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Saturday, January 8, 2011

The King's Speech

How adorable was this movie? Those of you who haven’t seen it yet are in for a real treat. It was just darling. It’s about Queen Elizabeth’s father and his stuttering problem. Despite this stuttering problem, everyone in his horrible family keeps making him give speeches, so he has to fix it. Now, we know a movie about a speech an old king of England makes doesn’t sound interesting, but it is. In fact, an hour into the movie, it felt like we had been watching for about 20 minutes.

There’s aren’t explosions, sex scenes, twists, or special effects in this movie. It’s script, character, story, and acting driven. Normally, we would say to wait and rent this kind of movie, but we think it's perfect for an outing, so see it in theatres. It will leave most of the people in your group smiling, and it's the sort of thing you want to pay attention to. We loved seeing Helena Bonham Carter play someone normal and … dare we say it? ... cute. Everyone else was great too, of course. If you like European history at all (or good movies at all), you don’t want to miss this (not that this is really historically accurate). It isn’t one of those critical darling movies that you aren’t going to like. It may sound like a drag, but it’s not at all. That’s the only surprise of the movie (you’ll predict most of the plot after a few minutes, even if you know nothing about the historical figures involved), and it’s fun to see it unfold.

Movie Grade: A

Friday, January 7, 2011

Grey's Anatomy - Disarm recap/review

You have to hand it to Grey's Anatomy. After years of plotlines, hype, and offscreen drama, it still knows how to be one of the most entertaining shows on TV, whether you admire it as art or not. Last night, all of the doctors got to work on their issues through saving lives in the aftermath of a campus shooting. It was like a repeat of their own disaster, only this time, they got to save everyone and look at it all more objectively. Because this episode was so much about the doctors, the patients and their speeches and their love lives were left out, and every patient lived.

The opening sequence of the episode showed three couples in bed together, waking up. Meredith and Derek were fighting, because Derek was hanging out with Cristina and cutting former-best-friend Meredith out of the loop. They still had to have sex though, because Meredith was ovulating. (Meredith-“I’m too mad to even look at you.” Derek- “Well then, roll over.”) Then the show cut to a happy, giggling couple that we were astounded to find out was Owen and Cristina. Well, enjoy the giddiness while it lasts, because there is no way these two can stay drama-free for too long. Owen got a page from Teddy and flew out of the bedroom, and Cristina left to explore the city. Then we saw Mark and Lexie in bed together. You know how much we care about Mark and Lexie? We had forgotten that they were back together; that’s how much. Arizona went to Callie’s in the morning, still trying to win Callie back. Callie told her to go back to Africa. Waka Waka.

Owen met Teddy and the patient who needs insurance at the courthouse. Apparently, Teddy needed a witness and she has no other friends other than a married guy that she used to crush on. That’s healthy (sarcasm). Through the TV, we begged Owen to stop Teddy from being crazy, but he didn’t do it. Selfish. He was probably just happy that someone else was making a really juvenile mistake so people would stop getting on HIM for getting married too soon. Look out Cristina and Owen, there is a new insane couple in town, and they are Teddy and … well, she probably doesn’t know his name either.

Cristina was wandering the city. If you have ever been to Seattle (and we know one reader has), then you know it’s not a HUGE city. When one of us visited and wanted to see the space needle, she just looked at it, walked toward it, and got there. So we laughed at the writers when Cristina asked someone where the space needle was. She lives there. She knows the general direction in which to walk. But whatever, she should have been going to Pike Place market anyway. Cristina saw emergency vehicles speeding toward a Seattle college campus and followed. She got there just in time to see EMTs loading a guy onto an ambulance who needed surgery, stat. We cried a little when Cristina finally said, “Someone needs to crack his chest!” We knew that she was back. Awww. Cristina rode with the patient to the hospital and performed a thoracotomy (whatever that is and however you spell it). Teddy and Owen were shocked when she rolled into the drop-off, but they both let her go into the O.R. Teddy also brought Luscious Jackson in, just in case Cristina froze again.

