Reviews (45)

  • I mistakenly identified Noah Emmerich (Stan) as Noah Baumbach in my recent review. Must've been hitting the 3 Olives a little too aggressively when typing this. Review stands: unique, well written show with a few flaws (too much Paige, clueless FBI, etc.). This is merely an edit of a review I made earlier. Cheers.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Americans is probably one of the most unique shows offered on television right now. The story about a couple of Soviet sleeper agents doing the dirty work of the USSR during the Cold War under the guise of an average American couple named Philip and Elizabeth Jennings is both riveting and at times, unpredictable and shocking, which keeps me coming back for more. What a breath of fresh air to have the male lead (Philip) played by the wonderful Matthew Rhys, be the more sympathetic and conflicted of the pair. You actually feel Philip's growing angst and distaste for some of the missions "The Center" sends them on, while he's on his own, unsanctioned journey of personal self discovery. Keri Russell, one of the best (in my opinion) understated actresses out there in tv, is a marvel as Elizabeth, who blindly drinks whatever party line KoolAid that her handlers in Moscow sell her to perform the mission and get it done, no matter what the cost is. She truly believes that The Center only wants peace and is trying to stop the big bad evil West from doing big bad evil stuff. In several situations, her character is outraged when a fellow Soviet is killed but shows no emotion of empathy when a non-Soviet, sometimes innocent bystander is killed. She has no compunction about killing a person outside of a mission because she didn't like they way he spoke to and hit on her daughter. Damn! I've never been drawn to a show so much where I disliked the main character so much (Elizabeth) yet couldn't wait to see what she was doing in the next episode. Messed up? Probably. But this is an excellent show where you don't have to like the characters in order to be fascinated by them. Keri Russell deserves and Emmy for her outstanding work.

    Of the supporting cast and their characters, I really enjoy Noah Baumbach's cool and watchful Stan Beeman, the FBI agent who lives across the street, unknowingly from the Jennings' Soviet spies. He plays it cool and close to the vest but manages to convey more with an expression than some can with loads of dialogue. I keep wondering when he's going to pick up on some of the subtle red flags about his secretive neighbors and put two-and-two together. My other favorite is Costa Ronin's Lev, the Soviet counterpart to FBI agent Beeman, himself a committed member of his intelligence community who's trying to sift through all the BS to figure out what's right and what's propaganda. Like someone else stated, the show can move slowly at times but it's worth the patience to stick it out.

    I do wish they'd spend less time on the Jennings' daughter Paige because her wide-eyed angst, her incessant nosiness and whining are starting to wear thin. This is meant as no disrespect to the talented actress playing her. Just wishing the writers would dial it back a bit. There's enough drama between Philip and Elizabeth to fill the hour. Keep Paige and Henry in smaller supporting roles.

    I also wish the writers wouldn't make everyone at the FBI look so clueless and hapless while their enemies rarely mess up. I truly doubt they (the FBI) were so "in the dark" about this stuff when the real deal was (or may still be) happening as it's depicted here often. Nonetheless great show, worth investing the time into.
  • 5 February 2017
    Warning: Spoilers
    ,,,it's not a horrible movie but I don't understand the growing hype either. I went to see this no expectations except some decent musical entertainment and...I don't know. What's good? Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are charming (to me) as the leads, the aspiring actress/playwright and the true-to-old-school Jazz musician. The songs are okay. Nothing tremendously memorable but I did like the "City Of Stars" tune that Gosling sings on the pier (and later duets on again with Stone). The other stuff? The dancing was cute but not fantastic. The actors did the best they could and God knows they did better than I ever could but they looked a little uncomfortable doing it, like they were counting out the steps in their heads. What wasn't so great? The premise was fine but it's nothing new and the film had a LOT of slow areas where I kind of felt bored. Like the writers added what they thought was clever dialogue but actually came across as "filler" to make up some time in the movie. While some people didn't like the planetarium/fantasy dance scene, I thought that was one of the better, old Hollywood type scenes in this film. Nice little twist as the film draws toward it's conclusion and it wasn't dumbed down with a ton of explanations, as if the audience were clueless, that made up for the dry spots earlier on. So, it's not a bad film or anything but again, I don't understand the Oscar build up on this because there seem to be other films with more to offer out there. To each their own, I guess.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ...there are some serious holes in story line. The premise, about a "climate refugee", Aaron/Ben (Sean Teale, very good in the role) trying to infiltrate the "super corporation", SPIGA, who is one of the major controlling forces in the US, is interesting and engrossing. He comes from nothing and manages to make the right (underworld) connections that allow him to do this risky feat as a sort of "mole" on the inside, who is using his position to locate a former friend/first love (played by Denyse Tontz) who's disappeared from the slums and off the map it seems.

