Monthly archives: December 2007
50 ... And Counting
On Friday, I saw my 50th movie of the year. Notwithstanding the fact that it was a matinee of Alvin and the Chipmunks, I thought it worth mentioning. Still, there are a number of movies I feel I'd like to see before I close the book on the 2007 film year. Won't get to them all, but here they are:
3:10 to Yuma
Films I have seen in 2007:
Apparently, They Do
Will Jamie Lynn Spearsí Pregnancy Be the Most Watched in U.S. History?
Personally, I'll be paying more attention to my wife's, and I realize there's a huge swath of people that, like me, could not care less about Jamie Lynn Spears assuming they know who she is.
But it strikes me that a perfect storm of tabloid frenzy is brewing: a teenage, photogenic-enough kids' TV star and little sister of America's most-scrutinized walking-and-talking car crash having a child. It's like a real-life, unsavory version of Juno, enabling everyone from TMZ to The View to even the New York Times, I imagine, to talk about the issues.
Tread the media carefully, friends. This story is going to seep out of their pores.
Now, the question is, what currently holds the record as the Most Watched Pregnancy in U.S. history?
The Extras Finale: Genius
With hilarious moments involving sandwiches, ringtones and Clive Owen, as well as eviscerating moments courtesy of Ricky Gervais, Extras wrapped up in high style.
Golden Globe Nominations Announced
Take a gander:
Feature musical or comedy
Feature drama actor
Feature drama actress
Musical or comedy actor
Musical or comedy actress
TV comedy actor
TV comedy actress
More to come ...
Its members might be on strike, but the Writers Guild did a nice job with its 2008 WGA Award nominees.
Drama: Dexter, Friday Night Lights, Mad Men, The Sopranos and The Wire.
Comedy: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, Flight of the Conchords, The Office and 30 Rock.
Golden Globe nominations come Thursday morning.
Little Children is on TV now. Still better than anything I've seen this year.
Many have pumped up 2007's films, but I'm still waiting for one that tops my top five from last year: Little Children, United 93, The Last King of Scotland, Letters from Iwo Jima and The Queen, not to mention Pan's Labyrinth, which I saw just this summer.
Maybe Into the Wild fits in there, but nothing else. There are a number of films this year that I've liked, liked a lot, but they didn't blow out my heart like last year's did.
The Last Extras
The special series finale of Extras premieres on HBO on Sunday. Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune has a fine interview with series co-creator Ricky Gervais.
Friday Night Lights Goes Dark
Still more episodes to come in January, writes Alan Sepinwall, whose take on the show dovetails with mine.
I struggled with Landry's struggle, but boy, am I going to miss the show when it's gone. Thank goodness we get a few more, especially with talks between the Writers Guild and producers collapsing again.
Atonement: A Pleasure
Atonement has the rich look and wide scope of a traditional best picture candidate, but it is hardly a traditional film. It's a complex story told rather brilliantly by Joe Wright, using Christopher Hampton's adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel. James McAvoy is spot on, Keira Knighley is luminous if slenderiferous, and supporting actresses Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave all capture the inherent conflict of their character.
The only thing the movie was missing for me was heart-stopping tension. It strikes me as more about how people react to crises, rather than building up suspense before the crises happen. (I floated the thought that it might be the world's grandest, richest Three's Company episode ever, though of course that's a demeaning and inadequate summation.) It didn't have me on the edge of my seat the way much of Into the Wild did, for example, where even though you knew how the movie would end, any given situation would raise the question of how Chris McCandless would get out of it. Atonement isn't suspense-free, but that isn't really the movie's aim and to some extent, I missed that. I wanted it to rip at my heart more.
Still, I read the book a couple of months ago and though the film necessarily races through some of its events and leaves others out, it's a strong adaptation, augmented by the simply beautiful look. It doesn't capture all of the characters' inner turmoil, but it represents it fairly well. There's a brilliant aspect to the score that I don't want to give away - but suffice it to say, if it's worth keeping a secret about, it's good. I think readers of the book will be exhilarated by it, rather than disappointed as so often happens.
I don't know that Atonement should or will win the Oscar, but a nomination certainly seems deserved. I definitely recommend it.
Fall TV's Failings
Strike or no strike, the fall TV season has been a disappointment, as I quickly blog for Season Pass at Variety.
Juno Overcomes Unsettling Start
Juno starts off with dialogue so precious and seemingly contrived that I feared I was in for a depressing ride, but that's just a facade. In truth, the film could hardly be more sincere about its subject, ultimately evolving in a subtly cunning way. By the end, I found it rich and touching, in the good sense.
Ideally, all parts of the movie would be perfect, but assuming you're in for the whole picture, it's less important to start strong than finish strong, don't you think? And in the months since I first saw the film, I've come to think that the overarching dialogue at the film's start was designed to be slightly offputting, to set up a character still learning that wit is cool but insight and understanding even more so.
CBS Eyes Showtime Programs
From Josef Adalian at Variety:
Insiders said "Dexter" -- with its crime theme -- would be a good fit with CBS' cops-and-robbers sked.
Another possibility would be "The Tudors." It would be ironic if that show ended up on CBS since the skein was originally developed for the Eye before Showtime snapped it up.
CBS would edit the Showtime skeins to conform the broadcast net's standards and practices. ...
The WGA Takes the Heat for SAG
Let union firebrand Justine Bateman explain why (from Variety):
Several SAG board members, such as Frances Fisher, have noted that the WGA's taking the heat for what should have been SAG's battle. They're still perturbed over the 2004 decision by SAG's national board, led by then-president Melissa Gilbert, to agree to a one-year extension of its deal -- which delinked SAG's expiration date from the WGA's and placed it in sync with the DGA's.
SAG board member Justine Bateman recently issued a widely distributed email asking actors to spend at least an hour a day on the lines.
"Ultimately, this is our strike," she wrote. "If the WGA had not called this strike, we would all be participating in massive stockpiling. Then, in June, when our contract expires, the AMPTP would have offered us the no-gains-play-your-work-for-free-and-how-bout-some-rollbacks offer we're now familiar with. And SAG would have to go on strike, but because of the stockpiling, we would have no leverage."
Where Hill Street Blues is kingand Lady Luck is queen
by Jon Weisman
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