Rear Window (1954 - Theater)

Rear Window is one of those types of movies that has a story so compelling, characters so likable, and dialogue so sharp that it's easy to forgive some of its less-believable plot elements. Jimmy Stewart plays a photographer/journalist named Jeff who is confined to his apartment due to a broken leg. He passes the time watching the neighbors in the adjacent apartments through his window. Eventually, his curiosity turns into (possibly) paranoia when he starts suspecting one of the neighbors, played by Raymond Burr, killed his wife and disposed of her body.

What makes it interesting is that at first, it's quite easy to be skeptical of Jeff's suspicions, and in fact, the detective who flat-out disbelieves him has one of the most convincing arguments in the movie. But little things start to happen and start to add up that slowly draw other characters in the movie to his side until they become as wrapped up in it as he is. The viewer can remain skeptical, but can't help but feel he might be onto something there.

I won't spoil how it ends, although I will say that certain elements of the ending (the way it kind of wraps up too easily), are amongst the weaker aspects of the film. Though it's not typically thought of as a "comedy", the movie does maintain a wry sense of humor that's really entertaining. Hands down, my favorite of the four Alfred Hitchcock movies I've seen.
Rating: 4.5/5

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: The Complete Second Season (2008 - DVD)

T:TSCC is one of the most original, compelling, and intriguing TV shows I've seen in the last decade - which is why it greatly pains me that it was left unfinished. As you may already know, the show was canceled at the end of Season 2, leaving a lot of questions unanswered and some plot threads up in the air.

Hindsight is 20/20, but it wouldn't have been impossible for these things to have been addressed before the show was axed. The problem is that Season 2 would often start a plot thread, then next have an episode that had nothing to do with that storyline. According to the special features, the network wanted them to have self-contained episodes in-between the ones that followed a story arch so that first-time viewers could watch an episode and not feel lost. Unforutnately, this sometimes does hurt the pacing, and I really would have liked for the series to have dealt more with the issue of rogue Terminators that may have been willing to join the humans' side without being reprogrammed. That's a concept this series introduced - it's frustrating that they only got a chance to barely scratch the surface of it.

I'm not saying all the self-contained episodes were bad, or anything. Most of them are pretty good, too. I especially liked the one where they showed what happened to a Terminator who accidentally ended up in the 1920s. And when the show does hunker down and get on the rails, it's still an awesome thrill-ride that's not all just explosions and morphing T-1000's (though there's that, too, if that's your cup of tea). There's a lot of subtext and meaning behind much of it, and I especially liked the angle of Cameron's chip being damaged and the effects that had on her and how others deal with her.

And while I would have liked to have known exactly what happened to John Henry, the benevolent "terminator" who would go on to be Skynet's rival, and to have actually seen him go up against Skynet in the future, better to have experienced at least part of that storyline than never at all.
Rating: 4.5/5



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