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Penny Dreadful (2014)
Dude...We're putting the BOND back together
An ex-Bond and an ex-Bond girl find themselves in some "true-ly blood-y" circumstances. Just cop a few licks from the HBO hit, and move the setting from the present day bayous to Victorian England. Should work just fine if the pilot episode in any indication. Solid production, nicely shot, and Eva Green is worth the price of admission all by herself. Fans of American Horror Story and True Blood will feel right at home here on Goth Disneyland's latest thrill ride. Nothing dreadful about this show at all. Count me in.
One burning question.....Has the terrific Timothy Dalton been studying the equally terrific Patrick Stewart's phrasing and cadences? Close your eyes and listen before you tell me I'm wrong. These Royal Shakespearian guys must have shared a diction coach somewhere along the line.
Silvio Dante's Inferno
Okay, look. I'm a little late to the party here. Was watching the winter Olympics and as of today (Valentine's Day) the Norweigians were still leading the US of A in the overall medal count. So I figured that it's time to start binge watching "Lilyhammer". "Know Your Enemy" and all that, ya know? Been given to understand, by folks in the know, that this Van Zandt guy used to play guitar with some band in New Jersey before he decided to turn his attention to the thespian arts, and to becoming a radio mogul (Sirius XM Garage Rock) in his spare time. And the world is better served for it, because our pal Little Steven is the comedy equivalent of Robert DeNiro, but with better hair. This sleeps-with-the-fishes-out-of-water premise is a flat riot. (The "I believe in Norway" opening to the 2nd season was a masterstroke). Steven and his Scandinavian goombahs just rip it up in this series. And it educational, too, kids. You get to learn about day-to-day life in a country that had the Polar Vortex before it was cool. And to anybody who don't like this show, all I can say is "stick it where the sun don't shine"---which is pretty much 6 months out of the year in Norway.
Great show. Jump all over it.
"But when you talk about destruction...don't you know that you can count me out"
"Revolution" has it all. Bad writing. Bad acting. Bad premise. The trifecta. Which probably means that, in the grand tradition of groundbreaking TV shows like "According To Jim', NBC is prepared to keep this turkey going for 7 or 8 years until it finds it footing.
Giancarlo Esposition is better than this.To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, " I knew Gus Fring. Gus Fring was a friend of mine. And you, my friend, are no Gus Fring". Never saw Mr. Esposito in a bad project before, but I guess there's always a first time.
This hodgepodge of "The Postman" and "Life After People" looks dead on arrival. And speaking of "dead on arrival", AMC's little zombie show seems to have a way to make this post-apocalyptic stuff a whole lot more palatable. Just add writers and some committed actors and you got yourself a winner. It CAN be done. But "Revolution" ain't doin' it.
"What's in the whiskey, bitch??" Man. If I had nickel for every time I've heard that.
Game Change (2012)
Woody Harrelson is a lock for an Emmy nom, and more than likely Julianne Moore and Ed Harris get one as well. Palin may take issue with the moments in the movie that show her getting her diva on, but it's generally a very humanizing portrayal of her as a mom and wife who may have been in over her head but did her level best to soldier on. It's certainly not a caricature of her or a hatchet job. Moore, to her credit. seems to have gone out of her way to construct a reasonably balanced view of an extremely polarizing figure.
Had to love that line that Ed Harris delivers late in the movie where he tells Palin not to allow herself to be coopted by the Rush Limbaughs who will destroy the party. HBO couldn't have timed the TV premiere any better. Just lucky or prescient?
The Walking Dead (2010)
Walkin' The Walk
Full disclosure: I'm not a big fan of zombies (at least not since "Time Of The Season" and "She's Not There" were hits, anyway), I never read the graphic novels this show is based on, and I wouldn't have given you a plugged nickel for my chances of watching this show past the 15-minute mark of the pilot episode.
But here I am...glued to this puppy midway into the 2nd season. Why? Because good acting goes a long way, kids. (Particularly with the addition---however ultimately tenuous--of Scott Wilson to the cast.) Act as if ye have real drama, and real drama shall be given unto you.
