REVIEW: WAG THE DOG

CAST

Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
Anne Heche (Spread)
Denis Leary (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Willie Nelson (The Dukas of Hazzard)
Andrea Martin (Black Christmas)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
William H. Macy (The Cooler)
John Michael Higgins (Stil LWaiting)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eyed)
Woody Harrelson (The Hugner Games)
Suzanne Cryer (Veronica Mars)
Phil Morris (Jingle All The Way)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Craig T. Nelson (My Name Is Earl
David Koechner (Anchorman)
James Belushi (Red Heat)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Jack Shearer (Star Trek: First Contact)
Dustin Hoffman and Kirsten Dunst in Wag the Dog (1997)
The President of the United States is caught making advances on an underage “Firefly Girl” less than two weeks before Election Day. Conrad Brean (De Niro), a top-notch spin doctor, is brought in to take the public’s attention away from the scandal. He decides to construct a diversionary war with Albania, hoping the media will concentrate on this instead. Brean contacts Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Hoffman) to create the war, complete with a theme song and fake film footage of a photogenic orphan (Dunst) in Albania.
When the CIA learns of the plot, they send Agent Young (Macy) to confront Brean who convinces him that revealing the deception is against his best interests. The CIA announces that the war has ended, but otherwise maintains the deception and the media begins to turn back to the President’s abuse scandal. Motss decides to invent a hero who was left behind enemy lines, and inspired by idea that he was “discarded like an old shoe” has the Pentagon provide him with a soldier named Schumann (Harrelson) around whom he constructs a further narrative including T-shirts, additional patriotic songs, and faux-grassroots demonstrations of patriotism. At each stage of the plan, Motss continually dismisses setbacks as “nothing” and compares them to past movie-making catastrophes he averted.
When the team goes to retrieve Schumann, they discover he is in fact a criminally insane Army prison convict before their plane crashes en route to Andrews Air Force Base. The team survives and is rescued by a farmer, but Schumann attempts to rape the farmer’s daughter and the farmer kills him. Motss then stages an elaborate military funeral, claiming that Schumann died from wounds sustained during his rescue.
While watching a political talk show Motss gets frustrated that the media are crediting the president’s win to a tired campaign slogan of “Don’t change horses in mid-stream” rather than Motss’s hard work. Despite previously claiming he was inspired by the challenge, Motss announces that he wants credit and will reveal his involvement, despite Brean’s warning that he is “playing with his life”. Motss refuses to back down, so Brean reluctantly has him killed and makes it look as if he had a heart attack. The president is successfully re-elected and a news report about a violent incident in Albania is shown, but it is ambiguous whether this is a true event or simply a continuation of the fictional war.
“Wag the dog” gathers a very good cast to tell a clever story about politics and its close connection to the TV business. Although the story sometimes seems to be topped by real-life events (Clinton-Lewinsky) it still remains a very entertaining flick. This is due to the many great characters and its precise dialogue which delivers a whole lot of sharp little comments on the dirty business of politics.

REVIEW: LOST – SEASON 2

Starring

Matthew Fox (Alex Cross)
Terry O’Quinn (The Rocketeer)
Jorge Garcia (How I Met Your Mother)
Josh Holloway (Colony)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and The Furious)
Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent)
Yunjin Kim (Shiri)
Naveen Andrews (The Brave One)
Dominic Monaghan (Flashforward)
Cynthia Watros (Finding Carter)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Suicide Squad)
Emilie de Ravin (Operation: Endgame)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Maggie Grace (Taken)
Malcolm David Kelley (Deriot)

Matthew Fox in Lost (2004)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Henry Ian Cusick (Hitman)
John Terry (Full Metal Jacket)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Anson Mount (Star Trek: Discovery)
Tamara Taylor (Bones)
Saul Rubinek (Warehouse 13)
Kevin Tighe (My Bloody Valentine)
Katey Sagal (Futurama)
François Chau (The Tick)
L. Scott Caldwell (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Sam Anderson (Angel)
Marguerite Moreau (Wet Hot American Summer)
DJ Qualls (Road Trip)
Kimberley Joseph (Hercules: TLJ)
Brittany Perrineau (Felon)
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)
Brett Cullen (Ghost Rider)
Rachel Ticotin (Total Recall)
Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead)
Rick Overton (Willow)
Fredric Lehne (Men In Black)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: TTW)
Lindsey Ginter (Argo)
Adetokumboh M’Cormack (Gods & Heroes)
M.C. Gainey (Breakdown)
Neil Hopkins (D-Sides)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Kim Dickens (Gone Girl)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Mira Furlan (Babylon 5)
Michael Emerson (Arrow)
Theo Rossi (Luke Cage)
William Mapother (THe Mentalist)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
Andrea Gabriel (2 Broke Girls)
Evan Handler (Californication)
Bruce Davison (X-Men)
Wayne Pygram (Farscape)
Gabrielle Fitzpatrick (MMPR: The Movie)
Nick Jameson (Frozen)
Oliver Muirhead (The Social Network)
Michael Bowen (Kill Bill)
April Grace (A.I.)
Alan Dale (Ugly Betty)
Sonya Walger (Flashforward)

Daniel Dae Kim, Josh Holloway, and Harold Perrineau in Lost (2004)

