Exclusionary TV: Whites Only Television? MADMEN, PAN-AM and REVENGE

Provocative title huh?

Well, it’s not quite as provocative as it seems. The premise of this article isn’t that shows such as MADMEN, PAN-AM, and REVENGE are in and of themselves bad or bigoted shows.

They may in and of themselves be good shows. But shows, dramas or scifi or action, that are predominantly White, when not off-set by any shows that are predominantly Black or colored, true to the definition of predominant… create an environment, a medium, that is about the ascendancy, importance, influence, authority of force of one group.

In such an environment it is impossible for me to buy into, relate, follow, view, or otherwise enjoy such shows. Now in an environment where a show such as PAN-AM is counter-pointed with a show on The forming of AIR JAMAICA or the Black Stuntmen’s Union or the Black Coyboys’ Union or any adventure or thrilling show with a predominant cast of color; then PAN-AM rather than being indicative of a color and ethnic bias in every show in tv, can be seen as one voice in a chorus, rather than the same voice, everywhere.

So that’s the problem I have with shows such as MADMEN and REVENGE they paint everything with the same trite and pale brush (take the series REVENGE, based on a book by the son of one of the most famous Black men, and the cast is all white. Explain that to me? Along with that it always rings false that we have yet to see a THREE MUSKETEERS that represents the ethnicity of the author Alexandre Dumas, or the ethnicity of the inspiration for all Dumas’ heroes, namely his father, France’s most famous and most feared soldier, the elder Alexandre Dumas, (inexplicably called Thomas-Alexandre in recent writings), the Black giant, the warrior Moor, Napolean’s most feared and brilliant General. The COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO is directly inspired by how his father was betrayed by Napolean, imprisoned, and killed. And rather than anyone ever tell that story, it becomes in REVENGE about a blond woman, mad about something. Forgive me if I have no interest in that retelling.)

So, What’s the solution?

We’ll get to it. First indulge me, with a brief trip to yesteryear.

In the late 50s, into the 60s and 70s television and cinema in the US, and indeed throughout the Western World, made great strides in becoming more representative of the class struggle going on throughout the world.

That’s a fact, it just is. So let’s begin there.

As countries from Congo to Cuba to Korea to the West Indies to Brazil all were dealing, at various stages, with the shattering of traditional Colonial ties. With populations of repressed people, embracing the concept, both with artistry and arms, of “not eating at another man’s table” but creating their own table.

It was a staggering period not just of revolution, but potentially evolution… for the world and the west.

Rather than mass media that explored and showcased only the fantasies and the fears of the white and the male you began getting shows that took place in a world reflective of the movements changing the landscape of our cultures and our time. Civil disobedience, and sit-ins, and Black power, and Native American rights, transcendentalism and free love, sexual and religious experimentation, and of course war and the search for peace and self identification.

And all these growing pains, all of this stew of change, could be seen in the entertainment of the age.

DANGER MAN, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, PROFESSIONALS, GOOD TIMES, SANFORD AND SON, the rise of Soul Cinema, and the rise of Hong Kong Cinema, and Neo-Realism in Italy, and the New Wave in France, and the didactic films out of Russia, and Brazil, and Cuba, and Senegal, all of this making its way to newly born film studies programs in the states that gave birth to a whole generation of entertainment makers excited and influenced and inspired by this time of change and challenge.

So suddenly you had Patrick McGoohan in the DANGER MAN TV show 50 years ago globe-trotting and going to different countries and different people, and exploring issues of colonialism, and civil war, and terrorism, and governmental oppression, and doing this with a changing ethnically diverse cast. Dealing with issues of Middle East tensions and modern slavery. And this kind of informed and humanistic film-making came from the creators down. And all the shows of that period, while not DANGER MAN ground breaking, to greater or lesser degrees were that informed and representative of a culturally diverse and changing world.

Move the clock forward 50 years, and suddenly you have no community owned or locally owned cinema, much less production companies. That’s not an accident, that’s a very pointed, and very considered monopolization and marginalization.

