25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: BETTER WATCH OUT

Starring

Olivia DeJonge (The Sisterhood of Night)
Levi Miller (Pan)
Ed Oxenbould (The Visit)
Aleks Mikic (Secret City)
Dacre Montgomery (Power Rangers)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
Virginia Madsen (Sideways)

Ed Oxenbould and Olivia DeJonge in Better Watch Out (2016)At Christmas time, 17-year-old Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) is busy babysitting precocious 12-year-old Luke Lerner (Levi Miller). Luke has romantic feelings for Ashley and unsuccessfully attempts to seduce her while watching a horror movie. Strange happenings outside put Ashley on edge, but it ultimately appears to be just Luke’s best friend, Garrett (Ed Oxenbould), who has stopped by to hang out. Hearing a window break upstairs, the trio find a brick inscribed with “U leave and U die.” Garrett panics and runs out the back door, but is apparently killed by an unknown shooter.Olivia DeJonge and Levi Miller in Better Watch Out (2016)Shocked, Ashley and Luke run upstairs and hide in the attic. Ashley almost breaks her neck from a fall but Luke catches her. After they run into Luke’s room and hide in his closet, a masked intruder armed with a shotgun walks into the room. Ashley recognizes the mask as one of Luke’s and yanks it off the intruder, revealing Garrett. Ashley realizes that Luke was hoping to seduce her by scaring her. Angered, Ashley yells at Luke, calling him mental and saying he needs therapy, and tries to leave. While at the top of the stairs, Luke hits her with his gun, causing her to fall down the stairs and be knocked unconscious.Luke binds Ashley with duct tape, then forces her to play truth or dare. Her boyfriend, Ricky (Aleks Mikic), arrives at the house after receiving a text message sent by Ashley earlier. When Ricky fails to find Ashley, he realizes that something is wrong. Luke tries to knock him out, but fails. After nearly killing Luke, Ricky is threatened by Garrett with the shotgun. Luke knocks Ricky out and they tie him up beside Ashley.Ed Oxenbould and Olivia DeJonge in Better Watch Out (2016)While Ashley uses a shard of glass to cut herself free, Luke tries to show Garrett what happens if you actually hit someone in the head with a swinging paint can similar to the scene from Home Alone. Luke tries to demonstrate with Ricky, but misses on the first swing. Ashley gets free and threatens Luke with a pistol. He drops the paint can and kills Ricky. When Ashley realizes the gun is unloaded, she tries to escape to a group of carolers outside. Luke uses the brick tossed through the upstairs window to knock her out again before she can alert them.Olivia DeJonge and Levi Miller in Better Watch Out (2016)Luke calls Ashley’s ex-boyfriend, Jeremy (Dacre Montgomery), claiming that she wants him to write an apology letter. While Jeremy does so, Luke hangs him from a tree, making the apology look like a suicide note. He kills Garrett for trying to free Ashley. Luke then stabs Ashley in the neck and stages the scene to frame Jeremy. Later, he goes to bed and waits for the return of his parents, who contact the police. It is then revealed that Ashley stuck duct tape over the stab wound in her neck to stop the bleeding. Luke watches from his bedroom window as Ashley gives him the finger before being wheeled into the ambulance. In a mid-credit scene, Luke tells his mom that he is worried about Ashley and wants to go to the hospital.Olivia DeJonge and Levi Miller in Better Watch Out (2016)At its lightest level, Better Watch Out can be perceived as a caricature of the Home Alone films. Is it scary? It’s hard to answer that question without revealing a crucial twist but during all the ensuing mayhem, Peckover’s triumph are the comic interjections that make some of the goriest scenes unexpectedly funny. And yet at its scariest, the writing, and the narrative, are grounded towards director Michael Haneke’s psychological thriller Funny Games. Anyone who has seen that film can survive this film. For horror fans who like it dark, clever and twisted, this is the ultimate year-end treat whether you’ve been naughty or nice.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – HALLOWEEN EPISODES

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MAIN CAST

Seth MacFarlane (Ted)
Alex Borstein (Catwoman)
Seth Green (Without a Paddle)
Mila Kunis (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Lori Alan (Inside Out)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)

