This time I decided to order everything from SHIT to HIT. No, wait, I'm gonna start with "Kill Me Now" and see where we go from there.
KILL ME NOW:
Hearts in Atlantis (2001)
Anemic, sentimental adaptation of the Stephen King novel (actually only covers one or two of the five stories in the book).
KILL ME SOON:
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Silly, super-predictable, and - worst of all - pretty boring. How can a movie called Mission: Impossible be boring? Is Brian De Palma be the worst director in the world? (Of course not! He's the man behind the awesome Body Double, lest we forget.) Okay, so there is one sequence, set at CIA HQ, which is kind of effective, but that's about it. At least it's better than the sequel.
True Blood: Season 1 (2008, 12 episodes)
Improbably mediocre. I had high hopes for this (I like most of Alan Ball's previous work), but it never lived up to its potential.
Birthday Girl (2002)
The perils of Russian mail-order brides.
Columbo: Negative Reaction (1974)
Photographer Dick Van Dyke shoots his nagging wife. Some Columbos are fairly great, some are okay. This one is okay.
Columbo: Forgotten Lady (1975)
Former star Janet Leigh wants to revive her career.
Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005)
Quirky dramedy. Enjoyable but slight, and way too precious.
MAYBE LET ME LIVE:
Silent Running (1972)
Pretty unlikely eco-science fiction.
Bad Lieutenant (1992)
Starring Harvey Keitel as a good-natured and morally upstanding policeman. Just kidding. Did you know it's being remade by Werner Herzog with Nicolas Cage?
Green Lantern: First Flight (2009)
Direct-to-DVD Timmverse animated film. Fun.
Gregory's Girl (1981)
Charmingly Scottish, with bizarre 80s hair.
Martial arts drama by Mamet.
OKAY, I'M READY TO EMBRACE LIFE BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THIS STUFF COULDN'T HAVE BEEN BETTER IF IT TRIED HARDER:
John Adams (2008, 7 episodes)
Pretty good chronicle of US Prez No 2, one of the more anonymous Founding Fathers. Tom Wilkinson's Benjamin Franklin repeatedly steals the show.
Written and directed by David Mamet. Plus, Gene Hackman stars, so you know it can't be too shabby.
Corporate spy story by Tony Gilroy. Smart and often surprising, but ultimately both a little too convoluted and a little too predictable. (Some people might have a problem with Julia, too. But I thought see worked okayish.)
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)
Depressing and titalicious crime drama, with great performances. Nice direction for an 83-year-old. If the film had a forehead I would stamp good-not-great on it. And not in reverse because it's too late to teach Sidney Lumet a lesson. He just does his stuff.
Observe and Report (2009)
AKA Seth Rogen, Dark Mall Cop. Unexpectedly hilarious. Strange.
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
By far the best in the series. Nothing special, just solid Hollywood entertainment. About the level all $150 million movies should be at.
Mellow and extremely likable coming-of-age comedy from the director of Superbad. Full of great 80s music. (No, that's not a contradiction in terms, asshole.) (Okay, so maybe it is. But what was it Walt Disney said about multitudes? I mean Whitman.)
SO I GUESS I'M DOING LIKE RENTON IN TRAINSPOTTING:
David Mamet-directed adaptation of his two-person play. William H Macy is a college professor accused of sexual harassment. Not very cinematic but brilliantly written.
Recount (2008) (R)
Extremely well-cast and surprisingly fascinating depiction of the 2000 US election.
The Hurt Locker (2008)
US Army bomb squad adventures in 2004 Iraq. Although not entirely belivable, it's still a very-nearly-great movie.
Hardboiled detective story played by high school kids. Uh, that makes it sound like shit, doesn't it? But it's not shit, it's fucking gold. Gold I tells ya!
The Thick of It: Series 1 (2005, 6 episodes)
Brilliant satire of British government. Over-the-top and absurd, yet disturbingly realistic. I was led to this by...
In the Loop (2009)
Smart and very funny British political satire by Armando Iannucci. One of my favorite films of the year so far, and likely to remain at or near the top when the dust settles. (There's going to be a war, see? A war for my affection, fought by movies everywhere.)
KILL ME NOW*:
In Treatment: Season 2 (2009, 35 episodes)
Gabriel Byrne as therapist with problems of his own. Aside from The Wire, this is HBO's best series in years. (So obviously it gets a fraction of the audience of the super-flawed True Blood. That's just the way the world works, I guess.) I miss some of the old patients (actually, I miss all of the old patients) but the new actors are even better and overall this season is sharper, faster paced, less overly dramatic and more real. There probably won't be a third season, but maybe that's for the best. There's nothing left of the Israeli original to adapt, and besides, you should quit while you're ahead.