Holmes, what have you done?

There is no doubt that Guy Richie’s spin on Sherlock Holmes took a beloved and notoriously stodgy character and made him exciting.  The movie was entertaining and fun with interesting visual effects and absurdly great chemistry between Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as the eponymous hero and his long suffering partner.  Here’s the problem.  Now, everyone and their grandmother in Hollywood is going to try to use the same formula.  Take a sodgy, slightly boring classic and make it into an action packed blockbuster.  I love Guy Ritchie and I’m not going to knock his formula because it worked and hopefully, it’ll work with the sequel too.  But….”Anonymous” and “The Three Musketeers” make me a tad nervous.

“The Three Musketeers” is helmed by Paul W.S. Anderson, the man responsible for both the “Resident Evil” film series and the tragedy that was “AVP”.  Explosions and gooey stuff see to be this man’s favorite mediums and action films are his genres.  But, I”m not sure this is such a good idea for a man who hasn’t proven himself to at least be a stylistic visionary just yet.  And although “Musketeers” has the incredible Oscar winner Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds) and a few other really good character actors amongst the ranks, I’m not sure they’ll get as much screen time to make the film worth it.  And as much as I love Milla Jovovich, anything with Orlando Bloom must be taken with a grain of salt.  Besides, do we really need another version of the same story?  Oh wait this one’s in 3D.  Sorry but it’s still unnecessary.

That being said, I don’t think I’d mind seeing “Anonymous”.  Roland Emmerich usually deals in big scale, apocalyptic type films but this time he’s approaching Oxfordian Theory.  Okay….once again, I’m not quite sure about this but after perusing the cast, it’s pretty impressive.  Vanessa Redgrave, Rhys Ifans, David Thewlis, and Sir Derek Jacobi as the narrator.  Prestigious and known English actors.  However, this film might not be in the same vein as the other two.  The main reason, it’s been included is that the trailers market it as far less laborious than standard historical fare.  Emmerich very well may have put some kind of vicious action in this film to make it more palatable for the masses, and to accurately portray England’s bloody history.  But despite that, there aren’t too many films broaching this touchy subject of whether or not the man we have lauded for creating so many masterpieces were actually penned by Shakespeare.  Apparently just the notion of this possibility has historians at odds and the theory itself has gained more support (or believers) in the past few decades.   I just hope they didn’t approach the marketing the same way they did with “Drive”.  Still, we’ll see.

Maybe these fears that Richie’s “Sherlock Holmes” has created a monster template for which Hollywood will now try to emulate are wildly unfounded.  But, I’ve already read a few scathing reviews on “The Three Musketeers,” so it already isn’t looking good.  It probably comes down to popcorn fodder versus a credible film.  Stylized or not, only Anonymous gets a spot on my “To See” list.

“Boy Meets World” = eternal happiness

Reblogged from hellyeahboymeetsworld.tumblr.com

So even though me and my brother have probably seen every episode of “Boy Meets World”…twice, we still DVR the episodes every time they come on ABC Family.  Do we have problems?  Probably.  Are we ashamed?  NEVER!!!  What can I say?  It makes me happy.  And it makes a couple other people I know ahheemmroomieahemmm fairly content with life as well.

“Contagion.” Not bad. Not mad.

Steven Soderbergh has always brought a unique visual style to his films from “Oceans Eleven” to “Erin Brockovich” to “Traffic” not to mention “The Informant.” In fact, I didn’t realize quite how much I admired his work until I looked through his IMDB page. But I digress. Anyway, my lovely friend, A and I were both very excited to see this film mainly because of the commercials and the exceptional cast.

Let me say this. This was not by any stretch a bad movie or even a mediocre film. The pacing for the first hour was phenomenal, the visual style was engaging and the wealth of talent in that cast was considerable. Literally, every scene presents a new incredible actor from Marion Cotilliard, (“La Vie En Rose”) Matt Damon, (sexy in the Bourne series) and Laurence Fishburn, (Othello) to Sanaa Lathan (AVP) and Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes) plus Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad). Exactly how much of the budget was spent on cast salaries???

Anyway, despite the fact that the last 20 minutes dragged a bit, that wasn’t the actual issue. It was actually how underused the cast was. The biggest asset (the cast) to this film was giving it the most problems. These are engaging actors but the script gave very little room for actual character development and forming emotional bonds with these characters was tricky simply because there wasn’t enough time. There were so many characters to pay attention to while simultaneously paying attention to the conflicts and progression of the story. There was a lot to digest and sadly the phenomenal cast didn’t always get the time they deserved.

