Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Olyphant - need I say more

Can we all just take a minute to pause and admire Timothy Olyphant. No, seriously! Stop and just think... ah that was nice. Such a lovely fellow to look at! And oh, how I love his cool brooding nature.

I'm glad to see him on Justified. I think it's a role he does quite well. Now let's take a moment to mourn the long departed Deadwood where Olyphant mastered the quiet yet stern man of the law. I hope Justified will last - even if it does have the bucktoothed Walton Goggins whom my mother hates. He's so good at evil/creepy... Family Meeting anyone?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Alice in blahland

What should I say... Alice in Wonderland was a bit all over the place. I didn't get enough character development. I understand it's a famous book and maybe we're all supposed to know it and the characters, but that's no excuse for a movie that can't deliver. And yes, it's a huge amount of material to cover - but I think the spirit was missing. Not just specific details missing - I can deal with a book to movie adaptation leaving pieces out. But something like Harry Potter can still make it work - because the spirit is still there. I still want to root for the characters. In Tim Burton's Alice, I didn't. I didn't even buy why Alice wanted to save Hatter when he'd been taken by the Red Queen. The MOVIE hadn't given me enough to show their bond. Alice knew he'd sacrificed himself, but he was this mad man she'd just met - the bond had not been made.  Again, maybe this is where our book and previous Alice versionings should have given us the background we needed - but that is a cop out. Burton was caught on this movie. Trying to be funny/whimsical/wow but not managing any of them. Alice in Wonderland was caught between the humor of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the sweet fantasy of Big Fish and therefore failed to be either the clever oddball or the touching story.

Now I love Johnny Depp and think Mia Wasikowska was wonderful in In Treatment, but it wasn't enough. And the movie was visually interesting, but I think it would have been beautiful if I'd been able to watch it in 2-D. I am definitely not sold on 3-D yet! Avatar was spectacular in that regard. But every frame in that movie was designed. 2-D and 3-D were considered and it just worked (not the story grant you, but visually yes). Alice just felt like 3-D had been added because it could. Because the fantasy world is an easy get for 3-D. Because kids will see the movie and will get the gimicks of things flying at you. Maybe that is all 3-D is at this point. And why is it so dang dark? Why isn't the movie processed for this 3-D environment with brightness boosting? I know it's not that simple, but I want the art direction to shine in brilliant bright color in HD. Not dimness and blurryness. Not sold on 3-D yet.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Real (although brief) Suspense on 24

Way to step it up 24. (Spoiler Alert...) An EMP at CTU! That's the best bit of action and drama I've seen from this show in awhile. And I love that EMP is a part of our vernacular now. There are enough Sci-Fi and geek movies out there to have electromagnetic pulse be something that average viewers understand and fear in our digital age. Now if only 24 would get rid of that silly story with Katee Sackhoff. Ooh, maybe the EMP will get rid of her incriminating metadata :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Repossesed: I want my 2 hours back

I watch movies all the way through. I rarely, rarely give up on a movie. It can be really bad, I can know that it's cheesy, sappy or not fine drama, but I'll still watch it. Some might say this means I'm not discerning enough in my taste. But I disagree. I will watch the movie before I pass judgement on it. If I come across a movie on TV and it doesn't catch my interest, I'll turn the channel. But if I rented it or paid for a ticket, I'm gonna watch the dang thing. The only movie I've ever truly given up on was Event Horizon. I walked out of the theater when they strung up a man by his skin - because then it became torture porn (and that was way before movies like Saw existed and torture porn was even a term).

But I should have stopped watching one other movie. Repo: the Genetic Opera. The name alone should have given me pause. I was only interested because Anthony Stuart Head form Buffy fame was in it. And the trailer made it look like it could be real campy fun - a B-movie cult fave. So I rented it - of course I didn't see it in the theater because it didn't come out in the theater here. And a good 10 minutes in, I said "What the hell is this and why am I still watching it?" I tried to give it a go because of the guy in it and I thought it would get better - it did not get better! But I stuck it through to the end and announced out loud to my empty living room, "I can't believe I just watched that piece of crap all the way through." But I didn't stop watching, because that's what I do.

And now I see commercials for Repo Men. Featuring who? The lovely Jude Law and Forest Whitaker. And hmm... sounds like it has a very, very similar plot to Repo: the Genetic Opera. Organs are sold by a huge corporation. When people can't pay the debt, the organs are repossessed. Sounds the same. Maybe Repo Men is banking on the fact that no one saw Genetic Opera. And morbid though it may be, this story could be well done. . Of course Genetic Opera had other bizarre plot lines which added to it's demise (let's not forget it was a rock opera - perhaps I should have known better by that fact alone). So now here is Repo Men, and I'm wondering if this one will actually work. It has higher caliber actors, no offense Giles, but Jude and Forrest are better and it has an intriguing story. Is it a theater movie? Hardly anything is for me these days. Why? Because I have a huge television cable package and I wait for movies to come out on premium channels. I only go to the theater for the films that really matter to me. I think Repo Men has a shot and I'll be fine watching the whole thing through - when it hits HBO that is.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Imitations: Bad & Good

Spartacus: Blood & Sand is a crappy show. I had hopes that it would be good, but it just really isn’t. I knew the channel Starz was trying to capitalize on a Gladiator/300 feel or Rome from HBO. But sorry Spartacus, you are definitely no Rome. Rome was raw and superbly acted. Kevin McKidd and my lovely Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson) were wonderful as Roman soldiers finding their way again as citizens. And Gladiator had heart – Spartacus has – well it just has naked men and extreme fighting. I am actually okay with the visual effect they chose for the blood – that actually works for me. But after the gratuitous “The Thing in the Pit” (with the obvious 300 references), I left the show and am not looking back. And how disappointing for John Hannah. I loved him in Sliding Doors and he is probably the best actor on Spartacus, but for all his trying, the show still fails.

Southland on the other hand is soaring. I needed a fix after The Shield left and The Shield had filled the void from Homicide: Life on the Streets. Southland is proving to be a nice replacement. I didn’t watch it when it first premiered on NBC, simply because I couldn’t handle another program and was worried it might fizzle like K-Ville. But I picked Southland up when TNT did and watched their re-airing. I like the odd understated narrator that occasionally joins us (he reminds me of the narrator from Little Children in his matter of fact observations). He’s less a narrator and more the objective commentator. And although I haven’t warmed to all the characters yet, Regina King is shinning along with Ben McKenzie and Michael Cudlitz. Regina King rocked the final episode of the first season in a beautifully purposed and quiet shoot-out scene. I hope it continues to thrive now that it’s on a new network and has a fan base that fought for it.