REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 1-3

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)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Chris Latta (Transformers)
Marica Wallace (Full House)
Susan Blu (Transformers: The Movie)
Ron Taylor (City of Angels)
Albert Brooks (Drive)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Penny Marshall (Laverne & Shirley)
Harvey Fierstein (Independence Day)
James Earl Jones (Star Wars)
Tom Poston (Mork and Mindy)
Tony Bennett (Muppets Most Wanted)
Alex Rocco (The Godfather)
Phil Hartman (Small Soldiers)
Doris Grau (Babe)
George Takei (Heroes)
Sab Shimono (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
Larry King (American Crime Story)
Jon Lovitz (Happiness)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
Frank Welker (Transformers0
Tracey Ullman (Into The Woods)
Audrey Meadows (The Honeymooners)
Ringo Starr (Thomas & Friends)
Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Cloris Leachman (Scary Movie 4)
Daniel Stern (Home Alone)
Michael Jackson (Men In Black 2)
Kipp Lennon (Norbit)
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Jackie Mason (Caddyshack II)
Sting (Zoolander 2)
Steve Allen (The Comic)
Beverly D’Angelo (American History X)
Michael McKean (Smallville)
Christopher Guest (The Princess Bride)
Kimmy Robertson (Twin Peaks)

What’s really great about the first season is that you get to see the writers trying to figure out what direction the show should take, this provides some interesting experiments as well as some classic episodes. Season 1 does not have a lot of amazing scenes or laugh out loud moments but it does have a sense of realism to it and can actually tackle some pretty dark themes, such as Lisa having depression or Homer trying to commit suicide.

It really does feel great when there’s a happy ending because you do want to see these characters succeed, especially when you can relate to their problems and empathise with them. I really liked Homer’s characterisation here, he is just an average man who just happens to make a few honest mistakes and I think that he has a genuine charm to him. He never does anything hilarious but some of his one liners did get a chuckle out of me. The episodes revolving around Bart were probably the funniest. Although this season proves you don’t always need a lot of jokes to tell a good story, “Life on the Fast Lane” is a fantastic Homer and Marge episode that treats the audience with a lot of maturity and though I personally do not find it very funny, I am still invested in the plot. Even though the plots and characterisations are a lot more subtle when compared to later seasons, there is still a sense of wackiness to it, the best example being “The Call of the Simpsons” where Homer is mistaken for Bigfoot. Obviously in the first season of any show not every episode will be a success but when Season 1 does things right, it can be a pretty damn good season with just a few hiccups here and there.

Season 2 is basically a new and improved version of season 1, the tone is still very similar but now the characters are more developed and the plots have started to become a lot more intelligent. One of the best things about this season is the way it portrays Homer and Marge’s relationship, you never doubt even for a second that they truly love each other.

Even something so simple as Marge singing to Homer to cheer him up in “Simpson and Delilah” is very effective and I really do have to give credit to Dan Castellaneta and Julie Kavner for the amazing vocal performances. The voice acting in this season is brilliant and it does make the emotional scenes are a lot more powerful. This season also starts to develop the secondary characters, whenever Mr. Burns appears in an episode you know it’s going to lead to some very good moments and even Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner have a chance to shine. The wide variety of different characters and personalities was one the main reasons that the show was so good. The storylines are also great, tackling mature issues such as censorship or the corruption of government politics and the show never talks down to its audience. These writers are so talented that not only can they make us laugh, but they can also make us think as well. This is my personal favourite season of The Simpsons. The first disc has it’s moments, Homer Defined”, “Bart The Murderer”, “Stark Raving Dad” and “When Flanders Failed” are all great episodes.

The Second Disc has classic such as “Treehouse Of Horror”  which  is almost as incredibly well written as the first, “Lisa’s Pony” and “Saturdays Of Thunder” are also great. “Flaming Moe’s” is on a different level altogether to all episodes mentioned previously. It is one of the best written, funniest episodes this show has ever produced and will remain an all time classic.From Disc 3 onwards, especially after “Lisa The Greek”, the episodes seem to run into each other, you can’t put the remote control down, you simply have to keep watching. For you are viewing classic episode after classic episode after classic episode.  First you have  “Homer Alone”. David Stern decided to use a “deeper vein in comedy” in this episode by focusing on Marge rather than Bart or Homer, as most of the other writers were doing. It’s a fantastic episode with lots of humour and lots goes on, it seems more than 21 minutes.

