Saturday, June 29, 2013

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Is Stefan Cassadine returning?

I don’t often buy into soap rumors.

Let’s face it, most of the time they’re started by fans on message boards.

My favorite are the people that actually claim to know the stars – and then say hateful things about them. Of course, every time they're proven wrong -- they say that the story changed at the last minute (which rarely happens).

Most Internet rumors come and go pretty quickly.

I’m starting to believe one, though.

Which one, you ask?

The one that says Stephen Nichols is returning to ‘General Hospital’ to reprise his role as Stefan Cassadine.

Why do I believe this one?

There are actually a couple of reasons.

The first is that the ‘Young and the Restless’ is apparently looking to recast the role he plays because
Nichols is unavailable.

The second is that Tyler Christopher, aka Nikolas Cassadine, was just signed to a long-term contract by GH.

The third is that Luke has mysteriously come down with some Cassadine malady that is going to kill him.

And the fourth? They recently resurrected Stavros from a crevice in the basement of the hospital. Why not Stefan?
Now, I don’t know for sure that Stefan is returning. Maybe I believe this rumor because I want to believe this rumor. It’s a definitely possibility.

The signs add up, though.

Stefan fits into a lot of ongoing stories right now. He has ties to Luke, Laura, Nikolas and Alexis – and that mysterious Swedish hospital has been key in bringing other people back from the dead. I wouldn't be surprised to find half the dead in Port Charles there if need be.

Now, my excitement at a possible Stefan Cassadine return is tempered by the fact that GH’s cast is beyond bloated.

If Stefan is coming back – then the fat has to be trimmed on that cast. Start with Spinelli and Ellie – work your way over to Taylor and Britt – and finish with Sabrina, Connie and Olivia. Hard cuts have to be made people.

For GH to be balanced, then you have to trim the needless fat.

I hear a lot of soap fans say they want this character back and that character back. Heck, I’d sell my vintage Millenium Falcon for Brenda and Robin returns.

That still doesn’t change the fact that if GH were a ship – it would sink under its own weight right now.

No one wants to see an actor lose his job. For GH to thrive, though, multiple characters need to go.
That means people losing their jobs.

That’s just the way it is.

So, I’m embracing the Stefan Cassadine rumor with a lot of hope – and a lot of fear. Because if Stefan comes to the canvas now, he’s going to be lost in a sea of faces that are all fighting for airtime.

He deserves more than that.

What do you think? Do you believe the rumors that Stefan Cassadine is returning?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Should the 'Terminator' franchise be rebooted?

Paramount announced this week  that they plan to reboot the ‘Terminator’ franchise with a trilogy of new movies.

That’s not surprising – just about everything gets rebooted.

The problem is, most reboots are terrible.

Yeah, I said it.

I know an argument can be made that some reboots are better than the original – but that rarely ever happens.

Sure, you can point out that ‘The Dark Knight’ is pretty much the best Batman film ever aired on the big screen. You would be right.

However, ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ really weren’t very good. And, as much as I liked the Christian Bale Batman trilogy, I have a certain nostalgia for the Michael Keaton Batman films. We can all agree the Val Kilmer one and the George Clooney one were bad.

Still, I think comic book movies are unique in the reboot world. Comics themselves get rebooted all the time. Doing it with comic book movies actually makes sense.

That being said, I still believe that the current Spider Man reboot is far too soon after the last three
Tobey Maguire films. It’s okay to wait, people. I digress, though.

When you look at film reboots, though, there are a lot more terrible ones than there are good ones.

For example, the ’21 Jump Street’ reboot took a show I loved as a teenager – one that was fairly serious – and turned it into a slapstick comedy. 

The horror genre is filled with terrible remakes – including ‘Halloween,’ ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street.’

And if someone can explain that ‘Dark Shadows’ reboot to me I would love to hear it. I’m still ticked off about how terrible that was.

Ironically, the horror genre is also one of the few genres that boasts decent remakes. ‘The Ring,’ ‘Dawn of the Dead’ and ‘Fright Night’ were all terrific reimaginings. They’re the exception, though, not the rule.

This brings us to ‘Terminator.’

I have to admit, I love the first two films in this franchise. The third film had some issues and that aborted reboot from a few years ago starring Christian Bale seemed to die a pretty quick death.

Still, if there is a film franchise that can be rebooted, it’s ‘Terminator.’


The time travel aspect, of course. That’s the reason the ‘Star Trek’ reboot works.

JJ Abrams took the ‘Star Trek’ franchise and started it again – but he smartly allowed that everything that had happened in those beloved lower-budget films still happened. We’re just in a different time line now.
‘Terminator’ could do the same thing. In a weird way, it doesn’t have to.

