The House


Big Love

Growing up fundamentalist is a tricky balancing act, as the fundamentalist teenager constantly dances between new and potent urges (to have sex or to rebel against parents) and the way of life he or she has been taught, since childhood, is the one true way to eternal life. Try though the teen might, the dance can only end in one of the two camps. It's hard to stand in both. Either you give in to temptation and find yourself realizing there's more in Heaven and Earth than were dreamt of, or you give in to temptation and find yourself crippled with guilt, racing back to the comfort of what you have known your whole life.

In one of this season of Big Love's longest-simmering plotlines, Ben Henrickson (Douglas Smith, turning in his finest performance yet) is finally forced to choose between his way of life and his sexual relationship with his girlfriend, Brynn (Sarah Jones). This season of Big Love has been particularly skillful at illuminating the conflicts between creed and self (especially in the case of the Henrickson wives and teens), and the season's eighth episode, "Kingdom Come," written by Dustin Lance Black and directed by Daniel Attias, turns this overriding theme into a character-specific plotline as Ben struggles to find a way to reconcile both sides of his life.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: amanda seyfried, big love, bill paxton, chloƫ sevigny, daniel attias, Douglas Smith, dustin lance black, ginnifer goodwin, Harry Dean Stanton, jeanne tripplehorn, kingdom come, Matt Ross, recap, Sarah Jones


Quinoa a la Lynch

Quinoa

Watch the fuck out Rachael Ray, here comes Iron Chef David Lynch! One of the stranger extras on the upcoming two-disc DVD edition of Inland Empire is an ominously scored, black-and-white feature with the director cooking up a batch of quinoa (he calls it "keen-wa," but I say "kee-noh-uh"—though both are acceptable pronunciations), a high-protein goosefoot plant native to the Andes that isn't very popular outside Latin kitchens. The director, who doesn't appear to own a pair of oven mitts (hence the necessity to use a folded paper towel to grab onto the handle of his copper-lined pot, which he refers to as a pan), absurdly drags out the cooking of this rather rudimentary dish, at times focusing less on the actual ingredients (and how much to use) than on the journey to and fro his stove, refrigerator, and sink. The anecdote he relates to the camera, about a surreal encounter he had some 40 years ago with two different vendors in the former Yugoslavia, will blow your fucking mind, but if you're interested in having a Lynchian dinner this evening and the director's instructions to use "this much" of everything are impossible to wrap your head around, here is a less avant-garde guide with a few tweaks that will guarantee a 100% hippie-friendly eating experience.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: david lynch, inland empire, quinoa


John from Cincinnati

"To think that this place could be a setting for some building-up of the spirit."
– Barry Cunningham (Matt Winston)

"Congratulations on imitating a human being, Mr. Cunningham. You fucking faggot."
– The Announcer (David Milch)

That was most certainly the voice of the Creator taunting the fragile Barry Cunningham in the dilapidated barroom of the Snug Harbor Motel. Figures that Barry's momentary epiphany about his surroundings (which he parallels to a catbird seat anecdote about Daniel Frohman's Lyceum Theatre) would be so suddenly quashed by a sentiment from the void. Milch gives voice to the fears that hinder us all—there's a touch of the misanthrope in how his characters come off as puppets constantly in service to an unfathomable Divinity, but he likewise recognizes that, every now and again, we are capable of breaking through the programming, becoming, even if only for a moment, our tried and true selves.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: Austin Nichols, brian van holt, Chandra West, david milch, Dayton Callie, ed o'neill, Greyson Fletcher, hbo, his visit, john from cincinnati, matt maher, Matt Winston, Paul Ben Victor, recap


Doctor Who

Someday I wanna make a list of celebrities who've "admitted" to loving Doctor Who. The Brits on the list wouldn't be quite as impressive, because in a lot of ways, they're a given. Last week I met Joel McHale of E's The Soup and I don't recall how Who came up, but he immediately confessed rabid adoration for the show—especially the classic series (weird, huh?). He gave me permission to spread it out amongst the world, so that's what I'm doing. A quick look at Joel's IMDB page reveals that he's a mere 6 days younger than me. Maybe we went through the same teenage Who experiences? I wonder if some asshole on the school bus ever grabbed his novelization of "The Five Doctors" and waved it around, threatening to throw it out the window (as high school jock dickheads like to do)? This has nothing to do with "Daleks in Manhattan"—but the recap needs some padding since it's Part One of Two, and it seemed a more interesting intro than rehashing the finer details of those metallic bastards from Skaro.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: daleks in manhattan, doctor who, eric loren, helen raynor, miranda raison, recap, ryan carnes


The Simpsons Movie

Has there ever been a more what-you-see-is-what-you-get title than The Simpsons Movie? It's the last word that's the key: The brain trust behind the series (11 of its writers are credited with the screenplay) have emphasized theatrical presentation above all, even building a curtain-raising short (starring Itchy and Scratchy, natch) into the feature. The opening gimmick allows for a change in aspect ratio (from 1.85:1) to the Cinemascope range (2.35:1) that's probably the most effective use of such a trick since Galaxy Quest. From there on, there's seldom a scene that fails to make use of the wide canvas the creators have allowed themselves. The visual upgrade (among other things, the linework is cleaner and more fluid than it's ever been on the series) is one of the main reasons I'd strongly encourage anyone inclined to see the film to do so on its opening weekend with the largest crowd possible.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: the simpsons, the simpsons movie


