REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 23-25

CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner  (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Marcia Wallace (Full House)
Kiefer Sutherland (24)
Jackie Mason (Caddyshack II)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Aron Ralston (Imagine This!)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Gordon Ramsey (Hell’S Kitchen)
Neil Gaiman (Nightbreed)
Andy Garcia (Ghostbusters)
John Slattery (Mad Men)
Kevin Dillon (The Doors)
Janeane Garofalo (Wet Hot American Summer)
Joan Rivers (Spaceballs)
Dana Gould (Gex)
Ted Nugent (A Nightmare On Elm Street 5)
Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger)
David Letterman (I’m Still Here)
Jeremy Irons (Batman V Superman)
Michael Cera (The Lego Batman Movie)
Alison Krauss (Eight Crazy Nights)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction)
Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG)
Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder)
Treat Williams (127 Hours)
Bryan Cranston (Argo)
Eric Idle (Transformers: The Movie)
Lady Gaga (Sin City 2)
Ken Burns (Gettysburg)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy)
Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Natalie Portman (Thor)
Jon Lovitz (Big)
Jeff Gordon (Cars 3)
Jennifer Tilly (Curse of Chucky)
Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls)
Steve Carell (Anchorman)
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds)
Alex Trebek (The Bucket List)
Fred Armisen (Archer)
Carrie Brownstein (Carol)
Patton Oswalt (Two and a Half Men)
Tom Waits  (Domino)
Valerie Harper (Rhoda)
Rashida Jones (I Love You, Man)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange)
Tina Fey (Muppets Most Wanted)
Wanda Sykes (Clerks II)
Goerge Takei (Star Trek)
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
Edward Norton (Fight Club)
Tony Bennett (Analyze This)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
Jane Krakowski (Alfie)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Justin Bieber (Zoolander 2)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Lisa Lampanelli (Bounty Hunters)
Kristen Wiig (Paul)
Rachel Maddow (House of Cards)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives)
Will Arnett (The Lego Batman Movie)
Leslie Mann (This Is 40)
Judd Apatow (Zookeeper)
Seth Rogen (50/50)
Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Daniel Radcliffe (Horns)
Max Von Sydow (Game of Thrones)
Zach Galifanakis (The Hangover)
Amy Poehler (Inside Out)
Tavi Gevinson  (Scream Queens)

1kqKJBfw73I9q2caApghcLRUZoiTwo and a half decades on, the show’s status as a comedy classic remains untarnished, which is testament to the genius of its creator.

SEASON 23 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

23.1) THE FALCON AND THE D’OHMAN

Homer befriends the nuclear plant’s newest hire – a security guard with ties to the CIA and a painful backstory involving the Ukrainian Mafia. Meanwhile, Marge dreams of appearing on Top Chef and the results to the “Will Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel Stay Together” contests are revealed.23.2) BART STOPS TO SMELL THE ROOSEVELTS

Principal Skinner challenges Superintendent Chalmers to get Bart to be excited about learning something (anything) after Bart’s latest pranks — and finds it in the form of teaching Bart about the life and times of Theodore Roosevelt. However, when Chalmers’ unorthodox teaching methods get him fired, it is up to Bart and the rest of the students who have been motivated by Chalmers to reinstate him.23.4) REPLACEABLE YOU

Homer gets a new assistant named Roz who is secretly out to steal his job. Meanwhile, Bart and Martin create a robot seal that becomes a hit with the elderly crowd at the Springfield Retirement Center.23.5) THE FOOD WIFE

Tired of doing “mom” things and being much less fun for the kids than Homer, Marge takes the family out to an Ethiopian restaurant and enjoys the food so much that she starts a food blog with Bart and Lisa, which hurts Homer’s feelings — and may do more than hurt him when Marge tricks Homer into thinking a rundown building housing a meth lab is a hip, new restaurant.23.6) THE BOOK JOB

When Lisa discovers that her favorite book series (the Angelica Button fantasy series as mentioned in “The Haw-Hawed Couple”) is ghost-written by a group of publishers (with an actress as the “author”), Homer and Bart are inspired to do the same by getting a group of people to write a fantasy novel about ghouls in a prestigious academy — but when an actual publisher plots to turn it into yet another vampire fiction book for tweens, Lisa, Bart, and Homer must save their original work from getting destroyed.23.10) POLITICALLY INEPT, WITH HOMER SIMPSON

Video footage of Homer ranting about being harassed by TSA agents and forced to sit on a grounded plane for seven hours (due to airport incompetence) goes viral and lands Homer on cable television as a political pundit with his own show. But when he stirs up mixed emotions with his planned endorsement of the next GOP Presidential candidate, Marge and Lisa worry that Homer’s opinion and influence might be more powerful than he realizes.23.11) THE D’OH-CIAL NETWORK

Lisa wants more friends and starts her own social network website called SpringFace, but when it turns everyone into an online addict, Lisa begins to realize that adding thousands of friends online did not compare to having real friendships. Meanwhile, Patty and Selma compete against the Winklevoss twins for the 2012 Olympics.23.13) THE DAUGHTER ALSO RISES

Lisa falls in love with Nick, an intellectual romantic, and starts a secret romance with him. Meanwhile, Bart and Milhouse team up with the gang from MythCrackers to debunk some urban schoolyard legends.23.14) AT LONG LAST LEAVE

