The thing about Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel is it’s only 83 minutes long but it’s redundant as hell, which is partly by design and partly due to flawed execution.
If ever there was a movie that lived and died by its cast, St. Vincent is that movie. (And this movie lives.)
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Remember when I reviewed Trance and joked about true love? Well, for Friends With Kids, true love is ripping off When Harry Met Sally. Instead of proposing the idea that, “Men and Women can never be friends; sex always gets in the way,” this movie proposes the opposite idea… and then decides nah, let’s do the When Harry Met Sally ending, only SEXY! Read the rest of this entry
After reading that Thor: The Dark World had not been especially well received by critics (66% on RottenTomatoes.com is not a universal panning, but also not a ringing endorsement), I dialed my already lowered expectations down. Although I think Chris Hemsworth is the new charismatic movie super star we desperately needed in the wake of the aging of Schwarzenegger, Willis and Stalone, the first Thor installment wasn’t exactly great and the trailer for this flick didn’t get me excited for the flick. So, perhaps this is why I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and I think my blurb for Thor: The Dark World might have to be something along the lines of “non-stop action thrill ride.” Read the rest of this entry
When you see a trailer featuring a gang of ladies walking toward the camera in slow motion, it’s OK to be afraid – and then when you see several cuts of said ladies dancing around, it’s OK to hide under your bed. Yet, Bridesmaids is not a chick flick (despite the poster) – this is a legit comedy that anyone can enjoy… well, actually, I’d love to know how the gays feel about this movie. As far as I can recall, there’s not much here for them. Read the rest of this entry
If you’re new to the Attention Must Be Paid feature, here’s the deal: when I run across something that I think is great and isn’t getting the props it deserves, I write it up in this space.
Sometimes, we must look beyond our own borders for entertainment, and I understand that to Americans, this might sound crazy – after all, isn’t the USA the capital of TV and Film? We’ve got Hollywood! But in a landscape of network programming still largely dominated by reality shows and unappealing dramas, it’s necessary to call in the Britsh and have Channel 4 hook it up – enter The IT Crowd.
Available here in the good ol’ USA via Netflix streaming, iTunes and broadcast on the IFC network, The IT Crowd is a situation comedy unlike any I’ve seen before. Jen Barber (Katherine Parkinson), Maurice Moss (Richard Ayoade) and Roy Trenneman (Chris O’Dowd) make up the IT department of Reynholm Industries, which operates out of the building’s basement, out of site and out of mind – accept when they’re needed, of course. The first season has a running gag which entails Roy answering support calls saying, “Hello, IT; have you tried turning it off and on again?” before the person on the other end can say anything. In the second season, Roy answers the phone, “Hello, IT; have you tried – forget it, I’m sick of saying that.”
It’s that kind of show; brilliant in it’s simplicity and yet extravagant in its situations while the dialogue flows with an elegance not yet realized in American comedies. I enjoyed an episode in the third season during which Roy had to tell a woman he wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with her; he wanted to do this over the phone, but Jen insisted he do it in person. Roy complained she wore so much eye makeup that when she cried, she looked like The Joker, which was hilariously true. After their boss, Douglas Reynholm (Matt Berry) had taken a beating, he too looked a bit like The Joker with his black and blue eyes and bleeding lips. He approached the sobbing woman and asked, “Why so serious?” Again, brilliant – as they say on that side of the pond.
Jen and Roy are both fine characters; Roy’s slacker attitude and t-shirt collection would be easily understood by American audiences, but I have to wonder what middle America would make of Jen. She might be a bit too independent for some of the more conservative folks, but how can you not be on the side of a woman who rejects a man for looking too much like a magician? Very Seinfeldian, but I wonder whether or not Americans are ready for Jen – a sad bit of musing, but I feel a true one.
Moss, on the other hand, is the lovable runt of the litter. How anyone could dislike Moss’ boyish charm (he drinks milk at bars), difficulty with social skills and fantastic fro – no, I reject the idea outright. Moss is the greatest, no one could dislike him. Whether he’s getting harassed by teenagers at the park (he showed them: “I’ve got a flipping gun!”), increasing the vibrating capacity of a cell phone by one hundred times or inventing the most comfortable bra ever, Moss is a lovable force to be reckoned with.
The only bad thing I can say about the IT Crowd is the seasons are too short, with only six episodes to their credit. Happily, the show doesn’t appear to be anywhere near being canceled, and I assume the fourth season will be available here in the US soon.
Check out the IT Crowd – you’ll be glad you did, and maybe it will help you come to appreciate the folks at your office who fix the technology… just a little bit.
I guess NBC really did try to do an American version of the IT Crowd, which included Richard Ayoade. Shockingly enough, this didn’t work out and suffered the same fate as Coupling and Absolutely Fabulous. Maybe Comedy Central will pick up the Channel 4 version at some point. When are American TV Executives going to just give up and import the original show directly? The Office is the exception, not the rule!