Thursday, February 26, 2009

LOST The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham, first thoughts

Okay, big question to lead of the post today after last night's show and as always *SPOILERS*...

Where is Sayid?

Seriously.  Dr. Jack, Kate, and Hurley are all back in Dharma time.  Frank and Sun have taken a boat to head back to the beach and LOSTies base camp.  Locke is enjoying his resurrection and bothering the new castaways.  And Benry is beat up in a hospital bed.

But where the frak is Sayid?  That's the question I have.  I guess the most logical explanation is that he disappeared in the time shift also and is somewhere on the Island in Dharma time.  That would be my guess.

Watching last night's episode was the first time I've seen Abbadon since seeing every episode of The Wire.  So all I can really say to his death is...  CEDRIC!!! NO!!!!  But seriously, Abbadon is still a very interesting character and I hope we get a little more about him in flashback.  Clearly he works for Widmore, which I think we'd all pretty much surmised anyway, but his job is to, as he puts it, get people to where they are supposed to be.  We saw him direct Locke to the Island by suggesting the Walkabout.  I wonder if he had a hand in any of our other LOSTies routes to the Island?  Either way, it seems like he is being as hands on as he always yelled at McNulty for being.  (I know, I know, in LOST he isn't Cedric Daniels.  Or the guy from Fringe.  Or the dude in the Cadillac commercial.  Seriously, you're a main character in The Wire and Fringe and one of the most intriguing characters on LOST.  Do you really have to do a Cadillac commercial?)  He at least approached Hurley, although we haven't seen him with anyone else that I recall.  But he was directly responsible for Faraday, CS Lewis, Miles, and Frank being on the Island.  It isn't like I could complain if that's the last we see of him, because there is enough of an answer there as to who he is and why he was around, but he intrigues me enough to want some more as well.

So, mister "you have my condolences" is named Caesar.  And has obviously become the leader of this new set of castaways.  Perhaps inevitable considering his name.  He seemed to be looking for something a little specific while digging around in that Dharma station if you ask me.  I don't think that it was coincidence that he was on that flight.  If I had to guess, he works for Widmore.  We already know that Widmore was watching all of the O6.  If they were all getting on the same plane, it wouldn't surprise me that Widmore got one of his own people on that plane as well.

But, how much does Widmore know about Benry's activities?  Does he realize that it is he who gave Benry access to return to the Island?  Widmore told Locke to look for Ms. Hawking.  Locke told it to Benry, who then killed him and then went to hang with Faraday's mother.  I find it interesting that it is through his mortal enemy Widmore that Benry found his way back to the Island.  If you asked me which side I was rooting for in the eternal struggle between Benry and Widmore I wouldn't hesitate to tell you neither.  I seriously think that they are both evil and out for themselves, neither is really on the side of our LOSTies or even the Island.

So, everyone is back on the Island now except for Desmond, Walt, and Aaron.  A few times in this episode it was mentioned that Locke was supposed to bring EVERYBODY back.  Obviously, things can't get back on track (the record won't stop skipping as it were) until these three are back as well.  I, like a lot of you, think that the person Benry went to confront before boarding the plane late (Hurley style) last week was Desmond, in part to try and convince him (or kidnap him, either way) to get on that plane, but also in large part to keep his promise to Widmore by killing Penny.  Obviously I don't think that he succeeded, and I hope that Desmond kicked his ass, but if he did succeed, then Desmond will no doubt be hell bent on revenge, even returning to the Island to get it.

Walt is obviously still connected to the Island by having dreams of events that haven't occurred yet.  We've now seen Locke on the Island with strangers while wearing a suit, but they don't want to kill him yet.  Since Walt saw that though, I figure it will happen soon enough.  Especially with him being all creepy about having been dead.  I don't know that I would tell that to complete strangers, John.  No doubt his dreams about current events will somehow bring him back to the Island as well.

As for Aaron, the question is, of course, who Kate left him with.  My money is on Cassidy and Clementine, Sawyer's ex and his daughter (also, clearly the people he told Kate to go check on when he jumped off of the helicopter to save them all.)  As soon as either Widmore or Benry figures this out, I have no doubt that Aaron will be on the way to join them all.

Benry the Island would have to be finished with him, right?

Until Next Time, where do you think Sayid is?  Because that is the big question after last night's episode.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

BSG Deadlock, first thoughts

Just a few things, and sorry how late this post is, but being out of town this weekend coupled with the Oscars and all the coverage that entails kept me pretty busy, and I didn't even get a chance to watch the episode until Monday.  So, here we go, as always there are *SPOILERS* if you aren't caught up with the greatness that is BSG.

Phantom 6 is back in Baltar's head, which I am glad to see, this is the biggest thing in the story for me and I want to understand it.  I definitely think it has to do with the female that warned Anders and the male that warned Tory so long ago on the Earth that was.  Now that Caprica has lost the baby I wonder if she'll start seeing Phantom Baltar again.  I wouldn't be surprised.

Speaking of the death of Caprica and Tigh's baby Liam (named after Adama, nice), the importance of Hera is back at the forefront of the series.  In the last few episodes, they have systematically removed any threat to Hera's importance.  No longer is Nicky half-Cylon, turns out Hot Dog is his dad, and now the only baby born to two Cylons is out of the picture, although the fact that Liam was ever conceived is proof that the Cylons can once again recapture the ability to reproduce on their own and survive without humanity.

So, that brings me back to my thoughts on where the show could ultimately be headed.  It could easily end after a final confrontation with Cavil and his group with the surviving humans and Cylons deciding to head back to Kobal to try and live in peace.  Of course, we all know how that would end, the Cylons would end up heading to repopulate Earth while the humans would spread out to the 12 colonies and we would once again be headed towards a future that has happened before and would happen again.

What I think is very interesting about the show, though, is the idea of the One True God.  In that religious difference that was brought to everyone's attention by the centurions, there is, I believe, hope to break out of the cycle of the Pythian prophecy "All of this has happened before, all of it will happen again."

While Liam gave the Cylons hope that they could once again live separately and reproduce like they once did on Earth, Hera gives another future, a peaceful coexistence with humans where Cylons and humans become one race and the cycle ends forever.

Can they take that step and break out of that which Pythia foretold, moving away from the gods of Kobal and towards the God of the centurions?

Until Next Time, there is only a few more episodes until the picture is clear, and then we'll get more of the backstory to fill it in with things like The Plan on DVD and the new series Caprica.  Part of me can't wait to know it all, but most of me wishes that the greatest show ever on TV wasn't about to end.

Monday, February 23, 2009

4th Annual My Thoughts As I Had Them During the Oscars

Well, the 81st Annual Oscars are in the books and yet again, I have written down my thoughts as they occurred in order to share them with you.  If you're interested, here are links to the previous three...

My 1st Annual Thoughts As I Had Them During The Oscars Post

My 2nd Annual Thoughts As I Had Them During The Oscars Post

My 3rd Annual Thoughts As I Had Them During The Oscars Post

And without further ado, this years....

-Wow, the opening musical bit about Slumdog Millionaire is actually better then the movie.  Hugh Jackman should have made Slumdog Millionaire!

-Anne Hathaway should host the Oscars, she's funny.  I wonder if this musical bit about Frost/Nixon is more or less historically accurate then the movie Frost/Nixon?  Either way, it would have been interesting if this was the route they took in the movie.  And Hathaway actually does a fairly good Nixon improvisation.  Nice.

-"I'm WOLVERINE!!!!!"  Yes.  Yes you are.  And don't let anyone ever tell you different.

-Non-Best picture nominees mentioned in the opening song, The Wrestler, The Dark Knight, and Iron Man.  Go comic book movies!  And did I mention the host is Wolverine?  I did?  Okay.  Did he?  He did?  Okay.  Good.

-Meryl Streep is clearly juicing.  Good call Wolverine.  (I mean Hugh Jackman).  I'm glad that Wolverine (I mean Hugh Jackman) had the guts to come right out and call her out on it.  If someone had done that in baseball 10 years ago, maybe it wouldn't be in the situation it is now.

-Tilda Swinton was much better in two films this year (Burn After Reading and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) then she was in Michael Clayton for which she won an award.  For that matter, Clooney was much better in Burn After Reading then he was in Michael Clayton too.  Did I mention that I wasn't a fan of Michael Clayton?

