REVIEW: KILL THE IRISHMAN

CAST

Ray Stevenson (Punisher Warzone)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil)
Vinnie Jones (Arrow)
Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Linda Cardellini (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Tony Dartrow (The Sopranos)
Robert Davi (The Goonies)
Fionnula Flanagan (Yes man)
Bob Gunton (Daredevil)
Laura Ramsey (The Covenant)
Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas)
Mike Starr (Radio Days)

In 1960, Danny Greene and his childhood friends Billy McComber and Art Sneperger are longshoremen at the Cleveland docks. Meanwhile, the members are exploited by corrupt union boss, Jerry Merke and the leadership of the ILA union urges Greene to run against him. Meanwhile, Sneperger can’t pay a gambling debt to Cleveland Mafia Capo John Nardi. In return for Sneperger’s debt being forgiven, Greene supplies Nardi’s crew with goods stolen from the docks. Merke finds out, demands a cut of Greene’s profits, and then sends an enforcer to kill him. Instead, Greene beats up the enforcer, then beats up Merke, throws the union leader out of his office, and is later elected union president. He improves the working conditions at the docks while continuing his dealings with Nardi.Greene’s corruption is exposed by the Plain Dealer newspaper and Cleveland Police Detective Joe Manditski, who grew up with Greene in Collinwood, arrests him. Bankrupt and facing prison, Greene plea bargains to lesser charges in return for becoming an FBI informant and being banned for life from organized labor. Greene is released and moves his unhappy wife and daughters back to Collinwood. Nardi gets him work as an enforcer for Hungarian Jewish loan shark Shondor Birns, and later helps pitch a deal to Mafia Capo Jack Licavoli: Greene will force the city’s garbage haulers to join the union Licavoli controls. Greene, McComber, Sneperger, and ex-Hells Angel Keith Ritson terrorize many into joining, but Greene’s friend Mike Frato refuses. Licavoli orders Greene to kill Frato, but Greene balks because Frato has ten children. Nardi tells him privately, though, that, “You wanted to play in the big leagues. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t wanna do.”As Greene prepare’s to kill Frato with a car bomb, he learns from the FBI that Sneperger has returned to gambling, and has become an informant for Manditsky. That night, Greene assigns Sneperger to set the bomb under Frato’s car and presses the detonator as he does it. An enraged Frato later shoots at Greene in a park. Greene returns fire, kills Frato, and is arrested for murder, but released after Frato’s driver tells Manditski that Greene acted in self-defense. Having had enough, Greene’s long suffering wife leaves him and takes the children. Greene sees his elderly Irish neighbor, Grace O’Keefe, being evicted. He intervenes, pays her rent, and she gratefully gives him her father’s gold Celtic cross to wear for protection. Greene begins to use his money and connections to help other Irish-Americans in need, and earns the nickname “The Robin Hood of Collinwood”.Greene wants to open his own restaurant, and asks Shondor Birns to help him. Birns arranges a $70,000 loan from the Gambinos, but Birns’ courier buys cocaine with the money and gets arrested. Birns and Greene argue over which of them should pay back the money; when Greene refuses to pay, Birns hires a hitman to kill him. Greene narrowly escapes, and later kills Birns with a car bomb. After Mafia boss John Scalish dies, both Nardi and Licavoli are considered for succession. Licavoli is chosen due to his closer ties to the Five Families and decides to charge Greene 30% “street tax” for doing business in Cleveland. Greene refuses to pay, crudely mocks Licavoli’s Italian heritage, and vows, “The Irishman’s in business for himself now.” An outraged Licavoli has Greene’s house blown up, but he survives. He then attempts to demote Nardi and take away his crew, only to have the latter join forces with Greene. Vowing to take over Cleveland together, Greene and Nardi start by organizing the murders of Licavoli’s associates, many of whom are blown up. Thirty-six car bombings occur during the summer of 1976, drawing national attention and humiliating Licavoli. After failing multiple times to kill Greene, Licavoli is forced to humbly ask Genovese boss Anthony Salerno to help him kill Nardi and Greene.Having learned of this from the FBI, Greene claims that he wants to leave Cleveland and buy a ranch in Texas, but needs to raise $2 million. Wishing to size up their enemies, Greene and Nardi travel to New York and invite Salerno to invest in the ranch. After they leave, Salerno orders his associates to hire professional hitman Ray Ferritto to kill them both. Nardi is killed in a car explosion, McComber dies in a bombing at the Cleveland docks, and Ritson is shot near his house. Detective Manditski lets Greene know that a master killer is after him. He offers Greene protection, but is told, “My enemies will be taken care of.” After a dentist’s appointment on October 6, 1977, Greene notices Ferritto driving by slowly, and accepts that he is about to die, giving his gold cross to an admiring boy. Ferritto detonates a bomb on the car next to Greene’s, killing Greene instantly. An epilogue, by Manditski, reveals that the investigation of Danny Greene’s murder led to the collapse of the Mafia, not only in Cleveland, but all over the United States.I’m not a big fan of biopics or mobster films like this.  With that said the film is more fascinating and entertaining than most others of it’s type. The actors are all good and well cast, especially Stevenson. He’s always been a cool action bad ass in films before but here he’s really given a chance to show off his acting abilities and range. His performance combined with Hensleigh’s better than average directing make the film one definitely worth checking out. Probably especially if you’re a fan of the genre.

