Hollywood Movie Draft Pitch: Hearts Want

Happy Labor Day, everybody! Well, I finally finished the movie pitch I did as part of a Hollywood Fantasy Draft blog-a-thon project spearheaded by a blogger who sadly is no longer around. It has been quite er, laborious effort but definitely fun and worth every second! I realize it’s a long one, but I would appreciate you taking the time to read it and let me know what you think. Without further ado… I present to you:

Hearts Want. A film by Ridley Scott.

Tagline:
In the crossroads of love and life, the choices are never easy.

Themes:
Past sins, true love, second chances, lawlessness, temptation, forgiveness, and making tough choices under seemingly impossible circumstances.

Genre: Romantic Thriller

Setting: London, Scotland, France


Cast of Characters:

(Check out this post for the rationale of why I picked each actor)

Ridley-ScottMy director pick is British director Ridley Scott. I need someone who can create a solid thriller but with heart. Known for his sweeping landscapes and cinematography, the contemporary European setting would look stunning visually under his direction. According to IMDb, Ridley usually casts / works with actors who have a strong theater background and are graduates of drama schools. Hence my choice for a leading man…

HeartsWant_TimDaltonTimothy Dalton as Spencer Wesford: 64-years old, 6’2”, dark haired with green eyes, with a permanent five-o’clock shadow. Still maintain a lean figure as he jogs daily and does boxing workouts in his basement. Smokes pipe occasionally and drinks only Whisky or Scotch. Speaks French and German from his MI-5 training, was one of the best agents until he retires over two decades ago when his wife Maggie died in a car accident. Drives a black 1999 Range Rover, as he’s sworn off German cars as his wife died when he was driving his Audi S4. A man of refined taste, Spencer dresses well, wears tailored suits and Grenson shoes.Though he’s still as dashing as ever, even Darren’s female colleagues have the hots for Spencer, he hasn’t been with a woman ever since Maggie died. He’s still too heartbroken over her death and the loss of relationship with his only son. But Maggie isn’t the only love he’s lost. About five seven years before his wife died, Spencer had a brief but torrid affair with Olivia, which he ended abruptly within a year.

,,.
HeartsWant_HelenMirren
Helen Mirren as Olivia Ferrars. The heir of a billion-dollar empire, the 58-year-old takes over the powerful Ferrars enterprise after her younger brother died of MS. Once married to a man she didn’t love to honor her father’s wishes, but divorced him as soon as her father died. In her 30s had a brief but torrid affair with Spencer, then a young detective who’s assigned to probe into her family’s ties to drug cartels/diamond smugglers. Olivia is a patron of the arts and active in the Ferrars’ philanthropic endeavors and often hosts charity galas and fund-raising efforts for her many charitable foundations. She does all this partly out of guilt as she’s well aware of her enterprise’s carefully-concealed unlawful activities that is now carried on expanded under her ruthless son’s rule.

HeartsWant_JamesMcAvoy
James McAvoy as Dylan Ferrars: 31-year-old youngest son of Olivia and Spencer. Handsomely-boyish looking, soft-spoken and well-mannered, Dylan may seem like the perfect son and role model for any wealthy family. He always excels at school, doesn’t party endlessly or do drugs, and not only diligently working to advance his family business but also have time to accompany his mother to charity events. But deep down Dylan is as merciless and fiercely-ambitious like his grandfather, able to pull off the two-faced trick seamlessly and without remorse. He could be giving a speech at an earthquake benefit one minute, and the next he’d authorize to have someone who gets in his way killed or tortured.

Gerard Butler as Jacob Wesford: Spencer’s 38-year old estranged son who hasn’t spoken to his father pretty much since his mother died. Despite being a college-dropout, his savvy business sense and popularity help him become a successful club owner and restaurateur. He owns five clubs and a few elite restaurants in the UK, which Dylan Ferrars often use for business dealings and to ‘entertain’ their hoodlum guests. He’s always been a rebel, but his Godly mother was somehow able to reign him in. Of course that’s all changed with her passing. He’s constantly angry with God and blames his dad for her death, but when he misses her the most, he’d drive to the local church where she used to go and just sits there for hours. That’s when he meets Alexa.


HeartsWant_CateBlanchettCate Blanchett
as Julienne Ferrars: Olivia’s 37 year-old daughter from her first marriage who doesn’t get along with her mother and brother. She’s never been married as the men she’s been with are either spoiled rich boys, or the opposite, they’re after her family’s money. She’s devastated by the divorce as she was her father’s favorite and sensed that her mother never loved him. She shuns being a member of the Ferrars family for its deceitful nature, and prefers live in an understated condo in the outskirt of London and works as a part-time nurse.

Eva Green as Alexa Noble: 30-year-old French-English girl who’s engaged to Jacob whose disappearance propels a series of events in the movie. She’s a natural beauty, even in her plain clothes of mostly long sweaters and skinny jeans, her black hair against piercing green eyes are striking. Alexa is adopted by a couple of missionaries when she was in her late teens when her parents are killed by a drunk driver. She’s an accomplished pianist who’s a member of the London Community Orchestra but dedicates her spare time volunteering at her church, which happens to be the same small church Jacob’s mother attended. That’s when she met Jacob, who quickly falls for her. Within 4 months of their whirlwind courtship, Jacob proposes to Alexa, as he can’t imagine even a day without her. Alexa would only marry him on one condition; that is if he quits his party-boy lifestyle.

HeartsWant_LeePaceLee Pace
as Sean Leigh: the young detective assigned to the case of Alexa’s disappearance. The bright and spirited young man was one of Spencer’s most gifted student at the University, who now sees Spencer as his father figure and friend. In a way he’s like a son to Spencer who grieves for his own long lost son Jacob. They see each other every weekend playing chess or going to orchestra performances together as they share a love of classical music. Spencer is also Sean’s mentor, as he’d always consult with Spencer because of his extensive MI-5 background and expertise in forensic science.

Daniel Henney as Darren Sun: Sean’s detective partner. An equally gifted and ambitious detective, Darren’s been friends with Sean since they joined the force together. In fact, one of Sean’s sister once dated him in college. The Korean-English looker is a fitness buff and pro-triathlete who makes him extremely popular with the ladies. He’s also a skilled empathic communicator with a deft attention to detail, which makes him a skillful detective. Has just been married recently and is expecting his first child.


Additional Cast (cameos):

  • Michael Gambon: Edgar Ferrars (Olivia’s father)
  • Julia Ormond: Magdalene Wesford (Spencer’s late wife)

Logline

I always like thrillers that have love stories at the heart of it. I like Ridley Scott’s work and this one appeals to his softer side while still incorporate his knack for suspense n action. It’ll be set in his native London with a moody, almost melancholy but gritty atmosphere. The actors I’ve chosen will play roles they’re not normally associated with, for example, I chose McAvoy for this ‘villain’ role BECAUSE of his boyish role. Just because he looks like a non-threatening nice guy doesn’t mean he is, and like Cillian Murphy in Red Eye, that actually makes him a more menacing bad guy. I also like to see a couple of mature thespians at the core of the story, hence my pick of Mirren and Dalton.

Overview

Spencer, a retired MI-5 agent currently working as a forensic professor is reeled back into his old world when his estranged son’s fiancée is suddenly gone missing. Thinking that solving the case might be the key to winning back his son’s trust, he vows to do whatever it takes to help solve the case. The prime suspect of the case is Dylan Ferrars, whose mother is Spencer’s former lover Olivia, owner of the multibillion-dollar Ferrars empire. Dark secrets and past sins are quickly revealed as people’s lives are entangled in ways no one ever expected. As the case reaches a boiling point, everyone involved must make some difficult choices under seemingly impossible circumstances.

