Archive | October, 2011

When Leading Men Gain Weight: is Nathan Fillion pregnant?

30 Oct

Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle in Season 1

I’ve been thinking about something a lot lately as I watch one of my favorite tv shows, Castle. Has Nathan Fillion gained weight? And I know that it not the nicest thing to think out loud, here on my blog, but I notice if any actress gains weight, she is accused of pregnancies or eating disorders. And while, yes men can have eating disorders, I can’t actually ask:  Is Nathan Fillion pregnant? Or maybe I can.  I am going out on a limb and observing: he’s gained a little weight. Now, as I said earlier, I know that isn’t nice to say. But I’m saying it as someone who has gained weight and lost weight and gained weight and lost weight at least a few times in my adult life. And yes, that is what happens to most human beings, they gain weight when they are stressed then lose it when they find an even more stressful situation. Oh yes, there is eating right and exercise as well but sometimes those are boring. But here’s the thing: when you’re an actor and you’re being paid to look good, isn’t that really part of the job? If someone wanted to pay me to be on a TV show, you bet your ass I’d being exercising and eating (mostly) right. Because at the wrong angles and with bad lighting I think the camera can add more than 10 pounds.

Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle in Season 5

I just hate to see when my favorite TV stars let themselves go a little.  Because part of the reason I tune in is to see them looking good.  You wouldn’t expect a porn star to show up without her Brazilian wax.  And no, I am not comparing TV stars to porn stars.  I guess I expect my favorite show characters to consistently look great.   Because they get paid a lot of money to look great.  If they were CFOs they could be short, dumpy and frumpled and still do their jobs.  But if you are supposed to be sexy and dashing in a show, and women are supposed to fall at your feet, then you’d probably better look your best.  Unless they want to incorporate Castle’s eating into the narrative.  Perhaps he’s depressed that Beckett has not responded properly to his declaration of love (which we all know she hasn’t).   Or maybe he’s gotten so comfortable with her, he feels like he’s in some defacto marriage where both parties tend to gain a few pounds after they get married.  But she doesn’t seem to be gaining weight.

When Marlon Brando looked good

So, what’s going on with Richard Castle/Nathan Fillion?  I’d hate to see him go the way of Marlon Brando.  Because I am fairly certain that is the road Brad Pitt is traveling down.  As is Leonardo DiCaprio.  And while I’m on this tangent, I’ve got to say:  Robert Redford:  what the hell?  You might have looked great in the 1970s but by the late 1980s, going natural was very disappointing for even young female fans.  You might call me superficial.  Yes, I am when it comes to actors that start out looking great.  And while I honestly don’t expect everyone to go out and get plastic surgery or their stomachs stapled, if you’re paid loads of money to look your best every week for part of the year, I do expect that.

When Marlon Brando didn't look so good

Revenge: Episode 6 “Intrigue” review

30 Oct

Nobody likes it when the paid muscle starts thinking for himself and that’s what Frank (Max Martini) has been doing for a while on Revenge. It doesn’t help when he’s also banging the boss’s wife.  Then when he goes rogue, everyone’s in trouble.

SPOILER ALERT:

This is actually the first episode where it feels as if the show has made a misstep.  And that is with the Frank character.  Yes, obviously the drama and tension must be upped as we plod along this season and there are 22 episodes so something has to happen.  I’ll admit I was surprised that Lydia (Amber Valletta) managed to survive the fall and is now in a coma.  I would have preferred they just killed her off.  But I suppose we will now have to go through some ridiculous stereotypical narrative where Emily and the audience will wonder the following:  will she or won’t she wake up?  If she wakes up, will she remember?  If she wakes up and doesn’t remember, when will she regain her memory?  Because they always regain their memories.  I hoped for a bit more from the show.  Maybe it will surprise me.  I hope so.  But back to Frank and the misstep.

Frank determines through his own rogue investigation that Nolan (Gabriel Mann) went to Lydia’s apartment and he must have gotten ahold of the surveillance footage that incriminated him (which is a correct assumption).  What I don’t buy is the pat way in which, first of all, Emily (Emily VanCamp) and Nolan decide to set Frank up for Lydia’s fall (even though it was his fault).  The anonymous email to Conrad (Henry Czerny) was so uninspired.  And… we have seen Frank in flashbacks before but a more personal one against Emily/Amanda would have been more inspired.  Then how Frank corners Nolan at the 4th of July party and tries to shoot him in the kneecaps at the pool house.  It just seems – unprofessional.  And obvious.  Even more unbelievable is Nolan’s reaction.  That he tells Emily she’s on her own.  The guy has stalked her, broken into everything to keep an eye on her and the first sign of danger and he’s running.  I think his character would get angry then be even more annoyed that some hired muscle was smarter than him.  Not go running home with his tail between his legs.

