Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

Starring The Mousy Girl as The Killer

May 17, 2012

I found some pictures on the Internet of Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs and the resemblance was uncanny. Well, that got me thinking. What about? You ask. Actors and their roles, specifically what if a certain actor who is known for playing a certain kind of role, plays against type. Such as:

Bette Davis as a Boozy Single Mom
Yes, it is true. She played a single mom in Frank Capra’s final film Pocketful of Miracles (1961), which is a remake of an earlier film of his Lady for a Day (1933). The film deals with Apple Annie who sells apples on Broadway and has a daughter who is studying in Spain. One day she learns that her daughter, who has no idea that her mom sells apples for a living, is coming to visit with her fiance, who is the son of a Spanish count. So, she enlists her best customer, gangster Dave the Dude to help her convince her daughter and her daughter’s fiance that she is a part of New York society. As interesting as this film sounds, there was trouble on the set from day one (a good deal of it came from Davis) and when the film premiered the reviews were tepid at best. So, Capra never directed another film after Miracles.

Pat Boone as a Cold Hearted Husband
Yes, Mr. Sweaky Clean can go beyond sweaky cleanness. In the film The Yellow Canary, (1963) he played a famous singer by the name of Andy Paxton. On the surface, he has the life many could dream of, he has a successful career as singer, a beautiful wife, played by Barbara Eden and a baby boy. Well, when the lights go down Paxton is very self-centered and his wife is fed up with Mr. I’m-So-Great-And-You’re-Not. Yet, just as she is about to leave him, their baby is kidnapped. Does this cause a turnaround in Paxton? No, he refuses help from the police and even agrees to pay $200,000 as a ransom for his son. Yet, once Paxton arrives at the location to make the payment, the kidnapper is no where to be found. Hmmm, the plot thickens.

Meg Ryan as a Tough as Nails Army Helicopter Pilot
Yep, America’s Sweetheart (how in the world did she get that title), can play tough. In  Courage Under Fire (1996), Ryan plays Army Captain Karen Walden, a rescue helicopter pilot who is up for the Metal of Honor. Reports say that just before she died, she rescued a downed helicopter crew and fought off the Iraqis after her helicopter crashed. Well, as the investigation into Captain Walden’s actions goes on, conflicting reports come out and lead investigator Lt. Colonel Serling, played by Denzel Washington, begins to wonder if she deserves such an honor. Does she or doesn’t she get it? Watch the movie to find out.

Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Kindergarten Teacher
How many movies have Schwarzenegger playing a tough cop? Lots of them! How many of them have have Schwarzenegger playing a tough cop who has to go undercover as (insert dramatic pause here) A KINDERGARTEN TEACHER! Only one and it is called Kindergarten Cop (1990). In order to catch a drug dealer, Schwarzenegger has to find the dealer’s ex-wife, who is hiding out in Oregon as a teacher. So, if he wants to find her and ultimately get the drug dealer, he has to pose as a kindergarten teacher. Does he find the ex-wife, nab the bad guy and save the day? If you really want to know, put the film in your Netflix queue and all will be revealed.

Yes, it can be interesting to see actors playing against type. Yet, when you think of it, there should be no “type”.  After all, it is called acting for a reason.

Sources:
http://www.movieweb.com/news/first-look-at-ashton-kutcher-as-steve-jobs-in-jobs

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055312/

http://www.amazon.com/Pocketful-Miracles-Glenn-Ford/dp/B00005LOLA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336876323&sr=8-1

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057700/

http://www.allmovie.com/movie/the-yellow-canary-v117884

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115956/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099938/

Memorable Summer Movies

May 10, 2012

Not too long ago, I wanted to purchase some tickets online for my nephew and I to see Pirates! Band of Misfits. After I bought the tickets, I noticed a short blog entry on the movie ticket website about the summer movie season of 1982 being the best summer movie season ever. That was the summer the following films were released:

The Road Warrior
Blade Runner

John Carpenter’s The Thing

Tron

An Officer and a Gentlemen

Conan the Barbarian

Poltergeist

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

E.T.

(By the way, I saw E.T., Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Tron in the summer of 1982 and I liked E.T. and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan the best out of the three.)

It is risky to say that a year or a season of a year was the best movie year ever because tastes change. Case in point, when Citizen Kane came out in 1941, it was a box office dud. Now it is considered a gem of American cinema.

Duds that turn into classics, not withstanding, I thought it would be fun to write about memorable summer movies. What makes them so memorable? Read on and you’ll find out.

