Archive for October, 2008
Friday, October 31st, 2008
I couldn’t believe it. I had a giant box full of DVDs, and I was handing them out to the first 50 people who came to the Operation Go Home Ghostbusters event last night. And I was letting people pick and choose their own movies as they went through the box. I had a ton of films from Paramount, Peace Arch, First Run, and Alliance that I had requested because they were my favourite DVD releases of the year. And then I had about six really crappy TV series to make sure I made it to 50. An elderly lady came to look through my box, and she warned me ahead of time that I was dealing with someone who really, really knew her movies. Then she asked me what No Country For Old Men was about. She wasn’t familiar with Sunset Boulevard or Sabrina or Roman Holiday. In her defense, she was very, very familiar with Ghostbusters. And, I’m sure, Star Wars and Back To The Future.
Here’s the part I couldn’t believe. A young girl, probably about 16 years old, gravitated instantly to the box set of Season One of A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila. She went on and on and gushed about the show, and how totallyawesome Tila Tequila really was, while I looked at her in dumbfounded amazement. And then, she threw the Tila Tequila DVD back in the box. She had spotted something EVEN MORE totallyawesome. The three-disc box set of El Cid, the 1961 epic film starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren. And believe me when I say I’m not making this up – she says “oh, I love Anthony Mann!” and chooses El Cid over A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila. This little exchange made my whole day. And, in some way, ruined my whole life.
In the end, I would guess that we got a little more than a hundred people to come see Ghostbusters at the Bytowne last night, which should be a nice boost for Operation Go Home. The DVDs went over well – the few people who didn’t know it was going on were rather flabbergasted – “are you serious? I can just take one? Free?” And then they picked up No Country For Old Men or In Bruges and went home happy. Toward the end, people picked up Caroline in the City. And went home less happy. I think that good money was raised last night, and I will hopefully have a total by Monday. Big thanks, also, to Paramount Home Entertainment and Peace Arch Entertainment, both of whom provided some excellent DVDs for the giveaway.
Sunday, October 26th, 2008
Years: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Genre: Lesbian, TV series, Drama
Country: United States
Starring: Ossie Davis, Pam Grier, Sandra Bernhardt, Arianna Huffington, Jane Lynch, Melissa Rivers, Gloria Steinem, Eric Roberts, Camryn Manheim, Eric Mabius, Cybill Shepherd, Julian Sands, Kate Clinton, Elizabeth Keener, Alan Cumming, Daniela Sea
Eye candy: Nona Hendryx, Rachel Shelley, Sarah Shahi, Rosanna Arquette, Rose Rollins, Alicia Leigh Willis, Tammy Lynn Michaels, Anne Archer, Clementine Ford, Jennifer Beals, Kelly Lynch, Janina Gavankar, Erin Daniels, Annabella Sciorra, Karina Lombard, Kate French, Katherine Moennig, Malaya Rivera Drew, Lolita Davidovich, Leisha Hailey, Laurel Holloman, Kristanna Loken, Mia Kirshner, Marlee Matlin
Creator: Ilene Chaiken
Run time: 54 hours
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
Paramount Home Entertainment just sent me all five DVD seasons of The L Word. Five seasons. Of hot lesbians having hot lesbian sex. And something else too. Plot maybe? Dialogue? I don’t really remember. I remember Mia Kirshner, and Jennifer Beals, and Katherine Moennig, Leisha Hailey, Karina Lombard, Marlee Matlin, Annabella Sciorra and Kristanna Loken. And all the other gorgeous women who get naked and have sex with each other. The actual story arc of the first five seasons escapes me. And I get it. This series was created to appeal to the largest possible audience. Lesbian women who like lesbians, straight women who like soap opera drama and girl talk, gay men who like TV about gay culture, and straight men who like watching naked lesbians. But I feel as though a substantial amount of potential for the series is sacrificed in favour of showing incredibly hot naked women sleeping together.
The story arcs I would have liked to see a little more developed are those that deal with the discrimination faced by gay people. In the fifth season, which is being released October 28th by Paramount, there are a few moments that deal with this. There is a character, Tasha, who is being outed as a lesbian and being kicked out of the military. There is another character who reacts to homophobic statements made by a basketball player by outing him as a homosexual. But there is not enough of this stuff, which I find compelling. The rest of the series, and the season, involves lesbian women living in their own, seemingly exclusive, lesbian world, where there are no ugly lesbians, very few butch ones, and virtually no straight people at all. Now, I know a lot of lesbians, and they are, proportionately, about the same as the rest of the world. In that ten percent of them are hot, twenty percent are ugly, and seventy percent are somewhere in the middle.
