Monday, December 13, 2010

The King's Speech

Earlier today in an attempt to not bring unpleasantness to a couple of guests my Mum was entertaining I left and headed to the Pasadena Playhouse. I've been wanting to see "The King's Speech" for over a month now but with it's really limited release, I had to wait. Anyway, it was phenomenal and would be my pick for Best Picture and Best Actor for Colin Firth with Best Supporting Nods (and wins) for Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham-Carter

So before I add anything more, here's the trailer for the film. You'll immediately notice the richness that emboldens the film beautifully.


So first thing to catch my eye was.... Helena actually had a sane role for once! She was so wonderful and it was very refreshing seeing her act as a historical figure rather than a ranting, sexy lunatic [I love those lunatics but the change was nice]. I need to see more of her normal stuff to compare. 

Colin Firth was breath-taking. The stammer, stuttering, and lisp must have been so difficult to perfect. He portrays Albert with a finesse that you don't see anymore with most actors. If Firth doesn't  win the Oscar, the Academy are even more despicable that I originally thought. I've never held these peer-awarded ceremonies in high regard due to the political and popularity contests that go on instead. I've been surprised before ["Avatar" not getting best picture was a plus in my book] so let's hope this year, the Academy will do right by Firth. As a friend has already pointed out, he should have gotten it last year with "A Single Man" but I have to argue the best man did win it after all and that was a tough choice (Christoph Waltz won). 

Now Rush was amazing. His character stole the scene whenever he was in the shot. I can't give enough praise to him. You couldn't help but love him.

The whole film was beautifully shot and transitioned well between events. The supporting cast were good but I didn't care for Timothy Spall's Churchill. He had the voice down, but something irked me. Maybe because he was too tall? Maybe I'm biased because of Brendan Gleeson? I don't know. I didn't like him for it though. Guy Pearce did a good job as Edward. Derek Jacobi was brilliant as always. Hell, even Michael Gambon whom I have many issues with, was good as George V. Jennifer Ehle was a pleasant surprise! The Pride and Prejudice dork in me "awwed" as Firth and Ehle were in only one scene together [Firth played Darcy to Ehle's Elizabeth Bennett] but it was a bloody fantastic scene at that! Mrytle: "But you're... you're..."  They were marvelous! 

I really think this film was the best I've seen all year. I loved "Let Me In" and "The Social Network" but this one had the least flaws in my opinion. I need to see all these films another 3 or 4 times  to make sure. Definitely GO SEE this one if you have the time!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Women

I have always written about the Men I admire, lust after, will see any film or show with them, etc. I appreciate the older, handsome gentlemen such as Alan Rickman and ogle the young, very fit hotties like Jesse Spencer. I love Men as much as the next hot-blooded female. Of course, all actors are not men though. I tend to overlook the Women when it comes to this blog. It's not that I don't appreciate their skills and beauty. It's just more fun for me to write about the men. Don't blame me, blame my gender. [Yes, I stole that line, but it fits.] Without further ado, the women I'll see any film or show if they're in.

Gillian Anderson 
From the moment I saw her, I knew she was fantastic. Yes, I am a hardcore X-Files fan, but that was only the beginning. Scully was fascinating and it was refreshing to see the woman as the voice of reason. Her masterpiece and my favorite role of hers is in "Bleak House" as Lady Dedlock. She should have won the Emmy and BAFTA for that series. It was brilliant and sad and unlike anything I had seen her in. Overall, it's my favorite Dickens adaptation. And because I am nothing if not appreciate of looks, she's probably the most gorgeous woman out there. Yes, I'm biased because she was ginger, has blue eyes and is very short. She can make smart, sexy as hell. I'm all for intelligent, hot women.

Emma Thompson
I absolutely love Thompson. She can do tragedy, romance, comedy, awkwardness, anything and everything and do it with flare, grace and charisma. I do not understand how this woman is not more famously known. She deserves it more than bloody Helen Miren. My favorites of her's are the "Cambridge Footlights Revue," "Howard's End," "Much Ado about Nothing," "The Remains of the Day," and "Sense and Sensibility" to name a few. There are literally dozen more films that she is phenomenal in. She broke the hearts of any person watching her in "Love Actually." Tell me you don't feel empathy for her character as you watch her crumble and try to hold her family together. I think this was the only time I hated one of Rickman's characters. Of all the actresses I admire, she is the best of her craft. Plus, I must give her props on snagging Greg Wise as a husband.

Lisa Edelstein 
If I had to choose one lovely woman to party with and listen to wild, fantastic stories all night, it would be Edelstein. If you love listening, this woman is willing to talk and hold court. Of all the women mentioned, I've seen and had the pleasure to hear Lisa speak about her career and, of course, "House," the most. I've seen Anderson several times at premieres and Jimmy Kimmel and Olivia Wilde once at the premiere of the sixth season of "House." Never had the pleasure of hearing Thompson speak but hopefully one day it'll happen. Anyway, I digress.

