Saturday, December 31, 2011

Disgruntled Monkey's Top 10 Movies of 2011

And so the year ends and now is the time to look back at the year that was and make the inevitable top ten list. I know it’s like pouring water into the ocean, it’s not going to make much of a difference, but it’s still something I find fun. Now I will point out that one movie missing from this list that I’m pretty sure would be here is The Muppet movie. Australia still needs to wait another 2 weeks before we get it, but there is no doubt in my mind that I would of loved it. I’m a massive Muppet fan; in fact some people may think I’m a Muppet given human form. Other than the tragedy of missing the Muppets, I’m pretty happy with my list. As always this is my own personal list and the impact they had on me.

10: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

This was just a well down action movie, with an incredible pace that sucked you into the set pieces. Sure it’s nothing that will change the world, but any movie that gets me this jazzed and has Tom Cruise in it, has to have some merit. Also in a time where movies seem to have this kinetic frenzy of editing, it’s nice to have a movie that relishes in the action and really lets you see what’s happening. After this movie I’m ready for Mission Impossible 5.

09: The Adjustment Bureau

It’s all about the magic hats. Well not really but this movie touches upon destiny, love and free will, and it does it in such a charming way. I’m a sucker for some love stories and this definitely hits all the things that I like. Some people may laugh at some of the aspects of the movie, but all around it’s very solid, and helped by some great performances by Matt Damon and Emily Blunt.

08: Super 8

The ending of this movie could have been much better, but before it went a little off I was hooked. A coming of age story mixed with alien on the loose wouldn’t seem to work but it does. By giving the kids an extreme problem, they are forced to do a bit of growing up. The movie is helped by the chemistry of all the kids involved, you could get a real grasp of the friendship they had. They also had the right balance of smart but not too smart, so I had no trouble believing kids would act this way. Made me remember the good times I had as a kid watching The Explorers and Goonies.

07: 50/50

Cancer comedy. It doesn’t really seem like those two words should be grouped together. It would also make people take a step back and ponder whether any movie that is a cancer comedy would work. Surprisingly not only does it work, but it was a great film. The comedy and seriousness blend together to make a touching movie that doesn’t get too depressing but still offers genuine human emotions. Joseph Gordon Levitt is great and Seth Rogen proves that he does have a deft touch to be able to act when he wants.

06: Bridesmaids

In a year that the Hangover tried to get another bite of the cherry, by doing the exact same thing, it was Bridesmaids that showed that you can do movies in a similar vein but change it enough to be better. Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph share a great chemistry and the movie is damn funny as well as being touching. I liked the relationship between Kristen Wiig and Chris O’Dowd and how it took typical romantic comedy beats and switched them around. A great comedy that managed to find a bigger audience than what you would think.

05: Contagion

Contagion isn’t about characters, it doesn’t let us get that close with the people that we are watching but then again that’s no it’s agenda. This is a movie that studies the world as a whole, how our systems mean nothing when up against our honest human impulses. Fear takes hold, fear spreads, and there is nothing that can be done. I was so glued to this movie that time just passed so quickly. Honestly want to watch this movie again and go through it slowly so I can see all the little details of how our society breaks down.

04: Hanna

This movie rests on the shoulders of its lead actress and she delivers with such force that Saoirse Ronan is one to watch. At first I wondered how the fairy tale theme would mix with this tale of a little girl assassin, and then after watching it I realised that this is the type of fairy tale people will tell of our age. It has all the beats of the stories we were told, but it’s distinctly from this era. In keeping with that idea we get a terrific score by the Chemical Brothers, which is modern but works so well with everything playing out on screen.

03: Warrior

Is it predictable? Yep. Have you seen this type of movie before? Probably. But is it a great movie? Hell yes. The fact that in the last fight I was on the edge of my seat, yet still knew the outcome of the movie is a testament of the power of this movie. It manages to connect with our base emotions and while it’s a story we’ve seen, it’s one we won’t get bored from. Add to that some great acting, as well as camera work that really captures what Mixed Martial Arts is all about and you have a movie that should please a fair few people.

