Monday, December 29, 2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Well, today is my birthday, and while I didn't get what I wanted (a Bears win against the Texans with me there rooting them on and a playoff berth) I did see an outstanding film this weekend, so you take what you get and make the most of it.

David Fincher's latest film is very unlike anything that he's done before (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac), but that is fitting because The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is very unlike most films.  The only film that I can even try to compare it to is Forrest Gump, because there are definitely some similarities, but it is very different from Forrest Gump as well.

I'm sure you know the basic premise, Brad Pitt plays Benjamin Button, a character who ages backwards.  He is born a baby sized Old Man and while his body grows younger his mind grows older.  The movie is a look at his entire life tied together by the love he has for a woman he meets in childhood played as a young girl by Elle Fanning, and then into adulthood by the ever engaging Cate Blanchett, who is as fantastic as ever.  Brad Pitt is also amazing as the title character.  Like Forrest Gump, many interesting side characters abound ("Did I ever tell you I got struck by lightning seven times?") that help to flesh out the life that Button has lived. 

Without a doubt, the characters and their trials will bring you to laughter and to tears, but will never bore you.
The movie is nearly 3 hours, but I didn't know that until I saw the running time today well after I'd seen the film which just flies by.

As I said, the story is framed by the relationship of Benjamin Button and Daisy (Blanchett's character).  The story is told in flashback by an elderly Blanchett to her daughter aided by Button's diary and Daisy's own memories with a backdrop of Hurricane Katrina headed towards New Orleans (where much of the story takes place).  While such a setting might seem strange, it completely worked for me as the impending destruction that we know is coming adds an interesting feel to the story whose outcome we don't know.

There are many other things that I would love to comment on and say about this film, but it's much better experienced without knowing too much about what is coming.

Until Next Time, while the Bears didn't give me a very good birthday present, I'm glad that David Fincher remembered to treat me right.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Top Ten Comic Book Super Hero Movies of All Time

This year saw the Super Hero genre come into its own.  It is entirely possible that a Comic Book Super Hero movie will win the Best Picture Oscar once and for all legitimizing the genre.  So, what better time to look back and pick the ten best Comic Book Super Hero films of all time.  (Note: I'm looking specifically at Super Hero movies based on Comic Book characters leaving out great films such as The Incredibles)

10. Mystery Men (released August 6, 1999)

directed by Kinka Usher

A completely underrated satirical masterpiece about the lesser known heroes overshadowed by Captain Amazing (possibly related to Dr. Horrible's nemesis Captain Hammer?) starring Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, William H. Macy, and Janeane Garofalo.  It is a hilarious take on comic books and super heroes in general as well as an outstanding super hero film in its own right.  It is based on the Dark Horse comic Flaming Carrot Comics by Bob Burden.

Mr. Furious: That's because Lance Hunt is Captain Amazing!

Blue Raja: Oh, here we go.

The Shoveler: Don't start that again.  Lance Hunt wears glasses.  Captain Amazing doesn't wear glasses.

Mr. Furious: He takes them off when he transforms.

The Shoveler: That doesn't make any sense.  He wouldn't be able to see!

9. Batman (released June 23, 1989)

directed by Tim Burton

A fantastic rebooting of a series too dominated by the vision set by the television show over twenty years earlier.  It completely erased that understanding of Batman and returned him to the dark interpretation of his past.  Tim Burton was the perfect director to reimagine the Dark Knight and Jack Nicholson completely embodied the Joker to the point where I became sure that no one else would be able to play him on the big screen.  Ultimately, of course, I was wrong, but I was right for 19 years and that's not bad.  As for Michael Keaton, to this day he is still probably the best version of Batman/Bruce Wayne.  Don't get me wrong, Christian Bale is good, but Keaton's Batman and Bruce Wayne were completely different characters.  Bale's Bruce Wayne has just a little too much Batman in him for my taste.  The DC comic was, of course, created by Bob Kane.

Joker: Where does he get those wonderful toys?

8. Batman Returns (June 19, 1992)

directed by Tim Burton

Even better then the first, Burton returns (no pun intended) to deliver an even darker Batman.  As perfect as Nicholson and Keaton were for the first movie, the casting for this film topped itself with Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Danny DeVito as Penguin.  While generally not considered by the masses as a superior film to its predecessor, this is a film that gets better with each viewing and still stands up as a great comic book film to this day.  Sadly, it would be a long time before Batman looked this good on the big screen again as after this film Joel Schumacher tried to take the Dark Knight away from the dark territory Burton had placed him in and return him to the cheese of his sixties sitcom.

Max Shreck: Selina Kyle, you're fired.  And Bruce Wayne, why are you dressed up like Batman?

Selina: Because he is Batman, you idiot.

Max Shreck: Was.

7. Hellboy (released April 2, 2004)

directed by: Guillermo Del Toro

As perfect as Tim Burton was to rescue Batman, no director has ever been a more perfect fit for a comic book than Del Toro was for Hellboy.  Del Toro is simply the most imaginative director the world has ever known when it comes to creatures of the non-human variety (more commonly referred to as Monsters).  His work is always visually stimulating as well as smart, exciting, and perfectly executed on a technical sense.  He understood the world of Hellboy and transferred it perfectly, as far as story and themes go, to the big screen.  If Hellboy were a character on the level of Superman, Batman, or Spiderman, this would have been instantly hailed as a masterpiece.  As it is, it is only a cult classic.  And for what it is worth, no other actor could have played Hellboy.  Ron Pearlman as Hellboy might just be the greatest casting choice of all time, especially considering how relatively unknown he was (and sadly still is on a large scale).  Probably the best thing that could happen for Hellboy is the fact that Del Toro will be directing The Hobbit and its sequel.  And I have little doubt that they will be far better then anything Peter Jackson ever did with The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but then I think Del Toro is probably one of the 5 best young directors working today.  Hellboy is a Dark Horse comic created by Mike Mignola.

Abe Sapian: Remind me why I do this again?

Hellboy: Rotten eggs and the safety of mankind.

Abe Sapian: Ah.

6. Superman: The Movie (released December 15, 1978)

directed by: Richard Donner

Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Miss Teschmacher: Lex, what's the story on this guy, do you think it's the genuine article?

Lex Luthor: If he is, he's not from this world.

Miss Teschmacher: Why?

Lex Luthor: Because if any human being were going to perpetuate such a fantastic hoax, it would have been me.

5. Spider-man 2 (released June 30, 2004)

directed by Sam Raimi

The first time since Superman that one of my childhood heroes really came alive again was with the first Spidey film, when they released the sequel, it topped the original in every way possible.  Not only did it seem real that Our Favorite Neighborhood Spider-Man was swinging throughout NYC, but the film completely captured the problems that have always plagued Peter Parker, who I have no doubt would be much happier had he never been bitten by that damned Radioactive Spider.  Also, this film had what to this day is the most breath-taking and perfectly shot action-fight sequence in a super-hero movie as Spidey and Doc Ock battle atop the el train.  Marvel comics and the genius that is Stan Lee brought us Spider-Man.

J. Jonah Jameson: I'll give you $150 for all of them.

Peter: $300

J. Jonah Jameson: That's outrageous.  Done.

4. Batman Begins (released June 15, 2005)

directed by Christopher Nolan

Returning Batman to his darker roots once again Christopher Nolan also did something no Super Hero movie had tried to do before, he grounded his tale in a reality that was much easier to believe in then the standard Super Hero fare.  It helps, of course, that Batman is the one Super Hero without any real super powers, but what Nolan did was make a believable Super Hero film that is bigger then the genre itself.  Or at the very least he set up a world in which he would do just that.  This film also contains the greatest Super Villain of them all.  One few people who don't spend a lot of time at comic book shops might not know, Ra's Al Ghul.  Batman's real arch nemesis served a greater purpose in this film, he also helped make Batman who he is.  While it was a reboot, it was also a perfect reimagining for the more realistic world in which this Batman exists.  Christian Bale also did a fine job reminding us how Batman should be portrayed helping to erase the horrific job done by George Clooney (who otherwise I like quite a lot.)

Earle: Why is no one answering the phone?

Bruce: It's Wayne Enterprises, Mr. Earle, I'm sure they'll call back.

Earle: Bruce? You're supposed to be dead!

Bruce: I'm sorry to disappoint.

3. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (released July 11, 2008)

directed by Guillermo Del Toro

Hellboy returned to the big screen with a lot more Del Toro imagination behind him in this amazing, inventive, and utterly gorgeous sequel.  Where the first Hellboy was very much a literal translation of Mignola's creation to the big screen, this film took Mignola's characters, themes, and world and merged them with the themes and worlds that exist only in Del Toro's magnificient brain (which lucky for us translates very well to the movies).  With the magical imagination that helped make Pan's Labyrinth such a surprising hit, Hellboy II was considerably deeper and more thoughtful and incredibly more visual then it's outstanding predecessor.  Again I hope that the fact that Del Toro will be behind the lens for The Hobbit will cause more people to seek out Hellboy and this amazing sequel.  Sadly, like it's predecessor, Hellboy II never got to occupy the top spot as Greatest Comic Book Super Hero Movie Ever Made as it also debuted at number 2.  However, where Hellboy debuted at number 2 behind a movie released almost 15 years earlier, Hellboy II missed being number 1 by a mere nine weeks.

Hellboy: You're in love.  Have a beer.

Abe Sapian: Oh, my body's a temple.

Hellboy: Now it's a playground.

2. Iron Man (released May 2, 2008)

directed by Jon Favreau

A mere nine weeks before Hellboy II would come out, Iron Man was released and blew audiences away.  While many predicted it would be a hit, no one predicted it would be as critically acclaimed as it quickly was.  While Iron Man wasn't the known quantity of a Superman, a Batman, or a Spider-Man, or even as The Incredible Hulk who would be getting a new film a few months later, Favreau showed that a Super Hero doesn't have to already be a house hold name in order to become a movie star, it just needs a really great movie and Favreau delivers on that front.  Much like Superman: The Movie did 20 years earlier, Iron Man was much more then it's genre, it was simply a great film.  Outstanding story, characterization, acting, action, and dialogue all helped turn this into far and away the best comic book super hero movie ever made at the time of it's release (and for a whole 10 weeks after it).  Robert Downey Jr. was pitch perfect casting for the role of rich industrialist/playboy turned super hero Tony Stark due in large part to his empathy of the characters playboy past and new desire to make something greater for himself.  Iron Man was a Marvel comic also created by Stan Lee.

Pepper Potts: What is going on here?

Tony Stark: Let's face it, this is not the worst thing you've caught me doing.

Pepper Potts: Are those bullet holes?

1. The Dark Knight (released July 18, 2008)

directed by Christopher Nolan

So many things deserve to be said about this film.  Much like Iron Man and Superman, this film truly is more then just a Super Hero movie or a Comic Book movie, this is a movie about good and evil and how closely the two can be sometimes, about how they are two sides of the same coin, and about how hard it is to remain good while fighting evil, something that this country hasn't always been able to do.  While the story itself is, like Batman Begins before it, a super hero story that is completely believable, with a villain who is so frightening precisely because you can believe that someone like him could exist (much like Javier Bardem's Anton Chigurh in last year's best picture winner No Country For Old Men) and there really is no good reason or explanation for him, which is even more terrifying.  Last year, I felt that Bardem so infused Chigurh that he would win the Best Supporting Actor because he had brought to the screen the scariest villain since Hannibal Lector.  This year I have no doubt that Ledger will win Best Supporting Actor (and would have even if he hadn't died) because his Joker is scarier even then Chigurh was.  Despite the fact that he was working with a character that people were familiar with, he was able to reinvent it and make it completely his own.  In fact it made the take that Nicholson had on the character almost completely obsolete.  And that is something that deserves to be awarded, posthumously or not.   As for the story, it works on that level, as a story about Batman verse the Joker, but like I mentioned before, the film also works on an entirely different level in these times in which we live, and it is because of that that this film is so important.  Sure the movie is expertly made, the acting is perfect, the cinematography is stunning, but the messages are so much more.  They are important, they are timely, and they are true.  It's a Super Hero movie, but it also just might win Best Picture.

Harvey Dent: The famous Bruce Wayne.  Rachel's told me everything about you.

Bruce: I certainly hope not.

Until Next Time, the runners up, if you're interested (or the honorable mentions, perhaps) were Spiderman (May 3, 2002 directed by Sam Raimi), X-Men (July 14, 2000), X-Men 2 (May 2, 2003), and Superman Returns (June 28, 2006) (all directed by Bryan Singer).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Michael Crichton, You Will Be Missed

My junior year of high school I was very into the work of Michael Crichton.  I had read everything that he had written, including Travels, his memoir.  I was very into the paranormal, and a large part of Travels had to do with Crichton's thoughts and experiences dealing with some paranormal occurrences (or Fringe science as JJ Abrams might put it).  I would often bring up these experiences of Crichton's as well as other paranormal articles and such that I had found in my Chemistry II class.  Our teacher in Chem II was not fond of the idea of paranormal "pseudo science" and would often tell me how wrong both myself and Crichton were.  "But he was a Doctor, Mrs. Diehl," I would say.  "That's a lot like a scientist."  She would smirk and say, "He's also a writer," knowing full well that a writer is what I wanted to be, implying that we writers were gullible enough to believe anything in service of a good story.

When I heard last week that Michael Crichton had died, I was stunned.  I hadn't even known that he was sick.  As the years have gone by, I'm no longer the huge fan of Crichton's that I once was, but I still appreciated him and remember fondly how much I loved reading Jurassic Park, Sphere, and The Andromeda Strain for the first time.

In that junior year of high school, two new medical dramas started.  Due to my love for Michael Crichton (and Mrs. Diehl's disdain for him) it wasn't surprising that we would be on separate sides of the great Medical Show Debate war.  I was all about ER (created by Michael Crichton) and Mrs. Diehl believed in Chicago Hope.  The entire class took sides.  I was thrilled by ER, as it was very reminiscent of the early part of Travels when Crichton talked about his time as an intern for a hospital.  I loved the characters and how real it all seemed, much more so then any other medical drama before it and certainly more so then the David E. Kelley show Chicago Hope which was less a medical drama and more a Kelley-esque character drama.

For years I watched ER faithfully, sure that this was the best television had to offer, and for a long time it was.  Slowly, however, the show became less a ground breaking medical show and became more of a standard television medical drama dealing more with the home lives of some of the characters then the interesting and realistic cases that came through the ER doors.  It started to become much more soapy then it had been originally, and I didn't like that, but I cared enough about the characters that I stuck with it.

That finally changed 6 years ago, however, eight seasons into the television show when Dr. Greene, the heart and soul of the show, was killed off.  I hadn't watched an episode since.

Then last week, Michael Crichton died, and I began to remember all the works that he had a part in that I had enjoyed so much, and ER was definitely part of that legacy that he had left behind.

It was fitting in my mind that so soon after he died, Dr. Greene was scheduled to return to Cook County General in honor of ER's final (finally) season.

I watched it, and for the small part of the episode that was set 6 years in the past I remembered how good this show used to be (as well as remembering why I stopped watching with all the new characters none of whom I recognized or cared about).  It was short, but it was good to see Dr. Greene, Dr. Weaver, Dr. Romano (still an ass), and Jerry (still awesome).  I was upset it took so long to get to the characters I knew and missed, and upset that it was such a small part of the episode, but it was still nice to spend even a little time with the show that I remembered in honor of the author who helped make Cook County a place to visit every Thursday for eight years.

Thank you for ER, for Jurassic Park, for Sphere, for Andromeda Strain, for Twister, and for all the other works that fired up my imagination.  Although I'm not the fan I once was, I want you to know that you will be missed.  And thanks to the short visit from beyond the grave last night by Dr. Greene, we're reminded that we can always have a little visit with you by revisiting one of the many works you've given us to remember you by.

Until Next Time,

Rest in peace Michael Crichton and thank you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TV Fall Watch Continues and some thoughts on Heroes

So, I've decided to add a new category.

Back and Still Golden.

Some of the shows that I placed in Back on Track fit better in Back and Still Golden.  Back on Track included My Name Is Earl, The Office, Chuck, Life, Friday Night Lights, and How I Met Your Mother.  I'm moving The Office, Chuck, and Life into the new category Back and Still Golden, as none of them have suffered a bit of a downturn, whereas Earl, Friday Night Lights, and How I Met Your Mother suffered a little bit last season when compared to their overall greatness.

We've also had two other shows return since that post, Eli Stone and 30 Rock.

Eli Stone is unquestionably in Back and Still Golden (and the closest show towards Triumphant Return, but I can't say that this season is far and above last season, merely just as freaking amazing, so only Sarah Connor is far and above it's previous heights and therefore the only show given a spot in Triumphant Return).

If I'd written this after the premiere of 30 Rock, I would have likely been a little negative, as the season premiere really wasn't that good, but last week's episode (the Oprah episode) was fantastic, so it will get placed in Back on Track after the poor premiere.


