Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weekend surprises

Pleasant surprise #1: Spaced. This is one of those shows where after the first episode I was thinking "well, that's cute enough," and then by episode 4, I was obsessed! The tragic thing is that when I added it to my Netflix queue, I noted the existence of three discs. So when I get to the end of season 2, my first thought was "thank goodness there's one more to go!" Little did I know the third disc was for EXTRAS, and there never was a third season. Sad Sonia! And yet, one of those extras was a very detailed featurette on the making of the show that included a wee little peek into what might have happened to the two main characters if the show had continued. Almost as satisfying as a third season! (Well, not really -- but I'll take it.) Anyway, I'm not sure how many of you have seen this show (it's 11 years old already), but the Star Wars references made me think of several friends. It's not sci-fi, but half the characters are living a scifi storyline in their heads, so it might as well be. Definitely a very geek-friendly show! If you're a fan of Simon Pegg, and liked Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, I think you'd enjoy it. It's silly and vulgar at times, but at its heart it is incredibly, delightfully sweet. (And very clever, of course. And hilarious. And even a little romantic!)

Pleasant surprise #2: Nanny McPhee Returns (or Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang in the UK). Like the first one, this film was downright silly at times, and had an utterly predictable ending, but I found myself very entertained and had a lovely cry during the closing scene. It's a charming, heart-warming film -- If you'd like more details, this review from the San Francisco Chronicle seemed on target to me. The cast is amazing -- I was particularly impressed by young Eros Vlahos (what a name!) who out-acted all of the children and many of the adults. But the real surprise of this movie, for me, was the appearance of a certain (unbilled) Scottish actor as the dad who is off at war. When we first see him in a photograph, I nearly gasped. I'd know that smile anywhere!

BTW, a cute connection between Spaced and Nanny McPhee Returns -- each features Bill Bailey in a minor, but memorable, role (as Bilbo Bagshot and Farmer Macreadie).  Hee!

[cross-posted from Livejournal]

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