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Big Bang Theory

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I only just started watching this over Christmas and I devoured the first three seasons in record time. It is such fun---populated with highly quirky characters and sophisticated writing, and enough Star Trek, Star Wars and Marvel comic book references to satisfy everyone. We have all three (123 ) of the seasons.

Leonard and Sheldon are both brilliant physicists---colleagues, best friends and roommates. They are also friends with their Cal Tech colleagues, mechanical engineer Howard and astrophysicist Raj. They can explain the workings of the universe, but these 4 self-professed nerds know little about the real world. This is not a typical 'let's make fun of the nerd' show---the characters and the audience are treated with a great deal of respect.

While you're at it check out the non-fiction series 'Through the Wormhole'. Hosted by Morgan Freeman, this excellent 8 part series explores the deepest mysteries of existence and the questions that have puzzled mankind for eternity. Who or what are we? Are we alone? How did life begin? What happened before? Are we real or a computer simulation and how would we know? The series brings together the brightest minds and best ideas from the very edges of science to reveal the extraordinary truth of our universe. I am not through it yet- I find I have to stop and digest each episode for a few days after I watch it, but I have sure enjoyed the five I have seen so far.

by Moe

When Machines Go Bad

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Several of these films have been previously recommended under a variety of different posts. We humans do love our machines---anything that makes our lives easier, happier, less tedious. Things can look so good on the surface, but of course it is often just a facade to hide the underlying dystopia. And in a couple of the films there is no facade. The dystopia is real and the machines are in charge. I know I'm not an android---how about you.............

2001- A Space Odyssey- people tend to find this movie brilliant and prophetic or completley inscrutable. Either way, there is no denying that HAL was a great villian.

Blade Runner- Ridley Scott's classic from 1982. Harrison Ford has to track down and terminate 4 replicants who hijack a ship in space and return to earth seeking their maker.

Day the earth stood still- watch the far superior original with Michael Rennie. It should be perfect casting to have Keanu Reeves as the flat and emotionless Klatu in the remake, but alas, Reeves can't even pull this off.

Metropolis- Fritz Lang's classic silent movie- this should be on everybodies must see list.

I Robot- with Will Smith. Pretty decent flick---part science fiction, part murder mystery.

Westworld- Mel reviewed this one previously in one of her western posts. This was hugely popular when it came out in 73 and still stands up well.

Stark Trek First Contact- oh how I love to hate the Borgs- to my mind the best alien/villian/cyborg ever.

Iron Giant- this is one for the whole family, even the little ones. It is a wonderful cautionary tale told without beating us over the head with the message. And speaking of the whole family, you must see Wall-E. Neither one of these are in any way scary-just delightful.

Logan's Run-not a lot of robots in this, but certainly a lot of dystopia.

Transformers- loud, fast and too much going on at any given moment, this one is for either die hard fans of the series or die hard fans of Michael Bay. We also have the complete first season- animated.

No such post would be complete without The Matrix trilogy (1 2 3 ) and Terminator (1 2 3 4 ). Some are great, some our merely adequate, and some are bad. Yes, I am talking about you Terminator Salvation.

by Moe

Irish Once a Year

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If you're Irish once a year, like many folk, or even all year-round, enjoy these 3 lucky movies...

Secret of Roan Inish

A magical tale of a young girl seeking answers about her family's past and her missing brother on the island the family abandoned. Expect the selkie.

In the Name of the Father

Daniel Day-Lewis gives a strong performance as Gerry Conlon, a man imprisoned for an IRA bombing that he did not commit.

Waking Ned Devine

A villager dies and then his lottery win is announced. No point in letting all that money go to waste, decide his friends, in this funny film.


The Shield

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I had some reservations about this 7-season police drama at the beginning. Even with the same people working on it, how could it be as good as The Wire, still my #1 police series, set in 90s Baltimore?

The action in the Shield all takes place in L.A. in an urban neighbourhood where familes live alongside addicts and rival gangs. The show focuses on the local police's strike team, led by Vic Mackie. You may recognize actor Michael Chiklis from The Commish or currently, No Ordinary Family, but now he's playing bad cop.

Mackie's team skims from drug dealers and assaults criminals but have a successful arrest rate. It almost seems justifiable, until he commits an unspeakable act. The rest of the series focuses on the tangled web that results as he tries to manage all the repercussions of his terrible decision. Excellent side plots focus on the work of Wagenbach and Wiems, two detectives who work in his station, and the political strategies of the different police chiefs. The Shield is voyeuristic at times and sometimes the show asks us to sympathize with the strike team and that just makes it even more jarring when its members break the law. As I near the end of the series, I wonder what their fate will be. Stick with it, it opens a lot of discussion


Beast of a Contest

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Hey teens---drop into the TEEN ZONE BLOG and take a look at the recent post---Beast of a Contest---probably the easiest give-away you will ever come across. While you're there stay awhile and take a look around. They have lots of great info, links, homework help line, hot tips, book lists-you can write a review on your favourite book or suggest a title if we don't have it.


Odds and Ends Part 2

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No particular theme here, just a random listing of movies I really like and recommend as a good way to spend a few hours.

About a boy---an engaging movie about a man in serious need of some growing up.

With one of Movie Maniacs favourite go-to guys Michael Caine, we have Zulu from 1964. This is a very well told story of outnumbered and beseiged British soldiers doing battle with Zulu warriors in the 1800's..

From 1995 the highly fictionalized story of Scotish anti-hero Rob Roy. With Liam Neeson and Jessica Lange. Blu-Ray also.

Fried Green Tomatoes- based on Fannie Flagg's delightful story (told in flashbacks) about the enduring friendship between two depression era women.

Shanghai Noon---lots of fun with Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson in a wild west setting. If you aren't familiar with Chan's antics, this is a great introduction- you will not believe how fast this guy can move. We also have the sequel Shanghai Knights which isn't as good as the first (few sequels are), but still okay. I very seldom watch the out-takes from movies, but take the few extra minutes to watch these.

Black Narcissus--- from 1947 and part of the Criterion Collection. Featuring Deborah Kerr playing a missionary nun sent to establish a school in the Himalayas. This won an Oscar for best cinematography and it is stunning.

by Moe