Emma Ishta (Manhatten Love Story) as Kirsten Kyle Harris (The Carrie Diaries) as Cameron Allison Scagliotti (Warehouse 13) as Camille
and Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Eureka) as Maggie
ABC Family has come a long way with their drama series, from “So little time” to “Kyle XY” (which I loved) “Ravenswood, “Twisted” “The Fosters” and arguably their biggest hit “Pretty Little Liars“. The network now offers us a new look into the teen drama with “Stitchers”
Following the path of Kirsten, a young woman drafted into a government agency to be ‘stitched’ into the minds of the recently dead to use their memories to solve mysteries that would otherwise gone unsolved. That is the premise. Seems simple, right? Yeah, that is what I thought too.
Now, let’s get things complicated. Kirsten suffers from temporal dysplasia, a condition that can not let her have any perception of time. I don’t know if this leaves her without empathy or that she just doesn’t care, either way it will be interesting to find out.
Kirsten, as a character, leaves me a bit cold, and when your leading character does nothing to add to the show, it is bound to end up bad!
Given that “Stitchers” premieres after the CW’s iZombie and is in the same vein (sorry for the pun), the comparisons are there. For me though, iZombie is the better show. There are enough questions to keep me interested, but for how long?
“I’m to old to do a stint in Gitmo… I’m not”
“Trained monkey? I can work with that.”
“You can harvest the memories of the dead, but this requires a whole new set of skills”
“Stitchers” premiers on ABC Family after “Pretty Little Liars” June 2nd at 9 east.
On Sunday night, I watched Part 2 of Lifetime’s The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.
Why Was I Watching It?
I was watching it because I watchedPart One on Saturday and I absolutely loved it! I wanted to see how Part Two would deal with the second half of Marilyn’s life. Would it explore the mysteries that still surround her death? Would the Kennedys make an appearance? Who would come off worse — Joe DiMaggio or Arthur Miller?
What Was It About?
Part Two of The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe deals with her life after she became a star. We watch as the increasingly fragile Marilyn marries the physically abusive Joe DiMaggio (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the mentally abusive Arthur Miller (Stephen Bogaert). (Seriously, neither Joe nor Arthur comes across positively in this film.) Marilyn continues to deal with her own fears that she’ll go crazy like her mother (Susan Sarandon). She has a brief moment of hope when she meets John F. Kennedy, though the film is deliberately vague about the details of their relationship. Ultimately, she ends up having a breakdown and is hospitalized against her will. By the end of the film, it seems like she’s found some hope for the future but then, we see her tossing and turning in bed and clumsily reaching for a bottle of pills…
Kelli Garner’s performance as Marilyn was just impressive here as it was during the first part of the film.
What Did Not Work?
Sadly, Part Two just wasn’t as good as Part One. To a large extent, Part One worked because of the emphasis on Marilyn’s relationships with her mom (Susan Sarandon) and her adopted aunt Grace (Emily Watson). In Part Two, those relationships were overshadowed by Marilyn’s unhappy marriages to DiMaggio and Miller. As a result, the film lost some of its focus and it often seemed to be meandering from one unhappy scene to another until Marilyn’s final night.
Also, I was disappointed that the film was so vague in its approach to Marilyn’s relationship with the Kennedys. Listen, everyone knows that Marilyn had an affair with both Jack and Bobby Kennedy. The film tried to create some ambiguity about this point, never actually showing either Kennedy brother on screen and instead, just having Marilyn talk about them. Rather unfairly, this created the impression that both affairs could have been another one of Marilyn’s delusions. Quite frankly, Marilyn Monroe deserves better than that.
“Oh My God! Just like me!” Moments
Just as with Part One, there were several. Kelli Garner humanized her iconic role to such an extent that I think everyone watching could relate to her. I’ll just say that I’ve known my DiMaggios and my Millers and leave it at that.
Fame does not equal happiness.
In the end, Part Two was not as good as Part One but, overall, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe was worth the 4 hours it took to watch it. It did a great job of recreating the Hollywood of the past and Kelli Garner gave a great performance. Since this is Lifetime that we’re talking about, I imagine both parts will be rerun frequently. If you missed them the first time, don’t make the same mistake twice!
The 1997 film Boogie Nights (which, amazingly enough, was not nominated for best picture) is a bit of an overwhelming film to review. It’s a great film and, if you’re reading this review, you’ve probably seen Boogie Nights and you probably already know that it’s a great film. And if you haven’t seen Boogie Nights, you really should because it’s a great film. So, this review, in short, amounts to: Great film.
