28 April 2011

The Watcher: 04/15/11 - 04/28/11

Sorry folks, but these are going to be short this week. I'm tired after writing a few bazillion papers, and I still have two more to go, but I finally had a bit of free time to catch up on some titles. Everything will be back to normal next week. So, here we go!










S04E21 - "Chuck Vs. the Wedding Planner" (18 April 2011) - It was fun to watch Chuck and Sarah get duped by the wedding planner, and it was especially fun - albeit idiotic - having the CIA go batshit crazy to apprehend the woman who they believe is one of the world's most wanted criminals, thanks to Chuck's brilliance, of course. Seeing Sarah and her father reunited and pulling off another con of theirs was particularly heartwarming, but I was sad to see that he didn't stay for the wedding, let alone dinner; although this was not unexpected. Next week look's like all this hype about Agent X will be coming to a head, and it's apparently someone we know. Score: 8.0/10


FRINGE S03E19 - "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide" (15 April 2011) - The creativity and daringness of the FRINGE team is unmatched in television right now. This episode is absolutely nutters and brilliant simultaneously. Spock didn't want a onscreen role, so his performance is regulated to voice acting, and in order to accommodate the actor's wish, the FRINGE writers/producers came up with something utterly brilliant that entirely lives up to the title of this episode: FRINGE goes the animation route. Completely, entirely unexpected. My mouth dropped. I was in awe. I couldn't believe they did that, and I was loving it. That said, from a creative standpoint, major props and bravo! But in line with the story, taking place in Olivia's mind, I gotta wonder the significance or the logic of this tactic. All this pales in comparison though, to the fact that now Olivia is mentally free, she's not afraid anymore, and she has her Peter [who gets props for 'seeing' her now, after all that stuff about the Other Olivia earlier this season]. So for character growth and a daringness unprecedented, Broyles high as a kite, and for making me laugh out loud well past the commercial break (see screencap above), FRINGE gets a Score: 9.7/10














S03E20 - "6:02 AM EST" (22 April 2011) - The Apocalypse is coming, baby. Or rather, Walternate wants Our World destroyed, and he's willing to sacrifice Peter to do so. "6:02 AM EST" did a great job establishing that these two worlds are tearing each other apart, and that some really shitty things are going to have to go down in order to re-establish balance. I really liked the Other Olivia springing into action to do what she felt is right, regardless of her son. Overall, a great set-up for a three-part season finale full of brilliance, thrills, and promises one hell of a ride for the rest of the year. Score: 8.9/10












S02E11 - "Full Commitment" (20 April 2011) - At this point, honestly don't remember much other than Art not being a fan of Raylan and Helen getting shot. "Full Commitment" is, if anything, the anchor from Act II to Act III of this season. Oh, and I remember the Raylan/Duffy scene. That was pretty nice, and I hope Duffy shows up again in the future. Also hope Gerry leaves and never comes back - although that's just pure optimism on my part. He's too stupid to not write back into the series. Score: 9.0/10

S02E12 - "Reckoning" (27 April 2011) - Raylan pissed. Can't get any better than that! I loved everything in the last act with Raylan and Dickie, but my favorite part of this episode is that Arlo badgers Raylan about how he thinks Raylan doesn't feel anything about his Aunt's death, that he just doesn't give a shit; in reality, Raylan is full of rage and ready to rid the world of Dickie - but ends up going the route of the law, that will appear to kick him in the ass in next week's season finale (sadness; another season over). As for the other elements of "Reckoning" - who is this freaky old lady that seems to posses so much power? Connected to the Bennett's? And, this is most interesting to me, twelve episodes in and I still have no idea what the hell is going on with Boyd. Halfway through the season, there was a interview with Graham Yost who said season two was really about second chances for both Raylan and Boyd. Looks like Boyd is doing everything he once did, but being a little bit more intelligent about executing his plots. Simultaneously, I'm torn - I like ambiguity in characters, and perhaps I'm frustrated with Boyd because I have been successfully invested in his story. Whatever the hell happens. JUSTIFIED has been renewed for a season three, and the finale promises to be crazy. There does still appear to be some plotlines that have been dropped and I hope pick up or continue into the following season. Score: 9.5/10








S01E18 - "Into the Dark" (14 April 2011) - Don't particularly care about Owen, or the Owen/Nikita/Michael love triangle, but ti was interesting to see everything with Amanda and Alex; that was some riveting television. And for the first time...Maggie Q looked super hot. Overall, a decent episode, but the Amanda/Alex jest was the most thrilling. Score: 8.1/10

S01E19 - "Girl's Best Friend" (21 April 2011) - I was sorta hoping the opening dream wasn't a dream, because it would be so awesome to have Alex's boytoy Nathan be working with Jaden to kill Alex. But alas, didn't happen. Good stuff between Alex and Jaden. Freaky TWILIGHT guy was a terrorist (he dies). I'm a little bothered that Michael is able to double task both operations so smoothly from within Division without making coworkers a little suspicious. Score: 9.2/10










S10E17 - "Kent" (15 April 2011) - Clark makes a change in Alternate Jonathan Kent's life. That makes him feel good. Tess looked hot. Alternate Clark wants Tess. Tess may or may not want Clark. Tess looked hot. Clark coming back from the Alternate World was far too easy. Add some drama, people. Score: 8.2/10

S10E18 - "Booster" (22 April 2011) - Frankly a little tired of beings from the future coming in and informing Clark of his destiny. Season 8 had the Legion of Superheroes come and hype Clark up it's not wonder he may have an inflated ego; earlier this season Braniac spoiled the surprises in store for Clark by bringing him three years into the future. Entities from the future really need to freakin' stop being in SMALLVILLE. The only nice change of pace with "Booster" is that it's Clark who changes Booster, showing that as long as you have a strong heart (and maybe some powers), you can be a hero, too! Sorry if it seems I'm being too hard on this ep, but I just don't see the need for it. Otherwise, Blue Beetle was awesome...despite one hell of a bad actor. And Lois was hot. Score: 8.5/10












S02E17 - "Common Descent" (18 April 2011) - Super interesting episode with a super interesting idea. It's super interesting! The Other Destiny's crewmembers travel back in time to a distant planet, live there, and future generations end up meeting our crew in the here and now. Awesome. Very clever. Now let's just see what use, other than bringing supplies onboard Destiny, this storyline gives the series with only thee episodes left. Score: 9.7/10

S02E18 - "Epilogue" (25 April 2011) - Very fun episode, and actually quite funny with the baby birthing montage. But gotta say - Eli and some random Asian chick? Barnes? What? And here I was hoping Chloe would come to her senses and marry Eli and Scott would be ripped to pieces by some CLOVERFIELD-esque monster. A man could dream. Sorta funny that the Destiny crew arrives at the planet a day before it rips itself apart. Of course. As for T.J. and her disease, on one side I like that they're adding another layer to her awesome character, but c'mon, everyone dies. She still has three or so years left. For all she knows, she'll be killed by a bullet in a week or so. She's in space, man. Weird, dangerous stuff happens all the time. A good episode, and it was great seeing footage of what happened to the Other Crew. Hope this storyline gains greater importance as we close this series. Score: 9.4/10








S06E17 - "My Heart Will Go On" (15 April 2011) - Balthazar supposedly changing fate because he hated the Celine Dion TITANIC song. Brilliant! I like the idea of the Fates still being around, and that they are pissed off royally at Sam and Dean for averting the Apocalypse as was originally scheduled. That's just fun, groovy stuff. Thank God the Winchesters have God on their side, cos they've died the last two years alone a good 50+ times, I'd estimate. Score: 8.1/10

S06E18 - "Frontierland" (22 April 2011) - Review next time. Haven't had a chance to watch this one, yet.

