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Human Target Review

Fox has been advertising Human Target since at least September. I came across promos for it while I was compiling my list of new 2009/2010 shows to watch. I thought “meh, looks a bit campy, but maybe I’ll give it a try,” and then mentally filed it away because it didn’t start for like six more months.

By January I’d totally forgotten about it. Then I saw the name of the show listed in the CTV online video library. I had an hour to kill, so I clicked. And it was AWESOME!

You can get the gist of the show by reading the following sentence:

Human Target is a series of weekly hour-long action movies based on the DC comic book of the same name. It follows a former hitman turned undercover bodyguard who infiltrates the lives of clients to draw out and eliminate threats.

Or by watching the trailer. But if you want to know why it’s awesome, you’ll have to watch the show.

…. or you can click below and I’ll tell you.

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Daybreakers Review


I had been looking forward to seeing Daybreakers ever since I saw the trailer shot of the people plugged into the blood-sucking machine. It reminded me of two other darker sci-fi action-horror type movies: The Matrix before it went all philosophical on me (because the robots had people plugged in too) and 28 Days Later (because it takes place not during the outbreak of the epidemic but after, when horrors dominate).

The basic idea behind the film is this:

In a vampire-dominated world, humans have been hunted to near extinction and a blood substitute is desperately needed to stave off famine.

I thought: an original (and very cool) story idea plus a Matrix-ey feel? Sign me up! After the Avatar letdown I needed something that looked original to actually BE original. I saw Daybreakers the day it came out, and boy was I ever NOT disappointed!

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Avatar Review: the blue one, not the anime one

In my head, I have a list of film professionals (writers, directors, actors, composers, etc) whose involvement in a project triggers my automatic ticket purchase reflex. It won’t surprise you to learn that Avatar warranted a reflex purchase, but you might raise an eyebrow if I told you it was Sam Worthington’s name, not James Cameron’s, that triggered it. (If you’ve ever seen True Lies you know why James Cameron is not on the list).


I wanted to love Avatar. I went into the theater hoping to come out feeling the way I felt when I saw Star Wars for the first time – awestruck and excited. When it was over, I was forced to admit to myself that I was neither, though I couldn’t shake the feeling that if I maybe went to see it again, it would be better, just because I wanted it to so bad. So I did, but it wasn’t.

I can blame some of my disappointment on the hype. I tried to stay away from it. It was pretty easy in Cape Breton (the theater wasn’t even full on opening night) but impossible on the internet, which was teeming with pictures and videos and articles on James Cameron and his blue people. With so much anticipation built up, if Avatar was anything other than the most amazing and moving film ever made it was going to be a disappointment.

For those of you who are cave dwellers and STILL haven’t heard of it even though it’s made over a billion dollars, here are the cliff’s notes:

Avatar, a movie James Cameron has been working on for something like 15 years, is a full 3D film that blends live action with motion-captured CGI to create lush jungle planet called Pandora and the a race of blue natives that inhabit it.

The story follows Jake Sully, a wheelchair bound ex-marine who is recruited by a ruthless mining company to take over his dead twin’s avatar and finds himself caring more about the clan of natives he’s infiltrating than the interests of the company he works for.

Sounds amazing, right? And it is, sort of. Is it an amazing accomplishment? Yes. Should James Cameron quit now to rest on his laurels/money? No.

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Top 5/Bottom 5 Movies of 2009

First let me say that I’m not a professional movie critic. I actually have to PAY for all of my tickets, so naturally I haven’t seen everything, and I’m not putting movies on my list that I haven’t seen.

I was going to do Top 10 and Bottom 10 in separate articles, but then I realized that nearly half of the movies I’d seen would have to be on one list or the other (I counted, I’ve seen 42 movies this year, five of them more than once), so I pared it down to 5 of each.

There are some films (Hurt Locker and Bright Star in particular) that might have been on the “top” list if I’d seen them, but they never came to Sydney. I also tend to avoid movies if I think they’re going to be bad, so the ones on this list are the ones that slipped through my filters and/or I was dragged to by friends.

That said, on with the best and worst films I’ve seen in theaters in 2009.

