Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
So Shakira is making the rounds promoting her hit single (and same-titled English album) She-Wolf, yet the more youtube clips I caught of her "live" performances in the US the more depressed I got: she was lip-syncing! LIP-SYNCING!
So, I was very happy to see that across the pond she actually SINGS (and dances!) live:
Dollhouse returned last night with a Whedon-written-&-directed episode called "Vows" which delved deeper into the moral ambiguities surrounding the Dollhouse (through Whiskey/Saunders' storyline) and set up the ongoing threads for season 2 (a senator-led witch-hunt against the Dollhouse, Paul & Echo's alliance, Whiskey's self-discovery). I don't know what new viewers thought (or if any tuned in) but it was a solid episode featuring a great cast:
Lee Adama (known as 'Jamie Bamber' outside the BSG-verse) played Echo's "assignment" - a husband whose business is a bit shady. (PS. Is Bamber hotter when he's angry/villainous or was that just me?)
Wesley Windham-Pryce (ie. 'Mr Alyson Hannigan' er... I mean 'Alexis Denisof' outside of the Buffyverse) plays (and will recur throughout) as a Senator who has it in for the 'Dollhouse': but why?
Amy Acker as Whiskey/Dr Saunders. After finding out her identity was a sham (she was the premier 'doll' until Alpha sliced her up) she's left in shambles battling with her inner-engineering.
Enver Gjokaj as 'Victor' (a doll) - following the same fate as Whiskey (at Alpha's knife) we find Victor getting cosmetic surgery at the Dollhouse's expense (which irks Whiskey, but then... we all know why Ms DeWitt would want to keep pretty-Victor's face intact, no?)
Dichen Lachman as 'Sierra' (a doll) has probably the most hysterical scene in the episode where her interaction with Ivy ("Uh, could I have the other one? The man one?") showcases her imprint's racist/sexual personality, but has little to do other than hold hands with Victor at the end of the episode.
Harry Lenix as Boyd Langton (Echo's former handler and now head of security of the Dollhouse) plays the 'father' figure throughout (not just with Echo but now taking on Whiskey as well).
Fran Kranz is Topher Brink, the mastermind behind the Dollhouse's technology - who we saw wounded and damaged in 'Epitah One' begins his morally-tinged journey into ambivalence with his interactions with Whiskey.
Olivia Williams (playing probably my favorite character on the show) is Adelle DeWitt, the head of the LA branch of the Dollhouse (yes! there are more we learned!) and is intent on keeping Ballard close at hand. Good thing she knows how to get things done: by emotionally manipulating people to her advantage.
'Helo' (Tamoh Pennikett) is (ex)Agent FBI Paull Ballard who after spending season 1 pursuing the 'Dollhouse' and finding out what happened to Caroline/Echo, is now 'employed' (though to what capacity the episode doesn't reveal til the end) under the Dollhouse though as DeWitt tells us, his motives (much too chivalrous) are his best guarantee in keeping Echo safe.
And last (and most would also say least) we have Eliza Dushku (Faith herself!) as 'Echo/Caroline): the 'best' doll in the Dollhouse who's self-awareness keeps chipping away at her doll-persona ("I am all of them, but none of them is me" she tells Paul at the end of the episode)
Friday, September 25, 2009
It's fitting that one of the opening images of Mad Men's Season 3 premiere was of a bloodied bed due to miscarriage. If the ant colony (and it's smashing) symbolised Sterling Cooper under the Brits, the image of the a bloodied bed from a miscarriage viscerally encapsulates several of the themes that have so far run through the season: the (in)ability to conceive (Betty and Trudy as mirror opposites as seen at Roger's party), the creation of new familial relations (both in Roger's new found family and in Don & Betty's household), sexual promiscuity - which bears Dick Whitman (in Peggy's newfound sexuality) and as the following images show, blood in itself comes to figure in several different contexts:
A bloody helmet became the center of a discussion on war.
Sally's bloodied face came to symbolize her inability to cope with loss.
