Daily Call Sheet: Bane Said What?, 'Dragon Tattoo' Review, and Why 'Voyager' Blows

SIX REASONS ‘STAR TREK: VOYAGER’ NEVER REALLY WORKED

Wow. This nails it. Back in 2001, I gave “Voyager” two seasons before giving up. The political correctness was beyond undermining to the show’s plots, it was stifling and insulting.

Political correctness is a cancer on storytelling. Something that makes programs like “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “The Closer,” and “Breaking Bad” so brilliant is that this PC crap isn’t allowed anywhere near the plot.

Something that damaged the whole of the “Next Generation” for me was an episode where Picard refuses to launch a computer virus that would exterminate the Borg. In a fit of sanctimony, he likens it to genocide. Ever after, whether it was the show itself or the film “First Contact,” I blamed Picard for every innocent life lost to the Borg.

Picard’s decision might have made for interesting drama had the character been forced to grapple with the fallout. This would’ve made perfect sense in “First Contact” when he goes a little mad in pursuit of vengeance. But the producers never brought it up again.

The real problem with political correctness is that it makes decision-making too easy for our protagonist, which makes for boring, uncomplicated drama. I could’ve lived with Picard making that decision had it been presented as an impossible choice he would’ve been forced to live and deal and struggle with ever after. But the series was more interested in making a statement and, at least in my mind, suffered for it.

In other news….

‘CINEMA SEX SIRENS’ — 300 PHOTOS!

A list we can all agree on, methinks. Women, not girls, shaped like 14 year-old boys.

Because she’s such a horrible human being, it’s easy to forget how sexy Jane Fonda was in her prime.

SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS FIND E-SUCCESS

Love this phenomenon:


In 2009, Michael Prescott’s dream died, or so he thought.

After graduating from college in 1980, Prescott had labored for almost three decades to become a best-selling novelist, writing more than 20 books under various names. He enjoyed critical praise and some successes.

But when 25 publishers passed on buying his thriller Riptide, Prescott thought the gig was up. Then, on a whim, he decided to self-publish it as an e-book.

Today, the soft-spoken Prescott, 51, is living his dream. He is one of 15 self-published authors whose e-books, often selling for just 99 cents, have cracked the top 150 on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list this year, threatening to change the face of publishing.

For Prescott and a handful of others, the numbers add up. Prescott says he has earned more than $300,000 before taxes this year by selling more than 800,000 copies of his self-published e-books.

Five of Prescott’s thrillers have logged a total of 42 weeks on USA TODAY’s best-seller list.

Anything that goes around the bottleneck created by our elite, cultural gatekeepers is a beautiful thing and good for America.

By the way, Michael Prescott is a very good writer who I got to know a little bit online. He blogs here. A few years ago, when I was still in the game, I was hired to adapt “Mortal Pursuit,” a thriller he wrote under the under the pen name Brian Harper, for the screen. My marginal work aside, I still think it would make for a terrific feature film.

EXPERT WARNS REALITY TV WILL SOON GO TOO FAR

A real “expert” would know “too far” was achieved years ago.

WHAT DID BANE SAY? WHAT?

Kyle Smith:

…Bane, who in proper Batman tradition is wearing a horrible-looking mask. Mayhem ensues as Bane, to put it mildly, takes charge of the situation.

Also to put it mildly: I couldn’t, because of the mask, understand a word Bane was saying. The ver-boyish Nolan, when asked about this, seemed to agree that adjustments might be made to the sound mix. An IMAX rep who was there opined that “Christopher Nolan is the smartest person I’ve ever met” (I don’t doubt it) and offered that, since the sequence is taking place on an airplane that’s getting ripped apart, there are some things Bane says that we’re not supposed to understand.

That’s a pretty lame excuse from the IMAX rep. It doesn’t matter what Nolan’s intentions are. If the audience thinks they’re supposed to understand what Bane’s saying and don’t, the frustration takes them out of the movie. Nothing takes you out of a story faster than the belief you’re missing information — and dialogue is all information.

Audiences don’t need to hear every word but they need to be reassured they understand what’s being said. In Howard Hawks’ “The Thing,” there’s a rhythm to the dialogue that’s intentionally designed to have the actors talk over one another. But — and this is a big but — while the audience might not hear every word, they do know they’ve heard and understood everything they’re supposed to. So it works.

