28 February 2011

Announcement: The Good and Bad of 2010!

The Good and Bad of 2010

Covering memorable scenes of the year, the best in visual effects, odd and brilliantish award thingies, a top nine list, and then an entire day dedicated to celebrating the television world! Come one, come all, to a geekgasm of 2010 goodness!

Unlike previous years, I will be commenting on 2010 in a six day exercise! Yep, you got that right, six days talkin', lovin', awardin' that great ol' year of last. The funness begins...



Here endith a wonderful month of fresh new movies watched and reviewed. Didn't get to watch all of the movies on my Que I had wanted to see, but I had the opportunity to watch enough that I'm immensely satisfied. I hope readers enjoyed some, if not all, of the choices. Also major happiness: I only missed a day! A world of w00t!

It feels good to see the wide range of ratings. Mostly three star features, but that in on itself ain't bad at all.

I loved doing this feature, and when I start Netflix back up (after the last movie, I had to put it Netflix on hold again cos of lack of money), I just might try this again, maybe in September when life at school is easy peasy again. Thanks for stopping by, and if you haven't read all the reviews, they are included below - complete with rating - for your easy access pleasure. Cheers!

Five Stars
An American Werewolf in London

Black Dynamite

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

This Film Is Not Yet Rated

Four Stars

The Blob
Empire Records

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
The Lost Boys: The Thirst
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

Young Sherlock Holmes

Three Stars

Angels & Demons

Astro Boy

Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman


La Femme Nikita
The Machinist

Mortal Kombat

The Ten

Two Stars

The Beach
DeepStar Six

I'm Still Here

The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys: The Tribe

One Star

Sorority Boys

OMENS: Empire Records

Empire Records

Starring Anthony LaPaglia, Maxwell Caulfield, Debi Mazar, Rory Cochrane, Johnny Whitworth, Robin Tunney, Renée Zellweger, Ethan Embry, Coyote Shivers, Brendan Sexton III, Liv Tyler, James 'Kimo' Wills, Ben Bodé
Written by Carol Heikkinen
Directed by Allan Moyle
Release: 22 September 1995
Regency Enterprises, 106 mins., NR

Plot: The lives of record store employees on one 'exceptional' day.

Heard a lot of good things about this one, and it didn't disappoint. Clever writing and powerful - and not to forget mentioning fun - performances that make what could have been a exercise in redundancy actually a enjoyable and recommendable film.

Similar to CLERKS, the events that unfold in EMPIRE RECORDS transpire in one day. Money is 'borrowed' by a employee in order to secure further financing for the store's future (it's about to be transformed into something else if the company has its way), goes terribly wrong, and furthermore, a famous singer will be appearing at the store later that day (just to add onto the stress), and the employees are acting crazier than usual. As expected, it's a day where characters realize truths about themselves but end up improved and better than ever as night comes by.

It's not necessarily brand new material the movie is exploring, but the success of its indulgence rests entirely on the script and cast. Fine pacing doesn't hurt matters, either, which is the case here.

EMPIRE boasts an exceptional cast, but the real standout performance here is Anthony LaPaglia as the store owner, Joe. He's a unique character who defied my expectations, making him definitely memorable and me wishing I have a boss like that in the future. Renee Zellweger plays the promiscuous role that inevitably has a conflict with Liv Tyler (through be told, I initially mistook Zellweger for Joey Lauren Adams). Next to LaPaglia, the other memorable role that deserves recognition, thanks to performance and script, is Brendan Sexton III as Warren, a young adult who resorts to illegal, crazy antics in order to get a job.

A not-bad music selection [coming from me, that's a compliment; I'm a tad picky], interesting characters that reach a endpoint that doesn't feel contrived [albeit a little 7TH HEAVENy, and the finale romance that seems to come out of nowhere], stellar performances, and most of all - entirely fun. It may not resonant with me nearly as strongly as other teen comedy/dramas from the nineties, namely CAN'T HARDLY WAIT and AMERICAN PIE, but it is nonetheless a strong effort that excels and deserves recognition and to be watched.

Netflix Rating: Really Liked It

27 February 2011

OMENS: DeepStar Six

DeepStar Six

Starring Taurean Blacque, Nancy Everhard, Cindy Pickett, Miguel Ferrer, Matt McCoy.
Written by Lewis Abernathy, Geof Miller
Directed by Sean S. Cunningham
Release: 13 January 1989
TriStar, 99 mins., Rated R

Plot: Underwater scientific station DeepStar Six is under siege by a giant monster.

Sounds a lot more exciting than what it ends up being. I love monster movies, I bloody well love them, and I dug the atmosphere director Sean S. Cunningham displayed in the original FRIDAY THE 13TH. Here, that works against him, making DEEPSTAR SIX a absolute bore from beginning to end. Initially the model work was impressive enough to keep my interest, and I tried my hardest to find myself invested in at least one of the characters, but as the time wore on, and the hour marking was coming upon us, I admit I was really, really losing interest. Aside from a blip on the radar, no monster had yet appeared, and nor would it for another ten minutes. I'm usually all for placing character and atmosphere ahead of the scares, but in this instance, I just wanted my motherfrakking monster fix, ladies and gents. However you feel about Renny Harlin's DEEP BLUE SEA over a decade ago, that movie did a great job at balancing the human drama with the flesh-eating Mako sharks. At least I thought so. Cunningham and Co. epically failed here.

When the monster does appear, the overall design of the creature is very impressive. It definitely had the feeling of being a beasty you don't want to cross, and was most definitely threatening. Sometimes I got a little confused concerning the size of the monster, as it goes from room to room in such tight spaces it really shouldn't. One scene it looks like a big ass monster, the other times, small and slender enough to fit through the doors the writer and director proposes is plausible. No matter the huge lack of screentime, I still liked the design, had a very Stan Winston-vibe to it, and my only other complaint concerning it is that I wish we had a better, larger shot to gain a proper image of it (and, of course, for it to appear earlier in the film).

In the end, DEEPSEA SIX does not succeed as a entertaining monster movie, although it had the makings to be such. Ultimately what I'm sure the writers and director felt were the wise choices - staying close to the characters, allowing them room to be, er, 'established' - ended up being the wrong ones. None of the actors have the caliber to keep us entertained until the big showdown, and when the monster finally does arrive, it's a welcome distraction of the permeating 'blah'ness of the rest of the movie. Still, I give you all props for trying.

Netflix Rating: Didn't Like It

26 February 2011

OMENS: The Machinist

The Machinist

Starring Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, John Sharian, Michael Ironside, Larry Gilliard Jr.
Written by Scott Kosar
Directed by Brad Anderson
Release: 22 October 2004
Paramount, 101 mins., Rated R

Plot: Trevor Raznik hasn't slept for a year, and that's doing a number on his psyche.

