Pointless Nonsense

Posted in tv by Bill on August 18, 2017

Septuplets is a failed pilot from 2003 that I stumbled across. Little did I know, it was from the writer of Bio-Dome, so with that pedigree, how could I pass it up? A couple that owns a hotel has septuplets, then skip ahead to their 16th birthday, and they’re a bunch of good-looking teenagers get into teenager hijinks at their parents hotel. Nora Zehetner (the slutty one), Maggie Grace (the romantic), and Shawn from The 4400 (the idiot surfer bro) are some of the siblings. It’s somehow both predictable and surprisingly bad, but an amusing look back at what bad TV was like 14 years ago. Stringing together hits from the era for the soundtrack, good looking but not very talented actors, dudes with frosted tips, and everyone’s white. Like, obviously the septuplets are all the same race, but so are all the guests and love interests. Lilly white. An Asian guy shows up at the tail end, but he’s it.

Posted in tv by Bill on August 16, 2017

DuckTales is DisneyXD’s reboot of one of the best cartoons of my childhood, because that’s just what we do now. Talented voice actors are replaced with celebrity voices (David Tennant as Scrooge; Bobby Moynahan, Abed, and Jean Ralphio as the  newphews; Kate Micucci as Webby; Beck Bennett as Launchpad; the black woman from the last season of Castle as Mrs. Beakley) because that’s also what we do now. Not that they’re bad (except I have a hard time understanding Donald), just feels like there’s no real purpose to it.

Anyway, it slightly modernizes the concept, but still retains the basics. Money bin, nephews, supernatural adventures and whatnot. Webby and Mrs. Beakley get to be actual characters instead of being very generically female and nothing more, which is nice. The animation is pretty good, though the colors are slightly washed out and I think it’d look nicer if it was more bright.

Without nostalgia for the original, I doubt I’d be that interested based on the pilot, but with nostalgia, it’s good enough to keep watching.

Posted in tv by Bill on August 14, 2017

Get Shorty is a new Epix series based on the Elmore Leonard novel (which, surprisingly, I’ve actually read) that was also the inspiration for the 1995 movie. Leonard adaptations seem oddly tricky, since they’ve lead to some of my favorite movies (Out of Sight) and some of the worst I’ve ever seen (The Big Bounce). Get Shorty the movie was decent, but not great. Here, there’s not a ton of material to adapt, so they use the basic premise and add a bunch of stuff. The result is… a not super impressive pilot, but an affinity for the source will keep me around for another couple episodes to see if it improves.

Here, Chris O’Dowd plays the loan shark (Travolta in the movie). They don’t call him Chili Palmer, which is probably good, because that doesn’t seem like the right nickname for an Irish guy. Ray Romano, Topher Grace, the writer guy from House of Cards, a reasonably attractive love interest, an attractive movie executive lady, and some smiley guy who I know from something are also in it.

Posted in movies by Bill on August 4, 2017

Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan’s film about the evacuation of Dunkirk in World War II. It’s quite good. On the one hand, it’s very cinematic and probably best seen in the theater, but on the other hand, there are a few moments I wished I could have turned on subtitles due to incomprehensible British accents so waiting for home viewing might be better in that respect. Either way, worth seeing.

It’s unusually structured, showing the event from three perspectives, and over three different amounts of time, so that one storyline covers an hour and another covers a week, and when two of them cross over, you may see the two versions of the intersection pretty far apart. But once you get the hang of it, it works. Tom Hardy and some guy who isn’t a movie star yet but will be feature in the air story; familiar older British guy and Cillian Murphy on the boats; and Kenneth Branaugh, James D’Arcy, and Harry Styles on the beach. But a lot of the major roles are played by nobodies.

Posted in tv by Bill on August 4, 2017

The Guest Book seems like the TBS sitcom version of the HBO anthology Room 104. The framing device is the guest book in a cabin, and the stories people wrote down in said guest book. This has recurring side characters, though, and seems like it might have stories kinda unfolding in the background. It’s from Greg Garcia, the My Name is Earl/Raising Hope guy, and it has that same kind of small down idiot sense about it.

It’s not great, but the second episode was better than the first, and I feel like it’ll only improve as it builds up the stories of the town around the cabin. So I’m on board, I guess.