 

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REVIEW: THE UNSAID

CAST

Andy Garcia (Ocean’s Eleven)
Vincent Kartheiser (Angel)
Trevor Blumas (Ice Princess)
Linda Cardellini (Scooby-Doo)
Sam Bottoms (Return To Eden)
August Schellenberg (The New World)
Chelsea Field (Masters of The Universe)
Brendan Fletcher (Freddy vs Jason)
Teri Polo (Meet The Fockers)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)

Image result for THE UNSAID (2001)Psychiatrist Michael Hunter (Andy García) and his wife are watching their daughter Shelly’s school play. Their son Kyle, who is suffering from depression, stays at home, because he can not stand being among people as he says. While the parents are applauding Shelly, Kyle commits suicide in family’s garage.
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Several years later the family has fallen apart because of their loss. Michael retreats, writes books, holds speeches for University students, but he no longer treats patients. When his former student Barbara Wagner approaches him asking for help with a case he initially refuses, but then gives in to taking over the case of 17-year-old Thomas “Tommy” Caffey (Vincent Kartheiser), who had had to watch his father murder his mother. It is Michael’s job to decide if the teenager can leave the psychiatric facility when he turns 18. But while working with Tommy, Michael realizes how much the boy reminds him of his own son Kyle and feelings of guilt arise in the psychologist.
Image result for THE UNSAID (2001)In flashbacks and conversations, the viewer receives background information of Kyle’s suicide. Michael had his son see a therapist — an old university friend named Harry Quinlan — instead of taking medication. In his son’s suicide letter, Michael finds out that Kyle was sexually abused by Quinlan. When Michael tries to confront Quinlan, the therapist won’t unlock the front door. Michael goes to the glass back door, through which he sees Quinlan pull a gun out of a drawer. As Quinlan places the barrel in his mouth, Michael angrily yells at him to shoot himself, which the therapist does. Tommy kills a girl at a party because she wanted to have sex with him. At the same party, Tommy befriends Shelly and they become closer. Shelly tells Tommy about Kyle. From then on, Tommy uses the information in therapy sessions and manipulates Michael, who more and more sees his own son in him.  When Michael visits Tommy’s father in prison he finds out that Tommy’s mother misused the boy as a lover and slept with him regularly. This is the reason why the father, who came home early one day, bludgeoned the mother to death.
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In the last part of the movie, Tommy tries to make Barbara release him to an independent life. When she refuses, he pushes her through a glass window. After she crawls to a telephone and attempts to call police, Tommy beats her with the handset. He flees in a stolen car and, armed with a weapon, picks up Shelly from her mother’s house and speeds away. Michael finds the severely wounded Barbara in her apartment. As she is being treated, Barbara warns Michael about Tommy’s plan. Michael races to his ex-wife’s house, narrowly missing the boy, whom he chases. The boy’s flight comes to an end near train tracks, where he holds Shelly at gunpoint. Michael confronts Tommy with what his mother did and Tommy surrenders the girl and the gun. When a train approaches, Tommy tears loose from Michael’s embrace and runs onto the tracks. At the last second, Tommy stops on the tracks, throws up his arms, and awaits impact. Michael grabs Tommy and they fall away from the locomotive. In the closing scene, Michael and Tommy light-heartedly play handball at the institution.Related imageThe Unsaid is a very well produced, compelling and thought provoking movie. Vincent Kartheiser is excellent. Andy Garcia is as stoic and watchable as always. There are a few details of the plot that would be contestable but overall an excellent movie.

REVIEW: SCOOBY-DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED

 

CAST

Freddie Prinze Jr. (She’s All That)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer)
Matthew Lillard (Scream)
Linda Cardellini (New Girl)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Peter Boyle (Lois & Clark)
Tim Blake Nelson (Fantastic Four)
Alica Silverstone (Batman & Robin)
Zahf Paroo (Firewall)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)
Callum Worthy (Smallville)
Emily Tennant (Juno)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
J.P. Manoux (Birds of Prey)
Jackson Rathbone (Twilight)
Michael Sorich (VR Troopers)
Bob Papenbrook (Jeepers Creepers 2)

Mystery Inc. (Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo) attend the opening of an exhibition at the Coolsonian Criminology Museum commemorating their past solved cases with monster costumes on display. However, the celebrations are interrupted by a masked man known as the Evil Masked Figure who steals two costumes using the reanimated Pterodactyl Ghost. The gang are ridiculed by journalist Heather Jasper Howe, who starts a smear campaign against them. Concluding an old enemy is the mastermind, the gang revisit old cases, dismissing the former Pterodactyl Ghost, Jonathan Jacobo, due to his death during a failed prison escape, they guess Jeremiah Wickles, the Black Knight Ghost’s portrayer, is the culprit.

