Friday, January 26, 2007

Gilmore Girls does Christmas in January

So over the hiatus, Gilmore Girls sort of faded into the back of my mind and now I think I'm much less likely to get worked up over things. This week's episode was actually not that bad. There was no stupid townie stuff, no stupid Yale stuff, no Logan (I've come to sort of accept the fact that Logan and Rory are a good couple but I still like her better when he's not around), there was Lane and Zack and Mrs. Kim and the band (though are Lane and Rory even friends anymore? Though how cute was Gil's little rocker son?), there were Lorelai/Rory scenes that did not take place over the phone, and I think we're now on the road to a Luke and Lorelai reunion, which is of course, the only way for this show to go.

Other than that, I do have some nitpicks. First of all, who parks their car at the airport when they can have someone who can drop them off and pick them up? Does Rory not care that it's horridly expensive, especially if you're going to be gone for more than just a couple of days? Or worse, did Logan pay for it? I thought she was supposed to be all independent now. And who wears a short skirt and boots on a trans-Atlantic flight? And does Rory have a new car? That Toyota Prius product placement was strangely obvious for the show, and it looks like a newer model. Didn't she get that car from Richard and Emily at her high school graduation? And was Lane's pregnant-with-twins belly purposely that unrealistic?

News is flying around that an eighth season for the show doesn't look likely. Lauren Graham is supposedly up for it, but Alexis Bledel is not sure and Lauren Graham wouldn't want to do the show without her. I really hope this is the last season. It's been seven years, people. Plus the CW really needs to get on developing some of their own new shows if they want to succeed.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Top Chef: in which Jennifer now no longer cares


So two weeks ago, I predicted Elia as the winner. Then last week I switched my prediction to Sam. And this week? They're both out?!?!

You know, I kind of wish that I had the willpower to skip next week's finale entirely and just pretend that there's going to be no winner at all, because I don't think that either Marcel or Ilan deserves to win and honestly I don't want to see either of them get the satisfaction of winning. Marcel's annoying and Ilan's a tool. Marcel's mad scientist cooking may be the new wave, but his leadership and social skills leave a lot to be desired. Ilan's creative and ambitious, but he only knows Spanish food.

And compared to last season, this is just a travesty. Whoever wins is not going to hold a candle to Harold.


At least Sam won fan favorite? I didn't vote for him and I think he's kind of a tool as well but I still think he was the best chef out of all of them.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Veronica Mars returns!

You know, I have to admit that my love for Veronica Mars has dwindled a bit since the first season, but it's still one of my must-see shows and I was super excited to see it back last night and I'm happy to report that it did not disappoint. I felt like it was one of the more tight episodes in a long time and I loved nearly every minute of it. I think the reason for that was that the mystery-of-the-week was closely woven with Mac's storyline. I think the show suffers a little from the mysteries that are brought in by random people and that have only Veronica talking to other random people. I know it's impractical to have one of the main cast looped into every mini-mystery, but it really makes a huge difference, especially when it's some we really love and care about, like Mac.

Anyway, there were so many good moments in this episode. I'm loving Parker more and more, and Mac's whole storyline with Bronson was super cute. (Of course I thought she and Beaver were super cute too and we know where that went...) I like that they didn't forget that she would be nervous about liking another guy. I don't know if he's going to stick around but I liked him.

And you know, this was also the first episode where I really started to feel for Piz. I mean, I never hated him at all but I didn't feel too much sympathy towards him about his crush on Veronica. But now I get it, and a tiny bit of me is rooting for him. Especially since we all know that Veronica and Logan will probably never really be over. That kiss and Logan kicking the door shut was HOT though. Too bad this reunion seems like it's going to be short-lived. It's weird, I really think that they're meant for eachother but they're really a lot better at being angsty than being cute and happy.

Also loved the scene with Keith and Landry. Poor Keith thought he was being all smooth and then Landry calls him on it. Don't know where this who-killed-the-Dean thing is going but I think it's supposed to be wrapped up in 6 episodes, and rumor has it that it's not going to be one of those Veronica-in-mortal-danger things, which I'm glad to hear. That was getting a bit much.

