REVIEW: SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE

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CAST

Demi Lovato (Camp Rock)
Mandy Patinkin (Dead Like Me)
Joe Manganiello (Magic Mike)
Rainn Wilson (Super)
Jack McBrayer (Wreck-It-Ralph)
Danny Purdi (Powerless)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and The Furious)
Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street)
Julia Roberts (Closer)
Ariel Winter (Modern Family)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Josh Keaton (Green Lantern: TAS)
Yuri Lowenthal (Legion of Super Heroes)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Kari Wahlgren (Rick and Morty)

In Smurf Village, the Smurfs live peacefully among themselves. Their leader is the wise, eldery, and a bit overprotective, Papa Smurf. Some of the Smurfs include the klutsy and slow-witted Clumsy Smurf, the intelligent and eccentric Brainy Smurf, the strong and gutsy Hefty Smurf and the beautiful Smurfette, who feels out of place in Smurf Village as the only girl. Smurfette was created by the villainous wizard Gargamel from a lump of clay, but was redeemed by Papa Smurf and became part of the village. Gargamel makes it his mission to capture the Smurfs, steal all of their essence, and become the most powerful wizard in the world.After Smurfette accidentally breaks an invention by Brainy, made up by a fun day snowboarding with Clumsy, Brainy and Hefty, Smurfette sees a blue creature hidden by a leaf and follows it straight into the forbidden forest, which Papa Smurf forbids the Smurfs from entering, believing the creature to be a Smurf. She loses sight of the creature but she discovers a hat that was dropped by the possible Smurf. Smurfette ends up being captured by Gargamel and at his castle, she ends up inadvertently revealing the hat, enabling Gargamel to mix up a brew that causes him to locate the village on a map. Soon enough Clumsy, Brainy, and Hefty, who followed Smurfette, help her escape and return to Smurf Village, where they are reprimanded by Papa Smurf for disobeying his orders and confines them to their houses while dismissing their claims of a lost village filled with Smurfs.However, Smurfette, still wanting to find her place, sneaks out into the night, with Brainy, Clumsy, and Hefty volunteering to come with her. Gargamel soon discovers them trying to find the lost village and heads out with his cat Azrael and giant bird Monty to stop them. The four best friends follow the map and end up in various predicaments and misadventures, like being attacked by monster flowers and getting caught in a stampede of luminescent rabbits, one of whom they befriended and named Bucky, who helps them on their quest. After setting sail on their handmade raft along the river, they encounter Gargamel, Azrael, and Monty. Following a brief chase, Gargamel was thrown out of his own raft. Hefty and Smurfette convince the others to help save him. They do so but instead of thanking them, he pushed them out of their raft, leaving them to plunge down a waterfall.Meanwhile, back at Smurf Village, Papa Smurf tries to reconcile with Smurfette over his actions on the previous night, but soon discovers that she, Brainy, Hefty, and Clumsy are gone, so he sets out to find them and set things right. Back with the Smurf group, after surviving the waterfall and washed ashore, they are soon captured by the leaf-covered creature from earlier along with a few others and they soon reveal themselves to be female Smurfs. They are taken to their village, which is called Smurfy Grove, in the trees and get to know all the girl Smurfs, including the leader Smurf Willow, the tomboyish Smurf Storm, the hyperactive Smurf Blossom, the gentle Smurf Lily and the music-loving Smurf Melody. They all welcome the Smurfs, especially Smurfette, to their humble home. After a while of showing them what they do, Smurf Storm and Clumsy come back with her telling that Smurfette was created by Gargamel. Before they can attack her for being considered a traitor, Papa Smurf appears, and the female smurfs accept him into their home. Then, Gargamel comes and destroys Smurfy Grove, capturing all the Smurfs, all except Smurfette, who is now alone, feeling guilty for her actions. However, Brainy’s pet Snappy bug shows her a picture of her and the others, and she soon realizes that she is not a real Smurf, and heads back to Gargamel’s lair with Snappy and Bucky to save the Smurfs.At Gargamel’s lair, where all the Smurfs are, Brainy makes a plan to escape. Papa Smurf hears their plan and he and Smurf Willow decide to help them. Hefty, Brainy, Clumsy, and some of the female Smurfs succeed at the plan until Gargamel and Azrael spot them and put some of the female Smurfs and Clumsy into his Smurfilator, extracting their essence. Smurfette appears, tricking Gargamel that she wants to be an evil smurf again. When Gargamel tries to turn Smurfette into an evil smurf, he realizes that Smurfette is absorbing his magic powers instead, a skill she found earlier after destroying Brainy’s invention. The lair explodes, sending Gargamel, Azrael, and Monty into a lake full of piranhas. Unfortunately, Smurfette has reverted to her original lifeless clay form. Back at Smurf Village, all the Smurfs mourn the loss of Smurfette. Using their energy, Smurfette comes back to life and becomes a Smurf again and everybody celebrates. After which, Smurf Village and Smurfy Grove become united with each other and Smurfette finds her purpose, being anything she wants to be and most of all, a true-blue Smurf.Smurfs: The Lost Village is a story that fits nicely between the classic Peyo comics and the Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon. The animation is beautifully done. There is no way you can take every little detail in with just one viewing. The plot is fairly straightforward with adventure at the forefront. This film avoids the misplaced pop culture references and overused Smurf puns that many disliked about the previous movies. “Smurfs: The Lost Village” aims for a younger audience, but adults shouldn’t have a problem remembering why they liked these characters themselves.

