Sunday, 28 April 2013

"Da Vinci's Demons" Episode 3 "The Prisoner" Starz TV series, review, no spoilers

A great episode this week.
Our hero often looks like he is battling ADHD, but then so does Johnny Lee Miller in "Elementary".
Leo, in much of the series, is either drugged or drunk - dealing with his 'demons'. And we had quite a few demons in this episode - either real or imagined.
Da Vinci finds an ally in the usually incompetent Giulino Medici (Tom Bateman). Who knew? Loved the possessed nuns (very Ken Russell's "The Devils", 1971). The atmospheric abbey was quite Hammer Horror. More please. We had Leo solving the mystery of the wacky nuns while our favourite villain, Riario (Blake Ritson) talks strategies with the mysterious prisoner. Their board game of black and white pieces looks like the ancient Asian game of Go.
This game is played throughout the episode, parallelling the machinations occurring in Florence. A clever touch, Mr Goyer. As well as the motif of the caged parrot, who can escape but does not.
More furious bird sketching in the marketplace (such a great scene in Episode 1). The brief shot of sunrise over Florence was glorious.
Clarice Orsini (the very busy Lara Pulver - the lovely Irene Adler in "Sherlock", also in "Spooks" and "True Blood" - all great shows) proves herself to be no fool. Beware, Lucrezia.
Liked the blindman's quality control in the arms factory, Leo's spontaneous painting-licking and the frenzied bonking among the Medici horses (a stable relationship between Lorenzo and his filly???).
Leo's feverish nightmares were particularly graphic this week - reanimated corpses, scalpels and ripping apart chest cavities.
I assume we will see more of Riario's Abyssinian slave (if the naughty pope doesn't monopolise her time).

Saturday, 27 April 2013

"Lilyhammer" TV series Episode 5 "My Kind of Town" review

So much going on in this episode.
Baby carriages, money laundering, crap art ("that's a monkey getting a blow job"), New York transsexuals, 'Elvis' leaving the building, cancer threats, mobsters on Frank's trail.
Miraculously all this comes together. Even with so many complications, Frank always makes 'every post a winner'.
In the final scene our hero, Frank/Giovanni (Steven Van Zandt) sings  in the style of 1950's Sinatra/Las Vegas lounge singers: "My kind of town...Lillehammer is...".

Why my wife hated Episode 6 of "Bates Motel", "The Truth", review

This is a guest post from my wife:

What a disappointing load of bollocks this episode was! I've loved this series so far so I'm really pissed off that this was such a shallow, obvious piece of crap.
I love it when I'm watching a film or TV program and I say, "Wow, I didn't see that one coming!" Well, this certainly didn't happen here. I saw the ending coming as soon as Norma (Vera Fermiga) went to a motel room for a bit of nooky with her dodgy lover.
It didn't make sense! Norma should so easily have said to the deputy, "Sorry, the boys will be home soon" or "Take me now, here on the patio" or even "Not tonight, I have a splitting headache."
But no, off they toddle to do the dirty in the motel room close to Jiao, the escaped sex slave. STUPID STUPID STUPID. Norma would not have done this.
The other predictable bit of writing came with the obvious physical similarities between Dylan and the bent cop, Shelby. You knew that at some stage there would be a confrontation between these two and we wouldn't know which one would make it after the shootout.
What a disappointment. Perhaps the writer(s) have used up all their good ideas. I don't know whether I'll be watching again. Maybe just one more time, to see if this was just an anomaly.

Friday, 26 April 2013

"Hannibal" NBC TV series Series 1, Episode 4 COMPLETE "Ceuf", Episode 5 "Coquilles" review

Unfortunately, due to the pulling of Episode 4, the series has lost some of its impetus. I applaud Bryan Fuller's sensitivity. This is me, being purely selfish -  it has stuffed up the flow of the series. After watching the complete "Ceuf" episode (thanks to Sony run cable, AXN Asia), I am bewildered why it was pulled. Sure the family dinner scenes were disturbing, the bodies slumped around the dinner table, but the violence was mainly off camera and part of Will's mental reconstructions. There is so much violence on TV. For example, "The Following" Ep. 14 "Carrie"-like gym massacre. Was it merely timing with "Hannibal" Ep 4?
I hope we can return to the fascinating relationship between Hannibal and Abigail. Didn't quite know where the magic mushroom scene was going.
It is a shame Episode 4 got reedited so drastically in the web version. Veteran director Peter Medak directed "Ceuf". The theme was family - Will's family of stray dogs, Joe's lack of children, Lecter trying to make Abigail a new family and the families of  'the lost boys'. The web version was a waste of time. Scenes referenced previous scenes, so it made no sense.
Molly Shannon plays a great psycho - I remember her deranged character in "Will & Grace". The 'lost boys' and Molly should have been a two-parter, there seemed a lot of back story, more could have been explained about how the mock-family of runaways operated. "You don't know what it's like" says the kid to Joe about his real family. Perhaps it is best if we didn't find out the background to these affluent but twisted families.

Episode 5 was noteworthy because of Laurence Fishburne's fine underplaying - where he gradually realises his wife has cancer (while listening to the angel-maker's wife talk about his cancer) was a classy scene.
Lots of scenes of Will sleepwalking in these 2 episodes. Is this so the audience can see more of Hugh Dancy in his boxers? Funniest line: Will turns to Hannibal, "Did you just smell me?"

The 'angels' tableaux created reminded me of Dexter, Season 6 with Edward James Olmos.
Hannibal's sumptuous banquets staged in his "Architectual Digest" dining room are becoming my favourite scenes in the series. Jack asks what he is eating. "It's rabbit" Lecter replies. Jack, "He should have hopped faster!" (Cut to a running, strumbling man).  Also liked when Lecter stressed that he "only uses an ethical butcher".

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Terrific opening titles from TV, past and present

  • "The Wild, Wild West" (1965-1969) complemented by Richard Markowitz's theme music, the four screens of villains are later used in the frozen four scenes pre-commercial breaks. Hard to explain, Youtube it.
  • "Hawaii Five-0" (1968), the camera zooms, Jack Lord on the high rise balcony. Sublime. I love 1968.
  • "Dexter" of course - inspired and witty - breakfast of champions.
  • "True Blood", style later copied in "Banshee"
  • "'American Horror Story" (2012- , FX) It's a bit "Se7en", but still wonderful.
  • "The Name of the Game" (1968-1971)
  • "Search" (1971-1972)
  • "The Father Brown Mysteries" (1974, U.K.)
  • "Callan" (1967-72) the swinging light bulb is iconic - simple yet effective
  • "It Takes A Thief" (1968-1970) Wayne Fitzgerald has done countless shows and movies, the master. Dave Grusin's cool theme music is the perfect match.
  • "Boardwalk Empire" (2010- , HBO)
  • "Mr and Mrs Murder" (2013 , Aust., Network 10) comic strip/pop art inspired. Go Australia!
  • "True Detective" (2014- , HBO) together with T Bone Burnett's music is inspirational.
It is often hard to separate great opening titles from great theme music, as one complements the other.

