H.G. Wells is a woman? – Warehouse 13

Warehouse 13 - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Warehouse 13 – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Warehouse 13 (2009-)

Creators: Jane Espenson, D. Brent Mote
Stars: Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly and Saul Rubinek

You may have noticed, if you have been reading my previous blogs, that I like a little bit of crime thriller/sci-fi action. This is true whether in film or TV. I think it’s because I wish I had a more exciting life and I like escaping into another kind of world and kind of thinking. Warehouse 13 caught my eye simply because it is made by the SyFy channel. It’s your average investigative agency trying to save the world kind of deal, but with a bit of a twist. It takes the myths and legends of history and takes the museum pieces we like to ooh and aah at and turns them into deadly weapons, or something like that. “Artifacts” possess a semi-magical/semi-scientific aspect that comes from the great event or person they were originally attached to. For instance, a hairbrush used by Marilyn Munroe turns people’s hair blonde. Okay so that one is less deadly than just a bit weird and strange, but the agents in Warehouse 13 track down these artifacts, neutralize them, and then pack them away so no one can use them for evil. You get the idea I hope.

I’ve only watched the first two seasons so far and I’ve enjoyed them for the most part. It’s not a serious or completely dramatic sci-fi show, it has it’s humourous moments. The characters are interesting and have complex pasts which makes them carry enough weight for me to continue to watch to find out where they end up. The stories can be a little far-fetched but then again it is science fiction, not everything is meant to be completely realistic. I find it hard to review because there is a level at which I really like the show, but there is also a level at which I think it could be so much better than it is. The cheesiness of some of the humour is a little unbearable at points but it does fit with the characters so maybe it’s the characters who need improving? Or maybe it’s that the scripts aren’t written well enough for the characters to be brought to life and be coherent with the humour? Or maybe it’s the direction of particular episodes? Or maybe it’s the fact that they try and bring H.G. Wells to life as a woman? I don’t know exactly what it is but there are bits and pieces that leave me a little disappointed with it.

Even saying that though I will get stuck into the third and fourth season as soon as I can get my hands on them. For nothing other than the character of Claudia Donovan who I love and I wish I was like.

3/5

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I want my two hours back – Alex Cross

Alex Cross - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Alex Cross – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Alex Cross (2012)

Director: Rob Cohen
Writers: Marc Moss (screenplay), Kerry Williamson (screenplay), and James Patterson (novel “Cross”)
Stars: Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox and Rachel Nichols

I could write an essay on all the reasons why this movie is now in my top three worst ever films I’ve seen list. I’ll try and convince you not to spend any time, energy, money, or basically anything other than reading this blog on the so-called film Alex Cross in a shortish blog.

This film did everything wrong. From the music to the script, to the casting and the pace. It basically started out being really bad and then got unbelievably worse. Let me start by mentioning the script and the direction. I’ve never read a James Patterson crime thriller before but I’m sure not going to now. The adaptation of the script was so bad that pretty much every line was cringe-worthy. There was only one line in the entire film that was good and even then if it had been in any other film it would’ve sucked. The pace of the film was slow and they tried so hard to develop the characters so much that rather than liking the characters I just wanted them to get off the screen and let me have my life and imagination back. The screenplay may have looked fine on paper, actually no, I take that back, it would not have looked fine on paper unless you’re a two year old and need to be walked through every little thing that happened. It was amateurish in everything apart from the quality of the camera and the lighting. I could have written something better and I know that I’m not a great writer. It was so painful to sit through and I began to shrink in my seat as each scene progressed only to rise when something was so ridiculously stupid that you couldn’t help but laugh.

The music was cheesy and agonizing. It had the awful sappy music when someone was having a deep, “character defining” moment, or “fast-paced” when there was a bit of action. It stood out like a sore thumb, which music in film should never do other to compliment the scene. This music took away from the film.

