If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Manic catch-up phase of posting reviews continues...
I've officially started to have mixed feelings about "Chuck"s tenuous grasp on ratings that, with infernal support from the Subway chain, has led to season four. Unless something goes weird, 4 is the penultimate season, and we as fans can be glad of one thing at least: no more on again/off again Chuck (Zachary Levi)/Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) plot lines. For the larger part, it's just on now, and the dreaded 'no more sexual tension' curse that has killed so many shows before, seems to have been one of the many bullets Chuck dodges. But there's a baby. Dammit, yes, the even more dangerous to television programming, mewling infant, belonging to Chuck's sis Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) and her hubbie, Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin) becomes a plot point for WAY too many of this season's episodes. *yawn*. Even so, there's a lot of the usual fun spying going on (with Timothy Dalton as a GREAT seasonal head villain), and it's a huge thing as a fan to see Chuck having grown into a competent spy in his own right. There's even another big format-shattering twist at the ender to make you, like it or not, faithfully follow the series into its final season. Hey, it's not the best its ever been, but it ain't half bad either.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Chuck: The Complete Fourth Season
Ok, just quit it. "Green Lantern" is NOWHERE NEAR the worst movie of the year, the worst super-hero movie ever, or any of those other labels that certain hyperbolic types are attaching to it. Which certainly isn't to say it's all that good either. As a gigantic fan of the GL comics (in particular, the rebooting of the Hal Jordan character effected by writer Geoff Johns) I will concede that it's arguably the biggest disappointment of the summer, but that's as far as I'm willing to follow that grumbly group. Despite its many problems, there's still a good deal to like with this Martin Campbell directed adaptation, not the least of which is star Ryan Reynolds himself, who is clearly into it. In addition to an addition 9 minutes of scenes (which do, admittedly, fill in some glaring narrative gaps), the blu-ray offers exclusive character skins for use with the PS3 "Arkham City" game, a PiP function, a doc on the history of the comics, and more.
I find comedies that actually make me laugh out loud to be rarer and rarer. Maybe it's me. Certainly the audience during "Jack and Jill" were in non-stop hysterics. But, assuming that it's not me that's the problem, and proving that I do indeed have the capacity still to be relentlessly amused, "Horrible Bosses" looms large over (almost) every other comedy this year. Although its plot about three friends (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis) planning to kill off each other's despicable bosses (Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell respectively) is preposterous, top-form dialogue writing and teriffic chemistry between the three leads, assures a laugh fest for even the most jaded comedy viewer. Or maybe JUST for jaded comedy viewers. There's a formula to this, and if I can figure out how it works, I'm gonna be a billionaire.
This HD re-release of a 1989 film about the grungier side of life in Brooklyn during the 50's, made me want to take a bleach shower after watching in a way that no other film has done since "Requiem for a Dream". Surprise, surprise: the author of the novel the film is based on, Hubert Selby Jr, ALSO wrote "Requiem for a Dream". That explains a lot. Filled with lots of recognizable and very young character actors, and a few whose careers only more recently started to take off (like Stephen Lang as a sexually confused and emotionally desperate schmuck), the film combines the short stories of the original book into a somewhat uncomfortably fitted stew of sleaze, poverty, and hopelessness, in the wake of a seemingly endless union strike. Jennifer Jason Leigh's story in particular, as a neighborhood tramp who rolls sailors for their wallets on the pretense of being a whore, culminates in a scene only out-shocked in Hollywood history by the famed double-dildo scene from, you know, that other movie. I can only imagine that German director Uli Edel ordered his actors to perform in more of a stage manner, as the exaggerated, laughably street tough performances, almost make one incapable of seeing how smart and dark this really is. I kept expecting them to break out in songs from "West Side Story". Even so, I'm absolutely positive, without having read it even, that this is definitely one of those cases where the book is much better.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Last Exit to Brooklyn [Blu-ray]