25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: NEW GIRL- THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES – PART 1

 Image result for NEW GIRL LOGO
MAIN CAST
Zooey Deschanel (Your Highness)
Jake Johnson (Jurassic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (BLack Rapunzel)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)
Damon Wayans Jr. (Happy Endings)

THE 23rd

GUEST CAST
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Michaela Watkins (Wanderlust)
Winston rolls around the apartment on the rollerskates Jess got him. Schmidt hates Christmas because everybody goes home. They’re all planning on going to his office party tonight. He dresses up like Santa and gets dirty on all his coworkers when they tell him what they want and he uses that information to undermine and manipulate them the rest of the year, in the true spirit of Christmas. Schmidt gets up and we see he’s in skates, too. He tries to tackle Winston at a slow roll. Nick, also in skates, tries to intervene, but they end up in a pile. Jess comes in, needing their help on getting a present for Paul. After only a month, she’s not sure what’s appropriate. She shows Nick the card she made for “Nerdy weird sex that works for both of us”.
On the way from the mall, Jess drives them through a neighborhood decked out with Christmas decorations. She wants to come back at night on the way from the office party to the airport, but Nick is resolved not to miss his flight for the fifth year in a row. CeCe is at work on a set in a bra and panties. Schmidt drops by with a gift. It’s a shoot for a before and after for a Bolivian diet pill. They’re interrupted by Kyle, who frenches CeCe hello. Schmidt explains he designed the perfume for her. It gets awkward. Paul and Jess exchange gifts. He got her tickets to Vienna and passes to a show. She got him an anatomically correct fuzzy heart of a 50 year old non-smoker. It beats. She wants to get him something better, but he tells her it’s fuzzy and quirky and sweet, just like her. He says he loves it several times, then hugs her and says he loves her. She pauses, then goes with “Thank you.” The gang arrives for Schmidt’s office party. They find him wearing only red boxers and dressed as “sexy Santa.”
Jess tells Nick what Paul says and he advises her to tell Paul if she doesn’t feel the same way. She tells him she’ll do it. Instead, Jess hides in the bathroom. Nick sees Paul standing alone outside and goes to talk to him. He asks if Jess talked to him and Paul says yes, so Nick reassures him that just because Jess doesn’t love him now doesn’t mean she won’t one day. Paul says she told him they might have to leave for the airport early. Nick tries to pretend he’s drunk, or joking or anything to rescue the situation, but it’s too late. Jess and CeCe hide in the bathroom. Kyle wants to go to another party. Jess thinks he’s the “living worst” and asks if he even got her anything. He didn’t. CeCe tries her Schmidt perfume, but inhales and hacks ferociously. Winston complains to someone about the rigors of having a job and office life. We see it’s a kid. Schmidt’s boss Gina comes over, it’s her son. She’s impressed he’s talking to Winston since he doesn’t usually talk to people.Schmidt sees Kyle mock CeCe for wearing the mustache Jess gave her. CeCe hears Schmidts mean coworker harassing him and tries to tell him to stand up for himself. He notices the bad smell and she tells him it’s his perfume, but he’s just glad she wore it.
Outside on the awkward balcony, Paul begs Nick to tell him what Jess says. Nick tells him that Jess said the sex was incredible but she doesn’t want to rush into anything. Jess sees them hugging and goes outside. Paul tries to cover for what they were talking about but only comes up with they both like jazz music. Nick confesses he told Paul she doesn’t love him. Jess starts yelling at him and Nick tries to leave, only to find he’s locked out on the balcony with them. Jess tries to talk to Paul gently, saying she feels overwhelmed. She says she got really badly hurt and is trying to not get hurt again. Nick’s cell phone rings and he answers, explaining that he can’t talk because he’s in a weird situation. Jess asks if they can keep going, just slow things down. Paul says he’s not sure he can. Nick pipes up, but Jess shushes him. Schmidt finds Kim in the supply room with a bunch of women and tells Kim he’s done being Santa. “Santa’s dead, I killed him!” Schmidt says. Gina’s son hears and runs screaming. Schmidt tells him she needs to start taking him seriously, so no more Sexy Easter Bunny, Cinco de Sexy or Sexy Martin Luther King Day. Kim says she can’t believe it took him five years to say so. Winston fields a call from Nick’s mom and assures her he’ll make his flight. Gina comes over, panicked that she can’t find her son. Winston helps look, sure somehow it’s Schmidt’s fault.
Back outside in awkwardtown, Paul tells Jess he can’t slow down and if she needs to then he can’t do this anymore. Jess says OK. Nick, the peanut gallery, tells Paul to consider the fact it’s Christmas. Winston interrupts looking for the kid, freeing Nick from his awkward prison by opening the patio door. Winston wanders out front and finds Alvin in an igloo. He assures him Santa isn’t dead. Alvin asks if Schmidt was just being a “d-bag”, because that’s what his mom said. Winston assures him he’ll get extra presents this year. Alvin thanks Winston, but calls him “LeBron.” Gina finds them and gives Winston her card. She says if he ever wants to hang out with Alvin again she’ll pay him a lot of money, like whatever he’s thinking, plus a lot more. The guys, Jess and CeCe drive to the airport. Nick, the driver, sees that Jess is bumming out and makes a detour. They pull into Candycane Lane, but it’s late and the lights are all off. Jess laments her bad timing. Nick goes to knock on the people’s door, shouting that there’s a girl who really wants to see the lights. Everyone joins in, shouting at all the houses to turn on the lights. One by one they all come on, in an explosion of wonderful tacky lights. Back in the car, Nick gets a call from his mom and tells her he’s going to miss his flight. He hands the call off to Winston as the lights go off.
 A really fun first Christmas for the New Girl team, The light up scene at the end was beautiful.

