Sunday, November 28, 2010

How I Met Your Mother: "Blitzgiving"

I can't remember if I've really talked that much about How I Met Your Mother on this blog. It's a show I love dearly, but on the whole, it hasn't been itself for seasons five and six. There's been a few good episodes (spoiler alert: Blitzgiving was one of these), but it's definitely gone downhill quite a bit. But, as I just said in my spoiler alert, Blitzgiving has given me some hope for How I Met Your Mother.

Blitzgiving was one of the best episodes of HIMYM that I've seen in a long time. The whole episode just clicked and really fit together. It was genuinely funny and didn't seem as try-hard as many of the recent episodes have. Even Zoey was tolerable in this episode, and I'm far from her biggest fan.

One reason that I Blitzgiving worked so well was that it focused on one of their coined principles, the "Blitz." For those of you who haven't watched the episode yet, the "Blitz" is a person who always leaves right before the night turns awesome. Like many of the HIMYM terms, this one rings true. Almost anyone can relate to being the Blitz for a night and waking up to a bunch of inside jokes that he or she doesn't understand.

I'd be a really bad lost fan if I didn't mention Jorge Garcia's guest appearance. (Side note, I have no idea why I can't turn off the italics.) Even though the "awww man"s started to get on my nerves, I thought the writers did a good job incorporating Jorge, or Hurley as I prefer to call him. His character didn't have a whole lot to do, but he fit into the story well. I definitely enjoyed the Lost references, particularly the one to "the numbers." And maybe this is stretching a bit, but I have to wonder if "The Gentlemen" bit was a reference to Buffy. It would definitely be an obscure reference (side note again: this italics is so annoying, and I wish I could get it to turn off because it's driving me insane.), but I definitely think it's possible. 

Ok, I finally got it back to non-italics. I don't have a lot more to say about Blitzgiving. It was a really solid episode, and it was definitely better than the horrid "Slapsgiving 3" episode that I had envisioned as a worst cast scenario in my mind.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Surrogates was one of those movies that I saw the trailer, and immediately said, "I want to see that movie." I love when movies explore the idea of cool futuristic technology, and Surrogates looked fun and exciting. But, time went on, and I never saw it. Part of the reason I never saw is that my eyes are bigger than my stomach when it comes to movies, and I rarely watch all the ones I want to see. The other reason is that it received less than lustrous reviews. However, I couple of days ago, I was procrastinating, as I often do, and I saw that it was on Netflix streaming. So, I finally got to see Surrogates. So, was it all that I expected from my initial viewing of the trailer? Nope. It was a big ole disappointment.

The plot for Surrogates could best be described as blah. I found myself pressing pause a multitude of times throughout the movie, and at one point, I thought about not even finishing it. In fact, halfway through the movie, I began to wonder if there even was a plot. When I finally realized that there was a plot, I just didn't care about it. I could pretty much follow what was going on, but honestly, I'd have a hard time repeating it back to you. That's part of the reason why there's not recap in this review. *This next part might be slightly spoilery. Be cautioned.* From seeing the trailer, I wanted some huge worldwide evil scheme to be part of the plot. While there was some threat of worldwide catastrophe, it was no where near as sinister as I hoped.

That's not to say, however, that there was nothing redeeming to Surrogates. Part of the reason why Surrogate was so disappointing is that it actually had a lot of potential. The world that was created for the movie was actually extremely interesting, and the parts that focused on that, rather than the plot, were the movie's shining moments. Particularly, I found the interactions between the lead character, whose name I can't remember and am too lazy to imdb at the moment, and his wife to be fascinating and thought-provoking. Actually, the whole concept contained in the movie was thought provoking. The movie made me ponder about the morality of the concept of a surrogate. Because of this, I actually thought that the movie's first couple of minutes, in which we see a series of fake news reports about the development of surrogates, was among its most interesting content. I was also impressed at some of the implications of surrogates that the movie showed. Particularly, I thought it was interesting how they were shown as being used as soldiers that made war almost more like a video game than an actual war.

