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Naked Hollywood (1991)
Also Known As Hollywood 101
I'd seen this on TV in 1991 and didn't see the entire series. The parts I remember though were the difference between James Caan and Arnold Swartznegger. James being the Artist, Arnold being the Entrepeneur. I never thought of actors being like that before, but I guess it was in the back of my mind when I was watching it realizing how much sense it made to me. It's the type of mini-series that should be in the library of every film-making school. I wonder if it's on DVD anywhere or some specified library in anyone's town? I'd love to see it again just because it was so fascinating and insightful. I look at this and wonder what kind of actor I am and what kind I want to be. I suppose most actors would rather be James Caan while the viewing audience would like to be Arnold.
Hotel Babylon (2005)
Not a Bad Show, Good Performances.
At the suggestion of a friend of mine, I was encouraged to watch this new show that might turn into a TV series called, Hotel Babylon. The premise is that of some land immigrants who work at a hotel and how they deal with daily occurrences and personality clashes. So, I sat down, taped the show and after it was over came to my own conclusion: it wasn't that bad. I'll admit, it started off slow in the beginning but picked up some speed before the end. One thing stood out though: the characters were strong, especially that of Awaovieyi Agie, portraying a Maintainence Man who was a cop in his native land. I hope to see more of his performances in the future, whether or not this show becomes a series.
The Woodsman (2004)
I'd only heard a little bit of this film and read a review in a local newspaper, so my curiosity dragged me to see it. During the film, I hated and sympathized with Walter, squirming in my seat, knowing full well what trauma he'd inflicted on some young lives. If Walter was someone I'd known in real life, I wouldn't associate with him. Or maybe I would, just to gain a better understanding of him. Most of the time, a pedophile is imagined as a monster and we see him as visually different from "normal" people, meanwhile Walter blended right into society. If I didn't know there was a Walter sitting with me on the same bus, or standing in line at the grocery store, or living in the same neighborhood as I, I would never identify him as a threat to young girls. This movie brings out the humanity in the type of person we don't want to see as human. All the actors, especially Kevin Bacon, did a fabulous performance. I hope more people see this film.
Hollow Reed (1996)
The Message Was Clear.
Oliver Wyatt [Sam Bould], who's at the centre of this drama, felt he would bring on more drama and feel blamed, coupled with the abuse he put up with if he expressed his feelings about it. Martyn Wyatt [Martin Donovan], who's the ex-husband and father to Oliver, battled discrimination from his wife and the court system to save his son. Tom Dixon [Ian Hart], Martyn's boyfriend, who stood by helplessly yet made the occassional attempt, ended up even more frustrated. Hannah Wyatt [Joely Richardson], who was torn between a possible failed relationship with her current boyfriend and the welfare of her son. Frank Donally [Jason Flemyng], the one who's oblivious to his treatment of the boy and trapped wrestling his own demons. All well-played roles by fine actors.
Inside the Actors Studio (1994)
Save Your Money On Acting Seminars & Watch This.
I can sit in my living room yet feel like an audience member learning from this show. Here, the interviewed actor/director/writer feels liberated enough to reveal a relaxed side of themselves: There's always a golden nugget of info the actor shares with us. Actors should watch this with a pad and pen ready for note-taking. I don't know about the general public, but most aspiring/struggling/starving/working/professional actors who watch this show will toss away the idea of attending seminars to absorb the info being spilled here. Why read a book on acting when you can hear Julianne Moore talk about how she approaches a roll? Most viewers have their favorite interview: The best actors are the most educational ones while the rest are entertaining. I like James Lipton's approach to the actors. How else can he get the actors to relax and spill their guts? If I want hard-hitting journalism, I'll watch 20/20 for that. All I want is more info on what could make me a stronger performer, not this person's sexual preference or how many times they've checked into rehab: I'm not interested in the gossip and I'm thankful this show isn't about that.
The L Word (2004)
"Let Them All See This!"
