Sunday, November 1, 2009

President Logan Is Back: A Reason to Watch "24" Again!

According to Michael Ausiello, King of the Scoop, the fantabulous Gregory Itzin is coming back as (ex) President Logan on 24! Oh joyous day!

The first ever season of 24 I watched was season 5, where Logan/Itzin was featured prominently as the at first buffoonish, ultimately creepy-evil traitorous Commander-in-Chief. It was a Macbethian performance, perfectly pitched and one that bounced well off Jean Smart's unhinged Mrs. Logan. Overall the season was impeccable, and Itzin was the best. One of the greatest injustices in Emmy history is his loss in the 2006 Best Supporting Actor race (Seriously, why did Alan Alda have to get it? He'd won four previous times!).

Well, then season 6 came along, and it wasn't nearly as amazing. Deceased President David Palmer's younger brother, Wayne, was president, and a very wimpy one at that. The preposterousness of Jack's brother and father being evil masterminds, and Audrey's strange miming affectation were beyond what I'd come to accept from the series.

It's strange to think there's only been one season since then (Thanks, Writer's Strike!). I didn't get a chance because of London, and not this summer either.

With the news of the return of Logan, I am definitely watching 24 again this upcoming season. And I am sooo excited!

"Modern Family" Hilarity

Modern Family is a pretty great show, though I haven't quite been able to put my finger on what I like about it so much . I have only rarely laughed out loud during the episodes, but the combination of ridiculously true hilarity and sweet lessons learned is very well balanced.

However, this week the show produced many more genuine belly-laughs, in a variety of ways. First, I found this amazing music video for free on iTunes.

As a preface, watch this segment from the episode two weeks ago.

The reactions are the best part.

So, the free video on iTunes was this.

I was laughing/crying the whole first two times I watched this. Little video extras are what really make shows I like shows I love. The world of the show becomes incredibly vivid and real. And this week's episode of Modern Family was the most hilarious to date, at least to me. Best part: the following. Cameron: "It's not unlocked!!!! Oh, oh. That is amazing, how did they do that? Did it come from space?"

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pet Peeves: My Fickle, Fickle Self

In my Writing for Series TV class we have to write a spec script for one series, and I chose the addictive, hilarious, creepy HBO show True Blood. After cramming both seasons, I was as hooked as Amy and Jason are to V. And, in all honesty, the very attractive cast doesn't hurt the situation.

One of the shifts during the second season was baddie vampire Eric's (Alexander Skarsgard's) gradual and modest softening. He became much more interesting and attractive (because I'm a sucker for wounded tough guys, as evidenced by Sawyer).

Knowing the arc Skarsgard's character goes through, I thought when I went back to season 1 Eric would be really appealing. But watching it all over again, I did not like Eric. And I think this has something to do with it.

I have a major issue with guys and long hair. It's an instant turn off in my books. I couldn't even look at Hugh Jackman when he grew out his hair for Van Helsing, and to this day have never watched that movie. Sawyer's hair can get a little ridiculous at times, and is the limit of what I can accept on guys.

I know it's picky and fickle, but I just can't help it. All I can say is, thank goodness Pam had to cut Eric's locks.

Friday, October 30, 2009


A little more than a month ago, just before Hobbit/Lost Day I had a realization I've been avoiding since last season's finale — this next season is Lost's last. Ever. There will be no more.

I had some tears, I won't lie. Consequently this is a very, very strange time for Losties. It's the last time that the show is not on that there is still the joy of looking forward to it coming back for more, new, craziness, time jumping, character development, and hopefully more than a few answers.

What brings this to relevance now is an EW article that featured a trailer for the final season of Lost. The video featured on the site is ok, but this one is even better.

The beautiful music! The color inverted and off/sound intro! The symbolic meaning of seeing all the castaways getting on Oceanic flight 815 for the first time! The flashes of the future they have not experienced (or maybe the one they now will never experience?)! And that crazy NEW plane crash! WTF, WHY THE FACE?!?! That never happened before! What does it mean?! ARRRRGGHHHHH!!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things: Sara Ramirez

I really like Grey's Anatomy — it's a solid soap, and provides me with my cathartic tears for the week — but sometimes the show and the cast can seem a bit too serious. Take, for example, front picture of the cast on the show's Hulu homepage. Everyone looks so dour.

Well, I take that back. There is one person giving a huge, happy smile. Thanks, Sara Ramirez, for fully appreciating the stability of being on a hit show, having pretty good storylines and writing (at least so far this season), and the general hotness of the cast surrounding you.

