Monday, December 31, 2007

Hot Guy Monday, Year End French Edition: Louis Garrel

I first discovered Louis Garrel in The Dreamers, a film that I love which just happens to be chock full of male nudity. Believe it or not the two facts are unrelated, I honestly love the movie so much that if there were no nudity, that wouldn't change. I even don't mind that the plot point of his character having sex with Michael Pitt's character was removed. Anyway, I digress. I saw his latest movie Chansons D'Amour yesterday and it reminded me of both how ridiculously beautiful he is and also of how fantastically talented he is.

Oddly, in stills he is about 70% less hot, something about the way he moves and speaks really ratchets up the sexy. But still, these pics are teribly easy on the eye and a nice way to bid 2007 a fond farewell.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Hot Guy Monday: David Boreanaz

It's Christmas so I bring you an Angel. Ok, horrible puns aside, I do love me some David Boreanaz. I thought he was hot as all get out on Buffy, I loved him on Angel and currently he is the best thing about the surprisingly brilliant and consistently strong Bones. His chemistry with Emily Deschanel is off the chart and he's clearly having so much fun in the show. Love him. And look, see, he's really hot too.

But I also love him for being a more risk taking actor than he's really given credit for. The upcoming Suffering Man's Charity sees him tied to a chair in bondage gear and christmas tree lights and abused by Alan Cumming. See?

But if there were any doubt left, then a recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show over here sealed the deal. Don't believe me? Start watching the clip below at the 1:20 mark for his reaction to and then demonstration of his dancing on the set of Bones. He's just adorable.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Secret Santa

I mentioned a few posts ago that I have a new job. I only started there in September. We did Secret Santa on Friday and this was what I got:

I think it's safe to assume that in three months, they got to know me pretty well, no? So I thought I would share each naked farmer of 2008 with the blog at the start of their respective months. Prepare yourselves.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Two unrelated musings

Firstly, I have never had what you could really call a good taste in music. My ex flatmate used to describe it as "wailing women" and generally she had a point. But I have been tricked into liking songs by artists I unequivocally loathe or at least should know better than to like. This happens when I hear a song on the radio and then the announcer is all "that's the new song from Avril Lavigne" and I'm like "fuck".

It happened the other night. I was watching an episode of Without A Trace, the episode started with an artist who photographs people without their knowledge and then turns them into paintings going missing. Her exit was accompanied by a rock song that caught my attention and I really liked it. So much so that I went to IMDb and looked up the episode to see if they had a song credit listed. They did. It was "The Kill" by 30 Seconds To Mars. Yes. Seriously. Apparently I'm an emo kid who loves Jared Leto.

Secondly, I don't know if I have blogged about it, but I have a new job. I am currently going through phases of loving and hating it. I am sort of in between the two peaks at this precise moment. The job is so full on intense that Christmas has almost arrived without me really noticing (I mean, how the fuck did it get to be almost 2008? What the hell?). But walking to work this morning, I had a realisation that this week is my last five day working week until 21st January. Next week is Christmas, the week after that I have New Years Eve and New Year's Day off. The week after that, I have Friday 11th off as I am flying out to Tenerife to see the parents for nine days. And whatever I may think of my job, realising that made me VERY happy, I can tell you.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Already the best film of next summer

I am very much alone in my dislike of Batman Begins. In my defense, I attribute my disdain for the movie to the fact that I saw it on opening weekend in a packed cinema where the a/c had broken down. Before the trailers, I was already uncomfortably hot so by the time Christian Bale suited up, I was almost passing out from heat exhaustion and was therefore not in the best place to enjoy the movie. I keep meaning to give it another go, but never get round to it.

However, having seen the new trailer for The Dark Knight, I am fairly certain I'll watch its prequel right before seeing the follow up. Watch it and be amazed.

The Dark Knight

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hot Guy Monday: David Duchovny

Back in the days of X Files, I never really got into liking David Duchovny. But I have to say I think he looks far better now than he did then. I love that he's enjoying a career revival with Californication so I just hope the insane law suit doesn't derail future seasons. I also kinda hope he wins the Golden Globe.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Golden Globe Nominations: PCB's View



American Gangster
Eastern Promises
The Great Debaters
Michael Clayton
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

There's been some talk about how it's so unprecedented for there to be seven nominations (seems the Globes have a more relaxed attitude to nomination slots than some other award shows), but this could have been cut down to five very easily. Eastern Promises was good but not great and certainly not awards worthy. I also don't think American Gangster is worthy of a nomination. Ridley Scott hasn't made a good film since Thelma & Louise.

Across the Universe
Charlie Wilson's War
Sweeney Todd

I've somehow only managed to see one of these (Hairspray) though I have been relentlessly hounded by the trailers for three out of the remaining four (whereas I somehow only saw the trailer for Across The Universe once). I suspect Sweeney Todd will take the prize although the trailer doesn't give me much confidence and has rightly been taken to task for seemingly omitting that it is in fact a musical.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Romania)
The Diving Bell & the Butterfly (France/USA)
The Kite Runner (USA)
Lust, Caution (Taiwan)
Persepolis (France)

First of all, what is The Kite Runner doing here? Is the entire film foreign language? Second of all, why no nomination for La Vie En Rose?

Tim Burton, Sweeney Todd
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Julian Schnabel, Diving Bell & the Butterfly
Ridley Scott, American Gangster
Joe Wright, Atonement

Why has a nomination been wasted on Ridley Scott? WHY? The Coen brothers are likeliest to win here I think but I would love Joe Wright to take the prize.

George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
James McAvoy, Atonement
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises
Denzel Washington, American Gangster

Viggo was easily the best thing about Eastern Promises but the nomination I'm happiest about is James McAvoy's. He is a phenomenally talented actor who first caught my attention in Bright Young Things four years ago. I seriously hope he wins though I very much doubt he will.

Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie, Away From Her
Jodie Foster, The Brave One
Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart
Keira Knightley, Atonement

Were dramatic roles really at such a premium for women that Jodie Foster can score a nomination for her not particularly brilliant turn in The Brave One? I love her and she finally came out and it's not like she was nominated for Flightplan or anything but still.

Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd
Tom Hanks, Charlie Wilson's War
Ryan Gosling, Lars and the Real Girl
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Savages
John C. Reilly, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Hurrah for Ryan Gosling! Nobody saw the movie (well, I did) so scoring this nomination is quite a coup. I doubt he'll win but if he hadn't dropped out of Lovely Bones, THAT would have hoovered up awards for him, I reckon. Somehow I don't see Marky Mark pulling off the same feat.


Amy Adams, Enchanted
Nikki Blonsky, Hairspray
Helena Bonham Carter, Sweeney Todd
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Ellen Page, Juno

While I am happy for all the nominees in this category, except one (Bonham Carter), if anyone other than Marion Cotillard wins, I will be most unhappy. Her embodiment of Piaf was extraordinary. Why no nod for Laura Linney though?