But yes, there had been a campus shooting, and 26 patients were on their way to Seattle Grace, even though the hospital doesn’t have that many operating rooms. April Kepner got to live out a real-life version of Owen’s crazy trauma training where there was just a mosh pit of patients to save and no operating rooms. We knew that was going to come full-circle. Lexie evacuated a blood clot by herself. Bailey screamed at a patient and God, calling God a bastard, and this brought the patient back to life (no kidding, that’s just how awesome the voice of Bailey is).

A 15-year-old genius college student had been shot, and dirty old Stark wanted to cut off her leg when Alex thought they could save it. Arizona, up in the gallery, told Karev, “Body block him!” Alex did. Oh Alex, that’s why we love you. Alex probably knew he wouldn’t get in too much trouble. Separating an attending from his patient in an emergency doesn’t come close to cutting an L-Vad wire, for instance. Arizona asked the chief for privileges and stole Stark’s patient. Callie helped her, telling Stark, “You’re new here, but in this hospital, we take shootings personally.” Stark went to whine to the Chief, but Weber shut him down and told him to go save lives. Callie and Arizona saved the girl and the leg.

After a cop who had seen and taken down the shooter arrived, the identity of the shooter was revealed. It was Cristina and Teddy’s patient. We noted that this patient was, in fact, a ginger. We should have known, because according to the great, wise, and wonderful South Park, gingers have no souls. Jackson freaked out and left the operating room, even after Teddy gave a rousing speech about professional responsibility ("I operated on Iraqi soldiers who blew up dozens of our guys. I didn’t like it, but I did it”). Cristina stayed. Owen came by to check on her, and left as soon as he saw her NOT on the floor, in a fetal position. We’re getting pretty sick of looking at Owen’s “Worry Face.” Can he please smile more? Well, in another episode, maybe. This time, it’s understandable.

A professor who had helped students escape to the roof had fallen from a window as he tried to follow them. His wife was in the waiting room, and Meredith became obsessed with her. She took this day as a chance to whine to Derek about how no one seemed to be giving her enough pity for going through a trauma too. She talked about how hard it was to be the wife in the waiting room and kept leaving to update this woman when Derek needed her. In the end, Meredith was vindicated by Derek’s realization that she had a point, but still. We don’t think this was the right time, Mer, you brat.

Alex had compassion for the shooter, telling Jackson that the shooter had to be mentally ill and hurting to do such a thing. He said, “My brother just had a psychotic break and tried to kill my sister. If he got hurt, even if he got hurt hurting people, I’d want his doctors to save him. No matter what he did he’s still my little brother.” So when Jackson met the shooter’s worried mother, he was kind to her and gave her an update on his condition. A crowd gathered outside the hospital and sang the college’s Alma Mater with candles. Which was sweet, but we hope they didn’t get in the way of things or distract too many people.

After all the patients had been saved, all the main characters gathered in the gallery to watch Teddy and Cristina finish up. They cried and laughed over their victory (except for mean Stark, who was inexplicably shaking his head). The Chief hired Arizona back, but she has to work under Stark. Arizona once again pleaded with Callie for another chance, giving a heartfelt speech. Callie responded with, “You had to fly across the world to get to me, Arizona, because you flew a whole world away without ever looking back. This might be news to you, I think it kind of is, but there are two of us in this relationship. And you came back today, but I didn’t.” Sorry Arizona, you have to come up with a better speech than the one you tried, because Callie has been speech-writing, and she will bust you up. Lexie said, “I love you” to Mark, and Teddy toasted her new “marriage” with her new husband at Joe’s. Actually, Teddy’s new husband pretty much made her toast the marriage, even though Teddy wasn’t in the mood. Good job, Teddy, you married someone pushy AND gushy.

Cristina and Meredith met up at the hospital. We are so glad the show didn’t drag out the reunion and make it dramatic. Cristina asked Meredith to get a drink and Meredith said yes, but “not a real drink, since I’m trying to get pregnant.” Cristina suggested crack cocaine as they walked off, arm-in-arm. Meredith’s voiceover said something mushy that made no sense since we hadn’t been listening to what she said earlier. But we were happy. There was some nice tension to this episode, but it wasn’t much of a downer. (Was it too happy?) It had some character development and resolutions. Most of all, we are thrilled to have Cristina back and better than ever.