Also, I’m beginning to wonder about Emily’s character.  She sleeps with Daniel (Joshua Bowman) and seems to care about him but we can see she’s also attracted to Jack (Nick Wechsler).  I have a hard time believing that they would not have at least kissed on the jetty when he declared his feelings for her.  The whole scene felt like a massive wimp out from everyone involved.  Yes I see that she cares and that’s why she can’t act but I think he would have tried to kiss her.  He was going for broke.  No guy, or I should say, American guy would take it that far and not go for at least one kiss.

Finally, Tyler (Ashton Holmes).  I knew a pathological liar once.  She was good but her stories became so outlandish it was easy to catch her.  Tyler’s are worse.  I’m having a hard time believing Dan wouldn’t question him at this point.  Or Ashley (Ashley Madekwe).  These people are supposed to be sophisticated.  Not a bunch of idiots.  When he bashes his head against the post to implicate Dan, it’s essentially laughable and I have a hard time believing Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) can’t detect his bullshit.

I hope this episode doesn’t mark a turning point in the series where everything just becomes a convenient plot point.  Because that would be extremely disappointing.

Dexter: “A Horse of a Different Color” Review

28 Oct

The ratings seem to go up whenever John Dahl directs an episode of Dexter. I believe that is because John Dahl understands the underlying, or in this case, overt themes of darkness in any noir work. And Dexter is most certainly TV Noir. It’s a police procedural, melodrama and thriller rolled into one.  If you aren’t aware who John Dahl is, just go to IMDB or Netflix.  Watch Red Rock West and The Last Seduction for some great neo-noir.  He worked much more in indie film in the 1990s and has established himself as a director for cable dramas including Dexter, True Blood, Californication and Justified to name a few.  He even slums on the networks and has directed a few episodes of The Vampire Diaries and Hellcats.

And in Dexter we are at once going into very dark places and ironically, the light.  When I say the light, I mean religion and in this week’s episode, Brother Sam (Mos Def) discusses religion and light with Dexter (Michael C. Hall).  So much so that Dexter “kind of prays” (SPOILER ALERT) when Harrison is rushed into emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix.  Yes he pulls through.  And Dexter is beginning to wonder about a higher power, which now is starting to intrigue me because if one believes in God, then how can one be an effective and guiltless serial killer?  This however, does not really serve to  make the show a thriller.  Instead it slows down the narrative, and although Brother Sam’s speech about unwittingly helping his father kill a man and then realizing he no longer wanted to kill is compelling, the whole story about Harrison’s burst appendix, surgery and Dexter’s faith feels somewhat out of place in the story.  Yes, the scene at the Nescafe machine is clever.  It’s just that I’m not positive regular Dexter fans are going to want to get this philosophical about the character.  Honestly, I tune in for the twisted killing.  But I also understand that Dexter’s character needs to evolve or the show gets old.

Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) is evolving in her new position.  She does a stilted and embarrassing job at her first press conference but by swearing on camera, comes off as sincere with a no nonsense attitude that manages to annoy LaGuerta (Lauren Velez) who was hoping she’d screw up.  Her new recruit, Mike (Billy Brown), gives her some fashion advice that helps her but oversteps when he chastises her swearing.  He adds a slightly more serious air to the Miami Metro team, especially when Batista (David Zayas) and Quinn (Desmond Harrington) get stoned in his Trans Am.  Yes it was a fun scene but I didn’t really see the point.  It didn’t screw up their investigation and we didn’t really learn anything new about the characters (I know I wasn’t surprised they’d light up on duty) so I felt like this was a wasted moment in the narrative.

Travis (Colin Hanks) gets lucky but the woman he sleeps with ends up as a sacrifice because Professor Gellar (Edward James Olmos) is angry that Travis had sex.  I won’t even begin to explain how she dies.  It’s brutal and definitely worth watching but it’s the final scene of the episode.  All I have to say is if I were that Miami PD officer who tripped the wire, I would feel guilty for the rest of my life.  In the final shot, Dexter spots Travis in the crowd of people watching the crime scene.  I guess the hunt is on.