Casey Affleck, Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson's War
John Travolta, Hairspray
Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

a dead heat between Affleck and Bardem, I imagine and I honestly can't choose between them. And I'm not basing that on their nominated performances or anything worthwhile like that as I haven't actually seen either of them (am finally seeing Jesse James today and No Country opens in the UK next month), but just on how much I like them both as actors in everything else I have seen them in.

Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
Julia Roberts, Charlie Wilson's War
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

Tilda Swinton can, in my opinion, do no wrong. Not even when she spends a week sleeping in a glass case and calls it art. She's always entrancing to watch in whatever she's doing. I love her. And I'm pleased that Saoirse Ryan got nominated as she was frighteningly good in Atonement. If anyone's name other than Blanchett's is called on the night though, I will be amazed.

Diablo Cody, Juno
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Christopher Hampton, Atonement
Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell & the Butterfly
Aaron Sorkin, Charlie Wilson's War

I know there are many avid fans of the original source novel, but I really think Christoper Hampton deserves to win for turning 400 pages of tedious waffle and a horrible cheat ending into 2 hours of heartbreaking beauty.

Bee Movie
The Simpsons Movie

I imagine Ratatouille will take this though a little part of me would love it if The Simpsons Movie won.

Dario Marianelli, Atonement
Howard Shore, Eastern Promises
Clint Eastwood, Grace is Gone
Michael Brook, Into the Wild
Alberto Iglesias, The Kite Runner

Clint Eastwood wrote the score to Grace Is Gone? How completely random. Why oh why though is this the first time that film and Into The Wild have cropped up? That is pretty criminal if you ask me.


Big Love
Grey's Anatomy
Mad Men
The Tudors

Hmmmmmm. Am I the only one who thinks those nominations are a little, um, I don't know, uninspiring? Is Big Love really that good? Season One bored me so intensely I stopped watching three episodes in. Why no nomination for Dexter? Or Friday Night Lights? The Sopranos?

Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, The Tudors
Bill Paxton, Big Love

I want Michael C. Hall to win. He is absolutely tip top magic in Dexter and as his five years of brilliance on Six Feet Under went unrewarded, this should make up for it. I can't believe Rhys Meyers was considered worthy of a nomination. He's a terrible terrible TERRIBLE actor.

Patricia Arquette, Medium
Glenn Close, Damages
Minnie Driver, The Riches
Edie Falco, The Sopranos
Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters
Holly Hunter, Saving Grace
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

I imagine this is Edie Falco's to lose, but Glenn Close would give her a run for her money. Personally, I would be happy with a Patricia Arquette upset. I love her in Medium and the third season was surprisingly strong.

30 Rock
Pushing Daisies

I am currently watching and loving Californication and 30 Rock but I would suspect the award will go to freshman favourite Pushing Daisies.

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Steve Carell, The Office
David Duchovny, Californication
Ricky Gervais, Extras
Lee Pace, Pushing Daisies

It's all about Alec Baldwin. He's an absolute raving genius in 30 Rock. America's inexplicable love affair with the tiresome, unfunny, overexposed and overrated Ricky Gervais continues though so he'll probably win.

Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?
America Ferrera, Ugly Betty
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Anna Friel, Pushing Daisies
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds

A glut of worthy nods here. Tina Fey is fantastic as is Mary Louise Parker. I am surprised that Ugly Betty's genius second season merited a single nomination and it's for America Ferrara. Fine fair enough, but she is just one of many excellent performances in the show.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
The Company
5 Days
The State Within

I lasted ten minutes with The Company before the bad wigs made me switch off.

Bryce Dallas Howard, As You Like It
Debra Messing, The Starter Wife
Queen Latifah, Life Support
Sissy Spacek, Pictures of Hollis Woods
Ruth Wilson, Jane Eyre

I hope Queen Latifah wins, just to make up for the outrageous oversight of not being nominated for Hairspray.

Adam Beach, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Ernest Borgnine, A Grandpa For Christmas
Jim Broadbent, Longford
James Isaacs, The State Within
James Nesbitt, Jekyll

James Nesbitt? Seriously? He was godfuckingawful in Jekyll, which was also dreadful. Dreadful.

Rose Byrne, Damages
Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters
Katherine Heigl, Grey's Anatomy
Samantha Morton, Longford
Anna Paquin, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Jamie Pressly, My Name is Earl

I do love Rose Byrne. The most deserving winner here though would be Samantha Morton.

Ted Danson, Damages
Kevin Dillon, Entourage
Jeremy Piven, Entourage
Andy Serkis, Longford
William Shatner, Boston Legal
Donald Sutherland, Dirty Sexy Money

Ted Danson is still working? Impressive. I kind of hope Kevin Dillon wins this one. Jeremy Piven has been shown enough love now.

Friday, December 14, 2007

We say Amen and Hallelujah

After two long weeks without a connection while I switched broadband providers, I am now back back back. It was maddening not having internet at home, particularly as my new job is too hectic to allow surfing time whilst at my desk. But it was worth it. Having got rid of Talk Talk, the worst phone and internet providers on the planet with the shittiest customer service I have ever had the misfortune to encounter, I now have a lightening fast connection. All the better to download porn with. Fantastic.

Monday, November 26, 2007

what do you get if you cross Blair Witch Project with Indepence Day?

You get Cloverfield

I love Amazon

When I upped sticks in 2005 for a few months and went off to pursue my dream of moving to NYC, I got rid of all my Region 2 DVDs. For the most part it didn't bother me as I was selling them on ebay and amazon marketplace and funding my trip with the proceeds. But there was one I did not want to get rid off and that was my treasured Alien Quadrilogy. I bought it day of release for a fair whack of money (I can't remember exact figures but £65 seems about right). But it had to go and so I resigned myself to never owning it again due to its limited edition nature.

So today I was idly surfing Amazon's Black Friday sale. I am only buying Region 1 DVDs at the moment due to the weak dollar and my refusal to give up on the dream of NYC. What should catch my eye but the Alien Quadrilogy for a perfectly insane price of $27. Including shipping. How great is that???????

