The Morning After: June 13, 2011

Today, I’m going to go with a new format for The Morning After. Each film will have its own separate review posting and this article will bear links to each individual movie review. The only review content that won’t merit it’s own page will be television series reviews, which will continue to be highlighted in this article.

So, here is what I watched this weekend:

Super 8


A film that could just as easily have been called Stand By Me 2: The Alien Threat. There’s seldom a spark of originality mixed in this hopelessly old fashioned film. The homage to Spielberg is little more than mimicry and J.J. Abrams has yet to prove he can handle a non-derivative story by himself. I fully expect his next film will be called The Lens Flare Strikes Back which will feature nothing but lens flares of different shapes, sizes and dimensions. Or perhaps he should consider doing an homage to Michael Bay since Abrams might actually be able to do better than he and not pale so much in comparison.

Gumnaam


Urdu for “Unknown/Anonymous” this Bollywood flick from 1965 adapts the acclaimed Agatha Christie novel And Then There Were None (Ten Little Indians in some territories) for the fourth time to the big screen. Mostly faithful to the stage version of the production, a few less deaths and a convoluted, lengthy ending make for a stark difference. Mix in eight musical numbers and you’ve got an overlong film that, if it weren’t in color, would have felt more at home in the 1930s than the 1960s.

Downton Abbey

A marvelous British drama following the family and staff who inhabit Downton Abbey just before World War I. While none shall replace Upstairs Downstairs as the preeminent combination of upper class/lower class interpersonal dynamics, this is a superb companion to that vaunted series. The show features strong performances, an gorgeous visual palette and captivating dialogue. After only three of seven episodes from the first season, I can tell this is going to be a series I take great pleasure in watching. After all, seldom do you find a show that steadily improves with each new episode.

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