Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Well, I saw Admission.  It's another example of my having too high expectations based on those involved and being totally let down.  Tina Fey!  Love her.  She's a comedy goddess.  She is still kind of out of her element as the lead of a film.  I think she should be in some kind of fantastic ensemble movie like Wag the Dog or Broadcast News.  Ok, so yeah, I guess I see her in smart, political, newsy type things, which would be totally typecasting her.  Hmmm...I'll have to think about this more.  Her role in Admission as Portia, a Princeton admissions officer, is still in her scope but I just don't think she should be carrying movies yet. She was one problem.

Another problem was with the plot.  Part of the deal is that she's trying desperately to get a senior at an alternative high school enrolled at Princeton.  If you've seen the trailers then this is not a spoiler: she thinks he's the son she gave up for adoption. The kid, Jeremiah, is quirky and we're told he's smart (5s on 8 AP exams without having taken an AP course and almost perfect SAT scores) but that's about it. Portia spends the bulk of the movie trying to get this kid into Princeton because she sees something in him.  But is there anything to him beyond the fact that she think she owes the kid a chance because of some guilt she has for giving him up years ago?   Oh, he's a ventriloquist too, if that helps.  I can't really get into my full feelings without spoiling the end of the movie so I won't but just know that I had some issues. I will say that it probably could have done more regarding the issue of adoption but it just sort of touched on that subject too.
Portia's love interest was John, played by the utterly adorable and what I wouldn't give to just spend some time with him, Paul Rudd.  The man just gets cuter and more adorable with each movie.  He's the administrator of Jeremiah's school, has an adopted son from Uganda, and is a bit of a vagabond.  I think if the movie might have been more successful if it had been about John and his life.  But it wasn't.

The supporting cast was fine. Lily Tomlin was good but her character was such a stereotype that only showed her layers at the end of the film.  Wallace Shawn is always reliable.  Gloria Reuben of "ER" fame was in it as well and I'm so glad.  When I saw her in Lincoln I realized how much I missed her.  One of the best moments was when I recognized the kid from the television show, "Ed".  The not Justin Long and not Ginnifer Goodwin kid.  So good luck to you, Michael Genadry! You were adorable on Ed, you didn't have enough to do in Admission but here's hoping you get some good roles in the near future!

I guess that's mostly all I have to say.  Oh! They cut some stuff from the trailer, like when the dad chases Portia down with a bundt cake.  In fact, I would have liked to have seen more of the crazy stuff kids and parents do to get into colleges.  I wonder if a lot of that kind of stuff just ended up on the cutting room floor.  Overall the movie was kind of cute, very sweet, but not something I'd rush out to see.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Walking Dead - Oy with the recaps already!

"This Sorrowful Life"

Now that was a good episode.  About 45 minutes in to the show I wrote this in my notes: "I still can't figure out where (most of) this episode is going."  I mean, the Glenn and Maggie stuff was self-explanatory and just as it should have been, but the rest of it was kind of head-scratching.  AND I LOVED THAT.  I hate figuring out where shows are going.

We open back with the folks at the prison and Rick is filling Daryl in on the offer and the plan to give up Michonne to save the rest of them.  Daryl thinks it's a bad idea and not that it matters, but I agree with him.  Merle is busy shredding a mattress in search for some stashed weed and I realize how totally smart he is sometimes.  Rick tells him the plan but doesn't get much back from Merle.  Rick makes some comment on Merle not knowing who he is and Merle retorts with, "I'm a damn mystery to me."  I love that line and plan on using it in the future.  However Merle's got Rick's number and is the only one who could have made Rick re-think his plan to turn Michonne over to the incredibly vengeful Governor.

Merle chats with Carol a bit about how she's changed, etc.  Carol gets to the heart of his allegiance, and surprising to no one, it's to his little brother.  Speaking of the tasty Dixon brother, he's trying to get Glenn to forgive Merle for all that went down in Woodbury.  It's probably not going to happen though, because Glenn wants someone to be responsible for what happened to Maggie.  Daryl then finds Merle in a maintenance-type room.  Merle proceeds to give Daryl a hard time about following Rick's orders.