25 April 2011

The Watcher: Doctor Who Series 6, Episode 1

With DOCTOR WHO, a show I hold more dear than any other, I will be doing specific episode editions of The Watcher for this series. Hopefully the visuals and writings will entice readers to check out the series, and I will be a happy blogger for making one new fan of DOCTOR WHO. And now, with the first new episode since Christmas, the series returns with its 32nd (or sixth) series!

Transmission date: 23 April 2011 (BBC One/BBC America)

Plot: The Doctor, Amy, Rory and River Song receive blue envelopes that bring them to the Oval Office in 1969 as the U.S. faces a extraterrestrial crisis.

Starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill. Guest starring Mark Sheppard., Alex Kingston Written by Steven Moffat. Directed by Toby Haynes.

I cannot put into words how utterly ecstatic I am DOCTOR WHO is back, baby! Unfortunately, because Moffat is both evil and brilliant at the same time, we'll only have seven episodes transmitted from now to the end of June, with a two month break where the final six will resume in mid-September. Not in love with the idea, but if the cliffhanger of episode seven, titled as of this post "A Good Man Goes to War", is as good as Moffat is hyping it up to be, then all will be totally worth it. Alright, now let's talk about "The Impossible Astronaut"! Also, worth noting, this is going to be spoiler heavy, as I'm writing this with the understanding one has already watched the episode and is ready to talk about its awesomeness. Alright, then...

The episode begins fast and furiously, with the first major jaw-dropping shock and stroke of brilliance hitting us six minutes in. Can I just say, holy freaking crap? More on that in a second. Alright, timeline-wise, two months have passed since the married couple Amy and Rory, living comfortably in their own house (!), have last seen The Doctor, who has been a bit of a mischief as of late, it seems [loved The Doctor in the movie waving!]. Amy and Rory receive two blue envelopes with a time, date and location, as does River Song in her maximum security prison from the future. The three come together in Utah, [also loved The Doctor and River syncing their TARDIS diaries] and that's where shit hits the fan.

Mind you, all of this happens in a span of three minutes. With a episode only 43 minutes [as opposed to the series 5 premiere "The Eleventh Hour" clocking in a 1:01], I would actually quite encourage padding the opening with a few more scenes. No matter, it still works.

Moffat treats us with a surprise reminiscent of the WTF? conclusion of "The Stolen Earth", but we're lucky in regards that we don't have to wait a week to see the exciting conclusion. A astronaut appears in the middle of the water, and The Doctor instructs his friends to stay where they are and not to interfere under any circumstances, and walks over to meet his doom. The astronaut fires at The Doctor with a green blast [made me think of the spell Avada Kedavra], and as he begins the regeneration process, is blasted again, dead. All 1103 years of the Time Lord known as The Doctor...killed by a freaky astronaut thingy.

Wait? 1103? Last time Amy and Rory saw him he was 908 (see: "Flesh and Stone")! Well, that's where the gorgeous, brilliant twist comes in. Amy, Rory and River were summoned to that location, date and time, as was someone else, the #1 person The Doctor trusted - himself, the 908 version of him. The four are reunited in a grill and the rest of the story stems from there. The companions make the decision not to tell The Doctor of what happened to him - well, future him - and beg him to continue the mission Future Doctor began: 1969. And this leads them to two powerful forces that may or may not be connected.

However, before I continue, here's some musings: now, the 1103-year old Doctor is still the Eleventh incarnation, which I understand for purposes that they can't exactly cast some random dude to be a future Doctor. Not to mention the fact the Eleventh Doctor died, as in permanently, therefore with the end of Smith it would be the end of WHO. So, obviously, Moffat is going to have to stop that from ever happening. He's no stranger to paradoxes (multiple instances in Series 5), so he should be able to make all the timey wimey stuff work.

The 908 year-old Doctor, along with his Companions, board the TARDIS. The Doctor knows something is up with them, that they're withholding something from him, and it ticks the Time Lord off a bit, but he puts his trust - and his life - in their hands. It's a great moment where The Doctor trusts his Companions completely, or more accurately, Amy. The jury is still out on River, and deservedly so. In the final minutes of "The Big Bang", she tells him that when next they meet, everything will change. Here's hoping episode two, "Day of the Moon", sees this foreshadowing fulfilled.

"I’m up here being clever, and there’s no one standing around looking impressed! What is the point in having you all?!"

Enter 1969. Classic DOCTOR WHO - the perfect mix of comedy, drama, and the scary, all in one beautiful package.

The TARDIS materializes in the Oval Office, and this time with a new trick! Or, at least, new to this series: cloaking ability! The Doctor steps out of the TARDIS, sneaks up to Canton Delaware III (Sheppard) talking to President Nixon about these strange phone calls the President receives - the voice of a scared little girl. Nixon turns around, sees The Doctor, and gets rammed to the ground [ 'River! Turn her blue again!'].

He's able to persuade them to let him figure out what's going out, discover the source (he says five minutes; takes longer), and then (eventually) bring them there. But first, Amy is feeling a little sick (and later, River does), which may or may not be after effects from seeing a member of The Silence (from before, at the picnic before The Doctor died). So she goes to the bathroom and runs into something quite unexpected...

The Silence. Finally we're introduced to The Silence. First introduced in "The Eleventh Hour" as a prophecy to The Doctor by Prisoner Zero (and, may I ask, why on earth would Prisoner Zero, who has been hiding out on Earth for a year at that time, know a single thing about the Pandorica?), the Silence has echoed its way throughout Series 5, culminating in the destruction of the TARDIS in "The Pandorica Opens" for reasons unexplained (thus far). I gotta say, not what I expected. Yes, absolutely, The Silence are friggin' frightening creatures, not only by design but also execution. The chilling scene in the bathroom is a testament to their creepiness and power. However, for something called The Silence, I did expect them to be...well, silent. Guess that's what I get for taking things a little too literally.

The Silence in the bathroom sequence was awesome - especially the super cool Dr. Manhattan-like implosion of the poor bathroom lady. It is also revealed they power to make people forget they saw them. As the episode progressed, we also saw the TARDIS-in-work that was the central problem in the Series 5 episode, "The Lodger." I love how all these little elements are connected! Makes me giddy, like Moffat has one big, master plan. I still am interested to see what they want with The Doctor, why they are so interested in him, what did all the ominous "Silence Will Fall" statements made by fellow aliens in the last series really mean other than sounding all freaky like, what do they want with their own TARDIS, were they the alien party who landed at Amy's house (as seen in "The Pandorica Opens"), and who was the rather freaky male/female/hybrid voice that said "Silence Will Fall" (also in "The Pandorica Opens") if The Silence speaks all shallowy? A lot of questions, and I don't expect all of them to be answered, but The Silence has successfully intrigued me, freaked me out, and I can't wait to see how big of villains they become for our dear Doctor. Oh, and are they tied to the other storyline with the astronaut and the missing girl?

And yes, I want me a Silence (Silent?) action figure. Pronto.

So The Silence reveals itself to Amy, tells her to tell The Doctor what he must never know and all that jazz - they really have some sort of interest in our dear Doctor. But, of course, as soon as she leaves she forgets what the hell she needs to say. Meanwhile, The Doctor figures out where the phone call originated, and voilia! The adventure begins. I also loved The Doctor's invite to Canton Delaware: "Canton, on no account follow me in this box and close the door behind you!" Finally, The Doctor gets that no matter how many times he says 'don't follow me', the people close to him will do just that.

