Tuesday, September 27, 2011

3 Stupid Films of 2011

Not every film has to be a cinematic masterpiece. Some are meant to be frivolous, mindless and are made for pure entertainment value - like the three films I recently watched: 'Paul', 'Take Me Home Tonight' and 'No Strings Attached'. However, these films are not really that entertaining....just silly and mind-numbing.

1. Paul - There were several reasons to be excited for this film: The cast is a big one (Simon Pegg, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig plus appearances by Jane Lynch and the amazingly underrated Blythe Danner). The directer is Greg Mottola knows how to make a funny film (Superbad). It's written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost - who were also behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. I really didn't see how the film could be anything other than hilarious. And parts of it were....just not enough parts to make it memorable. The only "joke" that I remember is the T-shirt that Kristen's character sports (it's a picture of Jesus shooting Darwin with the caption "evolve this". I WANT!). Instead of remembering the things that amused me - I can only think of the things that annoyed the shit out of me. Like....Seth Rogan's voice (as the alien) - but I guess I should be thankful that his voice isn't as grating when you don't have to look at him as well (sorry...I'm a bitch...). Also annoying?.... how freaking predictable it was - anyone who is a fan of "alien" films knows what Sigourney Weavers voice sounds like. And anyone who is a fan of films in general will be able to predict the supposed "surprise" twist of Jason Bateman's character.

2. Take Me Home Tonight - It's pretty hard for me to resist a film featuring awesome 80's music and the tag line "Best. Night.Ever.". But then the film came out and the reviews were awful (not as bad as the box office results though...). I usually enjoy Topher Grace, but I felt like he was a little bland in this film as was his "dream girl" - Teresa Palmer (who was super hot in I am Number Four but in this film she looked like a stoned version of Kristen Stewart. Correction: a more stoned version of Kristen Stewart). The best friend guy (too lazy to look up his name) was incredibly annoying and not funny at all. The saving grace was Anna Faris & Chris Pratt - best couple ever (in film and in reality). Michelle Trachtenberg was a potential saving grace but she was unfortunately under-utilized. The film was unoriginal, unrelatable and just plain stupid. Seriously, they stole a car then crashed it (from driving recklessly) and were caught with cocaine but there were zero consequences. The main character decides that the best way to prove that he is sorry for lying is by getting into a death-trap metal ball and roll down the street in it (and of course he is forgiven). It's just plain stupid.

3. No Strings Attached - Definitely worse than Friends With Benefits. First, the film itself has no idea what kind of relationship they are trying to depict - they confuse the concept of "friends with benefits" with a relationship that has "no strings attached". They are 2 completely different things. They never establish a solid "friendship" between the 2 characters at all - they barely know each other. Plus, only one of them wants "no strings," the other is clearly in love from the moment they meet. The character development is lacking - I never even begin to care about either one of them. Natalie's character is probably my least favorite depiction of single women in film (you know the kind who pretend they like to be "alone" but secretly just want to find love). I don't think Natalie Portman is the right fit for this type of role (probably because she is such a strong woman in real life - it is hard to see her as a weak girl who is desperate for male attention). Also, if you put funny women like Mindy Kaling and Olivia Thirlby in your film - then the least you can do is give them some funny lines to say...right?! I laughed once during the entire film ("it's like a crime scene in my pants").

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

5 Thoughts on the Premiere Episode of 'Glee'

'Glee' is officially back! I think the first episode was a solid one - it sets up a few nice story arcs for the season that I am really excited about. Here are my thoughts on the episode:

1. "Me and My Hag" – I love Kurt and Rachel together. They always seem very natural together in scenes and the chemistry between them is perfect - the scene with them in the car was heartbreaking. I also enjoy this whole "are we really good enough" angle – they are basically humiliated by the realization that there are millions of talented people in the world. They actually have to put some effort into having their dreams realized. So, they invest in some extracurricular activities (Rachel decides to add “lead in a school musical” to her resume while Kurt decides to run for senior class president) – which sets some nice groundwork for the upcoming season. Also, I assume the season will end with them in extreme competition (you did notice that the school they both want to get into only accept 20 students a year...highly unlikely they would pick 2 kids from the same school - does this remind anyone else of The O.C?).

