Sunday, October 08, 2006

Weekend Update

Inland Empire

Tomorrow I'll be seeing David Lynch's new film, Inland Empire. The buzz out of Venice wasn't great, but the reviews I've seen from New York are a lot more promising. I've got a vague idea of what it's about, but I'm glad I haven't seen a trailer or a lot of pictures, it'll be a truly fresh experience without any prior expectations. I saw Mulholland Dr. in the summer of 2003, and since then I've seen everything else Lynch has ever done, so I can't really say I've been waiting for this as long as some other people, but it's still much anticipated. I'll be going in depth on the film tomorrow night.

Brothers and Sisters

I watched the first episode of this show, largely because it starred Rachel Griffiths. Her work as Brenda on Six Feet Under was some of the best acting I've ever seen. For me, she was indistinguishable from the character, and it was jarring to hear her speak in an Australian accent on the behind the scenes stuff. The weird thing about this show is that it's got the same premise and setup as Six Feet Under. A prodigal child, in this case Calista Flockhart stands in for Nate, returns to their family and the father dies, throwing the family business into chaos. The pilot was alright, but the similarities to SFU only made it even more clear how lacking this show was next to Six Feet. After only one episode, I felt like I had a clear picture of who the Six Feet Under characters were, and I was eager to learn more about them. Here, there's a bunch of caricatures, and even Rachel was made subject to some weak soap operay storytelling. I wound up just remembering the good times with Brenda during the hour.


A more successful series for an SFU alum is Dexter, starring Michael C. Hall. I was always a bigger fan of the Nate/Brenda stuff, so it's easier for me to accept Hall in another role. Occasionally I would be like, why isn't he gay, but generally speaking he sold me on this guy as a totally different character. Now, that's a lot easier for him to do because Dexter is a pretty distinct character. The basic premise is that he's a forensics profiler who does vigilante killings in his spare time. But, on a character level, the idea is that he's a hollow shell who doesn't feel anything and just fakes all the surface emotions that people present. The end of the first episode leads us to believe that the series' arc will revolve around him gradually developing emotions, throwing his world into chaos. Hall is great, and it's nice to see Julie Benz doing good work as well. I'm not sure if the series will work for the long term, but there's definitely a couple of good seasons in the premise. That said, it was a bit weird that they chose to have a bald, black cop be Hall's antagonist in this role, I kept thinking, Keith?

Studio 60 - Episode 3

I loved the first episode, wasn't huge on the second, but the third brought me back. This one had a bit more scope than two, and was just more fun to watch. I think the sketches worked better, though I doubt that a network executive's DUI eight years prior would be such a big story. I'll be back next week, though the show's ratings aren't too promising for a long run. At least Heroes got picked up for the full season.

State of TV

I really hope no one brings out the old, "There's nothing good on TV" now because this fall has to be one of the deepest TV seasons ever. I'm watching something like eight shows a week, and that's without sampling shows like The Nine and Friday Night Lights that received massive critical acclaim. We're at a point in the medium where people are taking risks and delivering better than film writing and direction on a weekly basis. And I've still got the Battlestar Galactica premiere waiting to be watched.

Phoenix - United

I listened to United a couple of days ago and it was my best listen to the album ever. I fell in love with Phoenix's Alphabetical, and United was always weaker for me. But I've given it some more attention lately and the two albums are now pretty equal for me. I think a lot of it was hearing the songs live, which made me really appreciate how good they are. 'Too Young' and 'If You Ever Feel Better' are perfectly constructed pop songs and 'Funky Squaredance' is an unparalleled house/rock/disco epic. I particularly like how the guitar in that songs sounds exactly like the guitars in Daft Punk's 'Digital Love.' Other lesser known tracks like 'City on Fire' and 'Embuscade' are equally engaging. I hope they bring it back to the warmer keyboard sound for their next album, 'It's Never Been Like That' was good, but not unique. I've never heard anything else like United or Alphabetical.

Upcoming Dates of Note

10/9 - Inland Empire at NYFF
10/14 - Marie Antoinette at NYFF
10/15 - Patti Smith at CBGB's
10/25 - Seven Soldiers #1 Released
10/27 - Babel Released
11/22 - The Fountain Released

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