Elementary

Scream Factory

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The Legend of Hell House The Belasco House had seen its fair share of tragedy and carnality even before the man who had it built disappeared, but the years since have seen a continuation of death and terror. It’s known as Hell House, the Mt. Everest of haunted houses, and now a team consisting of a scientist, his wife and two mediums is going in to prove once and for all whether or not ghosts and the afterlife exist. Two of them are going to find out first hand before the week is out. Richard Matheson’s novel (Hell House) was adapted to the screen way back in ’73, but it remains one of the best haunted house flicks out there. There are legitimate chills throughout, some PG-rated sexiness and a wonderfully intense performance from Roddy McDowall too. Even better, at least for someone like myself who favors grounded explanations, the script gives nods to both the supernatural and the scientific. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: interviews, trailer]

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Elementary

On CBS’ Elementary, Johnny Lee Miller plays a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. The English actor’s interpretation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous sleuth is hyperkinetic. Holmes is indelicate. He jitters. When observing some liar or crime scene, he’s prone to biting his bottom lip—presumably, an outward manifestation of all of those synapses firing off in his big ol’ genius brain. Although none of these character quirks are particularly unexpected or novel they work. Miller is mesmerizing. His performance is the one thing that distinguishes this new series from other crime dramas. But shouldn’t the show’s connection to Conan Doyle’s stories be what sets it apart? This updated Holmes lives in Manhattan. His female Dr. Watson, Joan (Lucy Liu), isn’t a flatmate but a sober companion—like the Holmes of Conan Doyle’s stories, he struggles with drug addiction. He’s recently left rehab, living in an apartment owned by a father whom he resents, and consults for the NYPD. Holmes also seems to be fond of wearing clothes that are too small for him (but he looks very cute in his child-sized sweaters, so it’s hard to find fault in that). For CBS, bringing the character into the modern age, in part, means making him less refined. He isn’t a gentleman detective; he’s a scruffy, eccentric hipster detective.

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Reject Radio

Directors and writers aren’t the only one with viewpoints on filmmaking, so we’re starting at the beginning and the bottom as two production assistants give us their stories and share their insights into starting out in Hollywood. Plus, Fat Guy Kevin Carr joins us to play Good News/Bad News and deliver his own TED Talk. Download This Episode

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published: 01.31.2015
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published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
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published: 01.29.2015
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