What’s happened to the O.C.?

So I’m a fan of The O.C.. I really dug the first 2 seasons. But so far, this season? Has sucked.

They’re re-hashing plot points here. Oh no! Ryan’s punching respected members of the community! Now he’s running away! Someone’s having inappropriate sex with a student! I’m sure there’s lots of stupid things that can happen without retreading these same tired footsteps. Now, it appears that these storylines were wrapped up (thank god!) in last Thursday’s episode, but we’ll have to see.

Summer (Rachel Bilson). Summer was always hot & bitchy with a well-hidden nice side. Now. she’s all demure and nice with a well-hidden bitchy side. And what the fuck are they dressing her in? She looks like she belongs in a 1950’s after-school special! It’s awful! All demure and baggy. Actually, that goes for all the girls’ fashions this year on the show. Even the extras at the highschool are dressing all conservative. Is this some teen fashion trend I’m not aware of? What’s going on here?

This show better get better soon, or I’m gonna have to find another guilty pleasure…

A Quick one, While He’s Away

Deadwood is fantastic television. Brilliant writing, incredibly sympathetic characters (given their obvious, um, flaws). Harsh, in-your-face directing and editing, mixed with sensible scoring to create the atmosphere. At times hard to watch, but always exhilarating, everyone should find this show to watch. It scores bonus points for featuring Molly Parker.

Ocean’s 12 was clearly called in, long distance on a satellite phone in an electrical storm. No one’s really trying, no one really cares. It’s saved by the pure talent that Steven Soderburgh possesses, and the undeniable charm of the cast. It loses points for having lost Don Cheadle’s character’s cockneyisms.

Jade Empire continues Bioware’s run as the best game developer in the business. Compelling storyline, gorgeous graphics, humorous references to the kung-fu genre. It, however, loses massive points for not having user profiles, making very hard to not accidentally overwrite your wife’s saved games, which is bad. Very, very bad.

Sin City

I caught Sin City on the weekend. A Robert Rodriguez (& Frank Miller, & Quentin Tarantino) film based on Frank Miller’s series of Graphic Novels, I was hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. After all, the Sin City series had been called “unfilmable” not that long ago. But Rodriguez, if anyone could do it, could pull it off – his film repertoire is long and varied (Spy Kids vs. From Dusk ‘Till Dawn); He understands how to effectively use CGI (Spy Kids); He knows how to make violence stylized & even a little beautiful (El Mariachi, Desperado); he understands the camp aspects of the series (From Dusk ‘Til Dawn). What was unclear was whether or not he could bring it all together successfully.

The answer, quite simply, is ohmygodyes. The film is beautiful, visceral, noir, edgy, and best of all, a little silly, in the ways that the graphic novels were too. If you don’t like noir or you don’t like comics, you won’t like this movie. It takes an appreciation of both: never have I seen such a successful interpretation of the slightly surreal world that exists in most comics. The film, in parts, is panel-by-panel faithful – to the point that it could potentially detract from the film, but take here to an extreme, works.

I might entertain that the film is too long. I didn’t mind this at all, so wrapped up in the visual beauty of the film, but if you’re not a film-geek or a comics-geek, that might not last for you. The performances were also quite varied in quality, from Mickey Rourke’s scene-stealingly good to Britney Murphy’s scene-destroyingly bad. But for the most part, everyone served their parts well, and bought right into the movie’s ethos.

Anyone who’s read Sin City can safely see this film, secure in the knowledge that their beloved novels have been treated right. And everyone else should see the film, and then of course, buy the books to make their own comparisons.

One side note: This film is not for the squeamish: while highly stylized, it is, in parts, quite gorey.


So and finally Godiva’s debuted last night, and dutifully, I watched it. And how was it? Well, I think the jury’s still out. It’s definitely better than the G&M made it out to be in their review, which doesn’t surprise me, because any time you ask anyone in the industry that a show is about, they’ll pan it – but I don’t want a cooking show, I was entertainment.

Like most debuts, it suffers from having to introduce characters quickly and in broad strokes, so that very little “happens” in these debut episodes. But there appears to be a fairly interesting mix of characters in the show, which could lead to some good, campy soap-operaish storylines. So there’s definitely promise.


There’s a new series starting on Bravo, on Wednesday March 16th at 10pm, called Godiva’s, and you must check it out. Partly because my friend Abi helped write it, and partly because it sounds like it could just be damn good. The producers hail from Cold Squad and Queer As Folk; it’s set in Vancouver; and it has all the debauchery and intrigue inherent to the restaurant business.

If you don’t know Abi, and you want proof she’s a good writer, how’s this for starters?

You’ll be wanting to catch it. Not just because I worked on it – though do you really need more incentive? – but because it’s about food and sex and the occasional recreational use of banned substances and, aside from one of those hilarious “I’m with stupid” T-shirts, what more does any one person really need? Did I mention it’s set in Vancouver? Like real Vancouver. Not Vancouver made to look like LA or Vancouver made to look like Chicago or Vancouver made to look like… No, it’s Vancouver-Vancouver in all its rain-soaked, rhododendron-draped, glossy-surfaced glory.

