Friday, September 2, 2011

Musings Through Filtered Ears #6

A series of random thoughts by a DVR-overloaded addict....

September, it's so great to see you!
Fall is right around the corner and I cannot wait. It's my favorite time of the year. The roaring fireplace. Falling leaves. Football. The crisp, clear New England air.

And the return of high quality movies and appointment television.

First, the silver screen. George Clooney is everywhere and I couldn't be happier. He's the greatest actor-slash-movie star of his generation. He consistently produces strong films and all are not necessarily crowd-pleasers. I really admired The American, unlike most people I know. Clooney stretches and takes risks. I'm greatly anticipating both Ides of March (which he also directs) and The Descendants (welcome back, Alexander Payne!). The latter is precisely the kind of film I can see Payne and Clooney excelling in.

And apparently, Crazy Stupid Love wasn't enough for Ryan Gosling this year. He's having a terrific year, also starring in Ides of March and in Nicholas Winding Refn's Drive (which, from what I hear, is pretty freakin' awesome). March, Descendants and Drive top my must-see flicks of the season.

Some other big releases I'm looking forward to: We Bought a Zoo (from Cameron Crowe, another long-absent director, greatly missed since the hugely underrated Elizabethtown), Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol (with Brad Bird at the helm and a feel/tone reminiscent of the 1996 original has me feeling good about this one), and Carnage (the cast and director alone has me in line, and I don't even care what it's about). On a smaller scale, I'll also be seeing Martha Marcy May Marlene (sure to be the indie sensation of the year), A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas (it's probably terrible, but how can I resist these two schlubs?) and Paranormal Activity 3 (they are pushing their luck, but you know, the first two didn't let me down and this one is helmed by the directors of the terrific Catfish).

There are others I'm intrigued by (50/50, Contagion, Iron Lady) but I'm taking a wait-and-see approach. Are they worth the trek out to theaters or will they be merely appointment rentals? Only time will tell.

On the TV side of things, I'm not sure which new shows I'm eager to try. I've missed Buffy, big time, but do I miss Sarah Michelle Gellar enough to try the CW's Ringer? Ehh, not sure. Pan Am and Charlie's Angels? No thanks. Person of Interest has Michael Emerson back on TV (and those who know me know why I love this man), but frankly, I'm tired of procedurals. And there isn't a new sitcom in the bunch that looks remotely appealing.

As for FX's American Horror Story, well, it looks like it could be a winner, thanks to Connie Britton's presence, FX's lucky streak, and the warped mind of Ryan Murphy. But I'm thinking I may have to wait it out and follow the word of mouth before committing. Another potential keeper: ABC's Once Upon a Time. The creators are Eddie Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, co-writers of Lost. I like the premise - fairy tale characters living in the present day - so I'm hoping it's ambitious and has big ideas.

But I don't want to get attached to anything new right now, really. I still have season one of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Damages and Justified all hanging out in my Netflix queue. This is what I tend to do lately - I don't watch new shows unless I know it's good and then catch up with them later.

But of the returning ones, I think the one I'm most excited for (surprisingly enough) is Glee. After such a lackluster, directionless second season, I had a lot of reasons to believe the show was going down hill. But with a new writing staff, I think we may be in good hands. Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan were stretching themselves thin writing every word for this huge cast. For the new season, they promised character driven plots (rather than theme or artist-driven), plus some closure (so long, graduates!) and new beginnings (hello Glee Project winners!). I'm putting a lot of faith in these guys.

Also, I never watched more than 4 or 5 episodes of Two and a Half Men, but I'll be tuning in to the premiere. I think Kutcher is funny and I, like millions of others, are curious about how they are going to kill off Charlie Sheen's character.

The fall season also signifies the return of great shows like Dexter, Modern Family and The Walking Dead.

Ah, fall. Good to have you back.

Screaming bloody murder
I'm a casual fan of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and, even in its own hokey way, Return of the Jedi. I'm not an obsessive fanboy, but these are treasured classics and should be treated as such.

So it irks me a bit to watch George Lucas fuck these movies up any way he possibly can. The atrocious prequels are one thing (he wanted to continue his story, and I get that), but really, George, must you continue to mess with the original films? It seems every re-release has something new he wants to add. A digitized Yoda. Han Solo shooting first. And now, in the new Jedi blu-ray edition, Lucas makes Darth Vader scream "Noooooo!" as he saves Luke from his death. What. The. Hell? What's next, the Ewoks will start blinking their eyes? Oh wait.

What's the point? Does this make the film better? Does he think his fans are asking, George, in your 47th re-release of the Star Wars franchise, you gotta do something about Vader in the end of Jedi? Make him vulnerable, make him weak. Show us that Vader can emote like the best of them!

Lucas has a history of screwing things up. Supposedly, he was the hold up for the 4th Indiana Jones movie and would not agree to make it unless it had aliens in it. Spielberg and Ford did what they could with Crystal Skull, but the film was a letdown. The aliens aspect nearly killed the damn thing.

So, Mr. Lucas, it might be best for you to retire. Especially before you start tinkering with Howard the Duck.

Quietly, our little movie site had its 10,000th hit last week. Thanks to those who continue to show up and read our stuff!

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