-Wow.  Sister Act reference by Whoopi.  Or was it a Sister Act 2 reference?  Not sure.  But also a Jesus reference.  Go Jesus.

-Taraji was amazing in Benjamin Button.  I think she was really the heart of the whole film.

-Yeah, we're tight like that.  I can call her Taraji.

-Okay.  I've never met Taraji.  I just like to say Taraji.

-This whole 5 past winners introducing the 5 nominees is taking forever.  I hope they don't do this with every category.

-Penelope Cruz wants to share the Oscar with the other five nominees.  People always say that, but I don't believe it.  What, Penelope, you're telling me that you want to have it cut into 5 equal pieces so that everyone can have a piece?  "Here Marisa, Taraji (hah, fit her name in again), Amy, and Viola, I told you I wanted to share this with you!"  How would you feel if the part Penelope gives you is Oscar's ass?

-Wow.  Tina Fey cleans up good.

-And Steve Martin is still hilarious.  That doesn't mean I'm going to see Pink Panther 2 though.

-"A movie sometimes starts out as an idea for a great movie poster"  Sadly many of them seem to be made based on that these days.  Movies like Pink Panther 2 for instance.

-The only Best Picture nominee up for Original Screenplay and the best original screenplay nominated, good to see a deserving script win here for Milk.  I fear disappointments ahead, so I'll enjoy this victory.

-Crap, now I'm tearing up.  Great speech.  Amen.

-I've got a bad feeling about this.  It all could turn bad early.

-BOO! Well, it's going to be a long night.  Slumdog Millionaire is so undeserving and yet it is going to win a lot tonight.

-Jack Black says people like him more in animated roles.  That's because your animated personality seems to work better as, well, um, as, you know, animation.

-I'm sorry, by the way, but I enjoyed Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  Sure it's not like a masterpiece or anything, but it was fun.  And the cartoon is fantastic.

-Whew.  I was worried Kung Fu Panda might actually win.  Not that it wasn't a good movie, because it really was, but WALL-E was GLORIOUS.

-Translation Courtesy of Josh Man... "Domo Aragato, Mr. Roboto" means "Thank you very much, Mr. Roboto".  I know you were wondering.  I'm here to help.  As to what Penelope said at the end of her speech earlier I could translate that too, I just don't feel like it.  (Okay, I admit.  She talks too fast for me to keep up with my 7th grade Spanish lessons).

-Just wanted to say that Daniel Craig is not MY James Bond.

-Wow.  The Dark Knight is 0-2 so far.  I really thought it was going to have a night like The Matrix did a few years ago.  Well they still have 6 awards to go.

-OMG!! Edward Cullen!!! OMG!!!!!!!! Hmph.  I mean, (*clears throat*) Who is Robert Pattinson?

-I'm way impressed that they put the Franco and Penn kiss in the romantic montage.  Good job Academy.

-You know, I'm not really digging the format this year.  An awards show shouldn't be laid out like the making of a film.  It totally isn't working for me.

-The Joaquin Pheonix

-Well, this award will give us a hint on how the night will go.

-Slumdog Millionaire.  Well, not good for those who hoped that good movies would win big at this years Oscars.

(note: I realize a lot of people liked this movie, and while I don't understand why it is only fair I tell you why I didn't.  If you want to see my review of it read towards the end of my Oscar Preview and Prediction Post.)

-Meanwhile, The Dark Knight is 0-3.

-Why the Star Trek music as Jessica Biel walks out?

-Oh, she hosted the Sci-Tech Awards.  Makes sense I guess.

-Not her hosting it.  The music.

-Wow.  Seth Rogen is getting svelte!  Is he cutting down on his Munchies intake?

-Holy Crap!  Another Sister Act reference.  Whoever had the over on Sister Act references in their Oscar Poll is going to bank tonight.

-It isn't that I think Wolverine (I mean Hugh Jackman) is doing a bad job, but this is really the worst Oscars I can remember.  I'm making myself laugh occasionally, but the show isn't really entertaining me the way I've come to expect.  Where are you Jon Stewart!?!?

-And I fear that the way the awards turn out is going to make me like this year's Oscars even less.

-And by the way.... the Musical is SOOOOOO not back.

-Will Cuba Gooding Jr. ever make a good movie again?  I mean, really.

-I think Josh Brolin has had one of the single greatest years in acting ever.  He was great in last year's best picture No Country For Old Men, he gave the greatest possible performance as George Bush in W., and he was phenomenal in Milk.  And all three characters were completely different.  Great job this year by him.

-Suddenly, I have a fever.  And the only prescription is (go ahead, say it with me) MORE COWBELL!

-Not at all surprising, and very, very deserving.  You earned this Heath, dead or alive.  Think about it, this is one of the greatest screen villains of all time along with Chigurh (Bardem won the Oscar) and Lector (Hopkins won the Oscar).  You should have won many more then just this one, Heath.  And I apologize again for my crack way back in the first annual My Thoughts As I Had Them During The Oscars post.  (Although it was still pretty funny).

-Isn't it a little rude to have someone who made a documentary that didn't get nominated present the movies that did and then announce the winner?

-Ha!  At least he acknowledged it himself.

-Man on Wire was fantastic.  Do yourself a favor and Netflix it.

-Phillipe is so awesome!  I think this might go down as an Iconic Oscar Moment along with Roberto Benigni jumping up on the chair, Adrian Brody kissing Halle Berry, and Jack Palance doing the one armed pushup.  (Not to mention Sally Field.)  We love you Phillipe.  We really, really love you!

-This action montage makes me wish a Bond movie had come out this year.

-What?  Quantum of Solace?  That's not a Bond movie.  Wasn't that Bourne 4?

-I still don't think Button will get the one it deserves, but at least it's winning a few.  The Dark Knight is now 1 for 5 with the only win being Heath.

-Okay, 2 for 6.  Only Heath and a very technical Sound Editing award to TDK.

-Seriously?  Sound Mixing to Millionaire?  And TDK falls to 2 for 7?  Horrible.

-A lot of times watching the Oscars I wonder if the people who voted actually watched the movies they're voting for or if they just listen to the hype.

-The Editor of Millionaire says he wished filming it had never ended.  As an editor, that is a weird thing to say.  If filming of the movie never ended, you never really get to do your job.  Maybe he's lazy and didn't want to work.

-Meanwhile, I couldn't wait for it to end when I saw it.  True story, I got in trouble in the theater because I checked the time on my phone so often that the theater workers thought I was recording the movie.  Seriously.

-Hey, Eddie Murphy.  He used to make good movies too.  No really, kids.  He did.

-It's a good thing that the overall show of the Oscars doesn't have a long shelf life, just moments of the show.  Because I've got to believe that in 3 years no one will know who Zac Efron is.  (And I have to be completely honest here, I'm not entirely sure now who he is.)

-So, we're supposed to have hope and optimism that fate will just take care of everything for us?  Because if you stop and think about it that is the message that Slumdog Millionaire is sending us.  Personally I feel that it is important for us to work towards making our life better and working towards the hope and optimism not just expecting all of the answers to be given to us by some ridiculous, unrealistic, and frankly nonexistent idea of "fate".  Sure, I believe that there is such a thing as fate (I really do), but not like this.  Saying that it does is just a disservice to people who work towards making their own dreams a reality.  Okay, rant over.

-Wow.  This is shocking and clearly the upset of the night.  A lot of people felt that Waltz With Bashir should have also been nominated for Best Documentary and Best Animated Picture and then to not even win this category?  I'm shocked.  A lot of people had this high up in their top ten lists.

-We truly lost a lot of talented people this year, and because I have to say it everytime I see him....  KHAN!!!!!!!

-I'll pretend that Danny Boyle won an Oscar for Trainspotting.  Or Sunshine.  Both of those films see him more deserving.

-The only good part of the movie was the dance number at the end of the credits and he didn't even credit the man responsible for it in the movie.  That's really unforgivable.

-I loved how the winner the year before of Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor awarded the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress and vice versa.  This just feels unnecessary to me the way they're doing it this year.

-Have you seen the episode of Ricky Gervais's Extras on HBO?  Kate Winslet totally should have thanked Ricky Gervais in her speech.  She went long enough, I'm sure she could've fit him in.

-Seriously though, while this is no where near the best job she's ever done as an actress, Kate Winslet is very deserving of being an Oscar winner.  I'm happy she won.

