Saturday Night Premiere: Alexander

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Tonight's final Saturday Night Premiere of 2005 comes to us from HBO i the form of Oliver Stone's Alexander. HBO decided to go out with a bang for the last movie of the year by airing the director's cut of the film. I wasn't sure what to expect of this film starring Colin Farrell in the title role of Alexander. I'd heard a lot of bad press and reviews when it came to this movie. Some had called it boring and not worth the time wasted to watch it, but in my mind this movie was excellent. Yes, the movie had its slow moments, but the intensity of this film more than made up for those slow moments.

I loved Angelina Jolie in this movie. Colin Farrell was also excellent. This movie tells the story of the life and fall of Alexander the Great. Angelina plays his mother, a bit odd, but somehow it worked. Angelina made it work. I honestly love her as actress, and no matter what role she is given, Jolie succeeds in making it hers. Oliver made this movie honest and unapologetic. The fight scenes were brutal. The emotions felt real. I only wished they had shown more of the love story between Alexander and his lover, but they showed enough to make me want more.

I don't usually compare movies to another, but I also watched Troy last night. Between the two, it is hard to judge which is the better movie. Both are long, and both tell stories of men that fall to death. However, both were excellent movies. They were both visually amazing. The scene in Troy when the ships are coming towards the shore was just awe inspiring. Acting was also superb in both movies. For the best actor of the two movies, I'm leaning towards Brad Pitt just a bit because he has always won me over with all that he does, but Colin Farrell also did well in the role of Alexander. I'd recommend seeing either film.

To pick up a copy of Alexander, hop on over to Amazon.

I want to take a moment to wish all of my regular readers and those that happen to stop by in the days to come a very Happy New Year. I'll be back on Monday with my first review of the New Year as Surface returns to NBC's line-up.

Checking in

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Hello, everyone! Just wanted to check in because it's been a few days since my last post in here. Things have been quiet here at One Couch Critic the last couple of weeks actually, but that doesn't mean I've gone away! I'll still be here for quite some time to come. If you're a television fan like I am, you know that a good many shows went on holiday hiatuses. Those will start to end next week, and I'll begin reviewing new episodes of many of the programs I cover here on One Couch Critic, plus a few new ones that are just premiering in the spring.

Surface will be the first series to return with new episodes on Monday. Dancing With The Stars, which is a possibility to be covered on this site, will premiere its second season next Thursday. The L Word will premiere its third season on January 8th. Those reviews might appear a bit later in the week though! Lost returns on January 11th, Grey's Anatomy returns on January 15th, and The O.C. returns to Fox on January 12th, in an all-new time slot of 9/8c! Make note of that change O.C. fans.

There are also some more things in the works for One Couch Critic. I'm looking to expand my coverage to include American Idol. I am just trying to figure out best how to do that, so I'm asking you, my readers. Would a weekly recap of Idol be best or a recap of each night as it airs. I am leaning towards a weekly recap, but I'm still pondering! If you have any thoughts, feel free to drop me an email. You can find my email in my sidebar.

Things have not only slowed here, but also a bit over on Thoughts from the Couch. The past week I've taking a look back at 2005 and for the remainder of the week I'll be looking ahead at what is to come in 2006 in my four part looking back and looking forward series. Check for that and all the latest news at Thoughts from the Couch.

Don't forget to check for my new Blog of the Week on my sidebar. This week we have The Blogging Biznatch! Definitely check her blog out!

Saturday Night Premiere: The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

This week's Saturday Night Premiere comes to us from HBO. Tonight they premiered the movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. This latest version was released in 2004 and brought to the screen by Joel Schumacher. It stars Gerard Butler in the role of the phantom with Emmy Rossum playing his faithful student. Having seen the stage play of this many years ago, I was looking forward to seeing what they'd done with the movie.

I was not in the least disappointed by the film. What stands out as always is the soundtrack.A good deal of the movie is in song. The characters sing their dialogue even, and the music is as powerful as always. Who does not know the infamous piano cords that announce the arrival of the phantom on scene?

This movie is not only stunning to the ears but to the eyes as well. The costuming and scenery is wonderful to see. Emmy plays the role of Christine beautifully. She is stunningly beautiful, and she has that innocent quality to her look that make her ideal for this role. Gerard also did well in the role of the phantom.

The movie does stay faithful to the story. The film only allows for more scenery to be included that wouldn't normally appear in a stage production. I thoroughlu enjoyed this film, and I'd highly recommend picking up the DVD and soundtrack for any fans of the story.

The DVD can be found via Amazon and J & R. The soundtrack is available via Amazon, J & R or available for download via iTunes here. For just a taste of the soundtrack, download Phantom of the Opera.

My rating: 4 out of 4

Lost Update

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Lost resumes airing new episodes on January 11th. For those that want to know what's ahead for the next three episodes of the ABC series, go here. For that missed the promo for the next episode or just want to see it again you can download it here. Credit goes to Lost - Media. You'll need DivX codecs to play the file.

What's the buzz ...

Monday, December 19, 2005

These are some of the stories buzzing in the entertainement industry the past week collected from my posts over at Thoughts from the Couch over at Media Village.

In television news, we have a number of stories this week. Breaking news came in on Friday that West Wing actor John Spencer died suddenly of a heart attack. No news on how West Wing will deal with this loss. It will definitely affect the show. Earlier in the week, it was reported that Martha Stewart's daytime show was renewed for a second season.There are also some rumblings about Jessica Simpson appearing in another reality series. She just filed for divorce from husband Nick Lachey on Friday. Buzz is still surrounding Arrested Development as well. FOX still hasn't officially canceled the comedy series, but two other networks are already jumping to take the series on. Read all about it and my thoughts on the raw deal FOX is giving this Emmy award winning series. Buzz about NBC's coverage of the 2006 Winter Olympics has already begun, and the event is still weeks away. Check out more on the event here.

In cable television news, HBO announced late last week about it joining forces with Cingular to offer programming via that phones network. Read all about the deal HBO made here. You can also check out the feature story from my blog this week on how cable companies are trying to appease the FCC by becoming more family friendly in the New Year. You can read all about that here.

Lastly, we have my TV Diary for last week which covers many shows covered here on this blog and whatever else I decided to watch. This most recent entry discusses shows such as Grey's Anatomy, Bones, The Gauntlet II, Freddie, The O.C. and Ghost Whisperer.

In movie news, you can check out what DVD's were released last week. I also have more coverage on last week's release of Kong. You can find more thoughts on the movie here and here. also find out about this week's other movie release, The Family Stone, here. Find out how the movies did in my weekly Box Office Report.

In music related news, read about Ashlee Simpson's collapse here and here.

Don't forget to check out my new Blog of the Week! This weeks' blog is Kitty Can Scratch, the blog of one woman living in NYC! Check her out on my sidebar.

An update for Surface and Supernatural fans!

Looks like Surface will return on January 2nd with an all new episode. The show was featured in an article in TV Guide this week, and it mentions the January 2nd episode. Apparently there is a possibility Nim isn't dead after all! I don't know how they manage that, but the show will be returning. Anyone have any ideas on how they bring Nim back to life? I'm really scratching my head on that one if its true!

For Supernatural fans, there are some scenes from upcoming episodes of Supernatural in the general WB preview looking ahead to the New Year. You can download the small promo video file here in case you missed it.

I just wanted to keep you all posted!

Saturday Night Premiere: Hitch

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Hitch is probably one of the best romantic comedies I have seen this year. Will Smith has appeared many times on this blog over the last few months with his films, and yet another one of his movies was the premiere tonight on Starz. Out of the three films of his I have reviewed as part of my Saturday Night Premiere series, Hitch is my favorite. All three movies are different however. Shark Tale, a cartoon, and I, Robot was a futuristic action adventure film. Hitch is a complete comedy with a basic love story underlying it.

Will Smith is Alex Hitchens, a date doctor that is content bringing couples together, but scared to allow himself go past a certain point and allow love to find him as well. In the beginning of this film, we see Hitch at work, being successful in getting the guy the girl he wants. He then meets Albert who wants Allegra Cole, a rich and well-known woman in NYC society. Albert is probably the last man that will catch her eye, but Hitch is able to help Albert get his foot in the door.

Once he does, Albert takes over and wins her over with his dorky charms, but Albert still thinks he needs Hitch. The romance between Allegra and Albert plays throughout the movie as a secondary plot line. However, I enjoyed this story line as much as I loved the main focus of this film. The first kiss scene was probably the cutest scene I'd seen in a movie in a long time. It just worked, and Kevin James was really amazing in this role.

