Caffeinated Clint – 28/3/06


This week, everyone is having a rant!

Caffeinated Clint
A weekly editorial Grande with a double shot
Incorporating “This week in TV”

It’s been a little quiet around here this week, hasn’t it? Sorry about that – at first I assumed it was the ‘scratch and sniff’ element of the site that might have put people off, especially since it was the new ‘aroma de’la Clinto shower-towelo’ that you were taking in – but I’ve been busier than a drink-spiker on the closing night of a sports event. Oh, and my typing finger begged me for an RDO late last week. It’s been raining work this week – fortunately, because I need the dollars, but unfortunately, because my pillow is starting to miss me – and I just haven’t had time to log on. But we’re all re-energised, waiting to go again, and complete with a overfilled (thanks to my lovely coffee girls…who have made my coffee before I even approach the counter) cup of Joe, and you know what that means? (Hey, who yelled out ‘more think-second whining?!) Time for the weekly confessions of an overcaffineated Dancing with the Stars reject. As Glen Frey says post-Mexican, the ‘Heat is on’….

Quarter way through coffee

You know what I hate? Folks consistently getting your url wrong! We have never been freakin’ (Hey, whose censoring me?!), nor mother flippin’ (who the heck is censoring me!?), nor (ha ha, gotha censor!) – so stop getting our address wrong! Since the turn of time, we’ve been Yep, that’s right, MOVIEHOLE.NET. If I wanted the address, I would’ve already paid off the guy that’s running the porn site on it (well, at least it’s a porn site for several months off the year, then, it’s just a search engine) with the 5 billion rupiah he’s no doubt chasing for it these days. Finally, big hi to these well researched chaps here, here and here.
No wait, I’m not finished. How would you like it if the ATO sends your tax refund to the chap up the road, because he’s got the same name on the street sign of his close, as you do on your road? Ignorance, that’s all it is…and we’re not the only ones. Get our friends URLs – IESB, Bloody Disgusting, et al – right too! Gone are the days when you could just ‘assume’ everyone is a .com. That went out with Scott Wolf’s film career.

Half-way through coffee

But then there’s an even lower bunch. Heck, we’d be happy to be credited as a or a or a, from this bunch that I’m about to let the firing squad onto it… The blatant PINCHERS!
I’ve seen so many websites take our news items lately. Now I’m not talking about fellow film sites, they’re in the same boat as me, but the big legitimate news sites – especially one situated in the Bollywood district! – and even a TV station. Yep, we’re talking about huge outlets with employees that did get paid twenty-times as much as us small film fansites get….and what are they doing? Simply taking items from all our sites – yep, all of us, not just Moviehole – and passing it off as their own. It’s just low. We work hard to do these sites, and most of us for no money, so have some respect dog. So on behalf of all of us sites who ‘do it for the love, not the money’ – leave our items be, or at least have the respect to erase the “Hi, Clint here. I wanted to comment on the state of how hairy…..” from the introductions of the stuff you pinch. Sounds crazy, but I swear, some don’t even bother to MAKE it look like their own.

Three quarters the way through coffee

You may remember last week, that I mentioned how great TV seems to be in comparison to a lot of today’s films. All the good ideas seem to be going into the TV shows we have on right now – “Veronica Mars”, “Prison Break”, “Deadwood”, “Love My Way” etc – and anything but intellect seems to be behind the current movies of our times. Seriously, who wants to pay 15 bucks for “Big Momma’s House 2”? When they can stay home and watch the much funnier “Rescue Me”, on TV, in the comfort of their own home?
A few folks chimed in with their comments, and most seem to agree that TV is significantly better than the current crop of film releases. The question is…. why? Is it laziness? It is resources? Is it an easier gamble playing with TV? Or is it the fact that TV has Rob Thomas, and, well, film doesn’t. Here are a few ‘special guests’ that chimed in with their take on my proclamation….

The talent responds….

A letter from Muse Watson (“Prison Break”)
First up, Muse Watson. He’s one of the stars of FOX’s smasheroo “Prison Break”, and before that, was best known as the killer fishmerman, Ben Willis, in “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and its sequel, as well as for his turns in “Songcatcher” and “American Outlaws”. Bottom line: “Prison Break” is the best goddamn role anyone has given Muse in years. It’s true. He’s always been fantastic; it’s just taken someone that works on TV to notice it. So what has Muse got to say?

