Archive for August 2012

REVIEW: Hope Springs   Leave a comment

Hope Springs is a very interesting film, to say the least. It’s material is not the same as your usual rom-com, it does not have two young leads on the helm, but it has Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep in it. The result is more than the sum of its parts, and this is one gem of a film that rarely comes on our screen.

Husband and wife Arnold and Kaye (Jones and Streep respectively), are on their thirtieth year of marriage, and while Arnold has been pretty much contented with the way their life and relationship turned out to be. On the other hand, Kaye is expecting more. She feels the need to spice one aspect of their marriage that has long been absent. And so, they travel all the way to a week long counsel session with Dr. Feld (Carell)where they discovered more than what they asked for in terms of their personal lives.

I like the simplicity of the narrative especially since it dwells and opens a lot of possibilities in terms of story development. I also think that there’s a certain sense of maturity with the writing; one that suits the atmosphere of the movie perfectly, as it does not totally overdo the cutesy scenes, yet still finds room to insert them in the scenario.

The tandem of Jones and Streep was such a delight to see. Their chemistry is very existent, and they play off the characters assigned to them very naturally. When they’re sweet, it’s sweet, and when they’re awkward, you feel for the two of them. It’s already a given for Streep since she does have chemistry with… well everyone, but I particularly like to see Streep play a “normal” character devoid of all the wigs and the accents and the make up that she has been doing a lot the last few years. Jones was a revelation though; it’s as if he was actually the role he portrayed, and he deserves equal, if not more, credit than what we give to Streep. Carell was there in a very thankless role (anyone could have played that actually), but I enjoy watching him in the big screen so good for him.

All in all, this is a film full of heart. This type of film is rarely given the opportunity to be produced and made, so it’s such a delight to see this one made.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

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ANALYSIS: Emmy Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series 2012   Leave a comment

EPISODE SUBMISSIONS:

• Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory” (The Shiny Trinket Maneuver)
• Julie Bowen, “Modern Family” (Go Bullfrogs)
• Kathryn Joosten, “Desperate Housewives” (Finishing the Hat)
• Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family” (Tableau Vivant)
• Merritt Wever “Nurse Jackie” (One Armed Jacks)
• Kristin Wiig, “Saturday Night Live” (Host: Mick Jagger)

The third Big Bang Theory cast member who reaped an Emmy nom, Mayim Bialik is also the first female member of the cast to do so. I really think that she what it takes to win this; however, her episode submission is what lets her down. She predictably chose to go with the “tiara” episode, and while that is one of the funniest and most memorable moments of the season, the “scene” is too short enough to stand on its own and give her the Emmy. As a matter of fact, the scene is only two minutes short, and aside from one scene in the beginning, she’s missing in the whole episode. I call this is as a case of wrong submission ruining your Emmy chances. Current winner Julie Bowen is up for another chance to take a consecutive win in this category. After all, her submission involves her being drunk and fun, something that Emmy has rewarded with Emmys in the past. However, it’s not as slam dunk as her chances last year where she got two winning tapes that shows her range. In Sofia Vergara’s episode, she comes off as whiny and unlikable, and I don’t think that will gain her more votes in this category. While I’m fine with a repeat win for her, it seems she’s helping returning Vergara the favor of helping her win the Emmy this year. This one seems more of a tribute nom for Kathryn Joosten after her untimely death earlier this year; however, I don’t think it’s an easy win for her as some perceive. since we’ve seen time and again how nomination is the reward for those posthumous nominations. But then again, she’s Kathryn Joosten and this nominated role has already won twice before. Episode wise, she gets a winning trial scene where she spoke of friendship that she had at Wisteria Lane, and aside from that, she has her death scene in the end. It’s definitely the key to her win, and I think that’s where Emmy voters will go. Sofia Vergara has a history of being a bad submitter at the Emmys. During the first season, instead of submitting Coal Digger, she went with Not in My House. Last year, instead of going with Unplugged, she submitted Slow Down Your Neighbors. However, this year, it seems like an intervention was finally done and she submitted Tableau Vivant which highlighted her being jealous of Jay’s close friend. This, together with Julie Bowen’s submission, might finally be the year where she’s really in competition. Merritt Weveris a surprise nod this year considering she gets in while the likes of Jane Krakowski, Betty White, and Cloris Leahman were perceived as likelier nominees. However, her nomination should have come sooner than this year, as she’s giving Emmy worthy performances week in and week out in Nurse Jackie. In her submission, she’s looking for a new roommate, until Jackie decided to invite her to live in with her as she dances in the kitchen. I admit, there’s really not a laugh out loud scene in her submission, but every now and then, we see a winner that caters more on the emotion rather than the laughs (Cynthia Nixon, Jean Smart), and Wever fits the bill. Let’s not even pretend that the final graduation scene in the season finale will seal the deal for Kristin Wiig. After all, Emmys have proven time and again that they do not care if this is your last bid for the Emmy (Steve Carell, Jane Kaczmarek, Angela Lansbury anyone?). However, that’s just the icing on the cake for Wiig, as she delivers some of her funniest skits in the Mick Jagger episode. She was also present in all the skits in her episode, and probably has the longest screentime in terms of submitted tapes. That, plus her new A-list status after the Oscar nomination this February can propel Wiig to an Emmy win.