More freakiness, drama, and funny. The Doctor messes around with spacegear, River tells Rory of her greatest fear - the day The Doctor will look at her and not have a clue as to who she is [although that is a long friggin' way off; their relationship is still quite knew and hasn't even been realized yet, so the event that she speaks of, 'The Forest of the Dead', is still years and years away; at least it technically should be] - and the spaceman from the opening six minutes reappears, and Amy takes fate into her own hands.

She fires the guns. The Doctor yells in slow-mo-like "NOOOooooo!", and cut to credits. Ugh!

Why, or why, couldn't the episode be longer? Why?

Ah! Wait, missing one last thing: this really important thing Amy feels compelled to tell The Doctor: well, she's pregnant (and not by me...bollocks). Truth be told, sort of expected, but also, sorta doesn't make sense. Now, I will be frank, I know what I'm about to say in regards to logistics in a science fiction show about a 908-year old aliens popping in and out of time and space is sorta dumb, but it irks me. Rory Williams, the human Rory, died last series in "Cold Blood." The Rory Williams of "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang" is an Autons, created by the Alliance of the Doctor's foes. I also understand that when all is said and done, the Auton Rory Williams retains the same memories of the human Rory and acts very human, he's not, and should not have the ability to knock Amy up. It's also a little sad to think that Rory never 'got' his girl - he died before he could marry her. What Amy married is a substitute that isn't Rory. Again, I know I'm over-thinking it, but I thought it worth bringing up. Cos I need a life. Yep.

The script by Moffat is, as expected, brilliant, full of time travel and humorous lines and dramatic turns, but feels very incomplete (even in a part one of a two parter kind of way). Toby Haynes continues to show off his cool visual style as director, showcasing the beauty of Utah in the opening minutes [see: the funeral shot; wow]. Having directed the last three episodes, Haynes is proving himself as a powerful direction with a true cinematic style, and is no doubt instrumental in the epic quality the series boasts.

And with that, "The Impossible Astronaut" concludes and another week-long wait is placed before me to suffer through. I am excited as Hell with what Series 6 promises. Last year was fun and wonder and excitement, this year looks same with the fun, but edgier and darker, and I'm all for that. As Moffat said in a interview recently, I believe it was something akin to, "Who is The Doctor?" So this year we'll see The Doctor pushed to his limits, it seems, as he faces off against The Silence and, perhaps, himself.

Overall, "The Impossible Astronaut" definitely felt like the first half of a two-parter. It went by far too quickly. I expect (or rather, hope) "Day of the Moon" will be longer and include more material to make this story shine. Or, maybe, this is just one part of a larger season-long arc? Whatever. I'm in love. I'm ecstatic. DOCTOR WHO is back, and it looks like it's going to be a great ride!

Grade: B+

Final Note: I probably won't write reviews this long for each and every episode; I'm just really giddy right now. Cheers!

22 April 2011

Sorry







Sorry I've neglected my blogging duties - I feel pretty sucky about that. Unfortunately, finals are gearing up here at Mankato University, and that's consuming my time. I have the following to accomplish:
  • Suffer through Macbeth and write a final paper analyzing one of the following four plays: Titus Andronicus, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth.
  • Read loads and loads of pages for Philosophy of Religion including the jargon-full musings of David Hume, another section loaded with jargon called "The Will to Believe", and some other material from Kant. All in all, about 120 pages of stuff I need to somehow understand to end up with a good ol' C in class.
  • Rewrite and rewrite and a little bit more rewrite on my short story, "Halfway Out of the Darkness". Need to make sure I keep my ego in check while I tear apart my story and rebuild it line by line. Very time consuming.
I know that doesn't seem like much, but it's a lot in one week's time. I hope to (at least) update with a new edition of The Watcher and a MMAM, cos music is awesome. But school is concluding soon, so I will be back to Writey Blog Man in no time! And what does that entail? Me fully dedicating myself to my Fantastic Dinosaurs of the Movies! project as well as diving right into the 50 Movies I Should See.

And one last thing as I wrap this up. Tomorrow is going to be the aweomest day of the year. Why is that, Mr. Time Lord, sir? Well, tomorrow just so happens to be the day DOCTOR WHO PREMIERS!!!! I'm only a little itcy bitcy tiny excited for this event, and expect a Watcher Special dedicated solely to the premiere episode, "The Impossible Astronaut."

Thanks for reading, ladies and gents, and for being patience. The Time Lord shall return, and stress free!

18 April 2011

MMAM - Vol. 33

A bit of a departure from normal songs included here, I honestly can't help the inclusion of "His Cheeseburger." It's been ringing in my head all day. It demanded to be posted, and I was forced to oblige. I hope everyone listens to it - the song is awesome, hilarious, and dare I say it, romantic (!). I love this series, I love this song. And this man loves his cheeseburger.

16 April 2011

Scream 4


Scream 4

Starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody, Mary McDonnell, Marley Shelton, Nico Tortorella, Marielle Jaffe, Kristen Bell, Anna Paquin, Lucy Hale, Shanae Grimes, Aimee Teegarden, Brittany Robertson
Written by Kevin Williamson
Directed by Wes Craven
Release: 15 April 2011
Dimension Films, 110 mins., Rated R

Plot: Sidney returns to Woodsboro and is met by Ghostface, intent on creating its own horror movie.

As a fan of the franchise, I may be a little biased in this review. Also as a fan of the franchise, I really, really wanted this movie to succeed, to be something great and compliment the trilogy in a really spectacular way. So earlier today I walked into the theater for a SCREAM movie (at a age where I could actually comprehend the story; saw SCREAM 3 at 10 in the theater), giddy as can possibly be, and had to restrain myself from going super crazy fanboy when the Dimension logo came up. I was in a theater, watching SCREAM, with an audience, and a gorgeous digital screen. Nothing could be awesomer.

Unless Karen Gillan was my date. [Look her up]

So, now, two hours after I experienced the fourth film of the SCREAM franchise, what do I think? Director Wes Craven and writer/producer Kevin Williamson have crafted one hell of a fantastic movie that appeals to all generations of horror fans, is both clever and scary, and most awesomely, is a story damn well worth telling. This isn’t a sequel to make more money, this isn’t a mindless, zombie-like, HALLOWEEN 5-type sequel. Nah, Williamson has something to say about the horror genre of today, the reboot vs. original debate and the countless unnecessary sequels, and makes a thrilling story to compliment it. I was also very happy that the principle cast become entangled with the killer narrative without feeling forced, a real worry of mine.

SCREAM 4 opens with huge amounts of meta. Hell, this entire movie is like a horror movie version of COMMUNITY. There’s meta all over the place, but none more so than the opening ten minute metaverse. Initially, I wasn’t a huge fan of the double psych out, feeling more akin to one of those dream-within-a-dream cheap tricks of horror films (see any NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET sequel), but upon retrospect, I’m digging it (OhmygodKristenBellisAwesome!). In addition to the meta, we have the new rules of this generation: basically, all the roles of before are subject to change and pretty much anything can happen (a la SCREAM 3, where in the end of a trilogy all bets are off). The movie and characters make a case that SCREAM 4 can be considered both a sequel and reboot, and thus the ‘rules’ or lack thereof reflect so [virgins can die! Sidney could die! Bloodbath needs to happen at the anti-party! Noooo!]. But I’m not going to go into the rules and so forth of SCREAM 4, instead I’m gonna concentrate on the thread that keeps me interested in this series:

Sidney Presscott.

This is a character that has gone through Hell through three movies and five psychos intent on killing her. She has grown up from the reserved and sad virginal teenager to a woman who has confidance, who battles her demons and is one hell of an woman. So with SCREAM 3 ending on a beautiful note of Sidney not afraid anymore, where could SCREAM 4 go? Well, Sidney doesn’t have too much of a character progression in this installment, instead it’s a display of what she learned through her experiences, of facing that which hides behind a mask.

