REVIEW: THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU

CAST

Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Jane Fonda (Monster-In-Law)
Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
Rose Byrne (Spy)
Corey Stoll (Ant-Man)
Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms)
Connie Britton (American Ultra)
Timothy Olyphant (Santa Clarita diet)
Dax Shepard (Chips)
Debra Monk (The Savages)
Abigail Spencer (The Forger)
Ben Schwartz (The Other Guys)

Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Corey Stoll, and Adam Driver in This Is Where I Leave You (2014)Judd Altman (Jason Bateman) finds out his wife Quinn (Abigail Spencer) has been having an affair with his boss Wade (Dax Shepard) for a year. After he moves out, Judd’s sister Wendy (Tina Fey) calls to tell him their father Mort has died. The Altmans gather for the funeral at their mother’s home where they reconnect with family friends Horry Callen (Timothy Olyphant), and his mother Linda (Debra Monk). Wendy is unhappy because her husband Barry (Aaron Lazar) is too busy with work. Judd reunites with his older brother Paul (Corey Stoll) and Paul’s wife Annie (Kathryn Hahn), who had once been Judd’s girlfriend. The youngest brother, Phillip (Adam Driver), arrives late with older, therapist girlfriend Tracy (Connie Britton) and interrupts the funeral.Jane Fonda and Tina Fey in This Is Where I Leave You (2014)The Altmans’ mother, Hilary (Jane Fonda) tells her children their father wanted them to sit shiva (despite the fact that Mort was an atheist), presided over by the Altmans’ childhood friend, rabbi Charles “Boner” Grodner (Ben Schwartz). Wendy knows about Judd’s discovery of Quinn’s infidelity, about which he avoids telling everyone else. Judd also reunites with Penny Moore (Rose Byrne), a girl who had a crush on him in high school. During a family gathering, Wendy drunkenly badgers Judd to tell the truth about Quinn. Phillip laments being seen as the family screw-up, while also flirting with another girl while Tracy watches. Irritated, Judd blurts out that Quinn was cheating on him and he plans to divorce her. Quinn shows up the next day and reveals she’s pregnant with Judd’s child. It could not be Wade’s child as he is sterile. Phillip finds out about the pregnancy and reveals this to the family.Jason Bateman and Rose Byrne in This Is Where I Leave You (2014)The family goes to temple for a service where the brothers sneak out to smoke joints Judd found in his father’s suit. Annie, upset that she and Paul haven’t conceived, crawls into bed with Judd in hopes that he could get her pregnant, but he rejects her. Wendy visits Horry in his backyard, and expresses her remorse over being involved the accident that caused Horry’s brain injury and then leaving him. A few days later, when her husband leaves for a conference, an upset Wendy sleeps with Horry. Being caught walking home in the morning by Judd, she tearfully confesses she will never love Barry the way she loved Horry. Judd spends the night with Penny, and then spends the day with her. But then Quinn calls him out of fear that she is having a miscarriage, and he admits to Penny that Quinn is pregnant. Judd gets to the hospital to be with Quinn, only for Wade to show up. The baby is fine and is determined to be a girl. Upon being asked to leave by the OB, Judd and Wade get into a fight in the waiting room. When Philip and Wendy arrive, Wendy punches Wade in the face. Upon leaving, Wade tells Judd he’s not ready to be a step-dad and leaves Quinn.Jane Fonda, Connie Britton, Tina Fey, Kathryn Hahn, and Adam Driver in This Is Where I Leave You (2014)The next day, Annie apologizes to Judd, tearfully confessing that she only wants a baby so badly and is so frustrated by her lack of progress with Paul. Judd replies that she should focus and remember the things she does have with Paul, the love they share and not let the need for a baby ruin her marriage. Paul walks in as Judd hugs her and assumes they were kissing. Paul chases and attacks Judd as Tracy leaves Phillip for being unfaithful, resulting in the three brothers fighting. Hillary silences everyone by kissing Linda passionately in front of all the spectators and informs everyone that she and Linda are in love, something Mort was happy with. She admits the Shiva was her idea, in order to come out to all her children at once and get them all to reconnect. The four siblings are shocked at first, but see their mother is happy and accept it.Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, and Corey Stoll in This Is Where I Leave You (2014)One night, when the power goes out in the basement (where Judd is staying), Judd attempts to fix the problem in the power box, only to be given an electrical shock that knocks him out. He dreams of a memory with his father, where Judd had fallen down from his bike as a child, and his father comforted him and pressed his forehead to his, a characteristic sign of affection Mort used for his children. Judd wakes up crying, finally fully mourning for his father. Judd meets Penny at the skating center, apologizing for not being honest. Wendy leaves with her two kids, waving to Horry from the car, tearing up as she lets him go again. The brothers make amends, and Paul offers Phillip a job at their father’s sporting goods store. Judd decides to quietly slip out, and after loading his luggage in his car, steals Phillip’s Porsche 997. The final shot is of Judd driving on the highway to Maine, a place he has always wanted to go.Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Corey Stoll, and Adam Driver in This Is Where I Leave You (2014)This film was actually funny, but not in a slap-sticky juvenile way. It was a comedy for grown ups in that it dealt with themes that are applicable to 30 and 40-somethings, such as death of a parent, fertility, running a business, divorce, etc., but it was not a heavy film in that it was not a dark comedy. The father who died as the premise for it was never presented to the audience, which keeps his passing from being a sad event and allows for the levity at his funeral to be appreciated. The film generally seems to focus the most of Bateman’s character and his relationships with others, but he carries that role well. In fact, I thought this performance was one of his finest in quite some time. Tina Fey was great in it too. I thought she was just a comedian, but she can act too!. Overall, this film is worth seeing and is a powerful yet lighthearted journey in the interplay between siblings and the event that all 30 & 40 somethings will face at some point: the loss of a parent. If this film doesn’t get you thinking about your relationship with your family members, then nothing will. Not to worry, the family in this film has enough dysfunction to make you feel better about your own.

