Tag: camille guaty

The Exorcist (FOX) pilot preview: One more useless nauseating remake nobody asked for

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Pilot “And Let Me Cry Come Unto Thee” written and executive produced by Jeremy Slater (The Lazarus Effect, Fantastic Four 2015). Based on William Blatty. Directed by Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Gambler). Also executive produced by James Robinson (Ace Ventura, Robin Hood, True Romance), David Robinson (Dream House, Two for the Money) & Barbara Wall (Century City). For FOX, 20th Century FOX Television & Morgan Creek Productions. 64 pages.

Description: Two very different men of faith, Father Thomas Ortega and Father Marcus Lang, tackle one family’s case of horrifying demonic possession and confront the face of true evil…

With Alfonso Herrera (Sense8), Geena Davis (Grey’s Anatomy, Commander in Chief, Thelma & Louise, The Fly), Ben Daniels (Flesh and Bone, House of Cards), Camille Guaty (Scorpion, Prison Break, The Nine), Brianne Howey, Kurt Egyawan, Melissa RussellHannah Kasulka (The Fosters), Alan Ruck (Spin City)…

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It’s a constant for quite some time now: cult horror movies turned into TV series never work. Have you seen Damien, based on The Omen? Even Lifetime didn’t want it and left it to A&E. Horrendous. Have you seen NBC’s version of Rosemary’s Baby? One big pile of shit. Bates Motel is the exception. This show is pretty decent. Or at least was at the beginning. Hannibal? Very good series, but dismal ratings. In fact, even 100% original shows dealing with horror can’t find an audience: 666 Park Avenue, Scream Queens… It’s just not broad enough and not everything can be American Horror Story. Networks learned it the hard way. In the light of these simple facts, why did FOX order The Exorcist reboot to pilot? It’s beyond me. I just don’t get it. We know they are still looking for shows with preexisting name recognition (even if Minority Report flopped hard), but why betting on this one? They are heading towards another huge disappointment if they pick it up to series, which they would be crazy to.

Let’s be honest: The Exorcist is almost nothing for the new generation. Either they haven’t seen it or they didn’t like it. 40 years later, what was bold and disturbing at the time feels comical and boring. Remember. “Stick your cock up her ass, you motherfucking worthless cocksucker.” I guess we became too vulgar to be impressed by such a sentence. For older people, The Exorcist is a movie you can’t just play with. It’s THE classic horror movie. A masterpiece. I don’t even see them tuning in to see how it looks now. They won’t be this curious. So, I really don’t know who this series is made for. If it was for FX, or another cable outlet, why not? But for FOX (a network that doesn’t even air at 10)? Doesn’t make sense. You won’t get any “cock” or “motherfucker”, or other terrible words in the mouth of our new demon (the network version of the movie was censored by the way). She’s nicer than that, it seems. They won’t be able to do something very graphic either. There are limits on networks you just can’t ignore. Maybe that’s why they describe the show as a propulsive, serialized psychological thriller, instead of a horror one. There are maybe two scenes of real horror, where you’re supposed to see scary things like the famous head that rotates 360 degrees, but I’m pretty sure FOX will have to cut them heavily before airing the whole thing. Please note there’s no exorcism performed in the pilot, that could explain why it doesn’t go that far. For now.

There’s nothing much left from the novel/movie. They just took the name, a story that vaguely resembles it and made it a TV show. They insist on the family drama at the center, where Geena Davis, as the mother of the possessed, can do great things. And I have to say this part of the show is interesting. Depressing too. But at least you know it’s not gonna be ridiculous with such an actress. Then you got strange scenes in rural Ethopia, from Father Marcus Lang’s past. Those are, on the contrary, almost ridiculous. It’s all about weird screams and wild animals. It’s too cliché. Most of the pilot is about the daily life of Father Thomas Ortega, our real hero here, the chosen one. Depressing too. He’s very alone, except when he takes care of his sister’s son. It’s dark and painful. And gloomy. And austere. As you can imagine. Those characters are lifeless, even though none of them are supposed to be dead. I’m not saying the pilot is badly written or totally uninteresting, but it’s not engaging, appealing. Unless you are looking for a good reason to commit suicide. And most of all, it doesn’t make an hour long weekly TV series! A 2-hour movie? Yes. A 4-hour mini-series? Workable. But more than that? Nope. I certainly don’t see what FOX saw in it. To me, there’s no potential for a series there, either good bad or bad.

The Exorcist TV series doesn’t belong to FOX, or any other network. It’s just as simple as that. And I don’t believe in the theme of exorcism as something that could work on television. Exorcists are not the new vampires or new zombies. Sorry folks! A better (but not perfect) option is Robert Kirkman’s Outcast, coming to Cinemax in a few weeks (Read the preview). This remake nobody asked for is just useless and nauseating, since it doesn’t even pay a real hommage to the novel/movie. Why bother? I definitely prefer “sucking cocks in Hell” than watching this.