Backstory

This movie is more of an ensemble-cast in which the principal performers are assigned roughly equal amounts of importance and screen time in a dramatic production. But at the core of the story is Spencer because a lot of the events has to do with a dark past he’s been trying to put behind him. Spencer retired from MI-5 soon after his wife’s death in a car accident 25 years ago, and has taken up a job as a forensic professor in the past 15 years. His quiet life is suddenly turned upside down when his long-estranged son Jacob’s fiancee is suddenly missing. In the hope of regaining his son’s trust, he vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

The case puts him back in the path of his former lover Olivia, whom he had an affair with 30 years ago. The affair lasted nearly a year, but Spencer ended it abruptly out of his conscience. Unbeknownst to Spencer, Olivia became pregnant with Dylan but she decided not to tell Spencer as she found out just as he ended their affair. She never quite get over Spencer and always hope they’d be reconciled one day.

Five years after the affair, Olivia inherited the corporation when her father died (her brother succumbed to MS, which made her the sole heir to her family’s empire). The Ferrars may appear as renowned philanthropists with all the charity and foundations benefiting the poor and the sick, but under wraps they’re a ruthless and nefarious corporation with countless illegal activities. In fact, it was during an investigation into her empire’s alleged dealings with the South American drug cartels as well as ties with Sierra Leone diamond smugglers that Spencer first had an encounter with Olivia. The investigation was fruitless given that the Ferrars had the power to cover up and throw away all kinds of evidence. As the future heir to the Ferrars’ fortune, Dylan is even more ruthless than his grandfather, and even though Olivia had become troubled by her son’s wickedness, she’s powerless to stop it.

In a bizarre turn of events, Jacob and Dylan’s path crossed 30 years later as business partners. Though he was a high school dropout, Jacob managed to work his way up to become a successful club owner and restaurateur. Dylan often uses Jacob’s clubs to entertain his high-powered clients and business associates, and though Jacob isn’t involved in the dealings, he turns a blind eye on the illegal activities.

Julienne is Dylan’s sister who’s sort of the ‘black sheep’ of the family as she not only doesn’t get along with her mother and brother, she never participates in her family’s events and charity functions. Deep down Julienne resents the two-faced nature of her family and finds that money and power is corrupting her family. She has never been married as she never loved the men she had been with, they were all spoiled, rich boys Olivia deemed ‘perfect’ for her daughter. In the past few months, Julienne starts a love affair with a young detective Sean and she’s been feeding tips about the drug cartels and diamond smuggling her own family’s involved in. At first, she was ‘using’ Sean to rebel against everything her mother’s warned her against, knowing that she would never approve of her marrying someone of such a lesser stature and economic level. But then Julienne ends up falling in love with Sean, and for the first time in her life, she finds a real reason for living. Sean happens to be Spencer’s protege who was his former professor at the U and he’s been telling Spencer of his new love, though he cannot reveal her name out of his promise to Julienne. Sean is like a son to Spencer, as he’s pretty much lost Jacob at the same time his wife died.

THE SET UP

Act 1

The first 10-15 minutes of the movie shows a slice of six lives that’s about to collide.

Opening sequence of the movie opens with scenes of a day-in-the-life of Spencer in the outskirts of London with Philip Glass’ score is playing in the background (similar to the one he did for The Hours). The aging widower lives a quiet, regimented life — wakes up in the early hours to jog, followed by boxing in his basement and then breakfast as he reads his paper. His watch beeps; he grabs his jacket and drives to a nearby park. It’s Saturday morning, which means chess game with Sean. Sean buys Spencer coffee and treats, obvious he’s in a good mood. He tells Spencer about this new girl he met and he’s giddy like a schoolboy. He can’t reveal who she is as she made him promise not to because of her famous family.

It’s night time at one of Jacob’s swanky clubs.  Love is in the air also for Spencer’s estranged son, who’s on the brink of a new life. He’s newly engaged to Alexa, ending his stint as London’s ‘most eligible bachelor’. He’s telling one of his buddies that he’s got to be home by midnight, which is unheard of for the ultimate party boy and ladies man who usually goes home with a different girl every night. But tonight is different and he’s a new man now, he says, he’s done sowing his wild oats. Next scene shows them in his bed together but they’re not making love. Alexa refuses to do that until they’re married, and Jacob respects that out of her love for her… something he has never done before given that a rich playboy like him usually sleeps with women within hours of meeting them. But Jacob is tired of frivolous sexual escapades that always leave him empty and lonely, so he’s happy even just kissing and gazing lovingly at Alexa’s beautiful face and just talk to each other until they both fall asleep.

Olivia and Dylan at their elite fund-raising event for MS (the organization Olivia is active at in honor of her dead brother). Shows Olivia giving a speech, toasting her son for her charity effort and generous giving to a recent earthquake victims, etc. Snippets of the guests questioning why the Ferrars’ daughter is nowhere to be found as usual… accusing her of not being as charitable as the rest of her family. Moments later shows Dylan on the phone ordering someone tortured/killed as he refused to do something he asked for.

Julienne is at a camp site with Sean, blissfully happy being in love. They’re talking about going on a week-long road trip together in Sean’s beat up Jeep Cherokee. He’s teasing her about maybe borrowing one of Dylan’s Maseratis and see if he’d even notice and Julienne scoffs at the idea of using any of Dylan’s preposterous ‘toys’. Her disdain for her brother is apparent.

Act 2

Shown in flashback mode: Jacob and Alexa are in a restaurant and Dylan came over to their table. The conversation heated up when Dylan made a remark about Alexa being one of his conquests. In the heat of the moment, Jacob threw his champagne at him and tells him Dylan and his guests are no longer welcome at his club. Dylan’s men almost shoots Jacob before Alexa begs Dylan’s forgiveness as she helps dry him off with a napkin. Dylan wipes off his face and says, ‘you’ll be sorry for this!’ before storming off.

The thing is, when you deal with someone like Dylan and his vicious cohorts, there is no turning back. Dylan and his friends think that Jacob knew to much to simply walk away and so they plan on killing him. One night on his way home from his club Jacob’s car is followed by Dylan’s men. A car chase ensues and Jacob is shot in the shoulder and he hits a median, sending him into intensive care, but he survives. Spencer and Alexa visit him in the hospital but Jacob’s still unconscious.

Fast forward a few days later… Spencer is at the U talking with some students about midterm when his cell rings and he immediately leaves. That’s Jacob, calling his father out of desperation to tell him Alexa is missing. That is the first time in over a decade that Jacob is speaking to his father. As Spencer is driving, Sean calls and tells him he and his partner Darren have been assigned to the case. Because of Jacob’s call to the Police station that Dylan is the perpetrator of Alexa’s disappearance and his car crash , the detectives pay Dylan a visit for questioning but they can’t arrest him as there is no evidence of his involvement.

Two days later Spencer receives a note on his front door with the initial OF, saying “I have to see you and I can help” with an address in a villa south of Scotland. Spencer knows immediately whose name is on the card and the exact location, because that’s the place they’d go for their rendezvous 30 some years ago. Thinking that Olivia is in a position to help, Spencer has no choice but to agree to meet her. Though he had left her, deep down Spencer still have feelings for Olivia, but he’s adamant not to let that affect him. The second they meet, Spencer immediately cuts to the chase and confronts Olivia if her son was indeed involved in this matter and Olivia rebuffs it, saying that they may have done a lot of bad things but kidnapping isn’t one of them. She assures Spencer that if she knows anything, she’d be more than happy to help. The two spend the whole day together—biking in a Scottish moor, strolling in a small town nearby, etc.—reminiscing on the past the shared together, and Spencer’s heart is softened as the wall he’s been building comes down that night. As they hold hands over coffee, Olivia comes close to telling him about Dylan but Spencer has to leave immediately back to the city. Olivia is hopeful that her dreams of rekindling their romance is about to come true.