"Bluestone 42" review BBC3 Series 1 Episode 8 (final) TV series, Christmas episode

I gave this show another try. And I'm glad I did. I might watch the earlier episodes now. I can see why a second series has been commissioned. The humping goats intro scene was cute. The scene where multi-talented Millsy (Gary Carr) teaches  takes no-nonsense Bird (Katie Lyons) basic Pashto was Abbott & Costello-esque. Faruq is delightful. I like the tolerant Lieutenant-Colonel and the gormless Rocket. Nick (Oliver Chris) isn't the one-dimensional prick I thought he was in the first episode I watched. Will Padre Mary (Kelly Adams) get it on with Nick? The charred toucan says "Hoo" (Pashto).
The show is nicely photographed, the South African landscape looks great. I was surprised how taut the bomb disposal scene in the Mercedes was. I'm a sucker for the old snipping of the right wire cinema cliche.
Well written characters are always the key to a good sitcom. That's why this show is growing on me.
Just watched Episode 1, very impressed. Why didn't I watch the earlier episodes?

Christmas episode 2013 was a delight. Discovering actors I now recognise from "The Paradise" and "Last Tango in Halifax". This show is a little gem.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

"Bates Motel" Episode 6 "The Truth" review, spoilers, TV series

A bit of a hotchpotch this episode.  It didn't make sense for Norma to allow the horny deputy to get so close to Jiao's motel room. This is totally not like Norma. Why didn't they bonk in the main house? This was a bit of a script setup.  The shootout scene in Chateau Bates was a bit over the top, but good fun. Norman spends a good part of the episode in a glassy eyed, trance like state, poor love.
I suppose this episode nicely establishes the bond between Norma and Normette. The police investigating the 'accident' in the garage must have been slack. Mr Bates was struck by Norman on the back of the skull. The metal shelves hit him on his front, below the head. Was the mortal blow supposed to be falling against the garage floor?
Best bit: Watch how Norma hesitantly hugs Emma, like she is gradually learning a new emotion.
Bro Dylan summed it up beautifully to Norman: His "father was a bastard and Norma is insane".
Nice to see some well recreated Bates scenery from the 1960 movie - the Victorian turreted house still grabs me, the internal staircase, the motel walkway. No basement scenes yet. I'm sure Carlton Cuse (creator) has factored that in.

NB Series producer, Mark Wolper, is following in his dad's footprints (David L. Wolper, super producer of TV blockbusters in the 1970's and 1980's like "Roots" and "The Thorn Birds", many movies - the original "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and "L.A. Confidential").

"Call the Midwife" BBC TV series Series 2, Episode 8 final, review, no spoilers

Forget "Downton Abbey", this show is must-see TV.
Every character is beautifully developed. We know them all: the wise and nurturing head nun (Sister Julienne/Jenny Agutter), her no-nonsense off-sider (Sister Evangelina/Pam Ferris), the English Rose who is always one man behind (Jenny/Jessica Raine), the tortured, angelic Sister Bernadette (Laura Main), the good time girl with the heart of gold (Trixie/Helen George), the mouse that occasionally roars (Cynthia/Bryony Hannah), the part senile, part poetic philosopher (Sister Monica Joan/Judy Parfitt), the shy, gradually blooming Jane (Dorothy Atkinson). And of course Chummy/Camilla. It is not surprising that the author, Jennifer Worth, the real life Jenny, suggested Miranda Hart for the part. Ms Worth died in 2011.
The show effortlessly goes from harrowing to heartwarming to hilarious. I am not at all religious but this show does a lot for the cause (as did "The Vicar of Dibley").  It's the best TV series about nuns (Catholic or Anglican) since the Australian mini-series "Brides Of Christ" (1991).
I tear up on a regular basis during Vanessa Redgrave's (older Jenny) closing narration for each episode. And the last episode was no exception. What will happen to Nonnatus House? We shall have to wait until series 3. I'll like to see them move Sister Evangelina! Should be interesting.
Big thumbs up for series creator and writer of many episodes, Heidi Thomas. The production design/art direction capturing 1950's East London/docks is exceptional.
Big thumbs up for the postwar introduction of the N.H.S. in Britain!

"The Following" TV series Series 1, Episode 14 "The End is Near" review

We have all been to crap dinner parties, but I think the one hosted by Joe takes the cake. Good old Claire, she is very nifty with the knife and fork as well. Joe is becoming more sloshed with each episode.
Two great scenes: the disconcerting TV reporter stabbing outside the police station. I know these reporters ask some dumb questions, but that was a bit harsh. Sheesh!
The slaughter in the school gym scene - shades of Stephen King's "Carrie". The idea of the nutbags walking among the innocent is very creepy. Updating Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" was inspired.  And we got "The Premature Burial" in the last scene.
Does John Lafayette return? He was only in it for the episode about Parker's cult family. He gets billing each week.
Final episode of the season next week. I want to lots of Ryan-Joe verbal duelling - if Joe can stay off the scotch and red wine long enough.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Too many white wines .... or is it a senior's moment? Confessions of a 57 year old.

You know you're getting older when ....
  • Ever looked around for your reading glasses when you are wearing them?
  • Thinking the two birds from "Rosemary and Thyme" look rather attractive.
  • When channel surfing, stopping at the home shopping channels.
  • Indulging in the 3:00 p.m. nanny nap.
  • Reading half a chapter before realising you've read this novel a few years ago.
  • Entering a room, then wondering what you went in there for.
  • Watching a repeat of "New Tricks".
  • Getting out of bed with aching feet.
  • Letting out the involuntary "Errr!" helps you with bending, putting on socks/underwear.
  • You emit bum burps when doing your daily floor exercises.
  • Watching "Midsomer Murders" on ABC in the afternoon.
  • Victor Meldrew in "One Foot in the Grave" is your role model. 

"The Icecream Girls" TV mini series Episode 1 quick review

What is it with ITV and seaside town thrillers? First "Broadchurch" now, this miniseries. I am hooked already. I'm a sucker for a juicy flashback.
The novel (by Dorothy Koomson) must be a good read. The recreation of 1995 was well done. Jodhi May expertly plays the tortured Poppy. Not sure about Lorraine Burrough's Serena character. The drama is only a three parter ...easy-peasy, viewers.

