Monthly Archives: August 2014

Harmony

 

That creepy old fart on eHarmony commercials, Neil Clark Warren, is taking things too far in his purported quest to bring singles together.

 

Harmony1

 

“We get to know you at your deepest level,” Warren says, and then inserts his 80-year-old self between a man and a woman who are simply trying to watch a movie.  Would you want this guy to know you at your “deepest level”?

 

Harmony2

 

“Who is the one person who’s waiting for you?” Warren asks, and then hops into bed with other unlucky couples.  It seems obvious to us whom this elderly pervert thinks that “one person” is.

 

Harmony3

 

*****

 

Worst place to live in America:  a mobile-home park in Oklahoma

Worst business to own in America:  a liquor store in San Francisco

 

*****

 

Sofia Vergara caught flak for spinning on a pedestal at the Emmys.  These days, if anything appeals even remotely to the heterosexual male, it is branded “sexist.”

 

Vergara3

 

On the plus side, Entertainment Gaily took leave of its senses and actually posted a story about female derrieres.  I have no idea what they were drinking at EG, but I wish they’d drink more of it:

 

Butts1

Outlander

 

Balfe

 

 

*****

 

Entertainment Gaily informs us that this is the “Summer of Butts,” so here is a bit more Sofia:

 

Vergara1 Vergara2

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Happy1

 

Happy Valley is a pretty good six-hour miniseries.  It’s also a nearly perfect four-hour miniseries.

I make a distinction because Valley is terrific television for four hours, up to and including the nail-biting conclusion of episode four.  But after that hair-raising segment, the final two episodes are a bit, well, anticlimactic.

You might have noticed that I just used two dreaded clichés:  “nail-biting” and “hair-raising.”  Movies and TV shows do not ordinarily have me gnawing my cuticles, nor is it likely that my greying mane has ever, literally, stood on end as I watched a piece of fiction.  But man … I couldn’t swear that I wasn’t both chewing and sprouting during some of the more riveting moments of Happy Valley.

 

Happy2

 

Ah, yes, the show.  Valley is yet another cop drama, but instead of the omnipresent grizzled, male detective, a curmudgeon who is often divorced, alcoholic, and/or disgraced, in this BBC production we get an honest-to-goodness, middle-aged female as the hero.  Yorkshire police sergeant Catherine Cawood does not resemble a supermodel; she is fleshed out – in more ways than one – as a complex, flawed, and compelling character.  She is also a grandmother.

Cawood (played by an unforgettable Sarah Lancashire; don’t the British ever run out of talented actors?) has personal problems – lord, does she ever – but it’s refreshing to empathize with the struggles of an embattled grandma-cop, as opposed to the usual crap afflicting most male-cop protagonists.  Cawood’s family dramas are nearly as gripping as her investigation of a kidnapping.

Ah, yes, the kidnapping.  The plot, centering on the abduction of a businessman’s daughter that coincides with the prison release of a long-time Cawood nemesis, isn’t simply a matter of good guys versus bad guys.  There is a third party involved in this dangerous triangle:  timid, in-over-his-head accountant Kevin (Steve Pemberton), who puts the plot in motion by making a foolish decision when his boss declines his request for a raise.

 

Happy3Happy4

 

From that point on, there are three suspenseful plot threads – the cops racing to find the kidnapped girl, the villains working to pull off their scheme, and the dilemma of poor Kevin, who vacillates between a desire to extricate himself from involvement with the crime and the faint hope that his foolhardy scheme might actually succeed.

My only complaint is that I think this stellar series (available on Netflix) should have wrapped up with four episodes.  It builds beautifully to episode four, but once the kidnapping is resolved, the emphasis shifts to Cawood family dramas — intriguing stuff, yes, but also anticlimactic.     Grade:  A-

 

Happy5 Capture

 

Written by:  Sally Wainwright  Cast:  Sarah Lancashire, George Costigan, James Norton, Charlie Murphy, Siobhan Finneran, Joe Armstrong, Steve Pemberton, Adam Long, Derek Riddell, Sophie Rundle   Premiere:  2014   

 

Happy7

 

Watch the Trailer  (click here)

 

Happy8

 

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Outlander

 

TV Update

 

Honorable

 

The Honourable Woman (SundanceTV):  This drama starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and set in the Middle East and England has an awful lot going for it.  It’s intelligent and has sharp dialogue, fine acting, and timely subject matter.  But so far (through four episodes), it is also, at times, a bit slow and lacking in suspense.  So far.   Grade:  B+

 

Manhattan

 

Manhattan (WGN America):  Another intelligent drama, but with a bit more soap opera.  Again, the subject matter is compelling:  World War II scientists are confined to a base in New Mexico where they race to create the atomic bomb.  But Manhattan has another weapon in its arsenal — its unique, concentration camp-like setting.  Grade:  B+

 

Outlander (Starz):  Silly but fun romance.  You have to buy into an absurd premise — woman time-travels from the 1940s back to 18th-century Scotland — but if you don’t mind that, this is well-done fantasy.  (Picture at top)  Grade:  B

 

*****

 

Oneill

 

Michael O’Neill bet you don’t recognize the name.  But I’ll bet you do recognize the stern-looking mug pictured above, because no one plays a better villain than O’Neill, who lately has been stirring up trouble seemingly everywhere, including Bates Motel, Rectify, and Extant.