Even just through two episodes, it has a ton of familiar faces. Mac from Night Court, the nurse who died on Scrubs, Lauren Lapkus (that suddenly-everywhere comedic actress who kinda looks like she could be DJ Qualls’ sister), Abed, Stockard Channing, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Garrett Dillahunt, the Crab Man, Kellie Martin, Michaela Watkins, and Batista from Dexter. The commercials indicate Jenna Fischer, Michael Rappaport, some hot hispanic girl, character actress Margo Martindale, Kate Micucci, and Jaime Pressley will be showing up in subsequent episode.

Posted in tv by Bill on August 3, 2017

The Sinner is USA’s new miniseries in which Jessica Biel is a normal seeming woman who suddenly flips out and stabs the shit out of a guy, and we are apparently watching to find out why.  The commercials looked vaguely interesting, but it’s… meh. I can’t even come up with an excuse to call something “un-Jessica-Biel-ievable.” Minor spoilers: the “why” seems to get into a tragic family backstory, and detective Bill Pullman has a kinky sex life. That all sounds a little boring to me.

Posted in movies by Bill on July 31, 2017

Atomic Blonde stars Charlize Theron as a spy in Berlin just before the wall fell. The plot barely matters (it’s twisty for the sake of being twisty, and it all wraps up far too neatly), she’s chasing a McGuffin, frequently changing outfits, dropping bodies left and right, all set to 80s moody synth pop. It’s stylish and full of action and pretty good for what it is, though it’s a little disappointing that it didn’t have more of a story or more interesting characters.

Posted in tv by Bill on July 30, 2017

Room 104 is HBO’s new anthology series set in a hotel room with different guests there each episode. It’s created by the Duplass brothers, who I’m not a huge fan of, but I thought this was a clever premise. I was under the impression that it’d be a dramedy series, like some of their other work, but the first episode is pretty much a straight horror story. And not a very good one? The story is kind of a mess from my initial impression, and I wasn’t intrigued enough to put much thought into making sense out of it (mild spoilers: wouldn’t you have to pee at some point?).

But the nature of the anthology is that it’s very hit-or-miss, and I read a couple reviews that were somewhat favorable of the half dozen episodes critics got to preview, but did trash this first episode. So I’ll watch one or two more and see if they get any better.

Posted in tv by Bill on July 26, 2017

Eagleheart was Chris Elliott’s Adult Swim series about a U.S. Marshall named Chris Monsanto from about 5 years ago. In traditional Chris Elliott style, it is absurdist and has a low batting average, but really funny when a joke does land. Mostly surprise extremely violent stuff, but sometimes classic Chris Elliott type stuff (Chinese people aren’t real, a billion people just pretend that Chinese people is a real thing and everyone else buys it; women are into bad boys so the precinct scientist has an alter ego named Doc Shades; eating couch cushions and poker chips causes you to grow an evil hairball twin in your stomach).

Elliott plays the title role, Riggs from Cougar Town and this that guy are his partners, and Kinsey from Mad Men doing an Orson Welles impression is the captain in the first season, replaced by a really old That Guy after that (who eventually turns into a desk). It’s weird that I remember her as Riggs from Cougar Town when she only did a few episodes, and I’m struggling to remember any of the actual man characters’ names other than Bobby Cobb. Weirder: Riggs looked really hot in an episode where she went undercover as a depression-era shoeshine boy. I don’t know what that says about me, but it can’t be good.

After two seasons of one-and-done episodes, the third becomes really serialized. In a 10 episode season, 9 of which are 11 minutes, there’s a full 90 seconds of “previously on…” before the double-length finale. And then it concludes with possibly the darkest ending to a series I have ever seen. Pretty good, if you like that sort of thing.

Posted in tv by Bill on July 25, 2017

Midnight, Texas is NBC’s summer supernatural show about a spooky town. Our POV character is a douchey-looking but legit psychic on the run, and the ghost of his grandmother tells him he’ll be safe in Midnight. He gets there and discovers that there are lots of people with secret magic stuff going on, and probably eventually everyone will have a magical secret.

I did watch the whole pilot, but I kinda checked out when the smoking hot redhead took off her wig to reveal a hot-but-kinda-average-for-TV blonde. Which is totally superficial, but the show really wasn’t for me. No real sense of humor and I’m not that much of a ghosts and vampires person anyway.