    Teale is flanked by some notable talent, like Julia Ormond as the upper echelon corporate heavy who's also, by chance, his mother in law. Dennis Haysbert lends menace as Ormond's fellow company baddie who acts as the enforcer. Allison Miller, as Ben's wife Laura, is perhaps the most sympathetic character to me, as a doctor born to the upper class who actually has a conscience where the less fortunate are concerned and struggles with it on a daily basis. Again, cool plot about what could happen when corporations take over after governments crumble and privatization and the almighty buck rule. That's the good.

    I had issue with two things in particular. The first is how seemingly easy it was for Aaron/Ben to infiltrate the Spiga corporation. Wouldn't a highly technologically sound company like that have better vetting methods for people coming in? The other "Huh?" moment came when the show mentioned that 90 percent of the world fell victim to climate change and that the heartlands of the US were dust bowls while coastal cities like New York and Seattle were flooded, yet Canada, which is paraded as the place so many are trying to flee to is somehow immune to this? No mention of any disaster or upheaval or famine or whatever else the rest of the planet seems to be enduring. The show touts Winnipeg as some chosen place to flee to but, why wouldn't that area fall victim to the same climate hazards experienced in the lands to the south of it? No food shortage? No corporations making a play for dominance? Did the big oil companies there just disappear and not make a play like the mega corps did in most other companies? Did climate change suddenly stop at the borders? When France and Spain are mentioned as desert lands, it's hard to believe that wouldn't be the same for almost everywhere within similar latitudes, including Canada, where, by the way, privatization of certain govt. functions is already in effect, like in transportation systems, for instance. Also hard to believe that Ottawa would still be stably governed by the Prime Minister while most other nations bag out to private industry mega corps. No hate here for Canada, people, that's my family up there so I'm just making an observation or two so please chill. It's the holes in an otherwise interesting show that might need some more fact checking or at least better explanations for the curious folks who like a little science out here.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    First of all, the cat (or cats) in the role of "Mr. Fuzzypants" was endearing and comical. The movie has a simple story line: a self absorbed millionaire businessman, played by Kevin Spacey, is simply too, well, self absorbed and into the ultimate profit to pay attention to his pre-teen daughter or grown son so he finds himself transformed into a feisty feline at the suggested hands of Christoper Walken's quirky and mysterious pet store owner.

    Spacey-as-the-cat goes through some growing pains emotionally, getting into a lot of trouble and learning not to be a jerk to his neglected wife (Jennifer Garner) or his decent kids. There's some good acting support from Cheryl Hines as his ex-wife (the first one) who's also the mother of his grown son (Robbie Amell). Mark Consuelos is on hand as the figurative mustache twirling villain who wants to undermine his boss and steal the company.

    The start of this film is a bit slow while we learn about Spacey's desire for "the tallest building ever" or something like that but it gets rolling once he visits Walken and gets turned into the kitty. It's pretty cool seeing both Spacey and Walken in something light and amusing like this, considering they usually play darker or often, villainous roles.