I have to be honest. Originally, I didn't care for her. Due to my best friend coercing me into watching House, albeit lovingly, I started from the Pilot and worked my way into the series, going out and buying the seasons. Every House fan knows how horribly they dressed her in season one. Yes, I am that shallow. But... she grew on me. The more her character grew, the more I liked her. She's the HBIC (Head Bitch In Charge) who could go toe-to-toe with a crazy, pain in the ass genius. To act opposite a powerhouse (no pun intended) actor such as Hugh Laurie takes guts and a lot of skill. Also, personally, how can you not like someone devoted to animals, loves theater (saw her just last week at "In the Heights"), and who has a throaty laugh so sultry you can't help but blush? She reminds me of Grayson Hall... except, luckily, Lisa's had a lot more luck in the business.

Olivia Wilde
Everything is exotic with this female. This is the shallowest pick of mine. It's all about the eyes. If Christopher Nolan needed a Catwoman in the next Batman, I can't think of anyone more perfect. I also can't wait to see "TRON: Legacy" when it comes out later this year. I know I'm going to grin when I see the posters and swag at the San Diego Comic Con. She's currently filming "Cowboys and Aliens," directed by Jon Favreau. Supposedly they'll be showing clips at their panel on Saturday. I'll probably be in there to check them out and root for Wilde.

That's it for now, folks. I know there are hundreds more actors out there that are as great and beautiful as these, but these four have caught my eye for a while.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Zombie's Halloween II

Before I get rants of "remake! blasphemer!" technically "Halloween II" is not a remake since Zombie took the story and ran with it. Originally I thought it was going to be exactly like the original, set in a hospital on the same night. Zombie's is set a year after his story. Laurie Strode is one traumatized kid, looking like she's barely coping with living. Michael sees his mother as a ghost-like angel. The inner child literally speaks for the adult Michaels whenever he sees her. It's all very odd, but works to creep you out. Laurie's nightmares and her appointments with her psychiatrist, played by Margot Kidder (who seriously looks a lot better than the last time I had seen her), are intense, but too quick to really catch your attention.

I didn't like the spin they put to Dr. Loomis's character, profiting from all his time with Michael and the events of last Halloween. He's a bastard. Malcolm McDowell is always good on screen and you see that even when they drag his character into the ground. Loomis was suppose to be the voice of reason and the only "sane" person.

I don't know if it was because I started watching the film close to midnight or what, but it was jumping all over the place with the shots, the musics, and just the plot of the story. I jumped and flinched at the suspenseful moments. I laughed at wholly inappropriate moments.  The ending left me going "What the fuck? That's it?" It was just blah, especially after the totally hectic, awesome ending of the first movie. It was an okay film. Nothing beats the originals though.

Tomorrow's flick is Wes Craven's first film, "The Last House on the Left." Hopefully I can stomach it!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Let the Right One In VS Let Me In

"Let the Right One In" is one of my favorite films. It's dark, haunting, beautiful, etc, etc. If you've been reading this blog for the past three years, you know how I feel about it. I've praised and defended this movie.When I heard "they" were going to remake the film into an English version, I was leery and saddened. The Swedish film does have its faults with editing and special effects (the cats scenes for examples), but it was good, a worthy film to be admired by fans of horror and vampire flicks.

"Let Me In" is the basically the same film but in English. Of course, I haven't seen it so I'm just going by what I've seen in the trailer. It looks pretty good and the kids are sufficiently creepy. Still peeved they changed the title, but I'm going to give it a chance. That is one well done trailer. It's very similar to the original's but still brings its own flare, for lack of a better word. Will this finally be a good remake? We shall see.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

2010 has been another slow year for me. There hasn't been a film that I've gasped and loved and had to write about the second I finished watching. Finally I have found that film. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" was exciting, daring, and intriguing.

The mystery of the story had me hooked. The film begins with a request to find out the murderer of a beloved niece of a millionaire. The millionaire's family are all suspect. The man commissioned to find out what happened is Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), a reporter just sentenced to six months in jail for slander. The millionaire had a security firm investigate Blomkvist to make sure he was reliable before hiring him. A young hacker, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) investigates him, however after she turns in her report, she continues to monitor his actions. 

And then the story really takes off. 

Blomkvist investigates and unearths secrets forty years old. Salander cannot stand by when she notices a pattern in Blomkvist's notes, thrusting herself into the investigation. I'm not going to go into detail with the story because you should just go out and watch it yourself. 

Just watch with caution as this film doesn't hold anything back and delivers gruesome and horrific scenes bluntly. Lisbeth is brutally raped and rapes her rapist in a fitting act of revenge. The millionaire's family is nothing short of fucked up (seriously the best phrase to describe them) and insane, except for the millionaire, himself. I never yawned or hardly blinked through the film. It was brilliant! Now I need to see the sequels. 

[I should be updating more often since I finally have Netflix and the "Instant Play" is my new favorite thing in the whole world! I have to catch up on 2008's 74 blogs versus this year's 15.] 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Good Geek News Day

Today has been such a geek day for me. First I wake up to "Torchwood International," season four of the Doctor Who spin-off! I have high hopes that this series will be so good. Russel T. Davies spoke to the BBC about it which you can see HERE. He will still be the head writer for the series. I'm still eagerly awaiting the cross-over of his for "The Sarah Jane Chronicles." Sarah Jane will get to meet the Eleventh Doctor! [Fun Fact: She's met them all except for six, seven, eight, and nine.]

