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Thursday, July 30th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

“Dark Was the Night” is an interesting movie that follows all of the rules of the classic monster formula’s. Unfortunately, the film is a bit uneven and falls a bit short when it’s final reveal is brought to light.

It’s an age old formula; never show your monster. “Dark” follows this rule very well. We spend a good chunk of this movie only seeing the slightest of hints of what is stalking the small town of Maiden Woods. There are mysterious footprints found about town. There are traces of animal attacks on the local livestock. There are words of worry from local hunters who say that all of the local wildlife has fled the vicinity. There are even those brief moments that we catch just a glimpse of whatever it is that is stalking the town.

All of these moments combine to make for a good dose of tension as we see Sheriff Sheilds and Deputy Saunders try and unravel it all. They also dole out the mystery in good pace throughout the film, leaving we the viewer wondering just what we’re up against. There are hints, but not actual definition, of what might be out there. Unfortunately, it all falls a bit flat in the end once the true form of Maiden Wood’s Menace is fully revealed. Perhaps it’s a matter of personal taste, but once we see what is hunting the towns folk, it makes all of the previous hour plus of tension building fall a bit flat. The creature design is simply not very good. That’s not the only thing holding “Dark Was the Night” back.

For this film, we get to see Kevin Durand take on a rare leading role, that he does pretty well with, yet falls a bit short of great. He shows that he has the chops, though his performance is a bit uneven. Little things like how his accent changes halfway through the movie really stands out. Other actors working around him, such as Lucas Haas do well. There just isn’t a lot of meat for them to work with in the script. Even genre regular Nick Damici makes an appearance, but is unfortunately rather under used.

Other than a few inconsistencies, this isn’t really a fault of the performances though. The script has some weak spots that they’ve tried to add in to give our characters depth and a way for us to connect with them; they just do not add anything to the overall story. Sheriff Shields has a rough past, which leads to a strained marriage and a son that spends time hopping back and forth between mom and dad. On it’s own, it’s not a bad sub plot. The things that happen to the Shields family is bad and makes for some decent drama. It just adds nothing to the story of whatever is haunting the woods around Maiden Woods. This leaves the film feeling a bit over long and leaves us viewers, wondering when they’re just going to get on with it.

That said, this isn’t a bad film and is worth a watch. The tension and mystery are solid for the first two acts of the film, and only fall short in the final ten minutes or so. And again, it’s not enough of a down turn to ruin the entire movie, but makes it feel merely all right as opposed to great.

Also, kudo’s for a quick Steve Agee sighting!

Monday, July 27th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

It’s well known that I base a lot of expectations on a video cover and a plot drop. I know we’re not supposed to, but a good movie cover hints towards a lot of good things to come. In the case of “Crawl”, it’s plot drop hinted of a seedy bar owner, a Croation hitman and hostages and hijinks, all with a “humorous chain of events”. It’s listed as a crime thriller, so naturally, I was curious. As it turns out, “Crawl” is far from anything thrilling.

Pacing in films such as these is crucial, a point in which this movie missed the mark totally. In the case of a movie such as “No Country for Old Man”, a slow pace works well because you’re dealing with a movie that relies heavily on its characters. For “Crawl”, it feels like the director might have gone after some of the key elements that made the former movie more interesting, but failed to give us any characters that were interesting in the slightest.

Really, as I write this, I realize that the pace of “Crawl” wasn’t at all the problem. It’s a movie filled with one dimensional characters that simply aren’t given much to do. Nor are they given any real substance.

First we’re introduced to Marilyn, our damsel in distress. We get a quick blast of back story for Marilyn; we know she’s about to get engaged. We know the lady giving her a ride home from the bar wants her to have a good night for her engagement. Once Marilyn arrives home and the second act begins, she doesn’t have much to work with. All she does is stalk about her house wide eyed, then spends the rest of the film tied to a chair. No reason to connect with her, no reason to sympathize. She’s just kind of there. The same goes for her soon to be fiance. I’d give his name, but I already forgot it. We’re introduced to him through a mere flash back so that and a voice message. We have no insight to the character whatsoever. When the plot of the film over takes him, we barely know who he is. So it’s easy to write him off and forget.