Advertisements

REVIEW: SANTA CLARITA DIET – SEASON 2

Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant in Santa Clarita Diet (2017)

MAIN CAST

Drew Barrymore (Charlies Angels)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Liv Hewson (Inhumans)
Skyler Gisondo (The Amazing Spider-Man)

scd_201_unit_00282_r

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jee Young Han (Why Him?)
Zachary Knighton (Flashforward)
Maggie Lawson (The Ranch)
Ramona Young (Z Nation)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Joel McHale (Spider-Man 2)
Andy Richter (Elf)
Natalie Morales (The Grinder)
Richard T. Jones (Terminator: TSCC)
Adam Rose (Veronica Mars)
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Masterminds)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Sarah Baker (The Campaign)

santa-clarita-diet-season-2-joel-mchale-castSeconds are seldom as good as the initial meal. You’ve already eaten. Your stomach is beginning to fill. The mystery of the menu is gone. And because a food analogy isn’t strong enough to encompass a television show, the same thing about seconds can also be said with zombie films. There are rare occasions where the sequel is stronger than the original movie, but there’s usually a diminishing return the more you see zombies. These are areas where the “second course” is inevitably disappointing in comparison to the first, however Santa Clarita Diet season 2 rises above these expectations. If anything this new season will leave the audience hungry for more rather than feeling full from these undead antics. When the last season of Santa Clarita Diet ended, the series started to finally find a fitting groove and the tone. Santa Clarita Diet’s second season overpowers season one in practically every way possible.t5sbiwdabipjop4ures7The biggest strengths from the first season of Santa Clarita Diet came from Victor Fresco’s (Better Off Ted, Andy Richter Controls the Universe) irreverent, fearless comedy that was allowed to inject itself into an outrageous premise. All of that is still present and some of the rougher patches from the series’ freshman year like Barrymore’s broad performance or the show’s inconsistent tone during its beginning are now smoothed out. The series also benefits from everyone going into “rescue mode” over Sheila and her condition rather than the whole “let’s hide the central story” aspect that dominates so much of the first season. The training wheels are now off and this show really starts to get creative and have fun with its premise.6ccb292a-6ab9-4760-8a4d-dbdcec443b43Much of Santa Clarita Diet season 2 focuses on the Hammond family’s attempts to normalize their situation. For instance, if Sheila is chained up in the basement, then why not dress up the basement and slap a fresh coat of paint on the ugly situation? Right from the jump of the season there may be people who are anxious that Sheila should just be murdered, but clearly the family is in for the long haul. Joel, Abby, and even Eric are all blissfully hopeful towards their unique situation. Curiously enough, in spite of all the high stakes life and death undead material, Joel and Sheila still worry about their real estate job and it occupies a reasonable part of the season. That might seem like a considerably less important aspect of the series, but it’s encouraging to see the show try to embrace this normalcy, for better or worse. Meanwhile, Joel and Sheila’s murder-happy misadventures still go down under the nose of Deputy Ann, who’s only a few doors away. The ways in which they both squirm out of conversations with Ann and proceed to make matters worse for themselves is always the best kind of awkward mess. Sheila and Joel also find themselves in the weird situation where murder seems to be the best way to handle their problems, but they don’t just want to resort to murder whenever they’re caught in a bind, regardless of how good they may have gotten at it.Skyler Gisondo and Liv Hewson in Santa Clarita Diet (2017)At the same time, these middle-aged parents also realize that without these adrenaline-pumping murders in their lives they’re pretty boring people who don’t have much game. At one point Joel laments, “We’re realtors, so killing people and stuffing them in our fridge doesn’t come naturally.” That’s basically this show in a nutshell. Sheila’s “condition” is an obvious problem, but this season is just as interested in the fact that that Joel and his wife haven’t been able to have a date night, build a bookshelf, or write a yelp review since all of this undead business started. Santa Clarita Diet season 2 also starts to expand the show’s world in bigger ways. There are more undead individuals that are out there in addition to organizations that are on the hunt for a cure or a means to exterminate this epidemic. These secret factions begin to come out of the woodwork this season and it’s a good creative move on the show’s part. Joel and Sheila’s secret life continues to intersect with their job and social lives in interesting ways, all of which make the two of them continue to ponder whether they’re good people or not. It’s great to see Joel and Sheila use death and horror as a prop for comedy. You really don’t see that perspective anywhere else in this context—it’s almost like a suburban Dexter or The Walking Dead. Sure there are programs like Ash Vs the Evil Dead or Stan Against Evil, but this is so deeply entrenched in its family dynamic and is a comedy first and horrorsecond.santa-clarita-diet-season-2-netflix-feature

