Saturday, December 19, 2009

AVATAR - This is Going to Change Everything

I haven't even written my review for the amazing film The Road yet, and it might be too late, because I've just seen a movie that I have to place above it.

My entire life I could only imagine what it was like for someone in May of 1977 who was then the same age that I am now, they go in to see a movie that had a fair amount of hype attached to it, but no matter what they had heard going in, they weren't prepared for what they saw.  No, for what they experienced.

I have always wanted to know what it felt like to step out of that theater having just seen movies change forever.  Having just seen Star Wars.

Now, I think I know.

I've grown up in a world that has always had Star Wars.  It came out before I was born (although my parents saw it while pregnant with me, that probably has something to do with my obsession for everything Star Wars), so I never knew a world without Star Wars.

A case can certainly be made that a lot of what got made because of Star Wars was a waste of time, money, and talent (if using that word isn't being too kind), but there was a magic that happened that day, and there have been magical movies since that wouldn't have existed without the masterpiece that George Lucas gave us just over 30 years ago.

For the first time since that film, movies have been forever changed again.

It is the only way I can explain what I experienced in that theater tonight.

"This is going to change everything."

James Cameron has done what filmmakers have been trying to do for almost two decades now.  He has created a world that it is utterly, totally, and completely real, beyond any doubt in your heart, even if your mind knows differently, and none of it exists.

He created not only totally believable humanoid characters that you could almost swear must exist, he also created an entire world for them that I want nothing more than to visit.  I can't imagine that it isn't there, because it looked and honestly felt so incredibly real.

There are only two things about my feelings on the film that could even possibly be construed as negative, but I'm going to explain to you why I am not taking them as negatives.

First, the story is a bit predictable.  There is no denying that.  I can honestly say that I knew each twist and turn of the story well before it happened.  But I wasn't bothered by that in the least.

The story is, as they say, an age old tale.  I can rattle off tons of movies and books that have told a thematically similar story, and I can even point to one in the history books, Pocahontas and John Smith.  Sure the story has been told before, and in many, many different ways and places, but that is because there is truth to the story.  The story is true, as true as it was when John Smith first laid eyes on Pocahontas, as true as it was the millions of times that it happened before then.

And the world is so extraordinary, that maybe we needed a true and familiar story to draw us in as completely as James Cameron draws us in.  Either way, I have no problem with the story or the fact that it is predictable.  The point of the matter is, it works.

The other small thing I have to say that could be construed as negative is that the perception of the 3D gets in the way a little bit at times, especially early in the military base.  Later in the film on Pandora, it simply immerses you completely in the world, but in the human constructions occasionally it takes you out of the movie.  The reason that I don't think that this is that much of an issue is because I didn't see this film in IMAX.  At least I haven't seen it in IMAX yet.  I saw it on a regular digital 3D screen, and I think that it is clear that this is a film made for and meant to be seen in IMAX.  If it is at all possible for you to see this film in that format, I highly recommend it.

That being said, the magic is still there 110% seeing it in 3D on a normal screen.  And I think that it probably is seeing it in 2D as well, although I don' t plan to find out.

The performances are fantastic throughout the film, and the dialogue is strong, especially compared to Cameron's last epic film which will get no mention from me here (sorry Shannon).  I doubt that it is possible, but I think that Zoe Saldana (who was also spectacular as Uhura earlier this year in Star Trek) should get a nomination for best actress, even though her character was completely CGI'd.  I'm not sure that just anyone could have brought that character to such complete and total life the way that she did.

Sam Worthington did a great job as well, both in and out of his Avatar.  I was actually pretty worried about him because I didn't think that much of his work earlier this year in Terminator:Suckvation, (Hah, get it, Suckvation) but in the hands of a good director, he was very good.

The score which I have been listening to quite a lot on XM 76, Cinemagic this week, was brilliant, right up there with The Road and Star Trek for the best of the year.  James Horner (Braveheart, Wrath of Khan, and Terminator 2 amongst many others) might have done his best work on this film.  It fits the mood and the film so perfectly and naturally.  I will be getting it from iTunes as soon as I finish this review.

Overall, I can't recommend this experience (because that is what it is, it is an experience, not a movie) enough.  Do yourself a favor and see it.  Because, truly...

This Is Going to Change Everything...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday Movie Reviews Part Two, Fantastic Mr. Fox

The latest from Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore) is based on the book by Roald Dahl and as such seems a perfect fit for the enigmatic writer/director.  The movie is clearly in the style of Anderson and feels as much like an Anderson film as Tenenbaums, Rushmore, Life Aquatic, and Darjeeling Limited, but unlike those films, this is a kid's movie, with completely evokes the world created by Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach).  Truly this material is a perfect match for Anderson and it is an outstanding kid's movie that will please the adults as much as it will excite and enrapture the imagination of the kids.

The stop-motion animation is the best that I have ever seen.  It is ultra realistic, and the puppets of the animals is so fantastic you literally feel as if you could reach up to the screen and feel the fur of the characters.

The voice acting is all fantastic, featuring George Clooney, Meryl Streep, and Anderson regulars Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray, while some of the voices are unmistakable due to the noteriaty of those voicing them, the animation and story are so strong it is never distracting.

Another thing that really stood out for this film was it's fantastic score and use of music.  Alexandre Desplat (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Twilight Series: New Moon) does an outstanding job with the original music and Anderson's choices for the other songs used in the movie are spot on.

I also really loved the themes explored in this movie, whether we are able to rise above are baser instincts and become more than simply the animals that we are.  Great stuff.

This is truly an outstanding film for the whole family, fun, funny, and not as scary as the best family film this year so far (Caroline).  This has been a great year for kid's movies that will appeal to adults as well, and Fantastic Mr. Fox is right there with Caroline and Up and way better than the still good A Christmas Carol and Monsters VS. Aliens.

Until Next Time, I'm still working on my review for The Road as I want my review to do the film justice.  I'll try to get it up soon, but Finals and Papers might keep me from getting to it as soon as I'd like!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Movie Reviews Part One, New Moon and A Serious Man

So, over the holidays I have gotten a chance to see a few films, and it is always fun to try in a spoiler free way to pass on what I think of them to you.

Might as well start with the biggie, blockbuster wise.  This film has already busted lots of records, and probably will continue to do so despite not quite being worthy of the hype it is receiving.


The second film in the series is no where near as good as the first one, in my opinion.  The strength of the first movie was the fantastic job Catherine Hardwicke did with capturing the scenery.  Let's face it, the story is pretty basic, and there has to be more than just the story for me to get much out of these films.  With Twilight, Hardwicke accomplished that.  With New Moon, (by far my least favorite of the books, and yes, I've read the books) not much happens, so Chris Weitz should have learned a lesson from his predecessor.  He did not.  New Moon looks a lot less Art Film like, and a lot more Teeny-bopper romance like.  The difference being that Summit put a lot more effort into the effects this time around.  My main problems with the first film were the effects and a lot of the casting.  This time, the effects are top notch.  Best Werewolves I have ever seen on screen, bar none, and worth it just for that.  The story doesn't really ever get going, however, I still disagree with a lot of the casting (and don't buy Rosalie at all), and as much as Robert Pattinson is getting a lot of notice these days, my impression of him is that he makes Hayden Christenson in the Prequels look Oscar worthy.  Seriously, there is no way to describe him except wooden, he was terrible in this (of course, this film doesn't give him much to do).  The ending is horribly rushed, taking all of the possible suspense out of what is really the only interesting part of the entire film action wise.  But, with all of that being said, you know if you will enjoy this movie or not.  It is what it is, and it isn't a terrible movie if you know what you're going in for.  I was just disappointed that it didn't keep to the quality of the first film, but when you trade an Oscar caliber and award winning director (Thirteen) for the guy who directed American Pie, I guess that can happen.


The new Coen brothers film is (as is usual for them) a departure from normal films.  I'm honestly not sure what I can say about this movie other than it will make you think and it will make you laugh (although you won't always feel good about that second part).  It is funny and it is terrifying all at the same time if only because of how real and how terrible it all is.  It has been said that the plot is loosely based on the book of Job in the Hebrew Bible (some Christians out there might know that better as the Old Testament) and you can definitely see the influence, but it is also a fairly autobiographical look at the childhood of Joel and Ethan Coen, growing up Jewish in the sixties and seventies in suburban Minneapolis.  It isn't an easy film, and I'm not sure that there are any characters that you can say that you really root for, but you will find yourself emotionally invested in the film, and I guarantee that its hard hitting theological questions and setup will make you think.  Overall it is a perfectly written, perfectly acted, and as always with the Coen's perfectly shot film that will make you laugh constantly while you watch it and will stay with you long after you see it, from the shocking and unexplained first scene to the ambiguous and jarring final one.  If it opens near you, take the opportunity to see it.

Until Next Time, I hope you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving and I will be back shortly with my thoughts on Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Road.

Friday, September 25, 2009

FlashForward No More Good Days, review and first thoughts

I'll start with a spoiler free review, so if you haven't seen it yet you can get a sense of what I think of it, then I'll move into a LOST-style analysis of the first episode if you have seen it.


