Why Does Snowpiercer Repel Me?

Can someone set me straight on Snowpiercer? The upcoming Bong Joon-ho-directed movie about the dregs of humanity living on a single train that endlessly circles an Ice Age-ravaged world is getting rapturous early buzz, especially in places overseas where people have actually seen it. So why am I planning to avoid it?

Snowpiercer sounds to me like a flat-out stupid premise, and the trailers — like this one, from France —  look as dull as the film’s muted color palette. What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I want to see Chris “Captain America” Evans lead a band of filthy rebels in an all-out attempt to capture the… er, engine of a train?

 What’s so wonderful about this damn movie? What am I not seeing?

Star Wars: Episode VII Casting Rumors Get Interesting

If you’re the type to pay attention to movie casting rumors, then you’ve probably noticed the same thing I (and many others) have — two names regularly surface just about any time a big movie role is mentioned: Benedict Cumberbatch and Saoirse Ronan. What they have in common (besides two of the most unusual and nigh-unpronounceable names is the biz) is tons and tons of talent.

In the latest case of casting kismet, both Cumberbatch and Ronan are said to be in the running for major roles in JJ AbramsStar Wars: Episode VII. The lead role is rumored to be female, so that’s where Ronan fits in. Actually, there may be two female lead roles, and Ronan supposedly read for both parts this week.  Cumberbatch is believed to be up for a villainous role — and possibly has already been cast. Cumberbatch’s baddie would have a small part in Episode VII, then become the Big Bad for episodes VIII and IX. Of course Cumberbatch’s camp is denying it, as is Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot — but we heard this song-and-dance with the “We swear he’s not playing Khan” B.S. from Star Trek Into Darkness. (The suckage of which was not Cumberbatch’s fault.)
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BROADCHURCH 1.7

broad1It’s the penultimate episode of BROADCHURCH, and the dominoes are beginning to fall — not only in the Danny Latimer murder case specifically, but also the pieces of the puzzles behind some characters have come together, including Detective Inspector Alec Hardy’s Sandbrook misadventure and Susan Wright’s mysterious past (and reason for the name change).

But there are still several key pieces missing, and I expect next week’s finale to be a pretty jam-packed episode. As suspects like Susan are eliminated, others become more likely. But I’m still holding out for a less-usual suspect. I’m not buying Nigel as the killer; I would be more satisfied if Steve were the perp and he got himself caught by insisting on interfering in the investigation. But my pet theory pointing to Ellie’s husband got a big boost this week.
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A Burlesque Tribute to DOCTOR WHO in NYC

HTBDW1“And now for something completely different.” Those words, from MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS, were certainly appropriate last night in New York City, when I attended a rather unusual homage to DOCTOR WHO: a burlesque show with acts based on the Doctor and his friends and enemies.

Performed by the Hotsy Totsy Burlesque troupe and staged at Rbar NYC on Bowery Street in Lower Manhattan, this was a fine example of modern burlesque — which is never to be confused with mere stripping. Burlesque is the art of the tease and celebrates dancing, athleticism, costuming… and suggestion. Nobody got naked; everyone wore pasties (including the guys). This show was about titillation — and everyone’s favorite Time Lord.
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Are Leaked DOCTOR WHO 50th Posters Real?

twodocsSuddenly appearing on Twitter this morning, provenance unknown, were two tiny images of posters purported to be for “The Day of the Doctor,” the 50th anniversary episode of DOCTOR WHO, airing Nov. 23. There’s no way to tell if they are authentic at this point, but they are nonetheless pretty cool.

One image depicts Matt Smith‘s 11th Doctor against a London background, while the other feature the John Hurt Doctor striding from a fiery, ruined backdrop. It has been suggested the images are posters for the theatrical release of the story, and they just might be. Or maybe they are merely the handiwork of a dedicated fan.

Of course the question many people are asking is, “Where’s David Tennant‘s 10th Doctor?”

