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Magnum P.I. 2018 Review

So like a lot of people I wasn’t sure this remake of the 80’s Tom Selleck classic was going to work. Should the original, with Selleck as Magnum, John Hillerman as Higgins, Larry Manetti as Rick and Roger E. Moseley as TC just be left alone? If the internet comments are anything to go by, a lot of people thought so.

I thought the same thing about Lethal Weapon, though, when they made a series out of the Mel Gibson/Danny Glover movies. And that one worked for the most part, although I haven’t watched it since they fired the wrong guy (Clayne Crawford) and kept Damon Wayons when it should have been the other way around. But at any rate I decided you can enjoy the originals and the remakes too, as long as they’re done well. After all, how many James Bonds have we had?

So along comes the new Magnum P.I. (no comma), with Jay Hernandez as Magnum, Perdita Weeks as a gender-flipped Higgins, Zachary Knighton as Rick, and Stephen Hill as TC. Tim Kang is the HPD’s Detective Gordon Katsumoto. We still have a red Ferrari (albeit updated), security pooches Zeus and Apollo, and of course, the lovely Hawaiian scenery.

Hernandez (Scandal, Suicide Squad) takes over the title role. At first glance this looks like a case of casting political correctness (as does turning Higgins into a woman), and a lot has been made of the fact that the moustache is gone. But why shouldn’t a Hispanic be Magnum? Hernandez is handsome, charming, can crack a joke, and carry off the action scenes. I was less sure that Perdita Weeks’ version of Higgins (she’s ex-MI6) would work, but it does. She’s no action lightweight, getting right into the thick of some sticky situations, more than Hillerman’s Higgins did in the originals. Knighton’s Rick and Hill’s TC fit right in as well.

Apparently the show’s ratings have been pretty good, and they just got the news that it has been picked up for a full season. To those who are still skeptical, I say give it a shot. The original still stands on its own, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the new version as well. It worked for its sister show Hawaii Five-O.

Below is a trailer. Enjoy.


#MagnumPI #JayHernandez

Clayne Crawford has spoken out on the Drinkin’ Bros podcast about being fired from Lethal Weapon. Below is the full podcast.

First off, full disclosure – I am #TeamClayne on this one. I’ve said in previous posts that I think Clayne is a massively talented actor, whereas Damon Wayans is… not. I was surprised that Warner Bros. fired Clayne, and even more surprised that they are doing a third season (albeit only 13 episodes for now), replacing Clayne’s Martin Riggs with a new character played by Seann William Scott. I have nothing against Scott, but how you can have Lethal Weapon without Riggs? In my opinion they fired the wrong guy.

At any rate, here’s the podcast. And if you’re on Twitter, look up Anonymous (@BTSinHollywood) for more on what happened behind the scenes. This is someone who has worked on the show from the beginning.

#ClayneCrawford #LethalWeapon

Billions may be one of the most Emmy-worthy shows out there that has never been nominated for an Emmy, an oversight that is frequently noted by the entertainment press. Also frequently noted is that the show became much more solid in the second season (three seasons are currently in the bag, with a fourth to come next year).

With a cast that stars Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti, you figure it’s already got a head start on being a pretty good show. Lewis is Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, owner of hedge fund Axe Capital, and a multi-billionaire. Giamatti is Chuck Rhoades, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Rhoades would like nothing better than to bring down Axelrod, whom he believes got his money more by crook than by hook. There’s one big problem, though… Rhoades’ wife Wendy (Maggie Siff) is a much-valued psychologist working for Axe Cap.

Also included in the main cast is Axelrod’s wife Lara (Malin Akerman), his right-hand man Mike “Wags” Wagner (David Costabile), and Rhoades’ attorneys Brian Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) and Kate Sacker (Condola Rashad). Asia Kate Dillon plays Taylor Mason. Both the character and the actor are non-binary gendered and use the pronouns they, their and them. Having a non-binary gendered character in a major series is a first, and they are not a minor character, either. Much of the show actually centers around Taylor, who is a financial genius and Axelrod’s protege. A notable guest star is John Malkovich, who shows up as a Russian oligarch in season three.

