Archive for January, 2014

Downton Abbey 4: TEA COZIER

Posted in TV (Prime-time) with tags , , , on January 6, 2014 by Timothy Parfitt

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Last night was the U.S. premiere of the fourth season of Downton Abbey.  I watched it in a group, and there was a lot of faux-gasping (mostly on my part) and explaining (for the one guy who had only seen one episode). “Who’s that?” “The sister.” Who’s that?” “The other sister, the ugly one.” “Wait, who’s that?” “The butler, the evil one.”

The whole affair was enjoyable, even if I took offense at shameless smushing together two one-hour episodes and calling it a two-hour premiere.  The stiff and formal characters were rigid, the paterfamilias was patriarchal and condescending (“Leave Lady Mary alone, she’s too grief stricken to bathe/breath/think/eat/poop!”) and Maggie Smith dispatched with her requisite zingers. Continue reading

Killer with a Code

Posted in Catch-up on January 2, 2014 by Timothy Parfitt

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I finally got around to watching Parker, the new Jason Stratham-as-Parker iteration of Donald Westlake’s most amoral criminal survivalist. Having read all of the 24 Parker books, I qualify as a fan-boy, so I’ll do my best not to bore you with a laundry list of ways it’s not EXACTLY LIKE THE BOOK. The movie has a nice, punchy, old-school action movie vibe. Cars crash, people shoot other people, heisters double cross each other, all without the aid of shape-shifting robots or CGI dinosaurs. Continue reading

Cons, Comb-Overs and Necklines: American Hustle

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2014 by Timothy Parfitt
Christian Bale in full method-mode.

Christian Bale in full method-mode.

American Hustle is a movie about con men and con ladies.  It features a hair-based “we’re all con men” analogy . The opening scene shows a paunchy Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) constructing an elaborate comb-over and toupee concoction that requires multiple steps, precision timing, hairsprays and glues. Then there’s hard-charging FBI agent Richie DiMasio (Bradley Cooper), who perms his hair with rollers to create that perfect seventies white boy fro. The visual analogy end there, though Amy Adams’ character has a spiffy fake English accent and Jennifer Lawrence has a lot of feelings.

Irving and Sydney Prosser (Adams) are just two con people in love, selling marks fake high interest loans and frolicking around the back of Irving’s dry cleaning business. DiMasio busts up the party, and soon has them reeling in progressively bigger fish, like the mayor of Camden (Jeremy Renner) and a Florida mob boss (Robert De Niro). The pull this off with the help of a Mexican FBI agent impersonating an Arab Sheik.

Costumes are great, incredible disco dance sequence with Cooper and Adams, and everyone involved seemed to be having a lot of fun. The whole affair has a lot of hearts, and unexpected laughs. I was riding high on deep dish pizza, but the crowd I saw it with loved it, I was as entertained as I’ve been at the movies this year, and I expect this’ll clean up come Oscar time.