REVIEW: VERONICA MARS – SEASON 2

Starring

Kristen Bell (The Good Place)
Teddy Dunn (Jumper)
Jason Dohring (The Originals)
Percy Daggs III (Detention)
Francis Capra (Izombie)
Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Kyle Gallner (American Sniper)
Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jeffrey D. Sams (Cupid)
Alona Tal (Cult)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Charisma Carpenter (Buffy: TVS)
Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy)
Bradley Joseph (Stone & Ed)
Kevin Smith (Jay & Silet Bob Strike Back)
Michael Muhney (The Young and The Restless)
David Starzyk (Cam Girls)
Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher)
Kristin Dattilo (Dexter)
Melissa Reneé Martin (The Secret Craft)
Miko Hughes (New Nightmare)
Valorie Curry (The Tick)
Cress Williams (BLack Lightning)
Brandon Hillock (Villains)
Laura Bell Bundy (Scream Queens)
Geoff Pierson (24)
Tina Majorino (Scorpion)
Dana Davis (Heroes)
Christine Estabrook (Spider-Man 2)
Jonathan Chesner (Bones)
Harry Hamlin (Clash of The Titans)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
Rick Peters (Holidays)
Joss Whedon (Angel)
Patrick Wolff (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
James Molina (Runner Runner)
Roy Werner (Power Rangers Time Force)
Christopher B. Duncan (Legacies)
Amanda Noret (Bunny Whipped)
Rodney Rowland (Legacies)
Duane Daniels (Fashion House)
Lucas Grabeel (Smallville)
Lisa Thornhill (Agter The Sunset)
Lucy Lawless (Xena)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Kevin Sheridan (Heart of Dixie)
D. Elliot Woods (Ballers)
B.J. Britt (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Curtis Andersen (Sabrina: TTW)
Jessy Schram (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Virginia Williams (Fuller House)
Dawn Olivieri (American Hustle)
Aaron Ashmore (Samllville)
Michael Cera (Juno)
David Tom (Swing Kids)
Kayla Ewell (Th Vampire Diaries)
James Jordan (Wind River)
John Prosky (Heroes)
Amanda Seyfried (Ted 2)
Erica Gimpel (God Friended Me)

The central arcs of Veronica Mars’ first season were all intensely personal: Veronica being abandoned by her mother, not to mention every one of her former friends, roofie-fueled date rape at a party a year earlier, and the brutal murder of her closest friend, Lilly Kane. How do you follow up a season like that? t’d be nearly impossible to craft another set of stories that’d resonate in quite that same way without retreading familiar ground, so season two of Veronica Mars takes a different approach, shifting the focus away from our plucky junior detective and more towards the sticky underbelly of Neptune, California as a whole.

 

Kristen Bell and Teddy Dunn in Veronica Mars (2004)Mayoral candidate Woody Goodman (Steve Guttenberg) has a vision for the glorified country club that is Neptune. Incorporating Neptune would have a Tide with Bleach effect, making the whites whiter and the rich richer as property values are boosted and less desirable elements are rezoned onto someone else’s doorstep. Woody’s plan is announced as the tensions between the haves and have-nots are already boiling over in Neptune.Logan Echols, the cocky son of an aging Hollywood action hero, has walked away unscathed from accusations of stabbing a Hispanic biker to death, prompting a series of vicious attacks from both sides.Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)The stark differences between the classes are also apparent after a school-sponsored trip; the rich kids hop in a limo and ride back in style, and the not-so-privileged cram into a rank schoolbus and careen off the side of a cliff. The town is torn apart by the tragedy, and Veronica, who’d barely missed the bus and was very nearly among the dead, is determined to find out if the crash was a terrible accident, suicide, or something much more ominous.Image result for veronica mars driver edIt’s a hectic season, with a bus crash, two murder trials, class-slash-racial tensions throughout Neptune, a sheriff race, the possibility of Neptune incorporating, the ambiguity about Wallace’s family life, a coma-baby, Beaver following in his shamed father’s footsteps as he tries to get his own real estate endeavour off the ground, the strife former baseball star Terrence Cook and his overbearing daughter Jackie (Tessa Thompson) bring to Neptune, the newly-introduced clan of Irish drug-peddlers known as the Fitzpatricks, and the machinations of Dick and Beaver’s scheming stepmother Kendall (Charisma Carpenter).Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)There’s enough to follow The season plays a lot better on DVD; it’s easier to keep the scores of characters and plot points fresh in the mind over the course of a few days as opposed to the better part of a year.

