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When in Rome (the new one, not the Olsen Twins movie) Review

When in the movie theater, you do as other movie theater-goers do: buy a ticket and see a film. I tried to follow the masses, but I was thwarted in my efforts by a little sign hanging above the kiosk that said “Dear John 6:55 SOLD OUT.” It seemed a bit like the theater owner was telling someone named John that something called 6:55 was sold out, it was actually telling me I couldn’t see the movie I wanted.

So I abandoned my sheep-like efforts to be part of the in-crowd and blazed a trail to Rome. Or, more accurately, to theater #1, where When in Rome was playing. I’d seen the trailer and had some hope that despite a dumb sounding setup:

A workaholic who doesn’t believe in the magic of love is forced to re-evaluate her position when she takes coins from the fountain of love and ends up with five magically spellbound suitors, one of whom she’s actually interested in.

…it could turn out to be okay. Was it an improvement on what I originally had planned? I don’t know. That will have to wait until after I’ve seen Dear John. It’s probably not, but it was worth a look.

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Leap Year Review

First let me say that I like romantic comedies (I am a girl, after all). I thought The Ugly Truth was cute and I laughed until my face hurt at It’s Complicated. I own DVD copies of Laws of Attraction and 27 Dresses. I only mention this so you know that you can’t blame my subsequent dismembering of Leap Year on a general disdain for the genre.

For those of you who haven’t seen the trailer, here’s the gist:

Anna, an uptight New York decorator, travels to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend on leap day but finds herself falling for Declan, the random Irish pub owner helping her get to Dublin.

For those of you who have seen the trailer, congratulations. Now you don’t need to pay $11 to see the whole movie.

I say this because the trailer basically shows the entire plot with all the lame jokes, pratfalls, and contrived dialogue taken out. For this reason, seeing it is actually better than seeing the film.

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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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The Thorn Birds Miniseries Review: Why does no one else think this is terrible?

 The Thorn Birds: the book

For the longest time, whenever I heard “The Thorn Birds” I thought of “The Thunderbirds”. The former is a novel by Colleen McCullough about the Australian Outback in the 20th Century and the latter is a British television drama featuring marionettes who fly toy rockets and rescue people.

When I did finally get around to reading the Thorn Birds book and learned that it was awesome, I borrowed the video of the Thorn Birds miniseries.

It’s about a girl named Meggie who moves to a sheep station in the Outback with her Irish family and falls in love with an older Catholic priest named Ralph that she can’t marry but keeps trying to bone anyway. For years. Her other family members play into the story as well, as does the Vatican, World War II, and Queensland being very hot, but for the purposes of the miniseries and therefore this review, they’re largely irrelevant.

Usually I feel slightly guilty about not paying for things but am I ever glad I didn’t hand over any money for this one. It saves me the trouble of demanding it back.

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Islanded in a Stream of Stars (aka Nothing Happened Today, Part III and counting)

No spoilers until you get beyond the “read more”, I promise 😉

So we’re entering into the last few episodes of Battlestar Galactica and I expected to be amazed and astounded and excited as everything is revealed, things wind up, pieces fit together, etc. etc. etc.

Instead what I get is an increasingly frenzied series of shouted ultimatums and tearful breakdowns that aren’t moving the plot much and only last for about 90 seconds before they cut to something else because they’re trying to juggle WAY TOO MANY CHARACTERS.

the cast (theoretically, anyway)
I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen some of these people this season

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, more characters does not equal more betterness. All it does is bury the primary ones they’ve made us love underneath a slurry of new secondary characters that I don’t care about and probably won’t even have time to care about before the series ends.

We haven’t seen more than about a minute per episode of Helo since before the New Caprica fiasco (not counting last week’s out-of character epic failure at life that we shall not speak of) in favor of increasingly large numbers of identical 6s and 8s and periperary political figures. (I’m sure hjea will agree that this is not at all okay)

Because of this barely anything has even happened since the middle of season 3. So at this point, I’m not pumped about the 2-hour finale because the way they’ve been going they’ll need two full hours just to give all the characters each a 10-second “closure” scene.

In fact, I can solve all their problems right now with my brilliant idea on how to save the world.

