Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Maltin's Movies: The Incredibles (2004)

In THE INCREDIBLES - another dynamic computer-animated family film from Pixar - a family of superheros must suppress their powers in a witness-protection program...until a mysterious source calls on Mr. Incredible for help.  What starts as a sharp comedy morphs into a comic-book-style action movie (shifting the tone and lengthening the story), bit it all comes together.

Maltin's last sentence makes me think he's not as bullish on this movie as I am.  This movie is near flawless.  Both the comedy and the action are handled deftly.  The voice acting is superb and the soundtrack is awesome. Michael Giacchino's score is big and brassy and reminds me of the early James Bond scores by the late John Barry.

And, like all Pixar films, there's a good message to it.  The "supers" are driven into hiding at the beginning of the movie by a bunch of frivolous lawsuits filed by people the supers saved.  They are forced to give up what sets them apart from everyone else in order to get along in the world.

This little exchange between Helen Parr and her son is a good example of the theme (as well as a nice social commentary on how children are being raised today):

Dash: But Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of, our powers made us special.
Helen: Everyone's special, Dash.
Dash: [muttering] Which is another way of saying no one is.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The New TV Season

In the past week, most of the broadcast networks started their 2010-11 television seasons.  Frankly, there aren't a whole lot of new shows that grabbed my attention.  Here are some quick thoughts about the ones I watched.

Hawaii Five-0: I enjoyed the pilot.  Lots of big, fun action.  The relationship between the two leads was fun.  Scott Caan deserves all the praise he's getting.  I'll keep recording this to watch later in the week, but I'm going to say with Castle on Mondays at 10pm.

Mike & Molly: Ended up watching this little comedy to kill 30 minutes before Castle came on.  It wasn't bad.  I laughed out loud a couple times.  If they focus on the love story angle, this could be a nice show.  If they just make it a string of fat jokes, it's not worth your time.  Pittsburgh native Billy Gardell does a good job as the male lead.  If you haven't seen any of his standup, you should.

Terriers: OK, this premiered a few weeks ago, but I haven't mentioned it yet.  Good show.  New spin on the PI genre.  Lots of people mention Rockford when talking about this show.  I haven't seen Rockford, but I've been meaning to.  The chemistry between the two leads is great.  The stories are great and the characters seem more fleshed out that most tv shows.  Unfortunately, ratings don't seem to be too good.  I urge everyone to give it a shot and tell their friends about it if you like it.

Blue Bloods: I like the cast (Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan) and they treat the New York setting differently than most other shows I've seen.  The story of a family who has devoted several generations to service in the NYPD.  Wahlberg was great as Detective Joel Stevens in the canceled-too-soon Boomtown, so it's good to see him put on a badge again.  The pilot was a little to quick.  They didn't spend too much time with any one character and the plot of the week (a kidnapped girl) was too throwaway.  I can see some potential, though.  I'll watch another episode or two before making my decision, but I wasn't wowed by it.

No Ordinary Family: premieres tomorrow night on ABC.  I'll probably record this and watch later in the week.  The premise is an ordinary family goes on vacation, has an accident, and they all gain super powers.  This has potential to be good and potential to suck.  I wasn't wowed by the promos I saw, but since I'm a comic book nerd and Michael Chiklis is in it, it's worth a shot.

Anybody care to share their thoughts? Any new shows you liked that I didn't mention?

Friday, September 24, 2010

MST3K Friday: Space Mutiny

"I think it's very nice of you to give that dead woman another chance."

The various names for the hero always get me:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Stalking the Angel by, Robert Crais

Bradley Warren had lost something very valuable, something that belonged to someone else: a rare thirteenth century Japanese manuscript called the Hagakure. Everything PI Elvis Cole knew about Japanese culture he’d learned from reading Shogun, but he knew a lot of crooks and what he didn’t know, his sidekick Joe Pike did. Together their search begins in LA’s Little Tokyo at the nest of the notorious Japanese mafia, and leads to a white knuckled adventure filled with madness, murder and sexual obsession just another day’s work for Elvis Cole.

The second book in Crais's Elvis Cole series is a fairly standard PI novel.  Cole is hired by a wealthy businessman, gets obsessed with the case, gets fired, and goes on to solve everything for himself.  He wisecracks his way through things, annoying his employers and the cops.  As this is an early book in the series, you can see Crais knows how to put Cole through the paces, but hasn't begun to dig deeper yet.

Not as fun as The Monkey's Raincoat (the first Cole) nor as good as LA Requiem (the first Cole I read).  If you're a fan of Crais or a completest like me, go ahead and read it.  If you haven't read any Crais yet, don't make this your first read of his.

Friday, September 10, 2010

MST3K Friday: Agent for HARM

"It was worth killing to find the perfect picnic spot."
"Time to go back to the judo range." "Judo range?"

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sons of Anarchy: Season Three

Last winter, I started to watch FX's "Sons of Anarchy". Mostly because I needed a new show and I was feeling withdrawal from "The Shield". Since I'd heard good things about it and it was created by "Shield" writer Kurt Sutter, I thought I'd give it a shot.

It! Rocks!

Seriously.

Very quickly I was hooked. It's an adrenaline-fueled rush of pure awesomeness.

It focuses on a biker gang in a fictional California town. But it's about much more than crime and guns and loose women. It's about place, community, and family. Some call it Hamlet on wheels, and that's not far off.

Sutter's thoughts on season three here.

And it has an awesome theme song:


Watch it.

Friday, September 3, 2010