Summer of 1983

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably suspect that I liked Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi the best out of the original Star Wars trilogy. Well, you would be wrong. I loved Return of the Jedi. I saw the film on its opening weekend and what an event it was. The theater was packed and everyone was eager to see how George Lucas ended the trilogy. As far as I’m concerned, he did a great job wrapping everything up. (FYI: My favorite scene in the movie and all time favorite movie scene is when Han Solo is freed from the carbonite.)

Jaws 3D
The only thing memorable about this film was that it was shown in 3D. In late 1982, 3D films made a comeback, sort of. A few films were released in 3D but the technology was not as advanced as it is today, so 3D films fizzled out by late 1983.

Summer of 1993

Jurassic Park
A film about the return of dinosaurs and it was directed by none other than Steven Spielberg! What’s there not to like? I went to see the film expecting to get a summer blockbuster and I got more than just the run-of-the-mill summer movie. I got film that was a reflection on technology and how it isn’t always the savior it is made out to be. I can remember thinking while I was watching the film, “Why does this remind me of the film Westworld?” I later learned that the book, in which the film was based on, was written by none other than Michael Crichton, the man who wrote and directed Westworld.

Summer of 2001

Pearl Harbor
I took my dad to see this film for Father’s Day. He grew up during World War II, so any documentary, television show or film that is about or took place during that time, Dad is all over it. I liked this film. The special effects were good and the stars were good in their roles. Yet, the most memorable thing was that during the film, I was thinking, “The Japanese military had guts to do the attack at Pearl Harbor.” Not to take anything away from those in the military who were at Pearl Harbor during the time of the attack, yet I must say that an attack like that was very bold. Little did I or anyone else know that as this movie was making it theatrical run, the 9/11 hijackers were training to carry out the worst attack on U.S. soil, since Pearl Harbor.

Spider-Man Trailer
Normally, I wouldn’t write about a trailer but this one is extra special. It featured a vignette about a group of bad guys who make their getaway in a helicopter. Just as they are about to make a great escape, they get caught in a web spun by Spider-Man. Where did he spin the web? Between the towers of the World Trade Center. When I saw this trailer in the movie theater, (one week before 9/11 if you must know) I was amazed. Yes, I knew it was a computer-generated image, but it was so impressive that it looked like a real helicopter was suspended in a web between the Twin Towers. Of course, when the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon happened, the trailer was pulled from theaters.

Summer of 2008

The Dark Knight
While Christian Bale was great as Batman, Heath Ledger stole the show as The Joker. Ledger’s Joker was EVIL. He didn’t force the humor or nastiness. Ledger played the role as if he were really that bad. Basically, I wouldn’t want to run into Ledger’s Joker in a well-lit alley. Yes, he deserved the Oscar and it was a shame that he died before he had a chance to do more work.

Summer of 2010

Toy Story 3
Wow. The folks at Pixar know how to wrap up a trilogy. The series started with Andy at eight and ended with him going off to college. Along the way, the toys had many adventures and misadventures, yet they stick together, like good friends do. The most poignant and best scene in Toy Story 3 was when Andy dropped off the toys at Bonnie’s house, an 8 year-old whose mom knows Andy’s mom. After telling her about each toy, Andy and Bonnie play with the toys. When they are done, Andy goes off to college and the toys remain with Bonnie.

Well, those are my memorable summer movie memories. Tune in next week for another thrilling blog entry from the chick who loooooves summer movies (among other things related to the movies).

Sources:

http://www.fandango.com/movieblog/weekend-chatter-was-1982-greatest-summer-movies-season-of-all-time-714464.html

Heritage Magazine Fall 2008 “Remember When…1941” Pg. 8

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107290/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0425061/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133152/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0213149/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0468569/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0435761/

Back to Life

May 3, 2012

At a recent Coachella concert, a holographic image of  the late rapper Tupac Shakur was displayed on stage with Snoop Dog. Of course, the audience loved it. Still, it was just an image, it wasn’t the real thing. As you can guess, that got me thinking. If it were possible to bring back dead actors and actresses, who would I like to bring back? Well….

Katherine Hepburn
Yes, the great Kate. Her obituary in the July 6, 2003 issue of Time stated that “…A new actress might be called a Marilyn Monroe type or a Drew Barrymore type, but there was no Kate Hepburn type. There was only Kate Hepburn.”  How true. She was feisty, smart and she didn’t just play an independent career woman, she was one off-screen.  After all, in 1940 she bought the rights to the play The Philadelphia Story, as well as starred in the film. Remember, this was a time in Hollywood when the studios called the shots on their employees. Yet, she thrived being who she was, which is all the more reason to bring her back. She could star in a film where she mentors a young female college graduate how to navigate life (and love) after college. It would be the opposite of The Devil Wears Prada and a welcome change of pace from all the girl loves man-child films out there.