SANTA

David Walton (Fired Up!)
Olivia Munn (Iron Man 2)
2611881
The episode begins with Jess, Nick, Schmidt and Winston having some good old Christmas themed loft chats. The gang realise that evening is their last chance to have a ‘holiday hang’ before they go their separate ways before Christmas. They talk about the many parties taking place and agree to try hit them all. At the first party they attend Schmidt and Cece feel awkward and uncomfortable around each other and are not shy of admitting it. Jess freaks out when she sees Sam, who sees her at the last minute. Nicks new girlfriend Angie suggests they have sex, Nick pretends to be okay with doing it at a public place and to be as sexually adventerous as her.
Sam follows Jess to the nex party and tells her he wants her back. She says no. Nick admits to Angie that he is not like her and misuses the word stripper. She leaves the party in anger. Cece gives Schmidt a gift and is hurt when he passes it on to another woman, without even looking at it. At the third party Jess thinks about rejecting Sam. Nick tells her he believes in second chances. Angie turns up Nick apologizes and they are back together. Cece tells Schmidt what the gif was and that she gave it to him as a thank you for him loving her. Jess keeps changing lanes when driving home as she is choosing whether or not to go see Sam. The car is pulled over by a big hearted Santa looking cop, who lets the Jess go free and who the gang dub ‘black Santa’. Jess goes to the hospital to see Sam. They kiss. Schmidt tells Cece he never really gave away the gift. Nick and Angie are missing, everyone assumes they are off having sex.
Another great Xmas episode the two main relationships were the focus of the story and made it a heartwarming ending at the hospital.

CLAVADO EN UN BAR

GUEST CAST
Curtis Armstrong (Southland Tales)
Brian Posehn (The Devil’s Rejects)
In an interesting move, New Girl’s – season 3 midseason return kicked off with a bottle episode at Clyde’s Bar — hence the episode’s title “Clavado En Un Bar,” which is not only a single by Mexican rock band Maná, but literally translates into “Stuck In A Bar.” However, this installment was mainly driven by flashbacks — told in near-realtime, at that — as Jess came to the guys for advice on a big career decision that needed to be made in exactly 20 minutes — well, 19 minutes, according to Coach and his faithful stopwatch. (“I don’t watch movies. I time them.”) Of course, the majority of this episode was a round robin of origin stories, with each guy recalling their own critical life decisions and how they ended up where they are today. For Winston, this meant recounting his days as a Latvian basketball player. While these flashbacks weren’t all that amusing, the payoff came at the end of his story, when Winston made the realization that he, in fact, had never actually made a decision in his life. I particularly laughed at Coach’s matter-of-fact observation, “You decided nothing. That story contained zero decisions.” Schmidt’s story was perhaps the most bizarre, as we learned about his whirlwind transformation from hospital candy-striper to Christmas tree salesman to marketer. This account took a few too many oddball turns to really be considered funny — more just weird for weird’s sake. This string of flashbacks was made all the more strange by a totally random cue of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise,” and not it in a clever, anachronistic way. Coach’s flashback, meanwhile, was a bit more entertaining, if only because we learned that his birth name is Ernie.
New Girl’s 3rd run midseason return (which in actuality was probably supposed to be the midseason finale, judging by the Christmas tree subplot and bar decorations) was a strong entry in so far as shaking up the characters’ career paths.