REVIEW: THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

CAST

Will Arnett (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Zach Galifanakis (The Hangover)
Michael Cera (Juno)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City)
Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter)
Jenny Slate (The Lorax)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Billy Dee Williams (BAtman)
Mariah Carey (Glitter)
Eddie Izzard (Hannibal)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Jemaine Clement (Men In Black 3)
Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street)
Jason Mantzoukas (Bad Neigbours)
Doug Benson (Super High Me)
Zoe Kravitz (Divergent)
Kate Micucci (The Big Bang Theory)
Riki Lindhome (Much Ado About Nothing)
Channing Tatum (Dear John)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Laura Kightlinger (Lucky Louie)
Ralph Garman (Ted)
Chris Hardwick (Terminator 3)

Three years after saving the Lego Universe with Emmet and Wyldstyle, Batman continues fighting crime in Gotham City. During a mission to prevent The Joker from destroying the city, Batman hurts his arch-rival’s feelings by telling him he is not as important in his life as he thinks he is, leading to the Joker to desire seeking the ultimate revenge on him.
The following day, Batman attends the city’s winter gala as his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, to celebrate the retirement of Commissioner Gordon and the ascension of his daughter Barbara as Gotham’s new police commissioner, but is infuriated when she announces her plans to restructure the city’s police to function without the need of Batman. The Joker crashes the party with the rest of Gotham City’s villains, but has all of them surrender to the police. Despite realizing that this makes him no longer relevant to the city’s safety, Batman suspects his arch-rival is up to something and decides to stop him by banishing him into the Phantom Zone, a prison for some of the most dangerous villains in the Lego Universe.
Before he can make plans to acquire the Phantom Zone Projector that Superman uses, Alfred intervenes and advises him to take charge of Dick Grayson, whom Bruce had unwittingly adopted as his ward during the gala to which he eventually agrees and fosters Dick as Robin. The pair manage to recover the Projector from the Fortress of Solitude, before breaking into Arkham Asylum and using it on the Joker. Annoyed at his reckless actions and suspecting that the Joker wanted this to happen, Barbara locks up Batman and Robin. While the Projector is being seized as evidence, Harley Quinn steals it back and uses it to free the Joker, who unleashes the villains trapped within the Phantom Zone to cause havoc upon Gotham, including Lord Voldemort, King Kong, Sauron, the Wicked Witch of the West, Medusa, Agent Smith and his clones, the Daleks, and the Kraken.
Realizing that the city does still need him, Barbara releases Batman and Robin and reluctantly teams up with them as “Batgirl” to stop the Joker, with the team joined by Alfred. Batman soon finds himself able to trust and rely on the others, allowing them to defeat Sauron, but upon reaching Wayne Island, he ditches the team out of fear of losing them like his parents, before confronting Joker alone. Upon seeing that the Batman will never change, Joker zaps him to the Phantom Zone, before stealing the Batcave’s stash of confiscated bombs and heading for the city’s Energy Facility. Arriving in the Phantom Zone, Batman witnesses the harm he has caused to everyone because of his selfishness and slowly accepts his greatest fear when Robin, Barbara and Alfred decide to come to his aid. Making a deal with the Phantom Zone’s gatekeeper, Phyllis, to bring back all the villains in exchange for returning to Gotham City, Batman arrives to save the trio and admits to them his mistakes, requesting their help to save the day.
Seeking to stop Joker from setting off the bombs beneath the Energy Facility, thus causing the plates beneath Gotham to come apart and send the city into the infinite abyss, Batman and his allies team up with the city’s regular list of villains, after they had felt neglected by Joker, with the group successfully sending back the escaped villains to the Phantom Zone. However, Batman fails to reach the bombs in time, the detonation causing the city to split apart. Realizing how to stop the city from being destroyed, Batman reluctantly convinces Joker that he is the reason for being the hero he is, and working together alongside Batman’s friends, the villains, and the city’s inhabitants, chain link themselves together, reconnecting the city’s plates and saving Gotham City.
With the city saved, Batman prepares to be taken back into the Phantom Zone to fulfill his bargain with Phyllis, only to be rejected by the gatekeeper who chooses to let him remain after she saw how much he had changed in order to save everyone. Batman allows the Joker and the rest of his rogues gallery to escape with the confidence that whenever they return, then they’ll be no match for the combined team of himself, Robin, Batgirl, and Alfred.Overall, this is a very enjoyable movie with a gripping story, fantastic animation that tops its predecessor and clever humor. I definitely recommend giving this a watch if you’re a fan of The Lego Movie.

