Sunday, 24 November 2013

The mystery of the chocolate bars

Every Sunday morning four Cherry Ripe bars are placed on a rock near a busy Melbourne suburban street. Who is this mystery donor?
Last year four chocolate bars would be left on a log along a nearby walking track/reserve.
Thank you, Chocolate Fairy.

13 cool things about "The Day of the Doctor" BBC

  1. Tom Bloody Baker!
  2. The final tableau of all 13 doctors.
  3. Bromance banter from Matt Smith ("Chinny") and David Tennant ("Sandshoes").
  4. The impreccable John Hurt ("Grandpa") as grumpy old man Doctor.
  5. References to "dots" in the old Tardis.
  6. Billie Piper as flirty but wise "bad wolf"/"the conscience".
  7. Murray Gold's orchestral score.
  8. CGI, big budget movie quality.
  9. The Tardis suspended from the helicopter, landing in Trafalgar Square.
  10. Joanna Page as Queen Elizabeth I.
  11. The secret archive under The Tower, with a glimpse of a pair of ruby slippers.
  12. Steven Moffat's mindblowing script.
  13. Daleks!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

"American Horror Story Coven" FX Series 3, Episode 7 "The Dead"

Brad Falchuk wrote this episode, and it shows. Punchy dialogue. Emma Roberts' soliloquy on her self-involved generation and her inability to feel is a stunner. Falchuk, the new Adam Sorkin (10 years age difference).
Scariest thing in this episode is hearing Toto in the opening frat boy/tattoo parlour scene.
Kyle (Evan Peters) as Frankenboy is always fun. Having a threesome (2 out of 3 being reanimated) has obviously banished memories of creepy mom. The scenes with Jessica Lange and Danny Huston (Axeman) sizzled.
Other good stuff: Spalding's enchanted tongue and the flashbacks of young Fiona.
Two weeks to wait to find out Madame LaLaurie's fate. Such a great character can't be killed off yet. I haven't researched the real Delphine LaLaurie, will wait until the end of the series.
I'm over 'Riff-Raff'/Spalding, though.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Best episode so far: "Masters of Sex" Showtime Series 1, Episode 8 "Love and Marriage"

Was it me, or was this the best episode yet? Definitely the funniest.

Dr Masters has a thing that no mayonnaise should be left around his research area.That weird bit about chocolate brownies.
Lester, the movie geek, recruited to film 'interior' shots for the sex researchers, makes a throw away comment about Bogie and Agnes Moorehead in "Dark Passage" (Oh, pl-ease!). Then Jane does a Gloria Swanson with, "I'm ready for my close-up" (Mr DeMille). (Best line of the night)
Walter, the young handyman (yes, we are in Douglas Sirk 50's melodrama territory) teaching Libby the tango. That black dude beats Arthur Murray.

Then things get serious - Libby is pregnant again, selling pap smears to disinterested male doctors and evaluating marriage with Ethan (being forced to jump in the deep end too early) and Austin (jaded, part-time husband/father, sex addict).
"Married men live longer" (Ethan)
"It just seems longer" (Austin)
The confrontation in the bar with Margaret, Barton and Dale. Allison Janney is heartbreaking.
Barton and Dale talking about aversion therapy. Another strong scene.
The realisation that the glacial Dr Lillian DePaul is dying with cervical cancer. Wow, this explains a lot.
A great episode.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

What to do with your old t-shirts...

In the 90's and 00's I used to buy heaps of Tin Tin t-shirts when we visited Bangkok. They were well made and 100% cotton. Often a conversation starter with flight crew.
These tees were well loved and well used. A few years ago my wife labelled them with a permanent marker "HUO" (Home use only) as they were getting threadbare and frayed around collars and cuffs. But I persisted in wearing them as they were big and comfy.
Last year she (who must be obeyed) made them into cushion covers for our spare room. It's a compromise I can live with.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

"Masters of Sex" Showtime Series 1, Episode 7 "All Together Now"

Showime has introduced a cheeky new opening title sequence. Lots of cheesy sexual visual analogies.
Because of the calibre of the two actors, Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, the scenes where the two researchers  clinically document their sexual performance (labelled "Plateau", "Orgasm" and "Resolution") are engrossing but never sleazy.
This series is lurching into soap opera (a la 'Young Doctors in Love') but is saved by the competent acting, script and impeccable evocation of the period.
No dodgy puns this week, except the "ladies (coming) first" line.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Why "The Paradise" (ITV) is a delight...

Now well into its second series, this show goes from strength to strength. I thought losing Miss Audrey (I used to love watching Sarah Lancashire channelling Maggie Smith) would affect the chemistry of the show but we have great new characters like Myrtle, the sweet but blowzy cook, and super scoundrel, Tom Weston (Ben Daniels).
The budget seems to be more extravagant than in the first series. Long tracking shots showing off the sumptuous sets and costumes. The scheming and backstabbing are balanced with the likability of The Paradise's employees (except Clara, she's a bitch). Machiavellian Jonas (David Hayman) is a particularly intriguing character. The in-house Music Hall scenes that concluded Episode 3 were a delight.
Sure this is a soap opera, but high class and richly textured. It's "Downton Abbey" for shopaholics (but faster moving).

Thursday, 7 November 2013

"American Horror Story: Coven" FX Series 3, Episode 5 "Burn, Witch, Burn!" review

13 cool things about this episode:
  • The bitchy banter between Fiona and her no-good son-in-law.
  • Zombie siege (Nice prosthetic, dude, comments one hapless neighbour, soon to be disemboweled)
  • Taissa Farmiga doing some fancy chainsaw work.  
  • Zombie bonfire in the back yard... more cedar chips please.
  • Poignant stillborn baby scene (Fiona Goode does good)
  • Atmospheric hospital lighting (shades of ITV's "Whitechapel" possessed police station)
  • Surreal witch burning setting 
  • Use of Dr John's R&B "Right Place, Wrong Time"
  • The Veronica Lake, "I Married A Witch" reference (forerunner of TV's "Bewitched")
  • Spaulding playing with one of  his dollies.... a bit too roughly... Snap.
  • The continuing bonding of Queenie with LaLaurie.
  • Angela Bassett's levitation bit.
  • How Fiona is always 3 steps ahead of everyone else, this time using Queenie to trap Myrtle. Fiona tempting Queenie with the promise of being the first black Supreme (hang on, make that the fourth). 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

"Dracula" NBC TV Series 1, Episode 2 "A Whiff of Sulphur", review

Look, I know it's cheesy and the accents are a worry, but I haven't had so much fun since "Orphan Black".
The idea of having Dracula and Van Helsing forming an alliance (can I say, potential bromance?) is delicious. Jonathan Harker being seduced (not as in the book, by the brides of Dracula) but the promise of property and position, is inspired.
We have Renfield - not a mindless slave but a strong, black dude with a sardonic sense of humour. Opium fiend-twins occult "seers" pursuing Drac through London (Prague?) alleyways courtesy of a magic mirror.
Loved Drac's horseless carriage also.
Had a problem with modern phrases like "having some agenda..."
The coolest opening title credits since "Elementary" plus atmospheric lighting (diffuse light, fog, candles, gaslight, you name it) plus a bit of soft core porn and a visit to a Victorian gay bar. What's not to like?
Well done NBC (and Carnival... I saw Gareth Neame in the credits, movie heritage there, his grandad, Ronald directed "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972). But I digress...