Archive for October, 2010

Good collides with bad as 'Five-0' flexes forward

October 31st, 2010
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“Hawaii Five-0” is at a crossroads as it airs “Ho‘apono,” its seventh episode, Monday night (Nov. 1).
CBS has given the reboot series a full-fledged season order of 22 shows; the Hawaii-filmed series has been called the No. 1 drama of the fall 2010 season; but while it is a DVR leader, its viewership has deteriorated since the pilot was launched Sept. 20.
This, just as all the stars seemed to be in harmony and alignment, as the “Five-0” fortunes were fitting like a glove.
But last week was somewhat of the good colliding with the bad.
Last Monday’s episode, entitled “Ko‘olauloa,” embraced the surfing culture with rituals that reflected real life — when one of the surfing community’s beloved in the storyline is killed, the response is widespread and heart-touching. So that ending sequence, with surfers on their boards forming a riveting circle during a service for the deceased, was superbly filmed from the air.
Further, the moment was blessed with Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s iconic voice, performing his powerful and haunting “Hawaii ’78,” a composition of Mickey Ioane, Abe Keala and David Kawika Crowley, that includes the in-Hawaiian lament, “Ua ma ke ea o ka ‘aina ika pono o Hawaii” (the phrase is on the official Hawaii state seal and, appropriately, on the “Five-0” seal, too). It was the series’ first use of Island sounds to frame a scene, and one that achieved an element of perfection.
Aside from the Blue Hawaii drink ordered at the Tropics, supposedly matching the color of aloha shirts worn in the scene, this episode will be remembered by the muttering of “flip flop,” by Daniel Dae Kim’s character Chin Ho, which provoked reaction online and elsewhere; as the actor explained in a tweet, he flagged the faux pas, since he knew that locals don’t use the “f” words, so taped an alternate scene with “slippers,” but was overruled. Yep, rubber slippers are, in local parlance, “rubbah slippahs.”
Then later in the week, dark clouds and shadows formed amid a rainy day here, with the word from the Mainland that the original Danno, James MacArthur, had died of natural causes early Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla., at age 72 — a failing liver among the reasons, according to local friends in the know.
That put an unfortunate lid on plans to involve him in a future episode in the reboot’s freshman season. A good thought and gesture, but too late. Producer Peter M. Lenkov has planned some kind of aloha this week — we shall wait and watch.
Over the past few years, MacArthur had mixed feelings about a relaunch of the show and reportedly liked what he saw of the 2010 model. Several tries to reactivate the “Five-0” franchise — a couple of movie projects had been in the works, and there was that disastrous pilot that never aired but cast MacArthur in a cameo as the governor.
Thus, he once said he’d become disenchanted and detached about the prospects of a relaunch — the fact that he was the lone surviving actor in the original ensemble of Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett, Kam Fong as Chin Ho Kelly and Zulu (Gilbert Kauhi) as Kono didn’t help.
This Monday’s episode finds a Navy SEAL on the lam, with McGarrret (Alex O’Loughlin) caught in a story of loyalty and brotherhood, of family and friends; the show introduces local-born Kelly Hu, in the first of recurring shows, as "Five-0" flexes forward. There are scenes shot at the U.S.S. Missouri and Waiola Shave Ice. Presumably, the Mighty Mo will be properly honored; and let’s hope shave ice won’t be called snow cone.
Some things continue to be sacred here.

‘Alegria’ in final shows — offering tricks and treats

October 29th, 2010
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It’s Halloween weekend — and you still don’t have a costume or a destination to celebrate?
Consider Cirque du Solei’s “Alegria,” winding up a two-week run with shows tonight through Sunday (Oct. 29-31) at Blaisdell Arena.
You don’t have to don Lady Gaga or Star Wars garb to attend. Just show up, and soak up the spectacle.
The cast will be showing off costumes to fill the eyes, along with amazing artistry and precision; some performers don masks (like clowns), which retain a particular look, but the real joy are the thrills in the air and on the floor.
In short: tricks and treats for a satisfying and entertaining evening.
Five “Alegria” acts that I particularly loved:
1 — Power Track. This is a bouncing, twirling, somersaulting ensemble, with troupers dashing to and fro, along a pair of tracks that criss-cross like an X. It’s part gymnastics, part acrobatics — and totally mesmerizing. You’ll sit on the edge of your seat, hoping the jumping and bouncing troupers won’t collide.
2 ¬— Russian Bars. Again, a group with remarkable timing, balance and expertise. Part of the team holds oversized bars on their shoulders, coupling athleticism of tight-rope-type moves from flip-flopping gymnasts who yield drama that’s not so elevated in the air, but high in appeal.
3 — Aerial High Bar. This is not your father’s trapeze act. There’s one swinging bar, with catcher aboard; a daredevil leaps from a higher-up platform just at the right moment, to be “caught” in trapeze tradition. Whoa! A solid nail-biter.
4 — Flying Man. A solo act, this virtuoso dangles and soars in choreographic sweeps, relying on gymnastic rings that are dangled with elasticity of a bungee, so there’s perpetual motion — and buoyant magic.
5 — Contortion. Two young girls, surely with spines of elastic, reflect pliability and timing with mirror-image synchronization. Can you put your leg over your head and practically touch the ground with your toes? This duo can — and does — with fluidity and finesse.
“Alegria,” which is jubilation in Spanish, offers inventive spectacle with timeless appeal. It’s the perfect show for all generations, from kids to adults.


