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8 reviews in total 
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"V" (2009)
10 out of 31 people found the following review useful:
Can't wait to see more!, 3 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a fan of the original and much campier V series back in the 80's, I can say with confidence that this version is and will continue to be much better! Sure, I'll miss Donovan sparring against Diana and those neon orange jumpsuits and dark glasses, but overall the look and feel of this show is so glossy smooth that I'm sure I'll soon forget these small comparisons. A few things stood out as exceptional choices on the part of the production staff; not only did they use many different and artistic camera angles, but contrasting the bright, shiny white life of the Visitors against the dark, dirty, messy world we live in every day makes the viewer quite literally pine for a taste of "the good life" on board the alien ship. I can see why the youth come in droves to sign up for the Peace Ambassador Program. I particularly liked the scene with Anna's sugary interview with Chad (Scott Wolf) interspersed with Georgie (David Richmond-Peck) explaining at the resistance meeting how the Visitors have been on Earth for years and that their human skin is just camouflage for their reptile appearance. Morena Baccarin is brilliant as Anna, the leader of the Visitors, her calm smile masterfully masking the thoughts behind her eyes. Elizabeth Mitchell plays Erica Evans, an FBI agent who stumbles onto the Visitors' conspiracy mostly by accident. I assume she is meant to take on the role of protagonist, and I confess that I'm not fond of the idea of the two main characters both being women. I really enjoyed the repartee between Donovan and Diana in the old series, there was a depth and softness to their relationship that won't be present between two women. I expect all we'll get from Erica and Anna is a lot of butting heads. The special effects appear to be top notch as well, and I appreciate that they have made it clear that this is a worldwide event that affects all of mankind.

Unfortunately there are a few things I dislike as well. I feel they have made a poor, and quite frankly extremely irritating choice in having so many people refer to the Visitors as "V's". Assuming they plan to hold to the basic premise of the original series, the V should represent the resistance; V stood for Victory against the oppressors. By having people refer to the aliens as "V's" will inevitably blur the line between the dual meanings. It's also unclear to me whether they plan to keep the Nazi undertones intact. You may recall the original series included a holocaust survivor teaching the local youth how to tag a Visitor propaganda poster with a red V. Also, the Peace Ambassador Program was a direct comparison to the Hitler Youth, and I appreciate that they have at least given the Peace Ambassadors a uniform. Nothing makes a teenager feel more powerful that putting him in a snappy uniform and giving him that sense of authority.

All in all, the premiere episode was extremely well done. Creatively filmed and expertly produced, I have high hopes that it will be an excellent show. It appears to have the right balance between bright and dark, action and conversation, hidden motives and blatant manipulation. I look forward to the developing relationships and deepening plot lines that are sure to come.

60 out of 123 people found the following review useful:
Looks good so far!, 2 October 2009

Stargate Universe shows a lot of promise as the newest addition to the Stargate franchise. It's interesting, different from the rest, and offers completely new and uncharted territory to discover and explore. The one problem I have with it is how closely it resembles Lost in Space. Despite the absence of the traditional family unit, we still have a father figure in Young, the brother/sister act in Eli and Chloe, and the dastardly Dr. Zachary Smith in Dr. Rush. I fully expect them to find a helpful android/autistic savant/holographic ancient to take the place as the robot. Still, I have high hopes for the show, and plan to make it one of my must-see regulars, and I have faith that they will take this new version to greater heights.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A questionable start., 22 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am astonished at this lackadaisical attempt at a series premiere! The introductory 'Legend' two-part episode on NCIS last season was ten times better than this, and I generally hate intro episodes! This incarnation of the NCIS franchise is supposed to be the undercover/special operations version, and yet they only played at going undercover. (I think I'll be a realtor today. How about you? Feel like playing the lawyer?) Still, I can see the potential for a good season if they can continue with some of the cutting-edge tech and gadgets they played with in 'Legend'. Sure it will make for an expensive show, but haven't they already put out the setup cash? One thing I liked and look forward to hearing more about is Callen's name. It's an interesting back story to the character and obviously something they plan to play up in the early part of the show. I find myself hoping that Hetty (WONDERFUL to see Linda Hunt on the show!) will take it upon herself to either research his original name, or assign him a nickname of her own.

Let's give this a few episodes' warm up and see where it goes.