Going to Wickles’ mansion, the gang find a book that serves as an instruction manual on how to create monsters. Shaggy and Scooby-Doo find a note inviting Wickles’ to visit the Faux Ghost nightclub. They are attacked by the Black Knight Ghost, but escape when Daphne holds him off. Shaggy and Scooby sneak into the Faux Ghost, speaking to Wickles, but learn he has resolved his ways. The rest of the gang discover the key ingredient to create the monsters is a substance called “randomonium” which can be found at the old silver mining town. They go to the museum, accompanied by the curator and Velma’s love interest Patrick Wisely, but discover the rest of the costumes have been stolen. Heather Jasper Howe ridicules the gang further by turning the city against them. The gang go to the mines, finding Wickles’s plans to turn it into an amusement park. As they confront Wickles, he states that he and Jacobo were cell-mates who hated each other and that he has no connection to the museum robberies.

The gang then find the Monster Hive where the costumes are brought to life as real monsters. Shaggy and Scooby play around with the machine’s control panel, bringing several costumes to life, and the gang flee the city with the panel as the Evil Masked Figure terrorizes the city. Escaping to their old high school clubhouse, the gang realize they can reverse the control panel’s power by altering its wiring. Captain Cutler’s Ghost emerges from the bayou, forcing the gang to head back to the mines, encountering the various monsters along the way. Velma encounters Patrick in the mines, finding a shrine dedicated to Jacobo, but Patrick proves his own innocence by rescuing Velma from falling through a catwalk.

The gang confront the Evil Masked Figure, but the Tar Monster captures all of them but Scooby, who uses a fire extinguisher to freeze the Tar Monster’s body. He reactivates the control panel, transforming the costumes back to normal. The gang take the Evil Masked Figure to the authorities, unmasking him as Heather, but in turn reveal she is actually Jacobo in disguise, having escaped death and tried to get revenge on Mystery, Inc. by discrediting them. Jacobo’s cameraman Ned is also arrested as an accomplice. Mystery, Inc. are praised as heroes once again in Coolsville. In the Faux Ghost, the gang celebrates their victory with the now reformed criminals whom they unmasked in the past (including Wickles).

i originally went to see this movie because Sarah Michelle Gellar stars in it as Daphne. But I discovered that overall this is a fun, comic, family film that I think the majority of people can appreciate. It’s well worth a look and in all honestly is immensely enjoyable.

REVIEW: SCOOBY-DOO (2002)

CAST

Freddie Prinze Jr. (She’s All That)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer)
Matthew Lillard (Scream)
Linda Cardellini (New Girl)
Rowan Atkinson (Johnny english)
Isla Fisher (Grimsby)
J.P. Manoux (Birds of Prey)
Andrew Bryniarski (Batman Returns)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Sandra McCoy (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Michala Banas (Winners & Losers)
Pamela Anderson (Baywatch)

