Saturday, August 09, 2008

TV Review Eureka "What About Bob?"


In Eureka, just about anything can happen at any given time. Those who live in town are used to the odd and unique. After all, the world's best scientists gather in Global Dynamics, the research facility which has a direct link to the Pentagon. Between Eva Thorn (Frances Fisher The Edge of Night), the acting head, Dr. Allison Blake (Salli Richardson), Dr. Nathan Stark (Ed Quinn), and other staff members, their biggest concern is not what goes wrong inside the facility. It's what affects the rest of the town.

Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) to the rescue! The former U.S. Marshal turned small town sheriff finds himself in a new adventure after getting a call about a missing researcher. Bob Nob (name not available) of may not be the most liked member of his eco-team, but his disappearance rings alarm bells. The project was a self-sustaining environment in an underground biodome.

The engaged Dr. Blake (Nathan again) and Jack are sent in to try and fix matters. 'Clean suits' protect them and the lab team both from contamination. Leave it to Zane Donovan (Niall Matters) to use a holgram for correct measurements. I have to say, the talk about nakedness was a clever bit of writing. No graphic nudity here, either, just general shots focused above the waist. Perfect!

Watching the drama play out via a hacked computer system back in Cafe Diem are Zoe Carter(Jordan Hinson), Dr. Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayston), the cafe's owner Vincent (Chris Gauthier), and the rest of the town's youth. They get to see Bob Nob found, complete with DNA gone wrong. Suffice it to say dormant parts are taking evolution backwards to its most primitive state.

It doesn't take long before Jack figures out the cause is most likely human, but the culprit is the last person one might think.

This seems to be a season of taking personal responsibility. What I find unbelievable is Jack not slapping cuffs on the wrongdoers. Or at least standing as someone else does. Henry's back in town! It will be interesting to see if he turns out even more devious than Eva. Nathan Stark now has some serious competition, although he seems more dark than evil. All that's left is to see which one gets sent to Mars....

also published on Blogcritics

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Music Review Justice League New Frontier


Justice League The New Frontier is the soundtrack from the DC Universe Animated Original Movie of the same name, based on the graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke. As the soundtrack title implies, the concept is very different than other projects using these characters.

When Cooke wrote the story, he set it during the 1950's and early 1960's. A distrustful government still needed the aid of superheroes to fight off one of the greatest threats known to mankind. People not endowed with powers beyond what anyone could imagine were also not keen on the trust idea.

Michael Goguen, Supervising Producer for the movie version, ran with the idea. He put the League members into a fictionalized motley band not yet formed into the fighting team people still talk about today.

"Main Titles" is the opening piece. Kevin Manthei, the composer and a performer, did a decent job portraying the battle which is the main storyline. For some reason, the first few notes reminded me of Peter and the Wolf. Once those passed, the overtones told me I was in for a bumpy ride!

"The Centre/Hal Shot Down" continues the dark theme. Since no song on this recording has any lyrics, one does not understand if the Centre is an entity or human. Ominous horn music leads me to believe who or whatever this is, an evil presence lurks. Considering the rest of the work has Hal Jordan, a military test pilot, plunging to Earth after a plane attack, it's clear the Centre does not take prisoners.

The sky is not the only place experiencing trouble. "The Flash Saves Las Vegas" is one of my favorite works. It puts the fast-footed crimefighter in the city where just about anything goes. He does not have much time to get his work done, but that detail is a mere pittance for someone who can run faster than time. The marcatos set up the race, while the flute shows off effortlessness of action.

The saxophone on "J'onn Becomes John/Church Brawl" sets up a film noir scene nicely. One thinks of Raymond Chandler and the detective Sam Spade during this tune. Yes, there is a slight bit of dark mixed in, but what else would be music to a cop's ears? I get the impression John is called to break up a fight which has broken out at church after someone got offended at the sermon, and someone else took offense.