2. Where was Finn? – I seriously hate when they shove him in the background – especially when they beat us over the head with the whole “back to basics” “focus on core characters” direction of season 3. The beginning sets up his story arc of him being "lost" followed by a multiple slushying (is that a word?). We also get some very adorable shots of him on the drums (always a highlight) but really nothing else. Very disappointing.

3. “The Skanks” – Wow it has been a long time since I heard that word. …..but holy crap Dianna looked good (still can’t act though…). I love this whole plot: Quinn is now a bad-ass “skank” who has pink hair, a nose ring, a tramp stamp (of Ryan Seacrest – please let Joel McHale make fun of that on The Soup) and spends her school days hanging under the bleachers, smoking cigarettes. I hope they keep it going because I don’t think Dianna/Quinn is good enough to be in the club but as a club nemesis, I enjoy her greatly.

4. The Highlights – Some seriously funny one liners “why is that t-rex eating the Jew?” and “I worked that song like a stripper pole” are probably my favorites. I love that Sue is running for a seat on Congress based on a "cut art programs at schools" platform because that gives her new reason to hate the Glee club and something to do (unlike last season). I knew that I would love Vanessa Lengies – her character, Sugar, is a riot. She is sort of like a combination of Rachel Berry and Brittany minus the talent – it is brilliant. Santana finally getting kicked off the Glee club for being on "Team Sue" and a backstabbing bitch was perfect – I’m hopeful that her revenge will be delicious. Oh and Zises is out of Glee club...whoo-freaking-hooo!!

5. The Lowlights – Mercedes suddenly hanging all over her new man is irritating as hell. Blaine singing 'It's Not Unusual' was admittedly very cute but I can't help but picture Carlton from The Fresh Prince (I'm old...remember?!). And then it hit me that Blaine is sort of similar to Carlton - bow tie and all, which was distracting. I liked how Finn called him out for being in the spotlight all of the time - I think this will cause problems within the club. I didn't really like any of the other songs. 'We Got the Beat' was cute but it reminded me too much of High School Musical (and that is NOT a good thing). The girl who was supposed to "show up" Rachel and Kurt (apparently one of the many Glee Project winners) didn't come close to succeeding.

'Glee' Season 2 Best & Worst Performances

It's 'Glee' day!! The season 3 premiere is on tonight and I couldn't be anymore excited. There are lots of reasons to look forward to the new season (the "back to basics" promise from creators and the cast, Vanessa Lengies joining the cast - loved her on 'American Dreams' and 'HawthoRNe and the whole "who's graduating" mystery). To celebrate I am watching some season 2 episodes and picking the best & worst performances:


1. New York (performed by the New Directions) - "The song of the year....New Direction style". A fitting song to sum up the entire season. We new from this song that they would in fact be going to New York for Nationals (setting up the perfect bookends like last season). When I first saw the performance, I didn’t realize this would be the beginning of the Top 40 trend for season 2 so I actually loved it (I didn't love the trend that followed). I enjoy when the Glee club steps outside of the choir room/auditorium. The performance was really great - they looked like they were having fun which always makes it fun to watch. You can't really go wrong with a performance that has Mercedes belting out that powerful voice of hers and Finn rapping. It's a double win. Plus it was hilarious that everyone ignored them.

2. Slave For You (performed by Brittany) – Brittany killed it as Britney. Her performing (or more like re-enacting Britney’s famous looks like her VMA performance with the snake & the see thru sequences body suit) was seriously impressive. And she looked HOT. She proved her dance skills (which we didn't get to see too much of in season 1 with her being in the background all the time).

3. Teenage Dream (performed by The Warblers) - I absolutely hate this song and I am not really a Katy Perry fan in general. However, I enjoy this version (not as much as everyone else – it definitely doesn't deserve it's #1 Glee on Itunes slot but whatev). I like that they got an actual Glee club (from Tufts University) and that it is A capella – the group is obviously talented. And Darren Criss – I totally understand why everyone digs him – he is super adorable. The popularity of this song led to many (too many) Warbler performances but this was definitely the best.

4. Just the way you are (performed by Finn with the New Directions as backup) – I hated this song so much but then this happened and now I can’t stop listening to it. When he says “you’re gonna dance it with me dude”- I literally broke into tears. His voice is better used for classic rock, but he nailed this song (soo much better than I thought he would). Plus, the whole straight guy slow dancing with his gay step-brother and singing to him “cuz you’re amazing just the way you are”. It just breaks my heart into little pieces every time I think about it. The whole scene is groundbreaking television. There was some cute “finchel” moments in there as well.

