Monday, April 29, 2013

Mad Men Season 6 Episode 5 The Flood Wrap Up

Episode 5 The Flood brings us to April 1968 and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. America is hitting a point of cataclysmic change. Bobby Kennedy will be killed in just two more month. Change has been coming slowly but now there is no more dragging your feet, everyone is going to change in relation to it. As Megan's father says "...the escalation of decay".

This show opens with Peggy looking at an apartment on the Eastside. She's making lots of money and coming up in the world. Abe is along for the ride, but without being  financially involved, he feels he has no say. When Peggy finally asks his opinion he says he'd rather they raise their kids in a more diverse neighborhood. I think all Peggy hears is he wants to have kids with her and she is happy to live wherever that is going to happen, apparently. Also if Abe keeps writing political peices for the NY times he's coming into the best time to be anewspaper reporter.

We get some real time with Bobby this episode. He seems to be disturbed by the misalignment of the wallpaper in his room. I'm not sure if this is some OCD showing itself or just a metaphor for him seeing that things aren't right in his home and his wanting to see what's beneath it.  Henry looks to be heading to the senate, and Betty pulls out an old dress from her thin blond days. I think we may be seeing that incarnation again soon.

Ginsberg set up on a date was a surprise, but not as big a surprise as his announcing he's a virgin. I know his social skills are not what they should be but hopefully this girl will resurface as a girlfriend for him. His father brings us the speech about The Flood and the animals being gathered in twos. Saying who are you going to go with your father?

There were lots of new characters this episode. Jim Cutler, who Peggey discribes as Roger Sterling with bad breathe. With the way he leers at Megan looks like he wants to park in Don's garage too. We also meet Roger's loopy insurance friend Randy Walsh. I get the feeling these two have been having some acid  sessions together. I think Randy may have taken one tab to many...

Finally Don reveals his feelings about his children to Megan. From all the flashbacks over the years we have learned that Don has never experienced love as a child and after last week, his adolescence in a whore house probably didn't teach him any healthy lessons about adult love, either. He really has no idea how he is suppose to feel, and has just been faking it. But when the real feeling comes over him it overwhelms him. He really is the saddest character.

This and That:
Roger to Randy - I think the emotions of the day and whatever else you have in your system
Abe going to Harlem in a tux to cover the MLK assassination
Pete and Harry arguing who is the worse human being
Ernest Borgnine on Mchales Navy
Planet of the Apes
Megan telling Don he drinks like her father believes in Marx
Hope we hear next week if Silvia and Arnold make it home safe from DC
Tecumseh quote in the original Shawnee

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Jane Fonda TCL Grauman's Print Ceremony #TCMFF

One of my favorite parts of the TCM Film Festival is the hand print ceremony at The Chinese Theatre. This year the honoree was Jane Fonda. She brought her personality to the print by doing one hand in a peace sign. You gotta love it. Jane's prints will go right next to her father's, which is so touching.

 Jane's son Troy Garrity spoke about how meaningful it is to him to be able to put his hand in his grandfather's prints, who died when he was 9. Also how he hopes that young women will take inspiration from standing in his mother's prints.

 Next Lily Tomlin, Jane's 9 to 5 co star and close friend talked. Lily had the crowd laughing talking about Jane's frequent expression "we just have to make a leap of faith" saying that she does it so often it may be why she is in such great shape. Maybe we should all stay tuned for Jane's next exercise tape, Leap of Faith to toned thighs...

 Finally the last speaker was Maria Shriver. She didn't give us any details but told us that she was 13 years old when she first met Jane. She went on to say that she appreciated Jane's example of coming from a famous family, and a famous marriage and coming through it whole.

When Jane came out she talked about how she had hoped as a young actress to someday get to do her prints, but as the years went by thought that the only way she was going to get to do her handprints in this town was if they repaved the sidewalk in front of her house.

 She was very emotional about having her prints next to her father's. She told us how her father had always warned her about letting people in Hollywood walk all over her. Joking that now everyone could walk all over both of them.

 Jane and Peter admiring her penmanship.

 Jane, Peter, Shirley (Henry Fonda's widow), Troy Garrity

 The whole gang looking very proud. The whole thing reminded me of a graduation ceremony. Very Sweet!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

TCM Film Fest Funny Girl Red Carpet 2013

Here is the entrance to the red carpet for tonight's gala premiere restoration of Funny Girl at The TCM Classic Film Festival. Below find pictures of all the great classic stars that walked it.