    Cute movie, worth the trip to see. Don't expect anything Oscar- worthy or filled with tons of crap exploding at every turn because this isn't that film. Check it out if you have kids or if the kid inside you isn't too jaded or dead yet.
  • A nice little gem out of Australia. The premise about Dr. Lucien Blake, a police surgeon (kind of like an earlier era law enforcement medical examiner) who can't escape the shadow of his super successful father, also a doctor is intriguing. Blake (portrayed with a steady hand by Craig McLachlan) makes a few totally human assumptions along the way in each weeks mystery. This means he messes up and sometimes is lead down the wrong path before finding the right one. I like this because it means there aren't too many ridiculous jumps in logic when the sleuthing happens and the clues are followed. Sometimes the mysteries can be solved by the audience before the end but sometimes not. Again, I like something that makes me think a bit. Its also nice to watch a show from Australia that doesn't feature the tired stories about bubble heads hanging out on a beach or some forgettable vapid slapstick comedy thing. Great show, solid cast, nice tidy little, well-written under-an-hour whodunits. Grab a cup of tea or Java and have a sit-down and watch this show if you like mysteries.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Subtitles aside, I like the even pace of this show. The perfectly cast Jonas Nay (Martin/Moritz) is an East German soldier more or less forced into spying on the West by his ice-queen aunt Leonora (the excellent, subtly villainous Maria Schrader) who holds Martin's mother's illness over his head as one of the bargaining chips. The spying he does is believable stuff (bugging rooms and so forth) and Nay does a wonderful job portraying a young soldier who is becoming increasingly conflicted over what he must do based on what he's told and not what he actually starts to see for himself. He's also perfectly cast and believable because he's not some glossy pretty boy...he looks like a soldier.

    Some of the supporting characters, though, are written too two-dimensional for me. Through no fault of the actors portraying them, there's the dippy and annoying wife of General Edel, Ursula (Anna von Berg), who wouldn't have a clue if it hit her upside the head. She brushes off her (somewhat drunken) sister's claims on an incident and walks around like a stepford wife, baking kuchen and tortes and ignoring the world around her. Then there is the blustery American General Jackson, who's written like the cartoon character Yosemite Sam (he might as well shoot off his pistols every five minutes and call everyone a varmint...again, no disrespect to Errol Trotman-Harewood, who's doing the best he can with that stupid part). Martin's girlfriend Annett also grates on one's nerves because she's too goody-goody and unrealistic.

    This show has promise but it would be better for me if they showed a more diverse belief amongst the German characters. Most of them fret a lot over peace and wring their hands, figuratively speaking as they are helpless children of divorce caught between two warring parents (the US and USSR). I suppose that's why I like the doofy general's kid with the crazy bowl-cut hair (Ludwig Trepte) because at least he believes in something, right or wrong and has the stones to act on it. That's the interesting stuff. I hope, if there is a second series, Sundance will carry it here because it's different. Check it out and don't be afraid of the subtitles.
  • What a great re-telling of a classic fairytale. This one is from Maleficent's point of view which creates a whole fresh new outlook from a story that's been done to death in so many previous ways.

    I can't say enough about how awesome Angelina Jolie was in the titular role. She walks the fine line perfectly between playing a character who's viewed as the villain yet she plays her with a depth that rounds out to a vastly more sympathetic portrayal.

    Elle Fanning was perfectly cast as sweet Aurora who's naivety is played with grace and honesty rather than as a bubble head who can't think for herself. I also loved Sam Riley as Maleficent's right hand "man" (or whatever he morphed into) because he too wasn't a two-dimensional bad-guy dimwit.

    Sharlto Copley as King Stefan was brilliant casting as well because he pretty much became the part of the humble man who changed drastically as the film progressed. He's one of those under-the-radar actors who has real talent to play any role, though he does shine in the darker ones for certain.

    There are some pretty cool twists in this version of Sleeping Beauty that I liked even more than the original telling and the special effects are fantastic. This is worth seeing in the theatres if you can.
  • I like science fiction movies in general and this one appealed to me simply by the title. Though only a few of the cast members names were recognizable by me (Embeth Davidtz, Sharlto Copley, Michael Nyqvist), I took a shot and I'm glad I did.

    In the not too distant future, an international crew of astronauts undertake a long journey to explore Jupiter's enigmatic ice moon Europa in a quest to determine if there are life forms existing there. The beauty of this film is that it's shot entirely in documentary form, always veering between the interview-like scenes of mission control back on Earth to the crew going about their preparation aboard the space craft, using shipboard cameras (and later, helmet cams) to follow the drama. The storyline is subtly done but engrossing, building up suspense as the movie goes on while never relying on cheesy special effects (though there are a few, well done special effects of note to be seen throughout) so it never loses that documentary feel that makes it unique. There's solid character development that's necessary to bolster this story along but the reward is some really cool and other worldly alien vistas when the crew finally arrive at Europa for what they hope is their final payoff.

