Weekly Roundup is a feature posted each weekend on I Wonder if You Wonder. It gives me a chance to react to the week’s industry news and to provide some quick thoughts about the films and TV shows I’ve been watching. (Plus it’ll give you some idea of the sheer amount of stuff I watch!) Let’s dive right in.
Sin City Sequel: It’s official: there will be a second Sin City movie, with the new one to be titled Sin City: A Dame to Kill. Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller are both on board. The first film was both an entertaining flick and a fascinating exercise in the direct adaptation of a comic book to the big screen, so I’ve got pretty high hopes for this one.
Gary Ross Out for Catching Fire: News broke this week that Gary Ross, director of The Hunger Games, won’t be back for the second film in the series, Catching Fire. No news yet on who will be brought in to replace him, but the L.A. Times reported that Lionsgate was eyeing several big name directors for the job, including Alfonso Cuaron (who helmed Children of Men and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which is probably the best of the Potter movies), Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu (director of 21 Grams and Babel) and (gulp) David Cronenberg. That oughtta be interesting.
Game of Thrones Renewed: Get ready for another season of boobs and Baratheons, because on the heels of this year’s outstanding ratings HBO announced that it has renewed Game of Thrones for a third season. As far as I’m concerned, more Peter Dinklage on my TV is always a good thing. (And for the record, I am listening to the GoT theme song on YouTube as I write this.)
Viewings & Reactions:
The Hunger Games: This is the kind of movie that I actually wish got nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars more often: a stylish and smart blockbuster that both audiences and critics can agree on, in the mold of Star Wars or E.T. The knee-jerk reaction would be to compare the film to the Twilight franchise or the Harry Potter movies since they’re all based on young adult novels, but aside from one or two of the Harry Potter films, The Hunger Games is on a totally different level of quality. Jennifer Lawrence is outstanding as Katniss (the role is actually quite similar to the one she played in Winter’s Bone, believe it or not), and the few problems I have with the film actually originate in the novel: the ending’s a bit contrived and cliché, and the romance a bit forced. That being said, I actually feel that the film improved on the novel in some respects. My biggest issue with the novel (which I generally quite like, by the way) is the fact that most of what would usually be subtext is instead the text itself; there’s no room for interpretation. The visual nature of filmmaking, though, makes it much harder to get inside Katniss’ head than it in a first-person novel, so Katniss’ thoughts and feelings remain more of a mystery. This generates a degree of intrigue in Katniss’ relationships in spite of the wooden and two-dimensional characterizations of Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson).
Shameless: I finally got around to watching the season finale of Shameless, which aired on HBO two weeks ago. I struggle to think of a more underrated show on TV these days. It’s somehow able to successfully combine family tragedy with low-brow comedy, and the results are surprisingly addictive. William H. Macy, Joan Cusack, and Emmy Rossum all deserve legitimate Emmy consideration for their performances on the show, with Macy and Cusack playing two of the more hilarious and outlandish characters while Rossum carries the dramatic weight of the show with aplomb.
Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23: Reviews for this new single-camera ABC sitcom have been all over the map, but I thoroughly enjoyed its first episode, probably more so than any new sitcom of the past year other than New Girl. Krysten Ritter and Dreama Walker are perfectly cast as unlikely roommates, but the biggest laughs belong to James Van Der Beek, who plays a fictionalized version of himself akin to Neil Patrick Harris’ role in the Harold and Kumar movies. The Dawson’s Creek jokes run the risk of becoming stale pretty quickly, but so far, so good.
Up All Night: Up All Night’s first season finished up this week, and it strikes me as the classic case of a show that is probably hilarious to some people and unimpressive to others. The show centers on two new parents, played by Christina Applegate and Will Arnett, and I suspect that for people who have just had a kid, the show is uproariously funny. For everyone else, though, it’s merely OK; the comedy is fairly predictable, but there are worse ways to spend an hour. Right now the show seems unlikely to be granted a second season, but you never known given the ratings trainwreck that is NBC.
Previewing features and articles I’m working on for I Wonder if You Wonder, some of which will be posted this week, some in weeks ahead, and others that’ll be abandoned due to laziness or frustration. (Hey, at least I’m up front about it.)
- More articles in my “30 Days of Alien” series, with a new topic being explored every day! Only two more weeks to go (*sigh*)!