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Apr 222015

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) is the newest movie version of the franchise that’s edgier than ever before.

It starts with news reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) who is focused on getting the scoop on the Foot Clan that’s been terrorizing New York City. Unfortunately she’s always stuck with lighter news stories, even though she wants to be a serious journalist.

April’s cameraman is Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett). He likes April, but isn’t real supportive when it comes to achieving her dreams. The last time Vern Fenwick was featured was in the 80s cartoon series as an egotistical rival news reporter. This version of Fenwick isn’t as funny, but he is more helpful in the long run.

Now we get to the turtles themselves, who don’t actually appear until much later in the movie. As regular turtles 15 years earlier, April used to care for them, along with a rat named Splinter, by feeding them pizza. The turtles were also test subjects in her father’s science lab for something called Project Renaissance. That does explain how they got their names, Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo, and Donatello.

I remember in the earlier movies when the turtles were made from animatronics and puppetry. Now they are graphical with a very edgy presence. It’s creepy at first, but once you see the turtles in action (in the style of the Transformers movies) it gets better.

Splinter is also very graphical. He taught himself ninjitsu before teaching it to his sons, but one thing that’s very different is that he has a punishment chamber called the hashi. He makes the turtles balance on different things for long periods of time if they disobey him for going up to the surface without permission.

Of course the turtles’ archenemy is the Shredder (Torhu Masamune). This time his ambition is to spread a deadly virus throughout the city with the help of scientist Eric Sacks (William Fichtner), who used to work in the same lab as April’s father.

The mutagen that created the turtles and Splinter was made to be a cure for the virus and Sacks intends to sell it after the virus is spread so he can become rich. It’s up to April and the turtles to stop him. The story plot may seem rushed, but at least that keeps it entertaining.

This movie was good, providing a new angle to the franchise. But what will become of April, now that her news career is in jeopardy from keeping the turtles a secret?

Apr 042014

Figure skating has never looked funnier than on the comedy Blades Of Glory. Graceful Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) and unintelligent sex addict Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) are rival Olympic figure skaters, who tie for a gold medal. You’d think a tie was a good thing, but this one ended up a disaster. Jimmy and Chazz get into a fight, which gets them both banned from figure skating for life.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Jimmy’s adoptive father, billionaire Darren MacElroy (William Fichtner), disowns Jimmy because all he cares about is winning. What a jerk!

I met Jon Heder at MegaCon 2014 and he liked my shirt. I’m surprised that no one else wore this one.

All is not lost though. There’s actually a loophole that Jimmy and Chazz weren’t really banned from figure skating entirely, just their division, men’s single skaters. They can return in pair skating. Coach Robert (Craig T. Nelson), who trained Jimmy, has the two rival skaters team up as a pair. It won’t be easy since they still struggle to get along.

The real threat is pair skating champions Stranz (Will Arnett) and Fairchild (Amy Poehler) Van Waldenberg. These siblings will do anything to remain gold medallists, even cheat by forcing their sister Katie (Jenna Fischer) to spy on the competition.

Katie tries to stand up to her brother and sister, but they always remind her about how their parents died in a car crash while taking Katie to skating practice. They take advantage of it by making Katie their slave.

Despite their different personalities, Jimmy and Chazz become good friends and perform well on the ice together. The new outfits they wear represent fire and ice, which is appropriate.

Even though Jimmy and Chazz make it to the finals, Coach Robert believes that in order for them to win the gold they’ll have to do something special. It’s a very dangerous technique called the “Iron Lotus”, which always ended up in decapitation. I know ice skate blades are sharp, but are they really that sharp?

Meanwhile, Katie becomes Jimmy’s love interest and doesn’t give into her siblings anymore. That prompts Stranz and Fairchild to resort to foul play. The intensity is high for both skating duos now.

This was a funny movie and I loved it. It’s nice to see how the same sport that made Jimmy and Chazz enemies also brought them together as a team.