Discovered a new TV series this past week, titled Hung.
Quite surprising that local cable decided to bring this in. I mean, it's about a high school teacher who resorts to prostitution to pay his bills.
And he's got 2 teenage children who are oblivious to his moonlighting.
Risque? You bet!
The fact that the show doesn't sink into a cesspool of bawdy jokes and stereotyping is admirable, and credit goes to the cast and writers, who handle the characters and subject matter deftly.
Lead actor Thomas Jane deserves extra kudos. I'm not familiar with his work, but find him hilarious as hapless Ray Drecker, who stumbles around female clients until he finally finds his mojo and becomes a consummate professional.
His dysfunctional family life is insanely funny, with an ex-wife ( a haggard-looking Anne Heche ) who ditches him to marry a rich but nerdy dermatologist, and offspring who look nothing like either parent - Ray was the school jock, his ex a beauty queen, while their kids are sullen, ugly and pudgy.
The female customers could've been reduced to caricatures ( e.g. the rich but lonely tai-tai's, etc ), but so far, I've seen only one such example, namely Ray's wealthy lawyer neighbour's frustrated wife.
One character really stands out, and qualifies as quite the stroke of genius in my book.
Named Jemma, she forks out piles of cash for the sole purpose of playing out scripted fantasies, complete with re-do's a la Groundhog Day.
Being a pretty and brainy 30-something-year-old, Ray falls for her easily enough, but ends up getting his heart broken when it turns out the entire "relationship" was part of her plan after all.
When the last payment arrives and the truth is revealed, Ray's devastation is palpable, but at the same time, he also experiences relief.
It's a mind-bending, bittersweet few seconds that will be difficult to top!
Anyway, Jane's a lovely addition to a growing crop of sexy older men on television. :)
Another sentimental favourite: Josh Charles ( right ).
He stars in The Good Wife, a new legal drama which airs on Hallmark Channel 17 - pilot episode previewed on Tuesday, but the official run begins Jan 14.
You can read about the series at the link provided.
I first saw JC in 1989's Dead Poets Society, aka my personal all-time favourite movie. He played lovable and lovelorn Knox Overstreet, a hopeless romantic who was inspired by poetry to woo the girl of his dreams, and succeeded in winning her heart.
I adored him in that film, after which he disappeared for more than a decade, before resurfacing in 2003's S.W.A.T. in a peripheral role.
20 years after Dead Poets, he still looks as boyish as ever, exuding cheeky confidence as a swaggering high-profile lawyer who takes an old friend under his wing following her husband's career-wrecking scandal.
The Good Wife's been garnering rave reviews in the U.S., and I enjoyed the pilot episode immensely, not because of the legal plotlines ( too easy for my taste ) but for its stellar cast. Aside from JC, there's Julianna Margulies ( famous for her work on the early seasons of ER ), Christine Baranski ( from Cybill and Bowfinger ), Chris Noth ( Law & Order, Sex And The City ) and another sentimental fave, Matt Czuchry.
If you're a loyal Gilmore Girls fan like myself, you'll remember Matt fondly for his role as filthy rich, arrogant yet soft-hearted Logan Huntzberger. I had no idea he was in The Good Wife, but immediately sat up when I heard his voice amid all the on-screen chatter. He's grown up beautifully, and I'm ecstatic to see him on TV again. :)
A couple of short DVD reviews before I sign off:
Terminator Salvation turned out to be a huge treat. Had been avoiding this movie for months because the trailer made everything look so freaking gloomy, but the actual film got my adrenaline pumping big-time! The visual effects are amazing, the dialogue well done ( nowhere as cheesy as Avatar's melodramatic cliches ), and the cast absolutely perfect.
Christian Bale totally deserves to be John Connor, and Anton Yelchin is terrific as young, hot-headed Kyle Reese. Sam Worthington is so much better here than in Avatar, and Moon Bloodgood beats Megan Fox hands down in the sexy action babe department.
But did we really need a nude Arnold Schwarzenegger cameo - though it's obviously computer-generated? Err, no we didn't.
Public Enemies isn't as bad as everyone says it is, but compared to other films set in that era, it definitely falls short in many ways. Johnny Depp and Christian Bale look fabulous in their suits and fedoras, but suffer from a wobbly script and really bad editing.
Just finished Coraline last night. I've never read Neil Gaiman's novels, but the cartoon version is relatively good. Has that Tim Burton vibe, though I enjoyed Corpse Bride much more.
Anyway, recent animated films which I love dearly include Bolt and Kung Fu Panda. Compared to these, Coraline is so-so at best.
Currently blasting John Mayer's Battle Studies in the car. Not as magnificent as Continuum or Try!, but it's beginning to grow on me. Will write more next time.