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Unsealed: Conspiracy Files (2012)
Fun If You Are Bored And Don't Take It Seriously
I found this show on Netflix on a boring rainy day and watched a couple episodes. They cover the usual "conspiracy" topics such as UFO's, secret societies that control the world, and an unusual fascination with Nazi's. Every opinion seems to begin with it COULD BE or PERHAPS IT MEANS or here is the rational explanation, but WHAT IF... Like many UFO-believers, they can't provide any proof of the existence of what they believe in and they expect you to provide proof that whatever it is they believe doesn't exist. Could there be a kernel of truth in some of the things they talk about, sure, is most of it conspiracy garbage, yup. But if you're bored and just want some entertainment, put on your aluminum hat and enjoy.
Dear Mr. Watterson (2013)
Great Subject...Poor Documentary
There is a great documentary waiting to be made about 'Calvin & Hobbes', but this isn't it. If this slow moving poorly paced film is supposed to be a love letter to Bill Watterson, I have a new appreciation of why he is such a recluse.
On the plus side, this film has interviews with several current cartoonists who discuss the legacy of 'Calvin & Hobbes' and the effects it had on the comic industry. However, they all seem to be saying the exact same thing with no one, except Berkley Breathed, having ever had any actual contact or communication with Watterson.
The film does touch on the topic of merchandising and the effect, both positive and negative, that it can have focusing on Bill Watterson not allowing C&H merchandising to occur. This subject could be a documentary all its own.
The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot (2013)
Hilarious Satire That Was Better Than Day Of The Doctor
Simply put, this was hilarious. With the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who coming up, former Doctors Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy are, when not calling the office, sitting by the phone waiting for the call from Steven Moffat to appear in the special...and they wait...and wait...and wait...surrounded by family members who could care less...and wait some more...and then hatch a brilliant plan with some inside help from a certain Scottish-accented son-in-law.
This is full of cameos of former companions from the classic and current series. I hate to give it away, but my favorite scene was a recreation of Peter Davison's regeneration scene, but this time the face of former companions are swirling around Steven Moffat's head asking for a role in the Anniversary leading up to the only time I found Adric the least bit interesting.
This also bring up the question that perhaps our three heroes were in the Anniversary (undercover of course) after all.
Well-Produced Biography of Dr. Who & William Hartnell
One thing the BBC always does extremely well is period drama. In this case, despite the fact you know how it ends, you are drawn into the story of William Hartnell's time as the first Doctor and your heart breaks with his when he is told he is being replaced.
David Bradley give an outstanding performance as William Hartnell, an excellent character actor who sees his career in decline to the point he is being asked to star in a 'kiddie' show that is going to make him immortal. Bradley plays Hartnell with all his faults, but he also makes you feel sympathetic towards him. I believe this movie will give Dr. Who fans a new appreciation for Hartnell and his contributions to the series beyond being the First Doctor who seemed to be forever flubbing his lines.
I would have given this 10 stars, but the Matt Smith cameo at the end made me sigh and ask "Why did they do that?"
Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor (2013)
The Day of the Doctor...But Not The One You Expected
The 'Day of the Doctor' is going to be remembered for two cameos...Peter Capaldi's bloodshot eyes and Tom Baker as "The Curator" possibly cementing himself as The Doctor, the definitive article you might say (More on that in a minute). The rest of the episode...Ehhh In 'The Day of the Doctor' begins with The War Doctor (John Hurt) having made the decision to end the long talked about Time War by sending the message 'No More' and stealing The Moment, the most dangerous weapon in the Time Lord armory and taking it to an unnamed location/planet to do the deed. However, we're told that The Moment is such a powerful weapon that it became sentient. The Moment makes contact with The War Doctor in the form of the Badwolf (Billie Piper who thankfully did not appear as Rose Tyler)acting as The War Doctor's conscious showing the psychological effects setting off the weapon will have on his future selves (David Tennant and Matt Smith). (Think It's A Wonderful Life).
Meanwhile, in the 21st century, Doctor #11 (Smith) is brought by UNIT to investigate an odd experience at the National Museum where something or someone appears to have escaped from within a 3-D painting. At the same time, Doctor #10 (Tennant) is in 16th century England hobnobbing with Queen Elizabeth I while tracking down Zygons. The two Doctors are brought together with The War Doctor and we see how the 16th century Zygon invasion is tied in to the going-on's in the 21st century. This also introduces an extra-dimensional status cube that plays bigger part later on.
The War Doctor returns to where he started to press the big red button to end the Time War with 10 and 11 in tow so he doesn't have to do it alone...but then they come up with another plan involving the status cubes and involving all the Doctors (from Hartnell through Peter Capaldi's eyeballs).