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Don’t Read This If You Like Twilight

Don’t read this if you like Twilight. Seriously. If you like Twilight stop reading right the hell now. I don’t want to be shived and/or lynched for my insightful yet true opinions.

Also, don’t read this if you intend to read any of the Twilight books and will get mad at me for spoiling them on you.

Since I was feeling cranky and unsatisfied today I decided to make myself feel better by trashing something. And what more trashable item have I encountered in the last couple of months than the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer?

The Twilight Saga, consists of four published books: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn plus a fifth unfinished internet-leaked novel called Midnight Sun. All of the books are written from the perspective of a teenage girl named Bella who falls in love with a century-old teenage vampire named Edward.

Click below to read more about them and the problems I think they have.

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And All Is Right With the World

I am, of course, referring to my state of mind after watching last Saturday’s episode of Battlestar Galactica. This Just In: Unfinished Business Now Finished. Click below to find out why.

At the beginning, everyone hated each other.


I hate you, Lee


I hate you, Kara

Or, rather, everyone was mad at each other…


Oooooooh I hate you so much….so much that I can’t stay away from you

And we’re not allowed to know WHY, for the mystery of the gap year must not be penetrated. Although, it’s a safe bet it has to do with this mysterious chest…

…that Starbuck actually looks HAPPY lying on (which has never happened before) so you know it’s something HUGE.

As is the traditional StarbuckandAppollo method of interpersonal conflict resolution, they resort to:


Face Punching

…to solve their problems.

But as usual, other people’s pain…


Owwwie….

….no matter how much it makes them cry for their mothers (or Roslins), just doesn’t do it.

Why not? Well, when you spend all night in the desert screwing someone…


And screaming at the top of your lungs that you love them


And listening to them scream at the top of their lungs that they love you

You assume that it’s possible the next day has a marriage in it. Especially if the two of you have spent the last x number of years stamping down hard on your passion for one another.

However, you would also assume that said wedding would involve, oh, say, YOU!


Sorry Lee, it was really dark this morning and I thought he was you

And when it doesn’t, you have every right to be filled with homicidal rage, get depressed, and take your sorrows out on noodles.

Especially when retaliation ploy causes you even MORE pain…


I now pronounce you man and THAT

And Starbuck’s mad because she screws everything up on purpose.

So really, the only thing for a thing like that is to hit EACH OTHER in the face….


I love you, godsdammit! Why doesn’t this ever WORK!

….repeatedly, and very very hard.

And once it’s all over….


I missed you…specifically the parts after we fight

….all is right with the world. (Except if you’re Dee or Anders)

….until they start all over again. But that’s StarbuckandApollo. They’re like binary black holes, getting sucked toward each other whilst destroying everything around them.


I looove you….DESTROY! DESTROY!!!

Buy Battlestar Galactica Stuff

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Trippy Time Movies

So I just watched The Lake House. If you don’t know it, it’s a sappy romance (though not quite so sappy as The Notebook, you cannot top the sappiness of that movie. It stuck to the VCR) about two people:


these two people, specifically – Kate (Sandra Bullock) and Alex (Keanu Reeves).

They live in the same house two years apart and paradoxically end up writing letters to each other across that space of time and (of course, otherwise there would be no movie) fall in love.

Being a connoisseur of sci-fi, I know that when you make movies that mess with time, you have to be very very careful to keep things consistent, lest you confuse your audience horribly.

For instance, people’s natural movie-watching suspension of disbelief will allow them to accept that it was easy for them to figure out/accept that they were writing to each other from two years apart.


Hrm, there’s a letter here. It must be from the future.

…cause otherwise it might have been a really long movie.

Kate: It’s 2006.
Alex: It’s 2004!
Kate: You’re insane!
Alex: No, YOU’RE insane!
Kate: Stop talking to me, crazy man.
Alex: Fine, crazy lady!

That’s how it would probably go in real life.

It is, however, slightly mind bending when you make a rule (i.e that they have the same dog) then BREAK IT! (i.e. Kate looking at photos from two years ago that have the dog in them when it would have had to be with Alex at the time and not in fact with her), then ACT LIKE YOU NEVER BROKE IT! (i.e. Alex giving the dog to Kate’s boyfriend to give to her)

Then things get a little confusing.

