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Absolutely ridiculous--One of the worst movies this year
I didn't buy it for a second. Shannon's character is so obviously over-the-top, bug-eyed crazy, that there's no way anyone is going to fall under his sway, even Ashley Judd's beaten-down, exhausted character. The extended sequence where Judd shows she's just as crazy and comes up with an explanation for her son's disappearance many years before was pretty much the moment where I was primed to turn off this ridiculous movie.
Unfortunately, I stuck it out to the end. Not scary in the least, this movie really needed something more to make me buy into its central conceit. Maybe if they'd included plot elements to suggest that maybe Mr. Psycho-Delusional wasn't so crazy after all? I can't imagine how this would work as a play; it fails miserably as a film.
28 Weeks Later (2007)
Not as good as the original, but not as bad as some of these posts would have you believe.
I love movies like this--downbeat, end-of-the-world, apocalyptic, hopeless films. And _28 Weeks Later_ is pessimistic in spades. It is also one of the bloodiest films I've seen in some time. Sure, it's hard to follow up a blazingly original movie with an effective sequel (_Aliens_ is one of the few successes), but this movie is a lot better than the haters would have you believe. I've read reviews that take the film to task for its alleged plot holes. For example, the ease with which the two kids escape the quarantine zone and head for home. Does no one recall the American sniper who sees them leave, reports it in, and the helicopter and bio-suited soldiers waiting for them when they step out of their house? Or the lax security measures surrounding the mother, a carrier of the disease but not affected by it? The American head of medical quarantine has only just confirmed that the woman is indeed infected, causing the general in charge to set off for the woman's room with the intention of killing her. All of this is happening at the same time that Robert Carlyle, the guilty father/husband is sneaking in to see his wife. Granted, he probably shouldn't have an all-access pass that allows him in, but the point is, they haven't at this point confirmed that she's infected yet. So the lack of security measures is not necessarily a fault. Once the infection takes hold and begins to spread, the movie becomes a roller-coaster ride that never lets up. My only gripe was when the helicopter starts shooting at the car as it drives down London streets--if a car is moving, that means someone is alive in there and that someone is normal and uninfected. So why shoot? The "shoot everything" directive makes sense at first in the big crowd, where the soldiers can't tell who is and is not infected. But after that, it doesn't make a lot of sense (which also leads to the completely unnecessary death by fire of Jeremey Renner's character). As with the first movie, I loved the scenes of a silent, empty London. Do you have any idea how difficult it was to shoot those? London is one of the world's busiest and most populous metropolises, so it's amazing to have those shots of silent, empty streets. I liked the ending, too. Hopefully, there will be a third movie in this series that will extend the story. Now that the infection has escaped the relative isolation of the UK, the potential for true terror has just been realized.
Torchwood: Out of Time (2006)
Another Outstanding Episode
I'd agree--this was one of the best episodes yet, and Torchwood has set the bar pretty high so far for writing and acting. Torchwood has struck me as a kind of British X-Files, but no American series would address the "out of time" storyline in such an unflinching and adult way as this episode does. Seeing bare buttocks shouldn't surprise me--this IS a British show after all--but I have to admit being surprised at the casual way the "F-word" is bandied about (here, and in other episodes). A very moving treatment of how 3 people who fly through a temporal displacement and land in 2006/7 Cardiff after taking off in the early 1950s might react to coming unstuck in time. I am having a bit of a hard time buying Burn Gorman as a romantic lead, but his love affair with the pilot was quite moving. The best story has to be the old man, who tracks down his son, now an old man himself and afflicted with Alzheimer's. How that story resolves itself is amazingly brave and matter-of-fact. Torchwood has had a pretty impressive first series. Here's hoping the high standard continues in subsequent ones.
Torchwood: Countrycide (2006)
Quite a change from the early going, but pretty powerful stuff
I don't know what's more horrifying--the story's premise of cannibals in the countryside, or the thought of Gwen throwing caution to the wind with Owen at episode's end. I enjoyed the opening episodes of Torchwood, but this one is at a whole other level. Don't know what the reaction to this was in England (I can only imagine), but it's as good as anything The X-Files ever gave us and pretty darn scary for an hour of television. Torchwood is a great show and a welcome spin-off from the recent updating of Dr. Who. This is the adult-themed show that science fiction fans have been waiting for since we lost Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.