Attempting to build on the strength of Season One, Lost Season Two introduces several new characters and a new mysterious group to keep viewers enthralled. The introduction of the tail section characters does serve a purpose early in the season as it reinforces the Others as formidable villains. While the survivors on the beach have had it relatively easy, the tailies experience 48 days of hell in which their numbers shrink to a handful. Beyond that, Libby slides into a cute love story with Hurley while Ana Lucia stands around and takes up space until she is shot to death by Michael. Neither contributes a substantial amount to the season or the series besides being canon fodder for Michael.Harold Perrineau in Lost (2004)As for Mr. Eko, he does have a couple of good flashback episodes but it also feels like the writers are never quite sure what to do with him. At some points he’s a passive observer to events unfolding and the later he actively gets involved in the pressing of the button. Those last few episodes in which he finds himself destined to push the button almost seem as if the were a scramble to give the character something substantial to do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Eko but I feel as if his character was completely mismanaged from the outside.Only Bernard, who really doesn’t do much himself, feels like a relevant addition from the tail section as he ties up the loose end regarding Rose’s husband.Daniel Dae Kim and Josh Holloway in Lost (2004)Their reunion alone makes his introduction worth the effort. The best new addition to the Lost cast is the person we see the least throughout the season – Desmond David Hume. His appearance in the first couple of episodes of the season were used solely to introduce the concept of the button but his flashback and story in the two hour finale presented an intriguing new character. He’s a hopeless romantic on a quest to regain his honor and reunite with his true love. Desmond’s story is leaps and bounds more exciting than the rest of the new cast.Locke’s journey this season doesn’t really start to get interesting until the introduction of Henry Gale. For the first half of the season we get to see Locke at his most confident. He’s finally opened his hatch and discovered a bevy of new treasures inside to support his claims that the island and his connection to it are part of some much larger destiny. However, Gale’s arrival brings with it seeds of doubt as John’s world begins to fall apart. This culminates in the discovery of the Pearl Station and Locke’s complete loss of faith in the button and the island. It’s a good journey that has a great conclusion in the finale.Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Watros in Lost (2004)I really enjoyed Sawyer’s return to form midway through this season. Sure it didn’t make much sense for Sawyer to turn the entire camp against him in “The Long Con” but it was one of my favorite story lines of the season. His return to a nastier, less fan-friendly Sawyer was short lived however as he fairly quickly crept back into the good graces of the rest of the group.Michael’s battle to get Walt back from the Others had him depart midway through the season but his return in the final few episodes of the season were thoroughly entertaining. His murder of Ana Lucia and Libby gave way to an interesting game of deception as Michael is forced to convince the survivors that Henry was behind their deaths. His absolutely disgust in himself for taking a life mixed with the continued desperation he has to reunite with his son makes for some of the best character moments of the entire season. Harold Parrineau does a fantastic job of portraying Michael’s spastic range of emotions in those final few episodes.The real gem of this season and my favorite story arc is the introduction of Michael Emerson as Henry Gale.Naveen Andrews in Lost (2004)He spends most of his time confined in the Swan Station but that doesn’t stop him from being a formidable foe for the survivors of Flight 815. With the survivors fractured and keeping secrets from one another, Henry frequently manages to turn one survivor against the other. He’s favorite prey is John Locke who we already know is quite susceptible to snide comments and underhanded suggestions. Henry turns Locke inside out and uses him against Jack causing the group of survivors to lose focus. Its brilliant to watch unfold and Emerson brings a lot of weight to the role.

REVIEW: BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA

Starring

Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)
Manolo Cardona (Narcos)
Ali Hillis (The Heartbreak Kid)
Maury Sterling (Homeland)
Jesús Ochoa (Overboard)
José María Yazpik (Fidel)
Eugenio Derbez (Geostorm)
Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet)
Andy García (Ghostbusters)
George Lopez (Rio)
Edward James Olmos (Blade Runner)
Paul Rodriguez (Ali)
Cheech Marin (Coco)
Loretta Devine (Urban Legend)
Luis Guzmán (Traffic)
Michael Urie (Ugly Betty)
Marguerite Moreau (Wet Hot American Summer)
Nick Zano (Legends of Tomorrow)
Grey Griffin (The Book of Life)
Leslie Mann (This Is 40)