The unfortunate consequence of watching THE MACHINIST is not all the hype and news surrounding the film, it's that as obsessive film watchers, we tend to pick up on things rather quickly and spot similarities to other movies which in turn make whatever 'twist' at the end that explains all the weirdiness from the previous hour and a half a bit predicted. The people who aren't there that plague Trevor's mind, the conversations he never had, the mysterious notes, the red car, and even his physical appearance - ultimately guessable for those who have watched plenty of movies.


That doesn't stop THE MACHINIST from being captivating, highly intriguing, atmospheric, and making me more then willing to come along for the ride. When the credits roll up and the complete narrative is revealed to us, I 'get' the structure and story Kosar set out to write and Anderson brought to realization. The truth of the matter is MACHINIST is so splendidly made that I was sucked up by every second of it, and even figuring out the whole story not even halfway through deterred me from thoroughly enjoying all of it.

MACHINIST unfolds at a fine pace, allowing the mystery and overall freakiness to leave their impact, in addition to the relationships he forms with a 'entertainer' and his waitress. Christian Bale's performance is just as bizarre, mesmerizing, and complex as mentioned by everyone out there. Bale's in every scene, and he takes that honor and friggin' grabs us from the quasi-comedic opening scene to the satisfying and dark finale. The supporting cast is just as stellar, although I think a call-out to Jennifer Jason Leigh as Bale's favored company is in order for her stealing the scenes from Bale she's in. When the two of them are onscreen, it's definitely some good material.

Overall, MACHINIST nearly fulfills the critical rave and promise of something interesting everyone's been saying about it. The only real downside is the simplicity and predictability of Trevor's year-long sleepless life. Perhaps I wanted something more complex, or unique or original, but what we got wasn't what the doctor ordered. In the end, MACHINIST remains a movie I recommend to all parties: it's compelling, Bale is amazing, and the visual style alone (and holy God the trippy music) yell 'watch me'!

Netflix Rating: Liked It

25 February 2011

OMENS: La Femme Nikita

La Femme Nikita

Starring Anne Parillaud, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Tchéky Karyo, Jeanne Moreau, Jean Reno, Philippe Du Janerand, Marc Duret, Patrick Fontana, Alain Lathiere
Written & Directed by Luc Besson
Release: 21 February 1990
Gaumont, 117 mins., Rated R

Plot: Faced with a life sentence, Nikita is given a rebirth as a operative for the government.

With sixteen episodes of The CW's Maggie Q-starring NIKITA under my viewing belt, I figured what the hell, give the original French NIKITA a chance.

Overall, very 'meh'.

Excluding a few scenes here or there, LA FEMME NIKITA lacks much in anything that kept my interest or indicated the cultural phenomenon it would become. Although an entire movie is dedicated to this character, I frankly was at a loss as to who Nikita is as a individual. We're introduced to her as a troubled kid who acts out. She shoots/kills people, she likes to yell to a super obnoxious degree, she dances around without a care in the world, and she pretty much hates everyone. As the movie progresses, and she abruptly chooses the life of an assassin, her character just wants to have a normal life, a yearning that just comes out of nowhere based on what has already been established with this character. Basically, Nikita is inconsistent, and the overall ten to fifteen minutes of her being recruited into the government organization goes by far too quick without the necessary information presented. The movie is more concerned with visual style over substance. More explanation of the agency would have been appreciated, or a reveal of exactly what it is they do and what their function is. Before I knew it, Nikita was authorized to blow some guys away, and I don't think we were adequately given the opportunity to see Nikita accept the world she was about to embark on.

Guess I'm just a sucker for the finer details. The whole first hour honestly zooms by. Nikita the Yelling Crazy Bitch is the first thirty, Nikita entering the agency about twenty mins., and then Nikita on her first mission about fifty minutes. That was some good stuff. And then Nikita is let out into the world on her own and the movie sorta just loses it. There's no steam, nothing all too engaging until the final fifteen when Nikita does a job which eventually brings in Jean Reno (being kickass as ever). In the end, she's on the run from the people who hired her, no longer wanting anything to do with killing people, and leaving the man she 'loves' behind (seriously lame development in that relationship).

Arguably, NIKITA could be considered slow pace so we can get a deeper understanding of the titular character. That'd be fantastic if we actually got to know this woman. She yells, she cries, she gets painted into corners, but she's far from a interesting, developed, or remotely well crafted character. Definitely a flick that could use a big screen remake. Maybe Paul Greengrass would be interested.

One of the more noteworthy aspects of LA FEMME NIKITA, Jean Reno's name drop down aside, is the presence of That One Guy. In this case, Tchieky Karyo. He's got quite a hefty resume under his belt, and I pinpointed where I initially knew him: Jet Li's KISS OF THE DRAGON. By golly, Karyo is the most menacing, deadpan faced men I've seen in a looong time. Screw Nikita, give us a film on that dude (cleverly named 'Bob', although I can never hear that name and not think LAST SAMURAI).

Overall, skip NIKITA. If you want to see how the saga started, by all means, power to ya, but you're not missing anything at all by not seeing it.

Netflix Rating: Liked It

24 February 2011

The Watcher: 02/18/11 - 02/24/11

S01E06 - "It Takes Two To Make A Thing Go Wrong" (21 February 2011) - Josh gets the gorgeous doctor (and she is gorgeous), his sister breaks up with her girlfriend and decides to live with Josh and Aidan for a bit, Aidan is falling for Rebecca even harder after seeing a vampiric snuff film (vampire porn - not so much the sex as much as the blood being the turn on), and Sally trying out more ways to screw Danny over while being lonely and depressed and sulking. A good character episode where things are actually going good for Josh, which is majorly awesome. He's still a bit of a bafoon, and he could definitely have made the dinner with Nora less awkward. C'mon, dude! As for Aidan, I genuinely do like his interactions with Rebecca, I just wished he got a bit closer to picking a side already. And Bridget: god, I love that woman. Josh has one hell of a cool sister. Score: 9.2/10