Friday Night Lights (2006)
Best treatment of high school since Freaks and Geeks
Friday Night Lights is an excellent show and very realistic in its portrayal of those awkward high school years. Kyle Chandler does a great job as the coach and is very different here than in his role in Early Edition. He's got the speech and the mannerisms down to be completely believable as the man in charge of this high-powered high school football team. I can't imagine anyone in their right mind who would actually want the job, with townspeople constantly second-guessing every decision he makes, and even confronting and bad-mouthing him (and his daughter) in public. I like the story lines that have the golden boy quarterback sidelined with a paralyzing injury and the untested sophomore Matt Saracen coming in to replace him. Saracen and his buddies are the easiest characters to identify with so far and it's nice to see Matt stand up for one of his friends who is beaten by a teammate, even though it might hurt the team. Also, the "Voodoo" Tatum storyline has been well-handled, too. The actors are all appealing and the young women who play Lyla and Tyra are amazingly beautiful. Man, I hope this show has a chance, though it sounds like it might not make it a full season.
Masters of Horror: Sick Girl (2006)
Easily the Worst Episode of the First Series
Lucky McKee's "Sick Girl" is just plain awful. Amateurish acting, lame, almost nonexistent production values, and a constantly shifting tone (this might have been better played straight rather than as campy humor) add up to a big disappointment. Angela Bettis was great in McKee's debut feature _May_, which I liked quite a bit, but here she's just terrible, with a weird, Mae-West-Come-up-and-see-me-sometime accent that comes and goes. And her insect-loving scientist isn't very credible, either. Misty Mundae has never been known for great acting and she doesn't rise above the cheap production here, either. She's game for a bit of nudity in this lesbian-themed story, but otherwise I'm not sure why she's even involved. The lame creature effects and minimal gore don't help, either. This was a big, big disappointment in a series that hasn't really been that great. I had much higher hopes for Masters of Horror.
Lucky Louie (2006)
The worst show HBO has aired since _Mind of the Married Man_
Basically a foul-mouthed version of _Married, With Children_, this is painfully bad. Not funny at all. The situations are unrealistic, the acting is amateurish, and the plot...well, I struggled to get through the premiere and gladly gave up on the show after that. Who is this Louis CK anyway?
What are you thinking, HBO? I'll give you points for taking chances on things like _The Comeback_ and _Carnivale_, but this one is just too far out there. I don't know if this can be saved, but I wouldn't waste my time with it. It's certainly no _Entourage_ or _Curb Your Enthusiasm_.
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Not Bad, But Little More Than An Extended Episode Of Alias
From the patented opening scene that drops us in the middle of the action, then goes back in time and leads us in, this really isn't much more than an extended version of a typical episode of _Alias_. Except this time, Abrams and his crew can actually afford to go to the exotic places where the story is set, rather than trying to find stand-ins in LA and its environs. That said, this really wasn't a bad movie. It was enjoyable from start to finish, but not something you'll spend much time thinking about after it's over. I'm really surprised that none of the MI movies has really been a rousing action picture so far, so saying that this is the best of the three isn't saying that much, unfortunately. Still, as action pics go, you could do much worse and the film has really done a good job of kicking off the summer 2006 film season, which largely seems to be what it was designed to do.
Excellent show--too bad it isn't more visible
I stumbled on Epitafios while browsing through my On Demand service, looking for an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Am I glad I took a chance with this intricate, twisty series. Sometimes it goes a bit too far--our serial killer has escaped one too many times to be entirely believable--but I love the characters and their interactions and the fact that no one is safe. The show shouldn't be buried on HBO-Latino. This is a show that deserves to run alongside Rome and Deadwood and other higher-profile, regular HBO series. If you haven't watched this and think that a Spanish-language series with subtitles isn't your thing, just give the first episode or two a try. I bet you'll be hooked.
Disappointing, but how could it be otherwise?
I mean, these books are so crammed full of character and incident, how can they possibly be adapted to a two or two and a half hour film? I think the screenwriters did a better job with the last film--I never felt lost or saw gaping plot holes. This time, there's so much stuff that needs to be introduced and new characters to take the stage, that it just feels rushed and incomplete somehow. The whole first hour or so is primarily exposition and is so sketchy that those who aren't intimately familiar with the books might be lost. The movie takes too long to get going and when it finally does warm up and get exciting, blink, and it's over. I'm not one of those purists that thinks every little incident and character mentioned in the books has to be translated to the screen, but I think they might have tried to do too much this time out. We've got a very busy movie that doesn't really have a strong narrative arc leading through it. Again, I much preferred Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to this muddled mess, though it does have its strengths, notably Brendan Gleeson as Mad-Eye Moody and Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort. Next time out, they're going to really have to work harder on a screenplay that streamlines and clarifies the story, or else they're going to have to go the other direction and give us a three-hour movie.