Tag Archives: Drama

2010 Primetime Emmy Award Nominees

8 Jul

Earlier today, Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara and Community’s Joel McHale announced the nominees for the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.  The broadcast, which will be hosted by Jimmy Fallon, will air August 29.  It was a great year for new nominees and veterans alike.  Along with perennial favorites such as 30 Rock and Monk, new additions to the race include Glee and Modern Family

Friday Night Lights also made a great showing with nominations in both the Outstanding Lead Actor and Outstanding Lead Actress categories.  Chicago is well represented with Jane Lynch securing two(!) nominations for Glee (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series) and Two and a Half Men (Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series).  Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D-List was nominated as well for Outstanding Reality Programming. Andre Braugher and Ann-Margret are additional Chicagoans who were nominated for an Emmy today.

Some of the more shocking names left off this year’s nomination list include Cougar Town’s Courteney Cox and Grey’s Anatomy’s Chandra WilsonHBO’s True Blood managed an Outstanding Drama Series nomination, but couldn’t wrestle any individual nominations.

2010 Nominees:

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory
Larry David – Curb Your Enthusiasm
Matthew Morrison – Glee
Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock
Steve Carell – The Office
Tony Shalhoub – Monk

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series:
Lea Michele – Glee
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey – 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – The New Adventures of Old Christine
Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation
Toni Collette – The United States of Tara

 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series:
Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall – Dexter
Kyle Chandler – Friday Night Lights
Hugh Laurie – House
Matthew Fox- LOST
Jon Hamm – Mad Men

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series:
Kyra Sedgwick – The Closer
Connie Britton – Friday Night Lights
Glenn Close – Damages
Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife
January Jones – Mad Men
Mariska Hargitay – Law & Order: SVU

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series:
Chris Colfer – Glee
Neil Patrick Harris – How I Met Your Mother
Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet – Modern Family
Ty Burrell – Modern Family
Jon Cryer – Two and a Half Men

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series:
Jane Lynch – Glee
Julie Bowen – Modern Family
Sofia Vergara – Modern Family
Kristen Wiig – Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski – 30 Rock
Holland Taylor – Two and a Half Men

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series:
Aaron Paul – Breaking Bad
Martin Short – Damages
Terry O’Quinn – LOST
Michael Emerson – LOST
John Slattery – Mad Men
Andre Braugher – Men of a Certain Age

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:
Sharon Gless – Burn Notice
Rose Byrne – Damages
Archie Panjabi – The Good Wife
Christine Baranksi – The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks – Mad Men
Elisabeth Moss – Mad Men

 

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series:
Mike O’Malley – Glee
Neil Patrick Harris – Glee
Fred Willard – Modern Family
Eli Wallach – Nurse Jackie
Jon Hamm – 30 Rock
Will Arnett – 30 Rock

 

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series:
Christine Baranski – The Big Bang Theory
Kathryn Joosten – Desperate Housewives
Kristin Chenoweth – Glee
Tina Fey – Saturday Night Live
Betty White – Saturday Night Live
Jane Lynch – Two and a Half Men

 

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series:
Beau Bridges – The Closer
Ted Danson – Damages
John Lithgow – Dexter
Alan Cumming – The Good Wife
Dylan Baker – The Good Wife
Robert Morse – Mad Men
Gregory Itzin – 24

 

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series:
Mary Kay Place – Big Love
Sissy Spacek – Big Love
Shirley Jones – The Cleaner
Lily Tomlin – Damages
Ann-Margret – Law & Order: SVU
Elizabeth Mitchell – LOST

 

*Full list of nominees

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‘The Messenger’ Review

30 May

The Messenger

Starring: Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson

Director: Oren Moverman

This film is a somewhat realistic and horrifying depiction of what life must be like for families whose loved ones are killed while serving on active duty.  Like many war-themed movies that have come before, The Messenger may be difficult to watch if you have family or friends serving our country.

Focused on the Casualty Notification division of the army, this film tells the story of the people responsible for relaying the news to the next of kin that their loved one has died in battle or on assignment.  These “messengers” have a specific duty to the Army as well as to the family of the deceased soldiers.  Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery (Ben Foster) is assigned to the notification role after being injured while overseas.  He learns his new duties by working closely with Captain Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson).  The two men have had very different experiences during their Army careers and must learn from one another as they tackle one of the most difficult jobs a soldier or officer can have.

Tony gives Will a long list of rules for successfully tackling this job.  Some of the guidelines include not having any physical contact with the next of kin, only speaking directly to the next of kin and making sure not to hover around a house prior to making contact.  Throughout his new assignment, Will has a difficult time obeying the rules because he feels that being the bearer of such devastating news should include some human compassion.   As he tries to follow the rules, he crosses a line when he finds himself comforting the widow of one of the deceased soldiers.

