REVIEW: RED STATE

CAST

Michael Parks (Kill Bill)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield lane)
Kerry Bishe (Argo)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Michael Angarano (Sky High)
Kyle Gallner (Smallville)
Nicholas Braun (Poltergeist)
Ralph Garman (Ted)
Stephen Root (Robocop 3)
James Parks (Death Proof)
Haley Ramm (X-Men 3)
Kevin Pollak (Mom)
Matt Jones (Adventure Time)
Kevin Alejandro (Arrow)
Jennifer Schwalbach Smith (Now You Know)
Kevin Smith (Dogma)
Marc Blucas (Buffy)

Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad)
Molly Hagan (No Good Nick)

Ralph Garman and James Parks in Red State (2011)It begins as the story of three teenagers (Michael Angarano, Nicholas Braun, and Kyle Gallner) from a small Midwestern town in the proximity of the Cooper family, an evangelical sect in the Phelps mold that only seems to venture out of their church/compound to for vile public demonstrations, usually at funerals. The boys are aware of the Coopers, but their primary interests lie elsewhere: namely, the pursuit of anonymous sex, which one promises can be had with an anonymous woman he’s connected with online via a Grindr-style app. They make a date. It doesn’t go as planned.The dirty-talking set-up isn’t too far removed from Smith’s usual style–he’s toying with our expectations, palming quarters while entertaining us with patter. What is surprising about Smith’s screenplay is how tightly wound the storytelling is. There’s a confidence and a momentum to the progression of the events, which echo the Phelps; the ground he’s covering sounds far-flung, but the narrative pushes forward with such precision that there’s an inevitability to the way the events unfold.It is more of an unsettling movie, a disturbing one, in which the responsibility for jangling the audience is less on the sound designer and his library of cat shrieks, and more on the filmmaker’s ability to create tension and his actors’ skill at getting under our skin. To that end, not enough can be said about Michael Parks, the terrific character actor (and, more recently, favorite of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez) who plays Abin Cooper, the Fred Phelp-esque patriarch of the fundamentalist family. His voice a gravelly growl, his eyes black as night, his delivery deceptively laid-back, Parks delivers a long, riveting, and thoroughly creepy sermon early on that masterfully shifts the picture’s tone; he’s just talking, but there’s evil in his bones (“God doesn’t love you… ‘less you fear him”).Kyle Gallner and Kerry Bishé in Red State (2011)He doesn’t raise his voice–he doesn’t have to. He waits until the end to go for broke, and when he does, it’s tremendous. John Goodman, as a good-hearted but petrified ATF agent, is terrific as well–but then again, there’s not a bad performance in the movie,  Kerry Bishé, Stephen Root, and newly minted Oscar winner Melissa Leo all turn up; all inhabit their roles with believability and immediacy.

 

