Tag Archives: Animation

Review: Palmystery

palmysterylogo
via Itch.io

Palmystery (2017)

PC / NR

Horror / Cartoon / Adventure

Publisher: Paloma Dawkins

Developer: Paloma Dawkins


It only takes a matter of seconds before Palmystery starts to get…puzzling.  The game, designed by Paloma Dawkins, is illustrated as a “surreal horror cartoon video game.”  It is cartoonish and there are some surreal moments…but it is not necessarily horrifying in anyway.  In fact, the game is more unsettling than scary…with brief moments of relaxation thrown in between.  Allow me to explain.

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Palmystery is littered with hands.  There are hands galore in all shapes and sizes.  There are big hands, small hands, foreboding hands, hands wagging their finger at you begging you to come closer, hands growing like grass, and hands that form all triangles, which act as the gateways between each colorful and outlandish scene.  According to Dawkins, the game features Palmistry, which is the foretelling of the future through the study of hands, more commonly referred to as “palm reading.”  There are sparse references to Palmistry, however, besides the introductory moments that have you walking through a castle corridor, with the various signs of Palmistry adorning its foreboding walls.

This is not an extensive experience, only taking about a half hour to play through.  You explore a host of colorful scenes that take you to a variety of surreal landscapes.  Some are more comical and lighthearted than others.  There are also some cartoon characters that you will meet along the way.  Dawkins’ little animated creatures are all in various states of panic…and some will be playful, only to get swept up into space the next.  There are a lot of tonal shifts that will most likely throw you for a loop, but it paints an intriguing portrait of Dawkins’ mind.

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Dawkins explains in a blog post that this game is a portrayal of her feelings after Trump got elected as president.  “It stirred within me a darker side to my cartoons that I want to explore,” she goes on to explain.  This explains the shifts in tone that are present in every scene that you explore.  There are a lot of conflicting emotions as you witness these scenes taking place in front of you.  It is unsettling…but can be relaxing as well.

Perhaps the most relaxing portion of the game is the game’s final scene, which places you in a purplish water world.  There is a cartoon deer that is prancing around in the water, dancing from diamond to diamond which float around in the landscape.  While this is taking place, hypnotist Andrea Young facilities a little session of meditation.  It was not the turn I was expecting the game to take, but I cannot really complain.  It was an unexpected way to unwind after a mysterious and confusing experience.

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I am not going to pretend to understand what was going on in Palmystery.  It is a genuinely weird experience that always keeps you thinking.  I believe that was the intention though.  You are not supposed to understand everything that is put in front of you.  It is supposed to be complex in a funny and bizarre way.  It makes perfect sense when described as a product of Dawkins’ mind, who might have been experiencing the same feelings after Trump’s election.  Palmystery is certainly not a game for everyone, but it will certainly leave you uncomfortable and chill at the same time.

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Review: BoJack Horseman Season 3

bojack s3 poster
via iMDB

BoJack Horseman (Season 3) (2016)

Netflix / TVMA

Animation / Comedy / Drama

Starring: Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie

Creator: Raphael Bob-Waksberg


I was already in love with Netflix’s BoJack Horseman after its first two seasons, but lo and behold, the show’s third season made me love the show even more.  I didn’t think it was possible.  The show manages to stay fresh while delivering its trademark dark and dry humor.  It’s a show that’s brutally honest and bend over backwards hilarious.  It also isn’t afraid to get real…super real.  (You already got a taste of this towards the latter half of season two) Show creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg has a true bona-fide hit on his hand and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be slowing down any time soon.

bojack s3 1
via Webthieunhi

This season we have the post-Secretariat aftermath that BoJack (Will Arnett) has to maneuver himself through.  If you’ve been keeping track, the show has pretty much taken us through the gauntlet of what it’s like to be an actor in Hollywood.  The show’s first season portrayed the trials and tribulations of being an old washed-up actor while season two dove head first into the world of filming a movie.  This season, we get to watch as BoJack deals with press junkets, award shows, and the brunt of execs who want to throw script after script at him because he’s made it big with Secretariat.  In true BoJack fashion, he seems to be handling everything well (relatively, of course) but then things take a turn for the worse as friendships get tested and tried.  Remember when I said this show isn’t afraid to get real?  Yeah…this show gets pretty sobering in the later episodes.  BoJack might have approached his lowest point yet.  That says something, especially considering the fact that last season he was caught in a yacht with a teenage girl on prom night.  Just watch season two to see for yourself…