Also, she was fab-u-lous in Monty Python's Spamalot. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Ithacan: "The Invention of Lying" Review

Ricky Gervais is a funny guy. I've really enjoyed his appearances presenting at the Emmys the past few years, this year (I totally did not notice his jacket was green when first watching the show — spiffy!) and last year. He's even hilarious going off the cuff with Elmo.

However, I didn't enjoy his latest film as much. It's not necessarily his fault in the acting department, but he could have done a better job as a writer.

Predictable comedy hinders film

Imagine a world without lies of any kind. People are always honest — at times brutally so. For those who subscribe to an “honesty is the best policy” point of view, a truthful world may sound ideal. However, such a straightforward existence also entails no fiction, so movies within this world merely consist of readers reciting history lessons, and there’s no deeper meaning behind a characters’ actions. Everything is exposed directly on the surface, which makes for amusing circumstances but no real emotional connections.

This world is exactly what is depicted in the new film “The Invention of Lying.” The premise is mildly entertaining, but the movie is unable to balance the amusing frankness of the characters and the deeper emotional resonance of protagonist Mark Bellison’s (Ricky Gervais) problem of being the first and only person capable of lying. Moments of humor and grief that strike true do not complement each other or add to the cohesive structure of the plot.

Gervais, the British comedian responsible for television favorite “The Office,” brings the best of his self-deprecating humor to the film as its co-director and co-writer. There are plenty of laughs, especially in the first half of the film, at the expense of Gervais’ “fat, snub-nosed” physique. Anna (Jennifer Garner), the object of Bellison’s affection, is particularly hilarious in her upbeat, earnest and cutting honesty toward Mark, by directly telling him he is not in her league.

There are a number of cameo appearances, from quirky television staples Tina Fey, as Mark’s disparaging secretary, and Jeffrey Tambor, as his diffident boss, to Academy Award nominees Philip Seymour Hoffman and Edward Norton as a clueless bartender and a skittish police officer, respectively. The actors clearly enjoy the opportunity to be callously honest in a role, and their joy is palpable.

In addition, there are some genuinely poignant moments. When Mark invents the idea of a happy eternity after death so his dying mother will not be afraid, Gervais gives a glimpse of his convincing emotional range. The moment in the film could be interpreted as an indictment of the artificiality of organized religion.

Despite the quality of the awkward interactions between the truth-tellers and Mark, as well as the emotional depth of Mark’s relationship with his mother, the overall story has several major problems. The most glaring issue is the lack of a proper backstory for the relationships of the film. Other than Anna’s attractiveness and sweetness, no reasons are given to explain why Mark is so enamored with her, nor is there an explanation of how the two met and ended up on a date together.

Similarly, throughout the film Mark confides in Greg (comedian Louis C.K.), who is assumed to be Mark’s good friend. However, the film never explains how or why they are so close — Mark simply walks into a bar disturbed by his newfound ability to lie and begins talking familiarly with Greg.

The climax of the film is rather anticlimactic and predictable, with Mark merely getting the courage to directly confront Anna about his feelings. Had Mark and Anna truly grown as characters, the film would be a much more solid piece overall.

Gervais and his writing and directing partner, Matthew Robinson, have a great deal to learn before moving from remotely successful comedies to unified and meaningful works of fiction.

“The Invention of Lying” was written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What the Frick?! "Heroes" Channels "Lost"...Again

When Heroes first came out in 2006, I refused to watch it, thinking it was just NBC's attempt at finding it's own Lost. The comic-book-like show had strange sci-fi circumstances, a large cast of complex characters dealing with extraordinary events surrounding them, and a serialized story of epic proportions — all things just like Lost. Some of my high school friends were into both show, but I couldn't. Lost takes most of my devotion.

Over the years, Lost had a few episodes here and there that were less than stellar, whereas Heroes has slid into a creative nadir. And that's not just my alligence to the other show talking. Numerous fans of the NBC once-juggernaut have said so themselves: see here, here, and here.

I've watched a few episodes recently, mostly because I am crushing on Zachary Quinto after the amazingness that was Star Trek (and he was holding a baby in a photo from an episode, so of course I had to watch it). But the most recent episode really got my goat when I saw it was entitled "Tabula Rasa." Um, excuse me, Heroes, that was the title of Lost's third episode — a Kate flashback. So please stop trying to be Lost. Thanks.

One note on Heroes' "Tabula Rasa" — love the purple plaid shirt on Quinto that exposes a bit of chest hair. Don't love the long hair on him.

Here's the good version of "Tabula Rasa."