    So, if you're looking for one of those (admittedly fun) big blockbusters where stuff gets the crap blown out of it every other minute and the drama is way over the top, this may not be your kind of flick. If you like a subtler, slow building intensity to your sci fi movies, see this one. It's one that will keep you thinking about it even after the movie's ended. Worth a watch.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    For starters, "Downton Abbey" this is not. For some odd reason, a few critics out there expected another blockbuster PBS/BBC miniseries in the same vein as "D.A." but that rarely ever happens.

    That being said, "Mr. Selfridge" is certainly a well-made tale about the titular character who's wonderfully played by Jeremy Piven. A few critics made comments of some kind or other, claiming that the actor was just playing his Ari character from Entourage with a different wardrobe or whatever but that's an unfair assessment, at least in my opinion. Piven plays Selfridge as a mercurial, ambitious man, driven to be a success, even at the expense of his sweet but frustrated wife Rose, played by a glowing Frances O'Conner. I liked how they showed Harry, flaws and all. You root for him, even when he's being a knob to his wife and family because Piven gives him a likability despite his often over-driven personality.

    The series weaves in several other human interest stories, fleshing out the people that helped make Selfridge's the successful store it became (and still is today). I especially liked the stories surrounding shop girl Agnes, rising slowly but steadily from dirt poor to a senior position, all the while getting romanced by not one but two of her handsome fellow co-workers. The writers even give O'Conner's "Rose" a tempted storyline with a hot young painter when she starts to feel neglected by Harry and grows suspicious of his after hours activities (which tended to include popular chorus girl and reigning tart, Ellen Love). Good stuff.

    The series did start off a bit slow in the first two hours but once it picked up steam and you knew who was who and what was going on, it really began to hold it's own. If you want Downton style drama, well, this series won't match it but the acting in Mr Selfridge is first rate and the character's stories will draw you in and keep you there. Another good one from the PBS/BBC juggernaut.
  • I loved the Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars series books so seeing this movie was a must. I'm glad I did, despite some of the critical negativity out there. It's a scifi movie in the more traditional sense, with the old fashioned tale of a hero rescuing an exotic princess from the villain. Traditional tale aside, the special effects were outstanding, and while the film varies from the original book in many areas, it's not bad at all. In fact, the changes add even more excitement to this tale of a wandering, disheartened civil war vet who finds himself transported to the red planet; they help flesh out several of the main characters in a way that helps those who haven't read the books understand who's who and what's what.

    Taylor Kitsch is well cast as the titular John Carter and he plays him with a whole lot of depth and a bit of humor, showcasing his acting ability in a way that he couldn't on the TV show Friday Night Lights. Kitsch strikes me a talent that's going to stick around for awhile and grow into even bigger leading man roles. Good for him. Mark Strong is really making a name for himself playing the dark roles , like Matai Shang here, the mysterious and nefarious ancient Barsoomian changeling with questionable morals. He's so good at being bad that it's no wonder so many films cast him in nice, meaty, villainous parts. He's great at it.

