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day permlink Tuesday, 5 December 2006

permlink Recent Entertainments


  • Casino Royale - four stars (of 5). I've skipped the last two Bond movies because Bonds in general are so predictable; the reviews made me take notice of this one, and seeing it actually made me look forward to the next one.

  • Madagascar - three stars. Several funny bits, enough to ignore a lot of the plot holes. I particularly liked the penguin conspirators, most of all the leader. (I went around exclaiming "Hoover Dam!" and "Grand Coulee Dam!" for a couple of days afterwards.)

  • Happy Feet - two stars. Medley expounds, and I will add, biiii-zarre. Not entertaining at all for most of the film; unlike what some reviewers said, the big departure in the last 15 minutes actually improved it for me.

    • The weird choices they made with music and rhythms that penguins know right out of the shell were incredibly jarring and completely interfered with the whole suspension of disbelief thing. (Starting it off with a penguin singing about how to turn her on was a very weird choice that it took a long time to recover from.) The songs they picked were only barely relevant to the story, like they were forced in with a sledgehammer.

    • It's rated PG for, I quote, "Some Mild Peril And Rude Humor." Mild peril? The lead penguin should have been dead about 5 times with all the peril they threw at him. What does it take to get called "Serious Peril" -- sidekick decapitations?

    • (If the movie is supposed to be all 'liberally correct', what's with depicting Hispanic penguins as an entirely different species, basically there as sidekicks for the Default Penguins? ... Struck me as odd, anyway.)

    • Some reviewers called it anti-religion, pro-atheism. It struck me as much more anti-charlatan, pro-curiosity & -investigation. If you equate that with being anti-religion, I think you're the one with the low opinion of religion.

  • Shark Tale - two stars. A couple of funny bits but mostly a very lame story with big, big plot holes.

  • Miss Congeniality - two & a half stars. Eh, it passed the time. Michael Caine was funny.

TV I'm watching this season:

  • Scrubs - fascinating mix of seriousness and far-out goofiness. They pack a lot into ~22 minutes/episode.

  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - Frustrating. But often entertaining. But frustrating. One part over-written smug preachiness and tiresome clumps of 'As you know, Bob' exposition; one part simplistic split-the-middle political centrism; two parts actually well-written, well-acted drama; one part completely uninteresting romantic plot. [Dear Aaron Sorkin and the writers of the teasers at the end of the show, nobody cares whether 'Matt' and 'Harriet' get back together. The question is not interesting; they do not seem made for each other; we would rather see them move on. End fan complaint.]

  • Iron Chef America with Alton Brown - they've settled into a great rhythm now, each episode is a real hoot. Battle Garbanzo Bean was really something else.

permlink   Movies   6 comment(s)  
Another show you might want to sample is the new Battlestar Galactica. The miniseries was kinda lame, but the first episode "33" was amazing. The show is gritty, as realistic as sci-fi gets, and very character driven, with everyone being flawed. The beauty is in how those flaws work (or don't work) with others. There are entire episodes that blow B5 out of the water (and I say this as a die-hard B5 fan). If you lived nearby, I'd loan my first season to you, just to get you hooked. I *HIGHLY* recommend you give it a chance.
      ...posted by Leper Messiah on December 5, 2006 2:03 AM
Yeah, I've heard great things about BG. It's one of those cases where I know it's going to suck up a lot of my time when I do get into it (over 30 hours of TV-watching!), so I'm reluctant to get started.

Luckily it's on DVD, so someday it'll be easy to catch up.
      ...posted by Steve B. on December 5, 2006 9:29 AM
Another vote for BG. Definitely the best show on TV. I have to take exception to your Studio 60 comment though. I care whether they get back together, or at least I enjoy that story line. Other favorites for me this year are (in no particular order Scrubs, Doctor Who, The Office, and Smallville.
      ...posted by Scott L. on December 7, 2006 2:11 PM
So am I the only grown-up who watched Veronica Mars?
      ...posted by Liz on December 8, 2006 2:38 PM
That should be "watches." Why do I never take advantage of the PREVIEW button on blog comments??
      ...posted by Liz on December 8, 2006 2:45 PM
Liz: Veronica Mars is another one of those good shows I haven't tried. I believe it's good, though! Another one I sometimes think about checking out someday is Gilmore Girls.

Scott: Seriously? Matt+Harriet sets off all my manipulation bells -- SEE political opposites attract! MARVEL at the power of LOVE [or ATTRACTION] to overcome massive differences in PHILOSOPHY and MORALITY! -- and I just can't buy into it. Harriet's not an appealing (or funny) character to me, maybe that's really the problem. It's not on the level of Jeremy & Natalie or Dana & Casey on Sports Night for me, for sure.

By the way, I forgot to mention in the main post Boston Legal, which with Shatner and Bergen and Spader is reliably-entertaining craziness every week. And David Kelley can still write.
      ...posted by Steve B. on December 8, 2006 8:45 PM
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