I think my favorite thing about this movie is actually something quite small (in the context of the movie), but quite big for fans of the series. When Sidney has her first encounter with the killer here, she doesn’t run from it like she has done before. In the first movie, it was her first experience, she was scared. In the second film, she initially ran for it, all in survival mode, but then fought back. And in the third she had enough of the running and she fought back against the killer in the climax. Here, we have the fruition of her character arc. Sidney jumps right into action – punching, kicking, slamming the killer. Of course she still feels fear, but she’s stronger than that now. She overcomes it and confronts her assailant. Another example, later on in the end Sidney formulates a rather clever plan even under pressure. Her plan eventually makes her fall out of the house, but instead of running, instead of waiting for backup or having the slightest bit of hesitancy, Sidney runs back into that house and straight for the killer. Like I said, in the context of the movie this is a small thing, but to see all four films and become deeply invested in Sidney Prescott, her actions here are monumental and entirely worthy of cheering and applauding. Sidney is done being the victim, and she faces danger head on, doesn’t run from it.

She is the ultimate Final Girl, someone all others should aspire to and/or be compared to.

What’s more, I was stunned by how much Sidney gets her ass handed to her, especially in the climax. Sure, she dishes out some kickass herself, but this is the first time in the franchise Sidney is getting truly battered and bruised. It is a brutal last twenty minutes, and at several points I entertained the notion that Kevin Williamson will pull the ultimate twist and have this be Sidney’s final hour. She is definitely put through the ringer here. Riveting, outstanding material.

As for the actors, there are all unbelievably on their A game. I only say ‘unbelievably’ because I was dreading the casting of Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts. In the TV show HEROES, Hayden was unbearably obnoxious, and I wasn’t at all impressed by her work, and Roberts just didn’t seem to fit in this world. But lo and behold, every single one of these actors were fantastic. I would love to say more about Roberts in particular, but that would be spoiling some really juicy material she gets to work with. Let’s just say she impresses, and Hayden was just as good. The newbies were all fantastic, and nicely fit into the SCREAM universe despite the diverse styles of the 90’s and now [you wouldn’t commonly see Rory Culkin’s frightening hair in 96, I wager]. The original actors, Campbell, Cox and Arquette are all great. Campbell is marvelous as the hero, Cox gets some decent material to work with, and Arquette for the first time in the series isn’t entirely annoying and cartoony – he was almost like a real person! All around stellar performances from everyone involved, and that added to the mystery of who the killer was – which honestly befuddled me until the reveal.

And the killings, what horror fans are most interested in. I will say for the first time I felt like Ghostface was a true, unstoppable force. Maybe it was the actor, or maybe it was the freakin' huge knife and the brutality of the knifing, but Ghostface was terrifying. I'd be scared shitless if I saw this guy around me. And the deaths are rather straightforward, as they normally are in SCREAM movies, with a whole bunch of knife use, but they are gruesome and definitely will make horror fans happy. By gruesome, do take note I'm not saying Craven went SAW on us - I think it's the mixture of sound effects and pretty decent makeup work with the wounds that made 'em gruesome. Also worth mentioning, and I doubt this is much of a spoiler, but Anthony Anderson rocks his death scene. I love you, man.

Looking toward the future of the franchise, I confess I am puzzled as to what ground Williamson and Craven can cover. According to multiple interviews, most notably FANGORIA, Craven admits Williamson approached the Weinsteins and he with the idea of a new trilogy, with the general concept of parts five and six mapped out. Personally, four just feels right; I love the number four. But if Williamson can conceive of two more stories that tie to Sidney without feeling far too forced, than I say full steam ahead, guys! Obviously I love these movies, and this installment proves that Williamson and Craven are still on their game, so if a five and six are greenlit and move forward, these two have earned my trust, and you better believe I’ll be there opening day.

SCREAM 4 is an success through and through. It pokes fun at its own art, it’s very meta, it’s clever, intelligently written and has great bouts of humor, it’s intense, it’s brutal, it’s bloody, the original cast and the newbies mesh well together never disrupting the equilibrium, and most importantly, it’s a good movie. I can’t applaud Kevin Williamson enough for coming up with a great script and a story worth telling, and for Wes Craven for proving that horror movies can still be suspenseful without obnoxious quick cuts and loads of gore. SCREAM 4 is exactly what the horror climate needs right now…but let’s hope it doesn’t inspire a few dozen similar flicks (a la this generation’s URBAN LEGENDS, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, etc.).

Ever your fan.


Notes

* STAB 5 has time travel!
* Is it just me or did the principal cast look better now than they did fifteen years ago?
* Did I miss something, or is this scene not in the finished product?
* Seeing as how the videotaping-the-kills thing was rather prominent in the trailers, I was expecting it to be more important in the overall narrative.
* As the reveal of the killer is happening, I realized my geektastic experience was almost coming to an end, and it saddened me. A part of me really didn't want this movie to end...
* I really, really, really want a STAB poster now.
* Speaking of STAB, I loved that footage from the original STAB, shown in SCREAM 2, is present and accounted for here, too. Although, it would be cool to see Ghostface time traveling in STAB 5.
* There's so much more to say about SCREAM 4, but I'll leave it at this. However, happy to discuss material, what with me being in love with this flick and all...
* Screw it, bring on SCREAM 5 and 6 nowish!

Rating: 9/10 = One hell of a ride from start to finish, a sequel that should not be missed by fans or newbies alike

15 April 2011

Andy's Friday Five: Top 5 Smallville Episodes

Hello, and welcome to this new random feature! Random as in, it won't be every Friday, but I'll post 'em when I get some ideas flowing through this twenty-year old dried up noggin'. For my first installment of this feature, as the title suggests, I'm picking my favorite five episodes of SMALLVILLE to commemorate the show's final run of six episodes starting tonight at 7 PM, culminating in the series finale on May 13th. It's going to be a sad day. Anywhoozles, without further ado, Andy's Friday Five presents my top five favorite SMALLVILLE episodes! w00t! w00t!
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Season 4, Episode 1: "Crusade"
Airdate: 22 September 2004
Writer(s): Alfred Gough & Miles Miller
Directed by Greg Beeman

A lot of folks don't like season four, finding the whole dealio with the Four Elements and how all the characters find themselves intertwined to be a bit over-the-top, even by SMALLVILLE standards. I, however, love this season, and "Crusade" is a beautiful example of the show firing on all cylinders and giving the audience a truly spectacular 41-minute episode of awesomeness. Most will note this is the first instance of Kal-El flying, seeing as how he has completely embraced his Kryptonian destiny, and the visuals deliver every fanboys and girls hopes and dreams. It's friggin' awesome, I tell you, awesome! What intrigues me the most is Lex Luthor, who was poisoned by his good ol' daddy Lionel in the season three finale. His journey this season is riveting, and Michael Rosenbaum gives one hell of a stellar, complex performance. And for that reason, and for the characters' strong writing, I will forgive the creators for entirely abandoning that subplot about his blood needing to be cleansed every eight hours or so because of the whole being poisoned thing. Bad writers, bad. "Crusade" is also noteworthy for introducing Lois Lane to the SMALLVILLE mythology, played brilliantly by Erica Durance. In their scene together in the hospital, the chemistry between them is already quite evident, leading us to the great romance that begins in season nine. Overall, "Crusade" is top notch work, and gives me everything I want from a Superman/SMALLVILLE story.

