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TV Wasteland: Samurai Time
Vampires, aliens and Toshiro Mifune offer respite from Olympic burnout
By Rob Vaux
August 06, 2012
Let me get this straight: baseball is not an Olympic sport, but competitive trampoline is? Pardon me, I’m going to curl up in the fetal position and sob for a while.
In the meantime, here’s this week’s schedule.
Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
A whole box of artifacts threatens to wipe a nearby town off the map, which I’m led to understand would be a bad thing.
Alphas (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
The first rule of Alpha fight club is “you do not talk about Alpha fight club.” So I won’t.
Teen Wolf (MTV, 10:00 PM EST)
Scott’s playing lacrosse while Allison continues tracking down Derek and his underlings.
Kung Fu Panda 2 (Cinemax, 8:30 PM EST)
The sequel to Dreamworks’ unexpected hit gets full marks for art direction, but can’t quite find an appealing story to accompany it.
Armageddon (FX, 7:30 PM EST)
Michael Bay attains the apex of what we fearfully refer to as his “auteurial stamp” in this tale of an asteroid headed straight for the Earth.
Green Lantern (HBO, 9:00 PM EST)
How much more exciting would the prospect of a Justice League movie be if this film didn’t suck balls?
The Forbidden Kingdom (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Jackie Chan is getting old, but even he can’t be this desperate…
Wolf Creek (IFC, 10:15 PM EST)
This ugly piece of torture porn proves that an omniscient villain is just as boring as an omniscient hero.
RED (Showtime, 8:00 PM EST)
Okay, while it isn’t a great film, I will admit that the sight of Helen Mirren behind a .50-caliber machine gun is too sexy for words.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
David Fincher provides a fine noir atmosphere to an otherwise totally unnecessary remake.
Ghost World (Sundance, 8:00 PM EST)
It’s odd looking back to when Thora Birch had so much potential… and Scarlett Johansson was a sidekick instead of a lead.
The Fifth Element (Syfy, 6:30 PM EST)
I’m not fond of this movie, but I gotta admit: it looks a hell of a lot better than the new Total Recall.
On a side note, TCM is airing the great western 3:10 to Yuma at 8:00 PM EST. (The original, not the admittedly solid remake with Christian Bale.)
Destination Truth (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
So it’s come to this: they’re going to Transylvania. To look for vampires. Presumably wearing old-school tuxedoes and speaking with outlandish accents.
Haunted Highway (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
The first season ends with a look at ghost towns in Idaho and legendary monsters in Montana.
Zombieland (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
I really, really want to like this movie more than I do. I just can’t.
Puss in Boots (HBO, 8:30 PM EST)
I don’t want to like this film, because it stinks.
Futurama (Cartoon, 10:00 PM EST)
Bender suffers an existential crisis, which I’m guessing involves copious amounts of booze and swearing.
Haunted Collector (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The show heads both north and south of Mason-Dixon this week, with a look at a haunted bar in Mississippi and a haunted house in New Work.
Paranormal Witness (Syfy, 10:00 EST)
Season Two of Syfy’s 623rd preposterous reality show unfolds, with a look at a supernatural entity in California woman’s attic.
The Prestige (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Who knew Hugh Jackman could play such a nasty character so well?
Teeth (IFC, 10:45 PM EST)
Glad to see IFC giving this wonderfully odd movie – about a young woman with razor sharp girly parts – so much attention.
Cars 2 (Starz. 9:00 PM EST)
Pixar’s first sequel involving neither cowboys nor space rangers delivers the first indisputable chink in the company’s previously impervious armor.
Burn Notice (USA, 9:00 PM EST)
In order to take down a high-ranking gangster, Michael allows himself to be arrested. Not quite sure how that works, but the man seems to know what he’s doing.
Samurai Marathon (TCM, 7:45 AM EST)
Fans of samurai flicks should check out TCM incredible schedule today, with a plethora of films featuring the redoubtable Toshiro Mifune. It starts with Kurosawa’s classic Rashomon, followed by Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, Yojimbo and Red Beard. The evening contains an only slightly less prestigious line-up, with the Samurai trilogy and Samurai Rebellion to close things off. If you can’t wait for all the Mifune, tune in early for Kurosawa’s gangster flick Drunken Angel starting at 6:00 AM EST.
