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Wow... that is bad...
I like British shows like Doctor Who, Torchwood, Misfits, Merlin and so on but this one doesn't work for me at all! I don't understand why BBC would give this show green light. Judging from the first episode it's a horrible script and a weird mix of mythology that just doesn't add up! That they all speak British English in Atlantis makes it even worse. And though the FX are OK, the visual style looks like it's been made in the 90s. There are mostly close-ups. Also there are cheesy references to Matrix and stuff like that. If "Atlantis" wants to survive the first season, it probably needs to get more trashy, like Hercules with Kevin Sorbo. Due to the weird setup it's never going to be a good show, but it could have a certain trash-appeal that might work. However for now IMO it's a huge FAIL and terrible to watch.
Getting better and better...
From my point of view since its beginning "Todd and the book of pure evil" has improved a lot! A bit like the first season of the new "Doctor Who" series 2005, which also started cheap with cheesy effects. Especially the second season looks good and although Season 1 may not look that great, I think that most episodes are written in a funny, not too conventional way. I liked almost every episode. Besides I'd say that there's not enough metal on TV and it's time we have a show with this type of music. If you look beyond technical flaws, you can have a great time! It's crazy, it's wild and the cast is pretty likable!
Now at the end of season 2 all narrative options seem open. The show could go so many ways. However I think it needs a fresh start. Why? The low technical quality of season 1 could make it hard to sell it to international TV-stations. If the show started with the quality of season 2, it should be a lot easier. That's why I think it would be wise to conceptualize a third season like the start of a whole new series. And although I like the standalone episodes concept, I think the whole setting has grown so much, it's about time to focus more on a more complex season arc (so it's not necessary to pack so much info in only 2 episodes, like happened at the end of season 2).
Unfortunately SPACE didn't renew the show, so we can only hope that this show will manage to survey on a different network!!! Let's hope for the best and I'm pretty sure that this is going to be epic!
not the doctor... but who cares :)
I got addicted to "Doctor Who" a few weeks ago and so I gave "Torchwood" a try. It was worth it. Darker than I expected, heading more for action and thrill. It's different than Doc Who and that's a good thing. Who'd want more of the same :)? And still there are several things here also happening with Doc Who.
"Torchwood" doesn't make a big deal about sexual orientation: The main characters simply are who they are and they don't try to define themselves in terms of sexual orientation. In this world everything is possible not only considering the visual imagination of the creator of this TV-universe. I find that interesting because so far I have never seen something like it before.
R.T. Davis does a good job - though I strongly doubt it the utter necessity of everyone having sex with everyone. I don't think that really helps to improve the plot and at some moments I think it's just not very credible. I have one core problem with Davies mail main-characters, Captain Jack and The Doctor: to me both seem like a mixture of "head of the family" and (especially "The Doctor") "God". They are just too great for my personal taste. Besides Captain Jack at several points feels like a leader of a cult (which sometimes makes it a little weird). I think that Davies some time projects too much into his characters, but that is only my interpretation of his stories.
Apart from those (for me negative) aspects IMO the biggest plus of "Torchwood" (especially in comparison to "Doc Who") is the strong character development. And the other main characters next to Captain Jack (fascinating but as I said: sometimes too much) are complex and very individual. The cast is great and very likable. While season 1 missed the all episodes connecting plot line (one more thing that reminded me of "Doctor Who"), the character development kept the show thrilling. Right now I'm in the middle of season 2 and here it seems like also a bigger story line is more present and I really enjoy watching it!
Overall: Several things I'm not entirely happy with, but nevertheless a great and entertaining show. R.T. Davies and the BBC made a wise choice doing this spin-off which luckily doesn't feel like a spin-off. Hope it will last for several more seasons. Totally recommendable!
A fantastic voyage !
Although "Avatar" may not be James Cameron's greatest story I consider it a great popcorn movie. It is a film, that should work fine even without IMAX cinema - however with 3D for me it was fantastic! Already once Cameron took a lot of risk with "Titanic". Back then his success was nothing you could have expected back then! His newest creation is no less risky but it seems it will work out perfectly fine.