Person of Interest review: It could be so much more compelling

26 Oct

I’ve been hesitating to write about Person of Interest since its Fall premiere a month ago.  I like the premise of the show:  Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson), a mysterious billionaire, created a computer program that can predict the identity of people connected to violent crimes that will take place in the future.  The problem with the program is that it can’t identify whether the person will be the victim or the criminal.  Mr. Finch hires John Reese (Jim Caviezel), a former Green Beret and CIA officer,  and in the pilot, a homeless man who is attacked on the subway, who is presumed dead, to help stop the crimes from taking place.

J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan bring a great deal of moody atmosphere to the show but something is missing.  I believe that is the point though.  Both Finch and Reese are shells of their former selves.  As we progress into the narrative of the show we get flashbacks (thankfully not very Lost-like), mostly of Reese and we witness the love that he lost.  While this should be poignant, for some reason, it is falling flat.  And while I can appreciate the creators wanting Finch to be super mysterious, it would be nice to start getting more of his past introduced into the storyline each week.  I can tell you that every week I debate whether or not I plan on watching this show.  Maybe Reese needs bring a bit more life into his performance.  I understand he’s gone through a great tragedy and he did have a breakdown but I’ve got to say, it’s kind of depressing to watch this show.  And I honestly don’t need any help from television to get depressed.  I can do a great job of that on my own!  So, CBS executives, Jonathan Nolan and J.J. Abrams, I realize this is supposed to be a thriller, but could it please be a bit more upbeat?  Could there be some hope?  Because at the end of every episode, even when Reese does his amazing capturing and disabling of criminals, I feel like some of these moments have a bit of humor in them but I can’t laugh.  I believe it’s the tone.  Maybe what I’m trying to say is there any way it could be just a tiny bit… lighter?  I know it’s not Castle but it isn’t Inspector Morse either.  And even Inspector Morse had a laugh sometimes.

Revenge: “Guilt” Episode 5 Review

25 Oct

SPOILER ALERT:

In true noir fashion, this episode of Revenge opens as Lydia (Amber Valletta) plummets to her death from her rooftop landing and promptly dying on top of a taxi cab.  I almost felt bad for her until we flashback to the previous 48 hours.

Frank (Max Martini) informs Victoria (Madeleine Stowe)  that not only did Conrad (Henry Czerny) spend the night in the city — with Lydia but he has a receipt for the $10 million Conrad used to pay her off.  Let’s just say Victoria is less than pleased with this turn of events.

In order to stay in Victoria’s good graces, Ashley (Ashley Madekwe) takes Emily’s (Emily VanCamp) advice and manages to get the Open Arms Charity to honor Victoria’s efforts for the victims of the flight that died as a result of the terrorist bombing that was financed through Conrad’s money laundering.  It’s nice to see even a heartless bitch can sometimes feel a bit of guilt.

Nolan (Gabriel Mann) pays a visit to Emily so he can plant a camera in the house and spy on her.  When Lydia later visits Emily to threaten her and demand the house back, she touches the hidden camera/whale figurine so Emily includes it in a box she packs (which contains documents that will frame Lydia as the culprit for the attack on Dr. Banks and the DVD expose last episode) and sends it off to Lydia.  The whale ends up at Lydia’s apartment in time to capture the subsequent drama that will be the final day of her life.

Tyler (Ashton Holmes) informs Dan (Joshua Bowman) that his dad has been sleeping with Lydia.  Dan decides he doesn’t want to work for his dad so his dad cuts him off.  There goes $100 million but what’s money when you are young and have um, integrity?  Dan promptly asks Jack (Nick Wechsler) for the bartender position that I’m sure will be his by the next episode.  Finally Dan talks to Emily and they clear up the miscommunication Tyler deliberately caused.  They end up sleeping together at the end of the episode.

In the meantime, Frank pushes Lydia off the balcony then Nolan shows up later to intercept a fax that she was supposed to receive naming Emily as Amanda Clarke who served as a waitress so she could spy on Lydia and Victoria years before.  Nolan grabs his whale camera, any incriminating evidence regarding Emily/Amanda then rushes to his place in time to witness Lydia’s murder on camera.  I wonder if anyone else noticed how many things Nolan touched before he left the apartment.  I actually feel bad for him.

