Sunday, April 24, 2011

Messages from Mars

Hanna - B

Surprisingly effective and simple little action thriller. Saoirse Ronan plays a girl trained by her CIA assassin father (Eric Bana) who joins the modern world after years in hiding, eventually playing a hunter/hunted game with rogue agent Cate Blanchett. The film has a European feel (at times I was strongly reminded of Run Lola Run) and a slick Chemical Brothers soundtrack.

Torchwood (BBC America/Starz)- A-

I haven't been keeping up with the modern Doctor Who series, but if they are half as cool as this spin-off, I look forward to doing so. The Torchwood team is an outside-the-government force tasked with protecting the planet from otherworldly threats, led by the immortal Captain Jack Harkness. Early episodes were occasionally hokey, but the show quickly found a solid tone that's sometimes quite dark. The pinnacle thus far was the third season/miniseries "Children of Earth," a tense and exciting tale of alien contact through the medium of the world's innocents. The story accomplishes a true sense of apocalyptic foreboding. A new season is scheduled for this summer in conjunction with Starz.

MLB The Show '11 (PS3) - A-

Still the best baseball game on the market, The Show gives fans of the sport or gaming in general superb graphics, intuitive control and numerous gameplay options. The pure analog option makes pitching feel like a true game of inches and challenges you to have a sharp eye for batting. In-game commentary is less obnoxious now, too, with the inclusion of Eric Karros for color calls.

The Killing (AMC) - B+

AMC's knack for excellent dramas continues (only Rubicon failed to impress). I'm always a little scared of "season-long" murder mysteries, but AMC's short seasons and the superb acting and multi-faceted story structure should keep this one interesting.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Messages from Mars

The Tillman Story - B-

The documentary about the life and death of NFL star Pat Tillman turned casualty of war isn't as much of an indictment against the military PR machine as it could have been.

Love & Other Drugs - B

The only thing that keeps this movie from the realm of predictable rom-com-dom are the charming leads. Jake Gylenhaal and Anne Hathaway have believable chemistry and most of the film is filled with real wit. The biggest problem is the cliche drama and ending. I'm not going to pretend that copious scenes of Hathaway nudity was offensive, though.

Zombieland - A-

How did I take so long to see this film? Not quite as comedy-driven as Shaun of the Dead, but not serious horror like other "-- of the Dead" films, Zombieland deftly blends the genres on the backs of a fun cast and slick modern direction. Bill Murray's cameo is priceless.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What's In Your DVR?

I often rave about the shows that I love to watch. They fill up my DVR, they make for great conversation with friends and coworkers and they consume obscene amounts of my waking time.

I currently have 50 series recordings set up on my DVR. What can I say, it's a good time for TV. Two hours in front of a TV has better odds of entertaining you than $10+ in a theater taking a chance on a movie.

That said, I made a few tough (and some not-so-tough) choices this morning to remove some series recordings that simply aren't worth my time or my DVR's space.

Covert Affairs: Hey, Piper're cute and all, but completely unbelieveable as a covert agent.

The Event: I tried, I really did...but this over-complicated sci-fi thriller is all talk and very little action. By the end of most episodes, I realized I was so distracted or disinterested, I couldn't tell you what happened.

Lights Out: Actually, I liked this show, but FX has cancelled it.

G.I. Joe Renegades: The revamp of the Joe concept isn't bad, but the animation was pretty lousy and The Hub is apparently shelving the show until after the next film.

Transformers Prime: Too "kiddie" for my tastes...with the Bayformers and 'toons like this, maybe it's time to lay this franchise to rest and remember it only as a fond piece of our childhoods.

Mr. Sunshine: Dry humor with mostly unlikeable characters. There are a few laughs to be had, but not enough to justify tuning in weekly.

There are also more than a few shows that are in danger of being "cancelled" from my DVR...shape up or ship out series if you will.

Hawaii Five-0: I like the cast, it's well-filmed, but it's more or less a CSI/NCIS type show and formula TV never sits well with me.

The Cleveland Show: Seth MacFarlane, you'll forever have my admiration for Family Guy, but your other animated efforts don't come close.

Fairly Legal: I admit, I'm sticking with this one mostly for the gorgeous Sarah Shahi, but it does have a quirky charm to it.

Perfect Couples: Love the actors, often hate the writing.

Breakout Kings: This one is pretty new, so I'm giving it time, but if it's only going to be "escaped con(s) of the week" I'll pass.

What TV is in danger of losing your DVR love?