"Broadchurch" ITV Series 1 final episode Episode 8 review Season 2

When I started watching this crime series I thought it was too drawn out, a bit like "Top of the Lake" goes to Dorset. What is it with bleak, desolate places and dark secrets. Ask anyone from Adelaide. Oh dear, I have offended my wife. I will retract that remark or I'm cooking for myself tonight.
By about Episode 5, I was sucked in. Probably when Pauline Quirke came into it. The characters are well fleshed out, the interweaving of stories compelling. Lots of grey, tortured characters. This show would had  less rounded characters and more car chases if it had been on U.S. free to air.
David Tennant shows what a fine actor he is. Olivia Colman (a delight as the mum in "Beautiful People") played well opposite him as DS Ellie Miller. Her scene when told the truth about her husband was heartbreaking. Ellie's whole world is upended.
In fact the last 20 minutes of the show was almost too painful to watch, albeit beautifully acted. The uplifting beacons along the coast was a moving final scene.
One wonders who will be featured in the series 2, as the two leads seem to have been written out (DI Hardy's heart condition, DS Miller can hardly stay in town).

Season 2 Knocked my socks off.
Tennant and Colman return. Only the Brits could get away with this so flawlessly. It's now not: who-done-it but a did-he-do-it? Charlotte Rampling (so wasted in the atrocious final season of "Dexter") chews up the scenery.
Rarely do you see a second season surpass the first.

"Plebs" TV series ITV2 Episode 6 (final) "Saturnalia" review

"The end is nigh!" shrieked the crone. Well, it is the end of the Series 1. ITV has commissioned another serve of the Latin Likely Lads in 2014.
I'll miss the Water Boy Man. Marcus's shrivelled penis line. Grumio knobbing sacrificial meat. Stylax's strawberries and cream "You can't swipe there.. in the cleft". The um, um, umming vicar-like high priest of the temple. I'll miss the ska beat in the Forum.
Hail Caesar!
Hail ITV2.

Monday, 22 April 2013

All-you-can-eat Buffets, Top 7 tips from a professional pig

I love buffets, I'll admit it. Here are my top 7 tips for successfully feeding your face without overdoing it.

1. Choose a seafood buffet. Prawns, oysters, smoked salmon, baked fish (Stuff you might not eat at home) - gives you more bang for your buck. Avoid filling up on: pizza, pasta, rice, potatoes, creamy salad dressing, fried crap.
2. Pace yourself. Grab your prawns (shrimp), peel them all first, relish them. Chat to you partner, gossip about fellow diners, enjoy the view.
3. Don't pile your plate high with a mixture of things. The fire alarm hasn't gone off. You can return to the buffet, you know. Arrange the plate like an a la carte meal.
4. Don't eat or drink while you are standing up. It looks gross.
5. Don't queue if you don't need to, there is probably two sides to the table, so you can attack from either side. You're not aboard some crap cruise ship.
6. Check out the carvery. If the meat doesn't look pink and juicy, forget it.
7. Wait until a fresh bain-marie has been swapped for the old turned-over food. Nothing worse that cold vegies or congealed sauces.

 Happy eating, piggies.

"Zombieland" Amazon TV pilot 2013 review

When you are not expecting much from a show, it's a nice surprise. I liked the "Zombieland" 2009 movie a lot. The interaction between the two male leads, Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, the cool graphics, the rules of Zombieland. With the same writers, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, a likable cast (Tyler Ross is quite cute) and a new character, Detroit (the 'eye in the sky', the dulcet tones of Kendra Fountain). There is a lot to like here.
The hilarious first scene in the office, two prats discussing finicky food choices while a zombie apocalypse is raging (chainsaws, incinerated man, crashing jet) behind them through the full length window. The geriatric zombies, Ikea chit chat, running "vagina" count, loads of pop culture references (Ms Pacman and Brady's tiki idol) made it a diverting 28 minutes. Pretty strong production values too. Did Talahassee (Kirk Ward) mention "Eisenberg" in one of his lines?
Favourite bit: "Zombie Kill of the Week" (the Indiana Jones/'76' ball). A big laugh following a gore fest (e.g. Talahassee clubbing the elderly zombies) was occasionally disconcerting.
As far as this 57 year old is concerned, I'd give this a go.  Hell, it was free.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

"Da Vinci's Demons" TV series Starz Episode 2 "The Serpent" review, minor spoilers

Better than the first episode. Just as silly but with more substance. You need to forget about what Renaissance history you learnt in school and just sit back and enjoy this stuff. It's like Indiana Jones meets "National Treasure" (particularly the last scene). David S. Goyer (creator) has taken a  few key facts of the period and then gone on a roller coaster ride.
Goyer seems to like to shock the viewer with his first scene in each ep. Last week it was the naughty, soon to be stabbed Duke of Milan. This week it's a circumcised member ("I haven't seen one of those before" intones a girl). By the way, 'the hanged man' is quite well hung. We then get a very graphic autopsy performed by Leonardo.
"The Serpent" refers to the Pope's nephew, Count Riario (Blake Ritson). My new favourite character. If there was a railroad track in Florence, he'd have tied half a dozen damsels to it. He just has to put up with old fashioned decapitation and a nifty torture device called The Widow's Tear.
Once again there is the gorgeous black and white animation (the mechanics of the dual keys and lock). Our swashbuckling hero escapes up the scaffolding of the Duomo - a great scene. Tom Riley is definitely doing a bit of Sherlock (Johnny Miller version) when reconstructing the fate of the Jew and the Book of Leaves.
Loved the quarry scene - say hello to Leo's "little friend".
Da Vinci's mates are good value, the loyal servant, Nico the irreverent Zoroaster (whose favourite turn of phrase is not "Mamma Mia!" but a very English: "F*ck me!").
The use of colour to signify the two worlds - evil, forbidding, secretive Rome - shadowy scenes in the Vatican, black clad villains and the decadent, but enlightened Florence of the Medicis - garish colours, fireworks, torches, extravagant bejewelled costumes. Check out the Adam and Eve floorshow in the Medici ball scene.
Knowledge and the control of knowledge is the theme of the series (as well as bonking and butchery, of course, it's cable!)
The final scene with Leo perched above the grid pattern of pages was inpirational.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

"Lilyhammer" TV series Episode 4 "The Midwife" review

How does Frank do it? Ever week he turns the tables to get his own way, through manipulation, shrewdness, brashness and a pinch of dumb luck. This week he wants the best hospital for his girlfriend's new baby. Everything works out because of a poker game and a citizens' night patrol (a 'non-violent' vigilante group, the Night Ravens). He dismisses the Ravens with, "Never fu*king more!" (Quoth the mobster).
These scripts are original and ingenious, the characters, beguiling. You shouldn't like Frank's crass attitudes and biases but you can't help it - he's lovable.
His father-son talk with Sigrid's son is hilarious. "Women are food .... nourishment" he tells the spellbound Jonas, waxing lyrical about the female anatomy and possibilities for 'nourishment'.
The cocky and 'thick as two short planks' policeman, 'Elvis' Tvedt, inadvertently discovers Frank's secret. Should make next episode interesting. I'm sure the wily Frank/Giovanni will think his way out.

