Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Week in TV: 21/04 to 27/04

Here is my (very belated) ranking of the TV episodes I watched last week. I'm happy to say that I actually enjoyed all the episodes I watched. (beware spoilers):

11. Modern Family: "Australia" (Season 5 Episode 20)

The three not-so-modern families were back and it was not a brilliant episode but it was not a terrible one, either. Claire and Jay's work story was uninspired, Cam and Mitchell's was so revealing of their awful personalities, Phil and Gloria's was quite ridiculous but not as much as Manny and Luke's. This show should be called Pettiness and Boobs. So, the best story was the one with Hayley, Alex and Lily (it didn't hurt that the first surfer was really very hot and not just a normal guy playing the part of a hot guy with pitiful results).

MVP: Aubrey Anderson-Emmons as Lily. She's only six but she could be the next (or maybe the next one) Aubrey Plaza.

10. Bad Teacher: "Pilot" (Season 1 Episode 1)

I fell in love with Ari Graynor when I saw For a Good Time Call, and when I read that she was headlining the Bad Teacher show I knew that at least, I'd watch the pilot. And yes, it was nothing new, in fact it was quite a lot of old stuff but she is so charismatic that I'm going to give the show a chance.

MVP: Ari Graynor, of course.

9. Orphan Black: "Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion" (Season 2 Episode 2)

Not a lot happened in this episode, although it is a huge relief to find out that Mrs. S is not evil... or is she? Cosima and her new lab did not seem very compelling but at least it looks that she is still a little wary of Dr. Leekie (what a name!). I think that if one of the clones is going to be a traitor is obviously going to be Cosima and I'm not going to like her if she is. Alison is still the most interesting clone and (see MVP) Maslany's more nuanced performance. And I just want Helena to join forces with the other clones and be the funny sidekick she can be.

MVP: Maslany playing Alison although Maria Doyle Kennedy as Mrs. S is always golden.

8. Glee: "Opening Night" (Season 5 Episode 17)


Santana is back! My boyfriend was just telling me about rumours that she is being demoted in the next season and I hope it's just gossip because she is the best thing in the show. This was a quite nice episode, even if basically only Rachel was allowed to sing. Sue's fling, while completely weird and seemingly pointless (is this really why she is moving to NYC if she does?) was helped by a wonderful and game Jane Lynch. And there was not a lot more going on, I liked this episode Tina (there is a new one in each of the episodes she appears in, she changes on demand) and even Kurt was somehow tolerable. Not a classic but one of the best episodes this season.

MVP: Jane Lynch, for reminding us why she deserved that first season Emmy.

7. Parks and Recreation: "Moving Up, Part 1" (Season 6 Episode 21)

This was a great finale but I preferred the second part in Pawnee rather than this one on San Francisco. Leslie met Michelle Obama! Ben and Andy trying to get wifi for Pawnee was really funny, (they could be the new Toledo) especially the end, being solved with the Cones of Dunshire. If that game existed we'd have it by now.

MVP: Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, meeting the FLOTUS and being her awesome self.

6. Grey's Anatomy: "Change of Heart" (Season 10 Episode 21)

There's only three episodes left in this season and so far, there hasn't been a fire, a flood or a famine so I'm starting to get worried. In this episode, we learn that Cristina was robbed and that she should have been the Harper Avery recipient. Nevertheless she is more worried with those pesky dying kids. One of the sisters doesn't make it but I'm more involved in the bubble-boy case. His mother does not want to put her kid at risk and Miranda is not very happy about it. Meanwhile, in sitcom territory, Meredith and Derek consider enslaving his sister but she proves useless. And the biggest news of the episode... Jackson and April are pregnant!

MVP: I think I'm going to go with Sarah Drew as April Kepner. It is a character I generally dislike but Drew is quite good at humanising her so she doesn't just look like a Jesus-freak.

