REVIEW: CHIPS (2017)

CAST

Michael Pena (Ant-man)
Dax Shepard (Hit & Run)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Jurassic World)
Rosa Salazar (Epic)
Jessica McNamee (The Vow)
Adam Brody (Cop Out)
Isiah Whitlock Jr. (Enchanted)
Richard T. Jones (Santa Clarita Diet)
Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars)
Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm In The Middle)
Justin Chatwin (War of The Worlds)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Ed Begley Jr (Batman Forever)
Kristen Bell (The Boss)
Maya Rudolph (50 First Dates)
Josh Duhamel (Transformers)
Erik Estrada (King Cobra)
Andrew Howard (Limitless)
Merrin Dungey (Alias)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (That 70s Show)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
Mae Whitman (The Duff)
Adam Rodriguez (Magic Mike)

Michael Peña in CHIPS (2017)The film begins with a getaway driver waiting for his crew in a Miami bank. Following a brief car chase, the driver reveals himself as Special Agent Castillo (Michael Peña) of the FBI. He then arrests the criminal crew who killed his former partner. During the arrest, Castillo fires his service weapon through his partner’s, Special Agent Clay Allen’s (Adam Brody), shoulder. He then proceeded to show a naked photo of the criminal’s wife to prove Castillo’s affair with her.Michael Peña and Dax Shepard in CHIPS (2017)Meanwhile, at the training center for the California Highway Patrol, Jon Baker (Dax Shepard) is a trainee who is awaiting his final exam to graduate. Failing a series of simple tests, he is placed at the desk of CHP Sergeant Gail Hernandez (Maya Rudolph) for a final interview and decision. Hernandez acknowledges his ability to “ride” a motorcycle better than the majority of the cadets she trained. She grants him probationary approval to graduate pending a performance review based on Citations, Arrests and Good overall evaluations from Superiors. During the interview he mentions his past as a motocross competition champion and the fallout resulting from his injuries on the track. After losing all he had gained, from sponsors to contracts, Baker’s wife Karen (Kristen Bell) divorced him and allowed Baker to remain a resident of their estate in the guest house.Michael Peña and Dax Shepard in CHIPS (2017)Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the California Highway Patrol begins a pursuit with a crew of robbers that ride motorcycles following their robbery of an armored car. During the chase, a CHP Air Unit is overhead. The helicopter’s pilot recognizes the Armed Guard that is being held hostage and is told by the hostage taker to jump from the chopper to prove his love. The pilot subsequently jumps to his death. The guard is told by the Hostage Taker, referred to as “L.T.”, to return the money he stole as part of the crew. In Miami, Castillo’s boss Agent Peterson (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) notifies him that his actions resulted in the Bureau convening a review panel to consider terminating Castillo from the FBI. Following the conversation, he orders Castillo to go undercover in California to help investigate the series of armored car robberies with alleged connections to the police.Michael Peña and Dax Shepard in CHIPS (2017)Castillo is given the alias of Officer Frank (Ponch) Poncherello in the California Highway Patrol’s LA District. Unknown to the officers, CHP Lieutenant Raymond Kurtz (Vincent D’Onofrio) is the leader of a small group of corrupt CHP Officers. The group is committing these robberies to gather money for Kurtz’s heroin addicted son (Justin Chatwin) to escape the access to drugs he has in LA. Now undercover as Officer Poncherello he arrives at his assigned station. There he is partnered with Baker who immediately shows the inability to speak to women as fellow Officer Ava Perez (Rosa Salazar) invites him to take a motorcycle tour of her favorite route. Baker mistakes this as an attempt to hit on him, which angers Perez greatly.Michael Peña and Ryan Hansen in CHIPS (2017)Following a long time in a public restroom, Baker accuses Ponch of masturbating multiple times a day to refrain from his sexual addiction. As they discuss the issue, Ponch brings up the fact that if Baker hasn’t had sex with his wife for than a year, it obviously means that someone is doing her for him. During that argument, the robbery crew makes another attempt at an armored truck job. The crew shoots and kills two CHP Officers during the attempt prompting a police response. While responding the crew evades them using Ducati motorcycles. Baker then saves Ponch from being run over by a trucker who was unfocused on the road. During another chase, Baker encounters