I have a theory about the new Hawaii Five-O. It’s not exactly profound, but then again, this update of the classic 1970s cop show program isn’t exactly profound. To be blunt, it's a lot like its real life setting of Hawaii.
Hawaii has been a mysterious and beautiful exotic locale for decades now. It’s laid back atmosphere, tropical weather, and stunning landscape made it a perfect destination to escape from the mainland. But people kept coming and some stayed and soon enough the things that made Hawaii so unique are gone. However, this is mostly confined to the larger islands and around the coast. Hawaii can still be a mysterious island the further in you go and the more willing you are to travel off of the paved roads.
Hawaii Five-O is exactly like this. It has all the flash and pretty images of Hawaii, but it also has the potential to be a really engaging and dynamic show if the writers and producers are willing to go deeper into the story. While watching last night's premiere, I kept thinking, “wow this looks pretty, but it feels so fake.” It was like walking along a man-made beach and then walking along natural shores. Again, not the most profound statement ever made, but this show isn’t Shakespeare.
However, the pilot was good if you based it solely on conveying the necessary information to set up the series as a whole. Holy hell, did this episode have major exposition! So let’s get this all out of the way just like the episode! Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) is a navy bad-ass who doesn’t play by the rules. His dad gets murdered and the governor assigns him to a task force to track the killer. Of course, he doesn’t agree to it at first and meets Danny "Danno" Williams (Scott Caan). They get in a fight and he accepts the position just to piss Danno off. He meets his dad’s old trainee Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) who was kicked off the force. There is a drug dealer suspect they need to question and Kelly brings on his (hot) cousin Kona "Kono" Kalakaua (Grace Park) to help infiltrate the criminal circle. Fights, gun shots, guns malfunctioning at really convenient times, shots of the Hawaiian sunset and the inevitable “book’em Danno” ensue and, voila! We have the pilot episode!
So what was good? The riffing between O’Loughlin and Caan was fantastic. Caan is at his best when he’s playing the slightly pissed off smart-ass trading jabs with someone who pissed him off (see Ocean's Eleven). The super saturated look of Hawaii was a refreshing change of pace for dark court room's and police precincts (just like CSI: Miami and Law and Order: LA!) that provide most of the settings for CBS shows. Dae Kim wasn’t given much to do besides spout out informational essentials, so his effectiveness is rather hard to judge at this point (also, I think it should just be said now, it’s really weird to see him post-Lost with no accent).
The pilot did its job of giving us all the info we needed. Now that its all out of the way, hopefully the show will give us more of the fun stuff (like O’Loughlin and Caan ranking on one another) and less of the boring police stuff that we have seen so many times before. It’ll be worth checking out next week and a few weeks after, but don’t think too much about it. If it seems droll and you want to change the channel, I doubt you’ll miss anything revolutionary.
Oh yeah, there is also Grace Park in a bikini, surfing, and punching dudes out. That might be worth checking out each week.
Idris Elba has come a long way since The Wire. Sure, the award-winning, critically acclaimed hour-long drama may be the best thing that he's been a part of, but since the HBO hit series ended, he's picked up meatier roles in bigger projects. He's got good reason to celebrate his success today, as he's been cast as the new Dr. Alex Cross, the detective/psychologist at the center of a series of James Patterson novels that led to the cinematic adaptations of Kiss The Girls and Along Came A Spider.
Morgan Freeman portrayed Cross in the fore mentioned films, and Elba will fill the Oscar winner's shoes in Cross, a reboot of the series to be directed by Pitch Black helmer David Twohy. Kerry Williamson wrote the script and Lloyd Levin, Belle Avery, Leopoldo Gout, Steve Bowen and Patterson will produce. In the novel, Cross tracks a serial rapist who may have murdered his pregnant wife years before. The film will be independently financed, but said producers are actively searching for a major distributor (Paramount is the front-runner, as the studio produced the previous Cross movies).
