Netflix reviews, part 1

Rather than doing reviews of current movies–which would be useless, since Guardians of the Galaxy is the only one I’ve seen this year (4.5/5 stars), I’m gonna tell ya what I think of stuff I’ve seen on Netflix recently. You’re welcome.

Space: Unraveling the Cosmos

Did not know the moon affects the earth THAT much, to a point where life might not be possible without it. Also did not know the famous Dr. Hubble made his discovery of another galaxy at the Mt. Wilson Observatory, which I can see from my window. . . the antennas, anyway. But that’s about all I learned. Thing had tons of CGI, beautiful visuals but mostly entry-level astronomy; if you’ve seen Nova or most specials on space you know all this stuff already. Ultimately fell asleep. . . 3/5

The Croods

Excellent voicework, particularly Emma Stone. Fantastic animation; loved the colors. The plot? Not so much, but what can you really expect? It did what it was supposed to do excellently. 4/5

The Bachelorette

Note: this is not about the not-so-reality show on TV; this is a rom-com movie, at least supposedly.

The discussion of blow jobs on the plane was surreal. . . and though I knew it was coming, it was still bitchy of her to play the poor guy like that, especially with that last lie that confirmed it was all a setup. . . (that got ya thinkin’, didn’t it?)

Let’s face it, the only reason I clicked on this was because of a certain redhead named Isla Fisher. Her best moment was when she blurted, “I took French?” in high school, but I’m tired of watching her play airheads. Finally gave up less than half an hour in. . . 1.5/5

Victim of Beauty

An incredibly typical suburban mystery, with one particularly great thing at the beginning: the credit “introducing Jeri Lynn Ryan!” Yep, 7 of 9’s first work. She’s competing in a beauty pageant and singing opera! Nice. Her sister is her manager, makeup person, hair, everything; they even snark about the hula hoop girl. Everything changes when the sister is kidnapped, and that’s where the movie goes for the rest of the time.

By far the best part is watching Jeri be the opposite of 7 of 9; she even has some crying scenes, which she did well. Call it a sign of things to come. She even sings Amazing Grace at the end. But that’s it. The movie itself, it bears repeating, is incredibly typical and quite a bit dated, not really worth watching except for the novelty of a young Jeri Ryan. 2/5

Hit and Run

After the slight disappointment of the Veronica Mars movie and the huge disappointment that was The Lifeguard, here’s a Kristen Bell movie I can wholeheartedly recommend. Written, co-directed, and co-starring her partner Dax Shepherd, you also get Tom Arnold (actually pretty good here), a cameo by Jason Bateman, and for all the Marshmallows an appearance by Ryan Hansen, who does his signature backflip right before getting whaled on by the one and only Beau Bridges. Some parts are tough to deal with–Dax’s character is not the best guy ever, even if he wrote it himself–but it’s surprisingly sweet. . . and there’s a lot of fast cars. 4.5/5

The Science of Sex Appeal

I can’t trust anyone who makes sex BORING! 1/5


Very uneven story about a young guy having an affair with an older woman who’s about to get married. Not nearly as good as it thinks it is, but. . . Uma Thurman is in it, so that’s that, watch it. And once again I didn’t recognize Lee Pace, after he was the baddie in Guardians of the Galaxy. Definitely not making pies. . . 2.5/5

When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions

Space exploration at its best, only helped by Gary Sinise’s wonderful narration. Told chronologically, each episode covers a specific time and/or program, leading to the best part, the moon missions, including the infamous Apollo 13. The interviews are fantastic; on the mission before Armstrong and Aldrin finally landed on the moon, the previous flight’s assignment was to orbit the moon, and NASA had to make sure not to include a way to lift off in case those astronauts got the urge to land against orders. Hilarious. The also didn’t whitewash the three disasters, especially Challenger. 5/5

Prophets of Science Fiction

A series about some of the grand masters of science-fiction writing; as you might expect, this aired on the Sci-Fi channel, or whatever it’s calling itself this week. Gets a little silly at times, with reenactments of their younger years; having to find actors that matched some of these nerdy guys couldn’t have been easy. There’s the ones you might expect like Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke, but you also get Mary Shelly and George Lucas among others. Most of the time is taken up by interviewing various people about today’s state of the technology those authors proposed; my favorite was Clarke’s Space Elevator, since I’d just finished rereading The Fountains of Paradise. 4/5

A Bit of Fry and Laurie

Most people probably haven’t heard of this show, but if you’re at all a Monty Python or Benny Hill fan, you’ve got to see this. Stephen Fry isn’t that well known in the States, but I’ve never seen him be anything less than hilarious, and Hugh Laurie certainly wasn’t famous here before House. The “last name: lighter dropped on counter” sketch is right up there with Dead Parrot.  5/5


I am not a number. . .