Anyway, after this mystery is over, there will be 5 stand-alone episodes to finish up the season. I kind of have mixed feelings on this one. I understand that season-long arcs are hard for both the writers and the viewers as things pretty much have to be really convoluted in order to stretch out that long but I don't like the idea of having no overarching mystery at all. Rob Thomas has said that this will really just be a trial, but that they have considered going to that format permanently if the show is renewed for a fourth season. I guess I shouldn't make any judgments now, but the prospect definitely has me a little worried. Rob says that this format would make the show more accessible to casual viewers, but Veronica Mars is a cult show. Cult shows don't attract casual viewers. And I feel like changing the format isn't going to attract new viewers, it's going to turn off some loyal ones.

If you have some free time, there's a very long but interesting interview with Rob Thomas up on TWOP.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Oscar noms

So out of the 15 films nominated in the 6 major Oscar categories (Best Picture, Director, and the acting ones), I've only seen 3: Dreamgirls, Little Miss Sunshine, and the Devil Wears Prada, proving once again that I really have no reason to care. Although, how cute is it that Abigail Breslin got nominated? I'll take her over Dakota Fanning any day.

24's all in the family

Holy crap, Dr. Romano is Jack's BROTHER??

What is up with the familial reveals lately? First the Masked Woman on Ugly Betty is actually Daniel's brother, and now this? It's such a soap opera thing to do, but if there are two shows that can pull it off, these are the ones (Ugly Betty because of its campiness factor in general and because 24 requires a good dose of suspend-your-disbelief in general). I do like that they're bringing in Jack's family for this season though. We haven't seen much of that all since first season really, and this just is a seriously delicious twist. I guess I should stop calling Graham Rocket Romano now though. (I didn't even watch ER that regularly!)

Otherwise, I thought that this episode was good setup for what's to come. There are, after all, 19 more episodes to go, so they need to pace things out. Having the engineer die with the bomb definitely gives everyone some more time. Some other notes:
  • Rena Sofer has become quite the TV power wife lately. She's on against herself on Heroes.
  • Are they hinting that Graham's son is really Jack's? He seems quite a bit younger than Kim, which would just be...confusing.
  • Glad to see that at least Chloe knew about Jack's father and brother. She's so Jack's best friend right now. I totally loved her for asking why all her friends have to die (I think to think she was thinking about Edgar, sniff).
  • The President's sister is irritating the hell out of me. I was so rooting for all those FBI agents to keep giving her the verbal smackdown.
  • The helicopter thing was kind of ridiculous but I guess it was just supposed to "wake up" Jack and make him realize that he's still very much needed.
  • I'm still really having trouble buying Wayne Palmer as President. His being David's brother was probably a big factor in his election, but I feel like that also gave him a lot to live up to. I dp really hope he steps it up though because after last season, I think we need to see a strong president.

Oh, and speaking of Ugly Betty, Christopher Gorham is going to be in all the remaining episodes of this season and will be a regular next season! YAY HENRY!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Top Chef jumps the shark?

Okay, it's official. I now feel sorry for Marcel.

I'm not saying that none of this is his fault and I'm not saying that he should win either, but seriously, that was just wrong any way you look at it and I have to give him kudos for not reacting back and making the situation worse. Sheesh, what is up with the chefs this year? Cliff, I've always seen you as having attitude but I didn't think you could be that stupid. Ilan, why did you continue to film? Elia, why didn't you try to help? Sam, why were you just lying there, letting it happen? The whole scene was just supremely uncomfortable to watch and I couldn't believe it was really happening. And it kind of ruined what could have been a light, fun, harmless segment with the chefs, which we haven't seen much of at all this season. The reveal with Elia and her wig in the confessional was one of the funniest things ever and I almost didn't even remember it.

