REVIEW: LEGO DC BATMAN: FAMILY MATTERS

Starring

Troy Baker (Marvel Anime)
Alyson Stoner (Step Up 3D)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Jason Spisak (Batman: Hush)
Steve Blum (Wolverine & The X-Men)
Zach Callison (Justice League: War)
Gary Anthony Williams (TMNT: OFTS)
Cam Clarke (He-Man and The Masters of The Universe)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Ralph Garman (Ted)
Josh Keaton (The Spectacular Spider-man)
Tom Kenny (Catdog)
Nolan North (Ultimate Avengers)
André Sogliuzzo (Family Guy)
Tara Strong (Sabrina Goes to Rome)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk vs)
Christian Lanz (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

LEGO DC: Batman - Family Matters (2019)After being bored with a board meeting after stopping Solomon Grundy from stealing a magic staff, Bruce Wayne puts a new machine, Brother Eye, in charge, as he proceeds to sell Wayne Tech. However, this leads to Two-Face buying the company, and plotting to use Brother Eye to take other Gotham and destroy both Batman and Bruce Wayne. Also, Red Hood has arrived to challenge the Bat Family.LEGO DC: Batman - Family Matters (2019)While some people may not like this, this is actually a good film for kids who are not yet ready for films like the ones in the DCEU or the Dark Knight Trilogy. As a result of this being a Lego DC movie, they did change Red Hood’s origin story to be more kid-friendly, however, seeing as the Lego DC films are part of their own continuity, it should not be a problem. Also, the movie has some good references to classic Batman shows and cartoons (one scene has the bat poles from the 1966 Batman series, complete with automatic suit up, and another scene has a Grey Ghost playing as Batman and Two-Face duel with swords, a neat reference to the episode from Batman: The Animated Series).LEGO DC: Batman - Family Matters (2019)However, there can be some annoying things (Nightwing and Batgirl keep bringing up a missed text that got them on non-speaking terms, which they never shut up about), but this is a good DTV movie and one that is perfect for younger kids or anyone into Lego or superheroes.LEGO DC: Batman - Family Matters (2019)

REVIEW: THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

CAST

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

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

REVIEW: BONES – SEASON 8

 

Starring

Emily Deschanel (Boogeyman)
David Boreanaz (Angel)
Michaela Conlin (Yellowstone)
Tamara Taylor (Lost)
T. J. Thyne (Ghost World)
John Francis Daley (Game Night)

David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Ryan O’Neal (Love Story)
Patricia Belcher (Jeepers Creepers)
Eugene Byrd (Arrow)
Andrew Leeds (Office Christmas Party)
Reed Diamond (Dollhouse)
Luke Kleintank (The Man In The High Castle)
Alexandra Holden (The Hot Chick)
Drew Powell (Gotham)
Lori Alan (Family Guy)
Danielle Panabaker (The Flash)
Carla Gallo (Superbad)
James Patrick Stuart (Gettysburg)
Abraham Benrubi (Buffy: TVS)
Joel David Moore (Avatar)
Michael Grant Terry (Grimm)
Pej Vahdat (Shameless)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Charlayne Woodard (Glass)
Brad William Henke (Lost)
Ralph Garman (Family Guy)
Cyndi Lauper (Henry & Me)
Amy Yasbeck (The Mask)
Gary Grubbs (Angel)
Henry Simmons (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Vik Sahay (Chuck)
John Rubinstein (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Sydelle Noel (Arrow)
Larry Poindexter (Blade: The Series)
Tamlyn Tomita (The Eye)
Brooke Langton (Swingers)
Tiffany Hines (Nikita)
Brian Klugman (Cloverfield)
Maurice Compte (Narcos)
Danny Woodburn (Watchmen)
Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine (Treme)
J.D. Walsh (Two and a Half Men)
Nishi Munshi (The Originals)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Dave Thomas (Rat Race)
Allison Scagliotti (Warehouse 13)
Danielle Harris (Halloween 4)
Robert Pine (Red eye)
Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner)
Mackenzie Astin (The Magicians)
Kenneth Mitchell (Star Trek: Discovery)
Alimi Ballard (Sabrina: TTW)