Perhaps the biggest crime for “Crawl”, comes with it’s villains. A solid crime thriller relies heavily on its bad guys and here, they are more of the one dimensional type. Our seedy bar owner is mostly seedy because he snorts a bit of coke and hired this hitman. He also looks like he could use a shower. He also likes to spank the other waitress, for no reason at all. (This scene came completely out of nowhere.) Otherwise, he’s just bland. Our Croation Hitman, the mysterious man that our entire plot hinges upon…is flat out dull. He stalks around silently, everything he does wooden and slow. His face isn’t menacing in the slightest, nor is he imposing. He just seems like an old Croation stomping about and not in a hurry to get anywhere. It really took any of the “thrill” out of the thriller.

It’s a shame, because I think director Paul China puts together a nice looking film. It’s shot very well and has it’s on distinct look and atmosphere. There’s just some serious fault with characters that needs to be addressed.

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Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

While I can’t say there’s necessarily been a ‘buzz’ brewing over “We Are Still Here”, it’s safe to say that the name has been popping up here and there in various circles. My friend CC over at Bloody Good Horror gave it a 10 out of 10, which is a big deal. CC’s a strong critic, she doesn’t through 10′s out lightly. Needless to say, I was intrigued.

As I began to dig around for more info on the flick, I stumbled across the IMDb Listing. I quickly became more curious. This movie promised a stellar cast! Barbara Crampton is a genre veteran all the way back to “Re-Animator”. She’s a damn fine actress! You’ve probably seen Larry Fessenden in more horror flicks than you realize. He’s a pretty hardworking genre actor. Even Andrew Sensening and Lisa Marie are familiar faces throughout film in general. The listing really leads us to think that “We Are Still Here” might have some potential with a main cast so packed with experience. In fact, the only relatively unknown factor, at least to me, was writer/director Ted Geohegan. While the man has a number of producing credits and writing credits, I myself had never really seen his work, so I wasn’t sure what I was in store for.

What I found was a throw back horror film that packs a tightly woven slow burn that evolves into all out chaos that left me on the edge of my seat and dare I say…scared!

Pacing in movies of this type is often crucial and for “We Are Still Here”, the pacing was nailed. Throughout the movie we move slowly, but always feeling like something is lurking just behind us. Mixed with fleeting glimpses of something actually lurking in the shadows, without showing us a grand payoff of what we’re seeing until much later, we get a stifling atmosphere filled with tension and mystery. Just what has happened to this sad and lonely couple living out here in the middle of nowhere? What is it that that lurks in the basement, fleeting just off screen into the shadows? The film moves just slow enough and entices you with things off to the side so that your imagination runs wild on what could be over there in the dark.

As I mentioned earlier, the cast in “We are Still Here” is fantastic. The standouts being Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden. Barbara comes across as frail and disturbed, with a tragic happening in her past that has altered her state of being. We learn more of these happenings over the course of the movie, but she does a wonderful job of conveying just how broken up she is. You can’t help but feel sad for her and empathize from the very beginning, which leads to a heavy duty emotional punch by the end of the film. Larry Fessenden on the other hand, comes across as Larry Fessenden often does; disheveled, quirky and a bit hammy. His character takes a specific turn late in the film though that shows us just what this character actor is capable of, and when he’s running full bore, it’s hard to look away. The other actors in the film do well mind you. All of them have some twists and turns, though some have less of an impact than others. They simply don’t have as big a part of the story.

There are so many aspects to this movie, that lead to making it one of the more enjoyable horror films as of late. It drips atmosphere that will leave you unsettled and has a story that is plausible and makes sense, all while delivering some chills of its own. There aren’t too many twists and turns in the story, it’s fairly straight forward. For this type of film though, they deliver all of the needed back story for everything, doled out over time to keep the hook baited and keep you watching. It’s really well put together.

