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Jan Spears

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  1. Halloween (2018)

    The entire movie was built on contrivances like that. Another example is how stupidly and irresponsibly the Haddonfield police acted. Michael's escape the night before Halloween and the murders at the gas station on Halloween were known to them. The police should have ordered people to stay inside on Halloween night while they hunted for Michael, Instead, we see the streets thronged with kids out trick-or-treating when Michael starts his rampage! I had a similar reaction and I think it was because so much of the movie consisted of set pieces from other movies in the series. The gas station sequence was cobbled together from similar scenes in Halloween 4 and H20. Michael's first nighttime appearance on Halloween was a recapitulation of three separate scenes from Halloween 2. Even the confrontation between Laurie and Michael at her stronghold depended heavily on their confrontation from Halloween.
  2. Halloween (2018)

    I saw Halloween yesterday. I didn't dislike it but it left me cold. The good points: 1) Jamie Lee Curtis was in fine form in her signature role. I agree with the poster who wrote that Curtis deserves consideration during the current awards season for her performance in this. But, I also agree with the poster's sentiment that this kind of film will preclude any such consideration. 2) I liked how the movie tried to give characterization and back story to many different characters and not just the three main female characters. I especially liked how Frank (the sheriff's deputy) was tied in to the events of October 31, 1978, and how he regretted stopping Loomis from finishing off the wounded Michael. 3) Halloween (2018) and its relationship to Halloween (1978) reminded me a lot of the relationship between Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986). Alien was a horror movie and Aliens was a war movie. The same thing applied with Halloween (1978) (horror) and Halloween (2018) (war). The bad points: 1) By dispensing with all of the accretions that followed in the wake of the first movie, the script writers made the current Halloween different -- but not necessarily better. I missed Michael being Laurie's brother, especially since the script writers went to so much trouble to create such a powerful matriarchy (mother-daughter-granddaughter) to serve as his antagonists. Michael returning to settle unfinished business (killing Laurie) 40 years later played as nothing more than vanity on his part. Also, I thought H2O had the better introductory set-up in that Michael had been missing for 20 years but was not presumed dead. This would have been a more powerful explanation for Laurie's paranoid survivalism in the current film than what was provided. 2) The finished movie made the mistake of having characters state something on-screen which was then contradicted by what the audience actually saw. Specifically, I'm referring to Laurie's constant admonitions that Michael will return/has returned to Haddonfield to settle a score with her. But what we actually see doesn't comport with those sentiments. Michael goes on a killing spree but there's no indication that he has any kind of plan to find Laurie. That their paths cross is complete happenstance. Michael ending up at Laurie's stronghold later in the movie is also a complete fluke. 3) The movie just wasn't very scary. There's the odd unsettling scene, as when Allyson is stuck in the back seat of the police car with Michael. But the enormous body count -- I counted between 18-19 on-screen deaths -- ended up making the movie less scary for me rather than more. I found myself tuning out and watching the movie more for the special effects than any actual scares. (And I really despised what Michael did to the young boy at the site of the bus crash.) I would still put Halloween 2 as the best of all the sequels.
  3. The Great Gatsby (2013)

    Happy Birthday to Scott Fitzgerald -- born this day in 1896!
  4. The Great Gatsby (2013)

    Especially since Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Debicki have good chemistry together. Watching their scenes together in New York, I found myself wishing that Baz Luhrmann had made a screwball comedy with the two of them set in the 20s instead of the movie he made. Your memory isn't flawed. In the book, Nick very specifically states that he and Jordan were often together that summer and that he didn't always see Gatsby. There's even a passage toward the end of the book where Nick mentions how she would call him at work at a pre-arranged time because her own movements during the day made it impossible for him to find her. Fitzgerald could have written an additional chapter focusing solely on Nick and Jordan's adventures together, But, rather that deviate from the novel's tremendous forward progression, he would make certain comments about Nick and Jordan and then leave the rest to the reader's imagination.
  5. The Great Gatsby (2013)

