Monthly Archives: April 2013

Paltrow1 

 

Gwyneth Paltrow Week!

 

It was quite a week for Gwyneth, who topped both Star magazine’s “Most Hated Celebrity” and People magazine’s “Most Beautiful People” lists.

I can’t get too excited for Gwyneth because, to me, she is a bit of a has-been whose most memorable role was as the severed head in Se7en (below), followed closely by her turn as some shapely buttocks in Shallow Hal (above — assuming they are not stunt buttocks).  It’s a tough call to say which was the better performance, so I’ll have to flip a coin:  heads or tails?

 

Paltrow2

 

*****

 

NakedGuy

 

Quote of the Week #1

 

“The guy who was stripped naked and then later set free, do we have any idea who he was?” — CNN’s Jake Tapper to Watertown’s police captain

The captain didn’t know.  I’ve been wondering about the naked guy.  That’s certainly a unique way to be introduced to the national news media, getting escorted to a police car with your junk exposed.

 

*****

 

Reid1

 

Travis Alexander’s ex-girlfriend, Deanna Reid, took the stand at the Jodi Arias trial.  Her appearance might have explained a thing or two about Alexander’s fatal attraction to Arias.  If you were Travis Alexander, who would you choose?

 

                   The Travis Alexander Girlfriend Quiz:

 

Reid2           Reid3

      A)  Girl who wants to marry you, or …                                      B)  Homicidal maniac

 

Reid4             Reid5

     A)  Girl who wants to marry you, or …                                     B)  Homicidal maniac

 

*****

 

Quote of the Week #2

 

“Did he talk to you about blowing enormous loads every time?” — Arias attorney Kurt Nurmi to poor Deanna Reid.  HLN’s censor was apparently asleep at the wheel.

 

*****

 

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Grouch

 

Wanted?

 

“He was a complete jerk.”

“He frightened all of the children in the neighborhood.”

“When you saw him coming, you just wanted to deliver a good, swift kick to his ass.”

 

Those are comments you never hear about people like the Boston bombers (or serial killers).  Instead, we usually hear about what nice, quiet, unassuming fellows they were.

That is why society ought to celebrate the jerks in our midst, like the sweet man pictured above.  Jerks are generally harmless and always mean well.  We– er, they never cause problems.

 

*****

 

Blitzer6

Wolf

 

*****

 

Events this week did not bring out the best in Fox’s Bill O’Reilly.  Within hours of the Boston bombing, O’Reilly was politicizing it, chastising President Obama for using the word “tragedy” to describe the attack.

O’Reilly loves to spring unusual words on his audience, but apparently he needs a definition of this simple, seven-letter word:

 

           Tragedy
Tragedy2

 

Even more distressing for O’Reilly, archenemy MSNBC showed up Fox (and CNN) by exhibiting restraint during Wednesday’s erroneous reports of the arrest of a suspect.  O’Reilly refused to acknowledge this embarrassment and chose to credit CBS — but not MSNBC — with a journalistic win.

 

*****

 

Game2

 

The Game was on cable.  It’s about the only movie I can watch, repeatedly, and laugh out loud with each viewing.  Michael Douglas’s performance as a harried business honcho is a comic masterpiece.

 

*****

 

I was so bored that I actually watched golf on television.  I’ve never understood why fans on the golf course are expected to watch the competition in absolute silence.  Same thing with tennis.  Player concentration, you say?  OK, then why aren’t fans shushed when a basketball player is at the free-throw line, trying to concentrate on a game-deciding shot?

 

*****

 

Word that needs to be banished from the advertising lexicon because it no longer means anything:  awesome.

 

*****

 

Quote of the Week:

 

“To be truly feminine means being soft, receptive, and — look out, here it comes — submissive.” — volleyball star Gabrielle Reece



Reece

 

No comment.

 

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Rectify1

 

Sundance Channel could use a better publicist.  If you browse entertainment Web sites, you’ll find story after story about new series launches by Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.  There is much excitement over the brave new world of scripted programming by and for the Internet.

Meanwhile, with little fanfare and a “buzz” only your dog could detect, Sundance is also venturing into series television, and it’s offering some shows worth crowing about.  On the heels of Top of the Lake, which concluded last week, Sundance on Monday premieres Rectify, a compelling, character-driven drama about an ex-con’s attempt to reassimilate into his Georgia hometown.

 

Rectify2

 

Aden Young stars as Daniel Holden, a man convicted of murder whose sentence is “vacated” after DNA evidence calls his original conviction into question.  Holden has spent the better part of two decades on Death Row, and moving back into his mother’s house proves as difficult for him as it is for other residents of Paulie, Georgia — some of whom remain convinced of Holden’s guilt and won’t be satisfied until he’s returned to jail.