REVIEW: COP OUT

CAST
Bruce Willis (Die Hard)
Tracy Morgan (30 Rock)
Adam Brody (Mr and Mrs Smith)
Kevin Pollak (Mom)
Michelle Trachtenberg (Euro Trip)
Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl)
Rashida Jones (I Love You Man)
Seann William Scott (American Pie)
Hannah Ware (Hitman: Agent 47)
MV5BMTMxNTE5NTgzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTAwMTQ2NA@@._V1_
James “Jimmy” Monroe and Paul Hodges (Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan) are cops working for the NYPD who celebrated their ninth year together as partners. After failing to capture suspect Juan Diaz (Cory Fernandez) and for causing a dangerous neighborhood shootout and beating up a child, Jimmy and Paul are suspended without pay. Jimmy’s daughter Ava (Michelle Trachtenberg) is getting married, and the price for the wedding is close to fifty thousand dollars. Though his ex-wife Pam’s arrogant second husband Roy (Jason Lee) offers to pay for the wedding, Jimmy is determined to find a way to come up with the money so that Roy will not humiliate him. Paul is worried that his wife Debbie (Rashida Jones) is cheating on him, so he sets up a secret video camera in a teddy bear. While Jimmy is selling a 1952 Andy Pafko baseball card to pay for the wedding, he is mugged by Dave (Seann William Scott), who steals his card and Paul’s favorite gun. They find out that Dave is going to rob a house that night so they stake out the house to retrieve the card and gun. Jimmy and Paul arrest Dave and discover he has sold the card and gun for drugs.
Jimmy and Paul go to the dealer, Poh Boy (Guillermo Díaz), who tells them they may have the card if they retrieve a stolen car. When they find the car, they discover a distressed woman named Gabriela (Ana de la Reguera) in the trunk. Gabriela reveals that she is the mistress of a murdered drug lord who was kidnapped by Poh Boy’s gang. Jimmy previews the tape from Paul’s hidden camera and finds what looks to be Debbie and another man, but tells Paul there is nothing on it. Paul then sees the tape from his hidden camera and is heartbroken when he sees that Jimmy has lied: Debbie is with another man in their bedroom. Gabriela does not want to get Jimmy and Paul hurt, so she flees, leaving them a flashdrive concealed in a cross, which contains information about dealer’s contact numbers. Jimmy and Paul pay Dave’s bail so that he may retrieve the card and gun but he falls out of a tree and dies. Jimmy goes in to retrieve the card, but is surrounded by the gang. At the same time, Paul learns that Debbie is not cheating on him after all: she has played a trick on him for hiding the camera in their bedroom. After killing most of the gang, Jimmy and Paul find Poh Boy holding Gabriela at gunpoint. They shoot him dead, but Paul’s bullet goes through the head of the baseball player on Jimmy’s card, which is hidden in Poh Boy’s shirt pocket. Pleased with the duo’s investigation and assisting two colleagues (Adam Brody and Kevin Pollak) who were caught in the shootout, the precinct chief (Sean Cullen) restores Jimmy and Paul to active duty and gives them commendations.
Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan in Cop Out (2010)
Crestfallen at the destruction of his prized card, Jimmy lets Roy pay for the wedding. Pam asks a favor of Jimmy that he and Roy give away Ava together. Jimmy says nothing about it. Paul discreetly points his pistol at Roy and orders him to sit down at the moment the priest calls out the father who would give away Ava. A bonus scene during the closing credits reveals that Dave did not die in the fall when he pulls a prank on the coroner opening the body bag by doing one of his knock-knock jokes resulting in her fleeing in horror while Dave exits the body bag in laughter.
Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan in Cop Out (2010)
The film has a good pace from the start and is filled with comical situations, which at times are vulgar but generally funny. The gags are not new, however the way they’ve been presented makes you laugh. The screenplay is tight, making this run-of-the-mill feature into something thats better. The action sequences are exciting and the climax, although predictable is alright. Keep watching once the credits start rolling as there is a really funny scene in store.

REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 29

the-simpsons

CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

The Simpsons (1989)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Billy Boyd (Seed of Chucky)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones)
Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
Martin Short (Galaxy Quest)
Valerie Harper (A Friend To Die For)
Joe Mantegna (Redbelt)
Ben Daniels (Doom)
Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls)
Jon Lovitz (The Wedding Singer)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Shaquille O’Neal (Steel)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
Cecily Strong (The Boss)
Kevin Pollak (Mom)
Andy Daly (Reno 911!)
J.K Simmons (Spider-Man)
Dawnn Lewis (Izombie)
Jackie Mason (Caddyshack II)
Danielle Radcliffe (Imperium)
Jimmy O. Yang (Silicon Valley)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
Debi Mazar (Goodfellas)
Jonathan Schmock (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)
Glenn Close (Damages)
Marcia Wallace (Full House)
Sidse Babett Knudsen (Westworld)