    This film was very good and again, it played out like an old time Hollywood space opera (with top notch special effects) and maybe didn't hold the critics attention with the usual sights of mindless crap blowing up (though there's plenty of large and small scale battles in this movie, FYI) or the typical dumbed down dialog that seems to be more and more prevalent in so many movies, but it's certainly not a flop or failure in any respect. Good story, good cast, entertaining as hell, especially for people who like original scifi. Check it out.
  • I watched this story about a money making narcissist who inherits a beloved vineyard in France mainly because of the star power it had in it (Russell Crowe, Albert Finney and Marion Cotillard, to name a few). It's gorgeously filmed, from the grey filtered coldness of the London scenes, to the warmer golden tones used in the French countryside scenes. Visually, this film rocked. Storywise, it had more promise than what wound up being the end result. What's good: Crowe plays an obnoxious, materialistic English trader named Max who conveys all the warmth of an iceberg through a good part of the film until he pulls his head out of his backside and starts to appreciate the happier memories of his youth with his uncle (an outstanding Albert Finney) and thus re-awakens his dormant humanity. It's cool to see an unlikable character like this mature into a better person as the film progresses. Though I'm no Russell Crowe fan, the man can act and carry a film, even if he's not the nicest person off screen. Very good support from Didier Bourdon (as the guy who truly loves and works the vineyard and sees it for what it could be), Tom Hollander (as Crowe's legal friend who plays the freewheeling cad with wonderful relish), and Abbie Cornish (in an early role, playing Crowe's long lost American cousin who's trying to find her roots). What's not so good? The story kept milking the unbelievable developing relationship between Crowe's jerky Max and Marion Cotillard's aloof Fanny, a woman who clearly thinks Max is a tool but lets herself get worn down by his questionable charm to eventually cave to him. They had no chemistry with each other and it all felt forced and dragged the main story down every time they wasted time on this particular chapter. So, watch it for beautiful French scenery, for great supporting characters (who really drive the story along) or if you love movies about wine. It's not bad; it's just not really amazing either. It's just fair.
  • The TNT network proves again that it's a force to be reckoned with in the world of TV series. While the big named main networks are cranking out more and more brainless reality TV shows, this cable network is taking the higher road by creating another decent series. I'm already a fan of Leverage, Rizzoli & Isles, and Memphis Beat so add Falling Skies to that growing list. The storyline follows a rag-tag group of survivors, both civilian and military, as they try to escape the city limits of Boston since it's already fallen to alien invaders. This show isn't one of those flashy, cartoonish shows where the acting is over the top and the special effects play the main role; instead it's character driven and gritty, where each and every one of the main characters is flawed and human. No super heroes here. While the special effects in the show are quite good for the tube, it's the people and their stories you'll remember. I like the fact that the primary protagonist (played Noah Wyle) is a former American History professor who's thrust into the role of survivor, soldier and back up commander to Will Patton's hard edged military man Weaver. They don't see eye to eye on a lot of stuff but they still have a basic respect for each other. It should be noted that Colin Cunningham makes in appearance in episode 2 as a bad ass outlaw type who's equal parts borderline vicious but also manages to keep you from hating him completely because he does have some of the wittiest lines and rare moments of humor that show he's not as bad as he pretends to be. This is a good series that's definitely sci-fi but it has a good, methodical paced story developing with each episode. If you have a short attention span or hate sci fi, don't watch it. Otherwise, check out this real good series. It's worth it.
  • This is by far one of the most entertaining documentaries I've ever seen. While all docs are meant to be educational or enlightening, it's the rare one that amuses you as well and literally takes you somewhere else, like on a mini vacation to exotic locales right from your living room. Dana Brown's narration is wry and informative without being too over the top or wordy, never detracting from the drop dead gorgeous scenery the movie provides as we follow various surfers around the world. There's touches of humor here and there and, while some of the said surfers are certifiably nuts, you don't have to be a long or short boarder to enjoy this film. If you like good alternative tunes, amazing locations such as Malibu, Ireland, Hawai'i etc., then check out this cool little jewel of a documentary.
