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Top Chef: Lock Down (2011)
Season 8, Episode 10
Sesame Street + Target = lackluster episode
17 February 2011
One of the weakest episodes so far this season.

The producer's idea of having the Sesame Street muppets involved in the quickfire challenge was an embarrassing misfire. Padma, now that she has a kid, seemed to enjoy it. I didn't. Making cookies ???? Cmon.

The Target challenge was slightly better. The whole thing happened at 3:30am. They had to only use cooking and food items found inside the store. That was a nice twist. Given what they had to work with, most of the dishes looked decent. But nothing that made me hungry and say, " Wow". For me that's a sign of a good episode, that the food prepared looks great.

What also was missing was the warm, beautiful presence of Gail Simmons. She's my favorite judge. She's so pretty and makes every episode she's on, so much fun.

For me, all the years of watching Top Chef, I have never have any rooting interest in any chef to win. I just like the scenes of food preparation, the drama inherent in that, the dishes themselves.

However, when contestants are behaving like jerks or snobs, then I have an interest in watching them get kicked off the show.

Overall, hopefully Top Chef goes back to sensible Quickfire and Elimination challenges, and not these ratings stunt episodes.
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Saturday Night Live: Jon Hamm/Rihanna (2010)
Season 36, Episode 5
mediocre Halloween episode
31 October 2010
Jon Hamm is a solid performer, but for the most part, Seth and his writing team didn't give him enough solid material for him to shine.

Lorne stacked all the high points towards the front of the show. The brilliant digital short was right after the monologue, with Rhianna and Shy Ronnie ( Samberg reprising his role ) in a hilarious hip hop spoof of Bonnie and Clyde.

Next was the always clever and funny Vincent Price Halloween special. Guests spouting off double entendres were Judy Garland, Liberace, JFK, and Price doing his best to censor them.

Another home run was the Back To the Future 25th Anniversay DVD showing auditions by Al Pacino, Bill Cosby, Sam Kinison, Prince, Robin Williams,and best of all, Eddie Murphy. Another brilliant impersonation by Jay Pharoah.

Then things start to pale. Kristin Wiig as a clueless actresses making outrageous contract demands, and a TV show about Viral internet victims.

Things brightened up with the sexy Rhianna music sets, the Weekend Update reteaming of the musical duo who clearly are unprepared, and make stuff up on the spot, and the homo-erotic Chips TV satire.

Opening with Joe Biden and Hamm's ad genius monologue were cringe worthy.

Overall, a mediocre Halloween episode. Thank god for DVR, so easy to fast forward through the dead on arrival skits.
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Saturday Night Live: Jane Lynch/Bruno Mars (2010)
Season 36, Episode 3
few hits, mostly misses
10 October 2010
The Jane Lynch hosted episode was a mediocre offering, with very few hits, and a lot of misses.

The hits : Damn It, Your Mom's on Facebook. Truly funny. Jay Pharoah's spot on Denzel Washington impersonation Muscial guest Bruno Mars.

The skits that had some quasi success : Samberg / Lynch therapy session ; Sunday night football song.

The rest of the skits were vastly underwhelming, stupid, or downright annoying : the Madeline Albright opening, the monologue, Glee gilly, tax man's twin brother, Secret Word, Suzy Norman's gay guest, Weekend update.
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Saturday Night Live: Amy Poehler/Katy Perry (2010)
Season 36, Episode 1
solid season opener
26 September 2010
I enjoyed this season opener. The hit / miss ratio favored the hits. Truly funny opening spoof of GOP Senate wannabe Christine O'Donnell's bizarre past deeds. And an inspired opening monologue / dream by host Amy Poeler, with great cameos by Jimmy Falon, Tina Fey, Justin Timberlake.

Hair replacement commercial was gross but funny, and Maya Rudolph returns to team up with Amy on Bronx talk show with guest librarian, Katy Perry, wearing low cut Elmo shirt, exposing the most beautiful cleavage in show business. A riff on her recent Sesame Street dustup on her excised segment, being too sexy for innocent kid viewers.

Other highlights, Amy reteaming with Seth for Weekend update, joined by outgoing NY governor Patterson, and new cast member Jay Pharoah, doing a spot on Will Smith impersonation : Expendables movie sequel spoof digging up more has-beens was hilarious : and SNL finally books a musical guest that I actually watched both performances : Katy Perry. The last time I did that was when U2 performed in 2003 when Val Kilmer hosted.

