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Thoughtful real sci-fi
it was such a treat to go to a sci-fi and it wasn't just an action movie or a horror movie.
This film had some mis-steps, and it chickened out in the last few months and went for thrills and sequel potential, but most of the film explored some tense psychological drama conjured from speculative science--what sci-fi is at its best.
I don't want to say much about it, i find most people give away too much. this film takes turns in its events and the characters responses that are best viewed without a heads up.
the whole thing has impressive acting, impressive production values, and sheer genius in creature design. I can utterly forgive the b-movie ending to an otherwise engaging film.
The Secret of Kells (2009)
Sublime. A Rare Gem and Utter Masterpiece
It's a shame there were not more opportunities for people to see this on the big screen. It is stunningly beautiful. There is incredible detail in the artwork, all of it an homage to illumination.
The reviews I read said the film was a spectacle and impressive for its art and topic, but that it was dry and slow. This simply isn't true. there is a rich and innocent humour in the film, and it is an exciting story.
The story itself is quite sophisticated. On the one hand, it depicts medieval Christian scholar-heroes courageously dedicated to preserving knowledge, creating books, and demonstrating reverence for words through painstaking arts, and on the other there is a magical childhood world of fairy folk and demons who are part of a hero quest that is mythical and dreamy. Both the Christian world and the pagan world are fraught with danger and violence.
The imagery, themes and music of this film create a work that is sublime, Yet the warmth of the characters and the spirited adventure ensures that the audience does not feel remote from the experience. This film ranks as an instant classic and a superb achievement in the medium of animation. having now seen all the animated films nominated at the Oscars, this one should have won.
See it any way you can, and don't miss a chance to see it on the big screen if the opportunity arises.
your face hurts from laughter
usually, in this kind of "duck out of water" comedy, you would see a comedian. well, i guess you do, with Danny DeVito, who is always great. But I submit, that Arnold Schwarzenegger has been miscast in action films due to his handicap as a bodybuilder. he has always been funny in his light roles, but Twins is the Oscar of his comedy.
Schwarzenegger does wide-eyed innocence so well, which is acting, if you know how canny he is. the story is a perfect hijinx caper countering his "superhuman abilities" with DeVito's shenanigans/
its a Reitman film, so there are warm-hearted moments, but i just could not stop laughing the whole way through. The comedy was perfect. and i normally hate comedy.
give this one a go, even if you feel skeptical.
Human Target (2010)
action, heart and sentimental
this show is a distilled Indiana Jones kind of adventure, except where indie has a dark past. I've been watching all season, and from the first, it was fun and easy to watch--light fluff that does the trick when you need down time. But as the season progressed and you got a better feel for the characters, you got drawn into the old school adventure romance of it--transient heroes for those in need. redemption of the irredeemable. the scalawags you root for. there is a very archetypal sense to our cavalier protagonists, and it hearkens back to the kind of heroes i remember growing up, who were themselves retrofits of 30's heroes. I think this was very intended, even down to the motifs in the scoring. It's interesting to reject the modern sense of antihero, by mythologizing people who should be antiheroes but are not--its a classic idea that never gets tired--the noble person born out of sin. or maybe its just manipulative pablum. hey, if you're gonna watch television. . .
The finale paid off too, I really hope this series gets renewed.
The Princess and the Frog (2009)
I'm not a Disney fan, and went to this because I couldn't talk my daughter into anything else. I was surprised to find an enchanting, classical animated film that reminded me more of the kind of films Disney made 40+ years ago, than the hip, self-referential, glossy fare of today. I was also happy to see it had a dark side, and offered real drama and fear for the children, and that it offered a strong smart heroine for my daughter to see. The dixieland jazz was a treat too.
I haven't a single critical thing to say about this movie. the art and colour were great, the songs were fun and engaging, the drama was real, the humour was good natured, and the themes resonated.
To use an overused phrase, it's a classic.
Trailer Park Boys (2001)
can anyone be an imbecil and genius at the same time???
awwww crap, this show should be drek. i am trying to hate it. doesn't work.
takes place in nova scotia? could be rural ontario.
i've trotted the globe and picked up several educations doing it, but no amount of degrees or cosmopolitanism cures one of ones trailer trash roots.
i rarely laugh out loud during the show, and sometimes i cringe, but it is all so familiar, too familiar.
i can't say why, but i am a TPB convert! watch it at your own risk! . . .ok, i never allow balogna in the house anymore
True Blood (2008)
I cannot give accolades enough for this show on cinematography, subtle effects(i.e. not the vampire effects), pacing, style and tone.
truth is, the only reason i wanted to write this review is to contrast the TV show with the novels.
the novels, diverge early on from what "we" know from the HBO series. there are many of the same characters, although re-written, and some similarity in plot, though the book plots are only starting points for the show.
i;ve read five of the books. they show great ingenuity for the diversity of possibilities in a storyline about a world where much folklore is true.
