Sunday, November 27, 2011

HOLY SMOKES!! My Latest TV Discovery

Look, here's the thing: I don't have cable, or a dish, or anything else which would allow me access to a lot of tv channels. It's sometimes sad when I don't know what's going on in the world of the Kardashians---just kidding---but the lack of tv channels is probably a very good thing for me. I can become a little engrossed, if you know what I mean. (Yes, I do have a problem dragging myself away from the Law and Order marathons.)

So, today I was perusing the internet when I came across the name of a newish tv show that piqued my interest: American Horror Story. Does any one remember the tv show American Gothic? Fun stuff. So, in the interest of discovering new diversions (i.e. work-avoidance), I decided to watch the pilot. Which resulted in my watching all the other episodes available. HOLY SMOKES.

There is a truckload of stuff going down in this series, and I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say there's Jessica Lange at her crazy-Southern best, Dylan McDermott sans pants, the lady who played the mom in Six Feet Under, Vera Farmiga's little sister (Taissa)---who has some serious acting skills, teen romance, a lovely creepy house, spooky old photographs, dead babies, deformed children, body parts in jars, and a considerable amount of sex.

Yeah, and that's only the tip of the turret.

I really don't know if they can keep this up and still keep it compelling. Sometimes when there is too much going on, there isn't enough character development and you get into a situation where you don't give a crap about these people because you don't know them well enough to care. So far though, that is not a problem. There are quite a few interesting plot turns and you definitely want to find out more of the backstory of these characters. 

I was glued to my computer, so much so, I had a hard time removing myself to watch Once Upon a Time on television. American Horror Story kinda knocked my socks off. It's got a very strong cast to boot. If you aren't faint of heart (or faint of stomach), I'd say give this a shot. It's a wild ride; so far so good.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


"If it had provided me with nothing else, "Tower Heist" would have afforded me the sight of a solid gold automobile being lowered from the penthouse of the Trump Tower with Matthew Broderick dangling from it. Sometimes you appreciate such simple human spectacles. To be sure, Trump Tower has been renamed "The Tower," and the man dangling from the car isn't the Donald, but this is an imperfect world."  ~ Roger Ebert

Look, the plot is ridiculous, but who cares? If the plot had been more clever, would this have been a better film? Sure. But this isn't that kind of movie, and nonetheless, it was still entertaining and funny.

First off, the whole penthouse lifestyle (as in rich---not as in naked) is fun to imagine for those of us who have never had, and will probably never have, the opportunity to go inside one of those high rise apartment buildings occupied by the NYC elite.  It sure would be fun to spend a weekend there. 

Next, the cast was enjoyable: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Alan Alda, Judd Hirsch, Michael Pena. I didn't care too much for Gabourey Sidibe and her Jamaican accent, but everyone else was pretty funny. For some reason Matthew Broderick as a middle-aged sad-sack particularly struck my funny bone. He just looked funny. Tea Leoni, was also likable, even though I'm usually not crazy about her. 

The movie moves along at a quick pace. There were couple of slow spots for me (oddly enough, during the actual heist), but overall it kept me engaged.

I hate it when critics write a review and most of it is actually a synopsis. LAME. So, you won't get that from me. You can look up the synopsis at IMDB or Wikipedia or something. Consequently, this review is short, but you get the point. Tower Heist is a glossy production---nonsensical, but amusing. And that's fine as long as you weren't expecting something more.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Random Snippets (TV and Whatnot)

I missed the last episode of Grimm. I heard it lacked a fairytale thread. Is that correct?

Once upon a Time 
I am really enjoying this show. But I didn't enjoy the actress they chose for Cinderella. The non-love also probably had to do with the way the role was written and directed. Here's my idea of  Cinderella:

That's Dianna Agron from Glee.  Of course, she already has quite a good job, but they should hunt around for someone like her.  You should like Cinderella, not be irritated by her. And frankly, she should be really pretty. Speaking of  which, I love Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White. Perfect casting. Also she's damned adorable in her pixie haircut. She looks like she's gonna sprout gossamer wings and pointed ears.

And of course, there's Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold. Creepy in the most delicious and charming fashion.

Dancing with the Stars
Felt really bad for JR. He looked bummed-out. I still think he'll beat Ricki Lake. He's just more fun to watch. Also, Rob Kardashian has done a bang-up job on the show. He was great last night. He manages to look natural and authentic in his expression, plus he's quite light on his feet for a big guy.

Random Notes
They have an option on this blog site to have a warning for adult content. They're talking about naked pictures, right?  I mean, I don't think my occasional spicy language counts---that's just my literary style ;)

About the movie Tower Heist : I heard from one of my sources that it was very fast-paced, funny and entertaining. Even though director Brett Ratner is apparently a d*ck. Oops--there goes that spicy language thing again. But, but, but he said some really nasty things in a recent interview. Only a total tool would say that stuff.

