For the duration of Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica, two constants propelled the narrative forward: the fleet was always looking for something, being chased, or both. The show was sometimes overstuffed, but never stagnant. Battlestar spinoff Caprica–premering January 22 on SyFy, available now on Hulu–is set fifty-eight years before the near-obliteration of the human species that inaugurated BSG. It promises to trace the rise of the Cylons, humanoid machines that did the chasing in BSG, and as such, Caprica is unavoidably the beginning of a story we already know the ending to. Caprica‘s premiere hints at what might give the show momentum, but also where it might stall. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘Film and Television’ Category
The A-Team teaser trailer leaked early yesterday–most of the sources still up don’t allow embedding–and its minute and a half of footage basically satisfies earlier speculation here on The Gutter about what the film will be. (Liam Neeson gets to mug, but not too much, and Rampage Jackson fails to fill Mr. T’s unfillable shoes.) Now, though, an even more important question: is there any need to check out The A-Team this summer now that we’ve already seen Bradley Cooper fire the guns of a tank in free fall? (Sub-question: is there a term for the moment in a film trailer that almost certainly shows us the best a film has to offer?)
If you visit this site, and you enjoyed Sam Rockwell’s performance in Moon earlier this year…you’re probably me. Or maybe Tom. (He doesn’t love you like I do, Mr. Rockwell!) But if you’re anyone else: apparently director Duncan Jones has thrown his support behind an online campaign to score Rockwell an Oscar nomination. The petition’s here–wouldn’t hurt, right? (While you’re at it, people are FED UP with the Hillsboro, IL McDonald’s.)
The Intangible Fancy
What We Know: The Intangible Fancy is a criminal who presumably can alter his state of matter. He’s closely modeled after the Shadow Thief, enemy of D.C. Comics’ Hawkman, and most likely marks the only time anyone has bothered to parody the Shadow Thief.
Great Name or Great Costume: Great Name.
Likelihood of Reappearance: Low. Like Power Plug (see below), Intangible Fancy has helped fill the background in a few Venture Brothers episodes, but there’s no indication the character will be developed any further. Nor should he be, probably.
The Power Plug
What We Know: Very little. Power Plug typically appears when a group of villains is seen doing unvillainlike things, such as attending the Venture family yard sale.
Great Name or Great Costume: Great Costume.
Likelihood of Reappearance: Medium. The Power Plug is and will remain a background character, but has a better outfit than any other background characters.
Read the rest of this entry »
A Serious Man is the most unrelentingly bleak movie Joel and Ethan Coen have made. This is not why it’s a great film, though the film is great. Throughout A Serious Man–filmed in the Coens’ native Minnesota–they follow Larry Gopnick, a middle-class Jewish academic, as he faces accumulating marital, professional, and financial problems. Although the movie’s setting is awfully specific (it’s also a period piece, set in 1967), most of the major concerns of the last decade-or-so of “mainstream indie” filmmaking are touched on at some point (family, suburbia, academia, death). But the Coens avoid the miserablism of Tood Solondz’s Happiness, the heavy-handedness of Sam Mendes’ American Beauty, and the cluelessness about how families (and professors) talk found in Tamara Jenkins’ The Savages. Their film is an odd synthesis of darkness and humor–not something unique to the Coens’ filmography, but executed with particular gracefulness here. Read the rest of this entry »
Three great scenes, from three very different Coen brothers movies:
No Country for Old Men – Downstream Chase
This scene is fun, more than anything else, but it’s an amazing balancing act, too. No Country‘s river chase is fundamentally scary, and fundamentally goofy–suspense is maintained, some levity creeps in, and that dog head keeps bobbing along in the water.
The Hudsucker Proxy – Inventing the Hula Hoop
Ignoring that one character’s contemplation of suicide is a framing device for the whole film, The Hudsucker Proxy might be the most plainly optimistic work the Coens have made. Not their best, but at least a movie by and for people who love movies. This scene is also the Coens at their showiest, but it’s all in the service of glee. (It even makes hula hoops look like fun.)
Barton Fink – “You don’t listen” (specifically 4:55-5:00)
*SPOILERS* John Goodman is never better than when he’s in a Coen brothers movie, and maybe never better than here.
There’s nothing about ’80s TV action show The A-Team that can’t be explained by its theme song. To catch up, click here
At first thought, Liam Neeson’s decision to play A-Team leader Hannibal Smith in the upcoming film adaptation seems like a real boon for the movie. He’s a talented actor, and his stock as an action star has risen in recent years with films like Batman Begins and the surprise hit Taken. The problem is, casting Liam Neeson in a film means giving Liam Neeson time to act, which may not be the best thing for The A-Team. Read the rest of this entry »
On August 21, “Avatar Day,” the first trailer and some additional footage for James Cameron’s upcoming film Avatar were released, to mixed reviews. (With the film premiering in December, kinda makes you wonder what’s left for next year’s Avatar Day.) Avatar, for the uninitiated, takes place in a future where humankind has made advances in space exploration. The reach of humanity now extends to the exotic world of Pandora. But since humans are unable to breathe Pandoran air, they explore the harsh landscape by dressing up as characters from the Lion King musical. (Kidding about the last part. It’s characters from Delgo.) Avatar is one of the most anticipated films in memory, almost entirely on the strength of talk about its visual effects innovations. And why not? One of the joys of moviegoing is seeing something for the first time, however rarely it happens. Will it live up to the hype? Do these movies ever? Some expectations will be met, lots probably won’t. It’s true, though, that for Avatar to be a movie people keep coming back to, it needs a story that still resonates once its special effects become commonplace. And after considering, for a second, what its story is, the Avatar phenomenon becomes a curiosity for entirely different reasons–at least for a bored former cultural studies student like myself. *mild spoilers ahead* Read the rest of this entry »
A quick TV reminder for all you boob tube addicts out there. Tomorrow night, Sunday the 16th at 10/9c, the third season of Mad Men will premier. I am currently watching season 2 of the show, and I strongly recommend it to anyone who is looking for another meticulously told story of a man who has everything yet cannot seem to hold it together at once (cf. Tony Soprano, Stringer Bell). In addition to alienation and glamorous lifestyles, the first two seasons are relatively short with 13 episodes a piece. You could reasonably watch every episode by next Sunday. Okay, not so reasonably, but you could.