11.18.2012

BLAND BLOND BOND

Skyfall was entertaining but a weak entry into the Bond franchise. The always watchable Javiar Bardem hams it up deliciously as the villain - doing a more animated, gay twist on his killer from No Country for Old Men. Adele's opening title song is evocative of the best Shirley Bassey versions. Those are two out of the 3 good things about the movie.

They went lo-tech for this entry - no Moonraker lasers or underwater cars and such ... in fact the whole film is a very intentional reboot to the classic roots of the first Connery films, but too obviously so. We can see, you don't need to tell us too.


I sure hope this is the last film with all the touchy-feely emotional bullshit that has ruined the Bond franchise. Fight, fuck, kill ... and see the world, that's the Bond we want. No remorse, no introspection - just a nice dash of wit and √©lan.

Now that mother is out of the picture (*spoiler* they kill off Judy Dench's M) they've given us a black Moneypenny (who is a bit annoying) and new male M - both meant to evoke the originals (same basic office layout -but now with window!).


The movie excels in the lush color-palette (except for the ugly color of that padded leather door to M's new office) and production design ... beautiful to look at but pretty pedestrian in terms of exposition. All the dialogue about getting old, being too old, made you think you were watching Star Treks II, III and IV - I was waiting for M to say, "Chasing around the galaxy is for the young."


We don't want a Bond that fails his proficiency tests, who has doubt, who gets shot, who has touching memories of his orphanage and cries when Mommy dies.


The new Q (a wasted use of the very capable Ben Wishaw) gives Bond a gun which he promptly loses to a overlarge CGI Komodo dragon and, when on the run, Bond it seems has an extra car stashed away (retro nod) but doesn't have extra weapons? Even Hit Girl in KickAss had a room full of weapons. The improvised weapons of the giant Scottish manse were dumb.


Cliche after cliche, you felt the movie dissapating as you got up from your chair - nothing truly creative, nothing memorable and only one scene that actually got your full attention - when Bardem makes his Frank'n'Furter elevator entrance and proceeds to weird-vibe Bond just by talking while Bond is bound to a chair.


11.09.2012

BSG BLOOD & CHROME IS AWESOME SO FAR

Stupid stupid SyFy Channel. And NBC (since they own BSG). Blood & Chrome's pilot is absolutely terrific. The first two installments of the "web series" (the pilot chopped up) are better than anything that dumb channel has had its line-up in foreva. 
Ep 1

Ep 2

The kid playing Adama is way too good-looking but plays the part well. The production design is bangin' - with just enough difference to cheat the timeline and tie the shows (BSG, Caprica) together. The other actors are all good too. The story moves and there is a very visceral feel to the whole thing. Crisp and smart dialog so far. Kudos to those who made this. You should be working on a series if there was any justice in this world.

11.05.2012

BLOOD AND CHROME VERY SOON

Blood & Chrome is coming soon it turns out ... in fact, in just a few days as an online series ... as reported here ... new trailer below. Basically it is the pilot they shot for a regular tv series chopped up into pieces.

11.01.2012

AMERICAN HORROR STORY NOT AS GOOD THIS SEASON

Let's get right to it - Season II is not half as good as season I.

The Look: What made season I so gorgeous was the color-saturation, the diffusion, the high-style and some forced-perspective. It was warm and glowy. Season II, or AHS2 as I'll call it from here on out is pale, grey, washed-out, has a lot of angle-up shots, and is, frankly, cheap looking.

The Story: Season I had a lot going on but it related to the house and came to a white-hot finale with the birth of the demon child. Constance (Jessica Lange) was the anchor throughout. AHS2 has WAY too much going on and you just wish they'd cut out some of it. I don't care about the damn creatures outside. James Cromwell plays the sinister mad doctor with real menace when it comes to the sex scenes but when he's slicing-and-dicing patients it is campy. Lange's Head Nun character is too all-over-the-place and shows vulnerability never seen in Constance. She is a contradiction on many levels - cracking up about the hit-and-run she committed in her past; unaware an evil spirit has taken over her little innocent nun helper; doesn't know about the mad doctor's creatures; is easily manipulated into getting drunk despite being a reformed alcoholic ... and on it goes. The writing is much weaker in this version.

The Modern Story: I don't give a damn about the creepy murderer in the abandoned hospital and skanky hipsters that trespassed and the mayhem that has thus ensued nor do I see how they'll link it to the '64 story.

Characters: Zachary Quinto's psychiatrist character is so far a massive bore. The subplot with the lesbian reporter started out strong and now is lame - again weak writing. If they had made her girlfriend smarter, so she didn't fall for the Head Nun's scheming, she could now be playing Velma from Scooby-Doo and solving the mystery; the sex-addict girl is okay but the dialog is too contemporary in places; the razor-cut-hair girl - so far is a blank and I don't care about her. The earnest but ambitious priest is so far rather a bore too.

The Demon/Exorcism: too literal and too specific - didn't the writers see The Exorcist? Vulgar displays of power are not the Devil's way. And the possessed young nun killing the devout "Mexican" woman - too direct and vulgar a display of power. The Demon subplot is veering strongly into camp, and not in an intentional way.

The Alien: Why this was included in the story is beyond me. Unless the show's creator and the writers can cleverly marry the story of demons, ghosts and aliens in some way (and I don't see how without it being ridiculous), it will be a waste. The alien looks like the cheapest, fake bit of foam you've ever seen. Some smoke would work wonders on this show - hiding the cheapness of the sets, the poor lighting, and the obvious sound-stage look to theshow. 

I really don't know what the shows creators are after. Hopefully they won't fuck up so badly that AHS does not get renewed for Season III ... I really want them to return to the Constance storyline for Season III. What Constance needs is a female rival for access and interaction with the demon child as the fulcrum upon which that season's storyline could pivot.