Published April 9, 2012 by wyldflamingo

We’ve run out of episodes of the shows we’d been following at home (‘Grimm’,  ‘Once Upon A Time’, ‘Smash’), and so, flipping through Hulu, I saw ‘Finder’. Vaguely recalling this looked appealing when I last saw a commercial for it, we started Episode one.

Five minutes in, as they were rolling credits, I was contemplating why the dialogue and characters were already so familiar, and I saw the writing credit: Hart Hanson.

Ah, strong, sarcastic male lead, with a penchant for getting into trouble.

Attractive, intelligent female authority figure.

Cast of supporting characters with interesting quirks.

This sounds like ‘Bones’.

“Big Fish”: writing, tone, and allure

Published April 9, 2012 by wyldflamingo

While working on a myriad of other things (because I’m incapable of sitting and just doing one thing at a time), my husband pronounced “I don’t remember much about ‘Big Fish’, and popped it into the DVD player.

‘Big Fish’ is a Tim Burton movie from 2003, and probably one of his most overlooked works. Burton is well known for odd-ball characters we might not normally find appealing (Edward Scissorhands, Jack Skellington, Beetlejuice), and his just-this-side-of-surreal sets and storylines. ‘Big Fish’ is a story about perception, and how the way one person may view the world is not the same way anyone else views it.

Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor both play Ed Bloom–Albert plays the elder Ed Bloom, dying of cancer and estranged from his son, Will. Will is perpetually embarassed by his father and his “fish stories”–what Will perceives as outrageous exagerations of of Edward’s past. As the story progresses, we see Edward’s life from his own eyes, and it’s up to the viewer to decide if one, or the other viewpoint is more accurate.

While Burton’s cinematography is always appealing, with its soft focus on female characters, and oversaturated background colors, its his ability to deliver a story and create compelling characters that lure and appeal. We’ve established, ten minutes into the movie, that Ed Bloom has a penchant for telling tall tales. But exactly how “tall” does the tale have to be, to estrange you from your son? Is it embarassment that pushes Will away?

What makes this movie for me is Ed Bloom’s viewpoint–he turns the mundane into the magnificent. I’m not sure how effective the same story would be, without Burton’s rich visualizations, but watching ‘Big Fish’ always makes me try to imagine…and practice my embellishments.

Two new series: one of these things is not like the other

Published April 7, 2012 by wyldflamingo

Tonight we tried two different new shows via Hulu: ‘Awake‘ and ‘Touch‘.

Awake initially had a lot of potential for me. The concept is interesting–a police detective continues his life after a devastating car accident affects his family. Except he’s not 100% sure HOW–in one “life”, or stage of “awake”, his wife is still alive and his son died in the car accident. In another stage, his wife is dead, and his son survived. He alternates between these two realities, trying to continue his job. Each reality affects the other, as clues slip from one to the other. Intriguing concept, right?

It would be, but for me, a successful series depends on the writing, and “Awake” (three episodes in) is failing me. The main character, Michael Britten, is struggling to manage his day to day existence(s). But it’s not a compelling struggle for me.  The writers have already set up the final “mystery” to be solved by this detective: which reality is the real one? Is his wife dead? Is his son dead?  Is he really “awake”? But Detective Britten has no drive to figure out which reality is true, because if and when he does, it will mean he finally loses his ability to interact with one of his loved ones. If he doesn’t care about being awake, why should I?

‘Touch” takes place in New York City, post September 11. The main character, Martin, still struggles day-to-day, with the loss of his wife Sarah, a casualty of the terrorist attacks. Their son, Jake, is non-verbal, and autistic, and like many children with this disability, seems to largely live in his own world. Despite normal avenues of interaction not applying here, Jake is an active character, and in episode one, leads his dad to meet someone his wife worked with before she died. The story spans the U.S., and Iraq, somehow tying together. While far-fetched, Martin’s struggles to interact and communicate with his son, and my curiousity as to how the multiple story elements will tie together make “Tough” a much more engrossing concept and story. I’m looking forward to seeing the further exploration of Jake’s autism, and how the writers will need to consider it as they work to develop the characters.