Sunday, November 18, 2007

New York Round Up Part The Third: Tori Amos (2)

Concert #2

Act I – Santa

* Body and Soul
* My Posse Can Do
* Sugar
* Dragon
* Secret Spell
* You Can Bring Your Dog


* Professional Widow

Act II – Tori

* Big Wheel
* Space Dog
* A Sorta Fairytale
* Cornflake Girl
* Doughnut Song
* Spring Haze

T & Bö

* Winter
* Carbon
* Baker Baker

Band Returns

* Almost Rosey
* Spark
* Code Red

First Encore

* Precious Things

Second Encore

* Bouncing Off Clouds
* Hey Jupiter

So the second night is still not sold out but it's less empty than last night. I wonder how much word of mouth about the previous night has to thank for a last minute surge in ticket sales. So anyway, if I am going to go see Tori, I will always book every night she's playing near me (in 2003, I saw the Scarlet's Walk Tour five times, twice in London, three times in NYC) as the set list is never the same from night to night. The most recent tours have been probably the most structured in terms of set lists, with opening and closing songs always being the same (in the case of this tour, that only really counts from the Tori section) but with this tour, she is really using the whole doll concept to really explore her music and performance from a fresh perspective. The early dates of the tour, each doll would only play songs from the new album, but as it's progressed, they have each been assigned songs from the back catalogue. It seems she waited to get to the US before really kicking things up a notch or twelve. This could be because the majority of the US leg is being recorded for download, but it could be because finally everything has fallen into place. Later dates after the NY gigs have seen her debut rarities such as "Peeping Tommi", "Mountain" and "Not David Bowie" as well as doing crazy shit like performing "Me & A Gun" with the band.

Anyway, back to night two of the MSG concerts. A later start time and a strict curfew at the WaMu Theatre caused a slight upset with the encore, but apart from that, the second night was every bit as astounding as the first. Seeing her perform as Santa and bring an entirely different energy to the opening part of the show made me completely eat my words about how naff I find the concept. One thing I don't understand though is with an album that has some filler songs smattered throughout the standout tracks, why it's the filler that's being so regularly performed while the standout tracks are rarely if ever seeing the light of day. "Velvet Revolution", "Girl Disappearing", "Father's Son", "Roosterspur Bridge", "Dark Side Of The Sun" have either been rarely or not played at all on the tour, while "You Can Bring Your Dog" and "Almost Rosey" are played all the damn time. And why "Posse Bonus" and "Programmable Soda" even made it on to the album but the brilliant "My Posse Can Do" is a bonus track on the DVD is truly beyond me.

This second show was a quieter and more emotional affair than the first night. Presumably this was due to Tori's parents being in the audience. Certainly it's why she played an absolutely killer version of "Winter" during the solo section. The absolute highlight for me would have to be "Spark". I love the song so much and From The Choirgirl Hotel is probably my favourite of her albums but I have never been lucky enough to hear the song performed live. Until tonight and it did not disappoint me at all.

The truncated encore was annoying ("Taxi Ride", another favourite, was supposed to be performed after "Precious Things" but was cut) but other than that I have no complaints and I have to say that having heard some of it performed live, I am now a much bigger fan of American Doll Posse than I was beforehand. I cannot wait until the bootleg downloads become available for places outside North America and Canada. Why? Well here's a terrible quality version of the absolutely storming version of "Bouncing Off Clouds". That's why.

New York Round Up Part The Second: Tori Amos (1)

I have mentioned on here before how I was not a big fan of the new album, how I found the concept a little tiresome and as for the tour, well, I didn't really care for the set lists and wasn't bothered I was missing her London dates. Well, having seen her New York dates, let me state for the record how wrong I was. The concerts were off the chart amazing, the best I have ever seen her (and that includes the 2005 concert with the gospel choir which I thought would never be beaten).

Concert #1

Act I – Pip

* Cruel
* Bliss
* Fat Slut
* Smokey Joe
* Teenage Hustling
* The Waitress


* Professional Widow

Act II – Tori

* Big Wheel
* Crucify
* Pancake
* Cornflake Girl
* Bells For Her
* Siren

T & Bö

* Silent All These Years
* Cool On Your Island
* Cooling [complete with brambles]

Band Returns

* Digital Ghost
* Hotel
* Code Red

First Encore

* Precious Things
* Bouncing Off Clouds

Second Encore

* Hey Jupiter

Before I talk about the concert itself, I want to take a moment to vent about MSG. There was a basketball game on in the main arena and so getting into the venue was a freaking nightmare. There were metal detectors up all the way across the main entrance and it took me a fair while to get through as I picked the line with the jobsworth dullard who was letting one person through at a time, ensuring they had cleared the exit before letting the next person through. Sigh. Then I go and line up to pick up my tickets. After a long time, I get to the front whereupon I am told I'm at the wrong window and I have to go do it all over again. You can imagine how that pleased me. Luckily, the nice man at the window allowed me to collect my ticket for the following night at the same time or I would have pitched a fit.

So, the concert itself. It was nowhere near sold out, whole sections at the back were empty which was a real surprise to me. I know this album hasn't been flying off the shelves or anything, but still. So the show starts and Tori comes out dressed as Pip. In my earlier blog about the tour, I mentioned how disappointed I was she had reverted to the 1998 versions of "Cruel" and "The Waitress". Well, I take half of that back too. She opened the set with "Cruel", performing it as if she were the bastard offspring of Cat Power and Steve Tyler. It was pretty fucking amazing. The rest of the set as Pip was equally as astounding, insanely high energy and hard edged, covering two of the better songs from American Doll Posse ("Teenage Hustling", which was tremendous and "Smokey Joe" which was fantastically eerie), as well as one of my favourite songs from To Venus And Back ("Bliss"). Unfortunately, I still hate the overlong version of "The Waitress", but you can't have everything.

So Pip goes away and after a brief interlude of the hateful remix of "Professional Widow", Tori comes on and launches into "Big Wheel" which is much much much MUCH better live than on the album. There is not, in fact, a low point to the rest of the evening (unless you count the woman singing so far off key she's practically back in tune again, who was sat right behind me). There isn't much talking to the audience, but so what? During the solo section, I just about lost my shit. Why? Glance up at the set list and look at what it says next to "Cooling". Probably my most favourite of her songs and my most favourite of her lyrics. It's the name of this blog, it's engraved on my iPod, it's the welcome message when I turn my mobile phone on. Until this tour, the bridge that contains said lyric has always been skipped when it's performed live. But not anymore and hearing it sung live made me a very happy gay boy indeed.

I was so fucking happy to have a ticket for the next night when this gig was over. If I hadn't, I would have bought one immediately. It was really that good. Unfortunately, continuing the theme that my camera flash sucks ass, here's the pic I took:

So I figured I would steal someone else's. Here, see, much better

And here she is, as Pip, performing "Teenage Hustling". Not the best quality, but you get the idea.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


As if one strike were not enough, the entertainment industry now has two on its hands. One is, in my opinion, justified and I totally support it. The other, not so much.

The writers strike that is currently underway and slowly grinding TV and movie production to a halt is the one I am in support of. I think it's laughable that writers do not get any residuals for their work. The argument that the DVD profit margin is already slender is also laughable, especially when DVDs cost little to produce and the popular titles sell in their millions. Everyone in front of the camera has a lucrative and watertight contract that sees them continue to be paid for it, so why on earth can't the people without whom they wouldn't even be there get something from it too?

