Archive for October, 2011

MOVIE: The Ides of March (2011)

October 29, 2011

The entire time I was watching this incredibly depressing film about a presidential candidate (played by George Clooney) and his campaign manager (Ryan Gosling) who sell their souls (metaphorically) when they realize there’s no way to succeed in American politics if you have a moral core, I kept thinking about this passage from William Faulkner’s novel, Intruder in the Dust:

Some things you must always be unable to bear.  Some things you must never stop refusing to bear.  Injustice and outrage and dishonor and shame.  No matter how young you are or how old you are you have got.  Not for kudos and not for cash; your picture in the paper nor money in the bank either. Just refuse to bear them.

Dear America:  WE ARE DOOMED.

(As for the film, it’s great, though dishearteningly believable.  I still think Ryan Gosling can’t act (sorry), but any movie that pits Philip Seymour Hoffman against Paul Giamatti is WELL worth shelling out nine bucks for.  So: recommended!  You might want to smuggle a pint of scotch in with you, though.  You’re gonna need the stiff drink when the credits roll, believe you me.)

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Drama, Political
Cast:  George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Max Minghella, Jennifer Ehle, Michael Mantell

MOVIE: The Thing (2011)

October 29, 2011

As a huge fan of the Kurt Russell version of The Thing, I was both excited and trepidatious about seeing this “prequel.”  Obviously, having seen Russell’s version about 86 bazillion times (and counting), I knew how this film was both going to go AND going to end, and having also seen a hefty number of modern remakes of other horror classics in the last decade (I consider this a remake, by the way, even though it would rather I consider it a prequel), I knew better than to expect it to have a decent story-to-CGI ratio.  But at the same time, it was going to be about Norwegians (which: I am one), set in the snowy nowhere (which: I love movies set there), and feature a strong female lead (which: she better not fall in love with anyone).  So, as soon as I had a free afternoon, I hit the theater.

As predicted, this film is way too heavy on the special effects, and not nearly heavy enough on character development or well-written dialogue.  But honestly, that’s expecting way too much these days from a big picture, and I know it.  I did find the gory monster effects obnoxiously over the top, especially at first — will we never learn that less is more scary than more? — but I will say there was one creature toward the end that I thought was fantastically designed (for those who have seen it, I’m talking about the double-headed, crawling-upside-down dude(s)).  So, points for grody creativity, at least.

The story you know already if you’re at all familiar with the original film(s) — a team of Norwegian scientists at the South Pole come across a distress signal and dig down to discover a buried space ship and an alien frozen solid in a block of ice.  Not sure what to do about it, they get a Norwegian anthropology expert (Dr. Halvorson) to put together a team, including a young American woman (Dr. Kate Lloyd) who specializes in frozen-intact extinct beings, and come down to the station, extract the creature, and study it.

Obviously, this plan doesn’t go quite as intended, and instead of being dead inside the ice, as expected (by them, not by us), as soon as nobody’s lookin’ and the creature’s had a little time to thaw, it comes to life and begins to kill the Vikings off one by one.  If you’ve seen the Russell version of The Thing, you already know ain’t nobody surviving this — that version begins with the last two Norwegians in a helicopter chasing a dog across the snow, trying to shoot it before it gets to the American base and crashing before they can nail it.  But who makes it out (however temporarily) and how is what you await discovery of from the edge of your seat.

Overall, it’s not a bad movie.  It’s overdone and it’s predictable (not just the story, but also the personality clashes between Dr. H (brash, bossy — he’s essentially the Mayor of Amity with a PhD) and Dr. L (smarter, more cautious, luciously-lipped)), but I liked the characters in general (especially the beefy, bearded, flannel-wearing Norwegians, hubba hubba), and the film is made well in terms of visuals too.  I was definitely entertained, and at times I was even in an anxious state of mechanical popcorn-eating (a good state to be in when seeing a scary movie, though more satisfying for the brain than the belly, I must confess).

Also:  no stupid kissing scenes, no stupid running-with-big-boobs-and-no-bra scenes, no stupid naked-in-the-shower scenes, and noooooo Wilford Brimley (although, on that latter one: alas).