Piper Perabo in Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)In Beverly Hills, California, wealthy businesswoman Vivian “Viv” Ashe leaves her richly pampered pet chihuahua, Chloe, with her irresponsible niece, Rachel, while she embarks on a business trip for ten days. Papi, the gardener Sam’s pet Chihuahua of Mexican descent, has an unrequited crush on Chloe, by which she is disgusted. On a whim, Rachel decides to go to Mexico with her friends and brings Chloe along. When Rachel leaves Chloe alone in the hotel room to go dancing at a club, Chloe goes looking for her. Chloe gets dog-napped as she tries to find Rachel and is sent to the dog fights in Mexico City. There, she meets a street-smart German Shepherd named Delgado. Rachel comes back to the hotel and is frantic when she finds Chloe missing.Piper Perabo in Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)Chloe is picked to fight in the pit against El Diablo, a fierce Argentinean-Bolivian Doberman Pinscher. Delgado helps her escape the dog fights, unleashing the other dogs from their cages and unlocking the ring to allow both Chloe and himself to flee. After several arguments, he then decides to return her to Beverly Hills safely.Ali Hillis in Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)Meanwhile, Rachel and Sam go to the Mexican police and offer rewards in an effort to find Chloe. El Diablo is sent by the dog fight ringleader, Vasquez, to capture Chloe and obtain the reward. The dogs reach the border by train, but they’re caught when the conductor wanders back to the place they and the other dogs are hiding. They’re forced to jump out, eventually arriving in the barren deserts of Chihuahua, where Delgado explains that he was a former police dog; he was retired after he lost his sense of smell during a raid and a sneak attack from El Diablo.Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)Rachel and Sam are in Puerto Vallarta and find that Chloe was spotted in the state of Chihuahua. After tracking Chloe and Delgado from Mexico City, El Diablo arrives in Chihuahua and attempts to capture Chloe. Papi saves her and ends up getting captured in a cage inside an abandoned Aztec temple. Delgado comes to rescue the two and is briefly defeated. Chloe then rescues Papi, but Delgado discovers that El Diablo had vanished. Rachel finds Chloe, and Vasquez is arrested by the police. Chloe returns safely to Beverly Hills without Vivian finding out what happened and accepts a romantic relationship with Papi, as well as Rachel with Sam. The characters’ fates are later revealed: Delgado returns to being a police dog in Mexico; El Diablo is recaptured by Delgado and is adopted by a rich lady who “had a passion for fashion”; Chico and Manuel move to Beverly Hills and become rich; and Papi and Chloe have their first date.Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)Beverly Hills Chihuahua has a specific type of viewers, it can be a very good family movie but it is intended mainly for kids and dog lovers. The cast of voices is very good, the chose very wisely each one of the actors because each one of them fits perfectly with the personality of their characters. The movie also has a decent photography, the various landscapes from Mexico were very nice. In conclusion, it is a good movie to spend a very good time and enjoy.

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 1

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and The Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Impastor)
Eric Johnson (Flash Gordon)
Sam Jones III (Glory Road)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Annette O’Toole (The Punisher)
John Schneider (The Haves and the Have Nots)

Sam Jones III, Allison Mack, and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

John Glover (Shazam)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (Disturbing Behaviour)
Adrian Glynn McMorran (Arrow)
Alvin Sanders (Riverdale)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Justin Chatwin (War of The Worlds)
Chad Donella (Final Destination)
Gabrielle Rose (If I Stay)
Jason Connery (Wishmaster 3)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heores Reborn)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Tom O’Brien (The Accused)
Beverley Breuer (Rverdale)
Eric Christian Olsen (Tru Calling)
Jackie Burroughs (The Dead Zone)
George Murdock (Star Trek V)
Mitchell Kosterman (Stargate SG.1)
Amy Adams (Justice League)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
Joe Morton (God Friended Me)
Robert Wisden (Watchmen)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Michael Eklund (Bates Motel)
Kelly Brook (Three)
Cameron Dye (Valley Girl)
Jesse Hutch (True Justice)
Azura Skye (28 Days)
Kett Turton (Saved)
Rick Peters (Dexter)
Ben Cotton (Stargate: Atlantis)
Kevin McNulty (Snakes on a Plane)
P. Lynn Johnson (The Invisible)
Shawn Ashmore (X-Men)
Kavan Smith (When Calls The Heart)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man)
Eric Breker (Godzilla)
Jud Tylor (That 70s Show)
Corin Nemec (Stargate SG.1)
Mark Gibbon (Man of Steel)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
Nicki Clyne (Battlestar Galactica)
Julian Christopher (Elysium)
Ryan Kelley (Teen Wolf)
Jim Shield (Cold Pursuit)
Brandy Ledford (Andromeda)
Rekha Sharma (Star Trek: Discovery)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (Chloe)
Shonda Farr (Crossroads)
Chelan Simmons (Final Destination 3)
Marguerite Moreau (Wet Hot American Summer)
Adam Brody (Jennifer’s Body)
Kevan Ohtsji (Elektra)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Frank C. Turner (Alone In The Dark)

John Schneider and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)Coming only a few years after the somewhat successful, but often corny, Lois & Clark, there were a lot of expectations and fears going into Smallville. Would the series appeal to die-hard Superman fans, or would it just be another WB drama geared toward teenagers?Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)Fortunately, Smallville turns out to be super – easily the best on-screen depiction of the Superman character since the original Superman: The Movie. But it does take most of the season to get things rolling. Too many of the shows in Season One are simply “Villain of the Week” kind of deals, with Clark Kent going up against a villain who has one superpower or another (the explanation for why all these genetically altered people are showing up in Smallville is attributed to the meteor shower that hit the town – and brought Clark to Earth).Kristin Kreuk in Smallville (2001)It is obvious, however, in the early going that the relationships between the main characters would develop into something special. Clark is just beginning to discover his super powers (he does not yet have the ability to fly – following the concept that he will not gain all of his super powers until he reaches maturity), and Lex Luthor actually starts out as a good guy, who is slowly turning towards his evil ways. Also noteworthy is the developing relationship between Clark and Lana Lang, a girl whom he is infatuated with, but can’t get close to…not only because he is unsure of himself, but because Lana (whose parents were killed in the meteor shower) sports a necklace with a piece of the meteor as a way of remembering her mother and father. The meteor is, of course, Kryptonite, so Clark both literally and figuratively gets weak in the knees every time he gets close to the woman he loves!Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)But the relationship that is really worth tuning into Smallville for is the one between Clark and his adoptive parents (played by Dukes of Hazzard’s John Schneider and Superman III’s Annette O’Toole). I really like the father figure presented here for a young Clark – a man who both loves his son, yet is afraid about how his special abilities may affect his future. It’s really a relationship that has never been deeply developed in any previous incarnations of the Superman legend, so it’s nice to see a show that focuses on it so strongly.Kristin Kreuk and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)By the time Season One wraps up, all the pieces are in place for Season Two – which really did a great job of exploring Clark’s Kryptonian heritage and had him start asking some real questions about his purpose in life. But until Season Two arrives on DVD (or you catch the reruns on the WB), Season One has enough to keep fans entertained. So keep in mind when viewing these shows that they do indeed get deeper and more meaningful as they go along.Annette O'Toole, John Schneider, and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)The overall episodes are fairly strong, and for the most part, presented well on DVD format by Warners. It’s getting a “Highly Recommended” not so much for the overall package, but for the overall strength of the episodes. Sure to bring new fans to the series and appease those who are already big followers of the show, this box set may not leap tall buildings in a single bound, but it has got enough spring in it to make it a worthwhile purchase.