What's most significant about this development is that it gives an experienced, but still "up and coming" African American actor a shot at a major film franchise - an opportunity that very few get as there are barely any successful series of movies that feature a protagonist of color. Elba is a solid pick to anchor a new Cross saga: the actor has gone from niche-audience films like The Gospel and Daddy's Little Girls to mainstream fare like Obsessed and American Gangster. He's' got a pretty wide fan-base and the chops to go with it. With a role in next summer's sure-to-be-a-hit Thor and Cross on the way, Elba is on the fast-track to superstardom.
Tom Mankiewicz, who helped Richard Donner make the world believe that a man could fly in 1978's Superman, has died, reports WENN. He was 68.
Though far from a household name, fans of science fiction and action films are very familiar with Mankiewicz work, which included some of the biggest films of the 1970s. His first credited screenplay, the surfer-beach-drama The Sweet Ride, failed to catch on with audiences who were already growing tired of the Beach Party genre, but James Bond producer Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli saw a playful tone in his dialogue that he wanted to bring to his flagship franchise and hired him to pen the adaptation of Diamonds Are Forever. This partnership continued with the next two Bond films, Live and Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun.
Mankiewicz was in demand following his tenure with 007 and his status as a screenwriter capable of both witty dialogue and epic action led to a hatrick of his screenplays being produced in 1976, including the comedy Mother, Jugs and Speed (which he later adapted as a TV movie), the thriller The Cassandra Crossing and the all-star action adventure film The Eagle Has Landed with Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland and Rober Duvall. All of this impressive work would be overshadowed by his next project, the ambitious adaptation of the seminal superhero Superman. Mankiewicz was hired as a "creative consultant" by Alex and Ilya Salkind, producers of the film, and though his dialogue material ultimately went uncredited, all parties involved with the production have later stated that he was a major force in realizing The Man Of Steel for the big screen.
After the monstrous Superman production, Mankiewicz was again back to work as a screenwriter, this time on Superman director Richard Donner's adventure film Ladyhawke. He'd finally get the chance to direct in 1987 with the big screen transfer of Dragnet, which starred Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks and became a big hit, leading to another directing gig on 1991's John Candy comedy Delirious. Additionally, as Warner Bros. treasured script doctor, Mankiewicz polished more pages of dialogue than you can possibly imagine, including the screenplays for films like Gremlins, War Games and even Tim Burton's landmark Batman.
The prolific wordsmith also left his mark on the small screen as a writer, director and creative consultant with the classic adventure series Hart to Hart. The beloved program gave him his first crack at directing and he stayed on as a consultant throughout it's run. He also had a few directing credits in the 90s, including an episode of Tales From The Crypt and telefilm Taking the Heat.
With a storied career like this, it's easy to overlook the fact that Mankiewicz was, in fact, a second generation filmmaker, following in his father's and uncle's footsteps. His father, Joseph L Mankiewicz, the Oscar-winning writer and director of the 1950 film All About Eve, was one of the most celebrated filmmakers of his era while uncle Herman J Mankiewicz co-wrote Citizen Kane with Orson Welles - not too shabby for one Hollywood family.
Mankiewicz passed away at his home in Los Angeles after battling cancer. He underwent the Whipple operation, which is used to treat pancreatic cancer, three months ago. The cause of the death was not immediately known. He is survived by a large family that includes Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz.
Source: WENN, The Auteurs, Real Bollywood
Williamson, one of America’s leading comic book artists, illustrators and animators, passed away on 12 June (10), aged 79. No further details regarding his death were released as WENN went to press.
Williamson spent over five decades working for major comics publishers including EC, Marvel, King, Classics Illustrated, Dark Horse and Dell.
He was best known for his animations of Flash Gordon, the interstellar adventurer originally drawn by Alex Raymond. Williamson illustrated the character in the 1960s and briefly again in 1980, for an adaptation of the Flash Gordon film released that same year.
From the mid-1980s to 2003, he worked as an inker on titles starring characters including Daredevil, Spider-Man, and Spider-Girl.
Williams is survived by his wife of 32 years, Cori Pasquier, and two children.
Brandon Lee died while filming the original movie, about a murdered rocker who comes back from the dead to seek revenge.