This one is really a difficult category to assess; the secret lies to what the type of performance voters are looking for. This year, I’m going with Academy’s favorite Kathryn Joosten though running on her heels is Kristen Wiig who can easily win this trophy as well.
Prediction: Kathryn Joosten, “Desperate Housewives
Dark Horse: Kristin Wiig, “Saturday Night Live

Complete Rankings:
1. Joosten
2. Wiig
3. Vergara
4. Bowen
5. Wever
6. Bialik

ANALYSIS: Emmy Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series 2012   Leave a comment

EPISODE SUBMISSIONS:

• Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey” (Episode 2)
• Brendan Coyle, “Downton Abbey” (Episode 7: Christmas Episode)
• Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones” (Blackwater)
• Giancarlo Esposito, “Breaking Bad” (Hermanos)
• Jared Harris, “Mad Men” (Commissions and Fees)
• Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad” (End Times)

I’m actually surprised how strong Jim Carter‘s tape is. He has tons of screentime, and he has a story running throughout the episode. He was showy as one can get for a supporting role, and having two tapes certainly increases his chance. However, the main problem I have with both Downton actors is that when you compare their episodes alongside the four nominated actors, it lacked the certain emotional gravitas that will make you rank them on top of your ballot. That’s what Carter needs to overcome in terms of his Emmy chances. If Carter is the showier Downton actor, co-star Brendan Coyle relies on poignant, quiet moments in his episode. One can argue that despite not having a huge amount of screentime, all hisc scenes with Joanne Froggatt in his episode really stands out on its own. However, not even an additional episode care of co-nominee Carter can increase his chances of passing all the other men to receive the Emmy next month. He’s a perfect example of getting nominated is the reward already. Current title holder Peter Dinklage submits Blackwater where in he has that inspirational speech in the middle of the action-packed episode. This is an improvement over his supposed previous submission; however is this enough for him to retain the title? I don’t think so. First, he submitted the most buzzed episode of the season again, and I don’t blame him for that after Baelor did give him his much deserved Emmy last year. But for some reason, Blackwater wasn’t received by the Emmys the same way Baelor did. Plus, this category is stronger this year than last year, so voters might spread the wealth. Giancarlo Esposito plays the best villain on TV right now, and it’s good that he gets nominated this season. He also benefits from the fact that the last few minutes of his submitted episode really leaves an impact to the watchers. Paul’s tape does not give him that much of a showcase, though it is safe to say that his presence was felt in the other episode as well. If fans of the show want to spread the wealth, they might opt to go with Esposito as their personal choice for the win this year. I also think he is the most buzzed nominee in this category which also helps his chances. Perennial nominee John Slattery skipped a nod this year, and the Mad Men actor who replaced him is none other than Jared Harris. His tape revolves around a life changing situation that ends with a very baity scene. He portrayed depression intricately and his submitted episode ends with a resolution. Harris has been a consistent player in Mad Men for years, and if Mad Men finally gets an acting win at the Emmys, I won’t be surprised if Harris is the one where they’ll reward with the trophy. 2010 winner Aaron Paul comes back after a season of ineligibility, and his chosen episode is very competitive to say the least. The difference between his and co-star Esposito’s tapes is that while Esposito’s tape leaves you with an impact after seeing it, Paul’s acting is the one responsible for the impact that his submission gives you. His moment in the middle of the episode with Cranston is every inch intense, riveting, and on spot great acting. However, if voters are not fan of in your face acting style, I can see them resorting to other nominees. However, between him and Dinklage, he’s the likelier to repeat a win.

It is noteworthy to see that there have been no repeat winners in this category for sixteen years now, and while that seems more of a coincidence than a trend, it is difficult to dismiss it as such. With that said, I’m leaning to an Esposito vs Harris among the newbies with Paul as a likely spoiler to siphon votes between the two. This is a nailbiter until the envelope will be opened come Emmy night.

