Reviews

109 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
The Middle (2009– )
9/10
Eden Sher better never quit her day job
22 May 2014
"The Middle," which -- wink-wink -- is set in Indiana (middle America), and which airs in the middle of the week on Wednesday nights, is about an average American suburban family where the parents are -- surprise! -- level-headed, normal, rational, and politically moderate. The show certainly doesn't lack an identity crisis, yet it is hardly a work of genius, beyond the decision to cast Eden Sher as Sue Heck, the (of course) middle child, likely for whom the show is named. Without Heck, even the pilot doesn't get picked up; with it, you have one of the most enjoyable shows in the history of primetime.

ABC could easily have resurrected The Brady Bunch, casting Sher as Jan, and accomplished the same result, but the original character of Sue Heck is like Jan Brady without the confines of The Brady Bunch's rich history. Jan was a relatively normal middle child, yet her angst never rang true. As I said somewhere else, Sue Heck makes Jan Brady look like Marcia Brady. I have never seen an actor so totally take over a character the way Sher has done with Sue; she makes each new episode of this otherwise-mediocre show and makes it Emmy-worthy. Sher's next stop is the film world, if she wants it, where fans will directly pay her salary, a much higher bar to clear than that of the sponsors, and why so many television actors fail in film.

Sue's siblings, Brick and Axl, are typical television tripe, terribly predictable, and not very enjoyable to watch. The alleged leads, Neil Flynn and Patricia Heaton, will never rewrite any acting textbooks, but the same cannot be said of Eden Sher. Watching Sue Heck on screen each week is the highlight of my week, and to those who say I must have no life if that is the case, I would that anyone who doesn't mark their calendars to watch her is the one in need of better recreational activities.

Sue Heck is what you hope to find when a new series (or one you just started watching) debuts. I found "The Middle" because Hulu rotated it after the show I had intended to watch was finished. After a single episode, I was completely hooked on this incredibly deep, layered, nuanced character, played by an actress who leave writers wishing everyone could make them look so good. At some point, Sher will be called upon to prove that she didn't luck out with Sue, or just happen to be a perfect fit, but i suspect she'll be up to the task. She's truly brilliant.
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Hart of Dixie (2011–2015)
9/10
Doctor, Doctor, Give Me The News.....
21 May 2014
As a paralegal from the north who wound up working at a divorce, criminal-defense, and bankruptcy firm in Albany, GA for four months, I can relate to this show, which serves up a slice of upscale southern living in generous, stereotypical, yet delicious heaps.

The flash-mob scene from the second season (from which the title of this review is taken) is a microcosm of this series, a pelasant vehicle for capturing one of the most beautiful women who have ever lived, at her prime, in a show that takes great pains to play to its strenghts, while getting out of its own way. Hart of Dixie understands its purpose and mission, and always keeps to task. It's a great watch. The plot and actual show mean very little. In fact, if they eliminted the audio from a show, I bet the ratings would not fall.

The 9-star rating is for female lead Rachel Bison's incredible body and beauty. Many women think being thin and not deformed is enough to attract men, but women like Rachel Bison -- and Heidi Mueller, or Brittany Underwood, to name two others -- are just a cut above physically, and Bilson is a cut above every woman. Perfect body, perfect features, perfect skin, incredibly hypnotic eyes, and when her character is in heat, the network censors likely blush for a moment. The smartest thing the producers did was to put Rach3el and her body front and center, with generous camera shots, especially the closeups when she's in love with Wade or George.

As for the show, Dr. Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) is one of the most unconvincing characters in the history of television, but this can be excused because it's just a plot device. The true star of the show is Dixie itself, and what it is like for a "Yankee" to find themselves living and working among the rednecks. The characters are extremely authentic, and the show excellently conveys the social inclusion and toloerance of individual quirks I have never found in the north. I would say that real life has a few more Meatballs and fweer Wades and Georges, but that wouldn't maqke for as good a show.