Since I don’t watch TV or go to movies, I’m not sure if I could agree with your premise or whether I am entitled to an opinion…. but I could respond to you with what I think is the difference in how they are being made and how they are being received.
Are movies worse today and TV better…or is the audience so impatient, so immature, so interested in instant gratification that only the quick cuts of television are satisfying the public’s need for stimulation?
When is the last time you talked with someone that you weren’t interrupting their sentences and they weren’t interrupting yours? No one waits for an entire line of dialog in his or her personal lives. No wonder their perfect entertainment has become out of focus, ill lit, quick cuts at a pace that is faster than their real lives. Film has nuance…the audience doesn’t have time for nuance anymore.
With film you have to go to a movie theatre and sit and watch someone have a conversation… TV, 10 minutes after the broadcast you have 100,000 posts on your web site from the audience telling you what they liked and what they didn’t like. In the next episode, you get what you want or the show is cancelled.
I know that some years ago, you wouldn’t have had the film actor pool to draw from on television…. and now because of the money you do. The residuals for films is less now than they were. TV used to have to pay film companies for the rights to show films on TV…The ‘bottom line’ businessmen running the studios have figured out vertical integration of their companies so that TV producing companies own film studios and the reverse. The money negotiated for the screening of films on tv is less so the residuals for the actors is less. …And that is only one area where they have marginalized the actors pay for film. The money for TV is extraordinary at times, bringing in talent from films who would never have done TV before. Not only do the actors need the money, but also it is more money than it used to be to do TV. That’s why you see “names” on TV now. That’s got to be making the acting better on TV.
Could it be that TV seems better because the acting is better and the audience has changed? In that case, the editors are the key. Cutting performances to smithereens to satisfy the immature audience. There is a reason that the first 20 minutes of any TV show is executive producer credits, and rightly so. Those are the guys and gals who are making the decisions about what you are watching. Some actors hardly recognize their performances. The final product has been manipulated to satisfy what the producers think the audience wants. You can change an entire performance by editing in reactions of what is being said and taking the camera off the actor speaking. If the public really wanted to honour the people that are entertaining them they would have an awards show and make celebrities of the directors, producers, and editors. Those are the folks who are jerking them off at the pace they want – Muse Watson, actor

A letter from Adam Scott (“Monster-In-Law”).
Adam Scott is an actor I’ve always liked. He’s great. He’s played it all too – military men (“High Crimes”), a golden-age movie star (“The Aviator”), a bent fed (“Torque”), a very flamboyant homosexual (“Monster-in-Law”), and even a Space explorer (“Star Trek: First Contact”). Last year, he took a break from films to do a guest-shot on the TV series “Veronica Mars”. I thought that was a really interesting choice. OK, so it’s not like Tom Cruise clearing his schedule to do a three-episode arc on “How I Met Your Mother”, but still, Scott’s got such a good little film career going for himself – his most recent film, “The Matador”, is a doozie – that he didn’t need to do a TV series. In the old days, doing TV was a sign that your film career had dried up, still is to an extent.. What inspired Scott’s decision was simply how well written “Veronica Mars” is. Television circa 2005 was a phenomenon and he just wanted in.

Clint, interesting topic. I think the combination of HBO upping the stakes with “Sopranos” in the late 90’s made for a more sophisticated audience, and inspired TV writers, and the reality explosion of the early 00’s woke the powers to be up to the fact that you may need to actually be good to sustain loyal viewership, or they’ll flee to mind-numbing garbage.
I think “Sopranos” has shown how to fully take advantage of the long-form story–they have turned the 13 hr season into and art form in and of itself. I’m not saying they’re the first, but they are the modern model. I’m not sure that shows like “Deadwood” and “Lost” would have been given the room to flourish before “Sopranos”, but you could also theorize that the audience would not have been available to them. “The Sopranos” changed TV, but they also changed the audience.
Maybe the box office being down a few % points last year will get people motivated to make better films, but I think too much has been made of this downtick. More than bad movies, I would say the shrinking DVD/cable window is the culprit.
There have always been good and bad movies, maybe studio fare last yr was below par quality-wise, but it always is, and there were many great films in ’05 – Adam Scott, actor

A letter from John Billingsley (“Star Trek : Enterprise”).
John Billingsley dropped by for his two-cents too. Now this is an interesting one, because John’s series “Star Trek : Enterprise”, which I loved, got a regular panning. But still….it was probably a better job than any film role he could’ve got at the time. I imagine. Anyway, John, who actually just won a starring role on a new TV series (supposed to be a goodie too) called “Nine Lives”, has a rather different take on the topic. Here is what he has to say.

