I went in to Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem expecting a terrible film. After all, the first one [on which I burned a free DVD rental coupon] was hideous beyond belief [so much so that I couldn’t believe that Uwe Boll hadn’t directed it]. I was in the mood for a big screen bonanza of senseless violence and mayhem – especially since this AvP edition carried an R rating. To my extreme disappointment, it was a decent enough timewaster.
Every year, The Kennedy Center honors five artists from all parts of the creative spectrum: film, music, art, theatre… This evening, CBS presents The 30th Annual Kennedy Center Honors [9/8C], hosted by Caroline Kennedy. This isn’t something Eclipse would normally cover, but tonight the Center honors a concert pianist/teacher, a comedian/writer/actor/philosopher, a filmmaker, a soul singer and a rock & roll legend.
This evening CBS presents a unique documentary, In God’s Name [ 9/8C], in which twelve of the most influential spiritual leaders in the world talk about the most pressing questions of our time and discuss how and why they have been able to deal with some of the most of the most devastating events in recent history.
The writers of National Treasure: Book of Secrets clearly spent more time on the film’s puzzle and action sequences than on character development. True, the puzzle and action sequences are worth seeing, but even the Indiana Jones pictures [which are a huge influence here] had more character.
No one thought that making a movie adaptation os Sweeney Todd was a good idea, though they certainly tried for a long time. Finally, the legendary Sondheim play came [or fell] into the hands of the one director who could take its stylishly macabre tale and do it justice. With playwright Stephen Sondheim performing surgery to cut the three hour play to two hours for the film [and having casting approval] the big question was whether the dynamic team of Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter could make movie magic with the property. In short, they could and have and we are the beneficiaries of their twisted labors!
Action movies have become increasingly sophisticated but the advent of CGI hasn’t completely taken over. The summer’s best threequels took radically different approaches: The Bourne Ultimatum was almost completely shot in camera; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End was a bravura usage of CGI. Then there was the summer’s one fourquel, Live Free or Die Hard, which relied heavily on practical effects to underscore that its hero was an analog guy in a digital world.
I Am Legend will likely be the season’s most massive hit. It stars Will Smith and the trailers have been hyper-involving. Given that it’s at least the third attempt at bringing Richard Matheson’s classic SF novel to the big screen – and given that it really captures the essence of the novel for as long as it does – the odds are that the few who will leave the theatre feeling let down will be those who have actually read the book.
Khaled Hosseini’s moving novel is a story of friendship betrayed and redeemed. It’s a dense four hundred and seventy-six page piece that gave North Americans one of their first looks at the day to day lives of the non-fundamentalist Muslims of Afghanistan – then showed them that the Taliban’s worst victims are their own people. Marc Forster’s film adaptation captures much of the book’s feel – especially in the friendship between Amir, the son of a prosperous businessman, and Hassan, son of the family’s long-time servant.
Imagine a world, much like our but with some significant differences… a world where people’s souls were not contained within them, but beside them – in the form of animals, called daemons, that represented not just the type of person they were, but also their other side [men would have female daemons; women would have male daemons]. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy is set in such a world and this unique yin and yang is but one of many aspects of the novels that Chris Weitz’s film adaptation does well.
Given that The Closer isn’t quite the typical procedural, it only makes sense that its double-length Christmas episode, Next of Kin [tonight, TNT, &C] would be a bit off-centre – in a good way.
When Saving Grace returns this evening [TNT, 9C], the series shifts into high gear – exploring Grace’s need for self-destructive behaviour [one-night stands, drinking, taking risks on the job] at the expense of a family, friends and colleagues who care about her. Tonight’s new episode revolves around a school bus accident and a group of tornados. Continue reading Saving Grace: Progress Made In Inches