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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friends with Benefits

First of all, it’s better than No Strings Attached. Why? Because it’s both funnier and more realistic. While they are torturous to watch during the first few scenes, the main characters evolve into believable people. There are more Laughs Per Minute than that other movie with this concept. Also, Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake go surprisingly well together as performers.

We’re not sure which leading actor stole the show, because Mila is so freaking gorgeous that it’s hard for even a straight girl to keep her eyes away, and Justin just did a really great job. We think he’s a serious leading man, but we’ve thought that for a while. At least since The Social Network and possibly even earlier. His movie career aspirations are no joke. He made us forget that he was Justin Timberlake and we started to see him as Dylan Harper, young man with commitment issues.

The movie digs a little deeper than No Strings Attached as well. There’s a tear-jerking plotline involving Dylan’s father. It’s raunchier, so many guys being dragged to this total chick-flick should enjoy that. Our group enjoyed the movie and pronounced it a good pick. The old people in front of us kept gasping, scandalized by some of the language and nudity (but they laughed too). So if you like risqué rom-coms, don’t miss this one. Woody Harrelson has a pretty funny character in this as well.

It’s not an “A” because we thought it was lame that it made fun of movie clichés but offered no surprises itself. It’s like the movie was trying to trick us into thinking it was cooler and less conventional than most rom-coms when it was completely by-the-book. Most rom-com fans don’t mind that though/enjoy the predictability. As a result of trying to be edgy, sometimes the movie felt a little forced.

It's very funny that these movies seem to know the truth, and supporting characters are quick to shout out, that meaningless sex never works out super well for both parties. Mila Kunis said in an interview with GQ that she had never had a friends with benefits type of relationship. She said, "It's like communism- Good in theory, in execution it fails." She remarked that she knew friends who did it and it "never ends well." We don't really need Mila or a movie to tell us that. But it's fun to watch two people figure out what everyone in the audience already knows.

Movie Grade: B+

New Show: Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea

Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea
NBC, midseason

Starring: Laura Prepon and Chelsea Handler

Plot: Oh, come on. You've heard of this show. It's getting plenty of buzz. The character of young Chelsea Handler is a funny blonde who likes sleeping around and drinking. We’re pretty sure everyone knows this from watching the real, older Chelsea Handler. The show revolves around her, her dad who has a big personality, her born-again sister Sloane (played by Handler), and her friends and weird roommate. Chelsea works in a bar on the show.

Why We Are Excited: Chelsea Handler is a funny woman and she’s really honest about her skankitude. We’ve both read some of her books, including the book with the same title as this TV show. They were, for the most part, pretty funny. And Chelsea’s late night show is hilarious. Leeard gives this a score of 9.5.

Why We Are Not Excited: One of us can do without Laura Prepon and her man voice. Her acting skills leave something to be desired. Also, once again, this is a laugh track comedy. Unless the writing is great and the other characters are well-defined and equally amusing as Chelsea, we can see this being very one-note. (“There are ginger jokes, Ern! You should be wanting to see this so bad”- Leeard trying to convince Ern to give it a good score. But alas.) Ern gives this a score of 3.5, despite her love of Chelsea and excitement that she’s actually in the series.


Averaged Anticipation Score: 6.5/10

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Friday, July 22, 2011

New Show: Whitney

NBC. Thursdays starting September 22 at 9:30.

Starring: Whitney Cummings (comedienne on Chelsea Lately)

Plot: Whitney is awkward, opinionated, and unconventional. She has a live-in boyfriend who totally loves and understands her, but she worries that boredom and the stresses of life will break them up. So she acts crazy to keep them together.

Why we are excited: Leeard gives this show an anticipation score of nine. She loves Whitney Cummings, and the show will be based on Whitney’s experiences and stand-up comedy routines. You know the woman can produce some funny material when Chelsea puts her on her show, and it’s pretty hard to be a stand-up comedian, let alone a female one. This show should appeal to fans of Friends looking for that kind of character-based relationship humor to re-emerge in a strong way. It looks like the show has a way better shot than Perfect Couples and Better with You to achieve that.

