fair with a senile teacher Mrs. Martin (Alice Drummond) at the high school which is sponsored by Lyman’s company, unaware of Lyman’s plans to cut down the forest to build houses and a shopping mall “with a forest theme”. Dan, figuring this out, decides to set the animals free. Once released the raccoon and his friends immediately wreak havoc on the eco fair, causing the guests and entertainers to flee while Mrs. Martin talks to an owl.DF-00027Lyman accidentally tranquilizes the sponsor for the construction, Mr. Gupta (Gerry Bednob), after he attempted to break their deal. He flees into a worm tunnel with the animals in close pursuit. The animals began attacking him, as a bear drives a golf cart, pulling the tunnel away into a bush. After some convincing from Amber and Tammy, Tyler finally tells his father that he loves him. Three months later, the forest is reclaimed as a nature preserve with Dan working as a park ranger. The poster promoting the forest preservation also states that anyone who violates the rules will be fined $1,000,000.00. During the credits, the humans and animals dance to the Transcenders version of “Insane in the Brain.”c977cc9bb37fea5acc025f901887d77c2d5cad10Of course Brendon has done better more artful movies, of course he’s done more adult-themed action, but why all the hate for this movie? The performances are exaggerated sure, and yes, you can tell no-one has spent months refining the CGI. But what the hell, the movie makes you smile throughout, with a few laugh out loud moments thrown in too, and the extras on the Blu-ray prove that everyone had a good time making the film.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: NORM OF THE NORTH

CAST

Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)
Heather Graham (The Hangover)
Maya Kay (Alpha and Omega)
Ken Jeong (Community)
James Corden (Into The Woods)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Colm Meaney (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
Loretta Devine (Crash)
Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones)
Salome Jens (Green Lantern)

Norm the polar bear is the son of the king of the Arctic. In his youth, he develops the ability to speak to humans, a trait shared by his grandfather. Because of this, he is made an outcast from the other animals, only being accepted by Socrates, a wise bird, and Elizabeth, a female polar bear whom Norm is in love with. Years later, Norm’s grandfather has disappeared and human tourists are filling the Arctic. Socrates shows Norm and three Arctic lemmings a luxury condo that has been installed on the ice. Inside this condo is Vera, a representative for wealthy developer Mr. Greene. After Norm saves Vera from an avalanche, Mr. Greene tells her to find an actor to play a polar bear for their campaign. Socrates convinces Norm and the lemmings to stow away on a ship to New York City.3In the city, Norm, pretending to be an actor dressed as a bear, auditions for Mr. Greene’s commercial and is taken to dinner by Vera. Greene, who realizes that Norm is a real bear, suspects that Norm has come to free his grandfather, whom Greene has captured. During a public incident involving Greene trying to shoot Norm in the restaurant, Norm subdues Greene, gaining the attention of the media and heightening Greene’s approval ratings. Greene decides to hire Norm as his mascot. Before going on a television show, Norm meets Vera’s daughter Olympia, who tells Norm to raise Greene’s approval ratings and then speak out against him to save the Arctic. Norm’s popularity heightens the approval ratings, but Greene sabotages Norm’s plan by playing recorded dialogue stating that Norm supports Greene’s developments.2Defeated, Norm is comforted by Vera and Olympia, who reveals that Greene is developing more homes to install in the Arctic. Norm and the lemmings discover that Greene is bribing a high-ranking member of the Polar Council, and exposes this to Pablo, one of Greene’s investors. Vera resigns her position and is hired by Pablo, while Norm and the lemmings chase the truck holding the houses. Greene sends another truck carrying Norm’s grandfather, and Norm is captured as well. After being freed by the lemmings, Norm and his grandfather catch up to the boat carrying the houses to the Arctic, and are able to detach the houses. However, Norm is separated from his grandfather and the lemmings, and is knocked unconscious. Norm awakens in the Arctic and reunited with the lemmings and the other animals, who reveal that his grandfather was not found. Because of his heroism, Norm is crowned the king of the Arctic, before his grandfather arrives at the ceremony. Meanwhile, Mr. Greene is humiliated after his plan is exposed, and Vera and Olympia are happy with Pablo as their new boss, while Norm and Elizabeth have three cubs together.ANORMOn the whole this movie is a fun outing that the whole family can enjoy. It also opens the door to talk to kids about protecting the environment without being preachy or taking aim at anyone who feels the ways to do so are up for discussion. Rather than say the science is closed it says let’s talk about this and see what kind of solution we can come up with. For me at least this seems like a responsible way to let kids know and hopefully will help them grow up to find solutions rather than focus on who to blame

REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON

CAST

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

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

REVIEW: ZOOKEEPER

CAST

Kevin James (Paul Blart: Mall Cop)
Rosario Dawson (The Defendors)
Leslie Bibb (American Housewife)
Joe Rogan (NewsRadio)
Nat Faxon (Sex Tape)
Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
Steffiana de la Cruz (Stealing Harvard)
Thomas Gottschalk (Sister Act 2)
Donnie Wahlberg (Saw II)
Brandon Keener (The Purge: Anarchy)
Nick Nolte (Tropic Thunder)
Sylvester Stallone (Rocky)
Adam Sandler (Big Daddy)
Cher (The Witches of Eastwick)
Jon Favreau (Iron man)
Faizon Love (Wonderland)
Maya Rudolph (Grown Ups)
Don Rickles (Toy Story)
Jim Breuer (Dick)
Nick Bakay (Sabrina: TTW)

A zookeeper named Griffin Keyes (Kevin James) sets up a plan to propose to the love of his life Stephanie (Leslie Bibb), but she rejects him and claims that his career as a zookeeper is what is keeping her away, therefore breaking Griffin’s heart. Five years later, Griffin is shown to be the lead zookeeper at the Franklin Park Zoo who cares deeply for the zoo animals. That night, Griffin holds a party at the zoo for his brother Dave (Nat Faxon) who is getting married, but freaks out when he discovers that Stephanie was invited. Dave offers Griffin to come and work with him at a car dealership, explaining that it is the best way to get Stephanie back. Griffin contemplates quitting his job at the zoo and joining his brother at the dealership.Later, the animals hold a meeting saying that they think Griffin is the best zookeeper at the zoo and don’t want him to leave, so they decide to find some way to help him win Stephanie’s heart. Jerome the Bear (Jon Favreau) suggests that they teach Griffin their animal mating techniques, but Joe the Lion (Sylvester Stallone) protests, reminding them that it’s against the animal code to talk to humans. Donald the Monkey (Adam Sandler) says that Stephanie will be at the zoo tomorrow, and all the animals have to do is make Griffin look like a hero in front of her.The next day, Donald unlocks the door to the lion enclosure and lets Joe out, who confronts Stephanie and Dave’s fiancée Robin (Steffiana de la Cruz). Kate (Rosario Dawson), the zoo’s vet, manages to get them away from Joe, but Griffin fails to jump into the lion enclosure, ruining the animals’ plan. When he climbs out of the enclosure, Joe yells at Griffin, causing Griffin to believe he has gone mad. The next night, all the animals break their code of silence and tell Griffin that they will teach him what to do to win Stephanie. Griffin learns their different mating rituals, but ends up humiliating himself in front of the other zookeepers and the guests. Griffin then has a talk with Bernie (Nick Nolte), a forlorn gorilla who was moved into a deep enclosure after allegedly attacking a zookeeper named Shane (Donnie Wahlberg). Bernie explains to Griffin that Shane abuses the animals and he fell when he was abusing Bernie. He lied and said that Bernie attacked him, causing Bernie to lose his trust in humans.Griffin discovers that Stephanie is dating her other ex-boyfriend, a bullying alpha-male named Gale (Joe Rogan). Joe’s mate Janet (Cher) tells Griffin that the best way to attract a female is to be seen with another female, so Griffin asks Kate to go with him to Dave and Robin’s wedding. Griffin then takes Bernie to T.G.I. Friday’s and they bond, with Bernie telling Griffin that he’s his best friend. Griffin and Kate go to the wedding and seem to have fun together. Griffin becomes brave enough to stand up to Gale and this grabs Stephanie’s attention. After Kate tells Griffin she had a great time with him, Stephanie asks Griffin out to dinner. Griffin accepts and they go to dinner and then go to a fashion show. Stephanie tells Griffin that his job at the zoo is holding him back, so Griffin decides to quit his job and accepts Dave’s offer, which upsets Kate. Bernie also becomes upset and tells Griffin that he thought he could trust someone again, but was proved wrong when Griffin quit his job. Kate decides to leave the zoo and accepts a job in Nairobi.Griffin becomes the best employee at the car dealership, but misses working at the zoo. Stephanie proposes to Griffin, but Griffin refuses and dumps her. He then goes back to the zoo and apologizes to Bernie, who accepts Griffin’s friendship. The animals then tell Griffin that Kate is heading to the airport. Griffin heads out to stop her, though he does make a stop first to beat up Shane. Then, with Bernie’s help, Griffin manages to catch up with Kate on the bridge and confesses his love for her. Six months later, Griffin and Kate are back working at the zoo and Bernie is now living in a new enclosure where he gets a great view of the city. When Bernie asks what a “Benihana” is, Griffin asks Bernie if he still has his iZod.The movie is severely underrated by Critics and some audience members alike. It contains some seriously funny comedy that is suitable for all ages.