"Hannibal" TV series NBC Episode 3 "Potage" review

And what a tasty pot of soup it was, tonight.
Are the script writers trying to equate deer hunters with serial killers? This will piss off the N.R.A..
Why did all the female characters (Abigail, Marissa from next door, her mum, Dr Bloom) look the same (long brown hair, wearing teal colours). We know Hobbs had a thing for this look. But why teal - did he shoot ducks too?
Virginal Abigail (Kacey Rohl) looks like Lindsay Lohan (circa "Mean Girls", not now).
Loved the scene in the lecture theatre when Graham and Lecter share looks as Will talks about the copycat's phone call to Hobbs. Does he know? We know Abigail does.
Blogger Freddie Lounds (played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman in "Red Dragon", now played by Lara Jean Chorostecki) seems to breeze into any situation. Can't she be arrested for obstruction of justice? The F.B.I. have been incredibly lenient with the pest. Slagging off unstableWill in earshot of everyone. Hope she is main course soon.
Not much nifty profiler magic by Will this week - I like when he is transported, trance-like, reconstructing the murders.
Shared madness seems to be a recurring theme in this series. Poor Abigail, getting into a pact with Lecter. This won't end well. Hope she has another hunting knife handy.

Friday, 19 April 2013

"Da Vinci's Demons" Starz/FX TV series Episode 1 "The Hanged Man" review

The viewer is assaulted by the sight of "Downtown Abbey's Earl of Grantham" (Hugh Bonneville) naked, urinating after bedding a young man. Later on we hear the honeyed words, "F*ck me again, Leonardo!" You know this is not The History Channel.
This is going to be a rollicking romp, full of sex and slashing, political intrigue, colourful vistas, more bonking, a mysterious fraternity, myriad conspiracies and naughty popes.
David S. Goyer is the creator (writer of "The Dark Knight" and soon to be released "Man of Steel"). He directs this episode also. English seems to be the default accent in this series. Tom Riley plays the title character like Errol Flynn in his swashbuckling heyday. Add a touch of arrogant Sherlock from "Elementary". Both gents like a bit of illicit drugs also.
When the mascaraed Turk spouts "Time is a river .... a circle" I thought I was listening to the hokey "Lost Horizon" from 1972. I like Da Vinci's friends, young Nico (test pilot in Leo's man-kite was a  funny scene) and the worldly Zoroaster (Greg Chillin - he certainly was chillin') as the procurer of corpses. It's "Plebs" goes Renaissance.
I thought Leonardo played with the other team. He wasn't showing those tendencies in this episode (apart from a vague comment about an attractive male model. Homosexuality seems to be de rigueur for the elite (the pissing Duke of Milan, the venal Pope).
For all its silliness, there is an inspired scene when starlings are released from a market cage so Leonardo can observe and sketch their flight. This was a beautifully realised scene. I watched open mouthed.
The series may never top this one minute wondrous gem.
Next week: more bums, boobs, bonking, buggery, bashings and betrayal?
Well, it beats The History Channel.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

"Bluestone 42" BBC3 Episode 7 review

Not sure about "Bluestone 42". It's got a lot going for it. A bold idea, looks great (South Africa doubling for Afghanistan), two of the writers of "Miranda" and nice performances from a diverse cast.
It just didn't grab me. I wanted to like it. Think "M*A*S*H" meets "It Ain't Half Hot, Mum" meets "The Hurt Locker" (especially the handheld camera bit during the bombing scene). The pointless conversations about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Scrabble, Greggs and a block of cheese were diverting. The mix of comedy with the serious doesn't quite come off. I liked the Afghan's comment, "sure I'm on your side, you pay me".
And that's about it.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

"Bates Motel" Episode 5 "Ocean View" TV series, A and E, recap, review

Emma Decody (Olivia Cooke), super sleuth (Nancy Drew avec wheelie oxygen tank) is back. I've missed her. She shares Norman's taste in dorky sweater choices (crap stripes, Fair Isle?).  She finally tracks down Asian sex slave, Jiao. Emma asks Norman to clean up Jiao's vom back at the Bates Motel .... Norman, steer clear of the shower, that comes LATER.

Norma is becoming a real worry for Norman.  Looking unusually normal, he comes swaggering home (sans crap sweater) from an amorous night with Bradley, only to meet unforgiving, guilt-trip-inducing Norma, fresh out of the slammer. Poor Norman, a psycho in the making. The scene in the Mercedes with Norma and Normette is a beauty. Two exceptional actors (Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore) show their stuff.
Dylan (is it me, or does his top row of choppers look different since the last ep) is the voice of reason in this affair. The two bros looked cute on the motor bike. Dylan has no time for Norma. For good reason. Who will she top in the next episode?  Loverboy, Deputy Shelby, the only one who knows about the incriminating evidence?

"Top of the Lake" Episode 7 series finale review some spoilers

Beware of pregnant teenage mothers hissing and brandishing a hunting rifle (c.f. Episode 6 review).
No dead spots in this episode. Heaps of revelations and complications. I knew that Parker was an evil bastard. The framed photos of the teenage 'baristas' was a giveaway. No wonder Jamie (Luke Buchanan) was so damaged, collecting bones and talking about the serpent in paradise and "the darkness" in ep 6.
Robin's biological father - didn't see that one coming. I knew Mitchum had the local police in his back pocket but didn't expect one to be his daughter.
As to newborn Noah's father, Parker had DNA proof it was Matt Mitchum. But can Parker trust him? Tui's "NO ONE" comment was true. Could have been any of the porn making paedophiles from Parker's luxury pad. Mitchum probably provided the rohypnol. The bit about Johnno's real father was a bit convenient, but I suppose there was enough depravity in Laketop without the incest angle.
Two nice bits: the shot of the Paradise containers, dwarfed by the towering mountains and GJ's (Holly Hunter) final scenes. Consulting her ipad for her latest investments, telling her tribe they were "crazy bitches" before washing her plate and fork, giving Tui some motherly advice and skipping off to Iceland.
Why didn't the Australian Broadcasting Commission want to show this series? Bad call, Auntie.
Was this series worth sticking with?