‘ALEGRIA’

Final shows at 7:30 p.m. today (Oct. 29), 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Oct. 30) and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 31)
Blaisdell Arena
$20-$90
800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

ABC orders 6 more ‘Off the Map’ episodes

October 29th, 2010
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“Off the Map,” the ABC medical drama now being filmed in Hawaii, is a step closer to full-fledged series status, with the network ordering six additional episodes to the initial seven-show order. That means “Off the Map” will shoot a total of 13 segments here.
A full-season customarily includes the back 9 shows —a total of 22 episodes.
Hawaii stars as a remote South America post, with the focus on an ensemble of American doctors working and operating a clinic. Jenna Bans (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice”) is partnering with Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and Betsy Beers (“Grey’s Anatomy”) as producers.
The series stars Caroline Dhavernas as Lily, Mamie Gummer as Mina and Zach Gilford as Tommy, with Valerie Cruz, Jason George, Jose Julian, and Rachelle Lefevre also in the cast.
It is expected to premiere as a mid-season show for ABC, in early 2011, but recent buzz has alluded to a possible ramped up November launch, to to replace a faltering fall drama.

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'Journey 2' aligns stars like The Rock and Michael Caine

October 27th, 2010
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The stars are aligning for “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” the New Line Cinema 3D sequel to “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” now being shot in the Islands.
So "Battleship" and "Hawaii Five-0" aren't the only shows in town.
In "Journey 2," there’s a local dude, Dwayne Johnson ("The Scorpion King," "Race to Witch Mountain"), who will head the search for the returning young lead Josh Hutcherson’s missing grandfather, played by Oscar winner Michael Caine ("Sleuth," "The Dark Knight"), on a mysterious, uncharted island. Hmmm, sounds a bit like “Lost” without the polar bears, yeah?
The female leads are Vanessa Hudgens (“High School Musical” franchise), as a Pacific Islander; and Kristin Davis (“Sex and the City” franchise), playing Hutcherson's mom.
Which got us thinking: If Hudgens is spending some time here, will boyfriend Zac Efron be along for off-time fun in the sun? And regarding The Rock, whatever happened to the project that he was interested in doing — the biopic of King Kamehameha?
Brad Peyton (“Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore”) is directing the film, loosely based on Jules Vernes’ “The Mysterious Island.”
After local filming winds up, at Windward Oahu sites like Heeia and Kualoa Ranch, special effects underwater scenes will be done in January and February at a facility in Wilmington, N.C..
Warner Bros. will release the film in 2012.

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Showdown time for 'Five-0,' as November sweeps begins