Episode grade: A-

You can watch this on for the next three days.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Modern Family - Slow Down Your Neighbors recap/review

This episode was pretty funny, but it wasn’t as funny as the Cougar Town premiere that came after it. Check that out. Both of those episodes are up on

Mitchell and Cam spotted a stranger using their hot tub. (“Mitchell, there’s a stranger in our hot tub!” “Who is it?” “You do know what stranger means, don’t you?”) The stranger turned out to be a potential Reiki master/hippie named Barry, and he was played by the super-hot James Marsden. Barry told his new neighbors that he had moved into the upstairs apartment and thought that the hot tub was for all residents. By then, Mitchell and Cam had seen Barry without his shirt on, so they didn’t care anymore. Barry used some Reiki on Cam’s arm, causing Mitchell to think Barry was a nut. Cam got on Mitchell’s case for being too judgmental, and Barry won Mitchell over and used Reiki on Mitchell’s whole body. In the end, the landlady told Cam that the upstairs apartment was empty. Then her husband honked the horn and the landlady said, “You so lucky they not let you get married.” Annoying joke, because it wasn’t that funny, the “my spouse is a pain” joke is so 90s, and we’re sure that the fact that some straight people have unhappy marriages comforts gay people who are treated unequally (sarcasm). Cam discovered that Barry was living in Lily’s princess castle and tried to get him out of it. Barry does not like to be touched, so this turned into a little tousle. Mitchell won and got to hear Cam tell him that he was right.

We love James Marsden, but we thought this character was a little too over-the-top. Too zany and cartoonish. And after the season two Cougar Town premiere with the hippie Jennifer Aniston AND this episode, we are starting to think that ABC has something against new age types. Eckhart Tolle, look out. We know plenty of people are into energy work, and they are nowhere near that crazy, and they have homes. True, there are a few crazies who do that, but most of them are too hastily judged. Besides, Reiki is to energy work as lifting up your friend to crack their back is to chiropractics. Basic, and likely done by people who don’t know a whole lot about even holistic medicine. But having an energy worker who doesn’t like to be touched is funny, because there isn’t a lot of touching involved.

Claire was angry at an unknown driver who was speeding and driving recklessly down their street. She stood on the side of the road with an air horn, ready to yell, “Slow down, you jerk” at the driver when she passed. Phil took the air horn from her, turned to Luke, and said, “Luke, I am your father!!! That’s what I said when you were coming out of your mom’s lady parts.” Oh, Phil, this is why you are Ern’s favorite character on this show. Claire put called the cops, chased the driver, and even put up signs that said, “Slow Down Your Neighbors” with the license plate number of the care in the middle of the phrase. This was a running joke, because the sign was supposed to read like Claire was saying, “Slow down, (sincerely/from) your neighbors,” but instead it looked like a command for neighbors to slow each other down. (Did we really have to explain that? Possibly).

Phil got a new client and a house to sell, and he had to win over the client to keep the job. Sadly, the seller turned out to be the speedy driver. Anxious to beat a competitor and be the number one salesman this quarter, Phil tried to keep his wife away from his client and started taking down Claire’s signs. Claire rode home with Phil’s client and found out the truth. Her face looking at Phil standing on the side of the road as she rode away in the client’s car was classic. Claire felt betrayed, but Phil told us, “I called the florist and ordered on dozen Mylar balloons. Good luck staying mad, honey.”

Manny wanted to ride bikes with a group of cool kids at his school. As he was heading to school on his new bike, Jay spotted a couple of big training wheels. (“You don’t know how to ride a bike?” “I know how to ride this bike.” “Steven Hawking could ride that bike.” – Jay and Manny) He confronted Gloria for never teaching Manny how to ride a bike, and it turned out that Gloria couldn’t ride either. Manny put on lots of padding (he looked like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle), and Jay easily taught him how to ride, despite the fact that Manny is usually so clumsy that he falls on moving airport walkways. Gloria did not take to the bike so well. She was worried about falling, being embarrassed, and people grabbing her. Gloria determined that Jay was too harsh of a teacher, so she sought out someone “gentle, womanly even” to be her new teacher. Naturally, she goes right for Phil, because the “this man is girly” joke never, ever gets old (sarcasm). No wonder kids who watch more TV have gender stereotypes more deeply rooted in their brains. Phil had to work, so Luke stepped in. (“I never taught anyone anything, but my playdate was cancelled, so I was wide open” –Luke) His way of teaching Gloria was to shoot her with a giant squirt-gun until she rode away from him. This worked very well, and it was one of the funniest things about the episode. Gloria DID get grabbed though (by Claire, who needed the bike to chase down the speeder). When everyone realized what a great teacher Luke was, they sicced Luke on his oldest sister who was trying to do her homework.