“Bart The Lover” is another fantastic episode. I love hearing the letters that Bart writes to Mrs. Krabappel. “Homer At The Bat” is probably the episode that made me laugh the most in the entire season. My favourite part was when Ken Griffey Jr. had gigantism. “Separate Vocatians” Is a very interesting episode and another one that you can’t fault. It’s as good as every one of the episodes mentioned in this paragraph. There’s so much great humour in this episode. As for the other episodes on Disc 3, “Radio Bart” is a very cleverly written episode and is one of the best to watch. “Lisa The Greek is also as good as everyone of those episodes. One of my favourite episodes of all time, “Colonel Homer”. I think it’s one of the only episodes where Matt Groening wrote the entire thing. Then there is “Black Widower” in which Sideshow Bob marries Selma, which is a great episode, with a hilarious ending. And then, there is my favourite Simpsons episode of all time, The Otto Show. Disc four has “Bart’s Friend Falls In Love” and “Brother Can You Spare two Dimes”, these two episodes are good episodes but not classed as classics compared to the other episodes in the season.Season 3 was when the Simpsons hit it’s stride and became the animated  juggernaut it is today.

 

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REVIEW: THE MUPPETS (2011)

CAST

Amy Adams (Batman V Superman)
Jason Segal (How I Met Your Mother)
Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity)
Rashida Jones (I Love You, Man)
Steve Whitmore (The Dark Crystal)
Eric Jacobson (Sesame Street)
Dave Goetz (Inside Out)
Bill Barretta (When Families Grieve)
Matt Vogel (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Alan Arkin (get Smart)
Bill Cobbs (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Zach Galifanakis (The Hangover)
Ken Jeong (Community)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang theory)
Kristen Schaal (Toy Story 3)
Sarah Silverman (School of Rock)
Donald Glover (The Martian)
Emily Blunt (The Girl On The Train)
Whoopi Goldberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Judd Hirsch (Taxi)
John Krasinski (The Office)
Mickey Rooney (Making Waves)
Jack Black (Goosebumps)

Brothers Walter and Gary, residents of Smalltown, are fans of the Muppets, having watched The Muppet Show throughout their youth. Now adults, Gary plans a vacation to Los Angeles with his girlfriend, Mary, to celebrate their tenth anniversary, inviting Walter so he can tour the Muppet Studios. Mary feels Gary’s devotion to Walter is detracting from their relationship. In Los Angeles, the three visit the abandoned Muppet Studios. During the tour, Walter sneaks into Kermit the Frog’s office and discovers Statler and Waldorf selling the Muppet Theater to oil magnate Tex Richman and his henchmen Bobo the Bear and Uncle Deadly. After Statler and Waldorf leave, Walter overhears Richman reveal his plan to destroy the theater and drill for oil underneath. Walter explains to Gary and Mary that if the Muppets can raise $10 million by the time their original contract expires, they can repurchase the theatre.Agreeing to stop Richman, they find Kermit and inform him he must organize a telethon to raise the money, which appears difficult since the Muppets have gone their separate ways since the show ended its run. Convinced to try, Kermit sets off with the three to reunite the group. Kermit attempts to dissuade Fozzie Bear from continuing to perform in Reno, Nevada with the Moopets, a tribute group of uncouth Muppet impersonators. Meanwhile, Gonzo has become a plumbing magnate and, despite his initial objection, destroys his business and joins them. Animal is recovered from a celebrity anger-management clinic, before being instructed by his sponsor Jack Black to keep away from drums. The other primary Muppets rejoin through a montage. Later in Paris, the group finds Miss Piggy working as an editor for “plus-sized” fashion at Vogue Paris. Having failed to convince Miss Piggy to return, the group replaces her with Moopet counterpart Miss Poogy.The Muppets return to Los Angeles and pitch their telethon idea to several television networks, but are rejected. Following a show’s cancellation, CDE executive Veronica gives the Muppets a recently vacated two-hour slot in the network’s schedule, on the condition that they find a celebrity guest. The Muppets refurbish the theater, but their first rehearsal is unsuccessful and Kermit is unable to contact a celebrity guest. Miss Piggy returns, forces Poogy out, and informs Kermit that she refuses to work with him. Kermit inspires Walter to find his talent and perform in the telethon. Meanwhile, Mary goes sightseeing alone.Kermit entreats Richman to return their studio. Richman declines and reveals that the Muppets will also lose their trademark names, which he plans to entitle to the Moopets. Unsuccessfully, Kermit returns home and Miss Piggy enlists the remaining Muppets to kidnap Black as a celebrity guest. Meanwhile, after discovering that a devastated Mary has returned to Smalltown, Gary realizes that he must improve his relationship with Mary and follows her back home to reconcile, while Walter discovers he was intended to join the Muppets. After the Muppets rebuild the theater while dancing to “We Built This City”, the telethon begins and gradually attracts a large audience, with the Muppets raising donations with support from celebrity callers and Jack Black serving unwillingly as host. During the show, Richman cuts the theater’s power supply, but Gary and Mary return to Los Angeles and restore the power. Richman then attempts to destroy the theater’s television transmitter, but a regretful Uncle Deadly stops Richman. Kermit and Miss Piggy finally reconcile and the Muppets perform “Rainbow Connection” as their final act.However, the telethon runs short as the $10 million has yet to be collected. Having found his talent, Walter performs a whistling act, which is unanimously praised by the audience. Refusing to lose, Richman disables the telephone lines and evicts the Muppets from the theater, after the latter fall short of their monetary goal. Kermit gathers the group in the lobby and delivers a speech, suggesting that they will restart their career together as a family. Exiting the theater, the Muppets are greeted by a vast gathering of supporters on Hollywood Boulevard. With Gary’s encouragement, Walter greets the crowd and is accepted by the Muppets as their newest member. Gary proposes to Mary, Richman returns the theater and naming rights to the Muppets after suffering a head injury, and Kermit and Miss Piggy enjoy their private life.Clearly made with love for Jim Henson and his creations of fur and felt, The Muppets is one of the most delightful movies in recent years.