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GUEST CAST

Adam Carolla (Road Hard)
Gary Cole (Chuck)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Rachael MacFalrane (American Dad)
Kerrigan Mahan (Power Rangers)
Adam West (Batman 60s)
Patrick Warburton (Get Smart)
Stacey Scowley (The Brotherhood 2)
Christina Milan (Bring it On 5)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)

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FAMILY GUY VIEWER MAIL # 1 SEAGMENT 3: LIL’ GRIFFINS


After the boys all refuse to have anything to do with girls, five-year-old Peter, and Quagmire compete for the attentions of new girl Lois who mentions that she likes her men brave. The kids make a bet to stay in a rumored haunted house and proceed to attempt to scare each other out until they encounter an apparently “real” ghost and they all flee in terror. Lois says that she is no longer impressed by bravery, however, and introduces Mort Goldman, whose intelligence she likes. Peter and Quagmire swear off girls forever in disgust; thirty-five years later they are still woman less but, without the distraction of women, they have become incredibly wealthy.
Not a traditional Halloween episode as it’s only a small seagment of the actual episode, so it’s not as good as the normal Halloween specials, still has some good laughs.

PETERGEIST

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After Joe builds a home theater system, Peter decides to build a multiplex in his backyard out of spite. While digging, Peter finds the skull of a Native American buried in the backyard. Brian frequently urges him to return the skull to its resting place, but Peter treats it as a novelty (playing with it, urinating in it, wearing it as an athletic cup, etc.). That night the Griffins start experiencing strange paranormal activity: Stewie talks to the TV static, the chairs and refrigerator stack themselves upside down on the kitchen table, Peter rips at the flesh on his face until he uncovers Hank Hill’s face, and Chris gets scared by a McDonald’s clown, Ronald McDonald and he then gets attacked by an evil tree before being saved by Herbert. Lois is in denial of the events until Stewie gets sucked into his closet and disappears.
To find Stewie, the Griffins hire a spiritual medium (Bruce the Performance Artist in one of his many jobs) to contact the other side, and learn that the entrance to the spirit world is Stewie’s closet, while the exit is “Meg’s ass”. Unable to wait for Stewie to come out of the closet (he is obviously reluctant to exit from Meg’s rear end), Lois enters the portal and rescues Stewie. The enraged spirits emerge and ravage the Griffin house, sucking it into their world. As the Griffins drive off, Peter dumps the Native American skull in a garbage can.

Now homeless, Peter and Lois try and find a way to get their house back, and learn the Native American skull has to be put back in its resting place. After searching through the city dump, a garbage man tells them that the skull would be in the human remains bin, but it was cleaned out by Carrot Top for things to use as props. They go to Carrot Top’s mansion and, after a chase through a hall of mirrors, they retrieve the skull and rebury it, thereby getting back their house and returning life to normal. At the end, Lois takes the TV and moves it outside the front door but Peter comes out, retrieves it and puts Meg outside instead.

A great episode I especially loved the Poltergeist takeoffs in the episode, even the music and special ffects, especially when Peter plays around with the portals that are in Meg’s butt

HALLOWEEN ON SPOONER STREET

8acx06_sc340_0027Peter and Joe target Quagmire for this year’s Halloween pranks. This includes bombarding Quagmire with eggs, Joe dressing up as a girl and sleeping with him, and infecting him with an unknown disease carried by a mosquito from Senegal (But only after putting every known disease in a syringe and stabbing him, including Hepatitis and Meningitis). Returning home, Peter praises Quagmire for being a good sport and the two decide to go drinking. Deciding to approach Joe, they convince him to allow them to follow him in his police car. Agreeing to do so only if they stay in his car, Peter and Quagmire soon become a nuisance. Ultimately. they drive to an old airfield where they discover a Mitsubishi Zero, which is a Japanese fighter plane used during World War II. Quagmire flies the two into the sky and eventually takes them on a high speed dive into the ocean near Quahog Harbor, stopping only inches from crashing stating that it was payback for making him have sex with Joe.


