Reviews by Sparky

In November 2009 Sparky Lightbulb startet a project "Trade It in for Twinkies", watching the work of a single actress (Michelle Forbes) and then writing about each piece.

Courtesy of Sparky we're presenting an overview of the reviews here, including a link to the resp. entire article on the traditin4twinkies site. »» Visit Sparky's blog, it's worth it!

Welcome on the Global Frequency, Sparky :)

Homicide: Life on the Street Season 5
By cellphone, a gunman demands a six-pack of beer and a pig—a Vietnamese potbellied pet pig, to be exact. Baltimore police respect the request as the lives of 15 middle school students and their history teacher are at stake. Four bodies already litter the grounds. A school shooting as a season opener should grab our attention and excite us about a new year of Homicide: Life on the Street. And it does, but not nearly as much as the return of Det. Frank Pembleton [Andre Braugher], whose mouth and body still stumble from the stroke he suffered in the Season 4 finale.

For a viewer who has followed Homicide from the beginning, Season 5 is different. Detectives still work interesting cases, relying more on their brains than on their guns. And the variety of deaths still make a viewer conclude, as Det. Stanley Bolander [Ned Beatty] points out in Season 1, that any human is capable of murder, whether it is a child firing her father's revolver out the window [the stray bullet hitting a woman loading groceries blocks away] to planned executions by drug lord Luther Mahoney [Erik Dellums]. Circumstances, though, have crippled a number of the characters, and Season 5 inserts us into their shoes so well that we understand how badly shaken are their lives...
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The Prosecutors 1996
On December 2, 1996, NBC aired The Prosecutors as its Monday Night Movie. Like any legal drama, The Prosecutors has at its center an interesting case: Carly Breen [Amelia Campbell], a repressed, second-grade teacher, meets a man online who "violates" her not with his hands, not with his penis, but with words appearing on her computer. Consider the year before you tell Carly just to change her screen name and get over it: 1996 was the beginning of the Internet explosion. Many people had yet to sign up for an AOL account, let alone venture into a chat room, and so were unclear about what could [or could not] happen in cyberspace. The Prosecutors examines how to punish sexual harassment in virtual reality—at a time when an online life was relatively new.
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Escape from L. A.
When Escape from L.A. opens, we find Snake Plissken [Kurt Russell] in handcuffs. This time, his crimes have earned him exile from the United States. But lucky for Snake, his second arrest coincides with a new national security crisis, and the President [Cliff Robertson] wants to make a deal. Our anti-hero can remain a free citizen, his record expunged, if he agrees to retrieve a mysterious black box hijacked by terrorists. The unscrupulous President has Snake infected with Plutoxin 7, a deadly designer virus, and then dangles the antidote as additional motivation for Snake to accept the mission ...
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Guiding Light
In 1968, my firefighter father spent four months recovering from back surgery after an explosion blew him out of a building. Stuck at home, he switched on the TV and soon found himself addicted to The Young and the Restless, especially the love triangle of Laurie, Leslie, and Lance. When he returned to the NYFD and could no longer watch the program [alas, VHS recorders did not yet exist], he sidled up to Aunt Marie to inquire about new events in Genoa City ...
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The Outer Limits: Time Travel & Infinity
The Outer Limits: Time Travel & Infinity includes six episodes with one common lesson: Humans, no matter their era or level of technology, cannot disrupt the time stream without altering history in unexpected ways.
The collection opens with "A Stitch in Time," where we meet Dr. Theresa Givens [Amanda Plummer], a frumpy, isolated university professor who has a single-minded mission ...
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Black Day Blue Night
A tarantula crawls across a desolate road. An unmarked police cruiser speeds through the desert. When the two travelers finally intersect, the Chevrolet's draft flips the arachnid. The spider rights itself and continues its journey.
This opening scene from Black Day Blue Night mirrors the movie's plot. Writer/director J. S. Cardone puts three characters into purposeful motion ...
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Seinfeld, Season 6
What does Seinfeld do best? It examines the ways we can protect egos. Think about it: Whenever the fragile human body is at risk, governments and manufacturers spell out the rules. They tell us, for example, to buckle our seat belts; with certain products, we must avoid contact with eyes, refrigerate after opening, and use in a well-ventilated area.
We say the ego can be "bruised," but we mean this metaphorically, for an intangible can suffer no physical harm. Egos cannot, say, slip on icy sidewalks ...
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Just Looking
Just Looking introduces Jim [James LeGros] and Mary [Michelle Forbes], a sweet couple with a 4-year-old daughter who is chipmunk cute. Life has so far been kind: They live in a nice home furnished Santa Fe chic. Their community is intimate enough that they share play dates with neighbors and movie recommendations at the local video store. Jim works as an architect, Mary as a travel agent, so the two incomes mean they have few material desires they cannot satisfy. They are so busy managing the family and chasing ambitions at work that they have not yet realized their relationship ennui ...
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Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 5
Season 5 of Star Trek: The Next Generation contains many predictable elements. Big surprise, the Enterprise encounters new aliens that test the crew's versatility and quick thinking as well as meeting old foes, like the Crystalline Entity and the Borg, who make them debate good and evil, right and wrong. Season 5 includes time travel, body possession, and transporter malfunctions. For a little titillation, the audience can count on Cmdr. Riker [Jonathan Frakes] seducing any pretty young thing in sight, including an extra bumpy Ktarian and a board-flat androgyne ...
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Swimming with Sharks
When Swimming with Sharks opens, paramedics are depositing a sheet-draped body in an ambulance. The audience knows that someone has made a bad decision, for the police presence in the residential neighborhood means a homicide, not a heart attack. To explain what has happened, writer/director George Huang uses a series of flashbacks. From these, we learn that Guy [Frank Whaley], a lowly assistant to a powerful Hollywood executive, must choose between power and art ...
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The Road Killers
Writer Tedi Sarafian and director/brother Deran were awake in lit class, for their film The Road Killers filches from two classic American short stories: "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates and "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor. The Sarafians, though, do not have the skill to interweave the horror of those two works into an effective whole ...
In the opening scene, we meet 16-year-old Ashley [Alexondra Lee], a sullen, disrespectful teenager.
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One night I found my two cats and a neighbor's third lying in a rough circle on the driveway, corralling a mole. Each cat seemed lost in his own thoughts, but whenever the mole attempted to capitalize on that distraction and escape the fence of bodies, the nearest feline would take a paw and sweep the rodent back to the center. The mole quivered, wishing, I'm sure, for its protective blanket of earth. I considered rescuing the little guy, but how long could it live in a shoe box ...
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Love Bites: The Reluctant Vampire
Love Bites, a quirky romantic comedy, opens with a powerful lightning strike waking Zachary Simms [Adam Ant], a vampire so heartbroken that he has slept away the last 100 years. Exiting the secret crypt behind the fireplace, Zachary enters a world he is unprepared to understand: the yuppie apartment of Kendall Gordan [Kimberly Foster]. Barbie-beautiful, Kendall is a successful New Yorker who refuses to marry despite the Ken-perfect packaging of her boyfriend Dwight Putnam [Roger Rose]. When Kendall discovers Zachary feasting from her neck, she wards off the intruder with martial-arts moves that would make Mr. Miyagi proud, introducing Zachary to the assertive, modern woman ...
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