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14 posts tagged Entertainment

What I’ve been watching this week

Top Honors

Rubicon - “Gone in the Teeth” & “First Day at School”: I gotta admit that AMC’s previews made this show look intriguing, but the first two episodes were way better than I would’ve imagined.  This is a very good show based on the small sample size.  It’s not for the mainstream sort of audiences that like a Jerry Bruckheimer type of pace.  It’s slower than that.  It’s about a character trying to find out the why of the conspiracy while we’re as much in the dark as he is.  You’ll see characters thinking and the building of tension.  It may not sound thrilling but, to me, it definitely is.  I’m looking forward to the next installment.

Honorable Mention

Mad Men - “Christmas Comes but Once a Year”: A very solid episode for my current favorite drama.  I get excited whenever there are office parties on Mad Men.  Someday my office will have one that’s half as fun.  Someday.  Then Christina Hendricks started dancing in the line dance in that red dress, and my brain started to shut down.  Everything else was just a blur of drunk people, Roger Sterling dressed as Santa, and Lee Garner Jr./Hitler jokes.

Louie - “Heckler/Cop Movie”: Man was this a funny half hour.  Make sure you watch the heckler scene that I posted earlier in the week.  I was laughing so hard during that scene that I had to pause the DVR more than once just to get through it.  Louie is officially the best show that you aren’t watching.

Ricky Gervais: Out of England - The Standup Special: It was a big Gervais weekend for me as I finally caught this HBO special and also caught the first half of The Invention of Lying again (the half that is funny before it turns romcom on us).  A standup special by this man is about as funny as you would imagine: very.  There is something about the way he tells stories, with his giggles thrown in, that are a lot of fun.

Freaks and Geeks - “Tests and Breasts”: I continue with my first run through this series thanks to the weekly installments on IFC.  Stealing tests is a lost art these days.  James Franco was a standout here.  This is a very good show even though I’m not huge fans of the Lindsey and Sam characters.

What I’ve been watching this week

Top Honors

Mad Men - “Public Relations”: Things have obviously changed on Mad Men.  The new agency was formed and certain characters may not be seen again (I know I’ll miss Sal and Kinsey if they never come back), but the show keeps performing at a high level.  Maybe the change and uncertainty surrounding the world of the show is what makes it all the more exciting.  I thought the main storyline of this particular episode was very good, exploring the fact that Don is resistant to talk about himself (and also what his past really is).  The closing scene was also very satisfying, seeing Don embellishing the story of the last days of Sterling Cooper and basking in it a little bit.  

For all that has changed one the show, one thing remains constant: the presence of series creator Matthew Weiner.  This a very smart dude with a great vision.  That’s why I don’t expect the show to miss a beat, and I don’t even think it did in the excellent premiere of season four.

Also, hookers on Thanksgiving are always a nice holiday touch.

Honorable Mention

Freaks and Geeks - “Kim Kelly is My Friend”: I had never watched Freaks and Geeks but decided to give it a whirl after IFC decided to start airing it.  This week was the fourth episode so far, and in my opinion, the best to date.  Seeing a young Rashida Jones being a bit of a badass/bully was pretty awesome to see.  Out of the four episodes I’ve seen it’s been either hit or miss for me.  This and “Beers and Weirs” were ones I loved, while episodes one and three were not so hot.  The show overall works because of the work of Franco, Segel, and Martin Starr.  But this week it really worked because of Rashida and actually turning Kim into an interesting character, and not just the token bitch.

A Single Man: This was a very good film.  Colin Firth was outstanding as George, a gay college professor whose long time lover has recently died.  George meticulously plays things out so that he can commit suicide.  It’s a bit odd at times but extremely smart.  It touches on some very good philosophy about death and mortality.  The film is very stylish and extremely well done.

Louie - “Travel Day/South”: Louie is a terrific new comedy series on FX that I hope you have sought out.  This was the weakest of the series so far, but still pretty decent.  I definitely preferred the first half, which was focused on some good bits about airports and flying.  After that, the episode kind of falls flat.  But the travel portion was funny enough to make this a pretty satisfying half hour of comedy.

