Thursday, August 30, 2007
6: "Deep Water" - Without a Trace
A senator goes missing -- your typical political episode, right? Wrong! This outing was packed with twists and turns, drama, and intrigue. And it's all wrapped into a beautifully utilized change of format. Instead of spending the entire hour wondering whether Patricia Mills (powerfully portrayed by PTR fave Jacqueline McKenzie) is dead or alive, this one shows us her murder right off the top. We watch as she's brutally stabbed in the back (both literally and figuratively as it turns out) while she takes in the peaceful scenery outside her boat. Turns out there were a number of people who had a motive to kill her -- after all, politics is dirty, especially when you decide to vote against one of your biggest campaign supporters because you learn that their oil drilling is unsafe for the environment. If it isn't politics, then it must be love and this story blends a little bit of both. The only problem - Jack can't prove that Patty's husband killed her. In the episode's most moving scene, we watch as Jack whispers into Patty's father's ear at her funeral. It seems that Jack can't touch the husband, but that won't stop Patty's father. Written by series star Anthony LaPaglia and Directed by Paul McCrane. (Screencap courtesy Obsession: Jacqueline McKenzie)
5: "The Bitch is Back" - Veronica Mars
The final hour of this wonderful series was exactly what we've come to expect: well-written, Veronica back in her classic outcast position, Logan breaking my heart, Keith struggling to win the sheriff election, and nothing wrapped up into a nice, neat package. The series finale was designed to be a season finale, but it worked well both ways. It was extra special to see this series go out on a high note and leave our imaginations to fill in the blanks. Throw in a surprise appearance by Jake Kane, Veronica going all James Bond on us, and a poignant final scene where Veronica casts her vote for her father and you have another excellent hour of this deeply missed show. I only wish this hadn't been the end. Written by Diane Ruggiero and series creator Rob Thomas and directed by Michael Fields. (Screencap courtesy of vm-caps.com)
4: "Stalker" - Cold Case
OK, so we all knew that Lilly wasn't going to die, BUT it was intense watching the events unfold that led to her horrifying shooting. Throw in an excellent case that had me fully invested, an emotional scene between Lilly and Scotty as she deals with her mother's death, and a killer cliffhanger that kept fans talking all summer and you get one of this season's finest hours. After Lil got too close to the truth behind Kim's "Romeo," he showed up at police headquarters with Kim in toe. Things took a quick turn for the worse, and suddenly, Lil, Stillman, Vera, and Jeffries were trapped with a crazy gunman threatening to put a bullet through their skulls. After Stillman took a shot to the shoulder, Lil managed to think fast and separate the gunman from her injured boss, but she put herself in harms way. Enter a frantic Scotty, a hysterical gunman, and a blind shot through the mirror into the observation room and you end up with both Lil and the gunman lying on the floor bleeding. The disturbing ending montage had us watching as Lil was loaded on a stretcher and rushed to the hospital where doctors quickly got to work. This one made for a LONG summer. Written by Veena Sud and directed by Alex Zakrzewski.
So, there's a look at episodes 6-4 on the countdown. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Be sure to come back next week when the countdown finally reveals its #1 Best Episode of the Season!!
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
PTR Staff Writer
What is it about Chief Will Pope and no-nonsense female criminal investigators who work for the federal government?
He really just can’t quite keep his hands off them.
Or at least stop himself from seducing them out to Los Angeles.
Enter this week’s episode of The Closer (“Lover’s Leap”), where Pope’s fondness for what he a) had back in the day, and b) now doesn’t, but c) still wishes he did (ol’ Brenda Leigh Johnson) finds him having yet another affair with a) a federal accountant working for the Department of Homeland Security, who was b) auditing the LAPD, and of whom c) ends up dead at the bottom of a cliff.
Brenda: "When were you going to tell me you were sleeping with my murder victim?"
That would probably have been never if it were up to Pope. But true to form, he gets caught red-handed.
And is sorry.
I have to hand it to this show.
It’s hard not to like Pope. He’s about the only one (other than Fritz) who can hold his own against ol’ Brenda – give her a run for her money, put her in her place and not feel a wee bit bad about doing so. Yet, hidden behind his no-nonsense superior veil is the false sense that his personal life is under control and/or that he is not incredibly wounded. You almost feel sorry for him whilst simultaneously wanting to slap him upside the head.
As it turns out, Federal Auditor Maggie (and Pope squeeze for the last year) was on to an embezzlement scheme orchestrated by a former LAPD officer who owned a company that sold radios to fire department and police personnel in the Southwestern part of U.S. Seems he got into the business of forging invoices whilst also adding a surcharge so as to pocket money in the hopes of getting his family out of some serious financial struggles. (You know … the whole Southern California housing market tanking, adjustable rate mortgages blowing payments through the roof, and … well, being completely in over their heads in house they can no longer afford). Seems Federal Auditor Maggie wasn’t too sympathetic to the cause and was going to bust them anyways. The wife of the former LAPD officer didn’t take lightly to her lack of sympathy.
And, as we know, what are the two main requirements for murder?
Motive and opportunity.
Which wifey had up on that ol’ hill.
Brenda: “Let’s just skip the part where you try to explain yourself; I just don’t have the stomach for it today.”
Aside from BJ recovering from her ovarian drilling (“abdominal surgery” to the rest of the world), suffering from some serious chocolate withdrawal (longing glances at the vending machines not withstanding), being a victim of poison oak (scratching and itching her way down every hallway and into every room), and playing a serious game of cat and mouse with the FBI (so as not to completely turn over her case to the Feds even though it was an issue of National Security), it was Brenda v. Pope that was the highlight of this episode.
Over the past couple of seasons, we’ve had bits and pieces of their former affair filled in for us. We even saw Brenda seriously consider not committing to Fritzy because she just could not quite straighten out her feelings for Pope (guy is somewhat of a serious ladies man, eh?).
And yet, last night’s ep laid it all out on the table even further without saying more than was needed.
A glance here, a long pause there.
Pope defiant that he had done nothing wrong, yet soft-spoken and humbled when trying to justify the awkwardness. Brenda’s uncomfortable and irritated revelation of knowing how it felt to be a federal criminal investigator under his spell – especially as he described the best traits about Maggie. She had been viewed as a pretty ruthless auditor, but it turns out, she was as close to Brenda as Pope could find.
Brenda: “It all just sounds so familiar.”
Pope: “I’m sorry.”
Brenda: “Again … you’re sorry again.”
Brilliant characters on display.
We’re down to the final two episodes of the season – which will essentially be a two-part finale starting next Monday, September 3rd and concluding Monday, September 10th. So be sure to tune in next Monday at 9 p.m. on TNT.
PTR Staff Writer
So, what’s it going to take for Grace?
Does stabbing her best friend in the back qualify?
Someone other than Angel Earl held the ever self-absorbed and shameless Grace accountable this week.
Best friend Rhetta.
If only for one episode, though.