Jimmy Stewart
Another great from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Of course, it is obvious that he would play George Bailey again and this time he would be dealing with the mess left behind by the mortgage foreclosure crisis. Then again, you could put him together with Katherine Hepburn. After all, they starred in The Philadelphia Story together. They could be in a sequel of sorts to that film where they deal with a new generation of rich soon-to-be marrieds and show them that feistiness and love doesn’t end at age 45.

James Dean
Of course, how could he not be brought back. He left this world much too soon when his career was so full of promise. Had he lived, would he go on to bigger and better things or would he flame out, as director Elia Kazan said he would in his autobiography. Well, there is only one way to find out and that is bring him back and have him star in some movies. He could be cast in a Western or maybe a Romantic Comedy. I think he would do very well in a Western, even get an Oscar nod and the rom-com would be fun to watch.

Of course, this is all speculation on my part. I certainly don’t have the ability to bring people back to life. So, if you should see a dead actor or actress walking around, chances are that person is just an impersonator or just playing that particular actor or actress in a film.

Sources:
http://news.yahoo.com/music-fans-hanker-ray-charles-hologram-poll-215223531.html

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,463117,00.html

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032904/

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000015/bio

 

2012 Summer Movies

April 26, 2012

The weather is getting warmer. The days are getting longer. That can only mean one thing:

The summer movie season is coming!

In addition to not having to go to school, it was the summer movies that made me count the days to summer vacation. The films that come out during the summer have it all, action, drama, comedy, romance and lots of cool special effects to keep things from getting boring.

In addition to the usual mix of superhero and animated films, this year’s batch of summer films are based on the following:

  • A nonfiction book
  • A book by Saddam Hussein
  • A Broadway play
  • Two fairy tales
  • A 1960’s soap opera

So, here are a few I would like to highlight.

May
The Avengers

A superhero film that Marvel fans have been waiting for, since it features, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and the Hulk. Phew! That’s a lot of superheros. Expect to see a lot of fanboys on opening night. How can you tell the fanboys from the regular moviegoers? Simple the fanboys will be wearing either Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow or the Hulk t-shirts. This film opens on May 4.

Dark Shadows
Would you believe that in the 1960’s there was a soap opera about a vampire? Yes it is true and it was called Dark Shadows. The soap opera was about the Collins family and one member in particular, Barnabas Collins, who was cursed to live as a vampire by a witch. The show ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971 and developed a cult following, which lead to films and a brief return to television in the 1990’s. Now Tim Burton has directed the theatrical version, with Helena Bonham Carter as psychologist Dr. Julia Hoffman and none other than Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, the very reluctant vampire. The film opens on May 11.

The Dictator
Here’s something else from the “Would You Believe” file. Saddam Hussein wrote a book. Yes, it is true and it is a work of fiction called Zabibah and the King. The book is about a love affair between a wise king and a beautiful peasant named Zabibah. Now would you believe that Sacha Baron Cohen made a film based on this book? Yes, this is true, as well. This film stars Cohen as the title character, as well as Megan Fox and John C. Reilly. It opens on May 11. By the way, I think theater managers would like it if you leave the pancake mix at home.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Who wants to watch a movie that features women at various stages of their pregnancy? Neither do I.  This stars Cameron Diaz, Isla Fisher and Jennifer Lopez and opens on May 11.

June
Rock of Ages

Who wants to play air guitar and jump up and down on a sofa?  Obviously Tom Cruise does, since he is starring in this film based on the Broadway play of the same name. This film also stars Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin. It opens on June 1.

Jack the Giant Killer
The trend of fairy tales to the big screen continues with a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk. This is a motion capture film that was partially filmed in the forest that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to write The Hobbit. The films stars Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor and Bill Nighy, and it opens on June 15.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Honest Abe was a vampire hunter as well as a president who tried to keep the country together? Wow, the dude burned the candle at both ends. Actually, this is a film by director Timur Bekmambetov, the man who brought us Wanted, and it stars Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie and Benjamin Walker. The film opens on June 22.

Brave
A soon to be classic from the folks at Pixar. This film features a female protagonist who has to use her moxie and archery skills to undo a curse. Features the voices of Billy Connelly, Emma Thompson and Kelly MacDonald. The film opens on June 22.