Meanwhile, Stewie discovers trick-or-treaters (at first thinking they are real monsters and starts shooting at them with an m16), and soon wants to partake in the activity. Deciding to dress as a baby duck, he is subsequently bullied by a gang of three older children who steal his candy. Searching for Brian, Stewie blames him for causing him to lose his candy and convinces him to steal back the candy from the bullies. Approaching the bullies to get the candy back, Brian is immediately painted pink. Seeking revenge, Stewie half jokingly suggests to Brian that they kill the bullies, though they both agree they can’t actually do that. When his plan to threaten them with a bazooka fails (and ends up killing a Godzilla-like monster instead), Stewie goes to “Plan B” and begins crying for his mother. Lois then confronts the lead bully Justin’s mother and becomes her bully instead, demanding Stewie’s candy back, demanding Justin’s candy, and $40. But because she does not have any money, Lois takes their welcome mat and says she’ll be back tomorrow for $80.
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The same night, Meg decides to go trick-or-treating with her friends and goes to attend a party held at Connie D’Amico’s house. Excited no one can see through her slutty cat costume (even her father, Peter, who said “Ugly Bitches!”) Meg eventually wins at spin the bottle, and (unknown to her) begins making out with her brother Chris who was wearing an Optimus Prime costume while in a dark closet. When Connie opens the closet after they hog the closet for too long, the siblings in their underwear, are immediately shocked at the revelation.

During the credits, Stewie and Brian reminisce of the night while sorting their candy just as Meg and Chris come home. Meg and Chris both make light of the situation by convincing each other that they successfully hooked up with a hot date. Meg states that her date might even call back, but Chris immediately says that she might be disappointed.

A Great Halloween episode, alot of fun stuff in the episode including the commentary regarding Meg’s slutty costume and the pranks by Peter and Joe on Quagmire.

QUAGMIRE’S QUAGMIRE

Peter and Joe help Quagmire pick out a new Apple computer at the mall. Quagmire later calls Peter for help finding his cat pictures, and his computer ends up crashing. Taking it back for service help the next day, the clerk, Sonya, discovers his tastes in porn, and they end up on a date. They find they have a lot in common, but Quagmire wakes up the next morning handcuffed to the bed, discovering he was drugged to have sex, and decides he’s finally found his true love. Telling the guys at The Drunken Clam, they caution him to be careful. Quagmire and Sonya engage in a variety of wild sexual acts, such as having sex at the high school in front of Quagmire’s former (now completely senile) high-school principal, Mr. Goodrich, (who once suspended Quagmire for showing his wiener at school), painting their bodies in black ink and making out until they’ve painted every letter in the Chinese alphabet, and Sonya watching Quagmire having sex with his transgender mother, Ida (née Dan)

At the Drunken Clam, Peter and Joe discover Quagmire hiding black eyes behind sunglasses. They tell him his sex life with Sonya is getting out of hand but Quagmire feels he can’t openly share their concerns in case Sonya overhears. Leaving the Drunken Clam, Sonya meets Quagmire outside, beats him and shuts him in the trunk of his car, claiming that she is satisfying his fantasies of being dominated and humiliated, as she drives away with him. The next day, Ida shows up at Peter’s door and expresses concern that Quagmire hasn’t been seen for days. Joe is also aware that Quagmire hasn’t been around either. The guys search for Quagmire by going to all his usual hangouts. Wandering into a seedy area, they find Sonya has a reputation of sexual instability and are directed to a storage container. Finding Quagmire, they are cornered by Sonya who takes Joe’s gun. He calls her bluff and closes in. She pulls the trigger without result and Joe tackles her, admitting he has to keep his gun unloaded after a mental breakdown in April. Sonya is arrested by Joe while Ida frees Quagmire. Sometime later at the Drunken Clam, Quagmire admits later that he will need to be the really kinky one in his future relationships. He also tells Peter and Joe that he worries about his dad being pregnant.

Meanwhile, Lois and the kids prepare for Halloween. While going though storage, Lois finds Stewie’s first teddy bear, Oscar. Stewie rejects it until he finds himself wavering between Oscar and Rupert. Brian discovers Stewie in the attic playing “tea” with Oscar and he begs Brian not to tell Rupert, claiming he is suicidal. Later, Stewie stomps downstairs claiming to have had a fight with Rupert, and gives him to Brian. While he is spending time with Oscar, Stewie finds Brian humping Rupert and takes him back. Rupert is then forced to choose between Stewie and Brian, falling over towards Stewie which Stewie takes as a sign of choice. Brian is indifferent and drags another one of Stewie’s toys out of the room. As Stewie rejoices with Rupert, he worries about how Oscar will take the news. Oscar is seen having apparently hanged himself in front of a painting of Stewie in the attic.76idaAll in all, I had a really good time with this one. Both plots were really funny, Not your average Halloween episode but still fun.