Rectify moves at a leisurely tempo, but it’s absorbing because what matters in this tale is character reaction:  How will Daniel’s younger brother, a regular teen who is into girls and movies, interact with an older sibling who is familiar with prison rape but has never seen a DVD?  Will the prosecutor-turned-politician who put Daniel behind bars let bygones be bygones?  Why does Daniel’s own mother seem so guarded in his presence?

 

Rectify3  Rectify4

 

This kind of drama doesn’t work if the actors aren’t intriguing, but happily that’s not an issue with Rectify.  Young and Abigail Spencer, as Daniel’s combative sister Amantha, are especially good at balancing the story’s heavier elements with some choice, fish-out-of-water comedy.  And Rectify’s production design is more like what you find in theatrical films than on cable television.      Grade:  B+

 

Rectify5      Rectify6

 

Cast:  Aden Young, Abigail Spencer, Michael O’Neill, Hal Holbrook, Clayne Crawford, Bruce McKinnon, J. Smith-Cameron, Adelaide Clemens, Luke Kirby  Premieres:  April 22, 2013

 

Rectify7

 

                                   Watch Trailers and Clips  (click here)

 

Rectify8

 

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Kim1

 

20-Second Gripes

 

1:  If North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is as immature and hyper-sensitive as some experts seem to believe, maybe all of this satire by The Onion, Saturday Night Live, et al, isn’t such a great idea.

2:  Jimmy Fallon “interviewed” Rolling Stone Keith Richards and allowed Richards to actually speak for about 45 seconds.  Is it too late to rehire Leno?

3:  When I get up in the morning (or sometime), the first thing I do (OK, second thing, after the cigarette) is turn on cable news.  This, I’ve come to believe, is a mistake.  Some people get up and listen to music.  That has to be a healthier, happier way to greet the new day.

4:  Nightly cable news personalities, compared to the blithering idiots on morning talk shows, are a wealth of Mensa candidates.  Anderson Cooper, for example, apparently takes a stupid pill at some point between hosting his evening program on CNN and taping the syndicated crap he presides over during the day.

 

Kim2

 

*****


Point

 

Nice try, CNN.  You watched The Five on Fox, envied its ratings, studied its setup, and then devised your own camera-under-the-table-aimed-at-sexy-women’s-legs.  Sadly, The Point got the shaft.

 

*****

Quotes of the Week (courtesy of HLN and Jodi Arias)


Eiglarsh Walsh

                              Eiglarsh                                                                        Walsh

 

“She killed someone.  She murdered someone.  So this, to me, is a pimple on the butt of what she’s dealing with.” — attorney Mark Eiglarsh, about Arias using Twitter

“There’s something else I want to point out about this and other phone-sex conversations that I’ve heard between them [Arias and Travis Alexander].  You know, I’m a grown-up woman.  I’ve had some much better phone sex in my life.” — psychotherapist Wendy Walsh

 

*****

 

Thanks to the Jodi Arias trial, the blogosphere is discussing Cameron Diaz’s panties.  That’s a good enough excuse to run this picture of Cameron Diaz in panties.

 

                                        Diaz

 

 

*****

 

Champ

 

The Huffington Post is still in search of a few good editors.  Unless, of course, the Post has unearthed evidence that O’Reilly is is, indeed indeed, a victorious homosexual.

 

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 by Stephen King

Midnight2


I’ve been a member of Stephen King’s “constant reader” club for years, but I fear that I might be coming down with a case of King fatigue.  Maybe I could call it “Castle Rock Burnout.”  One symptom occurs when King characters, past and present, begin to blur together and induce a feeling of déjà vu:  In Four Past Midnight (published in 1990), we once again meet the small-town sheriff, the awkward teen, the shady businessman – even King’s demons, witches, and monsters begin to feel a bit stale.

 

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 Ass You Like It

    Wiener

“Shake your wiener!” — Welcome to Myrtle Manor’s Chelsey, above

 

TV Report

 

Winning Me Back:  Welcome to Myrtle Manor.  OK, I’ll admit that a lot of this stuff is probably staged (how many trailer parks conduct beauty pageants?), but the knuckleheads at Myrtle Manor are an engaging bunch, gosh darn it.

Losing Me:  The Walking Dead.  Major, longtime characters keep getting killed off by the show’s writers, and I’m just fine with that, which is probably not what AMC’s producers have in mind.

Game of Thrones:  Downton Abbey for the dungeons and dragons crowd.  It’s soap opera, but so well-produced, well-acted, and visually arresting that it’s easy to get sucked in to its fantasy world.

Orphan Black:  I don’t know if it’s a good sign or a bad sign when your opening episode goes out of its way to showcase the heroine’s derriere.  OK, I’m lying; it’s definitely a good sign.

Basic-cable channels seem to occupy a nudity no-man’s land.  Not bold enough to flash full-frontal and too timid to bare boobs, basic channels opt instead for shapely rear ends.  So do we.  Keep up the good work, basic cable.