Wow.  A brilliant pilot that perfectly sets up what is to come and at the same time provides an hour of tense and suspenseful drama.  The actors are all phenomenal (even the surprise cameo performance of Family Guy creator, Seth MacFarlane, when I saw him I tweeted, "Wait, was that Seth MacFarlane? #FlashForward", and it turns out that yes, yes it was) and the cinematography, editing, and music were all top notch.  There was no aspect of the pilot that wasn't incredibly phenomenal.  Like LOST it opens with the after effects of a traumatic experience, and like LOST quickly introduces a mind boggling mystery.  For 2 minutes and 17 seconds, the entire world blacks out and sees themselves 6 months into the future.  What a fantastic concept, and the pilot plays it out brilliantly setting the stage for all the mystery inherent in such a premise.  Clearly it is a show that will demand a loyal and consistent commitment to the show, because it seems like there will be a lot each week that will play into the overall mystery.  If you feel like giving that much commitment to a television show, it seems like FlashForward will more then make it worthwhile.  I said on Facebook last night that I thought the pilot was at least the best network pilot since the one for LOST, and even though this is only one episode, I definitely think that FlashForward will be a more than suitable replacement.  If for any reason you missed it last night, check it out online at or tonight at 7 central when ABC replays it.  It is also available on Hulu.  Watch it.  You won't regret it.


There were a few things that struck me as I watched the show last night, and rewatched it today in preparation for this post.

I love the theological implications that are already making their way into the show.  We have two characters that verbally put this event at God's doorstep.  There is Nicole, the babysitter, and Bryce, the doctor.  Nicole tells Mark (the main character, played by Joseph Fiennes) that she thinks the flash forward was a punishment from God, Bryce tells Olivia (Mark's wife, played by Sonya Walger, better known as Penny on LOST) that he thinks this was a gift from God.  Interestingly enough, the first time that we see Nicole, Mark calls her a saint, whereas the first time we see Bryce, Olivia is calling him to complain about the fact that he didn't show up to work the day before, which is not Saint-like behavior.  I don't really know how much stock to put into this, however, because the next time we see Nicole she is half naked with her boyfriend while the girl she is supposed to be babysitting is upstairs asleep.  That isn't exactly Saint-like behavior either.  Anyway, the two characters and their opposing view points on the event are tied together as the two characters are always shown one after the other, and both are tied to the Benford family

Then there is the question of whether or not the visions are changeable.  It seems like knowing your future six months in advance can allow you to change it, at least somewhat.  I am interested to see how this plays out as I'm sure that some people (and indeed some in the show are among this group) would adamantly want the future that they saw to not come true.  And if you do want the future to come true, can knowing that future somehow jeopardize it from coming true?  The mere fact that you have seen your future will cause you to do things differently than you otherwise would have.  Mark, for instance, sets up his Mosaic board based on the board that he saw in his vision.  The cards for D. Gibbons, Friendship Bracelet, Doll's Head, Blue Hands, and the tattoo are all there only because he saw those cards there in his vision.  It is possible that he would have come to discover some of those clues without the help of the vision, but the fact that those cards are up there and where they are on the board are solely because he saw them there in the vision.  Clearly the things that people saw are going to affect the decisions that they make, so the question is, does the mere having of the vision lead to the visions coming true?  Definitely an interesting idea to keep an eye on as the show progresses.

I found the mention and use of the song, Islands in the Stream interesting.  The song says, "Islands in the stream/that is what we are", but it seems to me that we are more accurately riding along on the stream, and the Islands, which would be stationary points in the stream, are stationary points in time, such as moments, such as April 29, 2010 at 10pm PST, with the stream being time, flowing ever onward.

A few of the interesting things that I noticed...

There was an Oceanic Airlines billboard, nice LOST shout-out.

Speaking of billboards, on the side of the bus as Benford and Demetri Noh (played by Harold/Sulu aka John Cho) dealt with "the unknown female" was an advertisement for something called Red Panda.  It said, "A Better Tomorrow".  In Mark Benford's flash forward, on his board were written the words Red Panda.  Clearly this company plays some sort of role in what happened.

The kangaroo probably will play some importance as the show goes on, I don't think that it was just a nod to the polar bear in the early going of LOST, although it probably was a little bit of that as well.

On LOST, numerology plays a big role, and we got a lot of numbers in this as well.  Not sure what any of them mean yet or if they are even that important, but I noted them nonetheless.

2 min 17 sec or 137 seconds. (how long the black out lasted)

6 months (how far into the future the visions are)

4-29-2010 10:00pm (when they take place)

4-30-2010 6:00am (when it takes place in London, also explicitly mentioned in the episode)

17 weeks (how far along one of the characters is in her pregnancy in her vision, this also means that she will be getting pregnant in just less then 2 months)

877 planes (the amount of planes that crashed, presumably in America)

Nothing really jumps out at me yet looking at those numbers, but then I am certainly not a numerology expert.

Finally, Suspect Zero is very interesting.  Is he D. Gibbons?  Is he human?  Is he the cause of the blackout/flash forward or is he just somehow immune to it?  And is it just me or did he look a lot like the father of the little boy, who is also the mystery man in Olivia's flash forward?  That would certainly be interesting, but why would he have been in Detroit when he works at Stanford, and how did he get back to LA that night when all the flights are grounded and presumably the streets are pretty congested because of all the wrecks that would have occured during the event?

Not sure, but I can't wait to find out.  I hope that you're as excited about this show as I am!  I'm thinking that it will be extremely hard to beat for Josh's Choice For Best New Show of the Year, of course it is still early.

Until Next Time, speaking of Josh's Choice For Best New Show of the Year, last year's winner Dollhouse returns for its second season tonight on FOX!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thoughts on Some of the New Fall Shows Part 2

Thanks to having the flu and the inability to get out of the house since everyone is afraid that I'm going to infect them, I have gotten to watch some television in the last couple of days.  That means there is a new post on some of the new shows this season.  Today I'll be giving you my thoughts on Vampire Diaries, Modern Family, Cougar Town, The Forgotten, The Good Wife, Eastwick, and Mercy.  You can check my previous post for my thoughts on Glee and Community.

Everyone is going to talk about this as a Twilight knockoff, and while there is little doubt that this show exists only because of the popularity of the teen Vampire series, the books that this show is based on actually predates Twilight by more then 10 years.  So any similarities aren't really ripping off Twilight, just taking advantage of that series's popularity.  The show is developed by Kevin Williamson, who is famous of course for Dawson's Creek.  I'm not sure that this show has the potential of that one, and it doesn't seem to have the mythology of Buffy or Angel to sustain it for long either.  As much as I love vampires and like Kevin Williamson, the show will have to lay off of the cliche pretty quickly for me to stay on board.  I do have to admit that it is great to see Boone on the television again, however.  Ian Somerholder (Boone on LOST) is outstanding in the first couple of episodes as the evil vampire.


This comedy actually made me feel even less excited about Community.  While I was willing to give Community some room to find its way, Modern Family showed that it isn't necessary for every show.  It hits the ground running.  It is hilarious and despite all of the characters it manages to have a perfect pacing and no one gets a short shift.  The episode both made me laugh and engaged my emotions.  It is a comedy, but even though there has only been one episode, I already care about the characters.  I did not expect a show that I hadn't heard that much about to win  me over so completely, and yet it did.  I highly recommend catching the replay of the pilot on Friday at 8 Central on ABC (assuming, of course, that you have some way to also watch the season premiere of Dollhouse airing at the same time) or on  From not even being on my radar, this show is now in the running for the coveted Josh's Choice For the Best New Show of the Year Award (won last season by Dollhouse!)


While I am a fan of much of the cast, the show was overly cliched and not really that funny.  I doubt that I'll watch it again.  Courtney Cox deserves better, as does Busy Philips (from Freaks and Geeks and the land lady last season on Terminator), Christa Miller (from Scrubs), Dan Byrd (from the under appreciated show Aliens in America), and Ian Gomez (who was so great in Felicity that it is hard for me to buy him as a straight guy in this show).  I wish I liked it, because I am a fan of all of those actors, but I'm just not.  I don't recommend it at all.


Christian Slater's new show, and the new show from Jerry Bruckheimer (CSI et al, and Cold Case), it is as formula as any of those.  Not terrible, but not great either.  It was odd to me, because I had seen the video from the upfronts, and the pilot was exactly the same as that showed, except the lead actor was different.  Apparently when ABC decided to go with it for the season, they replaced the main actor with Christian Slater.  Even with the former movie star in the main role, there were no characters that really grab you in this show, and the formula aspect really turns me off.  While there were little hints about each of the characters that I guess will be played out over the season, I can't help but feel that this show will be one that it won't really hurt you if you miss any.  So, I'll probably be missing quite a few.


Another show in the running now for Josh's Choice for the Best New Show of the Year.  Sure, in a way, it is just another Lawyer Show, but there is enough extra going on that really gathered my interest, and then there is the fact that it was a great episode of a Lawyer Show.  The cast is terrific, Julianna Margulies (Nurse Hathaway on ER), Josh Charles (Dan on the great, great show Sports Night), and Chris Noth (probably best known as Mr. Big).  The premise is ripe for a lot of interesting stories, Julianna Margulies plays "the good wife" standing by her politician husband (Chris Noth) after he is brought down in a prostitution scandal.  In order to provide for the family, she goes to work for a law firm run in part by an old friend from when she was in law school (Josh Charles).  Intertwining the stories of the cases she is working on and the continuing legal troubles of her husband as well as her own personal problems with the situation should make the show interesting for some time to come.  I really enjoyed the pilot.