REVIEW: SUPERBAD

 

CAST

Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Michael Cera (Juno)
Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick-Ass)
Seth Rogen (Bad Neighbours)
Bill Hader (Year One)
Emma Stone (Birdman)
Martha MacIsaac (Ice Princess)
Joe Lo Truglio (Hitch)
Kevin Corrigan (the Dictator)
Dave Franco (Milk)
David Krumholtz (Mom)
Martin Starr (The Incredible Hulk)
Lauren Miller (50/50)
Carla Gallo (Bones)
Clark Duke (Two and a Half Men)
Danny McBride (Alien Covenant)

Emma Stone in Superbad (2007)Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are two high school seniors who lament their virginity and poor social standing. Best friends since childhood, the two are about to go off to different colleges, as Seth did not get accepted into Dartmouth like Evan. After Seth is paired with Jules (Emma Stone) during Home-Ec class, she invites him to a party at her house later that night. Later, their friend Edward Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) comes up to the two and reveals his plans to obtain a fake ID during lunch. Seth uses this to his advantage and promises to bring alcohol to Jules’ party. Meanwhile, Evan runs into his crush Becca (Martha MacIsaac) and he offers to get her some Goldslick vodka for the party. Fogell’s fake ID is met with derision by Seth and Evan, as it states that Fogell’s name is simply “McLovin”. After contemplating their options, Seth decides they have no choice but to have Fogell buy the alcohol with his fake ID. Fogell goes in and successfully buys the alcohol, but is interrupted when a robber enters the store, punches him in the face, and takes money from the cash register.

When police officers Slater (Bill Hader) and Michaels (Seth Rogen) arrive to investigate the robbery, Seth and Evan believe that Fogell has been busted for the fake ID. Inside the store, Slater and Michaels are apparently fooled by Fogell’s ID and give him a ride to the party. While arguing over what to do, Seth is hit by a car being driven by Francis (Joe Lo Truglio), who promises to take them to a party he is attending in exchange for them not telling the police. During Fogell’s time with the police, they exhibit very irresponsible behavior such as drinking on the job, shooting their firearms at a stop sign, and improper use of their sirens to run red lights. All the while, the three develop a strong friendship. When Seth and Evan arrive at the party, they quickly discover that Francis is not welcome there. Francis is brutally beaten by Mark (Kevin Corrigan), the party host, while Seth fills detergent bottles from the basement with alcohol he finds in the fridge.
After running away from the party, Evan and Seth begin to argue, with Seth angrily asking why Evan is going to Dartmouth when he knew Seth would not get accepted. Evan angrily responds that Seth has been holding him back for years and he does not want to miss out because of him. During the argument, Evan pushes Seth in front of the police cruiser driven by Slater and Michaels. Afraid of losing their jobs, the cops decide to frame Seth and Evan by arresting them, but when Fogell comes out of the car, Evan makes a run for it, and Seth and Fogell escape with the alcohol. While on a bus, a drifter attempts to steal the vodka that Becca wanted, causing it to fall out of Evan’s hand and smash on the floor, after which the trio is kicked off. They run to the party, but on the way, Fogell accidentally clues Seth in on his plans to room with Evan the next year. Hurt, Seth takes the alcohol into the party by himself. At the party, Seth becomes popular and Evan tries to connect with Becca, but she is drunk.
Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse in Superbad (2007)
Becca drags Evan upstairs to have sex with him, but he declines and leaves after she vomits next to him on the bed. Meanwhile, Fogell impresses Nicola (Aviva Farber) and goes to have sex with her upstairs as well. Seth drunkenly attempts to kiss Jules, but she turns him down because neither does she drink or want to do anything with Seth while he is drunk. Seth then confesses to Jules his plan to hook up with her while they were both intoxicated and become her boyfriend over the summer before they both departed for college and that he has effectively ruined any chance of that happening. Jules tries to reassure him otherwise, but before she can continue, Seth passes out and accidentally headbutts her, leaving her with a bruised eye. Slater and Michaels bust the party and Seth saves an intoxicated Evan by carrying him out. Fogell’s lovemaking lasts only a second, before he is interrupted by Slater, who scares Nicola away. Michaels calms down Slater, who is angry at Fogell for ditching them.
Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse in Superbad (2007)After they apologize for “cock-blocking” him, they reconcile and reveal they knew Fogell was not 25 the whole time; they had played along, wanting to prove cops can have fun as well. To make it up to Fogell, they pretend to arrest him to boost his popularity, then proceed to drive recklessly and destroy their car with a Molotov cocktail while Fogell shoots it. At Evan’s house, Seth and Evan patch things up and declare their friendship for each other. The next morning, they go to the mall to buy stuff for college, where they meet Jules and Becca, and they all reconcile. Seth takes Jules to buy cover up for her bruise, while Evan makes arrangements to go on a date with Becca.https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/G/01/dvd/sony/superbad/Superbad_5lg.jpgFor the type of movie this is and the brilliant script that Seth Rogen has presented, there is no reason why anyone, young or old, can’t relate to this off-the-wall comedy.

