2004-2006 - Tamsin Greig, Stephen Mangan, Julian Rhind-Tutt
*Thanks to miss vic and her hubs for suggesting this one.
A medical drama that has absolutely nothing to do with medicine or patients. In that respect, it was an interesting concept. All the humor is inherent instead of obvious, though a few times the laughs are forced, but those moments are more wink-wink, nudge-nudge moments, as well as part of those characters' personalities. Overall, the series was worth the watch, and yet I could have done without the last episode, that is, the "special" they did to wrap things up. Now that was forced. They should have ended with the last episode of series two instead of coming back to answer that one question that wasn't really burning because they'd wrapped it up effectively. In the end, that special cost this series a half point. 3.25/5
2011 - Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler,
A group of young teens are filming their own Super 8 (ah! there's the title!!) horror film in the summer of 1979. The film's writer and director, Charles, decides to use the town's train depot for a scene, and the group travels there at night to do it. While filming, a train approaches, and they use it for authenticity in the scene. A truck pulls onto the tracks and slams head-first into the train, derailing it, and the kids barely escape the resulting explosions. Joe (Courtney) thinks he sees something large flee the wreckage. The whole event is captured on film. Strange things start happening around town; missing people, dogs running away, numerous electronics equipment. Then the Air Force arrives. Is it an alien conspiracy? Bad luck? Evil spirits? Nothing else to be said here without ruining the plot. The kids acting was...decent for the most part. It's also nice to see Kyle Chandler in a role outside of Friday Night Lights. In the end, I would say it was a pretty good flick. I'm still unsure of its replay factor. Oh, but watch the credits for the short film the characters were making. 3.5/5
I expected the alien to be benevolent; like it was trapped here and wanting to get off-planet and the kids were going to help it, but the military had other plans, and thus made the alien hate humanity.
Van Wilder: Freshman Year
2009 - Jonathan Bennett, Kristin Cavallari
Third installment of this National Lampoon series. And it was a direct-to-DVD prequel. This does not bode well for any film in a series. However, it's National Lampoon, so we already expected some over the top raunchiness and language and such. So, setting that aside, it was actually pretty good. As formulaic as the first, but still funny. You know, in that way National Lampoon does. 3.25/5
2010 - Cassidy Freeman, Clark Freeman, Sam Elmore, Michael Laurino
*Thanks to Ninja Master Alex Cavanaugh for pointing this one out; read his review here.
YELLOWBRICKROAD was the code name the US Army gave to a 1940 event in Friar, New Hampshire, where the entire 572-person population walked up into the mountains. They left behind everything; clothes, animals, essentials. Many froze to death; some were mysteriously slaughtered. Everything was quietly covered up. In 2008, the coordinates for the YELLOWBRICKROAD trail head were declassified. The film follows the first official documentary crew that is attempting to uncover exactly what happened in 1940. It's an odd film, to be sure. The characters are bland shells of people. The acting isn't good. The story is lacking in attempting to be convoluted and twisted. In the end, it wasn't satisfying. But, it's a weird little horror film. 2/5
Comedy Central Roast of Roseanne
I love roasts, and this one was no exception. The best part about being on Netflix: uncensored. It's much better that way. To be honest, this was a better roast than some of the previous ones. You know, if you're into that kind of humor. Which I am. 4.25/5
The Secret of Kells
2009 - Brendan Gleeson, Evan McGuire
An animated tale of the creation of The Book of Kells, a real-life illuminated manuscript of the Gospel in Latin. Brendan (McGuire) is an apprentice in the abbey run by his uncle, Cellach (Gleeson). The best illuminator, Brother Aidan, arrives in Kells to help complete The Book of Iona. He is in need of some berries from the forest to make a special green ink. Brendan has never left the wall protecting the abbey, but he ventures out into the forest. There, he is surrounded by black wolves, but before they attack, a girl's voice calls them off. Brendan meets Aisling, a fairy living in the woods outside of Kells. At first, Aisling is cautious of the intruder in "her woods," but she helps Brendan find the berries and they become friends. A beautiful film, though I can see why some kids might be bored by it. Certainly not a fast-paced movie, but that is part of its charm. A different kind of animation influenced by traditional Irish art, and stunning in its effectiveness to draw you in. 4/5
2001 - Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell
David Aames (Cruise) has a great life as a rich owner of his deceased father's publishing company. The story opens as David is telling his life to Dr. Curtis (Russell) from a prison cell. David recounts his bachelor days of drinking, hanging out with friends, and womanizing. Julie (Diaz), whom he has been sleeping with, is in love with David, and takes exception to David's flirtations with Sofia (Cruz) by driving the car with herself and David off a bridge. He is left horribly disfigured, forcing him to wear a mask to hide his injuries. From there, everything takes strange turns as David is unable to come to terms with reality, and the lines between what is real and what is not become impossible to discern. I know a lot of people had problems with this film (and some of its actors), but I liked the way blended reality and mystery and romance with a bit of science fiction thrown in for good measure. Overall, I can see why people find this film confusing, but it reminds me of LOST in the sense that you have to pay attention to the details. 3.75/5
Tears of the Sun
2003 - Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci, Cole Hauser
SEAL Team Lieutenant A.K. Waters (Willis) must take his crew to Nigeria to extract some "critical persona." The mission begins as planned, but Waters must decide whether to follows orders or stay behind to protect the refugees who are being violated and slaughtered by guerrilla rebels. Now you know the whole plot of the movie. Historical inaccuracies aside, it was your standard action fare. A journey, explosions, fighting, gunfire. Lackluster in general, yet still had some intense moments (like when the refugees are hiding in the dark jungle waiting for rebels to pass by and there's a baby they need to keep from crying; so tense!!!). It suffered from a bad script, but wasn't the worst action movie ever put to film. 2.5/5
The Lazarus Project
2008 - Paul Walker, Piper Perabo, Linda Cardellini, Bob Gunton, Tony Curran
Ben Garvey (Walker) is a reformed criminal out on parole in Texas. One day, he loses his job because of his record, and turns to his recently-released from prison brother, Ricky (Shawn Hatosy). They go to rob a lab of 30 pounds of gold dust, but things go sour. With his prior record on top of the lab debacle, Ben is executed for his crimes. After the lethal injection, Ben awakes near a psychiatric hospital in Oregon and told he has been given a second chance at life. But has he really cheated death, or is there something more sinister in the air? Let us first set aside the fact that I don't think Ben could be sentenced to lethal injection for being present at a crime where three people died even though he didn't pull the trigger. Even in Texas. I'm not a lawyer, but that sounds grossly inaccurate. Other than that, it was a decent psychological thriller with a lot of introspection. Pretty good music score, too. 3.25/5
He's in purgatory. Just saying.
Word to the Nerd