PETERNORMAL ACTIVITY

Peter, Quagmire, Cleveland, and Joe are disappointed by horror film Manic Pope 2 and decide to write their own horror film at the Quahog Asylum. They get frightened and try to evacuate, but are locked in. They fall into a basement and soon encounter a man with a hook. When they run outside, they decide to punch him to death only to discover that he is the property caretaker Albert who works at the asylum and the hook is due to valor in the Korean War. Albert then dies leaving the four guilty. Although Quagmire wants to confess the murder, Joe recommends against it and they bury the man as well as his nearby car on a hill while they make a pact to keep the murder silent.

Peter has a sleepless night and is faced with coincidences that are similar to the circumstances of the murder. At the Druken Clam, Quagmire keeps denying his involvement in the murder, prompting Peter to head to asylum to frame Quagmire for the murder, but sees that his friends are there, attempting to frame each other. Before they assault each other with shovels, Peter sees this as inspiration for their horror film idea. When the film Cereal Killer is released and is starring John Goodman as Peter Griffin, they have a negative opinion of it upon leaving the theater. Afterwards, they see Albert in a newspaper as he is reported missing and revealed to be a Ku Klux Klan leader who stole war medals. This soothes their guilty conscience. Back at the Quahog Asylum, Albert’s arm with the hook on it rises from his grave. The door to his car also rises in the same manner.Meanwhile, Brian obtains a pair of glasses and begins acting more arrogant than usual, much to Stewie’s annoyance. At a sauna, Stewie plans to destroy the glasses, but it backfires when Chris locks himself, Stewie, and Brian in there all weekend. Once the weekend is over, they get out sporting a near-thin appearance as they run into Mayor Adam West. At home, Stewie succeeds in his mission by hitting Brian with a baseball bat, shattering his lenses into his eyes. Stewie also tells him that dinner will be ready soon since that’s what Lois wanted him to tell the family members.Image result for family guy peternormal activityI thought it was rather clever that the janitor they thought was innocent wasn’t innocent at all. He was a KKK leader who stole war medals.

REVIEW: MEN IN BLACK 2

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CAST

Will Smith (Suicide Squad)
Tommy Lee Jones (Batman Forever)
Rip Torn (Robocop 3)
Lara Flynn Boyle (Afterglow)
Johnny Knoxville (The Ringer)
Rosario Dawson (Daredevil)
Tony Shalhoub (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Patrick Warburton (Get Smart)
Jack Kehler (The Big Lebowski)
David Cross (Scary Movie 2)
Colombe Jacobsen (Chef)
Michael Jackson (The Simpsons)
Martha Stewart (2 Broke Girls)
Peter Graves (Airplane)
Lenny Venito (The Neighbors)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)