02: Tree of Life

After watching Tree of Life I was a little depressed but honestly I’m not sure why. The movie doesn’t have a traditional story and leaves everything up to the audience. It’s a hard movie to get into, and I understand that this isn’t for everybody, but I still thought visually the movie was spectacular and it’s one of the reasons why I still go to the cinema. So even though I left on a slightly depressed note I still loved the movie. This is visual poetry, it’s a movie that refreshes me from all the drivel that gets put out, and I hope Terrence Malick makes more movies like this.

01: Drive

This is not an action movie, this is an intense character study with action beats. If you can keep this in mind then you’re already ahead of the game when watching this movie. Drive gave me the same buzz as Heat, a beautiful film, a deep film, a film that didn’t shy away from some of the more violent aspects of human nature. When I left the cinema I knew that this would be my number one film of 2011. Ryan Gosling’s performance is great, so subtle and yet if you pay attention you can see a lot of what is going through his characters head. I can’t wait for this movie to come out on Blu Ray as I’ll watch it back to back with Heat. That’ll be a great night.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Quick Movie Reviews: Vol 20

The horror, oh the horror. Here I was rushing through some movies to catch any 2011 movies I watched, and then I stumbled upon three movies that took the wind from my sails. I’m now done, I’ve got my top ten list ready for 2011 and I will post it up on Saturday before the end of the year. So I’m guessing some of you out there are wondering what three movies destroyed me. With a heavy heart I now venture to the dark wilderness of Hollywood, where a young man can be struck down by a savage film in a heart beat.

What’s Your Number (2011)

If I wanted to be cruel with this review I could use the term slut, as it kept coming to mind throughout this entire movie. Oh and I don’t mean Anna Faris’s character but instead I mean Chris Evans’s character of Colin Shea. He is a total slut and a reprehensible character that we are asked to looked beyond the pig and see the kind soul deep within. Not only that; but Ally’s (Faris) dilemma is such a non-issue you I just was wondering why I was supposed to be cheering for her. You’ve slept with 20 guys, it isn’t that bad, and especially when it’s hinted Colin is in the hundreds. I think what makes me angry about this movie is what a waste of Faris and Evans talent it is. I think both of these actors are great and Chris Evans has really shown diversity with such movies as Sunshine all the way up to Captain America. Are there funny moments? Sure. But it’s not worth wadding through a movie whose issue is not worth a feature movie, and has characters that you really don’t want to get behind.

Shark Night (2011)

Teenagers get eaten by Sharks in an evil plot that made me want to slap my forehead several times. Sharks are a pretty good monster to have in your movies. Just take a look at Jaws. But this movie just uses them in such a god awful over the top manner it made me want to throw my controller at the television. I can’t really get into the main thing that annoyed me as it would spoil the movie, and as much as I would like to spoil the movie for people I can’t. Let’s just say the plot can turn brains to mush. To add insult on this pile the characters are so bland, I wouldn’t even class them as assholes, more like dead meat walking. If you slapped them in red Federation shirts they would belong in the ranks. Just avoid this turd of a movie.

Killer Elite (2011)

This movie is based on a true story. So then the plot holes and random changes in character motivations are all true as well. It has to be, cause I was told so. You know I’m beginning to feel really sorry for Jason Statham as this is the third movie I’ve seen of his this year, and the third one I’ve just really hated. There is no point in Robert De Niro being in this movie, other than him getting a pay check, Statham is playing the same guy he plays all the bloody time, and Clive Owen’s character is all over the place. At one point he screams at his men not to kill Statham, and then he follows that off by setting off an explosion near him, cause we all know explosions don’t kill people. Killer Elite wants to be taken seriously, but it adds drama and characters that are just there to move the plot along, nothing seems natural. I hope Statham can find a project that elevates him in the action ranks, but he keeps on making crappy decisions. Only watch this if you are a Statham fan and happen to run across it on television.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quick Movie Reviews: Vol 19

You can expect a few of these quick movie reviews over the next few days, as I try to cram as many movies in as possible. Then to top it off I shall unveil my top 10 movies of 2011 before the beginning of the New Year. Hot damn do I love it when a plan comes together. So let’s get this party started in a non Black Eyed Peas sort of way.