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Season 4, Episode 22: "Commencement"
Airdate: 18 May 2005
Writer(s): Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer
Director: Greg Beeman

With regards to finales, SMALLVILLE usually pulls out all the stops, and "Commencement" is no different. We have a huge Superman moment, pictured to the left, and we have a major element of Superman mythology play out in this extended episode - the Fortress of Solitude's origins. And with a ticking clock until another meteor shower hits Smallville, what more fun can there be in this show? The most surprising thing is how the seasons storylines converge and are satisfyingly wrapped up here (with the exception of Jason Teague's subplot, which was resolved rather lousily). Plus the events of the hour lead us to The Caves (!!!), Lex following Clark, Chloe following Clark and knocking out Lex, Lana professing her love to Clark (plus smoochies!), and the Kent house battered and bruised by a meteor (but of course they survive...damnit). It's just a very satisfying episode with action, great character beats, and the super happiness of seeing Clark Kent get the frak outta high school.

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Season 5, Episode 1: Arrival
Airdate: 25 September 2005
Writer(s): Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer
Director: James Marshall

Yes, I know, you're probably thinking, another premiere? Apologies, but it's no coincidence these tend to be some of the best material SMALLVILLE produces. Here we have some gorgeous - yet strikingly fake looking - digital effects in the creation of the Fortress of Solitude, we have two Kryptonians who are looking for Kal-El and want a fight, we have a mysterious black spacecraft that lands in a field and will become a major part of season five, and we have Lex once again keeping secrets. Oh, and in the end of "Arrival", Clark losing his powers (for a episode and half...). And Clark and Lana smooching. And Chloe acknowledging she knows Clark's secret. That was a fun scene. And we also get the first use of the Phantom Zone in SMALLVILLE mythology! "Arrival" really is a big step forward for Clark. The last four seasons was the build-up, and "Arrival" is the kick in the arse to get Clark moving.

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Season 7, Episode 16: "Descent"
Airdate: 17 April 2008
Writer(s): Don Whitehead & Holly Henderson
Director: Ken Horton

Yes, SMALLVILLE has always been about Clark's journey in becoming the red cape and blue tights wearing Superman, but the pivotal attraction for me to this show is Lex Luthor. Similar to how engulfed I am by the STAR WARS prequels, I can't help but become so intrigued in watching a character who wants to do good end up succumbing to their dark side (hehe, dark side). For Anakin Skywalker, REVENGE OF THE SITH was his breaking point, and in SMALLVILLE, "Descent" is Lex Luthor's. Within the first ten minutes, Lex breaks his soul, killing his father in a fit of anger and tiredness. Not saying Lionel didn't have it coming - after all, over twenty years of lies and deceit will probably drive anyone into a craze - but this is the episode where the dark side of Lex truly begins to overcome him. Throughout the first couple of seasons, Lex has swapped between his light and dark personalities, becoming friends with Clark, and then being on not so friendly terms. Lex Luthor has been a utterly fascinating character to wait for over a hundred and fifty episodes, and "Descent" is a beautiful example of the richness of this individual, the multiple dimensions inherent in his personality. Lex aside, "Descent" is also a marvelously written and directed episode. The first ten minutes at LuthorCorp as Lionel and Lex engage in a verbal jest that ends badly, later at the Luthor Mansion as Lex is haunted by visions of his younger self - all marvelous material. "Descent" is SMALLVILLE at its highest point.

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Season 10, Episode 1: "Lazarus"
Airdate: 24 September 2010
Writer(s): Don Whitehead & Holly Henderson
Director: Kevin Fair

"Lazarus" deserves a best of award because this has everything I want from a series dedicated to a young man becoming a superhero: heroic acts, a resurrection (of sorts) of the arch villain, introduction of another Big Bad, and best of all, the set-up for a inner hurdle the hero must overcome, and in this instance, it's himself. For years, Clark has been guided to become a savior in part because he was told countless times by the voice of his dead father Jor-El that he has a 'destiny' (I hate that word), and that was what he was meant to become. "Lazarus" forces Clark to re-examine himself. At this point, he has got a little arrogant with his powers, and I frankly still don't understand where that click happened that made Clark want to be a superhero instead of just an insignificant farmer with superpowers. This episode marks Clark's journey to prove his worth, to say this is who I want to become because I want it. He needs to face his own darkness before he can become a symbol of light, and that is outstanding writing in my opinion. It's a gorgeous character arc that every hero needs to face, and I was super giddy watching "Lazarus" for the first time hearing that Clark will be facing himself in his final season as the Blur. In my opinion, "Lazarus" epitomizes Clark's journey and who Superman is. Major amounts of kudos, writers.

Simply Script: No. 9



SCREAM 3

Screenplay by Ehren Kruger

Story by Kevin Williamson


ROMAN
And who's our hero? The sole survivor, the one who bravely faced down the psychopath and killed her with her own knife. You're gonna pay for the life you stole from me Sid. For the mother, and for the family, and for the stardom, and for, goddammit, everything you had that should've been mine!

SIDNEY
God, why don't you stop your whining and get on with it, I've heard this shit before!

ROMAN
STOP!

SIDNEY
You know why you kill people, Roman, do you?

ROMAN
I don't want to hear it!

SIDNEY
Because you choose to, there is no one else to blame!

ROMAN
God fucking dammit!

SIDNEY
Why don't you take some FUCKING RESPONSIBILITY!

ROMAN
FUCK YOU! [He lunges]

SIDNEY
FUCK YOU!

14 April 2011

The Watcher: 04/01/11 - 04/14/11



BEING HUMAN S01E12 - "You're The One That I Haunt" (4 April 2011) - Payback's a bitch, something that both Danny and Aidan find out hard this week. A GRUDGE-like Sally exacts her revenge in sweet fashion, although I would much rather have seen Danny being pulverized or something harsh over and over and over again. And Aidan receives the bitter sting of Bishop's stake, although I am admittedly puzzled why Aidan didn't die right then and there. Was it a deliberate choice on Bishop's part not to kill Aidan, but simply wound him? Otherwise, our poor Aidan should be nothing but dust. Josh is still freaking out about his were-baby, and rightfully so, but it's fantastic to see that he's going to stick it out with Nora ('cmon, she's gorgeous!) and see this through. "You're The One That I Haunt" was another great episode, concentrating more on evolving our characters and providing resolution to some storylines so we can move onto a full-on battle between Aidan and Bishop, or so I would expect. Of course Sally won't go through her door, but I must give props to both the U.K. team and the U.S. team for bringing this twist into the fold. It lends itself to a magnificent character moment for Sally, and suffice to say, the event in the final seconds will have repercussions for all the characters. Fun, fun, fun! Score: 9.1/10


