REVIEW: THE ORVILLE – SEASON 1

 

Starring

Seth MacFarlane (Sing)
Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Penny Johsnon Jerald (Star Trek: DS9)
Scott Grimes (American Dad)
Peter Macon (Shameless)
Halston Sage (Goosebumps)
J. Lee (Family Guy)
Mark Jackson (The Royal Today)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Victor Garber (Legends of Tomorrow)
Chad Coleman (Arrow)
Norm Macdonald (Jack & Jill)
Larry Joe Campbell (Hall Pass)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Joel Swetow (Alice In Wonderland)
Jeffrey Tambor (Hellbnoy)
Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Deobia Oparei (Santa Clarita Diet)
Rena Owen (Siren)
Casey Sander (The Ranch)
Lamont Thompson (Evan Almighty)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Liam Neeson (Chloe)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Charlize Theron (The Road)
Kelly Hu (X-Men 2)
Michaela McManus (SEAL Team)
James Horan (Transformers Prime)
Giorgia Whigham (The Punisher)
Steven Culp (Jason Goes To Hell)
Loren Lester (Batman: TAS)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Rob Lowe (Wayne’s World)
Derek Mears (The Flash)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: DS9)
Molly Hagan (Izombie)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Erica Tazel (The Good Fight)

Scott Grimes, Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, J. Lee, and Halston Sage in The Orville (2017)When we first heard the news that Seth Macfarlane (Family Guy, Ted, A Million Ways to Die in the West) was making a comedy homage to Star Trek we thought hell yeah. It didn’t take long however before we started thinking it would just be another Family Guy-styled series with cheesy “adult” jokes, something that many people thought would be the case. Now that we’ve seen the first season, I can happily say that this is one of his finest works. It’s hilarious and pays tribute to the classic sci-fi series perfectly.Adrianne Palicki and Jasper McPherson in The Orville (2017)Seth Macfarlane plays Ed Mercer, an up and coming officer in the Planetary Union who has recently separated from his wife after finding her in bed with a blue alien. Shortly after these events, he is given a chance to prove himself after being given the Captain’s chair of The Orville, a mid-level exploratory vessel.Seth MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki in The Orville (2017)The other members of the crew include Penny Johnson Jerald (24, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Castle) as Dr Claire Finn, Scott Grimes (ER, Band of Brothers, Critters) as Lieutenant Gordon Molloy, Peter Macon (Shameless, Dexter, Supernatural) as Lieutenant Commander Bortus and Halston Sage (How to Rock, Crisis, Paper Towns) as Lieutenant Alara Kitan.Scott Grimes, Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, and Mark Jackson in The Orville (2017)The crew is missing a first officer and the Officers of the Planetary Union chose to place Adrianne Palicki (John Wick, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Red Dawn) who plays First Officer Kelly Grayson in the role. The only problem is that she’s Captain Mercer’s ex-wife.Scott Grimes, Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, J. Lee, and Halston Sage in The Orville (2017)Whilst this sounds like your typical cheesy sit-com scenario, and it is, this is one of those rare occasions where it just works. The casting in this series is brilliant and the characters play off each other so well that every now and again you forget that this is a homage and actually start to believe that this is a new Star Trek series. The interactions between Mercer and Grayson are first class and the comedy stoic nature of Bortus is inspired. There are also several brilliant interactions between Dr Finn and her long-time admirer, a gelatinous blob named Yaphit, as he tries to seduce her at every opportunity.Adrianne Palicki in The Orville (2017)The Orville tackles some fantastic issues, worthy of any Next Generation episode. From discovering a massive ship floating In space that houses a holographic world that the inhabitants don’t realise isn’t real to getting trapped on a planet ruled by social media where everyday justice is dished out in popularity points which are displayed live on peoples clothing. The latter is probably the best episode of the series and tackles some very real subject matter involving the current state of social media, public opinion and controlled media based on distraction and frivolity and proves The Orville can be both both funny and intelligent at the same time.MV5BMWEyM2ZkYmQtOTQyMS00NjRmLTk5NzItMzYwMmU2NDUzZDg3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjc5Mjg0NjU@._V1_SY1000_SX1500_AL_I can’t recommend this series enough so you should probably go now and watch it immediately. Oh, and as an added bonus it has been renewed for a second season so it won’t just be a flash in the pan one-off either, which is great news. Essentially if you love comedy and you love Sci-Fi then you can’t go wrong with The Orville!

