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The Social Network (2010)
A Great Movie but even better screenplay
The real star of this film is the extraordinary screenplay written by Aaron Sorkin. The characters he creates here are dark, flawed, and the epitome of the worst of the 2000s culture that the target audience of the film sprang from. Fincher does a fabulous job of interpreting this and bringing it to life on the screen. His visual of the script is bold and vibrant, exactly what was called for by the script.
The problem with this film is that the performances aren't really that spectacular. They are good enough to carry the film but that's the best I can say for them. Armie Hammer as the Winklevoss twins was probably the weakest link of the bunch. He hammed it up big time and turned them into caricatures. I still haven't figured out why Jesse Eisenberg's performance was so applauded. The performance at times was two dimensional.
All in all this is a great film. Fincher has done better with "The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons" but this was arguably one of the better films of the years.
Ghost Adventures (2008)
between wanting to laugh at and being seriously intrigued by this show. When these guys really get into this I feel like I'm watching Bill and Ted's Excellent Ghost Hunting Adventure. "Dude! Dude! Did you hear that? Whoa!". I think that a lot of what goes on here is them (in particular Zac) reacting to their environment. Also the creative editing that is done afterward emphasizes a great deal. Despite that, there are moments when I feel they are actually making contact with the other side.
Since I can't be sure that anything is real here, I can only judge this on entertainment value. For that I can say it is truly entertaining. With the music, editing, and graphics used it's truly an awesome ride through the paranormal.
Emily of New Moon (1998)
The Darker Vision
After having enjoyed Kevin Sullivan's foray into the works of L.M. Montgomery, I was interested to see what Salter Street Films would do. The Emily series is the darker, more realistic vision of life Rural Prince Edward Island and much closer to the life Montgomery herself lead. While the series captures that darker element, there are moments of light and color that make the series charming and delightful. The performance of the regular actors in the series were all very well done. Stephen McHattie, who plays Cousin Joe, was especially a standout for me because I'm used to seeing him play heavies and bad guys. The actress playing the lead character is certainly well cast. She is almost a little too intense.
It would be interesting if the producers did an update movie with the same cast based on the last book in the Emily series. It would be a great closer for a series that didn't last too long.
Worth the Wait...
I heard about this film three years ago and have been waiting all this time to actually see it. It was worth the wait. I've been a Nilsson fan for years and this documentary really gave me a connection to who he was as a person and the life that he lived. It's a beautifully crafted work by someone who obviously loved Harry as much as all of his friend did. My hope is is that more people will see this documentary and realize what a talent that has been lost. His voice was amazing and the songs he wrote touch people and seems speak to the very essence of who we are as people. I remember hearing once that Ringo Starr was deeply affected by his passing. Through this film, I can see why.
The Switch (2010)
Entertaining and Fun
Jason Bateman should be doing a lot more films. He was marvelous in Arrested Development and he seems to have made the transition from child star to adult actor without a problem. So lets get him in more films so that we can really see what he can do.
This is a very clever and entertaining film very well acted by the cast which includes besides Aniston and Bateman, a return of Juliette Lewis and Jeff Goldblum. Both have very give great performances in supporting roles. I'd love to see more of both in other works.
I love watching the relationship between Wally and Sebastian unfold. The film is a joy to watch
In Search of the Trojan War (1985)
An Amazing Adventure
Michael Wood does an outstanding job in this multi-part documentary of proving that there was some historical fact to the epic poetry of Homer. The research is meticulously done following every lead that is presented with amazing results. Wood takes us back and forth across the Aegean at a dizzying pace to uncover the truth and he does so with great thought and logic. Along the way, Wood introduces us to a world only scholars have really known with adventure, political intrigue, and epic war.
My only dismay is that it wasn't done 20 years later. How much greater the technology used to illustrate things would have been.
Joining Michael Wood as he explores myths and legends from Ancient Greece to Ancient Britain is like going personally with a time traveler on his journey. The discoveries that Wood makes are just as magical as the legends themselves. As he uncovers ancient traditions and long forgotten worlds we see his enthusiasm like a child on Christmas and it's infectious drawing us in as we learn the true stories of the places and people enshrined in myth.
"In Search of Myth and Legends" actually exceeded my expectation for an afternoon of entertainment, but as it carries the same charm as all of Wood's documentaries I shouldn't be surprised. I was sad to see that there was only 4 episodes.
For fans of Archeology and History, this is a must see.
A History of Scotland (2008)
A Colorful Pagent of History
For those of us who have an interest (or Scottish ancestry) and want to know about the history this series is a great entre. While everything may not be exactly according to fact it is enough so and presented in such a way that you are riveted to every moment of what's going on. In some cases there is a bit too much repetition of images but for the most part it's colorful and dynamic. Neil Oliver, as a native Scot and a history expert, is the perfect choice as a presenter. His delivery is in the fine tradition of Scottish story tellers and part of the reason to watch.
Definitely worth watching.
Bertie and Elizabeth (2002)
It's like watching the Reader's Digest Version
This television film shows a lot promise despite the historical inaccuracies. It's problem is the fast paced progression through history that provides little opportunity for character exploration and more in depth look at how George VI become one of the best loved and most respected of English Kings. Otherwise, the performances are quite good and the writing in certain scenes is first rate. It's worth a look despite it's obvious flaws.
American Audiences might find the portrayal of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor a bit harsh after years of romantic conditioning but as Russell Baker notes in the segment that is shown after the film on the DVD it represents a more accurate picture of how those in the UK came to view Edward VIII.
A lot to like...but
There is a lot to like about Firefly but there is also a lot to scratch your head about too. Firefly had a lot of potential to be a really great series but its flaws killed that potential. Firefly has strong main characters (particularly in the women), moments of great writing, and a richly detailed background history that should have made this show a classic. The problem is that richly detailed background history seems to have been ignored in favor of a campy old west theme that led to stale rehashes of plots from 50s and 60s TV westerns. I'm also left wondering where all the Asian characters are in a society that's supposed to have been an amalgam of Eastern and Western cultures. If the series could be done with subduing the old west clichés it would have been, in my book, top notch.