Santa Clarita Diet: We Can Kill People – Cole (Review)

Drew Barrymore in Santa Clarita Diet

Episode three of Santa Clarita Diet “We Can Kill People” jumps things into high gear as Sheila’s appetite gets almost out of control. It has been days since she ate parts of Gary. (She moans about all the meat that she wasted to Joel who replies that there was over 150 pounds of Gary left, there was no way she could have polished the new realtor off.)

The couple decide that since the meat must be fresh, it is now okay to kill people who are evil or the dregs of society. Meanwhile Dan is still sniffing around and asking questions about that ant spray.

Abby and Eric decide to help Sarah take revenge on Cole after he dumps the teenager. He is a guy who sells pot to minors, according to Sarah and while the kids plan their revenge, Joel and Sheila decide that the “drug dealer” and “pedophile” will be the perfect snack to end Sheila’s enforced diet.

This episode of Santa Clarita Diet was a real treat. The sight of the real estate couple dressed in clear rain macs, with hoods and rubber gloves, was funny but not as funny as Joel bonding with Sheila’s not so “happy meal.” He learns that Cole sells great weed and that he is not a “pedo” and that he dumped Sarah when he found out she was not 21.

After Joel and Sheila let Cole go, Abby and her friends stage a commando type raid on Cole’s house, where Abby dons a gas mask and rescues the blue sweater she bought her BFF Sarah. Out of the three main characters, Abby is turning out to be the coolest in a crisis.

Her parents continue to adapt to their new lifestyle. Sheila realizes that  frozen food is almost as good as fresh and she decides that they will buy a new freezer to keep her next meal in. She can then carve off what she needs with less waste.

Another comic highlight of the episode has Sheila attacking the douchebag driver of the car that Joel bumps into. The man is aggressive and foul and Sheila leaps on him in mid-rant and bites out his carotid artery.

While it still seems like Dan, the policeman neighbor who is far too interested in what Joel was spraying on his lawn, could be in-line to be a meal for Sheila, the newest victim may keep him alive that little bit longer.

Santa Clarita Diet has managed to mix slapstick type comedy with odd and quirky. It also gives us a chance to laugh at incongruity of the situation. Joel’s calm, yet glassy-eyed, acceptance of his wife’s new condition as a zombie and Abby’s confidence in going along for the ride.

The series is on Netflix, as an original offering and can be streamed or downloaded to watch offline.  The show’s creator; Victor Fresco, has knocked it out of the park with this one and this comedy horror is genuinely funny. Head on over and check this one out. 

Cast:

Guest starring Matt O’Leary as Cole, Kaylee Bryant as Sarah and Richard T. Jones as Rick

Santa Clarita Diet: We Can’t Kill People (Recap/Review)

Drew Barrymore in Santa Clarita Diet

Santa Clarita Diet “We Can’t Kill People” continues the hilarity and the premise of the show. How to survive dying, by vomiting up an organ, but coming back to life as a flesh eating and pretty much fully functioning zombie. (Or Mombie…)

The latest episode appeared to give a nod to “The Lost Boys,” or maybe even the comic book guy on “The Simpsons,” with the next door neighbor geek teen who takes Abby down to his comic book store hangout. The same place where he learns about zombies a’la the Frog brothers.

(A comic highlight – no pun intended- was Abby’s attack on the comic book guy running the store. After his repeating the “30 seconds” mantra that one time too many, she grabs him by the neck and slams him to the floor. The mantra ceases. “I think you were right,” she tells Eric, “I am going to like this place.”)

In this episode of Santa Clarita Diet Joel and Sheila dispose of Gary’s remains  by depositing them in a hole dug by Joel in the desert. Abby and Eric arrive and this causes her parents to panic. Spilling the plastic box full of Gary on the ground.

Joel and Sheila manage to argue throughout the episode. Firstly about the missing lid on the box, that Sheila could not find. Then they argue about the eating of flesh. (Since eating Gary, who had two very small balls, Sheila cannot eat package raw meat. Nor can she eat the dead foot they buy for $400 later.)

Dan, the cop next door is suspicious about the chemical that he saw Joel spraying on his grass and comes to investigate. It seems pretty easy money to bet on Eric’s stepdad as being the next victim of Sheila.

