Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Could It Be?

Could it be? I’m actually getting excited about Desperate Housewives, a show that has fallen off my radar for the past several seasons? What is getting me all riled up? Ms. Vanessa Williams. After adding her brilliant bitchiness to Ugly Betty, she’s moving over to Wisteria Lane and you can bet your sweet bippie, she’ll be giving the rest of the ladies a run for their money!

Show creator Marc Cherry said he’s been looking for a good villain ever since he killed of Nicolette Sheridan’s Edie so expect Vanessa to stir up some trouble. Word has it she’ll be playing Renee, a woman who has some history with Felicity Huffman’s Lynette. She’s in a rocky marriage with a major league baseball player and apparently will be competing with Bree (Marcia Cross) for the attentions of the hot new handyman (played by the original 90210's Brian Austin Green … whom I never thought was that hot).

Anyway, if this promo picture is any indication, Vanessa’s arrival could be a real game changer and this show really needs a game change!

Movie Review: The Last Exorcism

I was all excited about seeing Takers this weekend. My BF (best friend) saw it and loved it! She recommended it highly calling it, “a perfect date movie.” She said it’s got action for the men and lots of tasty eye candy (Idris Elba, Michael Ealy, Hayden Christensen, Jay Hernandez, …) for the ladies. I had hoped to add my own review … but no!!!!

I let the BF (boyfriend), a die-hard horror fan, convince me to see The Last Exorcism. How was it? Well, about 20 minutes in, he started apologizing to me and he continued to apologize for the rest of the movie and the rest of the day.

The Last Exorcism uses the tired "we are shooting this like a documentary so it looks really real!” gimmick. A producer and her camera man are following a slick Southern preacher, Pastor Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) who is more of a showman than a man of the cloth. He’s also an exorcist. He doesn’t really believe he’s casting out demons though. Basically, he’s performing an elaborate placebo. He hooks up some spooky sounds, makes some photos rattle and if it makes people feel better, “What’s the problem?” Now, he’s out to debunk ‘exorcisms’ and show people what a farce the whole thing really is.

So he and his crew head out to the middle of Louisiana to “exorcise” the demons from a young girl, Nell (Ashley Sweet). She’s a sheltered little thing who has started inexplicably killing livestock (a sure sign of the devil). Her father is creepy and her brother is creepier. I’ve already given this movie a longer review than it deserves so let me sum up the rest like this. There is lots of talking and more talking and when you think something is about to happen,… they talk even more . Until the end that is, the end that is the most maddening and mystifyingly stupid finale I’ve ever seen.

When the credits began to roll, the 15 people in my audience let out a collective, "WTF????"

The BF owes me big time. I think I’ll be picking out the movies through the end of the year based on the piping pile of steaming hot Devil doo-doo that was The Last Exorcism.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I LOVE September

Summer is drawing to a close. Labor Day is around the corner. Some kids have already started school. Semptember is coming! For me, that means two things (in this order).

1. My birthday (September 21st)
2. New TV

My birthday is always exciting. It’s even moreso this year as my favorite show, Glee, premieres on my birthday, and Maroon 5, one of my favorite bands, releases their third CD, Hands All Over, that same day. But enough about my birthday (honestly, I can never get enough of my birthday, but I digress), this post is about #2. Fall TV.

To be honest, there isn’t that much TV I’m excited about this year. The fourth (and exciting) season Mad Men is already in full swing. As far as returning shows, I’m looking forward to Glee, Fringe, Castle and Parenthood. I’m a little less excited about Grey’s Anatomy, House, 30 Rock, and Desperate Housewives (even though the addition of Vanessa Williams to Wisteria Lane does make my heart beat a little faster).

As far as new shows, there are only three I’m planning on watching (and two of them are coming on at the same time so one will have to be DVRed) and kind of excited about.

Monday, 9:00 PM, FOX
A cute conman (newcomer James Wolk who reminds me of a younger Kyle Chandler), plays a conman caught between two lives and two women, deep in the heart of Texas. The buzz on the show has been amazing and with a supporting cast that includes David Keith and John Voight, I’m on board. It’s been a while since we’ve had a big ole Texas-sized nighttime soap and I, for one, think it’s about time. It’s Dallas for the new millennium.

