September 24, 2004

Pretty people roaming around, disoriented. Clothes dirtied by disaster. Fear in their eyes.


January 18, 2008

Pretty people roaming around, disoriented. Clothes dirtied by disaster. Fear in their eyes.

Dear J.J. Abrams,

Lost continues to fill the X-Files hole in my television soul, and Felicity was the perfect older sister to My So-Called Life.  

So even though I have no idea what’s going on in the new trailer for your movie Cloverfield, I will be there opening night.

- Jo

p.s. Love the poster…

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Every year around this time, I try to watch Home for the Holidays. This is my Turkey Day equivalent to most people’s December obsession, A Christmas Story.

If you:

  • Have a dysfunctional family, and/or
  • Have a sense of humor

…then you will like Home for the Holidays. Go rent it.

Directed by Jodie Foster (who you wouldn’t normally equate with ‘fun’) in 1995, Home for the Holidays is a mixed bag of comedy and poignancy. Family gatherings for holidays are frequently disastrous, and this clan is no exception. And talk about great casting: Anne Bancroft, Geraldine Chaplin, Claire Danes, Robert Downey Jr., Charles Durning, Steve Guttenberg (!), Holly Hunter, Dylan McDermott, David Strathairn and Cynthia Stevenson.

W.D. Richter wrote the screenplay for Home for the Holidays, which only strikes me as odd because his previous work included Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Brubaker (for which he earned an Oscar nomination in 1981). He seemingly took a ten year hiatus, and then returned to the big screen with Stealth in 2005. Now that is what I call a random career.

Although I’ve only seen it two times, my other favorite Thanksgiving film is Pieces of April. Written and directed by Peter Hedges (who also wrote/directed the current release Dan in Real Life, as well as penned screenplays for About a Boy and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape), Pieces of April is Katie Holmes’ best work to date. Regardless of how you view her now as Mrs. Tom Cruise, Holmes has quietly showcased her true talent in a variety of other small films with similar independent spirits and stellar casts (The Ice Storm, Go, Wonder Boys, The Gift, Thank You for Smoking). Pieces of April follows Holmes’ misadventures as she attempts to host Thanksgiving for her maladjusted family. Co-star Patricia Clarkson earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nod for her portrayal of Holmes’ bitter mother. Frankly, Clarkson is golden, and I’d be content just to watch her read the ridiculously lengthy instruction manual for my cell phone.

Gobble gobble. Happy Thanksgiving to my 14 subscribers, 6 or so regular commentators, and all of you other mystery readers!

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All week, I absorbed the extensive writer’s strike coverage on UnitedHollywood, Deadline Hollywood Daily and TV Guide’s Strike Watch. But I managed to peel myself away to watch a few films and shows…



  • Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (theater; cast=A, script=B, direction=C)
  • A Mighty Heart (DVD; Jolie deserves an Oscar nod)
  • Mr. Brooks (DVD; Kev should play evil more often)


  • Brothers and Sisters (love the cast and chemistry)
  • Dexter (Jennifer Carpenter & Keith Carradine are fantastic together)
  • Heroes (should have been the 1st episode of the season; finally intriguing again)
  • The Office (last new episode until strike is resolved)
  • Private Practice (I heart Cooper & Violet…but separately)
  • Project Runway (the most flamboyant cast yet; bring on the drama!)
  • Weeds (I can no longer hide my crush on Mary-Louise Parker)



  • Away From Her (DVD)
  • Into the Wild (theater)


  • Friday Night Lights (oh Landry…)
  • The Amazing Race (stresses me out just to watch, but still the best reality competition on TV)

So what have you seen lately that you loved on the big or small screen? Come on, don’t be shy.

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Every year there is one movie that I pin all hopes and expectations on. My 2007 Must-See Movie is Juno, director Jason Reitman’s follow-up to the fantastic Thank You For Smoking. I am a strong believer in word-of-mouth, buzz, great marketing and just enough of a teaser trailer; Juno has all of that and more.

The film stars Ellen Page, a phenomenal young actress (Hard Candy, X-Men: The Last Stand) who gave a jaw-dropping performance in the brutal and little-seen Sundance film An American Crime. I think she will follow more in the selective footsteps of Natalie Portman and Jodie Foster when it comes to her career…or at least I hope she will. All signs point that way right now.

Reitman has proven that he can put together one hell of an ensemble cast. There is always scene-stealing potential when you pair up two fantastic actors like J.K. Simmons (Oz, SpiderMan 1-3) and Allison Janey (The West Wing), who play Page’s parents in Juno. And I can’t wait to see Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) and Jennifer Garner (Alias) playing a straight laced suburban couple (they recently co-starred in The Kingdom as well). Even Rainn Wilson (The Office) makes an appearance! But of course I am also looking forward to more of the suddenly suave Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Superbad). Sadly, he and his television dad (Bateman) do not have any scenes together in this film (watch them discuss that together here).

Juno was written by Diablo Cody, author of the damn funny potty-mouth blog The P*ssy Ranch. She is currently on strike supporting her fellow scribes, and you can follow her adventures on the picket lines and during the promotional phase of Juno. Jason Reitman is also chronicling his experience as the movie inches closer to nationwide release (for some reason it won’t link for me, but you can find his blog on the movie site I have linked below).

The vision of Cera in dolphin shorts should be enough of an impetus to get you to the theater when Juno premieres next month. Here is the trailer should you need more of a shove.

You might have noticed that I did not really tell you what Juno is about. I’d much rather provide links to sites which are relevant to the film, and hear what you think after you’ve seen it.

So what are you waiting for? Visit the official site and click on the Showtimes & Tickets box to get tickets for a free screening of Juno in a town near you! I will be going in the next few weeks myself, and I am VERY excited to see it.

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Season 4 of Project Runway kicks off tomorrow night, adding an hour of fabulousness to my already crowded Wednesday night on TiVO. At least for the time being (until new episodes run out due to the writer’s strike), I am loving the 1-2-3 punch of Pushing Daisies, Private Practice and Dirty Sexy Money. And because the Bravo network is the Channel Queen of Repeats, I am able to record the 11pm edition of Project Runway every week.

I used to watch Survivor religiously, but I extinguished that torch a few years ago. Now I am loyal to The Amazing Race and Project Runway only (though Work Out and Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List are summertime guilty pleasures). I’ve never really been drawn to other reality shows, especially the game shows, quick replacements and knockoffs.

I almost feel guilty for watching a reality TV program during the writer’s strike. But at least this show is an existing, unscripted series (as far as I know); not one of the many crap reality shows that are being rushed into production to air as filler during the strike. 

Hell, I feel guilty just watching television at all. It is a strange time to be a huge fan of the boob tube.

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