Archive for the ‘Callum Keith Rennie’ Category

MOVIE: Case 39 (2009)

January 16, 2011

I’m not really a huge fan of the “evil child” horror genre, in part because once you’ve seen The Omen and The Bad Seed, there isn’t anywhere to go but down.  It’s very rare that anybody tries to do anything new with that story, and even when they do, they aren’t often successful (for example, I appreciated the idea behind the twist at the end of Orphan more than I appreciated the actual execution of that twist).

— NOTE:  SPOILERS BELOW (though if you have any brains, you will read on so you’re never tempted to rent this movie yourself) —

This movie, unfortunately, is about as boringly straight-forward as flicks in this genre tend to be.  Which is too bad, because despite the fact Renee Zellweger is, in my opinion, a painfully terrible actress, the movie itself started out pretty entertaining.  It began far more like a thriller than a horror film, for one thing, and even though I knew the evil-child thing was coming, there was a point during the first hour when it seemed like the filmmakers might actually be taking things in a new direction.

And then, bam!, they didn’t.  Man, I hate it when that happens.

The movie’s about a social worker, Emily Jenkins (Zellweger), who becomes obsessed with helping a little girl named Lilith she believes is being abused by her parents (one of whom is Callum Keith Rennie, Due South fans).   There’s no physical evidence, so Jenkins can’t do anything official, but her gut keeps telling her something is terribly wrong.  One night, she gets a call from a terrified Lilith that suddenly cuts out.  Panicked, Emily grabs her cop buddy, Mike (the awesome Ian McShane — and what the hell was he doing in this, by the way?) and heads over to Lilith’s house, only to find her parents have trapped her in the oven and turned it on.  Horrified, Emily and Mike save the girl and her parents get sent off to the local mental institution.

Emily petitions to get custody of Lilith, who seems like a sweet, quiet, damaged little girl in desperate need of saving.  But then weird things start happening — and soon, Emily’s friends start dying (one of whom is Bradley Cooper, Alias fans).  When it turned out those people were all getting phone calls “from a man” before committing what looked like a series of bizarre suicides, I had this moment where I thought maybe Lilith was innocent and either some actual man was following her around killing off anyone he perceived might harm her or, at the very least, she was possessed by a demon and therefore had no control over what was happening.

That might’ve been an interesting twist, I thought.  Especially having the evildoer be “just zis guy, you know.” (No, not Zaphod Beeblebrox). (<– joke only Douglas Adams Über-Geeks will get.)

Alas, that’s not where the movie goes.  It goes right where these movies always go instead.  And that lack of originality, coupled with Zellweger’s absolutely astonishingly lame performance, results in a movie you should never, ever spend ANY money on.

You’re welcome.

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Horror
Cast:  Renée Zellweger, Jodelle Ferland, Ian McShane, Bradley Cooper, Callum Keith Rennie

MOVIE: The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008)

January 6, 2009

I confess to a degree of wariness regarding this one — wariness that turned to outright alarm when I heard through the grapevine that Mulder and Scully not only SMOOCHED in it, but were living together as well.  Ew, what?!  Raise your hand if your first thought upon learning this yourself was something along the lines of, “Have we learned nothing from Moonlighting, my peoples!?!”

Taking that apprehension into consideration, you can only imagine my delighted surprise when I discovered about a third of the way in that I was actually really enjoying this flick.  And not just DESPITE the smooching and changes in the Sculder dynamic, but partially BECAUSE of them.  I don’t know how they did it, exactly, but putting those two together ended up feeling pretty natural.  I believed it.  It was . . . you know. . . okay n’ stuff.  Even with the smoochies, and I thought there was no way in heck I’d ever be okay with the smoochies.

The storyline is sort of like one of the good stand-alone X-Files episodes, expanded to fit two hours.  Of course, that means there’s  some extra stuff packed in that didn’t really need to be there, but they more than made up for that by not having even a hint of mindbogglingly-obtuse-government-conspiracy-theory crappola mucking things up.  I’m happy with extra goop, as long as the extra goop is not tedious and/or totally stupid.

