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David and Goliath (2015)
a 1026 BC comedy classic
Never knew the story of David and Goliath was a comedy classic till I came across this film. From the muffled microphones when guys embrace, to fast-motion death stabs accompanied by chopsocky sound swipes, to skies rumbling almost every time David speaks (not quite as timed out as saying "Frau Blücher" around horses in Young Frankenstein, but close enough), to shameless soldiers correcting their leaders' perceptual errors, to Baldrick from Blackadder as a Greek poet, to inexpert CGI work that creates several unintentional giants among the Philistines besides Goliath, I don't think I ever laughed and smiled as much through a biblical story as I did here. I will not be surprised -- and kind of look forward -- to someday seeing a musical or dark comedy version of this story. 4 out of 10 if a serious effort; 8 out of 10 for the unintentional comedy. Made me a fan of the entire, mixed ethnicity cast, too (including the one or two wooden actors among them).
Spooksville: Flowers of Evil (2014)
The story has its roots
SPOILER: This story has its roots (if you will) in episodes of Star Trek and Lost in Space, though in no one episode directly. It hearkens in the main to Star Trek: This Side of Paradise (#1.24) in having plants infect humans and mind-controlling them in order to spread out and infect others. (This might also come across as similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers.) It then can be considered to include a nod to Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Naked Now (#1.2) (a retread of Star Trek: The Naked Time (#1.4)), where the infection carries out through the sense of smell. (Sally herself uses the word "naked" a few times.) Those infected walk about with placid smiles on their faces, like in Star Trek: The Return of the Archons (#1.21). Adam's statements about his willingness to sacrifice self to the superiority of plants hearkens to Dr. Smith's far more flowery speech in Lost in Space: The Great Vegetable Rebellion (#3.23).
The action and acting are quite good here. Not so much the usual discernible efforts at enunciating diction, either. Sally takes the lead for a change and is very effective. Adam, smiling benignly, has never looked more the description of adorable (mentioned in a few previous episodes) as he does here. The flowery take-over also has a slight sense of cultishness about it — an adult leader and his flower children followers meeting in a circle in the woods.
Brilliant PC satire
Did no one else see this episode for what it is — a brilliant satire of our overly politically correct society, where short people become "altitude challenged," ugly people suffer "severe appearance deficits," and soldiers come down with "operational exhaustion" rather than shell shock? Mentally enhanced by his NZT pills, Brian's subconscious comes to the forefront in the form of a prehistoric host (Josh-O-Saurus Josh) of a defunct children's show that Brian watched as a child. As Brian's team temporarily joins an elite FBI division that tracks down pedophiles and serial killers, Josh rears his late Cretaceous triceratops head to replace the unpleasant investigation language with nice words "to make the world a better place." Thus, through Brian, we see the world revised toward family-friendliness, where a woman's soft-drink spillage (blood splatter) reveals her playing an air guitar (clawing at her attacker) before being hugged (killed) while engaged in a game of Cowboys and Indians (getting raped). It's well-meant semantic foolishness taken to the point of crassness, ultimately offensive in itself, whose appropriate chief spokesman is that of an ugly, creepy, over-the-hill and past-his-time dinosaur-man. Josh does, however, make one thought-worthy suggestion: Stop giving cool names to serial killers. His solution: Name them something they'd hate, something innocuous like ice cream flavors; thus, the Marrying Man (who collects women's ring fingers as trophies of his kills) becomes Mr. Pralines and Cream. As the series progressed, Brian became increasingly more boyish, connecting far more solidly with his inner child than what initially drew viewers to the series. This episode drives the matter full-speed ahead rather than curtail it, addressing his growing, little boy attitude through the emergence of an antiquated dinosaur personality that'd be better left extinct (yet fondly remembered) while on his road to maturity.
Babysitter from Hell
Possibly the single most inappropriate episode in the entire Power Rangers franchise. It means to match the tone and general story line of 1979's Alien (all but for an alien being shoved down a spaceman's throat), where a nearly indestructible alien biped picks off humans within the claustrophobic confines of a spaceship.
This is not your typical Power Ranger monster, an exaggerated bad guy that can, at times, be downright silly. (Think Elgar in Power Rangers Turbo.) This is a terrifying predator (looking, in fact, a bit similar to the alien predator in 1987's Predator). It strikes from darkness. It strikes without warning. Blast guns don't seem to hurt it, and its victims get wrapped in cocoons like that of spiders, stored for later consumption.
If TV is sometimes a babysitter just to keep youngsters distracted for a while, then this episode is a babysitter from Hell, with every potential for giving some of its younger viewers nightmares or night terrors.
The episode basically fails its target audience by striking too close to home to its Alien source material.