5. Galerías Velvet: "Los Restos del Naufragio" (Season 1 Episode 10)

Hello there, Miguel Ángel... This episode was so tense with the store empty because people are too narrow-minded to buy Raúl de la Riva's designs (which, admittedly, I'm not to fond of, myself). Everyone working in the galleries is getting nervous but Cristina (because she is an angel) saves the day by having her friends place orders for the dresses. Manolito is going away and Rita and Pedro kiss (not because they're happy the kid is leaving). And, what else? Oh, yeah, Luisa may be a murderer... God, I love this show so much. The episode ended with Don Emilio having some kind of attack but I have already seen episode 11 so I'm not too worried.

MVP: Asier Etxeandía as Raúl de la Riva. He plays nervous in a really funny way and (as my boyfriend said) his scenes with Aitana Sánchez Gijón are always a highlight.

4. Parks and Recreation: "Moving Up, Part 2" (Season 6 Episode 22)

I loved the San Francisco half, but the Unity Concert one was amazing, hitting that funny and emotional spot that the show manages to hit in the best episodes. Of course, I loved that Leslie gets to stay in Pawnee for the next season. Parks and Rec would not be the same thing anywhere but Pawnee. Where else would you find these people? I think one of the best things about this show is that most of the characters are so good in a moral sense that it is refreshing in this age of antiheroes. They love each other so much, they are always willing to help, to sacrifice and in a comedy. It feels really special and I cannot wait for season seven.

MVP: Mo Collins as Joan Callamezzo, letting us know what the Joan is.

3. Hannibal: "Shiizakana" (Season 2 Episode 9)

This was a very bloody and very scary episode. The animal-killer was great and really intriguing. I like this Margot character a lot and I loved her scenes with Will. Also, that ending was so great. This show is rapidly becoming one of my favorite shows ever.

MVP: Mark O'Brien as the very chilly Randall. Sadly, he's dead but happily, he's dead (he meant to kill Will!)
2. Game of Thrones: "Breaker of Chains" (Season 4 Episode 3)


Who likes Sam? Why is he still on the show? Why did he have two scenes in this episode? I really hate him and Gilly. And I'm not very invested in the storylines north of Winterfell. But that's the only complaint I can have about this show. I'm having a hard time thinking about this episode on its own because I have already seen the next one but I'll try. Arya and the Hound could headline a spin-off and I'd be there every week. The scene with Daario defeating the champion of Meereen was a lot of fun. Littlefinger kills the Fool and Sansa is going towards that crazy aunt of hers. And poor Tyrion is imprisoned although it's impossible that he killed Joffrey. Oh, and I still love Davos very much.

MVP: Emilia Clarke as the titular breaker of chains is very good in this episode.
1. Mad Men: "A Day's Work" (Season 7 Episode 2)

This episode was so perfect. Peggy mistakenly assumes that the flowers on her secretary's desk are for her from Ted. This storyline might have been sitcomy in any other TV show, but here, it tells us so much bout about Peggy and about her relationship with Shirley. By the way, Shirley and Dawn calling each other by their own name was too funny. Bert turns out to be a racist and Joan doesn't know what else to do or how to juggle all her duties at the agency. Luckily, her fairy godfather, Jim, tells her that she should go upstairs and be an account woman exclusively. This results in Dawn being the new Joan, and those are some very big shoes to fill. The story I liked best, tough was Don's and Sally's. She uses the funeral of a friend's mother to go shopping in New York and finds out that Don has been fired.

MVP: Kiernan Shipka as Sally Draper. The producer or casting director who found an eight-year-old that would grow up to be this accomplished actress can be very proud. Her uncomfortable scene with Lou was amazing as her heart to heart with Don.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Best Movie I Saw This Week: Alice in Wonderland

This week, most of the films I saw were part of our Cannes Proje(c)t. And the quality was very, very high. But eventually, I chose a movie outside the project, Alice in Wonderland (Clyde Geromini et al, 1951), as the best movie of the week. I had watched the Disney Classic before and I don't think I could ever get tired of it.

It is most likely the funniest film in the Disney Canon, with an absurdist and exaggerated sense of humour that I have to say, is perfectly encaptured in the Spanish dubbing of the film. I am a Nazi when it comes to seeing films in the Original Version but some of the Spanish Disney voices are so ingrained in my brain that it does not make sense watching them in any other way.

