— The Georgia-filmed "What to Expect When You're Expecting" (starring ... basically half of Hollywood) comes out today - are you planning to go see it? The film prominently features (and actually appears to take place in) our fair city.
— Director Jeff Reyes is set to direct Atlanta rapper Waka Flocka Flame's next music video in Dunwoody and Alpharetta, news that ties in to how music producers and studio owners hope to capitalize on the expanded Georgia filming tax credit.
— Apparently it was a poorly kept secret that "Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta" filmed Tuesday at ATL Live, which featured Case, Tank, J. Holiday, R.L., Benzino, and fellow “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” cast member and super producer Stevie J. Also in attendance were Peter Thomas (RHOA), Mishon, Chanita foster, Daron Jones (112), Keri Hilson, Floyd Mayweather, Chilli (TLC), Dondria, DJ Trauma, Erica Dixon (Lil Scrappy’s Baby Mother/Love & Hip Hop Atlanta) and Kenny Burns (who hosted the event).
— Check out the trailer for NBC's new J.J. Abrams series "The Revolution," filmed in Atlanta.
— The AJC reports that "Atlanta official say movie filming at Civic Center has brought in more than $1 million over last year and a half" [via @ajcatlantanews].
— "I.D. Theft," starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, filmed at the View Point Condos on Peachtree Street Wednesday.
— Also on Wednesday, "Drop Dead Diva" filmed at Emory University (there was a casting call for "professor types" a few weeks ago. I'm intrigued …)
We've spotted a trend in television commercials: the quas-i-ronic use of spoken song lyrics.
The most obvious case:
Then, ever on the cutting edge, comes State Farm:
The most fun is this, from Discover card-one of many:
Though this one doesn't directly quote a song—it is a direct "homage" to the Nails' "88 Lines About 44 Women."
The Hound of the Baskervilles is probably one of the most well-known of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series, and the update (dropping the second "the") "The Hound of Baskerville" bears very little resemblance to the original story in terms of details. Although, some of the original elements have been replaced elsewhere (such as the glowing phosphorus now being a gene splice in rabbits rather than in a hound). I mention this now only because I didn't have room last week, but the adaptation and updates to the original Holmes stories have all been incredibly engaging and twisty without losing the charm and ominous feelings of the original works. Instead of a posh family estate called
Downton Baskerville, we get a chemical and biological research facility called Baskerville, which turns "Sherlock" from being another "Poirot" and makes into something altogether weirder.
Of the five total "Sherlock" episodes to have aired, "Baskerville" may be the weakest offering (still better than 99% of all other television, but still). Maybe it's the longer focus on fewer plots rather than the symphony we are used to, though there are still never any throwaway moments (such as how the Bluebell story, seeming to not matter in the first moments of the show, came full circle). Because "Baskerville" moved our detectives out of London and into the West Country, there was a lamentable lack of favorite supporting characters (Lestrade, Mycroft, Mrs Hudson, Molly, Moriarty), some of whom made brief appearances but didn't have much interaction with our protagonists. Even our protagonists didn't spend as much time together as one might have hoped. The magic between Sherlock and Watson is the sparkling glue that holds the whole show together, and when they are separated for too long or the focus shifts from them too far, the show starts to drag.
A particular disappointment for me personally was Russell Tovey, who played the beleaguered Henry Knight. Tovey is an exceptional actor, and seeing him utterly steal the show in the UK's "Being Human" as well as the film The History Boys had me extremely excited for him to be featured in "Sherlock." But Tovey is best and most affecting as a comic actor, and the character of Henry felt very one dimensional (which may have been more of a symptom of the writing than the acting). Still, his scenes dragged, especially on a second viewing, knowing the outcome and identity of the hound.
