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Two and a Half Men (2003)
Too Much Sex Humor, Not Enough Creativity
At the risk of sounding like an old fuddy-duddy, I'll try to be hip and fair in my review.
Watched my first full episode of TAAHM last night. On the plus side, the show benefits greatly from the very skilled direction of Andy Ackerman (Seinfeld, Becker and - one of my all-time faves - Wings, among others). The acting was credible and the story interesting enough.
On the down side, I found the writing to rely too heavily on sexual humor. Let me re-phrase that: on overtly sexual humor.
I'm as prone as any guy to laugh at a boob or masturbation joke. The problem is, this show seems to never let up on the frequency of the jokes and goes for the cheap shot (i.e. the writers got lazy and took the easy road) at the expense of creativity.
To prove my point, watch "The Contest" episode of Seinfeld. I challenge anyone here to tell me they've laughed harder at a TAAHM than the brilliance that was "The Contest".
IMHO, well-written innuendo is far funnier.
I do really like the theme song...very catchy!
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)
Kevin Smith Makes a Poor Movie
My wife and I are 40-somethings. We've both seen real porn together, dropped many f-bombs and can be as foul-mouthed as they come.
I wanted to lay that as a foundation so anyone reading this wouldn't think the following criticism was coming from some ultra-conservative, prudish guy who just doesn't get it.
I love spicy food. I mean REALLY spicy food. But I love it in doses and only when the spice compliments the flavor. I detest food that's crazy-spicy just for the sake of being crazy-spicy.
That's what you get with this movie.
The entrée (metaphor for storyline, scriptwriting and acting (sans Elizabeth Banks)) is bland and forgettable. The sauce that's spooned over the top (metaphor for sex, poop "humor" and language) is the spicy camouflage that tries to hide what's underneath. Neither is very appetizing.
Rather than combining your laughs and sex in one poor movie, do yourself a favor and rent two excellent movies: the great couples comedy "When Harry Met Sally" paired with a great couples porn like "Bad Wives".
Weakest of the Series
I finally had the chance to see the "The Energy Eater" on Chiller, one of only a handful of original episodes I hadn't seen, despite the fact I'm old enough to remember the show from its original ABC run, the CBS late night run and the Sci-Fi run.
Is it just me or is the pacing S-L-O-W? It seems like they had enough material for about a 30-minute show and had to stretch it to fill the hour.
I'll agree with other observations about how episodes like Chopper and The Sentry suffer from poor effects and/or execution (excuse the pun), but at least the stories move along.
Anybody else feel the same?
Had Potential, Didn't Have Execution
The problem with this episode is two-fold: the writing first, the acting second.
Landis is an amazing director, though even he can't save this mess.
In order to make the ending "twist" work, there has to be a fair amount of misdirection along the way. Trouble is, the misdirection is completely unnatural and the actors force their performances to camouflage the shortcomings of the writing.
Why is the bride acting so over-the-top scared? Why is the groom acting so over-the-top creepy? Because they want us to be surprised for the "gotcha moment" at the end, which I saw coming about 10 minutes before it happened.
If you're reading this in disagreement, I invite you to view "Presumed Innocent"; the master class of misdirection.
A Wonderful Little Film
At the persistent urging of a friend, I saw "Once".
Rarely am I compelled to write a comment about a movie, let alone yearning to see said movie again - immediately.
I have this sinking feeling that "Once" won't be around much longer in theaters (God knows, we need every available screen for "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry") so give yourself a treat: go see it!
Be warned...you may be so affected you'll buy the soundtrack, check out all the related YouTube videos and won't be able to get it out of your head.
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Too Bad They Re-Shot The Ending/**Spoiler**
All too often, the thriller genre goes for the cheap scare.
We've seen it done to death in such modern classics as "Halloween", "Friday the 13th" and countless others.
Too bad that "Fatal Attraction" test audiences weren't satisfied with the original ending of this film, necessitating a hastily re-shot ending with the three main principals.
Why isn't Ellen Gallagher awoken during the struggle in the bathroom? How did Alex Forrest manage to slip into the house without so much as a whimper from the family dog? Why is it that Beth Gallagher takes SO long to come back with the gun and when she does it's perfectly on-cue with Alex's tub revival? This re-shot ending goes for the cheap scare and throws all probability out with the dead bunny.
Watch the original ending. For me, it takes the film from a 6 on the 10-scale to about an 8.5.
A Well-Made Hoax
I admit it.
I bought into this show because of the dizzying amount of air time the Sci-Fi channel used to promote it and my interest in Mr. Shyamalan.
Five minutes into it, I knew I'd been duped.
As I told my wife...
If Nathaniel Kahn and his crew were indeed shooting a conventional documentary, you never would've heard the Sci-Fi Channel executive's portion of the phone call during the opening sequence in the hotel room, only Nathaniel's. There would have been no reason to "mic" the caller unless it were planned that way.
At that point in the "doc" they would've had no idea they were taking an "alternate creative direction" and simply wouldn't have that elaborate of set-up so early on.
Still, well-made and interesting. Too bad legitimate news organizations were so easily tricked by Sci-Fi's publicity department.
As for those of you posting comments thinking what you saw was real, please refer to "War of the Worlds".