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Written by Rob Schultz (human).

#1,398: Passengers

I'm glad that an actor as good as Andre Braugher makes money acting in studio movies. It's too bad he doesn't get quality roles lately though. Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Andromeda Strain, Passengers... The Mist was closest to passable, I guess.

  • Find Me Guilty - Lumet. Thumbs up. Uncharacteristically good role for Mr. Diesel.
  • Before the Devil Knows You're Dead - Lumet. Thumbs up. Not as good though. Some of the efforts to be twisty seemed to be overdoing it.
  • If I See Randy Again, Do You Want Me To Hit Him With The Axe? - Not great, but worth watching to add such a fine title to my list.
  • Daughter - Not very scary, not very short scary short film. I suspect the creator of employing fake symbolism to appeal to professors, and since it got his career rolling, I guess it worked.
  • Dear Zachary - a doc from the prestigious MSNBC films. Topped a number of 2008 best lists, went in (as I was told to, and as I generally prefer,) knowing nothing about the content of the movie. I think this is the correct approach, as the sucker-punching, jaw dropping reveal was very effective. Thumbs up.
  • JCVD - Another one I recommend that you view in the same manner I did. In this case, that's bookended by 20 trailers from other JCVD movies and followed by one of his goofiest 90s flicks. Turns out the guy can do some acting, and the audience cheered at all the right parts. I'd like to see it again some time in fact. Thumbs up!
  • Hulk Vs. - ...Thor was a lot better than ...Wolverine, which seemed to be animated to the quality standards of fan art. (Which they rub in by showing classic comic panels of each character at the end.) The Thor segment tells a story worthy of a saturday morning cartoon. The Wolverine segment pushes caricatures of some of the most deadly x-men characters around the screen, all carefully not harming one another. Omega Red has never seemed less scary. Thumbs down!
  • The Beach - Not at all what I was expecting, which was something more Cast Away-ish. Very kinda okay, like lots of Boyle movies. Does Leonardo DiCaprio ever play a different character? He seems to turn up as the same guy an awful lot.
  • Oktapodi - One of this year's Oscar nominees for animated short. Pretty good, but I'll tell you, not entirely realistic.
  • Passengers - This movie finds a bush and then beats all around it for many hours. I wish I'd looked at the clock to make a note, but scanning back through the movie I'd say the 'Answer' (it's that sort of movie) occurred to me around 20 minutes in. And then, after another week or so of running time, they actually spent a full 10 minutes (no exaggeration) doing that 30-second flashback you usually get in these kind of movies that shows you all the clues we saw earlier, now in the light of the Answer's big reveal. I suspect that if you've got that much explaining to do, you might not have actually told a story with your interminable pile of scenes that came before. I like Anne Hathaway, but I kind of felt sorry for her each time her attempts to do acting smashed into the brick wall of a male lead again and again. (Here's hoping he doesn't drag down Watchmen too.) Despite a 4-second cameo by W. B. Davis, aka C.G.B. Spender, aka the Cigarette-Smoking-Man, thumbs down.
  • Medal of Honor: Airborne - on the 360. In much the same way that coin-operated arcade games don't seem so long when you don't have to keep dropping quarters to continue playing, the single player 'campaign' mode of this game is around 5-6 hours of FPS gaming stretched double or triple through the saddling mechanism of the 360 controller. It's not a bad game, and you see all the battles one might expect whenever one fights World War II. This is a leftover from my suspiciously-good deal on a 360 console and games.
  • 24 - For the first 6 hours of the new season, I'm enjoying the show. I liked how this year's conceit started out as Jack in the real world. The real world people are baffled by Jack's decisions, and the threats of the 24 supervillains. Jack's super powers don't seem to work on anyone except those villains, although he does seem to be able to infect real world people he meets, bringing them into the fold. For example, the FBI agent who finds his methods deplorable...until she gets a taste of them in action, and half an hour later, her previous moral compass has been thrown to the magnetic wolves. I think we did blatantly see a series of events from one perspective and then another though, and that the producers were telling us that 'real time' may not be as important anymore when the scientist kidnapped in the first 5 minutes of the season had managed to assemble the insanely powerful and useful technological macguffin in less than ten minutes.

On the topic of Improving My LA Experience, I may have found a solution to the unemployment thing, which seems to plaguing ever more folks around me every day; I'm pondering new living arrangements; I've dropped an improv group that wasn't working out so well for me; and I'm still working on Better Radio. This is taking longer than expected, as usual, between recasting, failed recording attempts, slow post production, and a difficulty in corralling a staff into one place and time. But every day, some new piece of the ten-episode puzzle falls into place. Today's piece of that puzzle? A fresh segment submission from that glittering jewel in the Italian crown, Z-Rob!