 

Maslany

Tatiana Maslany and her two co-stars on the premiere of BBC America’s Orphan Black.

 

Chelsey

Myrtle Manor’s Chelsey doing what people usually do at trailer parks:  strutting her stuff in a beauty pageant.

 

  Clarke

Game of Thrones’s Emilia Clarke demonstrates why teenage boys want their parents to get HBO.

 

Hefner2

An extra on the set of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

 

*****

 

From New York magazine:

 

Seitz   

 

No, no, no.  Bad idea.  You’ll ruin the show for teenage boys and for … other people.  You want male nudity, go watch Spartacus.   Below, a gratuitous penis for Matt Zoller Seitz (and, of course, for Myrtle Manor “wiener girl” Chelsey).

 

Penis

 

Meanwhile, on Survivor, Brenda (below) strives for success.

 

  Brenda6

 

*****

 

I haven’t been watching much Rachel Maddow lately.  She spends too much time on issues of great importance to a relatively small number of people, including gay rights.  But when Maddow turns to matters like government corruption or military misadventures, there’s no one better in cable news.  On Tuesday, she and Eliot Spitzer skewered former SEC chief Mary Schapiro, and it was terrific journalism.

 

*****

 

AAG

 

Two weeks ago, I introduced a “please let them be struck by lightning” list by spotlighting a pompous, irritating spokeswoman for AARP.  Money-grubbing, shameless Fred Thompson, shilling for AAG in the picture above, makes the list this week.

 

*****

 

The thumbs are all buried now, and that’s a bummer.

I thought Roger Ebert was a superb writer but a critic with … uh, peculiar taste.  But if you love movies, Ebert was a big part of your past, and it’s sad to see him go.

 

Ebert3

 

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             The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Wall1  THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER

 

Despite an appealing cast, this high-school drama strikes an immediate pity-party tone and never strays from it.  Charlie (Logan Lerman), abused as a child, is timid in school, misunderstood by girls, suicidal and, to an irritating degree, Oh.  So.  Sensitive.  He is befriended by two seniors — a girl “with a past” (Emma Watson) and a gay boy (Ezra Miller) who dates the school’s quarterback — and they all become best buds.  In this movie, most (not all) of the heterosexuals are brutish, insensitive clods, and our heroes are all tragic victims.  If you love snow angels, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, then this is a movie for you.  But gag me with a spoon.  Release:  2012  Grade:  C-

 

*****

 

                                       The Grey

Grey1  Grey2

 

A plane goes down in the Alaska wild, where Liam Neeson and a small group of oil workers face hostile elements and inhospitable wolves.  The Grey wants to be both thrilling adventure and a profound meditation on the meaning of life — and falls short.  The wolf attacks are fairly entertaining, but the “deep meaning” scenes sputter because Grey’s characters are thinly drawn, with a vocabulary that seems limited to the word “fuck.”  Release:  2012  Grade:  B-

 

*****

 

Hitchcock

Hitchcock1  Hitchcock2

 

It plays fast and loose with the facts, but Hitchcock is a surprisingly sweet biopic.  If you can overlook the screenplay’s fabrications about the famous filmmaker’s alleged monetary problems and supposedly shaky marriage, and focus instead on the interplay between stars Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock) and Helen Mirren (wife Alma), the reward is a droll depiction of an enduring creative partnership and, as a bonus for film buffs, an amusing look at the making of PsychoRelease:  2012  Grade:  B+

 

*****

 

Suspiria

Suspiria1  Suspiria2

 

Jessica Harper plays a young American who enrolls at a German dance academy that turns out to be something else, entirely.  Horror director Dario Argento’s primary-colored movie is an expressionistic treat, with a score by the Italian band Goblin that could make your skin crawl (in a good way).  Unfortunately, the stilted dialogue, dated special effects, and wooden acting could have the same effect (in a bad way).  All in all, though, this is one eerie, sensory experience.  Release:  1977  Grade:  B

 

*****

 

                                            Ted

Ted1  Ted2

 

Mark Wahlberg stars as a 35-year-old slacker who must choose between his walking, talking teddy bear and Mila Kunis.  If you would choose the teddy bear, then this is a movie for you.  There are a few amusing pop-culture references and the animation is good, but writer-director Seth MacFarlane’s big-screen debut is mean-spirited, childish and, well, pretty much unbearable.  Release:  2012  Grade:  D

 

*****

 

The Impossible

Impossible1  Impossible2

 

The special effects are impressive — most of them were created the old-fashioned way, using miniatures and water tanks — and there are some fine performances, but this fact-based drama about one family’s struggle to survive a tsunami that pummeled Thailand in 2004 is often a drag.  Knowing the fate of the family deprives the story of suspense, and we are instead left with more than an hour of unrelenting misery.  It’s realistic, sure, but aren’t disaster movies also supposed to entertain?  Release:  2012  Grade:  B

 

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