This season also digs into the bigger questions, like how Sheila became infected in the first place. Joel and company assume that if they figure this out then they can reverse engineer the rest of this mystery. The show’s mythology explodes in a big way here and the story turns into something that’s so much more interesting than simply a comedic take on zombies, which the show could be guilty of during its first season. The show’s lore goes to some fascinating places that touch on territory like the Knights of the Templar and all sorts of things that you wouldn’t expect. One of the best things about Santa Clarita Diet is its phenomenal cast and in the show’s second season everyone’s only more comfortable in these roles. There’s seriously such chemistry between the reluctantly murderous Hammond family. Their dynamic really clicks this year and they all feel more natural in a way that was absent last season. Timothy Olyphant’s Joel continues to play unhinged and flustered in the best way possible. The wide-eyed, beleaguered way in which he does comedy is perfect for this universe.santa-clarita-diet-season-2-trailerDrew Barrymore does an even better job as Sheila this season now that she’s acclimated to the role a little better. She plays the role with the glee of a puppy who’s just found a new toy. The show also really explores the beauty in how becoming undead can allow people to finally become the people that they wanted to be in life. It just happens to be something that comes with the awful side effect of needing to consume human flesh. Some of the best work from this season comes from the younger half of the show’s cast. Skyler Gisondo really gets to step up his game as the hapless Eric Bemis and he finds himself overwhelmed in a whole new way this year. His burgeoning relationship with Abby continues to make for believable tension between the two of them as well. On that note, this season is also a real showpiece for Abby’s Liv Hewson. The character goes through a metamorphosis that is a lot of fun to watch. Abby redefines who she is in both school and real life and it’s a fascinating arc for her character. Sometimes your mom turning into a zombie can be just as life changing as turning into the zombie yourself.20190221-PAGEONE-SANTA-CLARITASanta Clarita Diet’s second season features strong storytelling and performances, but it also doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the extreme visuals and gore. This season features gruesome sights like broken thumbs, the lesson of what microwave settings to apply to frozen body parts, spider balls, and explosions of blood that make it seem like humans are carbonated soda that are just waiting to burst. In this sense, the show’s humor is still particularly on point and many conversations should make audiences laugh out loud, such as the prospect of sprucing up a kill room so it doesn’t so obviously look like a kill room or the debate of whether it’s discriminatory to kill a Nazi who’s in a wheelchair and the moral relativism of such a murder. Santa Clarita Diet proves that it has a sustainable vision and that this show is more than just some one-season fad. If anything the show is only getting better and it doesn’t suffer from the usual problems that can afflict Netflix shows, such as the season’s pacing. Admittedly, some of the show’s fight scenes play out a little awkwardly and look low budget, but it’s hardly a big deal. This isn’t Daredevil. The show’s second season snowballs and culminates in an impressive way where the year ends on a huge note that once more questions the status quo of the series. The bottom line here is that it’s consistently compelling and enjoyable to see if Joel and Sheila can continue to keep all of their blood-soaked balls in the air.

 

REVIEW: SCREAM 2

CAST

Neve Campbell (Wild Things)
Courteney Cox (Masters of The Universe)
David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks)
Jamie Kennedy (Son of The Mask)
Liev Schreiber (The Fifth Wave)
Jada Pinkett Smith (Gotham)
Laurie Metcalf (The Big Bang Theory)
Omar Epps (House)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Gruel Intentions)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Joshua Jackson (Cursed)
Heather Graham (Killing Me Softly)
Duane Martin (Any Given Sunday)
Rebecca Gayheart (Dead Like Me)
Portia de Rossi (Stigmata)
Roger Jackson (The Powerpuff Girls)
Rebecca McFarland (Two and A Half Men)
Elise Neal (Hustle & Flow)
Lewis Arquette (Tango & CAsh)
Marisol Nichols (Riverdale)
Tori Spelling (Scary Movie 2)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
David Warner (Tenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2)
Selma Blair (Hellboy)
Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo)

