<p>Russell Tovey, Aidan Turner, and Lenora Chrichlow are the accursed roommates in the BBC&nbsp;production 'Being Human,' created by Toby Whitlow</p>

Russell Tovey, Aidan Turner, and Lenora Chrichlow are the accursed roommates in the BBC production 'Being Human,' created by Toby Whitlow

Credit: BBC America

The M/C Interview: Toby Whithouse on vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and 'Being Human'

A short chat with the show's creator as the first season arrives on Blu-ray

As with comic books, I'm somewhat slow to find TV shows during their first run on whatever channel airs them, often catching up with them on DVD instead.  I'm that guy who picks up trade collections to read comics, catching up with something like "Y The Last Man" once it hits book form, and I'm the guy who discovered "Deadwood" as a group of DVD box sets instead of on HBO.

As a result, when I'm sent shows on DVD, I'll almost always give them a try.  If the premise even slightly appeals to me, I'll throw the first disc on and see if anything hooks me.  With the show "Being Human," I hesitated briefly because I had a hard time imagining how anyone would wring fresh life from a show about a ghost, a werewolf, and a vampire sharing a flat in London.

That's where Toby Whithouse comes in.

Whithouse is the creator of the series, and after seeing what he did with that very, very basic premise, I was happy to hop on the phone with him to discuss the show's first two seasons and where he might be headed with it in the future:

Drew:  Hi, good morning.  How are you, sir?
Toby:  I’m very well, Drew.  How are you ?
Drew:  Very good.  So I finally caught up on the show and I really enjoyed it.  It’s one of those shows where you hear the initial premise and you think, "Well, that’s like the most obvious setup for something in the world."  Then it becomes about what you end up doing with the characters and the situations, and you realize it's not that basic thing at all.  Can you talk about the evolution of it and specifically how you sold it to BBC?
Read Full Post
<p>The Blues Brothers may have been the most iconic creation to come out of Belushi and Aykroyd's time on 'SNL'</p>

The Blues Brothers may have been the most iconic creation to come out of Belushi and Aykroyd's time on 'SNL'

Credit: NBC/Broadway Video

Saturday Night At The Movies: Belushi, the Bully Boys, and 'Wired' 2.0

What makes the Beloosh such an enduring icon?

John Belushi remains, in my opinion, one of the five greatest talents to ever move through the "Saturday Night Live" machine, and I would argue that it is only because he was one of the first-generation cast members that the show ever became the self-perpetuating legend that it is today.

There is a reason that first run of episodes from 1975 - 1979 gets romanticized by longtime fans of the show and comedy nerds in general.  There have certainly been many funny people on the show over the years, and there have been great moments with various eras of cast and writers, but it was the first cast that created the template that everyone else has followed since.  If you weren't there at the time, you have to try and imagine what the cultural landscape was like at the time the show went on the air  The conflict between young and old, hip and square, the institutional and the subversive, was playing out on the national stage in any number of ways, and while "Saturday Night Live" didn't create counterculture humor, it was the moment where it made the most aggressive leap to the mainstream, and the ripples from that moment are still felt today.

Sure, there were earlier examples like "Laugh-In" or "The Smother Brothers Hour," shows that helped pave the way for what "Saturday Night Live" managed to do, but those were prime-time shows under even tighter network control, and anytime the shows pushed the boundaries, there was blowback.  "SNL" was, by design, dangerous the moment it went on the air.  Calling its cast the "Not Ready For Prime Time Players" and making it a destination Saturday late-night event were part of the way they sold the audience the idea that they were seeing something beyond what TV normally allowed.  Anything could happen.  The cast felt like people who might lunge right out of the set at you.  If anyone embodied that rowdy, edgy attitude, it was John Belushi.  The Beloosh.  One half of the Bully Boys.  Behind the camera, Michael O'Donoghue got a reputation as the wildest of all the wild cards, but it was Belushi who the public knew and fell in love with right away.

Read Full Post
<p>James McAvoy, seen here in the new Robert Redford film 'The Conspirator,' appears as a young Professor X in 'X-Men:&nbsp;First Class'</p>

James McAvoy, seen here in the new Robert Redford film 'The Conspirator,' appears as a young Professor X in 'X-Men: First Class'

Credit: AFC/Wildwood

Bryan Singer reveals 'X-Men First Class' details: some big surprises, some big gambles

Xavier and Magneto put McAvoy and Fassbender center stage

Holy cow, some days it pays to pick up the phone at Harry Knowles' house.