Ringer: “The Poor Kids Do It Everyday” Episode 6 Review

22 Oct

SPOILER ALERT:
Things aren’t looking so hot for Gemma (Tara Summers). She’s disappeared and in the opening of this week’s episode, Henry (Kristoffer Polaha) feverishly cleans all the blood off the walls and the broken pottery off the floor. Then he ditches her car at the JFK long term parking lot.  Yes, he looks guilty.  Later, he and Bridget as Siobhan “talk” more than once (he even breaks into her house with a key she gave him) and he swears he covered everything up to protect her since he believes she did something to Gemma.  Bridget manages to get Henry to tell her where he got rid of the rags he used for the cleanup then promptly reports him to the police and plants her own thumb print on the pottery, to detract any suspicion from Siobhan.  Not sure how well this well work for Bridget if they actually decide to fingerprint Siobhan for any reason in the near future.

Juliet (Zoey Deutch) starts going to public school and people don’t like her because she’s rich.  A mean girl gets into a fight with her and young teacher, Mr. Carpenter (Jason DohringLogan Echolls from Veronica Mars) intercedes on her behalf to keep her from getting expelled her first day.  It looks like somebody is going to be hot for teacher by the end of this season.  Juliet also causes a personal crisis for Bridget when she surrenders her stash to her voluntarily.  Poor Bridget must call new hot sponsor, Charlie (Billy Miller) to help her through her, um, cravings.  He does.  Get your mind out of the gutter, he throws the stash away, problem solved.  For now.

Agent Machado (Nestor Carbonell) gets a search warrant for the strip club belonging to evil murderer mob guy and they don’t find Malcolm (Mike Colter), who has been mysteriously moved from his prison in the basement.  They don’t seem to kill him though because in previews, he appears to be alive.

Finally, we see a shot of Siobhan in Paris receiving a phone call that Gemma has been taken care of.  You’ve got to wonder who Siobhan has on her hit list for next week…

 

Dexter: Episode 3 “Smokey and the Bandit” Review

21 Oct

This week Dexter gets to meet one of his inspirations… or does he?  The team gets called to a homicide – a murdered prostitute with a chipped tooth.  Dexter (Michael C. Hall) recognizes this as a possible attack by the serial killer he kept clippings of when he was 13 – the tooth fairy.  But those attacks all took place in Portland, Oregon.  Could the tooth fairy have retired to Florida?

SPOILER ALERT:

Yes.  It is Dexter’s famed serial killer and he’s a crotchety old man named Walter Kenny (Ronny Cox) who might be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, who jerks off to porn magazines and is essentially a nuisance to everyone around him.  What upsets Dexter about Walter is that he was like a movie star or rock star to Dexter and he’s ended up in a retirement home with a lazy-boy chair and a television set in his living room, a view of the parking lot from his window, and his teeth trophies in a storage unit.  Dexter begins to think about life and what happens as we age.  What kind of life does he want?

In the meantime Deb (Jennifer Carpenter)  has a confidence crisis at work.  It appears as though most of her co-workers want to see her fail.  LaGuerta (Lauren Vélez) bosses her around.  Quinn (Desmond Harrington) undermines her authority and flirts with other women.  Yes he is hurt and Deb takes that into account.  Not even her new potential new hire believes she is a Lieutenant.  It would help if Deb dressed slightly more professional.  She’s not in the film business.

More tension of a sexual kind is brewing at the police station between Musaka (C.S. Lee) and his protegee-intern, Ryan (Brea Grant).  She’s a difficult one to figure out.  Is she actually attracted to Masuka or does she want to use him for access to death trophies like the Ice Truck Killer mannequin hand she steals at the end of the episode?  I’m sure her motives will not be pure.  Are anyone’s on Dexter?  Maybe Rita but look what happened to her.

Travis (Colin Hanks) and Professor Gellar (Edward James Olmos)  finally kill the good samaritan.  And the episode ends with their handy work which features the dead good samaritan chopped into pieces to fit onto mannequins and his body parts ride on horses down a street in Miami representing a religious tableaux of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  Kind of Brechtian street theater run amok.  So does anyone else think Dexter has gone over the edge with religion this season?  Because we have Dexter wondering about faith.  Brother Sam trying to show Dexter the way.   And… the crazy religious nuts.  Now perhaps the show’s writer/producers want to balance different religious views for us from non-believer (Dexter) to born again guy (Brother Sam) to religious fanatical nutters (Travis and Professor Gellar).  I don’t believe the fans like the overkill though, the ratings for Dexter have gone down consistently since its premiere three weeks ago.  I hope the show gets back on track soon.  I don’t think anyone believes Dexter will be getting baptized any time soon.

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