Five brief reviews for things that don’t deserve an entire entry to themselves

Am I having a crabby week, I wonder to myself?

Criminal Minds 3.1: Every year, I try this, just to see why everyone’s watching it. Every year, I still fail to comprehend why anyone would bother to surrender an hour to it, let alone an hour each week. It’s formulaic, tries to be smart while simultaneously being really dumb, and it has appalling acting. This episode was no different, although I have to admit the way they wrote out Mandy Patinkin was quite gutsy. Might watch it next week just to see what Joe Mantegna’s like as his replacement.

Flight of the Conchords 1.1: It’s been hyped to hell, so I thought I’d tune in and see what the hype was all about. It’s mildly amusing and the idea of including songs in it was slightly novel, but it’s really just The Office with New Zealand singer-slackers. Again, I might watch this next week, to see if it gets better. Does it anyone? And does anyone else like it?

Shark 2.1: Despite being the worst of the new legal shows last year, it’s the only one that’s survived. But again, it’s so formulaic, I don’t understand why. It’s the kind of show that bears no resemblance to reality, and explores every cliché in the book and then some. We have new characters introduced in the tried and tested manner (show them to be a bit of a maverick, set up a false conflict, then have everyone came round together and be friends by the end), and we have format changes to ensure that dramatic events have no effect. Plus James Woods is almost friendly, so the show’s lost any of the House-ian charm it might have aspired to.

Highlander: The Source: If anyone ever threatens to show this to you, stab out your own eyes so you’ll never have to. Absolutely appalling. Makes Highlander 2 look like a work of art. A few trace vestiges of good ideas in there, but so badly executed they’re swamped out of existence.

Bionic Woman: I’ve already reviewed the pilot. This revamped version was quite a bit better, so it might be worth sticking with. Most of the flaws are still there, though.

Oh well.

Over the weekend, I should be posting reviews of the season openers for Smallville, My Name is Earl and CSI, as well as the first episodes of Dirty, Sexy Money, Big Shots and Whistleblowers. I’ve seen them, it’s just a question of finding the time…

UPDATE: Criminal Minds copped out! Plus still no Joe Mantegna. Don’t tell me I’m going to have to watch another episode.

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Kitchen Nightmares – better this week

Since I don’t normally review more than the first episode of reality/factual shows, I just thought I’d point out that this week’s episode of Kitchen Nightmares was much better than the first – far more about kitchen and restaurant than the first one. Still a little superficial, mind, but far more rewarding than the over-sensationalist first episode. Perhaps they’re going for a slow burn with the education?

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Film

Question for the day: directors’ cuts – good or bad?

Blade Runner

By now, everyone’s aware of the idea of a director’s cut: nasty mean studios and cinema chains force filmmakers to cut their movies, re-edit them, etc, to fit whatever agenda they have (getting more bums on seats or interpreted more charitably, making the movie into something people might want to watch).

However, come DVD time/20 years later and suddenly the option to make more money looms large – surprising though it may seem, studios now make more money from DVD sales and rentals than they do from theatrical showings – and the idea of releasing an alternative version or creating special edition that costs more suddenly becomes very appealing. So the studios give the director a call, say “make it how you wanted to make, provided it’ll only cost an extra £50”, and hey presto, a director’s cut is born.

Most famous of all, and the one that really started it all (bar Close Encounters’ special edition, a thinly veiled way to stop certain producers from getting any more money from the original release) is Blade Runner‘s director’s cut, now available in a googolplex of different versions, but all of which generally lose the narration and the end bit nicked from The Shining‘s left-overs, and have a unicorn dream sequence injected to make it clear Deckard’s a replicant.

But I was musing on the concept and wondering are directors’ cut necessarily a good thing?

Continue reading “Question for the day: directors’ cuts – good or bad?”

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Film

Question for the day: directors’ cuts – good or bad?

Blade Runner

By now, everyone’s aware of the idea of a director’s cut: nasty mean studios and cinema chains force filmmakers to cut their movies, re-edit them, etc, to fit whatever agenda they have (getting more bums on seats or interpreted more charitably, making the movie into something people might want to watch).

However, come DVD time/20 years later and suddenly the option to make more money looms large – surprising though it may seem, studios now make more money from DVD sales and rentals than they do from theatrical showings – and the idea of releasing an alternative version or creating special edition that costs more suddenly becomes very appealing. So the studios give the director a call, say “make it how you wanted to make, provided it’ll only cost an extra £50”, and hey presto, a director’s cut is born.

Most famous of all, and the one that really started it all (bar Close Encounters’ special edition, a thinly veiled way to stop certain producers from getting any more money from the original release) is Blade Runner‘s director’s cut, now available in a googolplex of different versions, but all of which generally lose the narration and the end bit nicked from The Shining‘s left-overs, and have a unicorn dream sequence injected to make it clear Deckard’s a replicant.

But I was musing on the concept and wondering are directors’ cut necessarily a good thing?

Continue reading “Question for the day: directors’ cuts – good or bad?”

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Friday’s news from outside the law

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