Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Weekend Box Office Oct 25-27, 2013

1.  Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa - $32 million - 1 wk (Par)
    3336 screens / $9592 per screen
2.  Gravity - $20.3 ($199.81) - 4 wks (WB) -32.4%
3707 / $5476
3.  Captain Phillips - $11.8 ($70.07) - 3 wks (Sony) -28.1%
3143 / $3754
4.  The Counselor - $8 - 1 wk (Fox)
3044 / $2628
5.  Cloudy with Meatballs 2 - $6.1 ($100.61) - 5 wks (Sony) -36.9%
3111 / $1961
6.  Carrie - $5.9 ($26.02) - 2 wks (SG) -63.4%
3157 / $1869
7.  Escape Plan - $4.34 ($17.42) - 2 wks (LG) -56.1%
2883 / $1505
8.  12 Years a Slave - $2.15 ($3.41) - 2 wks (FS) +132.8%
123 / $17,480
9.  Enough Said - $1.56 ($13.02) - 6 wks (FS) -11.2%
835 / $1862
10. Prisoners - $1.06 ($59.12) - 6 wks (WB) -48.5%
1347 / $789
11. Insidious Chapter 2 - $.88 ($82.14) - 7 wks (FD) -41.1%
1229 / $718

Johnny Knoxville, I would hope, should get a big percentage of the profits for Paramount as the writer, producer and star of the relatively cheap Jackass franchise. Knoxville is able to go where Sacha Baron Cohen no longer can in this big-screen Candid Camera movie.

The Counselor is directed by Ridley Scott, written by Cormac McCarthy, and stars Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, but the studio had a review embargo until the day before, treatment usually reserved for movies like Deuce Bigalow.

12 Years a Slave is staying strong in limited release.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Gravity - Movie Review

Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron.


It amazes me that Sandra Bullock wasn't the first choice for this role. Other actresses had been attached here and there but dropped out. I say that because this seems like an opportunity that every actress in Hollywood would kill for. Bullock is the #1 female star right now, and this role just gives her the chance to show us still why.

And while her acting's really good, Cuaron is her equal. He's directed varied projects (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Children of Men, Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban), but this puts him in front-runner status for Best Director. He's taken the medium of film and reminded us all what it can do. It actually reminds me of the tricky job last year's winner had (Life of Pi's Ang Lee).

I saw this in IMAX 3-D, and that's really the way to experience this. As big a screen as possible so we too can get lost in space.

The plot isn't too complex. Anything that can go wrong does go wrong in this walk in space, and two astronauts find themselves trapped 600 miles above the Earth.  Clooney is the co-star, but there are large amounts of time where Bullock is isolated and alone, doing her best to remember her training as she tries to figure out how to survive in scenarios too fantastical for Houston to think up worst-case.

If you're one of the few who hasn't seen it, do yourself a favor and see it on the big-screen. Watching it on your tablet in six months just won't do it justice.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Mr. Peabody & Sherman - Trailer

Movie 43 - DVD Review

Starring Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, Emma Stone, Kieran Culkin, Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Patrick Warburton, Jimmy Bennett, Matt Walsh, Richard Gere, Kate Bosworth, Seann William Scott, Jack McBrayer, Aasif Mandzi, Johnny Knoxville, Gerard Butler, Common, Seth MacFarlane, Halle Berry, Stephen Merchant, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Duhamel, Justin Long, John Hodgman, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Leslie Bibb, Kristen Bell and Terrence Howard.
Directed by Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Steven Brill, Elizabeth Banks, Brett Ratner, Griffin Dunne, James Gunn, Steve Carr and Rusty Cundieff.

This movie exists solely to make the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game easier to play. (Bacon and Emma Stone were in Crazy Stupid Love).

I don't know how or why all these famous people got together to make such an atrocious movie. It's like the worst ideas from Saturday Night Live were thrown into a stew with the worst ideas from South Park, and that stew was then cursed by an evil witch seeking revenge against the townspeople who burned her mother 400 years ago.