All your favorite characters, both big and small, make it back for season three.  BoJack’s feline agent, Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris), is facing some hard times with her new agency and she starts to question herself as well as others.  She even finds new love.  Diane (Alison Brie), one of BoJack’s best friends, is helping him with his social media outlets, among other things.  Her and Mr. Peanutbutter’s (Paul F. Tompkins) relationship is tested once again as they continue to work out the kinks in their estranged marriage.  Finally, everyone’s favorite lazy roommate Todd (Aaron Paul) is…well, not so lazy this season.  He still has his fair share of wacky off-the-walls adventures, but the main portion of the season focuses on his new tech start-up, which focuses on giving woman a “safe place” in the cab industry.  Although it soon starts to evolve into some crazy directions.

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There aren’t too many new characters introduced this season, besides BoJack’s publicist Ana Spanikopita, voiced by Angela Bassett.  Bassett does a great job with the character, who has to put up with BoJack’s crazy shenanigans and bloated persona.  Instead, this season mainly focuses on the character we already know and love and develops them even deeper, giving us some much appreciated backstory in the way of flashbacks.  It felt like I knew the characters even more by the end.  There’s a whole episode that’s totally devoted to each character’s backstory, which happens to be one of the best episodes of the season.

I was constantly amazed by the fresh ideas that were brought to the table over and over again this season.  The same familiar humor is still abundant and healthy, but we get some cleverly written episodes that demonstrate the show’s prowess.  There’s an episode that rewinds time back to the year 2007.  Not only do we get to see all the characters and where they were at during this time, but it’s also chock full of 2007 references.  Everything from the music to the billboards.  I was laughing out loud for the entire episode.  On the other hand, we got an episode in similar vein to the silent films of the Golden Era of Hollywood.  BoJack takes a trip under the sea for an underwater film festival, but things go south as he has to care for a newborn seahorse.  He’s unable to speak (because he’s underwater), which makes for an episode devoid of conversation but full of heart and hilarity.  Despite the lack of words, it might have been the most well-written episode of the season.

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It’s not often that we get TV shows that consistently nail it out of the park every single episode.  With its third season, BoJack Horseman truly makes the mark.  It’s brilliant up and down the board.  There’s lighthearted episodes mixed with some sobering episodes, all with a heavy dose of clever and relevant humor.  The writing this season is top-notch and almost all the characters elevate in terms of development.  This season’s finale is both sad and optimistic for BoJack, who goes through a whole arsenal of emotions of the course of the season.  It only got me hopeful for what is next in the already confirmed fourth season.  You know your killing it when your fourth season gets green-lit before the premiere even airs.

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Moonbeam City Impressions

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Dazzle Novak is probably not the detective that you want on the case.  He’s a complete idiot in almost everything that he does, but he looks good doing whatever it is he does.  He may not be much of a detective, but he is good with the ladies; a lady killer if you will.  He’s also self-centered, cocky, and a little narcissistic.  Putting it plain and simple, he’s kind of just an awful person.  Sound like anyone familiar?  If you guessed Archer then you are absolutely 100% correct.

The influences that seep out of Comedy Central’s newest comedy Moonbeam City are almost uncanny.  Everything that the show lives for seems to draw from FX’s heavily successful and hilarious Archer.  Moonbeam City is a show that wants to be Archer so, so bad…but falls flat in living up to Archer and his gang of super spy’s over at Archer.  Originality is thrown out the window as the show desperately tries to cling on and achieve the same type of success that Archer had way back in 2009 when it first premiered.

via The Slanted
via The Slanted

The show’s main protagonist is the incompetent Dazzle Novak, voiced by Rob Lowe.  The show’s pilot has hot on the case of a highly successful drug kingpin who goes by the name El Diablo Malo.  If you haven’t guessed already, the guy’s Hispanic, and boy what an unoriginal name.  Have I mentioned that this show isn’t original?  Anyway, things don’t go so well as Dazzle lets Diablo slip away untouched and free to do his own will.  This doesn’t bode well back at the agency, led by chief Pizzaz Miller (Elizabeth Banks).  Dazzle also has to deal with Red Cunningham (Will Forte) who seems to be on a mission to steal Dazzle’s spotlight as well as his thunder.  Luckily Dazzle has the help of Chrysalis Tate (Kate Mara), the only detective that seems to know what they are doing, to assist with catching the notorious Diablo.