n a factory, the Mystery, Inc. gang illustrates a plan to catch the Luna Ghost who has kidnapped Daphne Blake (Sarah Michelle Gellar), flying around with her bound and gagged, which does not go as planned, but ends with Shaggy Rogers (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby-Doo (voiced by Neil Fanning) causing the Ghost to be caught. The gang unmasks the Luna Ghost, who is revealed to be the janitor of the Wow-O-Toy Factory, Old Man Smithers, who wanted revenge against Pamela Anderson after she refused to go out with him. (It is implied that he kidnapped Daphne, mistaking her for Pamela.) After solving the mystery, a heated argument ensues among the members of Mystery Incorporated. Fred Jones (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) is accused of taking credit for Velma Dinkley’s (Linda Cardellini) ideas, and Daphne states that she is tired of always getting kidnapped. The gang disbands, and Shaggy and Scooby drive off in the Mystery Machine in sadness.
Two years later, Shaggy and Scooby are approached to solve the mystery of the popular horror resort Spooky Island, reuniting with Fred, Daphne and Velma, although none of the latter are thrilled to see each other, except for Shaggy and Scooby, who still want Mystery Incorporated to reunite. On the island, the gang meets Emile Mondavarious (Rowan Atkinson), the owner of the theme park, who explains his theory that visitors are being cursed. Shaggy falls in love with a girl named Mary Jane (Isla Fisher), while Scooby is mysteriously targeted by real demonic creatures. Velma meets a man named N’Goo Tuana and his henchman, the famous luchador Zarkos, who explains that demons once ruled the island.
The gang visits the island’s abandoned ghost castle, where Daphne finds a pyramid-shaped artifact called the Daemon Ritus and Velma and Fred find a strange room with videos designed to address non-humans. When the gang returns to the hotel, they are attacked by the island demons, who kidnap numerous tourists including Fred, Velma and Mondavarious. The next day, Daphne is captured by Zarkos, while Shaggy and Scooby discover Fred, Velma and the tourists are now possessed by the demons. The two flee with Mary Jane until Scooby realizes she is possessed as well.
In the midst of an argument between Scooby and Shaggy, Scooby falls down a hole and is followed by Shaggy, who dives in to save him. Shaggy comes across a vat containing the protoplasmic souls of everyone who was captured, including his friends, and releases the gang’s souls to their bodies. Velma discovers that the demons are destroyed in sunlight just like vampires, while Daphne and Fred’s souls end up in the wrong bodies. Shaggy steals the Daemon Ritus and reunites with the gang except Scooby after their souls correct themselves.
Coming across Voodoo Maestro, the gang learns that if the leader of the demons absorbs a pure soul through the Daemon Ritus, then the demons shall rule the world for the next 10,000 years. The pure soul belongs to Scooby, while the demons’ leader is revealed to be Mondavarious. Shaggy convinces the gang to put their differences aside and finally work together to save Scooby. They form a plan but it fails and Scooby’s soul is extracted. Scooby is saved by Shaggy, wounding Mondavarious in the attempt.Fred, Velma, and Shaggy discover he is actually a robot, controlled by none other than Scooby’s nephew, Scrappy-Doo (voiced by Scott Innes), whom the gang abandoned years ago due to his egotism. Now vengeful, Scrappy transforms into a giant demon called Scrappy Rex (voiced by J. P. Manoux) to destroy the gang and rule the world using the tourists’ souls he absorbed. Daphne fights Zarkos above the island’s caves, knocking him through the roof, which exposes the demons to sunlight and destroys them. Scrappy Rex picks up Scooby and taunts him. Shaggy confronts Scrappy and rips the Daemon Ritus from his chest, freeing the souls and reverting Scrappy to his original self. Shaggy finds the real Mondavarious trapped in a hole and frees him. Scrappy and his minions are arrested.Daphne and Fred kiss, Shaggy and Mary Jane hug along with Scooby, while Velma hugs a man she met earlier then playfully punches him in the chest while laughing. When Mystery Incorporated addresses the press, this time Fred lets Velma take the credit she deserves. Mystery Incorporated is then reunited while Scrappy-Doo, N’Goo Tauna, and Zarkos are taken away. As Scrappy is arrested, he says “I would’ve gotten away with it, too! If not for you meddling sons of —”, but the police shut the door of the helicopter before he can finish, while Daphne is talking to the press. As Scooby and the gang reconcile, the helicopter takes Scrappy and his minions away.

At the end during the credits, Scooby and Shaggy are seen at the Spooky Island Hotel enjoying an all-you-can-eat buffet, and eating hot peppers and screaming, causing smoke to come out of the hotel.

I would say that Scooby-Doo is a terrific movie: it’s fun, fast and very well acted.I found in it everything that made me love the cartoon and even more. Don’t miss it if you’re a Scooby fan: you won’t regret it!

 

REVIEW: ALL STAR SUPERMAN

 