The show is exceptionally well written, and the writers seem to delight in creating arcs of intricate plotting. If someone is being set up, the viewer may or may not be let in on that fact until the plot unfolds. It’s hard to tell who are the good guys and who are the bad… or who to root for. Rhoades is as capable of manipulation as Axelrod is – but who is more downright ruthless? Technically you should be rooting for Rhoades, who is supposed to be on the side of the law, but you can’t help but hope that Axelrod gives him a run for his money. (Besides, there wouldn’t be a show with the Axe of Axe Capital spending his days in jail.) Caught in the  middle is Rhoades’ wife, who is stubbornly loyal to Axe, something her husband has issues with. Well, all except for the money she makes.

Along with all this plotting and backstabbing are the obligatory props of the mega-rich, the helicopters, cars, houses, and stacks of cash. Fair warning that if you are not a fan of the F-bomb you won’t like this show – if you were to take a drink every time a character lets one fly, you’d be blotto inside of five minutes. And, as per usual with Showtime, sex and nude scenes are frequent. For the life of me I don’t get how anyone could find Giamatti sexy, but he actually gets more of those kinds of scenes than Lewis. Not sure why, but there you go.

Below is a trailer for the first season. There are 12 episodes per season. I found myself skipping some of the season one episodes just to save time, but if you start on this series be prepared to clear your calendar for some bingeing. Rumor has it it’s almost required watching if you work in finance and want to have anything to talk about around the water cooler.

#ShowtimeBillions #DamianLewis #PaulGiamatti

The Return of Picard

If you’re a fan of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, you’ll be happy to know that Patrick Stewart will be returning to television to reprise his popular character in a new Star Trek series. 

Not much more info is known at this time as they are working out the storylines, but we do know this will be post-Next Generation. It will also, unfortunately, be on CBS All Access, which means it will cost you.

Stewart shared the news via his Twitter account.

#StarTrek

Wow. This is a really hard post to write, not only because it sucks in a way that James Gunn was fired by Disney from Guardians of the Galaxy 3, but also because what he did to get himself fired sucks in and of itself.

In case you haven’t heard, Gunn posted some really horrible tweets about a decade ago about pedophilia and rape. By really horrible, I mean “why would anyone even think up this sick stuff in the first place?” horrible. While Gunn has tried to pass this off as being “edgy,” and saying that he didn’t play out in real life any of the things he tweeted, I can’t find a way to defend this. (If you want to see what he tweeted, you’ll have to Google them – I’m not going to repeat them here. There were a lot of them, in some cases only a few are being reported.) Remember he is 51 now, he would have been in his late 30’s or early 40’s when he wrote them, so he can’t blame being a stupid kid for this.

While it’s true that he deleted those tweets when he first became part of the Marvel family, and some nutjob right-wing activist somehow found them and dredged them up, it doesn’t excuse putting those words out there in the first place. Senators have lost their jobs over much less.

When ABC (also owned by Disney) rehired Roseanne I said then that they were going to regret hiring someone whose idea of comedy was to do a photo shoot dressed up like Hitler taking some burned gingerbread men cookies out of an oven. Disney is supposed to be family friendly (their inherited Deadpool franchise aside). Cursing up a storm is one thing, posting “jokes” about rape and pedophilia is another.

It’s a shame, because I think James Gunn is tremendously talented and I truly believe he regrets having tweeted those things years ago, but in my opinion Disney made the only call they could make. I know some people will disagree.

We’ll see who takes the director’s helm from Gunn. From what I understand, he had finished writing the script, we’ll see if they call for a rewrite.

#GuardiansOfTheGalaxy #GOTG3 #JamesGunn

Update on Lethal Weapon

UPDATE: There’s good news and bad news. According to Deadline, Lethal Weapon has been renewed for a third season. The bad news – Clayne Crawford will not be back. Sean William Scott is joining the cast as a new character who will be Murtaugh’s partner. I think Clayne is very talented, I hope to see him in another project soon.

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The report of Clayne Crawford being fired from Fox’s Lethal Weapon may be premature. Or maybe not. Who knows? Yesterday he tweeted that he has received no official word that he has been let go. Upfronts are tomorrow (Monday), but I’ve also heard that we may not know until June 30th. So we wait.

Reportedly other actors have been offered the role but have turned it down.

