The Grinder: Giving Thanks, Getting Justice (Review)

The parallel storyline on The Grinder: Giving Thanks, Getting Justice is brilliant mix of disillusion, betrayal and at least one surprising revelation

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The parallel storyline on The Grinder: Giving Thanks, Getting Justice is brilliant mix of disillusion, betrayal and at least one surprising revelation. As the Sanderson family prepare to ignore Thanksgiving, something initiated by Stewart (Fred Savage), Dean (Rob Lowe) is reliving the one year anniversary of events that led to his leaving  “The Grinder.”

At the Sanderson house, Stewart has a secret reason for not celebrating the holiday and Dean invites the former legal partner of their father’s; Joseph T. Yao who Stew caught “In flagrant delicato” with their mother in Dean’s bedroom five years previously.

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Rock star lives….

This episode has a dearth of guest stars:  Clyde Kusatsu  as Yao, Timothy Olyphant, as himself and Arielle Kebbel as “The Grinder” paralegal Avery who Dean has TV sex with on his old show. The excellent Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander gives a star turn as the director/show runner who shafts Dean on the issue of shirtless versus not shirtless, which prompts Dean to leave the show.

The plot lines were funny, of course. The two brother’s dealing with infidelity, and the whole reality of their parents’ “rock star” sex lives, which included Yao was hysterical.  Olyphant’s cameo, as himself, giving advice to Lowe’s character about dignity and taking control was the highlight of the show. The punchline, of the gag (Justified?) almost stole the thunder from the rest of the episode and its gags.

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Jason Alexander, King of Smarmy and Rob Lowe…

In terms of guest stars, this FOX sitcom has pulled in some great names. In this episode alone the gorgeous and uber talented Kebbel steps in as, the  “familiar female star” for “The Grinder.” In an earlier episode, this cameo was taken by Linda Cardellini.  Alexander, who plays show creator and director Cliff  Bemis, tricks Dean into using the “Mitch shirtless” scenes, does his usual expert turn as the master of smarmy. A previous guest spot was filled by Christina Applegate.

As usual, Dean Jr. manages to stack up the familial situation with stress but, in the end, also helps his little brother to get his dignity back. Before the end credits roll,  the episode delivers  a “double punchline”  that has both men upset by the news that their father knew about their mother’s apparent ongoing sexual dalliance with Yao.

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The confrontation

It also has Dean realizing that the advice Olyphant gave him was a set up when a trailer shows Timothy will be playing Mitch Grinder’s brother Rake an a replacement show to Dean’s. The advert ends with a shirtless Olyphant saying “The Big Easy just got hard.”

The writing on this show continues to deliver the laughs.  On a sidenote; it is impressive the number of words that rhyme with Yao… While the viewing figures may not be very high, FOX  will surely bring back the series for at least one encore, aka second season.

This week’s episode also proved that as Stewart’s wife, Mary Elizabeth Ellis can deliver with a minimum of muss and fuss. The revelatory scene where Dean forces Stew to tell him about their mother and Yao  has Ellis stealing the scene with one line. 

The Grinder airs Tuesdays on FOX. Tune in and get ready to laugh…a lot.

Silent Hill Revelation 3D (2012): by Michael Smith

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I missed the 3D version of this film when it came out at the cinema. Which is a shame, as I think it would have looked even better than the 2D that I had to download via iTunes. Despite the lack of the 3D it was a surprisingly good sequel.

Written and directed by Michael J Bassett (he helmed the superb films Deathwatch and Wilderness) Silent Hill Revelation follows in the footsteps of the first Silent Hill film.

In this film, we get to see Heather and her father Harry as they come to another “new town” and new school for Heather. They’ve been on the run since the first film. Mum Rose is trapped in the netherworld of Silent Hill and we are treated to a flashback where Harry promises Rose that he’ll protect their daughter.

On Heather’s first day of school, everything goes disastrously wrong and she loses her dad, her helper, and her independence as she goes to Silent Hill to save her father.

The film has been blessed with a brilliant cast:

Adelaide Clemens
Kit Harington
Carrie-Anne Moss
Sean Bean
Radha Mitchell
Malcolm McDowell

Unfortunately all the “headliners” as it were are restricted to cameo roles, including Sean Bean who, with Carrie-Anne Moss) spend a bit more time on camera than Radha Mitchell and Malcom McDowell. *On a side note here – It was wonderful to see Ms Moss again, although admittedly I didn’t recognise her at first; starting at the screen and thinking who is that, she looks so familiar…)

Just like the first film, this edition of Silent Hill appears to have mixed several different iterations of the games together to flesh out the story. Although arguably they have really included some of the basic “sets” from each of the first three games. The fairground has been a feature of Silent Hill since the first game.

Where did this come from??
Where did this come from??

Although a tiny dream segment is spent on the “spitting” monsters (so tiny in fact it amounts to about a nano second) from the verse, more time is spent on the nurses and good old Pyramid Head (who appears to be twins in this film) with his giant killing tools and who some what amazingly appears as a Saviour at a couple of points in the film?!

Still, random character twists aside, the place looks like Silent Hill and sounds like Silent Hill. The melancholy music is present throughout (and I will unabashedly state that I love that piano riff) and the villains look like they could have stepped out of the video game. So overall, I did enjoy the film.

But.

I did have some problems with it.

Was it just me or did Adelaide Clemens look an awful lot like Arielle Kebbel? Although in one of the flashback scenes where she had brown hair, she looked more like a younger Maggie Gyllenhaal; and Kit Harington looked like David Boreanaz Junior with long hair. The fact that these two actors made me think of other people disturbed me a bit. Although nothing Clemens did convinced me that she could ever scream as good as Kebbel.

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I also don’t understand the use of Malcom McDowell. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the man. I just don’t see the reasoning behind using him in this film. Are they alluding to his recent Horror Film link in Halloween? Is this a nudge and a wink to his appearance in other horror films? I don’t know and it’s puzzling.

I was also disappointed to see that Radha Mitchell’s Rose had no more than a few seconds screen time. Not just because I adore this woman, but because I was hoping that she was going to explain how “Heather” got out of the predicament that both of them were in at the end of the previous film. Apart from the medallion device that is mentioned by Harry,Vincent and ever so briefly by Grandpa Leonard it is never satisfactorily explained. So points off for that little omission.

I do know that there will be a core of Silent Hill game fans who will detest the film just as much as they detested the first film. To them I say, plug your Silent Hill 2 in the old Playstation and enjoy that experience and stop waiting for films that are going to recreate the magic and the uniqueness that is the “old” Silent Hill verse.

Okay?

But apart from the very few things that put me off (not many really) I’d say that this gets a 4 out of 5 scary Silent Hill bunnies. Just because I’m a Silent Hill fan (of the game verse) and the fact that I love the use of the music; I’ll not take off too much for the lack of Radha Mitchell.

Scary Silent Hill Bunny!
Scary Silent Hill Bunny!