You have the end of virtually any locally or regionally owned newspaper, radio, or television station. So you get the end of people and community created movements, and art and music, and you get instead corporate construction of reality and ‘art’ in things like AMERICAN IDOL and its ilk.

You have cinema and television that is in retreat from ideas… like diversity and the rights of man, and instead seeks a return to the exclusionary, blinders on, cinema of the 50s. Not just in terms of content and cast in front of the camera, but talent and crew behind the camera.

As, in reality, the mad military war machine of billionaires undoes the local determinism of countries like Haiti and Liberia and Libya, so too is our entertainment,no less the tool of billionaires, undoing the strides made toward multiculturalism. A return to “Whites only” television from MADMEN to PAN-AM to REVENGE.

And those shows while they hold no interest for me, would be fine if they were counterpointed by an equal number of US made shows with a majority of Black or Brown or Asian or a combination thereof, of actors in front the camera, and talent behind the camera.

And the talent is there, as screenwriters such as John Ridley discuss in numerous interviews. Even more talent than was available in the 60s and 70s is available now, the difference is, the cinemas are bought up, the advertising is cost prohibitive, and quite frankly the doors are closed.

In the 60s and 70s, Hollywood saw the need for an influx of diversity to save them from the rise of Independent Cinema (an outgrowth of viable and healthy local cinemas, local determinism), and there were a good number of people in the studios who were happy and excited for that diversity. They were part of the changing times, and part of changing it.

Today Independent Cinema has no way into the theaters, because the locally owned theater circuit, and indeed the community controlled mass-media circuit that served America, particularly Black America from the 20s to the 70s, has been bought out, legalized away, and generally dismantled.

For what was gained, more was lost in the compromise of integration.

The problem with the doctrine of separate and equal, was the fact that is was NEVER separate and equal, it was always separate and UNEQUAL. The Black Power movement and Black Panther movement was about making it SEPARATE AND EQUAL. Was to make the lie into the truth. And that is the reason we have integration today. Because the idea of separate and equal, scared the powers to be to their very soul.

They saw in the more moderate integration model of Martin Luther and his ilk, a compromise that could become a massive victory. They retreated from Separate and (Un)equal and embraced Integration of a sort, “you can now use our Bathrooms, you can now to an extent come into our house, but… you have to lose your house. You have to lose your radio stations, your movie theaters, your stores, your farms, your wallstreets, your sports teams, your attempt at self determination”.

Of course it wasn’t presented like that, but a few decades later that’s absolutely what has happened. The thriving economic base of Black America that thrived even under the odiousness of Separate but unequal, wherein they could still provide for themselves and be self sufficient, has been completely gutted under the together but even more UNEQUAL system of integration. And that robbing of local determinism has extended to all America. Has shown itself to be the most significant volley in a class-war that has America trillions of dollars in debt, and slaved, to corporations gross and immoral.

And television and cinema is the clearest example of this wholesale pillaging of a peoples economic potential.

So that’s what I see when I see shows like MADMAN or PANAM or REVENGE or SMALLVILLE (past season 4) I see prejudice and bigotry and class warfare… codified.

So you have a television and a cinema environment that has turned back the clock, and is again solely about showcasing the fantasies and the fears of the white and the rich, to the exclusion of all else.

It bores me to go backwards. To learn from the past is a great thing, to repeat the past is not. And we have a whole generation of studio execs and heads, who think they are doing something new by embracing the old, and all they are doing… is wasting time.

In a multi-cultural society, an increasingly multi-cultural society, these dreams of exclusion cannot stand, they will become unsatisfying, they always do. And in the end we will have to waste years just getting back to the same point of diversity as the 1970s. Getting back to the starting point from which we should be… evolving.