Hanna (2011)

A movie of a young girl trained to be an assassin wrapped in themes of fairy tales and scored by the Chemical Brothers. Joe Wright creates a unique film, one part spy thriller, one part child trying to find her place in the world. Of course this type of dualism wouldn’t have worked if it wasn’t for the actress they selected. Saoirse Ronan is perfect as Hanna and she displays both an innocence and deadliness, I honestly think this girl is an up and comer and I hope to see her in more movies. She is aptly supported by Eric Bana as her father, and Cate Blanchett as the intelligence office trying to track her down. As a source of action the movie does deliver with some interesting camera work as well as a Chemical Brothers soundtrack that really gets the adrenaline pumping.

Conan the Barbarian (2011)

Born in battle in one of the most over the top scenes I’ve witnessed in a while, I was hoping for so much. Basically I wanted insanity up on the screen linked by action set pieces that would make any barbarian holler with joy. What I got was slightly disappointing as it’s a pretty standard fantasy action movie. I don’t think people will hate this movie as it’s competent in what it does, the action is decent and Jason Mamoa is pretty good as Conan, it’s just not a movie that I want to return to. When it comes to villains Stephen Lang didn’t really light my fire, I thought there was potential in Rose McGowans character Marique but I don’t think that potential was exploited to the fullest. But if you got a bit of time and looking for an action movie to kill that time you can certainly do worse.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

Speaking of wasted potential we come to this little movie starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Clancy Brown, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde and Walter Goggins being directed by Mr Iron Man himself Jon Favreau. This should have been good but instead it can get kind of boring in places. I shouldn’t be saying that as it’s cowboys versus aliens, lasers vs shotguns, the only way it could have been cooler is if ninja’s and pirates were added into the mix. There was a decision made to keep this movie as serious as possible, now doing this isn’t a bad choice as long as you can back it up with interesting characters and some deep themes running through out the movie, also in my mind the aliens would have to be pushed into the background as if they are front and centre too much you could get an unwanted camp vibe. Unfortunately with the decision made they failed to pull it off, and honestly should of embraced the camp vibe from the get go. Sure it wouldn’t have been an excellent well crafted movie, but at least it would have been fun.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Quick Movie Reviews: Vol 18

It’s beginning to look like Christmas and what better way to celebrate than to take a look at a trio of movies that have nothing to do with Christmas. Also with the end of the year just a weeks or so away, I’ve been trying to catch up on as many movies as possible for the 2011 season. So expect a few quick movie reviews to come out over the coming days. So anyway strap yourself in, cause here we go.

Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

A nice little spin on the horror genre. Tucker and Dale are two hillbillies who get put into a situation where a group of teenagers believe they are evil killers like from all the horror movies. It’s funny, gory and an idea that I haven’t seen much. The two leads played by Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine work well off each other, and have a loveable quality to them which is really essential for this movie to work. If there was one thing that kind of annoyed me, was a late in the movie twist that really didn’t do anything to improve the movie. To be honest the final revelation kind of destroyed the effectiveness of what was happening. Overall though horror movie lovers should enjoy Tucker & Dale vs Evil.

The Holy Mountain (1973)

I wanted to do a full review of this movie but I came to the realisation that I don’t have much to write about it. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it; it’s just a movie that can be an extremely personal experience for each individual watcher. The movie is deeply symbolic with massive religious overtones. Also the movie doesn’t hold your hand and in my mind the story that is happening does depend on what the audience member creates. Aside from the plot the movie has some excellent imagery, and there is just a beautiful attention to detail. Having watched this I want to continue with Alejandro Jodorowsky movies, but I understand that these movies will not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Troll Hunter (2010)

