Monday, February 09, 2009

Is it really that friggin hard for people to read?

Actually, the first thing on my mind this morning is that, against rather long odds (and even longer ones that it will last more than a few episodes), Joss Whedon's latest creation, "Dollhouse," is actually going to hit the airwaves on Fox this Friday at 9 (at the same time as the surely superior "Friday Night Lights.")

Speaking of "Friday Night Lights," I can't see any way the show can continue with a new crop of kids after this season, but if you watched last Friday's episode you know the show is certainly at least going to go out on top. Rarely does a character in an ensemble drama get the kind of sendoff that Brian "Smash" Williams (Gaius Charles) was given as he heads off for Texas A&M, and it was easily the finest hour of TV I've seen in the past year or so.

But back to Whedon's "Dollhouse." I was watching two entries in Fox's Sunday night lineup ("King of the Hill" and "American Dad") for the first time in a long while (I have decided to never again watch another new episode of "The Simpsons" because the show's creators have simply been repeating themselves for at least the past three years or so), and even fast-forwarding through the commercials it was impossible to miss the constant promos for "Dollhouse."

So, what is it again? Well, the show will star Eliza Dushku as an "active" or "doll" named Echo, one of a group of government operatives who have their minds wiped clean after they complete each mission. As you can see from the photo and promo clip I've attached at the end, this somehow also stars Ms. Cross (Olivia Williams) and Tahmoh Penikett of "Battlestar Galactica" fame, so if you like Whedon at all tune in for at least a few episodes of this latest entry into the Friday night graveyard (though "X-Files," of course, managed to thrive there for several years.)

And now, finally, the tidbit that sparked the admittedly surly headline for a Monday morning (especially one which I have off) was word that now not one but two of my five favorite flicks of 2008 are being remade for American audiences.

What in the world is going on here? I understand that it makes perfect sense to do an English-language remake of Guillaume Canet's "Tell No One," which it was just announced Luc Besson's EuropaCorp is about to take on, for several reasons. First, it made a fairly impressive $6 million at the U.S. box office, and second, it's just a first-rate thriller from an American source, the potboiler novel by Harlan Coben.

If you have the chance, though (and you will when it hits DVD on March 31), please see Canet's original long before this comes together. What you'll get is a sensational mind-bending thriller that fits solidly in the French tradition while adding a thoroughly modern touch, the best and most natural chase scenes I've seen in many years and just a great performance at its core from Francois Cluzet as the embattled doctor Alexandre Beck.

In an even worse idea, Matt Reeves, director of the surprisingly satisfying "Cloverfield," has signed on to write and direct a remake of the Swedish "romantic horror flick" "Let the Right One In," which I had the sublime pleasure of seeing at the 2008 Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival.

If you missed this one, which is somehow still playing once a night at Atlanta's Plaza Theater on Ponce de Leon Ave., certainly see it in its original form when it hits DVD on March 10. As much as an old-fashioned vampire flick, it's also a great coming-of-age story and just a moving tale about friendship - with your next door neighbor you think is a young girl but just happens to be a vampire. No description from me can describe just how good this one is, so I'll just let director Tomas Alfredson share what he thought when he got word of these dastardly remake plans:

"Remakes should be made of movies that aren't very good, that gives you the chance to fix whatever has gone wrong."

Amen, brother. And now, so I can go do my laundry in preparation for my three-day trek to Ohio to stand in the sleet and watch the American soccer team stomp some Mexicans in a World Cup qualifer, I'll leave you with that promised "Dollhouse" preview. Enjoy, and have a perfectly passable Monday. Peace out.


jeremy said...

Saw Dollhouse . . . I think Joss is going to have a hard time writing for Dushku because, as much as I like her, the premise for the show is that she becomes these other characters, and, well, she's just always Eliza Dushku, know what I'm sayin'?
But if he can get a pulpy, sorta formulaic, sorta genre thing happening, it could turn out ok.
P.S. If you're looking for a nice, fun pulply, formulaic, genre piece on now, might I suggest Burn Notice.

Reel Fanatic said...

I definitely know what you mean about Eliza ... Buffy was always a great ensemble piece way more than it was built around Sarah Michelle Gellar, but I'm hoping this works out at reasonably well...

And Burn Notice one I've always meant to check out, Jeremy, so I'll go ahead and add what ever season's out already to my Netflix queue .. thanks for the recommendation

Vance said...

I don't know how they'll turn over next year on FNL but I hope they still get a chance to, and as long as Connie Briton and Kyle Chandler are leading the helm, I'm sure it'll still be amazing.

And yah. Burn Notice is a LOT of fun!

Reel Fanatic said...

I do agree with you on that much, Vance, especially Connie Britton ... the only place I could remember seeing her was for a short while on "The West Wing," but now she's easily my favorite actress working on TV now

Ian said...

Thanks for the 'before it was remade' tip. I loved 'Tell No-One' but really can't see any point in remaking it.

Even worse I just read that they're remaking Tzameti (13) as "13" in New York for a 2010 release and starring Ray Winstone. Please, dear God no. The original is a superb piece of French cinema. It does NOT need a dumb Hollywood remake. Please people - go rent the original on DVD. It's a classic, which the remake almost certainly won't be.

Reel Fanatic said...

I have seen that one, Ian, and share your admiration for it ... There really is no end to this madness in sight, so I should probably try harder to just ignore it, but another one that bugs me is "Banlieu 13" - a.k.a. "District B13" - not nearly as great a film as Tzameti, but still a great and very intense actioner that simply has no business being remade for any reason