Jacob regains his consciousness and he is adamant to help with the investigation of the case, even offers to share everything he knows to bring down Dylan and his associates. This puts Jacob in even more danger, and he risks of losing everything he has built as in the course of one week, his clubs have been the subject of arson (done stealthily by Dylan’s men). At this point, all Jacob cares about is finding Alexa alive.

Meanwhile, Julienne confronts her brother and pleads him to release Alexa if he indeed has her. Dylan shoots back at her saying that he knows she has been seeing the same detective assigned to the case and warns her it won’t end well if she continues to do so. Julienne tells him to leave him alone and says that Sean is only doing his job, to which Dylan replies that he’s doing the same thing, and that is to sustain the well-being of their family business. “But at what cost, Dylan?” Julienne responds, and the scene ends with her saying, “I’m sorry to see what you have become.”

Act 3

Spencer visits Jacob at the hospital on the day of his release. The two hardly speak to each other, there is still so much pain between them but this time Jacob doesn’t tell Spencer to leave. Jacob’s friends want to drive him home but Spencer convinces his son to stay with him to ensure his safety. He can protect Jacob because of his MI-5 backgrounds and reluctantly, Jacob agrees, at least until his shoulder heals. Slowly Jacob opens up to his father as the two share a house together. Spencer is ecstatic of this second chance, but he also realizes he can never see Olivia again or risk losing Jacob forever.

It’s day 11 of Alexa’s disappearance and Jacob is losing patience on the way the investigation is going. Despite all the suspicion, there is lack of evidence to pine the case on Dylan. Jacob pleads his father to do go after Dylan as he’s convinced they’re simply so powerful that the authorities can’t touch them. Spencer initially refused, saying that he cannot interfere with police business, but seeing his son’s desperation, he simply cannot refuse him. Besides, they both realize that Dylan is guilty of all kinds of criminal activities he’s been involved in, regardless of whether the Police can link those back to him. Spencer takes Jacob to visit Sean and asks him for help. Sean realizes he’s risking his career and all he’s worked for if he agrees, but at the same time he is loyal to Spencer. Suddenly Julienne shows up, much to Spencer’s shock, but Sean assures them she is not a mole but she is in fact been trying to finally bring her own brother to justice. Julienne tips everyone that every year Dylan hosts a party at one of their mansions in France, which is also one of the location of his money laundering factory. It’ll be the perfect time for a bust as all of Dylan’s powerful associates will also be there.

On the eve of the plan of a shakedown, Spencer receives a call from Olivia. She tells him she has stage 4 breast cancer, and she only have weeks left to live. She pleads for Spencer to visit her at her private clinic. Spencer can’t simply refuse her now, and on her death bed, she finally reveals the truth about Dylan, much to Spencer’s shock and anguish. Olivia asks Spencer to go easy on his son, knowing that sooner or later he will be caught. She also confesses that she knows of all the illegal activities that Dylan is doing, but that there is nothing she can do about it. Spencer says there is and there is only one way to make things right, even if that means making the most difficult decision in their lives.

Act 4

Sean manages to convince his partner Darren, as well as several detectives and special forces to help with the bust. After a brief shootout, they’re able to arrest most of the criminals, but Dylan escapes with his right hand man. Sean is able to shoot Dylan’s protector though he is wounded in the process, but Dylan manages to get into his Maserati and drives off. Jacob grabs Sean’s gun and runs after Dylan in one of the detectives’ car. Within minutes Spencer is on their tail, fearing his worst that his two sons will try to kill each other. As Dylan is not a very experienced driver, having been chauffeured all his life, Jacob has no trouble catching up with him. He hits Dylan’s car and finally able to corner him. Jacob pulls a gun on him, telling him to get out. He threatens to shoot if he doesn’t reveal where Alexa is. Dylan says if he kills him, he will never find Alexa again. Jacob just about to pull the trigger when Spencer yells that Dylan is his brother. As Jacob is distracted, Dylan starts the ignition and drives away.

Final Act

As he arrives in his house, Olivia is waiting for him in her wheelchair. She’s wearing a wig as she’s undergoing chemo. She tells him that her last wish is for his dearest son to do one selfless act before she dies. Dylan’s heartbroken seeing her mother so fragile, and he finally confesses. The night Jacob is in the hospital, Alexa paid him a visit and offered to leave Jacob forever in exchange for his life. She made Dylan promise not to hurt Jacob if she left the country. Dylan reluctantly agreed, but he had one of his men followed her to make sure he knows her whereabouts as he planned on killing Jacob anyway and make it look like an accident.

Unbeknown to his son, Olivia is wearing a wire and Spencer hears the whole thing. Within minutes the whole place is surrounded and Dylan is finally arrested. Jacob is reunited with Alexa in France, whilst Olivia spends her last weeks of her life with the man she loves.

Epilogue

At Olivia’s funeral, Jacob is shown hugging Spencer, with Alexa by his side. Julienne and Sean who’s still in crutches are there as well, and they’re now engaged. It’s a bittersweet moment for Spencer as he’s finally reconciled with his estranged son again, and he hopes that one day he’ll do the same with Dylan.


Well, what do you think, all? Would you be interested to see a movie with this kind of story and cast? I welcome your feedback.

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Hollywood’s Fantasy Draft: My dream cast

Happy Wednesday all! In lieu of my scheduled posts that I have yet to finish, let me just take the time to share the mega blog-a-thon project I’m currently participating in. It’s a fantastic game from the genius mind of my buddy Castor Troy of Anomalous Material (a fantastic blog btw if you don’t already know) called Hollywood Fantasy Draft.  It’s like Fantasy Football for movie lovers, yay!

So we get to be a producer and we could make any movie we want, with the cast we want, one round at a time. Oooh, the inner casting director in me is jumping for joy and I must say I’ve been quite obsessed with this super addictive game. In fact, I’ve been mulling over the plot for my movie day and night. The genre of my choosing is romantic thriller set in the UK, but that’s all I can say for now, the rest of my pitch shall be revealed Sunday, Sept. 5! I must say I’m quite happy that I got all the cast I needed (I had initially wanted Christian Bale before Castor snatched him, but come to think of it, I think James McAvoy actually is a better fit for my story after all. So here they are:

Round 1

My director pick is Ridley Scott. He’s one of the hardest working directors in Hollywood and is so darn prolific it’s hard to imagine he’s in his 70s! Gladiator is one of my fave movies of all time, so naturally he gains my respect, though sci-fi fans will regard Blade Runner or ALIEN as his crowning achievement. Even with his already stunning resume, looks like there are still more great projects in store for us from this British auteur, just check out his extensive possible project list.

Round 2

My first actor pick is Lee Pace! Haven’t seen the show Pushing Daisy but those who have know he’s a funny guy, but I like him from The Fall and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, and this talented, handsome, & versatile guy is grossly underused! Well, I hope to change that. Oh, the fact that he can pulls of a convincing British accent is a major plus!

Round 3

Before someone else snatches her, I better pick my fave actress now: Cate Blanchett. The great Cate is without a doubt one of the best actresses of her generation. She really can play anyone believably (even a different gender, i.e. Bob Dylan in I’m Not There) and always shines brightly even in less stellar movies. Since I’m not sure yet what movie genre I’m doing, at least I know it’ll be a good one with Blanchett in it

Round 4

James McAvoy: “McAvoy is quickly becoming one of my fave Brits with his consistently convincing and affecting performances. His role in Atonement won me over and definitely Oscar worthy, and having just seen The Last Station, I’m even more impressed by his immense talent. He’s also proven he can pull off an American action blockbuster with Wanted, and a romantic lead in Becoming Jane. Doesn’t hurt that he kind of resembles Gerry Butler a little, those eyes, man I guess I’ll always have a thing for the Scots :)”

Round 5

Timothy Dalton: The Shakespearean-trained actor has been away from Hollywood for far too long. One of my favorite seasoned thespian, his screen presence and commanding voice are his signature. Most people know him as the gritty Bond, but he’s done plenty of dramatic roles on stage. As he often steal scenes in supporting roles, I’d love to see him in a leading role with a killer script, a great director and equally-brilliant actors.