BEING HUMAN S01E13 - "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Me Killing You" (11 April 2011) - An effective and actually surprising finale that tied up enough plot points and opened up new ones. Firstly, I wish to address my thanks to the writers of the North American version of BEING HUMAN for not simply regurgitating the British finale scene by scene - there's a good amount of new material in this episode (and a good amount of adapted, indeed), which made the last ten minutes rather surprising and blank slate-y. Anything could happen. Secondly, I absolutely love any Josh and Nora scenes because I'm a sappy romantic like that, so for Nora to finally see with her own eyes what is up with Josh - well, that made a very happy camper out of me. I am interested to know if Nora suffered a miscarriage, although I wouldn't write off that plotline just yet. Why would the writers introduce it and keep it boiling for a good five or six episodes to have it end rather anticlimactically in the finale? Still, seeing Josh in his Wolf state still recognize Nora and show compassion, that was pretty startling and very intriguing. Similarly, Sally is gaining a new ability of her own - being able to physically touch things with concentration - so I hope these new peaks at Josh and Sally's 'monster states' will be further explored. And finally we have the Aidan and Bishop battle. I was actually a bit surprised to see that go down, thinking perhaps it would extend through the following season, but alas, that was not to happen. The fight was brutal, and nearly everything I wanted it to be. A few more punches would have been nice. The final moment when Aidan dusts Bishop was sweet, harsh, and tragic at the same time. I only have one beef, really: Aidan's old flame offers her life for him to fight Bishop, but after the fact, I would have liked a scene of Aidan next to her body, or at her grave, something to hit home the loss Aidan suffered when doing that. Mixing in flashbacks of when Aidan and Josh first met was a nice touch, however, they did have the vibe of being tacked on, as it didn't hit me on the emotional level I was hoping for. Perhaps they should have saved this material for a later episode dedicated to the past? Still, with the future of the show undecided by the time of this finale, it makes sense, I just wish it was handled better. Overall, the adaptation of BEING HUMAN was handled quite faithfully while at the same time becoming its own sort of beast, and I applaud the producers and writers (and especially the lead actors) for making this program pretty damn good and entertaining. And moving onward to season 2, please, keeps these awesome titles! Score: 9.7/10


CHUCK S04E20 - "Chuck Vs. the Family Volkoff" (11 April 2011) - One name: Timothy Dalton. Once again, that man has made an episode of CHUCK absolutely hilarious and spectacular. For those who read this part of The Watcher, recognize that I haven't been a huge fan of this season - either the writing has been a little off, or the actors are just hamming it, I'm not entirely sure, but I just haven't been in love. Well, when Timothy Dalton is onscreen as Alexi Volkoff, it's pure love. And Lauren Cohan as Vivian Volkoff is equally as diabolically delicious, and the two Volkoff's in the mountain lair was priceless as Alexi gets doubled crossed by his own daughter! The rest of the episode, including the prenup and Ellie lying to Chuck, didn't much care for. Again, the Volkoffs - sheer awesomeness, and I sincerely hope this isn't the end of Dalton's stint on CHUCK, although it feels like it is. If so, Dalton, you have been amazing. The final batch of episodes seem to concentrate on this Agent X and the race to find whoever this is (better not end up being a superpowered Ellie, or that would suck majorly), so here's hoping this season heates up. Score: 7.5/10



JUSTIFIED S02E09 -"Brother's Keeper" (6 April 2011) - After a string of so-so episodes in the first bit of the season, JUSTIFIED started heating up about three episodes ago. Well, "Brother's Keeper" will propel the season to its undoubtedly chaotic season finale. The more interesting thing to me is what the hell is Boyd Crowder up to? Sure, everything involving Mags was captivating as per usual - and her voice and expression when she tries to see Coover's body and talks to Raylan, wowzers - but I've spent the last eight episodes wondering what Boyd is up to, and his in-commandish-manipulative vibe has me friggin' intrigued. In addition, Loretta finds out the truth about her father thanks to the clumsiness of Coover which eventually results in his being shot. The actress who plays Loretta is phenomenal, and has quickly become one of my favorite characters this year. If her storyline concludes around this point, I'll be a bit sad. Maybe Mags will make a play to grab her from Raylan's grasp? Something! All in all, a great episode with one hell of a tense pace, raises questions about character motives and where the season will head from here. The episode where I wager the second act ends, and the third act begins. Score: 9.2/10












S02E10 - "Debts and Accounts" (13 April 2011) - WHAT IS BOYD UP TO?! Boyd is a thinker, and his plot cannot possibly just to restart his daddy's business, there needs to be more to it than that. Or the writers are deliberately making me think that, and truthfully, he really does just want to restart his daddy's business. Ugh! And although the Ava/Boyd kiss in the end wasn't entirely unexpected, I'm still a little iffy that they're even going that route. If they must, fine, but I hope Ava gets to become more integral to the plot pretty darn soon. Also, got one of my favorite scenes of the season here: Raylan getting out of his car to talk to the people he (rightfully) believe are following him, telling them to turn left cos he's turning right, and if they turn right... Don't know about y'all, but I found that quite humorous. Later on, the shoot-out at the building was pretty awesome to watch. Raylan seems to be racking up quite a body count now; kudos, mate. Surprisingly, Mags doesn't issue a death sentence on Raylan. Now that interests me, and to have Dicky take matters into his own hands concerning Boyd is also quite interesting. I honestly don't know how this sophomore year will end up, but they have me hooked. Downside is: this season has gone by too fast. Before we know it, we're gonna have to wait a whole 'nother bloody year for the third. Blimey. Still great television. Thanks Graham Yost and thanks FX. Score: 9.8/10



NIKITA S01E17 - "Covenant" (7 April 2011) - Michael wants himself some revenge, and damnit, he's gonna force Nikita to help him realize that revenge. Truthfully, with the exception of Michael holding the gun at Nikita and now knowing Alex is the Division mole, I didn't quite remember where we left our rogue assassin at. Luckily, "Covenant" picks up the reigns from the opening second and doesn't let go until the finale that will most likely make many Michael/Nikita shipper fans happy. Basically, everything with Michael and Nikita I'm a fan of, and although finding out Percy is the true man behind the death of Percy's wife and child is a bit of a '...really? Fine...' beat, it brings Michael to Nikita's side and them undoubtedly working together to bring Division down. So, coolio overall. And then you got Gogol who really wants Nikita either to join them or just get out of the way. Hope to see that plotpoint go haywire. And finally Alex and Nate...I think it would be cool if Division takes Nate out like they did with Nikita's Daniel, and Alex becomes another woman who wants revenge. Adds tragedy and a bit more edge to Alex, which I'm all for. Overall, good episode with loads of action scenes and funness! Score: 8.9/10


STARGATE UNIVERSE S02E15 - "Seizure" (4 April 2011) - One of the most looking forward to episodes of SG-U, and it actually wasn't half bad. Yes, I'm disappointed that we didn't get any news of Atlantis, but I understand the reasoning behind the decision to not disclose any info about it (for sake of potential DVD movies). It's actually rather surprising how well Wooolsey and McKay fit into the world of SG-U, and it was even more surprising to have Telford propose McKay join Destiny permanently. Now that would be uber-awesome, although if McKay joined the team, I feel there would be far too many scientists onboard the ship. Although, that might work in their favor, and possibly boot Rush into second-in-command or something. I digress. Seeing Colonial Young in that outfit was hilarious and quite, ever-so-much ugly. Sorry, dude. Production design was gorgeous. The 'twist' that the organization has no dealings with the Lucian Alliance in fear it would breach their deal with Stargate Command was humorous, ironic, and sucks at the same time (for the characters). Overall, a good episode that didn't entirely meet my expectations, but I think it was worth it just to have that one scene of Eli and McKay in the hallway of Destiny doing their scientificy jargon babble. Score: 8.5/10


STARGATE UNIVERSE S02E16 - "The Hunt" (11 April 2011) - A good blend of story and character development. On the downside, most of the character work seems regulated to love triangles and crushes (and subsequently the only real usage of Chloe since she was 'cured' of her turning-into-Alien Girl), some of them nice and sweet (T.J. and Varro), one of them huh? (Park and Messy Haired Guy and Greer) But on the bright side, it's something, and it's fun. Speaking of fun, there was a good amount of that, specifically Eli and Brody in the stasis pods playing around. The last few scripts have actually boasted quite a bit of comedy. Hell, the last few scripts, "Alliances" aside, have shown promise of the great show UNIVERSE could have been. Oh well. Also worth noting is Greer, who gets the first chance in eons to be a dimensional, round character that's actually pretty interesting, and NOT having to do with his poor, crappy childhood. Kudos to the writers and actor for making Greer likable for the second time. Quite the accomplishment. One little nitpicky thing: most, if not all, the Lucian Alliance members who decided to make a, er, alliance with Destiny are now dead, and no one is making any sort of noise about that. Varro, the only other one we know about other than Ginn, is just happy to get his pooty tang, I guess. Overall, "The Hunt" was an enjoyable episode with comedy, love triangles, character development, and creature fun! Score: 8.9/10

