Studio Ponoc, the animation studio founded by two-time Oscar®-nominee Yoshiaki Nishimura (The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, When Marnie Was There) and featuring many artists from the venerable Studio Ghibli, returns this year with Modest Heroes, an anthology of three tales created by some of the greatest talents working in Japanese animation today.
Modest Heroes will play in select theaters on January 10th & 12th. Check out clips from the three tales below.
Loosely based on a popular graphic novel series by Ming-Woo Hyung, Priest is an efficient mélange of genres that owes as much to Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns and John Ford’s The Searchers as it does to supernaturally based manga. Sadly, the only reason it doesn’t get an F is a couple of performances.
Gamechanger. NIKITA returns tonight after several weeks’ hiatus to an explosive (literally) and truly outstanding episode titled “Covenants” that can easily be labeled a ‘gamechanger’ among many other positive adjectives. Even if you have not been following this new Nikita very closely, you can easily treat yourself as a viewer to a most entertaining, emotional, and exciting hour. All elements come together adeptly and beautifully: the writing, directing, production, action, and filming. And the twists, turns, and revelations move the story forward in a frenetic yet satisfying manner.
Those of us attending WonderCon this past weekend had the pleasure of seeing the full episode a full week before tonight’s official return. One thing that gave me particular joy was seeing the auditorium nearly full. Sadly, that was not due to everyone’s interest in Nikita, but to their desire to secure a seat for the “Doctor Who” panel to follow. But this gave me joy because all those people now had to see Nikita. And if they were not regular viewers before, then this episode would no doubt have made them into viewers now. Yes, it was that good! It would truly be a crime if the new incoming CW President does not renew this series for a Season Two. Excellent writing, compelling characters, talented and charismatic actors, outstanding action sequences… what more could you ask for other than a few more ratings point perhaps.
Comments and spoilers after the jump. And dare I say it for all the die-hard fans? … “Mi-kita” alert!!
Nikit continues to heat up the Thursday night ratings for the CW Network and win rave reviews from critics and viewers alike, and with good reason. Nikita is action packed and intelligently written. The main character, played with ultimate cool by Maggie Q is a strong and resourceful woman who can hold her own.
In S1.04 Rough Trade, Nikita revisits a past assignment where she posed as a nanny for an influential government official and decides to right the wrong of his death. During the mission, Michael (Shane West) comes to Nikita’s rescue and begins to doubt Percy’s (Xander Berkeley) motives. Back at Division, while undergoing basic training, Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) suffers from a panic attack which prompts Amanda (Melinda Clarke) to break her of claustrophobia. Aaron Stanford, Tiffany Hines and Ashton Holmes also star. Nick Copus directed the episode written by Carlos Coto .
Check out the sneak peek provided by the CW Network and then tune in tonight at 9 PM EST to catch the newest episode of the CW Network’s newest hit series, Nikita.
I am always dubious of remakes, especially when an original was successful in its own right. After all, how can there ever be a MIAMI VICE without the original Crockett and Tubbs? Or a KNIGHT RIDER without the campy fun of the original Kitt and Michael Knight? Or a BIONIC WOMAN without the heart of Lindsay Wagner? Truth is, there can’t, as proven by the less than stellar performances of these remakes. Add to this list STARSKY AND HUTCH and The CW’s own MELROSE PLACE, and my cynical doubts go into high gear.
Of course, there are ‘re-makes’, ‘re-boots’ and then there are ‘re-visions’, where they take the same basic idea and go so far off the grid that the only similarity to the original is the name. They tend to indicate that Hollywood has either run out of ideas, or wants to play it safe with a product they know had success and will thus bring a built-in fanbase with it in the hopes of duplicating that success.
Now here comes NIKITA to prove all the doubters wrong! Many of the names are the same, but it is definitely a different world. Add to that a splashy campaign that made the series look intriguing despite getting some heat for being ‘too racy’ at one point – not the first time for The CW – and my curiosity was peaked. Despite some initial reservations, I must admit that this new NIKITA is absolutely entertaining! She is kicking A and taking names!
On Thursday, September 9th at 9PM EST (Supernatural’s old time slot), The CW Network is set to offer up their re-imagining of the 1997 USA Network series Nikita which starred Peta Wilson. That series was in itself an adapting of the 1990 French film, Le Femme Nikta.
While the blue eyed blonde Wilson has been replaced by the darkly exotic beauty of female action star Maggie Q (Mission Impossible 2), the basic plot remains the same. When Nikita was a deeply troubled eighteen year old accused of murder, she was rescued from death row by a secret U.S. agency known only as Division. They trained her as a spy and assassin. Nikita was their top agent until she broke the cardinal rule of never getting close to someone and fell in love. Because of this, Nikita was betrayed by the only people she thought she could trust and the man she loved was murdered by them. Now, after three years in hiding, Nikita is seeking retribution and making it clear to her former boss, Percy (Xander Berkeley, “24”) and her former friends Michael (Shane West, “E.R.”) and Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford, “X-Men: The Last Stand) that she will stop at nothing to expose and destroy their covert operation.
The majority of the pilot for Nikita, which was directed by Danny Cannon and written by Craig Silverstein, spends a lot of it’s time giving the audience the exposition on title character’s back story. The exposition is interspersed with action sequences to show the audience what a kick ass, strong woman Nikita is.
While all of this was slickly presented and mildly entertaining, the biggest problem I had was this: Yes, Maggie Q is as deadly graceful and skilled as an action hero should be in all the fight sequences. However, her Nikita comes across as too remote and coldly detached from the angst surrounding her character to create any spark or screen presence to connect to outside of her fighting prowess. I do have to say that this remote detachment does help the character keep a sense of dignity around her during the scenes in which Nikita must run around scantily clad. On the up side, that kind of dignity is a welcome change from the usual “sex it up” mentality that often comes along with a series which revolves around a female spy . It certainly makes Nikita more intimidating. On the downside, the issue I had with this is that, unfortunately, there is no heat of any kind whatsoever in those scenes nor in the action sequences. To me, the action sequences of a series like this is where the character’s passion for her cause should be most revealed. I just didn’t feel Nikita’s passion for her crusade.
Wednesday night get pumped-up with the cheerleader drama “Hellcats”. Then on Thursday nights, get ready to delve into the new action-packed drama “Nikita.”
On Thursday, May 20th 2010, Dawn Ostroff, President of Entertainment, The CW Network, unveiled the schedule for the CW’s 2010-2011 season at a presentation for advertisers, affiliates and national media in the Theater at Madison Square Garden, where singer Katy Perry rocked the house to open the show.
“After just four short years as a network, The CW will premiere our strongest schedule ever this fall, with a combination of hit shows and exciting new series giving us all-original programming five nights a week for the first time. We’ve been growing this network one hit at a time and we’re poised for a great 2010-11 season.” Dawn Ostroff told the audience.
“This year ‘The Vampire Diaries’ was a smash out of the box for us, and another freshman show, ‘Life Unexpected,’ also opened strong and began building an intense, loyal following. On the heels of breaking ‘Gossip Girl’ and ‘90210’ the last two seasons and the enduring popularity of ‘Smallville,’ ‘Supernatural,’ ‘One Tree Hill’ and ‘America’s Next Top Model,’ we had more strong program development and believe we have the goods once again with ‘Nikita’ and ‘Hellcats,’ two shows that are fun, fast and loud, and will enable us to make noise in the marketplace this fall,” Ostroff said of the two newest additions to the CW Network line up.