RE  Robin's lakeside booze scene. Why do people bother drinking liquor out of shopping bags, you know it's not 7up they're sipping.

"Top of the Lake" TV series Episode 6 review

Things I have learnt in this episode:
  • Don't piss off a heavily pregnant teenager brandishing a rifle.
  • New Zealanders will swim in any weather (e.g. hippies in moonlit icy lakes, teenagers in mountain streams).Was Campion holding a gun to the poor buggers' heads?
  • Detective Al Parker (David Wenham) is as crooked as the roads around Laketop.
  • Bjork made fantastic music (cover version of "Joga" sung in the Paradise funeral/concert scene)
2 questions:
How come there's snow-covered slopes in some shots and green peaks in other shots?
What about Bob Platt's kinky sex party photos?

The finale should be a doozy. The spectacular clifftop fall will take some beating. But everyone saw the old switcheroo coming, didn't they.
Hope the bikers are still in town.

Location filming:
I'm assuming Glenorchy doubled for Laketop (as it is 'at the top' of Lake Wakatipu) and Queenstown (about 40 km south) was used for the more urban areas (police HQ, coffee shop, Parker's house).

"The Following" TV series Episode 13, "Havenport" few spoilers

Well, the shit hit the fan for Joe in this episode. Roderick tried his Plan B. Emma and Jacob are a couple again. Claire tried a bit of kiss and stab with her ex-hubby/slowly unravelling Joe. I laughed out when Joe told Claire, "I am having a really bad day" and to all in Chateau Psycho, "Everybody needs to calm down!"
When do they pass around the Kool-Aid?
I like the inspired casting of Warren Kole (Roderick) as the blond All American Boy country sheriff. I enjoyed the sparring on the phone between Joe and Ryan. Joe is a great manipulator of people, but a crap writer, as Claire commented last week. He is using "the therapy of words" ... you tosser, Professor.
Loved the gal with the hair pin in the last scene.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sexy junk mail? For Australians Only

The local Woolies catalogue took my wife by surprise this morning. Nice to see the spirit of "Carry On,  Nurse" is not forgotten with Aussie advertising gurus.

"Plebs" TV series ITV2 Episode 5 "Bananae" review

A nice surprise seeing Mr Roper from "Man about the House"/"George and Mildred" (Brian Murphy) in the first scene as the plucky war veteran. I collapsed when he nutted Marcus. Lots to like in this episode.
Beware Thracian women bearing gifts (in this case bananas). Watching Flavia eating her first banana was hysterical.
Liked the word play: Stylax's nightly "napsturbation" (I think that's what Marcus said) and picking on the immigrants means you might be "Thracist".
Pretty sure a second season will be commissioned on the strength of this one. Last episode next week!
My wife and I (50+ old farts) love this show.
Funniest sitcom since "Friday Night Dinner" and "Miranda"

Monday, 15 April 2013

James Bond girls - ludicrous, lurid names

Ian Fleming took the name "James Bond" from the author of a book of exotic birds. He wanted the most mundane name possible. On the other hand, Bond "birds" had very exotic names. Here are the most colourful.
F - featured in Bond film
N - featured in original Bond novel

Honey(chile) Ryder "Dr No"   (F)N
Pussy Galore "Goldfinger"   FN
Domino "Thunderball"   FN
Kissy Suzuki "You Only Live Twice"   FN
Tiffany Case "Diamonds are Forever"   FN  Plenty O'Toole, Bambi and Thumper   F
Solitaire "Live and Let Die"   FN
Mary Goodnight "The Man with the Golden Gun"   FN  Chew Mi (I'm not kidding)  F
Dr Holly Goodhead "Moonraker"
May Day "A View to a Kill"   F
Fatima Blush "Never Say Never Again"   F
Dr Christmas Jones "The World Is Not Enough"   F
Strawberry Fields "Quantum of Solace"   F

Honourable Mentions (2 classics from Matt Helm spy spoofs):

Lovey Kravezit "The Silencers"
Yu Rang "The Wrecking Crew"

Saturday, 13 April 2013

"Lilyhammer" TV series Episode 3 "Guantanamo Blues" review

This show is beautifully written, everything is perfectly resolved by the end of the episode. Except Sigrid's pregnancy!
Best scenes:
Frank 'negoiating' with a debtor by dunking him in the nearest ice hole. Brrrrr!
The birthday party scene for Sigrid's son, Jonah -  Macbook vs scratching stick gift.
Frank's driving test..."It's a stick shift!"
Frank labelling the hippy as "a half Mike Moore".

"Plebs" TV series ITV2 Episodes 2-4 Review

New drinking game. Watch an episode of "Plebs". Whenever there is a dick joke or the word "penis" is mentioned, go for it. Talbot Rothwell and the Carry-On gang would be blushing. But it's all innocent fun. The three silly boys are counterbalanced by two ballsy women, Flavia, the kinky boss (Doon Mackichan from "Smash the Pony") and the all-knowing, flame-haired Metella (Lydia Rose Bewley, "The Inbetweeners Movie").
Writers Tom Basden ("Fresh Meat") and Sam Leifer (co-producer) keep things bubbling nicely with lots of bodily function references and salacious situations. Classy production values help too - crowd scenes, nicely lit, detailed set design. The reggae soundtrack is a clever touch. The talented cast make it look so easy, great timing and delivery. There's no laugh track.... I was laughing hard enough, anyway. Especially the mutual soiling of tunics scene.
Delightfully vulgar. Can't wait for the last two episodes in the series. Perhaps Vestal Virgins and eunuch gags next week?

"Hannibal" TV series Episode 2 "Amuse-bouche" review, no spoilers

Who thinks up these bizarre deaths - this week it's nine neatly arranged bodies encrusted in fungi, a crop of injected arms jutting out of the fertilised earth. Well, it was Jim Danger Gray ("Pushing Daisies") who wrote the episode. I bet he relished telling his schoolmates, "Danger is my middle name!" It sounds like a Maxwell Smart line, but I digress.

