Why do we enjoy shows like Law & Order and CSI? While I'll agree that Mariska Hargitay may be the reason, it's the process of the investigation that keeps us coming back for more. So here's a few things I've watched recently that makes us pull out our magnifying glass and search for clues:
Homeland: I have a friend who is in love with Claire Danes. Although I agree she's extremely pretty, she ranks no where near my Top Ten Most Beautiful Woman List. However, the one thing I can't deny, she's a fantastic actress. Playing an overly obsessive CIA agent with a bipolar disorder, Carrie (played by Claire) honestly makes me hurt inside when I see her cry. Although I started Homeland late in the game, I effortlessly finished the entire first season in less than a week. For those who don't know, Homeland is about an American soldier (Brody) returning from the Middle East after being held captive for many years. After returning home and welcomed as an All-American hero, Carrie is convinced he's a terrorist sleeper cell. With Season 1 almost ending with Brody blowing up the Vice President, Carrie manages to stop him even though she compromises her job, reputation, and sanity. Season 2 starts months later where Brody becomes an elected Congressman. What I truly love about this show is that the writers don't milk a story for an entire season. Rather than making the CIA capture Brody the season finale, they merely use this as a spring board at the season's halfway mark to make an even more intriguing story. This allowed for an even stronger Season 2 cliffhanger where the status quo has revered - America now sees Brody as Enemy Number One while Carrie sees him as the All-American hero. So as long as we still get to see Morena Baccarin (who plays Brody's wife), I'll continue watching Homeland and agree there's at least one woman who'd rank on my Top Ten list.
His Girl Friday: There's two reasons I watched this movie. Reason number one is that it stars Carey Grant. I've come to really enjoy his acting and respect his filmography. Reason number two is that it appeared on a Tarantino favorite film list. Although a dark story is involved (an innocent man condemned to the noose), this is a comedic movie with fast-paced and witty dialogue. Directed by powerhouse Howard Hawks, this tale features how newspaper reporters will almost do anything to get the scoop. It also explains why the passion of investigation can destroy a relationship. I highly recommend this movie for anyone wanting to watch charismatic film of the Hollywood glory days.
Rear Window: Only one man can tell an entire story in one room and create so much suspense. In Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, Jimmy Stewart is a photographer trapped in his apartment after breaking his leg from his latest escapade. Bored out of his mind, Stewart watches from his window, peeping on his fellow apartment tenants. What first seems to be harmless fun to make time pass by, this unhealthy voyeurism becomes quite serious after Stewart believes he witnessed a murder incident. This is such a fantastic film and I can see its influence on Brian DePalma. The set is perfectly designed where the audience gets to sit with Jimmy Stewart in his wheelchair while he spies on his colorful neighbors: There's the frustrated musician, the woman trying to get a date, and even a beautiful blonde dancer with fantastic legs. However, the real suspense is when Stewart's girlfriend, played by the beautiful Grace Kelly, sneaks into the murderer's apartment and tries to collect evidence. If you're not on the edge of your seat as Stewart helplessly watches Grace Kelly being attacked from across the street, you must not have a heart or soul...
Pontypool: Growing up, I always preferred talk radio over music. Not to say I don't love music, but I find a car ride is much quicker when there's a radio personality talking in the background (hence why I love podcasts). Pontypool takes this idea of radio reporting and combines it with a terrifying Sci-Fi twist. A shock jock played by Stephen McHattie receives news of a potential "zombie outbreak" in the local town of Pontypool. Although we don't see the violence of the outside world, McHattie and his radio team are receiving real time news from callers reporting on the incident. Although it's a pretty refreshing idea to use a radio broadcast to provoke fear, the cause of the outbreak is even more extraordinary. Instead of losing your humanity to the typical zombie bite, your brain become infected by the sound of words... one of the unique most ideas I've ever heard of. Directed by Bruce McDonald (who previously directed a film in Tarantino's Rolling Thunder DVD line), this movie should be watched by every horror fan searching for an absolute original premise.