July
The Amazing Spider-Man

Another movie Marvel fanboys have been waiting for. Personally, I think the reboot was unnecessary. The powers that be could have ended it at Spider-Man 3 and concentrated on other superheros in the Marvel universe.  Of course, the fanboys will be easy to pick out in the audience, since they will be the ones wearing the Spider-Man t-shirts. The film stars Andrew Garfield, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field and it open on July 3.

Ice Age: Continental Drift
Another animated film for the summer and another installment in the Ice Age “saga”.  This time an iceberg is involved and it is used for a good purpose. The film features the voices of Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo and opens on July 13.

The Dark Knight Rises
Yet another film that fanboys have been waiting for, albeit this film is the one DC fanboys have been counting the days and hours to and guess what t-shirts they will be wearing? Anyway, it features Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. I admit, I’ve been looking forward to this film because I want to see how Christopher Nolan ends the trilogy and I do hope this is the end of any and all Batman films. Directors Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan captured the darkness of Batman very well. Things got lost when director Joel Schumacher took over. So, let’s end it with The Dark Knight Rises and if the powers that be wants to do another superhero film let them pick from other characters in the DC Comics universe. The film stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Anne Hathaway, and opens on July 20.

Here Comes the Boom
Here comes a comedy about a mixed martial arts fighter. Sounds like it will become a classic, like Citizen Kane. Don’t you think? Yeah, I don’t think so, either. It stars Kevin James and Salma Hayek, and open on July 27.

August
The Bourne Legacy

This Bourne movie doesn’t feature Matt Damon, but it does feature Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton. The film opens on August 3.

Total Recall
Talk about your useless remakes. The one with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone was good enough. Can’t the powers that be greenlight something original for a change? (Yes, I know I say that a lot.) Anyway the film stars Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale and opens on August 3.

The Expendables 2
If you like shoot’em up movies with explosions and car chases, then this is the film for you. Stars Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Bruce Willis and opens on August 17.

ParaNorman
Now this film sound interesting and original. It is a stop action animation film about a boy who can speak to (as well as see) dead people and uses this skill to save his town from an old, old curse. Features the voices of Leslie Mann, Anna Kendrick and Casey Affleck and opens on August 17.

Well, those are just a sampling of the movies that will be coming out this summer. Just be sure to save me a middle seat in the middle row.

Sources:
http://www.reelz.com/article/1421/summer-2012-preview-25-movies-well-be-talking-about-next-year/

http://www.collinwood.net/info/

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1589395859/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1589396138&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1FQXRKHC99VX0TRB9DSW

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1217209/

What Movie Do You Want To See?

April 12, 2012

Again, the Internet has lead to the creation of a blog entry and two articles are to blame. One article from the April 7 issue of CNet deals with a new app from FlickChart that offers movie recommendations based on the kind of movies you prefer. Another article from Roger Ebert’s blog deals with a best film list from a British film magazine Sight & Sound. What sets this best film list apart from other best film lists are two things:

  1. Assorted film critics, directors, producers, film festival organizers, etc., are polled for their top ten all time best films and this is distilled into a best film list.
  2. This list comes out once every ten years.

Well, as you can guess, these two articles got me thinking. Not so much about how art films and award winners seem to dominate these lists, rather it is how these lists are just reflections of the bias of those who put such lists together.  Those in the film industry would pick films they are familiar with. The app from FlickChart picks films based on one you already like. So, that leads to best of lists that contain films ranging from Shoot the Piano Player to Carrie.

Of course, bias in and of itself isn’t so bad. If you didn’t have things that you liked and return to time and time again (i.e. foods or activities) and vice versa, you wouldn’t have any order in your life. Still, it is important to note that these lists are not to be taken as fact. Yes, lists like Sight & Sound  and the one you make on FlickChart can help you make movie viewing choices, but they are not the be all or end all of best of lists. They are just a bunch of films that a group of people think are worth ranking.

So, don’t be surprised if art films and award winning films end up on best of lists. Critics, film festival organizers and other in the field have a bias and yes, a certain degree of film snobbery, for films in that genre.  After all you wouldn’t expect that Carrie or Porky’s would be on such a list. That’s why there’s your personal Netflix queue or FlickChart for when you are in the mood for such films. Your own best of list is reflective of your own bias.  Therefore, if watching a film like Porky’s helps you to forget your troubles, so be it.  The best “Best of” list is the one you personally make.