Because ‘Terminator’ is based on time travel – we can easily jump back and forth in the timeline. Granted, there is an issue with John Connor. He has been played by several different actors. Obviously Edward Furlong and Nick Stahl are out of the question since both are playing out drug issues in the public eye right now.

As much as I like Bale, I’m kind of sick of him. His John Connor reminded me of his Bruce Wayne. There wasn’t a lot of difference for me.

Honestly, I think you can cast someone new in this trilogy and be fine with it.

The problem you run into is Arnold Schwarzenegger. His face has become so linked with the ‘Terminator’ brand that it’s virtually impossible to do the film without him.

He’s aged well – but he can’t play a robot anymore, though. I don’t know how you bring Schwarzenegger back into the franchise – and I don’t know how it will be successful it will be without him.

So, there’s the conundrum.

What do you think? Is rebooting the ‘Terminator’ franchise a good idea?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Stephen King offers ups scares with 'Under the Dome'

Stephen King is one of those authors that you either love or hate.

I happen to love him – especially his early work. I’m a big fan of ‘Carrie,’ ‘It,’ ‘The Shining’ and ‘Salem’s Lot.’

Adapting King’s work to the big and small screen has been a mixed bag.

For example, I happen to think that Stanley Kubrick’s big screen version of ‘The Shining’ was pure genius. It’s actually my favorite horror movie of all time.

King himself didn’t like it – and he gave his blessing for a miniseries several years ago. I wasn’t a fan of the miniseries.

For every King work success (‘Carrie,’ ‘It’), there is also a King work disappointment (‘Christine,’ ‘Salem’s Lot’ the miniseries).
You can’t argue that King is a prolific author, though.

A lot of his more recent work has been hit or miss for me. The ‘Dark Tower’ series is fairly
interesting, but ‘The Colorado Kid’ is a disappointment.

‘Cell’ was a lot of fun but ‘Duma Key’ was really boring. You know what I’m saying.

That’s why I was so surprised by ‘Under the Dome.’ The book was a fun character study about what happens when people are cut off from society – and it’s every man for himself? What happens when this happens, but the rest of the world is still watching?

That’s the basic premise of ‘Under the Dome,’ which finds the denizens of a small town cut off from the rest of the world when an invisible dome descends on their small town and they’re trapped inside.

The story was adapted for television shortly after its release, and it’s hitting CBS at 10 p.m. Monday as a limited run series.

Like most King miniseries, ‘Under the Dome’ has managed to attract some interesting actors. Mike Vogel plays the central character Dale ‘Barbie’ Barbara, kind of the everyman in town. Britt Robertson plays Angie McAlister, while Dean Norris takes on the big bad role of James “Big Jim” Rennie. Rachelle Lefevre and Mackenzie Lintz also star.

The book managed to keep my attention for its duration – which given its length, is pretty much a marvel – so I’m actually looking forward to the series.

That being said, I’ve gotten excited for King adaptations before and been sorely disappointed. Here’s hoping that ‘Under the Dome’ is more ‘It’ than ‘Dreamcatcher.’

What do you think? Will you tune in to ‘Under the Dome’?

REVIEW: ‘World War Z’ decent zombie movie – but book is better

As a zombie movie, ‘World War Z’ succeeds where a lot of other movies have failed.

It’s a big budget extravaganza that has great special effects – and a truly breathtaking 3D monster scene – that manages to entertain a fickle audience.

Let’s face it, zombies are all the rage right now – so coming up with something new is hard.

‘World War Z’ isn’t exactly new – but it is solid.

Brad Pitt does a decent turn as Gerry Lane, serving as the purported heart of the movie. Lane is a normal man with a “secret” past that must do extraordinary things to see that the human race survives. This role is right up Pitt’s ally – even though he doesn’t do anything particularly spectacular with it.

Mireille Enos actually is the strongest actor in the bunch for this film – and she’s the actual heart of the film for me. She's not on the screen enough, though.

As a Matthew Fox fan, though, I was severely disappointed in his lack of screen time. I'm guessing
he had a lot more to do in the original ending -- which was scrapped.

Anyone that knows the history of ‘World War Z’ knows that the flick was plagued with production problems. It was supposed to come out last year – but the ending didn’t work – so new writers were brought on to “fix” the problem and a lot of reshoots were filmed.

Historically, when that happens, a movie tends to bomb at the box office and creatively.

If you weren’t aware of the production problems, you probably wouldn’t notice the decided shift about two-thirds of the way through the film. Even though I noticed it, it did not ruin the film for me.
The film was ruined for me, though.

