Category Archives: kathy bates
I am not a fan of either David E. Kelley or TV law shows. The first part is a matter of liking good writing and not liking where the author puts his opinions inappropriately into the mouths of his characters. Kelley also gets very preachy and overly topical in forums where it’s supposed to be entertainment, not op-ed. The second part is first because it usually bores me, and also, The Bride, being an attorney herself, has a very low tolerance for such crap in her off-work life.
When The Bride showed interest in “Harry’s Law,” which also starred Stephen King favorite Kathy Bates at her acerbic best, I went easily along for the ride, despite it being a David E. Kelley law drama. Disenfranchised and disillusioned lawyer Harriet “Harry” Korn finds new life as a neighborhood attorney based out of a shoe store in a bad section of Cincinnati. She was surrounded by a cast of well-meaning folks who equally believe in helping their neighborhood. It was a different kind of law show, more about community than court, and it was also critically acclaimed, and one of the few new series to survive what has lately been a rather nasty television season of canceled programs.
When it returned this season, things were different. The kind of lawyers she fought against in the first season, she seemed to turn into. The kind of cases she would never have taken in the first season, she takes in every episode. And the very law firm she opposed in most episodes in the first season, she merges with! What the hell happened?
Basically all of the charm, wit and humanity that brought both The Bride and myself in to this series is gone. “Harry’s Law” is just another law show now. Is David E. Kelly just recycling old “The Practice” scripts now? Is he getting even with NBC for not picking up his “Wonder Woman“? What the hell?
The Blind Side ~ This is easily one of Sandra Bullock’s best performances and obviously, with an Oscar for her trouble, one of her most acknowledged. And that last part is a shame because Sandra is always excellent. Exept of course for Miss Congeniality 2 and picking Jesse James, but I can forgive her for those mistakes.
I’ll say up front that I didn’t care for her Southern accent in The Blind Side, but the rest of it makes up for it. It’s an Oscar film, and it got Sandra her first (and it shouldn’t be her last), so I can overlook the overworked accent. The accent would have fit Julia Roberts well, so thank God she turned this part down. It’s really nice of Julia to turn down all the good roles the last year or so. I wonder when she’ll be firing her agent?
The story, that of a young athlete from the wrong side of the tracks taken in by an upper class family and eventually makes it to the NFL, is a true one, an uplifting and positive one. And if it seems clichéd, it can’t be helped – it’s based on a true story.
The cast is top notch, not just Sandra, but Quinton Aaron, Tim McGraw and Kathy Bates are all in excellent form. The Blind Side is must see.
To my mind there are only a few reasons for a remake. The update – the film needs a retelling because the original is dated and makes less sense because of it. Technology – the special effects can now be done better because the technology has arrived to do so. And finally, a new twist – something so original, some new factor that spins the first version on its head, hopefully to a superior fashion. The Day the Earth Stood Still for 2008 does none of these.
The remake twists the original story in a new direction, a politically correct green one. The human race is killing the Earth, so aliens (well, only a couple, really) come down to set things straight and exterminate the pests (us). Really, not the best of plots, a bit of a cliché with some light global warming seasoning thrown in, but that’s what the producers have done to us this time.
The cast is a mixed bag with Kathy Bates revisiting the evil well for her role as a maniacal Presidential aide and Jennifer Connolly completely wasted except as eye candy. This must have been one hell of a paycheck for Ms. Connolly. One can only hope she learns to pick better roles in the future. Keanu Reeves for once is half-way decent as his emotionless monotone is perfect in this version of Klaatu. He’s likable, and there’s not many things he’s in of late that I can say that about.
The highlight of the original film, the robot Gort, is a badly animated CGI creation in this one. And while it’s the best thing about the remake it barely appears, and when it does it becomes a bad special effect that makes the film version of Galactus from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer look positively lovely. Boo. Hiss. And I mean that from my heart.
When a remake is this far off the mark, so different from the look and flavor of the original source material, I say why even retain the name? This is much like the American Godzilla or the more recent Wanted. To the producers – if the source material wasn’t what you had in mind, why pay all that money for the film rights? Give it your own title and keep all the money.
Suffice it to say, don’t see this if you’re a fan of the original. It will be barely watchable for you. Not a great movie, a horrible remake, but a decent watch for those who don’t care about classic film.
NOT THE BOOK BUT NOT BAD EITHER
A Video Review of Dolores Claiborne
Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker
Stephen King is a gifted writer. No, that’s not quite right, it’s an amazing understatement. King is the world’s best selling author. He’s also one of my favorites. If you’ve read him you know how he writes. Most of the stuff happens in people’s heads. This is very hard to translate to film. This is why I shudder every time Hollywood brings one of his works to the big screen. They very rarely get it right.
The book of “Dolores Claiborne” was the rather disjointed if not entertaining life story of an abused wife who had had enough and finally fought back. The book covers decades. That’s a hard thing to do in a film. So Hollywood changed the thrust of the story to a murder mystery with a mother and daughter’s relationship at its center. The story is all still there just from a different perspective and additional information. It’s really not as bad as previous King adaptations.
Kathy Bates, who has appeared in quite a few King works most notably Misery for which she won an Oscar, plays the title character and Jennifer Jason-Leigh is her daughter. Christopher Plummer does an interesting turn as the detective after Dolores, his affected Maine accent sadly diluting his acting ability.
Dolores Claiborne isn’t a horror movie despite who wrote it. There is some pretty intense domestic violence and a couple of bizarre dissolves but no monsters that go bump in the night. It’s not the book but it’s not bad either. See it.