Then I see this video.

At first I thought a fan had done some creative editing before I watched the whole video. Then immediately thought someone was trying to promote their skills. Turns out, the makers are trying to promote the re-boot of the Mortal Kombat franchise! As long as they keep the film rated R, instead of the lame PG-13 versions, I will go see this movie. Good luck to the makers of this video!

And if Marvel hasn't had enough press, they release the Captain America and Thor logos. "Captain America" will be released July 22, 2011. "Thor" will be released on May 20, 2011. Looks like Marvel will dominate the summer box office!  It'll be about a year later to see "The Avengers" on May 4, 2012. I was wishing it'll be an earlier release, but I'll try to be patient. "Thor" is the movie I'll be waiting at midnight for. I can't wait to see what Kenneth Branagh has done with it!

That's it for now, folks. Tomorrow I see a beloved Scotsman on his late, late night show so I know I'm in for a good time.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Take on the Series Finale of "House, MD."

I'm still reeling from the fantastic finale of Season Six. The love I have for this show is rare since I usually do not get into shows that are still on the air. It's just easier for me to fall in love with a whole complete series than wait week after week or months for new episodes or seasons. I'm very impatient. Anyway, with speculation about the state of Hugh Laurie's contract, which is 'to be or not to be' renewed in 2011, I think it is only natural to theorize the end of the show. It has to end eventually, right?

So to be totally blunt, House has to die in the final episode.

Before you, dear readers and fans, stab and chase me with pitchforks down the streets of Los Angeles, hear me out. First, this is only theory; not canon... at least, not yet. Second, David Shore isn't going to leave the show open-ended. There is going to be a finality to it. House will be admitted into Princeton-Plainsboro with another infarction or with some sort of drug/vicodin related illness such as his liver failing or his heart going out. The Ducklings will be trying everything in their power to save him. Cuddy and Wilson will be glued to his side, allies and enemies at the same time. They'll agree on some treatments and argue vehemently on others. They'll all sit or pace around the room., watching as the heart monitor slows. House would not die alone.


House will solve a case that has plagued him for years or he'll have some sort of personal victory (marrying Cuddy [yes, a Huddy can dream], etc). He'll be content for the first time in his miserable life. House will have to check up on something and go to his room, alone. Everyone will be celebrating. Drinks are flowing and people are laughing. And then Wilson, because it has to be Wilson, will find him in his room, either on his bed or on the floor, dead.

The final scenes would be of the old and new teams, Cuddy with Rachel, Wilson, any living family (his Mum or biological father perhaps), and maybe a few former, notable patients, grieving over a casket. We'll watch as its lowered to the ground. Every person present will be seen dropping roses or earth into the grave. Shots of an empty apartment, a vacant piano seat, an empty office will flash before our eyes. The last shot being House's name on his door.

These are the endings I expect and would like to see. I love morbid, dramatic and heart-wrenching endings. I would love House to end with a bang. Moriarty was never found after he shot House in Season 2... But I don't think it'll be likely he'll appear again. If Shore followed Holmes's "supposed end" Moriarty would be used. There are literally dozens of possibilities for the series end. I'll be heartbroken for a while, but I'll be satisfied as always with House.

So, dear readers, any thoughts?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

On Film Etiquette

Dear fellow Movie Goers,

It seems to have become the norm to have a very disruptive audience.  You don't need to lean over and tell your girlfriend that the scene that just passed was hilarious. I think she got that from the stupid guffaw you made. It wasn't that funny either. Repeating lines just said is vexing and lowers your I.Q ten points. I have excellent hearing and so do the other patrons around you. Texting and taking phone calls during a film is extremely rude. Also, if you know you're going to be taking more than 3 phone calls during the length of the film, go see it when you can actually view it in peace. Running up and down the stairs and across the theater is annoying and very distracting. If you need to use the restroom, you don't have to invite four other giggling girls to accompany you. Please save your anecdotes until after the movie has ended. Mr. I-couldn't-shut-up-for-five-minutes, you were wrong about a couple of things during your pointless commentary.

If you follow those small guidelines, watching movies should become a pleasant experience again.

A Fellow Film Addict,


PS. Mr. Darren Lynn Bousman, director of "Saw II" and "Repo! The Genetic Opera," has a good blog on Film Etiquette that I highly encourage you to read here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Favorite Season Finale Endings

After seeing the House Season Six finale, I got inspired to write this. Well, not entirely true. I just wanted to write about the finale without it turning into a full-blown review so I added in other finales that I absolutely love. Spoiler-phobes, beware.

House Season Six "Help Me."

That finale was one of the most beautiful, emotional, and cringe-worthy ones I have seen. I was weary of it due to the season flipping and flopping on many issues, but this episode tied in the whole season marvelously. From hindsight, we now see what cliff the writers were throwing us off of.  I can honestly say I enjoyed the sensation of falling for this show all over again. [Plus, FINALLY House and Cuddy are together!]

Torchwood: Children of Earth "Day Five."

