Saturday, March 31, 2012

Red Carpet: London Premiere of Titanic 3D

Kate Winslet, looking predictably ravishing, joined her former director James Cameron as well as former co-stars like Billy Zane and Francis Fisher on the red carpet for the London premiere of Titanic 3D at the Robert Albert Hall a few days ago. The billion-dollar grossing film will hit 3D theaters stateside next week.

Also making an appearance on the red carpet is none other than recently announced brand new Doctor Who companion Jenna-Louise Coleman. Her hot companion of course is Richard Madden who plays Robb Stark in HBO's Game of Thrones which has its second season premiere tomorrow night. All I can say is, they do make one handsome pair for geeks of all gender and orientation to obsess over.

A few more red carpet pictures after the jump...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Looking Forward To...

Release: March 30, 2012
Distributor: Weinstein Company
Directors: Lee Hirsch and Alicia Dwyer

This film is being released as Unrated, because the draconian MPAA slapped it with an R-rating and the Weinstein Company refused to alter the film in any way to cater to the MPAA's inane and increasingly outdated classification system. But Canadians get it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Box Office: Spectacular Opening for Hunger Games

BOOM! What was that? Oh that was a canon to signify how much The Hunger Games slayed the box office this past weekend. How much exactly? Well, it made $152.5 million, good for third place behind the final Harry Potter film ($169.2 million) and The Dark Knight ($158.4). While that is impressive enough, it also became the highest debut ever for a non-sequel besting last year's Alice in Wonderland by a lot. The Hunger Games is also the only non-sequel in the top 10 list of all-time openings (and only one of five in the top 25).

As part of its mega-blockbuster weekend take, it broke a couple more records for non-sequels taking in nearly $20 million for its midnight showing and $67.3 million for its opening day. The latter tally was only $100K above The Dark Knight's opening day. Suffice it to say, it was also Lionsgate's top grosser of all time already beating Fahrenheit 9/11 ($119.2 million) in just its first three days. Internationally, the film wasn't as big netting only $59.3 million in a handful of territories. Its worldwide take of $211.8 million is good for 21st place. For our part, my friends and I shelled out $70 on its opening day and may just see the film again down the line.

As I predicted last week, it was a great weekend for Josh Hutcherson who has two films book-ending the top 10 with Journey 2 getting tenth place and just shy of the $100 million milestone. Last week's boy wonder Canning Tatum saw his film fall to 2nd place this week raking in $20.4 million for a total tally of $70.2 million. This year's top grossing film (at least for a couple more days), The Lorax fell to third with a total gross of $177.4 million. Domestic bomb John Carter stalled in 4th place dipping 63% from last weekend so far recouping just 1/4th of its reported budget. Finally, little-known abortion film October Baby debut in the top 10 in limited theaters while the Indonesian film The Raid: Redemption notched the second best per theater average out of all films with its solid $214K gross in just 14 theaters.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

TV Report: Week of 3/18

So everyone is watching the season premiere of Mad Men right now right? If not, why aren't you? In any case, another busy Sunday night of TV and so yet another TV report from moi...

Walking Dead Finale

It's been an interesting season in that nothing much happened. Part of this is because they were pretty much stuck on the farm all season give or take a trip to the woods to find a missing girl or to town for some zombie action. They had a great opportunity to delve into the characters though and they did do this to some, but not all. With that said, the finale was mostly action oriented especially the first half as a horde of zombies invaded the farm. It was refreshingly chaotic and insane (though the fact that they all can shoot like a pro was a bit hilarious). When they all got back together again and regrouped, I liked that the group seemed just a tad more desperate and beaten to the point that Rick basically turned into Shane in those last few minutes giving the character a much needed boost. They're all going to need it for whatever nightmare that awaits them next season. Is that a prison off in the distance? Also that hooded figure who saved Laurie? Best reveal ever.

Good Wife Knocks It Out Again

There were so many good things about last week's episode that I won't even talk about the dependably great back and forth scheming and manipulation between Alicia and Louis Canning. Diane taking charge of her love life was a highlight, but also her stand off with Alicia (and the rest of the firm) over Alicia's bonus. Alicia finding the courage to do this in the first place showed great development for the character. In addition, her brief, but affective scenes with Cary and Kalinda in the episode made my heart aflutter. First, it was lovely seeing Cary and Alicia in the same scene again just shooting the breeze. But of course Kalinda and Alicia resolving to somehow making their situation work made me a very happy boy. Earlier in the episode when Kalinda offered Alicia a beer, I screamed so loudly into the TV it was hilarious. Maybe soon.

