Saturday, December 23, 2006

Really Big Finish

Doctor Who Season Two (or Season 28, depending on your anal-retentiveness) has been a string of entertaining highs and lows, in terms of both quality and intensity. It’s been a season of returns, renewals and reinventions. We’ve met Cybermen, a werewolf, clockwork robots, Queen Victoria, Madame du Pompadour, and at the edge of the universe, maybe even Satan himself. We visited a current parallel Earth and also a New Earth in the year 5,000,000,23. There were trips to 1953, 1879, 2012, and the 51st century -- a time that led to a tour of 18th century France. Sarah Jane Smith came back to us and Mickey Smith said goodbye. K-9 was blown up and put back together. Jackie Tyler died, but Pete Tyler lived. Throughout the adventures, there were only three constants: the Doctor, his TARDIS and Rose Tyler – at the end of the two-parter “Army of Ghosts” & “Doomsday”, we bid a gut-wrenching farewell to one of them.

Read the rest of this recap by clicking here to prepare for battle at The House Next Door.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fingers on Lips!

A suburban neighborhood. A different time. A major televised event. Missing residents. An abusive father. Alien abduction. “The Idiot’s Lantern”? Nope. But Doctor Who’s latest, “Fear Her”, has so many elements in common with that episode, it’s impossible not to draw a comparison.

Now I bagged on “The Idiot’s Lantern” something hardcore, and “Fear Her” has probably just as many flaws...yet there’s something about its itch that I don’t quite know how to scratch. While it’s hardly a season high point, its charms have slowly grown on me over time and multiple viewings.

To discover how much of a Doctor Who nerd I really am, click here and read the rest of this recap at The House Next Door.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Sexy, Surreal Slice & Dice of Nip/Tuck

Tonight FX delivers the Season Four finale of its highest rated series, Nip/Tuck. Based on the 14 episodes presented thus far, this season's subtitle should be “The Apology”, because after the disaster that was Season Three, that’s what was owed to long-term fans -- and it’s largely what producer/writer Ryan Murphy and his band of twisted lunatics delivered.

Nip/Tuck's charter mission—a commentary about the evils (and occasional benefits) of cosmetic surgery—has been all but abandoned at this point. There's still at least one patient/surgery per episode, but most of them are played for laughs or shock value (and sometimes both) and rarely leave lasting impressions. After three seasons of exploring themes that were tidily summed up by the oft-repeated catchphrase of the Carver ("Beauty is a curse on the world"), maybe there isn't much left to say? The show has often been accused of promoting sexist themes, which is a tad shortsighted, as it primarily holds up a mirror to what's beneath the surface, that which cannot be fixed through botox injections and boob jobs: Nip/Tuck is really about people making atrocious life decisions (surgery being only the tip of that iceberg). On the rare occasion someone on Nip/Tuck makes a good decision, you can bet the positive fallout won't last long, as they'll soon enough make another bad one, dragging the character back to their moral drawing board. It's impossible for anyone on this series to be content for any length of time, and the day someone finds true happiness, it'll be time to close up shop.

To read the rest of my latest dissection, make an appointment at The House Next Door.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Child Helps Promote Little Children


This must be one of the most inventive bits of marketing I've ever seen:

Little Children is a flick I've been dying to see for what's now seeming like an eternity, and it's anyone's guess at this point what exactly New Line's doing with it. It opened in October and played on 30 or so screens to decent business, but the studio thus far hasn't expanded it. There's been some talk of a wide release around the New Year, which ultimately would probably be a good time to do it, as it isn't exactly holiday fare. But for those of us who were expecting to see it a couple months ago, it's been a frustrating, tedious wait.

Hey New Line! Why don't you market this film to the people who tune in to Desperate Housewives every week? If you could get just a twentieth of that show's audience to head out to the theatre to see it, you'd have a nice, indie hit on your hands.

Here's a map of the cities/theatres it's still playing in (type your Zip Code in for specifics). If you can, go see this movie. Do it for me, because it isn't playing in San Antonio or even Austin.

UPDATE! Jackie Earle Haley wins Best Supporting Actor from the New York Film Critics Circle for his work in Little Children! Click here to read the story. Way to go, Jackie - it's about time, my friend!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Mr. Blue Sky

Dear Russell T. Davies,

What the hell do you think you're doing to Doctor Who?

Read the rest of my love letter to Mr. Davies by clicking here and visiting The House Next Door.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

David Tennant named "Best Doctor"

Um, yeah...what the title says. To read the finer points of the matter, click here.

Now granted, this poll was conducted by Doctor Who Magazine, which is hardly an accurate cross-section of the viewing public. In fact, I swear I recall a similar poll conducted by DWM in the past where Sylvester McCoy, during his tenure, nabbed the #1 spot. (The article claims Tom Baker has always ranked #1.) To wit: the current Doctor likely has a better chance of scoring big than one from the past. UPDATED! A-ha!! The old memory ain't so foggy after all -- the story above has been updated since I linked to it to reflect McCoy's 1990 win. I rule!!

Yet the fact that Chris Eccleston comes in at #3, with only 11% of the vote compared to Tennant's 28%, is high praise for Tennant indeed. It's nice to see that you can't keep a good Doc down with Tom Baker trailing less than 2% behind Tennant. So over half the people polled chose either Tennant or Baker as their fave.

In other Who-related news, this year's Christmas special, "The Runaway Bride", will screen on BBC1 on Christmas Day at 7 PM and a week later on New Year's Day, Who's second spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures, premieres on BBC1 at 4:50 PM. Apparently this one's the opposite of Torchwood, and will very much be geared toward kids (it seems even moreso than its parent series.)

Lastly, the official BBC Doctor Who website counts down the days 'til "Bride" by offering up some new goodie each day. Hammer around on the honeycomb looking graphic - at the time of writing they're up to #5, which is a snazzy set of downloadable "Runaway Bride"-themed Christmas cards.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Beast Feast

As “The Impossible Planet” drew to a close and “The Satan Pit” begins, two deaths occur: A pair of redshirts take it for the team. I had to watch “The Impossible Planet” several times before locating them prior to their passing -- a man and a woman; security drones working for Mr. Jefferson (Danny Webb), and they do appear in numerous scenes, subtly registering existence. The funniest moment occurs early on in “Planet”, when the Doctor and Rose are first brought before the rest of the crew. Look closely to the far right of the screen -- Mr. Jefferson clearly ushers them out of the room before they can even be introduced. This two-parter sports a claustrophobic, tight-knit cast, and the pair’s existence isn’t even verbally acknowledged. They have no dialogue, no names and aren’t featured in either episode’s credits. Mind you, this is less of a criticism than an observation of the peculiar; such obvious worm dirt rarely features on Doctor Who.

Perhaps the redshirts are indicative of an even larger issue, and that being the numerous homages paid to other sci-fi & horror within the story. “The Satan Pit” unveils an intense action sequence so ripped from Cameron’s Aliens, it doesn’t even try to cover it up. Instead it proclaims, “That was one of the greats, and now we’re going to offer up our humble stab at it”. Aside from one glitch in the process, it works marvelously, too.

Read the rest of this article by clicking here and feasting at The House Next Door.