Actually there was one skit that was funny. The Terrence Howard one, where he's a 1950's basketball coach trying to inspire his team by pointing out that "you're black, they're white, YOU'RE GOING TO WIN!" and the team not believing him.  Everything else in the movie is horrific and terrible.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Gravity is still #1, Carrie #3

1.  Gravity - $31.03 million ($170.57) - 3 wks (WB) -28.2%
     . . . 3820 screens / $8123 per screen
2.  Captain Phillips - $17.3 ($53.3) - 2 wks (Sony) -32.7%
     . . . 3020 / $5728
3.  Carrie - $17 - 1 wk (SG)
     . . . 3157 / $5385
4.  Cloudy with Meatballs 2 - $10.1 ($93.14) - 4 wks (Sony) -26.7%
     . . . 3602 / $2804
5.  Escape Plan - $9.8 - 1 wk (LG)
     . . . 2883 / $3399
6.  Prisoners - $2.07 ($57.26) - 5 wks (WB) -43.2%
     . . . 2160 / $956
7.  Enough Said - $1.8 ($10.79) - 5 wks (FS) -5.8%
     . . . 757 / $2378
8.  The Fifth Estate - $1.71 - 1 wk (BV)
     . . . 1769 / $969
9.  Runner Runner - $1.63 ($17.54) - 3 wks (Fox) -56.9%
     . . . 2011 / $808
10. Insidious Chapter 2 - $1.53 ($80.92) - 6 wks (FD) -43.6%
     . . . 1665 / $921

Gravity is now the tenth-highest grossing movie of the year, and Captain Phillips is keeping pace behind it. Both movies are considered favorite to get multiple Oscar nominations when that time comes around.

The Carrie remake did okay. Not great, but it'll make its money back.  Escape Plan showed that Sly & Arnie can bring in more together than alone, but their days of dominating the box-office are loooong gone.  The WikiLeaks drama The Fifth Estate is a huge bomb. Julian Assange has trashed the movie to anyone who'll listen.

In limited release, 12 Years A Slave was a smash hit, with over $50,000 per screen average.  Also successful were All Is Lost (starring Robert Redford) and Kill Your Darlings (starring Daniel Radcliffe).

Friday, October 18, 2013

New TV Show Reviews Part 3

ABC's MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. - I've watched three episodes now, and ... it has issues. Mainly it falls into Whedonverse snark before I've learned to like any of the characters.  Agent Colson (Clark Gregg) is the character we recognize, and then Ming-Na is a TV vet, and then the rest of the cast are so far bland, pretty people. Hacktivist Skye (Chloe Bennet) is our POV character, but she's more obnoxious than sympathetic. This may take a full season to iron out the kinks. Grade: C+

FOX's SLEEPY HOLLOW - Fox has found their own Grimm. The pilot was pretty entertaining, and a new star may be born in the form of Tom Bison as Ichabod Crane, a 1776 soldier who wakes up in 2013.  There's mystical magic involved in such a feat, and so Crane teams up with a Sleepy Hollow cop to fight the Headless Horseman and other paranormal baddies.  Grade: B+

NBC's WELCOME TO THE FAMILY - A show where I was okay with the half-hour I watched, but wouldn't want to visit it again, which is good since it got cancelled today.  Grade: C

ABC's THE GOLDBERGS - Loud Jewish family in the 1980's. Amusing, if not enter-the-DVR-rotation worthy. Grade: B-

ABC's TROPHY WIFE - Also amusing, and I might have watched a second episode if its ratings weren't so weak, as I really like its cast (Malin Akerman, Marcia Gay Harden, Michaela Watkins, Bradley Whitford). Grade: B-