I was in anticipation of this show, ever since I heard of it way back in 2002. Finally, it pops up on the dish and I wasn't disappointed. You've got to love the insight of what goes on with these women's lives. It's good to see Jennifer Beals and Pam Grier working again, and to discover some fresh new (to me) faces that'll no doubt be noticed. The show was neither pornographic nor too talky. If the worry that straight men will watch this for their own "pleasure", then the more viewers the better, I say: keeps the show on the air. All sorts of people should appreciate this show, but some won't dig this, as 'to each his/her own'. I hope to own this series on DVD in the near future, and I hope this get a world-wide release rather than restricted to Showtime (hint, hint).
The Chosen Family (2002)
Hopefully, At An Art-House Cinema Near You.
There's a line that Margaret (Morgan Brayton) says to her brother Ewin (Dmitry Chepovetsky) about coming out. "Life still sucks. It's just queer and it sucks". The mock-umentary part of the film is about documentary filmmaker Faith (Farrell Spence) who is interviewing Margaret with her ex-girlfriends, meanwhile the story behind it focuses on Margret's biological family. After her sister Christine (Colleen Wheeler) divorces and comes out of the closet, Margaret predicts that her other brother Emmett (Tyler Tone) will come out next, but an ironic twist pops out of nowhere. In all this, Margaret is still looking for her next girlfriend, dealing with the people in her life making it difficult for her to live the way she wants to, all while volley-balling the bouquet at a wedding. It's fresh, funny and enjoyable. It may have breezed through a film festival in your town, but if you find it playing at an art house cinema, catch it if you can.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
The Best Chick Flick Ever!
Fine, you can see this flick because it was directed by Quentin Tarantino. You can see it because of the hype that typically follows his name. You can see it because of your appreciation for Swords and Martial Arts, but some of you will see it for the revenge theme that it is. I know that everyone on this planet gets screwed at some point in their lives, but the hero for this story is a nameless woman, who sets out to "Kill Bill", the one who almost killed her. How many women have thought of avenging a wrong-doing in the name of dignity and self-respect? For those of you who have a strong stomache, for those of you who get a twinkle in their eye at the thought of combat, this'll turn you on. I was worried that the public would label this a chick flick, but hardly anyone mentioned that phrase at all. Maybe that's my issue to deal with, but I'm glad this movie is only appreciated for its style and action sequences, as I have. I'm seeing this film again! I can't wait for it to come out on DVD, and I can't wait for KB.V2!
My Two Loves (1986)
Scenes I Remember From Way Back When.
*************************SPOILERS************************* Gail Springer (Mariette Hartley)seeing a therapist, asking,"Am I a lesbian? Am I bisexual? Am I straight? What am I?"; Gail meeting up with both Ben (Barry Newman)her male date and Marjorie Lloyd (Lynn Redgrave), her female date and when the two dates were left together at a table, Ben was being rude and bigoted towards Marjorie; Gail tearfully breaking up with both Ben and Marjorie to sort out her feelings; Gail entering her daughter's room to tell her what's been going on with her, only Amy (Sara Inglis) is distracted, listening to her Walkman, so when Amy realized her mom wants her attention, Gail smiles and says,"Nothing", and you know everything will be fine, that she's got this inner conflict under control. I'd give this movie a 6.5 out of 10.
Life and Times (1996)
Who's Who In Canadian Talent.
This is the show that every Canadian should watch on CBC Television. It's also the show that those outside of Canada should watch to see what kind of talent is flourishing here. The world is overwhelmed by American celebrities, so the talent we have here isn't given the attention they deserve, especially when the viewing audience realizes that the actor they've admired hails from North of the 49th parallel. A few of my favorites have been: Ernie "Mr. Dressup" Coombs, Mary Walsh, Burton Cummings, The Royal Canadian Air Farce, Wayne & Shuster, Raffi and several others that have reminded me of our abundant talent pool. This is recommended viewing for all. Keep an eye out for this gem of a show.