If you’ve been wary of seeing this because you’re a fan of either of its two predecessors (I confess I’ve never seen the original and really, really want to now), I think you should probably give it a shot.  But if you have no strong feelings about this tale one way or another, and certainly if you’ve never seen the Russell version, this is one to skip.  At least until it’s out on DVD.

[Prequeue it at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Science Fiction, Aliens
Cast:  Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Eric Christian Olsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Jonathan Walker

MOVIE: Dream House (2011)

October 28, 2011

Okay, so, the good news:  this movie isn’t nearly as bad as its trailer makes it look.  While it’s pretty much every bit as cheeseorama and predictable as it seems, it at least makes a good effort to veer slightly off the usual track at the end, something I appreciated enough to forgive it, a little anyway, for its ridiculous, silly everything-elses.

The story is about a successful big city publication house editor, Will Atenton (Daniel Craig), who has just quit his job and moved his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and two young daughters to a big house in a small town, where he plans to write a book and spend more time being a dad.  Fans of movies like this one know that moving a big city person to a small town neighborhood so they can focus on writing is something that just NEVER goes well for anyone (I can think of a dozen thrillers/horror movies that start out exactly that same way).  You either go crazy (The Shining) or some kind of evil comes and gets you (Straw Dogs and countless others).

It’s not long before the family learns they’ve been duped by their realtor, who failed to inform them that the house was the site of a horrific murder/attempted-suicide just a few years before.  A man killed both his kids and his wife, and then shot himself in the head, surviving the wound just barely, and he’s been in a psychiatric hospital ever since.  The neighbors think the house is cursed and stay away (one previous resident even warns Will that living in the house made him kill his own family. Apparently, he’s been let out of prison because he has terminal cancer, by the way, which:  what?).  But one of them, Ann (Naomi Watts), seems to know more than the others about the murders and makes an effort, albeit a hesitant one, to welcome Will to the neighborhood.

Creeped out but practical, the Atentons decide not to tell their kids about the house’s history (asking Ann’s teenage daughter to watch what she says within ear shot), and plan to make the best of it:  new coats of paint, smooches in the kitchen, the housewarming works.

Until, of course, stranger and stranger things begin to happen.

If you’ve seen the trailer — or any one of the gazillion movies just like this one — you already know Daniel Craig is the murderous father, and his family is simply a manifestation of his traumatized imagination.  (This is not a spoiler, by the way — it’s IN THE TRAILER.)  But as he begins to remember the truth, a twist comes into play that turns the usual arc of these sorts of flicks on its ear.  Is it a brilliant twist?  Nope.  However, it’s not terrible either, and, man, major points to the writer/director for not just lazily riding this out the way I expected them to.

If you’re on the fence about checking this one out, and you have a thing for the naked male form, then I should also tell you there is an unintentionally hilarious moment in this movie where Daniel Craig hears a noise downstairs and gets out of bed to investigate.  As he throws the covers back and rises to his feet, the camera zooms in so closely the only thing you see is his naked torso, all six-packed and chisel-y.  After seeing similar close-ups of his butt in chaps in Cowboys & Aliens (MORE THAN ONE, I should add!), I gotta wonder:  does Daniel Craig know he’s being cast these days more for his body than his acting ability?  Because, really, he’s not much of an actor — he’s pretty much always the same dude, and I confess that dude is sort of getting old for me.  But man, I would — and will — happily continue to shell out nine bucks for a big-screen ticket to more shots like that one.  MROWL.

For most of you, though, I think maybe waiting for DVD would be reasonable.  This little thriller is entertaining enough, but nothing to write home about.  (Hi, Mom!)

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Horror, Thriller
Cast:  Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Marton Csokas, Claire Geare, Taylor Geare, Rachel G. Fox, Elias Koteas

MOVIE: Virus X (2010)

October 23, 2011

Mom and I rented this movie last weekend expecting it to be so terrible we’d have to give up on it.  For one thing, the DVD box’s graphics made it look like a bloody horror flick — not Mom’s thing — and for another, it was only 85 minutes long, thus violating our B-Movie Law of 90, a law we developed after years and years of careful experimentation which states that B-movies tend to become exponentially less good-bad and more bad-bad for every minute under 90 they are in length.  At 85, therefore, we knew this one had a five-times-greater likelihood of being utter bollocks.