In the meantime, Damon Wayans has been a bit of a diva. First he tweets some anti-Clayne stuff, then he tweets some pro-Clayne stuff, then he claims he was hacked and that he’s under a lot of stress. Well, I imagine the other 200 people who work on the show, all of whom make less than DW, are under stress too. Maybe Clayne isn’t the one that needs to be replaced?

Former co-stars like Hilarie Burton have been defending Clayne on Twitter, and the fans are very anti-recast, so there’s hope that the cast will return intact if Fox and the showrunners want the fans to stay with it.

Let me just say that these behind-the-scenes squabbles have ruined more than one show. Castle went by the wayside because Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic couldn’t get along. Rumor has it that Pauley Perrette left NCIS because she could no longer work with Mark Harmon (sounds like that’s Harmon’s fault, not hers, but who knows)? It would be a shame if LW ends because of squabbling.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for news.

#LethalWeapon #StayLethal

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter (link below), it looks like Clayne Crawford has been let go from Lethal Weapon as the show’s future is in doubt.

Clayne himself has admitted to some behavioral issues on the set, which has led Fox to look to recast the role amid rumors that his co-star Damon Wayans is not on speaking terms with him.

This is a shame, because I think Clayne is immensely talented, but everyone on the set deserves to have a pleasant working environment.

A couple of days ago I tweeted that I hoped Captain Avery (Kevin Rahm) would be back if there was a season 3. Mr. Rahm himself replied that he hoped so! Considering last week’s episode I wasn’t sure what would become of this character, which is one of my favorites on the show.

Here’s the link to the THR article:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/lethal-weapon-star-clayne-crawford-as-producers-scramble-recast-1109893

Star Wars TV Show News

Disney has given the executive producer job for the upcoming Star Wars live action series to Jon Favreau (Iron Man). Favreau will also be writing for the show.

The series will be shown on Disney’s streaming service, along with their other content. Disney is pulling their stuff from Netflix in preparation for the launch of the service next year.

StarWars.com has more info here.

#StarWars #Disney

 

The Grinch Trailer

A trailer for The Grinch has dropped. Starring the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch, the movie will be out on November 9th in the U.S. and the U.K.

Enjoy – if you can – the grumpiness:


#BenedictCumberbatch #TheGrinch

I finally got to see Marvel’s Black Panther a couple of days ago so I’ll throw my thoughts out there. There are some minor spoilers in this review in case you haven’t seen the film and want to remain spoiler-free, although most of what I have to say below you can figure out from the trailer.

Black Panther is one of the few films to get a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes’ famed Tomatometer. I would give it 4 stars out of 5, my quibbles with it to be explained below.

First, it is a movie applauded for a lot of good reasons – a majority black cast, starring Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther, Lupita Nyong’o and Angela Bassett; and a black director (and co-writer), Ryan Coogler. The setting is the fictional African country of Wakanda. The plot is this: the King of Wakanda has died, and T’Challa, his son, is set to take over, if he can defeat any challengers in hand-to-hand combat. He has the advantage of having taken a potion made from a flower that gives him superhuman strength. Or it’s supposed to, anyway. This is where one of my quibbles comes in – if he has this strength why is it he tends to get the crap beaten out of him more than once?

Anyway, T’Challa becomes King of Wakanda, which is not the third-world country the outside world thinks it is, but is in fact very technologically advanced. Some of its people believe they should share their knowledge with the rest of the planet, others are wary of what will happen to their country if they do. As it is, they are largely left alone, with (almost) no one outside of Wakanda the wiser as to what is really happening in their country.

Their other big advantage outside of technology is vibranium, an element that is used, among other things, to make Black Panther’s spiffy suit bulletproof. Wakanda has managed to keep this to themselves with the exception of the devious Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), an arms trader and one of the two main baddies in the film (the other one being Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan)). Martin Freeman shows up as a CIA guy trying to take down Klaue (shades of Bilbo meeting Gollum)!

There are some very fierce female badasses in this one, as T’Challa’s guards (led by Danai Gurira as Okoye) are all female and definitely not to be messed with.

The visuals are all pretty amazing, as you would expect from a Marvel film. I will be surprised if it doesn’t garner some awards for costume and/or set design, not to mention special effects.

