Archive for January, 2012

2012 Turner Classic Movies 31 Days of Oscar

January 30, 2012

2012 Turner Classic Movies 31 Days of Oscar

It’s an annual tradition that Turner Classic Movies (TCM) does a month of showing Oscar nominated (and winning) movies during awards season.

This year is a particularly good example of why there is value beyond al a carte, on demand availability.

The movies on TCM are shown uncut and without interruption, so that would match on demand (such as Netflix or Amazon Instant Video).

However, they also have introductions, context…and themes.

For 2012, the programmers decided to go with locations…the website

has a fun little passport interface, so you can travel from “place to place”.

For example, February 1st has movies themed with first Florida, and then Pennsylvania.

Do Oscar nominated movies including geeky ones?


While geeky movies don’t tend to win Best Picture or even the major acting awards (although it has happened), the Academy often nominates them for technical awards (like Sound Editing), has a Visual Effects category (although those aren’t always geeky movies), and an Animated Feature category.

This year, for example, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Real Steel, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes are all Oscar nominated movies.

So, here are the geeky highlights of this year’s 31 days of Oscar;

  • February 1: Florida and Pennsylvania
  • February 2: Canada and Mexico
  • February 3: Mexico continues, Colorado, India. That brings us The Invisible Woman, a nominee for Best Effects, and Jungle Book (the 1942 Sabu version, nominated for four Oscars, including effects and cinematography)
  • February 4: England: The Time Machine, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Scrooge (1970)
  • February 5: England continues: Camelot and Knights of the Round Table
  • February 6: Eastern Europe, The Netherlands, and The Atlantic Ocean
  • February 7: The Atlantic Ocean continues, Germany
  • February 8: Germany continues, Scotland, the Midwest (Brigadoon is here for Scotland)
  • February 9: The Midwest continues, then it’s on to Texas
  • February 10: Texas continues, then Nevada, Wyoming (Close Encounters of the Third Kind), and New York (Portrait of Jennie)
  • February 11: New York continues (arguably, Wait Until Dark)
  • February 12: More New York (well, there are eight million stories in the naked city…)
  • February 13: The Great Plains, Greece, Italy
  • February 14: Italy continues
  • February 15: The Pacific Ocean, Africa
  • February 16: Africa continues (King Solomon’s Mines), Russia (arguably, Fiddler on the Roof)
  • February 17: The American South (Panic in the Streets)
  • February 18: France (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
  • February 19: France continues (Joan of Arc, Song of Bernadette)
  • February 20: Ancient Rome, Austria
  • February 21: Austria continues, the Caribbean, South America
  • February 22: Washington, D.C.: Dr. Strangelove and Logan’s Run
  • February 23: The South Seas, Southeast Asia
  • February 24: Australia, Arizona, New Mexico (the last one giving us Them! and The Andromeda Strain)
  • February 25: California
  • February 26: California has more to say: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
  • February 27: New England: I Married a Witch
  • February 28: Spain, the French Riviera, The Middle East (the 1942 version of the Arabian Nights…Sabu again)
  • February 29 (yes, it’s a leap year): the Middle East continues (with Sabu again in the Thief of Baghdad..they’ll be showing Two Arabian Knights, a formerly lost silent movie with Boris Karloff, although I’m not sure if there are fantasy elements); Belgium; China
  • March 1: China continues, Japan (Kwaidan), Hawaii
  • March 2: All Over (those are The Great Race and Around the World in 80 Days), Heaven (A Guy Named Joe, Cabin in the Sky, The Bishop’s Wife), Space (The Right Stuff, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010, and Forbidden Planet)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

James Farentino reported dead

January 26, 2012

James Farentino reported dead

While James Farentinto may have played characters with larger than life responsibilities (the pilot of the super chopper Blue Thunder in the TV series based on the movie, a Wing Commander/history buff on a time-traveling aircraft carrier in The Final Countdown, a sheriff dealing with reanimated corpses in Dead & Buried), there was always something that said he was a “regular guy”.

