REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 19-22

 

CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner  (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report)
Lionel Richie (Pariah)
Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Matt Dillon (Crash)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)
Ted Nugent (Private Parts)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Jack Black (King Kong)
Kelsey Grammer (X-men: The Last Stand)
John Mahoney (Frasier)
David Hyde Pierce (Hellboy)
Jon Stewart (The Faculty)
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (Spy Hard)
Kurt Loder (Book of Shadows)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Beverly D’Angelo (American History X)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
John C. Reilly (Step Brothers)
Glenn Close (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2)
Lance Armstrong (The Armstrong Lie)
Drew Carey (Jack and Jill)
Robert Forster (Heroes)
Denis Leary (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Scott Thompson (Hannibal)
Marcia Wallace (Full House)
Shohreh Aghdashloo (The Promise)
Emily Blunt (The Girl On the Train)
Ed Begley Jr. (Veronica Mars)
Colm Meaney (Get Him To The Greek)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Ellen Page (Juno)
Jodie Foster (The Silence of The Lambs)
Seth Rogen (Knocked Up)
Jonah Hill (21 Jump Street)
Neve Campbell (Scream)
Kim Cattrall (Big Trouble In Little China)
Eartha Kitt (60s Batman)
Sarah Silverman (School of Rock)
Angela Bassett (Alias)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Bruno)
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds)
Kevin Michael Richardson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Jane Kaczmarek (Pleasentville)
Eddie Izzard (Hannibal)
Simon Cowell (Scary Movie 3)
Ellen DeGeneres (EDtv)
Jermaine Clement (Legion)
Stephen Hawkings (The Big Bang Theory)
Lea Michele (Scream Queens)
Corey Monteith (Glee)
Amber Riley (The Wiz Live)
Hugh Laurie (Tomorrowland)
Daniel Radcliffe (Horns)
Rachel Weisz (Runawey Jury)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Katy Perry (The Smurfs)
Martha Stewart (2 Broke Girls)
Jon Hamm (Mad M
Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother)
Kristen Wiig (Paul)
Garry Marshall (Life After Beth)
Halle Berry (X-Men)
J.B. Smoove (Date Night)
Ricky Gervais (Ghost Town)
Russell Brand (Get Him To the Greek)
Tommy Chong (Evil Bong)
Cheech Marin (Machete)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Martin Landau (Ed Wood)
Ricky Jay (Flashforward)
Penn & Teller (Sabrina: TTW)
Kristen Schaal (Bob’s Burgers)

The season has some more great episodes, that shows the Simpsons is still a huge juggernaut of a show.

SEASON 19 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

19.1) HE LOVES TO FLY AND HE D’OHS

After Homer saves Mr. Burns from drowning, Mr. Burns rewards him with a dinner and a flight on his corporate jet, making Homer disappointed that he will never be rich or successful enough to enjoy the high life.19.2) THE HOMER OF SEVILLE

A freak accident turns Homer into an opera singer (which can only be achieved if he lies down) and he becomes the toast of Springfield’s cultural elite — and the target of a crazed, motorcycle-riding female fan who blackmails him into becoming his manager.19.3) MIDNIGHT TOWBOY

Homer befriends a tow-truck driver named Louie, who shows Homer what it is like to tow vehicles for a living. Meanwhile, Marge puts Maggie in a special school to help babies become independent, but when the lessons work too well, Marge finds herself tearfully bonding with a sack of potatoes.19.4) I DON’T WANNA WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Marge breaks her promise to visit a disturbed bank robber in prison, and ends up getting kidnapped by him19.7) HUSBANDS AND KNIVES

The Comic Book Guy’s Android Dungeon faces competition with “Coolsville Comics ‘n Toys,” a new comic book store owned by a nicer, more personable store owner named Milo. Meanwhile, Marge creates a gym for the average woman, and a self-conscious Homer resorts to plastic surgery after being told that Marge’s success will lead to her divorcing Homer and getting a younger, handsomer trophy husband.19.8) FUNERAL FOR A FIEND

A night at a rib restaurant turns into yet another plot for Sideshow Bob to kill The Simpson family, but the whole scheme turns into a family affair when Bart kills his mortal enemy by throwing away his nitroglycerine (which Sideshow Bob needs for his heart) and the rest of the Terwiligers go after Bart for killing Bob.19.10) E PLURIBUS WIGGUM

Thanks to Homer’s latest blunder (blowing up every fast-food restaurant in the city), Springfield moves up election day and becomes the first city in the nation to hold primary elections. However, all the media attention and similar-sounding politicians wear on the townspeople’s nerves, so they elect Ralph Wiggum to be the 2008 Presidential candidate as a joke — until Ralph reveals that he wants to be President, so he can bring peace in these divided times.19.13) THE DEBARTED

Bart begins to suspect a rat when all of his pranks backfire — and might have something to do with his new friend, Donny. Meanwhile, Homer grows attached to his rental car, which he gets to drive for a week while his old car gets repaired.Dial_N_for_Nerder19.14) DIAL “N” FOR NERDER

Bart and Lisa’s prank on Martin Prince goes too far and they worry that they may be implicated in his death by the police (and Nelson, who becomes an amateur sleuth). Meanwhile, Marge calls upon the producer of a reality show that specializes in tracking down cheating couples when she begins to suspect that Homer may be cheating…on his diet.19.15) SMOKE ON THE DAUGHTER

Lisa is accepted into a ballet school run by jazz dancer Chazz Busby, and discovers that her dancing improves whenever she is around cigarette smoke. Meanwhile, Homer shows Bart his secret beef jerky project, which has been taken over by raccoonspapa_dont_leach19.16) PAPA DON’T LEECH

When Mayor Quimby launches a campaign to shake down anyone who has not paid taxes in years, Lurleen Lumpkin (the country singer who tried to seduce Homer from the season three episode “Colonel Homer”) hides out at the Simpson house, which does not sit well with Marge (who still cannot forgive her for almost stealing her husband).19.17) APOCALYPSE COW

Bart joins the 4-H Club and befriends a cow named Lou, but when Lou is set to be sent to slaughter, Bart gives Lou to a country girl named Mary — whom he now must marry after finding out that giving a cow to a country girl is considered a marriage proposal in hillbilly tradition.19.19) MONA LEAVES-A

Mona Simpson, Homer’s ’60s radical mother, returns, vowing that her days of protesting are over, but Homer will not accept. Things get worse when Mona dies and her last wishes are to have her ashes spread over the mountains, which turns out to be a plot in stopping a nuclear disaster.

Another series of everyone’s favourite family, another collection of cracking episodes, and with this being the 20th anniversary season there are some classic episodes that show just why the series had staying power.  

SEASON 20 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

20.1) SEX, PIES AND IDIOT SCRAPES

After serving a jail sentence for starting a brawl at an alcohol-free St. Patrick’s Day parade, Homer becomes a bounty hunter and tags Flanders along for the ride. Meanwhile, an Irish man gives Marge a job at his bakery, which Marge soon discovers specializes in sexually suggestive pastries.20.2) DOUBLE, DOUBLE BOY IN TROUBLE

Bart meets Simon Woosterfield, a boy who looks exactly like him and is a member of Springfield’s richest family. As a prank, the two decide to switch places, but the joke is on Bart when he discovers that Simon is being targeted for murder by his own siblings.20.6) HOMER AND LISA EXCHANGE CROSS WORDS

Lisa becomes obsessed with crossword puzzles and enters a contest, where Homer places bets against his daughter in order to earn money lost from his couples break-up business.20.7) MYPODS AND BROOMSTICKS

Bart makes friends with a Muslim boy named Bashir and his family, but Homer fears the family may be terrorists because of their religion. Meanwhile, Lisa is given a MyPod and becomes addicted to downloading songs on it20.9) LISA THE DRAMA QUEEN

Lisa meets a new girl named Juliet and helps her write stories about a fantasy world called Equalia, but spending too much time with Juliet (and the story) begins to warp Lisa’s sense of reality.20.10) TAKE MY LIFE PLEASE

After an old high school rival named Vance is honored at on the Springfield Wall of Fame, Homer becomes depressed when he discovers that Principal Dondelinger rigged the student council election so Vance would win. While at an Italian restaurant, a mysterious chef shows Homer how his life would have turned out had he actually won.20.11) HOW THE TEST WAS WON

Bart gets a perfect score on Springfield Elementary’s latest standardized test, leaving Lisa worried that Bart may be smarter than she when Bart is rewarded with a field trip — that turns out to be an elaborate trick into getting the low-testing students (and Principal Skinner) out of the way. Meanwhile, Homer forgets to mail off his insurance payment and must keep himself and the house accident-free until his coverage can be reinstated at 3:00pm.20.12) NO LOAN AGAIN, NATURALLY

The Simpsons get into a mortgage crisis of their own when Homer cannot afford to pay off the money he borrows from his home equity loan (so he can finane his extravagant Mardi Gras parties) and the Simpsons sell their home to Ned Flanders.20.13) GONE MAGGIE GONE

Homer leaves Maggie on the doorstep of a convent, setting off a Da Vinci Code-style chain of events involving Freemasons and the hunt for a rare jewel. Meanwhile, Marge goes blind after viewing an eclipse without an eclipse shoe box viewer and Homer tries to cover up Maggie’s disappearance.20.15) WEDDING FOR DISASTER

When Reverend Lovejoy reveals to Homer and Marge that they are not legally married, Homer and Marge decide to have another wedding to legitimize their union once and for all. But when Marge begins acting like a bridezilla and Homer mysteriously disappears, it is up to Bart and Lisa to save the day.20.16) EENY TEENY MAYA MOE

Moe once again searches for love and falls for a woman named Maya over the Internet. However, when Moe meets Maya face-to-face, he discovers it is more like face-to-knee, as Maya is only three feet tall. Meanwhile, Maggie is put in a playground full of hostile babies.