For me, one of the saving graces of Saving Grace has been Laura San Giacomo’s portrayal of Grace’s best friend (and medical examiner), Rhetta. From Day 1, she’s been a believer, a moral compass, a guide, cute in her interest about the scientific details of Angel Earl’s existence, and never wavering on letting Grace off the hook about what is really transpiring.
The whole Divine Intervention thing.
Not to mention she’s the owner of Holy Cow – the cow that Grace stole (or was that “freed”?) from Cattle Rancher of the Galaxy Alvin Green and of which just happens to have Jesus appear on the side of its black and white hide.
Yes, Rhetta has been one of the only reasons to continue watching this show.
So the fact that this week’s episode focused a bit on her was welcome relief (seeing as the ep opened yet again with Grace banging some stray trucker that comes around every two months or so … I guess partner Ham was busy being afraid of birds or checking his watch to pray at noon or some such thing).
Anyways, Angel Earl’s Truth-or-Dare dare to Grace to stop lying this week ends up in a lie being revealed to faithful and loyal friend Rhetta.
Which got us back to ironies.
And got Grace told off by her own buddy. (Go, Rhetta!)
I personally think Rhetta should’ve b*itchslapped Grace around a bit, but alas, that wouldn’t be Rhetta. But seeing as Grace screws Rhetta out of being flown to Los Angeles as a key witness on a serial rapist case (and getting $2000, too – helpful, seeing as Rhetta’s family is a bit strapped for cash at the moment) because Grace tampered with the evidence on which Rhetta was supposed to testify (and lied to Rhetta about said tampering) surely had me wishing Rhetta had driven Grace off the same cliff that this week’s The Closer’s victim found herself at the bottom of.
Honestly, is this woman every going to stop? Do we even care anymore? Can we really believe that after six episodes of Angel Earl proving his existence 18 billion times over that Grace isn’t getting the picture?
Own up. Deal. Or just plain drive yourself into a telephone pole and do the world a favor. It’s beyond tiresome and boring to continue to have this in-your-face-I’m-so-outta-control-watch-me-laugh-at-the-world mentality. It’s not even believable to me anymore that someone who almost killed a man, has been in two places at once, has wrestled an Angel at The Coliseum in Greece, gets beamed over the Grand Canyon at will and sends an Angel to Morocco for spices in less than the blink of an eye has not changed whatsoever since the Pilot episode.
There was a case this week (as there usually is, but always seems to take a back seat to the sex, drugs and rock and roll). Something about a hard core investigative journalist who gets herself personally involved in her stories (e.g., becomes a prostitute to write about some seedy underhanded father-son pimps running shady underhanded casinos and re-writing the book on incest). What she discovered and wrote up for her article gets her killed, and it all does eventually tie back to the Deliverance-esque father and son, where the father thinks nothing of feeling up all the little girls in their family and murdering two of them if they protest.
Creepy. Yuck. Gross.
Would’ve loved to have seen Brenda Leigh Johnson or Lilly Rush go after these two pieces of work.
But with Grace … eh, I just don’t care.
In the end, she and Rhetta do make up (seeing as Grace did mope around after knowing she royally messed up Rhetta’s world), and Rhetta does have the power to forgive.
But does Grace stop lying?
Darlene (Ham's wife): “Are you sleeping with my husband?”
New episodes air Mondays at 10 p.m. on TNT.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Elsewhere, it was Maia's birthday and the writers had me all excited that Ben was going to make an appearance. I know, I know Diana told me not to get my hopes up because London is far away, but damn it, I can't help it! And unlike Maia, I'm not over "all that." It was nice to see Lindsay again, and her gift for Maia was pretty cool. BUT, I'm worried that this is leading somewhere not good. Remember how earlier this season I said that Jordan would love to get his hands on Maia? Well, I just hope he isn't in on Lindsay's gift. And speaking of gifts, we were totally robbed of seeing Maia's birthday dinner at the fancy restaurant with Diana. I was sooooo looking forward to that scene! So to recap, no Ben, no awesome birthday dinner scene, and yet somehow, this episode managed to rock my socks off anyway. All is forgiven (except the week off next Sunday for the US Open).
If you missed last night's episode, check out the 2-minute replay at the show's official site.
Friday, August 24, 2007
The reviews on this one are solid, earning it a 62% freshness rating at Rotton Tomatoes. Our LillyKat saw the film last week at a screening and felt that it was one those rare gems. "It’s truly a quality piece of storytelling, with an excellent cast of actors and great filmmaking," she wrote in her review this week. Be sure to check out her full piece HERE.
Resurrecting the Champ is in theaters now. Before you head to the theater, check out this clip posted at You Tube courtesy of Yari Film Group:
For more clips, trailers, and behind-the-scenes footage, click on over to You Tube.
PHOTO SPECIAL THANKS: Kathryn Morris Online, Getty Images, Bruno Press, Yahoo! Movies, and all the wonderful folks at Look Again. For more photos from the premiere, visit Kathryn Morris Online's Resurrecting the Champ premiere page.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
A Heavier 'Case' Load for Morris
By Nellie Andreeva
Aug. 23, 2007
"Cold Case" star Kathryn Morris is heading into the upcoming fifth season of the hit CBS crime drama with a salary bump and a production deal.
On the feature side, she has been cast in Yari Film Group's dark comedy "The Sophomore," starring Bruce Willis.
Morris' raise will bring her paycheck to $180,000-$190,000 in the next two seasons of "Cold Case," sources said. The series -- which stars Morris as Lilly Rush, a dedicated detective in the Philadelphia homicide squad working on crimes that have never been solved -- hails from Jerry Bruckheimer TV, Warner Bros. TV and CBS Paramount Network TV.
Morris is launching her own production company, which will have a first-look deal with WBTV. She is in the process of hiring a development executive.
It is common practice for the stars of successful series to get production deals with the studio behind the series. For instance, Anthony LaPaglia, the star of "Without a Trace" -- another CBS crime drama from the trio of Bruckheimer TV, WBTV and CBS Par TV -- launched his Last Straw Prods. two years ago. The company also is based at WBTV with a first-look deal.
Since its launch in 2003, "Cold Case" has been a solid ratings performer for CBS on Sundays. In 2004, the procedural drama fetched $1.4 million per episode in an off-net syndication deal with TNT. The cable network will begin running repeats in the fall.
In "Sophomore," which is set at a high school with Willis as the principal, Morris will play Nurse Platt, a vegan/hippie stoner high school nurse. She will shoot the film next month around her "Cold Cast" schedule.
On the big screen, Morris next co-stars opposite Josh Hartnett and Samuel L. Jackson in Rod Lurie's "Resurrecting the Champ," which opens Friday.
Be sure to tune in to PTR tomorrow for full coverage of Champ's premiere! And catch staff writer LillyKat's review HERE.
