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In Time: the currency in 2161 is time, and on your 25th birthday you stop ageing… but only have one year left unless you work, beg, steal, borrow or inherit more. Most importantly, this is a well-realised vision of the future, not too ridiculous or unbelievable (Cars, buildings, technology, even the cool designer clothes). The concept is also strong, and quite unsettling that everyone looks fairly young – although not always under 25! Casting’s very clever, JT is more than watchable, Seyfried makes a great damsel with attitude, Cillian‘s a naturally magnetic authority and Pettyfer and his goons make for good pantomime baddies. There’s an interesting parallel/undertone of the current financial crisis, but it’s never the main focus, and due to the subject, there’s also a lot of ‘ticking clock’ situations, which are always visceral. The only downside is that the film has two main settings; standard and turbo. Standard is the great concept/story being played out in quite a mechanical, baggy, and fairly obvious way, however, at least a third of the film is in Turbo mode; the big reveals, pivotal moments and action sequences are all on an air-punching level. Put it all together and you have a well-designed, well-planned, neat, powerful, original and immersive sci-fi film – that’s more than just an update of Logan’s Run!

Score: 8/10

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The Good Wife (Season 2): looks at a housewife-turned-lawyer whose husband is jailed after a sex scandal. The structure of this show is great – each episode is a stand alone court case, however there are always several stories playing out in the background spanning large parts of the series. Instead of focusing just on the court cases (could become boring territory) this does well to juggle courtroom, political, and family storylines. What makes it stand out is that it feels very current – we see politicians/investigators utilising twitter, youtube, foursquare and memes; the cases  also mirror characters & events from recent high-profile headlines. Some other plus points are the brilliant writing, great casting, stunningly acted (other than Chris Noth), has too many great characters to mention, is believabile, and with Ridley & Tony Scott watching over the production you can’t really ask for more from a TV show. There are a couple of slow episodes, and one ridiculous one (Chavez), but other than those this series is TV Gold, that draws you right in to the stories – you punch the air in pivotal courtroom moments and invest in the central characters. At 23 episodes long this could have dragged, but it’s the 7 day wait between them feels like an eternity.

Score: 9/10

[Would recommend starting at season 1 – which is also great]

The Blind Side: Rich white family take in a homeless black dude and fund his transformation into an American Football star. Biggest shock for me was Sandy’s Oscar. She was believable, but showed no range, coasting in her comfort zone – playing the perfect, morally righteous, confident soccer-mum – in saying that she seems to be getting hotter with age! Not doubting her talent but getting one over on Mirren & Streep… dubious.  Big Mike was convincing as the unobtrusive, good-natured, underdog. Can anyone tell me why is Kathy Bates always an inspirational Southerner?! For me, this fell under the ‘comedy’ branch more than anything else, focusing on the inspirational and feel-good stuff and shunning any saddening backstory. It would help to know a bit about the American College system and American Football going in to this. It’s  a good story, told quite well but is so All-American, almost to the point of stereotype: the good Christian mum, American Dream dad, prosperous children, poor ghetto boy, blockhead coach… It was on track for a 7 but just refused lay off with the nicey nice.

Score: 6.5/10

Charlie Bartlet: Misunderstood and peculiar rich kid gets expelled from private school and has to fit in at a public school; 0 points for originality. Then come the cast, and eclectic cross-section of pupils: suicidal goth, slutty cheerleader, bonehead bully… again 0 points for originality. Bartlett himself is quite corny, his love interest (Kat Dennings) is appears to be incapable of conveying any emotion but Downy Jr is good to watch and unexpectedly calm – until he gets the typical ‘crazy man’ scene. My biggest problem was that this tried to cover too many themes: depression, rebellion, love, parents, popularity, growing up and all the rest but instead of being neatly wound together they were separated and covered 5 minutes at a time. It’s also got one of the most gratuitous boob-shots in history. Nowhere near the same league as the  School/Teen movies: Napoleon Dynamite, American Pie, Ferris Bueller, Fast Times, Mean Girls, Superbad, Rushmore… Reasonably forgettable MTV movie-type affair.

Score: 4/10