Another remarkable thing about the film is its rythm. Once Alice falls down the rabbit hole, it's non-stop crazy. It's impossible to play favorites; if I had to choose the parts I like best I'd go with the door, the dodo, and I would just list every moment in the film in chronological order. I mean, what's not to love? The story about the oysters is so delicious (like the oysters were!) and the scene with the flowers is so funny and original. The caterpillar is one of the most literal scenes from the wonderful novel. The one at the White Rabbit's house is so great with poor Bill. And the Cheshire Cat and the cards and the Queen and the trial and of course, the most iconic scene in the movie, the unbirthday party.

Alice in Wonderland is probably the only Disney film without a lesson to learn at the end, something very basic if you know the novel, that the Tim Burton version got wrong (among so many other things). And that is so cool because our heroine does not need to learn a lesson other than the one her sister is droning on about. I just love Alice as a character so much. She is funny, polite when she needs to be but generally she doesn't give a fuck what the crazy people in Wonderland think of her. I think that in this age of overpraising mediocre films such as Frozen (Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, 2013) for not being medieval in their representation of women, it's a good idea to turn to the classics to see how things were done.

Other films I watched this week:
Topsy-Turvy (Mike Leigh, 2000)
Heremakono (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2003)
Uzak (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2002)
The Return (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2003)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Marc Webb, 2014)
Capote (Bennett Miller, 2005)
Tiempo de Valientes (Damián Szifrón, 2005)
Tiresia (Bertrand Bonello, 2003)
The Three Burials of Melquíades Estrada (Tommy Lee Jones, 2005)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My week in TV!

I'm a little late but here is my ranking of the TV episodes I watched last week (beware spoilers):

12. Glee: Tested (Season 5 Episode 16)

It turns out that putting the whole focus on New York doesn't solve Glee either. This episode was pretty much terrible. I just can't believe that Kurt and Blaine are still together. They basically hate each other. Artie's storyline was risible at best and prudish at worst. It turns out that the good girl for him is the one that does not want sex right away. Yay, abstinence! And in other abstinence news we have Mercedes, who wants to wait until she's married. In the immortal words of Samantha Jones: "Honey, before you buy the car, you take it for a test drive". I just cannot deal with this show, but I cannot wait to see what other terrible storylines we get.

MVP: Darren Criss, for keeping the aplomb through all the stupidities they make him do.

11. The Simpsons: Days of Future Future (Season 25 Episode 17)

When I was a kid I loved the episodes of the Simpsons dealing with the future, especially the one where Lisa was POTUS. But this episode was simply lackluster. We had seen most of the outcomes such as Bart's kids or Lisa ending up with Milhouse. And even though I think the beginning and the ending for Homer's story was clever, the middle was just filler with technology related jokes that might have been funny in 2005.

MVP: Ralph, the best cop of the future.

10. Scandal: The Price of Free and Fair  Election (Season 3 Episode 18)

We had been watching Scandal way too late but we decided to pick up the rythm for the finale. For most of its third season I've been thinking that maybe I don't want to watch Scandal anymore. The second season was a lot of fun and the performances were generally very good. But now everything is nonsense and the actors are starting to phone it in. Mellie screaming "It's my turn" was a relevant low point for humanity. But, when it gets crazy it's still fun, mainly when it involves the two crazy people that are Huck and Quinn or the killing of some character (I wish it had been Kate Burton's but we had to settle for Jack's son in Lost). Right now, I think I might watch the season 4 opener and then decide.

MVP: Katie Lowes seems bananas enough to go with the poorly written changes they are inflicting upon Quinn.

9. New Girl: Big News (Season 3 Episode 21)

Jess and Nick are broken up! This felt a little like a filler episode but had some fun things nevertheless, like Jess wacthing Coach watching Winston yawn. I really don't have a lot to say about this episode. It was fine but not too remarkable.

MVP: Jake Johnson. I think he is the best actor of the bunch, was consistently funny and his conversation with Tran was really good.