20.17) THE GOOD, THE SAD AND THE DRUGLY

Bart sets up Milhouse to take the fall for a prank the two of them pulled, and the duo’s friendship becomes strained when Bart falls for a charitable girl named Jenny. Meanwhile, Lisa becomes insane and depressed after reading Internet articles predicting that Springfield will be a barren wasteland in fifty years, and is given anti-depressants that turn her into a mindless zombie.20.19) WAVERLY HILLS, 9-0-2-1-D’OH

While desperately searching for a bathroom during her morning jog, Marge discovers how low-rent Springfield Elementary School really is and moves Bart and Lisa to Waverly Hills Elementary by having Homer rent an apartment there so the city inspector of Waverly Hills does not get suspicious. Meanwhile, Bart helps Lisa become popular by telling others that Lisa is friends with a teenage pop star named Alaska Nebraska.20.21) COMING TO HOMERICA

The citizens of Ogdenville swarm into Springfield in search of work after their local economy plummets, but when the Ogdenvillians’ Norwegian culture begins rubbing off on others, Mayor Quimby hires citizens to act as border patrol.21The argument will rage long after any Simpson season has aired  about when exactly America’s finest television animated export actually peaked. Some arguably, with genuine gusto. But even after 21 seasons the show still was having an impact and still being very successful.

SEASON 21 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

21.1) HOMER THE WHOPPER

Comic Book Guy creates a new superhero called Everyman who takes powers from other superheroes. Homer is cast as the lead in the film adaptation. To get Homer into shape, the movie studio hires a celebrity fitness trainer, Lyle McCarthy to help him. Homer gets into great shape but his life falls apart when his fitness trainer quits and the movie bombs at the box office.21.2) BART GETS A Z

Mrs. Krabappel is fired for drinking alcohol on the job (thanks to kids in her class spiking her coffee as revenge for confiscating their cell phones and BlackBerrys) and replaced with a hip, young teacher named Zachary Vaughn.21.3) THE GREAT WIFE HOPE

When the men and boys of Springfield become obsessed with Ultimate Fighting, Marge leads a protest against it when she catches Bart fighting in school — and ends up fighting the head of the Ultimate Fighting syndicate in order to have it banned.21.5) THE DEVIL WEARS NADA

Marge becomes a sex symbol after pin-up pictures of her appear on a calendar, which embarrasses Bart and stirs lust in every man in Springfield — including Ned Flanders. Meanwhile, Carl Carlson is chosen as the Springfield Nuclear Plant’s newest supervisor, and Homer gets hired as Carl’s assistant.21.6) PRANK AND GREENS

Bart tracks down an immature man named Andy Hamilton who was once hailed Springfield Elementary’s best prankster, and realizes the man who was once Springfield Elementary’s best prankster has no direction in his life. Meanwhile, Marge is chastised by the other mothers in her social circle for not serving healthy snacks.21.7) REDNECKS AND BROOMSTICKS

Lisa befriends three practicing Wiccans and must save them from being persecuted for their beliefs. Meanwhile, Homer starts hanging out with Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel after discovering that Cletus and his friends make moonshine.21.10) ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPRINGFIELD

The Krusty the Clown Show is once again retooled. This time, in a bid to get girls to watch the show, a princess character named Penelope is hired as Krusty’s latest sidekick, whom Krusty hates at first — until Princess Penelope reveals that she is Krusty’s biggest fan. Meanwhile, a corporate recruiter persuades Homer, Lenny, and Carl to work for a nuclear plant in Capital City, after Mr. Burns announces a moratorium on free doughnuts due to budget cuts.21.12) BOY MEETS CURL

The Simpsons head to the 2010 Winter Olympics where Marge and Homer compete as part of a mixed curling team and Lisa becomes addicted to collecting Olympic pins.21.15) STEALING FIRST BASE

When Mrs. Krabappel takes an extended absence her students join with the other fourth grade class where Bart falls for a girl named Nikki, who alternates between loving him and hating him. The two are seen kissing which leads to a public display of affection ban in the school. Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama teaches Lisa that there is no shame in being an overachieving girl, and Nelson teaches a blind boy the art of being a schoolyard bully.21.17) AMERICAN HISTORY X-CELLENT

Smithers takes over the nuclear plant after Mr. Burns is put in jail for stealing valuable art — and starts acting like his boss when Homer and his friends begin taking advantage of his kindness.21.20) TO SURVEIL WITH LOVE

Radiation seeps out of Homer’s gym bag after a bomb squad blows it up and Springfield officials decide to suspend all civil liberties. Meanwhile, Lisa dyes her hair brown after being mocked for not conforming to the stereotype of the “dumb blonde.”21.21) MOE LETTER BLUES

Homer, Reverend Lovejoy and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon receive a letter from Moe that states he will steal one of their wives. The three get together and try to remember intimate moments between Moe and their wives.21.22) THE BOB NEXT DOOR

Bart becomes convinced that their new neighbor is Sideshow Bob in disguise, but Marge does not believe him and personally takes Bart to the Springfield Maximum Security Prison to prove it.21.23) JUDGE ME TENDER

Moe discovers his talent for judging in competitions and is invited to appear on the show American Idol. Meanwhile, Homer drives Marge crazy when he starts spending too much time at home, and takes up golf as a hobby.

22Very few shows have the staying Power as the Simpsons, evenfor the casual viewer there is still plenty to love.

SEASON 22 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

22.1) ELEMENTARY SCHOOL MUSICAL

Lisa attends a performing arts camp and is inspired to “embrace her creative side” by her counselors and fellow campers. When she returns, Lisa fails to readjust to her mundane life and attempts to recapture her “inner hipster”.22.3) MONEYBART

Lisa coaches Bart’s Little League baseball team to a record winning streak by putting her book smarts in statistics and probability into play. But when Bart questions Lisa’s coaching tactics and confronts her for taking the fun out of baseball, Lisa benches him from the championship game.22.5) LISA SIMPSON, THIS ISN’T YOUR LIFE

When Lisa finds out that Marge used to be as smart as Lisa before she slacked off, Lisa decides to buckle down (including sacrificing her love of arts and music) and not make the same mistake her mother did. Meanwhile, Bart publicly humiliates Nelson and becomes the school’s new bully.22.6) THE FULL MONTY

Mr. Burns is branded a social pariah after buying vaccinations created for a fictitious illness cooked up by the media and ends up as The Simpsons’ latest houseguest after a suicide attempt.22.9) DONNIE FATSO

An FBI agent and Homer (who’s trying to work off his criminal charge for bribery) infiltrate Fat Tony’s mob, and meet Fat Tony’s cousin, Fit Tony.22.10) MOMS I’D LIKE TO FORGET

After Bart discovers a boy with a similar scar on his arm, Marge reveals that she was a part of a group called “The Cool Moms,” who used to set up playdates with their children and the two decide to reunite with their old friends.22.11) FLAMING MOE

Moe Szyslak and Waylon Smithers turn Moe’s tavern into an ultra-trendy gay bar after Smithers is rejected from Mr. Burns’s will and Moe’s business is (once again) in a slump. Meanwhile, Principal Skinner tries to date the substitute music teacher and sets her daughter up with Bart22.13) THE BLUE AND THE GRAY

Moe hires Homer to be his wingman so he can score a date, but Homer ends up being the babe magnet. Meanwhile, Marge is shocked to find that her hairdresser has been dyeing her hair blue all these years (despite that the season five episode “Secrets to a Successful Marriage” revealed that Marge “…has been as gray as a mule since she was 17” and that she regularly dyes her hair herself rather than visit a salon) and decides to go gray for a new, mature look.22.14) ANGRY DAD: THE MOVIE

Bart and Homer revisit their web series “Angry Dad” (from season 13’s “I Am Furious Yellow”) and turn it into an animated short that quickly gains an Oscar nomination, but Bart does not want Homer to get all the glory, so he sends his father away when the Simpsons go (back) to Hollywood.22.16) A MIDSUMMERS NICE DREAM

1970s stoner comedians Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin decide to break up after each of them get a new comedy partner — Homer pairs up with Cheech to become “Cheech and Chunk” while Principal Skinner joins Chong to become “Teach and Chong.” Meanwhile, Marge stages an intervention for The Crazy Cat Lady after noticing that she’s hoarding animals — which turns Marge into a hoarder herself.22.17) LOVE IS A MANY STRANGLED THING

Homer is sent to parenting therapy after tickling Bart until he wets his pants during a football game, but when the therapist is shocked to hear that Homer regularly physically abuses Bart, he puts Homer through shock treatment by having Kareem Abdul-Jabbar strangle him to make Homer feel as weak and helpless as Bart.22.19) THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF FAT TONY

Fat Tony and Selma get married, prompting Marge to worry about her sister’s safety. Meanwhile, Lisa uses Bart to find truffles.22.22) THE NED-LIEST CATCH

Ned Flanders begins dating Mrs. Krabappel after saving her from a prank gone bad — until Flanders realizes that Mrs. Krabappel has left a trail of tears behind her from the men she dated before (including Aerosmith drummer, Joey Kramer).These seasons still have comedy gold in them and still shows why the Simpsons are still going strong.

REVIEW: GROWN UPS 2

CAST

Adam Sandler (Jack & Jill)
Kevin James (Paul Blart)
Chris Rock (Rush Hour)
David Spade (8 Simple Rules)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids)
Maria Bello (Secret Window)
Nick Swardson (Just Go With It)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Tim Meadows (Son of Zorn)
Colin Quinn (Trainwreck)
Jon Lovitz (The Simpsons)
Shaquile O’Neal (Steel)
Oliver Hudson (Scream Queens)
Steve Austin (The Condemned)
Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes)
Cheri Oteri (Scary Movie)
Aly Michalka (Izombie)
Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Taran Kilam (The Heat)
Patrick Schwarzenegger (The Benchwarmers)
David Henrie (How I Met Your Mother)
Will Fortre (MacGruber)
Taylor Lautner (Twilight)

Halston Sage (The Orville)
Alexander Ludwig (Vikings)
Allen Covert (Little Nicky)
Cameron Boyce (Descendants)
China Anne McClain (Black Lightning)
Bobby Moynihan (The Secret Life of Pets)
Jimmy Tatro (American Vandal)

