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Showing posts from July, 2011

TV Review: DNA

I first saw DNA a few months back when I got hold of the first volume at my library. Then I saw The Norman Conquests and had a strange feeling that I'd seen Tom Conti somewhere before. A few days ago I finally snatched up volume two of DNA, and that's when I realized that the older forensics guy, Donovan, is Tom Conti.

So yes, this stars Tom Conti. He has the same sleepy eyes, laid-back drawl, and full head of hair. This man will never bald, I'm telling you.

He stars as Donovan, a forensics scientist with a sexy wife and a teenaged son who doesn't seem to do a whole lot except worry about his parents' marriage. The first two episodes are an arc. A man is murdered, and wouldn't you know it, Donovan is implicated in the crime. His DNA is found in the man's apartment. It doesn't help that Donovan has an increasingly troubling medical condition that he doesn't want to deal with. At night, he sometimes goes into a fugue state and does normal things even…

The Situation Up the Road

Let me tell you a story.

There's a man I'll call Bill Blackhater (he's a racist, among other things, so I think it's fitting), who lives in the village across from my house. He's not short on money, so he is in the habit of buying houses and renting them out. He also makes sure that no black people move in. It is, in fact, rare to see anyone who isn't white living there, and he is the major reason why. Seriously, someone needs to take this guy down.

One of the houses he owns is up at the corner not far up from us at the intersection. So being the friendly racist that he is, he sends his wife over to collect the rent. And he charges ridiculous prices, not only for his tenants, but also his workers. I guess he doesn't do all of his dirty work. He gets the wife to do it.

So early this morning there was an accident up at the intersection, which isn't a surprise at all. We don't live on the nicest road. And there were cops blocking off certain roads and…

TV Review: Zen - Episode Two

It's episode two, "Cabal", and I have to confess that I'm still not totally enamored with Zen. I read about how good this show was before it came on, so I had expectations. High ones! But like I said, it's good, not great. I like Rufus Sewell a lot, and I love Ben Miles (Coupling, The Forsyte Saga).

In "Cabal", we start off with a man jumping off of a bridge at three in the morning. It's a suicide, right? Of course not. Soon we get into conspiracies theories as well as more of Zen's relationship with the married secretary, who wants help finding an apartment so that she can finally get away from her husband. It all runs fairly predictable, in my opinion. The who-dunnit part I didn't expect, but the rest of it I did, and nothing was entirely thrilling or suspenseful enough.

I honestly feel that this could be a better series, but perhaps that's just me. Maybe it's simply that I prefer mysteries like Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, and Midso…

Movie Review: Daylight

Whenever it's a Sylvester Stallone movie, you know it's going to be good. "Daylight" boasts excellent acting and dialogue and is completely original at every turn. Stallone is one of the best actors out there, behind Steven Segal, that is.


Okay, that was a lie! God forbid I think that Segal and Stallone are two of the best actors the world has to offer.

So here's the plot: a bunch of whiny idiots get trapped in a tunnel after a chemical explosion rocks their world. And Stallone, oh sorry, Kit Latura (make sure they have the perfect heroic name, okay?) saves them. Bad acting, horrid dialogue, annoying characters, predictable, cheesy, cliche, melodramatic, and unintentionally funny. I have to give it marks for being entertaining, though. The disaster sequences were good, and I laughed A LOT, which they probably didn't intend.

Kit is your typical hero with a "haunted" past and who knows exactly what needs to be done to save everyone, but faces op…

R.I.P. Amy Winehouse & the Victims in Norway

It's been a sad couple of days. By now I'm sure you've heard about the bombing in Oslo, Norway as well as the youth camp massacre on Utoya Island. I really never know what to say when tragedies like this happen, because what can you say? It's horrible and senseless, as most acts of violence are. I hope the people of Norway recover from this in time.

