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Showing posts from September, 2012

Last Resort

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Pilot: Fantastic show! The best new show of the season thus far! Congrats ABC! High production value, tight script, ricochetting tension and a commanding leading actor in Andre Braugher who manages to make you want to believe him yet can't help feeling he knows more than he is telling. Simple story with enough mystery to keep you engaged and questioning why, why, why?? and tight action sequences that keep you at the edge of your seats, with some twists and turns that makes you wonder "WTF?!". Enough story telling to bounce back and forth between submarine, DC, home, island, etc. but that's not saying the pilot does not have it owns gaps and plot holes. However, they are small and easier to overlook what with the frantic pacing and twisting political intrigue. Scott Speedman was surprising competent and less teeny boppy-ish since his days on "Felicity"; Patrick Stewart is an interesting character and I can see him being the Ben to Braugher's Jack; Daisy …

Elementary

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Pilot: Conflicted about this CBS show.  The cast is strong and has good chemistry and it is a refreshing new take/spin on the usual Sherlock formula, however, comparison with BBC's "Sherlock" is inevitable and for a fan of the latter, "Elementary" appears a weaker cousin. Elementary has the potential to be engaging but it runs the risk of becoming yet another procedural ala "The Mentalist" or "Lie to Me". Its strongest suit is its cast. Johnny Lee Miller portrays Holmes more maniac but with a heart; Lucy Liu's Watson is more of an equal to Holmes here as an investigation, but her role is written with a tad too much gender bias. Interestingly, a sly shout-out to "Sherlock"'s creator Steven Moffat in the way Holmes addresses Watson. Aidan Quinn is always a great addition to any show (RIP "Prime Suspect"), but sadly the other supporting casts are stereotypical and superfluous. The direction by Michael Cuesta (from &q…

Premium Rush

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Interesting premise but even at only about 90mins, the movie still felt too long. The onscreen timer was both a boon and bane. It gave some sort of structure to the movie, but also it made the premise unbelievable. How to get from point A to point B, with event X, Y and Z happening, within the time frame as presented by show. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has charisma and he together with the always reliable Michael Shannon are the saving grace of the show. That and the quite good directing; David Koepp definitely captured the rush and adrenaline of messenger riders through the hectic streets of NYC. Particularly the climatic scene in the Third Act. Also, good play on the Wile E. Coyote analogy: good guy vs. bad guy, but who really is the good guy, and who the bad guy. Unfortunately, not as meta as that because the plot was too bloated with padding, but that was a sad necessity since the main plot was too simple. Simple and unbelievable, and hence, quite a number of loop holes in the logic an…

The Mindy Project

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Pilot: One of the few new sitcoms that actually has potential. This FOX vehicle starring Mindy Kaling has a good cast that are not aggravating but actually interesting, funny and charismatic. And it is always nice to see Anna Camp back on TV! Of cos, practically, the depiction of an OBGYN is far from reality, but that's not what we are looking for in escapism television. The pilot moved along smoothly, although some scenes seemed a bit clunky, but hopefully it will all smoothen out in the future. Some laughters but nothing big or really love out loud yet except for the opening sequence. The potential love triangle is set in place with two likable douchebags (Chris Messina and Ed Weeks). This show really does has potential.

Episode 2: Funny show. Smart with genuinely good chuckles. No annoying laugh tracks. Anna Camp was grossly underused (but her scene was a highlight). Ed Weeks was the weakest link here this week. All round outstanding ensemble. But the B and C-plots did not tie i…

Partners

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Pilot: The two best things about this CBS show are: Michael Urie (he of "Ugly Betty" fame) and his chemistry with David Krumholtz. But despite that and the relatively impressive pedigree, most of the jokes fell flat and barely got a chuckle. Urie is the only one fun to watch, and the two "partners" were boring. Brandon Routh is miscast and cannot act; Sophia Bush could be so much better! Hopefully, they can develop the supporting casts and venture out of the typical gay/straight stereotypes and hit the right notes that made "Will & Grace" so popular back then.

Episode 2: Slightly better outing. A few genuine smiles, but no chuckles. Too many lame jokes in between. Sophia Bush and Brandon Routh characters need more things to do. Urie is still the brightest star, it's mainly his jokes and deliveries that sold the laughs. As is his chemistry with Krumholtz. Routh is just so bland!

