REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED – SEASON 1

Main Cast

Kevin Conroy (Justice League Doom)
George Newbern (Law & Order: SVU)
Susan Eisenberg (Lego aquaman)
Phil LaMarr (Futurama)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Maria Canals (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns)

MV5BMTk2NzY1NTU5OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjIwOTM2MjE@._V1_

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Kin Shriner (Manhunter)
George Eads (CSI)
Eric Robert (The Finder)
Dana Delany (Tombstone)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games)
Christopher McDonald (Happy Gilmore)
Dakota Fanning (War of The Worlds)
Olivia d’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Fam)
Fred Savage (The Princess Diaries)
Jason Hervey (Back To The Future)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Patrick Bauchau (Panic Room)
Rachel York (One Fine Day)
Jack Carter (McCloud)
Jeffrey Combs (Re-Annimator)
Robert Foxworth (Transformers)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona)
Cree Summer (Voltron)
Tom Everett Scott (Because I Said So)
Billy West (Futurama)
Lori Loughlin (Full House)
Jeremy Piven (Old School)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
John C. McGinley (Scrubs)
Oded Fehr (V)
Scott Rummell (Six)
Tim Matheson (The West Wing)
Grey Griffin (The Book of Life)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Peter MacNicol (Veep)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers)
Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina: TTW)
Dennis Farina (Get Shorty)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Virginia Madsen (Better Watch Out)
Ioan Gruffudd (Ringer)
Farrah Forke (Lois & Clark)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Michael Jai White (Arrow)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: TVS)
Juliet Landau (Ed Wood)
Alan Rachins (Showgirls)
Robert Englund (2001 Maniacs)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Jason Bateman (Office Christmas Party)
Susan Sullivan (Castle)
Michael T. Weiss (The Pretender)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Glenn Shadix (Beetlejuice)
Steve Schirripa (Must Love Dogs)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Nathan Fillion (Serenity)
Elizabeth Peña (The Incredibles)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Hynden Walch (The Batman)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)

MV5BMTk4NTc5Mzg3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTc5ODM2MjE@._V1_Fantasy now runs your life? Comic books become your vice? And your best friends still have their virginities? Then look no farther, friends, because this collection of episodes is so good you don’t need friends, significant others, or a single reason to emerge from your Geekdrome. But you know what the best part is? It’s not just for geeks – Justice League Unlimited stands tall as the best collection of American action/adventure animation you’re likely to find. While there is, of course, a certain geek charge some may get out of seeing characters like Powergirl and Green Arrow in action (not to mention an episode featuring Nathan Fillion voicing Vigilante and Gina Torres voicing Vixen – come on, how cool is that?), these episodes will entertain because of good characters, good humor, and good storytelling, even if you don’t know your Booster Golds from your Blue Beetles.MV5BMTA3OTAzMDYwMjdeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDMzMDkzNjIx._V1_While the first two seasons of Justice League nicely expanded upon the world first established in the early ’90s with Batman: The Animated Series, it wasn’t until this, the show’s third season (or first, depending on how you look at it) that the format and structure was perfected for the genre. It was an interesting experiment having the previous seasons’ episodes run for one-hour, but with JLU the format is scaled back to stand-alone half-hour stories and, ironically, it fits like a bat-glove. It’s strange, but these shorter episodes actually manage to pack in more than the double-length ones. A lot more. And what a roster of characters to fill a show with! You’ll see everyone from The Atom to Elongated Man. Because this is a full-blown, all-star take on these characters, each character can shine their brightest. When you get Superman, you get the best of Superman. Wonder Woman? The best of Wonder Woman. B’wana Beast? Uh… well, I guess this is the best he’s ever been.MV5BMjIwOTMxMzk2MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTU5ODM2MjE@._V1_The surplus of great characters is fun, but what really sells the show are the stories. Or, more specifically, story. No doubt borrowing a page from the work of Joss Whedon – showrunner Bruce Timm admits in a commentary that Whedon was a big influence – these episodes highlight a large and complex season-spanning plot that actually has meaning in today’s world. This is certainly the most mature and thoughtful storytelling you’re likely to get from a cartoon of this type. What elevates the show from great to brilliant is its ability to tell stories that are exciting and also manage to propel the larger narrative forward. For example, Dark Heart – penned by famous comic book scribe Warren Ellis – manages to mix a great science fiction plot (a self-replicating AI) with humor (Wonder Woman, needing both hands to fight, rests The Atom in a very interesting holding place) and its plot still manages to play a part later on down the road in the season’s climax.MV5BMjAwMTU4NDI0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzIwOTM2MjE@._V1_The writing is the best the show has ever seen, no doubt a result of staff writer Dwayne McDuffie coming into his own; his versatility with the characters is fantastic. Comic book writers Warren Ellis and J.M. DeMatteis join in on the fun, and new series director Joaquim Dos Santos infuses the episodes with a dynamic energy that allows the show to compete with the best of today’s cutting-edge, anime-inspired programming. It’s like the entire DC animated universe has been supercharged in the best way possible.MV5BMTk3NjM3NzI3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjQwOTM2MjE@._V1_This collection contains two seasons, and both season finales are just fantastic. The Once and Future Thing is an exciting time romp (with a great Western segment) and Divided We Fall is a showstopper of epic proportions. Either finale would make for a better DVD movie than any of what has been released thus far. Then there’s Epilogue – just brilliant. It manages to tie in the entire DC animated universe – including films Mask of the Phantasm and Return of the Joker! – and still say something meaningful about a very important character. The episode isn’t just great animation, it’s great television.MV5BMTk1MDgzMTYzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTUwOTM2MjE@._V1_There really is nothing bad to say about these episodes. The new rock-inspired opening credits do ring a bit too much of cheesy ’80s electronica, but you get used to it, and, after a while, it fits. Of course, the fact remains that if you aren’t into cartoons in the first place you probably won’t be willing to hop on the bandwagon no matter how cool a series is. But if you consider animation to be a legitimate and respectable medium, then this is the pinnacle of the form.  While there are bigger and more influential cartoon shows out there – namely, comedies like The Simpsons – Justice League Unlimited is still one of the best American animated programs you’ll find. With this show the genre has been perfected – it’s fun, exciting, and thoughtful. In other words, this is exactly what superheroes should be.