S04E16 - "Chuck Vs. the Masquerade" (21 February 2011) - Alexi Volkoff may be preoccupied with the whole being-in-prison thing, but that doesn't mean the Volkoff story is completely done. Now the show is centered on Vivian Volkoff, the daughter of Alexi, who happens to have a key that opens something mega important that some assassin dude really, really wants. In the midst of Valentine's Day bliss, Team Bartowski is tasked with locating Vivian, saving her arse, and stopping this assassin dude from gaining any Volkoff intel. Suffice to say, they succeed. The real impact of the episode, I'd say, was the Chewbacca and Han Solo action figures. Chuck and Morgan can't seem to decide on how to part with them, since they are supposed to be together. They're best friends, man! The ultimate decision was brilliant and cute at the same time. However, I would have loved to take care of the collectors items, sirs, that would be lovely. Thank the Lords, it looks like Casey is going to have a real storyline soon! Some big CIA lady was all up in his face about getting a new job, and it has something to do about the renovations they made inside Castle. Now that plotline I'm intrigued about. Vivian Volkoff and whatever he left her...meh, let's see how that developments. But Team Chuck: please, please work on making more exciting action pieces. Score: 7.2/10

S03E14 - "69B" (18 February 2011) - Our side of the universe is beginning to rip apart, and shit, as it has been eloquently phrased, is about to hit the fan. At the epicenter, a old woman in 69B who receives visitations of her dead husband who she mistakenly believes to be a ghost, but is in fact a man from the Other Side. To combat the inevitably Vortex that would begin at the hotel, Walter becomes grumpy and soul searching and adds even another layer of dimension to this guilt ridden man. I absolutely adored the moment between Walter and Nina (or was it Astrid?) where he confesses he always thought of Walternate as a evil man with evil methods, but to save this universe, he might need to do the same, so what kind of man does that make him? Nina/Astrid responds, "the type of man who asks the right questions." Great, great scene. In the end, of course, disaster is averted for another day, leaving the rest of the episode dedicated to the Olivia/Peter relationship that finally hits home run tonight. I'm sure it won't be that easy and complications will sure be coming - not to mention that whole baby thing with the Other Olivia - but for now, I'm happy Olivia finally just caved in with her emotions. The next episode looks puzzling, and I'm not too fond with the idea that Olivia and Peter meeting each other was actually part of a master plan on Walter's part. Just doesn't vibe well. See ya then! Score: 9.4/10

S02E03 - "The I Of the Storm" (23 February 2011) - Holy crap, Boyd is losing his mind! Looks like Walton Goggins has his work cut out for him, because I am officially 100% invested in what happens to ol' Boyd Crowder and who he becomes here on out. Frakkin' A. And as for Boyd living at Ava's, it's not a romantic arrangement (not like I really thought they would go that route), just her helping him keep on the honest track. Although I understand Raylan's continued interest in Boyd, I do hope that the writers let them go their separate ways for the most part and allow their individual arcs to grow until, like "Bulletville", they come together in some magnificently awesome way in the end. After all, looks like Raylan not only has to deal with Mags but also this Dixie Mafia. It would be interesting to see Raylan begin to lose his edge, a little. In the pilot, Winona said Raylan is the angriest man she knows, and that's good enough excuse for the mile of bodies in his wake. But I'd think it would be interesting if all these people gunning for Raylan and all romantic entanglement with Winona and Ava gets him a bit angrier, edgier. Even if that doesn't pan out, JUSTIFIED is still 100% awesome, and the scene where Dewey barges in stealing the drugs in a cowboy hat yelling he's Raylan Givens compliments that statement really well. Plus I loved Art's questioning of who Raylan went to dinner with: 'I think I'd remember if we...' And then his realization of Winona: brilliant. Score: 9.5/10

S01E15 - "Alexandra" (17 February 2011) - NIKITA gets some darkness, and I'm all for that. Doing away with the unnecessary romantic subplots that seemed to be all the rage last week and instead concentrating on the relationship between Alex and Nikita in addition to Alex's past, the show gives us one of the most shocking, cold, and powerful moments of the season. A drugged up Alex stands over the beaten body of Victor, tells her captor her true identity and coldly shoots the man three times point blank range. Damn. There's other elements to the story, like Nikita seeing the footage Victor was taping and thus watching Alex kill Victor, and the moment where Nikita almost let slip she still has the hots for Michael, but that's all inconsequential right now. I can't wait to see where this leads Alex, how this situation has affected her or whether it made her stronger or weaker or more kickass. Brilliant episode. Score: 9.1/10

S01E06 - "Abbud" (21 February 2011) - Just the right amount of fun. Taking a break from the serious issues of these kids' lives, "Abbud" instead concentrates on a camping trip in Canada where the kids can just let loose and be themselves - which ultimately includes drugs and sex, of course. Abbud is just the right amount of sucker for romance, comedic genius, and crazy stoner man. While concentrating on Abbud, it still provides development of arcs that will hopefully be bursting relatively soon (Michelle/Tea/Tony/Stanley). Overall a immensely enjoyable episode. Score: 9.7/10

S10E14 - "Masquerade" (18 February 2011) - There were hits and misses, but for the most part, "Masquerade" was pretty good. I really liked Chloe confronting manifestations of sins and giving them a big "F U" in the face. I loved Clark in this episode, he had the perfect balance of humor ("it's my ability, I can name it whatever I want!") and heroics (doing his usual Superman thing). The subplot involving the CIA and Oliver & Chloe taking up the name of Jones wasn't exactly my cup of tea, but the strengths of the episode outweighs any little nitpicks. Unfortunately Alexander, Lionel, and Tess take a backseat this week, and looks like the same for tomorrow's episode, which majorly sucks because that's one of the most interesting developments of the seasons. With a limited number of episodes left, I would like some more momentum growing. Nonetheless, Clark put on the glasses, which was awesome. However, for the nitpicky, there are some inconsistencies watching "Masquerade" with "Homecoming" in mind, an episode earlier this season where he traveled forward in time. That's why you shouldn't have a time travel episode, cos they always end up screwing you over (see: "Doomsday", the Legion folks coming back to say Clark's gonna die...yep). Score: 8.7/10

S06E14 - "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning" (18 February 2011) - After the "holy shit!" cliffhanger finale of "Unforgiven", SUPERNATURAL goes back to basics with a Case of the Week, but ultimately, it's not up to their usual standards. Still a decent episode, indeed, just could have been better and freakier. I mean, freakin' mannequins, man! It's not their worst episode of the season, "All Dogs Go to Heaven" is definitely still the ranking champion. Dean gets a frantic call from Ben and heads back home to Lisa and faces...something. There is no real resolution with the Lisa/Ben storyline, unfortunately. Sam is back to basics, although he still has a bit of edge to him (which I like). The fact the ghost is connected via organ donation was pretty clever, but the resolution to that was also mildly disappointing. Here's to looking for next week's mega meta episode! Score: 6.2/10