Hershel is reading to Maggie and Beth from the Bible and as he does, we see Rick searching for some wire with which to tie up Michonne.  He gets a glimpse of a pregnant Lori and is able to talk himself out of it.  Dude is really struggling and my heart goes out to him.  He just wants a peaceful existence and that's just not going to happen.  Merle takes it upon himself to knock out and tie up Michonne because he correctly believes that Rick could never pull that trigger.  Rick and Daryl figure out what he's done and Daryl, expert tracker, goes after Merle.

Glenn and Hershel have a very nice moment, which culminates with Glenn asking for Maggie's hand.  AWWWW!  (this means one of them is sure to die, right?)  Hershel gives Glenn his blessing and then we get a rare but honest smile on Hershel's face.  Glenn cuts a walker's finger off and then uses said walker's ring to propose to Maggie.  Well he doesn't actually say anything out loud about getting married but just handing her the ring seems to be enough.  Just ignore all the moaning walkers in the background and you've got a totally sweet and romantic moment.

Merle and Michonne find a car, he jump starts it and sets off an alarm.  Meanwhile, a tied-up Michonne gets to fight off two walkers while bound to a post.  Damn this girl is good.  Merle cuts her loose and they drive off.  During this mini-road trip, they talk and get to know each other a bit more.  Merle discloses that he's killed 16 men since this whole thing started.  Michonne picks up on the fact that he's actually kept count, meaning he's not a complete loss.  Merle cuts her loose and sends her back to the prison alone because he's got something to do.  Daryl finds Michonne and continues on after his brother.  Merle has found a bar, some booze and some tunes.  He's got a hoard surrounding his car and he slowly leads them Peter Piper style to the meeting place with the Woodbury folks.  I swear we all underestimate Merle on a regular basis.

The walkers keep the attention of the Woodbury folk off of Merle who is now inside a building and is successfully taking out some of those Woodbury jerks, including young Ben of the Tyrese crew.  Ooops.  That won't win any favour from Allen.  They finally realize what's going on and get the jump on Merle.  He and the Governor struggle and the Gov actually bites off two of his remaining fingers.  Wow.  Then the Governor shoots him.
While all this is going on, Rick gathers the prison folks, gives up his Ricktatorship and changes it into more of a Rickocracy.  He wants everyone to have a vote on their future of either hitting the road or staying to defend the prison.  Daryl isn't there to hear this moving and needed speech though.  He's come upon the carnage at that abandoned warehouse.  He spots a zombified Merle and has to fight off his dead brother.  Wow.  It's such a good scene for Norman Reedus.  Daryl finishes off his brother, cries a bit and it's very moving.  I'm sad that he'll never really know what Merle did for his little brother and his new family.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Walking Dead - getting recappy with it

We open with a flashback to quieter times.  Andrea, Michonne and Michonne’s “pets” camped out around a fire.  Andrea inquires about the origin story of the “pets” and Michonne tells her the whole story, going way, way back.  The level of detail she shares about these guys is astounding.  Ha!  Only kidding.  Michonne doesn’t want to talk about it except to say that they weren’t good guys pre-zombification. 

In present day Woodbury (where the bulk of the episode takes place), the Governor’s henchmen are loading up the big guns into trucks while he plays with his amateur torture kit.  Milty the science guy tries to talk some sense into him about the whole ‘killing Rick’s group and torturing the crap out of Michonne’ thing but the Governor is long gone.  Instead Milty decides to let Andrea in on the whole plan and shows her the Governor’s torture chamber including the dentist’s chair of pain.  They’re up above looking in from some type of observation room (with blinds) and he isn’t aware they’re up there.  Andrea has a chance to shoot him but Milty stops her.  UGH!!! Milty, you are such a buzz-kill.  Andrea heads off to warn the folks at the prison that the fit is gonna hit the shan and has to get past Tyrese and Sasha in order to do so.  They half-heartedly try to stop her but let her go and blab to the Governor and Martinez about her leaving.  You’re killing me, Tyrese! 