Five years after the retirement of Agent K (Jones) from MIB, the secret New York City-based agency that monitors and regulates extraterrestrials residing on Earth, Agent J (Smith)—K’s former partner and hand-picked replacement—is called to investigate the murder of an alien, Ben (Jack Kehler), at his pizzeria. The waitress, Laura Vasquez (Rosario Dawson), tells him that the murderers were Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), a shapeshifting Kylothian who has taken the form of a lingerie model, and her two-headed servant Scrad (Johnny Knoxville). Laura says they were looking for something called the Light of Zartha. J is strongly attracted to Laura, and in violation of MIB rules, does not neuralyze her to erase her memories of the aliens—and of him.J finds that little is known about the Light of Zartha, except that it is immensely powerful. As he investigates the crime, every lead points to his mentor, Agent K—who was neuralyzed when he retired, and remembers nothing of his MIB service. In Truro, Massachusetts, where K is now the town’s postmaster, J explains this, and convinces him by proving that all of his fellow postal workers are aliens. Back in New York City, Serleena and Scrad launch an attack on MIB headquarters before K’s neuralyzation can be reversed; fortunately, Jack Jeebs (Tony Shalhoub) has an illegal deneuralyzer in his basement. K regains his memories, but it’s not enough: Years before, he neuralyzed himself, specifically to erase what he knew of the Light of Zartha, and those memories have not returned—but as a precaution, he left himself a series of clues.At the pizzeria, they find a locker key. J hides Laura, who fears for her safety, with the worm aliens from the first movie. The key opens a locker in Grand Central Station where a society of tiny aliens, who worship K as their deity, guard their most sacred relics: K’s wristwatch and video store membership card. K recovers both, to the aliens’ horror, but J gives them his watch as a replacement, and becomes their new deity. At the video store, as J and K watch a fictionalized story of the Light of Zartha, K remembers: The Zarthan Queen Laurana long ago entrusted MIB with safeguarding the Light from her nemesis, Serleena, who followed Laurana to Earth and killed her. After hiding the Light, K neuralyzed himself to ensure that he would never reveal its hiding place. K still cannot remember where he hid it, nor what the Light actually looks like; he does remember that it must return to Zartha soon, or both Earth and Zartha will be destroyed.At the worms’ apartment, they find that Laura has been kidnapped by Serleena, who believes that Laura’s bracelet is the Light. J, K, and the worms counterattack MIB headquarters, freeing Laura and the other agents. Serleena attempts to retaliate but is eaten by Jeff, a gigantic worm alien living in the New York Subway. Laura’s bracelet leads J and K to the roof of a skyscraper where a ship stands ready to transport the Light back to Zartha. At last, they realize why it rains whenever Laura is sad: she is the daughter of Laurana—and is herself the Light. K convinces J and Laura that she must go to Zartha, to save both her planet and Earth from destruction. Serleena, who has assimilated Jeff and taken his form, attempts to snatch the ship carrying Laura as it lifts off, but J and K blast her out of the sky. Since all of New York City has just witnessed this battle in the skies over the metropolis, K initiates a giant neuralyzer in the torch of the Statue of Liberty.Back at headquarters, K and MIB Chief Zed (Rip Torn), hoping to cheer up a heartbroken J, have relocated the tiny locker-dwelling aliens who worship him to his MIB locker. When J suggests showing the miniature creatures that their universe is bigger than a locker, K shows J that the human universe is itself a locker within an immense alien train station.Men in Black 2 is not fantastic as the first movie, but it is a good and entertaining movie to be watched anyway

REVIEW: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – SEASON 5

Ming-Na Wen, Henry Simmons, Clark Gregg, Iain De Caestecker, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Chloe Bennet, and Elizabeth Henstridge in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)

Starring

Clark Gregg (Captain Marvel)
Ming-Na Wen (Stargate: Universe)
Chloe Bennet (Nashville)
Iain De Caestecker (Filth)
Elizabeth Henstridge (Reach Me)
Henry Simmons (Taxi)
Natalia Cordova-Buckley (Bates Motel)

Jeff Ward in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jeff Ward (Plus One)
Joel Stoffer (Death Ring)
Eve Harlow (Heroes Reborn)
Dominic Rains (Jinn)
Florence Faivre (The Expanse)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (13 Sins)
Coy Stewart (Devil’s Whisper)
Catherine Dent (21 Grams)
Lola Glaudini (That Awkward Moment)
Dove Cameron (Descendants)
Brian Patrick Wade (The Big Bang Theory)
Briana Venskus (Let’s be Cops)
Maximilian Osinski (In Time)
Spencer Treat Clark (Glass)
Peter Mensah (Spartacus)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Nick Blood (Trollied)
J. August Richards (Angel)
Zach McGowan (The Scorpion King 5)
Reed Diamond (Bones)
Ruth Negga (Preacher)
David Conrad (Roswell)
Derek Mears (Swamp Thing)
Rya Kihlstedt (Home Alone 3)
Patrick Fabian (Better, Call Saul)
Willow Hale (The Ones)
Joel David Moore (Julia X)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
Jake Busey (Starship Troopers)
Alyssa Jirrels (Alexa & Katie)
Gabriel Hogan (Heartland)
Craig Parker (Reign)
Raquel Gardner (The Boy Next Door)