thats the end of the comparison. the author, who i have unfortunately seen photographed has channeled her fantasies into a pubescent idea of a nubile young woman, who all seductive and powerful beings are enthralled to. and it is disgusting in the most extreme. she sets up interesting situations, ideas, and then forgoes then in order to have her heroine swoon and be taken by vampires, werewolves, immortals, god like folk, and her character is never really enlightened by these worlds she has been invited into, instead, like some fourteen year old girl, she simply frets over who she is most interested in, and whose sexuality she shall resist. and it is tedious in the extreme.
that the producers, writers, and cinematographers have taken this tripe and turned it into an intense drama about mythical forces while maintaining the weakest link, i.e. the wanton waitress, is nothing short of amazing.
where every story in the books became weak and subordinate to the goth porn of fatso, the HBO writers have been visionary in transforming it into a mythos, gripped with magick and romance simultaneously. but not once have they let teenage fantasies(made gross when they come from adults) substitute convoluted storytelling, invigorated with mythos.
this TV show is up there with battlestar galactica and dexter for being one of the most interesting subversive shows to air.
please check it out
Defying Gravity (2009)
a poignant and moving drama
I am so weary of arguments about whether this show is sci-fi or not, and how it is an awful show because the story focuses on the people.
all stories are about people! and for the record, most sci-fi is pretty stinky on the science side--at least in this age of internet, the scripts keep trying to placate all the whiny nerds, up to the minute with the apparent travesty that there is something wonky about gravity on the show (unrealistic gravity in a sci-fi, heavens to betsy!) the visuals are breath-taking in this show, and the mood struck is intense. the characters are real developing people with stories. and yes on top of all that, its a space story.
don't be fooled by the noise, this show is well worth tuning into
both thought provoking and tense
i saw this when it came out, with a friend who was enamoured with the novel, which i to this date have not read. we walked out of the theatre disappointed--him far more so.
I just re watched it and my guess is my reaction must have been influenced by his reaction, and the fact that i rarely watched film back then, so my sensibilities were used to the written word.
the characters are developed(rare in big budget sci-fi), and portrayed with nuance by the fantastic cast. i find, that the audience is intended to stay ahead of the characters in understanding what is going on, yet you stayed with them in their confusion, tension and fear.
in this second viewing, i really appreciate that the "alien", if that is what it was, is never explained, and remains far too alien for us to comprehend as far as motives go. we only ever know our responses to it. one could imagine a far different contact if we were different.
this movie has action and suspense for the popcorn crowd, great portrayals by the cast and a superb story.
i don't know how it measures up to the book, as i didn't read it. but measured simply as a stand alone film, i was really taken in and moved, and magicked in that way that movies some times take us, like when we were children.
I didn't see this show on its first run, although i remember friends telling me to watch it. i came later, tracing Simon Pegg's career.
i dragged my feet thru the first season, and dint really fall into it til the second. but it is great fun, with so many sly nods and arched eyebrows, parodying so many things. i watch an episode, and laugh at the "in-joke" then look it up, and find there are half a dozen more in-jokes that i missed because i wasn't in on the pop-reference.
lastly, this show draws me back, episode after episode because of Jessica Bynes. i kind of just fell in love with her, and had to keep watching.
anyway, catch this show if you can, its a good laugh riot!
Rescue Me (2004)
was waiting for this moment
i've watched this show from its inception, and enjoyed it. my joy has waned over the seasons, since the characters often sleepwalk through their roles.
BUT, I have loved the interplay of humour with seriousness. this show has showcased mens feelings and issues, while at the same time, keeping a cavalier attitude, which is of course necessary to keep the audience.
i only wrote this comment to give a big hurrah to episode 16 of season 5. Tommy's family attempts an intervention, at the fireman's bar, and after Tommy's diatribe, they all have a drink.
a great episode of a great series cheers!
Warehouse 13 (2009)
i almost didn't try this out, because of negative comments
Is there a little of many other films and TV shows in this? yes. does it feel tired and derivative? NO.
If you like any of the films and TV shows that this might be compared to, chances are you will feel like giving this one a chance. It actually felt fresh and delightful to me, yet with a bit of drama. i felt enchanted and childlike, hearkening me back to raiders, or tales of the golden monkey and i DID NOT get a sense of x-files or Friday the 13th(tv show).
its too early to really pronounce judgment, but I escaped my world for an hour and a half, and enjoyed this foray, and look forward to the next episode. give it a chance and ignore all the bitter critical people. if you enjoy watching magic shadows.
The Thing (1982)
no matter how many viewings, i am always on the edge with this
i was 10 when this film came out, 11 when i lucked into seeing it while being dropped off in a screening room at a sci-fi convention. my eyes were wide opened to terrifying films that i was far too young to see, and i am always grateful for the experience.
To this day, the cold, the isolation, the pulsing soundtrack, the claustrophobia always feel to me to be perfect.
if someone doesn't love this film, i always wish i could lend my eyes, to see like i did.
all of the acting is great, Stan Winston delivers a coup with his effects, and carpenter, is at the very top of his game.
i don't want to discuss anything in detail, as i think the audience should always watch it quietly in a dark room, knowing nothing. i have watched it countless times, and it never fails to draw me in with dread and intensity.
i've been an acolyte in showing this movie to people, and i hope my comment encourages someone to watch it. it is magical and awesome, in the absolute horrifying sense of the word, and an essential viewing.