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 411mania » Movies » Columns

411 Fact or Fiction Movies/TV 2.3.12: Week 316
Posted by Ben Piper on 02.03.2012

Wait, you mean I have to put this thing together again?! It seems like each and every week I have to spend upwards of a half hour cutting and pasting and finding and hosting the images and this, that or the other.

Oh, yeah. It's because I do. Thankless bit, that.

Anyways, enough of my complaining about trivial matters. This week for your Fact or Fiction enjoyment Chad Webb and George Sirois are here. Let's see what they are up to…

1. The Woman In Black will be a very good ghost story.

George Sirois: Fact. Based on the positive buzz I've been reading, combined with the talent behind and in front of the camera, it looks like everyone involved knows that it'll take more than a trailer with a couple loud bangs to make for an effective scary movie. I think this, combined with his How to Succeed… run on Broadway, is an ideal starting point for the post-Harry Potter career of Daniel Radcliffe, and Jane Goldman is a very talented screenwriter who – as the early reviews say – did a fine job of adapting the original novel, rather than try to remake the UK TV movie. I'm looking forward to seeing if I agree with what's already been said.

Chad Webb: Fact. Sure I guess. I haven't seen the original UK movie, but I will before seeing this new version. Honestly, my expectations for movies from now until March at least are very low. It does have the Hammer Films name attached to the production, which gives many an optimistic outlook. I certainly hope it turns out to be a solid film, but I wouldn't be surprised if isn't either. This period of the year is very shaky, especially in this genre. There are several "up in the air" factors if you ask me, one being the fact that James Watkins is a relatively new director. I'll try to stay positive on this one because I can't answer "Maybe" though. If it avoids the cheap scare tactics that run rampant in American horror, it will instantly have the upper hand. I sincerely hope Daniel Radcliffe launches himself to new heights after Harry Potter. Of the three main cast members, he has improved the most, and after seeing both of his Broadway shows, he seems to be embracing quality material that will cause fans to not look at him simply as Harry Potter. It would be nice to have a satisfactory ghost movie for a change too.

Score: 1 for 1

2. Gina Carano would be a good Wonder Woman.

George Sirois: Fact. She's a fresh big screen face who has already won some critics over for her screen presence. Plus, even though she's not as experienced with acting, whoever takes up the challenge of adapting Wonder Woman can certainly surround her with enough big names to pick up the slack.

Chad Webb: Fiction. Why? Just because a new brunette hits the big screen and is athletic doesn't mean we have to start gossiping about this project again. Yes, Gina Carano was fine in Haywire, but Soderbergh is known for taking odd, unknown talent and having them try something different. This was an action thriller, and so Carano's actual acting relied more on her fighting skills than line delivery. Soderbergh knew her strengths and kept her performance as an action hero that kicks ass. The dramatic aspect was kept to a minimum. I don't expect her to be the next household name. Here is my opinion. How about we just forget about turning Wonder Woman into anything, film or show. Every attempt to do so fails, for many reasons I won't cite here. Obviously this material just isn't meant to be a big screen event. Ask yourself, picture the possibilities even, do you really want to see a Wonder Woman movie? Personally, I can't envision any way it would turn out well. Over the years, every young female under the sun has been attached to play this character and it is getting silly now. Because they all fall through, whenever someone new pops up, the public/media starts rumors. Gina Carano has potential, but to say it's early to be considering her for a major comic book franchise is an understatement.

Score: 1 for 2

3. You'd watch a Green Arrow TV series.

George Sirois: Fiction. I'm curious to see how it would be pulled off, but if he's getting one, I doubt it would last. Despite his long run, I've always considered Green Arrow to be a solid supporting character – much like his time on Smallville - but I don't think he would attract enough of a mainstream audience to justify keeping him on the air.

Chad Webb: Fiction. This is a very broad statement. If you mean will I watch it consistently from the time it starts to the series finale, no probably not. Will I eventually check it out on DVD? Possibly. I am only now getting ready to start watching Smallville from the first season onward, so it could take me awhile. I'm actually highly enjoying the Green Arrow comics from "The New 52" DC line, but you'll have to excuse me if I have little faith in the CW to replicate that, or any past run with this character. The CW isn't known for having the greatest track record in terms of quality, and the casting of Stephen Amell does not increase my confidence. His resume is not impressive and judging from the fact that he was on shows such as 90210 and The Vampire Diaries, I would bet he was chosen more for his looks than anything else. Because I'm curious and familiar with the character, there is a chance I would watch, but only if the reviews were overwhelmingly positive and if the series has a long run. I think it will be difficult to score super high ratings with this particular character from the general public however. He's in a different class than the main ones. It's also annoying that they didn't use the same actor from Smallville because that would give those fans all the more reason to check out the show. The network is the big issue here. Why can't they greenlight a comic book series on a HBO, Showtime, or a premium channel like that? That way they would have fewer restrictions on where the story could go. This idea seems bound to disappoint.