Mad Men

AMC's press mailing of the Mad Men pilot included a note asking critics not to reveal Don Draper's "secret" to readers. Naturally, on my first viewing, I kept wondering what the heck the secret would be. Don's response when Roger Sterling asked him if he'd ever hired any Jews ("Not on my watch!") had me inclined to think Don was a member of the tribe who was "passing" as a WASP, and that may yet be the case given the mysterious origins that are referred to in the opening scene of "Ladies' Room" (the way he compares himself to Moses in the opening scene could certainly be construed as a hint in that direction). Of course, AMC was referring to Don being married with kids ("I saw that coming a hundred miles away," my ex-girlfriend said, and I probably should have as well), and the heavy emphasis on Betty Draper (January Jones) in the second episode reveals a good bit more about where the series is going.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: january jones, ladies' room, mad men, Michael Gladis, recap


The Host

Scott Wilson's deliciously hammy presence as the American captain in the opening scene indicates that Bong Joon-ho's The Host is, in the broadest sense, a politically charged diatribe against both American and Korean political cover-up machinations of misinformation. But that aspect is rather bland in comparison to what else the film has to offer. For, like any great monster movie, this isn't a film strictly about a monster (or, for that matter, the monstrous countries that spawned it), but about something else—like the significance of sustenance. That is, The Host is a movie chiefly concerned with food: who-how-where we get it from, what it is we choose to eat, and why we eat it at all.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: ah-sung ko, bong joon-ho, Du-na Bae, Kang-ho Song, scott wilson, the host


Peter Lorre

Recognizable to practically everyone by looks (short and stocky, with fried egg eyes set wide apart) and voice (purring, lightly accented, cutely ghoulish), Peter Lorre has lived on as various cartoon characters, such as Ren on Ren and Stimpy, and as a fondly remembered, idiosyncratic supporting player in Warner Brothers' films of the forties. In memory, he is always appealing to Humphrey Bogart for help ("You despise me, don't you?" he asks, in Casablanca) or hiding out in the capacious shadow of the unpredictable Sydney Greenstreet, dreaming of the Falcon and the heist that will bring a big payday. Lorre began spoofing himself quite early, and wound up having to play in a lot of junky projects, the fearsome promise of his early work forgotten.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: 5 for the day, beat the devil, fritz lang, m, mad love, peter lorre, stephen youngkin, the lost one, the man who knew too much, the matlese falcon


T.V. on TV: Damages

Damages

Damages is a fairly typical FX show. It's got the look of quality television down, and it has the ambiguous characters most other quality shows have. It's got a strong central performance from Glenn Close, and the plotting is so comprehensive and tight that it leaves you little room to breathe. But, at the same time, it feels a little shallow, as though there's nothing more going on in its head than being riotously entertaining and keeping the plot moving along. It's been compared to movie thrillers simply because of its labyrinthine plot, but if this were a movie, we would sigh at its convolutions and just long for something more straightforward, about real human beings. In short, Damages feels like a show that you should like more than you actually do.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: damages, glenn close, Rose Byrne, ted danson


Big Love

Big Love's seventh episode of its second season, "Good Guys and Bad Guys," written by series creators Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer and directed by Michael Lehmann (yes, the Heathers director), bounced back and forth between the series' best and worst impulses, often irritatingly. Even the scenes at Juniper Creek, often the series' Achilles' heel, bounced back and forth between very good and overstated and over-obvious. The war between the two sects of polygamists arrived as promised, and if it wasn't quite as bad as the audience might have feared, it didn't work entirely, either.

At least the episode crystallized the season as being the Ginnifer Goodwin show. The other actors have all turned in great performances from week to week, but Goodwin has taken her character, Margie, to new heights this year. From her adoring glances toward her mother during that awkward get-to-know-the-family-you-don't-know-is-my-family meal to her near meltdown when Nicki (Chloë Sevigny) outed the Henricksons as polygamists to Margie's mother, Goodwin took her meatiest script yet and knocked everything she was given out of the park. It's rare to have a show that has, effectively, four lead characters, but the one thing Big Love does better than just about anybody else is balancing those characters and their storylines. The show has subtly shown the selfishness of Bill (Bill Paxton), increased Barb's (Jeanne Tripplehorn) claustrophobia, redeemed Nicki's shrewish character from the first season and given Margie more to do, all without losing track of the other leads (or the Henrickson children).

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: big love, bill paxton, Bonnie Bedelia, chloƫ sevigny, ginnifer goodwin, good guys and bad guys, Grace Zabriskie, Harry Dean Stanton, jeanne tripplehorn, joel mckinnon miller, mark v. olsen, Matt Ross, Melora Hardin, Michael Lehmann, recap, Shawn Doyle, will scheffer







The HouseCategories



The HouseThe Attic

More »



Site by  Docent Solutions