REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 1

Starring

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

Zooey Deschanel and Hannah Simone in New Girl (2011)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Santa Clarita Diet)
Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Ian Wolterstorff (The Neighbours)
Lauren Dair Owens (Astrid Clover)
Katie Cassidy (Black Christmas)
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie)
Lake Bell (In a World…)
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved!)
Michaela Watkins (Casual)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Blake Garrett Rosenthal (Mom)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Rachael Harris (Lucifer)
June Diane Raphael (Year One)
Kali Hawk (Bridesmaids)
Clyde Kusatsu (Midway)
Jeff Kober (Buffy: TVS)
Clark Duke (Two and a Half Men)
Ryan Kwanten (True Blood)
Joey King (The Conjuring)
Randall Park (The Interview)
Dermot Mulroney (Young Guns)
Martin Starr (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Natalie Dreyfuss (The Originals)
Katrina Bowden (Piranha 3DD)
Annalise Basso (Ouija: Orin of Evil)
Rebecca Reid (I Live With Models)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)

Your desire to watch New Girl is probably predicated by Zooey Deschanel, her cutesy fringe and massive possum eyes but rest assured there is a lot more to this show than that. If you aren’t already a Zooey fan please don’t let the somewhat annoying portmanteau “Adorkable” put you off seeing this great show.In my opinion the first few episodes of the show’s run are a little weak, but as season 1 continues this show goes from strength to strength as the writers seem to be figuring out what works and getting rid of what doesn’t. If you have seen the first few episodes on TV and are not sure if this show is for you I would definitely recommend sticking with it as the characters become less cartoonish and more fleshed out. While there are lots of comedies about people in their 20s and early 30s struggling with quarter-life crises, this show find a fresh approach to these issues that both men and women of this age in particular should enjoy.Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, Jake Johnson, and Ian Wolterstorff in New Girl (2011)There is lots of cringe-inducing humour and the show benefits from a great deal of physical humour and sight-gags as well as nerdy rapid-fire verbal comedy (which is my favourite!). I would definitely recommend getting this show on DVD, as it is incredibly rewatchable. Not only will you quickly come to really enjoy `hanging-out’ with these characters but sometimes the jokes and quips come so quickly you will definitely pick up on jokes you missed during the first watch.Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)The actors are all excellent and are perfectly cast in their different roles bringing a real warmth to the relationships between the main characters. Zooey is excellent as Jess and is a really refreshing comic lead. It is great to see a quirky, laid-back female character as so often actresses in sit-coms are relegated to being the nagging girlfriend/wife or to just commenting on the funny situations the male characters get themselves in to. Not only is Jess a witty character but also her lack of tact and weirdness are frequently sources of humour, as are the gaffs of her three roommates. Schmit is the break out character of the show for me. While in the first episode he comes across as an arrogant, shallow meat-head he quickly becomes more nuanced and sensitive and in my opinion is far and away one of the funniest characters on TV.

REVIEW: WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS

 

CAST

Cameron Diaz (Bad Teacher)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover)
Rob Corddry (Warm Bodies)
Lake Bell (No Strings Attached)
Queen Latifah (Bringing Down The House)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses)
Treat Williams (Skeletons in The Closet)
Dennis Farina (Get Shorty)
Dennis Miller (Emerald City)
Amanda Setton (The Crazy Ones)

In New York City, high-strung equity trader Joy Ellis McNally (Cameron Diaz) is dumped by her fiancé at a surprise birthday party she throws for him. At the same time, easy-going carpenter Jack Fuller (Ashton Kutcher) is fired from his job by his father, Jack, Sr. (Treat Williams). Both become emotionally distraught and, with best friends Toni “Tipper” (Lake Bell), a bartender, and Jeff “Hater” (Rob Corddry), a lawyer, take a debauched trip to Las Vegas. Joy and Jack meet by chance when they are given the same hotel room because of a computer error. After clearing up the misunderstanding and receiving upgraded rooms and coupons to various clubs, they party and drink together and end up getting married. The next morning, they realize it was a mistake and decide to divorce.