This film is very sad and wonderful at the same time.  War time movies don’t seem to be very successful because they tackle a subject that is still so fresh in the minds of many Americans.  This film, while depressing in nature, tells a new side to members of the US Army.  There is an added feature on the DVD extras that is a short documentary about some of the families who have experienced a Casualty Notification Officer and the process the movie details.  The real life stories are more heartbreaking than the film could ever be, but it also shows that much of what is in the movie is a close replication of what actually happens when a soldier dies.

Foster and Harrelson were exquisite in these roles and I admired every emotion they put out there.  Harrelson, who was a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee for this role, gave a strong performance and I was surprised by his moments of weakness as his character.  With each film Harrelson makes, I find it harder to believe that he ever played such a laid back character on Cheers all those years ago.  Foster is brilliant.  As much as I respect Harrelson’s performance, I truly believe that Foster should have gotten the Oscar nomination.  Every single second of his performance is rough and completely believable.  He has this way of being so emotionally available that you almost forget you’re watching an actor.  This film wouldn’t be so gripping without their stellar performances.

While not all aspects are spot-on, this is a movie after all, it allows for a broader audience to see into what many members of America are dealing with on a daily basis.  The DVD extras also make sure to respect the process that this film is all about.  I believe that telling a story like this in a film is important.  Sure, it may not have a mass appeal that a summer blockbuster would, but it tells the tale of the human spirit.

My TV season wrap-up – Part 4 (Grey’s Anatomy, FlashForward)

28 May

May is here and that means the most recent television season has come to an end.  Season finales are usually filled with just enough drama to keep the viewer invested so that they return three months later.  This year’s group of shows really upped their games and were probably some of the best finales in quite a few seasons.

I wish I had enough time to watch every show that I love during the TV season, but that just isn’t possible.  I’ve picked some of the shows I love and have been devoted to all year to breakdown how they ended their seasons.  There will be some spoilers, so be warned.  The shows I will focus on are House, One Tree Hill, Modern Family, Cougar Town, Bones, Fringe, Grey’s Anatomy, Life Unexpected and FlashForward.  The final part of my series will focus on Grey’s Anatomy and the now defunct FlashForward.

Grey’s Anatomy:

The two-hour finale of Grey’s definitely reinvigorated the show as it ended its sixth season.  Creator Shonda Rhimes threw caution to the wind and wrote an episode that was filled with emotional good-bye’s, drama and mystery.  Having a shooter enter the hospital and take the lives of many characters was risky, but it totally paid off. 

Grey’s has been more popular the last few years for the behind the scenes and off-screen drama than for its storylines and artistic qualities.  With most of the buzzworthy actors now gone from the show (Katherine Heigl, T.R. Knight), the cast and crew can get back to what this show started out as: a fun, medical drama with an ensemble cast that draws viewers in for the story as well as the superficial attraction to the actors.

Some of the best acting from the last few years was on display in the finale.  Chandra Wilson gave an Emmy worthy performance as she watched one of her fellow doctors die in her arms.  The acting from the other cast members was top-notch as well, but the bigger story was the story.  Derek was shot, Meredith was pregnant…and miscarried, Owen chose Cristina, Alex called out for Izzie, Arizona and Callie decide to have a family, etc. 

The drama and character development in the finale alone should provide for much entertaining material next season.  I love the addition of Jesse Williams to the cast and look forward to what they have in store for him next.  I like Sarah Drew as an actress, but her role on Grey’s has been rough for me.  Her character has been very whiney and I’d like to see her grow a bit and the finale gave the perfect opportunity for that if she returns for season seven.

FlashForward:

I am absolutely bummed that this show will not be around for a second season.  I think there were just too many creative changes behind the scenes for a real shot here.  It also didn’t help that they took a very lengthy break half-way into the season.  This show was dubbed as the next LOST, but never caught on with viewers. 

Basically, the show was about a worldwide blackout that occurred and no one knew why or how it happened.  Over the season, the FBI got involved and it was revealed that there were double agents and others trying  to make sure that the answers were never found.  I don’t think the plot was as confusing as some made it out to be.  The problem was that many of the resolutions didn’t come until the last three or four episodes.

As I watched the final episode, I could definitely see a future for the show, but that’s just not going to happen.  I would love to know how the writers intended for the story to progress.  The show was built of an ensemble cast that included veterans from LOST (Sonya Walger, Dominic Monaghan) and other established actors (Joseph Fiennes, John Cho, Courtney B. Vance).  I really think the show started to come into its own and it’s a shame that the full vision won’t be realized.