REVIEW: YEAR ONE

CAST
Jack Black (King Kong 2005)
Michael Cera (Youth in Revolt)
Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises)
June Diane Raphael (Bride Wars)
Olivia Wilde (Tron Legacy)
Oliver Platt (X-Men: First Class)
David Cross (Small Soldiers)
Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad)
Vinnie Jones (The Cape)
Hank Azaria (The Simpsons)
Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters)
Paul Rudd (This is 40)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass)
Bill Hader (Superbad)
Marshall Manesh (How I Met Your Mother)
Kyle Gass (Elf)
Rick Overton (Willow)
Zed (Jack Black) is a hunter and Oh (Michael Cera) is a gatherer. After being informed that Zed ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the shaman (Bill Hader) and Marlak (Matthew Willig) banish him from the tribe. After Zed burns down the village by accident, Oh decides to go with Zed on his journey to discover all the world has to offer. Along the way, they encounter Cain and Abel (David Cross and Paul Rudd). Cain kills Abel and informs Zed and Oh that they must escape with him or else be accused of killing Abel.
Afterwards, Zed and Oh find that the girls they want to “lay with”, Maya (June Diane Raphael) and Eema (Juno Temple), from their former tribe have been captured and are being sold into slavery. They try to buy the girls’ freedom, but Cain ends up selling Zed and Oh. While being taken to a village by the owner with all the other slaves from their tribe, Sodomites attack and take the slaves prisoner, though Zed and Oh escape and hide in the desert, watching the Sodomites.
The next morning, Zed and Oh discover that the Sodomites have left with the slaves. They head off to save the slaves. They come to a mountain and find Abraham (Hank Azaria) about to kill his son Isaac (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Zed stops them, claiming that the Lord sent him to do so. Abraham takes them to his Hebrew village and tells them about the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Zed and Oh head off for Sodom after Abraham decides to circumcise them. As they arrive in Sodom, they are captured. Cain, now a Sodomite soldier, saves them from being sodomized, calling them “his brothers.” The two recalled that they were sold by Cain as slaves and Cain apologizes and offers them food. While being given a tour of the city by Cain, Zed and Oh are offered by Cain to become guards. Shortly after they become guards and are patrolling the city they see the princess Inanna (Olivia Wilde), who is fasting because she feels guilty that most of the city is starving. That night, at a party, Zed is invited by the princess to talk with her.
Inside the palace, Zed sees Maya and Eema serving as slaves, while Oh is forced to follow the very effeminate high priest around the palace. Zed meets Princess Inanna and she asks him to enter the Holy of Holies and tell her what it is like, thinking that Zed is the “Chosen One.” Inside the temple, Zed encounters Oh, who is hiding from the high priest (Oliver Platt). There, they get into a heated argument and are then imprisoned for going inside the temple. The two are sentenced to be stoned to death but Zed convinces the Sodomites to have mercy, so they are instead sentenced to hard labor until they die from work. The king then announces that he will be sacrificing his daughter and two virgins (Maya and Eema) as a gift to the gods. Zed interrupts the ceremony, claiming he is the “Chosen One.” A riot starts, Oh saves Eema and Abraham arrives with the Hebrews to overthrow the king. Oh and Eema lay with each other inside the palace, which not only consummates their relationship, but also means that Eema cannot be sacrificed. They then come out to help Zed fight the soldiers (including Cain). The crowd kills all the leaders and proclaim Zed as the Leader being the “Chosen One”. Zed turns this down, letting Inanna rule, and instead becomes an explorer with Maya. Oh becomes the leader of the village where the whole adventure started. The two say their goodbyes and head their separate ways.
This film has a brilliant cast and a brilliant script!!.  It has been vastly over looked but it has some amazing scenes and joke.