When Betty appears this season it's not as a supporting character, it's to steal the show. And I will devote the majority of this review to discussing Betty because I am - wait for it - yes, a fan. Some of it is my natural reaction to like a character that the writers seem so hell-bent on making everyone dislike, but I actually believe Betty has a nuance, depth and humanity that is too often overlooked. For those who will stand up and cry "but what about January Jones' wooden acting?!" I don't know if it's on purpose or because she really is that stiff (wait, maybe I do know the answer ...), but either way it works. It's perfect for Betty, who has so many swirling emotions trapped behind that once-perfect exterior. And even as a heavier woman, she's still attractive in the way she does her hair and makeup and chooses her clothes. Further, I'm sure there are more of you than are willing to admit that her Reddi Whip meltdown felt familiar (especially purging it back into the sink!)
But there were so many interesting elements to Betty's story in "Dark Shadows" (the episode's title describes the feel of the season as well as the soap opera that started in 1966, which I'm sure there was no intention of cross promotion for with the Tim Burton remake ...). Firstly, she's back in therapy. Well, sort of. And this time her husband isn't spying on her. For those who have conveniently forgotten, Don with Betty was a lying, cheating drunkard who was cold as ice towards her and obsessed with control. Betty is certainly not without her flaws, but the idea that many could have flourished in that kind of relationship is absurd. There were flashes of Old Don when he flipped out to Megan about Anna, but he's grown a little bit, and Megan knows how to handle him (it's one thing I will grant her character). Though Betty may not be especially happy with Henry (would she ever be happy anywhere?) the difference in the support that he gives her and the kindness that she shows in return is noteworthy. Betty actually seems to find some pleasure in paying attention to her kids again, even interacting with Bobby instead of just telling him to to bang his head against a wall (but not Gene, I mean, no one remembers about Gene. He's the Rickon of the family, as "Game of Thrones" fans may note). Heartwarming. She also shares and seems to believe in the maxims from her Weight Watchers classes - a warm and friendly environment where Betty is able to seemingly start de-programming. And then ...
— The made-in-Atlanta movie once known as Neighborhood Watch is now being released in theaters as “The Watch." What's with the name change? Is it because of the Trayvon Martin case?
— Apparently, Chris Klein (who recently filmed American Reunion here) really loves Atlanta. No I mean really loves Atlanta! "I really love working here,” he said. “The film and TV infrastructure is second to none. I had a fantastic time here last summer. I just hope I have a job that brings me back to Atlanta.”
— Bored? Then settle in and read the crazy as a second male masseur files $2M sexual battery lawsuit against John Travolta (from his time in Atlanta).
— Vanessa Williams was at the Living Room at the W Midtown this week catching up with friends and promoting her new book “You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other).” Or its acronym: YHNIAFADHNNMAHTSPHLLAEO. Which, actually, is an insult in the Baltic region.
— Hamish Linklater, a.k.a. Matthew from CBS sitcom "The New Adventures of Old Christine" told staff at the Publik Draft House in Midtown Tuesday night that he was in town for a project (as he enjoyed some beer). What project I do not know, stay tuned!
— Our own Debbie Michaud confirmed on Twitter this week: "Stephen Baldwin is ordering dressing on the side at a cafe below my office. Will the wonders of Atlantic Station never cease? Looks grumpy, old, but seems to be eating right." And there you have it!
— I.D. Theft, starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, filmed at the Bank of America Plaza Monday before moving down to Hampton, Georgia. The production will also be closing some roads … (because we know how well that works out).
The BBC's "Sherlock," now blessedly airing on PBS, may be the most difficult series I have ever reviewed. Yes, more so than "Lost" or "Breaking Bad," because "Sherlock," with those infuriatingly short seasons, is concentrated London crack. Every line is a quote, every movement or gesture worth a mention, and all of it amid an intoxicating swirl of plots. Sherlock, Watson, Mycroft, Lestrade, and Mrs. Hudson are so fantastically crafted and updated in their roles, and I even stand behind the more controversial casting and development of Moriarty and Irene Adler, because their "vibe" (if you will) meshes perfectly with the modern Holmes world that show runner Stephen Moffat has created.