Not everything is overcast. "Carol & Hal Banter" proves even a hard driven military man is capable of having more in his life than just planes. Cello notes reflect Hal, while a mixture of cymbals and piano are testament to just how entrancing Carol is.

Yes, brass and woodwinds are potent. There is never a question concerning the mission's intensity. A trumpet, played by Jeff Bunnell, acts as a clarion for the triumphs both big and small.

I can speak for the depth of this CD, but I imagine others might be inspired to purchase the DVD after looking over the voice talents. David Boreanaz and Neil Patrick Harris share the screen with Lucy Lawless and Kyra Sedgwick, among others. Miguel Ferrer, of Crossing Jordan fame, adds a sense of gravitas by playing the detective John Jones.

Book Review Havana Nocturne


Havana Nocturne How The Mob Owned Cuba And Then Lost It To The Revolution, by T.J. English, is a compelling story about life in Cuba when the Mob took control of life, from day to day politics to nighttime activities, both legal and less than. By history's standards, the time span took place over a couple of decades. The United States has been in existence longer by many, many, more years. Be that as it may, the effects can still be felt around the world.

First things first. Although the "Havana Mob" involves people most would refer to as gangsters, the center of operation came from the land of sugar and rum. Bugsy Siegel stuck his head in the door, but died violently for his involvement with a woman less than highly respected by his peers. Lucky Luciano stayed a bit longer, until the United States forced Cuba to send him packing in exile to Italy. How? By threatening sanctions so severe that Cuba really didn't have any choice but to do as ordered if they wanted to maintain relations.

The Havana Mob mostly made their money through nightclubs and casinos. Needless to say, tourism and celebrities who wanted to experience pure pleasure by spending endlessly helped matters considerably. Mambo was also part of the draw.

Some of the names attached to the nightlife are well known. JFK, for example. Sinatra. Ginger Rogers and Desi Arnaz took the opportunity to perform. While English is careful about suggesting how much these performers understood about the men running certain establishments, conspiracy theorists might find more fuel for their fires.

There is clear evidence local government bought into the notion of financial prosperity if they allowed the illegal gambling and sex trade businessmen to continue without running afoul of the law. Some people would call the regular payoff a bribe. Readers can decide for themselves whether or not they agree with the term.

However, a group of citizens decided to try and take matters into their own hands. Chief among these were Che Guevera and a zealot named Fidel Castro. Although formal schooling never quite worked out, the desire for a revolutionary change could not be easily extinguished. Protests were too great in number and too loud to be dismissed.

T. J. English does an impressive job of conveying the exact state of Cuba's union back then. The glittery nightlife is tempered with the violence of doing business when taking the law into one's own hands.

Emmy Nods 2008


The 2008 Emmy Nominations are out! While many are typical suspects, some surprises were added. Cable television shoved forward with hot shows and performances. A few, however, were fresh faces.

Outstanding Drama Series saw most nominations for Mad Men, the smash hit about advertising. Legal and medical themes were evident, as Boston Legal, Damages, Dexter, and House got nods. Lost rounded out the pack.

The Outstanding Comedy Series category saw 30 Rock as having most votes. Two and a Half Men and The Office led primetime shows, with Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm finishing the group.

Bryan Cranston garnered his first Emmy nod as Oustanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Breaking Bad, a story of a meth maker. However, Hugh Laurie of House, James Spader of Boston Legal, and Michael C. Hall from Dexter will make him sweat. Not to mention two more. Gabriel Bryne of In Treatment and Jon Hamm of Mad Men.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Tony Shaloub from Monk challenges Charlie Sheen Two and a Half Men, Alec Baldwin 30 Rock, and Steve Carell The Office. Lee Pace in Pushing Daisies was also nominated.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Glenn Close Damages steps up, but Sally Field of Brothers and Sisters, Mariska Hargitay of Law and Order:Special Victims Unit, Holly Hunter from Saving Grace, and Kyra Sedgwick of The Closer will make things tough.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series has prior winners. Tina Fey of 30 Rock battles with Julia Louis-Dreyfuss in The New Adventures of Old Christine, Christina Applegate of Samantha Who?, America Ferrera of Ugly Betty, and Mary-Louise Parker from Weeds.

