X-Degrees of Separation, Part Deux

78 comments on May 15, 2008 by Steve Simels

Well, nobody got it, but yes, there is (as we suggested yesterday) a genuine connection between The X-Files (if not, specifically, the forthcoming movie) and late great soul music icon Marvin Gaye. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear (1999) and the show's brilliant sixth season. Here's a clip from my second favorite episode, "The Unnatural," written and directed by series co-star David Duchovny. The plot centers around an alien who comes to earth to play baseball, specifically in the old Negro League in 1947 (in Roswell, New Mexico no less), and who eventually becomes a big enough celebrity to be scouted by the majors. Said alien is played, brilliantly, by Jesse L.

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X-Degrees of Separation

88 comments on May 14, 2008 by Steve Simels

As a rule, I'm not exactly a big Summer Blockbuster kind of guy (full disclosure: In my youth, I actually stood on line to get into the first showing of Who Framed Roger Rabbit on the day it opened. Boy -- there's a couple of hours I'll never get back). But that said, I must admit to being genuinely jazzed at the prospect of the forthcoming X-Files movie. Yup, I'm a huge fan of the series. Star David Duchovny famously observed that they were doing feature quality work on a weekly TV schedule, and he obviously had that right; I can't think of another show that, at it's best, was as well-crafted on every level. But more to the point -- and you certainly didn't have to be a sci-fi geek to get it -- was the chemistry between its co-stars.

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Cahiers Du Crappy

2 comments on May 13, 2008 by Steve Simels

If truth be told, I was somewhat less charmed by What Happens in Vegas than at least one colleague -- to my mind, it deserves numerous demerits if only because whoever lit and costumed star Cameron Diaz apparently had it out for her big time -- but the sad truth is that, by any objective standard, it's hardly the worst romantic comedy Diaz has ever fronted; that honor still belongs to her 2002 post-Ferrelly Brothers embarassment The Sweetest Thing. Scripted by Nancy Pimental, whose sole claim to fame (before and since) is that she replaced...

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Monday Self-Indulgent Mash Note

4 comments on May 12, 2008 by Steve Simels

And speaking of Iron Man , as apparently all of us are after this weekend's returns, I don't know where you guys come down on the whole Gwynneth Paltrow thing, but I think we can agree that in the scene at the reception where she gets all dolled up to catch Robert Downey's eye she looks quite astonishingly beautiful. That said, I have two words: Blythe Danner.

That's Gwynneth's mom, of course, for whom I must confess I have carried a life-long torch from the minute I saw her in a 1976 PBS production of Tennessee Williams' Eccentricities of a Nightingale (a vastly superior re-write of his more famous Summer and Smoke).

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Flogging a Deceased Equine?

2 comments on May 09, 2008 by Steve Simels

And speaking, as we were yesterday, of Ayn Rand-ian auteur Frank Miller's forthcoming (Christmas Day this year) masked superhero flick The Spirit, here's another reason we're not looking forward to it: Spiderman director Sam Raimi already made it (in 1990) as Darkman. Actually, for my money, Darkman is everything all the Batman films to date (save possibly the first) should have been but weren't, i.e., visually stylish and genuinely exciting, but also breezily unpretentious and funny. And for a fraction of the budget, ...

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On May 22, Harrison Ford returns as the iconic titular hero in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fourth installment in Steven Spielberg's ongoing homage to the cliffhanger serials of the 30s and 40s. Fans may argue about whether Ford has gotten a little too protracted in the molar to embody the swashbuckling Indy, but frankly, I don't care. I'm going to see it for Cate Blanchett, in a jet black wig, playing a slinky Commie bitch Soviet agent. Seriously -- from what I can tell from the trailer, she's even sexier than she was last year as a skinny, androgynous speedfreak Bob Dylan in I'm Not There. Although perhaps I've already said too much...

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Yeux Sans Visage

4 comments on May 08, 2008 by Steve Simels

It's been a staple of the Sci-Fi and Horror genres since forever (or at least since Fay Wray), but of late it's practically become a genre unto itself. We are referring, of course, to The Look -- the inevitable moment when the camera glides relentlessly toward the face of a character (usually, but not always, an actress) who has suddenly gone all wide-eyed, staring at some unimaginable weirdness just out of frame beyond the view of the audience.

In recent years, Gillian Anderson pretty much perfected it in any number of X-Files episode...

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