Secret in Their Eyes and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment
Directed by Billy Ray
Does anyone even remember that this movie was supposed to come out? I remember seeing trailers a LONG time ago but then they just stopped and I haven’t seen one for this in probably four or five months. Did the studio lose faith in it despite its all-star cast (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts just to name a few)? It seems that the Studio is angling for this to be an Oscar type film along the lines of Michael Clayton or LA Confidential based on the trailers we initially got, but maybe something happened between then and now that cause the studio to lose faith in this film’s ability to reach the main stream audience. Is this a solid thriller that will generate some positive buzz through word of mouth, or are we looking at something that the studio was desperate to bury? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) as he tries to solve the murder of the daughter of his friend Jess (Julia Roberts). It’s not going all that well considering he’s just getting a breakthrough after thirteen years of diligent work, but at least he has something he can bring to the district attorney Claire (Nicole Kidman). Now this is where things start to break down so I’ll try to get this story across as best as possible. Thirteen years ago, Ray was an FBI agent that got transferred to a Los Angeles after 9/11 with a whole bunch of other agents because everyone thought that was where the next attack would be. One of those agents is Jess who becomes his partner and they become friends along with Bumpy Willis (Dean Norris basically reprising his role as Hank Schrader to the point that they eventually give the dude a cane) and the new Assistant District Attorney Claire. One day, they find Jess’s daughter dead and bleached in a dumpster outside of a Mosque they’re investigating and it completely destroys Jess. They have a suspect in some kid named Marzin (Joe Cole) that they’re DAMN sure did it but due to some extenuating circumstances, the head of the LA FBI office (Alfred Molina) doesn’t want to pursue this further. The kid is actually an informant for the office asshole Reg Seifert (Michael Kelly who’s kind of an American Andrew Scott only less awesome) who is spilling secrets on the mosque which might be harboring a terrorist cell. That and a general lack of hard evidence means he gets away with the murder and then just disappears soon after.
We’re back with another episode of My Little Pony: Chronicles of The Friendship Princess! Actually, this one decides to pull back on Twilight and instead seems to be an Applejack centric episode with an emphasis on music because apparently three Equestria Girls movies just aren’t enough! Will this penultimate adventure into the world of song and dance be the perfect lead up before the season finale, or will it land with a resounding thud like many episodes have this season? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Applejack whose delegating tasks to other ponies for the purposes of setting a stage for a music festival that’s happening in Ponyville. She’s apparently good at setting up stages due to the fact that she’s organized rodeos in the past… and I guess that we’re supposed to ignore the fact that she couldn’t do this exact same thing in Made in Manehattan. Then again, that was a solo project and maybe there’s a pony around here called Roadie Hooves who knows about setting up sound equipment (powered by magic I’m sure). Anyway, with her help things seem to finally be coming together for… Pony-palooza. Really? Right off the bat with the puns?
The Night Before and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Jonathan Levine
Is it too late to declare a war on Christmas? I don’t mind the holidays, but I’ve also worked in retail so I got a firsthand look at the Christmas calendar creep and how NO ONE likes to push this shit in October, let alone November. Thankfully they ALMOST waited until December to start throwing out holiday films with last week’s Love the Coopers and now The Night Before. Unlike that other film though, I was REALLY looking forward to seeing this because I love Seth Rogen and his particular brand of comedy. Not everything he’s been a part of has been great (I thought The Interview was pretty underwhelming), but I always like to see what he does next which this time seems to be pretending he’s in the same age group as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie. Wait a minute. HE’S THE YOUNGEST ONE OF THEM!? Huh. Learn something new every day. So will this be the kind of movie to bring out the holiday cheer and break out the eggnog, or will this make everyone feel even Grinch-ier than they already are at this time of the year? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the adventures of Ethan, Isaac, and Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie) on their last big Christmas Eve together before ending their tradition. You see, about fifteen years ago Ethan’s parents were killed by a drunk driver right around Christmas time and so his friends decided that they will spend the holidays with him which soon became a tradition. What also became a tradition is that they would party their ASSES off because they were young when they started it so of course that’s what they ended up doing. However, it’s been going on for way too long and Isaac and Chris have their own things going on while Ethan is still stuck in place, unable to get his life going. Still, he agrees to this being the last time they make this a big party event and even has a surprise for his friends that will make this the best one of them all. There’s a super-secret party that takes place every year (the Nutcracker Ball) that they’ve never had a chance to go to because they could never find out where it was or how to get invitations. Through sheer luck, Ethan finds three tickets for the damn thing at his shitty job and steals them without a second thought so that he and his friends can have the greatest night of their lives! Will this final night be all it’s cracked up to be, or are they just too damn old to keep going the way they’ve been going even for one more night? Will they be able to salvage their friendship despite the changes in their lives that makes it harder for them to find the time? Wait, how fucking deep is this movie about taking drugs and Christmas shenanigans!?