Sources:
http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57410710-285/get-better-movie-recommendations/

http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2012/04/post_5.html

 

You Win Some, You Lose Some

April 5, 2012

Well, it is not a secret that Hunger Games is a hit with moviegoers. It made over $152 million it’s opening weekend, which made it the best March movie opening ever. This film is based on books by Suzanne Collins where, in the future, young people are forced by the government to fight each other to the death. Of course, this is not the first time a book or book series got the movie treatment. Just look at the recent John Carter of Mars, those books are classics of the science fiction genre. Written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the man who brought us Tarzan, it deals with the adventures of the title character, a prospector and U.S. Civil War veteran who ends up on the planet Mars in the 21st century. Yet, John Carter didn’t do nearly as well its opening weekend. How much money did it make? Only $30 million.  By the way, John Carter of Mars cost $250 million to make, whereas Hunger Games only cost $78 million to make.

What gives? John Carter has been around for almost a hundred years, it was written by the same person who gave us Tarzan (how many screen adaptations did he get) and has a big fan base. In addition to all of that, the film version was directed by Andrew Stanton, the guy who directed WALL*E and Finding Nemo, it had the good special effects and had the resources of Disney studios. Why didn’t it do as well as Hunger Games? Here are my thoughts.

John Carter Isn’t A Harbinger of Things To Come
While books are considered classics in the science fiction genre, they aren’t in the same league as books by Jules Verne. Verne was an engineer, so his stories had some grounding in science. Edgar Rice Burroughs was a pencil sharpener salesman, among other things and he achieved his greatest success by writing the John Carter stories. The appeal of Burroughs’ John Carter stories has more to do with characterization, (John Carter is noble, the Tharks are savages, etc.) than with any visions or predictions of the future.

The Fan Base Wasn’t Tapped Into
Many of the movie posters for John Carter didn’t feature the title character or make mention that that this film was based on the Burroughs’ books. The one that does, doesn’t show him in great detail. It looks like this:

I have a passing familiarity with the books because my brother read both the Marvel comic book version and the actual books. If you haven’t read the books or know someone that did, looking at a poster like this would make you scratch your head. There was no mention that this was based on the books by Burroughs. The blurb on the poster doesn’t draw the moviegoer in. (FYI: The blurb says, “Lost in our world. Found in another.”) Not even a mention that the person who brought us WALL*E and Finding Nemo was directing this film. Marketing campaign seemed to be “If you film it, they will come.” Well, they filmed it and only $30 million’s worth came.

Despite The Best of Intentions, It Just Didn’t Do Well
Sometimes, no matter how many pluses a movie has, and this film had plenty, it just doesn’t do well. Classics like Citizen Kane and It’s A Wonderful Life bombed when they were first released and you can’t get better plusses than Orson Wells and Jimmy Stewart. Not to mention, the John Carter books are a hundred years old, so they didn’t have the marketing machine behind them that a more recent book, like Hunger Games or Twilight has.

So, if something in your life doesn’t work out, no matter how much thought or effort you put into it, don’t feel too bad. At least you didn’t lose $165 million on your endeavor, which is what Disney stands to lose on John Carter.

Sources:
http://www.boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/?yr=2012&wknd=12&p=.htm

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/?yr=2012&wknd=10&p=.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/movies/john-carter-based-on-princess-of-mars.html

http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=371986

http://www.movieweb.com/news/second-john-carter-poster

My Choices for Movies Based on Television Shows

March 29, 2012

This blog entry was inspired by two things. The first thing is news that 21 Jump Street, a movie based on a television show about police officers who investigate youth crime, did very well opening weekend. How well? How does bringing in $35 million sound? (Sounds good to me.) The second thing is an article on MSN Movies about fantasy dream casts of television shows turned into movies, such as Seth Rogen as Gilligan in the movie update of Gilligan’s Island or Emma Stone and Gael Garcia Bernal as Lucy and Ricky in the movie version of I Love Lucy. Well as you can guess, those things got me thinking. (Yet, again.) So, if I had the wherewithal to bring a television show to the silver screen, here are my choices for movie treatments. (Yes, I know, I rail against television shows that are turned into movies. Still, can’t I use my imagination and have a little fun?)

Hardcastle & McCormick
This television show aired on ABC from 1983 to 1986. This show featured Brian Keith as Los Angeles Superior Court judge Milton C. Hardcastle and Daniel Hugh-Kelly as the smart alecky ex con and ex race car driver Mark (Skids) McCormick. McCormick steals a car and is Judge Hardcastle’s last case. Hardcastle offers a deal to McCormick. Either work for the judge as he seeks out the 200 felons whose cases he presided over and were let go due to legal technicalities or go to jail. McCormick chooses to work for the judge and together they seek out the bad guys. As the series progresses, their relationship grows from employee/employer to almost a father/son relationship.  So, as for the movie version, how about having women in the title roles? Angelina Jolie as the judge Melinda Hardcastle and Lindsay Lohan as the ex con and ex extreme athlete (motorcycle stunt racer) Martha (Marty) McCormick. Together they turn heads and turn in the bad guys.