via Comedy Central
via Comedy Central

Under tremendous pressure from Pizzaz to get the crook behind bars, Dazzle and Chrysalis are relegated to stakeout duty with the mission of stopping Diablo and his plans dead in their tracks.  However, distractions are aplenty as Dazzle finds himself entranced by the hypnotic voice of performer.  The first thing he does?  Well he has sex with her in one of the mall’s utility closets and decides to go on tour with her as her newly appointed manager.  Ugh…

The show has a lot of good things going for it.  The first thing you instantly noticed is the extremely retro 80’s art deco style that the show employs.  Moonbeam City is a parody of the 80’s cop shows of yore like Miami Vice.  It’s definitely much different than anything else on TV right now.  The show also has a good batch of voice talent to go along with it.  It’s hard to deny the star power with names like Rob Lowe, Kate Mara, and Will Forte.  Unfortunately the script that is put in front of these actors doesn’t necessarily match up with their level of comedic expertise.  It’s also worth noting that Rob Lowe’s performance as Dazzle feels uninspired and tired.  The monotone nature of his voice doesn’t translate well to a detective like Dazzle.

via Comedy Central
via Comedy Central

I am going to try and stick with Moonbeam City till the end but I don’t really see it going anywhere that it didn’t go in the show’s pilot.  There’s probably going to be an abundance of overused and immature sex jokes as Dazzle will undoubtedly get himself distracted time and time again by the “lady of the week.”  Maybe I shouldn’t judge a show too harsh by its pilot, but I don’t see it getting any smarter in terms of its comedic value.  Instead, it’s going to try its hardest to be the show that Archer is.  The only thing is, Moonbeam City is not going to get the job done.

Review: Bojack Horseman Season 2

via seriouslyawesome.tv
via seriouslyawesome.tv

Bojack Horseman (Season 2) (2015)

TVMA / Netflix

Animation / Comedy / Drama

Starring: Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie

Creator: Raphael Bob-Waksberg


Last year when Netflix released the inaugural season of Bojack Horseman, I was pleasantly surprised at the unexpected dark humor and meta-commentary on Hollywood culture that the show provided.  What made it even more peculiar and original was the fact that the show featured a mix of human characters and human-like animals.  The main character is a horse that is a “has-been” TV show actor.  It doesn’t get more original than that.  The show gained traction and rose in popularity, giving the show a chance to shine again with a new season.  With season two, I was pleased to realize that everything that I loved about the original season makes its return once again, this time better than ever.

via Immersion Online
via Immersion Online

Things pick up right where the first season left off.  Bojack, voiced by Will Arnett, seems to have it all.  Diane (Alison Brie) finished the book detailing the actor’s life and times and it is met with success.  It’s so successful in fact that it strikes a resurgence in Bojack’s career.  Bojack’s dream project, portraying the famous racehorse Secretariat, finally comes to fruition.  With the help of studio mogul Lennie Turtletaub (J.K. Simmons) and director Kelsey Jannings (Maria Bamford), Bojack ends up landing his dream role in his dream production.  Everything seems to be going right for Bojack Horseman.

Bojack seems to be a changed horse, spewing positive vibes all over the place in the first episode.  However, this doesn’t last long as Bojack starts to slip slowly and slowly back to his old self.  This is what makes the second season so fascinating.  Bojack seems to be riding cloud nine, but he still manages to fall into a pit of negativity and pessimism.  Classic Bojack Horseman am I right?  We soon see the Bojack that we all came to love from the first season, but things take a turn for the absolute worst towards the end of the season, a turn I was not expecting.  It’s almost hard to watch Bojack make the mistakes that he makes as things come to a close.  He almost manages to bury everything that he had with a few bad decisions.  You’ll know exactly what I mean when you watch the twelfth episode, “Escape from LA.”  The last minutes of that episode…are just plain difficult to stomach.  It made me want to punch through the TV and slap Bojack because of his blatant stupidity.

