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Review – Perception
Rating: 3. TNT’s new mystery series “Perception” premieres Monday, July 9, at 10 p.m. and it should make at least a few waves in the summer ratings doldrums. Critics described it as “House” meets “A Beautiful Mind” and adopts “Monk” and called the show“amiable.”
Entertainment Weekly gave the show a “B,” and called it a “House–meets–The Mentalist–meets–A Beautiful Mind–meets–She’s All That procedural.” They remark that “The pace is nicely brisk and both leads are amiable presences, but the writers could have worked a little harder…”
The New York Times notes that the show “has aspirations, reflected in its title, to explore questions of illusion and reality,” but also says that it exhibits “forced whimsicality” and “an insistent do-gooder impulse…the sort of thing that could kill a show pretty quickly if allowed to multiply.” And yet, “On other counts,” they say, “‘Perception’ is a palatable, if more than usually implausible, cable mystery.”
Newsday gave the show a “C+,” and said, “ ‘Perception’ is both clever and ridiculous — but should do well for TNT because it’s also familiar.” They also criticized lead actor Eric McCormack, writing that “He’s alternately annoying, brash, weird, smooth, kind and brittle. He’s as insightful as Sherlock or as doddering as Watson — sometimes in the same moment.”
Variety wasn’t impressed, writing that the show “is really just more of the same-old, same-old, with a colorfully flawed (eccentric or crazy, take your pick) hero solving cases that prove almost wholly generic.” “All told,” they said, “ ‘Perception’ feels like an entry-level course, and isn’t nearly as cerebral as it pretends to be. Or maybe it is, and what’s onscreen is all just an illusion.”
The Washington Post called the show’s protagonist “the most unreliable narrator in the history of unreliable narrators,” and wrote, “While this adds a twist to what would otherwise be an average crime drama, it also means that the audience never knows whether a scene is actually happening…For some viewers, this will be a neat trick. For others, it will be maddening.” They also added that “For those who don’t mind getting sent off in lots of false directions, or aren’t going to even try to keep up, ‘Perception’ offers the chance to just go along for an enjoyable ride.”
The New York Post said, “Both the show, and McCormack [the lead actor], are fine, but I’m not sure there’s enough here to keep viewers coming back for more.” They also said that while “Both McCormack and Cook are likable enough, and have an engaging on-screen chemistry…The series…lays on the quirkiness a bit too thickly.”
The Wall Street Journal thought the show fell short, saying, “There are aspects of the series that are engaging—Daniel’s intricately conceived sleuthing for the FBI, for instance—but, as the voices in your own head soon tell you, there’s a lot more of it that’s wearisome.”
The Huffington Post said that “McCormack’s energy and the chugging, unflashy competence of the show around him make ‘Perception’ watchable. For me, it’s not a must-see hour, but TNT has done a moderate service here for those who prefer their hour-long dramas to be procedurally oriented.”
The San Francisco Chronicle noted that “ ‘Perception’ tries to milk the ongoing interest in Sherlock Holmes,” but that “The similarities end there, though…because “Perception” isn’t very smart.” As if that wasn’t enough, they added, “it’s also not very pleasant.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer called it “a clever story told in a flat way,” and said, “While it has a lot of promise, Perception relies on flimsy plot lines and fails to take advantage of its unique premise.”
USA Today says “Perception‘s near-total divorce from reality, while annoying, is not the worst of its crimes. The larger problem is that Daniel’s crime-solving abilities are so randomly applied as to be virtually pointless.
The Los Angeles Times says “If you can overlook both the derivative nature of the set-up — “House” meets “A Beautiful Mind” and adopts “Monk” — and the dangerous absurdity of defining schizophrenia as just another way of looking at things, “Perception” has a certain summery, tweet-friendly entertainment value. “
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New on VOD
Here are the new VOD films for the week of April 15, 2014. Click on a movie title for more information, trailers and reviews.
Philomena. Rating: 5 (out of 5). A political journalist picks up the story of a woman’s search for her son, who was taken away from her decades ago, after she gave birth and was forced to live in a convent. The film, based on a true story, will be available on VOD starting Tuesday, April 15. The critics are enamored with this film with New York Observer saying, “Philomena is not only my favorite film of 2013, but one of the most eloquent, powerful and perfect movies I have ever seen.” Reviews, video and more.