If you had missed the movies and Thomas Harris novels, if you didn't know who Lecter really was, you'd think he was merely a competent, albeit quirky, psychiatrist.
It is the old Hitchcock ticking bomb analogy - only the audience knows it's there, the suspense is when it is going to explode. This series is set out like a banquet - last week's title was "Aperitif', now it's "Amuse-bouche" (bite-size tasties), we get soup in two weeks. The main course (when Lecter gets down and dirty, I am guessing, will be much later in the season).
Don't you love Hannibal's sumptuous office set? So organised, yet stylish. The muted colours with a splash of red. Will's complex, haunted character make this a compelling series -  his surreal dreams, trances and forensic flashbacks. The first disconcerting scene in the firing range grabs the viewers attention. Another great scene was in Lecter's elegant dining room with the close-up of the loin of pork put red sauce - playing with the audience  - is that tabloid journo-white meat????
My wife is not a big fan of U.S. crime shows, preferring U.K.efforts like "Wire in the Blood" (similar themes and main character), but this show has kept our interest.
Bring on the next course, Mr Fuller.

Friday, 12 April 2013

"Plebs" TV series ITV2 review Episode 1

I think I like "Plebs". I've only watched the first episode but it definitely has something. Mix a bit of "Up Pompeii" with Mel Brooks' "History of the World, Part 1" and "The Inbetweeners" as 20 somethings ..... you get the idea. The casting of the three leads is spot on. Including Tom Rosenthal (from the above show plus the brilliant "Friday Night Dinner") was a no-brainer.The slave, Grumio (Ryan Sampson), reminds me of Baldrick in "Black Adder" apart from Grumio's Northern accent. Joel Fry (Stylax) has good comic timing. He is obviously going to be the 'naughty boy' in the group, whereas Marcus is the uptight one.
Lots of funny ancient Rome meets 21st century Britain ("Bri-TON" as one pleb says) gags. All of them work. It is slight stuff but perfect 'put your feet up, grab a beer and enjoy' viewing.
Will watch more tonight.

"The Mimic" TV series Episode 5 (final) review

A bittersweet final episode. This series never outstayed its welcome - 5 eps was about right. I doubt there will be a second series as all was resolved. It was always pretty clear this was never going to be "A Star is Born"/Martin makes it big time. The scene of self-doubt in the woods/nursing home with Martin spewing out his voice characters was inspired ("I'm not a patient, I'm a mimic").
Larry the mutt, fridge opening Internet sensation, was obviously the winner of the tacky television show. Another jab from Matt Morgan about how vaccuous the Internet and social media can be. Did Martin use the Fire Exit at the last minute? Probably. But it doesn't matter either way.
This series has been full of quiet humour and warm characters. No 'laugh out loud' moments - we didn't even get a manic Wogan routine in this concluding episode. The bit about Martin being mistaken for a Greek waiter was priceless. And Neil's senile, girlie-mag-reading dad (Ralph Brown) was delightful.

Mr Morgan skilfully juggled tragedy and comedy in the scene with Martin's parents and Dionne's cancer. "The plant (a gift) will outlive her" and buying a "Get well soon" card. The final shots of Martin's family and friends in Bournemouth on the dad's digital photo frame was poignant and the key to the series - the important thing is friends and family.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Children's books, parents like reading also

As an ex-teacher and a parent, one of the most important things you can do for a child is the daily story at bedtime. In an age of Facebook, tablets, Smartphones, PSP and Wii, this is even more crucial. What books did you like to read your kids, that they enjoyed as well? Here's my list so far, but our daughter (now an adult) concurs:
  • "Where the Wild Things Are"
  • anything by Alison Lester ("Monsters are Knocking", "I'm Green and I'm Grumpy" especially)
  • Tin Tin adventures (my Captain Haddock voice was always crap, though)
  • "Thomas the Tank Engine" series (quaint and camp)
  • "The Monster at the End of this Book" 
  • Fairy tales, the grislier, the better - Rapunzel, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel
  • "The Muddle Headed Wombat" series
  • Barbar series
  • Madeline series
  • "The Wind in the Willows"
  • "Little Lit" (hipster retelling of fairy tales, Art Spiegelman, etc.)
  • "I'm Coming to Get You" (Tony Ross)
  • "Not Now Bernard" (David McKee)
  • anything by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (especially "Each Peach, Pear, Plum", "The Jolly Postman")
  • "Oddkins" (Dean Koontz ... go figure)
  • Meg and Mog series
  • "The Great Escape" by Phillip Dupasquier (text less so I had to improvise all the voices, huge favourite, book became very worn over the years)
  • Beatrix Potter books
  • anything by Babette Cole
  • anything by Mr Dahl (especially "The Witches")

"Top of the Lake" TV series Episode 5 review no spoilers

Am I really enjoying this TV series?

But there's only a few eps to go and loads of secrets to unravel.
The acting ranges from restrained and accomplished (David Wenham and Robyn Nevin - 2 old pros) to unconvincing and hokey (witness the probably improvised scene at Robin's place with Johnno - like some Community Theatre effort).
More boffing al fresco (and boy, it must have been fresh, check out the snow covered peaks), old naked birds splashing around in an icy stream and Johnno wading through creeks semi naked after being kicking in the goolies. It is enough to make you want to watch this wintry stuff in a Snuggy.
There's some really clunky dialogue in this ep (mainly from Johnno and Robin). Is it deliberately so? And Al's marriage proposal to Robin, out of nowhere?
Many scenes just don't ring true. Why was real estate agent Platt living in a crap caravan if he had just sold Paradise for two million dollars? No commission? Robin and Johnno's forest trek just happens to lead to Paradise?  There is a pattern in the show - about 10 minutes of scenic wonder, moss strewn bonking, plot red herrings and understated dialogue then an explosion of violence.


  • Realising Caroline Platt was played by NZ icon Lucy Lawless (Zena). Zena (Madeline Sami) is a character in "Top of the Lake". Jane Campion/Gerald Lee's little joke?
  • The decor represents the personalities of the characters. The disorganised, complicated shanties of Jude and Robin.The stark, colourless, cold home and office of Al Parker.
  • An instructive 'How to make a cup of tea' scene from kindly Detective Parker.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

"The Following" TV series, Episode 12 "The Curse" review, few spoilers

Ryan Hardy is a murderer! Joe and Ryan both have a death obsession, hence the episode's title. The strength of this show is the use of illuminating flashbacks.
Joe narrowly escaping each week is becoming a bore. Loved feisty Claire (Natalie Zea) punching grinning nutbag Emma and later slagging off Joe's novel writing style. Nice to see Joe (as well as Jacob) unravelling, albeit slowly.
Poor old Agent Weston (Shawn Ashmore), first day back on duty, looking like he has been in "Fight Club" (as his colleague comments) and Joe gets to torture him in front of Ryan.
That smarmy, loopy Sheriff has to be next to go. I want more Claire/Emma scrag fights next ep, please. Must be Natalie Zea's soap opera experience - "Passions", "Dirty Sexy Money"). Fingers crossed, viewers.