All in all, I dub this film worthy of not only the ticket money I bled for, but I will definitely buy this on DVD for the film and the special features. Whereas it didn’t resort to the same kind of overblown theatrics that its pathogen predecessor, “Outbreak” did, “Contagion” was still a good film and well worth seeing especially if you’re interested in the political and scientific steps taken when a disease threatens the population and the dangers of fear and mass panic that can and does effect the healthy. Okay, sounds boring when you say it like that, but either way, you should see it.

Trailer Rundown

Trailer Rundown
So everybody knows that the additional treat that goes with going to the movies are the previews. It’s especially nice when you get paid to record them. Attached to the prestigiously cast film “Contagion” were 5 previews of films that I’d love to see in one venue or another. Observe.
1. Killer Elite: Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert DeNiro. Awesome cast but Statham’s films are never guaranteed to be awesome. Fun? Yes. Absurd? Always. Worth money I’ve bled over. Surely not. Final decision: Looks like a good Redbox candidate.
2. 50/50: A cancer comedy. I mean, cancer is one of those things where you have to either laugh or cry and after the millions of depressing cancer films, I’m actually hopeful that taking a cue from Showtime’s “The Big C” humorous approach will pay off and even if it’s dismal, I’ll still get to look at Joseph Gordon Levitt.
3. The Thing: So the same producers who got a hold of “Dawn of the Dead” are taking a crack at this classic paranoia story…in its third re-incarnation. Whereas they’re promising this to be a prequel, I still don’t think it’ll quite be able to live up to its predecessors.
4. Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows: Listen. I loved the first film. Loved it. Still do. Therefore, I will pay my blood money to see this in theaters. Loved Noomi Rapace in the original version of the Millenium Series films plus Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law had incredible chemistry on the first trip. God willing, we won’t have to only rely on their chemistry and animal magnetism to carry the film and ex-Mr. Madonna will deliver another stylish, energized romp with everyone’s eccentric sleuth.
5. The Dark Knight Rises: Look, I’ve been committed to this franchise since I was a toddler. Thus, I will be seeing this film no matter how confident I am that this cannot live up to its predecessor. They’ll really need to sell me on Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, I’ma pray Tom Hardy will have his shirt off often as Bane and if Christian Bale growls throughout this movie, both he and Christopher Nolan will receive an angry vulgar soundbite from moi. Oh you’ll get my blood money but, no growling Christian. You’ve been warned.

Well, I have plenty to look forward to in the next few months. Yup, I’ll be researching ways to sell my plasma to pay for my movie tickets…but
I’ll pretty happy about it.

The Crow Remake. For this, someone will pay.

Nothing is original these days. Most things are referential in some way or another and that’s not always bad. Critics are saying that we’re far less prone to create than to copy and they may be on to something. Retro fashions are back en vogue again with some hipsters looking like they got dressed via a 1962 catalog instead of as a 20 year old in the 21st century. Even music is highly referential with the retro sounding Adele and the late great Amy Winehouse topping the charts. Now, these are (and were) great performers and artists in their own right with incredible voices and writing abilities but making references to ages long gone and using it to create your own sound is one thing. However, blatant reproduction pisses me off. Enter Hollywood.

We all get that films are a huge financial gamble and that commercial films are supposed to make money. Like anyone else, Hollywood big wigs want a sure thing. Come clean though, because honestly who doesn’t? But don’t, for the love of all things holy, sacred and grungy, take a cult classic like “The Crow” and think you can do it better. That film was made at the right time, had the perfect dark and moody feel and one of the most tragic backstories ever. You cannot fabricate that kind of story or replicate the kind of effect it had on an audience not to mention the built in publicity. So exactly what powerful medications do you think execs were on to think that Bradley Cooper, Mark Wahlberg, or Channing Tatum could do a better job in the titular role. No, it’s fine. I’ll wait. What did you come up with? Nothing powerful enough, I take it. Unless someone communed with the ghost of Brandon Lee and he’s given you explicit instructions on how to one up his death before shooting even finished, there’s no fragging way this is going to be a socially acceptable decision. And while we’re on the subject of announced bad remakes, Judge Dredd? Really? I’m not sure even Karl Urban’s handsome face can save that one. And what a face it is…

photo borrowed from http://www.enthunder.com. Please don’t sue. I beg you.

**Another note, supposedly they’re also remaking “Short Circuit.” Once again, nothing from my childhood is sacred.
***Oh yeah, plus a “Romancing the Stone” remake. Now it’s turned into a game to see who can find the most obscure ’80s and ’90s movies to redo. I love these movies and I wish they wouldn’t ruin them for future generations…and me.

The Borgias: Not a replacement for The Tudors.

In theory, “The Borgias” sounds like the perfect replacement for the outstanding series “The Tudors” which ended last year especially when you take into account the fact that Jeremy Irons plays the patriarch of this ambitious and screwy family. Don’t get me wrong, I love Spartacus (I have yet to experience “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” yet but I’m getting there) but sometimes, the blood and orgies get to be too much. Taking into account the plethora of period series produced by the premium channels to fill “The Tudors” void, surely “The Borgias would fill it nicely right? Maybe not.