-Is Adrian Brody going to kiss the winner?  He totally should.

-Oh!  If Sean Penn wins, maybe he'll kiss Adrian Brody.  That would be awesome!

-Hey!  This one got it right too!  I really thought that Mickey Rourke was going to win, but no question in my mind, Sean Penn deserved to.

-"You Commie Homo-lovin sons o' guns!"  Awesome.

-I still think that he should have kissed Adrian Brody.  Missed opportunity there, Sean.

-All right, it's obvious, but let's go ahead and get it over with.

-Benjamin Button is so far and away the Best Picture of the year, and of all the nominees only Milk deserves to be mentioned along side it.  That's the way I feel.

-Yeah, it was obvious, but I'm still disappointed.  Slumdog Millionaire wins best picture.

Until Next Time, how did you feel about the Oscars?  How did you think Wolverine did?  Were you upset or excited about how things went?  Let me know!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Oscar Preview and Prediction Post 2008

Well, there's a lot to get to, so let's get down to business, shall we?

First off, the big intrigue of the night for me is how will Wolverine (I mean Hugh Jackman) do as the host?  It seems like an odd choice, but I actually think that he will do a good job.  That being said, I do love me some Jon Stewart and wouldn't mind his returning for another spin!  Just so you know, while having never hosted the Oscars, Wolverine (I mean Hugh Jackman) did host the Tony's so he has some experience with the whole big awards show thing.

On to the categories...


The nominees...

Richard Jenkins-The Visitor
Frank Langella-Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn-Milk
Brad Pitt-The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke-The Wrestler

Popular opinion is with Rourke here and he certainly did a fantastic job.  I agree that he will probably win best actor, but this year the award should go to Sean Penn for what was the best performance he has ever given.


Josh Brolin-Milk
Robert Downey Jr-Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman-Doubt
Heath Ledger-The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon-Revolutionary Road

I would pick Ledger here even without the fact that he died.  The Joker is a very iconic character that it is hard to take and make your own, but Ledger did that, and he did it in a way that created one of the scariest characters ever to grace the big screen.  Just like with Bardem last year, when you do that you deserve Oscar Gold.  And he'll get it.


Anne Hathaway-Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie-Changeling
Melissa Leo-Frozen River
Meryl Streep-Doubt
Kate Winslet-The Reader

It will be Kate Winslet's first Oscar after many nominations.  She was very good in this hit and miss picture and has always been strong.  It will be one of those awards that is rewarding her career almost more then the role she wins it for.  I don't have to big of a problem with that, it was a down year for roles for leading actresses.


Amy Adams-Doubt
Penelope Cruz-Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis-Doubt
Taraji P. Henson-The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei-The Wrestler

Really the most intriguing category of the night.  I could make a case for any and all of them.  I think Taraji P. Henson deserves the award and so I'll go ahead and predict she'll win it, but none of these would surprise me.


Kung-Fu Panda

Obviously WALL-E deserves to win and I think that it will, but let me tell you right now, there could easily be an upset right here.  Kung-Fu Panda has a legitimate shot to shock the world.  If it happens, don't say I didn't warn you.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

This is a two picture race.  If Benjamin Button is going to have a huge night, here's one place you'll be able to tell.  My money, however, is on The Dark Knight.  A lot of people (read: Academy Voters) feel that The Dark Knight should have gotten a Best Picture Nomination, that makes it an automatic favorite in every category as people vote for it to get the consolation prize as it were.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

This is only one where Dark Knight is up for the award where I would frankly be a little shocked if it won.  This is mainly between the two favorites for Best Picture, Benjamin Button and Slumdog Millionaire.  If Millionaire wins you can turn off your tv and go to sleep knowing that it will also win Director and Picture.  Benjamin Button should win this award and probably will, but if that happens, Millionaire will still have a shot at Best Picture.


I'll just go ahead and tell you Man On Wire will and should win.


A category with lots of surprises in its history.  Won't be one this time, look for a win for Waltz With Bashir.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will probably win here (and should), but you can't count out Dark Knight.  Iron Man gets the nomination in a "thanks for playing" kind of way, it doesn't have a shot.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire

If it isn't The Dark Knight it'll be either Button or Millionaire and you can use that as a clue for who will end up victorious on the night.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire

WALL-E actually has a shot to take this one, and probably should.  Otherwise, it will go to whichever of the two Best Picture Favorites is shaping up to have the big night.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Four of these are up for Best Picture and one of two of them will win Best Picture.  That's also the one that will take this prize.  Whichever wins between Button and Millionaire will also win Best Picture.  Look at my prediction for Best Picture to see my prediction for this category.

Frozen River
In Brags

It should be Milk, I think that it will be WALL-E and there's nothing wrong with that.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button-David Fincher
Frost/Nixon-Ron Howard
Milk-Gus Van Sant
The Reader-Stephen Daldry
Slumdog Millionaire-Danny Boyle

Again, chances are good that the winner of this also wins Best Picture.  The exception is when it is an extremely close race, so if Button is winning some and Millionaire is winning some and neither has a clear edge then there is a good chance that this and Best Picture will split.  That being said, my prediction for this will be the same as my prediction for Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.  I don't want to spoil it.  You're almost there.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

A fantastic film and my favorite film of the year.  It does an amazing job of being incredibly touching without becoming overly sentimental.  It is expertly handled all the way around and is extremely original in an era when so many films seem repetitive.


I thought it was a fine, fun picture.  There were some historical inaccuracies made in the spirit of making the film more entertaining, which is fine, but it also threw me out of the film enough to keep it from being one of my favorites.  The acting was sensational, however.


A beautiful, powerful, and timely film that educated as well as entertained.  It's also heartbreaking, but in a real world sort of way.  I can handle sentimentality when it is from real stories.  The performances in this movie were the best of the year in any film.  I wish that more people had seen this amazing movie.

The Reader

This film felt off to me.  It was almost like two different movies that were stuck together in detriment to both films.  The first half of the film is about one thing and the second half is something else entirely.  The second half of the film was far more interesting then the first, and since the film made use of flashbacks to tell its story anyway, they should have had events from the second half shading events occurring in the first half to give the film some sort of cohesiveness.  This could have been fantastic, instead it was kind of okay.

Slumdog Millionaire

I truly don't understand why people like this movie.  I couldn't stand it.  First of all, I hated Who Wants To Be A Millionaire when it was on tv, it's forced suspense annoyed the crap out of me, to base a movie on that is just as wrong as I would have guessed.  Add to that the premise, that an uneducated kid from the slums of Mumbai would know the answers to every question asked because every question asked corresponded to an event in his life is simply a premise that I can not suspend enough disbelief to grasp.  It is even worse then accepting all of the coincidences that took place in Crash.  And then finally there is the harsh and untrue image that the film gives India.  Every review that I've read of the film from India hates the movie as the country is far more then gangsters and slumdogs.  Not only does this film literally put its main character through crap, but it manages to make the Taj Mahal look dirty.  It's a shame that people who see this movie are using it to color their whole view of the country.  The only part of the movie that I liked was the musical number during the closing credits.

So, obviously I think that Benjamin Button should win; sadly, I think that Slumdog Millionaire will win and ultimately it will be considered the worst movie ever to win Best Picture.  I'm hoping that I'm wrong and Benjamin Button will end up victorious, but I wouldn't put any money on it.

Until Next Time, what do you think will be the biggest upset of the night?  Which movie do you think should win Best Picture and what actually will?  And how do you think Wolverine (I mean Hugh Jackman) will do as host?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

LOST 316, first thoughts

Quite a few things to discuss after this episode.

First, there are at least three instances where Benry flat out lies in this episode, and I think that the episode makes a point about this, leading me to believe the show is saying that we can't really trust anything that Benry has said up to this point.  (The lies if you didn't catch them yourself are 1. that he didn't know about the Lamp Post Station, we saw him there in the episode The Lie, hmmmm 2. that his mother had taught him to read, remember she died when he was born and 3. that he didn't know Locke committed suicide, in the preview for next weeks episode we see Benry there when Locke is about to hang himself.)  Just something that I noticed in the episode, I think it is important to remember that the show has continually told us we can't trust Benry.