I loved the ending so much! It was heart-breaking and gut-wrenching. What kind of man is Captain Jack Harkness to suddenly sacrifice his grandson so easily it seemed? I've always loved how "wrong" and screwed up every character in Torchwood appeared to be, but with this series, it showed the lengths of how far the characters would go to save the Earth. Was that the end of Jack? I sincerely hope not.

Doctor Who "The End of Time" Part II

I did have a couple issues with the ending of the Tenth Doctor's life (falling from the ship was a little too cheesy for me), but the ending was fantastic. I included both these clips because it is a very long ending. Very worth it though! I loved how the Doctor was able to see his friends and loved ones once more before he changed his face forever. It was tragic, sad, but oh so lovely an ending for David Tennant. I didn't want you to go either!

House Season Five "Under My Skin" and "Both Sides Now." 

Unfortunately I couldn't find short clips of the endings of these two episodes. "Under My Skin" starts with House hallucinating and questioning the only thing he holds dear, his mind. We see him resolve the issue yet is everything still as it seems? It's never that simple in House. In "Both Sides Now" we see how far the hallucinations have taken House from reality. Showing the audience in back to back clips of reality versus fiction was ingenious of the show. I had not read any spoilers so I was in total shock of the conclusion.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Two "Becoming Part I" and "Part II."

Joss Whedon took great pleasure in torturing us during Season Two. First he brings in handsome, punk vampire, Spike, with his crazy girlfriend, Drusilla, to bring chaos to an already chaotic Sunnydale. Then he changes Angel into Angelus, one of the most brutal and evil vampires in the series. We saw him torture Buffy's friends, kill one of my favorite characters ("Passion" still makes me weep), and almost destroy the world. In Part I, we see Angelus's plan come to light and with that, he kidnaps Giles, Buffy's Watcher. Part II sees Buffy killing her lover as his spirit is restored, sacrificing him for the world. As that season ended and we saw poor Buffy walking by herself, away from friends and family, it left the audience wondering how psychologically damaged our Slayer was and what she was going to do next... alone.

The X Files Season Four "Gethsemane"

Season Four will always have a special place in my heart for the greatest episode The X Files ever had, "Home." FOX originally did not air the episode due to the 'graphic' nature of the episode; infanticide, incest, mutants, all in a town reminiscent of Mayberry. The creepiness and horror were upped by the pleasant sound of Johnny Mathis singing "Wonderful."  I still get chills thinking about this episode. However... "Gethsemane" steals the spotlight due to the beginning. We first see Special Agent Scully in a court room and get a flashback of her identifying a body... Mulder's body! Huh? Of course Mulder isn't dead, but the whole story behind the fake death is thrilling and keeps you guessing.

Dark Shadows Episode 460 The End of the 1795 Era 

Dark Shadows may have had seasons, but they have either been long forgotten or just not marked on the DVD sets. So to keep this simple, we'll treat the end of a storyline as the "finale." We see Barnabas implore Joshua, his father, to kill him in his coffin. Joshua essentially becomes a coward and instead chains Barnabas in his coffin to suffer for eternity. Such a nice Dad. Anyway, it ends the tale of Barnabas's transformation into the fierce and insane vampire we grew to love in the 1960s. I really hope Johnny Depp choses "1975" as his first film's storyline.

I could go on for a couple more pages, but this will do for now. These finales are the ones that have really stuck with me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hello, My Name is Alex and I am a Fangirl Snob.

Or Ramblings about Comics and their Film-verses. 

I am a real pain in the ass when it comes to the mythology and storyline of characters. The more convoluted, the more complex, the longer the storyline, I am probably in love with it. I can provide evidence based on the "fandoms" I love. I could go into a long and very extensive rant on those fandoms but I'm going to get specific: comic books.

First the reason for this blog: Here I must put a SPOILER WARNING for "Iron Man 2" and future Marvel/Comic book films.

I love the Marvel Film franchise. I love how the producers have woven the stories of Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Thor and a couple others together in the current films. It makes seeing the films an exercise on spotting the tie-ins. The Geek in me cheers with joy whenever I see something that ties into another story (ie. Captain America's shield in Iron Man 1 and 2, Tony Stark in "The Hulk"). I am easily amused. The Geek, however, gets easily frustrated when others don't see those tie-ins or when people make up their own  [bullshit] explanation of the new "clue."

Scenario after seeing the clip after the credits of "Iron Man 2:"

Kid to Brother: "That was totally a weapon for Iron Man 3! Iron Man is going to use that!"

That poor Kid fails miserably. He's not even close to what that object is. I bit my tongue as I walked behind him, cringing every time his chubby mouth opened. I don't feel too bad knocking on him since he looked like a teenager and he didn't hold the door open for me as we exited the theater. People just don't have any manners.

Anyway, if you're puzzled by the object, here's a photo and link to the film it is from.  I'm dying to see what Kenneth Branagh has done with this film since the man is marvelous.

I know Marvel are not following their canon even loosely. I totally understand that actually. If they were to follow the comic book series of Iron Man, we would be seeing far less technology and more a story about the Cold War. Then the story would move on to the self-destruction of Tony Stark, the Suit becoming sentient and killing without distinction of civilian or villain, an alternate-version teenage Tony Stark showing up, the real Stark dying, and just a story that wouldn't work well on the silver screen.  I like the new road being paved a bit more. Also, it is futile to argue canon when alternate universes come into play.