He was nominated for an Emmy for his work as St. Peter in the TV miniseries, Jesus of Nazareth, and won a Golden Globe as Most Promising Newcomer (Male) for The Pad and How to Use It in 1966.

He’s probably best known in the mainstream for his roles in Dynasty and ER, but had a number of geek-friendly credits, including appearing twice on Rod Serling’s The Night Gallery and in the TV movie The Possessed.

Unlike many actors, he didn’t do much voice work…but he did provide a voice in an episode of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

Dick Tufeld reported dead

January 25, 2012

Dick Tufeld reported dead

“The year: 1994. From out of space comes a runaway planet, hurtling between the Earth and the Moon, unleashing cosmic destruction! Man’s civilization is cast in ruin!”
–start of the opening narration from Thundarr the Barbarian

I wonder how many fans of that 1980s cartoon show realized that the authoritative voice delivering that portentous dialogue was Dick Tufeld, the voice of the B-9 Robot on the 1960s Lost in Space series?

Unsurprisingly, he started in radio, but worked repeatedly with producer Irwin Allen, providing narration for The Time Tunnel and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, as well as the voice of the Robot in Allen’s Lost in Space series (a role which he would reprise on The Simpsons, as well as in the 1998 big screen version).

Dick Tufeld’s characterization of the Robot was part of what really made the show work for fans. He quickly moved beyond the mindless “Crush! Kill! Destroy!”* robot of the early episodes. He became quite the foil to Dr. Smith, and a friend to Will Robinson. He laughed, he was self-sacrificing…he was righteously indignant with Dr. Smith. That richness of personality, which made the Robot a fan favorite, came largely from Dick Tufeld’s talented portrayal.

I’ve taken Dick Tufeld’s voice into the classroom with me. It always brought a smile to my adult students.

Good-bye, Dick Tufeld…thank you for being the voice of friendship to a red-headed nine-year old genius and to anyone who has ever said, “Danger, Will Robinson!”

* The line “Crush! Kill! Destroy!” is associated with B–9, but I believe it isn’t used by the Robot until the 1998 remake.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

2011 Oscar Nominations

January 24, 2012

2011 Oscar Nominations

The Oscar nominations are out!

No Andy Serkis for Supporting Actor for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Comedies/comedians were recognized, with Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) and Jonah Hill (Moneyball) being nominated, and Bridesmaids getting a Best Screenplay  nod. Shocking to some will be the omission of The Adventures of Tintin from Best Animated Feature: Spielberg didn’t beat Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss in Boots, a sequel and what I call a sidequel respectively.

Hugo and Midnight in Paris brought the geek, as they have in other awards this year…and The Tree of Life was recognized as well.

Here are the geeky highlights, followed by a link to the official full list:

Geeky highlights

  • Hugo, The Tree of Life, and Midnight in Paris are contesting for Best Picture
  • A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, Kung Fu Panda, Puss in Boots, and Rango are up for Best Animated Feature
  • Harry Potter, Hugo, and Midnight in Paris get in for Art Direction
  • Hugo and The Tree of Life are nominated for Best Cinematography
  • Hugo is up for Best Costume Design
  • Hugo, Midnight in Paris, and The Tree of Life are all up for their directors
  • Hugo is also up for Best Editing
  • Harry Potter is nominated for makeup
  • The Adventures of Tintin and Hugo are up for Best Score
  • This may be incomplete, although it’s from the official site: only two songs are nominated, Man or Muppet from The Muppets and Real in Rio from Rio
  • Sound Editing makes Transformers: Dark of the Moon an Oscar nominated movie: Hugo also picks up another nom
  • Those two also share Sound Editing noms
  • Visual Effects: Harry Potter; Hugo; Real Steel; Rise of the Planet of the Apes; Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • Adapted Screenplay: Hugo
  • Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris
  • Animated Short: Dimanche, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, La Luna, A Morning Stroll, Wild Life
  • Live Action Short: Time Freak (i don’t know the others well enough

Complete list

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

2012 movie awards roundup #1

January 23, 2012

2012 movie awards roundup #1

Oscar nominations are announced this Tuesday, 1/24 at 5:30 AM, Pacific Time.