This episode had the very funny running argument of “yeah but maybe its not,” between Joel and Sheila. Sheila chasing the rooster down next door while wearing a transparent rain mac and hood was a show stopper and it seemed certain that the hospital orderly was so going to die…

Sheila, besides wanting to constantly hump like a “rescue dog at Rite Aid,” has become more assertive, almost aggressive one could say. It works out well this week as she manages to sell the Peterson’s house because of it.

Joel almost being committed after meeting with Dr. Hasmedi was brilliant and helps us to place him in this the comedy. He will be the one who tries the hardest to normalize the family’s new truth.

Abby moves up a notch to compete squarely with her parents as a comic torch.

Olyphant and Barrymore are perfect together. It is easy to forget that both these actors kill it with comedy. Timothy may have run with the Elmore Leonard country cop series Justified, and he can do a real mean Clint Eastwood impression (Rango) but the actor may well make his fans forget all that.

Liv Hewson is spot on as Abby, the newly rebellious teen “I’m going to be swearing in front of you a lot now.” She is as comically astute as the rest of this excellent cast.

The guest star list is impressive, Nathan Fillion as victim number one and Patton Oswalt as the virologist who wants Joel committed were both brilliant.

Santa Clarita Diet is a real winner on Netflix and should be watched…right now.  The series can be streamed or downloaded for offline viewing. Check it out.

Cast:

Guest starring Patton Oswalt as Dr. Charles Hasmedi, Roxana Ortega as Dr. Hernandez and Adam Rose as the orderly. 

Santa Clarita Diet: So Then a Bat or a Monkey – You Are (Review)

Drew Barrymore in Santa Clarita Diet

Netflix have joined the zombie craze with their latest offering, Santa Clarita Diet. The first episode, “So Then a Bat or a Monkey” starts things off with a major character dying by throwing up what looks suspiciously like an organ. A vital one mixed with the “insane” amount of vomit that comes jetting out of Sheila’s mouth.

Sheila and Joel Hammond are estate agents who live and sell houses in Santa Clarita, CA.  Their seemingly idyll existence is disrupted when she dies in the middle of showing the Peterson house. After spending hours at the local hospital’s emergency room, Sheila and Joel head home.

Despite being dead, Sheila feels great. She has focus and is, in Joel’s words, exuberant. Their teenage daughter Abby is not overjoyed to learn of her parent’s sexual escapades and suggests seeing a local “nerd” to find out what is happening.

The new real estate agent from Sacramento Gary West makes moves on Sheila and ends up being consumed by his recently deceased co-worker in the back garden. Joel walks in on the grisly scene and is justifiably horrified.

Santa Clarita Diet is an interesting, and funny, comedy horror offering on Netflix. Is it blazingly original? Not necessarily, iZombie got there first, although so far Sheila is not craving brains and eating West did not change her.

In many ways this new series could be seen as “iZombie with grownups.” The idea also seems to be a comic re-imaging of  the 2006 horror film “The Hamiltons.” (Or at the very least a comic riff on the theme of the film.)

In Santa Clarita Diet both Sheila and Joel, in the beginning, are quite boring in their little real estate lives. (And nothing equates to being a grownup quite like boring…) The sudden death of Sheila changes the formulaic existence of the couple dramatically.

Joel’s wife becomes more exuberant, as he tells their daughter, not just with sex but everything. She is more confident, assertive and impulsive. Her husband has trouble keeping up with the new Sheila. After she kills and eats Gary, it looks like Joel’s problems are just beginning.

It was interesting to see Nathan Fillion as a character who is, to say the least, a bit of a bully. He forces himself on Sheila and threatens, somewhat inanely, Joel: “You are.” One wonders whether his casting was in response to the “Castle” rumors that flooded the Internet when the show was cancelled.

(Fillion was said to be very unkind to his co-star Stana Katic and his cryptic and somewhat taciturn Twitter post when she left the show did not help his tarnished image.)

The character being played by Fillion was a deviation from his normal roles, apart from Monsters University in 2013. He voiced a character that was also a bully. In this instance Fillion managed to make his douche character amusing, which is his gift as an actor.

“That was an insane amount of vomit!”