LAXMAS

GUEST CAST
Julian Morris (Cry Wolf)
Billy Eichner (What Happens in Vegas)
LAXmas

LAXmas tries to let all of the show’s characters head off in different directions but finds a way to keep them together for just a little bit longer when all of their flights get delayed. Jess, who has agreed to spend Christmas in London with Ryan and his family, takes the delay as an omen of what’s to come; maybe she’ll be a giant disappointment to Ryan’s parents, even with all of the presents that she’s bought for them (which are stolen by “Reverse Santa” . And Jess isn’t alone in her hesitation to travel for the holidays. Schmidt is reluctantly heading back home to Long Island, a place he’s happy to have escaped from, while Coach can’t get over the guilt of leaving his family behind to go on a Christmas vacation all by himself. Nick and Winston, on the other hand, have an entire plan for their return to Chicago, which involves lots of beer and women. Ultimately, New Girl uses this time at the airport to re-solidify connections between the group before they leave for the holidays. Not only do we have Jess doing everything she can to convince Billy Eichner’s airline worker to book the soonest flights available for her friends (before ultimately bonding with him and scoring Nick and Winston some sweet first class seats), but we also have Schmidt and Cece’s moments in the high-class, gold members’ club before they ditch a jerky Barry Bostwick (with Schmidt embracing his Long Island identity: “New York. Long Island. Billy Joel. Nassau County. Billy Joel. Again. Goodnight Saigon”) and share sodas in the food court.d6a81936c1eef9c128aa11a48d80041a546a9c52It’s there, in the food court, that we get the first of two standout moments from the episode, when Cece tells Schmidt that “I really like being your friend,” a sentiment that he repeats back to her even though there’s clearly romantic tension between them. Between that exchange and Schmidt’s immediate refusal to even contemplate Bostwick’s character’s proposal , New Girl appears to be on the path of reuniting this dysfunctional couple. The other standout sequence from tonight’s New Girl may have been slightly more predictable, but it still landed for me, as Nick’s reassuring of Jess, telling her to go to England, proves yet again that this series will always come down to these two characters. Sure, the rest of the roommates and Cece join Nick outside the airport in order to fully convince Jess to fly to London and be with Ryan, but it’s Nick Miller who throws away first class and risks getting kicked off the plane entirely in order to stay on the phone with Jessica Day for just a couple minutes more. It’s a heartwarming moment that could be called cheesy if not for the steadily built connection between Nick and Jess.

LAXmas is a Christmas episode that directly references and even insults holiday favorites like Love Actually.  However, the episode’s at its best when it embraces these conventions and puts New Girl’s signature stamp on them, serving as a reminder to fans that this is a show that’s meant to make you laugh but also make you feel. New Girl’s specialty is blending wacky humor with real, genuine emotion, and it pretty much perfects that recipe in “LAXmas”

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE PREDATOR

 

Starring

Boyd Holbrook (Logan)
Trevante Rhodes (12 Strong)
Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Jacob Tremblay (Wonder)
Sterling K. Brown (Black Panther)
Keegan-Michael Key (Let’s Be Cops)
Thomas Jane (The Punisher)
Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones)
Augusto Aguilera (8)
Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck)
Jake Busey (Starship Troopers)
RJ Fetherstonhaugh (21 Thunder)
Peter Shinkoda (Daredevil)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Niall Matter (Watchmen)
Françoise Yip (Aliens vs Predator: Requiem)
Lochlyn Munro (Freddy vs Jason)
Garry Chalk (Dark Angel)

The Predator (2018)A Predator ship crash-lands on Earth. Army Ranger sniper Quinn McKenna and his team are attacked by the Predator on a hostage retrieval mission. McKenna incapacitates the Predator and has parts of its armor mailed off to prove the existence of extraterrestrial life. At the behest of government agent Will Traeger, he is captured and held for examination. Traeger also takes the Predator to a lab for experimentation and observation, recruiting evolutionary biologist Casey Bracket to study it. The Predator awakes, breaks out of its bonds, kills lab workers, but spares Bracket before leaving.The Predator (2018)McKenna is bussed off with a group of other government captives, including former Marines Gaylord “Nebraska” Williams, Coyle, Baxley, Lynch, and Army helicopter pilot Nettles. Seeing the Predator escape from the lab firsthand, they take over the bus. Taking Bracket with them, they head over to McKenna’s estranged wife, Emily, where he expects to find the Predator armor he mailed off. However, McKenna’s autistic son Rory has gone trick-or-treating while wearing this armor in hopes of avoiding detection from bullies. McKenna and the others find his son just in time to stop a pair of Predator Dogs from ambushing the boy. The Predator chases them into a nearby school. They start to give the Predator’s armor back when another, larger Predator arrives and kills the first. They flee, and the second Predator sets out to retrieve the lost technology.Olivia Munn and Jacob Tremblay in The Predator (2018)Bracket concludes that the Predators are attempting to improve themselves with the DNA of humans and, presumably, other planets’ inhabitants. The team flees to an abandoned barn, but Traeger finds them, captures them, and shares his theory that the Predators anticipate that climate change will end their ability to retrieve human DNA for further hybridization, so they are scrambling to retrieve it before it is too late. Seeing Rory drawing a map to the spaceship, Traeger takes the boy away to go to the ship. The team escapes and goes after him with the help of a brain-damaged Predator Dog.The Predator (2018)When all are at the crashed Predator ship, the second Predator arrives, kills Lynch, and explains through translation software that it will blow up the ship to keep it out of their hands and then give them all a head start before it hunts them down. The Predator quickly kills Coyle, Baxley, and several of Traeger’s soldiers. Traeger tries to use a Predator weapon on the alien but accidentally kills himself in the process.The Predator (2018)The Predator takes Rory because his autism reflects advancement in human evolution and is therefore worthwhile in the Predator hybridization, and flies away in his ship. McKenna, Nebraska, and Nettles land on the ship’s exterior, but the Predator activates a force field. This slices Nettles’ legs off, and he falls off of the ship to his death. Nebraska sacrifices himself and slides into the ship’s turbine, causing it to crash. McKenna sneaks into the ship as it crashes and attacks the Predator. After the crash, Bracket arrives, and the three manage to overpower and finish the Predator with its own weapons. They pay their respects to their fallen comrades with trinkets representing each one before heading off. After these events, McKenna and Rory are seen in a science lab watching the opening of cargo found on the Predator’s ship. A piece of technology floats out and attaches itself to a lab worker, working as a transformative “Predator killer” suit before deactivating.The Predator (2018)The Predator is definitely your typical Shane Black movie filled with typical Shane Black writing. However it is definitely not your typical Predator movie. Whether that’s good or bad, it’s entirely up to you.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: DELIVER US FROM EVIL