S02E06 - "Birth Pangs" (22 February 2011) - THESE are the people who are going to save the world? To quote Giles, "the earth is doomed." With Erica, Hobbes, Jack, and a bruised Ryan (damnit, you're still alive!) in charge, we might as well surrender now. Take their Hong Kong activities for example: although they were sorta successful in that regard (and non successful in another), Hobbes and Erica ran around the hotel like two monkeys who hadn't a clue what they were doing, and they even had the audacity to have one of those 'close-proximity-intimate-?' moments that was just a super huge utter facepalm. Ugh, please treat us with respect. The one storyline that gives me hope right now is Lisa. When she finally grows the balls and fights back against Anna - and that butter FRAKKIN happen - it will be glorious. And now with Lisa and her grandma in the kahoots, looks like that just might be a reality. Also, this whole 'human emotion' thing: aside from being super obnoxious and lazy script-wise ('human emotion', '...human emotion', 'HUMAN EMOTION!'), I cannot fathom how anyone in charge can say they are without emotion, save maybe Marcus. Anna clearly shows emotion with her angry outbursts, Lisa obviously conveys insecure and worried during her conversations with mommy. The whole damn fleet of main character V's having emotion coming out of their ass. Meh, three episodes left. Let's see how this goes down. Score: 6.8/10

OMENS: Black Dynamite

Black Dynamite

Starring Michael Jai White, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Arsenio Hall, Tommy Davidson, Kevin Chapman, Mykelti Williamson, Mike Starr, Kym Whitley, Phil Morris, Nicole Sullivan, Buddy Lewis, Brian McKnight, Nicole Ari Parker
Written by Scott Sanders, Michael Jai White, Byron Minns
Directed by Scott Sanders
Release: 16 October 2009
Icon Entertainment, 84 mins., Rated R

Plot: Black Dynamite's brother is killed, and Black Dynamite ain't gonna let this stand!

Judging by the trailer, MACHETE was poised to be a hilarious, awesome ride back in September 2010. It ended up being boring and lacking more than hitting all the right notes. I also saw a trailer for BLACK DYNAMITE some time before that, and the trailer was spectacular. Similar to MACHETE in some ways, but concentrated on a different genre of old action films, I was interested, but nonetheless hesitant. Would the film be another case of a movie not fulfilling the promise of the exceptionally well done trailer?

A universe of no, it turns out.

BLACK DYNAMITE is perfect. It embraces and spoofs the blaxploitation films of the 1970s (when Pam Grier was everywhere) as well as kung fu films. The action pieces are insane, like A-TEAM proportions crazy. There’s an awesome bar brawl, an island attack, helicopter assault, kung fu ass kicking, and last but not the least, a karate chop delivered by the ghost of Abraham Lincoln.

Part revenge flick, part gangsta, BLACK DYNAMITE breaches many different genres, maintains the same BADASS tone, boasts a highly quotable script, and will instantly become one of your favorite movies, a classic film you’ll want to show your friends and family.

I think it’s safe to say less about BLACK DYNAMITE, because no words can do this brilliance justice. Any movie fan in the world owes it to themselves to watch BD, to experience the BADASS Dynamite in action. But I will say this:

Michael Jai White, I am in awe of you. How you kept a straight face saying some of the most brilliant yet ridiculous dialogue I have ever heard. How you Kung fu’s six dudes in a bar brawl. How you made that hilarious face after jumping out of the helicopter. How you fought Dr. Wu. Okay, the last three bits were Black Dynamite, but simply put, Michael Jai White is motherfrakking Black Dynamite.

From a technical standpoint, I’m quite impressed by the visual style. Sanders achieved the feel of 1970s films, the scratchy, dotty, soft film print with the occasional unsynced dialogue blooper. Frankly, Sanders & Co. accomplished a feat Rodriguez failed to do on two occasions (PLANET TERROR and MACHETE) and Tarantino only slightly tried (DEATH PROOF). BLACK DYNAMITE, for all intents and purposes, looks and feels EXACTLY like a movie from the 70s (minus a bad CG moment near in the end), and that’s about the best compliment anyone can give the movie. It 100% succeeds in being what it’s honoring and spoofing.

BLACK DYNAMITE, I can dig it.

Netflix Rating: Loved It

23 February 2011

OMENS: Angels and Demons

Angels & Demons

Starring Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgård, Masasa Moyo, Victor Alfieri, Yan Cui, Shelby Zemanek, Jonas Fisch, Kristof Konrad, Curt Lowens.
Script by David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman.
Based on the book by Dan Brown.
Directed by Ron Howard.
Release: 15 May 2009.
Columbia Entertainment, 146 mins., Rated PG-13

Plot: Them pesky Illuminati are coming out of hiding after 400 years to screw with the Vatican, and the Vatican don't like being screwed, so they unenthusiastically enlist the aid of symbologist Robert Langdon to save their lives (but not their souls, cos that's already dealt with)!

Fact: I fell asleep for ten minutes at the theater watching THE DA VINCI CODE.

Fact: I rather enjoyed ANGELS & DEMONS, although it most definitely could be better, it is all around an improvement over the Howard/Hanks original.

The cinematic sequel to the literary prequel, ANGELS & DEMONS is a pretty interesting ride with some nifty ideas and scenes that just can’t come together to make a truly riveting thriller. Ultimately the lack of urgency on screen – despite characters and title screens telling us we’re running out of time, but it’s never truly felt (I mean, c’mon, Howard and Zuer don’t even break into a sprint often or talk fast cos each second counts; it’s like they have to walk a little tiny bit faster to get to the spa instead of saving thousands of lives at the Vatican) – is detrimental to the overall enjoyment and integrity of the film. Really, how hard would it be to watch a few episodes of 24 to get a overall vibe of how to create a sense of ‘Shit! We really gotta get moving on this thing or this antimatter stuff is going to blow this place to smithereens!’? Not too much.

And God bless Hans Zimmer, he tries valiantly to invoke urgency and epicness and running-out-of-timeyness with giant orchestral and vocal cues that neat block out the dialogue. Still, it’s a pretty cool soundtrack well worth a solitary listen.

Yes, it’s an improvement on DA VINCI CODE, and I don’t mean just Tom Hanks’ hair is normalish again. But unfortunately, all I can seem to do is concentrate on its downfalls. For example, Ayelet Zurer’s character Vittoria Vetra’s relevance to the plot is basically confined to two scenes, and both involve the bomb. Otherwise, she frankly could have been exercised from the movie entirely without missing anything crucial a quick rewrite wouldn’t fix. Secondly, the ultimate villain of the piece is a bit predictable, but thanks to a fine performance, they do succeed in possibly making one second guess themselves. Third, the movie still is plagued by pacing problems. A hour and fifteen minutes in, I felt like I had already watched the whole two hour ten minute film, and there was still tons of material to get through. Fourthly, the revelations and discovers Langdon makes isn’t nearly as interesting as DA VINCI CODE, despite the concept of the Illuminati springing up to take revenge on the Vatican sounds awesome. Fifthly, the movie rides the fine line of outright dissing the Vatican while also supporting religion. Interesting. Sixth, there’s some really bad special effects here. Like, a bit embarrassing.