The sad part is that the first two-thirds of the episode was excellent, drama-free, and was exactly what I watch this show for. The guest judge was intelligent and gracious, and the food was beautiful and looked like things I'd really want to eat. I was ready to take back my statement from just yesterday that I wanted only Elia to win. Sam really brought it in this episode. He won the Quickfire and essentially won the Elimination as well. Yes, he's arrogant, but I feel like a certain amount of arrogance is tolerable when there's real talent there as well. And he's already an executive chef, which demonstrates to me that he's already got some leadership chops. Elia, while very intelligent and talented, showed once again that she can be too much of a perfectionist and too emotional in the kitchen, which may just be a sign of her youth. Marcel, to me, is still kind of all over the place with his food. He might make beautiful and interesting plates, but nothing he's made has made my mouth water. Ilan executes what he knows extremely well, which is obviously Spanish cuisine, but I don't think he's shown a lot of creativity. I guess anything can happen, but the final judging tends to be more of a "body of work" call, and if that's the case, then Sam's gotta win.

Both Lee Anne and Gail claim, in their blogs, that the finale will be all about cooking and not drama. Which isn't surprising, I'd hope that the chefs learned their lesson afer this horror of an episode. '

And hopefully this is also a lesson to all Top Chef wannabes out there. USE YOUR BRAINS.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Top Chef - nearing the end

I just realized that I forgot to post on last week's Top Chef. I think that part of it has to do with the fact that the episode was just kind of a disaster in general and there are so few people left that I actually like. At this point for me, it's Elia or bust. I guess Sam is still a possibility, because despite his decidedly unprofessional outburst at the restaurant supply store a few episodes ago and his phenomenally ill-conceived watermelon gnocchi dessert this week, he has still been consistently winning Quickfires. Ilan has been slipping, and his immaturity is really showing now. As for Marcel, no, he's not as bad as all that, but being a Top Chef also means being a leader and having the ability to command respect from colleagues and employees and at this point I just can't see that happening. The same kind of goes for Cliff, he needs to lose the attitude before he can be a real Top Chef. This is where Top Chef differs from Project Runway: whereas having leadership qualities is definitely a factor on PR, here it's crucial.

The Quickfire was pretty much a non-issue for me, as soon as the product placement started I kind of zoned out. The Elimination was a repeat from last year, but I was totally okay with that. Lee Anne mentions in her blog that when she asked the chefs whether they'd seen this episode from last season they all said no, and that really surprised me. If they had, they'd know that while front-of-the-house doesn't necessarily have to be a chef's domain, it was a deciding factor last year. That said, the service was only part of the problem this year. I thought both concepts were fine, but I feel like neither was as well thought out as it should have been. And the food, well, I probably couldn't have picked a winner either. Undercooked chicken wings? Olive pits on the table? "Best burger ever" that's not really? No wine with Italian food? Oreos and lemon? Watermelon and cheese?

New episode tonight, look for my report this weekend.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

24 revs up again

So, season after season, I've been wondering how and why they've allowed Curtis to survive when he basically does nothing, and yesterday I got my answer. I can't say I was surprised at his death, but man was the way he went shocking. And follow that up with an actual nuclear bomb going off in LA? I have to say, after 5 seasons it's hard to think of ways to make things fresh and this is definitely one: come in with the crisis already in full swing.

Oh, Jack. Poor, poor Jack. How funny/sad/awesome was it that his first word after 20 months of silence was "Audrey"? She is SO Jack's One. True. Love. It's been assumed that she'll appear sometime this season (which to me seems even more likely now that the Nine has been shelved) and I feel like this has gotta be confirmation. Throw the man a bone, even if it's near the very end. I love that they're giving Jack a crisis of faith this season. He's always been the ruthless executor, but now he's beaten down and rightfully so. We've already seen a difference in his actions and I hope that we continue to see a glimmer of that throughout the season.

So Wayne Palmer is now President? An interesting bit of continuity but still a pretty bizarre choice. Oddly enough I still see him as Principal Wood even though he's been on 24 way longer than he was on Buffy. Can't stand Lennox. Why are there always irritating people in the White House? Love that Karen Hayes and Bill Buchanan are now married. Gotta love that wedding ring shot (just like they did with Tony and Michelle, RIP).

Of course we get saddled with yet another terror teen. I'm not sure why they chose Kal Penn for the role, I feel like he's too recognizable. And too old to be playing a teenager. And Indian. No matter, I guess, though, since he's dead already. His frenemy was the kid from Sky High though!

