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3/10
Not Prometheus stupid, but...
7 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Still stupid. Another stinker to be tossed on the trash pile of sci-fi films that ignore the science. SPOILERS The aliens are put in cages that their own bodily fluids can open.

The failsafe to this is a big button that requires manual operation.

The big button triggers a spray that kills humans but only annoys the aliens.

Rather than, I don't know, explosive collars that trigger when they leave their pens.

Known criminals are allowed to take residence upon a research vessel.

Said criminals fail weapons scans but are given a pass to board.

This is all within the first half hour of the film. Starting at the end and scripting your way backwards may work for mysteries, but it does not work for action movies. Such a waste of the talent they recruited.
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Community: Origins of Vampire Mythology (2012)
Season 3, Episode 15
6/10
Cleavage contest
30 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Annie wins. Besides the obvious wardrobe distractions this episode doesn't really go anywhere or do anything. Another lame Britta boyfriend. Another movie night in the Batcave. More cell phone hijinks. And a poorly tacked-on attempt to revitalize the air conditioning school story.

The carnival set felt really cheap too. Things like that make me worry that the budget is getting too tight to continue making good shows. Some of the earlier seasons' commentaries talk about overspending in one place only to have to make it up in another but this doesn't seem like the scenario where going cheap is the best plan overall.
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Green Lantern (2011)
2/10
America rocks! Humans are the best!
2 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The only thing you need to know when approaching this film is that the filmmakers can't differentiate willpower from arrogance. This is the base, lesson, and ultimate failure of the story. Instead of being about learning to believe in yourself we are given a tale of already thinking you are the best person ever and learning to work the hardware.

There are other criticisms to be made. The dinner party/helicopter crash sums up how desperate the producers were to cash in on the 3D craze. And people seem to rebound from these impossible events within the hour. But worst of all is how they've taken the core failing of the Abrams Star Trek - Kirk the jerk - and amplified it to insulting levels.

Not only does Hal save the universe, he does it alone with the rest of the Corps out of commission. All of their lifelong training and experience gets swept aside to prop up one human trainee as The One. And the whole Sinestro yellow ring subplot gets dumped as well. Will he put on the evil yellow ring to help defeat the enemy? No, he'll wait until after the movie is over.
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Teen Wolf (2011–2017)
2/10
Where we were, where we are
22 August 2011
Caught an episode of this the other night. Flipping through the listings I said "MTV is showing Teen Wolf? How did they fit it into an hour slot?" And then I watched it to my dismay.

MTV, the channel that brought us Thriller - about a letterman jacket wearing teen who turns into a zombie - brings us a show named after an eighties movie about a letterman jacket wearing teen who turns into a wolf. Minus the jacket, acting talent, writing talent, comedy, color, and makeup effects. Instead of a full makeup application we get normal to fangs-and-contacts to CGI dog, and all shot in a dreary not quite black and white. Plus the usual filler - intense staring, slow motion, and interminable running from A to B sequences.

Typical MehTV drama - affirming the emotional turbulence of teens as valid rather than something to overcome. Nothing to see here.
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The Mentalist: Every Rose Has Its Thorn (2011)
Season 3, Episode 19
4/10
Low point for the show
11 August 2011
Finally caught this in reruns and kind of wish I hadn't. The episode had a great build-up with Jane facing off with a suspect that also makes her living analyzing personalities but the ending just fizzled. She was intelligent, stoic, and organized right up to the finale. They really cheated their way to a victory here plot-wise unnecessarily. Can we not have a guaranteed collar every week? Knowing that the good guys will always win takes the fun out of it. That may be fine for a CSI crowd where all logic takes a leap out the window but this show is better than that.

The B-plot with Rigsby was okay, if again more big doofus stuff from an actor that deserves better (check his biography). Good work from Cho who reluctantly if tartly offers dating advice.

Nice to see Morena Baccarin looking human as well.
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Hype! (1996)
Instructional
18 July 2011
This movie establishes two things: 1. Seattle has a great music scene. 2. So does every other large city. 2 and a half. Eventually the media finds you and ruins you.

The events that went down in Seattle are nothing new and nothing old. Left to develop itself any local music scene will mature into something great. Whether or not the press/industry discovers this and shows up to suck the life out of it is up to fate. Hype! is a snapshot of money finding talent. The results range from crappy albums to suicide.

What this film does accomplish is to procure a reaction of artists caught in the overwhelming process of being found. Suddenly you are being offered loads of cash to do the same thing you've been doing for years, or even decades, for next to nothing. This changes your output - you stop playing to the crowd and start playing to the money. The interviewees in Hype! recognize this and speak to it. This is where the movie succeeds. The musicians see what is happening for what it is and call it out. What they fail to do is reject it, but at least they leave a document for the next generation.

At the end of the film there is a warning: Your town is next. Will the next town take the advice?
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1/10
Bad.
5 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Basically a Superman rip-off for the cutesy animal crowd, this movie goes everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The "nerd as secret hero" motif is essentially the plot as it rambles from scene to scene.

It begins in a mountain village with the young title character excelling at everything he tries and receiving limitless support from his bland, Cleaveresque parents. A creepy old stalker wanders the village asking personal questions about the boy and the villagers answer them without hesitation. During a picnic nearby his parents are nearly crushed by a falling boulder only to be saved as his powers manifest for the first time. Then the creepy stalker shows up - in a wizard robe - to tell him he is a hero and must leave his family immediately, which he does. I'm not saying the stalker dropped the boulder but the circumstances are awfully fishy. This sounds like the first act of a film but is only about the opening ten minutes.

From there we head to San Francisco where our hero stands idly in Golden Gate Park only to be conveniently accosted by a gang of biker wolves. This transitions to a scene in what can only be described as a strip bar where the wolves harass a barely-clothed pig. No need to say more - the whole film is safe and saccharine kiddy stuff jarringly punctuated by uncomfortably inappropriate situations. Not suitable for children or adults.

Other minor things: The score was done by Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (The Turtles, Mothers of Invention) who should know better. Seeing their names in the opening credits intrigued me but nothing in the music reflects what they are capable of. Also, the road shown leading up to Golden Gate Park does not exist. Finally, why does a rabbit that can fly need roller skates as part of their costume?
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Fired Up! (2009)
8/10
Banana pants
31 March 2011
Giving the movie a 7 and the DVD a 9 for an 8 average. This is how you make a predictable teen comedy work - keep your foot on the gas at all times, even through the end credits. There's about 120 minutes worth of script packed in to 90 minutes here and most of that is carried well by the capable (if playing well beyond age) leading men. At least one repeat viewing is necessary.

Most of the failings of the film are addressed openly in the DVD commentary, hence my higher rating. Everything from poor location scouting to keeping large nostrils tilted down gets discussed (and banana pants is the secret phrase). The biggest mistake brought up being the push to get a PG-13 rating for a movie almost exclusively about sex. Some of that works for laughs, though, as the substitute swear words are always more entertaining than their standard counterparts.

In the end everyone wins and everyone is a better person. Did I mention it was predictable? But the jokes are funny and not overworked, and the women are beautiful. A great movie to have running in the background when you can't decide what to watch.
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