Kurtz’ son. The two begin a pursuit that results in Lieutenant Kurtz running Baker over with a SWAT van after his son is decapitated and subsequently killed by a steel cable. Officer Perez (Rosa Salazar) begins CPR and the air unit is called in to airlift Baker to a hospital while Kurtz escapes easily. Following the incident, Castillo is held responsible by the FBI Agent in charge of the case for the 3 CHP officers and 2 FBI agents that were injured.During that time, Baker is confronted by Officer Perez and asked if he would like to get a ride home from her. Baker responds that he would like to wait for his wife to come for him. Perez leaves upset about the encounter. While this is happening, Castillo mistakenly dials Captain Jane Lindel and begins sexting her. Upon seeing her naked and having an episode of Premature ejaculation, Castillo destroys his phone. The next day, Peterson travels to LA to speak to Castillo since his phone wasn’t working. Upon seeing the level of destruction Castillo caused, Peterson agrees with the panel’s decision and terminates Castillo from the FBI. With no one picking him up from his discharge, Baker is met by Castillo and the two discuss the sexting issue and his termination from the bureau.Michael Peña, Dax Shepard, and Rosa Salazar in CHIPS (2017)Baker and Castillo return to the Baker residence to find that Karen (Kristen Bell) and her new boyfriend Rick (Josh Duhamel) sold the house and all of Baker’s assets to another family. They sit down and enjoy dinner together while discussing the case. There, after seeing the photo of the severed head of the suspect, Baker realizes that the suspect competed against him in the Motocross sport. They begin a simple Google Search that reveals the full legal name of the suspect and the clear connection to the CHP Lieutenant as the suspect was a motocross competitor named “Reed Jr”. The search gave a Wikipedia page that made the connection to the Kurtz family as the Lieutenant’s son.Michael Peña, Dax Shepard, Ryan Hansen, Jessica McNamee, and Rosa Salazar in CHIPS (2017)Together, they approach CHP Captain Jane Lindel (Jane Kaczmarek) to demand resources from the CHP and to arrest the five officers they’ve discovered to be working with Kurtz. However, Castillo realizes that he was fired from the FBI and no longer acts as a officer of the law. Captain Linden subsequently swears him in as a CHP Officer. Meanwhile, Kurtz Jr’s cousin and corrupt CHP Officer, Brian Grieves (Ryan Hansen), was discharged by fellow corrupt CHP Officer and Castillo’s love interest Lindsey Taylor (Jessica McNamee). Officer Ava Perez, upon arrving too late to apprehend them, begins recruiting a group of officers to go on the hunt. Now formally a CHP Officer, Castillo recruits Baker into the hunt for the Kurtz crew. As they gear up, Kurtz sends a photo of Karen tied up and demands that they come to a location in the middle of the desert. There, Kurtz opens fire and shoots Castillo’s fingers off. As Kurtz enters he begins a fistfight with Baker and Castillo. During the fistfight, fellow CHP members led by Officer Ava Perez encounter heavy gunfire from the corrupt Officers guarding the location.Michael Peña and Dax Shepard in CHIPS (2017)Following an attempt to shoot Kurtz, Baker shoots an explosive resulting in a massive explosion of the bunker. However, Kurtz is still alive and begins another fistfight with Baker. Lindsey Taylor arrives and fakes an arrest. She places the pistol in Kurtz’ hands and reveals herself as a crew member. Kurtz fires the pistol into Baker’s arm three times with the third bullet splinting off of his titanium arm implant into Kurtz’ head, killing him instantly. Baker reveals his arm was titanium following an injury in a motocross competition that he won 1st place in. Meanwhile, a fistfight begins between Officer Perez and Taylor ending in Perez taking Taylor into custody. While in the ambulance to the hospital, they encounter a Paramedic (Erik Estrada) who treats Castillo’s injuries. With them is Officer Perez, who was asked to ride in the ambulance by Baker. Baker and Perez begin having sex in the Ambulance as Castillo and the Paramedic (Estrada) converse, in Spanish, on Perez’ body and Baker’s inability to perform anal sex. The movie ends with Perez acknowledging the comments and revealing that she does speak Spanish, understanding what they’re saying. A final cut scene shows Castillo receiving a call from his former FBI boss, Agent Peterson, offering his FBI position back to which he responds that he’d prefer to stay in the CHP.Michael Peña and Dax Shepard in CHIPS (2017)Ignore the critic wannabe’s and give it a go, just don’t expect anything from the 70’s/80’s or that will make you think.