And of course, there's the heart of all things, CTU. Is it just me that didn't remember that Morris is British? I guess I just don't remember anything about his appearance from last season other than the strangeness of his existence. He's funny though. I was kind of confused/annoyed by Milo's sudden reappearance, but the scene where Chloe (in classic blunt Chloe style) explains his and Morris' mutual jealousy of eachother and tells them to get over it was awesome. Go Chloe!

Burning question, where's Aaron Pierce, best Secret Service agent ever?

Golden Globes Wrap-up

I only watched the first half hour before switching over to 24 but I watched enough to see Jennifer Hudson pick up the award for best supporting in musical/comedy! She was incredible in Dreamgirls and I'm really proud of her. I totally voted for her back in the day on American Idol so it's nice to see her rise up from that snub. Take that, America!

Speaking of America, I was also super glad to see America Ferrera and Ugly Betty pick up wins. I don't know that Ugly Betty is the BEST comedy on TV right now, but it's definitely up there and America definitely deserved her win. Score two for the non-stick-skinny actresses in Hollywood! And how fun must it have been for the Ugly Betty cast to get to get to go to Globes? Ditto for the Heroes cast.

Was also happy to see Emily Blunt win, I didn't actually see Gideon's Daughter, the TV movie she won for, but she was awesome in the Devil Wears Prada. The only question now is why she's dating that creepy Michael Buble...

Oh, and how great was it that Greg Grunberg got to present the best actor in a drama award to Hugh Laurie? They're in a celebrity band together which is a fact that only a true tube junkie like me would know.

Anyway, other than that, I had mostly sighs of relief. Sigh of relief that Ellen Pompeo and Evangeline Lilly did not win. Sigh of relief that Masi Oka did not win (I love the guy but I think he was hurtling towards overexposure). Sigh of relief that Leonardo DiCaprio did not win (though I felt bad about the jokes people were cracking about him in the beginning). Sigh of relief that Desperate Housewives did not win.

Oh, and a random comment: like I've said a million times I'm not really into Lost much anymore but man is Josh Holloway HOT.

Monday, January 15, 2007

in which Jennifer admits that those Lost people might know what they're doing after all

So remember when I wrote this monumentally long post about Lost arguing that the nature of American TV has basically doomed the show and that the showrunners are too full of themselves to see what's really happening? Well, I might have to take back that second point, because THEY HAVE AGREED WITH ME ON THE FIRST. They are negotiating a SERIES finale date with ABC, likely after a fourth or fifth season.

Some quotes from Damon Lindelof by way of the Ausiello Report:

"They could produce a sixth or seventh or eighth season, but would anybody be watching. The show would be so miserable by that time. Was it really The X-Files anymore when David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson weren't on the show? For me, The X-Files wasn't about 'Have aliens invaded?' it was about Mulder and Scully, a skeptic and a believer. And once that element of the show was gone, the show was over. So we don't want to produce those episodes of Lost. And we're not going to produce those episodes of Lost."

"I think it will bring a lot of the audience who left back. To say like, 'I was wrong. They are going to give me [answers]. Whether I like it or not is yet to be determined.' But I think the questions the audience is asking is not, 'Will the answers they give us be satisfying?' It's, 'Will they give us the answers at all.' And that's a very good question to be asking."

This isn't to say I'm going to pick up the show again right away. There are still a lot of problems with the show that I don't know can be fixed. I've just stopped caring about most of the characters and I can't stand Jack or Juliet. When a show begins to be a chore to watch, I don't see any reason why I should continue to bother, and that's the way I've been feeling this season. But if the show really is going to end after five seasons, then I'll probably feel compelled to catch up before the end to see how it all wraps up.

Which means that Lindelof is completely right.

So, there have it, kids. There might some brains and logic and common sense left in TV after all, and no one, NO ONE, is more shocked than I am that it's coming from ABC and Lost.

Edited to add: a ton more info on Maureen Ryan's blog.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Apprentice: Los Angeles

God only knows why I'm still interested in this show. I watched last season, partly because I just thought that Lee and Lenny were hilarious and seeing all those Type-A personalities being forced to work together on ridiculous tasks does still have some entertainment value, but it's getting more than tired.

Which is why, I suppose, that they decided to shake things up this season. First, it's LA and not New York. This is weird because I've always thought of Donald Trump as being solidly New York, but other than that I don't really see what difference it makes.

