Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's So Much Tighter Than I Thought It Would Be!

In my apparent quest to attract weirder and weirder Google searches to this blog, you guys have to check out this Funny or Die video starring Michaela Watkins and written by Diablo Cody and Jill Solloway. It's hilarious and if you're one of the unfortunate few who have wasted previous hours watching HBO's Hung, your time will now be made worthwhile.


.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Week in TV

Party Down (4/23)
So happy to have this comedy back, and that it's once again streaming on Netflix. Not exactly the funniest episode of all time to return with, but I love any time Kyle can frustrate Roman with his effortless ability to bag chicks. As for the Mullally-Lynch swap, I miss Jane of course, but Megan really cracked me up with that hand-on-the-hip "signal."

Community (4/22)
Absolutely the best episode of the season so far, and it's been a pretty great season. It's funny, I thought I'd been getting sick of the heavy layer of pop-cult winking surrounding the Abed character, but this episode -- an extended riff on Goodfellas, with some Godfather and 16 Candles thrown in to taste -- is all about that pop-cult winking, and I couldn't get enough. Probably because the Goodfellas stuff was so pitch-perfect, and because it played as the central plot and not anything tacked on, and because it fed into one of my favorite recurring plot types, the Jeff Gets Taken Down a Peg story. Plus Troy got a monkey and named it Annie's Boobs, and Pierce coined "Streets Ahead," which, if you have to ask, only means you're Streets Behind.

Survivor (4/22)
Man, after growing from fairly indifferent towards JT to actively hostile as he proved himself to be arrogant, dismissive, and incredibly stupid, it was incredibly gratifying to see him get soundly thumped by both karma and the editors. Karma came in the form of Russell and (most impressively) Parvati, who played him in pretty much every way he could have been played. Parvati made an especially gutsy move by using both of her idols on Jerri and Sandra, essentially leaving herself open as the only member of her faction who could have been voted out. But she guessed right, and JT (and Russell too, kinda) got the surprise of a lifetime. As for the editors, I could kiss them, as they included pretty much every clip of JT acting like a condescending snot about how Russell "obviously" wasn't lying to him, Rupert was clearly paranoid, and women are just not to be trusted. Douche.

The Real Housewives of New York City (4/22)
That whole opening sequence with Jill's dog and the hyperness and the pooping pretty much illustrates every reason why I will never have a dog. I know, I know, there are breeds that are calmer, and everything seems more aawful with Jill around, but still. In other news, Sonia really freaks me out and maybe needs to curb her nonstop monologue about how "What am I supposed to dry up and die now that I'm a certain age?" Totally not, Sonia, just don't tell me about it. Also, I hope you all saw the scenes for the rest of the season? LuAnn's single is poised to be the hot hit of the summer!

United States of Tara (4/19)
This season just keep humming along. Marshall's post-coming out life remains satisfyingly complicated, and while I'm frustrated that Charmane is ultimately doing to throw gorgeous, successful, kind Nick overboard for schlumpy Neil, it's giving her some good notes to play. Personal growth, whatever. Best of all, Shoshana Schoenbaum might be my favorite alter yet. And whatever weirdo mental machination's Tara has to perform to convince herself Shoshana's advice is valuable, I can't wait to find out what the secret of that cabin is.

Nurse Jackie (4/19)
This season has definitely picked up the pace, with Zoey pregnant and O'Hara suddenly a cheating lesbian. And though I loved her just fine last season, they've really tightened up the Akalitus character and haven't put her in any goofy comic relief subplots this season. And much as I hate Eddie, the fact that Jackie is stepping out with him again should push the plot along nicely.

Damages (4/19)
I've always been a good couple episodes behind the pace on this show all season, so I haven't written about it much. It was a good enough season, I suppose, though I ultimately never really connected to the Tobin stuff. Patty didn't really have a lot of stake in many of the plots this season, and the vendetta against Michael's baby mama felt minor, not something that would ultimately lead to the car crash. If this is the last of the series, I'll miss Rose Byrne's Ellen most of all. It was her story I was most interested in.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Adventures in Random DVR Pausing #2

This one comes from last night's penultimate episode of the greatest show on television, RuPaul's Drag Race:

Kathy: chante, you stay. Merle: sashay away.

(But I kid Merle! Seriously, though, at this moment, these were the only two biological females in the room.)

[Photo credit: Roommate Mark, who is always serving Fish]


Monday, April 19, 2010

Satisfaction!


It bugged me all the way through the latter half of Kick-Ass. Gnawed at the back of my brain. This happens whenever I hear a piece of music score that I know I've heard somewhere else before. If I can't place it right away, I have to seriously place my mind in sense-memory mode and basically try to trance myself into remembering when I first heard it.