Now, I want to talk a little about Heroes as it is greatly disappointing me.  If you aren't caught up and you still want to be, you probably shouldn't read on.

We can all agree that Season 2 of Heroes sucked.  It just wasn't very interesting and that was near criminal based on the greatness that Season 1 had to offer.  The total crap that was Season 2, however, took a lot of the attention away from the problems that Season 1 did have, mainly its gaping plot holes.  In trying to return the show to its Season 1 roots and keep Season 3 from the problems that faced Season 2, the producers have ignored the flaws that Season 1 did have, and ultimately have doomed this show in my opinion.


Season 3 had Future Peter coming to get Present Peter to help him save the world.  However, in the future, Future Peter is killed by Claire.  This, of course, would be impossible as we know that Peter has Claire's healing ability and his body would heal itself and spit out the bullets (just like Sylar's body did after stealing Claire's power earlier in this very season).  He could be killed momentarily, since the Haitian was there, but the second that the Haitian wasn't around Future Peter, his body would have healed itself.

The sad thing is, this is an easy fix.  They should have beheaded Future Peter (or removed his brain, whichever) while the Haitian was still there and then he could have been killed.  In fact, that's the only sure way to kill him, if his brain is incapacitated, his body can't heal itself.  Shots to his chest would do nothing, however.


The show really pulled out all the stops last night in going for big plot holes.  Last night we are told that after Gabriel Gray killed his first victim, he tried to kill himself and certainly didn't harm anyone else until HRG and Elle forced him back into it.  This would have been fine if it had happened further back in the story line, but last night's episode told us it happened in between the pilot and the six months preceding with the ultimate end to the story line happening after Mohinder was in America (since HRG gets in the cab).  The problem is, Sylar had killed Mohinder's father, plus enough people throughout the country at this point to have the FBI on him, and would have actually been in LA, not New York, because he had just killed Molly Walker's family.  The timing completely disrupts acts that we already know have taken place.


Nathan tells his brother and soon after everyone that their father hadn't died of a heart attack as Peter thought, but actually had committed suicide.  Then, this episode shows us that Nathan should have been under the impression that their father did have a heart attack.  There was no way to conclude that Arthur Petrelli tried to commit suicide.

The show has been full of these types of mistakes from the beginning and they are only getting more and more blatant.  Recently they fired some of the producers and new people have been brought in to run the show's second half this season, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep watching to see if it gets any better.  The show has such amazing potential, and yet it infuriates me by not sticking to its own rules.  I wish that it would at least try to remain true to itself, but there is no indication that it will.

Until Next Time, LOST's start date has been announced for the new season, Jan 21st.  It can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Last season was cut short by the strike, and this season is subtly different then other season's because of that. 

There are far fewer new shows then normal and the second seasons of last year's new shows are being treated as if they are new shows, since it has been 10 months since we've seen many of them, and older shows had to deal with a shortened season, possibly disrupting it's rhythm.  So the question is how are shows stacking up against how they were perceived last year?

I've come up with a few categories to place some of the shows in...

1. Triumphant Return- this is when the show has returned at a level higher then it has ever had, it's better then we could have hoped based on past performance.

2. Back on Track- this is when the show has returned at the level we expect from this show when it is at it's best.

3. Back, but Work Still Needed- this is when the show is back and better then last season's truncated run, but it isn't at the place it once was, although there may be hope.

4. Back but Not Better- this is when the show is back, but it isn't what it used to be.

5. Dead on Arrival- this is when the show is on again, but maybe it shouldn't be.

So, let's start with Triumphant Returns...

Really the only show that belongs here is TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES.  Last season it was an interesting show, a show that had promise.  This season, the show has more then delivered on that promise, this is the show we hoped it would be when it started last year.  Each episode so far this season is better then anything they gave us last year.  If this show had been this good last year, it would have gotten serious consideration for Josh's Choice for Best New Show of the Year.

Moving on, Back on Track.....

A few shows fit here, NBC's comedies MY NAME IS EARL and THE OFFICE both fit in this category. 

No surprise for THE OFFICE as it didn't hit any lull, but EARL certainly did.  While it had a few moments last year that showed this show still had promise, more often then not it was hard to remember what it was that made us love this show so much.  The four episodes so far this year have reminded us as Earl gets back to the list and Camden is pretty much back to normal (or as normal as Camden can ever be).

CHUCK is back and just as good as it was last season when it finished third in Josh's Choice for Best New Show of the Year.  The formula was already perfect and the producers wisely didn't mess with it at all.  The same goes for last year's runner up in the Josh's Choice for Best New Show of the Year award...

LIFE, there have already been three episodes of this show and it is just as good as it was last season when it proved to be the best cop show on television right now (and possibly ever).

NBC seems to be the king of Back on Track, as FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS is my next show to highlight.  Last season there was a rough start, that kept it from ever hitting the highs it had in it's majestic first season.  Now, with the start of season three (showing on DirecTV 101 every Wednesday starting last week and then on NBC starting in Feb) the show has gone back to the magic that made it Josh's Choice for Best New Show of the Year two seasons ago.  Of course, FNL at it's lowest is better then a lot of shows at their highest.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER is firmly in this category as the three episodes thus far are better then anything offered last season.  Although since the return from the strike induced break last season was picking back up, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise.  This season so far has felt much like the first two seasons felt, laugh out loud funny and incredibly quotable once again.  "They lived em, Ted, they lived the Star Wars!"

The third and fourth categories are similar.  The show is back, but not up to it's own standards.  With Back, but Work Still Needed, it is better then it was last season, but not up to standards, with Back, but Not Better, it isn't what it was last season.

We'll start with Back, but Work Still Needed....

PRISON BREAK is definitely better then it was last year and very, very close to being Back on Track, but it isn't quite at the place it has on occasion found itself.  This show has been a completely addicting guilty pleasure that just touches on true greatness occasionally, but there's nothing wrong with being an addicting guilty pleasure which it is completely back to this season, but hasn't come close the the occasional greatness displayed at points of the first two seasons.

SMALLVILLE, on the other hand is not even close to the levels that it reached in it's first five plus seasons.  As it went into it's sixth season, there started to be a chink in it's armor, as if someone had slipped in some kryptonite.  Last season bordered on unwatchable.  This season is back to armor chinked, and it might not be too long before I give up the show for dead ERstyle.  (Did you know that ER was actually still on? Shocking!)

Now, Back, but Not Better...

PUSHING DAISIES, this show had moments last year that bordered on genius.  It also had a couple moments that bordered on stupidity.  Overall, though, last season was very, very good and original.  This season so far is somewhere in between the genius and the stupidity extremes that it displayed last season, but it seems to be missing some of the magic that it always had last year.  It's only been one episode so far, but I have to say, I'm disappointed.

Finally, Dead on Arrival....

DIRTY SEXY MONEY, last show this show was a fun mystery/character study.  Sure there were soapy elements, but they never bogged the show down.  Apparently, ABC thought this was to the show's detriment as they have totally amped up the soap.  That isn't what I signed on for and I'm probably done with this show for good.

Until Next Time, there are still a few shows ready to return (Eli Stone and 30 Rock, esp.) and when they do I'll give you the categories I think that they fit in as well as if any of these shows have managed to move themselves into a different category.  Let me know what you think about these shows and any others.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fringe Review

The reports of no show mythology were greatly exaggerated.

I needn't of worried, after all Fringe is in the capable hands of JJ Abrams.  The same man we're trusting Star Trek to.  Can there be any higher form of praise? (Rhetorical question, but here's the answer anyway, only the person George entrusts Episodes 7-9 to will be given a higher form of praise.)

Last night's 83 minute (after commercials) pilot set the stage for what should be an exciting series very reminiscent of the X-Files.  While mythology driven serials have been increasingly mythology heavy (not that there's anything wrong with this) since JJ's last two shows (Alias and LOST), X-Files set the template for a mythology driven serial that didn't require constant vigilance (as MadEye Moody might say).  Some episodes were "Mythological" episodes (pertaining to the overall storyline of the show, the Aliens and government conspiracy) and some were "Monster of the Week" episodes (one off stories that were completed, well as much as anything ever was in the X-Files world, in the time allotted for that episode).  Chances are good that you didn't miss too much of the overall storyline if you missed one of those episodes and therefore it wasn't imperative that you made sure you were home for every new episode of The X-Files.  When an important episode was upcoming, the previews made sure you knew it and planned accordingly.