The second is that Carolyn and George are out and Ivanka is in. I liked Carolyn and George, but Ivanka is awesome. She's probably younger than half of the apprentices but she definitely holds her own and is really poised and super smart. Rosie O'Donnell can go on and on about how Trump shouldn't be the moral compass for America's youth, but he certainly did something right raising his daughter. Also, Ivanka gets to be the "eyes and ears" for both teams. I think this works out well, because she gets to see both teams' performance and make better judgments.

The third is that the winning project manager gets to sit in the boardroom on Trump's other side. This I find to be bizarre. How is the winning project manager supposed to know any specifics about the losing team's performance? He or she should have been busy winning the task. Plus, there's that whole strategy thing of wanting to keep the weaker apprentices, which there's no way Donald or Ivanka will go for anyway. Eh.

And the last is the much talked about Tent City. The winning team gets to live in the mansion and the losing teams has to live in tents. It's not entirely "roughing it," and at least it's not cold in LA. It's a pretty funny idea, but we'll have to see if it plays any real role in the game.

Otherwise, the first episode was pretty status quo. A stupid task, a lot of confusion, the revealing of all the annoying characters. I personally wanted both Martin and Frank to go. Martin just didn't belong there, and Frank was just talking entirely too much. Anyway, as this is on Sundays and I don't have anything else in that timeslot, I'll probably watch a couple of more episodes but we'll have to see if it holds my attention...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Children of Men

I'll start off by saying that by far, this is one of the best movies I've seen in a very long time. Admittedly I haven't watched very many movies in theaters this year but that's partly due to the fact that nothing really attracted my attention, either because of the buzz or the movie itself. And don't even get me started on last year's Oscar movies. I still think that Crash pretty much sucked. But this was the first movie since probably Serenity that I was excited to see and was still excited about afterward.

Loosely based on a novel by P.D. James, Children of Men is a dystopian view of the near future where the human race is dying out, not because of nuclear bombs or alien invasions but simply because women have become infertile. The film doesn't make any attempts to explain why, presumably because no one in this world knows either. The movie opens with a news report that the youngest person in the world has died. There have been no children born on Earth in nearly 20 years.

Britain, where the film is set, is apparently the only nation left standing in the world, with all other major governments and cities demolished by war or terrorist attacks. "Still standing" is a relative term, Britain is essentially a police state, with street bombs, armored passenger trains, and a Nazi-reminiscent rounding up of refugees from other countries, but people are still working, still getting coffee, still trying to lead normal lives.

The plot follows Theo, played by Clive Owen, as he shepherds a young woman who, amazingly, is pregnant, through the English countryside and through a war-torn refugee camp to the coast where she can be delivered to the mysterious Human Project, which is presumably a group of scientists working on the fertility problem. There's actually a lot of action and violence, all of which is filmed extraordinarily well. There's a good dose of humor too, mostly provided by Michael Caine, who plays a hippie friend of Theo's. The effect is just riveting. And despite the bleak and depressing nature of nearly everything in the movie, the ending is a hopeful one.

I'm a big fan of Alfonso Cuarón. I loved the little-watched A Little Princess, and even his odd modern-day Great Expections, and I personally thought that his Harry Potter movie was the best of the bunch so far. He's definitely a huge talent. One of his upcoming projects is a movie adaptation of The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (which I reviewed here). Ordinarily I think I would be worried about this book becoming a movie, but with Cuarón at the helm I believe it'll be fantastic. I can't wait!

Beauty and Geek take 3

I think it's because I'm a pretty much a geek myself but this show really makes me laugh like no other. I think what makes the geeks so funny is that they don't even realize how geeky they sound at any given moment. The sine squared plus cosine squared pickup line definitely had me cracking up just because of the sheer nerdiness of it and how hilarious was it that so many of them thought "booty" only referred to pirate treasure?