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REVIEW: BAD MOMS 2: A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS

CAST

Mila Kunis (Ted)
Kristen Bell (The Boss)
Kathryn Hahn (Free Agents)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Susan Sarandon (That’s My Boy)
Cheryl Hines (Waitress)
Jay Hernandez (Hostel)
Justin Hartley (Smallville)
Peter Gallagher (American Beauty)
Oona Laurence (Southpaw)
Emjay Anthony (Chef)
Wanda Sykes (Clerks 2)
Christina Applegate (Anchorman)

Mila Kunis and Jay Hernandez in A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)Amy (Mila Kunis) is now in a happy relationship with Jesse (Jay Hernandez) and is looking forward to having a simple Christmas. Her plans are derailed when her overly critical mother, Ruth (Christine Baranski), texts her to say she is coming for Christmas. Meanwhile, Kiki (Kristen Bell) is still overworked with her four kids but now her husband Kent is much more helpful. Kiki is surprised when her mother Sandy (Cheryl Hines) shows up three days earlier than expected and is planning to spend the next three weeks with Kiki. Sandy’s love for Kiki is overwhelming, and smothering Kiki.Susan Sarandon and Kathryn Hahn in A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)When Carla (Kathryn Hahn) gets home, her mother, Isis (Susan Sarandon), has arrived, telling her she intends to spend time with her for the first time in years. Surprised by this turn of events Carla is excited to spend time with her. Eventually, Amy, Kiki and Carla go to the mall where they express their misery over the holidays. But while commiserating about the pressures of the holidays they make a pact to “take Christmas back”. Ruth tries to create a spectacle out of Christmas, rather than keeping it simple like Amy wanted. In an effort to tamp down those plans Amy takes the family to Sky Zone to meet up with Kiki and Carla and their families. Ruth, Sandy and Isis all meet and chat while their daughters have fun with their kids.Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn in A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)At work, Carla meets an erotic dancer named Ty (Justin Hartley), who says he is competing in a Sexy Santa competition and he asks Carla to be his date, which she enthusiastically accepts. Kiki continues to have issues with her mother’s overbearing ways and decides to bring Sandy to Dr. Karl (Wanda Sykes) to discuss these issues. This leads to a breakdown in communication leading to Kiki scolding Sandy and causing her to leave the session. Amy and Kiki join Carla as they attend the Sexy Santa show. All the ladies in the room are impressed with Ty’s dancing. To everyone’s surprise, Isis gets up on the bar and starts dancing with Ty. Carla runs up to get Ty back, leading to a fight. When Carla brings Isis home, Isis tells her she needs money for a new investment, but Carla knows she’s just going to gamble it all away and then disappear from Carla’s life like it’s been for years. Nonetheless, Carla relents and loans Isis the money.Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, and Phil Pierce in A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)On Christmas Eve, Sandy tells Kiki that she put up a cash offer for the house next door so that she can live right next to Kiki. Finally, Kiki lashes out and tells Sandy she cannot live next door and that she wants some space. Sandy leaves the room crying. Amy gets angry with Ruth when she discovers Ruth has invited a bunch of strangers over to her home to throw an elaborate Christmas party, exactly what Amy did not want. Amy loses her temper and demands everyone leave her home and tells Ruth to leave and get out of her life forever. Her kids, Jane and Dylan, witness this outburst and become upset with Amy. Meanwhile, Carla finds a note from Isis indicating she has just taken off with the money she lent her. Kiki is all alone as well.ac00-FILM-Bad-Mom-s-Xmas-reviewRuth goes to church for Midnight Mass and is, surprisingly, joined by Sandy and Isis. All the ladies criticize each other for their efforts as mothers, with each of them realizing their flaws. Amy’s father goes to her to talk about Ruth and the horrible fight they had, but acknowledging that while Ruth can be difficult to deal with, she has always been insecure over her work as a mom toward Amy, always worried whether or not she was doing a good job as a mother, but she always had the right intentions and loved Amy unconditionally. Amy goes to the church to try and repair her relationship with her mother. They apologize to each other and express their love. Once the clock strikes midnight, Amy and Ruth rush home to fix Christmas.badmomsOn Christmas morning, Jane and Dylan go downstairs to see that Ruth has returned, the relationship has been repaired and the house looking wonderful with decorations and gifts. Kiki makes up with Sandy, who tells her she put the neighboring house on the market and admits that she’s just always felt lonely on Christmas since Kiki’s father died. Carla is then visited by Isis, who is serious about turning her life around and has a new job at Sky Zone. All the families get together and Ruth, Sandy and Isis announce that they have become friends and are now planning to take a trip to Las Vegas.7A Bad Moms Christmas is a hilarious film. Directors Jon Lucas & Scott Moore make sure that, the protagonists repeat all their shenanigans that made Bad Moms a surprise hit. The viewer is guffawing throughout. However, the humor felt a little bit more fresh, in the original. The performances are what make this movie, so hysterical. Mila Kunis is spectacular as Amy. Kristen Bell is outstanding as Kiki. Kathryn Hahn is mind blowing as Carla. Christine Baranski is brilliant as Ruth. Susan Sarandon is fantastic as Isis. Cheryl Hines is awesome as Sandy. The supporting cast is great. A Bad Moms Christmas is a must watch for fans of Bad Moms.