Nolan will have to fix this.

More here.

‘THR’ REVIEWS ‘GIRL WITH DRAGON TATTOO’

“But for all the skill brought to bear on it, the film offers no surprises in the way it’s told (aside from a neatly altered ending) and little new juice to what, for some, will be the third go-round with this investigation of the many skeletons in the closet of a powerful Swedish corporate family. Dedicated Fincher fans are likely to find this redo rather more conventional and less disturbing than Seven, Fight Club and Zodiac, all of which end far less reassuringly. Box office returns for this dark Christmas offering will certainly be big, although it will be interesting to gauge if Tattoo is still as major a part of the zeitgeist as it was a year or two ago.

[…]

“There was never any question that Fincher was the perfect director for this job; the material is right down the middle of the plate for him. But in his best and most unnerving films, there’s the sense of him pushing deeper, darker and beyond where most filmmakers go, into the unknown, areas you enter at your own risk. As the only intrigue and unanswered questions here involve Lisbeth herself, Dragon Tattoo is too neatly wrapped up, too fastidious to get under your skin and stay there.”

SOME LOVE FOR ‘HOME ALONE 2’

One of my all-time favorite sequels. What I especially like is how writer/producer John Hughes and director Chris Columbus amped up the Christmas feel through the New York City locations and especially the music. The bag lady is no substitute for Old Man Marley, but the climactic showdown between Kevin and the Wet Sticky Bandits is about as satisfying as it gets.

DECLINING VIDEO SALES CONTRIBUTE TO LOUSY 3Q RESULTS AT BEST BUY

“Best Buy attributes much of the profit drop to declining purchases of digital cameras and game consoles, as well as promotions — including those on Black Friday — to drive sales of tablet computers, TV sets and movies. Still, entertainment sales including music and DVDs fell 9% at domestic stores open 14 months or more.”

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LAST NIGHT’S SCREENING

“Rise of the Apes” on Blu-ray, which I am hoping to review later.

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SCOTTDS’ EPIC LINKTACULAR

GEORGE LUCAS OFFERS ‘INDIANA JONES 5’ UPDATE

AUTHOR WHO WROTE THE NOVEL ON WHICH ‘DRIVE’ IS BASED IS WRITING A SEQUEL

CHRISTOPHER NOLAN TALKS ‘THE DARK KNIGHT RISES’

TWO LONG-LOST EPISODES OF ‘DR. WHO’ HAVE BEEN FOUND

ORSON WELLES’ ‘CITIZEN KANE’ OSCAR UP FOR AUCTION — AGAIN

TRAILER FOR SEASON 2 OF ‘GAME OF THRONES

USA DOMINATES LANDSCAPE WITH UNPRECEDENTED SIX STRAIGHT YEARS AS #1

STARSHIP TROOPERS’ AND THE STATE OF HOLLYWOOD SCI-FI REMAKES

GEORGE TAKEI BROKERS STAR PEACE BY NAMING ‘TWILIGHT’ THE ENEMY

HAS ROBERT DENIRO NOW BEEN BAD FOR LONGER THAN HE’S BEEN GOOD?

MOVIE INK: A LIST OF THE TOP FIVE MOVIE TATTOOS

THE A TO Z OF MARTIN SCORSESE

‘SURVIVOR’ STAR HATCH RELEASED FROM PRISON

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR’ AND ‘GODSPELL’ STILL GOING STRONG AFTER 40 YEARS

5 PIECES OF ELIZABETH TAYLOR MOVIE MEMORABILIA I’D ACTUALLY PAY FOR

THE LATEST RELEASES FROM MGM’S BURN-ON-DEMAND DVD PROGRAM

REMEMBERING THE ‘STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL

THE STORIES BEHIND 11 CLASSIC ALBUM COVERS

25 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT ‘THREE AMIGOS!

THE ILLUSIONS OF BUSTER KEATON

TOP 10 EMBARRASSING MOMENTS IN VIDEO GAME HISTORY

A LOOK BACK AT PETER SELLERS AND ‘AFTER THE FOX

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