Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reviews: Movies & TV - 1

An odd couple of weeks. I haven’t been watching my usual massive amounts of films thanks in large part to the start of the semester (which I’m so over already). However, the viewings for school have been enjoyable thus far and we’re already two episodes into the second half of Burn Notice season 3.

For a class about 1950s American Cinema I had to watch The Asphalt Jungle. Which turned out to be a fantastic 50’s film noir. A great caper film that I won’t give away, definitely a must see. Also in a very small supporting role is a blonde starlet we know as Marilyn Monroe. If you have a fancy for crime films this is a classic that you should go out of your way to see.

Watched Along Came Polly for the first time in while. It’s actually a really enjoyable, quirky comedy. Not only is it a different kind of story with a male character who’s obsessed with settling down, but it has a stellar cast. I of course re-watched this movie because of this on going Philip Seymour Hoffman thing. And he is as enjoyable in comedies as he is in dramas. But there is also Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston, Debra Messing, Hank Azaria, and Alec Baldwin. I found that it’s worth a second look.


Now, the two recent episodes of Burn Notice: Incredible! It felt like there was going to be a bit of a slow start there, but now the ball is rolling. This past episode was great for so many reasons. There was so much character development and back-story given! As a devoted Bruce Campbell fangirl I was thrilled to see some background for Sam. Just SO good! I rarely go and buy episodes offline the day after they air. But this episode I did.
Of course I enjoy the Michael and Fi getting their relationship to a somewhat functional level. But I was just so excited that they brought in someone from Sam’s past and that BC got to do a little more as far as emotional scenes go. He doesn’t get angry like that very often. And then there was Maddie, our comic relief. Who was also amazing when she put her foot down with Mack and said, “He’s my son’s best friend. And come to think of it, he’s mine too.” Great episode.

Also in the TV realm this past week we saw the last episode of Dollhouse. First want to address my Alan Tudyk love. And the sheer thrill I felt at the fact that Joss Whedon DIDN’T KILL ALPHA! I was worried that we were going to see a Serenity redux there. However, two other well loved characters died. But in true Joss Whedon style it was done for the greater good (Doesn’t change my opinion about Wash). A good show, way to go out on top Joss.

In the vein of TV, though not a current show, I’ve become obsessed with Eli Stone. Wow. A fantastically quirky show that provided the viewing audience with George Michael hallucinations, visual effects that are reminiscent of Ally McBeal and singing, dancing Victor Garber. That’s right Spy Daddy has mad skill. It’s a great show, very sweet and funny. And you can’t beat the soundtrack. Another program that was taken off the air before it really got to spread its wings.

Devoted Fandoms

Hardcore fangirls (and boys) are an interesting breed. I consider this thought as I sit through the Grammys waiting for a brief moment of Quentin Tarantino. Suddenly I begin to consider all of the long B-movies, the crappy award shows, the random episodes of TV I have sat thru in order to see an actor or actress that I’m a fan of.

For instance, Ed Wood. One of the longest, most random movies you could sit through, especially if you aren’t a fan of Johnny Depp. No no, as a Vincent D’Onofrio fan I waited for an 8-minute appearance towards the very end of the movie to see VDO playing Orson Welles. And when I got there I discovered that his voice had been dubbed by that of the man who used to play The Brain (as in Pinky and The Brain).

But we still sit through these things even if just for a glimmer. We stay up till 3 in the morning to record a movie off TV because the movie isn’t going to be released on DVD anytime soon. And to buy it on VHS from Amazon would cost more than you care to pay. It’s amazing the things we do.

In that same thread, I point to the massive outpouring of devoted Conan fans these last couple of weeks. There were rallies held in the rain, “I’m With CoCo” shirts and signs, and a mass online campaign to show support for the ginger giant. It’s no secret that I am a devoted fan and I have never been so proud to be a part of a fan community.

So my three readers and any other fangirls or fanboys out there, tell me about your hardcore fandoms.

Team Conan

Monday, January 18, 2010

Movies, Awards and Debacles

As usual I apologize for the lapse in postings. Must say upfront, before I become distracted by the Conan/Leno/NBC debacle, that It’s Complicated was incredible. See it now and then go see it again. I went twice and it just convinced me even more that there’s nothing wrong with idolizing Nancy Meyers.

Rented Duplicity… it was good. Not great. The twists were incredible, I’ll give them that and I did enjoy the ending. But there were a few spans during the movie that failed to hold my attention.