Monday, 8 April 2013

"Lilyhammer" TV series Episode 2 "The Flamingo" review

Watching this show and reading Jo Nesbo novels gives you a feeling for life in Norway – endless bureaucracy and the need to be “PC”. Our American hero, Frank Tagliano (now Giovanni) bypasses the politically correct for the law of the street and what is common sense. He plays white knight rather well. He fixes up the school bully in his typical style, while teaching the victim (his new girl friend's son) survival techniques. He is a novel negotiator with his new business operation. It's not The Flamingo in Las Vegas (the one established by mobster Bugsy Siegel in the 1940's, as Frank fondly retells), it's Frank's new nightclub in beautiful downtown Lillehammer. He ‘negotiates’ with a local bikie by giving him a gentle push down Lillehammer’s towering ski jump.
Frank’s favourite social worker (the bumbling Jan Johansen) reminds me of Jim Bell (the daffy neighbour in “Friday Night Dinner”). 
I like the way the dialogue fluctuates smoothly between Norwegian and English.
Interesting to note that star Van Zandt is also co-producer/co-writer. He obviously knew what he was doing as this is a classy production with great characters and delicious situations.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

"Hannibal" NBC TV series Episode 1 review

"Hannibal" has Bryan Fuller ("Pushing Daisies") as the creator/writer. The first flashy scene establishing William Graham's (Hugh Dancy) credentials as a profiler grabs the viewer. William is a flawed, tortured  character, but that's the way we like 'em.
Ever see U.K.'s "Wire in the Blood" about a flawed, tortured profiler played by Robson Green. Well, perhaps other people in NBC have.
I never thought I'd hear "Willie Wonka's Golden Ticket" in the same breath as "serial killer"....well done NBC!
The connection with Dino De Laurentiniis brings back memories for this old fart (Martha, Dino's later wife), is executive producer - connection with "Hannibal" (2001) movie I guess. And wasn't that a  real shitty sequel?
Casting Mads Mikkelsen (Le Chiffre in "Casino Royale") was inspired. Bond villain=Serial killer/psycho?
Stylish art direction - the white and blood red Men's room scene. Some surreal dream sequences  involving antlers and bodies. There's not a lot of laughs in this first episode, but it's delicious to see profiler Graham and boss Laurence Fishburne in the same room as Hannibal Lector - on the same team!
An intriguing first ep. It blitzes "The Following" in many ways. Well done, Mr Fuller, sorry people didn't like "Mockingbird Lane". I did.
Bring on Ellen Greene and Gillian Armstrong in coming episodes.

Friday, 5 April 2013

"Bates Motel" TV series, "Trust Me" Episode 4 review, spoilers

A very eventful episode.  Norma feels a cop - or does she cop a feel? Hot sex in Motel Unit 5. Norman gets lucky as well with Bradley. Half bro Dylan is turning out to be Norman's ally and a very appealing character.
Everytime Norman inhales strongly through his nose, you know he is thinking nasty thoughts, watch the interplay between shifty Sheriff Shelby and Norman in the street after dark. That poor Asian girl is still waiting for Norman to rescue her, but the Boy Wonder is getting his leg over with Bradley (Nicola Peltz). Peltz seemed to be channelling Mia Sara ("Ferris Bueller's Day Off') in the chocolate sundae scene with Norman.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

"The Mimic" TV series Episode 4 review - no spoilers

Martin goes viral on You Tube with his Arnie/Obama/James Woods/Al Pacino floorshow. There's a nice dig at the inane comments you see on You Tube. Another Wogan bit with his imagined bizarre sexual exploits in this episode. I loved Neil's yellow Crocs and his 'art' displayed proudly on his kitchen wall. Will Jean and Neil get it on? Hope so.
Martin is forever passive, hiding behind his voices. Steven (Jacob Anderson), Martin's son, is the most mature, well-adjusted 18 year old in the U.K. A natural entrepreneur who plays golf. He drops a bombshell to Martin near the end of the episode. The get together at Neil's place was quite poignant and beautifully acted. This ep moved a lot faster than last week's instalment.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Supporting actors who add value to a movie

The Supporting Players Hall of Fame
Carol Kane
Stanley Tucci
Edward Everett Horton
Steve Buscemi
Celeste Holm
Tony Randall
Margaret Dumont
Hector Elizondo
Freddie Jones
May Robson
Leo G.Caroll
Daniel Stern
Gig Young
Jo Van Fleet
Billy De Wolfe
Eve Arden
Paul Lynde
Elsa Lanchester
Nigel Green
Joseph Wiseman
Paul Ford
Brian Dennehy
Martin Landau

"Top of the Lake" Episode 4 review - some spoilers

A town full of nasty secrets

The Twin Peaks of the antipodes, avoid the South Island lakes area, dear reader. Robin was gang-raped after a school dance when she was 15 and believes Tui might have met the same fate. The criminal pathologist believes there is a giant cover-up by the local police. Very nasty bit about a 13 year old girl walking in front of a speeding car and the reason she may have done it. This is getting murkier than the fog shrouded lake. How come the detective can afford such a million dollar pad when everybody else seems to be living in 1960's era accommodation? Yes, I know it is New Zealand.Where have all the NZ accents gone to? Everyone sounds Australian. Queenstown was even mentioned in this episode.

Elizabeth Moss shows that she can act her pants off - which she does in Al Parker's (David Wenham) bed. Wenham is underplaying his part, he is almost comatose at times. In contrast to Peter Mullan (Matt Mitcham) who goes ballistic with poor Anita for not putting his coffee cups back (handles out) then proceeds to give her a fun ride on the farm gate with his speeding SUV. This could be the next extreme sport for NZ after bungey jumping and zorbing.
Holly Hunter was absent in this ep, probably buying a winter quilt because it is going to get mighty chilly in those containers now summer is over.
Despite the glacially slow pacing at times, I am now hooked.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

From the Video Vault of Forgotten Films: "The Wrecking Crew" 1968 A guilty pleasure movie

This is a time capsule movie for the late sixties. Released at the end of 1968, this was the final of the Matt Helm spy spoof series, although the end credits promise that Matt will return in "The Ravagers". Dino got bored and it shows. He looks like he is going through the motions. He was in his fifties and looks silly with Sharon Tate (nearly 30 years younger). Sharon had great comedic talent as well as stunning looks. A few months later the Manson tribe came along. But I don't want to dwell on this.
Sharon Tate plays a klutzy agent (similar to Stella Stevens role in the first movie in the franchise). "The Silencers" (1966) was the best, but that's not saying much. Phil Karlson directed both.