First impressions: I liked Drew and Mario and Piao and Scooter, but Nate kind of seems a little too cool to be there. I imagine him to be pretty popular with his own crowd and so far he hasn't seemed all that socially awkward. Niels has just come off as arrogant so far, and even with this group Matt seems wimpy. That's probably because he got stuck with Andrea, who's annoyingly only focused on winning. I was really hoping they'd take the money and leave, but no such luck. Fortunately another team I disliked ended up getting eliminated. While Sanjay definitely could have been a bit more supportive, it was Tori's own fault for not studying. And she pulled the whole "nobody talks to me that way!" thing which I hate.

As for the rest of the beauties: Cecile is a little freaky, Erin needs to lay off the eye makeup, Sheree really impressed with her interview (is she the beauty who's actually not dumb at all?), Nadia and Jennylee seem sweet, and Meagan? Did they show her at all? I have to say that I'm always a little shocked by the kinds of facts they don't know and I feel kind of bad for laughing at their dumb comments. But I looked at their bios online and nearly all of them are in college or have graduated from college. I wonder what that's saying about higher education...

Catching up on indie

Back in college I feel like I used to watch a lot of independent films, probably because they were pretty accessible with Cornell Cinema and cinemapolis in Ithaca and the Little Theatre up in Rochester when I was working for Kodak. Recently though, I've been slacking on that front, so over the holidays I borrowed a couple from the library.

The Squid and the Whale - Set in Brooklyn in the 80s, it's basically a study of divorce in a family with two sons. The father, Bernard, is a writer, college professor, and intellectual elitist, and Joan, the mother, has just embarked on her own literary career that's set to eclipse Bernard's. The divorce results in split loyalties in their two sons: the older son, Walt, pretty much idolizes Bernard and takes his side strongly in the divorce, while the younger son, Frank, would rather stay with his mother. After the divorce, Joan begins dating Frank's tennis instructor who calls everyone "brotha," Bernard invites one of his female students to stay in his spare room, and the sons kind of self-destruct. Walt starts acting more and more like his father and tries to pass off a Pink Floyd song as his own at a school talent show, and Frank acts out by smearing some not-so-pleasant substances around his school. The characters all seem crazy and the story seems like it's going nowhere but it's still a pretty good movie, thanks to some great acting and a lot of really funny lines. This is generally what indie movies do: they're serious and funny and ridiculous all rolled up into one. Not a lot happens but there's some great acting and writing here. By the way, the title refers to a display in New York City's Museum of Natural History (one of my favorite museums in the whole world) in which a huge squid and whale are frozen in battle.

Me and You and Everyone We Know - I'm kind of at a loss for words for how to describe this movie. The cast is a mix of loosely connected characters, all of which are quirkier than the last. There's Christine, the aspiring performance artist who drives an cab service for the elderly. There's Richard, the department store shoe salesman who's just separated from his wife. There are Richard's sons, who type up pictures made of punctuation marks and go to adult chatrooms. There's Sylvie, the 10-year-old girl who's collecting kitchen appliances for her "hope chest." There are Heather and Rebecca, two middle schools girls that are obsessed with sex and egg on a semi-creepy neighbor. A lot of pretty supremely cringe-worthy things happen in the movie, but it all manages to be sort of strangely sweet. I think it's helped out by the great score, composed by Michael Andrews, who also did the score for Donnie Darko.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

midseason review

Since I have effectively posted on NO tv this entire 2006-2007 season, I thought I'd take opportunity of the midway point to do so. (Even though some shows ARE back from their holiday break.) So without further ado, here is my current TV lineup, regardless of whether or not I am actually in the process of watching 'em...

(old) Desperate Housewives: Have yet to watch a single episode of Season 3. Am expecting it to be absolutely awful. (So why bother planning to watch at all you might ask? Good question.)
(new) Brothers & Sisters: I watched this for like 3 episodes, but kinda forgot about it. I liked it as a family drama with the typical complex relationships.. Is it still on air? Should I continue to try to catch up? Or has it gotten cancelled already?