5. Don’t cry for me Argentina (performed by Rachel & Kurt) - I am a sucker for Broadway songs and a double sucker for a Rachel & Kurt duet. This was absolutely beautiful. It literally gave me chills. My favorite frenemies are incredible together. More of this in Season 3 please.

6. Valerie (performed by Santana) – First she looked amazing (the only one that could rock that awful disaster of a dress), second she nailed it. She sounded as good as Amy Winehouse...if not better (shame on me!). On top of the fantastic singing we were given a dancing performance from Mike and Brittany that was unbelievable. They are so awesome. The mix of hip hop, break dancing with some ballet added with the gymnastic flipping through the air was perfection. It just reaffirmed how talented everyone on this cast truly is (except *cough* Dianna....*cough*).

7. The Time Warp (performed by the New Directions) - LOVED IT. Kurt was perfectly creepy, Finn’s voice never sounded better and Quinn actually sounded fantastic (plus she kinda looks hot with that big red wig). I literally listened to it everyday on my way to work for like 3 straight weeks and shouted along with Artie “put your hands on your hip”. Brittany and Tina's tap dancing was also pretty awesome. I just love songs where everyone gets to show off their skills...

8. I Want to Hold Your Hand (performed by Kurt) – Holy crap – I bawled like a baby. Kurt nailed this song but not only that – the flashback scenes were soo heartbreaking (the tea party with his dad, the funeral for his mom). I just love Burt Hummel and his relationship with his son. And young Kurt was a dead ringer – great job to the casting director on that one. I don't think I will ever be able to listen to this song again without thinking of Kurt and I think that says a lot for such a classic song.

9. I've Gotta Be Me (performed by Finn) - Obviously, I am a Finn fan so call be biased. But seriously, this was like the most adorable thing I have ever seen. It fit the episode so perfectly - with the theme about accepting your flaws. Finn accepts that he can't dance but he tries really hard to copy Mike Changs flawless moves. And come on it's a freaking Sammy Davis Jr. song!!

10. My Man (performed by Rachel) - I don't know if I have words to truly describe this performance but this is what I can come up with: stunning, breathtaking, sublime and transcendent. Say what you want about Lea Michele, but you can't deny that the girl can sing. I am often moved to tears after a Rachel ballad and this was definitely the best of the season.


1. Baby One More Time (performed by Rachel) - This was completely beneath Lea Michele’s talent. It was hard to listen to (however she looked awesome in the Britney outfits). I hated that they again just re-enacted the video - I would have preferred a Glee spin on the song. And the song doesn’t go with the show (her and Finn are very much together so why is she singing this and thinking of him?).

2. Ohio (performed by Sue & her mother) - This was seriously the most boring thing ever on Glee. Ever.

3. Time of my Life (performed by Quinn & Sam) - Awful! It was missing so many things like....passion, energy, stage presence. Dianna Agron is such a hit or miss with her voice and this song was definitely a huge miss. The song got better when the rest of the group joined in...but they definitely should not have won (good thing Valerie saved them).

4. Start Me Up/Living on a Prayer (performed by the girls of the New Directions) - I did not like this performance at all. The wind machine was really distracting and the girls were trying way too hard to be "bad-ass" and it really didn't work. Plus, they just shouted the songs instead of singing them. I usually like their mash-ups but not this time.

5. Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag (performed by Rachel & Holly Holiday) - This was awful on so many levels. First, Gwyneth Paltrow is not nearly a good enough singer to sing a duet with Lea Michele. Second, Lea Michele isn't really a great dancer - why give her a dancing solo? Third, the height difference is distracting and awkward.

6. Unknown Justin Beiber song (performed by The Justin Beiber Experience) - I refuse to look up the title of the song - but this performance just made me really mad. I enjoyed season 2 of Glee a lot more than other people did. I stuck up for it when others were tearing it down and then they go and shove Justin Beiber down my throat and I just had to surrender. The chalk dust, the screaming fan girls - ugh it makes me want to vomit just thinking about it. Artie has such a great voice though...so it wasn't a total loss.