“Mix” (ABC) pilot preview: A half-baked family soap that still makes you hungry for more!

Mix

Created by Jennifer Cecil (Private Practice, Brothers & Sisters, 92010, Hostages). Produced by Rashida Jones (A To Z), Will McCormack (A To Z) & Jeff Grosvenor. Directed by Daniel Barnz (Cake, Won’t Back Down, Beastly). For ABC, Warner Bros. Television & Le Train Train Productions. 58 pages.

Description: Welcome to Mix, a family-owned restaurant in Austin, Texas. It’s a special day… or perhaps the eye of the storm for the Castillos, a multicultural and multigenerational family. Owner and larger-than-life chef Ray Castillo is doing what he does best: cooking. He’s juggling running the restaurant, catering his son Mateo’s commitment ceremony to his boyfriend Finn and preparing the kitchen for the return of his daughter Remy, home from a three year stint in prison for drug possession. His ex-wife but best friend, Stella Knox, is always around, running an offshoot of Mix called Mix Plus. The food, family, and frenzy makes Ray long for the days when the clan was one big happy family…

With Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue, Ladies Man, Hidden Palms), Joaquim de Almeida (24, Desperado, Clear and Present Danger), Britne Oldford (American Horror Story, Ravenswood, Skins US), Walter Perez (Fame 2009, Friday Night Lights), Camille Guaty (Prison Break, The Nine, Las Vegas), Sam Page (Desperate Housewives, Mad Men, House of Cards), Blake Lee (Parks and Recreation, Mixology), Yodbee

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Family drama lovers like me feel abandoned and desperate since Parenthood went off the air a few weeks ago, leaving us with our tears of joy and damaged hearts (and some Empire and Shameless to cope with). And we’re still not over the Brothers & Sisters‘ Walkers yet even if they were cancelled 4 years ago! So, a project like Mix -the only family drama ordered to pilot this cycle- is a blessing as much as a curse. All our expectations and frustations are focused towards it. As a result, disappointment is likely. And disappointed I feel. But hopeful too. Mix is just not as good as Parenthood and Brothers & Sisters used to be. But hey, it’s a pilot! These family shows grow on us as time goes by, if time they get. Maybe it will turn into something great…

What makes Mix different is, of course, its multicultural take on family, spot on with the diversity fueled transformation networks are living right now. The father is latino, the mother is white, their children are biracial, among them one is gay, another one just adopted an African kid of 9 years old and the third one is the sister from another (black) mother. We’re just missing an asian character and the mix would have been complete. It doesn’t feel very natural to pile up minorities like this, yes it’s kind of opportunistic, but once you’re past that, it just feels good to live in a time when such a family can exist on television. I can’t say I’m fond of the whole set of characters for now, ‘cos we have met them before countless times, and I can’t say I’m crazy about the cast either since Sharon Lawrence, Joaquim de Almeida, Camille Guaty and so on are not Sally Field, Calista Flockart, Peter Krause or Lauren Graham. But I can assure you it didn’t cloud my judgement about the script. It’s just that Mix would have had a better chance to succeed with a stronger cast. I would have loved Rashida Jones, who’s producing the show, playing in it too, for example.

Mix finds the right balance between the prime time family soap like Dallas and the more emotion-based family drama like Parenthood, the same way Brothers & Sisters did in fact. Let’s call it a family dramedy, with a lot of heart, a bit of laughs and the inevitable dirty little secrets we’re exposed to throughout the pilot. Nothing new here: a father with debts, a family business on the verge of bankruptsy, a soon-to-be cancelled marriage and a black sheep who’s returning and creates chaos but not intentionally (this is a story of redemption, not revenge). Nothing really surprised me, except maybe the relationship between the parents, which is fascinating the way it is desribed: they’re three times divorcees but they still love each other and they still believe they can start over. It could have been ridiculous, but it’s sweet. That being said, Mix really needs a good villain and a pretty bitch to step up its game and get spicier, pepperier. The restaurant setting really helps getting in the mood, it gives some kind of authenticity to the show, a rhythm too. And there’s food everywhere all the time. It makes you hungry for more.

I certainly have… mixed feelings about Mix. It’s almost too simple and too sweet to be really good. It could the CW’s version of family dramedy (they had one, Life Unexpected, which was cool). But it’s heartwraming and promising, they just have to “soap” it up a bit. I don’t see it being the next Brothers & Sisters or Parenthood but it’s a nice little show we could be happy to return to every week. However, if ABC doesn’t order it to series, no need to cry over it.