573707754A year after the Woodsboro murders, while attending a preview of the film Stab, a film within a film based on the murders, two Windsor College seniors, Maureen Evans and Phil Stevens (Jada Pinkett Smith and Omar Epps) are murdered by Ghostface. Phil is stabbed through the ear in a bathroom stall while trying to eavesdrop on strange whimpering noises. The killer, wearing a Ghostface costume, then returns to the screening and sits beside Maureen before mortally stabbing her. At first the audience believes the act to be a publicity stunt until she falls dead in front of the cinema screen. The following day, the news media including local journalist Debbie Salt (Laurie Metcalf), descend on Windsor College where Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) now studies alongside her best friend Hallie (Elise Neal) and her new boyfriend Derek (Jerry O’Connell), fellow Woodsboro survivor Randy (Jamie Kennedy), and Derek’s best friend Mickey (Timothy Olyphant). Sidney receives prank calls but is oblivious to the recent killings until someone instructs her to watch the news.MV5BMTg1ODc2NTUxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDk5MTk4NA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1400,1000_AL_Two other Woodsboro survivors arrive at the campus: officer Dewey Riley (David Arquette) to help Sidney, and reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) to cover the case. Gale tries to stage a confrontation between Sidney and Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber), who is attempting to gain fame from his exoneration for the murder of Sidney’s mother. After Gale forcibly confronts Sidney with Cotton, Sidney angrily hits Gale. Later that evening, Sidney goes to a party with Hallie. At a sorority house, Ghostface murders fellow student Cici (Sarah Michelle Gellar). After all the partygoers leave, the killer then crashes the party and attacks Sidney, though Derek intervenes. The killer injures Derek but Dewey and the police arrive, prompting the killer to flee. The next morning, Gale discusses the case with the police. Upon realizing that Cici’s real name is Casey, she concludes that the killer is a copycat who targets students who share the same names as the Woodsboro murder victims.Normal_scream2_167That afternoon, while Gale is talking to Dewey and Randy on the campus lawn, she receives a call from Ghostface hinting that he is watching them. They search for him, but Randy, who tries to keep the killer on the phone, is dragged into Gale’s broadcast van and is killed by Ghostface. As night falls, Dewey and Gale review the tape of Ghostface killing Randy hoping to find some clues but the killer attacks them and seemingly kills Dewey. Gale hides and eventually escapes. In the wake of the escalating murders, two officers drive Sidney and Hallie to a local police station, but the killer murders them. In the ensuing struggle, Ghostface is knocked unconscious. After they climb out of the car, Sidney insists on unmasking him, while Hallie insists they escape. When Sidney walks back to the car, she sees that Ghostface has escaped, who then stabs Hallie to death, forcing Sidney to flee.OQAAAK3y1RS0GNuFo8uh3KwBwm0jLi2eJfnDkJV787EW0dpie41YgymEVevThxMv5vyoWjN7orOrzK6de54DkpWxJyEAm1T1UNAJtW_1G5dV_7joZ5uXyRrqP4DtSidney goes back to the campus and finds Derek in the auditorium tied to a crucifix, his mouth gagged with duct tape. Once Sidney unties him, she is confronted by Ghostface, who reveals himself as Mickey and kills Derek. Mickey details his plan to become famous in the ensuing trial and media spectacle. He then announces his accomplice, Debbie Salt, who arrives holding Gale at gunpoint. Sidney recognizes that Salt is actually Billy Loomis’ mother, seeking revenge for her son’s death. Mrs. Loomis betrays Mickey and shoots him, as she plans to pin the murders on Mickey. Before he collapses, Mickey accidentally shoots Gale, causing her to fall off the stage. Sidney and Mrs. Loomis fight, until Cotton intervenes and eventually shoots Mrs. Loomis in the throat. As they debate whether or not she is still alive, they find Gale still alive. Mickey suddenly jumps to his feet, only to be shot dead by Sidney and Gale. Sidney then shoots Mrs. Loomis in the head to confirm her death. When the police arrive the next morning, Gale finds Dewey badly injured but still alive and accompanies him to the hospital. Sidney instructs the press to direct questions to Cotton, rewarding him with the fame he has been chasing while removing the attention from herself as she leaves the university campus.scream-2Although Craven did a great job building suspense in the first film, he does manage to improve upon his efforts in the second film. While some of the killings are shockingly abrupt, the suspense in the film is quite impressive. While Scream will be revered for years as a modern horror classic, “Scream 2” is a worthy successor. While likely not destined to be a classic on its own, it is clear that Williamson and Craven did not rest on their laurels and truly put an impressive effort into this film, which pays off well, and helps to establish the whole trilogy as a landmark in the horror film genre.

