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47 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Simple but scientific look at UFOs and Aliens, 11 June 2009

I've just watched a DVD call "UFOs and Aliens" with Jeri Ryan as narrator (she played 7 of 9 in the Star Trek: Voyager TV show) and I'm assuming this IMDb entry is the same show (although the version I watched was dated 2003, but it could just be a re-edition of the 1999 US version. I don't know).

Anyway, this is a good basic show that probably won't make the pure sceptics or the hard-core believers happy because it takes the middle ground ('we can't prove or disprove UFO visitations').

It has 3 main chapters (about 50 mins each) that cover alien encounters, UFO technology, the search for aliens through the SETI program and other scientific theories such as interstellar time/space travel.

The part I found fascinating was the hypnotist called 'Kreskin the Amazing' who convinced a test group that they could see UFOs and aliens out in the garden! One poor woman suddenly 'remembered' being probed by an alien as a child in her bedroom and how she has seen them many times since and they have messages for her which she'll now consider writing a book about (the show implies she had no prior interest in aliens). This obvious example of the unreliability of human psychology and perception is balanced by alien abduction experts who state abductees tell such a consistent story that there must be something going on.

The Extras has a short summary on the US military investigations (Project Blue Book, etc) from the 1950s onward, where the military (yes, the actual military) came to the startling conclusion that they should cover-up genuine UFO encounters because it could lead to human society being subsumed by a superior alien culture (presumably because aliens would run the earth better than the US government!).

The Extras also includes some movie moments from "Encounter of the Third Kind", "The Day the Earth Stood Still", and "ET" to show how popular culture has shaped our ideas of aliens. I just hope real aliens haven't watched these movies because we tend to want to blow them up a lot.

I'd recommend this even if it does seem a bit cheesy and clunky (the animation is a bit dated). If you are a believer it won't convince you to stop, but if you are a total sceptic it might convince you to reconsider your view.

And it is not really scary or anything, so if aliens creep you out this is a good place to start to get a well-balanced primer.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A nice film, but slow as a wet week, 29 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A gently meandering film about two brothers growing up in Montana in the 1920s. They fly fish a lot.

At the one hour mark I thought something dramatic was about to happen (at last!) when the love interest's annoying brother blows in from Hollywood. Then at one hour 30 mins I thought something dramatic might happen (at last!) when the brothers visit a gambling den. Then at one hour 45 mins I though something surely dramatic is about to happen (at long #$% last!) when they go fishing.

When something actually dramatic does occur we don't see it but are told about it by the ever present sombre voice-over. Then the film ends.

This movie made me realise two things: (a) some books can't translate to screen and probably the attempt shouldn't even be made, and (b) movies based on old folks reminiscing about youth and loved-ones gone are really quite depressing, and I will avoid them in future.

A nice film for a spare Sunday afternoon.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Nice dark comedy, 6 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This slightly dark comedy was wonderfully entertaining in an understated way. It reminded me of Little Miss Sunshine.

The plot seems straight forward, but it is anything but join the dots. A z-grade entrepreneur called Joey Grasso (Salvatore Coco) convinces his paraplegeic girlfriend Bonita (Sacha Horler) to lend him money to help aging has-been singer Nikki (Nikki Bennett) to become a recording star. Joey and Nikki first meet at a lame self-help group where she cries at a film about penguins (used as an example of following your dream no matter how many knock back you get, since penguins fall off icebergs all the time but just climb back up. I'd think the orcas would have something to do with it but I digress).

It all goes disastrously wrong for Joey, and Bonita and Nikki end up wishing they'd never had anything to do with him.

OK, there are some not so good bits. Bonita, the paraplegic girlfriend, is not well thought out - she is like three people: the Jesus lovin' churchgoer; the bitter girlfriend who hates God for making her chair-bound; and the doormat who keeps giving Joey money even though she knows she is more competent at PR than he is. Is Joey blind to his own incompetence or is he really a conman out to make a quick million using others? It is never clear, which also is a slight weakness.

The character of Nikki is a delight though. That's why I'm a bit extravagant and giving it a 9. OK, so I knew a woman just like her once - completely charmless narcissist who was going to be the next Whitney Houston but didn't seem to know, or care, that she was so rude to others that they ran a mile rather than hear her sing (like Nikki, she wasn't very good). I love movies about narcissists.

I was half-expecting the movie to end with Bonita becoming the next great church singer as a way to prove that Nikki might have done better without Joey's help, but it ends up somewhere else which was a pleasant surprise. But a movie that sends up self-help groups, evangelical churches, and RSL pension-Thursday with geriatric hip-grinding Casanova's singing 'Why Why Why Delilah', has gotta have something going for it.

It looks like a foreign (US or British) remake is on the cards (starring Carey Ewls) for 2006. Let's see how it compares.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
What's going on..., 5 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of the worst episodes because the script is trite and the leaps of logic large. I'd taped this and even replaying it I couldn't figure out what was going on in some scenes because the actors muttered too quickly. It was something about a CIA agent that Gideon had done a psychological review of being murdered and a family he was trying to hide from foreign interests disappearing. His murder is an inside job and the BAU team has to identify which CIA agent in the guy's team is the bad guy. Amazingly, even though they are working inside the CIA building they aren't bugged. Worse, two unbelievable scenes should've been scrapped altogether: Elle tries to strong arm a female CIA agent by nastily asking if she was sexually assaulted on a recent case, and when the agent doesn't respond Elle shouts at her. So much for the exceptional mental cool Gideon tells the team the CIA agents have at the beginning of the show. Elle's character just isn't consistent from one show to the next. The second unlikely scene is when another agent is shown a note Gideon wrote (we don't know what it says at that point) and told by Hotchner to consider his next words carefully (he's being offered a deal). Later, when we find out what the note said, this conversation (and the agent's response) doesn't make sense. If the note said what it said what was THAT scene all about? All over the shop to be honest.

6 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Monk at his soppiest, 22 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Monk gets extra soppy as he goes back to his dead wife's alma mater to investigate the death of a teacher there. The police say suicide. Monk says murder. To solve the crime he decides to stay at school and teach the classes of the dead teacher. Yes, it IS a little far fetched, even for this show, to have Monk volunteer for such things given how phobic he is suppose to be. The schtick of what happens in class is predictable and drags on a little too long (and why do classes that have just started end in 5 mins?). But anyway, he solves it all, and gets the bad guy, as we know he will, and then he can be a little more soppy over Trudi's demise since she was so perfect (part of the plot that is getting a little on my nerves and I wished they'd downplay).

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Standard fare, 22 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A woman is murdered and then thrown out of an apartment building. Her boyfriend has an airtight alibi - he was running a marathon at the time. Better yet, all competitors in the race have electronic devices that record their time when they pass sensors, and his shows he ran the whole race. How did he do it? It comes down to chamomile tea of all things. Meanwhile, Monk meets one of his sporting idols, a great runner from the 70s, (yes, we're suppose to believe he likes sports?!) and there is some heartwarming moments when said sporting great gives Monk some words of wisdom in the end. Very work-about, if a little formulaic and it becomes clear quickly how it was done even before Monk gives his usual summation.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Dull episode, 21 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The team have to track down a killer who drowns his victims - he's on the move and the killings are getting less organised and more random. The team split up with Elle and Morgan zipping around Carolina and Georgia by plane and car, while Gideon, Reid and Hotchner talk to the man's father and try to figure out what motivates him. Problem with this episode is the team have the killer's name at the start and their profile doesn't actually help them track him down. It is a waste of screen time to have Gideon trying to pin down why the killer drowns his victims. It just doesn't help in the end, and it comes down to just good ol' leg work. Elle and Morgan's road trip is just makes the whole thing feel rushed and chaotic. Not one of the best episodes by a long shot.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A complicated way to kill someone..., 20 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A hooded ninja-type figure shoots a circus guy at a café then wheels away. Stottlemeye brings in Monk who hates circuses, especially the clowns. Turns out that Sharona has a problem with elephants. Problem is that Monk's main suspect has a broken leg. It just gets silly from there on in. The episode is saved when Monk's hostility to Sharona's elephant phobia result in her going on strike (no wipes provided). Lots of amusing moments ensue. The final scene is amusing, although I wish they's explore the selfish side of Monk's personality more often, because he comes across as caring and sympathetic in other episodes when he solves cases, rather than smug when he catches the bad guy which is what I think the writers are aiming for (his 'release' when he puts everything in order as part of his OCD).

0 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Is this Murder She Wrote?, 20 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An adequate episode about a dating couple who are mugged outside a theatre but who fight back killing the mugger. Turns out the mugger is a famous billionaire. Monk is brought in to find out what on earth one of the richest men on the planet was doing trying to mug someone. Of course there is a twist, but it all plays too much like Murder She Wrote (not a bad show in itself but formulaic nonetheless). Work-about fare with a bit of silliness about a hired actor thrown in (I'm sure the cast loved making comments like 'he's quite an actor!', and 'look at him go, he's magnificent' or something close to that). It is actually Sharona who comes up with the pivotal clue, so at least the dynamic duo part of plot line is working well here. Otherwise, there are better episodes.

8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Enjoyable episode, 20 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I liked this episode, but mainly because of who the 'stranger' was. It is unlikely that Monk would be a country fan I think, but he plays the clarinet in this episode and I've got a soft spot for the clarinet. It is painful to watch him (Monk) attempt to play the instrument after someone else tongues the reed, but that is par for the course with this show. It's these elements that make it a show above the usual detective fare. But again, the person that is the suspect is obvious from the start, it's just left up to Monk to tell us how it was done. I give up on caring about the crimes but love to watch Monk and Sharona interact and think they are the best duo in a long, long time on television.

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