NBC's SEAN SAVES THE WORLD - Sean Hayes is back on a sitcom, playing a gay single dad raising his daughter while dealing with a crazy work environment thanks to his new horrible boss (Thomas Lennon). This Sean isn't as crazed as Jack, but the physical humor feels dated and the folks in the live-studio sound like they're straining to nail their laughs.  Grade: C-

I had NBC's IRONSIDE on my DVR, but that got cancelled today too, so I deleted it without watching.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Weekly TV Ratings Oct 10-16

For the week of October 10-16. (not counting Saturdays)

Title (Network) Day - viewers in million / 18-49 demo rating

1. NFL Football (NBC) Sun - 22.07 million / 8.4
2. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) Thu - 17.64 / 5.1
3. The OT Live (Fox) Sun - 14.11 / 5.1
4. The Voice (NBC) Mon - 13.87 / 4.5
5. Football Night in America (NBC) Sun - 11.77 / 4.5
6. Modern Family (ABC) Wed - 10.85 / 4.0
7. The Voice (NBC) Tue - 12.69 / 3.9
8. Scandal (ABC) Thu - 9.01 / 3.1
9. How I Met Your Mother (CBS) Mon - 7.98 / 3.1
10. NCIS (CBS) Tue - 18.43 / 3.0
11. The Millers (CBS) Thu - 11.73 / 3.0
12. The Blacklist (NBC) Mon - 10.93 / 3.0
13. Toy Story of Terror (ABC) Wed (special) - 10.29 / 3.0

14. Glee (Fox) Thu - 7.39 / 2.9
15. Grey's Anatomy (ABC) Thu - 8.79 / 2.8
16. Criminal Minds (CBS) Wed - 10.95 / 2.7
17. Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (ABC) Tue - 7.68 / 2.7
18. Sleepy Hollow (Fox) Mon - 7.59 / 2.7
19. NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) 14.68 / 2.6
20. Survivor (CBS) Wed - 9.89 / 2.5
21. The Crazy Ones (CBS) Thu - 9.69 / 2.4
22. MLB Baseball (Fox) Sun - 8.35 / 2.4
23. Chicago Fire (NBC) Tue - 8.25 / 2.4
24. MLB Baseball (Fox) Wed - 8.06 / 2.4
25. Once Upon A Time (ABC) Sun - 7.53 / 2.4

26. Two and a Half Men (CBS) Thu - 9.14 / 2.3
27. Castle (ABC) Mon - 11.11 / 2.2
28. The Biggest Loser (NBC) Tue - 7.00 / 2.2
29. Dancing with the Stars (ABC) Mon - 12.99 / 2.1
30. Person of Interest (CBS) Tue - 12.42 / 2.1
31. Super Fun Night (ABC) Wed - 6.02 / 2.1
32. CSI (CBS) Wed - 9.43 / 2.0
33. Mom (CBS) Mon - 7.44 / 2.0
34. Bones (Fox) Mon - 7.30 / 2.0
35. The X Factor (Fox) Thu - 6.49 / 2.0
36. Elementary (CBS) Thu - 9.06 / 1.9
37. The Amazing Race (CBS) Sun - 8.08 / 1.9
38. Back in the Game (ABC) Wed - 6.24 / 1.8
39. New Girl (Fox) Tue - 3.48 / 1.8