With that said, the plot and episodes don't matter if you're male. You'll start watching, and awaken from your trance a half-hour later with the incredibly sexy essence of Rachel Bilson in your brain. Whoever figured out that just letting the cameras roll while trained on her as much as possible, with the best cinematography possible, was the key to a hit series, was an absolute genius. The woman is literally a walking work of art.
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Death Clique (2014 TV Movie)
1/10
Guilty
21 May 2014
In 2012, Skylar Neese was murdered by two of her friends; in 2014, her story was murdered by Hollywood. Some films are so bad they are good; this one is so bad it gives Below Utopia a run for its money.

My ongoing prayer that Lexi Ainsworth won't make me look stupid by making my prediction of an Oscar for her within a decade or so just took a slight hit, but through no fault of her own. The fate of her character in the film appears a metaphor for the actress's true opinion of the material. Given absolutely atrocious writing, and a nearly-as-atrocious supporting cast, she did her best to save it, but the patient died anyway. In this film, Lexi is like the slow kid stuck at the doorbell after her friends rang it and ran way, leaving her to account for the sins of her peers.

Sara Cowan (Lexi), Jade (Brittany Underwood), and new-girl Ashley (Tiina Ivle) form the titular clique, with one meeting the titular fate. The unattractive Ivlev chews the scenery as if she'd smoked six joints on an empty stomach on her way to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Her impact on the film is that of a nuclear weapon. The exceptionally hot Brittany Underwood reveals that she is a much stronger television actress who comes much more into her own with a long-term role. Her take on Jade seems to be that of "submissive lesbian stoner." As Sara, Lexi mails it in, but does so with first-class postage for a script she could easily have performed in her sleep. The best she could give is what she gave: an absence of even minor mistakes. Having seen both Underwood and Lexi on soaps for years, I know what each are capable of. The emotional range she displayed in the scene she turned in on GH when Mac killed Warren could have won film awards. With compelling material, and a competent cast, she'll shine, but this film has neither.

Ideally, a world-class actress should be able to sit and wait for that killer script, but in the real world the bills have to be paid, and films like this have their place in the profitable true-crime niche, where the confines of the story tend to suffocate an actor's ability to take over a film. Rarely has this been made more apparent to me than here.
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The Good Wife (2009–2016)
8/10
A Paralegal Reviews "The Good Wife"
20 May 2014
Lockhart Gardner Canning? They hired me six times, fired me three, and I quit the other three. Typical big-city, high-powered firm. First time I was a temp for David Lee, who fired me the first day because I'm a guy, but then Diane and Alicia hired me back just to get under David's skin. I stayed until midnight once to help them win a big case, and then David hired me back to prevent a wealthy female divorce client from firing him.

Will always kept his distance from me, but was polite because he didn't want to seem jealous to Alicia, who thought I was the best paralegal she ever had. Peter couldn't stand me because of Alicia but didn't want to seem sexist to his kids. Whenever I ran into him we'd chat and he'd ask about Alicia, remind me he was the governor (so what?), and try to figure out if Alicia and I had ever slept together (we hadn't, but one night we went for drinks on the way home after winning a case and something could have happened). KIalinda? Don't get me started. We were stuck waiting for an e-mail for two hours one night and got into it about sex, men, women, and power. Lots of sexual aggression but neither of us would ever settle for the other.

Canning? Strictly business, pays well, respects support staff, but they all do pretty much. He plays to win and plays rough but plays fair, expecting everyone else to do the same. Totally nice guy outside of work but I did have to turn down his wife. Stopped working with Alicia when she opened her new firm because it's out of the way and in a building I don't trust, but she's arranging for me to telecommute. I like working in this field because the focus is on skill, we all work for the system, and everyone is smart. That they look good and are freaky is just a bonus.

They're doing what? A show about my former employer? No one would believe it. I hope they do it in a way that shows how much smarter, cooler, sexier, sharper, more professional, and better-dressed anyone who works at a law firm is relative to the average person. The audience of people who would live vicariously through the firm if they knew what really went on could be pretty big.

