‘The Invention of Lying’ is great, and that’s the truth (Movie review)

Sort of like “Idiocracy” or that Mel Gibson picture where he could read women’s minds“The Invention of Lying” (now on DVD) posits an alternate reality and then has fun exploring it with a series of “What would you do here?” situations. This Ricky Gervais vehicle (the likable, lumpy Brit stars and also co-wrote and co-directed) asks “What if there was a world where no one had ever thought of lying?”

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‘Adam’ shows how hard Asperger’s is to portray on film, but it’s a noble effort (Movie review)

Asperger’s syndrome is an internally dramatic condition. Outwardly, the person comes off as antisocial, but that’s not the inner truth. Aspies don’t provide facial expressions that cue the insight into their minds. Also, they have trouble reading facial expressions and understanding language subtleties.

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Midseason preview: My favorite actresses return, but will their shows be any good? (TV commentary)

Three of my favorite actresses return to TV this midseason, and that’s probably a good thing, but I’m a little ambivalent. In TV, I often start to think of a performer as being their character, so I’m resistant when they take on a new (lesser) role. To me, David Boreanaz is Angel, not Seeley Booth. Nathan Fillion is Captain Mal, not Castle.

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‘24’ Season 8 starts tonight. Is there reason for optimism? (TV commentary)

“24” Season 8 starts with a two-hour premiere at 8 Central tonight (another two-hour block follows at 7 p.m. Central Monday). I haven’t been this NOT excited about a new season of “24” since the series began. The previews could be clips from previous seasons for all I know; that’s how much they have all blended together in my mind.

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5 random questions for which I have no good answer (Commentary)

1. In “Return of the Jedi,” when Luke and Leia swing to safety, what is the rope attached to? It can’t be attached to the barge they are blowing up, because then it would snap when they are in mid-air, right? Even if was securely attached to the barge for the duration of the swing, there’s no way it could provide the arc needed to swing to another vehicle, especially since the duo doesn’t get a running start.

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Happy 20th anniversary to the still-funny, still-important ‘Simpsons’ (TV commentary)

Last week, “The Simpsons” was the clear winner in the laugh tally against “The Cleveland Show” and “Family Guy.” I can’t say that every week, but I can say it often enough to make a case that “The Simpsons” still has plenty of laughs left in the tank.

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2 films from ‘Arrested Development’ alums – ‘Extract’ and ‘Paper Heart’ – are interesting failures (Movie reviews)

I’m not crazy about Blockbuster’s (and most video stores’) decision in recent years to get rid of most of their old stock and focus heavily on new releases. That’s why I don’t casually visit video stores anymore.

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‘Sherlock Holmes’ has lots of style, but it’s hard to care (Movie review)

I don’t understand these movies that put so much effort into making it look great, and then seem to expend so little effort on plot and characters. “Sherlock Holmes” (2009) is one of those movies — from the opening shot of a horse-and-carriage chase down a dim London street, it looks incredible; it reminds me of that 2001 Jack the Ripper movie, “From Hell.” I was excited to watch a story unfold in these gritty, historic environs.

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