REVIEW: AMERICAN PIE: REUNION

CAST

Jason Biggs (Boys and Girls)
Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother)
Chris Klein (Election)
Thomas Ian Nicholas (Halloween: Resurrection)
Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Dad)
Seann William Scott (Goon)
Tara Reid (Urban Legend)
Mena Suvari (Loser)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Eugene Levy (Cheaper By The Dozen 2)
Jennifer Coolidge (2 Broke Girls)
Natasha Lyonne (Comic Book Villains)
Dania Ramirez (Heroes)
Ali Cobrin (Bad Neighbors)
Katrina Bowden (Scary Movie 5)
Jay Harrington (Better Off Ted)
Chuck Hittinger (Boogeyman 3)
Shannon Elizabeth (Scary Movie)
Chris Owen (The Mist)
Rebecca De Mornay (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
Justin Isfeld (Fraternity House)
Charlene Amoia (How I Met Your Mother)
Vik Sahay (Chuck)
Neil Patrick Harris (A Series of Unfortnate Events)
Molly Cheek (Drag Me To Hell)

Thirteen years after graduating from high school, Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs), Chris “Oz” Ostreicher (Chris Klein), Kevin Myers (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Paul Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), and Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott) are well-established in their lives and careers. Jim lives in the Chicago area and is still married to Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) and now has a two-year-old son, Evan. Since the birth of their son, Jim and Michelle’s sex life has deteriorated. Oz is an NFL sportscaster living in Los Angeles with his supermodel girlfriend Mia (Katrina Bowden). Kevin is married to Ellie and works from home as an architect. Finch tells his friends that he has been travelling the world, and still searching for his one true love. Stifler works as a temp at an investment firm, where he is also the victim of humiliating verbal abuse by his cold-hearted employer.Former classmate John (John Cho), one half of the ‘MILF’ duo, organizes a Class of 1999 high school reunion in East Great Falls. Jim and Michelle return to Jim’s old home, where his father Noah (Eugene Levy) is now a widower. Jim encounters his neighbor Kara (Ali Cobrin), whom he used to babysit and who is soon to turn 18. Jim meets Oz, Kevin, and Finch at a bar, where they meet Selena Vega (Dania Ramirez), Michelle’s best friend from band. Stifler appears unexpectedly, and joins them for weekend activities.The next day, the group goes to the beach. Oz meets his high school girlfriend, Heather (Mena Suvari), who is dating a cardiologist named Ron (Jay Harrington), and Kevin reconnects with Vicky (Tara Reid). The guys have an altercation with Kara’s boyfriend, A.J., (Chuck Hittinger) and his friends, which ends with Stifler defecating in their beer cooler and destroying their jet skis. That night, most of the group go to the falls and find a high school party celebrating Kara’s birthday. Finch and Selena reconnect, and they fall in love. Kara gets drunk; Jim drives her home, and she tries to seduce him. They are discovered by John, who simply mistakes Kara for Michelle. Oz, Finch, and Stifler help Jim return Kara to her parents’ home, but A.J. spots them. Kevin wakes up hungover next to Vicky and assumes they had sex.Jim and Michelle attend a party thrown by Stifler, hoping to recreate their prom night, and bring Noah along. Noah gets drunk and encounters Stifler’s mother Jeanine (Jennifer Coolidge) for the first time. Kevin confronts Vicky about the night before, but she insists there was no sex. Mia takes ecstasy, and Ron humiliates Oz. A newly sympathetic Heather comforts Oz, and they reconcile. They are interrupted by Mia, who starts a fight with Heather. Stifler performs oral sex on