But despite my complaints, I still dug the movie. Hell, I’d still be game for a movie adaptation of THE LOST SYMBOL, which last I heard the script was being written by the novelist, Dan Brown, so that just might be beneficial. And no offense to Ron Howard, but maybe it’s time to have another director step in to take the mantle, someone who understands that there’s a reason time is such a important part to Brown’s novels. Overall, glad I saw it finally.

Plus, the cronie doing the Big Bad's work is way more bad ass then DA VINCI CODE's Silas. This dude's got a Silencer, glasses, and a nice suit. And he has some pleasantries. Nice man. *cough. Moving on. Rating time? Rating time!

Netflix Rating: Liked It

22 February 2011

OMENS: Astro Boy

Astro Boy

Featuring the voices of Freddie Highmore, Kristen Bell, Nathan Lane, Eugene Levy, Matt Lucas, Bill Nighy, Donald Sutherland, Charlize Theron, Nicolas Cage, Sterling Beaumon
Written by Timothy Harris & David Bowers
Directed by David Bowers
Release: 10 October 2009
Summit Entertainment, 94 mins., Rated PG

Plot: Unable to deal with the loss of his son Toby, Dr. Tenma creates a robot in his sons image, complete with memories, but realizing what he has done, rejects his creation and disowns him/it.

ASTRO BOY tries to be a lot more than just a family friend movie about a robot with a conscious. There’s environmentalism (not as extreme as WALL-E, to be sure), political maneuvering, dealing with death (the loss of a child), the loneliness of being orphaned, and robot rights. And then, of course, there’s a super epic awesome robot battle when Astro Boy fights this MEGA sized robomonster that involves a lot of blown-to-bits buildings and MEGA damage! So it’s all cool.

The movie can have its messages – after all, the key demograph isn’t really privy to those aspects of the film and it’s not like it’s so heavy handed they become detrimental to the overall enjoyment factor. But the monster movie fan geek in me was just about having a MEGA geekgasm during the final 15 minute battle royale on Cloud City – er, I mean Metro City. That was some truly epic stuff, ladies and gents. Absolutely one of the coolest giant sized fight scenes I’ve seen in a long while, far surpassing MONSTERS VS. ALIENS. I can only imagine how stunning that would look on Blu-Ray. Cue salivation.

As for the film itself, giant robo fights aside, it’s your standard kid fare. I mean, take HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON and substitute dragons for robots. A bit of a stretch, but watch the two movies and you’ll see the similarities, all the way down to Astro finding himself a female friend who has a uncannily resemblance to Hiccup’s girlyfriend. So in general, ASTRO BOY doesn’t offer much in the way of originality (awesome robo fight scene!!!), therefore determining the watch factor depends on how it is executed.

Very well done. The animation is solid. Unique in its own right (done by the studio who animated TMNT), not a carbon copy of DreamWorks or Pixar, the style pays homage to the original Japanese animated series, embraces it, and uses the state-of-the-art digital effects to their disposal, making the movements fluid, laser blasts, battles and the works flawless. Really quite good work. Animation aside, the script does elicit a few giggle-worthy moments, mostly dealing with the robot dog Trashcan, who is instantly adorable and makes you want one ASAP.

Featuring a stellar list of voice actors, I’ll confess it was a bit distracting to hear Big Daddy and Davvy Jones taking part in a children s film. It’s instances like these where I can’t become engrossed in the flick and instead just seeing Nicholas Cage smoking a joint in his living room recording his material off the couch, script in hand.

ASTRO BOY was a helluva lot of fun, and definitely worth Instant Streaming if you have the time. Not the bestest kids movie in recent years, but it has heart, and it has style. And besides: MEGA robot battle in Metro City!!!

Netflix Rating: Liked It

21 February 2011

OMENS: Centurion


Starring Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Noel Clarke, David Morrissey, JJ Feild, Axelle Carolyn, Riz Ahmed, Dave Legeno, Ulrich Thomsen
Written & Directed by Neil Marshall
Release: 23 April 2010
Pathe, 97 mins., Rated R

Plot: Quintas Dias and his Roman buddies are on the run from bloodthirsty bad guys.

Now that was some awesome shit.

Future young Magneto Michael Fassbender leads a bruised and battered group of Roman soldiers back home after their army was attacked and pretty much destroyed, but they face opposition: the blood hungry Etain is on their trail, and she will stop at nothing to butcher every last Roman out of revenge.

So let’s see what CENTURION offers: a sword-and-sandals epic with great production at a reasonably reserved budget; plenty of bloody carnage; a cat-and-mouse chase picture; and a drama about the last surviving members of an army banding together to live. Sounds brilliant, and it is brilliant. It does hurt – not in the slightest – that this movie is handled with care and creativity by the hands of writer/director Neil Marshal, who arguably delivered one of the best horror movies of the last decade (THE DESCENT). And now he unleashes another flick that is just as mesmerizing and unforgettable.

It’s a simple plot, I’ll give you that, but Marshal and the actors milk it. The cinematography is breathtaking. Absolutely beautiful. The sweeping helicopter shots of the snow covered lands, the threat of each tree, the beauty of running water, the menace and uncertainty of mist – if there is one irrefutable truth about CENTURION that not even the nonlovers can deny, it’s how gorgeous this movie looks.

Those looking for a bloody good time – and I mean that literally, as in blood spurting all over the place – you’ll most definitely be pleased with the amount of swordy carnage that is in display here. Each Roman soldier is ready to die for their commander, but hell if they won’t do everything in their power to take out as many enemies as they can. No part of the body is safe from a death blow.

The cast is brilliant, as expected. Neil Marshall has a talent with getting some magnificent performances from the people under his charge, and this is no different. They each play their part terrifically, displaying the camaraderie in the more intimate night scenes where they have a moments break to just chill and talk about the past and their lives, displaying the never-give-up mentality of the Romans, and all around being likable and charismatic blokes. But there’s one performance that shines above all the others.