Director Alex Proyas completed the film as a tribute to Lee, and now the story is to be remade later this year (10).
Pressman has opened up about his plans for the revamp, telling MTV, "(We've got an offer out) to a major actor and things are moving ahead very aggressively, with the aim of doing the film this year. (It will be) quite different from Alex Proyas' approach with the original Crow.
"The setting is the southwest - the Mexico/Arizona area - and an urban (setting), Detroit or Pittsburgh or something like that. There are two locations that the film is set (in). Its initial platform is in the southwest and then it moves to the big city in the north, middle or eastern America, and then back."
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
After penning the reboot/prequel to Fox's Predators, Alex Litvak and Mike Finch became sought after scribes for Hollywood's top projects. Now they've been tapped to re-work the developing He-Man reboot, tentatively titled Masters Of The Universe (once known as Grayskull when the production was at Warner Brothers.)
Columbia Pictures is now working hard at bringing the fantasy world of Eternia back to the big screen. Moviegoers have not visited the war-torn land since 1987, when Dolph Lundgren portrayed the muscled hero of the planet, He-Man.
The addition of the rising writers is the first major move on the property and signals the project is being rebuilt from the ground up. While at Warners, Masters went through several writers and in latter stages had John Stevenson, who co-directed Kung Fu Panda, attached to helm.
THR's Heat Vision Blog says that Finch and Litvak's pitch "attempted to balance a treatment that would convince the studio it was cinematic and keep the toy company satisfied that its characters were being portrayed appropriately."
Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch of Escape Artists are producing.
Alex O’Loughlin has already signed up to reimagine Jack Lord's Steve McGarrett character on the new TV show, while Lost star Daniel Dae Kim and Britney Spears' Crossroads co-star Taryn Manning are also among the cast.
Caan's Danno was originally played by actor James MacArthur.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
After six different TV series and 10 feature films director J.J. Abrams (MI:3 Lost Alias) takes the Star Trek franchise back to the beginning to tell how James T. Kirk a brash hot-rod-loving kid from Iowa and Spock a thoughtful and logical half-human/half-Vulcan meet and compete at the Starfleet Academy and are chosen by Captain Pike to join the maiden voyage of the Starship Enterprise. Unlike other Treks Abrams’ film develops credible backstories for the two characters as they join several other newcomers including fresh-faced cadets Leonard “Bones” McCoy Montgomery “Scotty” Scott Uhura Hikaru Sulu and Pavel Chekov. The story focuses on the clash between Kirk and Spock as the young crew faces a major first test in battling Nero an unrelentingly evil Romulan who has designs on destroying Earth Vulcan and the rest of the Federated planets.
WHO’S IN IT?
Smartly stitching together an attractive and talented young cast to take this series back to the future (and hoped-for sequels) Abrams wisely is not looking for actors doing impressions of a young William Shatner or Leonard Nimoy. In Chris Pine as Kirk and Zachary Quinto (Heroes) as Spock he found two talented stars who uncannily suggest and interpret these iconic characters at the beginning of their life voyage together. With the trademark haircut and ears Quinto nails the essence of what we might imagine Spock was like as a youth. Pine is rugged and cocky but not over-the-top as Kirk. As the reigning Captain Pike Bruce Greenwood is solid and commanding. The rest of the crew is perfectly cast with Karl Urban’s Bones Zoe Saldana’s “take-no-prisoners” Uhura and John Cho’s Sulu fitting their roles like a glove. Anton Yelchin’s super-thick Russian accent as Chekov is grating at times but it’s a minor quibble. The best performance of all comes later in the picture when British star Simon Pegg turns up as Scotty and steals every scene he’s in with choice one-liners and a sassy attitude. A tattoo-faced Eric Bana is perfect as the main villain Nero who operates out of the eerily dark and stunning vessel dubbed the Narada. His cunning and reserve help make him far more complex than your father’s Trek villains. And look for a substantial and inspiring visit from Leonard Nimoy (the original Spock) who has been ingeniously woven into the proceedings.
