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The X Files: Irresistible (1995)
Exciting, Mysterious with some terrible writing
The episode itself was quite exciting, but I'll get to the plot failing(s) right away: 1) They get a finger print, and manage to tie it to the perp, but with no explanation of how they had his prints on file. Presumably, he committed crimes elsewhere and his prints were in the database, but it's odd that they find the prints one scene, and magically they're in his house a scene later? 2) Scully fails to report for duty, then they find her car driven off the road. Somehow, this leads everyone to believe she's been abducted by the suspect in the killings. Despite the fact that they have no evidence of this whatsoever, and her disappearance could be the result of an infinity of factors. How can the writers (and by proxy Mulder and co.) just make the massive leap in logic that Scully's disappearance *must* be tied to this episode's case? Lazy.
Otherwise: X-Files once again falls into the trap of having its bad guy look and act totally insane all the time, yet never get noticed by anyone he/she interacts with. The only good idea was that although he may/may not be supernatural, it doesn't really matter for the story to move forward.
End of the Line (2007)
Genuinely scary, but bogged down a bit by slow parts
Just (and I mean literally, just) saw this at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was preceded by a really creepy first-person handicam short film (The Eyes of Edward James), which had me shaking even before End started.
Suffice it to say, the film did not disappoint. It helps not to know much about the movie, but the key plot points are: * Death & * The Subway
Canadian viewers will get a kick out of the TTC and Montreal Metro shots (and have a fun time taking public transit home), and pretty much anyone will be freaked out about taking the subway after watching it.
The only complaint I would make is it was about 30 minutes and a few characters too long. There was a bit too much characterisation and conversation, and it slowed the plot down - though I'm quick to add that it never went too long before a scary/exciting part picked up again. If this is going to see major release though, they'll definitely need to cut it - anything over 2h is already too much, and this movie definitely didn't need that extra stuff.
One final warning: It is exceedingly gory. I have not seen so much blood and graphic violence in a long time. And it'll scare you.
At the Hotel (2006)
Just gets better and better
Just finished watching it (at 2:33 am, after promising myself I'd only watch 1, instead of the last 3 episodes). Absolutely fantastic.
I've never really been a fan of Finkeleman, but this truly is a great work. The cast is marvelous, the plot brilliantly layered, with characters and stories moving in and out, with a few overall plot threads tying it all together. It's definitely a very different kind of program. Characters break out into musical numbers, there are supernatural occurrences, and other such nonsense (which, of course, make sense in the context of this show).
If you watch the first episode, I guarantee you'll be drawn in, and by the end you'll have enjoyed every minute of it. I highly recommend it for fans of quirky humour/drama.
P.S. Canadian film fans will get a kick out of naming all the guest stars (I won't spoil names - which the cast list here does anyway - but it's more fun to pick them out as they appear in various episodes)
Canadian Movie of the Year
I'm surprised this wasn't nominated for best foreign language Oscar, especially in the year of Brokeback. It's a great story, and the homosexuality is played out at times as an incidental feature in a regular coming-of-age story. The director neither washes over the character's sexuality, nor throws it in your face like so many other supposedly daring movies do. Too often, movies about homosexuality deliberately make it graphic (maybe that's not the best word?) just so that the director can say, "Well, you see? The public wasn't ready for it and that's why they didn't like it." The Hanging Garden (a good movie otherwise) has that type of problem: a sex scene between two very young teenage boys. C.R.A.Z.Y. deals with it admirably, and people shouldn't be put off it, or attracted to it, just because of the subject. It's the story and characters that matter.