Everybody’s Chattin + Question of the week: Supporting cast you wish got the leading role

EverybodysChattin_Movies

I can hardly believe half of the year’s already come and gone! It’s been a rather odd month for me, but in terms of movie watching, it’s rather uneventful. I sure hope the later part of 2015 have better films in store for us… and looking at Katy’s list of highly-anticipated movies for the rest of 2015, I think the chance of that is VERY promising! I’d add Southpaw to the list, which I’ll be seeing on the third week of July, and The Man from UNCLE which looks like fun!

Ok so about those links…

Since I’m currently embarking on my first screenplay project, this post on opening sentences in fiction from my pal Cindy, who happens to be a novelist herself, is definitely an inspiring read

I won’t have a Music Break post this week, so take a listen to Josh‘s pick of Movie Song of the Week

Khalid reviewed Terry Gilliam’s comedy Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Andrew is back with his Oscar series 4 Ways a Best Picture, and the year is 2009

Jay just reviewed a film I still haven’t got around to but will have to soon, Calvary

Though Summer’s just starting here in the States, Michael‘s veering into cold, dark horror territory with his book-film duo post on The Shining

And last but not least, Eddie‘s talking about Orphan Black season 3, a series I’ve been curious about for some time.


Time for question of the week!

So this week’s question is inspired by my recent viewing of Self/less. My review of it is done in my draft folder, but there’s one thing that’s stuck with me whilst I was watching it. In fact, I kept thinking about it as I was writing my review. Why isn’t a perfectly talented actor like Matthew Goode leading this movie? Now I’m not saying the movie would’ve automatically been stellar as no matter how good an actor can’t overcome a bad script, but at least Goode would’ve been more enjoyable to watch for two hours than Ryan Reynolds!

Goode_Selfless

I had the same feeling when I watched Tristan + Isolde a few years ago. I kept wondering why they cast James Franco being all sullen and morose as Tristan whilst the much hunkier Henry Cavill was stuck playing third banana. Now I’m not saying Franco is a terrible actor, I just think Cavill would’ve suited the role better. Heck, even Rufus Sewell who’s another supporting actor in the film left a more lasting impression to me than Franco did. I even dedicated a post here.

Cavill_Tristan_Isolde

The New World is another one that came to mind as I think Christian Bale would’ve been great in the lead role instead of Colin Farrell. The last 20 minutes of the film with Bale is the highlight of the film for me and I actually bought the DVD because of it.

Interesting that both Cavill and Bale have ended up becoming Superman and Batman, respectively, I didn’t purposely select them because of it, but clearly both have leading-man qualities.

Bale_NewWorld

I’m sure there are others but let’s just start there. I bet you’ve also felt the same when you watch certain films.


So tell me, which films have you seen where you wish one of the supporting cast got the lead role?

Random Thoughts: How do you feel about DVD commentaries?

I was having lunch with my good friend Becky (a.k.a Prairiegirl) a couple of weeks ago when all of a sudden, we started talking about DVD commentaries. Now, prior to this conversation, I have not seen ANY dvd commentary before, ever. In fact, I think I must’ve accidentally hit the ‘play movie with commentary’ button by mistake once, but as soon as I heard people talking I went back to the menu again.
Well, the following day, Becky lent me her Tristan + Isolde dvd and that’s the first time I discovered the dvd commentary feature (the screenwriter’s version) and I gotta admit, it was actually quite interesting to listen to. I definitely appreciate the whole movie-making process a whole lot more. And since it was from a screenwriter’s perspective, I got a glimpse of what it took from a draft script to an actual feature film and how much alterations have been made from the writer’s original version. Fascinating stuff, for me anyway.
Anyway, here’s Becky’s comments about her discovery and experience on DVD commentary:
I don’t remember the first time I noticed something called a Commentary, usually found bundled under Special Features along with the likes of The Making Of [movie name], Deleted Scenes and Trailers on a movie DVD. And once I discovered it, I was amused. Does someone really talk over the ENTIRE movie, while you watch it all over again, and for the most part, sans original sound? Well, yes indeed, they do.
So one day I gave it a try. But after about 15 minutes of listening to a combination of directors, producers and actors commenting about the most trivial stuff, and who weren’t even in sync with what was happening at the moment on screen, I hit the Eject button. I’m sure it wasn’t a movie I was in love with, maybe that’s why all the drivel made no sense, and was not entertaining or enlightening in any way.
PurpleRain20th
But then one day I must have seen one that was interesting from beginning to end, so then I got hooked. Most DVD’s don’t have any type of commentary, so when I found a movie I really liked and that did have one, I started to check them out. I still nixed several right in the bud, but a few stand out as gems. One of the best isn’t that recent, and had no commentary on the original. The Purple Rain 20th Anniversary Edition (2004) commentary by director Albert Magnoli, producer Robert Cavallo and cinematographer Donald E. Thorin was everything a commentary should be. Their vivid recollection of filming 20 years earlier was remarkable, and satisfied almost every curiosity I had about the film.