First off, there was a preponderance of t.v. shows just lined up waiting for the end of Showtime’s juggernaut “The Tudors.” It presented history in a way that was palatable and simultaneously unpredictable. The show melded history with embellished storylines while still staying true to the spirit of King Henry VIII’s time. The audience was given context, good writing, good acting and fantastic costuming and sets. More importantly, although nearly everyone was familiar with the story already, the audience remains engaged from the pilot to the series finale.

The creators of “The Borgias” tried the same thing but it feels like they may have rushed it. They have the costumes and lush scenery down pat and visually, you are sucked into the story. However, between the sub par writing and TERRIBLE wig they’ve befitted Juan Borgia with, it’s easy to lose interest. It seems like the creators took notes from “Tudors” but missed the part about a good script. They took a pretty known dynasty (substitute Tudors for the Borgias), both power hungry families (one a king and one a pope), and both with pretty scandalous sexual escapades (substitute a king with six wives for a pope with 4 children and countless mistresses). Everybody paid attention to the set design and costumes beautifully and the casting is decent (looove Francois Arnaud as Ceasare Borgia and of course Jeremy Irons) but the writing and pacing is really preventing this from being a standout. Its off somehow and I can only hope and pray that the show finds its rhythm in the subsequent episodes.

They had three immediate predecessors to compete with in “The Tudors”, HBO’s “Rome”, and Starz’s “The Pillars of the Earth” miniseries in addition to the current period lineup of Showtime’s own “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena”, not to mention competition from the fantasy realm in the new Starz series “Camelot” and the highly anticipated HBO series “Game of Thrones.” There’s a lot of old school treachery on t.v. and I sincerely hope “The Borgias” can prove the show is worthy to be a viable contender for “The Tudors” place. Don’t disappoint me now.

Being Human: My new love.

There’s been a plethora of vampire and werewolf driven film and television series that have been let loose on poor unsuspecting viewers in the past couple years and much of it hasn’t been all that great. True Blood is the exception for me but that’s more of a guilty pleasure full of gore and nudity that real substance. Being Human provides me with what “The Walking Dead” did for me with zombies: gave me gore and violence with actual human soul and misery. That sounds completely undesirable but with monsters like ghosts, werewolves and vamps, it can be easy to forget that they were once human. Being Human brings vampire and werewolves back to their vicious roots and away from the teenage romantic perversion that they’ve become so recently (thanks to “Twilight”). Thank you Syfy!

Okay so brief summary: A 200 year old (played by sinister sexy Sam Witwer) and a baby werewolf (portrayed by the adorable Sam Huntington) move in together as roommates into a house which is, coincidentally, already inhabited or rather haunted by a ghost (Meaghan Rath). In theory, this combination shouldn’t work at all. This should be cornier than True Blood, The Vampire Diaries and Twilight combined and that’s A LOT of corniness! Being Human also shouldn’t work because it’s based on a preexisting UK series of the same name which means it shouldn’t translate as well in its US reincarnation. It just never works out as well when you try to copy an original especially when from another country. The UK’s language may be English, but they’re still culturally a bit foreign! 🙂

“Being Human” gives you the combination of supernatural elements with great writing and good acting, both of which have been seriously lacking in other supernatural series as of late. These characters are understated in ways that make them accessible and believable. The wolf is goofy, the ghostie is pretty neurotic and the vamp is convincingly conflicted. These characters are likable and likable characters are on the short list of requirements for a successful series. The audience has to care about the main characters enough to come back every week and for the most part, they deliver. Rath as the ghost unable to move on is a little annoying but still likable all the same and Witwer plays the tortured centuries old vampire with much more credibility than his t.v. vamp counterparts. But Huntington’s performance as the goofy and awkward werewolf is wonderful and brings a lightheartedness and vulnerability that makes his plight all the more painful.

What is most interesting about this show for me is that all parties acknowledge that they are monsters and the show emphasizes how truly dangerous a human/monster relationship would be. There are few illusions about their natures and “Being Human” works hard to eradicate the myth that humans, vampires, and werewolves can be chummy with no real consequences. The monster’s point of view has always been the more fascinating idea to me. Who cares what the villagers and the victims feel. What exactly is going through the monster’s mind as he accidentally throws a little girl into a lake (Frankenstein’s monster) or attempts to sever the carotid artery of his love because she just smelled so tasty (Wolfman). Cheers to the creators, actors and writers of “Being Human”. You’ve brought it back to basics and it works!!! But, it’s just the first season so hopefully they’ll keep it up for season 2.