9: "Responsible" - Law & Order: SVU
This episode was highly controversial, but addressed such an important topic that it didn't take much to make this my favorite episode of the season. Not many people realize that teen drinking and driving is a huge issue, but it is. First a girl dies from alcohol poisoning. Then, during the course of the trial, two more of her friends die in a drinking and driving accident. In the quest to discover who is supplying the alcohol, it is discovered that someone no one suspected is addicted. It is eventually discovered that a parent is supplying alcohol to the kids. Elliot's daughter, Kathleen, highlights how easy it is for kids to buy alcohol by ordering some in a restaurant without being carded, and she's 17! "Responsible" did an amazing job in highlighting the serious issue on our hands in today's society, and just some of the consequences of leaving it to grow. Written by Allison Intrieri and Directed by David Platt & Yelena Lanskaya (Photo courtesy nbc.com). - PTR Staff Writer Trublu
8: "Expose" - Lost
This episode was shear genius as only Lost can do. We finally got to meet Nikki and Paolo -- those two random survivors who suddenly appeared this season. And then, we said goodbye to them. Everything from the rest of the survivors not knowing Nikki and Paolo (along with all of us) to the breath taking ending (literally) that marked the end of these two insignificant character additions made this one pretty awesome. The two were so busy quarreling with each other over diamonds that they lost sight of what really matters. Nikki used a venomous medusa spider to temporarily paralyze Paolo, but she didn't count on getting bitten herself. With both of them paralyzed, the rest of the survivors thought they were dead, so in the ground they went. In the end, they were both buried alive (with the diamonds they were fighting over) because of the mix-up. And yes Alanis, it is ironic. I loved it! Written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz and directed by Stephen Williams. (Screencap courtesy of Lost-Media.com.)
7: "Pilot" - Friday Night Lights
How can the episode that introduced us to some of the best written characters on television not make this list?? But, it wasn't just the introductions that landed this one the #7 spot this year. Imagine having the world at your feet -- a future filled with college football and NFL dreams and a present occupied by the starting QB position on one of the greatest high school football programs in the country. And now imagine all of that disappearing in the blink of an eye. Welcome to Jason Street's world, which feels a little like it's closing in on him by the end of this stellar episode. The star QB with the bright future goes down in the first big game of the season and winds up in a hospital bed paralyzed for the rest of his life. But it isn't just Jason's life that gets turned upside down. The entire town waits with baited breath to learn his fate - both because they're worried about their team and the well-being of one of their own. Lyla Garrity suddenly wonders what her future with Jason holds, and Coach Taylor tries to move on and refocus his team while he faces the shock of what just happened on the field. You see in Dillon Texas, it isn't just Jason paralyzed, but the entire town. And the complex emotional fallout from it all can only be explored this well by Friday Night Lights. Written and (exceptionally) directed by series creator Peter Berg. (Photo courtesy nbc.com)
So, there's a look at episodes 9-7 on the countdown. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Be sure to come back next week when the countdown breaks the Top 5!!
PTR Staff Writer
What do you get when you cross a less-than-average sports writer desperately looking for his title shot at sports writing greatness with a homeless guy who happens to be a former heavyweight boxing champ?
A Pulitzer Prize winning story.
Or is it?
Welcome to Resurrecting the Champ.
As regular readers of this blog know, I had the opportunity to attend a screening of this film (followed thereafter with a Q&A with director Rod Lurie, actress and co-star Kathryn Morris, producer Mike Medavoy of Phoenix Pictures and Bob Yari of Yari Films). Part 1 of my report was an exclusive with Kathryn as to her role in the film (recapped here). This week, we get to reviewing the film.
Quite often, real life is more interesting than fiction. This proves true when watching a movie that is based on something that actually happened. (And, I’m not talking about the “Based on a True Story” marketing deception trick that some filmmakers use to fool the audience into thinking that what they are seeing on screen is a line by line account of something when, in actual fact, only one thing in the film is true and everything else is creative license. No, I’m talking about the real “Based on a True Story”-inspired films with no marketing deception trick needed). I tend to favor these stories because they bring a different level of believability to the characters – their struggles, their conflicts, their triumphs. It’s a testament to the human spirit (which sometimes one just cannot come up with on one’s own, no matter how good of a writer one is). There really is something to knowing the story happened to someone, somewhere, somehow.
Resurrecting the Champ (directed by Lurie from a screenplay by Michael Bortman and Allison Burnett) is based on the true life tale of Los Angeles Times writer J.R. Moehringer’s May 1997 story, “Resurrecting the Champ,” which focused on a former professional boxer left homeless and living on the street. Moehringer’s story also delved into his own personal relationship with the boxer, as well as his dealings with his father (who left his family when he was just a baby).
In the film, Josh Hartnett stars as Denver Times sports writer Erik Kernan. Living in the shadow of his famous sports writer father, Erik does not have quite the same writing chops as ol’ dad. Although he was good at one time, he’s lost a bit of his touch, run out of ideas and fallen out of favor with his editor (played by the always superb Alan Alda).
As Erik struggles to live up to his father’s reputation, he is also desperately trying to be a good father to his own young son, Teddy (played beautifully by young actor Dakota Goyo) whilst also trying to save his marriage to the more sophisticated, accomplished and well-respected journalist, Joyce (played by PTR favorite Kathryn Morris). It is something of a rarity in Hollywood to have the woman as the older, wiser and more accomplished partner – a refreshing reversal of fortune on the overdone older man/younger woman routine. As Morris told us here at PTR last week:
“There are so many movies out there where the wife is nagging, not supportive, and you don’t often see a story where one – she – is truly the better half trying to make the other half better. I liked that [Joyce was] not a paint by numbers wife .... [In this film], she let her husband go on his own journey, and let [him] become the man he needed to become.”
Just when things seem as if they are never going to turn around for Erik, he has an unexpected run-in with Champ, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Homeless, out on the street and not much left to his name, he clings to being known as Battlin’ Bob Satterfield – “Number 3 in the world!” back in the 1950s. By all accounts, Satterfield is supposedly dead, or at the very least, dropped off the face of the boxing landscape ages ago.
Enter Erik’s own title shot, as he calls it, to tell Champ’s story, resurrect him from oblivion, and grant Champ the opportunity to get part of his life back – not to mention his own. But all is not what it appears, and Erik soon finds himself in an even greater struggle than saving his career and his marriage: saving himself from himself.
“A writer, like a boxer, must stand alone.”
And get the right story for the right reasons.
This film is a gem. One of the increasing number of gems brought to us by the Yari Film Group, who have earned the reputation of being willing to make the quality independent films for which every other major studio says, “No, thanks.”
Refreshingly, Champ doesn’t have the hoopla of summer blockbusterness nor the requirement to dumb oneself down to laugh at stupid teenage boys being stupid teenage-boys. It’s truly a quality piece of storytelling, with an excellent cast of actors and great filmmaking.
