My initial thought, on screening the summer finale of White Collar [USA Network, Tuesdays 9/8C] was this: from the moment Mozzie let him know he’d stolen the Nazi treasure [from the season two finale] Neal Caffrey has to have known this moment was coming.
Take the basic Punisher plot [cop’s family killed by bad guys], add some designs by Constantine and top with a superficial gloss of Norse mythology, and you get the videogame-based Max Payne. Max Payne [Mark Wahlberg] is the cop whose wife and son are murdered; Alex Balder/Baldur [Donal Logue] is his ex-partner who discovers a link between the deaths of Payne’s family and the death of Natasha Sax [Olga Kurylenko], sister of assassin, Mona Sax [Mila Kunis].
Then there’s the blue fluid that is a failed super-soldier formula [so very Captain America] and the hallucinations it induces of Valkyries [the warrior women who bear Vikings who died in battle to Valhalla. The question is this: if everyone who uses this stuff sees the same hallucination, is it a hallucination or a glimpse into a supernatural realm – a question that is never answered [and could have made the movie something much better]. That fluid leads to the mighty Aesir [residents of Asgard – home of the Norse gods] Pharmaceutials. The company’s head of security [Beau Bridges] is Max’s dad’s former partner on the police force.
There’s more of this kind of thing throughout Max Payne – like the big blowout that occurs in a club called Ragnarok [the Norse end of the world myth]. Of course it’s a red herring. What else could it be? The biggest twist possible would have been if the club actually was where the movie ended.
Max Payne is beautifully shot, well-paced and so technically accomplished, overall, that it’s a shame it never attains any actual style. Most of the action choreography is an homage to John Woo [or blatant theft – you decide]. All it needs is a few doves…
Max Payne is a waste of some very talented actors – and of an hour and forty minutes in the life of anyone who sees it.
For the fall season, ABC greenlighted only a handful of new shows: the drama Life on Mars [based on the British, series of the same name]; comedies Scrubs [moving from NBC] and The Goode Family; and two alternative [reality] shows, the Untitlted Ashton Kutcher/Tyra Banks and Opportunity Knocks.
Now the network unveils five new shows: dramas Castle [starring Nathan Fillion, pictured], Cupid and The Unusuals, and comedies Better Off Ted and Single With Parents. Although the announcement of the five new shows comes a bit later than usual, Stephen McPherson, President of ABC Entertainment notes that, “It was worth taking the time to go through the pilot process to really do it right,” said McPherson. “We’re excited about these series and feel they’re perfect additions to our dominant core slate of shows. These are the initial pick-ups, but there are a number of other pilots we feel will also get the go ahead in some form moving forward.”
Details on the new series are as follows:
“Castle” is a comedic crime procedural about a famous mystery novelist, Nick Castle, who is bored with his own success. When a real-world copycat murderer starts staging scenes from Nick’s novels, Nick is teamed up with NYPD Detective Kate Beckett and the challenge gets his blood pumping as he steps in to help solve the crime. Nick and Beckett’s styles instantly clash and sparks begin to fly, leading both to danger and a hint of romance. Nick is kept grounded by his Broadway diva mother, quick-witted teenage daughter and his long-suffering ex-wife… who happens to be his editor. “Castle” stars Nathan Fillion as Castle, Stana Katic as Beckett, Molly Quinn as Alexis, Susan Sullivan as Martha, Monet Mazur as Gina and Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Capt. Montgomery.
“Cupid” is a romantic dramedy about Trevor, a larger than life character who may or may not be the Roman god of love, Cupid, sent to earth to bring couples together. As fate would have it, Trevor is under the care of famous psychologist and self-help author Dr. Claire Allen, who is also dedicated to helping lonely hearts find their soul mates. While she agrees with his cause, she questions whether he’s crazy or really is Cupid. “Cupid” stars Bobby Cannavale as Trevor, Sarah Paulson as Claire, Rick Gomez as Felix and Camille Guaty as Lita.
“The Unusuals” is a unique comedic procedural set in a New York police precinct. As a cop, it helps to have a twisted sense of humor, because every moment could be your last. Just ask Casey Schraeger, who started her day as an NYPD vice detective before unexpectedly being transferred to the homicide division. She quickly realizes that, not only does everyone in her new department have a distinct sense of humor, but also their own dirty little secrets. “The Unusuals” stars Amber Tamblyn as Det. Casey Schraeger, Jeremy Renner as Det. Joe Walsh, Terry Kinney as Sgt. Harvey Brown, Kai Lennox as Det. Ed Alvarez, Harold Perrineau as Det. Leo Banks, Adam Goldberg as Det. Eric Delahoy, Monique Gabriela Curnen as Det. Allison Beaumont and Joshua Close as Henry Cole.
“Better Off Ted” is a satirical office comedy featuring a successful but morally conscious man, Ted, who runs a research and development department at a morally questionable corporation, Veridian Technologies. No achievement is too far fetched and no invention too unorthodox for Veridian. Need a suicidal turkey? Done. Need a metal that is hard as steel but bounces – and is edible? Done and done. Ted loves his seemingly perfect job; he loves his superhuman boss, Veronica, and colleagues Lem, Phil and Linda, but he’s starting to take a closer look at the company’s extremely questionable practices… especially when they try to cryogenically freeze one of Ted’s scientists for testing purposes. Starring Jay Harrington as Ted, Andrea Anders as Linda, Portia de Rossi as Veronica, Jonathan Slavin as Phil and Malcolm Barrett as Lem,.
“Single with Parents” is a comedy about Lou, a woman in her mid-30s who is determined to have her own life despite her crazy blended family getting in the way. She’s thrilled that her divorced parents are leading exciting lives – really she is – except both of them rely on her way too much. Dad needs her as a surrogate parent and Mom counts on her 24/7 as a shrink and confidante. Lou has resolved to finally find a fulfilling life for herself. The series stars Alyssa Milano as Lou, Annie Potts as Elizabeth, Beau Bridges as Joe, Amanda Detmer as Sasha, Meagen Fay as Nancy and Eric Winter as Charlie.
Stargate: The Ark of Truth – which hits stores on Tuesday – is the direct-to-DVD wrap-up of a number of loose ends that were left unresolved in the series finale of Stargate SG-1. Although Stargate Command was pretty sure they had managed to destroy the actual Ori, there no resolution regarding the evil ascended beings’ religious hierarchy – the Doci and the Priors [and being pretty sure isn’t the same thing as knowing…] – not to mention Adria.