Round 6

My next pick is Eva Green. The sultry French actress first came to my attention as my fave Bond girl Vesper Lynd. She’s breathtakingly beautiful but definitely not a bimbo. Her flirtatious banter with Daniel Craig on the train was so seductive without either one of them showing much skin! That’s the kind of love interest I need for my movie. There’s something mysterious about her, something unpredictable, which adds to her allure.

Round 7

Ok, my 7th round pick is Dame Helen Mirren. Is an explanation necessary? I think not. The beautiful 65-year-old is one of the best actresses working today (of any age!) I feel like I’ve been seeing her a lot lately: The Queen, State of Play, The Last Station, RED… and I’m constantly amazed by her performance. She’d be a wonderful addition to my cast and a suitable mother figure to 41-year-old Cate Blanchett.

Round 8

Gerard Butler
I know what you think, predictable casting, huh? But I have a good reason, no REALLY :)

If you’ve seen him in BBC miniseries The Jury where he plays a forlorn alcoholic, that’s the type of dramatic performance I’m looking for from him. Besides, as I mentioned here I’ve always wanted top pair GB and Eva Green as a couple, and the fact that he resembles James McAvoy just makes the casting all the more perfect!

Round 9

Daniel Henney
There’s hardly any male heartthrobs of East Asian descent here in Hollywood, but from what I’ve seen so far (Wolverine, CBS canceled show Three Rivers), the Korean-English actor would fill that deficit VERY nicely :) He’d make a fine detective partner to Lee Pace’s character.

I will add a couple of additional cast to play Mirren’s father and Dalton’s late wife: Michael Gambon and Julia Ormond respectively.

Well, what do you think of my picks so far? Would you be interested to see a movie with this kind of cast?

Eastwood is America’s Preferred Co-star

Well, isn’t this a fun fantasy for regular moviegoers and cinephiles alike. I learned through Movies Boxwish, that 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair recently asked over 1,000 American adults this fanciful fantasy question: If Tinseltown were to offer you a film deal where not only do you get to star in it, but you also, get this, choose your co-star AND the genre. Wow, that’s almost better than fairy godmother’s offer to Cinderella! I mean, who needs a darn prince these days anyway. The top choice is none other than Clint Eastwood in one of his popular western, scoring 20% of the vote, beating George Clooney and Cameron Diaz in a rom-com in second place with 18%. The rest of the result goes like this: action flix with Will Smith (15%), a comedy with Will Ferrell (14%), and a drama with Oscar winner Meryl Streep (13%). Not much love for Julia Roberts in a thriller (8%), nor a martial-arts epic with Jackie Chan (4%).

Hmmm, I don’t think my pick of the killer combo is represented in any of this, but if those were the only selections, I’d probably go with Mr. Eastwood myself, though not necessarily in a western. An action thriller of the Dirty Harry variety is more my thing. Not sure I’d want to be in a movie though, sheesh I’d rather stay behind the scenes if I can help it. It’d be a dream come true however, if my favorite actors were to star in my movie where I get to write the script AND be the casting director, ha! I posted my wish list of movie couples, but my top pick would probably involve Gerry Butler in anything but a rom-com or video game-based flick, preferably sharing the screen with the likes of Eva Green, Emily Blunt, Naomi Watts, Cate Blanchett or Maggie Gyllenhaal.

I’d love to see Butler snatch one (or two) of these ladies for his hopefully-soon-to-be-in-the-front-burner Rabbie Burns biopic now that he’s been appointed Glasgow’s first film ambassador. It’d be nice to see him with a fellow Scot James McAvoy, too. If anything Butler could learn a thing or two as far as role choices go, as the younger actor definitely has picked some wise film choices (The Last King of Scotland, Atonement) and most recently the Tolstoy drama The Last Station with Helen Mirren.

And if I could just have one wish for ze Butler that I’m sure fellow fans would agree, is that I long to see him repeat his wonderful dramatic turn as a desperate alcoholic looking for love in The Jury a decade ago (take a peek at this clip). Whenever people doubt this guy can act, I just look back to that miniseries and naysayers can just take a hike. Oh, and as long as it’s my movie, I’d let the bloke use his own charming Scottish brogue, darn it, we all know accent-work is not his forte!

Anyhoo, just for the fun of it, here’s my other co-star picks and the corresponding genres:

  • Michael Fassbender in a romantic drama (i.e. The Painted Veil)
  • Henry Cavill in a espionage thriller (i.e. The International)
  • Christian Bale in a British comedy (i.e. Hot Fuzz)
  • Viggo Mortensen in a period drama (preferably sans violent gun-fighting or desolate setting)
  • Sharlto Copley in a quirky romance (i.e. (500) Days of Summer)
  • Daniel Henney in a fantasy adventure (i.e. Stardust)
  • Rufus Sewell in a contemporary thriller (i.e. Michael Mann’s Heat) as the protagonist, not the villain
  • Alan Rickman in a sci-fi thriller/adventure (i.e. Danny Boyle’s Sunshine)
  • Mark Strong in a poignant romantic comedy (i.e. About a Boy)
  • Timothy Dalton in a comedy drama (i.e. Stranger than Fiction)

Well, what are your picks, folks? Come on, I’m sure you can think of something ;)

Au Revoir Three Rivers

As someone who was championing this show early on, I thought I’d write my response on the inevitable news. Earlier this week, I learned from the Three Rivers blog via Twitter that CBS has ‘pulled it from its Sunday night schedule,’ which essentially means they’re canceling it. I don’t know why they don’t just come right out and say it, as if saying otherwise would soften the blow to the show’s fans. It’s definitely a substantial setback for the lead actor Alex O’Loughlin, as the show was apparently already canceled in his own homeland Australia after just ONE episode! He wrote a heartfelt letter to his fans on his own’s My Space blog expressing his obvious dismay.

As some of you may know, I was pumped to see this as I was a fan of his former CBS show Moonlight. Although its debut didn’t exactly impress me, I was willing to still give TR a chance with a hope that it’d improve enough to get me hooked. Alas, it never happened. In fact, I ‘forgot’ to see it two Sundays ago and didn’t bother to catch it on Hulu right away. Suffice it to say, I lost interest. Therefore, this cancellation news wasn’t really a ‘blow’ to me, but actually a confirmation of what I’ve been feeling. Still, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel bad about the cast, and really, that’s the most disheartening part about this because IMO they’re perhaps the least to blame.

The series seems doomed from the get-go, what with the not-so-desirable Sunday night timeslot that are plagued with inconsistent airtime due to the NFL games over-run. Not to mention the episode switch snafu of the debut where “Ryan’s first day” got pushed to a second episode when it should’ve been the first. I was utterly puzzled seeing Ryan arrived on the job when he already was part of the team the week before. That’s a HUGE screw-up that no doubt led to some dismal reviews. But those are just the beginning. I think if the show were at least compelling and well written, people could easily forgive those mishaps and embrace it anyway. Which brings me to what I think are the two biggest problems with Three Rivers: the poor writing and lack of character development.

I read this one comment from one of this article that exactly summed up my sentiment:

Connie Marshall December 1, 2009 at 4:31 pm
“The problem is simple: terrible writing from Carol Barbee, sappy stories and utter lack of character development. As one reviewer pointed out, you can’t bond to characters you don’t know anything about. Alex is an amazingly talented actor but Barbee didn’t give him anything to work with. I wanted to love this show the way I did Moonlight but it was impossible. I hope Alex dumps CBS and moves on to something worthy of him.”