40. Shark Tank (ABC) Fri - 6.53 / 1.7
41. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC) Thu - 5.82 / 1.7
42. Nashville (ABC) Wed - 5.75 / 1.7
43. Law & Order: SVU (NBC) Wed - 5.39 / 1.7
44. Revenge (ABC) Sun - 6.00 / 1.6
45. The Goldbergs (ABC) Tue - 5.08 / 1.6
46. 60 Minutes (CBS) Sun - 10.62 / 1.5
47. Hawaii Five-0 (CBS) Fri - 9.24 / 1.5
48. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox) Tue - 3.41 / 1.5
49. Blue Bloods (CBS) Fri - 10.56 / 1.4
50. Revolution (NBC) Wed - 5.39 / 1.4
51. MasterChef Jr. (Fox) Fri - 3.92 / 1.4
52. Dads (Fox) Tue - 3.40 / 1.4
53. The Mindy Project (Fox) Tue - 2.83 / 1.4
54. The Mentalist (CBS) Sun - 9.38 / 1.3
55. Undercover Boss (CBS) Fri - 7.86 / 1.3
56. Trophy Wife (ABC) Tue - 4.07 / 1.3
57. The Good Wife (CBS) Sun - 8.46 / 1.2
58. Last Man Standing (ABC) Fri - 6.03 / 1.2
59. Dateline (NBC) Fri - 5.28 / 1.2
60. Hostages (CBS) Mon - 5.16 / 1.2
61. The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC) Thu - 3.86 / 1.2
62. Parenthood (NBC) Thu - 3.77 / 1.2
63. Parks & Recreation (NBC) Thu - 3.23 / 1.2
64. Ironside (NBC) Wed - 4.91 / 1.1
65. 20/20 (ABC) Fri - 4.75 / 1.1
66. Sean Saves the World (NBC) Thu - 3.26 / 1.0
67. The Neighbors (ABC) Fri - 4.12 / 0.9
68. Betrayal (ABC) Sun - 2.88 / 0.8
69. Welcome to the Family (NBC) Thu - 2.49 / 0.8

x. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) Mon (r) - 8.54 / 2.2
x. Scandal (ABC) Tue (r) - 2.77 / 0.7
x. Sean Saves the World (NBC) Fri (r) - 2.79 / 0.7
x. Sleepy Hollow (Fox) Fri (r) - 2.13 / 0.7
x. The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC) Fri (r) - 2.79 / 0.6

Betrayal should join Lucky 7 as the second show ABC has cancelled.  I would say this will be the last year for Last Man Standing and The Neighbors as well.  It's also not looking good for The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife on Tuesdays.

On Wednesday the ratings for new shows Back in the Game and Super Fun Night are actually disappointing based on their lead-ins. Also, the series premiere of Once Upon A Time in Wonderland were underwhelming.

ABC's most successful new show in Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. It might now have the total viewers they covet, but these days, any network show would be happy to get a 2.7.  Modern Family is still its crown jewel, while they have the sudsers covered with Scandal and Grey's Anatomy.

This network gets the most overall viewers even if it isn't #1 in the demo.  Comedies are its forte there.  Hostages is its lowest-rated show, and even if CBS lets it end its 15-episode run, it won't be renewed. Also, based on the demo, I'd say this will be the last season for the excellent The Good Wife, which creatively seems like it still has 2-3 season in it. I hope it gets a proper send-off. It doesn't look promising for The Mentalist either.

Football and reality shows keep this channel afloat.  The Voice is now bigger than American Idol, and The X Factor is now irrelevant.  Welcome to the Family should be cancelled any day now, and Sean Saves the World will shortly follow. I also expect this to be the last year for Parks & Rec, and I wonder if NBC might try to save The Michael J. Fox Show by moving it to another night.

The Blacklist is its top scripted show (deservedly so). Sophomore series Revolution has all but lost its viewers. It'll be interesting to see how Grimm and Dracula do when they air next week.

Glee got a bump from those wanting to see how it'd handle Finn's death (including me, a non-Glee watcher). Sleepy Hollow is doing well, and The Following should be big when it returns. The Tuesday comedy night needs to dump Dads and Mindy Project and bring back Raising Hope and any other show that isn't Dads.

