Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Catching Up With Premium Programming: 3 Shows

I finally made some time to catch up on premium programming - I just recently watched 'The Tudors' season 3, 'Secret Diary of a Call Girl' season 2 and 'Big Love' season 2. Here are my thoughts....

1. The Tudors (season 3) - I wasn't a super huge fan of the first 2 seasons, mostly because I have no interest in that portion of history. The only thing interesting about Henry VIII is his 6 marriages (and to break it down further - his first divorce that was followed by his relationship with Anne Boleyn). So, even if the history was a little dull to me - the exploration of his personal life was intriguing plus Jonathon Rhys Meyers is Awesome (yes, the A is purposely capitalized!!). With season 3 beginning after the brutal beheading of Anne, I kind of had a sinking feeling the show was now going to suck. The season premiere was just about one of the most boring hours of television ever - and the season never seemed to recover. It is a good thing they decided to end the series after season 4 - It is like the writers know that the rest of Henry's story is dull. While the first 2 seasons dragged a bit, season 3 went through history in the blink of an eye (his third wife got pregnant and gave birth in the same episode - then died). I realize there is a lot of ground to cover - but when you move so quickly something inevitably gets lost (like actually caring about the characters before they perish). So basically his 3rd wife dies - then he marries Joss Stone (whom he refers to as looking like a horse - how insulting for that poor girl) then he marries Katherine who is a scrawny, flat-chested, plain faced girl that can't act. Somewhere between his personal life there is a whole lot of political stuff going on, which can be described by "diversity of opinion ended and unification began". Booooring. My only other comment is that JRM totally over-acted his way through the third season (his accent was almost unbearable) and I realized that Callum Blue disappeared. Does anyone remember what happened to his character? I hope season 4 kicks in some excitement (at least it has Joely Richardson as Catherine - yet another wife).

2. Secret Diary of a Call Girl (season 2) - So the book that this series is based on (Belle De Jour: 'Diary of an Unlikely Call Girl') is one of my favorite recently written books - I recommend it to every feminist. It is sweet, funny, honest and sexy but it also says a lot about what it is like to be a woman (an objectified woman) in the world today. I was so happy when I found out they were making it into a show - but unfortunately, season 1 did not impress me at all. Part of what went wrong is Billie Piper - don't get me wrong I actually like her as an actress but she isn't exactly sexy (she is not very feminine and her teeth are too big for her mouth - I know I am such a Bitch! But the key to the entire series was the casting of Belle/Hannah and Showtime definitely missed the mark on this one). They also didn't follow the "diary" narrative - instead each episode was a linear story - I felt it wasn't as honest and personal as the book. And finally, the last reason why I didn't like season 1 was that I felt like they were trying too hard to be "edgy" - the show is about a self-proclaimed "whore" - you really don't need to push the envelope much further than that. So, season 2 did not get much better - However, I instantly perked up when I saw Callum Blue (the same actor who mysteriously disappeared from The Tudors!) in the premiere. I have a residual crush on him from Dead Like Me - he needs his own series (hint...NBC). There were a few episodes that I thought were done really well - like when Alex finds out that she is a prostitute and when Hannah sleeps with her BFF, Ben (who is in love with her), and then calls it a mistake. I also LOVED the way it ended when Alex tricks her into taking "one last job" - although it is disappointing that Callum will not be on the next season. It was weird that they ended season 2 with her writing her book - and then promoting it (I would have liked to see a season that focused on her struggle to write the book). So I guess season 3 will focus on the aftermath of her book? That could be interesting. Maybe.

3. Big Love (season 2) – Season 1 of this show was really interesting – and something that was completely “new”. I don’t really believe in the idea of marriage or monogamy – but that doesn’t really mean I agree with polygamy either. I appreciate the show gives us a non clich├ęd polygamist family and that it never really seems to be propaganda for or against the concept. I would probably be a little more open to it if it wasn’t so overtly religious (about fulfilling God’s plan or something like that…) and if it wasn’t so overtly anti-feminist. I loved that they sort of had a great reason behind how the extended family began (the “first” wife got cancer). I found the whole thing fascinating. However, season 2 was a big snooze fest. The acting alone can carry me through a season, but the plot seemed to drag and every episode felt repetitive and downright boring. I love the addition of one of my current favorite tv actors – Aaron Paul. I also loved that the “third” wife is starting to show a little more depth and assertiveness in the relationship (although Ginnifer Goodwin is the obvious week link of the series so far). I look forward to next season because I am hoping for a big “revolution” within “Juniper Creek” (where the crazy Mormons are – sorry to offend, however the show definitely portrays them as bat-shit crazy so that is why I describe them this way). I also look forward to seeing where the teenage kids stand on polygamy (Amanda Seyfried’s character seems to be rejecting the idea so far…). I will keep watching the series, but I am hoping for some mind-blowing episodes to make up for the boring stuff.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