8. Parks and Recreation: One in 8,000 (Season 6 Episode 20)

In this episode we find out that Leslie is pregnant with triplets! Ben immediately and hilariously worries while her wife is surprisingly chill about it. But she is right, if she can handle Pawnee, triplets will be a piece of cake. Meanwhile Andy struggles to keep the secret of the pregnancy and Ron "helps" Donna see that an ex-boyfriend deserves a second chance. I love both Retta and Jim O'Heir and I am very happy that they are being featured more prominently now that Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe are gone.

MVP: Amy Poehler killing it at the auction.

7. Grey's Anatomy: Go It Alone (Season 10 Episode 20)

First things first, how weird is that picture up there? I mean, where are their (three) legs? I know they are probably sitting like indians but doesn't it seem like they are way deep into the mattress? Anyway, that's not very important (or is it?), what's important is that Callizona has decided to have another baby! (Babies everywhere!) Also April and Jackson are not on solid ground. Even if it felt we had seen this before it felt nice to see that marriage did not wash over their differences and that the silly thing about the swisuit had some reason to exist. But I like April and Jackson together. Meredith is once again the best person in the universe and shows up for the Avery awards where Cristina... loses. What? Oh my dear, is this punishment because Sandra Oh wants to quit the show? Is there any surname cooler than Oh?

MVP: Sandra Oh, having her heart broken. Not by a man, of course, but by losing a surgery award.

6. Orphan Black: Nature Under Constraint and Vexed (Season 2 Episode 1)

They're back! I think this was a great season opener, not too much has changed, there's this sense of new mission with the finding of Kira (who is she with, by the way? Was the burnt hand supposed to be a clue?Because I did not get it.) and we have Rachel as the new super-villain, also, I don't think that Mrs. S is going to be bad. Cosima is still a bit boring but Allison is my everything. She is in a musical, of course. And the best news is that Helena is not dead! Nothing can kill the animal in her.

MVP: Tatiana Maslany for the hand gestures when Sarah is pretending to be Cosima.

5. Galerías Velvet: El Gran Día (Season 1 Episode 9)

I have already seen the following episode (this happens for writing so late in the week) and I am so hooked to this TV show. Last week, everything turned around the presentation of Raúl's collection. It was a success, everyone loved it and they celebrated all night. Some celebrated too much because Alberto and Cristina had sex out of wedlock! Doña Blanca let her hair down (literally and figuratively) and it was one of the best moments ever.

MVP: Marta Hazas, whose Clara has to step in when one of the models can't make it and walks the runway like a pro.

4. Mad Men: Time Zones (Season 7 Episode 1)

Another TV show who is thankfully back! The beginning was so awesome with Freddy being so good all of a sudden and then we find out it's Don who's Cyranoing him. I don't like Lou Avery at all but I guess that's the point of the character. Joan and Peggy are still the best, thank you very much. And Don is adrift, somewhere in the air between L.A. and New York cozying up to Neve Campbell (!). God, I missed this show!

MVP: Jon Hamm makes the best Don when he's hitting rock bottom.

3. Community: Basic Sandwich (Season 5 Episode 13)

Apparently, a sixth season for Community is basically assured but if this had been the ending, it would have been a terribly good one. It did what the best episodes of the show do which is being extremely funny but also a little sad. And Jeff loves Annie! Also I want use "The sparks may be spelling out the next clue" for any situation in my life.

MVP: Alison Brie again. She is just the best.

2. Game of Thrones: The Lion and the Rose (Season 4 Episode 2)

Weddings in Westeros, always so quaint. This episode was really spectacular. I know nothing about the books so I was not anticipating that death at all and it is so interesting that the rest of  the characters aren't either, so you are feeling with them. "Is this for real? Who did this?" So, so good. I also liked the part at Dragonstone, where Melisandre and Shireen Baratheon have a good conversation. And before everything went awry it was very nice to see Tyrion and Jamie being brotherly to each other.

MVP: Peter Dinklage and Jack Gleeson who made the wedding so scene so excrutiatingly uncomfortable.