There's also this one wmoan I temped for who acts completely crazy but it's all an act. Someone left a few letters off her first name on her birth certificate. Most brilliant boss I've ever had.
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8/10
What every film should be. Sonja Kinski's breakthrough performance.
11 October 2013
NOTE: watch this film THREE times if you want to understand it, or pay very close attention the first.

It would have been very easy to rate this film a perfect 10, and IU could have justified this, but perfection is such a lofty height that I don't know if I'd rate any film that good (maybe I have in my many other reviews). I came cross this film by accident, with absolutely no preconceived notions about its content, but was in a situation where I wouldn't avoid watching it. I had never heard of anyone associated with the film; I call it "breakthrough" for Kinski, the daughter of 1980s tabloid darling Nastasssj. With a conservative critical eye, however, I can't rate this film less than an 8, which, to me, makes it an excellent film.

This is a low-budget indie, so if you're expecting plush cinematography and special-effects, you're in the wrong place. This character- and dialogue-driven film is everything not only an indie film, but any film, should be: the writer's clear vision is eloquently put forth on film, in a format that makes the audience come to the artist, rather than having the artist pander to the audience. Henry (Brian McGuire) is terribly unsympathetic, neurotic, obsessive-compulsive, yet has learned to navigate the world around him by using these traits to his advantage, as evidenced by the love triangle he pivots. The film begins with his fiancé, Beth (Nina Millin), kicking him out of their home because she found a recording of them having sex. Her conflict for the remainder of the film is whether or not to accept this quirk of her otherwise good man.

While Beth is tied up with her conflict, Charlotte ("Charlie") (Sonja Kinski), steals not only her man's attention, but the entire film, turning it pretty much into a one-woman show. The film won Best Ensemble at the DFFA, yet Kinski so badly outclasses a decent supporting case that I have to view the two separately. Her character is what I'd always imagined a "Suicide Girl" to be like, and there are vague references to websites in that vain. Like the Suicidce Girls, Charlie is edgy, and sexually adventurous, but never distasteful or crude. Her tolerance of, and to-one-the-water participation in, adult industry in general make this clear. The film "stars" Brian McGuire but the viewer would have a hard time believing this by the end of the film.

Of the supporting characters, Kate (Jessica Golden) is barely memorable, as are the actors who play Jason, Brian, Rose, Ben, and everyone except for George (Jeff Doucette), who gives a good accounting of himself as a micro-celebrity meeting his biggest fan (I can relate to that one!). To be fair, the "ensemble" was not giving much to chew on, since the focus of the film is, in order, Charlie's self-actualization, Henry's self-acceptance, and how Beth assimilates multiple reality-checks. Refreshingly,the film is devoid of the BANAL subplots which infect big-budget films. This film almost works better in stripped-down form. I shudder to think what brand-name actors and directors would have done to this marvelous concept.

The two points I deducted were for lack of exploration of why Beth and Henry got together, why Charlie is the way she is, or what she has learned from becoming what she will be, and the lack of a strong supporting cast with strong scripting to round out the film. These are minor against the film's many incredible positives, and I'm very glad I watched it. While thought-provoking, it is more entertaining, and anyone who wants to know why Sonja Kinski may get the critical acclaim and Oscar which escaped her mother need look no farther than this film. You can be sure the A-list producers and directors now have her firmly on their radar. Look for some incredible work from her in the next decade.
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8/10
Catch a rising star...and a decent film
3 October 2013
I've been a fan of Eric "King of the B-movies" Roberts ever since I caught The Ambulance and Hit-man's Run on cable in the 1990s, and I've been a fan of General hospital since 1984. I never really understood the persistent appeal of soaps and B-movies until Alexandra Danielle "Lexi" Ainsworth graced my television set with ten minutes or more of screen time a day as mafia brat Kristina Corinthos, when the lightbulb went off: like minor-league baseball, soaps and B-movies offer the chance to watch greatness in the making, literally to catch a rising star before the world does, in generous doses. Ainsworth, offered this role within seconds of hanging up the phone after being told she was fired from General Hospital because they wanted an older, "hotter" Kristina as their romantic lead – only to decline a return to the role when GH realized the error of its ways with her replacement – entered this film like a batter who tore up the minors with a .427 batting average now facing big-league pitching. How would she fare? This fan's opinion of her work was strong enough for me to gamble $14.98 on the answer.