The Simpsons (1989)What more can I possibly say about a TV show that has already been praised to death? I was 8 when the Simpsons first aired and I’m 37 now. I’ve seen every single episode, and I’d have to say it’s a rare combination of factors that come together to make The Simpsons the best show ever.The Simpsons (1989)It’s a very clever and intelligent show – they never dumb anything down – and as creator Matt Groening has remarked, “The Simpsons is a show that rewards paying attention.” There are always enough obscure pop-culture references or subtle background gags to ensure that the second, third, or tenth viewing of an episode will find you noticing something you hadn’t before.
The Simpsons (1989)In the early days of The Simpsons, they derived a large part of their popularity from the everyday, down-to-earth, unglamorous, average-blue-collar-slob aspect of the Simpson family. Homer is lazy and doesn’t like his job, Bart doesn’t excel at school, the plastic ketchup bottle they use at the dinner table makes that farting sound, and so on. This aspect of the program contrasts it with popular 80’s family sitcoms such as The Cosby Show which always featured impossibly well-functioning families who got along a little too perfectly and usually learned a neat little lesson at the end of each episode. An early tag-line for The Simpsons said that they “put the Fun back in Dysfunctional.”The Simpsons (1989)Perhaps this blue-collar-slobness by itself is nothing shockingly original – think of previous TV shows such as Roseanne, Married with Children, All in the Family, The Honeymooners – but the Simpsons doesn’t stop there. This show is extremely densely packed with jokes – everything from cerebral witticisms and sly satire to Homer falling down and going “D’oh!” Because it’s a cartoon, the writers can get away with surreal gags such as the time Homer tells a joke which falls flat, after which a long silence happens which is punctuated by a single tumbleweed rolling through the Simpson’s living room.
Julie Kavner in The Simpsons (1989)There are just too many things to mention about The Simpsons. It can be touching occasionally; more often the viewers are treated to an unequalled cavalcade of obscure references, surreal sight gags, wacky adventures, self-mocking irony… The list goes on and on. Just watch it, else you’re missing out on one of the most important elements of  popular culture. Season 29 continues the trend of excellent humor and some very fun moments for our favorite family and shows The Simpsons has strong legs to continue on with 30th season airing in the winter of  2018.

 

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: END OF DAYS

CAST

Arnold Schwarzenegger (Maggie)
Robin Tunney (Hollywoodland)
Gabriel Byrne (Stigmata)
Kevin Pollak (Mom)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)
Derrick O’Connor (Alias)
Miriam Margolyes (Magnolia)
Udo Kier (Blade)
Victor Varnado (The Intern)
Rod Steiger (The Amityville Horror)
Jack Shearer (Star Trek: First Contact)
Steve Kramer (Masked Rider)
Sven-Ole Thorsen (Gladiator)