TV wised up, a few years back, and recognized that they could tell serialized stories, in which things didn’t have to tie up nicely at the end of the hour. Great storytelling is expansive storytelling – everybody loves the sprawl and sweep, the nuance and filigree, of a great Dickensian novel – and TV, for lots of reasons, now recognizes that it’s okay to say, in effect, ‘Continued Next Week’. I think in large part this is cuz people don’t watch TV the same way they used to – we now have personal VCR’s that allow us to record every episode of a program, guaranteeing (to the networks) that an audience member isn’t gonna go, whoops, missed an episode, now I guess I’ll have to just bail on the series . . . I think this, in combo with DVDs (‘Hey, I can buy or rent the last season of “Alias” and catch up so I can be ready for this season’), in combo with the fact (this part I hate) that studios and producers know they can keep actor’s salaries down by making EVERY CHARACTER VULNERABLE to the season ending guillotine, have encouraged a whole new way of thinking about how to tell stories, and there is, consequently, more tension, surprise and originality in a lot of shows than heretofore.
Finally, I think that HBO’s success, in particular, has encouraged ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX to take more creative risks and has forced them, in effect, to compete for an adult audience by telling more adult stories – I don’t mean this in the sense that sex and violence is more prevalent on tv, although god knows it is, but more importantly in the sense that TV is less concerned about ‘happy endings’, and less tied to a Pollyanna-ish world view in which right is right, wrong is wrong, virtue always triumphs and people can be neatly slotted into simple moral pigeonholes – complexity is hip, in other words, simplicity is outre. (Apropos of nothing: hats off to Steven Bochco for being one of contemporary TV’s real pioneers in this respect, cuz I think this ‘revolution’ started with (in my humble opinion) “Hill Street Blues” ). Now, having said all that, for my money, Cable TV still trumps network TV because it can take greater liberties, and personally I think “The Sopranos”, “Deadwood”, “Six Feet Under”, “The Wire”, maybe (to a lesser extent) “Rome”, “Big Love”, “Huff”, “Entourage”, “The Shield”, “Nip/Tuck” kick ass compared to everything on network TV . . .
As to the film world, I would say the overall proportion of good films to bad is no better or worse than it’s ever been, although I would decry the studio’s ever-growing fixation with only releasing ‘quality films’ in the fall and leaving viewers who aren’t that into ‘popcorn pics’ bored and antsy from Feb-October. Obviously, this is in large part because of the profusion of awards given out in Jan-March, and the studio’s relentless hunger to capitalize on the additional moolah winning awards represents. If I had one wish, frankly, re: lemme at the industry, it would be to eliminate ‘award season’ in Hollywood: decent films could then be released throughout the year and people could begin to make movie-going part of their regular routine again instead of treating movie ‘season’ as a truncated and intense holiday gorge-fest. Regularized attendance might lead the studios to recognize there is a consistent market for smaller films: the reason we see so much schlock is cuz the folks who make movies think audiences won’t come to movies in the summer, for instance, if they aren’t KAPOW, which I think is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy . . . Most self-styled KAPOW movies suck cuz character development, thematic complexity, et al, get sacrificed for the KAPOW shit and eventually people who value those qualities stop going to summer movies which only reinforces lame-ass studio thinking and HOW DO WE GET OFF THAT MERRY-GO ROUND?? Personally, I rarely go to the movies until October, which I think is pretty fucked up . . .
And, although you didn’t ask, I would RANT MY ASS OFF, if I were you, about the FCC’s attempt to impose their ass-cheeks-glued-together aesthetic on network TV: by imposing draconian fines on network affiliates for showing ‘objectionable material’ before l0:00, they’re doing their best to suppress the very trends that you want to celebrate. Fuck them, fuck them with ardor and ferocity, and fuck them hard enough to get them to back off before they try and go after cable, too, as they have threatened to do. Move to Afghanistan, fellas, if you want to live somewhere where the state suppresses freedom of expression, and take your loony-tune theocratic bible-thumping masters with you – John Billingsley, actor.

A Letter from Doug Ellin (creator of “Entourage”)
Doug Ellin is the man behind one of the TV shows described above (by Billingsley) as ‘kicking ass’, “Entourage”. It’s a treat and a half. So why does he think TV is having the last laugh, at present?