The main focus of this film is Hitch and the woman he tries to woo played here by Eva Mendes. She is Sara Melas, a gossip columnist for one of the NYC tabloids. She has pretty much sworn off men, and she has enough armor around her to make it impossible for anyone to break through. Hitch hears about her from the bartender of the bar he frequents, and he pursues her. He slowly works his way in, and he wins a first date. One that ends horribly, but so horribly that it endears him to Sara, and she goes out with him for a second time. The second date goes just as badly, but it wins her over.

The rest of the film isn't about their relationship, but how things go so horribly wrong when Sara discovers he is the date doctor. She exposes him to the city at large, and this hurts him. As it ends up turning out, it was one big misunderstanding, and she apologizes. At this point, you think we have our happily ever after. That would be too easy. We have some minor road bumps, but in the end it is smooth sailing.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It had me laughing at all the right moments, and the romances played out realistically. You wanted both these couples to find their happily ever after. We knew they would. It was the journey to get there that made this film. Will Smith started off as a comedian, and that is where he truly shines as well. He was ideal for this role. I'd definitely recommend picking up this movie for a viewing. The DVD itself has some bonus features including deleted scenes, a blooper reel and some featurettes that take you further into the film.

To pick up this movie for your own you can visit Amazon or J & R.

My rating: 4 out of 4

TV Review: The O.C. Episode 3.10

Thursday, December 15, 2005

From FOX: After the gang spends hours picking out the perfect Christmas trees, they devise a special plan to help a friend in need. Meanwhile, the holidays bring out a somber Summer who misses her mom, and Johnny's sudden misfortune forces him to take matters into his own hands. Kirsten, meanwhile, puts the past behind her and reaches out to Julie Cooper. And when a reminiscing Seth vows to put a little "mukkah" into Ryan’s "chris," Ryan gets Bar-Mitz-vahkkahed.

My Rating: 4 out of 4

This episode titled the The Chrismukkah Bar Mitz-vahkkah (try saying that more than once) gives us everything we've come to expect for a holiday episode from The O.C. Two years ago, in season one, we learned about this new holiday, and for fans of the show it is a celebration to be remembered. This year brings our characters together for a good cause and a humorous Bar Mitz-vahkkah for Ryan.

On this episode, we continue the story line with Johnny. A few episodes back he was injured when hit by a car. This ruined his chances for a surfing trip, and his chances of ever even surfing again also came into question. If that would even be possible, he'd need surgery. Marissa helped pull a few strings to get him into a doctor. This week we learn he has the doctor, but not the necessary funds for the surgery. His mother's insurance won't cover it. Johnny seems set to either give up or handle it on his own because of his pride.

Marissa and the rest of the foursome come up with a plan to help him though. They will have a fundraiser with the main focus Ryan having a Chrismukkah Bar Mitz-vahkkah. At first Ryan is against the idea. He warms up to it, as do Sandy and Kirsten. They were a little put off on the idea as well. However, Kirsten ends up going full steam to create the last minute party, and she even enlists the help of Julie to help with the party.

However, they have a problem. Johnny wants no part of their fundraiser because he sees it as charity. By the time they find out about that little tidbit, the party is already a done deal. There will be a party with or without Johnny. Marissa goes to talk to him, trying to change his mind, and she sees him in the middle of some shady dealings. She tells Ryan about her feelings, and he begins to snoop around.

The day of the party arrives, and Ryan goes over to Johnny's house to talk him into coming. He gets a few minutes alone in Johnny's room, and he pokes around. He doesn't find anything, but once Ryan leaves Johnny pulls out a gun from where he has it hidden. At first it appears it might be some kind of suicide plot, but that would certainly ruin a happy Christmas episode now wouldn't it?

Johnny goes to the party, but ditches quite early on after his arrival. We next see him on at a convenience story with Ryan hot on his heals. Johnny is about to pull out the gun and rob the store owner, but Ryan walks in just in time to stop him. It also looks like Ryan talks Johnny into accepting the charity him and his friends created for him with the fundraiser.

There were other happenings on tonight's episode of The O.C. Julie is making her slow ascent back up into society with Kirsten's help. The scenes with Julie living in the trailer park have amused me to no ends. However, we also see Julie cozying it up with Summer's dad. At first I thought nothing of it, but when he tells Julie it looks like he is setting himself for his next divorce, my mind started working. These two look like they might be heading down couple row. They need to get Julie back in the riches, and what more perfect way to do this than have her cozy up to another rich man. It actually works perfectly to because Marissa is already living at the Roberts' house. He is still married, so this might not happen for a bit, but it definitely looks to be a possibility.

All in all this was a wonderful episode of The O.C. Their holiday episodes are always full of cheer and togetherness. The final scene with all of them swaying in the middle of the dance floor was cheesy but touching all at the same time. I am really glad they didn't go with some kind of suicide plot for Johnny. Even if he didn't go through with it, it might have meant this character's exit from the show, and they have already had two and possibly three guest starring characters make quick entrances and even quicker exits. They did it last season too with Olivia Wilde and Nick Gonzales coming and going after only a few episodes.

This frustrates me a bit, and I know there has been a lot of discontent with the show this season by other fans as well. Some changes are in the mix. We have not only one but two returning characters coming for us sometime during the second half of the season. We saw one of them in the previews after the episode tonight.

Marissa's little sister is returning home from boarding school. Now who just is this girl coming into the mix. I reported on the cast addition on my blog Thoughts from the couch when the news broke. 14-year-old actress Willa Holland will play Marissa's younger sister, Kaitlin. Just from the brief glimpse we get of her tonight, it definitely looks like she takes after her mother! She'll definitely be heating things up with her entrance.

Two other character additions will be made in the second half of season three. One is for a brief episode stint, and the other is the return of an old favorite. However, not much is known about this latter addition. We do know the first is by actress Nikki Reed. She will join the series for a four-episode stint starting in January.

The second addition would see the return of Anna to the cast. Not sure at this time if that means Samaire Armstrong is returning or not, but I'm sure more news will become available in time. The writer's are assuring the fans the show isn't going anywhere even with all the graduation talk. The show has its actors contracted for three more seasons.

Music on tonight's episode is from Music From The O.C.: Mix 3 . You can download Just like Christmas from iTunes.

The O.C. will make its return to FOX's Thursday night line-up in January.

Movie Review: King Kong (2005)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

FROM IMDB: A film crew filming a movie on an uncharted island stumble upon many strange, dangerous creatures, including 'Kong', a giant ape who captures the lead actress.

CAST: Naomi Watts:  Ann Darrow, Jack Black: Carl Denham, Adrien Brody:  Jack Driscoll, Andy Serkis   King Kong/Lumpy the Cook, Jamie Bell:  Jimmy, Kyle Chandler: Bruce Baxter, Lobo Chan: Choy, Thomas Kretschmann: Captain Englehorn, Evan Parke: Hayes, Colin Hanks: Preston, John Sumner: Herb

My Rating: 4 out of 4

I have just returned home from venturing out with the masses to see King Kong. I have been anticipating this movie since before filming began. I heard of the actors chosen and the man behind bringing this latest version of the classic story to the big screen, Peter Jackson, and I knew I had to see it. With Peter Jackson, you know you'll have a great movie. I'm not a particular fan of hi Lord of the Rings trilogy, but what letter of the movies I did see was visually stunning and extremely well done. The same can be said here about King Kong.

The story of the giant ape has been told many times. Each version has its own twist that makes the movie its own entity. The twist with this telling of the story is that they make Kong more human. He is a beast with a heart. His emotional attachment to Ann Darrow is his downfall here, as it is in past versions, but none of the past tellings of the story really made the love King Kong had for Darrow a focus. This movie does.

We see the two interact and bond over the course of the film. Kong protects Darrow quiet a few times during the movie, and in the end by protecting her, Kong loses his own life. Naomi Watts is the woman behind this beast's beauty, Ann Darrow, and she is amazing in this role. Ann finds a way to connect with the giant ape, and that endears her to him. All Kong wants in this movie is the girl. Ann knows that as well, and when the crew sets on capturing the beast she does try to stop them.

This movie is a three-hour journey, but it really didn't feel like I sat there for three hours. We had action and romance enough to keep this movie going. The beginning of the movie is probably the slowest, but this gives a chance to learn our characters. Once they are on the ship, we see them interact in close quarters, and the action really gets going once the ship reaches Skull Island. A majority of our action sequences occur on the island. The special effects on the island also make this movie amazing to watch.

Let's talk a bit about the island itself. The setting was just amazing. Visually stunning is one way to describe it. The island was turned into the land time forgot. We not only have Kong, but also as many can tell from the teaser trailers, there are dinosaurs on the island. This movie felt a bit like Jurassic Park meets King Kong. However, the look to these dinosaurs just blew the look to the dinos on Jurassic Park away. You can see where improvements have been made when it comes to computer-generated graphics. We have several encounters with dinosaurs, both with Kong and the humans on the island.