No question, that’s the big dog of movie awards, and I’m very excited to see them this year (but that’s nothing new). It’s a complicated year, and not just because the Academy changed the rules again for Best Picture.

For example, there is J. Edgar. The director (Clint Eastwood) has been nominated three times before in that category, and has won once. The screenwriter (Dustin Lance Black) is a former winner. The lead actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) has been twice nominated as a lead actor.

And yet, the movie hasn’t had much of a cultural impact. It’s not a little seen critical darling…its MRQE metric  is only 60 out of 100.

Will it get nominations anyway?

Then there are a couple of movies that will be challenges because of their genres: Bridesmaids and Hugo. Will the Academy recognize them in the major categories, despite being a comedy and a 3D kids’ fantasy, respectively?

We’ll find out Tuesday.

What we can do is take a look at what has been happening in nominations and awards to date this year.

Critics’ Choice Awards (awarded January 12)

  • Hugo, Midnight in Paris, and The Tree of Life were nominated: The Artist won
  • Andy Serkis was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. While Christopher Plummer won for Beginners, that is still a remarkable achievement
  • Martin Scorsese was nominated for Hugo: Michel Hazanavicius won for The Artist
  • Woody Allen won for Best Original Screenplay for Midnight in Paris
  • John Logan  was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Hugo: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, and Stan Chervin won for Moneyball
  • Rango won for Best Animated feature, beating The Adventures of Tintin, Arthur Christmas, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Puss in Boots
  • Asa Butterfield (Hugo), Elle Fanning (Super 8), and Saoirse Ronan (Hanna) had been nominated for Best Young Actor/Actress: Thomas Horn won for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • Drive won the best action movie, over Hanna, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Super 8
  • The Muppets and Midnight in Paris had been nominated for best comedy; Bridesmaids won
  • Best song went to Bret Mckenzie’s Life’s a Happy Song from The Muppets. It defeated two other songs from The Muppets, and Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s Hello Hello from Gnomeo and Juliet
  • Howard Shore’s score for Hugo lost to The Artist
  • The Tree of Life shared best Cinematography with War Horse, beating Hugo
  • Hugo also took Art Direction, beating Harry Potter, and The Tree of Life
  • Hugo lost Costume Design to The Artist
  • Harry Potter won for Makeup
  • Visual Effects went to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, beating Harry Potter, Hugo, Super 8, and The Tree of Life
  • Harry Potter won for Sound over Hugo, Super 8, and The Tree of Life

The Golden Globes (awarded January 15)

  • Hugo had been nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama, but lost to The Descendants
  • Midnight in Paris had been nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, but lost to The Artist
  • Owen Wilson was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for Midnight in Paris, but lost to Jean Dujardin for The Artist
  • Martin Scorsese won for Best Director for Hugo, beating Woody Allen who was nominated for Midnight in Paris
  • However, Woody Allen did win for Best Screenplay for Midnight in Paris
  • Gnomeo & Juliet’s song “Hello Hello” (by Elton John and Bernie Taupin), was nominated, but Madonna’s (along with Julie Frost and Jimmy Harry) song from W.E. won
  • Howard Shore’s score for Hugo lost to The Artist
  • The Adventures of Tintin won best animated film, defeating Arthur Christmas, Cars 2, Puss in Boots, and Rango

While this post is about movie awards, I do want to congratulate Peter Dinklage  for repeating his Emmy win for best supporting actor (Game of Thrones), and Jessica Lange for her supporting actress win (American Horror Story).

