March 18

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“Isn’t it interesting that the same people who laugh at science fiction listen to weather forecasts and economists?”
– Kelvin Throop

It’s March 18 (or close enough) and time for another virgin tuesday roundup!

Perhaps the most anticipated film making its home video debut is I Am Legend. Leading man Will Smith, who is steadily fashioning a career of portraying classic science fiction characters, spottily displays a bit of geniune acting prowess in Legend but otherwise his performance is par for the course.

The two-disc dvd release is advertised as having two endings, one of which is “controversial”, but truthfully both are disappointing and grossly negligent with respect to the original Richard Matheson novel.

In the book an ironic barb is uncovered at the climax, in which it’s revealed the protagonist (Robert Neville) has become to the vampire race what they were once to humanity. With the essential extinction of mankind already certain, Neville becomes the feared legend – a man who stalks and slays the vampires while they sleep.

Granted, it was important for the filmmakers to change entire sections of the novel both for translation to the screen and to modernize ideas that were slightly outdated. Still, by tearing out the heart of the novel, the film is dumbed down until it dissolves into an illogically pastoral – even cheerful – ending.

Aside from Legend, a couple of films directed at children are now available: Enchanted and The Seeker: The Dark is Rising.

Enchanted is a by-the-numbers kid flick, while The Seeker is more action oriented and features diverting performances from Deadwood-alumnus Ian McShane and former Dr. Who Christopher Eccleston.

Best Picture nominee Atonement is certain to send drama fans flocking to their dvd outlet. Though a bit self indulgent, it is unquestionably a fine film and a worthy addition to any home library. As an added bonus, the dvd comes with more green dress goodness!

Lastly, to the great gratification of us here at Hurry Home Dark Cloud, the third season of Battlestar Galactica hits the streets today.

As for music, a few new albums from major indie acts are in stores today, including the excessively prolific Joseph Arthur. The new EP, Could We Survive, is among at least three others coming out this year in addition to a possible LP release.

Quasi-veteran Dan Bejar (who records under the stage name of Destroyer) and newcomers She & Him also have albums coming out today. She & Him consists of folk superstar M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel, and with their solid debut Volume One, they’re certain to have many already clamoring for the second one.

Two rogue acts who have both, curiously, benefitted greatly from hit indie films also have albums due today. Devotchka featured prominently in Little Miss Sunshine, and Adam Green (formerly of The Moldy Peaches) had tracks than ran throughout the course of Juno.

That’s it for now, it’s time to catch up on Battlestar before the new season premieres April 4!  

Celluloid

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I Am Legend Two-Disc Special Edition (2007)

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Battlestar Galactica: Season Three (2006-07)

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Enchanted (2007)

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The Seeker: The Dark is Rising (2007)

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Atonement (2007)

Music

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Destroyer “Dark Leaves” from Trouble in Dreams (2008)

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 Joseph Arthur “Rages of Babylon” from Could We Survive EP (2008)

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She & Him “This Is Not a Test” from Volume One (2008)

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Devotchka “Transliterator” from A Mad and Faithful Telling (2008)

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Adam Green “Leaky Flask” from Sixes & Sevens (2008)

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Sera Cahoone “Only as the Day Is Long” from Only as the Day Is Long (2008)

Battlestar Galactica

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Battlestar Galactica. Admittedly, the title suggests an embarrasingly puerile space-romp in the same vein as the original series which aired nearly thirty years ago. With that in mind, I can understand how many would question why the modernized “reimagined series” is receiving nearly universal praise.

Since the franchise relaunched in 2003, Battlestar Galactica has become without question the finest cable television program still in production – science fiction or otherwise. The masterful guidance of former Star Trek producer Ronald D. Moore deserves a good deal of the credit for reshaping the framework of the series, but there are a myriad of vital components to that framework.

Battlestar benefits the most from the prodigiously redeveloped characters and tightknit story plotting, which lends the program a much greater depth than it’s predecessor. Further, the decision to abandon many stalwart science fiction conventions (i.e. laser weapons, excessive technobabble, etc.) and rely instead on a more realistic depiction of a possible alternative future is perhaps the lynchpin of the programs success. 

Battlestar characters still employ ballistic weaponry and do not live in a utopian society. They do not explain problems with lines like “The primary hydroelectric magnetosphere regulator is overloaded” and they certainly do not possess technology that can materialize matter across vast distances. Further, the plot threads are not resolved by hack trickery such as the oft-used deus ex machina conclusion – which Star Trek relied on heavily at times.

With the fifth and final season of The Wire winding down on HBO and many abandoning hope in ever enjoying Lost again, it has been suggested by quite a few bloggers and periodicals (Entertainment magazine, for one) that a perfect solution to the television drought is to pick up BSG.

The penultimate third season will be available on DVD March 18, and the final season will begin airing April 4 on the Sci-Fi Channel. Despite being the resident town crier of the program’s merits, I must concede the executives handling of the show tends to repulse many viewers not generally drawn to science fiction. At times, it’s even insultingly pandering.

The two-hour film Razor, intended to serve as a bridge episode between the third and fourth seasons, simply did not reveal anything especially interesting – other than to prove they killed the Admiral Cain character off much too soon. Michelle Forbes, herself a sometime Star Trek actress, was simply brilliant in the Cain role.

Unquestionably the worst aspect of the film’s inital airing is that between commercial breaks, the powers that be inexplicably felt it was a good idea to insert spots after a major event occured that went something like: “It has been revealed. Admiral Cain is a….lesbian!” Ridiculous.

If the imminent release of BSG:S3 creates a vaccuum of disinterest within, I’ve helpfully provided a list of many other upcoming DVD releases. It should be noted that a host of wonderful films such as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 3:10 to Yuma, Michael Clayton, American Gangster, Once, La Vie en Rose, and In the Valley of Elah are all readily available on DVD.

Feb. 26 – Beowulf, The Darjeeling Limited, Goya’s Ghosts

Mar. 11 – No Country for Old Men, Bee Movie, Hitman

Mar. 18 – Battlestar Galactica – Season Three, I Am Legend

Mar. 25 – Lost Highway*

Apr. 01 – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Apr. 08 – There Will Be Blood, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Apr. 29 – The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Vol. 3

May 20 – National Treasure: Book of Secrets

* Finally, this bizarre yet brilliant film will see a proper home video release! Now, where’s my proper copy of 1492: Conquest of Paradise?

Published in: on February 25, 2008 at 7:02 pm  Comments (1)  
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