Believe it or not, but when it comes to Olga Kurylenko, I’m going to resist commenting on her natural beauty and give a huge compliment: she was magnificent as Etain. CENTURION’s protagonists are the Romans, sure, but this movie is about Etain as much as it is about them. Olga was fine in QUANTUM OF SOLACE, but holy shit, this is a tour de force, I’d go as far as saying. It’s a cliché to comment on actor’s eyes and the emotion they bring, but in this case, it’s bloody deserved. Look at the screencap to the right for proof. Olga’s Etain is the embodiment of rage and revenge and war, and she sells it. Bloodthirsty, ready to strike in a second like a snake – it’s mesmerizing. If you’re on the fence about CENTURION, I’d recommend it just for her. Frakkin’ frightening, ladies and gents.

And I would be a horrible DOCTOR WHO fan if I didn’t note that two actors from that show appear here: Noel Clarke, who plays Roman soldier Macros, was Mickey Smith, boyfriend of Rose Tyler, for two series of the show when it came back in 2005/2006. David Morrissey, who plays Roman soldier Bothos, was Jackson Lake, a man who believed himself to be The Doctor after his brain was zapped by a memory capsule containing information about The Doctor. And yes, I’m going to point out every DOCTOR WHO actor no matter the subject, cos I’m that obsessed. I need therapy.

In case the following rating and the review didn't cement it: watch CENTURION. It's awesome, bloody, compelling, and the time will just fly by and you'll want to watch it again very soonish. Well, at least I want to. Imminent purchase!

Netflix Rating: Loved It

20 February 2011

OMENS: Young Sherlock Holmes

Young Sherlock Holmes

Starring Nicholas Rowe, Alan Cox, Sophie Ward, Anthony Higgins, Susan Fleetwood, Freddie Jones.
Written by Chris Columbus
Directed by Barry Levinson
Release: 4 December 1985
Amblin Entertainment, 105 mins., Rated PG-13

Plot: The early adventures of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson at boarding school while they investigate mysterious deaths.

YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES takes great pains to assure us that this film doesn’t follow the cannon set forth by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, nor are the events inspired by any of his novels. Instead, this should be regarded as a fantasy movie, a “what if?” a young Sherlock and John Watson met each other at some Academy and formed a friendship? Although I’m sure any die hard fans of the HOLMES franchise would cry fowl at all the retconnes and inaccurate representations of Holmes’ life, the film is nonetheless a wild wide of adventure and nicely remains true to the Sherlock Holmes character I’m familiar with.

Except the whole thing with Sherlock fancying Elizabeth. Correct me, but has Sherlock ever fancied a gal? Similar to Spider-Man, isn’t action his reward? Being on the case and solving the case? Granted, my Sherlock history and knowledge isn’t what I or anyone else would call deep, but Sherlock getting smoochy-face just doesn’t jab right. Then again, this is the young Sherlock Holmes. Not even a case of triple murders can thwart teenage hormones.

Anyways. Produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Chris Columbus, the movie dabbles in both childrens fantasy and young adult darkness. There’s lots in Columbus’ script that is reminiscent to the kid-friendly tone and dialogue of his two HARRY POTTER films, and his poor choice of using narration by a elder John Watson brings about plenty of groan-worthy dialogue as it regurgitates cliched lines at a unfortunately high rate. As I said, though, YOUNG SHERLOCK does have a tinge of darkness in it. The culprit(s) behind the series of murders is actually a clan of folks decked out in this really neat underground temple that is really reminiscent in design to the Thuggee lair in TEMPLE OF DOOM a year before. Death of loved ones, betrayal, and confronting ones emotions and bettering themselves are themes in the movie Sherlock must face, and the quasi-Gothic atmosphere assists in that.

As the titular character, Nicholas Rowe is actually quite impressive and it’s easy to see how this man will grow up to become the legendary detective he will become. Currently I’m watching the Steven Moffat SHERLOCK series, and Rowe’s interpretation has quite a few similarities. The manner in which Holmes walks with complete confidence, the off-hand and semi-boastful way he divulges the obviousness of the clues to Watson or any open ears, even the frizzled hair (after all, why would Sherlock care about hair style, y’know?). With YOUNG SHERLOCK being his second feature film, Rowe does have facepalm-worthy moments, but for the most part, very impressive. Alan Cox doesn’t fare as good, however. At no point did I think this would be the John Watson we’re going to see someday, instead coming off very much like Sean Astin in THE GOONIES with an unquenchable taste for chocolate. Sophie Ward fulfills her duty as Elizabeth, Holmes’ love interest, who ultimately isn’t given enough screentime to become anything else than exactly that – the love interest, and eventually the damsel-in-distress. Missed opportunity, ultimately.

One of the greatest assets to YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES is the score provided by Bruce Broughton (LOST IN SPACE). Adventurous, dark, ‘witty’, all the things that a score for the great Sherlock Holmes demands, Broughton delivers.

But maybe the best thing I can offer YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES is that it is undeniably fun. Watching Sherlock solve the case of the hidden vase in one hour on a dare from the obnoxious kid in the school, seeing Sherlock engage in sword combat, and generally witnessing this young man gain the traits that are familiar to any fan of Sherlock Holmes. The movie has a brisk pace, and the not-all-that-challenging mystery and captivating and fun cast come together nicely to make an enjoyable film that held my interest. Yes, some of the effects are outdated, but they are nonetheless impressive. As noted, the mystery isn’t all that complex, or dare I say enthralling. But it’s Sherlock Holmes, it’s fun, and you’ll enjoy the adventure.

Netflix Rating: Really Liked It

19 February 2011

OMENS: An American Werewolf in London

An American Werewolf in London

Starring David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, Jenny Agutter
Written & Directed by John Landis
Release: 21 August 1981
Universal, 97 mins., Rated R

Werewolf movies. Difficult to make a good one, it seems. Not like I’ve had a helluva lot of experience outside those paranormal teen romance things, but I haven’t seen anything quite like AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. And that’s a compliment. The movie is quite impressive, and not only just because of the werewolf make-up and all that jazz. AMERICAN WEREWOLF works on multiple levels.

First and most obviously, it works exceptionally well as a horror movie. The scene near the ending in the subway will continue to haunt my brain for many weeks to come. Not as terrifying as the Nothing from NEVERENDING STORY, but nearly at that point. Director John Landis excelled at creating and maintaining atmosphere. The opening twenty minutes when David and Jack are walking around the Yorkshire field and are surrounded by this strange beastly noise until (HOLY SHIT!) it attacks. The speed and suddenness of the attack, complimented by the frakking horrifying sound of the werewolf, literally made me jump in my seat, and that successfully happened at multiple instances later in the movie when Jack’s transformation is complete. So, yea, the scares definitely succeed in the jump category. Anyway, back to atmosphere, that good ol’ sense of dread and the expectation of something really shitty about to happen is absolutely abundant in nighttime scenes (the movie almost takes a 360 turn into the world of, dare I say, comedy during daytime sequences), and the tension when an character, no matter who, is in a desolate place and we just know the wolf in getting ready to pounce on its prey. Kudos John Landis, you sucked me into this movie and literally wouldn’t let me go.