a former classmate named “Long Lips” Loni hoping she would return the favor, only to strike out. By this point in the story, Jim has told Kara that he does not care about her. A fight ensues between A.J. and his gang against Jim and his friends, which is disrupted by police. But the police only arrest Finch for stealing a motorcycle, which Stifler finds amusing. Exasperated by Stifler’s immaturity, the guys blast him, and finally admit that they did not want him to ruin things like he always does. Distraught, Stifler ends the party.Mia leaves Oz, Stifler decides to skip the reunion, and Michelle goes to her grandmother’s. At the reunion, Finch admits that he is an assistant manager at Staples and stole the motorcycle from his boss when he did not receive a raise that was promised. The boys apologize to Stifler at his place of work, and insist that he is their friend saying “he is their asshole”; without him, high school would not have been any fun. Stifler is uplifted by this and quits his job – but not before standing up to his patronizing boss – and attends the reunion. Kevin reconciles with Vicky. Finch makes amends with Selena for lying, and they have sex in the bathroom – but not before a premonition of something vague but bad happening, which is that Stifler is having sex with his mother, as revenge on him for having sex with Stifler’s mother. Oz reunites with Heather (a result of Stifler beating up Ron), and Jim reconciles with Michelle. Jessica (Natasha Lyonne) reveals that she is a lesbian, and with Stifler’s help, Sherman (Chris Owen) hooks up with Loni. Stifler is asked to be a party planner for a wedding for his former lacrosse teammates.He also meets Finch’s mother Rachel (Rebecca De Mornay) who intrigues Stifler by telling him she wishes her son were more into sports. After Rachel makes a brazen sexual pass at Stifler using lacrosse equipment-related innuendos, Rachel and Stifler proceed to have sex on the lacrosse field, while Rachel loudly and passionately agrees with Stifler’s proclamations about his manliness. John is reunited with his estranged buddy, Justin (Justin Isfeld) (MILF Guy #1) and they watch Stifler having sex with Finch’s mom while chanting “MILF! MILF! MILF!”. The next morning, Jim and Kara share a tender moment while apologizing to each other for their behavior. Oz plans to stay in town with Heather, Finch plans a trip with Selena to Europe, and Stifler drops subtle hints about sleeping with Finch’s mom. Kevin proposes a pact for them to reunite once a year. They all agree and make a toast as the franchise’s theme song (“Laid”) plays. As the credits roll, Stifler says, “I fucked Finch’s mom!” in a half-whisper, leaving Finch disgusted. In a mid-credits scene, Noah Levenstein receives sexual gratification from Stifler’s Mom at a movie theatre.There a couple new characters but none of them are annoying or take up too much of the story, all those parts are well cast. Jim’s Dad and Stifler’s Mom are hilarious on screen together. Jim’s Dad is the funniest he has ever been- but again- not in an over the top way. All in all, it’s a well-written, well-rounded film with some good plot twists. Tons of references too the old films. Literally, all of the obscure characters from the first two make an appearance at some point.

 

REVIEW: STARSHIP TROOPERS

 

CAST

Casper Van Dien (Mortal Kombat: Legacy)
Dina Meyer (Birds of Prey)
Denise Richards (Valentine)
Jake Busey (Fast Sofa)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Patrick Muldoon (Stigmata)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Seth Gilliam (Oz)
Marshall Bell (A Nightmare On Elm Street 2)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Anthony Ruivivar (Scream: The Series)

