Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lionel: I believe sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you

King George VI: My physicians say it relaxes the throat
Lionel: They're idiots
King George VI: They've all been knighted
Lionel: Makes it official then

I know that I have been a little m.i.a. lately and I really have no excuse, except laziness.  But I am back and have lots to talk about, so get excited!

Over the past month I have seen True Grit, The King's Speech and Country Strong.  My TV shows have also started to come back and I have checked out a few new ones.

True Grit was very good...until the end.  I will not ruin it for those of you who have not seen it, but I just did not like the way it ended.  It was a little too drawn out for my taste.  I also did not think the narration was necessary.  Other than that, I really enjoyed it!  I have not seen the original, so I have no idea how similar the movies are to each other, but the performances from Jeff Daniels and Matt Damon were as good as usual and even funny at times, and newcomer, Hailee Steinfeld, was excellent.  It has the Coen brothers typical quirky humor and is a fun, modern Western.

The King's Speech was amazing.  Colin Firth as the stuttering King George VI, Helena Bonham Carter as his Queen and Geoffrey Rush as his quirky speech therapist, Lionel Logue, are all excellent performances.  The story is based in fact, is very interesting and, apparently, was not allowed to be told until Queen Elizabeth I (the current Queen's mother) had passed away.  Firth has already won the Golden Globe for this role and I would not be surprised if an Academy Award is on the way as well.

In contrast, Country Strong was not horrible but it was also not that great.  I just felt like they were trying to do too much and it would have been so much better if they had just simplified the plot a little bit.  On top of the story of the country star just getting out of rehab, there is also a love-square-type-thing going on. Garrett Hedlund is having an affair with Gwyneth Paltrow, who is married to and still loves Tim McGraw, but he also falls in love with Leighton Meester, who Gwyneth thinks is having an affair with Tim.  My brain almost exploded just writing out that sentence.  The soundtrack, however, is awesome and if you are a fan of country music, I highly recommend buying it now.  The movie you can probably skip, or at least wait until it comes out on DVD.

I still would like to see Blue Valentine and will hopefully do so in the next week.  Also, Oscar nominations are announced on Tuesday, so a few other movies will probably be added to my list of things I need to watch before the end of February.

Now onto my crazy television-habit...

The second and final season of Party Down was just as awesome as the first season. This season brought us the return of Jane Lynch, Kristen Bell and Joey Lauren Adams, as well as appearances from Tamala Jones, Loretta Devine, Rachael Harris, Paul Scheer, and Patrick Duffy and Steve Guttenberg as themselves.  As I have mentioned before, I do not get Starz, so I unfortunately could not watch the series when it was on.  However, I really do not understand why no one else watched it!  It was so funny!

As always, a few new shows have had mid-season premieres.  I do not plan on checking out all of them, but there are a few that seemed worth trying.  The first two episodes of Shonda Rhimes' new show, Off the Map, were pretty good.  I was definitely not blown away, but I will keep watching for now.  I also really enjoyed Harry's Law with Kathy Bates, mostly because of Nathan Corddry who is HILARIOUS.  Other new shows that I will probably test out are Mr. Sunshine (which has not gotten good reviews, but stars Matthew Perry and Allison Janney) and The Chicago Code.

I have also, finally, started watching Arrested Development.  I know, I know, I am a few years behind, but better late then never, right?!  I am only about a third of the way through the first season and I am not yet sure how I feel about it, but I will forge on and let you know how it goes.  I never really had any interest in watching the series, but have been pressured into it by a friend :o)

We are almost one month into 2011 and many places in the world still need our help, including Haiti, Australia and the Gulf Coast (land and water).  So, as I have done before, I give you my plea for assistance and my suggestions for where it can be sent.  I am generally a bigger fan of hands-on mission when possible, but money is always good too:

I hope that everyone is having a good start to their year and I look forward to hearing about what you have been watching!