7 Films to See this April

I have been less inclined to head out to the theater lately, but things are finally starting to look up - there are a whopping 7 films that will be released in April that I am looking forward to.

1. Insidious - 4/1 - 4 reasons I am excited: 1. Patrick Wilson is awesome. 2. So is Rose Byrne. 3. The trailer is...insidious (Insidious is insidious....watch the trailer - then you will understand). 4. Kids are always creepy.

2. Source Code - 4/1 - It is reminiscent of Deja Vu and Premonition, but it seems like it puts more of a government conspiracy twist to it. I enjoy Jake Gyllenhaal in small doses, but I really will be watching it for Vera Farmiga - hopefully her role is larger than it appears in the trailer.

3. Trust - 4/1 - Directed by David Schwimmer (Run, Fat Boy, Run was entertaining so I am interested to see another film directed by him), starring 2 incredibly talented actors who can never do wrong in my book (Clive Owen and Catherine Keener) with an engaging plot involving the dangers of online sexual predators. It seems like Lifetime movie material - but it is an interesting and challenging topic if done well.

4. Super - 4/1 - Rainn Wilson yelling "Shut up, Crime!" - Count me in. I am hoping it is funnier than it's predecessors - Defendor and Kick-Ass.

5. Hanna - 4/8 - The trailer looks freakin' fantastic. I really thought Saoirse Ronan was amazing in Atonement - she was part of the reason that the first third of that film blew my mind, it's a shame the rest of the film drastically declined. This film is also directed by Joe Wright (who I blame for ruining such an amazing story) so hopefully he redeems himself with this.

6. The Conspirator - 4/15 - I am so in love with James McAvoy that I will likely sit through anything he does - he always is the best part of the film which will likely be the case with this film as well. The story is not exactly interesting to me (the conspiracy behind the assassination of Abe Lincoln) but I think the acting will supersede the plot. Plus, I spotted Jonathan Groff in the trailer - the Gleek in me squealed...

7. Scream 4 - 4/15 - I have seen Scream so many times that I can recite every line. I was surprisingly satisfied with both the sequel and the third film - so I have faith that the fourth fill will be amazing. I have purposely avoided watching any trailers, clips or sneak peaks so that I can be surprised. I am in love with the new casting choices (Rory Culkin, Adam Brody, Emma Roberts, Alison Brie) although I am fairly certain most of them will die...

'Limitless' - 4 Thoughts

1. It's not exactly an original plot - In fact, while watching I was reminded of a lot of other things like the shows Kyle XY and Chuck. I realize that this film is based on the 2001 novel - "Dark Fields", so I am not accusing the film of copying these 2 shows, I am just stating that the plot has been done many times in different ways. Basically, the plot is that there is a drug that can make you use all of your brain (instead of the supposed "20 percent" that the film cites as fact). Kyle XY was about a genetically designed person that has the ability to use all of his brain and can therefore learn anything instantly. The scenes where Eddie (Bradley Cooper) skims through reading material and memorizes it, learns to speak different languages fluently within days and uses body language, patterns and math to predict the future are all exactly like scenes from Kyle XY. The extremely entertaining show Chuck is about a guy that has a computer chip downloaded into his brain (the "Intersect") and can literally retrieve instant information - like learning how to fight, which is a scene in this film.

2. Yet, It is still entertaining - Even though I was distracted by the fact that every scene felt like I have seen it before, I was still entertained from beginning to end. It moved really quickly - with these hyper-realistic shots of moving through the city that made the audience feel like it was on drugs. There was a lot going on in the plot- a never ending spiral effect of every action Eddie made resulted in chaos. The film is ridiculous but it is in such a gloriously ridiculous way that you stop counting the gaping plot holes. You sort of just have to go with it. It also has an oddly creepy "happy" ending - which I wasn't really expecting. There really was no consequences...so the film becomes sort of pointless. **Spoiler Alert*** - Are we supposed to accept that he literally got away with murder or are we supposed to forget about that? Just one of those gaping plot holes I was referring to...