Boogie Nights takes place in the late 70s and the early 80s. Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) is a high school dropout who works as a busboy, lives with his parents, and has a really big cock. (Indeed, one of the film’s most famous lines is, “This is a giant cock.”) When we first meet Eddie, he’s likable and cute in a dumb sort of way. Then he meets adult film director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) and becomes a star. At first, everything is great. Eddie changes his name to Dirk Diggler and no longer has to deal with his abusive mother (a chilling Joanna Gleason). Jack and Amber Waves (Julianne Moore) become his new parents. He gets a cool older brother in the form of actor Reed Rothschild (John C. Reilly, totally nailing the “People tell me that I look like Han Solo,” line). He makes friends with other adult film actors, like the desperately unhip Buck (Don Cheadle), the free-spirited (and secretly very angry) Rollergirl (Heather Graham), and the poignantly insecure Jessie St. Vincent (Melora Walters). He gets new admirers, like Scotty J. (Philip Seymour Hoffman). He also gets addicted to cocaine. And while Dirk falls from stardom, the adult film industry is taken over by gangsters like Floyd Gondolli (Philip Baker Hall) and self-styled artists like Jack Horner find themselves pushed to the side.
And you may have noticed that I mentioned a lot of actors in the paragraph above. That’s because Boogie Nights is a true ensemble piece. It’s full of great performances and memorable characters. Along with everyone that I mentioned above, the cast also includes William H. Macy as cinematographer “Little Bill” Daggett. From the minutes we first meet Little Bill, we get the feeling that he might be a little bit too uptight for pornography. Maybe that’s because his wife — played by the inspiring sex positive feminist and veteran adult film star Nina Hartley — is constantly and publicly cheating on him. Macy and Hartley do not have as much screen time as the rest of the cast but, ultimately, their characters are two of the most important in the film.
And then there’s Robert Ridgely, who is marvelously sleazy as the paternal but ultimately icky Col. James. When we first meet the Colonel, he’s almost a humorous character. But then, suddenly, there’s one chilling scene where he opens up to Jack Horner and we are forced to reconsider everything that we had previously assumed about both the Colonel and his business.
And how can we forget Luis Guzman, as a club owner who desperately wants to appear in one of Jack’s films? Or Ricky Jay as a plain-spoken cameraman? Or how about Thomas Jane, playing one of those tightly wound characters who you know is going to be trouble as soon as you see him? And finally, nobody who has seen Boogie Nights will ever forget Alfred Molina, singing along to Sister Christian and running down the street, clad only in black bikini briefs and firing a shotgun.
But it’s not just the actors who make Boogie Nights a great film. This was Paul Thomas Anderson’s second film and, under his direction, we feel as if we’ve been thrown straight into Dirk’s exciting and ultimately dangerous world. When the film begins, the camera almost seems to glide, capturing the excitement of having everything that you could possibly want. But, as things go downhill for Dirk, the camerawork gets more jittery and nervous. A sequence where Anderson cuts back and forth between Jack trying to shoot a movie on video (as opposed to his beloved film) and Dirk nearly being beaten to death in a parking lot remains one of the best sequences that Anderson has ever directed.
And then there’s the music! Oh my God! The music!
And the dancing!
And the singing!
I’ll be the first admit that I have no idea whether or not Boogie Nights is a realistic portrait of the adult film industry in the 70s and 80s. But ultimately, Boogie Nights is not about porn. It’s about a group of outsiders who form their own little family. At the end of the film, you’re happy that they all found each other. You know that Dirk will probably continue to have problems in the future but you’re happy for him because, no matter what happened in the past or what’s going to happen in the future, you know that he’s found a family that will always love him.
As I mentioned at the start of this appreciation, Boogie Nights was not nominated for best picture. Titanic was named the best picture of 1997. As I’ve said before, I loved Titanic when I was 12. But, nearly 18 years later, Boogie Nights is definitely the better picture.
So here’s one totally out of left field : a true story about — feel free to stifle a yaw right now if you must — blogging.
I’m not in the habit of talking much about blogging itself on my blog since it seems like opening the floodgates to a near-fatal self-referential loop, but I’m wondering, since I know there are other bloggers out there who read my blathering, if anything like this has ever happened to you or, if not, what you’d do in regards to such a scenario if it were to happen. For my part, I found the answer I came up with to be a very easy one indeed, but if you disagree with me, then by all means, tell me why!
Here’s the set-up : a few days back I got an email from somebody I didn’t know who claimed to be a reader of…