REVIEW: LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN

CAST
Josh Hartnett (Halloween: H20)
Bruce Willis (Sin City)
Lucy Liu (Charles Angels)
Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Michael Rubenfeld (The Recruit)
Peter Outerbridge (Beauty and The Beast)
Stanley Tucci (Transformers 4)
Kevin Chamberlin (Road To Perdition)
Dorian Missick (The Cape)
Mykelti Williamson (Con Air)
Daniel Kash (Bitten)
Corey Stoll (Ant-Man)
Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)
During the film’s opening credits, two bookies are separately ambushed and murdered by their unseen killers; elsewhere, a young man is killed by a sniper. In a bus terminal, a young man is approached by Goodkat (Bruce Willis), who tells the story of Max and the Kansas City Shuffle: two decades earlier, Max borrowed money from the mob to bet on a fixed horse race, only for the horse to die mid-race. To set an example to make sure nobody else would try to bet on a fixed race, the mob killed Max, his wife and young son Henry. Goodkat concludes that a “Kansas City Shuffle” is a misleading double bluff, and so tricks and kills the young man, before loading his body into a truck.
In New York City, Slevin Kelevra (Josh Hartnett) is staying in his friend Nick Fisher’s apartment and, upon being visited by Nick’s neighbor Lindsey (Lucy Liu), discusses Nick’s disappearance and why his apartment was unlocked. Lindsey suggests that Nick may be missing and, after she leaves, Slevin is kidnapped by two henchmen, who take him to “The Boss” (Morgan Freeman). Mistaking Slevin for Nick, The Boss orders him to repay a large gambling debt or kill the son of his rival, “The Rabbi” (Ben Kingsley); The Boss believes The Rabbi is responsible for assassinating his son (seen in the intro), and wants The Rabbi’s homosexual son, Yitzchok “The Fairy”, to be killed in revenge. Slevin then returns to the apartment, but is kidnapped again by two Jewish henchmen working for The Rabbi. The Rabbi also mistakes Slevin for Nick, and also demands he repay a large gambling debt. Slevin returns to The Boss and agrees to kill The Fairy. Concurrently with Slevin visiting the mob bosses, it becomes apparent Goodkat is involved in both sides and is responsible for Nick’s debts being called in, and he plans to kill Slevin after The Fairy dies (though his motivations remain unknown).
Slevin and Lindsey go out to dinner, where Slevin arranges a date with The Fairy. Slevin is approached by Detective Brikowski (Stanley Tucci), who is investigating The Boss and The Rabbi; the detective hassles him again later; Slevin reveals his full name. Slevin arrives at The Fairy’s apartment and fatally shoots him, only for Goodkat to appear; rather than shoot Slevin, however, he finishes The Fairy, who pulls out a gun, revealing Slevin and Goodkat are affiliated. Slevin then brings the bus terminal victim’s body, revealed to be Nick Fisher, into the apartment while Goodkat kills The Fairy’s bodyguards. Together they blow up the apartment and the bodies, faking Slevin’s death in the process. Goodkat and Slevin kidnap The Boss and The Rabbi, with both awakening restrained in The Boss’s penthouse. Slevin appears and explains the overarching twist: Slevin is Henry, the son of the ill-fated Max, and the mobsters who killed Max were The Boss and The Rabbi. Goodkat is revealed as the assassin hired to kill young Henry, but after an attack of conscience took him in and raised him instead.