3. Bradley Cooper is a movie star - I have read so many articles about how my little Will Tippin is officially a leading man and I can't even express how proud I am of him. I am surprised that it took such a long time for people to start taking notice of him - but it is definitely well-deserved. He is awesome and not just because he is super adorable. He can actually act - he proved that he has brilliant comedic timing with Wedding Crashers (and of course The Hangover), that he can make an action film interesting with The A-Team and that he can combine those 2 things with some serious dramatic moments in this film. I have to admit that when the original actor for this film (Shia LaBeouf) dropped out I was disappointed but when I heard Bradley was taking over - I knew that he would bring the exact amount of talent and charisma that Shia would have (plus let's be honest - he is a bit hotter than Shia...).

4. Abbie Cornish is not - I had an unjustifiable hatred towards her (she was dating the hottest man alive - Ryan Phillippe) when she first started gaining popularity as an actress. I thought she was mediocre in the role that garnered her Oscar buzz (Bright Star), but I assumed that I was letting my own bias against her control my opinions on her acting skills. Now that they are no longer dating - I hoped I would clearly see her talent (and focus my hatred on Amanda Seyfried - seriously who does she think she is! I'm just kidding - I actually like her...for now.) I was disappointed because Abbie didn't exactly prove herself with this film. She was pretty bland and almost forgettable - she was definitely not on the same acting plane as her co-stars.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Thoughts on 3 New Shows to Watch

Back in January I wrote a post about 3 new mid-season shows I would be watching. Here are my thoughts:

1. Perfect Couples - Although it is already on the chopping block to be canceled - I actually think the show is kinda cute. However, I think that the premise is done better on Better With You (p.s doesn't that show have the BEST theme song? I get it stuck in my head all the time) - the characters are more relateable and it is just plain funnier. With Perfect Couples, I really like the individual characters but they haven't been explored enough, because the real focus is on the "coupling". Dave & Julia are the "normal" couple - a little more balanced than the other 2, while Vance & Amy are the "opposites attract" couple that are as tumultuous as they are passionate and Rex & Leigh are the "attached at the hip" couple that kinda makes you want to vomit. In the more recent episodes, it seems like they are attempting to flesh out their individuality a little more which will improve the show tremendously. I hope they give it another season to find its niche. My favorite episode so far is when Leigh food poisons everyone (but refuses to admit it) and Dave & Julia are dealing with figuring out what is "gender appropriate" within a relationship. I actually laughed throughout it's entirety. Bonus points that I really like all of the actors on the show - they all have great chemistry together.

2. Mr. Sunshine - Much better than I expected. Of course I love Matthew Perry, but I was surprised at how great Allison Janney is - her character is completely outlandish but it somehow works really well. I also think Andrea Anders is adorable (I loved her on Better Off Ted) and oddly so is the guy that looks like a chubbier version of Nick Swardson (Terry from Reno 911). I was disappointed when I realized it wasn't him, but luckily Nate Torrence is just as funny. The pace of the show actually reminds me of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - basically just replacing a live tv sketch show with a live event (sporting, circus, concert etc). I think the show is interesting because it is something different plus so far - I have laughed out loud with every episode. I will definitely keep watching.

3. Skins - So as I said back in January - I am only watching this so that I have proof when I talk about how awful it is. The first episode stayed true to the original (FYI - I am a huge fan of the original) yet it somehow was a complete disaster. The acting. The characters. The dialogue. The pace. Everything was awful. It is kind of weird that one show captures the energy and dynamic of the next generation and makes it interesting while the other makes me want to vomit. The next few episodes were similar to the original but as the episodes air it seems like they are veering away and trying to do their own thing - which is even worse. I think my biggest problem with the show is the characters - they murdered my three favorite characters from the original: Cassie (who is Cadie on the US version) an original dumb blond with heart (think Brittany from Glee on anti-depressants), Maxxie an openly gay teen who is too adorable for words (changed to lesbian Tea - thanks MTV for perpetuating the idea that lesbians are more acceptable on television that gay men and for also having her sleep with a guy which perpetuates the idea that lesbians are just confused) and Chris who is probably the closest to the BBC version yet the heartbreaking episode when his mother abandons him isn't nearly effective in the US version. Chris is one of those characters that you just want to give a big hug to. He laughs through his pain yet still evokes this pain through his subtle expressions- but in this version he is just plain annoying and the actor doesn't even try to grasp the concept of subtlety. I don't mean to be mean - but my other problem is that the US version of actors are not hot. At all. Especially the girl that plays Effie (She is supposed to portray an "unattainable" girl) - I do, however, appreciate that the girl who plays Cadie is probably the most flat-chested girl to ever appear on an MTV show. I don't actually find the show that shocking (I guess because the BBC version was more so) - I did think it was a little disturbing to have the girl masturbate to a picture of Audrey Hepburn. I am interested to see if they end the season the same way the BBC did (shockingly). I am also interested to see if MTV picks it up for another season - it is not exactly a hit series. I think it just proves that you shouldn't mess with perfection.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