For Ainsworth, my standards were much higher than for the film. Any holiday film is going to be restricted by the parameters of the genre. For the actress, however, I was looking for signs of whether or not she could carry a film, and if she could score points for more than just avoiding the garden-variety acting mistakes which were absent in her performances on General Hospital, like in the scenes where she flourished, either by staring down an intimidating Bruce Weitz without saying a word, or by humbling soap vet Maurice Benard at the tender age of sixteen. Where other actresses would have cried, screamed, yelled, and moved their extremities like traffic cops, Ainsworth's instinctive understanding of when to let the scene do the talking strongly suggested she could handle this step up in class like a champion. My bigger question was whether director Richard Foster, and the writers, could handle her. On whole, I would say she gave the better accounting of herself.

This is a good, but not a great film. It is worth the purchase price, and will definitely be worth the time spent watching should it land on cable or Netflix, if only for Ainsworth's performance alone. In the film, eighteen year-old Ashley Lane (Ainsworth) is put in the position of media-res narrator, which allows her to showcase her talents. Within minutes, we are shown where the film winds up, leaving the question not what will happen, but why, who will be involved, and how. Casino was the textbook film on how to pull this off, and this film does so adequately. Fans who were wondering if Eric Roberts and Vivica A. Fox could sing will get their answer.

The film's saving grace, if one pardons the pun, is the director's astute use of third-billed Ainsworth, clearly the star of the film, with screen time to match. The lesser talents in the cast are relegated in direct proportion to their ability, except for Roberts, who is seriously underutilized. Fox gives a good accounting as the mother, but the blended family is more of a gratuitous political statement, as if to say we've come so far against racism that no one bats an eye at a racially mixed family. The message is useful, but not really central to the film. What is central is Ashley's journey of self-discovery, played flawlessly by Ainsworth, to the point where, by the end of the film, it Is rather clear she has outstripped the writing, and does not just belong in the majors, but needs to be traded to a championship team, or to have one built around her.

The other actors in the film are competent, with Danielle Vega (Angelina) giving an exceptional performance in a limited supporting role. Her physical resemblance to Ainsworth is a bit confusing, so pay attention; absent Ainsworth, she could have played the lead more than adequately, and her scenes were among the best of the film. Glee's Titus Makin (Jason) shows competence, but not greatness, while Fox and Roberts are not given enough to do until near the end. Bryan Massey (Mac) plays the "white Magical Negro," who assist the lead in her journey of self-discovery, a job on which the writers fell down a peg or two. Justin Avery (Jon) plays the romantic fodder, but is otherwise superfluous and stereotypical. Ainsworth is left stranded by the writing, not because the film is poorly written, but because of her amazing talent. There is only so much one can do with a film like this.

Very early on in the film, Ainsworth mows down the "movie star" checklist: flawless body language and voice tone, the ability to slip into character convincingly, a rare level of attention to detail, exceptional range which exceeded the writing, and a sexuality which, while not the typical "bombshell" variety, would leave one hard-pressed to find a man who would reject her, and which, even while front-and-center, is never gratuitous or crude. Surround her with top-shelf talent, and she can and will go anywhere in film, or in series television; perhaps ABC will reconsider Ainsworth and Jennifer Beals's pilot "Westside" on which they foolishly passed.