CAST

Eric Bana (Hulk)
Edgar Ramirez (Joy)
Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Sean Harris (Serena)
Joel McHale (Ted)
Chris Coy (The Walking Dead)
Lulu Wilson (The MIllers)
Dorian Missick (The Cape)

The film opens in a 2010 firefight in a palm grove in the Diyala Province of Iraq. Three Marines discover an underground cavern and start to scream as their helmet video feed goes black. In The Bronx in 2013, veteran NYPD officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) stands over the corpse of an infant in a darkened alley. He and his partner Butler (Joel McHale) resume their nocturnal patrol for the 46th Precinct. A domestic disturbance call comes in over the radio. Sarchie probes the dispatcher for more information and finds out that the male at the address is a former Marine. He tells Butler that his “radar” is going off because maybe the former Marine still thinks he is fighting in the war.At the site of the complaint, Sarchie and Butler encounter the shirtless and heavily tattooed former Marine Jimmy Tratner (Chris Coy), who insists his wife is okay. When his wife lifts her head, the officers see that she has been badly beaten. They notice deep scratch marks on the floor and are wary of a dog as they make the arrest. Jimmy resists them ferociously, eventually drawing a knife on Butler and fleeing the house on foot. Sarchie catches up to Jimmy and makes the arrest; although, not without suffering a sizable wound to his forearm that will require stitches. The officers notice that Jimmy’s fingernails are cracked and bleeding, and they assume that he is mentally ill or high on drugs.Sarchie and Butler are called to the Bronx Zoo after a woman has thrown her toddler into the moat surrounding the lion enclosure. They find the woman in a lemur pen. She is furiously scraping at the ground, and after they apprehend her, she rapidly recites the lyrics to “Break On Through (To the Other Side)”. Sarchie notices a painter inside the lion enclosure. He enters the pen to interrogate the mysterious man, but he is attacked by the lions and barely escapes. When the deranged woman, Jane Crenna, is transferred from the precinct to a mental health facility, a Jesuit priest named Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez) arrives at the family’s request. He asks the officers several pointed questions about Jane’s behavior at the zoo. When another domestic disturbance call comes in, Sarchie notices the complaint makes reference to doors and decides that he and Butler will respond. At the house, the family of three have been staying in the living room after a series of strange disturbances. There is one area of the house where light bulbs instantly burn out and candles will not remain lit.The family explain that there were two painters working the basement, where most of the disturbances occurred. In the basement, Sarchie discovers the badly decomposing body of one of the painters, David Griggs. At Griggs’ apartment, which is overrun by cockroaches and refuse, they find business cards for Alphonsus Painting company as well as a picture of Griggs with Jane Crenna and the child that she threw at the zoo. In another picture, Griggs is pictured in his Marine uniform with Jimmy Tratner and a third Marine named Santino (Sean Harris). They realize Santino must have been the painter at the zoo. Mendoza visits Sarchie at the precinct and asks to view the surveillance tapes of Jane at the zoo. He believes that Jane is possessed by demons, and he explains that there is secondary evil created by humans and primary evil which comes from demons. Sarchie is skeptical, but when he reviews the surveillance footage with Butler, he hears strange noises and sees things that Butler does not. Sarchie returns to Jimmy Tratner’s house and finds a wall that was being painted in Jimmy’s home office. He scrapes away the paint to find a pictograph of an owl. At Sarchie’s home, his daughter lies in bed as a stuffed owl stares ominously at her from a shelf in her bedroom. She is awakened by strange noises and frightened.Back at Tratner’s home, Sarchie has scraped off the paint from the rest of the wall to find a bizarre mix of Latin and ancient pictographs. Sarchie finds some hard drives with footage from Tratner’s deployments and watches the full footage from the palm grove in Diyala. In the cave, the soldiers found a carving of the same message that is on the wall in Tratner’s home. Sarchie revisits the basement where he found Griggs’ body, scrapes off the paint from a wall, and finds the message again. He reviews the zoo surveillance footage and sees the same message was being painted over by Santino in the lion enclosure. With Mendoza, he visits Jane Crenna in the mental hospital and shows her the message from the cave. She savagely bites Sarchie’s already wounded forearm. Mendoza decodes the message as a kind of bridge between Christian and pagan theology which would theoretically allow demons a door to the human world. He explains that certain people are more susceptible to such messages than others. He suggests that the voices and images Sarchie is seeing could be a result of his intuitive “radar”, which means that he is also susceptible to the archaic message. Mendoza and Sarchie gradually share more of their personal histories with each other. Mendoza goes with Sarchie and Butler to an apartment building where they are attacked by Santino and Jimmy Tratner. Tratner is subdued by Mendoza’s cross. Santino overwhelms and eventually kills Butler.At Sarchie’s home, his daughter is once again awoken during the night. Her stuffed owl rolls off the shelf and advances towards her bed. As she runs screaming from the room, she sees Santino in the hallway. Sarchie arrives home to find Santino in his living room. Santino warns that he has abducted Sarchie’s wife and daughter. Santino is brought to the precinct where Mendoza and Sarchie perform an exorcism on him. Sarchie’s wife and daughter are located in an Alphonsus Painting van at a storage facility. The film ends with the baptism of the Sarchies’ second child.If you enjoy horror flicks like I do, and the supernatural and demon stuff, defiantly check this out. Not much gore, just very dark and creepy with it’s share of make you jump moments.

