Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Tonight Show Vamps

With the popularity of vampires on the rise with True Blood, The Vampire Diaries and Twilight, Conan decides to get in on the brooding vampire craze with his hire of a new assistant, Cody Devereaux, b. 1589.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Caprica: Make a Choice

Six new posters were released today for the quasi-prequel series to Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, set 50 years before the downfall of mankind in the former show. My favorite image from the set:

To see the rest of the promotional art click here.

I'm really looking forward to this series. I thoroughly enjoyed the pilot episode that was released earlier this year. There are many different roads this show could take-but, then again a few of those roads must lead to Battlestar. And the talented Jane Espenson is Executive Producer on the show, so I have much faith in it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

She's Back! (Just Kidding)

Travel Writer, Judy Grimes returns in an SNL segment we all love-Just Kidding-I mean no, we do love it-just kidding, but it's awkward, just kidding, we like it because it's awkward, just kidding, because it's funny, just kidding. Watch it. Love it.

Coco avant Chanel

Last night I saw Coco avant Chanel (Coco Before Chanel) at The Paris on W 58th St. It was my second movie in New York-the first being a preview screening of the overall disappointing Zombieland, save for a brilliant cameo midway through and a short but entertaining climax-but this was my first movie going with someone else!

Structurally Coco avant Chanel is a fairly typical biopic. I would have liked to see more direct correspondence between her maturing process, early interests and her career. I thought the transition from her life "before" her professional career began and her successful business was too abrupt. She's lingering in the sidelines, occasionally altering dresses, pushed aside by the people of higher class then all of a sudden, she's a very proud, confident women wearing pearls and making elegant hats. Then the film cuts to her making clothes and presenting them at a show at some later, unspecified time. Yes, the film is Coco before Chanel, but a greater sense of wholeness would have been appreciated.

The film lagged in some parts making myself wonder at times what the point of this all was. It's a problem when your audience becomes indifferent to your titular character, and perhaps a reason for that is I just didn't feel that Coco was a fully fleshed out character at all. The filmmakers and Audrey Tautou as Coco, have a very subdued take on Coco. She's quiet much of the film and Tautou just sits there with her half smile and dark, unblinking eyes. There were plenty of interesting characters in the film, I just kept losing interest in the main one. Adding to the film's pervasive dullness, the cinematography was rather mediocre throughout most of the film. There were a few standout shots especially those of Coco alone in her environment including some beautiful work at the end of the film with Coco sitting on a staircase surrounded by mirrors.

Despite being weak in narrative and overall impact, I would say it is worth seeing, but I'd recommend it for a mid-afternoon DVD viewing on a rainy day rather than a theatrical experience. The film actually piqued my interest enough to make me want to see the recent Shirley MacLaine made-for-tv-film, Coco Chanel. I would hope it is more uniquely structured and more able to convey Coco as a pioneering spirit...with a little more spirit.

Verdict: B-

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dollhouse 2.1 "Vows"

"Vows", was everything I wanted from the first episode of Dollhouse's second season. It delved right into the mythology of the show and didn't spend any time playing catch up. Speaking of catch up, if you haven't seen the first season or need a refresher, this is a great video to watch:

The episode was rich in plot, in fact both A and B plots were given equal screen time. I ended up caring more about the inner happenings of the Dollhouse than what was going on with Echo's engagement and I attribute that to Whedon's excellent use of Amy Acker in the episode. Acker is beginning production on ABC's Happy Town and is therefore unable to appear in more than three episodes this season. She was arguably given the best dialogue of the episode and I was with her every beat. She was definitely at her "best", bringing an intensity and unsettling nuance to the character we had not yet seen. I can't wait to see what else is done with her character.

I thought the episode had more in common tonally and structurally with the unaired pilot, "Echoes" (available on the Season One DVD) than the rest of the first season, which is absolutely a good thing. It is darker, more serious in nature and most importantly more intriguing. Each character interaction offered the audience more tangible reasons for following their stories. We care. The preview for next week's episode, "Instincts" seems to uphold these notions. Whedon has upped the stakes for this season and I expect great(er) things from the rest of season and series as a whole.

I appreciate the use of non-diegetic music in this episode, more so than in previous episodes. On the levels of lyrics and tone, I thought the following two songs worked particularly well. "Hazy" was played in the scene crosscutting Echo's wedding night with Jamie Bamber's character and Paul Ballard's cool and eery contemplation of Echo's actions. The latter, "The World" played as Topher sat alone on his bed pondering his creation, Sierra and Victor shared a moment and Dr. Saunders/Whiskey drove away-"running out" and having "[run] out of excuses."

"Hazy" (feat. William Fitzsimmons) by Rosi Golan on The Drifter and the Gypsy
Rosi Golan - The Drifter and the Gypsy - Hazy (feat. William Fitzsimmons)

What if I fall and hurt myself?
Would you know how to fix me
What if I went and lost myself?
Would you know where to find me
If I forgot who I am,
Would you please remind me oh?
Cause without you things go hazy

"The World" by Earlimart on Mentor Tormentor
Earlimart - Mentor Tormentor - The World

Oh, the world is all around us,
Have you noticed me?
Yeah, the world is all around us,
Now it's plain to see
That the world has overshadowed me.

Here is the preview for Dollhouse 2.2, "Instincts":

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Theatre

Beginning today, I will be maintaining a list of every theatrical event I attend here in New York in the sidebar of this blog. As the study and experience of theatre-the art and profession-comprise the primary reason for my presence in this city, it seems fitting that I should keep a record of my ventures into the world of performance. For two years now, I have kept a list of every film I attend or see via other means (DVD, streaming, etc.) and these films have continued to inform my conversations, academics and interests. I expect New York theatre to do that and more. See last year's film list here.

So, even if I find myself with little time to write extensively in this form as I navigate the challenges and demands of grad school, I will always keep these lists up to date. That way, in conjunction with my ever changing goodreads selections, the readers of this blog will be able to see, to an extent, what kinds of cultural conversations I may be having. And if you ever want to become more a part of those conversations, I would love to talk to you.