Second, let's talk about the title 316.  Clearly this is a nod to the bible verse that you see at sporting events all of the time John 3:16, considering that a main player in the events of this episode despite being dead was none other then John Locke.  The verse, as I'm sure most of you already know, is "For God so loved the world that God gave his only Son, so that all who believe in him will not perish (some translations say "may not be lost") but will have eternal life."  Meanwhile, the note that Locke left for Dr. Jack says "I wish you had believed me".  Also, there is the tie in to last weeks episode when Christian tells Locke that he is a sacrifice. 

The Island gave it's chosen one Locke so that the others could return.  Meanwhile, Locke is using himself as a proxy for Christian, so there shouldn't be any doubt that Locke like Dr. Jack's father before him will be up and moving around again on the Island.  Often referred to as resurrected.  Also, I loved the direct Christian symbolism in this episode as we heard the story of the Apostle Thomas, most commonly referred to as Doubting Thomas.  Benry relates the story that Thomas is most famous for, but he also relates the story found in John 11:16.  The disciples are resisting Jesus' decision to return to Judea because of the danger to Jesus there, but Jesus will not be swayed.  While most of the disciples are scared to go there and resist because of that fear, Thomas bravely says, "Let us also go, that we might die with him."  After Jesus' death and resurrection, Thomas is believed to be the apostle that took the gospel the furthest, preaching well outside the Roman Empire, going to Persia, India, and China to spread the gospel.  In a way, Dr. Jack has come to believe in the Island and has preached "We Have To Go Back" to the others after doubting John for so long.

Third, yet another Narnia reference from LOST, tonight, we see a Dharma station (ostensibly the first) called The Lamp Post.  It is the station that led Dharma and our LOSTies to the Island.  In Narnia, the Lamp Post is among the first things Lucy encounters when she first travels into Narnia in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  It is also the way that the Pensieves find their way back into the real world after being in Narnia, it leads them back to the Wardrobe.  In the books, I think of the Lamp Post as a way back to the world you are supposed to be in as opposed to the fantasy world (Narnia) you were just visiting.  If you take it the same way here, then the Island is the real world now for our characters (despite the Island being Narnia in relation to Charlotte's story in the last episode).  I suppose it differs based on who the character is and where they are supposed to be.  Clearly since she died, maybe Charlotte Staples Lewis never should have returned to the Island.

Fourth, while we are unsure at this point whether Benry, Sun, and Sayid have returned to the Island, it is clear that Aaron and Desmond (and Walt, WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALT!!!!!!!!!!!!, for that matter) have not yet.  I have no doubt that at some point they will be returned as well.  Desmond was told by Ms. Hawking that (yet again) the Island is not finished with him.  I'm sure that he'll find his way back there and most likely against his will.  Aaron's importance is even more clear to me now that we've met yet another member of the Shephard clan.  I'm not sure why, but I have no doubt that the Shephard family is very closely entwined with the Island and would not be at all surprised if Dr. Jack's granddad will be showing up on the Island as a young man in Dharma time.

Fifth, speaking of people who are new but had some prominence in the episode, the man that gave Dr. Jack his condolences on the loss of his friend and the guy that Hurley told "Seriously, buckle up, dude" too is going to be important.  That was too much screen time for someone we don't know for him not to have a role of some importance.  At first I thought he was the terrorist that Sayid was with when he was undercover for the FBI, but after pulling out that episode I realized that it was not (and that guy died).  There is going to be more of him, though, I don't doubt that at all.

Sixth, did the others on the plane not get to the Island, mainly Sayid, Sun, and Benry (as well as random dude, agent that appeared to have Sayid in custody, and Frank)?  As for how Dr. Jack, Hugo, and Kate got on the Island, it didn't appear to be a plane crash, but much more like the time shifts that those left behind have been experiencing and that apparently have left them in Dharma time period long enough for Faraday to be helping build the Orchid and Jin to be tooling around in Hurley's VW van.  As for the others on the flight I think that somehow, they got sent to another time.  I think the plane did in fact crash, but while a time shift caught Dr. Jack, Hugo, and Kate, the others crashed in present day, 2008.  Remember, the ones left behind (Sawyer, Faraday, Juliet, et al) saw an Ajira water bottle when they discovered the camp site and stole the boat.  It's even possible that our friends were the ones shooting at them, after all, there was a marshal on board.  Everyone else on that flight is on the Island, but in 2008, while the remaining LOSTies plus Dr. Jack, Hurley, and Kate are in the eighties with Dharma.  And this way, the show can wait to give us our Sun and Jin reunion, building it up to Desmond/Penny proportions.

Finally, seventh, there were again a lot of visual references to earlier episodes in this one.  The opening of course was a direct visual quote to the opening of the series with Dr. Jack's eye opening while laying on his back in the jungle.  Benry rushed on the plane late just like Hurley did back in season one.  Sayid came onto the plane handcuffed and accompanied by a marshall ala Kate in season one.  Just to name a few.

Until Next Time, my love for this show is growing with each episode this season, I truly believe that this season is the best the show has had so far.  Can't wait to hear your thoughts on what happened to the others on that plane.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

LOST Some Thoughts on Jacob and Christian

So, is Christian actually working on behalf of Jacob or is he somehow taking the Island over?

Is the person we see walking around saying he is Christian even actually the man who was Christian Shephard since Christian Shephard died in Sydney?

Why when we first saw Christian walking around the Island was he always in a blue suit, but since we've seen him in the Cabin he's wearing something else?  Are these actually two distinct characters using the same face?
Christian's body is missing.  This was established in the Season 1 episode White Rabbit in which Dr. Jack found Christian's coffin amongst flight 815 wreckage in the Caves.  The coffin was intact, but it was empty.  In fact, Dr. Jack was led to the Caves by the vision of his dead father.  More and more, this early episode appears to be important as many characters have since seen dead characters around.

If you'll recall last season, when the O6 were telling their story to the press in No Place Like Home Part 1, Dr. Jack mentioned three other survivors who didn't live to get rescued and claimed everyone else had died.  The three that he cited were Charlie, Libby, and Boone.  What is interesting about that, is those are three characters who have been seen since their death.  Charlie has been conversing regularly with Hurley, Libby guided Michael back to the Island, and Boone has helped out Locke a time or two since biting it.  At that point in the series, those were the only confirmed dead (also a title of an episode last season) characters from flight 815 who had been seen since their death.  (I still maintain that Claire is also dead and had at that point been seen afterwards, but we haven't yet gotten confirmation that she died in that bungalow explosion).  In a way, this points out the importance of seeing characters who have died interacting with our LOSTies.  It also makes me more certain that Locke will be able to walk and talk again as soon as they get him back to the Island.

But, are the appearances of Charlie, Boone, and Libby (and appearances by Benry's mom in Man Behind the Curtain, Horace in Cabin Fever, and Ana Lucia in The Lie to mention some others) the same as the appearances of Christian Shephard?  Most of those characters appear only to one person specifically, no one else has seen them, but Christian has appeared to not only Dr. Jack, but to Miles, Michael, and Locke as well, and has been shown holding Aaron (Something Nice Back Home), petting Vincent (the mobisode So It Begins), and in last week's episode holding and hanging a lantern (very similarly to how Benry did last season when he turned the Donkey Wheel) none of those other characters have been shown able to actually manipulate real world items.  No, it seems to me that Christian is a different animal then the other dead characters that we've seen (and perhaps only Clair is similar).

But why have we seen him in different garb?  Did he get redressed somehow when he began to speak for Jacob?  That is after all when the change in clothes took place.  I do think that the Christian we've seen in the blue suit and the Christian we've seen recently is the same person, and his new job has necessitated this change in clothing.

But I'm still not sure that I trust that he is actually working in Jacob's interest.  Remember the one time that we saw Jacob prior to Christian inhabiting his cabin, he asked John to help him.  Benry asked John what he heard and it seemed to me then (and still does) that Benry wasn't able to see or hear Jacob himself.  This leads me to believe that either for some reason Benry lost his ability to see or hear Jacob (possible as it would indicate he had fallen out of favor, helping to explain how he could get cancer on an Island where people don't get sick, they get better) or somehow Jacob was fading away and losing his ability to control and manipulate the Island (hence his asking Locke to "Help me").  The second seems to me more likely to be the truth because if Jacob were somehow losing his connection to and control of the Island, that could also explain the fact that Benry got cancer.

I also believe this to be the case setting up either Jacob needing a surrogate (Christian) or someone being able to attempt to replace him (again Christian).