REVIEW: 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN – SEASON 3

MAIN CAST

John Lithgow (Rise of the Planet of The Apes)
Kristen Johnston (ugly Betty)
French Stewart (Mom)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jane Curtin (The Heat)
Elmarie Wendel (Rumpelstiltskin)
Simbi Khali (Plump Fiction)
Wayne Knight (Jurassic Park)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ian Lithgow (Rice Girl)
David DeLuise (Stargate SG.1)
Chris Hogan (Grounded For Life)
Danielle Nicolet (The Flash 2014)
Roseanne Barr (Roseanne)
Ileen Getz (That 70s Show)
Elaine Stritch (Monster-In-Law)
George Grizzard (Wonder Boys)
Richard McGonagle (500 Days of Summer)
Emile Hirsch (Alpha Dog)
Julia Sweeney  (Pulp Fiction)
Jason Carter (Babylon 5)
Peter Krause (Parenthood)
Sam Lloyd  (Galaxy Quest)
Jan Hooks (The Simpsons)
Shireen Crutchfield (Love and a Bullet)
Beverly Johnson (Lois & Clark)
Angie Everhart (Take Me Home Tonight)
Cindy Crawford (Fair Game)
Irina Pantaeva  (Zoolander)
Bill Irwin (Legion)
Shay Astar (The Lost)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Peter Deluise (21 Jump Street)
Dom Deluise (Spaceballs)
Michael DeLuise  (Wayne’s World)
Jim Beaver (Deadwood)
Wayne Pére (Galaxy Quest)
Jeff Doucette (Bedazzled)
John Cleese (A Fish Called Wanda)
Phil Hartman (Small Soldiers)
Jerry Lambert (American Housewife)

3rd Rock From the Sun is one of the richest and hilarious television comedies to air. The series first aired in 1996 and lasted for a total of six seasons. The show molds science fiction into a sitcom and the results are a blast. A team of aliens from Mars take on human form in Rutherford, Ohio and integrate themselves into the local populace. Their goal is to learn everything they can about humans in a couple of days. Of course, it turns out humans are much more complex than expected and the team of aliens decide to stay a while longer. The strongest aspect of this show is its cast. They are remarkable together. Within minutes of any episode, it is apparent how well they interact and play off of each other. The show’s writing is also top notch and delivers one great joke after another. In the two-part finale of season two, our favourite aliens experienced dreaming for the first time. Not quite understanding the commonplace of dreams, the Solomons were under the impression they were defective and needed to return to their home planet for repairs. Dick decided to stay on Earth because of his undying love of Mary. In the last minutes of season two Dick proposed to Mary and said goodbye to Sally, Harry, and Tommy, only to find out dreaming was a normal human thing. However by this time Sally, Harry, and Tommy had already departed.Season three picks up with Dick engaged to Mary and lonely without his family. Dick’s agony disappears and turns into fear when his family returns with the Big Giant Head’s niece Janet (Roseanne Barr). Janet was sent to be his wife, and when Mary finds out about Janet it ruins their relationship. Sad for Dick, good for you. The end result is a comical mishap and a hilarious performance from Barr. At first she acts like the perfect housewife (funny because it seems completely out of character for her) and when she realizes she doesn’t have to be Dick’s wife, she turns into the Roseanne we know and love.For the rest of the season, Dick tries hard to win back Mary’s heart. This produces several funny side jokes with Dick making an utter ass of himself, as he never really seems to understand the importance of the situation. One specific episode in the earlier portion of the season is “Dick-In-Law” where Dick and Mary spend the weekend with Mary’s parents and pretend everything is business as usual. Mary is afraid to tell her parents about her latest failed relationship. Dick gets this crazy notion that if he impresses Mary’s parents, she’ll have to take him back. Of course, things do not turn out as planned. “Moby Dick” is a fun episode, where Dick finds his clothes no longer fit. The loss of Mary makes him want to eat junk food. In “Tom, Dick And Mary” Dick finds out Mary is seeing another man named Tom. Oddly enough, Tom turns out to be Tommy. The season continues with plenty more fun with Dick and Mary working out the “kinks” in their relationship.There are many more fun episodes dispersed throughout the season. “A Friend in Dick” is an awesome episode where Dick tries desperately to find a friend to join him for a night at the theater. There is this one scene where Dick inspires a group of strangers to tap dance. It’s funny as hell. “Jailhouse Dick” is another episode worth a few laughs. In it, Dick bails a criminal from jail and takes him home in an effort to rehabilitate him. And as usual, Dick blows the situation way out of proportion.One of the greatest episodes of this season is the two-part Super Bowl episode “36! 24! 36! Dick”. In this episode aliens from Venus come to Earth with the intent to rob Earth of all material possessions. The aliens are beautiful women. Among the beautiful faces are Cindy Crawford and Angie Everhart. It is a truly hilarious and goofy episode. In “Pickles And Ice Cream” Sally visits the gynaecologist and pretends she is pregnant for the attention from other women. The funny part about this episode is how Don, Mary, and Nina react. Also Harry’s pet Pickles comes to Earth to visit. “Portrait Of Tommy As An Old Man” is another strong episode, where Tommy retires from the mission and finds himself living with people his age, senior citizens in a retirement home. How he easily he fits into their routine is simply comical.In “Just Your Average Dick” and “Dick And The Other Guy”, John Cleese guest stars as the great Dr. Liam Neesam, a visiting professor who is better than Dick at everything. Cleese gives a riveting performance as a nut who is even more bizarre than Dick. In the season finale “Eat, Drink, Dick, Mary” guest stars Phil Hartman in one of his last roles as Randy Vicki Dubcek’s jealous ex-boyfriend. They end the season with Randy kidnapping Harry.Overall season three of 3rd Rock From the Sun continues the fun tempo set in the first two seasons. The characters continue to give great performances together and they are funny as ever. The way they deliver dialogue and utilize physical comedy will leave you laughing over and over again.I love this show, Season three of 3rd Rock From the Sun continues to deliver great comedy with several comical characters. While there isn’t anything really new about this season over past seasons, it is still a lot of fun. If you enjoyed season one and/or two, then season three should be at the top of your list. .