Twenty years later, Goodkat and Slevin killed The Boss’ son and both mobsters’ bookies, stealing the bookies’ ledgers in the process; after finding Nick Fisher owed a great deal of money to both sides, they killed him and stole his identity. As gang warfare loomed, both mobsters went to Goodkat, who agreed to both kill and protect The Fairy on the condition they call in Nick’s debts, granting Slevin and Goodkat unhindered access to the heavily guarded mobsters and Nick Fisher as an ally respectively. After revealing his plan, Slevin suffocates The Rabbi and The Boss by taping plastic bags over their heads, killing them the same way they killed his father. Since Lindsey earlier photographed Goodkat for Slevin, Goodkat shoots her to protect his identity. Finally, it is revealed that Detective Brikowski killed Slevin’s mother when his own gambling debts were called in by the mobsters; Slevin kills Brikowski as the pseudonym “Slevin Kelevra” is explained: “Lucky Number Slevin” was the horse his father had bet on, and “Kelevra” is Hebrew for “bad dog,” mirroring Goodkat’s name.
Sometime later at the bus terminal, Slevin is met by Lindsey, and it is revealed that Slevin, aware of Goodkat’s intentions, explained his true identity to her and helped fake her death. Goodkat appears, aware of the trickery; since Goodkat spared Slevin as a boy, he sympathizes and agrees to let her live. The film closes with a flashback to Goodkat deciding not to kill Henry; “Kansas City Shuffle” by Bennie Moten (Performed by J. Ralph) starts playing on the radio as they drive away together.
A clever film with a twist at the end. I enjoyed it and so might you if you like thrillers with a twist at the end. An all star cast adds to the pleasure.

REVIEW: HEROES – SEASON 3

Starring

Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us)
Adrian Pasdar (Supergirl)
Jack Coleman (Spawn)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and The Beast)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Zachary Quinto (Star Trek)
Hayden Panettiere (Nashville)
James Kyson Lee (Sleepy Hollow)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Ali Larter (Final Destination)
Dania Ramirez (Mojave)

Sendhil Ramamurthy in Heroes (2006)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Brea Grant (Halloween II)
Ashley Crow (Minority Report)
Željko Ivanek (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Jamie Hector (All Eyez on Me)
Ntare Mwine (Treme)
Blake Shields (The Hollow)
Robert Forster (Automata)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Lost)
Kristen Bell (The Good Place)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange)
Alan Blumenfeld (Pathology)
George Takei (Star Trek: TOS)
Dan Byrd (28 Days)
Francis Capra (Veronica Mars)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wofe and Kids)
Demetrius Grosse (The Rookie)
Lisa Lackey (Planet of The Apes)
Eric Roberts (The Finder)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)
Bruce Boxleitner (Supergirl)
Loren Lester (Red Eye)
Jessalyn Gilsig (Nip/Tuck)
David Anders (Izombie)
William Katt (Carrie)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Breckin Meyer (Garfield)
Taylor Cole (The Originals)
Aarti Mann (The BIg Bang Theory)
Justin Baldoni (Jane The Virgin)
John Glover (Smallville)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Kevin Alejandro (Arrow)
Kenneth Choi (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Diana Scarwid (Psycho III)
Ravi Kapoor (Bones)
Edwin Hodge (Red Dawn)
Alexa Nikolas (Red State)
Cam Clarke (The Lion Guard)
Ellen Greene (Little Shop of Horrors)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Michael B. Silver (Jason Goes To Hell)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)

