from Pantperthog to Knockando

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Small Screen review

A couple of movies I’ve watched on DVD recently…

Serenity
My friend June introduced me to the genius that was Joss Whedon’s Firefly, a genre-defying sci-fi series that was cruelly cancelled by the kind of idiots responsible for Brainmush TV scheisse like Love Island. Serenity is the feature film version of Firefly, which reunites the original cast and takes the story to a whole new level.

What I admired most about this was that it lost none of the raw energy of the TV series, and it didn’t try to retell the story so far. Instead it filled in the gaps, but in such a way, that I don’t think you’d have to have seen Firefly to get what was happening. True, seeing the TV series first will make it more meaningful for you, but Serenity isn’t just for Firefly fans. It has zippy dialogue, an interesting plot and isn’t afraid to dispense with some pretty important characters (no spoilers!).

Jongudmund’s rating: 8/10

Where the Heart Is
Irony Boy put up a strong fight, but eventually succumbed to watching this chick flick with us last night. It’s got Natalie Portman in, who I’ve always rated since seeing Leon years ago, despite the mediocrity of Star Wars 2 & 3 (Garden State redeemed her after those disappointments). She seems to be one of those movie stars who divides opinion – you either loathe her, or aren’t bothered. I’m not quite sure why she generates such dislike, but my sidekick and my sister-in-law both reckon they can’t stand her.

Anyway, moving on to the film. I thought it was OK. Portman is good as the pregnant heroine who is abandoned by her feckless boyfriend at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma. After living and giving birth in the store she makes friends with a bunch of odd characters, including the perpetually sprogged up Ashley Judd, while Stockard Channing steals the show as the slightly batty “Sister”.

The only major criticisms I’d make is that this feels a bit dated (it’s six years old); a couple of important plot-twists happen off-screen and are then ‘explained’ by the characters; and much of it is predictable. When a character says “I’ll be right back!” before wandering off into a tornado, you know they’re being optimistic. But there were some laughs, mainly at inappropriate graces said before meals, and it had a happy (if cheesy) ending.

Jongudmund’s rating: 5.5/10

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