Thursday, September 30, 2010

No Time For Sergeants (1955)

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.