Next (FMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Nicolas Cage plays a Vegas magician with psychic powers recruited by the FBI to help stop a terrorist attack. That should tell you everything you need to know about this film.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Showtime, 8:00 PM EST)
You won’t find head trips any trippier than this one, about a service that can literally erase unwanted memories from your mind.
Freddy vs. Jason (Starz, 7:20 PM EST)
I won’t say I like this slasher mash-up, but I confess I’d have a really hard time turning it off.
Machete (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
This could have been a great bit of cheesy fun. Instead, Robert Rodriguez added politics to the mix and thoroughly killed the buzz.
Lost Girl (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
Bo’s efforts to help some people in need embroil her in the Byzantine world of Fae politics. Forget it Bo. It’s Chinatown.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (Cinemax, 7:45 PM EST)
The Harry Potter saga comes to a rousing conclusion as the Boy Who Lived finally faces down Lord Voldemort. You need to do your prep work, but you couldn’t ask for a better reward.
Sorority Row (MTV, 10:00 PM EST)
Not even the deliciously snarky Carrie Fisher can save this one, about a sorority stalked by a serial killer after they accidentally bump off one of their pledges.
Reservoir Dogs (Showtime, 8:20 PM EST)
That Quentin Tarantino sure is cool, isn’t he?
The Women of Doctor Who (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
This new special focuses on the Doctor’s companions and other key female characters throughout the years.
The Nerdist (BBC America, 10:00 PM EST)
The Nerdist follows with a look at prominent women making new advances in high technology.
Mothman (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
Oh you kids, with your pranks that go tragically wrong and the supernatural killing spree that invariably ensues. When will you ever learn?
The Boogeyman (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Several crappy movies named The Boogeyman are already out there, but Syfy decided to bring an all-new one to the mix.
The Thing (Cinemax, 7:15 PM EST)
It’s the remake… which isn’t entirely bad, just not worthy of the name.
The Matrix (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
Larry Wachowski is now Lana Wachowski. Could everyone please just deal with it?
The Strangers (FMC, 7:30 PM EST)
Again, you won’t scare us if the villains magically know everything the heroes intend to do.
28 Weeks Later (FMC, 9:30 PM EST)
Credit this sequel to the modern zombie classic 28 Days Later for ambition and verve, despite its inability to match its predecessor.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (ABC Family, 8:00 PM EST)
The series starts to show a little wear and tear here, only to be lifted up by the marvelously awful Dolores Umbridge.
Men in Black II (TBS, 9:00 PM EST)
It’s for the best if we all just pretend this never happened.
True Blood (HBO, 9:00 PM EST)
Bill does damage control on behalf of the Authority, while Pam has to deal with the arrival of a new sheriff.
Falling Skies (TNT, 9:00 PM EST)
Pope may be leaving again – for good this time – as the 2nd Mass deals with new potential allies who may not be what they seem.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (ABC Family, 8:00 PM EST)
As set-ups go, this sixth entry in the Harry Potter franchise hits all the right notes.
Escape from New York (BBC America, 7:00 PM EST)
Please Hollywood, take the hint: do not remake this. It repeats at 9:00 PM.
X-Men: First Class (Cinemax, 7:45 PM EST)
Rumor has it they’re doing “Days of Future Past” for the next one. Nerdgasm!
Hitman (FMC, 8:00 PM EST)
It’s pretty dreadful, but man that Timothy Olyphant looks good without hair.
Idiocracy (IFC, 7:30 PM EST)
It’s not coming, it’s here. Watch it and try to disagree.
Salt (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
Could someone get Angelina Jolie a cheeseburger or something?
Land of the Lost (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
And then they said, “Let’s make it a comedy with Will Ferrell. What could go wrong?”
Starship Troopers (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
With the Total Recall reboot stinking up theaters, Paul Verhoeven just looks better and better…