Friday, May 31, 2013

Last Night of Illeana Douglas' Second Look on TCM

courtesy of TCM

Tonight is the last night of Illeana Douglas's hugely popular turn as a  TCM guest host. Every Friday night in May she has hosted films worth a second look, and boy can she pick em. Each week it has trended on twitter with the hash tag #TCMparty. Illeana tweets along giving insight into the films as well as just kibitzing with TCM fans.

Tonight's line up begins at 5pm ET and includes A NEW LEAF (pictured above),1941, THOSE LIPS THOSE EYES, and ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS. if you haven't caught any of these make a point to do so tonight and if you have seen them, well then I'm sure you'll be back.

courtesy of TCM   

Friday night's in June will focus on noir writers and will be hosted by Eddie Muller, author of Dark City -The Lost World of Film Noir. 

Friday, June 7
Written by Dashiell Hammett
8 p.m. – The Maltese Falcon (1941)
10 p.m. – City Streets (1931)
11:30 p.m. – After the Thin Man (1936)
1:30 a.m. – The Glass Key (1942)

Friday, June 14
Written by David Goodis
8 p.m. – Dark Passage (1947)
10 p.m. – Nightfall (1956)
11:30 p.m. – The Burglar (1956)
1:15 a.m. – Shoot the Piano Player (1960)

Friday, June 21
Written by Jonathan Latimer
8 p.m. – Nocturne (1946)
9:45 p.m. – They Won't Believe Me (1947)

Written by James M. Cain
11:15 a.m. – Double Indemnity (1944)
1:15 a.m. – The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

Friday, June 28
Written by Cornell Woolrich
8 p.m. – The Leopard Man (1943)
9:30 p.m. – Deadline at Dawn (1946)

Written by Raymond Chandler
11 p.m. – Murder, My Sweet (1944)
1 a.m. – The Big Sleep (1946)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mad Men Season 6 Episode 9 The Better Half

I think they meant The Better Half ironically as the title of tonight's episode. Do any of these couples have a better half? They're all pretty badly behaved.

 Let's get right to the meat of tonight. Don and Betty- As soon as I saw her in the gas station my heart started to pound. We finally got to see Don and Betty back together and in a whole new dynamic. Betty's new look seems to have come with a sharpening of her manipulative nature. Which is probably what drew Don to her in the  first place. With Don's upbringing he can only be drawn to women who are pushing him away, or are even being mean to him. He may not realize but Betty has just set him up. I bet he'll be chasing her around for the rest of the season. Betty definitely has got his number maybe it was the therapy but her saying " That poor girl (Megan) she doesn't know that loving you is the worse way to get to you." Says it all.

Chaugh and Don are still fighting it out and it looks like Peggy is their battlefield and or prize. Peggy tells Don that Chaugh cares about the idea and Don only cares about his idea. Don says "Don't let him fool you" and "he doesn't know you". Then Chaugh plays his I'm in love with you card and then draws it back when Abe and Peggy break up. All Chaugh's kind deeds and acts may be just his way of manipulating people. Either way Chaugh's halo is seriously dented after tonight's episode.

Roger is flailing around trying to find some identity. Grandpa didn't really work out, though I must say Planet of The Apes isn't that bad of a movie for a four year old by 60s-70s standards. After his daughter calls to tell him he will no longer be trusted alone with his grandson, he runs over to Joan's to see if he can get the father position open there. No Dice. Roger has spent his life running around acting like a child and now he wants to be an adult and no one will trust him.

Peggy and Abe are done. Abe kind of reminds me of my father he went into the 60s a liberal in a suit and came out completely radicalized with an afro and a huge mustache. Peggy and him have been on different tracks from the beginning, remember the article he wrote about her (Nuremberg on Madison Avenue)?  It's insane that she actually had to stab him to bring the whole relationship crashing down.

Henry and Betty seem to have developed a kinky little pattern. She gets him all torked up with jealousy and then they have sex. She probably learned this from her relations with Don, make sure your man never knows whether you love him or are about to leave him. This is going to get exhausting for all involved.

