Tuesday, March 23, 2010

LOST 6x09

Alright, I'm back. I apologize for the lack of content on this blog over the past couple of weeks, and I especially apologize for not reviewing last week's episode of Lost, as I know there are many of you who rely on me to tell you how to feel about this show from week to week.

I was in NYC for a couple of days last week, and I didn't catch last week's episode, "Recon", until Wednesday night. I didn't feel like putting the review up a day late, and I have been filled with a general sense of laziness lately. I'm truly sorry, I'll try not to let it happen again.

In case you're still confused about how you should feel about "Recon", I'll tell you. It was good. Cop Sawyer and Cop Miles were pretty damned awesome. As a whole, the episode was not on par with the phenomenal "Sundown" or "Dr. Linus", but it was good.

4 / 5 on the Awesome Meter.

There you go.

So, onto tonight's Richard Alpert origin story, "Ab Aeterno". I, like most of you reading this blog, have been looking forward to tonight's episode for years. Ever since the character of Richard Alpert was introduced in the third season fans have been filled with questions regarding his mysterious origins:

Why doesn't he age?
Where does he come from?
What is his connection to the Black Rock?
Is he wearing eye liner? And if so, why?

Until tonight none of these questions, with the exception of the last one, had been answered.

He is not wearing eye liner, actor Nestor Carbonell just has naturally long, ridiculously thick eyelashes.

Tonight, "Ab Aeterno", which in Spanish means "eternity", answered all of the remaining questions above, and then some.

Did the episode answer all of the questions in satisfying and conclusive ways? Mostly.

Was I pleased with the answers given? Yes, I was, for the most part.

This should go without saying by now, but I will be heading into spoiler territory so on the off chance that any of you haven't seen it yet. ::::SPOILERS:::

I had kind of been hoping that Alpert was a 4,000 year old Egyptian slave with connections to Moses. There was an ominous Moses reference made by Ben to FLocke in the season finale last year, and there is certainly some sort of tie between the island and ancient Egyptian civilization, with the abundance of hieroglyphics all over the damn place and the gargantuan statue of Tawaret that Jacob used to live underneath. I was disappointed to have my theory invalidated, though that seems to happen to me a lot in regards to Lost, so I'm pretty used to it by now.

I was also disappointed that the statue of Tawaret was destroyed by the Black Rock. I had envisioned some sort of uprising in which the statue was brought to the ground by a previous group of people on the island, as a blatant defiance of Jacob. It's a bit anticlimactic to see that it was destroyed by a ship accidentally bumping into it during a storm.

Speaking of the storm, would it really be possible for a ship to wind up on the middle of the island due to violent weather? I mean, the storm that the Black Rock was caught in did appear to be pretty epic, and the waves looked massive, but unless I'm mistaken (and I'm not) the ship winds up pretty far inland.

I enjoyed the revelation that Richard, despite his 130 or so years on the island, appears to know very little. It was a similar revelation with Ben Linus, where we have a character that the audience is led to assume knows all kinds of secrets, only to learn that the secrets that they do know are barely scratching the proverbial surface.

What else did we learn this week? That the island's true purpose is to act as a "cork" that keeps pure evil from escaping and spreading throughout the world, presumably infecting everyone on Earth as it has done to Sayid and Claire. That's pretty awesome, I guess. It's certainly setting up some very high stakes.

So I guess this means that the Island is a bit like Pandora's Box, and the Man in Black/Flocke is the embodiment of all evil?

There's only nine hours left to go, which means that we're exactly half-way through the season, and it seems like we still have so much to learn. Tonight's hour did a great job of filling in some gaps, even if I wasn't one-hundred percent satisfied with the answers.

4.5 / 5 on the Awesome Meter

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Predators Footage is Online!!

The very first sneak peek at the Robert Rodriguez produced, Nimrod Antal directed Predators was shown to an enthralled crowd at SXSW in Austin, Texas yesterday. The footage is now online, and I have to say that it looks AMAZING. I consider the original Predator to be one of the most awesome movies of all time, and it looks like Rodriguez has cooked up something here that will be very different, but potentially as awesome in it's own right.

Go HERE to check out the official website.

Awesome, right?