Six Million Dollar Man
This show aired on ABC from 1974 to 1978. Test pilot, astronaut and Air Force Colonel Steve Austin (Lee Majors) is seriously injured in the crash of an experimental aircraft. Austin’s body is rebuilt with nuclear powered bionic limbs. This gives him superhuman strength. He can run at speeds up to 60 mph, he can snap an iron crowbar like a twig and he has a an artificial eye that allows him to see things more than a mile away. Since the government rebuilt him, he has to pay them back by working as a spy. This was such a popular show that it spawned a spin-off called The Bionic Woman in which Jaime Sommers, (Lindsay Wagner) a professional tennis player is given bionic limbs, as well. Yet, instead of an eye, she gets a bionic ear, which allows her to hear the faintest whisper to the people talking behind soundproof doors. She too has to repay the “debt” by working as a spy.

Now for the movie version of this television show. How’s this for an interesting plot twist? The man would be second to receive the operation and a woman, who just happens to be an Iraq veteran, would be first bionic person. Therefore, that would make her the “senior” agent. Also, they would work together to save the world from a doomsday device, rouge cyborgs or things like that. Lastly switch the names. The woman would be Colonel Stephanie Austin and either Sarah Michele Geller or maybe even Meg Ryan would play the part. (Meg Ryan played a Persian Gulf War helicopter pilot in the 1996 film Courage Under Fire, so she could pull it off.) The man would be James Sommers and he would be played by Ryan Gosling or Ben Affleck.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Yes, the television show that showed the world that Moore could do more than just be housewife Laura Petrie on the Dick Van Dyke Show. This show aired on CBS from 1970 to 1977. In that show Moore, played 30something Mary Richards, a spunky gal who works in a Minneapolis television station and is determined to be a success in life. Still, since this blog entry is about television shows turned into movies, with an added twist, what twist will I come up with for The Mary Tyler Moore Show? How’s this? First of all the movie would be called The New Guy, since there would be a guy in Mary Tyler Moore role. His name would be Mark Richards and he would be played by Justin Timberlake. Instead of working in a broadcast television station, he would work in a cable network, similar to Comcast, just not as big. He also has deal with his boss, the hard nosed Louise (Lou) Grant, who has been working in cable since 1970’s when cable systems were available for purchase as franchises. She would be played by Rhea Perlman. Ted Baxter would still be a guy and he would be played by Alec Baldwin. The downstairs neighbor Ron (Rhoda) Morganstein would be played by Zach Galifianakis. As for the other cast members, I’ll let the powers that be, pick them.

Speaking of which, I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one, if not all of the television shows I mentioned were currently in development. After all, the television to movies trend shows no signs of letting up. Of course, if a powers that be person is reading this and just got an idea for an upcoming movie, please contact me in care of this blog. My fee is negotiable.

Source:
http://www.movieweb.com/news/box-office-beat-down-21-jump-street-takes-in-35-million

http://entertainment.msn.com/beacon/editorial12.aspx?ptid=cf1e691e-8bc2-4ac8-ac8a-a20e7e30a92e&silentchk=1&wa=wsignin1.0&photoidx=1

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085029/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071054/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115956/

http://www.amazon.com/The-Mary-Tyler-Moore-Show/dp/B00005JLIC/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1332707279&sr=1-1

As the Crank Turns

March 8, 2012

If I haven’t done so, I will do it now. Let me state for the record that I do not like horror films, in particular I don’t like horror films made from 1970 to the present day. I find them to be heavy on gore and chase scenes and light on plot and characterization. Don’t worry, there’s a reason for this disclosure and it has to do with this week’s blog entry.

Exhibit A
There will be a remake of the campy horror film Evil Dead.  Reports state that the remake will be more dark and more gory than the original. Also, the role of Ash, which was played by Bruce Campbell in the original film, will be recast as a female. Well, it worked with Battlestar Galactica, so I guess the director decided to try it in Evil Dead.

Exhibit B
Radius,
a game and crowd-sourced film, most likely the first of its kind in the world, had its premiere in Cincinnati recently. The film was made via a smartphone scavenger hunt. People were invited to upload images of people, places and things in the Cincinnati area. Three hundred people participated and 2000 images were uploaded. The company that made this film, Ripple FX Films, is an independent production company that wants to “…put the audience at the center of the art.”