Three years after the events of the first film, Lenny Feder has relocated his family back to his Connecticut hometown of Stanton where he and his friends grew up. In the film’s opening in the Feder household, Lenny wakes up to find a wild deer standing next to his bed. Lenny tries to get his wife Roxanne to open the window. She wakes up in anger and startles the deer, causing it to urinate all over the bed and on Lenny. The deer runs down the hall and crashes into the bathroom where it runs into Lenny’s eldest son Greg showering scaring him and making the deer urinate on him. It turns out that Lenny’s younger daughter, Becky, left the door open overnight for any animals that wanted to come in. Lenny is able to get the deer out of the house by using Becky’s monkey doll, which rips it apart, devastating her. Greg, Keith, and Becky then go to their last day of school. Roxanne brings up the idea of their family having another baby, but Lenny says their family is perfect as is, upsetting Roxanne.At the Lamonsoff household, Eric Lamonsoff and his wife Sally are at odds with each other over how to raise their children- Sally believes in unwavering support while Eric prefers to be more practical with them, as proven for their son’s bad math skills and daughter’s rambuncious sense in fashion. At the McKenzie household, Kurt surprises his wife Deanne with a thoughtful anniversary present, only to find that she has completely forgotten. Meanwhile, Marcus Higgins is waiting at a train station after receiving a letter from an old girlfriend, who tells him that he has a seventeen-year-old son Braden. Marcus is stunned to see a tattooed, six-foot-tall boy, who turns out to be Braden. Marcus tries to be nice and takes him to school, but Braden shows an immediate dislike toward him, believing that he abandoned him and his mother.After dropping off their kids, Lenny, Eric, Kurt, and Marcus spend the day roaming around town, reminiscing about the amazing summers they used to have when they were kids and Lenny’s childhood bully, Tommy Cavanaugh. Lenny argues that he could take Tommy as a kid and he can still take him. Eventually, the friends go to see Becky’s ballet recital, where Lenny runs into Tommy, whom Lenny is visibly terrified of. Tommy threatens that if Lenny ever lies again about being able to beat him up, he’ll publicly beat Lenny up.Once the kids are out of school, Lenny, Eric, Kurt, and Marcus decide to visit the old quarry, where they used to swim as kids. However, they run into a gang of partying frat boys who force them to jump into the quarry lake naked. Braden, who was partying with the frat boys, witnesses this and goes off to vandalize their frat house. When the frat boys return, they swear to take revenge. Lenny arrives home to help Roxanne set up for a 1980s-themed party for their friends. Meanwhile, Marcus begins to bond with Braden. As all of their friends begin to arrive, Roxanne urges Lenny to consider having another baby. Lenny continues to protest the idea and is left dumbfounded when Roxanne reveals that she is pregnant. Lenny, feeling overwhelmed by this discovery, goes off to drink with his friends. The Feder’s party goes well most of the night until Tommy Cavanaugh shows up and disrespects Lenny in front of everyone, so Lenny challenges Tommy to a fight.In a surprising turn, Tommy decides to take a dive so that Lenny can look tough for his own bullied son, and the two develop a mutual respect. Soon after, the angry frat boys arrive at the house looking for retribution for the damage to their frat house. When they go on to insult the local town residents, Dickie Bailey, Lenny’s old nemesis, points out that Lenny accomplished more in his life than the entire frat put together, inciting a fight. The locals hold their own against the frat boys and eventually send them running away defeated.After all the commotion dies down, the four friends, plus Bailey, have pancakes at Eric’s mom’s house. After sharing an embarrassing photo of him and Bailey in kindergarten (they had been childhood friends before their personal lives drove them apart), Mrs. Lamonsoff reassures Lenny that a new baby is a wonderful thing and eventually he will never be able to imagine life with just three kids (and also mentions that Eric was an accidental baby because she and her husband had sex in the bathroom at a New England Patriots game). Lenny has a change of heart and returns home, telling Roxanne he is sorry and excited about the new baby, and they reconcile.Not as good as the first film but still with some funny moments. Those that enjoyed the first will enjoy this.

 

REVIEW: GROWN UPS

CAST

Adam Sandler (Jack & Jill)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Kevin James (Paul Blart)
Chris Rock (Rush Hour)
David Spade (8 Simple Rules)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)
Maria Bello (Secret Window)
Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids)
Colin Quinn (Trainwreck)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Tim Meadows (Son of Zorn)
Jamie Chung (Sucker Punch)
Norm MacDonald (Dr. Dolittle)
China Anne McClain (Black Lightning)
Cameron Boyce (Descendants)
Madison Riley (Fired Up!)

In 1978, five childhood friends win their junior high school basketball championship. During their celebration at a rented lake house, the friends’ coach, Robert “The Buzzer” Fernando (Blake Clark), encourages them to live their lives in a similar way to how they played the game.30 Years later in 2008, Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler) is an ambitious Hollywood talent agent who is married to fashion designer Roxanne Chase (Salma Hayek), and has three children—one daughter Becky (Alexys Nicole Sanchez) and two sons, Greg and Keith (Jake Goldberg and Cameron Boyce); his sons have become very spoiled much to his annoyance.Eric Lamonsoff (Kevin James) claims he is now a co-owner of a lawn furniture company, is married to Sally (Maria Bello) and has two children, Donna and Bean (Ada-Nicole Sanger and Morgan Gingerich). Much to Eric’s chagrin, Sally continues to breastfeed Bean.Kurt McKenzie (Chris Rock) is a stay-at-home father who is married to Deanne (Maya Rudolph), the primary breadwinner of the family, and has two children, Andre and Charlotte (Nadji Jeter and China Anne McClain). Deanne is pregnant with another child and her mother (Ebony Jo-Ann) also lives with the family. Rob Hilliard (Rob Schneider) has been divorced three times and has daughters Jasmine, Amber, and Bridget (Madison Riley, Jamie Chung, and Ashley Loren) from those marriages. His current wife, Gloria (Joyce Van Patten), is 30 years older than him.Marcus Higgins (David Spade) is a slacker and lothario. All five friends regularly harass each other in comedic fashion throughout the film: Lenny for being rich; Eric for being overweight; Kurt for being skinny and not being more useful; Rob for his way of saying “Maize!” and for having a much older wife; and Marcus for being sexually juvenile.When the five friends soon find out that Buzzer has died, they all reunite for the first time in three decades and later return to their hometown with their families to pay tribute to Buzzer at his private funeral. Lenny rents the lake house for the 4th of July weekend for his friends to stay at. However, Lenny cannot stay for the whole weekend because Roxanne has a fashion show in Milan. While at the lake house, Lenny is annoyed in which their kids would rather play video games than spend time outdoors, so that he and the other friends are forcing their kids to play outside during their stay instead. At a local restaurant, Lenny talks to his old nemesis, Dickie Bailey (Colin Quinn), who is still upset at Lenny because he allegedly had his foot on the outside line, in which his shot should not have been counted. Dickie challenges him and his friends to a rematch, but Lenny declines after noting that Dickie is decidedly out of shape. The next day, the five friends spread Buzzer’s ashes into the woods. Rob becomes depressed during this event, lamenting his failed marriages, and later says his three daughters from the past marriages are coming. After having to deal with Jasmine, Rob goes and hangs out with his friends, who were fishing. After making some jokes on Rob, the others elect to cheer him up with a game of arrow roulette. Rob remains in the circle the longest, making him the winner, but the arrow hits directly through Rob’s foot. When Gloria tries to use a maize-covered poultice, Rob snaps at Gloria. Lenny gets the kids interested in talking on cup-phones and Roxanne accidentally tells Becky that she is the “Tooth Fairy”. Happy that they are enjoying the same kind of fun he had as a child, Lenny installs an extensive cup-phone network in the house.Roxanne ultimately figures out that it is more important to stay at the lake house than going to Milan. The five friends decide to go to a water park, where Bean learns to drink milk out of a carton and Marcus flirts constantly with Jasmine and Amber, having bought them skimpy bikinis. Rob kicks a ride attendant down a water slide when the latter insults Bridget for being less attractive than her sisters. Eric ignores Donna’s warning about a chemical in the kiddie pool that turns urine blue, and chaos results when he and his friends urinate in the pool. The spouses try to attract a muscleman, but he is laughed off due to his high-pitched Canadian accent. Later, Lenny and the group go to the zip line and meet Dickie again, this time with his own group of friends and former teammates, including Wiley (Steve Buscemi), who is hospitalized when he slams on a shopping kiosk instead of landing in the swimming pool after sliding down the zip line by his feet. Lenny teaches his son how to shoot a perfect shot during basketball. Afterwards, the friends end the night by sharing their dance with their spouses. The next day, Roxanne picks up Lenny’s phone and confronts him on lying about canceling their flight trip before she agreed on staying for the family instead of going to Milan. Eventually, everyone starts to tell the truth about their feelings and lives. On their final day at the lake house, Lenny and his buddies are challenged once again to a basketball rematch by Dickie. At the game-deciding shot, Lenny purposely misses in order to allow Dickie and his team to win. Before the end of the film, Marcus plays another game of arrow roulette, this time with an entire crowd of people, and everyone takes off with Wiley accidentally getting his foot impaled by the arrow.Pretty funny, a bit puerile in places, but generally an easy way to spend a rainy afternoon.

REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 14-16

CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner  (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Elvis Costello (Spice World)
Mick Jagger (Free Jack)
Keith Richards (Pirates of The Caribbean 3 & 4)
Lenny Kravitz (The Hunger Games)
Tom Petty  (Kick of The Hill)
Brian Setzer (Such Good People)
Marcia Wallace (Full House)
Tony Bennett (Bruce Almighty)
Jan Hooks (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Adam West (Batman 60s)
Burt Ward (Batman 60s)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Sally Stevens (Norbit)
Little Richard (Last Action Hero)
Elliott Gould (Ocean’s Eleven)
Jane Kaczmarek (Pleasantville)
Tony Hawk (The New Guy)
Marisa Tomei (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Eric Idle (Life of Brian)
Joe Mantegna  (Criminal Mind)
Scott Thompson (Hannibal)
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (Animal Man)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Home Imporvemant)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne LEgacy)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Jerry Lewis (The Nutty Professor)
Glenn Close (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Michael Moore (Canadian Bacon)
Jane Leaves (Frasier)
Ian McKellan (The Hobbit)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Mr. T  (The A-Team)
Jackie Mason (Caddyshack II)
Ashley Olsen (Full House)
Mary-Kate Olsen (Full House)
William Daniels (Knight Rider)
Dick Tufeld (Lost In Space)
Isabel Sanford (The Jeffersons)
Nick Bakay (Sabrina: TTW)
Simon Cowell (Scary Movie 3)
Jon Lovitz (Bg)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy)
Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek)
James Caan (Elf)
Kim Cattrall (Big Trouble In Little China)
50 Cent (Spy)
Gary Busey (The Gingerdead Man)
Lucy Liu (Kill Bill)
Robert Wagner (Austin Powers)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Amy Poehler (Inside Out)
Stephen Hawkings (The Big Bang Theory)
Ray Romano (Everybody Lves Raymond)
Albert Brooks (Drive)
Fantasia Barrino  (Soul Kittens Cabaret)
Jason Bateman (The Gift)
Liam Neeson (Taken)