Then, comes the fun part of “We Are Still Here”. As I said at the top, this film is a slow burner. It takes a lot of time for things to unfold and play out, leading a meandering path to a final climax. When that climax finally comes, “We Are Still Here” erupts into chaos that manages to entertain, frighten and even surprise, all at the same time! There are great makeup effects at work as we are finally treated to full on imagery of what’s been lurking in the shadows. There are blood and guts galore. There’s violence, both surprising and gratuitous! There are many times that slow burner films tend to disappoint with too small of a payoff. Not with “We Are Still Here”. You’ll find yourself both a little giddy, maybe a little grimy by the end of it. You’ll definitely leave feeling fulfilled.

For a true sign of quality horror? I see myself as a bit of a hardened horror fan these days. Perhaps, a bit jaded. I’ve seen a ton of horror movies over the years and not much surprises me. While watching “We Are Still Here”, I had all the lights off in the living room for full effect. When Colleen walked into the living room, I didn’t see her having been too drawn into the movie. When suddenly she snapped on the kitchen light? I jumped about a foot off the couch while screaming, “Oh Shit!” That’s the sure sign of some quality scares!

Monday, May 11th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

I talk to a lot of people about a lot of shows and movies on a daily basis. I’m always interested to hear about things I haven’t seen and might enjoy! It’s how you discover new and entertaining things! The problem is…I watch so much stuff for various podcasts, articles and my own ambitions that sometimes, it takes me awhile to get around to something that’s been recommended.

It’s nothing personal. I can be simultaneously scatter brained and laser focused on nonsense things. What can I say, it’s a gift.

Such is the case with Paul Feig’s Other Space. It’s a new original sci fi comedy from Yahoo Screen. Yes, that Yahoo. Stop laughing, I’m trying to tell you something here. I’m generally down with just about anything sci fi and if it’s a comedy, even better. Galaxy Quest never ceases to entertain me, regardless of how many times I watch it. As I began to come across various articles singing the praises of this new show from a rather untested marketplace, I started to think it was worth checking out.

But i didn’t. Because…you know.

more…

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Monday, September 23rd, 2013 | Author: Casey Criswell

Last night was the Emmy awards and, well, I…don’t really care! I still enjoy TV a heck of a lot though! So, I figured I’d throw out my own personal Emmy award list with four shows that have really caught my attention this summer. There’s no limousines or fancy dresses though, in case you were excited about that.

I’ll freely admit that when I first added scheduled “Broadchurch” to record, it was completely site unseen and due solely to the fact that David Tennant starred in it. Let’s face it; he was a great Doctor Who and a good actor in general from what little I had seen of him outside of the Doctor. I really wanted to see if he could separate himself from the character and shine without the special effects.
Guess what…he really can!

“Broadchurch” is about as far flung from science fiction as you can get, giving us gripping drama that leaves you on the edge of your seat and emotionally floored at time. It’s dark and brooding, as is Tennant’s character and it all flows together so well. The show follows the exact formula of AMC’s “The Killing”, an entire season spent on the investigation of one crime. While “The Killing” itself was pretty great, I’d dare say that “Broadchurch” executes the formula even better. There are so many solid side characters, all with great performances, and the mystery is written so well that it’s taken most of the season to be able to form a solid guess as to ‘who-done-it’.

While I wouldn’t call the ending of each episode a cliff hanger, every episode of “Broadchurch” finishes off with a heavy emotional gut punch that leaves you chomping at the bit for the next episode. Not because you want to see what happens next, but more because you need to.

I had never even heard of “The League” until I saw it pop up on Netflix. Once I became aware of it, I started catching snippets of people talking about it in their usual haunts. Late last week, a friend mentioned that Seth Rogen shows up in it at a later date, so I started to be come curious. I mean, I’ve played fantasy football, I like crude humor and I’m an unabashed Seth Rogen fan. I figured it was something I needed to watch, so Friday night I had some spare time and was caught up on the DVR so I decided to check out the pilot. This morning, I watched the first episode of Season 1 before heading out to work.