And speaking of that emphasis on modernity, has their ever been a show that better incorporates technology? I have often praised "The Good Wife" for illustrating how our increasing dependence on smart phones, laptops, tablets and portable music devices shapes our world and our understanding of communication. Yes it's something that will eventually date the show, but in the meantime it's an extremely honest portrayal of how we interact with each other. Watson's blog, Sherlock's deerstalker hat going viral (a neat trick to explain the prevalence of that particular bit of his look throughout the various Sherlock incarnations), Irene's dependence on her camera phone, everybody texting everyone else all the time - it feels very true, and, interestingly, a natural part of Sherlock's world. But how interested are we in watching someone text someone else? In real life, the patience is almost nil. But what if all of the text was blown up in front of us. Much more interesting. And so "Sherlock" is able to incorporate technology in way that is not only believable but interesting. No small feat.
But I am getting way ahead of myself. Let's back up to the end of Season One, where a breathless Mexican standoff with guns and explosives and a completely unhinged Moriarty left us unsure of what would happen with a Season Two (if there was to be a Season Two). "A Scandal in Belgravia" picked up exactly where things were left off, with the result being that Moriarty had received a phone call that distracted him enough to allow Sherlock and Watson to live. Because who is the Joker without Batman? Moriarty needs a playmate, someone he can tangle with, and there is no one in the world worthy of it more than Sherlock Holmes.
Let's talk about Pete. I'm worried for him. Are you? After being such a slime ball in the first two seasons of the show, he really seemed to grow in the last two. This year, he's completely falling apart (a season later than Don, of course, his idol).
The episode title, "Lady Lazarus" is based on a Sylvia Plath poem about rebirth, but it's also about suicide. Pete cavalierly mentions to his train friend Howard that his insurance policy "even covers suicide!" after two years. Remember Pete holding a gun in a dark room to end Season Two? And then mentions of guns this season by both Pete and Trudy? Pete's ill-considered affair with
Rory Gilmore Beth (Alexis Bledel, wooden as ever. She makes January Jones look positively nuanced) was full of problems. He's not Don, he can't carry on an affair properly. He was emotional and reckless and needy, and his depressing comments to Harry about the insignificance of being just a dot on a tiny, unprotected orb floating in the vast darkness of space was the kind of thing that would make you say to your friend "... ok, let's get you out of the house."
I worry for him.
It has been a dark and foreboding season, and no moment was creepier in "Lady Lazarus" than Don nearly stepping off into an empty elevator shaft. Are we meant to take from this that Megan, his support, is gone? That there's nowhere to go but down? If someone is going to be the falling man seen in the opening credits of the show, it certainly isn't literally going to be Don. Not yet at least, we have two more seasons!
— The celebs have been enjoying our local sports recently - Melissa McCarthy and her husband were spotted at a Braves game while T.I. and Chris Tucker supported the Hawks Tuesday night (good, we need all the support we can get).
— Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol star Paula Patton, recently named one of People Magazine's "Most Beautiful," was at the W Midtown this past week reportedly sippin' on some Grey Goose.
— Jason Bateman dined at Maggiano's in Buckhead Monday night - convenient, as his film Identity Theft was also setting up to film there! Which brings me to ...
— Identity Theft has been all over town, including shooting scenes around Ansley Mall (according to @HelloHayley, Starbucks was blocked off).
— The Steel Magnolias remake, starring Queen Latifah, has been filming at a house next to Fernbank Museum. Production has been set up there for awhile, you can also see the trailers parked on the other side of Olmstead Park off of Ponce most days!
— If you didn't hear about the fire at the Tyler Perry studios then I think you've been under a rock. The latest news still doesn't tell us much, except that filming will of course be affected ("for the next 23 Medea movies," as TMZ put it).
— "The Walking Dead" will begin filming its third season in Coweta County next week!
Last week I wrapped up watching "Battlestar Galactica" (and yes, I finally get what everyone was geeking out about. All true, and just like the "Portlandia" episode), a show which mastered the art of the season-ending cliffhanger. I can't give a single example because staying spoiler free makes this show even more heart-pounding, but suffice it to say I was thrilled that the series had already ended, so that after hyperventilating through each finale I could just put in the next disc and see where the show was going from there.