REVIEW: AMERICAN VANDAL – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Tyler Alvarez (The Pretenders)
Griffin Gluck (Just Go With it)
Jimmy Tatro (22 Jump Street)

Griffin Gluck and Tyler Alvarez in American Vandal (2017)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Camille Hyde (Power Rangers Dino Charge)
Eduardo Franco (Adam ruins Everything)
Lukas Gage (Sickhouse)
Jessica Juarez (Icebox)
Lou Wilson (The Guest Book)
Camille Ramsey (My Sister and I)
Calum Worthy (Lost Generation)
Genevieve Hannelius (Dog With A Blog)
Saxon Sharbino (Poltergeist)
Gabriela Fresquez (New Girl)
Daeg Faerch (Halloween)
Larry Joe Campbell (The Orville)
Dendrie Taylor (The Fighter)

American Vandal, Netflix’s send-up of true-crime series like The Jinx and Making a Murderer, isn’t for everyone. There’s maybe one too many dick jokes, more glamour shots of toilets than anyone would probably care to see, and an overwhelming amount of shaky-cam footage. But as an examination of today’s teen culture, it’s surprisingly perceptive. The series, created by Funny or Die’s Tony Yacenda and Dan Perrault, works as a story-within-a-story: On one level it’s a documentary being filmed and edited by Hanover High’s finest mini-Andrew Jareckis, a pair of students named Peter (Tyler Alvarez) and Sam (Griffin Gluck), who want to find out whether the class doofus Dylan (Jimmy Tatro) really spray-painted 27 you-know-whats onto the cars in the faculty parking lot of their school. On a more meta level, their actions wind up influencing their classmates’ reputations, along with their own.And that’s where the series shines. The vast cast of characters — ranging from the protest-happy senior class president to the attention-seeking loner who’s still wearing braces, from the unanimously considered hottest girl in school to the nerdiest-looking kid who gets along with everyone, from the no-nonsense football coach to the overeager young history teacher — all have secrets and potential motives for either pulling the penile prank or throwing Dylan under the bus.untitledHaving such an expansive web of players to work with helps the series make its installments feel whole, despite its, well, flaccid premise. The idea of satirizing true-crime docs through the lens of two teen wannabe filmmakers sounds like a nifty idea for a single sketch instead of eight longer-than-half-hour episodes, but the longer run time allows Yacenda and Perrault to dig deep into the nuances of high-school friendships, hookups, and rivalries. And they deftly take advantage of that real estate: Midway through the series, a standout scene between Peter and Sam forces the two to investigate each other’s potential involvement in the lewd doodles and results in the best friends confronting each other’s obsession and oversight with the case. They end up putting, on camera, secrets they’ve shared with each other that they would rather not have everyone see, if it were not for the fact that they want to capture everything in their footage. It’s oddly true to the way two teens would argue with each other; both fail to understand how to compromise and move about their rift in a mature way.pUxeCE5T1y3RVglZpbn3_Vandal-4Of course, American Vandal has plenty of lighter moments too, many of which have nothing to do with the potty humor that forms its foundation. The series gives Yacenda and Perrault a chance to skewer YouTube influencers, teen texting habits, gaming culture, and even Kiefer Sutherland. And then there are little details that’ll delight viewers who get into the story: Minor players get their own arcs throughout, much of the “footage” the two collect are filmed vertically like most smartphone videos, and Alvarez gives a particularly impressive performance in his voiceover, adopting the cadence of professional documentarians yet letting certain teen biases slip through. Alvarez isn’t the only one to give a note-perfect performance, though. The series cast relatively unknown teen actors who manage to capture the ridiculous drama with deadpan line-readings and an air of naïveté, and the adult players look just wary enough of being filmed for a student’s “documentary” while letting their younger counterparts steal the scenes.Screen_Shot_2017_08_03_at_2_08_41_PM_0All in all, it’s an impressive tightrope walk. Highly recommend checking out.