Hayden Panettiere and Milo Ventimiglia in Heroes (2006)I love the concept of a weekly show about people dealing with superpowers and an evil government agency coming to get them. I also really like that it doesn’t shy away from the violence, especially when it comes to the ruthless power collecting ultimate bad guy (who at times shows his good side) Sylar. What I don’t like is how scattered and uneven this show has become. I dare anyone to try and make sense out of the first half of the season titled “Villains”. The only crime committed was a lack of concern for a coherent plot. Luckily the second half of the season “Fugitives” got the show focused in and back on track. More after the jump…Masi Oka, James Kyson, and Brea Grant in Heroes (2006)The first half of the season “Villains” was advertised with big campaigns claiming that this season “Heroes will battle Villains.” I was super stoked because the way my mind pictured the structure of the show was switching the narrative focus over to the villains and showing the events through their perspective making all the good guys side characters. I realize this sounds a bit ambitious, but coming off of a lackluster sophomore season I thought the creators were pulling out all the stops. This is not what happened. Instead what came out of the first half was a jumbled, messy plot that had moments of brilliance mixed in with a heavy dose of confusion. I still was thoroughly entertained, but I’m an easy sell when it comes to anything comic book oriented.Zachary Quinto in Heroes (2006)The plot of “Villains” centers around the revelation that Arthur Petrelli is in fact alive and planning some dastardly things at Pinhearst, in his search for the catalyst (the nebulous source that gave all these characters powers). If Arthur can get his hands on the formula then he can create a whole slew of super humans to do his bidding. This is a pretty cool plot, especially when a ton of super baddies are released from Level 5 during a crisis leading to HRG and Sylar teaming up to round them up. Sylar has a lot of moral issues this season as he grapples with his true nature, is he a monster or was he programmed by the Company to be this way?Jack Coleman in Heroes (2006)There are some really fun things he gets to do this season, especially the buddy cop-esque episode where he and HRG are trying to stop a bank robbery being held up by super villains. The plot gets confusing when time travel keeps being thrown in and the actual source of the catalyst was jumbled for me. Is it Claire or Hiro’s mother or both or just a formula? I have no idea. There’s also a two-part episode where another eclipse happens and they all lose their powers. I understand why in the dramatic arc of the story this was put in, but it’s not fun to watch superheroes without powers and these two episodes dragged a bit. I liked the initial idea and towards the end the showdown with Arthur and the Petrelli boys is great, but this half loses steam here and there with just too many ideas on the table.Now comes the second half of the season “Fugitives,” which I thought was awesome! Nathan outs himself to the President as being a person with abilities and is then put in charge of rounding up all people like him in the interest of Homeland Security. Nathan’s motives are a bit sketchy, has he turned to the Dark Side or is this all a way to help Claire, or is it a way to work the system from the inside and eventually destroy it? I’m not telling, but there are a decent number of twists throughout. The reason this half of the season works so much better is because there is a clear through-line and the story is way more focused. Basically it’s the U.S. government versus everyone with abilities, as villains team with heroes and the lines of good and bad are blurred to fight a bigger enemy that threatens all their existence. It’s also a classic comic book plot that works well for a reason, because it seems realistic that this is how our government would react if living Weapons of Mass Destruction started popping up all over the country.Hayden Panettiere, James Kyson, and Brea Grant in Heroes (2006)“Fugitives” has a clear bad guy in the ruthless Agent Danko, who will stop at nothing to detain and sometimes simply destroy anyone with abilities. HRG and Angela start playing both sides and their characters have some great moments. Sylar takes a trip down memory lane to try and find out who his real parents are and some interesting new developments come up leading him down a darker path then before. And Sylar acquires his best power yet, when he kills a shape-shifter, could he be any more unstoppable? While Nathan grapples with the morals of the decisions he’s made and how to fix this manhunt he’s started. Not to mention a great deal is revealed when the gang of heroes goes to Coyote Sands to find out about a mysterious project called “Icarus” which turns out to be a concentration camp for people with abilities where some pretty bad stuff went down. Lots of action, suspense, twists, and a more focused plot makes “Fugitives” a bad ass return to form for a series that has had some ups and downs, but is still dear to my nerdcore heart.Hayden Panettiere, Masi Oka, and James Kyson in Heroes (2006)The first half of season three meandered a bit, but was still fun to watch. The second half reminded me why I started watching the show in the first place and gives a great deal of hope for season four, especially with the cliffhanger we were left with at the end of “Fugitives.” Let’s just say it won’t be politics as usual this coming season…