Crisis Alert: The company that owns Chevy's (my heroin (aka chip) supplier) has filed for bankruptcy.  They need to get their financial act together. People's lives are at stake. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011


This is a compelling movie: 4/5 stars. The 'whys' are coming, but first I need to confess something. 

I am a colossal ignoramus when it comes to finance and economics. It's not that I am dumb; it's more that my brain steadfastly resists information which it does not find immediately beneficial. This boils down to me being able to absorb movies and not news. 
Movies=entertainment/stress relief. 
Movies are immediately beneficial.

Anyway, there is a point in the movie where the CEO of an investment banking firm asks a young analyst to explain their dire financial situation to him as though he were "a five year old or a golden retriever". Don't get your hopes up too much here. My golden retriever brain still did not get half of what he was saying. BUT, that did not make the movie any less compelling.

It's a taut story. The financial world is about to be turned on its over-inflated head. Fortunes will be lost, careers will be torched, lives will be ruined. And how long after the fuse is lit will the bomb explode? A matter of hours. Tick-tick-tick. As long as the director handles this right, it's gonna keep you tuned-in. He does and it does. Plus, it's a good-looking film: the sharp and shiny reflection of affluence. 

It's got a big cast, lots of people you know. The opening scenes with Stanley Tucci (a favorite of mine) tell you right off the bat that this is gonna be a good flick. He's perfect, as you would expect, and the scenes are oddly relate-able (anyone else recently experience the sudden disappearance of your co-workers?). It's just even more sordid here---I guess you have to consider the source.  

Jeremy Irons, Simon Baker, Paul Bettany, Penn Badgley all give solid performances. Demi Moore is okay, like always. (Hey, I like her, but in my experience, her acting, while not bad, hasn't shown a whole lot of depth or nuance). Kevin Spacey is great, as always. Remember Verbal Kint/Keyser Soze? One of the all-time favorite performances, that one was. But I digress.

The surprise performance, for me, was by Zachary Qunito. Since I didn't see the new Star Trek films, I only know him from the tv series Heroes. This role is a big departure from that. He is very convincing, very believable---great expressiveness in his face, great line delivery. 

Apparently there really are people whose lives are driven only by the need and desire for wealth. So, if you had a few minutes with these guys what would would you want to know? 
How about:   How does it feel to be a soulless bastard? 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

How's About a Grimm Cinderella Episode? Here's My Version

Seen the new tv show Grimm? Here's a taste of my idea for an upcoming episode.

Script By Jules 

Scene One - At the police department

Hank (Nick's partner): Nick, check out there girl over there. What's your take on her

(Note: Nick is known for his ability to pinpoint a lot about a person within the first minute of seeing them).

Nick: Judging from her clothes, and the fact that she looks like she hasn't had access to a shower recently, I'd say she's living on the street. Not picked up for prostitution though, looks too innocent--doesn't have that hard look in her eye. She's a beautiful kid, huh? Even under all that grime.

Hank: Ha! Got ya on this one. She's living with her family. And according to Captain, the mom and the sister came in all decked out. Rolled-in in a silver Jaguar. He said those shoes the mom was wearing go for about eight-hundred bucks. Kid's got the supermodel looks and dresses like a dumpster, and the rest of the family dress like tv stars.

Nick: Why'd they bring her in here? Shouldn't she have been taken in to Juvy?

Hank: Nope--Genessa is eighteen. Get this: they brought her in because sister number one claims that this one cut off a good-sized piece of sistah's big toe. 

Nick: What?

Hank: Oh, yeah. They brought in a prom shoe full of blood for evidence. Oh, and that's not all. Here's where we come in. Sister number two?? Missing since last night. Prom night. 

Nick: And Genessa is our perp?

Hank: Apparently, so. Accordingly to her family, that is. Seems there was some big fight between the three sisters over the Prom King. Got pretty ugly, I'd say.

Nick: Can't wait to meet her family. Have we brought in the Prom King yet?

Hank: Nope. I figured we'd get to him after we checked out Supermom and her dysfunctional cheerleaders.

Nick: What else do we know about our perp?

Hank: Straight-A student; quiet, not much of a socializer. Held back in school a year---can't figure that one out. She's apparently very bright. 

Nick: And the Prom King?

Hank: Andrew Rocklin

Nick: Rocklin. Rocklin? Like Rocklin Estates, Rocklin?  

Hank: That would be correct.

Nick: Nice. Ultrarich boy dates dumpster-diver. Okay, well, let's go meet Miss Genessa.

I know you're just dying to hear the rest of the story. That's one cool thing about Grimm's plotlines. They have threads of the original fairytale, but you know the episode always has a different twist.