Also, here's the top cable-rated show from this week:

1. The Walking Dead (AMC) Sun - 16.11 / 8.2
2. NFL Football (ESPN) Mon - 11.95 / 4.7
3. Duck Dynasty (A&E) Wed - 7.4 / 3.2
4. NFL Football (NFLN) Thu - 7.81 / 3.1
5. NFL Post-Game (NFLN) Thu - 6.51 / 3.0
6. American Horror Story: Coven (FX) Wed - 5.54 / 3.0
7. Talking Dead (AMC) Sun - 5.10 / 2.6
8. The Walking Dead Marathon (AMC) Sun - 5.67 / 2.6
9. Sons of Anarchy (FX) Tue - 4.35 / 2.3
10. BET Hip Hop Awards (BET) - 3.69 / 1.8
11. Sportscenter (ESPN) Mon - 3.66 / 1.8
12. Real Husbands (BET) Tue - 3.54 / 1.8
13. MLB Baseball (TBS) Wed - 6.09 / 1.6
14. MLB Baseball (TBS) Tue - 5.79 / 1.6
15. MLB Baseball (TBS) Fri - 5.45 / 1.5
16. MLB Baseball (TBS) Thu - 5.45 / 1.5
17. WWE Raw (USA) Mon - 4.15 / 1.5
18. Bad Ink (A&E) Wed - 3.00 / 1.4

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 - Movie Review

Starring the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews and Kristen Schaal.
Directed by Cody Cameron & Kris Pearn.

Grade: B-

If you haven't seen the first one, fear not. This movie recaps it pretty effectively in the first 90 seconds.  It also picks up mere minutes after the first one ended, with their island covered in food, but the disastrous water-into-food machine destroyed.

This is one of those mild-enjoyment animated movies. There's "genuine enjoyment" films like most of Pixar and half of Disney, there are arms-folded hope-the-kids-liked-it movies like Escape from Planet Earth, and somewhere in the middle we get movies like this. I you liked the first one, you'll like this one too. I liked the first one.

Flynn and friends go back to their home to find the island overtaken by sentient food-animal type creatures, like spiderburgers and shrimpanzees.  We therefore get a quick-paced, frantic, colorful explosion of creatures and characters somewhere between The Croods and Alice in Wonderland.

The voice work I enjoyed the most was Will Forte as the duplicitous scientist using Flynn for his own nefarious purposes. My main quibble: Mr. T did not return to voice policeman Earl. It's covered by Terry Crews. Why no Mr. T?

Random Movie Stuff - 10/17/13

- Director Brad Peyton will reunite with his Journey 2 The Mysterious Island star Dwayne Johnson for San Andreas 3D, an action thriller about a giant earthquake from the San Andreas fault.

- Keanu Reeves will star in John Wick, about a retired hitman who is forced back into action by a sadistic young thug (Game of Thrones' Alfie Allen). Bridget Moynahan, Willem Dafoe, Michael Nyqvist, Adrianne Palicki and Dean Winters co-star.

- Chris Pine (Star Trek) has signed on as the first of three new Horrible Bosses for the sequel, scheduled to open November 26, 2014.  Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis and Jamie Foxx will all return.

- Ty Simpkins, the kid from Insidious, has joined the cast of Jurassic Park 4, titled Jurassic World. It stars Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help) and Jake Johnson (New Girl). It's directed by Colin Trevorrow (who also worked with Johnson on Safety Not Guaranteed) and it's set to open June 12, 2015.

- Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman are reuniting with their Moonrise Kingdom director Wes Anderson in The Grand Budapest Hotel. It opens March 7. It co-stars Owen Wilson, Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody and Tom Wilkinson.

- The Maze Runner has been pushed back to September 19, 2014. Based on the book by James Dashner, it's set in a post-apocalyptic world where young Thomas (MTV Teen Wolf's Dylan O'Brien) finds himself with his memory erased in a community of boys trapped in a large maze. It co-stars Will Poulter (We're the Millers), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones), Kaya Scodelario (Clash of the Titans) and Patricia Clarkson (Shutter Island, The Green Mile).

Monday, October 14, 2013

Gravity is #1, Captain Phillips #2

Box-office for the weekend of Oct. 11-13.