In the 500th episode, the Simpsons stumble upon a secret town meeting where everyone is voting to throw them out of Springfield. As a result, they find themselves in an off-the-grid community, and when Homer and Marge try to sneak back into Springfield, they are welcomed with hostility from their former friends and neighbors and begin to appreciate their new and more accepting home.23.15) EXIT THROUGH THE KWIK-E-MART

After being forced to spend some time in a rabbit cage for a prank he didn’t commit, Bart exacts revenge by spraypainting unflattering caricatures of Homer all over town, which become a sensation with real-life graffiti artists Shepard Fairey, Ron English, Kenny Scharf, and Robbie Conal. Meanwhile, Apu’s Kwik-E-Mart is in danger of shutting down when it faces competition from a health-food supermarket.23.17) THEM, ROBOT

To get out of paying for employee drug tests, Mr. Burns fires all of his employees (except for Homer, who is kept on as a scapegoat) and replaces them with robot workers; when a bored Homer ups the robots interactive and AI features, all hell breaks loose.23.18) BEWARE THE CHEATING BART

Bart finds himself the object of affection to a girl who is dating school bully Jimbo Jones. Meanwhile, Homer buys a state-of-the-art treadmill that gets wireless TV and uses the treadmill to binge-watch a “Lost”-style show rather than exercise.23.20) THE SPY WHO LEARNED ME

After a disastrous date night at the movies, Homer suffers a head injury the next day at work and, during his eight weeks off to recover (about which he does not tell Marge), sees visions of a super-suave superspy named Stradivarius Cain, who gives Homer lessons on being the husband of Marge’s dreams. Meanwhile, Nelson uses a Smart Phone to shake down kids for their lunch money, and Bart gets revenge on Nelson by feeding him Krusty Burger’s nutritionally dubious food.23.21) NED ‘N EDNA’S BLEND

Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel elope after months of dating, and Marge later organizes a proper marriage reception for them, which becomes a problem when the many couples of Springfield bring their many personal crises to the party. Meanwhile, Mrs. Krabappel-Flanders helps Rod and Todd make new friends.23.22) LISA GOES GAGA

Eccentric pop star Lady Gaga stops by Springfield to help Lisa (who was voted Springfield Elementary’s least popular student and is now more of an outcast thanks to ghost-writing positive messages on the school’s online forum) and the rest of the town boost their self-esteem.1060026-thumb_500It’s hilarious, comedy, funny, and one of my all time favourite T.V showS .. The series is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture, society, television, and many aspects of the human condition. Modern Simpsons episodes are often both overstuffed and under-imagined, resulting in two indifferent, inadequately realized stories. Even though the show has dropped in creativity and in the joke department, it’s still worthy.

SEASON 24 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

24.1) MOONSHINE RIVER

The Simpsons return to New York City after Bart discovers that, out of all of the female interests he has had, the only one who continued to like him was Cletus Spuckler’s daughter, Mary who once helped him save a cow, and now that Mary has moved to the Big Apple to be a writer for Saturday Night Live, Bart wants to see her again.24.4) GONE ABIE GONE

Homer puts Lisa’s college fund into online poker as a way to fight back against big banks, and Lisa must become a player to get her college fund back. Meanwhile, Grampa Simpson mysteriously disappears from the Springfield Retirement Castle, and leaves behind clues to parts of his life that the family never knew before, like the time he was married to a black singer named Rita LaFleur, and when he worked in a restaurant with Marvin Hamlisch.24.6) A TREE GROWS IN SPRINGFIELD

Lisa wins a Mapple MyPad for Homer at a school raffle and Homer becomes obsessed with it until he falls and breaks it. Feeling depressed over his life and the loss of his MyPad, Flanders picks up Homer’s spirits when he finds the word “Hope” written on The Simpsons’ backyard tree in sap and everyone sees it as a miracle.24.7) THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD COOL

Homer wants a younger, hipper image, so he starts hanging out with Terrence and Emily, two hipsters from Portland, but Marge and Bart find the couple, their child, and their ilk who take over the unhip town of Springfield to be irritating and pretentious. 24.9) HOMER GOES TO PREP SCHOOL

After a lockdown at a kids’ fun center (caused by a kid chasing after a ball and a negligent worker talking on her cell phone), Homer is traumatized over seeing everyone panic in the chaos, and meets a doomsday prepper who introduces him to some Springfield residents who are preparing for the day when society crumbles from a disaster. 24.10) A TEST BEFORE TRYING

Springfield Elementary School is in danger of shutting down due to low test scores on the latest standardized test, and Bart may be the school’s only hope. Meanwhile, Homer uses a discarded parking meter to rake in some extra money.24.11) THE CHANGEING OF THE GUARDIANS

After surviving a tornado, Marge and Homer seek out guardians for the kids, in case the worst should happen. They first turn to friends and family, including Homer’s half-brother, Herb Powell (who inexplicably has gone broke again), with whom to entrust their kids, but when Bart and Lisa fall in love with a super-cool couple, Mav and Portia, Marge starts to question their potential guardians’ true motivations.24.12) LOVE IS A MANY-SPLINTERED THING

A “special Valentine’s-themed outing” in which Bart’s heartstrings are pulled once again when Mary Spuckler returns to Springfield, but his failure to pay her enough attention strains their relationship.24.14) GORGEOUS GRAMPA

Homer buys a storage locker after watching a reality show, only to discover that it is Grampa’s, from the days when he was Glamorous Godfrey, the most hated wrestler in the business.24.15) BLACK EYED, PLEASE