Jackson is almost unrecognizable as Champ. Snakes on a Plane and Pulp Fiction this is not. He portrays Champ with a range of subtle and tempered emotion that we do not often get to see in his films. Hartnett is equally as good as a young guy just trying to do the right thing – for his boss, for his wife, for his kid, for himself. Morris is quality through and through, and it’s a wonderful change of pace to see her step out of the confines of her role as Detective Lilly Rush on Cold Case. Even though the story really does focus on Jackson’s Champ and Hartnett’s Erik, Morris’ Joyce is key to the film as its moral center, its balance.
Alan Alda is … well, Alan Alda. Is there anyone better? A true actor’s actor, Alda is sharp, engaging, carries the role of a hardened newspaper editor with ease. I could watch him for hours saying one line over and over and never get bored. And Dakota Goyo is … Too. Darn. Cute. It’s been a while since I’ve been so impressed by a young child actor, but this little guy is a great find. His scenes with Hartnett are priceless, and he has a wholesomeness that is almost heartbreaking to watch once he realizes dad may not be all that he thinks he is.
In listening to the filmmakers discuss their roles in the process of getting this film made (which took almost 10 years to bring to the big screen), producer Mike Medavoy perhaps said it best: “It’s not our job to tell directors how to run a movie [or] cut a movie.”
As a result, you get the story told as the story should be told.
For the right reasons.
Resurrecting the Champ opens August 24th. Visit the official Web site.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
PTR Staff Writer
It’s not easy getting out of Patty Hewes’ tangled Web.
Even if you’re offered a $950,000 base salary, a spectacular signing bonus and named full partner of a rival firm.
Poor Tom Shayes.
He just is always going to be the Number 2, isn’t he?
Not to mention he just likes Patty way too much.
This week was all about Tom – his irritation at being Patty’s slave, his annoyance at not having been made a partner after 10 years of servitude, and just his all around I’m-a-lawyer-not-a-private-investigator vibe we’ve be getting over the last couple of episodes.
When Patty doesn’t put up a fight to keep him, Tom starts to second guess … well, everything. (Don’t we know by now, Tom, that she’s too smart to do the obvious? Not going after you was her whole plan to keep you. Wink. Wink.)
But, Tom isn’t the only unhappy duckling over at Hewes and Associates this week.
The former employees of Arthur Frobisher are pretty irked as well.
He has pulled the $100 million settlement offer off the table – much to the dismay of his lawyer Fiske, who would prefer him to “[j]ust think of it as a small deductible on a $2 billion insurance policy.”
Only a small deductible, eh?
Oh, but Frobie wants more than that: “This is my legacy. I want my name back. I want redemption.”
Good luck with that.
Fed up with Patty’s refusal to accept the offer, and thus, now having lost it completely, the clients decide to hire Tom (even in his limbo I-still-work-for-Patty-but-am-leaving-maybe-sort-of state of mind). He even goes so far as to debate about whether he can step out on his own with the Frobie case, or just simply take the case with him to rival Martin Cutler and one-up Patty for all time.
But got to hand it to Tom.
Even in limbo, and as the “new” attorney on the case, he meets with Fiske – who thinks he can dumb down Tom and get him to take even less of a settlement for the clients than what Frobie just pulled of the table.
Tom: “I’m no Patty Hewes. But I did spend 10 years with her. There’s no [settlement] number … I want to put your multi-billion dollar poster boy for corporate corruption before a jury and watch you try to explain to them he’s not a crook.”
Score one for Tom!
On the Ellen front this week, seems she and fiancé doc David are in the middle of their first fight – still brewing over Katie blowing it big time at the deposition (screwing up the case for Ellen), then ditching town because she was so distraught (annoying bro’ David that sis’ Katie was put through the ringer in the first place).
David pays Katie a visit at their parent’s home and comes back to Ellen with “new info” that the case now hinges on Katie’s one-night-Florida-fling Greg (which, of course, Patty already knows). Seems Greg really did dump his own stock on the same day as Frobie. Bummer.
Mafia-esque guys are still keeping tabs on ol' Greg. Still don't know what the heck they are - or are not. Paying him some big bucks to keep him quiet, though.
Can we say new key witness for Patty's case? (Er, Tom's. Er, Patty and Tom's.)
Perhaps what proved most intriguing about the ep this week were the present day “flashback” sequences, whereby Ellen is in the police station, bloodied and bruised, claiming someone had tried to kill her. Instead, she confesses she ended up killing them.
In Patty Hewes’ apartment.
Except there's no body.
New episodes air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX. You can also have fun visiting the Hewes and Associates Official Web Site.
**Special Programming Note: The show is off next week, but will return with its next new episode on September 4th. If you have missed any of the series thus far, you can catch up on Monday, September 3rd as FX will be airing a Damages marathon beginning at 3 p.m. EDT. Check your local listings to be sure of the time in your area.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
PTR Staff Writer
Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
Sound of Brenda Leigh Johnson’s biological clock ticking?
Or counting the moments until mom and dad head home?
After two weeks of humdingers, The Closer came back down to earth this week with another solid episode titled, “Culture Shock.” (But it was the last five minutes of this episode that I still am laughing about … more on that in a moment).
The case itself was a sad tale of poor Chinese immigrants getting tangled in the web of a smarmy entrepreneur. The victim (Ping-Meo) and her husband (Rem-Di) had come to the U.S. penniless, yet owed a “snakehead” upon arrival (one who helped make their arrangements to leave China in the first place). So, they make a deal with entrepreneur Christopher Conroy, who specializes in taking care of immigrants like Ping-Meo and Rem-Di. He pays off their the debt to the snakehead, gives them capital to start a business and brings other members of their family to the U.S. Of course, this is all in exchange for being able to have an affair with Ping-Meo, a cut of the business and … well, basically having the family be enslaved to him for life.
A dangerous liason.
When they wanted out, well … that didn’t really go over too well with Conroy. But as it turns out, it was all too much for Rem-Di’s wise old father. So he took matters into his own hands.
Even more dangerous - the honor of it not withstanding.
Now, all this transpires as Brenda enters the second week of visiting with mom and dad, though, by most accounts, it is Fritz who has been left in charge of the babysitting:
Fritz: “Are you feeling alright?”
Fritz: “Then stop leaving me alone with your parents.”
As Brenda fully returns to active duty, she’s tasked with being a tour guide herself whilst trying to work the case, secretly meeting up with members of her squad for updates. Hiding in the trees anyone? Or how about just in the lobby of the hotel where a) daddy is taking everyone for lunch; b) Conroy is staying. (To steal a line from the Pirates of the Caribbean series of films as to Captain Jack’s uncanny ability to perfectly time just about everything: “Do you think [she] plans it all out, or does [she] just make it up as [she] goes along?”)
Perhaps a bit of both.
Ne’er mind daddy’s toasting at lunch compares her to an old car (given her early onset menopause); or, that no one on the squad has known of her engagement until dad and mom come in for another bring-your-parents-to-work visit (complete with gifts of pictures and fudge); or that Chief Pope rips Brenda in front of her parents without having first been properly introduced.