1.  Gravity - $44.27 million ($123.4) - 2 wks (WB) -20.7%
 . . . 3660 screens / $12,094 per screen
2.  Captain Phillips - $26 - 1 wk (Sony)
 . . . 3020 / $8609
3.  Cloudy with Meatballs 2 - $14.2 ($78.04) - 3 wks (Sony) -32.2%
 . . . 3874 / $3665
4.  Machete Kills - $3.8 - 1 wk (OR)
 . . . 2538 / $1496
5.  Runner Runner - $3.73 ($14.11) - 2 wks (Fox) -51.7%
 . . . 3026 / $1231
6.  Prisoners - $3.67 ($53.62) - 4 wks (WB) -36.2%
 . . . 2855 / $1284
7.  Insidious Chapter 2 - $2.65 ($78.45) - 5 wks (FD) -32%
 . . . 2156 / $1229
8.  Rush - $2.36 ($22.2) - 4 wks (U) -47.2%
 . . . 2130 / $1110
9.  Don Jon - $2.34 ($20.14) - 3 wks (Rel) -43.7%
 . . . 1996 / $1172
10. Baggage Claim - $2.08 ($18.27) - 2 wks (FS) -49.1%
 . . . 1320 / $1572

Captain Phillips was the best opener for a live-action Tom Hanks movie since Angels & Demons (2009).  Even then, it was no match for Gravity, and with a mere 20.7% drop in week 2, it's on its way to being a monster hit.  Sandra Bullock is the most bankable actress in Hollywood right now. Weird that she has nothing official on her plate besides providing a voice in Minions. The Heat 2 was announced but they're nowhere near ready to film.  The 49-year-old probably has dozens of scripts to choose from right now.

Nothing else is doing that well. Machete Kills may have a low budget but it's still a dud. The first Machete movie opened to $11 million.  The latest Romeo & Juliet movie, which stars True Grit's Hailee Steinfeld as Juliet, tanked in limited release.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mom - TV Review

Starring Anna Faris, Allison Janney, Nate Corddry, French Stewart, Sadie Calvano and Matt Jones.

Chuck Lorre's touch is obvious in this laugh-tracked story about a dysfunctional single mom Christy (Anna Faris) who's dealing with chaos all around.  She and her bad-example mom (Allison Janney) are in Alcoholics Anonymous together. Christy's own teen daughter is pregnant, and Christy's sleeping with her married boss (Nate Corddry). And her son's father is a deadbeat drug dealer. But she wants to be a more responsible parent now. This could be a Showtime drama reimagined as a sitcom. For me the dysfunctionality is just stacked up too high to be accompanied by a laugh-track.
 Grade: B-

Prisoners - Movie Review

Starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano and Melissa Leo.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve.


This slow-burn thriller may be two-and-a-half hours long, but I was never bored nor concerned with the running time.

It features two families (Hugh Jackman & Maria Bello and Viola Davis & Terrence Howard) spending Thanksgiving together.  When a daughter from each disappears, they start to search the neighborhood, but then the teenage son remembers they were playing by a suspicious RV parked down the street, and it's now gone.

It isn't long before the investigative officer Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) locates the RV, and the driver Alex (Paul Dano).  Alex exhibits the mental acumen of a 10-year-old and the police are unable to find enough evidence to keep him. Loki (really wish they'd named him something else) pursues other avenues, but Keller (Jackman) is convinced that Alex knows something, and with each passing day, it means there's less likelihood their girls will be found alive. So he kidnaps Alex and questions him in ways that get more and more medieval.

The movie has a lot to say about vigilante justice, but it's more about the mystery, and while I was able to figure out most of it fairly early (had to wait about half an hour for Loki to notice a clue I noticed right away), it was suspenseful to watch unfold. I can only imagine what David Fincher (Zodiac, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) might have done with this material.