Score: 2 for 3


4. Chronicle will take the "found footage" style to a new and interesting place and be a good movie.

Chad Webb: Fiction. Because this is a two-part statement, I have to answer "Fiction" because while I do think this will be a cool flick, I highly doubt it will improve the "found footage" sub-genre. Where is this new and interesting place the category can go? In terms of fulfilling its potential, I think it has peaked. The best we can hope for is a string of good films from here on in. The set-up is pretty basic: You have video recordings that are discovered featuring a bunch of dead characters and the director employs shaky camera work to convey realism. How would Chronicle take that to a new level? There is only so much you can do with the scenario. I'm sure this movie will have more special effects, but that doesn't mean the sub-genre will change. If any title should be credited with taking it to "a new and interesting place," it would be Cloverfield, which merged the style with a monster movie using suave special effects. That was impressive. I am looking forward to Chronicle, especially after Apollo 18, but the genre has plateau'd as far as its influence or improvement is concerned.

George Sirois: Fiction. This could wind up being the ultimate example of a "found footage" movie that didn't need to be a "found footage" movie. The more I see these types of films, the more I feel that they use the genre as a crutch so they don't have to worry about telling a fully detailed story. All they have to do is have someone "turn off the camera" so the filmmakers won't have to show any boring parts. I hope I'm wrong about this since it does seem like an interesting premise alone, just based on what the characters are doing, but Chad was definitely right when he mentioned Cloverfield as the best example of the "found footage" style being taken to a new interesting place.

Score: 3 for 4

5. Spinning the Dwight Shrute character off from The Office is a bad idea.

Chad Webb: Fact. This has Matt LeBlanc's Joey written all over it. I like Rainn Wilson, but he does have a movie career and I'm surprised he's willing to see this spin-off through. The problem with this idea, and the reason I compared it to Joey, is that most of the better spin-offs use minor, relatively insignificant characters. How about Harriet from Perfect Strangers going on to Family Matters? I'm not arguing quality, but that spin-off lasted nine seasons. She was barely on Perfect Strangers aside from a line here and there, and that is what made her spin-off intriguing. Daria is another, but what gives a spin-off its strength is that the full potential of the character has not been reached. That's why spin-offs using more notable supporting characters, like Angel and Frasier, flourished. Dwight has run his course. They should just retire the character. The reason The Office was effective for so long is because variety is the spice of life. You have a lot of quirky supporting characters feeding off Steve Carrell's Michael (not anymore obviously). Dwight was better in spurts, and I see this as a "too much of a good thing." What will they do with him? I heard they will focus on the beet farming, but we've seen that. The jokes on this show will get old quick because you realize the character was used sporadically for a reason. I think the fans of The Office have already grown bitter because this season has seen a noticeable decrease in quality. This spin-off will just irritate them.

George Sirois: Fact. Fact, Fact, A Thousand Times Fact! Dwight is one of the better supporting characters in modern television, and giving him his own spin-off series will do nothing but make viewers sick of him and his antics. This is clearly a desperate move by a desperate network, trying to latch on to anything that was once successful. I'd mention Joey, but Chad beat me to it.

Score: 4 for 5

6. Brett Ratner should not be allowed anywhere close to a Michael Jackson biopic.

Chad Webb: Fact. As time goes along, I dislike Brett Ratner as a filmmaker more and more. Early in his career, he delivered some movies I liked, such as The Family Man, Money Talks, and Red Dragon, but he has gotten worse, and it is scary to imagine him going from Tower Heist to a biopic on "The King of Pop." Put simply, Ratner is not a competent enough director to pull this off. Furthermore, Jackson falls into that category of people that I feel shouldn't be portrayed because their image and personality are so permanently ingrained in our minds. Elvis is another. People can try, but it just isn't the same. So many distinct, special qualities are crucial to what make these celebrities who they are/were. I think it would be tough for any actor to duplicate the way Jackson spoke and avoid exaggerations and turning him into a caricature. In my opinion, we don't need a Jackson biopic at all, but if they insist on making one, please hire someone else.

George Sirois: Fiction. I'm actually going to give Brett Ratner the benefit of the doubt here. While I agree that a Michael Jackson biopic shouldn't be considered at this time, I also think that, with the right script, Ratner can deliver a solid film. I never thought him to be a lousy director, just saddled with lousy scripts and executives anxious to rush the films out to theaters (Hell, X-Men: The Last Stand was made out of spite.) So if he is given enough time to develop the project, and if the screenwriter delivers a worthy script, then he can pull it off.

Final Score: 4 for 6

George and Chad agree more often than not. Thanks to them both for stopping by, and see you all again next week.




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