The Point of Exhibits A & B
Exhibit A shows how, once again, the powers that be in Hollywood have decided to greenlight a remake. Exhibit B shows how, once again, the independent filmmakers are striving to creative imaginative and original films. Really, it is necessary to redo Evil Dead? For fans of the film, part of its charm was its low budget campiness. Now there will be a version with lots of CGI effects. Like that will make the film better? As for independent filmmakers, they regularly show their dedication to storytelling and they do it with less resources and more imagination then the studios. Go independents!

“You’ve written about this before,” you must be saying now. “So, what else is new? Hollywood is a business, you know.”

Yes, I’ve written about this before, of course if the powers that be would stop with the redos, I would stop writing about this. Yet, the fact remains, Hollywood is a business and the tension between art and commerce has been going on since the days of Charlie Chaplin. Still, it is possible for the studios to create an original film and make money, as well. Burlesque, The Help, Shrek, Twilight are all recent original films that did well at the box office. So, the powers that be can’t blame it on the recession or throw up their hands and say it is just a trend. In fact, Ripple FX Films was brave enough to solicit images from everyday folks and the people at that company created a film out of those images. So, suits how about taking a line from the independents, putting the lid on all the remakes and making something original?  Don’t worry, you’ll make money. After all, Burlesque, The Help, Shrek, Twilight made money, lots of it and they were all original.

Tune it next time to As the Crank Turns, when our resident blogger will rail against a remake of Planet 9 from Outer Space. (That is if the suits actually decide to greenlight Planet 9 from Outer Space.)

Sources:
http://www.movieweb.com/news/the-evil-dead-remake-to-be-dark-and-very-gory-says-jane-levy

http://www.local12.com/news/local/story/First-of-Its-Kind-Movie-To-Premiere-In-Cincinnati/D2zXlk1aKUaa6T4i5gmDGQ.cspx

http://www.whatisradius.com/about

My Thoughts Regarding the 2012 Oscars

March 1, 2012

The 84th Annual Academy Awards took place on February 26 and here is the list of winners:

Best Picture: The Artist, Thomas Langmann, producer

Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Best Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Cinematography: Hugo, Robert Richardson

Best Art Direction: Hugo, Dante Ferretti (production design) and Francesca Lo Schiavo (set decoration)

Best Costume Design: The Artist, Mark Bridges;

Best Makeup: The Iron Lady Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation, Iran

Best Film Editing: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

Best Sound Editing: Hugo, Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty

Best Sound Mixing: Hugo, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

Best Documentary Feature: Undefeated, TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay, and Richard Middlemas

Best Animated Feature: Rango, Gore Verbinski

Best Visual Effects: Hugo, Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman, and Alex Henning

Best Score: The Artist, Ludovic Bource

Best Song: “Man or Muppet” (The Muppets), music and lyrics by Bret McKenzie

Best Screenplay (adapted): The Descendants, Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash

Best Screenplay (original): Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen

Best Short Film (Live Action): The Shore, Terry George and Oorlagh George

Best Documentary Short Subject: Saving Face, Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Best Animated Short Film: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg

Now for my thoughts.

I’m Right (75 Percent of the Time)
I predicted in my blog entry of February 2 that Meryl Streep would win Best Actress for Iron Lady, The Artist would win Best Film or Best Director and George Clooney would win Best Actor for The Descendents. Well, Meryl Streep won Best Actress, The Artist won both Best Film and Best Director, and Jean Dujardin won Best Actor. That means, I got three out of four right. I’m better than the lottery. As for George Clooney, I’m thinking the Academy is waiting to see if he can pull off the kind of performance he gave in The Descendants again before they give him an Oscar.

The Host
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Academy for having Billy Crystal host the Oscars. He was funny, engaging and moved things along. As I said in my Twitter post of February 27, “Hire him next year, & the year after that & the year after that…”  Of course, if Crystal can’t do next year’s Oscars, how about having Anne Hathaway as host. She was great last year, good enough to host the ceremony without James Franco. Here’s an idea, Billy Crystal can do even numbered years and Anne Hathaway can do odd numbered years and in years ending in 5 or 0, they can do it together. Sounds like a good plan to me.

Finally!
Bravo to Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer. Spencer won Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Help and Plummer won Best Supporting Actor for  Beginners. Spencer, like a lot of actors, toiled in bit roles in television and movies, before being cast in The Help. Plummer had roles ranging from Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music to bank president Arthur Case in Inside Man, but it wasn’t until 2009 that he got his first Oscar nomination. It was at the 84th Academy Awards where they both finally won. Just goes to show you that hard work and class pay off.