Yesterday, the long threatened strike from Local One, the stagehands union, saw 28 of the 36 shows currently on Broadway go dark. I honestly think this is disgusting. The producers are within their rights to question the more ludicrous portions of the Local One contract. The main sticking point has been the load in of a show, where the producers cannot hire how many people it would take to do the load in. They have to hire the amount of people the League dictates to them, regardless of if they are needed or not. There are also thing like a flyperson is to be hired on all productions, even if the show does not have any fly cues. Who in their right mind would agree to that?

Now, the producers have been reasonable about it all, and have said that they are not looking to fire anyone, but reassign unused labor to where it is actually needed. Local One have simply continued to make passive aggressive comments about how much money producers have and how greedy they're being by trying to cut the wages of Local One members. Shut up. First of all, who is being greedy? The producers are trying to be fair, reasonable and sane. Surely asking them to pay people to do nothing just because they have the money is not fair, nor is it a particularly smart argument. Also, starting the strike without any notice is underhanded and mean. It's telling that when the musicians strike darkened Broadway musicals for four days in 2003, the casts of the affected shows were right there on the picket lines supporting them. The first show affected by the strike was The Grinch which had an 11am matinee, one hour after the strike started. Patrick Page stood out front of the theater, apologising to ticket holders for the fact there was no show. I really honestly think Local One are being pig headed and ridiculous and as they are so unwilling to negotiate a contract that is fair to everyone, rather than massively one sided in their favour, who knows how long the strike will last?

And what really sticks in my craw the most is all the comments about how much money the producers have. Well, the lowest paid actor on a Broadway stage is pulling in $60 grand a year. There are some stage hands who, thanks to the insane contract the producers think is unfair, earn a lot more than that and don't have to do all that much to get it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The TV Season begins to hot up

Although the writers strike may very well put paid to it all pretty soon, but that's another story. The TV season in the UK doesn't usually get going until January at the earliest due to the massive hiatuses US shows tend to take. However, a few shows have now brokered "no delay" deals with UK networks so the episodes air here only a week or so after the US. Of course, as you will see, in some stuff we are still very behind.

Already airing (as of this week):

Ugly Betty Season Two (which I have forgiven for the unnecessary character death)
Prison Break Season Three (which I have not)
Bones Season Three
Journeyman Season One
Without A Trace Season Five
The Tudors Season One (though I missed too many episodes so I'm investing in the DVDs)
Californication Season One
30 Rock Season One
Kyle XY Season Two

Coming in early 2008:

Supernatural Season Three
Heroes Season Two
Lost Season Four
Grey's Anatomy Season Four
Dexter Season Two
Pushing Daisies Season One
Chuck Season One
Reaper Season One
Weeds Season Three
Rescue Me Season Four
Nip/Tuck Season Five

That's a whole lot of TV going on! Thank god I've made the decision to live like a monk until my credit card debt is taken care of.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The funniest fugging thing i have ever read

It's no secret that I absolutely love the Go Fug Yourself girls. They have a level of bitchiness to which I constantly aspire. Just recently they have been absolutely outdoing themselves and while they realise that less is more (dismissing Joss Stone's frilly mini skirt disaster with an "Oh honey. No." was a particular master stroke that had me guffawing, I must admit), sometime they go all out. And so with no further ado I present to you:

The Best Fug EVER (well, so far)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

New York Round Up Part The First: The Shows

Finally, part one of my NY trip is up. So here it is.

In chronological order of viewing:


What an odd little play. I only really went to see it because Bobby Cannavale was in it. A familiar set of tropes are filtered through an unusual maguffin (rare stamps from the titular location) and for the most part, the dialogue is grounded in reality. But then there are odd flights of fancy that stick out like sore thumbs (Alison Pill's speech about growing wings came so completely out of nowhere I did find myself thinking "has she forgotten her lines?"). But here it's all about the performances and while everybody in the cast is noteworthy, two people stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Bobby Cannavale was a given. I've seen him on stage before and he took my breath away so it was no surprise when he did it again here. The show is not really positioned well for awards timing, but Julie White proved that if you really make an impression, people don't forget, so here's hoping he gets some recognition. Same applies to Alison Pill who is utterly rivetting in the main role as the wronged sister who claims ownership of the stamps as payment for the time spent nursing her step mother until her death.


Which was something like going to a Backstreet Boys concert. I was a Renthead back in the day and I became friends with Anthony when he was in the London run of the show. When I saw he was back in the show and I would be in NY for his final performance, it was not an immediate no brainer I would see it. I saw the show a LOT in 98-99 and I saw it one more time in 2002, but haven't seen it since. I had reasons for seeing the show as much as I did. Those reasons are no longer relevant to my life. So I figured maybe I'd just call him up and hang out with him independent of the show. But who was I kidding? I got the discount offer and so I booked it.

I was planning on it being a surprise but I happened to walk by the theatre as they were doing the lottery and there was just an insane amount of people there. I figured stage door would be the same and there was a danger I'd miss him so I left a voicemail letting him know i was there, which was kind of annoying. Anyway, so the show was a little out of control. I have nothing to say about the piece itself. Adam and Anthony were both great (Adam sounds so very different to his last time playing the role), Tamyra Gray tore it up as Mimi (and damn is that girl skinny). Following a pre-show two minute standing ovation, the audience whooped and screamed and cheered their way through the show. It was, for the most part, fine though a couple of times I did find myself thinking "oh shut up". I am usually against taking pictures at curtain call, but everyone was doing it and so I did too and I managed to get these two pics by sheer fluke of timing.

The stage door was even more out of control than I thought it was going to be. My camera flash is utter shit but you get the idea

After about 45 minutes, the crowd thinned enough that I managed to wave over the heads of three people and get his attention. One shouted conversation later I headed to the subway, via Europan Cafe as, by huge co-inky-dink, I ran into someone in the crazed crowd I hadn't seen in two years.

A Bronx Tale

I've been intrigued by this play for ages and ages but pretty much figured I would never get to see it performed. I very nearly didn't as the threatened lock out/strike that's been hanging over Broadway came within a hair's breadth of being actioned the evening I saw the show.

A 90 minute one man show about his growing up in the Bronx sounds, on paper, like the most tedious self indulgent load of piffle. But no. Chazz Palminteri had quite the passage into adulthood. Everybody knows now how he witnessed the point blank shooting of a driver during an altercation with another driver by the local mob boss. Feigning amnesia ingratiated the young Chazz to said mob boss and so it begins. Playing 18 roles, Mr Palminteri effortlessly commands the stage and holds the audience's attention. It was an excellent, surprisingly funny and beautifully touching evening.


