Saturday, September 29, 2007

Master Disaster

It’s difficult to discuss Doctor Who's penultimate Season Three installment, “The Sound of Drums”, without also talking about the events of the episode that follows it. It (ideally) leaves the viewer slack-jawed and mumbling stuff like, “Well, I’m gonna have to see what happens next week.” Regardless, I’ll attempt to do my best to pretend I’ve never seen the season finale and discuss these events in a broader picture.

Wanna know more about the Master? Then click here and read the rest at The House Next Door.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Mastery of Time Travel

If “Blink” was the perfect standalone episode of Doctor Who, then “Utopia” is just the opposite. To get what’s going on here, one must be well versed in the lore of the new series, otherwise the entire affair will seem a jumbled mess. Familiarity with the old series is either a huge bonus or a detriment, depending on how willing you are to accept some bold Who revisionism. “Utopia” is also the unbilled Part One of Season Three’s three-part finale. Get onboard now or forego watching the rest of the season until DVD.

The Doctor: “You two! We’re at the end of universe, right? Right at the edge of knowledge itself and you’re busy…blogging!”

Read the rest of this piece by clicking here to materialize over at The House Next Door.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman - Season One

It’s a genuinely cool feeling when a TV show that looked uninteresting upon first glance turns out to be a major winner. Such is the case with IFC’s The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman.

Frankly, the show could potentially look uninteresting in numerous ways, but, for me, it was mostly due to its L.A./Hollywood-based setting, an environment that’s starting to seem awfully repetitive in the current TV climate. (Surely a list of examples isn’t necessary?) But a show about “the Biz” doesn’t have to be an exercise in more of the same, and Jackie Woodman seems to relish skewering the Hollywood underbelly in ways that make it a major accomplishment. (Sorry. It had to be done).

Read the rest of the review over at Bullz-Eye.

Desperate Housewives - Season Three

After a fairly lackluster Season Two, Desperate Housewives creator and showrunner Marc Cherry must’ve known that the third season of his hit series needed to kick some serious suburban hiney.

Cherry’s ace in hole comes in the unlikely form of dentist Orson Hodge (Kyle MacLachlan). Hodge was initially introduced toward the end of Season Two, where the guy lurked in the shadows and, in the finale, ran over Mike Delfino (James Denton), plunging the hunky plumber into a coma. MacLachlan returns with full-time cast member status in Season Three, and Orson quickly proposes to and marries Bree Van De Kamp (Marcia Cross). But when it’s revealed that Orson may have murdered his first wife, the union gets off to a shaky start.

Read the rest of the breakdown over at Bullz-Eye.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

"The angels have the phone box"

Is it possible that “Blink” is the greatest Doctor Who episode ever created? Maybe. But it’s even more probable that “Blink” is such a fine piece of sci-fi/horror that it deserves to stand on its own, outside the larger canon of the series.

If I were going to introduce someone to Doctor Who for the first time, it would be tempting to show them “Blink” -- and yet it would be unfair to do that because they might think the series is something other than what it is. If “Blink” is the greatest installment of Who, then what does that say about the show, given that the Doctor is in it for it all of six or seven minutes?

Whatever you do, be sure to read the rest of this piece over at The House Next Door.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Columbo Mystery Movie Collection (1989)

If you’re unfamiliar with Peter Falk’s iconic L.A. detective, Lt. Columbo, one thing you need to know is that it isn’t like other crime shows. Each installment begins with a fairly lengthy setup (at least 20 minutes) that shows exactly whodunnit, howdunnit and whydunnit. Then Falk’s scruffy, cigar-chomping, raincoat-wearing central character shows up to solve the crime. Since the viewer already knows the sordid details, the fun of Columbo is in watching Falk piece together clues and outwit the killer, which he accomplishes by leading the suspect to believe he’s an irritating boob who shouldn’t be taken even remotely seriously. No matter how many times the formula’s played, it’s always a pleasure seeing him take down the bad guy. Indeed, most of the villains even seem to have a sort of respect for the lieutenant after having been outmaneuvered by him.

Read the rest of my first TV on DVD review for by clicking here.

Friday, September 07, 2007

This Doctor Who entry has no title

Before moving on to more important issues, let’s talk scarecrows. This two-parter has so much going on that these creatures of nightmare almost get lost in the shuffle. The fact that they end up taking a backseat to the numerous other elements is a testament to the strength of the tale, as in any other story they’d be the standout. But the scarecrows serve a potent function – they exist to turn the schoolboys into men. The boys are learning to fight should a war arise (which it will), yet they’ve experienced little more than target practice. When the scarecrows in “The Family of Blood” attack, the boys are called to serve. The sequence is a brilliant Doctor Who twist (one in a tale with many). Because the show is geared toward a family audience, the boys could never engage in a bloodbath involving other humans or even living, breathing alien lifeforms…but scarecrows? They’re made of straw, do not bleed and as presented here, have a questionable “existence”. That doesn’t stop director Charles Palmer from staging the scene as if they’re as real as you and me.

You didn’t come here to read about scarecrows, did you?

Read the rest of my longest Doctor Who recap yet by clicking here and visiting The House Next Door.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

John Cusack: "I've made ten good films"

According to the TaiPei Times, John Cusack says, "I've made 10 good films".

His list? The Sure Thing, Eight Men Out, Say Anything, The Grifters, Bullets Over Broadway, Grosse Pointe Blank, The Thin Red Line, Being John Malkovich, High Fidelity & Max and apparently 1408. (So it's actually 11 films, I guess.)

So I'm calling out to all the John Cusack fans and/or haters. What's missing from his list? What has no business being there?

Guess which two I think are missing? And should it be considered odd that he doesn't count Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil as one of his best? (I'm not saying it is, just that it's strange he doesn't think so.)

People who suggest Must Love Dogs should be in the JC Top Ten are welcome to wait outside.