In a nut shell, “The League” is hilarious. It’s crude humor, quite offensive at times, but the cast is made up of a great group of lesser known actors and comedians. They all play perfectly off each other and makes for a lot of eye watering hilarity. The tag of “The League” being about Fantasy Football shouldn’t turn you off. It is indeed about Dungeons and Dragons for Jocks, but there’s so much more to it. You don’t need to know anything about Fantasy Football to get the jokes, as they’re most there for setting. The real fun comes with how this group lays into each other with the taunting and slams that I”m sure all of us can connect with in our own friendships. When you find out Katie Aselton can be just as crude and crass as the guys, it gets even funnier. Jon Lajoie’s songs are just icing on the cake here.

“Siberia” has been one of the biggest surprises of the summer season. If you are a horror fan, you really should have been watching this one. The setup is akin to “The Blair Witch” in the way it is presented and used the first person point of view to great effect. Pair this with the fact that these people are on a “Survivor” style reality show and you realize that you’ve been thinking “What If…?” while watching “Survivor” longer than you would have thought.

While the show is far from terrifying, it flows far better than Oren Peli’s attempt at bringing the first person gimmick to TV in “The River”. The editing is well done and works to fool you into believing the reality show setup. Once it starts to flow, it serves to make you feel like you’re uncovering the mystery right along with the contestants that are stuck in the wilds of Siberia. And again, “Siberia” is never really terrifying, but it is confusing, mysterious and creepy all the same. It’s a nice change from the usual attempts at abject terror that this little sub-genre aims for. Plus, the writers lean heavily on historical events, to the extent that actual footage from said historical events show up in later episodes. As a TV viewer, this makes everything even more fun as you sit and try and theorize as to what’s happening here. The show is one part “Blain Witch”, one part “Lost”. Let’s just hope they don’t wind up in Purgatory. I hate when the writers cop-out with Purgatory in these types of shows.

Simply put, “Longmire” is one of my favorite shows on television. While I don’t mind westerns, I don’t consider myself a die hard fan. “Longmire” mixes just enough cowboy with modern sensibilities to make this show a blast. Really, the stories in this show are second to the characters themselves. Walt Longmire is total badass with a humble streak that makes him the polar opposite of Raylan Givens. His past is dark and murky and he’s so humble you can’t help but like him. Lou Diamond Phillips was a bit forced in the first season as Walt’s indian friend, but he’s found his stride in season 2 and really feels like an integral part of the show. Katie Sackhoff is tough as nails, yet endearing. Ferg is a bumbling deputy, but lovable. Branch, Walt’s antagonist is grating and infuriating by design and he carries off the roll well. Even the bad guys are great.

Story wise, “Longmire” is no slouch though. Based off the Craig Johnson novels of the same name, the episodes contain fluid dialog and non-sappy drama. The mysteries are well balanced and well told, with over arching mysteries that grow from season to season. It’s kind of like the “X Files” without the aliens and monsters!

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Monday, June 25th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

It took a long time, but I’m finally getting back to watching movies for watching movies sake. To some extent though, this return to movie watching tends to be dependent on whatever is on Cinemax or HBO while I’m playing Diablo 3! I’ll be damned if I can stop long enough to change the channel!

But seriously though, it feels good to get back to watching movies simply for the sake of it being fun to watch movies. This weekend found me with some extra time, so I indulged quite a bit.

First up….


Abraham Lincon: Vampire Hunter

For a more indepth review on this one, you’ll have to be sure to check in to the upcomng Bloody Good Horror Podcast. For our purposed here, I’ll just go ahead and say: I enjoyed the hell out of it! In fact, my comment to Colleen afterward was; “that was dumb as hell, but by god I loved it!”

Let’s be fair here: The premise is down right zany. The book was pretty zany too, although quite enjoyable. To expect anything less that zany in the movie version is just setting yourself up for disappointment. The crazy wire fu antics an over the top action scenes are this flick’s bread and butter. The story is secondary, yet still fun. For those of you coming from the book, this story is fairly different. Overall it is very condensed chopping out a good portion of the middle such as the Speed family and Abe’s rise through politics. It still hits the major points though! The ending however, is fairly different. Still, good fun all the same.