You can check out the other parts in my series here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

‘Extraordinary Measures’ Review

26 May

Extraordinary Measures

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Harrison Ford, Keri Russell

Director: Tom Vaughan

Based on the true story of John and Aileen Crowley, Extraordinary Measures tells the tale of how John Crowley risked everything to save the lives of two of his children.

John (Brendan Fraser) and Aileen (Keri Russell) have been living on the brink for years as they dealt with the illness that was bound to take the lives of their children, Patrick and Megan Crowley.  Suffering from a form of Muscular Dystrophy known as Pompe disease, the children are confined to wheelchairs and rely heavily on the use of breathing tubes.

John spends his nights researching doctors who are working on a drug that would help his kids.  The disease has no cure or treatment and the life expectancy is not supposed to exceed the age of nine.  With Megan having just turned eight, John is racing against the clock to save his daughter’s life.

After finding a doctor in Nebraska who is working on an enzyme that could be the answer to his prayers, John packs up his car and goes to see Dr. Stonehill (Harrison Ford) in person.  Stonehill is not a pleasant man and is not thrilled about his new visitor.  Running out of options, John lies and tells him that he has just created a program that will help fund Pompe research.  This bit of information changes Stonehill’s attitude and the two men decide to work together.

Realizing that he made a huge decision without the opinion of his wife, John must tell Aileen that he is quitting his job in order to work with Stonehill on a potentially lifesaving drug for their children.  In addition, he must raise $500,000 to aid in the research.

Throughout the process, John realizes that they will be unable to accomplish their goal without some outside assistance.  Stonehill is not thrilled with this idea, but John secures an investor willing to back the research of Dr. Stonehill.  Many factors threaten to stop the possibility of a drug trial and John may be the reason for the failure of the research.

This is a beautiful story of a man who is willing to move mountains in order to insure that his children have a long and healthy life.  Fraser did a great job telling the story of the real John Crowley.  He had a great connection with the kids in the film and his eyes told of the pain and sorrow he was feeling along the way.  Russell has such emotional range and was able to showcase that as the mother of two dying children.  Ford definitely played the egocentric scientist well, but he was not a very likable character.

This is not a movie that will “wow” a lot of people, but it’s a wonderful story of a family coming together to overcome adversity.  There is a scene when the one healthy child the Crowley’s have sells his skateboard to donate money to his brother and sister’s research fund and it proved that you don’t have to be an adult to show compassion and love.

‘Dear John’ Review

26 May

Dear John

Starring: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried

Director: Lasse Hallstrom

The books of Nicholas Sparks are getting the film treatment quite often these days.  Dear John is just another film product based on the words written by Sparks. 

The film tells the story of John Tyree (Channing Tatum), an army soldier who meets the girl of his dreams while on a two-week leave.  After jumping off a pier to save Savannah’s (Amanda Seyfried) purse, they become friendly and strike up an almost instantaneous bond.

As they spend the remainder of John’s leave together, they promise one another that after the end of John’s one year tour duty that they will be together again.  Unfortunately, a few months later the tragic events of September 11, 2001 took place and John, along with the rest of his platoon, decide to re-enlist for another two years.  John, stationed overseas, is able to come home for a weekend to see Savannah and he informs her of his decision.  She is heartbroken and can’t understand why John would choose the army over her.

Over the course of their relationship, they always stayed close by writing each other letters.  From the first time they were separated, they formed an even tighter bond by reliving, through personal written words, what had been going on in their lives.  Not having heard from her in quite some time, John became worried when the letters stopped.  Then one day he received what would be the worst letter of all from Savannah.

John continued his army life, even though he had been shot and had lost his father.  He crossed paths with Savannah many years later and learned the reasons behind the last letter he ever received from her.  He wanted answers and she was not prepared to rehash the details that had been so devastating to her from years prior.  Distance and time can separate people in the physical sense, but the love the two shared could never truly disappear.

I enjoyed the film, but I expected more.  I read the book and like many books that are made into films, the book was better.  The timing of the film was a little off for me.  Certain scenes moved too slowly (anything with the army) and then certain scenes moved too fast (the John and Savannah relationship).  I realize that a huge part of the book/film is the separation between the two characters, but as a viewer, I could care less about John’s time in the army.  The first half of the movie built the relationship, but the second half was almost strictly devoted to John’s army life and that slowed the movie’s pace down considerably.