The movie opens with Dr. Dana Scully being approached by a group of Feebies at the hospital where she now works, asking her if she knows where Fox Mulder is.  When she presses to know why, they say they need his help on a case and if he’ll come back to the FBI, “all will be forgiven.” (Apparently, Mulder and the FBI did not part on good terms.)

Scully goes home — where she finds Mulder sitting in his office throwing pencils at the ceiling and pretending to feel busy and fulfilled.  She says, “Hey, stop pretending to be busy and fulfilled and go back to the FBI — they need you!”  And after some thinking, he agrees.

But only if Scully will go with him.

I knew he was gonna say that.

The two end up joining a team of federal agents who have been using a psychic (Billy Connolly) to try to find some missing women — one of whom is a federal agent herself.  Mulder wants to believe that the psychic is real; Dana thinks it’s all bunk.  Sound familiar?  Yep.

Of course, now that they’re dating, Scully has turned into TV’s  stereotypical girlfriend harpie, which was a little on the annoying side (“You should do it!” “You better stop doing it or else!” “Why aren’t you doing it?”  “If you keep doing it, I’m going to dump you!”  Dude, make up your mind already, Sculls).  But hey, at least her hair looked purdy, right?

The resolution of the storyline is really neither here nor there — blah blah blah brain transplants blah blah blah Frankenstein’s monster blah blah blah.  It is, as I said, not really anything more developed or thoughtful than the typical stand-alone X-Files episode.  But hey, you know what?  I LOVE stand-alone X-Files episodes.  They’re darn fun.  And so is this movie.

Hope they do another one soon.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre:  Science Fiction
Cast:  David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Callum Keith Rennie, Billy Connolly, Amanda Peet, Mitch Pileggi

TV Shows That, Like Me, Are Improving With Age

November 2, 2007

First, some blog business. I realized yesterday that WordPress had added “tags,” in addition to “categories,” so I went back through all the relevant posts last night and added tags that essentially relate to genres (thriller, horror, etc.). You should be able to click on those on the right side of the screen (scroll the page down until you get to the bottom of the linky content on the right) if you want to look at all the horror movies/TV, all the Westerns, etc.

These are different from the “Categories” links, which I’m mostly using to classify posts by ex-Boyfriend or general topic (movie review, TV show, e.g.). If you’re a librarian, you can think of categories as being equivalent to subject headings, and tags as being equal to descriptors (if only because I’m not going to be that careful about controlling the vocabulary in the “tags” section). If you’re not a librarian, you should just count your lucky stars I haven’t started classifying each post using the Dewey Decimal System. Nerd alert!

As most of you old-hat bloggers already know, the bigger the font size in the “tag cloud” display, the more posts that have been tagged with that term. So, the word “thriller” is huge because I’ve watched a lot of thrillers lately, while “crap” is still reasonably small. Based on my usual movie watching tendencies, however, I suspect “crap” will quickly expand in size over the coming weeks.

Okay, now onto the (extremely long!) post. I’ve already done a run-through of all the NEW shows this year (though I’ll give you another update on some of those soon as well, since my feelings on a few have changed recently). But, I didn’t want to neglect some of the “old” shows, especially since there are a few I think are having their best seasons so far.

I’m breaking “old” shows (or “returning series,” in gentler terms) down into three categories: Aging Gracefully, Dying a Much-Too-Slow Death, and Just Plain Getting Old. I’ll start with the Aging Gracefully ones, and do separate posts for the other two categories over the next few days.

Aging Gracefully

Bones Fox, Tuesdays, 8pm — Last season, I enjoyed this show but wasn’t always in a huge hurry to watch it. I did love the guest spot from Stephen Fry as Booth’s psychoanalyist, but I’ve found some of the other characters on the show a bit hard to stomach since day one. Okay, okay, I’ll just come right out and say it: I HATE ANGELA. Everything about her annoys the bejesus out of me, especially her extreme overuse of the word “sweetie.” I realize this makes me a terrible person, since she’s supposed to be the nicest, most caring person in the lab. Nevertheless, I long for the day Tempe will be called in to identify her skull using dental records.

