Monday, December 31, 2012

Safety Not Guaranteed

It takes too long to realize it's a farce, and the main actress is just all wrong, but it becomes the right thing in the end.


I think the moral of this story is that everybody sucks. And everybody's more complicated than that.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Bored, boring, bored, bored, bored. Oh, and also, who cares?

Doctor Who: Season 19

That last episode seems to have been a very expensive advertisement for the Concorde.


This opened the middle of August? What, Focus Features couldn't compete for a Halloween opening?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Premium Rush

I'm sure they got the bike messenger culture correct, unfortunately otherwise it's standard fare.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

People Like Us

From the screenwriter of Cowboys & Aliens. I would like to see the process behind both films to see how this one succeeded and that one tanked.

A League of Their Own

(Rewatch.) Besides the no-crying-in-baseball quote, the "it's supposed to be hard" speech is something we often forget to attribute to Marshall/Hanks.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I really want to say that Andy Serkis is worth the 2.75 hour wait, but I just... can't.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Restless (mini-series)

Now why would the author, who wrote the screenplay, add something to the movie that makes his protagonist more, well, evil?

The Amazing Cynicalman

This is a hoot, especially if you've visited Hamtramck.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Doctor Who (new): Season 7, Part 1

More dinosaurs on a spaceship, please. Or, actually, more of that writer, please.

To Live

Not to be flippant, but this resonates as a Japanese "It's a Wonderful Life." (Original title: Ikiru)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

I was pretty sure that nothing could be catchier than I Like to Move It. Damn you, Chris Rock.


If A.O. Scott says this is one of the best films of 2011, will you see it? You really should.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Arthur Christmas

The Christmas spirit is alive and well at Sony/Aardman/Columbia.

Upstairs Downstairs (2010): Season 2

And the further trouble with this series is that they are simply jumping on the period-drama bandwagon without forethought.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Expendables 2

Those aren't movie homages, those are tired old cliches. (Plus, Rotten Tomatoes? You sucked on this recommendation.)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Men in Black 3

You know I love any movie with a rocket launch.


Never. Never is there a sci-fi film where the scientists simply make mistakes, instead of being utter idiots (and not scientists at all).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012


Fortunately, there is the Broccoli franchise that understands its viewers and precisely what they want.

The Amazing Spider-Man

Is not amazing in any possible way. If it weren't for Joss Whedon, I would be despondent over the state of the comic book action film.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

30 Rock: Season 6

What a far better live version than the previous one! Are they sure they don't want to keep going as they're getting better?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mad Men: Season 5

The more I watch this series, the angrier I get that Don's feet are solidly planted in the past.

Doctor Who: Season 16

I almost missed that The Pirate Planet was penned by Douglas Adams. Not surprisingly, best episode so far.

The Legend of Boggy Creek

Scared the bejeezus out of a friend of mine when he was 7. Sadly, not as scary when viewed after 40.

The Battle of Algiers

If for no other reason, watch this for Morricone's musical realization of the word "anxiety". (Original title: La Battaglia di Algeri)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Being Human (UK series): Season 3

Gah! Same problem as Misfits-- they're getting rid of my favorite actors. How can I bear to watch the next season?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Being Human (UK series): Season 2

OK, I get it. The season finales are over the top, but the remaining episodes are more poignant than most everything on TV.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Is there such a genre as mock docudrama? Because I think Linklater has a lock on it here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Leave it to the Norwegians to fashion an emotionally moving thriller. (Original title: Hodejegerne)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

30 Rock: Season 5

The actress who plays Jenna may drive me nuts, but her side projects are side-splitting.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Statham movies are enjoyable precisely because they don't pretend to be something they are not.


Whoops... plot hole. When does Willis get in the time machine the second time?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Lorax

It's probably true that a kid's film doesn't need to state the reason behind its moral to sell its message.

Certified Copy

Sometimes walking and talking is intriguing, mysterious and entrancing. (Original title: Copie Conforme)

The Secret World of Arrietty

What is wrong with animation studios? It all started going downhill since Princess Mononoke and The Incredibles. If we've hit rock-bottom, can we start trending up again? (Original title: Kari-gurashi no Arietti)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Walking Dead: Season 2

This is a soap, wrapped in a Christian morality play, sandwiched between gore and guts.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

Doctor Who: Season 15

Yes, that solves that mystery. Everything about the Baker episodes is reflected in the Tennant episodes, including the bizarre plot twists.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 6

Time to give this series a bump in my ratings. Aside from SGU, there's never been a better, more cerebral sci-fi series.