I loved both Katy's performances, even though lots of viewers complained about her singing. Not me. I think she's great, especially her 2nd performance, wearing the super hot short red glitter skirt, and blue hair highlights, backed up by smoking hot cheerleader singers.

Surprising misfire : Adam Samberg's usually funny digital short was stunningly lame ( Boogerman ??? ) But like I said the hits outweighed the misses.
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Saturday Night Live: Jon Hamm/Michael Bublé (2010)
Season 35, Episode 13
writers let Jon Hamm down
25 July 2010
one of weakest episodes of the season.

Jon Hamm's has his second stint as host, but the writers don't give him the material to showcase his strong comic talents

only standout are two skits :

first is a digital short : Andy Samburg's parody of the movie Drag Me To Hell, where Andy is cursed by the appearance Sergio ( Hamm as a sexy sax playing Lothario ) with the uproarious punchline happening in a hospital delivery room.

the other amusing skit is Hamm as new Massachusetts winking senator driving the democratic leaders in conference to fits of sex daydreams

Seth Meyers normally bright Weekend Update is watered down by another overlong appearance by the unfunny Sooki impersonation.
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Tomei lovely host
11 July 2010
An above average episode.

The standout skits are truly funny. The best being the My Cousin Vinny courtroom parody scene. Except it's OJ on trial and Tomei reprises her wonderful Mona Lisa Vito character as a defense witness, charming Judge Ito into freeing OJ.

The second best : Tomei hosting a talk show about body piercing, and most of laughs involve combating infections.

Tomei still remains one of Hollywood's most charming, talented, and hottest actresses.

She should host again.
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Saturday Night Live: Jude Law/Pearl Jam (2010)
Season 35, Episode 17
Abby Eliot shines
11 July 2010
An overall mediocre offering at best.

Jude Law does an okay job as host, but the two of the three standout skits he's in also feature the lovely, Abby Eliot ( the prettiest girl on the show ) The best is Jude as a Spanish killer enticing two brain dead chicks, Eliot and Slate, to come with him.

The second best is a Twilight Zone, Terror at 20,000 feet parody with Law as the schizo airline passenger and Eliot as his girlfriend. Biggest laugh comes when the gremlin on the wing appears with musical guest, Pearl Jam.

Big laughs also come during Andy Samberg's ghetto blaster causing a senior citizen orgy musical, and Jerry Seinfeld joining Seth Meyers on a Really segment of Weekend Update.

The rest of the show was lame.
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Saturday Night Live: Tina Fey/Justin Bieber (2010)
Season 35, Episode 18
Tina's the best
18 April 2010
Best episode of the season so far. Tina returns to host and hits a home run in almost every skit she's in. Musical guest Justin Bieber even plays along in a few scenes. Best : Duncan Hines Brownie Husband. One of the funniest fake commercial ads in SNL history. Other winners: Sarah Palin Network ; great Tina editorial on Weekend update about celebrity cheating husbands, and a clever Tina and Justin musical take on teacher and student wonder lust. Also the photos of Tina that come on after commercial breaks, are some of the prettiest and sexiest pictures Tina has ever done. I hope it doesn't take another movie opening ( ala plugging Date Night ) before Tina agrees to host again.
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Closer (I) (2004)
love, sex, fight, swear, strip....
4 December 2004
I'm sure this film is gonna win the Oscar for best screenplay. Why? Cause every other word of dialogue is "fawk this" or " fawk that". Academy voters admire profanity in films. Proof? Other films that won the writing Oscar, like Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting, had 70%profane dialogue .

The plot?? Four pretentious people meet each other by accident, interact, fight, fall in love, fall out of love, cry like babies, fight some

more, and disply urbane wit by cussing each other out. All the while classical music, mawkish guitar, and New Wave music plays on the soundtrack.