3 Reasons That 'The Adjustment Bureau' Was Falsely Advertised

I didn't watch the full theatrical trailer for this 'The Adjustment Bureau' before I saw the film (which I am very happy about because it literally tells you the entire plot) but I did see a t.v commercial. From what I gathered from the commercial - it was about a mysterious group of people that control the world. Matt Damon's character finds out about them and now they are after him. It looked part action, part sci-fi, part thriller - but it was actually none of those things. What it turned out to be was very surprising.

1. It was a romance - actually, if you throw in some more comedic moments it could have been classified as a 'romantic comedy'. Nothing about it was thrilling and the only action happened at the end (and was basically just a lot of running and opening doors). I enjoy Matt Damon and have always wondered why he never ventured into romantic leading man roles - but I think this film is probably the closest he will ever get. He is so charming and natural in front of the camera and I think he often under-utilizes this talent. This film has him falling head over heals for Emily Blunt (and really who wouldn't?) in a somewhat believable "love at first sight" sort of way. They believe they are destined to be together but unfortunately the man in charge has other plans for them. It is basically a story that follows all the cliche's of a romance - "love conquers all" territory. I honestly can't relate to the love story because it asks the couple to give up everything for each other. I don’t really believe in love at first sight or soul mates but my real problem with their love is that I don’t live my life feeling empty or like my life isn’t complete because I haven't found "the one" yet. So the thought that someone would choose love over a fulfilling life sort of baffles me. I think that I would just feel depressed and resentful towards that person. It is not that I am not open to falling in love – I just wouldn’t change my whole life for it (maybe some slight compromises would occur…). I kind of just want to punch both the main characters in the face for being so naive. The other issue I have with the romance is that it is from the male perspective - we never get her story (aside that she met someone else that she admittedly doesn't love but somehow is engaged to him). Why didn't she take any initiative or use any of her "free will" to find him or actively pursue him? Why did she let him leave so easily? It doesn't really make sense.

2. It was religious - The main "theme" is destiny versus free will. I always love the exploration of this but this film put an overtly religious spin to it. Basically the film states that there is someone (they never say God but it is implied heavily) controlling every one's fate but if you fight hard you have the ability to change his mind (and your destiny). The films explanation of this person in charge dates way back to the beginning of humanity and these "adjustment bureau people" that are ensuring everyone stays on their path are basically angels. I was surprised at the overtly religious aspect because I was expecting something a little bit more realistic (yes a sci-fi explanation would be more realistic to me than a religious one...).

3. It was laughable - There were a lot of people laughing in the theater and it wasn't in a good way. I think it had mostly to do with the fact that it wasn't what anyone was expecting (I spoke to several different people who felt this way). Plus it just flat out made no sense. In the end when the main characters are running through doors (or portals) and appearing in different places was just absurd (and never fully explained - aside that it only works if you are wearing a hat). The dialogue was a little forced, cheesy and sometimes painful. I feel like it was a great idea trapped by mediocre writing and complete false advertising.