    I watched the deleted scenes on the DVD bonus disc. The deleted scenes involve Nick and Jordan's relationship, the arrival of Gatsby's father after his son's death and Nick's final encounter with Tom. In my opinion, the deletion of the Nick/Jordan scenes was the biggest loss. In his DVD commentary, Baz Luhrmann says that he removed the scenes because he didn't want to lose focus on the Nick/Gatsby "romance". This "romance" came as news to me because, in the book, Nick is mildly disapproving of Gatsby until the very end. In addition, Nick states in the book that he often went weeks without seeing Gatsby during that fateful summer because he and Jordan were spending so much time together in New York and Long Island. So, cutting out Jordan makes Nick look like he's spent the whole summer caught up in Gatsby's troubles, (The cut scenes also include Nick and Jordan's telephone break-up, which is why Jordan disappears from the movie after the scene of Nick and Jordan together at the Buchanan mansion post-hit and run.)
  6. The Great Gatsby (2013)

    I agree although he does have certain moments I like. For instance, when he tells Gatsby, "You can't repeat the past," which is one of Fitzgerald's greatest lines. And later, when he says to Gatsby that he's better than all the others put together. Maguire is quietly effective in these scenes.
  7. Halloween (2018)

    I'm excited for the new movie but my one concern is that it will be too self-referential to the rest of the series for its own good. The beginning of the new trailer draws heavily from the original Halloween 2. The kid with the boom box bumping into Michael occurs in Halloween 2 just before Michael heads to the hospital. Michael taking the hammer is a reference to the scene later in Halloween 2 where Michael kills the security guard, Mr. Garrett, with a hammer. The entire scene with the older woman is a direct lift from Halloween 2 -- the woman in her bathrobe, Michael stealing the knife from the kitchen, even the piece of ham on the cutting board. What looks like Michael leaving the older woman's house and going next door where the young woman is home alone appears in Halloween 2 right after Michael departs the elderly couple's home. (This last scene may be deceptive -- it may take place at a different point in the movie.) I hope the entire movie isn't 'spot the reference'.
  8. The Great Gatsby (2013)

    I didn't see a topic about Baz Luhrmann's 2013 version of Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 masterpiece, The Great Gatsby so . . . I saw the Luhrmann version in 2013 and found the movie enjoyable enough, especially its visual recreation of Roaring Twenties New York. Surprisingly, I had never read the Fitzgerald book so I had no reference point for evaluating the movie's fidelity to the source material. SInce then, over several successive summers, I've read and reread The Great Gatsby and become entranced by it. If ever there was a perfect book, The Great Gatsby is that book, Nothing can be added to it to make it better and nothing can be taken away from it to make it better. It is perfect unto itself. In any event, I bought a cheap DVD copy of the Luhrmann film this summer to see how it compares to the novel. I must say that I found the movie much less enjoyable than I did before I had an actual reference point for it. The biggest disappointments were the changes/additions to Fitzgerald's characters, dialogue and plot. Especially disappointing were the changes to the established character of Nick Carraway as it exists in the book. The movie depicts Nick as this wide-eyed naif from the Midwest and then as a "morbidly alcoholic" wreck. Neither of those characterizations are consistent with Fitzgerald's depiction of Nick, who begins the book being somewhat worldly and ends it disappointed but not broken, Tobey Maguire's performance doesn't help matters as his acting sometimes seems more appropriate for a screwball comedy than the actual movie he's appearing in. I also don't like how the movie changes the book in regard to the blame for Myrtle's death. In the book, the driver who killed Myrtle is never found. In the movie, Gatsby is believed to be the hit-and-run driver. It's an important change because the movie version gives the people who attended Gatsby's parties a valid reason for not attending his funeral. The book version is more powerful because the no-shows make Nick realize how shallow and vapid the culture surrounding him really is. On a more positive note, the movie is a visual marvel. Two of the most beautiful scenes in the movie are Nick and Jordan meeting at night on a a rooftop restaurant overlooking New York and then Nick arriving back to his modest home and seeing Gatsby's house all lit up, I also admire how the movie incorporates numerous treatment's of the theme, Lana del Rey's "Young and Beautiful," throughout the movie; the jazz foxtrot version being the best version.
  9. Favorite Storylines: Gone But Not Forgotten

    Michael Logan's 'exit' interview with Beverlee McKinsey: http://iriswheeler.tripod.com/tvguide19920811.html McKinsey may have been exhausted after two decades of work on soaps (minus a short hiatus between leaving Texas and joining Guiding Light.) But she would have been savvy enough to realize that the decline had begun after the Pam Long glory years and jumped ship when she could. (Her maneuver with the contract was worthy of Alexandra.) Love the part in the interview when she mentions "stale tacos and bad Margaritas"!!!
  10. Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