It looks like Fringe will follow the same template.  Each week's episode will be a "mystery of the week" that will get solved within the episode.  At the same time, there is an overall mystery, known on the show as "The Pattern", that will be the characters main goal to solve, but the clues to that overall plot will be gained by the weekly mysteries.  The closer you watch the series, the more you'll discover about the overall mystery, but meanwhile, every week will have a one hour mystery that doesn't require knowledge from the viewer on the overall mystery.  It'll just be a procedural, sort of a Sci-Fi CSI.

Whether or not this will work to bring in larger viewers, since an encyclopedia like knowledge of the show won't be required (like on LOST, again, not that there's anything wrong with that), we'll have to wait and see.

Myself, I'm eager to see what else there is to know about The Pattern and what other interesting mysteries the show will throw at us as viewers.

Until Next Time, If you missed it yesterday, there will be an encore showing of the premiere episode on FOX Saturday night.  Do yourself a favor and check it out, JJ Abrams has done it again.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


FRINGE premieres tonight on FOX.  It's the new show from JJ Abrams (creator of Alias and LOST) and has a distinct X-Files vibe going on.

Tonight's 95 minute premiere opens with a mystery involving a plane landing, but everyone on it is dead.  An FBI agent is tasked to find out what happened leading her to a mad scientist (literally mad, he's in an institution) and his theories about fringe sciences, mind-reading, teleportation, excetra, in other words, all our sci-fi faves.  In order to get his cooperation, she enlists the help of the scientist's son (and the Scully of the show) played by Pacey from Dawson's Creek.  (Joshua Jackson if you insist on using actor's real names.)

By the end of the 95 minute premiere, the first mystery will be solved and we'll get a new one next week.

Apparently, the network is hoping that less of a serialized approach will hope viewers feel more comfortable, as it will allow them to come in whenever and not be too penalized by missing an episode.

I suppose this is a sound theory, but speaking for myself, I'm much more interested in investing my time in shows that ask something of me.  Sure, sometimes it means that I have to hold off after missing an episode and catching up in the summer with the DVD release (although iTunes has made it much easier to catch up quickly for the low, low price of  $1.99, and often times the networks have the episode available for free on their own website, so this is less and less of an issue), but on the flipside, keeping up with a serialized show is tons more rewarding.

I have to admit, I'm excited about Fringe, because of the creators pedigree in part and also because of the storyline and actors attached, but I think that I'd be tons more interested if it were a highly serialized show the way that Alias and LOST were.

After all, if I'm not penalized for missing an episode, isn't it more likely that I will?

Until Next Time, I'll put up my review of the pilot tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fall TV Preview

We're coming up on the return of the network television shows, hoping that an actors strike doesn't impact this season the way the writers strike did last year.  No need to worry about that yet, I suppose, so let's take a look at what awaits us starting in September.  As always, I ignore Reality tv.

-Monday, Sept. 1

I'll be watching the two hour season premiere of Prison Break (because I can't quit this show even when I want to.)


If somehow you haven't heard, Sara is back and apparently wasn't beheaded.  I'm not that shocked.  I always assumed that she would be back as I heard her talking about in interviews how she would be off the show for bit while she had her baby.  I am interested in seeing how they bring her back, however.


Others might be excited about the return of Gossip Girls on the CW or the return of One Tree Hill on the same station.

-Tuesday, Sept 2

The premiere of the CW's big hope 90210.  Yeah.

-Wednesday, Sept 3

The return of Bones on FOX.  (I still don't get how Angel can walk around in sunlight.  I thought Angel destroyed that ring after Oz gave it to him.)

-Tuesday, Sept 9

The two hour premiere of Fringe, the new show from J.J. Abrams, and along with Dollhouse, the front runner for Josh's Choice for Best New Show of the Season Award.  I can't wait for this show.
Also, the new show called Privileged on CW.  Doesn't really scream out to me.

-Wednesday, Sept 10

The return of Til Death and the premiere of Do Not Disturb on FOX.

-Tuesday, Sept 16

The return of Hugh Laurie as House (a show I really need to start watching.)

-Thursday, Sept 18

The return of Smallville and Supernatural on the CW.  Hopefully this season of Smallville is better then the last.  Come on Clark.  The exit of Lex and Lana has me a little worried though, not going to lie.

-Sunday, Sept 21

An interesting thing tonight.  The CW leased out thier Sunday night lineup to an independent company, Media Rights Capital who are producing the shows CW will be showing including two that premiere tonight, Valentine and Easy Money.

-Monday, Sept 22

Now things really get going.

CBS premieres Big Bang Theory, the greatness that is How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, the new comedy Worst Week Ever, and the return of CSI: Miami.

ABC brings back Boston Legal for its last season (supposedly).

NBC premieres an entire night of Heroes, hopefully having figured out it's recent slump.

-Tuesday, Sept 23

CBS gives us their Psych knock off The Mentalist in between the return of NCIS and Without a Trace and NBC presents the return of da-DAH (my written interpretation of the Law and Order musical intro) Law & Order:SVU.

-Wednesday, Sept 24

Knight Rider rides again on NBC, but my bet is not for long.  Speaking of NBC, the Seinfeld curse continues to be beaten by Elaine in The New Adventures of Old Christine to be followed by new series Gary Unmarried on CBS, who will then give us the returns of Criminal Minds and CSI:NY (if anyone cares).  Meanwhile, ABC brought back Lipstick Jungle for some reason.

-Thursday, Sept 25

My Name is Earl and The Office each get hour long premieres followed by the premiere of the final season of ER, which honestly probably should have happened about 10 years ago, on NBC.
ABC shows the premieres of Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatamy.

-Sunday, Sept 28

The return of our favorite animated shows on FOX, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Guy, and American Dad.

Also Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters on ABC and Cold Case and more President Palmer kicking A** on The Unit on CBS.

-Monday, Sept 29

Chuck returns and Life, last year's third place finisher in Josh's Choice for Best New Show of the Season, is given a Heroes lead-in in order to maximize its viewership on NBC, although that lead-in didn't work for Journeyman, last year's winner of Josh's Choice for Best New Show of the Season.

-Wednesday, Oct 1

ABC owns the night with the premieres of Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money.  Oh yeah, Private Practice will be shown in between them.

-Friday, Oct 3

Ghost Whisperer, new show The Ex-List, and Numb3rs premiere on CBS.  Everybody Hates Chris and The Game return to the CW.

-Monday, Oct 6

Samantha Who returns to ABC.

-Thursday, Oct 9

Kath & Kim joins the NBC comedy lineup.  Time will tell if it keeps the Thursday lineup at must see comedy level like last year (we miss you Scrubs, but maybe you're in a better place, one that recognizes your greatness).

CSI (the original one) returns on CBS followed by the series premiere of Eleventh Hour.  ABC premieres the new show Life on Mars.

-Monday, Oct 13

The new Christian Slater show, My Own Worst Enemy takes over Journeyman's slot.  Hopefully it will do better.

-Tuesday, Oct 14

The return of America's Next Top Prophet, Eli Stone!!!

-Friday, Oct 17

Two hour premiere of Crusoe on NBC.  The previews during the Olympics have me intrigued.

-Thursday, Oct 30

The return of Liz Lemon and 30 Rock.

-Sunday, Nov 2

Bob Saget returns to sitcom-ville in Surviving Suburbia on MRC's Sunday night lineup on the CW.

So, there you have it, the premieres of network television's scripted shows this fall.  As always, times are subject to change.  The networks aren't very good at sticking to plans.

Until Next Time, For ABC's full fall schedule, click here, For CBS's here, For NBC's here, For FOX's here, and for the CW's here.  Enjoy.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

I honestly wasn't sure what to expect when I heard about this, but I got excited despite myself.  So, as with any other STAR WARS movie, my friends and I found ourselves at Rave for the midnight premiere.
Unlike for Indiana Jones (and I hear for Dark Knight, but I wasn't able to make that one) the line was non existent.  Clearly the majority of the STAR WARS community hadn't been sucked in as I had by the trailers.

Their loss.

Sure it isn't live action, but I thought the animation was pretty good.  The story is different from the main Episodes, but it's very good and it is a lot more action oriented.  The interplay between the characters is very good, like classic STAR WARS good.  And it is a pleasure to see a heroic Anakin and not either the young (some might say annoying, but what 6 year old isn't?) Anakin or the emo (some might still say annoying) Anakin or the evil (some might still say annoying, and I'm beginning to wonder if people have something against Hayden) Anakin.  We've heard about heroic and cool General Anakin Skywalker, but we hadn't seen him yet.  Until now.  (Plus, he wasn't even voiced by Hayden, so there's that).

