Monthly Archives: November 2009
David Tennant’s run as The Doctor nears its end with “The Waters of Mars.” Sans a regular companion, the lone Doctor lands on Mars in 2059, and visits the first, and apparently doomed, Earth colony there. Slowly the colonists become infected and turn into water gushing monsters, with the story becoming a bunker drama.
The robot that keeps saying “Gadget gadget,” drives me nuts and makes me think of nothing but Inspector Gadget saying “Go go gadget,” takes me completely out of the story. Not good, but luckily it doesn’t last long. That aside, the drama is powerful, intense and horrific – not your usual Doctor Who fare. It’s also a very depressing and tragic episode, a note to remind us of the end coming for the current Doctor.
The best part however is the implied return of some of The Doctor’s oldest enemies. If Russell T. Davies has done anything with this series, it has been to resurrect more than a few of the golden oldies and give them a new spin. And remember, water always wins.
While British TV audiences were treated to “The Waters of Mars” a few weeks back, it airs here in the States on BBC America on December 19th. Be there.
Sunday, November 29th at 8:00 PM EST
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Al Alberts, local Philadelphia icon and founding member of the Four Aces, is dead today at the age of 87 of kidney failure. His child talent showcase ran on WPVI channel 6 for over three decades and was frequently the landing field for many local dance studios, fledgling singers and little comedians.
Superman Batman Public Enemies ~ Fun fights and pretty colors if all you want to see superheroes and super-villains slugging it out. If you’re looking for a plot, keep in mind this is based on Jeph Loeb’s Superman Batman comic, which sadly lacked a coherent one. The look of the feature is a bit bizarre as the designs were based on Ed McGuiness’ art from the series. Good rental or for free, not a purchase.
The Brothers Bloom ~ An exciting, funny, sweet and slightly predictable caper with great performances from all involved. Highly recommended.
Casshern ~ Visually stunning remake of a 1970s anime depicts a war-torn future using live actors and CGI backgrounds and special effects in the style of Sky Captain and Watchmen. Great to look at but the plot has some holes in it and what little is there we’ve seen before.
The Company of Wolves ~ An interesting if seemingly low budget look at the early work of Neil Jordan and Anton Furst, this is a tacky but firmly adult horror version of the original Little Red Riding Hood story with werewolves, the devil and other assorted terrors thrown in just for kicks. Moody and psychological story within a story stuff that’s more pseudo-intellectual than actual intellectual. Pass on it unless you’re interested in film design and production.
The Men who Stare at Goats ~ Take a whole lot Coen brothers flavor and mix well with the typical content of late night radio’s Coast to Coast AM, and you’ve got The Men who Stare at Goats.
Director Grant Heslov and screenwriter Peter Straughan want very badly to be the Coen brothers that it hurts. You can feel it through the screen. And just about the only good thing that can be said about this particular factor of the film is that this is much much better than the Coen’s last project, Burn After Reading. Though they both had George Clooney, I don’t think you could pay me to see Burn again. Goats, I’ll definitely see again, but I’ll wait ‘til it’s on disc.
The story is based supposedly on fact, but mostly based on the book of the same name by Jon Ronson, the notorious British gonzo journalist and documentary filmmaker who frequently stalks secret organizations and conspiracy theories. Crazy stuff, yes, but also enjoyable. Hey, if I didn’t love this stuff myself I would be a C2C AM fan, and would consequently get a lot more sleep.
In this semi-autobiographical semi-truthful film, Ewan McGregor, Jedi Knight from those Star Wars flicks, plays a fictionalized version of Ronson who meets up with George Clooney – a real live super-soldier Jedi warrior with psychic powers who’s on a secret mission for the government in Afghanistan. From there, hilarity and an amusing montage of flashbacks ensue. The juxtaposition alone of McGregor not buying the Jedi talk is funny enough, but Clooney’s quirky Lyn Cassady is a hoot.
While the story falls apart late in the film, the performances are all high quality and entertaining. Another Coen favorite Jeff Bridges is very good as the new age Jedi master as is Kevin Spacey as another of his more smarmy students. The interplay between all the actors is cohesive, especially with Clooney and McGregor when the flick is in its buddy movie phase. This is good stuff. Recommended, but be prepared for a wacky ride. Heck, this could be a Coen film, a good one.
My buddy Q turned me on to this original comedy series from Starz that I have recently caught up with via NetFlix DVD. I really enjoyed it, I just wish that the DVD had been clearer about what order to watch the episodes in. What is featured on the second disc as “bonus shorts” is actually the first season, and what is called the “first season” on the first disc is really the second season. Major suckage ensued after watching it out of order, sort of like watching “Firefly” for the first time after having seen Serenity.
In “Head Case,” Alexandra Wentworth from “In Living Color” plays a therapist to the stars whose unorthodox methods bring the funny. The pseudo-documentary style of the series vanishes after a while and it becomes a real sitcom. It’s a treat to see Steve Landesberg of “Barney Miller” fame on TV again and Michelle Arthur steals the show as the receptionist Lola.
Be warned however, don’t watch on an empty stomach, as Fatburger plays a big role in the series. You’ll be craving fast food sooner than later. Recommended.