The plot involves a gold heist in Denmark (looking a lot like California and the backlot), but you don't need to worry about that. Basically Dean Martin cruises (sleepwalks?) through the movie on the trail of his glamorous costars (Tina Louis - Ginger from "Gilligan's Island", Nancy Kwan (playing the evil Yu Rang, best intentional joke in the movie) and the statuesque Elke Sommer (nearly falling out of her low cut white gown).
The villain, Nigel Green, is English, of course (a prerequisite for this sort of movie).
Remember when car scenes used back projection? Matt and his boss are jiggling up and down in the back seat of a Lincoln like they're in a bouncy castle. The crew must have got carried away, jiggling the mock up car on the springboard. Perhaps Dino or John Larch was rude to them on set.

The musical score is integral to the fun. Composer Hugo Montenegro wrote infectious themes ("I Dream of Jeannie", "The Partridge Family", the third Matt Helm movie "The Ambushers"). His score is very Sergio Mendez and Brazil 66. The opening title song "House of Seven Joys" written by pros Mack David and Frank DeVol is worth seeing the movie for (complementing Wayne Fitzgerald's very sixties/split screens opening titles). The whole of 1968 comes flooding back us babyboomers. The lyrics are a worry, though: "Ah so, very, very nice".
Titles flash across the screen to show this is a groovy movie: "DENMARK.....NOW!!!!"  "ANOTHER PART OF U.S. ...... NOW!!!"
Bruce Lee was used as the karate adviser and a very young Chuck Norris has a walk-on part in the House of 7 Joys scene (blink and you'll miss him).
The 'modern' technology is fun (the portable helicopter is a rip-off of Little Nelly in "You Only Live Twice"), the villains' communication system is all giant TV screens, camera placed seemingly everywhere, suitcase size backpacks with walkie-talkies to communicate with Count Orsini.
The set design is gaudy and kitsch (look for the fake grass that rolls back in the count's sumptuous mansion),
Matt photographs models dressed in outlandish costumes (looks like the same designer as the "Springtime for Hitler" number). It is hard to look lascivious in a turtle neck with a bit of a paunch.
This movie is a guilty pleasure delight.

P.S. Play the drinking game while watching:
Dino ogling females, using a sexist pun = 1 sip
Dino mentioning booze = 1 sip
Dino looking bored = 2 sips

Why is this post so popular in Poland? Spammers? Or connoisseurs of crap movies?

"Bates Motel" Episode 3 "What's Wrong with Norman?" review

Norman's half-bro Dylan (Max Thieriot) is more mellow in this episode. Must be all the drugs he and his gun toting buddies are guarding in the fog strewn forest. He brushes off Norman's apology for trying to kill him ("No sweat"). He tells Norman that he "should get out more" and not call Mrs Bates "Mother" all time.
 Dylan enters the family kitchen with the line, "Good morning, Mr and Mrs Bates". Perhaps he should have called Norman, "Master Bates"?
Okay, in high school that joke was hilarious. I'll get back to my crappy review.

Norman has a meltdown at school, prefers to watch 1930's movies in his spare time and still has two teenage girls clamouring for him.
Norman discovers a doozy of a secret in the sheriff's basement while looking for the incriminating bloody belt. The last 10 minutes of the episode moved like the clappers. I am officially hooked.
Still waiting for more info on Norman's dead dad's "garage accident".

"The Following" TV series Episode 11 "Whips and Regret" review

The cult gets even creepier...

Lots to enjoy in this week's episode. Lots of scenes filmed in dark rooms, tunnels, or at night. The S+M club/Internet hub linked to Vince, the militia mental case; more division in the ranks at Joe's Chateau Psycho; right hand man Roderick getting very tetchy; Molly (Ryan's ex-) bringing Joe old sex tapes and then installing herself back with Ryan.
Debra (Annie Parisse), looking a dead ringer for Angie Harmon from "Rizzoli and Isles", is becoming one of my favourite characters. I liked how she tried to bond with Ryan, admitting she was a bit of a cold fish (probably after her cult family experiences). Nothing much for Emma (Valorie Curry) to in this episode, except look caring, which we know she is not.

The unleashed zombie/cult members in the dark was a particularly creepy scene. Most interesting was the bit about Joe's followers being "anxious to get started" on the big project.  I was getting a bit restless after ep 8, but I can see now how Kevin Williamson is able to stretch this out to 15 episodes.

Monday, 1 April 2013

"Top of the Lake" TV series Episode 3 review

More drawn out drama from Jane Campion.  At least the episode was only 48 minutes.
Poor Robin Griffin (Elizabeth Moss), looking like Scully from "The X-Files" in some shots, has a dying mum and a stagnant relationship with her guy back in Australia. So things look up at the local pub, after a bit of impromptu oral sex in the ladies loos.
Robin must have been thinking about her fling with Johnno Mitchum because she does a crap search of Mitchum Manor (missing the drug factory on the lower level).
Holly Hunter (G. J.) is having fun with her intense prophet/nutbag role. She seems to be channelling Stan's sister Shelley from "South Park".
Old farts trippin' out in the wilderness nearly turned my stomach, concluding with drug lord papa Mitchum's self-flagellation by his mum's grave.
Hope Episode 4 gets somewhere.

Cooking for one, random tips from a hopeless cook

  • Broken up dry biscuits/crackers improves the taste and texture of all these dishes: soup (as cheap croutons), green salad, noodles, left over microwaved vegies
  • Tomato sauce/barbecue sauce can tart up any stew, a cup of orange juice is also good instead of just water
  • Satay for the lazy: fresh bread (toast, if stale), spread crunchy peanut butter,  a big dob of sweet chilli sauce and a dessertspoon of natural yoghurt. Eat as a sandwich. Watch the drips or eat alone.
  • Use hand held blender with cut bananas, milk, yoghurt, a sprinkling of raw oats, makes a quick and balanced breakfast (it's a banana lassi, but you could use whatever fruit is looking a bit tired around the place)
  • Broccoli stalks - too healthy to chuck. Dice them, put them in soup or stews. Julienne cut with a stir fry. 
  • Last and most importantly.....use wine when cooking (have a glass on hand while in the kitchen, don't waste it in the food!).
This will be my only cooking post, as my wife is the cook. My kitchen jobs are cleaning dishes, emptying the compost bin and keeping the wine cold. Good deal.