via Watch Cartoon Online
via Watch Cartoon Online

Most of the show’s favorites return for the second season.  Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins), Todd Chavez (Aaron Paul), Diane, and Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) all make a return.  Unlike the first season, the lens broadens as we dive into some of the stories of some of the side characters, which is really refreshing.  We see a lot more of Diane and the kinds of things that she has to deal with as a female writer.  Through her adventures, the show provides a commentary on some issues that women with a voice face in our society today.  The show handles these plotlines smartly and they provide some food for thought.  We also get to see more of Princess Carolyn, which was a joy to me since she was one of my favorite characters.  She’s pretty much an exact replica of the ruthless Hollywood agents that exist in the real world, and we get to see her start a new agency with the charismatic and talkative Rutabaga Rabitowitz, voiced by Ben Schwartz.  (It’s here that I should mention that the show still manages to create some pretty clever names for its non-human characters)  A newcomer that deserves some respect and a shout out is Lisa Kudrow’s character, Wanda.  Wanda acts as the love interest for Bojack this season.  The two meet after Wanda wakes up from a twenty year coma.  You can only imagine the kinds of jokes that stem from that.  I liked her character a lot and she ended up being one of my favorite newcomers to the cast.  Finally, we get to see more of Mr. Peanutbutter and his resurgence to fame with a hilarious new game show, the brainchild of the back-to-life author J.D. Salinger, because who else?

via Hit Fix
via Hit Fix

One complaint that I have is one that you have probably heard voiced by others who have critiqued the show, and that is how the second season has handled Bojack’s roommate Todd.  Todd was a fun character who managed to get himself into some pretty bizarre situations.  Aaron Paul takes the character and runs with it, putting a lot of life into the voice of Todd.  The second season however does not give him the love that he probably deserves.  A lot of his plotlines are insignificant to the story as a whole and pale in comparison to the amount of love that characters like Princess Carolyn and Diane received.  His character becomes a little more important during the last two episodes, but the majority of his time is spent getting into some pretty dumb, albeit pretty funny, shenanigans that don’t really mean anything to the larger picture.

Bojack Horseman still retains the smart humor and sharpness from the second season while going in some pretty hilarious directions.  The portion of the season dedicated to Mr. Peanutbutter’s game show is pretty fun to watch and Diane and Sebastion St. Clair’s (Keegan-Michael Key) adventures in Cordova also provide some good laughs.  Bojack’s whole trip to New Mexico is also unexpected and pretty great as well.  It’s also fun to pick out the amount of guest voices that are featured over the course of the show, another thing that made a return from season one.  The voice cast broadens even more and there are some surprise voice performances from the likes of Paul McCartney and Daniel Radcliffe, among a treasure trove of others.

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One of the things I knocked the original show for was the seriousness of some of its plot points, a type of seriousness that makes its return again in season two.  This time however I managed to overlook this and realize that the story that Bojack Horseman tells is genuinely funny and pretty intelligent.  The show is a much stronger beast this time around and it provides us with a hilarious, and pretty accurate, scope into the fast-paced and hectic world that makes a residence in Hollywood.  Bojack Horseman is also as fresh and seaworthy as ever in today’s ocean of comedy.  It was announced this morning that the show would be receiving a third season, which makes me pretty happy.  After this second season, I only want to see more of what this show can do.

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Review: Archer Season 5 – Archer Vice

via Pintrest
via Pintrest

Archer – Archer Vice (Season 5) (2014)

TVMA / FX

Animation / Action / Comedy

Starring: H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash

Creator: Adam Reed


If there is a series that needed a reboot, it was FX’s Archer.  It is not that the previous four seasons of Archer were bad, in fact, they were actually pretty good.  However, the formula was starting to run a little dry and a new direction was going to be needed.  The crew at ISIS, the private espionage agency, takes a hard right turn in the fifth season of archer, and turn into cocaine dealers.  Archer Vice has a premise that is insane, but it actually provides for some pretty good comedy.

The season starts with Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) walking gracefully into ISIS headquarters, when things start to go downhill very quickly.  The place gets infiltrated by FBI operatives and we soon find out that Mallory Archer (Jessica Walter) was running ISIS without any permission from the federal government.  That seems like something important, like something you would not overlook.

via airows.com
via airows.com

The crew is pretty angry, and confused at the same time.  After Mallory talks their way out of the clutch of the FBI, the team has to figure out what they should do now that everything was taken from them.  Archer reveals that ISIS has been hiding a literal metric ton of cocaine behind a secret door.  They obviously decide to form a drug cartel, and that is when the season starts to get rolling.

