Last updated: May 15. 2014 10:14AM - 1102 Views
Tom Doty Times Columnist

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Netflix saved the day for renters by releasing an amazing series today, while Hollywood fumbled with an over-produced action effort that stemmed from an underwhelming notion.

“Orange Is the New Black” — “Dramadey” is a lot harder to pull off than comedy, but this show from Netflix succeeds on all counts. The series charts one woman’s adjustment to prison 10 years after she worked briefly for a drug dealer. The comedy here is character-driven, so there are no punchlines, per se. The show’s formula is to focus on a prison event while also showcasing the back story of one of the inmates. This allows the production to resist getting too claustrophobic, while allowing the ensemble cast to show how their characters behavior was their downfall. Great stuff.

“I, Frankenstein” — Aaron Ekhart stars as the mad doctor’s titular creation who has survived into modern times. Apparently, he spent the last 200 years learning kung-fu, and that is good, because demonic elements are poised to attack the free world. This supernatural action epic is pretty much “Die Hard” with stitches and nowhere near as action filled as “Van Helsing”or even the “Underworld” series.

“Her” — In the near future a young man falls in love with the female-voiced operating system in his computer in this low key drama. A decent idea about how we are driven to be alone due to our electronic devices which supposedly offer us a chance to connect with others. A smart idea, though a little slow going.

“The Zombinator” — Finally a zombie flick so dull and uninspired that it may slow down the deluge of undead straight-to-video flicks. Here you get a camera man following a fashion blogger around Youngstown, Ohio, while an undead outbreak allows for some shaky camera work.

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