CE Films - Part 16 - 2007-2008

22 Jan 2007
TV series | By Tim Kring
S. 1, ep. 12: 'Godsend' dir. Paul Shapiro, wr. Tim Kring
ep. 13: 'The Fix' dr. Terrence O'Hara, wr. Natalie Chaidez
ep. 14: 'Distractions' dir. Jeannot Szwarc, wr. Michael Green
ep. 16: 'Unexpected' dir. Greg Beeman, wr. Jeph Loeb
ep. 17: 'Company Man' dir. Allan Arkush, wr. Bryan Fuller
Role: Claude (invisible man).

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Alex: "Sci-fi series, which development of quality has been discussed to death, but we're interested in the well-crafted first season. CE plays Claude – the invisible man. He appears briefly in several episodes as a tutor to another character, teaching him to control his powers, and then, a little more extensively, in the episode 'Company Man', which gives a glimpse into Claude's younger days."

Chiclit: "The series was a critical and popular hit in the United States in its first season, generating a lot of buzz – Eccleston joining 'Heroes' for 5 episodes was a nice surprise for a lot of folks. The series is known for casting sci-fi icons in guest roles; indeed during CE's episode one also gets to see George Takei of 'Star Trek' fame, and, for real Doctor Who fans: CE's character also shares scenes with Eric Roberts (who played the Master in the 1996 'Doctor Who' movie to Paul McGann's Doctor number Eight). Eccleston even gives a 'shout out' to his Doctor character – reportedly his own idea – by using a familiar word."

A: "Claude is played in an extremely engaged manner by CE, and it feels as if he was very comfortable with the character, and for the viewer it is easy to respond to him. Claude is a hobo with murky past, using his invisibility for, among other classified things, his kleptomania hobby and stalking people in their homes. He is charismatic, impressive in where-the-wild-things-are manner, nifty in his undertakings, and it's easy to be enticed even by his cynical views and sociopathic ways."

C: "What Alex is alluding to above, is that quite simply, CE dominates every scene he is in. Effortlessly. It's not only fun to watch the character, it's nice to see Eccleston – as usual – making the dialogue pop and inspiring those sharing screen time with him to their best performances."

A: "
And then you're also presented with Claude's previous, idealistic, self, and it couldn't be further away from his current 'people suck' and 'everyone's like the rest' persona. As you learn more about him, his reasons, you come nearer understanding him – but you never get the full picture.

"It's possible to only watch these 5 episodes on their own, although you might need to read up a little afterwards. There's also a probability that you'll feel inclined to get familiar with the whole first season. The biggest problem with the series is that it simply doesn't have enough Claude."

Conclusion: Outstanding cameo role.

Extra materials can be accessed via this post.

'Heroes' is set to get a reboot as 'Heroes Reborn' in 2015. Indiewire article rooting for Claude.

DVD Notes:
2007 "Universal" Regions 2, 4, 5 (Series 1, Part 2). English SDH subtitles. Extras: Deleted scenes; Commentaries; Profile of artist Tim Sale.

4 Oct 2007
Film | Dir. David L. Cunningham | Wr. John Hodge & Susan Cooper (novel)
Role: The Rider.

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Chiclit: "I think this movie was a bit of disappointment to those who followed the books it was based on (Susan Cooper's 'The Dark Is Rising'), but if you take it for what it is, it's a good family movie for those who like 'Harry Potter', so if you are looking for that CE family movie this is it.

"Chris plays a dual role, gets to be both geeky/comic and malevolent, so you get to see a CE sampler of skills, and he rides a big horse."

Alex: "The horse is called Rusty and delivers a believable performance in the unwholesome climate of Romania.

"Looking specifically at CE's character, The Rider (manifestation of dark & evil on Earth menacing a boy with ancient powers), you do not have to be merely polite to say that it is an absolutely professional product. The duality, glimpses of tangible anger. The main problem is the laziness of dialogue writers and butcher-job of sound editing. For the latter, compare 'And now with the darkness comes the cold' and any of the earlier utterances.

"The idea of the lord of darkness as a continuity announcer might be rather entertaining in itself, but is no excuse to make it into a knife, cutting the strings that hold the film together – and it's not the worst film in history. It is fully capable of creating a nice atmosphere, and the effects are often enticing, so it is indeed a pity they failed to use all the aces they were handed. Positive things, like the scene with shopping mall security guards – great promises that come to nothing – weights of lead in a paper ship.