SLEEPY HOLLOW: “Pilot”

Sleepy1It was with a skeptical eye that I sat down to watch Fox’s new supernatural-tinged series, SLEEPY HOLLOW, and I was also wary about liking it because the last Monday Fox show I liked in that time slot was ALCATRAZ, and we all know what happened there.

I ended up liking SLEEPY HOLLOW quite a bit, which surprised me, because I wasn’t expecting all that much: Even if the pilot is good, I thought, where can a weekly series go? How much comedy material can the producers squeeze from Ichabod Crane as a fish out of time? Will they meet  How does the Headless Horseman find his targets?

Turns out, there’s quite a lot of potential, thanks to some clever reimagining of the premise. Making the Headless Horseman into the personification of Death and tying him to something bigger, mainly the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, was a smart move and opens up the possible storylines for the series by expanding it from a parochial story into something that could, as Crane himself says, affect every man, woman and child in the world.
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BREAKING BAD 5.14: “Ozymandias”

“Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

BBozy1Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem about the inevitability of the fall of empires to hubris and time seems exceptionally apropos here, as one survey’s Walt’s desert meth empire and despairs over the loss of life and the venality of it all. Like the proud Pharaoh, Walt demanded respect more than anything else — and it would appear that like the proud Pharaoh, Walt stands to end up with nothing but dust.

Hank is gone — but in a terrible irony, Walt proved that his humanity is not entirely gone. Faced with the ruination of everything he had worked so hard to build, Walt did not think selfishly. He did what he could to push Skyler out of his shadow and try to get the police to believe she was innocent of his Heisenberg empire; and he returned his daughter before striking off on his own. Those were two very decent things Walt did to wrap up the episode. And, perhaps, to begin wrapping up his life.

It’s too much, at this point, to expect Walt to redeem himself, but in pleading for Hank’s life, returning his daughter and trying to protect his wife, Walt has proven that not every part of the man he once was has been taken over by Heisenberg.
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The Bane of the Doctor!

hurtdoctorEsteemed actor John Hurt found himself facing a huge challenge while playing the Doctor in “The Day of the Doctor” — no, not portraying a centuries-old alien, but rather all that timey-wimey technobabble!

Hurt told Britain’s Guardian:

“You have to remember that the Doctors are all one person, so I’m not outside of that. I can’t talk about it, but I will say I was really impressed when I did it. Both the previous Doctors – Matt Smith and David Tennant – boy, are they good at it. Whoa-wee! They are so quick, and there’s a huge amount of learning and no time to learn it in. All that fake scientific nonsense — terribly difficult to learn.”

Does anyone think it’s important that he calls Matt and David “previous Doctors”? He probably means that as “actors who have played the role before me,” but still…

Anyway, Hurt did say he loved one thing in particular about taking on the role: the fans!

“I’ve done a couple of conferences where you sit and sign autographs for people and then you have photographs taken with them and a lot of them all dressed up in alien suits or Doctor Who whatevers. I was terrified of doing it because I thought they’d all be loonies, but they are absolutely, totally charming as anything. It’s great fun. I’m not saying it’s the healthiest thing – I don’t know whether it is or isn’t – but they are very charming….”

So bravo to those fans who have been lucky enough to meet Hurt — thanks for staying classy!

Is the Fifth Appearing in the Fiftieth?

timecrashErstwhile Fifth Doctor Peter Davison made a few cryptic remarks this week that have folks speculating hoping he will make a surprise appearance in “The Day of the Doctor,” DOCTOR WHO’s 50th anniversary story. And then he said something not-so-cryptic.

According to a website called Female First, Davison said:

“I’m making an appearance somewhere over that period of time but I can’t reveal in what. I can’t reveal anything specific about it. I’m not allowed to. It is a big year for the show and we’re all doing our bit for it. Trust me.”

Well, when a Doctor asks you to trust him, it’s a good idea to trust him. Even though the Doctor lies. Also: Run.
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