Ted Danson shares his race for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series with Zeljko Ivanek,for Damages. William Shatner tries again for Boston Legal, while John Slattery of Mad Men and Michael Emerson of Lost hope he loses.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series contender Jon Cryer Two and a Half Men has double trouble since Kevin Dillion and Jeremy Piven are nominated from Entourage. Rainn Wilson The Office gets to challenge Barney, played by Neil Patrick Harris in How I Met Your Mother.

Sandra Oh will go after Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series along with Chandra Wilson are nominated for Gray's Anatomy. Candice Bergen continues the Boston Legal run. Rachel Griffiths Brothers and Sisters and Dianne Wiest In Treatment round out the women.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series might be better known as "The Battle of The Blondes". Amy Poehler from Saturday Night Live, Jean Smart in Samantha Who?, and Kristin Chenoweth for Pushing Daisies have competition as Holland Taylor Two and a Half Men and Vanessa Williams in Ugly Betty want the top honor.

Outstanding Reality Competition Program is the usual fare.The Amazing Race, Dancing With The Stars, American Idol, Top Chef, Project Runway already know people watch. But winning is nice.

Outstanding Reality Competition Program Host is a new category. Ryan Seacrest from American Idol goes against Tom Bergeron of Dancing With The Stars, Heidi Klum with Project Runway, Howie Mandel in Deal Or No Deal. Jeff Probst for Survivor is a no-brainer.

Outstanding Reality Program goes to: Antiques Roadshow, Dirty Jobs, Extreme Makeover, Intervention, or Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List.

Big Name Guest Stars are numerous, even if shows are not. Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series puts Steve Buscemi, Will Arnett, Tim Conway, plus Rip Torn as nominees for 30 Rock. Shelley Berman is from Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Outstanding Guest Actress n a Comedy Series brings forth Kathryn Joosten as well as Polly Bergen working on Desperate Housewives. Elaine Stritch, Carrie Fisher, and Edie Falco want the statuette after appearing in 30 Rock. Sarah Silverman is nominated for Monk.

The Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series competitors don't need the award since they are already household names. Robin Williams for Law and Order:Special Victims Unit is up against Robert Morse in Mad Men, Glynn Thurman hopes In Treatment will better Stanley Tucci ER or Oliver Platt Nip/Tuck. Charles Durning rounds out the list with Rescue Me.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series include Ellen Burstyn for Big Love, with Diahann Carroll portraying Burke's mom in Gray's Anatomy. Sharon Gless was chosen for Nip/Tuck. Anjelica Huston played a psychic in Medium. Cynthia Nixon took a dramatic turn during Law and Order:Special Victims Unit.

What's the difference this year? One word: cable. I'm not talking about standard channels, although House is a contender. Showtime has both programs and lead actors nominated. HBO could potentially take home Emmys, but only for one show. The acting nods are for supporting cast members. Controversy also helped send forth nods. Think about it: a drug dealer, a serial killer, interracial dating, therapy for those with screwed up lives. Even sex crimes made the list. With categories spread out a bit, the chances increase for a more even handed distribution.

Who's takes home gold? Tune in Sept. 21st on ABC to find out!

Also printed on Blogcritics.

TV Review Doctor Who Season 4 Finale "Journey's End"


The Season Four Finale of Doctor Who should be renamed as Doctor Whoa! Hang on to your hat, you ain't seen nothing yet! Even Sci-fi fans may have been shocked, despite being told more or less what was going to happen midway through the run.

In fairness, nothing was definite. Which doesn't excuse the promos for the episode's part two. A glance may have shown serious plot points which were major contributors to the storyline. Why watch then? SciFi Channel should have known better.