The lack of character development really bugged me. This is Alex O’Loughlin’s vehicle and CBS made sure of that, yet I can’t bring myself to like his character Andy Yablonski. In fact, after a couple of viewings, I was rooting for other cast members instead of him. I wanted to like him so much the way I did Moonlight’s Mick St. John (more on that later), but Yablonski’s so ho-hum and uninspiring (which is ironic as he’s pegged as a ‘savior’). It’s not the actor’s fault as I think he’s doing his best with the material given to him, but man, he was basically given zero chance to shine. The rest of TR cast members Kate Moennig, Alfre Wooddard, Christopher Hanke, and Daniel Henney are also all very, very watchable, but they’re also wasted by the two reasons above. I couldn’t like Henney’s Dr. Lee as much I wanted to, either. We’re told his character was a ‘ladies man,’ but he never really came across that way. When they tried to show that seductive side of him, the scene was so lackluster and lame. I mean, the guy showed far more magnetism in his no-dialogue clothing commercials! It’s a moot point now but I thought I’d mention that just a couple of weeks ago, I read that Oded Fehr was joining the show — as if having another eye-candy doctor was what the show needed. I like the Israeli actor from the time I saw him in The Mummy series so his presence certainly couldn’t hurt, but I wish CBS had invested in some stellar writers instead.

They have had some pretty good guest stars on the show, i.e. Mandy Patinkin who played a car accident victim with Lou Gehrig’s disease. But overall the show is nothing more but an endless rotation of transplant donors/patients and a tedious hospital daily grind with impossibly attractive surgeons. My friend Becky mentioned that TR shares a similar problem with the fellow CBS show Eleventh Hour — which boast the ever-so-charming Rufus Sewell — in that it never let his character Dr. Jacob Hood go beyond his day-to-day job as a biophysicist. Like I said in my previous reviews, if I wanted to see the day-to-day “reality” life of a hospital, I could’ve just rented a documentary on the subject.

Ok, it’s no surprise that most of Alex’s fans — which surely made up the majority of TR viewers — immediately suggested bringing back Moonlight. Truthfully, that idea did cross my mind as well, and I tell you why. Moonlight had soooo much potential and given people’s never-ending fascination with vampires, such a show had far more appeal than any medical show ever would. It’s hugely ironic that it got canceled right at the massive upsurge of the Twilight hysteria. Ever since then, two vampire TV shows have gained popularity: HBO’s True Blood and WB’s The Vampire Diaries. The first cater to adults with its more risqué scenes; whilst the other is geared for teens. That means Moonlight would fit right in between the two as the only vampire show for its demographic on network TV.

The mesmerizing star-crossed lovers Mick & Beth

I’m not saying Moonlight was a perfect show as it’s got its own shares of problems, too. However, it did have a lot of great things going for it, i.e. fascinating characters and riveting love story. Alex’s Mick and his love triangle with his vampire ex-wife Coraline (who first ‘turned’ him) and his human crush Beth was the glue that kept me tuned in week after week. It was the ultimate guilty pleasure! Sophia Myles was PERFECT as Beth, she is a phenomenal actress who seemed to bring the best out of Alex (and vice versa) and their scenes together are downright addictive. Need proof? Just search for Mick/Beth on Youtube and you’ll get a slew of fan-made clips of the star-crossed lovers. Shannyn Sossamon as the seductive Coraline kept things interesting as she brought in the passionate fury that every vampire show has to have. Not to mention Mick’s mischievous BFF Joseph (played brilliantly by Jason Dohring of Veronica Mars fame) who stole scenes every time he came on. Check out the clip from the last episode. Starting at 03:00, that’s easily one of the most amusing scenes in the whole show. I love Joseph’s wicked sense of humor and I often thought his character was almost worthy of a spin-off! Unlike TR, Moonlight was more about the personal life of the vampire PI than his detective job, so the characters were nicely fleshed-out for viewers to root for.
….

Anyhoo, I can go on and on about this, but let me just close my Moonlight argument once and for all with how great the cliffhanger was of the last few episodes. In the final show, the DA (played by Eric Winters) was shown reading a document listing all the names of vampires living in L.A., which I thought makes for a terrific set up for season two! Mick and Beth were also shown finally consummating their season-long restrained passion for each other, which made us all screamed  ‘now what?!’ in agony when the end credits rolled for the very last time. [Sigh]

Ok, that’s my last rant about Moonlight as we all know there is no chance in heck that vampire show would ever see the light of day (pun intended) ever again.

I do hope that Alex’s contract with CBS will soon end so that he’s ‘free’ to find another show worthy of his talent. He’s got a new movie coming up with Jennifer Lopez (a rom-com, what else) called The Back-Up Plan. It looks pretty predictable and formulaic but at least he’s got the lead role that might get him noticed more in the movie biz. I also wish that Daniel Henney would also find another show soon. That guy has oodles and oodles of screen presence and I sure hope he’d join fellow Korean-American actors such as John Choo in Flash Forward and Ken Jeong in Community to star in a high-profile series. I was actually thinking of checking out Flash Forward but it, too, is facing an uncertain future as ABC shut down production when ratings plummeted.

CBS said it would complete production of its initial 13 episodes, so I may still watch the last five episodes. Oh well, I guess I have to find another show to root for. I wonder when they will air Miami Trauma, starring British actor Jeremy Northam (who’s delightful as Mr. Knightley in Emma, and deliciously evil in The Net). Too bad it’s yet another medical show but if it proves to be better than TR, I just might give it a shot on account of Jeremy!

Thoughts on CBS Three Rivers Episode 6

My schedule simply won’t allow me to write a full review on it this week, but I do have a couple of thoughts to share in regards to the ‘romance’ part of the plot. Natalie posted a thorough review/recap of it on the TR blog and I must say I totally agree with her assessment on the Andy/Lisa’s romantic ‘encounter.’

“Because Dylan is their patient, Dr. Reed and Dr. Andy become closer. Dr. Reed finally reveals to Dr. Andy that the shoes reminded her of her sister Becca’s shoes after she was struck by a vehicle and died when Dr. Reed was 12 years old. Dr. Andy comforts Dr. Reed. The scene seems a bit forced to me. A few seconds of a comforting hug; eyes searching the face of the other. As I’m watching, their eyes never fully connect. They look at each other, but there is no spark, no chemistry. I much prefer Rena (Kelly Overton) to Dr. Reed. Rena has experience, a soul of a person who had loved her husband but can’t be married to him anymore. Rena and Andy are two adults on equal ground; I don’t get that feeling with Lisa. Lisa’s here, Andy’s up there. It will be interesting to see how the writers will work their magic on this potential romantic entanglement. At this point, I don’t believe that there could be a serious relationship.”

Lisa and Andy share a moment

I totally see her point on this. It’s not so much about that they’re not on equal grounds, as people across economic/social levels can and do fall in love, nothing new there. It’s just that I don’t see much spark between them. Amber Clayton who plays Lisa has a slight physical resemblance to Sophia Myles’ Beth from Moonlight, but the similarities end there. No offense to Amber but Sophia is just on a different league acting-wise and her chemistry with Alex’s Mick is down-right perfect. It’s riveting from the get-go — the longing glances, the flirtatious banter, the genuine angst — they all makes for an addictive love story that keeps the audience yearning for more. Don’t even get me started with Coraline, all unbridled passion burning up the screen there. (Boy, just writing this makes me want to see the vampire show again!) Perhaps it’s unfair to compare them with characters from a different show, so let’s just stay with those within TR. Like Natalie said, the Rena/Andy angle presents a much more compelling romantic potential to me. They have history together and love isn’t an issue, but their demanding, high-profile jobs (Rena’s a detective) get in the way. Why not use her profession as a story arc, perhaps like Natalie suggested, an event threatened her life and he came to realize how terrified he is of losing her.

In any case, this episode leaves much to be desired, which is a pity. Even the scenes of Dr. Lee supposedly living up to his ‘ladies man’ rep felt so predictable and frankly, lifeless. Look-wise, Daniel Henney is utterly believable to portray a playboy, but again, there’s no authentic sparkle — despite his killer smile — in his performance that capture that ‘bad boy’ spirit.