Sitcoms Eschews Comedy for Heart

I'm not saying that How I Met Your Mother, Cougar Town, and Community weren't funny this week, but that wasn't the focus of them this week. The relationship between certain characters were more the focus like Ted and Robin navigating their even more complicated relationship on Mother to Troy and Abed's relationship getting tested in Community. In Cougar Town, everyone had to deal with Grayson having a daughter and the Travis/Laurie relationship hit a curious turning point. I don't need my comedies to be wall-to-wall laughs when they can deliver character moments such as these.

Good News, Bad News for Smash

Fans of this show got good news this week when the show was renewed for a second season. Of course good news didn't happen to the show's characters as the workshop for their musical were met with negative reviews. I'm more mixed on the show in general. I do love that Derek was particularly snarky, but not mean in the episode and getting to see and listen to the musical numbers again from earlier this season was a particularly good treat. And what can I say about the appearance of Bernadette fucking Peters as Ivy's mother? Brilliant. But all of that good is marred by a lot of bad like Karen's oh shucks dilemma of whether to pursue her "hot" music career or to stick with her job as a chorus player in the musical or Julia's lame story with Michael Swift or anything to do with her son who can't act. But nothing is lamer than Anjelica Huston yet again being wasted with Ellis, a hot bartender, and dealing with plumbing problems. Seriously? Seriously?

Fringe Is Back With A Little Love Story

Unlike Smash, this show is looking less likely to see another season renewal. There's still some hope, but the ratings this week were not good. With that said, it certainly was an emotional episode especially for Olivia who had to make the heartbreaking decision to keep the "new" memories she's getting of her old life with Peter versus her "old" memories. It's not that confusing when played out on TV! Her scene with Nina at the end there drove me to tears only for the final scene with her and Peter to make me smile. I'm just so happy they're both finally reunited though I'm sure there are plenty of complications remaining. For one, Peter's world being this world as revealed by the Observer doesn't exactly explain it all. And no, "love" is not an acceptable answer. What does this also mean regarding the other universe and their memories of Peter? How come Walter hasn't gotten his memories back like Olivia? And what about poor loveless Lincoln?

Miscellaneous Thoughts

A bit of a disappointing episode of Happy Endings this week that was only saved by its end tag with Jane and Brad being all gangsta... I forget what happened on Once Upon a Time this week because the beginning with Red turning into a wolf was just so kick-ass... Touch had its second episode and I'm not sure it's exactly for me but I'll give it a couple more episodes... Awake continues to do good job despite no one watching... I quite liked Dermot Mulroney in New Girl... And finally, I've just caught up on Shameless and now all I want to do is hug Fiona.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Scattered Thoughts on The Hunger Games

I don't know how to review or talk about The Hunger Games. There's too many variables at play. I read the books just last year and loved them even though with my admittedly terrible memory who knows if that actually means anything. It's also one of the films this year I was most anticipating especially with the cast they've assembled so there are those expectations as well. I think what's best is for me to do an old-fashioned bullet-point reaction list to anything and everything I can remember, positive, negative and everything in the between. I'm going to put these after the jump because there will obviously be spoilers, but if you just want to know if I think you should see the film then YES SEE THE FILM. Also read the book, but I am curious to see what those who haven't read the book thought about the film.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Companion for the Doctor

I've only been a Doctor Who fan since 2005 but in that time there have been three different actors playing the Doctor and amongst them they've had numerous companions to accompany them on their adventures. Those adventures will end for the most recent companions Amy and Rory Pond played by Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill (pictured above). They will return for a few episodes when the new season starts up sometime in the fall, but their story will end then, apparently in "heartbreaking" fashion. Sigh. Matt Smith will remain as the Doctor until the show's 50th Anniversary next year and perhaps even beyond, but he will have a new companion who will make her first appearance in this year's Christmas special as announced yesterday.

All that means is that fandom will have a good nine months to preemptively judge and/or obsess over her without seeing a second of her performance on Doctor Who. So, who is she? Well she's Jenna-Louise Coleman, a 25 year old British actress whose other credits include stints on Emmerdale and Waterloo Road. She's also in Julian Fellowes Titanic miniseries airing later this year so we'll all get a chance to see her on screen before she hops into the TARDIS. I'm actually not at all worried since I've pretty much loved every single actor who have been companion with Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman, Catherine Tate, along with Gillan and Darvill, having all done fantastic jobs. So I'm sure Coleman will fit right in. It helps that she seems totally adorable and excited about the part.