The Dark Knight Rises

I want, want, want the retractable cat ears slash driving goggles. (And Hathaway? She's the best thing about this flick.)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Persuasion (2007)

The scene in the shop 20 minutes from the end... That's why you watch Austen. (Only not this one: it pales in comparison to the Hinds-Root version.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Raid: Redemption

At its core, this is just a jumped-up 80s Hong Kong action flick. (Original title: Serbuan Maut)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Northanger Abbey (2007)

Wait. So, it's okay in Northanger Abbey for Isabella to very clearly have premarital sex with almost no consequences, but in Pride & Prejudice it causes everyone's downfall. Austen definitely didn't finish this story.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Guy Pearce is a perfect action and/or sci-fi star. How about someone give him a worthy vehicle?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sense & Sensibility (2008)

Both Hattie Morahan and the cottage setting (a real cottage this time, not a dumbed down manor house) make this a marvelous adaptation.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Get Low

I loved Bill Cobbs in That Thing You Do in 1996, I love him even more here 13 years later. (And everyone else in this sweet film.)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Doctor Who: Season 14

Anyone else find the Robots of Death episode so very like the later Oud episodes? And hey, what about the end of The Face of Evil-- Life, the Universe and Everything, no?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Misfits: Season 3

How is Nathan Stewart-Jarrett going to feel as the "old" misfit in the next season? (I'd have moved on.)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Upstairs Downstairs (2010): Season 1

The trouble with following up a beloved television series is that there is little chance you will be equal (or better) to the task.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Warehouse 13: Season 2

This show would be stellar if only there was better chemistry between those leads. Separately they're pretty great.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Warehouse 13: Season 1

Not at all surprised that Allison Scagliotti graduated to permanent cast member in Season 2. Maybe because of stuff like this: "I'll give it an 8.5, but next time you gotta stick the landing."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Woman in Black

There is zero subtlety to this horror flick. No wonder Radcliffe has so little to work with.

Friday, July 13, 2012


A Girl with a Pearl Earring was to Vermeer painted on the screen as Shi is to all forms of poetry, spoken and unspoken, and as layered as you want to dig. (Original title: Shi)

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Yes, the subject matter is horrifying. Yes, the film could be a lot less teachy and preachy and obvious.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Wet t-shirts, jitterbugging, flower eating. One of the stranger, more serious (yea, actually) Bollywood movies ever.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Lost Prince

I'm finding it pretty hard to believe this has won numerous awards. Sleep-inducing, that's what I found it.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cranford: Season 1 & Special

Those final two (special) episodes were some of the noodliest plot-finagling I've ever seen. But, the original 5 episodes rank right up there with the best of British romantic drama.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chuck: Season 5

Just when I get severely disappointed with this show, it pulls out a series ending like that one.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bill Cunningham New York

Verve, charisma, adorability, history, and above all, fashion. What more could you want from a New Yawk documentary?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tess of the D'Urbervilles

More tramping through wet fields than necessary, but a serviceable portrayal of a deeply disturbing novel.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

30 Minutes or Less

I liked the Datsun joke until I saw the Datsun. (A 280Z is spanky. We had a clunky little 510.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Slums of Beverly Hills

It was worth it just to see a menstrual belt again. (Man, that hearkens back.)


It's good to know there are some truly kind people in this world.


I can't believe British parents are really that stolid. That's part of the joke, right?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 2012


And that, boys and girls, is why superheroes like to live in anonymity.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Grey

Just in case I'm ever stuck in Alaska, I hope that this movie had some real science behind it.

The Whistleblower

I wasn't able to watch this with subtitles, and it really made no difference whatsoever.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Guard

Och, who cares how predictable it is. It's the Irish Fargo.

The Rum Diary

Ribisi does what no other actor does: create brilliantly insane characters that are only that way because he's acting his ass off.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Muppets

While it's a clever attempt to cash in on all the nostalgia films, it's sweet enough not to matter.