Oh dear. I guess because I'm British I'm going to be more critical of Americans attempting British accents. I don't know why Roundabout chose to revive this play at this point in time. It looks fine enough (real rain for the opening scene and all) but no amount of set dressing can compensate for a draggy and slow first act (which is the play's fault) made even worse by some terrible performances (NOT the play's fault). Claire Danes struggles with the cockney accent throughout her first two scenes. The second scene is interminable, going on and on and ON, repeating itself and then completely hamstrung by a shockingly awful performance by Jay O. Sanders as Alfred Doolittle.

Once she's poshed up, Claire Danes acquits herself nicely (though she needs to up her volume) and for the most part the rest of the leads are fine. I'm going to be blasphemous though and say this is one instance where the adaptation has surpassed the original. I studied the play way back in the day and didn't love it then (one of the many reasons I was so resistant to My Fair Lady. Having finally seen it a few years ago, I adored it). Having seen this revival, I still don't love the play and seeing it performed, all the issues I had with it are writ large rather than resolved.

Die Mommie Die!

The campest thing I have ever seen. Loved it. I saw the movie in 2003 when I was in LA and thought it was hilarious so when I saw it was coming to NYC, starting right when I was coming for a vacation, it had to be done. It was fab. I was a little gutted that Chris Meloni did the reading but didn't take the role for the actual run of the play but what can you do?

I took Eric and his boyfriend as a thank you for letting me stink up their living room for two weeks. We had front row seats so it was just the right vantage point to get a faceful of Van Hansiss. My word, that boy is gifted. And the tight TIGHT denim short shorts he wears in one scene left no doubt as to how gifted. I in fact turned to Eric and said "I hope that's padded or that's just insane". After watching him adjust himself at curtain call, I think it's safe to say he's not padded.

While Charles Busch is uproarious in the role of Angela Arden, this production belongs to Ashley Morris. She takes it and runs with it, going wildly over the top without once veering into parody. She was hysterically brilliant and I thought she was cute as a button at curtain call, having to tug down her very short dress as she bowed.


The worst show of my trip. H O R R I B L E. Monochromatic, bland, boring, dull dull dull. After two indistinguishable songs, I wanted to find the lyricist and beat him to death with his rhyming dictionary. I was mainly intrigued to see this because of Hunter Foster as he has a very devoted following always going on about what a wonderful voice he has and what a lovely actor he is. Well, on the strength of this performance, I don't see it. His acting was one note at best, which also sums up his singing. He also had the most irritating way of breathing EVER when he was singing which drove me up the fucking wall.

It opens soon and I'm sure the reviews will be harsh, to say the least. If the show is still running at Thanksgiving I shall be hugely surprised. Not least because it's at 37 Arts, which may be between 9th and 10th Avenues, but sure doesn't feel like it. There's NOTHING there. Shame.

Cyrano De Bergerac

I only saw this because of the cast. Kevin Kline, Jennifer Garner and Daniel Sunjata. Fabulous. Which is more than can be said of the end product. An absolutely enormous stage and set is not the wisest thing to have for a show opening without the benefit of an out of town tryout and this 4th preview was very rocky, to say the least. The night before, the world's stupidest travelling curtain had jammed, stopping the show for 20 minutes. I don't know if Kevin Kline was annoyed about this and doing it on purpose but I was in row F of the orchestra and I couldn't hear him. Jennifer Garner does not embarrass herself in what is her Broadway debut proper (she was an understudy fresh out of drama school) but she does not break any new ground with her performance either.

The biggest question posed though is why this piece and why now? Why revive it with an old translation? This could have benefitted from someone else taking a fresh pass at the original French version, in my opinion. All in all, I didn't hate it but it was not exactly a quick three hours.

Young Frankenstein

The theatrical highlight of my trip. The main reason it was such a highlight was because I didn't expect it to be. I booked and paid for my (outrageously expensive) ticket for one reason: Megan Mullally. If she had not been in it, I would not have gone near this show. I really really didn't love The Producers and the hubristic way this show got the Hilton was also offputting to me.

But I would pay good money to hear Megan Mullally sing live and in that I was not disappointed. She was glorious, very funny and while she only had one big scene and number in Act One, she makes up for it in Act Two with a couple of songs, including, of course, the 11 o'clock number.

But the rest of the show is total fun. Great songs (for the most part, though "Roll In The Hay" is not great. Poor Sutton Foster.), wonderful performances and some fantastic set pieces made for a hugely enjoyable evening. It will be interesting to see how well it is received by the critics. The Producers was a huge success purely because of Matthew and Nathan. Once they left, the audience quickly followed and it has never been able to reproduce its NY success elsewhere. If they are smart with this show and advertise it on the strength of the movie, Mel Brooks and Susan Stroman, rather than anything else, they could have an enduring hit on their hands.


Such a cute and silly show. It was David Hyde Pierce's first show back after a vacation and he was in fine form. You can see why he won the Tony, his performance is absolutely entrancing. Completely understated and also clearly having the time of his life with it, it's a real joy to watch him. He's matched by the rest of the leads, although Debra Monk is a little, um, BIG in her performance. I loved how some songs started out small and became huge show stopping set pieces, particularly "Thataway!" and "Tough Act To Follow". All in all, this show was totally fun and sweet which is as it should be.


Quite the show to pick for my last show on the trip. I of course had to have the onstage seating. God bless Eric for telling me beforehand "when the show is about to start and Cheyenne comes on stage, gets on all fours and starts drawing his pavement mural, I would encourage you to remember that there is a whole other audience that can see you." Sweet Jesus that man is FINE. And very talented. And he holds no truck with mobile phones either. When, a mere two lines into his opening monologue, a phone rang in the front row, he stopped and stared pointedly at the offending audience idiot. Then when it rang again, after he had started his monologue again, he stopped and said "and we wait". Good for him.

The show itself is a riot. The cast are all clearly having a ball with it, Jackie Hoffman and Mary Testa are incredible, Kerry Butler is note perfect and of course Cheyenne, oh Cheyenne. How I love you so. I mean, look. What's not to love, right?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

An Ugly start and a tough Break

Ok ok ok, I know it's a horribly punny title. But while I work on the multiple entries regarding my recent trip to NY, I wanted to pause and discuss the return of two of my favourite shows from last season.

In the UK, we don't usually start the US imports until January at the earliest as the crazed hiatuses American networks take means starting in the new year means we can run the season uninterrupted and finish only a little later than the US. But some channels here have brokered new "no delay" deals with networks in the US and we now get some of the shows very shortly after the US airdate. So two weeks before I left, Prison Break started here and the day I left, Ugly Betty returned.

Now, I awarded Betty my show of the year last year, but was furious at the unnecessarily grim season finale, especially the possible death of Santos. So you can imagine how much I fumed at the mean mean MEAN trick they pulled in the opening episode. So fucking cruel. They gave Santos such a great arc and made him so very sweet so WHY did they kill him off? While it was, in my opinion, entirely evil to do what they did in the opening episode, at least it gave Kevin Alejandro some closure (and I guess also left the door open for future appearances EVEN IF HE IS DEAD!).