I do hope there's some sort of twist to her character though. A mid-20s white girl was probably the safest thing they could've done, but it's a proven formula for this long-running show, which is why I'm hoping the character details will be a bit more interesting. Already showrunner Steven Moffat says that how she will meet the Doctor "isn't your usual boy meets girl" and that it will be "one of the biggest mysteries the Time Lord ever encounters" which gives me a bit hope. Maybe she's an alien. Or another Time Lord. Or connected to him in some other crazy way. One of my favorite theories floating in the internet right now is that she's somehow been living in the TARDIS all this time. It's a stretch, but it's definitely a fun idea! Argh! Look at me obsessing already.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Looking Forward To...

The Hunger Games
Release: March 23, 2012
Distributor: Lionsgate
Director: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Toby Jones, Wes Bentley, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Amandla Stenberg, and Lenny Kravitz

The hawk was struck...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.

In honor of Matthew Broderick's birthday, I got to watch Ladyhawke last night for this "Best Shot" series which oddly enough only marks the third live-action film I've seen of Broderick's. In any case, this particular fantasy film felt a bit dated with its trippy transformation sequences and its notorious pop rock operatic score. Many people gives its score grief and rightly so, but as distracting and off-putting as it may be, I still applaud the filmmakers for thinking outside the box. In fact, it all reminded me a bit of the great score of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera which, perhaps not too coincidentally, came out right around the same time.

If you think about it a bit more, with its Italian set pieces and tragic love story of a man and a women forever entwined but never being together, Ladyhawke really does recall some sort of majestic opera complete with a curse, a wolf hunter, and of course a prima donna. That latter honor goes to the glorious Michelle Pfeiffer who we first see as a mysterious figure cloaked in black. Broderick's character, Phillipe Gaston, makes sure to remember and note that her voice was "the dulcet tones of an angel." For me, imagining the movie as an opera helped to make some of its more dated elements feel okay in retrospect.

The shot above is probably my second favorite shot in the film. It just looks like a painting and all of the brown tones and textures highlighted are so pleasing to the eye, not to mention Pfeiffer's beauty itself. My favorite shot of the film comes a bit before the aforementioned scene. It's at a pivotal point where Phillipe is just connecting the dots regarding this mysterious woman upon discovering her naked... in bed... with an arrow piercing her shoulders:

This shot, which also showcases the lovely vulnerability and captivating beauty of Pfeiffer, is just so luscious with all of the fur surrounding her and yet she's looking straight at him as if to say SO WHAT? Of course she does look away a bit just as Philippe asks her, in one of the film's greatest scene, if she's flesh or if she's spirit. She looks at him, though not as directly, and replies as only a diva can "I am sorrow."

Birthday Boy: Matthew Broderick

Today is Matthew Broderick's 50th birthday which is frankly ridiculous since I still picture him as that young troublemaker who took a day off from school to hang out with his friends. And though that film celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, it's still so very much part of the public's consciousness as evident by Broderick himself spoofing the film in a car commercial at this year's Superbowl.

Other than Ferris Bueller's Day Off, I've only seen two of his films, Ladyhawke (which I just saw last night) and Election where he co-starred with two winsome blondes Michelle Pfeiffer and Reese Witherspoon respectively. Of course, he also did voice work on The Lion King. He also has done quite a few things on Broadway and is married to none other than Sarah Jessica Parker. But it really is quite intriguing how little I've seen of his work and yet think of him fondly as an actor because of that one iconic role he did forever ago. Life moves pretty fast...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Newsweek Goes Back in Time

Put this under things that are quite nifty. In honor of the return of Mad Men, Newsweek has transformed its magazine to exact 1965 design from the cover above to the ads retrofitted inside. Again... nifty. But really I'm just glad to have the show back. It's been way too long.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tatum Rules Box Office Week Before Hunger Games

Call it the calm before The Hunger Games storm with Channing Tatum bookending the top 12 films in the box office this weekend. Tatum teamed up with recent Oscar nominee Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street which topped the weekend with a bigger than expected $36.3 million haul. It also surprised with the critics garnering over 85% at Rotten Tomatoes. It unseated Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, twice the weekend box office champ, which takes the #2 spot with a cumulative $158.4 million in the bank already. As I said, Tatum was in demand with The Vow in 12th place with over $121 million earned in six weeks of release. As an actor, I don't understand at all his appeal, but its heartening to see a critical hit top the box office after the past couple of weeks with nothing but rotten films.

Maybe actor Josh Hutcherson can repeat Tatum's success and have two films in the top 12 next weekend. His much anticipated film The Hunger Games (also starring Jennifer Lawrence) is tracking well everywhere including with the critics and is guaranteed a mega blockbuster opening good for the top spot. His other film Journey 2 currently stands at #8 in its 6th week of release. On the opposite end of the success spectrum though is the box office flop of last weekend, John Carter, which didn't save face this weekend falling more than 50% and earning just $53.2 million against its $250 million budget.

Azarenka & Federer Win at Indian Wells

Through sickness and streaks, two of the hottest players in tennis right now continued their excellent 2012 by winning the first Masters title of the year in Indian Wells. One has been solidifying her reign as the top woman player in the world while the other has been providing the old adage that age really is just a number.

Victoria Azarenka
and Roger Federer both won their 4th and 3rd title of the year respectively at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells this weekend. Both were unsure coming into the tournament afflicted with viruses that seemed to have impacted many players these past few days, but they powered through and recovered just in time. For Azarenka, she withdrew from doubles and had a difficult time putting away her second round opponent only to dominate the rest of the tournament included routing Maria Sharapova for the fourth straight time in a final. Their final match-up, other than being a re-match of this year's Australian Open final, was also special in that it was a rare battle between the WTA's no. 1 and no. 2. Win the win, Azarenka extends her amazing unbeaten streak this year to 23-0. Up next for her and most of the other players is Miami where she is the defending champion. Sharapova, who had another solid showing especially taking out a resurgent Ana Ivanovic, will hope to avenge her loss there. It won't be easy though as Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams, and Venus Williams are all in the draw.

For Federer, he was clearly under the weather early in the tournament having to play from behind in his matches against up and comers Milos Raonic and Tomas Belluci. He found his mojo just in time in the quarters where he once again halted Juan Martin Del Potro's run (fourth time this year!). Amidst tricky weather conditions he then played a flawless match against his great rival Rafael Nadal to notch his 10th win over the Spaniard to make the finals where newly top ten ranked John Isner awaited him. The big and tall American kept his composure early on, but once Federer eked out the first set in a tight tiebreak, it was cruise control for the Swiss who ended up breaking Isner twice in the second set. This marks Federer's 73 title, a record fourth Indian Wells title. It also ties with Nadal with 19 Masters 1000 titles. It's also worth noting that in a span of less than 24 hours, Federer was able to avenge his only two losses this year (Australian Open SF to Nadal and Davis Cup to Isner). Finally, Federer now leads in ranking points accrued since the beginning of this year making his quest to retake the #1 ranking all the more reachable.

For his part, Nadal did lift a trophy this week when he won the Men's Doubles title with partner Mark Lopez. They beat Isner and Sam Querrey. Isner, who sufficed to say had a phenomenal tournament, had the unenviable task of playing Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal in a span of 24 hours. Top ranked Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond won the Women's Doubles title.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

TV Report Catch Up: Thursday and Miscellaneous

After this, I should be all caught up on my regular shows that I blog about. It helps greatly that I only really have to talk about one day (Thursday) since Friday has been empty of late without Fringe.

- The darkest timeline is over now that the show is back! I actually saw this first episode a couple of weeks ago at an advance screening with other fans and I loved it the second time around. It was a "weird" episode in that it was a rare "normal" episode with a pretty straightforward plot of Shirley getting remarried. Of course since this is Community, there was the meta subplot of Troy and Abed trying to be "normal" to hilarious results. My favorite part of the episode though is Britta's magic skills with wedding planning. All in all, great episode to begin the second half of the season. Six seasons and a movie!

30 Rock - I'm not one of those who has been a huge fan of this show for the past few seasons, but I do still recognize that it's having a sort of upswing. I especially like what they've done with Kenneth bringing him out of the page program and making him be in charge of Standards and Practices. Liz's relationship with Criss has also been a bright spot this season as well as anything involving Jane Krakowski (more notably her storyline w/ her kids). It's probably still one of the sitcoms I watch that I least look forward to week in and week out, but that's more due to the surplus of great comedies on air right now and less about this show's quality.

Parks and Recreation - While it hasn't been flawless as it has been for the past two seasons, this show still has a lot going for it. While it may be slightly frustrating to see Leslie's campaign in trouble adding Kathryn Hahn as the savvy D.C. campaign manager they have to fight against gives this plot arc good energy. Chris' loneliness and patheticness since breaking up with Jerry's daughter has been the best thing for Rob Lowe since Chris got sick with the flu. And April stepping up in the department AND taking a somewhat friendly role with Chris are wonderful developments. All of this and Ben-Leslie are still too adorable for words together. Can't hardly bear to wait until April for the next new episode!

The Office - Catherine Tate is great and she has her moments on this show, but either the show isn't giving her better material or they can't. I admit that I watch this show more out of habit than anything, but I'm not 100% the whole Florida arc worked. Coupled with a few forgettable Scranton stories and the latest update on the Andy/Erin saga and there's not much to write about.

Big Bang Theory - The women are taking over the show! But what abour the boys? That was pretty much what the only episode that has aired the past few weeks was about as Sheldon and co. wanted to have a simple game night only for Amy and/or Bernadette to encroach on said plans. On the one hand, it's pretty meta for the show to do this as the women HAVE taken over the show and it is becoming rarer for just the guys to hang out. On the other hand, I've found the change a refreshing one though more in me loving the girls more than the guys more often than not. One hopes the show will do a better job balancing both genders in time AND quality moving forward.

- My thoughts on the pilot are here, but the next two episodes confirmed my love for the show. My least favorite part of the pilot aka the procedural part is still the weak link for me, but it's used well in the next couple of episodes especially the latter with his son in imminent danger. The most effective AND affective parts of the show for me is still Britten juggling his feelings towards his wife and son. The three of them do a sincerely heartbreaking job week in and week out providing the emotional core this show needs. Extra kudos goes out to the son character since it's rare to have a teenage boy character so deftly acted and written on TV nowadays. Finally, the end of the second episode hinting at a bigger conspiracy is expectantly polarizing. I'm honestly good just going along for the ride not thinking about which world is real or if Britten is in a coma.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

There seems to be a lot more teams I'm rooting against than for on this season of Amazing Race... The finale of The Walking Dead is tonight and I'm still not really sure what my thoughts are regarding this season... Being Human UK went thought so many changes this year and while there's must to praise, there's also much to quibble about... Everyone should be watching Shameless because Emmy Rossum, Louise Fletcher, Joan Cusack, and most of the cast are doing crazy good work... I'm ridiculously excited for the return of Mad Men and Game of Thrones, aren't you?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with the MacManus brothers! On a second thought, maybe not...

And shepherds we shall be. For thee, my Lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand that our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee and teeming with souls shall it ever be. E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

TV Report Catch Up: Tuesday and Wednesday

Sitcoms and twisty drama about super rich people. That's what Tuesdays and Wednesdays are all about or at least that's what I discovered when writing up my thoughts on the shows I watch on those days. Without further a due, as I reach closer and closer to catching up...

Cougar Town - Suffice it to say, I'm so very happy to have this cul-de-sac crew back and as silly as ever. But one of my favorite things about this show is how they've learned to balance the heart with the wackiness. Jules reacting to Travis' accident, Andy expressing his need to be king of the cul-de-sac, and Bobby's need for companionship were all handled deftly and sincerely. Of course we get an episode full of Scrubs shout outs including numerous former cast members of that show, dominance ball, Tom Cruise running gag, and way too many more to list.

New Girl - This show has gotten much better since those early days. The cast just seem to be gelling much better now and thus becoming more of an ensemble rather than the Zooey Deschanel show. Schmidt in particular, who I had mixed feelings with early on, is becoming my favorite especially with the latest episode doing a good job highlighting his various neuroses while still making his friendships with the others believable. They do need to do more with Winston.

Ringer - It's not a good sign that I don't really have much to say. Don't get me wrong, a lot has actually happened on this show. The blackmail storyline came to a head, Tyler was killed, and a whole bunch of people are actually learning some secrets. I'm just not rooting for anyone. Siobhan and Andrew are shady, Bridgette and Henry are clueless, and the rest are meh.

Suburgatory - I still like George and Tessa, but this show is increasingly becoming the Dalia and Dallas show for me. As mother-daughter they don't even have that many scenes together, but any scene they're in is usually a highlight. The rest of the show is just as solid.

Modern Family - Two episodes, two reactions. The Leap Day episode was not good. It was Cam at his paranoid worst not to mention that doing an episode that revolves around's women's cycles is very tricky to pull off and I don't think this show did that. The last new episode was MUCH better exploring Cam's clown past, Phil duking it out with Ellen Barkin, and Manny "winning" for once. Also I think Luke Dunphy is my favorite character.

Happy Endings - This show is on fire. Dave appears in everyone's sex dream, Jane and Alex mindfucks Dave and Brad, and Penny's 31st birthday is a hot mess. The latter was probably the show's best episode making me immediately call it "practically perfect" on twitter after I saw it. Like many sitcoms, there's just way too m any gags per episode for me to mention all of my favorites, but it definitely has a higher gag per second ratio than most. I hope they keep this up!

Revenge - Only one episode aired since I last posted and the next new one won't even air until mid-April! With that said, it was the episode after the big episode that revisited the pilot which meant it felt like a regrouping of sorts. We got to see what actually happened on the beach and who shot Tyler (Daniel but Takeda delivered the fatal shots). Emily, Nolan, and Victoria are fan favorites and they continue to be but I give props to this show for making a few meh characters stand out in this episode. For example, Ashley's maneuvering to become the Grayson's spokesperson, Daniel's maybe/maybe not memory loss regarding Tylers' confession, Charlotte's yearning to learn about her past, and Declan finally thinking about someone other than himself (i.e. his brother who was at the beach). Good stuff.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

TV Report Catch Up: Sunday and Monday

In an effort to actually write and catch up on TV, I'm going to divide the shows by days and talk about my thoughts on them the past few weeks I haven't blogged about them. Up first are my Sunday and Monday TV shows...

