Monday, June 27, 2011

This week on... TCM (June 27 - July 2)

It seems like this won't be a dry week on the good ol' television. There's quite an excellent array of TCM movies scheduled, many of which will be new to me and, hopefully, to you, too. Elsewhere on the dial, I'm still overjoyed that Hollywood Treasure has returned to Syfy (and, more importantly, to me). It's a pop culture enthusiast's half-hour paradise, and I don't think there's another show on cable that I love as much as this one. It's currently airing two new episodes a week on Wednesdays (from 10:00-11:00 PM EST). Check your local listings. My TV Guide indicated that Syfy will be showing a marathon of Hollywood Treasure later this week (Friday or Saturday, I think). That will be a perfect time for those who have missed out to catch up. I urge all fans of pop culture, movies, television, and comics to check it out. Incidentally, the auction house behind the show, Profiles in History, is also responsible for the monumental Debbie Reynolds auction. I'm hoping that the only other auction/collectible-related show I love (as per my auction/pawn shop/collectible review post from last December), Discovery Channel's Auction Kings (about Atlanta's Gallery 63), will be returning soon.

I'm also still enjoying BBC America's Come Fly With Me (as reviewed in my previous post) which does air on Saturdays at 11:30 PM. You can't go wrong with David Walliams and Matt Lucas, and David Schwimmer was actually hilarious on the second episode. Don't miss this show; there are only six episodes total!

Monday, June 27, 2011
Lili (1953) 4:15 PM - A sweet French-themed musical starring Leslie Caron and Mel Ferrer. A joy to behold, I assure you!
Stage Fright (1950) 8:00 PM - A Hitchcock double-feature (both of which I've never seen!)
I Confess (1953) 10:00 PM - Montgomery Clift in a Hitchcock film!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Brigadoon (1954) 10:00 PM - Brigadoon always puzzled me. I haven't seen it for at least 15 years, and I'm eager to reassess it now.
Let's Be Happy (1957) 12:00 AM - An unknown (by me) Vera-Ellen/Tony Martin musical

Friday, July 1, 2011 (theme: Farley Granger, Roy Rogers during prime time)
Strangers On A Train (1951) 3:00 PM - One of my favorite Hitchcock films mostly because of Robert Walker's character. Incidentally, this is why you should always put your bag or coat on the other seat and pretend that you have a companion who is elsewhere. The life of Farley Granger's character would have been less stressful had he done that.
Side Street (1950) 4:45 PM - Looks like Farley Granger may not be quite as innocent in this film noir.
They Live By Night (1949) 6:15 PM - I've never seen this, but the premise ('After an unjust prison sentence, a young innocent gets mixed-up with hardened criminals and a violent escape.') sounds like a sequel to the excellent Paul Muni film I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang.
Frankenstein 1970 (1958) 2:45 AM - Starring Boris Karloff. I'm mostly interested in seeing 1958's vision of 1970 (if that has any part in the movie).

Saturday, July 2, 2011
City Lights (1931) 8:00 PM - It's an Essential!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Carry On Luggage: BBC's Come Fly With Me

[photo copyright BBC]

Matt Lucas and David Walliams, the daffy duo known for Little Britain [2] and Rock Profile [2], are no strangers to playing a myriad of bizarre characters. They have practically built their entire reputation on playing anyone and everyone, from the supposed 'average' Brit to some of the most famous popstars from the past thirty years. No premise is too off-the-wall or too tasteless for these two chameleons, and their brand of humor is a certifiable cringefest.

Lucas and Walliams' new series, Come Fly With Me, which debuted last week on BBC America, is yet another stab at the increasingly popular mockumentary genre. Like Parks and Recreation and The Office franchise, Come Fly With Me intersperses workplace scenes with employee talking heads that underline the inefficiency of their entire enterprise. Here, Lucas and Walliams have set their show in the hub of a bustling airport that is rife with bureaucratic screw-ups and worthless workers. Apparently, over the run of the six half-hour episodes that constitute this first series, the partners will play more than fifty characters, including a husband and wife pilot team; the coffee kiosk lady; and a set of oblivious paparazzi! Many American viewers who are not familiar with the Little Britain style might find their portrayal of characters of differing classes, ethnicities, races, and genders (with liberal amounts of make-up, bad accents, stereotypes, and prosthetics) uncomfortable, but that's part of their buffoonery. Fans of Little Britain will note one major difference between the two series: Come Fly With Me has no laughs! Little Britain was a pro at the sort of embarrassing humor that Ricky Gervais and Arrested Development fans appreciate, but, without the audience laughs to break the ice, the awkwardness of Come Fly With Me is even more palpable.