The same cannot be said for poor Sarah Wayne Callies on Prison Break. Dr Sara Tancredi was easily my favourite character on the show (the other, Paul Kellerman met an expected death at the end of the last season). She was a much needed reality check in a totally ludicrous show and I just loved her. Well, apparently Ms Callies had herself something of a falling out with the producers of the show which led to her not returning for this season at all. A double in a wig was used for the few scenes Dr Tancredi was in before she was killed off, her head delivered in a box, which presumably has Andrew Kevin Walker talking to his lawyers.

Both shows have returned only to disappoint and depending on how they play out, I may not stick with them. What a shame.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Back to life, back to reality

Well, got home yesterday morning from two fun filled weeks in NYC. I took a few pics here and there and I will be uploading them with more detailed entries over this week. Watch this space.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Back in the US, back in the US, back in the US of A

Well here I am, back in the Big Apple for two weeks to take the city by storm. More likely I'll just spend a fortune and eat myself into a coma when I'm not watching a show or a concert, but hey.

So glad I have nothing show type booked for today so I can be mildly jetlagged and hang out with friends which is just fine with me. The flight was fine, I read a book called The End Of Mr Y which I only started on the plane and it's SO FUCKING GOOD I only have 50 pages left as I pretty much devoured it whole. Great book. Only thing I could have done without was the passive aggressive guy in front of me who kept turning round and throwing me pointed looks every time my knees brushed the back of his seat. I'm tall and there's no leg room. Deal with it.

In other news it's insanely hot in the city. When I landed, I thought it was the middle of August rather than the start of October. Today is roughly the same too. Madness.

Monday, October 01, 2007

PJ Harvey, I love you.

Attended PJ Harvey's solo acoustic performance at the Royal Festival Hall on Saturday night. It was, without question, the most amazing concert I have ever been to. She played:

To Bring You My Love
Send His Love To Me
When Under Ether
The Devil
White Chalk
My Beautiful Leah
Nina In Ecstasy
Electric Light
Big Exit
Down By The Water
Grow Grow Grow
The Mountain

Rid Of Me
The Piano
The Desperate Kingdom Of Love

It was 85 minutes of utter joy and adoration that also left me wide eyed and slack jawed at just how fucking talented she is. Her vocal range, the amount of instruments she can play, it's truly staggering. She was warm and funny when chatting to the audience too, which was really lovely, in particular when she broke her drum machine that she'd had fixed specially for the gig. I'm kicking myself for not getting tickets for her NY gig on October 10th now, I can tell you.

Hot Guy (and cute dog) Monday: Paul Walker

I have, I'm fairly certain, featured Paul Walker before. I'm too lazy to check though and even if I have,

I would have featured him again just for how fucking cute that dog is.

Friday, September 28, 2007

a little something for the weekend

I found this on queerclick ages ago and kept forgetting to upload it to my blog. Until seeing this pic, the delightfully named Rusty Joiner was a stranger to me.

and yet now I already know his religion.

a heartbreaking work of staggering genius

Note the use of lower case. I'm not talking about the pretentious Dave Eggers novel, rather it's the most fitting way to describe the new PJ Harvey album, White Chalk.

It is, in my opinion, the finest album she has ever produced. It is stark, it is gothic and it is relentlessly downbeat, but it has an incredible sense of focus and she sounds very assured in her new sound. At just 34 minutes, there is not an ounce of fat here, not one track outstays its welcome nor do you find yourself thinking "well this could have been left off the record" (Tori Amos take note).

I was slightly overzealous in saying earlier that there was no guitar on this record. There is both bass and acoustic guitar but they are not the main focus by any means. A crazy array of instruments are listed on the sleeve notes, zither, banjo, mellotron, broken harp, even a wine glass. The lyrics are dark, twisted and beautiful, for the most part delivered in the higher range of her voice. For me the outstanding track is "The Piano". I was listening to the song on my iPod walking to work and it took me by surprise. The start of the song, she seems to be talking about someone she killed with a hammer. Suddenly out of nowhere, she sings "oh god I miss you" over and over with the most beautiful swell of music behind it. I actually welled up walking along listening to it.

I cannot wait to see her in concert tomorrow night now.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Oh Ms Harvey, you crazy

I love me some PJ. I got into her way back in 1993 when you couldn't move 50 yards in any direction without coming across an advert for this.

I had no idea who she was and a friend had bought the album so I borrowed it from him. There are not many albums I can truly describe as being life altering, but Rid Of Me is one of them. It blew my tiny mind. To this day, I count it among my favourite albums of all time.

With that album, she was still critically adored but resolutely not mainstream. While she sold ok numbers and could fill your average concert hall, she never really troubled the radio or the charts. And that was fine with me. Her next release saw her fanbase increase and To Bring You My Love was the first time I saw her perform live.

It was, to be brutally honest, average. I was so excited and was right at the front but it wasn't quite the sum of its parts. I still went back when she veered off into the experimental with Dance Hall At Louse Point.

The only gigs performed for this were with a dance troupe in tow. I can't remember the name of the troupe but they put together a dance piece to the whole album and PJ with her band performed the songs while the dancers danced. Neither the dance piece nor the album were well received but I loved it, even if when I saw that gig I was frightened for her as she was so clearly anorexic at the time.

The physical and psychological effects of that illness manifested themselves on her next release, Is This Desire?.

Bleak and desolate, it's the wrong side of no fun at all and it's the album I listen to least. It still has some outstanding stuff on it, but to listen to as a whole, it's a tough call.

A scant two years later, and the mainstream success that had up to this point eluded her came rushing in.

Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea is easily her masterpiece, with awards and plaudits in no short supply. Furthermore, the tour that followed saw a relaxed, happy and healthy (and scarily resembling Liz Hurley) PJ clearly enjoying herself for the first time in a very long time. I went to both London dates and was awestruck both nights. I also remember being highly amused when she forgot the words to "Down By The Water" and had a fit of giggles mid song. When it was over she simply said "well I don't know what happened there".

But greater things, gig wise, were to come. If I thought i was seeing someone on the top of their game then, well more fool me. In the lead up to releasing Uh Huh Her, PJ Harvey was the first artist to perform a concert at Tate Modern. I went to that concert and was simply astonished at how much better she had become since the last time I'd seen her. Later that summer, she performed two outdoor gigs that were even more astounding. The first one, in particular, I remember feeling so fucking lucky to witness it. Genius.

