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Law & Order: Missing (2002)
My response to earlier review -- CONTAINS SPOILERS
I just watched this episode yesterday, and here's what I think: I think the defendant did say "take care of it" to his buddy Mickey Bastone. I think Mickey took it upon himself to kill the poor girl. Maybe the defendant meant him to, maybe he didn't. What the wife did TIPPED THE BALANCE towards making him look complicit in soliciting the murder. There was no hard evidence until the wife produced the bank withdrawal slip.
This episode is inspired by the real-life disappearance and murder of Chandra Levy, an intern who was having an affair with a congressman back in the '90s. The congressman was NEVER implicated in Ms. Levy's death.
Well, I liked it!
Found this on FearNet and decided to take a chance. I was pleasantly surprised by a cast who I kinda liked and thought were cute, some genuinely creepy atmosphere, actual suspense, and some real chills. Maybe you have to have the right mood & setting for this movie to work: late at night, home alone, seems to really help! It's not a hugely original movie, but what it does it does well. (Jesus, I really need a minimum of 10 lines? What a pain in the ass. Okay...) AJ Lamas is very cute and has a lot of personality. I liked our heroine Lauren and her friend Malina; Alison didn't really get a whole lot to do. I always wondered what happened to Adrian Paul. He seems to be aging nicely, and shows real menace as Spence. The little girl tries hard to be spooky without directly copying from THE RING, and she mostly succeeds. I love when she brings back the Ouija board planchette. All in all, a cheaply made movie that doesn't break new ground story-wise, but delivers a few chills satisfyingly.
Criminal Minds: Tabula Rasa (2008)
A most interesting idea
If a killer wakes from a coma with no memory of his crimes, is he still guilty? That's the intriguing premise at the heart of this episode. Hotch, Reid and Morgan come back to a case they had pursued 4 years before. The suspect fell off a building and was in a coma. (The suspect is played by the same actor who plays Radzinsky in LOST!) Now he's woken up, and the DA is ready to prosecute. EXCEPT the suspect has no memories at all, especially of the murders he committed. The case has to go forward, with key witnesses dead or moved away, and very little evidence.
One of the victim's fathers (whom I will always remember as Brenda and Brandon's dad on 90210) is desperately seeking justice for his daughter. He and Reid bonded 4 years before. Reid worries that the father is becoming unhinged. Their scenes together are wonderful, and shows how empathetic Reid has become as he's matured.
The highlight for me is Hotch testifying about the science of behavioral profiling, which the defense lawyer is trying to paint as pseudo-science. Hotch brutally tears away the lawyer's image. A buzzing Blackberry has never seemed so funny before.
The actor playing the killer is terrific as well. He forms a relationship with one of the guards after he wakes. Could he have done this before? Is he really a different man than the one who murdered those girls? And if so, should he be punished? All very thoughtful and interesting stuff.
Law & Order: Great Satan (2009)
"You were supposed to be on top of this!" Um, nooooo...
A great episode with lots of twists and turns. Actor Ben Youcef as Sameer is excellent. But when their case goes pear-shaped after a revelation in court, the cops jump on informant Sameer and tell him, "You were supposed to be on top of this!" Um, NO, guys. Sameer is a 23-year-old kid, and YOU are the cops. And Lupo's supposed to have all this experience from 4 years overseas. Why weren't YOU guys watching the suspect in question more closely? I'm kind of enjoying season 20 so far, but everybody's brains seem to have checked out. Lupo is making REALLY UNSMART decisions, between last week's getting involved with a witness and this week's operation getting away from him. Come on, guys, you're generally smarter than this.
Best line: when the FBI agent is told about Lupo's service overseas, he asks, "What were you doing?" Lupo smiles. "You don't have clearance." (Bernard, Connie, and Cutter grin.)
Law & Order: Matrimony (1997)
Ms. Bareikis is terrific
This episode was my first introduction to the exotically-named yet All-American-looking Arija Bareikis. She plays Kim Triandos, the drastically younger wife of a Manhattan philanthropist. Turns out she had conspired with Triandos' financial adviser to meet and marry him, and get his will changed in her favor. But did she murder her husband and hasten getting her hands on her inheritance? This is a terrific episode of the classic series, with an interesting story, a good red herring lead, and featured performances by Broadway stalwart Boyd Gaines and Anna Holbrook, a frequent guest star. She's fantastic as Kim's mom who came to help her "get settled after her marriage" and stayed on for over a year. She has the best line towards the end of the episode; I won't give it away here and spoil it for you. But Ms. Bareikis is charming and even a little flirty with Ray. She genuinely seems to have liked her poor old husband too, which adds a nice level of complexity to her character.
Last 10 minutes of film almost redeem the first 80
To be honest, I mostly rented this to get a glimpse of one of my favorite almost-completely-unknown actors, Stephen Gevedon. After the first few minutes of truly horrendous dialog, I watched it on fast-forward until Stephen appeared! But one thing I will give this movie: it has a twist ending that's actually GOOD, makes sense, and works well. Ms. Bako is very beautiful and does her best with the aforementioned bad dialog. Sally Kirkland tries her best, but does not succeed very well. Larry Drake does his "I'm not Benny from L.A. LAW" serial killer thing. (This is not a spoiler; he is on the poster brandishing a big ol' knife.) I wish I could give this 2 1/2 stars on Netflix, but your choices are only 2 or 3, so I gave it 2.
Bruce Almighty (2003)
A sweet fun movie, great date movie. It doesn't push any particular religious agenda, just a general "be nice to people, think about others" attitude. It's kind of too bad that it's got some language and sexual situations, because it would be good for kids and parents to talk about God stuff. Jim Carrey is really a fine comic actor, and I like Jennifer Aniston the more I see her (outside of FRIENDS). Rated 8 out of 10.
How about this cast, huh? Anthony Hopkins, Richard Harris, David Hemmings, Ian Holm, and Omar Sharif, all at the top of their game, in this thrilling adventure. It's a touch dated (I think the bomber only asks for a million pounds), but well-paced and well-made. Great stuff!
Grand adaptation of the Dickens classic
The old (roasted) chestnut A CHRISTMAS CAROL gets a musical treatment. I'm not entirely sure why it's Magoo playing Scrooge, because he plays the character straight (none of the typical blind gags), but it works well! The music is excellent and such a welcome change from regular Christmas hits. I love it!
28 Days Later... (2002)
One of the most unnerving and engaging movies of the year, not just the best wide-release horror flick of '03. It just bowled me over. I love the immediacy of how it's shot on video. It's terrifying and intelligent. It doesn't have any dramatic voiceovers to tell you what's going on. You have to figure out a lot of it on your own. It drags a *tiny* bit in the middle but then swings right back. It will remind horror fans of OMEGA MAN and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, but in many ways it's completely original. 8 out of 10.