1. Hannibal: Su-zakana (Season 2 Episode 8)

Can we have Vincenzo Natali direct every episode of everything? His hand could be better seen in scenes such as the sexual encounter between Hannibal and Alana but the whole episode was touched by a like mind. This is a very happy finding indeed. I love how the show mixes beauty and horror. It is probably the most visually arresting show in the history of TV. And the scares... I nearly died when the bird flew out of the chest. Jeremy Davies was really good and the final confrontation between Will and the real killer of the episode was amazing.

MVP: Hugh Dancy, fresh out of the loony bin and bad-ass as ever. I loved how he said: "I don't want to kill you, Dr. Lecter, now that I finally find you interesting".

And that's it for the week! Remember: reading is boring, TV rules!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cannes Proje(c)t 2014

If the Oscars are the Super Bowl, Cannes announcements are Christmas Morning, if Santa Claus was a sadist and would only let you hear about the presents that you will receive throughout the year. And also, some of those presents are going to suck. But in general, the Cannes film festival is the best thing ever. It celebrates the best in film and most of my favorite directors choose the Croisette to showcase their latest films.

Any film festival is more entertaining the more you know about the directors showing their work. You can get excited for a specific film, you can laugh if the reviews are bad for some other. So, every year (this is the third) my boyfriend and I do the Cannes Proje(c)t. The (c) is between parentheses to help with the pronunciation, by the way. The Cannes Proje(c)t consists in the following: Once the official competition lineup is announced, we choose a previous film by each one of the directors selected. We watch them before the festival begins to get an idea of the different directors in competition, to remember films we wanted to revisit and many times, in my case, to fill out shame holes in my watchlist. After watching them we rank them in a Letterboxd list because of course. So, without further ado here are the films we have chosen to see before the festival.

Olivier Assayas: Irma Vep (1996)
Bertrand Bonello: Tiresia (2003)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan: Distant (2002)
David Cronenberg: Naked Lunch (1992)
Jean Pierre and Luc Dardenne: Rosetta (1999)
Xavier Dolan: Laurence Anyways (2012) [This is the only film I had watched before this project]
Atom Egoyan: Exotica (1994)
Jean-Luc Godard: Le Mépris (1963)
Michel Hazanavicius: OSS 117: Le Caire, nid d'espions (2006)
Tommy Lee Jones: The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)
Naomi Kawase: The Mourning Forest (2007)
Mike Leigh: Topsy-Turvy (2000)
Ken Loach: Kes (1970)
Bennett Miller: Capote (2005)
Alice Rohrwacher: Corpo Celeste (2011)
Abderrahmane Sissako: Heremakono (2003)
Damián Szifrón: Tiempo de Valientes (2005)
Andrey Zvyagintsev: The Return (2003)

We are about half-way through the project and so far, this year is having a tremendous quality. Let's see if it holds up...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The best movie I saw last week

I had intented to write a little bit about every film I watch in this blog but it gets daunting when I've had a good week like the past one. So, instead, I decided to focus on one movie each week. The best one, ideally.
And even though this week I've seen a lot of amazing five-star films, there was really no contest. The best movie of the week is:

A Passage to India (David Lean, 1984)

For all good things that posmodernity has given us, there is something to be said about neo-classicism in contemporary film. Its peak is most likely Lean's A Passage to India, but can also be appreciated in Minghella's The English Patient (1996) or Cold Mountain (2003).

This is not to say that they are old-fashioned movies or out of date. They are, especially A Passage to India, thoroughly modern as the best classic movies were in their time. The movie has a classical narrative pulse but the story it tells us is contemporary even though it is set in the past. I'm sure it has been read through the prism of post-colonialism and post-feminism and it is a natural thing, because when a text is as rich as this one, every angle is worthwhile.

The supporting cast is extremely good, Peggy Ashcroft's Oscar is possibly one of the most deserved, but this is Judy Davis' show. Adela is a smart and complex character on paper but Davis layers it so thoughtfully that it is impossible not to be mesmerized by her.

David Lean is one director in an extinct breed. His command of the action, of the shots filled with people, of the shots filled only with a face, is astonishing and has provided us with one of the best movies I have ever seen.