Martinez takes Tyrese, Sasha, and their two red-shirt buddies, Allen and Ben off to see the pit of spare biters they’ve been collecting.  Tyrese correctly guesses that they’ll be used against the prison folk and wants nothing to do with it.  He and red-shirt Allen fight and Tyrese is definitely the stronger of the two in both strength and character.  Later someone (we don’t see their face) sets fire to the pit of biters and I think we’re supposed to assume it was Tyrese. 

 Meanwhile, Andrea is on the run from a pick-up that’s hot on her trail.  She evades capture from some walkers and ends up outrunning the truck but both wind up at an abandoned warehouse.  Is it necessary to say “abandoned” because aren’t most things in their world abandoned?  Anywhoodle, it’s the Governor driving said truck and this incredibly scary cat and mouse thing goes down inside the warehouse.  He comes close to finding her a few times but she’s able to get the upper hand and lets loose a stairwell full of biters on him and runs out of the building.  It’s at this point where I would have found a way to take his truck from him but then that would be too easy.  Andrea finally reaches the prison, raises her hand in a wave to Rick who is on lookout and then is quickly tackled by the damn Governor.  Rick thinks he saw something and then quickly disregards it as one of his hallucinations.  Fantastic.

The Governor returns to Woodbury claiming to have not found Andrea.  He confronts Tyrese about the pit but after chatting with Milty realizes who the real culprit was.  Then the camera takes a journey down a creepy hallway ending in the Governor’s torture chamber.  We see Andrea is strapped in to the dentist’s chair of utter and total pain and my heart breaks for her.

Dude, I almost forgot to mention the creepy whistling thing the Governor does when he's in a good/torturey mood.  It's the worst tell EVER.  He did it while playing with his torture tools and again while he was chasing Andrea through the warehouse.  I know they want his character to last at least through the rest of this season but he needs to be taken care of already.  He's AWFUL!

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Walking Dead

(this will be my shortest review ever!)
Um, so last night's episode was really a far cry from the week before.  It was slow and boring and had lots of talk but sometimes you need those episodes to set up the end of the season. 

Rick and the Governor met at some abandoned (natch) mill full of silos and empty buildings.  They hashed out their mutual hatred and distrust for one another and sorta kinda came to a possible deal. 

It started with the Governor putting his hands up in a show of peace even though we know there's a piece taped to the table at which he and Rick are parlaying.  Andrea enters and tries to broker peace but they kick her out in a very, 'let the men do the talking' sort of way.  The guys chat a bit, the Governor shares about his wife's death before the whole zombie apocalypse thing happened, blah, blah, blah.  I think he says his last name but I missed it, rewound it, and couldn't quite make it out.  The Governor's offer is for them to turn over Michonne and he promises to leave them alone.  He gives Rick two days to think this over.

Outside Daryl and the Governor's lieutenant dude threaten each other, kill some walkers, and then each have a cigarette.  Milty and Hershel get to know each other and Milty actually asks to see Hershel's stump!  For scientific purposes of course.  The nerve.  Hershel hilariously declines with a "you haven't even bought me a drink yet" type of retort.  Then Hershel comforts a distraught Andrea who know has a pretty good idea of what a complete creep the Governor actually is.  I kind of feel badly for her.

Back at the prison, Merle is antsy thinking his brother could be in harm's way and wants to go to the meeting place to take out the Governor once and for all.  Glenn refuses, they tussle, Maggie gets in on it and they stop when Beth fires a gun in the air.  Merle tries to get Michonne to go with him, she refuses but they don't tussle.  Glenn and Maggie make up, hug, kiss and get it on.  Throughout this whole scene with them I keep waiting for Maggie to get shot in the head because I know she's a guest on Talking Dead later. 