  • I'm a Johnny-come-lately to this perfectly weird but truly addictive toon for grown ups and now I'm a total fan. The story revolves around the metal band Dethklok, five badass but hilariously stupid dudes who live in Mordland, a fictional place set amongst our non fictional world. The band is listed as the twelfth largest grossing corporation on the planet (or some such thing) which puts them square in the cross-hairs of an equally weird but completely deranged group of world leaders who meet in secret to discuss ways to infiltrate the band's realm. What makes it darkly funny is that the guys themselves are oblivious to the nefarious baddies and their evil plan, yet somehow they're able to overcome whatever attempt is made on them by said bad guys while still remaining blissfully clueless. The dialogue is often coarse and many of the situations Dethklok gets themselves into might offend the very sensitive at heart but this animated series in not for the faint of heart. It's funny, wry, dark and unique. I'd like to mention that the tunes completely rock, melding a heavy driving sound with some bizarro and often comical lyrics. With names like Nathan Explosion (the lead singer whose parents are, in fact, Mr. and Mrs. Explosion, which cracks me up), William Murderface (the foul-mouthed, lisping bass guitarist), Pickles (the pickled drummer with the seriously bad corn-rowed 'do), Skwisgaar (the Swedish lead guitarist who'll boff ANY woman, no matter how old she is) and Toki (the sweetly dense rhythm guitarist who forever lives in Skwisgaar's shadow). I hope there's going to be many more seasons to come because this animated show is better than the usual offerings out there. Keep 'em coming!
  • This is not the deepest of movies but it sure is one hell of a ride. The story centers on a runaway train (caused by the lazy impatience of said train's engineer) that starts it's juggernaut run through the mill towns of Pennsylvania. The action kicks in fairly quickly, within the first 15 or so minutes of the film and there begins the craziness. Denzel Washinton and Chris Pine display a nice bit of chemistry as engineer and conductor respectively, one a member of the "old guard" that's being pushed out involuntarily to make way for the "new blood". The clash a bit in the beginning but slowly form a believable working relationship. It's nice to see the Federal Railroad Administration inspector (ably played by the low-key Kevin Corrigan) as a helpful character rather than as the usual Hollywood stereotype as "bumbling government guy who messes stuff up worse" character. It's refreshing. There are a few minor holes in the plot concerning the way they try to stop the train but overlook those because this movie is a great, old-fashioned action/adventure that keeps rolling along like (forgive me, seriously) a "freight train". It's just a fun, on the edge of your seat type of film. See it.
  • SyFy (nee "The SciFi Channel") can usually be counted on to air some pretty interesting series; everything from humorous scifi light (Eureka for instance) to the darker, intense stuff (Battlestar Galactica and it's spin off, Caprica). I would definitely put "Warehouse 13" into the previous category rather than the latter. It's a cool quirky series that knows how to have fun with it's six primary, very different, series regulars. Saul Rubinek's Artie Nielsen, who acts as a sort of curator to the warehouse is the gruff, often exasperated anchor point to the rest of the crew and I have to admit: I wasn't crazy about his character at first but he really grew on me. He's kind of like that grouchy uncle you have that really has a heart of gold underneath. C. C. H. Pounder (as regent Mrs. Frederic) is one of those powerful actors who plays such a strong but subtle role brilliantly. Love seeing her on the little screen after such an amazing amount of varied roles on both the tube and the silver screen. The whole cast is a nice mish-mash of personalities that compliment one another but I have to admit a growing favorite of mine is Allison Scagliotti's "Claudia Donovan", who's funny, bright, endearing and occasionally flawed which makes her all the more likable. She winds up getting into some seriously funny messes that require the leads (an equally humorous Eddie McClintock and perfect straight-man Joanne Kelly as agents Lattimer and Bering) to bail her out. The weekly series always has some really cool artifact that belonged to some famous historical figure that wields some kind of science-bending power to it and the leads are tasked with retrieving said artifacts without getting themselves killed or some such other disaster. This show is good and it's getting better with every new episode (thanks to excellent writing) and it's definitely worth checking out if you're not already a fan.
  • When I want to see an action film or a thriller, no one, in my opinion, beats stuff made in North America. That being said, no one makes better mysteries than the British, and the "Inspector Lewis" series is proof positive of that. Kevin Whately is a stand-out as the eponymous character, a diligent yet sympathetic policeman who wears his middle-class background as proudly as he does his badge. It's nice to see Whately taking the helm in this series as it's lead after playing the wingman in the "Inspector Morse" shows for so long. He doesn't try to assume the John Thaw role but instead keeps this character all his own. James Fox is the perfect fit as his younger, book-smart partner Hathaway, a dude who can quote just about anything from anywhere, thanks in part to his scholarly background in Theology. These two guys have a very believable chemistry as police partners who work with each other's strengths (Lewis has the hunches it seems and Hathaway has his logic) to solve the multiple mysteries that crop up in the college town in Oxfordshire where they toil. The mysteries presented in the show are never too easy to figure out, giving you just enough clues to try to follow along. Often times it's a really cool surprise when the who-dun-it is solved at the end. I also want to add that, in addition to a great cast, great writing and so forth, they don't flog you with loud obvious music throughout that gives too much away (though yes, there is SOME music and it's quite nice actually). I'm a fan of this show and I hope they keep this series with it's fantastic cast going for a long time to come.