I don't expect ninety percent of people to know those facts above. With comics, I can easily forgive that... to a point. The following images should be easily identified:

If you can't identify one logo, you must be hiding under a rock. All of these superheros (Batman, Captain America, Spiderman) have had films made. I really do like the Captain America one a lot. They have also been around in comic books for decades! They should be one of the first pop cultural icons kids see and enjoy on Saturday mornings; unless the networks have completely wimped out due to the "violence" factor and taken these off the air.

I'm far from being a comic book nerd. In stating that, I clarify by saying that I wouldn't know the numbers of issues, volumes, and maybe a couple story-lines. Give me a character and I could probably tell you where they came from if they're not very obscure. I can remember going to the comic book shops in my hometown and picking up anything I thought looked interesting. I did judge a comic by its cover. I did know better, though. I usually stayed with the Marvel-verse unless it was Batman or Superman related (DC). If I could "sneak-buy" a Chaos comic, I would do it in a heart beat. Chaos comics usually were more gruesome, horrifying, with explicit language and stories and the parents didn't approve, of course. That made them all the more appealing; forbidden fruit and all that. I still have those comics in storage. Looking around my room now at almost 2 in the morning, I can see more than 20 comics in plain view, Dark Horse my favorite company at present.

Yeah, I'm not a hardcore comic geek.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Movies I NEED to See

We all have movies that we CAN'T wait for. There are "Harry Potter and the Death Hallows Part 1 and Part 2," "The Villa Golitsyn," "Iron Man 2" (coming out next week), "Coriolanus,"   and many others that I will definitely see in theaters. But with these highly publicized films, we can be patient... maybe. The ones below, I cannot.  

An older guy falls for the daughter of a family friend resulting in a dark comedic film of their trials. That's all I know about this film except that it stars Hugh Laurie. Will I see it when it comes out? Certainly. It's every young Hugh Laurie fan's fantasy! 

I'm cheating here a bit. I've read the book by Mr. Stephen Fry. I loved it's very eccentric yet thoroughly complicated and bloody amazing plot. I can see myself adoring the film. Have you read (and particularly understood) it? Yes, wait to see the film. All of its production information is currently unavailable so I don't even know when this will be in pre-production. Hopefully soon! 

Now to go from the library to the bitter and bloody gutters of exploitation cinema at its best.... I have no idea what this film will be about, but Quentin Tarantino is directing.  He hasn't made a film I haven't liked yet. 

This was one of my favorite trailers in the "Grindhouse" films, released by Robert Rodriquez and Tarantino. It has been a long time coming for Danny Trejo to get his own leading man role and what better than in a film like this. 

[And these two trailers need to be made into films ASAP. "Don't" (recognize the blue-eyed Brit in the beginning?) and "Werewolf Women of the SS."]

This is the next horror film that I've wanted to see since I found out about it. I haven't felt that way about a horror movie in a while ("Trick R Treat" in 2007 and "Repo! The Genetic Opera" in 2008). From what I've read it is about a couple getting stranded on an island/isolated area and not being able to find their way out. Then to make it worse, a soldier shows up causing more tension and terror within the cabin/house (?) the couple are staying. Why do I want to see it? The Husband is the aforementioned blue-eyed Brit from above who plays some of best Villains out there. The Soldier, who is the villain of the piece, has shown he can be terrifying and very believably insane. I can't wait to see him as a villain! 

Again, there are many more than just these, but that's all I'm good for at the moment. It is 01:00 am and I am knackered. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Doctor Vs. Doctor

It has been three weeks of Eleven's (Matt Smith) reign as the "new" Doctor and a lot of mixed reviews have come out. Most are nit-picking about his "style of dress," "his looks," and his seemingly new inability to solve what's happening in the stories (which is more to do with the current story arc, I'm guessing).

Personally I like him. Eleven is actually a bit more like Nine, reverting to action before thinking of the consequences. Last night's (UK) episode proved that when he went straight for the painful option instead of taking a deep breath and following Amy's lead. [Fellow Geeks, you know Dumbledore would have been proud of her.] I also don't think we've seen the whole of Eleven's "range." He's holding back. There's a lot of passion and anger under the surface. I have a feeling he's going to explode later on. I think Ten had the better introduction with "New Earth" and "Tooth and Claw" (one of my favorite episodes) so we can't hold that against Eleven. Also remember, Eleven is still in the shadow of the greatest and most memorable Doctor in "Doctor Who" history. Poor Eleven is trying to find his niche, give the bloke a break!

So here's the ultimate question on every fans mind: Ten or Eleven or Other and why? It'll be interesting to see if people's opinion's change at the end of this season.