A new substitute teacher named Miss Cantwell is hired while Miss Hoover is out with severe depression, and Lisa must figure out why Miss Cantwell hates her. Meanwhile, Flanders tries to atone for punching Homer in the eye after Flanders’ parents take a liking to him instead of their own son.24.16) DARK KNIGHT COURT

Lisa must defend Bart after he is accused of pulling an Easter prank on the school marching band. Meanwhile, Mr. Burns fulfills his dream of becoming a superhero, and Smithers pays the townspeople to be supervillains.24.17) WHAT ANIMATED WOMEN WANT

Homer takes a page from 50 Shades of Grey and decides that a sadomasochistic relationship with Marge is the way to go. Meanwhile, Milhouse uses Marlon Brando’s ghost to get advice on how to impress Lisa.24.21) THE SAGA OF CARL

Homer, Moe, Lenny and Carl team up to buy a winning lottery ticket, but when Carl absconds with the winnings and heads to his homeland of Iceland, Homer, Lenny, and Moe set out to get him and the money back.24.22) DANGERS ON A TRAIN

Marge stumbles upon a website for married women to arrange affairs (after mistaking it for a cupcake delivery website) and meets a man named Ben, who falls for Marge after the two bond over a Downton Abbey-esque period drama. Meanwhile, Homer takes home a steam train that used to belong to Springfield’s high-end, outside mall and recruits Reverend Lovejoy, Moe, Lenny, Carl, and Larry the Lush to fix it for his wedding anniversary.UntitledI absolutely love this show. It’s one of my all-time favourite TV shows. Ever. It’s so funny, and it keeps getting better and better. There is a reason why it has been going for as long as it has been.

SEASON 25 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

25.1) HOMERLAND

An FBI agent helps Lisa solve the mystery of why Homer’s personality has changed after attending a nuclear plant convention.25.3) FOUR REGRETTINGS AND A FUNERAL

At the funeral of a beloved Springfielder, four residents remember events in their lives they would like to do over.

  • Homer regrets selling his stock in Apple to buy a bowling ball.
  • Marge blames her taste in music for Bart’s rebelliousness.
  • Mr. Burns remembers his relationship with a Parisienne.
  • Kent Brockman regrets not taking a job as a cable news anchor

25.5) LABOR PAINS

After a night of playing poker with Moe, Lenny, and Carl, Homer finds himself in an elevator with a young mother named Gretchen, who is in labor and needs someone to help her keep calm. Meanwhile, Lisa helps the local football cheerleading team unionize and negotiate for better wages and working conditions.25.6) THE KID IS ALL RIGHT

Lisa makes friends with a new girl in school, who turns out to be a conservative Republican (a George W. Bush one rather than an Abraham Lincoln or Ronald Reagan one) with connections to Springfield’s Republican party.25.9) STEAL THE EPISODE

To combat the poor quality of today’s movie theaters, Homer and Bart begin to illegally download movies and exhibit them in a makeshift theater in the backyard, but Homer ends up arrested when Marge sends the FBI a check and an apology note.25.10) MARRIED TO THE BLOB

The Comic Book Guy falls for a Japanese manga artist, but Homer’s advice and the woman’s father may ruin his chances at true love.25.12) DIGGS

Bart makes friends with a transfer student named Diggs, an expert in falconry who saves Bart from the wrath of the Springfield Elementary bullies – and who intends to take to the sky himself, which makes Bart worry about Diggs’ sanity.25.13) THE MAN WHO GREW TOO MUCH

Lisa discovers that Sideshow Bob has become the chief scientist of a massive chemical engineering company, but the two of them bond over their appreciation for high-culture. Meanwhile, Marge ends up a church volunteer to help horny teenagers become abstinent.25.15) THE WAR OF ART

Marge buys a painting at a yard sale. She decides to auction it off when it appears to be valuable, but it turns out to be a forgery.25.17) LUCA$

Back at school, Lisa sees a boy choking on pizza. She performs the Heimlich maneuver on him, reveals his name is Lucas Bortner and he’s a competitive eater. She doesn’t think that competitive eating is for him, and suddenly gets a crush on him. She then thinks about changing him. Meanwhile, Snake, grateful for Bart’s actions, steals a PlayStadium 4 and leaves it in Bart’s room.25.18) DAYS OF FUTURE FUTURE

A sequel to “Future-Drama” and a continuation of “Holidays of Future Passed,” set 30 years from now. In this futuristic installment, Bart goes to a clinic to rid himself of his feelings for his ex-wife Jenda (who is now dating a xenomorph-esque alien named Jerry), Lisa must choose whether or not to cure her zombie husband Milhouse after he gets bitten by a homeless zombie, and Marge (after putting up with years of Homer dying and being cloned back to life by Professor Frink) loads Homer onto a flatscreen monitor and throws him out of the house.25.20) BRICK LIKE ME

Homer wakes up to a world made out of LEGO bricks and grows to like this new world, where everything fits in and no one gets hurt — until he begins seeing flashes of a previous life and, with help from The Comic Book Guy, discovers how he ended up in the LEGO world.25.21) PAY PAL

Marge swears off befriending any more couples when Homer offends their charming new British neighbors. But when Lisa declares that she, too, doesn’t need friends, Marge reconsiders.25.22) THE YELLOW BADGE OF COWARDGE

Bart is plagued with guilt when he wins the annual “last day of school” race around Springfield Elementary, with an assist from Nelson, who beats up frontrunner Milhouse. Meanwhile, Homer tries to bring back the annual 4th of July fireworks display after it’s canceled for budget reasons.Even in the later seasons The Simpsons showed it still has staying power.

