August's DVD Reviews 

Star Wars Clone Wars: Season 1 - If you didn't like the prequels, you'll probably skip this, but it's more effective at being a cinematic adventure series than the trilogy that spawned these half-hour episodes was.  Fast-paced and efficient storytelling = B+.  Sure, the material lacks depth, but it's aimed at 10 year-old boys, which all of us thirtysomething Star Wars fans still have inside us.  The premise: Lightsabers are cool, evil robots and ugly aliens are bad, and stories should have an easily-digestible moral.  It's a good recipe.

The Spirit, 2008 - It's not a terrible movie, but it leaves the audience with such a case of cognitive dissonance that they'll feel like it was.  See, after The Dark Knight, anything featuring superheroes engaging in '60s-era "Boom! Crash! Pow!" shennanagens just feels like a throwback, especially when there's Sin City cinematography and clevage galore all mixed up in here telling us just what year this is.  Frank Miller may admire Will Eisner, but they come from mutually incompatible schools of sequential art.  Both talents were wasted in grafting together this monster.

Twilight, 2009 - I know it sets itself up as an easy target by its popularity and target demographic alone, but I was alternately grinning and cringing at how awful it was in spots.  My favorite inexplicable plot element: The "bad" vampires can snack on anyone they want, but Blondie the Tracker gets obsessed with the human chick and runs all over the country trying to eat her for the last twenty minutes of the story.  Why?  Because he smelled her while they were playing baseball?  O... kay.

Hancock, 2008 - Should have been darker.  This is one of the first superhero films to abandon the requisite suspension of disbelief approach and instead try to meld real-life with the conventions of the comic book mythos.  Unfortunately, it plays the material too light.  Has one good plot twist though and it's entertaining throughout in any case, but it could have been better.  Again, Dark Knight got there and all else except Iron Man has failed to grasp the new paradigm.

The Sarah Silverman Program: Season 2 - I'm not entirely sure she's right in the head, and that's what makes this show great.  There's some attempts at shock humor, but it seems less like they're going for an effect than just putting it all in there because that's how Sarah thinks.  It's more a live-action cartoon than a sitcom.  Completely silly.  And yet I laugh at this nonsense almost as much as I do an episode of The Office.

Ghost Town, 2009 - Ricky Gervais is the anti-Ben Stiller.  He actually gets funnier the more unlikeable a character he plays.  Admittedly, this film is really nothing more than a comedic take on Sixth Sense, and yet Gervais' performance alone elevates the material and makes it enjoyable.

The Day the Earth Stood Still, 2009 - Meh.  This one isn't terrible either, but it's about as dumb as Keanu who actually does a good job.  His acting is pretty good when he isn't required to play a human, I guess.

Kathy Griffin - My Life on the D-List: Season 2 - I want to marry her.  She lays all her faults out there, shows off how vain and manipulative she can be, and yet she's hysterically funny without ever relying on canned material the way 99% of stand-ups do.

Bullshit: Season 3 - Unfortunately, the format is too short to handle certain more-nuanced topics they've tackled such as circumcision or gun control (same thing?).  The focus is on trying to be entertaining by ripping into people who take dogmatic positions at an extreme.  The flaw is that these attacks play as though coming from the opposite extreme, and sometimes that's bullshit too.

PICKS OF THE LITTER: I'll be the first to admit I have a female comedian fetish, but both My Life on the D-List and The Sarah Silverman Program are worth watching for making reality tv funny and for making tv so far removed from reality that it's funny.  And Clone Wars is actually light fun that makes Star Wars something I'm not ashamed to admit I still like.



Copyright 2009 Ale[x]plorer.
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