REVIEW: BAD MOMS

CAST

Mila Kunis (Ted)
Kristen Bell (The Boss)
Kathryn Hahn (Tomorrowland)
Christina Applegate (Anchorman)
Jada Pinket Smith (Gotham)
Annie Mumolo (This Is 40)
Oona Laurenc (Southpaw)
David Walton (New Girl)
Clark Duke (Two and a Half Men)
Jay Hernandez (Suicide Squad)
Wanda Sykes (Evan Almighty)
Martha Stewart (2 Broke Girls)

Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis) is a married woman with two children, Jane (Oona Laurence) and Dylan (Emjay Anthony), who feels overworked and overcommitted. She works as a sales rep for a “hip” coffee company, prepares healthful, handpacked lunches for her children, does much of their homework, goes to all of their extracurricular activities, and is active in her school’s PTA, run by the domineering Gwendolyn James (Christina Applegate) and her cronies, Stacy (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Vicky (Annie Mumolo). When she catches her husband Mike (David Walton) cheating on her with a nude dairy farmer via the internet, Amy kicks him out and attempts to keep everything together.
After a particularly stressful day, Amy publicly quits the PTA in response to Gwendolyn’s overzealous bake sale plans. At a nearby bar, Amy meets Carla (Kathryn Hahn), a laid back, sexually-active single mom, and Kiki (Kristen Bell), a stay-at-home mom of four who adores Amy’s dissent from Gwendolyn. Amy and Carla are irritated to discover that Kiki’s husband is domineering and expects her to take care of all the kids and the house with no assistance whatsoever, while Amy and Kiki are disturbed at Carla’s very hands-off approach to parenting. The trio embark on an all-night bender that inspires Amy to loosen up with her kids: she takes them for rides in Mike’s classic car, gets them lunch from Arby’s, forces Dylan to fend for himself to prevent him from being lazy and entitled, and takes the overachieving and constantly stressed Jane for a spa day. Amy herself decides to start dating, but finds herself inexperienced due to her early marriage and motherhood. She ultimately ends up striking a connection with Jessie (Jay Hernandez), a handsome widower at the school who’s had a crush on her.
After Amy brings store-bought donut holes to the bake sale, she draws the ire of Gwendolyn, who uses her PTA authority to get Jane terminated from the soccer team. Amy is angered, and decides to run for PTA president in opposition to Gwendolyn. A meet-and-greet at Amy’s home draws only one visitor, who informs them that Gwendolyn has launched a rival party at her own house, catered by Martha Stewart. In spite of this, the other moms, and Martha, swiftly abandon Gwendolyn’s party when it becomes clear that she intends to lecture them all evening, leading to a successful alcoholic house party at Amy’s.
Gwendolyn responds by putting drugs in Jane’s locker, framing her, getting her kicked out of every extracurricular activities. Jane and Dylan both go to stay with Mike (who has agreed to an amicable divorce) in response to what they see as Amy’s failure as a mom. At the worst possible moment, Amy loses her job because her younger, “hip” boss refuses to understand her reasons for taking time off.
A despondent Amy stays home during the PTA election, but is roused to action by Carla and by Kiki, who finally stands up to her husband and orders him to deal with everything alone until the meeting is over. At the event, Amy gives an inspiring speech about how all the moms are overworked, and that they need to take time off, do fewer and less stressful events, and most importantly, allow themselves to make mistakes. Amy wins by a landslide, and eventually winds up comforting a devastated Gwendolyn, who reveals being in charge of the PTA was her only way to take out her anger at her husband’s arrest for embezzling from a charity.
Some weeks later, Amy’s approach has led to positive changes: Jane is stressing out less, Dylan is actually applying himself, Kiki now makes her husband help out with taking care of their kids, Carla is now more responsible and hands-on, and all of the other moms, including Stacy and Vicky, are feeling more energized. Amy herself has gotten her job back with much better compensation after her boss sees how much he had taken her for granted, and continues to see Jessie. Gwendolyn has admitted that Amy’s way has merit, and as the film closes, invites Amy, Carla and Kiki for a day of fun on her husband’s private jet. The ending credits play over the cast interviewing their real-life moms.asa-butterfield-and-ella-purnell-in-miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-children-1This is a good movie if you just want a bit of a laugh. It’s not meant to be taken too seriously and ignore most reviews on here about it trying to send a sexist message. Yeah the males in it all have minor roles but that’s because it’s a comedy about women. It is a decent comedy with quite a funny funny moments.

REVIEW: THE GOOD PLACE – SEASON 2

Ted Danson and Kristen Bell in The Good Place (2016)

 

MAIN CAST

Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
William Jackson Harper (Paterson)
Jameela Jamil (T4 on The Beach)
D’Arcy Carden (Other People)
Manny Jacinto (The Romeo Selection)
Ted Danson (Cheers)

Kristen Bell in The Good Place (2016)

 

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tiya Sircar (The Vampire Diaries)
Marc Evan Jackson (22 Jump Street)
Luke Guldan (Gossip Girl)
Maribeth Monroe (Workaholics)
Leslie Grossman (Popular)
Jason Mantzoukas (The Dictator)
Dax Shepard (Employee of The Month)
Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids)
Anna Khaja (Yes Man)