CAST (VOICES)
James Denton (Desperate Houswives)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Anthony LaPaglia (Summer of Sam)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Frances Conroy (American Horror Story)
Linda Cardellini (Super)
Cathy Cavadini (The Batman)
Steven Blum (Wolverine ad The X-Men)
Alexis Denisof (Angel)
Matthew Gray Gubler (500 days of Summer)
Finola Hughes (Generation X)
Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy)
Dr. Leo Quintum and his team are exploring the Sun when they are sabotaged by a booby-trapped genetically-enhanced clone, turned into a time-bomb by Lex Luthor. Superman stops the clone but in doing so receives an overdose of solar radiation. Though the radiation is slowly killing him, it does give Superman new powers. Luthor, having orchestrated the death of Superman while under the employment of General Sam Lane, is arrested by the military thanks to Clark Kent’s article and sentenced to death by a Metropolis tribunal. Superman asks Dr. Quintim to keep news of his impending death secret from the public. Wanting to spend as much of his remaining time with Lois Lane, Superman reveals to her that he is Clark Kent. Lois doubts his revelation because she had been unable to prove Superman’s “Kent” identity herself. Superman takes her to the Fortress of Solitude. During this visit, Superman’s secretive behavior and her indirect exposure to alien chemicals heightens Lois’ paranoia.
She is startled by Robot 7, shooting it and then Superman with a kryptonite laser. The solar radiation having made him immune to green kryptonite, Superman is able to calm her, explaining his caginess was to hide her birthday present, a serum granting her superpowers for 24 hours. Now as a Superwoman, she and Superman stop an attack by Subterranosauri led by Krull in Metropolis just as Samson (who tricked Krull into leading an attack on the surface world) and Atlas arrive. After the Subterranosauri are returned to the center of the Earth, their leader Tyrannko states to Superman that Krull will be dealt with. Samson flirts with Lois and gives her a necklace, the crown jewels of the Ultra-Sphinx. When Superman tells him to back off, he shows Superman a newspaper that reads “Superman Dead” and challenges Superman to contests to win Lois. The Ultra-Sphinx travels through time to reclaim the jewels Samson had stolen, placing Lois between life and death. Superman must answer an unanswerable question to save Lois. The unanswerable question is “What happens when the Unstoppable Force meets the Immovable Object?” Superman beats Ultra-Sphinx’s challenge with the answer being “they surrender.” Superman then defeats Atlas and Samson in a double arm-wrestling match before spending the rest of the day with Lois as her powers fade.
Later, Kent meets Luthor in his death row cell for an exclusive interview at Stryker’s Island. However, Superman’s energy allows the Parasite to free himself and cause havoc in the prison. Clark stops him while not revealing his secret identity, with Luthor disclosing his respect for Clark as both a journalist and a man. Luthor then reveals a tunnel from his cell for Clark to escape through, aided by Luthor’s delinquent niece Nasthalthia. Luthor chooses not to escape as the satisfaction of outliving Superman is rewarding enough. Clark tells Lois he’s dying, before leaving to take the city of Kandor to a new planet to thrive, as he does not believe he’ll survive the trip back. Lois denies it, speaking of their future together with their super-children. Clark informs her that their biology is too incompatible for them to bear children. Clark leaves with Lois promising to wait for his return.
Two months later, Superman returns to find Metropolis has been repaired with Kryptonian architecture and that Earth has been protected by Bar-El and Lilo, lost astronauts from Krypton. They followed the trail of the vessel that brought Superman to Earth. To his dismay, the two have less altruistic goals and intend to turn Earth into a new Krypton. As they fight Superman outside of the Daily Planet, Bar-El and Lilo begin showing signs of illness: the two had passed through the remnants of Krypton and thus were saturated with Kryptonite. To save them and at their request, Superman places the two in the Phantom Zone until a cure can be found.After settling his affairs, Superman proceeds to finish his last will and testament. Luthor reprogrammed one of the Fortress’ robots to steal the serum he made for Lois’ birthday. Having the powers of Superman, Luthor’s death by electric chair failed and he escapes unfettered. He meets with Nasthalthia below one of his lairs to continue his plans. Superman finishes his will when he learns of Luthor’s secret ally Solaris, the tyrant star computer has betrayed Luthor by tampering with Earth’s sun and turned it blue. With his robots, Superman engages Solaris in space. However, Solaris’ raw power output vaporized all of the robots, with Robot #7 sacrificing itself to damage Solaris to redeem itself for being manipulated into stealing the super serum. All seems lost until Superman’s pet Sun-Eater sacrifices itself to weaken the tyrant star, which allows Superman to destroy Solaris.
Clark returns to the Daily Planet, very ill, and collapses upon completing his article, “SUPERMAN DEAD”. When the staff tries to save him they realize that he has stopped breathing and his heart stopped. But before they can do anything to help Clark, the super-powered Lex Luthor arrives and attempts to kill Lois. Clark revives and fires a gravity gun at Luthor. Superman tells Luthor he has been on to him ever since Superman Robot #7 first malfunctioned. As his powers fade, Luthor briefly sees the world as Superman sees it and weeps as he gains a measure of understanding of the subatomic and how it interconnects. The gravity weapon has warped time causing Luthor’s powers to burn out at a faster rate. As his powers drain, Luthor wishes the experience to continue. He believes he can solve the grand unification theory but when he reaches for his next vial of serum, he realizes that Superman has stolen his supply. Superman then destroys the serum over Luthor’s protests, pointing out that if Luthor truly cared about solving the world’s problems, he would have done so long ago.
With Superman’s body starting to turn into pure energy, he and Lois embrace one final time and he proclaims his love for her once and for all. He gives her his cape as a way to remember him before he leaves and flies into the Sun, seemingly sacrificing himself to save the Earth.
Later, when Lois sits on a bench in front of a statue of Superman, Jimmy invites her to attend a memorial service being held for Superman. Lois does not go as she believes Superman is not dead and will return after he repairs the sun. Quintum visits Luthor in his cell. Now enlightened from his ordeal and accepting his impending death, Luthor presents Quintum with the only thing that could redeem him for his actions over the years….a formula to recreate Superman’s genetic structure through a healthy human ovum. As Quintum leaves, he sadly muses “They always said they wanted children”. The movie ends with a picture of Superman fixing the sun and Lois’ voice once more stating “He’s not dead. He’s up there fixing the Sun. And when he’s done, he’ll be back.”
An excellent take which sticks closely to its source material. Approach with an open mind and you shouldn’t be disappointed

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 1,2,3 & 4

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MAIN CAST

Zooey Deschanel (Yes Man)
Jake Johnson (Jurassic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (The Guild)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)
Damon Wayans Jr. (Big Hero 6)


RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (The Grinder)
Ian Wolterstorff (The Neighbours)
Katie Cassidy (Arrow)
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie)
Lake Bell (In A World…)
Justin Long (Waiting…)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved)
Michaela Watkins (Casual)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Rachael Harris (The Hangover)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Kali Hawk (Bridesmaids)
Jeff Kober (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Clarke Duke (Kick-Ass)
Ryan Kwanten (True Blood)
Joey King (The Dark Knight Rises)
June Diane Raphael (Bride Wars)
Dermot Multoney (The Grey)
Martin Starr (This Is The End)
Natalie Drefuss (The Originals)
Rebecca Reid (Eastern Promises)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Nelson Franklin (Argo)
Parker Posey (Superman Returns)
David Walton (Bad Moms)
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Molly Cheek (American Pie)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
Rob Reiner (This Is Spinal Tap)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens)
Carla Gugino (Watchman)
Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Dennis Farina (Get Shorty)
Nate Corddry (Mom)
Brooklyn Decker (Battleship)
Brenda Song (The Social Network)
Odette Annable (The Unborn)
Margo Martindale (Mike & Molly)
Merritt Weaver (Signs)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Mary Lynn Rajskub (2 Broke Girls)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Riki Lindhome (Much Ado About Nothing)
Jon Lovitz (Big)
Taye Diggs (Chicago)
Jessica Chaffin (Spy)
Nakia Burrise (Power Rangers Turbo)
Brian Posehn (The Big Bang Theory)
Ben Falcone (The Boss)
Prince (Purple Rain)
Linda Cardellini (Scooby-Doo)
Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Kerri Kenney (Anger Management)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Ciara Hanna (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Kaitlin Olson (The Heat)
Alan Ritchson (Smallville)
Erinn Hayes (The Watch)
Julian Morris (Hand of God)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Amber Stevens West (22 Jump Street)
Greta Lee (St. Vincent)
Barry Bostwick (Spin City)
Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens)
Zoe Lister-Jones (Salt)
Nora Dunn (Bones)

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.

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.

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.The first season of New Girl established the will-they-won’t-they pairing of Nick and Jess and the they-did-will-it-last coupling of Schmidt and CeCe, so the second season is all about raising the stakes for them. For Nick and Jess this takes the form of bad relationships keeping their minds off messing with the loft dynamic by dating a roommate. Though each has some legitimate opportunities for happiness, be it Jess’ commitment-phobic Dr. Sam or Nick’s sexually adventurous stripper girlfriend (played by Olivia Munn.) However knowing that there remains a chance they could end up together leads to frequent self-sabotage.As much as Deschannel is the star of the show, Johnson has quietly become just as integral, as Nick grows and discovers himself, with the help of his future self and a water-massaging elderly Asian gentleman (the show can get weird sometimes.)For Schmidt and CeCe, reality is far less promising, as CeCe begins to sense her biological clock is ticking, and finds herself on a course for an arranged marriage to a pleasant man who just isn’t Schmidt. Meanwhile, the one true Schmidt seeks to alleviate the impending loss of his caramel queen by running back to his one true love, Elizabeth, a girl he dated in college, when he was hundreds of pounds heavier. It sets up a troubling love triangle, as the real Schmidt is just right for Elizabeth, but the Schmidt he wants to be is a perfect match for CeCe. While there’s a grimy aspect to Schmidt keeping two women secret from each other, on the other hand, Greenfield makes it work by showing Schmidt cares about both women and is, oddly, doing it to not hurt either of them, rather than out of some sort of romantic greed. It’s an unusual situation, and one the show handles well.The focus on Schmidt and CeCe this season unleashes the show’s secret weapon, as Simone proves to be one of the most consistently funny performers in the series, popping in a look or a delivery that’s just perfect for the situation. Many of the show’s best moments this season grow out of CeCe’s on and off again connection with Schmidt, with the season’s home-stretch existing only thanks to the culture clash that grows from her arranged marriage, Part of what makes her so entertaining is how her exotic beauty gets betrayed to hilarious effect by her ability to be wonderfully silly. (The other benefit of having CeCe around is the presence of her Russian modeling pal Nadia (Rebecca Reid), who is economically hysterical, with a higher laugh to word ratio than anyone on TV.)The mix in the loft is why the show works so well, as the quartet of roomies and friends behaves realistically, no matter how offbeat the situation may be or how odd the four may sometimes get. So whether it’s Schmidt feeling old thanks to some hipsters who have imoved in and befriended Jess, the exploration of the group’s most annoying aspects (a.k.a. “pogos”) or Winston struggling with his period, they mercilessly tease each other, but have each other’s back to the end. This is never more clearly illustrated than in “Virgins,” where the crew one-up each other with their horrible tales of their first sexual experiences. The way they interact is as close to real friends as anything on TV.With the series expanding upon the world created in the first season, we get to meet more of the people in the lives of the four roommates, and those additions were rather impressive, to go with returning speicial guests, like June Diane Raphael (playing Jess’ lesbian gynocologist.) The late Dennis Farina had a great turn as Nick’s con-man father, while Margot Martindale plays his brassy mom, Nick Kroll is his dim-witted brother and Bill Burr is his Beantown cousin. Meanwhile on Jess’ side, they snagged Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis to play her feuding parents (and Reiner should become a series regular as her dad). Add in Rob Riggle as Schmidt’s brother, Carla Gugino as his sexually-aggressive boss and Brenda Song as Winston’s new lady friend, and the show managed to cultivate a fine ensemble outside of the core five, expanding and improving the series.