A blood-stained floor haunted Betty's drug-induced labour dreams.
And of course, a splatter of blood took center stage in last week's episode, ruining Joan's lovely green dress.
And I have to wonder... are Weiner & co. building up for that other (in)famous blood splatter which took place in Novemeber 1963?
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The more things change...
Can we please just talk about this week's episode of Mad Men (you know, the one that aired at roughly the same time the show was receiving its two Emmys on Sunday)?
Coming hot on the heels of what I thought was one of the best episodes this season (last week's "The Fog"), Matthew Weiner & co. have presented us with an episode that threatened to change everything at Sterling Cooper and in a 'bloody surprising' move, managed to turn everything back to 'normal' faster than you can say John Deere (if that line makes no sense to you, you need to watch the episode, as I have no desire to spoil the episode's plot-twist (though you can go here and see an animated GIF of it if you want)).
If nothing else, this episode re-calibrated much of the plot gears we have slowly been watching (Sally and Gene, Betty's (in)explicable attitude towards her family, Peggy & Pete's career aspirations - notice how McKendrick used the same line on both of them, Don & Roger's enmity) but did so in a very MadMenian way: not with grandiose changes (though it did start out that way) but by challenging its characters with what so threatened the 1960s: the status quo.
And jolly did it do it with a dose of black humour:
"Bang you head on the wall"
"He might lose his foot"
"Right when he got it in the door..."
Yet for me the question remains: what will happen to Joan who has seen (in less then a year) her hopes for marrying a successful doctor and living the/her dream dashed (not least because of her rape last season, but also because her beloved didn't make surgeon after all) - will she return to Sterling Cooper? Is there a way to do so while still being able to rule the office - not with a iron clad fist but - with a stylish silk glove?
That said, I love that she got screen time (and one of the better lines of the night):
"I know, it's ruined"
Ah Joan, always with her priorities set.
Manuel + Celebration = Andy Warholesque Madonnuel via Mr Brainwash's cover for the '34 Songs That Changed the World' Celebration.
Okay, so that picture might be the most horrifying thing I have ever posted on here (give or take a Swank picture, ha!) but I couldn't NOT share my 'Celebration'-ised picture (oh that you could also Vogue-ise, Music-ise, Erotica-ise and Hung-Up-ise yourself...)
Friday, September 18, 2009
Parks and Recreation came back in a big (gay!) way last night. After a clunky and uneven first season (6 eps total), this Amy Poehler comedic vehicle kicked off its new season with gay penguins who Poehler's Knope unknowingly marries (as in, she didn't know they were both male, not as in, she didn't know she was marrying them) and thus throws herself squarely into the 'gay marriage' agenda fight. Seeing Poehler tread the fine line between "The gays love me! I love attention and validation and I'm doing a cute/good thing!" and "I'm in the mainstream" was hysterical. But nothing was as funny as the gay club ("The Bulge") scene:
"You know why tonight is so fun? Cause everyone is so gay! And they know how to have fun. And dance! Everyone is who they are. And who they are is stone-cold gay."
Which of course segways into:
"Pokah-pokah-face-blah blah blah pokah-face!"
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Three worthwhile moments from last night's (abeit less-than-stellar) Glee:
1. Mark Salling shirtless (accompanied by Juanes' "La Camisa Negra" - only sung NOT by Juanes, how weird was that?)
2. Favorite line (though "This is a gayvention. That's a gay, intervention" and "You're freakishly tall! You make me feel like a woodland creature" and "If Josh Groban were here he'd club you to death with his Critics Choice Award" were all hilarious too):
"Yous gotta go Effie"
& 3. Mercedes going all J-Hud meets High School and belting out "I Bust Your Windows":
I know it may be a bit too early to start obsessing over 30 Rock's impending return but... Scratch that. That would imply I haven't been obsessing over it all summer since it left us, which is of course not true! The little brilliant comedy show that could returns in October for its 4th season and I can't wait! I only wish more people watched it - not because I care about ratings, but because I do feel everyone needs more Tina Fey in their lives.