The comedy began last fall with Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) awakening after a humiliating death to find herself welcomed to heaven, despite having led a highly un-angelic life. With the help of her “soul mate” Chidi (William Jackson Harper), who was a philosopher on Earth before he was hit by a falling air conditioner, Eleanor eventually figured out the trouble with this paradise. The Good Place, it turns out, is actually The Bad Place. Or a bad place. Michael (Ted Danson), its seemingly kindly administrator, is in fact an infernal bureaucrat beta-testing a new way of tormenting souls by convincing them that they’ve gotten an eternal reward they don’t deserve.Ted Danson in The Good Place (2016)Eleanor’s guess ruins the scheme, and Michael ended the season by wiping his subjects’ memories and rebooting the scenario. Season 2, premiering Wednesday before moving to Thursdays, begins again at the beginning, after Eleanor’s end. It’s unusual for any series to so deliberately blow up its premise at the end of one season, particularly a season as delightful, promising and weirdly inventive as last year’s. (It burned so much plot that the return episode begins with a two-minute “Previously on …” segment.) But over the course of season 2, the Bad Place version of “The Good Place” proves it’s still able to surprise, while staying rooted in ideas that make it more than the sum of its twists.Kristen Bell and William Jackson Harper in The Good Place (2016)The first season had shades of “Groundhog Day,” another comedy that was a Trojan horse for philosophical inquiry. What does it mean to be good? Is it innate? Is it about intention or action? Is it a learned behavior, something that you can achieve, like physical fitness, by repeating a set of exercises? The new season parallels “Groundhog Day” more directly, by having Michael reboot his experimental hell from scratch. As he refines his torments, the show further unpeels the characters. Kristen Bell and William Jackson Harper in The Good Place (2016)

For the overintellectualizing Chidi, hell is being forced to make tough decisions. For the conspicuous do-gooder Tahani (Jameela Jamil), it’s having her righteous self-perception challenged. For slacker-bro Jason (Manny Jacinto), it’s having to spend eternity as Jianyu, the pious, silent monk whose identity he’s been given in a switch-up Michael engineered. Michael Schur, the creator of “The Good Place,” is otherwise known for “Parks and Recreation” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” sitcoms grounded with a specific sense of place. The afterlife in “The Good Place,” on the other hand, is deliberately artificial. To make it feel lived-in (or died-in) takes not just imagination but a pile of acting talent. That Mr. Danson can hit any pitch a writer can throw at him is no surprise. Still, what he did in the climactic Season 1 finale scene was stunning. After Eleanor guessed Michael’s ruse, he smiled a broad smile that began warm and turned diabolical. He reverse-polarized his character, and thus the entire series, in one facial expression.Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Manny Jacinto, and Jameela Jamil in The Good Place (2016)The new episodes show that this bespoke afterlife has endless possibilities for growth. The show is now also a dysfunctional-workplace comedy, for instance, as Michael begs for one more chance from his harsh bosses, who prefer the old-fashioned fire-and-hammers version of torment. There’s also a meta-theatrical element to the season, since The Bad Place in “The Good Place” is, itself, a show being rebooted. This story line spotlights Tiya Sircar, as the evil spirit who in season one played Real Eleanor (the person whose place in heaven Eleanor was told she was accidentally given) and is now assigned to be Denise, the pizza-shop owner in Michael’s new scenario. Denise is a good part, with a great back story,” Michael assures her, in the placating tones of a showrunner managing the talent. “You have a cat, and that’s cool!” This season’s switch-up means a lot of complication to ask a sitcom audience to follow, which may be why surreal romantic-workplace-showbiz-eschatological comedies do not have a long track record on network TV.Through its thrilling first season, “The Good Place” felt like it was always an episode or two from derailing, but it didn’t. The second