Episode Grade: B

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

V - Red Rain recap/review

Last season, Erica destroyed Anna’s eggs, and Anna flipped, finally developing human emotions. Then Anna turned the sky red, and all of us said, “That’s it?” But the show has gotten a little better already. Stuff happened in the premiere, so if you missed it, be sure to read the black text.

The episode opened with Erica having a disgusting dream where Anna melted Tyler’s face. We knew it didn’t really happen, but it was gross. We actually kind of wish it happened. Tyler’s not our favorite character, by far. Marcus let Anna know that the ship captains were afraid that Anna was weakening because of her reaction to the death of her potential soldier children. She confronted them and made mincemeat out of one, to make an example. Ryan, meanwhile, worried about his lizard daughter, but Anna kept her to experiment on and expelled Ryan to earth. It is Anna’s hope that Ryan join the Fifth Column and that she will be able to control him better now that she has the daughter to hang over his head. Ryan went right back to Erica and the gang.

Chad reported that the red sky caused riots and earthling unease, and Anna refused to say a word about the Visitors’ involvement with the red sky. Chad also went to Father Jack’s church looking for forgiveness and redemption for helping the Visitors trick the humans, using the media. To gain Father Jack’s trust, Chad had to tell him that humans were being tortured on the V ship. To prove it, Chad gave Father Jack recordings of the human test subjects in interviews. Chad has now joined the Fifth Column as a spy. Right as the red sky started raining what looked like blood but probably wasn’t, Erica used her son to get onto the V’s ship and question Anna. Anna put her big face in the sky and told the humans that the red sky and rain would heal the earth, including that pesky global warming problem. Because people are stupid, they believed her at her word. Anna told Lisa to hook up with Tyler, probably to provide Anna with another half human/half lizard.

Anna found out that a human scientist was close to figuring out the real cause and purpose of the red sky, so she sent someone to kill him. Lisa told Erica about the scientist, and Erica went to the university to grab him first. Then we found out that the red rain has lots of phosphorous (Dun dun dunnnnn). No, really, that’s bad, because that makes the humans better vessels for V babies. Erica remembered that she had very high levels of phosphorous in her blood when she was pregnant and wondered if she and Tyler were V test subjects.

Anna killed her remaining babies to stop herself from having emotions. This doesn’t work, because we see her cry a little. Then she went to some weird, dirty cave room to talk to her mother. What’s with Anna’s mother stepping out of her weird cocoon dressed like she is the next drag queen at a Vegas show? Were those fishnet stockings and platform heels?

This episode would probably get people at least a little interested in this show, so that’s good. The show still needs more action/tension and for the characters to hook our emotions, and we still wonder if making Elizabeth Mitchell the lead was the right choice. But we liked this premiere. At this point, we are still unhooked, but we are still curious. Erica is pretty cool, but none of these characters wring any emotion from us. And Anna needs to be scarier. There needs to be some sort of Big Bad behind her, especially if she is just going to start acting like your typical woman right before her period (remember how 24 used to show us the real scary dude at the end? V should take note). The alien takeover needs to be more horrifying. We need some real tension and a real reason to care.

Episode Grade: B

Southland - Let it Snow recap/review

Yay! Southland is back. It really is a good show. Southland is one of those shows that you have to sit down and watch. You won't get into it if you are surfing the web at the same time or if you just have it on in the background. It is a procedural, but there is a lot of character development. You can jump right into the story, but don’t expect the show to just repeat the same ground like most procedurals.