7. I Know What Boys Want (performed by Lauren) - Thanks Glee for ruining one of my all time favorite songs. She sounded absolutely awful (because she can't sing), she looked awful (the "i'm hot" thing was just painful). I actually really like her character - she is hilarious, but I am not a fan of her in the Glee club - she is NOT talented. Hopefully, she gets the boot in season 3 (not off of the show - just out of the club). I did LOVE seeing everyone in their underwear - Finn with his Power Rangers Tee was a highlight.

8. Animal (performed by The Warblers) - Sooo awkward. The whole "be sexy" thing was funny for Kurt, but the whole performance was sooo not sexy unless you think bubbles are sexy?... Plus, they auto-tuned the hell out of Kurt's voice which was unnecessary....if his voice isn't in the songs range - then don't have him sing it!!

9. Rolling in the Deep (performed by Rachel & Jesse St. James) - Again, what is up with ruining my favorite songs?! This was terrible. It started off promising - Rachel singing an Adele song seems like a good idea, but then Jesse entered and his voice is awesome but a little too raspy for this song. Then the weird choir thing in the background started singing and it was just cringe worthy.

10. Turning Tables (performed by Holly Holiday) - Why would you give this song to Gwyneth Paltrow (oh...because it goes perfectly with the storyline?...ok...I forgive you then)? I just find it highly impossible to ruin an Adele song and somehow Glee did it twice. I would love to have Mercedes or Tina sing this song. Hint.Hint.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Emmy's: Best & Worst

The Emmy's were handed out last night - the results were quite surprising, the host was above average and the show moved pretty quickly. Here is the Best & Worst of the night:


1. Emmy fashion done right – To be honest, none of the fashion really stands out to me this year. There were a lot of “trends” to be seen - here are the ones that got it right:
Aubrey Plaza - simple, done right. Usually Claire Danes takes the cake on this one…but Aubrey looked so glamorous in this simple white gown – I didn’t even recognize her at first. Kate Winslet – red, done right. Red was obviously the biggest trend of the night – but Kate still stood out among the sea of red – the makeup, the hair, the smile: perfection. Heather Morris - flat chested, done right. Heather recently admitted that she had her breast implants removed, which was a little disappointing at first because her body was bangin’, but damn she still looks good. Welcome back to the flat-chested girls club, Heather. Claire Danes – sparkles done right. I’m not usually a fan of the strapless, sparkle dress but this one has an interesting color palette and a pattern that is hypnotizing. Dianna Agron – risky, done right. The dress was weird....weird color, weird drapey neck... but Dianna rocked it – you could tell that she felt beautiful which made her beautiful. And I can’t ignore the men – Cory Monteith – mixing it up, done right – men’s fashion bores me to tears but Cory mixed it up a bit with the white, textured bow tie making him stand out in the sea of penguin suits.

2. The surprise winners – I thought this years Emmy’s were going to be boring! I’m glad I didn’t place any bets on winners because I would have gotten them all wrong (except for Mad Men & Modern Family taking the big prize). I loved all the actors wins – especially Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen (who I griped about last year for not even being nominated!). I thought Chris Colfer would win (only because the MF actors would cancel each out in the category). The big surprise was Jim Parsons winning over Steve Carrell – This will definitely go down as one of the biggest Emmy snubs ever. Michael Scott is an iconic character that will live forever – how did he not get an Emmy for that? Anyway, I was happy to see Melissa McCarthy win (Tina Fey had her moment, but I was hoping for Amy Poehler). I don’t watch Mike & Molly (and I never plan to) but I loved Melissa in Samantha Who?. Over on the drama side of things, beloved character actors Peter Dinklage and Margo Martindale won for supporting roles– both were shocking but very well deserved. I know the people over at EW.com were ecstatic about Kyle Chander’s win (they are obsessed with FNL – should I start watching it?). It was really nice to see that Emmy voters really mixed things up and made it interesting (finally!).

3. 'The Office' sketch – I was dying through the whole thing. Aaron Paul!!! I fucking love him. Then Nathon Fillon saying “all the black guys at work call me ‘white castle’”. I actually lauged at Kim Kardasion (there is a first time for everything) – “what do you mean by work? Am I saying that word right…work?” And of course, Ashton Kutcher “I was wondering where the ½ man was”.