This and That

Every time we see Don and Megan in their apartment sirens are sounding in the streets below.

Pete and Harry calling the new firm the 27 Yankees. Basically saying their bench is loaded with heavy hitters.

Duck is back as a head hunter. The should have called this character cat, he seems to have 9 lives.

Bobby playing a major part in two episodes in one season, and getting his parents back together. This must be fantasy camp.

Who took Roger to see The Golem  as a boy??? Youtube link to movie The Golem

Butter is fresh and Margarine is indestructible. Guess which is Don and which is Chaugh?

TCL Grauman's Chinese Theatre Renovation Tour

I know a lot of visitors will be disappointed to find out Gauman's, now TCL, Chinese Theatre is closed this summer for renovations and installation of IMAX. But all is not lost, you can still tour the interior. Tours will vary based on the stage of construction. The day I went the auditorium was closed but there was a lot to see and learn even for a native Angeleno, like myself.

The first thing that surprised me was that the smaller light hanging from these light fixtures was originally a incense burner and in the early days of the theatre was used for that purpose. Can you imagine walking in to a theatre filled with the scent of incense. Grauman was really about the full sensory experience. The painted screens, on the walls, were done by actor Keye Luke known for his roles in everything from Charlie Chan movies to episodes of MASH.

Keye Luke isn't the only celebrity artist who contributed to the Chinese. There is a large mural in silver on the brick wall wings of the theatre painted by band leader Xavier Cugat. This is just a close up of one small part of it.

This is an almost entirely hidden painting on the ceiling on both side of the theatre near the restrooms in the wings. There is also a round portal design near it that can only be seen with the help of a flashlight. My camera could not be convinced that it was there and wouldn't take a picture. Which was a little spooky.....

I had always assumed these decorations were just props, but they're not. Grauman brought these artifacts (septer and chair) over from China. The mannequin is a good luck charm for movies that film in the Chinese. cast and crew rub her shoulder for good luck, so much so that the dress has been replaced multiple times. The headdress is orginal.

I love this display of film programs. They have great ones from recent premieres, like Lincoln. There are also ones from the early days including this Gold Diggers of 1933 program shaped like the coins that figure largely in Ginger Roger's, We're In The Money number. Good thing they had that under lock and key or I'd have been beyond tempted to thumb through it, smell it, and generally drool all over it.

 Even the bathroom is famous at Grauman's. The beautiful ladies sitting room is all original from the butterflies on the walls to the stools. you can bet just about every female actress since 1927 has been in this room, which gives me a little rush of goose bumps everytime I think about it.

The men's room on the other hand is nothing special. I did ask to see it though, just because I've always wondered. It also has a smaller sitting room. Nothing in it is original except two paintings, which are nice but not that exciting.


For the more technically minded there are also projectors, film winders, an array of lenses and film types. In it's history Grauman's has shown everything from 16mm to Cinemiracle and now IMAX in the very near future. They are very up on saying the theatre has survived so long by staying current with the times, and that make sense, I'm hopefully they will continue to guard the old as they stay up with the new.

There were so many surprises in the handprint courtyard. For example, Kurt Douglas did his hand prints doing a hand stand and lowered himself to make a print of his famous chin. Unfortunately the cement artist didn't see this and thought it was a smudge and wiped it away. Many of the squares had secret stories. But I think my favorite is the time capsule that is in Greer Garson's 1942 Mrs Miniver square. It has no date for opening but i'st said to have copies of the film and script inside. Too bad we just missed the 70th anniversary....
There are still 110 space left for prints in the courtyard and with an average of just 4 a year, we can look forward to decades more of the ceremonies. I've been lucky enough to attend 3 handprint ceremonies and while they are just silly publicity, they are also a Hollywood tradition in a town that doesn't have many.