The characters are what make this movie great. We have a few focal characters in addition to our main characters. One of my favorite characters is Hayes - the second in command on the ship. It was a more minor role, but quite important. It appears he is a bit of the heart and conscience of the men on the ship. I really enjoyed this character. I also enjoyed how they made Kong more of a character in this film. He was more human as I mentioned. We could see the emotions he felt shine through. We could see him as he laughed, in his own gorilla way. The love story in this movie isn't only between the actress Ann and the writer Jack, but the more central love story here is between Kong and Beauty, in this case Ann.

With any movie, you might have a few flaws, and while this movie was wonderful their are a few flaws to be found as well. The sequences in a few of the scenes just appeared a bit on the phony side. These sequences were few, so they didn't ruin the story being told. They were noticeable however. One such scene is near the beginning of the film when Kong has first captured Ann. There is a scene where he is holding her and shaking her much like a rag doll. It didn't appear real in the least, but the scene is short. The Times Square scene also had a few off instances, but just a few.

They extended the end sequence in this movie as well, so we're with Kong for a bit as the planes come at him. I say this part of the film lasted a good fifteen minutes, and I found myself cringing and wanting to hide, even though I know how the movie ends. It is still difficult to see the big ape fall.

Out of all the monster movies made in the last decade or so, this movie was probably the best in my opinion. Compared to the most recent Godzilla remake, this retelling of the classic giant ape story blows that one movie of the water. If you were looking for a movie to spend your money on this holiday season, I would definitely give King Kong a look. I didn't feel as if I sat three hours in a movie theatre. The movie sucked me in with its story, and it kept me captivated. I'm sure it will do the same for others.

To learn more about the movie, the story and its cast check out the website for this version of King Kong at Kong is

TV Review: Bones Episode 1.09

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

From FOX: Construction workers find a skeleton in an old fallout shelter from the 1950's. When Zack cuts into the bone, he accidentally releases spores of Valley Fever, a deadly fungus that causes the team to be quarantined in the lab over Christmas. While the rest of the team members try to maintain their holiday spirit, Brennan buckles down to solve the mystery of the fallout shelter. Brennan explains that this is a rough time of the year because her parents went missing right before Christmas when she was a kid. The team figures out that the man in the shelter was murdered before he could elope to Paris with his pregnant girlfriend. Angela tells Brennan she should contact the girlfriend and give her the answer about her missing loved one, the answer Brennan never got about her own missing parents. After exchanging handmade gifts in the lab, the team is finally released from quarantine on Christmas Day.

My rating: 4 out of 4

I might be the sappiest person alive, but I think I cried on and off during the last half hour of tonight's episode of Bones titled "The man in the fall out shelter." It is December 23rd, and everyone is gearing up for their holiday plans. That is until Booth brings in the skeletal remains of a man. Bones decides to look into the bones, and while Zach is assisting her, the alarm goes off for a decontamination warning. All would have been well, if Hodgins hadn't also been in the room with Zach unprotected.

Turns out spores that can cause Valley Fever are released into the air, and since someone was unprotected, they can all be affected by the illness. This means the group will have to remain in quarantine until their test results come back. Those results may take a couple of days, so they will more than likely miss Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with their families.

They are given a preliminary treatment for the disease as a stopgap measure, and this causes Booth to get a bit loopy. Not sure which was funnier high, Bones or Booth. Any thoughts? In any case, with all of them locked up together, this means all their individual plans are out the window. Booth had plans to spend time with his four-year-old son.  Goodman had plans to spend Christmas with his five-year-old twin daughter and wife. Hodgins planned to go to Quebec with his girlfriend, and Zach had plans to spend time with his family, as does Angela.

The only one with no plans for the holiday is Bones. As it turns out, her parents disappeared just before the Christmas holiday, and this makes the holiday especially difficult for her.  She has basically sworn off Christmas, and she almost ruins it for everyone else with her talk about Christmas. Angela wants to make the holiday special, even with them all being locked up, and she tries to enlist Brennan's help, but there is no go there.

Bones continues to work on the skeleton Booth brought in, and a story of love lost begins to unfold there. The skeleton is of a white man that has left behind the woman he loved, an African American. He was killed in 1959, when it was still illegal for the two to be together. She was also pregnant, and the woman thought she had been abandoned by her fiancé. The team makes it a point to find out all they can about the man, and once they figure out who the woman is, Angela urges Bones to find the woman and tell her what happened to her fiancé.  

Bones is able to track her down, and the woman comes to the lab once the quarantine is up. Brennan tells her what happened, and the woman gets the best gift possible on Christmas - the gift of knowing the truth.

Bones never received this gift herself. She still doesn't know what happened to her parents, and in a rare opening up scene, Brennan tells Angela what happened with her parents. Booth overhears the tale, and it was a quite sad scene. I know it brought tears to my eyes.  The only contact the group has with their own families is a short visit on Christmas through glass. However, all is well by Christmas afternoon, and they are all released in time to spend some of the time with their families.

This was probably the best episode of the entire series for me. It had a combination of a good case with an extensive story to it, and we were also able to learn a lot more about our cast of characters. Bones opened up some. We learned a secret about Booth that I never saw coming. We learned more about everyone, and this episode was just perfect for the holiday season.

Next week's episode is a repeat, so I'll be back with more new reviews of this show once it returns. Be aware that might be after the holidays.

Holiday Schedule: Note regarding shows reviewed on this blog

With the holidays a good many shows I cover on this blog are off air until after the New Year. Some aren't even on with repeats right now. I had stated I would only cover new episode airings on this blog. This what I know of when these shows return. I'll edit with dates as I know them.

Surface: Returns January 2nd
Supernatural: New episodes premiere January 6th
Grey's Anatomy: New episodes premiere January 8th
ER: No known return date. However, NBC debuts their new mid-season schedule the week of January 2nd, which means new episode possible January 5th.
The O.C.: Not sure of return date/
Bones: New episode tonight. Not sure of schedule past tonight.
Lost: Returns January 11th.

In January, I plan to add reviews of The L Word, which premieres on January 8th on Showtime. I'm also considering reviews of American Idol, which also premieres in January. Other additions are possible. I'm evaluating my current schedule and seeing where I can fit things.

Just wanted to let everyone know what was up since someone commented my past review of Surface asking about the show. It hasn't even been on in repeats the last couple of weeks. NBC has placed other shows in its time slot. Last night, it was an Elton John concert.

This month might be a bit slow here television wise, but I do plan to keep working through the holidays. I just can't review shows if they don't air new epiodes. I have movie/DVD reviews, book reviews and music reviews in the works. Check back for those!

What's the buzz ...

Monday, December 12, 2005

These are some of the stories making the buzz in the entertainment industry since my last buzz post. If you want to check them out as I post them, check my blog, Thoughts from the Couch. I update several times a day, and you can check out what has been posted by checking the headline generator in my header!

In TV news, we have a great deal happening. New shows being cast, shows getting the ax and much more. The past week we've learned who the casts are for two new drama set to hit NBC in the near future. We learned about the casting for both Kidnapped and Conviction here and here. News also came down about one FOX comedy getting the ax. To find out which one, hop on over to here. The news is a bit better for fans of Night Stalker. The show was canceled by ABC, but there looks like the show has a savior. Read about that story here. ABC's Dancing with the Stars announced its competitors a few days ago. Check out which celebrities will be dancing their hearts out for America's votes here. Looks like Fox is putting Family Guy on the web, but they won't be using iTunes like everyone else seems to be. Read about what they are doing with the comedy cartoon hit here.

In movie news, read about Wilmer Valderamma's new 70s role when he takes on a past popular hit television series being made into a big screen production here. You can also check out last week's movie releases and find out how they did in my box office report. A number of movie trailers were also released in the last week. These are best for you high speed users. Sorry to those on dial-up. I feel your pain. I was one of you until last week. These are some of the hottest new releases for the months ahead. Check out trailers for:

  • Ice Age 2
  • Marie Antoinette
  • Mission Impossible III and Miami Vice

  • We're at the beginning of awards season. The Golden Globe Nominations will be released in the morning, but we already have the Grammy nominations and the nominations from AFI out now. Check them out!

    Every night or every other night, I also have my viewing diary on what I'm watching on television. I expand on my thoughts on the shows covered on this site and give my thoughts on other shows I happen to watch. My most recent entry covers: The O.C., ER, Ghost Whisperer and Close to Home. I'll have a new one up in the next day or so covering Grey's Anatomy and The Gauntlet 2.