5 / 5 on the Anticipation Meter

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

I just got home from seeing Alice in Wonderland in Imax 3-D. Firstly, if you ever go to the Jordan's Imax theater in Reading, MA, make sure that you get there early. We got there ten minutes before showtime and had to sit much too close to the screen, so I spent the first ten minutes of the film waiting for my eyeballs to acclimate. Secondly, I've finally decided that I'm really not down with this whole 3-D revolution. Whenever there's motion on screen everything gets all blurry, and I find that unless I keep my head aimed straight ahead, the image doesn't look quite right. I find this extremely distracting and it always pulls me out of the film. Does that happen to everyone else, or just to me?

As for the film itself, I have some pretty strong opinions. Everyone has been saying that this is the single most divisive film of the year. I've spoken with two people since viewing the film. Person number one loved it, saying that he considered it "far better than Avatar", while person number two not only despised the film, but has decided that he may be losing faith in Tim Burton as a filmmaker.

I'm not sure if I can bring myself to say that I 'hated' Alice in Wonderland, but I sure didn't like it, any of it, at all. Also, I tend to agree with person number two about Tim Burton. The last film that he made that I love was 1994's Ed Wood. God I love that movie. 1996's Mars Attacks was enjoyable, in a fun, pulpy kind of awesomeness, and I really enjoyed, but didn't love, 2003's Big Fish. Everything else directed by Burton in the past decade and change has ranged from the passable, Sweeney Todd, to the terrible, Planet of the Apes. This film ranks up there (or down there) with his worst.

I'm not sure why Burton decided to make a Hook-like sequel to the original story, instead of just remaking the original. While I have no problem with the fact that this film is a sequel, what I do have a problem with is the fact that this sequel lacks any of the charm, wit and fun that the original had in spades (HAHAHA a card pun in an Alice in Wonderland Review!) The story here is paper thin. Onion paper thin. It makes the story in Avatar seem deep by comparison. Here's the "story":

Alice, Mia Wasikowska, is now a young woman. She has no recollection of her childhood adventures in Wonderland, but every night, much to her confusion, she dreams the same dream about disappearing cats and talking caterpillars. At the beginning of the film she is at an aristocratic society function where she learns that a very rich, yet awkward and ugly, nobleman plans to ask for her hand in marriage. Alice doesn't want to marry him, and she follows a white rabbit in a top-coat down a rabbit hole to Wonderland. Once in Wonderland we learn that the Red Queen has assumed control, and is chopping everyone's head off like crazy. There's a magical piece of parchment that predicts that Alice is destined to kill the queen's pet Jabberwocky (some big dragon that breathes lightning) on some holiday, and freedom will be brought to the land. The rest of the movie is Alice running around telling everyone that she's dreaming as we're taken on a veritable "who's who" of Wonderland as Alice is reunited with all her old friends and enemies.

Johnny Depp is annoying as the Mad Hatter. I've hated his appearance in this film since the very first production stills were released almost a year ago, but I was holding on to a little bit of hope that he might be able to do something fun and interesting with the character. He doesn't. He never comes across as particularly 'mad'. Aside from speaking in two distinctive accents, one of them Scottish, and doing some bizarre dance at the end of the film, he doesn't really do anything crazy. Oh, every once in a while he gets pretty excited about what he's talking about and someone has to cut him off. Pretty crazy!

Did you know that Anne Hathaway is in this film? I had no idea until she showed up halfway through dressed as the White Queen. Why is Anne Hathaway in this movie? There's not a moment when she's on screen that you won't be looking at her thinking, "Hey! You're Anne Hathaway. Why are you here?" That's because every moment she's on screen there is an expression on her face that says, "Hey! I'm Anne Hathaway. Why am I here?" It's really just one of those bizarre WTF casting decisions...

I really don't like the look of anything in this movie, aside from Tweele Dum and Tweedle Dee and Helena Bonham Carter's giant-headed Red Queen. If there was one thing in this film that I 'almost' enjoyed, it was Bonham Carter, but after she said, "Off with his head!" for the twelfth time, I began to find her pretty annoying.

There's a moment near the end of the film where Alice finally admits to herself that she isn't dreaming, and is ready to accept her destiny and slay the Jabberwocky. It's supposed to be a grand, epic moment, but packs all the emotional punch of an episode of Garfield and Friends.

Why is Alice the only one who can wield the magical sword and slay the Jabberwocky? Why is Alice warned that the sword must not be used for anything aside from this single purpose? Why does Johnny Depp always need to wear white face paint in Tim Burton's movies? These are just a few of the questions that this film raises but fails to answer.