 Jane Withers and can anyone place the woman with her in the black dress? When Jane told the fans in the bleacher that it was recently her 87 birthday, they sang her happy birthday. The only thing sweeter than that was her reaction of tears and sincere gratitude.

Ann Blythe with Tom Brown 

Max Von Sydow, who even at a fun event looks a bit ominous.

 Tippi Hedren

 Mitzi Gaynor, who is a live wire. She gave Ben almost more than he could handle at the South Pacific interview. But that a whole other blog post.

 Eva Marie Saint greeting Ann Jeffries

 Robert Hayes, whose Airplane! will be showing at this years fest.

 Eva Marie was the last on the red carpet and gave us one of her high school cheers before heading into the film.

TCM Film Fest 2013

These Photos Courtesy Of Will McKinley of Cinematically Insane

TCM Classic Film Fest starts today. Yesterday I attended the press day with hosts Robert Osborne, and Ben Mankiewicz and programmers Charles Tabesh and Genevieve McGillicuddy.

The programming of this festival has to be challenging. While they have a theme of travel in films, there are so many types of viewers and they have to please them all. Everything from silents to noir to musicals to more current films, not to mention the whole debate about 35mm vs digital and just plain old quality issues. I asked Tabesh about how they make these decisions. He responded that there are 3 or 4 people in a core team that create the long list, but it is him that pairs that down and makes the final decisions based on availability, diversity, and quality.

 Robert Osborne said that now that the festival is established they are able to be a bit more eclectic in their film choices. People don't even need to know what the program is, they are buying tickets and just trusting that Tabesh and McGillicuddy will have their best interests in mind. Within the community TCM is definitely a known quantity. McGillicuddy told us that 20% of the festival budget goes to projection and technical support asan example of their dedication to presenting the films in their best quality possible.

Much of my favorite part of the festival is the interviews with the stars of the films. This year has a lot of great guests. Robert told us once the program is set he gets first pick at interviews. Ben Mankiewicz talked about how much he's enjoyed getting to know and become friends with the stars. Further Ben let us know his disappointment in not getting to interview Max Von Sydow before the screening of Three Days of The Condor, one of his fave films. Sorry Ben.

Some limited access tickets are still available and you can also try to get into screens with individual tickets

Stay tuned tomorrow for picture from the red carpet gala tonight of the World Premiere Restoration of Funny Girl. Also you can watch my twitter stream for some live tweeting tonight (@EliseCD)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mad Men Season 6 Episode 4 To Have And To Hold

To Have And To Hold really isn't the characters of Mad Men's strong suit. With the possible exception of Ken they are all cheating on their spouses, clients and co workers. All of which is shown in the opening scene of tonight's episode. We find Pete and Don meeting Heinz Kecthup behind Heinz vinegars/sauces/bean back, after they promised they wouldn't, and in Pete's city "apartment" no less.

We did get to see into Joan's life a tiny bit, with her visiting friend Kate. Who of course, is not only looking to jump from Mary Kay to Avon but is also looking to have a fling in the city, while her husband and boys are at home. She does tell us that Joan has always had bad taste in men. Which explains how she didn't get married until so late, and then to  a complete jerk. She also mentions a Scotty, It's unclear if Joan was married to him as a young girl or just went out with him, for the worst 6 months of her life...

Harry Crane makes a stand to be partner, but not without throwing Joan under the bus in the process. When Roger and Bert give him a bonus that is bigger than his annual salary, he still threatens to jump to another agency, as he walks out the door. Once he's gone Roger asks if they should fire him before he cashes the check.

When Don, Pete and Stan go to pitch Heinz Ketchup they find that Chaugh and Peggy are coming in to pitch right after them. It's just another example of how there is no loyalty. Not only has Peggy left SCDP but she also gave her new agency the Heinz info Stan told her in confidence. Peggy even steals Don's "If you don't like what they're saying change the conversation." Oh yeah and Peggy had Pete's baby and gave it away....

Finally, Megan's character on the soap is getting a love scene. She is very careful about presenting it to Don. The lead actress and her head writer husband offer to try to help smooth it over with Don by taking them out to dinner, but it turns out they're looking for a little swinging. No thanks. Don, while not happy about the love scene, seems like he is resigned to it, that is until the Heinz fiasco with Peggy. After that he shows up on set to watch Megan's love scene, after which he calls her a whore (more or less). Then he's straight on to their neighbors apartment for an actual love scene.

It's no wonder everyone is drinking so much. Dawn says it sounds like New Years eve when their trash is emptied. When these characters say to have and to hold they mean until no one is looking or I think I can get away with it. I don't know if they all need to switch to acid or what, but I need a little ray of sunshine in this mess.