The Invisible Woman. Rating: 4 (out of 5). A happily married mother and schoolteacher, Nelly, is haunted by her past, when she had a complicated and fragile, yet exciting, relationship with Charles Dickens. This period drama premieres on VOD on Tuesday, April 15. The critics are impressed with the film and especially the acting though some note that it has a "leisurely pace." As Variety says, “So tastefully mounted and brilliantly acted that it wears down even the corset-phobic’s innate resistance to such things.” Reviews, video and more.
Patrick: Evil Awakens. Rating: 3 (out of 5). A young nurse, who just started working in an isolated psychiatric ward, takes an interest in Patrick, a seemingly comatose patient who is actually a subject of a mad scientist’s experiments. Her innocent fascination turns sinister as Patrick begins using his psychic powers to manipulate her every move, sending her life into a terrifying spiral. Watch for it on VOD starting Tuesday, April 15. Most of the critics enjoyed (though did not love) this remake of the 1978 movie, and FearNet calls the film "a good example of how to remake an obscure but admired horror flick." Reviews, video and more.
Wolf Creek 2. Rating: 3 (out of 5). Another tourist becomes the prey for the serial killer Mick Taylor. The critics have given mixed reviews to this horror film that comes to VOD on Thursday, April 17. Reviews, video and more.
Beneath The Harvest Sky. Rating: 3 (out of 5). Casper and Dominic have been best friends since childhood. Wanting to get out of their quiet hometown on the Maine-Canada border, the boys make a pact to pool their earnings on a car and hit the road. But when Casper is drawn into drug smuggling with his outlaw father to pay his share, their friendship gets strained and both are forced to make adult choices too soon. The film premieres on VOD on Tuesday, April 15. There were more positive than negative reviews on the film and according to Variety, “”Beneath the Harvest Sky” offers a heartbreakingly authentic, vividly realized account of adolescent frustration and yearning.” Reviews, video and more.
Small Time. Rating: 3 (out of 5). Freddy Klein decides not to go to College, and instead joins his father in his used-car business. Premiering on VOD on Friday, April 18, The Village Voice thinks, “The film isn't without mirth and charm: Norris steals a number of scenes as the charismatic Ash, and the banter between Norris and Meloni is charmingly convivial. But as Surnow steers into serious waters, the direction of the storytelling becomes increasingly misguided.” Reviews, video and more.
Ride Along. Rating: 2 (out of 5). Ben, a security guard, joins a cop, James, on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta in order to prove himself worthy of marrying the latter’s sister. Premiering on VOD on Tuesday, April 15, most of the critics are not impressed with this one. New York Magazine (Vulture) is one of the better reviews when they write, “It all mostly works, but you can’t help but wonder at times if it could have been a lot funnier if it had just a bit more edge.” Reviews, video and more.
The Nut Job. Rating: 2 (out of 5). Surly is banished from the park he lives in, and is forced to live in the dangerous city. Lucky for him, he comes across the only thing that can save not only his life, but the rest of the park community as well as winter approaches: Maury’s Nut Store. The film premieres on VOD on April 15. Most of the critics were unimpressed with this animated film, as The Arizona Republic says, “Ever had one of those artificially sweetened candies that taste OK at first but leaves a lingering, bitter aftertaste? That’s sort of how it goes with “The Nut Job.” Reviews, video and more.
A Promise. Rating: 1 (out of 5). Adapted from Stefan Zweig’s Journey into the Past, this film by French director Patrice Leconte centers on the affair between a handsome male secretary and the wife of a wealthy industrialist. Coming to VOD on Friday, April 18, this film has not won the heart of the critics, and IndieWire (The Playlist) thinks, “Leconte’s never been the edgiest of filmmakers, but “A Promise” is so free of anything close to an edge that it’s like watching a beige sphere for ninety-odd minutes—and it feels much longer.” Reviews, video and more.
Kid Cannabis. No rating. A dramatic film that tells the true story of a teen dropout based in Idaho, who builds a multimillion-dollar marijuana ring by trafficking drugs through the woods across the Canadian border. But his many vices may just leave this kid in way over his head. The film comes to VOD on Friday, April 18, the same day as its theatrical release, and no reviews are available as of writing. Video and more.
Bright Days Ahead (Les Beaux Jours). No Rating. A recently retired woman, eager to devote some free time to herself, begins taking part in some events at a local seniors center. When she becomes involved with a man decades younger than herself, she keeps this from her husband, and she soon begins to experience life in ways that she has not in a long time. The film premieres on the same day as its theatrical release, April 15, in French with English subtitles. No critic reviews are available as of time of writing. Video and more.