season, premised on Michael’s having painted himself into a narrative corner, risks painting itself in one too. When Michael’s expedient is taken over by Vicky, he enlists Eleanor and the others to help him stop her, eventually learning to like them and begins to help them obtain a chance at the real Good Place. Seeing Michael change and become a character we can all root for wa sa nice change of pace for the show.Kristen Bell, Maya Rudolph, William Jackson Harper, Manny Jacinto, and Jameela Jamil in The Good Place (2016)There has been no shortage of wonderful, hopeful moments on The Good Place, but one ever-present, bleak truth has never been gone away: it’s hard to get to the real good place because the threshold to qualify as a truly good person is ridiculously high. And while the show’s season two finale, “Somewhere Else,” presented how the world makes it almost impossible to be a good person, it also gave us our best hope for how we can be anyway. Most of us would fail to qualify for “The Good Place.” Tahani raised 60 billion dollars for charity and helped a tremendous amount of people, but that didn’t matter because she did it for selfish reasons. Chidi spent a life obsessing over what it means to be a good person and tried to put those lessons into practice, but none of that mattered because his personal failings undid all of that. And last week, when they all showed how much genuine personal growth they’ve made, the Judge said none of that mattered. “Better” isn’t good enough, only “good” is good enough. Michael thinks the whole system for judging human lives might be broken, and he’s probably right and that’s not fair, but we know what Sean said about “fair.” You want to be a good person you better the right kind of really good person.the-good-place-episode-112-main(1)After Eleanor went back to Earth (or at the very least a simulation of it) for a literal real life test, we saw how the world did everything it could to keep her from being her best self. Working hard, telling the truth, and being selfless led to lawsuits, lost friends, and diarrhea, and that’s because life is full of bad people. Everything around us–greed, selfishness, apathy, anger–fights against our desire to be better people, and the harder we try to be good the more pointless it can seem. When things seems to be easier the worse you are as a person, why make things harder on yourself by being good? Especially when it isn’t clear there is any “moral dessert” to gain, in this life or the next? The Good Place has given empathetic reasons why someone might be bad before, like when we learned about Eleanor and Tahani’s parents. That didn’t let them off the hook though, they still were still earmarked for the bad place. Because no matter how much our parents, friends, or the entire world sucks, there’s no excuse for giving in to it. Ultimately we are responsible for ourselves.02-good-place-questions_w710_h473So basically to reach a paradise we don’t actually know exists and avoid eternal damnation we have to make our lives as hard as possible in a world that fights our attempts to be good people while rewarding mother forking shirtheads. And even then it might not be enough. When you put it like that it seems stupid not to just say “fork this?” and not leave a note. “Somewhere Else” was the show’s most hopeful episode yet. Michael’s nudge (Ted Danson bartending!) to Eleanor, by reciting her own words back to her, was a gorgeous moment, but the way his question about “what do we owe to each other?” pushed her to seek out Chidi–who had just kissed her at the Judge’s–was the show’s most beautiful scene ever. Because no matter how terrible things are, no matter how futile our attempts to overcome that reality, there is one idea that can help us be the people we want–and need–to be: “we are not in this alone.” All of the progress Eleanor, Tahani, Chidi, Jason, and Michael have made was only possible because they supported one another and selflessly gave of themselves. They aren’t good people on their own, but they make each other good people.the-good-place-73-1200x640It was a stunning season finale because it provided real, tangible hope. Yeah, it’s really, really hard to be truly good, almost impossible even, but we can do it if we stop worrying about ourselves and worry about one another. And if that seems like a battle you’re fighting alone, you’re not.