 

REVIEW: DREAMCATCHER

CAST

Morgan Freeman (Lucy)
Thomas Jane (The Punisher)
Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl)
Damien Lewis (Homeland)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Tom Sizemore (Heat)
Donnie Wahlberg (Saw II)
Michael O’Neill (Transformers)

Jonesy, Beaver, Pete, and Henry are four friends on an annual hunting trip in Maine. As children, they all acquired telepathic powers which they call “the line” after saving a mentally handicapped boy named Douglas “Duddits” Cavell from bullies and befriend him.One night, Jonesy sees Duddits beckoning him to cross the street, but as he does so Jonesy is hit by a car. His injuries heal with mysterious speed and six months later he is able to make it for the group’s annual trip. Jonesy rescues a man lost in the forest named Rick McCarthy. He is very ill, so Jonesy and Beaver let him rest and recover inside their cabin. Suddenly, herds of forest animals flee past their cabin, followed by two military helicopters that announce the area is now quarantined. Jonesy and Beaver return to the cabin to find a trail of blood from the bedroom to the bathroom, where Rick is sitting semi-catatonic on the toilet, which is now covered in blood. Rick is thrown from the toilet, dead into the tub as a creature writhes and screams in the toilet. Beaver attempts to trap the creature under the toilet lid, but the three-foot long lamprey-like creature, with multiple rows of razor-sharp teeth, kills him. Jonesy tries to escape but is confronted by a large alien called Mr. Gray, who possesses Jonesy’s body and emits a red-dust around the entire cabin.Nearby, Henry and Pete crash their SUV to avoid running over a frostbitten woman from Rick’s original hunting party. Henry walks for help while Pete stays with the woman. She dies and also excretes a worm, which Pete barely manages to kill. Mr. Gray tricks and kidnaps Pete, but Jonesy telepathically warns Henry to stay hidden. Henry returns to the cabin to find Beaver dead and the worm that killed him laying a group of eggs. To kill all of the alien larvae, he sets fire to the cabin.Meanwhile, an elite military unit specializing in extraterrestrials, led by the slightly unhinged Colonel Abraham Curtis, seeks to contain everyone exposed to the aliens. Col. Curtis is planning to retire after this operation and will pass command, along with a pearl-handled stainless-steel .45 pistol, to Captain Owen Underhill, his trusted friend and second in command. The two lead an air-strike into a large forest clearing where the aliens’ spaceship has crash-landed. The aliens use telepathy to ask for mercy, but the helicopters massacre most of the aliens with mini-guns and missiles. The alien ship self-destructs, destroying the remaining aliens and two helicopters.Jonesy retraces his memories of the area while watching Mr. Gray use his body. Mr. Gray tries to coerce Pete into cooperating but bites him in half when he refuses. Jonesy realizes that Mr. Gray possessed him, not by chance, but to access past memories of Duddits which he needs. Henry arrives at the fenced-in concentration camp only to realize that Col. Curtis plans to kill all of those quarantined. Henry convinces Underhill to prevent this by going over Curtis’ head and having him relieved. Henry and Underhill break out of the camp and head to Duddits’ home. Duddits, who is dying of leukemia, informs them Mr. Gray is headed for the Quabbin Reservoir to seed the water with alien larvae. Curtis, realizing the danger looming to the entire planet, leaves the camp in his armed helicopter and tracks down Henry, Underhill, and Duddits via a micro-chip in the pistol. At the reservoir, Underhill is mortally wounded and dies shortly after he shoots Curtis down.In the reservoir’s pump house, Henry uses Underhill’s machine gun to kill Mr. Gray’s worm but cannot decide if Jonesy is possessed. Duddits confronts Mr. Gray, who finally exits Jonesy’s body. The two struggle as Duddits reveals himself to also be an alien of a different race. Both aliens explode in a cloud of red-dust which briefly resembles a dreamcatcher. Jonesy, now himself again, steps on the final alien larva before it can escape and contaminate the reservoir.Not a masterpiece, but still an enjoyable Sci-fi/Horror.