 

 

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REVIEW: GAME OF THRONES – SEASON 6

MAIN CAST

Peter Dinklage (The Boss)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Headhunters)
Lena Headey (The Purge)
Emilia Clarke (Terminator: Genisys)
Kit Harington (Pompeii)
Aidan Gillen (The Dark Knight Rises)
Liam Cunningham (Dog Soldiers)
Carice van Houten (Black Book)
Natalie Dormer (The Forest)
Indira Varma (Human Target)
Sophie Turner (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Nathalie Emmanuel (Fast & Furious 7)
Rory McCann (Hot Fuzz)
Maisie Williams (Cyberbully)
Conleth Hill (Serena)
Alfie Allen (The Other Boleyn Girl)
John Bradley (Patient Zero)
Tom Wlaschiha (Valkyrie)
Gwendoline Christie (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Hannah Murray (Dark Shadows)
Jonathan Pryce (Stigmata)
Kristofer Hivju (After Earth)
Michiel Huisman (The Young Victoria)
Michael McElhatton (Blow Dry)
Iwan Rheon (Misfits)
Dean-Charles Chapman (Will)
Isaac Hempstead Wright (The Boxtrolls)
Jerome Flynn (Ripper Street)
Iain Glen (Tomb Raider)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Daniel Portman (Outcast)
Natalia Tena (Harry Potter)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)
Ellie Kendrick (An Education)
Alexander Siddig (Star Trek: DS9)
Ian McShane (Hercules)
Keisha Castle-Hughes (Star Wars – Episode III)
Kristian Nairn (Ripper Street)
Gemma Whelan (Gulliver’s Travels)
Joseph Mawle (Abrham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter)
Diana Rigg (The Avengers)
Julian Glover (Troy)
Finn Jones (Iron Fist)
Art Parkinson (Dracula Untold)
Owen Teale (King Arthur)
Patrick Malahide (Fortress 2)
Joe Naufahu (Power Rangers RPM)
Ben Crompton (All or Nothing)
Brenock O’Connor (Dickensian)
Charlotte Hope (The Musketeers)
Elizabeth Webster (Cockneys vs Zombies)
Tim McInnerny (Notting Hill)
Bella Ramsey (The Worst Witch 2017)
Michael Condron (High-Rise)
David Bradley (Harry Potter)
Tamer Hassan (Sucker Punch)
James Faulkner  (Underworld: Blood Wars)
Toby Sebastian (The Hollow Crown)
Clive Russell (The 13th Warrior)
Brian Fortune (The Inside)
Jacob Anderson (Adulthood)
Jessica Henwick (Iron Fist)
Ian Whyte (Prometheus)
Luke Roberts (300: Rise of an Empire)
Murray McArthur (The Last Legion)
Anton Lesser (Wolf Hall)
Roger Ashton-Griffiths (The Brothers Grimm)
Eugene Simon (Casanova)

Following their escape from Winterfell, Sansa Stark journeys to the Wall, while Theon Greyjoy returns to the Iron Islands. In Winterfell, Ramsay Bolton secures his claim on the North by killing Roose and Walda Bolton and his new-born half-brother. At the Wall, Melisandre resurrects Jon Snow, who is reunited with Sansa; they gather loyalists and a battle ensues. Aided by the Knights of the Vale, the Starks defeat the Bolton forces. Sansa feeds Ramsay to his hounds and Jon is proclaimed the King in the North. At King’s Landing, Jaime Lannister and the Tyrell army attempt to liberate Margaery and Loras, but Margaery capitulates to the High Sparrow and Tommen forges an alliance with the Faith. During Loras and Cersei’s trial, Cersei uses wildfire to burn the Great Sept, killing the High Sparrow, Margarey, Loras, Mace, Kevan, and Lancel, while Tommen kills himself after witnessing the events. Unopposed, Cersei is crowned Queen of Westeros. Ellaria Sand and three of Oberyn Martell’s daughters kill Doran and Trystane Martell and seize control of Dorne, and Olenna meets with Ellaria to discuss an alliance. In Braavos, Arya continues her training with the Faceless Men, and soon regains her eyesight. When she refuses to accomplish a mission, the Waif is ordered to kill Arya, who kills her instead. Arya reasserts her identity as a Stark and returns to Westeros. In the Riverlands, the Hound pursues the Brotherhood Without Banners for massacring the people who saved him. He finds Lord Beric Dondarrion executing his quarry, and is asked to join the Brotherhood traveling north. Jaime Lannister besieges Riverrun and takes the castle, killing the Blackfish after forcing Edmure Tully to order a surrender. Walder Frey celebrates the victory before being killed by Arya. Beyond the Wall, Bran Stark trains with the Three-Eyed Raven but alerts the Night King, who launches an attack of White Walkers. Bran and Meera escape and are rescued by Benjen Stark. Sam Tarly, Gilly, and Little Sam travel to the Citadel at Oldtown, stopping to visit Sam’s family. In Essos, Daenerys Targaryen is captured by Khal Moro who takes her before the khals; she burns them alive and takes command of the Dothraki. Tyrion Lannister brings a short-lived peace to Meereen, which is reinforced when Daenerys returns and flies her dragons into battle against the slavers. Yara and Theon arrive and pledge allegiance to Daenerys after Euron Greyjoy kills their father and usurps leadership of the Iron Islands. Jorah Mormont departs to find a cure for greyscale and Daario is left in command of Meereen, while Daenerys sails for Westeros. Game of thrones is without a doubt the best show on tv ever! Hooked from the very beginning. Season 6 is packed full of beautifully shot battle scenes and exquisite smaller moments, all of which showcase the immense talent of the entire cast and crew.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: GHOSTBUSTERS II