One simply had to know the fate of Earth. Or rather, the multiple planets affected once the stars began to disappear and day turned into night. The Doctor (David Tennant) knew things were amiss, but he also understood the Daleks were more powerful than the best he could handle. His response? Nothing, for history cannot be altered. This frustrated Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) who knew Earth would be destroyed.

Fortunately, an effort mounted to change The Doctor's mind. More than a few companions teamed up to help. Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) brought things full circle. She knew she could understand the technical aspects better than Donna. Besides, a prophecy had long ago predicted her return.

World War III is perhaps the best equivalent of what happens when one messes with the Dalek, especially when the leader supposedly died. Therefore, extra help is required. Bring in the Torchwood team! Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and some of his cadre come to the rescue, along with Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman). In yet another nice touch, Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) also comes.

Even though the departure of Miss Noble was advertised for several episodes (not the smartest move) the way she went surprised me. I'll let you see for yourselves.

A few viewers might think the episode is overloaded with all of the former companions on top of the greatest threat. Wisely, the show itself was ninety minutes, just like the season opener. Already, there is Internet chatter of a new season.

Personally, I can see why so many enjoy this show. Even though I have not seen the past three seasons, I had fun viewing the Timelord and his companion weekly. Speaking of, there is a chance (don't quote me) the woman who played Dr. Corday on ER is the next companion.

Glad I watched? Yes, to not do so is something I would have regretted. Still, I found myself trembling and in tears long after the closing credits rolled. It was that powerful.

Also can be read on Blogcritics.

TV Review CSI:NY "Hostage"


Talk about starting your day with a bang! A bank holdup sends Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) racing to the scene along with SWAT. To nobody's surprise, there is a typical list of demands. What turns out to be unexpected is the asking for a CSI team to prove the dead body in the vault is someone else's fault.

Needless to say, Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinse) steps in. He wants a hostage released, and the man complies. Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) arrives shortly afterwards. Flack gets her up to date, but this is an untypical way to process evidence. Complicating matters is HRT Coomander Jackson (Roger Aaron Brown) the person in charge of getting everybody out, alive. Gung ho for action, he is not listening to Flack and Stella pleading for patience.

Inside the bank, Mac is doing his best to take control to avoid a bloodbath. He persuades "Joe" (Elias Koteas American Dad!) to send in a portable CT scanner so Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy) and Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper) can aid in a virtual autopsy. Since Mac previously sent them crime scene photos, they can tell exactly where to dig for bullets.

Somehow, both widowmakers entered the body at the same spot. knows Something is amiss, but help is needed to figure things out. Stella goes to the Department of Homeland Security where Brett Dunbar (Adam Baldwin Chuck) introduces her to a Kriss Super V.

Back at the lab, Adam Ross (AJ Buckley) examines a hair Mac slid in and sent along with the bullets. No hit in CODIS, the national database for DNA. This figures, Joe is clearly an amateur.

Mac soon realizes Joe is telling the truth about not being involved in the initial death. However, this does not explain much. Several phone calls suggest another person played a bigger role. Joe mentions a home invasion, with those responsible taking his family hostage unless he retreived a cell phone left at the bank. They both end up leaving the scene in an SUV. After Mac gets a news chopper to fly off, a glance in the rearview mirror spells trouble. Joe left a bullet in his gun. Could his sob story to Mac have been a lie?

Holy smoking guns, Batman! Due to a cliffhanger storyline, there is plenty to uncover. Joe may not mastermind, but he could be more involved. Mac is hardly stupid, but he might be too quick to sympathize.
Nice to see you, Adam! This DNA expert not only tests hair, but knows to look and check out who NYPD deals with. Sid and Hawkes working together is a fun touch. They help in the best way they know.
CSI:NY will begin its fifth season in September. First up is the conclusion to this episode, and a few things can be stated for sure. Gary Sinise is the lead actor, so he should come out intact. Lose the lead, lose the show. Internet rumor is suggesting someone closely related to a team member might have a part. Yes, I know who. This gives me an idea. Filming of three episodes will take place before the cast goes on hiatus. This can change information originally given, so I have to wonder if a certain guest star may return....