12 April 2011

Tuesday Cap - Vol. 22


Title: Scream 3

Notes: 20 installments ago, I shared my love of Scream 2, and now, with the fourth film of the franchise hitting theaters in a few days, I thought this to be the perfect time to discuss the concluding chapter of the original trilogy. Personally, I'm torn. There are positives, and there are negatives. I actually didn't mind the twist in the end, feeling that it connected rather nicely to the original, albeit a bit of a twist stretch, I grant you that. My biggest disappointment with this film is the lack of Sidney, really. I know she's in a decent percentage of the movie, but it doesn't feel like that. After all, she's the focal point of the entire trilogy, and she felt regulated to a secondary character, the film becoming The Gale and Dewey Show. Would have been awesomer to have Dewey die in Scream 2. Anyway, I enjoyed S3, but I ain't in love with it like S2. However, there was a draft I skimmed through of S3 some time ago, and I daresay we're very, very lucky with what we have right now. Scary, man, scary.

Discuss: Your thoughts and feelings concerning Scream 3. Decent flick? Super shitty? Did you like the reveal of the killer? Speaking of kills, were the deaths up to expectations? And, perhaps, thoughts on the impending fourth film.

11 April 2011

MMAM - Vol. 32

I had the luxury of rewatching the MATRIX trilogy over the weekend, and I was once again reminded of the few elements of REVOLUTIONS I really, really dug. Among the two or three things I like from the movie, we have Juno Reactor's "Navras", the culminating theme of the trilogy that pays perfect homage to the wide range of music inherent in the series. It's beautiful, powerful, and unforgettable. The MATRIX movies never failed to boast phenomenal scores, especially the second and third films, and "Navras" is a fantastic example of the greatness the music achieved. Hope you enjoy.


10 April 2011

Stargate: The Ark of Truth


Stargate: The Ark of Truth

Starring Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, Ben Browder, Christopher Judge, Beau Bridges, Claudia Black, Morena Baccarin, Tim Guinee, Julian Sands, Currie Graham
Written & Directed by Robert C. Cooper
DVD Release: 11 March 2008
MGM Home Entertainment, 101 mins., NR

Plot: The SG-1 team search for The Ark, a device created by the Ancients that will reveal the truth about Origin to the evil remnants of Ori followers and diminish the power of Adria.

Yep, sure that plot synopsis makes no sense to anyone who hasn't watched the series. Truth is, I'm still only two discs into the freshman season of Stargate: SG-1, so I really shouldn't be watching The Ark of Truth, cos, y'know, spoilers and all that. The good news is, the DVD comes with an eight-minute "prequel", or rather, a catch-up of the events from seasons eight-ten which clue as into the whole deal with the Ori, the Ancients, Adrian, and the new kids on the block (read: anyone not Daniel Jackson, Colonial Jack O'Neil, or Samanda Carter). So I was rather fortunate in that regard. The clip compilation helps establish the epic scope of the story executive producer/writer/director Robert C. Cooper set out to tell, but overall, the events of The Ark of Truth is perfectly understandable for newbies as well.

After all, the movie tackles universal themes and storylines: the journey of redemption for people blinded by darkness, a race of beings following a religion's doctrine to a harsh degree and their attempts to stop nonbelievers from changing their beliefs, and another one of those fate of all mankind rests in the balance type subplots. For anyone under the misconception the Stargate franchise is simply kiddie fare of funness, The Ark of Truth will be one hell of a eye-opener for you. No, the franchise isn't as dark as, say, Battlestar Galactica, but the series, and movies, tackle heavy themes and boasts an intelligence that absolutely bewildered me when I first started watching Atlantis (and which is in abundance here, and in Continuum). The Stargate franchise is smart, and it's a science fiction series that should not be missed.

Moving on.

The pluses: marvelous production design. The spaceship interiors, the chamber pictured above, even Stargate Command, all positively gorgeous design and amazing to look at. In the realm of digital effects, with a bigger budget than that of the television series, they are noticeably superior and bigger in quantity (i.e., the loads of Replicator spiders and finally the Mother Replicator). The cinematography is cinematic in execution. In fact, both Ark of Truth and Continuum could be released as theatrical productions, they are that well produced.

Like I said with my Continuum review, these actors know these characters inside and out, so as expected, they all excel in their roles. I want to, again, make specific note of the awesomeness of Ben Browder as Cameron Mitchell. He's never short of one liners (my favorite will always be when Marrick is beating Cam up, Marrick asks Cam to kill him, and Cam responds, 'Trust me, I'm trying'; oh, hahahaha!), and definitely delivers the action hero goods. Amanda Tapping and Christopher Judge are kickass in their respective roles, strong and wise characters that have no problem engaging in combat or using their wicked smarts to save the day. Worth noting: the gorgeous and ever sexy Morena Baccarin is Adria, Vala's daughter and some evil bitch, apparently. Basically, if you ever watched Xena, Warrior Princess, she's the Stargate equivalent to Hope, as far as I can tell. She's only onscreen for a short while, but she makes those seconds count.

If you're reading this review as a lover of the Stargate franchise, I hope you appreciate my lovage for these two direct-to-DVD flicks. If you're a casual reader and are perhaps interested in checking out this franchise, with no hesitation do I recommend it. This series is the perfect blend of action, intelligence, space battles, awesome characters, clever dialogue, and best of all, fun. The Ark of Truth is no different.

Tying up loose ends in a short 101 minute movie probably isn't easy, yet writer/director Robert C. Cooper definitely succeeds. There's even time for some brilliant one liners and action scenes! With The Ark of Truth, the Ori storyline is brought to an end, but the journey doesn't ever stop, and that's the beauty of the Stargate franchise. Just because a Big Bad is defeated and over with, the story doesn't just stop. There's always another mission, and with such strongly defined and three dimensional characters, we, the viewers, can't wait to tag along.

Rating: 10/10 = Another spectacular adventure of the Stargate franchise that can't be recommended enough!

Stargate: Continuum


Stargate: Continuum

Starring Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Michael Shanks, Cliff Simon, Claudia Black, Don S. Davis, Beau Bridges, Richard Dean Anderson
Written by Brad Wright
Directed by Martin Wood
DVD release: 29 July 2008
MGM Home Entertainment, 94 mins., NR

Plot: The SG-1 team faces the Last of the System Lords as the mighty deity attempts to rewrite history to serve its own galaxy-conquering purposes.

After one feature length movie, ten seasons, one spin-off series (at the time), and one direct-to-DVD release, the creators and writers behind the Stargate franchise are still pumping out fantastic stories, and Stargate: Continuum is no exception. Time traveling and aliens or humans tinkering with the way the world should be is nothing new to the science fiction genre, it's how the writers handle the material that matters, and Continuum handles it brilliantly, once again crafting a film that works on multiple levels: novices to the franchise can delve right in and not get lost (although, of course, it would help having prior knowledge) and still enjoy themselves, the script is clever and full of twists and turns and the shows trademark witty dialogue, the Big Bad's plan is epic in scale, and the SG-1 unit faces - once again - impossible odds that is absolutely exhilarating to watch them battle.