Spent last night at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood–trying not to wonder what they hieroglyphs could possibly say–having a large tub of popcorn for dinner while watching clips from Dr. No, Mission Impossible, the Avengers, the Saint, Wild Wild West, and then most importantly two episodes of The Prisoner on a huge screen. It really does make a difference; for instance, I’d never noticed #6 had a tiger-skin rug in the entrance hall.

On the other hand, there’s yet another disturbance shutting down the subway. You’d think they’d figure out how to keep people from going into the tunnels, so that they don’t instantly think BOMB! and shut down the whole thing, even if you’re far away from that station. . .


Top 15 Hottest Nathan Fillion co-stars

So yeah, this is the kind of shit that comes out when I’m completely bored and not at all disciplined in my internet viewing. {Where’s all this porn people talk about. . .?}

So I watched Jane Espesen’s internet series Husbands all in one go, and playing the newscaster is none other than The Fillion. {kinda like we say “The Shatner,” which I think Nathan would like} Luckily his long list of credits includes a bunch of voiceover work, which simply does not count here and makes it tons easier for me to wade through. However, let’s not be disingenuous: this is a list of beauties who’ve been in the same movies as the guy, though not necessarily had any scenes with him; some I just don’t know, not having seen them. Others, as you’ll see below, I know they weren’t in the same scene, but I’m too damned tired to actually go hunting for the movie, or some info that would say one way or another.

15. Emmanuelle Vaugier {Water’s Edge}
Never heard of it, never saw it. . . doesn’t matter. Her ethereal beauty makes it worth watching.

14. Dana Delany {Castle, Desperate Housewives, Pasadena}
C’mon, it’s Dana Delany–what else is there to say?

13. Gina Torres {Firefly}

12. Stana Katic {Castle}
Uh-huh. . .

11. Charisma Carpenter {Miss Match}
If you can say no to {viewing} her, you’re a stronger man than I. . .

10. Paula Marshall {Miss Match}
Still the cutest who ever lived. . .

9. Eliza Dushku {Buffy}
And yes, she’s known as The Dushku around these here parts. . .

8. Christina Hendricks {Firefly}
Ah, Saffron. . . {The rest of this entry has been redacted to keep the author from embarrassing himself. . . again.}

7. Keri Russell {Waitress}
That WTF look in the middle of the movie, followed by a three-day perma-grin. . . visual bliss.

6. Mircea Monroe {Drive}
Back when she was even hotter as a redhead; no one has ever worn jeans better.

5. Jeri Ryan {Dracula 2000}
I finally saw this hilarious clunker, in which Nathan appears in exactly one scene. . . as a priest in a confessional! Make of that what you will. Immediately following this we go to a bayou where Dracula’s modern-day Demeter–this time a plane–has crashed, and we get a very sexy blonde reporter in front of the wreckage, asking the cameraman, “You getting the tits?” Oh yes, Jeri Ryan, everyone is. Quickly she’s turned into one of Dracula’s brides, where she gets to taunt our heroine and then play with the hero. . . until he sticks a wooden stake through her heart. Her look of surprise–and, I think, hurt that he would do such a mean thing to her–is priceless. . .

4. Malinda Clarke {Firefly}
Quite possibly the only prostitute character I would ever indeed pay for. . . (dammit, where’s that redactor when you need him?}

3. Darby Stanchfield {Castle, Waitress}
I don’t know how many ladies have had to play Nathan wife/ex-wife, but she’s got to be the only one who’s had to suffer through that twice. That second taste of deep-friend twinkie, when she’s coming down the stairs in her undies and lifts her shurt to rub her tummy. . .

2. Dina Meyer {Castle, Miss Match}
Excuse me, that should be Dina freakin’ Meyer!

1. Morena Baccarin
When asked what character I would like to be on Firefly, there was only one possible answer: one of Inara’s customers. . .

