Thursday, April 21, 2011

Quick Reviews: "The Cape," "No Ordinary Family," and "The Illusionist"

Being behind on reviews is never a good thing, so I decided to catch up on the reviews that I have been meaning to do for some time. There are two TV Show reviews and one film review, with most of these reviews being at least a month after I had watched them. I'm going for a paragraph for each, so let's get going:


T.V. Review: "The Cape - Series"

A show a lot better in concept than execution, NBC's attempt at a superhero action show just fell into cliche and comic book cheesiness. The story really tried to create a complex superhero mythology, with our hero, Det. Farrady framed as a criminal kingpin. Farrady gets away, believed to be dead, he sets out as a vigilante known as the Cape to bring the man who set him up to justice. The story had Farrady falling in with an odd ring of criminal circus performers who train him to be an acrobat utilizing a cape using old stage magic tricks to fight crime. Kinda cool, but where the show falls apart is in how melodramatic and over-the-top the showrunners played the relationship between Farrady and his wife and son. I know sometimes in TV subtlety has to be substituted, but the entire series just seemed to rely too much on hitting everything on the nose, and it was hard to ever get involved when you are constantly being told what to think or feel.

I give The Cape an F!


T.V. Review: "No Ordinary Family - S1"

ABC's No Ordinary Family started off promising, but started falling apart midseason as the show seemed to be torn as to which sort of direction they wanted to take the story. The story follows the Powell family, who on vacation in South America survive a plane crash to emerge with super powers. The first few episodes were very reminiscent of early Fantastic Four comic books, and the showrunners did a good job of creating an intriguing mythology that actually works for episodic television, but also feels as if I could have been reading it in a comic book. Where the show often comes apart is when it flips back-and-forth from really fantastic familial, superhero drama (like the first few seasons of Smallville), to this odd sort of sitcomish style dealing with funny scenarios involving their super powers. There was a lack of consistency from episode to episode in terms of tone, style, and even writing, with certain episodes feeling more like a filler than anything. Regardless, No Ordinary Family's first season was enjoyable enough for me to want to see where the story will go from here, I'm just hoping the showrunners can keep an air of consistency in Season 2.

I give No Ordinary Family - Season 1 a C!


Movie Review: "The Illusionist"

Sylvain Chomet's latest animation, The Illusionist, tells an emotional tale of an aging magician and this girl, who believes that the magic he does is real. The movie examines thoughts of loneliness and disillusionment, mirroring the aging aspect of the film's protagonist. The imagery is symbolic, beautifully hand drawn, and it is so charming to see the fluidity and naturalness of movement that still, only hand drawn animation can create. Like Chomet's Triplets of Belville, this movie is void of dialogue, playing more like an old Charlie Chaplin silent film than anything, with the humor similar in tone to City Lights. Without dialogue, in a generation where we are so dependent on quick moving images and fast talking dialogue, the stillness of The Illusionist will turn off many potential viewers. I will be honest and say that near the end I was checking the time on my phone, with the movie feeling as if it drones on for a touch too long. Many ideas are revisited over and over again, to try and I guess hammer home the idea, and it feels a little repetitious. Perhaps, the film may have been more effective as a thirty minute short and not a feature? Regardless, The Illusionist is an acquired taste, so give it a shot and see what you think.

I give The Illusionist a C+!


So that does it. Hope you enjoyed this excursion!

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