Monday, April 5, 2010

"The Eleventh Hour" Mini-Review of the Eleventh Doctor

Who da man? I think Matt Smith is the man of "The Eleventh Hour." And yes, that will be the last time I use that phrase. I was really worried about this gentleman's performance, but it was proved that I need not have been. I'm a Tenth Doctor Fangirl-still-in-mourning so I was very, very leery of Eleven. Matt Smith is attractive in a goofy, long-faced sort of way. The only other show I've seen him in was "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" starring former Who companion, Billie Piper. His part was only a couple minutes long, but he was decent. 

Then there was "The End of Time" with the Tenth Doctor saving the world for the last time. I got teary and had a lump in my throat as I re-watched it peacefully. I thought to myself as Ten started to regenerate, "No, I'm NOT going to like this new guy at all. No way anybody can be as good as David Tennant." I was going to nit-pick and be as biased as I wanted to be. Tennant was gorgeous as the Doctor and that can be proven scientifically. Hell, even my two year old cousin likes him and refers to him as her boyfriend (God bless her!). I watched the preview trailers and saw each promotion photo as it appeared. "Ugh, a tweed jacket?" "Is he really wearing a bowtie?" "Is he trying to copy Tennant's hair? What a poser." I was not going to like Matt Smith at all. No way, no how. 

So naturally, I liked him. Well, that's an understatement. I kind of loved him. Smith has fashioned his own Doctor and rather brilliantly, I might add. For being the youngest Doctor yet, he was able to still keep that Time Lord dignity in tact and make you believe he was much older than he let on. He was fresh and natural, never letting you think, "Oh, Tennant would have done that better." Not once. All and all, it was a fantastic premiere! Bravo, Smith! 

I just have to add that I was never worried about Steven Moffat taking over as he had written some of my favorite episodes ("Don't Blink!"). I'll miss Russel T Davies, but I think I won't for long. If he goes through with Torchwood US, I'm going to be a bit cross with him. Maybe I'm prejudging again but experience has showed me that UK shows cannot be successfully turned into US shows 99% of the time. Anyway, Moffat has been able to assemble an excellent writing team! Toby Whithouse of "Being Human" fame is returning for several episodes. Richard Curtis who wrote and directed one of my favorite Christmas films ("Love Actually." People, come on!) is writing an episode!  Famous comic book legend Neil Gaiman ("The Sandman," "What happened to the Caped Crusader?") has written an episode or two! I can't wait to see the rest of the series. 

One last thing... Did anyone else love how Eleven walked through Ten's image? I thought it was a good tribute to all the Doctor's past selves and an excellent way to show Eleven is the Doctor. Is it time for "The Beast Below" yet? 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Don't believe the Critics...

Or why "Alice in Wonderland" wasn't as bad as 'everyone' claims it is.

I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about this film. Some are valid; some are people looking for something to bitch about. "Burton isn't Burton." "It didn't follow the books' story-lines." "It was horrible!" "What's up with Depp's accent changes?"

Can someone honestly tell me what is "Burton?" His films span to so many genres that to place him within that "gothic, must be dark like 'Sleepy Hallow' or 'Nightmare Before Christmas' type of movie" is really unfair. Okay, my favorite film of his is "Vincent" which has those very dark, lovely qualities. But to think "Alice" was going to be like this, is folly. As to the story lines, it's Burton's movie! And be honest, when was the last time you read Lewis Carroll? The books are written more to the lines of vignettes so to adapt a film to these would be a little difficult. Didn't anyone notice Depp changed his accent with the subject of the conversation? OH! That's why he used different accents! I actually think Depp did that change too seamlessly so people didn't pick up on it.

It was far from horrible. Stephen Fry (the Chesire Cat) and Alan Rickman (the Catepillar) did superb jobs as usual. Depp (really?) and Crispin Glover (the Knave) played off each other very well. Michael Gough only had two lines (Dodo). Christopher Lee only had ONE (as the Jabberwocky). He should have had at least three more with a voice like his. It was fitting that him and Gough were billed together. The fangirl in me was delighted. Imelda Stauton was lost as a flower. I loved how I recognized Lindsay Duncan (also known for her Adelaide Brooke in "Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars [side note: My favorite special]) as Alice's Mum. I have to say Helena Bonham Carter did steal the movie. The characterization was perfect! Since Burton is working on "Dark Shadows" I'm hoping she's cast as Aunt Abigail, if they are doing a "1795" film (a very Red Queen/Bellatrix-like character). She needs to be another evil character. In the words of Craig Ferguson, she does "bat-shit" crazy well.

I liked the movie. I enjoyed it and was entertained so it was worth the ticket price. Its certainly better than three-quarters of the films out there.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Michael Gough

Michael Gough, 93, is a man everyone has seen, either on film or television. He’s probably one of the most successful character actors out there. His name is in over 171 credits! Now, you’re probably thinking, “Alex, please, he’s just one of those actors you’ve become fixated on.” Sort of true, but then again, I’ve known this actor’s filmography for years and he still amazes me. So let’s get his most famous works out of the way (to prove I’m right about the above statement) and then move to his prolific but little known works. 