BUT, the title and description intrigued us enough to want to give it a shot — we’re suckers for movies about deadly viruses, you see.  Sometimes when we take a risk like this, we don’t last ten minutes.  Other times, though, we end up having a ball.

And hey, if you’re not living on the good-bad movie edge, you’re taking up too much space, right?  Um, or something.

Happily, Virus X, though flawed, turned out to be a BALL kind of movie, not a BOLLOCKS one.  Oh, frabjous day!

It’s about a team of scientists in a lab hidden away in an industrial building somewhere, working, or so they think, on a cure for H1N1 (swine flu).  As part of their plan to eradicate the disease completely, they’ve begun genetically altering the virus, developing vaccines for each new strain they create.

Things seem to be going well until the day the scientists are all sitting around eating lunch (in the near-dark, by the way — after spending all their funding on equipment, they apparently did not have enough money over for lamps. I would imagine this might make science rather tricky, though it never seems to stop CSI:NY), when a young woman with a needle sticking out of her arm bursts in, followed quickly by a weird-looking dude dressed in head-to-toe black leather and equipped with a very large handgun.  Which he promptly uses to shoot the girl in the head, her blood spattering all over the scientists sitting, agape, right behind her.

Weird Dude in Black turns and leaves just as the lab’s exposure alarm goes off, locking all the doors and sealing the gang in.  They’ve been contained.  Quarantined.  And it doesn’t take long for Malcolm to figure out why: they’ve all been exposed to the newest strain of H1N1 he’d discovered, a particularly aggressive and thus-far incurable strain called “H1N1 X.”

Now, here’s where it gets a little silly(er).  They’re a group of scientists specializing in H1N1 vaccines, so you’d think their next move would be to get to work on a cure for themselves, right?  But no, instead, they mostly just yell a lot and start making out with each other. Which, granted, is probably what I’d do myself if I knew I only had three days to live.  But then, I am not a virologist.  I think this movie would’ve been far more interesting had they started making love to SCIENCE instead of to each other, but, you know, que sera, etc.

In between ranting and smooching, however, the group slowly begins to discover the truth about their work.  Dr. Gravamen, it turns out, has been hired by a nasty old biddy who wants him to create the perfect deadly bug so that she can wait for panic to break out, and then release a vaccine, raking in gazillions of dollars from the terrified masses. The young woman was a prostitute — one of several victims kidnapped by  Weird Dude in Black to serve as test subjects for Nasty Old Biddy’s killer bug.  When the team of scientists were infected, Nasty Old Biddy told Gravamen to let them die — six test subjects for the price of one!  But what she and Weird Dude in Black didn’t count on was Gravamen having a conscience.  Can he help the team before it’s too late?  And stop Nasty Old Lady’s nefarious plan?  And possibly, for kicks, blow Weird Dude in Black’s creepy head off?

Don’t you wish you knew?!

Definitely a lot more fun than the box makes it look, and well worth a rental for fans of the good-bad deadly virus flick genre.  (Which, granted, is probably is a fan club consisting of about three members:  me, Mom, and the mother of whoever wrote the screenplay for Virus X, who will watch it just to support her son, cringing all the while.  But still.  Not bad for 99 cents, is what I’m saying.)

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Science Fiction, Deadly Virus
Cast:  Jai Day, Domiziano Arcangeli, Joe Zaso, Dylan Vox, Sybil Danning, Sasha Formoso

BOOK: Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (2010)

October 13, 2011

I finished this book a month or so ago, but, as often happens with books I have been absolutely floored by the brilliance of, I had a hard time sitting down to write a review because I just didn’t know what to say.  This book is masterful.  It’s a masterpiece.  And it spoke to me on so many personal levels it almost felt like a gift from some higher power, sent to me at the most bizarrely perfect time imaginable.