What has always impressed me considering this director and writer (especially when thinking of his movies "The Abyss", "Terminator 2", "Aliens"...): nothing in Camerons script seems to be coincidence. Everything seems to have a profound reason. Every picture is thoroughly thought. Same holds true for "Avatar". Its plot provides several typical Cameron elements: the clash of different worlds, technology versus nature, progress versus tradition, human species crossing a crucial line and so on. I heard it reminded several viewers of films like "The Last Samurai" but I'd say the meaning of this story goes deeper. It's not just about how we deal with other cultures and traditions, it's about how blind we deal with nature.
During this picture, you can almost feel how its 3D technology is evolving. The director and his crew were painting an image of colossal size, merging tons of impressive ideas from all directions (movies, nature...). So far I have never seen anything as detailed. It's like seeing (feeling in some way) a different world - which from my point of view is "Avatar"'s greatest strength. This time the very archetypal plot is no more than a fancy (though not less moving) accessory.
Easy to see I'm very positive about this movie. On the other hand - without 3D and especially on a TV screen - I could imagine that "Avatar" might have some lengthy moments. I assume that probably 3D needs more "lengthy" moments to relax than 2D. In my point of view Cameron chose the right pace and you'll have enough time to become familiar with this new world. There are several moments, when "Avatar" is like a "prototype", where not everything is perfect. And yes, the quality of 3D varies and some images seem to have little space, whereas others look totally overwhelming. But from my point of view the story is strong enough overcome little flaws.
Summing up: "Avatar" is offering a truly wonderful impression of what is possible, how cinema can/will be plus even more and also a very moving story which hopefully will create a more positive spirit towards nature. A film which already is one important brick in the wall of film history !
Drop Dead Diva (2009)
DDD has its charm !
Even though I'm not among the typical target group of this show I like "Drop Dead Diva" season one. From my perspective this show did a lot right, starting with a more than just likable, talented cast and nicely written often touching stories.
"DDD" is a show trying to prove that there's always more than meets the eye. For example on the one hand we got Jane. She's not the type of woman who meets typical TV beauty ideals. Her body in combination with the personality of Deb - at first sight the "typical" young blonde woman - two stereotype extreme's meet. But when you learn to know her better, I'd say it's hard not to like her(especially during the second half of season one, when she's becoming emotionally more stable). Then there's Stacy. At the first glance I didn't like her. Turns out this is a truly wonderfully written character, getting funnier with every episode. In my opinion the best character of the show. I can't imagine "DDD" without her.
As for now female characters are definitely leading the show. I think that male characters could use a little more space to develop beyond their surface. Another aspect bothering me: "Drop Dead Diva" starts with this angel/heaven/return button plot. A Setup where anything seems possible. Unfortunately most of the time the show doesn't make use of these possibilities. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed many of them very very much but if it goes on like that it might risk to become like other lawyer TV-shows or remind of films like "Legally Blonde".
In short: "Drop Dead Diva" is lovely, positive and life-affirming. Good people doing the right thing, while confronting prejudices, stereotypes and other social injustices. Sometimes it reminded me of "Ally McBeal" - probably not as great and funny as Ally during it's best times, but it's doing quiet a fine job!
The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009)
style over content...
The combination Scott/Helgeland worked great during "Man on Fire" not long ago. Therefore I'd expected something good considering. Sadly this time from my point of view both, writer and director, fail to make this project work.
Tony Scott has been known as a very style oriented director for some time now. Considering "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" I think he overdid it. His stylish impulses are more distracting than helpful, overpowering the story. Helgeland on the other hand kept the story very much mainstream. So we got a simple storyline packed with IMHO too many style-elements (so it doesn't have much air to breathe). After all I do not see any point in doing this film. There already is a decent adaption of the book. Why waste the money with a hollow one?!
In short: Seen from my perspective an uninspired 08/15 Hollywood mainstream adaption. Not terrible but it doesn't seem necessary (that's why my rating is one point lower than it would be if there wasn't any other adaption) and Scott and Helgeland can do much better !!
hell yeah ;) !!
It's hard to stop watching this show: Dark, mean, cynic, funny... yes, "Dexter" is not the usual stuff. If someone like Dexter could be for real ? I doubt it... but it doesn't matter, as long as you can accept this setup there's a good chance you won't get disappointed !
