Rabu, 30 Oktober 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Keep calm and Carrie on in 'Homeland'


After last season's explosive finale, Homeland returns with a whole new load of plot twists and shady characters that give the third season new promise.

WHEN Season Three of Homeland opens, the CIA is still reeling from the car bomb that exploded in its own headquarters at Langley, killing some 200 people close to two months ago (series time).

A senate committee has been set up to investigate the bombing – dubbed the second 9/11 – and US senator Andrew Lockhart (Tracy Letts), its chairman, asks the question that's on everyone's minds: how can the CIA be expected to protect the country if it can't even protect itself?

Everyone, except for CIA operative Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), has put the blame squarely on war hero and suspected turncoat Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis) who, at the end of the last season, fled the country with her help.

Having been by Brody's side at the time of the bombing, Mathison is naturally a prime focus of the committee. Her alibi ­— that she'd passed out for 14 hours and is unaware of what transpired — isn't holding water and it seems as if her mentor and friend Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), the new head of the CIA, has not only turned on her but is going to throw her under the bus.

He has her institutionalised by proving that she's gone off her medication and is mentally unstable.

The focus of the first two episodes of the new season is on Mathison. And like her, the pace of these episodes is fast and frantic. It's full speed ahead — a good way to pick up from where last season left off.

Mathison is wracked with guilt about the bombings which she feels she should have pre-empted.

Then, as the hearing continues, she watches Saul tell the committee how she hid her relationship with Brody from the Agency and that she may be a threat to the investigation (heck, she may even be implicated), Mathison feels betrayed … and furious. We've never seen her so furious. She runs to the press to tell her side of her story but alas, Saul obtains a psychiatric detention order for her and sends some men in white to take her away to the madhouse.

Oh, this really pisses her off.

If you've had any doubt that Danes deserved her two Emmys for her work on Homeland, these two episodes will strip them away. She pretty much carries the entire episodes and she does it magnificently. She's not just manic, she's pissed. In fact, we're a little pissed at Saul, too. It's so out of character for him. Where is he going with this?

Of course, there is a twist which was revealed in last Sunday's instalment, the season's fourth episode.

Turns out Mathison and Saul are in cahoots. They have a plan: they make it look as if the CIA has hung Mathison out to dry so that she will be contacted by the terrorists (no more Abu Nazeer; this season's villain is Majid Javadi) to act as their double agent.

Complicated much?

While it is heartening that Saul turned out NOT to be a douchebag after all, their plan seemed a little too … easy. And all that emotion that Mathison displayed in the beginning — that was all an elaborate act? She's that good?

So anyway, Mathison is now a double agent, having been contacted by a representative of Javadi who promises to get her out of the mental institution on the condition that she betray the CIA and work for Javadi.

She agrees — it's all going according to plan, apparently.

Meanwhile, where is Brody?

He appears in the third episode … in South America. He is injured (and bald!) – he was shot multiple times in the abdomen – and is taken to an ominous and dark tower by some strange men with guns. He is then treated by a nameless, mysterious man who turns out to be a contact of Mathison.

He tells Brody that there's a bounty on his head and that he is lucky to be alive and that his only safe haven is the tower. Drugged up and in pain, Brody notices a man enter the room in which he is recovering and rummage through his things, making off with his passport. When he wakes up stronger, he becomes anxious to get to his "next stop" — presumably Montreal as per plan — but is told by Mathison's contact that there isn't a "next stop" and that this is as far as he can go. Feeling as if he's actually being imprisoned rather than rescued, Brody tries to escape.

He goes to a mosque for refuge, seeking the help of a local imam. Unfortunately, the imam considers him a terrorist and gives him up to the police. Thankfully for him, Mathison's contact comes to his rescue in a bloody shootout. Brody heads back to the tower, feeling as if he has been hung out to dry. No passport, no news from Mathison, no light at the end of this dark, dreary tunnel. Which is reflected in the tone of the entire episode — it's slow, intense and heavy. At times, it borders on being … dull.