Yeah, I honestly don't even know what was going on in this pilot.  It really didn't strike me as believable, and I recognize that a show about three witches in a New England town probably shouldn't seem believable, but I mean that it was impossible for me to suspend my disbelief at all.  I didn't really buy any of the characters at all with the possible exception of the maybe evil mysterious dude, played by Paul Gross from Due South (if you remember that show), but since they didn't really build his character enough (I guess because they wanted to keep him mysterious) I didn't really care that much.  As much as I love fantasy type shows, I feel like this show is not one that will really work for me.  Neither did Charmed, so maybe if you liked it, you'll like this one as well.


Another Hospital Show is probably needed as much as another Lawyer Show, but I like that the main character is a nurse as opposed to a doctor, in fact most of the main characters are nurses, and that in itself is enough to differentiate it from most other Hospital Shows.  I'm worried that it might become a little too soapy (like ER fell into after its first few amazing seasons, and what Gray's Anatomy has never tried to avoid), but the characters seem strong and interesting enough to keep me interested.  Plus, I love Michelle Trachtenberg, and she is awesome as a brand new nurse who is slightly out of her element.  I think that the show has good potential, and after seeing it I admit to being a little surprised at how many negative reviews it has gotten.  I enjoyed it.

Until Next Time, I will be reviewing FlashForward in a post of its own tomorrow!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thoughts on Some of the New Fall Shows Part 1

Well, I'd love to do in depth reviews of each of the new television shows on the networks like I've done in the past, but the truth is, I'm too dang busy to even attempt such a thing this year.

I'm back in school working towards my Masters degree, as well as working, so I probably won't be as caught up on television shows.

However, as I catch some of the new shows, I'll blog a few thoughts I have about them, you know, for old time's sake.


Now, there have been two more episodes since the premiere that I haven't yet seen, so you probably already know whether or not this is a show that you are going to schedule time for.  Personally, I'm probably going to try and watch it, but I'm not as excited as a lot of people seem to be.  I like the comedy of the show, and I like a lot of the people in the show (especially the greatness that is Jane Lynch), but the super over produced musical numbers completely take me out of the show.  It becomes a glitzy musical, when that isn't really what the theme of the show is, these are kids that are supposed to love music because of the way it makes them feel and the fun they have doing what they love, and the over production makes it seem to glitzy and studio-ized (if such a word exists) making a mockery of the theme of the show.  Still, the music is good, the show is funny, and the acting is stellar, so I can probably over look that.


This show has huge potential, and despite the very formulaic premiere, I plan on sticking with it.  Sometimes pilots are tough to do because you have to set up the premise of the show, introduce the characters, and tell a good story.  The premise was set up and the characters are introduced, but I wasn't blown away by the pilot's story.  Due to the funny premise and characters and the talent involved in the show, I have high hopes where this show is headed even if I was a little underwhelmed by the pilot.

Until Next Time, I will periodically check in on my thoughts on these shows as they progress and some other new shows as well.  How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory return on Monday!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Thoughts on District 9 and Inglourious Basterds

A lot of people whose opinions I admire are going on and on about how great these two films are, so it has been hard for me to come to terms with exactly what I felt about these two movies, because in my opinion, neither of them are great films.

District 9 is a very, very good film, but it is also very flawed and I would be lying if I said I thought that it was great.  In comparison to any other movie this summer with giant fighting robots (Transformers 2 and Terminator: Salvation) then District 9 is great, but compared to truly great movies, District 9 is not a great film.

That isn't to say that I didn't enjoy District 9, because I very much did.  The action sequences towards the end of the film were spectacularly handled and really made the movie worth watching for me.  Director Neill Blomkamp has a very bright future ahead of him, and truth be told, if the Terminator franchise were handed to him, I would feel very relieved.

The problem with the film, in my mind, was the fact that it is very much two different movies, a drama with great social undertones being told in a documentary fashion, and a shoot-em-up action movie (that also has some important social undertones, just not as blatantly in your face) told as a standard action movie.  The way the film transitions from one story and one genre into another story in another genre didn't work particularly well for me.  The beginning of the film, leading up to the action, was poorly plotted and paced as if the film knew it was headed somewhere exciting, but felt that it had to get the "important stuff" out of the way first.

Overall, the movie (once it hits its stride) doesn't disappoint, and you won't feel as if you wasted your time, but the film itself wastes some time getting to that point.  This being the first feature length film from the director, problems such as poor pacing, poor setup, and the overall lack of cohesion can certainly be forgiven, and like I said, this is still one of my favorite movies this year.  My only thing is that the film could have been better, and I think it is only proper to recognize that.

One critic called this movie, "The best science-fiction film of the 21st century", which is utterly absurd.  Sure it's a good film, but it probably isn't even in the top ten of sci-fi films of the 21st century.  It is certainly no where near the genius of such films as Children of Men, The Fountain, or Sunshine.  It's not even the best sci-fi film of this year.  Moon wins that title thus far hands down.  And while I greatly enjoyed District 9, to be honest, it isn't as good a film as Star Trek.

I've struggled with writing this, because I knew that I was going to come off negative on the film, and I don't want to be, because it is a good movie, but it isn't deserving of the hype that it is receiving and if people going in expecting to see "the best science-fiction film of the 21st century" they are going to come out disappointed.

As for the other film getting rave reviews currently, I can't understand the hype at all, but I have to be honest and let you know that I am not a huge Quentin Tarantino fan.  I loved Pulp Fiction, but most of his other films really don't do it for me.  Part of that is because I really don't like glorified, stylized violence unless it really helps punctuate a deeper theme of the film (as is the case in Gangs of New York or Watchmen, and to be honest, the violence in Gangs of New York really isn't glorified).

I thought that I might enjoy this film, because the previews did make it look like it would be a lot of fun, and it looked like Brad Pitt was going to be fantastic.

Let me tell you, for the twelve or so minutes that he's in this film, he is fantastic.

Honestly, I don't know why this movie was called Inglourious Basterds, because the group that the movie is named after seems at best a sub plot in the film.  You only really get any information on three of the Basterds and the info on one of them (the only non-American of the bunch) is told in news reel style which seemed really out of place.  Actually, throughout the film, there were strange segues and stylistic shifts that bothered me, the film didn't flow very well for me, and I couldn't tell exactly what it was trying to be.

I guess, by and large, it is a war movie, telling a very fictitious story set in World War II, but don't assume that that means you know how this WWII ends.

What it isn't is a comedy, despite what the previews lead you to believe.  Other then some of Brad Pitt's scenes, there is very little in the movie that will make you laugh (and even some of Brad Pitt's scenes will leave a bad feeling in your gut).  With only a couple of exceptions, all of the even slightly humorous parts are in the trailer.

There are very few characters that are likable or can even remotely be considered heroes, and if this movie were fashioned to be about those characters, perhaps I would have liked it more.  Because even though, truthfully, the story should belong to them (Shosanna Dreyfus and Bridget von Hammersmark in particular) as they drive the films primary plot and are the only fully drawn sympathetic characters, the movie is far more interested in celebrating the violence (of the Nazis and the Allies alike) and the absurdness that the movie revels in towards the end.

Although the film is called Inglourious Basterds, Brad Pitt is the only one of the Basterds that really gets good attention from the film.  Hugo Stiglitz, the one non-American of the group, and Donny Donowitz are the only other two who get some back story along with some screen time.  Pretty much every other member of the Basterds are ignored, which is ridiculous when two of them are B.J. Novak (Ryan on The Office) and Samm Levine (from Freaks and Geeks and an arc on Undeclared).  I don't feel like it is too much of a stretch to want to get to know the Basterds a little bit when the movie is named after them, but honestly you learn much more about the main villain of the film, Col. Hans Landa, probably the most interesting character in the movie, not that Tarantino takes as much advantage as he can from such an interesting and well drawn character, instead you feel almost cheated by his treatment.

And that is the problem with this film.  This movie should have been about Col. Landa.  Or it should have been about Shosanna.  Or it should have been about the German actress Bridget Von Hammersmark.  But it was about all of them, and a little bit about the Inglourious Basterds, and so in the end it wasn't about any of them, at least not enough so that you're satisfied.  Instead, the film is a mess.  It is entirely unsure about what it wants to be, and so it fails in being anything.

It wants to be an over the top comedy set in an alternate World War II.  It wants to be a dramatic film about how a Jewish girl who witnessed her family die horrifically tries to take it on herself to end the Nazi war effort and in the process get some revenge.  It wants to be a film about how a horrible but brilliant Nazi officer struggles with what he has been forced to do and perhaps find a way to change the legacy that he is currently known for and that he despises despite once embracing it.  Tarantino claimed it was going to be a glorious men on a mission war film in the vein of The Dirty Dozen or The Great Escape, but it never really comes close to being that (like I said, the titular Basterds are very rarely on screen, this is not their movie).  So ultimately it fails at all of them.

Like I said, I'm not a huge Tarantino fan, but I wager that even some of his biggest fans will be disappointed with this movie.

Until Next Time, the summer movie season is finally at an end, and I for one found it very disappointing.  Here's hoping that the fall and winter will be better, I have to say, the trailer for Cameron's Avatar looked pretty damn interesting.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wow, Just Wow

So I saw Moon tonight, the low budget sci-fi film starring Sam Rockwell directed by Duncan Jones.

It is a fantastic film that if you have the opportunity to see in the theater I highly suggest you take it.