In the 23rd century, Earth has become a space-faring federation. While colonizing new planets, humans have encountered an insectoid species known as Arachnids or “Bugs”, with their home being the distant world Klendathu. The bugs appear to be little more than killing machines, though there are suggestions that they were provoked by the intrusion of humans into their habitats. In the federation, citizenship is a privilege earned by serving through such activities as military service; citizens are granted opportunities prohibited to others. John “Johnny” Rico, his girlfriend Carmen Ibanez and best friend Carl Jenkins attend high school in Buenos Aires. Fellow student Isabel “Dizzy” Flores is in love with Rico, but he does not reciprocate. They enlist in the Federal Service after graduation. Carmen becomes a spaceship pilot assigned to the Rodger Young, while psychically gifted Carl joins Military Intelligence. Rico enlists in the Mobile Infantry expecting to be with Carmen, but is surprised to find Dizzy, who wanted to be near him. At Mobile Infantry training, brutal Career Sgt. Zim leads the recruits. Rico is promoted to squad leader and befriends Ace Levy. He later receives a Dear John letter from Carmen, as she desires a career with the fleet and serves under Rico’s high school sports rival, Zander Barcalow. After a live-fire training incident that kills one of Rico’s squad, he is demoted and flogged. He resigns and calls his parents, but the call is cut off when an asteroid, launched by the Arachnids, obliterates Buenos Aires, killing his family and millions more. Rico rescinds his resignation and remains with the Infantry as an invasion force is deployed to Klendathu.The first strike on Klendathu is a disaster, with heavy casualties. Rico is wounded and mistakenly classified KIA, causing Carmen to believe he is dead. Rico, Ace and Dizzy are reassigned to the ‘Roughnecks’, commanded by Lt. Jean Rasczak, Rico’s former high school teacher. Rico is promoted to corporal and eventually reciprocates Dizzy’s love for him. The Roughnecks respond to a distress call from Planet “P”, where they discover an outpost that has been devastated by Bugs. The distress call ends up being a trap and the Arachnids swarm the outpost. Rico, now Acting Sergeant, euthanizes a mortally wounded Rasczak after a Tanker Bug bites his legs off, and after a Bug stabs Dizzy in the torso, she dies in Rico’s arms as they are rescued by Carmen and Zander. Rico and Carmen reconnect and encounter Carl, now a high-ranking intelligence officer, at Dizzy’s funeral. Carl reveals that there is a reason to believe an intelligent “brain bug” is directing the other Bugs and can learn about the humans. He field-promotes Rico to lieutenant and gives him command of the Roughnecks, ordering the infantry to return to “P” and capture the brain bug.As Rico’s Roughnecks join the mission, the Fleet encounters fire from the Bugs and Carmen’s ship is destroyed. The escape pod carrying Carmen and Zander crashes into the Bug tunnel system near Rico. Unknowingly guided by a psychic suggestion from Carl, Rico takes soldiers Ace and Sugar Watkins into the tunnels to rescue both. They find Carmen and Zander surrounded by several types of Arachnids including the Brain Bug, which places its proboscis into Zander’s skull and drains its contents. Before it can take Carmen’s brain she cuts off the proboscis with a knife Zander gave her. Rico threatens the Bugs with a small nuclear bomb, so the Brain Bug allows them to leave. Arachnids pursue them and Watkins is mortally wounded, and sacrifices himself by detonating the bomb to kill them while the others escape. After returning to the surface, they find that former Sgt. Zim, who had requested demotion to private so that he could serve at the front, has captured the Brain Bug. Carl congratulates Rico and tells him and Carmen that the humans will soon be victorious, now that Intelligence can study the brain bug, which is found to be afraid. A propaganda clip is shown starring Carmen (now a captain commanding a battleship), Ace and Rico as model servicemen, encouraging the viewer to enlist.If you want to see pretty people shooting up aliens, this film will not disappoint, but there is so much more besides. Its very slightly dated now, but still worth the watch.

REVIEW: CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEETBALLS 2

CAST

Anna Faris (Mom)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
James Caan (Elf)
Will Forte (Macgruber)
Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Benjamin Bratt (Doctor Strange)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Terry Crews (Scary Movie 5)
Kristen Schaal (Bobs Burgers)
Al Roker (Sharknado 4)
Walter Jones (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Kelly Stables (The Exes)

