If it's crap ... We'll tell you
What's probably the biggest draw for this fifth entry in the improbably long-lived "Fast and the Furious" series, other than it's following of the second best of the films, is the history-making (I suppose) clash between two modern day action movie icons. Vin Diesel returns again, apparently now having shrugged and settled into his established lot in life playing lead anti-hero Dominic Toretto, and right from the get-go, is being freed from a prison bus with a bang by former cop/now crime partner Brian (Paul Walker) and Dom's sister/Brian's main squeeze, Mia (Jordana Brewster). When a car heist with new partners goes awry, the group of lovable criminal pals (including most of the characters who are still alive, and some who aren't, from the previous films) find themselves on the wrong side of both a Brazilian drug lord (Joaquim de Almeida, who as far as I can tell, has never played any other kind of role) and a zealous DEA agent (Dwayne Johnson...thus the aforementioned titan clash) who both are after a chip hidden in one of the vehicles filled with information so vital, you wonder why anyone would put it in their car like that in the first place. It would be pointless to expound on how big and silly "Fast Five" is, because one would assume that if you're watching it, you've seen at least one of the other equally and explosively implausible films in the high-octane grand theft auto oriented series. What one does have to remark on here, which is a pretty big departure from previous films, is the general lack of actual racing scenes (there's really only one and it's rather truncated at that). That seat rumbling sense of FUCKING VROOOOOOM that pervaded the other films is largely absent here, as the producers, and third time series director, Justin Lin, decided they wanted to see if the never-ending sequels could start to appeal to a wider (re: less gearheaded) audience by turning this newest installment into more of a heist film. While normally I applaud a move towards character development and more complex plotting, it never really jells into the more mature animal I suspect the producers were hoping for, and in fact, such sequences serve largely just to slow everything waaaay down...an almost fatal flaw for a "Fast and the Furious" entry. Even so, there's more than enough solid action scenes, good chemistry between all the leads, and just plain testosterone exuding from almost every frame, to make "Fast Five" well worth a watch for fans of the series. Hell, non-fans might want to check it out just for the huge climax, which may be the most hysterically, awesomely, scientifically impossible, chase scene since..well...most of the last movie.
IN TREATMENT - SEASON TWO (DVD)...Guest Review by LEON
One doctor. Five patients. Seven intense 30-minute therapy sessions for each one. HBO ran the first season of "In Treatment" every week night for seven weeks, and while it was like getting your own free therapy session from an effective psychiatrist like Dr. Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne), it was a DVR killer! With the third season, there are a few significant changes. This time around Paul only treats three patients a week, with his owns sessions rounding out the fourth. And rather than air one per night through each week, HBO bunched the episodes for just Mondays and Tuesdays. Another distinctive difference this time around, is that the Israeli series that "In Treatment" was faithfully adapted from, "Be Tipul", only ran for two seasons, so this third season of the American adaptation is in uncharted waters. Unfortunately, this time around the characters/ patients aren't as compelling as the first two crops: Frances (Debra Winger) is an aging actress having trouble remembering her lines in the play she is currently working on, due to her sister’s breast cancer and the fear that she’ll be next; Jesse (Dane DeHaan) is this season’s obligatory troubled teenager, who’s manipulative, abrasive and acts out on his anger toward his adoptive parents by selling prescription drugs at school and having sex with older men; Even in Paul’s sessions with his new therapist (Amy Ryan), he comes off as whiny and erratic as some of his more difficult patients, as he contemplates ending his career. The one stand out, phenomenal session is with Sunil (Irrfan Khan), a 52 year-old immigrant from Calcutta in deep depression over death of his wife, and full of deep-seeded anger about having to live with his son and white daughter-in-law. It’s the one storyline that maintains a high level of tension and concludes with almost David Mamet-like twist. As it was with season three, the rumors that "In Treatment" has been cancelled have been greatly exaggerated. HBO does have plans for a fourth season, though most likely with a more dramatic format change. From the all reports the ‘show everyday’ schedule was too grueling on the cast and crew, especially Gabriel Byrne who co-stars in every episode. For him, "In Treatment" is like shooting four or five indie movies all at once. Ouch.
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