Everybody is back home.  The Governor gives orders to shoot everyone but Michonne, which Milty hears and reminds the Governor that this is against his promise.  Um, duh.  Rick lies to the group about the Governor's deal and informs them they're at war.  Wow, I'm proud of Rick for being so perceptive.  Outside he tells Hershel the truth and begs him to talk Rick out of the whole going to war thing just to protect Michonne. 

Oz the Great and Powerful

I think I'm going to change my approach to the movies where my feelings land somewhere in the middle. Oz the Great and Powerful will the first up.  My way of thinking has always been that there's something good about every movie. To stick with that I'll tell you what I liked first and then what I didn't like. 

What I liked:
It was very pretty.  The effects (almost all special and seemingly very little practical) and sets were all pretty cool.  The women in the movie were all very pretty and their costumes were as well. 
I thought Zach Braff was good.

The opening titles were neat.

Lastly I think it tied together well with The Wizard of Oz.  It really set up that movie quite well.

What I didn't like:
James Franco.  Honestly there has to have been someone else who could have done a better job.  He was more doofus than flim flam man.  He's a good actor most of the time but this just wasn't right for him.

It was campy but not in a good way.  Like the sign for China Town, which would lead one to a town made of actual china (like plates, teapots, cups, etc.). 

They stole a bit of story from Three Amigos. Ok, I'm sure Three Amigos stole this particular bit of story from many other movies but I can excuse it because Three Amigos is an awesome movie.

The acting from most of the main cast was, um, not great.  I've seen these people do so much better so it was frustrating to watch them struggle with what I think should have been more campy and less serious.  Of the three witches I think Rachel Weisz did the best with the material but that's still not saying much.  Mila Kunis needed to relax a bit and Michelle Williams should have gone with a more cutesy approach (she got close but held back).

There's more but I just don't feel like getting into it.  It doesn't help that I saw the movie with the most annoying audience filled with yapping 5-year old girls, men texting and a large man audibly sucking the popcorn out of his teeth.  But I stand by my final consensus.  It was more bad than good but only by a little.  If it's your kind of thing and you're less nitpicky than I am, go see it on a big screen.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Trailer Park Time!!!

Sure it's been a really long time since I've posted one of these and there's only one person who could have put me back in action.  I couldn't very well let the new Joss Whedon trailer go unmentioned, now could I?

Unfortunately I'm a bit worried.

I'm in.  I'm so totally in.

Conan was right, the Avengers movie spoiled us.  If one of them is in trouble, why don't they just get the gang together again to help out?

I guess.

Jason Bateman and Alexander Skaarrrrrsssgaaaarrrrd in a movie together that's not a comedy?  
Oh yeah.


I have a little beef with this last movie. I quite enjoy Abigail Breslin and 
I think Halle Berry is a fine actress indeed.  But... 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Partial Retraction - The Following

Previously I stated how much I was enjoying the new Fox show, The Following.  I still like it.  I still think it's compelling and well-acted but I am having an issue with something:

A reminder as to what I said:

5. Lastly, I'm satisfied with the pacing on The Following.  Things happen and the story moves along quite well.  There's action, we learn things about the plot and the characters, and we're assured there's much more to come.  Well done, writers.  Well done.  Oh and the cops/Feds aren't idiots. I can't stand when TV shows or movies make cops into buffoons who can't shoot straight.

Now?  Now I'm pissed at the writers.  The feds are being outsmarted at every turn.  It's getting completely predictable.  They have no edge over serial killer, Joe Carroll, and his nameless, faceless, countless minions.  Ok, followers. However, my woes with the writers isn't going to stop me from watching the show.  I haven't been keeping up with its ratings so I have no idea how close The Following is to possible cancellation, but I would suggest the writers not fall into patterns of bumbling police and too-smart bad guys.  I'm presuming that one of the main feds is a mole, which again is utterly and completely predictable.