So let’s cut out some of the time wasting. Contact these studios signing off on this exclusionary television, the creators and producers, twitter them, facebook em, call’em, even write em, let them know the show doesn’t represent you, and to create a show that does. And let the advertisers know, say “this show boycotts me and mine. Since you are asking me to support your product, I want you to produce a show that supports me.”

It’s economics people. For all their crushing of competition, ultimately the decision makers and gate-keepers still need to create a product you want to buy. Let them know they are failing at that mandate.

Let them know you want to see more shows, that are both smart and diverse.

Day Break – The Complete Series- Do not buy the 2disk version, get the 4 disk version

55 Degrees North – Series One & Two – 5-DVD Box Set ( Fifty Five Degrees North ) ( 55 Degrees North – Entire Series 1 & 2 ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2.4 Import - United Kingdom ]

Kidnapped – The Complete Series

Secret Agent AKA Danger Man: The Complete Collection (Slimline Packaging)

The Philanthropist: The Complete Series

Kings – The Complete Series

Blood & Bone

I Am Cuba: The Ultimate Edition

Let them know you want to see more DAY BREAK with Taye Diggs and Moon Bloodgood, more 55 DEGREES NORTH with Don Gilet, more KINGS with Eamonn Walker more BLOOD AND BONE with Michael Jai White, more James Purefoy and Jesse L. Martin in THE PHILANTHROPIST (the spiritual descendant of McGoohan’s DANGER MAN); more shows that look forward to solutions, rather than backward to evasions.

Challenge the creators, challenge the studios, challenge the advertisers, challenge the performers, and challenge yourself to go not marching backward, but to go forward… into the mystery. And ultimately we will as cities and a nation, have to eschew outside control, and embrace again local production of items and local determinism.

And it starts as simply as recognizing and calling out the prejudiced the exclusionary and the destructive when we see it.

Here endeth the lesson.

SPACE 1999 vs MISSION IMPOSSIBLE! and Crop Rotation?!!

Okay I don’t mean to make this the SPACE 1999 hour, but I’m listening to the Gerry Anderson commentary on the first episode BREAKAWAY, and it spurs me to some comments of my own. First it’s not really a commentary, it’s maybe 15 minutes of comments by Mr. Anderson sprinkled throughout the hour long episode.

But the comments he does offer are riveting. He discusses just the immense pressures and issues getting this series made. From trying to acquire American leads, to problems with the first director, to set issues, to basically ITC America telling them what stories they definitely couldn’t do.

Even problems with having stars Landau and Bain stand near each other in a two shot. It seems that Martin Landau wanted to show off his California tan, and Barbara Bain wanted to appear as white as possible, so when the two were in a shot together, grading the film became nearly impossible, as the color film stock lacked the range of the Black and White film stock. Martin Landau would either end up looking Black, or Barbara Bain would end up looking transparent. So they had to compromise a bit, with Landau toning down his tan, and Bain adding some color.

It’s little anecdotes like that that make commentaries fun. Of course today in the age of digital, film grading is not an issue, but in 1975 technological limitations ruled. Yet another reason the show looks better on Blu-ray today than it ever did.

It’s a fun bit of behind the scenes business. And it highlights why the people that move any medium forward be it radio or tv or movies or music, are generally under 30.

Whether it’s Paul Robeson redefining the theater in the 1920s while in his 20s (after also breaking barriers in both academics and sports), or Orson Welles redefining theater, radio and film in the 30s (while in his 20s), or if it’s Steven Spielberg and George Lucas defining the modern blockbuster with their one two punch of JAWS and STAR WARS, while they were 29 and 33 respectively (given Lucas a pass here), changing the face of the world in small ways and large… is generally a job for the young.

Even to this generations JJ Abrams, who started in his 20s changing the face of television and now cinema.

The movers and shakers all start young, because impossible has not yet become part of their vocabulary. It’s young people with hunger and vision and boundless energy, that have to get these visionary shows made around and through and despite the objections or qualms or head shaking of the gate-keepers. The old people, who hold the purse strings, and want to keep attracting/appealing to a new audience but are generally afraid of the new.