That thing I said about a comedy tone – yep, not lying. David is a bit of a funny guy, either through actually saying a joke or just being honest or his dumb interactions with people, laughter and smirking will ensue. Another unforgettable scene that happens later in the movie that’s so bloody funny and weird and so perfectly British at the same time is when Jack is confronted by the people he killed the evening prior in his wolf state at a porno theater. It’s brilliant, absolutely brilliant, and the dialogue is just as brilliant. I’ll just say it now: the script, also by Landis, is top-notch. Dimensional characters (give or take), got that. Good if not great werewolf bits, absolutely check. Nudity, oh yes. Actually succeeding as a horror movie: check again.

Hell, even the human side of the movie – the part everyone, including myself, expects to drag and just waste running time – is just as compelling as the werewolf. They may not be the most realistic couple (moving into her flat, professing his love two days later, etc.), but David and Nurse Alex are freakin’ adorable and lovable. All the scenes with the two of them are highlights of the movie, I kid you not. I loved their relationship, and if I have one complaint about the final seconds, it doesn’t allow either Jack or Alex to have that letting go moment, or a few seconds of grief. Bahg! And thanks to the casting of David Naughton as, ahem, David, and the very clever script by Landis, David becomes an awesome, relatable, funny guy, and the inevitability of the film has a certain sadness and tragedy because you actually like the guy. Sorry if I seem so astonished by this fact, but I can’t say I’ve been too in love with the human part of werewolves from what little experience I’ve had. Just last year, Benicio del Toro’s Lawrence Talbot was utterly flat and carried zero dimension. His fate – couldn’t care less. David’s – it was like I was watching a friend’s life go down the bucket.

Other fantastic elements of the movie already highly remarked on is the ironically upbeat soundtrack that is just so perfectly juxtaposed scenes of great horror and pain and the make-up effects by Rick Baker. David’s transformation exactly an hour in is awe-inspiring and beautiful. As for the wolf face, it’s still very impressive, but Baker will successfully outdo himself years later with 2010’s WOLFMAN, displaying some absolutely gorgeous wolf makeup. But as far as transformations go, I find myself more in love with this 1981 take over the digital effects heavy 2010 version.

AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON is about as close to perfect as I can imagine for a werewolf movie. I loved it, and I plan on owning it in the immediate future. Watch it now.

Netflix Rating: Loved It

18 February 2011

OMENS: Dalekmania


Featuring Yvonne Antrobus, Steve Arnott, Toby Aspin, Roy Castle, Bernard Cribbins, Jill Curzon, Peter Cushing, Gary Gillatt, Marcus Hearn, Dave Hicks
Directed by Kevin Davies
Released 24 July 1995
Lumiere Films, 57 mins., Unrated

Tagline: A documentary concentrating on the two live-action DOCTOR WHO movies with Peter Cushing.

A DOCTOR WHO documentary on Netflix Streaming, how could I resist? Overall, the less-than-a-hour documentary isn’t as thorough or enlightening as I hoped, instead spending an unfortunate amount of time replaying snippets of trailers of the two movies covered here. DALEKMANIA is specifically interested in exploring the two Dalek movies starring Peter Cushing in 1965 and1966, DR. WHO AND THE DALEKS and DALEKS INVASION EARTH: 2150AD. Additionally, there’s a short bit dedicated to Dalek merchandise and the price they initially sold for and the value of them now.

Archival footage of script writer and Dalek creator Terry Nation provides some nice background detail about the thinking process about what went into making them, as well as showing Nation’s love for his creations and intent on maintaining their integrity through the television series and feature films. Two of the female stars from each picture give the most interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits, Roberta Tovey (who played The Doctor’s granddaughter Susan) and Jill Curzon (the Doctor’s niece). Discussion ranges from interactions with other actors and a game played with the director involving money and number of takes. Although any interview footage of Cushing as The Doctor is absent, the cast do reminisence and remark on their time working with the iconic actor. The documentary concludes noting that a third DOCTOR WHO feature film was to be put into development, but the lack of success with the second Dalek movie proved the audience just wasn’t as enthused anymore.

Overall a decent enough documentary delving into two areas of DOCTOR WHO’s history I’m not particularly familiar with. My only complaint is the lack of behind-the-scenes information that I was hoping would be abundant. As it stands, for DOCTOR WHO fans, DALEKMANIA is a sure thing to watch, but one won’t necessarily find themselves captivated or too enlightened by the material presented here.

Netflix Rating: Liked It

17 February 2011

The Watcher: 02/11/11 - 02/17/11

S01E05 - "The End of the World As We Knew It" (14 February 2011) - Aidan going badass. I like that. Josh finally getting rid of his obnoxious sounding Wolfie maker. I really like that. Sally getting some dimensional and invoking some ghostly payback. I love that. Episode Five was really good, if only for the scene where Sally dumps her ex-fiance's apartment. Nice. If I were a ghost and I just learned said truth, you better believe I'm going to make that persons life bloody miserable. Where her character goes from here on out is definitely gonna be interesting. As for Aidan, he perplexes me still. He's off/on with the whole 'no human blood' thing, yet dabbles and gets close and then pulls back last minute. He's giving into his desires and animalistic nature far more than I expected, making him a unpredictable yet rather exciting character. His smashing the priest vamp's teeth in, much to the apparent delight of Bishop, that was some cool stuff. Now if we can just get some clear direction with Aidan, I'd like that. He seems to be the most up in the air, as far as his arc is concerned. Ray will hopefully never come back, or if he does, I really hope Josh kills the bastard. Tapping into the dark side of Josh could be quite interesting. After all, Josh is the one trying to be the more human compared to Aidan, trying to live his life normally. And with a romance around the corner, he just might. Overall, nice character progression. Score: 8.9/10

S04E15 - "Chuck Versus the Cat Squad" (14 February 2011) - Skimpy outfits for Sarah and her friends equals a dashing good time. Although "Cat Squad" wasn't great, it did nonetheless remind me of the fun and excitement and occasional brilliance of the show, and it was quite welcoming. Chuck being Chuck, he tries to make things right by calling in some friends from Sarah's past, which she immediately isn't too fond of. But of course, in the end, all is right in the world, and Chuck gets smoochies and thank yous from the girlfriend. A funny script and funny actors can go a long way. The overall plot isn't moved, although I don't think there really is one right now except for the wedding, but it was enjoyable, so it gets points for that. Score: 9.0/10

