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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Oh wow! This episode is amazing!, 27 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Happy Days" was one of my favorite TV shows but I haven't really watched it that much in syndication over recent years. This evening, by chance, I happened to tune in to this episode and was absolutely mesmerized. Considering that this episode was produced toward the end of this show, when it was on the wane, its high quality is particularly surprising Basically the premise of the episode is this. Fonzie drags Chachi and another friend of his out of the movie theater to show them the wrecked 1955 convertible he is trying to restore. After finding his friends unappreciative of his latest venture, Fonzie reprimands them and expresses his nostalgia for 1955 before dismissing his friends and sitting in the car and soaking up the atmosphere. Then a beautiful young woman named Nancy Hayes walks into the frame and Fonzie is smitten. But all is not what they seem and things start getting very strange indeed...

The writers of this episode, presumably more acclimatized to writing comedy, have ventured into another genre altogether in this episode and they do it very well. The plot unfolds flawlessly, the script (apart from one or two continuity gaffes and errors) is intriguing and engaging and the dialogue and interaction between the characters very well done. Additionally the way in which horror, intrigue, spookiness, comedy, drama and suspense are so effectively combined into one episode is amazing. It's kind of Hitchcock meets 1950s-era sitcom and the ambiance and charm of the whole episode makes for great viewing and makes it a masterpiece The cast play their roles well as usual (although Fonzie seems slightly out of character at one or two points) but Alexa Hamilton is amazing in her role as Nancy Hayes. She gives her character the depth, dimension and mystery that really makes it come to life and greatly enhances the effectiveness of the plot.

A really standout episode from a great series

A storyline with great potential and a cast with great actors undermined by poor plot development, 13 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Losing Isaiah" is one of those movies which should have been a masterpiece. It had a star-studded cast of very talented actors and actresses and a controversial premise that could have proved intriguing and thought provoking. It's such a shame then that this movie is undermined by weak plot development, poor character development and a sloppy script To be fair, this movie isn't terrible but I think that's mostly due to the excellent casting in this movie rather than anything else. Jessica Lange gives great depth and dimension to her role and allows the viewer to feel great sympathy, understanding and compassion for her character and its predicament. Samuel L Jackson also gives quite a lot of depth to his role Mark John Jeffries is amazing in his portrayal of Isaiah -great talent for one so young -and Daisy Eagan's performance as Jessica Lange's daughter is also wonderful. This is not Halle Berry's best performance but in all fairness, I don't think this is totally her fault for reasons I'll mention below The character development is woeful. Both Halle Berry and Samuel L Jackson in particular are essentially reduced to stock characters with the latter in particular reduced to spouting out tired old clichés about race and racial stereotypes that are tedious and almost painful to watch. In the hands of more talented production/script team, these issues could probably have been discussed and explored much more effectively but here they just sound weak and annoying. Halle Berry's character is equally as badly sketched and the writers fail to give it the depth and the substance (or the dialogue or emotion) that would allow the audience to feel greater sympathy or empathy for her and her predicament.

Finally there's the plot development. Although the writers/producers do a good job exploring the circumstances behind the adoption of Isaiah by the Lewin family and illustrating how he has become an integral part of the family, they drop the ball as soon as they introduce the sequence of events where Halle Berry's character wants custody back of her baby. In particular the courtroom drama relating to Halle Berry's desire to have her son back was ultimately weak and deeply flawed -failing to explore the issues properly beyond a bunch of tired of clichés -and this meant that the court's ultimate judgment was unsatisfying and difficult to comprehend by the audience. To be fair, the ending to the movie wasn't totally awful but probably was a too cute effort to try and wrap everything up and tie up the loose ends and forge some attempt at consensus -probably unrealistic in real life.