4. The funny stuff– Ty Burrell easily had the best speech – talking about what his deceased dad would think about his success. It was hilarious and sad at the same time. The nominees for Comedy Actress rushed the stage and then they acted like it was a pageant – complete with roses and a crown. Freaking hilarious. Jane Lynch threw in a couple of funny lines too – like “a lot of people are very curious about why I am a lesbian – ladies and gentleman…the cast of 'Entourage'.” The other thing that I thought was hilarious was during E!'s pre-show they focused on this whole “drama” between Sarah Hyland and Lea Michele because Sarah apparently made a joke about how Lea works a red carpet. She mimicked her poses and talked about how awkward it is to watch her do in person. Sarah is now being attacked by the wrath of Lea’s fans – poor girl was just making a joke with no malicious intent at all. The funny part is that the E! camera’s kept panning to Lea doing this exact same pose that Sarah made fun of…over and over…and over. Hilarious.

And the worst:

1. Emmy fashion done wrong - Katie Holmes – simple, done wrong. The plain blue dress will ill-fitting and unflattering – adding a gold belt doesn’t make it glamorous. Nina Dobrev – red, done wrong. Ok – the girl looks gorgeous, however I am just not feeling the Jessica Rabbit look. She looks uncomfortable which is far from sexy. Lea Michele – flat chested, done wrong (also red…done right). I love the dress, but Ms. Michele is usually known for showing off her non-existent cleavage. I don’t like the covered up look on her and because she is flat-chested the dress doesn’t fit her on top (side note…check out the pose). Evan Rachel Wood – sparkles, done wrong . The black sparkle dress was just way too overbearing for her petite frame. She looked like she was being swallowed whole. Gwyneth Paltrow – Risky, done wrong. Oh Gwyneth - did you really realize on the red carpet that your dress was see-thru…because I don’t believe you. The cut-out midriff genie/belly dancer dress was super unflattering. Joel McHale – mixing it up, done wrong. Still hot, but I just really didn’t like it.

2. The suprise losers -
So, I already mentioned Steve Carrell’s surprise loss, but I am also pretty upset over Michael C. Hall not winning. Since Bryan Cranston wasn’t nominated this year – I think everyone assumed that Jon Hamm would take it, but I thought for sure it was Hall’s year. He is by far my favorite television actor ever. I wasn’t really surprised that Glee lost, but I am a little bitter. I figured if it didn’t beat Modern Family in the first year, it certainly won’t beat it with its less impressive second year. Hopefully, season 3 will be award worthy. I also am disappointed that Louis CK didn’t win for writing – I disagree with his acting nod, but that show is brilliantly written.

3. The opening sketch – It wasn’t bad – it just wasn’t that great. It felt like it had too many cameos shoved into one space, it was hard to appreciate any of them. I thought Jimmy’s opening sketch was much better last year, yet Jane got a standing ovation (Jimmy did not – which was not cool!). I did think that the Mad Men part was funny – “you can fast-forward through commercials” – the look on Don Drapers face was priceless. But then it just made me miss Mad Men - which made me sad.

4. The not-so-funny stuff - How awful were “The Emmytones”! So awkward to sit through and I thought I could sit through anything Joel Mchale does….I guess that’s not true. Also, the announcer’s “jokes” while the winners were coming up to the stage were painful. I know I am alone in this but I didn't really think that The Lonely Island performance was that funny - I wish Justin was there...somehow I know he would have made it work. And the worst moment of the whole night: Charlie Sheen. You all remember that this man plead guilty to beating his wife…right? He is far from entertaining and I am really disappointed that he was even allowed on that stage (and then my heart literally broke when Jimmy Fallon stood up and clapped for him).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

4 Things I Learned From 'Contagion'

It was probably not a good idea to see 'Contagion' the day that a dozen people called out of my workplace from having a "cold"....I am now convinced that I feel achy. The film was pretty disappointing - I think I expected more from such a fantastic group of people. I think it was trying too hard to teach us lessons about humanity, but I am not so sure these are the "right" lessons to teach. Here is what I learned: ***slightly spoilery***

1. When you cheat on your husband, bad things will happen - So Gwyneth Paltrow is our "patient zero" (which in theory makes no sense because she got it from shaking the hands of chef who was touching a diseased pig - did he not touch anyone else? Wouldn't people that ended up eating the pig get sick as well? Anyway...moving on...). The film sets up a very negative view of her by basically making her out to be a cheating whore. After contracting the virus in Hong Kong, she travels back to the states to her family (who I think live in San Fran...right?) - but makes a pit-stop in Chicago to sleep with an ex. There is not one single part of the film that makes you sympathize with her character and that is the films biggest mistake.

