Friday, August 15, 2008

Send In The Clones

With the good TV still weeks away, I'm probably going to be taking in some of the big releases this weekend at the cinema (though not "Vicky Christina Barcelona," which isn't coming to Macon yet).

"Star Wars: The Clone Wars" is a continuation of the animated series of shorts that ran on The Cartoon Network a couple of years ago, and tells the story of the years between the second and third prequels. The animation of the shorts was done in traditional, 2-D animation but this new version is CGI 3-D.

Though I'm curious about the project, I've heard enough negative reviews of it (and no positive ones) that I'll wait for it to be re-run on TV — which will be in only a few weeks. In this rather unique deal, the movie gets a cinema release first before debuting on TV.

The other big movie that opens this week is "Tropic Thunder." Earlier this week, I covered protests from people representing groups such as the Special Olympics, who are protesting nationwide the movie's excessive use of the word "retard."

It's tough to judge something to be offensive without having seen it, but from what I can gather, the movie uses the word in a satirical sense and is making fun of the actors who play physically or mentally challenged individuals in order to win Oscars, not those individuals themselves.

Does that make it right? It's hard to say. I remember when "Pulp Fiction" came out and blacks were incensed at the frequent use of the n-word by both black and white characters. And though I enjoyed "Pulp," it did seem use of the word was gratuitous, whereas in a movie such as "Mississippi Burning," for example, the word is used to provide historical context.

I asked one of the demonstrators if she thought that by protesting "Tropic," it would actually bring more people to the film by raising their curiosity. She said that while that is a possibility, the movie could also serve as a forum to teach people that use of language can be hurtful, which may be the most important part of the controversy.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: If you are staying in and not watching the Olympics, you still have some choices of new stuff.

"Monk" (USA, 9 p.m.) must solve a mystery while trapped on a Navy submarine; it's followed by a new "Psych" at 10 p.m. "Stargate: Atlantis" (Sci-Fi, 10 p.m.) is also new, as is "Swingtown" (CBS, 10 p.m.)

On Saturday, I was a little underwhelmed by the premiere of "Primeval" (BBC America, 9 p.m.) The premise is pretty interesting, but the rather poor CGI effects of the dinosaurs proved to be a distraction. Still, there's enough there that I'm going to give the show another chance.

On Sunday, it's a night of endings. Chris Noth departs another "Law & Order" franchise with his final "Criminal Intent" (USA, 9 p.m.), which is followed by the season finale of "In Plain Sight" (USA, 10 p.m.)

On PBS, the last-ever "Inspector Lynley Mysteries" airs on "Masterpiece Mystery" (PBS, 9 p.m.)

On the bright side, we've got a whole lot of season left on the superb "Mad Men," (AMC, 10 p.m.), which has somehow managed to raise its game to an even higher level.


zodin2008 said...

In reading the reviews and seeing previews for both the big weekend releases, "Clones" and "Tropic Thunder", I knew easily which movie I wanted to see: "Thunder".

And what I saw was easily the funniest movie of the summer (possibly the year) and the third overall best movie of the summer, of course behind "The Dark Knight" (1) and "Iron Man" (2).

Yes, the movie is politically incorrect but it makes fun of everyone. However, I was thoroughly entertained for 2 solid hours and the Tom Cruise cameos are absolutely off the wall funny.

Phillip Ramati said...

If this was done as a PR move by Tom Cruise, it's the smartest decision of the decade, because he's brilliant in Tropic Thunder. It's easily the funniest movie of the year.