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.