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TV Review: CHUCK – Season 4 – “Vs. The Coup d’Etat”

Ryan McPartlin and Armand Assante in CHUCK - Season 4 - "Vs. The Coup D'Etat" | © 2010 NBC

There are only a few shows I look forward to week after week like CHUCK, yet the first part of Season Four has produced three rather lackluster episodes in a row. The show is fumbling. It doesn’t know what to do with the relationship between Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) resulting in silly shtick like (“is our relationship going good?” “Would she marry me if I asked her?”) as opposed to finding quirkier ways of handling these topics that don’t feel as forced.

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TV Review: DEXTER – SEASON 5 – ‘Practically Perfect’

Julia Stiles in DEXTER - Season 5 - "Practically Perfect" | ©2010 Showtime/Cliff Lipson

Bless DEXTER. Five seasons in, it still has the ability to surprise us with twists small and large. In “Practically Perfect,” the show is paying off so many threads already that we aren’t missing the one huge arc of a season-long villain. The show runners have said essentially they can’t attempt to top John Lithgow’s Trinity Killer right away, and that seems a sensible assessment. Instead, they give Dexter (Michael C. Hall) a whole new kind of problem.

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Movie Review: STONE

STONE movie poster | ©2010 Overture Films

STONE takes its title from the nickname of Edward Norton’s character, who when we meet him has done eight years of a ten-to-fifteen sentence for arson; the incident also caused the deaths of Stone’s grandparents, although his cousin was convicted of the murders. Stone is looking to get paroled, which means he has to have some sessions with Jack (Robert De Niro), the prison’s advisor to the parole board on which inmates seem ready to take responsibility for their actions and which ones should stay locked up. Stone has a good time arguing philosophy with Jack and getting the older man’s goat, without ever saying the words Jack needs to hear in order to be comfortable about recommending parole. Instead, Stone’s wife Lucetta (Milla Jovovich) begins a full-court press of persuasion with Jack, who is married to the religiously devout and unhappily alcoholic Madylyn (Frances Conroy).

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Movie Review: MONSTERS

MONSTERS movie poster | ©2010 Magnet Releasing

MONSTERS is an inventive low-budget blend of science-fiction, horror, character study and political parable. It hits this last aspect a bit hard, but otherwise, it’s very entertaining. Director/writer Gareth Edwards admirably avoids the one-two-three-something-jumps-out-of-the-dark scares common to creature features in favor of a steady sense of tension. The film has the “what-if?” factor of DISTRICT 9, the giant entities wreaking havoc of CLOVERFIELD, the astonishing natural splendor of its Mexican/Central American locations and the soul of a low-budget indie.

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Movie Review: MY SOUL TO TAKE

MY SOUL TO TAKE movie poster | ©2010 Rogue Pictures

Wes Craven’s most famous filmmaking creation is still arguably the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise, but the supernatural aspects of his latest offering as writer/director, MY SOUL TO TAKE, are closer to those in THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW and SHOCKER. What’s surprising is that SOUL is sincere about depicting the high school travails of its main characters – this goes well beyond the interest SCREAM (directed by Craven, written by Kevin Williamson) showed in such things. Instead, it’s as though the horror elements of SOUL were married to a John Hughes movie, or even Craven’s school-orchestra drama MUSIC OF THE HEART. Plenty of horror films (including a number of Craven’s) are set in and around high school, but few deal this extensively with high school. The shift in emphasis is a bit surprising, but on the whole, it works.

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Profile: Tom Selleck suits up for CBS’s BLUE BLOODS

Tom Selleck in BLUE BLOODS - Season 1 - "Pilot" | ©2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

In the new CBS series BLUE BLOODS (airing Friday nights), Tom Selleck plays Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, the patriarch of a multi-generational family of cops. At this summer’s CBS TCA’s, Selleck took five to talk about his new role, shooting in New York and the show airing on Friday nights. TAKE 1 About not wanting to be part of an ensemble instead of being the lead … “Having done the lead, like I did with MAGNUM, I was in every shot,” says Selleck. “I’m not complaining, but it was a tough road. The show was never cancelled. I kind of […]Read On »

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Movie Review: SECRETARIAT

SECRETARIAT movie poster |© 2010 Walt Disney Pictures

SECRETARIAT is about a horse called “Big Red” by those who knew him, who was one of the great equine athletes of all time. In 1973, Secretariat won the three races that together are the Triple Crown of American horse racing, setting a speed for the last one that has not yet been matched. It’s a story known to horse race fans and indeed to many people who aren’t into the sport but have heard the statistics.

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TV Review: GLEE – SEASON 2 – “Grilled Cheesus”

Cory Monteith in GLEE - Season 2 - "Grilled Cheesus" | ©2010 Fox/Adam Rose

When you’re going to take on religion, take it on head first and do something powerful with it or humorous. Don’t do something like GLEE does with “Grilled Cheesus” a rather sucky episode that has its intentions in the right place, but yet again doesn’t know how to deliver the goods. Falling somewhere between sappy (Kurt’s dad has a brain aneurysm and is in critical condition in the hospital) and silly (Finn prays to the image of Jesus that ends up burned into the toast of his grilled cheese) it’s a weird blend of spiritualism and comedy that never quite comes together.

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Profile: Jim Belushi becomes one of the DEFENDERS

Jim Belushi in THE DEFENDERS | ©2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

With a mixture of drama and comedy, the new CBS series THE DEFENDERS (airing Wednesday night) features Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell as Las Vegas defense attorneys who will do whatever it takes to help their clients. The characters are loosely based on the exploits of real-life Vegas attorneys Michael Cristalli and Marc Saggese and Belushi takes five to discuss bringing his new colorful persona of Nick Morelli to life. TAKE 1 On talking with actual defense attorneys in preparation for the role … “They’re guys who are put in a position where they have to defend people that most […]Read On »

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