Thoughts On The Past 2 Episodes of 'Glee'

1. Sexy –

The Return of Holly Holiday – I enjoyed Gwyneth as Holly Holiday and was happy for her return. However, this time it did feel that her character was little too forced - it was sort of repetitive and her energy was a little too in your face. I still enjoyed her presence simply because this time she got to interact with Emma and Will more. Holly is at McKinley to sub for the “health & wellness” teacher, which means she gets to teach the kids about sex. Once she informs Will that his Glee club kids are clueless about sex (was he surprised by this? Finn thought he knocked Quinn up via hot tub and Quinn said that her method of birth control was “trust me”) he lets her “slip in” some sex education during Glee club practice. She yells her apparent catch phrase “hit it” before singing a completely inappropriate song- "Do you Want to Touch Me”. I didn’t like this performance that much – her voice was painful to listen to and she didn’t seem as natural as she did with “Forget You”. I did laugh at all the shirts ripping open and Will’s note “too much?” The answer - Yes – Too much of Holly! She was practically in every scene. This is what Glee consistently gets soo wrong – they find something good and they keep pushing it until we get sick of it (they are doing the same thing with The Warblers – Is it necessary for us to see them perform in every other episode? I love Kurt and Blaine but I am over The Warblers. I want to fast forward through all numbers now and this episode featured their very worst performance of all – ‘Animal’. The auto tuning of Kurt’s voice was so obvious and unnecessary). I hope the next episode that features Holly doesn’t make me hate her. I really like Will and Holly as a couple – so I don’t want them to over-expose her character too much. Their performance of “kiss” was kinda disturbing in the beginning but it did get a little better as it went on. I don’t really think the tango dance went with the song and it wasn’t as sexy as I think they were hoping for. The best part of Holly in this episode was the hilarious lines she was given – some of the best of the season:

"I’m off to have a craaazy sex…because I’m craaaazy informed about it".
"Sex. It’s just like hugging only wetter".
"And everybody’s got a random".
"My Lips are sealed. Just like your legs".

The Return of the Celibacy Club – The whole episode was focused on sex – again a realistic topic for Glee to handle but I am getting a little worried about the “topic of the week” type episodes. I like when the episodes are about the characters and not a “topic”. In general, I think they handled the whole sex education thing well. School boards and parents are always up in arms about what should be taught at schools regarding sex. I think it is clear that Glee presents “sex ed” as “the more you know the better”. They mock abstinence and glorify sex which of course will piss a lot of people off. But let’s be honest- kids have sex in high school and kids are….how do I put this nicely….dumb. (need proof?: A few years ago I had a chat with three 16 year old girls who told me that they were virgins (and planned to stay that way until marriage) but that they gave their boyfriends oral sex. I found that interesting so I pressed them for more info only to be horrified at my discovery - all 3 never used protection and never had their boyfriends reciprocate that act which is obviously severely affecting their self-esteem but more disturbing is that they had no idea that HIV can spread that way. Seriously – they were all in shock when I told them). So when you really think about it – wouldn’t you want your 16 year daughter having sex responsibly instead of irresponsibly giving blow jobs while naively “saving herself”? It seems pretty logical to me. Anyway, the celibacy club scenes last season were always my favorite (when they try to not pop the balloons – hilarious) but this year they seemed to take it a bit more seriously maybe because they have a teacher leading the club – the one and only Emma!! It is dumb that it’s only 2 members in the beginning are Rachel & Quinn – Rachel, who laughed at the Celibacy club last year and declared that it wasn’t realistic and Quinn, who is obviously not celibate (proof that they are just mocking the club). But then Puck joins (why? Because he almost committed child porn by making a sex tape with Lauren. A great issue to bring up – but they should have also brought up the whole “sexting” issue that kids are dealing with now as well) and they do a hilarious performance of “Afternoon Delight” which I guess can be misconstrued as a song about the wonders of dessert – but exactly how is a it a song to “promote celibacy”? Rachel was so great at the cheesiness though – she is soo good that even when she is put in the background she still outshines most of the cast. I was glad that they capped the episode with a serious sex talk between Burt and Kurt. First, because it places the responsibility on the parent and second, because it was spot on – sure you can get all the information you need about sex on the Internet but no one tells you the emotional implications that sex has on impressionable young people. I love that Burt is such a great father – I am sure that this father/gay son interaction is almost non-existent in real life so I feel like this scene effected a lot of gay teenagers that were watching that have never had “the talk” with their own parents. It was a beautiful way to tell gay teens that they matter and that they are worth something. It was obviously a very different talk than the one he would have with a straight son (ahem Finn ahem….now that is a scene I want to see) and in a way that is problematic but it was still really well done.