Before they do so, Jack uses a quarter Joy gives him in a slot machine. He hits a three million dollar jackpot and Joy reminds Jack that they are married and hence, she is entitled to half of the money. The couple return to New York, where they attempt to divorce. The judge (Dennis Miller) declares that the couple cannot divorce until they attempt to co-exist for six months, while attending weekly sessions with a marriage counselor (Queen Latifah). If they work at the marriage but still want to divorce after six months, each will be permitted to keep half the winnings. If either party does not cooperate, the money will be tied up in litigation by the judge.
The newlyweds devise more and more cunning schemes to undermine each other, such as Jack telling Joy that their counseling session is canceled to prove she’s not committed, and Joy inviting girls to their apartment to try to get Jack to cheat on her, throwing a party where Jack’s friend Dave shows up. Jack gives Joy’s ex-fiancé, Mason (Jason Sudeikis), her engagement ring back without Joy knowing. At Joy’s job retreat, Jack and Joy find themselves developing an unexpected attraction to one another and they soon realize that being with each other has brought out the best in both of them. After they get back from the retreat, it’s time for the judge to decide what happens to the money. On her way to the hearing, Joy sees her ex-fiancé Mason and he tells her that he wants her back. He gives her back the engagement ring and tells her that she is good enough for him. Joy realizes that Jack set her up to get back with him, therefore cheating on him and letting Jack keep the money. Joy walks away from Mason and goes to the hearing. At the hearing, their marriage counselor testifies that the couple truly tried to work on their marriage. The judge decides that they will split the remaining 1.4 million dollars (after taxes, bills Joy ran up, and money Jack spent on his new woodworking business). Joy tells the judge she doesn’t want any money and gives the engagement ring to Jack, telling him she officially doesn’t want anything from him. Jack realizes she knows that he talked to Mason.

Joy gets the promotion she’d been working for, but tells her boss she would rather be happy doing nothing than doing something she hates and being miserable. Jack talks to his parents and they tell him it looks like he and Joy are in love. Realizing his mistake, he goes to find her. Tipper tells Jack that she quit her job and that nobody knows where she is. He has a suspicion that she has gone to a beach (Fire Island, New York) that she told him about, the only place that makes her feel truly happy. Jack asks her to be his wife (again) and she says yes. As the two embrace, Joy says that she quit her job and has no idea what she’s going to do. Jack reminds her that they have a lot of money between them. Joy states that they hit the jackpot, to which Jack replies that he certainly did (referring to both the money and to Joy).Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher in What Happens in Vegas (2008)During the credits, we see Tipper and Hater on the day Jack and Joy get married. Tipper and Hater subsequently enact a plan of revenge on Mason, devised by Tipper earlier in the film. Tipper and Hater ring Mason’s doorbell, and when he answers, Tipper slugs him in his testicles. He moans in agony and drops to his knees asking “Why?”, and she responds emphatically “You know why!”, and Tipper leaves with Hater. Post-credits, Dave is telling Hater about a party that evening, but Hater no longer wants to associate with Dave, citing Jack as being “the glue” that held the two of them together as friends. With that, Hater simply leaves. Dave asks a random guy on the street if he likes to party.

This is a funny film, it’s one of those you have to watch and then forget about but when you watch it again, you remember why it’s so good!

REVIEW: THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS

Starring

Louis C.K. (Trumbo)
Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)
Kevin Hart (Get Hard)
Jenny Slate (The Lego Batman Movie)
Ellie Kemper (Set Tape)
Lake Bell (Man Up)
Dana Carvey (Wayne’s World)
Hannibal Buress (Bad Neighbours)
Bobby Moynihan (Sisters)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Steve Coogan (Alan Partiridge)
Albert Brooks (The Simpsons)
Jim Cummings (Christopher Robin)
John Kassir (Tales From The Crypt)
Jason Marsden (Young Justice)
Jim Ward (Batman Vs Two-Face)