 

REVIEW: WEDDING CRASHERS

CAST

Owen Wilson (Zoolander)
Vince Vaughn (Swingers)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes)
Isla FIsher (Grimsby)
Jane Seymour (Smallville)
Ellen Albertini Dow (Patch Adams)
Keir O’Donnell (Paul Blart: Mall Cop)
Bradley Cooper (Joy)
Henry Gibson (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)
Ron Canada (Ted 2)
Jennifer Alden (Surrogates)
Dwight Yoakam (Panic Room)
Will Ferrell (Elf)
Kathryn Joosten (Desperate Housewives)
Rebecca De Mornay (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
David Conrad (Agents of SHIELD)
Geoff Stults (The Finder)
Larry Joe Campbell (The Orville)

John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn) are divorce mediators in Washington D.C. who “crash” wedding parties to meet and bed women. At the end of a season of successful crashes, Jeremy takes John to a wedding for the daughter of the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, William Cleary (Christopher Walken). Once inside, the pair set their sights on Cleary’s other daughters, Gloria (Isla Fisher) and Claire (Rachel McAdams). Jeremy ends up having sex with Gloria on a nearby beach during the reception. Gloria is possessive and quickly becomes obsessed with Jeremy, and Jeremy urges John to escape the reception with him.Meanwhile, John attempts to court Claire, the maid of honor, but is interrupted by her hotheaded boyfriend, Sack Lodge (Bradley Cooper), who is unfaithful and disrespectful behind her back. When Gloria invites Jeremy and John to an extended weekend party at their family compound, John overrules Jeremy to accept and get closer to Claire. John and Jeremy become acquainted with the Clearys at their home: the Secretary’s wife (Jane Seymour) sexually harasses John; Gloria’s brother Todd (Keir O’Donnell) tries to seduce Jeremy during the night; Gloria continues to lavish unwanted sexual attention on Jeremy; and Sack repeatedly injures Jeremy during a game of touch football. At dinner, John spikes Sack’s wine with eye-drops to make him sick and get more time to connect with Claire.John and Claire continue to bond the next day on a sailing trip. The suspicious Sack takes the men on a hunting trip, where Jeremy is shot in the buttocks. While he recovers, John and Claire go on a bike ride to a secluded beach. Claire finally admits she isn’t sure how she feels about Sack and ends up kissing John passionately. Meanwhile, Gloria tends to Jeremy’s wounds and reveals to him that she is not as innocent or inexperienced as she initially let on. Jeremy realizes that he himself has been played and that he may be in love with Gloria.Ready to confess everything to Claire to convince her not to marry Sack, John is interrupted by Jeremy being chased out of the house: Sack has investigated and revealed John and Jeremy’s identities to the family. Betrayed, Claire turns away from John and the Secretary tells them to leave. Over the following months, John attempts to reach Claire but she refuses to see him. He attempts to crash Claire and Sack’s engagement party but is caught and beaten by Sack. Confronting Jeremy about abandoning him, he learns that Jeremy has secretly continued his relationship with Gloria. Betrayed, John spirals into depression, crashing weddings alone and becoming nihilistic and suicidal. Meanwhile, as Claire and Sack plan their wedding, Claire’s doubts grow. Jeremy proposes to Gloria and tries to ask John to be his best man, but a depressed John refuses.936full-wedding-crashers-screenshot1John visits Jeremy’s former wedding crashing mentor, Chazz Reinhold (an uncredited Will Ferrell), who convinces him to crash a funeral. While there, he reconsiders his belief in love and marriage and rushes to Jeremy’s wedding. John joins the wedding mid-ceremony to Jeremy’s delight, but Claire is upset by his appearance, prompting John to profess his love to her and his regret for his past behavior in front of the congregation. Sack interrupts, but Claire finally tells him that she can’t marry him. Sack tries to attack John, but Jeremy intervenes to knock him out, and John and Claire kiss. After the wedding, the two couples drive away from the ceremony together, discussing crashing another wedding together, apparently skipping Jeremy’s own wedding reception.wedding_crashers

I admit Wedding Crashers is far from perfect, at time situations seem too contrived, the nudity is laughably gratuitous, and Claire’s evil fiancée Sack (Bradley Cooper) is an almost too heavy-handed device to make Wilson look good. But if you can look past all that, and simply accept it for what it is, you’re left with a very funny film.