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)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)
Richard Schiff (The Cape)
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.

REVIEW: JUNO

CAST

Ellen Page (Super)
Michael Cera (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Jason Bateman (The Ex)
Allison Janney (Spy)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Olivia Thirlby (Dredd)
Eileen Pedde (Dar kAngel)
Rainn Wilson (The Office)
Emily Perkins (Ginger Snaps)
Candice King (The Vampire Diaries)
Eve Harlow (Heroes Reborn)
Emily Tennant (I, Robot)
Valerie Tian (Izombie)

Juno takes a thoughtful spin on an old cliché storyline revolving around unplanned parenthood. After spending a curious night together with her friend Paul Bleeker (Michael Cera, Superbad) in a big comfy chair a few months prior, Juno (Ellen Page, Hard Candy) discovers that she’s in for seven more months of paying for that mistake. Instead of slyly sneaking off to a clinic to change her pregnancy status, she has a change of heart and chooses to go through with the pregnancy. Instead of keeping the kid, however, Juno finds a picturesque, pseudo-surrogate family (Jason Bateman, Arrested Development, and Jennifer Garner, Alias) to adopt her and Bleeker’s child.

Reitman’s film, as sharply characteristic and biting as Thank You for Smoking, takes on the feel of a colorful mosaic as we follow through Juno’s remaining seven months of pregnancy. All the way through, she has plenty of support from her understated and supportive parents (J.K. Simmons, Spider-Man, and Allison Janney, 10 Things I Hate About You) and her loopy cheerleader friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby). Juno leads us through all the mundane occurrences, from ultrasounds to clothing modification, as well as through the more tongue-tied moments with her baby’s family-to-be. There’s a moment when Juno and her father meet with the adopting parents, and their lawyer, that’s priceless. It easily draws out and distinguishes the differences between the characters, both between the two families as well as the individual differences, and similarities, among all parties at the table.


Juno’s a great character narrative with exceedingly well-crafted personalities across the board, but the film’s impact hinges on the gallant performance from Ellen Page. It’s interesting to compare her talents here to her outstanding performance in Hard Candy, a ridiculously tense thriller about a renegade Little Red Riding Hood-esque figure with a penchant for revenge on a child molester. She’s an overwhelmingly talented satirist, especially at her age. Page’s Juno shares some interesting similarities to her Hard Candy character Haley Stark, points that echo through her quality as an actress. She can appear intelligent beyond her character’s years, while also latching firmly onto the age of the character with her mannerisms. Page doesn’t just sell maturity, she sells youthful maturity – meaning she can be both believably naïve and intelligent in the same breath.Ellen Page folds together with Diablo Cody’s wonderfully sharp script, the real star of the show, and crafts one of the most entertaining and touching films of the year. Cody’s pen handles different age groups in different ways, obviously, but she makes certain to keep a very even balance between quirk and sincerity. And, though it teeters along here and there, Juno’s still grin worthy even when it does lean a little over that line of absurdity. Most importantly, Juno’s barrage of one-liners and sarcastic swordfights between its characters can be downright hilarious in context.

It’s not just the scornful preggo hippie chick that gets to have all the fun, either; all of the fleshed characters have scathing humor written into their parts. As a matter of fact, some of the smaller character scenes, from Rainn Wilson’s little ignition of a one-liner to get the film started to Allison Janney’s lengthy reprimand on an ultrasound technician, provide some of the more memorable moments of the film. Where Juno really delivers a shot of believable impact, however, is within the maturing relationships between Juno and the adoptive parents – not as a cohesive unit, but as the individuals themselves. Juno, as a character, molds to each person that she interacts with in the film. As she states earlier in the film, she doesn’t really “know what kind of a girl” she is. Her character clearly grows throughout the film, which can be seen even through her steadfast and bull-headed charisma.