 

CAST

Harold Raimis (Year One)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Dan Aykroyd (Evolution)
Ernie Hudson (The Wrong Guys)
Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
Annie Potts (Pretty In Pink)
Rick Moranis (Spaceballs)
Peter MacNicol (Agents of SHIELD)
Harris Yullin (Training Day)
David Margulies (Ace Ventura)
Kurt Fuller (The Good Wife)
Wilhelm von Homburg (Stroszek)
Mary Ellen Trainor (Roswell)
Cheech Marin (Machete)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Groundhog Day)
Kevin Dunn (Samantha Who?)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)

After saving New York City from the demi-god Gozer, the Ghostbusters—Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, Ray Stantz, and Winston Zeddemore—were sued by several city and state agencies for the property damage. Rather than face financial ruin, they accepted a restraining order barring them from operating as paranormal investigators and eliminators—forcing them out of business. In the eyes of the city, they are now considered frauds.

Five years later, Ray owns an occult bookstore and works as an unpopular children’s entertainer with Winston; Egon has returned to Columbia University to conduct experiments into human emotion; and Peter hosts a pseudo-psychic television show. Peter’s former girlfriend Dana Barrett has had a son, Oscar, with a violinist whom she married then divorced when he received an offer to join the London Symphony Orchestra. In order to take care of her baby, Dana quit performing and now works as a restorer at the fictional Manhattan Museum of Art, working to prepare a malevolent-looking portrait of a legendary sixteenth-century tyrant named Vigo the Carpathian of Moldavia for an upcoming exhibition. After an incident in which Oscar’s baby carriage is controlled by an unseen force and drawn to a busy intersection, Dana turns to the Ghostbusters for help. Meanwhile, Dana’s colleague Dr. Janosz Poha has become increasingly obsessed with the glowering image of Vigo in the painting and falls under its spell. Vigo, whose spirit inhabits the painting, orders Janosz to locate a child that he can possess, allowing him to return to life on the New Year. Janosz, infatuated with Dana, offers to bring baby Oscar to Vigo in exchange for Dana, a deal which Vigo accepts.

The Ghostbusters’ investigation leads them to illegally excavate First Avenue at the point where the baby carriage stopped. Lowered underneath, Ray discovers a vast river of pink slime filling an abandoned pneumatic transit line. Attacked by the slime after obtaining a sample, Ray causes a city-wide blackout by accidentally kicking a cast iron pipe that breaks, falls, and shorts out an electric cable. After this, the Ghostbusters are arrested by the NYPD. Ineffectually defended by Louis Tully, they are found guilty of violating the restraining order by Judge Wexler, aka “The Hammer.” Before they are taken to Riker’s Island, Wexler angrily berates them. In response, the slime recovered by Ray and taken as evidence explodes, releasing the ghosts of two murderers that the judge had condemned to death that proceed to devastate the courtroom. The Ghostbusters capture the ghosts in return for the cancellation of the restraining order.

Later, the slime invades Dana’s apartment via the bathtub and attacks her and Oscar. She seeks refuge with Peter, and the two begin to renew their relationship. Investigating the ‘psychomagnatheric’ slime and Vigo’s history, the Ghostbusters discover that it reacts to emotions; it can be charged positively or negatively. They suspect that it has been generated by the negative attitudes of New Yorkers. While Peter and Dana have dinner together, Egon, Ray, and Winston explore the underground river of slime. While measuring its depth, Winston gets pulled into the slime flow, and Ray and Egon jump in after him. After they escape back to the surface Ray and Winston begin an angry argument, but Egon realizes that they are being influenced by the slime, so they strip off their clothes. They also learn the river is flowing underground directly to the museum where Dana works.

The Ghostbusters go to the mayor with their suspicions, but are dismissed; the mayor’s assistant, Jack Hardemeyer, has them committed to a psychiatric hospital to protect the mayor’s campaign for governor. Meanwhile, a spirit resembling Janosz as a nanny kidnaps Oscar from Peter’s apartment, and Dana pursues them to the museum alone. After she enters, the museum is covered with a cocoon of impenetrable slime. New Year’s Eve sees a sudden increase of supernatural activity as the slime rises from the subway line and onto the city streets, causing widespread paranormal activity with ghosts attacking citizens. In response, the mayor fires Hardemeyer and has the Ghostbusters released. After heading to the museum, they are unable to breach the slime barrier with their proton packs. Determining that they need a powerful symbol to rally the citizens and weaken the slime, the Ghostbusters use positively charged mood slime and a remix of “Higher and Higher” to animate the Statue of Liberty and pilot it through the streets before the cheering crowds. As they arrive at the museum, the slime begins to recede and they use the Statue’s flaming torch to break through a skylight to attack Vigo and Janosz.