 

REVIEW: WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: 10 YEARS LATER

CAST

Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
H. Jon Benjamin (22 Jump Street)
Michael Ian Black (Wedding Daze)
Janeane Garofalo (Dogma)
Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel)
A. D. Miles (Role Models)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
David Hyde Pierce (Hellboy)
Amy Poehler (Free Birds)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Marisa Ryan (Cold Hearts)
Molly Shannon (Bad Teacher)
Michael Showalter (The Ten)
Adam Scott (Krmapus)
Rob Huebel (Baywatch)
Zak Orth (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Samm Levine (Inglourious Basterds)
David Wain (Wanderlust)
Lake Bell (No Strings Attached)
Paul Scheer (Piranha)
Josh Charles (The Ex)
Kristen Wiig (Ghostbusters)
Rich Sommer (Grilfriend’s Day)
Eric Nenninger (Jeepers Creepers II)
John Early (Bad Neighbors 2)
Chris Pine (star Trek)
Jason Schwartzman (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Mark Feuerstein (Once and Again)
Sarah Burns (Married)
Alyssa Milano (Charmed)
Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men)
Jai Courtney (Divergent)
Skyler Gisondo (Santa Clarita Diet)
Joey Bragg (Fred 3)
Anne-Marie Johnson (Suicide Dolls)
Chris Redd (Empire)
Joshua Malina (The Big Bang Theory)
Maya Erskine (Betas)
Marlo Thomas (LOL)
Dax Shepard (Hit and Run)

wet-hot-american-summer-ten-years-later-paul-rudd-marguerite-moreau“Andy, you are 26 years old. What is wrong with you! When are you going to grow up? We can’t be teenagers forever.” That above quote is said to Paul Rudd’s Andy Fleckner as a simple gag. It pokes fun at the actual age of the actors that are playing these characters, but therein also lies the central “flaw” of Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later. As fun as all of these camp shenanigans may be, these people can’t just continue doing this forever. However, this is at least something that the series is well aware of and embraces wholeheartedly. It’s bonkers that Ten Years Later even happened at all. One prequel season was a surprising gift in itself. This is the extra marshmallow in the s’more. If last season was the unexpected reunion tour, then this is the sloppy, drunken after party that follows. Sure, it’s less polished, but it’s all dessert anyway.wet-hot-american-summer-ten-years-later-episode-4-lunch-knife-renata-alyssa-milano-michael-ian-black-review-guide-listMuch like First Day of Camp, this season takes this eclectic group of campers and puts them back into Camp Firewood, only now it’s ten years later as opposed to the beginning of their adventure. First Day of Camp does some glorious dot connecting to David Wain’s 2001 cult classic film, while also pulling off deep inside baseball jokes, like the introduction of Jim Stansel or seeing the birth of the anthem, “Higher and Higher.” Obviously with this new season taking place after everything, there’s little to few dots that need to be connected now, which as a result does lead to the trivial feeling that’s sometimes present through this season. Make no mistake, this is all undeniably a great time, but there’s not the same sort of satisfaction to be derived from the material this time around.ajh6scyuze0gpcrgcjueWhile the last installment was about building connections, this one is very much about breaking them to pieces and starting anew, which is only fitting considering this season revolves around Camp Firewood being literally torn down. The fun is in seeing the radical places that everyone has ended up rather than marveling at their clever origin stories. In that sense, the first episode spends the majority of its time simply introducing everyone and catching up the audience.untitledIn an eight-episode season this might feel like a bit of a waste, but with dozens of characters, what are they supposed to do here? The only real answer it to have a longer season, but with First Day of Camp also being a mere eight episodes, that seems to be the pattern that these guys are following. The season certainly could have used a few more episodes this time though. Similarly, this season—more than last season—really feels like it should be watched in one sitting like a long movie. Doing so would even help some of the material flow a little better, too. None of the many storylines feel rushed and everything is given enough time to breathe. It’s a real delicate balancing act that never shows its hand. The characters deal with the insecurity over who they’ve turned into through the years, however everyone is going through this same problem. At their core, they’re still those ridiculous teenagers from summer camp, and so are these actors, no matter how old they are. That’s sort of the point here.wethotmamericansummer-10yearslater-adamscottTen Years Later also gleefully wallows in glorious ‘90s jokes to make sure that the audience never forgets exactly when this season is taking place. It’s also probably the only place you’re going to hear Laura San Giacomo get brought up any time soon. First Day of Camp had this same sort of fun with the ‘80s, but this season is much more meta than the material’s ever been before. There’s also supernatural weirdness afoot too because of course there is. Elements like hidden nuclear fallout shelters entering the mix are so crazy, yet oddly fitting. This universe slowly stretching its boundaries has allowed for insane developments to seem plausible.1498150156458Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later might spend a little too much time roasting on the campfire, but it’s still an immensely enjoyable endeavor that showcases a bunch of exemplary comedians who have now been laughing together for decades.