 

REVIEW: CHARLIE’S ANGELS 2: FULL THROTTLE

CAST

Cameron Diaz (Bad teacher)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Lucy Liu (Kill BIll)
Bernie Mac (Bad Santa)
Crispin Glover (Alice In Wonderland)
Justin Theroux (American Psycho)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Demi Moore (G.I. Jane)
Rodrigo Santoro (300)
Shia LaBeouf (Transformers)
Matt LeBlanc (Friends)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
John Cleese (Rat Race)
Robert Forster (Dragon wars)
Eve (XXX)
Pink (Rollerball)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Steve Hytner (The Prophecy)
John Forsythe (Scrooged)
Ashley Olsen (Full House)
Mary-Kate Olsen (Full House)
Jaclyn Smith (The Bourne Identity TV)
Bruce Willis (Die Hard)
Shanti Lowry (Family Time)

Cameron Diaz in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003)After rescuing U.S. Marshal Ray Carter (Robert Patrick) in Mongolia, the Angels: Natalie Cook (Cameron Diaz) Dylan Sanders (Drew Barrymore) and Alex Munday (Lucy Liu) together with John Bosley’s adoptive brother Jimmy Bosley (Bernie Mac) are sent to recover H.A.L.O. (Hidden Alias List Operation) titanium rings stolen from the United States Department of Justice which can display the people listed in the witness protection program. DOJ official William Rose Bailey (Bruce Willis) and a protected witness, Alan Caulfield (Eric Bogosian) are among those killed. At Caulfield’s house in San Bernardino, the Angels track his assassin Randy Emmers (Rodrigo Santoro) to a beach where they meet with former Angel Madison Lee (Demi Moore). During the Coal Bowl motorcycle race, Emmers targets another witness named Max Petroni (Shia LaBeouf), but is killed by the Thin Man (Crispin Glover). Inside Emmers’ pocket, the Angels discover the photos of Caulfield, Max, and, surprisingly, Dylan, under her birth name, Helen Zaas.Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003)Dylan reveals that she is a protected witness after sending her former boyfriend, Irish mob leader Seamus O’Grady (Justin Theroux) to prison. O’Grady has since targeted those who wronged him, including Dylan and Max, whose parents O’Grady killed. Max is sent to the home of Bosley’s mother (Ja’net Dubois) for his protection. At a monastery, the Angels learn about the Thin Man’s past from the Mother Superior (Carrie Fisher), who reveals his name, Anthony. Afterward, the Angels track O’Grady’s mob at San Pedro and manage to get the rings, but O’Grady threatens Dylan with the murder of everyone she loves.Cameron Diaz and Demi Moore in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003)While Natalie attends her boyfriend, Peter Kominsky (Luke Wilson)’s high school reunion at Hermosa Beach and Alex returns home to find her action star boyfriend-under-timeout, Jason Gibbons (Matt LeBlanc) telling her awestruck father (John Cleese) about her exploits, Dylan leaves the Angels and heads to Mexico. When Natalie, Bosley and Alex notices her letter, they read her reasons for leaving them. While Alex is upset by this, Natalie understands why Dylan led to protect them. When she asks about O’Grady’s break out from jail, Charlie reveals someone had him released on good behavior. While in Mexico keeping a low profile, Dylan is convinced to return after seeing an apparition of former Angel Kelly Garrett (Jaclyn Smith).Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003)Natalie and Alex deduce that Carter is a part of O’Grady’s scheme after seeing him return Bosley’s keys without any pain, since he had earlier claimed to have broken his ribs, which is now proved to have been a lie. Following him, the two witness him being shot to death by Madison, the true mastermind behind all of this. Though Dylan arrives to back the group, the Angels are shot by Madison, who takes the rings, though they survive by having worn Kevlar vests beforehand. At the base, Charlie through the speakers reprimands Madison for what she’s done. He confronts her for endangering the lives of her former teammates.Lucy Liu in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003)By the time that he had rescued them, the girls were in critical condition and Madison was kicked out of the Angels for it. Madison responds by pulling out her gold guns and shooting the speaker. The Angels realize that Madison, with the protection of O’Grady, is going to sell the rings to the Antonioni Crime Family, the Tanaka Yakuza, and the Diablo Cartel at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where Jason’s film’s premiere is about to commence. The Angels set the three groups up to be arrested by the FBI instead, while they confront Madison and O’Grady. Anthony comes to the Angels’ aid, where it’s revealed he’s in love with Dylan and is doing his part to protect her. O’Grady kills Anthony, but Dylan manages to throw him down to his death. The Angels fight Madison all the way to an abandoned theater, where they kick her to a gas-filling chamber, with her dooming herself by shooting her bullets, exploding it.The Angels attend the premiere where they learn that Mama Bosley is adopting Max. Peter postpones his engagement with Natalie by buying for them a puppy named Spike while Alex terminates her timeout with Jason. The Angels celebrate their victory together with Bosley.Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003)Overall, this is actually a very easy movie to watch. The laughs will come not only from the comedic parts but also from the dorky action. If your looking for a hip, comedy flick come see Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.

