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Remember that you’re getting movie & TV advice from regular guys with regular lives. The fact that we’re not sitting in front of our computers and TVs all day also means that we don’t have time to review every movie ever made. While this list will continue to grow as fast as we can continue to watch and review movies & TV, we apologize in advance for those we did not get to yet. Rather than relying on it as an exhaustive encyclopedia of movies & TV, though, we hope that you will simply use this list as a source for good suggestions of what to watch or stay away from.
Reviews are organized in reverse chronological order by the date the review was created. However, you can also check out reviews for particular genres by using the “Categories” drop-down box at the bottom of the page. Also, you can use the “Search” box (also at the bottom of the page) to find a particular movie/show.
Plot Summary: Nicolas Winding Refn‘s vivid and unflinching biopic delves into the life of Britain’s most notorious prisoner, Charlie Bronson — who’s been jailed for nearly 35 years — and attempts to dissect the real man behind the deranged persona.
Cast: Tom Hardy, Matt King, James Lance, Kelly Adams, Amanda Burton, Katy Barker
Serious Jest: (Worth Watching) A creative, artistic, and interesting way to tell Bronson’s story. The soundtrack and camera work very-appropriately compliment the tone and pace of the film.
I am not that interested in the movie’s subject matter, as Bronson appears to be a truly ridiculous manchild who perhaps could have found a better place in this world (and maybe even more happiness) as an MMA fighter or military man, were it not for a willfully uncontrolled mean streak (not a lack of discipline, though, as he seems to be able to focus and dedicate his energies to what he actually sets his sights upon). So, in that sense, the film leaves me annoyed at its protagonist…but never bored. This flick is like the first half of A Clockwork Orange, but without the rape.
Also, I am even more convinced that Hardy is one of the best actors of our time. His performance is nothing short of masterful. According to IMDB, Refn was not allowed to meet Bronson in person since Refn is not from Britain, but was allowed to have two phone calls with him. Hardy, however, met with Bronson several times, and the two became good friends (although another IMDB post says they only met on two occasions). Bronson was impressed with how Hardy managed to get just as muscular as he was and how well he could mimic his own personality and voice. Bronson has stated that he believes Hardy was the only person who could play him. “Ladies, and gentlemen in ladies’ attire,” if you want to see Hardy’s dick, here’s your chance. It seems that Bronson loves to fight naked and greased up. Fellas, you can admire that bad-ass moustache, which, also according to IMDB, was actually Bronson’s moustache that he shaved off so that it could be made into a loose-moustache for Hardy to wear.
Plot Summary: A little shady deal here, a little ethical entanglement there — it’s a way of life for Sean McNamara and Christian Troy, Miami doctors who own an exclusive plastic surgery clinic that generates as much trouble as it does cash.
Cast: Dylan Walsh, Julian McMahon, John Hensley, Joely Richardson, Roma Maffia, Linda Klein, Kelly Carlson, Kelsey Batelaan
Serious Jest: (Casual Watch) The first couple of seasons were great. The show takes an insightful look behind the curtains of the plastic surgery industry in Miami, a very plastic city. The characters are complex and interesting , the scenery is cool, and the plots are entertaining. I particularly like the way that the patients are metaphors for the trials and tribulations in the doctors’ personal lives, and how the doctors often learn from their patients in many ways.
Around Season 4, however, this series started to take a sharp turn toward the melodrama and playing with the net down of a soap opera. While I still found myself entertained with almost every episode, the level of crazy and drastic character changes really detracted from what were often clever concepts of image and its societal role.
The actors were very competent, for the most part. I found myself thinking that Walsh would have been a good alternate for Walter White if Bryan Cranston had been unavailable. Carlson was perfect for the role of Kimber Henry, in looks, sensuality, and ability to be beautiful while radiating inner ugliness that crept closer to the outside as the series went on.
On the other hand, I feel Hensley was miscast. His impish features just weren’t right for the desireable young ladies’ man that the show started to feature him as, nor was his soft demeanor right for the times that the show called for him to act hard. One might respond that that was the point, that his character was often out of his element in assuming those roles, but I still feel that the show could have chosen someone who was at least a little believable in those situations. He might be good in something else, but I found myself looking at him as a blemish on an otherwise-solid lineup.
As the show gained popularity, more cool guest stars could be spotted, including the delectable Sanaa Lathan, who really embraced her sensuality for this show. I also enjoyed the performances of Mario Lopez and Peter Dinklage, who both brought some much-needed levity to the show when it seemed that most of the other characters were acting crazy.
I’d love to hear from medical doctors on this one. Was this a decent medical drama, in your opinion? Or were they taking reckless liberties with the medical field in this one. I know I can’t watch many legal dramas because they butcher the courtroom. Do you feel that way about this show?
Plot Summary: The story of professional football players Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, and how their friendship on and off the field was affected when Piccolo contracted a fatal disease.