    That's the buzz for this week. You can also check for other stories at Thoughts from the Couch including news on the death of comedian Richard Pryor and my take on the way DVR is changing things as far as television goes!

    Check out my new Blog of the Week! The blog of one mother that is definitely worth a look, so check out Big D, Little D, Mista T, Ruffy and Me for some good fun! Check it out on my sidebar.

    I'll be back tomorrow night with a review of an all new holiday episode of Bones!

    TV Review: Grey's Anatomy Episode 2.12

    Sunday, December 11, 2005

    From ABC: A young boy needs a heart transplant but doesn't seem to want it, and his treatment causes Burke and Yang to have philosophical differences. Meanwhile, when the interns rally to help Alex prepare to re-take his exam, Meredith has to remind Izzie of the true spirit of the Christmas holiday; and despite reconciliation with his wife, Derek isn't in a festive mood.

    My Rating: 4 out of 4

    This holiday themed episode of Grey's Anatomy titled 'Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer' Has our interns and staff of Seattle Grace Hospital all busy working on their own cases, while also dealing with the various messes and changes in their lives as best as they can.

    During this episode, we have three different cases that take the doctor's focus. One with a woman with the family from hell with an ulcer, a man that has fallen and suffered a head injury while decorating his house for Christmas, and the third and perhaps most touching in my mind, a young boy that receives a second chance at life when a heart goes through Unos for him at Christmas time.

    Let's first talk about the man that fell. Derek and Izzie take the lead on what looks to be a simple case that ends up turning quite complicated. The fall caused a brain bleed, and he has to go in for surgery. They are able to fix the problem, but another one pops up once he is in recovery. His personality has totally changed.

    When he came in to the hospital, he had been cheerful and happy, ready to celebrate the holiday with his family. After the surgery, he turned into the very definition of the Grinch. Derek has a CT scan performed, and they find another bleed they didn't see before. The man has to be taken back into surgery. It appears all ends well here, even though we're not really shown that since we leave this man's case in the OR.

    The next case has Bailey and George taking the lead, after his wife calls Webber home. Bailey's pregnancy is becoming more of an issue when it comes to her job, and I'm wondering how many more episodes we'll see Bailey around before her character is off for maternity leave. A young woman has an ulcer, and her surgery has been pushed back several times because of other more important cases coming in. This has angered her family, and they are quite loud and obnoxious.

    The woman's case takes a turn for the worse, and she ends up needing emergency surgery. Bailey, George and Meredith all scrub in. The woman is operated on, and things end up going well. George and Bailey go to tell the family about her condition, and they once again get quite loud, as they threaten to sue Bailey. Bailey gives George freedom to handle the situation, and he gives them a piece of his mind, and tells them to go home since visiting hours are over. This was one of the best scenes of the episode in my opinion.

    The last case is of a young boy who needs a heart transplant. Burke and Cristina are in charge of this one, and it is immediately obvious that the little boy wants nothing to do with his heart or Christmas for that matter. Since he has no say on the heart, he is taken into surgery anyway. Burke and Cristina have a little tiff in the OR, and he sends her out. The boy has some problems once he receives the heart, and Cristina has a small moment where she talks to the boy about him living.

    A lot of this episode had the relationship between Burke and Cristina as a focus. He is quite spiritual and celebrates the Christmas holiday. Cristina isn't, and once again the two need to come together somewhere in the middle. I love seeing these two evolve over the season. They don't get a lot of airtime, but what they get shows a lot. We're seeing their relationship develop slowly.

    Izzie and Alex also came into play this week. Turns out his practical exam is the next day, and all the other interns are assisting him in studying for it. When Izzie finds out, she blows up, and it causes a scene in the hall of the hospital. Meredith reminds her it is Christmas. Yes, Izzie is just as into Christmas as she was Thanksgiving. Small coincidence that her character Isabel on Roswell was also into the holidays. They even called her the Christmas Nazi.  Meredith and George say nothing when she turns their home into Christmas central.

    Everyone is trying to be supportive because they know she is still upset about Alex cheating on her with Nurse Olivia. However, after she is done in surgery, she even finds Alex to assist him with studying. She ends up crying, and he thinks it is because of him, but she hides it under the guise of "it's the patient."  We're not all that sure here though. It could be because of him.

    Addison and Derek also have a bit of airtime this episode, and it looks like we're setting up some more Meredith and Derek drama with Derek's confession to Addison at the end of tonight's episode. He tells Addison that he really did love Meredith. She wasn't some revenge ploy or a fling. Feelings were real there.

    One of the best episodes this season for Grey's Anatomy in my opinion. This show only keeps getting better as time goes on, and I can't wait to see what the characters and writers have in store for us coming the New Year. Now this is the bad news. Grey's Anatomy is off for the holidays. The series will make its return on January 8th with all new episodes. We've gone twelve straight without a break. It had to happen sooner or later. I'll be back with more reviews of Grey's Anatomy once the show makes its return.

    If you want to discuss this show with me and others, hop on over to my discussion topic for tonight's episode over at Media Village!

    TV Review: ER Episode 12.10

    Thursday, December 08, 2005

    From NBC: After a little girl is mistakenly shot, Pratt (Mekhi Phifer) and Weaver (Laura Innes) desperately try to bring her back to life. Meanwhile, nurse Haleh (Yvette Freeman) holds her annual choir tryouts and everyone is surprised at who is chosen to sing the solo. Eve (Kristen Johnston) crosses the line with a patient and causes management to get involved. Abby (Maura Tierney) and Kovac (Goran Visnjic) exchange Christmas gifts but, Abby's gift to him is bigger than expected. Also starring Shane West, Parminder Nagra, John Leguizamo and Linda Cardellini. TV-14

    My Rating: 4 out of 4

    A touching and packed episode for tonight's ER; this episode titled "All about Christmas Eve" had a good mix with all the characters involved in the action somehow. We also had some shocking developments, both of which I was quite pleased to see. Let's discuss this episode.

    It is Christmas Eve in ER, and we begin the episode with Luka entering in high spirits. So high he is playing Santa, giving people gifts and letting people have the night off. Neela wins the night off, and she is on her way to Jamaica on her honeymoon with Gallant. Although she is a bit nervous here because they plan to stop off and have Christmas dinner with his family. Gallant told them that he was married over the phone, and according to Neela they hung up on him. Ouch! She's soon off though.

    We have one main case this episode. A young girl is accidentally shot in her home. The bullet went through the intended victim, and it hits her. Weaver and Pratt work hard to save her, but her heart stops beating repeatedly. At one point, they think there is no hope, and they bring the mother in to say her goodbyes.

    However, a Christmas miracle happens here. Even with repeated problems, the girl somehow makes it through, and she is taken to the OR for surgery. Outside, a crowd had gathered to hold vigil with candles, praying for her survival. This is something that shocks Pratt. His girlfriend makes a return in this episode. She's called in as a social worker for the mother.

    The medical aspect isn't the main focus on tonight's episode. We focus on the characters here. A group of Santa's come in from a Christmas party, and the one Santa is crude and not good to know. A group of blind kids begin to sing a Christmas carol, and the Santa begins to chime in with his two cents. Eve overhears him, and she ends up punching him and pouring a container of his pee on him. He threatens to call his lawyer, and this brings in administration. Yes, on Christmas Eve.

    I thought that was a bit quick, but after Sam discusses with the powers to be along with Luka, we learn that Eve is getting fired on Christmas Eve. Not only that, but her boyfriend breaks up with her as well. Double ouch here!  Eve is angered when she learns she is fired, and she leaves the ER in a huff, yelling at everyone about how horrid the ER is.

    I've honestly never liked her character. Out of their two new additions this season, she was the one I least liked. However, this was a bit rushed how they got rid of her here in this episode. Perhaps, they could see the character not working out, and this was the way they decided to handle it. I actually felt just a bit bad for her here.

    Another part of this episode deals with Haleh looking for someone to sing with her for Christmas. After holding auditions in the ER, she picks Morris! Shocking, but yes it worked. The scene with them at the end plays along with another important scene involving two of ER's major characters. Over the last few episodes, we've been following the rekindled romance of Luka and Abby. At first, it looked like the two would end up going back to just friends, but things heated up at the end of last week's episode. Now, Abby has a very big gift to Luka on this Christmas Eve. She is pregnant, and yes I will assume it is his.

    This is so great. A big reason why the relationship between him and Sam ended is because he wanted a family, and she didn't. She had her son, and that was enough. Now he has the chance for a family with Abby. I really think these two make a great couple. Of course I loved her with Carter, but this couple was a close second.