This and That:

Black people might actually get a story line, looks like Dawn's part is growing

Lancers wine

Calling Don James Garner

Bert telling Harry "I was different than you in every way"

Stan giving Peggy the finger

For more Mad Men posts

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Bletchly Circle on PBS

The three part series, The Bletchley Circle will premiere on PBS this Sunday April 21st. I knew I would love this mini series, the first time I saw it at the PBS press tour last winter.

The story focuses on four women who came together during WWII as code breakers. They each have unique skills that bring something special and necessary for the success of the team. Our story begins 9 years later, when we find the women thrown back into normal female roles for the 1950s.

They all seem to be less than satisfied with their new lives but not all of them are enthusiastic about getting the band back together. After all who would even listen to them? Only when a serial killer is targeting young girls are they motivated to reunite to solve the crime.

It's a great mix of period drama and CSI. Good for everyone, well maybe not the very young. There is, obviously, some adult subject matter.

Watch Preview on PBS. See more from The Bletchley Circle.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Richard III on The Smithsonian Channel

Sunday April 21 9pm the Smithsonian Channel will be airing The King's Skeleton:Richard III Revealed. If you followed the news stories from England about the search and authentication process, you will love this show. I was fascinating to see the process and almost destined location.

This was a project that spanned years and involved many people. Richard III's story is infamous and while some parts of it seem irrefutable,  his nephews did go missing so he became king, other things are questionable. There are no complete answers to his morality at the end.

Another twist (no pun intended) in his story is welcome. Hopefully with further information we might someday get an even clearer telling of his story.

Check your local listings

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Classic Hollywood Hikes in Los Angeles

In LA there are a lot of Hollywood museums, and movie lots, but if you want to mix a little outdoor time with movie history these are some great hiking spots to get both.

Griffith Observatory/Mount Hollywood

You can begin a hike from the historic and cinematic (most notable Rebel Without a Cause) Griffith Observatory to the peak of Mount Hollywood. Along the way you get views of the entire city and for my money the best views of the iconic Hollywood sign from various angles.

Malibu Creek State Park

The native home of the Chumash Indians this state park is located in the hills above Malibu. More recently it has been the home of numerous TV shows (The site of the TV show MASH is here) and films. While the sets are all gone you can see the cliff that Butch and Sundance jump from, among other natural beauties.  You won't believe how many films you love were made here. There is also a visitor center with lots of film information. Everything from Gone With The Wind to Pleasantville, even one of my favorites Mr Blandings Dream House was shot here.

Will Rogers State Park and Home

photo: Will Rogers State Park

This park was the home of Will Rogers, in the early 30s the highest paid actor in Hollywood.You can tour his house, stables, and if you schedule it right watch a game of polo. This estate is also in many film. The ranch once covered 186 acres. The are lots of hiking trails to enjoy with views of the city.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mad Men Season 6 episode 3 The Collaborators

Tonight episode of Mad Men was full of bombshells. Every scene was another explosion. Also we got to hear Don's motto from his lip "This didn't happen" I wonder how many times he's said that during the run of this show. Finally getting to see a glimpse of his life after his father's death cleared it's origin up quite a bit.

Last season when Don said he was raised in a whore house I was confused, but tonight we see he was. His "mother" was taken into her sister and Uncle Mack's cat house. He saw her with Uncle Mack and I'm guessing johns after that. I was under the impression that Uncle Mack and his mother were an item so, if I'm right, at some point she must take him from her sister. Then I assume they either take over the whore house or move on. Either way I'm guessing "this never happened" was said to Don a lot.

It took me awhile to figure out the title The Collaborator. But I think the Heinz guys explain it. Sometimes the person you think is on your team is your worst enemy. Exemplified by every marriage in this episode. First we see Trudy and Pete at a dinner party being hit on by all their neighbors. Then the first bomb shell that Megan has had a miscarriage, apparently while she was considering an abortion. Of course there is Don and Silvia's relationship. According to this episode there is nothing but Is in team.

Peggy's relationship with Stan continues it's late night calls. But when she let's slip to Chaugh the information Stan has given her about the Heinz Ketchup client, it's her turn to decide if she is ready to be about advertising and not friends. All of her underlinings are already scared of her and when she tries to be a little supportive of them they respond by giving her feminine itch powder and a cruel client profile folder.

Seeing Trudy throw Pete out was a long time coming. They were a great power couple. Trudy kept giving Pete more and more slack and finally he hung himself. Loved her line "I'm drawing a 50 mile perimeter around this house. If you so much as open your fly to urinate, I will destroy you." And I believe it. God I hope they don't draw him back in with Peggy.

