Goofus or Galavant?

For months I’ve been looking forward to Galavant, a strange little half-hour medieval musical comedy series on ABC. On paper, it’s a good fit for the home of repurposed Disney properties and toothless family-friendly sitcoms. There’s even a version that would fit with some of the network’s soapier fare, like Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder–one that’s hinted at with some of Alan Menken and Glen Slater’s more ribald verses. (If everyone involved could agree on a pronunciation of Galavant, I’d be super grateful, btw.)

If done right, Galavant would work well as a companion to Once Upon a Time or Modern Family. But it is … not really done right, at least not in these first two episodes.

Continue reading Goofus or Galavant?

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Going for the Goldblum: Rehearsal for Murder

Who could ever forget Jeff Goldblum’s early and very minor roles in such gems as Death Wish, or in random episodes of Columbo, Laverne & Shirley, and Starsky & Hutch?

Well, everybody, really. Goldblum pops up from time to time in movies and TV in the mid-70s to the early 80s, without making much of an impression. He’s tall and good-looking, but weird, or menacing, or almost totally silent. But he did get two fairly major early breaks.

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Going for the Goldblum: Jurassic Park

It’s hard to pick a starting point for talking about Jeff Goldblum’s career. He’s been acting steadily for forty years now, but in a lot of those early roles he was little more than glorified extra. Add in a few ensemble movies and minor-character parts, and I don’t remember anymore the first time I actually watched him in a movie.

I sure remember Jurassic Park, though.

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And so it begins…

I’m Lisa Shininger, and I’m here to talk to you about the next white guy in Hollywood to get the Pop Culture Crazy treatment: Jeff Goldblum!

Sure, you may think you know what Goldblum’s contributed to the arts and sciences of motion pictures over the last forty years, but- You know his first movie was in 1974, right? That the universe is heading inexorably toward its inevitable heat death and Jeff Goldblum’s career is probably older than your house?

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Quick hits: Gone Girl & Dublin Murder Squad

Well, ignore the order in that post subject because I’m going to talk about the Dublin Murder Squad first.

Tana French’s latest, The Secret Place, came out a few weeks ago, FINALLY. This time, the detective is Stephen Moran, who was such a thorn in Frank Mackey’s side two books back. It took me longer to get through this than any of French’s others; more a lack of free time than anything to do with the story or the writing, which is as tight as ever. French is absolutely a master of psychological suspense—both in the telling of the central murder mystery, and in the building out of complex and banal interpersonal relations. Some of the teenager-centered narrative and characterization can ring a bit false at times (though unlike other reviewers I have seen (and used!) phrases such as “totes amazeballs” and so had far fewer quibbles with the slang), but in a way that seems naturally unnatural for these individual characters. French goes deeper into some of the class and gender themes she’s explored in past books, class especially much more overtly than in any other aside from Faithful Place, but in tone and theme I found it much closer to The Likeness. Over on Goodreads, Elise made a great observation in her review: the central relationship between Moran and Conway is a mirror of sorts to In the Woods, “a making rather than a sundering“. It’s delightful to watch their initial wariness dissolve as their understanding of the case they’re investigating coalesces into a more coherent whole. Another great entry to the series. I highly recommend.

As for Gone Girl, my non-spoilery review is simply: GET YOURSELF TO A THEATER. If Rosamund Pike isn’t nominated for and awarded the Best Actress Oscar for her performance, then it had better be because another actress transcended the limits of the physical realm and actually became a digital element in some other film. I will accept no other possible reason. And Affleck is at the absolute top of his meathead, lunky, variously charming and off-putting form. He oozes casual misogyny and poor-me entitlement as naturally as breathing, something I don’t recall ever being as effective an element in his performances. If his Batman/Bruce Wayne is even half as interesting, I might actually see the new Snyder film.

Now then, a more long-winded review follows. Spoilers ahoy!

Continue reading Quick hits: Gone Girl & Dublin Murder Squad

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