Film review: Paul (2011)

In a comment to my review of the three Simon Pegg-Nick Frost comedies, reader sumdum suggested that I might also enjoy seeing another film involving this pair and that is Paul, in which the duo leave the cozy confines of the English pub and play two science fiction graphic novel fans who attend the annual Comic-Con in San Diego and then go on a road trip in an RV to visit all the sites in the US that are believed to been the site of extra-terrestrial visitations.
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Film review: The English pub trilogy

Recently I watched three films in rapid succession: Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), and The World’s End (2013). Although they are all distinct films with different characters and the stories are unrelated, they form a trilogy in that all three were written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, were directed by Wright, and starred Pegg and Nick Frost who plays Pegg’s sidekick. They also featured appearances by Martin Freeman (all three films), Bill Nighy (two films), Steve Coogan (one film), and two ex-Bonds Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton (one each).
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The United States of Secrets-Part One: The Program

Last night I watched online the above two-hour Frontline program that was broadcast earlier this week on public television and it is well worth seeing. It tells the history of the NSA’s secret surveillance programs, focusing on the period from just before the events of 9/11 and leading up to soon after Barack Obama took office as president in 2008. The story of Edward Snowden and his leaks are used to bracket this story but is not the main focus. Part 2 deals with the role of the major internet companies and will be broadcast next week on public television stations and will also be on the internet.
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Film review: August: Osage County (2013)

This is a good film despite the fact that its central premise is a well-worn one, that of a dysfunctional family that has dispersed as the children became adults but then reconvene in the family home in an isolated part of Oklahoma due to a tragedy. In the course of a day or two, long-simmering feuds and rivalries and resentments resurface and long-suppressed secrets are revealed. Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the prototype of such dramas.
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Parody of Matrix Reloaded

As long-time readers know, I am a sucker for parodies and if there was one set of films that were just begging to be mocked in that way, it has to be the Matrix series. I saw only the first one and while the special effects were fun, the story made little sense and its earnest attempts at philosophizing were so risible that I decided not to see anymore. I tend to avoid sequels anyway.
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Goodbye ‘Stephen Colbert’, hello Stephen Colbert

With the announcement that Stephen Colbert will leave his current show and replace David Letterman as the host of CBS’s The Late Show, there has been speculation of what he will do in his new venue and what Comedy Central will place in his time slot. Of course, Colbert going on broadcast TV, the supposedly mainstream entertainment channels, has made his right-wing enemies apoplectic as a further sign of traditional values being destroyed, with Rush Limbaugh fuming that “CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservatism. Now it’s just wide out in the open.”
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Uncredited actors in films

While I was watching American Hustle I was surprised to see Robert De Niro appear in it since he was not listed as a cast member anywhere. One occasionally sees well-known actors appear in films without any billing and I wondered about why that was the case since their presence would usually make the film more appealing.
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