And today Amy Winehouse was found dead at age 27. It's not exactly surprising, but I was still shocked when I heard it on the radio this afternoon. I was working and listening to some station on my headset when the DJ said that she had been found dead in her apartment this morning, and he said it as if it was common knowledge, and maybe it was, but I hadn't heard. Then he played "Rehab" in honor of her, which is bittersweet, I must say. I'm not sure if the fact that she destroyed herself makes it sadder or not, but whether it was a result of her drug use or something else, it's still extremely sad…

Movie Review: Horrible Bosses

Comedic, air-conditioned relief in the midst of scorching heat, now that is a good way to spend an afternoon. I went to see Horrible Bosses the other day, because who doesn't want to have a laugh in the middle of the week? Before it finally reeled onto the screen, everyone was subjected to the perfunctory 10-15 minute previews. The new Footloose looks awful and stupid, by the way, and 30 Minutes Or Less looks funny and I'm going to see it. Give some love to Danny McBride! Woo!

Er, onto the movie. I expected it to be funny and gross, and it was. But it's not perfect. It was a little lacking as a whole. I almost felt that it could have gone further than it did. It could have been funnier, more outrageous. It's still funny, though. It also has a great cast and some famous pop-ups (Donald Sutherland, Jamie Foxx, Julie Bowen, etc.).

The plot has lots of comedic promise. Three best friends have horrible, horrible bosses who make their lives miserable and enjoy doing it. So …

A Trend in Hollywood

You've probably noticed this as I have. At the moment, filming dark live-action versions of fairytales is a very popular trend. So far we have Red Riding Hood (did anyone like that?), Beastly (did anyone actually see that?), and two upcoming Snow Whites. There was a third in the works, but that might have been scrapped. I think there was something about Sleeping Beauty recently, too, with Emily Browning, but I'm not sure if that was actually based off of the story. I'm probably missing another adaptation, but oh well.

Anyway, I shouldn't have been surprised to hear that Emma Watson was cast (unless that's just a rumor) in Beauty and the Beast. In fact, I shouldn't have been surprised to read that they're doing Beauty and the Beast. After Beastly (a failed version of it, apparently), I guess they wanted another go at it. Guillermo Del Toro is directing, so that should be interesting. I'm not sure what I think about Emma Watson yet. I like her enough in H…

TV Review: Zen -Episode One

It's not the greatest season of Masterpiece Mystery so far. This is some of the only television I actually watch, so I look forward to a good lineup. But we are being deprived of such entertaining shows as Inspector Lewis, Wallander, and Sherlock this year. Luckily, something new was thrown our way, and it stars Rufus Sewell.

I've always liked Rufus Sewell. He can play a bad guy (The Illusionist) and a good guy (Zen) and be believable in both. This time he is a Venetian detective in Rome. He's one of the only uncorrupted cops around, and he lives with his mother. He has a failed marriage behind him and he's hitting forty. He's also a really nice guy, which is good because there are a lot of douche bags around.

In this first episode, Zen is asked to review a case that is set to go to trial. His boss wants him to leave it as it is and let the guy accused of murder go to prison (and perhaps die) for it, even though the man is now claiming to be innocent. But then ther…

Movie Review: Strange Circus

I guarantee you that by the end of this review, you will want to see this movie (assuming you already haven't).

This is one of those I-tricked-you movies. First you believe that this is real, then you find out that it isn't, then you realize that it might be. Then you get confused. Then you think you understand. Then you're like, Aha! Then you get just a little confused again. Then the movie ends. But I think I get it. I thought it through, you see, in what I'm hoping was a logical way of thinking. Because I'm a logical genius. Duh.

And while you're busy being confused and second-guessing, you're also horrified and grossed out. Why? I'll tell you why!