And Gerry Anderson, who started producing shows at 28, talks a bit on the psuedo-commentary about the hurdles involved in creating the show.

This isn’t to say only young people change their respective mediums, there are tons of people late in life who decided to change the world… and have.

George Washington Carver comes immediately to mind, who in addition to finding hundreds of uses for food byproducts including dyes, oils, charcoal, conditioner, glue, bio-diesel fuel, etc., pretty much single-handedly saved the economy and agriculture of the south. It was his creation and tireless implementation of a program of crop rotation, that kept the Southern United States from destroying its soil and looking like what Haiti has become [a country that can't grow its own food due to soil depletion].

But geniuses like Mr. Carver aside, as a general rule it’s the young who blaze the trail into the new. Be it science or architecture or… tv/cinema.

You see what I did there? Like how I brought it back on track? Yeah I though it was nifty too. :)

All this to say. it’s a fun commentary. Go pick it up and give a listen. :)

Oh and a few words on the stars:

Martin Landau, who it’s worth mention at 84 is still going strong, has 5 films in production! Wow! In addition to SPACE 1999, he’s known for Hitchcock’s NORTH BY NORTHWEST, ED WOOD his 4 year run on MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, the recent stints on EVIDENCE, ENTOURAGE, and WITHOUT A TRACE, and memorable guest spots on shows as diverse as OUTER LIMITS, GUNSMOKE and SIMPSONS.

Barbara Bain- The lovely Ms. Bain who is also going strong, and like Landau, has forged an amazing career. From the film AMERICAN GUN to PANIC to Zack Horton’s POLITICAL DISASTERS to GIDEON to ANIMALS WITH THE TOLLKEEPER to SAVAGE(also stars Landau and directed by Steve Spielberg) to GOODNIGHT MY LOVE (doesn’t appear to be on DVD yet, but has great reviews) to the RICHARD DIAMOND television series to her 4 years on MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, and mountains of shows and movies between and since. CSI, DIAGNOSIS MURDER, the list goes on.

You can see why the studio pushed hard to get the two of them together in SPACE 1999. They wanted to capitalize on the two actors previously starring together in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. Instant marketability.

However that said I have to agree with Sylvia Anderson the co-creator and producer, who didn’t feel Martin Landau or Barbara Bain were right for the show. I think the show worked in-spite of the leads, particularly Martin Landau, not because of them. There are some shows you look at the cast, and say ‘Well I can’t see anyone else doing those roles. That’s perfect casting!” You can say that of the first STAR TREK series (even in light of the movies etc, that first crew is perfect, seminal casting) and FARSCAPE, etc. You can’t say that of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, I think numerous actors could have done the role of Commander Koenig to equal or better effect.

Particularly when you hear Sylvia Anderson’s interview (which is available on the Blu-Ray) and Gerry Anderson’s commentary and the concessions they made to get Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, and the problems they had, it makes you question whether the roles would have been better served inhabited by unknown actors, etc.

Well those are questions beyond the answering. What is known is that with the departure of Sylvia Anderson, at the end of season one, the show lost its rudder and its way.

Sylvia Anderson fought hard in the first season for script conferences and to give some sense of weight and seriousness and cohesiveness, a heart if you will to an admittedly fantastic show. But I think she understood that the more fantastic the show, the more important it is that the little things, the connections and reactions of people ring true and be grounded and relatable. And with her out as producer, the show also lost its voice of reason in front of the camera… Barry Morse, and ultimately the show succumbed to dumbed-downed storytelling and pandering to audiences with spectacle and rubber monsters… rather than craft and story.

And that difference is clearly seen in the first episode of season 2, METAMORPH (kindly included on the Season 1 Blu-ray’s special features). Devoid of Sylvia Anderson and Barry Morse, and anyone to fight the cliched ideas coming from the American office of ITV, the show increasingly looked like a poor man’s Buck Rogers.