So, if you're bored and have nothing to do, you might want to watch at least a little bit of surrogates because it has a truly fascinating concept. However, it's far from a great movie, and to call it a good movie would be a stretch. It's a mediocre movie that sadly does not reach its full potential.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Short Review Time

So, from now until the end of next week, I'm going to be totally swamped with work.
I don't think I have any regular readers that are going to be devastated at my lack of posting, but I feel like summing up my thoughts on the shows I've watched this week. For the sake of time and my laziness, I'm going to post a bunch of mini reviews. And please, don't judge me by the horrific amount of television shows I watch:

  • How I Met Your Mother - "Baby Talk": I had mixed feelings on this week's How I Met Your Mother. It had some funny moments, and Laura Bell Bundy's reappearance. But I felt it was overall a little blah, and can't see myself wanting to rewatch it anytime soon (and I'm the queen of HIMYM rewatching). It felt more to me like an episode from the earlier seasons, but it seemed like a more mediocre episode than the majority of the episodes in the early seasons. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I digress.

  • Glee - "The Rocky Horror Glee Show": This was a somewhat fun episode even if it was almost plotless, but I think I would have understood it more if I'd seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Also, this episode brought Will's creepiness and inappropriateness to a whole new level, and his "creature of the night" face was one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen. And Finn looks completely adorable in those glasses.

  • Raising Hope - "Happy Halloween": This episode was funny, as all of the other episodes of Raising Hope have been. This is getting to be a new favorite show of mine.

  • Modern Family - "Halloween": Modern Family was excellent, and it continued to live up to my high expectations. Gloria's "American accent" was one of the funniest things I've seen on the show and had my dying. Also, Mitchell's spiderclimb down the building was an excellent payoff.

  • 16 and Pregnant - "?": I don't remember the girl's name, but there was a girl who was 16 and pregnant. And she had a tire cake at her wedding.  
  • Grey's Anatomy - "These Arms of Mine": I have to admit, this week's Grey's Anatomy bored me, and I didn't really pay attention while I watched. However, they may just be because I started freaking out about all my work. So, I might need to rewatch this to form an accurate opinion.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Babies is Adorable

If you haven't heard of the French documentary Babies, you may wish to correct the grammar of my title. If you have, you probably will still want to correct my title because I don't know how to italicize in a title, and it looks like I'm talking about babies not Babies. 

Ever since I saw the trailer for Babies, I wanted to see it. Why? Babies are adorable, so Babies should be adorable. In fact, I have a theory that the cutest things in this world are babies and puppies (can be substituted for another cute baby animal). And yes, I just realized I referred to babies as a thing. I didn't know how to group it otherwise because if I said living creatures, I could potential be saying that staplers are the cutest of everything and babies/puppies are just the cutest living creatures. And that's just not true, in my opinion at least. I'm sure there's some stapler aficionado out there that thinks otherwise. Well, maybe there is. Wow, I've gotten really off topic. So, let's go back to the movie.

There's not too much to say about Babies because there wasn't much to it. It's a collection of cute videos of four different babies. The babies are from Namibia, Mongolia, Tokyo and San Francisco. There's no narration, no interviews, and very little dialog. I enjoyed it because I find babies adorable and thought it was interesting to see how different cultures raise children. There were a lot of cute and funny moments. There was even a couple of puppies! I really enjoyed Babies. That being said, I could see how someone could find it boring.

Really, it's quite simple to decide if you should see this documentary. Ask yourself, "Am I content to just watch four cute babies be adorable for a hour and twenty minutes?" If the answer is yes, you should see the movie. If the answer is no, you should check to see what's pumping your blood because you obviously don't have a heart. I'm completely kidding. If it's no, just don't see the movie.