It is a sci-fi film, but ultimately it is a character driven film.  It is a movie that lives on the strength of Sam Rockwell who pretty much has the screen to himself.  That doesn't distract you from the movie going experience at all, as Rockwell gives an unbelievable performance as the main character (also named Sam).

His only companion in his station on the moon is a robot named GERTY that is voiced by Kevin Spacey and is fantastically handled by the film, its emotions displayed by changing smiley face type icons, giving it a relatable quality that a robot like this might not otherwise have, even one voiced by Kevin Spacey.

The film is sci-fi, but it isn't an action extravaganza, it is a film that harkens back to the smart sci-fi of the seventies.  GERTY is (albeit a much nicer) bit of a shout out to HAL from 2001, and there are traces of Blade Runner and the first half of Alien (from, you know, before the Alien arrived).  It succeeds as an homage to these (and I'm sure some other) films, but it also succeeds as an outstanding, smart, sci-fi film on its own.

The music is fantastic, without question the best score of any film I've seen so far this year, and I wasn't surprised to see that it was scored and conducted by the outstanding Clint Mansell who wrote the best soundtrack of all time, Requiem For A Dream.

Overall, this film is simply beautiful, an amazing experience and the best film I've seen to date this year (sorry Funny People, that spot didn't belong to you for very long).  It will be a tragedy if this film doesn't receive a nomination for Best Picture, and I would honestly be surprised if any film surpasses it on my list this year.  And I feel confident saying that even though there are still five months left in the year.  I feel that strongly about this film.

I also feel very confident in saying that Sam Rockwell deserves an Oscar for this performance.  Like I said, this movie lives on his performance and he nails it perfectly.  If he hadn't been so fantastic, this film would have failed, he was that important to this movie, considering that the whole film is primarily only him, but he was perfect and because of that, so is the film.

Until Next Time, trust me, if you can go see this movie, do it!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

5th Annual Josh's Choice For Best New Show of the Season

It's that time again (okay, okay, past time, but still)... Josh's Choice for the Best New Show of the Season!

Before we get started here are the winners since I've been giving this award...

2007-2008- Journeyman

2006-2007- Friday Night Lights

2005-2006- Invasion

2004-2005- LOST

As always we have five finalists and we will be counting down to our winner, however, there are a couple of shows that didn't make the final five that I would like to highlight quickly regardless...


A remake of one of my favorite shows (that alas like this one didn't make it past it's first season) and it recaptured the magic of the original perfectly.  In the original, Jeremy Piven was the real reason I watched it, I had became a fan of his from his work on Ellen when he stole every scene that he was in.  It didn't take me too long to become a huge fan of Paula Marshall either who went on to have a great arc on Sports Night and on Veronica Mars.  This time I came back for the premise, which was just as exciting and original as it had been ten years earlier.  Hopefully ten years from now Cupid will get its third chance and we will finally discover the mystery behind Trevor Hale.  Every episode had the potential to get lost in the sentimentality and every episode hit every note just right.  I wish more people had watched this show, this season or ten years ago.


This show totally would have made the final five if it didn't slow down tremendously in the final few episodes.  The first six were beyond tremendous.  I'd never seen a cop show where (and in the pilot episode no less) they didn't solve the crime correctly, but thought that they did.  The mystery that followed from that case over the first six episodes made me believe that this was a show with terrific staying power.  Unfortunately after that case was finally solved, the show didn't have a mystery as interesting ready to take its place.  And far too often, the case of the week was far too predictable, especially in the last few episodes, I had the episode figured out by the first commercial break twice, not good.  The show started strong, but couldn't maintain, so I'm not as disappointed that it got canceled.  Regardless of its problems, however, the cast and characters were fantastic and I hope that some of these people find their way to new shows quickly.

Okay, time to get to the real stuff, are you ready?


Primarily because of Nathan Fillion, but, come on, isn't that enough?  He literally carried this show into the final five by himself.  Like Unusuals, the mysteries were at times a little too predictable, but Nathan Fillion was charming and funny enough for me not to care as much.  The weeks when it was a good mystery, I saw how good this show could be, but the weeks where it wasn't, Fillion more then made up for it.  Stana Katic is good as well as Castle's muse, but Molly Quinn blows me away as Castle's daughter and the chemistry that they had together was the best father daughter stuff from a family not named Taylor (that's a Friday Night Lights reference for those of you sadly not in the know about that tremendous show) since My So Called Life.  Definitely looking forward to seeing how the show progresses in its second season.


A show where the cases actually had me guessing most weeks, and a show with a tremendous supporting cast that backed up a fantastic job by Tim Roth.  Plus, every week I felt a little educated.  I loved the cases, the science that the show employed, the acting jobs by all of the regulars and all of the guests, and I especially loved the use of video of famous people to drive home the point about whatever facial or body language trick they had just talked about.  The only downside was that in the use of guest stars, sometimes it was obvious by the actor or actress who the bad guy would be.  David Anders isn't playing an innocent guy.  I mean, come on, he was Sark on Alias!


A show that jumped into the Final Five based on the strength of its final episodes.  It was interesting in the beginning, and I wasn't going to quit on it, but it didn't get fantastic until the alternate dimension mythology started to come forth.  Its unbelievable season finale put it into contention for the award pretty much single handedly.  Hopefully the second season will pick up where it left off and turn this into the show it is capable of becoming and less of the X-Files wannabe that it was towards the beginning of the season.


Very nearly won Josh's Choice For Best New Show Of The Season.  Life on Mars was fantastic from its beginning moments until its stunning series finale that didn't feel at all like a cheat to me, it felt natural and perfect and I didn't see it coming at all.  I don't want to spoil it for anyone who didn't see it as the DVDs come out next month and I highly recommend getting lost with Sam Tyler back in the 70s.  The show put a fantastic new spin on the tired cop drama (although, the original series from the BBC did it first, and I'm glad that they are finally about to be available here, my Netflix is ready to show them to me) by placing a cop with modern sensibilities in a time when such niceties weren't always recognized.  It allowed for fun cases and good social commentary and the overall mystery was brilliant.  I'm glad that ABC allowed the show to have a satisfying conclusion, but I really wish that the show had been allowed to take years to get there.


This show was seriously second until I saw the unaired episode Epitaph One on the BluRay.  I thought for sure that Life On Mars was going to win, but I couldn't do anything but put this show first after seeing Epitaph One.  It is a game changer of a finale that payed off all of the potential that this show possessed.  It really isn't surprising considering that the show got better each and every week and the potential for so much deep stuff was there but in the beginning was barely touched upon.  The unaired finale promised that given the time this show will not only touch on it all, but will blow your frakking minds with it!  I'm so excited that this show is getting a second season and can only hope that it begins to find the audience that it deserves.  Do yourself a favor and go out and buy or rent or netflix season one of this show and watch it all (including Epitaph One) and get ready for Joss Whedon to reward you like never before with season two!  Wow, that sounded kind of like an advertisement, but seriously, this man has never let us down before (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Serenity, Dr. Horrible) and if given the chance, Dollhouse could actually become his greatest work.

So, Dollhouse is your winner, congratulations.  It marks the third time that a show has won the award and gotten a second season (to two times where it has not, oddly it has been every other year, bad news for next years winner and for us as fans of good tv).  It marks the first win by FOX (the first two were by ABC, the last two by NBC, boding well for FOX next year, then maybe CBS will join the fun?).  And it marks the fourth time (out of five) that a Science Fiction show has won (well, I know what I like, what do you want from me?).

Until Next Time, what was your favorite new show of the last season and what shows are you looking forward to next year?

Friday, July 31, 2009

The "40 Year Old" "Knocked" This One Out of the Park

Judd Apatow, whose name is seemingly attached to every comedy released these days, has only directed three movies, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and now Funny People.

You could argue that both The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up are films about childish characters who in the course of the movie grow up (at least a little).  And in directing them, Apatow was attempting to grow up himself as a filmmaker.  Well, with Funny People, Judd Apatow has made his first grown up film.

Like all of us, Funny People retains some of the same qualities that Apatow films had when they were younger and more immature.  Don't worry, the jokes about male genitalia are still there (lots and lots of them).  But the storyline (despite the title and the tone of the previews) is far more adult then his previous two films.

In fact, I'm not sure that I would classify this as a comedy.  I mean, it is funny, or at least it has some very humorous moments.  I laughed out loud on numerous occasions.  But the movie itself is far more serious then one would expect from a Judd Apatow film, a Seth Rogen film, or an Adam Sandler film.  In a way, this movie is a departure for all of them.

Seth Rogen plays the most complex character that he's played probably since Freaks and Geeks (a cult television series that sadly only lasted one season, and that featured Judd Apatow as a producer).  This is not the Seth Rogen that has gotten a little overplayed of late.  His wannabe comedian Ira Wright is as real as any movie character I've ever seen.  In my opinion, this is the best acting job that Rogen has ever done.

Adam Sandler also gives the best performance of his career.  His character, George Simmons is different from the characters that Sandler became famous by playing, although his character became famous in the film by playing many of the same types of characters.  Sandler in this film plays a comedian not unlike himself, and yet plays it with a seriousness and a depth that I honestly found surprising he possessed considering the types of characters that he usually plays.  He was phenomenal and worked incredibly well with Rogen throughout the film.