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REVIEW: ALIEN NATION (1988)

CAST

James Caan (Elf)
Mandy Patinkin (Dead Like Me)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)
Kevyn Major Howard (Death Wish II)
Leslie Beivs (The Opposite of Sex)
Peter Jason (Red Heat)
Tony Perez (24)
Jeff Kober (Sully)
Keone Young (Crank)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Francis X. McCarthy (The Relic)
Roger Aaron Brown (Cobra)
Earl Boen (Marked For Death)

The year is 1991; one year since an unidentified flying object bearing 300,000 enslaved aliens, the Newcomers, landed in the Mojave Desert on planet Earth. Los Angeles later becomes their new home.Matthew Sykes (Caan), a police detective, loses his partner Bill Tuggle (Brown) in a shootout; the detectives had been trying to stop two Newcomer criminals murdering another Newcomer named Porter at a grocery, in what appeared to be a robbery. The next day, Sykes’ superior Captain Warner (McCarthy), informs his squad that they will have to work with the newly promoted Newcomer detective Sam Francisco (Patinkin). Although biased, Sykes enlists to work with Francisco to investigate a similar homicide with a Newcomer named Warren Hubely, feeling that if he investigates that crime, he will also find opportunities to investigate his partner’s death (which he is officially forbidden to do).While at a crime lab, trying unobtrusively to establish a connection between the two cases, Francisco detects an abnormality on the body of one of the Newcomer criminals who was killed in the robbery. Later, Sykes and Francisco are led to a nightclub to investigate a link in the killings with a Newcomer named Joshua Strader (Kober). However, they end up interviewing his girlfriend instead, after Strader is murdered by a criminal ring led by Newcomer businessman William Harcourt (Stamp) and his henchman Rudyard Kipling (Howard).Harcourt is in the latter stages of launching advanced plans to exploit the alien race by attempting to mass-produce and sell a drug called Jabroka. The drug was used in the past to pacify the Newcomers when they were slaves, but has no effect on humans. The abnormality noticed by Francisco on the body of the Newcomer criminal earlier turns out to have been a visual sign of the drug’s influence. In addition, the Newcomers Hubley, Porter and Strader were involved in the planning phases of the operation, but were later murdered due to Harcourt’s desire to exclude them from any future financial rewards. Ultimately, Sykes and Francisco track down Harcourt, where he is secretly negotiating a timetable for a release of the potent narcotic. The detectives attempt to foil his plans, as they are later led on a car chase with Harcourt and his cohort Kipling through the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Following a head-on collision where both parties are injured, Harcourt attempts an escape on foot. Sykes pursues and corners Harcourt onto a desolate drawbridge. Harcourt then purposely overdoses on a sample of the stimulant.600px-an-1100_03a

