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Monday Notebook

By admin Published: July 13, 2009

Busy-looking week ahead, starting with a screening of the new "Harry Potter" today. And am coming off a weekend that included seeing "The Proposal," a few hours at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, some dipping into "Star Trek" movies on Blu-ray and what-not. Notes after the jump.

First, in case you missed it, I wrote a piece about "Route 66" and its NE Ohio connections which was in Sunday's Beacon Journal and is here. The weekly DVD column -- focusing on "Mad Men" and "The State" -- is here. And my co-worker Betty Lin-Fisher has been trying a different approach to TV viewing, which she wrote about here.

The bride and I tried to relax a lot this weekend. Besides the trip to the zoo, that included going to see "The Proposal," the Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds romantic comedy which has been quietly collecting some nice money ($113 million so far, according to Box Office Mojo) while others get the blockbuster buzz.

If you've seen the trailers -- harsh boss Bullock pretends to be marrying her assistant, Reynolds, so she can avoid deportation to Canada. It's a weirdly somber, often harsh movie, sometimes unnecessarily, although you know exactly where it is going. Some things I thought would be funny -- such as Oscar Nunez as a multitasking guy -- aren't all that much. (I like him on "The Office" but here I kept thinking how much more Rowan Atkinson would have done with the same part.) There are some laughs here and there, but not enough to make me want to see it again.

Well, except for Betty White, playing Reynolds's 90-year-old grandmother. (White herself is just -- JUST -- 87.) She takes over the movie pretty much every time she's onscreen. Even when the bits with her are obvious, White makes them work as well as anyone.

I got the Blu-ray set of the first six "Star Trek" movies this weekend, and sampled bits of VI and II. VI looks great, a very nice transfer, sharp color and mostly OK effects. (There's one scene where a shot-up vessel looks as if it's hanging from a string.) I also like the "library computer" feature, which provides a guide to terms and information while you are watching the movie, so you can cross-check which play Christopher Plummer is quoting.

I looked at II because I recently rewatched it in conjunction with the latest "Star Trek" film, since the new one has so many references to the earlier film (including in its use of the Kobayashi Maru scenario). And the picture on the older DVD I watched was often awful -- dull picture and a lot of bad color balance making it often look too red. The Blu-ray promises a remastered version, and the image did seem a little sharper than the one I saw on the old DVD. But the color scheme still looks off, still too red.

More to study, of course. Will be interested to see how much dazzle remains in the tour of the Enterprise in the first film. Which I always think of in terms of my friend Phillip Blanchard's concise review: "It's a really big ship."

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