(new) Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: Love it. Loved the Christmas jazz ensemble. Love Harriet and Matt. Really like Amanda Peet in everything. Love Matt and Danny. Miss the West Wing.
(new) Heroes: I am astounded by extremeness of people who either LOVE this show or HATE it. It's definitely my most enjoyable new show of the season. It just fulfills me 100% on the entertainment scale. And I love Milo. And Hayden. But when did multiple-personality disorder become a superpower?
(old) How I Met Your Mother: Though I don't know why the writers are incessantly continuing with the Robin-Ted relationship, this season has been as fun as ever. I adore the "Grinch" episode, I adored married Lily-Barney, and of course Barney and his brother. Same old quirkiness, same wonderfully lovable cast.
(new) The Class: This is a show that I thought was possibly the worst thing ever to air on primetime tv and was planning on dropping. But with prodding from Jenn saying that it got better, I've continued watching and I'm STILL watching! It's nice to have 30 minute sitcoms in my schedule... Light, quick, and fun.
(old) What About Brian: I forgot to watch this show this season and I'm thinking maybe it's best left forgotten...

(new) Friday Night Lights: Agree fully with Jenn on this show. Matt and Julie are the best tv couple of the season, hands down!
(new) My Boys: A late season show on TBS. My roommate complains about the neverending sports analogies, but I enjoy it a lot. I like PJ, I love that the dorky guy from Grosse Pointe is on it, and it's just fun!
(old) House: I was kinda annoyed at first, but I think it's interesting where this season has been heading. I thought the police detective hard-balling Dr. House was REALLY annoying, but now I'm starting to see how his drug addiction to Vicodin could be such a huge issue. It's a really interesting character analysis of Dr. House, and it's also interesting to see how the other doctors need to really step it up to fill the big void the possibility of not having Dr. House around could leave. But in all reality, didn't they cope without him for a few months after doing that crazy surgery thing to him and his leg after he got shot last season? Oh well, I guess I'll just have to see what happens.
(old) Gilmore Girls: Haven't REALLY been watching all the episodes, but watched enough to keep up and BLECH. Hate it. Just get rid of Christopher already and get Lorelai and Luke back to gether again already! (Do like Rory-Logan a lot more now, though!)
(old) Veronica Mars: Again a show I just accidentally watched a few episodes of this season (I was going to wait for it to come out on DVD...), but man... I love Logan Echolls.

(old) Top Chef: The new season has been alright for me. I hate Marcel, along with everyone. I really like Ilan, Sam, and Cliff. Are Marcel and Elia an item by the way?
(old) One Tree Hill: Haven't actually been watching, but, eh it sounds kinda crazy. This show needs to be cancelled already. Haley preggerz and run over by a car? Nathan with a loan shark? Peyton and a stalker boy? Brooke best friends with Rachel?!?! and all because... PEYTON AND LUCAS? Ridiculous.

(new) 6 Degrees: This didn't get too far on my watch list. Actually I saw all of one episode. And decided it sucked. It went from depressing to even more depressing. If you happen to know it got better, or that the show hasn't been cancelled yet, please let me know. Perhaps I'll give it a second, or third look.
(old) Grey's Anatomy: I love Callie. Meredith and McDreamy simply need to stay together and stay put because their drama when not together is just BORING. Christina and Burke are at yet another hurdle, but I hope they make it through it because they are such a well-suited couple! I still miss Denny like crazy. :-(
(new) The Nine: I *think* this show was on Thursday but I'm not sure. I started watching it and REALLY liked it. But am disappointed to find that it's been shelved. ::sigh:: People! Why aren't you watching the GOOD STUFF?!?! But I'm glad to see some things have been righted with...
(old) The OC: I haven't watched any of this new season (cuz I never finished last season), but the news of show cancellation were gladly welcomed by me. Enough so that I might actually make the attempt to catch up! I'm glad to hear through Jenn that this has been a good season, though. On a related note, I'm still extremely upset about the breakup of Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody off-screen. :-(
(newish-old) The Office: My roommate watches and it's amazing that I managed to stay unhooked on this show until so recently -- but I really like it! And even though I'm a new watcher, I seriously adore Pam and Jim, separately and *hopefully one day* together.

(old) Numb3rs: I like this show. It's a good solid show. :-)

24 -- Can't wait! But two 2-hour premiers in a row? Craziness. That's 1/6th of the ENTIRE season. GEEZ.
Scrubs -- Musical episode! Though it just makes me want to go back and watch Buffy... :-) Now that was a Musical episode extravaganza...