The Event
Monday, 9:00 PM, NBC
I don’t know what ‘the event’ really is … except it has something to do with aliens, but the promos have me intrigued, that, and Blair Underwood as the POTUS. A good conspiracy show is always a good time (when it’s good). I’m willing to give this show a chance; I hope NBC does the same. I hope I don’t get all into it just to have them pull it prematurely!

Wednesday, 8:00 PM. NBC
Produced by Lost’s own J.J. Abrams, Undercovers is sort of like Mr. and Mrs Smith gone TV. Married couple, impossibly good looking who both happen to be international spies. From the promos, add to the mix exotic locales, lots of action, and dare I say it, a splash of fun. I’m totally dating myself here but I’m hoping for a few shades of the old Hart to Hart.

What are you looking forward to seeing this fall (or more importantly, what are you planning to get me for my birthday!).

Monday, August 9, 2010

Why Movies Suck

There is an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal, of all places, that suggests that 2010 is the worst year in movies ever. Ever. In that article, the author touches on one of the reasons movies have been so bad as of late. Everything that has been done is being done, and done again, and basically done to death.

Case in point, for 2010, we've had, or will have before the year is over, remakes: Clash of the Titans, The Karate Kid, Nightmare on Elm Street, Death at a Funeral. We've had sequels: Sex and the City, Toy Story, Shrek, Predators, Iron Man, Step Up, Cats and Dogs, Paranormal Activity, Why Did I Get Married?, Wall Street, Tron. And, to be honest, we've had a lot of crap and abysmal flops: Dinner for Schmucks, Knight and Day, Shutter Island, Grown-Ups, The Bounty Hunter, Hot Tub Time Machine, Killers, Cop Out, Macgruber, shall I go on?

If the question is, "Why do so many of these movies stink?" I might have an answer.

I have a friend out in Los Angeles, who is an amazing writer. I actually have a few friends that are amazing writers. When I say amazing, I mean that they not only write well, but they also have great, original ideas. Ideas, I think, a lot of people would pay to see in a theatre.

Anyway, this friend is so good that he’s had several meetings with Hollywood producers. They love his writing. They love his original ideas. They want him to write … remakes. His original work got him through the door but that isn't what they are interested in. They want remakes (Nightmare on Elm Street), movie adaptations of successful books (Twilight, Eat, Pray Love) or graphic novels (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), movie versions of old TV shows (The A-Team) or even adaptations of popular video games (Resident Evil).

Basically, they are reluctant to take a chance on an original idea because they would have to actually do some work marketing it and they don't trust us, the audience, to respond to something original.

They expect us to say, "Hey, I liked The A-Team back in the day, sure I'll see it even if Mr. T isn't in it." Or, maybe, "I loved that book/graphic novel/video game and can't wait to see the film!" Sometimes in the case of Twilight, it works. Other times, (A-Team, Macgruber, ...) it doesn't work at all.

If any original works do make it to the screen, it's because they have, what Hollywood Insiders call 'a package.' They have a big name actor/director attached. My friend could have never pitched Inception but a director like Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Memento) can get it done. On the flip side, Shutter Island made it to the screen on the strength of the Leonardo DiCaprio/Martin Scorsese package (and that was over two hours of my life I can never get back).

Otherwise, successful, original films often start out as small, independents aimed at a niche audience that find a bigger audience (The Kids are Alright).

When movies come out that are a little different or are the kinds of movies you want to see, you have to support them, and no, I don't mean by buying the bootleg!

African-Americans had been clamoring for a good family drama when Akeelah and the Bee came out several years ago. It was well-written, well-acted, even well-marketed. It didn't crack the top five the weekend it debuted.

A friend of mine had a meeting the Monday following Akeelah's disastrous opening weekend to discuss her family-friendly black drama. Monday morning, she got a call. Her meeting had been canceled. The executive felt Akeelah's 'failure' showed there was 'no market' for her kind of film.

I wish I could say that things will get better, but I doubt it. The Powers That Be don't have the nerve or the creativity to really make films. I predict more of the same. More remakes. More formulaic comedies. And, more mindless, mediocre movies masquerading behind 3-D effects.

So sad, but probably so true...