"Losing Isaiah" is still a watchable movie despite all these flaws but it's just incredibly frustrating to see all the potential of a great cast and a great plot potential squandered. If you read Jessica Lange's comments about this movie in the trivia section, it probably sums up accurately this movie and all that is wrong with it

Hit and miss, 2 September 2011

Creating a modern-day Bollywood version of "Pride and Prejudice" was a novel idea and was always going to be a challenging enterprise and director Gurinda Chandha deserves great credit for attempting to try to do so. What she produces is a worthwhile product with some great flaws The movie is to be credited for seeking to introduce western audiences to Bollywood entertainment and I like that that the film incorporates most of the traditional aspects of Bollywood productions -singing, dancing, guest appearances unrelated to the movie's plot and so on. It also provides us with an interesting and colorful, if I suspect somewhat superficial, overview of some aspects of Indian lifestyle and culture. The singing and dancing is well choreographed and fun even if the lyrics appeared slightly clichéd. I have a feeling Chandha was having a good-natured dig at Bollywood tradition at some parts The plot flows nicely with most of the similarities to the Jane Austen novel plainly evident.

The casting was mostly good. Most of the Bakshi family closely matched their equivalents in the Bennett family and gave excellent performances in their respective roles. Martin Henderson was good as Will Darcy, Naveen Andrews was great as Balraj and the very talented Indira Varma was great as Kiran, the equivalent to Caroline Bingley. Daniel Gillies was good -if slightly forgettable as Johnny Wickham and Nitin Ganatra was hilarious as the irrepressible Mr Kohli.I could think of no better actress to play the Lady Catherine De Bourgh-like character Catherine Darcy than the very talented Marsha Mason.The one disappointment (other than what I'm going to get to in the next paragraph) was Alexis Bledel as Georgiana Darcy. Georgiana Darcy is one of my favorite characters in "Pride and Prejudice" but this version of Georgiana Darcy comes across as flat and unlikeable

But what really spoiled the movie for me was Aishwarya Rai in the main role of Lalita Bakshi, although in all fairness she was given some very sloppy character development and dialogue to work with by Chandha. She's such an irritating, annoying actress and her performance -at least in this movie -was horrible and her being the main character definitely destroyed the charm of this movie was for me. Rai has been quoted in interviews as saying that she didn't read "Pride and Prejudice" before appearing in this movie. Well, perhaps she should have. Lizzie Bennett is definitely opinionated and headstrong but she's also a very sympathetic character and the reader can passionately identify with where she's coming from. Even when we see the flaws in Lizzie's character, they are still portrayed in a sympathetic way in relation to her overall personality. Rai and Chandha make Lalita's character arrogant, rude and pretentious to the point where I was cheering on Darcy when he was being obnoxious to her. That shouldn't be how it is in a "Pride and Prejudice" adaptation

Perhaps this is a reflection of the overall script and character development in this movie, though. Many of the characters could have done with more depth, dimension and substance and there was a huge potential for greater fulfillment of the premise of this movie.The dialogue also fell flat at certain parts.

I think this movie has an interesting premise and the casting, the insights into some aspects of Indian life and the singing and dancing make this worthwhile viewing. However, the sloppy script, dialogue, character development and the casting of Aishwarya Rai in the role of Lalita detract from what otherwise could have been a great movie

Absolutely magical -a rare gem in a decade of absolutely awful romcoms, 2 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Romantic comedies as a genre have floundered over the past decade, largely due to the flaws of overly formulaic and predictable scripts and plots combined with atrocious dialogue and unlikable main characters. "Suddenly 30" may be slightly formulaic and predictable but manages to avoid all the other pitfalls and takes us back to an era when romantic comedies were interesting, intriguing and worthwhile viewing.