2. Bloggers are evil - "blogging is not writing. It's just graffiti with punctuation." Seriously, that is an actual line from the film when we first meet the ultimate evil "blogger" played by Jude Law. Not only does he represent the worst characteristics of the human race (greedy, manipulative, selfish etc) he is also representing the new "media" of today. A group of people who keep the truths hidden for their own personal or political gain - don't trust them! And was it really necessary to have him wear a prosthetic snaggle-tooth? A British guy with bad teeth? Not distracting at all...

3. Only a handful of people in the world are "good" - I think in situations like this, most people will inherently show both the best and worst of themselves. But I think that is too hard for some writers to portray - so instead they make characters "good" and some "bad". In this film, most of our main characters are "good" but the masses of people are "bad" (they riot in the streets, steal from banks and stores and cause stampedes instead of waiting on lines). I for one refused to believe that this is true of human nature. The film was released on the weekend of the 10th anniversary of a catastrophic event that proved that people come together and help each other after tragedy. That acknowledgement was severely lacking in the film (as was the acknowledgement that NYC even existed - every major city was listed as being infected except NYC....isn't that weird? Am I the only one who noticed this?).

4. Deadly outbreaks are far more entertaining when zombies are involved - The best way to describe the film is as a zombie film with no zombies (translation: Boring!). Yes, it had a fantastic cast of Oscar winning and nominated proportions, but it just had no depth at all. It went in a very straight line from A to B and never really crossed the line into interesting territory. I wouldn't say it is bad, I would say it is blah.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Thoughts on 3 Films From Last Year

1. Somewhere - I am not a huge fan of Sofia Coppola - I enjoyed The Virgin Suicides but have complete hatred for Lost in Translation. I think she gets too much credit for mediocre work. Somewhere can pretty much be described the same way I describe Lost in Translation - which is irritatingly pretentious. It's about a famous actor who is just so bored with his celebrity lifestyle - so bored that he can't even appreciate a pole dancing routine performed by twins! (Probably because both routines were actually really boring and fantastically hilarious at the same time). The film lingers on every scene a bit too long to somehow capture his isolation but fails miserably. Then his daughter enters the picture (portrayed by the delightful Elle Fanning) and apparently the film is supposed to be about him bonding with her - but they never really bond. At all. Then it ends with him declaring "I am fucking nothing. I am not even a person." So profound...right?!! The only part that I enjoyed was the cameo by Benicio Del Toro in the elevator because it reminded me of the time he claimed he banged ScarJo in an elevator at the Oscars. That was on purpose...right?

2. Buried - Aside from the multitude of questions that arise while watching this film - overall it is pretty boring (and ridiculous). I am indifferent on Ryan Reynolds. I don't think he is a strong enough actor to carry a film and aside from the abs he really isn't that hot. The film is 1 hour and 34 minutes of Ryan Reynolds in a box. It's worked before (127 Hours) but I don't think it worked this time. I have a hard time relating to characters like this because honestly my will to live is just not that strong. Seriously, if I woke up trapped in a box - I would just suffocate myself. Done. End of Story. Instead, he wakes up and spends his time panicking (and grunting a lot) and getting super aggressive with several people on the other end of his cell phone that are trying to help him (and they might if he wasn't such a dick to them). So here are my questions: Why does he insist on using his lighter - it burns Oxygen (that you need) and creates heat? Why would anyone think the best way to get rid of a snake is to burn it? Wouldn't he suffocate from the fire? Does 911 work from other countries? How does he get reception underground? Why is everyone he talks to so unwilling to help him (aside from his hostility)? Why does he hesitate on giving his SS#? Would a company really fire him for something they have no proof of (especially after all of the media coverage of his situation)? Why is this film so awful when 127 Hours was so interesting? The only good thing about the film is the ending. That was really well done.