Dominic Rains and Elizabeth Henstridge in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has done the impossible. It went from one of the most throwaway action dramas in recent history with season one to one of the most memorable. Over the course of five long years, the series has re-invented itself, and slowly forged a capable band of misfits that are worth watching week after week.Henry Simmons, Clark Gregg, Eve Harlow, and Michelle Toh in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)It was somewhere around season three that I started truly enjoying the show, and by the time the artificial intelligence-driven LMD arc hit in 2017, I was hooked. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has the power to do what basically no Marvel film (with few exceptions) has done to date: make us laugh and cry in the same short span. Clark Gregg, S.H.I.E.L.D. star Agent Coulson always said that people should give the show time to grow, and while I’d argue four years is far too long of a wait, it’s worth investing in at this point. Season five mostly carries that legacy upon its back with a few missteps.Rya Kihlstedt and Dominic Rains in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)While I’ve grown fond of S.H.I.E.L.D. it’s very easy to poke Swiss cheese-sized holes into it. The writers still don’t seem to know how to handle Yo-Yo, the Inhuman that can run so fast that it seemingly stops time, only to return to her original location. They created a figurative monster, one that could basically end every conflict before it starts, and they’ve had to come up with weird ways to curb her power, some of which are incredibly hokey. They’re also constantly wandering aimlessly with her character arc, putting much of the burden of her budding personality onto her partner, Mack — one of the brightest parts of the show.Florence Faivre in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)The lack of John Hannah and Mallory Jansen, two of the strongest parts of last season, is felt, but others, whether it’s newcomers or old friends like Adrian Pasdar, have stepped up. Really though, the trophies should go to the principal cast, who are stuck together like a family for this long despite being on the bubble every year. Ming-Na Wen is one of the most underrated action performers on TV right now, and Chloe Bennet managed to transform Skye into the formidable Daisy mostly on her own, evolving and learning alongside of the show with charisma and relatable flaws to boot.Ming-Na Wen, Clark Gregg, and Willow Hale in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)I miss the smaller focused arcs of the past few seasons, but this year S.H.I.E.L.D. has mostly settled on two acts: the future, and a lead into Infinity War. The former was a very bold and tricky maneuver, and I think they pulled it off. For a while, there S.H.I.E.L.D. pivoted into a bleak sci-fi operation, more so than it ever has been in the past, with some of its darkest sections to date.Ming-Na Wen and Clark Gregg in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)The thing about the future portion of this season is that you never really know what’s going to happen. Coupled with an ominous theme bad things were always piling onto the crew, to the point where you really felt that they had no chance of making it out alive. By the end of it, when most of them do, it feels like their actions still have weight to them, something that was wonderfully communicated in the previous season. It’s not so much cheesy callbacks as it is genuine character development, as the team works to make this pseudo-MCU world one worth exploring. It’s also nice to see Marvel throw S.H.I.E.L.D. a bone, giving them at least one worthy villain and the entire Kree race to work with.Ming-Na Wen, Clark Gregg, and Chloe Bennet in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)Its second act isn’t nearly as strong, sometimes focusing far too much on Hydra (a concept that’s been touched on nearly every season now to mixed success), it eventually culminates in a worthwhile showdown with one of the most formidable foes yet with actual consequences. Is S.H.I.E.L.D., or the Marvel universe completely done with Hydra? Probably not, but for now it seems like new problems are on the horizon.Dove Cameron in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)Ultimately, season five of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ends with at least one twist and several turns. It’s beautifully filmed as a series finale just in case they didn’t get that one last renewal (which they recently did), and despite the truncated action scenes that still show how little of a priority S.H.I.E.L.D. is for ABC, it more than gets the job done for a network TV show.

REVIEW: THE BATMAN – SEASON 2

 

 

Main Cast

Rino Romano (Spaceballs: TAS)
Alastair Duncan (Providence)
Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Kevin Michael Richardson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

The Batman (2004)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Gina Gershon (Red Heat)
Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Jason Marsden (Young Justice)
Adam West (Family Guy)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Peter MacNicol (Veep)
Steve Harris (The Rock)
Frank Gorshin (60’s Batman)
Daran Norris (Veornica Mars)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
Michael Massee (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Kevin Grevioux (Underworld)
Mitch Pileggi (Stargate: Atlantis)

The Batman (2004)