I think because of the amount of money it now costs to make a movie people are less willing to take chances.As well as the fact that in TV once the train starts rolling on a series it is hard to stop and really hard for executives to meddle. Also I feel TV has an advantage cause over the life of a series characters can go anywhere and do anything and are not locked into 90 minutes – Doug Ellin, series creator

A Letter from Stephen Tobolowsky (“Deadwood”)
I know Stephen well. We’re actually looking to work together on something. I tell you, the guy has done it all. More recently though, he took a break from films to do an amazing stint on TV’s “Deadwood”. He has also just agreed to be a full-timer in a new TV show called “The Guys”. Stephen had a couple of comments about the current state of film vs. TV.

Shooting from the hip I would say that cable has been the savoir of television…I has encouraged some great producers (Like David Milch) to push the boundaries…but with quality…Like “Deadwood”, “Sex in the City”, or “The Sopranos”.
Conversely, business models have shown that a modestly budgeted film can make money with no domestic release (meaning foreign and DVD only). So a lot of exploitive producers have rushed in with derivative material…sequels…spins of old television shows, video games, etc in hopes of a quick hit. There has been very few aiming for the size of “Lawrence of Arabia”, the originality of Altman’s “Three Women”, or simply the universal entertainment appeals of “The Sound of Music” or “My Fair Lady” – Stephen Tobolowsky, actor

A Letter from Damon Herriman (“Love My Way”)
Here’s a note from a local lad, Damon Herriman, who plays George on the critically-acclaimed cable drama, “Love My Way”. Herriman’s been a regular in films here for years (Our American readers might even recognize him for his weirdo redneck in “House of Wax”), but garnered one of his best roles in years, thanks to a well-written TV drama series. Here’s Damo….

In America I think it’s a bit chicken and egg. Was it the writing and production values in TV that started getting better which in turn drew actors and creative people from the film world? Or did those working in film start getting attracted by the money and security of TV and the quality went up from there? Probably a bit of both. Either way, the stigma of film actors doing TV and the reluctance to cast TV actors in movies has almost
completely disappeared, so I think the gap between the two is going to get even smaller.
In Australia with a show like “Love My Way”, I think it just came down to the creative freedom given by Foxtel. By not trying to second guess what audiences might want, yhey’ve come up with something that audiences absolutely DO want – an emotionally honest show with real stories and characters that people can relate to – Damon Herriman, actor

NB: We actually had a smorgasbord of mail about the topic – a lot from your folks too – but some aren’t happy for it to be in print (for fear of never getting a film role again!). Responses though, we’re pretty universal.

One sip to go

Also last week, you’ll remember my pissed-off statement about crap reaping all the glory at the box office these days – and the good stuff left to play to empty theatres. Having mentioned “The Matador” – the brilliant new film starring Pierce Brosnan, which frighteningly, has disappeared from the Australian release schedule – my good friend, Richard Shepard, the man responsible for the movie, dropped us a line. Here’s his take on why all the rubbish got the royal treatment.

As for my opinion, I think there are audiences for more interesting movies, the problem is the more interesting movies tend to not have nearly the marketing budget
that the bigger films do. (As was the case of “The Matador” in the USA — which by the by, made The Weinstein Co back their money TWICE just in theatrical run, not including all the DVD /cable etc– so they think its a big hit) Used to be the smaller cooler films would have time to build word of mouth etc, but now, with so many movies opening every weekend you have to fight for theatre space and press attention and there’s no time for real word of mouth. That, and with the economy so tight, people don’t want to take risks. They’d rather see a mediocre Martin Lawrence movie that feels familiar, then take a risk on a movie that they can catch on DVD in 2 months for a lot less – Richard Shephard, writer/director, “The Matador”.

Filmmaker Robert Brinkmann, director of the Indy fave “Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday Party”, also got acquainted with my inbox.

I think it’s all Spielberg’s fault. With “Jaws” (released, I believe, on 800 screens, more than any other film ever before) he changed the studio release pattern from platform to wide. Ever since, the pattern is wider and wider releases, more and more marketing money, and, consequently, worse and worse films. When you go for the widest common denominator, you also end up with the lowest. The huge marketing costs require a massive influx of cash, which you can only get by appealing to the most number of people by going for the most watered down appeal. And I tell you: IT’S CRAP. The critics are right, no matter what the box office does. If you judged by financial success alone, McDonalds would be the best restaurant on the planet. Obviously it isn’t. In fact, it’s bad for you. So is “Big Momma’s House 2”. It’s cholesterol for your brain without any nutritional value.
So, I will still listen to the restaurant critics (and film critics,) eat well and healthy (and watch ‘The Matador’) and enjoy my life. Maybe other people will come around, too. McDonalds is not doing so well and Whole Foods supermarkets are sprouting up everywhere. There may be a hope for healthy independent movies yet – director/cinematographer Robert Brinkmann

DVD of the week
The Transporter 2 – Bond Schmond, the future of the spy film, if you ask me, lies solely with Jason Statham and his unstoppable Frank. Both “Transporter” movies have been funner than endless rides on the Pirate Ship – plenty of action, lots of ridiculously cool stunts, and one heck of an actor to carry it all off. I’m hoping that Luc Besson’s talking to FOX about a third one already.