As always with Apatow films, the supporting cast helped make the movie.  Jonah Hill was funny and used sporadically enough for even those that hate him to not have a problem with him in this film.  Jason Schwartzman is hilarious as the buddy who has just enough fame to be really annoying, and his sitcom, "Yo Teach" is so terrible I'm surprised that it isn't actually on television.  Aubrey Plaza (April the Intern on Parks and Recreation) is great as the girl of Ira's dreams, Daisy.  It makes me hope that Parks and Recreation gives her a lot more to do in the future.  Speaking of P&R, Aziz Ansari (Tom on P&R) has a few minutes of screen time and as always cracks me up.  The best bit parts in the movie, however, belong to Judd's two young daughters also featured in Knocked Up.  Here they have a much bigger part, and they are amazingly funny.

While the storylines in 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up were pretty predictable (although still a lot of fun), Funny People is not at all what you expect or are led to believe from the preview (which doesn't give away nearly as much as it seems like it does).

Like I said, this isn't really a comedy, but more of a drama.  It is a story about a near death experience and how such a thing is handled.  It is a story about coming to terms with who we are as people, and that isn't always pretty and it isn't always funny even when the people it is happening to are hilarious people.

Go into this movie with an open mind, not expecting what Apatow has given you in the past, and you will be treated with a fantastic and award worthy film.  This is the best movie that I've seen so far this year.

Until Next Time, my long awaited (and way past due) Josh's Choice For Best New Show Of The Year post will be up soon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Transformers 2, Less Than Meets the Eye

Growing up, along with Voltron, my favorite cartoon was Transformers.  When the reigns for the inevitable film franchise were handed to Michael Bay, I was worried.  First off, I knew that there would be little chance to have a clue on what was happening in any fight scene due to the camera shaking as if it were being pummeled rather then just trying to document robots pummeling each other.  On that count I was most certainly correct, but overall the first Transformers film was actually enjoyable and it was cool to see the robots I had loved so much as a kid so awesomely recreated on the big screen.

Well, while the first time got he got it mostly right, Michael Bay seemed to prove all the original naysayers right with his second go round.

I really didn't think that I would see a film this year that I disliked more then Terminator, but lo and behold, just a few weeks later, I did.

Transformers 2 is without a doubt one of the worst films ever made.

Look, obviously it isn't supposed to be an Oscar contender, and really it is a film that is probably meant to be enjoyed more by kids then adults.  I understand that.  But it isn't too much to ask a popcorn movie to be, I don't know, enjoyable.  This film is anything but.

Michael Bay makes every fight scene pretty much impossible to comprehend as it is nearly impossible to tell which robots are fighting, much less what they are doing to one another, and really, the giant fighting robots was about all this film really could have hoped to have going for it.

As for everything else, it is really just embarrassing.  There is a somewhat cool idea for a movie hidden amongst all of the extremely juvenile humor, but it is overshadowed and made pretty much moot by the majority of the film.

In just the first thirty minutes we are treated to two dogs having repeated sex in various places and the wonderful comedy cliche of the clueless mother getting stoned unintentionally on pot brownies.  What is funny on an episode of That 70's Show probably doesn't belong in a supposed blockbuster summer action movie.

Throughout the film we are also treated to a giant robot's testicles (seriously) and a tiny robot humping Megan Fox's leg for well over a minute.  I would think that perhaps this film was meant for the 8 year old boy market if not for the fact that it is a hard PG-13.  There are almost as many cuss words in this movie as there are in The Hangover (although Transformers 2 does avoid the F-bomb.  Good for it, I guess?)

Personally, I don't understand how any actress could agree to be in a Michael Bay movie as he is up to his usual misogyny in this film.  Not only are all of the females given short shift, like the poor mother of Shia LaBouf's character, but they are generally treated like objects.  Megan Fox is pretty much only around to look sexy.  (Not that she isn't very good at it, because she is).  But this film even goes so far to blatantly make the comparison of hot co-ed = evil robot.  Literally.

The worst transgression, however, and the one that you are likely to hear the most about is the unbelievably racist stereotypes played out by the Twins, two Autobots that are portrayed as black youth and voiced in tacky hip-hop-esque dialogue.  There sole purpose in the film is to beat each other up and call each other derogatory names for female genitalia.  Also each of them are given a gold tooth and a joke is made at their expense pointing out the fact that they are illiterate.  It is embarrassing and honestly made the movie a painful experience.  There was literally no reason for these characters to exist other then the supposed "comic relief" that they were meant to provide.

And to top it off, Michael Bay actually includes an homage... TO HIMSELF!  Unbelievable.

This movie is not worth your time and definitely not deserving of your money.  Please do yourself a favor and miss it.

Until Next Time, hopefully our childhood memories well be better treated in the upcoming G.I. Joe.  I'm trying not to get my hopes too high up on that though.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Terminator Trashes Your Lights

Let me start by saying this, and if it you just take this advice and don't read on my job is done, don't go see this movie, just see Star Trek again instead.

It is that bad.

McG is clearly not capable of handling an epic series like Terminator, because the whole film just falls flat.  It works on almost zero levels.  There isn't even anything to get a little excited about like the acting and action scenes in the terrible Wolverine movie, but even that is better then this.

Sure, the effects are terrific, and there are a couple moments where you see the genius that this film could have been, and truthfully, should have been.  There is no reason that this movie should be this bad, because the idea of the film is AWESOME, but the execution ruins it totally and completely.  And the couple of moments that hint at the film that was supposed to have been made do nothing to redeem this film, only hurt you with a taste of what could have (and, again, should have) been.  Those moments are Anton Yelchin, who is so awesome as Kyle Reese, John Connor's father, I wish he could have been the star of this film (he is even better in his limited screen time here then he is as Chekov in Star Trek, but trust me when I say that this kid will be a major frakkin star), and the CGI'd version of Arnie from the original Terminator, which sadly only lasts for a few seconds and leads in to a ridiculously staged fight scene (but it totally makes me wonder how the Wolverine movie made Patrick Stewart look so horrible in the Wolverine movie, this technology is clearly viable as this scene and all of Benjamin Button shows).

Sam Worthington, however, adds nothing to this film, and that is a shame, because he is the main character.  A decision that truly makes no sense, considering that there are so many ways we could have gone here that wouldn't have required us putting our entire movie into the hands of a character that we have absolutely no emotional interest in.  And then that character is not only weakly drawn, but isn't someone that has any traits that would cause us to care what happens to him.  Plus, Worthington, despite the fact that he has two more lead roles headed his way (Cameron's Avatar and the upcoming Clash of the Titans), brings nothing at all to the role.  At least the actors in Wolverine were trying.

Christian Bale also disappoints as the iconic John Connor.  Considering what a fine actor that we know Bale to be (despite the occasional f-bomb tirades), perhaps the problem with the wooden nature of the lead character's performances doesn't fall on the actors but on the director.

The film's pacing is it's biggest flaw, it never hits a good rhythm which an action movie so desperately requires in order to be any good at all.  Overall, the film feels like a huge mess and honestly is not worth your time or your money.

And it makes me regret even further the canceling of the tv show, because it appears that the now Terminated television series was the only good Terminator we are going to be getting any time soon.

Until Next Time, trust me, just go see Star Trek again.  And thank me later.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Angels and Demons and Review, oh my

The movie actually being better then the book is a very, very rare thing, and yet Ron Howard with Dan Brown's material is two for two.  In the case of The DaVinci Code, which was a sequel to Angels and Demons in the book world, but happened first in the movie world, the reason that I thought the film was better then the book is because the movie didn't have the horrendous prose that the book did.  In other words, I don't look kindly on Dan Brown's writing ability.

The DaVinci Code, the movie, despite being an all right film, suffered from a few things, mainly it's seeming inability to find itself, to find its own voice, perhaps being hampered by the popularity that the book inexplicably had.  (Also it suffered from the ridiculous hair style sported by Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon.)

Angels and Demons, the movie, stands on its own as an exciting mystery/adventure, unlike its predecessor, perhaps because the book isn't nearly as well known.  However, if you do know the book, and have read it, I would be surprised if you didn't think that the film is much better.

Without spoiling anything, let me say that the ending of the book is about as far fetched as any story's ending has ever been.  It combines the unbelievable with the cliche of an overused ending from a spy movie (I know you, my enemy, are about to die, so let me reveal to you my whole plan!).  The movie solves that problem completely.  Also, as with it's predecessor, the movie does away with the crap that Dan Brown calls prose, leaving only the exciting mystery and suspense that propels the story.  The characters all feel much more correct and sure of themselves in this film (which wasn't always the case with the last movie) and, of course, Ron Howard's direction is superb (but then you should never expect anything less from him).

Overall, the film just works, it is a very fun ride, mostly reminiscent of an Indiana Jones-type film, a formula I think was intentional, and probably part of why this film succeeds better then the first did, they knew what they were going for and how to achieve it.  Don't get me wrong, it is nowhere as good as the first or third Indiana Jones movie, but very comparable in enjoyment to Temple of Doom or Crystal Skull (which I did enjoy immensely other then the Shia heavy moments, specifically the monkeys. *shudder*)

I also really loved the spiritual element to the film.  While a lot is being made about the Catholic Church's objection to the subject matter, I think that the Church overall comes across in a good light, and the idea of God most certainly does.

I wasn't sure how I would feel about this film, but I'm very glad I saw it as it made for a very enjoyable afternoon.  I definitely recommend it.

Until Next Time, I can't stress enough how glad I am that they did fix the hair issue for Robert Langdon/Tom Hanks in this movie.  I still have nightmares about his hair in the first film.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

LOST The Incident, first thoughts

As always *SPOILERS* and in season finale fashion, these are mind blowing!