So to create a world of lesbians in which only the hottest of the hot is one of two things. Either it’s pandering to the heterosexual males who enjoy watching lesbian sex, or it’s just television, where only hot people get roles. Breaking this mold, at least a little, are Cybill Shepherd and Pam Grier, who are not exactly ugly, but they are in their late fifties.
The fifth season is similar to the other four, in that there are soap opera-style relationship troubles, and a lot of hot naked women having sex. In this imaginary lesbian world, it seems that everyone is willing to have sex with just about anyone else. Which means that if you have watched the entire five seasons, you are have seen almost every character on the show hook up with almost every other character, at one point or another. Just about every fantasy men have about two women together is played out, including VIP room threesomes, “promiscuous, debauched lesbians” (in the words of Cybill Shepherd) and even prison sex. Mia Kirschner (Jenny) is still the hottest girl on the show, but now she is also the most irritating. She has written a book, and it’s being made into a movie, and Jenny is the director. She becomes self-involved, and cartoonish with her Hollywood giant ego. Every time she’s on the screen in this season, she isn’t acting so much as purposely setting out to irritate the viewers.
And so, it all comes back to the hot chicks who get naked and sleep with each other. In this season, there are some new ones joining the cast. Elizabeth Keener, as the owner of a new lesbian bar in town, and Alicia Leigh Willis, a gorgeous actress who plays Keener’s lover. The best scenes are between Kirschner and Kate French, who plays the star actress in Jenny’s movie, including a truly bonkers oil wrestling match. There is a heated rivalry between Pam Grier’s bar and the one owned by Keener. The movie becomes a big central part of the season as well. Other than that, I can’t remember if anything else happened. There was too much lesbian sex going on.
Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
I thought appearing in a locally-produced short film would be good for some fun and a laugh or two. And the opportunity to brag about what a big movie star I was, for at least two weeks. I now realize that it was so much more than that! Matt West’s short film, The Funeral…Again, starred Dave Templin, me, Trish Anthoine, Colin Boettcher, Mary-Jane Chisolm, Michael Dobbin, Tonya Dodds, Sarah Faloon, Peter Gindl, Barbara Gray, Warren Meredith, Richard Nash, Bruce Nicol, Matthew Peat, Zak Pike, Alain St. Amour, Anthony Stechyson, and Matthew Whitehead. Do I still have a cast list? No. Do I just remember everyone’s name? No. I got this list off www.imdb.com. The Funeral…Again is listed on imdb, the Internet Movie Database. Which I thought was pretty cool. I discovered this when I went to this site: http://oracleofbacon.org/, and typed in my own name. And I AM indeed six degrees away from Kevin Bacon! Actually, thanks to producer Michael Dobbin, and his involvement in the film Stolen Heart, I am actually four degrees away from my acting hero, Steven Seagal!
Here’s how it works. I was in The Funeral…Again, where Michael Dobbin played a newspaper editor. Mr. Dobbin played a state trooper in the 1998 movie Stolen Heart, which starred a woman named Lisa Ryder, who appeared in the totally under-rated serial-killer-in-space movie, Jason X. Also starring in that overlooked horror classic was a guy named Thomas Seniuk, who appeared as a secret service agent in the movie Exit Wounds, starring…Steven Seagal! I am FOUR DEGREES away from Steven Seagal! I’m SO printing up this list and putting it on my wall. I’m also four degrees away from Eliza Dushku, Famke Janssen, Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank, and Charlize Theron. I tried to stump this thing with some old-school actors. I’m four degrees away from Peter Lorre, James Cagney, James Dean, even the enigmatic Terrence Malick. It took five steps to get from me to Ed Wood. Which leads me to believe that there aren’t nearly enough people in the movie business.
Why, you might ask, is a tiny little short film from Ottawa listed on the Internet Movie Database? Well, because that tinly little short film is now an award-winning tiny little short film. Winner of the “Best Canadian Short” at the Prince Edward Island International Film Festival in Charlottetown! Way to go Matt – here’s the press release: http://www.qrpictures.com/news/releases/Funeral_PEI.pdf I’m pleased Matt won the award, and I’m pleased he has been able to show it at film festivals around the world. But I am of course MOST pleased that I am now four degrees from Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Steven Seagal!