Theatrical release of the week
Inside Man – If his “Do the Right Thing” and “Malcolm X” were Twinkies, then Spike Lee’s “Inside Man” is an Apple – just as tasty, but consumable by a much wider-crowd (those on diets, diabetics, the lactose intolerant…. the list goes on, but since we’re only using the notion to paint a picture, there’s really no reason to). To many, this might very well be their first ‘Spike Lee’ film.
And though our director still stands up on the box and rants – though his political messages and racial proclamations are hidden deep beneath the commercialism of the film – Lee’s latest seems much more occupied in purely entertaining an audience, than preaching to them. A welcome virgin to the Multiplex he is too.
In a nutshell: Clive Owen is the ringleader of a bunch of bank-robbers that have decided to rob, of all financial institutions, the Chase Manhattan Bank in Wall Street. Denzel Washington is the detective who is assigned to the case when our rogue takes hostages. Jodie Foster is a cold-as-winter spin-doctor of sorts, someone in bed with the Mayor (though not literally), who helps keep the skeletons in the closet of many a millionaire. How is the charming thief going to pull off the ‘perfect’ heist? (And we know it will be, because he tells us that at the start of the film), how is Washington’s law-enforcer going to take him down? How unscrupulous will Foster’s character be? And what have the filmmakers got planned for co-star Christopher Plummer? (He’s too good, not to be in it for a reason).
As you can assume from the synopsis, it is an all-round appealing thriller, but it wouldn’t be a Spike Lee film (or ‘Joint’ as he likes to call his movies) if there weren’t a message here, would it? Well, there is. There’s statements on race, religion, the law, the persuasive nature of money…. but thankfully, they take nothing away from the film, in fact, simply adding further appeal to a film that’s roofed in credibility and class. A point might just be what it needed to push it above being your typically “fun, but forgettable popcorn thriller”.
Typically, film critics see movies for free. We watch them at media screening – special screenings that are set-up for journalists to catch the film before its release – and if we don’t get to it, we usually miss out. I missed the screening for this one. Now usually, I’d just be done with it and forget about it – wait for the video, in most cases. But never had a film been so worthy of shelling out money for. After all – look at that cast! There was no way I was missing this. And you know what? Best fifteen bucks I’ve spent in a long time. Truly. This has got to be one of the smartest and funnest heist films to come along since, well, the likes of “The Usual Suspects” or even further back, “Dog Day Afternoon”. They don’t come along too often, so shredding a few digits from this weeks wage is nothing – especially when entertainment comes this grand. Everything about “Inside Man” is near watertight – well, Foster’s character could have been explained a bit more, and there’s a couple of things that weren’t properly explained – the performances, the comprehensive screenplay, the exhilarating direction, the efficient cinematography, the pay-off. I’m betting you’ll feel it was money well spent too.

This Week’s Useless bit of Advice
If you open the fridge and the light is off, and there’s water dripping from the freezer compartment, it’s probably best to a) check that it’s switched on b) make sure both the bulb is fine, and the automatic defrost is off c) get towels.

Missing Career Alert
David Manning. He was the critic’s darling – and a fan of such films as “The Animal”, “Vertical Limit” and “A Knight’s Tale” – and prize-contributor of Ridgefield Press, but quicker than you can say ‘can you put me through to Mr Manning?’ – he was gone. Sadly missed, I’m sure.

5 things you didn’t know about me (and probably don’t care to know)
1. I once trained for “Young Talent Time”. (Don’t ask)
2. Spent one Christmas Day reading ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ cover to cover. Festive indeed.
3. Once played Paul McCartney in a school tribute to “The Beatles”. I believe Amanda Bynes pinched my wig for “She’s The Man”.
4. Proposed to my now wife at a restaurant that, twelve months later, turned into a shoe store.
5. Started up Moviehole – whilst in my lunchbreak – whilst I was still working for a film studio.