The longest-running primetime animated series in history, The Simpsons is also a cultural institution.  The Simpsons has an extremely loyal and dedicated fan base worldwide. Intelligently written, subversively humorous and delightfully witty, the show pokes fun at itself and everything in its wake. This season’s stellar guest voices include rock ‘n’ roll legends Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Lenny Kravitz, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello and Brian Setzer. Also paying Springfield a visit are Elliott Gould, Marisa Tomei, Little Richard and the dynamic duo of Adam West and Burt Ward. Pro skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and alternative rock band Blink 182 will lend their voices to the historic 300th episode. 14.2) HOW I SPENT MY STRUMMER VACATION

A drunken Homer appears on the show Taxicab Conversations and rants about how awful his life as a husband and father is. Although his family is at first outraged, they realise that they do somewhat burden him and decide to make up for it by sending him to a Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy Camp where he mingles with rock stars, including Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The rock stars ask Homer to help out at a concert and, expecting that he will be allowed to perform, he accepts. Actually, they want him to test the microphones; however, a humiliated Homer grabs a guitar and starts playing.14.4) LARGE MARGE

Thinking Homer does not find her attractive anymore, Marge decides to get liposuction, but instead receives breast implants. She becomes adored by many of the men in Springfield, and becomes a spokesmodel for trade shows. Meanwhile, Bart and Milhouse try to imitate a stunt they saw on an episode of Batman that guest stars Krusty the Clown. When the stunt ends badly, media watchdog groups blame Krusty, forcing the clown to make his show more safety-conscious and less fun.14.6) THE GREAT LOUSE DETECTIVE

The Simpson family win a free spa weekend, and Homer is nearly killed when a mysterious figure locks him in a sauna. Chief Wiggum decides to hire someone who can think like a murderer in order to find one. Bart’s mortal enemy Sideshow Bob is sent to live with the Simpsons so he can help find Homer’s attempted killer. Bob and Homer track down the attempted murderer and discover that it is Frank Grimes, Jr., the son of a man that Homer drove to insanity (in the season eight episode “Homer’s Enemy”). After Grimes is arrested, Bob tries to kill Bart, but he finds that he has “grown accustomed to his face” and cannot harm him.14.7) SPECIAL EDNA

Ms. Edna Krabappel begins to lose faith in her relationship with Principal Skinner and becomes depressed. Bart wants to cheer her up and decides to nominate her for the Teacher of the Year Award. Ms. Krabappel and the Simpsons are given a free trip to Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida. Skinner decides that he needs to do something to win Edna back, so he follows them there. He tries to sabotage Edna’s chances of winning the award, in hopes that she will become so depressed that she will come back to him. However, he has a change of heart and proposes to her.14.8) THE DAD WHO KNEW TOO LITTLE

Homer disappoints Lisa on her birthday when he gives her a thoughtless present. He realizes that he knows little about her and decides to hire private detective Dexter Colt to spy on her. Colt compiles a report, the information from which helps Homer bond with his daughter. However, Colt soon demands to be paid $1000, which Homer refuses. In retaliation, Colt vandalises an animal research lab and steals all the animals, leaving behind several clues that implicate Lisa. Homer and Lisa go on the run as fugitives and end up at a circus, where they meet Colt. He tries to kill Homer, but Lisa saves him. Later, Colt is arrested and Lisa exonerated. She finally receives the present she wanted from Homer.14.9) THE STRONG ARMS OF MA

Marge gets mugged and becomes so traumatized that she develops Agoraphobia. She hides in the basement. Having little else to do, she decides to exercise with a weight set Homer bought from Rainier Wolfcastle’s garage sale. She becomes so strong and confident that she is able to leave the basement. She continues working out and decides to start taking steroids so she can enter a bodybuilding competition. One night at Moe’s Tavern she loses her temper and starts destroying the bar and fighting all of the patrons. Homer confronts Marge and says he misses the sweet woman that he married. Marge, horrified at what she has done, apologizes and decides to stop working out.14.10) PRAY ANYTHING

Homer becomes depressed when he sees that Ned Flanders seems to be better off than him. To remedy this, he begins to pray constantly. Meanwhile, the Simpsons discover that tree roots have clogged up their plumbing. The house becomes too run down to live in, and Homer prays for a solution. Homer is injured while attending church; he sues Reverend Lovejoy and is awarded the deed to the church. He throws a huge house-warming party, in which all of the partiers drink and engage in sinful activities. It suddenly starts raining and the town begins to flood. The townspeople flee to the roof of the church. Homer tries praying again but the flood keeps rising. Reverend Lovejoy returns in a helicopter and leads everyone in prayer, asking God to forgive them, and the rain stops.14.11) BARTING OVER

Bart learns that he was once a child actor in commercials and that all the money earned was spent by Homer. In retaliation, Bart petitions the court to have himself legally emancipated from his parents and moves out of the Simpson house. Bart is initially miserable in his new apartment, but discovers that skateboarder Tony Hawk lives on one of the floors above. He and Hawk become friends, and Bart is content with his new life. Homer apologizes to Bart and requests that he return home. Bart accepts the apology, but tells his family that he is going on tour with Hawk. At an event, Homer speaks to Bart and finally promises Bart that he will never treat him badly again.14.12) I’M SPELLING AS FAST I CAN

Lisa competes at a spelling bee and earns the right to compete in the Spell-lympics, becoming the pride of the town. The host of the show George Plimpton, asks her to intentionally lose so that a more popular boy can win. Lisa refuses and continues to compete, but accidentally misspells a word and loses. Meanwhile, Homer tours with a group obsessed with eating Krusty Burger’s latest sandwich.14.13) A STAR IS BORN AGAIN

During the annual Jellyfish Festival, Ned Flanders realizes that he is lonely and becomes depressed. One night, he meets a beautiful woman, who asks him out on a date. He soon learns that the woman is Sara Sloan, a famous actress. Sloan is charmed by Flanders’ wholesomeness, and they continue to date to the point at which she asks that he move to Hollywood. Flanders, worried that Hollywood would conflict with his conservative Christian values, refuses, so Sloan instead decides to stay in Springfield. However, their relationship does not work out, due to his insistence on marriage.14.14) MR. SPRITZ GOES TO WASHINGTON

An air traffic route is redirected so that airplanes start flying directly over the Simpsons’ house. The noise starts to disrupt their lives and, desperate for a solution, the family turns to their Congressman. However, he dies of a heart attack, so they ask Krusty the Clown to run for Congress so that he can help them. Krusty is successful in his campaign, but finds that his air traffic bill is ignored by the veteran Congressmen. He soon becomes disillusioned with the system, so the Simpsons, with guidance from Walter Mondale, help him out by blackmailing one of his opponents and attaching the bill to a more popular one. The bill passes, and the air traffic is re-routed.14.15) C.E.D’OH

Homer decides to try for a promotion at Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and suggests several ideas to Mr. Burns, all of which are rejected. One night, Homer overhears Burns admit that the plant’s real owner is a canary to protect Burns from responsibility for any wrongdoing by the power plant. Homer releases the bird and tells Burns that nuclear inspectors have arrived for a surprise inspection. Burns, desperate to find a scapegoat, names Homer the new owner. As his first act, Homer fires Burns and takes control of the Plant. However, he finds that his work life as a CEO is conflicting with his family life. Homer decides to return to his old job and gives ownership back to Burns.14.16) ‘SCUSE ME WHILE I MISS THE SKY

A snobby British filmmaker named Declan Desmond begins making a documentary about student life at Springfield Elementary School. When introduced to Lisa, he tells her that she has too many goals and suggests that she pick one career. Lisa focuses on astronomy, but cannot watch the stars because of light pollution. She convinces Mayor Quimby to decrease the light’s intensity during the night, which only results in an increase in the crime rate. Quimby bows to public pressure and switches the lights back on permanently. Lisa overloads the generators at the Power Plant, causing a power outage, and is able to watch a meteor shower undisturbed by light.14.17) THREE GAYS OF THE CONDO

While searching in his closet, Homer discovers an old letter from Marge that states that she no longer loves him. He begins to think that she only married him because he impregnated her and moves out. He finds a new apartment in Springfield’s gay district and moves in with a male homosexual couple. Marge and Homer attempt a reconciliation dinner, but Homer becomes intoxicated and arrives late. Homer goes to Moe’s Tavern, where he continues drinking and gets alcohol poisoning. At the hospital, Dr. Hibbert shows Homer a videotape that documents Homer’s first alcohol poisoning. It shows Marge’s compassion for the unconscious Homer, as she tells him she loves him. Back in the present, Marge comes into the hospital room and says that she still loves Homer and they kiss.14.18) DUDE WHERE’S MY RANCH

When challenged to think up a new Christmas carol, Homer instead writes a song about how much he hates Ned Flanders. The song becomes such a hit that the Simpsons become sick of hearing it and take a trip to a dude ranch. Lisa develops affections for a local boy named Luke but becomes jealous when he hears him talking to a girl named Clara on the telephone. One night, she meets Clara and gives her the wrong directions, leading her to become lost. After Lisa discovers that Clara is actually Luke’s sister, she rushes to find her. She saves Clara, and decides to tell Luke what happened, but he is offended and dumps her. Meanwhile, Bart and Homer decide to help a tribe of Native Americans who want a beaver dam removed so they can reclaim their land.14.20) BRAKE MY WIFE, PLEASE

Homer becomes obsessed with using new gadgets in his car. One day, he becomes distracted and drives off a pier, losing his driver’s license. Unable to use a car, Homer starts to learn the joys of walking. Meanwhile, Marge shoulders the burden of Homer’s driving duties and becomes stressed out. One day, as Homer sings about the virtues of walking, Marge accidentally runs him over with her car. Later, as Homer recuperates from the accident, he begins to suspect that Marge is trying to hurt him. They fight and go to see a marriage counselor. The counselor advises Homer to perform one completely unselfish gesture to win Marge back. Homer holds a party with all of her friends and a surprised Marge tells Homer that she loves him.14.22) MOE BABY BLUES

