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Looks like another poor start to a poor season...
Season two was such crap compared to the first because it all depended on cheap plot devices and boring characters. Episode one of this third season is even duller. Crap dialog, yet another "time twist" plot like season two and 180 character turn-arounds. I don't recall what happened at the end of the second season but when did Sylar find Clair? When did Suresh become a mad scientist? Why is Peter so damn lame? Why is Hiro still a moron with the intelligence of a 5 year old? Why do all the female characters so simple and chic-looking? When did Mrs. Petrelli have any type of "power"? It seemed that all of the action sequences were just to excite the folks like a Michael Bay film. With all the criticism that people gave for season two you'd think they'd come up with something more original and interesting. Episode two wasn't any better...
Ghostbusters For The 21st Century!
Yeah I said it! "Reaper" is just that. The trio has the same relationship and sense of comic timing that the Ghost trappin' quartet had in the films and animated series.
The difference is that the ghosts are demons. Well sort of. I guess I'm splitting hairs here with the analogy.
Aside from that, Reaper is just a damn good time. Bret Harrison must've inherited some of Topher Grace's comic timing on that 70's Show because he's great as Sam. He's a normal Joe who's makes the best of the worst kind of situation. Great leader. Tyler Labine's past performances as "burn-outs/dudes" sure prepared him to play the ultimate stoner geek freak. Rick Gonzalez is perfect as the straight-man with a conscious. Many kudos go to veteran Ray Wise as "The Devil" who chews the scenery up with a big, bleached smile. Last but not least is Christine Willes as Gladys the DMV/Hell (not much difference) customer service rep. Dead pan comedy at its finest.
The stories are basically the same as Brimstone: Find the escaped Hell souls and return them to hell.
The plot is simple but its not the baddies so much that make Reaper worthwhile: its the boys. They're fun to watch and you really root for them. They fight with what little wits they have and with the oddest of materials. The "vessels" are a hoot. Each soul gets their own vessel to be used on them and in different ways.
Funny, silly, action packed and genuinely entertaining. Great show.
Flash Gordon (2007)
Quite possibly the WORST re-imagining/revamp of any series EVER!
I've always been weary of any show that uses a film/books/TV shows/comics as a platform for a new show's concept.
8 out of 10 times they are bad. (too many too list). 1 out of 10 times they are a success and are excellent (Battlestar Galactica/Stargate SG-1/Smallville). Then the remaining figure is the latest incarnation of the eternal Flash Gordon.
It is by far the WORST of them all.
I have never seen a more lackluster "imagining" of any story or character. Not only is writing the weakest element, but the awful acting and dreadful costumes and effects just bring it down to the bottom of the Sci-Fi Channel's barrel.
And that is LOW compared to the other crap they've had on the past.
Now I know this is just the pilot but making a first impression in any respect is key. Ouch.
I won't go into what was worse than worse because I'll be on here forever. Seriously. There are no positives to be found here.
I honestly can't see how this show can be saved unless it is COMPLETELY REVAMPED by an ENTIRE NEW CREW.
Please Sci-Fi Channel: STOP THIS SHOW. Don't waste your money and resources. Play repeats of good Sci-Fi shows or even repeats of current shows (more Doctor Who!).
Doctor Who (2005)
"Who" Does It Better!
First off, I never got into Dr. Who until recently. Honestly, I never got the opportunity to watch any of the previous incarnations (pun intended) since it was never "big" here in the US as it is everywhere else.
That said, I must say (obviously) that after finishing the 2nd season, that this is one of the best sci-fi shows I've ever seen.
Now, I watch a lot of Sci-Fi shows from all over and this show stands out.
The first season was tops to begin with, with Christopher Eccleston in the title role and I thought he was terrific. Of course, so was the lovely Billie Piper who just adds such humanity and warmth to the character of Rose that no one could've done it better. Let's not forget Camile Coduri as Jackie and Noel Clarke as Mickey/Ricky who are just a blast to watch. Then there's David Tenannt. At first, I thought he was too gawky-looking to play the character (his ears!!), but after watching the 2nd season, he fits in just fine. His sharp acting and physical comedy is almost flawless. He's great with snappy dialog and can turn serious without batting an eye.
Aside from the great acting from the cast is the acting from most of the guest actors that have appeared. A lot of them are veteran actors but some are new to me and are damn fine.
The production and direction of the show is top notch. Occasionally, there'll be some cheesy effects here and there, but that's always been a factor in the original series and, like those episodes, is negligible.