I love this film, partly because a large part of it was shot here in Minneapolis and at the real First Avenue (here I go, dating myself on this blog again, but a college friend used to drag me there with her in the mid to late 70s to see Prince in person all the time. I didn’t care much for his music at the time, but “oh, who cares about the music, just go to watch his sexy dancing!” was her excuse to get me to go with her). So their comments about the characters, story, sets, locations, weather, and extras enhanced the movie more than I ever thought a commentary would.
And more recently, one of the best commentaries was by the screenwriter of Tristan and Isode (2006), Dean Georgaris. This is an excellent film, and I fell hard for Rufus Sewell in it, so that was an excuse for me to glow over the commentaries. Dean heartwarmingly tells what stayed the same, and what changed (for better or worse), and when he was involved in the changes and when he was not, of his original screenplay. And when he praised Rufus’ acting skills for his part as Lord Marke, he confirmed what I already knew. And this DVD is unusual because it includes two commentaries, with another one by the producer and coproducer, who paint a completely different picture of the movie, also quite well done. Although with two or more commenting throughout, there’s inevitably some tangents they go off on and private jokes that go over your head, so that’s a negative, but when it’s kept to a minimum you tend to forgive.

So, from now on, I will keep testing the commentary waters, looking for more diamonds in the rough.


What thoughts do you have about commentaries? Let us know.

NEW SERIES! Flix Character Spotlight: Lord Marke in Tristan + Isolde

Welcome to a new FlixChatter series where I’ll feature a certain movie character every other week. You know how it’s like when you’re watching a movie starring a couple of famous actors, but the supporting actor ends up stealing every scene he’s in and by the end of the movie you care so much for his part than the main leads? Well, this series is dedicated to those actors, who refuse to let limited screen time impact the indelible factor of their performance!

Please note: this post may contain spoilers

Character Spotlight #1: Tristan + Isolde‘s Lord Marke

The dashing Roof as Lord Marke

I mentioned this role in my Birthday post for Rufus Sewell, and after a second viewing of the movie (thanks Prairiegirl!), my admiration for the Lord Marke‘s character is affirmed. Known by most in playing bad guys (The Illusionist, The Legend of Zorro, The Holiday), Sewell embodies the virtuous statesman with such grace and integrity.

Tristan + Isolde is said to have been the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Romeo Juliet, two lovers from warring nations thrown together by chance and fell in love. Set in the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire, the divided Britain faces Ireland as the all-powerful enemy who’s set to never them united. It was at one of the tribal meetings to unite the country that we first see the heroic and noble nature of Lord Marke, who selflessly saved young Tristan from danger, and lost his right hand in the process. Orphaned due to that brutal attack, Tristan was then taken in by Marke, who raised him as his own son.

Now, given it’s a love story between the star-crossed lovers, we’re supposed to care most about James Franco and Sophia Myles’ characters. Yet, as the story progresses, I find myself drawn to the wise and noble  — not to mention hot – leader with such deep, penetrating eyes. Sure, when you have a looker like Mr. Sewell, it’s obviously a given, but it’s the way he carries himself in the role that really gets me. I won’t go into too much detail, but you can easily guess that due to some political circumstance, Tristan unknowingly offered Isolde to Mark in the name of peace. So even though Isolde ends up marrying the King, it’s inevitable the young lovers would end up continuing their affair.

Lord Marke and his bride Isolde

As a woman, I feel for Isolde for having to marry one she does not love for the sake of political gain. But boy, it’s hard to feel sorry for her when you see the two of them alone in their bed chamber and witness just how tender and loving Marke was towards her [swoon] When I saw her crying I kept thinking, ‘what is your problem, woman?!‘ 🙂 In the commentary feature, writer Dean Georgaris explained how he and director Kevin Reynolds made sure that Marke is written as a good man, because it’s easy for the viewers to root for the young lovers if they had made him to be the bad guy. This way, the betrayal towards him is even more heartbreaking.

I love the bridge scene above when Marke lamented that perhaps Isolde had a lover – it’s clear he’s fallen hard for Isolde.  I can plainly see the guilt that ravages Tristan at the very moment.  and most viewers no doubt feel the same for even rooting for the unfaithful couple. There’s also the moment Marke confronted his wife in the jail cell. Right after Isolde tells him the truth about how she + Tristan were once lovers, the overwhelmed king falls silent, then turns around and leaves. It’s a devastating scene that seals my admiration for this character… and the immensely talented actor who portrays him so perfectly.