Why we are not excited: Ern gives this show an anticipation score of three. Why? Listen to that laugh track. Watch those mildly amusing scenes in the preview that will probably not make you laugh out loud. This sort of comedy and format is tired and dated to her. It looks like sitcom déjà vu that is totally unnecessary when we have Modern Family and Parks and Rec. But she will give it a two-to-three episode chance to get better than the preview and pilot.


Averaged Anticipation Score: 6/10

Be sure to click on the "##Upcoming Shows## link in the cloud so you can stay apprised. And let us know if you think you will be watching any of them!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pretty Little Liars - Never Letting Go review

Sooooo, the quality of these posts are directly related to whether we feel like taking notes or chatting together during the episode, rather than just being lazy and watching it. Really, it’s not that much of a hassle to jot down two words every five minutes, but that’s how lazy we usually are. This is one of those posts where we are just winging it. Sorry. And here goes.

A’s Fashion Show Prank.......was amazingly hilarious AND a little scary, which is just the way we like them. We enjoyed it, because Alison was a bitch and it’s satisfying to see that announced in front of her whole town. It’s the elephant in the room. Alison was a bully and being dead doesn’t change that. We liked the sound effect screaming “The bitch is baaaack!” That sounded like an evil Avril Lavigne. It was weird that even though we have no attachment to her and she raised Alison, we still felt bad for Alison's mom.

The fashions
Some of them were very cute, but even the cute ones had too much going on. What is that fashion saying about taking one accessory off before you walk out the door? Less is more? And Aria’s last dress made no sense at all. What was that thing? The torso part of it was so unflattering that only a girl as gorgeous as Aria could even pull it off. And what was with the music during the fashion show? It kept repeating “We don’t mind the things we do for fashion” or something. We hate when music is too “on the nose” and that song sounded like something the kids in Juno would listen to while having a fashion show.

Spencer’s dad
Mr. Hastings finally got relevant. He doesn’t like Jason. Jason’s mom hardly likes Jason, because she wanted him out of town, but he came back once he got his own money. This makes us like Jason even more. He’s getting more interesting, and we need another “side mystery” to solve while the show staves off the biggest reveals. This whole Jason situation is keeping the mystery aspect of the show moving while the writers stall and try to distract us with romance.

Samara was less perfect this week! She clearly tried to make Emily jealous to get the relationship on a roll. She brought someone named “Quinn” to the fashion show and started getting flirty with her in front of Emily. Emily freaked a little bit, but the two made up. Dear Emily: Next time Quinn comes around, look in a mirror. You are so much better looking than that girl, it’s sad.

Mona and Toby
Mona is adorable even when she is annoying. Spencer is less adorable when she is annoyed, but makes up for it by kissing Toby, a boy who is so in love that he is skulking in the shadows of a fashion show.

Emily’s Mom
This woman wants some husband sex and is leaving her daughter with messed-up Mrs. Marin in order to get it. Sure, Mrs. Marin has a lot on her plate trying to work out her relationship with Mr. Marin, but this is fine with us. Ashley Marin is the most chill parent on the block, and Emily can finally get into some trouble and have girls stay the night. If Hanna can have a guy stay in the basement, it’s only fair.

Hanna’s mom
We don’t really care if she gets back with her husband. It would be nice for Hanna, and we liked watching her dad trying to win her back and Hanna calling him up to the carpet for bad behavior. But other than that, we really don’t care about this plotline unless A shows up quickly to spice it up.

Caleb, Noel, Jason
Hanna has taken two steps back from Caleb after she kissed him last week, which keeps the tension alive. She finally let him walk her home from the fashion show. Noel Kahn was the DJ, and he was hotter than most DJs. Jason and Aria are getting closer. She let him walk her home. Ezra Fitz was out of town. We approve of all of this. Stamp of approval on this entire paragraph.