Safe House

BEEFCAKE! Er…Denzel and Ryan Reynolds. The commercials for “Safe House” pretty much spell everything out for you; there’s reall no big mystery going on here. For an action/spy flick, this one’s pretty by the numbers. However, Denzel is star caliber and Reynolds is getting there, so the acting makes this pretty watchable. The action sequences are pretty rote as are the twists but…it’s engaging. That’s really all I can say. Denzel’s Tobin Frost character is a good one and Reynold’s green behind the ears CIA agent is pretty solid as well.

That said, I can honestly say that I’m glad that I waited for video on this one (read: Screeners!) as opposed to shelling out ticket $$ for it when it was at the theaters. It was pretty good; not really $12 good though.

Project X

This flick promised a lot with it’s trailers. The crazy party, hints of some truly out of this world events taking place at said party, yadda yadda. Being a fan of the handheld trope when done right, I figured this would be worth a shot since that was the main gimmick they were going for. In a lot of ways, this worked in “Project X”; it had some really solid moments and some cool stuff going on from time to time. None of it really turned out to be mind blowing though. In the end, I sat through this expecting something outrageous to happen but instead I was given….”Animal House” as shot by handhelds. This still makes for some good laughs and a decent flick but it was just somewhat anticlamtic by the time it was all said and done.

The characters were are main driving force in this one and really, “Thomas” and “JB” did a pretty decent job. I’d have to say “Costa” did a decent job too, but if I was Thomas, Costa would have been murdered pretty early on. Then again, that just means that the kid play Costa was doing his job right!

All in all? I’d watch it again.

American Psycho

I watched about half of a lot of movies while playing Diablo 3, but most of them I’d glance over at pay attention to for 10-15 mintues at a time. It shows the power of this classic that I actually pushed the keyboard and mouse away and sat and watched “American Psycho” through to the end. Especially considering I’ve seen it three or four times already!

There’s much to say that hasn’t been said before about “American Psycho”. Christian Bale was simply fantastic at the role and there’s not much arguing it. I can say that having read the book in the time since my last viewing, it was pretty cool to see how well they did adapting it to a film. There’s a lot of idiosyncracies that were spelled out in internal monologues in the novel that actually translated well to the big screen. My first viewing, I’m not so sure I caught all of the subtleties, but they definitely stood out post read.

And finally….

True Blood 5×3: Whatever I Am, You Made Me

This season still can’t make up it’s mind if it’s going to be any good or not. All I can say is that so far, it’s better than Season 4. Man, they’re getting a bit long winded in parts though. Then again, I’m biased. I can ‘t freaking stand Tara and I’m still pissy that they didn’t keep her dead after Season 4. I honestly don’t know home much more I can take.

On the plus side? The Pam history lessons are fantastic! (As is the Pam.)

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Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

In the wake of myself trying to make changes for the better, I’ve taken to waking up at obscene hours of the morning and riding the exercise bike. To help pass that time, I’ve been chewing through TV series on Netflix. So far, I’ve gone through the second season of “Supernatural” which was quite a bit of fun, but after copious amounts of word of mouth on my various forums and on my twitter stream, I decided to check out the first season of “The Killing” on a lark.

Man am I glad I did!

Of the many things I heard about the show, little of it had to do with the plot itself. I really had no idea what I was in for when I hit play on the first episode. I’ve heard many comparisons to “Twin Peaks” which lead me to believe we’d be seeing a lot of weird and trippy stuff but that wasn’t the case. The show IS reminiscent of “Twin Peaks”, but that comparison is due to the show’s structure rather than bizarre antics. The entire first season follows the murder investigation of a teenage girl named Rosie who was found brutally assaulted. From there, we watch as this long over arching story unfolds and intertwines the lives of at least four different groups; Detective Li nden and her partner Holder. Rosie’s parents who are understandably devastated by the turn of events. A young teacher that was influential in Rosie’s life. And finally, a politician running for Mayor of Seattle, who’s campaign is oddly roped in to the ongoing murder case.