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How to: Make Sequels to Snakes on a Plane

If his filmography is anything to go by, Samuel L. Jackson will act in anything. He’s appeared in no fewer than 127 productions in 37 years, which is an average of 3.5 jobs per year. The only explanation I can think of for his being so absurdly busy is that he made himself a promise that he would accept any role that came to him regardless of size, moneymaking potential, or quality. That’s how we ended up with this underrated gem of a film:


a film so simple the title doubles as the synopsis

Amazingly, the simple formula Snakes on a Plane follows turned out to be a winner. This is its mathematical expression, no doubt used in the pitch meeting for the film to tone down the immense complexity of the idea into something studio executives could understand:


snake + plane = money

In fact, this model was so successful that they’re already working on a sequel, Snakes on a Plane 2: Snakes on a Train (I kid you not, that is the real title). While the odds of you making any money off the original franchise are only slightly higher than the possibility of your winning the European lottery, Samuel L. Jackson’s willingness to work on everything his schedule will allow does give you the potential to cash in.

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Ten Plane Movies That May Have Flown Under Your Radar

I recently read an article on Film.com about their favorite airplane movies. Their list contains eleven entries, some of which are undoubtedly shining examples of the genre:


Top Gun: arguably the greatest
airplane movie ever

Airplane! Arguably the funniest
airplane movie ever

However, some of the others were (at best) only tangentially related to airplanes, perhaps because they hadn’t seen enough movies that were actually about airplanes to fill up a list. In my book, a two minute crash sequence at the beginning does not an airplane movie make. Two of the most glaring examples were:


Alive, which is actually about survival and…

Fearless, which is about PTSD.

If you live by their lists, you’re missing out on some paragons of the aviation film genre, so I present to you these ten plane movies that have flown under the Film.com radar, and perhaps yours as well.

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Taken Review: The Fist That Walks Like A Man

It’s almost Christmastime, and if your dad is anything like my dad, you’re probably out there looking around for some smash-em-up movies on DVD or BluRay to present to the man who has everything on Santaday.

My dad’s already seen this one (and given it two broken, electrocuted thumbs up), so I thought I would generously donate it to you as a gift idea.

The generic, nonjudgmental blurb for Taken would go something like this:

When his teenage daughter is kidnapped, a former spy working a security detail must plunge headfirst into the world of gangs, drugs, and prostitution to get her back.

For females and other discerning persons wondering whether to offer to watch it with dad, or trying to mentally disentangle this particular shootyfest with the litany of other, similar shootyfests you’ve seem, here’s my more judgmental take:

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Terminator Salvation Review, or Why You Should Never Get Into a Helicopter With John Connor

 good Terminator Salvation poster: the one without the giant metal face

Six years after the rather lackluster Terminator 3 came out and one year into the canon-bending Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles improbably named director McG got the go-ahead for a fourth film in the Terminator series: Terminator Salvation.

Terminator Salvation picks up the “John Connor is the hero of humanity” story from the first three Terminator films, but in the future, then the machines rule. Instead of following John this time, our hero is Marcus Wright a convicted murderer who wakes up in post Judgment Day Los Angeles fifteen years after his own execution to find himself in the middle of an all out war between the last remaining humans and the machines controlled by Skynet.

Sounds cool right? Unfortunately some people, even some people who are Sam Worthington have criticized Terminator Salvation for being plot-holey and a little unfocused. (FYI Sam Worthington played Marcus Wright, in case you were wondering why anyone cares what he says).

Click below to read more about that these mythical “some people” say, and what I say back to them.

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The Return of Michael Vaughn

Hah! I knew it! I knew he wasn’t really dead!

How did I know this, you ask? Because no one’s ever REALLY dead on Alias. Sydney’s dad shot Sydney’s mom in the face and she’s still alive because he apparently shot her “double”.

That’s the beauty of a show like this. It’s Star Trek-esque in the fact that no technology is impossible, so there’s nothing you can do for sympathy ratings that you can’t un-do later to advance the plot.

So you just knew that when Vaughn got shot in “Prophet Five”…


(well, machine-gunned would be more accurate)

…that there was going to be some crazy medical miracle cure for forty-bullets-in-the-chest (despite the fact that if you shoot the average bad guy once in the stomach he dies immediately.

And lo and behold! Michael Vaughn wakes up post forty-bullet-in-the-chest surgery (ABC missed a golden opportunity for a crossover with Grey’s Anatomy on that one) only to die mysteriously a few minutes later. They didn’t even TRY to make us believe it by having him die while Syd was there. Instead, they wait till she’s in the hall and (presumably) perform the ol’ switcheroo.

They dragged the charade out for thirteen episodes until finally revealing in “I See Dead People” that Vaughn is now a mountain man in Tibet. I can’t wait to hear the excuse he gives Sydney for letting her think he was dead for months and leaving her-oh-so-pregnant self sans protection when the evil Prophet 5 wanted her for…whatever it was they wanted her for.

Buy the Final Season of Alias

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