    I wasn't sure how to characterize Wes Bentley in my original review, which is why I put name in quotes. Bentley never lived up to the original promise shown in American Beauty and, yet, he's still a "name" (or maybe a "face") lo these two decades later because of that same movie. Maybe it's a case of the career I think he should have had (in my head) being bigger that his actual career? In any event, once he showed up in Fallout, I thought: "He's got to be an Apostle. There's no way they would hire a recognizable name/face like Wes Bentley for this nothing part." And yet, that's what they did. They could have set him up as the villain for the next movie but that was the road not taken.
  11. Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

    You can watch Rogue Nation and Fallout as one movie since so many of the characters and so much of the plot recur from the first movie to the second.
  12. Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

    I saw Fallout last night. It could easily compete for the top position in any ranking of the six films. While it took a while to get going, the movie never let up for one second once the Paris chase scene started. The final part of the movie -- Ethan dangling from the helicopter/the helicopter chase/Benji and Ilsa duking it out with Lane/Ethan and Walker/Lark duking it out on the precipice -- left my palms sweaty! My one quibble with the movie was with the relative lack of humor. I especially missed the Cruise-Pegg 'Hope and Crosby' antics from movies past. But, then, when they did feature that (during the London chase scenes), the humor felt weird coming in the immediate aftermath of Hunley's death. Yes, I thought the same thing. Considering a "name" like Wes Bentley was playing the part, I thought for sure he was going to interrupt Luther and Julia and reveal he was an Apostle. Strange to see Bentley in this kind of part when any generic middle-aged character actor could have played it. Still, good to see Wes Bentley working and looking healthy. Like other posters have written, this is the rare franchise that has improved with age. One of the things I respect about this franchise is that the powers-that-be aren't afraid of introducing new characters and then keeping them for the long haul when they work (Benji in III, Ilsa in Rogue Nation). They're also not afraid of rotating characters in-and-out of the series. (Even Ving Rhames, who has been with the series since the beginning, took a breather at one point.) Finally, kudos to all concerned for including four strong parts for women. In a genre like this, you're lucky if you get one!
  13. All Episodes Talk: Dan Curtis Did It First.

    You're in for a treat if you keep watching. Over the 5 year course of the show, there were 5 great time travel storylines: 1795 (1967-68) -- A séance at Collinwood hurls Vicky back in time. 1897 (1969) -- Barnabas projects his spirit into his body in 1897 to find out why the ghost of Quentin Collins is haunting Collinwood in the future. Parallel Time (1970) -- Barnabas discovers a room in the deserted East Wing of Collinwood which is a portal to an alternate Collinwood. He manages to cross over to this world. 1995 (1970) -- Barnabas and Julia are unexpectedly thrown into the future via the Parallel Time room. 1840 (1970-71) -- Julia uses a mysterious stairway through time in the West Wing of Collinwood to travel to 1840.
  14. All Episodes Talk: Dan Curtis Did It First.

    I've never read anything stating that Dan Curtis and the production and writing staffs kept the 1795 storyline going longer than initially projected. 1795 is very "tight" in terms of its tremendous forward progression. There aren't many discursions from the Barnabas/Josette/Angelique triangle and Vicky's experiences in the past. 1897 is the storyline where all concerned may have kept the storyline going a lot longer than anticipated due to the tremendous ratings success. The 1897 storyline went on for a long time -- 8 1/2 months in 1969. (It's even longer when the introduction of Quentin and Beth and the haunting of Collinwood in 1968-69 are factored in.) Personally, I think 1897 lasted too long. I always lose track of why Barnabas projected his spirit into the past by the time the storyline concludes in November 1969.
  15. Season 4: Reviews and Discussion

    Thanks for the interesting tidbit! I continue to stand by my preferred running order for establishing the character of Tiffany Welles: Love Boat Angels (Tiffany joins the team. Expresses her fears and doubts to Bosley.) Angels Go Truckin' (Tiffany starts to integrate into the team. Tiffany and Kris have a blast as truckers.) Angels On Campus (Gives Tiffany's backstory.) Angel Hunt (Tiffany overcomes the fears and doubts expressed in the season opener.) In the long run, this running order may not have made a difference regarding audience acceptance for the character of Tiffany and her portrayer, Shelley Hack. Kate Jackson was irreplaceable in many respects. Still, I think this running order would have given Tiffany (and Shelley) more of a fighting chance.