Regardless of the rationale behind Nathan’s playing a somewhat dislikable character, it was brilliantly funny. (Showing yet again that Fillion has still got those comic chops that he displayed early in his career.)

Fillion was not alone, this series is full of comic performers who have got chops for days. Barrymore, Olyphant, Mary Elizabeth Ellis (a personal favorite) and guest star Ramona Young filled out a cast full of actors who know how to do comedy.

This 13 episode series is available to stream or download in its entirety on Netflix. Stop by and check this one out, it may not be overly original but it is pretty funny. It also has a lot of familiar faces in it.

Cast:

Guest starring Nathan Fillion as Gary West and Ramona Young as Ramona.

Before I Go To Sleep (DVD Review)

Poster for the filmIt is amazing to think that the first thing I ever saw Colin Firth in was a 1985 made for TV film called Dutch Girls. Equally amazing is that the one actor who completely blew me away in this London Weekend Television production was actor Timothy Spall and not Firth. The next feature I saw Firth in, he played a murderous maniac. The film was Apartment Zero. The DVD was picked up for a song in a shop in Cornwall whilst on holiday and “Mr. Darcy” became a firm favorite from that moment on. Now, in Before I Go To Sleep, Firth plays opposite Nicole Kidman and he comes dangerously close to stealing the show.

This was another film that was missed when it opened in cinemas last year. Presumably the film did not perform up to expectations and it was not showing at a lot of theaters in Vegas. Watching the DVD, it is hard to see just why it was received so poorly. Granted, there are a few plot holes but not having read the S.J. Watson novel the film is based upon these were not so glaringly obvious that they destroyed the film.

The film is about 40 year old Christine Lucas (Nicole Kidman) who is an amnesiac that, after she goes to sleep, forgets everything. Where she is, who she is and so on. Her husband, Ben (Colin Firth) looks after her and leaves notes and directions scattered throughout their home to help his wife cope. Dr. Nasch (Mark Strong) is a neuro-psychologist who is attempting to help Christine recover her missing memories.

According to her husband, Christine lost her memories after a horrific car accident. Nasch says that she was found naked and badly beaten. The whole film keeps the audience wondering, along with Kidman’s character, whom to believe. As pointed out, in the book’s reviews, the original tale was a clever mixture of everyday events blended with a surreal amount of tension and fear.

The film, directed by Rowan Joffe (28 Weeks Later, The American), who also wrote the screenplay, does a good job keeping at keeping the viewer guessing. Kidman delivers in the film and her performance, along with Strong’s and Firth’s is top notch.

It is hard to understand why the film got such mixed reviews when it opened. This English thriller hits all the right notes and while it does not revel in its Englishness, the film could have been set anywhere, it does add a certain something to the events. It may well be that the movie was too clever for many to see the adroit way that the puzzle is trotted out for the audience.

Another problem could be the short-term amnesia plot device. Certainly it has been done before, Christopher Nolan’s 2000 film Momento, where Guy Pearce knocked it out of the park with the mystery thriller and then Adam Sandler, along with Drew Barrymore, who played the whole thing for laughs with 50 First Dates in 2004.

It is nice to see Kidman shunning the glamorous look while playing a woman trying so desperately to remember her past. The film keeps the twists and turns coming as each new bit of information just raises more questions. By the time the film ends, the viewer doesn’t trust anyone at all.

The cinematography, which is brilliant, and the lighting combine to give the action a deliberately murky look and feel. This is a delightful gem of a film well worth watching, if for no other reason than for Kidman and Firth’s interaction. The addition of Mark Strong, proves once again that the Brits really do corner the market in the world of acting.

Available on Redbox and other video streaming services along with Amazon, et al, Before I Go To Sleep is a real 4 out of 5 star film. A cracking movie that will keep you guessing until the climax.

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler Sing Decade Duet (Video)

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler Sing Decade Duet (Video)

On the new Jimmy Fallon hosted Tonight Show Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler sang a comic “decade duet” aka, The 10 Years Song. The two actors have worked before and have proven to have an on-screen magic together. They are teaming up again to work on a new romantic comedy, Blended where they play a couple of single parents who, after a disastrous blind date, go to the same African wild life resort. The two bond while comically interacting with the locals, animals, their kids and each other…