Saturday, July 31, 2010
To recap, Tim (Paul Rudd) is in line for a promotion. Although his good ideas got him to the door, what will take him through it is his ability to win a game his boss and several higher-ups (played by Bruce Greenwood, Ron Livingstone and Larry Wilmore) have prepared. Each member of the team brings an idiot to dinner, the one who brings the most idiotic idiot wins. In a twist of fate, Tim literally runs into Bruce (Steve Carell) an IRS worker who walked into the middle of the street to save a dead mouse. Tim’s found his idiot! His art gallery manager girlfriend Julie (Stephanie Szostak) objects, but Tim is committed to getting his promotion.
I was bored through the first half of this film, at one point, I almost dozed off. There are several sub-plots, one involving a sex-obsessed, self-indulgent artist Kieran (Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Concords) and another involving Tim’s crazy stalker (Lucy Punch). Although the bits with Kieran provided a couple of laughs both subplots had more fizzle than sizzle.
The movie almost came alive at the actual dinner. However, it could have went further and been a lot funnier. When Bruce’s mind-reading boss Therman (Zach Galifianakis) shows up as a dinner guest, we get a glimpse of how silly and absurd this film could have been. It wasn’t silly enough and as bad as this sounds, it wasn’t mean enough. If it’s a dinner for schmucks, there is an implied mockery and meanness that should have given the jokes an edginess that was missing. Director Jay Roach played nice and sentimental and it cost him.
This movie is a remake of a French classic. Many critics say Dinner for Schmucks doesn’t measure up to the original. I haven’t seen the original and I probably never will. I am judging this film exclusively on its own merits and as such, it just didn’t work.
I went into this movie hungry for laughs but I was served a cold, flavorless mess. I'm still hungry.
Friday, July 30, 2010
I can’t say I’m surprised that Ellen is gone. While I love her as a talk show host, she just didn’t make a good judge. I appreciated her humor but her ‘judging’ and her criticisms were never pointed enough. She was just ‘too nice.’
As far as Kara goes, fans never warmed to her but I thought she was okay. As a judge she brought some good constructive commentary to the contestants. Sure she was a bit of a cougar and she hung on Simon way too much but I just couldn’t hate her … especially when Randy is still there providing overall useless commentary.
Can I just say that I hope that put that dawg out to pasture too. He’s made his money. He’s gotten is taste of fame. He has another reality show. I wouldn’t be sad if they tossed him too.
Come to think of it, I would be positively elated if they got rid of Ryan Seacrest. He’s a terrible host. His tiffs with Simon throughout this past season were unnecessary. His interview skills and instincts are terrible. When Didi Benami teared up at the end of one performance, he continued to grill her about what made her cry (thinking of her best friend’s death). She didn’t want to talk about it and said so; but instead of respecting her wishes, he continued to badger her. Can someone say ‘awkward.’ I need him gone.
He’s all over the place with radio shows and guest spots here and there, he doesn’t need Idol and Idol definitely doesn’t need him.
Speaking of what else Idol doesn't ned ... It isn’t official as of this writing, but it looks as if Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler are probably going to be the next judges. Judging by the humongous flop that was her last album, Lopez could probably use this gig. However, that doesn’t mean I want to see her. She’s a DIVA. Yes, a diva in all caps!
Tyler seems kind of random to me. He’s definitely got the music experience but really, an Idol judge? Really?
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Jessica Simpson? I mean, she has the loopy factor that Idol's been missing since Paula Abdul, but at least Paula had a real career, first as a dancer and choreographer and then as a chart-topping pop star. Has JS ever had a really big hit musically? I hope they can do better.
In other Idol news, former Idol executive producer and current So You Think You Can Dance executive producer and judge, Nigel Lythgoe is thisclose to regaining his seat as Idol executive producer. In the past, he’s said that if it were up to him, he’d start completely over with the judges. That’s right. No Kara. No Randy. No Ellen. It could be a bit tricky to pull a clean sweep however, as both Randy and Ellen have more time on their contracts. Still, I could go with that as long as they didn’t try to do a ‘star-studded’ panel.
Some celeb names I’d like to see given some serious consideration:
Harry Connick Jr.: Did I mention I just love him to pieces? Anyway, he gave some strong, constructive feedback while he mentored and he’s also funny and witty.
Shania Twain: She was a good mentor a few seasons back and had a good chemistry with the other judges when she was there this past season as part of the audition shows.
David Foster: He’s a hitmaker and he’s not afraid to give a very honest, very informed opinion.
Ben Folds: He was a hit on college radio plus he’s a damn good musician. He also was a focused and direct judge on NBC’s a capella singing show, The Sing Off, over the holidays.