REVIEW: KILLERS

CAST
Katherine Heigl (27 Dresses)
Ashton Kutcher (The Butterfly Effect)
Tom Selleck (Ted)
Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice)
Katherine Winnick (Hellraiser 8)
Kevin Sussman (Ugly Betty)
Martin Mull (Jingle All The Way)
Alex Borstein (Family Guy)
Usher Raymond (Texas Rangers)
Ariel Winter (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Winston Story (Masked Rider)
Larry Joe Campbell (The Orville)
Lauren Glazier (See)
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After a break-up with a boyfriend, an overly cautious Jen (Katherine Heigl) travels to Nice, France with her parents (Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara). After getting into an elevator to go to her hotel room, she meets Spencer Aimes (Ashton Kutcher). Spencer asks her out for drinks and she accepts. The scene then changes to Spencer sneaking onto a boat, putting a remote controlled bomb on the bottom of a helicopter, then taking out a guard. He then swims back and goes on the date with Jen. After the helicopter takes off, Spencer triggers the bomb using his phone.
After a night of drinking, Jen reveals that she’s not the spontaneous person she’s been pretending to be and in return Spencer bluntly tells her that he’s an assassin, albeit unhappy about being one. Unfortunately she’s already passed out and hasn’t heard. In spite of this, Spencer decides that Jen’s the woman he’s been looking for and decides to marry her. When Spencer tells his boss, Holbrook (Martin Mull), his plan, the response is that quitting is not an option. Spencer is defiant and goes ahead with his plan.Three years later, they are settled into their new normal life. After Spencer surprises Jen with a remodeled office, she gives him a birthday surprise: tickets to Nice to celebrate his birthday and their three years. Because of his dubious connections to Nice, Spencer is less than enthusiastic. When Jen’s friends ask about his reaction, they take it as a sign that he might be getting bored and fill her head with doubts. 
Meanwhile, Spencer gets a postcard from his old boss and the ultimatum to take another assignment. While trying to refuse him long distance, Jen’s father shows up to take Spencer to dinner, so Spencer hangs up the phone, prompting suspicion in Mr. Kornfeldt. This is fueled further when Jen’s dad sees the postcard and quizzes him about the XOXX (hugs and kisses), being odd coming from a former boss. Stopping home to change, Spencer finds that the dinner invitation is just a detour to bring him to a surprise party. While Spencer navigates drunken friends, Jen’s friends continue to fill her head with doubts over Spencer’s lack of enthusiasm for the Nice trip. This is further irritated, when the following morning, despite her attempts to be physical with him, Spencer rushes Jen off on her business trip.
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A little while later, Jen comes back (without having gone on her trip) to find Spencer being tossed around their house by Henry (Rob Riggle), Spencer’s best friend and co-worker. Spencer screams for her to get his gun (of which she was unaware) and she shoots Henry in the arm. While interrogating him, Henry reveals that there is a $20 million bounty on Spencer’s head. An unidentified sniper takes shots at them, and Spencer and Jen flee. Henry goes after them, and after a car chase through the neighborhood, they end up in a construction zone, where Henry crashes his car. Spencer rams him into a trench, impaling his car on rebar and killing him. They then go to the hotel room where Spencer’s old boss is staying, but find that someone has already killed him. Jen demands that they go to her dad for help, but Spencer disagrees. In the middle of their argument Jen vomits, and declares that she might be pregnant.
Heading back to his office for Jen to take a pregnancy test, Spencer is attacked by his secretary (Katheryn Winnick) and realizes that there are others who know about the contract. Jen then reveals that she is pregnant and is leaving Spencer. Left alone, Spencer is attacked by a delivery driver, who is then run over and killed by Olivia (Lisa Ann Walter), Henry’s wife, another killer vying for the contract. She then tries to run over Spencer, but Jen returns and smashes Olivia’s car into a fuel tank, which Spencer then shoots at and explodes, killing Olivia. The two discuss their possible future and return to their neighborhood, which is holding its annual block party. When they first arrive, they are attacked by two more assailants who, in a chase through backyards, crash their car, giving Jen and Spencer a chance to flee into the block party. As they walk through it, they receive many suspicious looks from neighbors. They enter their house to retrieve guns and their passports. Spencer is grabbing the guns when he is attacked by the two assailants again, whom he eventually kills.
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Meanwhile, one assassin, Kristen (Casey Wilson), one of Jen’s best friends, holds Jen’s mother as a hostage in a Mexican standoff with Jen. Jen’s father arrives and kills Kristen. He then explains that he was the one who put out the bounty on Spencer. He knew of Spencer’s previous work all along, and hired the neighbors and co-workers three years before, in case Spencer started working for his old boss again, who Jen’s father says had “gone dirty.” After seeing the postcard from Holbrook in Spencer’s office, he came to the conclusion that Spencer had re-accepted his old job and activated the assassins. He reveals that he had been an operative as well, and that he was actually the target Spencer was supposed to kill in Nice three years earlier.
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In a standoff between Spencer and Jen’s father, he does not trust that Spencer is really out of the game. Wanting to prove that he really did get out, Spencer drops his gun, and tells Jen’s father he has no intention of killing him. Jen, now convinced, reveals her pregnancy to her parents. Jen’s father, after killing one last wounded assassin, drops his gun as well. The family makes peace by building a trust circle, in which Spencer reveals that English is not his first language, and that he wanted to be the first one to say “I love you” to Jen. The movie ends showing Spencer and Jen’s father working on some wires near Spencer and Jen’s baby’s crib. Spencer has grown a moustache just like Jen’s father. Spencer and Jen then leave to let Jen’s mom and dad babysit. They all leave the room, but Spencer comes back in to activate the lasers protecting the baby.
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Killers is definitely not the best movie and won’t win awards. But it’s a fun movie. The story is fairly predictable, but it has some good action and is generally pretty entertaining