The Good Wife - I've been really impressed how they handled Will not working at the firm anymore mostly because it enables us to see him outside the office. His sisters have been a hoot especially when they suspected Kalinda to be his girlfriend. This storyline also affected the office politics in the office in predictable (like Eli, David Lee, and Julius) jockeying to replace Will) and unpredictable ways (Alicia losing her mentor/support system). The latter comes at a time when Alicia thought she needed it the most because of Caitlin only for Caitlin to be revealed as straightforward, smart, and sweet as she's been presented. Her quitting makes me sad not only because I love Anna Camp, but the character really was a breath of fresh air. Didn't even mention the always fabulous guest stars this show has like Donna Brazile, Mamie Gummer, Dylan Baker, Morena Baccarin, Bebe Neuwirth, and Kate Burton. Finally, I'm intrigued at this race/ethical stuff they're doing with Cary and Peter.

Once Upon A Time - This show should just always take place in the fairytale world since most of the character seem to be drawn a bit more fully there. Relatedly, I'm getting a bit tired of the whole Mary Margaret/David/Kathryn thing which is why I'm actually glad that for the last two episodes the focus was on two fringe characters: Grumpy and Red Riding Hood. I've been waiting for their fairy tale back stories and neither of them disappointed. Grumpy's relationship with a fairy aptly played by Amy Acker was sweet and of course ultimately heartbreaking while Red's stories surprised me with its twists and turns. Having her be the wolf was inspired and seeing Granny so intense was great.

GCB - I already posted my thoughts on the pilot episode here and I don't have much to say about the second. It's a show I can easily see myself dropping as early as next week, but it's so far campy enough to hold my attention. Annie Potts continues to be my favorite actor/character in the show while Leslie Bibb and Kristin Chenoweth do what they can though singing Jesus Takes the Wheel at church was probably a bit too much... even for this show.

Smash - The thing about this show is that I will love it or learn to love it even if it kills me, because even if there are problems, and there are a few, I still think it's a show that should be on the air. My love for New York City and Broadway musicals and the majority of the cast is making it easy to accept most of the flaws, but one would hope they fix them sooner rather than later. For example, Debra Messing is a wonderful actress and when she's freaking out about completing her book, she's fabulous. Her adoption drama, anything involving her terrible son, and her whatever relationship with Michael are all too bad for her. Karen and Ivy's rivalry could be a lot more compelling if I was actively rooting for Karen which I'm still not even though they're doing a good (or is it bad?) job at turning Ivy into a hot diva mess. Anjelica Huston is mostly wasted and is now saddled with the dreadful Ellis. Also, please no more bar mitzvahs! With that said, I'm still in love with the original Marilyn music and Jack Davenport's Derek. Also, I've realized Christian Borle as Tom is the most improved for me since the pilot to the point where he might be becoming my favorite main character.

How I Met Your Mother - The last and only new episode was three weeks ago, but it was a pretty big one signaling big changes to the show when it returns. The biggest change looks to be Ted moving out of his NYC apartment and possibly moving into his house in Westchester (where he will raise his future kids). That reveal was shocking and refreshing and not just because yellow umbrellas were involved. Hopefully it also means a bit less of Marshall and Lily in Lond Island since Ted gave them his apartment. As for Robin and Barney, well that'll be on hold of course since Barney is now into Quinn. Barney getting played by Quinn in the strip club was a bit boring, but I do like Becki Newton I'm hoping there's more to this story. Or not... Barney and Robin forever!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Walt Disney Biopic that Never Was

Two thoughts crossed my mind when I saw this poster over the weekend. The first is that I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of this film since it sounds pretty great. The second is that Ryan Gosling might actually get his second Oscar nomination and first win since the Academy is all about biopic performances. Sadly this magnificent poster is for a movie that doesn't exist. It was imagined by a French graphic designer Pascal Witaszek and as of now there's been no reports as to why he just randomly came up with this.

With that said, I would still like to profess my love for the non-existent film and poster. The choice to cast Ryan Gosling as Walt Disney is unusual and yet oddly perfect while I can see Ron Howard do a solid job at this. As for the poster, the look is appropriately whimsical and the colors chosen well. The tag line "Of A Mouse and A Man" is tongue-in-cheek, but also an instant classic. And the Mickey Mouse cloud design in the background is a slight and wonderful touch. So basically I'm hoping that Witaszek is a secret bajillionaire who own the rights to Disney's life story and has the money and clout to make this happen. Maybe if I wish upon a star... really, really hard?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pilot Thoughts: GCB

I've been quite remiss about my weekly TV reports lately. I'll probably do a quick catch up post tonight, but if I don't get to I at least wanted to get my thoughts down on last week's GCB's pilot episode.