First off I think I need to say that the character of Hans the Troll Hunter is pretty bad ass, and he has one of the best exits of a character on film I’ve seen in a while. That scene alone makes me want to buy this movie because I was so invested in the character. Otto Jespersen does a fantastic job and I applaud him. So getting away from that one character, the movie is a pretty excellent idea, and one of the better found footage movies I’ve seen. I saw everything on the screen, there was no time where I felt disorientated from the shooting style. The special effects aren’t the best, but they’ve made sure to give each individual troll a different personality. I would highly recommend this movie as there is a great pace to it, and I was never bored. Maybe the only thing to point out is that it’s a foreign movie and therefore it involves subtitles, it wasn’t a problem for me but I know subtitles can turn people off, still I think people should put this feeling aside as the movie is very enjoyable.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Review - Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)

“We all have our secrets. Don't we, Ethan”

Director: Brad Bird
Actors: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg & Jeremy Renner
Writer: Josh Appelbaum & Andre Nemec

I like the Mission Impossible movies, but I can’t say I go crazy for them. Maybe because there is an emphasis on Tom Cruise, instead of one on the team which MI movies should have front and centre. With the third movie there was a shift back to the team dynamic, but there was only so much that could be done with a story that focused on Tom Cruise’s character as well as his wife.  Well this time we have Brad Bird stepping up to direct and he only happens to have directed The Incredibles, one of Pixar’s best movies as well as an excellent example of a team of super heroes.

Well first off it was nice to see Simon Pegg back for the sequel and actually given a fair bit to do. His character now being a field agent, he’s right in the thick of things, as well as bringing some nice comedic beats. Jeremy Renner is a welcome addition to the franchise and I hope he sticks around. Thankfully his character is given a nice arc. Paula Patton as the token female of the team is also given many things to do, as well as given some good character motivation. Finally this leads to Tom Cruise, who is still the uber spy, but this time he has to rely on his team more. The man still has his big set pieces but at least the movie duties are split, and as much as people don’t like Tom Cruise, he does suit the role of Ethan Hunt.

Action is the true heart of the mission impossible films. It’s all about the big set up, for the crazy action scenes. This movie doesn’t fail to deliver, as in a fair few scenes I was really getting into the action and even jumped out of my seat at some points. This movie revels in the action and makes sure to let audience soak in every minute. Brad Bird gives the movie such a great energetic feel; you can’t help but be drawn in. There was also a good sense of danger in the movie, with a constant feeling that the heroes were on the back foot from the beginning and not everything goes according to plan.

Probably the biggest problem with the movie would be the villains. Their plan is great, their reasons interesting, and yet they aren’t given that much movie time and are just simply there. It’s actually weird how much threat comes from the evil scheme and yet the villains are lifeless. There is a great final showdown between Ethan and Hendricks (the main villain) which gives Hendricks some bad ass points, but it’s a little late as the movie is wrapping up. Basically the movie tells us they are bad with most of their evil things happening off screen, and this breaks the rule of show don’t tell. At the end of the day however the movie still manages to tick along and works despite this flaw. I would also point out I think the fault lies with the script writer rather than the actors or director. Michael Nyqvist (Hendericks) makes the most of what he is given, while Brad Bird makes a thrilling movie despite the villains so I can only lay the blame on the script writers.

With Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol I got an excellent popcorn movie that wasn’t stupid. There was some great action that drew me, and other characters on the team were given a lot to do. Tom Cruise is still the centre of the series but this movie is probably the best in the franchise which bodes well for the direction this movie went. Sure this movie isn’t going to be award winning but it does what it does very well. Get out there and watch it people.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Horror Movie Comics

Horror movies are normally a very visceral genre, sure there are the ones that make you think, but normally the horror movie will try and run rough shed over our instincts and emotions. As such it lends itself well to the visually medium of film, but I would also argue that comics are also a bastion of possibilities for the horror stories and in particular creating an expanded universe for horror icons every bit as great as the Star Wars expanded universe novels.