After Flint Lockwood and his friends save the world from the food storm in the first film, super-inventor Chester V, the CEO of Live Corp and Flint’s childhood idol, is tasked to clean the island. He relocates Flint, his friends, and the citizens of Swallow Falls to San Franjose, California. Unbeknownst to Flint, the FLDSMDFR survived the explosion and landed in the center of the island, and Chester is determined to find it. Chester invites Flint to work at Live Corp, where he meets Chester’s assistant Barb, a talking orangutan with human intelligence. Six months later, Flint humiliates himself during a promotion ceremony when his invention, the “Celebrationator”, explodes. Meanwhile, Chester is informed that his search-parties on the island have been attacked by monstrous cheeseburgers named cheespiders (a combination of a cheeseburger and a spider) which are trying to learn how to swim. Seemingly fearing the world’s inevitable doom, Chester tasks Flint to find the FLDSMDFR and destroy it once and for all. Despite Chester’s demands to keep the mission classified, Flint recruits his girlfriend, meteorologist Sam Sparks; her cameraman Manny; police officer Earl Devereaux; Steve, a monkey who communicates via a device on his chest; and “Chicken” Brent. Much to Flint’s dismay, his father Tim joins the crew and they travel to Swallow Falls on his fishing boat.
Upon arriving back at Swallow Falls, they notice that a jungle-like environment made of food has overgrown the island. Tim stays behind while Flint and the others investigate, finding a vast habitat of living food animals called foodimals and meet a cute strawberry nicknamed Barry. Tim, searching for sardines at his abandoned tackle shop, encounters a family of humanoid pickles and bonds with them by fishing. Chester discovers that Flint allowed his friends to join him on the mission, so he travels to the island with Barb, chagrined and determined to separate them, and he arrives just in time to save them from a Cheespider. Flint then finds his old lab and invents a device to find the FLDSMDFR. After escaping a Tacodile (a mix between a taco and a crocodile) attack, Sam notices that the foodimal was protecting its family, and begins to suspect Chester is up to no good. Sam attempts to convince Flint to spare the foodimals, but Flint is intent on impressing Chester. Sam leaves in anger, and Flint’s other companions go with her. In the jungle, Manny confirms Sam’s suspicions when he reverses the Live Corp logo to reveal the “Live” as “Evil” spelled backwards. In addition, Sam proves that the foodimals mean no harm by taming a Cheespider. They also learn that the foodimals had known the truth about Live Corp before. Upon realizing Chester’s intentions, the group is then ambushed by Evil Corp employees.
Flint finds the FLDSMDFR, but notices a family of cute, friendly marshmallows and becomes hesitant to destroy the machine. Chester immediately seizes control of the FLDSMDFR and announces his plot to make his updated line of food bars out of the foodimals. A crushed Flint is knocked into the river but rescued by the marshmallows. Flint is taken to his father, and they and the foodimals all work together to allow Flint and Barry to infiltrate the Evil Corp building that is under construction on the island. Barry frees the trapped foodimals while an enraged Flint confronts Chester, who threatens to make food bars out of his friends. Chester makes numerous holograms of himself to overwhelm Flint, but Flint uses the Celebrationator to expose the real Chester, allowing Flint to rescue his friends. An army of foodimals led by Barry arrive and fight Chester’s employees. Chester tries to make off with the FLDSMDFR, but is thwarted by Barb, who has a change of heart and Chester gets eaten by a Cheespider. With the island safe from Chester V and Evil Corp destroyed, Flint returns the FLDSMDFR to its place and frees it from Chester’s control and the foodimals continue to live in peace as more are born. The film ends with Flint fishing with his father for the first time, finding it enjoyable. In the mid-credits scene, Barb was trying to ask Steve out and he was trying to eat a banana sandwich.
I recommend this movie for anyone wanting to have a great thrill ride. People loving animation, cgi, and food especially!!! This movie is a keeper!!! I can’t say enough good things about it. 🙂

REVIEW: CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEETBALLS

CAST

Anna Faris (Mom)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
James Caan (Elf)
Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Mt. T (The A-Team)
Bobbie J. Thompson (Role Models)
Benjamin Bratt (Doctor Strange)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Al Roker (Sharknado 4)
Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls)
Will Forte (Macgruber)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Lori Alan (Family Guy)
Ariel Winter (Modern Family)