But, it is the final five minutes (at a follow-up doctor’s appointment) that is Just. Too. Perfect.
The good news: Brenda is cancer free.
The bad news: looks as though in order to curb some of the symptoms of early onset menopause, Brenda is going to have to … wait for it …
Cut out sweets.
Oh. My. God.
Can BJ even survive on anything less than five Ding-Dongs a day? You swear she is going to have a nervous breakdown right there in the doctor’s office - twitches, short of breath.
It makes the ovarian drilling procedure seem like a breeze.
S-l-oooo-www … d-oooo-wwww-n … a-n-d … r-eeee-p-eeee-a-t … t-h-aaa-t?
The slow-mo reiteration of what is the surgical alternative to helping Brenda reverse her menopause symptoms is a comedic scene for the ages.
You never saw it coming.
And you can’t stop laughing.
Only two episode left until the season finale.
New episodes air Mondays at 9 p.m. on TNT.
PTR Staff Writer
I should have known it was too good to be true to have two weeks worth of pretty good Saving Grace episodes – as in, less wardrobe malfunctions, more ironies and some quality police work.
Alas, we’re back to square one.
More sex, drugs and rock and roll – and a lot of bull.
And again, I find myself asking, “And I should care because …?”
This week, we find Grace back to her old romps – as in, we’ve resumed the opening sequence of her banging her partner, except this time he’s handcuffed on the floor, writhing every which way, with body shots of Tequila flowing freely (among other things). I have to wonder: when Kenneth Johnson (Ham) went for this role, did he basically get told, “So, you get to kind of be a police detective, but you're pretty much a sex toy.” Oy vey. His Joseph never got this far with Lilly over on Cold Case – nor would we want him to as some things are better left to the imagination.
I confess I’m kind of getting irritated (or bored?) that Ham just seems to be able to be at Grace’s beck and call – whenever, wherever, however – yet, we have absolutely no repercussions coming back his way other than one wife-induced black eye in the Pilot episode. At least Grace is getting hounded by Angel Earl. In any event, it’s starting to bore me, and I’m over the whole this-is-the-edgiest-most-dangerous-in-your-face-aggressive-wow-woman-on-TV spiel (yawn).
Speaking of Angel Earl, he was remarkably absent this week. Kind of missed that.
Anyways, Grace and Ham’s usual three times a day (I’m guessing) routine was interrupted by Grace’s psychic aunt, Kathy – “The woman who taught me to smoke when I was 12.”
Ah, so it’s her fault, is it?
Seems Aunt Kathy (played by the still fabulous Frances Fisher) is in town because Grace’s father is getting a fire station named after him (personal family back story fact #1). She also messed with Grace a bit (in her own psychic way): “You have a new man … he’s going to be in your life forever … starts with an E … Earl.”
As far as police work actually went this week, we remember the hot-to-trot-big-shot cattle farmer who Grace slugged in the Pilot episode and of whom is still pressing charges? That would be Alvin Green. Well, it seems his prized, 20-ton bronze bull statue was stolen. Apparently, this statue is some sort of good luck charm, responsible for all his good fortunes as Cattle Rancher of the Galaxy. Without it, all of his luck goes to pot, including his collection of price winning … um, let’s just call it bull reproductive juice, which is kept in some sort of Fort Knox type vault; also, his herd of cattle suddenly becomes infected by some sort of disabling reproductive organ disease that I cannot spell or pronounce (so fill in the blank with your own innuendo this week).
Turns out Alvin’s ex-wife, right hand cattle man and the artist who made the statue “hated” it a little too much, so they got together to mess with Alvin. Bummer. But alas, before the statue completely ended up in the scrap heap, Grace and Ham were able to return one portion of it. I’ll let you all guess as to what “part” got returned. Hint: it rhymes with “calls” and starts with a B.
Perhaps the most compelling part of this episode was Grace coming to find out Aunt Kathy had an affair with Grace’s dad (personal family back story fact #2) – cheating on her own sister, Grace’s mom (personal family back story fact #3). Grace gets pretty darn irked. Drinks herself into oblivion, shows up to work more than sauced – without her gun or badge – does some serious b*tchslapping of ol’ Aunt Kathy, not to mention comes to realize why her fireman brother, Leo (personal family back story fact #4), hates Aunt Kathy so much.
The usual graceless Grace.
On a side note, seems bro’ Leo is a bit disgruntled himself as he sits in his basement with all sorts of Oklahoma City bombing articles, pictures and models convinced Timothy McVeigh did not act alone.
This odd. Way odd. A little bit too much of a stretch for me. I know we don’t get over things like Oklahoma City or 9/11 – especially when we are touched by it personally. But making models? Coming up with conspiracy theories in your spare time? I’m not sure bro’ is right in the head and/or should even still be on the fire department if he is that obsessed. Even Grace had to ask, “How can you sit down here and look at all this?”
Then again, Grace isn't right in the head. Nor is her Aunt. So perhaps it all really does run in the family.
But alas, it seems the real reason Aunt Kathy blew into town is because she’s been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Thus, she’s decided to come clean and do right by herself, confessing to her sins and perhaps asking for forgiveness.
Much to Grace’s chagrin.
Perhaps Grace should follow Aunt Kathy’s lead?
Four episodes left until the season finale.
New episodes air Mondays at 10 p.m. on TNT.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Kristen Bell to appear on NBC's 'Heroes'
By MIKE HOUSEHOLDER, Associated Press Writer
Mon Aug 20, 4:13 PM ET
DETROIT - Kristen Bell is going from solving mysteries to being a part of one. The 27-year-old actress, who starred for three seasons as teenage detective Veronica Mars on the now-canceled show of the same name, will appear in a multi-episode arc on NBC's "Heroes" this fall.
"This was not easy to pull off. But since we're an ensemble show, with many arcs playing out through the year, we found a way to jump into a small window in her schedule," Tim Kring, the show's executive producer and creator, said in a statement Monday.
Kring said Bell's character, Elle, will appear in October and will be "a sexy, intriguing, mysterious young lady" who will commit a terrible crime, but it won't be clear whose side she is really on.
"Heroes" won't be the Detroit-area native's only TV work this fall.
She's providing the voice of the narrator (something she also did on "Veronica Mars") for the CW's new "Gossip Girl."
Bell also has some big-screen projects in the works, including a turn as the title character in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," a comedy produced by Judd Apatow ("The 40 Year-Old Virgin," "Knocked Up").
Well Kristen fans, we may have missed out on seeing her on Lost, but seeing her on Heroes this fall is just as awesome!! (Photo courtesy Kristen Bell:: Online)
UPDATED: Read Kristen's exclusive interview on her new role (HINT: she has "a really awesome power," but she can't spill the beans and the best news -- she's committed to 13 episodes!!) , turning down Lost and the possibility of a Veronica Mars film with TVGuide's Mike Ausiello.