    Sam also makes an appearance in this episode. Not only with Eve and her dismissal, but her husband has been transferred to jail in Chicago, and he wants to see their son. At first she is against it, but she ends up taking her son to the jail at the end of the episode. We also see Clemente's married ex make an appearance briefly.

    A lot happened in this episode of ER - a lot that will set up things to come in the New Year for our characters here on ER. I'm really excited to see what happens next here, but it looks like we will have to wait until after the New Year, unless we have an episode for New Year's!

    TV Review: The O.C. Episode 3.09

    From FOX: Ryan takes an internship working for Sandy and Matt at the Newport Group, but he ends up working harder to save Matt's reputation. Summer and Seth, determined to get accepted to Brown University, do whatever it takes to stand out at Harbor School. Johnny finally tells Marissa how he really feels. After Ryan and Marissa cross paths, they end up telling each other the truth on The Disconnect episode of The O.C. Thursday, Dec. 8 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (OC-309) (TV-PG V)

    My Rating: 1 out of 4

    Well the title for this episode certainly worked for me. This episode titled "The Disconnect" felt totally disconnected from the rest of the season for me. In my opinion, this episode wins the weakest episode of season three so far for me. Let's talk a bit about what happens in this episode.

    Johnny is released from the hospital as the episode opens, and Ryan is driving him home with Marissa and Seth along for the ride. Marissa watches him struggle along for a bit before she has enough, and she offers to help him get settled. The majority of the rest of the episode has Marissa playing nurse to Johnny. When his mother finds a doctor to help Johnny in his recovery, but he is put on a waiting list, Marissa uses her contacts to get him an earlier appointment.  All the attention, Marissa is paying him is making Johnny fall more and more for Marissa. He even tells Summer about it.

    One night, when he falls and takes some pain meds, the confession comes out to Marissa. That will certainly make things awkward for the two. Am I the only one that saw the confession coming as soon as pain meds were mentioned? Letting your feelings slip while you're totally out of it is one of the oldest tricks imaginable. It made this happening totally predictable. Johnny does come to her to apologize for letting it slip, but he admits its true.

    Something tells me Johnny won't be around much longer. That is unless the writer's want Ryan and Marissa to split up. Here is there chance! The episode does end up on a positive note for Marissa and Ryan as they both come clean about the events of their weekends over the phone when their signals get crossed.

    A good majority of this episode focuses on Summer and Seth. Apparently, Summer is a genius. She receives hr SAT scores, and she has scored even higher than Seth. This sends Seth into a bit of a worry mode. His intelligence was the only thing that he was better at when it came to him and Summer. Now he doesn't even have that.

    The two both try to figure out how to get into Brown, now that Summer at least has a shot, but the Brown representative that comes to Harbor tells them that only one student is usually accepted from Harbor. This makes it a competition for Seth until Summer confronts him. They both end working towards Brown by sending in applications.

    Ryan also has some hot happenings this week. He is hired on as an intern at the Newport Group after Matt suggests it. The two are assigned to work on a big project, but Matt ends up blowing it off. He ends up taking Ryan to a strip club, and even pays for Ryan to have a lap dance by one of the strippers.

    Things end up getting sidetracked, and the next day Matt is totally unprepared for the big meeting. Sandy ends up firing Matt once he learns about the strip club from Ryan. However, what Sandy didn't know is that Matt just broke up with his girlfriend, so the strip was his way of dealing with it.  Well, this is another story line I never understood. Matt seems to be filler in a big way, and I hope things change on that front. We already wasted Jeri Ryan this season in the Charlotte storyline.

    The last part of this episode focused on Julie and Kirsten working on their new business. They decide to try party planning, but Julie isn't too enthused. Out at lunch, the two are hired by a man for a dinner party. Kirsten spends two days slaving away preparing the food, and when the two arrive at the man's house, it turns out he was looking for more of private party with Julie. This angers Kirsten, but pleases Julie. They just got paid $5,000 for a dinner Julie ate! The scene at the man's house was probably the only highlight of the episode.

    I'm not sure what is happening with The O.C. this season. I have been feeling a bit off about this series since the third season premiered. This episode was cliché and predictable to me. This whole season just feels a bit rushed. A problem is found and fixed all in one episode. This is something you see mostly in situation comedies. Next week we have the yearly Christmas episode. That always is a highlight each season. Hopefully, it can drag this show up after this week's weak performance.

    Do you agree with my opinion on this episode or do you disagree?  Chime in about what you thought on this episode, head on over to my forum on Media Village.

    What's the Buzz

    What stories have been buzzing in TV land the last few days? There has been a few, even with the lack of new programming the past week or so because of the holidays. There are some new shows, but series such as Surface, Supernatural and Lost all appear to be on a bit of a break until after the holidays. No worries. Things will certainly pick up once the New Year hits. I plan to add a show or two to my roster of shows here. Possibly more. The mid season definitely looks promising. These are the stories I've covered the last few days over on Thoughts from the couch.

  • Dancing with the Stars extends show - This summer hit series will return in January with a new group of dancers and an extended format. Check it out!

  • Cost of Cable TV Going Up - Read all about the pricing changes set to hit your pocket books in the New Year.

  • For the X-Men Fans - In case any of you missed it, the trailer and first photos from X3 were released Monday. Check out where you can spot them!

  • Drug Testing Coming to the WWE - Read about the changes being made following the death of wrestler Eddie Guerrero.

  • This week's DVD Releases - Check out what movies and tv shows made it out onto DVD this week.

  • NBC shows available on iTunes - Just this week, NBC inked a major deal to make available a lot of NBC programming through iTunes. Check out if your favorite show is included in the deal.

  • Lindsay Lohan Ditches Regis Kelly - I just reviewed her CD here earlier this week. Read all about the way she dissed Regis & Kelly.

  • Over the last three nights, the Sci Fi channel has aired the mini series The Triangle. I watched all three nights, and gave my thoughts to it on my blog each night. The movie started off strong night one but faltered night 2 and 3. Did anyone else out there watch? Night one also has my thoughts on the premiere of The Gauntlet 2, the new Real World/Road Rules competition that premiered Monday night.

  • Don't forget to check out my Blog of the Week, Adventures in Cyberia, for some fun with Sims and the blogosphere.

    CD Review: Lindsay Lohan - A little More Personal (Raw)

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    It's been a while since we've had a music review on here. I do plan to do more of them in the future, but things just got so crazy with the television reviews, I never found the time to write about some of my latest CD favorites. Now I'm going to change that.

    Today's review is of the newly released Lindsay Lohan CD, A Little More Personal (Raw). This CD was originally slated for release the middle of November, but it got pushed back to a December 6th release date. I picked up this CD in the last day or so, and it hasn't left my CD player since I brought it home. I was a fan of Lindsay's music from her first CD, Speak. I loved that CD, and I love this one.

    This twelve track CD starts off with the currently released hit single, Confessions of Broken Heart (Daughter to Father). This song immediately spoke to me after I first saw the video the night it premiered on MTV. The song is a dedication to her father, and it is truly personal. There are other songs on the album that also send out a message to her father. I listened to this song over and over the past few weeks because it clicked with me on a personal level. It made me want to listen to the rest of the album.

    I was excited once I did pick up the CD to hear what else Lindsay had in store for us musically. She's super busy right now on the acting front as well. On this CD, we go from ballads to pop dance tunes. A few mid-tempo tunes are spread throughout as well. The title of the CD is fitting because with these songs, Lindsay does get even more personal than she did on her first CD outing.

    This CD is full of raw emotion and those emotions ring through the lyrics. The lyrics speak of change and loss. Things always do seem to change in life, and those changes seem to come when you least expect it. People change. Friendships and relationships change. These lyrics relate to those events in life.

    One small issue I have with lyrics is they seem to lead to opposites. The song can be very positive and upbeat, but some of the lyrics can be so depressing. One example follows:

    "I can't find my sanity. I'm about to lose my mind, and I can't find my sanity. But I want to lose my mind."
    Those are lyrics from Fastlane, which talks about living about today, and it is a really not a depressing song, and then we have that set of lyrics. Nothing really wrong with them. I just noticed that, and it made me take a moment's pause. Lindsay also covers two classic songs, Edge of Seventeen and I want you to love me. I normally don't like people covering songs all that much, but both these songs fit her vocally, so it wasn't too bad.

    I'm really happy with this sophomore effort by Lindsay Lohan. It does show growth for her musically since her first album, and I'll be waiting to see what Lindsay does next, both musically and as an actress.

    If you want to pick up this CD, you can find it at both Amazon and J & R Music.