Janosz is neutralized with positively charged mood slime, but Vigo immobilizes the Ghostbusters and attempts to transfer into Oscar’s body. The positive feelings accompanying a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne” by the citizens outside weakens Vigo, returning him to the painting and freeing the Ghostbusters. Vigo momentarily possesses Ray, and the other Ghostbusters attack him with a combination of proton streams and positively charged mood slime. This destroys Vigo and changes the painting to a likeness of the four Ghostbusters standing protectively around Oscar. Outside, the Ghostbusters receive a standing ovation from the crowd and, at a later ceremony to restore the Statue, the Key to the City from the mayor.Ghostbusters II hasn’t been particularly well-received, even despite its more family-friendly tone and message about the folly of mean-spiritedness. But it’s just a good sequel, nonetheless, not bad, not superior to the original, maybe on par with the original, but it’s just really good fun.

REVIEW: EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC

CAST

Linda Blair (Hell Night)
Richard Burton (Ellis Island)
Kitty Winn (Peeper)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)
Paul Henreid (Casablanca)
James Earl Jones (Star Wars)
Ned Beatty (Superman)
Louise Fletcher (Star Trek: DS9)

Philip Lamont, a priest struggling with his faith, attempts to exorcise a possessed South American girl who claims to “heal the sick”. However, the exorcism goes wrong and a lit candle sets fire to the girl’s dress, killing her. Afterwards, Lamont is assigned by the Cardinal to investigate the death of Father Lankester Merrin, who had been killed four years prior in the course of exorcising the Assyrian demon Pazuzu from Regan MacNeil. The Cardinal informs Lamont (who has had some experience at exorcism, and has been exposed to Merrin’s teachings) that Merrin is up on posthumous heresy charges due to his controversial writings. Apparently, Church authorities are trying to modernize and do not want to acknowledge that Satan as an actual evil entity exists.
Regan, although now seemingly normal and staying with guardian Sharon Spencer in New York, continues to be monitored at a psychiatric institute by Dr. Gene Tuskin. Regan claims she remembers nothing about her ordeal in Washington, D.C., but Tuskin believes her memories are only buried or repressed. Father Lamont visits the institute but his attempts to question Regan about the circumstances of Father Merrin’s death are rebuffed by Dr. Tuskin, believing that Lamont’s approach would do Regan more harm than good. In an attempt to plumb her memories of the exorcism, specifically the circumstances in which Merrin died, Dr. Tuskin hypnotizes the girl, to whom she is linked by a “synchronizer” — a biofeedback device used by two people to synchronize their brainwaves. After a guided tour by Sharon of the Georgetown house where the exorcism took place, Lamont returns to be coupled with Regan by the synchronizer. The priest is spirited to the past by Pazuzu to observe Father Merrin exorcising a young boy, Kokumo, in Africa. Learning that the boy developed special powers to fight Pazuzu, who appears as a swarm of locusts, Lamont journeys to Africa, defying his superior, to seek help from the adult Kokumo.
Lamont learns that Pazuzu attacks people who all have some form of psychic healing ability. Kokumo has since become a scientist, studying how to prevent grasshoppers from becoming locust swarms. Regan is able to reach telepathically inside the minds of others; she uses this to help an autistic girl to speak, for instance. Father Merrin belonged to a group of theologians who believed that psychic powers were a spiritual gift which would one day be shared by all humanity in a kind of global consciousness, and thought people like Kokumo and Regan were foreshadowers of this new type of humanity. In a vision, Merrin asks Lamont to watch over Regan.
Lamont and Regan return to the old house in Georgetown. The pair are followed by Tuskin and Sharon, concerned about Regan’s safety. En route, Pazuzu tempts Lamont by offering him unlimited power, appearing as a succubus doppelgänger of Regan. Lamont initially succumbs to the demon but is brought back by Regan and attacks the Regan doppelgänger while a swarm of locusts deluge the pair and the entire house begins to crumble around them. However, Lamont manages to kill the Regan doppelgänger by beating open its chest and pulling out its heart. In the end, Regan banishes the locusts (and Pazuzu) by enacting the same ritual attempted by Kokumo to get rid of locusts in Africa (although he failed and was possessed). Outside the house, Sharon dies from burn injuries after she immolates herself and Tuskin tells Lamont to watch over Regan. Regan and Lamont leave and Tuskin remains at the house to answer the police’s questions.
In the end, Exorcist II: The Heretic is an awkward affair, with scenes that end abruptly, and truly bad acting by an overly cute Blair and a bored, if intense, Burton. Like most sequels, it merely tarnishes its predecessor, instead of enhancing it, though it tries.