The story is set in Vietnam in 1969 and focuses on a young new Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, who has just graduated from college and been immediately shipped off to the dark, wet, leech-ridden jungle to lead a squad of kids in a war.  When he arrives, he’s shocked to find most of his compatriots are teenagers, the majority of them only 18 or 19 years old, though infinitely older than he is in battle years, and he’s constantly annoyed by their childish shenanigans.  Meanwhile, he’s also terrified to the core (or perhaps the Corps), feeling desperately in over his head, and worried about everything from being shot to wearing underwear he thinks his mother has dyed too green.

The title comes from the company’s target, a hill in the jungle nicknamed Matterhorn.  Their first task is to take the hill.  Their second task is to vacate it.  And their third task, naturally, is to take it back.  (Welcome to the Corps, Mellas!)

That’s the plot, in a nutshell.  But it’s merely the big picture, and the big picture is hardly the point.  Instead, the story focuses on a small group of soldiers, led by Mellas, and their daily lives in the jungle.  One moment, they’re bored, figuring out novel ways to heat their coffee (explosives) and make their water more palatable (little packets of some kind of Kool-Aid substance).  The next, they’re hiding alongside a trail in the middle of the night waiting to ambush some teenagers who are just like them but for their nationality, while also grieving the horrific loses of their friends, taken left and right by bullets, mines, grenades, trench foot, and tigers.


Marlantes spent thirty years writing this novel, and a lot of what happens in it is based on his own experiences in the war.  Suffering from severe PTSD, he began to write the book as a way to cope with his memories, the flashbacks, the terror.  I wonder if he knew at the time that this is actually one of the most effective treatments for PTSD there is — exposure therapy:  telling or writing your story over and over until it no longer holds such extreme power over your emotions.  I know this because I’m in the middle of this same procedure myself, and have been in the thick of it for nearly two years now (though the storytelling part, for me, only started about three months ago).  To read this novel, knowing what Marlantes was going through when he wrote it, and knowing that it helped him, ultimately, to get it all down, was the first of the two aforementioned and tremendous personal impacts on me.

More powerful, though, was the second: the connection it gave me to my own father.  The understanding, at last, of some of what he went through himself during the war, and the incredible strength and courage it must have taken to go through all of that (though it was different for him, to be sure, as an aviator and not a grunt) and come out relatively “okay” on the other side.  I finished this novel about two weeks before I was heading to Washington, DC for a conference, and knew that as part of my trip, I would make a trek to the Vietnam Memorial — “The Wall” — to “visit,” so to speak, my dad’s best friend, Roger Okamoto (killed by a land mine in Vietnam), as well as a number of his other buddies from the war who didn’t make back.  Though my father has told many stories of his experiences as a Marine in Vietnam, he very rarely talks about anything emotional, like loss.  His stories are about interactions with friends, missions he flew, the locals he befriended.  They’re about jokesters (of which there are many in the Corps as well as in this novel, which is truly hilarious at times), drinking, dumb leaders, loyal brethren.  But though I grew up hearing stories about Roger when he was alive, I didn’t even know how he died until about three years ago.  Because my father doesn’t talk about that. I don’t know how the war impacted him emotionally.  I know he doesn’t have PTSD, but I don’t know why.  When he rattled off the list of friends on the Wall I might want to go say hello to during my first solo visit there three years ago, he started out with 2 or 3, paused for a bit, and then began spilling names out like a spigot finally hooked to water after years of running dry.  The list was long, and came with abbreviated stories that hinted at incredible loss or fear (his first roommate, killed the very first week my dad was there; the pilot who warned him over and over never to do this one maneuver in his A-4, and who then did that same exact thing and died; etc.).  How do you lose, in your early 20s, so MANY friends in such a short amount of time and come out completely unscathed?

The answer?  I think?  You don’t.

This novel is filled with terrible stories of loss and pain, as well as some of the most moving and powerful tales of brotherhood and love I have ever read.  And though it also focuses a lot on political aspects of the war and the era (there’s a lot of stuff about the impact of the Civil Rights movement on black and white Marines and their interactions both in battle and in camp, for example), what it mostly brought home for me at last is the real story of war for those who are in the thick of it.  The ways they cope (humor and booze, mostly); the mistakes they make and the crushing guilt those mistakes can lead to; how interpersonal conflicts fall away the minute the bullets start to fly, each man suddenly having the back of every other man beside him, regardless of color or friendship or beliefs (the true heart of the USMC slogan “semper fidelis” (“always faithful”)); and one young Marine leader who, in the span of the novel’s few short months, goes from a kid to an adult in the fastest and most furious of ways.