Ellen Page {Super}
Never thought I’d see her like that. . .

Angeline Ball {Outer Limits}
The best part of one of my favorite movies, The Commitments.

In an episode of something called Total Security, he had these three gorgeous ladies as co-stars: Tracey Needham, Kristin Bauer, and Lisa Boyle; hope he had fun. Similarly, in something called Hollywood Division, three beautiful actresses shared the camera: Moon Bloodgood, Tsianina Joelson, and Leighton Meester.

And then of course, the best for last: Felicia Day. . .


Short Reviews: Movies and TV

Four hours of Egyptology talk, then two hours of burlesque, with of course my fire-eating model from previous blogs. How was your Sunday?
On to the second part of me telling you what I think of certain media, like it matters. . .

I love Heather Graham, and will watch anything she’s in. Unfortunately, most of the movies she’s done, since Boogie nights at least, have sucked so much that I fast forward to just her parts or, more likely, watch without sound. . . and yes, let it be said she’s nude in most of them, or as Benny Hill put it, barefoot all over. Yet even when nude there’s only so much I can take. I did, however, find a delightful exception: Cake. She plays a hippie world traveler who rebels against her rich father, until he has a heart attack and she has to take over one of his magazines. . . a wedding magazine. Hilarity ensues for the vehemently anti-relationship one-night stand girl. . .

Not sure what I was expecting, but somehow I thought it was better than expected. Before I go any further, I gotta say I’m not a superhero fan; haven’t seen any spidermen, iron men, or any other kind of men in costumes, though I will eventually see the Avengers, and if I like whoever’s chosen as Wonder Woman. . .
Digressing as usual. I’m not much for the action scenes–which is probably why I usually don’t watch these kinds of movies–so my review is mostly about the rest of it, which I found surprisingly funny and at times even poignant. More to the point, I went in knowing there was a beautiful brunette actress I love–Natalie Portman–and a beautiful brunette actress I really like–Kat Dennings–only to find another beautiful brunette actress I’d never heard of, Jaimie Alexander, so it gets 5 stars just for that. {not really–4 stars} They did a good job with the mythology too, though I may have laughed a bit too hard as I watched the credits and saw the name of Stan Lee. . .

Avalon High
Surprisingly good acting by all the teens, even if once in a while an Australian/Kiwi accent turns up, and lovely use of mythology, much like Thor. Molly Quinn should always be braided; think of the lovely red rope-like braid on Fiona from Shrek and you’ll know what I mean. Steve Valentine, one of my fave actors, plays what might be his straightest role ever, which is weird for me because he’s such a comedic genius. Great twist at the end with Arthur being. . . someone not excepted (you thought I was gonna give it away, huh?)

Life Before Her Eyes
What do you–or I–get when there’s a movie with two of my favorite actress, both incredibly beautiful? Well, I was hoping for something a lot better than this. Not even Uma Thurman and Even Rachel Wood couldn’t keep me interested, and the topic–school shooting–didn’t help. It might be the first Uma Thurman movie I couldn’t finish since Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.

Conan the Barbarian
As mentioned earlier, I’m not much for fight scenes, especially when I see them so badly choreographed that I could have killed the opponent in three seconds, usually when he turns his back. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much else here. I expected some light moments with the actor who was one of the best parts of Stargate: Atlantis, but. . . nope. Not even the lovely Rachel Nichols—whom I know is much better than her turn as Profiler Barbie on Criminal Minds–could save this drek that showed exactly why I’d rather watch at home than in the theater: I can stop watching and do something else without feeling ripped off

Craig Ferguson’s comedy specials
For those of you who only know him as a late night host, Craigy was on The Drew Carey Show for a few years, and before that had a guest starring appearance on Red Dwarf. Yeah, the guy is all about comedy, and he really brings it in these two specials. In one of them he only had one joke to tell, but he kept getting sidetracked so often that it filled and entire ninety-minute show. Very self-deprecating, especially when talking about being in a band in his teens, and his Sean Connery accent is the best ever. . .