A couple of weeks ago I said that Good Christian Bitches Good Christian Belles GCB looked to be a mash-up of Suburgatory, Hart of Dixie and Desperate Housewives and after seeing the pilot I discovered that in all of its soapy campy glory I was pretty spot on. Like the first two shows, the main character, here played by Leslie Bibb, is forced to move into a world unlike what they've been used to (the classic fish out of water trope). In GCB, however, she is moving back to a place she knows all too well, the rich Dallas neighborhood where she grew up. Cue the stereotypes--big hair, big guns, big gossip, big churches--which all get their proper treatment in the pilot lest you forget. The Desperate Housewives element of the show come from the dishy ladies that make up the ensemble. From Annie Potts as Bibb's mother to Kristin Chenoweth as the ringleader to the neighborhood women hellbent on making Bibb's character life as hellish as she made their lives in high school.

Now it's a good time to say that I "liked" the pilot. Was it over-the-top and completely ridiculous at times? YES. But I like the fact that the show is completely aware of this. I mean you don't make the first scene of your show a man driving off a cliff because he was getting a blowjob and not be at least somewhat self-aware of your silliness. Did many of the characters seem too one-dimensional (a few of the ladies) or even completely dull (most of the male characters)? ABSOLUTELY. But there's only so much a pilot can do and I will be the first to dump the show if it doesn't make some of these characters as rounded as Pott's character was. But for now, I had fun with it. The next couple of episodes will be key. I'll give it the same latitude I gave Pan Am which had a bit more going for it initially than anyone remembers now. B-/C+

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Turns 15

Can you believe it's been 15 years since Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenberg, Xander Harris, Rupert Giles, and Cordelia Chase first graced our small screens? Well, believe it. On March 10th 1997, Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired its first two episodes "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest" about a young high school girl facing her destiny as the Chosen One to slay vampires in the small California town of Sunnydale. And the rest, aka being my favorite TV show of all time, is history.

"The Earth is doomed."

Friday, March 9, 2012

Eye Candy: Ramin Karimloo & Jan Cornet

Less than 24 hours ago I knew nothing about these two men, but here I am now ogling them and trying to find other stuff they have done.

The first is Ramin Karimloo, an Iranian-born Canadian actor who has performed such iconic stage roles as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables and the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera. It was his performance as the Phantom in the 25th Anniversary production of The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall which I caught on TV recently. He also originated the role of the Phantom in its sequel Love Never Dies.

The second is Jan Cornet, a Spanish actor who recently won the Goya Award of Best New Actor for his part in the critically acclaimed Pedro Almodovar film The Skin I Live In. That was the film I saw him in last night and he just blew me away playing such a complicated character. As evident by his award, he hasn't appeared in much of anything mostly appearances in Spanish short films and TV series.

One more eye candy shot of each after the jump...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Looking Forward To...

So there's a movie coming out this weekend that stars Taylor Kitsch who wowed critics in Friday Night Lights. The rest of the cast is even better--from former Oscar nominees like Samantha Morton, Willem Dafoe, and Thomas Haden Church to some of TV's best actors like Bryan Cranston, Polly Walker, Ciaran Hinds, and James Purefoy. Director-writer Andrew Stanton (aka the man responsible for Wall-E and Finding Nemo) is helming the film along with two co-writers whose credits include the amazing Spider-Man 2 and the upcoming Pixar film Brave. If that wasn't enough the film's music is composed by Oscar-winner Michael Giacchino who has given us beautiful scores from Lost to Up.

That film is... John Carter. Oh.

God, even its poster above looks amazingly brilliant doesn't it? So what went wrong? Why is NO ONE excited about this film at all? In fact it seems like most are absolutely dreading it. At the moment it's barely fresh on Rotten Tomatoes at 60% and will probably trend downwards as more reviews start to come in. If this does crash and burn with audiences (since it's pretty much DOA with the critics it seems) that's just too bad since I like most of the names I mentioned above. With that said, it hasn't happened yet. It could still surprise and take one of the top spots at this weekend's box office. Its only competition seem to be Dr. Seuss' The Lorax which surprised this past weekend with its $70+ million take. If that didn't make you shake your head, maybe this will. The entire top 10 comprised of films that were rated rotten:

Ouch! It's worth to note that Best Picture champ The Artist (at 97%) was ranked #11 for the weekend. Now there are two films I am actually looking forward to (well sorta) that's also coming out this weekend and thankfully they both are getting okay-ish reviews. Since they're coming out in limited theaters, I'd be shocked if either one cracks the top 20 at the box office charts.