Plugs for Friends (and others pretending to be!)
1. The Da Vinci Code : Advance Tickets : Tickets to the biggest movie event of the year will be on sale to the public from Thursday March 30 to coincide with the worldwide release of the new trailer and poster art. To view the brand new trailer, click here
2. Meet Amanda Bynes! : Popular young actress Amanda Bynes will make a public appearance at the Melbourne Premiere of “She’s The Man” at Village Cinemas Southland, Nepean Highway, Cheltenham, on Thursday March 30, 2006. It all kicks off about 6pm.
3. The FILMINK Awards : Want to rub shoulders with today’s hottest movie stars? See how they look in person? Well, here’s your once in a lifetime chance! Buy your ticket now to the 2006 FILMINK Awards, which will be held at the glamorous State Theatre. Live acts playing on the night. Tickets now available through Ticketmaster for just $45. Seats limited so call now on 1300 136 166 or go to
4. Awaken the Dead : Great new horror pic about to be unleashed called “Awaken the Dead”, opening July 2006. Its a rock & roll redemption tale set in a world of the undead, that goes a little something like this : Two lost souls are trapped in a house waiting for a man they fear and fending off zombies as they try to piece together what has happened. He’s Christopher (Played by Gary Douglas Kohn) a former government assassin who has disavowed violence due to his brutal past. She’s Mary (Played by Lindsey Morris) a fierce recluse who only wants to hide from the world that has trampled her. But both of them must come to terms with their weaknesses if they hope to survive. I’m intrigued….I’m thinking you guys might be too. Click here for the official site.
5. The Triangle : Channel Nine has announced the air dates for the anticipated sci-fi mini-series, “The Triangle”. A superb cast, headed by Sam Neill, stars in the miniseries, which premieres on Channel Nine on Sunday, April 2 at 8.30pm and concludes on Tuesday, April 4 at 8.30pm.
6. Ice Age 2 Snowball fight : Tag your mate with a frosty ball now and join the global snowball fight… here

[Australia Only]
What’s on this week?

Commander in Chief – Monday 9:40PM, SEVEN – Again, “Rescue Me” is on opposite it, so you might want to have a blank tape on stand-by, but worth tuning into this entertaining, albeit headed-for-the-grave, political drama. Encores on Friday nights, just in case you miss it on Monday nights.
Prison Break – Wednesday 8:30PM, SEVEN – Getting closer to the big moment where Michael’s going to set in motion the big escape. And anyone else feel sorry for Lincoln’s kid? God, poor kid just watched his mother and stepfather being assassinated by crooks. Best show on TV, easily.
Lost – Thursday 8:30PM, SEVEN – I’m still enjoying it, but it’s starting to lose me the longer it goes on. We need another death, yeah?
One Tree Hill – Saturday 7:30PM, FOX8 – The pilot is a little slow, and I’m guessing might put a few people off sticking with it, but do stay with it for a couple more episodes – it starts to find its ground about half-way through the season.
Before Sunset – Wednesday 8:30PM, MOVIE EXTRA – The sensational sequel to the brilliant “Before Sunrise”. The chemistry between stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy is extraordinary. If they weren’t already now a couple in real life, I’d ask why?
Pressure – Wednesday 11:55PM, MOVIE EXTRA – Richard ‘The Matador’ Shepard directs this low-budget, but effective thriller, starring Lochlyn Munro and Kerr Smith. Slick and suspenseful.
Air Crash Investigations – Wednesday 9:30PM, SEVEN – OK, so probably not the best to idea to watch this one if you’re afraid of flying.

5 things that happened in TV-ville this week
1. In a gold medal performance FOX8’s “Super Simpsons with Ian Thorpe” marathon has delivered the channel its highest weekly ratings share for the year to date. Screening up against the all conquering coverage of the 2006 Commonwealth Games, FOX8 swam against the tide actually winning viewers with its programming stunt of back-to-back episodes of “The Simpsons”. OzTAM figures released today show the FOX8 channel recorded a 5.3 per cent share of viewing for Week 12 (March 19 – 25, 2am to 2am).
2.David E.Kelley has a new show in the works, based on the BBC’s 2006 sci-fi crime drama “Life on Mars.” [More]
3. Last week, “South Park” killed off the popular character, Chef. [More]
4. One of the male cast members of “Friends” is responsible for the collapse of the reunion show – apparently. [More]
5. Music superstars, Gorillaz, have been offered their own TV series. [More]

Contact Clint Morris on