S03E13 - "Immortality" (11 February 2011) - So, the Other Olivia is knocked up. Can I just say this: OH. MY. GOD!!! Perhaps I just don't think outside the box, or I didn't want to spoil myself by thinking too far into things, but I so didn't expect that! That makes the whole predicament given to the redhead at the end of the last weeks episodes even more ginormous and full of possibilities and uncertainties. Frankly, I wasn't all that yippie skippie about the freak of the week. I was more glued to the screen with Olivia and what the hell is going on with her. Ooooh I can't wait to see this spiral out of control! In other news, more on the depressing front, the numbers for FRINGE is dropping rapidly. So that's not exactly good news. Score: 9.1/10

S02E02 - "The Life Inside" (16 February 2011) - Wha? What is Boyd doing living with Ava? How did that friendship come about? That's an interesting question and storypoint I'd love to see explored. And it also may just be me, being a sucker for relationships and all, but I'm truly lovin' seeing Raylan and Winona back together. I love how Winona pretty much summarized her feelings for Raylan, how she sometimes wants to punch his face, and sometimes wants to run away with him and never look back. Fantastic, great writing. But then again, JUSTIFIED is well known for it's witty and clever writing, which is also in great display for the Case of the Week. A pregnant inmate put into Raylan's care, the overall subplot wasn't the best the series has produced, but the dialogue and performances nonetheless achieved making it something entertaining. Like the final scene where Raylan and the other cop (sorry, the name escapes me right now) have the Bad Guy pinned down and brings up his bud's sniper skills and then BAM! Great stuff. Speaking of pregnancies, and the title itself, will Winona and Raylan choose to get pregnant this season? Now that would be interesting. Now as for Mags and the overall movement of that plot, that doesn't get a lot of forward momentum other than Mags taking care of Loretta. So happy the shows back. Score: 9.5/10

S01E14 - "The Next Seduction" (10 February 2011) - Relationships. It's unfortunate that NIKITA feels like it needs to introduce men in the lives of its two female leads, but I'm assuming these plotpoints are here to stay, so I might as well bite my lip and see how it all plays out. I can understand the whole Alex/guy-next-door fling, and that whole dinner conversation with Michael was positively brutal, so I'll let her euphoria and hardly-knowing-the-guy thing slide. But Nikita getting smoochied by her bud Ryan, and her okay with that? I'm confused. Frankly, I never saw any sort of romantic spark with the two, just a common need to bring down Division and make the world a safer plays. Allies, sure, but frak buddies or lovers? Nah, not my cup of tea, nor do I think this is the right route for Nikita at the moment. That being said, the spy plot of the week was still enjoyable, and I liked Division having an upper hand for a minute - until Nikita beat that, as well. Score: 7.8/10

S01E05 - "Stanley" (14 February 2011) - Poor, poor Stanley. He's a nice, decent guy, he just has that sort of bewildered, stoned look at the time and just doesn't know the right thing to say. Although, can't blame him too much. After all, he has a really weird family. His dad is all yelling and off his kilter in making-sense land, and his mom just stays silently in the corner not really making her voice heard. Stanley coming to the rescue for Tony: gee, I can't wait to see Tony's life crumble. The highlight was, of course, seeing Stanley and Michelle interact. There was that one brief moment of intimacy between them - when he held her at the beach - but of course Tony comes along and ruins it. Poor, poor Stanley. And then the car gets on fire, and Stanley gets to go to court, all thanks to Tony. Man, Stanley just needs to grow some balls, talk up a bit, something to make him not just a push over. Score: 8.5/10

S10E13 - "Beacon" (11 February 2011) - Clark is a beacon of hope, in case that part wasn't very clear. Martha Kent returns to provide Clark with more inspirational speeches and get the VRA bill overturned (which in turn inspires Clark more). Y'know, it was a good episode and all, and I do like how everyone is rallying with Clark and the heroes, but at the same time, I sorta wish Clark made these choices and took the journey on his own. But then again, SMALLVILLE is so full of 'it's my destiny!' that it couldn't take that route, anyway. The most intriguing element of the episode was the final moments with Tess poking Alexander with the needle, intent on killing him, but his skin is superman like steel! Unfortunately the spoiler about Alexander was already out of the bag, so what he becomes is now known, but it would have been very interesting to see Alexander grow to becoming a physically indestructible Lex Luthor. Speaking about the Luthors, how magnificent was it having John Glover back? He is just as menacing and brilliant as last we say him. Oh, how I love the manipulative, cold hearted bastard. Hell, Lucas Gabreel of HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL fame was friggin' awesome as Alexander, full of menace and even similarities to Michael Rosenbaum's performance. Very good, indeed, Mr. Gabreel. All in all, another good episode of an pretty amazing tenth season. Score: 9.4/10

S06E12 - "Unforgiven" (11 February 2011) - Good title, 'meh' delivery. "Unforgiven" is a flashback heavy episode that delves into the year that Soulless Sam and Grandpa Campbell went hunting, specifically a small town where Sam did some bad things and in present time, is paying for them. Ultimately, the flashbacks didn't deliver as much as I hoped. Sure, the opening flashback with Sam shooting people and Grandpa Campbell watching in disbelief was pretty cool, pretty powerful and heavy material. But all the other flashback sequences weren't really necessary, or at least didn't convey any new information or pack any weight with this soulless individual. The end though...blimey. That happened faster than expected. So, what the frak is going to happen? He scratched the wall, and shit has to go down. How will he be saved? And yes, give us more Sam episodes. I'm done with Dean for a bit. Score: 8.2/10

S02E06 - "Siege" (15 February 2011) - YES! Now that's the type of V episode I've been looking forward to! One full action-packed, adrenaline, emotional episode that has stakes and consequences and character bits and can all around be called awesome. The first genuinely really good episode since the series premiere, "Siege" still has its problems, but I can deal with it, because the episode itself is so damn strong. Eli, Ryan, Tyler's dad - casualties of war. All hell broke loose. Hobbes did something against character (he would have been far more suspicious and untrusting of the V, especially for just one audio recording), but adds some dimension to the crime fighting team now. Bullets. Blood. Debris. Betrayals. Yeah, "Siege" was my kind of episode. The investigation into Erica is closed now (hope this isn't the end of Jay Karnes), although I'm not entirely sold on them seeing this as definitive proof (I'm still curious how she can come up with a good reason why she was at the building). Score: 8.9/10

Also, new and final episodes of STARGATE: UNIVERSE start 7 March. w00t!