Hibernation Weekend Roundup

It’s a rather late weekend roundup, folks, as I was busy writing my thoughts on The Cape on Sunday night. Have you read it?

Well, it’s January… right smack dab in the coldest time of the Winter months. I don’t mind the cold I suppose as I prefer this weather than tropical sweltering heat with humidity levels in the 70s, but still, the well below zero windchill makes me want to just curl up in my couch as much as I can. Hence I forgo the theater this past weekend, though I’m sure glad many people packed the cinemas to see True Grit instead of that abysmal Little Fockers (please, Ben Stiller, give the franchise a rest already!) The Coens’ Western remake grossed nearly $15 mil over the weekend, bringing the total gross to $110 million in 19 days (per Box Office Mojo), which is the most financially successful film from the Minnesotan brothers to date. Good for them, it really is a great film that I’m glad to call one of this year’s best.

To color my hibernation weekend was Beauty & the Beast on Blu-ray, arriving from Netflix just in time for Friday night viewing.

A few people have been tweeting the past few weeks about how gorgeous that Disney flick looks on Blu-ray, and wow, this one definitely lives up to the hype. The colors and details are ever so vivid, and the part I look forward the most, the waltz sequence between Belle & the Beast is still as impressive as the first time I saw it. I love how the camera swooped in from behind the chandelier and then focuses on the two characters on the dance floor. It used a then groundbreaking technology to give it that 3D effect to give it much more depth than the usually flat-looking animation. This isn’t my favorite Disney princess movies of all time (that’d be Sleeping Beauty), but Beauty & the Beast is still fun to watch and merits its 1992 Best Picture Oscar nomination (the first bestowed to an animated feature).

Another one I saw was a decade-old sports comedy The Replacements. Apparently I had bought it a while ago when Blockbuster’s brick & mortar store went kaput, but just realized it when we were going through our dvd collection. It’s as cheesy and goofy as ever but one that probably makes a lot of football fans’ guilty pleasure list. The gist is that the professional players have gone on strike, which forced the league to call a former NFL coach out of retirement to find replacement players to finish the season’s last four games. It’s fun just to watch Gene Hackman coaching a bunch of misfits as well as watching Keanu Reeves did his best quarterback impersonation. Oh, and for fans of the Matrix star, there are plenty of slo-mos of him running with his hair blowing in the wind 😀

Well, not going to the cinemas also gave me a chance to finally finish the romance mystery novel I’ll be adapting for Castor’s blog’s Hollywood Fantasy Draft II. I’ll be posting my dream cast list on Wednesday, exactly a week before my scheduled pitch on January 19th. I’m so looking forward to this event, which will be the second time I’ll be participating. If you haven’t read my first pitch, click on the Hearts Want poster on my sidebar, or click here to view my first dream cast picks.

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That’s the roundup, folks. So what movie(s) did you manage to see this weekend?

Tube Watch: Is NBC’s The Cape worth watching?

I first saw The Cape‘s promo clip on tv many months ago, it strikes me like a Mask of Zorro + Batman Begins rip off in that the protagonist is a regular guy who takes on a secret identity to fight crime. I didn’t remember much about the series until I started hearing the radio ad campaign set in a real-life news clip about crimes being committed in Palm City, a fictional metropolis that looks like a sunny version of Gotham. NBC has really ramped up its marketing campaign, even teaming up with NYC’s Parks & Recreation Department by donning some of its monuments and statutes with black capes! Not quite as clever as The Dark Knight‘s viral I Believe in Harvey Dent campaign, but certainly as ambitious!

So who the heck is The Cape? Here’s the official description:

“The Cape” is a one-hour drama series starring David Lyons as Vince Faraday, an honest cop on a corrupt police force, who finds himself framed for a series of murders and presumed dead. He is forced into hiding, leaving behind his wife, Dana and son, Trip. Fueled by a desire to reunite with his family and to battle the criminal forces that have overtaken Palm City, Faraday becomes “The Cape” his son’s favorite comic book superhero — and takes the law into his own hands.

Summer Glau & David Lyons

As I’ve mentioned in my year-old blog post, Brits and Aussies continue to rule US TV as the lead actor Lyons hailed from Melbourne, Australia (with a degree from NIDA no less) and the show’s villain is played by British actor James Frain. Of course the most familiar face to US audiences is Summer Glau (Firefly, Sarah Connor Chronicles). She’s sure looking to have a hit on her hands as her last major show didn’t pan out, and the same with the peacock network, who saw Heroes crashed and burned last season.

In this Zap2It blog‘s article on the show’s creator Tom Wheeler (who did ABC’s 2005 miniseries Empire), he talked about the show’s origins and his inspirations: “Asked about his early and current favorites, he rattles off a list of titles (“Growing up, my favorites were the X-Men, Power Man and Iron Fist, Conan, I liked the Avengers“) and creators (“I read everything Grant Morrison writes, anything Alan Moore writes. … I loved Ed Brubaker’s stuff with Captain America“) that have influenced him and that he hopes to channel into The Cape.”

Keith David

Well, all the promos managed to convinced the superhero geek in me to give this one a chance. So what’s the verdict? Well, it’s certainly much better than Smallville. It’s more of a guilty pleasure type of show more than anything. Of course in a logic-defying genre show like this one, we’re asked to suspend our disbelief and suppress our cynicism to a minimum to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Still, I thought it was pretty decent and a good es-cape-ist fun (pardon the pun) 🙂

The cast is not bad. I’m already sold on Lyons as the flawed ‘hero,’ but my favorite character so far is Keith David’s Max Malini, the chief of the traveling circus of bank robbers who became the vigilante’s mentor. Glad they didn’t kill him off in the first episode! I’m personally tired of seeing Vinnie Jones playing a slight variation of himself every single time though. Glau is fittingly cast as the enigmatic blogger and the hero’s ally, though she hasn’t been given much to do yet other than driving the coolest rides, such as this awesome Mercedes-Benz SLS.

There’s plenty of action and hand-to-hand combat but never gory, and I dug that the show has plenty of heart. It’s his love of his family that keeps them going, though he obviously cares more about seeking justice to simply run away with them when he’s got the chance. I just hope they keep the overly melancholy dialog to a minimum, that father-son scene on the rooftop a la Superman Returns is making me cringe! The origins story first hour is moving too fast though, what, is The Flash directing this episode?? In any kind of storytelling, a little character development can go a long way.

But yeah, I’ll keep on watching. Since the second hour of the premiere is already more compelling than the first, I’m hoping that the show will continue to improve. The next episode will air right after Chuck on Monday, January 17 in the vacated slot of The Event, a show I’ve been following until NBC suspended it. So this just fits perfectly into my schedule. We’ll see if this show will live on beyond its 13-episode run and whether it’ll hold my interest before the season is over.

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Well, did any of you catch the premiere? If so, what did you think?