The Riches

The Riches - FX
a kate west favorite

This is a perplexingly overlooked show. "The Riches" deserves much more accolades, not only because it stars comedic genius Eddie Izzard (Executive Producer of the show and pictured above), but also because the rest of the cast, as well as the writing, is surprisingly good. The surprise comes in the form of a deceptively seemingly goofy premise actually turning into a show of drama and depth, not that it's surprising that any of these fine actors are fantastic.

Wayne (Izzard) and Dahlia (Minnie Driver) Malloy are bonafide Gypsies. After picking up Dahlia from her completed stint in jail, the family decides to skip town and get away from the poverty and prejudice of their extended Gypsy family. Absconding with family inheritance, they accidentally stumble across a dead couple in a car wreck (for details, watch the pilot) and take over their identities, becoming Doug and Charien Rich. Cael, Di Di and Sam (Shannon Woodward, Noel Fisher and Aidan Mitchell) are their wily children along for the ride, who also turn into Buffers (Gypsy term for normal suburbanites like us) in their ultimate grifter escapade. Will they pull it off? And for how long?

Wayne, or rather Doug Rich now, must convince new boss Hugh Panetta (Gregg Henry) that he is a lawyer capable of working for his big firm. They all need to learn how to fit into their new rich neighborhood and figure out how to "live on the grid". That proves challenging, not the least of which is because of idiosyncrasies like little Sam dressing as a girl. They may just be up the task, what with Dahlia making friends and fending off real Doug Rich contacts. However, their own past catches up with them when Dale (Todd Stashwick) tracks them down and threatens to expose them.

The cast is superb, especially Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver in many emotionally poignant moments, and the writing intriguing. It is much more than meets the eye and only the second season will tell if they get to keep their new life. It is well worth finding out. And if you're not yet familiar with Izzard's stand up routines, please do check him out. His esoteric brilliance and yes, confessions of being a trend-setting transvestite, are hysterical. He's what we call smart-funny.

Created by:
Dmitry Lipkin

Peter O'Fallon (4 episodes, 2007)
Brian Kirk (2 episodes, 2007)

Series Writers:
Dmitry Lipkin (13 episodes, 2007)
Aaron Blitzstein (12 episodes, 2007)
Dawn Prestwich (4 episodes, 2007)
Nicole Yorkin (4 episodes, 2007)
Ellen Herman (3 episodes, 2007)
Lydia Woodward (2 episodes, 2007)

Eddie Izzard
Minnie Driver
Shannon Woodward
Noel Fisher
Aidan Mitchell
Todd Stashwick
Gregg Henry
Margo Martindale

Eddie's "Dress to Kill"
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300 - Film
a kate west reflection

I'm not a fan of video-game film directing. By that I mean the screen looks like a live action video game, with all that frantic swirling camerawork that drives me crazy (the number one reason I couldn't watch television's "NYPD Blue" is that it made me dizzy). I realize I'm referencing a few different styles here, but to me it all comes from that same adolescent ADD* need to be fast and hip and isn't a truly sophisticated style. "300" is the latest version of this, combining Frank Miller's graphic novel with a computer generated slickness geared toward male teenagers blood lust.

"300" is the story of the battle of Thermopylae between the Spartans and the Persians, fought roughly about 480 B.C. Basically it's the heroic three day stand of King Leonidas of Sparta (Gerard Butler) and his loyal 300 soldiers against at least half a million Persians led by King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his "Immortals". At the cliffs of Thermopylae (a.k.a. the "Hot Gates"), the Spartans hold off the advancing hordes, but are betrayed by Ephialtes, a disfigured Spartan who knows a secret path to get around the pass, thus enabling the Persians to flank and surround the desperate Spartans. Despite sure defeat, they fight gallantly and indeed crush many more Persians than seems strategically possible before being cut down by a rain of arrows. This battle is often used as an example of extreme valiance in the face of insurmountable odds.

It's a great story, but I'm not into this retelling. Profound characterization can be lost when filmmakers get too graphic (as in computer graphics - I can take graphic violence like the best of them) . I left adolescence long ago but I do understand the appeal - the poster is very exciting, but the movie itself is pretty soulless. Not really my look either. The characters are fairly one-dimensional, especially the evil Persians with all their sexy eye liner countering the straight and true manliness of the Spartans. Please - it's a video game. I'd rather read a book. I love "The Matrix" (or at least the first one). Yes, it's a totally different style. But pure flashiness does not a movie make. At least it's not a Michael Bay movie. Points for that.

Zack Snyder

Gianni Nunnari
Mark Canton
Bernie Goldmann
Jeffrey Silver
Distributed by Warner Brothers

Zack Snyder (Screenplay)
Kurt Johnstad (Screenplay)
Frank Miller (Graphic Novel)

Gerard Butler as King Leonidas: King of Sparta
Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo: Leonidas' wife
David Wenham as Dilios: Narrator and Spartan soldier
Dominic West as Theron: A corrupt Spartan politician
Michael Fassbender as Stelios: Young and spirited Spartan soldier
Vincent Regan as Captain Artemis: Leonidas' loyal captain and friend
Rodrigo Santoro as King Xerxes: King of Persia
Andrew Tiernan as Ephialtes: Deformed Spartan outcast
Andrew Pleavin as Daxos: Arcadian soldier
Tom Wisdom as Astinos: Captain Artemis' eldest son
Giovani Cimmino as Pleistarchos: Leonidas' son
Stephen McHattie as The Loyalist: A loyal Spartan politician
Peter Mensah as Persian messenger
Kelly Craig as Oracle girl
Tyler Neitzel as Young Leonidas
Robert Maillet as Über Immortal (Giant)

Tyler Bates

Larry Fong

William Hoy

*ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder): a persistent pattern of inattention and hyperactivity or both, usually in younger individuals.

300 (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Graphic Novel:

Plutarch's Version:
On Sparta (Penguin Classics)

The Matrix:
The Matrix
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