33 out of 37 people found the following review useful:
A unique and enjoyable episode., 22 September 2009

This show is so versatile! I love how they gave this season premiere episode it's own unique voice. (Made all the better in that the 'voice' belonged to -very- Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo.) They left us to hang over the summer hiatus, worrying for Ziva's safety, and this episode manages to extend and increase that worry. But as always, the team pulls together and manages to make things all work out. My one complaint is that there wasn't enough of Abby and Ducky, I know they're meant to be supporting characters, but nevertheless they add such depth and colour to the show. All in all, an excellent premiere episode, I can't wait to see more!

13 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Truly a gem of a film!, 7 February 2009

This is far and away one of the most enjoyable festival films I have ever seen! Maybe it was the self-deprecating humour to which we can all relate; perhaps it was William H. Macy's abundantly curly hair. I really can't be sure, but I can tell you that you will not regret taking the time to see this film! The screenplay is top notch, every second of every scene is perfectly executed and the laughs are never forced. Brian Hecker captures the heart and soul of those painful high school years and spreads them across the screen like a mother spreads those embarrassing naked baby photos in front of the new girlfriend. The acting is superb as well, Steven Kaplan is the epitome of the high school dweeb; each agonizing second of the prom date pressure is reflected in his expressive eyes. William H. Macy gives a phenomenal performance as the father who's trying to get his mojo back. A beautiful balance of deadpan delivery and delight in his son's social life - or his idealistic interpretation thereof - his performance gives a solid base on which to build this rollicking romp down memory lane. And yet, the highlight by far of this little gem of a film is it's kitschy soundtrack. It quite literally reaches out, grabs the viewer by the ears, and demands that the feet begin to tap and the head to bob. The classics of big band, swing, and even a little jazz inspire one to reminisce of the days of that spinster aunt pinching the cheek, or that grandmother tweaking the nose. It sets the tone, at least for people of a certain age, of the post-pubescent angst that we all suffered during the high school years and pastes a happy smile to it that doesn't quite hide the insecurity.

Bart Got a Room is a film that should not be missed. Because if Bart can do it, you can too. Even if it costs you $600+, a little self-respect, and most of your dignity. These moments only happen once, so throw caution to the wind, grab life by the short hairs and enjoy the ride!

Mulligans (2008)
19 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
Definitely worth watching, 4 February 2009

This film is a shining example of how to properly express a point of view in a way that everyone can understand and relate, rather than the traditional sledgehammer approach that we're used to from the big Hollywood films.

Mulligans deals with the issue of straight vs. gay, and how it affects the lives it touches. The film deftly shows the stark contrast between the forced bravado of the fast-paced college frat-boy lifestyle against the shameless and unapologetic honesty of the exploration of emotional needs and desires. Set against the stunning backdrop of Vancouver Island, the scenery works well to reflect the depth and tone of the subject matter. The lead character shows, for the most part, a confidence in his own sexuality that throws the seemingly "normal" lives around him into turmoil. It forces others to examine their own beliefs and prejudices and decide for themselves whether a person's sexual orientation is their defining characteristic, or just another facet of a complex and intriguing personality.

This film is beautifully scripted to allow the viewer to take the journey with the character, so that when the question of sexuality comes up, it doesn't feel like an issue of orientation so much as an exploration of how best to fulfill the basic emotional need that we all have for intimate human contact. A truly inspirational musical score that works both to drive the action and stretch the heartstrings as necessary is a welcome enhancement to the story. It's rare to find a soundtrack so well suited to the mood of the film, the composer should be applauded for his work on this beautiful score. With its sensitive screenplay and superb acting, this film is definitely worth watching.

Shooters (2005)
I found this fascinating, 14 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This show aired on Remembrance Day and I saw it for the first time. I found it absolutely fascinating! I can't imagine being in the middle of the wartime action armed with only a camera and a few rolls of film. These people must have been among the most courageous in the country to be willing to put themselves in harms way to record the events for history, and I have the utmost respect for them all.

This production was extremely well made, not only because of the subject matter but also the way in which it was presented. I found it both interesting and informative without feeling sensationalized, and I came away from the experience with an enthusiasm that forced me to share what I had learned with friends later that evening.

Kudos to all involved in bringing this story to life, it was very much appreciated.

9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Review of Ten Inch Hero, 4 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ten Inch Hero is an enchanting and enjoyable film about the Beach City Grill and its motley collection of employees. It takes the viewer on a gentle yet sometimes heart-wrenching ride through the daily lives of Tish, Piper, Jen and Priestly, under the watchful eye of the sandwich shop owner, Trucker.