I just heard this news (Thanks TR blog!) that the producers might be courting the French stud muffin Giles Marini to the show. I’ve only seen clips of him in Dancing with the Stars and Brothers & Sisters (during TR commercial breaks) so I’m not exactly familiar with his um… body of work =) Now, as much as I enjoy watching yet another hunky doctor, I’d much rather they invest in securing some writing geniuses who are able to take the show to new heights… and soon, before it’s too late.

I’m curious to check out Mandy ‘Inigo Montoya’ Patinkin guest stint next week where he’ll play an ALS patient who wants to be taken off life support so his organs can save others. Not sure how that’ll make a dent in the rating or quality of the episode, but the story line does sound promising.

I really, really want to give this show a glowing review week after week, but they’ve just got to give me something more than what I saw here.

CBS Three Rivers: Episode 5 Review

Talk about wish granted! It’s been such a slow-burn as it were, but finally the writers of Three Rivers delivered. The ‘Alone Together’ episode was by far the most entertaining and emotionally-charged episode ever. It’s got humor, wise words, heart-tugging scenes, and at long last, an engaging — albeit fleeting — love story!

The beginning felt a bit too procedural — something I’d expect out of CSI or even Law & Order series — but quite gripping nonetheless. Right in the middle of an arrest, Officer Lombardi suddenly suffers a heart attack and his partner Rena calls the ambulance to take ‘em to Three Rivers hospital. Here are the highlights of the rest of the episode:

  • Finally, a glimpse into Andy’s personal life. We’re introduced to Rena, a gorgeous-looking detective, who’s none other than Andy’s estranged wife. “She’s my wife,” Andy tells Pam Lisa (the blond pony-tailed doctor) when she asks the detective to leave the ER. Lisa sort of stops for a brief moment, but then recovers quickly and greets her. Hmmm, a harbinger of things to come perhaps?
  • Andy and Rena have a quick chat as Lombardi is whisked to get his x-ray taken. Things are awkward, but Rena does her best to hide it (the actress’ acting seems stiff but perhaps it’s intentional? Can’t really say). Andy asks her if she got his text about ‘counseling,’ and she says she’ll think about it and goes off to wait for Lombardi’s fiancee. Wow, things clearly haven’t been good between these two.
Dr. Jordan and Lee attend to Mr. Boyle

Dr. Jordan and Lee attend to Mr. Boyle

  • Dr. Lee’s gets assigned to a ‘difficult’ patient, Mr. Boyle, whose disparaging and racist comments makes his skin crawl. Yet another hint of Lee’s ladies man’ reputation being mentioned, seriously I’ve never even seen him with the nurses all that much! Still, his comment about whether wearing a brassiere would make Lee pay more attention to him is quite amusing.
  • Dr. Jordan and Dr. Lee come to see Boyle with good news that they’ve got a liver for him. Instead of being grateful, he insults Lee with his Yo Yo Ma remark. We later learn some facts about Lee through Boyle’s insightful observation, that he’s a rich kid who’s lived a privileged life all his life. They end up insulting each other, and Lee’s ready to give up on Boyle. But the ever-so-wise Dr. Jordan won’t let him, as she has a lesson up her sleeve for Lee to learn. “The secret to being a great doctor is loving the unlovable,” she says. Wise words indeed. I’ve always loved Alfre Wooddard’s performance, but I absolutely adore her here.
Andy and his estranged wife, Rena

Andy and his estranged wife, Rena

  • Lombardi and his fiancee Rebecca share a tender moment. Rena is inspired and holds Andy’s hand as they both tear up. Alex looks really, really good in this scene, something about his melancholic expression is so darn irresistible =) Sorry I digress, perhaps there’s hope for this couple after all?
  • Miranda and Ryan are assigned to retrieve a liver for Mr. Boyle in West Virginia. There’s no ambulance to pick ‘em up, leaving them stranded in a high school football field. To top it off, they end up getting soaked as the sprinkler system suddenly springs up on them. Still, nothing can dampen Ryan’s spirit, ever the optimist! Once in the hospital, there’s a procurement mishap as the head surgeon claims the liver is his and he’s just about to operate his patient. Minor squabble ends up with Miranda accidentally breaking the arrogant doctor’s nose, the whole thing is pretty intense and funny. Probably one of the best in the show so far!
  • Again, through Boyle’s astute observation, a juicy secret is revealed. Was Dr. Jordan the former lover of Three Rivers founder, Dr. Foster (a.k.a Miranda’s dad)? Well, that could make for an interesting storyline down the line for sure.
  • Andy and Rena have another heart-to-heart… their exchange is short but speaks volumes. They still love each other — that’s never been a problem for them — but Andy’s married to his job, leaving Rena to spend Christmas and birthdays with her own colleagues year after year. But even when Rena tells him that, he still refuses to meet her half-way. They kiss, but it’s a parting kiss, as we know it’s over for them. The rock-star doctor can save a lot of people’s lives, but he can’t save his own marriage.
  • Boyle and Lee patch things up. It’s a moving scene, even if somewhat expected, that shows Daniel Henney’s dramatic chops.
  • The episode ends with Andy playing Rock Band in his extended-stay hotel with his Sudanese heart patient. Being ‘alone together’ is better than being singularly alone I suppose, and the two share a bond in their loneliness. Of course it’s also a not-so-subtle attempt to get Alex O’Loughlin shirtless somehow (I’m not complaining, mind you). But then again, the dude clearly spends more time at the gym than he does with his wife.

I hope to see more scenes of these doctors outside of their work. I want to see more ‘soul’ and relatable scenarios, that beneath the scrubs, they’re people with issues just like the rest of us. The clip for next week episode shows a glimpse of Andy and Lisa possibly having a thing? I may be reading too much into it, but if that’s indeed true, well, BRING IT ON! =)

In conclusion, a solid episode with the kind of character insights I’ve been yearning for from the start. There are still too much hyper-realistic surgical scenes for my liking, but overall it’s definitely an improvement. If the writers keep this up, this show can — and should — be saved!

CBS Three Rivers: Episode 4 Review

In its fourth episode, Three Rivers is showing a strong rhythm with the most pulsating episode yet. It starts with an uplifting note of a high-school football game, but of course, as this is a medical drama, we know disaster is lurking around the corner. The bus carrying 40+ students blew a tire, injuring all of the passengers and the driver, most critically except for one lucky student. The hospital suddenly went into ‘code green’ alert mode as the massive casualties began to swarm the facility. This is a well-executed show both in and out of the hospital. It seems like CBS allocated a pretty decent budget to create each episode and it showed.

The Three Rivers blog has a pretty thorough recap/review, so this is just my two-cents on the episode as a whole.

The good: The lead actors have been quite believable as doctors from the start, but this episode definitely proves it even more. Dr. Lee’s got a bit more screen time — always a plus — and his emotional performance in the saving-the-driver’s-life scene was great to watch. His encounter with Dr. Jordan is affecting, and their scenes felt realistic and natural.

Dr. Lee and Dr. Jordan share a moment

Dr. Lee and Dr. Jordan share a moment

I like the one where Lee was watching Rose the bus driver from behind the glass, happy that she’s finally breathing on her own after 20 minutes of CPR, which is something of a miracle. If Dr. Jordan hadn’t demanded for him to continue the CPR, she’d have lost her life. Lee asked her how she knew. She didn’t, the head surgeon said, it was only because there was no other critical patient behind her that she let him keep trying before declaring her death. What a sad reality, but I guess that’s what hospital staff must face day after day. Dr. Lee’s expression when he realized that was priceless. It’s as if he knew how blessed Rose was and that no matter what he did, a lot of it was out of his control. Ironically, when something good did happen, they hardly even had time to savor the moment.

