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Non-Review Review: The Oranges

There’s an interesting film in here, somewhere. The Oranges teases the possibility of brutally exposing the seedy underside of suburban life, as we follow an affair between a married man and his best friend’s daughter, but The Oranges is far too shallow to land anything resembling a killing stroke. The adult cast is composed of talented veterans, but the script doesn’t give them much to do – instead The Oranges treats their children as the focal point, misjudging the talent of young actresses Leighton Meester and Alia Shawkat. It all feels too light, too cosy, and too willing to pick the low-hanging fruit to really create an interesting study of life in the ‘burbs.

Keeping it in the family...

Keeping it in the family…

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Not Quite Total Recall: Taking the Paul Verhoeven out of Paul Verhoeven Films…

I’m actually a pretty forgiving guy when it comes to Hollywood rebooting and remaking older films. After all, these newer films don’t diminish the original. It’s fantastic if a writer and director can boldly reimagine an established property like Christopher Nolan did with Batman Begins, but there’s no big loss if the film fails. We’ll just collectively forget about, return to our cherished DVD copy of the original and there’s no real problem. So I actually don’t mind Hollywood returning to familiar themes, plots, characters, settings and ideas. However, with Hollywood producing a spate of blockbuster remakes of cult Paul Verhoeven films, I can’t help but wonder if they are completely missing the point.

Head wrecking…

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Non-Review Review: Monsters vs. Aliens

I do quite like Monsters vs. Aliens, even if it feels like it’s trying to do too many vastly different things are once. It’s too goofy and silly to be a genuinely emotional morality tale about appreciating those different than us, while also being too sentimental to work as a sort of a goofy hokey monster mash nostalgia trip. One gets the sense that it could have been a much better film had it opted for one approach rather than the other, instead of trying to straddle the middle ground between them. It’s a shame, because it has some genuinely impressive sequences and warm sense of respect and good humour for all those classic creature features, but it just ends up feeling too much like a standard cookie-cutter modern animated film.

It's a Monster Mash!

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House: Season 5

It’s a strange world. It’s startling that last year’s writers’ strike produced one the most stunning years of television that I can recall. In particular the fourth seasons of both House and Lost managed to inject a new sense of life into premises that had been wearing more than a little thin. Both series finales were fantastic, and promised wonderful things for the coming year. And both series subsequently failed to live up to the promise offered by those finales. In fairness, Lost was pretty awesome this year, just not with the same concentration of awesome which defined its earlier season. House, on the other hand, faltered coming out of the date by giving us a whole myriad of poorly-handled interesting storylines and just blain terrible subplots. Just when it looked like it was going to limp past the finish line, the last handful of episodes managed to turn it around, but I’m still not sure what to make of the season as a whole.

The show had its problems this year, let's see if we can make a diagnosis...

The show had its problems this year, let's see if we can make a diagnosis...

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