My favorite thing of all about the series: The stories. Writing folks, is always the key to great entertainment. Russell T. Davies has written many of the episodes along with a few other writers and they have done an excellent job. They've managed to bring excitement, ingenuity, intelligence and fun with clever concepts and great dialog. I also appreciate the fact that they can breach the older Doctors' past story lines and enemies well (my friend explains much of this to me while we watch the show) and respectfully.
I won't mention anything about the 2nd season and how it ends since the Sci-Fi channel just started airing the 2nd season.
I wouldn't want to spoil it. It's so much fun and excitement. You'll never want to take your eyes away nor miss a word of dialog.
It really is that good.
PS: Thanks to the producers for Nicholas Briggs back! **EXTERMINATE!**
Silent Hill (2006)
"It's OK. Everything will be alright. I promise."
I've never been one to blacklist any genre or type of film. The closest I can think of would be musicals, but that's just me.
The "video game" crossover film is a close second but it still won't keep me from seeing them. Granted, 80% of the "vidgame" flicks are downright awful like Super Mario Brothers and the Resident Evil films.
Enter "Silent Hill".
I've never played the game but only for a few minutes and I liked it but, unfortunately, never went back to it. I played it because it was a survivor horror game and those are my favorites.
It's not easy to convert a game into a coherent story but since the experienced and talented Roger Avary translated it to the screen I went and saw it. Oh, and I think the talented Radha Mitchell and Laurie Holden are hot too. That helps.
Much like the games, a lot of the characters run around, run away or walk towards doors and corners. This is mostly what all the characters do for the first half of the film. This is what hollows out the characters. They are very one dimensional and at times just plain dumb. All the interaction (few and far between) is very simple and formulaic. Lines like "It's OK. Everything will be alright." over and over again don't hold much in terms of their personalities and lends little to the story.
But this isn't Shakespeare. And it's not supposed to be, but there has to be a certain level of "smarts" in dialog and character. The only solid figure is the Mother who is, obviously, the main character of the story and she has a few good moments that are dumbed down by bad dialog. This hinders the actors' abilities at times, making them look a tad awkward or frustrated at the lines and people they're trying to portray.
Unfortunately, the studio was not happy about Avary's original story that had a only female line up, so the father figure and the cop were added. (What's wrong with all female lead characters?) Perhaps this might've hindered the original story arch or maybe it didn't. Sean Bean's character is rather interesting but doesn't add a lot to the story. Although he could've provided more with what he discovers, but he never reveals anything substantial to the plot from his findings.
Remember also, that this is a "horror" film and I didn't move once from my seat. At no point was there a scare to be found. Given there were some great looking "demons" about (aside from the nurse rejects from the "Thriller" music video) there was still no tension from them at all aside from some "twisting" here and there. It seemed to me that this was more of a mood piece than anything else and that seemed more appropriate.
Lastly, it was too long. It seemed at times that a lot of the scenes were repetitive and took its time showing the effects but that's just a small peeve really.
Well, those were my negatives. Here are some positives.
Production design. It is staggering the amount of time and detail put into the town and its hellish bowels. The ash flakes alone were cool. The "edge" of the town and all the effects are top notch and give the film a great visceral feel. It's both creepy and unnerving. The church itself is monstrous and ominous.
The cinematography is very well done giving insight and terror in the rust, blood, wood, flesh and metal scattered through out the buildings and people. The darkness in the film is well contrasted and balanced. The numerous crane shots were a bit much but most were effect. I especially liked the aerial view photography (mostly computerized) of the chase sequence.
Jeff Danna & Akira Yamaoka score a great score giving the film a great ambiance combining coolness and creepiness into haunting melodies.
Lastly, the one thing that most people go to see it- the blood. It is one seriously bloody film. I lost count of the times Radha Mitchell was splattered with blood. It's not a slasher film, but it looks to have spent as much on corn syrup than most slasher films do. It's excessive but it works well in terms of the tone and that is always appreciated.
Over all, its actually one of the best vgf's (Video Game to Film) ever made, but it definitely needed a rewrite and another round by the film editor. That would've made this quite the freaky lil' flick that it could've been.
System Shock 2 (1999)
Not only will it keep your mind sharp, but it'll scare the crap out of you!