What got me thinking about all this expanded horror universe stuff was the third annual of the Hack/Slash comic (click here for a wiki run down). It had the main character go up against the killer Victor Crowley. Now I love the two Hatchet movies and this annual gave me more of what I love. But it also gave me a story that I probably wouldn’t have got thanks to budget restraints. It opened up the possibilities of the character and I loved every minute of it.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve read a horror comic and was thankful. Freddy vs Jason is a movie I enjoy, but I love the comic book sequel Freddy vs Jason vs Ash. That’s right everyone’s favourite Deadite slayer decides to kick some Freddy butt. Also the series answered the question what would happen if Freddy ever got the Necronomicon (the short answer is the shiteth hiteth the faneth). Now I know this idea was being thrown around as a movie but could never get off the ground and in my opinion thank god as I don’t think the movie could have ever done it justice.

The sheer awesomeness of this idea makes me smile.

Of course there are horror comics that just don’t work and personally I think the one reason for that is it tries to follow the movie beats too close. A bit back the major horror icons were really hitting the comic book industry hard, and I decided to jump on board with Chucky. It wasn’t long before I just stopped collecting all together as the comic series didn’t give me anything the movies already have, and I think if the expanded universe of horror was ever to take off, it would need people to give different spins on the horror icons we love.

So where would I start? Hell if I had any say in the matter I would love to see a series of comics on Phantasm. The world of Phantasm is ripe for exploration as a lot of the answers haven’t been given, and a bigger story is just around the corner. Who wouldn’t love to see an almost apocalyptical tale, where we see a world at war with the Tall Man. Plus with comics we wouldn’t have to worry about the death or ageing of the actors we like, the companies who make these comics would just have to ensure finding writers who could mimic the speech style of the characters.

There is a comic miniseries of Phantasm,
but I think the world warrants
 a long running series.

There are some great horror comics out there, and plenty with links to the horror movies we love. I would suggest people get out there and read them as you never know. If sales increase the comic book industry might look at these horror icons and try and create an extended universe that is robust with great story ideas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review - Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

“How can kung fu stop something that stops kung fu?”

Director: Jennifer Yuh
Actors: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman and Lucy Liu
Writers: Jonathan Aibel, Glen Berger

Last year as time was ticking away, I happened to go and watch Megamind and it made my top ten list of 2010 from the sheer awesomeness of it. Sitting down to watch Kung Fu Panda 2 I wondered if this would follow suit and Dreamworks would rock my world more than Pixar. So did this Panda give me the five finger punch of death, or was it more white belt in its Kung Fu ways?

I really enjoyed the first movie and was impressed how much it got to me. Especially considering how Jack Black can annoy me sometimes. For the sequel I was happy to be drawn back into the world, and liked getting to know the characters all over again. One of the problems with some voice acting is the audience can be taken out of the movie with higher profile celebrities as they try and match face to voice. However in the first movie and this sequel the actors truly seem to embody the characters. Po was Po, he wasn’t Jack Black doing a voice. Thanks to this I was more emotionally connected with the story as these characters were ‘real.’

On the voice acting everyone is excellent, with Gary Oldman and Jack Black the stand outs in my mind. Mr Black is able to make Po a true innocent in the world, and when the story gets serious there is no over playing it. Oldman as Shen is having a blast as a villain, and thankfully he plays it to the max, creating a villain that is going ahead with his plan with out any consideration for others. All the others are perfectly fine and it was nice to have Jackie Chan doing a little more in this movie, as he wasn’t given much in the first one.

Story wise the movie cleverly highlights maybe one of the weirder aspects of the first movie. You see Po the Panda had a Duck for a father, doesn’t make much sense. Oh wait he’s adopted. It’s not a surprise but it does make you wonder if plans were set in place from the beginning for sequels. While the save the kingdom plot is nice and simple and allows for some great action, the core story of Po trying to figure out who he is, and his past is emotional. The great thing is the story not only brings depth to the character of Po, but amplifies the evil of the villain Shen. Like the first movie, this sequel gives the kids a good message which is never too preachy.