That’s just her email-writing style, but you get the idea. She’s funny and stylish and has a beautiful way with words. So you gotta watch at least one episode.

(Because I’m lazy, and wanted to say the same thing, this post is copied letter-for-letter from the Soapboxgirls)

My Dad

If you were watching the 11pm CTV News last night, and saw someone who looked somewhat like an older version of me, and who shared my last name, that was indeed my Dad. He was being interviewed because of this article that is being published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

I don’t claim to understand even a modicum of what it’s about, but I must say, I sure am proud of my dad for publishing what’s apparently (due to the media coverage) a fairly important study.

Congrats, Dad!


Wimbledon is, in so many ways, an incredibly bad movie: it had cheesy dialogue, it falls into every romatic-comedy cliché there is and worst yet, has a leading man who is totally unproven at being a leading man.

Despite this, however, it’s a fairy watchable movie, with a pair of caveats: 1) you either really like or really hate Kirsten Dunst, so if you’re of the latter mind, don’t see this. 2) They really stretch far to use tennis as a plot- & tension-buidling device.

Both Dunst & Paul Bettany rise far above the meagre characters they’re given, and seem to almost be in on the joke with you – that you’re watching a really bad movie, but hey, it’s fun, right? Also, it has some spiffy CGI for the actual games of tennis that I hope to shortly see in a tennis game for one of the consoles – I had the thought “I wish this was in Top-spin!” several times.

So if you’re looking for a good ‘date’ movie, or something that will pleasantly, if aimlessly pass the time, check it out. If not, well, bully for you.

Recently Seen, AKA, No Life!

So I’ve seen a slew of movies & TV lately, and, due to lack of time, haven’t said much about it. So now, brief reviews of recently viewed things:

The Perfect Score: A surprisingly good Teen-comedy movie. Reminds me of a french film I saw ages ago about students cheating on the Baccalauréat. Actually, my high school showed that to us, just before we took our Bacc’s.

The Girl Next Door: Weak, predictable, but vaguely watchable. It passed the time well enough.

Band of Brothers: Fantastic, horrific, enthralling, gripping. If you haven’t seen this, see it now. Rent it all, watch them one after the other. As a note, you can’t skip over the credits without missing scenes. Shitty DVD-creation.

Garden State:Fantastic. A few elements felt ‘film-shoolish’, in that they were visually wondrous, but not necessarily well-connected to the story. But a really great film.

Hawaii:A new cop show, set, well, in Hawaii. It’s really, really bad.

We Don’t Live Here Anymore: based on a pair of Andre Dubus (In the Bedroom) stories, it’s a horrific film to watch. It was so hard to watch, yet so enthralling, I’ve yet to decide whether it was ‘good’. It certainly wasn’t fun to watch. But probably worth seeing. It also has Mark Ruffalo, who’s my current favourite actor.

Vanity Fair: Better than I expected, not as good as it should have been. Wasn’t biting enough, and the story really suffers in the translation from book to screen. Vibrantly colourful, with an odd directoral touch that’s familiar, but I can’t quite place it.

Dead Like Me: Yet another charming, well-acted & most importantly, well-scripted HBO show. Definitely catch it if you can. Features Vancouver as Seattle, in a not-at-all convincing manner if you’ve ever been to either city.

I, Robot

I, Robot Movie PosterLeah and I went to see I, Robot on Friday night. I knew going in that it wasn’t going to be much like the book, and quite possibly, I. Asimov would be spinning in his grave knowing what had been done to his book, but I like action movies, I like sci-fi and I like Will Smith as an action hero. So it all sounded good. To boot, Alex Proyas, who directed Dark City, one of my favourite films, was at the helm.

Proyas certainly lived up to his billing as a stylish director. He sets visual mood & tone very well, and keeps an internal consistency better than most sci-fi directors. The writing, however, was pretty bad. I didn’t expect much, but the dialogue in this film was simply atrocious. So wooden, the actors seemed to have a hard time even saying their lines; nothing sounded natural. Really, the dialogue ruins this movie.

The storyline was decent enough (man suspects robots, robots rebel, man saves people with help of good robot), if predictable. The film borrows (perhaps) more from the Terminator & Matrix series as it does from the original story, but hey – those were fun movies!

The film shares a lot visually with the recent Minority Report, particularly with the automated cars that can move in any direction, and the car-hangar garages. Was the artistic director the same on these films? Or is there some agreement on what near-future earth will be like that they all carry across? At any rate, it’s interesting.

I can’t say I recommend that you see this film (well, there is a Will Smith shower scene, but it’s a little short to pay $10.50 for), but it does pass the time, and the theatre is likely air conditioned, which is nice given how hot it is out right now. If that’s not enough reason for, wait until it arrives on DVD.

A Farenheit 9/11 Critique

There’s an interesting article over at Slate by Christopher Hitchens (whom I quite like as a writer) critiquing Farenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore (whom I quite like as a filmmaker). His points seem salient, in the snarky way that is so trademark Hitchens. There’ll hopefully be a response from Moore shortly, as he’s promised to respond vigorously to attacks on the film.

At the very least, interesting to read in advance of actually seeing the film.

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