Let’s face it: Star Trek was getting tired with diminishing box-office returns and falling TV ratings. By going back to the beginning and introducing a whole new youthful vibe past Treks never had Abrams has given a new lease on life to a legendary 40-year-old adventure that now can go on to live long(er) and (fortunately for Paramount) prosper all over again. The updated casting is joined by state-of-the-art visual effects and action set pieces that outdo any previous incarnations and the whip-smart screenplay by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman does creator Gene Roddenberry’s original vision proud while introducing it to a new generation. Key to successfully accomplishing this mission was to create a new take that would bring in new devotees but not turn off the faithful Trekkies who've kept this thing going for so long. Done.
Other than Yelchin’s accent only the overriding feeling that any potential sequels can never match the joy of seeing the genesis of Star Trek portrayed like it is here. But bring ‘em on anyway.
There are many thrilling moments including Kirk’s terrifying encounter with a deadly beast on the bone-chilling ice planet Delta Vega and the battle between the Narada and Enterprise. But the early Starfleet Academy scenes involving Kirk and Spock whose sharp exchanges showcase their youthful rivalry really set the stage for a fascinating and complicated relationship forming the heart and soul of not only this prequel but the entire basis of the Star Trek concept.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX:
Are you crazy? See it on a big screen — IMAX if you can. This is what the motion-picture experience is all about.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
In the late '50s a group of elementary students put futuristic drawings in a time capsule that is then buried on school grounds. One overly obsessed kid Lucinda goes her own way by writing hundreds of mysterious seemingly non-sensical numbers on her entry. Fifty years later it’s dug up and comes into the possession of Caleb the young son of John Koestler a recent widower and astro-physics professor who becomes obsessed with the papers Caleb has brought home from class. He soon discovers the random digits are actually not-so-thinly disguised dates (including 91101 of course) for “future” disasters and there are clearly three of those dates yet to come. Although nobody believes his ramblings about this code for impending doom a nearby plane crash proves he is on to something so ominous the fate of the world could be in jeopardy. With all hell about to break loose the prof takes matters into his own hands.
WHO’S IN IT?
Just a couple of years ago Nicolas Cage starred in Next as a magician who could see into the future and had to prevent a nuclear attack. Now he’s at it again as an MIT professor who also has clues to future catastrophes and also is out to prevent the inevitable. And of course in the National Treasure films he latched on to maps that had contained similarly dark deeply held secrets. Nic clearly likes “knowing” stuff before the rest of us and he’s quite believable even if some of the circumstances in his latest sci-fi adventure are really out there -- literally. Cage somehow makes you buy into this stuff which is key to the ultimate success of the flick. As the key kids Chandler Canterbury as Caleb and Lara Robinson as Lucinda (and later Abby Lucinda’s granddaughter) are properly eerie and haunted-looking. Rose Byrne is also along for the ride as Lucinda’s grown daughter who is able to provide goosebump-inducing information that the numbers alone can’t. There’s also some dead-on creepy emoting from D.G. Maloney as a quietly foreboding stranger who seems to be following Caleb.
Unlike some recent movies of this type with nothing on the agenda but pure mayhem “Knowing” delves into the bigger issues of why we are all here providing something other than just big explosions to talk about on the way home from the multiplex. Director Alex Proyas (I Robot Dark City The Crow) certainly knows how to pull off complex action set-pieces but he and his screenwriters also seem to be genuinely interested in exploring the meaning behind the madness.
Some of the more pedantic dialogue Cage is given can be groan-inducing but since he plays John as a total believer we can forgive it. Also the film falls victim to a final act that veers into typical disaster movie territory and isn’t as compelling as the first two thirds which try to keep the premise at least marginally credible. At two hours it probably could have been tightened anyway.
The rain-soaked plane crash sequence with its gritty hand-held photography is riveting to watch and one of the most frightening depictions of a jetliner disaster put on film yet.
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If you are really squeamish it might be worth "knowing" that you should take breaks in the big disaster sequences as the CGI effects can get pretty violent and graphic particularly for a PG-13 movie.