To say this book is “recommended” doesn’t even begin to touch on how strongly I feel about it.  If you know someone who fought in Vietnam, it’s a must-read.  If you love incredibly well-written fiction, it’s a must-read.  If you are struggling with PTSD and you need some hope, it’s a must-read.  I don’t know if Marlantes felt “cured” by the time this novel was finally published (after years of writing, rewriting, rejection, and more).  But I can’t see how the process that went into the creation of this novel, and the accolades it got after it finally came out (which I can imagine were very validating), could fail to help at least a little bit.  Wherever you are, Mr. M., I thank you for the tremendous gift of this book.  I’ll be reading it again very, very soon.

Semper fi, Marines.  And Dad?  Thanks for coming home.

[Buy from an Indie Bookstore | Buy from Amazon | Browse more book reviews | Search book reviews]

Fall TV Premieres: Oct. 10-22

October 12, 2011

We’re out of the thick of the fall TV premiere season, so I’m going to do two weeks at a time now until I run out of new shows to tell you about (early November).

Quick update:  Didn’t last ten minutes into Person of Interest, the new J. J. Abrams series.  Borrrrrring!  If you’re loving it, let me know, though, and maybe I’ll try again?  Except:  borrrrrrring!  Also, American Horror Story was not unbearable, but I sure am confused.  I’ll give it one more episode before deciding on that one.

Also, I neglected to mention last week that season two of Luther started up on BBC America.  If you haven’t seen season one, you should definitely check it out (it’s available on Netflix streaming) and start recording season two now so you can catch up when you’re caught up.  It’s a terrific mystery series starring Idris Elba (from The Wire) and dayam, is he ever foxy.

Tuesday, October 11

Last Man Standing (ABC) – 8pm — This is Tim Allen’s new sit-com.  You know, the Home Improvement guy?  I’m pretty sure that’s all I need to say about this one — that either makes you want to tune in or run screaming.  I fall somewhere in the middle, a section I would describe as “apathy.”  [insert Tim Allen porcine laugh here]

Wednesday, October 12

Psych (USA) — 8pm — Oh god, I love this show.  May it never, ever end.  This is probably the only comedy on TV that makes me laugh so hard sometimes water springs from my eyes, just like in cartoons.  Ptew, ptew, little drops of water, shooting out of my eyes!  It’s that funny.  Clearly written by people my age, this is the show to watch if you dig obscure 80s pop culture references.  (Last season is now up on Netflix streaming, by the way.  And then there’s also THIS, let’s not forget — one of my favorite write-ups of all time.)

Sunday, October 16

The Walking Dead (AMC) — 9pm — Finally, the return we’ve all been waiting for!  Now, granted, I started to get a little bored by the end of season 1 (also now streaming at Netflix, by the way), but the finale piqued my interest again and I’ve been desperate for its return ever since.  Here’s hoping there’s a little more plot this round and a little less “running from zombies for an entire hour.”  I do love a good zombie chase scene, but, you know, maybe not EVERY week.  Every other week is okay, though.

Tuesday, October 18

Man Up! (ABC) — 8:30pm — This new sit-com describes itself thusly:  “Man Up! follows the struggles of three modern male archetypes as they search for their identities and try to prove that ‘real men’ really can use hazelnut creamer.”  But, and I’m sorry but it needs to be said, real men cannot, in fact, use hazelnut creamer.  I do kind of like Teri Polo, but what the he-zell is she doing in this?  Man Up!?  I WILL DO NOTHING OF THE SORT.

MOVIE: The Debt (2011)

October 7, 2011

This incredibly entertaining (though requiring a bit of a “suspend your disbelief” attitude) movie tells the story of a group of Mossad agents who, in 1966, were given the task of taking out the hiding-in-East-Berlin “Surgeon of Birkenau,” Dieter Vogol, and who, 30 years later, find themselves caught in a lie that could be their undoing.

