Monday, September 12, 2011

Apollo 18: Disappointing Trip to the Moon

Too bad you never get a clear view of the aliens

Apollo 18 is boring.  There I said it.  It is a thriller set primarily on the moon where a bunch of astronauts discover a new species on the moon.  It is a "found footage" movie, because even though Apollo 18 is a secret mission that no one should ever know about, every second of every one of the mission's members life needed to be documented.

The problem with the movie is that uses the found footage trope poorly.  The main scare, repeated many times in the movie is one of the cameras catching the alien moving out of sight of the astronauts.  I kept expecting something to happen and by the time it did, I was already falling asleep.

I'll give the movie credit for having a neat way to tie the creatures with a large aspect of the history American space travel.

*1/2 Stars.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Awkward: Not Shy to Say I Like It

I recently caught Awkward, a new MTV series, a few episodes into its run and it pleasantly surprised me.  In Awkward, Jenna Hamilton, who gets injured in an accident, however it is misconstrued as an accident. Jenna then has deal with her newfound fame in high school, navigating reactions from friends, enemies and adults.

The primary storyline of the show is the romance between Jenna and Matty, a jock at her high school.  Jenna's rival for Matty's affection is Sadie, the school's spoiled, rich, bully.  There is a second thread about an anonymous, mean spirited letter Jenna receives after her accident.

Awkward is a surprising good comedy-drama.  The writers have slowly built the characters over the year to make them layered and interesting.  For example, the spoiled and rich Sadie is a chubby girl and over the season you have seen that her weight and family issues play a large parts in her meanness, not just at Jenna, but at herself.  Jenna's mother was a high school mean girl who got pregnant right out of high school and wants to relive her fun high school days through her daughter, yet doesn't want her to make the same mistakes as she did.  Of course, their are characters that don't work, such as the high school's counselor who just isn't funny or interesting and sticks out as a sore thumb as misplaced.

Jenna herself is an interesting character.  She seems like she is a typical high school girl who believes that she is smarter than almost everyone about her, however she is constantly discovering how little she does know.  Her relationship with Matty is a one sided affair; he is unwilling to publicly acknowledge their relationship or to even define it.  At the same time, Matty's best friend has told her how he feels.

Awkward is fun gem of a show.  The writers seem to care about developing the characters.  The acting from the lead character is really good and many of the supporting characters hold their own.  I really want to see how this show develops.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fall Season Begins: The New Girl

The pilot for Zooey Deschanel's new sitcom was just made available early on iTunes.

What worked for me:
  • Zooey does have an undeniable charm onscreen.
  • I like that one of the main characters is sort of a "bro" douchebag, it lead to some of the episodes funnier moments.
  • The male roommates are actually funny and have decent interaction with each other.
What didn't work for me:
  • The events of the pilot happen too quickly, the characters became best friends so quickly it seems rushed.  However I suppose it was necessary to get the plots going.
  • The hint at the main romance between the Zooey and one of the roommates too quickly.
  • Zooey isn't actually that funny, just really cute.
I know that the show is called New Girl, so most storylines will concentrate on main character, however I hope that they can integrate the other three guys or even Deschanel's model friend otherwise this show will get real stale, real fast.

** Stars