Louis C.K., Lake Bell, and Bobby Moynihan in The Secret Life of Pets (2016)A spoiled Jack Russell Terrier named Max lives with his owner Katie in a Manhattan apartment. While she is at work during the day, he hangs out with other pets in the building: tabby cat Chloe, pug Mel, dachshund Buddy, and budgerigar Sweet Pea. One day, Katie adopts Duke, a large Newfoundland mix from the pound, leaving Max jealous because of her divided focus on Duke. Enraged by Max’s attitude towards him, Duke tries to abandon Max in an alley, but they are both attacked by cats led by Sphynx cat Ozone who removes both dogs’ collars and leaves them to be caught by Animal Control. Duke fears that he will be killed if he goes back to the pound. When Gidget, a white Pomeranian who is not so secretly in love with Max, discovers that he is missing, she decides to find him.Louis C.K. and Kevin Hart in The Secret Life of Pets (2016)Max and Duke are rescued by a white rabbit named Snowball, the leader of “The Flushed Pets”—a gang of feral sewer-dwelling animals who hate humans because their owners mistreated and abandoned them. After Max and Duke pretend to despise humans as much as they do by saying they killed their owners, the Flushed Pets invite them to join. Before they can prove their loyalty by allowing a one-fanged viper to bite them, Snowball learns from the cats that Max and Duke are tamed. The two dogs escape the sewers and board a ferry to Brooklyn, inadvertently killing the viper in the process. Snowball vows to kill them and leads the Flushed Pets after them.Louis C.K. and Jenny Slate in The Secret Life of Pets (2016)Meanwhile, Gidget recruits a red-tailed hawk named Tiberius to find Max, but he mistakenly locates Ozone, whom Gidget coerces into telling what he knows about the dogs. They then enlist Mel, Buddy, Chloe, guinea pig Norman and Sweet Pea. On the way, they meet Pops, an old Basset Hound who helps Gidget and the pets find Max. Gidget and her team encounter Snowball, who vows to kill them as well, and Norman is captured as the rest of Gidget’s team flees.Louis C.K. in The Secret Life of Pets (2016)In the meantime, Max and Duke raid a sausage factory for food. While there, Duke tells Max about his previous owner, Fred, an elderly man who adopted him as a puppy and loved spending time with him. One day, Duke got lost while chasing a butterfly and was caught by Animal Control, but Fred never came to claim him. Max convinces him to visit Fred’s house in a nearby neighborhood, confident Fred will still love him and take him back. When they arrive at Fred’s house, they learn from the resident cat Reginald that Fred has died. Heartbroken, Duke accuses Max of attempting to get rid of him and barks at the new homeowners who have just returned to the house and called Animal Control. The handlers catch Max, but Duke interferes long enough for Max to escape and ends up being captured instead.Albert Brooks, Tara Strong, Chris Renaud, Lake Bell, Bobby Moynihan, Jenny Slate, and Hannibal Buress in The Secret Life of Pets (2016)While trying to rescue Duke as he follows the Animal Control van, Max is attacked by Snowball who tries to kill him. However, when his gang is captured, Snowball realizes that he and Max must work together to rescue them. They drive a city bus into the van on the Brooklyn Bridge, stopping traffic. The Flushed Pets encircle Max, unaware of his partnership with Snowball, but Gidget and her team save him. Upon seeing Gidget using her kung-fu fighting skills, Max starts to fall in love with her. The van gets stuck in scaffolding and the Flushed Pets escape. As soon as Max gets the keys to Duke’s cage, the van plummets into the East River with him inside. Max is unable to free Duke, so Snowball jumps into the river to retrieve the keys, allowing them to escape the sinking van.Louis C.K. and Lake Bell in The Secret Life of Pets (2016)The entire group returns to the apartment block by pig-driven taxi. Max expresses his love for Gidget, who returns his affection. Snowball and the Flushed Pets then come up with a new plan to annihilate all humans, but a little girl named Molly arrives and adopts Snowball and the remaining Flushed Pets return to the sewers. At first, Snowball resists, but gives in and lets himself become a domesticated pet. The other pets return to their homes and embrace their owners, and Max and Duke finally reunite with Katie, sparking a true friendship as brothers. In a post-credits scene, Buddy and Mel show up in costume at a party in poodle Leonard’s apartment, hosted by a now-friendlier Snowball.This is clearly aimed at kids but has plenty of humor that adults will enjoy. I’m in my 50s and laughed long and loud at some of the antics. The script is good and moves quickly. I was never bored.

REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

Starring

Shameik Moore (Dope)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Mahershala Ali (Luke Cage)
Brian Tyree Henry (widows)
Lily Tomlin (I Heart Huckabees)
Lauren Vélez (The First Purge)
John Mulaney (animals)
Kimiko Glenn (Orange Is The New Black)
Zoë Kravitz (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
Nicolas Cage (Mandy)
Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms)
Liev Schreiber (The 5th Wave)
Chris Pine (Wonder Woman)
Natalie Morales (Santa Clarita Diet)
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
Greta Lee (Money Monster)
Stan Lee (Super Hero Squad)
Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III (Black Lightning)
Lake Bell (Man Up)
Claudia Choi (Her)
Bridget Hoffman (Total Recall)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)