Episode 3: It's improving. Urie still gets the best lines and there …

Revolution

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Pilot: This is what I hope Whedon will never come to. Pity JJ Abrams, he of the mind that gave us "Felicity", "Alias", "Lost" (the early seasons) and even sometimes "Fringe", has his name, and stamp of approval, attached to this formulaic, repetitive trope.  It is filled with good looking YA/A&F catalogue models-esque actors that can't really act (?yet) and are written stupidly annoying (sometimes annoyingly stupid). Charlie is no Felicity, Sidney Bristow (somehow her last name makes it complete) or Olivia. The handful of solid character actors are wasted, yet their screen times are possibly the best of the pilot: Giancarlo Esposito, Elizabeth Mitchell, Tim Guinee and Billy Burke. The show has potential, just like "Flashforward" had too, so let's see how it goes over another few more episodes. I do hope they re-focus the attention more on the adults rather than the teens, and also they better do some explaining regarding th…

To Rome with Love [Dig]

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Woody Allen's ode to the eternity city of Rome is a pale comparison to his last movie, "Midnight in Paris". It is still good, but it lacked the coherence and the heart of his French piece. It seemed liked a string of farcial comedic pieces that tried too hard to pretend to be intellectual, meditating on the meaning of fame and appearance can be deceiving. Four separate story lines all dancing around those common themes, but never really conveying it clearly to the audience. Sure, there are laughters, but they feel hollow. The bright sparks of the movie were the non-Hollywood celebrities (perhaps they were celebrities too in Italy, but if they were not, then kudos to Allen for underpinning his theme even through casting!) and the scenes in Italian, in particular, opera singer Fabio Armilato and actress Alessandra Mastronardi. The usually annoying Roberto Benigni had the most interesting hook, and it seemed that the whole movie may have arose from that one single idea. Of…

Hope Springs [Dig]

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Meryl Streep continues her trend of alternating Oscar nominating roles with Rom-Coms, but a Meryl rom-com is indefinitely better than most other actresses'. And again she has found a compatible actor to share her scenes with. Nobody does curmudgeonly grumpy old men like Tommy Lee Jones. Streep is amazing! She manages to infuse in all her characters (Oscar bait or not) with so much authenticity and nuances that she is absolutely lost in each role. Such dedication to her craft! The leads both had excellent chemistry and played well against each other. Genuine laughters and heart warming/melting scenes which were accentuated throughout with oestrogen-releasing songs and softly back lit scenes. Supporting actors are negligible and that includes Steve Carrell, the ironic straight man to two serious actors (perhaps, that's the comedy right there!). Predictable storyline, like almost all rom-coms, but saved from mediocrity by the strong leads!

Hide Yamamoto

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A pleasant surprise! Cheap (relative), fresh Japanese set lunches on weekdays. The $38 chirashi set lunch came with a small sashimi salad, a bowl of chirashi don and 2 scoops of ice-cream (well, 1 grapefruit sorbet and 1 coconut ice-cream). Note: the hot tea was not free. The chirashi was a good size and came with 9 fishes, ikura and 2 tamagoyaki. The fish slices were on the thin side but were definitely fresh. At this price it's a steal! And definitely replaces the niche of affordable lunch sets that was occupied by Tetsuya but which has been sadly left vacant since Tetsuya started deteriorating after the Tsunami disaster.

Updated (15 Sept 2012): Weekend set lunch is the Teppan set but only limited to 6 orders per day, so don't be late! (lunch starts at 12pm). For $48 you get appetiser, wafu salad, beef in shabu shabu style, nabeyaki udon with lobster (which was still twitching!), and dessert. The appetiser was a cold fried fish with a a sour vinaigrette sauce and the wafu sa…

The Campaign [Dig]

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Very low expectations = minimal (not,no) disappointment. I can honestly say that the best performance is by a non-speaking character that appeared in 2 scenes for less than 1 minute: Uggie, the dog from "The Artist". I thought the animals drew more laughter than the 2 leads, although Dylan McDermott was kinda funny in his intensiveness. The best scene was a COPS shout out. It is timely released to coincide with upcoming American elections and there were some smartly veiled slingshots at the state of politics now, but unfortunately the show appealed to the lowest denominator and any slingshots just pattered out the moment it was fired. Sight gags are plentiful, but most fall flat. Even the end credits shot was a wasted opportunity.

Ted [Dig]

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Not as juvenile as expected but also not as great as raved. The one missing thing throughout the show is the "spark" between the characters/cast. Cute, interesting concept, and Ted was quite amazingly animated, but Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis lacked chemistry, Wahlberg's acting opposite Ted was "stoned" (perhaps a nod to the character hinself? Heh). All these led to a climax that could have hit an emotional home run, but instead ended up flatlining. That said, the scenes with Ted himself/itself were genuinely funny. It's saying something when the funniest scenes were the one with guest stars (*spoiler* NJ and RR). Maybe there was some editing and censorship which resulted in this really-not-that-funny-and-I-dunno-why-everybody-loved-it film here. Won't surprise me.