Producers Guild (January 21)

  • Best picture: The Artist beat Hugo and Midnight in Paris
  • Animated film: The Adventures of Tintin beat Cars 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, and Rango
Directors Guild (January 28: these are nominess)
  • Motion picture: Hugo versus Midnight in Paris

Screen Actors Gulld (awarded January 29: these are  nominees)

  • Outstanding Cast: Midnight in Paris

BAFTRA (awarded February 12)

  • Direction: Martin Scorsese for Hugo
  • Best original screenplay: Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris
  • Cinematography: Robert Richardson for Hugo
  • Best editing: Thelma Schoonmaker for Hugo
  • Production design: Harry Potter, Hugo
  • Costume design: Hugo
  • Film music: Hugo
  • Makeup/hair: Harry Potter, Hugo
  • Sound: Harry Potter, Hugo
  • Visual effects: The Adventures of Tintin, Harry Potter, Hugo, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Animated feature: The Adventures of Tintin, Arthur Christmas, Rango
  • Rising star: Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Thor)
  • Outstanding debut by British writer, director, or producer: Joe Cornish (Attack the Block)

Writers Guild (February 19…these are nominees)

  • Original screenplay: Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen)
  • Adapted screenplay: Hugo (John Logan)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

The Week Ahead (in TV): January 16 – January 22 2012

January 16, 2012

The Week Ahead (in TV): January 16 – January 22 2012

We have now entered the “mid-season” in TV…roughly midway between September and May, the traditional season.

It’s now the case that some of the most interesting series debut in January.

There are a number of reasons a network might hold back a show. Of course, they anticipate shows failing, and need something to replace them, but it is more than that. A mid-season show may need fewer episodes produced initially…for a risky, expensive show, that may make more sense.

A mid-season show also has different competition at launch. Mid-January is not a time for blockbuster movies, typically, and that can have an effect.

In some parts of the country, people may be more likely to be home in mid-January than they would be in late-September.

In light of all that, I thought I’d give you my thoughts on a few of the highlights this week:


8:00 PM, Fox: Alcatraz (series debut)

Undoubtedly, this J.J. Abrams series was the one that most caught my eye for the new season. It’s time-traveling prisoner premise sounds like it is right up my alley, and the presence of Abrams, Jorge Garcia, and Sam Neill were pluses.  My worry is that they’ll go too far in trying to avoid Lost comparisons and make the weekly shows too much of a mainstream show…that the geeky elements may be subservient to the crime ones. Certainly, there are works that combine the mainstream and the geeky effectively (Fringe, Forever Knight, Doc Savage come to mind), but I think that it is a risk here. It’s a delicate balance, but they may handle it well…I’ll certainly be watching to see. 🙂

9:00 PM, Syfy: Being Human (American version) (2nd season debut)

I’ve seen the British version of this show: a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost are flatmates. I know that makes it sound like a Saturday morning cartoon, but that wasn’t at all the tone in the show I saw…

10:00 PM, Syfy: Lost Girl (series debut)

Anna Silk stars in this “discovered destiny” series. She finds out she’s…a succubus! Well, maybe not quite the female demon of tradition. She’s a fae, and there are good ones and bad ones. Given that this is basic cable (and not HBO or Showtime), they are only going to show so much…but you can bet they are going to talk about sex a lot, if only in innuendo.


8:00 PM, Fox: Glee (mid-season return)


8:00 PM, Fox: American Idol (season debut)


8:00 PM, CBS: The Big Bang Theory (special 100th episode)

10:00 PM, FX: Archer (season return)

If you aren’t watching Archer, you should be…well, not if you don’t like nudity…and violence…and insulting groups of people…but if you like good writing, definitely. 😉 This animated spy spoof has great characters, dialogue, and plots, but will certainly cross the boundaries of good taste for many viewers…in fact, I’d say it crashes through the checkpoint… 😉

Those are just a few highlights. For more listings, see

The Measured Circle’s Current Events calendar

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

The Devil Inside has one of the largest second week declines ever

January 16, 2012

The Devil Inside has one of the largest second week declines ever

This is just to confuse people even more. 🙂

The Devil Inside is a little, inexpensive horror movie that made an astounding $33.7 million dogro (domestic gross) opening weekend.