 

REVIEW: IRON MAN 2

 

CAST

Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Contagion)
Don Cheadle (Traffic)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Sam Rockwell (Galaxy Quest)
Mickey Rourke (Sin City)
Samuel L. Jackson (Jackie Brown)
Clark Gregg (When A Stranger Calls)
John Slattery (Mad Men)
Garry Shandling (Over The Hedge)
Paul Bettany (Legion)
Kate Mara (Fantastic Four)
Leslie Bibb (The Skulls)
Jon Favreau (Swingers)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)_
Olivia Munn (Zoolander 2)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Helena Mattsson (Guns, Girls and Gambling)

Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2 (2010)After the initial trepidation followed by the overwhelming box office success of the first Iron Man film, a second was a foregone conclusion. However as part of a larger trilogy, not to mention a subsequent Avengers film, the challenge of advancing some of those storylines along with giving people what they liked in the first one would be difficult, to say the least.Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 2 (2010)Jon Favreau returns to direct the second film, based on Justin Theroux’s (Tropic Thunder) screenplay. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr., Sherlock Holmes) and his businesses continue to thrive, in part because as Iron Man, he’s promoted the longest stretch of global peace in quite some time. There is a small cottage industry that tries to capitalize on Stark’s success, with the main one being Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell). Hammer tries to mimic Stark’s technology and gain an advantage over it, but the results seem to wind up being disastrous. It’s as if he’s the Wile E. Coyote of defense contractors who want to make their own Iron Men. However the biggest threat to Stark’s Iron Man may be Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler), a Russian whose father worked with Stark’s, and may be as familiar with the technology of Iron Man as Tony is.Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man 2 (2010)Not knowing of Vanko, Tony continues to live the good life. He continues to get along well with his assistant Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow, Se7en), despite the addition of the younger and equally attractive Natalie (Scarlett Johansson, He’s Just Not That Into You) into the fold. Despite these women sparring for Tony’s affections, he has bigger things to be concerned about. The arc reactor device in Tony’s chest is slowly turning his blood toxic and in effect, killing him. He doesn’t tell the women, or his best friend Lt. Col. Rhoades (Don Cheadle, replacing Terrence Howard from the first film). And when Vanko confronts Tony, in Monaco of all places, it leaves Tony with a sense of doubt and a lack of purpose that might have long-lasting ramifications.Iron Man 2 (2010)With Favreau juggling the different storytelling balls, including an increased role from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction), he gives the audience new and different ways to enjoy the action and fighting sequences. And I have to admit, they’re exciting and damned fun to watch, starting from the opening sequence when Tony jumps out of a military plane into his “Stark Expo” highlighting his company’s ware. He twists and turns through the night sky, avoiding fireworks and other air obstacles to make his grand entrance. The confrontation with Vanko is also entertaining and keeps you on the edge of your seat.Don Cheadle and Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 2 (2010)It’s ambitious in what it wants to accomplish, and it succeeds on many levels.

 

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 2

Starring

Zooey Deschanel (Bridge to Terabithia)
Jake Johnson (Jurrasic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (Game Night)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)

Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Parker Posey (Superman Returns)
Rachael Harris (Lucifer)
Nelson Franklin (Captain Marvel)
David Walton (Bad Moms)
Raymond J. Barry (Falling Down)
Josh Gad (Murder on The Orient Express)
Kali Hawk (Bridesmaids)
Rebecca Reid (I Live With Models)
Carla Gugino (Watchmen)
Molly Cheek (American Pie)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)
Rob Reiner (This Is Spinal Tap)
Lauren Dair Owens (Astrid Clover)
June Diane Raphael (Year One)
Jeff Kober (Buffy: TVS)
Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Dennis Farina (Get Shorty)
Nate Corddry (Mom)
Brenda Song (Dads)
Brooklyn Decker (Battleship)
Satya Bhabha (Sense8)
Michael Vlamis (Roswell, New Mexico)
Odette Annable (Supergirl)
Margo Martindale (Sneaky Pete)
Ellen Albertini Dow (Wedding Crashers)
Nick Kroll (Sing)
Dermot Mulroney (Young Guns)
Ron Funches (Powerless)
Merritt Wever (Signs)
Johnny Pemberton (Son of Zorn)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Mary Lynn Rajskub (2 Broke Girls)
Taylor Swift (The Giver)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Ariela Barer (Runaways)

Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)The first season of New Girl established the will-they-won’t-they pairing of Nick and Jess and the they-did-will-it-last coupling of Schmidt and CeCe, so the second season is all about raising the stakes for them. For Nick and Jess this takes the form of bad relationships keeping their minds off messing with the loft dynamic by dating a roommate. Though each has some legitimate opportunities for happiness, be it Jess’ commitment-phobic Dr. Sam or Nick’s sexually adventurous stripper girlfriend (played by Olivia Munn.) However knowing that there remains a chance they could end up together leads to frequent self-sabotage.Zooey Deschanel and David Walton in New Girl (2011)As much as Deschannel is the star of the show, Johnson has quietly become just as integral, as Nick grows and discovers himself, with the help of his future self and a water-massaging elderly Asian gentleman (the show can get weird sometimes.)For Schmidt and CeCe, reality is far less promising, as CeCe begins to sense her biological clock is ticking, and finds herself on a course for an arranged marriage to a pleasant man who just isn’t Schmidt. Meanwhile, the one true Schmidt seeks to alleviate the impending loss of his caramel queen by running back to his one true love, Elizabeth, a girl he dated in college, when he was hundreds of pounds heavier. It sets up a troubling love triangle, as the real Schmidt is just right for Elizabeth, but the Schmidt he wants to be is a perfect match for CeCe.Zooey Deschanel, Maria Thayer, and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)While there’s a grimy aspect to Schmidt keeping two women secret from each other, on the other hand, Greenfield makes it work by showing Schmidt cares about both women and is, oddly, doing it to not hurt either of them, rather than out of some sort of romantic greed. It’s an unusual situation, and one the show handles well.The focus on Schmidt and CeCe this season unleashes the show’s secret weapon, as Simone proves to be one of the most consistently funny performers in the series, popping in a look or a delivery that’s just perfect for the situation. Many of the show’s best moments this season grow out of CeCe’s on and off again connection with Schmidt, with the season’s home-stretch existing only thanks to the culture clash that grows from her arranged marriage, Part of what makes her so entertaining is how her exotic beauty gets betrayed to hilarious effect by her ability to be wonderfully silly. (The other benefit of having CeCe around is the presence of her Russian modeling pal Nadia (Rebecca Reid), who is economically hysterical, with a higher laugh to word ratio than anyone on TV.)Jamie Lee Curtis, Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, and Hannah Simone in New Girl (2011)The mix in the loft is why the show works so well, as the quartet of roomies and friends behaves realistically, no matter how offbeat the situation may be or how odd the four may sometimes get. So whether it’s Schmidt feeling old thanks to some hipsters who have imoved in and befriended Jess, the exploration of the group’s most annoying aspects (a.k.a. “pogos”) or Winston struggling with his period, they mercilessly tease each other, but have each other’s back to the end. This is never more clearly illustrated than in “Virgins,” where the crew one-up each other with their horrible tales of their first sexual experiences. The way they interact is as close to real friends as anything on TV.Zooey Deschanel and Hannah Simone in New Girl (2011)With the series expanding upon the world created in the first season, we get to meet more of the people in the lives of the four roommates, and those additions were rather impressive, to go with returning speicial guests, like June Diane Raphael (playing Jess’ lesbian gynocologist.) The late Dennis Farina had a great turn as Nick’s con-man father, while Margot Martindale plays his brassy mom, Nick Kroll is his dim-witted brother and Bill Burr is his Beantown cousin. Meanwhile on Jess’ side, they snagged Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis to play her feuding parents (and Reiner should become a series regular as her dad). Add in Rob Riggle as Schmidt’s brother, Carla Gugino as his sexually-aggressive boss and Brenda Song as Winston’s new lady friend, and the show managed to cultivate a fine ensemble outside of the core five, expanding and improving the series.Zooey Deschanel, David Walton, Olivia Munn, and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)The natural progression of the relationships between Nick and Jess and Schmidt and CeCe, along with the changes in the world around them, made for an entertaining season that balanced silly fun with genuine emotion.

REVIEW: THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE

CAST

Dave Franco (Bad Neighbours)
Michael Peña (Ant-Man)
Kumail Nanjiani (The Five-Year Engagement)
Abbi Jacobson (The Master)
Zach Woods (Veep)
Fred Armisen (The Ex)
Jackie Chan (Rush Hour)
Justin Theroux (The Girl On The Train)
Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Randall Park (Swx Tape)
Retta (Ringmaster)
Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians)
Charlyne Yi (This is 40)