Let’s Not Forget…
The Cirque Du Soleil tribute to the magic of movies was great. Though, I must say that I didn’t like some of the camera shots. It would have been better if they didn’t show the performance at different angles, rather just keep a straight ahead shot. Then there was Kermit and Miss Piggy. Their little skit/presentation was funny. I especially liked Miss Piggy’s comment about not being nominated, “It’s about time Spielberg left some for the rest of us.” She said. “How many Oscars does he need anyway?” Well, Spielberg was snubbed more times than he won, so he understands why Miss Piggy would be frustrated with the Academy.

Well, that’s my two cents on the 2012 Academy Awards. Will George Clooney (not to mention Miss Piggy) finally get that Oscar? Will Billy Crystal return as host? Will the Kodak Theatre get a name that will stick for more than 11 years? These and other questions will be answered next year.

Sources:
http://articles.philly.com/2012-02-27/news/31104758_1_academy-awards-winners-hugo-film-editing

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001626/

http://oscar.go.com/video/PL55173797

Fanboys (and Girls) Back Off

February 16, 2012

George Lucas, the man behind Star Wars, the co-creator of Indiana Jones and now the co-director of Red Tails, a World War II film that focuses on the pursuit squadron made up of African-Americans, known as the Tuskegee Airmen, has announced that he is retiring from making movies.

Yet, for someone who has created some of the most enduring characters in film and some of the most successful films in the history of cinema, Lucas seems to be more an object of scorn than praise. The comments section of the website where I learned of Lucas’ retirement had quite a few sarcastic and nasty comments about him. Of course, to be fair there were complimentary comments as well.  I feel that the negative comments directed at him are mean spirited and don’t add anything constructive to the conversation. So, this blog entry will be my answer to all the disgruntled Jedis out there.

First, a disclosure:
Yes, I am a fan of all the Star Wars films from the original trilogy to the prequels. I love the films because of the good versus evil/adventure story that they are. Yet, I must say that I feel that the Clone Wars animated film and subsequent series are unnecessary. As for the Ewok made-for-TV movies from the 1980’s, I’m neutral on them.  Now, here’s my two cents on the subject:

Temper Your Expectations
Get over the fact that the prequels weren’t what you expected them to be. Remember this is Star Wars, a series of movies that was made for entertainment purposes, they are not meant to be taken as philosophy or religion. Yes, it uses mythic arch-types such as hero’s quest and redemption, but many stories have those things, such as The Chronicles of Narina and Lord of the Rings. No one begrudges the filmmakers of these films for how they interpreted each story.

If You Think You Can Do A Better Job…
Make your own movie! That’s right. If you are going to shoot off your big mouth about how you didn’t like this or that aspect of the Star Wars prequels or would or would not do something a certain way, then go make your own movie where you decide how things should be done. Digital cameras make it much cheaper and, in many ways, easier to make a film now than it was in the mid 1970’s when Lucas was in Tunisia and England making Star Wars. In fact, independent director Lena Dunham shot the film Tiny Furniture on a Canon EOS 7D, a still camera that sells for $1500, and she got a nomination for Best Cinematography from the Independent Spirit Award. So, stop shooting off your mouth and start shooting a movie.

In The Words Of A Certain Starfleet Captain…
“Get a life!” Yes, I am mixing my pop culture metaphors, still it is apropos for those who feel the need to comment on how George Lucas sold out, could have done better or mention anything else that is less than complementary. Lucas has achieved what few people have done, namely he was able to take the ideas in his head and have them realized. Most people’s ideas, for whatever reason, stay exactly that—ideas that never see the light of day. Yet, Lucas was lucky enough to not only have the Star Wars films made, but to see them transcend just being movies to become a part of American culture.

So, how about showing a little admiration for what Lucas was able to accomplish and if you can’t show some admiration, then back off. The Star Wars films are Lucas’ baby. He created them, shared them with the world and millions were touched by them. How many people can say that about their creations?

Personally, I don’t think this retirement will last very long. He’ll get another idea that he just has to turn into a film. So, don’t expect Lucas to spend the rest of his days playing golf and lounging around the Skywalker Ranch.

Sources:
http://www.movieweb.com/news/george-lucas-set-to-retire-after-red-tails

http://www.tuskegeeairmen.org/explore/history.aspx

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terry-keefe/the-slamdance-film-festiv_b_1217044.html

http://www.ebertpresents.com/episodes/episode-108/videos/88