Other films I saw this week:
Anna Christie (Clarence Brown, 1930)
Shadow of a Doubt (Alfred Hitchcock, 1943)
Shirley Valentine (Lewis Gilbert, 1989)
The Remains of the Day (James Ivory, 1993)
Min and Bill (George W. Hill, 1930)
The Letter (William Wyler, 1940)
Face to Face (Ingmar Bergman, 1976)
Theodora Goes Wild (Richard Boleslawski, 1936)
I'll Cry Tomorrow (Daniel Mann, 1955)
Le Mépris (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)
Kes (Ken Loach, 1970)
Naked Lunch (David Cronenberg, 1992)
Vacas (Julio Medem, 1992)
Exotica (Atom Egoyan, 1994)
Irma Vep (Olivier Assayas, 1996)
Away From Her (Sarah Polley, 2007) [Rewatch]
Rosetta (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 1999)

In general, it has been a ridiculously good week in terms of quality, heavy on Best Actress Nominees on the beginning and with the Cannes Proje(c)t 2014 (about which I intend to blog about) later in the week.

Monday, April 14, 2014

My week in TV!

First, a disclaimer, I am Spanish, so I see every TV show the day after it airs in the States. That's why last Sunday's episodes count as last week. To talk about TV I decided to rank the episodes in the week. So, here it goes, from worst to best. Obviously, Spoilers ahead.

8. The Simpsons: "Luca$" (Season 25 Episode 17)

A million years later, I'm still watching The Simpsons. It feels like comfort/junk food. The episodes have been generally weak this season but every one has a few funny moments. Nevertheless, they tend to have this gimmick that I hate in which all the stories in the episode (two usually) come together for the resolution.
From this one I remember Lisa's story about the competitive eater kid but it was not very remarkable.

MVP: The squirrel?

7. Glee: "Bash" (Season 5 Episode 15)

I have a weird relationship with Glee. I cannot wait to see the latest episode when it's aired but I very rarely like them. This was a very special episode in a very bad way. Kurt gets bashed and we learn a lesson about homophobia. I'm not saying TV should not deal with social issues but it should not be done in this crass and clumsy way. Artie has a couple of lines where he is literally reciting statistics. Riveting television, for sure. To find a silver lining, I really liked Lea Michele in this episode, she shines when Rachel is mean and petty. And I think that the Mercedes/Sam thing is ridiculous. Again, it would be interesting to see how a show deals with an interracial couple and what that means today but not if it means that what we get is this. And also, where the hell is Santana?

MVP: Lea Michele as Rachel.

6. Community: "Basic Story (1)" (Season 5 Episode 12)

This season is ending! Time flies when you have fun and this season has been a lot of fun. I don't like to inflate Dan Harmon's ego but he really knows how to handle these characters. I don't care much for Jitta/Breff but the ending with the Dean, Abed and Annie so excited about a treasure was golden. What is going to happen to this show? Is it going to have a sixth season? As of now, I'd say it deserves it.

MVP: Alison Brie as Annie, like always.

5. Parks and Recreation: "Flu Season 2" (Season 6 Episode 19)

Parks and Recreation is going to have a 7th season, for sure. I was a little skeptical about it but since the news of Leslie's pregnancy I feel optimistic about it. I thought the three stories in this episode were very good and allowed everyone to shine. April being obnoxious and Donna laughing because of it is the stuff that dreams are made of.

MVP: Adam Scott as Ben, who plays drunk hilariously.

4. Grey's Anatomy: "I'm Winning" (Season 10 Episode 19)

Grey's Anatomy is possibly one of the most maligned shows on TV right now, but the truth is that the show has kept its quality for ten years and that is not easy. Sure, the show has changed but it is for the good. We are at a place right now where all the couples are consolidated. Even if they have problems, it is never in the shape of a conventional love triangle (even if Grey's Anatomy also mastered those). And thanks to that, this season has had one of the most interesting storylines of the year. Meredith and Cristina falling out due to their different approaches to their careers. And just when we thought they had put that behind them, Meredith admits that she's jealous of her friend. Really, there are very few better characters than Meredith Grey and it is a shame that Ellen Pompeo has never been nominated for an Emmy. On top of everything we get the sweetest Callizona scene. Great episode.