Love the Coopers and all the images you see in this review are owned by CBS Films and Lionsgate
Directed by Jessie Nelson
‘Tis the season for the bold and foolhardy to try and make films that will enter into the catalog of class Christmas movies! Probably the last one to make the leap to big leagues in regard to enduring Christmas Classics is Love Actually from 2003, but that hasn’t stopped film makers from trying to break into that market which brings us to today’s feature. Will this movie face this challenge head on and make it through the neigh impossible glass ceiling of beloved Christmas films, or will this be yet another failed attempt to recreate that Christmas magic and will be doomed to the same fate as Four Christmases, Deck the Halls, or god forbid Christmas with the Cranks? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the misadventures of several members of the Cooper family on Christmas Eve as everyone is trying to get ready for the family dinner that is to take place later that night. At the head of the family is Sam and Charlotte Cooper (John Goodman and Diane Keaton) who are trying to keep it together long enough for them to have a happy holiday with the family despite the fact that they plan to get divorced soon after the season ends. We also have Charlotte’s sister Emma (Marisa Tomei) who’s just a bitter jerk during the holidays (think Marie Schrader from Breaking Bad) and gets caught shoplifting which means she has to get out of it while being driven to the police station by a cop played by Anthony Mackie. Charlotte and Sam’s kids are Hank and Eleanor (Ed Helms and Olivia Wilde) who have their own problems to deal with as the former just recently got divorced and then fired from his job while the later… just doesn’t like coming home for the holidays and is procrastinating in an airport with a solider she just met (Jake Lacy). There are other members of the family such as, Bucky Cooper (Alan Arkin) who’s hanging around the fringe of everyone’s story but also has his own thing going on with a waitress in a diner played by Amanda Seyfried, and Aunt Fishy (June Squibb) who’s basically playing a female version of Grandpa Simpson. With all these characters dealing with their problems during the most stressful time of the year, will they somehow manage to have a happy Christmas, or will this end in total disaster? Can this movie manage to juggle all these subplots without feeling like a poorly paced mess? Okay, seriously. Can’t we just watch Love Actually instead?
Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media
Episode directed by Yuji Endo
We’re back with another episode of Sailor Moon Retro! When we last left our heroes, they were in a rather uncomfortable and dated adventure regarding weight loss and self-esteem. In hindsight, it may not have been the BEST way to tackle those subjects, but then again you can’t always go back to stuff from twenty years ago and expect it to get everything right in regards to modern sensibilities. Besides, I’m sure that’s gonna be the ONLY time that this show will be THAT blatantly nineties, right? It’s not like they’ll make an episode about Furbies or something! Oh wait, this episode is about cute artificial animals that people can’t get enough of? Okay then. Well to be fair, this episode predates those toys by at least six years so maybe they were simply ahead of their time when they made this! Will this episode manage to bring the series back on track after the stumble that was the last episode, or will the show continue to feel out of place and outdated as they continue to scramble to come up with episodes to fill out the season? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Usagi having a nightmare where she’s being chased by… I don’t know, the Smoke Monster?
Welcome back to another episode of The Ponyville Hill-Ponies! This time around we take a trip to whatever the heck is the Equestrian equivalent of the Deep South for yet another mission doled out by the all-knowing and all-seeing map of friendship! The map, like the rest of the season, has had its ups and downs in terms of quality episodes, but it’s easily the most interesting concept they came up with this season and definitely gives the writers some creative freedom to explore the world. Will they manage to live up to the potential that the map provides them with, or will this be another safe and predictable episode in a season that had just a bit too much of that already? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Fluttershy hosting a book club for all her animal friends where they are reading Wuthering Hooves. Wow. There’s uh… there’s a lot to cover already. First of all, I’m pretty sure they’re taking MY shtick right now considering how many bad literary horse and animal puns I’ve already done in these recaps.
As is tradition with any convention, you end up spending way too much on stuff you’ll never use that’s much cheaper on Amazon. I’m certainly guilty here, but I think I got a pretty decent haul overall for what I ended up paying and have decided to share it with all of you! I’ll first talk about the merchandise I picked out and then we’ll do an unboxing of the grab bags that I purchased from some of the tables! Let’s get started!!
Throughout this adventure, I learned one very important thing. I. LOVE. SAILOR. JUPITER!!
We took a look at some of the panels last time around, but now we’re getting to the BIG ones! The panels hosted by two of the current giants of anime here in the United States which are FUNimation and Aniplex! No point in dawdling! Let’s get started!!
FUNumation Industry Panel
I’m not sure what I was expecting from this sort of corporate event, but it ended up being an advertising bonanza with them showcasing their recent releases, what they plan to release for the upcoming season and the streaming services they are currently offering. Right now, you can gain access to FUNimation’s entire back catalog of shows in one of two ways. With a Sub Pass, you can watch any anime that FUNimation has rights to the subtitled version of as well as their subtitled Simulcasts. With the All-Access Pass though, you can access that as well as all their dubbed anime, as well as a couple of extras not available for the Sub Pass.
So last weekend (11/6-11/9), I was at NekoCon 18 in Hampton Virginia and it was the first big(ish) con I had ever been to. I went there with occasional site collaborator Matthew Wimer (Doctor Scientist) who had been there about two years ago. I was very nervous overall and, as I usually do, ended up not talking to very many people and just wandered around in my down time. I didn’t get a lot of pictures which I feel kind of silly about in hindsight, but those are the breaks. Maybe next year I’ll do better and be a bit more active overall. Still, I can use this space to talk about my experiences and the panels/events that we took part of throughout the weekend! Let’s get started!!
Lovely Heart Maid Café
So for some reason, Doctor Scientist was pretty insistent that we get to this place at some point, but I wasn’t all that into the idea. Sure enough, when we did get there it was a pretty awkward experience. I can understand the appeal of Kawaii stuff in anime and whatnot, but it wasn’t all that comfortable for someone to be hanging around the table making cute faces and acting like a seven year old while in a maid outfit. Now it seems that all the girls who were working there were REALLY into the roles and were enjoying themselves for the most part (they were technically working as waitresses, so only a certain level of fun can realistically be achieved) and the maid who was working at our table eventually convinced me to pay a dollar to have a picture taken with them. I had Doctor Scientist take it and of course he screwed it up, but I didn’t feel the need to either insist that the maid take another picture or pay her for another one.