Original "X-Men" Director and "X-Men: First Class" producer Bryan Singer and Harry have a relationship that goes waaaaaaaaay back to the start of both the site and Bryan's career as a filmmaker.  And it's as simple as Harry feels a great affection for Bryan's work, start to finish, and Bryan seems to like talking to Harry.

And when they talk, it usually results in Bryan spilling the beans in a major way, and that's what happened again.  Harry just wrote it up, and it is a vintage Ain't It Cool special.  Harry lays out a lot of the film's big ideas, pretty much exactly as Bryan voiced them to him.  It's not a critical piece... it's pure pitch, and as a pitch, it's a pretty radical shift for the series.

I'm a fairly on-the-record fan of Matthew Vaughn as a director, and I know he was disappointed on a creative and a personal level when "X-Men 3" didn't happen.  So far, it appears he's been able to bring his entire creative team with him to the project, and that's very good news.  I've long considered his partnership with screenwriter Jane Goldman to be one of the "secrets" of why Matthew Vaughn's done so well with his three films so far.  And the same is true of his producer Tarquin Pack.  And the same is true of his cinematographer, his sound guy, his costume and make-up people... Matthew's from that British tradition of the rep company, the people you keep employed and fed and working and prosperous, and who work their asses off for you in return.  He gets better and better as a director because they work together better and better as a team each time.  I'm really pleased to see they're shooting this in London and not in Vancouver or in Los Angeles, and not because I have an issue with those cities... it's just that a London shoot would indicate that this is Matthew's movie.

Read Full Post
<p>Kissing... fighting... love triangles... what's not for 'Twilight' fans to love about 'Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World'?</p>

Kissing... fighting... love triangles... what's not for 'Twilight' fans to love about 'Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World'?

Credit: Universal Pictures

An open letter to 'Twilight' fans about 'Scott Pilgrim'

Why you might be missing something you'll love right now

First, let me just say that's a lovely shirt you're wearing today.

I know we've had our differences, "Twilight" fans.  I mean... there was that one time... and then there was that other time... I admit it.

But even when I've been most vocal in my dislike of the actual "Twilight" films, I've had enough respect for "Twilight" fans and the conversation with them to take those reviews seriously.  I don't dismiss the books or the fanbase... I just disagree.

Last year, when "Twilight" showed up at Comic-Con, I remember having a long talk with Devin Faraci at one point during the weekend about how much fun "Twilight" fans looked like they were having, and how nice it was to see.  Some were young, enthusiastic, vocal, and wide open to the experience of the rest of the programming at the Con as well.  Some were older, but not the typical Comic-Con crowd, newbies who seemed to dive in whole.  It was impressive, and it was a reminder of just how fervent our first big pop culture loves can be.  I was a "Twilight" fan when the first "Star Wars" came out.  Rabid.  Enthusiastic.  Ready to expound on the matter at any opportunity.  Passionate enough to argue with anyone who dared speak ill of my beloved.  And it was my gateway drug to everything else I love today.

Read Full Post
<p>Adam Scott and Elizabeth Shue co-star in the bloody b-movie rampage 'Piranha 3D'</p>

Adam Scott and Elizabeth Shue co-star in the bloody b-movie rampage 'Piranha 3D'

Credit: Dimension Films

The M/C Review: 'Piranha 3D' redefines what 3D should be

Dimension Films finally lives up to their company name in style

First, let me pose a question to you:  what would you expect, or more importantly want, if you paid to see a film in the theater called "Piranha 3D"?

The worst case scenario for a reaction to a movie like this would be, in my opinion, indifference.  There's nothing more depressing for me to sit through than something mechanical and boring and perfunctory.  When a film has no pulse at all, I find it more unpleasant to sit through than an enthusiastically terrible film.  If someone really goes for it, but they fail completely, it's still worth seeing if only for that misguided passion.  It's the films where it feels like all involved are just picking up a check and sleep-walking through the work that chip away at me each year.

Thankfully, Alexandre Aja is a lunatic.