But hindsight is always 20/20. Hurdles and politics and all, the 1st season of SPACE 1999 was pulled off, and flaws accepted, it’s ambitious television, it is television that tries to say something. And that is television to be proud of.

And since I’m talking about the show thirty five years after its cancellation, it seems that it is also television… that endures.

That’s all for now. Come back later for more reviews!

Space: 1999: The Complete Season One [Blu-ray] – Buy it here!

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL 2011 Movie Review!

So based on the fantastic, kick-ass trailer, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE:GHOST PROTOCOL was one of my most eagerly anticipated films of 2011. So finally seen, with a 1st time Live-Action director Brad Bird at the helm, what is my verdict?

Well first it’s worth setting the scene, I saw this in IMAX, not IMAX 3D or 3D, but IMAX. Parts of this film were shot in the 70mm IMAX format, but not in 3D. So yeah I have no problem, viewing a film shot in IMAX in IMAX.

Well let me rephrase that, seeing this in IMAX is not a problem. Payment the exorbitant markup to see this in IMAX… big problem.

When the cashier said $15.50 I actually had to pause, for a less anticipated movie I would have told him forget it and either not see it in IMAX (which I notice theaters are making it difficult to do, offering either no regular non-Imax, non-3D showings, or these showing only seldom and at inconvenient times) or just wait for DVD.

I can understand seeking to increase revenue in a down market, but attempting to fleece and extort your existing customer base may not be the way. You end up with people like myself, who actively will seek out less IMAX movies and movies in general, because of such price gouging at theaters.

A $15.50 ticket?!! Really?? You’re talking what, a 50% markup over regular ticket prices? That is just not good.

So already you’re creating the wrong mindset for people going into the film, the way my brain, and a lot of peoples brains work, Anything $10 or less, is kind of an impulse buy. You look at the 2hrs of big screen entertainment, and you justify it as $5/hr. Not horrible.

But suddenly cracking $15, and it’s suddenly a purchase that registers in your brain as expensive. You start getting thoughtful about the money spent, which is not really what you want consumers doing, questioning if they are getting value, getting their money’s worth.

It’s a dangerous habit to get the customer into, making a movie ticket less impulse buy and more potentially over-priced money-waster.

So it’s with that mindset a bit in my head I enter the darkened IMAX theater.

This theater being one of AMC’s retrofitted pseudo Imax theaters/Midget Imax theaters, it is not a real 5 story high, 70 foot wide screen (yet another reason I balk at paying the exorbitant prices), that said it is a very large screen for a multiplex.

And obviously they are trying to at least give you something to kinda justify that expense because man, they really had the sound and bass cranked, the picture looking great. I’ve seen IMAX movies at this theater before, and they raised the game for this movie. I sat there looking at the seven trailers prior to the movie, having my chest pummeled by sound, and my eyes dazzled, and I have to say… , I was impressed.

And the seven trailers?

SNOW WHITE & HUNTSMAN- An action packed updating of the Snow White myth

MAN ON THE LEDGE- Intriguing looking heist film

JOHN CARTER- I hated the first trailer for this film, however this new trailer actually looks great,

UNDERWORLD:AWAKENING- I’m no fan of this francise, having only seen bits of previous movies, but this trailer looks good if not great. And I’m always game for a Werewolf movie. RISE OF THE DARK KNIGHT- I have my problems with Nolan’s films. Unlike most I’m not a fan, that said this was a decent enough trailer

GI JOE: RETALIATION- I hated the first GI Joe Movie, however this one actually looks good. Mostly due to Dwayne The Rock Johnson.

THE TITANIC in 3D- There’s one person I don’t bet against when it comes to 3D, and that’s James Cameron. If James Cameron puts his name behind something it’s good enough for me. And watching the trailer I was reminded of all the people who have spent years deriding Titanic, who are going to end up eating their words as they pay to see it a 2nd time in 3D. Fan boys are an odd breed with selective memory, and they like to bash what is successful and popular, just because it is successful and popular. TITANIC became thw largest grossing movie of its time for a simple reason, because it was an effing epic movie, and because people could not stop seeing it.