Of course, with ten seasons, a spin-off series, and two movies under their belt, I wager the writers/producers should be well versed in their mythology and bouncing off the walls with creativity.

Er, anyway, Continuum definitely shows off it's cinematic style and gorgeous location shoots. The digital effects are far and beyond expectations, delivering some marvelous shots that rival feature films. One shot in particular I quite like is in the opening half hour when Ba'al travels back to 1939 on the ship Achilles, there's a exquisite shot of a crewman running for his life against the moon-lit sky. Later on, the swarm of battleships that loom over the earth are fantastically rendered, as are all the gazillions of explosions and aerial battles that grace the final twenty minutes.

When it comes to the characters, the actors have inhabited these roles for years, so it probably goes without saying that they are excellent, as always. The only actor there who didn't seem entirely sold on being present and accounted for is Richard Dean Anderson as the much-loved-by-fans Jack O'Neil (the character recast from the original Stargate movie with Kurt Russell filling the role), who says his lines and doesn't seem entirely committed to them. By contrast, Ben Browder showcases his love for comic timing and action, much like he does in The Ark of Truth, and immediately became a favorite of mine. Claudia Black gets to have some fun portraying not only her prime character of Vala but also the System Lord Qetesh, who is ruthless and somewhat fun in her evilness. And major kudos should be given to Cliff Simon who plays Ba'al so completely menacingly and hilarious simultaneously, portraying the perfect Bad Guy. No disrespect about the 'hilarious' comment, mind you; it's a performance that should definitely be seen and enjoyed.

Writer Brad Wright pens an excellent script, full of drama, twists and turns, time traveling wibbely wobbley timey-wimey, awesome action sequences, and, of course, clever dialogue. It's all here in Continuum.

So all in all, I enjoyed the hell out of the flick. I absolutely recommend it to fans (although I'd be hard pressed to find one who hasn't watched it by now) and newbies. If you're a bit hesitant about the Stargate franchise, I highly recommend you give Continuum a try. As I said, it's a good enough standalone installment where prior knowledge of the franchise is not a necessity. As of this writing, there has been no forward movement on a third Stargate direct-to-DVD movie (nor, for that matter, a direct-to-DVD production for Atlantis), but if it ever does come to pass, you can definitely expect me to be there, watching and loving.

Rating: 10/10 = High-octane fun and adventure with some brilliant time traveling twists, one to be seen and enjoyed by fans and newbies alike!

02 April 2011

50 Movies I Should See

Alright, this blog is going to be taking a break next week so I can allocate some time for studying the atrocities that is Shakespeare (apologies Shakespeare fans). Now, lately, I've been watching a lot of movies I've heard good things about but had never seen before, like Ben-Hur [pretty damn good] and Across the Universe [which was rubbish], and want to continue that.

Therefore, that brings us to this: I would like whoever reads this blog to recommend to me 50 movies that I absolutely should see.

Now keep in mind, I am not saying that I want 50 "classics" that I haven't seen nor do I want the typical answers like Casablanca or Citizen Kane. Hit me up with a wide range of flicks - foreign films, cult classics, shitty films, even musicals. I want to expand my viewing horizon, ladies and gents. For example, if it wasn't for Nick's 60 Weeks 60 Movies feature I wouldn't have seen the awesomeness that is The Good, The Bad, and the Weird. If need be, sure, throw a classic I really should see my way, but I sort of want to avoid them.

Below I will have a updated list with all the titles recommended to me.

1. Dark City
2. The Station Agent
3. Network
4. City of God
5. Woman in the Dunes
6. Blow
7. The Special Relationship
8. Sanjuro
9. Days of Heaven
10. Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
11. Bronson
12. Time Crimes
13. Ladyhawke
14. Coffee & Cigarettes
15. Wristcutters
16. La Vie En Rose
17. Memories of Murder
18. Mother
19. A Prophet
20. The Proposition
21. Dead Man's Shoes
22. The Wind That Shakes The Barley
23. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
24. Dr Strangelove
25. Cashern
26. Life is Beautiful
27. Dune
28. War of the Buttons
29. After the Wedding
30. This is England
31. Rabbit-Proof Fence
32. The Man Who Wasn't There
33. Blood Simple
34. Tears of the Sun
35. The Fall
36. Better Luck Tomorrow
37. Howl's Moving Castle
38. Return to Me
39. Tortured
40. Ghost Dog
41. Adaptation
42. Black Narcissu
43. The Red Shoes
44. The 400 Blow
45. Blue Velvet
46. Amazing Grace
47. The Painted Veil
48. The Wings of the Dove
49. A Perfect World
50. Blood Simple

01 April 2011

Movie Prowlin: 2011 Edition, Vol. 1

This time last year I hit an astounding 60 titles. Small potatoes to this year's mark of 80 titles, which makes me super happy. AND my homework hasn't suffered too much as a result of that, so that's another rather big plus. I'm also quite glad I've done reviews for most of the flicks I wanted to do one for. Thanks to One Month Exploring Netflix Steaming (OMENS), I had the luxury of seeing 27 movies in the month of February alone. Even in March, without the luxury of Netflix, I didn't do bad, either. If I keep this up, I will definitely surpass the 200 goal by years end.

As per usual, if you want me to review something I haven't already, just let me know, and it will be up shortly.

Cheers and thanks to all the readers and visitors who stop by!

RED = First Time View
GREEN = Rewatch
ITALICS = Review Que


Movies Watched in 2011: 01 January 2011 - 31 March 2011

01. Race to Witch Mountain
02. The Last Exorcism
03. Skyline
04. Little Fockers
05. TRON: Legacy
06. Black Swan
07. Best Worst Movie
08. Accepted
09. The Social Network
10. Despicable Me
11. Megamind
12. The Good, The Bad, The Weird
13. The Green Hornet
14. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
15. Red
16. Solomon Kane
17. Buried
18. Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics
19. The Mask
20. Child’s Play 2
21. The Other Guys
22. Cyrus
23. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
24. Sorority Boys
25. Franklyn
26. Quills
27. Tron
28. Due Date
29. The Lost Boys
30. The Lost Boys: The Tribe
31. The Lost Boys: The Thirst
32. I'm Still Here
33. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
34. The Ten
35. Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman
36. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
37. Faster
38. This Film is Not Yet Rated
39. The Beach
40. Mortal Kombat
41. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
42. Monsters
43. The Blob
44. Dalekmania
45. An American Werewolf in London
46. Young Sherlock Holmes
47. Centurion
48. Astro Boy
49. Angels & Demons
50. Black Dynamite
51. The Sasquatch Gang
52. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
53. Le Femme Nikita
54. The Machinist
55. DeepStar Six
56. Empire Records
57. 127 Hours
58. The King's Speech
59. Catfish
60. Rango
61. Unknown
62. I Am Number Four
63. The Next Three Days
64. TRON: Legacy
65. JFK
66. Paul
67. The Adjustment Bureau
68. Office Space
69. Ben-Hur
70. The Matrix Revolutions
71. Across the Universe
72. Unstoppable
73. How Do You Know
74. Sucker Punch
75. The Fighter
76. My Soul to Take
77. It's Kind of a Funny Story
78. Almost Famous
79. The Tourist
80. Love and Other Drugs


TV Seasons Watched in 2011: 01 January 2011 - 31 March 2011

1. Stargate: Atlantis - Season 2
2. Justified - Season 1
3. Stargate: Atlantis - Season 3
4. Stargate: Atlantis - Season 4
5. Stargate: Atlantis - Season 5
6. Human Target - Season 1
7. The Vampire Diaries - Season 1
8. Lost - Season 4
9. Sherlock: Series One