The premise sounds simple, but like all heart related matters it's more complicated than it first appears. The question of the day seems to be is it possible for a misfit to find love? Tish, (Danneel Harris) the resident nympho, seems to think that love can be found in great sex. If only there were some great sex to be found. Piper (Elisabeth Harnois) searches for love in the form of her long-lost daughter, and Jen (Clea DuVall) explores the Internet for Mr. Right. Only Priestly, (Jensen Ackles) with his generous piercings and colourful mohawk seems to be the voice of reason, thumbing his nose at relationships and ridiculing the others for their behaviour with men. Rounding out the diverse group is Trucker, shop owner and die hard hippie. Played by John Doe, Trucker is as sensitive as he is wise, although neither trait is particularly apparent whenever Zo (Alice Krige) is in the room. Zo has an ethereal quality that is as tangible as her gentle smile, and Trucker finds himself dumbstruck whenever he's in her presence.

The casting in this film is truly beyond compare. I find myself enraptured by every scene, drawn in by the intensity of emotion and depth shining from the eyes of each performer. Elisabeth Harnois is blessed with beautifully luminous eyes, which she uses to their full radiant power in this film. She shows us everything from the wide-eyed innocence of youth, to the joy of new-found friendship, and on to the suffering parent longing for the missing piece to her heart. I imagine that her ability to open her eyes wide and let the tears well up must drive men wild. Clea DuVall is equally radiant, despite all attempts to make her look frumpy. She is a talented actress and an attractive woman, and her sincerity shines through regardless of the sweatshirts on her wardrobe rack. Her breakdown at the campfire left very few dry eyes in the theatre; her character is one almost everyone can identify with and the relationship issues mirror those all women have felt at some time in their lives. I imagine that Danneel Harris had a lot of fun playing Tish. Cute, perky, and oh-so-popular, Tish is the sandwich shop diva. But even the princess has issues with men, and she shows us how popularity is no substitute for true love. Of course my heart will always belong to Jensen Ackles, who steals the scene every time he's on screen. Once again, he doesn't disappoint; Priestly kept me laughing every second, often without saying a word. Granted, much of that had to do with his eclectic collection of T-shirts, spouting slogans such as "Save a tree – eat a beaver" which appeals to me as a Canadian, and " Orgasm donor – ask for free sample" which appeals to me as, well, as a woman. But Jensen's unique genius is found in his body language and facial expressions. Jensen lives every line, every thought and feeling and conveys it with a look; a flash of the eyes; a half-smile. Dare I say it? Yes, even with an emphasized eyebrow waggle and a gay falsetto. Poor Tad, Priestly is far too perceptive and Jensen is far too expressive, you never had a chance.

Although the film is excellent, beautifully written and artfully filmed, there are two places where I feel the activity on screen detracts from the story. The overall pace of the film is very gentle and contemplative, and the sex scene with its unwarranted nudity feels out of place. In my opinion, the same statement could have been made with a closer framed head-and-shoulders shot, at least for the first half of the scene. The second is the scene with Piper and Jen at the beach. The entire film has a distinct lack of background actors which I found refreshingly different. Having already noted this I was almost shocked to see what should have been background looming in the foreground, to the point where the actor must have been walking within a few meagre feet of the camera. Had this scene contained an assortment of people walking the beach, I wouldn't have given a second thought to a pair of legs blocking the camera for a second and in fact I probably would have heralded it as a stroke of brilliance on the part of the director for drawing me more deeply into the scene. However, the fact that these legs represented the only other person on the sand that day, my reaction is to ask why they couldn't just walk behind the camera instead? Despite these two burrs beneath the saddle, I find myself admiring the aesthetics of the film. Charming in it's simplicity yet creatively presented, with locations that feel familiar enough to allow me to put myself into each scene. Under the watchful eye of director David Mackay, whose bumper-car cameo had me elbowing my friends in delight, the camera successfully captures the feeling of a lazy summer afternoon, an exciting road trip, a terrifying grocery store purchase, and a welcoming neighbourhood eatery, all with a smooth flow and comfortable feel.

I can unreservedly recommend this film as a delight to watch. The heartfelt story, brilliantly written and generously laced with humour is a credit to its writer, Betsy Morris. Her script exemplifies the delicate touch of the artist and demonstrates her understanding of the inherent fallibility of romantic relationships. The film conveys a feeling of hope, both for the future and for restitution of the past. With an excellent soundtrack, ingenious acting, precocious storyline and beautiful scenery, Ten Inch Hero has everything one could want in a film.