REVIEW: R.I.P.D.

 

CAST

Jeff Bridges (Iron Man)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Kevin Bacon (Hollow Man)
Mary-Louise Parker (Red)
Stephanie Szostak (Iron Man 3)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Larry Joe Campbell (The Orville)
Mike Judge (King of The Hill)
Toby Huss (Rescue Dawn)
Mike O’Malley (My Name Is Earl)

Jeff Bridges in R.I.P.D. (2013)Considering that this film was a cinematic flop at the cinema. I was expecting it to be really bad. But having watched it myself, I have to say that it’s actually pretty good.  The film begins with a Boston cop named Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) having a dispute with his best friend and partner, Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon), about turning in some gold pieces which they found at a recent drug bust.Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds in R.I.P.D. (2013)During an unexpected shoot out, Walker is shot and killed by his partner and is sucked up into the clouds and recruited by the R.I.P.D. (Rest In Peace Department). The R.I.P.D.s main function in the afterlife, is in catching souls who have refused to leave the land of the living, known as deado’s. Nick is partnered with an old, gruff, U.S marshal from the wild west, Roy Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges). Together, they are sent back to earth under the guise of an alter ego avatar (I.E Roy looks like a supermodel, while poor Nick resembles an old, Chinese man) to rid the living world of the deado’s and to foil their diabolical plans to take over the world. R.I.P.D is pretty much Men in Black but with zombies/ghosts instead of aliens. Sure it has a lot of scenes that we have all seen before, but it is also packed full of hilarious jokes and spectacular set pieces to keep the film from ever feeling stale. The effects range from absolutely brilliant to weird and cartoonish but for the kind of film this is, they do work very well, this is a comic style comedy after all.Kevin Bacon, Jeff Bridges, and Ryan Reynolds in R.I.P.D. (2013)Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds are a brilliantly funny team and Kevin Bacon is his usual sinister, yet supercool self. The supporting cast includes Mary Louise Parker as Roy’s boss and on/off love interest, James Hong and model Marisa Miller as Roy and Nick’s avatars and Devin Ratray as an overweight, ginger, Elvis lookalike, who works as one of the films main antagonists.Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds in R.I.P.D. (2013)R.I.P.D is in no way an instant classic and it’s unlikely to spawn any sequels due to it’s disastrous box office showing ($62M so far on a budget of $130M BEFORE marketing costs) but I found it to be an hour and a half of harmless, amusing and at times exciting fun. If you liked films such as Men in Black and Beetlejuice then you should be able to find something of value here.