Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Underachieving Films/TV of 2015.

In no specific order:
1. RICKI AND THE FLASH--the creative combination of director Jonathan Demme and writer Diablo Cody didn't find a satisfying middle ground, though some decent moments and performances exist.
2. TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2--didn't hate it like many people in the critics' corner, but it proved that Nic Pizzolato as sole auteur was less effective than Pizzolato sharing the creative heavy-lifting with director Cary Fukunaga.
3. RYAN MURPHY HORROR STORIES--SCREAM QUEENS and AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL suffered from the exquisite corpse method of writing where tight, cohesive, coherent storytelling was tossed overboard for immediate effects: wicked, sometimes funny dialogue in the former plus supercharged brutality and as much softcore content as FX censors would allow (and they allowed quite a lot) in the latter.
4. TRUMBO--Jay Roach's streamlined telling of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo surviving the 1950s until rescue via Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger.  A sad case of both runaway to Louisiana production and a tight budget dictating the telling of a story, omitting Trumbo's exile in Mexico because it's likely too hard to fake Mexican settings in New Orleans and/or Baton Rouge.
5. FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD 2015: Apparently Carey Mulligan balks at playing even partially "unsympathetic" characters as originally written (see also her Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann's THE GREAT GATSBY).  Bathsheba, as played by Julie Christie in the 1967 original, was a complex person, with admirable and not-so-likable traits.  Much of this was ironed out of the remake in order to adhere to presumed 2015 notions  (Mulligan's, the creative team's, Fox Searchlight's) of representational appropriateness, alas--down to dropping the more ambiguous ending of the earlier film.

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