Episode grade: A-

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Movies We Watched This Weekend: The Lincoln Lawyer and Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses
The bad news first: This movie is not that witty. The script is nothing to write home about. The good news? The performances are so good that you might not notice. Everyone here has a lot of fun milking every line, moment, and facial expression for all it’s worth, including Jennifer Aniston, who is a lot more fun when she is playing a smart or evil character, rather than the regular “cute girl.”

Jason Bateman plays the same guy he usually plays (Michael in Arrested Development), but who doesn’t like that? (He plays a different kind of guy in State of Play, The Kingdom, Juno, and The Switch, in case you thought he was always the nice everyman.) They showed most of the first half of the movie in the trailer. If you haven’t seen the trailer, avoid the trailer and you will enjoy this movie more than everyone else. The theater laughed enough to make this worth a rental with some buddies and beer in a few months. We laughed.

Movie Grade: B-
The Lincoln Lawyer
There is a pretty nasty dilemma and example of necessary brokenness in the rivalry based legal system. What if you find something out through a client, and in order for justice to be done, someone has to find out, but you can’t tell because of lawyer/client confidentiality? If you break that rule, you can be tossed off the state bar association and even sued. You can’t be a lawyer anymore. There have actually been cases where lawyers knew innocent people were in prison but couldn’t say anything without permission from the client.

Even if you tell what you heard, take the hit, and get another job, the info often can’t be used against your client in court because it is “privileged.” This movie is about a lawyer who has to fix some messed-up things without getting in trouble, betraying his client in the case he was working on, or going to the police. It really is about time someone made a movie about this.

If you like legal dramas and understand the court system at all, this is the movie for you. We get to see Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and Angela Montenegro from Bones as detectives in the movie, which is fun. It’s nice to see that Ryan Phillippe still has a purpose in life (if a small one). The mom from Titanic reprises her role has a snooty rich woman. Matthew McCona-we-are-never-going-to-know-how-to-spell-that-name-whatsit makes a good lawyer, as usual. Marissa Tomei, what are you doing? It’s sad to see an Oscar winner taking a bit role, but there aren’t as many roles for women over 35, are there?

Not groundbreaking, but enjoyable. If you like courtroom dramas/Law and Order, you will be entertained. If you do not, you won’t be.

Movie Grade: B+

Monday, July 18, 2011

Breaking Bad Season Four Premiere Discussion

We like the direction this is going and it looks like the show has still got it. Thanks for tuning in! The audience was at a record high for this show. It seems the word is finally getting out.

As an audience, we've known for a while that Gus will one day have to go. He’s never been a huge fan of Walt, and he’s always hated Jesse. There has been tension between Gus and Walt before. Of course Walt is right that one day it will be Jesse/Walt or Gus. We’re glad to see the show officially begin what is sure to be a wild battle against Gus. This episode meandered a bit. It was a long break, and we guess the show runners decided that the audience needed a reminder of what is going on and where the characters stand.

The big surprise of this episode was the death of Victor. We gasped with Gus took a box cutter to Victor's throat, because it just seemed so out-of-the-blue. Why did Gus kill Victor when Victor was clearly brilliant, observant, and loyal? Well, he sort of blew it at the crime scene with Gale. If Victor can lead from Gale’s murder back to Gus in any way, Victor had to go. Not only did Victor get himself seen, but he didn’t take Gale’s folder full of incriminating information.

Another plus for Gus? He has to know that he’s scared Walt and Jesse into at least a month of obedience. We don’t think Gus snapped or is crazy. He’s too calm and intentional for that. We are sure that Gus had plenty of motives for killing Victor. Maybe there is one that the show hasn't yet given us, but those two things are our best guesses. Ern's cousin thinks that it was a combination of Gus acting out of anger and wanting to affirm is authority, because Victor stepped outside of his appointed job description by cooking. What we really can’t figure out is why Hank is buying so many little rocks on the internet. We don’t even have a guess.

