So a year that seemed like it should be fantastic has turned out to be pretty disappointing. Prometheus, the highly anticipated prequel to Alien turned out to be visually stunning but had a script so egregiously bad you couldn’t even lay back and just enjoy the visuals. Dark Knight Rises, while far from a bad movie, was pretty disappointing to many people as well. However one of the highly anticipated movies of the year, Skyfall, is thus far getting nothing but rave reviews.
It’s hard to talk about a film that isn’t released for American audiences for about a month. However I thought I would throw out the lead song. I thought “Do You Know My Name” from Casino Royal was arguably one of the best Bond themes ever. Quantum of Solace was inferior to Casino Royal on most levels, including the music. It wasn’t a bad song but somehow was pretty forgettable.
So coming off of the disappointment of Prometheus I was thinking of other anticipated movies that were huge disappointments. What’s that you say? You didn’t think Prometheus was that bad? OK, but did it live up to your anticipation?
Now there are some obvious ones of course. The Star Wars prequels are the obvious #1 choice. Followed closed by Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. But pointing to George Lucas is just too easy. What else is there?
Here are my choices
Last fall Netflix announced they were reviving the cult TV show Arrested Development. I know a lot of regular readers here loved that show. (It’s on my “to watch” list – I’ve yet to see it) So here’s the question. If Netflix (or even other streaming companies like Hulu or Apple) where to revive an old TV show which shows should they revive? To be fair we’ll say revived with the original cast and continuing on as if were a continuation of the original or a complete reinvention like the recent Battlestar Galactica was to the old 70′s show.
Here’s my list:
So the latest ratings are out and…well TV isn’t doing well at all. I think most of us had a feeling that things were in trouble. There really weren’t a lot of shows people got excited about. But when you look at the ratings it really is bad.
If you like Once Upon a Time feel good because that shows almost certainly safe. Grimm. Well things look Grimm. The best it has to offer is that nearly all of NBC’s shows look bad except for The Voice.
Since most of the stuff on TV I can’t stand I’ll just focus on the shows I do like (or once liked).
I’m well into my television network free existence. (And not missing it at all – although Netflix selection quality has definitely gone downhill for streaming the last six months) So if I miss a few please chime in. I’ve really narrowed my television viewing a lot.
First up Fringe. I know it’s expected to be canceled but man this has been a great season. It’s really coming together right now with the return of a dead character from season 1. I have to admit I’ll miss this one. I think they made it just a tad too complex and impossible for newcomers to follow. My suspicion is that a show like Lost just can’t be done again and Fringe is showing that.
On the other hand Alcatraz appears to be a hit and seems like it contradicts that claim. It’s an other J. J. Abrams show like Fringe and I have to admit I love it. They’ve wisely made it so there is basically an independent quasi-normal police procedural each week with then the underlying plot thrown in. Burn Notice did that you might recall (although I’ve given up on Burn Notice – it just went downhill too much). I think that Fringe managed much more one off episodes the first season but with the dual universe there was just too much going on for that to work. We’ll see how well Alcatraz manages with that balance.
So I’m probably not the best for this column anymore since I got rid of my Dish. Which means I know only watch shows that I bit torrent or else show up on Netflix years later. Still there is a bit of news. Feel free to chime in yourself.
First up if you haven’t been watching the BBC’s Sherlock shame on you. For those of you who didn’t watch it last year this is the famous detective living in contemporary London. The season this year (also short) is even better than last year. They’ve been updating some of Doyle’s most famous stories in very creative ways. Sunday had the Hounds of the Baskerville (still available for play at BBC). Before that we had a very interesting take on Irene Adler. This Sunday we have a take on the story where Doyle actually killed Holmes (only to be forced to bring him back). It’s his confrontation with Moriarty: The Reichenbach Fall. Seriously you need to watch these. Great acting. Very creative direction. They are far better than the recent films (although I liked those too)
I unfortunately was so ridiculously busy this year that I didn’t see that many movies, listen to that much music or do much at all except work. However in the spirit of new beginnings I’m hoping this year will be quite different. In that spirit I’m going to list my top anticipated films of the new year.
Feel free to call me an idiot for my picks. Or just add in your own.
It’s less than a week until Christmas. Mere days. Yet we’ve not had a single Christmas discussion. In past years we’ve discussed the best Christmas animation, best Christmas presents, Christmas albums, horrible Christmas songs, Christmas movies, and a lot more. There’s almost nothing left to talk about. So what’s left? How about…
BEST CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS
As you all know the new Bond film, Skyfall, is in production at the moment. I loved the first Craig film – a reasonably faithful adaptation of Casino Royal. It had several of my favorite action set pieces in a Bond film. It took a franchise that had become stale decades earlier and made it compelling. Many compared it to the Bourne films which clearly were an influence. However what made Royal so great was what it did differently from Bourne. It was more a revisioning of the classic aspects of Connery’s Bond from the 60′s as well as many aspects of Ian Flemming’s own life and failings as a spy during and immediately after WWII.
The sequel was a grave disappointment to many people, myself included. I must confess that I liked it far better upon a second viewing in my home theatre system. (See the Kulturblog discussion here) The action was aping Bourne far more than before but was so frenetic that one couldn’t follow what was going on. The witty dialog of Royal was gone. There were many scenes which were best described as “cockamamie” — perhaps better suited for Roger Moore than Craig. (For example the overly flammable hotel in the desert)
I was worried that the franchise would experience a rapid fall off from a good start. Much as what happened with Peirce Brosnan’s Bond. Ironically also given a great start by the same director: Martin Campbell. A director who seems able to only do his best work with Bond as Green Lantern and most of his other films attest. (Although I have to confess I did like the first Zoro as a guilty pleasure)
An interview with Craig linked to on Twitter and a few other places has made me rethink Quantum of Solace though.
Over the weekend I was reading John Scalzi’s blog. (He wrote Old Man’s War among many other excellent books) Scalzi is largely responding to that Wired article last week about how movies get falling into lava all wrong. (They always make the viscosity the same as water whereas lava is viscous enough that you wouldn’t sink in) One of the examples used was Gollum from the end of Lord of the Rings. Scalzi thinks this is silly, saying:
In a film with spiders of physically impossible size, talking trees, ugly warriors birthed out of mud and a disembodied malevolence causing a ring to corrupt the mind of anyone who wears it (and also turn them invisible), we’re going to complain that the lava is not viscous enough?
Now I know a lot of people are in Scalzi’s camp on this. I disagree though.