And speaking of dull, on the home front, Brody's family is trying to deal with the repercussions of learning that he is one of the country's most wanted men. His daughter Dana (Morgan Saylor) apparently attempted suicide and when the season opens, she has just returned home. She's angry and disappointed and confused and the only person she feels can understand her is a fellow troubled teen she meets while in rehab.

Maybe it's just me but I fail to see how these "home scenes" actually bring anything much to the story. They seem out of step with both the development and the pace of the plot.

The writers must have a reason for giving Dana so much airtime, though ... I just wish they'd hurry up and make her relevant because she sure is bringing the show down (no discredit to Saylor), one melodramatic sulk after another. And don't let me get started on Jessica (Morena Baccarin).

The season seems to have potential (despite the premiere getting poor ratings in the United States) and I am actually really curious to see how it develops.

> Homeland airs every Sunday at 10.50pm on FOX Movies Premium (Astro Ch 413 / HD Ch 433).

Exciting times on K-drama 'TEN 2'


Joo Sang-wook talks about the new season of K-drama series TEN 2.

WHEN Joo Sang-wook decided to star in Korean drama series TEN 2, he never imagined that shooting it would be so challenging.

In an e-mail interview, Joo said he was attracted to TEN 2 after reading that Team TEN – the special unit featured in the show – mainly investigated serial murders.

He found the investigation process to be very exciting.

"When I first read the script, I was amazed by the bizarre twists and turns in the plot, so I am sure the audience can feel the tension as well.

"To be honest, I was worried about the ratings when I found out that TEN would be shown on a cable channel, but demand for another season proves that the effort of both the production team and actors paid off," said Joo, 35.

In TEN 2, the actor reprises his role as Yeo Ji-Hoon, the leader of Team TEN.

Joo described Yeo as a mysterious man who has many secrets and that he works hard to investigate cases for personal reasons.

"Yeo Ji Hoon is a perfectionist who only focuses on his work. He has been chasing a murderer (and is intent on catching him). He is always very serious, so he never smiles, but frowns a lot.

"People would think that he's very selfish, and that he thinks only of himself and doesn't care about others," said Joo.

Among the most challenging scenes Joo had to shoot were the ones employing "Computer Graphic Filming" techniques.

"They were high-speed scenes, so I had to stay perfectly still. Even the tiniest movement could ruin the take.

"When I had to do the same take over and over again, I got really tired. I felt like I was being punished," Joo revealed.

He added that the filming schedule was very tight so everyone was pretty exhausted at the end of each day.

The actor also said that he had to spend more time learning the script, since he wasn't familiar with his character's job and wanted to be sure he got everything right.

"TEN is a crime drama and the screenwriters have done much research on the world of criminal investigation.

"There is a lot of special terminology used in the show.

"At the same time, my character is also a professor of criminal psychology and he uses many difficult terms – his lines are very long!

"While it wasn't difficult to understand the script and my character, it was sometimes hard to memorise my lines. Every time before filming, I need to revise the script at least 10 times to ensure I won't say anything wrong. Many scenes were filmed at night so it was physically exhausting," lamented the dashing South Korean actor.

Joo was last seen in the K-drama Good Doctor which finished airing earlier this month.

He is currently busy promoting his new movie The Punisher, which will be released in South Korea tomorrow.

> TEN 2 airs every Thursday at 10pm on KIX HD (Astro Ch 729).

The lowdown on Rob Lowe's early years


ROB Lowe, best known for his role in The West Wing, has drawn upon his own life story to create The Point, a new series that has been picked up by ABC, Deadline.com reports.

As co-executive producer on The Point, Lowe will revisit the memory of his teenage years in the late 1970s. During the summer of 1976, a young Lowe left Dayton, Ohio, for Malibu, California, with his mother and his younger brother. The show will focus on the consequential cultural shifts taking place in Malibu during the period, as well as on how the characters adjust to their new life.

Lowe recounted these experiences in his 2011 autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends. To create and produce the TV series based on the story, he has reunited with former West Wing producer and writer Kevin Falls, who will also pen the screenplays for The Point. – AFP Relaxnews

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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