He seems to have rebounded completely now from the rancid, joyless "Mirrors" with this fishsploitation joyride that does its best to entertain from the first shot to the last.  It is shameless, in every way that matters, amazingly gory, packed with gratuitous nudity, and cheerfully unconcerned with padding at a brisk 82 minutes.  The film starts with a silly celebrity cameo and a bunch of wink-wink in-jokes that will entertain fans who know the origins of the original '70s "Piranha," as well as a fistful of CGI and blood.  That sets the tone that the rest of the film adheres to, and it seems like Aja's never been more comfortable than he is playing loose and ridiculous here.

Read Full Post
<p>Idris Elba, seen here in his iconic role as Stringer Bell on &quot;The Wire,' is set to play Alex Cross in a new movie directed by David Twohy.</p>

Idris Elba, seen here in his iconic role as Stringer Bell on "The Wire,' is set to play Alex Cross in a new movie directed by David Twohy.

Credit: HBO

Idris Elba and David Twohy team up to kickstart 'Alex Cross' franchise

Two guys who both deserve a monster hit team up on a good bet

When I went to the press day for "The Losers" earlier this year, Idris Elba was one of the people I interviewed, and before I got a chance to sit down with him, he took a break and went walking around the hotel where we were all waiting.  My buddy was there with me, and he's a guy who hasn't seen a single episode of "The Wire."  After the press day, he told me that he knew Elba was a movie star just from his time walking around the lobby and chatting with people before heading back inside.  "That guy was just cool."

Anyone who has seen "The Wire" understands that Elba's appeal goes far beyond the surface cool that made Stringer Bell so immediately arresting, and I think he's just waiting on the right role, the right film.  He was great in "The Losers," and I think he's done his time.

So it is good news indeed to see him step up to star in "Cross," based on one of the James Patterson novels about the brilliant detective Alex Cross.  Morgan Freeman played the character in "Kiss The Girls" and "Along Came A Spider."  Those were both midlevel hits for Paramount, but neither one duplicated the success of the novels, which are fairly huge publishing events.

Even better new?  David Twohy is rewriting the film right now and will direct.

Read Full Post
<p>Leonardo Di Caprio is lost within a dream within a dream within a dream in Christopher Nolan's brain-bending thriller 'Inception,' still sparking heated conversations among audiences</p>

Leonardo Di Caprio is lost within a dream within a dream within a dream in Christopher Nolan's brain-bending thriller 'Inception,' still sparking heated conversations among audiences

Credit: Warner/Legendary

Finally... as promised... 'Inception': One Last Kick

Yes, it's true, we're going even deeper into Christopher Nolan's dream thriller

Would you believe me if I said that the delay between part one of this article and part two was a way of demonstrating a story point about limbo in the context of how it's used in Christopher Nolan's "Inception"?

Would you pretend you believe me for the sake of our friendship?  How about if I promise to make this article better than the first one?

I will apologize for taking so long with this.  My vacation (the single longest stretch of time I've taken away from work in the past four years, according to my wife) was certainly responsible for some of the delay, but it was more than that.  It seems like it's been forever since the first review I wrote for the film.  Which I liked.

But, honestly, I don't think I did a very good job with the first half of this revisit article.  I was working too hard to impress, and I think I sort of cocked it up.  Summary is fine, and I really was trying to lay all the pieces on the chess board so we could talk about the moves Nolan makes in the film, but it's not analysis, and what a re-review should be on the rare opportunity that I write one is a chance to dig deeper into a film once spoilers don't matter anymore.  So instead of calling this part two of the earlier article, let's take a cue from Hollywood and call this a reboot instead.

Read Full Post
<p>Psssst... Karl... I&nbsp;don't think they have a Starfleet in the world of &quot;Judge Dredd&quot;</p>

Psssst... Karl... I don't think they have a Starfleet in the world of "Judge Dredd"

Credit: AP Photo

Karl Urban IS the law in a new 'Judge Dredd' film

Rumor finally confirmed as reboot moves forward

There are things I like about the 1995 film version of "Judge Dredd," directed by Danny Cannon.  I think it's got a great look, particularly in the way they designed the urban landscapes, and at the time, it was about as cutting edge a future city as we'd seen on film.  I love the Jerry Goldsmith piece of music that was written for the trailer, even if it never did show up in the movie.  And I think there are a few moments where they sort of captured the world of the original comic series quite well, with some of the side characters and environments.