My other main quibble about the film is that T’Challa doesn’t spend enough time as Black Panther for me. Overall, however, it’s a small quibble for what is otherwise a groundbreaking Marvel movie. That Marvel made this movie with an almost entirely black cast and a black director, with the political themes it has, well, that is in and of itself a very big deal. But it should not be forgotten that now 95-year old Stan Lee (who yes, does have a cameo in this film), and the late Jack Kirby wrote the original Black Panther comic back in 1965, only one year after the Civil Rights Act was passed. Kudos to them for having the vision to create a black superhero, not on some distant planet but right here on Earth.

Below is a trailer:


#BlackPanther

Here’s the spot for Avengers: Infinity War that was shown during the Super Bowl. You can see the film on May 4th:


And finally, after much waiting, here is a teaser trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story. This is supposed to be Han’s origin story, but I just can’t get into Alden Ehrenreich as Han. Maybe I’ll just call him Fred. It’s Fred Solo, Han’s brother or something.

Anyway, here’s that trailer – the film is out May 25th:

#AvengersInfinityWar #HanSolo #StarWars

The Lake House Book Review

The Lake House is the first book of Kate Morton’s I have read. At 600 pages long, it was a good thing I had a long weekend ahead of me (and absolutely no desire to do anything like housework) when I downloaded it. I really liked the first 550 pages or so of it – my quibbles are mostly with the ending.

First, don’t confuse it with the Sandra Bullock/Keanu Reeves movie of 2006. The book was published in 2015 by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.

Morton is Australian, but the book is set in England. Below is the official synopsis from Amazon:

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories.

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. He is never found, and the family is torn apart, the house abandoned.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as a novelist. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old Edevane estate—now crumbling and covered with vines. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.

The story is a mystery with as many twists and turns as a mountain road. It spans decades of the Edevane family  history, from Alice’s parents falling in love, through her father’s service in World War I and his return, to Alice and her two sisters’ lives at their beloved lake home and the mysterious disappearance of their baby brother. Sadie is a cop on forced leave who becomes interested – or maybe I should say obsessed – with finding out what happened to little Theo. Sadie’s part of the story comes in 2003, so Theo at that point has been missing for decades. Will Alice, a successful mystery writer, help Sadie discover what happened to her baby brother? Or does she already know what happened?

As a mystery it’s very good. When you think Sadie has it all figured out, something will twist the story in another direction. The chapters flit back and forth between time periods, which is something you’ll either like or you don’t, but I liked it. My issue with the book was that the ending seemed rushed (after 600 pages!), and it all tied up too neatly and a bit twee for my liking. But if you like a long book and are looking for a new mystery author this may fit the bill. I liked it well enough to download another one of Morton’s, The Forgotten Garden. We’ll see how that one goes.

#TheLakeHouse #KateMorton

The Post Review

I went yesterday to see The Post, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. Just having those two acting powerhouses together in one Steven Spielberg-directed film would make it worth seeing, but it turned out to be much more than just a really good film about an interesting moment in our nation’s history. If you haven’t seen the movie and are unaware of the history regarding Daniel Ellsberg and The Pentagon Papers, you may want to stop reading now if you want to go into it with no prior knowledge of what happened. Since this is a film about historical events I’m not going to worry about spoilers.

The Post is, of course, The Washington Post. It was founded in 1877. The paper passed through several hands until it was bought by Eugene Meyer in 1933. Meyer’s son-in-law, Philip Graham, became publisher in 1946. Philip committed suicide in 1963, and the paper passed into the hands of his widow, Katherine Graham, who is played by Streep. Katherine died in 2001.

Tom Hanks takes on the role of Ben Bradlee, then executive editor of the Post. Bradlee and Katherine both had friends high in Washington political and social circles. In particular, Katherine was good friends with some of President Richard Nixon’s inner circle, including Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood). This made it a little ticklish to report on some of the events of the time, as shown in the film, which centers around the publishing of classified documents that proved people in the U.S. government knew the Vietnam War was unwinnable years before it was halted. Matthew Rhys plays Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst who surreptitiously copied thousands of pages of documents (referred to as The Pentagon Papers) proving the American public was being lied to about the war.