The season is a great breath of fresh air.  It is the same old Archer that we have come to love, but with a new setting.  The show’s brand of humor is still present around every corner and the emphasis on characters still takes the forefront.

via TV Over Mind
via TV Over Mind

Lana Kane (Aisha Tyler), as we saw in the previous season, is now pregnant, which provides for a range of emotions from everybody’s female spy.  Pam Poovey (Amber Nash), who is by far one of my favorite characters, soon becomes addicted to the crew’s own supply, turning her into a much leaner and crazier Pam.  Cheryl Tunt (Judy Greer), decides to pursue a career at becoming America’s top country singer.  It is a ridiculous idea by the show’s creators, but her “outlaw country” attitude is absolutely hilarious.

The other characters, like Cyril (Chris Parnell), Ray (Adam Reed), and Krieger (Lucky Yates) are still their same selves, but still just as funny as before.  Along the way, we see Cyril become the dictator of San Marcos and Krieger meets some of his clones, among other crazy antics.  We also see a guest performance from Kenny Loggins, which they get to perform with Cheryl at Lana’s baby shower.  We also see Christian Slater play himself as a CIA operative.  The guest stars were pretty good, but they could have done a lot more.

via Buzz Focus
via Buzz Focus

Just because the ISIS team is not partaking in their usual espionage missions, we still see them getting into ridiculous situations.  As it turns out, they are not too good at selling cocaine.  They end up getting caught in a sticky situation in Miami, feuding with the Yakuza, taking Cheryl “Southbound and Down” on a hilarious road trip, taking a secret mission to Columbia, and coming into contact with the dictator of San Marcos, Gustavo Calderon.

Sterling Archer is still by far one of the greatest animated characters on TV.  He’s a massive asshole, but with that comes a ton of hilarious moments.  Archer still manages to be an extremely quotable show, given the witty banter that the characters have among themselves.

via Uproxx
via Uproxx

With a reboot as big as this, it is hard to see where the future seasons will go.  ISIS will probably not be coming back, which is probably a good thing considering the current events of the day.  It is hard to see them going down the same path, but the crew will have to think of something bigger to top a season like this.  The reboot to Archer Vice was a big risk, but the creative team played their cards right and it largely paid off in the end.

archer vice score

Review: Video Games: The Movie

via MCM Buzz
via MCM Buzz

Video Games: The Movie (2014)

NR / 105 min

Documentary / Animation / History

Starring: Sean Astin, Al Alcorn, Peter Armstrong

Director: Jeremy Snead


Movies and video games have always had a weird relationship.  Big corporate companies would often cash in on the big movie releases of the summer, making video game adaptations to go alongside these blockbusters.  They always fell short, with the exception of a few.  On the other hand, we are starting to hear a lot about movies based off video games.  Assassins Creed, World Of Warcraft, and Uncharted have all been in talks to receive movie counterparts.  What about a movie based on video games as a whole?  Well, Video Games: The Movie had the heart and soul, but ultimately didn’t make the mark.

The documentary takes a look at the story of video games, and the people and events that got them to where they are today as one of the entertainment world’s biggest industries.  The documentary wasted no time displaying the graphs and charts that proved video game’s dominance in the entertainment market.  I didn’t think this portion of the project was necessary, considering I didn’t need any convincing that video games are on top.

via Geek Tyrant
via Geek Tyrant

Narrated by Sean Astin, Video Games: The Movie contains a bunch of interviews and bits from some of the biggest names in the industry, as well as the journalistic industry that covers them.  We saw the likes of Cliff Bleszinski (who was also the executive producer on the project), Al Alcorn, Nolan Bushnell, Will Wheaton, Chris Hardwick, Donald Faison, Peter Armstrong, and many more.  I was pleasantly surprised about the amount of talent that was on board.  There was little narration during the course of the story.  The story was told by the game’s creators and the people that influenced them as time went on.

via Film Dump
via Film Dump

There was a timeline of video games that basically served as the backbone for the documentary.  We went up and down the timeline, exploring the games, systems, creators, and other events that impacted the industry, as well as its fans.  Along the way, the documentary covered some of the industry’s biggest issues, like the big Industry Crash, as well as the influence of games like Grand Theft Auto on violence.  All of these issues were covered on a surface level depth, and they don’t really dive deep into any one of them.  They did a good job at mostly covering everything, but maybe that’s the problem of a movie trying to document video games as a whole.  How do you cover everything at a satisfying level?