A lot of fan boys have this revisionist memory, almost attacking things for being popular, forgetting that at the time they enjoyed the movie just as much as everyone else. But in hindsight, and with some posing it becomes the rage to bash on TITANIC. A similar film is SUPERMAN returns, that was a darling when it came out, everyone was raving about the plane scene and the bullet to the eye, but suddenly in blogs and podcasts and the peanut gallery it becomes revised as a bad movie, by the same ones who enjoyed it at the time. So yeah the fickle and schizoid ranting of fanboys I let go in one ear and out the other, quality tells. And quality says, while it’s not going to make a billion dollars in theaters again, it’s going to do very respectable business for a revival film.

I’m pretty sure there was a 7th one, but I can’t remember what it was.

Okay, enough with the trailers… onto the feature.

Brad Bird’s transition from animation to live action can only be called… impressive and epic.

Wow, from first frame to last, what grabbed me was just how brilliant and accomplished this film looked. how the heck does a first time live-action director pull off a film on this scale.

It is a gorgeous looking movie, stylishly filmed, and action packed. It’s easily the best of the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE series, and the performances… I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.,.. Tom Cruise is one of Hollywood’s best actors, and that he has maintained giving 110% in his work, even while dealing in the meat-grinder that is the press, and with fickle fanboys, is only to be applauded.

Agree or disagree with Cruise’s beliefs if you choose, though how that’s anyone’s business but his I don’t know, but what he puts on the screen can not be questioned. He’s a star, the likes of which we seldom see anymore. Add to that wonderful performances by his IMF (the use of that acronym kept tripping me up, I would immediately think International Monetary Fund (Boo! Hiss!) rather than Impossible Missions Force (Yay! Hurrah!) team-members, namely Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton; fantastic stunts, beautiful locales, and bone crunching action and you have a fun ride at the movies.

Thant said, it’s not perfect. The pacing is a bit uneven, bordering on long, and the script at brief times is a bit by the numbers. I think it probably could have benefited from tighter editing and a shorter runtime, that said I was quite satisfied for the film to play out at its pace.

All in all it’s a solid ***1/2 out of **** and is definitely one I’ll be adding to my DVD collection. B+.

Upcoming Movies/Trailers of the Winter 2011-2012 Season

Okay I’ve downloaded and viewed a bunch of trailers. My verdicts?

21 JUMP STREET- The original series was okay, if lightweight and relatively forgettable 80s fare. It deserved better than to wind up as the title of this abhorrent, unfunny, stupid, and pathetic excuse for a comedy remake. The saddest part is there are real directors, real writers and real actors who can’t get funding for films, and yet abortions like this not only get made, but get distribution deals. As you may tell, I didn’t like the trailer. Grade: AVOID.

111111- Evil angels movie. Trailer looks like a poor cobbling of previous mad angel films, a genre I generally like, though it’s never been done well. And with the director of the later SAW films headlining this, it’s clear it is not going to be done well this time either. Grade: Wait for DVD rental or cable.

SAFE-Another Jason Statham action film. I don’t dislike Statham, but much like Matt Damon I find him way overused. I just don’t find them interesting enough actors to be in every single movie, the way they are. I just don’t find them interesting… full stop. GRADE: Wait for rental.

RESTITUTION- With stars C. Thomas Howell and Tom Arnold, this straight to DVD flick has made for tv written all over it, as well as some murky storyline about murder, fraud, and conspiracy. That said the trailer is capably put together, and probably makes this look better than it is. GRADE: Not something I would make time to look for at the video store, but if you get the chance to see it free. give a look.