Let's take a moment to think about the religious aspects of this part of the show.  Jacob is clearly a religiously significant name.  In the Judeo/Christian (and Muslim for that matter) histories, Jacob was the son of Issac, grandson of Abraham, and the twin brother of Esau.  Jacob tricked his father into giving him the birthright that was legally his brothers (a con worthy of Sawyer or Locke's dad).  He also famously wrestled God (or in some translations an Angel of God) and won (or at least didn't lose).  His twelve sons became the twelve tribes of Israel.  One of his son's was named Benjamin and he had a great great grandson named Aaron (the brother of Moses).  It seems pretty clear to me that this person is where the show got the name of Jacob.  Also the bible talks about how "God loved Jacob" and that was also a direct quote shown in Room 23 when Karl was being held there by the Others.

Christian Shephard is also pretty clear in it's religious significance.  Christian is self explanatory and Jesus is often referred to as a Shepherd and uses shepherd and sheep metaphors in many of his parables.

Again, I'm not sure what this might mean.  I'll be honest, as I'm watching I feel like Christian is not working on behalf of Jacob, but looking at it from a purely analytical bent, I'm inclined to think that he is.  Either way, this is definitely one of the most intriguing mysteries on the show right now and one I will be keeping a close eye on.

Until Next Time, let me know your thoughts on the Christian/Jacob situation and what it all might mean.

*EDIT* Check out my post following the episode Follow the Leader for some more thoughts on Jacob and Christian.

Monday, February 16, 2009

BSG No Exit, first thoughts

Wow, huge episode, lots of information, not sure where to start.  As always, *SPOILERS* ahead if you aren't caught up...

So, Ellen did resurrect on the original resurrection ship right after being killed by Tigh and she resurrected with all her memories in tact.  The reason that none of the Final Five knew about themselves was that Cavil (aka John) wanted them to experience humanity as humans in order to agree that humanity was worthless. 

However, considering that all of their problems stem from Cavil himself, I'm not sure his plan will succeed.

Due to the bullet in his brain, Anders remembers everything as well and fills the other four in as much as he can before his surgery.

A few of the main things I found interesting from this episode,

1.  The Centurions came upon the idea of the One True God on their own and Ellen used it in the programming of the skinjobs.  It even appears that Ellen has come to believe in the One True God herself.  I would assume that the humans who created the Centurions wouldn't have programmed them with religious thoughts (and if they did, they would have used their gods) so this is something they came up with own their own when they became sentient.  Very interesting.

2. Number 7.  I've always thought it was strange that there wasn't a Number 7.  I hypothesized that maybe that meant the Boomer/Athena model (number 8) was tied to the final 5 in some way, but instead it turns out that the Final 5 in fact created 8 models and number 7 has been boxed, supposedly even more completely and permanently then number 3 was, however somehow I doubt that.  The question clearly is who is number 7?  There are really only two possible answers in my mind, either Starbuck (which would be possible, because it reappearing as a female would answer why no one recognizes it, and it being Starbuck would answer her resurrection, plus there is the fact that 7 was an artist and Starbuck kept painting the eye of jupiter) or Baltar (which is what I'm leaning towards because Anders talked about seeing someone no one else could see, he saw a woman, Tory saw a man, very similar to the 6 that Baltar sees and interacts with and the Baltar that 6 sees and interacts with).

3. Galactica will become alive.  I'm very interested to see what ramifications this will have on everyone's relationship with her.  Especially considering how important the ships are to everyone's identity.  Lee's new Quorum uses ships for the representatives instead of the now extinct colonies.  The other thing is, while the ship is getting fixed, it can't jump, but with Ellen finding them from Cavil's group, whose to say Cavil won't find them too before Galactica is ready to jump away?

Until Next Time, This season is everything I had hoped for so far and I can't wait to get more answers and see what will happen next!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Top Ten of 2008

It is that time once again ladies, gentlemen, and any extraterrestrial readers out there (don't want to offend, just in case we are in fact being visited by beings from another planet) for the Top Ten Movies of the Year!  The Oscars are just over a week away, and I'll be talking more about them in the coming week (culminating in my always popular Thoughts As I Had Them While Watching The Oscars post), but first it is time to list the best films of the year.

Before we get started, if you're interested here is my Top Ten from 2007 and my Top Ten from 2006.

And now, the honorable mentions....

THE WRESTLER directed by Darren Aronofsky

First, let me say that I thought this was a fantastic film in terms of acting, direction, cinematography, music, and I like the idea of the story, it just didn't grab my attention the way that I hoped that it would.  The directors three previous films (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, and The Fountain) are among some of my favorite films, but I didn't feel like this one matched those movies.  However, I am glad that it is getting the attention that those films did not, as he does deserve the attention.  There is no doubt that the scenes in the ring were fantastic, utterly realistic and quite visceral, but overall the movie just didn't do it for me.  I just couldn't get as emotionally invested in the characters as I would need to be to really love the movie.

CRAWFORD directed by David Modigliani

As someone who lives very close to this small town with a big name resident, this documentary interested me the second that I heard about it.  I was extremely excited to finally get to see it via Netflix as it didn't play in a theater anywhere near me.  (Luckily thanks to the awesomeness that is XBOX Live, any movie that Netflix has available for Instant Viewing, such as this one, one can view on your television with the 360!)  As I watched it I was completely drawn in to the story of the town, the changes that it went through, and the effects that history in the making has had on it's inhabitants.  It is a fantastic film as well as an interesting view of some of the events that have occurred in the last eight years under our last president.  (And by the way, this is not the last time that a mention of said former president will make this list!)

KUNG FU PANDA directed by Mark Osborne and John Stevenson

Unlike last year, this year I loved all three of the films nominated for Best Animated Feature.  Bolt would have no question been an honorable mention if Disney hadn't shoe-horned in the Hannah Montana songs completely upsetting the flow of the film.  Kung Fu Panda, however, suffered from no such mismanagement.  Jack Black even managed to disappear completely into the character (which would probably be impossible in any live action film, and don't get me wrong, I like Jack Black, it's just that the person is bigger then any character he tries to play).  It is a fun movie, the story is outstanding, as is the animation.  And the big training scene involving a dumpling is probably the best kung fu action since Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon.  And besides, my niece Kiran absolutely loves the crap out of this movie, and isn't that what it's all about?

Well, last season I talked about the resurgence of the horror movie, but for the most part this year horror movies were back to torture porn (with one notable exception in the Top Ten), so what was the break out genre of this year?

Okay, I'm sure that you already know the answer to that question.  It is actually pretty obvious if you only give it a couple of seconds of thought.

Yes, the break out genre of 2008 was no question Comic Book Movies.

HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY directed by Guillermo Del Toro

When I did my Top Ten Comic Book Movies of All Time post, the top three were all released this year including this one.  Here is what I said about Hellboy II in that post... "Hellboy returned to the big screen with a lot more Del Toro imagination behind him in this amazing, inventive, and utterly gorgeous sequel.  Where the first Hellboy was very much a literal translation of Mignola's creation to the big screen, this film took Mignola's characters, themes, and world and merged them with the themes and worlds that exist only in Del Toro's magnificent brain (which lucky for us translates very well to the movies).  With the magical imagination that helped make Pan's Labyrinth such a surprising hit, Hellboy II was considerably deeper and more thoughtful and incredibly more visual then it's outstanding predecessor.  Again I hope that the fact that Del Toro will be behind the lens for The Hobbit will cause more people to seek out Hellboy and this amazing sequel."  I see no reason to change any of it.

And now, just missing out on the TOP TEN...

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN directed by Tomas Alfredson

This is a film that isn't getting near the attention that it deserves, which I actually find a little surprising.  It is a film out of Norway that is about a child vampire and the young boy who falls in love with her.  With all of the attention that Twilight is getting, this is a film that is much more romantic in a sick sort of way and far, far more interesting.  Of course, while Twilight is marketed and meant for teenage girls, this film is for everyone else.  It is haunting and real in a way that most vampire movies have no hopes of being able to accomplish.  If it is playing anywhere near you, do yourself a favor and check it out.  And while it might seem like it would be a horror movie, it isn't really.  Sure there are a few scary type moments but much of the violence takes place off camera or quite a distance away and it certainly isn't about going for the scares.  I wouldn't even classify this as a horror film, it is much more then that.

All right, let's get to it, counting down (as always), here we go...

10. FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL directed by Nicholas Stoller

In a year of good comedies (Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder, Step Brothers) the best in my opinion was also the first.  The characters are so well drawn as to seem like people you really know, and the story is deep enough (rare for a romantic comedy) that not only can you see the situation from both sides, but you genuinely think it might turn out differently then you expect.  And, it's hilarious.  Always a plus.  There are great performances all around, including a star making turn by Russell Brand as Aldous Snow.  I particularly love all of the supporting characters from around the hotel where the action takes place, I wish that every hotel I stayed at was staffed with these people.

9. MAN ON WIRE directed by James Marsh

I didn't know anything about this prior to seeing the movie, but in 1974 Philippe Petite, a tight rope walker and street performer from France, broke into the World Trade Center and strung a wire across them and walked in between them.  This is the fantastic story of why and how he pulled off what many refer to as "the artistic crime of the century".  The movie makes no mention of what ultimately happened to the towers, but it's never far from your mind as you watch the film, especially considering how easily Philippe and his team get into the towers, but overall I'm glad the film doesn't make an out loud acknowledgment of the fate awaiting the towers, because this way it is a much more fitting tribute to the famous buildings.

8. THE STRANGERS directed by Bryan Bertino

While last year had more traditional horror films then we'd seen recently, movies that used suspense to scare instead of pools of blood, none of them pulled it off exactly the way they used to.  This film, however, did.  In what is unquestionably the best horror film in at least 30 years, my old school friend Bertino (we went to Elementary, Middle, and High School together) does a tremendous job of scaring the crap out of you, which is the whole point.  Despite this being his first feature film to direct, he does a great job both with the action and with the actors.  Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler are both fantastic and the actors who play the masked invaders are chilling in their portrayal.  I love that there isn't any real reason why the attackers are there, killers with out conscience are far scarier then killers who have some apparent motive (hint, hint, makers of that terrible series Saw, and please don't waste our theater space with any more of them).

7. IRON MAN directed by Jon Favreau

Number two on my top ten comic book movie list, this film was outstanding in so many ways, far better then I was expecting it to be.  I'm worried about the future of the series as it is being rushed and I don't like all the stories about actors getting screwed around, but the first in the series will always be a classic.  Some say origin stories are the easiest to tell, but it still has to be done right, and it is even more important with a character that isn't as familiar to everyone.  Favreau got it exactly right in this film.  And the subtle updates to the character to make him fit so perfectly in this time and place were also a tribute to the filmmakers.  And, of course, there is the genius bit of casting putting Robert Downey Jr. in the suit.  He did an outstanding job and if the series does continue up from its high starting point, he'll be a large reason why.

6. BURN AFTER READING directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

A film that either people seem to love or people seem to hate, the latest from the Coen Brothers is about as far as one can get from their Oscar winning film No Country For Old Men, but it is very reminiscent of another Coen Brothers movie that when it came out was either loved or hated by the movie going public, The Big Lebowski.  In many ways, there are a lot of correlations between the two films.  They are statements about the time periods in which they take place.  In many ways, I consider this the after-Bush Big Lebowski.  Whereas Big Lebowski was a satire on the mystery noir, this is a satire on the spy film, complete with a Tony Scott like opening shot.  Both films feature the characteristic Coen type characters (read people who are nowhere near as smart as they think they are) and a ridiculous story that only works because of our characters.  While I don't think this film is as good as Lebowski (but then, what comedy is?), I do believe that as time goes on more and more people will fall into the love it category just like they did for the Dude.

5. W. directed by Oliver Stone

I have to say, this was not even close to the film that I was expecting.  Like a lot of people I have been very disappointed with the direction that this country has headed in over the last eight years and a lot of my blame for that has been directed towards the 43rd President of the United States.  And I know that Oliver Stone has been even more outspoken against Bush then I have, so I was expecting something different.  Because this film is not harsh or hateful towards George Bush.  In fact, it takes a very unbiased look at the man and his circumstances and in the end managed to make me feel sorry for him as opposed to hating him.  Pretty powerful filmmaking really and worth seeing no matter how you feel about George W. Bush.
4. THE DARK KNIGHT directed by Christopher Nolan

There isn't that much more I can say about this film that hasn't been said already by many people, including myself when I named it the best comic book movie of all time.  This is a film that deserved consideration for Best Picture (especially considering the fact that a couple of the actual nominees this year weren't very good, more on that in my Oscar Post next week) and despite that it will win multiple Oscars (it is up for 8) I feel like it has definitely been cheated.  Rarely is a film so good that it completely transcends the genre that it's in, but this film is in that elite company.  And last year when talking about the number 3 movie I wrote that Javier Bardem was the scariest villain in the history of film topping even Hannibal Lector and that is why he deserved the Oscar.  Well, forget about the fact that Heath Ledger died, I would be making the same argument if he were still alive, because his portrayal of the Joker made me wonder why I ever thought Lector or Chigurh was frightening.

3. WALL-E directed by Andrew Stanton

A movie that I absolutely loved as you can tell from my review, and another film cheated because of it's genre.  There is no question in my mind that this movie deserved a best picture nod, but considering that it has it's own category (Best Animated Feature) the Oscars feel that it isn't necessary to acknowledge it where it belongs to be acknowledged.  The problem is, the best animated feature doesn't always win the Best Animated Feature Oscar.  This is a spot where upsets happen far too often.  And if you view the Best Animated Feature as a synonym for Kid's Movie, well then Kung Fu Panda will win, not WALL-E because Kung Fu Panda is a far better movie for kids.  WALL-E on the other hand isn't really a "Kid's Movie".  It is far more then that, and probably has a lot more in common with a classic such as 2001 then a kid's movie like Happy Feet.  If it were up to me, both TDK and WALL-E would have gotten Best Picture Nominations.

2. MILK directed by Gus Van Sant

What an amazing movie this was, and the timing literally couldn't have been better as it's release coincided with the heartbreaking results of Prop 8 in California along with many similar propositions throughout the United States.  Another movie, like Man On Wire, that had historical importance of which I was largely unaware.  This film is so brilliantly acted by the likes of Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, James Franco, and Josh Brolin that everyone completely sinks into their characters.  (On a side note, in my mind Josh Brolin is one of the best actors of this generation as he completely disappears into all of the very different characters he's played over the last year, the disturbed Dan White here, Llewelyn Moss in No Country For Old Men, and the best portrayal of George W. Bush anywhere, not even close to just being a caricature).  As good as Sean Penn is and has been, I think this might be his best acting job ever.  A very powerful and important film.

1. THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON directed by David Fincher

For the second straight year a David Fincher movie tops my Top Ten and this time with a movie very unlike anything that he has done before.  For a slightly more detailed look at my thoughts about this movie you can look at my review, but I wanted to add that one of the reasons I find this film so fascinating is that is so easily could have been bogged down by excess sentimentality (probably the reason why some people don't like Forrest Gump), but it wasn't at all.  There is no cheat to this movie, the heartstrings aren't pulled by tricks simply to pull the heartstrings.  Fincher has just the right amount of detachment to deliver the movie in a completely original way unlike the other favorite to win Best Picture which uses every trick imaginable hoping to force sentimentality on you (more on that in my Oscar Post next week as well).  I sincerely hope that the Oscars do the right thing and reward this magical movie.

Until Next Time, like I said, I will have my Oscar Preview Post up soon and then my highly anticipated Fourth Annual "My Thoughts As I Had Them During The Oscars" Post after the Oscars, until then, what was your favorite movie of the year?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

LOST This Place Is Death, first thoughts

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

So, the first casualty of the time shifting has occurred and it is Charlotte Staples Lewis.  She tells Faraday (and us) that she lived on the Island as a child with the Dharma Initiative and was forced to leave with her mother (although her father stayed, significant? perhaps).  Whenever she would subsequently speak of the Island her mother told her that it was all in her head, that she had made it up.

That's a nice little shout of to Narnia right there, if you ask me.  With Charlotte being named after CS Lewis, I like that they did this.  If you'll remember from the books, in The Last Battle it is revealed that whenever Lucy would speak to Susan about Narnia, Susan would act as if Narnia never existed and it was just a game that they played as children.  Seems quite similar.

Then Charlotte told Faraday that there was a strange man around when she was a child who told her she needed to leave the Island and never come back or she would die (at which point I knew that our red head CS Lewis was about to be no more).  Faraday tries to comfort her with news about his contact with Desmond, but is shocked when she says that she thinks that man was him.

