Fascinated by movies as a child, Glenn Gordon Caron moved to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting assignments with no clear goals or really any idea how the industry worked. Within five years, he had pro...
Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
The show's executive producer, Glenn Gordon Caron, has bought the rights to George Romero's Night of the Living Dead and plans to use the film as a backdrop for the upcoming special.
He says, "We're going to insert Patricia into it. It's going to be sort of the landscape of her dreams during that particular episode.
And horror film fan Arquette is thrilled: "I was so excited about it because I love that movie... When I was a teenager it was kind of, like, when you start breaking away from the establishment and your parents. I'd find these jewels after school at a weird time, in the hot California sun, watching this weird movie so it's really exciting to be in it.
"I started out in horror films - A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 - so I love a good monster movie.".
Late The Twilight Zone host Rod Serling is being brought back from beyond the grave to introduce an upcoming 3-D episode of Patricia Arquette's hit supernatural drama Medium.
Serling will be "reanimated" by Medium producers in an altered film clip taken from the beloved science-fiction program he hosted in the 1960s.
Medium executive producer Glenn Gordon Caron says, "He basically explains to people about the 3-D glasses, when to put them on, and reassures people who don't have them that they'll still be able to enjoy the episode."
Magazine TV Guide is giving away the 3-D glasses this week in time for the special episode which airs on Monday night.
Serling's estate and his wife, Carol, gave Caron permission to use and tamper with the playwright and producer's image for the show. Serling died in 1975.
Meanwhile, Caron hopes the 3-D Medium episode is a huge success—because he wants to make more.
He says, "Just wait for the hologram episode!"
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Just a little bit longer, one week actually, before the miracle of autumn, when TV starts anew, like fresh flowers growing out of the compost pile you keep out back. Can you smell it? Mmm … compost. In the meantime … um … well, the Olympic Games are still on. Only 220.75 hours to go. Apparently you aren't watching the tape delayed archery contests as much as in past Olympics, and we (and a few folks at NBC) find that a little disturbing. Come on, people! We medaled in the 10-meter BB gun (sorry, air rifle) competition. Surely that's interesting! U-S-A! U-S-A! Hello?!
It's "PBS Week" at Channel Surfer, and that means one thing: Day and time may vary in your area! The festivities begin (for most of you) on Sunday with "Debating Our Destiny." Ever wonder why leading presidential candidates hate debating with third party candidates on TV? It's because the last thing you want, as a leading presidential candidate, is to have somebody talking about actual issues in a televised debate! Now, PBS' venerable news anchor, Jim Lehrer, throws all that out the window by bringing in 11 former candidates (including former President Bush) who no longer have everything to gain by not saying anything. And guess what? These guys can be very forthcoming and aren't nearly as stupid as they pretend to be when courting your vote. This one is illuminating, frustrating and worth watching. Tuesday is "Supernatural Night"! "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" kicks off its fifth season (8 p.m. on the WB) when Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) squares off against a perennial player in the vampire set, Dracula. Should make for an interesting feud. "Buffy" is followed by the second season premiere of its darker spin-off, "Angel," at 9 p.m. The repentant vampire, Angel (David Boreanaz) starts off the new season on the wrong foot when he mistakenly kills a demon that turns out to have been a good guy who had been protecting a mysterious woman. Angel tries to make good and takes over this job, only to find out that this woman (Justina Machado) has serious unresolved issues with the hell spawn crowd. Rounding out the evening, and continuing to fight the good fight in educating Americans about the ever present space aliens among us, "Danger in Our Skies: The New UFO Threat" airs on UPN at 9 p.m. Sure it's a repeat, but can we ever really get enough UFO shows?
Wednesday offers dueling tributes to butt-kickin' movie stars. PBS' "American Masters" anthology series (8 p.m., but of course day and time might vary) has Morgan Freeman narrating "Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows." Study the exploits of Dirty Harry and watch the metamorphosis of Eastwood's "Man With No Name" character from the stylized violence of the Sergio Leone-directed Westerns of the 1960s to the aged and wiser Will Muny of Eastwood's own Oscar-winning "Unforgiven" in 1992.
Trying hard to beat the Eastwood tribute will be TNT with "Hollywood Salutes Bruce Willis: An American Cinematheque Tribute" at 8 p.m.. This will be a clip-filled ceremony taped at the Beverly Hilton Hotel with presentations and appearances by friends and colleagues such as Paul Reiser, Kevin Pollack, David Letterman, Samuel L. Jackson, Haley Joel Osment, Larry King and the guy who gave Willis that first big break, "Moonlighting" creator Glenn Gordon Caron.
One question: If it's "American," then what the heck is "Cinematheque"? Oops, gotta go. Olympic lawn darts is on MSNBC! U-S-A! U-S-A!
The Fox TV network has canceled a new series that its producers, Paramount TV, had rushed into production several months ago in order to beat an anticipated strike by TV writers, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. According to the newspaper, six episodes of When I Grow Up from Moonlighting creator Glenn Gordon Caron had already been completed when the plug was pulled. The Times quoted unnamed insiders as saying that Fox had sought to reduce its commitment to the show "because of differences over the series' creative direction and Caron's reluctance to accept input from the network."
Supervising producer and writer for the long-runnning NBC detective series, "Remington Steel"
Helmed second film, the unsuccessful "Wilder Napalm"
Feature film directing debut, "Clean and Sober"
Returned to series TV as executive producer of the CBS drama "Now and Again"
TV debut as screenwriter for short-lived NBC sitcom, "Good Time Harry", starring Ted Bessell
Hired by Steve Tesich as supervising producer for the ABC-TV comedy-drama series, "Breaking Away"
Debut as screenwriter for Disney feature, "Condorman"
TV-movie screenwriting debut, "Long Time Gone"; also executive produced
Co-wrote and directed the uneven romantic comedy "Picture Perfect"
Formed own production company, Picturemaker Productions, and under its banner created and produced the ABC comedy-detective series, "Moonlighting", which starred Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis
Directed the third remake of "Love Affair", teaming real-life married couple Warren Beatty and Annette Bening
Signed a multiyear production deal with Paramount Network Television
Fascinated by movies as a child, Glenn Gordon Caron moved to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting assignments with no clear goals or really any idea how the industry worked. Within five years, he had produced the debut season of "Remington Steele" (NBC, 1982-87) and moved on to "Moonlighting" (ABC, 1985-89), one of the freshest and most inventive shows of its era. The Cybill Shepherd/Bruce Willis comedy consistently defied expectation and convention, earning it a devoted audience and well-deserved kudos for Caron, who kept a close eye on its scripts. When an eroding relationship with Shepherd led Caron to depart "Moonlighting," he tried his hand at motion pictures, directing such films as "Clean and Sober" (1988), "Love Affair" (1994), and "Picture Perfect" (1997). Reviews and box office were uneven, so he returned to the small screen. After one short-lived program and another that was cancelled even before it made it to air, Caron came up with "Medium" (NBC/CBS, 2005-2011). The offbeat fantasy-horror-drama delivered interesting characters and conflict to go with its creator's flourishes, which included elaborate visual work and the first use of high-definition 3-D on primetime television. One of the most innovative and celebrated television producers of his era, Caron was highly instrumental in persuading networks to try new things and move outside established formulas, and the ratings success of "Moonlighting" and "Medium" proved that audiences were very receptive to such creativity.
"I am a big believer in 'ache'. To me, it's a very important foundation for any comedy to work." --Caron quoted in LOS ANGELES TIMES, August 7, 1997