To put it bluntly; I find the show captivating. The dreary landscape of Seattle is captured pretty masterfully to give the show an underlying current of gloom and doom. This is a great fit as the story is full of gloom and doom. Adding to the depth of the show is the fantastic character development that is going on. Our main character, Detective Sarah Linden is struggling with the case as much as she is struggling with her personal life. You feel that she IS a good detective though, so it’s not inept ability that has kept her from solving the case thus far. Even her partner Holden has an air of mystery around him, knowing that he’s come from the undercover narcotics division and has a shady manner about him.

The plight of Rosie’s parents, played by Brent Sexton and Michelle Forbes, is downright heart breaking at times. They’ve captured the sense of exasperation that you would expect to come with a family who’s had the floor ripped out from beneath them. Sexton who comes from a shady past wants to use his old ways to find closure, but can’t bring himself to do it. Forbes wants to care for and help with her family, but can’t bring herself out of her deep depression. As a parent, this side of the story is very very effective and helps to make for some gripping moments.

Really, now that I think about it, it’s the great character arches that make “The Killing” shine. The plot is straight forward as far as murder mysteries go; nothing crazy or out of the ordinary here. It’s the fact that that they peel back a new layer each and every episode on each and every character revealing just a bit more that brings you back each time. Just fantastic story telling all around.

There is not much in the way of gore here, so if you’re worried about a show called “The Killing” about a murder mystery being too oogey…it’s not very bad at all. In fact, while the events and the effects of said events are truly horrifying…I wouldn’t even label “The Killing” as horror. It’s a mystery/drama. Actually…it’s great TV. That should be enough to get you to watch.

It makes great viewing for my early hours on the exercise bike. When I’m not feeling quite up to getting back in the saddle at 5:30 AM, the promise of the next episode does help to motivate a bit!

Season 2 of the “The Killing” starts up on April 1st over on AMC. Probably not enough time to cram Season 1 in before then if you haven’t seen the show yet but trust me…you NEED to see Season 1 first before you dive in! You can count on me having Season 2 sitting on the DVR until I catch up!

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Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

Last year saw the first nomination for the Bloody Good Horror Podcast in the ‘Best Horror Multimedia (Audio or Podcast)’ category and it was a pretty great honor. We worked long and hard on the show, so it felt pretty great to be honest. This past Sunday, the nominees for the Rondo Hatton Awards were posted and the Bloody Good Horror Podcast was nominated once again! Two years in a row? Not too shabby indeed!

The real surprise came when I saw my shows in the list, twice.

That’s right, after only 5 episodes, the 1951 Down Place podcast was nominated for “Best Horror Multimedia” as well! The comments we’ve gotten on the show have been nothing but positive and to have a nomination so soon after starting is pretty mind blowing!

So, if you’re inclined to do so, they’ll be taking ballots at the Rondo Awards until April 1st. This is an email process, and you do not have to vote in every category! So when you see the monster list of nominations, don’t worry if you don’t know what half of it is! The podcasts can be found in category #23, and all details can be found at the official Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards site!

As to the matter of voting for the Bloody Good Horror Podcast of the 1951 Down Place? I’ll leave that entirely up to you. I’m partial to both of them!

P.S. Fair warning: If the Dad and his Weird Friends Book Podcast gets nominated for anything? I’ll be running the risk of being positively full of myself!

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

This past Sunday saw the premier of TNT’s alien invasion epic Falling Skies. As the shameless sci-fi nerd that I am, I made sure to give it a watch. Granted, I missed the airing on Sunday night, but since the show is a TNT original, it’s guaranteed that the network will replay the ever loving hell out of it! The premier was a two hour event, showing the first two episodes of the series. What I found was a fairly enjoyable end of the world science fiction romp that makes for some good summer entertainment.

The Good.