 

*****

 

Nizewitz4       Nizewitz5

 

Jessie Nizewitz appeared on Dating Naked and is now suing VH1 for ten million bucks, because an uncensored shot of Jessie’s crotch made it onto the show.  VH1 is calling it a mistake, but my guess is that some rascal in the editing room wondered if he could get by with it.  Here is the shot, plus some blurred Jessie (above), because you want to see.

 

Nizewitz3

 

 

*****

 

Looks as though we’re all being conditioned for another ground war in the Middle East.  In our great country, this decision should be an easy call because our generals and politicians never lie to us, nor do they try to frighten us.

Uh … wait a minute …

 

*****

 

No good reason to post this picture of a critter’s snout, except that we like it.

 

Critter

 

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The Den

Den

 

Graduate student Elizabeth (Melanie Papalia) is researching online behavior at a video-chat site, but while she spends hours staring at a computer screen, the computer is secretly staring back at her.  The first half of The Den – shot entirely from Web-cam/phone-cam points of view feels a lot more like Skype than Netflix.  But after tapping into our primal fears about invasion of privacy, the story devolves from clever and cool into a cliché-ridden amalgam of conspiracy silliness and Saw-like gore.  Release:  2014  Grade : C

 

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by Jim Thompson

Killer

 

Nice title, because Thompson’s killer, a “good ol’ boy” deputy sheriff, certainly gets inside the reader – or the reader gets inside him — whether we like it or not.  We go along for the ride as soft-spoken Lou Ford goes on a psychopathic binge in his West Texas town, providing first-person narration as he revenge-kills and then kills again in an attempt to cover his tracks.  Ford is one repellant dude, but this Barney Fife from hell is also fascinating.

 

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Butts

 

Most of the news from foreign countries has been horrendous.  Thank goodness for Brazil.  Online voting began this week for “Miss Bumbum 2014,” an event that always makes me crack a smile.

 

*****

 

James Garner, Lauren Bacall, Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman.  It’s only August, but it’s been a tough year for losing celebrities.

My favorite Williams films that got little mention in his obituaries:  The Best of Times (below, with Kurt Russell), Awakenings, Dead Again.

 

MSDBEOF EC005

 

*****

 

Cops

 

Too many people confuse the word “respect” with the word “fear.”  If you are a bully wielding power over me, you don’t get my respect.  You might get fear, but you don’t get respect.

 

*****

 

Killing

 

I just watched the fourth-season finale of The Killing.  This thrice-cancelled series was certainly cursed, but I would never blame its writers.  Nor its actors.

 

*****

 

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin had struggles on Thursday:

 

Brooke:  “President Obama proclaimed the siege of Mt. Sinjar in Iraq is over.  Here’s the president:”

[footage of mountainous terrain]

Brooke:  “All right, so those are pictures of the mountain.  Hopefully we can queue up the president for you in a second.”

 

Later, Brooke attempted to introduce reporter Evan Perez as CNN theme music signaled a commercial break.

 

Brooke:  “What are you hearing, Evan?  That’s not the right audio.  Hang on, Evan.  Do we have him?  OK. We’re going to roll on to the tease and maybe we will get him in a second.”

It’s OK, Brooke.  When this kind of thing happens, we can always sit back and enjoy your legs.

 

Brooke

 

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Israel, Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Africa … too much bad crap going on in the world.  I’d prefer not to think about it and instead watch a man flick his Bic:

 

Lighter1                Lighter2

 

*****

 

I’m picturing a group of bureaucrats at the CDC, sitting around and twiddling their thumbs when someone suggests: “You know, we don’t have enough problems in this country.  What say we import Ebola?”

 

*****

 

Radcliffe

 Rip

 

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Devane1

 

  • William Devane is concerned about the national debt.
  • William Devane boasts, a lot, about how rich he is.
  • Why don’t we ask William Devane to pay off the national debt?

 

Devane2 Devane3

 

 *****

 

Waldman

 

Apparently, this woman made the grave mistake of admitting that she loves her husband more than she loves her children. 

I think the woman has a good argument.  Presumably, her husband had to actually do something to woo and win her.  Her kids, on the other hand, popped out of her birth canal and immediately enslaved her.

 

*****

 

Some doctor was on CNN attempting to assure us that the U.S. medical system can handle Ebola, should that deadly disease rear its ugly head here.

Didn’t this dunderhead, Dr. Anthony Fauci, read The Hot Zone?  What if someone with Ebola comes here and does not enter the medical system?  When some people think they have the flu, they don’t rush into the U.S. medical system; they turn on the TV and share pizza with neighbors.

 

*****

 

Maron1

 

Comedian Marc Maron “favorited” one of my Tweets.  Now I suppose I’m obligated to watch his show.  Just kidding; I already watch it, cuz it’s pretty good.

 

*****

 

Evidently, some weird fluke of timing has prevented SundanceTV’s Rectify from being nominated for an Emmy.  This is a crime, because Rectify might be the best show on TV.

 

*****

 

Fox News numbskull Anna Kooiman interviewed Tana Baumler, a brain-damaged woman who got caught speeding with her two young grandchildren in the car. Kooiman assured Granny that her mistake was no doubt “inadvertent,” and treated the whole episode as some kind of feel-good story (Baumler sent a thank-you note to the cop who pulled her over, hence the media attention).

But this woman DROVE NEARLY 100 MILES PER HOUR with a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old in the car!

I wouldn’t have given her a ticket; I’d have shown her a jail cell.

 

*****

 

The way FX keeps showcasing Diane Kruger’s bare ass, I’m beginning to think of The Bridge as The Buttocks.

 

Kruger1

 

Kruger2

 

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