Friday, November 28, 2008

From Heroes to Zeros

A curious property of the DVR: It reveals what your true TV priorities are. I recently sat down to watch an episode of "Heroes," a show I've watched since it first aired, and I found that I couldn't bring myself to press the "play" button. I had the epiphany that I no longer cared about the show or its characters.

Season 3 has recycled the plots and subplots of earlier episodes. The future is yet again threatened by apocalypse. Hiro, who should be a kick-ass sumurai warrior by now, is still about as threatening as a panda. And Claire again has daddy issues ... again. (Someone save this cheerleader, please!) Entertainment Weekly seems to have noticed that the show is in a rut, too. (Wait, didn't creator Tim Kring already promise that he'd fix the show earlier this year?) "Heroes" may pull itself out of a nosedive just a "Lost" did last season. But until that happens, if it happens, the episodes are going to pile up like so many Tetris blocks on my DVR.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Aussiewood woes

Australia has produced a disproportionate number of A-list stars: Mel Gibson, Naomi Watts, Heath Ledger, Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, and Cate Blanchett. So why is Aussiewood unable to retain its talent or even lure Australians to see homegrown films?

My latest story takes a look at the Antipodean industry's deep-rooted problems as well as its hopes to boomerang back on to the world stage with films such as "Australia" and government restucturing of its various film agencies.

The last time an Australian film of particular note made an impact on US screens was probably "Lantana." The Dec. 5 release of a Toni Collette dramedy called "The Black Balloon" could make a similar splash on the art house circuit if US critics embrace it as much as Australian reviewers.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Music roundup

Here's a batch of new album reviews, including my take on AC/DC's riff-tastic "Black Ice," Jenny Lewis's bittersweet "Acid Tongue," Ryan Adams's country-rockin' "Cardinology," and the piano pop of Keane's "Perfect Symmetry."

Best of all: Marillion's "Happiness is the Road," a double album with more diverse elements than the Periodic Table.

Check out its lead single, "Whatever is Wrong With You" for free here.