As Sykes mistakenly believes Harcourt has died, Harcourt is taken away by an ambulance, but later mutates into a significantly larger and more muscular Newcomer intent on causing violence. The duo pursue Harcourt, catching up with him near a fishing pier. Sykes later ends up in a physical confrontation with Harcourt in the open sea. Harcourt dies, as his body disintegrates due to the effects of direct contact with salt water, which is hazardous towards Newcomer physiology. Francisco commandeers a police helicopter, and rescues Sykes from the water. With the Tuggle and Newcomer murder cases solved, the authorities dismantle Harcourt’s illicit scheme.untitledAlien Nation asks questions about ourselves as humans. How would we react if aliens landed on Earth and announced they were escaping a brutal planet full of slavery and have immigrated to Earth? Would we accept them as our own, or would we force them to become outcasts? Would we allow an “Affirmative Action” scenario in regards to Aliens and Alien rights? Would we offer them high-paying jobs and/or top-notch education, depriving humans of those same jobs and quality education in exchange? To me, Alien Nation is one of the more possible (and perhaps likely) scenarios. Aliens delegated to run-down areas of big cities. Token jobs occasionally handed out because it’s forced by the Government to do so. And a general disgust towards Aliens amongst the human population. In that regard, this movie was way ahead of the curve.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: DEAD LIKE ME – GHOST STORY

MAIN CAST
Ellen Muth (Hannibal)
Callum Blue (Smallville)
Jasmine Guy (The Vampire Diaries)
Cynthia Stevenson (Agent Cody Banks)
Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride)
Britt McKillip (Trick ‘r Treat)
Chtistine Willes (Kingdom Hospital)
Laura Harris (The Faculty)
GUEST CAST
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Lochlyn Munro (Scary Movie)

 

Feeling like she does not fit in, George decides to shirk her reaping duties and go on Happy Time’s annual camping retreat. However, even there she can’t escape from her duties as Rube follows with an assignment. Back on the job in Seattle, Daisy and Mason must scramble to find the Post-it note he lost before tragedy occurs because of his ineptitude. Joy does her best to sell her house, but Reggie scares the potential buyers away by saying that George, her late sister, still keeps in touch with her from beyond the grave.

Dead Like Me was always a fun series, this isn’t much of a Christmas episode as there’s only one scene set as Christmas, but it’s still a great episode and any excuse to watch a classic show like is a good excuse.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE PRINCESS BRIDE

CAST

Peter Falk (Columbo)
Fred Savage (The Wonder Years)
Betsy Brantley (Dougle Jeopardy)
Cary Elwes (Hot Shots!)
Robin Wright (Unbreakable)
Chris Sarandon (Childs Play)
Mandy Patinkin (Dead Like Me)
Christopher Guest (This Is Spinal Tap)
Andre The Giant (Conan The Destroyer)
Wallace Shawn (Family Guy)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Billy Crystal (Analyze This)
Peter Cook (Supergirl)
Mel Smith (European Vacation)
Margery Mason (Love Actually)

In a frame story, a man (Peter Falk) reads a book, The Princess Bride, to his sick grandson (Fred Savage). Scenes of the reading occasionally interrupt the main story.  A young woman named Buttercup (Robin Wright) lives on a farm in the country of Florin. Whenever she gives her farm boy Westley (Cary Elwes) an order, he answers “as you wish” and happily complies. Eventually, she realizes that he means “I love you”—and that she loves him too. Westley leaves to seek his fortune so they can marry, but his ship is attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who famously never leaves anyone alive.

Five years later, Buttercup reluctantly agrees to marry Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), heir to the throne. Before the wedding, she is kidnapped by three outlaws: a Sicilian boss named Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), a giant named Fezzik (André the Giant), and a Spanish master fencer named Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), who seeks revenge against the six-fingered man who killed his father. Two separate forces pursue them: Prince Humperdinck with a complement of soldiers, and a masked man dressed in black. The outlaws were actually hired by Humperdinck himself to make a pretext for war by leaving Buttercup’s dead body on the shores of rival country Guilder.

