Order of the Phoenix - I enjoyed it, but I get the impression that's because, for one, I went in looking forward to the performances of Gary Oldman and Imelda Staunton who did not disappoint and, for two, I haven't read any of the books. ;) From my Flist and from the people I saw the film with who have read the books there seemed to be a letdown. Even me, the non-expert, felt as if stuff was missing. It was hard to put my finger on what until someone at work explained to me what was cut from the book and why he felt (and I agreed) it shouldn't have been. Plus, it seemed odd that OotP is the longest book (I believe) and the shortest film.
Hairpsray - It's a joyful, bouncy, fun film, yet it also manages to subtly (how rare is that in films today?) convey a message about acceptance, both of others and oneself. James Marsden finally found the perfect role for himself and proved to be a more than capable singer. I've had issues with James since the 'X-Men' films, but that was largely due to him being horribly miscast (and, well, a little whining about Hugh Jackman becoming the star), but he showed a gift for musical comedy here. My favorite line was "Page thirty, paragraph five, asterix". It's funny in context, really. My main concern with the film though was John Travolta being cast as Edna. I'm neither a huge fan nor a detractor of John's, but I didn't think he'd be able to pull this transformation off. The guy proved he could dance and carry a tune in 'Grease', but playing a shy, insecure, obese woman? Well, I'll eat crow on this one because he was good. Actually, there were times I forgot I was watching John Travolta. I know Harvey Fierstein played Edna over the top in the Broadway adaption, and while that works on stage, it wouldn't have played well on the big screen. John and the director chose a more traditional, humanistic, and identifiable take on Edna and it worked great.
The one thing I really applaud the film for is shredding any vestige of staginess. The Producers failed miserably because everyone involved seem to think they could just transfer the stage production to the screen. It kept the audience confined to small spaces and forced us to endure Matthew Broderick's mugging and exaggerated behavior. Even Chicago and Dream Girls, two films I enjoyed, felt the need to make us aware we were watching a Broadway show, as if to remind us they started off somewhere better. Hairspray chose to embrace the film medium and it's possibilities. We were given a look at what all of what Baltimore would have been like in the 60's. And characters, as they transitioned from one setting to the next, smoothly and believably break out into song.
Oh, yeah, I also want to be Michelle Pfeiffer when I'm 50. Not only is she drop dead gorgeous, she nailed the role.
I don't know if it's just me and the mood I've been in or if I fell victim to critic over-hyping, but neither of the new series that premiered this week wowed me.
Saving Grace - Holly Hunter was great (though, Holly, please keep your clothes on, I don't need to see your bony back ever again) and the show handled the spiritual aspect better than the incomprehensible John from Cincinnati, but the supporting cast seemed like cliches at worst, two dimensional characters at best. Also, I'm not sure if introducing the Oklahoma City bombing into the mix was a good idea.
Damages - I don't feel it is as good as everyone says it is or, perhaps more precisely, wants it to be. Glenn Close was, as usual, very good, but this is a cake walk role for her. Ted Dansen, however, got to show more range and depth than he has in years. Rose Byrne I liked, but she faltered as Ellen. No supposedly brilliant law school graduate who is being courted by the top law firms in New York is going to be that naive.
I thought it was the fiance's sister that was dead, but was actually happy to discover it was the fiance. Man, they couldn't find anyone with more charisma or chemistry with Rose/Ellen? And was I the only one who thought they completely ripped off Alias with the fiance finding out the truth, being violently murdered and discovered in the bath tub?
I'm unsure how the series can continue beyond one season. Assuming Ellen buys herself a clue and learns the the full truth, could she really continue to work for Patty? If so, is this going to be another striking similarity to Alias with Ellen and Patty being the next Syd and Arvin?
The show went too far, imo, graying up Patty. I don't fault the writers for depicting Patty as being focused on winning the case rather than giving a damn about the people involved (hey, I work for lawyers ;), but having a dog slaughtered? Firing employees then secretly having them work for you? I was starting to feel sympathetic to Arthur who I thought was suppose to be the 'villian', but pyscho Patty may be.
I saw several people say that Anastasia Griffith (Katie) looks like her brother (Jamie Bamber for those not as well versed in Jamie Bamber trivia :), but, other than the striking blue eyes, I didn't think they looked at all alike. And she needs a few tips from her bro about burying the English accent. ;)
Rescue Me - I'm debating on whether to continue watching. The show has always been dark, but the gallows humor and the anger and cruelty always had an underlying reason. I might not have always like what I was seeing, such as the now infamous was it or wasn't it rape scene from last season, but I got, on some level, how the characters got to that point. Now, it's as if I'm just watching random bits of craziness and insensitivity strung together and I have no clue what it's suppose to be building towards. Janet is supposedly suffering from post partum depression (I wish I cared, but I hate Janet), yet all we have to go on is her hitting the bottle and staring at the TV in the past couple eps. Mike is still dealing with the loss of his mother, Sean burns down his house, and then ends up laughing with the guys about it. Geez guys, put yourself in Mike's place for a minute. And let's not forget the ongoing bizarro baby storyline. First off, if you don't give a baby a name within a certain amount of time, the state will do it for you. Second, the state also frowns on giving babies away, especially without both parents permission. I don't care how bad things seem, Tommy contemplating giving the child to Sheila is insane.
Burn Notice - Ok, this series I am really enjoying, more so each week. I was leery about them introducing Michael's brother Nate so early into the series last week, but in his second appearance I'm now hoping he'll be a frequent guest star if not a regular. I like the situation the writers have created - the highly trained spy having to work with his, for lack of a better term, loser brother because, hey, he's the one bringing him work. And Nate and Michael are very much the same person. Nate discovers while searching for the will that it's Michael with the longer record, but Michael ran away and started a new life while Nate chose to stay behind and do what he could for the family. It's the real reason Michael wants to stay away from his mother and brother, they're reminders of what might have been.
I do have two quibbles. They could lose the frozen images accompanied by the writing on the screen. I know Nate's the brother, thanks. My other annoyance is either Michael needs to start making more money on these jobs or they have to scale back on how much money he's fronting. Car rentals, fake explosives, and $300 bottles of wine on a job he's only going to be making $500 off of?
Balancing out the quibbles, Jeffrey Donovan in a suit, enjoying a good wine or walking away from an explosion, makes me think American James Bond. :)
I ended up at Nathan Fillion's MySpace page today. His latest entry confirms his (brief) return to One Life to Live and why he was thrilled to be part of the show again. I'm happy for actors (the good ones) who are able to move beyond soaps (I enjoy them, but they are limiting creatively), but I hate it when those same actors refuse to talk about where they started out. So reading Nathan refer to the OLtL people as "family" and expressing his joy at being able to act with them again brought a smile to my face. He's a class act.
. Karen Allen back is back! As soon as the rumors (still unconfirmed) started that Shia LaBeouf was playing Indy's son I assumed Marion was his mother. Looks like I'm right. :) Check out the aint-it-cool recap with pictures of the live announcement. I have to say Karen looks great and if her casting spares us seeing Kate Capshaw as Willie I'm thrilled.
Moonlight is giving me a headache and it won't premiere for months. David Greenwalt has left the series. I wonder if the soundstage has a revolving door?