  • This turned out to be one of those over-the-top but real decent thrill-ride type actioners. Though there are those out there who just won't cut Angelina Jolie a break, even the haters can't deny that the girl can act. She's excellent in this film, about one of the CIA's top interrogators who's accused of being a Russian sleeper agent. It's fairly early in the film when the action begins and it runs and runs from there on. There's a good twist to plot much later on and personally, I like movies that let you try to figure them out as they go along, rather than force feeding you the answers with dumbed down dialog and screechy music because the writers assume the audience is too stupid to get the obvious story movements. This one doesn't do that. If you're not a fan of crazy stunt sequences that no one (in reality) would come out of without broken bones, much less survive, then maybe you won't enjoy this flick too much. Otherwise, see it. It's a blast, it's got a good cast (sorry for the rhyme there) with Liev Schreiber (always excellent) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (ditto), and the storyline rips right along. Check it out.
  • The previews that TNT used initially weren't overly interesting and some of the critics gave this new show mediocre ratings. That being said, I'm glad I chose to ignore the critics (as usual) and give this new cop drama a shot. Glad I did. It rolls right along with well written story lines and nice touches of humor here and there to lighten up what could be a very dark premise. I can't rave enough about the casting of Angie Harmon as the tough-talking but occasionally insecure police detective Jane Rizzoli, who's driving ambition and outer roughness bely a compassionate individual who's trying to do the right thing, no matter what. Sasha Alexander is a wonderful breath of fresh air as Maura Isles, the science and medicine half of this dynamic duo. She plays Isles with just the right amount of nerdy quirkiness to make the character endearing and brilliant, without crossing over into annoying know-it-all territory. What makes this work is the great chemistry between the two female leads, who come across as believable in their roles without sacrificing appearances too much. You could actually picture Harmon as a cop because she conveys it so well. The supporting cast is wonderful as well and it's awesome to see the uber talented Donnie Wahlberg back in front of cameras where he belongs. No offense to his New Kids On The Block gig but, the man is a decent actor and should definitely keep working that particular side of his talent. This is a great new show and so far, the stories move with a quick, satisfying clip to them so boredom is not an issue. TNT usually blows away most of the big networks with their choice of programming and "Rizzoli and Isles" is no exception to that rule. Give it a look-see for a couple of episodes; it's worth it.
  • I had a lot of hope for this show when it first debuted. It has the talented Amanda Tapping at the helm and it started out with a really cool, creepy goth feeling to it that pre-dates a lot of the current vampiremania that's all over the big and little screens. Problem is, it feels like it's lost a lot of that uniqueness. The story lines can be very entertaining (especially when Tesla's in them) or they can feel like 20 minutes of story fluffed up to fill the hour-long slot that Sanctuary inhabits. Tapping's character is engaging but, as someone else noted in the comments section, it's all over the place and kind of distracting. I like Robin Dunne's character too, as the "everyman" former government nerd who gets sucked into a really strange and wild ride when he agrees to join forces with Team Magnus. Christopher Heyerdahl is just plain great playing shadowy "are they or aren't they" villainous types so it's good to see him move beyond his previously entertaining role as "Todd the Wraith" in SG:Atlantis. With no intended disrespect, I just can't cotton to either of the fast-talking, too-cool-for-school younger female characters played by Emilie Ullerup (first season) and Agam Darshi (later seasons). The actresses themselves were fine but the both of their characters (Ashley and Kate)were/are neither sympathetic nor likable. Here are two characters that could be great but the writers spend too much time trying to make them edgy and sarcastic rather than strong, capable and wry. Bummer. I hope the story lines get a little more interesting and I hope the writers at least try to build on the backgrounds of the characters more as well. Until then, I'll watch it when it gets back to it's truly interesting roots.