Given the premise here (essentially "Night of the Living Dead" in series format) this show could have easily pegged the "Complete Drivel" meter right out of the gate. Instead, the producers and the cast treat the material as more than comic book fodder for tweens. This is the kind of show that could actually give "post-apocalyptic" a good name again.
Like "24", "Walking Dead" is an E-ticket ride once you're strapped in. Lots of fun. And this make-up department can really dial up the "ick" factor and scare the dookie outa yet when they want. So turn down the lights and enjoy one of the better genre exercises of this type that you're likely to see.
The Artist (2011)
Run silent, run deep
Yeah...you can believe all the hype...It really IS that good. A movie for people who love the movies...and this is one that you really DO need to see in a theater, popcorn in hand. Couple of random thoughts: 1) Woody Allen and Mel Brooks are truly unindicted co-conspirators in this project. Their work paved the way.
2) No supporting actor nod for Uggie? Really? A darned shame. For starters, more emotional range than Emily Proctor and Jim Belushi, and he probably required fewer biscuits during rehearsals, and fewer takes to get the scene.
3) Let's face the cold hard facts, folks. Painful as it may be, it's probably okay to be a patriotic American and like the French again. C'est si bon and all that.
4) Billy Crystal's got it easy this year. The opening montage pretty much writes itself, don't it?
Happily Divorced (2011)
Breaks my heart
I adore Fran Drescher. She kept me in stitches for years on "The Nanny", she's stone-cold beautiful, she can channel Lucille Ball at will, and she uses her star status to create a terrific platform for cancer survivors like herself. So what's not to love, huh? This show. Pains me to say it, but no amount of talent can save this cast from these scripts.
Fran's been mired in one turkey after another since "The Nanny". It's time for someone to find this woman a serious project, comedy or drama, that showcases what she can do. She's better than this and she deserves better than this.
The Big C (2010)
Death Comedy Jam
Laura Linney, like her idol Meryl Streep, is just a model of consistent brilliance. If on nothing but the strength of her performance alone, "The Big C" is poised to be a big deal. Solid job of exposition in the pilot episode. All the main characters are immediately up to speed. Anyone whose life has been brushed by cancer (which is to say, everybody) will recognize the issues and identify with one or another of the characters here. From all initial appearances, this looks like it's gonna be a keeper.
Don't take Kreskin to figure that Linney's heading straight back into Emmy consideration for this role. On the basis of the first half-hour, she's delivering another of her patented fully realized performances.
Okay, Showtime. You had me at "hello". Gonna strap myself in and go for a ride with Ms. Linney and company.
This ain't your daddy's "Criminal Intent"
This episode provides a complete departure from the tried-and-true procedural boilerplate that we've all come to know and love on "L&O". Here we delve into the realm of Agatha Christie. A game of "Clue" with a London setting, period costuming, and enough red herrings floating around to cater a Slavic brunch. Plop Jeff Goldblum into the midst of this milieu, and you got yourself some real fish-out-of-water fun. Mili Avital, playing the the central character of this set piece, seems to be channeling her inner Ophelia, and gets the most out of a few precious lines of back story with Goldblum. Best of all, nobody watching this episode will ever again get stumped at the spelling bee on the word "palimpsest". Hell. You'll even be able to use that word in a declarative sentence, amazing your friends and winning all sorts of bar bets. A neat little piece of writing and acting by all concerned parties.
Adam Resurrected (2008)
Intriguing and surreal movie with an outstanding performance by Jeff Goldblum, whose name should have been in the mix for any number of acting awards for this film. Holocaust-related movies generally don't get deliver box office results, but this is a strikingly good treatment that deserves a wider audience. Watch it and get the word of mouth out there.
Paul Schrader, whose had a hand in more than a few films about human darkness, creates an intriguing film here. The "arms" scene at towards the end of the film is worth the price of admission on its own. Right up there with "I am Spartacus" or the "I'm still here, you bastards" last line from "Papillon". Powerful stuff. Derek Jacobi, Willem DeFoe, Ayelet Zurer, a frighteningly good Romanian kid named Tudor Rapiteanu, and the rest of international cast do yeoman's work.
Always been a fan of Jeff Goldblum's read on a line...and he's at the top of his game in "Adam".