That’s despite having no big names, but that’s okay…that part happens.

However, it appears that not very many people liked it, either.

The IMDb average score (out of ten) is 3.7.

The MRQE score (out of 100) was a remarkably low 31. User reviews there overwhelmingly gave Fs.

It’s CinemaScore was a vanishingly rare F.

Only 25% of Rotten Tomatoes users even liked it.

What we can say is that by the measures we have, most people thought it was a bad movie.

However, I think the measure of whether the public likes a movie or not is how the box office sustains from week to week. That suggests good (or bad) word of mouth. That’s not 100% reliable…the number of theatres changing can obviously affect it.

So, if people actually did like The Devil Inside, we’d probably not see that big a drop from that $33.7m.

What did it do this weekend (the second)?

$7.9 million.

That’s a drop of about 83%.

The last Harry Potter movie made headlines when it dropped 72%, as detailed in this

The Wrap article

That was clearly anomalous, and had to do with how many people saw it in midnight showings…and round the clock, for that matter.

The Devil Inside is no Harry Potter. 🙂

Why are studios going to care?

The clear question: how did they make over forty million dollars so far (making it the first movie to crack our 40, 80, 1, 2, 3 listing for 2012) on what is a movie  the audiences don’t like?

That’s the $40m+ mystery…

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

2012 movie preview

January 15, 2012

2012 movie preview

These are a few of the movies that caught our eye for 2012. For a more detailed listing of events, see The Measured Circle current events calendar.

Dates are,  of course, subject to change without notice. There are some interesting movies which don’t yet have release dates which may come out in 2012…and some of the movies listed here may get pushed back.

Underworld: Awakening
January 20
Kate Beckinsale returns for the fourth installment

The Grey
January 27
Liam Neeson versus a pack of wolves

One for the Money
January 27
Katherine Heigl stars in the adaptation of the Stephanie Plum novel…Debbie Reynolds plays Grandma Mazur

February 3
Max Landis (John’s son) directs and writes. Three teenagers get superpowers…reportedly not a comedy.

The Woman in Black
February 3
Daniel Radcliffe stars

Safe House
February 10
Ryan Reynolds, Denzel Washington, Vera Farmiga, and Sam Shepard in a thriller

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
February 10
Sequel to 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. Dwayne Johnson, Josh Hutcherson, Michael Caine

This Means War
February 17
McG directs Chris Pine and Tom Hardy as spies fighting over Reese Witherspoon

February 24
Amanda Seyfried goes after a serial killer

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
March 2
Voices include Danny DeVito, Betty White, Ed Helms, and Zac Efron

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
March 3

The Raven
March 9
James McTeigue directs John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe

John Carter
March 9
Based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, directed by Pixar’s Andrew Stanton

Mirror Mirror
March 16
Tarsem Singh directs Julia Roberts and Arnie Hammer in this Snow White version

21 Jump Street
March 16
Jonah Hill stars in (and co-wrote) this TV series adaptation. Johnny Depp is credited in the cast

The Hunger Games
March 23
Directed by Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit) from the very popular novel, stars include Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, and Lenny Kravitz

Wrath of the Titans
March 30
Sam Worthington returns as Perseus

Movie 43
April 13
Comedy shorts with several directors and an ensemble cast. We know there’s a segment called “Robin’s Big Speed Date” and that Kristen Bell plays Supergirl, Justin Long plays Robin, Uma Thurman plays Lois Lane, Leslie Bibb is Wonder Woman…and John Hodgman plays the Penguin

The Three Stooges
April 13
The Farrelly brothers direct an updated, but tonally faithful version. Sean Hayes plays Larry

The Cabin in the Woods
April 13
Joss Whedon co-writes, Richard Jenkins stars

Bullet to the Head
April 13
Walter Hill directs Sylvester Stallone, Christian Slater, and Jason Momoa