So it was during one of the big action scenes in Kick-Ass, where the music on the soundtrack not only reminded me of a movie I'd seen but also a trailer that used this same music that I also couldn't remember. Ain't that some shit?

I eventually remembered that the trailer in question was the one for Amelia, and a trip to Google and a serendipitous updating of the Kick-Ass wikipedia page ultimately gave me the answer: Sunshine! The Danny Boyle "let's got into space and ignite the sun!" adventure.

What is it about this movie? I love so many things about it -- the score, the visuals, the actors. I think I love everything but the story, which always ends up disappointing me. Regardless, it's been re-inserting itself into my life lately. I'll catch it late night on cable, or I'll realize that that weird temple guy from Lost played the captain here. Now I've been moved to download the soundtrack to the movie, which seriously, give it a listen. John Murphy (who also did the scores for Boyle's 28 Days Later and its subsequent sequel) needs to be a much more famous composer.


.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Unplanned Hiatus: Over!

Hey all! Sorry for leaving without any notice. Hurricane Freelance combined with a rather resilient Death Flu combined to make three weeks where posting on the ol' blog was not the most realistic of prospects. I'm hoping to be a smidge more prolific this week. "More prolific than nothing?" you ask, breathless? Yes! This is the commitment I'm making to you!

For now, I'm updating the sidebar and including the blurbs here, for convenient commenting. Movies first (TV hopefully tonight):


Kick-Ass
Eh. It was okay. Not the geek-gasmic orgy of comic-booky goodness the nerds have been screaming. Not the irresponsible slide down the slippery slope into Gomorrah that the older nerds have been screaming. Though, if I'm being honest, the movie really does try to have it both ways, gleefully reveling in the oh-so-transgressive prospect of a little girl essentially playing like Wolverine (part of the reason I'm so annoyed at the pearl-clutching response of Ebert and Co. is that it's justifying just how amazingly edgy the film thinks it's being) while also trying to play on the gut-level repulsion of seeing a little girl beat up by an adult. Mostly, I thought there were scattered good moments done in by inconsistent pacing and the ever-present masculinity issues of Mark Millar. I'm sorry you feel like such a huge pussy, Mark, but maybe stop obsessing about it in your writing? B-
[Also, P.S.: the boy who plays Kick-Ass, Aaron Johnson, is hella cute. As witnessed here (thanks, J!). He's 20 and British, okay!]

Good Hair
I had such high hopes for this one based on the trailer, but ultimately, while it's funny in fits and starts, it feels like it would have been a better fit as a 5-minute Daily Show segment. This felt like it needed to go back to the blackboard and run through some Documentary 101. Is this about the history of black women's hair issues? Or is it about the Atlanta hair show scene? Too much time is spent on the latter, and it ends up dominating the former. (Though a full movie about the hair show would have been pretty amazing.) And it would have been actually edifying to learn the actual mechanics of hair relaxer. Yes, yes, it can melt a can of diet coke, but what does it actually, do, chemically, to black hair? I guess I wanted the Chris Rock movie to be more like a science-class filmstrip? I know, fine, boring. But in that case, more of the interviews. I could seriously have listened to Nia Long and Tracy Thoms talk about their hair issues for days. Hey, if Hollywood isn't going to give them anything to play in narrative films, might as well get my fill in documentaries. But I couldn't because, again, too much hair show. A letdown. C+

Date Night
A perfectly acceptable comedy elevated by great interplay between Steve Carell and Tina Fey. That scene where they returned to the frou-frou Manhattan restaurant disguised as fashionista trash was worth the price of a ticket alone. The cavalcade of guest stars had its moments (William Fichtner got some great stuff to play, and James Franco and Mila Kunis should play these characters in every comedy this summer), but mostly I was left wondering if Ray Liotta and Ari Graynor and Taraji P. Henson were just wandering by the set that day. And can somebody write a role for Common where he does more than just grunt? That said, this movie is absolutely the best instance of completely objectifying Mark Wahlberg for the piece of meat he is since the Calvin Klein days. Whoever managed that feat deserves a Pulitzer. Or a Genius grant. Or a Nobel Prize. Whatever, figure it out. B

Clash of the Titans
BORING! Holy Jesus. Sam Worthington, I'm sorry, is not a leading man. He wasn't in Terminator, he wasn't in Avatar, and he's not here. Nothing ever feel like high stakes when he's around. Not that the rest of the movie is some gleaming triumph around him. The effects work is nothing special, the 3D was a joke (but we knew that going in), and the Medusa sequence especially looks laughably video-gamey. The one bright spot, for me, was Ralph Feinnes's campy take on Hades. First of all, he didn't even bother with the voice, instead just importing his Voldemort hiss. But the real treat was in his flourishy entrances, the likes of which have only been equalled on RuPaul's Drag Race. You better work, Lord of the Underworld! C-
.
.