Go read Lewis Carroll's novel, or watch the Disney animated film. Or, go see this movie, since it appears that (somehow) approximately fifty percent of the people who see it have an opinion that completely opposes mine. 

2 / 5 on the Awesome Meter

Check out this plethora of Alice adaptations!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

LOST 6x07

Two weeks ago I wrote about how Lost seems to be on a Star Trek-esque rotation, where the even numbered episodes are all fantastic and the odd numbered episodes aren't up to par. I am happy to report that with tonight's episode, "Dr. Linus", the pattern appears to be broken, and I think that from here on out Lost will be bringing the awesome, full force, for the series' remaining eleven hours.

Tonight's episode slowed down the pace quite a bit after last week's epic temple massacre, and presented us with the single best character study so far this season. Michael Emerson's Benjamin Linus has undergone quite the progression since he was introduced in the middle of the show's second season. He has gone from the diabolical, enigmatic leader of the Others, to a frightened, powerless, broken man, scurrying about the island while desperately seeking acceptance.

Whether or not Ben would ultimately wind up 'good' or 'evil' has been a topic of discussion for a couple of seasons now, and tonight's episode has apparently resolved this matter.

He may still look like a bug-eyed creepy weirdo, but Benjamin Linus is officially a good guy.

Last week, my friend Ed proposed a theory. Since Ben had been healed in the temple as a young boy, just as Sayid had been at the beginning of this season, it would stand to reason that he would have been subjected to the same battery of tests that Sayid was. Tests designed to somehow determine which side of the karmic balance his "scale" was leaning toward. Since Ben was released from the temple, and returned safely to his home at the Dharma Initiative, instead of given a pill filled with poisonous black powder, one can logically conclude that Ben's "scale" must have been tipped to the side of good.

Tonight's episode, it seems, has proven that Ed's theory is correct.

Good job Eddie!

Is Ben an angelic character? No.

Is he a killer who assisted in the genocide of the Dharma Initiative? Yes. Nobody's perfect.

But honestly, the D.I were really a bunch of faux-hippy tool bags who were encroaching on other people's land and messing around with forces far beyond their understanding. There was probably a very good reason for wiping them all out.

What we all saw in tonight's episode is that deep down Doctor Linus is a good man. A good man who has made an awful lot of bad decisions. A good man who (like so many others) became corrupted by too much power, and like most men, was unwilling to relinquish his power when the time came to do so.

Tonight's episode ended with Ben being offered the opportunity to join up with Team Evil, and to be given complete control of the island. Ben rejected this offer and decided to stick it out with the good guys instead.

Let's hope he can keep on making the right decisions.

I feel like there was a lot more that happened tonight that I wanted to discuss, but I'm exhausted and I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow. The scene between Richard and Jack in the Black Rock..........Mega Awesome..........The flash-sideways with Ben, also awesome! The most effective use of that storytelling device so far.

Next week's episode is Richard Alpert-centric, and I can't wait. 

***AMENDMENT*** The Richard-centric episode "Ab Aeterno" is scheduled to air March 23rd, in two weeks. Next week's episode is titled "Recon". 

I hope to be back on tomorrow night with an Alice in Wonderland review.

Buy your Lost  DVD's, Blu-Rays and Merchandise Here!!:

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Iron Man 2 Trailer!!

This became available online sometime last night and is already EVERYWHERE on the internets, but in case you haven't seen it yet, or in case you want to watch it for a second (or hundredth) time, I have embedded the unbelievably awesome Iron Man 2 trailer for you below.

This is the movie that I am most looking forward to this summer. I love the look of War Machine, and Mickey Rourke can do no wrong in my eyes right now. Also, is it possible to be any hotter than Scarlett Johansson?

Everything about this movie looks awesome. Expect this film to make trillions of dollars and kick the ass of everything else this summer.


Click HERE to see the trailer in quicktime HD. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Five Suckiest Movies of 2009

Looking over the list of movies that received wide releases in 2009 I realize that there are a great many films released last year that I have not seen. Therefore, a more appropriate name for this article would be: "The Five Suckiest Movies of 2009, That I've Seen"

Doesn't exactly roll of the tongue, does it?

So, I bring you:

The Five Suckiest Movies of 2009!