In 1979 a priest at the Vatican sees a comet arching over the moon (described as the “Eye of God”), heralding the birth of one chosen to be the mother of Satan’s child. The priest is sent on a mission by the Pope to find and protect the girl from Satan, although a few Vatican Knights (led by a corrupt cardinal) insist that she must die. In New York a newborn girl, Christine York, is identified by Satanists (including her physician, Dr. Abel, and her nurse and future guardian, Mabel) as the woman chosen to bear Satan’s child on New Year’s Eve, 1999. The Satanists perform occult rites on the newborn.In late 1999, Satan possesses an investment banker in a restaurant; he then destroys the restaurant, killing many inside. Suicidal and alcoholic former police detective Jericho Cane, depressed since his wife and daughter were killed in contract killings, works for a private security company and blames God for his plight. Jericho and co-worker Bobby Chicago are assigned to protect the possessed banker. A priest, Thomas Aquinas, unsuccessfully tries to kill the banker. Jericho captures Aquinas, who warns Jericho: “The thousand years has ended, the dark angel is loosed from his prison” and says that a girl is central. Jericho shoots Aquinas, who is arrested by the New York Police Department. Marge Francis, an NYPD detective and Jericho’s former colleague, tells him that Aquinas has no tongue.Jericho and Bobby investigate on their own, learning that Aquinas was trained at the Vatican and was sent to New York before disappearing. Jericho questions Father Kovak, a priest who knew Aquinas. Kovak asks Jericho if he believes in God; when he says no, the priest tells him that Aquinas was driven mad by forces an atheist could not understand. They go to Aquinas’ apartment, where they find his tongue in a jar and messages and symbols written in blood on the walls. Marge arrives, forcing them to leave. Satan infiltrates Aquinas’ hospital, and crucifies him on the ceiling. Although he survives, he is shot by a Satanic police officer. Jericho and Chicago see Latin words and “Christ in New York” scratched into Aquinas’ skin, and begins searching for Christine York.Jericho and Chicago find Christine in her apartment, saving her from the Vatican Knights, and she brings them to Mabel’s house. After Satan destroys Chicago’s van, killing him, Jericho attempts to leave with Christine. Mabel attacks Jericho, refusing to let him have Christine. Satan enters the house and kills Mabel for failing him; Jericho and Christine escape. Marge and another officer, both Satanists, tell Jericho to surrender Christine. Jericho kills them, but Satan resurrects Marge. Father Kovak tells Jericho and Christine that Satan must impregnate her moments before midnight on New Year’s Eve to usher in the “end of days”. Christine accepts Kovak’s protection.Satan infiltrates Jericho’s apartment, showing him a vision of his family’s murder, offering to bring them back in return for Christine. Enraged, Jericho throws Satan through his apartment window after a fight, and Chicago appears. At the church, the Vatican Knights try to kill Christine before Satan kills them. Chicago tells Jericho that he is in league with Satan after he brought him back. Kovak rescues Jericho, and Satan kidnaps Christine. After locating Satan’s underground temple, Jericho rescues Christine and again kills Marge. Chicago stops Jericho, who persuades him to fight off Satan’s influence; Satan burns him alive. Jericho escapes with Christine into a subway tunnel. They battle to survive against Satan together; Jericho fires a grenade at their pursuer, who leaves the banker to die for a new host.Jericho and Christine escape to another church, where Jericho renews his faith in God and prays for strength. Satan confronts Jericho as a massive, winged creature and possesses him. Jericho attempts to rape Christine, who tries to escape before Jericho deliberately impales himself on a sword protruding from a statue. At the stroke of midnight God frees Jericho’s dying body, sends Satan back to hell and the world celebrates the new millennium. Jericho and Christine see the former’s family waiting for him in the afterlife. He dies in peace, and Christine waits with his body for the authorities.All in all, an enjoyable romp for fans of the Arnie before his attention was diverted by a political career. It compares well to his classic eighties work by trying to do something different and while it may not gel properly in places, for a good 80% of the running time it does a very entertaining job.

 

REVIEW: SHE’S ALL THAT

 

CAST

Freddie Prinze. Jr (Bones)
Rachael Leigh Cook (Antitrust)
Paul Walker (The Fast and The Furious)
Matthew Lillard (Scream)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (The Vampire Diaries)
Kevin Pollak (Mom)
Usher (The Faculty)
Lil Kim (Superhero Movie)
Anna Paquin (X-Men)
Kieran Culkin (Home Alone 2)
Elden Henson (Daredevil TV)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy)
Gabrielle Union (Flashforward)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Alexis Arquette (Pulp Fiction)
Chris Owen (American Pie)
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Flex Alexander (The Hills Have Eyes 2)
Tamara Mello (Popular)
Debbie Lee Carrington (Total Recall)

MV5BZTUxOTQ1NTQtYzViMS00ODUzLWI2OTYtMzUwODNlZWE5ODA4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjQ4ODE4MzQ@._V1_

Taylor Vaughn (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) is supposed to be a lock for prom queen, but her newly-minted ex Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.) shrugs that off. Grab any girl on campus, give her the right look, and pair her with the right dude, and — flash forward a month and a half! — she’s the one getting a sparkly tiara placed atop her immaculately-coiffed head. Über-bro Dean Sampson (Paul Walker) sez that it’s a bet, and as part of the terms, he even gets to choose the girl. ‘Course, Dean’s not gonna make it easy.  The unwittingly lucky lady…? Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook)! A standoff-ish klutz.

She’s All That isn’t exactly going to blindside you with outta-left-field twists or anything. You know Laney isn’t gonna give Zack so much as the time of day. You know he’ll wind up wearing her down and that the two of ’em will get to be buddies. You know they’re gonna fall in doe-eyed love. You know that whole bet thing will come back to bite Zack on the ass. You know they’ll break-up-to-make-up, that there will be a big thing at the prom, that the bad kids will get what’s coming to ’em, and that it’ll all end happily ever after. You know beat-for-beat how things are gonna go, and that predictability is kinda part of the appeal.it’s a film you can sit down to and not have to think much.