REVIEW: RUNAWAY JURY

CAST

John Cusack (2012)
Gene Hackman (Superman)
Dustin Hoffman (Hook)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Jeremy Piven (Mr. Selfridge)
Bruce Davison (X-Men)
Bruce McGill (Timecop)
Marguerite Moreau (Wet Hot American Summer)
Nick Searcy (The Dead Girl)
Leland Orser (Taken)
Lori Heuring (8mm 2)
Joanna Going (Nixon)
Dylan McDermott (Texas Rangers)
Stanley Anderson (Red Dragon)
Celia Weston (Hulk)
Bill Nunn (Money Train)
Cliff Curtis (Blow)
Nora Dunn (Bruce Almighty)
Rusty Schwimmer (The Perfect Storm)
Jennifer Beals (The Prophecy II)
Guy Torry (American History X)
Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow)
Gary Grubbs (Angel)
Luis Guzmán (Traffic)
Jason Davis (Reprisal)

In New Orleans, a failed day trader at a stock brokerage firm shows up at the office and opens fire on his former colleagues, then kills himself. Among the dead is Jacob Wood. Two years later, with attorney Wendell Rohr, Jacob’s widow Celeste takes Vicksburg Firearms to court on the grounds that the company’s gross negligence led to her husband’s death. During jury selection, jury consultant Rankin Fitch and his team communicate background information on each of the jurors to lead defense attorney Durwood Cable in the courtroom through electronic surveillance. In the jury pool, Nick Easter tries to get himself excused from jury duty. Judge Frederick Harkin decides to give Nick a lesson in civic duty and Fitch tells Cable that the judge has now given them no choice, and that he must select Nick as a juror. Nick’s congenial manner wins him acceptance from his fellow jurors, but Frank Herrera, a Marine veteran, takes an instant dislike to him.A woman named Marlee makes an offer to Fitch and Rohr: she will deliver the verdict to the first bidder. Rohr dismisses the offer, assuming it to be a tactic by Fitch to obtain a mistrial. Fitch asks for proof that she can deliver, though, which Nick provides. Fitch orders Nick’s apartment searched, but finds nothing. Marlee retaliates by getting one of Fitch’s jurors bounced. Nick shows the judge surveillance footage of his apartment being searched, and the judge orders the jury sequestered. Fitch then goes after three jurors with blackmail, leading one, Rikki Coleman, to attempt suicide. Rohr loses a key witness due to harassment, and after confronting Fitch, decides that he cannot win the case. He asks his firm’s partners for $10 million. Fitch sends an operative, Janovich, to kidnap Marlee, but she fights him off and raises Fitch’s price to $15 million. On principle, Rohr changes his mind and refuses to pay. Fitch agrees to pay Marlee to be certain of the verdict.Fitch’s subordinate Doyle travels to Gardner, Indiana, where he discovers that Nick is really Jeff Kerr, a law school drop-out, and that Marlee’s real name is Gabby Brandt. Gabby’s sister died in a school shooting. The town sued the gun manufacturer and Fitch helped the defense win the case. Doyle concludes that Nick and Marlee’s offer is a set-up, and he calls Fitch, but it is too late. Nick receives confirmation of receipt of payment and he steers the jury in favor of the plaintiff, much to the chagrin of Herrera, who launches into a rant against the plaintiff, which undermines his support. The gun manufacturer is found liable, with the jury awarding $110 million in general damages to Celeste Wood. After the trial, Nick and Marlee confront Fitch with a receipt for the $15 million bribe and demand that he retire. They inform him that the $15 million will benefit the shooting victims in Gardner.This was a movie that wasn’t over-hyped, filled with talented actors and kept you watching all the way through.  Hackman was flawless as usual as an actor and once again maintained his great screen presence. Hoffman really portrayed the idealistic lawyer character well. Weisz played the female lead with the right mix of the strong and vulnerable.  The plot twists were not overdone but did offer some slight surprises which were hinted at along the way if you payed attention. Overall I’d recommend this movie to anyone, especially those who take their movies seriously

