Monday, December 13, 2010

Man with a Camera

It's easy to forget that before the dark days of Golan-Globus, Charles Bronson was once one of the most promising actors of his generation. In movies like the Magnificent Seven and Once Upon a Time in the West and classic episodes of shows like the Twilight Zone and Have Gun Will Travel, Bronson gave a series of powerful but subtle performances.

Bronson first made the transition to leading man in the late Fifties in Man with a Camera. Check out this episode directed by William Castle and co-starring Angie Dickinson.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

If more people knew what directors actually did, more people would know who Joseph Sargent was

I was watching White Lightning last night and marvelling as always at how well it captured the look and feel of my old stomping ground (Sling Blade is the only other film that comes close). William Norton's script has good ear and a sharp sense of detail (like the references to Junior Johnson), but the bulk of the credit here goes to Sargent.

This is all the more impressive when you realize that Sargent also directed one of the definitive New York City movies, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In Mippyville we're generally more of a Vampira crowd

But we did enjoy this clip from Talking Points Memo.


"Little Red Riding Hare" gets all the attention and admittedly, McKimson's direction is a bit weak but the click moment (at around 5:30) is as funny and profound as any gag in any Looney Tune.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Who would have thought that Erik Estrada would have the more dignified career?

From the New York Times:

5:34 p.m. | Updated Larry Wilcox became famous for playing Officer Jon Baker on the hit television series “CHiPs” decades ago. But what about his most recent role — as the president and chief executive of a California company called the UC Hub Group?

Mr. Wilcox, 63, was among a handful of people who were accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday of securities fraud and paying illicit kickbacks in order to manipulate the price of penny-stock companies, the UC Hub Group among them.

What the UC Hub Group actually does, however, is an open question.

Mr. Wilcox is accused of paying $16,000 in kickbacks to an undercover F.B.I. agent in return for the agent purchasing 1.6 million restricted shares of stock in Mr. Wilcox’s company — which the S.E.C. said in its complaint “purports to be in the mining, energy, and global Web television businesses.”

The UC Hub Group’s Web site, with garishly snazzy Flash animation and chirpy background music, says that the company “is currently focused on Precious Metals, Gems, and the Oil and Gas Industry.”

But it is hard to discern what being focused on such things actually entails — a matter that has long been the subject of debate on an investors message board about the company. (There even exists a blog devoted to arguing that Mr. Wilcox is up to no good, and for nefariousness beyond the kickback scheme in which the S.E.C. has accused him of partaking.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Derivative and formulaic -- but not in a bad way

You will find nothing in Raising Hope that you couldn't find in Greg Garcia's My Name Is Earl. It's the same Farrelly brothers mix of gross-out gags and sentimentality, acted out by the same type of dim through amiable lowlifes.

And, like Earl, it's inventive, consistently funny, and often genuinely touching.

Martha Plimpton deserves more of a career.

Friday, September 24, 2010

If you're going to do a very special episode, you should do it like this...

The good people over at Ultrasonic Remote have a post on a less-than-special special episode of Without a Trace. For the sake of balance, here's an episode WKRP -- a show that knew how to pull this sort of thing off.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mippyville Western Theatre presents...

Charles Bronson is usually at the silent center of action movies. He says little, but his muscles are coiled and his eyes are alert, and sooner or later, he will unleash violence. That's why it's interesting and even a little unsettling to find him in a whimsical Western romance. We don't expect Bronson to make small talk, to be charming, to sweep a pretty woman off her feet - but that's what he does in "From Noon to Three." And he does it with a certain rugged grace. The movie opens unsteadily and takes too long to close, but the things that happen between noon and three give us new ideas about Bronson's possibilities. I've always thought of him as a superb physical actor with a limited emotional range; here he finds his way very easily through a romance by Frank D. Gilroy, who wrote and directed the movie and whose best-known work is "The Subject Was Roses."
Roger Ebert on From Noon to Three.

Speaking of Moffat...

I really need to see this.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"One swallow does not..."

Even with the crime-against-humanity laugh track this is one of the best sitcoms ever. From the opening joke to the final shot of the last episode, it was never anything less than brilliant.

Steven Moffat is amazing. He jumps from genre to genre with perfect mastery, inventive as Richard Matheson, clever as Roald Dahl, creating shows that can rival NYPD Blue for drama and Seinfeld* for comedy.

*Though people often make the connection with Friends, Moffat has said his inspiration for Coupling was Seinfeld.

"Greetings, culture lovers..."

Sit back and enjoy

MippyvilleTV's Sunday Night Cinema Classic, Zero for Conduct.

The House Effect

Take a talented, charismatic actor. Give him an over-the-top, self-destructive character to play. Back him up with a cast of seven-words-or-less characters (the idealistic but level-headed African-American friend, the sexy and sarcastic female private eye, etc.). Put him through the most improbable plots imaginable.

And hope the critics haven't wised up.

More cute/spunky girl mannerisms than a Meg Ryan film festival

Spy stories have always been torn between Ian Fleming's wish-fulfilment fantasies and John LeCarre's intriguingly grim and complex world. Gadgets and chases vs. moral quandaries. Excitement vs. realism.

A few exceptional shows like the Bourne Identity and Burn Notice manage both at once. The events are, by any reasonable standard, unbelievable, but the presentation and the sense of moral gravity makes them seem credible.

Deep in the opposite quadrant, both boring and unbelievable, you find Covert Affairs with Piper Perabo delivering more cute/spunky girl mannerisms than a Meg Ryan film festival. If you're a hard core fan of the genre, take a look, but don't sy I didn't warn you.

From crude beginnings...

Look carefully at this blurry kinescope and you can see the birth of one of television's brightest moments, Your Show of Shows.

Amazing piece of Cold War television

Fans of Richard Boone, Star Trek*, and Golden Age television really need to see this.

* Check out the writer.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

All the David Cross you can handle

Be warned, though. If you're used to getting your DC in tiny doses from Arrested Development, this may be more than you can handle.