1987: A young, impressionable 13-year old Jenna Rink (Christa Allen) is desperately trying to fit in with the cool clique of kids at school and especially with the snobbish, vain and somewhat cruel Lucy Wyman. All this comes at the expense of Matt Flamhoff, her down-to-earth and slightly geeky friend who genuinely cares for her and who can see through the shallow and superficial world that Jenna craves so much. On her 13th birthday, Matt builds her a doll house and gives her some wishing dust but Jenna is much too interested in impressing Lucy and her cool clique. When they accept an invitation to her birthday party and bring along Jenna's crush Kirk Grady, Jenna is over the moon but it turns out that Lucy and her friends are playing a cruel and nasty trick on Jenna (all the while exploiting her by getting her to do their homework). When she finds out, a crushed Jenna makes a wish that she was "thirty, flirty and thriving". Add in Matthew's wishing dust and magic happens All of a sudden Jenna (Jennifer Garner) wakes up as a 30-year old. She takes a while to adjust to her new environment but finds out she has everything she ever wanted. She's popular, successful, has a handsome boyfriend and is best friends with her now co-worker Lucy. But Jenna is horrified to find that her 30-year old self is not a character she likes -she has become vain and ruthless with very dubious morals and ethics. Trying to make sense of everything that is happening, she tracks down Matt Flamhoff and finds that she's hurt him badly in the past as well. But Matt has moved on and found true love and Jenna finds herself alone and confused in a strange new world. Jenna must now learn some very important deep moral truths about life, relationship and true friendship. Can she undo the damage that she has done and can she salvage true love and happiness in this strange new world? One of the things I like about this movie is, in addition to the comedy and entertainment, it also explores many deeper themes such as being careful what you wish for and the danger of sacrificing true friendship while chasing after shallow and superficial dreams. And yet it does this in a way that is funny and entertaining in the way that romantic comedies are supposed to be.

The storyline, although predictable, flows smoothly and keeps the viewer engaged and intrigued. The dialogue is great and the humor very funny -not over the top and reliant on crude jokes or cheap gags like too many other romantic comedies these days. There is a lovely ambiance to this movie and a sweetness and charm that makes it all the more endearing The casting in this movie is second to none. All the young actors and actresses and their adult counterparts are all perfect for their roles and give a great depth and dimension to their characters. Jennifer Garner is especially superb as the adult Jenna Rink -giving a 30-year old character all the naievety and innocence of a 13 year old is no easy task but she does it superbly. Mark Ruffalo is also great as the adult Matthew Flamhoff -sweet, sensitive and charming. Andy Serkis is hilarious as adult Jenna's boss and Judy Greer is great as the adult Lucy Wyman. This is some of the best casting for a movie I have seen For those like me who love 80s nostalgia, this movie is full of it from the songs to the fashions to the whole ambiance throughout the film.

Tragically Gary Winick, the director of this masterpiece, died at too early an age this year. This movie truly shows what a capable and talented director he was and should be regarded as a tribute to his professionalism and his excellence in his role. I truly think this is one of the best rom coms I have seen and I cannot recommend it highly enough

Strangely addictive and great for entertainment value, 7 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

On the rare occasion I watched the "The Jerry Springer Show", I did take notice of Steve Wilkos in his role as a bouncer and took quite a liking to him. Now he's been given his own television show and the results are decidedly mixed Let me make it clear -this program is oddly addictive and great entertainment value (just as Jerry Springer was). The format of the show works reasonably well and Steve certainly plays his desired role to great effect. And let's face it, there is a great karmic satisfaction to seeing the array of losers who appear on his show -wife-beaters, child molesters and the whole undesirable motley crew -get their just desserts. If they've escaped conviction by the courts, they can go in front of Steve and he will humiliate them.