For Americans, most people would identify him as Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s trusted butler in the original Batman film franchise. Starting his role in 1989 in Tim Burton’s “Batman” he became the best “Alfred” in my opinion. Michael Caine has nothing on this man. Even after Burton left the franchise, Gough stayed until the dreaded “Batman and Robin.” He would work again with Burton when Burton asked him to play a character in “Sleepy Hollow” (1999), effectively pulling Gough out of a very short retirement. Gough then lent his voice in “Corpse Bride” (2005) and will be seen/heard in “Alice in Wonderland,” coming out next week. I have a feeling Burton likes Gough, too.

Now here’s where else I’ve seen him and come to love his other works. I am a huge fan of Hammer Horror Films, a British film production company that released B-level horror movies that have become classics. After seeing his almost grandfatherly performance as Alfred, it was a shock to see him as a villain! It was like a breath of fresh air to see such class and elegance in a villain. I first watched him in “Horror of Dracula” (1958), as a very young, haughty English aristocrat. I loved watching him act opposite Christopher Lee who played the dreaded Count Dracula. Lee towered over Gough, but Gough’s character never let on that it bothered him. He played another aristocrat villain, a Lord, in “The Phantom of the Opera” (1962) staring Herbert Lom. If you want to see a very trippy version of "Phantom" this is the movie for you! To be fair, it is the farthest from Leroux's story as imaginatively possible. I still liked it but then again I do have odd taste. [I can go on with about 20 other "Phantom" movies, but I'll leave that for another day.]

 Now I was looking up old “Doctor Who” episodes, trying to find downloads or clips on YouTube, when I spied his name in a list of Doctor Who Villains. I’ve been on a Doctor Who spree, watching anything I can get my hands on before I fall asleep at night (practically the only time when I can watch my cult stuff). I love watching the classic shows of the 60s. Gough played the “Toymaker” a villain of the First Doctor (William Hartnell)! I know this is my age showing through, being amazed that he was in the very first seasons of Doctor Who in 1966. Gough then appears in several parts of “Arc of Infinity” with the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) in 1983 as a Timelord, Councilor Hedin. From a frightening looking toy maker to a Timelord, this guy knew how to choose his roles well. 

What I’ve written about is only a very, very small part of his impressive resume. I have never seen a bad performance by this man. I’m a bit amazed he’s not more well-known. I know it is because he is a character actor, always in the background, delivering a good performance, and silently stepping away from the fame of “superstars.” He's shown he could act with the best having many roles with screen legends like Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Johnny Depp, George C. Scott, and many others. 

What's not to like about a guy who has been in films with names like "Satan's Slave," "Horror Hospital," and "The Corpse?" [You can bet I'll be looking for those films now.] 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kids these days...

I don't know why stuff like this surprises me still. The other day a friend posted that a guy, 18, didn't know who David Bowie was. Ok, I could kind of see this happening if you're not really into music. Even then, it's still hard to forgive. It's almost as bad as someone saying they don't know who Queen is. That is certainly unforgivable. Instances like this make me really sad. What kind of culture are these kids learning? They are missing out on so much! It's not like I'm asking him to know who Django Reinhardt is. [Which if you know who that is, I love you.]

This is not even the worst instance of ignorance, willing or born, that I've encountered. I have had people ask me if London was a wonderful country. Well, it's a beautiful city, I replied, wondering if they were kidding. They weren't. Now, I feel for some kids like this. You know because of their situations that they never had the chance and its heart-breaking. Most people like this are pretty quick learners and will try to better themselves. I love people like that. People who have that drive to learn and experience any and everything are people dear to my soul. I've also met the opposite, punk-ass kids who are so damned snotty and stupid, there is no hope. I had a kid tell me he didn't need to know geography because he was never travelling outside California so screw it. He couldn't tell me where Arizona was... It's funny because he looked at me as if I was the dumbass. What the hell kind of attitude is this? What kind of life must they lead? It's absolutely appalling!

What kind of World is shaping with these types of youth? There's no ambition. Bit frightening in my opinion especially if they are suppose to be our "future." Good joke to whoever coined that phrase.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Geek in Me.

"I really love your geekedness. Makes me feel not so odd in my geekedness." -A Good Friend on Twitter

Today I was bored. Like, sitting at the table with nothing to do, gazing out the window, not even anything to tempt me, bored. No book caught my eye. No show could drag me in [though I still need to catch up on "Being Human"]. I couldn't go outside because it was "too cold" and people were worried I'd get sick all over again. I've been sick since last week with a really bad infection, but am on the mend. It really did kick me in the head... and shoved it through a compactor. I casually mention going for a walk, maybe a run, and was told not to. When I stop sounding like a car back-firing, I guess. Gee, I wish there was a social network where I can bitch and complain about being sick and bored...

Anyway, films have always been a good filler. Hell, they usually are the first things I go find when I'm bored. I still have about 50+ films on dvd that I need to watch or re-watch since I watched them in the middle of the night or very early morning. I have a lot of catching up to do. Did I catch up on them today? No, sir! Having the youngest home means having duels over the telly. Then indecision to chose a movie gave way into frustration and so I settled for a crime novel. Read 45 chapters (457 pages) of good detective work and was happy.