Shameik Moore in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)Teenager Miles Morales struggles to live up to the expectations of his father, police officer Jefferson Davis, who sees Spider-Man as a menace. Miles changes to a boarding school. He sneaks out and goes to his uncle Aaron Davis’ house.When he takes Miles to an abandoned subway station to paint graffiti, Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider and gains spider-like abilities.Hailee Steinfeld in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)Miles returns to the station to search for the spider and discovers a particle accelerator called “The Super-Collider” built by Wilson Fisk. Fisk hopes to access parallel universes to find alternative versions of his deceased wife and son, who died in a car crash after they found Fisk trying to kill Spider-Man. Spider-Man tries to disable the collider while fighting Fisk’s enforcers, Green Goblin and Prowler. Spider-Man saves Miles and senses that they are alike. Green Goblin shoves Spider-Man into the collider, causing an explosion that kills Green Goblin. Wounded, Spider-Man gives Miles a USB drive to disable the accelerator and warns that the machine could destroy the city if reactivated. Miles watches in horror as Fisk kills Spider-Man, and flees from Prowler.Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Shameik Moore, and Kimiko Glenn in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)Miles tries out his newfound abilities in a Spider-Man Halloween costume, but in the process damages the USB drive. At Spider-Man’s grave, Miles meets Peter B. Parker, an older and worn-down version of Spider-Man from another dimension. Upon meeting Peter, Miles inadvertently discovers a power to emit a bio-electric pulse to disable his victim. Peter reluctantly agrees to train Miles in exchange for help stealing data to create a new drive. In Fisk’s research facility, Miles discovers he has the power to turn invisible. They are confronted by chief scientist Olivia Octavius, who reveals that Peter will die due to cellular decay if he stays longer in their dimension after taking DNA samples from Peter.Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, and Shameik Moore in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)Miles and Peter are rescued by Gwen Stacy, Spider-Woman from another dimension. They find Peter’s aunt, May Parker, who is sheltering more heroes from other dimensions – Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham, and Peni Parker – who are also deteriorating. Miles offers to disable the collider so the others can return home, but the heroes tell him he lacks experience.Jake Johnson and Shameik Moore in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)Miles retreats to Aaron’s home, where he discovers that Aaron is the Prowler. He returns to May’s house, where Peni has completed the drive; however, he is followed by Fisk, Prowler, Octavius, Scorpion, and Tombstone, leading to a brawl. Miles flees, but is captured by Prowler and unmasks himself. Unwilling to kill Miles, Aaron is shot by Fisk. Miles flees with Aaron, but Aaron dies of his injuries. Jefferson sees Miles mourning over Aaron and concludes that Spider-Man killed him.Shameik Moore in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)The heroes regroup with Miles in his dorm. Peter restrains Miles with his webs to ensure his safety before heading out with the heroes, choosing to sacrifice himself by staying behind and deactivating the collider. Jefferson arrives outside Miles’ door and, assuming he does not want to speak to him, apologizes for his mistakes.Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)Miles masters his powers and goes to Aunt May’s, where he gains web shooters and repaints Peter’s suit. He joins the heroes and helps them defeat Fisk’s enforcers before activating the USB drive and sending them home. Fisk and Miles fight throughout the collider, attracting Jefferson’s attention. As Miles is nearly killed, Jefferson realizes that Spider-Man is not the enemy and encourages him. Miles paralyzes Fisk with his venom blast and throws him at the kill switch, destroying the collider.Brian Tyree Henry and Shameik Moore in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)Fisk and his enforcers are arrested and Jefferson recognizes Spider-Man as a hero. Miles embraces the responsibilities of his new life. Back in their home dimensions, the heroes return to their lives; Peter prepares to fix his relationship with Mary Jane, and Gwen finds a way to contact Miles across dimensions. In another dimension, Miguel O’Hara travels to a 1960s New York and argues with Spider-Man.MV5BYmU3NWViODQtNTM0Mi00NDM2LTk0NjYtMDQxZDMyN2VlNDljXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjc3OTE4Nzk@._V1_A movie worthy of Stan Lee’s approval. Incredible animation, great story, great message. This film lives up to the hype and honestly surpassed my expectations. The only reason I think there are some negative reviews is because you can never please everyone. However, for the vast majority of viewers, I believe you’ll find this film to be great. Highly recommend.