So it was a shame that the album didn't live up to those gigs and was a little Mmm Hmm Blah. Drawing heavily on what was presumably a nasty break up with Nick Cave (several songs could be retitled "In Your FACE, Cavey") something feels like it's missing from the album as a whole, but I don't know what. And it's a real shame that the exuberantly and joyous live performance of "Who The Fuck?" is not present on the lifeless studio cut. Again, I don't hate the album and a recent re-listen proved it's actually getting better with age. But still.

And now? Today saw the UK release of her 9th original studio album. For her entire career, her sound has been guitar driven. White Chalk pulls a most spectacular volte face and doesn't contain a single guitar.

It's a very spooky and chilly album. The fact that on the front cover she looks like she is auditioning for the sadly non existent third season of Carnivale is no mistake. I need to listen to it properly before I can review it in any depth but on a first listen, I was glad it was a brief 34 minutes. It's very intense and any longer would perhaps be too much.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hot Guy Monday: The Return

It's been a while since we had some hot guys up in here. Dreadfully slack of me, I apologise. To bring the hotness back, the first HGM entry goes to someone I have only recently discovered, even though he's been around for at least six years. I recently got very addicted to The Shield. I have had the first season on DVD since 2003 but never watched it. Recently I finally got around to it and suffice to say I now own all five available seasons of the show and am frothing at the mouth to get hold of season six. As Curtis Lemansky was my favourite character and the finale of season 5 saw him exit the show (which I watched last night), today's Hot Guy is Kenneth Johnson. Hot Guy. Not pretty boy, not skinny mini bum boy. Hot.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Audience Proof

Last weekend I attended a preview screening of the new Tarantino movie, Death Proof. As everyone knows, it is a newly expanded version of his half of the failed Grindhouse experiment. I have to say, having seen this, it is no longer a mystery to me why the experiment failed.

Firstly let me put all my cards on the table and say I am not a fan of Tarantino the man or the movie maker. I find him unbearably smug and irritating when interviewed and his films have grown ever more painfully self indulgent. I really liked Kill Bill Vol 1 but the second installment bored me to tears. And the fact that what started out as an 80 minute quick and dirty little revenge movie bloated in to a two volume FOUR HOUR movie highlights the biggest problem with Death Proof: It's too long and too dull.

Grindhouse in its original double bill format was supposed to run two hours max. Due to the madness of the directors behind the project it finally clocked in at over three hours. And now, with 25 minutes of footage restored, the stand alone Death Proof runs at close to two hours. Which normally would be fine. But when you only have enough plot and character development to sustain maybe a quarter of that running time, then there's a problem. Whole sequences of the film are made up of uninteresting characters having highly unbelievable and really very boring conversations. And one more shot of bare feet and I was about ready to kick the screen in. Yes, Quentin, you have a foot fetish, I get it. But come on.

However there are two more problems far more fatal than the above. Firstly, the film lacks the courage of its convictions. The first half of the movie is all bad edits, crackly film stock and so on, exactly the retro Grindhouse look aimed for. The second half of the movie doesn't have that at all, it's a "proper" film in terms of editing etc. But even more annoying to me was that having worked so hard to give the film a 70s look and feel in everything from the shooting style to the locations, props and costumes, the film was set in the present, with cell phones and iPods making unnecessary and glaringly anachronistic appearances. And the second half of the film focuses on four people who work in the movie business and their dialogue is so clogged with pop culture references that it eventually suffocates on its own post modern clever-cleverness. If you must see it, pay for another movie and sneak in to watch the last 20 minutes for the only bravura stunt sequence in the film. Other than that, file it under "failure". Shame.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'm coming back

When I left NYC in January, I was really pleased that the next time I went back would be for good as leaving to come back to the UK was really quite a wrench. As we all know, thanks to visa fuck ups, my permanent arrival is now somewhat, if not indefinitely, delayed. When that happened, I thought long and hard about whether or not I would be able to take a holiday in NYC again.

But who was I fooling? Of course I can. I'm going back for two weeks at the beginning of October. I'll be staying with Eric which will be fabulous. Thanks to working three jobs lately, I'm pretty exhausted and so this time it's as much for a proper break as it is a job hunt. Also thanks to said triple job madness, I'm ok for money right now so I have booked myself some shows to see. My current schedule looks like this:

October 5th: Arrive

October 6th: Recover from the jet lag

October 7th: 2pm - Mauritius (starring previous HGM stud Bobby Cannavale)
7pm - Rent (yes really

October 9th: 8pm - A Bronx Tale

October 10th: 2pm - Pygmalion

October 11th: 8pm - Tori Amos

October 12th: 8pm - Tori Amos

October 13th: 2pm - Die Mommie Die!
8pm - Frankenstein

October 14th: 3pm - Cyrano De Bergerac

October 15th: 8pm - Young Frankenstein

October 16th: 7pm - Curtains

October 17th: 2pm - Xanadu

The rest of the time I'm there is free for now so I can see friends, hang out and be sociable. I fly back home on the 20th. It'll be a blast. I can't wait.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we're back

Well it’s been a tough time of it here in PCB Land. I almost lost momentum for re-starting the blog in fact. But here I am.

There was some serious upheaval in my professional life. I have blogged on here before about work and been a scooch too candid in my details which led to me deleting a whole load of entries. So I’ll try and say what’s been going on without being too obvious or too cryptic. Should be fun. Basically, the product that I worked on is being discontinued. So this means by the end of this year there will be no job for me. Or 40 of my friends and colleagues. We’re all out of a job. However, I say “worked” past tense, as I already have a new job. It’s in the same company and indeed in the same building but it is in a completely separate area of the business.

As the wind down for the product I used to work on went less than smoothly I am also doing overtime back in my old role when it’s required. Right up to this week, it’s been required a LOT and I am exhausted from it. But I’m also going to be quite rich, so it’s all good. And I need the money as I am headed back to NYC in October for two weeks, as much for a rest and a holiday this time as for a job hunt. I have booked a lot of theatre already and when I have put the finishing touches to it, I’ll post my whole itinerary here. I am really really really REALLY looking forward to it. I’m also going to try and be less rubbish and less boring in my blogging. Can’t promise of course, but I’ll try.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

All quiet on the PCB front

I haven't updated ONCE in August. Terrible. Well that's because I haven't had anything fun to say and now work has gone insane. I'm currently working seven day weeks, pulling in about 65-70 hours a week. It's madness. So blogging is gon' be very sporadic for a little while. Deal with it.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Officially the worst stunt casting ever

It was announced today that Kelly Osbourne would take on the role of Mama Morton in the West End run of Chicago. Leaving aside the fact that she's whiny and annoying, ungrateful and stupid, she's also devoid of any acting talent and she can't really sing. But let's look at some previous Mama's here:

Marcia Lewis: Born 1938
Roz Ryan: Born 1951
Angie Stone: Born 1961
Jennifer Holliday: Born 1960
Debra Monk: Born 1949
Diane Langton: Born 1947
Lynda Carter: Born 1951
Alison Moyet: Born 1961

While I don't have the exact dates they performed in the revival, it would have been in the last decade. So the youngest any of them could have been at the time they took on the role is 36. Do we agree with that? Yes?