David Boreanaz, Patricia Belcher, Reed Diamond, and Andrew Leeds in Bones (2005)The end of the seventh season of “Bones” left Bones on the run with her infant child after being framed for murder by the highly skilled serial killer Christopher Pelant. The opening of the eighth season finds Booth and her colleagues at the Jeffersonian Institute trying to clear her name. Fortunately for the series, they succeed, although Pelant eludes justice to pose a future threat. This eighth season continues to feature crime-of-the-week murders for Bones, Booth, and the Jeffersonian lab rats to solve through clever forensics and Booth’s old-fashioned police work.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)One of the most interesting episodes is told through the eyes of the murder victim, with the assistance of a psychic (a well-cast Cindy Lauper). Another standout episode involves a group effort to resolve a cold case whose victim turns out to be a forgotten hero of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.Emily Deschanel and T.J. Thyne in Bones (2005)Outside the lab, Bones has an uncomfortable but touching period of readjustment to living with Booth, after her time on the run. Her changed perspective will lead to some of the most interesting conversations as she and Booth commute to crime scenes. Just to complicate things, staff psychiatrist Dr. Sweets will temporarily move in with the couple right after he breaks up with girlfriend Daisy, a technician in the lab. Series regulars Angela and Hodgins will have their own challenges as working parents.

The continuing parade of interns through the Jeffersonian crime lab will feature in several episodes, and one of them will become a surprising emotional complication for Dr. Saroyan. Christopher Pelant will return to menace the team in a gut-wrenching season finale.

REVIEW: AGENT CARTER – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST
Hayley Atwell (Cinderella)
James D’Arcy (Hitchcock)
Chad Michael Murray (House of Wax)
Enver Gjokaj (Dollhouse)
Shea Whigham (American Hustle)
Chad Michael Murray and Hayley Atwell in Agent Carter (2015)
RECURRING AND NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Dominic Cooper (Dracula Untold)
Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass)
James Frain (Gotham)
James Landry Hebert (Looper)
Meagen Fay (Species 4)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Ralph Garman (Ted)
Bridget Regan (Beauty and the Beast 2012)
Jack Conley (Angel)
Neal McDonough (Arrow)
Leonard Roberts (Heroes)
Rick Peters (Veronica Mars)
Ralph Brown (Alien 3)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
James Frain (Star Trek: Discovery)
Lesley Boone (Medium)
James Urbaniak (Terminator: TSCC)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Eddie Shin (Westworld)
John Glover (Smallville)
Devin Ratray (Home Alone)
Ralph Garman (Ted)
Considering it was a 1940s period piece starring an already-established, likable character and was created by the guys who wrote Captain America: The Winter Soldier, you’d think people would have been more excited going into Marvel’s Agent Carter. Not that I didn’t see plenty of excitement as well, mind you, but I also saw a lot of cynicism – stuff about how it was a “prequel” and thus “wouldn’t matter” and also about how because Peggy and the other characters didn’t have superpowers, “Who cares?”But Agent Carter didn’t need to succeed by setting up something to pay off in another film it just needed to be an entertaining, involving show. And boy, was it.
Yes, it only got better as it went along, but Agent Carter — which came from executive producers/showrunners Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters — was a lot of fun from the start. Hayley Atwell had already established how great she is as the character and easily slid into the lead role, and pairing her with Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy) was an inspired move. Atwell and D’Arcy had terrific, non-romantic, chemistry together, playing Peggy and Jarvis as an instantly lovable, quirky duo and making the scenes where Jarvis accompanied Peggy on missions really pop – even before Peggy got to beat up bad guys.
With only eight episodes, Agent Carter moved quickly, in a satisfying manner. Bridget Regan was introduced as Peggy’s neighbor, Dottie, and just a week later – with fans already speculating on what her character could really be – she’s killing a guy, leading into a really awesome reveal that Agent Carter was introducing the Black Widow program into the mix.