    My Song Recommendation: A Beautiful Life

    TV Review: Grey's Anatomy Episode 2.11

    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    From ABC: Cristina Yang has little sympathy for Constance Ferguson (special guest star Rosanna Arquette), a prison inmate who jeopardizes her health just to get out of solitary confinement. Meanwhile the interns all keep careful watch on the family of premature quintuplets with a variety of serious health challenges, Izzie's anger at Alex reaches boiling point, and Dr. Addison Shepherd decides to teach Izzie a very painful lesson.

    My Rating: 4 out of 4

    If possible I think Grey's Anatomy just keeps getting better and better as the season progresses. Unlike other shows on air, this program has gone straight through since September without a single break. Although that might mean an early season end for Grey's Anatomy, but only time will tell if that is this case. This week's episode titled 'Owner of Lonely Heart'  was highly intense and emotional with several cases taking the attention of our interns.

    However, the main case is the same one from last week. The case of the quintuplets born to one couple on last week's episode. Each of the interns is in charge of one of the babies, and only one of them is in good condition. Two are near death, and the interns, along with Bailey, are doing all they can in order to keep these babies all alive. We see each of our interns spending time with the babies, but it is Izzie and Meredith who spend the most time. Their babies are in the worst condition.

    Emily has an underdeveloped heart, and Burke and Addison to correct the problem perform surgery, but as soon as they open up her chest they know the baby has no chance of survival. Her heart hasn't even grown enough to make it possible to save her. They don't tell Izzie this fact, and in fact Addison decides to use the baby as a teaching lesson for her protégé.

    She puts the young doctor in charge of the baby with the instruction to not let the baby die. The baby does die though by the morning, and Izzie blames herself because she fell asleep instead of watching her. Addison talks to her, and explains what happened. I know the lesson is a hard one to learn, but I can see why Addison did this. I cried for Izzie a bit though, and once she is set to go home for the day. Her friends are there by her side, and in order to help Izzie better, Meredith gave the go ahead for the three roommates to adopt a dog.

    Izzie really had it tough on this episode though. Last week, she had caught Alex after he just had sex with Nurse Olivia. She is extremely unhappy to say the least, and she expects her friends to be there for her then too. However, Meredith isn't as supportive as she would have liked. Meredith actually goes so far as to tell Izzie she was better off without him. Ouch! Plus, on the flip side, Meredith and Alex are sort of friends now, so double ouch! Izzie is in an understandably bad mood all episode. Olivia trying to apologize didn't help much. The combination of all that happened made me feel really bad for the young intern. Meredith's baby, Charlotte, has underdeveloped lungs, and she is able to find a way to help the baby live, so that is one positive note. All the other babies do appear to do well here. The only one that doesn't make it is Baby Emily.

    Our five babies aren't the only patients that decide to venture into the hospital. One has O'Malley and Olivia in charge of his care. Apparently he has a slight build up of blood in some areas. The treatment prescribed leeches. Once those have done their job, the patient wants to keep the leeches. First, George thinks the man wants to keep them as pets, but the man instead wants to release them back in the wild. George asks the man if he is married, and the man says no. I wonder why! Hah!

    Our other case is a bit more serious. A woman comes in from the jail after having swallowed a razor blade. She is in solitary, so this is her way to get out and talk to people. Turns out she has swallowed not one but four blades. This needs surgery, but she'll be as good as new in a couple of days. That isn't good enough for her. She then swallows a light bulb, but this causes even more damage, and it looks like she has landed herself in the hospital for a couple of weeks stay. Actress Rosanna Arquette played the woman wonderfully. She is amazing actress, and she will next be seen on season three of The L word, which begins its season next month.

    A minor sub plot to this episode was of Burke and Cristina. Their relationship had been a focus the last couple of weeks. This week the focus was definitely on Izzie and Alex. However, we do see in this episode that Cristina appears to be staying with Burke. She is also trying this relationship thing out a bit. There is hope for her yet, but it does appear from the preview for next week's episode we have some more bumps in the road up ahead.

    Another great episode for Grey's Anatomy. This show is just consistently good. I've enjoyed all of the episodes this show has presented us with. Some have been better than others, but each had its good moments. This show has also gone non-stop since September with high quality episodes, and this is something I definitely applaud. Next week, we have Izzie getting into the holiday spirit once again when Grey's Anatomy airs another new episode. The preview looked promising, and we even have a promising Derek and Meredith moment as well. It was nice to see them having fun again this episode. I really love a happy Derek and Meredith. We'll have to see what the interns and staff of SGH have in store for us next week.

    What's the buzz and Blog of the Week

    Saturday, December 03, 2005

    It's been a while since I've done a buzz post. Been really under the weather this week and I had some offline business to attend to, but these are just some of the stories buzzing in television land the past week.

  • Both FOX and NBC announced changes to their schedules for the upcoming mid-season to start in January. Find out if your favorites shows are affected.

  • Traffic Violations Plague Celebrities - Check out which two Lost stars were arrested earlier this week for DUI's!

  • And baby makes three ... - Garner gives birth!

  • New Shows in Development - Read about new shows and their casting for shows coming to ABC and NBC in the near future!

  • Even More Show Cancellations - What freshman series got the ax this week? Check to find out!

  • These and other stories are now on my blog at Media Village, Thoughts from the Couch!

    In other news, I have a new Blog of the Week! If you're a fan of the Sims, you'll definitely love this week's blog. We have Adventures in Cyberia. A Sims community made up of bloggers from around the blogoshere. Check the blog to find out what the latest is or to join in the fun! Check for the blog on my sidebar!

    Saturday Night Premiere: In Good Company

    Well, there seems to be run on Dennis Quaid movies. Looks like he is just a real busy actor, and he even has a new movie out in theaters now. Why do I say this? Well, last week's Saturday Night Premiere was a movie starring Dennis Quaid, The Flight of The Phoenix, and this week we have another movie starring Dennis Quaid with In Good Company. The two movies come from two definitely ends of the spectrum, but both had their good points. Let's talk about In Good Company, which premiered this weekend on HBO.

    Dennis Quaid plays Dan, an advertising salesman and head of his department for a magazine called Sports America. At the beginning, we quickly learn there will be some huge changes at his company, and one of these changes directly affects him. He is demoted, and fresh young blood is brought in. The young man, played by Topher Grace, is half his age, and new to the game. In fact, he doesn't even know all that much about sales, but he jumps in with both feet.

    Right around the same time, Dan also learns his oldest daughter wants to attend NYU, and then his wife also throws an unexpected bombshell on him as well. She's pregnant again, and both these things throw a huge monkey wrench into matters. With his demotion, money becomes a little tighter than usual, and he is lucky he even still has a job. Many with salaries lower than him are let go.

    This is where another twist comes in. The young man that took over his job starts dating his daughter. At first the relationship is a secret, but Dan does find out, and it causes a small rift. More issues arise with the company side of the things as well.

    In its entirety, this movie is a nice little film. It shows something that does happen in the world today. Companies are sending out the old and bringing in the new everyday. The only difference in this movie from today's reality is most of the time you see the older sent into some kind of early retirement. That didn't happen here. Often times though you found the old worked just fine without the addition as well.

    I also enjoyed the performances by the three main roles in this movie. Dennis Quaid is always a wonderful actor. He can do both action and family films without even batting an eye. This movie also allows us to see two relatively new acting faces, Topher Grace and Scarlett Johannsson. Both do wonderfully here as well. Both are rising stars at the moment. I'd definitely recommend this movie for a pick-up on DVD or a viewing if you can catch it on cable.

    TV Review: ER Episode 12.09

    Friday, December 02, 2005

    FROM NBC: Back from Iraq, Gallant (Sharif Atkins) surprises Neela (Parminder Nagra) by telling her he wants to take their relationship to the next level. Kovac (Goran Visnjic) and Clemente (John Leguizamo) vie for the same job making the tension between them even thicker. Meanwhile, Sam (Linda Cardellini) convinces a patient's mother to get the medical attention that her son desperately needs. Morris (Scott Grimes) shocks everyone when he stands up to Weaver (Laura Innes) during a medical procedure. Shane West, Mekhi Phifer, and Maura Tierney also star. TV-14

    My Rating: 4 out of 4

    The focus on tonight's episode of ER wasn't on the cases and patients of those that come into the ER. Even with two compelling cases this week, the focus was on the romantic lives of two of our favorite ER couples. On the last episode of ER we saw the return of Gallant. Neela was happy because she had been anxiously awaiting his return. This week's episode shows them reunited, and we see them getting along famously. As the episode opens, it appears Gallant has popped a very important question during sex. Well they were in bed, under covers, so that is the obvious assumption. Neela is not ready to jump into such a big thing so quickly, but Gallant keeps on her until she relents.