Although, I’ve named four people off the top of my head, I really prefer a three-judge panel. Four judges is just too much.
Anyway, the buzz is that the new panel of judges could be revealed as early as Monday!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
We were introduced to a bevy of 100 hopefuls who hoped to become one of 30 Master Chef contestants. The few that passed the auditions were given an apron to show that they made it.
We were treated to the flirty, the spastic, the arrogant. Of course, there were the obligatory sad stories. Tracy, a 42-year old physician, learned to cook from her mom who recently passed. Since her mother’s passing, cooking and recreating her mom’s recipes were her passion. All three judges loved her story and more importantly, they loved her Smothered Chicken With Grilled Brussels Sprouts. Then there was the young married father who put his culinary dreams on hold for the sake of his family. While I get the point of these stories, they bored me.
I was intrigued however by the two gentlemen who will be joining Ramsey in the judging. Chef Graham Elliot Bowles is a Chicago-based chef, who owns his own restaurant and has the distinction of being the youngest four star chef in any major U.S. City. He got that honor at the tender age of 27. He’s a ripe old 32 now. If we were to continue with the American Idol analogy, he’d be the Paula/Ellen of the group. In other words, he’s the nice one. Joe Bastianich is a restaurateur and wine maker with dozens of restaurants across the country. Surprisingly, is shaping up to be the Simon Cowell of the group, showing less mercy than Ramsey himself (who was actually pretty nice to the contestants).
Outside of just one cook, Mike, a server from California who made Duck Ssam With Orange Miso Sauce, most of the fare was very simple and basic – almost too simple and basic. Macaroni and cheese, ‘funeral potatoes” (creamy cheesy potato casserole) and catfish with pasta. Chris, who didn’t make the cut was a fan of cooking with beer and attempted to wow the judges with his beer cheese soup. It didn’t work.
I’m hoping the ones who make it through have more complex dishes in their arsenals.
I will stick it out through the audition shows however, because after they have chosen the top 30, I think that’s where the real fun will begin.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
As much as I love Gordy, who is another graduate of the British School of Assholatry. (Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan are other esteemed graduates), I cannot fathom why anyone would want to be on one of his shows. Listening to his ranting is great fun, but being on the receiving end has to be terrifying. How can you collect a thought or even hear yourself think, not to mention prepare food, when someone is screaming at you and hurling vicious insults.
Would an appearance on Hell’s Kitchen really do that much for a budding culinary career? The results have varied.
Season One: Michael Wray was supposed to get his own restaurant but was offered an opportunity to study under Ramsey for a year instead. It was a proposition he originally accepted but later declined. He’s now selling custom knives.
Season Two: Heather West was supposed to get a stake in a new Las Vegas eatery but that never happened. She ended up as a senior chef at Terra Rosa at the Red Rock Spa and Casino in Vegas. She stayed for a year. She was a sous chef on Hell’s Kitchen in Season Six and is now an executive chef at the Monterey Restaurant in Long Beach, NY.
Season Three: Rock Harper did become the head chef at Terra Verde as promised. Now, he’s the executive chef at Ben’s Next Door in Washington DC.
Season Four: Chrisitna Machamer is the senior sous chef under Ramsay at London in West Hollywood.
Season Five: Danny Veltri is working at Fornelletto’s at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City.
Season Six: Dave Levey was hired on as an employee of Araxi in British Columbia and not as the head chef. She stayed for a minute before moving back to Jersey.
Being featured on Kitchen Nightmares has not been a dream come true for most restaurants featured on the show. Most have gone out of business. Some blame Ramsey for the drastic
changes he made, but in his defense, restaurants have a high failure rate generally and these establishments were fledging to begin with.
No matter the result, watching Ramsey, for me anyway, is a guilty pleasure and one I will be indulging tonight with Hell’s Kitchen and the debut of Master Chef.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Shortly after the demise of L&O, NBC announced the latest in the Law and Order franchise, Law and Order: Los Angeles, affectionately called LOLA. I’ve been skeptical from the start. New York was such a part of Law & Order. It was more than just a setting, it was an integral part of the show and I just couldn’t see how it could be replaced, especially by Los Angeles, which just doesn’t seem to have the same ‘character’ as New York City.
Out of deference to the original, I was reluctant to watch LOLA, but two bits of casting news have made LOLA a lot more interesting. First of all, Skeet Ulrich, of Scream (the first one) and Jericho fame has been cast as one of the detectives. Most recently Alfred Molina (Doc Oct from Spiderman 2, and Raiders of the Lost Ark) has joined the cast as the Los Angeles Deputy DA, a role Sam Waterson had for years in the original and held by Linus Roche for the last few seasons.