The man in black catches up to the outlaws at the top of the Cliffs of Insanity, where he defeats Inigo in a swordfight and knocks him unconscious. He then defeats Fezzik in hand-to-hand combat, choking him until he blacks out. Finally, he kills Vizzini in a battle of wits by tricking him into drinking poison, and so captures Buttercup. When he tells her he is the Dread Pirate Roberts, she becomes enraged at him for killing Westley and shoves him down a slope. As he falls he calls out “As you wish” and Buttercup realizes that the man is, in fact, Westley. Buttercup chases after him and learns that the previous Dread Pirate Roberts had offered his identity to Westley in order to be able to retire—which was also how that “Roberts” had acquired his identity.
The duo manage to cross the Fire Swamp with its fire spouts, lightning sand, and Rodents of Unusual Size, but are captured by Humperdinck and his sadistic six-fingered vizier Count Rugen (Christopher Guest). Buttercup agrees to return with Humperdinck in exchange for Westley’s release, but Humperdinck secretly has Rugen imprison and torture Westley in the Pit of Despair. Later, when Buttercup expresses unhappiness at marrying Humperdinck, he promises to search for Westley. Eventually Buttercup realizes he is lying and taunts him as a coward. Humperdinck, enraged, tortures Westley to his death. Meanwhile, Fezzik finds Inigo and informs him of Rugen’s existence. Inigo decides that they need the man in black’s help to get into the castle. Hearing cries of anguish, they reach Rugen’s torture chamber only to find Westley dead. But they take him to Miracle Max (Billy Crystal), who explains that Westley is “only mostly dead”, and supplies a pill to revive him. With the wedding imminent, they give Westley the pill too early and he awakens partially paralyzed. Still, Westley, Inigo, and Fezzik invade the castle. Humperdinck drastically abridges the wedding ceremony and locks Buttercup into her chambers.

Meanwhile Inigo finds and duels with Rugen. Seriously wounded early in the battle, he begins repeatedly reciting his long-rehearsed greeting of vengeance: “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” This restores his focus and he finally slays his nemesis.Westley finds Buttercup about to commit suicide, and assures her that her marriage is void because they never said “I do.” Humperdinck confronts them but Westley bluffs him into surrendering, leaving him tied up, to contemplate his cowardice. Westley rides away triumphantly with Buttercup, Inigo, and Fezzik on horses that Fezzik conveniently discovers. As they leave, Inigo remarks that now that he has his revenge he isn’t sure what to do next; Westley suggests he become the next Dread Pirate Roberts. At last Westley and Buttercup share a passionate kiss. As the grandfather finishes the story and prepares to leave, the boy asks him to read the story again the next day. The grandfather smiles and replies, “As you wish.”

Crammed with adventure, true love, swordfights, pirates, casual villains, and a clergyman with a speech impediment, “The Princess Bride” is an adorable comic classic. A must-see.

REVIEW: DEAD LIKE ME – HAUNTED

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HAUNTED

MAIN CAST

Ellen Muth (Hannibal)
Laura Harris (Severance)
Callum Blue (Smallville)
Jasmine Guy (The Vampire Diaries)
Cynthia Stevenson (Happiness)
Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Diaries)
Greg Kean (Saved)
Britt McKillip (Trick’ r Treat)
Christine Willes (Red Riding Hood)
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GUEST CAST

Emily Perkins (Ginger Snaps)

Dead Like Me: Haunted was the final episode for this science fiction series about grim reapers. It was Halloween, and it was actually one of their better episodes. I liked seeing the characters in other types of attire. Jasmine Guy, who is quite beautiful, dressed as a princess and looked the part, eventhough her Roxy character kept up her toughness without giving an inch.
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One of the other interesting things was how they had George going to the house she’d once gone trick or treating at. The guy was a mass murderer so there wasn’t any sentiment, but how they wove this story together was pretty good  With just a couple of reservations about how things were handled in the Reggie storyline, I did like that it ended nicely. She and her mother have made up some ground, and that’s deserved. I feel like the Joy persona probably evolved more than anyone else on the show, even the
Dead Like Me: Haunted was intriguing, and the last scene was really nice. There had been a big disconnect in recent episodes between George and her family, and this pieced it together a tiny degree, at least as far as Reggie was concerned

REVIEW: 4.3.2.1.