MVP: Sara Ramirez as Callie, on that machine that told her she was depressed.

3. Galerías Velvet: "La decisión de Alberto" (Season 1 Episode 8)

Galerías Velvet is a Spanish show that tries to mix Mad Men with Grey's Anatomy while keeping some of our idiosincrasies (there are two characters yelling all the time, that's Spain for you) and I am surprised to say that I enjoy it a lot. The lead actress (Paula Echevarría, in the picture) is not exactly great but she has her moments but, in general, the cast is great, mixing older actors with younger ones. The story is very soapy but very entertaining. And as a bonus, Miguel Ángel Silvestre is shirtless sometimes.

MVP: Miriam Giovanelli as Patricia, standing up for herself and facing the consequences.

2. Game of Thrones: "Two Swords" (Season 4 Episode 1)

We're back in Westeros! This is the first Game of Thrones episode that I've watched when it aired. I binged the first three seasons after the Red Wedding happened and everything. And it's so good to see that the quality is still top-notch. I'm going to watch the second episode in a couple of hours and I am dying! Regarding the picture I fear for Daenerys. She is trusting too much her power over the dragons and over the slaves. I hope she's not setting herself for betrayal (I have not read the books and I like to pretend they don't exist, by the way). I loved to see Brienne, and Tywin and Olenna... As my boyfriend said, this is the show that has the best handle on its ensemble. Everyone gets their scenes and if you miss someone it's always for a reason.

MVP: Maisie Williams as Arya. That last scene was so cool and so scary at the same time.

1. Hannibal: "Yakimono" (Season 2 Episode 7)

And the best episode of the week award goes to... Hannibal! Seriously, how good is this show? Will is released from the hospital/jail, Chilton is accused of being the reaper and Hannibal and I just want to slap Alana. Madds Mikelsen is hot, but don't be blind, girl! Plus, Hugh Dancy is hotter. I don't think Chilton is dead, as I've read some places. The bullet goes in his cheek and maybe that's not lethal? Not sure, but I hope he's not dead, I like the character.

MVP: Anna Chlumsky as Miriam Lass.

And that's it! Remember, reading is boring, TV rules!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Happy Endings at the Movies s01e01: Pilot

And we're off!

Happy Endings starts with an apparently happy ending: a wedding. But before Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) and Dave (Zachary Knighton) can say their I do's, a roller skater bursts in the church and convinces the bride to run away.

Now, I have never seen Julia Robert's Runaway Bride (Garry Marshall, 1999) but the connection seems pretty obvious. I would not mind seeing it at all since I adore Julia Roberts.

After this, Dave is pretending not to be devastated and listing his activities he says: "Taking online yoga, meeting great people, they're calling me Bodhi which is awesome because of Point Break, been watching that a lot. Totally holds up". I haven't seen Point Break (Kathryn Bigelow, 1991) either (I swear I have seen some movies) but in Spain they named it literally "They call him Bodhi". Nevertheless, Julia and Keanu, it doesn't get a lot more 90s than that... (and we can add some Winona for good measure)

And what happened to Lori Petty, right? Well, to give Dave an answer, her last credit in Imdb is from 2010, but she has a movie in pre-production AND she is the highest cast member according to Starmeter, so... Not great, Dave, not great.

Jane (Eliza Coupe) says that Dave is giving off a Howard Hughes vibe and I would like to take the opportunity to say that Leonardo DiCaprio (who played Hughes in The Aviator (Martin Scorsese, 2004)) hasn't yet deserved an Oscar so people can start chillaxing about that...

Alex eventually comes back, sporting "white-trash tourists braids" which earns her a comparison with Predator from Dave but it might be telling that the roller-skater was named Bo and this hair was worn by Bo Derek in 10 (Blake Edwards, 1979). And telling of what, you may ask. Well, of nothing, actually but I thought it was a nice connection.

