Classic Movie Alert: The Third Man Airs Saturday Night

If you’re a fan of classic movies, as I am (just ask my wife and son, who think I’m a relic from an earlier ice age), and you have TCM the cable network, check out “The Third Man,” 6 p.m. Saturday. It’s an absolutely awesome, atmospheric taste of post war Europe.
Director Carol Reed masterfully captures life in a shellshocked post World War II Berlin in this classic thriller about an alcoholic writer who is drawn into a dark and disorienting situation after he travels to Vienna to visit an old friend, only to discover the man was recently killed.
Or so he thinks.
Joseph Cotten has never been better.
And the great Orson Welles plays Harry Lime, about as complex a character as you’ll ever see on the screen.
But of course, you can also enjoy the haunting zither theme by Anton Karas.


Paula Deen: Cries, I’m no racist

Did you see the Paula Deen interview on the Today show this Wednesday morning? Millions of people did and I wonder what you think about what she said.

As expected she claimed not to be a racist.

What was unexpected, was that she did not say she was sorry for what she is on the record saying?

I don’t know Paula. And I surely don’t know if she is a racist.

She is  from Savannah; i went to school in Georgia. Not all Georgians are racists, but some are.

In the end, only Paula Deen knows.



Another Stephen King Novel Brought to Life: Under the Dome

This is one I’ll try not to miss, being a Stephen King fan.

A limited series, Under the Dome premieres June 24, 10 p.m. on CBS. If you’ve read the book, you’ll like the show…but don’t expect an exact chapter by chapter replay. The show is based on the King book, taking the characters and going in directions that the book doesn’t.

Which is fine by King, who worked with exec. producer Stephen Spielberg’s Amblin Productions on the show.

For those who aren’t familiar, there are no smoke monsters or sideways timelines, Dome does focus on a group of survivors — anchored by drifter Dale “Barbie” Barbara (Bates Motel‘s Mike Vogel), journalist Julia Shumway (Twilight‘s Rachelle Lefevre), frisky candy striper Angie McAlister (Secret Circle‘s Britt Robertson) and local councilman/megalomaniac Big Jim Rennie (Breaking Bad‘s Dean Norris) — who are cut off from the rest of mankind after a violent, life-altering experience.

In this case, thanks to King’s diabolical imagination, it’s not a plane crash but the sudden appearance of an almost undetectable bubble over the town. And like the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815, Baer says, the folks of Chester’s Mill “come together…in the beginning.”

After the initial shock, however, it becomes one of those situations where life as you know it can no longer continue. Changes must be made, and a lot of those shifts are internal. Battle lines get drawn.

And bad things begin to happen.

As you might expect.


A new Summer Season….more reality (if you want to call it that)

I just finished watching the Bachelorette….and this week The Rock starts his reality show. America’s Got Talent is already pulling in big ratings. And Big Brother begins anew in a week or two.

Is American reality crazy? Or is it just me?

When I was growing up (eons ago, my son says)…summers were for reruns. A time for catching up with the shows I missed during the year. It was a rare thing to see a new show in the summer.

Now, the summer is prelude to fall.

A testing ground for many short run series.

If it’s good, it might make it into the big boy part of the schedule, which is September.

Always keep in mind that very few new shows survive the year.

And never forget that the big months in the TV year are September, November, February and May. Those are the months where ratings equal advertising dollars. If your show flames out in September, you can cost your network zillions of dollars. Amazing, isn’t it when a show goes on the air in September and is cancelled almost immediately.

So enjoy the Summer. And the un-reality of reality shows.


If it’s June, it Must be the Dregs of Reality Shows

Now that May is behind us, almost, I can report on a singularly unimpressive 2012-2013 TV season. One hopes that the new season will offer up some breakout hits and perhaps introduce us to some new stars.

I am not hopeful, though.

I checked out the Bachelorette this past week, because I am a fan of the show (I still like Survivor, too) and enjoyed it, but it was a ratings disaster. Not surprised there.

And next week promises to bring some new lows, with America’s Got Talent.


But I love it.  So what do you think?

Big Bang Season 6 an Unqualified Success

This hasn’t always been my favorite show; sometimes I don’t get the nerd humor, but this year I decided to give it a chance and I was pleasantly surprised.

Favorite Episode:  I’d go with “The Tenure Turbulence” because full cast was involved in the same storyline. And while it was definitely sexist, Penny and her boobs were one of the funniest scenes of the season.


Worst Storyline: The idea of the guys giving a presentation to young girl students about science had so much promise, but it bombed … big time. It was embarrassing and even if the point was to point out the misguided methods that schools use to promote science, it still was a big fail. I hope to never see that presentation again.


Biggest improvement: In the worst episode of the season, “The Decoupling Fluctuation,” Penny started questioning her relationship with Leonard again. Her back-and-forth on their relationship got ridiculous, but after that the couple settled into a comfortable relationship and the show was the better for it.


Best Character Development: Raj talked to Penny WITHOUT alcohol! Raj’s unique social anxiety provided for plenty of funny moments throughout the seasons, such as talking through Howard. Given the frequency of his interactions with females now, it was time for him to move forward. 


Most Memorable Girl Group Moment: While the guys headed to Bakersfield for Comic Con, the girls stayed home and tried to figure out the appeal of comic books. Their comic book discussion was hilarious from start to finish. “The Bakersfield Expedition” was one of the best of the season.


Most Touching Moment: In “The Closest Reconfiguration,” Howard had kept an unopened letter from his father for years. When Sheldon read it and then told everyone what was in it, Howard was understandably upset. The group came together in a rare tear-jerking moment and told Howard items that could have been in the letter. It was a super sweet and rare emotional moment for the show.


Jaw-dropping Moment: When Penny asked Sheldon, “You ever going to sleep with Amy?”


Best Relationship Growth: While I’m thrilled that Penny and Leonard’s relationship has stabilized, it’s Sheldon and Amy’s romance that grew the most. From putting Vaporub on Amy when she was sick, to Sheldon’s honest response to Penny’s sex question, and then Sheldon and Amy’s D&D virtual intimacy, Sheldon has grown immensely. Will they ever get physical? Perhaps, but these baby steps in that direction work with the character and provide humor.


Best Guest Star: Bob Newhart as Professor Proton was hilarious. His dismay at Penny’s ignorance and irritation at Sheldon and Leon

Thanks to the TV fanatic for help on this.

Star Trek Into Darkness is a Rousing Adventure

I’m not sentimental about movies that are based on old TV shows. For example, I’m not salivating at the prospect of seeing the revamped Lone Ranger, with Johnny Depp as Tonto. I mean, is it a comedy or what?

But the new Star Trek Into Darkness, which follows on the heels of the re-imagined Star Trek movie of 2009, rocks.

I loved it. It is pure rock candy. A rousing adventure with a great villain (played by Benedict…whatshislastname) and lots of action.

Sure there are sappy moments — I won’t reveal what for those who plan on seeing the movie — and several nods to the old William Shatner as Kirk shows.

But as pure entertainment, director J.J. Abrahms knows what he is doing.

Which gives me great hopes for his next directing assignment: Star Wars, chapter 7.