Dreamworks has always known how to make movies that looked good; it’s just never had the heart of Pixar. Or that was the case but that’s all changing, thankfully in their quest to create better stories they haven’t forgotten how to make a beautiful movie. In this movie there is actually a mix between the cgi created imagery and beautiful dream scenes that are done in a more traditional manner. Kung Fu fights are glorified throughout the movie and puts some non cartoon based action movies to shame.

So it’s obvious that I really enjoyed this movie and I think it’s better than the first one. If you liked the first movie, then you will like this sequel. Parents should get out there and buy the double pack of Kung Fu Panda, you won’t regret. Ah hell I think anyone who is a fan of animated features should get the double pack, I know I will.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Review - Grave Encounters (2011)

“They were searching for proof... they found it.”

Director: The Vicious Brothers
Starring: Sean Rogerson, Juan Riedinger, Ashleigh Gryzko and Mackenzie Gray
Writer: The Vicious Brothers

I guess I should start off with the fact that I’m a huge Ghost Hunters fan. Yep that’s right I watch a reality show, and one that involves two guys running around dark places and normally scaring the crap out of each other. When I discovered a horror movie using this type of reality show as the foundation of the story I got a little excited.

Being a mock reality show means the movie is of the found footage variety. Found footage movies can be rather hit and miss with the camera becoming nauseating in its shakiness. There is also the old problem of coming up with a viable reason why people are holding onto the camera’s as stuff happens. Honestly if I was in the middle of a zombie apocalypse I would put the camera down and start a running. But Grave Encounters has come along and given us a premise where it’s logical for the camera to be filming the action.

The other problem with found footage films is the acting. As soon as you have someone who is famous it can destroy the illusion of the film; having unknown actors don’t mean it’s going to be bad, but it does put a certain strain on the movie. In this case most of the actors are okay but there is an added layer that can complicate things. Each character is portraying the normal person, and then the persona they put forth for the reality show, cause as we know reality shows are normally very separate from any reality we know.

Visually the movie stays close to the ghost reality shows, and the place where the movie was shot, was milked for all it’s worth. Scare wise we have things that play it pretty similar to Paranormal Activity. I can’t say I was tense during the movie and that’s a negative point in the film. At least I was interested in the ideas it presented. I will admit there were some effects that looked really good (mainly a moving bed), but it’s all kind of hampered by the shakiness. While I didn’t mind it, I’m sure people will be turned off.

The other problem with found footage movies is the story is normally just a situation that makes a turn for the worse. As such there isn’t really much of a character arc, and the movie can stagnate because we are just waiting for the next event to occur. The same problem occurs with this movie, there was an underlying story with the history of the place that was being investigated, and while it was interesting because it’s not fully investigated we are left with the characters that are on the screen and I needed more.

The premise is a good use of the found footage genre in horror, and I think the film makers try to make it as authentic looking as possible, but when it comes to story it’s shallow. I wasn’t scared, and was only interested when it kind of looked at the history of the haunted place. If you like found footage movies then I would say go ahead and give this movie a watch, but if not then you can just move on.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Quick Movie Reviews: Vol 17

It’s something that makes me scratch my head, but I wonder why movies put arseholes in movies. Or at least put them as the lead characters. With horror movies I might understand the argument that the audience is paying money to see arsehole’s die in horrendous ways, but what of other genres? Even a movie like Very Bad Things where it’s littered with horrendous people, there are still main characters who are somewhat sympathetic. Anyway it’s just a question to think about and I should probably move on to the movies.

Paranormal Activity (2007)

Finally managed to watch this found footage movie and the overall impression was? I thought it was a solid movie, but nothing to write home about. I do think the hype about the movie may have been too much for it to live up to. During the course of the movie I did feel tense at some moments, but was never truly scared, and the ending didn’t have that much impact on me. I would like to see the two sequels, so I guess this movie is successful in that regards. Not too sure if I would recommend it to people, but I certainly wouldn’t stop people from watching it if they were interested.

Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Wow. Yet again a cartoon proving to me that I still have a child like heart. At the outset I was a little wary as I am suffering from Jack Black overload. But as the movie progressed I was laughing, cheering and generally enjoying the watching experience. I also think the message at the core of this movie is great for children, and yet it’s not overbearing. Simply put that if you have a dream you need to work at it and nothing good will happen if you just give up. The voice acting is also really well done and seemed to suit every character, in particular I thought Jack Black was very good as Po and Ian McShane as Tai Lung brought a suitable amount of menace. I love Pixar but it’s always good to see another company being able to match them, and I think Kung Fu Panda was Dreamworks first step towards that.

Bad Teacher (2011)

My opening paragraph comes full circle, as this is the reason why I’m thinking about arsehole characters at the moment. Or in this case it would be a bitch character. Cameron Diaz plays Elizabeth Halsey, a despicable wretch of a girl who is trying to get hitched to a rich man so she won’t have work ever again. I’m not sure what the point of the movie is honestly. It’s not that funny, the character doesn’t really go through any arc even though her character is supposedly improved somewhat, and actually nice people are punished. It’s the same problem I had with Bad Santa, as the main joke is, “wow. I didn’t expect (enter job) to ever act that way.” Once that joke is used up, the movie become stale as it’s just a repeat. The only thing that I liked about this movie was Jason Segal who seemed to come up with some of his own lines, and at least brought a decent character for me to get behind. Avoid this movie.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The New Hotness

A whole slew of new shows have raised their hands in an effort to grab my attention and I want to go through them with you. So grab a gun, ride a dinosaur, beware the gimp, and start believing in fairy tales, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

American Horror Story

Starting with a show that took me a little bit of time to get used to, and to be honest it’s still taking a bit of getting used to. However the show is creepy, the characters are disturbing and it’s giving me something that I don’t have on television. Also the show gives Dennis O’Hare work and that’s always appreciated. Personally I think this series will be jarring for people, I myself was thrown off by the characters, and how free form the main story drive is, but after a few episodes i'm starting to see the light. If you are after a well done horror show than I would highly recommend.

Terra Nova

Oh Terra Nova. I want to like you, but you just seem to be going through the motions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still enjoying the show if only for dinosaurs, Stephen Lang and Jason O’Mara, but the family dynamic travels down some very worn roads. Things are starting to pick up which is good to see, and given time the show could really find its footing and become very interesting. Just at this moment they seem to mining scripts stolen from other science fiction shows. There is also the issue of special effects and sometimes they over reach what they are capable of, but they a fully using their shooting location in Australia to really make it  seem like the untamed wilds.


One of two television shows that focused on fairy tales. Grimm’s Fairytales were real, and the brothers were actually hunters. Now over the ages there has been Grimm trying to destroy the evil creatures of the world. So it’s like Buffy but without the Joss Whedon writing, and the memorable characters. Kind of like Terra Nova, I’m only really digging one character and he’s holding the whole show up. That would be Silas Weir Mitchell as Eddie, the vegan Big Bad Wolf. I will keep watching but I haven’t been wowed by it. It is at the moment very monster of the week. There is some main plot development but this show is in danger of stalling if it takes too much time. But as long as there is Eddie i'll always put aside some time to watch Grimm.

Once Upon A Time

I love the comic book Fables and this seems to be the closest I’m going to get to it on the television. Fairytale characters thrown into the modern day and yet none of them seem to know the truth. I love this show and think it’s one of the better paced shows on television at the moment. It has some of the writing talent from Lost and they seem to have learnt from that show what to do and not to do. We have a clear end game and yet there are still mysteries hanging over the main story. Most of the acting is pretty solid with Robert Carlyle the highlight in my opinion as Rumpelstiltskin. The only thing that could wreck this show is if they prolong the story too much. I could see this show going for four to five seasons, but any longer and they could wreck the flow.

Final Thoughts

I must say this television season has been better than most, with me connecting with four of the new offerings. There have also been many old favourites that I’m enjoying but I’ll get to them another day. I’m hoping that all four of these shows have managed to stay away from the studio axe for now, and really it’s all going to come down to the wrap up of the seasons to see if these shows really have what it takes.