And finally just to feel in the know, these two theatre chairs that were in the lobby during my tour. As someone who has spent hours/days in this theatre watching movies I'm delighted to see them.  Both versions look extremely comfortable. The current side design was on them so we will assume they will make it through the renovation.                                                                      
For tour times and details go to TCL Chinese Theatre website

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mad Men Season 6 Episode 8 The Crash

Tonight's episode brought more flash backs. I have to say the more I see of Dick/Don's childhood the more I'm surprised this guy functions at all. Let's take stock. Dick is born to a prostitute who name's him Dick because his father is such an awful person. Dick is raised by his father, who cheats passing hobos and whores. His adoptive mother who wanted a child, still probably was not enthused to get one from her husband encounter with a prostitute, and even less so once she gets pregnant. Then of course her husband dies and Don and his step mother go to live in a whore house.

Based on this weeks flash back of her sending him to sleep in the basement when he gets sick, you get the idea that no one ever took care of Dick. In this case one of the prostitutes in the house takes him in.  Once he's well she takes his virginity. This is probably the first time anyone was kind to Dick, taking care of him when he was sick, but then that experience got all mixed up with sex. Now maybe if he sleeps with enough women he'll feel cared for again.

When Chaugh is talking about Gleason passing "He is a piece that can not be replaced" Don's face says no one will ever say that about me when I die. Dick has such self loathing. Why wouldn't he? He has no other frame of reference.

Really, if you were this guy and you saw any chance to be someone else, wouldn't you take it. While Peggy tells Stan in this episode to face his pain and not hide in sex and drugs. It's good for these two who have limited exposure (remember that line) to pain, Dick is bathing in it. He either needs to start 3 sessions a week with a shrink or keep the girls and booze coming. I would suggest avoiding any more of Jim's doctors shots of B vitamins and"mild stimulants" however.

At the end of the episode Don seems to have regained his composure as far as Silvia and Chevy go. Giving Silvia the cold shoulder in the elevator. Then telling Chaugh that he won't jump through any more hoops for Chevy and will only supervise others work on it. Leaving us with the line "Every time this place gets a car it turns into a whore house." The one place Dick has risked every thing to escape.

This and That:

The whole office on speed made for the freakiest Mad Men ever. Loved Peggy and Ginsberg quoting Alice in Wonderland.

Ken tap Dancing while describing his job as a crash test dummy with the real Mad Men, Chevy executives. Not to mention the fact that he mixes up his mother and his first girl friend.

Playing William Tell with Stan and stabbing him in the arm with an x-acto knife

Don lurking outside Silvia's service entrance smoking cigarettes

Don has no heart beat

Silvia's version of mutual assured destruction and cheating. Now Don isn't playing by the rules

Betty's looking more her old self, as Henry heads out on the campaign trail

Don and the soup ad mother with the beauty mark that repeats on the prostitute, who takes his virginity, and Silvia.

Sally knowing so little about her father that a complete stranger/thief can answer any question with a plausible answer she can't refute.

For previous Mad Men recaps

Saturday, May 18, 2013


If you have always wanted to go to an ANTIQUES ROADSHOW this may be your chance.  You can win a 3-day, 2-night trip for two adults to Richmond, Virginia, and experience an exclusive VIP day at ANTIQUES ROADSHOW on Saturday, August 17! 

Just go to the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW site and  enter once daily between April 26, 2013, and July 31, 2013.

I was able to attend an ANTIQUES ROADSHOW several years ago. It was so much fun, even though I didn't have any million dollar finds. It was fun just talking with all the people in lines to talk with the appraisers, and then to get to meet the appraisers themselves.

My point is, I highly recommend trying to win these tickets. You'll have a great time!

Good luck

Here's the break down:

One Grand Prize Winner will be selected to win:

  • Round-trip economy-class airfare* for two adults to Richmond, Virginia
  • Hotel accommodations (one standard room, double occupancy) for August 16 and 17 in Richmond
  • VIP entrance for two and an escorted backstage tour of the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW event venue, including lunch with ROADSHOW staff
  • Personal appraisal estimates of your antiques (up to four each) by ROADSHOW experts
  • Two ANTIQUES ROADSHOW gift bags
  • Travel must take place on August 16 and 18, 2013
  • Approximate retail value of trip: up to $4,900
*Or round-trip ground transportation by car service at administrator's discretion.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mad Men Season 6 episode 7 Man With A Plan

