Monthly Archives: January 2018

 

Nothing worse than a politician who fails to ease calms.

 

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OK, well … ahem … about that whole “America’s Team” thing in last week’s post ….

Never mind.

 

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TV Tidbits

 

I’ve only seen the first episodes of Counterpart and The Alienist, so it’s too soon to know if they’ll be worthwhile viewing. So let’s review them, anyway:

 

 

Counterpart on Starz is a science-fiction drama starring J.K. Simmons. It might be good if … it avoids the common sci-fi pitfall of letting its plot get too far-fetched. Humorous sci-fi can get by with that sort of thing; serious sci-fi, not so much.

 

 

The Alienist on TNT is a period drama about a serial killer in 1890s New York. It might be good if … it avoids the curse of too many period dramas that fall in love with the setting at the expense of a good story.

 

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Let’s forget about government shutdowns and illegal immigration this week and instead celebrate football and the real America’s Team.

Click here to watch the famous video again. And then watch it again. And again. (Unless you’re from New Orleans, in which case, never mind.)

 

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And while we’re celebrating football, take a stroll down memory lane and savor this ancient photo of Kansas City quarterback Len Dawson enjoying a break in the action:

 

 

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Netflix Nuggets

 

The plot owes a lot to The Silence of the Lambs, and you might well be able to guess the identity of the killer, but France’s La Mante is a well-made thriller that’s often gripping.

Who knew that former “Bond girl” Carole Bouquet could play such a fascinating serial killer? (By that way, that’s not a spoiler.)

 

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 Dalton

 

Fanny Watch

Netflix cranks out tons of rotten horror movies. The Open House is not one of them. It’s no masterpiece (ignore its abysmal customer rating on IMDB), but I enjoyed the creepy atmosphere and an ending that conjured memories of the original Black Christmas.

Plus, actress Piercey Dalton contributes this shower scene to our Fanny Watch:

 

 

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More evidence of the decline of Western civilization:

 

 

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The media were aghast that an American president might utter the word “shithole” in a public forum. Classy Politico, for example, wouldn’t dream of exploiting such a vulgar term. From Politico’s Web site:

 

 

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TV Updates

 

 

Sometimes I get hooked on a show simply because I am entranced by the main characters. It doesn’t matter if they’re robbing a bank, or reading quietly in the library; I just want to see what they’re up to.

Fortunately for viewers of The End of the F***ing World, a delightfully eccentric Netflix import from Britain, the show’s writers are more than capable of finding interesting things for teenage runaways James and Alyssa (pictured above) to do — things like shoplifting, car theft, and offing serial killers.

 

 

Sure, it’s contrived. But God help me, I am once again watching (and enjoying) the crazy geezers on Better Late than Never.

 

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We’re thinking that the presdent of Fox Business Network should consider repatrating some funds to hire a proofreader. It’s something dimmocratic the could do.

 

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Good commercial:

 

 

I loathe that GEICO green lizard, but I’ll have to admit that a lot of the company’s other spots, like the sloth bit pictured above, make me chuckle.

 

Bad commercial:

 

 

Good lord, could Xfinity have found an athlete with less personal charisma than shuffling, mumble-mouthed bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor, pictured above? Not “lookin’ good,” Elana.

 

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What the hell is it with all of these weird-ass, sex-related confessions and rumors featuring Michael Douglas?

Is the dude trying to tell us something?

 

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OK, sure. We could do that.

 

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Aval

 

It’s tempting to write off Aval (English title: The House Next Door), India’s homage to Hollywood horror classics like The Exorcist. Much of the dialogue (a peculiar mix of Indian languages and English) and relationships evoke corny melodramas from the 1950s. At some point the story, in which a doctor and his wife learn that someone in their Himalayan neighborhood is possessed, stops making a lot of sense, and a few scenes are unintentionally funny.

However … there’s no question that several of director Milind Rau’s set pieces are chilling, with clever camerawork and stunning visuals. Also in its favor: the movie is consistently entertaining. Release: 2017  Grade: B+

 

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The Babysitter

grouchyeditor.com Babysitter

 

A 12-year-old boy discovers that his oh-so-hot babysitter is actually a psychotic devil worshipper in this Netflix horror-comedy that starts out silly and grows progressively more ridiculous. But no worries: It’s meant to be silly, it’s well-produced, and it’s often amusing. Oh, and Samara Weaving gives a killer performance as the blonde from hell. Release: 2017  Grade: B+

 

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Bad Headlines

 

 

Yes, and yes again. Trump and his Republican pals need to stop citing the fucking stock market when crowing about “the economy.”

 

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Trump might be nuts, but CNN seems to be right there with him. Brooke Baldwin freaked out when a guy said “boobs” on her show, but on New Year’s Eve she boasted to a drunk Don Lemon that “my balls are bigger than your balls.”

Lemon, viewers might recall, once complimented Kathy Griffin on her “nice rack.” And then last week, we got CNN’s Randi Kaye laughing and fondling a pot-filled bong on live TV.

Brian Williams, when informed about Baldwin’s “big balls” declaration, assured anyone within earshot that his enormous testicles are listed in the Guinness World Records.

 

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Let me see if I have this straight: Tobacco taxes go up every 15 minutes, but liquor taxes, which haven’t gone up in decades, are going down?

 

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Mark Steyn and Sebastian Gorka: How are these not the same guy?

 

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Formerly great show that is now merely a good show:

Curb Your Enthusiasm

 

Formerly great show that is still a great show:

Black Mirror

 

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Veteran character actor Paul Sorvino wants to pummel Harvey Weinstein for blacklisting Sorvino’s daughter, Mira.

The blacklisting makes no sense to us, either, because we took a look at Mira’s audition tape, presented below:

 

 

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That’s Elizabeth Montgomery, circa 1963. You can’t tell me that Hollywood babes of that generation weren’t the bomb.

 

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by Anthony Horowitz

 

Horowitz’s double mystery is a lot of fun for fans of old-fashioned whodunits. It’s a clever book-within-a-book in which a literary editor investigates the suspicious death of her company’s most successful writer: an irascible cuss who wrote the wildly popular “Atticus Pund” mysteries.

For the most part, Horowitz (the original scriptwriter for TV’s Midsomer Murders) avoids common whodunit pitfalls like implausibility and cheating. The ease with which he links two seemingly unrelated crimes — one in “real” life and the other in the pages of a thriller — is also impressive.

I was able to predict the murderer of the cantankerous author. But I won’t boast because I was gobsmacked by the identity of the killer in the Pund portion of the book.

 

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