Even though it hasn’t been that long since the series was on the air, or off it, I’m finding so much more now that I’m perusing it again. Sometimes seeing a few episodes in a row makes a huge difference over having to wait a week; things are more easily remembered, for one. As an instance, it seemed strange to see the introduction of Mellie in one episode and go right through to her reveal in a few hours’ time. But the real takeaway here is the lovely Eliza Dushku showing off all her different looks, particularly the fetish gear that. . . um, I’ll be in my bunk. . .

One for the Money
In case you haven’t been here before, I LOVE KATHERINE HEIGL. Having said that, some of her recent movies haven’t been very good. The only dreadful one was The Ugly Truth, but even though I liked Killers, for example, I think it could have been better. One for the Money, thankfully, brings her back to excellent movie territory, her first since 27 Dresses. Based on the detective novel of the same name, it shows a very different character than the type she usually plays, and though it takes place in New Jersey, she doesn’t show much of an accent, certainly not like Janet Montgomery did in Made in Jersey. In a way that’s too bad; I still remember her doing a huge Noo Yawkah accent on Roswell. More importantly, the movie is very funny, and while a lot of the jokes are at her expense, the character doesn’t become a butt monkey, instead triumphing over everyone, even the love interest, in the end. This is a movie I’m gonna watch every few months. . .

Not since the days of Better Off Ted have I run through a whole season of a series, even a comedy half-hour, in one day. Think of a modern-day Get Smart, only much “worse” as far as sexual connotation and adult situations. The man character is as stupid a spy, but in a different way, not so much clueless as can’t get out of the way of his own ego and libido, especially considering his mother is his boss. The fact that it’s animated helps, making the most outlandish situations seem almost mundane, but the best point in its favor is the voice talent, especially H. Jon Benjamin in the lead but particularly the awesome Judy Greer–whom we still remember as the actress who got to “slap” Katherine Heigl–and Aisha Tyler.

Patrick Stewart was a famous Shakespearian actor long before he played Picard, but it’s always worth noting that film can do some things that theater can’t; doesn’t mean it’s better, just more versatile. Case in point: the imaginary dagger Macbeth “sees” isn’t imaginary here.
This version happens in almost-completely contemporary times; call it 1950s or 60s, and in some kind of Eastern European Stalinist/Fascist state. . . or at least it becomes one when Macbeth gets his hands on the realm. Since I suspect most of you know Shakespeare well enough for me not to dwell on it, I will simply comment on some of the modernistic touches that I thought worked well, like having the witches be nun nurses! I love it! Though not later when they were rapping; that’s toil and trouble in itself! And I’m guessing that in order not to scare their patients they were not costumed as black and midnight hags. . .
But to me the most important part was what is usually referred to as the “assassins’ scene” {Act III, scene 1}. This is where Macbeth is telling the boys to kill Banquo and his son. . . and Macbeth is making a sandwich! WTF? But after the movie there’s an interview with Patrick Stewart, where he says he told the director, “I wish I had an action” during this long, exposition-filled scene. And the director–who’s married to Lady Macbeth, it turns out–told him, “Why not make a sandwich?” And in fact Macbeth makes sandwiches for the assassins as well, gives them a hug while they’re munching. Stewart talks about how making it something so commonplace only makes it more horrible, and boy is he right; this scene is just chilling, and to me the most memorable.
And I always have to include some of my favorite quotes; it’s a rule.
My hands are of your color, but I shame to wear a heart so white
Full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife.
Where silent sorrow seems a modern ecstasy
Let’s make us medicines of our great revenge, to cure this deadly grief.

Coming Up:
Rewatchings of Sherlock Season 2, along with all 3 seasons of Veronica Mars, now that the Kickstarter campaign reached epic proportions. . .


Top 15 TV Babes 2012

Subtitled: Sexiest actresses

Lord Byron: All tragedies are finished with a death; all comedies are ended by a marriage

Like on the TV shows blog, only broadcast need apply—no cable

15. Stana Katic {Castle}
Okay, Stana looks so gorgeous when she smiles. . . I can’t leave her out.

14. Sela Ward {CSI: Noo Yawk}
Still the epitome of classic beauty. . .

13. Erin Cummings
I first saw Erin Cummings on an episode of Cold Case, where she proved to be an absolutely perfect redhead. Since then her hair color has changed, but here on Made in Jersey she’s back to red, though she’d be higher on this list if it wasn’t for all makeup, heels, and attitude. Joisy girl indeed. . .