THE INNKEEPERS- I love, love. love Ti West’s THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, I just think he’s one of the most interesting, innovative and talented young directors to come along in years, so I’m inclined to go see any film he directs. The trailer for the INNKEEPER and its SHINING meets JHorror type plot, is strong enough to get me in the theater. GRADE: Worth seeing at the Theater.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE:GHOST PROTOCOL- I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again this is the best trailer of the winter (the 1st trailer, not the 2nd one). and looks EFFING AWESOME. And this is a movie that looks like it deserves to be seen on an IMAX sized screen. Brad Bird’s first live-action film, looks poised to show he’s as good a director of live action as he is animation. GRADE: Are you kidding? It’s a MUST SEE in the theaters!

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO- Man that is one long trailer and one unattractive actress and some very understated to the point of bored and boring actors. All this I was thinking watching the latest trailer for this film. I was excited for Fincher returning to the thriller genre, as his last few films I find increasingly uninteresting. Not bad mind you, just not engaging masterpieces the way I consider some of his early films. However each trailer for this film has me more uninterested. GRADE: I’ll see it for a matinée showing and hope for the best. But going just by the unimpressive trailers, if it was not David Fincher directing, this would be a wait for rental flick.

SAFE HOUSE- The first posters for this had me underwhelmed. But I LOVE the trailer. Damn I tell you cinema will be a sad and boring place when you no longer have Denzel Washington as leading man to save us from Statham and Damon retreads. This guy is an Actor with a capital A, he brings the gravitas and weight to films, doing more with a look, than most actors do with entire filmographies. And all of that bloody commanding talent comes though in this brief trailer. And also makes up for the fact that the Green Lantern guy, whatever his name is, is in this flick. Another actor that does nothing for me. But this covert thriller has an exciting trailer, and the trailer has Washington, so GRADE: Definitely one to see in the theater.

THE GREY- I find this Liam Neeson helmed man vs. nature thriller, looks pretty darn compelling in this trailer. I mean man vs. beasts. Last really memorable one would probably have to be THE GHOST AND THE LION. So I’m all for giving this a chance. GRADE: Worth seeing at Matinée prices.

LARGO WINCH: HEIR APPARENT- This is purportedly the third in a series of movies concerning France’s answer to James Bond meets Bruce Wayne. I have not yet seen the first two movies, but like them, this trailer’s movie is another that doesn’t excite me enough to see in theaters. GRADE: Wait for rental.

ELITE SQUAD 2- Heavily armed cops in Brazil killing poor people. That’s what I took away from this trailer, and isn’t something I get behind in real life, or in my fiction. So accolades aside, which the trailer is filled with, my GRADE: Wait for rental.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is it worth seeing in IMAX?

Well, as previously mentioned, I saw TRANSFORMERS:THE DARK OF THE MOON, you can see my full review for specifics, but in short… it’s great.

However, what I want to discuss in this post is one of the trailers I saw before TRANSFORMERS. It is the trailer for MISSION IMPOSSIBLE:GHOST PATROL, by first time live-action director Brad Bird, and it looks fantastic.

I’ve not been a fan of the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE franchise. I thought the first one was good (Brian DePalma’s last solid film) , the John Woo follow-up, a little less good, being okay in places, and the third by JJ Abrams being awful.

However, from the trailer Brad Bird’s take looks exciting and fun. Definitely has me interested enough to see this in theaters when it is released on 16 December(North America). Whether it lives up to the trailer (ie makes any sense)depends on the writing team of Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, and Christopher McQuarrie (being not a fan of ALIAS, the show they seem to have in common, the jury is out for me), but visually it appears Brad Bird may be able to translate his animated success to live-action.

That said I’m not going to be seeing it in IMAX. This nonsense about shooting a few scenes of a movie with IMAX cameras but then charging Full IMAX prices, is bullcr*p, bait and switch nonsense. For a movie like TRANSFORMERS DARK OF THE MOON where the whole thing is shot in IMAX 3D format, that’s one thing to pay IMAX prices for, but partial films?… No way.

My recommendation, send a message to the Hollywood suits and don’t pay to see this movie in IMAX.