    Even after she says yes, she does have some doubts, and those linger on throughout the entire episode. However after an impassioned plea by Gallant while she is in the O.R. operating, she finally relents again. This time with no doubts. After an episode of planning a quickie wedding and reception we see Gallant and Neela happily married with all of the ER staff that can be free from the hospital in attendance.

    Two of those in attendance also have their own romantic lives become a focus, but this isn't until nearly the end of the episode. Luka and Abby have had their romance developing over the course of the month. They had last agreed to remain just friends, but that is out the window once he drives her home from the reception. After a few awkward moments, we see them engage in a kiss that heats up the screen. The kiss takes him to her apartment, and we see these two in bed. Abby had a moment of doubt, but Luka quickly removes it from her mind with a kiss.

    The romance wasn't all we had happening though. Two cases were the focus of tonight's episode, and since everyone was busy with wedding matters, we were able to see some doctors in action we don't usually get to see anymore. The one mostly seen in this episode was Weaver. She's been mostly in the administration side of things, but tonight she joined in on a trauma, and she learned a thing or two in the process from a very unlikely source - Morris. Never expected that. At first I thought Kerry might not like being undermined by someone below her, but she took the ideas offered by her associate well, and even told him so in a drunken speech at the reception. He was so out of it by that point in the festivities, he never even heard her.

    The case these two worked on with Sam's and Ray's assistance involved a man that fell into a frozen lake while playing hockey. This man is older, and although his friend did pull him out, he still suffered from hypothermia. His heart does stop beating, but since he is still frozen, they need to find a way to raise his temperature before they can try to shock him. After a few long stressful moments, the team is able to bring him back successfully.

    The other case was all on Abby. A young boy comes in with what appears to be a simple of pneumonia. Abby wants to run some tests, including x-rays, but the mother won't allow it. Abby admits the boy, and keeps an eye on him until she leaves for the wedding to take her spot as Neela's maid of honor. After she leaves, the young boy's condition takes a turn for the worse and Luka and Clemente need to work together. This poses a problem because as we all know the two have been at odds since Clemente started working at the hospital. The two butt heads consistently, and everyone knows this. The two men were even both up for position of Chief in regards to the ER. Luka wins the job, and we later learn that Clemente had pulled himself from the running.

    They do work together on the boy, and when they finally run tests and x-rays, it turns out the boy appears to have HIV and possibly AIDS. They tell the mother this, and she is angry they ran tests without her consent. We soon learn she is HIV positive, but she doesn't believe it is a true disease. She's had it for fourteen years untreated, and it looks like she transmitted the disease to the very least her son and possibly her daughter. She won't allow more tests to be run and no meds to be administered to her son in regards to her son's possible HIV status.  When Clemente hears this, he loses it, and he goes off on a tirade. Luka finally takes over the case, but he isn't happy either. Neither is Sam, who is also assisting here.

    A subplot for Pratt focused on the boy he helped find a position for working at the hospital. Dubenko accuses the teenager of stealing, after the hospital security guard tells him the boy was caught on tape. After the boy's father comes in and we go back and forth throughout the episode, we learn the boy is innocent.

    This was a good episode for ER. I was happy to see Neela and Gallant marry. Not sure what this means for the future for these two. Gallant's tour in IRAQ is over, but he isn't out of military service yet. As for Abby and Luke, these two are hot together, and their final scene tonight was definitely hot enough to heat up the television screen. The previews for next week look interesting. They mention a gift from Luka to Abby that changes things again. Is it possible he proposes? It does appear to be a ring box in the previews! We'll have to wait until next week's Christmas episode to find out!

    TV Review: The O.C. Episode 3.08

    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    From FOX: Seniors at Harbor School and Newport Union prepare their college applications, while Ryan, Seth, Summer and Marissa decide what to do. Will they go to college? Where will they go? Marissa, unable to make a decision, attends Johnny’s surf competition instead of completing her college application. Meanwhile, Julie is forced to return to her roots and Kirsten, eager to return to work, turns to a friend for help. Sandy, meanwhile, invites an old friend from UC Berkeley to dinner with Seth and Ryan on The Game Plan episode of The O.C. Thursday, Dec. 1.

    My Rating: 4 out of 4

    In our reality, it is the time of year where high school seniors across the country are busy filling out college applications and making the decisions that will influence the rest of their lives. This is no different for the teens in The O.C.'s reality. They just seem to be a bit behind time wise, but yes we are learning about colleges, and where our foursome will end up going once the fall hits us in 2006.

    Sandy has his heart set on Seth attending his and Kirsten's alma mater of Berkeley. Seth has his heart set on getting out of Newport and as far away from it as he possibly can. After meeting with his guidance counselor, his mind is set on applying to Brown. Sandy still has his heart set on Berkeley. He even invites an old college friend that attended the university with him and now works for the school to dinner.

    After meeting with her own counselor, Summer has her heart set on a west coast school in Arizona where sun and fun will definitely be in the cards. These two have different ideas, and this does cause conflict, especially when Taylor sticks her two cents into the equation. She finds out the two are going to be on opposites sides of the country and starts telling Summer how hard a long distance relationship will be, but she should definitely visit her and Seth at Brown.

    Summer worries herself into a frenzy, and then approaches Seth. When she discovers he hadn't given any thought to them being on opposites end of the country this upsets her even more. She even approaches Taylor, basically given Seth to her at Brown. In a surprising twist, Taylor is the one that ends up coming to Summer's aid. She finds a school near Brown that is more in Summer's league then Brown, and Summer takes her advice. It looks like Summer will apply to Providence College, and Seth will go forward with applying to Brown.

    Now what about Ryan and Marissa? The other half of our foursome isn't as focused as Summer and Seth when it comes to college. Marissa has no plans to attend college at all, and Ryan isn't sure where he wants to go at all. He just knows he doesn't want to leave Marissa when he does go. He is also feeling the pressures of being the first one in his family to attend college, much less graduate high school. Definitely a lot of weight on his shoulders.

    As for Marissa, the events of the summer are still heavily involved in her life. Due to the expulsion on her record, she has to write an essay explaining the events that led up to the expulsion, which is something she has no desire to do. Writing about it means reliving it all over again, when she does try to write an essay, after some urging from both Johnny and Ryan, it doesn't go well.

    As for Johnny, once he sees how upset Marissa still is about the situation with college, he offers another solution. He offers her to go on tour with him once he wins a huge surf tournament. The idea gives her some hope, and she ends up going with him to the tournament. Something that doesn't end up sitting well with Ryan. After finding out about Marissa's new possible plans, he goes to the beach to find her. They talk, but it doesn't go well. When Johnny runs after Ryan to stop him, a lady speeds around the corner of the parking lot, and runs into Johnny. He is taken to the hospital, and it looks like there is a good chance his surfing days are over with a serious knee injury. Johnny has no plans on giving up however. His injury will sideline him a bit with surgery and rehab, so Marissa's plan there is foiled.

    After she leaves the hospital, she goes to the Cohen's and talks to Ryan. The Berkeley guy overhears the conversation between Ryan and Marissa, encouraging them both to apply to Berkeley, which it looks like they will do.

    This does pose a problem though, at least as far as the series goes. One half of the foursome is going east coast, and the other half is staying west. What does this mean for the next season of The O.C? When past teen drama 90210 hit college years, the whole crowd attended fictional California University. That isn't going to happen here. Will we have a next season of this show? Last I heard the show was planning on six seasons, so we do have three more possible seasons. I'm just not sure how things will work out next year. Time will tell.

    College talk isn't all that happened on this episode. We also had some happenings with Kirsten and Julie. Julie has to move out of the condo Charlotte had bought for her. Charlotte has now left the scene. Kirsten is going stir crazy, and she is itching to get back into the flow of things. Once she sees where Julie is now living after following her and her U-haul to a trailer park, Kirsten proposes a business between the two friends. However, before things get underway Kirsten asks Julie about Charlotte, and the truth comes out about her con artist ways. Kirsten also figures out Julie was involved in the charity scheme, and this hurts her. She leaves the restaurant where she and Julie are talking, and things look bad. However, after Kirsten gives it some thought, she goes to Julie and forgives her. All is well. Looks like these two are going into business together. We just don't know what exactly.

    I really liked this episode. I had been wondering when the college days would arrive for our four seniors, and it looks like we finally have them. This should make things especially interesting for a bit. It certainly means an uncertain future for our favorite show. It will probably still be on air, but what will happen? Will the four go to opposite sides of the countries and still be on this show? Word also has it that Marissa's sister will return to the series. Will this show begin to follow a new generation? What will happen to this show? I'm not sure, but I am sure we will know as the episodes progress.