Moe Szyslak becomes lonely and decides to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. However, he inadvertently saves Maggie Simpson when she is sent flying from the Simpsons’ car window and into his arms. He starts playing with Maggie and becomes attached to her, telling her the story of The Godfather. Homer and Marge become upset about how much time Moe is spending with Maggie and forbid him from seeing her again. One night, Maggie wakes up and hears Fat Tony and the Springfield Mafia outside the house and decides to follow them. When Homer and Marge find her missing, they automatically assume that Moe kidnapped her. When Moe is told that Maggie is missing, his request to help find her is granted by Homer. Maggie follows the mobsters to Luigi’s restaurant, where Fat Tony’s gang gets into a gun battle with a rival family. Homer, Marge and Moe track Maggie down and Moe decides to go inside and save Maggie. After Moe saves Maggie’s life, Homer allows the two to spend more time together.The Simpsons reside in the town of Springfield. Homer works as a safety inspector at the local nuclear power plant; Marge tries to keep the peace in her family; Bart is the mischievous 10-year-old hellion; 8-year-old Lisa is the intelligent, saxophone-playing vegetarian member of the family; and baby Maggie conveys emotions via pacifier sucks. Viewers also have come to know and love the rich, and sometimes quirky, universe of characters who inhabit Springfield. Guest stars paying Springfield a visit this season include British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Glenn Close, famed author J.K. Rowling, Jennifer Garner, comedian Jerry Lewis, Evan Marriott, Sir Ian McKellan, documentarian Michael Moore and Simon Cowell. 15.2) MY MOTHER THE CARJACKER

Homer’s mother returns, and after being cleared of all charges, is re-imprisoned on a technicality.15.3) THE PRESIDENT WORE PEARLS

In this loose parody of the musical/movie Evita, Lisa is elected Student Body president, but is unaware that the school staff is using her for their own devices and as a scapegoat if something goes wrong.115.4) THE REGINA MONOLOGUES

After making over $3000 from his own museum featuring a $1000 bill, Bart takes the family to London (on the suggestion of Grampa), where Homer is arrested for treason after crashing into the Queen.115.8) MARGE VS. SINGLES, SENIORS, CHILDLESS COUPLES AND TEENS AND GAYS

When a group of singles, seniors, childless couples, teens and gays band together to protest having to accommodate families (including paying property taxes used to teach children they do not have) after a riot at a children’s concert, Marge takes up the cause for the families, with some help from Bart and Lisa.DSC0404415.9) I D’OH-BOT

Homer builds a battle robot to win Bart’s respect, and places it in a tournament against other robots. What Bart does not know, though, is that the robot is actually Homer in costume. Meanwhile, Snowball II dies and Lisa tries to find a replacement cat.Diatribe_of_a_Mad_Housewife_(19)15.10) DIATRIBE OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE

Marge writes a romance novel with characters based on Homer and Ned Flanders that becomes a hit. Meanwhile, Homer gets fired from the power plant again and becomes an ambulance driver.maxresdefault15.13) SMART AND SMARTER

When Maggie does better than Lisa on an IQ test, Lisa becomes so despondent over no longer being the smart one that she tries to change her identity.simpsons-ziffwhocametodinner_122088740315.14) THE ZIFF WHO CAME TO DINNER

The Simpsons go on a late-night attic search after Bart and Lisa (who are freaked out over a horror movie Homer let them watch) begin hearing voices — and find Marge’s ex-prom date Artie Ziff, who’s on the run for cheating the shareholders of his company.15.15) CO-DEPENDENT’S DAY

Homer and Marge’s bond becomes stronger when they both get drunk on wine, but soon the bond unravels when Homer blames Marge for crashing the car and Marge gets sent to rehab. Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa complain to Randall Curtis (a George Lucas-esque science fiction movie director) about his latest film.15.16) THE WANDERING JUVIE

Bart gets sent to juvenile hall after fooling everyone that there was a marriage concerning him. He encounters a dangerous girl there… He flees with Gina, but then the two are caught by Wiggum.15.17) MY BIG AT GEEK WEDDING

After hearing that Skinner is getting cold feet about their wedding, Edna leaves Skinner at the altar and, after sending back one marriage gift, hooks up with Comic Book Guy. Meanwhile, Homer and Marge have an argument about if their marriage is still solid or not.15.18) CATCH ‘EM IF YOU CAN

After a ruined movie night, thanks to Bart and Lisa, Homer and Marge take a vacation away from them, but decide to go to Miami instead of going to see an uncle. When Bart and Lisa catch wind of their parents’ secret plan, Bart steals Rod’s credit card (just like Homer stole Ned’s) and go after them.15.19) SIMPLE SIMPSON

Homer becomes “Pie Man”, a masked vigilante who delivers a pie in the face of justice to evildoers. However, after attacking Mr. Burns, Burns hires him as a personal hitman, until Homer is ordered to attack the Dalai Lama.15.21) BART-MANGLED BANNER

After receiving an injection from Dr. Hibbert, Bart becomes temporarily deaf, which makes him impervious to being bullied, until he accidentally moons the American flag during a donkey basketball game, prompting everyone in town to accuse the Simpsons of being unpatriotic under the new “Government Knows Best” Act.15.22) FRAUDCAST NEWS

Mr. Burns buys out Springfield’s media outlets after a newspaper mistakenly reports his death, and Lisa’s homemade newspaper is next on his list.

The Simpsons just clicks at every level. This family may be dysfunctional but in the end, they are still a family in every way and we are gently reminded of this in almost every episode. Also, the cast of supporting characters that inhabit Springfield is no less funny than the main characters themselves, providing the show with comically colourful and screwball situations that just never get old. Not even after 16 seasons.16.2) ALL’S FAIR IN OVEN WAR

Marge resorts to sabotage as payback on the contestants who sabotaged her food entry for a cook-off. Meanwhile, Homer finds his old issues of Playdude in the ceiling, which Bart finds (after Marge cuts out all of the centerfolds and other nude photos) and uses as a guide on how to live the bachelor life.16.3) SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY

Feeling unappreciated by her own children, Marge takes in Nelson as her surrogate child. Meanwhile, Lisa becomes self-conscious of her weight after the girls in school ake fun of her butt and purposely starves herself in order to be skinny.she-used-to-be-my-girl16.4) SHE USED TO BE MY GIRL

Marge bumps into an old high-school acquaintance who is now a successful news reporter. While Marge becomes jealous of her friend’s success and wonders what may have been had she not stayed with Homer, Lisa becomes inspired by this new, strong woman.Fat_Man_and_Little_Roy16.5) FAT MAN AND LITTLE BOY

Bart becomes depressed about growing older after losing his last baby tooth, and, following advice from Lisa, deals with his problems by writing ironic slogans on T-shirts. Meanwhile, Homer tries to help Lisa make a science project after Bart cuts Homer out of helping him sell T-shirts.Homer_and_Ned's_Hail_Mary_Pass_(Promo_Picture)16.8) HOMER AND NED’S HAIL MARY PASS

After Homer inadvertently performs a wild crowd-pleasing dance at a local carnival, he is hired by several sports figures to teach them how to showboat. Meanwhile, Flanders creates ultra-violent, ultra-gory Bible movies à la Passion of the Christ.Pranksta_Rap_2716.9) PRANKSTA RAP

Bart fakes his own kidnapping to get out of being punished for going to a rap concert, but the ruse goes too far when Milhouse’s father is implicated as the kidnapper and Chief Wiggum sees this as an opportunity to make a name for himself as a competent police officer.16.10) THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARRYING

Homer becomes a minister after Springfield legalizes gay marriage (to boost their damaged reputation for tourists) and Patty comes out of the closet, much to the shock of her sister, Marge, who was naive to her sister’s sexuality.On_a_Clear_Day_I_Can't_See_My_Sister_6916.11) ON A CLEAR DAY I CAN’T SEE MY SISTER

After years of tolerating his antics, Lisa files a restraining order against Bart, forcing him to live in the backyard. Meanwhile, Homer becomes a greeter for a WalMart-esque department store called “Sprawl-Mart”.Goo_Goo_Gai_Pan16.12) GOO GOO GAI PAN

The Simpsons are going to China, after Selma (who recently began menopause) lists Homer as her husband in order to adopt a Chinese baby (while Marge poses as Selma and Homer’s live-in nanny).
16.15) FUTURE-DRAMA

Through Professor Frink’s future machine, Bart and Lisa see their lives in the year 2013, where Bart steals Lisa’s chances at going to an Ivy League school in order to impress a skater girl named Jenda while Homer (now separated from Marge and living in an underwater apartment) fights Krusty the Clown after Marge begins dating him.16.16) DON’T FEAR THE ROOFER

Sick of being unwanted, Homer befriends a man who works as a roofer. However, no one else can see him and Homer’s insistence that the roofer does exist prompts everyone to think he has gone crazy.A_Star_is_Torn_5116.18) A STAR IS TORN

Lisa participates in a singing competition with Homer as her manager, but helps Lisa’s rival after being fired.hqdefault16.19) THANK GOD IT’S DOOMSDAY

Homer sees a movie about the end of the world and fears the same thing will happen in real life after seeing a chain of random occurrences (celebrities [“stars”] falling from the sky, raining blood, a man in a realistic devil costume) and doing a complicated math equation that predicts the end will come on May 18th, but when the end does not come, Homer discovers a flaw in the equation and ends up in Heaven where he meets God and learns that God is planning The Rapture.