Scary Movie 5
April 20

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
April 20
Steve Carell and Keira Knightley…an asteroid approaches Earth and people react to the situation in different ways

The Avengers
May 4
Joss Whedon directs…well, pretty much everybody. 😉

Dark Shadows
May 11
Tim Burton directs Johnny Depp in an adaptations of the 1960s supernatural soap opera

The Dictator
May 11
Sacha Baron Cohen stars. John C. Reilly, Ben Kingsley, and Anna Faris are also in the cast

May 18
Based on the board game, with an intriguing cast including Liam Neeson, Peter MacNicol, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Taylor Kitsch, and Rihanna

Men in Black III
May 25

Snow White and the Huntsman
June 1
Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron

June 8
Ridley Scott directs…need we say more? Reportedly, at one point, this was connected to the Alien franchise, but now stands alone

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
June 8

Jack the Giant Killer
June 15
Byran Singer (who has massively impacted superhero movies) directs Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Warwick Davis, and Bill Nighy in a script cowritten by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
June 22
Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch) directs from the Seth Grahame-Smith novel (Grahame-Smith also co-writes the screenplay). Stars include Dominic Cooper, Rufus Sewell, and Benjamin Walker

June 22
Pixar…and a new concept, not a sequel

GI Joe: Retaliation
June 29

The Amazing Spider-Man
July 3
Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone star in the reboot of the franchise.

Ice Age: Continental Drift
July 13
Peter Dinklage and Nick Frost join returning voice cast members

July 13
Seth MacFarlane directs Mila Kunis and Mark Wahlberg in a live action comedy about a man and his living teddy bear

The Dark Knight Rises
July 20
Christopher Nolan directs, and Anne Hathaway is Catwoman in the next Batman movie (which is reportedly the last of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy)

Neighborhood Watch
July 27
Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, and Vince Vaughn are part of a neighborhood watch group…that faces aliens

The Bourne Legacy
August 3
Jeremy Renner stars

Dorothy of Oz
August 3
Animation: Lea Michele voices Dorothy, Dan Akyroyd is the Scarecrow, Kelsey Grammer is the Tin Man, and James Belushi is the Cowardly Lion

Total Recall
August 3
They chose to go with the title of the Schwarzenegger movie rather than the PKD story (“We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”). Len Wiseman directs Colin Farell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and Bryan Cranston (among others)

The Expendables 2
August 17
Stallone returns

Resident Evil
September 14
Paul W.S. Anderson returns to direct Milla Jovovich

September 21
Judge Dredd, that is…Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey

Hotel Transylvania
September 21
Genndy Tartakovsky animation with Adam Sandler as Dracula

September 28
Time-traveling killer recognizes that his target is his older self. With Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, and Piper Perabo

Taken sequel
October 5
Liam Neeson, Famke Jannsen, and Maggie Grace return

October 5
Tim Burton

Halloween III
October 26

Red Dawn
November 2
Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson in the remake (it’s North Koreans rather than Russians)

Skyfall (James Bond)
November 8
Sam Mendes directs Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, and Albert Finney

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
November 16

Rise of the Guardians
November 21
Action adventure cartoon with a band of heroes fighting a villain…only these heroes are Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and Jack Frost (Chris Pine)

November 21
Alfonso Cuarón directs and co-writes a movie about an astronaut trapped in space starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock

47 Ronin
November 21
Keanu Reeves

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
December 14
Peter Jackson directs

World War Z
December 21
Brad Pitt and zombies. J. Michael Straczynski is one of the screenwriters: from Max Brooks’ novel

Life of Pi
December 21
Ang Lee directs Tobey Maguire in this adaptation of the award-winning novel

Django Unchained
December 25
Quentin Tarantino writes and directs an all-star cast. Don’t let the release date fool you…this won’t be a Christmas movie for the family

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

My take on…We Bought a Zoo

January 13, 2012

My take on…We Bought a Zoo

Let’s get this out of the way first…I love zoos! When I travel, that’s something l like to see…the local zoo. There was a point when I thought I might want to be a zookeeper.

