Nowhere Goes Somewhere--While I find it encouraging that our state is looking for ways of kick-starting truly local film production (the recent contract awards and the upcoming New Mexico Filmmaker’s Conference are both great starts), I find it even more heartening to see the sheer number of N.M. films that have materialized this year.
British director Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, The Grifters, Hero, The Hi-Lo Country, High Fidelity) has developed a taste for his country’s recent history. In 2003, he directed The Deal, a TV movie about Prime Minister Tony Blair’s rise to power. Having found his perfect Tony Blair in actor Michael Sheen (Underworld), Frears has again recruited the actor in a stand-alone companion piece titled The Queen. The film examines the events surrounding the Aug. 31, 1997, death of Princess Diana Spencer, spinning them into a pop culture docudrama about Queen Elizabeth II.
For the most part, people go to the movies to see their favorite stars. (“Tom Cruise? I am so there!”) Occasionally, people are attracted to the director of a particular project. (“Michael Bay? I love Michael Bay!”) Rarely, if ever, do moviegoers hunt down the work of a specific writer. (“Ben Hecht? That boy could work a typewriter like nobody’s business!”) That’s a real shame. After all, it’s the writer who has the most fundamental impact on a film.
If I were a television executive, I probably wouldn’t have programmed two series on the same network, both based on the behind-the-scenes antics of a faux “Saturday Night Live” sketch comedy show. And if I did, I probably wouldn’t have given them both similar numerical-based titles. I’d go so far as to say the guy who changed the oil this morning in my Toyota wouldn’t have made that programming decision. But somebody over on NBC did, adding both “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” and “30 Rock” to the fall schedule.
“Supernatural” (KWBQ-19 8 p.m.) Linda Blair (The Exorcist, don’t you know) guest stars as a small-town cop haunted by ghosts.
“Man vs. Wild” (Discovery 8 p.m.) First of all, this new show is essentially a rehash of “Survivorman,” in which some tough dude gets dumped in the middle of nowhere with nothing but his survival skills. Second of all, the guy’s name is Bear Grylls (pronounced “grills”). That’s just a little too “Grizzly Adams” for me.