REVIEW: THE EXORCIST (1973)

 

CAST

Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)
Jason Miller (Toy Soldiers)
Linda Blair (Hell Night)
Kitty Winn (Peeper)
Robert Symonds (The Ice Pirates)

Released in 1973 to unsuspecting audiences worldwide, William Friedkin’s The Exorcist has shocked, appalled, outraged, reassured and just plain terrified millions of people during the last 40 years. Based on William Peter Blatty’s novel of the same name (which was, in turn, inspired by a documented 1949 event), this jarring film professes the existence of demonic possession under seemingly random circumstances: any one of us could fall victim, even an innocent young girl. The victim is Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), who gradually shifts from a precocious pre-teen to a vomiting, hate-spewing representation of Satan himself. Her atheist mother Chris (Ellen Burstyn) tries almost everything to save Regan—pills, medical procedures, psychiatry—before turning to religion, represented by Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller), a struggling Catholic priest who reluctantly takes the unusual case. Soon enough, he calls in the elderly Father Lankester Merrin (Max von Sydow), and both men take part in an exorcism to wholly remove the evil spirit from Regan’s body.The Catholic Church infamously endorsed The Exorcist—even promoted it, to a certain extent—and why not? The movie makes Fathers Merrin and Kerris look like superheroes during the climactic exorcism, battling Satan for the soul of a helpless 12 year-old girl while staring death square in the eyes. All of this transpires after numerous medical procedures are attempted and doctors half-heartedly prescribe drugs to sedate the troubled young girl. “Science can’t save us and religion comes to the rescue”…so if that falls in line with your belief system, you’re more likely to be affected by what transpires here. Still, The Exorcist relies too heavily on gross-out gags, jump scares and its central “child in distress” to feel like anything more than an extended version of shock treatment. Well-made shock treatment, sure. Either way, The Exorcist carved itself a devout following during the last 40 years and even spawned sequels. It also warranted the release of a director’s cut in 2000, infamously advertised as “The Version You’ve Never Seen”.Having no long-standing ties to the theatrical cut (after all, I first saw The Exorcist just a few short years before the director’s cut had come about), I don’t emphatically prefer one over the other. The addition of a few scenes—medical procedures, the infamous “spider walk”, a short scene of Father Karras listening to tapes of a younger Regan, and a conversation between Karras and Merrin during the exorcism—are either modest improvements or, at the very least, short enough to not overstay their welcome. Yet other additions (including a few subliminally-flashed demon faces and a longer ending) detract from the overall experience. Overall, it’s a toss-up in my opinion, so the viewer is left to decide whether the Director’s Cut is worth another ten minutes. What matters most is that both versions are available here.

 

REVIEW: THE WOLFMAN (2010)

CAST

Benicio del Toro (Sin City)
Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of The Lambs)
Emily Blunt (The Huntsman)
Gemma Whelan (Gulliver’s Travels)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Geraldine Chaplin (Bloodrayne)
Art Malik (Shadow of The Cobra)
Anthony Sher (Superman II)
Max Von Sydow (Game of Thrones)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Asa Butterfield (Ender’s Game)

In 1891, Ben Talbot is killed by a fierce creature in the Blackmoor woods. Gwen Conliffe, Ben’s fiancée, has contacted his brother Lawrence, a Shakespearean actor, saying that Ben disappeared. Lawrence returns to his family’s estate in Blackmoor where he has an uneasy reunion with his estranged father, Sir John. Lawrence discovers Ben’s mutilated body kept in a slaughterhouse. At the local pub, Lawrence overhears the locals discussing the killing. Many blame Gypsies who are camped outside the town, while another patron claims there was a similar murder several decades earlier and a werewolf was the suspected killer. He has flashbacks as he tours his family’s home that his mother, Solana, committed suicide when he was a boy. Lawrence saw his father standing over her dead body; afterwards he was sent to an insane asylum in London for having to suffer from delusions.

Lawrence visits the Gypsies during a full moon. The local townspeople raid the camp to confiscate a dancing bear they believe is the killer, but a werewolf attacks the camp and bites Lawrence before being chased away by local hunters. A Gypsy woman named Maleva sutures his neck wounds, but her daughter insists the now cursed Lawrence should be killed before he destroys other lives. Maleva refuses, saying he is still a man and that only a loved one can release him.

Lawrence recovers unnaturally quickly, and develops heightened vitality and senses. His father’s servant, Singh shows Lawrence a set of silver bullets and implies that something monstrous is loose in Blackmoor. Inspector Aberline arrives to investigate the recent killings, and suspects Lawrence is responsible based on his mental history and portrayals of mentally-ill characters. Lawrence sends Gwen away to London for her own safety. He follows his father to his mother’s crypt, where Sir John locks himself in a room alone as he gives a cryptic warning to Lawrence. Lawrence then undergoes a painful transformation into the Wolfman before running off into the woods and killing the hunters stationed there.

Aberline and the police arrest the now human Lawrence. Taken to the same asylum he was committed to as a child, Lawrence is subjected to torturous treatments by Dr. Hoenneger. Sir John visits Lawrence and explains that many years before while hunting in India, he was bitten by a feral boy infected with lycanthropy. Lawrence realizes his father, as a werewolf, killed his mother and his brother. Knowing that Lawrence would never be believed, he confesses before leaving his son at the asylum permanently.

Dr. Hoenneger conducts an evening lecture with Lawrence as a case study and assures Lawrence that he is only a werewolf in his imagination, seeking to prove it by putting him on display during the full moon. As the full moon streams through the window, Lawrence transforms into the Wolfman and goes on a rampage throughout the lecture hall and London, with Aberline in pursuit. The next day, the now-human Lawrence goes to Gwen’s antique shop for help. They realize they are falling in love and share a passionate kiss. Aberline arrives and searches the shop, but Lawrence has already escaped to Blackmoor.

Lawrence arrives at Talbot Hall and finds Singh’s mutilated body. He loads a gun with Singh’s silver bullets, but when he attempts to shoot his father, he learns that Sir John had removed the powder from the cartridges years ago. The Talbots fight, transforming into werewolves when the full moon rises and setting Talbot Hall on fire. Lawrence kills his father as Gwen and Aberline arrive. Aberline attempts to shoot the Wolfman, but is bitten instead. Gwen disrupts the shot and flees with Aberline’s revolver.