Director: John Gray
Writers: Sayers (book), Al Silverman (book), William Blinn (story), Gray (teleplay), Allen Clare (teleplay)
Stars: Mekhi Phifer, Sean Maher, Paula Cale
Serious Jest: (Worth Watching) This one gets by with me based on the awesomeness of the true NFL story. I also like that it effectively portrayed some issues without over-explaining them, like the racial undertones. Other than that, I was severely underwhelmed. First, the cinematography was extremely low-budget. I haven’t seen the 1971 original, but I’m guessing there’s not much of a difference in camera quality. Also, the acting from just about everyone, even Phifer during his “shy” scenes, seemed forced. Both Phifer and Maher were pretty charismatic, at times, however. And although I know that this movie isn’t really about football, they really skimped on the football scenes! I don’t know what they thought they were doing with that blurry first-person view, but it wasn’t working. I have a feeling that if I was to see the original flick, I would downgrade my rating of this remake.
Plot Summary: A gawky Englishman comes to Los Angeles to find the woman of his dreams.
Creators: Lee Eisenberg, Stephen Merchant, Gene Stupnitsky
Stars: Stephen Merchant, Christine Woods, Nate Torrence
Serious Jest: (White Noise) 3 episodes in, and I’ve already decided this show is not worth my time to watch with any kind of regularity or dedicated attention. Don’t get me wrong: it pokes fun at Los Angeles in a moderately-clever way (some of the jokes have been done before over and over, though), and the acting is strong. Woods and Torrence are charismatic, even if in a sort-of pathetic (because of their characters) way; Kevin Weisman is awesome as a wheelchair-bound player whose confidence and wit far outshine his disability; and Merchant is so good at being a selfish, desperate, pathetic jerk that he really irritates me. It’s just that I don’t find the pretentiousness of L.A. that interesting (other than to quickly agree that the stereotypical behavior of its denizens is wack and move on), and Merchant does such a good job of making me despise him that I don’t want to regularly watch a whole show in which I’m consistently annoyed. At most, I might flip this on in the future and keep it in the background while I’m doing other things.
Plot Summary: Three years after the failure of the last BR program, a second act is forged and a class of students are sent to an island with one objective: kill international terrorist Shuya Nanahara.
Directors: Kenta Fukasaku, Kinji Fukasaku
Writers: Kenta Fukasaku, Norio Kida, Koushun Takami (characters)
Stars: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Ai Maeda, Shûgo Oshinari
Serious Jest: (Don’t Bother) It’s as if this movie was written by a child: a plot by the World’s adults to get the World’s kids to kill each other; the ease with which anybody can pick up an assault rifle with a grenade-launcher attachment and instantly know how to operate it like a trained pro; the melodramatic speeches against The Man; and the awkward romantic moments inappropriately scattered throughout non-stop violent war. The action is consistent, though, and Fujiwara does a great job of playing a very different role, now that his character has done a 180 after years on the run with insurgents. Still, unless you’re a child, or the novelty of 9th-graders murdering each other is enough to get you geeked about this flick–and then you’ve got other issues, freak–hold off until the next installment of The Hunger Games.
Plot Summary: A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Writers: Cuarón, Jonás Cuarón, George Clooney (uncredited script collaborator)
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Clooney, Ed Harris
Serious Jest: (Worth Watching) This film is about 2 things, as I see it: space-station missions and survival. I think the movie accomplished an interesting story in both respects. As to the latter, the film did a good job of establishing a desperate pace, in which: every second counts; there is little rest for the weary, and Murphy’s Law is in full effect; and no one is going to save you but yourself, so you better nut up or shut up…for good. Space is a perfect setting for these themes, as the movie effectively conveyed the isolation of space, the importance of rigorous training so ingrained that certain actions become involuntary, and the sheer wonder of modern technology. These aspects of the film, along with its breathtaking scenery and its compelling acting (by the way, props to Bullock for her hard work on that rocking 49-year-old body!), almost make it a Must See; but overall, my reaction to a friend who tells me that he hasn’t seen this flick will probably be more like “It’s worth it if you ever do, and see it in 3-D, if you can” than “You really need to see that movie.”
Plot Summary: The poet Missak Manouchian leads a mixed bag of youngsters and immigrants in a clandestine battle against the Nazi occupation. Twenty-two men and one woman fighting for an ideal and for freedom. News of their daring attacks, including the assassination of an SS general, eventually reaches Berlin. Written by American Film Market
Director: Robert Guédiguian
Writers: Serge Le Péron (original idea, scenario), Robert Guédiguian (scenario), Gilles Taurand (scenario, adaptation, and dialogue)
Serious Jest: (Worth Watching) It has the feel of a 1980s movie…not in a good way, but as in the cinematography is outdated. Also, the first half of the movie is extremely slow. However, the action picks up in the second half, and the subject matter is very interesting. I also like that it delves into deeper issues about the French Resistance, such as the ethical issues surrounding killing innocent bystanders in the name of fighting the Nazis. Ledoyen is extremely beautiful, and she achieves The Girlfriend Experience in this film.