3. Biutiful - I have written about my love for the partnership between Inarritu and Arriaga before. Some of my favorite films were created by these two (21 Grams and Amores Perros). I am disappointed by the dissolution of this partnership and hopeful that one day it will be reestablished. A few years ago, Arriaga ventured solo with The Burning Plain and it was so bland and predictable - it was completely disappointing to say the least. I had heard good things about Inarritu's Biutiful - but mostly because of Javier Bardem's Academy Award nominated performance. This nomination was well-deserved but as great as Bardem was, he was actually not the stand-out performance for me. It was actually his ex (the mother of his children) played by Maricel Alvarez. She blew me away with her perfect portrayal of what can only be described as a "hot mess". Sadly, her character reminded me of the late Amy Winehouse. The film was pretty boring though - the emotion was there but the story just wasn't that complicated. I think my super high expectations ruined the film for me.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fall TV Preview: 16 New Shows To Watch

Fall TV is here - Last fall I picked 14 new shows to watch and only 3 survived to see another season ('Blue Bloods', 'Raising Hope' and 'Nikita'.....has anyone heard anything about 'Better With You'? I don't remember hearing any official cancellations....but it is not part of ABC's fall line-up...). This year I am up to 16 new shows (I am even stepping outside the box a bit and picking 3 shows from CBS!). I am really hoping for some winners - because a lot of my staple shows are getting a little stale ('Gossip Girl', 'Desperate Housewives' 'Chuck').

1. The Secret Circle - 7 little words: "from the creators of 'The Vampire Diaries". I. am. there. I really like Britt Robertson (from The CW cancelled series Life Unexpected) so I am happy that The CW decided to give her another chance. It is about a group of high school student who have "powers" and are reluctantly bound together - sort of like the dumbed down version of the brilliant British series Misfits (If you have never seen it - stop reading this and go watch it now!! One of the best shows I have ever seen). I am hopeful that this show has at least an ounce of the same wit plus I am a fan of Queer as Folk's Gale Harold - and he was severely underused on Hellcats so hopefully he has a meatier role on this show.

2. New Girl - It's pretty impossible to not adore Zooey Deschanel....right? However, I don't think she is the greatest actress....(The Happening). She only does really well if the character is similar to her own personality....and this show seems to hit the mark. She is awkward and quirky and thrown into contrived situations etc. So far, the commercials are not really that funny but FOX is really pushing for it (even giving it the after Glee spot) so I will watch...and hope for the best. On a side note - Damon Wayans Jr. is hilarious on Happy Endings. I am glad he is sticking with it and that they are replacing his character on this show. Good choice.

3. Terra Nova - How long have we been hearing about this show? First, it was supposed to premiere in January, then delayed, then we were supposed to get a "sneak peak" in May that was cancelled....now it is finally set to premiere this month but the question is do we still want to watch it? With so many delays and controversy....it kind of sends the message that this show sucks. However, I really like the concept - it is about a group of individuals from the future (the year 2149) living in a world destroyed by global warming who embark on a trip to the past (as in prehistoric) in order to "start over". That sounds cool right? The only way it will work is if the special effects are spectacular - which from the previews so far so good.

4. Suburgatory - I pretty much want to see this show for two reasons: Jeremy Sisto. One of my favorite television actors - he should have won an Emmy as Billy Chenowith on Six Feet Under. I am interested to see him in a comedy. Is he funny? I can't picture it. The second reason to see the show is for the promo image of the main girl (City girl - culturally intelligent) standing next to the suburban girl - head to toe pink complete with furry boots and shorts so short that the pockets stick out). The picture kind of reminds me of Mean Girls - which would make an awesome television series....hint...hint.

5. Ringer - Any Buffy fan (and there are a lot of us...) will be watching this. SMG has a cult-like following that set really high expectations. She is finally returning to television (where she belongs) and we are trusting her judgement - this show must be good if she is in it right? It is described as a "neo-noir saga with a trippy twin twist." I'm not really sure exactly what that means but it does mean that we get SMG in 2 different roles!! In the words of my second favorite vampire Damon from TVD (my first favorite is obviously Spike): "Doppelganger Hijinks ensues". I can't wait!

6. Revenge - I have no idea what this show is about - but the poster looks pretty cool right? I like Emily VanCamp - she's adorable and I can't really see her playing a "vengeful" character so that should be interesting.

