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January 2008 Archives

January 26, 2008

Slings & Arrows: The Complete Series

That Shakespeare’s works are still performed with regularity — if not popularity — nearly 400 years after his death is a testament not just to the language or the structure; William Shakespeare changed the way people thought about the human condition, something nobody has done better. The Canadian television series Slings and Arrows spent three masterful but abbreviated seasons celebrating the Bard and reminding us of his cultural importance, both historically and contemporaneously.

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:00 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Film Monthly, Reviews

January 18, 2008

He Was a Quiet Man

He Was a Quiet Man has one of the most interesting premises I’ve ever seen in a movie. It takes a cubicle drone, who is unhinged because he’s so lonely he talks to his fish (who talks back, but we’ll get to that), and allows him to fall in love…which makes him more unhinged. That is the journey Christian Slater’s Bob Maconel takes. It’s Slater’s finest performance, and an exceptional calling card to declare that he’s back, and he’s capable — and yes, he should reclaim his A-list status. The movie is good, but it doesn’t quite live up to the performance.

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:00 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Film Monthly, Reviews

January 26, 2008

Chancer: Series 2

In the second series of Chancer, the writers managed the impossible. They took two of their most irritating characters — Piers Garfield-Ward (Simon Shepherd) and Jimmy Blake (Leslie Phillips) — and made them nuanced, interesting, and funny. This was a necessary change, since none of the characters from last season’s Douglas Motors storyline return, but it’s a credit to both the writers and the actors who play them that the drastic changes to these characters felt believable.

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:00 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Film Monthly, Reviews

January 13, 2008

The Wire Returns

That’s right, the best show on television has returned for its fifth and (sadly) final season. Also returning this week: Medium, which ranks at the top of the network shows in terms of quality, and USA’s Monk and Psych. Neither…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:00 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Reviews, Idiot Boxing

January 20, 2008

Strike Fever!

So how’s that new, “writer-less” model working out? What’s that, all the reality shows are underperforming? Including American Idol being down 11% from last year’s premiere? Wait, did you just say you’re going to start airing Dexter and USA Network…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:00 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Reviews, Idiot Boxing

January 27, 2008

Breaking AWESOME

This week, we have a new entry in the Idiot Boxing line-up. Out with Numb3rs (as of last week, for those who missed it), in with AMC’s Breaking Bad. It’s a show about a high school chemistry teacher (played by…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:00 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Reviews, Idiot Boxing