Friday, June 22, 2007

Episode 43

The Sentinel - Pete Garrison (Michael Douglas) is a longtime secret service agent who became a legend in the field after saving the life of former United States President Ronald Reagan. Currently he is in charge of the personal safety of President Ballantine (David Rasche). Unbeknownst to everyone else though, he is also currently involved in an affair with the first lady, Sarah Ballantine (Kim Basinger). Days before President Ballantine is scheduled to make an important public appearance, one of Pete's friends and co-workers is shot on his doorstep while returning home from work. Attempting to uncover the perpetrator of this crime, Pete consults his personal informant who tells him that he has reason to believe that there is a traitor among the ranks of the secret service. When he informs the rest of the organization about this claim, David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland), with whom Pete has a troubled past, and newcomer Jill Marin (Eva Longoria) are put in charge of the search for the mole. Taking a mandatory polygraph test in an attempt to locate the traitor, Pete's results are compromised by the fact that he is having an affair with the president's wife, which he lies about. Based on these test results, Breckinridge believes that Garrison is the traitor, at which point Pete must go rogue and attempt to run from the secret service while simultaneously trying to find the real mole in the agency. Will he be able to find the traitor in time to save the president, or will he be tracked down and caught by his own people? I'll say it right off the bat: The Sentinel is a sub-par movie at best. It takes the plot of The Fugitive and combines it with the premise of In the Line of Fire. Unfortunately, both of these movies are better than The Sentinel. Michael Douglas puts in a solid, but not outstanding performance in this film, which is more than I can say for the majority of the rest of the cast. Kiefer Sutherland plays a role in The Sentinel that is not unlike the role of Jack Bauer which he plays on the television show 24, but for some reason it just didn't seem like his heart was in it. He came off bland, uninspired, and uninteresting in this film. As far as his partner Eva Longoria is concerned, she does nothing in this film other than look pretty, which she admittedly does well. So essentially what we have is an interesting character being chased by completely dull characters. This does not make for a very exciting ride. In reviewing the events of the film, all I can really say is that The Fugitive did it better. It's the same situation, just not as good. I'm not really sure how else to put it. In addition to the overall weak acting, the direction of this film was cookie-cutter and boring. The entire movie felt as though no one involved really cared all that much about it and just couldn't wait to get it over with and move on with their careers. The Sentinel isn't necessarily a bad movie, but it is something that's almost worse: forgettable.

Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny - The Pick of Destiny tells the story of a young boy named Jack Black who loved rock music more than anything in the world. One day he ran away from home to escape his parents, who didn't approve of his choice in music. By the time he'd become an adult, JB had made his way to Venice Beach, California with nothing but a guitar on his back. This is where he met fellow rock enthusiast Kyle Gass. KG lied to JB, convincing him that he was a famous rock guitarist and offering to teach him the ways of rock. When JB discovered the truth about KG he was heartbroken and was about to leave when the two of them discovered that they had something more in common than a love for rock music. They each had a tattoo on their asses. Jack's read "Tenac", while Kyle's read "ious D". From that moment on they would come to be known as Tenacious D. They formed a two man rock group and played to an underwhelmed audience on the open mic night at a local club. Vowing to become better rockers and return to the club, they ventured to a music store where an employee (played by Ben Stiller) told them about a guitar pick called the Pick of Destiny, which made all who used it become a rock legend. Discovering that the pick was now located in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame some 300 miles away, they borrow their friend's car and are on their way to retrieve it. What follows are the whacked-out adventures of a couple of metal-headed stoners on the open road in search of fame, fortune, and a guitar pick forged from the horns of Satan (Dave Grohl of the band Foo Fighters) himself. By now everyone has heard of Tenacious D. Unfortunately for Jack Black and Kyle Gass, by now a number of people have grown tired of them as well. There are a few major problems with The Pick of Destiny. Problem Number 1 - If you've ever seen Tenacious D's short-lived HBO series, then you have already seen 75% of the jokes that are in this film. The show had basically the same premise of the movie, which is that there are two losers who think they're great musicians when in fact they are far from it. This concept proved not to be enough to keep people interested past six episodes of a television show, but they still decided to make a movie with the same premise. Problem Number 2 - Kyle Gass couldn't act his way out of a paper bag. I'm sorry, but when you've got a movie with two main characters and only one of them is remotely good at acting (and some people would argue that even this is not the case), you're in for some trouble. Jack Black relies on his ability to make people laugh just by acting like the same idiot he's acted like for the past decade to portray his role in this film. It's not the best performance in history, but even it put's Kyle's attempts to shame. Problem Number 3 - Tenacious D's first album, comprised mostly of songs which they wrote for their television show, is absolutely hilarious. I personally enjoy every track on the album. Then what they did, as I mentioned before, is to make a movie based around the same concepts from the show, which really only survived on the great songs it had, but then proceeded to come up with all new music for the film. Now, I've been dying for some new Tenacious D tunes for quite some time, but as it turns out, almost all of the new music that they crafted for the film is garbage, or at best not as good as the original music. What The Pick of Destiny ended up being was just another stoner comedy, but one which, for all intents and purposes, we've already mostly seen before. The best moments of the film are far and away the short cameo appearances of Ben Stiller as a music store employee and Tim Robbins as a dirty old man who wants the Pick of Destiny for himself. There are dick and fart jokes abound in The Pick of Destiny, but not much else.

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