PJ Tries to Win Back an Old Flame Tonight on My Boys
PJ (Spiro) gets a call from former boyfriend Thorn (guest star Sisto), and buried feelings begin to resurface on tonight's new episode. Meanwhile, Mike and Stephanie attempt to get their lives back on track. My Boys airs Monday nights at 10 p.m. on TBS. Sisto starred in last season's Kidnapped on NBC.
In other My Boys news, you can follow along as PJ and her boys team up for Yahoo! Sports' Fantasy Baseball League. A few episodes back, we watched as the gang hilariously drafted their teams (and Andy desperately tried to choose his via cell phone while he was stuck in traffic), and now we can track each character's progress through the rest of the season via Yahoo! Sports. To see how each is doing, click on over to Yahoo! Sports' Fantasy Baseball 07.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
This was an episode filled with intrigue and I found myself glued to every scene and hanging on every word, but the ending scene between Tom and Isabelle gets the prize. We know that Tom is working for the future (presumably a different group than the one that sent the 4400 back) in trying to regain control over Isabelle in order to make up for Matthew Ross' failure. But, what's up with him asking Isabelle to get her powers back? I knew that bull about her being allergic to promicin was all a ploy! The last thing anybody needs is a Powerful Isabelle sequel. From Tom's dreams, it looks like the Bad Future is also responsible for Lily getting pregnant with Richard's baby. Not surprising since that baby was Isabelle, but it was interesting to confirm it. Talking about Lily is making me all misty-eyed again. Why 4400 writers, Laura Allen, Bad Future, and everyone else responsible for her death??!! Whyyyyyyyyy!! You know, if she were truly back, I'm pretty sure I could completely overlook the nausea-inducing Tom/Meghan story line. Alas, she is not and we're stuck listening to Tom call Meghan "Hunny." Thank goodness there's everything else to LOVE on this show.
Best Line of the Night:
Garrity (to Meghan): "You can't fire this!"
Thankfully, he was right. Who else would I derive my humor from if she could?
Thursday, August 16, 2007
12: "My Point of No Return" - Scrubs
Big changes alway bring big hesitations, but most aren't as funny and dramatic as they are for the characters on Scrubs. Eliot is set to marry Keith and JD is about to be a dad. Both are clinging onto relationships that may have burned out months ago. But, how do you know for sure? Well, kissing your best friend while sharing a bed with her in the break room at your hospital might be your first clue. Or, you might just be getting a HUGE case of cold feet. Eliot wants to be with Keith, but she's not sure that it will make her happy. Meanwhile, JD wants to be OK with being a dad and not being in love with the mother of that child, but neither is having a decent time working it all out. And then there's the past lingering over these two like unfinished business. This outing highlighted the comedy's ability to weave real emotions and inner confusion between its laugh out loud moments. And honestly, who isn't struggling to sort it all out at that point in their lives? Written by Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan and directed by Linda Mendoza.
11: "South of the Border (Part Uno y Dos)" - My Name is Earl
As if watching Earl in Camden County cross people off his list wasn't funny enough, this episode had him (and brother Randy) traveling to Mexico to cross Catalina off. He got her deported, so he had to get her reinstated. But, the only way to do so was to marry her. Except Randy was secretly in love with her, so he gets to play hero and save the day. There was so much funny along the way, though: The plane ride, the bus, Randy adopting a family for the night, and all the trials that Earl had to go through to marry Catalina (he failed). Thank goodness Randy was there to save her. Comic gold! These two should travel across the border more often. Written by Michael Pennie (Part Uno) and Danielle Sanchez-Witzel (Part Dos) and directed by Michael Fresco (Part Uno) and Marc Buckland (Part Dos).
10: "Forever Blue" - Cold Case
One of the most respectable things about this crime drama is its gumption to not shy away from controversial topics, but this episode used a past crime to break barriers on a present-day social conflict. The gang reopens the murder of a beat cop after a prisoner comes forward with new information. What appears to be a drug-related murder turns out to be a hate crime. The victim, Coop, was gay and dating his partner. In 1968. Tensions were running high, especially between him and his father. And then there was his partner, a man who wasn't ready to come to terms with the idea that he and Coop were "the lucky ones." Now, almost 40 years later, he finally gets a chance to make amends for not being ready for what he and Coop had. Perhaps the most telling thing about this one was the lack of noise about its groundbreaking onscreen kiss between the two male partners. Imagine such a scene going down so quietly back in Coop's day. And thus, the value of time and Cold Case's flawless use of it. Written by Tom Pettit and directed by Jeannot Szwarc.
So, there's a look at episodes 12-10 on the countdown. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Be sure to come back next week when the countdown continues with more of the Top 10!!
PTR Staff Writer
It’s getting nearly impossible for Grace Hanadarko not to believe she’s supposed to be part of this whole divine angel intervention thing.
And it’s starting to get entertaining.
Especially when Angel Earl decides to use her nephew to get her attention.
Enter this week’s episode, which was again toned way down from the first two (no romps with her married partner, no half-naked flashes) and of which I liked.
We find Angel Earl pretending to have Grace’s nephew kidnapped by the death row inmate (Leon) who is, of course, also one of Earl’s assignments.
How’s that work?
Chalk it up to sort of pseudo hallucination, pseudo dream sequence, pseudo reality and a whole bunch of Angel magic. It surely got her attention, though. “Keep your damn wings off my nephew.”
Seems Earl wants Grace and Leon to work together to sort each other out.
Angel Earl: “Two years, five months and five days, Leon. I can’t change the day you’re gonna die. That’s above my pay grade. But I can help you get ready. That pushy cop can help you, too … if you let her.”
Grace is actually starting to show some redeeming qualities (as in, she lectures her nephew, Clay, about never talking to strangers and gets so preoccupied with it that dad has to tell her she can’t see Clay for a while). She's also looking like a pretty good cop right about now given she decides to personally take into protective custody a young devout Christian kid (the “Got God?” t-shirt was a pretty good giveaway) who is the only witness in a murder case and is just days away from testifying. Both he and his dad are being harassed and sent death threats, so Grace steps in (given regular police procedure isn't going to grant any sort of “official” protective custody). Now, she does really want bad guy Carl put away (of course), and thus, needs Jesus Boy Wade alive and well. But still, I give her points for going the full yardage on this case.
Not to mention she’s got to deal with Wade’s equally devout – and somewhat confused – father. Dad thinks Wade isn’t going to make it to his 18th birthday due to some sort of prophecy God supposedly told him when Wade was a child. Turns out Wade doesn’t bite the bullet, though, at midnight. And yet, dad actually goes a little haywire and thinks he needs to fulfill the prophecy. Imagine the surprise hearing Grace say, “This is God’s will. Me. Here. Now. Stopping this.”
Is this Grace Hanadarko?
But whether she actually believed what she was saying or was just being a clever detective doing her fair share of role playing ... well, we shall see.