Mad Men, Man with a Plan opens with Don ease dropping on Silvia and Arnold in a huge fight. From there Silvia calls Don at the office and says she needs him and "nothing else will do" This, he likes and tells her to meet him at the Sherry Netherland. Once there we watch 50 Shades of Draper. He could have been a great S&M dominatrix. Silvia goes for it, why she doesn't hurl his shoes in his face, when he tells her to crawl on her hand and knees to find them for him, I have no idea. By the end of the day, Silvia realizes that this relationship has run it's course and tells Don so. Then something unexpected happens, Don begs just a "Please?", but still it was shocking.

I loved seeing Joan showing Peggy around the office again. Only this time Peggy knows what's going on and they are equals. Peggy's fears are realized when they get to her office and the "boys" have labeled it Peggy Olsen Coffee Chief, she's back to fighting for respect. It's not going to be as fun, but I'm sure she'll handle it.  Especially, if the way she deals with Don is any indication. When she goes in to talk to him about his stunt with Chaugh. He tries to shut her down with his usual put downs but she serves it right back. Good for Peggy!

Don vs Chaugh reminds me so much of the time Don got Roger ruined at lunch on oysters and martinis and then made him run flights of stairs to a client meeting. Like Chaugh's dying partner says, Don wins the early rounds, but when Chaugh gets Don in his plane, it's no contest. Chaugh takes it hands down. Don's going to have to work out some kind of peace or this is going to get ugly.

I love the partner meeting. They start normally but it quickly devolves into a fight about all the things the two firms have hidden from one another. They are still two separate entities they better resolve that. The only two who seem to have become one is Roger and Jim. They have gotten Leica to send them to Germany and they are smiling at each other like they are in love.

Joan and Bob at the hospital was charming. Bob is so smooth. He knows he's last hired and the person he's reporting to has been fired. He sees Joan and knows if he plays it right she will be a word for him in the partner meeting. I want to think he is also just being nice but I think he is a pretty calculating guy. Joan knows too of course, but she does save his job in the end.

Pete's descent into hell continues. Pete's brother and sister in law have had it with their senile mother. Pete's sister in law left his address in the city on mom's bed side table, so she shows up there. Pete's brother refuses to take her back. So now Pete is living with his mother, which is only increasing the speed of his decline at work. Rolling in late to the partner meeting there is no chair for him and Roger relishes the opportunity to point out that Don got the last seat which means even Don got to the meeting before Pete. As I said last week Pete better get it together, quick.

The show closes with Robert Kennedy's death. Things are not looking up.

This and That:

Roger firing Bert Peterson...again.
Bert " You're a prick."
Roger "You stole my goodbye"

Don and Chaugh flying. Don says he is relaxed so Chaugh makes the plane bump to scare him again.

Harry gets bumped down to a smaller office so Peggy can have his.

Pete saying his mother can go to hell and Ted Chaugh can fly here there.

All of Chaugh's hip speak- groovy, free associate, and wrap session.

Silvia is reading THE LAST PICTURE SHOW. Perfect for Mad Men so far, just a bunch of messed up people trying to figure out who they are as everything comes down around them. Hoping our Mad Men characters get a happier ending, but I doubt it...

For all my Mad Men posts

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Richard Zanuck Doc Tonight on @TCM

They showed this world premiere documentary on Richard Zanuck, DON'T SAY NO UNTIL I FINISH TALKING, at the TCM Film Festival and unfortunately there was something else I HAD to see at the same time. I'm so glad they're airing it tonight!

I don't know if it is possible to be both born into your family business and be a self made man, but Richard Zanuck seems to me to have done just that. He gave us just about everyone of my favorite films from my childhood. Every thing from JAWS to THE SOUND OF MUSIC. I could go on and on, but I'm sure the film tonight will cover his carreer far better than I ever could.

Sadly Richard died last year but he did get a chance to see this completed documentary on him and according to Robert Osborne, they didn't change a frame.

Really looking forward to this tonight. If you want to I'm sure there will be people live tweeting it at #TCMParty.