Home_Away_from_Homer_44
16.20) HOME AWAY FROM HOMER

Flanders rents a room to two college girls who, without his knowledge, use the spare room to broadcast live softcore pornographic web videos of themselves. Upset that no one in town told him this (and that Homer was the one who told everyone), Ned moves to the seemingly perfect town of Humbleton, Pennsylvania, while a brash coach moves into Flanders’ house and begins harassing Homer the same way Homer harassed Ned.screen-shot-2012-10-14-at-12-39-35-pm16.21) THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY GUEST STAR

Bart gets expelled from school and transfers to a Catholic school, where a hip priest named Father Sean tries to convert Bart and Homer to Catholicism, which worries Marge when she believes that Catholics do not go to the same heaven as Protestants and discovers that Catholic women do not use birth control.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: MONSTER HOUSE

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CAST

Michael Musso (Squirrel Boy)
Sam Lerner (Project Almanac)
Spencer Locke (Resident Evil 3 & 4)
Steve Buscemi (Fargo)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight)
Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice)
Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl)
Jon Heder (Blades of Glory)
Kevin James (Paul Blart)
Nick Cannon (School Dance)
Kathleen Turner(Serial Mom)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)

Image result for monster house12 year old “DJ” Walters spies on his elderly neighbor Horace Nebbercracker, who confiscates any item landing in his yard. DJ’s parents leave town for a dentist convention, leaving him in the care of Elizabeth “Zee”. DJ’s best friend Charles “Chowder” accidentally loses his basketball on Nebbercracker’s lawn. DJ tries to recover it, but Nebbercraker rages at him, before suffering from a heart attack, and taken away by an ambulance. That night, DJ receives mysterious phone calls from the house with no one on the other end. Eavesdropping on Zee’s boyfriend Bones, DJ hears him tell Zee about losing his kite on Nebbercracker’s lawn when he was younger, and that Nebbercracker supposedly ate his wife. Later, Bones sees his kite in the doorway of Mr. Nebbercracker’s house, but he is consumed by the house while retrieving it.Image result for monster houseThe next morning, a girl named Jenny Bennett is selling Halloween chocolates. DJ and Chowder see her going to Nebbercracker’s house and rush out to catch her before she is eaten. Jenny calls the police but they do not believe their story.Image result for monster houseThe trio seek advice from Reginald “Skull” Skulinski, supposedly an expert on the supernatural. They learn that the house is a rare monster created when a human soul merges with a man-made structure and that it can only be killed by destroying its heart. They predict that the heart must be the furnace. Chowder provides a cold medicine-filled dummy that should cause the house to sleep long enough for them to douse the furnace. Police Officers Landers and Lester thwart their plan and they are arrested when Landers finds the cold medicine stolen from Chowder’s father’s pharmacy inside the dummy. When the officers go to examine the house, it eats them, including the trio placed in the car.Image result for monster houseWhen the house falls asleep, the kids begin exploring. In the basement they find a collection of toys accumulated from Nebbercracker’s lawn, as well as a door that opens to a shrine containing the body of Nebbercracker’s wife Constance the Giantess, encased in cement, which fully convinces them that Nebbercracker had murdered his wife. The house realizes they are inside and attacks them. DJ, Chowder and Jenny force the house to vomit them outside by grabbing its uvula. Nebbercracker arrives home alive, revealing that Constance’s spirit is within the house and that he did not eat her but instead had given her some of the happiest times in her life. As a young man, he met Constance, at a circus freak show, and fell in love with her despite her obesity. After he helped her escape, they began building the house. One Halloween, as children tormented her due to her size, Constance tried chasing them away, but lost her balance and fell to her death in the basement. Nebbercracker had finished the house, knowing it was what she would have wanted but, aware that Constance’s spirit made the house come alive, he pretended to hate children so as to keep them away.Image result for monster houseDJ tells Nebbercracker it is time to let Constance go, but the house overhears this. Enraged, it breaks free from its foundation and chases the group to a construction site. Nebbercracker attempts to distract the house so he can dynamite it, but the house notices and attacks him. Chowder destroys it with an excavator and DJ is given the dynamite. However, the house reassembles itself and disables the excavator. While Chowder distracts the house, DJ and Jenny climb to the top of a crane and DJ throws the dynamite into the chimney, actually destroying it. The trio then see Nebbercracker with Constance’s ghost before she fades away. DJ apologizes to Nebbercracker for the loss of his house and wife, but Nebbercracker thanks the kids for freeing him from being trapped for 45 years. That night, children in their Halloween costumes are lined up at the site of the house, where DJ, Chowder and Jenny help return the toys to their owners. Jenny leaves, and DJ and Chowder go trick-or-treating in the neighbourhood, which they previously felt they were too old for. Those who were eaten by the house now emerge from the basement.Image result for monster houseThe animation looks great. They certainly aren’t ground breaking. But they fit the movie well. However, I will say that some scenes looked quite amazing. If you are looking for a fun, clean movie with plenty of laughs and chuckles, this is definitely one you don’t want to miss!

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3

Starring

Adam Sandler (Jack & Jill)
Andy Samberg (That’s My Boy)
Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers)
Kevin James (Pixels)
David Spade (8 Simple Rules)
Steve Buscemi (Ghost World)
Keegan-Michael Key (Why Him?)
Molly Shannon (Wet Hot American Summer)
Fran Drescher (Santa’s Slay)
Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms)
Jim Gaffigan (17 Again)
Mel Brooks (Spaceballs)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Chris Parnell (Anchorman)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk vs)
Kari Wahlgren (Rick and Morty)
Audrey Wasilewski (Red)

Mel Brooks, Fran Drescher, Adam Sandler, David Spade, Kevin James, Keegan-Michael Key, and Selena Gomez in Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)In 1897, Dracula and his friends travel in disguise on a train to Budapest. Professor Abraham Van Helsing, Dracula’s arch-enemy, boards the train and unveils the monsters; the monsters escape by climbing through the roof, and Dracula pushes his friends from the train for their safety. Van Helsing is obsessed with destroying Dracula but is constantly outsmarted by him.Adam Sandler, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, and Asher Blinkoff in Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)In the present day, Dracula is running his hotel business smoothly, with his daughter Mavis and son-in-law Johnny. Drac is depressed that he has remained single since his wife Martha’s death despite his attempts to meet someone. Misinterpreting this as stress from overwork, Mavis books a cruise so they can all take a break and spend more time together as a family. Dracula, Mavis, Johnny, Dennis, Vlad, and the hotel guests board a cruise ship called the Legacy. Dracula sees the ship’s human captain, Ericka, and immediately falls for her, something that he thought was impossible as he had already “zinged” before.Steve Buscemi, Fran Drescher, Adam Sandler, David Spade, Kevin James, Molly Shannon, Genndy Tartakovsky, Keegan-Michael Key, Selena Gomez, and Andy Samberg in Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)Ericka goes to a secret room on the lower decks where she meets Abraham Van Helsing, who is revealed to be her great-grandfather and is almost completely mechanised, to avoid death. Van Helsing has a plan to eliminate all the monsters, in the cruise upon its arrival at the lost city of Atlantis using an Instrument of Destruction, which could be found in Atlantis’ ruins. Van Helsing makes Ericka promise to not assassinate Dracula beforehand, but she makes repeated unsuccessful attempts. Dracula’s friends hear Ericka complain about her inability get him and misinterpret this as a sign of affection. Dracula nervously asks Ericka out on a date, and she accepts since she sees this as another chance to kill him. As they dine on a deserted island, Ericka unexpectedly begins to fall in love with Drac, after they learn about each other’s pasts.Selena Gomez and Andy Samberg in Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)Mavis discovers Dracula is interested in Ericka and becomes suspicious of Ericka’s motives. The cruise ship reaches Atlantis, which has been converted into a casino; Dracula decides to tell Mavis the truth about Ericka but gets distracted seeing Ericka enter an underground crypt. Drac follows her, with Mavis not far behind, and learns that Ericka is after a “family heirloom”. With Dracula’s help, she evades the booby traps around the object and escapes. Mavis arrives and confronts them, and Dracula confesses that he “zinged” with Ericka, to Mavis’ surprise and confusion. After Ericka is told what a “zing” is, she harshly rejects Dracula’s romantic feelings, leaving Dracula heartbroken.Steve Buscemi, Fran Drescher, Adam Sandler, David Spade, Kevin James, Molly Shannon, Genndy Tartakovsky, Keegan-Michael Key, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, and Asher Blinkoff in Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)A regretful Ericka gives Van Helsing the object – revealed to be the Instrument of Destruction – and he sets a trap for the monsters at a dance party. Noticing that Dracula is still upset, Mavis, after some advice from Johnny, tells her father to talk to Ericka, admitting that she was afraid of him leaving her, which fear Drac allays. Van Helsing shows up and pushes away the DJ, and a saddened Ericka is forced to reveal that she is his great-granddaughter. Van Helsing unveils the Instrument of Destruction, a case for a music note sheet, and plays a song that drives a friendly Kraken living near the island to attack the monsters. Ericka saves Dracula from the Kraken and pleads with her great-grandfather to stop the destruction, confessing her love for Drac. This infuriates Van Helsing, and he attacks them both.Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, and Asher Blinkoff in Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)To pacify the Kraken, Johnny opens up a portable DJ kit and plays positive songs to beat Van Helsing’s song. Upon playing the Macarena, the Kraken is relaxed and happy for good; Van Helsing is unable to counter the song as everyone begins to dance, including the music sheet. When Van Helsing also dances, he accidentally slips and falls, but Dracula saves him. Touched by this act of kindness, Van Helsing apologizes to the monsters and gives everyone a full refund for the cruise, before sending them back. Back at Hotel Transylvania, Dracula proposes to Ericka, who stammers at the question before agreeing.Steve Buscemi, Mel Brooks, Fran Drescher, Adam Sandler, David Spade, Kevin James, Molly Shannon, Genndy Tartakovsky, Keegan-Michael Key, Selena Gomez, and Andy Samberg in Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)Hotel Transylvania 3 was still a pretty good sequel with a weak but still funny story, top notch animation and some mostly pretty good characters. Even though I do think the second movie was the best in the series, I still think this was a pretty good movie and I definitely have plans of watching it in the future.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2

CAST (VOICE)

Adam Sandler (Little Nicky)
Andy Samberg (Thats My Boy)
Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers)
Saul Andrew Blinkoff (Sing)
Kevin James (Paul Blart Mall Cop)
Fran Drescher (Picking Up The Pieces)
Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs)
Molly Shannon (Wet Hot American Summer)
David Spade (8 Simple Rules)
Keegan-Michael Key (Role Models)
Mel Brooks (Spaceballs)
Nick Offerman (Miss Congeniality 2)
Megan Mullally (Will & Grace)
Dana Carvey (Waynes World)
Jon Lovitz (The Simpsons)
Luenell (Borat)
Rob Riggle (The Hangover)
Nick Swardson (Click)
Chris Parnell (21 Jump Street)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Kari Wahlgren (Rick and Morty)
Chris Kattan (House on Haunted Hill)
Allen Covert (Little Nicky)
Melendy Britt (She-Ra)
Bridget Hoffman (Total Recall)
Audrey Wasilewski (Red)