However, worth the price of admission alone, is Natalie Portman's stunning scene with Clive in the strip club. Whoever was running the camera, deserves major cinematography kudos for showcasing Natalie's gorgeous body. she is so hot. Her body is a 10. Alas, the film is not. Thanks for reading. Bye.
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The Punisher (2004)
24 April 2004
Wow, I was ready to walk out after the first hour. I thought I was watching a direct to video / USA Network by-the-numbers, action time-filler. Lame, uninvolving setup. Travolta was embarrassing. "Sexy" Laura Harring looked awful. Thomas Jane looked constipated. Then something assassin turns up, sings a song to Punisher in a diner. Then KABLAMMO, movie finds it's groove and the ensuing, and sometimes funny battles ( especially mano a mano with giant Russian ) turn this movie into an enjoyable blast. Punisher's next door neighbors turn out to be more plucky and clever than I expected, and Punisher's revenge plot trickery, and heavy metal action, take on an aura of gleeful, over the top, trash movie fun. I'm glad I stayed. Bye. Thanks for reading.
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Risky Business 2
11 April 2004
Good fun, 90's version of Risky Business. Substituting 90's porn industry for 80's call girls. But the seamy subject matter, isn't off putting, because the smart script offers life lessons and insight that is rare in today's teenage sex comedies. Like Cruise's film, this movie is about a likeable high school dweeb who dreams about 2 things ; getting into a prestigious college, and hooking up with hot babes. Using RB as a blueprint, the film's arc is familiar, but still vastly entertaining. Clever, funny dialogue, energetic performances, and real sweet chemistry between Elisha and newcomer Emile. Does it need to be emphasized again about how stunningly gorgeous Ms Cuthbert is? Wow. I'm in love. Movie even uses a couple of songs that were heard on Risky Business soundtrack. Enjoy. Thanks for reading. Bye.
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Walking Tall (2004)
Big Stick
4 April 2004
Movie was fun. Crisp, exciting, brutal action. Alot of scenes of scantily dressed pretty girls, lots of funny lines, and another charismatic performance from the The Rock. Best scene : Rock's testimony in court. Oh yeah, Johnny Knoxville provides some solid laughs. Given that I was around to see the 1973 version of the story ( a solid picture starring Joe Don Baker ), and Walking Tall Pt 2 from 1975 (another good one starring Bo Svenson) *** I never saw Pt 3 - the final chapter *** 2004's version stacks up well, but is only remotely connected. The only links are : the big 2x4 whacking stick, and a credit dedication to the late Sheriff Pusser. Thanks for reading. Bye.
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Hellboy (2004)
3 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Man, this movie was a big let down. I simply didn't care what happened. Del Toro is great visually, but lousy in simple storytelling. All of Del Toro's intriguing CGI fx and makeup effects, and fancy camera moves, cannot save a movie that fails to involve and entertain you. A plot that is totally arbitrary in setup, villians that have no palatable threat or menace, annoying sub characters ( fishman, John Hurt, Jeffrey Tambor )and a hero with good presence, but nothing interesting to do. One thing puzzled me : *** SPOILER *** after Fire Chick torches the squids in the sewer, next immediate scene is of our heroes being interrogated and tortured. **** END *** What the hell? I thought the projectionist made a reel change mistake, but no. It seems 5 or 6 minutes were just lopped off to keep the film under 2 1/2 hrs, leaving me and the audience, stratching our heads. But by that point, I didn't care. Bye. Thanks for reading.
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Jersey Girl (2004)
Sweet Movie
28 March 2004
A very sweet movie. Not one of Kevin Smith's best ( that still would be Chasing Amy ), but you'll leave the theatre smiling. Mostly due to the fine performances. Easily Ben Affleck's best role to date. Liv Tyler is a delight. George Carlin is gruff, funny, and insightful. And as Affleck's 6 year old daughter Gertie, Raquel Castro, is a charming revelation, with an incredible resemblance to Jennifer Lopez. With some good laughs sprinkled amongst the heartache, and a highly unusual, but winning scene involving the musical Sweeney Todd, Kevin Smith offers his first movie to appeal to all audiences, not just his core fans who worship at the alter of Jay and Silent Bob. Also, stay through the final credits to see Kevin's personal thank you list. A very classy touch. Thanks for reading. Bye.
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Cold Mountain (2003)
One of the year's best
27 December 2003
Cold Mountain. Good movie. Nicole is soooo pretty. I fell in love with her all over again. She's supposed to be starving and suffering. Didn't look it. She is so breathtakingly beautiful. Renee is so funny and spunky. Lots of oddball characters and B list star cameos. My favorite was Natalie Portman in a heartbreaking performance. Best war battle scene of 2003 ( the turkey shoot in the bomb crater ). I didn't think Minghella had it in him to display such intense, in-your-face carnage. Return of the King battle scenes come in a distant 2nd to this ferocity. The movie's ending had me crying like a woman. Easily one of my favorite movies of 2003. Thanks for reading. Bye.
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26 November 2000
Aside from Ellen Burstyn's brave performance, I found nothing original or striking about Aronofsky's drug epic.