The episode opens on the mysterious Jacob and he is making a tapestry.  As he goes outside to eat his breakfast, a ship is on the horizon, perhaps the Black Rock.

Another man comes up to Jacob and they begin to speak, this man (currently nameless, so we'll call him Esau in honor of the biblical Jacob's brother, and because that's what Alec called him at the finale watching party) argues with Jacob, ostensibly about the purpose of the Island.  He asks why the people on the ship are coming, Jacob says you'll have to ask them, then Esau says that they're coming because Jacob brought them hoping to prove Esau wrong.

(In the bible, Esau, besides being Jacob's brother, was his twin, he came out minutes earlier, however, and was therefore considered the elder.  Jacob, with the help of his mother Rebecca, confused Issac, his father, into giving him the birthright that legally belonged to Esau, so there was some tension there.  Okay, enough of the Bible lessons, for now anyway). 

Esau tells Jacob that the people who always come just fight amongst themselves and destroy everything in the end, to which Jacob replies that the end only comes once, everything until then is called progress.  Esau tells Jacob that he wants to kill him and one day will find the loophole allowing him to do so.  Jacob says, when you do, I'll be here.  We then see where he is sitting, next to the still, at this time, complete statue.

Cut to the end of the episode where we find out that our Shadow of the Statue people are carting around Locke's dead body.  He wasn't as resurrected as we all assumed.  Instead, Pseudo-Locke, is in actuality our friend Esau from the beginning of the episode believing he has found his loophole.

And that which lies in the Shadow of the Statue is none other then Jacob himself, "He Who Will Save Us All" as Richard answers in Latin.  "Ille qui nos omnes servabit."

Personally, I don't think that Jacob is that surprised to be finding himself facing death at the hands of Benjamin and Esau/Pseudo-Locke, after all, he is right where he said he'd be when the time came.  Not only that, but he tells Pseudo-Locke that "They're coming" which just pisses Pseudo-Locke off.  I think that perhaps Jacob knew what he was doing all along.  And his cavalry is on it's way consisting of our LOSTies.

After all, Jacob has been in contact with each and every one of them at key moments of their past, moments that have shaped who they become.  Kate and her toy plane carrying boyfriend, Sawyer as he writes the note that will put him on that plane, Dr. Jack at the moment of his (incomplete) story to Kate in the Pilot, Sayid as his beloved Nadia is killed, and Hurley as he actually makes the decision to get on the plane and head back to the Island.  In fact, the only flashback in which Jacob does not appear is Juliet's.  That doesn't bode well for her future after she gets the bomb to blow up.

As for that, I have been arguing that the LOSTies themselves are the ones that cause the Incident with Jughead, and I still believe that to be so.  Miles asks in the epsiode if any of them consider that it might in fact be their actions that bring about the Incident in the first place and the more prudent action would be to do nothing.  I think that he was right.

Sure the site got a little crazy, but that doesn't mean that the Incident had actually occured.  In fact before Juliet actually set off the bomb, it seemed to have settled down.  I believe that so far, everything that happened, had happened.  After all, we saw the cause of Chang not having his arm in the orientation video for the Swan.

Therefore the setting off of the bomb is what ultimately caused the Incident.  The area will be covered in concrete causing Sayid to compare it to Chernobyl, another place that had a nuclear incident.  I don't believe that the LOSTies have changed anything, however I do believe that the Incident will bring them back to their proper place in time in which they can work for Jacob's purpose against his enemy.

Although if they do disappear from the effects of the Incident, why did Richard tell Sun that they disappeared?  Simply because he assumed he had sent them to their death when they went off with the bomb and then that bomb exploded?  I suppose that that is possible.

I did love the inverted title sequence at the end, spooky.  And did you know that this is the first season finale of the show not to feature Walt?  Very interesting.

Lastly, the book that Jacob is reading before Locke falls (and is brought back to life by Jacob, apparently the only time that this has actually occurred) is Everything That Rises Must Converge a collection of nine short stories written by Flannery O'Connor.  It was written as she was on her death bed and published posthumously.

Until Next Time, we get settled in for a long wait before the final season begins in 2010.  I for one will be taking the real John Locke's advice and will be watching everything that we've gotten so far again.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Make Seeing Star Trek Your Prime Directive

Full disclosure time.  I love Star Trek.

Like, a lot.

Growing up, one of my best memories is my entire family gathering together every Thursday night to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation together.  All of us, even my two younger sisters.  (Although they might deny it now, they loved TNG as much as I did.)  That was a special time and because of it Star Trek will always hold a special place in my heart.

It took a while, because I was definitely a TNGer, but my Aunt Julia had all of The Original Series on VHS (the height of technology at the time) and every time I visited East Texas, I watched some more of the crew that started it all and I began to appreciate the history that was behind Picard, Riker, Data, and my beloved Enterprise-D.

I remember clearly the first time that I saw City on the Edge of Forever and the way that it blew me away like no episode of television ever had before (although a few upcoming Next Generation episodes would have similar effects on me, most notably Inner Light and Time's Arrow, not to mention All Good Things...).  I remember seeing Space Seed and then watching Wrath of Khan shortly after and deciding that I did love the original crew just as much as the Next Generation crew.

I remember laughing and watching The Voyage Home over and over.  I remember being very disappointed in The Final Frontier and loving, loving The Undiscovered Country, the first Trek film I saw in theaters.

Star Trek is in my blood as much as my beloved Star Wars.  Whereas Star Wars was with me even before birth (my parents saw it while I was in utero and it shaped me, of that I have no doubt), Star Trek was with me growing up.

I was very concerned about this film.  As more and more was revealed and more and more reviews were released my hopes began to grow despite my fears that I would be disappointed.  Luckily those fears were unfounded.

I can say this with complete confidence as a huge fan of Star Trek.

Trekkies, there is no need to worry.  JJ did us right.

If you are a fan of Star Trek there are many moments at which you will SQUEE with excitement.  Moments to see for the very first time, moments that we've heard about, but never witnessed (hint, does Kobayashi Maru mean anything to you?).  There are the little in jokes that you hope for.  And most importantly, the spirit is there.  This feels like Star Trek is supposed to feel and looks like Star Trek is supposed to look.

For everyone who doesn't know a damn thing about Star Trek, this movie doesn't make you suffer for that.

It takes place before The Original Series (although after Enterprise, but trust me that doesn't matter, although if you did watch Enterprise, there is a nod to that series in the film) and technically in an alternate timeline since the plot of the film revolves around an event that happens at Kirk's birth (and the very opening of the film) that changes the future that we Star Trek fans know.

Unlike most prequels, which in a way this is, there is true suspense because we are immediately put into an alternate timeline.  The future that we know no longer necessarily exists.

Perfect for a reboot.

The new actors playing the main characters are all very good.  Chris Pine has most likely the hardest part as Kirk, and he really makes the character his own.  He doesn't even try to do a William Shatner impression, but instead embodies the same spirit that Shatner had as Kirk.  There are a couple of different times in the film where I went, "That's Kirk.  That is exactly what Kirk would do there."  In his body movements and his attitude, Chris Pine becomes Captain Kirk.

Zachary Quinto is dead on as Spock.  He is so good it almost makes me want to forgive how bad Heroes has become and catch back up just to see some more of his acting.

Karl Urban likewise captures Bones McCoy perfectly.  The second that he steps on screen (preceded by his voice) you just know it is Dr. McCoy.

Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, and Anton Yelkin also do a great job recreating the iconic characters they play (Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, and Chekov respectively).  I honestly couldn't have expected anything better from any of the cast.  And really, right there you've already solved most of the potential problems that could have occurred with this film.

The plot is without question the best plot in a Star Trek movie ever.  While if you made me rank the films I'd probably still put Wrath of Khan at the top, this film actually does give it a run for its money, and for those of you who aren't Star Trek fans, trust me, that is incredibly high praise.

The action is fantastic, the effects are the best Star Trek has ever seen (thank you Industrial Lights and Magic, aka Mr. Lucas), the plot is perfect, and like I said, the spirit is pure Star Trek.

Until Next Time, Whether you are a huge Star Trek fan or just a fan of good movies, "Boldly Go" to the theater now.  Make it so.  (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

LOST Follow the Leader, first thoughts

As always, *SPOILERS* if you aren't caught up.  And also, shame on you for that.

I guess let's start in 1977 and then we'll hit 2007.


So, immediately after killing Faraday, Eloise confirms that it is her son that she shot by seeing her own handwriting in his journal.  Dr. Jack tells her that it can be changed.

At this point, does anyone feel like anything has been done differently then it would have always happened?  As for now, I don't.  It seems like each event that has taken place is exactly the same as it would have always occurred.  Eloise Hawking knew that she was sending her son to be killed at her own hands as soon as she told him that he should listen to Charles Widmore and go to the Island.  And according to what Richard told Sun 30 years later, she knew that she was sending Dr. Jack and the others to their deaths as well.  Now, I believe that she's doing this holding out hope that her son was right and everything can be changed and they would all have to be there in the past in order to change it, but they were all also there when they failed to change anything, as evidenced by the fact that the Incident occurred and Richard remembers them all dying.

Desmond is, of course, the wild card (the Variable, if you will) who can (and has) changed things.  Faraday knew this, so if it is in his journal, then perhaps Eloise does too, and maybe she was just hoping when she told him, "The Island isn't through with you yet."