"Certainly, the readers and fans of the original novels might be overzealous in their critique, but it is not ungrounded. If you have read the story, you can clearly see how it has been translated into a film. A job honestly performed that created problems via namely the thought-out approach. Certain clumps of narrative or imagery had been successfully transplanted, but when it comes to the holding structure, its replacement is laughable. While in the book the logics of magic are both the explanation and the catalyst, the film's version is just feeble excuses. In the commentary for the deleted scenes the director admits they'd been dumbing the film down to reach a wider demographics of younger children. Need I say more?"

C: "This film could have been good, the source material, the casting were certainly there. This is part of what is wrong with Hollywood – this project has the feel of something produced by multiple sets of people not on the same page. Too many people got to give 'notes' on the screenplay in order to try to have a film that was all things to all demographic groups, and as a result the strong elements of the story are completely diluted."

A: "Of course, still a good film for an evening with kids – provided it causes further discussions on the light & the darkness, or even reading of some books."

Conclusion: Well, occasionally.

DVD Notes:
2007 "SF Film" Region 2. English HOH & Scandinavian subtitles. Extras: Making-of (brief CE inter); VFX; Deleted/extended scenes w/ optional commentary by D. Cunningham.

10 Mar 2008
Film | Dir. Michael Almereyda | Wr. Michael Almereyda, Katya Apekina, James Robison
Role: Dr. Henry (surgeon).

ATBN page - Trailer - Gallery - IMDb - Get: On-demand DVD

Chiclit: "I am not sure 'New Orleans, Mon Amour' starring Christopher Eccleston and Elisabeth Moss is the most brilliant movie I have ever seen, but it is certainly interesting, thought provoking, and will stay with you even as the credits unexpectedly roll." Read full review.

Alex: "Reading synopses since 'New Orleans, Mon Amour' was first shown at a festival I wasn't prepared for what I actually saw. At all. And in my disarmed state I must say, the film has, without doubt, fascinated me with its take-it-or-leave-it logic and imagery." Read full review.

Conclusion: Interesting, haunting, left-field film.

DVD Notes:
Info and review.


20 Nov 2008
TV series | By Sarah Silverman, Rob Schrab & Dan Harmon | Dir. Wayne McClammy | Wr. Jon Schroeder
S. 2, ep. 14: 'I Thought My Dad Was Dead, But It Turns Out He's Not'
Role: Dr. Lazer Rage (hero).

Video example - Gallery - IMDb - Get: Region 1 [also on iTunes], Region 2
Alex: "This appearance gained quite various reactions even before the episode was shown. The programme is a satirical sit-com, and Rob Schrab, one of its creators, is also responsible for 'Robot Bastard' and is a fan of 'Doctor Who'. Mixing these universes, Dr. Lazer Rage, an intergalactic hero, was born: Short extracts from a fictional series about him were inserted into the episode.

"Despite the short screen time, they are very memorable (and not only in an ironic sense). Lazer Rage goes from being a sellout, making a coin for his creators, to revealing his real situation – it's a sober look at the action heroes, both funny and making you stop and think for a sec. Thanks to CE's well-calibrated performance the character of Dr. Lazer Rage manages an improbable balance between the over-the-top, cheesy sci-fi bravura and honest sensitivity. Seeing this appearance only as a dig at a certain fictional figure is pointless limitation, but it's surely one of the aspects. Cheeky theme tune included."

Chiclit: "Only someone without a sense of humor or nuance would see this brief series as making fun of an iconic character and his fans. Indeed it is a work of love – it's funny, but poignant. CE pitches his performance perfectly – and deserves a lot of credit for doing the part – in a shiny spacesuit. There is a behind the scenes video detailing just how much of a 'Doctor Who' fan producer Rob Schrab is, and some shots of CE doing stunts – at one point, he quips "No CGI here!" while shooting his blaster and appears to be having a great time."

A: "I do not find the Sarah Silverman series particularly interesting, but this fragment is worth checking out, not least because it's healthily different."

C: "Parents and those with delicate sensibilities – or even love of standard narrative – are strongly cautioned. Sarah Silverman's shows contain scatological humor and surreal storylines, but it's worth sitting through this episode to see Eccleston as Lazer Rage (also some bonus Lisa Loeb if you like that sort of thing)."

Conclusion: Very interesting cameo in dubious series.

Extra materials in this post about Dr. Lazer Rage.