Yet I'm not sure how much substance this show actually has. A few of the cases don't look authentic to me -this may not necessarily be the show's fault as I'm sure, just like Jerry Springer, people will say the darnedest things and make the strangest claims to get on TV. Steve tends to get a bit self-righteous and over the top in terms of both his belligerence and moral high horse at times and one sometimes wonders how much actual good his yelling and intimidation of his guests actually does, even if it makes you feel better that he's doing it. He seems to have an unquestioning faith in the results of the lie detector tests, even though it has been proved that lie detector tests are not flawless and have been known to produce the wrong outcome at times. His audience's incessant droning of "Steeeeve" throughout the episode can be very irritating Still this show is great filler entertainment and is interesting to watch. I think Steve is good at what he does in terms of being a host and presenting a good show for the viewing public. I'm just not sure whether this show amounts to anything of substance or serious value

"Seinfeld" (1989)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Clever, well-written, funny, entertaining, delightful, engaging -what more could you want?, 5 February 2011

"Seinfeld" was undoubtedly one of the few comedic gems of the 1990s -a decade in which, sadly, the quality of sitcom-type comedy deteriorated to new lows from which it has never recovered. Even at its weakest moments, it was still entertaining enough and entertaining enough to be a great pleasure to watch This show is often characterized as being a "show about nothing". Technically I guess that's true -although there was a basic plot and premise to each episode, "Seinfeld" contrasted from most of the TV sitcoms at least in the early 1990s when there was quite often a moral and a defining theme/resolution to each episode. Part of the show's success was that it not only defied the traditional expectation of the sitcom-type genre but that it actually turned it on its hand and broke the rules completely. And yet it did it in such a way that it was still able to charm its audience and keep viewers as engaged and as entertained as any other sitcom. It also appealed to a new generation of viewers who wanted to explore new horizons in the TV comedic genre Larry David and whoever else worked on the scripts were geniuses. The dialogue was clever, witty, unpredictable and avoided -for the most part with occasional lapses -the old trap of becoming clichéd and laborious even in its later stages. The acting by the main cast was absolutely brilliant and the depth and dimension they gave to their characters was absolutely superb -not an easy feat given all the eccentric traits and neuroses that was quite evident in each of the character portrayals. The guest stars on this show also contributed a unique dimension to it and there were some truly outstanding one or two-time characters on this show -the Soup Nazi and Babu Bhatt come to mind.

The only bad thing I can think of about Seinfeld is that it inspired a whole genre of TV comedy that sought to emulate it and most of it has badly missed the mark. Nevertheless even this is a testament to how entertaining and enjoyable this show was. I wish we had more shows that could match the cleverness and excellence of "Seinfeld" but I suspect, sadly, that this was one of a kind

19 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
Terrible doesn't even begin to describe it, 31 January 2011

Family Guy is like a poor imitation of the Simpsons except that even the Simpsons at its most extreme worst would be an eternity ahead in quality, substance and entertainment than this drivel The premise of this show mostly comes from over the top, obnoxious, overly crude, insulting and idiotic humor which should not even be entertaining to a two year old. Additionally most of the jokes and popular culture references and parodies aren't even funny -Mr McFarlane and his cohorts really need to take a look at how the Simpsons spoof popular culture to take lessons on how do it right.

The only two characters who are even remotely entertaining on this show are Brian and Lois. Peter is mostly an obnoxious, unfunny buffoon with no entertainment value whatsoever, Meg is absolutely annoying and Stewie has his moments but they are few and far between. The rest of the supporting characters and cast -with the possible exception of the late Diane Simmons -are as equally annoying and irritating. Put together with the unfunny drivel that seems to pass for humor on this show, I can't understand why anyone finds this funny. To each his own I guess.

This is to be avoided like the plague and is a sad indication of what the state of modern television has declined to

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Usually this wouldn't be my type of sitcom but for some reason I love it, 4 January 2011

I approached this sitcom with a great deal of cynicism, expecting what you get from most modern sitcoms -sloppy acting, weak dialogue, poorly-written scripts and a terrible overall product. To my surprise this show has defied the genre and actually makes for light-hearted, entertaining and enjoyable viewing One thing that's unique about this show is that the plot, script and the dialogue does not seem to be particularly focused or concentrated -as other posters here have commented, the producers of this show seem to have allowed all three of these concepts to be somewhat vague and free flowing. Usually I dislike this style of executing a concept and it has dire consequences for the show but, in this show, it seems to work well and is perhaps its greatest strength.