Speaking of Hank: We weren’t impressed with the character until the twins tried to kill him and he got shot. He is a freaking bad ass. But sidelined in bed and being mean to Marie and taking all of Walt’s cash without knowing it? We are starting to hate him again. Anyone who makes us feel bad for Marie is unwelcome. We still see her as the woman who steals things.

Back to Gale’s folder… If Jesse goes to prison for this for even a second, we are going to howl with rage. Jesse’s reactions to his deed and the events of this episode made our bad boy-loving hearts ache even more. But it’s a good twist to have the cops crawling all over that place. For some reason, we forgot that the cops were even around anymore with Hank lying in bed and drug lords being the real threats for so long.

Skyler is getting so much more manipulative! She’s turning into a real Mrs. Heisenberg. We feel like the show needs to examine her motives a little more. It's just money? She's kind of a smart woman who loves her family. We feel like that shouldn't be enough to turn her into Walt's crime buddy. We caught glimpses of Saul acting paranoid. When Saul dies, it had better be memorable. For now, we just want to see more of him. He's a good, funny character.

Walt has also been annoying us a little bit with his begging and rambling. This time, it was understandable, because he was trying to talk Gus into thinking that he needs Walt/begging for his life. But Walt does a lot of explaining and pleading. It’s as if he doesn’t even know he’s been WRONG for more than three seasons. Gus is not your wife, Walt. And the same tactic didn't really do wonders with her either (leaving a bag of money in her vicinity did though).

Jesse is continuing on what we think (hope?) is just a very rocky path to redemption. He spent most of the episode in shocked silence. He’s not out of the woods yet, but he’s headed out. Unless the show kills him. He was supposed to die a long time ago, did you know? The writers changed their minds. Nothing is safe to assume with this show.

As for Walt? We don’t see him ever getting his compassion and integrity back. And we like it. Bring on Kingpin Walt and then kill him in the end. That’s what we would do. However, once again, we are not certain of Walt's fate. He still has a sweet loyalty to Jesse. For the most part, he seems to have lost his center. He's a mess and he didn't feel bad about ordering Gale's death at all. Gale was kind of a nice guy too, for someone who cooked drugs.

Quite a bit of blood and gore in this premiere. If we were comparing Breaking Bad with any other show on TV, we would give this premiere an A. But that’s not fair, so we will compare it with itself/its other episodes. What was it missing? A lot of this show's signature black humor and fun. And after such a long wait, they needed to give us more plot rather than spend time reacquainting us with the situations.

Episode Grade: B-

And check out this analysis of how much time has actually passed on this show:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

New Show: Awake

Midseason replacement

Starring: Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter, The Patriot), Cherry Jones (24), Wilmer Valderrama (That '70s Show).

Plot: A police detective wakes up after a car accident involving his family (a wife and son) and spends the show alternating between two realities. In one, his son died in the crash, in the other, his wife did. He has different cases in the different realities, different partners, and even different shrinks. Details from the realities overlap in the cases he has to solve. Understandably, he has no desire to eliminate either reality and give one of his loved ones up.

Why we are excited: We love Jason Isaacs. He was so excited and grateful to be in Harry Potter. Every time we read a quote by that guy, he just sounds so appreciative of his life. He usually does a good job when he’s in things. Also, the trailer is great. Listen to that music. We felt a little of the emotional impact. We love when they put supernatural spins on procedurals. The premise is interesting. This is probably the new show we want to see the most.

Why we are not excited: One of the youtube commenters said it all- The trailer will probably be better than the show. It’s a lot to live up to and it had better not disappoint. How can it be as affecting as it looks? Also, why do we have to wait for midseason? UGH.

Anticipation score: 10/10

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Breaking Bad Season Four Premiere Tonight!!!!!!!!!

Need a reminder or summary of what's happened?

And just a warning: This blog is about to become Breaking Bad central.