"The Good Wife" took an (octagon shaped) lo-fi page from the book of "Battlestar" last night and gave us a finale that asked more questions than it answered, and set up an entirely new trajectory for its fourth season. I have grumbled at length about the uneven nature of the series, particularly this year, but "Dream Team" was a fitting ending for a season where uncertainty reigned.
A few of the long-term arcs seem to finally be getting some motion, most particularly #Kalinda'sPast (I'm hashtagging it because CBS did and also because it begs for it). #Kalinda'sPast was explored in one of the most forgettable narratives in Season Two, with Blake. This season, Kalinda retreated into the shadows more, to her character's benefit, which is what made her sudden turn back into Bisexual Warrior Kalinda last night so jarring. I wondered for a minute if I was on the wrong channel. It's clear that Kalinda's husband is a threatening figure who has a lot of connections, but he obviously had not tracked her down - or perhaps bothered to - until Alicia poked the bear. Seeing Kalinda finally face up to her past and confront it head on (or in a chair in front of her door with a loaded gun) will be turning over a new and refreshing leaf for her.
It's the same kind of self-awareness and honesty that Peter gave into last night as well. His matter-of-fact honesty in the deposition about his separation from Alicia will have consequences for his campaign, but it was the right thing to do and something that Alicia would (and did) respect. "The truth is bigger than you think," she tells him after she decides to drop by their old house and spend time with the family after all. Alicia, too, is facing up to the reality that she has missed her life with her family. The elevator scene with Will was call-back to the beginning of the season when their affair officially began (doesn't that seem like a long time ago?), except here they both acknowledge that while the affair may not have been a mistake, there is not much future in it. Later, Alicia stands outside her old home and is torn, as she has been all season (but particularly in the last half of it) whether to return to her old traditional life or continue to forge a new one. "The Good Wife" has been excellent at keeping a realistic tone regarding complicated family dynamics. Alicia is looking for a way to reconcile what is best for her as well as for her family. That answer is not simple.
Last year at the Emmys, "Mad Men" won Best Drama (again) for a season that many felt was not, perhaps, as deserving when compared to some of the other contenders. There was a feeling that after so many years the voters weren't even bothering to think about it - it is "Mad Men," and always shall be "Mad Men!" After this last season of "Breaking Bad" I predicted that that show would finally eclipse its AMC brother and take home the title prize. There was no show on TV that could touch its suffocatingly horrifying and fantastic anxiety-inducing madness.
And now "Mad Men" is back - not just back, but back with a vengeance. Though it has had its detractors this season, I think its most recent episodes have been the best we've seen in, well, years. Has it proved itself better than "Breaking Bad?" There's still plenty of season to go before making that decision, but I would say currently it's certainly on route to coming close.
"At the Codfish Ball" was all about the ladies, but while each female seemed to be on track for success, the reality was much dimmer. The episode was framed by telephone conversations between Sally and That Creepy Former Neighbor Kid Glen (also known as series creator Matthew Weiner's son). The two have stayed in touch, it seems, since his departure from her neighborhood, and Glen is clearly the only real confident that Sally has. While in their first conversation the two chat and crack wise, in the second conversation Sally has been changed. The conversation isn't taking place on a sunny afternoon but in the dark. "How's the city?" Glen asks. "Dirty," Sally replies quickly and without hesitation.
Sally, like a grownup, took care of her grandmother after she tripped on the telephone cord (or "Gene's toy" as it later turned into), but when she came to her father's apartment Megan made her spaghetti as a kid-friendly alternative to their dinner. Wanting to seem more grown up, Sally puts on makeup later which Don immediately tells her to take off. "There's nothing you can do, Don" Megan's father
Jean-Paul Sartre Emile interjects. "One day your daughter is going to spread her legs and fly away." Whoops! It's the kind of comment that can't just be laughed away - Emile is (accidentally) talking about his own resentment about his daughter's relationship with Don, and it turned into foreshadowing for Sally. Her "date" with Roger was incredibly cute until we all saw, like a slow-motion car wreck, the events that would lead to Sally walking in on Megan's mother going down on Roger (or in other terms, her grandmother sucking off her date). Dirty indeed.
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