As I write this, the 82nd annual Academy Awards ceremony is well underway. So far, Christoph Waltz has won for his awesome breakthrough roll as Hans Landa, The Jew Hunter, in Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds (YAY!), Up, to the surprise of no one, has been awarded best Animated Film, and Mark Boal walked away with the Best Original Screenplay award for my beloved The Hurt Locker.

Sorry Quentin.

So, onto the list!

Coming in at number five is a film that I had extremely high hopes for, a film that I tried my damndest to like, but wound up hating:

Terminator Salvation, oh why, oh why did you have to suck so bad? This film, directed by the ego-maniacal, utterly visionless, ridiculously named McG is an abject failure and a disgrace to James Cameron's original two films.

I'm not exactly sure who deserves the majority of the blame here. Supposedly the original script centered around Sam Worthington's character, Marcus Something-or-other, and the character of future messiah John Connor was supposed to be nothing more than a cameo. Then along comes Christian Bale, fresh out of the bat-suit, with enough industry clout to do pretty much anything he wants. Bale sent the script out to some writer friends of his who beefed up the role of John Connor to be that of a main character. So what we are left with is a bloated mess of a film, one that devotes equal time to the boring and pointless story of Marcus and Anton Yelchin trying to reach the resistance to warn them about.....something, and to another boring and ultimately pointless story about John Connor yelling and growling at people about something else.

I don't even remember what anybody was yelling about or trying to accomplish in this film. Whatever it was, it wasn't very intriguing. I think they were trying to stop production of the Schwarzeneger model Terminators, but they didn't. This added nothing even remotely interesting to the Terminator mythos.

Oh, there was a really big robot, and motorcycle terminators. And Helena Bonham Carter.


Next up is a film by a director that at one point in time had an awful lot of "promise" (what a dumb thing to say....I'm sorry...) but who, for whatever reason, hasn't been able to make a really good movie in the past thirteen years or so:

Alex Proyas' Knowing is the first of two (see if you can guess what the second one will be!) films on this list that deals with the "end of the world as we know it". The gist of this movie is that Nicolas Cage finds some long list of numbers, then somehow figures out that each of the numbers represents a disaster. He is able, through means beyond my comprehension, to deduce that the final number on the list represents an impending cataclysmic event that will eradicate all life on Earth.

Also, there are some weird angels/aliens running around in black trench coats, up to something mysterious. 

At the end of the movie the world ends, the angels/aliens take a bunch of kids to heaven/another planet, and the viewer is left wishing that the world had ended before he/she had wasted two hours watching this terrible movie.

Number three on our list is a film that you likely haven't heard of, let alone seen:

Somehow, this is the only horror movie to make it on to this list. I find that a little surprising since 2009 wasn't exactly the best year for the genre...but I have decided that this film is the worst of the worst.

The Collector falls into the sub-genre not-so-affectionately referred to as "torture porn." There are films that fall into this category that I have a lot of respect for. This style of filmmaking has been huge in Japan for decades, and there are some quality films out there that can be dubbed "torture porn."

This is not one of them.

The film's villain is amongst the least scary that I have ever seen, and even the gore, which, let's be honest, is why you watch a movie like this,  is almost entirely boring and cliche. There's one *almost* creative scene that involves a knife, a dude's stomach and a jar of cockroaches, but even that ends up being stupid.

Number two on our list is another movie that I really wanted to like. I went into this movie with an open mind, and I did my absolute best to appreciate it. There was so much about it that I *almost* liked:

The Box was directed by Richard Kelly, of Donny Darko fame, and based on a short story written by the legendary Richard Matheson. In my mind, this is a pretty impressive pedigree.

The film's premise is this: a stranger (the brilliant Frank Langella, with half of his face missing!) presents a married couple with a box . On this box is a button. If either the husband or the wife chooses to push this button within 24 hours two things will happen, 1) a man will show up at their house with a million dollars, cash, and 2) someone, somewhere in the world, someone they don't know, will die. 

AWESOME! I love stuff like this. Crazy morality plays coupled with weird science-fictiony devices and horribly deformed people, how can this go wrong? I'm not sure, but it does. Horribly.

This is absolutely one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen. Not weird in the good Blue Velvet or Twin Peaks sort of way, weird in the too much barbeque before bed nightmarish kind of way. I'm still not exactly sure what I saw going on in this movie. It had something to do with Mars, and lightning, and the judgment of all mankind...

There are people out there who love this film. I'm pretty sure it's one of those divisive movies where people feel strongly one way or another. I can respect that, but it made my head hurt and gave me weird dreams.