CAST

Ophelia Lovibond (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Shanika Warren-Markland (Adulthood)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Tamsin Egerton (Grimsby)
Adam Deacon (Ali G Indahouse)
Ashley Thomas (24: Legacy)
Steven Cree (John Carter)
Sean Pertwee (Gotham)
Noel Clarke (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Michelle Ryan (Bionic Woman)
Kevin Smith (Dogma)
Mandy Patinkin (Dead Like Me)
Eve (XXX)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)

4.3.2.1 technically stands for 4 girls. 3 days. 2 cities. 1 chance. Yeah, that’s a bit off, but it sort of works in context. The primaries include: Joanne (Emma Roberts), Shannon (Ophelia Lovibond), Cassandra (Tamsin Egerton), and Kerrys (Shanika Warren-Markland). They’re four girlfriends from all walks of life ranging from working class to the filthy rich, but are bonded together by love. They’re best mates.

The gist of the story is that as they carry on with their lives they end up getting mixed up in a botched jewelry heist gone haywire. One of the thieves hides the diamonds in of the unsuspecting girls’ bags and hell ensues shortly after. It’s pretty straightforward but in a bit of a clichéd daze we are made to watch as each girl’s story arc is divided by four interweaving storylines that will ultimately join up at the end.

I was with the film all the way through due to really liking the main cast of girls with some very cool cameos sprinkled in throughout the film, which I will try to name if I can. We’ve got a very funny cameo by Kevin Smith (very self-deprecating, but funny), Eve (yes, the singer), Mandy Patinkin, Alexander Siddig (he steals the show with his bit part), Noel Clarke (Dr. Who, Kidulthood) & Adam Deacon (Anuvahood).
What I think works and makes for an enjoyable piece of entertainment isn’t necessarily that all four of our sexy protagonists are drop-dead gorgeous. It’s that they can handle themselves like badasses. They really do bring the beat downs on scumbags that deserve it. Not only that, but they’re fairly street-smart, savvy, independent, and don’t take crap from either sex.

4.3.2.1 is a fun and sexy romp-caper that should be experienced at least once. Give it a go.

REVIEW: DEAD LIKE ME – SEASON 2

MAIN CAST

Ellen Muth (Hannibal)
Mandy Patinkin (The Princess bride)
Callum Blue (Smallville)
Jasmine Guy (The Vampire Diaries)
Laura Harris (Severance)
Greg Kean (Black Xmas)
Britt McKillip (Trick ‘r Treat)
Christine Willes (Red Riding Hood)
Cynthia Stevenson (Tiger Eyes)

NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST

Steven Grayhm (White Chicks)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (I, Robot)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Lochlyn Munro (Little Man)
Kristen Robek (Jingle All The Way 2)
John DeSantis (Thew New Addams Family)
Pascale Hutton (Sanctuary)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Peter Williams (Catwoman)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Nicki Clyne (Battlestar Galactica)
Tom McBeath (Bates Motel)
Claudette Mink (Paycheck)
Robin Dunne (Species 3)
Emily Holmes (Snakes on a Plane)
Ty Olsson (I Zombie)
Eric McCormack (Free Enterprise)
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Yeardley Smith (The Simpsons)
Anne Marie Deluise (Goosebumps)

Again, we see both this life, and the afterlife though central character George. This season we also explore the other characters in more detail; especially Rube’s mortal life, and surprisingly vulnerable Mason, with the effects on him caused by his job.

My favourite character Daisy also gives hints on her living life, especially towards the end of the series. I enjoyed having the ‘Bimbo Blonde’ surface scratched away from this character, revealing someone we could all know.

On the living side: George works for a temp agency, Happy Time, ‘living’ under the guise of ‘Millie’. Some of the best comedic moments of the series take place in Happy Time. ‘Millie’s manager Delores is just too funny, and all viewers will see a little bit of their own managers in the character. George has now adjusted to the fact that her old life is over, and decides to make the most of this one. This will include boyfriends, and mingling with her co workers at Happy Time. Also, we once again follow George’s surviving family. Her parent’s are divorcing, and her younger sister Reggie is entering that frightful period known as puberty. George’s grandmother also appears this series.


While the final episode ‘Haunted’ is satisfying, and ties up the series nicely, there are still a few loose ends that are left hanging.