Which is not to say it was a good movie.  It wasn't.  A big part of the problem is that you can't cast a movie star as recognizable as Sylvester Stallone and ask him to wear a mask that obscures 2/3 of his face for the entire running time.  And, sure enough, Stallone's ego forced the filmmakers to find an excuse to get the mask off for a good portion of the film.

Wrong.  WRONG.

I'm not the sort of person who insists that each and every detail of a comic make the jump to the big screen (or a novel or a play or any other source material), but when something is a key part of a character's identity the way Dredd's mask is, then you should do your best to honor that.  And it sounds like the producers of the proposed new "Judge Dredd" movie, now officially set to star Karl Urban as the lead character, understand exactly what it will take to bring Dredd to the screen successfully.

Read Full Post
<p>Uhhhhh... nope.&nbsp; No idea what the heck that is.&nbsp; I just know I'll probably see it in my nightmares later.&nbsp; Thanks, Wes.</p>

Uhhhhh... nope.  No idea what the heck that is.  I just know I'll probably see it in my nightmares later.  Thanks, Wes.

Credit: Relativity/Rogue

Watch: Wes Craven dreams up a brand-new killer in 'My Soul To Take'

Looks like 'Scream' and 'Nightmare' had a baby

I'll say this for it... the trailer looks slick.

I respect Wes Craven as a survivor in this business, but some of the films he's made have been as cheap and sleazy as anything in the genre.  His early films have all the style and charm of porn, and even after he would take a step forward with a film like "A Nightmare In Elm Street," he was still perfectly capable of taking a step backward with garbage like "Deadly Friend" or "Shocker."  

Before we see "Scream 4" hit theaters, we've got a new Craven creation that will introduce the Riverton Ripper and a kid named Bug.  Will they carry the same iconic weight as Freddy Kruger or Ghostface?  Only time will tell, but from this first trailer, it looks like there's a little of both in this movie's DNA.

Slasher movie tropes in full force?  Check.  Dreams and childhood secrets play an important part?  Check. Possible supernatural killer?  Check.  Kid wrestling with the nature of waking reality while his friends die around him?  Check.

I'm curious if this would still have gotten made after "Scream 4," or if this was meant to take the place of the "Scream" series for Craven, who has been pretty vocal about not just wanting to be a horror filmmaker.  When you meet him and speak with him, he's one of the most soft-spoken and cultured horror icons I can imagine.  He speaks like a guy who makes chamber dramas about serious subjects, not a guy whose career can be summed up in one giant body count.  Still, there aren't a lot of offers being made for him to direct "Music Of The Heart 2," so it feels like "My Soul To Take" was his way of buying back a little of his cultural relevancy, maybe paving the way for him to make something closer to his heart.

Read Full Post
<p>You know why Marpessa Dawn has that satisfied smile on her face?&nbsp;&nbsp;Because she just saw Criterion's new Blu-ray edition of 'Black Orpheus.'</p>

You know why Marpessa Dawn has that satisfied smile on her face?  Because she just saw Criterion's new Blu-ray edition of 'Black Orpheus.'

Credit: The Criterion Collection

DVD Shelf Double-Feature: 'OSS 117: Lost In Rio' and Criterion's 'Black Orpheus"

A completely different pair of films, connected only by an amazing location

Rio's been on my mind lately.

The new script I wrote with my longtime collaborator Scott Swan is set in Brazil, and we spent months researching the country and, specifically, Rio, which is a case study in contradictions.  No other city I can think of makes the distinction between rich and poor so visually dramatic, so geographically symbolic.  You can stand on Copacabana Beach, one of the most beautiful resort destinations on Earth, and stare up past rows of exclusive shops and expensive restaurants at the multi-colored favelas splashed across the hills above the city, poverty packed into carefully controlled areas and shoved out of the way, allowed to run rampant as long as it stays where it "belongs."

Surprisingly, there aren't very many great Rio films.  Sure, there's the searing "City Of God," and there's the brutal "Elite Squad," both of those fairly recent.  But considering the vibrant culture, both high and low, that has always been part of the fabric of the city, ti seems strange how under-represented it is on film.  It's a tourist spot that films glance over the surface of without ever dealing with the city's real beating heart.  On a recent evening during my vacation, I decided to watch two films that shared Rio in common, one on DVD, the other on Blu-ray, and in the end, they couldn't have been more different.

Read Full Post