Glee: "Duets"

To be honest, I was a little blown away at how good the latest episode of Glee was. Since the second half of season one, Glee has been less than stellar. Don't get me wrong, there've been some good episodes and moments. But even though I liked, for example, the Britney Spears episode, it was kind of a lazy episode. It was enjoyable but not necessarily "a good episode." As I watched last weeks unsatisfying "Grilled Cheesus," I started to wonder why I watch anymore. This week's episode reminded me why I liked Glee in first place. The whole episode gelled together and many of the problems that typically plague Glee were avoided.

One of the best aspects of "Duets" was the music selection. Lately, some of the songs on Glee have been, to put it in a polite term, blah. They've been okay, but I haven't had any desire to download them or listen to them again. That was not the case this week. I pretty much have the desire to listen to all of this week's songs on repeat, except for perhaps Finn and Rachel's "really rude" performance. I was pretty pumped for their "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." Don't judge, but I absolutely love that song, regardless of how cliche it may be. I also thought "Lucky" was surprisingly pretty great. I've never been much of a fan of Quinn's voice, but Dianna Agron sounded really good on this song. Another thing I enjoyed about the song selections this week is that they were actually songs that I could imagine the characters choosing.

I think one thing that helped with the music selection was the adaption of a looser theme than is usually used. When themes like "Hello," "Funk," or even "Britney Spears (as much as I love rocking out to her music)" are used, it really limits the song selection. The characters sing songs that suit the theme better than they suit themselves. While there was still a theme this week, it was a theme that worked. I didn't feel like I was being hit over the head with a concept. I also thought the theme was introduced somewhat organically into the storylines. Characters like Artie and Kurt had really been dealing with loneliness for a while, and while it wasn't really introduced before this, it made sense that Brittany would be lonely. Along with the idea of loneliness, the explored the "duets" or couples of the show like Tina and Mike, Finn and Rachel, and now Quinn and Sam.

Speaking of couples, I really liked how they dealt with the couples this week. "Duets" was really one of the first episodes where Finn and Rachel seemed like an actual couple. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but they seemed this week like they actually liked each other rather than were just using each other. I also am loving the Tina and Mike pairing. I really hope that the writers aren't planning on putting Tina and Artie back together because I fear that might be their plans. I feel bad for Artie, but I don't really like his character. He seemed like kind of a jerk to Tina where Mike seems like a sweetheart. He was so adorable this week with his little clap at Rachel and Finn's performance and his writing Tina's name in a heart on his vote.

While I thought Sam was annoying in the season premiere (I believe I referred to him as "that blonde thing" in a Facebook message to my sister), I actually kind of liked him tonight. I like the whole dorky angle that they're taking with him. He won me over with his "Sam I am" intro. I'm not sure how I feel about him and Quinn coupling, but their performance of "Lucky" was "so freaking charming" that I just might buy into the idea of them as a couple.

Just a small note on this, but I really like how they gave some closure to the Finn and Kurt storyline. I felt that was a little unresolved, but I appreciated that they went back and tied it up a bit.

Another thing I liked about this week's Glee is that it actually seemed to move the story forward a bit. For a while, I feel like Glee's been running around in circles with the same story lines. Unless that end running around in circles again, I think they made some movement forward this week. Some characters got some development, while still remaining in character like Brittany and Rachel. I liked how they handled Rachel this week. She grew a little bit with her kind speech to Kurt, but she's still the same Rachel whose "unselfishness" consisted of her ultimately trying to help herself.

There were some good Brittany moments this week, as always. Some of my favorites were her telling Artie that she used to think he was a robot, writing "me" as her vote for the winner of the duet contest, and of course, her pushing a meatball with her nose. I just wish we could have seen her and Artie's duet.

This episode was focused more on the kids than the teachers, and it really worked well. There weren't too many storylines to handle. Will's addition to the episode was little more than having hilarious reactions to the Glee kids' performances. I was really impressed that this episode was as good as it was, given the lack of Sue.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Social Network

Like many people, I count myself among the ranks of those with Facebook accounts. I can spend hours looking at boring photos or facebook creeping on others' wall-to-walls. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I wanted to see "The Social Network" or as I less eloquently call it "that facebook movie."