In the season three premiere, Lydia is still dealing with her new partner, Josie. We think Josie is pretty annoying, and we wish she’d get shot or something and go away. Lydia and Josie investigated a missing person’s case and found the missing woman’s body inside the bathroom ceiling of the office building where she had worked. She had been duct taped and strangled. Yikes. Evidence pointed to the building’s security guard, but all of the victim’s friends were immigrants and didn’t want to talk to the cops (the victim was a cleaning lady, by the way). Lydia and Josie turned to DNA evidence, but before they could get the arrest warrant, the suspect fled to the airport. The two cops followed the suspect’s car and Josie spun the cop car out to get the suspect. Lydia caught the baddie and the DNA came through, but Lydia was angry with Josie for her crazy actions. We kind of like Josie’s recklessness, but her personality is irritating, so we are on Lydia’s side for this one.

Sammy and Nate investigated the deaths of two gang members whose bodies were found under a highway with bullets in their heads. A homeless man let the cops know what type of car the victims were dropped out of. The victims had been investigated for a gang rape, but they got off, because the victim had been drinking. The victim was a gang leader’s daughter, and the gang leader had just the kind of car that had dropped off the victim’s bodies. Even though Nate felt bad for the guy who was just sticking up for his daughter, when blood was found in the trunk, the gang leader was arrested. We felt for the gang leader too.

Chickie, Chickie’s partner, John, and Ben’s job this week was to go to the scene of a bank robbery and help out Sarge, who had been shot. They rescued Sarge, and Ben chased after one of the robbers. The robber shot himself in the head rather than let Ben catch him. In this episode, John was still suffering from back pain and was having trouble getting pills. Ben had to help him to his car at one point. Ben asked John to get help, but John wants to keep handling this solo. Ben, we’ve got this show we think you should watch. It’s called Intervention. “Millions of Americans suffer from addiction. Most need help to stop.”

This was an action-packed, classic Southland episode. It was also decently bloody (the bank robber shooting himself in the head was on-camera). We just wish we weren’t so annoyed with the new character, Josie. That needs to pan out or get less aggravating. Good premiere.

Episode grade: B+

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How I Met Your Mother - Bad News recap/review

This episode was entitled “Bad News” and we even got a countdown to the bad news. The countdown started with the number 50 in the first scene at the doctor’s office and continued until the number 001 on Lily’s cab, just before the bad news. We didn’t like the countdown, because it was sort of cheap and lessened the impact of the bad news. A lot of people didn’t even catch the countdown and didn’t know the name of the episode. It seems like an effort to be clever that didn’t quite pay off. If you care, here are all the numbers you might have missed:

But let’s go back. Lily and Marshall were worried that they hadn’t conceived yet, so they saw a fertility specialist. The specialist, Dr. Stangel, was Barney’s doppelganger. Marshall and Lily were afraid that it was really Barney messing with them and trying to see up girls’ skirts, so they had the real Barney attend the checkup so they could see both Barneys at once. Lily’s womb was cleared by the doctor, so Marshall started wondering if the problem was in his own junk. Because he only likes to give his father good news, he avoided his father’s phone calls. While he was trying to masturbate into the little cup that he had taken home (for privacy), his parents showed up for a visit. Lily explained to Marshall's parents what was going on.

Barney ended up posing as the doctor to tell Marshall to play laser tag with him, saying that it helps with sperm count, but he got caught. Dr. Stangel (the real one) told Marshall that his swimmers were strong.

Robins started her new job at World Wide News. Robin’s former co-host that no one (especially Ted) could stand, Sandy Rivers, is the host at her new station. Sandy started showing everyone all the funny things that have happened to Robin during her time with the media, including Robin Sparkles and falling in horse poop. Sandy also found a Robin Sparkles Owl Attack video that Ted thought was funny, but we (unfortunately) didn’t get to see. And to top it off, Sandy lied and told everyone that Robin slept with him. To defend Robin, Ted crept by Sandy’s house using some very lame ninja moves, and he got a picture of Sandy without his toupee and about to engage in sex with some … uh … interesting people. We’re pretty sure he’s a furry. Unless it was a real bear ...

Rather than out Sandy for the toupee, which turns out to be the one thing he’s keeping a secret, Robin humbled herself and wore a Robin Sparkles jacket to work. Future Ted let us know that she had a good career there and everything went fine after that, especially once a guy spilled coffee all over himself and became the new punchline.