The natural progression of the relationships between Nick and Jess and Schmidt and CeCe, along with the changes in the world around them, made for an entertaining season that balanced silly fun with genuine emotion.
Coach’s return was a little unexpected, there was already a great ensemble, why mess with it? For those who don’t know, Coach was one of the original characters from the pilot. Wayans’s was already cast in Happy Endings, but with Happy Endings suffering in the ratings, it was expected to be cancelled, leaving Wayans’s free to find another role. It didn’t get cancelled, and New Girl even benefited with the addition of Winston. Eventually, Happy Endings was cancelled, and Coach comes back.  Coach’s return to, guess what, coaching was inspired, and his slight change in focus really benefits both him and Schmidt, as well as the show as a whole. By the end of the season, it feels like Coach has always been there!
Then there is Winston. It really is a testament to Lamorne Morris’s ability as an actor and comic that he has got so much out of character that doesn’t really have much to do. I think he’s one of the least developed characters, and with so much focus on Nick & Jess, the re-introduction of Coach and Schmidt’s all round issues, he’s left to fill out episode storylines without getting much development himself. The comic relief Winston provides is necessary to balance out the drama with the other characters, but it’s a shame so much of it is just short story arcs or lasts just a single episode. If there’s any area I’d like season 4 to develop, it’s Winston. There is just too much talent and comedy to ignore.

New Girl continues its solid track record, producing a classic relationship season without losing the fact it’s a comedy at heart. Well executed by all involved.

Romantic relationships remain the primary concerns of Jess, her four dude roommates, and her best friend Cece (Hannah Simone). In season three, Jess and her cute slacker roomie Nick (Jake Johnson) made good on the will-they-or-won’t-they? dynamic teased in the previous seasons and are already peaceably broken up at this point. (The episode “Goldmine” nicely addresses the difficulty of getting people not to bail on dates with each of them after learning that they live in the same apartment as their ex.) At work, Jess has made it up the ranks from schoolteacher to vice principal, which is all well and good until she gets a crush on a new British teacher (Pretty Little Liars’ Julian Morris) with the saucy name Ryan Geauxinue (pronounced “Goes-In-You”); unfortunately for Jess, administrator-teacher couplings are a no-no, so she tries to ignore the hunk. (That doesn’t happen.) Nick finds Kai (Greta Lee), a lady who likes to lay about the apartment as much as himself; rookie cop Winston (Lamorne Morris) “investigates” her behavior for his roommate and decides she must be homeless. (She’s not.)
The show’s other key couple, former-model-turned-inept-bartender Cece (Hannah Simone) and metrosexual would-be player Schmidt (Max Greenfield), continue their pas de deux; Schmidt starts off the season overwhelmingly obsessed with Cece while she just wants to move on. As the season continues, Schmidt cools it a bit and finds a way to be Cece’s friend… which, of course, just makes her remember why she liked him in the first place. Unfortunately, by this point, Schmidt has started up with manipulative, career-driven city councilwoman Fawn Moscato (Zoe Lister-Jones). Fawn’s power excites Schmidty, but is this duo built to last?
 Wayans was a “recurring” cast member in season 3, but he’s a full-fledged co-star in season four. His presence in the show — besides demonstrating  that non-“niche” sitcom ensembles can have more than one black dude in them — is wonderfully layered with jock-y braggadocio, hidden tenderness, and amiable goofiness. Coach also reacts to relationship strife in the most entertaining ways possible, whether it’s emotionally breaking down as he tries to describe fertilization in a health class he’s teaching or attracting a bar full of ladies to grind up against him to the strains of Alannah Myles’s “Black Velvet.”
That just leaves Winston, who occasionally takes a break from studying for his police exam and from being in love with his cat to try to woo a human lady. I have to admit that Winston’s decision to become a cop just keeps reminding me of the later seasons of That ’70s Show, where Kelso’s decision to join the police academy also felt fairly arbitrary and strange. This is addressed in a subplot in the episode “Par 5,” which was actually co-written by  Lamorne Morris, in which the character feels forced to hide his profession when he starts dating a woman who actively protests the LAPD. This episode tries to add a little nuance and depth to Winston’s choice to be a policeman.
For a show with so many semi-arrested characters, gaining maturity and finding worthwhile career paths are unsurprisingly also an ongoing component of the show. Jess and Winston, of course, seem like they’re right where they want to be career-wise with the vice principal and police gigs respectively. Nick continues to flounder professionally, but eventually teams up with Schmidt to start their own entrepreneurial concern, and while their first concept — a suit made out of sweatsuit material — is a dud, the show seems optimistic about them finding fulfillment in working together. Cece finally goes to college, with some financial help from Coach and Winston, who consider it an investment that they expect to see repaid. When they find out Cece uses the opportunity to take somewhat esoteric liberal arts courses, the fellas are duly perturbed.
Once again, the show opens its doors to a number of excellent guest stars, including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson as Jess’s former classmate and potential stepmom (Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis return as Jess’s divorced parents), Jessica Biel as a romantic rival for Jess, Billy Eichner as a stressed-out, catty airport employee on Christmas, Childrens Hospital’s Erinn Hayes as a promiscuous school nurse, Lisa Bonet as the touchy-feely leader of a teachers conference, Nora Dunn as Schmidt’s overbearing mother, and on and on. Justin Long. Josh Gad. Michaela Watkins. Barry Bostwick. Sarah Burns. Kurt Braunohler. Regis Philbin. Funny people!
 The ensemble cast truly shines in this newest season of New Girl. Some episodes come in a little below expectations, but overall the season offers some interesting developments for the characters and oodles of great jokes. If you like the show, keep liking the show.