Flint Lockwood is a wannabe-scientist who lives in Swallow Falls, a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that has sardines as the base of its economy. Flint lives with Tim, his widowed technophobic father who misunderstands his son’s talent, and his pet monkey, Steve. Despite Flint’s zealous enthusiasm, his inventions, including spray-on shoes, a remote controlled television, rat birds, hair-un-balder, and a flying car, all ended in failure. Flint states that his dream was to help his hometown and that Swallow Falls used to be famous for sardines until the popular Baby Brent Sardine cannery went out of business permanently.Flint then invents a machine that transforms water into food, called the “Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator” (FLDSMDFR). Flint turns on the FLDSMDFR in his laboratory, but ends up overloading the house’s electrical supply. He then decides to power the machine by hooking it up to a nearby power plant. When he turns the machine back on, it ends up rocketing through town, causing widespread damage, ultimately shooting up into the sky. While recovering from his failure, Flint meets Samantha “Sam” Sparks, a weather intern whose big break was foiled by Flint’s actions. Their conversation is cut short when rainbow colored clouds float over the town and begin to rain cheeseburgers.
The town rejoices in their renewed food choices, and Flint creates a communication device to send orders to the machine and order it to create different types of food. Swallow Falls (now renamed Chewandswallow) suddenly becomes a successful “food tourism” destination. Everything is going well until the townsfolk start greedily requesting food from Flint’s machine. Flint notices that the food is beginning to grow larger in size. Although he is concerned that the food is starting to “over mutate”, the now morbidly obese mayor sees it as profitable for him and the city, and guilts Flint into continuing to make food rain.
Citizens and worldly tourists in Chewandswallow are blissful until suddenly a large tornado formed of spaghetti and meatballs threatens the town. Flint rushes to his lab to turn the FLDSMDFR off and attempts to send a “kill code” to stop the machine, but the mayor, while trying to stop him by throwing a giant radish at him, accidentally destroys the communication device before he can do it. With Flint unable to control the machine, a massive food storm is created which threatens the world. When Flint’s father encourages him to fix the mess, Flint gains self-confidence, places the kill code in a USB flash drive, and builds a new flying car to reach and deactivate the FLDSMDFR, with the aid of Sam, her cameraman Manny, Steve and Brent (namesake of the Baby Brent Sardine cannery). As they approach the machine in the sky, they find that it is now at the core of a giant meatball, where clouds go in the top and a food hurricane goes out the bottom. The machine sends sentient food to attack them. In the chaos, the flash drive with the kill code is sucked by the wind out the window. Back at Chewandswallow, the citizens and tourists escape while the last leftovers fall. Mt. Leftovers collapses, causing an avalanche of food that destroys the town. Despite the avalanche ravaging Flint’s Lab, Tim manages to re-send the kill code to Flint’s cell phone from there. Flint then goes inside the meatball, finds the machine, and connects the phone to a port. To his dismay, Flint discovers that Tim sent him the wrong file, so he is unable to stop the FLDSMDFR. Flint then gets an idea and uses his Spray-On Shoes formula on the machine, causing it to explode. With the machine destroyed, the food storm subsides and everyone is able to return safely to Chewandswallow. Tim finally shows his appreciation for his son and his inventions before Flint and Sam celebrate with a kiss. Meanwhile, the obese mayor is seen stranded in the middle of the sea, having eaten nearly all of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich boat, while muttering that his plans were not well thought out.Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs took me by surprise, I went into it expecting an average computer generated movie incomparable with today’s best of the genre and came out astonished by the sheer creativity oozing from every aspect of the film.

REVIEW: A SERIES OF UNFORTANTE EVENTS – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
Malina Weissman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Louis Hynes (Barbarians Rising)
K. Todd Freeman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Presley Smith
Tara Strong (Batman: The KIlling Joke)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Joan Cusack (Addams Family Values)
Aasif Mandvi (The Siege)
Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone)
Don Johnson (Machete)
Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage)
John DeSantis (Blade: The Series)
Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries)
Rhys Darby (Yes Man)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Will Arnett (The Lego Batman Movie)

Published between 1999 and 2006, A Series Of Unfortunate Events told the story of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, three intelligent and resourceful children who are orphaned when their parents are killed in a mysterious fire that destroys their home. Over the course of the books they are met with misfortune after misfortune as the evil Count Olaf attempts to get his hands on the money their parents left behind, with the orphans always just barely managing to escape Olaf’s clutches. Eventually they start to realise that there is more to Olaf and the death of their parents than they realise, and their attempts to survive converge more and more with a huge conspiracy that drags them deeper into a web of very furtive danger.

The books are oblique, absurd, repetitive and relentlessly dark. The last attempt at adapting them wrangled three books into one film along with a simplified version of the convoluted mystery that characterised the back half of the book series, which it chose to more or less resolve, while ramping up the buffoonery of Olaf and toning down his more menacing moments. All of these were choices that made sense from a commercial perspective; yet the film was met with a shrug. So when it was announced that Netflix was taking on the series, it was hard not to wonder just how that might look and whether it would be more successful than the last version. Adapting this series presents a challenge; a faithful retelling of the books runs the risk of being kind of repetitive, not to mention very expensive considering each book takes place in a different bizarre setting with a mostly different cast of supporting characters. So how do they manage it?