In the end it's all "like Munich" none of these people will ever be happy with what they have been given. They always want more and in the process will lose any chance at happiness. Don of course being exhibit A.

This and that:

Bob is the new Pete.  Pete is the new Don. Don is the new Roger. Roger may actually have figured out how good he had it to start with and seemed like he was trying to get Mona ( his first wife) back in last weeks episode.

Dance with the one that brought you.

Don burying icky Jaguar guy with back handed praise

Joan slamming Jag guy with "I know there's a part of you, you haven't seen in years.

Teenage Don with a Moe hair cut. Ugly duckling and how!

Jim Garrison mentioned in the tonight show clip Pete watches about new JFK assassination evidence is perhaps the ultimate in your collaborator stabbing/shooting you in the back.

For all my Mad Men posts

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Jon Hamm on #TheNerdist on BBC America #Mad Men

This Saturday Jon Hamm from Mad Men will be the guest on The Nerdist on BBC America, along with Betsy Brandt from “Breaking Bad” and Rich Summers (Harry Crane from Mad Men).

I was (totally stoked) very happy to be at the taping of this show. So look for me in the audience. Jon Hamm was his usual ridiculous self. How this man ended up finding fame in a character as unfunny as Don Draper, I have no idea. The whole taping was hysterical, but pretty blue. So much so that I'm a bit curious how they are a. going to edit it for television , and b. cut it down short enough for the segment. Thank god that's not my problem.

If I have any criticism of this show it would be the set. I know last season's set was strictly public access TV, but I liked it. Now it is very smooth and professional. Oh well, it still has the rest of it's components so I won't start a letter writing campaign just yet.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mad Men Season 6

Mad Men Season 6 started tonight. I love this show!

After a brief moment of someone being resuscitated  we open right up with Don reading Dante's Inferno "Midway on our life's journey I went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood." Is there a better description of Don?

Megan and Don are on the beach in Hawaii (for a hotel client) and throughout the scenes on the vacation Megan's wardrobe reminded me of Betty's in Italy (for a hotel client). First she was wearing red ball earrings that looked a lot like the ones Betty wore when she was all dressed up in her black fringe in Italy. Then the next morning she puts on a dress that looks like the one Betty wears the day they get back from Italy. Looks like things have fallen into old patterns.(no pun intended) He's even sleeping with someone on the side.

Megan has landed a part on a soap opera. She's recognized by fans. By the end of the show her part has been expanded and she is going to be the character everyone loves to hate. I'm guessing she's going to be too busy to deal with home life.

We see Betty looking like she is trying to be, or at least look like, her mother in law. She spends a lot of the episode worrying about Sally's friend who runs off to the city. It may be that she sees herself in this character, who wants to go to the city and have an exciting life. That's what Betty did and then married Don and we all know how well that worked out. She even goes into the city and spends an odd day in a flop house. In the end she seems to decide to let the girl go and completes her transformation into her mother in law by dying her hair brown.

Roger comes back to us in a therapy session. He seems like he wants answers but then he seems pretty sure about life being meaningless. All women are the same and all relationships leave you unchanged. Even with the news that his mother has died he's unfazed.  Only at the end of the episode does he break down over a shoe shine box that his, also deceased, shine guy's family has sent to him, since he's the only one that's asked about him. Roger's party seems to have come to an end. He may need some more acid?

While in Hawaii Don meets a private whose getting married and ends up giving the bride away. Some how their military issue zippos get switched. The private's has the inscription "In life we often have to do things that just are not our bag." Apparently, a common phrase inscribed on Vietnam vets zippos. I don't know if Don has ever figured out what his bag is. But regardless, he can't get rid of it fast enough. He tries to throw it away, but it gets returned. In the end he lies to his secretary and says he found it and ask her to try to return it.

Don shows up drunk at Roger's mother's funeral and while a friend talks about how much Roger's mother loved him to the exclusion of anyone else Don pukes into an umbrella stand. It may just be the liquor but I think it was a least a little about the fact that no one has ever loved him like that. He has never believed that anyone would love him just for himself, that someone would truly be his. To himself he will always be a whore child.

In the end Don pitches the hotel client an ad that looks like someone walking into the ocean to kill them self. The tag line was equally awful, "Hawaii The Jumping Off Point . I hope we aren't facing another season of the constantly plastered Draper who can't do his job.