For all its many good points, the film needed a stronger compass, particularly with regard to what makes Ashley tick, and why she transformed into a good girl without much resistance, but these are minor plot issues that detract very little from an excellent performance in a decent film, one which could have ruined my afternoon off, leaving me feeling like I wasted my $14.98, but which definitely did not. I highly recommend this film. My primary question was answered: Lexi Ainsworth is more than capable of carrying a film. I look forward to her future work.
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We Have A New Female Superstar
23 May 2010
Perhaps the worst-kept secret in Hollywood at this point is the incredible talent that is Los Angeles native Francia Raisa, currently of The Secret Life Of The American Teenager. She reminds me of an unbeaten racehorse who keeps winning, even as it moves up in class. The more they give her to work with, and the brighter they shine the light upon her, the better she performs. She is developing so fast as an actress that a future Oscar is likely, once she gets a script worthy of that level of performance. Sadly, this film, like its predecessor (CE3), doesn't rise to that level, but she manages to make a good film out of mediocre film with yet another flawless performance. Raisa is back as Alex Delgado, with a new "pinwheel" cast designed to highlight her talents, much as in CE2, with Christy Romano. Her supporting cast is much stronger, with numerous actors likely to become household names as well, most notably Brendan Fehr, who has been bouncing around television, most notably the CSI franchise, for a while. His talents allowed Raisa to shine much more than Matt Lanter in CE3. The plot is standard by now: love-hate relationship between longshot pairs figure skaters complicates existing obstacles to glory. It worked so well in 1992 that ABC Family has taken to making three sequels, each with a slightly different angle. As I said in my review of the first film, surprise is not the goal here, but romance, although this film is a bit lacking in that department. By now, fans of this franchise have embraced its predictability, instead focusing on the cast, the acting, the plagiarism from the original(s), and how the story will once again be retold. This film could have done well even as a standalone, big-budget, feature film. Raisa is going to be out of challenges soon enough, and should wait patiently for the "role of a lifetime," the one that will let her show the less perceptive folks in the world know she's one of the best (and hottest) actresses of this generation. She is everything Jennifer Lopez wishes she were, but never became, and then some.
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5/10
Megan Fox Is STILL The Second Sexiest Woman On Earth
21 October 2009
Whither Megan Fox? My "secret" got out, and I feel like a guy who told the paper about his favorite lunch spot, only to have them run an article that drove so much business there that I can't even get a seat at my old table. FHM and Maxim may have only gotten a clue this year, but they aren't the only two mags with "Top 100" lists.

In 2005, I compiled my own little list, and listed the Megan Fox that Michael Bay thought "no one had ever heard of" as #2 on my list of "Top 100 Sexiest Famous Women In America," which I published on my website. This was based on her super-sexy, and super-SMART performance in Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen. That the role left an impression on no one else didn't matter; I'm a guy, and know world-class sexy when I see it. Did Megan Fox CARE that I ranked here there? Of course not. She did, however, hit up one of the big magazines' hot-100 parties, as a reward for their being three years behind the internet, and a list created specifically to "scoop" the "big lists." Mission accomplished on all counts.

Fast-forward to now, and EVERYONE sees what I saw in 2005. Was Megan Fox UGLY back then? No. Then why was she OFF these lists entirely? The media just brainwashes men into confusing fame with being hot, and now she has both, so it's easier to see her physical supremacy. I can't even fantasize about her anymore without feeling like the whole world is watching. Tsk. For those who care, in 2005 the woman I ranked at #1 was Chrishell Stausse, a newcomer to All My Children who is still going strong, and who is about as sexy as Fox, but without the fame (yet). I figure that scoop is forthcoming around 2012.

This is relevant to Jennifer's Body because Megan Fox is still the *second* sexiest "famous" woman in America, and now she has made the *second* sexiest horror film ever. Like Fox herself was in 2005, an unknown talent, in an unknown internet film, trumped this big-studio attempt at an "abreactive mind-control" horror film, in every category.

The film is called "hypnothings." It can be found on the internet, from a producer named Kismet. It contains genuine hypnosis, of an extremely sexy nature, with the lead actress using the exact "bambi" voice that Fox spoke of using for her character, only to produce a much stronger (actual hypnosis) reaction in the viewer, if the viewer chooses to go under. The actress from hypnothings, Marta McGonagle (now a rising star of her own), is hotter than Megan Fox. Her voice is sexier than Megan Fox, and she has even more of a "supernatural power" over men, like the one Fox brags of. McGonagle is superior to Fox in every way, shape and form, but the two of them are superior to the rest of the world, by a much larger margin. Hypnothings (if you go under to it) is way superior to Jennifer's Body (which is of the "implied" nature that Hollywood loves to mail it in with) is less cerebral, with less of an impact on the viewer. The plots are not identical, but the psychological space in which the lead actress took herself in each film, is.