Is it the illicit nature of what we watch that we enjoy (vicarious) or is it stars being predictably entertaining that we enjoy (routine)?

Mr. Brooks

Really? A serial killer randomly meeting another serial killer?

Edge of Darkness

Mr. Gibson, who cannot be discounted due to his action chops, is not well serviced by the script here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Our Idiot Brother

It's a cross between "Liar, Liar" and "Yes Man", minus a Carrey and plus a Rudd.


Would people in dire situations like this truly make as many stupid choices as they did?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Doctor Who: Season 13

With Baker's arrival, I've nearly reached the point where I don't have to be doing my stitchery while I'm "watching."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sherlock: Series 2

That second episode is always a dog. Literally, in this case.

Modern Family: Season 3

The new Lily is about 5000 times better, Vergara just keeps growing on me, and is it just me or is Bowen's hyper-kineticism too much to bear at times?

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 5

Sure sounds stupid when you say it out loud, but yea, Patrick Stewart is truly an excellent actor.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Kingdom

From the beginning to the very end, the most obvious of storytelling devices to evoke sympathy for both sides.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

From Paris with Love

No, no, Luc Besson movies only work when Besson himself is writing and directing. Otherwise? Cheap knock-offs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Conspirator

This film is precisely what it looks like on the surface: betrayal, redemption, pedantism.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The White Ribbon

Yes, this film is about all forms of terrorism, but I'd rather say it's about bad dads. (Original title: Das Weiße Band: Eine Deutsche Kindergeschichte)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Avengers

So much I could say, but I'll say this instead. I'd love to have Hiddleston's hair.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Puss in Boots

I wonder if Banderas pushed at all to subtitle the entire film in Spanish.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Misfits: Season 2

So much to recommend in this show: the opening song, Socha's accent, the fabulous morph ability of Rheon, jeepers, just watch it, okay?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Boxing Girls of Kabul

For once, a doc that is too short! You get the flavor of the myriad problems facing these girls, but you want more of an outcome.


Big ol' warning: some graphically shocking material is in this doc about a war photographer.


I feel for our director here. What was he supposed to do when the film turned back on himself, other than insert himself in the doc?

Despite the Gods

It's a rare doc that starts out with me not caring about the protagonist (Jennifer Lynch of Boxing Helena fame) and ends with me adding her to my have-dinner-with fantasy list.

Friday, May 4, 2012

J. Edgar

DiCaprio successfully inhabits the role, but the entire film feels like name dropping and little else.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Misfits: Season 1

What category to place this in? I know: it's dramatic comedic horror with filthy language.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Dangerous Method

What is this, really? A repudiation of psychoanalysis or a more subtle mirror to its art?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Doctor Who: Season 12

Tom Baker has not hit his stride yet in this, his first season, but he's by far funnier than the prior Doctors.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Five-Year Engagement

In the Apatow sub-genre, this one lands towards the bottom: some brilliant scenes, some abysmal (or just boring) ones.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Numb3rs: Season 5

The math remains the only decent thing about this show, but that alone makes it like crack to watch.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

I wouldn't say you don't see it coming, but at least you get a bellyful of laughs along the way.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


There's something even more engaging about Gosling's stillness on screen than, say, Pacino's or De Niro's.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Meek's Cutoff

A triumph of sound engineering: details a woman's life in old America, putting the listener in her shoes while the men discuss everything important.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

THX 1138

The only time I'm going to agree with Lucas re-technologizing his past film: result is a far more evil dystopian future.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Star Trek: Insurrection

Blech. Explain again why the entire UNIVERSE isn't going to want what the Ba'ku have?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Names of Love

A film that proves we truly are in the enlightened 21st century. (And it's thought-provoking and hysterical to boot.) (Original title: Le Nom des Gens)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Answer This!

Feels vaguely peeping-tom-like to watch this flick. (Plus, it fails pretty badly in the plotting department.)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Take Shelter

Emphatically not the film to watch after a tornado destroys homes 15 miles from your own house.

30 Rock: Season 2

This season highlights even more the versatility of one Mr. Alec Baldwin.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Young Adult

That's a pretty hefty left turn at the end: in keeping with the theme, but a poor final message.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tower Heist

That's not bad. That's just a modernized Preston Sturges comedy.