In defense of the writers, I can't imagine how completely difficult it is to write fresh, new ideas without falling into being completely predictable.  We're a been-there-seen-that society and have high expectations for entertainment.  So I'm still holding hope that the show is able to throw a curve ball that most of the viewers don't see coming.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Walking Dead twofer

Last Week:
“I Ain’t a Judas”
 -Hershel yelled at Rick to get his shit straight.
-Wyatt Twerp (aka Carl) told Rick to take a much needed sabbatical from the Ricktatorship
-The Governor lied to Andrea about the situation with the prison gang and got himself an eye patch.
-Andrea wanted to orchestrate some peace so she made herself a pet (curbed him and everything) to escort her to the prison where she received a chilly reception.
-Hershel and Merle got to know each other; even quoted the Bible a bit.
-Carol and Daryl caught up but still no hanky panky (will those two crazy kids ever get together?)
-Tyrese & co. headed to Woodbury with Milty the science guy and even offered to help the Governor with his Rick problem.
-Beth sang.
-Rick held his baby,
-And finally, Andrea got nekkid with the Governor, pulled a knife on him while he slept, but couldn’t bring herself to kill him.

Last Night:
(This, IMHO, was an outstanding episode.  If you haven’t watched it, don’t read this recap.  You need to experience it.)
Rick, Michonne and Wyatt Twerp are on a road trip to Rick’s old town to find weapons and ammo.  They totally ignore a hitchhiker…twice.  Karma gets ‘em though and the Hyundai gets stuck in some mud.  They’re quickly surrounded by walkers but take care of them and the car in a matter of seconds.

The town is, well, weird.  There are messages spray-painted all over the walls of buildings and the ground.  It’s oddly fortified and has its very own sharpshooter on the roof of a building.  Wyatt Twerp shoots the guy who has come down off his perch but he was wearing body armor so he's not dead.  Rick takes off the dude’s helmet and HOLY CRAP, it’s the dude (Morgan) from the first episode!!!  They drag Morgan into his heavily booby-trapped residence and proceed to marvel at all the guns and ammo he’s acquired.  Rick wants to wait until he wakes up before they take all his weaponry.  That’s…thoughtful.

Wyatt Twerp heads off to find a crib for Lil’ Asskicker and Michonne offers to escort him to help carry it.  As it turns out, he really wants a framed picture of his parents and him from a while ago so Lil’ Asskicker can see what her mom looked like.  Awwwwww!  Michonne is a huge help in the process and grabs an ugly cat sculpture thingy that automatically gives her some personality points.

Morgan comes to, struggles with Rick, stabs him, and doesn’t seem to recognize him at all.  Rick holds up the walkie talkie he’d left with Morgan a year ago and it finally clicks.  This whole scene of them talking is absolutely incredible.  Lennie James (“Morgan”) is brilliant and heartbreaking.  Morgan tells him that he did as Rick instructed every day, which was to get on the walkie talkie at dawn and listen for Rick.  He did it every day.  Rick was never there.  We know Rick’s been through some stuff but the heartbreak in Morgan’s eyes is more than anyone could handle.  He’s lost his wife, his son, and now (kind of) his mind as evidenced by all the literal writing on the walls.  Rick tries desperately to get him to come with them to safety but an astute Morgan says they wouldn’t need all the weapons they’re about to steal from him if they were actually that safe.

Wyatt Twerp tells Rick that Michonne is OK with him because she’s really one of them and this surprises Rick.  Michonne tells Rick it’s OK that he’s been seeing things because she did too at one point.  Morgan stays behind in Morgantown and goes about his business of rounding up and burning the walkers caught in his traps.  And that hitchhiker from earlier?  Well he got torn up by some walkers but Carl got his backpack so there’s that.