REVIEW: THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (2004)

CAST

Emile Hirsch (Killer Joe)
Elisha Cuthbert (House of Wax)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
James Remar (Gotham)
Chris Marquette (Fanboys)
Paul Dano (Swiss Army Man)
Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy)
Sunny Leone (Pirate’s Blood)
Amanda Swisten (The Last Run)
Sung-Hi Lee (Birds of Prey)
Timothy Bottoms (Shanghai Kiss)
Autumn Reeser (The OC)

Ambitious high school senior Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch) has been accepted to Georgetown University, but cannot afford the tuition. He has raised $25,000 in order to bring a brilliant Cambodian student, Samnang, to study in the United States, but finds little else truly memorable about his high school experience. His life suddenly changes when charismatic Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert) moves in next door. Matthew witnesses her undressing from his bedroom window, until she sees him and storms over, knocking on the door and introducing herself to his parents. They suggest to Matthew that he show Danielle around town.While driving around, Danielle stops the car and forces Matthew to get out and strip for her. The two get to know each other through weird adventures, which includes Matthew finding himself in his principal’s pool. He and Danielle sneak away and pick up his friends before going to a party. When a few of Matthew’s athlete classmates attempt to get him away from Danielle and kick him out of the party, he finds the courage to walk right up and kiss her. Matthew’s world is suddenly rocked the next day when his friend Eli informs him that Danielle is an adult film actress.On Eli’s advice, Matthew takes Danielle to a sleazy motel. Danielle, insulted, realizes that he has discovered her past and abruptly ends the relationship. Matthew later attempts to apologize and reconcile, but Danielle believes that she will never be able to escape her past and decides to return to the adult industry. Matthew tracks Danielle down at an adult film convention in Las Vegas where Kelly (Timothy Olyphant), a porn producer and Danielle’s ex, menacingly warns Matthew not to interfere with his business. Matthew ignores him, convincing Danielle both to leave the adult industry and to begin their relationship anew. Next morning, Kelly furiously abducts Matthew from school and assaults him, saying that Danielle’s failure to film has cost him $30,000. Kelly offers to let Matthew erase his debt by stealing an award statuette from porn mogul Hugo Posh (James Remar), but once Matthew has entered the house Kelly calls in a burglary report and leaves the premises. Matthew narrowly avoids the police and rushes to a scholarship award dinner. High on ecstasy that Kelly gave him as aspirin, he gives a deeply sentimental speech but loses out on the scholarship.Kelly exacts further revenge by stealing all the money Matthew raised for Samnang. Matthew fears that he will be implicated in the crime and expelled from school. He turns to Danielle for help in recouping his losses. Danielle calls in two friends from her porn star days, and they agree to make a video for Hugo Posh on prom night using Matthew’s classmates as actors. After the successful shoot, Danielle and Matthew have sex in their limousine. Despite Danielle’s past, it is the first time she has truly made love. The next morning Eli calls Matthew, panicked because the prom night tape has been stolen, jeopardizing their hopes of financial recovery. Matthew enters his home to find Kelly (and the stolen tape) in his home, along with his parents and Principal Salinger. Kelly, in private, tells Matthew that unless he is given half of all profits, he will play the tape immediately for Matthew’s family. Matthew dares him to show the tape, asserting that he no longer cares about his “now-ruined future,” and Kelly obliges. Surprising everyone, Matthew and his friends have made a progressive, comprehensive sex ed tape rather than a porn film. With no more cards left to play, Kelly admits defeat as well as a grudging respect for Matthew.Hugo Posh and Matthew make millions from the video. Hugo Posh pays for Samnang to come to the USA, while Matthew has enough money to attend Georgetown and take Danielle to DC with him. Matthew’s story ends with him getting the girl of his dreams and a chance at the future he has always wanted.This movie really was a very pleasant suprise. Not the sell out that could possibly have been expected, but a very good film about coming of age, tasting life and of course, getting the girl. Excellent performances from all parties, a great soundtrack with songs very well used, and above all very funny well placed jokes make this a very appealing package. This comes highly recommended.

REVIEW: SANTA CLARITA DIET – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Drew Barrymore (Charlies Angels)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Liv Hewson (Before I Fall)
Skyler Gisondo (The Amazing Spider-Man)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ricardo Chavira (Desperate Housewives)
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Masterminds)
Richard T. Jones (Terminator: TSCC)
Joy Osmanski (Samantha Who?)
Natalie Morales  (Wall Street 2)
Thomas Lennon (Balls of Fury)
Grace Zabriskie (Drop Zone)
DeObia Oparei (Moulin Rouge!)
Portia de Rossi (Scream 2)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Andy Richter (Elf)
Patton Oswalt (Agents of S.H.i.e.l.d.)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Derek Waters (Hall Pass)
Ravi Patel (Grandfathered)
Patricia Belcher (Bones)

Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix is an odd and yet oddly simple series. Its creator, Victor Fresco, made his name with Better Off Ted, which played fast and loose with the conventions of the office comedy. In Santa Clarita, he attacks the family sitcom with the same stylized absurdity and mock naïveté. And zombies. Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant star as Sheila and Joel, married real estate agents with a teenage daughter, Abby (Liv Hewson). That changes when Sheila dies after an epic fit of vomiting and comes back to life full of energy, sexually supercharged and very, very hungry for human flesh.
drew-barrymore-timothy-olyphant-santa-clarita-dietIt’s a clever idea — zombification as the route to midlife rejuvenation. Rather than grow bitter and have affairs, Sheila sips human smoothies and gets happier. Her new joie de mourir even recharges her marriage with Joel, a former jock who has receded into a suburban ineffectualness symbolized by the flip-flops he wears around the cul-de-sac.
santa-clarita-diet-staffel-1-01-rcm992x0The first few episodes of “Santa Clarita Diet” do have a good amount of gore and the last third of the season fills out as the mystery and thriller. But there’s a stretch in the middle where Mr. Fresco and his writers have a lot of fun subverting the formulas of the suburban comedy. Family dinners require finesse (because Mom eats people). Abby is angry that her parents keep secrets (because Mom eats people). When told that a pedophile has moved in down the street, Sheila perks up, because she’s on the lookout for undesirable people she won’t feel guilty about eating.screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-10-05-38-amA funny premise and appealing performances take Santa Clarita Diet far. There are enough laughs to make this show bingeable.

REVIEW: I AM NUMBER FOUR

CAST

Alex Pettyfer (Stormbreaker)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies)
Dianna Agron (Glee)
Callan McAuliffe (The Great Gatsby)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Jake Abel (The Lovely Bones)
Judith Hoag (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Emily Wickersham (NCIS)
Garrett M. Brown (Kick-Ass)