Finally, we have our second end of the world opus. The number one worst movie, seen by me, of 2009 is:

See what it says at the top of this poster for Roland Emmerich's latest disaster film, 2012? It says "We Were Warned." I think that is a sort of apology from Columbia Pictures to the audience for allowing this film to be made.
"We were warned, after The Day After Tomorrow came out, we were warned not to let Roland make any more disaster pictures. I'm sorry, someone was asleep at the wheel. We forgot. It won't happen again."
Alright, imaginary studio executive. It had better not!
How many times does one movie need to show us a plane taking off just as the earth crumbles beneath it? According to this film, the answer is three.
The only thing slightly enjoyable in this movie was Woody Harelson as a lunatic, but even that was really pretty lame. Every time a new disaster movie comes out I get tricked into seeing it, because there's a part of my brain that loves watching things fall down and blow up. Well, I'm not falling for it anymore. I've already seen plenty of things fall down and blow up, and if you expect me to sit through a disaster film again then I demand that you write some sort of cohesive narrative and at least one character who I can care about. Thank you.

Alright, that wraps up my list. As stated above, there was an awful lot that I didn't see this year, so I'm sure there's quite a bit of crap that I've omitted. I will do my best to watch more movies so that next year my list can be more conclusive.

While I've been typing this a bunch of other people have won some awards.

Good job!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Ass-Kicking Adventures of Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus to (Possibly) Continue!

HBO's Rome was inarguably one of the most awesome television series of all time.

Tragically, the series was only allowed to run for two seasons, but according to THIS article from Entertainment Weekly, the adventures of Pullo and Vorenus may have a chance to continue on the big screen.

The series concluded with the rise of Cesar Augustus, and the dawning of the Golden Age of Rome, as well as with ::Spoiler:: the apparent death of one of the lead characters. However, according to the article above, both Pullo and Vorenus will be prominently featured in the film, when and if it ever gets made.

I'm extremely excited about the possibility of seeing this movie for two reasons:

First, these are two of the most badass characters ever created, and the idea of watching them kick all kinds of ass in Germany, which is where the article suggests the story will take place, has me giddy.

Secondly, If this film gets made, then it gives me hope that someday HBO and Daniel Knauf can straighten out their issues over ownership of Carnivale, and we can finally see that series resurrected as well...

5 / 5 on the Anticipation Meter

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

LOST 6x06

Holy Crap!

Tonight's episode, "Sundown", was the strongest yet this season. Traditionally I've been breaking these reviews into two sections, one where I list the most awesome moments, and one where I list the least awesome. Tonight, I am abandoning tradition because for the first time this season I feel that EVERYTHING was awesome.

Also, I'm tired of writing these without spoilers, so be forewarned that from now on I am going to just assume that if you're reading these reviews then you have:

A) seen the episode which I am writing about, or, B) you don't really care about having anything spoiled for you. 

I am going to write this for you one more time, in bold, capitalized letters, then you can never say that I haven't warned you.



So, tonight's episode completely kicked ass and washed away any doubt created by last week's lukewarm Jack-isode.

The fight between Sayid and Dogen at the beginning of the show was amazing. I kind of wish that Sayid hadn't killed Dogen at the end of the episode, just so that we could have had a chance to see a little into his history, and learn how he went from being a businessman to a badass samurai.

Speaking of Sayid killing Dogen, I can't believe how many people got killed tonight. I was expecting the entire season to build toward some sort of epic good vs. evil showdown at the temple. I was shocked when Locke/Smokey got into the Other's temple tonight and killed everyone who wouldn't join him. Now I really have no idea where the season is headed, and I like that.

Oh, Keamy was in tonight's episode! Keamy!

Did anyone else think that the episode was going to end with Claire killing Kate? I mean, Claire said that if Kate had taken Aaron that she would have to kill her, and then Kate told Claire about how she had taken Aaron home to L.A and raised him herself, so...

Also, Kate lied to Claire and told her that Aaron was "beautiful." Anyone who has ever seen Aaron knows that he is horribly ugly. Kate really shouldn't have lied to his mother about it.

I had a feeling going into tonight's episode that Sayid was going to die. And, while he technically survived the hour, I think it's pretty clear that the old Sayid, just like the old Claire, is gone forever.

Bye Sayid!

5/5 on the Awesome Meter