Photos via AMC & Reel Artsy

What I’ve been reading today

  • Your favorite babes from the Oscars.  [Guyism]
  • A recap of the Oscars, which turned out to be Kathryn Bigelow’s night.  []
  • This year’s Oscars were the highest rated since 2005, a 15% increase from last year.  This pretty much guarantees that they’ll keep the same 10 picture format for the best picture category.  [The Wrap]
  • A very interesting read on an under the radar issue in college basketball.  One of the biggest advanatge a home team gets these days is playing with a brand of basketballs that they are familiar with.  Sounds crazy right?  But home teams get to choose which type of balls to play with as there is no one brand that is required to be used by all teams.  I love this line: ” But honestly, is it crazy to suggest that the Sterling ball could be a factor, however small, in Wisconsin’s 135-11 home record during Ryan’s tenure?”  Hmm.  [The Quad]
  • Tumblr continues to grow and hit major milestones.  They also plan to roll out revenue generating features sometime soon.  [Mashable]
  • A breakdown by the numbers of this week’s Big East Tournament.  [Basketball Prospectus]
  • Check out more than 100 new photos from one of the most anticipated movies of the year, Iron Man 2.  [/Film]

What I’ve been reading today

  • Scarlett Johansson was up for sale and it only cost the winner $5,100.  [FHM]
  • A great breakdown of how NBA teams defend at the rim using rim FG% along with fouling rates.  Very informative stuff here.  Also gives you a way of quantifying just how valuable Dwight Howard is.  The Dwight Howard for MVP stuff can’t really be quantified in a box score.  [Hardwood Paroxysm]
  • Rappers + Great works of art = Amazing.  [EDSBS]
  • The first major NFL free agent signing of the offseason is…Nate Burleson?  I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.  Pro Football Talk pretty much sums it up: “In case the “wow” didn’t make it clear, we think that’s an awful contract for Detroit.”  [PFT]
  • A review of the two newest basketball documentaries: Magic vs. Bird and Winning Time.  [Sepinwall on TV]
  • Back in 2001, someone actually recorded a 31 trillion, the longest trillion ever recorded.  Amazing.  [College Basketball Nation]
  • The best comedy series on television just got better: Adam Scott to join the cast of Parks and Recreation.  [Variety]
  • How much are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn worth exactly?  [Mashable]
  • The iPad will be on sale April 3rd and available for preorder on March 12th.  [Washington Post]
  • Scientists confirm that the dinosaurs got got by an asteroid.  Glad we got that settled.  [San Francisco Chronicle]

What I’ve been reading today

Here is a collection of things that I came across through my RSS reader that I enjoyed the most.  Hey, something has to keep me busy at work.

  • I love Rashida Jones so it seemed appropriate to congratulate her for being named today’s Maxim girl of the day, whatever that means.  She is in the new Kevin Smith movie Cop Out unfortunately, which is getting horrific reviews.  But you should be watching her on the great NBC show, Parks and Recreation, which will return after the Olympic break.  Just so you know.  [Maxim]
  • It looks like the producers are being punished by the Academy for sending out e-mails encouraging colleagues to vote for the film to win the Best Picture Oscar this year.  Will this affect the film’s chances?  Probably not since most of the ballots were probably delivered by now.  [The Envelope]
  • More proof that the IOC is no fun: they are investigating the Canadian women’s hockey team and their gold medal winning celebration.  [Yahoo]
  • Speaking of women’s hockey, there is also chatter of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League exploring a partnership with the NHL.  [Fourth Place Medal]
  • I love curling and you love curling.  We know this.  But apparently it has become very popular on Wall Street as something to watch while unwinding after the closing bell.  We know these people watch CNBC.  [NY Times]
  • The Grizzlies have sent rookie center Hasheem Thabeet to the D-League after he lost the backup center job on the team to Hamed Haddadi.  The #2 draft pick is the highest draft pick to be relegated to the D-League.  My original projection of Thabeet being Samuel Dalembert might have been a bit too generous.  [Ridiculous Upside]
  • Angelina Jolie has turned down the chance to make Wanted 2.  Why is this great news?  Because she has now agreed to star in a space thriller made by the fantastic director of Children of Men, Alfonso Cuaron.  [NY Mag]
  • Jaguars fans are demonstrating just how much they want their team to draft Tim Tebow.  [Sporting Blog]
  • The eight stages of beer drinking.  [Guyism]

What I’ve been reading today

Here is a collection of things that I came across through my RSS reader that I enjoyed the most.  Hey, something has to keep me busy at work.

  • Ranking the 35 best celebrity cheerleaders.  Of course FNL is included.  [Manofest]
  • My favorite writer, Dennis Lehane, talks about Shutter Island.  Really excited about the news that he will have a sixth installment of the Kenzie/Gennaro series coming out soon.  [Thompson on Hollywood]
  • More Shutter Island talk: can a surprise ending actually hurt a movie at the box office?  [LA Times]
  • Simmons with his usual crazy ideas on how to make improve the NBA.  These I like.  [Sports Guy’s World]
  • Twitter reaches a deal with Yahoo.  [Twitter]
  • Great story about the terrific and emotional performance delivered by figure skater Joannie Rochette after her mother’s sudden death.  [Vancouver Sun]
  • Making a case for why David Lee should be in the Knicks plans beyond this summer.  [NY Times]
  • How the internet and Twitter has become the new water cooler and how it actually can help TV ratings.  [NY Times]
  • A review of the early edition of Google Chrome OS and what it can mean going forward.  [Technology Review]
  • LOL: 22 awesome things that look like Yoda.  [Maxim]

New Chuck preview for when it returns March 1st.

