The Doctor

May 15, 2012 by

I hesitate even to mention this, it’s such a cult thing, but I’m a Doctor Who fan. My doctor is and will always be Tom Baker. I like the new ones well enough, though.

Recently I caught up with Season 6 of Doctor Who, the first one filmed in the US. I had some things to nitpick about it. I didn’t think some plot points worked out logically and some of the emotions were completely insane. On the other hand some of the science and time-space continuum stuff was way above my pay grade.

In short, I loved it. The season stayed true to the sort of homemade, campy aesthetic of the original but was more complex and somewhat more polished, as befits this new age of the Doctor. A smashingly good episode penned by Neil Gaiman doesn’t hurt one bit, either. If you’re a fan, though, you probably already know this.

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The Killing

May 15, 2012 by

Have you watched The Killing? It was one of AMC’s quiet powerhouse shows last year sometime and I missed it. It looked just like everything else. I think I wound up watching The Glades instead. Totally different.

Recently I read up on The Killing and found that it stars a Broadway baby, Mireille Enos. I’ve seen her in a couple of brilliant performances on stage so I was interested in this. It’s very dark, both in subject matter and in look. Since it’s about a murder in Seattle that’s to be expected, I suppose. I find that the whole show gets bogged down in an extremely earnest, rainy day pace every couple of episodes. If you can wait that out, though, it’s good intrigue and beautifully nuanced work by Enos.

First season on Netflix Streaming. Second season in progress on AMC now.

24 +

May 15, 2012 by

As a Capricorn I like to see things in order and in their entirety. Way back in the wayback machine when 24 was first aired I watched it. I must have gotten through a little over 2 seasons before schedules became tangled and I quit. For no particular reason I decided I should watch the whole thing from beginning to end again. Netflix Instant Viewing made access easy. That’s 8 seasons of 24 episodes each of disaster and mayhem. You know what? It wasn’t bad at all. After a while you get kind of blase about the entire United States blowing up and the president/first lady/chief of staff/head of national security being corrupt but the folks behind 24 just keep shelling you with excitement and top notch guest stars so you don’t touch that dial. Amazingly Kiefer Sutherland never phones in a moment of radiation exposure, helicopter piloting, or damsel undistressing in all those many episodes. He’s a credit to the job. It’s not art, that’s for sure, but it made for fine convalescent viewing this winter.

Now that I’ve said all that nice stuff I will also say this, according to the powers that be on 24 the most dangerous weapon anyone can wield is a vagina.

Wilde About Stephen Fry

May 15, 2012 by

Wilde sat on my shelf for a week or so while I got in the right mood to learn about Oscar Wilde. I shouldn’t have waited! I’m not a Wilde scholar so I can’t  speak to the accuracy of the portrayal but I can say that the entire movie was a delight. If you’ve ever thought you ought to know more than you do about this iconic writer I think this movie is a fabulous place to start. Make sure you watch the bonus featurettes so you can bask in the warm glow of Stephen Fry’s endless knowledge and grace.

With what little I knew of Wilde I had him pegged as sort of the first gay rights activist. Now I’m pretty sure that’s entirely untrue. A man who sticks more closely to his principles, though, one might never hope to meet. All that and he wrote one hell of a play when he put his mind to it, too. Add to this rousing performances by Jennifer Ehle, Jude Law, and Michael Sheen as Wilde’s wife, lover, and boon companion respectively and you’ll have plenty of fat to chew on.

May 15, 2012 by

The Secret Agent only made it into my queue because I was on a Christian Bale binge. Eventually, no matter how much one adores the actor in question, these binges get you poisoned. Fortunately the Secret Agent wasn’t a terrible stomach turner. It’s just a boring period drama where Bob Hoskins uses a simple-minded Bale to further his political agenda. I can neither tell you what the mystery was nor how it was solved. That should tell you everything you need to know.

The Across Universe

May 15, 2012 by

If I’m going to be perfectly honest I have to say that Across the Universe probably would have sat better with me, it certainly would have made more sense, if I’d seen it all the way through from beginning to end in one go. As it was, the DVD was scratched and froze. I cleaned it, restarted it, and assumed I’d only missed out a minute or so of action. Turns out I’d missed the entire middle hour and most of the salient plot points.

It’s a beautiful movie, that’s why you see Julie Taymor movies. It’s not for the plot or the deep and meaningfuls and it’s absolutely not if you have a vision in your head you need matched. This is a beautiful film and I was reminded about a whole lot of songs I hadn’t thought of in a while because I am a lazy listener. I found the plot perfectly adequate.

All of which is why I can see how it might have been deeply disappointing to Beatles lovers across the, well, universe.

Terminator Spare Me

May 15, 2012 by

 

I’ve said before that I’m a long time fan of the Terminator franchise. While Terminator Salvation wasn’t as forgettable as Rise of the Machines it wasn’t nearly as good as it ought to have been. Christian Bale, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anton Yelchin to name a few are peppering the screen with their good work but the lackluster, meandering plot makes this a load of scrap metal that’s too hard to carry.

The Notorious Bettie Page

May 15, 2012 by

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I think I started my last run of reviews with something about Bettie Page. It’s nice to be consistent, no?

The Notorious Bettie Page is a short HBO biopic starring Gretchen Mol. Keep your eyes peeled for appearances by Lili Taylor, Sarah Paulson, and John Cullum. Though I’m biased toward fictional accounts anyway I think I can objectively say that this is far better than the documentary I watched earlier. That said, it’s nothing special, but if you’re interested in the history of erotic imagery then this is a palatable way to get your glimpse of one of the country’s best known pin up girls.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

May 7, 2012 by

As a devoted fan of the franchise I’d like to ask, “Who the fuck is responsible for this travesty?” Banishment from the film industry would be too good for them.

The Brothers Bloom

May 7, 2012 by

I actually expected to hate The Brothers Bloom. Not sure why I kept it in the queue and wound up watching it but I’m glad I did. The concept was fantastical in a different way than I expected it to be. I like Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody but they can go over the edge and into places that don’t turn me on. Though the roles were bizarre and even charicaturish at times I found myself falling a little in love if not with the individuals then with their filial bond. It went on a little too long for me but in the end I’m glad I stuck to my list and saw it through.