REVIEW: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

CAST

Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
Chris Evans (The Losers)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Chris Hemsworth (The Huntsman: Winter’s War)
Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy)
James Spader (Stargate)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes On A Plane)
Paul Bettany (Legion)
Don Cheadle (Traffic)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass)
Elizabeth Olsen (Silent House)
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker)
Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter)
Idris Elba (Pacific Rim)
Linda Cardellini (Scooby-Doo)
Stellan Skarsgard (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Julie Delpy (Before Sunset)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex)
Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk)In the Eastern European country of Sokovia, the Avengers – Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, and Clint Barton – raid a Hydra facility commanded by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, who has been experimenting on humans using the scepter previously wielded by Loki. They encounter two of Strucker’s experiments – twins Pietro, who has superhuman speed, and Wanda Maximoff, who can manipulate minds and project energy – and apprehend Strucker, while Stark retrieves Loki’s scepter.
Stark and Banner discover an artificial intelligence within the scepter’s gem, and secretly use it to complete Stark’s “Ultron” global defense program. The unexpectedly sentient Ultron, believing he must eradicate humanity to save Earth, eliminates Stark’s A.I. J.A.R.V.I.S. and attacks the Avengers at their headquarters. Escaping with the scepter, Ultron uses the resources in Strucker’s Sokovia base to upgrade his rudimentary body and build an army of robot drones. Having killed Strucker, he recruits the Maximoffs, who hold Stark responsible for their parents’ deaths by his weapons, and go to the base of arms dealer Ulysses Klaue to obtain Wakandan vibranium. The Avengers attack Ultron and the Maximoffs, but Wanda subdues them with haunting visions, causing the Hulk (Banner) to rampage until Stark stops him with his anti-Hulk armor.1

A worldwide backlash over the resulting destruction, and the fears Wanda’s hallucinations incited, send the team into hiding at a safehouse. Thor departs to consult with Dr. Erik Selvig on the meaning of the apocalyptic future he saw in his hallucination, while Romanoff and Banner plan to flee together after realizing a mutual attraction. However, Nick Fury arrives and encourages the team to form a plan to stop Ultron. In Seoul, Ultron forces the team’s friend Dr. Helen Cho to use her synthetic-tissue technology, together with vibranium and the scepter’s gem, to perfect a new body for him. As Ultron uploads himself into the body, Wanda is able to read his mind; discovering his plan for human extinction, the Maximoffs turn against Ultron. Rogers, Romanoff, and Barton find Ultron and retrieve the synthetic body, but Ultron captures Romanoff.

The Avengers fight amongst themselves when Stark secretly uploads J.A.R.V.I.S. – who is still operational after hiding from Ultron inside the Internet – into the synthetic body. Thor returns to help activate the body, explaining that the gem on its brow – one of the six Infinity Stones, the most powerful objects in existence – was part of his vision. This “Vision” and the Maximoffs accompany the Avengers to Sokovia, where Ultron has used the remaining vibranium to build a machine to lift a large part of the capital city skyward, intending to crash it into the ground to cause global extinction. Banner rescues Romanoff, who awakens the Hulk for the battle. The Avengers fight Ultron’s army while Fury arrives in a Helicarrier with Maria Hill, James Rhodes and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to evacuate civilians. Pietro dies when he shields Barton from gunfire, and a vengeful Wanda abandons her post to destroy Ultron’s primary body, which allows one of his drones to activate the machine. The city plummets, but Stark and Thor overload the machine and shatter the landmass. In the aftermath, the Hulk, unwilling to endanger Romanoff by being with her, departs in a Quinjet, while the Vision confronts Ultron’s last remaining body.
Later, with the Avengers having established a new base run by Fury, Hill, Cho, and Selvig, Thor returns to Asgard to learn more about the forces he suspects have manipulated recent events. As Stark leaves and Barton retires, Rogers and Romanoff prepare to train new Avengers: Rhodes, the Vision, Sam Wilson, and Wanda.
In a mid-credits scene, Thanos, dissatisfied by the failures of his pawns, dons a gauntlet2 and vows to retrieve the Infinity Stones himself.The Avengers: Age of Ultron is solid entertainment and best experienced on the big screen. Long-running trappings of shared movie universe storytelling remain, and the novelty of seeing iconic comic book characters together onscreen is just as impressive as it was in The Avengers.