Sunday, June 17, 2012

Coloring Outside the Franchise

(This is a spoiler heavy discussion, particularly with regard to Super 8, Cloverfield, (um) St. Elsewhere and Prometheus. You've been warned.)

There was a moment as I was watching Super 8 -- an enjoyable enough homage to Spielberg-style sci-fi adventures from the 1980s -- that I thought maybe J.J. Abrams had something up his sleeve, something that would have blown my mind if it was true.  "Did Abrams make a Cloverfield prequel without telling anyone?!?"  In today's age of a thousand websites devoted to dissecting the minutiae of every movie still, every comment by the director (or star, co-star or set caterer), every viral campaign launched (whether real or imaginary), could it be that Abrams slipped one past the goal keepers???  The sheer audacity of the idea excited me far more than the otherwise forgettable movie itself.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Inside the Wall, Vol. 1 (6.10.12)

(That name is tentative, as is the format.  Basically, I'm going to try to post a semi-weekly round-up of what I'm checking out between the larger posts. )

It's been a solid summer so far across the board in entertainment.

Starting with music, Beach House put out a worthy follow-up to Teen Dream, which may have been my favorite album of 2010.

The new album Bloom doesn't measure up yet to that instant classic, but it's a solid offering that I expect I'll come to appreciate more with time.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Does Comedy Have To Be Funny? (part 2 of 2)

In the first part of this post (which it feels like I wrote forever ago), I ended with the question whether a "comedy" can be successful when the story takes precedence over the laughs. The question was inspired generally by my love of the so-called "anti-sitcom" Community and specifically by an epic (and private) rant by (anti-)cast member Chevy Chase.  Here's a choice quote:
You've got two choices, one is storyline, the other is - you know, like everyone gives a [bleep] about the [bleep] story when they don't even know who the [bleep] characters are - or there is make people laugh.
Indeed, who does give a [bleep] about the story?

In the many weeks since that last post, both Community and Parks and Recreation seemed to embrace that question directly and forcefully, and in very different ways.