For Your Renting Pleasure

This week we’ve got one good and a whole bunch of bad (at least in my opinion), with Dorian Gray, The Joneses, The Killers, and Lie to Me: Season 1.

Rent:

Lie to Me: Season One

Now he may be no House, but Cal Lightman is another great character on TV that is easy to love for the reasons the people in the show hate him.  I mean, I wouldn’t want to be around someone who would know when I was lying every time and call me out on it.  Annoying and abrasive, but it makes for some pretty entertaining television.

The show would get old fast if it was simply about a human lie detector, but the show works because it goes much deeper than “he’s lying!  Lock him up!” Obviously not every lie is an admission of guilt, so instead they have to delve deeper into the different suspects’ histories, emotional connections to people, religions, events, and things of that nature to figure out why their face would betray a certain emotion when answering a certain question.  In other words: they might be lying, but not always for the reason you would assume.

The show is also filled with a great cast surrounding Tim Roth as Lightman (who has won me over following his evilness in The Incredible Hulk), and though the first season stuck more to a case-by-case, episode-by-episode basis, there is a lot of potential to further these characters’ relationships to one another.

Final Grade: A-

Possibly Consider

Killers

Like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Killers plays with the idea of mixing top-secret CIA stuff with normal, everyday suburban life and marital issues.

While on a mission in France secret agent Spencer Aimes meets vacationing Jen Kornfeldt, a normal girl who makes him want to leave the business and settle down.  It’s nothing completely original, but for what it’s worth the movie was slightly entertaining when the most random people start coming out of the woodwork as assassins when a price is put on Spencer’s head (though eventually it seems like there are just a little too many secret agents in their lives).  Plus, Ashton Kutcher is also pretty good in his role as Spencer as he juggles these two worlds, as well as putting up with his fish-out-of-water (and slightly annoying) wife, played by Katherine Heigl.

With that said, the story is completely ridiculous and most of what happens doesn’t really seem to make the most sense.  Why on Earth would he tell a girl that he just met that he was a spy (I don’t care how drunk/sleepy she is)?  Why does Heigl come into one of the scenes without her shirt on?  Who carries their gun around between their fingers like a rag they just used to clean dog pee up with?  Why do all movies seem to have someone who is constantly drinking alcohol in quantities that would kill a normal person?

Final Grade: C-

Apparently I Missed Something

(AKA though I hated these movies the masses on IMDB seem to like them a lot more than I do, so if you are intrigued by the concept of the film then maybe you will see something I did not)

Dorian Gray

Dorian Gray tells the story of a wealthy and handsome young man who quickly loses his innocence to vanity after moving to London.  When his friend of the bad influence variety (and who I actually thought was supposed to be the devil for a while… my bad), asks him if he would be willing to give his soul to stay beautiful forever, like in the painting of his portait, he says yes without question.  Somehow this creates a deal with the Devil (I swear the Devil is in here somewhere) or something like that in which he does not age or show degeneration of any sort on his person (like if he gets cut it heals rather quickly).  Instead it is transferred to his painted self.

While his soul is corrupting the film takes the turn towards a soft core porno for the first hour or so of the film, with Dorian getting it on with just about anyone for sport.  Now I have no problem with a sex scene here or there in a film, but eventually this just seemed rather excessive.  Not only that but the music cues were downright weird, coming off like a string of scenes similar to that from 300 when the hunchback guy goes to make a deal with Xerxes in his tent.  You know, the one with malformed people making out and stuff.  Yeah, that one.

During the film the painting takes on a presence that we never quite see until the end, though it is obvious that something bad is happening to it.  How sexual promiscuity leads to physical ugliness is beyond me… (Maybe it’s symbolic… Maybe it is a plethora of STDS… I don’t really know and have lost all interest to care).  All I know is that it starts to freak Dorian out to the point that he hides it, and it also starts to make ridiculous breathing noises that haunt the house from time to time.

In a nutshell Dorian Gray comes off like a poorly executed episode of Supernatural, if Supernatural was horrible.

Final Grade: D

The Joneses

Like Dorian Gray a lot of people really seem to enjoy this film from what I’ve seen.  For the most part I think I can see why because the film really does have an interesting concept to it that is socially relevant.

The Joneses is about a “family” who are actually glorified salesman.  Their job is to move to an area, make everyone in that area jealous of the things they have and want to be them so that sales of the local businesses will skyrocket.  Interesting, but maybe it was how fake these characters were that kept me from connecting to them (maybe watching lie to me has changed me more than I know…). That way when storylines for the individuals came about to reveal something about them, whether it is them coming to terms with leading this kind of life, how they are manipulating decent people for a living, etc., I just really didn’t care.

With that said there was still a bit of humor here or there that didn’t make watching it completely horrible, but like I said, it just isn’t for me.

Final Grade: D

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