Weekend Viewing Roundup: Ghostbusters (1984) & Superman Returns (2006) rewatch + The Adventurer: Curse Of The Midas Box (2013)


Well this weekend’s viewing turns out to be pretty eclectic. Given that I saw the screening of the new Ghostbuster movie (review up later this week), I was inspired to re-watch the original. I honestly can’t remember when I saw that one, probably when I was a teen years ago, so my memory of it is hazy.

Well, just like the reboot, the cast of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver is truly the best thing about the movie. I enjoy the camaraderie of the ghostbustin’ team, which is the main strength of the new one as well. So yeah, I’d say the original movie still holds up very well, though I actually find Rick Moranis‘ character a bit irritating. The movie is obviously funny, but the comedic style is pretty different from the new one, which isn’t a good or bad thing. Having seen both movies last week, I’m more convinced of how absurd the controversy is over the all-female cast. I suppose haters are gonna hate, I just can’t fathom the idiocy of it all.

Speaking of Bill Murray…

Sunday is often reserved for indulgent viewing for me, which is the time I usually watch my fave period dramas. But for some reason I was in the mood to watch Superman Returns. I can’t believe that movie is 10 years old! It’s funny how remakes/reboots often made you reflect on the older movies. Now, I never hated this Bryan Singer version apart from the whole Superman kid absurdity, which I think is the weakest link of the movie. But rewatching it this time around made me like it a bit more. I like how geeky Brandon Routh‘s Superman is as Clark Kent, and that rousing airplane rescue scene is still awesome. Yeah it’s definitely more of a rom-com at times (which Singer himself admits), but you know what, I enjoyed that whole flying scene of Supes & Lois. Oh and Parker Posey is a hoot to watch here, esp. the scene where she’s fan-girling over Supes!

Lastly, I watched this UK adventure flick The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box. Heh, that is one clunky title and the movie itself isn’t that much better. Honestly, I only watched it because of the awesome Welsh actors in it: Aneurin Barnard (in the lead role), the always watchable Michael Sheen and Ioan Gruffud. Sam Neill and Lena Heady played the villains, so even though it’s still fun to watch these talented actors, they all deserve a much better movie!

It’s supposed to be Indiana Jones meets Hugo (as Aneurin played a teenager here), but it’s nowhere near as good as either. I concur with Rodney’s review and rating of it here, which is too bad given the talented cast and promising plot. I agree that the score by Fernando Velázquez is the best thing in it, he happens to also score the great soundtrack of Pride + Prejudice + Zombies.

Tomorrow night I’ll be watching these two wacky-but-fabulous London ladies wrecking havoc in style…


So that’s my weekend recap. What did YOU watch this weekend, anything good?

DVD Pick: The TV Set

The TV Set poster
The TV Set poster

With the workplace comedy Extract opening today, I somehow feel like bringing up this movie I saw quite a while ago. It’s got one of the most fitting and clever tagline: “A place where dreams are canceled.” The TV Set, as it’s aptly named, is a satire about the journey of a TV pilot as it goes through the grueling network process of casting and production before it finally airs. Coincidentally, it stars Jason Bateman’s sister, Justine, as David Duchovny’s wife.

As we’re gearing up for the Fall season with a bunch of new shows coming up, we’re hardly aware of all the drama that goes on behind the scenes—the cast reshuffling, pilot re-shooting, etc. So it’s fascinating to get a glimpse of that and the whole ordeal the creators have to jump through to get a show into our living room. It’s inevitable some of the new shows we’re seeing the ads for right now might not make it past Thanksgiving, and this movie kind of makes you think about TV in whole new way.

Duchovny, with his dry humor, is perfectly cast as Mike, an idealistic TV writer who’s working on his show that’s based on the aftermath of his brother’s suicide. His boss is the ruthless, tough-as-nails network honcho Lenny—played superbly by Sigourney Weaver—who insists on ‘cheering up’ the plot a bit as she deems that suicide is too depressing. She constantly pushes Mike’s buttons as the show is all about the bottom-line for her, not an instrument of creativity. British actor Ioan Gruffud plays a former BBC producer consulted to add some sophistication and class. He is pretty much caught in the middle as he strives to bring balance between the two opposing characters.

I don’t know how accurate the depiction of the situations and characters are, but they seemed pretty realistic to me and I could imagine them happening in real life. The dialogue between Lenny and Mike are ironically hilarious, they make you cringe and laugh at the same time. Anyone who’s a TV watcher would sympathize with Mike as we all want something original and different, alas, the writer is hardly the same person who holds the purse strings. It kind of make me wonder when I watch a particular show whether it’s the original vision of the writer(s) or the 12th rewrite or whatever, y’know. Is a particular actor the first choice or a replacement as a result of a pilot overhaul? Take CBS’s Three Rivers for example. British actress Julia Ormond (Legends of the Fall, Sabrina) was replaced by Alfred Woodard when her character didn’t test well. Similarly, none of the eye network’s Moonlight show original pilot cast survived, with the exception of lead actor Alex O’Loughlin. In The TV Set, there’s a scene in  about the audition process and how a lesser actor gets chosen over a talented one because the studio thinks he’d appeal to a broader audience and the writer/director just have to deal with it and make it work.

It’s an amusing movie with clever and funny dialogue from start to finish. The performances are solid overall, including Judy Greer who plays Mike’s manager. Her character here actually has more to chew on than her usual ‘sidekick’ role. I’m partial to Duchovny as he’s a talented and versatile actor but Sigourney is the scene stealer here with her deadpan humor as the ‘villain’ of the movie.

A couple of trivia for you courtesy of IMDB: Just like her role as television network president, Weaver’s father, Sylvester (“Pat”) Weaver, was for many years president of NBC. The writer and director of The TV Set Jake Kasdan, was a producer and writer on Freaks and Geeks, which aired on NBC (albeit many years after Pat Weaver’s retirement).

The Apple site has the trailer, but here’s a behind-the-scene clip with interviews with some of the cast: