November's DVD Reviews 

Nip/Tuck: Season 5 - Whereas earlier seasons of this show had story arcs that were central to the plot, there's nothing to hold this one together, especially in ways that include more than one member of the cast at a time.  The twists are random and the interactions among the characters seem forced.

Supernatural: Season 1 - There's a little too much "boogy man of the week" going on, but gradually they start to shift from purely episodic tv to something with more of an arc to it.  Good, believable characters beneath the archetypes, and that's what sustains the suspension of disbelief about plots built around unbelievable things.

Joe Satriani: Live in San Francisco - This guy is amazing.  Granted, you have to be a guitar nerd to understand most of what he's doing, and most people don't listen to music to have their left brain tickled.  Still, if you appreciate good music, this isn't so intellectual that it doesn't rock.  I like Joe's hair too, btw.

They, 2002 - It's effective on a number of levels, but unfortunately, there's not nearly enough story here to stretch this into a cinematic feature, but the included alternate ending points to how great a Twilight Zone episode this would have made.

The Office: Season 5 - It's rare that I think a series is genius.  With most shows, you can see the writers' cards no matter how close to the vest they think they're holding them.  Here, the writing is so absolutetly brilliant and consistently (Has it been five years already?) delivered to us by one of the greatest casts ever assembled, that there's no excuse to not be watching this series.

Frost/Nixon, 2008 - A surprisingly effective story.  The principals overplay their parts (the Academy nods were too generous, I think), but I have to admit that actually helps here where the source material (i.e., the original interview, not the play on which this is based) really doesn't jump out and grab anyone who didn't live it.

Powder, 1995 - Another case where there's too little material to stretch what's nothing more than an afterschool special into an actual movie.  That, plus it fails for the same reason as most movies about supposed geniuses fail: You have to have genius penning the story and directing to give the audience something to wow at.

Blake's 7: Season 1 - The influence of a little contemporary film called Star Wars is abundantly and unapologetically on display here, and the show sports literally the worst theme song I have ever heard, but the core cast seems rooted in the imagined reality here and they sell it for all it's worth.  What it's worth isn't a whole lot, but it's enjoyable for what it is/was.

Decision Before Dawn, 1951 - A bit trite in spots, but this nearly-forgotten WWII film is actually pretty good.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno, 2008 - Really good.  Me and Kevin Smith have a rocky relationship.  I really like a lot of his movies.  I hate a lot of his movies.  This one I fucking love.  He's really turning into this generation's John Waters on every level, which is awesome.

Monk: Season 7 - Same.  No standout moments spring to mind.  Smooth, very even.  Like Monk would like it to be.

Dan in Real Life, 2007 - Looked good on paper, and Steve Carell is honestly one of the best actors who will never be properly acknowledged for his talent, but this project just lacked the magic that would have made it interesting.  Not bad, but not really good.

PICKS OF THE LITTER: It's less that Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a masterpiece than a solid sign that Smith can make a genuinely funny movie without a big budget, overly-ambitious stories, or falling back on perhaps over-used characters (although there are admittedly a handful of familiar faces).  And look, if you aren't watching The Office, your dvd player should fire you.

Copyright 2009 Ale[x]plorer.
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