First off, I've never been a big fan of 1st person shoot-em-uppers. I loved the Doom games and that's really the extent of my experience there. I'm also not a big fan of role playing games either but this isn't a turn-based game anyway. Lastly, I'm not into cyberpunk anything. Knowing all this how is it that "System Shock 2" is one of the most gripping, terrifying and engrossing games ever created? It's because this game has one of the best plots ever written into any game in any platform.
I won't go into any of the plot as not to ruin the game when you play it. I will tell you that is has an excellent playing engine; an extensive array of weaponry and tools (yes I said "tools"!). Playing to a particular strength is not necessarily key, but it helps depending on how you approach it. You can rely on weaponry, hacking talents or psionic power. How many games offer that? Well, obviously games after this was released do because of the System Shock games.
There are few issues I have though: The first being the degrading weapons. The weapons after use, break easily and need to be fixed on a regular basis. Second, the enemies regenerate too much and too quick. This is a big problem when you've just killed a couple of baddies then you come back to that same room to fight them again. Third, the auto-save vs. the menu save. For some reason, when you hit the auto-save then save via the menu it over-rides the saved game. Fourth, for some reason, you cannot play the game in 32bit display. I know it was made in 99' but there were plenty of games back then that ran in 32bit. Also the 3D textures look bulky and most of the characters look identical.
Fortunately, for the first two issues there is a patch via the Looking Glass website that relieves the two problems a tad but not completely (don't want it to be too easy).
As for the graphics, there is the "Rebirth" patch that was created changing the textures to a higher grade and it looks great! Make to sure to fully install the game in order to change the textures completely. It's worth it...
Having said all this, I have to say that if Looking Glass hadn't gone under and bought out its players, I would've drooled over a sequel. I've heard that Deus Ex and the Half-Life games (mostly for the problem solving and action not the RPG aspects) are great comparisons and I agree with Half-Life (about to play 2 after I'm done with SS2) in the respect.
Overall, I'd give this title a solid 9. Gaming at its best... |8^D
PS: Staying in theme of a MOVIE database, I think that SS2 would make an excellent film.
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Hands Down THE Worst Star Trek Film Ever...
I had written an initial review for this when it first came out, but for one reason or another, it was not posted.
Having said that, my original view of Nemesis was that it was bad and that it rivaled Final Frontier in terms of its poor quality.
It's been three years since it came out and I've watched most of the Next Generation episodes over in reruns (and First Contact - one of the best Star Trek films) and my opinion has changed.
Being an avid admirer of the series (and the original & DS9), I noticed all the nuances, characteristics and dedication to Rodenberry's vision that the writers, directors and actors were faithful to. Such insightful dialog and stories. Such terrific stories, convincing acting and production dedication. This was a series that Rodenberry would've been proud of.
Then came the NextGen films.
Generations was one of the worst of the films. It was simply a ploy to get both generations to go see it. It was cheap, mildly amusing and just awful. Not the worst thing but not the best.
First Contact proved that there was still talent left in the ST NG reserves. A great story, some of Stewart's best acting and fine directing with terrific production values. A great cross between the series and Hollywood fun (except for "assimilate this").
Insurrection was practically an episode brought to the screen and not a very good one.
Now here's it all falls apart.
Paramount and the bane of the Star Trek franchise RICK BERMAN, needed to resurrect the franchise after its absence of four years from the screen.
So, getting a story from a nobody fan John Logan, they started work on Nemesis. Having a slew of respectful directors passing on the story (including Frakes), they went with hack Stuart Baird (U.S. Marshals & Executive Decision). This is a crew with NO experience in the Star Trek realm in any respect. Why would any competent producer approach a Star Trek film in this manner? Well, suffice to say I don't know why but I'm sure it had something to do with money...
Nemesis consisted of one of the most tired story lines in film and TV. It looked like it was shot with the light of a single candle. It was poorly directed. It did have nice production values though...
Why do I think it's worse than Final Frontier? Because it had almost nothing to do with the Star Trek lore. It simply shoots for the typical Hollywood hijinks of booms, blasts and baddies.
We all know all the inconsistencies and contrivances:
Dune buggies? Corny lines at a wedding... Data's long lost OTHER brother left behind after Suun's yard sale? Clones... Bald younger Picard? Cousin race to the Romaulans? Picard allowing Troy to be mentally raped? Shuttle flying through the ship... Ships ramming into each other? Why would the Enterprise be in danger when smashed together with the other ship when it could separate from the saucer section? And the BIGGEST most INSULTING thing: Data dying and being replaced by Retar-Data.
