9 items from 2014
Jail Caesar is an innovative prison drama with a historical twist about to get a wide release after winning acclaim at festivals worldwide. Telling the story of Julius Caesar’s early life it differs from other period pieces in that the period is totally fragmented – writer/director Paul Schoolman set out to film the script in a modern day prison, featuring inmates as supporting actors. He ended up realizing his dream over thirty-odd years, eventually shooting inside institutions at varied locations such as South Africa, Canada and Cardiff. The production also managed to attract no less a talent than Derek Jacobi in a key role, as well as Alice Krige, who co-produced and helped develop the prisoners’ acting talents. Well-known for her movie roles like the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact, she recently received the award for Best Supporting Actress at the Madrid International Film Festival, one of »
- Steve Palace
With Hollywood bruised from a generally lacklustre summer, audiences may be looking for something a little more outside the box. When it comes to category-defying films Jail Caesar has the potential to plug that gap and have an elephant stand on the plug for good measure. Also known as Stringcaesar (due to the overarching theme of string theory) it started life as a play about the early life of the controversial Roman ruler and features Derek Jacobi and Alice Krige (Star Trek: First Contact, Thor: The Dark World). But what gives the project its edge is the setting – Ancient Rome has been transposed to the prison system and many of the actors are inmates. Shot on the hoof by writer/director Paul Schoolman at institutions in South Africa, Canada and Cardiff, the project has the energy of interactive theatre and the look of a Dogme Collective entry.
The tangled plot »
- Steve Palace
Making a movie that revolves around time travel instantly creates paradoxes and often plot holes, but managed intelligently, the onscreen logic can make for fun and dangerous storytelling. This is a list is of the highest grossing movies and franchises that use time travel as a main story element (an example of a movie with time travel not as a main story element is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which would have been #4 had it qualified).
I've cheated a bit by grouping franchises together, allowing me to write about more movies. Out of the 18 movies on the list I’ve seen 17, which might mean I really like movies with time travel. All numbers are worldwide box office grosses adjusted for inflation. Box office revenue numbers are from Box Office Mojo and The Numbers. Bits of trivia are from IMDb and Wikipedia. Inflation data comes via the Us Department of Labor. »
- Free Reyes
After a run of must-watch episodes, Tng's third season reaches one that's best skipped...
This review contains spoilers.
3.11 The Hunted
The Enterprise arrives at Angosia III, a happy planet of perfectly normal people who aren't hiding any dark secrets. The Angosians are appealing to join the Federation, and Picard is mere seconds away from getting out his rubber stamp when there's a prison break on one of their penal colony moons.
The Enterprise attempts to subdue the escapee in his stolen ship, but he gives them the runaround. Eventually, they transport him onto the Enterprise and although he managed to beat up Chief O'Brien and two security nobodies, Worf and Riker are able to subdue him. (Yep, that's right. Worf actually won a fight!)
The man, Roga Danar (that's pronounced "Roh-gah", not "Roger"), is placed in the brig to await extradition to the surface. The case seems closed, until Troi goes to visit him. »
Drew McWeeny has been covering "Marvel's Agents of Shield" for us all season, and like usual he had a thoughtful take on last night's episode. But given both how pivotal and unusual "Turn, Turn, Turn" was, I figured I would check in as well with a review — featuring spoilers for both this episode and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" — coming up just as soon as I have thoughts on Chachi... As Drew talks about often in his reviews, what Marvel is trying to do with this show in having it interact directly with the movies is pretty much unprecedented. The Picard/Data "Star Trek" films came out when other spin-offs were still on TV, but while there may have been some small bits of crossover (the Defiant from "Deep Space 9" getting damaged by the Borg in "Star Trek: First Contact"), it was never to the extent we got with the »
- Alan Sepinwall
In life first impressions count, and in television that’s doubly important. If the opening falls flat, if the pilot episode fails to set the right tone for the show, if the story doesn’t have that immediate spark to hook in the audience, chances are we won’t come back for more.
But it’s really all down to characters to make that initial impact with the audience. They need to be people we can engage with, whether it’s because we relate to them, because they make us hang on their every words or simply because we want to be like them. Some of the greatest TV characters have been successful because they entered our screens with such an impact we kept coming back for more.
In this article I look at some of the most epic character introductions in TV history. The characters that made us »
- Baz Greenland
Lowbrow comedy titan Seth MacFarlane executive producing a reboot of Carl Sagan’s iconic science series “Cosmos” sounds like a bad joke right out of, well, “Family Guy,” but somehow the improbable gambit works. Fox’s bold move to reserve 13 weeks of prime Sunday-night real estate for the kind of docu fare usually associated with PBS — however lavishly produced it may be — speaks volumes about both MacFarlane’s sway and the current “We’ll try anything!” state of the major networks. Whether or not a contemporary “Cosmos” clicks with viewers, it’s an undeniably welcome experiment and refreshing change of pace in the typically disreputable arena of unscripted TV.
Presumably, the biggest challenge here is convincing audiences “Cosmos” isn’t just an eat-your-vegetables proposition, despite an upfront sales pitch promising “the exploration of the universe as revealed by science.” Emphasizing MacFarlane’s involvement could just as easily swing expectations too far in the opposite direction, »
- Geoff Berkshire
A number of the Star Trek alumni are in attendance but the highlights are William Shatner and Karl Urban who are the headline guests. William Shatner is also scheduled to moderate a Next Generation cast reunion.
The Next Generation cast have spent most of the last two years having reunions at various events across the globe, mainly thanks to the 25th Anniversary of the show (they should really start calling them a Tng gathering); it will be interesting to see William Shatner interact with the cast even if Patrick Stewart is not on the bill.
At the press conference this morning, the jet lagged stars were wheeled out to answer some questions. Apart from them all being very happy to be in Germany, »
- Amarpal Biring
What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream.
streaming now, while it’s still in theaters
After the Dark (formerly The Philosophers: a thrilling combination of drama, near-science-fiction, suspense, coming-of-age agita, and intellectual exploration of ideas — pity it derails itself [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video] A Field in England: Ben Wheatley’s head-scratcher about a band of English Civil War soldiers is an arty muddle [at Amazon Instant Video]
streaming now, before it’s on dvd
The Crash Reel: dazzling documentary portrait of a charismatic young man pushing himself to his limits, and challenging us to consider our own [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video] Gravity: stunningly accomplished space survival adventure: heartstopping and heartbreaking; the best film of 2013; just don’t call it science fiction [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video]
new to stream
- MaryAnn Johanson
9 items from 2014
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