Tatum and Seyfried worked very well off of one another in this film.  I really liked watching Tatum tackle the emotional scenes; he definitely impressed me.  However, he has a tendency to mumble a bit and there were a couple of scenes that I struggled to understand what he was saying.  I would have liked to see more scenes with the couple in the first half of the movie. 

I was actually surprised at the lack of screen time for Seyfried in this film.  The book version had more scenes with her…and with her and the character of John.  The lack of time onscreen as a couple led to the viewer needing to believe in the bond between the two after such a short period of time.  The book version gave more scenes of them together and in different settings than what was shown in the film.

There were also some great supporting performances in this film.  Richard Jenkins plays John’s father, a man who has an affinity for coin collecting, but also is possibly struggling with a form of autism.  Henry Thomas and Braeden Reed round out the cast as a father and son who share a close relationship with Savannah.  Reed himself, along with his character, suffer from autism.  There is an especially beautiful piece on the DVD extras that chronicles how Reed was able to tackle this role and how it changed him and those around him.

After having read the book, I knew that the ending had a strong chance of being changed if made into a film version.  I was right.  Moviegoers, for the most part, like to see their main characters live happily ever after and the book version wouldn’t have satisfied viewers.  The extras on the DVD show an alternate ending that matched what was in the book.  Even though I dislike endings being changed from one medium to another, I can totally understand why a producer or studio would feel the need to go with the ending that left viewers feeling positive.

Finally, I loved the main song played throughout the film.  Paperweight by Joshua Radin and Schuyler Fisk is one of my favorite songs.  It was released many years ago, so it was a surprising bonus to hear during the John/Savannah scenes.  Fisk has a beautiful voice and combined with Radin, another great musician, it was a perfect song.

My TV season wrap-up – Part 3 (Bones, Fringe)

25 May

May is here and that means the most recent television season has come to an end.  Season finales are usually filled with just enough drama to keep the viewer invested so that they return three months later.  This year’s group of shows really upped their games and were probably some of the best finales in quite a few seasons.

I wish I had enough time to watch every show that I love during the TV season, but that just isn’t possible.  I’ve picked some of the shows I love and have been devoted to all year to breakdown how they ended their seasons.  There will be some spoilers, so be warned.  The shows I will focus on are House, One Tree Hill, Modern Family, Cougar Town, Bones, Fringe, Grey’s Anatomy, Life Unexpected and FlashForward.  Part 3 of my series will focus on Bones and Fringe.

Bones:

I’ve loved this show since it began five years ago, but I’m hoping what they tried in the finale will actually lead to some change.  Bones (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz) have been working side by side with sexual tension for years.  This past season, Booth finally admitted to Bones how he felt about her and she rejected him.  The 100th episode of the series, which focused on that reveal, was the beginning of change for the two.  Bones, a forensic anthropologist, has a difficult time relating to others. Booth, a FBI special agent, has been the one person who loves her for that and takes the time to teach her the socially acceptable way to behave around others.  When Booth revealed how he felt, Bones cried (which is highly uncharacteristic of her).

The following episodes up until the finale showed that even though Bones rejected him, that didn’t mean she didn’t have feelings for him.  The two main characters were given the opportunity to work apart and they decided it would be best to be separated for the one year that each project requested of them.  They said their final goodbye’s in an airport and although they didn’t share a kiss, the love could be felt even more because they didn’t.  The chemistry between the two characters is impalpable.

Obviously, the characters will not be split up for a year (hello, this is TV people!).  It will be exciting when the show comes back in the fall to see how they tackle the separation.  The supporting cast also dealt with changes in the finale and we’ll see if they go through transformations as well.  I’m a huge fan of the Hodgins/Angela relationship, so it was more than satisfying when they finally got married a few episodes ago.  The character of Sweets is hysterical and John Francis Daly (of Freaks and Geeks fame) was such a great addition to the cast a few seasons ago.

Fringe:

This show just finished up its sophomore season and it just keeps getting better.  Revolving around the fringe division of the FBI, the show tackles the unexplainable.  The cast is filled with veterans and newcomers alike.  John Noble is so deserving of an Emmy for his role as Dr. Walter Bishop that it boggles my mind he hasn’t even been nominated yet.  He has fantastic chemistry with his on-screen son, played by Joshua JacksonAnna Torv is a little one-dimensional for my liking, but toward the end of season two she’s been given more emotional scenes to play, which I like.

Along with the presence of fringe science and the ridiculously insane things that the characters come across, the show deals with two alternate universes.  Peter (Jackson) found out that he is not from the universe we all know of, but the alternate universe.  Walter was responsible and Peter travels to that other place.  Walter and Olivia (Torv) go to find him and Olivia reveals her feelings toward Peter once she finds him. 