With this season, the producers opted to play mix-and-match with baddies: Catwoman and Ragdoll, Catwoman and Penguin, Penguin and Man-Bat, Penguin and Joker, Penguin and Joker and Riddler, Mr. Freeze and Firefly. The Catwoman episodes work much better; the series’ take on the Selina Kyle character is as refreshing as has ever been in the decades of Batman tales. She’s one of the few multifaceted characters in this uncomplicated series, working somewhere between heroine and villainess, assisted by clever writing and a commendable vocal performance from Gina Gershon.Kevin Michael Richardson in The Batman (2004)Other episodes manage to shake the series’ problems and find a sturdy balance between fast-paced action and inventive plotting. The introductory adventure with the Riddler (here designed as some sort of Marilyn Manson wannabe) makes for a rollicking quest; an episode that takes Batman literally into the mind of the Joker allows for a fresh take on some overly well-worn cartoon material; a sinister Halloween tale about “swamp zombie” Solomon Grundy’s mythic return makes for ripping holiday viewing. These episodes all show the grand potential of this series. Consider the season’s best episode, “Meltdown,” which provides a return for Clay Face, last seen in season one’s finale. There’s a lot that happens in this episode character-wise, all of it both thrilling and quite emotionally touching.The Batman (2004)In order to make the show more friendly to the notion of reruns, the producers avoid any serious episode-to-episode continuity. Instead, we see ideas that slowly grow – Detective Bennett’s evolution as a character in season one (and slightly in season two), Detective Yin’s secret partnership with Batman in season two – in tiny chunks over the course of a dozen or so episodes. The good news is that these seemingly unimportant arcs do get a payoff in the season finales. In its favor, the series does showcase some incredible animation; “The Batman” remains a genuine treat for the eyes.

REVIEW: THE ORVILLE – SEASON 2

Starring

Seth MacFarlane (Sing)

Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Penny Johsnon Jerald (Star Trek: DS9)

Scott Grimes (American Dad)

Peter Macon (Shameless)

Halston Sage (Goosebumps)

J. Lee (Family Guy)

Mark Jackson (The Royal Today)
Jessica Szohr (Piranha 3D)

Seth MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki in The Orville (2017)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Will Sasso (Mom)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Chris Johnson (The Vampire Diaries)
Jason Alexander (Shallow Hal)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Chad L. Coleman (Arrow)
Lesley Fera (Pretty Little Liars)
Candice King (The Vampire Diaries)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Kerry O’Malley (Annabelle: Creation)
Patrick Warburton (Ted)
Molly Hagan (No Good Nick)
Norm MacDonald (Dr. Dolittle)
Michaela McManus (SEAL Team)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Ted Danson (The Good Place)
John Rubinstein (Angel)
Kevin Daniels (Atypical)
Wren T. Brown (Whoopi)
Bruce Willis (Glass)
Nick Chinlund (Training Day)
Mackenzie Astin (The Magicians)
Leighton Meester (The Roommate)
Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
Sarah Scott (The Artist)
F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus)
Rena Owen (Siren)
Kelly Hu (Arrow)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: TNG)

The Orville has really surprised me in how great it has become. Already at Season 2, the show has totally found itself. I was skeptical at first I remember… thinking, meh, comedy in space? Yeah that’s been done before, and it’s failed. But while the show has comedic elements, I don’t really think I would classify it as a comedy sci-fi as much as I would a sci-fi built on a comedic base which somehow successfully delivers complex science fiction ideas with sometimes very serious overtones.Seth MacFarlane in The Orville (2017)While it does not take itself seriously at all in the broad sense, it actually does to a degree in other areas. It explores complex philosophical topics. It delivers nail biting action sequences. It has a sense of humor that’s really casual and easy to digest, and sometimes awkward but overall positive. Perhaps the best thing about the Orville are the characters. They are all quite fascinating, and I feel that they are explored in a way that brings depth and keeps me wanting to know more about them and follow them on their journey. I think that while it is largely influenced by Star Trek the next generation, the world it explores seems fresh and interesting.Penny Johnson Jerald and Mark Jackson in The Orville (2017)The storytelling is episodic so you can enjoy one show and one show only, but there are several threads that weave their way through multiple episodes. Again, the show really succeeds here in being episodic yet really glued together as a complete whole. They didn’t spare budget too… in Season two, you can clearly see they’ve gone all out in the special effects budget. While it is ‘made for TV’ quality, it’s very good ‘made for TV’ quality.Seth MacFarlane and J. Lee in The Orville (2017)Overall, I would recommend this series with great enthusiasm to anyone who loves science fiction. Orville, while heavily influenced by Star Trek, has become its own thing… a unique blend that just works. Watch it and enjoy!