The episode is a mess throwing the entire Doctor Who mythos off-kilter. We've been told since the return of the show in 2005 that the Doctor did what he did because the Time Lords became as merciless as the Daleks and he had to stop both before the universe was destroyed. Now, he didn't press the button because the helpless bloodthirsty merciless Time Lords, on the verge of defeat, have to be saved under the hope of a better day in the future.
I also question the necessity of adding The War Doctor to the line of Doctors possibly requiring a re-con of Doctor's lives. I wonder if the script was written with the idea Eccleston's 9th Doctor would play the John Hurt role, prior to Eccleston turning it down, which would make more sense. Or, alternatively, casting Paul McGann as the last days of the 8th doctor.
Likewise, I kept wondering why David Tennant was there other than to have a multi-Doctor episode. He comes across more as a companion bumbling and stumbling along with Matt Smith through the episode. Of course we did get an answer to the whole Queen Elizabeth I references, but again, it seemed to just be there with no other reason for it.
The episode does give a clever way to portray the other Doctors taking in to account William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee have all passed, but there is no explanation, even a throw away line, as to how they knew to be at Gallifrey at the moment.
The most talked about part of the episode is Tom Baker's cameo. It does raise the question if he is a future Doctor or somehow the Fourth Doctor having lived on past his regeneration. Try not to think about it too much because it really doesn't matter. What does is that at 80, and with the twinkle still in his eye, Baker blows the other performances out of the water.
Market Warriors (2012)
Doesn't Meet Its Reserve
In Market Warriors, Four "pickers" are set loose at a different flea market each week, with $1,000 each, to, in the first round, purchase an item based on criteria put forth by an auctioneer. This is followed by a second, and sometimes third round, where each picker purchases an additional item or two of their own choosing. At the end of the first round, the pickers review each others purchases and decide whether or not they fit the criteria laid out at the start of the show. All the items purchased are then sent to put up in an auction, the winner is the picker who makes the most profit. This show has a similar set-up to the long-running British show Bargain Hunt, except these are all the "experts" rather than a team of two regular people and an "expert" To be fair to the pickers, they are being asked to do the almost impossible, purchase an item for retail at a flea market and then make a profit on it at auction. Keep in mind, most of the items sold at flea markets or antique stores were brought at auction to begin with, and are being sold with a markup. They aren't helped by the fact that the auction houses are half-empty.
That being said, this show is awful. The basic idea of the show, or at least what I think it is suppose to be, sounds interesting...have experts walk though a flea market discussing what is valuable and what isn't and the rationale behind their purchase...but doesn't work. I think part of the problem is there is one picker too many, and I don't think it really matters which one you take out. The other problem is none of the pickers have the charismatic personality needed for interesting television. John Bruno comes close, but goes over the edge into being the crazy hoarding uncle you don't invite to Thanksgiving dinner. Kevin Bruneau has personality, but it comes across as the street-smart scammer trying to get his hand on grandma's silver for a next-to-nothing price. Miller Gaffney and Bob Richter are bland.
The big problem however, and this actually becomes unintentionally hilarious, is that the four supposed "expert" pickers seem to have an inability to pick valuable items.
Nice try, but I don't see this coming back for a second season.
Bad News Bears (2005)
A month or so before this movie was released, and I didn't know it was in production, I was talking with some friends about movies that should be remade and had mentioned Billy Bob Thornton as being perfect to star in a Bad News Bears film. Thornton is fine in the role, but the movie feels like the producers just found a copy of the 70's movie script and simply re-filmed it. Updates do exist for 2005 and I thought the idea of the strip club as the sponsor was funny, and there is a tribute to Chico's Bail Bonds (the sponsor in the original). Greg Kinnear doesn't quite pull off the Vic Morrow role. Morrow was the father trying to relive his childhood through his son whereas Kinnear comes across as the yuppie who wished he has been the stud.
There is nothing spectacular about the kids in the movie, although the kid who plays Lupas bears a stunning resemblance to the original actor. I almost had the feeling though that the kids were shown the original several times and then told, go do that.
This isn't anything special but there are worst ways to spend 2 hours.
The Marshall Chronicles (1990)
Great Show That My Friends Always Remember But We Must Have Been The Only Ones Watching
Great show that almost everyone my age seems to remember, especially the episode where he devises the cheating scheme on the test by touching the corners of the desk. My brother and I still joke when having to take a test to always answer "c"...from the SAT episode. Another memorable episode for me was when Marshall got dragged by Leslie to her sister's wedding when all he wants to do is stay home and watch the Knicks game. The guy Leslie's sister is marrying is almost a clone of Marshall 5 years or so older, and during the reception somehow they hear the score of the Knicks game and they both smack themselves on the forehead the same way. Someone has to release this on DVD.