 

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: VERONICA MARS – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

Vmars-s3
Season 1: An Echolls Family Christmas
CAST
Kristen Bell (Frozen)
Percy Daggs III (Izombie)
Teddy Dunn (Jumper)
Jason Dohring (The Originals)
Francis Capra (Heroes)
Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint)
Lisa Rinna (Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Lisa Thornhill (The Family Man)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Human Target)
Harry Hamlin (Clash of The Titans)
Kyle Secor (The Purge 3)
Brad Bufanda (A Cinderella Story)
Veronica and Keith decorate their Christmas tree. Meanwhile, Duncan (Teddy Dunn) dances around drunkenly at a poker party with Logan, Weevil (Francis Capra), and two others, Sean (Kevin Sheridan) and Connor (Travis Schuldt). Weevil wins $5,000 from Logan when they both go all in. However, when Logan opens his money box, he finds that the money is missing. Weevil grows angry and asks each of the other members for $1,000. The next day at school, Duncan confronts Weevil, who stole his laptop. Veronica approaches him, and Duncan tells her about his problem. Duncan tells Veronica that his computer contains some private information regarding their past relationship. Veronica asks Weevil for the computer back, but he refuses. Weevil explains why he was at the card game and says that Logan had an opportunity to hide the money during the game. Logan’s mother, Lynn (Lisa Rinna), visits Keith and tells him about threatening letters that a mysterious person sent to her husband. Later, Veronica talks to Duncan, who gives his side of the story. Duncan also blames Logan. Later, Duncan confronts Logan about stealing the money, but he refuses to give any details. When Keith visits the Echolls’ house, he finds a pumpkin outside their front door with Aaron’s face on it and a knife through it. Veronica stops by the Echolls’ house and talks to Logan, and he says that he thinks that Connor stole the money.
Veronica visits Connor’s movie set, and she questions him about the poker game. However, he does not know who could have stolen the money. Veronica attempts to visit Sean, but his father turns her away. After deducing that the pumpkin probably has something to do with a halloween encounter or incident, Keith goes to the caterer of the party Aaron was at that day. The caterer tells him that Aaron was having an affair at that party. The next day, Veronica talks to Sean, who tells her that he thinks that Weevil stole the money. Keith talks to Aaron, who admits to the affair and says that it was with his agent’s wife, Monica Hadwin (Emmanuelle Vaugier). Veronica frets about Duncan’s diary before Veronica comes up and makes a deal with Logan: He will host another poker game so Veronica can determine who the thief is. At the poker game, Veronica reveals her findings: Duncan was faking being drunk in order to win the money, not steal it, Connor was simply using a muscle enhancer, and Logan is not the thief because his room was messy (and Veronica figures that if he hid the money, he wouldn’t tear apart his room looking for it. Veronica figures out that Sean is the criminal, not Weevil. Sean stuffed the money into the recycling and picked it up the next morning. Sean and Weevil go off by themselves, presumably so Weevil can punish him.Keith talks to the caterer again and asks her to describe the woman she fired. The poker guests then go to Aaron Echolls’ party. Veronica, off by herself, finds Jake Kane and confronts him about the pictures of her taken by his security chief, Clarence Wiedman. Jake screams at her that he doesn’t know, and Keith views the scene. Jake then angrily talks to his wife, Celeste (Lisa Thornhill), who actually sent Clarence to take the pictures. The majority of the guests go outside to sing Christmas carols while Aaron is confronted by his stalker, the woman whom the caterer fired. The stalker stabs Aaron, but the other guests do not notice because they aren’t there. Keith tackles the stalker, and Lynn calls for an ambulance as Logan looks on, ending the episode on a cliffhanger.
An excellent first Christmas episode for an iconic show.
Season 2: One Angry Veronca
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CAST
Kristen Bell (Couples Retreat)
Percy Daggs III (Izombie)
Teddy Dunn (Jumper)
Jason Dohring (The Originals)
Francis Capra (Heroes)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Kyle Gallner (Smallville)
Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint)
Alona Tal (Cult)
Michael Muhney (The Young and The Restess)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy)
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It is almost Christmas break at Neptune high. Veronica tells Duncan (Teddy Dunn) that Meg (Alona Tal) is pregnant, and Duncan says that he already knew because of the letter he got previously. Dick (Ryan Hansen) comes up and invites Veronica and Duncan to a party while informing them that Meg has woken up. Veronica decides to sneak into the hospital. Woody Goodman (Steve Guttenberg) tells Keith that someone has stolen the Lilly Kane-Aaron Echolls sex tapes. Keith agrees to help him with the case. Veronica and Duncan visit Meg, who talks to them. Meg says that her parents want to give the child up for adoption and don’t want Duncan to have a say in the matter. After Duncan leaves, Meg asks Veronica to prevent the adoption if “anything happens to” her. That night, Veronica learns that she has jury duty. Veronica is voted jury foreman. Keith talks to Sheriff Lamb, who says that the Sheriff’s department is secure. One member of the jury gives the facts of the case—two men are charged in the assault of a woman named Anissa. The prosecution and defendant have very different accounts of the incident. Veronica takes a vote, and the vote is 11 innocent, 1 guilty.
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Keith interrogates another member of the Sheriff’s department but gets nowhere. The holdout identifies herself and makes the other jurors question their votes. Keith talks to Leo D’Amato (Max Greenfield), who says that someone probably sold the tapes. Keith talks to an acquaintance in journalism, who agrees to contact the tabloids. One of the bikers comes up to Veronica and threatens her about the jury case. The holdout makes more deductions that support the guilty vote. Keith interrogates Logan before the journalism insider tells him that the sex tapes are on the open market for $500,000. The jurors take another vote, and another juror and Veronica have switched over to guilty. Veronica decorates the apartment for Keith. Veronica finds out that Anissa’s “pimp” was actually a sports star. Veronica ties up some loose ends that show that the defendants are guilty. However, one juror refuses to change his vote no matter what. The entire Sheriff’s department received an email about the sex tapes.
Logan (Jason Dohring) has the tapes and is watching them, crying. Afterwards, Logan burns the tapes. Keith comes in and finds out that Logan bought the tapes. The remaining juror changes his vote, believing that the defendants will appeal and win. After, one of the jurors invites Veronica to Heart College. Veronica finds that her car is vandalized. Leo actually stole the tapes in order to pay for his sister with Down syndrome to go to a private school. Leo knowingly sent the tapes to Logan. Later, Keith tells Veronica that Meg has died, but her baby daughter has survived. On New Years’ Eve, Veronica hears a knock on the door, and Wallace (Percy Daggs III) appears. They spend New Years’ Eve together.Related image
 A great Christmas episode, seeing Veronica do jury duty is hilarious.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: FROZEN FEVER

CAST (VOICES)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Idina Menzel (Enchanted)
Jonathan Groff (American Sniper)
Josh Gad (New Girl)
Santino Fontana (Sisters)

It’s Anna’s birthday and Elsa is determined to make it a perfect day in order to make up for all of the birthdays she’s missed in the past. While she takes her sister on a treasure hunt for presents around town (bumping into some familiar faces), Kristoff is left in charge of guarding the decorations.