The Return of Brittana – Naya Rivera stole this episode. Her emotional breakdown after exploring her sexuality was really beautiful. I think it was a hard transition for her character – going from the school slut who is a complete bitch to someone who is completely broken and confused. It is usually hard for actors to change their character soo drastically while still remaining true to the character. I really loved it and I hope they continue with this story line. I don’t really understand why it was necessary to have Holly sing “Landslide” with them. She should have just played the guitar and kept her mouth shut. Although I would say that this was Gwyneth’s best performance of the episode – but Naya could sing circles around her and I would have preferred a true Brittana duet. I’m honestly probably the only person in the world that doesn’t like this song but it fit the episode nicely. I didn’t really understand why Brittany forced Santana into a conversation about their relationship if she wasn’t ready to be with Santana anyway. That seemed kind of mean. Brittany says that she is in love with Artie and I admit they do make a cute couple – but I am rooting for Brittana. Am I the only one that was distracted by Naya’s cheeks? It looks like she had some sort of cheek implant or something. Weird.

The Highlights – “Wait. Cucumbers can give you AIDS?” – Finn spouting the best line of the episode. He wasn’t in much of the episode but he is always a highlight. Did anyone else have to rewind him using the word “dubious”? Did Rachel give him a word of the day calendar or something? I go back and forth with the whole Finn/Quinn fiasco. If they wanted us to root for them then they should have made it so that Quinn is remorseful and that she is ready to be in a relationship that is not about gaining popularity. Instead they turned Quinn back to her pre-baby ways and she is once again using Finn to her advantage. The poor boy is obviously going to be broken when he realizes this. I hate that he went back to her so easily but their interaction on Quinn’s bed did make for some good t.v (naturally, I love any scene that involves Cory laying down on a bed. Plus I laughed out loud because Cory is so gigantic you don’t even see Dianna until she lifts her head up). So I put some thought into why the writers would do this to Finn…again. It hit me that maybe….just maybe he already knows she is an evil bitch but is just going along with it – then just when Quinn thinks they are in prom king & queen heaven he breaks her. Wouldn’t that be a nice twist? Maybe the whole thing is some extravagant revenge plot that Finn has been planning from the moment that he found out Puck was the baby daddy. I realize this is a long shot but I am just hoping that the writers have some master plan behind the whole thing that will make sense. Please? Anyway…on to the other highlights: Emma referring to a penis as the “hose monster” – I thought I was going to die. Brittany thinks she has a “bun in the oven” because a stork built a nest on her garage. Totally unrealistic but hilarious (Hey, I guess if she still believes in Santa – she can believe in the stork…right?). Rachel’s expression during this scene was once again priceless. Holly’s jazzercise class was completely unnecessary but extremely funny. I also loved that Will was “Finn-proofing” the choreography for Regionals.

The Lowlights – Besides the horrifying performance by The Warblers, the other low points were Carl & Emma going to Holly for marriage counseling. That is just flat out dumb – she is a high school substitute- not exactly qualified for this subject matter. The worst part of the whole episode was learning that Emma is 30! Not Cool Glee – making me feel old. No offense to Jayma Mays but I thought she was much older than me (It prompted me to check IMDB for Jayma Mays age and she is only 32 – now I am officially depressed).

2. Original Song -

The Original Songs – while I appreciate that Glee is doing something out of the norm – I was really nervous for them write their own songs. When I heard the 2 songs released last week (“Loser Like Me” and “Get it Right”), I became even more nervous. They are both really cheesy and immature – but the real problem with these songs is that in context with the show they are both really great songs they are just not songs that should be considered for radio play. They are supposed to feel like they are written by high school kids and that is exactly what they sound like. “Get it Right” is actually really beautiful in the context of Rachel’s story-plus Lea Michele's voice and passion when she sings literally brings me to tears on most occasions. “Loser Like Me” was indeed cheesy & immature but the performance was super adorable (bonus points for the confetti slushie’s at the end). I have to say that the songs that the kids were coming up with were pure genius (my favorite is still “my headband”- I am pretty sure nothing will ever be as epic.) but Santana’s “Trouty Mouth” was absolutely hilarious (plus she sounded fantastic) as was Puck’s “Big-Ass Heart”. I admit that Mercedes belting out “Hell to the No” was actually really entertaining and I can totally see getting that song stuck in my head for days. P.s - As I write this post – the Glee cast has 6 songs from this episode on the itunes top 10 singles and “Loser Like Me” is number one (or as Puck would say “number wah”). That is pretty impressive.