Tuesday, October 7th, 2008
On October 30th, Cyincal Cinema is presenting Ghostbusters, at the Bytowne Cinema, at 9:30, to raise funds for Operation Go Home, a terrific organization that helps get street kids off the streets here in Ottawa. They are a non-profit group who receive no government funding, and so all the money they raise over the course of the year comes from events such as this one. Last season we presented The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with tremendous success. Tickets for this event will be 10 dollars. Either at the door, or in advance at the Operation Go Home building downtown. For more information on OGH, click here:
There will be free DVDs given away to the first 50 people in line at the showing. For a list of DVDs that will be up for grabs, go to the new section on the side of the page called “Ghostbusters”. It will contain a constantly updated list of the DVDs I will be giving away, the movies I feel are the best ones of the past year.
Monday, October 6th, 2008
When I brought home Sex And The City on DVD, my girlfriend said “oh, cool”. When I brought home The Visitor, she said “will that make me cry?” and decided not to watch it. And when I brought home The Go-Getter, she said “why do you watch this crap?” (The Go-Getter, incidentally, was not crap – it was very good.) But when I brought home Meerkat Manor: Season Two, she said “oh my God, YAY!” I’m not even joking. And ten minutes later, we were watching the first episode of the second season. And seven hours after that, we were watching the final episode of the second season. Because Meerkat Manor is, really, that compelling. Alliance Films releases season two on October 7th, and it is well worth picking up.
Now, I may just be a morbid guy. Or perhaps I am cruel and mean-spirited. But when I watch nature documentaries, like Meerkat Manor, I want to see animals eat other animals. That’s just what I enjoy watching. And aside from the dominant meerkat, Flower, inexplicably attacking a bird, we see very little of it. There are hard-fought battles between meerkat tribes, battles that leave meerkats dead, and often the babies as well. One of the meerkat babies gets eaten by a goshawk. But we don’t get to see that. The program is all about the “real life and death” events in the Kalahari, but we don’t get to see the cool stuff. I guess it’s a way to keep the series PG-rated. There is even a scene where the group of meerkats surrounds a cobra, keeping it at bay before they finally abandon it to it’s fate as a snake-eating eagle circles overhead. So…what happened to the snake? Did it get eaten? We never find out. Come one Animal Planet. At least show a snake getting eaten.
Despite the fact that the truly violent parts of the show are edited out, this program is still ridiculously compelling. It contains all the cliffhangers and the emotional moments you would associate with soap operas. Only instead of terribly attractive awful actors, this one stars tiny little cute meerkats. My girlfriend is right. Yay!
Monday, October 6th, 2008
Genre: TV series, Spy, Drama
Country: United States
Starring: Greg Morris, Peter Lupus, Bob Johnson, Peter Graves, Leonard Nimoy, Sam Elliott, Lesley Ann Warren
Guest stars: Dana Elcar, Sal Mineo, Anthony Zerbe, George Sanders
Creator: Bruce Geller
Run time: 20 hours plus
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
Related reviews: TV sets: Action Packed, Mission: Impossible Season Six, Mission: Impossible Season Four
I enjoyed Season Four of Mission: Impossible, certainly more than I did those three crappy Tom Cruise movies. Paramount Home Entertainment is releasing Season Five on DVD Tuesday, October 7th, and it’s even better. The main reason it’s better is because they have added a hot chick. Now, normally that wouldn’t change the quality of a show, except to make it worse. The addition of a hot chick normally (these days anyway) means that the writers and producers feel the show has jumped the shark, but they can hang on for a few more years simply by providing their weirdo viewers with some eye candy.
But when it came to Season Five of Mission: Impossible, this was actually a good move. The addition of Lesley Ann Warren as Dana Lambert was terrific. She provided the team with something it had been lacking – instead of simply using a bunch of gadgets to set up their targets, they began using actual people and deception a lot more. Dana was able to seduce the people who needed seducing, and get close to the men who were the targets of the team. In a bizarre way, this was actually more realistic spy stuff.
Also great in Season Five is Sam Elliott, one of the great gravelly-voiced, made-for-westerns actors in the world. He comes and goes, and isn’t in every episode, but his role just adds a little more oomph to a series that already has plenty. The fourth season was good, the fifth is great.