Prediction: Jared Harris, “Mad Men”
Dark Horse: Giancarlo Esposito, “Breaking Bad”

Complete rankings:

1. Harris
2. Esposito
3. Paul
4. Dinklage
5. Carter
6. Coyle

ANALYSIS: Emmy Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series 2012   Leave a comment

EPISODE SUBMISSIONS:

• Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife” (Alienation of Affection)
• Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey” (Episode 7: Christmas Episode)
• Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad” (Cornered)
• Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men” (The Other Woman)
• Archie Panjabi, “The Good Wife” (The Dream Team)
• Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey” (Episode 1)

Christine Baranski is on her third consecutive nomination and is still Emmyless for this role. What I particularly like about her submission is how vital her character and storyline is on the whole episode. She has a very huge amount of screentime that focuses not only on the case, but on her Diane’s personal struggles as well. This is also her best season on the show, and if The Good Wife fans want to spread the wealth between her and Panjabi, they might opt to go with her this time. First time nominee Joanne Froggatt is an unknown actress in terms of Emmy radar, but after viewing her tape, I’d say she’s every inch in this race considering how much baity her tape is. She gets to have a breakdown scene, trial scenes, and crying moments throughout her whole episode. If the Christmas episode of Downton Abbey is a motion picture, I’d even dare say that she’ll get notices for an Oscar. These are the stuff that awards are made of, and it also helps her that Smith’s tape showcases her as well. The only thing she needs to overcome is her being unknown but Archie Panjabi made it happen two years ago. The other first time nominee, Anna Gunn, finally gets an overdue nomination, but it’s sad that it was not one of her better seasons on the show, and she doesn’t even have the slam dunk tape to submit this year. In her episode, she gets to have a confrontation with husband Walter, and goes on a major decision by the end of the episode. I actually like this tape for her; but I don’t think this showcases her acting talents the most. Now that she’s in the club already, I think they might wait another season before finally rewarding her with that elusive Emmy. After all, she already has a winning tape this season and for next year’s eligibility. One can argue that this is Christina Hendricks‘ best season on the show so far. She gets to have more moments, and we get to know more about Joan as the season progresses. For this year, she submitted “The Other Woman” which is one of the show’s top episodes this season. It was a strong episode altogether and it was a highlight for the main cast… which is also the problem. Hendricks gets to share the episode with both Hamm and Moss (which also submitted these episodes), so she does not get to own this episode as one could hope for. While her moments are certainly effective in here, there are other equally impressive storylines that can drown hers. If voters manage to overcome all of those and focus on Hendricks’ instead, then she might have a chance. 2010 champ Archie Panjabi is also on her third nod for the show, and this year, she submitted the season finale. It involves a mysterious bank check and a cliff hanger confrontation scene in the end. She was not given a lot to do in this episode, though her scenes are memorable, but it can also drown with the other storyline re: The Dream Team. I don’t think Panjabi has what it takes to reap a second win, but everyone also underestimated her during the year when she won her Emmy, so one can not really tell what her chances are. Last year, Dame Maggie Smith already took home an Emmy for this role beating three actresses from Mildred Pierce in the Miniseries/TV movie category. This year, I don’t think it’s as slam dunk as one thinks when it comes to her chances. Her submitted episode (the season opener) does not require her to do much, but it contains her trademark reactionary ice queen conversations. If voters still dig that, then she can win this one in a cakewalk. After all, she’s Dame Maggie Smith. She also has a “second” tape this year via Froggatt’s so that increases her chances, but if viewers focus on tapes this year, I don’t feel she’ll be gaining majority of those number ones.

This category has been the one that provides the upset of the night for the past few years (except Martindale last year), so the person who’s usually ranked last or second to the last wins this race. If viewers based it on season long performance, I’d say expect Hendricks to win it. If they solely based it on name factor, Smith wins it easily. If they want to reward another veteran, then Baranski might be what they’re looking for. But if they focus on tapes, maybe Joanne Froggatt has a chance. I’m actually risking the fact that they’re basing it on the tapes and pushing unknown Froggatt for the win.