First, the 1966:  Experienced agent Stefan (Marton Csokas) has teamed up with younger agent David (Sam Worthington, who: borrrrring!) after finally having tracked Vogol down.  When they discover he’s an OB/GYN in Berlin, they request the assistance of a female agent, and are sent Rachel (Jessica Chastain), who looks like you could knock her over with a good sneeze, but who instead is a martial arts master who would probably pop you in the chin while she yelled “GESUNDHEIT, ALREADY” in your face (she’s bad ass, is what I’m saying — I liked her immensely).

Their plan forms quickly:  Rachel and David will pose as a married couple having trouble conceiving a child, get inside the clinic, and then kidnap Vogol.  From there, with the help of the Israeli government, they’ll smuggle him onto a train and back into West Berlin, where he’ll be taken away and tried for war crimes.  Rachel goes to a few (extremely creepy) appointments first, to get the lay of the land, so to speak, and then successfully manages to inject Vogol with a sedative, claiming he had a heart attack during the exam, while David and Stefan pose as ambulance drivers to whisk him off to the “hospital.”

At first, the plan goes smoothly, until a screw-up at the train depot leaves them stuck with Vogol indefinitely.  If they can’t get him out of East Berlin, their only choice is to take him home and hide him until they can.   And so they do, managing to keep him alive for weeks on end, despite the fact they all desperately want to kill him every time he opens his disgusting anti-Semitic mouth.

But one night, everything goes wrong and Vogol gets loose, knocking Rachel down, slicing open her face, and running out into the street.  Rachel manages to crawl to her gun, takes aim at his back through the open window and. . .

Cut to present day, and the now-older Rachel (Helen Mirren) is attending a  book release party for her daughter, who has written a book about the group’s extraordinary capture of Dieter Vogol.  Stefan (Tom Wilkinson) shows up, but there’s no sign of David (Ciarán Hinds) and when Rachel learns he committed suicide earlier that same day, she demands to know what Stefan knows — because he clearly knows something.  And that’s when we, the audience, learn the truth about Vogol and what happened to him after he fled that apartment thirty years ago.  It’s a truth that could ruin Rachel and Stefan’s lives, the lives of their daughter and her family (oh yeah, I left the love triangle part out — blah blah Rachel loves David but has sex with Stefan, she gets preggers, blah blah etc., yawn) and devastate Israel in general.  And it’s a truth Stefan wants to keep hidden, at any cost, and that only Rachel is physical able to erase.

Though there were many elements of the story that seemed a little too unbelievable or coincidental, I was absolutely riveted by this movie from start to finish.  The scenes from 1966 are thrilling and pack a strong emotional wallop as well (try to imagine, if you will, getting a pelvic exam from a monster — not once, but thrice).  And while the present-day scenes were much less evocative for me, the acting prowess of the stars of that half of the film is undeniable.  I mean, come on:  Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, and Ciarán Hinds?  If they were the only three actors in any movie ever again, I’d be perfectly content.

This is not a flawless film, but I was surprised by how deeply engrossed I was in  it.  Never a dull moment, and lots of truly good ones to boot.

Definitely recommended, though you’re safe waiting for DVD, I would say.  Ciarán Hinds on the big screen is a lovely, lovely thing, but, you know, then he gets hit by a bus.

(SPOILER, I guess, except I usually don’t count anything that happens in the first 15 minutes of a film terribly spoilery.)

Incidentally, how do you pronounce the name Ciarán?  I keep meaning to look that up and not getting around to it.  And have any of you seen the original Israeli film?  Worth checking out?

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre: Thriller
Cast:  Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Jesper Christensen, Marton Csokas, Ciarán Hinds, Tom Wilkinson, Romi Aboulafia, Melinda Korcsog

Fall TV Premieres: Oct. 3-9, 2011

October 4, 2011

I’m back!  Quick update on what we’ve seen so far:

Digging So Far

Ringer — It’s not brilliant, but I’m actually pretty sold so far, in no small part because Ioan Gruffud is so ridiculously good-looking.  However, after that terrible CGI boat scene (complete with fan pointed at her hair!) from the pilot, the show apparently lost about a gazillion of its gazillion-and-one viewers, so I’m sure it’s doomed.  The Curse of Meg Wood strikes again.