The biggest problem about the documentary was its lack of new material; stuff we haven’t seen before.  I’ve read a lot about the history of the video game industry, and I’ve seen a fair share of historic videos.  Nothing that Video Games: The Movie covered was necessarily new, or enlightening.  There was a notable absence of talk about the mobile gaming industry, including smartphones.  They have had a profound effect on gaming, and they were nowhere to be seen.  I also would have liked to have seen some other issues plaguing the industry, like the free-to-play arena, as well as the issue of online gaming and harassment.  Perhaps this documentary wasn’t the right venue for issues like these, but I would have liked to see something different than just “the history of video games.”

via Highsnobiety
via Highsnobiety

There were times were the documentary felt like a promotional video for video games.  In between periods of interviews, I would see these drawn out highlight reels showing scenes from video games of yesteryear, as well as the games we are playing today.  These “highlight reels” of sorts weren’t really needed, and they didn’t offer anything to the table.  They were just there to get people excited about gaming in general.  If I wanted to do that, I would just go watch a batch of trailers.  I didn’t need a feature length film to do that for me.

Hearing the story from some of the industry’s greats was a nice touch, but Video Games: The Movie could have been so much more.  There was a lack of depth, which was surprising to me.  Instead, we got a bunch of fan service and highlight reels to get everybody feeling good about games.  I would much rather have a documentary covering specific issues or events in video games’ history, with more insight.  The documentary suffers from being too broad, and trying to do too much.  If you want a good documentary on video games, I would probably point you to Indie Game: The Movie.  It’s much more intriguing than Video Games: THE HYPEFEST VIDEO GAMES ARE GREAT YOU GUYS!

video games the movie score

Bojack Brings The Christmas Spirit

bojack horseman christmas coverIt’s been a while since we heard from Bojack Horseman and his bunch of weird and dysfunctional friends.  Bojack Horseman, a Netflix original series, starring Will Arnett as Bojack himself was surprisingly pretty good when it came out.  It offered a lot of laughs while poking fun at some of the most common (and mostly true) stereotypes that hover over Hollywood.

Season two was announced a while back, but it won’t be coming any time in the near future.  But that doesn’t mean that Bojack doesn’t have anything to give this Christmas season.  Bojack Horseman Christmas Special: Sabrina’s Christmas Wish appeared on Netflix as a surprise little treat for Bojack fans.

The Christmas special is about the size of a regular episode, but it felt like a little more.  The episode doesn’t feature the regular cast and crew, but instead Bojack and Todd (Aaron Paul), as well as the orphans from “Horsin’ Around”, the fake sitcom that Bojack starred in during his younger days as an actor.

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The episode kicks off when Todd invites himself into Bojack’s house with a candy cane, an episode of “Horsin’ Around”‘s Christmas special, and a bunch of holiday cheer.  As it turns out, Bojack isn’t much of a Christmas person…surprise, surprise.  After some persuasion from Todd, Bojack finally agrees to sit down with Todd and watch the “Horsin’ Around” Christmas special with him.

The nice thing about this episode is that we got to pretty much see an entire episode of the fictional sitcom.  During season one, we only got little snippets of the show scattered throughout the episodes.  This time we got to see a little more about what the show was about, as well as the three main orphan characters that star in it. Another thing that should be noted is the Full House vibes that the fake show puts off.  It’s easy to see where “Horsin’ Around”‘s inspiration came from.

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The one orphan that most Bojack fans are familiar with is Sabrina (Kristen Schaal).  She is the youngest, and probably the funniest, of the bunch.  The premise of the special revolves around Sabrina, and her Christmas wish for Santa to bring her parent’s back.  Bojack realizes how heartwarming it is, but also decides that the news that Santa isn’t real should probably be revealed to her, in order to save a broken heart.