A young boy ventures into an old relic shop, where he meets the mysterious owner, Mr. Liu, who begins to tell the boy the legend of Ninjago. Ninjago is a city within the Lego Universe that is frequently attacked by the evil Lord Garmadon, who is the father of Lloyd Garmadon and ex-husband of Misako (AKA Koko). Ninjago despises Lloyd for being Lord Garmadon’s son, which puts Lloyd under emotional stress. They do not know that Lloyd is part of the secret ninja force, consisting of Nya, Zane, Jay, Cole, Kai and their master named Wu, who always stop Garmadon from taking over the city by fighting with mechs. On Lloyd’s birthday, Garmadon attacks the city once again only to be defeated. He escapes and fires nine generals of his Shark Army for failing to help him. He then begins to plan a big attack to conquer Ninjago, and his GIT`s show him plans to build a gigantic mech that is immune to weapons.Dave Franco in The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017)Meanwhile, Lloyd and his friends see the return of Master Wu, back from a long trip he took. Master Wu tells them they aren’t real ninjas if they use only mechs to fight, and discusses with Lloyd that his element is green, confusing Lloyd. Master Wu tells Lloyd he must not be angry at Garmadon; he must use his mind to fight. Wu mentions an Ultimate Weapon, giving Lloyd the hope of defeating Garmadon once and for all, despite being forbidden to use the weapon.Fred Armisen, Michael Peña, Dave Franco, Zach Woods, Abbi Jacobson, and Kumail Nanjiani in The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017)The next day Garmadon attacks the city with his giant mech and defeats Lloyd. As Garmadon declares his rule over Ninjago, Lloyd returns with the Ultimate Weapon. He fires it, revealing it to be a laser that attracts a real-life cat named Meowthra. Meowthra starts destroying the city while trying to get the laser. Garmadon points the laser to make the cat destroy the other mechs, before Lloyd breaks it. As Garmadon celebrates his victory, Lloyd reveals that he is the Green Ninja, and tells Garmadon that he wishes he wasn’t his father, leaving Garmadon confused.Justin Theroux and Dave Franco in The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017)Lloyd meets up with his friends and Master Wu, who are all upset with him for using the weapon. Wu tells them they must use an Ultimate, Ultimate Weapon to stop Meowthra from destroying the city, which they would reach by crossing the Forest of Dangers, the Canyon of Death, and the Temple of Fragile Foundations. Garmadon overhears Wu talking about the weapon and follows close behind. He meets up with Wu and fights him, only to end up in a cage, defeated. However, Wu loses his balance and falls off a bridge into a river, telling Lloyd he must use inner peace before getting swept away.Fred Armisen, Michael Peña, Dave Franco, Zach Woods, Abbi Jacobson, and Kumail Nanjiani in The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017)The ninjas decide to continue on, with Garmadon leading them much to Lloyd’s disappointment. They are caught by the Shark Army, who want revenge for being fired by Garmadon and shot out of his volcano lair. The ninjas try to fight, but are easily defeated. They retreat leaving Lloyd and Garmadon behind to be caught by the Shark Army. The Shark Army begin to fire Lloyd and Garmadon into a volcano, but the rest of the ninjas save the day using stealth fighting. They all work together with Garmadon to escape the angry Shark Army by building a makeshift helicopter, and Lloyd and Garmadon bond together in the process.Fred Armisen, Michael Peña, Dave Franco, Zach Woods, Abbi Jacobson, and Kumail Nanjiani in The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017)They eventually crash down onto the Temple of Fragile Foundations. Garmadon reveals that it is his home, as well as Koko formerly being a ninja warrior herself. He tells Lloyd that he wishes he had stayed with him and his mom after deciding to conquer Ninjago, but he couldn’t change so he had to stay behind. The ninjas find the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon, consisting of a set of trinkets, only to have it stolen by Garmadon who still wants to take over the city. He offers for Lloyd to be his general, but Lloyd rejects his offer. Out of fury, Garmadon locks all of them in the temple as it begins to collapse. Lloyd realizes that inner peace means for them to unleash their power within, and they successfully do this,using their elemental powers and escaping from the collapsing temple. As they fall of a cliff, Wu saves them with his ship,the Destiny`s Bounty and they head towards Ninjago.Dave Franco in The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017)Garmadon arrives and tries to control Meowthra with the weapons but Meowthra eats Garmadon instead. Lloyd and the crew arrive and begin fighting Garmadon’s army. As Lloyd approaches Meowthra, he reveals to everyone that he is the green ninja, and realizes that green means life, which brings everything together. He comforts Meowthra and tells Garmadon he forgives him and that he’s sorry. Garmadon cries tears of fire, which causes Meowthra to spit him out. After reconciling, Garmadon moves in with Lloyd and Koko, Meowthra becomes the mascot of Ninjago, and Lloyd is hailed as a hero. As the story concludes, Mr. Liu tells the boy that he will start to train him as a ninja. A mid-credits scene also shows a gag reel of a cup stunt performed by Chan as Liu at the film’s opening.Fred Armisen, Michael Peña, Justin Theroux, Dave Franco, Abbi Jacobson, and Kumail Nanjiani in The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017)This movie likely isn’t for everyone. And I doubt it was intended to be. It’s a kids film and stays comfortably in that realm while not boring adults to death – which is more than can be said about a number of other films for ‘grown ups’ in 2017.

