All posts by Sheldon Wiebe

TNT’s Mini-Series The Company: When The World of Espionage Seemed To Be Black & White

The Company - PosterThe Company [TNT, the next three Sundays, 8/7C] is a cleverly constructed mini-series that uses the lives of three college friends to tell the story of the CIA from the early fifties through the fall of the Berlin Wall. Adapted from Robert Little’s novel, it concentrates on three major historical events: the Hungarian Uprising of 1956; the debacle of The Bay of Pigs, and the fall of Soviet Russia. The three week/six-hour mini-series begins with the recruiting of three college friends into the sadly inglorious world of spying…  Continue reading TNT’s Mini-Series The Company: When The World of Espionage Seemed To Be Black & White

Hot Rod: Totally Not What I Was Expecting!

Hot Rod - Rod & DeniseThe trailer for Hot Rod is so bad that it might well have been spliced together by training monkeys. How bad is it? I enjoy a good, raucous, rude comedy as much as the next – if it’s done well, but the Hot Rod trailer piqued my interest not at all. Thus it falls to me to note that the Hot Rod trailer might well be the first trailer on record to use the absolute worst moments from the movie! Maybe it was designed for the lowest-common denominator audience, or Jackass fans. I don’t know. What I do know is that I was completely surprised that I went into the theater dreading the movie and came out having enjoyed [most] of it…  Continue reading Hot Rod: Totally Not What I Was Expecting!

Full Screen Edition Destroys Snyder’s 300; Two-DVD Set Does Honor To Cult Fave The Monster Squad

300 Full Screen Edition - Box ArtThere are some movies that just should not be submitted to the pan-and-scan process that chops up to a third of the picture from a movie so that it will fit snugly on the average TV screen. With its panoramic shots, unique color palette and nigh cataclysmic battles, Zack Snyder’s 300 is definitely one of those films. On the other hand, a good widescreen presentation and a ton of excellent supporting material can take a cult fave – like Fred Dekker’s Monster Squad – and give you one of the most satisfying DVD packages of the year…  Continue reading Full Screen Edition Destroys Snyder’s 300; Two-DVD Set Does Honor To Cult Fave The Monster Squad

TVonDVD: Space: 1999 30th Anniversary Edition Megaset; Masters of Horror: The Black Cat; Star Trek: Captain’s Log Fan Collective

Space: 1999 30th anniversary MegasetAs Space: 1999 shows us, the future ain’t what it used to be; Stuart Gordon takes a look at one way Edgar Allan Poe might have been inspired to write a classic in Masters of Horror: The Black Cat, and all five TV Trek Captains choose their favorite adventures – to accompany those chosen by Trek fans in Star Trek: Captain’s Logs Fan Collective. Continue reading TVonDVD: Space: 1999 30th Anniversary Edition Megaset; Masters of Horror: The Black Cat; Star Trek: Captain’s Log Fan Collective

The Simpsons Movie: Dollars To D’oh!nuts You’ll Like It!

The Simpsons Movie - onesheetWith eighteen seasons of sublime silliness, social commentary and occasional missteps to draw on, there were plenty of ways for The Simpsons Movie to succeed brilliantly or flop miserably. What the seventeen writers of the film came up with was, well, moments of sublime silliness, social commentary and occasional missteps. The result is a movie that has more laugh-out-loud moments than anything else this year – short of Knocked Up.

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I Know Who Killed Me – And It’s Not Who You Think!

I Know Who Killed Me - onsheetThere were no press screenings for I Know Who Killed Me, which usually means that the film is so bad that the studio wants to sneak it into theaters and let it quietly die. I suspect that, this time at least, quality didn’t really enter into consideration for withholding the film from the press. It is, as a turns out, a perfectly serviceable little thriller [and eons better than the vast majority of gore porn that seems to be making money these days]. Nope, I expect that the lack of support shown I Know Who Killed Me is due to its star’s recent behavioral patterns – which is too bad, since the film is so much fun…

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My Boys Goes 3-0 To Open Season Two!

My Boys - Cast PhotoMy Boys was one of the unexpected pleasures of last summer. The sitcom about a female Chicago sportswriter who covered Da Cubs, was often insightful without being preachy and melded moments of drama and humor in a manner that seemed effortless [but probably wasn’t]. P.J. Franklin and her boys return Monday [TBS, 10/9C] with a special two-episode premiere. P.J. and her boys have a number of traditions – but none more significant than their fantasy baseball league draft and hitting the park for opening day. This year, though, things will be a bit different…

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The Death of Harvey: Adult Swim’s First Series Rolls To A Bone-Jarring End!

Harvey BirdmanIn December of 2000, The Cartoon Network created Adult Swim, a late-night weekend blast of animated irreverence and more-than-occasional mayhem that was aimed at older teens and young adults. Their first Adult Swim was Harvey Birdman, Attorney-At-Law, a reworking of the Hanna-Barbera Super-hero series, Birdman that found Birdman giving up superheroics to defend the right in a courtroom. Now, six-and-a-half years and thirty-eight cases later, Sunday’s double-length episode [11:45/10:45C] brings the curtain down on the first and longest-running Adult Swim series.  Continue reading The Death of Harvey: Adult Swim’s First Series Rolls To A Bone-Jarring End!

HAIRSPRAY: All The Fluff and Sugar In The World Can’t Hide its Subversive Heart!

Hairspray OnesheetOkay, now… Stay with me here… In 1988, the somewhat subversive indie filmmaker John Waters made a low budget movie about outsiders called Hairspray. Maybe a decade later, this little movie was discovered by Broadway and had a lengthy, if sugarcoated. run on the Golden Way. Now, the Broadway musical has been adapted to film. Now, even as a sugary, fluffy Hollywood movie, Hairspray maintains its original creator’s lovingly subversive charm…

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Four Special Editions That Really Are Special: The Hustler, The Verdict, Big, That Thing You Do!

The Hustler - Box ArtPaul Newman and Tom Hanks are two of our most revered and beloved actors. These four special editions showcase memorable – even classic – films. Newman’s The Hustler looked at the world of pool and some its shadier inhabitants; in The Verdict, he played a loser seeking redemption by helping right a terrible wrong. For Hanks, Big was an opportunity to portray a character who actually had his wish to be grown up come true; That Thing You Do followed the members of a one-hit wonder in the swingin’ sixties and showed Hanks’ skill at producing, writing, directing, acting and writing music [next thing you know, he’ll be dubbed the next Clint Eastwood…]…

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TVonDVD: The Light and Dark and In-Between of TV: Hannah Montana: Pop Star Profile, Hex – The Complete First Season, Jesse Stone

Hannah Montana: Pop Star Profile - Box ArtOne of the cool things about television is that it really can reach all age groups. Disney’s second Hannah Montana release, Pop Star Profile, may be just the next step in establishing Miley Cyrus as a multi-talented G-rated star, but it shows that she just may have the chops to pull it off. Meanwhile, the American DVD release of Hex – The complete first Season provides a dark, supernatural series with the smarts and the humor to speak to fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural. Finally, there are two entries in the Jesse Stone mystery movie series: Night Passage and Death in Paradise…

Continue reading TVonDVD: The Light and Dark and In-Between of TV: Hannah Montana: Pop Star Profile, Hex – The Complete First Season, Jesse Stone