A focus of the film is the agonizing decision whether or not to publish the top secret documents, which the Post obtained after The New York Times. The Times had already published some of the documents, and they were looking at legal trouble for having done so. The threat was no small one – if convicted Graham and Bradlee could both have gone to jail.

In addition, the paper was facing financial issues, and it was during this time that they were forced to offer stock in an IPO. The stock for the IPO was in legal limbo. There was a clause in the contract that if something major happened during the week after the stock was issued, but before it had officially been sold, the transaction could be cancelled altogether. The existence of the paper was literally on the line.

The film also focused on Graham working as the female head of a newspaper in a world dominated by men. She had never held a job until her husband’s death forced her into the position of publisher. She was the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. It was a time when most women never held such positions of power. How appropriate that this film would debut as we are having this moment in history when women are finding voices to speak out about unequal pay, sexual harassment, and employment opportunity.

Liz Hannah wrote the screenplay in 2016. Ms. Hannah is a first-time screenwriter, and is only 32 years old. I hope she gets an Oscar nomination for her work. Here is a link to a CBS News story about Ms. Hannah and Amy Pascal, who found the screenplay and decided to produce it.

Unfortunately, at least in my view, the Post was bought by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos in 2013.

The last scene of The Post, with its break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate complex in D.C., mimics almost exactly the opening scene in the 1976 film All The President’s Men, which I decided to view just after watching The Post. That film centers on Post reporters Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) as they investigate the Watergate break-in. Their reporting was instrumental in Richard Nixon eventually resigning from the presidency. If you get a chance to see this after The Post, I recommend you do so.

Below is a trailer for The Post:


#ThePost #MerylStreep #TomHanks #LizHannah

Black Panther Featurette

Here’s a little featurette from Marvel on the upcoming Black Panther.  Star Chadwick Boseman, director Ryan Coogler, Marvel’s Kevin Feige and Stan Lee (co-creator of the character) talk about the film. It will be out in theaters on February 16th.


#BlackPanther

It is not going to go the way you think – Luke Skywalker to Rey

Well, he was right about that.  This movie didn’t go the way I thought it would.  Sorry to be a  little late with a review, but today was the first time I had a chance to see it.

It’s hard to write a spoiler-free review, but I’ll give it a try.  I wasn’t a big fan of this one, and someone who went with me described it as schmaltzy and badly written.  Ouch!  Writer/director Rian Johnson has been given the keys to an entire new trilogy of SW films, so we’ll see how that goes.  I have to agree that it was schmaltzy, she had that right.  There are a lot of callbacks to the original films, and at one point I was wondering if Johnson was going to have an original thought.

Having said that, there are some things to like – namely, BB8 and the Porgs are as adorable as we knew they would be.  The crystal fox-like creatures are, according to Nerdist, called Vulptices (plural) or Vulptex (singular), and they are beautiful.  You can tell I like the creatures, eh?  Also look for BB-9E, the Darth Vader of the droid world, as well as a surprise appearance by a character from one of the original films.

And yes, we finally find out who Rey’s parents were.

Some of the things I wasn’t so crazy about include, as I mentioned before, lots and lots of emoting, interrupted by some action sequences that were a bit repetitive, although it was a lot of fun seeing the Millenium Falcon in action again.  Things I thought (and hoped) would happen didn’t.  The ending wasn’t what I would have written, either.  This does feel like it’s a movie that’s setting up for the next one more than one that is a good movie on its own.  I’m glad I saw it, but I don’t feel a need to watch it again.  Of course it’s a little sad to watch anyway, knowing that Carrie Fisher passed away after the completion of filming.

Now about some other things… there are way too many trailers before movies these days.  The only one out of a dozen trailers (or so it felt) that I want to see is Avengers: Infinity War.  Now that we have reserved seating in the theater, I think I’ll get there about half an hour later than the official start time of a film, because I’m over having so.many.trailers!

The other thing I wanted to mention, in case you were wondering, is that there are no scenes in the credits, so you don’t have to stay for those unless you just want to.  This is not a Marvel film, where watching the credits is pretty much required.

Below is a trailer:


#StarWars #TheLastJedi

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