I found a number of things to suck me into this show, the front runner being the over-arching alien invasion plot. We’ve forgone the whole setup which can be boring as origin stories are wont to be. We start off a few years into the invasion as humanity lives in hiding and is starting to for a resistance to their alien overlords. Sure, they use a rather generic info dump to us to this point, but it ferry’s past the overdone territory that movies of this kind generally takes. We’re forced to take the characters at face value which is okay; none of them are overly complicated.

The aliens are handled fairly well in this setup as well. They’re not the standard bipedal extension of ourselves (which the writers make a point to touch on in the second episode). It’s nice to see an alien creature that looks…alien to our fleshy selves. They’ve run a bit shallow on giving us a reason to fear these beasties other than their superior hardware; we’re told a couple of times that they are hard to kill unless you get in close, but we really don’t see any reason as to why they’re so hard to kill. This is a passable problem though, as the characters seem to be learning about these creatures at the same rate we are.

As for end of the world scenarios, the current trend is to show us one or two people facing off against unspeakable odds. In “Falling Skies”, we’ve had it drilled into our heads that this stars Noah Wyle, yet he’s not the sole focus. What we find is a fairly large resistance army forcing some civilians to step up and become freedom fighters. The group dynamic is a nice change from the norm and from a writing perspective; it should lend itself to some nice side stories involving secondary characters while Noah Wyle runs around spouting historical anecdotes. Also, it looks good. For a TV show, they have a nice bit of urban decay going on!

The Not So Good

Genre TV lends itself to over acting, some moments in the first two episodes of “Falling Skies” gets a bit hard to swallow. In the second episode we’re shown an outlaw band, your standard post-apoc misfit gang mind you, led by an ex-con. The setup is sound; the ex-con is not so sound. The man has his moments mind you, but his performance is so hammy that it’s a bit distracting from the drama in any given scene. The man wants to be Iggy Pop so bad, he can taste it! His little band of merry bikers replete in black leathers and rock star bling are a bit groan worthy too. That said, they still make good use of him for some self-referential jokes.

Noah Wyle as an actor is fine. In fact, I rather enjoyed him in the first “Librarian” movie. His character here in “Falling Skies” is a former historian, specifically US History and apparently, military history. In these two opening episodes, when Wyle is running around being dad and solider, he is fine. The writers however seem to be working overtime on making the character drop various tid bits of history. I would hope that these historian tidbits will become more important later on in the show but as they are right now; it’s forced, it’s disjointed and a bit annoying. The character brings up moments of US history at odd times, generally in times of one on one reflection with another character. As of right now; they don’t add much weight to the situation. Maybe they will add more later.

In the End…

Ultimately, “Falling Skies” falls firmly in the “not bad” category for sci-fi TV. I found it compelling enough to give the show a few more episodes. The post alien invasion world is well setup and already established, so we can get straight to the meat and potatoes. Noah Wyle makes for a decent lead, though they need to tighten up his character a bit. The rest of the cast is adequate with a couple of standouts, mostly Moon Bloodgood and Will Patton. Though the show has done nothing to reinvent the genre yet, it doesn’t feel like a ‘planet of the week’ type of show like other sci-fi series. The overarching story line is enough to keep me engrossed for a bit with a little bit of leeway for some one off adventures.

I’d say I’m looking forward to see what they’ve got planned for episode three, but I wouldn’t call myself a fervent fan as of yet.

So now, the million dollar question! Did you tune in for the series premiere? If so, be sure to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments!

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell


Sean Bean is “Sean Bean” in “Yay! Sean Bean is Wearing Armor and Swinging a Sword Again!”

One could argue that Sean Bean has gotten himself stereo typed here as of late. He’s been a Gondorian knight in “Lord of the Rings”, he’s Ned Freaking Stark in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and now, he’s the knight Ulrich in Christopher Smith’s 2010 feature “Black Death”. It’s pretty standard that if you need an older rugged looking dude to swing a sword about, Sean Bean’s your guy. As stereo types go; who really cares? Sean Bean is really freaking good at the whole knight in shining armor schtick and I for one, am happy to see him reprise the roll again and again!

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