Mostly the episode just kept coming back around to death beginning with what turns out to be their doorman being resuscitated. then the death of Roger's mother and shine guy, and of course Don's suicide in Hawaii pitch. Thing are off to a dark start.

This and That:

There seems to be someone sleeping on the couch in every scene in the work room at SCDP.

Peggy is still doing a great job but has her staff scared of her.

Abe needs a hair cut.

Roger's wife #1 telling him "Maybe there is nothing to drink about"

Roger mentions From Here To Eternity, which starred Donna Reed, and then later we see Don watching The Donna Reed show.

For all my Mad Men posts

Friday, April 5, 2013

PBS Michael Feinstein's American Song Book

Michael Feinstein's Season 3 American Songbook starts tonight on PBS. If you didn't see the first 2 seasons you're missing some great stuff, so be sure to catch this one. This season includes lost footage of Broadway performances by huge stars doing unforgettable numbers, old radio show performances, and interviews with everyone.

All that and Michael Feinstein himself, who I just adore!

Here's the complete run down on each episode:

“Show Tunes”Friday, April 5, 2013 at 9 pm. Stars in the Broadway universe don’t shine much brighter than Stephen Sondheim, Angela Lansbury and Christine Ebersole, all of whom appear in this episode about great American musicals. Sondheim reveals the composers he most admires and shows Feinstein some rare home movie footage of the original Broadway production of the classic Follies. Tony Award-winner Ebersole gives a tour de force performance of some of the greatest show tunes of all time, and Lansbury reflects on her Broadway career, from Mame to Sweeney Todd and Gypsy. (Feinstein has a surprise for Angela.) Feinstein discusses his personal relationship with Ira Gershwin (also the topic of his recent book) and performs the classic “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Let Me Entertain You” and “No One Is Alone.”

“Let’s Dance” – Friday, April 5, 2013 at 10 pm. Fred Astaire is Michael Feinstein’s favorite singer — but he also was the favorite singer of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and George and Ira Gershwin. Why was this dancer, first-and-foremost, so beloved by America’s great composers? With that question, Feinstein launches into an exploration of the marriage between music and choreography, unearthing rare home movies of Astaire rehearsing on set, and remarkable memorabilia from that other screen-dance icon, Gene Kelly. Kelly stuns in never-before-seen footage of his Broadway debut in the original Pal Joey, as does the iconic Cyd Charisse, seen in her first television performance. Liza Minnelli, who knew Kelly and Astaire, discusses their unique styles and techniques. She also is seen in vintage television clips dancing with Kelly and performing some memorably steamy choreography. Feinstein indulges his inner Astaire with private dance lessons, learning differences between the fox trot and the turkey trot, among others. Finally he explores the endless popularity of ballroom dance and performs the classics “Change Partners,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Shall We Dance” and “Let’s Face the Music and Dance.”

“On the Air” Friday, April 12 at 10 pm – Today, “American Idol” is the country’s biggest music star-maker, but decades ago, the Golden Age of Radio fulfilled the idol-making role in the U.S. Feinstein traces the phenomenon with archival clips of Bing Crosby, Cab Calloway, Kate Smith and many others. He visits with TV and stage star Rose Marie (best known as “Sally Rogers” on “The Dick Van Dyke Show”) and learns about her career as a highly paid child radio star named “Baby” Rose Marie. On his own syndicated public radio program, Feinstein showcases the virtuoso talents of classical superstars, including violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Jeremy Denk, who perform together and discuss intersections of classical and popular music. This episode includes visits to collectors of vintage radios and radio programs. Finally, he discovers a lost radio program that featured Rosemary Clooney, and recalls his own memorable duet with her.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spies of Warsaw on BBC America Tonight

Spies of Warsaw is on BBC America tonight, starring David Tennant (Doctor Who 10). Based on the book by Alan Furst. Spies is set in Warsaw in 1937, in the years building up to WWII. Full of espionage and covert missions, and of course a love story to round things out.

If you miss Tennant as much as I do, you'll be watching this tonight. It looks like a fun action packed spy movie. At last winters TCA (TV Critics Press Panels) Tennant and the writers promised this would be a very sexy show. There was lots of talk about sex on trains and Tennan'ts characters string of lovers. So there is that.

On a side note: I got a chance to speak with David Tennant and asked him if he saw his Doctor Who returning, with his alternate world incarnation still in existence. He wouldn't rule it out. Saying that you never know and that with Billie Piper looking younger every day she could definitely do it.

Spies Of Warsaw will air tonight, April 3 and April 10th. Check your local listings for times.

I'll be watching tonight and of course tweeting along. #SpiesOfWarsaw