The show is a blatant satire of the cheesiness of holiday specials on TV.  The 90’s sitcom is filmed in front of a live audience, and it is complete with all the laughs, “awws”, and that one guy in the audience that has to scream whatever is on his mind. (“Fire that Jew!”)  That “random guy” was probably one of the funniest parts about the episode.  We also get some outside commentary from Bojack and Todd, who feels he has to interrupt and spew his love for the show every “five minutes” according to Bojack.

bojack horseman christmas 3

There’s a lot of fun stuff during the episode.  Some of the jokes don’t really work to well, but others hit it home pretty well.  There were a couple of parts involving Bojack’s job at Libitore’s, but those parts weren’t that necessary, or funny for that matter.  There is a ton of 90’s sitcom cheesiness that covers the episode, which may be a little off-putting for some, but I thought it just added to the charm of the show.  (Plus the TV-MA humor that the show is known for probably wouldn’t fly over to well on a sitcom made for kids).

Bojack may be a bit of a scrooge, but that doesn’t stop the Christmas spirit from seeping its way into the episode.  The special may not rank high on the list of “top Christmas specials” but it still offers a great time, even if Bojack and Todd are just “hate-watching” it.

Review: Toy Story That Time Forgot

toy story that time forgot posterToy Story That Time Forgot (2014)

G / ABC

Animation / Short

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Kristen Schaal

Director: Steve Purcell


 

Toy Story That Time Forgot came out of nowhere.  You could almost consider the holiday special a nice little gift from the Disney Pixar.  Plus, who can complain?  It’s a new story about everybody’s favorite toys!  Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Rex (Wallace Shawn), Trixie (Kristen Schaal), and Jessie (Joan Cusack) all make their return in the new short, along with some newcomers like a weird Christmas cat ornament looking thing that always finds the time to spew some holiday wisdom.  The little cat was honestly the highlight of the whole short.  But, let’s get on to the story…

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The story starts with a glimpse at Bonnie playing with her newly acquired toys that she got from Andy in the final parts of Toy Story 3.  She is rather bouncy and vibrant as she flings the toys all over the room in her little fantasy.  Then…it’s off to her play date at her friend Jason’s house, where she brings her favorite toys along for the ride.

It’s here that Bonnie and her toys part ways.  Bonnie finds Jason playing with his new game system that he got as a gift from Christmas.  She throws her bag aside and sits down next to him and proceeds to get lost in the glare of the screen.  Her toys however, decide to scope out the new room that they find themselves in.  After a little bit of exploration, Woody, Buzz, Trixie, Rex, and the gang stumble upon a gigantic looking play-set featuring dinosaurs.

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Reptillus Maximus (Kevin McKidd) is the presumed leader of the “Battlesaurs”.  They are a race founded upon one basic principle, fighting.  They are an honorable bunch of dinosaurs that would rather fight till the end then give themselves away.  Trixie and Rex are gladly welcomed in, but Woody and Buzz are swished aside by the old and villainous cleric.

From here, the story takes a turn where Trixie has to find a way to get the Battlesaurs to let Woody and Buzz go.  She grows an attachment to Reptillus, but this relationship gets challenged when he finds out who she really is.  (Don’t worry, there is a good ending that comes out of it all!)

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It’s a charming little story that has a lot of funny moments.  Steve Purcell, who has had little experience with the franchise, did a pretty good job of capturing the Toy Story spirit.  The short, although small in length, tells a fun little story.  It never felt rushed or to big for the half-hour time slot.  It fit perfectly in the format.

Toy Story That Time Forgot is a charming trip back into the world of Toy Story.  It was fun to see more of Bonnie, who is probably going to be the main kid in the next Toy Story.  It’s a nice stand-alone story that will probably just get most people even more excited for Toy Story 4.  I also can’t help but wonder if this won’t be the last we see of the Battlesaurs.  Perhaps we will see Reptillus and the rest of Jason’s toys in Toy Story 4?  We will just have to sit and wait…

REX, BUZZ LIGHTYEAR, WOODY, TRIXIE

Review: Archer (Season 4)

archer s4 posterArcher Season 4 (2013)

TVMA / FX

Animation / Action / Comedy

Starring: H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash

Creator: Adam Reed


The stage was set for the fourth season of Archer, one of FX’s hottest shows.  The previous three seasons, which followed the crazy antics of Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin), and the ISIS crew, built off of each other and were getting better as the seasons went on.  The fourth season is where the show tripped over itself.