REVIEW: X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

CAST

James McAvoy (Wanted)
Michael Fassbender (Prometheus)
Jennifer Lawrence (joy)
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies)
Rose Byrne (Bad Neighbours)
Evan Peters (Kick-Ass)
Tye Sheridan (The Forger)
Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones)
Olivia Munn (The Babymakers)
Alexandra Shipp (House of Anubis)
Lucas Til (Macgyver)
Josh Helman (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Ben Hardy (Eastenders)
Lana Condor (Patriots Day)
Hugh Jackman (Pan)
Tómas Lemarquis (Snowpiercer)
Željko Ivanek (Heroes)
Kodi Smith-McPhee (The King)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Monique Ganderton (Avengers: Endgame)

En Sabah Nur, a powerful mutant believed to be the first of his kind, rules ancient Egypt until he is betrayed by his worshippers, who entomb him alive. His four lieutenants die preserving him. Awakening in 1983, he believes humanity has turned to “false gods” in his absence. Aiming to save the world by destruction and remake it, he recruits Cairo pickpocket Ororo Munroe, who can control weather, and upgrades her power.

In East Berlin, shape-shifting mutant Raven investigates an underground fight club and discovers mutant champion Angel, who possesses a pair of large feathered wings on his back, and Kurt Wagner, who can teleport. Raven rescues Kurt and employs the services of black marketeer Caliban to transport him to America. En Sabah Nur recruits Caliban’s enforcer, Psylocke, who leads him to Angel. En Sabah Nur enhances both their powers, transforming Angel’s wings into metal wings.

Alex Summers discovers that his younger brother, Scott, is manifesting his mutation for shooting optic beams. Alex takes Scott to Professor Charles Xavier’s educational institute in Westchester County, New York in hopes that Xavier and Hank McCoy will teach him how to control his abilities. Scott meets the telepathic and telekinetic Jean Grey, and the two develop an attraction. Raven brings Kurt to the institute. Apocalypse’s powers cause disturbances around the world, leading Xavier and Alex to consult with CIA agent Moira MacTaggert, who has been researching the legend of Nur.

In Communist Poland, the metal-controlling mutant Erik Lehnsherr lives with his wife and their young daughter, Nina. He uses his powers to save a coworker, prompting militia to come capture him. When they accidentally kill Erik’s family, he retaliates by murdering them. En Sabah Nur later approaches the devastated Erik and tells him,”Come and see”. Next, Apocalypse takes him to Auschwitz where Erik’s power first manifested. Apocalypse reveals himself as the one true god variously dubbed “Elohim, Shen, Ra.” Erik destroys the camp and joins him.

En Sabah Nur enters Xavier’s mind while Xavier is using the mutant-locating computer Cerebro and, co-opting Xavier’s powers, forces all global superpowers to launch Earth’s entire nuclear arsenal into space to prevent interference. He and his new lieutenants arrive at the mansion and kidnap Xavier. Attempting to stop them, Alex accidentally causes an explosion that destroys the mansion. Peter Maximoff — having learned that he is Erik’s son, and hoping that Xavier can help to find him—arrives in time to use his super-speed to evacuate the students just before the explosion destroys the building, but Alex is presumed dead. Colonel William Stryker’s forces subsequently capture Hank, Raven, Peter, and Moira, and take them to a military facility for interrogation. Scott, Jean and Kurt covertly follow and liberate their comrades using Stryker’s mind-controlled and brainwashed experiment, Weapon X, whose memories Jean partially restores.

At En Sabah Nur’s behest, Erik uses his powers to control Earth’s magnetic poles, causing widespread destruction across the planet and mass casualties. En Sabah Nur plans to transfer his consciousness into Xavier’s body and use Xavier’s power to enslave the minds of every person on earth. Xavier secretly sends a telepathic distress call to Jean, and the others travel to Cairo to battle Apocalypse and his horsemen. They rescue Xavier, but he loses his hair as the process nears completion. Angel is defeated and incapacitated in the battle. Erik and Ororo are convinced to turn on En Sabah Nur and, with the help of Scott, they keep him occupied physically while Xavier fights him telepathically in the astral plane. Finally, Xavier encourages Jean to unleash the full extent of her powers, incinerating En Sabah Nur. In the ensuing chaos, Psylocke flees.

Xavier and Moira rekindle their relationship. Erik and Jean help reconstruct the school, but Erik refuses Xavier’s offer to stay and help teach. Peter decides not to tell Erik yet that he is Erik’s son. As the new X-Men, Hank and Raven train new recruits Scott, Jean, Ororo, Kurt and Peter.

In a post-credits scene, men in suits visit the Weapon X facility to retrieve data on Stryker’s mutant research, including an X-ray and a blood sample marked “Weapon X”, on behalf of the Essex Corporation.For some reason X men Apocalypse has taken a beating from critics and fans and to be honest I don’t really no why. I went to see this film with slightly lowered expectations following the early reviews and maybe that helped because I thoroughly enjoyed it. The cast was great. The old and the new the story was interesting and the villain serviceable. Perhaps it’s because now we get so many comic book movies that people compare too much but I wouldn’t compare the X men to anything else out there. It’s another solid entry in the franchise.