Rumor has it that Holly Marie Combs (of Charmed and Pretty Little Liars) might be joining the cast as well.
Molina and Ulrich make for some compelling choices. As much as I object to LOLA on principle, I might have to watch and epi or two before I issue my final verdict.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I came late to the party for both shows but once I started watching them, I was immediately hooked. Before Breaking Bad, I knew Bryan Cranston as the lovable, loopy and hilarious dad from Malcolm in the Middle. His dramatic turn on BB is nothing short of revelatory. His character ,Walt, starts off as a mild-manner high school chemistry teacher who gets a diagnosis of terminal cancer with six months to live. Since he can’t leave much of a nest egg on a teacher’s salary, he uses his chemistry skills to start cooking meth. His transformation from meek and cautious high school teacher, to illegal druggist and even worse is a wonder to watch.
The third season wrapped up in May. So, this would be a great time to order the entire series on Netflix and get caught up.
Mad Men is all about ad men in the early sixties. Series creator Matthew Weiner has gone to great lengths to re-create the look and the feel of the era and it’s all built around the enigmatic Don Draper, a man who isn’t who he says he is, but is probably much better than the original. For the first three seasons, Don was stuck in a bad marriage and worked for a major ad agency. Things have changed in Season Four, which starts on Sunday. Now, Don is divorced and a key partner in a new rogue agency that he started with several co-workers at the end of Season Three. In interviews, Weiner says he is excited about all the changes in the Man Men world and all of the new possibilities. It should make for another great season.
It’s too late to do the Netflix thing, but go to amctv.com to review past seasons to get caught up.
The season starts this Sunday at 10 PM.
Here’s the trailer for season four: Mad Men
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Rookie Blue (ABC): Tried to sit through the first episode and barely made it. Cliched characters and tired plots bored me to death. And not a sexy one in the group. If you plan to bore me to tears, at least give me a little eye candy!
The Gates (ABC): I get it. Vampires and werewolves are HOT right now. Between the Twilight movies, HBO’s True Blood and The Vampire Diaries (CW), it seems that a lot more than freaks are coming out at night. So naturally, ABC wants to add to the mix with The Gates about a hapless couple who move into a quaint upper class neighborhood that is overrun with … wait for it … vampires and werewolves! Maybe it’s me, but the whole blood-sucking craze has passed me by and this is a passable show as well. I won’t be watching again.
Scoundrels (ABC): Yes, I’m still upset over the demise of Dirty Sexy Money but I thought this could be a fun entry into the campy, soapish tradition. I’ve actually watched it more than once. But what does it say when I’ve realized that I miss an episode and it’s no big deal. Right now, the show is pretty uneven and I’m hoping that it smooths out soon or this show with its family of grafters might end up canceled.
Yet, it’s not all bad. There are a few shows that I kinda, sorta like.
Memphis Beat (TNT): I’ve seen two episodes of Memphis Beat and there just might be life for Jason Lee after My Name Is Earl. Lee is Memphis likable detective Dwight Hendricks and plays nicely off of his boss played by Alfre Woodward. The show works hard on creating a quirky and affable Southern charm (even though it’s shot in New Orleans and not Memphis).
Lie to Me (FOX): I tune in once a week to see Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) and his band of human lie detectors get to the why behind the lie. Is it the ultimate in high drama? Goodness sake, no, but it does make for an entertaining hour of television.
The Good Guys (FOX): Bradley Whitford makes this show as the smarmy 70’s era throwback detective complete with vintage car and vintage mustache. Colin Hanks (Tom’s son) plays the straight man, albeit a bit too straight for my taste. However, The Good Guys is good for a good time.
Unbelievably, I’ve never gotten into a lot of good cable shows like Burn Notice or The Closer. Although I'm counting down the days to the fourth season of Mad Men!
So what are you watching and what would you recommend?
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the master of a new type of corporate espionage. He and his crew (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao) go into people's dreams and by mining their subconscious are able to steal their secrets, a process called extraction. However, a client, Saito (Ken Watanabe) asks them to do the opposite, instead of taking thoughts out of the victims subconscious he wants to plant an idea into a victims head, a process called inception.
Most of the team balks at the idea, but Cobb says it is not only possible but that he's done it before. So, the team, including their new dreamscape architect Ariadne (Ellen Page) agree to go for it. An energy mogul Robert Fischer (Pete Postelwaite) has just died. Saito wants to plant the idea to break up his father's holdings into the mind of Fischer's only son and heir, Robert Jr. (Cillian Murphy).