::geez that was long::

after a long hiatus... the good shepherd

The Good Shepherd has quite unfairly received a lot of flack from critics. I'm not out here to say it's the best movie ever, but I think it was really well done, and I definitely enjoyed it.

If you're looking for an action-packed blockbuster, this is definitely not the movie for you. If you're looking for fast-paced spy-thriller, once again not the movie for you. If you enjoy watching films that offer in-depth character pieces, this could be for you. If you are interested in how we portray the CIA and it's formation, once again, for you.

I thought Matt Damon did an excellent job as Edward Wilson. He is a man who keeps everything inside, who values the fight for American freedom and democracy. He is the ideal spy. The slow pace of the movie gave the audience insight into Wilson's way of thinking, his methodness in espionage. It allowed the audience to feel the coldness felt by Wilson's own wife and child, not just see it. I thought the movie was artfully done, and though the 2.5 hours felt more like 3.5 hours, the slow-pace was essential to the unraveling of this story.

My only complaint to The Good Shepherd is the fact that there was a lot of time-jumping throughout, but Matt Damon never looked older or younger in any of the scenes, whether it be the 1970's or the 1940's. And definitely when he was with his 20+ year old son, he did not look old enough to have a 20+ year old son. Basically, he was never aged enough.

In any case, other than that I liked it and I recommend it. If you want to wait until it comes out on video, that's fine, too. Just don't watch it before you go to bed -- the slow-pace could put you to sleep.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Top Chef: Everybody Hates Marcel

So my inexplicable thing for Michael isn't really so inexplicable after all. He can actually cook! He pulls off a Top Chef first and wins both the Quickfire and Elimination challenges in one episode. I loved Tom's incredulous look to Padma during the dinner party, "this is our Michael?" Both his dishes looked scrumptious. Perhaps it's a salmon thing. But really, who would have guessed that Mr. Cheetos and Snickers amuse bouche would be so great with fish? Or maybe it was the Vicodin he was hopped up on after having a wisdom tooth pulled. Regardless, I think he's been building up to this and I'm super happy to see that he got his moment of glory. I'm still doubtful of his making it to the end, but who knows. Anything can happen.

I have to say that I really liked both challenges this episode because they exercised the chefs' creativity without really being too restrictive in terms of ingredients. The elimination especially was a really rocking idea, and definitely tough. None of them were really obvious, except for gluttony, and I think that overall, they did a really good job drawing inspiration from them. My favorites were Elia and Michael. Elia's simple but beautiful roast chickens were perfect for pride and I loved that she presented them whole at the table before carving. And Michael's wacky idea of a trout being envious of salmon just totally worked out. Glad that he didn't end up going with the imitation crab thing.

And so we come to Marcel.

You know, I'm not going to excuse Sam and Ilan's behavior during this episode. You shouldn't say those kinds of things to people, no matter how irritating they are, and especially not on video. But I kind of can't blame them either. I think that Marcel is one of those people who's only mildly annoying and for the most part, tolerable--in small doses. Once you start spending a lot of time with them, they get more and more irritating and there comes a point where you just can't take it anymore. I knew a lot of guys like this in high school. And on Top Chef, what with the close living quarters and hours spent together in the kitchens and the pressure of competition, I can definitely understand the level of aggravation that arose. So, it's not really Marcel's fault either. But I do feel that if he maybe lost a little bit of that arrogance he wouldn't get on people's nerves so much.

So, final six! Next week is that episode where teams of three have to run a restaurant for the night. From the looks of the promos, it seems that the teams are Sam/Ilan/Mike and Elia/Cliff/Marcel. What a relief that Sam and Ilan are not on the same team with Marcel. Maybe we'll have less drama and more cooking!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Last season of the OC (sniff)

It's official, as reported by Ausiello.

This news isn't at all unexpected, but it's kind of sad to hear it anyway. But I'm comforted by the fact that this season so far has been pretty awesome once again and I think the show's going to go out on a really high note. And despite some really horrible periods I think I'll have a pretty positive opinion of the show in general when it's over.

Final episode February 22. If you haven't been watching this season, I highly recommend catching up. Or be sure to watch it all on DVD when it comes out (which I assume it will).