12. Missy Perigrym
No other reason to watch Rookie Blue, no more reason necessary to watch it. . .

11. Molly Quinn
Castle’s little redheaded girl has grown up. . .

10. Bellamy Young
Having seen this lovely actress for years, particularly a few episodes of Scrubs, I guess it was inevitable for her to become First Lady, even if it’s a Scandal. . .

9. Meghan Ory
Who woulda thought, so soon after the most luscious Red Riding Hood ever, Amanda Seyfried, we’d get another gorgeous crimson-draped dessert-carrying lady, this time on Once Upon a Time.

8. Rudabeh Shabazi {Eyewitness News, Channel 7}
Most likely the most gorgeous news reporter ever, and that’s saying a lot. With a special shoutout to meteorologist Bri Winkler. . .

7. Janet Montgomery
The actual Made in Jersey girl, which I find hilarious, having heard her usual stuffy-upper-class-British twang so often.

6. Jeri Ryan {Body of Proof}
If I need to tell you who this is, you should get off the internet right now; you obviously don’t know how to use it!

5. Amanda Righetti
Three straight years on this list for The Mentalist redhead.

4. Kaitlyn Black
She appears on Hart of Dixie much less often than she should, but when she does it’s usually comic genius. . . at least I think that’s what it is, I’m so struck dumb by her ethereal beauty. . .

3. Paget Brewster
Probably her last appearance in this category, with her leaving Criminal Minds again, albeit this time of her own choosing.

2. Darby Stanchfield {Scandal}
I have to admit I will never forgive Shonda for putting the most awesome redhead ever {and that’s saying A LOT} in bed with Jeremy from Sports Night, though his taste is obviously better now. And just when you think things couldn’t get better, she’s back as the Deep-fried Twinkie on Castle. . . never thought there would be a mother-daughter duo on this list. . .

1. Daniela Ruah
This woman is so incredibly attractive she’s even hot in a Marine Corps uniform, which is not easy; I knew many attractive female Marines, but they weren’t so in uniform.

Too many also-rans to list. . . which is obviously a cop-out but has to be done, or my brain might explode. . . or rather, other parts. To tide you over, here’s a recap of the previous years.

15. Ghida Fakhry–Al Jazeera English
14. Stana Katic–Castle
13. Lana Parilla–Once Upon a Time
12. Madeleine Stowe–Revenge
11. Jill Wagner–Wipeout
10. Jeri Ryan–Body of Proof
9. Missy Peregrym–Rookie Blue
8. Rachelle Lefevre–A Gifted Man
7. Michelle Borth–Combat Hospital
6. Amanda Righetti–The Mentalist
5. Nathalie Kelley–Body of Proof
4. Molly McKinney–Aqua Kids
3. Julia Benson (Anderson)–Stargate: Universe
2. Paget Brewster–Criminal Minds
1. Daniela Ruah–NCISLA
15. Rochelle Aytes–The Forgotten
14. A.J. Cooke–Criminal Minds
13. Melina Kanakaredes–CSI Noo Yawk
12. Emily Procter–CSI Miami
11. Leighton Meester–Gossip Girl
10. Cobie Smulders–How I Met Your Mother
9. Michelle Borth–The Forgotten
8. Eliza Dushku–Dollhouse
7. Morena Baccarin–V
6. Alana de la Garza–Law And Order
5. Heather Stephens–The Forgotten
4. Amanda Righetti–The Mentalist
3. Paget Brewster–Criminal Minds
2. Stana Katic–Castle
1. Daniela Ruah–NCIS Los Angeles


Top 15 TV Shows (2012)

I suddenly miss Sydney. . . the city, not some random chippie of that name. Been too long, need to go back. . .

So I’m a bit late on most of my 2012 best-of lists. To make up for that, I’m passing up all the usual links and commentary I would put in here. Also as usual, we’re only talking broadcast TV—cable is something else entirely {History Detectives and Sherlock aired on PBS, so there!}

15. Once Upon a Time
14. Rookie Blue
13. CSI-NY
12. Person of Interest
11. How I Met Your Mother
10. 2 Broke Girls
9. History Detectives
8. Hart of Dixie
7. Wipeout
5. Suburgatory
4. Scandal
3. Big Bang Theory
2. Castle
1. Sherlock

Alternates: CSI, Criminal Minds, Family Guy, NCIS