But that shouldn't scare you off! After viewing the first episode, my hopes are soaring for this show. So far, we have already met the owner of Flylo Airlines, Omar Baba (Walliams); Fearghal O'Farrell (Lucas), a steward who stuffed a baby into the overhead compartment; and Melody and Keeley, the vapid check-in girls who come across as a combination of Little Britain's Carol Beer ('computer says no') and a smarter Vicky Pollard. My favorite characters from the first episode were Moses Beacon, the eager to please Passenger Liaison, and Hetty Wolf, an elderly lady who claims to be a first-time passenger to improve her flying experience. They were the Lou and Andy of this particular show. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you'll just have to tune in to catch up! Come Fly With Me is definitely a must-see for fans of Little Britain and Tracey Ullman.

(Incidentally, for those unfamiliar with Little Britain, it had a similar all-inclusive premise. Lucas and Walliams played dozens of characters of every ilk who were supposed to represent a typical cross-section of English society. While the show was supposed to be a look at the lives of ordinary Brits, most characters were usually downright perverse. Rock Profile, on the other hand, was an earlier series that ran on the BBC. It was a 'real' popstar interview program hosted by an actual children's television presenter, Jamie Theakston. Lucas and Walliams played up everyone from Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey to Elton John, George Michael, Blur (all four members between the two of them!), ABBA, and Bono and The Edge from U2. Looking back over the highs of Lucas and Walliams' first two popular series thrills me to welcome them back with a whole new set of characters!)

Come Fly With Me airs on BBC America on Saturdays at 10:30 PM EST, but consult your local listings so you don't miss the flight!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

This week on... TCM (June 19 - 25)

Sunday, June 19, 2011
The Courtship Of Eddie's Father (1968) 3:30 PM - People, let me tell you about my best friend. Movies with Nilsson soundtracks usually have the Nilsson songs playing non-stop over the entire movie, so hopefully this one will follow suit.
Waterloo Bridge (1931) 5:15 AM - This is the original 1931 version starring Mae Clarke, Kent Douglass, and Doris Lloyd. I saw the fantastic 1940 remake with Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor and wouldn't mind comparing the two.

Monday, June 20, 2011
Room Service (1938) 12:15 AM - Marx Bros.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Guys And Dolls (1955) 1:30 AM - There we go. Finally. There's no way I can miss this time slot.

Thursday, June 23, 2011
To Sir, With Love (1967) 3:30 PM - Fantastic movie. Sidney Poitier is something else. I've enjoyed several of his movies, but this one is still probably my favorite.

Friday, June 24, 2011
Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957) 8:00 PM - Is Rock Hunter an amalgamation of Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter? Regardless, the all-star cast includes Tony Randall, Jayne Mansfield, Betsy Drake (the lucky Mrs. Cary Grant!), and Joan Blondell (among others)
The Beyond (1983) 2:00 AM - I love movies and tv shows about Hellmouths. This movie is about a hotel built over a Hellmouth. Where's your favorite Hellmouth?

Saturday, June 25, 2011
Out Of The Past (1947) 8:00 PM - Robert Mitchum stars in this Jacques Tourneur noir, a TCM Essential.

In just a few hours I'll be watching the first episode of the new series by David Walliams and Matt Lucas of Little Britain fame. It's called Come Fly With Me, and it's airing on one of the most disappointing cable channels (in other words, BBC America). It airs immediately after the WORST British comedy ever made (in other words, The Inbetweeners). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this one won't disappoint like most every other show I'm hoping won't suck but does within two or three episodes. Also, I guarantee some fake vomit because it is Walliams and Lucas. I'll report back on the show after viewing! FYI, it seems to air Saturday night, Sunday morning (depending on how you look at it) on BBC America (potentially at 11:30 pm, 2:30 am, and 4:30 or 5:30 am EST). Check your local listings.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

This week on... TCM (June 5 - 11)

Sunday, June 5, 2011
Arsenic And Old Lace (1944) 1:45 PM - I'm a son of a sea cook!

Monday, June 6, 2011 (tonight: Ernie Kovacs in the movies)
North By Northwest (1959) 5:30 PM
Operation Mad Ball (1957) 10:15 PM - Jack Lemmon and Ernie Kovacs!
Five Golden Hours (1960) 12:15 AM - Ernie Kovacs, Cyd Charisse, George Sanders?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Bells Are Ringing (1960) 8:30 AM - This Vincente Minnelli movie has the Midas Touch (the Mighty Midas Touch)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
The Young Philadelphians (1959) 5:30 PM - Paul Newman is a Young Philadelphian

Saturday, June 11, 2011
The Caine Mutiny (1954) 8:00 PM
King & Country (1964) 10:15 PM - Morrissey and my favorite, Tom Courtenay