His new Padawan was a very interesting addition.  There was great interplay between her and Sky Guy (as she called him, one of her many fun nicknames, although R-twoie got on my nerves a little bit, but I did enjoy imagining that R2's beeps and boops were cursing at her every time she used it).

I'm really looking forward to the new animated series that this leads into, and after all that was the point. 

Mainly, the film was a lot of fun.  Good, old fashioned STAR WARS fun.

A couple other little points I noticed... it seemed like the general of the Droid Army that Kenobi and Skywalker were fighting at the beginning of the movie was totally putting on a fake Sean Connery accent, and it seemed like Ziro the Hutt, Jabba's uncle, had a bit of a Cartman (from South Park) accent going.  In fact I called him Cartman the Hutt in my head.  "Screw you guys, I'm going to take over the Hutts."

Until Next Time, I loved Stinky the Hutt, not even going to lie.  "He's really sick.  He's turning every shade of green except for the one he's supposed to be!"

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dark Knight

First off let me say to Iron Man that you have my condolences.  It's kind of unfair to come out with the greatest comic book movie ever made only to have your title stripped away from you so completely two months later.
Because, yes, The Dark Knight is that good.  It's everything that you hoped that it might be and more.  Very, very rarely does a movie that is this hyped and that has such high expectations ever live up to them, much less exceed them.  In fact, up until now, only Serenity had ever achieved that feat in my mind.  Now it has company as The Dark Knight blew away even the highest expectations.

I didn't get to see the movie until Saturday, but it was well worth the wait.

On the Heath Ledger issue, he was unbelievably good.  It was hard to even remember that the Joker was actually Heath Ledger, because he embodied the character on screen.  He truly was the Joker.

Overall, it was quite a cast.  Even William Fichtner had a small role at the beginning of the film (and I love William Fichtner.)

Until Next Time, I can't believe that we are only a few days away from the greatness that is The X-Files in theaters!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hellboy II

What an awesome movie.  Once again, I am in awe of the imagination of Guillermo Del Toro and eagerly awaiting his take on The Hobbit.

Going far beyond the fantasy world he introduced in Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy II is a wonder to behold, filled to overflowing with fantastic creatures.  Add to that the inventive storyline and the fantastic Mike Mingola characters, and this is a sequel that far surpasses the original (which was also a great movie).

While the characters are strange and eye catching, they are also extremely relate-able, turning the fantastic characters into people that you can't help but connect to.  Even a character formed only by steam is instantly made real and grows on you throughout the film.  (Plus he's voiced by Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame).

While the action is top notch and the film features some amazing fight sequences, it is really the subplots that make this film outstanding.  The ever intriguing plot line of Hellboy's desire to belong remains from the first movie with an even greater potential of a storyline hinted at for a future film.  Then there is the subplot of romance that is handled expertly by Del Toro and the cast fitting in seamlessly with the more action fueled main plot.

And I would be remiss not to add that the romantic subplot allows for the best use of Barry Manilow by any movie ever.  Trust me, it's brilliant.

Until Next Time, I cannot wait for Hellboy III.

Monday, June 30, 2008


PIXAR is just unbelievable.  Really.  What they've managed to do is simply unprecedented.  They've come out with 9 films so far.  All have been good movies (at the worst, and brilliant at the best).  All have been blockbusters (the original Toy Story has the smallest world wide gross).

This success gives PIXAR the ability to take a risk or two.  Last summer their film was about a rat who could cook and yet they managed to make it charming (although it and A Bug's Life are definitely my two least favorite PIXAR movies).  This summer they went even further and released a film about a robot, set 700 years in the future, and that goes for long amounts of time without dialogue.  Add to all of that the fact that it has a bit of an environmental (okay, a lot of an environmental) message and you have what could easily become a disaster.

Instead, PIXAR gives us easily their best effort since The Incredibles and Finding Nemo, and possibly one that's even better then those outstanding films.

Wall-E is, in fact, by far the best movie that I've seen so far this year, and probably the best film I've seen since Zodiac last year.  It is touching, funny, smart, beautiful to look at, and above all, real.  This could be the first time that an animated movie wins Best Picture, because Wall-E is certainly of that caliber.

If you haven't seen it yet, go immediately.  It doesn't matter if you have kids who want to see it or not (for the record, they'll love it just because of how cute Wall-E and EVE are), this is truly a movie for everyone, enjoyable on multiple different levels.

Sure it's a risk to make this type of film (at times channeling 2001, to the point where one robotic character, Auto, is no doubt intentionally patterned after HAL) but when done right (as PIXAR never fails to do) you have in your hands a masterpiece that is destined to become a classic.

Until Next Time, Do yourself a favor.  Go see this movie.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Movie Reviews and More

First off, let me say how saddened I am by the death of two of the best and brightest in the world of entertainment...

George Carlin and Stan Winston
They will both be greatly missed as pioneers in two of my favorite fields, comedy and sci-fi.

Last weekend was the opening of the new Hulk movie as well as the latest from M. Night.  Here are my reviews...


So much of an improvement over the last film (Ang Lee's Hulk in 2003) that it seems like two completely different characters inspired the films.

Perhaps in a way that is true, as the inspiration for the latest incarnation of the great big green guy seems to be almost as much the 80's television show as the comic book.

Sure, Ang Lee's version had a cameo by Lou Ferrigno, this version also had a cameo by Bill Bixby (despite the fact that he's dead) and a "cameo" by the television show's outstanding theme song.  Also, at one point, Bruce Banner uses the alias David B. (on the show, the character was named David Banner).

Sure, it isn't as good a film as Iron Man was, but since Iron Man is clearly the best comic book movie ever made, it seems unfair to compare Hulk too closely with it.  As a comic book movie, it's more then adequate, and it has a lot of Hulk Smashing, and isn't that what we wanted anyway?

Add to that the fact that the CG Hulk doesn't take away from the film the way that it did 5 years ago as realistic CG characters continue to get better and better.

Bottom line is any fan of the old television show will absolutely adore this film, and anyone who just likes to see "Hulk Smash" will be equally excited by it.


I knew going in that Marky Mark's character was a science teacher, so when the movie opened with some horrendously clunky dialogue and bad acting, I naturally thought that Marky Mark was showing some awful biology video or something (after all, we've all seen those videos).

As it continued, however, I had the sinking realization that it wasn't a bad science video, but was actually the beginning of the movie.  Not a good start.

It does get better, although the dialogue stays pretty clunky throughout (although still better then Titanic, I still get chills remembering the dialogue in that movie).  There are some genuinely creepy moments towards the end of the film, very reminiscent in many ways of the Hitchcock classic The Birds.  However it takes way too long to get to those moments and unlike The Birds (or the far superior and scarier The Strangers) it doesn't use the time it takes to get to the scares to really make you care about the characters.  (Again, probably because the dialogue is so unrealistic and the acting not very strong).

Another problem I had with the movie was the cameo by M. Night.  Just like Hitch, Night has been putting himself in each of his films, and the smart audience is conditioned to wonder about when and where he will show up.  Sure, I thought his cameo in this movie was extremely clever (by far his best cameo yet), but it really distracted from the film while you were continuously wondering where and when he would appear.  Hitchcock realized this problem and began putting his cameos very early in the film to get them out of the way and distract as little as possible.  If Shyamalan plans to continue this tradition, perhaps he should think about doing the same thing.

The best parts about The Happening both happened before the movie even began in the form of me getting carded trying to buy a ticket (seriously!  Dude, I'm 30!) and The X-Files: I Want To Believe trailer playing before the movie.  It got no better after that.

Until Next Time, I've been out of town and incommunicado for over a week (hence the lateness of these reviews) and therefore I want to rewatch the BSG mid-season finale one more time before I talk about it, but let me just say....   HOLY CRAP!  AMAZING!!  I totally didn't see that coming.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

BSG Sine Qua Non & The Hub

So, it's been two episodes since I last talked about what's happening on the greatest show on television, and I have a few thoughts based on the last two episodes that I would like to share before the mid-season finale airs on Friday.

1. Lee Adama = Barack Obama

Many people throughout the years have talked about the parallels between Laura Roslin and George W. Bush, and I agree with them.  Roslin was never actually elected President by the people, which correlates to the controversy regarding Bush's right to the White House, and Roslin making decisions based on what might be a misguided faith, which again could correlate to W. and his God that is a little Old Testament for my tastes.

