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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Film/TV Round-Up

The guy behind Pieces of April, a good addition to the food/holiday as means to deal with family/personal drama genre, had a much bigger budget to play with for his next film -- Dan in Real Life. Alison Pill (a twenty-something making a name for herself in plays) also played a teenage daughter in this one, and it also was a family drama. "Dan" (Steve Carrell of The Office) is a single dad who winds up falling for his brother's girlfriend during a family gathering. This makes for some sad-sack goings on and the family seems a bit too good to be true, but I thought it had some charm. Low key drama (with a comic touch or not) is sometimes hard to find.

[Good commentary track. Another good rental, Teeth, has a less wordy one. Great movie though.]

Another good little film is Vacancy, you know, if you are in the mood for a snuff film. Seriously, the extras on the DVD includes out-takes from the snuff films of other residents targeted for death. The film itself is not of the Hostel variety -- the couple here spends most of the film trying to escape. The short running time (80 minutes) makes it nice and compact thriller ... some movies can very well be longer, but others really have a good amount of filler. The leads have a tendency to be stuck in supporting roles or somewhat lame (at best) sort of films, but this was a good choice for them.

For those who can find it, Take Out was also a good film, a low budget indie about an illegal Chinese immigrant who needs to get $800 by the end of the day to pay his smuggler payment. That is, just to stay in place, many more payments to come. A few too many scenes of him delivering food, but that is sort of the point -- it comes off as basically almost a documentary of a day in the life of a Chinese restaurant (we get a flavor of the other workers too).*


Finally, Army Wives is back for its second season. The cliffhanger was a deranged husband going into the regular's bar strapped with explosives. This seemed a bit repetitive, since we already had a lethal hostage situation. Anyway, the second season started after the explosion, and the aftermath was lethal enough -- most importantly, the college age daughter of a lead was killed, though we only learn it near the end (her presence turned out to be either a dream or a near death experience).

Good episode, including the concerns of a new wife dealing with her husband going overseas for the first time. The radio monologue was too preachy (and a big tease, since we know someone died, but we are not told who until late), but good try. Promising start to one of the few remaining shows that I actually watch these days. It's getting harder to watch baseball btw, the Mets being swept by the substandard Padres in a four game series (the Mets hit Sunday, but couldn't pitch).

Still, I get WGN, so can watch a lot of Chicago baseball. Meanwhile, the Chicago based My Boys (lead is a sportwriter covering the Cubs) will be back later this week. [My dish doesn't get the Yankee station.]


* I felt compelled to get some take-out, but unfortunately didn't go to a usual locale, so they partially messed up the order. This is proof positive that just because fast food places (be them stands, pizzeria, Chinese take out, or whatever) seem to be all of a piece, they simply are not. I have found the food and service are notably different depending on the place. The same for other service outlets actually.