REVIEW: GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST

CAST

Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar)
Emma Stone (Birdman)
Michael Douglas (Ant-Man)
Breckin Meyer (Garfield)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)
Robert Forster (Dragon Wars)
Anne Archer (Patriot Games)
Daniel Sunjata (The Dark Knight Rises)
Noureen DeWulf (Anger Management)
Amanda Walsh (Disturbia)
Christina Milian (Be Cool)
Logan Miller (Love, Simon)

Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey) is a famous photographer and confirmed womanizer. He takes a break from his playboy lifestyle to attend his brother’s (Paul) wedding, where he becomes reacquainted with Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner), Connor’s childhood friend and the only girl who’s ever captured his heart. After Connor delivers a drunken speech at the rehearsal dinner where he says that love isn’t real, he’s met in the bathroom by the ghost of his uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), a roué who taught Connor everything he knows about seducing women. Wayne informs Connor that, over the course of the evening, he will be visited by three ghosts who will lead him through his romantic past, present, and future.The first ghost is the “Ghost of Girlfriends Past” in the form of Allison Vandermeersh (Emma Stone), one of his high school girlfriends and his first lover. Together, they revisit scenes from his past, focusing on his relationship with Jenny. In 1982, Connor and Jenny were very close as children; she gave him his first instant camera which he used to take her picture, promising to keep it forever. When Connor’s parents died in a car accident, Jenny consoles Connor throughout the years without them, as she, his brother Paul and his uncle Wayne were all he had left. By middle school, the two were on the verge of romance, but Connor’s hesitation at asking her for a dance caused Jenny to dance with and kiss another boy. Heartbroken, Connor was told by Wayne that he must avoid romance at all costs in order not to feel such pain again. For the next two years, Wayne schooled Connor in the art of seduction. When he next saw Jenny, at a high school party, Connor ignored her and kissed another girl named Allison, whom he had his first sexual encounter with. Several years later, as adults, Connor and Jenny rekindled their romance, but Jenny forced him to woo her for several weeks in an attempt to rid him of his womanizing ways. After they finally did have sex, Connor falls in love with her, but when he lies in bed with her to fall asleep beside her, he remembers his uncle Wayne’s warnings about sleeping and spooning with the opposite sex after a night of passion. Realizing this, he panics, running out on her so he won’t be hurt. The next morning, Jenny wakes up alone and broken-hearted. His relationships thereafter consisted of a series of very short flings.Awakening back in the Mead mansion in the present, Connor accidentally destroys Paul and Sandra’s (his bride-to-be) wedding cake and unsuccessfully attempts to reconcile with Jenny. After his failed attempt, Connor returns to his uncle Wayne’s room and finds another woman awaiting him in his bed and, fearing that this woman was the next “Ghost” to accompany him on his journey to show him how he became “himself”, panics and runs out of his room, though it’s clear after he leaves that the woman in the bed awaiting him is actually one of the bridesmaids hoping to have sex with him. As he storms out of the house, he is confronted by the “Ghost of Girlfriends Present” in the form of his assistant Melanie (Noureen DeWulf), the only constant female figure in his life. With her, he sees that in his absence the other wedding guests make fun of him and his shallow lifestyle. Paul stands up for his brother, recalling that Connor helped raise him after their parents’ death, and expresses his hope that Connor will someday change for the better. As the bridemaids discusse their love lives, one of them makes a remark about Jenny being emotionally twisted beyond recognition by Connor to the point that she’s unable to move on to a new relationship. Jenny hears this and though Sandra tries to comfort her, Jenny leaves the room hurt and in tears. Melanie guides Connor to the kitchen to show him a crying Jenny as she tries to repair Paul and Sandra’s wedding cake. Connor also sees that Jenny is being comforted by Brad (Daniel Sunjata), and is upset that his own actions and attitude are bringing the two closer. He is further upset to discover that Melanie and the three women whom he previously broke up with by conference call are bonding over his disregard for their feelings.Returning to the house, Connor finds Sandra furious at learning that Paul had slept with one of her bridesmaids very early in their relationship, information that Connor had let slip earlier in the evening. Connor attempts to mend the situation but only makes things worse, and Paul tells him to leave. On his way out, he is confronted by the “Ghost of Girlfriends Future” (Olga Maliouk), who takes him forward in time to see that Jenny marries Brad while Paul remains alone. Further in the future, Paul is the only mourner at Connor’s funeral. Wayne appears and tells Connor that this is his future if he continues on the same path, pushing him into the grave to be buried by his many ex-girlfriends.Connor awakens in the Mead home and learns that Sandra has called off the wedding and is on her way to the airport. He intercepts the bridal party and convinces Sandra to forgive Paul by sharing lessons learned from his own mistakes, particularly that the pain of heartbreak is outweighed by the regret of never risking one’s heart in the first place, something he admits to always regretting having done. Connor helps Jenny to restart the wedding, which he photographs, and afterwards he reconciles with Jenny by showing her the picture he still carries of her as a child and by promising to always be there when she wakes up. The two kiss and dance in the snow to the same song Connor once hesitated to ask her to dance to.Meanwhile, Wayne tries to hit on the ghost of girlfriends future, but she magically vanishes after throwing a drink in his face. Then he tries to hit on the ghost of girlfriends present, but Melanie informs Wayne she is one of the attendees and vanishes. Melanie and Brad start talking and then dancing. Wayne is left with the ghost of girlfriends past, Allison, who is not interested since she is only 16. Wayne says that they are ghosts and therefore ageless.The film started out a little slowly but began to move well. I thought that there was really good chemistry between the two main characters. I liked the film for its well conveyed message about commitment and what it means to care for people. In order to receive you need to give and vice versa. The film used Dickens as a clever vehicle for its plot and it worked really well.