As for Richard saying that he saw the '77 LOSTies die, I have a theory about that.  Still working from Faraday's "Whatever Happened, Happened" theory, what if it wasn't the drilling that caused the Incident, but the LOSTies themselves using Jughead?  After all, it was the actions of Sayid, then Kate, Juliet, and Sawyer that turned Benry into the monster that he becomes, and the current actions of our dubious heroes are stirring up the animosity of Dharma and the Hostiles towards each other in what will no doubt ultimately lead to the Purge, so if they are directly responsible for those two things, it certainly stands to reason that they would have been responsible for the Incident at the Swan as well.  (And then indirectly, responsible for the crashing of their own plane 27 years later.)

Sayid shot Young Ben (innocent at the time of the shooting in more ways then one) hoping to change the future, but all that he really did was put that future into motion.  If Sayid had never shot Ben, then he never would have been taken to Richard and changed in the Temple into the same sort of person that Rousseau's crew was transformed into, someone with no innocence left, able to do monsterous things.  In attempting to change that future, Sayid actually helped make that future.

I'm afraid that Dr. Jack is doing the same thing.  He had that same wild hope that he had towards the end of Season 3, that hope that he could finally save everyone, that he could finally become the leader that everyone kept telling him that he was (although he had his doubts).  As I surmised in the Facebook comments section of the post last week, Dr. Jack would see this as a way to save everyone, including those who had passed away, Charlie, Ana Lucia, Libby, Boone, Shannon, Eko, even (sadly) Paulo and Nikki.  And that is too much for him to pass up.

Way back in the first consistent LOST post that I did, the post that turned this into a regular thing, I talked about Dr. Jack wanting that opportunity to save everyone who had died, and how he didn't realize how much better things were (especially for many of those who died).  (Sure I was wrong about a lot in that post, but I did bring up this wish of Dr. Jack's, now realized, and the idea that they would have to recreate the 815 flight, which would occur in a different manner then I envisioned, but still, in 316.)  I've talked in the past (in a post that actually occurred before I started writing about LOST after every episode) about my belief that for Eko, that death was a release, even a reward.  He had come to terms with his life, and having nothing left to learn was content with it ending.  The same case could certainly be made for Boone and Charlie as well.  So, like Sayid before him, I believe that Dr. Jack in trying to change the future is in fact taking the same steps that helped create that very future.

If they do in fact create the very Incident that they are trying to keep from happening, then they will go through the same purple skied flash that sent Desmond time travelling the first time (as well as giving Locke and Eko quite a ride).  It could also be the thing that sends our LOSTies back to the time that they belong (having completed their duty in making sure that Whatever Happened, Happened).  If Richard sees them attempting to set off a Hydrogen bomb and dissappear in a huge Purple (go Frogs, by the way) explosion, why wouldn't he assume that he saw them die, vaporized by the bomb?  That is exactly what he would assume, in my opinion.

So, I think that they are still doing the same things that they have ever done, and in order to change history, they'll need the help of Desmond.  Until they get it, I just don't believe that they'll succeed.

I could, of course, be completely wrong.

To finish up '77, even while the poorly CGIed sub (although, as poor as it was, those effects are better then the ones in Wolverine, *shudder*) was heading away from the Island, I had no doubt that somehow Sawyer, Juliet, and Kate wouldn't get far.  Looks like the previews confirm that.

And I'm glad that Miles knows his dad loved him, now.  Glad at least one father-son relationship can be healthy on this show (actually, Hurley and his dad are on much better terms now too, so, that's nice.)


Well, everything we thought we knew about Jacob might just be a lie.

I always assumed that Jacob was working in the best interest of the Island, as either the personification of the Island or as its representative.  I'm no longer sure about that.

When John takes Benry and Richard to the Beechcraft in order to save himself, Benry asks how John knew when he would arrive.  John answers (in that infuriating way that he has), "The Island told me.  Doesn't the Island ever tell you things, Ben?"

So, he is still receiving intel from the Island, and good, hard to predict intel at that.

Yet he wants to kill Jacob.

Would the Island be helping Locke in the way that it is (hell, it even brought him back to life!) if it didn't approve of this plan?  I don't think so.  That means that Jacob is not working in the interest of the Island and is therefore perhaps an enemy to the Island.

When Christian landed (in his casket) on the Island, the Island finally had someone with whom it could combat Jacob's manipulations, causing Jacob to be in trouble (and beg John to, "Help me!").  Now, it has brought John back to life giving it an even more powerful person to act on its behalf.  I would say this means that Christian is actually in opposition to Jacob and not his steward (in answer to my post on Christian and Jacob a couple of months back).

This is a huge revelation, and to be honest, one that I really didn't see coming.  I can't wait to see how it plays out.

As for Benry, man is it strange to see him unsure, because he clearly has no clue what to make of John right now and this is very different then any Benry we've ever seen on the show.  I'm enjoying it, but still expecting at some point the in control and sure of himself evil Benry to resurface.

Until Next Time, the two hour season finale is next week, and I, for one, am not ready for this season to be over, as I believe it has been the best season the show has ever had.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Last Night's HIMYM Reveal


So last night's outstanding episode of How I Met Your Mother ended with a bit of a shocker.

Ted is going on and on about how doing what he did put him in place for something, something that would make it possible for him to meet the titular Mother, and he's saying it while carrying around the Mother's Yellow Umbrella.  Obviously, Ted is about to Meet the Mother, right?  Wrong.

It was Stella.

So, what does this mean?  Is Stella the mother?

No, I really don't think that she is.  If you ask me, the moment that Ted was selling us on was not the meeting of the Mother, but the moment that would prepare him to be ready to meet the Mother.  He's finally going to get closure on his relationship with Stella, and anyway, I've long surmised that it is one of her friends that is actually the Mother.  Stella was supposedly at the club the same night as Ted and the Mother, the Club where he got the Yellow Umbrella.  Stella said that she was dragged there by some friends.  I think that somehow, not only will Ted finally come to terms with his relationship with Stella, but something from that reconnection will lead him to the actual Mother.

I have to say though, I was not expecting to see Stella at the end of that episode.

Until Next Time, Marshall's charts were probably the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. In this circle is everyone who is breaking my heart.  In this circle is everyone who is shaking my confidence daily.  In the middle?  Cecilia.  Classic.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


When word came out they were making this movie, I was excited, but as more and more came out about it, my hopes slowly but surely diminished.  When I went and saw it today, I had very little hope that it would be any good.

So, at least I wasn't disappointed.  That being said, I didn't hate it either.  It is an okay film that won't even come close to blowing you away, but it has some moments that might entertain you.

My main problem with it is that it could have been better then it was without even worrying about adding characterization or fixing problems with the mostly nonexistent plot.  Who needs those in an action film anyway, right?  The big problem with this film is that for the most part, the effects are terrible.  Wolverine's claws look like cartoons.  I don't understand how this can be when there have already been three X-Men films featuring Wolverine and they've looked good in all of those!  I probably wouldn't have given the workprint (if I'd searched it out and seen it) marks off for the way the effects looked if they'd looked like this, but when the feature film released into theaters had cheap looking effects like that (and I seriously believe that someone with hardly any budget at all could have made some more convincing effects then the ones in this film) I can't help but cry foul.

As for the fact that there isn't much character development in this film, and there is no real reason for many of the characters to do what they do, well, when we have been given two fantastic X-Men films (in X-Men and X-Men 2) you have every right to expect a fantastic film, and this certainly isn't even close to that.

It's better then, say, Daredevil, simply because the action in this film is much better.  Some of the fight scenes are really good, and when you aren't being completely taken out of the film by the fake effects, the action scenes are entertaining.  But if you wanted to put any thought into it, wanted to get anything more then a "cotton candy" feel, then you will be very disappointed, because despite there being some fun action sequences and good fight scenes, there is absolutely no heart or depth to this film whatsoever.

If you know that going in, perhaps you can find some enjoyment out of it.

Until Next Time, hopefully Star Trek can truly get the Summer Movie Season off to a good start.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

LOST The Variable, first thoughts

As always *SPOILERS* if you aren't caught up, so continue reading at your own risk, because, this is our present, so we have to be careful.

Tonight was the 100th episode of LOST, which usually entails something major happening, and this episode is no different.  It also used the occasion to hearken back to the greatest episode the series has offered thus far, The Constant.

The title of this episode was The Variable, which is a major part of an equation,  In mathematics and science, a variable is a symbol that stands for a value that can change.  It occurs in opposition to constants, symbols that can not change.  Variables and constants are fundamental to all modern mathematics and in science.

This episode featured Daniel Faraday, but was interspersed with Desmond Hume.  The Constant was a Desmond-centric episode that was interspersed with Daniel Faraday.  In the Constant, Desmond searches for a way to connect to his constant, Penny.  In this episode, Faraday believes that he is a Variable.  In the Constant, Desmond is correct in believing Penny is his Constant and lives because of it.  In this episode, Faraday is incorrect and dies because of it.  In both episodes, the terms constant and variable are both used by Faraday.  In The Constant, Daniel tries to explain to Desmond why he needs a constant.  He shows his equation on his blackboard to Desmond and says, all of these are variables, what we need is a constant.  In The Variable he says to Dr. Jack, "I've spent so much time on the constants... I'd forgotten about the variables."  He goes on to tell Dr. Jack and Kate that they are the variables, they have free will, they can change the future.