And then trees grow like 15 feet in 2 years.

And then you go woooooah! And watch a movie that makes more sense. Like maybe a Mexican thriller horror space opera involving snakes on a plane.


Hola Pedro! Hay serpientes en el plano!

Buy The Lake House on DVD

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Why Movies Are Better Than TV

I think I might be a bad browncoat, but before I tell you why, let’s get one thing straight: I love the ‘verse. So don’t freak out, but I think I hate TV.


devil box o’ torture

And I’m therefore kinda sorta glad that Firefly was canceled and turned into a movie instead. (But I wouldn’t be glad if it was cancelled and there was no movie)

Why am I glad? Because I love movies. I like movie stories about a thousand times better than dragged out one-hour-a-week-supposing-its-not-a-repeat storytelling by multiple writers (each with different takes on what bits are important) where the characters lives are divided into little chunks that half the time aren’t even related to each other and they have to keep coming up with stupid reasons why it’s taken two seasons to get two characters together only to have one die or something so that the other can remain miserable. I hate it.

Know how I figured this out? I looked at the shows I regularly watch on TV, and the ones I refuse to by gut instinct. I watch: CSI, CSI: NY, NCIS, Without A Trace, Criminal Minds, Ghost Whisperer, Numb3rs, Survivor, the Daily Show, SNL and whenever I can catch a new one, the Fairly Odd Parents. Nothing else. I follow my gut and refuse such things as Lost, Desperate Housewives, etc.


Hi, we have no real lives for you to get frustrated with

So let’s break it down:
Survivor – reality show, no real direction of story
CSI et all – crime shows with weekly self-contained stories
FOP – cartoon with no episode arcs
and funny daily/weekly sketch comedy
In other words, I’ve completely rebelled against the kind of TV show that Firefly was.

Now, when the X-Files, Buffy and Angel were on, I watched them, got completely sucked in, and was kind of glad when they were over because it felt like it’d been dragged out too long. Also, the story had gone places I really didn’t like. (Though I admit Dogget and Reyes did grow on me)


Yeah, yeah, you guys were ok

However, with movies, it’s one sweeping story, written by one person with one vision with character and story development that proceed in linear fashion instead of in fits and starts. If you don’t like where the story goes, you reject the whole movie and you don’t end up with those ambivalent feelings towards it. AND you get the whole story at once rather than being feed tantalizing snippets on a weekly basis.

To illustrate, I’ll take the example I’ve been thinking of:

Simon and Kaylee in Firefly and Serenity


Simon and Kaylee enjoying a laugh before one of them screws up the relationship for the thousandth time

In Firefly, Kaylee (Jewel Staite) and Simon (Sean Maher) had obvious chemistry, but despite repeated attempts to get together never managed it before the end of the series. Either Simon would say something that Kaylee could interpret in the worst possible way, or one of them would get distracted and/or lack the guts to say/do something. This was cute for a few episodes, but after a while it started to get repetitive and a little irritating. No doubt if the show had kept on they would have dragged it out for the whole season (at least).
Total filibustering time: about 15 hours, and still no result

In Serenity, they had obvious chemistry, it stewed, they were oblivious, and they GOT OVER IT and got together by the end of the movie.
Total filibustering time: about 2 hours, with positive result

The funny thing is, despite all my bitching, I really do love Firefly. The stand-alone parts of the episodes were brilliant and funny and touching and I love all the characters. Though, I suspect I might have come to love it (the STORY not the characters) slightly less had it dragged on. And I know I’d go insane between episodes.

Therefore, in my opinion, although we would have gotten MORE story from a long-running TV show, I think we got a BETTER story from the movie.

To sum up:



Great


Greatest Thing Ever in the World

There are a number of potential explanations for why I think this way:

1) I have no patience, therefore cannot sit through slow story development on TV

Attention Span =

2) I watched the movie before the TV show, so I look at the TV show as kind of an extra prequel story.

3) I loved Enterprise and then came “These are the Voyages” and it destroyed all of my faith in TV. It was so bad I re-wrote it to ease the pain. And I’m still bitter.


I loved you, then your awesome world was butchered by your own creaters’ delusions of being able to write

Buy Firefly: The Complete Series on DVD

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