That McGonagle languishes in obscurity, while Fox is "#1 sexy" is a crime against nature. Put her in ANY role claimed by Fox, and she would do just as well, if not better. She's just SEXIER, but, like Fox in 2005, unless she's on the Big Media radar, the public will not become aware of her, and that's sad. Everything Megan Fox wishes she were, Marta McGonagle already IS, just like Fox was as hot, if not hotter, back in 2005, than she is now. Fox also thinks she is "controversial," or "cutting edge," but by internet standards, she has mainstreamed herself into a lame joke by comparison, one in which she has become her own punch line. Fox herself is too busy for much of an internet presence, or maybe she knows that she's not cut out for this jungle, where the pay is lower, the hours are longer, the work is more true to art than business, and where "implied sexy" no longer cuts it.

If Fox thinks her "deadly Bambi" voice is seductively deadly, she should check out a copy of Hypnothings sometime. McGonagle already ran for a touchdown with that ball, while Fox barely made it to the first-down market. Here you have two actresses, with essentially the same looks, doing essentially the same things, and the same fame/income imbalance that plagues the entertainment industry as a whole, and will continue to do so until Hollywood is finally done spending yesterday's money, and goes broke, forcing its "A-list" to begin to seek work out here.
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9/10
Christy Carlson Romano Skates For A-List Gold
15 August 2009
"Cutting Edge 2: Going For The Gold" is technically a sequel to The Cutting Edge (1992), but is constructed as an A-list audition vehicle for child prodigy, and Disney phenom, Christy Carlson Romano, one she passes with flying colors. Look for one or more starring roles in big-budget films from her in the next few years. Romano brings a level of talent, professionalism, and depth to this film that rivals Jackie Dorsey's (Romano) dominance over her skating rivals. Via Jackie, Romano completely dominates the film, the center of a circle, with all supporting characters equidistant along the circumference. The producers elected to use the long-overdue, and eagerly anticipated, sequel to the 1992 classic, one of the most underrated romantic comedies of all time as a showcase for Romano, to answer the question of whether or not she can carry a film as an adult. She most definitely can. She is so methodically proficient it makes everyone else's competent work look poor. This film was likely chosen as the vehicle because Romano's character is new, allowing her to build it from scratch.

Romano's first hurdle was to evolve Kate (Stephanie Kramer) and Doug Dorsey's (Scott Thompson Baker) bloodline, and she proved an excellent student of the film's history. Jackie has Kate's beauty, grace, and refinement, strengthened by Doug's physical strength and hockey-player temperament. Her total fleshing out of Jackie makes it easy to assemble a "pinwheel" cast that does little more than play off her, with each character symbolized by its portrayer.

Through a picture of Doug and Kate on the podium, we learn they medaled in 1992. We also learn that Doug and Kate now live in perfect, retired harmony, content to live vicariously through their daughter's intensity. Their vow not to push Jackie into figure-skating resulted in Jackie pushing herself harder than even her grandfather had pushed Kate. Instead of skating tips, a ticket to Los Angeles and a swiped pair of skates induce a much-needed vacation, as Jackie was pushing herself too much in recovery from a broken leg that converted her into a pairs skater who couldn't find a partner. Fans of the original film know that a fish-out-of-water will stumble into the sport, and Jackie's heart, and that the hardest trick the talented pair will have to learn is conquering its emotions. Enter extreme skater and slacker extraordinaire, Alex Harrison (newcomer Ross Thomas), a brief love interest upon meeting Jackie on the beach.