Well, with the move bringing Lee to the big chair on Colonial One, there are some definite parallels to Barack Obama, primarily brought out by the conversation that Lee had with Romo Lampkin (of Firefly and a season one episode of X-Files), where Lampkin accuses Lee of relying on HOPE and not having any real solutions.  I thought for a moment that Lampkin might call Apollo a Hopemonger.  Alas, the writers were not that direct, but then that's why we love them.

2. Roslin's Visions during the Jumps

I found it interesting that the visions were attempting to re-humanize Roslin.  In the past she wasn't as ruthless as she has become, and while I didn't always agree with her decisions (and certainly with how she sometimes arrived at them) I felt that she was a good choice for President given how she was a voice for the common people while The Old Man was completely out of touch with the civilian fleet.

No longer is that the case.  Roslin and the elder Adama are both coming at things from the same place (more or less) and somehow, Adama is the more human of the two.  (This of course is an interesting way to look at things, since a major theme of the series is of course about discussing exactly what it means to "be human" as often, it is the Cylons that portray this the best.)

Roslin decided to save Baltar's life and admitted her love for Adama ("About time," he says, very Han Solo of him), but I feel like she still has more to learn.  I wonder if her visions are quite done.  As idiotic as Baltar sometimes is, I feel like he is doing a good job of spreading the word of the Cylon God, who in the beginning of the series was also very Old Testament, but through Baltar has been increasingly more familiar to many of the monotheists of today, I wouldn't be too surprised if at some point Roslin finds herself a convert despite herself.

3. Caprica 6 is Pregnant?!?!?

Tigh is a Cylon, Caprica 6 is a Cylon.  The two should not be able to procreate.  Of course it is always possible that one of the guards is actually responsible for the baby inside 6, but I doubt that very much.
Way back in the beginning of the show, we were told that the reason that Cylons couldn't procreate was because they couldn't comprehend love, they needed a human to help complete them.

We've seen that often Tigh sees Caprica 6 as Ellen (his deceased wife) who, as odd as their relationship often was, he loved very much.  I'm betting that it is his love for Ellen that has allowed him to impregnate Caprica 6.

4. The Cylons are mortal

This is big, and I can't wait to see the ramifications that it has.  Cylons now can no longer resurrect.  If they die in battle they are dead forever, just like the humans against whom they fight.

This is what will lead to a final and real pact of peace between the Cylons and Humans.

My theory is that ultimately they will work together to find Earth and populate it together long before our time.
Although I was thinking the other day, wouldn't it be something if only Nicky and Hera survive and all of humanity as we know it comes from the two half-Human/half-Cylons.

5. Previews for the mid-season finale

Well, it looks like the cat's out of the bag (metaphorically speaking, not meant to represent the 6th Sense cat of Romo Lampkin) and that in the next episode at least a couple of the Final Five will become known to the fleet.  I can't wait to see what that will mean, although I dread the cliff hanger that will force us to await the last half of the last season of the greatest show on television.

Until Next Time, at least the pilot for Caprica is being filmed, meaning that we will have a little more from the BSG Universe to look forward to.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Strangers

While I realize that I am biased, and some might use that to discredit my review, let me say that I am being completely unbiased when I say that The Strangers (written and directed by Crowley High Grad Bryan Bertino) is the best pure horror film in decades.  It is a true and full return to the suspenseful horror that used to keep me up at night when I was younger.  Unlike what many of the so-called "horror films" of today (I'm looking at you Saw and Hostel) much of the violence actually takes place off screen, and other then one exception, the blood and gore stuff is really pretty mild.

Being biased doesn't generally lead one to jump at the scary parts, and I guarantee that there are lots of genuinely scary moments in this film, and isn't that what a horror movie is supposed to do?  Scare us?  Not gross us out with body parts being cut off (sorry Ruins, this movie is much better, not to say I didn't think you were pretty good).

Another great thing about this film is that it takes the time to allow us to get to know the characters as well as make us anticipate that first scare making that much more surprising when it happens.  And getting to know the characters makes us a little more frightened for them.

This movie also does a pretty good job of having the main characters not act too stupid the way that most horror movie characters act.  The only exception is the introduction of a third character a little of midway through the film, and although you'll probably see his fate coming a mile away due to his stupidity, it doesn't lessen the impact of the scene.

If you feel like a good scare, (and you didn't already follow my advice and see the film last weekend) make it a point to go check out The Strangers.  You won't regret it.

Until Next Time, while I'm saddened that the film didn't beat out Sex and the City, I am extremely pleased with how well it did.  Help support a fellow Crowley High School Graduate.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer Movie Update

Well, it turns out in my first Summer movie post I missed an important film and it opens today.

I know what you're all thinking.  Josh Man, you mentioned The Sex and the City Movie.

Well, it has come to my attention that the SatC movie is a distant second in important films being released today.


Yeah, you've seen the trailers.  Liv Tyler and Scott Speedmen are home and those creepy people in masks show up to wreak horrific havoc.

Sure, movies like this are all too often horrible, but most movies like this (in fact, all but this one as far as I know) weren't written by one of my best friends growing up.  This one was.  Congrats to Bryan Bertino.

We went to Elementary School together (Bess Race), Middle School together (HF Stevens), and High Scool together (Crowley, go Eagles).

Not only did he write this film, but although it is a rare occurrence, he's directing it also.

I'm asking all of my readers to make an effort to go see this movie this weekend, boosting it's box office.  I would greatly appreciate it, as I'm sure, would he.

The only point of having a fairly popular (according to my hits/footprints) blog (although most people only read it for LOST) is too occasionally be able to ask for a small favor.  I'm doing that now.

If you feel you must, go see Sex and the City too, but try to give this film a shot.

Until Next Time, I'm going to be seeing it tonight with some other Crowley High grads, I'll put up my review tomorrow.

LOST There's No Place Like Home Parts Two and Three, first thoughts

Alright, lots to get to tonight...

Let's start with the extra scene from last weeks episode that they showed before the episode.  We now know the three other people who survived the crash but didn't live to rescue in the O6 cover story, Boone, Libby, and Charlie.

So, why these three?

They all actually died on the Island, but so did many others that could have been used, Shannon, Ana Lucia, Eko, hell, even Paulo and Nicki (remember them?), so why Boone, Libby, and Charlie?

Well, I don't know Dr. Jack's reason for picking those three, but I think I know the writer's.

First, each one represents a prominent death from each of the previous seasons, Boone was the show's first main character to die, Libby was a shocking death in season two, because there is obviously still so much we need to learn about her past, and Charlie was (and still is) the fan favorite dead character.

But more importantly, of all of the Oceanic LOSTies who have died on the Island, these are the only ones that we've seen since they died and have been seen by the LOSTies since they died (although I would, and soon will, make the case that Claire would fit this bill as well).

Locke has seen and conversed with Boone since his death, Libby appeared to Michael off the Island, and Hurley hangs with Charlie all the time outside the mental institution.  Clearly these three were chosen for a reason.

Wow, we've already covered a lot and we haven't even gotten to the new episode yet.

First, let me just say, great Mind Frak moment to open the show, Kate slowing down and reversing directly out of the "Previously.... on LOST".  Loved it.

Okay, onto the meat.  (Sorry to all of you vegetarian readers out there)

What I was right about....

The Island's move, I'm feeling pretty good about my theory on that.  I love time travel (and clearly it still plays a role) but moving the Island strictly in time just didn't feel right in my head.  How about Benry moving the Island and ending up in Tunisia almost ten months later though.  When he heads to the hotel after appearing in the Dharka, he asks the date and instead of late December 2004, it's late October 2005.  He asks the date and the October date is given to him which causes him to inquire, "2005?"  I guess he knew he didn't get thrown back two months, and was hoping that he had only been thrown forward 10.  Something to keep in mind, however.

The way the Oceanic 6 happen, I predicted a couple of posts back that they would be headed back to the Island for more people, and that the Island wouldn't be there anymore.  Called that one.
My biggest prediction that came true, of course, was the future of the show.  I predicted that Dr. Jack would have to get everyone back together in order to get back to the Island, and clearly that is what he must do now.  Feeling pretty good about that one considering I made it right after the Season finale last year.

Now, what I was wrong about...

Locke in the coffin, never saw that coming.  It makes sense of course.  Travel back with me to the last Locke-centric episode, Cabin Fever, I stated my theory that it was always John's place to be the leader of the Others and Benry was just the substitute.  Now let's think about the fact that Benry is always (at least) three steps ahead of everyone else.  Do you have any doubt when he told Dr. Jack to leave with Kate, Sayid, Hurley, et al. that he knew that this is exactly what would happen?  The Island would go down the crapper (which is kind of what it looked like when it "moved", flush) and John would have to come off Island to try and bring everyone back resulting in his death and therefore, the Island would once again need......