REVIEW: FIRESTARTER 2: REKINDLED

CAST

Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween)
Dennis Hopper (Speed)
Danny Nucci (Eraser)
Skye McCole Bartusiak (Boogeyman)
John Dennis Johnston (48 hrs)
Darnell Williams (All My Children)
Ron Perkins (House)
Deborah Van Valkenburgh (Free Enterprise)
Dan Byrd (Heroes)

Vincent Sforza (Danny Nucci) works for a large, influential research firm, and he has been put in charge of locating several people who were part of an old experiment from the 1970s—an experiment in which a group of college students were given a dose of a chemical called LOT-6. Apparently, the victims of the experiment have won a class action lawsuit and need to be found so that a check can be issued. Included on the list is Charlene “Charlie” McGee (Marguerite Moreau), the offspring of two of the participants in the experiment.

When Charlie was a kid, Charlie’s mother Vicky (Karrie Combs) was murdered by men who worked for the now-defunct Shop, the government department that wanted to harness her pyrokinesis as a military weapon. Charlie’s father Andy (Aaron Radl) was killed by John Rainbird, a professional killer who had been hired by the shop. Ever since then, Charlie has been in hiding to protect herself. Under an assumed name, she now has a job at a university library, where she secretly does research to find a way to suppress her pyrokinetic abilities.

When Vincent finally locates Charlie, he unintentionally sets into motion a series of events with deadly consequences. It turns out that there really isn’t a class action lawsuit settlement. John Rainbird (Malcolm McDowell), who was thought to have been burned to death by Charlie, is still alive, scarred from the burns—and he’s looking for Charlie, because he’s still obsessed with her. Rainbird has been using the lie about a class action lawsuit to lure the original LOT-6 experiment’s victims out of hiding so these victims can be killed one by one in order to keep things quiet.

Charlie gets help from James Richardson (Dennis Hopper), one of the victims of the LOT-6 experiment. The experiment has given James the ability to tell the future. When Vincent discovers that he’s been duped into luring Charlie back to Rainbird, Vincent also decides to help Charlie. John’s been working on perfecting the LOT experiments, and has created 6 young boys with rather unusual abilities. One has the power of suggestion, another can sense truth and deception, two can move things with their mind, one has the destructive voice from hell, and the most dangerous one of them all is an energy sink, someone who can suck the life and energy out of anyone or anything.
Rainbird is using these children to rob a bank as a test of warfare in the new decade. With Vince and James on her side, Charlie must decide whether to keep running, or fight Rainbird to the end. Charlie chooses to fight to the end, and after Rainbird kills Vincent, Charlie kills Rainbird—right in front of his experimental boys—by taking him into a fiery embrace, and literally turning him into a pile of ashes. Then Charlie ends up in a one-on-one battle against the energy sink. Charlie uses her powers to destroy the energy sink, and the other experimental boys realize that Charlie was telling them the truth when she said that they become a little less human every time they use their abilities. Charlie, finally having no need to be in hiding, later boards a bus to Canada.This 2 part TV mini series was released on DVD as a 2 and a half hour movie and it certainly does drag in places. Story is fairly good but truth be told its only made good because of the 4 main actors. The special effects I felt could’ve been better, but its expected for a TV movie budget.

REVIEW: EASY

CAST

Marguerite Moreau (Queen of The Damned)
Brían F. O’Byrne (Flashforward)
Naveen Andrews (Lost)
Emily Deschanel (Bones)
Caroline Goodall (Hook)
D.B. Woodside (Lucifer)
Roxanne Hart (Highlander)

naveeneasy3-mAs the film opens, Jamie (Marguerite Moreau) is listening, over time, to “dumping” messages left on her answering machine by men. The romances are over, these cads tell her, for a variety of tired and true reasons, everything from returning to former girlfriends/wives to not being ready for seriousness. It is surprising, because Jamie is young, beautiful, intelligent and gifted in the bedroom. Ah, but that’s the caveat, it seems, for Jamie is, to ask her sister (Emily Deschanel) or her father (John Rothman) too easy, falling for men on the first date.naeasy3-mJamie finds relief with acupuncture treatments and in her job naming minor products, like new cleaning sprays. She also seeks refuge at her favorite book store, where she often hears the talks of famous authors. At one such event , poet John (Naveen Andrews), an incredibly handsome and smooth-speaking man, accepts Jamie’s obvious advances for a date. As he seems to say everything she wants to hear, Jamie finds herself, once again, in bed very quickly. Soon after, John goes hot and cold, giving evidence that he, too, is not ready to be part of a loving couple. In the meantime, Jamie has met a local television celebrity, Mick (Brian F. O’Byrne) at a medical office and the two become fast friends. The TV man is there to comfort her when Jamie gets grief from John. But, could it grow into something else, despite the fact that Jamie finally declares a projected celibacy of six months or more?MCDEASY EC010This is truly and excellent film on the difficult nature of relationships in the modern era.

