Monday, April 30, 2012

Tin Man - Over the Slow Pacing

When Tin Man first came out, I was mostly excited because Zooey Deschanel gets to play Dorothy (called DG in this one) in a Wizard of OZ reimagining.

Upon watching in it's original air dates, I was blown away by the visuals but felt alienated in the slow pace of the story.

The movie is helmed by the Halmi duo, who also worked on the epic 10th Kingdom. That thing was 7 hours long, but the pacing was so on that it didn't feel that way. Tin Man is not as long as 10th Kingdom but man did each episode (3 episodes 1 1/2 hour long each) feel like a task.

If Zooey weren't a part of this mini-series, I really wouldn't have paid it no mind.

Years later, I decide to watch it on Blu Ray (because TV films on Blu Ray ROCK!!!). I sat down and watched all 4 1/2 hours of this mini-series. One sitting. I watched it with open eyes and an open mind. I came to realize it's not as bad as I thought. If anything, with time it has gotten better.

The slow pacing isn't as grating if you come to expect it.

I was mostly impressed with the steampunk look of this mini-series. Steampunk and Oz are a good marriage.

There are a lot of references to the books and the popular 1939 MGM classic.

I really like the two leads in this one. It is no secret that I am in love with our lead, Zooey. Zooey Deshchanel brings her unique acting technique to a part that really required her to stretch her limits. In this one movie she has to be vulnerable, strong, confused, scared out of her mind and heroic; all while being a normal girl from Kansas. I'm a huge Zooey fan. Check out her band She and Him. Kathleen Robertson plays our villainess. She suceeds in going for a much quieter, more sinister witch than previously portrayed before. These two are a joy to watch in their individual parts as well as their scenes together.

Rewatching this mini-series with unbiased eyes, I have found I do enjoy this piece more than I thought. I was too busy comparing it to other adaptations of Oz and other film productions of the Halmi duo that I couldn't properly just sit down and enjoy the show. While slow at times, it is a good piece of television that has the rare ability to be it's own work and still pay homage to the original. I'm going to watch Witches of Oz now :-)

Monday, April 2, 2012

House of Dark Shadows - Now That's a Vampire Drama

I am a Dark Shadows newbie. I used to pass by reruns of this soap opera in the 80s and 90s and it would always be on in the background. I didn't really pay much attention to it.

Once I read that Tim Burton decided to create a film version of it, I decided to give it a chance. Tim was a fan of Dark Shadows and he'd speak of the show in such a loving and nostalgic manner.

I'd like to think that Tim and I have similiar tastes. Boy was I right. This show is sooooo adictive. I am most attracted to the acting and the overall eerie tone of this soap opera. In interviews, Burton mentioned that the appeal of the show is hard for him to explain, but I think I could try: Being a supernatural drama, the soap opera style acting the eerie music and the gothic background really helps to establish the other worldyness of it all. It's very easy to place it outside of the realm of reality and that's what appeals to me about this show.

I saw a few episodes, 210-226 to be exact, when I decided to look up the first of two feature films that were produced during the original broadcast of Dark Shadows.

House of Dark Shadows takes the tale of the popular character,  Barnabas Collins, and creates a very compelling film around his story. I consider myself a newbie to this world, but found this feature film to appeal to both fans and non-fans. The movie doesn't require  prior knowledge of any of the plots of the TV soap to enjoy. I am most interested to see what Tim Burton does with the material.

The movie plays as a slasher piece, a whodunnit mystery and a gothic romance as it follows the vampire Barnabas' journey and the strange murders that follow.

Like the series it's very atmospheric and allows you to get engrossed in this strange world before the poo hits the fan, and boy does it HIT the fan yo!!!

The bigger budget allowed for more blood and deaths as well as bigger set pieces. I love the soap opera for its theatrical quality, but House of Shadows is truly a feature film. For the moment it's only available as an iTunes rental, but it's worth the 3.99 rental ;-)