I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence.

Since I’m confessing, I might as well also mention that I found the early version of Tempe annoying with her unbelievable lack of pop culture knowledge — “I don’t know what that means” was one of her most oft-spoken lines, and more than once, I found myself yelling in response, “NOBODY doesn’t know what that means! Gah!”

Also, of course, I’m a huge fan of the Kathy Reichs mystery series this show is based on, and the Tempe in the books is absolutely nothing like the Tempe on the show. This took some getting used to for me. I’ve enjoyed Bones consistently since the beginning, but it wasn’t really until last season that I started to get a little more enthusiastic about it. So far this year, though, I’ve so thoroughly enjoyed every episode I find myself actually tuning in for it live Tuesday nights (something I never usually do, especially now that I have a DVR).

I’m really enjoying the relationship between Booth and Tempe — they’ve got great chemistry — and Tempe’s quirks have started to become less grating and more endearing for me with time. Booth’s sarcastic sense of humor kinda makes me swoon, and I also love the geeks back at the lab, especially when they start arguing about Einstein and/or superheroes. All in all, this is an extremely charming show, with solid plots, entertaining characters, and an all around “fun” vibe (my mom just cringed at my use of the word “fun” as an adjective, by the way. Hi, Mom!). A keeper, and one I look forward to more and more with each passing week.

NCIS — Tuesdays, CBS, 8pm — This series has had its ups and downs over the years, and I still haven’t stopped hating Lauren Holly in her role as the NCIS director. Yet, there are many other things I adore about this show, and, so far, I’ve been enjoying this season more than ever before. This is a solid, consistent crime series that does a great job of giving us some insight into the characters’ personal lives, without making it feel unnecessary and clumsy (by comparison, think of the very badly-done personal stories peppering CSI periodically — Gil’s hearing loss, his relationship with Sara, all gak-inducing and distracting). I love Abby, the forensics girl, as well as McGee (and not just because he shares the nickname “McGeek” with me). DiNozzo’s penchant for movie quotes has endeared him to me for life, and, of course, Mark Harmon — ’nuff said. The only thing they should stop doing, in my opinion, is having Ziva continue to get American slang wrong — she’s been here too long now to keep confusing the colloquialisms. Aside from that, though, I’m still having a lot of fun watching this one.

Supernatural — Thursdays, CW, 9pm — Oh man, this show is just A BLAST. I thought last year was the best for the series so far (that episode about the trickster was 100% pure comedy gold), but instead, the show is getting smarter, funnier, and more creative with every passing week. I especially predict a LOT of fun now that Dean thinks he’s only got a year to live, as well. Aside from the mandatory artery-clogging burger-eating and the oodles of premarital sex he’s been seeking since receiving the news of his imminent demise (it’s a long story), I think we’ll see a lot more action as he starts to take increasing “death be damned” types of risks when going after Big Bads. That was a great plot development, though I do think they’ll have to be careful not to let Sam sink down too far into moodiness, as he is often wont to do. Because when Sam starts moping around acting all maudlin, I begin feeling twitchy, and with him thinking Dean is doomed, I’m a little concerned the mood of the show might start to crash at times.

No crashing. Crashing = bad.

Because, oh man, that banter. When it’s flowing, it is some of the best witty dialogue ever to grace the small screen. The writers of this show not only know a ton about supernatural stories and myths, but they know brotherhood and sibling relations like the backs of their hands. In fact, I’d argue that now Veronica Mars is gone, this is the only show left that really does banter. And man, does it ever do banter well. If you’ve never seen the series, I’d advocate for starting with Season One on DVD, because backstory is sort of important. But you could also be jumping into the current episodes while you’re making up for lost time (also, I describe the series in more detail in the Boyfriend write-ups for Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, and their dead father, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan — so check those out for more information too). If you like spooky plots, brilliant writing, and two extraordinarily good-looking young men and you are NOT watching Supernatural. . . Dude . . . Seriously. Get on the ball.