  • ...that FOX is letting this one go. The time-slot didn't help (Friday night is usually the go-out-and-party-night) so most folks (like me) would TiVo this or DVR it for later viewing (which doesn't count to the networks, I guess). More's the pity. This show is really picking up steam and the story lines are getting better and better, especially now that the Echo, Sierra and Victor characters are being fleshed out more and given extremely interesting back stories. Eliza Dushku is a find as the tough, enigmatic protagonist of this series and since FOX isn't going to allow this cool show to go past two seasons, I sincerely hope they have the common sense to keep her on the payroll for other projects. Her chemistry with both good-guy Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Pennikett) and with brilliantly insane psycho nut-job Alpha (Alan Tudyk) is palpable and riveting. The casting of Olivia Williams as the ice queen in charge of the Dollhouse is spot on while Harry Lennix and Fran Kranz (as cool head security dude Langton and as genius programmer nerd Brink, respectively) add another dimension to the whole show. I'll continue watching this unique and entertaining series until it finally bows out a short time from now and hope that some other network may step in at the last minute and save it though that seems unlikely (again, pity). This is just a cool, pseudo sci-fi type show that probably had the misfortune of a cruddy time slot because everything else (the acting, writing, casting) was brilliant. Too bad more people didn't watch it or give it a chance.
  • ...and that's saying a lot considering the usual angst-y, inexpensive-to-make-therefore-let's-clone-it-family-drama shows the network seems to keep adding on or re-newing. "V" was exciting right from the start and the second episode was a good follow-up to the premiere, fleshing out the main characters a bit more and what drives them. Elizabeth Mitchell is well cast as straight-shooter, no-BS FBI agent Erica and it's great to see her back on the tube after "Lost". Another great bit of casting is Joel Gretsch as Father Jack, a priest torn between doing what he thinks he's supposed to be doing and what he knows in his heart is actually the right thing to do. Gretsch was great as the power-hungry military man in the sci-fi mini "Taken" so seeing him here playing the clerical good guy with heart shows the man's got talent. Morena Baccarin and Scott Wolf are also excellently cast as Anna the high commander of the Visitors and as Chad, the button-pushing journalist. Though I enjoyed the original series as a kid, this one is a worthy update for the twenty-first century. Some stuff has changed (names of characters; how long they've actually been here before the arrival of the ships, etc.) but the premise is similar enough: aliens arrive on Earth...are they good or bad? It took courage for ABC to air a unique series like this (i.e. "sci-fi") when pretty much all of the other mainstream, non-cable networks are sticking with the usual safe stuff (family dramas, medical dramas, cop dramas, 30 minute sitcoms) so I hope they truly give it a chance to grow and catch on. It's that good.
  • As sitcoms go, this one is truly funny. I never had the chance to watch it when it was running on prime-time (unfortunately) but Lifetime is running it now and that's been awesome. Comedies about the workplace (in this case, a "CNN-like" news corporation) are usually funny because the writers don't have to stretch that far to get humorous story lines and bizarre characters. In the case of "Less Than Perfect", all of the characters are funny as hell, whether they're the "good guys" like Claude, the "villains" like Kipp, Lydia or Jeb, or the hilarious nut-jobs like Owen, Ramona and Carl. Good or villainous, you end up both liking and laughing at/with all of them. The casting is superb, particularly the comedically gifted Sara Rue,the wonderfully acerbic Zachary Levi, and the just plain funny Patrick Warburton. Andrea Parker is another surprise comedic talent as the viper-ish Lydia because she usually does serious drama roles so this shows her great range. The rest of the actors in this are so well cast in their roles it's hard to imagine anyone else playing those parts. I wish I'd seen this show when it was on in it's original time slot but I'll just have to settle for watching the re-runs of this excellent little comedy on cable. Too bad it only lasted 4 seasons.
  • I wasn't quite sure if this was just going to be another one of those idiotic nighttime soap operas that seem to clutter prime time but, as it turns out, this is a pretty good show (no small thanks to talented casting). Four female friends with diverse backgrounds get together and share the weekly goings-on of their love-lives. The hour long program follows each of them separately through their often screwed up quests to find love and it does it without being boring or trite. Sharon Small's "Trudi" is the homemaker one (allegedly widowed after September 11th) who gets a little preachy and annoying with her friends (who tend to be a little looser and more creative in their endeavors). It's great to see Small back on t.v., as she was great in the "Inspector Lynley Mysteries". The chick can act. Orla Brady's character (Siobhan, a lawyer) is perhaps the most damaged but still very sympathetic of the women, as she wrestles with her kind but self-absorbed husband Hari (Jaffrey, formerly of "Spooks") in his driven desire to have a child with her, regardless of her needs. The final two members of the cast are the effervescent Jess (Shellie Conn), an events planner who's a wild child who sleeps with anyone and everyone, gender not specific, and Katie, (Sarah Parrish) a somber doctor who's affair with a patient AND his son have sent her career and love life spiraling out of control. That being said, I'm hooked now and hope that the BBC continues cranking this series out because it's good, it's different and it's got a great cast.
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