The Wheel of Time – New teaser trailer is here!!

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I’m technically still on vacation until Labor Day, but when my friend Laura told me the Wheel of Time trailer has dropped, I just had to post this!! If you’re not familiar with this subject matter, the Amazon Prime series is based on Robert Jordan‘s Wheel of Time book series.

Laura, who’s a massive WOT fan, has posted five things to know about this series in this post, so head over there if you’d like to know more about it. Well, without further ado, here’s the teaser trailer:

Woo wee! I really like the look of this trailer… it certainly gives me a The Lord of the Rings vibe which is definitely a good thing. It feels less Game of Thrones as many media outlets have compared it to. Per Laura’s post… “I don’t think it’s accurate to compare them. Firstly, Wheel of Time is a lot more straightforward fantasy than Game of Thrones was. Yes, Game of Thrones has dragons and ice zombies, but most of the focus was on the politics. Wheel of Time leans a lot more heavily into the magical aspect of the world. Secondly, the tone is a lot different. Obviously I can’t say what the show’s tone will be like, but the books at least aren’t nearly as dark and gritty as Game of Thrones, and I doubt the show will be either.”

I’m happy to see plenty of powerful female roles here, played by really strong actors of diverse backgrounds, most notably Rosamund Pike and Sophie Okonedo, who are both British. I’m also excited to see American/Korean actor Daniel Henney in a prominent role as well, yay!!

The visuals also look amazing, which is to be expected for a big budget series like this one. Well, hopefully we get to see the full trailer before the series drops on Amazon Prime on November 19 here in the US. I know what I’ll be watching this Fall!


Updated Oct 12:

Check out the clip introducing two integral characters: Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) and Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney):


So what do you think of the teaser? Are you excited for WHEEL OF TIME?

The Wheel of Time – 5 Things to Know Before the Series Arrives this Fall

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Hey, FlixChatter readers, Laura here! I got home about a week ago from a long weekend in Atlanta, where I attended JordanCon, a fantasy convention centered around author Robert Jordan‘s Wheel of Time series. I’d never gone before this one, but I really wanted to attend this year, since it would be the last one before the TV adaptation drops on Amazon Prime.

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While we don’t have a trailer or exact release date yet, show-runner Rafe Judkins said on the virtual SDCC panel that the first season will drop in November. So here are a few important things to know before the show arrives:

1. There is no brief way for me to describe the plot.

The Wheel of Time is made up of 14 books and a prequel published between 1990-2013, and they are long; the paperbacks average 826 pages each, and there are 2,782 named characters in the series. All this to say there is no concise way for me to summarize the story, but I’ll try my best to explain how it starts, since the first season is supposed to be a combination of the first two books: when a mysterious woman named Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) and man named Lan (Daniel Henney) arrive in the small farm town of Emond’s Field, 5 young men and women’s lives are changed forever as they are swept up in an epic journey. I know that’s vague, but it is literally the best I can do without going into too much detail. 

2. It’s not “the next Game of Thrones.

Several media outlets have already compared The Wheel of Time to the HBO hit based on George R.R. Martin’s famous book series, and while I kind of understand their reasoning, I’m worried it will give folks who haven’t read the books the wrong impression. Those comparing the two properties might be trying to say it will be the next hugely successful TV fantasy series, and obviously we all hope that’s the case, but plot- and theme-wise, I don’t think it’s accurate to compare them. Firstly, Wheel of Time is a lot more straightforward fantasy than Game of Thrones was. Yes, Game of Thrones has dragons and ice zombies, but most of the focus was on the politics. Wheel of Time leans a lot more heavily into the magical aspect of the world. Secondly, the tone is a lot different. Obviously I can’t say what the show’s tone will be like, but the books at least aren’t nearly as dark and gritty as Game of Thrones, and I doubt the show will be either.

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3. This isn’t the first TV adaptation of The Wheel of Time.

Back in 2015, Red Eagle Entertainment released a “pilot” (it’s referred to as a mini movie on IMDB) based on the prologue from the first book in the series in order to prevent the rights from reverting back to Robert Jordan’s estate. It aired on FXX  late at night (we’re talking cheesy infomercial air times). It was a greedy, lazy move that was made without consulting Harriet McDougal, Jordan’s widow and editor, and to this day it is derided and mocked. You can actually watch the whole thing on YouTube, but it’s pretty awful, and it doesn’t give you any idea what the source material is actually like, so I’d recommend just watching Recappa Sedai‘s reaction video to it on YouTube instead, because it’s hilarious and much more entertaining. 

4. The cast is very diverse.

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Back in 2019, Amazon started sharing casting announcements for the show, and several of the main characters- specifically Madeline Madden as Egwene, Zoë Robins as Nynaeve, and Marcus Rutherford as Perrin- are people of color. While many were thrilled with the casting, there was, of course, an unfortunate racist backlash on social media, especially on Facebook, from whiny fans complaining that the characters were written as white (they weren’t, at least not explicitly) and that this was all just an attempt at “political correctness,” among other, much nastier comments.

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Honestly, I could write a very heated essay on this whole section, but to keep things concise, I’m just going to mention a few excellent points brought up in a JordanCon panel on race in the series:

  • There are 78 characters in the books whose skin color is described as something other than pale.
  • Robert Jordan was a historian and had a military background, so it’s easy to assume he built a world where people would look different.
  • He mixed and matched cultures and skin colors throughout the book, so trying to attribute skin colors to characters is kind of silly.
  • Writers often only describe skin colors other than white, making white the “default,” which shouldn’t be the case.