As it turns out, very, very well. And very faithfully to boot. The television series devotes two episodes to each book, with the first season covering the first four. Essentially this means that each individual novel gets more time than the film allowed for three, meaning that not only can the series depict just about every scene from each book, but it can embellish and explore certain aspects while threading new, fascinating subplots throughout the more familiar material. Consequently, the series offers something fresh and interesting for those unfamiliar with Snicket while being full of surprises and easter eggs for those who spent their childhoods scouring the books for clues, hints or things we might have missed. This is an adaptation that does fan service right. If you know the books reasonably well, you will have ample reasons to squeal with delight or gasp at your television while never once feeling like somebody is pandering to you.

Part of this is probably due to the heavy involvement of Daniel Handler, who wrote the teleplays for the four episodes. The tweaks the television series makes to the novels play more like minor corrections, the new subplots like we’re seeing important deleted scenes rather than anything added inorganically to fill screen time and above all the series just feels extremely true to the spirit of its source material in a way that the movie never quite did. Part of this is the dialogue, part of this is the theatrical set design and part of this is the fact that the series is unafraid to get dark.The first book, The Bad Beginning, features many disturbing elements but two that stand out are Count Olaf’s insidious plan to marry fourteen year old Violet Baudelaire in order to get his hands on her fortune, and an earlier scene in which a drunk, angry Olaf strikes Klaus across the face for talking back to him. The film included both these plot points, but they were both buried in lots of Jim Carrey mugging. This created the uncomfortable feeling that some awful stuff was being played for laughs, or at least that the impact of it was being softened to avoid upsetting anyone too much. The series does not shy away from either of these moments. The marriage plot is exactly as disturbing as it should be, while the attack on Klaus is followed by a loaded silence that lets you feel just how dreadful the circumstances of the Baudelaires and the man behind them is. When the humour does come it’s a welcome relief rather than an attempt to bury disturbing content beneath silly voices and kooky lines.Neil Patrick Harris walks a very particular tightrope in his portrayal of Olaf. The villain of the series is a terrible actor who uses a variety of ridiculous disguises and bizarre plots in his attempts to capture the orphans, but when all is said and done this man is still a dangerous murderer and serial arsonist. Predictably Harris is very funny, but it’s that crucial undercurrent of darkness that sells the character in a way that Jim Carrey didn’t quite manage and means that, no matter how much you’re laughing at him, you never forget the danger that he poses.

Elsewhere, the acting is just as strong. Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes are both excellent as Violent and Klaus respectively, while K. Todd Freeman threatens to steal the show as inept banker Mr Poe. Aasif Mandvi makes for a warm and endearingly quirky Uncle Monty while Patrick Warburton very quickly becomes the only Lemony Snicket you’ll be able to imagine. Where Jude Law in the film depicted the narrator as a softly spoken reclusive writer, Warburton is more of a droll noir detective, walking in and out of scenes to comment on proceedings with wry humour and occasional flashes of melancholy and gravitas. In short, he is a pitch perfect, if unexpected, take on arguably the most important character in the series.

One of the most distinctive things about the books was how it handled its tone; veering quickly from oddball humour to reflective sadness. The television series handles this with deft expertise; just watch how Snicket reacts in pained silence to the Baudelaires learning about their parents’ death even as Mr Poe fumbles breaking the news. The series is not quite as funny as the trailers may have led you to believe, but this isn’t a bad thing. It only means that humour never disguises just how dire the circumstances of the orphans are. We feel for Violet, Klaus and Sunny and we hate Count Olaf even as we chuckle at his one liners and over the top behaviour. It’s a balancing act that could so easily fall apart but never does due to the simple fact that everyone involved in this series knows exactly what they’re doing.The series feels fresh, new and different to just about anything that has ever been on television before. Netflix took a risk on this and evidently let the creators do exactly what they wanted in bringing the novels to life. At its heart, A Series of Unfortunate Events is about the fact that life rarely goes the way we want it to and trouble and treachery can strike at the worst possible times. And while they may not offer a permanent solution, intelligence, curiosity, decency and literacy are lights in the darkness, tiny glimmers of hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. The plight of the Baudelaire orphans, ultimately, is not a case of relentless misery being played for our entertainment, but a story of hope and resilience built around the honest truth that life isn’t fair. Perhaps the greatest trick of the book series, and now the TV show, is disguising a message of hope in a story of seemingly endless gloom. In that regard, this brave, funny, exciting, imaginative new show is as big of a success as anyone could have hoped for. It’s an absolute treat.