Second, Maggie Elizabeth Jones deserves (but probably won’t get) an Oscar nomination. Her performance in this movie is one of the best of the year…subtle, nuanced, funny, moving. That’s not, by the way, one of the best performances by a seven-year old: it’s one of the best performances, period.

I’m astonished at Matt Damon’s ability to transform himself, and still engage his audience…compare, for example, The Talented Mr. Ripley and The Bourne Identity.

I’m a big fan of the TV series Miracles, and that means putting Angus Macfayden in your movie is a plus for me.

Given all that, you would think that I would love We Bought a Zoo.

Unfortunately, I didn’t…it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great, either.

People sometimes ask me how you can tell if the directing in a movie is good or not. One of the key indicators is the consistency of the vision. While the movie is being made, it’s the director who has the big picture (so to speak).

This movie is a good example of where you can see an…inconsistency.

While Damon and Jones are giving us naturalistic performances, John Michael Higgins has been directed in such a way that he seems like a cartoon character. That may be an effort to de-fang his bad guy part, to make it easier for the presumably largely family audience to take.

While I can understand that sentiment, it makes the movie uneven…and that makes it less of an immersive experience. You just don’t know how seriously to take it, and that takes away from scenes in which we should be emotionally invested.

I wouldn’t avoid the movie…you can’t pass up a chance to see a binturong! However, it might be better waiting to catch it at home.

This calendar by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

2012 January TV Highlights

January 9, 2012

2012 January TV Highlights

Here are some highlights for TV in January 2012. For more listings, see the The Measured Circle Current Events Calendar. This is also still a work in progress, but I didn’t want to wait too long on it. 🙂

Debuting series

  • Sunday, January 8, 10:00 PM: House of Lies (Showtime)
  • Thursday, January 12, 8:00 PM: The Finder (Fox) (spinoff from Bones)
  • Friday, January 13, 11:00 PM: Blade (G4) (anime based on the Marvel comics character)
  • Saturday, January 14, 9:00 PM: The Fades (BBC America)
  • Sunday, January 15, 8:30 PM: Napoleon Dynamite (Fox) (animated series based on the movie)
  • Monday, January 16, 8:00 PM: Alcatraz (Fox): (J.J. Abrams and apparent time travel)
  • Monday, January 16, 7:00 PM: Dragonball GT (Nicktoons) (This is a movie, followed by the American broadcast of the series on Wednesdays and Thursday)
  • Monday, January 16, 10:00 PM: Lost Girl (Syfy)
  • Wednesday, January 25, 9:00 PM: Touch (Fox) (Kiefer Sutherland, Danny Glover)

Returning series

  • Thursday, January 5, 8:00 PM: The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
  • Monday, January 9, 7:00 PM: House of Anubis (Nickelodeon)
  • Monday, January 9, 10:00 PM: Castle (ABC)
  • Wednesday, January 11, 7:30 PM: Johnny Test (Cartoon Network)
  • Wednesday, January 11: Face Off (Syfy) (reality competition for makeup artists)
  • Wednesday, January 11, 9:00 PM: Ghost Hunters (Syfy)
  • Friday, January 13, 9:00 PM: Fringe (Fox)
  • Friday, January 13, 9:00 PM: Grimm (NBC)
  • Monday, January 16, 7:30 PM: Adventure Time (Cartoon Network)
  • Monday, January 16, 9:00 PM: Being Human (American version) (Syfy)
  • Thursday, January 19, 10:00 PM: Archer (FX) (arguably the best show on television…you know, if you like to argue) 😉
  • Tuesday, January 24, 8:00 PM: Level Up (Cartoon Network)
One shots/specials
  • Thursday, January 12: Critics’ Choice Awards
  • Sunday, January 15: Golden Globes
  • Tuesday, January 24: Oscar nominations announced

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

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