One thing for sure, I have even more appreciation for the organ-transplant aspect of the medical field after watching this show. It’s mind boggling the process of securing an organ. It’s hard enough to find a match for a specific patient, but they still have to account for unforeseen scenarios of actually ‘obtaining’ the organ itself once they have the organ. In a matter of minutes, someone could lose a body part they’ve spent years waiting for, and that devastating reality is at the core of this episode. Brandon, whose wife was pregnant, was in dire need of a heart transplant. He’s already in ECMO treatment, which is a last-resort option for someone with his condition. At best, he could live for up to a week without a new heart. So when Ryan finally got a call from UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) there’s a heart available for Brandon, he was more than excited. But he did something he weren’t supposed to, that is tell a family member of the good news before the actual procurement team is in place to retrieve it. Sure enough, they hit a snag when the donor located 200 miles away turned out to be unstable, which means the procurement team had to get it within 90 minutes. As soon as Andy learned the good news, Dr. Jordan told him he couldn’t leave to get it, and no other surgeon was available. The tension built as Ryan admitted to Andy he’d screwed up by telling Brandon’s wife that he got a heart. For the first time, the usually laid-back Andy chewed him up. I find his character a bit too reserved in this show, so this is definitely a nice change! I’ve enjoyed watching Alex get all riled up in Moonlight, he’d curl his lips and all the veins start protruding from his neck in raging fury. Call me crazy but I find that kind of sexy. I don’t miss the fangs and white eyes though, but I wish I could see more of the passion and brooding sensibilities that Mick possessed.

The bad: Even with such a riveting plot, this show still leaves me wanting more. As I mentioned in the episode 3 review, my biggest complaint about the show is the character development of the main characters. We get even less details about the doctors’ personal lives, overwhelmed by the patients crisis story line. I understand it’s a medical drama, but if I wanted to see the day-to-day “reality” life of a hospital, I could’ve just rented a documentary on the subject. I put a quote on the word reality as I don’t even know how accurate all the facts are as I’m not in the medical profession. But as with any TV show, a certain suspension of disbelief is acceptable, so I’m not even going to go there. What I do want to know by now is what makes each of this doctors tick. What are their passion, their pursuits, personal life crisis, anything beyond their life in the scrubs. I mean, Dr. Lee’s described as a ladies-man, but other than a couple of insinuations, they never actually show us that trait and let us draw our conclusion based on what we see. As for Andy, it’s as if Alex O’Loughlin gets the short end of the stick here when it comes to how his character is written. I find it hard to really connect with this amazingly gifted doctor. Yet I really, really want to, which is nothing short of frustrating. But you know what, I’m going to stop right there because the short preview for next week’s episode just might be the one I’ve been waiting for! How would the normally unflappable doctor would behave when his estranged wife show up? And the racial bit about a patient calling Dr. Lee ‘Yo Yo Ma?’ Intriguing to say the least!

In conclusion, I haven’t given up yet. I just hope I don’t have to repeat the same points again after next week’s episode.

CBS Three Rivers – Episode 3 review

Hubby’s out on a company event, so it’s been a rather mellow Friday nite. Perfect timing to catch up on Three Rivers that I missed last weekend due to the NFL programming overrun.

ThreeRiversLogoI must say I quite enjoyed this episode called Good Intentions. All three story lines of the donor/patient were compelling and touching, I even shed a tear for the first time whilst watching this. The most touching story centers on the Romeo & Juliet heart-transplant patients who’ve been in the hospital for so long, which is where they met and fell in love. Scott (played by a young actor with an uncanny resemblance to Joaquin Phoenix), a bit of a bad boy with a dark past of drug addiction, is quite a contrast to the sweet girl Brenda, but they adore each other. Their stolen time together is quite sweet, and Andy’s pretty much playing chaperon the entire time, but his concern for Scott is genuine.

I’m not going to write a recap of the entire episode, for that you can find it here or on the CBS site. Here’s some of the highlights of the show:

  • Andy & Scott’s conversation on the hospital roof, after disappearing right before his heart transplant surgery. Scott feels he doesn’t deserve the heart when Brenda is still waiting for hers. Andy shares a bit about his past about how he didn’t have it all together then and almost ended up in jail. He tells Scott that he ought take the heart so he could be there when Brenda get hers.…..
  • Lee and the young girl whose parents are comatose from carbon monoxide poisoning. Lee and another doctor has given her mother a shot of something that could possible cure her, based on something he found during surgery of her brain-dead husband. Lee stays with the girl as she desperately waits for some positive reaction from her mother. Nice to see the sympathetic side of Lee, and the emotions displayed by both actors are heart-wrenching. I lost my mother when I was about the girl’s age so this scene really resonated with me.…..
  • Ryan finally muster up the courage to talk to her crush, as he brings her lobster from his assignment in Maine. Turns out she’s Jewish who doesn’t eat bottom-feeder creatures! It’s a cute, comic-relief scene that gives the serious subject matter a nice break.
  • Dr. Jordan’s scenes with the workaholic lawyer Karen who threatens to sue the head surgeon for making a decision to save her uterus, which prolongs her recovery time. Alfre Wooddard is such a fantastic actress that she definitely elevates the show with her heartfelt performance.

This is by far the best episode of the three I’ve watched so far. The plots are engaging, with talented supporting actors and genuine, relatable scenarios. Well … I wish I could just end there and just say there’s nothing wrong with the show whatsoever, but I feel that I have to be fair despite my initial excitement for the show.

Andy_Rugby
My friend called me right after I watched this episode and we ended up talking about it. We both liked it a lot, in fact, she said she almost always cried watching Three Rivers (which is a compliment to any drama), and this one was no different. We liked the same parts about the show too, but interestingly, though we both thought Alex looked particularly good here, we also agree that his acting was probably the weakest. Sorry Alex fans, but you know what, I like the guy too, I mean he is the reason I tuned as I was a Moonlight regular. My friend and I kept calling him ‘Mick’ every time we talked about the show and I had to remind both of us there is no more ‘Mick the vampire’ anymore! But the thing is, his expressions doesn’t change very much from his vampire detective days: same melancholic, thoughtful glance, gestures, and winsome smile. I guess there’s no surprise we still call him Mick =) Now, this isn’t so much a criticism, just an observation. He’s certainly still very, very easy on the eyes, just don’t ask me to say his Dr. Yablonski is a compelling character. This makes me wonder, if Sophia Myles hadn’t been Beth to Alex’s Mick, would Moonlight be as enjoyable?

Oh, that brings me to another ‘weakness’ of Three Rivers. There’s little character developments, especially concerning Alex’s who is the lead role, that makes me look forward to the next show, eager to see what unfolds. I’m going to use Moonlight again in relation to Alex, where each episode reveals just a bit more progress between Mick and Beth. Of course there are going to be scenarios where we’re introduced to guest roles, but at the core, it’s the recurring cast and what’s going on with them that make me want to tune in. It’s that ‘addictive’ factor that I find lacking with this medical drama. Though the patient stories are affecting, there’s got to be something, anything that would make me care about the doctors as much as the patients. In this episode for example, Scott the young Romeo practically overshadows Mick … er Andy’s character every time the two share a scene together. That’s because I know more about the kid than the lead character, even within just a few minutes. The intro scene when one of Andy’s rugby playmates wanted to pick a fight with him was promising, I thought, hmmm, perhaps I’d learn something more about Andy’s past. But there’s no follow-up to that story, which makes the whole thing kind of irrelevant and pointless.

Perhaps I’m being picky, but I guess I need more than just watching these unbelievably good-looking doctors playing ‘saviors’ day after day. People with ‘issues’ are always more interesting to watch. Based on what I read, Andy’s supposed to have some shadowy past I’m eager to uncover. I just wish CBS doesn’t wait too long to reveal before I lose interest in the show entirely.