Golden Globes were tonight. Pleased with some disappointed with others. I’m sorry but Avatar holds no interest for me. There were a lot of great choices for best dramatic picture and that was not the one that I would’ve picked. Not even one of the top three that I would’ve picked. Tarantino was robbed all over the place. I was however, very pleased that The Hangover took best comedy film, Sandra Bullock FINALLY won (best actress in a drama for Blind Side) and Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart. Both are superb performers and these acknowledgements have been a long time coming. Also pleased that Drew Barrymore won for Grey Gardens, she is just the dearest person. And Mo’Nique for Precious, what a sincere acceptance speech.

I’m going to be brief about the whole Conan/Leno thing. It is probably not a surprise that I’m on Team Conan. I’ve grown up watching him. I adore his self-deprecating, random, quirky humor that I’ve always felt a kinship to. If I could watch him all the time I would. My personal feelings about Conan aside, as someone who wants to work in the Television industry I am embarrassed and ashamed of both NBC and Jay Leno. They tried a new experiment and it didn’t work. But instead of just cancelling Jay they decide to wedge him in between the news and Conan. Now if the show isn’t working at 10 o’clock, why would it work better at 11.35?

If Jay Leno returns to the Tonight Show he isn’t going to do anything different, the program isn’t going to grow. It’ll simply go back to the same old shtick that we said goodbye to months ago. Why would you want to take a step back? Conan O’Brien has been making a valiant effort to put his mark on the program. Take a moment and look back, didn’t he turn the Late Night program into something that drew in numerous fans? Didn’t he produce results with time?

Instead of giving Conan a chance, support, or a solid lead in, NBC has decided to rest on their laurels. And it is a disservice to Conan, the Tonight Show staff, and the viewing audience… that might explain why they don’t have one at the moment.

I am so horribly embarrassed by this whole thing, both as an audience member and someone who aspires to work in this industry. The situation makes NBC look bad, it makes Jay into a villain, and it makes out the industry to be exactly what people imagine it to be. Granted Jay should take a page from Johnny Carson’s book and bow out gracefully. But that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. This is rumored to be Conan’s last week. Which saddens me, but I am hopeful that he’ll get an offer from Fox and crush NBC in the ratings (which isn’t too difficult to do).

And on that I wrap this up. Doing a lot of script work recently, it's been good.

Team Conan.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

And So It Continues

As with all new fandoms this Philip Seymour Hoffman infatuation continues. Watched The Savages, Scent of a Woman, and Charlie Wilson's War. All three of which were incredible in their own way.

The Savages (2007) was heart breaking but at the same time quite funny. Laura Linney and PSH are siblings who have to take responsibility of their dementia ridden father after his long time girlfriend passes away.

Philip Bosco plays the father, a terrific actor that I'm always excited to see whenever he pops up some where. The acting is just indescribable. There are moments that are just hysterically funny and then there are others that just reduce you to tears. It's a testament to the writing as much as the performances. The writer/director Tamara Jenkins also did one of my favorite movies, Slums of Beverly Hills.

Scent of a Woman (1992) was... interesting. I watched it with a headache so that was probably a mistake on my part. Al Pacino is so loud. I liked the general premise and Chris O'Donnell was great, as was PHS, especially for being such young actors at the time. Pacino is... well he's Pacino. He screams and is horribly vulgar which tries my nerves after the first hour. The infamous tango scene was delightful and it was interesting to see Gabrielle Anwar in a different role (considering that I mainly know her as Fiona on Burn Notice). Bradly Whitford also pops in for the incredibly awkward family dinner.

It's a good movie, worth seeing if you have the time. But I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to see it again. It was long and had a few moments of "seriously? There's more?"

Charlie Wilson's War (2007) written by Aaron Sorkin, starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams... Yeah, it's a good movie. Based on real events mixed with the quippy delight of Aaron Sorkin's writing. This is one movie that I actually wish were longer. When I saw that Sorkin was writing it I was worried that it was going to be a rehashing of The West Wing in a different decade with a congressman instead of the President. But it was unique and enjoyable.

Definitely a movie you won't regret seeing. Especially enjoyable if you're a bit of a covert agency buff like I am. PSH character is with the CIA, dig it.

Empire Falls should be arriving next from Netflix. Soon as I send back Sky High... that's right, I rented a Disney movie. But in my defense it's about a high school for the kids of superheroes and has a great grown up cast. Bruce Campbell, Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Cloris Leachman, Kurt Russell, the list goes on. It's just a fun movie that lets you escape for a little bit. No hidden motive behind the story, it just is what it is.

Also waiting for Going Back to arrive, a $10 purchase with Christmas money. One of Bruce Campbell's earlier movies that doesn't have the living dead. I'm super excited to see it! And will report back after I do.

That's all for now. Happy New Year to all three of my readers.

-Geek Girl