Shortly, the Incident that requires the pushing of the button every 108 minutes will occur.  The Incident that will force Desmond into pushing that very button for years before he decides enough is enough.  And by deciding not to push that infernal yet necessary button, Desmond causes Oceanic Flight 815 to crash.  Then when Locke takes over the button and decides, like Desmond before him, not to hit that damnable button, the Island becomes visible allowing Widmore to send his freighter folk to the Island.  But if that original event never occurs, neither will any of the rest of it.  If Faraday is right and they are variables, then they can keep that Incident from ever occurring.

The thing is, Faraday is still stuck acting as a constant.  He hasn't done anything differently then he always did.  Widmore (and all who surmised that Widmore was Faraday's father, you can have your cookie now, congratulations) sent him to that Island, and his mother backed Widmore's play, knowing that they were sending Faraday to his death.  To his death at his mother's own hands.

Which, the second that he told Sawyer's brain trust that he needed to find the Hostiles I knew was his fate.  I hadn't put together how much of a parallel there was between this episode and The Constant yet, but I knew that Faraday was destined to die at his mother's hands.  It seemed inevitable.  I hoped that the episode would surprise me and end differently, but it didn't.  And honestly, it couldn't.

Desmond found his Constant and lived.  Faraday had to fail in finding his variable and die.  Constants and Variables are opposites.  They exist in opposition to each other.  And yet you need them both in order to find the answer.  The Constant helps you find the Variable.

Faraday tells Dr. Jack that they are the Variables, but if you watch the Constant you realize that he is incorrect.  Desmond is the Variable.  Desmond is the one that can change things.  He's done it twice before.  Possibly a few more then that, but two very important times.

Earlier this season, Faraday uses Desmond to seek out his mother.  Desmond has a memory that he didn't have until Faraday talked to him in the past.  Faraday even acknowledges at that point that only Desmond could do this, that Desmond is special.

In The Constant, when Faraday has Desmond seek out the Faraday of 1996, Faraday has created a new past for himself, one in which he had met Desmond, despite the fact that when he told Desmond to seek out his past self he had no memory of any such meeting ever having occurred.  That is because at that point, the meeting hadn't ever occurred.  Unlike with everyone else, Desmond is not subject to "Whatever Happened, Happened".  After Desmond went back and met with Faraday, there was a new note in Faraday's journal.  One that would not have been there before Desmond's trip.  It said, "If anything goes wrong, Desmond will be MY constant."

The problem is, Desmond isn't a constant, never was.  Desmond is the Variable.

So, if the question is, can our LOSTies keep the Incident from occurring and changing the entire history of the Island causing their plane to never crash in the first place?  Then the answer is Yes, but only with Desmond's help.

And as it stands right now, I have no idea how they're going to get it.

Okay, that's not exactly true.  I do have an idea.  Eloise Hawking.  She's in 1977 and she's with Desmond in present day.  Plus she knows how to get people to the Island.  The problem is, from her own words, "For the first time in a long time, I don't know what's going to happen next."  Which is a little problematic for our heroes.  Great time for her to run out of Future Knowing Ability.

Well, I suppose we know now where our last three hours of LOST this season are taking us, attempting to keep the Incident from occurring.  Looks like we're headed to an epic finish these next two weeks and then we'll be thrust into that awful time known as LOST-hiatus as we wait for the final season to begin next January.

A couple of other things I wanted to hit on from this episode...

I loved how Young Faraday was playing the piano to a metronome, a constant mode of keeping musical time, and yet was speeding up and slowing down his tempo despite it.  And when his mother told him that he had other things to focus on he told her, "I can make time."

And also, I thought it was interesting that we finally got the answer to the question of who faked the plane crash, a mystery we were reminded of in the last episode, and it turns out that it was Charles and not Benry.  So, at least Michael was told the truth about that.

Until Next Time, let us remember Faraday, one of the show's greatest characters.  Although he wasn't even with us for a full two seasons, he will be sorely missed.  To Daniel Faraday.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

LOST Some Like it Hoth, first thoughts

Alternate title for this post could be "All the Good Jedi Have Daddy Issues"

As always *SPOILERS* if you aren't caught up.

Really just a few things to get into this week as the episode was for the most part self explanatory.  More answers then questions this week, although the questions we got were doozies.

It was confirmed the popular theory that Miles was the baby we saw in the opening moments of this season, no surprise there, and we saw the building of the Swan aka the Hatch.  Both nice things, but nothing to get too excited about.  LaFleur, meanwhile, is trying to cover up his actions concerning Young Ben, and I'm going to go out on a sturdy and firm limb and say that ultimately this will cause our LOSTies to lose their comfortable Dharma post.  There will probably be a lot more on that two weeks from now.

Let's get to the interesting stuff...

Let's start with the title of the episode, the second I saw it, I thought of Empire Strikes Back, and I wasn't disappointed.  There was a lot of Star Wars stuff in the episode.  Hurley is writing the script to Empire, with "a few improvements".  Of course, there is no way to improve Empire Strikes Back, as it is without question one of the best movies ever made.  Hurley's improvements, we come to learn, are that he would have Luke actually talk with Vader after it is revealed that Vader is (spoiler alert) his father.  Hurley claims that this would have saved a lot of trouble in the end.  While that may be, it sure as hell would have lessened the impact that the end of the movie had, and probably would have turned one of the greatest films of all time into utter crap.

The creators of LOST have long credited Star Wars as one of the main influences on the show.  I think in large part because of the epic tale based on mythic archetypes, but also, they seem to be telling us in this episode, because of the daddy issues.  One of the season one episodes was, of course, titled "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues", and that has long been a main theme of the show.  Jack, Sawyer, Kate, Locke, Ben, Hurley, and now Miles have all had serious issues with their fathers.  And the one time that we've seen Sayid's father it didn't seem like he was all that pleasant of a person either.  However, what is interesting about Star Wars, especially if you take all six movies and not just the original trilogy, the series isn't really about Luke and his daddy issues, it is about the father.  Everything is actually about Anakin.  (Who we found out in Episode One didn't even have a father, but that's another post).  For the most part, that doesn't seem to be the case in LOST.  The children ARE more important then the fathers.  Although, Christian does seem to be gaining in importance as the show goes on.  (And obviously his name brings to mind someone else who was born without an earthly father... hmm).

Speaking of Christian, I think that the name Bram is an interesting choice for one of our newest characters.  Proof that at least some of the other 316ers (and did you notice that the time on the microwave at Miles's new apartment was 3:16?) do know about the Island and have some ulterior motives, Bram picks up Miles off of the street and tells him not to go along on Widmore's wild boat ride.  Bram is usually short for Abraham, who was the father of the three biggest organized religions in the world, including Christianity (as well as Judaism and Islam) and it is also the first name of the author of Dracula.  Dracula of course being probably the most famous member of the Undead that there is.  Undead as in Dead, but Not Dead, as in Christian Shephard.  Pretty interesting.

Despite the interest that I had in his name, I am more interested in the fact that he tried to keep Miles from joining Widmore's crew.  And that later he boarded Ajira Flight 316 along with Ilana in order to get to the Island himself.  (We have seem him on the Island, he listened while Frank and Caesar argued about what the survivors should do in Namaste, and he is the one Ilana told to tie Frank up last week.)

I think that many of us, myself included, imagined that the coming war everyone had been talking about would be between Benry and Widmore, but we were wrong.  Sure the Others find themselves in a bit of a civil war between two leaders who are both, in my opinion, false, but there is a common enemy coming, one concerned with What Lies in the Shadow of the Statue.  You see, I don't think that they are at all connected with Widmore or Benry or the Others at all, but that they are a completely different group.  Despite their differences, which are many, both Widmore and Benry believe that they are acting in the best interest of the Island.  And the Island (or Jacob) has chosen the Others as it's chosen people.  (A very Abraham-ish idea, chosen people).  So, it is safe to think (at the moment with the limited information that we have) that this group is the actual enemy of the Island, and that probably the Others need to quit their bickering and get their stuff straight behind one leader (John Locke).

The other exciting bit of the episode happened at the very end when we discovered where Faraday had been all this time.  He was at Dharma headquarters in Ann Arbor.  Which means, he probably knows exactly what Dharma is hoping to accomplish.  He probably knows everything about the Island that Dharma knows, plus a little more thanks to his own experiences on the Island, Time Skipping and whatnot.  In other words, Daniel Faraday knows more about the Island then probably anyone else alive (or not Not Dead).  That will probably come in handy.

Finally, did you notice that Dr. Jack was erasing Egyptian Hieroglyph off of the black board in the classroom when he was attempting to cover for Roger?  Last week, in Smokey's lair we saw what certainly appeared to be Egyptian Hieroglyph, and the statue from behind certainly appears Egyptian.  Looking at names is always important in searching for LOST clues, and one that I had overlooked until hanging in the Royal Ontario Museum last week was the fact that Horus is an Egyptian god and the leader of Dharma on the Island is named Horace Goodspeed.

Horus was the son of Osiris (the god of the dead and underworld) and Isis (the goddess of fertility).  He reclaimed the Egyptian throne from Seth (the god of desert and chaos) after it was stolen from his father.  Ever after, the Pharaohs were considered the embodiment of Horus.  Other traditions say that Horus reclaimed the throne for his father and the Pharaohs were the embodiment of Osiris and the heir was the embodiment of Horus.

Until Next Time, some interesting stuff, and the Island certainly has its connections with death and fertility.