Seven years after the first film, Mavis and her new fiancé Johnny are finally married, with the approval of her father Dracula, and the world becomes aware of (and unfazed by) the existence of monsters. Mavis later reveals to Drac that she is pregnant and a year later, she gives birth to a baby boy named Dennis, who later befriends Wayne’s daughter Winnie. Nearing his fifth birthday, Dennis has yet to grow his fangs and Drac worries that his grandson might not gain vampire powers. Noticing the dangers of Transylvania, Mavis starts to consider raising Dennis where Johnny grew up, much to Drac’s disapproval.Drac tells Johnny (who does not want to leave the hotel either) to bring Mavis to California to visit his parents, Mike and Linda, but to make sure to keep her distracted so that she will not move, leaving Drac to “babysit” Dennis. Drac enlists his friends Frank, Wayne the Werewolf, Griffin the Invisible Man, Murray the Mummy, and Blobby the Blob to help train Dennis to become a monster, to no avail.Drac takes Dennis to his childhood summer camp, Camp Winnepacaca, where he learned to hone his vampire abilities and discovers that the camp is safer than it was when he went there. Drac stubbornly believes Dennis is a “late fanger”, so he hurls Dennis from a tall, unstable tower to pressure the boy’s transformation into a bat. Dennis does not transform, and Dracula has to fly and rescue him at the last second. The stunt is filmed by the campers and uploaded to the Internet, which eventually reaches Mavis and Johnny.Mavis angrily transforms into a bat to fly her and Johnny back to Transylvania. Drac and his friends reach the hotel a couple of seconds after Mavis. She confronts her father for putting Dennis in grave danger and his inability to accept that he is human. She states she will move out of the hotel after Dennis’ fifth birthday the following Wednesday. Drac hangs his head with deep guilt.Mavis invites Vlad, her grandfather and Drac’s father, to Dennis’ birthday party. As Vlad is much worse than he was when it comes to humans, Drac tells Johnny to have the human party-goers disguise themselves as monsters. Vlad receives the invitation and arrives with his monstrous bat-like servant Bela to meet his great-grandson for the first time. Meeting him, he believes that fear will cause Dennis’ fangs to sprout and possesses a stage performer dressed as Dennis’s favorite television monster, “Kakie the Cake Monster”, to scare Dennis, but Drac shields his grandson at the last moment and exposes the deception to Vlad, who is outraged that Drac has accepted humans as guests in his hotel. Drac confronts his father about how humans are different now. Mavis becomes upset with her grandfather’s behaviour.While the family argues, Dennis sadly flees the hotel and enters the forest with Winnie in tow, hiding in her treehouse. They are attacked by Bela, who mistakes Dennis for a human. When Bela injures Winnie and threatens to destroy the hotel, Dennis’ anger causes him to instantly grow his fangs and his vampire abilities manifest. He begins to fight Bela, who calls his giant-bat minions. Drac, Mavis, Dennis, Johnny, the rest of the monsters and Johnny’s family team up to defeat his minions. A livid Bela then attempts to kill Johnny himself with a stake. Having been won over by Drac’s claim that humans are harmless now, Vlad shrinks Bela and tells him never to bother his family again. Bela then flees. With Dennis having vampire abilities, Mavis and Johnny continue to raise him in Transylvania, and they resume the party with his friends.It is not as good as the original. But it is still very funny. And really shows Adam Sandler who has starred in some flops recently, still has his charm as Dracula.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA

 

CAST (VOICE)

Adam Sandler (Little Nicky)
Andy Samberg (Thats My Boy)
Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers)
Kevin James (Paul Blart Mall Cop)
Fran Drescher (Picking Up The Pieces)
Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs)
Molly Shannon (Wet Hot American Summer)
David Spade (8 Simple Rules)
CeeLo Green (Begin Again)
Jon Lovitz (The Simpsons)
Luenell (Borat)
Chris Parnell (21 Jump Street)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Rob Riggle (The Hangover)
Tom Kenny (Spongebob)
Corey Burton (Transformers)
Cam Clarke (Big Hero 6)
Allen Covert (Big Daddy)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Bridget Hoffman (Total Recall)

In the aftermath of the death of his wife Martha (Jackie Sandler) at the hands of an angry human mob, Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) commissions and builds a massive five-star, monsters-only hotel in Transylvania in which he raises his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and to serve as a safe-place getaway for the world’s monsters from fear of human persecution.Famous monsters such as Frank (Kevin James) and his wife Eunice (Fran Drescher), Wayne and Wanda Werewolf (Steve Buscemi and Molly Shannon) and their massive immediate family, Griffin The Invisible Man (David Spade), and Murray the Mummy (CeeLo Green) often come to stay at the hotel which is completely human-free and safe for monsters.On Mavis’s 118th birthday, Dracula allows his daughter to leave the castle in order to explore the human world, but he sets up an elaborate plan using his zombie bellhops disguised as humans to make them seem intimidating, but without her being in any danger, and frighten her home. The plan works, but the zombies inadvertently lead a 21-year-old[12] human named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) back to the hotel. Dracula frantically disguises him as a Frankensteinesque Monster and passes him off as “Johnnystein”, ‘a distant cousin of Frank’s right arm’.Jonathan soon encounters Mavis and the two “Zing” (a form of romantic attraction). Unable to get Johnny out of the hotel without notice, Drac quickly improvises that Jonathan is a party planner, brought in to bring a fresher approach to his own traditional and boring parties. Jonathan quickly becomes a hit to the other monsters, especially Mavis, but this disgusts and worries Dracula greatly. Drac orders Johnny to leave, but Johnny is brought back by Mavis. After being shown the beauty of a sunrise by Johnny, Mavis is inspired to give humans another chance.Meanwhile, the hotel chef Quasimodo (Jon Lovitz) with the help of his pet rat Esmeralda learns that Johnny is a human and kidnaps him in order to cook him. Dracula intervenes and magically freezes Quasimodo to keep him from telling anyone that Jonathan is human. Dracula leads Jonathan to his quarters and shows him a painting of his wife. Much to Dracula’s surprise, Jonathan knows the woman in the painting from a legend he has recently heard and relates a story about how she fell perfectly in love with a count, but died in a mysterious fire. Dracula reveals the full painting with himself in it and confirms the truth of the tale, and proceeds to tell the full version, thus explaining why Dracula built the hotel and the origin of his overprotective behaviour with Mavis. Jonathan is understanding and Dracula develops respect for his knowledge, and the two bond, recognising that Jonathan is a good person. Jonathan then tries to leave for good, but Dracula convinces him to stay for the time-being to avoid ruining Mavis’s birthday.The party is a great success the next night, and Mavis looks forward to opening a gift from her deceased mother. However, when Jonathan and Mavis share their first kiss, Dracula overreacts, and, in his outburst, inadvertently confesses to deceiving Mavis with the town. A still-frozen Quasimodo bursts in and the Fly (Chris Parnell) translates from his frozen speech that Johnny is a human disguised by Dracula. The guests are outraged by the deceit at play, but Mavis is undeterred and wants to be with Johnny, even knowing he is human. Jonathan feigns disinterest in Mavis and rejects her out of respect for her father and leaves the hotel. Mavis then angrily yells at Dracula and flies off.Dracula finds Mavis on the roof with her mother’s present. He learns it is a book about how her mother and Dracula “Zinged” and fell in love. Dracula realizes humankind has become tolerant of monsters, and manages to convince Frank, Wayne, Griffin, and Murray to head out into the human world to help him find Jonathan, and with the scent-tracking ability of Wayne’s daughter, Winnie, they learn that he is bound on a flight to America soon. The four head to the airport, but are held up in a town celebrating a Monster Festival along the way. Instead of being frightened by the appearance and powers of real monsters, the humans admire the group, and a team of men dressed as vampires help Dracula by providing him shelter from the sunlight while he rushes to the airport. Drac arrives to see Jonathan’s plane taking off, and he gives chase in bat form, burning in the sunlight. After getting Jonathan’s attention, Dracula makes his way to the front of the plane and uses his mind-controlling power on the pilot (Brian Stack) to help him apologize for his actions. Jonathan accepts his apology; Dracula then manipulates the pilot to return to the Transylvanian airport for a “refuel”.Dracula returns Jonathan to Mavis. Jonathan confesses that their ‘Zing’ was mutual and the two kiss, making Dracula realize his daughter has grown up and can make her own decisions. The monsters finish celebrating Mavis’s party as Dracula, Mavis, Jonathan and their monster friends sing “The Zing” to the audience of hotel guests.This is a really funny movie with a simple predictable story line and tons of characters that you will love.  I recommend this movie to anyone who like monsters and want to have a good laugh and take a break from Disney.