7. The Hart of Dixie - I am noticing a theme of female driven shows this season.... I admit...this show looks absolutely awful. I am calling it now...it will be cancelled within 4-5 episodes. I will still watch those 4-5 episodes for Rachel Bilson. The most adorable girl ever. It is pretty much Sweet Home Alabama turned into a show (and I am NOT a fan of that film at all). On the bright side -Josh Schwartz (the creator of The O.C) is involved and it also reminds me of the really cute show October Road - but that show got unfortunately got cancelled after 2 seasons.

8. Person of Interest - I will always support JJ - so obviously I will be watching this show. There are a lot of other reasons to watch as well, like the Lost connections - Michael Emerson (who will have to work extra hard to NOT be seen as super creepy Ben) and the use of flashbacks to reveal character back story's. The show has a really interesting concept of predicting crimes and/or criminals by using super-advanced technology and it is an extremely topical concept of how far is too far when it comes to protecting the American public.

9. Once Upon a Time - Ok...weird concept alert: a show about the origins of fairy-tales but it is for adults. That is either a really genius concept or a disastrous one. I like that the story is described as a "puzzle" similar to Lost - but then again so many shows describe themselves as being similar to Lost that it has lost all meaning now. I like Jennifer Morrison (from House) but Ginnifer Goodwin is hit or miss for me.

10. Pan Am - Taking a cue from the ever popular retro-style Mad Men - this series takes place in the 60's about a group of stewardesses and pilots globetrotting and around the world. The show is said to be based on women's "actual experiences" but I have to see it to believe it. Christina Ricci is another actress that is hit or miss for me - I don't think this role fits her at all but I will make my final judgement after I see the pilot.

11. Charlie's Angels - Another show that I will be watching out of pure curiosity to how bad it will be. I loved the original show - although I am too young to really remember it. I do remember watching re-runs as a kid though. I enjoyed the film (the first one). I think my biggest issue is casting Minka Kelly (who I describe as the bland JLo). I do like Rachael Taylor (who was most recently on Grey's Anatomy). The best part though is that IMDB lists my favorite 24 alum Carlos Bernard in the cast! Tony Almeida is God.

12. American Horry Story - It is created by Ryan Murphy (Glee, Nip/Tuck) so it is guaranteed to be phenomenal and innovative....at least for the first season - then it will probably begin a steep decline into ridiculous, over-the-top plots. I have been anticipating a terrific horror show for years now - The Walking Dead is a good start, but I am confident that Mr. Murphy is genius enough to pull it off even better. The show is about a family who moves into a creepy house that has driven former residents to do bad things (like murder). The cast is fantastic - Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, Jessica Lange and newly cast Zachary Quinto (which officially puts my stamp of this will be awesome approval on it).

13. A Gifted Man - Patrick Wilson. That is all. Oh wait...Julie Benz too.

14. Up All Night - I miss Samantha Who? so freaking much!! I am glad Christina Applegate is in a new show - and with Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph it seems pretty promising. The show is about a couple who embark on parenthood while the father stays at home, the mom goes off to work (as a daytime talk show host) trying to juggle motherhood and her overbearing boss. It could be funny as long as it lives up to it's promises of avoiding the cliche's.

15. The Playboy Club - I hate myself for wanting to watch this show - especially when you have Gloria Steinem calling for a boycott due to its glamorization of an era when male dominance was normal. I don't think that much has changed since this era - at least where the media is concerned. It was only a few years ago that The Girls Next Door was on the air - Playboy is still as popular as ever and male dominance is still "the norm". I don't think it is fair to attack one show just because it is a little more "obvious" in it's depiction of sexualizing women. I think the show looks decent - hot girls, hot guys, a murder-mystery soap like drama. So screw my feminist brain and count me in.

16. 2 Broke Girls - I will not be watching the other Whitney Cummings show Whitney - because I don't think she is funny. However, this show is described as 'Laverne & Shirley' on crack. That alone makes me laugh. I love, love, love Kat Dennings. And I love the idea of struggling young people - because it always bothers me when people in their 20's have their shit soo together (beautiful apartments, loving parents, respectable jobs) but complain about how "messy" their lives are. The only show that was able to pull that off was Friends. I will judge this show completely on what their apartment looks like - because they are supposed to depict "2 broke girls" who live in NYC - so they better live in a closet. Otherwise I will turn it off.