It starts off with an already touchy, taboo subject. A young girl is sexually abused by her parents (her father, really) and forced to watch them have sex through a cello case. Her father also rapes her, and her mother becomes so jealous of her that she routinely beats her up and tries to kill her. Then, t…

Short Movie Review: Megamind

Megamind's main strengths are that it has a great cast (Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill), and it's funny. Its main pitfall is that it's not hilarious. It's a chuckle movie, with maybe a few laugh-out-loud moments. That doesn't mean it's bad. No, as a whole, it is charming and cute (I really do not like using that word to describe movies, grr!). And I love Megamind. From the beginning, I was on his side, and it was obvious why he wanted (sort of) to destroy his nemesis, the heroic Metro Man. That guy is a douche. Will Ferrell is perfect for the voice of Megamind, and Brad Pitt as Metro Man is good, but he sounds like George Clooney, which just confused me. Seriously, I would not have known that was the Pitt had I not seen his name on the movie.

So, Megamind is charming and funny, but not top-notch.

My grade: B

Movie Review: Super 8

Recently, I was in danger of seeing Green Lantern in the theatre. I do not want to see Green Lantern, I'll tell you that. But dad did. Luckily, it was playing too late in the day for his liking, so I manipulated him into seeing Super 8. As I've said before, he knows almost nothing about movies. He'd never heard of Super 8, so I filled him in.

Now, I like me a good monster movie, and this one sounded promising, and for good reason. It really is a good film. It manages to be moving and exciting and funny all at the same time. I thought it was a tad overly sentimental near the end, but I'll let it go. It also boasts a great cast, including Kyle Chandler and that dude from The Truman Show (he's one of those nameless actors whose face is familiar but whose name is a blank). The kids are great, too, which they should be since they're the main actors. I'd heard good things about them, especially Elle Fanning (who I haven't seen in anything else). Some say she…

TV Review: Young Sherlock -The Mystery of the Manor House(1982)

In case you are wondering, there are two Young Sherlocks. Yup, this is the other one. It's not flashy or big-budget, the sets aren't going to blow you away, the actors won't leave you in awe, and well, the whole thing won't leave you in awe. But you know what? I really enjoyed it. It's not spectacular, but it is entertaining and charming. If you compare it too much to say, the Jeremy Brett series, you probably won't be too keen on it.

This mini-series star Guy Henry as a teenaged Sherlock. He come home from school to find that his home is no longer his home, and his parents aren't even in England. They're in France. No, they didn't bother to write and tell him any of this, so he's in a little bind. Luckily -or unluckily- his aunt Rachel takes him in. She lives with her brother and young daughter, Charity (played by a weird looking young woman in her twenties who is older than Guy Henry himself). Sherlock becomes suspicious of the new people who…

TV Review: The Norman Conquests

Every once in awhile, I will be watching a movie or a television show when out of nowhere I am wowed. It is very rare and very sudden. What am I wowed by? A performance! In The Norman Conquests (based on the plays by Alan Ayckbourn), there is a scene in the first episode (out of three) in which Norman is at the breakfast table, quite unwanted, and proceeds to whine and banter, effectively annoying his brother and sisters-in law until they abandon the room. It may not sound like a great accomplishment in acting, but for the first time in a long time I thought, "Now that is acting." Really, it is so uncommon for me to be truly impressed by a performance that I have to relish this one. That's not to say that if you watch it you will have the same reaction, but I had to mention it.


The Norman Conquests is about six people who stay in the same house over the course of one weekend. First there is Annie, who lives there with her useless, bed-ridden mother. Her brother Re…

Movie Review: Black Swan

Occasionally, I pre-grade a movie before I see it. I think that I can guess how good it will be, and I have a feeling that it must be this good or this mediocre. Of course I realize that by the end of the film my opinion might be changed, and I'll be honest; it almost always is. With Black Swan I thought, 'This is going to be a B+ movie'. And as usual I was off a tad.

I probably don't have to explain the synopsis since a lot of people have seen this well before me. But I will anyway: Nina is our 28-year-old ballerina. She's a bit sexually repressed, a little childlike and maybe more than a little smothered by her mother (a creepy woman who dictates over Nina and fusses over her career like only a failed dancer can do). Nina is up for the part of the Swan Queen in Swan Lake after the Prima Ballerina (Winona Ryder) is forced out. Unfortunately, Nina is a fragile young woman and she comes off as so innocent and repressed that it's hard to imagine her as the Black …