The episode (and countdown) ended with Lily finding Marshall and telling him that his father died of a heart attack. Lily cried, they hugged, and Marshall said, “I’m not ready for this.” So, so sad. Probably the most serious and tragic moment in How I Met Your Mother history. It doesn't swing from zany comedy to emotion as well or as often as, say, Scrubs. Despite the fact that the end was such a downer, we think it’s good that Marshall and Lily have an issue to work through that doesn’t involve pregnancy now. We already know that she is going to get pregnant. We liked the twist. It was a surprise that the bad news wasn’t about pregnancy, and it was emotional. The episode wasn’t as funny as other episodes though. We need more Barney.

Episode Grade: B

You can watch this one at

Ern Absolutely, Completely Agrees With This Article

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the rest of the Millenium Trilogy is poorly written and boring.

Pretty Little Liars - Moments Later recap/review

When we last left the four Pretty Little Liars, Hanna (Leeard’s favorite character), Aria (our least favorite character), Emily, and Spencer (Ern’s favorite character), drama was pretty high. Hanna had just gotten hit by a car, Hanna’s mom had stolen lots of cash, Aria had just been seen (by a mysterious someone) kissing Mr. Fitz, Emily’s mom saw the pictures of Emily kissing Maya, Toby got arrested, and Spencer saw a carving in a tree trunk that indicated that Alison had a relationship with Ian.

At the start of this episode, Hanna’s mom was informed by a cop that Hanna was hurt. Her mom went to the hospital and questioned the other three girls about what happened and got nothing. Hanna woke up with some broken bones and informed the girls that Noel is A. Our first response was: who the f is Noel? And then we remembered. Noel is the guy crushing on Aria that Hanna tried to set Aria up with. Hanna saw Noel writing “I SEE YOU” on Ezra Fits’ car. Aria confronted him, and he said that he was just at Camp Mona to pull pranks on girls and have fun in the woods. He saw Aria kissing her teacher and wrote the warning (probably out of jealousy). Noel offered to stand up for Aria in front of the principal if Mr. Fitz was forcing Aria to have a romantic relationship. Aww, we like Noel better now. Aria asked Noel not to say anything.

So that means we still don’t know who A is. Ughh. Which is creepy, because he/she snuck into Hanna’s hospital room at night and wrote, “Sorry I lost my temper. My bad. Love, – A” on Hanna’s cast. This freaked all the girls out, but we kinda loved it. If A tried to kill Hanna because she "knew too much" and she doesn't really know who A is, what DOES Hanna know that Hanna is missing?

Lucas (the nerdy guy who is friends with Hanna) came into Hanna’s room at night and gave her a kiss while she pretended to be sleeping. During a daylight hospital visit, Hanna questioned Lucas about it and told her that she just wanted to be friends. Lucas left, upset. Bad move, Hanna. That guy would be so great to you. We were impressed that he wasn't willing to pretend that he's okay with their relationship, though. We love honest people.

Hanna also had a creepy dream about Alison coming as a ghost and giving guidance. Alison said that Hanna should start lying more, that telling the truth is what got Alison killed, and that if the girls put their heads together, they could figure out what happened the night Alison died.

Ian and Spencer’s icky sister eloped. The girls decided that there is more than one A, including Alison’s murderer. Mr. Fitz and Aria had some “sweet” moments. Is anyone else ready for them to get caught by parents? Even if he’s cute, it’s not ok. It's illegal. Emily tried to see Toby to explain that she didn’t turn him in, but Jenna wouldn’t let her. Emily called Jenna out for her creepy relationship with Toby. Emily’s dad came upstairs to question her about Toby, and Emily told her dad that she was gay. Emily’s dad was not happy, but he was willing to accept Emily’s decisions and needs. Emily’s mother wanted to take a harder stance against Emily’s homosexuality, but the dad stood up for Emily, saying that she is alive and healthy, and after what he’s seen in war, that counts for a lot. It was sad to see neither parent take the stance that Emily’s relationship was ok, but the dad telling the mom that it’s “who she is” is acceptable, for now. It's better than a lot of girls would get from their dads after telling them this kind of news.

We liked this premiere and there was good direction, but the show can be better. We're glad to have it back.

Episode Grade: B+

This episode is on hulu