Monday, August 28, 2006

TV OR DVD

I want my — I want my DVD.

When Prison Break started airing last year, I thought it was a fun little ridiculous bit of popcorn that I'd watch if I had the time and it was on, but it was never a big deal if I missed it. A guy is set up to take the fall for the murder of the Vice President's brother. HIS brother gets himself locked into the same prison with the goal of breaking the two of them out. It just happens that the crazy brother is a super genious architect who tatooed the designs of the prison onto his upper body. It's a silly premise delivered in an over-the-top, cliffhanger-a-minute fashion.

Watching the dvd of season one, I have to say that I grossly underestimated this show. It is all of the above, but it is also smarter, more clever and better acted than it really has any right to be. It's filled to the gills with some great characters, some loopy situations and some real pants' seat suspense.

Also, it has Teabag, the greatest child-molesting, sexually predatory prison-gang leader ever. Possibly my favorite evil tv character since the Mayor on Buffy.

Season 2 began last week, with the prisoners FINALLY broken out of prison, the only weak link in the cast getting shot in the head for death and a new nemesis in a genious super FBI agent.

It's fun. It's 24 with wit and charm. It's dark. It's funny. It's not The Wire, but it may be some of the best escapism on tv (until Lost comes back).

Speaking of crazy genious architects, Sketches of Frank Gehry was an interesting documentary of one of the most notorious architects working today. Sydney Pollack begins the movie by saying he has no idea how to make a documentary, and he proves it. Conversations start and stop in weird places. Claims are made without challenge. Context is less important than moving on to the next thing. In a lot of ways, the movie is like a Gehry building. It's very much in love with the architect and doesn't even stop to think that intercutting between the well-though-out arguments of a Gehry detractor and the love sonnets to uncritical artisic expression from Julian fucking Schnabel, might make the detractor's arguments seem stronger. I like many of Gehry's buildings, I have problems with many of the things he's done as well. His work is always interesting, though, and watching him work was great and even inspiring. It's a neat little thing that isn't great as a movie, but is great for giving us a glimpse of a great artist.

You should google Gehry if you're unfamiliar with his work. At the very least, check out the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain to see what all the fuss is about.

Speaking of fuss, Rian Johnson has come out of nowhere to write and direct Brick, a hard-boiled detective noir that follows every convention of the genre but is set in a modern highschool in southern California. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who may be the answer to the question, "Who will fill Johnny Depp's shoes now that Depp has all but given up?" breathes so much life into Brendan, the highschool private eye, that the overly stylized dialogue and Marlowe resurection of a story seem perfectly natural. This is a lively, fun, dark showpiece for some great talents. And JGL isn't alone, either. A supporting cast, led by an absolutely perfect Lukas Haas as The Pin, is great as well.

Speaking of private detectives operating in Southern California highschools, I've returned to Neptune, California and season 2 of Veronica Mars. I'm only five discs into the six-disc set, but Season 2 is such a VAST improvement over Season 1, that I now understand the love. I enjoyed the first season's main storyline, characters and look at socio-economic class warfare and racism, but I felt that many of the episodes suffered from some pretty terrible A-story mysteries. This season fixes those problems up, crafts a great season-long story, broadens the world of V. Mars, keeps giving us wonderful character moments and even makes you love an evil Steve Guttenberg. How is THAT even possible. My only complaint? Not nearly enough Wallace!

I can't wait to see how this all wraps up. Supposedly, people found this season to be too convoluted and complex, but on dvd, it just comes across as great entertainment.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kenneth Belasco said...

Can I drop off a six-pack tonight?

9:36 AM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

Sure.

6:26 PM  

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