After the novel though... Peter O'Toole has always fascinated me due to the company he kept when he was a young man. Oh, he's a good actor, also, but to be the "drinking mate" of such others like the late Richard Burton and Richard Harris? His life is fascinating. There's a casset tape out there in this vast world. It's priceless if it exists. No one knows how many copies there are, if there are copies, and whether the person who made the tape still has it. You see, this tape has a conversation between the aforementioned three men above. They are reportedly talking and having a grand 'ol time. Now here's why the tape is so intriguing and frankly, charming. It's a fraud. None of the aforementioned men are there, none were recorded. One man did all three voices to such utter perfection that when one listened to it, you couldn't tell the difference!
Who was the man you ask?

Well, he's a nobody really. He just won an Oscar for a 15 minute performance of a cannibalistic serial killer that has no equal to this day. If you still don't have any clue on who it is, and God help you, man, if I meet you,
it is the one, the only, Anthony Hopkins. He is not known for mimicry at all as far as I can tell with other movie fans. He's astounding! He's done restoration work for the film, "Spartacus" imitating Laurence Olivier's voice in the missing audio tracks! Am I such a geek to think that all of this and the tape is just outstanding or at the very least interesting?

I can go on tangents on the other's now, but its after midnight and I need my beauty sleep; badly if what the mirror tells me is true. If you're wondering what brought on the sudden barrage of information: this 174 minute film on YouTube (link to Part 1 of 18) which O'Toole stars and the news that Jason Isaacs and David Tennant are going to be in the same film!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The New Beverly

If you don't have a Twitter or don't follow me, go read this link HERE and then continue reading this.

The New Beverly, for those of you who have not had the pleasure, is a small theater in LA, located off of Beverly in Hancock Park. To the causal observer, it may look like a little run-down theater from the 1970s. To a film-nut, it's paradise. The New Bev is nothing like an Edward's or an AMC. Outside, you see the grand marquee letting you know what film or films are playing that night. There's only one box-office where you get your ticket before entering the building. The first thing that hits you when you walk in is the concession stand, or another patron who's squeezed into the area (happens to me a lot). Then you walk into the theater. There is only one theater, not 18, 21 or 30. Quantity does not mean quality. There are maybe a hundred seats or so.

What I love most about this theater is the ability to see the old films I hold dear. Just recently I saw a double-feature of Dracula (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935). There are no other theaters around here that would do the same thing. It's refreshing.

I was happy when I heard Tarantino bought the New Bev. There are only two other people I could think of that would be proper owners of such an establishment. I can't wait to see what kind of programs he's going to introduce and the foreign films he'll show. Knowing an inkling of his tastes, that shit is going to be tight!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Death of the Intelligent Villain.

In 2009, I would have to say that I went to the cinema less times than any other year. Sure, I showed up for midnight premieres and saw movies no one ever heard of, but I had done that in abundance in 2008. There were really hardly any films I needed to see. Out of those films, I can hardly remember the action movies. I literally looked up all the films in 2009 in case I missed any. I didn't. One other point before I get to the main reason for this blog. I like villains. Villains are interesting characters. They're the people we hate because they go against everything we've been led to believe is good and right in the world. They're destructive and selfish. We secretly envy them their "freedom", but we know the world cannot handle such chaos if everyone became selfish, etc.

The only film that made a lasting impression and stayed with me into 2010 was "Inglorious Basterds." The villain of the piece was Col. Hans Landa of the SS, played marvelously by Christoph Waltz. He was the only intelligent villain of the year! Every other villain I saw was an idiot and predictable! I'll put that down to crappy writing and story-planning. Landa had charisma, cleverness, and was wholly evil. He did everything with a smile that sent chills down your spine. He was almost as good a villain as Hans Gruber, who in my book is the standard of the Intelligent Villain. Landa essentially had several plans during the film, all of which involved him coming out on top. If the Nazis had won, he would have been a decorated officer living the good life in France. Since we know how the movie ended (if you've seen it), we know that he may be rich, living in the States, but the scar on his forehead is probably giving him hell.

"But, Alex, what about 'Avatar?' That was epic!"

Um... No. I cannot deny that the film was visually exciting, especially during the last battle. It was well done. I just don't like CGI or whatever new technology that James Cameron used. It has never impressed me (see The Fall). I could have done without 40 minutes of the movie also. I yawned and sat next to an obnoxious couple who kept digging into their back-pack for junk food and clapping whenever a "happy" moment appeared. They were the people "Avatar" was made for. The "villains" of the movie were the Corporation and Colonel Miles Quaritch. Quaritch, at the beginning of the film, was a good character. He slowly became retarded as the film progressed, ending it with pathetic one-liners and a plan that was doomed to fail and actually not even necessary! He had potential that was wasted for a sappy, happy ending. The fanboys pissed themselves whenever they heard the name of this movie. Good graphics do not equate to a good movie.

The second movie that failed in almost exactly the same way was "Watchmen." Ozymandias was intelligent, but boring. No charm. No daring. He was blah. He was a good villain but the audience could care less. I'm not going to mention the graphic novel since it is far superior to the movie so I'll leave this as is. It'll turn into another paragraph that's not needed here.

Come on, 2010. I need at least 3 films that I'll go crazy for. Give me a villain that will give me a charming smile while knifing me in the gut without me even suspecting it and me still liking him for it. That's all I ask.