Now, we know from the video released from this offseason's ARG that Faraday was around during Dharma and we know from the opening scene in this season, so the question becomes did Locke actually stop them from time shifting when he steadied the Donkey Wheel and they are stuck in Dharma time period or did he just steady the time shifts so they aren't occurring with the frequency at which they had begun to occur?  After all, Locke believes that it won't stop until the people who left the Island (the O6 et al) are returned.
I figure that the time shifts will keep occurring, but not with the same frequency as the last couple of episodes.

Every time that we meet Smokey, the producers promise us, we'll learn something new.  In the episode Exodus Part 1, Rousseau told us that the Smoke Monster was a security system that protects the Island.  In this episode we learn that in actuality it protects the Temple.  (And yes, I believe that the temple that Jin and Rousseau's party find is the same one that Benry directs Richard and the Others to go to in the Season 3 finale.)

Remember in the episode Exodus Part 2 when Smokey grabbed Locke?  It tried to take him underground similarly to what it did to the unfortunate and now armless member of Rousseau's team.  Apparently when they came back they were different.  And it wasn't just because Rousseau had already gone crazy (where we know she end's up eventually) and assumed they were different and "sick" as she puts it.  When she decides to listen to Robert (Alex's real father) he tries to shoot her, but the gun misfires and she instead shoots him. 

So, Smokey was the source of the sickness that Rousseau spoke about when she had to kill off her team.  So then, what would have happened to Locke if he had been taken down that hole?

Well, Locke does go down another hole in this episode down a well on a rope in a scene very visually similar to a scene from the early season 2 episode Adrift when Locke goes down into the Hatch on a rope.  In the season premiere the opening scene was a visual quote from the season premiere of season 2's opening and in this episode we got a visual quote from the second season 2 episode.  Very interesting.

Anyway, time shifts again and Locke finds himself underground while those above are holding a rope but the well is gone and they no longer have access to Locke.  Christian Shephard, however, is there to assist Locke.  He tells John that it had been his job to move the Island, not Benry's.

I'm no longer a proponent of my theory that the Island wanted John to lead the Others all along and Benry was just a substitute.  I'm now under the impression that Locke was never suited to this work and was never meant to it.  Of course, that still doesn't answer where Jacob is now, why Christian is the one telling people what to do, and why Benry got sick in a place where you're supposed to get better.  Despite the many, many answers we've been getting so far this season, there are still a lot of questions.

One that I believe is pretty clear now is that Eloise Hawking (who at one time in the episode Flashes Before Your Eyes told Desmond that he was destined to push that button when she didn't want to sell him that engagement ring) is in fact Faraday's mother, so kudos to all of us who had that figured out immediately.  I loved the shock on his face when he realized that Eloise Hawking, Faraday's mother was in fact the woman from his past, however, that was awesome.

Until Next Time, I'm very interested to see when the LOSTies are after Locke resets the Donkey Wheel and I'm interested to see when and where Locke appears off Island.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

LOST What Horselover Fat, Kilgore Trout, Stephen King, and the LOSTies Have in Common

Last season, in Eggtown, Locke gave the imprisoned Benry a book from Benry's own bookshelf to read.  It was Valis by author Philip K. Dick.

In the book, the main character named Philip and his alter ego named Horselover Fat (in Greek Philippos means "lover of horses" and the German word for Fat is Dick, so while in the book, the main characters are ultimately the same person, they are also both the Author) talk about the ability to travel through time without leaving your body.  Fat describes this as remembering the past and future.  His claim is that everyone is born with the DNA of those who came before and those who will come after combined inside of them, therefore you just have to access their memories in order to see scenes from the past or future, in essence traveling through time without your body leaving.

This is very similar to what Desmond does in the episodes "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and "The Constant".

The episode "The Constant" actually has Desmond's present day consciousness traveling back and forth in his own timeline.  While this is, in part, a clear nod to the Series Finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation (or TNG as those of us in the know call it) it is also very similar to the novel Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

In Slaughterhouse Five, the main character is Billy Pilgrim who is unstuck in time.  His consciousness travels without regard to any linear constraints.  While he doesn't suffer the same lethal side effects that bother Desmond and Minkowski in the episode, the rest is exactly the same.  Desmond is (like Picard in the TNG finale and Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse Five) unstuck from time.

Another character in Slaughterhouse Five (and indeed in many of Vonnegut's books) is Kilgore Trout.  Kilgore Trout is often considered to be Vonnegut's alter-ego in the books that he writes, placing himself in the story that he's creating.

Because of this, last season, I hypothesized that one of the main characters was the "Author of the Situation" that everyone found themselves in.  This is still a very valid argument with strong cases to be made for Benry Gale and Charles Widmore.

But what does that have to do with what is happening this season?  After all, the time traveling going on at the Island now isn't like the time travel discussed by Horselover Fat or witnessed by Kilgore Trout, this is actual time travel.

As the LOSTies are moving about the Island they are traveling to different time periods.

When put like that, it isn't too different from The Dark Tower series written by Stephen King (a series that the creators have claimed, along with the author's The Stand, was a major inspiration for LOST).  In The Dark Tower series, the main characters travel and as they do so they move from one reality to another.  For those familiar with current time travel theory in physics, multiple (or sometimes referred to as parallel or alternate) dimensions plays a huge part in making time travel theoretically possible.  So traveling through multiple realities (or dimensions) in The Dark Tower series is similar to traveling through time in the mind of current scientific thought.  (Actually, it is exactly the same thing.  As, in reality, time is not linear as we picture it and react to it, it is hypothesized that perhaps traveling to a different time would in actuality be traveling to that time in a different dimension, which in turn would solve all of those pesky paradoxes popularized by films such as Back To the Future.)  Now I agree that what is happening on LOST right now is not anything to do with alternate dimensions, they are clearly traveling in their own timeline, but what occurs in The Dark Tower isn't exactly time travel.  The point is that there are similarities to both and the creators have said that The Dark Tower is an inspiration for the show.

So, what does that mean?

Well, in the series, one of the characters, who is instrumental in saving the Dark Tower, is none other then Stephen King.  That's right, the author puts himself into the series.  Even more directly then Philip K. Dick or Kurt Vonnegut did.  Alternatively, there was an unfinished book by C.S. Lewis as well entitled The Dark Tower.  It was the first attempt at the second book in his science fiction trilogy, but was abandoned and Lewis instead wrote Perelanda.  Both Perelanda and the unfinished The Dark Tower have a fictionalized Lewis as the narrator.  In other words, he has like King, Dick, and Vonnegut, placed himself in the story.  What is even more interesting, of course, is the fact that Charlotte on LOST is named Charlotte Staples Lewis, a clear reference to Clive Staples Lewis better known as C.S. Lewis.  Also, by the way, the unfinished book The Dark Tower is about interdimensional travel.

While I believe that the show has a character or characters that has "Authored" the entire situation (Benry and/or Widmore, I'm leaning towards the and) that are heroes are embroiled in, I also believe that our heroes themselves have the opportunity to be the "Author of Their Own Situations" as well.  In fact, a couple of them already have.  While traveling through time, the LOSTies have the chance to write the future (their own past). 

They have the ability to be the cause of events that have already taken place.

Going forward, this is going to be something I watch for in the other LOSTies, to see what effects they have while in the past on the future (and therefore their own pasts).

Until Next Time, are there any other instances of this that you have noticed and will being the Author of their Own Situation be able to save them from the disease that is now affecting Charlotte Staples Lewis, Miles Straum, and Juliet?

Monday, February 9, 2009

BSG Blood on the Scales, first thoughts

AS ALWAYS *SPOILERS* if you aren't caught up yet!

Great conclusion to the mutiny storyline that had been building since the webisodes.

I'm sad that I was right about Gaeta, but I appreciate how the episode with his death was handled.  It was clear that he was beginning to recognize his mistakes.  He gave in at the end to the inevitability of his death and perhaps even welcomed it.  He has clearly not been the same since losing his leg and then you add in the complicity that he had with many people's deaths on New Caprica (again, watch the webisodes if you haven't) or at least the complicity that he was made to feel, and it's understandable that Gaeta hasn't been thinking clearly.