    TV Review: Lost Episode 2.09

    Wednesday, November 30, 2005

    From ABC: Kate's original crime that started her life on the run is revealed. Meanwhile, the survivors lay one of their own to rest, Kate sleeplessly watches over a feverish Sawyer, and Mr. Eko has a surprise for Locke regarding the hatch.

    My Rating: 4 out of 4

    This week's episode was a bit of a departure from the events in recent episodes of Lost. This episode titled 'What Kate Did' totally focuses on Kate and her past. The hatch also plays an important part in the episode, and we have one shocking ending here that was definitely unexpected.

    Early on in the episode, we learn that Kate killed her father. Appears he was abusive to her mother, and he had some sort of sick attraction towards her, but she tells the man that arrests her that he never touched her. Her mother is the one that turned her in. The marshal that was on the plane with her when it crashed picks up Kate. Once he captures her, he tries to figure out why she killed her father because she has had a perfectly spotless record up to this point.

    As he keeps questioning her, he turns his focus from her for a split second, and in that moment something crosses the road in front of them. It's raining, and the car ends up going out of control, and there is a car crash. Kate is able to escape after a bit of a struggle, and we don't deal much with her past after this point. Other than a brief visit to her father, the man she thought was her father in any case, her past isn't shown much past her escape.

    Her past does play a part in this episode a great deal. When Jack leaves her to attend to Shannon's funeral, Kate is in charge of both looking after Sawyer and the magic button. While alone, she is talking to him, in preparation for feeding him, and he wakes up. He is delirious it seems, and she attacks her. He demands to know why she killed him.

    After a commercial break, we see Jack return to the hatch with Locke, but Kate is nowhere to be found, and the alarm is going off with moments to spare. Jack runs in to check Sawyer, finding him on the ground. Locke rushes to input the code and push the button. Once these tasks are complete, Jack goes to find Kate. We see her in the jungle, a bit dazed and confused. In the jungle she bumps into Charlie, but she doesn't stay with him long. Jack also bumps into Charlie, and he gives Jack and idea where to look.

    Jack does find her, and the two talk about her leaving the hatch. She doesn't tell him much in the way of answers. However, in a surprising development, she does kiss him. After doing so, she looks even more confused, and she feels she is going crazy. She tells Sayid as much when he finds her at Shannon's grave.

    Kate believes that the spirit of her dead father has taken over Sawyer's body in his current condition. She also keeps seeing a black horse on the island, and this is possibly the same horse that crossed the road the night she was first arrested. Kate does end up returning to the hatch much later in the episode, and to a sleeping Sawyer she confronts who she thinks is her dead father. In the middle of her tirade, Sawyer wakes up, and he thinks they have been rescued. He left on the raft before the discovery of the hatch. She takes him outside to show him that they are still on the island, and they both see the horse. She isn't going crazy after all.

    The other half of this episode focused on the hatch. Locke shows both Eko and Michael the Dharma film, and this opens up the door to another discovery. Michael begins his own inspection of the hatch, and we learn something new. The hatch has blast doors in cast of explosion. Michael tells Locke this, and then Locke offers to show Michael the video. Eko asks to join them, and they watch the sequence we've seen before a few times.

    Eko leaves silently, and returns some time later to talk to Locke. After giving Locke a bit of a history lesson, he brings out the bible the tail enders found at the other bunker. After Eko is done with his story, he hands Locke the bible. When Locke opens it, he finds another role of film inside. This film is part of the missing piece from the film they just watched. Locke splices them back together, and we see a sequence with the scientist telling them to not use the computer for communication purposes.

    As soon as this is said, a beeping noise is heard from the computer. Michael is in the computer room looking at the equipment, and he investigates the noise to find someone messaging him. He engages the person in conversation, revealing his identity. And the last thing we see is … Dad? Walt is on the other end? Interesting!

    Now here is my theory. The others and the children are in the third bunker we haven't seen yet. They have a similar set-up to the hatch, and they have to go through a similar drill. If one fails, some horrible thing happens. Or perhaps it is a failsafe. If one does fail, the other can prevent another incident.  It definitely makes this interesting with Walk communicating with Michael now.

    This was a great episode. A break from the previous episodes was definitely welcomed here, and we were able to learn even more about Kate. The extra film find by Eko was good too. I really love his character, and I want to see more interaction between him and Locke. These two should have some interesting conversations that may or may not go over our heads!

    Bad news here, the next two episodes are repeats, and the schedule doesn't go past that. So we might not have new episodes until after the holidays. As I've mentioned before the holidays is a bit of a slow down time for television.

    Things won't slow down much here on this blog though. I won't be taking time off over the holiday weeks ahead, but I might be a bit less visible. I do have more reviews on the way - some more music and book reviews. Also I have a free spot on my sidebar for a new blog of the week. Blogexplosion members check for my blog and bid. I'll pick a new blog to feature tomorrow!

    TV Review: Bones Episode 1.08

    Tuesday, November 29, 2005

    From FOX: Brennan's former forensic anthropologist professor and ex-lover – Dr. Michael Stires, surprises her with a visit to her lab at the Jeffersonian, while in town to interview for a job. While they make plans to have dinner together that evening, Booth wheels in a soiled refrigerator, revealing the decomposed remains of a young woman inside. As Brennan and her team go to work to uncover clues as to what may have happened, Booth discovers an old ransom note sent to the girl's parents shortly after she disappeared. Booth and Brennan determine the supposed kidnapping was a hoax and Booth makes an arrest in the case. When Bones is called in as an expert witness, she is shocked to discover the defense has brought in an expert of their own in "The girl in the fridge."

    My Rating: 4 out of 4

    We have another excellent episode with Bones and her crew. This time around a decomposed body is found stuffed into a refrigerator and brought to Bones and her team by Booth to investigate. Just before he arrives, a man enters the picture from Temperance's past, her professor and former flame. He immediately starts offering his own assessments of this new case of her, and she sets to work.

    We soon discover it is a woman, and she's been dead and in the refrigerator approximately a year. The team also soon fleshes out exactly how she died. Seems she had been tied and bound, held in the refrigerator for a very long time before a drug being administered to her causes her to overdose. There had been a kidnapping case, but it had gone unsolved. Bones and Booth soon also discover that the kidnapping case was merely a ploy to get money out of the girl's family.

    She was unhappy, and had made some friends. Not the best kind of friends to make because the couple she had befriended liked the kinkier side of life, and she had joined them in their sex games. The three liked to play a bit too rough, and this is what led to the young girl's death. That and the fact she also suffered from a thyroid condition that caused some of her injuries to be even worse off than normal.

    While Bones works on the case, she also rekindles things to an extent with Michael. He has moved in for the duration of his trip, and they have resumed a sexual relationship while he is there. The job interview doesn't end up being the only reason why he is town however. Booth informs her that the couple arrested for the murder of the victim in this case has hired Michael, and this means the two will be going up against each other on either side of the case. She asks Michael to move out, and the two seem to go head to head a bit in this surprising plot twist.

    If anyone knows how to discredit Temperance in a case, it would be the man that taught her everything she knows, and that is exactly what we have here in Stires. Plus, the people love him. While she is cold and distant, he is a definite people person that isn't too hard on the eyes either. She has the looks, but she is lacking in the warmth here. The jury preparation person on this case hits Brennan pretty hard when it comes to this point, trying to make Bones act more friendly once she is on the stand. Bones fails in doing this, and once Michael gets on the stand he rips her cold demeanor apart. In order to counteract his testimony, Temperance has to go back on the stand in defense of herself. In order to help win the jury over to their side, the lawyer and Booth bring her life story onto the stand, and this does end up angering Brennan a bit, especially with Booth because she had told him things about her life and the disappearance of her parents in confidence only.

    Her emotional response to the question about her parents is what ends up turning the tide in their favor, and the couple is convicted. After the trying day Temperance has had, all she wants to do is bury herself in work, and Booth gives her the perfect opportunity when another body is found. As they begin to work on this case, the scene fades to black, and another episode is done.

    Another great episode for Bones this week. I don't think I've had one disappointment when it comes to this series yet. I really enjoyed seeing Temperance break character a bit as she deals with someone from her past. This person allows her to find her a bit of a comfort zone, and we see a bit underneath her cold façade. Similar to how we see her with Angela. However, she is sent teetering off balance when the man she had trusted goes up against her. Definitely an exciting plot twist here. I wonder if we'll be seeing more of Michael Stires in the future. I know I wouldn't mind!

    No new Bones next week, but the show will be back on December 13th with a holiday themed episode! See you back for more Bones thoughts then.

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