Prediction: Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey
Dark Horse: Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife

Complete Rankings:
1. Froggatt
2. Baranski
3. Hendricks
4. Smith
5. Gunn
6. Panjabi

ANALYSIS: Emmy Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series 2012   Leave a comment

EPISODE SUBMISSIONS:

• Ty Burrell, “Modern Family” (Lifetime Supply)
• Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family” (Leap Day)
• Max Greenfield, “New Girl” (Control)
• Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live” (Host: Katy Perry)
• Ed O’Neill, “Modern Family” (Baby on Board)
• Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family” (Treehouse)

Current champ Ty Burrell can easily go for a repeat win in this category, thanks to having a “moment” in all four Modern Family tapes this season. While his episode submission that dealt with him thinking that there’s something wrong with his health is strong itself, it also does not hurt him that over the top characters and scene-stealers are well loved in this category and even rewarded with multiple Emmys (e.g. Everybody Loves Raymond’s Brad Garrett and Entourage’s Jeremy Piven). Jesse Tyler Ferguson benefits from the fact that he is the most consistent if you take a look at the performance of the cast season-wise. In his submitted episode, he deals with his plans to surprise Cam with a birthday celebration with plans ranging from a Wizard of Oz theme to a party in the deck. If voters want to spread the wealth and reward all Modern Family cast first, then I can see Jesse Tyler Ferguson taking home the Emmy this year. First time Emmy nominee Max Greenfield instantly managed to make it to the final Emmy list this year. That is probably why his character Schmidt is also one of the most popular and most loved in the series. It also helps him that his submission gave him screen time, range, and impact when the character of Zooey Deschanel confronted him with his OC condition. His only hindrance from the trophy is that he has to overcome four Modern Family men with four Modern Family tapes. Bill Hader should be proud of the fact that he is the first male regular Saturday Night Live cast member to get nominated in this category since they started competing here in 2008. Also, since cast member Kristen Wiig officially exited the show last season, he’s the only possible nominee from the show to return next year. His surprise nomination (over the likes of Chris Colfer and Nick Offerman) is most likely due to his  famous Stefon skit, and he rightfully submitted an episode that highlighted that. However, I don’t think this will bring him anywhere to the Emmy podium next month. Two time nominee Ed O’Neill seems to suffer from the fact that he had a weak season altogether, so he has lesser options than last year where in I’m pretty sure he came in second. This year, he submitted an episode where in he helped his granddaughter overcome stage fright by dancing with her. While it tugs to the heart, his exposure was so short and he must just rely with the episodes submitted by his co-stars. All in all, I think he just have to sit this year out and wish for better material next year. 2010 winner Eric Stonestreet had a hit or miss season in totality, but he’s lucky that he got a winning tape with his submission. In “Treehouse”, he took a bet that he can manage to get a single woman’s number and convince her that he’s straight. What’s good about this episode is that it puts Cam front and center and far from the usual Cam and Mitch bickering. However, his role is somewhat polarizing and if viewers are mixed on loving and hating it, that won’t necessarily end with a second Emmy for the actor.

It is noteworthy to mention that once a single show receives three or more nominations in a single field, the winner usually comes from that show as proven by Sex and the City in 2004, Desperate Housewives in 2005, Grey’s Anatomy in 2007, and Modern Family the past two years. With that said, I’m expecting that the winner comes from Modern Family again this year. If they choose to spread the wealth, expect Jesse Tyler Ferguson to win. If they go with overdue factor, Ed O’Neill might pull off an upset. If they based it on a single episode, Eric Stonestreet might repeat. But if they take into consideration all factors, then Ty Burrell gets a repeat win. I’m currently betting on that.

Prediction: 
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Dark Horse: Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family”
Complete Rankings:
1. Burrell
2. Ferguson
3. Greenfield
4. Stonestreet
5. O’Neill
6. Hader

ANALYSIS: Emmy Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series 2012   Leave a comment

EPISODE SUBMISSIONS:

• Elizabeth Banks, “30 Rock” (The Return of Avery Jessup)
• Kathy Bates, “Two and a Half Men” (Why We Gave Up Women)
• Margaret Cho, “30 Rock” (The Return of Avery Jessup)
• Dot Marie Jones, “Glee” (Choke)
• Melissa McCarthy, “Saturday Night Live” (Host: Melissa McCarthy)
• Maya Rudolph, “Saturday Night Live” (Host: Maya Rudolph)

