Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Do not trust the B--- in Apartment 23

I wonder how many of you have actually heard of this show. I don't remember seeing it advertised anywhere. So what made me want to see it? The title obviously. It's probably a tad too long, but it sure did the trick. It got me curious.

I watched the first episode a couple of days ago and became intrigued. It has started off on a high note, I must say. It's a quirky, slightly dark and genuinely funny. Let's just hope it maintains itself. The show stars Krysten Ritter as the lead who plays Chloe.

A genuine con artist whom you would have thought was a perfect bitch in the beginning, but slowly takes a turn in personality and becomes likable instead. Chloe's been renting out a room in her apartment to gullible young girls and scamming them off their money. However, it looks like she may have met her match with June, played by Dreama Walker, who has appeared in Gossip Girl and The Good Wife amongst other shows.

Krysten Ritter does well as the dark, cynical and broody yet slightly clairvoyant Chloe. I've only seen Ritter in two other shows prior to this. Till Death, where she played the daughter of the married couple in that series.

And most recently of course, Breaking Bad, where she OD'd and her character died. Nevertheless she portrayed a stellar performance and it's no surprise that she carries on the role of Chloe exceptionally well. 

Anyway, getting back to the show, meet June who has just moved to the big city thinking she has finally made it in life. She has the perfect job on Wall Street and the perfect fiancé she plans to marry once she settles in. However things take a turn for the worst when she's played out at work and left with no job at all and to make things worst, her fiancé Steve has actually been cheating on her. With no place to go and no work to be at, June ends up at Chloe's apartment and immediately takes the room.

After being duped by Chloe however, June decides to pay revenge and soon gains the respect from Chloe and the two form a weird unlikely friendship instead.

The show doesn't just revolve around Chloe and June of course. To add on to their already cluttered lifestyle, we meet their perv of a neighbour Ely played by Michael Blaiklock, whose so far only seen through the window from the apartment behind them. He's caught whacking off while introducing himself to June, leaving her in disgust.

There's also Mark played by Eric André, who would have been June's mentor had she not been fired from her office job. Mark who was also played out over some work scam now works as a manager in a coffee house uniquely named 'Beans.' June also accepts a job at the coffee house and is later seen forming a friendship with Mark. For some reason though, I see sparks flying between them, but it is way too early in the show to tell if anything might happen between these two.

And then there's the crazy Asian chick who lives opposite June and Chloe. Meet Robin, who also used to be Chloe's former roommate and got cheated out of some items and some cash too. She is though somewhat obsessed with Chloe despite all that and is in love with her. Played Liza Lapira who has been seen in shows such as Dexter, NCIS and Dollhouse, she brings a sweet yet odd charm into the show. She's a pretty good actress and is quite a hoot.

To complete the neurotic cast in this new series, is James Ven Der Beek, who acts as himself, but portrays a fictional character of himself. A little confusing, yeah ... but it works. He and Chloe used to date, and he's apparently now her 'Gay BFF who's not really gay,' whatever that means.

Do not trust the B--- in Apartment 23 has only aired two episodes so far. I'll definitely give this a chance and carry on watching more of it in the coming future. Hopefully it doesn't get pulled out of the airways so soon, like 100 questions, which I thought was somewhat entertaining, but got canceled just after 7 episodes. If you like comedies and you're like me, a fan of short 20 - 30 mins of entertainment that requires minimum thinking, this will definitely be your cup of tea. Give it a go and if you don't like it, you know you can quit at anytime...it's not like you're giving up cigarettes...really.



Monday, April 16, 2012

Whitney - The TV Series not, Houston.

I had refused to give Whitney a second look because it rated so badly on IMDB. However, boredom trumped over ignorance one fine day and here I am writing this review.

Mind you though, I might contradict myself from every angle with this sitcom. I criticized the first episode, but then went on to the second, and then couldn't believe I was watching such rubbish, but still went on to the third episode.

Soon, I began to wonder how this piece of junk of a comedy was actually given any airtime at all. And then, well ... obviously this entire review is going to take a 360 degree turn. I actually had the patience to go on watching Whitney right up to the 8th episode and bam ... I became a fan. I mean thankfully I stuck to it after the train wreck premier episode followed by several more train wreck episodes. What if I had given up on the first episode itself? I wouldn't have realized how much potential and charm this show actually had hidden. It's a pretty big risk taken by creator Whitney Cummings, who also stars in the show as well as produced and directed it. The late character and show development is risky, since viewers may have given up on this show in its early stages.

Right after watching almost the entire season of Whitney however, I did a search on Youtube to catch some of Cummings stand-up performances, since the show is based on her real life events and her comedy materials.

She's really not that funny, sadly. There's very little attraction here, what with her pasty skin that just covers up a mass of bones. And then there's her humongous mouth with teeth arrangement like a horse and her awkward posture - too tall and a little hunched over, and definitely too thin. Ok, but we're not really talking about her appearance but more about her show.

Whitney revolves around 6 main characters. There's Whitney Cummings of course, who plays herself, followed by Chris D'Elia, who plays her boy friend Alex.

I can't say D'Elia is a new comer, because he's appeared in quite a number of other TV shows, of which I've not seen any. But seriously, this is the guy to watch in Whitney. He's charming, adorable, funny and is just so cute. What he ever saw in Whitney Cummings though, is a mystery. There's an episode that shows how these two met and you still wonder what the guy see's in her.

The other four characters in Whitney are Zoe Lister-Jones who plays Whitney's best friend, Lily from her earlier days, Maulik Pancholy, who's introduced as Lily's boy friend Neil, Dan O'Brien a bumbling womanizer cop, whom we will find out has been friends with Alex for 6 years, and my favorite character (aside from Alex), Rhea Seehorn who plays Roxanne. The only other show I've seen Seehorn in as of late is Franklin & Bash. Apparently though, she's quite the seasoned TV series actress.