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: TED

CAST

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Mark Wahlberg (The Other Guys)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Joel McHale (Spider-Man 2)
Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar)
Aedin Mincks (New Girl)
Patrick Warburton (Get Smart)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Matt Walsh (Semi-Pro)
Jessica Barth (Next)
Bill Smitrovich (The Phantom)
Alex Borstein (Family Guy)
Ralph Garman (Yoga Hosers)
Jessica Stroup (Prom Night)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon)
Ryan Reynolds (Buried)
Norah Jones (My Blueberry Nights)
Tom Skerritt (Alien)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Robert Wu (Hot Tub Time Machine)
Ted Danson (The Good Place)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Melissa Ordway (17 Again)
Tara Strong (Sabrina GOes To Rome)

In 1985, 8-year-old John Bennett is a lonely child living in Norwood, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, who wished for his new Christmas gift—a jumbo teddy bear named Ted—to come to life and become his friend. The wish coincides with a shooting star and comes true; word spread and Ted was briefly a celebrity.27 years later, John (now 35) and Ted are still living in Boston, and are still staunch companions enjoying a hedonistic life. John is dating Lori Collins, who is from Philadelphia. As their anniversary approaches, Lori hopes to marry John but feels he could not move forward with Ted around. John is hesitant about making Ted leave, but he is persuaded to act when they find Ted at home with four prostitutes.John finds Ted his own apartment and a job at a grocery store, where Ted begins dating his coworker Tami-Lynn. Lori learns that John has been skipping work—using her as an excuse—to continue to spend most of his time with Ted. John and Lori are invited to a party put on by Lori’s womanizing manager Rex, but Ted lures John away to a party at his apartment with the offer to meet Sam J. Jones, the star of their favorite film, Flash Gordon. John intends to stay only a few minutes but gets caught up in the occasion. Lori finds John there and breaks up with him. John blames Ted for ruining his life and tells him to stay away.John and Ted confront each other about their ruined friendship and they fight but manage to reconcile. To repair John’s relationship with Lori, Ted arranges for an old lover, singer Norah Jones, to help by having John express his love for Lori with a song during her concert. He does an off-key rendition of All Time High by Rita Coolidge and is booed offstage. Lori is touched by the attempt and returns to her apartment where Ted confesses about his role in John’s relapse and offers to leave them alone forever if she talks to John.Lori is persuaded, but Ted is kidnapped by Donny, an obsessive stalker who idolized Ted as a child. Donny plans to make Ted his brutish son Robert’s toy. Ted manages to reach a phone to contact John but is immediately recaptured. Realizing Ted is in danger, John and Lori locate Donny’s residence and track him to rescue Ted. The chase leads to Fenway Park, where John punches Robert, but during the chase, Ted is damaged and falls onto the field ripped entirely in half. A police car arrives, forcing Donny to flee. John and Lori gather Ted’s stuffing and Ted relays his wish that John be happy with Lori before dying from his injuries.Unable to accept Ted’s death, a distraught John and Lori attempt to repair Ted, which proves useless. Feeling guilty about the incident, Lori makes a wish on a shooting star. The next morning, John hangs his head while looking over Ted’s dead body. Fortunately, Ted is magically restored and reconciles with John and Lori, encouraging them to resume their relationship. John and Lori are married (with Sam Jones as the presiding minister), and Ted comfortably accepts having a life of his own as he and Tami-Lynn continued their love affair. Sam Jones attempts to restart his career and moves into a studio apartment with Brandon Routh. Rex gives up his pursuit of Lori, goes into a deep depression, and dies of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Donny gets arrested by the Boston Police Department for kidnapping a plush toy, but charges are dropped. Robert hires a personal trainer, loses a significant amount of weight, and goes on to become Taylor Lautner.Comedies are hit and miss, or run out of steam towards the end. Ted, however, is not one of these and this is why it is probably one of the best and most original comedies I have ever seen. Perhaps the plot is fairly standard, but with the creator of Family Guy at the helm, things don’t always go the way you expect.