Despite the dramalicious trailers, I was a bit skeptical as to how interesting a movie about the creation of Facebook could be. However, my fears were laid to rest as I watched the opening scene. So, what's this movie about? The movie begins with, as so many do, relationship drama. Mark Zuckerberg's girlfriend, Erica, breaks up with him for being a jerk. After an obligatory "I'm breaking up with you" zinger, she leaves him. In response to her dumping him, Mark starts FaceMash, a site comparing the "hotness" of the girls at Harvard. While this site is shut down by the administration, it catches the attention of Cameron and Tyler, two very preppy and identical twins (in fact, they're so identical that they're actually only played by one person). They want Mark to help them with an idea they have for a new site. Weeks later, he creates Facebook. This is where all of the drama begins. The main story of the movie is innercut with scenes from two court cases brought against Mark: one by his friend, the cofounder of Facebook and one by the twins.

One of the most interesting aspects of The Social Network was the "true story" aspect of it. While it's uncertain how factual the movie was, it was interesting to think of it as a true story. Because modern society is so engrossed in Facebook, there was a certain dramatic irony to many of the scenes.

Another interesting aspect of The Social Network was the characters, in particular Mark Zuckerberg. I know, I know, they're real people, and it's strange to call them characters. Regardless, it was interesting how he was portrayed as an unlikeable jerk but was ultimately, in my opinion, a little sympathetic. I'm sure most of us can think of the one kid who constantly makes negative remarks that are occasionally kind of funny. That's how Zuckerberg was portrayed. Probably 99% of the things he said were unbelievable rude, and 50% of them were backhanded comments. But rather than him actually being a jerk, this seemed to be more of a defense mechanism than anything. By pushing people away, he gets to be the rejecter rather than the rejected.

Anyway, I liked the movie a lot. It was well-paced enough that I was never bored. It had a sort of somber tone to it that really worked. And, it was just really interesting.

I don't think this review made any sense, to be honest. But it's lateish, and I'm tired. So, I'm just going to post it as is.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

You would not believe your eyes, if ten million fireflies...

If the Owl City lyrics in the title didn't scare you away, keep reading because this post actually has nothing to do with "Fireflies." Instead, it deals with the Joss Whedon show, Firefly. If you've stumbled upon my blog, you probably a fan of television and have likely at least heard of Firefly. I know that before I started watching Firefly, I'd heard it mentioned probably a couple million times. Hyperbole aside, it is mentioned in the majority of "best cult shows" and "cancelled before its time" lists.

Over the last two days, I've watched the first eight episodes of Firefly, and well, it's really good and kind of addicting. As much loved as Firefly is, as much television I watch, and as much as I've enjoyed Whedon's other shows, it may seem kind of surprising that it's taken me this long to get into it. After voraciously watching all seven seasons of the fantastic Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the entirety of the excellent Angel, and the two seasons of the sometimes-amazing-sometimes-not-so-amazing Dollhouse, I was looking for a new show to watch. Because I'd enjoyed the rest of the shows that Whedon had created and it had received so many raving reviews, I decided I'd start watching Firefly.

So, I went to Hulu, and clicked on the first episode of Firefly waiting to wowed. And I hated it. I really wanted to like it, but after about ten minutes, I had to click away from boredom. A little while later, I decided to give it another chance. After all, ten minutes really wasn't that long. This time I lasted fifteen minutes (unfair, I know, but I was really bored). I gave it one more chance, lasting about twenty minutes, and I decided to give up on the show. Flashforward to this weekend. I was bored, and being the loser that I am, had nothing to do. After reading another list of best television shows that included Firefly, I was inspired to give it a final chance. I got to about the twenty minute mark, finding the beginning more interesting than before but still not great. Then, it started to get kind of interesting. As the episode went on, I became more and more interested. I started to find out about the characters, almost all of whom were intriguing. When Simon and River came into the show, is probably when I really started to wonder what was going to happen.