REVIEW: WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: FIRST DAY OF CAMP

CAST
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Janeane Garafalo (Mystery Men)
David Hyde Pierce (Hellboy)
Michael Showalter (The Ten)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Michael Ian Black (This is 40)
Zak Orth (Music and Lyrics)
Bradley Cooper (Serena)
A.D. Miles (Role Models)
Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel)
Molly Shannon (Never Been Kissed)
Ken Marino (Veronica Mars)
Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad)
Amy Poehler (Mean Girls)
Marisa Ryan (Cold Hearts)
Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games)
Kevin Sussman (The Big bang Theory)
H. Jon Benjamin (Not Another Teen Movie)
Lake Bell (No Strings Attached)
Jason Schwartzman (Bored to Death)
Samm Levine (I Love You, Beth Cooper)
John Slattery (Ted 2)
Chris Pine (Star Trek)
Jon Hamm (Man Men)
Michael Cera (Scott Pilgram vs The World)
Kristen Wiig (paul)
Eric Nenninger (The Flash)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)
Richard Schiff (The Cape)
Rob Huebel (Baywatch)
Kerri Kenney (Anger Management)
Jerry Lambert (American Housewife)
Janeane Garofalo in Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (2015)
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp – the Netflix prequel series to 2001’s Wet Hot American Summer that we never knew we desperately wanted – is very funny. In fact, it’s freakin’ hilarious for uber-fans of the original. I can only assume it’s mildly amusing to those who’ve either never seen the movie or saw it and weren’t fans.The thing about it though is it’s really tethered to the movie. This is a prequel series made under extreme prequel rules. Not only is it specifically designed to be watched afterward, but many of the jokes won’t land if you don’t know what lies ahead come the “last day of camp.” Quick non-spoilery example: Comedian “Alan Shemper” is mentioned (perhaps I should have put comedian in quotes instead) and the young counselors of Camp Firewood freak out with excitement. Why? Well, the movie pre-answered that. And that’s just one of many instances that indicate that, despite this being a hyped-up Netflix Original event, you need to watch the movie.

Now, the original Wet Hot American Summer came with a loaded cast, many of whom went on to become even more famous than they were when the movie was released. One of the gateway jokes for the prequel is that everyone, in real life, is much older, but now they’re playing even younger versions of the characters they portrayed in the original. And it was even a stretch back then that they were playing teenagers. In fact, this “old teenager” gag was part of the original’s charm as well. Here, the joke isn’t as much of a joke as you’d think. Most everyone has held up fairly well. Noticeably older, sure, but not hilariously so. In fact, the only time it feels like a goof is whenever Showalter shows up as Coop, as he’s really the one who’s, let’s say, a much different shape than he used to be.
So let’s talk about the cast. Again, this was an impressive ensemble back in 2001. And everyone’s back. Showalter, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo, Marguerite Moreau, Zak Orth, Christopher Meloni, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino,  Michael Ian Black, and many more. Even director Wain has a recurring role this time around. And while it must have been difficult to get everyone back given people’s busy schedules, Wet Hot American Summer is set up to be an accommodating side/pet project. As in, it’s not often that all the characters interact, and most of the time they’re paired off and go about their separate stories. The actors weren’t as famous back in 2001, but that movie was still filmed super quick and designed to section people away from each other into different threads.
Now, some characters, given the rising careers of the actors who played them back in the original, have somewhat of an expanded presence. It’s understandable. For example, both Banks and Poehler have a lot more screen time here than they ever did in the movie. But this is also now a four-hour story, so there’s room for this type of change-up. And one of the best things this series does is create zany, clever origin stories for beloved elements from the movie. Not just characters, like Meloni’s Gene and Banks’ Lindsey, but actual things. Songs. Characteristics. Odd in-jokes. They all get a “beginning.” The way Poehler’s Susie came to be so hard on auditioners. The reason David Hyde Pierce’s Henry summers by the camp. The empty vegetable can voiced by H. Jon Benjamin. The freakin’ “Higher and Higher” song! All these things are given a backstory.
And this series didn’t just manage to get back its  original cast. There are also guest stars galore. Doing some amazing, quirky things here. Jon Hamm as a government assassin, Chris Pine as a mysterious hermit who lives on the camp grounds, Michael Cera as a ambulance-chasing lawyer given the case of a lifetime, Lake Bell as Coop’s “mixed signals” girlfriend. Hamm’s not even the only Mad Men’er around as John Slattery recurs as a “renowned” theater director and Rich Sommer stooges for Josh Charles’ snobby Camp Tiger Claw counselor Blake. Camp Tiger Claw which — instead of being a badass, evil Cobai Kai-type commune like the name suggests — has a “blue blood country club from the 50s vibe,” including evening socials that involve dancing the foxtrot.
Like the film, First Day of Camp takes place over the course of one day. And similar story beats and lunacy are employed. There are strained romances (Rudd’s Andy trying to fart his way into Moreau’s Katie’s heart, Coop wondering if Lake Bell’s Donna is faithful), a stressful stage production that has one day to come together for a nighttime performance (here it’s new wave musical “Electro City”), and a doomsday crisis that Garofalo’s Beth must avert in order to save the camp. There’s even a spectacular Victor Pulak chase scene. So the actual structure of the original is upheld.
es, I’d say that you definitely need to be a fan of the original Wet Hot American Summer movie to enjoy all First Day of Camp has to offer. The entire thing’s a love letter to itself and it’s wonderful. It’s great to see everyone back as well as all the new faces.