I like how the show tied in his unclear thoughts with his bothersome leg and when his thoughts finally cleared and he knew that what he had done was handled wrong (if perhaps not for the wrong reasons, more on that and Zarek in a minute) his leg finally stopped bothering him.  Great finish to the episode and the character.

As for Zarek, one of the most interesting points of the episode (and the series thus far in my opinion) was the scene with Zarek and the Quorum.  Zarek tries to justify his and Felix's actions to them citing all the illegal and undemocratic actions taken by President Roslin and Admiral Adama and we are reminded once again (as we often are by this show) that the actions taken by our Heroes are often wrong as well.  Sure their motives are almost always good, but their actions are often not and Felix and Zarek recognized that and in many ways were reacting to that.  But, much like our heroes, the actions that they took in regards to the illegal and undemocratic actions were just as and in some cases (the murdering of the Quorum) even more illegal and undemocratic.

Felix came to terms with that at the end, I think.  But I'm not sure that Zarek did fully.  Tom Zarek has always been a complex and well drawn character and he remained so to the end.  There is no question that he believed that what he was doing was right and for the good of the whole, but at the same time he had a desire for power that clouded his judgement.  I'm not sure if he realized how much his need to be in control jeopardized everything else that he wanted.  And ultimately helped bring him down.  In a way it was Zarek's actions that finally made Gaeta see clearly and stand down at the end.

I'm interested to see what happens next.  There are a few repercussions from this episode that we haven't seen, mainly whether or not Anders is okay, but I wonder if this unsuccessful coup will bring the fleet back together with a purpose after the disappointment of a devastated Earth or if there will still be those who feel the current leadership is not what they desire.  At the very least, it has given the President the will to once again serve.

Also, I'm glad I was right about Hot Dog.

Until Next Time, this was definitely an exciting episode that at turns had me excited to the point of cheering and saddened to the point of tears.  What a great show.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

LOST The Little Prince, first thoughts

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

First of all I wanted to say...


To all who doubted my guarantee that Jin was not in fact dead but alive and out in the ocean near the Island somewhere, I gladly accept your shock and awe at my prediction being proven true.

I also knew that tonight's episode would feature Danielle Rousseau, although I was expecting it to be a much larger role rather then just a reintroduction.  The reason I was not at all shocked to see Rousseau was because of tonight's title, The Little Prince.

For those of you who don't know, The Little Prince is a hugely popular children's book written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery who is French (shocker, I know, you never would have guessed that from his name.)  Because of that, I anticipated that we would finally get the back story on everyone's favorite crazy lady.

Now, if you want some in depth analysis on the book and why it might relate to LOST, well Doc Jensen has you covered on that, so feel free to read his thoughts from prior to last night's episode airing.

On to the episode, going with The Little Prince motif, the wreckage from Rousseau's ship shows that the name of her ship was Besixdouze, which in French translates to B 6 12, which is the asteroid that the titular character from The Little Prince is from.

Also of interest in the episode, the side of Benry's van says Rainier-Canton.  Ah a LOST anagram moment, let's see if we can figure out what it may mean.  Ah hah, Reincarnation.  Interesting.  Remember that this same van held the dead body of John Locke just a couple of episodes back.  Something to think about.

So, C.S. Lewis is suffering from what Faraday is calling extreme jet-lag and he says that it is worse for those with longer connections to the Island.  We've seen Charlotte have it the worst, leading much credence to the "She was born on The Island" theory.  Next we saw the nose bleed strike Miles.  All the proponents of the "Marvin Candle/et al is Miles's daddy" theory probably gave a huzzah.  (And incidentally gained me to their side.  I definitely now believe that not only was Miles also born on the Island, but the baby we saw in the premiere with Marvin Candle/et al is going to grow up to be Miles.)  Then we saw the nose bleed strike Juliet who has been on The Island for a few years due to her status as an Other.  But it is important that both Charlotte Staples Lewis and Miles the Ghostbuster got the symptoms first showing that they both have a closer connection to The Island (i.e. they were born there).  The fact that Juliet also got a nose bleed bodes poorly for our castaways however.   It is now only a matter of time until they are also affected by the extreme jet lag caused by time shifting.  As Sawyer so eloquently points out, "Time Travel's a bitch."

Moving on to off-Island.  I have to say I'm shocked at the extreme pace that the O6 storyline is moving along at.  We've already got practically everyone together and those that aren't easily could be by the next episode.  We were given an answer on how easy it might be to get Hurley out of jail, Sun is right there with Aaron (she'll just have to be convinced that Jin is still alive), Walt lives in LA, and Desmond is headed there as we speak.  I thought that it would be a season long endeavor to get the O6 et al together to travel back, now I'm not so sure that it won't happen much sooner.  Of course, then figuring out how to get back to the Island might still present a problem.

Overall it was an interesting episode in that it answered a crap load of questions.  How are we getting Hurley out of jail (Benry's got a lawyer already on it).  Who was trying to get Aaron from Kate (Benry and that same lawyer, who by the way was the dad on My So Called Life, I loved that show, he also appeared on this week's 24, glad to see him on good tv shows again).  What happened to Jin (exactly what I said happened to him, which I predicted only moments after last season's finale by the way, go ahead, look it up.  The only part I didn't nail was who would pick him up from floating in the Ocean).  Why is Charlotte Staples Lewis getting these nose bleeds and headaches (well, this was answered in a way, it's still hard to understand Faraday sometimes).

For everyone who claimed that the show never answers anything and just always causes more questions, that might have been the case in the beginning of the show, but now as we are moving towards the end of this fantastic television show, that is no longer the case.  The answers are starting to outnumber the mysteries in each episode and that will most likely continue to be the case the rest of the way.  Better get started on those DVDs and then catch up on people, we'll be here when you're caught up.

Of course, there were some questions presented in this episode.  Who is working with/for Sun?  (My guess is Widmore and his people, meaning the real question is whether it is "with" or "for" or if Sun is the one who is actually working for Widmore

Until Next Time, I will have some new thoughts based on my "Author of Your Own Situation" thing from last season before the next episode, so look forward to that.  I appreciate your thoughts and comments!

Monday, February 2, 2009

BSG The Oath, first thoughts

Wow.  It really ramped up the action this episode.  I don't really have too much to add this week, just a few things, as mainly I really want to see the second half!

1.  I have no doubt that Gaeta will die, and that saddens me greatly.  He has always been one of my favorite characters and the episode where the tribunal wanted to shoot him out an airlock for collaborating is one of my all time favorites because I so badly wanted him to survive.  I hate the actions that he's taking, but the show has done a good job making me believe that he would take them.  (again if you haven't already, try and see the webisodes The Face of the Enemy, it helps explain these actions in much better detail.)

2.  Was there any doubt that the President would be getting back involved.  It was almost a LOST like moment for me when she said she wouldn't be involved.  Say something like that on The Island and you are guaranteed to be doing whatever it is you swore you would never do.  Looks like Galactica isn't that much different.  So, as bad as Gaeta's little rebellion is, it might have an unintended consequence that will be extremely important.  It appears to have given the survivors (another term I use regularly in my LOST posts)  back their president.

3.  Thank the gods for Starbuck getting some action (not the kiss between her and Lee perverts, like gun type action).  I loved how she said that she was finally feeling alive again.  She is truly in her element and since she and Lee stayed on the ship (along with Tigh and Adama) I don't like Gaeta's chances here.

4.  I know a lot of people don't like Lee, but I do.  I just wish that he didn't constantly get played by Zarek all the time.  Of course, I think that Zarek understands Lee better then most people do (which is funny because the actor playing Zarek played Apollo in the original series, so he has spent some time in Lee's shoes as it were), and therefore is able to do and say the things that he knows Lee will react to.  I love how throughout the show, the President and, or his father would play on his honorable nature when it helped them but rail against it when it was contrary to what they wanted.  Zarek knows how constant Lee is and always seeks to use Lee's nature to his advantage.  Roslin and Adama only do that if Lee happens to agree with them.  I wonder if Lee realizes that his enemy knows him better then his father and the president he has served so long and so faithfully.

5.  Of all of the minor characters who we saw involved in the coup, only Race Track was one we know well.  I guess I'm glad it was her and not Hot Dog.  Based on who Gaeta called to destroy the Raptor with Baltar and Roslin on board, I'm totally holding out hope that Hot Dog remains one of the good guys.

Until Next Time, for more on the psyche of Felix Gaeta read this outstanding post.