I guess I could have seen this coming.  A show can only stay on-par for so long before it dips into the pool of mediocrity.  I should say here that I am not saying that the fourth season is awful by any means.  I still laughed and it still had it’s great moments.  When I look back though, nothing was a major standout.  Nothing made the season stand out from the rest.

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There were only about two episodes that were standouts.  One of which was the first episode, which followed Sterling Archer and his brief experience with amnesia.  The season starts off with Archer working at Bob’s Burgers (which is an obvious tie-in to the hit comedy show Bob’s Burgers).  He still has all of his skills from ISIS and he happens to have random people coming after him.  Malory Archer (Jessica Walter) sends Lana (Aisha Tyler) after Archer to help him cure his bout with amnesia.  This episode had it’s moments and was probably my favorite episode.

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We then fast forward to the end of the season where we have a two-part episode which takes the ISIS crew underseas to an underwater sea laboratory run by a insane leader.  The team arrives to the site with the help of Cheryl’s (Judy Greer) brother who is dead-set on proving the Cheryl is crazy.  The team has to stop the captain before his crazed plan becomes a reality.  The episode also ended with (**SPOILERS**) Lana figuring out that she was pregnant with a baby, thus the reason why she was not drinking and such.  We will obviously see this carried over into next season.  It was revealed that Cyril (Chris Parnell) was not the father, so we will just have to wait and see who the father is. (**END SPOILERS**)

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During the course of the season, there was still witty banter and their was still a bunch of situational comedy.  One of the things that stuck out to me the most during this season was Dr. Krieger’s character (Lucky Yates).  He was constantly popping up in episodes with weirder and weirder situations.

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Season four was a bit of a let down for me, but I can only hope that this season was more of a minor misstep.  It’s obvious that Adam Reed and the team behind Archer noticed the waning freshness of the show, which is evidenced by the next season of the show.  The next season, which is dubbed “Archer Vice” will follow the ISIS team selling cocaine to make up for their agency’s loss of authentication.  You can tell that this will be a new direction for the show.  Hopefully it is a direction that will revitalize the show and give it a second wind.

 

Review: Archer (Season 3)

archer s3 posterArcher Season 3 (2011-2012)

TVMA / FX

Animation / Comedy / Action

Starring: H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash

Creator: Adam Reed


Archer is slowly starting to become one of my favorite comedy television shows of all time. There is just so much to like about the show.  First off, it’s protagonist, Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin), is probably the worst human being of all time, yet the funniest character on the show.  Secondly, the writers continue to nail the dialogue every single episode.  The witty banter between the characters is probably the thing that keeps most people coming back.

Season three features another mixed bag of adventures by Archer and the gang at ISIS.  The season starts out with a bang with a three-part plot-line entitled “The Heart of Archness.”  It features Archer, still reeling from the death of his fiancee going into hiding in the Pacific.  Malory Archer (Jessica Walter) wants him back, so she sends noted adventurer Rip Riley (Patrick Warburton) in pursuit to find him.  This just ends with Archer and Riley getting captured by Somalian Pirates and taken to their stronghold in the middle of the Pacific, where Archer is declared their new pirate king.

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Malory has to instead, send Lana (Aisha Tyler) and Ray (Adam Reed) to go save them and bring them back.  These were three back-to-back episodes that offered some of the best moments of the season.

The season also features an episode about Archer’s childhood idol, Burt Reynolds, who plays himself.  It turns out that Burt is dating Malory, and this sickens Archer.  It’s a great cameo and it’s surprising the amount of calm wisdom that Burt gives Archer during this episode.

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During the season, we also get to see Ray’s hometown in West Virginia where Archer and the gang proceed to help save Ray’s brother’s drug crop from being sabotaged by a crooked cop.  The final two episodes of the season also feature the ISIS gang going to space to help the international space station from being taken over by space pirates.  These episodes provided for some great moments too.

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The relationship between Archer and Pam (Amber Nash) also takes a turn for the weird after a drunken night.  Archer discovers that Pam, as much as he doesn’t want to admit, actually gives him the best sex he has ever had.  These two continue to build the sexual tension as the episodes go on.

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There is a lot of crazy antics that the ISIS gang gets themselves into once again.  Each season seems to get better and better as they go on, which is a good sign for the future of Archer and the gang.

Plus, I’ve already watched the season four premiere and it seems like the next season is going to be even crazier and more hilarious.  I will just have to see.