Yeah, the second he gave into them leaving so easily, I should have known it would be the only way that he would get his post back, meaning it would lead to the ultimate death of John Locke.

Of course, we've got lots of stuff happening in between the O6 leaving the Island and Locke dying in the Tower, so even though Locke will ultimately die, I doubt that he'll be off of the show anytime soon.

RIP Michael.  He wasn't in the coffin, but he is most certainly dead.  After all, Christian (current Jacob stand in for whatever reason) told him the Island no longer needed his services.  And there is the fact that he was like less then a foot from a crap load of C4.  So, yeah.  I'll miss him, anyway.  I was always a big Michael fan.

Claire is also dead, in my opinion.  Otherwise, how would she have appeared to Kate?  Sure, some might say, "It was just a dream," but does this seem like the show where a character would have just a dream?  No.  The creepy phone call by the way?  We recorded it at the LOST watching party I attended and played it backwards.  It said, "The Island needs you; you have to go back before it's too late."

We emailed the clip to DarkUFO, here's a link to listen to it yourself.

Right after Kate gets this creepy whispered (and backwards) phone message, she sees Claire (or the ghost of Claire, whatever) who tells her that she mustn't take Aaron back there.

Let's talk a little about Desmond.

First of all, wow.  Loved that scene.  I'm a sucker for the Desmond/Penny stuff, not even gonna lie, but I was a lot shocked to see it happen here.  Two seasons earlier then I was expecting it.

Still, I won't be surprised if along with dead body Locke (Weekend at Lockies?), Dr. Jack has to get Desmond to return.  The show loves the Ironic Statements, and Desmond's "I'm never going to set foot on that Island again" is begging to become on of the show's finest.  WAAAAAAAALT!!!! will probably have to come too.

Well, since the show ended the possibility of a Series Finale Desmond/Penny reunion, I guess we'll have to settle for a Jin/Sun reunion instead.

But Josh Man, Jin died on the freighter when it exploded.



Just like Krazy Keamy died when Richard Alpert shot him in the back.

Just like Desmond, Eko, and Locke died when the Hatch exploded.

Just like Patchy died any of the like one hundred times Patchy has "died".

I'm not buying a dead Jin when we didn't see a body.  He'll either float up on shore of the Island or get picked up by Faraday in the Zodiac, but I'm telling you right now, Jin is not dead.  If he were going to die we would have seen his face right before the boat exploded underneath him.  We always get a good shot of the character right before they die, especially when it's a main character.

Jin's not dead simply because we didn't see him die.  He deserved at least that much.

Wow, I'm really tired.  I'm pretty sure that there are other things I wanted to touch on, but I guess we have 8 months to go over them all (like C.S. Lewis looking for her birth place and Miles telling her that she's been to the Island before), but

Until Next Time, only 34 episodes until we know it all.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

LOST Season 4 Finale theories and predictions

I'm so excited right now, I can barely type.  Seriously, if you could read what I was actually writing without going back and fixing it, you would think that perhaps I had invented some strange language that no one but myself can read.

Tonight is the two hour conclusion of the Season 4 Finale for my favorite network television show, LOST!!!!!

So, what will we learn in this upcoming episode?


1. How the Oceanic 6 get off of the Island

2. Who is in the coffin from last season's finale.

Those for sure.  What we might also learn...

3. Why there is a cover story for the O6.

4. How does the Island move.

First off, the O6 and their imminent escape.  Two of the O6 (I decided to shorten it for the rest of the post, less chance of me screwing it up and having to backtrack to fix it that way, still too excited to type) are currently on the freighter, the rest are headed towards (or are already at, Hugo) the Orchid Station.

Somehow we have to get the two groups together.  This bodes well for the lives of Jin and Desmond in my opinion, since we know that Sun and Aaron, will live, I don't see the freighter exploding.

The man in the coffin...  For some time now, I have been convinced that it is Michael.  I see no reason to go away from that now.  The funeral home where the viewing is to take place is in an African American neighborhood. The newspaper clipping that Dr. Jack reads in last year's season finale gives a partially readable name that we have never heard before, and of all of our characters, only Michael/Kevin and Henry/Ben have had multiple names, Benry seems to be more important to the overall mythology of the story line (with his promise to kill Penny and all) therefore pointing this clue straight at Michael as well.  According to the Fuselage this is what the newspaper clipping says...

"The body of John Lantham of New York was found shortly after 4 am in the 4300 block of Grand Avenue.  Ted Worden, a doorman at the Tower Lofts complex, heard loud noises coming from the victim's loft.  Concerned for tenants' safety, he entered the loft and found the body hanging from a beam in the living room.  According to Jaime Ortiz, a police spokesman, the incident was deemed a suicide after medical tests. Latham (sic) is survived by one teenage son.   Memorial services will be held at the Hoffs-Drawlar Funeral Home tomorrow evening."

One, Michael is from New York, two, he has a teenage son, three, he's been trying to kill himself for some time now, maybe the Island is finally done with him at this point, allowing him to succeed.

I can't guarantee that the quote is what the newspaper clipping said had we been able to read it in full, but it matches up with the parts that we could read from Through the Looking Glass.

So, why is there a cover story?  My theory is that ultimately the freighter folk will be the rescuers, meaning that Widmore will be "responsible" for rescuing the O6.  I think that he owns (or has some control over) Oceanic and therefore in order to keep anyone else from looking for the Island sets up the story that Dr. Jack and his companions pretend is the truth.  Due to the "moving" of the Island, everyone else appears to be unfindable anyway, so the O6 go ahead with this plan, figuring the truth is too hard to have to try and explain anyway.

But how does the Island move?  The popular theory is "in time", but I'm not buying it.  The properties of the Island would still be there for Widmore (or any other shady figures for that matter) to find and exploit, just without the Hostiles/Others and remaining castaways there to kill.  Moving the Island in time doesn't satisfy what the Island would want, and that's protecting the Island.  I don't think it cares as much about anyone who happens to be there.

I believe that the Island is in another dimension and is accessible through various wormhole type openings, one of which is in the ocean where the freighter is positioned.  Moving the Island means closing off the wormhole or moving the Island's access point to that wormhole.  Of course that will still leave the wormholes that connect to the Arctic (explaining the Dharma parka or Dharka that Benry wears in his latest episode as well as his rush of cold breath, ohh, and Polar Bears too) and to the Tunisian desert.

I guess we'll find out tonight.

Until Next Time, I'll see you after the episode with my first thoughts.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls

Well, I'm exhausted, but it was worth it.

The best part about Indiana Jones for me growing up was that it taught me the meaning of the phrase "Out of the frying pan, into the fire."  I think the first time I ever heard that phrase was when my mom used it to sum up what exactly Indy was all about and why he was so darned exciting.

Well, in the latest installment, Indy is firmly in the frying pan to start things off, and we don't even get an explanation as to how he got there.  We just get to see him work to get out of the frying pan into the hottest fire even Indy has ever faced.  (And this is the man who was there when someone tried to open the Ark, and you saw, although Indy thankfully didn't, what happened after that.  I refuse to acknowledge that there are people who haven't seen what happened after that.)

The film isn't up to the strength of Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Last Crusade (but then I have to admit I'm a little biased, I always enjoy Indy's bible based adventures a little more then his lost civilization adventures) but I think it's actually better then Temple of Doom.

The thing to keep in mind is that twenty years have passed, and the world is a different place.

The serial type adventures on which this series's films are based are different as well, and the movie does a good job in reflecting that in its plot.  While the thirties and forties were action based, religious mythological artifact adventures, the fifties were all about the possibility of life on other planets, and this film doesn't ignore that intrigue of this time period.

While the film is more Temple of Doom in plot then Raiders or Crusade, it definitely feels more like Raiders in a lot of ways.  Not just the reintroduction of the best leading lady that Indy has ever had in Karen Allen as Marian (you gotta go Marian, cause "There were a lot of Mary's kid") Ravenwood, but a few subtle nods to the first film in the series as well (and a few not so subtle nods, I see you Ark of the Covenant).

Being the first film in the series to air after the television show Young Indiana Jones, I love that they actually made a nod to that show, with Indy telling Mutt about an adventure in the show, as well as taking the spirit of the Indiana Jones was part of history as we know it aspect of the show and adding that into this film.