The Wolfman pursues Gwen and traps her above a gorge. She pleads with Lawrence, whose consciousness recognizes her. As he hesitates, the hunters approach, distracting the Wolfman long enough for Gwen to shoot him. Lawrence reverts to human form, thanks Gwen for setting him free and dies in her arms. Aberline arrives with the hunters, but as he looks at the moon, he realizes his inevitable fate. As Talbot Hall burns in the distance, a wolfman’s howl is heard.
It is sad that this film suffered from a lack of unified artistic direction (many directors hot-seated this production after a spat between the original director and the studio) as it starts so well, the first 40 minutes really drawing you in but by the end you end up rueing what it has become – a gory, gruesome creature-feature with little imagination and too few scary moments. In conclusion, I would recommend this film for a decent period romp, but don’t expect to be frightened by it as you will probably laugh at the Wolfman! The alternative ending in this version is a real eyebrow raiser!!

REVIEW: ROBIN HOOD (2010)

CAST

Russell Crowe (Gladiator)
Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit)
Max Von Sydow (Minority Report)
William Hurt (The Host)
Mark Strong (John Carter)
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars – Episode VII)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Eileen Atkins (Cold Mountain)
Mark Addy (Game of Thrones)
Matthew Macfadyen (Frost/Nixon)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Scott Grimes (American Dad)
Luke Evans (Dracula Untold)
Arthur Darvill (Legends of Tomorrow)

In 1199 A.D., Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) is a common archer in the army of King Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston). A veteran of Richard’s crusade, he now takes part in the siege of Chalus Castle. Disillusioned and war-weary, he gives a frank but unflattering appraisal of the King’s conduct after the King asks him to answer him honestly. Though the Kings commends him for his honesty Robin and his comrades – archers Allan A’Dayle (Alan Doyle) and Will Scarlett (Scott Grimes) and soldier Little John (Kevin Durand) – find themselves in the stocks.
When the King is slain during an attack on the castle, Robin and his men decide to free themselves and desert. They come across an ambush of the English royal guard by Godfrey (Mark Strong), an English knight who has conspired with King Philip of France to assassinate the King. As Godfrey flees Robin attempts to shoot him but only succeeds in wounding Godfrey’s face with an arrow. Robin decides to take advantage of the situation by having his men impersonate the dead English knights to return to England. As they depart, Robin promises one of the dying knights, Sir Robert Loxley (Douglas Hodge), to return a sword to his father in Nottingham.
As Robin and his men become drunk on the voyage, they awake too late to flee unnoticed and Robin is forced to assume the identity of the slain Loxley and publicly inform the royal family of the King’s death. He witnesses the coronation of King John (Oscar Isaac), who orders harsh new taxes to be collected, dispatching Sir Godfrey to the North to do so – unaware that Godfrey will instead use French troops to stir up unrest and create an opening for Philip to invade England.
Robin and his companions head to Nottingham, where Loxley’s elderly and blind father, Sir Walter (Max von Sydow), asks him to continue impersonating his son, to prevent the family lands being taken by the Crown. However, Loxley’s widow, Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett), is initially cold toward Robin, but warms to him, when he and his men merrily recover tithed grain for the townsfolk to plant. Godfrey’s actions incite the northern barons, who march to meet King John. Speaking now for Sir Walter, Robin proposes the King agree to a charter of rights to ensure the rights of every Englishman and unite his country. Having realized Godfrey’s deception, and knowing he must meet the French invasion with an army, the King agrees. Meanwhile, the French marauders plunder Nottingham and Godfrey murders Sir Walter. Robin and the northern barons arrive and stop Godfrey’s men.

As the French begin their invasion on the beach below the Cliffs of Dover, Robin leads the now united English army against them. In the midst of the battle, Robin duels with Godfrey, who attempted to kill Marion and flees until Robin finally succeeds in shooting him with an arrow from afar. Philip realizes that his plan to divide England has failed and calls off his invasion. When King John sees the French surrendering to Robin instead of himself, he senses a threat to his power. In London, John reneges on his promise to sign the charter, instead declaring Robin an outlaw to be hunted throughout the kingdom. The Sheriff of Nottingham (Matthew Macfadyen) announces the decree as Robin and his men flee to Sherwood Forest with the orphans of Nottingham. Marion narrates their new life in the greenwood, noting that they live in equality as they right the many wrongs in the Kingdom of King John.

Helgeland wrote a clever script, showing Medieval ideology and a complex political situation. His previous Medieval film was A Knight’s Tale, which he wrote and directed. But with Robin Hood he seems to have grown up as a writer and gives this film a little more of a complex plot and shows a bigger picture. He also cleverly mixes different aspects about how the legend has changed, like how Robin starting as a commoner and pretends to be a higher ranked man. The film also covers its bases by showing the two sites places that claim to be Robin’s home, Nottingham and Barnsdale. However this film felt like an origins story, a start to a new film series. This is Robin Hood that has not been seen on screen like this before.  Robin Hood is also historically suspect, with events and dates being changed and made up, some ideas and culture also seems to be the victim of artistic license. But Scott knows that storytelling requires character development and show a more balanced picture, particularly with historically set films. At least this film does accept that it is a piece of historical fiction.