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"Julie & Julia" one of few not painful chick flicks
By Ezra Mann (Editor in Spoof)

Like many guys I will with no shame admit that I would rather pass on a majority, if not all of the chick flick genre. Yet, occasionally a chick flick can be a good movie though thankfully I’ll never have to prove anything by watching ridiculous number of them in a row.
I was content letting this movie join the most likely never watched list, but after a while of it sitting among the DVD rental pile it was time to suck it up so we could get something else in from the queue. I was more than pleased and even hooked through most of this offering. “Julie & Julia” may not be a must own, but it was fun and a refreshing night with my favorite lady.
The premise, which is apparently a mostly true story, itself on some levels was rather interesting, but on others nothing all that exciting. The story follows a young woman named Julie Powell (Amy Adams) who is not satisfied with her life as a low rung office slave (with which many of us can relate).
Her depressing state brings her to near breakdown even with the support of her husband, Eric Powell (Chris Messina), which leads him to suggest she relieve stress by sharing a part of herself with the world in a blog. That part ends up being her love of enjoying well prepared food, especially that from a recipe book of Julia Childs (Meryl Streep) and it all takes place in a challenge to cook every recipe in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in one year’s time. It is far from easy and audiences are on edge thinking this may not be an obtainable goal.
The most clever thing about this movie is that it does such a good job of blending the early struggles of two unique women. Childs herself has a loving husband in Paul Childs (Stanley Tucci) and must herself find a new way of life while Powell is stuck in a rut and is brought back to the fact that she has never fulfilled her dream of being a writer.
Both discover a love of culinary exploration that almost makes them seem like long lost sisters and you get plenty of laughs as well as heartfelt moments along the way. The viewer is pulled in by the excellent recreation of everything from the scenery of two eras (modern and post world war II) to a job by Streep that makes you swear that Childs was still among us this very moment. For this reason and helping viewers relate to that feeling of knowing what it is like to never give up on something nearly out of reach, “Julie & Julia” earns a respectable four out of five Bon Appétits.

"Futurama" returns as if it never left off
By Ezra Mann (Editor in spoof)
While couch potatoes are well conditioned to the disappointment of having their favorite shows canned, the feeling of being cheated by the television overlords may never pass. In 2003, “Futurama” became one of the many victims of the cancellation ax, well more appropriately abandoned, and geeks the world over couldn’t find enough “Star Wars” references to mask their pain.

Sure, the show’s premise of what would life be like in the distant future is far from fiction originality, but it was done in such a way that could not be matched, especially in humor. What hurt the most was losing something that so cleverly blended real life and just about every science fiction element ever created (“Star Trek” elements certainly not lacking). Thankfully, June 24 Comedy Central was finally allowed to cover for Fox’s blunders and bring back a show that proves it was just getting started when it left.

The hilarity is still set in the 31st century on Earth as well as several trips across the universe, though for hard-core fans there has been a semi counting story for each of the main characters. The story began with leading dimwit Philip J. Fry (Billy West) who was accidentally cryogenically frozen December 31, 1999 and has since followed his life anew in a world only dreamt of by basement nerds.

Things have picked up as if the adventure never had an interruption for Fry, who works as a delivery boy for space trekking Planet Express and is wonderful with it’s glimpse of what life would be like if one of us kept our lives mostly the same, but had to learn it all over again. You don’t necessarily have to have seen all the previous episodes of the show to enjoy it for the first time, but since a good story is always fun to follow I do recommend buying or checking out the first four seasons as well as the four TV movies (which are four episodes each themselves) that preceded the current season. The first episode of the renewal picks up where the fourth movie, “Into the Wild Green Yonder” left off.

One thing that may give this animated program lasting power is keeping the original voice actors. I’m not sure how fans would cope if Katey Sagal did not voice Fry’s cyclops love interest Turanga Leela or if Bender Bending Rodriguez was voiced by anyone other than John DiMaggio (Then there are the rest of the easily recognizable characters like Professor Farnsworth, another Billy West voice.)

It is necessary to point out that with the move to a cable network the show has become even more centered toward adults, though even low brow in each episode is wittier than most things forced on the air. I can find very few examples of things I don’t like in the return, but as each Thursday at 9 central passes I feel myself pulled in by the antics all over again. I hope this time that the show sticks around for the long haul and for strengthening my fandom I give the new season of “Futurama” so far four and half out of five Hypnotoads.

Images are copyright of Fox Broadcasting, Comedy Central and Columbia Pictures.

Past Entertainment: Toy Story 3 and Karate Kid Review.

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