It’s funny to note how everyone’s supposed frontrunner Ellen Barkin was snubbed for a nomination when she was even predicted to be the winner this year. Anyway, Elizabeth Banks reaped a consecutive nod as Avery Jessup, and I find her submission to be better this year than her baby storyline last year. However, while I’m a fan of her chemistry with Alec Baldwin, I feel that her banters with him can go either way: people appreciating it or people feeling Baldwin owned that scene. Still Emmyless Kathy Bates nabbed two noms this year, and the first one is for her portrayal as the reincarnation of Charlie Sheen’s character in Two and a Half Men. In her submitted episode, she gets to smoke cigar and play the role of Charlie that is reminiscent of the Emmy nominated character. If voters feel that she’s somewhat overdue, I can see them giving her the Emmy in this category. Margaret Cho seems like a very humble character actress who was very elated with her Emmy nomination; however, her material simply does not warrant it. Her total episode screentime reminds me of Ellen Busrtyn’s infamous 2006 nomination. Yes, she gets to play different characters, but even in her submitted episode, it was her co-nominee Banks that stole the show from her. Dot Marie Jones remains to be the sole major Emmy nod for Glee, and her consecutive nod is an assurance that voters really like her character. While her episode tends to be on the dramatic side, she certainly leaves enough impact at the end f her episode, and I won’t be surprised if voters reward her with the trophy. The last two noms are both from Saturnday Night Live; the first one is current Emmy Best Actress Comedy champ Melissa McCarthy. In her submitted episode, she was really memorable especially in the skits that involved tasting a new salad dressing and the one where she keeps on falling the stairs. Those two skits alone can definitely assure her a justified and deserved win, IMO. The other SNL nominated performance belongs to Maya Rudolph who is a past SNL alum. This is the first time she hosted the show, and I’m really happy that she got nominated. The variation of the roles she played from a white trash (with Amy Poehler) to Beyonce to Michelle Obama and Maya Angelou is really memorable, and she blends well with the cast that it’s just pure comic genius that you’re seeing while watching the episode.

In the end, I feel it’s a battle of the Bridesmaids co-stars. At one hand, McCarthy being Emmy champ and the current comedy it girl can reap a second Emmy win, and like what I said, this win is definitely justified if it happens. She also has a bigger chance of winning here than reaping a second Lead Actress Comedy win, so if voters really want to reward her, they might vote for her here. On the other hand, Maya Rudolph also poses as a threat having the longest screentime and most memorable characters played in her episode (her Beyonce skit is Emmy worthy already!). If there happens to be a vote splitting between them, then expect Dot Marie Jones to prevail here with her serious and dramatic episode. But for now, I’m sticking with Maya Rudolph.

Prediction: Melissa McCarthy, “Saturday Night Live”
Dark Horse: Maya Rudolph, “Saturday Night Live”

Complete Rankings:
1. Rudolph
2. McCarthy
3. Jones
4. Bates
5. Banks
6. Cho

ANALYSIS: Emmy Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series 2012   1 comment

EPISODE SUBMISSIONS:

• Dylan Baker, “The Good Wife” (Marthas and Caitlins)
• Jeremy Davies, “Justified” (Coalition)
• Ben Feldman “Mad Men” (Dark Shadows)
• Michael J. Fox, “The Good Wife” (Parenting Made Easy)
• Mark Margolis, “Breaking Bad” (Face Off)
• Jason Ritter, “Parenthood” (Politics)

I find this group of nominees even better than my prediction ones with surprise deserving nods overall the expected ones. Dylan Baker, who was previously nominated two years ago for the same role, comes back with another nomination and this year, he gets a very good episode that shows his range and certainly leaves impact to voters. Certainly, he should be The Good Wife star that’s getting all the buzz in this category. Jeremy Davies is also another comeback nominee, and while I find his last year’s submission better than this year, he still gets a good amount of screentime with some highlights in his submitted episode; however, with everything that’s going in his episode, it’s hard for his arc to stand out overall. Ben Feldman replaces perennial nominee Robert Morse as mad Men’s nomination in this category, and while he shines in his elevator scene in the end with Hamm, he’s pretty much scattered all over the episode not gaining enough momentum to own it the way other nominees do. It is very much arguable if this is Michael J. Fox‘s best episode of the season, but his somewhat frontrunner status baffles me once you watch his submission. Julianna Margulies owned this episode, and the last scene with her certainly did not leave enough impact to bring it all the way to the Emmy podium. This made me remember how Matthew Perry was snubbed of a nomination this year, because Fox clearly made it solely on name basis. Mark Margolis is pretty much wise with his submitted episode, as it is an impressive and buzzed about Breaking Bad episode, and he was riveting and memorable in his submission. This is the type of performance that sticks with voters after seeing all episodes. Lastly, Jason Ritter manages a surprise nod, and his storyline is vital to the episode, but his role also benefits from a season arc judgment than a single episode one. 

I reiterate that I’m very much worried that Fox is the most buzzed nominee, and it saddens me if eh takes the plum. I’m torn between Dylan Baker and Mark Margolis as who to choose since it occurs to me that their episodes will stick to voters the most. However, since Baker is a returning nominee for a show that the Academy seems to recognize the most for acting, I’d predict Baker by a hair over Margolis.

Prediction: Dylan Baker, “The Good Wife”
Spoiler: Mark Margolis, “Breaking Bad”

Complete Rankings:
1. Baker
2. Margolis
3. Davies
4. Fox
5. Feldman
6. Ritter