Most of the movie is a dizzying mix of dreams, dreams within dreams, and dreams within dreams within dreams. The crew must navigate the dreams, the inhabitants of the dreams, a difficult father-son relationship and the specter of Cobb's beautiful and complicated dead wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard) who shows up at the worst times and usually on the wrong side.
Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Memento) does not disappoint directing a visually stunning, mind-bending actioner that he also penned. Just like a dream, he never lets us get our footing. The audience is kept off-kilter throughout the movie and all the way through to the end.
DiCaprio, Page and Cotillard are particularly game, giving depth, meaning and realism to a movie steeped in surrealism. The performances keep the movie grounded. I would be lying if I said I knew 100% of what was going on 100% of the time in this movie. It's a testament to the film that I stayed along for the ride even though, at times, I was scratching my head.
Like Avatar, this movie was pure eye-candy but unlike that movie, this one measured up as far as acting and story. Inception is definitely a movie to be seen in a theatre, and in IMAX if possible. Make some time afterwards to discuss the final scene!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Inception (July 16): With Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) directing and some of the visuals I've seen in the trailer, I have to say, I’m intrigued. However, I wanted to slap the taste out of Leonardo DiCaprio’s mouth for making me sit through the dreck that was Shutter Island. Thomas has seen it and he's described it as “confusing but really good,” and that sort of restored my faith in this ‘thriller’ – if it doesn’t deliver, I might have to slap Thomas (just joking ... not really).
Salt (July 23): Angelina Jolie as a spy who is accused of working for the Russians just looks good. It looks like it’s going to be a smart action-thriller and I’m all about smart action thrillers.
Dinner for Shmucks (July 23) : I’m also about silly comedies that make me laugh out loud. Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, and Zach Galifianakis could be on to something here. Of course, with a cast like that I expect to laugh loud and often anything else would be a disappointment.
The Other Guys (August 6): Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg play the second-string cop couple to a pair of hot shots played by Samuel L. Jackson and Dewayne "The Rock" Johnson.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (August 13): As an Arrested Development fan, Michael Cera will always have a place in my heart. Watching him battle his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes should be fun (at least I hope).
The Expendables (August 13): Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Li, a dream team of action stars get together for what you know has to be ‘one last score’ as a team of mercenaries out to overthrow a Latin American government … not just a bad guy but an entire government!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Over the past few years, the man known for playing Mad Max has gone just plain mad. It was bad enough when he went on an Anti-Semitic and sexist tirade when he was pulled over for drunk driving a few years ago. Now, he’s apparently gone off the deep end over his baby mama Oksana Grigorieva and the custody fight over their daughter.
In the eight-minute rant released by Radar Online, Gibson seethes with anger, yelling, making threats, hoping she gets raped by niggers and telling him she should just smile and ‘blow’ him. In the first tape (there are three so far), he said “You look like a fucking bitch in heat. And if you get raped by a pack of niggers it will be your fault. Alright? Because you provoked it.”
When she asks him what kind of man would hit a woman while holding his child and who would break two of her teeth, he responded with a culpable “You deserved it.”
The man is clearly unhinged — hate-filled, abusive, and out of his mind in over the top anger.
Any of the massive love he got from Passion of the Christ is long gone. Now, he’s just an embarrassment. Acting, directing or producing anything in Hollywood is not even a realistic option for Gibson now. He’s offended anyone who is anyone in that town. I don’t even think the Christian population wants him (After all, he did divorce his wife of almost 30 years and mother of eight of his children to take up with Grigorieva the woman he had an affair and a child with and never married).
I wonder what Danny Glover has to say about all this. Did Murtaugh think that Riggs could be this much of a basket case?
Gibson's Racist Rant
Gibson's Angry Long Rant
Another Crazed Rant
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Thomas and I shared a passion for movies and our goal was to write real reviews for real people. We realized that not every film was out to win an Oscar, so we rated movies based on their ability to deliver. If it was a comedy, did it deliver loads of laughs? Did the thriller thrill? Did the horror movie scare the bejesus out of us? You get the picture.
But life intervened at at the end of 2008, I made the very difficult decision to shut DivaSoulSista down. However, I've missed it. I've missed it a lot. You see, it was my baby, I even designed the logo. So I'm resurrecting it, in a new way.
I will give movie reviews just like we did on DivaSoulSista but I'll also be including movie news, as well as my reviews of what I'm watching on TV as well and my thoughts on all things entertainment (or at least my thoughts on all things entertaining to me!).
It's a blog, so I'm looking forward to hearing your two cents as well.
This is going to be fun...