Last year, Fey's show pulled all the stunts it could to broaden its appeal (and audience numbers) not least of which it was to recruit heavy weight guest stars (Oprah anyone?) and while I do enjoy the episodes where the TGS characters find themselves front and center, there's no denying no one casts and makes use of guest actors as well as 30 Rock (Alan Alda anyone?). Yet, I have yet to hear about any "big stars" visiting the TGS set this upcoming season...
And I'm left wondering which late 1990s sitcom cast will manage to make its way (in its entirety) to Fey's zany comedy:
Jerry himself helped Fey & co open season 2 of 30 Rock, but what of the other NYC neurotics that sat next to him at the Restaurant? I mean, what I wouldn't give for a Louis-Dreyfus/Fey faceoff - they clearly have great chemistry from awards shows and interviews I've seen. Or how about a Baldwin/Alexander corporate rivalry (or would he be more suited for a page-like storyline)? And no other show could whip comedy into Richards own real-life drama than the show which spinned Tracy Morgan's own ankle-bracelet into comedy gold, no? That said, they're all probably too busy promoting their guest-stints in Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm to make this all hopeless dream-casting.
Will & Grace
Hayes played Kenneth's redneck cousin who kidnapped Tracy at the end of season 1 (against-type casting much?) and Mullally tried to help Liz adopt a baby last season, so the famed straight-gay roommate comedy only has two more spots to fill before they cross the finish line. Messing's antics would be nicely paired with Krakowski's diva fits (or maybe I just think of them together cause I love their hair so much?) and McCormack's charm could do well for a Liz romance (though it might be too reminiscent of John Hamm's) so maybe he could play gay again and mess with another guest star vet Will Arnett?
So Ross and Rachel already made their foray into 30 Rock land (as Greenzo and Liz's old roommate respectively) but I'm sure the writers at the Rock could come up with juicy roles for this crowd (though they'd have to kidnap a certain cougar now roaming ABC). My suggestions? Joey Tribbiani should pay a visit to TGS attempting to cross-over into primetime; Kudrow (the most gifted comedic thesp among the group) could do wonders paired with a great character - for kicks I'd give her a corporate role to see her play off of Baldwin's wit; Perry does well with physical comedy as well as awkward laughter so to think of him and Jane Krakowski together in a scene would be bliss (she is overdue for a good romantic storyline, no?) and Ms Courtney 'Cougar Town' Cox-Arquette does bitchy like no one's else business so I'd love to see her echo her Dirt days and have her go after TGS's reputation (or lack thereof) in print and media.
That said, if the writers want to give Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser plum roles this season I'd gladly give Mad About You the edge in this faux-contest.
That said, 30 Rock also favors other types of guest stars:
- If they go after more TV/Film veterans (like Conway and Stritch) could I suggest Lily Tomlin, Ellen Burstyn or Maggie Smith? (Also: whatever happened to that Streep rumour? She does need an Emmy you know?)
- If they go after more Broadway peeps (like Bart, LuPone and Lane) could I throw in Cheyenne Jackson, Sutton Foster and Angela Lansbury for consideration?
- And on one last note and going on nothing but dream-casting: am I the only one who dreams of seeing Julia Roberts spew Rockian one-liners? :: crickets :: Anyone? :: wind blowing :: Fine.
Tina, you have my number - call me for more tips!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
The more I keep re-watching Sam Mendes' films, the more I fall in love with Mr Kate Winslet. His films are sumptuous looking and feature class-A acting. Road to Perdition, which I just revisited has great performances from Daniel Craig (pre-Bond), Jude Law (post-Ripley), as well as from two Hollywood heavyweights: Tom Hanks and Paul Newman.
"Cause it's all so fucking hysterical!"
"I shoot the dead"
"I'm glad it's you..."
Such an underrated film, that one.
(Which I could also say about Jarhead, Revolutionary Road and Away We Go - does the American Beauty 'backlash' run that deep?)