The fact that it does is probably a tribute to the professionalism of the cast. Charlie Sheen is perfectly scripted for the role of Charlie Harper -the character seems to come naturally to him and it's almost like the producers wrote the character especially for him. Jon Cryer plays the uptight Alan to great effect and does a great job. Conchatta Farrell (sp?) is wonderful as the housekeeper Berta -she really brings depth to such a comedic role. The actor who plays Jake is great too -he doesn't take the role too seriously and seems to be having fun playing him and that's probably why it works so effectively. Holland Taylor is priceless as Evelyn, Charlie and Alan's mother.. And Marin Hinkle rounds it all off with a wonderful performance as Alan's ex-wife Yes, a lot of the humor is decidedly lowbrow and sometimes it can be over the top but it actually works well within the context of the show and doesn't detract from its quality. The sitcom has the rare trait of being engaging and yet lighthearted and easygoing at the same time, something very hard to accomplish A fun and entertaining show and way better than what I've come to expect from this genre these days

She Said No (1990) (TV)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
An intriguing and chilling movie with excellent acting, 10 October 2010

"She Said No" is an intriguing and chilling made-for-TV movie that raises interesting and complex issues but also heartbreakingly and powerfully portrays the ordeal of a rape victim whose suffering and pain at the hands of her tormentor continues long after the actual incident Beth Early accepts a ride home with a seemingly charming lawyer classmate at the French language course she is taking. He turns out to be an abusive and cruel rapist and, after he rapes her, she does the right thing and reports him to the police who subsequently charge him with the offense. But the prosecution's case collapses and the lawyer then uses his knowledge of legal proceedings to sue Ms Early for defamation.

The cast in this movie are fantastic. Judd Hirsch does a great job in portraying all the complex dimensions of his character -sinister, charming, evil and scheming all in one. Lee Grant is also great here in a sympathetic role.

But the real star of the show is Veronica Hamel. Rarely have I seen an actress bring a character to life with the depth and dimension that Veronica Hamel is able to do for the character of Beth Early. She gives the character all qualities, characteristics and emotions that enables the viewer to really empathize with her and what she is going through and she gives the character such believability and substance that you almost feel as though she is a real person. This is one of the best performances I have seen and it is a credit to Ms Hamel's ability as an actress that she is able to do this This movie is very well-made, powerful and intriguing and, despite the uncomfortable subject material, it is worthwhile viewing

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Absolutely sublime would be an understatement, 18 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This concert version of Les Miserables is literally almost picture perfect. It has a magnificent cast and the music is absolutely enchanting, wonderful and almost magical. It is perhaps the best stage production I have ever had the pleasure of viewing

Because it was a tenth anniversary celebration, this concert had the the advantage of having drawn together a diverse range of talent from around the globe.And they all shine to perfection. Of particular note is Ruthie Henshall's haunting performance of Fantine. She really brings the character to life in a way that I have very rarely seen either on stage or on television. She really made me understand and appreciate Fantine's character in a way that I had never been able to do previously -she just gave her so much heart, character and soul. I wish I could find the adequate words to capture the beauty and essence of how powerful and moving she was but I don't think they exist in language

That having been said, each member of the cast succeeds in giving their character a depth, dimension and substance that can very rarely be seen either in concert or on stage. Colm Wilkinson plays Jean Valjean so well that I have difficulty believing he is not a real character. Phillip Quast is the perfect Javert. Michael Ball is a great embodiment of Marius while Judy Kuhn plays Cosette so well (and the young girl who portrays the young Cosette is equally as brilliant). The couple who play the Thenardiers are really great comic talent and absolutely hilarious in their role. And I could just go on and on

The orchestral music, the costumes and the stage background for this show is second to none. And the last performance -well, I won't spoil it for you -but let's just say it's an absolute treat Please, if you never see another musical in your life, rent the video/DVD of this. I cannot recommend it highly enough

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