Summer movie terribleness…

I have probably seen more movies this summer than I have for a good while – at least since 2008. I am likely to see even more as the season drags on – what with the final Potter flick and Captain America still on the horizon. What is sort of strange, though unsurprising, is just how underwhelming so many of these films have been.

[SPOILERS & ALL] Read the rest of this entry »

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Crossing the Line – Cruising

We’re back! You can also see the new Crossing the Line at Theoretically Evil!

Cruising is a charming little undercover police story where Al Pacino has to infiltrate the seedy and dangerous world of gay S&M clubs to stop some gay murders.  As a film, it’s a bit of a mess and the protests by gay groups did not make a huge impact on the straight public.

Tagline: Al Pacino is Cruising for a killer.

Synopsis: A serial killer brutally slays and dismembers several gay men in New York’s S&M and leather districts. The young police officer Steve Burns is sent undercover onto the streets as decoy for the murderer. Working almost completely isolated from his department, he has to learn and practice the complex rules and signals of this little society. While barely seeing his girlfriend Nancy anymore, the work starts changing him.

Interesting Fact: Most of the nightclub scenes were shot in real New York S&M clubs and the extras were largely actual patrons directed to act like they normally would in the club.

Objectionable material: Tons of dude butt, ass-less chaps, implied anal fisting, aggressive straight sex, a fairly bizarre idea of the psychology behind the gay leather community, a whole lot of shirtless hairy sweaty dudes being very sexual, Paul Sorvino, a poor understanding of the rules of pool, innuendo all over the place, somewhat graphic murders, jock straps, drug use, the implication of lots of homosexual sex and sex acts, cross-dressing

Disturbing Quote: All [smoking] is is anal regressive. If you want to quit I suggest you try another form of childhood stroking. Read the rest of this entry »


Nostalgia!

Hey, let’s wipe the dust off and breathe some life into this old blog with some good old fashioned nostalgia!

Remember when we had that Top Fifteen Best Simpsons Episodes list? That was pretty great!


“You’re the Jackie O. of our time.”

Just thinking about this episode while I was preparing to write this made me giggle. That’s how good this episode was. Which is not very surprising.

The entire cast was on in this episode. I especially liked Alec Baldwin’s attempt at gay seduction. And hey! There were no jokes about how fat and/or ugly Tina Fey is. The best part of the episode was how well they were able to massage the fact that Matt Damon needs to go off and be a movie star. They managed to write him out in a way that doesn’t forclose future plot lines. Because really, who doesn’t want Liz Lemon to be happy? Only heartless bastards, I am sure.

I really don’t have much to say about this episode. It was almost too good to review and my love for this show has been stated again and again. So, there’s not much more to say.

Except that I’m not sure the whole Pete and his wife joke worked. It was kind of awful. It may have crossed a line? (It did cross a line…)

[An index of our Fall TV 2o1o coverage can be found here]


old friends…

I may be the last relatively unrepentant fan of The Office. Reading much of the discourse about this show, one would think it has committed a great crime against humanity (or least humor). But in a world where Two and a Half Men is the top sitcom, The Office still ranks as a very good show. Oh, sure has the show gotten worse since its heights of the second and third season? Absolutely and certainly season six was the worst season yet. However, that does not mean that is show is a piece of shit. Take on its own terms, the show provides plenty of entertainment.

Besides, each new season is like seeing old friends again.

The season seven premiere was very good. From the cold open (which managed to be funny and tell us a bit about each character) to it’s final moments, this episode brought some of what was missing from the previous season. First of all, it was nice to see Pam actually get a featured role. Outside of the baby arc, we got very little of her last season which was a shame. It was also nice to see Dwight with a fresh storyline. It often felt like Rainn Wilson was phoning it in last season, thus it was nice to see him bring his A (or at least A- game) in this episode.

But most of all, it seems that Steve Carrell leaving the show has brought a new energy to the show. Carrell’s performance was sharper (and spanking his nephew was weirdly hilarious), the writing was more focused, and the storyline seemed to have more weight. Carrell leaving could be the best thing that’s ever happened to this show. If they play it right. (Well, they are bringing Holly back…)

Of course, I’ve been fooled by this show’s season premiere’s before (I liked last season’s). So we will just have to see if they squander the great energy of this episode. I hope not.

[An index of our Fall TV 2o1o coverage can be found here]


too cool for school…

I’m going to have say, that the Community season 2 premiere left a bad taste in my mouth. Community has always been going through an identity crisis. The writers and producers seem to be trying to figure out if this show is one where you are actually supposed to care about the characters (i.e. The Office or HIMYM) or an more absurdist Family Guy show (i.e. Its Always Sunny)?  And because Community is a very meta show, this conflict takes places on a conscious level.

As of the premiere the producers seem to have decided to become a meta, network TV version of Its Always Sunny. Which is great. Always Sunny has a lot of fans (I am not among them). But really, did they have to be such a dick about it as they embraced the new direction?

At many moments the writer of this episode seemed to be laughing at the audience while chuckling, “How could you idiots become emotionally invested in these characters?” You know how, writer man? Because of storylines in your own damn show! The writers/producers are the ones who created the Britta/Jeff storyline in the previous season. They are the ones who asked the audience to become invested in their storylines. It was not some lonely person on the internet shipping away at two improbable characters but the actual writing on the show the created the connection between them. No reading between the lines required!

I have no problem with the direction Community has decided to go. They want to make more episodes like the Paintball one from last season? Great! I enjoyed that episode a lot. But they don’t need to be such a dick as they turn the page. Nothing bothers me more than when creators spit (especially so openly!) in the face of their fans.

My opinion of this episode wasn’t completely dour. I thought moments were pretty hilarious (especially the twitter account for Chevy Chase’s character or the excellent Twilight joke). But as I said in the beginning, the episode left a bad taste in my mouth.

[An index of our Fall TV 2o1o coverage can be found here]


pleasant and expected…

For all of its problems (as previously noted) you have to give the producers of Chuck credit: they are not afraid to shake up the status quo. Last season saw the death of Chuck’s dad and the end of the will-they-or-won’t-they shtick between Chuck and Sarah (spoiler: they are together now). Both were big (and smart) moves. Action/adventure shows like Chuck (I’m looking at you Stargate) get stale fast since they often just dish out more of the same season after season. Chuck has (pretty much) avoided that from the get-go. Which is quite an accomplishment.Chuck Season 4

As for the season premiere, there is really nothing unexpected here. The new status quo is established, (Chuck looking for his Mom/Sarah Connor), the obsession with Yvonne Strahovski’s body continues, and Zachary Levi remains as charming as ever. Basically if you are looking for some escapism, Chuck remains a good choice.

However, if there is one thing the producers need to learn is that the Buy More is played out. Constantly returning to that damn Best Buy knock off does not keep the show grounded, instead it keeps the show repetitive.  Besides as of this season the original shtick of the Buy More (i.e. will Chuck keep his job despite his spying?!?) is completely gone. What the producers should know by now is that it is not the “grounded”  nature of the show that makes Chuck work but Zachary Levi’s chemistry with the rest of the cast. Oh, and Adam Baldwin. (For a differing opinion, see Charlie Jane Anders’ review at io9)

But that aside, Chuck remains the same as ever. Which is (mostly) a good thing.

[An index of our Fall TV 2o1o coverage can be found here]