Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Returned

Just a quick heads up about the series premiere on Sundance tonight:


The dead mysteriously reappear in a small town and attempt to resume their lives.

It's based on the 2004 French film Les Revenants, which, despite some slow spots and a shaky ending, I kinda liked. Interestingly enough, Brad Pitt's production company has an eerily similar, but entirely unrelated, upcoming show about folks coming back from the grave. See for yourself:

Spooky, even down to the creepy kid. Based on the 2013 novel by Jason Mott, it's set for a mid-season premiere on ABC.

We just had In The Flesh from earlier this year and now these two. Looks like reverse zombies are the new black. Makes you wonder how many zombie pilots are floating around in Hollywood. With the current success of The Walking Dead, I'd say a lot. It almost makes me reconsider my own zombie-ish pilot, but I've put in too much work already and besides, I really like it.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Agents of SHIELD

This post was a long time coming but I wanted to watch a handful of episodes before passing judgement...

Like a lot of folks, I enjoyed the heck out of The Avengers and have been a crazed fan of almost everything Joss Whedon has done on television. When Marvel announced a SHIELD series, fanboys and Whedonites like myself, came together and rejoiced aloud. Our favorite Marvel heroes would be popping up at SHIELD Headquarters every week, along with a revolving door of Whedonverse actors in juicy parts. When the news broke that J. August Richards would be appearing in the pilot, speculation about his role ranged from Nick Fury, Jr. to Luke Cage. Sam Jackson was eager to make a cameo, and Cobie Smulders was going to reprise her role of Maria Hill. Everyone was giddy with anticipation.

So I watched the pilot and... it was okay. The plot was a little too simplistic for my tastes, Skye was a bit of a Mary-Sue, and J. August Richards was just a regular working stiff, but the positives easily edged out the negatives. Most pilots truly are ugly ducklings. They’re loaded with clunky exposition, burdened with the arduous task of introducing a slew characters, and still required to be entertaining the entire time.

Episode two would smooth out the rough edges... okay, episode three would really get the ball rolling... well, the fourth time is actually the charm... hmmm, five is a prime number, prime as in prime time-- look, I got nothing.

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad show. The cast has nice chemistry and the dialogue has its moments, but the stories have been just average. I suspect the standalone nature of the episodes has been the main culprit. While there are several ongoing mysteries: Agent's Coulson’s vacation in Tahiti, Skye’s agenda, Centipede, etc. I’m not getting a sense of urgency. New shows like Sleepy Hollow and The Blacklist have done a better job so far, but I wouldn't count out SHIELD just yet.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I, Frankenstein Trailer

I know this is from the producers of Underworld, but does it have to look so Underworldy? Bill Nighy is in it for pete’s sake! Why not just team up Adam Frankenstein with Selene and call it a day? All jokes aside, the visuals are pretty slick for a B-movie.

Remember when Hollywood was snapping up every comic book and graphic novel property in sight? Some stuff even before it was published. Quite a few aspiring screenwriters tried turning their specs into funny book material -- Alas, I wasn’t that good of an artist and my pockets weren’t deep enough to afford a good one -- but Hollywood’s appetite eventually subsided. However, every now and then you’ll see something like I, Frankenstein get made. That January release date is a cause for concern though...

I haven’t read Kevin Grevioux’s graphic novel, but this world appears to be inhabited with some unique supernatural characters. When was the last time gargoyles got the big screen treatment? It just goes to show that if you can find a fresh take on a well known property in the public domain, someone will pay attention.

I was just about to finish this post when a little casual googling revealed the budget is $68 million?! I was expecting half that. With all the strides Hollywood has made with visual effects, it baffles me why movies like this are still so expensive. On the other hand, why do movies like this rely so much on costly special effects and set pieces while only giving lip service to the built-in (and cheaper) horror elements?

Friday, October 04, 2013

Treehouse of Horror XXIV

While my love of The Simpsons has waned over the years, I always try to catch a Treehouse of Horror episode. Sunday’s upcoming couch gag was written and directed by Guillermo Del Toro. I’ve watched it multiple times and I’m still finding new sight gags.


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