I am a huge fan of the book. When I heard they were going to turn it into a film, I had doubts that it was possible. Essentially, the literary ‘World War Z’ is a series of vignettes that look back at the history of the zombie war.

It’s also got a heavy message about sacrifice and the human race – and exactly who is expendable.

The film version of ‘World War Z’ ignores pretty much all of that – and it’s the worse for it.

If ‘World War Z’ were just a zombie flick, I probably would have enjoyed it a great deal. Since it’s based on a book I love, though, it’s kind of a failure.

My other complaint about the film is that it is rated PG-13. As a horror movie freak, one of the
reasons I love zombie movies is because of the gore. Because of the rating, true gore hounds (like myself) aren’t really going to be satisfied.

In the end, ‘World War Z’ is one of the better zombie flicks I’ve seen in recent years. It’s nowhere near as good – or weighty – as the book, though.

What do you think? Did ‘World War Z’ delight, or disappoint?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Too many characters, too little time

Port Charles is becoming a haven for useless characters.

It’s no secret that the ‘General Hospital’ cast is far too bloated – but things are really starting to get out of hand.

One of the biggest problems associated with the big cast is that all forward momentum is lost every two weeks or so.


Because then the writers shift to covering another set of characters.

Quite frankly, there are just too many characters to give everyone the time that they deserve. When was the last time we saw anything more than fleeting glimpses of Lucy, Kevin, Scotty and Laura?

When it comes to trimming the cast – I know fans have personal favorites that they don’t want to go. 

When it came time to compile my list, I tried to be as scientific as possible.

Essentially, I looked at each character, the actress or actor that plays them and what they can realistically offer fans and then I went from there.

The truth is, some hard choices are going to have to be made.

So, who needs to go?

Connie: Ron Carlivati has a thing for DID characters. The problem is, he overuses them. In the case of Connie, the storyline was never entertaining. From my point of view, Connie isn’t necessary to the canvas. You can lift her right out and no one would miss her. That’s a sure sign she needs to go.

Olivia: Other than Dante, who would miss Olivia? She has never been a front-burner character. And, quite frankly, the last few years of her tenure have bounced from tedious to ridiculous. I was never invested in her relationship with Steve and her “visions” are so absurd they’re comical.

Britt: This character never had a chance. She was painted as an evil devil from the minute she hit the canvas in an attempt to prop Sabrina. It’s too late for the character. I don’t believe the baby she is carrying is Patrick’s. I’m sure a DNA test will show that it is (for awhile), but I’m guessing it’s Lulu and Dante’s baby. This way, when Maxie blows them out of the water and keeps her baby – eventually, they’ll still get their baby.

Sabrina: If you can explain the appeal of this character to me, I’d greatly appreciate it. Sabrina is
whiny, obnoxious and naïve. She spent months mooning over Patrick – daydreaming like she was a teenage girl – and then she had a Disney Princess moment and suddenly the writers are trying to pretend that she is now mature. Guess what? I don’t buy it and it’s far too late. I don’t care. I am never going to get behind her and Patrick. He looks like a pedophile with her. And I am beyond sick of the Sabrina propping. Carlivati has proven he has his favorites – and he’s willing to prop them at the detriment of other characters. Essentially, Sabrina is the new Natalie.

Patrick: If you told me a year ago I would be clamoring for Patrick to leave town I would have called you a liar. That’s how badly Sabrina has hurt the character for me. I can barely stand to look at him. I think Carlivati should try to get Kimberly McCullough back for a few weeks, bring Robin home, and send Patrick and Robin off into the sunset. I don’t want to see Jason Thompson lose his job – but I cannot stomach him with Sabrina. It’s too awful and contrived.

Spinelli: I know Bradford Anderson has moved to recurring – but can we please just oust Spinelli from Port Charles for good? His schtick got old two weeks after he got to Port Charles and it’s still massively irritating. I’m not going to root for him and Ellie and I’m not going to root for him and Maxie. The only thing I’m going to root for where he’s concerned is a quick exit.
Ellie: I don’t get the point of the character. I had respect for her – for about five minutes – and then
the writing just got too convoluted for the character. Cut her loose. The actress is talented, let her get picked up by another show.

Felix’s sister: That’s how much I don’t care about this character. I can’t even remember her name.
Shawn: I like the actor. I think he’s hot. I think the character has great chemistry with Alexis. I can’t root for him now, though. They’ve made him a hitman for the mob. That doesn’t make him unique anymore. It just makes him lost. Drop his body in the harbor next to Jason's.

NuMorgan: He reminds me of another Carlivati air hog – the Ford brothers from OLTL. I didn’t like them either.

What do you think? Who should go to clear up space on the GH roster?