The acting's good all around, but this is career-best work from Jackman, getting that primal, vicious paternal instinct that would give Taken's Bryan Mills pause. (If your brain just hit a speed-bump, that is Liam Neeson's character's name.) I was also really impressed with Gyllenhaal, a man clearly struggling with his own demons that have affected him in odd ways. (He has a very distinct blink, and one where I didn't feel I needed to know why.)

It could have been tighter. I think it could have trimmed minutes here and there but the makers wanted to hang some lanterns on clues to make sure the audience didn't miss them.

Friday, October 4, 2013

New TV Show Reviews Part 2

ABC's BETRAYAL - Funny watching talented actors try to make limp material breathe.  The likes of James Cromwell and Henry Thomas are in supporting roles, but a series centered on adultery isn't really going to go far if it's in that Castle/Nashville sheen that ABC uses on all their dramas.  In fact, I've been noticing more and more that network shows look like they belong on the networks they're on. All the CBS dramas look the same, the ACS dramas look the same, the NBC dramas look the same.  Grade: D

CBS's THE CRAZY ONES - Robin Williams is back, and he's in predictably precious form. He's an ad man, and wouldn't you know it, Mad Men's James Wolk works there too. The first episode was a giant McDonald's commercial. (You know, Mad Men uses real brands too, but I never felt like they were blatant commercials for Jaguar or Kodak.)  There's no laugh-track but several times it'll have a co-worker crack up at whatever Williams is doing.  Grade: C

ABC's BACK IN THE GAME - James Caan is all crust and grumpiness, in a funny way, as an old man who takes baseball waaaay too seriously but is now helping his daughter coach her son's baseball team, and those boys are the ones who couldn't make the other teams they tried out for. Grade: B-

ABC's SUPER FUN NIGHT - Why have Rebel Wilson have an American accent but still have a British guy in the cast?  I kept wondering why they didn't let let Rebel be Australian.  I'll say this. I liked it a lot more than Girls.  Grade: C+

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New TV Show Reviews

ABC's LUCKY 7 - It wound up being exactly what I thought it would be, and I didn't have high expectations. It's a semi-sweet little drama about seven people who win the lottery, but it doesn't solve all their problems, and no one had a story I felt like following.  Grade: C-

CBS's HOSTAGES - The set-up is interesting. I don't know how far it can go, but this 15-episode season is set up with a rogue FBI agent (and some helpers) kidnapping the family of a surgeon (Toni Collette) who's scheduled to operate on the US President. She needs to let him die during surgery, or they will kill her family. The ratings have helped me decide to not add it to my DVR rotation.  Grade: B

CBS's WE ARE MEN - CBS's once powerhouse Monday lineup is getting less and less funny. This one actually isn't that bad, which means if I had to choose between watching another episode of this or 2 Broke Girls, I'd pick this. It's not worth hunting down, though. It's about four guys who've been wrecked by bad relationships who serve as each other's wingmen when looking for love.  Kal Penn, Tony Shalhoub, Jerry O'Connell and Chris Smith (who?) are the four guys. Grade: C+

FOX's DADS - I already reviewed it, but just wanted to point out again it's terrible. Grade: F

FOX's BROOKLYN NINE-NINE - Much better show that comes on right after Dads, and it deserves a better lead-in.  Andy Samberg is about what you'd expect as the fun-loving but competent detective, the Hawkeye in this MASH unit, if you will.  Andre Braugher gets to show off some comedic chops as the straight-laced captain (who's also gay).  Probably the funniest of the new comedies I've seen thus far. Grade: B+

AMC's LOW WINTER SUN - I gave this three episodes, and the second two were better than the pilot, but the new episodes were adding up on my DVR and after seeing its ratings I just deleted them. I liked the cast, and maybe it could have grown into something special, but it starts with the main character murdering someone. He's doing it because he thinks this dirty cop killed his girlfriend, but he finds out afterward that his girlfriend is still alive.  He's already crossed the line, so what am I rooting for?  Grade: C+