 

REVIEW: FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN

CAST (VOICES)

Ming-Na Wen (Agents of SHIELD)
Alec Baldwin (Mission Impossible 5)
Ving Rhames (Julia X)
Steve Buscemi (Ghost World)
Peri Gilpin (Frasier)
Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games)
James Woods (Another Day In Paradise)
Keith David (Picth Black)
John DiMAggio (Futurama)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)After the runaway success of Final Fantasy VII on the original Playstation, Sony greenlit a Final Fantasy movie. The final result, The Spirits Within, didn’t appear on movie screens until 2001, the same year as Shrek. However, unlike the unfunny green ogre, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within failed to generate any meaningful business at the box office, and it was the biggest bomb in film history up to that point. It’s admirable for its sweeping alien vistas and imaginative space-age designs, but the story just doesn’t have enough in it to keep the audience’s interest.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)The film follows Doctor Aki Ross (Ming-na) as she and her mentor, Dr. Sid (Donald Sutherland) attempt to discover a way to clear Earth of a strange race of alien beings known as Phantoms. These Phantoms have made Earth uninhabitable, aside from a few protected cities. The film opens with Aki dreaming of an alien world, only to wake up on a space shuttle. She takes the shuttle down to Earth to find remnants of organic life. However, she’s soon trapped by Phantoms, determined to kill her, when she’s saved by a group of space marines, led by Captain Gray Edwards (Alec Baldwin), Aki’s former lover. It’s soon discovered that the plant Aki was after was part of a series of organisms that Aki and Sid are collecting to assemble a spiritual wave that they believe will counter the alien infestation at its source (a giant asteroid from which the Phantoms spawn).Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)Their theory is not a popular one, however. The human government still has armies, and their general, Hein (James Woods), has erected a giant space cannon which he intends to use to blow the asteroid to smithereens. Sid and Aki contend that this would irrevocably damage the planet, but without further proof, their protests fall on deaf ears. Now it’s up to Aki, Sid, Gray, and his team to find the remaining organisms so they can finish the wavelength before Hein uses the cannon. And Aki keeps having these strange dreams.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within feels like what Aliens might have been like had James Cameron been into New Age philosophy. The space marines (voiced by Steve Buscemi, Frasier’s Peri Gilpin, and Ving Rhames) are reminiscent of those more famous marines in Cameron’s film. The overall design feels like it could have been in line with that world, and the idea of the Phantoms infecting you and taking you over from the inside feels very similar to the parasitic nature of Alien’s xenomorphs. In point of fact, the one thing it doesn’t feel similar to in any way, shape, or form is the Final Fantasy series of video games from which it derives its name. Dr. Sid is the most notable callback, as in almost every Final Fantasy game there is a character named Cid. Also, some of the other character names vaguely resemble those found in the games. The Gaia theory posited in the film is very similar to the Living Planet of Final Fantasy VII, but to no real effect. I can understand wanting to create a fresh story that newcomers and old fans alike could enjoy.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)The film’s half-baked idealistic philosophies, combined with its often groan-inducing dialogue probably killed the movie more than any lack of resemblance to the video games. The whole conceit of the wavelength, while explained repeatedly and in excruciating detail, never quite gels. Similarly, Hein’s Zeus cannon doesn’t seem like a much better alternative, and it doesn’t help that he’s a terribly written villain. Of course, you have to respect James Woods’ ability to chew the scenery even when there isn’t any actual scenery to chew. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Woods, as he’s one of my favorite actors, but he’s so over the top here it hurts.The rest of the cast fare marginally better. Ming-na has a respectable voice acting pedigree that serves her well, as does Peri Gilpin (most recently heard in the animated Hellboy projects). Steve Buscemi and Ving Rhames don’t take their roles too seriously, which works to their advantage. Alec Baldwin, aside from being a great actor, lends his voice to one of the most memorable cartoon characters of recent memory (that of Leonardo Leonardo from the Clerks animated series), but he plays it straight here and is fairly disappointing. It doesn’t help that his character is animated to look exactly like Ben Affleck. I’m not kidding. This movie’s worth renting just to see how meticulously the filmmakers recreated every facet of Affleck’s face–only to give him Baldwin’s voice.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)That does bring up an important point, though. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was meant to be the first in a series of computer generated films that were photo realistic. And while it’s clear the film is CGI, it still looks damn impressive. The character models are exquisite, making the more cartoony offerings from Pixar or Dreamworks just seem amateurish by comparison (and I know that Pixar and Dreamworks aren’t striving for realism, I’m just saying how one looks against the other). The environments are amazingly detailed, and the movie is just a beauty to behold. Unfortunately, the film’s complete and utter financial failure bankrupted Square Pictures, although they did manage to make The Final Flight of the Osiris for Warner Bros. Animatrix project before closing shop. Square returned in 2005/2006 with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, which looked even more spectacular than Spirits Within, but did not see a U.S. theatrical release.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within deserved a better fate than it got at the box office, but that doesn’t mean it’s a great movie. While it certainly was a great technological breakthrough, it didn’t have the story or characters to make it work.

REVIEW: KHUMBA: A ZEBRA’S TALE

Starring

Jake T. Austin (Justice League vs Teen Titans)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Richard E. Grant (Logan)
Catherine Tate (Starter for 10)
Liam Neeson (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Loretta Devine (Night School)
Laurence Fishburne (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
AnnaSophia Robb (Soul Surfer)
Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls)
Charlie Adler (G.I. Joe: The Movie)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Jeff Bennett (Planes)
Roger L. Jackson (Scream)
Alexander Polinsky (Lost In Oz)
Khary Payton (The Walking Dead)

 

Khumba (2013)In South Africa within the Great Karoo, a half-striped zebra named Khumba (Jake T. Austin) is born into an insular isolated herd of all-striped zebras where his mother is Lungisa (Anika Noni Rose) and his father is Seko (Laurence Fishburne). Rumors that the strange foal is cursed spread and before long he is blamed for the drought that sets into the Great Karoo. As he matures, Khumba is picked on and remains ostracized by most of the herd with the exception of Tombi (AnnaSophia Robb), a young female zebra friend close in age – whom Khumba has a crush on – and uncomfortable in the herd due to her tomboyish manners.Khumba (2013)When a mystical African mantis (Adrian Rhodes) appears to Khumba, he draws a map to what could be interpreted as either water or stripes between it. Khumba jeopardizes the herd and gets into trouble when he attempts to admit several gemsbok (Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi and Anele Matoti) into the watering-hole enclosure when their wise elderly healer (Sindiwe Magona) needs water. He also nearly admits the ferocious half-blind African leopard Phango (Liam Neeson) who warns Mkhulu (Ben Vereen) that he and his zebra herd can’t stay in their enclosure forever. Seko berates and scolds Khumba for putting the herd at risk and for the next week, he’ll drink half of his rations. Lungisa tells the story of how a white horse got its stripes by swimming in a magic river and other horses wanted to have stripes like him, making the zebra we know today. Shortly after, Lungisa succumbs to her disease and dies. Then, Khumba leaves the confines of his home knowing that he cannot survive in the herd where it is viewed as only “half-a-zebra” even to his father.Khumba (2013)Khumba ventures beyond the fence and encounters an opportunistic African wild dog named Skalk (Steve Buscemi) who nearly leads the unsuspecting zebra to his doom when Skalk’s pack try to eat him. He is saved by a maternal wildebeest named Mama V (Loretta Devine) and a flamboyant British ostrich named Bradley (Richard E. Grant). Mama V is a self-confessed free spirit who does not want to be the average stay-at-home mom, like other wildebeest. She mothers Bradley who possesses a histrionic diva-esque attitude. The duo join Khumba on his quest in the hope that their own search for a safe waterhole is over.  On their journey, Khumba aids a migrating herd of springbok in opening a hole in a great fence to continue journeying forward. Curiously, the springbok are all so similar that they cannot even differentiate among one another.Khumba (2013)Khumba thinks his journey is over when he wanders into a new age, bohemian community living safely within the confines of Ying’s National Park. There he meets a colorful group of individuals like a family of meerkats, a pangolin, some bushbucks, a bat-eared fox, and an Australian endangered riverine rabbit (Jeff Bennett) who has survived extinction by mastering a myriad of skills ranging from impersonations to beat-boxing. After narrowly escaping capture by an opportunistic group of park rangers who tranquilizes Bradley and traps Khumba in a cage, he wanders to a nearby mountain to speak to the mighty Black Eagle under the advice of the riverine rabbit. Khumba encounters a group of fanatical rock hyraxes who worship the Black Eagle and stymie his advance. From the albino Black Eagle (Roger L. Jackson), he learns the way to the watering hole and that it lies in Phango’s cave. The Black Eagle also reveals the origins of Phango. Born half-blind and rejected by his family as a cub, Phango is obsessed with being whole and murdered his whole family. Unbeknownst to Khumba, Phango is trailing him because of an ancient myth that says consuming the half-striped zebra will make Phango the most powerful hunter that ever lived.Khumba (2013)As Khumba journeys onwards, Seko becomes withdrawn and is remorseful that he has let his herd down. He would have never been so hard on Khumba if it never happened. With Tombi’s help, he realizes that if he does not lead his herd in search of another waterhole, they will all die and sets out to follow the trail of Phango. He is prompted by evidence that Khumba may be alive. Tensions between Khumba, Mama V, and Bradley escalate as they move on. While slaking their thirst at a well on a farm, they are driven away by Nora (Catherine Tate), a loony, solitary Merino sheep, and Khumba reveals that the watering-hole is in Phango’s cave. It was revealed that Nora talked about Phango and Khumba reveals that the waterhole is at his cave. The trio has an argument and a fall-out and Khumba continues on alone. Lost and delirious in a saltpan, Khumba is rescued by the same gemsbok healer that he tried to help and wanders the remaining distance to the mountain, and Phango’s lair. Meanwhile, Phango intercepts Mama V and Bradley and discovers that Khumba is fortuitously heading straight to him and returns to his cave. During this time, it was revealed that Mama V lost her child to Phango. Concerned for Khumba’s safety, Mama V and Bradley decide to intercede and warn him. Meanwhile, determined to find the waterhole and get his stripes, Khumba ventures into the leopard’s lair.Khumba (2013)At the same time, Seko and the zebras journey to Phango’s lair where they are joined by the springbok herd, the animals from Ying’s National Park, the rock-rabbits, Skalk (who left his pack due to “creative differences”), and Nora (who was let out of the farm by Skalk). While Khumba wanders the depths of the dark cave, his herd arrives at the base of the mountain, along with many of the other animals he has encountered along his journey. Within the cave, Khumba finds the watering hole and upon reflection of his mother’s words and all of the interactions he has had, he realizes that diversity is essential for survival and that would can be one’s difference can, in fact, be one’s strength. As Phango closes in, he ends up chasing after Khumba. Khumba races to escape the leopard’s clutches as the cave starts to collapse. Part of the cliff gives way which forms a water hole outside Phango’s cave. The assembled animals watch the fight between Khumba and Phango, which results in both of them falling due to the collapsing cave. During the battle, Khumba was fatally scarred but Phango falls off the cliff where he is killed by two large rocks falling on him, while Khumba falls into the water and his body washes up on the shores.Khumba (2013)As it starts to rain, everyone begins to mourn Khumba until he suddenly awakens from his apparent death. As Khumba gets up, Tombi notices the scratch marks that Phango left on Khumba’s right side during the fight. With Phango dead and the zebra herd now having a new home, Khumba celebrates with his herd, Mama V, Bradley, Skalk, Nora, the gemsbok herd, the springbok herd, the animals from Ying’s National Park, and the rock-rabbits as they engage in different activities around the waterfall.Khumba (2013)Your kids will enjoy it. And if you appreciate animation, you’ll enjoy a fresh approach to a familiar type of animated features.