It would have been easy to make a disappointing film, and if your hopes were that the film would be the best of the series, perhaps you will be disappointed, but if you're looking to recapture that Indiana Jones magic, then come prepared to hop straight out of the frying pan into a nuclear explosion and to have a hell of a good time while doing it.

Oh Indy, how did we ever survive so long without you?

Until Next Time, the summer season continues to go strong, especially if you decide to ignore the flop of Speed Racer, which I did by deciding not to see it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Indiana Was the Dog's Name

I can't wait!  The time is finally almost upon us.  After patiently waiting for almost 20 years, there is finally a new Indiana Jones movie!!!!!!!!

I'm going to try and catch a midnight showing tonight at my favorite theater (Rave at Ridgmar)!

In other movie news, Prince Caspian was fantastic, even better then The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe in my opinion.  In fact, I would say that the movie is at least as good as the book.  It certainly is among the best adaptations ever.  I am pumped for Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but a little worried as well.  The director is stepping down from the franchise and will just be producing Dawn Treader.  The last time this particular director did that in the third movie in a series it didn't work out so well.  (Andrew Adamson who directed both Narnia films so far also directed the first two Shrek films, but stepped down for the third resulting in a very disappointing film.)

Until Next Time, I am currently 14 hours behind on my tivo viewing, including the latest episode of BSG, so remember, patient the Jedi is, and I will get my thoughts on the latest episode up as soon as I get to watch it.  Friday night is a difficult time for a television show to air, it makes it hard for me to schedule a time to view it.  I wish that SciFi was still showing it early on the website, as I would always make time at work for such important television.  Oh well.

Friday, May 16, 2008

LOST There's No Place Like Home Part One, first thoughts

Well, you can't be right all the time.  I'm definitely intrigued to see how only the Oceanic 6 will get off of the Island since Sun and Aaron are on the freighter along with Jin and four other nameless survivors, while the other four (Dr. Jack, Kate, Sayid, and Hurley) are headed to roughly the same place, the Orchid station.

(More on that in a minute).

I do think that one of my earlier theories (from after the season finale last year) is correct.  I think that Widmore is dharma, and I think that Widmore owns Oceanic, which is why the conspiracy has been cooked up to explain their disappearance.  Otherwise, it's possible that Widmore cooked up the conspiracy and Oceanic actually believes the story that the 6 are telling to be true.

LOST does a great job with tearful reunions.  I especially enjoyed Hurley seeing his mom again and Sayid finding Nadia (although that's a little sad since we know she's going to die soon after they wed.)  It's because of this show strength that I still don't believe Jin is actually dead.  The finale will have to have a Sun/Jin reunion (as well as a happy ending for Desmond/Penny).

Although I have to admit, the second that he was on the boat with Sun, I did get worried about his fate.
When Sun reunited with her family, did you see the look on Paik's (her father) face?  Like Widmore, he definitely knows more about that Island then we think he does.  After all, C.S. Lewis knows Korean and knew the Dharma insignia when she saw it on the Tunisian Polar Bear, it isn't much of a stretch to think she knows Korean because she works for Paik.

And I hate to admit it because her namesake is one of my favorite authors (and Prince Caspian opens tomorrow!!!) but of the four freighter folk we know the best (Frank, Faraday, Miles, and Lewis) she seems the shadiest.

I love how Dr. Jack found out that Claire was his sister.  The look of horror in his face when he realized that Aaron was his nephew was priceless.  I can only imagine how much guilt he now feels for not getting her off the Island too.  And then Kate holding Aaron while Aaron's grandmother comments on him, let me just say that was a brilliant, brilliant scene from beginning to end.

Okay, the Orchid Station.

I've shown this video before, but now I'll put it up again in case you're a new reader or forgot what it showed.

This is the Orientation film for the Orchid Station....

It does seem to involve time travel of some sort.

We'll know in two weeks.

Until Next Time, what are your thoughts on the fate of Jin.  Because Sun says to her father that he's at fault for Jin's "death" does that make you think that he's actually dead or is she sticking to the official story and uses dead instead of "lost on the Island"?  We've got two weeks to discuss that and anything else on your mind.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

LOST Season Finale theories and predictions

"He told me to move the Island"

-John Locke

So, what exactly does that mean?

There's a couple of theories on this.

One, it could mean move the Island in time.  This seems to be a popular theory online and amongst some of my friends, and being a sucker for all things time travel, I like it myself, but that can't be all of it.

Krazy Keamy has threatened to torch the Island.  Even if John moves all of the Others to another time on the Island, the Island itself will still be there to torch and Krazy Keamy wants more then Benry Gale now, he's pissed at the Island because of our old friend Smokey.

I've always thought that the Island isn't really in our reality.

I've always believed that it is actually in a separate dimension from ours.

As I pointed out last week, the time differential isn't stable or predictable.  Sometimes it's earlier on the Island then it is off of the Island, sometimes its vice versa.

I think that is because the Island is in a completely different universe.

However, it is accessible through certain wormholes, including one in the ocean that the freighter is currently in supposedly offshore.  If, however, the Island were moved... meaning, in my opinion, that the Island would be closed off from those particular wormholes, then the freighter would just be sitting in the ocean away from any land base whatsoever.

Here's what we know.

Dr. Jack was thrown a sat phone from the helicopter.  It was from Frank, but he probably thinks it was from Sayid or Desmond.  He knows that the freighter folk are dangerous so he'll be tracking them secretly, hoping to take down anyone dangerous.

The helicopter is heading towards wherever it is that Benry Gale will be next, thanks to intel from Widmore given to Krazy Keamy.

That means that Benry Gale, Locke, and Hurley will be met by the helicopter and Dr. Jack.

Meanwhile back at the beach, Sayid will arrive in the boat to start ferrying survivors back there.

Now to the theories.

Sawyer will arrive with Miles and Aaron to the beach and will have Kate and Aaron head for the freighter while he goes back to look for Claire (despite the fact that she's dead).  Jin will make sure that Sun is on the transport as well.  It's a small boat, so Sayid's first load will be himself, Kate, Sun, and Aaron.

Meanwhile, Locke, Benry, Hurley, and Dr. Jack with the help of Frank (and we can only hope, Smokey) will overpower Krazy Keamy.  Frank will take Dr. Jack and Hurley back with him to the freighter, leaving John able to move the Island.

When Frank and Sayid head back to the Island in their two transports, Locke will already have closed the wormhole and they will be unable to locate it, meaning the only people to get off will be Dr. Jack, Sayid, Kate, Sun, Hurley, and Aaron, aka the Oceanic 6.

Everyone else will still be alive (except Claire, because I'm fairly certain that she's been dead for a few episodes already), but still on the Island.

Now, I want to leave you with some more thoughts on last weeks episode.

Benry Gale's mother's name, Emily Linus.

John Locke's mother's name, Emily Locke.

Both were born 3 months premature.

Their mother's first words after their births was "Name him...."

Both have a strong connection to the Island and people connected to the Island were at each of their sides shortly after their birth.

Benry appears to have been born in the early 60's whereas Locke was born in the late 50's.

Let's call it about 5 years difference.

So, about the time that Richard Alpert tested Locke and failed him for choosing the "Walkabout John" method of reaching the Island, Benry Gale was born.

The Island tried at least one more time to recruit John to the Island through Alpert (using Mittelos Labs), but again John refused, perhaps subconsciously sticking with the "Walkabout John" plan.  About that time, Horace Goodspeed got his friend Roger "Workman" Linus a job with the Dharma Institute on the Island, causing him to bring little Benry.

So, what does this all mean?

Clearly, the Island wanted John Locke as its Leader and Liaison all along, but settled for its backup plan (Benry Gale, substitute leader of the Others) until Locke arrived.

The second that Locke arrived, the Island didn't need Benry Gale anymore.  (Thank you very much for your service, we'll mail you your last check).  Immediately he lost his ability to speak to (or in fact even see) Jacob, he stopped having the dreams ("I used to have the dreams, John", said Benry Gale), and worst of all, the Island made him sick, giving him cancer in a place where, as Rose pointed out, you don't get sick, you get better.

Seems like the Island has no need for Benry Gale to me.  Looks more like it was tossing him out like old garbage.

I don't know about you, but I doubt that Benry's going to take this lying down.  If Locke is out of the way, Benry, the substitute, is necessary once again.

I'd watch my back, Locke, if I were you.

Until Next Time, part one of the three hour finale will air tonight.  Unfortunately next week will be a LOSTless Thursday, but then we'll be treated to a two hour finale on the Thursday after that.  See you after the show with my first thoughts.