Numb3rs: Season 4

Pretty much par for the course, wobbling between excellent and sufficient. I really liked the episode about Comic-Con, not surprisingly.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Here's a film that needs a director's cut: what did he have in mind as the alternate ending?

John Carter

So, this is cheese that knows it's cheese, so instead of real cheese you get childlike delight.

Friday, March 16, 2012


For a film that has surprises at every turn, it's surprising that it never heralds those.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Not the first Bollywood film I've seen that messes with stereotypes to build humor. Definitely the most fun of them all, though.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

13 Tzameti

Be forewarned: the second half of this is way darker than the first half.

Like Crazy

It's clear we have another sub-genre: copycat, sub-standard "(500) Days of Summer" flicks.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Big Bang Theory: Season 4

Looks like they're changing up the formula, but that doesn't mean it isn't still hysterical.

Monday, February 27, 2012

MI-5: Season 10

Thanks for tearing my heart out, you rotten TV show. (You're awesome.) (Original title: Spooks)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chuck: Season 4

I have a special relationship with this series. I just want to pinch its little cheeks and say "you are the cutest thing!"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Debt

A much more satisfying ending than I expected from tried-n-true Holocaust thriller territory.

The Big Bang Theory: Season 3

I believe this season contains the best episode so far: "The Gorilla Experiment" (Sheldon teaching Penny physics).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 4

Holy moley. I feel for those who had to endure the last 10 seconds of this season and then WAIT for the next one.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cowboys & Aliens

Not that it excuses the piss-poor writing or directing, but I get what Favreau was doing here in hearkening back to the age of the stately Western.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I'm stocking up on fresh water tomorrow.

The Artist

I got four words for you: "I can't stan 'im!"

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

I'm not with the other critics. I think this outing was more fun and funny than the previous one.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Fincher at his best. (Plus, every girl's revenge fantasy. Well, hopefully not every girl.)

War Horse

While it's definitely about the horse, it's more of an oblique way to talk about war and its effect on humankind.


OH behind me in theater as credits were rolling: "Oh, Méliès was a real guy!" Sigh.

The Adventures of Tintin

The first, and best, of Hergé on screen: an adaptation worthy of his work.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Slings and Arrows: Season 3

That was an uncomfortable season. Cancelation has to be every actor's biggest nightmare.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut

Heartwarming for any true geek. But! So many Toy Story references and not one Doctor Who?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 3

You know you're in the future because Dr. Crusher never has to get her hands actually physically dirty.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Ides of March

Not a Sorkin picture; he never wrote anything so idealistic and by-the-numbers. (Clooney, stick to directing. And acting.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 2

Shoot. I thought we were finally getting to the good stuff with "Pen Pals" and then it sinks back into trite again.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 2

This series does what Fawlty Towers did for me: makes me twitch all over.

Slings and Arrows: Season 2

Oh, I get it now. This series is about how to enact good Shakespeare. And it requires absolutely stellar actors who can play it both ways.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Their use of animal behaviorists is commendable. Their completely predictable plot is shame-worthy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dexter: Season 5

Absolutely satisfying season. I can't believe a series about a serial killer is one of the best shows I watch.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

I have a weird brain. The plot was close to impenetrable, but the filmic elements? I got every one.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Look, I never saw the original, so don't know how it compares. This one has (slow, scary, creepy) atmosphere a plenty.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Crawling up the tallest building in the world does in fact look terrifying (CGI notwithstanding).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Numb3rs: Season 3

I like this show (especially that last doozy of an episode). I don't like that it would barely be possible without the Patriot Act.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

Inscrutable? Yes, the script is. No, the action and the acting aren't. (Original title: Di Renjie)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Doctor Who: Season 10

Finally! At the very end of Season 10, after 69 serials, a real story without plastic monsters (well, ok, plastic maggots). Plus, it's funny and poignant and has a moral ending.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Fright Night

Colin Farrell was definitely born to play a vampire.

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

This is The Indian Hangover, down to the stunningly handsome leading man. (What are they, twins?)


Despite this rather romantic view of the great Khan, I'd rather not forget that he slaughtered millions and millions of people.