None of these elements are consistent with the Star Trek universe. It was like someone watched an episode of the show and thought "Man! I'm broke and need money fast! Let me write a screenplay and give it to my friend/relative Rick Berman! He'll read anything!"
At least Final Frontier was bad for the right reasons. They were still faithful, just not entertaining or smart (although we did get to see Uhura in the skimpy outfit).
The people who actually liked this film were liking it because they like the typical chum that Hollywood churns out every summer. Admirers (I'm not a Trekkie) knew what this drivel was and knew to stay away from it.
I advise those who haven't seen this not to. If you want to watch damn fine Star Trek films watch everything but 5,7,9 and this disaster. It's good that the actor's contracts are over and they don't have to succumb to another monstrosity such as Nemesis...
Stargate SG-1 (1997)
7 Seasons and more to come!
Why can't all sci-fi shows be this much fun? SG-1 has become one of those world wide phenomena like soccer that is loved more out of the US than in the US. We missed the point but the SG fans are hardcore (sans simbiote) and love this show with much admiration. -It deserves it. Where most "sci-fi" shows on TV/cable have come and gone (and those last awful Star Trek series for that matter) SG1 has stayed true and continues to be entertaining, smart and clever after completing its 7th season on the Sci-Fi channel. Smart writing and great production only fall second to the terrific cast that seem to savor every minute. Who can blame actors that get such great material to work with for such a long time? Various writers and stellar FX set it apart from past shows in terms of aesthetics but the imagination and humor of the writing is such a joy. Quite frankly, I've never laughed so hard at a science fiction show that actually is SUPPOSED to be funny. Richard D. Anderson is an absolute riot as Colonel 'Neill. Michael Shanks plays the goofy dork to the T (drop the fake glasses though) and the stunning Amanda Tapping (droooooling...) plays the super sexy scientist better than anyone whose had to play a sexy scientist (and who really knows hows to hold/fire a weapon). Christopher Judge plays everyone's favorite golem warrior valiantly with a twist of tongue-and-cheek in every drowsy stare. Don S. Davis as General Hammond is like the perfect father figure and is played justly with a heart of gold. Teryl Rothery as Dr. Frasier completes the SG circle. She may be petite, but she stands tall and firm (mouth to mouth please!). SG1 stands alone because the people involved with SG1 love it. They take great care and love in creating a fun show that never takes itself seriously and has a fun, almost child-like quality in its execution. I hope in the future that there are many new Stagates to visit with more fantastic adventures to come... :D
Much funnier than I thought!
I've just watched the 1st episode and this is what I think: This is the funniest of the 3 new series on TNN. I never would've thought it but it's great! Great voices, good animation, plenty of boobage ;). It's got some great comic book humor and ideas. Another fun Stan Lee character has arrived! -Kind of a "Men In Black: the Animated Series" but with a lot more skin (well, human skin ;D). I hope this continues... :D
Miami Vice (1984)
Remember Turquoise? ;)
Miami Vice was quite possibly the gutsiest show in the history of TV. I'm not just referring to the violence factor (which today is pretty tame) but the stories. Edgy, smart and dangerous story-lines that were well executed in direction and production. The stories ranged from the obligatory drug scene of the 80's to another favorite - prostitution. But it was never black and white with the stories: Incest, betrayal, homosexuality- these topics were taboo back then and especially on TV.
A great ensemble of actors playing great roles to almost to perfection also added spice to the mix. Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas were the perfect crime-fighting duo next to Batman & Robin (whose costumes were louder?). Edward James Olmos played the grunting Vietnam vet Lieutenant Castillo to the tee. Saundra Santiago as Detective Gina Navarro Calabrese and Olivia Brown as Detective Trudy Joplin are as talented as they are alluring. The oddball duo of Michael Talbott as Detective Stanley Switek & John Diehl as Detective Larry Zito were funny and clever (Zito's death episode was heart-breaking and gripping). These were not cardboard cut-out characters; these were angry people, confused people, wrong people- not perfect- they resembled real people with real problems that made mistakes.
Then there's all the guest appearances of celebrities (of the time) and future celebrities getting their start in the business like Ving Rhames, Nathan Lane, Liam Neeson, Chris Rock to name a few.
Lest we not forgot the terrific music. Everything from Peter Gabriel to Huey Lewis played in between Jan Hammer's great scoring.
All the crime dramas of today (who can count them all?) owe so much to Miami Vice. It may seem a little dated, but it still entertains and amazes...