Men in Trees — Fridays, ABC, 9pm — Technically, we’re still finishing up season one of this series, so I can’t really start this paragraph off by saying I’m enjoying season two even more than season one. (Last year, ABC cut the first season short so it could kickstart a few late-bloomers in its timeslot, and though that meant a torturous spring for us fans, the nice thing is that it means an extra-long season this year.) But, nevertheless, things have begun to improve radically for all the characters in Elmo, especially now that Lynn has hit the road and a few other plotlines are back on track. It can only get more fun from here, my friends. I feel confident of that. The bad news is I just can’t shake this sinking feeling that nobody else is watching this one and that, because of that, it’s simply not going to survive its second year. I will be more traumatized by its cancellation than I was by the cancellations of Eyes and Wonderfalls, and if you remember me back then, you know I was moping for WEEKS over those two. So, if you aren’t watching this show, I’m begging you to tune in so we can keep the numbers up. Even if you hate the concept (or, more relevantly, even if you hate Anne Heche, an emotion I fully understand), there’s just sooooo much to love about the boys, not to mention the lovely setting. James Tupper as the scruffy outdoorsman Jack! Abraham Benrubi as the bear-like barkeep with a heart of gold! Derek Richardson as the geeky boy toy! There’s plenty for everyone. The only thing so far this year I haven’t enjoyed much is the guest spot from Callum Keith Rennie, and that’s just because he suddenly looks old enough to be my grandfather. A fact I found sort of disturbing, especially since my grandfather is old enough to be DEAD.

CSI: NY — Wednesdays, CBS, 10pm — I watched about the first six episodes of season one of this CSI spin-off when it first started and got so sleepy from all the drearily (un)lit sets that I gave up on it. Besides, nothing irritates me more in movies or on television than a morgue that is badly lit — I refuse to believe medical examiners ever do autopsies in dark rooms, even when they want a cool air of mysterious ambiance. I caught a few reruns last year, and was still sort of “meh” on the series, I’ll confess. But this year, I decided to give it a more serious try after having a few conversations about it with friends and family who are fans, and I’ve been nothing but impressed ever since. They’ve finally shaken off some of the extra-silly darkness (both in the settings and in the characters’ psyches), and the mystery plots themselves have been intriguing instead of old news. I really enjoyed the “Second Life” storyline from two weeks ago, which looks like it’ll stick around for a bit this season, and even the Halloween one, a bit cheesy as it was (set in Amityville, no less), was still pretty fun. All in all, this show seems to be getting better with age. A quality I both admire AND share, if I do say so myself.

Numb3rs — Fridays, CBS, 10pm — I got bored with this show last year when they got rid of Peter MacNicol so he could do 24. I was surprised, really, by how huge a gap that left in the series for me. But I was sucked back in last spring by the season finale with the whole double-triple-cross thing with Colby. I got a bit more caught up with reruns over the summer, and was eager to tune back in when the show started up again this fall. So far, despite the fact I still don’t understand why all the geniuses have stopped shaving, I’ve been really enjoying this year’s round of episodes. I keep waiting for them to run out of ways they can work math into the mysteries, but so far, they’ve managed to continue doing it and in ways I frequently find fascinating and surprising (plus, I just like saying the words “Fibonacci numbers,” not to mention thinking about how cool they are). Geeks are fun; math geeks, doubly so. And I’ve been watching reruns of Northern Exposure lately in spare moments too, which is only making seeing Rob Morrow all grown up on Friday nights that much more entertaining. I can’t believe I haven’t made either of these two guys a Boyfriend of the Week yet. What am I, totally BLIND? Expect to see write-ups on both of them in 2008.

Tune in later this weekend for part two of this series, which will focus on TV shows that should be dead and yet continue to refuse to go gently into that good night. So to speak.