Showing posts from 2014

How Being Like Buffy Can Turn Grimm From A Good Show Into A Great Show

Let's be clear: Grimm is a totally guilty pleasure show. It's the kind of show you watch on demand when you're eating dinner or checking your email. Despite not being on many people's radar, the show has found itself content Friday's at 8PM on NBC, a time slot normally reserved for on-the-bubble scifi shows. Season four premieres this week.

Grimm is a fun show but it's not a great show. Like Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, Grimm's appeal is that it inherits the talents from the best science fiction television show of all time: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Co-creator David Greenwalt's influence from his work on Buffy and Angel is obvious. The central premise of the show is the same: special person with powers fights monsters that nobody else really knows about but are freaking everywhere. Both shows started with a freak-of -the-week premise that slowly evolved into more complex storylines focusing on the ensemble rather than the boring white protagonist. And …

Why We Really Need More Black, Female, and LGBT Superhero Movies

There have been many articles written about the need for for a female-led or African American-led superhero film and it finally seems that it's going to happen, whether it be DC's Wonder Woman or Marvel's Black Widow or Black Panther (no word of an LGBT superhero movie in the works). When we talk about the need for these films in mainstream popular culture we talk about it mostly in grandiose terms that boil down to "it's time" or that "girls or kids of different races deserve their own superhero to look up to," etc. Looking at the need for these films as a cultural necessity is all well and good, we often neglect to look at the fact that these ideas simply present great storytelling opportunities.

The opportunity of an African American superhero, for example, is huge. Being African American in this country is different from that of being a white heterosexual American male, a type who makes up pretty much every other superhero movie these days. This…

Why I Still Love The Simpsons: The Continuum of Nostalgia

The Simpsons went on the air in December 1989. I was born in April 1988. I don't remember a time in my life when I couldn't look forward to watching a new episode of The Simpsons. With FXX acquiring the rights to rebroadcast every episode of The Simpsons, starting today with a marathon of all 552 episodes plus the movie, as well as a complete online database, "Simpsons World," coming soon, it is likely the world will soon suffer a mass shortage of productivity.
As many will flock to the Internet to finally be able to watch "classic" episodes of the show, myself included, I will also be in front of my television on Sunday night at 8PM (or more realistically, on Hulu a few days later), awaiting a new episode. The reason is that I still believe that The Simpsons is a great show.

We've all had this argument. It's that same conversation about Indiana JonesDie Hard, SNL or, of course, Star Wars. With Star Wars, it is easier to separate the good from the…

My Issue With Arguing For Film Over Digital

Firstly, let me state that I love film and believe that filmmakers who want to shoot on film should be able to shoot on it. The look and dynamic range of celluloid remains a precious tool. There's also a certain magic in the process, including not knowing exactly what you're getting until it's developed. I would love to see film continue to be used for years to come. Unfortunately the economics of filmmaking have drastically changed in the past few years. For some reason, however, whenever the debate of "film vs. digital" (or "film v. digital" as Zack Snyder would probably say) comes up every couple of months, I find myself somewhat annoyed by the commentary of pro-film directors, such as Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan.
One simple explanation is this: I wouldn't be a filmmaker if it weren't for digital. Neither would Lena Dunham or Shane Carruth or Garreth Edwards. When Tarantino, on digital, states, "I hate that stuff. I shoot film…

Comparing Different Mediums: "Not the Movies, but Real Theater" Response

This post is in response to an article that came out today in The New York Times by Neil Genzlinger. The article, titled "Not the Movies, but Real Theater," primarily covers Sunday's Tony awards, which I admittedly did not watch. Genzlinger opens with a sentiment about how many Americans simply don't care enough about the theatre. A good enough sentiment to be had if it weren't for his continued criticism of cinema to make his argument.

Early on in the article, he states:
But every so often — not often enough, frankly — the broadcast offered a subtext that was actually the opposite of, “Hey, we’re just like the movies.” From Mr. Jackman’s quad-straining opening number (weirdly, a homage to a scene from a film) viewers who were paying close enough attention could occasionally not help but acknowledge that live performance is hard work in a way that — sorry, Hollywood — movies aren’t.Genzlinger doubles down on his condescending tone with:
Yeah, yeah, making a movie ca…

Agents of SHIELD Is Not Only The Most Fun Show On TV, It May Also Be The Best

Saying that something is "the best" at something is the ultimate exercise in futility. It's impossible to compare things things that are so completely different. This is explains how a dumb moviecan win best picture and how a brilliant television show can get cancelled. The argument can be made, however, that Marvel's Agents of SHIELD has become the best show on television.

Now don't get me wrong, the show is far from brilliant. Like the Marvel movies themselves, the television show doesn't exactly require a lot of brain power (though you are highly rewarded if you do apply a certain amount of concentration). The show had a rocky start with issues of plot and character development that came off as trite and cliche. Those familiar with the show's team-building, bad guy-fighting formula thanks to previous Joss Whedon television such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, however, knew that it would be worth it. But even at it's most mundane moments in the first h…

Why The How I Met Your Mother Series Finale Was Actually Pretty Great

Firstly, I'll be upfront and say that I enjoyed the finale, despite the show doing what pretty much all of us, myself included, were worried that Carter Bays and Craig Thomas would do. I for one thought that they just did it so well that you can't deny its charm and feel ultimately satisfied. Not to say the finale, like the show as a whole, was without its flaws. To put it another way, my continued thought during the episode was, like that of Ted and his beloved red cowboy boots: "Pulling. It. Off." Many are already comparing the finale to that of LOST (which I loved), in a negative way (don't even get me started...if you still think that the finale means they were "dead the whole time" then you're a bigger idiot than I can describe and simply don't understand what factually happened on the show).

Rather than perform a full analysis of the HIMYM finale, I've decided to address certain specific moments or aspects of the finale that need some …

Please Don't Make A Ghostbusters 3

Ghostbusters was released the year my older brother was born. Ghostbusters II was released the year I was born. As a filmmaker, when someone asks me what my favorite film is, I always feel like I should have a more sophisticated or pretentious answer, but if I'm being honest my answer is always Ghostbusters. I grew up watching these movies. I insisted my parents buy me the VHS. The DVDs. The action figures, including the firehouse. All the different cartoons and comic books. The CDs of the soundtrack. Even the vinyl I found at a used bookstore.

This week Harold Ramis passed away. Not only is this a sudden and tragic loss for those who loved these films, it is a loss for anyone who loves film and loves comedy.

I have considered writing a blog post about the prospect of a third Ghostbusters film several times, but never got around to it. With Harold Ramis now gone, I felt compelled to do so.

It is fair to say I have never been a fan of of this idea, primarily championed by the great…

Space and Slavery: A Comparison of Gravity and 12 Years a Slave

The sole protagonist is suddenly thrown into the dark void of emptiness and despair. Rescue and escape almost uncertain. No one to save them.

Of course, I'm referring here to Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave. Or am I talking about Gravity, directed by AlfonsoCuarón? I can't remember anymore. They're basically the same movie.

At least they're the two best movies of 2013, despite how many people keep telling me that Jennifer Lawrence is amazing (I get it, she is). But beyond their overall brilliance and the fact that both films are by filmmakers at the top of their game, 12 Years a Slave and Gravity also have a load of similarities in terms of narrative storytelling. In the end of a season that thrives on comparing films that can't possibly be compared, I'm surprised I haven't seen a more direct comparison between these two masterpieces (despite having seen a plethora of debate surrounding which film is superior). I for one have found the comparison undenia…