5 Reviews
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Jumper (2008)
Forget the flood, go to London.
22 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Movies work best when you care about the characters. It's hard to care about a guy who has this amazing super power, which he could easily use to bring relief to those flood-plagued areas he sees on the news, but instead goes to London and picks up chicks. This scenario occurs early in the film, and would have been a good set-up for a story of personal redemption. But the redemption never came. I kept hoping that the hero would, you know, do some GOOD with his abilities. The only good thing he does is save his girlfriend - noble, sure, but with all that potential, I would have been more satisfied if he'd gone and helped with the flood. In short, a barely heroic hero does not an enjoyable movie make.

Side notes. Hayden Christensen is no Robert DeNiro, but he came close in "Life As A House". Doug Liman is no Frank Capra, but he shone when he directed "The Bourne Identity". Start making good movies again, you guys.
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Surprisingly doesn't suck.
8 February 2008
I'm very pleased with the TV incarnation of the Terminator universe, at least thus far. It is visually engaging, mostly well-acted and -written, and strikes a good balance between action and drama, exploring worthwhile themes while not skimping on the fighting, shooting & explosions.

Lena Headey is a good strong actress. Her portrayal of Sarah may be softer than Linda Hamilton's in T2, but in time I hope to see some exploration of the character's darker side. Thomas Dekker is convincing as the conflicted John, and Summer Glau has a Firefly fan-pleasing turn as the female Terminator-cum-distant relative of River Tam.

I was happily surprised at the quality of this show. Though the CGI visual effects may be lacking compared to the films, I am willing to let that slide in light of the decent plot lines and interesting revelations about the Terminators and the looming Judgement Day. I hope the show continues not to suck.
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Not excellent.
21 November 2006
Interesting subject matter and gorgeous set pieces can't change the fact that this was a pretty dumb movie.

There were actors - there were some pretty amazing actors - but not much acting. Furthermore, outside of Dan Brown's carefully thought-out novel, it doesn't seem like there was a lot of actual writing done either.

Much research went into the historical references. Not much went into decent storytelling or convincing film-making. It's more like an essay on the history of religious symbols disguised as a movie, than an actual movie. If you're making a thirty-minute TV documentary, then that's one thing. But if I'm paying $10 to see this in a theater, or $4 to rent it, I want something better acted and written.

"The Da Vinci Code" wasn't particularly entertaining. It wasn't anything. It was ... I'm trying to think of a better word than "bland", but it isn't really worth thinking of one.
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Wow! It really wasn't that good.
4 October 2003
Maybe I'm the only one who found this movie predictable and stagey, with a lot of lackluster performances and mediocre visuals. I guess I could go on and nitpick and hem and haw, but because I'm trying to be easier to get along with, I won't torture you like that. So. I won't hold it against you if YOU like this, but if you do, then please let me know why, because I'm really searching.
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Lyle, Lyle, Don't Leave Me Now!
28 February 2003
I was six and living in New York when this delightful musical-comedy based on the popular children's books debuted in my home. Sixteen years, several schools and two countries later, I rediscovered this video on my parents' shelf and absconded with it, in the hopes of showing it to my own kids when they arrive. Before I buy any Barney or Disney or Muppet movies, my children are going to watch "Lyle, Lyle Crocodile".

If you're unfamiliar with the story, it follows the adventures of a fairly modern American family in the midst of an unwanted move to the city, who find much to their dismay that a real, live crocodile is resting in their new bathtub! Turns out that the enormous smiling reptile is a trained and intelligent performer, left in the family's temporary care by his showbiz manager, who promises them, "I shall return!" Although it's a major adjustment (Turkish caviar is awfully expensive, and apparently that's all Lyle eats), the family comes to love Lyle, who helps with their household chores and forms a firm bond of friendship with the young son Joshua. But Lyle's manager makes good on his promise, and is intent on returning Lyle to his stage-and-screen lifestyle. Will the family ever see Lyle again? Of course they will, but as with most children's films, it is the lesson we learn from the story that is important, and not the devices thereof.

I don't know if "Lyle, Lyle" is even available to buy any more. I haven't seen it on television, or advertised in any catalogues. Which is a shame, really, because it's a treasure: wholesome, funny, sometimes sad, but always enjoyable. Children can identify with Joshua and Lyle's friendship, and will learn early on that crying and loving are all right. Parents can find joy and even relief that a children's cartoon exists which tells a tasteful story and teaches an actual lesson, rather than merely showcasing the shenanigans of a few rainbow-painted lunatics. And although there are kids' programs today that are free of violence and useless insanity, many tend to reach a level of high annoyance that "Lyle, Lyle" completely avoids. You'd never get sick of your son or daughter singing the "Moving Into a New House" song, or comforting them every time Lyle's manager takes him away from his new family. In fact, you'd be positively heartwarmed at the emotional response your children would show.

I can't stress how wonderful "Lyle, Lyle" is. If you have kids, or know someone who does, and you come across a copy of this cartoon (we got it through the HBO video collection, but that was, as I say, 16 years ago), grab it up and let them see it. If you want to, watch it yourself first. It is a must-see for anybody of any age who has moved to a new house, adjusted to unusual circumstances, needed cheering up, lost a friend, or made one. And, of course, anybody who's owned a crocodile.

8 out of 10.
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