CBS Three Rivers Debut tonight – FlixChatter review

Well, the show I’ve been waiting for months is finally on tonight. As I mentioned in my previous post on this, it’s a medical drama focusing on organ transplant set in Pittsburgh where three rivers meet, hence the name.

Alex OLoughlin as Dr. Andy Yablonski

Photo courtesy of alexoloughlinonline.com

Now, I don’t watch hardly any TV, so I don’t get have the ‘oh not another medical drama’ kind of apathy from regular TV watchers. In fact, I’m kind of psyched to finally have a show to look forward to every week, and this just might be my new guilty pleasure after the vampire show Moonlight. Of course it’s no coincidence it stars the former vampire detective himself Alex O’Loughlin — the reason I watch the show, natch! — this time as the charismatic superstar surgeon Andy Yablonski. Other than the pitiful name, Andy is a doctor cut from the same cloth of a Disney fairy-tale prince. I echo what Hollywood Chicago said in their rather dismal review of the show, “With his piercing eyes, five o’clock shadow, and succinct delivery, he’s from the “George Clooney on ER” school of TV doctors – the kind we all dream we have the day that we end up in the hospital – caring, brilliant, and movie-star handsome. Yablonski will save your baby, get the girl, and ride off into the sunset. He’s an old-fashioned TV doctor in every way.” Daniel Henney is equally dreamy as what the CBS billed as ‘the surgeon who breaks as many heart as he replaced.’ In the short scenes he’s in, he pretty much gives Alex a run for his money. I’ve never seen Katherine Moennig before this show, but I must say her character is probably the better-written one so far, and she’s not as brooding as I saw in the original pilot clips and with much smoother hair, too. Speaking of hair, I much prefer Alex’s no-nonsense crop here. As much as I adore Mick’s longish, romantic coif in Moonlight, all that hair gel just won’t jell for a surgeon (sorry, I can’t help myself).

Ok, it’s late so I’m just going to keep my review short.

The good: The premise is promising, the two angles from the donor and the transplant patient has plenty of potential for heart-wrenching (pardon the pun) human drama. The avant-garde set is beautiful, it’s as if they’re in some futuristic space ship or something with the Gyricon technology a’la Minority Report (that Spielberg movie with Tom Cruise). Equally beautiful is the diverse and talented cast. Both Alex and Katherine had been in popular shows before that showcased their acting chops, and Alfre Wooddard is an Oscar winner. From what I’ve seen so far, the cast seems pretty believable in their roles … if only their characters were just a bit more intriguing or at least equal to the cases they’re faced with — which brings me to …

The bad: With everything going for it, I wish the writing has a little more bite. The plot is predictable and the writing rather pedestrian, which is too bad as they’ve got some capable actors who could do so much more. With all the intense emotions ricocheting all over the hospital, the main characters themselves lack heart (and wit too, I might add). We know just a bit about Moennig’s character Miranda Foster, whose father built the hospital, but that’s about it. What we know of Yablonski is that he’s super smart and the best in his profession, but a flawless and mighty hero isn’t exactly a character that’s relatable or worth caring for. Perhaps it’s too soon to say though, as it’s a series, so the history of the main leads are hopefully going to be revealed in due time.

So, will I keep watching the show?

The answer is yes. It’s far from a perfect debut, but I’m going to give the show the benefit of the doubt that it will gain momentum in future episodes. Besides, it’s Sunday night, even without a top-notch writing, it’s still enjoyable just on the casting alone. An interesting tidbit about the scrubs, apparently the tight-fitting scrubs I saw in the pilot are out according to O’Loughlin (read his EW interview here). Now, as much I appreciate his taut physique, I’m glad they go with the normal scrubs, though I notice they didn’t reverse that uniform policy on Mr. Henney? Ehm… I’m not complaining though.

Oh, last thought before I hit the hay: I kind of miss the love story a la Moonlight between Beth & Mick, which was really the best thing about the show and kept my interest despite the poor writing. I hope they’d inject that into the show somehow, but sans the overt melodrama of Grey’s Anatomy.

Flixchatter Weekend Roundup

Hello readers, happy Monday!

Whew, what a weekend. The weather’s gorgeous here in the upper Midwest (albeit in the cool side, I mean mid 60s for high in August!!) so I’ve been outside most of the time, even spending time of the MN State Fair all Saturday, though I’m no fair-goer by a long shot! We gotta make the most of our Summer now that the brrrr-free days are numbered. They say a cool Summer means a mild Winter, I sincerely hope that’s true!!

Anyhoo, glad to be in front of my laptop again bloggin’ away. I’ve never done this before but it’s my blog so I get to make my own rules =) Here’s my weekend roundup, flicks -related of course, no worries, I wasn’t going to start bloggin’ about what kind of chores I did Saturday morning ….

  • First of all, thanks to CBS Three Rivers show fans, particularly Alex O’Loughlin’s and Daniel Henney’s who’ve visited my blog. I’m psyched to see the show’s premiere come October, but given there’s a plethora of medical dramas out there, I hope that this one has the edge over those. The organ donor/patient plot sounds intriguing, as long as they don’t get overly melodramatic a la Grey’s Anatomy. Acting-wise, Alex looks pretty convincing as the lead surgeon, and apparently Daniel has won Best New Actor award in South Korea so he’s not such a novice in the acting department after all. But without a well-written script, even their gorgeous mugs can only it so far, so I truly hope the writers do a good job here. Oh speaking of Mr. Henney, I had no idea he did commercials with Gwyneth Paltrow for a Korean clothing line. Well I suppose he was a model, which is always a good stepping stone to an acting career. Check out the clip below, ladies, let’s welcome his foray into TV. I sure hope he’ll be a mainstay.
  • Rented Duplicity Friday nite. I won’t bother writing an entire review on it, let’s just say it’s pretty much ho-hum until about the last 15 minutes. Even the star power of Julia Roberts and Clive Owen couldn’t keep me interested, my hubby Ivan darn nearly fell asleep! Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti are pretty much wasted in a nearly incomprehensible plot and colorless characters. The flashback sequences  in various locations is just plain distracting, Tony Gilroy is no Chris Nolan, who’s capable to utilize similar technique to perfection in Memento. Owen’s in still watchable though, and man, he moves and walks like a secret agent, which is why he’s still my top pick as Bond (I know, get over it lass, even the guy is not interested!) But overall the movie itself is downright vapid.
  • Love Walked In novel

    A must-read novel

    One of my favorite weekend past time is frequenting my local Barnes & Noble, sipping my iced chai whilst browsing film magazines (I’m a film geek don’tchaknow). I passed by a table of books that’s been adapted to movies, A Time Traveler’s Wife, the Twilight series, My Sister’s Keeper, etc. Now I’m not a voracious reader (as much as I’d like to be), but the one book that I’m curious to see on the big screen is Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos I read about a year ago. It tells the story of a Philadelphia cafe manager Cornelia Brown and eleven-year-old Clare, who happens to be the daughter of  Cornelia’s lover, told in the first person of both characters alternatively. It’s a charming and unconventional love story, and the de lost Santos’ writing is just awe-inspiring, both humorous and dramatic at the same time. If you haven’t read it, run, don’t walk to the nearest book store. The rights of the novel has been bought by Sarah Jessica Parker, I personally don’t see her in the role of Cornelia, but whatever. Now, the casting agent in me wonders who should play the impeccably dressed, Cary-Grant-like Martin Grace. I immediately think Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm! I mean the guy screams ‘refined and classy,’ and we all know he wears those period suits well. Now, how about the half-Filipino, golden-brown-skinned and green-eyed Teo Sandoval? He rivals Capt. Wentworth of Jane Austen’s Persuasion as a literary character I’m smitten with. Casting him would be tricky, I don’t think we have anybody in Hollywood that’d look right physically. I’m thinkin’ a male version of Aishwarya Rai (Bride & Prejudice). 

    What do you think, folks? What book would you like to see on the big screen and who should play the character(s)?