5. The fandom is amazing.

On our first night in JordanCon, one of the attendees told us on that the people there were some of the best he’d ever met. At the time, it sounded like a bold statement, but less than 24 hours into the convention, I could tell he wasn’t exaggerating. Wheel of Time fans are some of the warmest, friendliest, most welcoming people I have ever met. Are you someone who has read the series multiple times? Great! They’ll want to chat with you about it for hours. Are you just starting the first book? Awesome! They’re excited for you to begin that journey and want to hear your thoughts along the way. While some book purists are worried the show will bring in fans who don’t care enough about the source material, most are just happy to have new blood in the community, people who get to experience the story through a different medium and hopefully gain an interest and appreciation for the books over time. So if you end up liking the show, get involved in the fan communities, especially #TwitterOfTime, where I’ve met so many lovely people (several of whom I actually got to meet in person at JordanCon). I promise will be welcomed with open arms.

Check out some of the photos Laura took at JordanCon:

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Are there any book fans who want potential watchers of the show to know going into it? Let me know in the comments! 

 

 

FlixChatter Review: Disney’s Big Hero 6

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I had never even heard of this film before until I saw the first trailer with a robot resembling a fluffy Pillsbury doughboy and I was immediately won over. My pal Prairiegirl who isn’t normally into animated features suddenly couldn’t wait to see the movie. There’s something so captivating about the big, puffy marshmallow creature and its backstory definitely appeals to both my brain and my heart.

The film starts out with two brothers, Hiro (Ryan Potter) and Tadashi (Daniel Henney), as Hiro’s participating in a back alley robot fights in a town called San Fransokyo. Tadashi thinks Hiro’s just wasting his genius potential with all fun and games, and he takes his younger brother to the robotics lab at his university. There Hiro’s introduced to Tadashi’s brainiac pals: Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez), GoGo Tomago (Jamie Chung), Fred (T.J. Miller)… and Baymax. He may look like nothing more than a big fluffy toy, but Baymax is actually an advanced personal healthcare bot that’s been Tadashi’s passion project for years. “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your pain?” Baymax asks in his soothing mechanical voice, and he won’t deactivate until the patient is satisfied with his care. Tadashi hopes that his creation will help millions of people some day.

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The lab visit inspires Hiro to want to enroll at the school, and he worked tirelessly to come up with an imaginative thing on his own to wow Professor Callahan (James Cromwell), head of the robotics program. Just as Hiro reaches a milestone with his own creation of microbots, the film soon takes a tragic turn at the university. It’s following a personal loss that Hiro forms an unlikely friendship with Baymax, who in turns help him find out just what really happens at the university expo that night.

The second and third act of the film pretty much become an action adventure as Hiro gets help from Tadashi’s friends to find out who took Hiro’s microbots. These swarms of tiny robots that can link together to form any kind of shape/arrangement is evidently something that can easily be manipulated for both good and bad purposes. Now, I didn’t know Big Hero 6 is based on a Marvel comics until after I saw the film. So that explains the superhero-flavor of the action sequences, and the quirky band of heroes definitely remind me of the Guardians of the Galaxy team, yet another lesser-known Marvel heroes. The third act with all the high-flying adventure is beautifully crafted, but it also feels a bit too frenetic and familiar. I have to say that it’s the hilarious moments between Hiro and Baymax that truly made the movie for me. The scene at the police station and a set of plastic tape featured in the trailer is even more hilarious!

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I kind of wish the movie spend more time with Baymax in his um, birthday suit as it were, he’s far more adorable than when he’s wearing a protective metal suit that makes him look like a bloated Iron Man. The process of getting him into the suit is absolutely hilarious though, but just the way Baymax looks lends itself to slapstick hilarity, especially when it’s running out of battery. It’s a hoot to watch just watching the thing move or do simple things such as walking up the stairs or cuddling Hiro’s fat kitty. It also provides for genuine emotional moments that doesn’t feel forced at all. He’s programmed to heal and he more than delivers in terms of both physical and emotional remedy. As I’m watching it, I’d want my own personal Baymax. His big fluffy hug alone would guarantee to boost your morale no matter how crummy your day’s been.

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Disney’s done it again. In the past five years, it seems that they’ve managed to somehow match Pixar in crafting a story that’s not only highly entertaining but with a high emotional quotient as well. I have to say this is one of the most fun I had at the movies this year, rivaling The Lego Movie early in the year. The 3-D visuals are incredible – the quality of animated features these days have been amazing and it just gets better and better. The aerial view of the city in the flying sequences are jaw-dropping-gorgeous and worth seeing on the big screen.

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I love how the story inspires kids to explore their imaginations and relish their youthful creativity. But it’s how much it appeals to the heart that leaves a lasting impression on me. Altruistic notion is not uncommon in the age of superhero stories, yet when that moment appears here, the sense of loss feels all too real. But then again, I’ve found that animated features can be as poignant and moving as any live-action dramas, if not more.

Kudos to directors Don Hall and Chris Williams for making a character that’s so easy to root for, and a movie that’s both delightful and inspiring. The voice cast are great too, and they’re refreshingly diverse as the ethnicity of the characters have been changed from the comics version. I could easily watch this again and I don’t mind seeing the sequel that’s surely to follow. So Baymax, I’m definitely VERY satisfied with your care 🙂

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Have you seen this one? Did you enjoy it as much as I did?

Hollywood Movie Draft Pitch: Hearts Want

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)

RidleyScottMy 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. He may be known for action adventure films like Gladiator or Kingdom of Heaven, but he also did Someone to Watch Over Me years ago so I know he could handle the romance. 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.

,,.
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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.

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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

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. 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.

Overview

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 prime suspect of the case is Dylan Ferrars, whose mother is Spencer’s former lover Olivia, owner of the multibillion-dollar Ferrars empire. 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.

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.

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!