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Arrested Development - Season 1

Arrested Development - Season 1 (2003)

My Rating

Movie Info

The Bluth clan lives a life of excess, funded by the family credit card and paid for by the fortune patriarch George Bluth (Jeffrey Tambor) made in the tract home development business. Oldest son George Oscar Bluth II, nicknamed Gob, is an "illusionist" of minor importance who has anger management issues, while the youngest son Buster whiles away his days taking obscure graduate school courses. Daughter Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) is a vain socialite who throws parties with her sexually ambiguous


Television, Comedy

May 26, 2009

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All Critics (4) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (0) | DVD (20)

off-the-wall genius

May 27, 2009 Full Review Source:

It's just so great to find a "sitcom" that's not afraid to be smart while it's being silly. Smart people appreciate being catered to once in a while.

November 27, 2004 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

Audience Reviews for Arrested Development - Season 1

Since my last entry of movie reviews went over exceedingly well, I will sally forth with another review, with scrambled thoughts I've been waiting to post. Still in the newslettery style. Here's to more than 2 comments!

MILD SPOILERS (but really, if you've read the book, it's SPOILER-FREE)

[font=Book Antiqua][font=Book Antiqua][b]The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe :fresh:[/b][/font][/font]

[font=Book Antiqua]
[font=Book Antiqua]This was sort of a scary scenario from the get-go: filming an epic, live-action adaptation of a beloved fantasy yarn on the heels of the massively successful LOTR. How can it possibly succeed when the inspiration is being shoved through the grimy gears and wheels of the Disney assembly line? Such a story deserves a more lighted environment for genesis and gestation. 'Rings' was brave and daring, emerging from a lucid passion that seemed to eminate to all involved in the project. It was not a product of a trend, the musk that might betray some of the truer intentions of 'Chronicles' (or it just might have been Mickey Mouse?). I did my best to sweep my mind clean from too much concern and became rather excited to see 'Narnia.' But sneaking suspicion won. I was entertained, but disappointed. Anyway, I won't recite the elbows and knees of the story to you, but I will cop out and break down my thoughts on the merits & demerits of the film in list form:[/font]

[b]The actual good[/b]: Mister Tumnus, the Beavers, the prologue, Lucy, some set designs, fantasy creatures (concept & CGI), Ice Castle, Aslan's appearance, Aslan's voice
[b]The pretty good:[/b] The relationship between the Pevensies, Peter, Susan, Edmund, the Professor, Father Christmas, battle sequence, Lantern Waste, the story's forward drama, my seat in the theater
[b]The not so good[/b]: The score, White Witch, depiction of Narnia, stone table, sense of magic, Turkish Delight, Cair Paravel, my parking spot

Alright, I've changed my mind. I will write complete sentences now, so that I can futilely explain (this will be tough):
Mister Tumnus was maybe the best character in the film. His silly but convincing reaction to the newcoming Daughter of Eve, Lucy, was both charming and promising, and represented maybe the most gray, most genuine struggle in the story. The rest of the Pevensie children did well, but the script forced some tiresome lines of dialogue between them, the full-circle quips that just didn't work so well. Aslan, too, was acceptable and sometimes very fitting. Liam Neeson's voice works. But since my disappointment is highest on my mind, I want to complain a bit. Next paragraph, please.

The film really missed the bite of menace. It's a clear take on good vs. evil, but evil simply was not evil enough. It was like the film was still swathed in ten layers of bubble wrap. Maybe too 'safe,' but it's rated PG, doggonit. The first three Star Wars films were PG. I think this is both on the partly misconceived script and Tilda Swinton. Oh, she plays a fine White Witch at times, with a few lusciously nefarious moments, but I think this was a bit of a misfire. However, had the despair of eternal winter been represented better, I think her character would've had more impact.

Also missing from my memories of Narnia was an intimate look at the magically sweeping landscapes of the land so rich. This might be an unfair expectation, so allow me to elaborate. The audience does see some enticing panoramic views, and Lantern Waste felt strange and cozy enough to work as a milestone of familiarity, but Narnia itself didn't support the individual scenes like I had hoped. Some of this, I think, is due to hardly ever seeing any creatures outside of the battle sequence in a more native environment, and only scarce examples of Narnian architecture. (Ice Castle was way cool, but Cair Paravel left something to be desired). But the big gaffe was the lack of a unifying score. There were some genuinely fantastic moments: I shivered in the courtyard of the Ice Castle, I was wide-eyed with discovery along with Lucy, and was amazed at the diversity of Narnians at the battlecamp, rife with majestic griffins and whiskery dwarves and swarthy centaurs and a zoo of talking beasts, all convincing in the moment. Visually and storywise, those scenes worked. But the music was too quiet, or not noticeable enough, and never tied emotions to the screen. The real gash in the story is this lopsidedness of wonderment between scenes; that it could not maintain a fierce imagination without visual fantasy elements like creatures or fantasyscapes, which is where a memorable score, like LOTR or Star Wars, would have helped. Dare I say it, it was sometimes stale. This defeated, in small part, the sense of magic and journey for the viewer. ...Wow, what a rambling. I hope that smattering of text makes some sense, though.

I think 'Chronicles' could have really benefitted from an extra half an hour of detail filler, in really constructing this new world and defining its borders of reality instead of just plopping down a land with neat creatures before our eyes. The central dilemma was dulled as a result, which is a shame for a story whose original telling (by Lewis, of course) was so otherworldly. Adamson did a fair job of capturing the main characters and drawing the grand gestures of the story. But he did not do a great job, and left gaps of wonder all throughout the land. Though it wasn't disrespected, I think Narnia deserves better. I think a rewatch might do some good, though.
[font=Book Antiqua]7/10, ***[/font][/font]
December 10, 2005
Mike Neumann

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