All seems well, until Elsa’s cold starts to cause havoc; let’s just say that when a Snow Queen sneezes, there’s a high chance that’s she’ll end up polluting the area with extremely hyperactive “snow babies”. Will the day be ruined, or will Kristoff and Olaf manage to keep them in tow?  Frozen Fever is colourful and fun, packed with stunning animation and humour to keep both children and adults intrigued. It offers numerous nods towards the original movie.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: FROZEN

CAST (VOICES)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Idina Menzel (Enchanted)
Jonathan Groff (American Sniper)
Josh Gad (New Girl)
Santino Fontana (Sisters)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Ciaran Hinds (Game of Thrones)
Robert Pine (Red Eye)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
 Elsa, Princess of Arendelle, possesses cryokinetic powers, with which she is able to produce or manipulate ice, frost and snow at will. One night while playing, she accidentally injures her younger sister, Anna. Their shocked parents, the king and queen, seek help from the troll king, who heals Anna and removes her memories of Elsa’s magic. The royal couple isolate the sisters in the castle until Elsa learns to control her magical powers. Afraid of hurting Anna again, and with her ability to control her powers deteriorating, Elsa spends most of her time alone in her room, refusing even to speak to Anna and a rift develops between the sisters as they grow up. When the girls are teenagers, their parents die at sea during a storm.
When Elsa comes of age, the kingdom prepares for her coronation. Among the guests is the Duke of Weselton, who seeks to exploit Arendelle for profit. Excited to be allowed out of the castle again, Princess Anna explores the town and meets Prince Hans of the Southern Isles; the two quickly develop a mutual attraction. Despite Elsa’s fears, her coronation takes place without incident. During the reception, Hans proposes to Anna, who hastily accepts. However, Elsa refuses to grant her blessing and forbids their sudden marriage. The sisters argue, culminating in the exposure of Elsa’s abilities in an emotional outburst.
Panicking, Elsa flees the castle, while inadvertently unleashing an eternal winter on the kingdom. High in the nearby mountains, she abandons her restraint, vowing to never return and building herself a solitary ice palace. Meanwhile, Anna leaves Hans in charge of Arendelle and sets out in search of her sister, determined to return her to Arendelle, end the winter and mend their relationship. While obtaining supplies, Anna meets an iceman named Kristoff and his reindeer, Sven, and convinces Kristoff to guide her up the North Mountain. On their journey, the group encounters Olaf, Anna and Elsa’s childhood snowman whom the latter recreated and unknowingly brought to life, who leads them to Elsa’s hideaway.
Anna and Elsa reunite, but Elsa still fears hurting her sister. When Anna insists that Elsa return, she becomes agitated and her powers lash out, accidentally striking Anna in the heart. Horrified, Elsa forces Anna, Kristoff and Olaf to leave by creating a giant snow creature named Marshmallow that chases them away from her palace. As they flee, Kristoff notices Anna’s hair turning white and deduces that something is very wrong. He seeks help from the trolls, his adoptive family, who explain that Anna’s heart has been frozen by Elsa. Unless it can be thawed by an “act of true love”, she will become frozen solid forever. Believing that only Hans can save her with a true love’s kiss, Kristoff races back with her to Arendelle. Meanwhile, Hans, who is leading a search for Anna, reaches Elsa’s palace. In the ensuing battle against the duke’s men, Elsa is knocked unconscious by a falling chandelier and imprisoned in Arendelle. There, Hans pleads with her to undo the winter, but Elsa confesses that she has no idea how. When Anna reunites with Hans and begs him to kiss her to break the curse, Hans refuses and reveals that his true intention in marrying her is to seize control of Arendelle’s throne. Leaving Anna to die, he charges Elsa with treason for her younger sister’s apparent death.
Elsa escapes and heads out into the blizzard on the fjord. Olaf comes across Anna and reveals Kristoff is in love with her; they then escape onto the fjord to find him. Hans confronts Elsa, telling her Anna is dead because of her. In Elsa’s despair, the storm suddenly ceases, giving Kristoff and Anna the chance to locate each other. Nevertheless, Anna, seeing that Hans is about to kill Elsa, throws herself between the two just as she freezes solid, blocking Hans’ attack. As Elsa grieves for her sister, Anna begins to thaw, since her decision to sacrifice herself to save her sister constitutes an “act of true love”. Realizing love is the key to controlling her powers, Elsa reforms by thawing the kingdom and helps Olaf survive in summer. Hans is deported to the Southern Isles to face punishment for his crimes against the royal family of Arendelle, while Elsa cuts off trade with Weselton. The two sisters reconcile and Elsa promises never to shut the castle gates again.
This is really a lovely, enjoyable cartoon. And it’s just that a lovely, enjoyable cartoon. And basically a fairy tale. Frozen turns out to be as spectacular as we wanted it to be.