What I’ve been reading today

Here is a collection of things that I came across through my RSS reader that I enjoyed the most.  Hey, something has to keep me busy at work.

  • See Michelle Williams and the other stars that lined up for the Shutter Island premiere.  The movie opens today.  [Yahoo Movies]
  • Myron Rolle was a star safety for the Florida State football team that graduated in three years and earned himself the honor of becoming a Rhodes Scholar.  He is extremely bright and has dreams that include the NFL but are not limited to that.  Wright Thompson wrote a great piece of what life is like for Rolle at Oxford and some of the pressures that come with it.  Needless to say, this is a special kid.  I feel bad for the people who don’t read this.  [ESPN/Outside the Lines]
  • FanHouse’s NBA GM Swagger Index.  This is fantastic.  [NBA FanHouse]
  • Two of the only likeable Red Sox fans on the planet (Sorry, Boston) have plans to star in a film as two Yankees from the 70s.  You know, the ones who swapped wives.  [Big League Stew]
  • Unintentional comedy tweet of the day: “Wes Craven will start shooting Scream 4 in May, the first of a proposed new trilogy. Are you ready for another Scream?”  Yeah, no more Scream please?  Thanks.  [At the Movies]
  • The NBA teams who have cap space in 2010 and how much exactly.  [TrueHoop]
  • I know, I know.  Today was Tiger day.  I don’t really care about that whole mess but here is one link.  This piece is one that is pretty much spot on.  Remember kids, Tiger is not your friend.  [SB Nation]

Quick Rewind: Julia

Quick Rewind is where I do a mini-review of a movie that I have seen recently.  Why the mini reviews?  Well a wise man once told me, “Less is more.”

Plot: Julia (Tilda Swinton) is an alcoholic and also a bit of a mess.  She blacks out, she lies, and usually ends up in the middle of a one night stand.  Her one friend Mitch (Saul Rubinek) is always trying to help her out but she doesn’t really go for it.  One day at an AA meeting she meets a woman named Elena (Kate del Castillo).  Elena makes an offer to pay Julia if she will help her kidnap Elena’s son who is currently living with the boy’s grandfather.  Julia agrees to do it alone with the hope of collecting a hefty ransom as well.  Unfortunately the boy’s grandfather is well connected in the world of Mexican drug trafficking so things get a bit…messy.  This film was mismarketed as an art film because they didn’t want people seeing it for some unknown reason.  It only grossed about $64,000.

Director: Erick Zonca

Cast: Swinton, Rubinek, del Castillo, Aidan Gould, and more.

Trailer (embedded below):

What the critics thought: 72% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with 50 reviews counted.

Critic that gets it: Pete Hammond of “Making his English-language debut, director Erick Zonca keeps things moving at the pace of a speeding freight train, never letting his star come up for air and allowing her to bring many different shades to this fascinating, unsympathetic woman whose life is a complete mess. Zonca effortlessly turns what starts out as a character study into some outrageously juicy stuff. The shift in tone is seamless and will blow you away. This is one hell of a ride.”

My Rating: 10/10

Mini Review (in 140 characters or less, since that’s all the rage these days):Great thriller & one of my favorite films of the year.  A chaotic & suspenseful ride.  Swinton is great here.  Best performance I saw this year.

Current availability: On DVD and the awesome streaming capabilities of Netflix.  You should see it, especially the ones that can stream it on Netflix.

I have to admit I am a big fan of the show Chuck, which had their final pre-Olympic episode last night.  I enjoyed the episode quite a bit, but a lot of Chuck fans are furious with what took place and some are even threatening to boycott the show.  The backlash seems a bit out of whack to me.

I understand there is quite a bit of will they or won’t they stuff on the show but personally I’m more invested in the comedic aspects of the show which are always terrific.  Plus I also think the fans that are bashing the way the story has gone recently are overlooking something: Shaw and Hannah are pretty interesting and are, at least to me, extremely likeable.  I am really looking forward to the way the show goes from here.

Is it just another obstacle thrown in the way of Chuck and Sarah?  Yes and no.  Based on all that has happened, it seems like a very plausible and interesting direction for the story to take.  Plus there’s something in the back of my mind wondering if I can completely trust Shaw and Hannah.  Jill keeps popping into my mind each week.  To me this just adds another layer of fun and excitement.

And any fan that wants to abandon and burn the show to the ground only a third of the way through the season is somewhat disappointing.  This show needs all the fan support it can get and it would be very tough to take if this had any significant impact on the show’s future.

But be sure to click the link at the top to read Alan’s conversation with the show’s creators, Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak.  Good stuff there.

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