Now, there was a huge irony in having Wade be such a devout Christian - talking about his unwavering belief in God, carrying around his bible and cross, praying with married partner Ham (who has got a whole slate of sins racked up for his dealings with Grace whilst also still being married). Perhaps it was a little too much, but I actually thought it worked.
Rhetta: “In the Bible, when you go through a door, you move from one level of faith to the next. And purple is the color of Lent; a time for preparation. Maybe Earl wants you to find the purple door and open it – for you and Leon since he can’t do it himself.”
And maybe she’s right.
So Grace does find a purple door at the end of the ep … but will she ever get herself through it?
New episodes air Mondays at 10 p.m. on TNT.
PTR Staff Writer
Did I say wow?
On a bit of delay this week in watching The Closer, but holy moly, what an episode. Titled “Blindsided,” and directed by Kevin Bacon (husband to Kyra Sedgwick), it was one of the best episodes to date.
Intense. Shocking. Tender. Funny. Powerful.
We pick up with Brenda being evaluated by the Los Angeles Police Department’s psychiatrist given last week’s encounter with … how should we say … crazy serial killer dude? (hmmm … am wondering if Detective Lilly Rush over on Cold Case is going to be similarly evaluated by the Philadelphia Police Department after her stalker-shootout encounter at the end of last season).
Of course, Lilly probably thinks she’s fine. As does Brenda. Something about these female homicide detectives thinking they are invincible.
Dr. Leonard: “So, other than possible early onset menopause, getting engaged, having your parents coming into town, buying a new house and being attacked by a cattle prod then shooting and killing your assailant, there’s nothing significant happening in your life right now."
Brenda: “Why do you have to say it like that?”
E-mail to Pope: “Deputy Chief Johnson is not fit for full investigative duty. She is exhausted, disconnected, distracted and in denial of deep emotional issues. Allowing Deputy Chief Johnson to resume a full workload could put her and other members of the LAPD at risk.”
Brenda: “Well, that is just nuts!”
Chief Pope: “And according to the department shrink, so are you.”
BAM! BAM! BAM!
Enter one of the more intense moments I’ve witnessed on The Closer.
Brenda, Gabriel, reporter and cameraman completely ambushed by gunfire whilst driving through an intersection – 21 rounds; 17 hits. The car looked like it had been in a war zone. The shot (in silence) of it just rolling down the street to a dead stop as everyone lie crouched down inside … intense. Shot from low and high angles … doubly intense.
Ne’er mind that Brenda’s parents are now in town, and she shows up to the house after her ride along episode covered in blood with two SWAT guys in tow to protect her (seeing as the initial theory was that someone was out to get Brenda). Turns out the reporter was a pretty unscrupulous guy, lying and deceiving anyone to get a story. He put a famous steakhouse out of business with a falsified exposé on its sanitary conditions.
Enter a son bent on getting his revenge. That never works out well, does it?
When Brenda corners the son in the elevator (since she couldn’t officially be on the case, and had to follow it from … well, let’s call it distance), she had reached her own breaking point:
Bill Hawthorn (son): “I was so careful not to hit you! I came back to [the crime scene] to make sure you were OK. You’re OK!"
Brenda: “I’m alive, but I am not OK!”
As intense as this episode was with the whole Brenda shootout situation, there were perfectly – if not brilliantly – balanced humor and light-hearted moments once again (something this show does so well without taking the focus off Brenda or her work).
In addition to her dealing with the shrink, as her parents get to town we finally see her dad for the first time (portrayed fabulously by Barry Corbin). He isn’t quite the mean curmudgeon Brenda makes him out to be. And they had a very serious bonding moment. Seems he even likes Fritz, too.
The SWAT guys (Chad and Roy) provided much comic relief as they were assigned to shadow Brenda’s every move – both in her own house and at the station (priceless moment with Chad, Roy, Mom, Dad, Brenda and Fritz cooped up in her bedroom watching video tape of the crime scene, trying to figure out why Bill Hawthorn had come back to observe his own dirty work). It was like an Abbott and Costello routine. They even find themselves being invited to dinner, where Brenda blurts out she and Fritz are now engaged.
Can Kevin Bacon direct every episode? Or can he head over to Cold Case and direct our other favorite homicide detective? What he got out of Sedgwick this week was a performance for the record books.
She didn’t miss a beat.
Neither did the show.
Only three episodes left until the finale.
New episodes air Mondays at 9 p.m. on TNT.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
PTR Staff Writer
We all know the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, right? (The idea that any one of us in the world knows somebody, who knows somebody, who knows somebody, who knows somebody, who knows somebody who ends up knowing Kevin).
For Damages, we’ll affectionately borrow the idea of this game and rename it Six Damaging Degrees of Lying.
Who is really telling the truth about what they know? Multiply it by six and you could possibly-maybe-almost-perhaps-hopefully figure it out.
This week, we find our very good liar, Katie, being prepared for her deposition as the most critical witness in Patty Hewes’ case against Arthur Frobisher. She is perceived as being the only one who could link Frobisher to having had shady dealings with a broker assistant whilst down in ol’ Florida, thus, proving he did dump his stock in his own company before it tanked while simultaneously leaving 5200 employees in Davy Jones’ Locker (so to speak).
But, as we know, Katie is not all that she says she is (remember Patty’s grilling of her? “How old were you … when you figured out you were a good liar?”). Worse, Katie is still involved with her one-night-Florida-fling Greg, who in turn, is covering his own rear and lying to Katie about not wanting to get involved whatsoever in the Frobisher case given he owned his own batch of Frobisher company stock and sold out, conveniently, right before it tanked, too.
Hmmm … coincidence?
In any event, Katie decides to go ahead with her deposition (even with Greg not offering up his side of the story and pleading with her to drop out of the case).
Probably should’ve taken his advice, though.
Turns out Katie does indeed break down under the pressure of Frobisher attorney Ray Fiske (brilliantly portrayed once again this week by Zeljko Ivanek – this guy is so smooth, so cool as ice, you don’t even know you’re getting put in the deep freeze). Fiske cuts Katie’s story into little tiny pieces - contradicting her testimony that the broker assistant was in Palm Beach, Florida in a parking lot with Frobisher even though there’s a picture on the table of the same guy at an ATM in Atlantic City, New Jersey on the same night. (“You agree, Ms. Connor, a man cannot be in two places at once?”)
So, Katie has basically perjured herself.
Bummer (though not surprising, I suppose, given she is a good liar).
And she was duped by her one-night-stand-man Greg, who turns out to have his own pseudo-mafia-something-or-other guy keeping tabs on him. Seems he’s a bit concerned Katie will remember his face (having popped in on hers and Greg’s little Florida romp accidentally). It’s not clear to me exactly who this guy is. He reminds me of Cigarette Smoking Man on The X-Files. Took several years for us to get to the bottom of that one.
But wait … did we mention that ol’ Patty set the whole two-places-at-once picture thing up – planting the photo to make Fiske think they have no case, and getting rid of unreliable lie-prone witness.