John Smith is an alien from the planet Lorien. He was sent to Earth as a child with eight others to escape the invading Mogadorians, who destroyed Lorien. Here, John is protected by a Cepan, or guardian, Henri. Together, they live in a beach-side bungalow in Florida. The Mogadorians, led by the Commander, learn about the nine children and come to Earth to find them. The Loric Garde can only be killed in sequence; from Number One to Number Nine. Three of them have already been killed. John becomes aware that he is next while swimming in the ocean with a girl. He suffers sharp pain, his leg begins to glow, and he sees a vision of Number Three warning him of the coming danger. The girl and the other people on the beach, who record the event happening in the ocean, run from John. When the video and pictures surface on the internet, Henri deletes them all, gathers up his and John’s belongings, and decides to move to an old farm in Paradise, Ohio. A small lizard is able to crawl in along with their belongings.John and Henri arrive in Paradise and begin settling into their new home. As night falls, the lizard transforms into a dog. That night, Henri and John hear a noise outside and, upon investigation, find the dog, who is then brought inside by John. He decides to name the dog Bernie Kosar (after Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar). The following morning, at John’s insistence, Henri allows John to go to the local high school rather than be home schooled.On his first day there, John goes to the office to receive his class schedule. While waiting, he sees a girl being scolded by a teacher in the principal’s office. After John is given his schedule and the girl is let off by the principal, the girl is asked by the secretary to guide John to his locker and first class. At this time, John falls for the girl, who is an amateur photographer named Sarah Hart. As Sarah walks away, a guy walks up to John with a couple of his friends and introduces himself as Mark James. As Mark walks away, John watches him slam another boy into the lockers and throw the boy’s skateboard away. John retrieves it and gives it back to the boy, whose name is Sam Goode. Later that day at lunch, John befriends Sam when one of Mark’s friends throws a football at Sam’s head, knocking him to the ground. John helps Sam up and throws the ball back with enough force to knock Mark’s friend to the ground. After this, John notices Sarah taking an interest in him, as she’s taking pictures of him from a distance.That night at home, John discovers a website run by Sarah. It contains pictures of many of the people of Paradise, including a section dedicated to him. As he views the site, it is erased by Henri. At the same time back in Florida, the Mogadorians discover the burnt wreck of Henri and John’s old home and determine that John was not killed in the fire.The next day, while John is being bothered by Mark during a film in one of his classes, John’s hands begin to glow and burn brightly, similar to the glow on his leg in the ocean, and he sweats profusely. He runs from the classroom and into a janitorial closet to soak his hands in water to calm the burning. Henri, alerted by a Loric box that he has kept, comes to John and explains that the glowing is the awakening of John’s “legacies”. As these powers grow, John will become more powerful but, in order to maintain a low profile, Henri forbids John from using these powers. John disobeys, sneaks out of his house, and goes to a nearby forest where he finds that he is able to throw large rocks at supersonic speeds, run faster than he ever could before, and survive long falls with ease.Later that night, John goes into town to walk around for a bit and runs into Sarah. He confronts her about the pictures that he found on her website and she admits to being an avid photographer. As they walk together, they see Sam across the street being yelled at by his step-father. John walks Sarah the rest of the way to her house, where she invites him in for dinner with her family. Her parents seem to like John and suggest that he and Sarah go to the carnival together. After dinner, John and Sarah head up to her room. She shows John some of her favorite photos that she has taken. John finds a scrapbook of personal photos that Sarah’s taken of herself along with things she’s written but she takes it back before he can read much of it. Bernie Kosar shows up outside of Sarah’s house, barking loudly, and John gets up to leave. Sarah gives him one of her cameras. They nearly kiss but John leaves quickly because of Bernie Kosar’s constant barking.The following day at school, Sam asks about the lights in class but John passes it off as a prank with some flashlights. As Sam is warning John to stay away from Sarah, their lockers explode with pink paint placed by Mark. John’s hands begin to glow again but he’s able to hide it by clenching his fists, as he narrowly avoids getting into a fight with Mark. While John and Sam are cleaning up in the bathroom, Sam tells John about how he and his father used to go looking for aliens, though his father suddenly disappeared one day.During the Spring Fair, Sarah explains to John that she and Mark used to date. She talked about how she had “refused to be his personal cheerleader” and instead wanted to be a photographer. Mark had told her that she was being snobby and convinced the entire school that she was crazy. John and Sarah go on a haunted wagon ride through the woods. When they get off, Mark’s friends tackle John and begin to beat him while one brings Sarah to Mark. John uses his legacies to fend them off and rescue Sarah. Sam witnesses John’s use of his legacies and John reveals his true origins to Sam. The next day, Mark’s father, the local sheriff, interrogates Henri on John’s whereabouts when his son and his friends were attacked, where John says he wasn’t paying any attention to Mark, since he was with a girl. Henri tells John that too many people are suspicious of them, so they have to leave. John refuses because he doesn’t want to leave Sarah. Meanwhile, the Mogadorians continue searching for John, while being trailed by a mysterious woman who is also trying to locate Number Four.The Mogadorians eventually locate John and manipulate two conspiracy theorists into capturing Henri. When John and Sam go to rescue him, they are attacked, but manage to fend the Mogadorians off. Just before escaping, John and Sam grab Henri’s knife and a Loric artifact; a blue rock that acts as the first half of a tracking device that locates other Loric children. Knowing who Sam is, Henri reveals that his father was an ally that was helping them. As John, Henri, and Sam begin to drive away in Sam’s truck, Henri is stabbed through the chest while trying to protect John from a Mogadorian. John throws the Mogadorian from the truck with his telekinesis and they drive away. Henri later dies in John’s arms after telling him to find the remaining children, as their combined powers would be enough to stop the Mogadorians. Sam reveals to John that he has another rock, very similar to the one found with the conspiracy theorists. While Sam searches for it in his house, John tries to say goodbye to Sarah at a party. Mark sees John and calls his father, who corners John and Sarah on the roof of the house that the party is being thrown at. As Sarah stands up, she slips from the roof.John saves Sarah from a fall with his telekinesis, revealing his powers in the process, and they escape to their high school. Meanwhile, the Commander arrives in Paradise in a convoy of trucks. He confronts Mark and his father. After injuring the sheriff, the Commander forces Mark to lead him to where John is hiding. Mark takes him to the school, which he knows is Sarah’s hideout.There, John, Sarah and Sam are attacked by the Mogadorians, who brought two giant monsters to hunt the trio. They are saved by Number Six and Bernie Kosar. Number Six reveals that Bernie Kosar is a Chimera that can shapeshift and was sent by John’s biological parents to protect him. John and Number Six fight the Mogadorians using their powers; Number Six uses her invisibility powers and John blocks energy attacks with telekinesis. Meanwhile, Bernie Kosar, now in his true chimera form, fights one of the Mogadorians’ monsters in the school’s showers. He is able to defeat the monster. Eventually, having ended up on the school’s football stadium, John and Number Six defeat all of the Mogadorians, including the Commander, who dies in a large explosion triggered by John igniting the Commander’s bandoleer of ammunition. John survives this explosion when Number Six stands between him and the blast, revealing her ability to resist fire.The following day, Number Six unites John’s and Sam’s blue rocks and discovers the location of the other four surviving Garde. John allows Sam to come with them with the hope of one day finding Sam’s father. They set off to find the others so they can all protect Earth from the Mogadorians. They leave behind Sarah and a repentant Mark, who lies to his father about John’s whereabouts and returns the box left to John by his dad that was in police evidence. Before leaving, John promises to return to Paradise one day and kisses Sarah one last time. Just before getting in to Sam’s truck, Bernie Kosar, with a visibly injured paw, limps up to John. John, Sam, and Bernie Kosar leave together in Sam’s truck, being led by Number Six on her motorcycle to where ever the next of the Loric Garde may beIf your a sci fan then this is a very watchable movie. I was worried that the relationship between the main character and the photographer would run away with itself and overtake the plot as is seen is so many decent movies ruined by pointless teen relationships. But I Am Number four did not let this happen and it glued with the plot really well. The fight scenes were well scripted and did not go on for too long. Just a really good Sci-fi flick.