Agent Carter wasn’t tied into the modern Marvel movies in a direct way, but there were a ton of cool connections throughout, beyond Peggy’s important history with Captain America. Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), while only appearing in three episodes, was crucial to the story, and we got an intriguing look into his psyche in the season finale.
Dum Dum Dugan and the Howling Commandos showed up, we got to see more than one Black Widow at work and then there was Dr. Ivchenko, AKA Fr. Fennhoff – who is also known as the Marvel villain Dr. Faustus and who turned out to be tied into the Winter Soldier by the end, via a cool Marvel-movie type final scene.
In general, all the characters were really clicked. It was surprising to see Lyndsy Fonseca play a non-action role here, but she made Angie incredibly likable and charismatic and the scenes between her and Peggy were very sweet, showing Peggy making a far more normal connection than her life usually allows. Early on, I was concerned by the portrayal of the men at the SSR. Except for Enver Gjokaj’s sympathetic Daniel Sousa, they all felt pretty one note. Yes, it was important and fitting, given the era the show was set in, to show just how dismissive the guys in the office, in general, were of Peggy, unable to see just how skilled she was and the contributions she could bring. But the first couple of episodes had Thompson (Chad Michael Murray), Dooley (Shea Wigwam) and Krzeminski (Kyle Bornheimer) all feeling pretty similar and one-note, in a way that could have quickly become grating. Fortunately, the most annoying of this bunch, Krzeminski, was soon dead and Dooley and Thompson became much more nuanced as the season continued.
Dooley doing his own investigating and seeing that things didn’t ad up as  Howard Stark being the culprit was a great touch, letting us see why this guy was in charge in the first place. And the mission in Russia in “The Iron Ceiling”(a standout episode) gave us a ton of insight into Thompson and who he really was versus the image he projected. The season culminated in a very satisfying manner, with Dooley’s noble sacrifice, the reason behind Fennhoff’s anger at Howard revealed and a big cathartic release for Peggy, who got to beat Dottie in combat and finally really and truly put Steve Rogers to rest. This latter part was especially handled well and reinforced something that had been occurring to me all season – that it was especially silly to dismiss Agent Carter as “a prequel” when, if anything, it worked as a pretty direct sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger, simply following what happened next for Peggy (and, to a lesser extent, Howard) after that film’s events, instead of Steve.

REVIEW: RED STATE

CAST

Michael Parks (Kill Bill)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield lane)
Kerry Bishe (Argo)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Michael Angarano (Sky High)
Kyle Gallner (Smallville)
Nicholas Braun (Poltergeist)
Ralph Garman (Ted)
Stephen Root (Robocop 3)
James Parks (Death Proof)
Haley Ramm (X-Men 3)
Kevin Pollak (Mom)
Matt Jones (Adventure Time)
Kevin Alejandro (Arrow)
Jennifer Schwalbach Smith (Now You Know)
Kevin Smith (Dogma)
Marc Blucas (Buffy)

Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad)
Molly Hagan (No Good Nick)

Ralph Garman and James Parks in Red State (2011)It begins as the story of three teenagers (Michael Angarano, Nicholas Braun, and Kyle Gallner) from a small Midwestern town in the proximity of the Cooper family, an evangelical sect in the Phelps mold that only seems to venture out of their church/compound to for vile public demonstrations, usually at funerals. The boys are aware of the Coopers, but their primary interests lie elsewhere: namely, the pursuit of anonymous sex, which one promises can be had with an anonymous woman he’s connected with online via a Grindr-style app. They make a date. It doesn’t go as planned.The dirty-talking set-up isn’t too far removed from Smith’s usual style–he’s toying with our expectations, palming quarters while entertaining us with patter. What is surprising about Smith’s screenplay is how tightly wound the storytelling is. There’s a confidence and a momentum to the progression of the events, which echo the Phelps; the ground he’s covering sounds far-flung, but the narrative pushes forward with such precision that there’s an inevitability to the way the events unfold.It is more of an unsettling movie, a disturbing one, in which the responsibility for jangling the audience is less on the sound designer and his library of cat shrieks, and more on the filmmaker’s ability to create tension and his actors’ skill at getting under our skin. To that end, not enough can be said about Michael Parks, the terrific character actor (and, more recently, favorite of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez) who plays Abin Cooper, the Fred Phelp-esque patriarch of the fundamentalist family. His voice a gravelly growl, his eyes black as night, his delivery deceptively laid-back, Parks delivers a long, riveting, and thoroughly creepy sermon early on that masterfully shifts the picture’s tone; he’s just talking, but there’s evil in his bones (“God doesn’t love you… ‘less you fear him”).Kyle Gallner and Kerry Bishé in Red State (2011)He doesn’t raise his voice–he doesn’t have to. He waits until the end to go for broke, and when he does, it’s tremendous. John Goodman, as a good-hearted but petrified ATF agent, is terrific as well–but then again, there’s not a bad performance in the movie,  Kerry Bishé, Stephen Root, and newly minted Oscar winner Melissa Leo all turn up; all inhabit their roles with believability and immediacy.