The next reference is not from film, not at leat until 2015 because it is about the tv show Entourage. Alex compliments the hat of Dave's rebound girl, Jackie, and she says it's signed by Turtle from the show. He was played (and will be, in the film) by Jerry Ferrara. I just love Dave's reaction asking Alex: "What are you wearing that's so great?".

(Not related to any movie, but afterwards, we have Penny's (the wonderful Casey Wilson) first amahzing!)

During Penny's "26th" birthday party, Max (Adam Pally) is convinced that her date, Todd is actually gay so he comments how jewish men are "his jam, like that Shia LaBeouf" to which Todd responds that he prefers Megan Fox, which is simply ridiculous, even if you are a straight man. 

In the end Max gives Todd his number and suggests they can rent a movie together, maybe Kate and Leopold...
Then, we have to believe that Jackie, who was born supposedly in 1992 doesn't know who Michael Jordan is.  What was she doing in 1996, when this happened?

My own sister was born in 1994 and she was obsessed with Lola Bunny, so I don't buy it, people!

And, the last film references of the episode come at the very end when Max asks if he's really chubby. While Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) thinks he looks like a young Kathy Bates, Jane says it's as if Paul Rudd gave up.
And that's it! I'll try to be back next week with the second episode. Don't let young Kathy Bates kill you!

Happy Endings!

Inspired by The Film Experience's Mad Men at the Movies, I decided to do the same (that is, compiling movie references) with a different TV show: Happy Endings. The show, now unjustly cancelled started exactly three years ago today.

I'm really looking forward to dissecting every reference. It's going to be amahzing!

Friday, April 11, 2014

My week in movies

These are the movies I watched this past week. As you can see, it was Best Actress Nominee heavy.

Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

I am a huge Aronofsky fan, I would count Black Swan (2010) and The Fountain (2006) as two of my favorite movies ever. I really loved Noah but I did not find it as flawless as those other two films. The geeky parts, like the angels, are amazing and, in general, the actors are really good. The only things I disliked a bit were Ray Winstone's character and performance but it is a breathtaking movie that mixes art and spectacle very deftly. 4 and a half stars.

 Alice Adams (George Stevens, 1935)

My boyfriend David and I are trying to have seen every performance nominated for an Oscar in the lead actress category. He is well ahead of me but I have already seen over half of them. Katharine Hepburn was nominated for playing the title character in Alice Adams and she is really astounding, conveying hope, sadness and disappointment in the most beautiful ways possible. The film is a smart look at class complexes as she tries to pass her working family for an upper class one. The plot may sound like a silly comedy but it is actually a heartbreaking story. 4 and a half stars.

Hud (Martin Ritt, 1963)

Patricia Neal was not only nominated for Hud, she won the Oscar in 1963. Even though I think she should have gone supporting, it is undeniable that her performance is gold worthy. With her husky voice she perfectly shows how strong Alma is but how tired she is too. Her scenes with Newman, who is also excellent, are electric and when we last see her, getting on the bus, we know she'll keep fighting. It must have helped that the movie around her is as good as Hud is. It is so modern that in 1963 it had to be felt as a gamechanger. 5 stars.

Sugar & Spice (Francine McDougall, 2001)

This movie was not nominated for Best Actress but Marley Shelton would have been a worthier choice than the eventual winner of 2001, Halle Berry. This really short comedy is extremely funny not only because it is a very smart film but also because it is a very silly one. The moment where Shelton's Diane has to count how many guns they would need is already forever imprinted in my brain as is Melissa George's Cleo and her obsession with Conan O'Brien. 5 stars.

Baby Doll (Elia Kazan, 1956)

And finally, Carroll Baker's nomination for Baby Doll. The film is a Tennessee Williams adaptation (is there another writer who has lead so many actresses to Oscar nominations?) and it shows. It is steamy and sexy in that restricted and sweaty way that Williams does so well. Baker is really good too. She plays us as an audience as well as she plays the men in her life to do her bidding. If only she knew what she wanted, it might actually work for her. 4 stars.

And that's it! I'll try to be back on Sunday to post about my week on TV. See you!

Welcome to the neighbourhood!