The problem with the alternate universe is that there are doubles of everyone.  Whoever is in one universe is also in the other, but just because the outside may look the same, the people couldn’t be more different.  Olivia was captured in the finale and her double went back to the other universe with Peter and Walter, but no one knows of the switch. 

The stories on this show are outlandish, but so well executed.  Most of the characters could easily be cartoons of a character, but they are developed in such a way that gives them diverse layers.  As much as I think I want to see a Peter-Olivia relationship, I don’t know how I feel about it.  Luckily, with the switch that took place, the relationship will be postponed somewhat (at least with the real Olivia).  The decision to move the show to Thursdays resulted in a pretty large slashing of the number of viewers, but it is paired with a great lead-in in Bones.  Hopefully, season 3 will be a breakout season for the show said to resemble an X-Files type series.

*Part 4 will focus on Grey’s Anatomy and FlashForward

Click to read Part 1 & Part 2 of my TV wrap-up.

‘LOST: The End’ Review

24 May

Whew! Ok, so after that lengthy recap of Sunday night’s final LOST episode, I am ready to talk about what the heck it was all about.  I loved the finale.  I thought it was pure television excellence.  Of course, not all questions were answered and the finale produced even more questions, but what great storytelling from Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.  To have 2 1/2 hours of a series finale include so much emotion and heart is just unbelievable.  I would love to talk to someone who didn’t shed at least one tear during the show.  I know I had the box of Kleenex next to me for the entire show and went through many.  I felt happy, but emotionally drained when it had all come to an end.  As a lover of television and film, I couldn’t ask for more. 

Sure, there will be those that are upset with the ending or the religious overtones that it produced, but the production value, acting performances and writing trump any personal frustration in my opinion. 

I truly think the show was about love and redemption.  The reunions proved the love factor and over the course of season 6, redemption seemed to be a driving force.  Ben helping Hurley in the end, Sayid’s self-sacrifice with the bomb and Jack risking everything to save the island are examples of that redemption.

Here are some of my questions, comments or random thoughts about the final episode:

*First off, where was Walt??  I get that the actor grew like 10 feet since the start of the series, but they could have found a way to incorporate him.  I was kind of disappointed about that, honestly.  I was waiting to see him at least in the church at the end, but nothing.

*Here are a couple of my favorite lines from the episode.  Ben was trying to walkie-talkie Miles to find out the status of the plane and Lapidus picks up the device and says, “Don’t bother me!”

After being given duct tape from Lapidus to fix something inside the plane, Miles says, “I don’t believe in a lot of things, but I do believe in duct tape.”  Obviously the characters of Miles and Lapidus brought some needed comedic relief to the finale.

*Michael Giacchino, the composer for LOST, did such a fantastic job of incorporating dramatic music to accompany the scenes.  Every reunion scene was made all the more emotional with the addition of the music in the background.  Well done!

*Why weren’t Miles, Lapidus and Richard in the church?  They were all “good” people, so why weren’t they included in the final group when Rose, Bernard and even Libby were?  I would have loved to see what happened to Richard after Miles found a gray hair on him.

*I’m curious as to why Ben didn’t go inside the church.  Was he not allowed to?  Did he feel he wasn’t redeemed enough to move on?  I actually felt badly for him, he looked so defeated in those final moments.

*I’ve been torn as to what the sideways world actually was and I think it was more of an in-between world.  I do get confused as to the logistics though.  I mean Jack’s son’s mother was….Juliet??  So at what point did that happen?  And does the sideways world mean that all of the flashbacks from earlier seasons weren’t real? 

*I tried not to take the last scenes as overly religious.  I get that they took place in a church and all, but I tried to look it as more of a faith thing than a religious one.  Faith vs. science had always been a running theme, so I’m going to leave it as faith winning out.

*I loved the appearance of Rose & Bernard in the jungle and at the end of the episode.  They were such beloved characters that it was rewarding to have the chance to see them again.

*Matthew Fox did an incredible job in this final episode.  The entire cast was brilliant, but Fox reached down and pulled out some incredible moments for his final time as Jack Shephard.

*I would have liked to see a final moment between Desmond & Penny, as they were one of the most touching and loving couples that came from LOST.  The appearance of them together at the end wasn’t enough for me.

I suppose I could go on forever about what this show was about, who should have been involved more and so on, but LOST has come to an end and it was a one of a kind television show.  LOST will stand the test of time and whether people try to duplicate it at some point remains to be seen, but it will always be six years of original, dramatic and entertaining art.