Season one started with a "brighter" side of Dexter, who needs to find out about his past... or let's say the past finds him. The second edition went on with the dark side of Dexter (I liked it even better), who needs to find himself. So everything I've enjoyed the most about this show holds true to these two perfect seasons. So what I love about "Dexter" are the carefully written characters, which change and evolve slowly during the seasons. It is not a 08/15 set of characters and you can expect interesting social constellations. After all Dexter is not the only great character here !
And considering the third installment: I'm not happy with it. Decent it is... but not as great. A slow ticking story development (far from being as deep going and personal as before), missing the dynamic evolvement of it's antecessors. Except for Dexter most characters feel static, not as fascinating. In my point of view it would had been better to cut this season down to let's say four episodes. Take it as inciting incident to get something bigger started. Probably what comes next will be more interesting - after all I'm pretty sure season three will have strong consequences for the next one !
In short: If you don't know "Dexter" yet, start at the beginning. It's a terrific show with great potential for further great seasons. Only season three doesn't show the same qualities as before !
El orfanato (2007)
seeing is believing... or just the opposite...
Many movies inhere some kind of "duality" of meaning. There's what you see... and there's also what lies beyond. "El orfanato" (2007) is a picture successfully playing with this matter, putting it into focus.
While watching it you'll start to wonder... will there be some real explanation... or something else. Is the protagonist losing her mind... or is she right. What happened... and why ! Are you willing to believe in ghosts ? Or are you seeking for the real ? Either way you'll be able to experience this interesting Spanish/Mexican picture by J.A. Bayona in a different way !
The second fascinating thing to strike me in a positive way was the terrific interplay of sound, music and images. A frightening fusion. Music suddenly stops...voices appear...sounds... after a while I wasn't all too sure any more whether the sound was coming from the movie... or from outside... not a nice experience during a movie like this one ;).
So after all I clearly recommend "El orfanato". It's a wonderfully written, acted, visualized and directed deeply frightening horror drama. Perhaps one of the best of its kind and if you enjoyed "The Others" I'm guessing you'll enjoy that one too !
Crank: High Voltage (2009)
crossing the line...
"Crank" part one was walking on thin ice... balancing between idiotic stupidity and high speed fun. So it's either you like it or you don't. I enjoyed it very much though and had high hopes for this sequel!
I got disappointed. The story is - I don't know how else to put it - a mess! In my point of view "High Voltage" made one crucial mistake by trying to be more crazy, more insane and faster than the first one (I don't understand why this was necessary). It looks like the question HOW to shoot this "movie" (or let's better say this "trip") is more significant than the PLOT itself. And technique being in the center of attention isn't quiet a good sign. Besides at many points the creators tried too hard to be funny and super cool. They seem to be wanting so much, that its often getting a compulsive, arduous experience. Well and about the cheaper cameras they used this time...no... it just doesn't look great on the big screen.
In short: "High Voltage" provides funny moments but on the whole it's a mess. It tries to conceal flaws by fast editing and other gimmickry... it simply doesn't come naturally...
With little budget (as the Austrian movie "industry" unfortunately has) obviously a director has to walk with different shoes than Hollywood. "Antares" is a good example of how to make the best of it.
In my point of view very often certain narrative concepts become so much in the thick of things, that characters turn secondary (I don't mean to say I don't like pictures which walk that way). IMO it is refreshing to see movies which succeed not to abstract too much, movies which do not take away too much from their characters because for example various storytelling concepts are requiring it.
With "Antares" for ~115minutes you get insight into various living conditions in Austria before something crucial happens. You see how people are, what their main problem is. And yes of course there is a clear idea behind this picture, but as I said before this idea is not imposed on the viewers. Solitude and isolation are crucial topics in "Antares". The entanglement of life's is another.
No doubt in a way several directors in this world have dealt with these very human aspects already. Only I haven't seen any other dealing with it in such genuineness like Spielmann - especially I haven't seen many other films from my country which managed to do that !
In a short: Authentic and real characters. Terrific writing and terrific acting. I especially enjoy the cynicism.All adds up to a real good austrian movie.