This film disposes of the "talent question" quickly, by depicting Alex as a world-class skating acrobat, whose only barrier to figure-skating glory is motivation, and the ability to conform to a structured environment. We see tricks that make it very clear that once he "figures" out ice skates, the rest will come quickly, and naturally. A dynasty like the Dorseys stays on top by keeping an open mind, as Kate did when Alex showed up after three months of learning the basics. While all Jackie saw was red, Kate saw a "natural" with "no bad habits" that she could whip into Olympic shape, if only she could get him on the same page as her daughter, while remaining well aware of how much Alex is like Doug.

Like Harrison, Thomas is more or less along for the ride, present primarily to showcase Romano's acting talents, while a bit raw, and out of his creative element. Like Jackie does with Alex, Romano brings out the best in Thomas, going out of her way to make him better, and to allow him to make her better. Both Alex and Thomas are vital to the plot, but Christy and Jackie are always in charge.

Unfortunately, once you move past the four leads, the film falls apart. The peripheral cast, particularly the skaters, are well portrayed, with each given a bit of an ice showcase, rather than serving as mere elimination fodder for the leads, who are confident throughout the film that victory is imminent. This film would offer no miracles, no Pamchenko, and no need for anything but Jackie to keep her emotions in check, and Alex to continue to thrive in his newly structured environment, one he sought out because, as he said, he likes to challenge himself and work hard. The skating scenes have the lead pair repeatedly playing off each other's talent in a way that allows them to dominate the sport, as long as they remain focused on the skating, rather than the growing, alternating attraction they alternately deny. Kim Kindrick turns in a forgettable performance as Heidi, who takes over the "role" of Hale from the original.

The only area where Romano is not convincing is not her fault: Jackie is just not BUILT like a figure-skater, and definitely not one who can do triples. Think "Tonya Harding" for the proper athletic build. Someone like Shawn Johnson (the gymnast) would have been a much more convincing lead. Romano is too lanky for this film, but her acting gets her a pass.

The director did a horrible job with continuity, such as when Doug claims to have skated in a playoff game, despite his career ending as an amateur, or where Jackie says Alex is "engaged" before he announces it. Her body language and chemistry with Thomas were stellar, enough to earn this film a place in the series. Those who wish to trash this film as a lousy sequel do not understand its purpose, and haven't seen the third installment, which proves that a lot more could have gone wrong with this surprisingly decent film.

Romano has proved that she can drive even a broken-down script. It's time to give her a Jaguar and let her rip apart the speedway. The right role could easily land her an Oscar. Like Jackie, she's bank.
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Speed (1994)
10/10
The best picture of 1994
25 April 2008
The film has not a single flaw, and a minimum of physics-defying stunts necessary to make the action film work. The bus is diverted to a place where it can (temporarily) survive, and the few leaps of faith (and more yards than a human can leap) are minimalistic plot devices, nothing more. This film is about the people caught in a suspenseful, yet survivable, crisis. This firlm is a THRILLER that demolishes its peers from its own era and rivals that of any era, and even that quaint little British serial about some over-the-top secret agent spty guy.

Keanu Reeves (Jack "I put the SWAT in SWAT" Traven, LAPD SWAT) and Sandra Bullock (Annie Porter) could Just as easily have been Gable and Hepburn. Reeves is more cartoonish, but carries his "supporting" role well. The clear star of the film is Sandra Bullock, the grouchy, half-awake commuter grunt thrust behind the wheel of a bus that is rigged to explode if it slows down below 50 mph. Hitchcock would have been proud of the suspense, and special effects worthy of evolving his cro-duster scene from that era.

While a complete film in the true sense of the word, the story never strays from its title premise. The desperation attempts to survive could fail at any time, and the passengers not only know this, but half of them seem to expect it, though they try as they can to survive. This film brought us an insider's video of those scenes we usually only read about or watch on the news, and gave us an oddball supporting cast of stereotypical LA and tourist types that made us feel like we were on the bus right with them, wishing the crisis was over so we could get to wherever we were going, and do what we were doing, without being bothered by high-level criminals using us as a pawn, and could they please get us off this damn bus? What every action film tries to be, and rarely is. Die Hard on a bus.
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