October 24th, 2010
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It’s showdown time for “Hawaii Five-0,” now fully vested for the full 22-show season on CBS and heading into Nielsen’s November sweeps, which starts this week (Oct. 28) and continues to Nov. 24.
Launched and bandied as the No. 1 fall TV series, the filmed-in-Hawaii reboot tripped up in the fifth episode last Monday, becoming the second banana in its Monday night time slot — behind ABC’s “Castle.” So there’s a lot of work to be done, to raise the viewership and ramp up enthusiasm to season-opener levels.
How? Some thoughts:
* Tighter scripts, with attention paid to interaction of characters. The banter between Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danny “Danno” Williams (Scott Caan), is getting weary, even tad boring. McGarrett has yet to prove he has leadership finesse; and is that answer-back Danno attitude possibly a case of insubordination? And “Book ‘em Danno” is infrequently uttered — what twice or thrice, since the series was launched — and not like the original Jack Lord-James McArthur original, where the utterance was expected at least one during an episode. Further, Caan is spinning circles around O’Loughlin, with his spitfire wit and goofy charm; O’Loughlin’s sex appeal (remember, he was in bed and shirtless in last week’s episode), didn’t register high in the ratings meter, so maybe he should keep his skin — and tattoos — covered. But remember, O’Loughlin is top banana, drawing a salary of $100,000 per week, compared to Caan’s $80,000, so some paycheck adjustment just might be in the making.
* Better focus on the ensemble. Clearly, there’s the side story of Chin Ho (Daniel Dae Kim), the tainted cop, who recommended his sexy cousin Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park) to complete the four wheels in the “Five-0” machine, but both have yet to strut their stuff. OK, Park has brought grace and dignity to the bikini, but does she have to be skimpily dressed so frequently? And are “Lost” fans losing interest in “Five-0,” because of the lack of a story spin for Kim? Are “Battlestar Galactica” boosters of Park looking elsewhere in the TV universe? Maybe their visibility quotient parallels their payroll ranking.
* A less frenetic pace. The show is perpetual motion, with chases (in cars, on foot, on boats) and trigger-happy shooters (handguns and machine guns), augmented by rock/hip-hop sounds. Can’t some of the crime be combated by the mind, instead of by mighty weapons? And when will the Hawaiian sounds — there are some upbeat local chants and popular, hip tunes, you know? — going to be part of the aural wallop? Is the tempo too fierce and fast for the calm and lethargic nature of the Islands? The show still mirrors the pace of “CSI: Miami,” with flamingos replacing palms and high-rises subbing for the Koolaus.
* More gorgeous Island ’scapes. Show us more scenics — like the chopper aerial shots, of the emerald seas; like the waterfalls and rainforest-like terrain of the undisturbed Molokai. Kaneohe Bay, Maunalua Bay, Hanauma Bay, the Pali, the sandy stretches of Lanikai and Ala Moana beach parks. The eye candy brings relief to that busy, dizzy pace.
* Cultural sensitivity and awareness, to reflect Honolulu. As previously mentioned in this blog, boosting cultural elements to make “Hawaii Five-0” reflect the Island lifestyle, albeit updated to contemporary times, would enrich the show tremendously. A luau; a sashaying hula or pulsating Samoan fire knife dance; a bon dance (OK, it’s out of season snow, but can easily be replicated with young and old in kimono, around which crime can play). Lunchtime at Bishop Street or Ala Moana Center. And schools; geez, cops are called to schools in real life, why not in fictionalized Hawaii?

It’s no surprise that the network — which had ordered an initial 13-show season — rewarded “Five-0” with what the industry calls “the back nine,” the indicator that it has faith in its product and is fully committed to its stars.
With about half of the already-filmed inventory now airing, and the production schedule approaching the half-way point, it’s important to get the characters established, and their markers in place.
We’re going to finally meet Danno’s wife Rachel, played by Australian
Claire Van Der Boom (from “The Pacific”), so there will more familial issues concerning their daughter Grace. Till now, all Danno’s done is to rant about her and her ways, between his gripes with McGarrett. Is she all that he’s made up to be? Will she and he lock horns?
We’re still wondering the relevance of introducing Mary Ann McGarrett, sister of the detective, played by Taryn Manning — kind of a needless distraction. Kelly Hu will get her launch shortly, as an aide to the governor; maybe she should be an evil nemesis to McGarrett, the way she haunted the folks on both "NCIS" and "NCIS: Los Angeles." More juice for the viewing party.

Meanwhile, Chin Ho still is awaiting a key story line; some resolution to his tarnished cop reputation. Kono’s b.f., a white dude, gets introduced this week, and he’s going to be a thorn, too, if his presence continues.
If all this is overwhelming and you need to sort it all out, you can at least get a glimpse of the first episode of “Five-0,” themed “Ohana,” which is set to be retelevised by CBS at 8 p.m. Nov. 13 (an hour later on the Mainland).
About the November sweeps:
Sweeps time generally means the network tries its best to haul out its best shows and specials to boost its ratings during prime time; bigger ratings mean higher ad rates (and revenues). While this ranking competition runs a month, those with Nielsen diaries — weeklong books that reflect what shows are watched, and hence, rated — will post their habits only for one week of the month.

“Ko‘olauloa,” this week’s episode, again features Masi Oka as Max Bergman, the bizarre piano-playing forensics expert. Surf’s up, in a show involving the murder of a honcho of a surfing company, drawing Kono back into action (the CEO was her surf mentor) and exploring the North Shore culture. Maybe the show can create a ratings tsunami with footage of Sunset Beach waves. Well, one can only hope.