Then can you tell me why Kelly FUCKING Osbourne, who turns 23 on the LAST day of her 10 week run as Mama Morton, has been given the role? Someone? Anyone? Please just close this fucking show already. What was once one of the most starkly brilliant revivals is now in desperate need of being put out of its misery.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

PCB's Television Round Up, Part 5

It's been a while since the last round-up, so there's a few shows to be going on with here. I really do watch far too much television.


It fought it out tooth and nail with Ugly Betty but ultimately this is the second best new show on television. I absolutely loved it from minute one and as the season progressed, it became quite clear that the writers had thought about every little nuance and detail (unlike the patchwork Lost). The arc of characters like Peter Petrelli and Mr Bennett proved that. Watching Peter go from floppy haired touchy feely girly boy to the coolest person on the planet was thrilling.

They also had the ultimate villain in Sylar. Zachary Quinto did a bang up job of the role too, completely nailing the "aw shucks, who me?" persona as well as the "I am supreme evil and will EAT YOUR BRAIN" persona. Of course, the break out star has been Masi Oka for his glorious Hiro. He's everybody's favourite character and he's totally adorable. All in all, this was a hugely ambitious show with a huge cast of characters and it aimed to weave a dense, rich and intricate tapestry with them. And it succeeded. I can't wait for the DVD.


I am as surprised as anyone that this show was a hit, enough of a hit to make it to four seasons. It sounds, on the surface at least, both hokey and tired. A variation on a well worn theme. But somehow the show is really involving and gripping.

A lot of that can be attributed to the performances of Patricia Arquette and Jake Weber. Individually, they're both great (Arquette has deservedly won awards for the role) but together they have some of the best chemistry I have ever ever seen. They're a joy to watch and the show manages to strike the right balance between their home life and Alison's work.

This most recent season, the show's third, was by far its strongest. It didn't start out that way, with the opening double episode being a bit fumbled. But it varied things up (Alison didn't always just dream stuff), it ramped up the dramatic factor (the episode "Joe Day Afternoon" was seriously edge of the seat stuff and it pulled no punches either) and it managed to pull off a very ambitious four part (FOUR PART!) season finale. Neve Campbell's guest appearance was not as annoying as I thought it would be and in fact her final scene with Jason Priestley, where it slowly dawns on her how out of her depth she is, was brilliantly played. All in all, this season saw an already good show start to be great. Bring on season four.

Kyle XY

I realise that I couldn't be further outside the show's demographic but I still watched this show and I really enjoyed it.

You could argue that it's cutesy, it's cloying, it's as subtle as a sledgehammer and tiresomely moral and wholesome. You'd probably be right. But the show has a jewel in its crown in the shape of Matt Dallas. His performance in the title role is just pitch perfect and he makes even the most clumsy of episodes watchable. And no, bitches, it's not because he's pretty. Well, not entirely.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Hallowed Ending

My copy of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows arrived at 7am on Saturday morning. Rather than go back to sleep, I started reading it. My word, JK Rowling certainly saved the best for last. There are 37 chapters in the book and of those, only 4 can really be counted as NOT being edge of your seat intense stuff.

The decision not to set this book in Hogwarts always meant that all bets are off. I never expected the book to be so relentless in its action filled narrative though. Unlike the previous two books, there is precious little meandering in the opening section, it hits the ground running with death and severe injury by the start of chapter 3 to let the reader know that this time she means business.

It was very clever of Rowling to "confirm" the deaths of two characters in the final installment. Multiply by that by 25 and you're somewhere in the ballpark. In the final act of the book when the action is back at Hogwarts, several of the deaths made me pause and say "wow JK, you cold bitch".

The final chapter of the book is, according to a documentary I watched when I was first getting into the books, the first thing she wrote for the series, to prove to herself she could do it. Having tied up all the narrative strands from the series in the chapter prior to the end, it was a fitting and actually very moving end to the book. I may have even cried.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about this book in the coming days and weeks but for now, that's all.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Countdown to The Deathly Hallows

With the final Harry Potter book mere hours away (some people already of course have their copies due to "oversights" by online retailers), the internet is in a frenzy of speculation as to what it will contain. You can find them here, here, here, and here. Also there are predictions here, here, here, here, here,and here.

Judging by the titles of these blog entries linked above, the focus is on who will die, who is good and who is not and the purpose of the horcruxes. I say judging by the title because I am not reading any further than that on any of them. My book had better arrive from Amazon tomorrow morning (especially as they charged me for it LAST Saturday and it's been 'ready to dispatch' ever since) and once I have finished the book, then I will go back and read what everyone was thinking.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Harry Potter and the Um of the What?

I went to see the new Harry Potter movie last night. I'm seeing it again on August 4th at the IMAX and believe me when I tell you that I enjoyed it a lot and will have no problems sitting through it a second time.

However, this was never going to be an easy adaptation. The book is ridiculously overlong and overextended. Boiling it down to two hours twenty minutes makes for some serious editing but it's been edited so much that it makes no concession for anyone unfamiliar with the source material. And while there's an argument that you shouldn't really be starting out with the fifth movie, a scooch more information here and there wouldn't have gone amiss. Two new characters are so diminished in the adaptation they should really have been written out altogether (Tonks and Luna). For the most part though, I had very little issue with the cuts and rewrites, but some of the edits will make adapting book 6 a little tricky.

Which affirms a belief I've been harbouring for a little while that the big screen is not the best medium for the novels. They should have waited until the final novel was published (five days to go!) and then the BBC, for example, should have adapted each book as a five part mini series. The later novels would have had the room to breathe that they really require instead of multiple plot strands and characters fighting for space. Also, starting the films before all the novels are published is a little tricky. How can they be sure that elements left out of the forth and fifth films aren't going to be important points in the final installment? Maybe in the due course of time, the mini series will become a reality, who knows? At least the acting in the fifth film was a massive improvement on the earlier films and the main offender for atrocious acting (Tom Felton's horrible HORRIBLE Draco Malfoy) had barely three minutes of screen time.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Hot Guy Monday: Chris Meloni

I recently re-discovered Oz as I finally got the fifth season on DVD. It reaffirmed my adoration of Chris Meloni. He's not someone you look at and say "wow, you should so be a model" but anyone who has seen him as Chris Keller would surely agree that he is the very definition of hot. In Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, his character and performance are the polar opposite of Keller, yet there's still something about him in that show that makes me go a little weak in the knees. So sit back and appreciate yourselves some Meloni. Be careful scrolling down to the last pic though. It's on here because you gotta love a man who is constantly getting naked for the camera, but it might not be something your boss should catch you looking at.