Friends with Kids stars Jennifer Westfeldt (she wrote and directed the film as well) and Adam Scott as two friends who agree to have kids while remaining unattached to each other. I'm guessing this movie's selling point is less its story and more its cast which also includes modern day brat packers Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Chris O'Dowd. The other film, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, is about... well salmon fishing in the Yemen. Written by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) and starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, and Kristin Scott Thomas, it looks like a romantic film masquering itself as a human interest film. Like the first film, the cast is the selling point for me, but similarly I'm just not sure that's enough for me. We'll see.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tennis Update: Federer Keeps Winning

It's been a little over a month since I talked about anything tennis related, which is usually par for the course since things start to quiet down right after the Australian Open. We're just a few days away from the next couple of big tournaments, Indian Wells and Miami, but of course other tournaments have been won and lost in the interim. A few players who have done well this stretch include the unbeaten Victoria Azarenka, David Ferrer, Juan Martin Del Potro, and Agnieszka Radwanska. And then of course there's Roger Federer.

Winning the big tournaments aka the Grand Slams will get progressively difficult for the 16-time champion, but Federer these past few months since his lost at the US Open to Novak Djokovic has shown that anyone counting him out would be very foolish. Consider that after that game against Djokovic, where he was a point away from winning, Federer seemingly brushed it all off and went on a 17-0 undefeated run winning three titles, including the year-end championships. This year he lost in the semifinals of the Australian Open to Rafael Nadal and suffered a shock first round loss in Davis Cup to American John Isner, but has since won 10 straight matches grabbing two titles in Rotterdam and Dubai defeating top players Del Potro and Andy Murray in the finals. In other words, since turning 30 (August 8th, 2011), Federer has notched an impressive 41-5 match record winning his last 5 finals! Out of the top four, Federer has acquired more ranking points since the US Open.

In his latest match in Dubai, he claimed his 72nd title overall and 2nd of the year on his 102nd career final. It was also his 50th hard court title, a record. He also equaled Pete Sampras' record of 12 ATP 500 tournament titles. Finally, with this win, he has officially won at least two ATP titles for 11 years in a row. What all of this means to those bigger tournaments against Djokovic and/or Nadal, is a whole other set of questions. But it's clear that Federer is not done playing. In fact he is in New York City RIGHT NOW playing an exhibition match with Andy Roddick along with Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pilot Thoughts: Awake

Suffice it to say, I had very high expectations for Awake. It was my favorite trailer from the network upfronts during this past summer and increasingly became my most anticipated new show for this new season. It didn't help that the network kept pushing its premiere date back. All that did is increase my need to see the damn thing. They finally made it available online a few weeks ago and let's just say it was awesome.

If you don't know by now, here's a quick primer on the show. It stars Jason Isaacs as a detective who gets into a car crash one night with his wife and son. Since then, he lives in two realities in which in one his wife died and in the other it was his son. When he falls asleep in one reality, he wakes up in the other. Let's stop right there. That concept alone is worth anyone's time. It's just so ambitious for network TV and while ambitious can also result into a hot mess, I was heartened to see that at least for the pilot this idea was executed perfectly.

My favorite parts of the pilot is Isaacs' character jostling with his pair of psychiatrists (one for each reality of course) played wonderfully by BD Wong and Cherry Jones. The different counseling styles they use on him is fun to see especially for a former Psychology major as myself. It's also the best place for Isaacs' character to literally talk out whatever this amazing thing that is happening to him. His quest for an answer, a truth, an explanation, and a tangible reality is wonderful to see. The anger, sadness, frustration, and finally determination he displays in these sessions give the pilot its heart and I do hope this part of the show is expanded somehow even though I feel they'll be pushed aside for the one problematic part of the pilot for me and that was the procedural elements. I know that the procedural parts of this show is needed especially if it has any hopes of continuing on as a show, but they need to make them more compelling, or at least as affective, as the other parts. The way his cases interact with each other, sharing vague elements as a sort of hint, is intriguing, but can get old pretty quickly.

With that said, if the therapy sessions were the heart, then the procedural parts were the bones. His relationship with his son and his wife is everything else. I'm looking forward more to how his relationship with one will affect the other. Already his wife resents him for not being able to let go, though her final words to him before he fell asleep to see his son in his "dream" made me tear up: "Tell him I love him." And really, that pretty much sealed the deal for me. Poignant and heartbreaking. This show is just too good. A-