Tonight at 8pm et and encore at 11:30pm et on TCM check your local listings

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mad Men Season 6 Episode 6 For Immediate Release

Loved last night episode, not the least reason being we finally got some Joan time. I think the opening scene was the first time we've seen her with her hair down. It was a Saturday, but I'm hoping she brings it to the office soon. Also I thought it was great that Don finally got told to be a team player by someone who could get through to him. When Joan tells you, you are a spoiled child, you hear it. And Don did by the end of the show. Of course Joan is totally right , she had to sleep with that "pig" from Jaguar and Don can't even deal with talking with him. The million her shares would be worth if they go public would definitely go a long way to making her feel better about that.

Roger has got his mojo back, he's seriously hunting down clients with his stewardess spy in the first class lounge, Daisy. Even passing up a night with Megan's mom, Marie, to land a client. I love that we see him shining his own shoes with the deceased shine guys box. It's like he's all grown up now and taking care of himself.

Looks like Pete and Trudy are officially done. I thought he almost had her back after the Mother's Day scene, in bed. Once he spilled the beans on the whole whore house thing with her father though, a divorce is now inevitable. Pete is a bit on the wane. They've now lost Jag and Vicks, both his clients, while Roger has brought in Dow and Chevy. Better get your eye back on the ball Petey.

Chaugh and Don in the bar deciding to merge solved a lot of problems for everyone (except maybe Peggy). Chaugh's partner is dying, probably quickly with pancreatic cancer, this merge may have just pulled his agency out of the frying pan.  Don in the middle of pitching actually says "we" which Joan had pointed out he never does. Don actually stops and says "that's interesting" after. Also gotta love when Don says "I have a better idea" and Chaugh thinks he means a pitch for Chevy and says" No you Don't...This is why everyone hates you" Whoa, everyone hates him and Don doesn't skip a beat and continues to sell him.

Finally, poor Peggy is not happy in her new apartment with Abe. It's a little to funky, with junkies defecating on the stairs. Last week when Abe mentioned their kids she was ready to follow him to the ends of the earth, but this week after drunk Chaugh kisses her, she seems a bit less enamored. Maybe it's just the bleak apartment that has awakened her. Either way I'll be sad if they write off Abe, he's the only decent boyfriend she's had, and plus I just like him. Also she is now headed back to the gang at SCDP, who she worked so hard to break from. She's going to have to work even harder to maintain the respect she's earned at the other firm.

This and that:
On a personal note

Pete and Trudy's bed side lamps- my grandparents had the exact same one in their living room. they are now painted black in my aunts house. Loved seeing them.

The guy who played the banker at the beginning- I babysat his kids about 20 years ago.


I love Harry Hamlin, Jim Cutler, in this. He's so smooth and the glasses are perfect "Unless this works, I'm against it"

Bob wandering the halsl with his 2 cups of coffee, seeing what doors it will get him in.

Ken's understanding of mutual assured destruction based on seeing someone in a porn movie and how that make him feel safe about the bomb.

For previous Mad Men episode wrap ups

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The English Teacher May 17th

The English Teacher opens May 17th, starring Julianna Moore, Greg Kinnear , and Nathen Lane. It's a film about a quiet, small town high school teacher who takes on the production of a former students play, in an effort to bolster his confidence and get him back to New York.

It also is a bit of a scathing look at the movie/theatre industry, if you take it that way. The way the writer, director, producer, and actors behave terribly and never taking responsibility for their behavior. Everyone is lying  to everyone about the production, among other things. You could even go so far as to see the principle as the studio head. No one comes out looking particularly clean.

The English Teacher is a fun comedic ride, check it out!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

HBO Family Tree May 12

Christopher Guest has created a new Mockumentary series for HBO, Family Tree. Joining his usual team of brilliant comedic actors is Chris O'Dowd. If you are familiar with him at all you'll know he should fit right into this quirky comedy troop.

The show premieres May 12th on HBO. It begins with 8 episode. I've yet to see an episode so I can't say how it is, but I think these people have a pretty good track record, so watch it!