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True Confessions

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It's time to 'fess up and admit that lately I have not been watching a breadth and depth of quality feature length-films to review for you. I have been lured into watching the complete tv series Prison Break available on dvd at CPL.

Plot summary: Think 24 meets The Dirty Dozen. Brothers Lincoln and Michael are estranged due to Lincoln' poor life choices. He's framed for the murder of a politician but Michael knows his brother is innocent. To break Lincoln out of jail, Michael plans to be put in jail first. Other inmates find out and become part of the escape plan. If you like this kind of adventure, see Moe's "Great Escapes" blog post.

There are several reasons why watching Prison Break for weeks was not a good idea. One is that some of the acting is of dubious quality (a lot of frowning and looking serious). Another is the implausibility of many of the situations that the characters find themselves in and out of. When sleep-deprived and surrounded on rough terrain by police with dogs and helicopters, they escape without so much as being grazed by a bullet. The main character tatoos his escape plan onto his body which includes the use of his mother's first name (um...in case he forgot it?). There a lot of this and discussing it is as fun as watching the series. Prison Break is also a continuity-error spotter's dream.

Here's what kept me watching: It's action packed. Lincoln and Michael can't even finish a meal without some new plot twist, usually involving either the law or the evil Company descending upon them. Some of the acting is great. Wade Williams plays Bellick the big lug of a prison Guard perfectly, and Robert Knepper is sinister yet witty as the psychopath Theodore "T-bag" Bagwell. There's all the gripping features I expect in a thriller--betrayals, thwarted love, chase scenes, conspiracy, corrupt corporations, and what drives the show is what drives all of us...the desire just to get home at the end of the day (to watch dvds, presumably).

There are only four seasons, with relatively few holds. Go on...you know you want to...

Moe's Picks of the Week

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Mosquito Coast

Probably one of the lesser-known Harrison Ford roles, this 1986 movie is one of my favorites of his.

Based on the Paul Theroux novel of the same name, Mosquito Coast tells the story of the intellectually arrogant Allie Fox, his long suffering wife and their four confused children. Fox is a would be inventor fed up with the materialism and rampant consumerism he sees around him in America. He moves his family to Honduras to fashion his own society and live his utopian dream. He believes that he can find true happiness among the unspoiled natives and that his genius will finally be recognized. What follows is a well-crafted descent into utter chaos.

This is one of Ford's few outings as anything other than the hero and he plays it well. Watch for Academy Award winning actress Helen Mirren (Prime Suspect, The Queen) as his care-worn and compliant wife. Also features River Phoenix (Stand By Me, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) who has no trouble holding his own against heavyweights Ford and Mirren.

Medici:-Godfathers of the RenaissanceNon fiction

This 2004 offering from PBS starts with Cosimo de 'Medici and follows the family as it becomes one of the most powerful, influential and wealthy dynasties of Italy. This four hour dvd offers a wonderful examination of the world over which they held sway-they would become political movers and shakers, international financiers, and occasionally one would even take the papacy.

Twilight ZoneSeries

This highly regarded series from creator Rod Serling is a collection of the thirty minute episodes that first aired in 1959. Serling himself wrote most of the episodes, but they also featured many of the pre-eminent sci-fi/horror/fantasy writers of the day. Incredibly popular, they spawned a 1983 Spielberg movie, and two more incarnations of the series. Although speculative and surreal in nature, they offered a view into man's constant struggle with morality. The old black and white format lends a certain gravitas to the episodes.

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