REVIEW: CONFIDENCE

CAST

Edward Burns (One Missed Call)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Andy Garcia (The Unsaid)
Morris Chesnut (Kick-Ass 2)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Leland Orser (Daredevil)
Robert Forster (Dragon Wars)
Louis Lombardi (24)
Brian Van Holt (House of Wax)
Donal Logue (Gotham)
Luis Guzman (Waiting)
Tommy Lister (The Dark Knight)
Abdoulaye NGom (My Name Is Earl)
Robert Pine (Jobs)

An electric con artist caper that was completely overlooked at the box office (despite well-done trailers and posters), “Confidence” isn’t anything groundbreaking in the genre, but it’s still an intelligent picture that’s a lot better than most of what’s in theaters today. The latest from “Glengarry Glen Ross” director James Foley, “Confidence” stars Ed Burns (“Life or Something Like It”), as Jake Vig, a professional con artist whose team has been working Los Angeles. His problem: the latest scam that took money from an accountant also took money from the accountant’s client: a mob boss called “The King” (Dustin Hoffman).

In order to try and pay back the King, Jake and his team – including a new addition, Lily (Rachel Weisz) – attempt to scam a mob-connected banker named Morgan Price (Robert Forster). Problems – of course – happen: an FBI agent named Gunther (Andy Garcia) arrives and starts rounding up those in the know in order to try and catch Jake in the act. There’s also Price’s lieutenant Travis (Morris Chestnut) to worry about. Of course, double and triple crosses ensueRachel Weisz in Confidence (2003)“Confidence” isn’t as much about the plot as the parts and pieces of the thing. Juan Ruiz Anchia’s cinematography is ridiculously beautiful, with deeply saturated neon tones washing over the night streets and rich, crisp colors and interesting, unusual perspectives during the daylight scenes. Unusual flash-forwards and talking to the audience on occasion in the picture work surprisingly well, too; the film’s editing, pacing and atmosphere all click into place perfectly and it proceeds with confidence. Hoffman’s high-speed performance is superb,  it’s impressive that he can make himself convincingly intimidating. The attractive Weisz also has good chemistry with Burns. There’s also good supporting efforts from Paul Giamatti, Andy Garcia and others. They all handle Doug Jung’s rather Mamet-esque dialogue and characters well.Dustin Hoffman and Rachel Weisz in Confidence (2003)Again, “Confidence” isn’t anything new at its core, but it’s one of those movies where the plot isn’t original, but everything around it clicks into place so well that the movie becomes an awfully fun ride anyways.

REVIEW: DRAGON WARS

 

CAST

Jason Behr (Roswell)
Amanda Brooks (Flightplan)
Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)
Craig Robinson (This Is The End)
Aimee Garcia (Robocop 2014)
Chris Mulkey (Whiplash)
Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly)
Holmes Osborne (Donnie Darko)
Matthias Hues (Star Trek VI)
Derek Mears (Friday The 13th 2009)
Geoff Pierson (Dexter)

Jason Behr and Amanda Brooks in D-War (2007)

Here in the UK it is called DRAGON WARS, although confusingly it is called D-WAR in North America and WAR OF THE DRAGONS in the Far East.


The plot, as you may have guessed by now concerns Dragons, although you don’t actually see a “proper” one until the final few minutes of the film. The Blu-Ray casing boasts that it cost over $75 million to make, although a few minutes watching confirmed my suspicions that a very large proportion of this went on the large quantities of CGI used with whatever pocket change was left over going on the actors.

Jason Behr in D-War (2007)
Basically the plot is as follows. In order for a wyrm to become a dragon, it first has to be chosen by heaven then wait for a chosen girl to become 20 so her lifeforce can merge with it. This is great for the dragon, but not so great for the girl who then as far as I can see dies.


As is revealed in a flashback within a flashback the last time this could occur was 500 years ago, but followers of a bad wyrm attack the village where she lives to try and grab her first. Oddly they only check for the woman after nearly wiping the village from the surface of the earth, obviously not thinking that the chosen one is just as likely to get flattened by a giant fireball from the skies as anyone else.  Although she is captured, she and her lover take their own lives before she can give her life force to anyone, and so the stage is set for a rematch 500 years later in what is presumably Los Angeles. Things start ominously with a giant snake munching down elephants at the local zoo, then it appears elsewhere in the city (how does it get around without being seen?) Then a man dressed a bit like Shredder in TMNT attacks Sarah after she is rescued by the hero from the hospital where she has been incarcerated but fails in his attempt when he is hit by not one but two automobiles in what is one of the films funniest moments.


Undeterred by this failure, he raises an army of obese lizard things with missile launchers strapped to their backs and of course many smaller dragons, which appear to be Raptors with wings and finally the bit that the entire audience has been waiting for begins – the US Army Vs The Dragon Ninjas.Robert Forster in D-War (2007)The computer-generated birds breathe fire on people. The computer generated helicopters empty round after round on the relentless computer generated snake. The snake lunges at computer generated cars and slings them hundreds of feet. The cameras whoosh between skyscrapers and plummet with burning helicopters and dying flying raptor-thingies, and the audience can relax and realise that they are finally getting their money’s worth. If only the quality of the CGI was matched by the real life extras which are surely the worst that I have come across in a modern film. They scream, run waving their hands above their heads and in general look very pleased to be on the big screen. Equally poor is the script and continuity, neither of which make any sense as the plot leaps from one scene to the other and plotholes big enough to swallow several dragons whole – the FBI manage to find the girl within a few minutes of entering the city and its crowds of fleeing citizens and the evil snake which may look impressive but passes up several easy opportunities to eat the heroine and achieve immortality. Observant viewers may notice that the same helicopter pilot appears to die several times…


The ending is pretty bizarre, the means by which the main bad guy being defeated being down to his stabbing the hero in the relatively small mystic pendant hanging round his neck as opposed to anywhere else in his body and ends pretty suddenly leaving the audience both baffled and slightly unsatisfied.