All 6 characters come together quite naturally and have pretty unique backgrounds to share as the episodes develop. They're not rolling on the floor funny, but likable and really quite sweet. What I really like about this show is that it's just so easy to digest. Don't expect to relate to it, because clearly nothing that happens on Whitney will every happen in real life. I mean, Whitney and Alex are in a 3-year long term relationship and have been living together ever since. How they afford to pay for their apartment let alone live the way they are is a wonder. Alex came up with some idea that did magnificently well on the Internet some years ago, and lives on his royalties apparently. Whiteny on the other hand is a photographer who rarely is seen capturing anything let alone going to work on a daily basis.

Mark, Neil and Roxanne are probably the only ones who actually have a steady job. Neil works in an office and makes a lot of dough and Mark is a cop who also happens to live in the apartment above Whitney and Alex. Roxanne has a desk job at a magazine. Her biggest rival at work seems to be this guy who does the online version of the magazine. (Watch out for that episode with Kathy Griffin as guest star.). Roxanne also used to be married to a guy named Lance, who was good friends with Alex before Mark came into the picture. There are a couple of episodes showing Roxanne trying to get back with Lance. They initially got divorced because he cheated on her.

Overall, Whitney is a little more than just tolerable. The ratings have also significantly gone up since its premier. There's not been any rumor for a second season however ... but maybe it'll just make it through.

It begs a question though...what more development is set for the series to continue standing on? In the 22 episodes that has already been aired a lot of character and story development has already been revealed. And as for the season's finale, it seemed to have somewhat of an ending ... so I'm curious to see where else this will lead. I'll be waiting for season 2, well hoping for season 2 rather. Even though Whitney Cummings herself really is quite annoying, the TV show on the other hand, is nice to watch at the end of a lazy-work-really-sucked-today day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Morning Glory

Hey what can I say, this movie actually didn't suck as much as I thought it would, after seeing its trailer. And for a person who has no tolerance what so ever, when it comes to romantic comedies, I quite enjoyed Morning Glory. It's not that it had a great story line, or incredibly funny parts that made me laugh out loud, it was because it lacked sappy romanticism, gooey and clichéd scripts and the fact that it had some reality injected into the story, was what made the movie believable and gave audiences a chance to root for the lead actress, Rachel McAdams.

Becky Fuller is a headstrong, 'i-have-no-life-what-so-ever' workaholic. Her entire life revolves around her work, and nothing more. In fact, she likes working so much, and is so desperate to not be without a job, that she doesn't even mind moving miles away from a quiet suburban neighborhood to a noisy, smack-in-the-middle-of-the-city-apartment for a chance at a new career. Oh, yeah … Becky gets fired in the beginning of the movie (when she actually was expecting a promotion) and is later hired by Jerry Barnes (Jeff Goldblum) as a producer for a morning 'news' talk show called Daybreak. Little does she know however, that Daybreak is on the verge of being closed down and replaced by reality TV shows. So Becky goes on a mission to safe the talk show and does everything possible, in or out of her capacity, and far from expectations, to keep the ratings up.

In the meantime she also deals with firing one of the news anchors and hiring the new guy, who literally turns out to be the world's third worst person (Harrison Ford). Oh boy … I'm not sure how Mr. Ford felt about playing this role. Somehow, to me it seemed like the character he played in Morning Glory, could also have been the way he felt about being asked to play in a romantic comedy with not so great ratings like this one. It was a tad weird seeing Ford in such a role after seeing him play in action roles like he always has. Of course he delivered a wonderful performance and his character play was magnificent, still it was rather amusing coupled with a handful of weirdness to see Ford in this role.

Morning Glory is like a TV series threaded together and made into a movie. The good news is that it brought a delightful blend of humor and empathy, thus making the flick more watchable than you'd think. The bad news however is that it ends as the movie ends, and there's no continuation, as it leaves you with a feeling of wanting more, or wondering, “Hey, I wonder what happens in the next episode.”

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

This book is a literary classic. It has been used in so many schools, colleges and universities. Written with such passion, humor and tenderness, this book takes you on a journey of endearing adventures of two children, seen mostly through the eyes of a 6 year old, Jean Louise Finch, better known as Scout.

The tale is about Scout and her brother Jem’s (Jeremy Finch) little adventures throughout their childhood. The children meet another character, an out-of-towner called Dill, who quite often tells tall tales that are sometimes bought and sometimes not bought by Jem and Scout. Later in the story, Dill who acts completely differently towards Scout when her brother is around and the complete opposite when they are alone promises to marry Scout someday, leaving the girl even more confused. The three however go on wild adventures together, meet interesting and mysterious characters, and encounter more than one miss adventure having them end up in either trouble, or simply hilarious results.

The story is told during the era before the Civil Rights, where the discussion of racial prejudice takes control in almost every situation. Through the inquisitive mind of Scout Finch we follow a story full of racism, rights and wrongs, heart ache and growing up to fit in a world with very little justice. We soon come to the heart of the story, where a black man called Tom Robinson is convicted of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, daughter of Bob Ewell. Tom Robinson’s case is then defended by Atticus Finch.

Atticus Finch is the unsung hero of the entire novel and the father of Jem and Scout, who struggles to bring his two children up, trying to protect them from what the world really is, answering their questions carefully, not to lie and mislead their little minds. He is admired by some, and sneered by others, but remains a hero in the eyes of both his son and daughter.

The story is often funny, sweet and heart wrenching. I laughed, and cried all at the same time. It is a must read and a must told story for generations and generations to come.