Juno’s a comically melancholy film, yet an attractive one to watch and listen to, as well. Jason Reitman’s directorial eyes and ears were obviously finely tuned during this production. His director of photography, Eric Steelberg, plays a major part in how great this film looks. He uses exaggerated color schemes, such as stark oranges and cold blues, to illustrate seasonal shifts that help pull us through the timeshifts in the narrative. There are a lot of quality details that he captures through his lens that gives Juno’s warm photography a lot of personality. When accompanied with the undertone lyrics from the assortment of indie music laced with Juno’s aesthetics, it keeps the film’s background as rhythmic and upbeat as the darting dialogue.

 

REVIEW: SCOTT PILGRAM VS THE WORLD


SCOTT PILGRAMCAST

Michael Cera (Youth In Revolt)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Alison Pill (Milk)
Ellen Wong (The Carrie Diaries)
Kieran Culkin (Igby Goes Down)
Anna Kendrick (The Voices)
Brie Larson (21 Jump Street)
Aubrey Plaza (Life After Beth)
Nelson Franklin (New Girl)
Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Jason Schwartzman (I Heart Huckabees)
Kristina Pesic (The Vow)
Mark Webber (13 Sins)
Mae Whitman (Independance Day)
Johnny Simmons (Jennifer’s Body)
Bill Hader (Superbad)
Clifton Collins Jr. (Pacific Rim)
Thomas Jane (The Punisher)
Joe Dinicol (Arrow)

MV5BMTgyNTUyNjQwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjUxNzYyMw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,822_AL_In Toronto, 22-year-old Scott Pilgrim is a bass guitarist in Sex Bob-Omb, a floundering garage band. To the disapproval of his friends, he is dating Knives Chau, a high school student. Scott meets an American Amazon.ca delivery girl, Ramona Flowers, having first seen her in a dream, and loses interest in Knives. When Sex Bob-Omb plays in a battle of the bands sponsored by record executive G-Man Graves, Scott is attacked by Ramona’s ex-boyfriend Matthew Patel. Scott defeats Patel and learns that, in order to date Ramona, he must defeat the remaining six evil exes.
MV5BMjIwNDkwMzkwMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzQ0MTkxNw@@._V1_SX1537_CR0,0,1537,999_AL_Scott breaks up with Knives, who blames Ramona and swears to win him back. Scott defeats Ramona’s second evil ex, Hollywood actor and skateboarder Lucas Lee, by tricking him into performing a dangerous stunt. He defeats her third ex, vegan Todd Ingram, who is dating Scott’s ex-girlfriend, Envy Adams, by tricking him into drinking dairy. He defeats Ramona’s fourth ex, Roxy Richter, by prodding the spot behind her knee, which Ramona tells him is her weak point.
MV5BMTQ1MjUxNDIxOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjgyODYxNw@@._V1_Scott becomes upset with Ramona’s dating history and Ramona breaks up with him. At the next battle of the bands, Sex Bob-Omb defeats Ramona’s fifth and sixth evil exes, twins Kyle and Ken Katayanagi, earning Scott a 1-up. Ramona gets back with her seventh evil ex, Gideon, also known as G-Man Graves, the sponsor of the event. Sex Bob-Omb accept Gideon’s record deal, except for Scott, who leaves the band in protest. Gideon invites Scott to his venue, the Chaos Theater, where Sex Bob-Omb is playing. Resolving to win Ramona back, Scott challenges Gideon to a fight for her affections, earning the “Power of Love” and a sword. Knives fights Ramona over Scott, and Scott accidentally reveals that he dated them concurrently. After Gideon kills Scott, Ramona visits him in limbo and reveals that Gideon has implanted her with a mind control device.
MV5BMTkwNTg1MjI0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTAwNTE5NQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1503,1000_AL_Scott uses his 1-up to restore his life. He makes peace with his friends and challenges Gideon again, this time for himself. He gains the “Power of Self-Respect” and disarms Gideon with the sword it grants him. He apologizes to Ramona and Knives for cheating on them, and Scott and Knives join forces to defeat Gideon. Free from Gideon’s control, Ramona prepares to leave. Knives accepts that her relationship with Scott is over. At her encouragement, he follows Ramona.MV5BMTkwODk1NzIzNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzQ0MTkxNw@@._V1_SX1537_CR0,0,1537,999_AL_This movie has everything. Action, love, geek background… The plot is great, a good reflection of the comics. But the camera, special effects and music are absolutely awesome. For me, this is one of the best movies in history.