The Warblers – When this episode first started – I thought to myself "OMG not again , I can not take any more of The Warblers". Yes, they sound fantastic singing “Misery” but it just is getting so stale. I did like that they were a little more free-style than usual and the rhythmic pounding on the table was so impressive but I am still over it. But then something really entertaining happened - it was like Kurt took the words right out of my mouth “Been there done that” which proves that the writers of the show know exactly what their audience is thinking. I never understood why Blaine was the only Warbler who had any solo’s because according to the episode where Kurt tries out for a solo – The Warblers look down on people who try to stand out. I like that they (the writers) are almost admitting that they completely contradicted themselves. Blaine is a show-off and it is about time someone else in that group gets to shine. Kurt sounded amazing singing “Blackbird” after Pavarotti died but in all honestly his voice does not mesh well with the rest of The Warblers. Their Regionals performance was not good at all. Although I enjoyed “Raise Your Glass” it didn’t exactly feel fresh. The obvious highlight of all of The Warbler scenes is the Kurt & Blaine interactions – they are super adorable and we finally get to see them not only kiss but have a strong emotional connection.

Regionals – I don’t know much about Glee club competitions - but it doesn’t exactly make much sense that they are not up against the amazing Glee club Vocal Intensity (their last years competition). Especially because they will inevitably go up against them in Nationals (but if VI was in their same region last year they would likely be this year too…). It was also very obvious that they would win Regionals only because they have been talking about how Nationals are in NYC since episode 1 (they even foreshadowed the end of the season by singing “New York” in the season premiere). It is interesting that they lost at Regionals last year but assumed that they would make it all the way to Nationals this year, right? They seemed a little too confident in my opinion. So besides, the obvious inaccuracies of the show – I think Regionals kind of sucked (and last year’s was much better – just like last years sectionals was better as well). And can someone explain to me how they thought wearing turquoise sequined dresses with leggings and combat boots was an appropriate outfit for Regionals? I did love Kathy Griffin (as a former Tea Party candidate) and Loretta Devine (as a nun who is a former exotic dancer) as judges – but they were both underutilized.

Highlights – I like the dynamic that they are creating between Rachel & Quinn. It sort of allowed the audience to understand Quinn’s motives a little bit better – and I think it is sort of sad that she has such limited expectations for her life and realizes that Rachel is destined for better things. I just hate that Quinn wants to bring Finn down with her – I am sure taking over Burt’s auto shop is not exactly his dream job. This kind of put a nail in the Finn/Quinn coffin for me. Everyone deserves to be with someone who will push you to be the best version of yourself that you can be. Rachel and Finn would do that for each other. I loved when Rachel hands Finn tissues in case he wants to cry with her song “Only Child”. Finn’s reaction to the song was surprisingly perceptive – informing Rachel she is only writing about the “easy pain”. The other highlights for me came from Brittany. I almost died when the dirt came flying out of Brittany & Santana’s locker (put in there by Sue) – Brittany’s response: “I don’t even remember putting that in there”. Plus, Brittany’s response to what her favorite song ever is? “My Headband”. Me too Brit, me too. Oh and the scene when Sue threw sticks at Mercedes – hilarious.

Lowlights – Besides too much of The Warblers and my ongoing hatred of Dianna Agron’s acting– I can’t really think of anything. Quinn's inner monologue in the beginning was almost painful to listen to. Her voice is so monotone and her timing was off. Plus she looked like she aged 20 years in this episode with her hair pulled back and feathered like that – it was just so unflattering. The episode was also a little lacking on the comedy side but made up for it with the heavy plot developments.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Thoughts on 4 Films From 2010