Tyler Perry needs to take some lessons on how to bring truth to characters, his “performance” of Alex Cross was not good, to say the least. I didn’t care about his character or what he had been through. For someone that has been in a lot of films it makes me sad that I know so many of my friends that could’ve played that character better, and they aren’t actors. Oh and then there is Edward Burns who plays his best friend/partner and he was just as bad. I wanted him to die at one point because he was so freaking annoying. I don’t usually wish death on characters but this movie pushed all the wrong buttons for me. And then the two main female leads get killed off quite quickly, yep, thanks for that one guys, push the women out of the picture, well done. I mean I don’t mind a bit of damsel in distress stuff in films, but to kill off the characters altogether, that’s just low. The only one that I give any credit to with his acting ability is Matthew Fox (Jack from Lost). Fox is creepy and scary and redeems the film just a little only to have it come crashing down on him via bad directing. There is one moment where he looks at the camera to deliver a line and you just have to ask yourself: WTF whose decision was that and can someone please get them out of the film business immediately?! And finally there is John C. McGinley (Dr Cox from Scrubs) who just shouldn’t do drama, ever. Stick to comedy John, you really really shouldn’t do drama. I didn’t care that his character got blown up, he was annoying and at this point I just wanted the film to be over.

I’ve seen a lot of B-grade action films, but this isn’t even making the B-grade, this gets an F. It is so bad that it is now trumping Vanilla Sky on my list of worst films ever. I can’t express how truly wretched and unendurable this film was. I’m so glad I got to see it with critics and didn’t have to pay for a ticket, I would’ve walked out and asked for my money back. When there are so many other great independent, or even Hollywood, films that are way way way better than this shite I just want to question those who are making the decisions of what to make and what to show in cinemas. This doesn’t deserve to go to DVD.

DON’T SEE THIS FILM.

-500/5

The Literary Genre of TV Land – Wallander

Wallander - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Wallander – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Wallander (2008, 2010)

Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Sarah Smart and Richard McCabe
Series Writing credits: Richard Cottan (6 episodes, 2008-2010), Henning Mankell (6 episodes, 2008-2010), Peter Harness (3 episodes, 2012). Based on Henry Mankell’s novels.

I love my crime thriller TV shows more than most. There is something that compels me to watch them. From my adolescent times I loved CSI and for a while wanted to be a forensic scientist, then I discovered I hated chemistry and because that was a major component of being a forensic scientist I decided it wasn’t for me. The investigation and the intrigue that comes with crime shows is something I love because it is narrative driven. However when it comes to a show like Wallander there is something primarily different about it. The pace, the setting, the characters, the stories, and the audience it attracts is very different from your usual CSI, NCIS, and Law&Order audience members. It is much more character driven than other crime shows and it is for this reason that it has become a new favourite for me. That and Tom Hiddleston is in it. He is the reason I started watching it. I may be a little obsessed but don’t let that bias my opinion of the show because disappointedly he is only a minor character in the show and so it isn’t the reason I kept watching.

This show follows the man Wallander (Kenneth Branagh) as he is confronted with the harsh reality of murder and the emotional damage that being around crime can have on a detective. It shows a different aspect of a detective as he continues to investigate these murders, it shows the character’s moral dilemma and the weight that is placed on the detectives as they try and make sense of the irrationality of murder. Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of Kurt Wallander is full of theatrical depth that you expect from a thespian of his caliber but the most interesting this about this casting is that his performance is almost entirely held in his expressions. Wallander is a man of few words, he is closed off, cold, and tormented by his vocation and Branagh is able to convey the complexity of this character in a single eye flicker or the way he holds his body as he approaches a crime scene. Wallander is a man that is confronted with the most horrific of human behaviours and struggles to deal with the trauma of these circumstances. Branagh grabs you and takes you with him as he explores the world of Wallander and pulls you in as he becomes more emotionally and mentally drained by these cases.

The pace of this show is one of the surprising things I found in watching it. It is slow and quiet. The atmosphere is dense and weighty and it feels all encompassing as you sit and watch these characters and stories unfold. It is definitely not a style that most people would enjoy and I would compare it to a popular fiction reader attempting to read literary fiction for the first time. It is heavy going and it does take a while to get into it. There are particular moments in each episode where if I hadn’t felt compelled to find Tom Hiddleston in the first episode that I may have switched off, but once you meet Kurt Wallander and get to know him a little bit more you can’t help but keep watching. The stories are particularly dark and complex but also truly intriguing. I have really fell in love with the characters in Wallander and the stories that connect them together. It shows the real pace of investigation and the humanity that lies behind both the criminal acts and the justice provided, as well the haunting of those detectives who are faced with the horrific. It is moving and beautiful at the same time and I have felt connected to these characters more than I usually do in tv shows. They feel real, they feel like they could be out there in the world, they feel true. It is a look at the darkness that underpins the evil in this world and the grief that is carried through the acts of violence that police have to deal with. This is a beautiful and tragic look at investigation of crime.