Terra Nova — It’s not brilliant, but I’m actually pretty sold so far.  Hey, that sounds familiar.  I was worried this show was just going to be Land of the Lost Redux, all man v. dinosaur, all the time.  But instead, the added twist of The Sixers group makes it a lot more interesting.  I’m definitely game for a few more episodes at least.  Though, again, it’s not doing well, so I’m sure it’s doomed too.  WHY ME?

Unforgettable — Much as I loathe Poppy Montgomery, I kind of enjoyed this one.  Somehow managed not to record last week’s episode, though, so I’ll have to see at least one more before I put in a verdict.

Prime Suspect —  I DID NOT HATE IT.  However,  though I realize it’s trying to be true to the original by having the entire police department be staffed with open misogynists, I have a hard time believing this is truly possible in this day and age.  Closeted misogynists, yes.  Open misogynists: a law suit waiting to happen.  Also problematic:  The actual plot of the pilot (the case she was on) wasn’t very engaging.  But I like some other elements of the series (for example, it’s refreshing to see a tough female lead who has a steady boyfriend — usually, it seems to be assumed that tough females in positions of power are hopeless when it comes to relationships, which, f-you, networks).  I’ll stick with it for now.

Up All Night —  Kind of liking this one.  I might get tired of it, but it’s nice having a quick 30 minute thing to fill in random early mornings here and there.  Plus, it’s truly funny at times, and the couple reminds me a bit of my sister and her husband.  Minus, the friend character (Ada) is potentially too annoying for me.  Jury’s out.

Given Up On:

A Gifted Man —  I didn’t last ten minutes.

Pan Am, Playboy, Revenge, other soaps:  Didn’t bother with at all.

Not Sure Yet:

Person of Interest:  Been recording this one, but I haven’t been in the mood for it yet.  Not a good sign.  I’ll give it a shot later this week and report back, though.  Anybody digging it so far?

Coming up this week!

Monday, October 3

House (Fox) — 9pm — I quit watching House a few seasons ago (back when the season’s long-running storyline was about the cop trying to bust him for drug-seeking; I’ve talked about this before so I’ll spare you the lecture this round), but got sucked back in last year and enjoyed it.  However, this season, House starts out in prison, and I’m already kinda done before I’ve begun.  It’s getting harder and harder for me to suspend my disbelief with this series.  Bad enough House’s diagnoses are wrong 95% of the time (when’s the last time he got anything right before the patient was near-death?), but the fact he keeps getting into this kind of trouble and then getting his job back is just ludicrous.  I don’t want a guy who hallucinates as my doctor.  I don’t want an ex-con as my doctor.  This guy would never get to be a doctor anymore.  This is just getting silly.  Put him on some water skis and have him jump a shark — let’s get this over with already.

Wednesday, October 5

American Horror Story (FX) — 10pm –Man, NO idea what to expect from this one.  It’s about a family who moves into a haunted house, and apparently, the craziness starts off bang-zoom and is super-duper massively crazy (created by the same guy who did Nip/Tuck, Ryan Murphy, so the crazy part makes sense).  But though Dylan McDermott is an old Boyfriend of the Week, he’s also a terrible actor, and I definitely can’t see him being successful as the lead of a horror series.  Then again, this is an FX show, and FX can do seriously bananas stuff and have it turn out pretty well (The Shield, e.g.).  I’m intrigued, but I’m not getting my hopes up.  A really creative horror show would be a blast (The Walking Dead, speaking of which, returns the 16th; stay tuned!).  But can FX really pull it off?  Can McDermott?  Can Jessica Lange?  (Okay, Jessica Lange does kind of creep me out.)  We shall see.

Thursday, October 6

The League (FX) — 10:30pm –Returning series — Never seen it.

Friday, October 7

Sanctuary (SyFy) — 10pm –Returning series — Keep meaning to watch it, never do.  Any good??

Saturday, October 8

Rules of Engagement (CBS) — 8pm — Returning series — This is still on?  But has just been moved to Saturdays?  D-O-O-M.