1. You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger - Plot wise - the film is definitely lacking. The fact that it shared a plot with this seasons 90210 (a talented guy dies with undiscovered work so naturally someone steals this work and pretends it is their own) proves that the film has major problems. However, I love the different themes that are explored. One being the idea of reincarnation. I am not really a believer - but this film made me understand why it is important for some to believe in such ideas. As one character states - "If I didn't think that there was more to life...I couldn't go on." I usually don't connect with overly spiritual messages in films, but for some reason this one hit me. It hit me that these beliefs are more for masking reality, giving hope and healing ones pain - if more people used religion and spirituality for these reasons then I probably wouldn't be so against it. The whole film can be reduced to one sentence "illusions work better than medicine". When you think about it - this is exactly what film is. Stories that distract us from life. This is what makes it a Woody Allen film. At first I was confused by the spiritual message - but if you think of this message as a reverse allegory for film making and story telling then this is definitely a Woody Allen film (because Allen is totally narcissistic enough to know that what he does heal people). Anyway, besides this fascinating exploration - the film is rather lacking. It features great actors, but none stand out. The characters lack depth and are not easy to sympathize with. Sally (played by the usually phenomenal Naomi Watts) desperately wants to start a family, but she is so obsessed with the idea that she is hardly considered stable...therefore we don't want her to procreate. Right? Her husband (Josh Brolin) falls for the girl across the way (who doesn't know how to close her shades before she takes her top off) is a pathetic loser - and the girl who he falls for, Dia, can pretty much be described as the girl who wears red (because she is given no personality traits at all). While I would recommend it to anyone that is an Allen fan, I was expecting more. Much more.

2. The Runaways - I honestly don't know much about Joan Jett and even less about Cherie Currie except that they were bad-ass rocker chicks. Unfortunately, a film devoted to their lives and their band 'The Runaways' doesn't give much more information than just that - bad-ass rocker chicks. I liked the relationship between the 2 women and how they are completely different in personality but still considered "strong". I guess calling Cherie a "woman" at this time would be inaccurate - she was only 15. I liked the idea of using Dakota Fanning instead of an older actress because it reminds the audience just how young Cherie really was. Dakota seems so out of place wearing a corset, strutting around the stage completely high - but this was the reality of it. However, (and a big however) the acting was horrific. Dakota was trying way too hard and it was painful to watch, while Kristen Stewart has the same bored expression on her face that she always has. Joan Jett is confident and raw, Kristen is much too insecure and awkward - she should never have been considered for this role. Plus, the film was too much of a cliche - the lead singer gets the most attention, the rest of the band gets jealous, the band breaks up (didn't that just happen with 'Paramore'?). The film doesn't ever get into the whole drug aspect nor does it give any attention to anyone else in the band. Did anyone else even notice Alia Shawkat (a.k.a Maeby from Arrested Development)?? I am sure that anyone who is a fan of 'The Runaways' music would be severely disappointed with this film.

3. Never Let Me G0 - This story is amazing. It is based on a book (that I can't wait to read) that is basically about human cloning. Yet, it wasn't a "science fiction" film or a "medical" film at all - instead it was a love story. As much as I love the originality of it and the beauty of it's simplicity, I can't really say I enjoyed the film. In fact I have 4 major problems with it - First, why did Tommy stay in a relationship with someone he didn't love? They never give us his side of the story or any reason behind his decision. Maybe he didn't want to be with Kathy because it would hurt to much if she "completed" (died) first? We are supposed to blame Ruth for keeping Tommy & Kathy apart but it takes 2 to be in a relationship. We hear Ruth's reasons but I would have loved more depth from Tommy. Second, we get a sense that they are trapped (they have some sort of tracking device in their wrist) but are they literally trapped (it doesn't seem like it - they can drive and live on their own) or do they just not know how to leave? I wish they explored this more so we get a better sense of their relationship to the rest of the world. Third, I needed more information about the whole cloning process - like how do they keep them from becoming pregnant? And wouldn't they be constantly medically evaluated (basically tortured) to ensure they stay healthy? Fourth, it is hard to make Keira Knightly look bad but they figured out a way...my question is why? I am hoping these things are explored in the book (aside from Knightly's fugliness).

4. The Ghost Writer - I am sort of pissed at myself for watching this film. I hate supporting someone that belongs in prison but I consistently read great things about it so I finally gave in and it totally wasn't worth it!! The film sucked. It was boring, pointless and predictable. There is a mystery surrounding the memoirs of the prime minister. His assistant who is the original "ghost writer" dies (suicide? murder? not a big surprise it is the latter...). He obviously dug too deep and of course the mysterious wife was involved. They didn’t do a very good job at making her seem innocent - I was suspicious of her from the second she appeared on screen. So a new "ghost writer" comes along and tries to solve the mystery (something about the prime minister committing crimes against humanity and getting away with it). Anyway, I basically hated it - but I will admit that it was beautiful. The ending was such a beautiful shot - with the memoir pages blowing in the wind. That last shot almost made the entire film worth watching. And Ewan McGregor - he's a cutie.