For months, I've read about how this movie will grab you by the throat, punch you in the gut, and pummel you with its depiction of drug hell. I was all set for the ultimate visceral, heavy metal, hardcore, ultra NC-17 experience.

Boy, what a letdown. What is actually there isn't very groundbreaking. Nothing in Darren's movie hasn't been already shown vividly in movies like "LESS THAN ZERO" and the much, much, better film, "TRAINSPOTTING."

Aronofsky does have some clever camera moves, and his rapid fire closeup images of getting high, accompanied by weird sound fx, are OK.....for about 5 minutes. But then Darren's bag of cinematic tricks wears out its welcome, and things get repetitive..... very repetitive -

Yeah, I know, they're addicts and that's all they do, but the thing is, the piled-on images ultimately have an opposite effect. Instead of immersing me deeper into the hell of actually distanced me - left me thinking how much this movie plays like an MTV video. So "nightmarish" scenes of attacking refrigerators, infected arms, electro shock therapy, and TV diet gurus have no impact or payoff.

Finally, why was this movie rated NC-17??? Alot of R-rated movies are far more graphic.
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Ron Howard's worst film
18 November 2000
Opie's worst movie, and Carrey's least appealing performance since the Riddler.

This movie has none of the magic, Xmas spirit, and abundant joy to found in Suess' book, or in the cartoon from the 60's.

Yes, Ron has made clunkers before ( Grand Theft Auto, Willow ) but at least those films had some entertaining moments. Grinch has none. A stale, annoying, unimaginative unfunny miscalculation, on the order of past cinematic duds like Toys, Santa Claus:The Movie, and Howard the Duck.

Jim Carrey and the screenwriters must share in the blame. Jim's antic schtick and one-liners fall deadly flat. And unlike Robin Williams' Genie from "Alladin", which was good fun and clever, Carrey's Grinch grows tiresome.

What's most disappointing about Ron's movie ( and Carrey ) is that they commit the worst cinematic sin of all : they're boring.

Add to that the most grating Xmas songs in recent memory. James Horner seems to have channeled Barney the Dinosaur for inspiration.

All the kiddies in the theatre seemed to share my view. Half of them were constantly fidgiting from the start, or passed out asleep.

Parents, instead of the movie, read them the story, or rent the classic cartoon. Merry Xmas !!!!!
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Good fun
4 November 2000
Great, giddy blast of fun. This is the summer movie audiences were craving, but Sony decided to make it a Fall treat. Gloriously over the top, cheesy, sparked by the sheer joy and exuberance of Drew, Cameron, and Lucy. They are having so much honest fun doing their wire kung fu, sassy, goof ball undercover disguised antics, that we can't help but be caught up in it.

Cameron's 70's retro dancing, Lucy's dominatrix led computer class, Drew looking heavenly in her pit crew cleavage baring outfit, and Crispin Glover, coming out of nowhere to be one of 2000's great movie villains - and he doesn't say a word of dialogue.

And songs, great 70s, 80s, and 90s Angel titled song tunes used APPROPRIATELY to spark the action. All amplified in a sleek, visual, comic design by director McG.

8 out of 10. 2 points lost cause Bill Murray is wasted : all his scenes lack the wise ass cleverness we come to expect ( except for his soap gun - I laughed at that ) and every scene with Tom Green - Drew loves the guy, but his two scenes brings the film to crashing halts : 'Is it the Chad?' Gawd-awful.

But these are minor quibbles. The 3 girls and director McG pump the movie so full of energy we are throughly entertained. And stay for the final credits for some amusing outtakes.
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Die Hard (1988)
Hollywood's best action movie
25 August 2000
Die Hard = best action film Hollywood has produced. Here's why. Endurance. To me, it's the only measure of movie quality. And Die Hard is the only action film that still gives me a colossal charge of adrenaline every time I see it. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Terminator, Enter the Dragon, etc -vastly entertaining films, making a huge impact when I first saw them, but they fail the biggest test of all - repeated viewings. I just don't get the same monumental thrill, time and again. Die Hard never loses that intense, visceral impact it had on me when I saw it on July 29, 1988, 4:30pm show. Saw it three more times that year, and many more times on video. A great ride every time. Willis has never been more commanding on film - McTiernan I don't think could ever top his heavy metal action masterpiece.
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