Should’ve known Patty was behind it all.
The best liar of all, perhaps.
But outside of the case, things got a wee bit interesting for young lawyer protégé Ellen’s doc fiancé. As in, flirtatious granddaughter of a patient he is treating does not seem to mind he is not available (“We can play this any way you want.”). This, of course, is complicated by the fact that he never wanted sister Katie involved in the Frobisher case in the first place, and reluctantly agreed to appease fiancé Ellen. So when Katie skips town as a result of her break down at the deposition, well … he’s not too happy.
Patty, meanwhile, can’t get a hold of her son at the secret get-your-act-together camp to which she had him kidnapped and taken away to. The scene where she is on the phone, trying to get through to talk to him yet denied by the administrative folk … priceless. In that moment, as manipulative and controlling as Patty is, she’s a mom. And she just wants to talk to her son. Close is so good, here. You forget for a moment her darker side. That is, of course, until she violently sweeps everything off her desk in frustration.
And, lest we should forget Patty’s ol’ pretend-to-be fired right hand, Tom. He’s getting more irritated by the second with his having to serve as Patty’s own personal private investigator as opposed to being an attorney. Looks like he might be jumping ship to another firm.
But is he telling Patty just yet? No, of course not.
Like we said, Six Degrees of … well, you know.
New episodes air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX. You can also have fun visiting the Hewes and Associates Official Web Site.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
PTR Staff Writer
Every once in a while, you get an opportunity to do something that you might not normally do.
And, every once in a while, it turns out even better than you might have expected.
Yesterday was one of those days.
On Monday, August 13th, I had the opportunity to attend a screening of Resurrecting the Champ at the Landmark Theatre in Los Angeles. The film was showing as part of the theatre’s summer edition Reel Talk series, which featured weekly screenings of selected independent films. After the screening, the audience was treated to a question and answer session with some of the filmmakers and/or actors, which was moderated by film critic Stephen Farber.
Yesterday was Champ day.
And PTR favorite Kathryn Morris was scheduled to be one of the guests (along with director Rod Lurie, producer Mike Medavoy of Phoenix Pictures, and producer Bob Yari of Yari Films – who produced the Academy Award® winning Crash).
Now, I am breaking my report into parts: Part 1 is the Kathryn exclusive; Part 2 is a review of the film (which you will find next week, nearer to the film’s release date of August 24th). Suffice it to say the film is quite good and is, I think, truly a showcase for Samuel L. Jackson. There is already some buzz about this being the “role of his career” (reiterated last night by director Lurie).
But regular readers of this blog know Kathryn is a favorite here, so I wanted to be able to bring back a little exclusive for PTR.
I confess I attended a similar Q&A a couple of years ago for another independent film (not starring Kathryn), and it really is a very fun and interesting way to watch a movie given you get to have interaction with the actual people who made what you just watched – ask questions, listen to their stories on the process, etc. And, given this takes place at a regular ol’ movie theatre, with regular John Q. Public as the audience, it adds an element of spontaneity and realness given the people in the audience are the ones who actually will pay to see the film and/or recommend it to their friends (as director Lurie joked).
My previous experience attending a Q&A prepared me a bit for this one: I thought about a question specifically for Kathryn should the opportunity arise.
And it did.
I firstly complimented her on Cold Case (LK: “Love you on Cold Case.” / KM: “Thank you so much!”). I then asked how it felt for her to a) return to the big screen; b) get to step outside of the confines of Cold Case (and the Lilly Rush character) and explore a new/different character for the first time in a couple of years (seeing as we’ve all known her as Lilly since 2003).
She was incredibly generous with her answer, clearly defining that whilst Cold Case is a well-oiled machine (and of which it has to be in order for it to be such a quality piece of work week in/week out), there is a real freedom in participating in a film like Champ because the producers “let [the director] Rod make the film and tell the story” without the same kinds of formal storytelling/timeline constraints as those usually associated with a television procedural. She was also very grateful that it lined up just right so that she was able to shoot the film during her summer hiatus from Cold Case in 2006.
She also spoke to the fact that when she first read an early draft of the script, she did so after a very late night shooting Cold Case. The script was delivered to her house, and although she was tired, “I was so emotionally slayed by what I had just read. I was reading it as the sun was coming up, and I couldn’t believe the story that had just occurred. I also remember [producer] Mike [Medavoy] saying to me when I first signed on, ‘Everybody deserves to be a champ.’ That really stuck with me.”
As to her role in the film: “There are so many movies out there where the wife is nagging, not supportive, and you don’t often see a story where one – she – is truly the better half trying to make the other half better. I liked that [Joyce was] not a paint by numbers wife.”
Following the Q&A, I was able to approach Kathryn individually and asked her if there was anything else she wanted to say about her role in the film and/or would like readers of PTR to know.
KM: “Like what?”
LK: “How about what was the best part of making this film for you?”
She thought about it for a moment, and then answered poignantly:
“I’d have to say the fact that I got to play a woman who was a true lady. She let her husband go on his own journey, and let the man become the man he needed to become.”
Not only the film on the whole, but Kathryn Morris.
She truly is a rarity in Hollywood – gracious, attentive, kind and genuine. She impressed me with her interest in not only being there to support the film, but in giving an average ‘schmo like myself a few minutes of her time to share her thoughts on the project (it’s worth noting, too, that she had already worked her long hours on Cold Case before coming to the Q&A – “I’ve been up since 5 a.m., and I have to go back at 5 a.m.” - yet, she was as gracious and in the moment as if she was just starting her day).
She even was kind enough to pose for the exclusive below photo:
In a film about the reporter getting the story right, I thank Kathryn for allowing – and contributing – to this staff writer’s opportunity to get a story of her own.
As it should be.
Resurrecting the Champ opens August 24th. And be sure to tune in for Part 2 of my Champ screening report next week.
(And I promise to get The Closer, Saving Grace and Damages written up SOMETIME this week. LOL!)
Monday, August 13, 2007
There was also an interesting Tess and Kevin side story. Her schizophrenia had gotten out of control and she was holding a diner hostage (by making them dance). I was feeling tired just watching those poor people dance for two days straight! Luckily, Shawn stepped in and cured Tess before they all keeled over dead of exhaustion. And the best part -- it looks like both Kevin and Tess are going to play a bigger role now. Otherwise, I think that was everything that happened this week. Yup, nothing else occurred during the hour. Just those two stories to keep us occupied. Oh wait, Tom and Meghan slept together. Well, at least that's over. No more annoying build-up. You know, I'm pretty sure I could get past her not being Alana if it weren't for the fact that she's his boss!! It's bugging me for some reason. Woman in power sleeps with her subordinate -blah, blah, blah. I don't remember Dennis Ryland getting' it on with Diana. Thankfully! Oh well, this too shall pass.
If you missed last night's episode, check out the 2-minute replay at the show's official site.