REVIEW: NO STRINGS ATTACHED

CAST

Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Kevin Kline (Dave)
Cary Elwes (The Alphabet Killer)
Greta Gerwig (Eden)
Lake Bell (In A World…)
Olivia Thirlby (Dredd)
Ludacris (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Mindy Kaling (This Is The End)
Ophelia Lovibond (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Ben Lawson (The Little Death)
Abby Elliott (How I Met Your Mother)
Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens)
Matthew Moy (2 Broke Girls)

After first meeting at a summer camp as teenagers, Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) run into each other a few times as young adults but never keep in touch. Emma becomes a doctor in Los Angeles, Adam a production assistant for a musical television show. Adam’s father Alvin (Kevin Kline), the well-known star of a former hit television comedy series, has begun a romance with Adam’s ex-girlfriend, Vanessa (Ophelia Lovibond). Adam finds out, gets drunk and calls the women in his phone seeking a hookup. The next morning, he wakes on a sofa wearing nothing but a small towel. It turns out that he texted Emma and then came to the apartment she shares with some other residents—Patrice (Greta Gerwig), Shira (Mindy Kaling), and Guy (Guy Branum). Once there, he took off all his clothes and then passed out. Emma leads Adam to her bedroom to retrieve his missing pants and they end up having sex.

The two have sex again at Adam’s house and before she leaves Adam agrees to her proposal for a casual relationship (as she puts it, using each other for sex and nothing else). Adam warns Emma about falling in love with him, but she dismisses the idea and sets ground rules to keep what they’re doing from becoming too serious. At first things go well, but Adam becomes jealous when Sam (Ben Lawson)—another resident—seeks her attention. Adam brings Emma a gift (a mix CD) and she rebuffs him, saying they should stop for a while and hook up with other people. But after being apart for two weeks Emma returns to Adam and they continue being sex friends only.

Adam’s birthday comes along a few months later. He goes out for dinner with Alvin and Vanessa, who announce their plan to have a baby together. Emma berates the other couple while defending Adam. He persuades her to go out together on Valentine’s Day. Things fall apart when she becomes too uncomfortable during the date. An angry Emma advises Adam that he should find someone else who won’t hurt him. Adam tells Emma that he loves her—something she’s not at all receptive to hearing—they have a fight, ending their arrangement.

Six weeks later, a script Adam wrote is being filmed. He gets a regular writing job on the show with the help of Lucy (Lake Bell), the show’s assistant director (Jennifer Irwin), who is clearly attracted to Adam. Meanwhile, Emma is depressed over not being with Adam. The situation is compounded and complicated by her younger sister Katie’s (Olivia Thirlby) wedding the next day and her widowed mother (Talia Balsam) arriving for the event with a male companion (Brian Dierker) of her own. Emma feels she is being strong for her mom by not letting herself get too close to anyone so she won’t become upset by seeing Emma get hurt if a relationship ends poorly. Emma’s mom tells her to stop.

When Emma confesses that she can’t stop thinking about Adam, Katie insists that she call him to put things right. A nervous Emma phones Adam and tells she misses him. He responds that they were never really together. Realizing that she needs to speak with him in person, Emma leaves Santa Barbara where the wedding is taking place and drives to Adam’s house. Her plans are ruined – and she has to hide to avoid being seen—when he arrives home with Lucy. Emma assumes Adam has a new girlfriend and tearfully drives away. Vanessa calls Adam before he and Lucy can have sex—Alvin has overdosed on a cough syrup-based drink called “Purple drank”. Meeting Adam outside the hospital, Vanessa says that she is ending her relationship with Alvin and leaves for a party. Adam goes in to visit Alvin who surprisingly gives him some tender advice about falling in love.

Shira tells Emma about Adam’s dad being admitted to the hospital. As Adam leaves the building he calls Emma and tells her that she must be present if she is going to say that she misses him. Emma gets out of her car as the call ends and Adam is stunned to suddenly find her there. She tells Adam that she is sorry she hurt him and confesses that she really loves and cares about him and they reconcile. After eating breakfast together the next morning—something that never happened before—they arrive in Santa Barbara just before Katie’s wedding is starting. As they enter a room and pause Emma asks Adam what will happen next, and with a smile on his lips he silently intertwines her hand with his—for the first time they are holding hands together as a couple.
Ashton Kutcher in No Strings Attached (2011)The end credits show an epilogue in which Alvin and Lucy are in a relationship, and are in a restaurant waiting for Adam to arrive to tell him. Adam’s roommate (Jake Johnson) and Patrice are in a relationship and are shown meeting his two dads. Vanessa had told Adam that old people scare her and she is ridden with anxiety when she is trapped in an elevator full of senior citizens. Adam and Emma are seen kissing in the park. Sam and Shira are in a relationship, but he wants his freedom and isn’t pleased when she reveals that she’s already been seeing other men. Katie is having a baby and Emma is the delivering doctor. Guy lures a nervous-looking Sam into a hospital room. At last, Adam and Emma are shown peacefully sleeping together.Good film with a good cast. Surprisingly it’s the secondary actors that shine here. It’s not an Oscar winner but for simple entertainment you can do worse.