I was still not completely sold on the show, but by the end of it, I had enjoyed the first episode. So, I watched the next one. I started to get a little more invested. Then I watched the next one, and I was even more invested. By around episode four or five, I understood why everyone raves about Firefly--it's an excellent show.

One of my favorite aspects of the show is the characters. I love seeing actors from Whedon's other shows reappear in Firefly. I have an immense like for the charming Nathan Fillion (which reminds me I totally forgot to mention my love for Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog earlier). But even not considering the actors that play them, all of the characters are really interesting. There's not really one of the main characters that I could say I don't enjoy watching. Which, honestly, I shouldn't be surprised about because creating interesting characters is a big strength of Whedon's.

I also really like that focus of the show often is the characters. While the plot of the show is interesting, its character interaction and development moments are often its greatest. I was somewhat wary about watching a "space western" as Firefly has been described because I'm not a huge fan of space shows or westerns. But somehow, I really am loving Firefly. While it is both of those things, it's also a show about humans interacting, and I really love that.

Okay, so that previous paragraph was kind of rambly, and that's probably a sign I should end this post soon before my caffeine boost kicks in even more. So, I think I will do that. I might post again when I've watched more of Firefly, and share my thoughts on the rest of the short-lived show. And considering how much I feel like procrastinating from my school work, that might be posted pretty soon.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Ordinary Family Pilot (Spoilers for pilot, I guess)

I watched the No Ordinary Family pilot about a month ago when ABC posted it online. I wrote a note or two about it and saved it as a draft, but I never got around to reviewing it. I honestly don't remember the pilot well enough to give a detailed review. So, I'll just share my basic thoughts on it:

I enjoyed the casting of the parents. I'm a fan of Julie Benz's from her work on Buffy and Angel, so I enjoyed seeing her again (I know she was on Dexter, but I've never watched that). I'd never seen Michael Chiklis in anything before, but I thought he was great for his role. I couldn't stand the daughter, but honestly, I'm not sure good casting would have fixed that. Her role was a one-note role, and that note was whiny. All she did in the pilot was whine and text. Oh, and she made oh-so-cool references to twitter and photoshop. I don't have much to say about the brother, but he was somewhat likeable. I really would have liked for the storyline about his not having a power to have been drawn out a bit more because I think it could have led to a good twist and some good conflict.

As for the show as a whole, I can't say I'm a fan. I found No Ordinary Family to be cliche and unoriginal. I don't mind that it's similar to The Incredibles or other shows; I just wish that it brought something new and interesting to the table. Obviously, as this was the pilot and was expositional, there's a lot of room for improvement. That being said, I probably won't watch again unless I happen to come upon it while flipping channels or the rest of the season gets rave reviews.

And one last thing. I don't remember who he played on No Ordinary Family now, but I wrote "7th Heaven dad!!!" in my notes. Just thought I'd share that little piece of information with you.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Leave Britney Alone": Glee's "Britney / Brittany"

Glee is a show that I have a love/hate relationship with (yeah, I just ended that with a preposition because I'm going colloquial style). I was hooked when it premiered back in May, but I've had some problems with it since then. I don't want to ramble too much on the subject, but basically, there's little to no character/plot development and the show is going in circles. I enjoy the dialogue and it's a fun show if I turn my mind off, but it could be much better and often ranges into hot mess territory.

But that's neither here nor there. Tonight's episode is the focus of my plot post. Did it have much plot/character development? No. Did it make much sense? Not really. Did I love it? Heck, yes. Why? It was fun, silly, and Britney-Spears-arific. "Britney/Brittany" definitely ranked among the most hyped episodes of Glee, but I felt no disappointment. Even though Britney appeared in maybe a total of a minute of the episode, it was fun to see an appearance from her and her songs were played all throughout the episode (with the exception of that one Paramore song).

As much as I loved the Britneyness of this episode, I also loved the Brittanyness. Although I was iffy about her character at first, Brittany is probably my favorite character of Glee now. She has some of the best lines and is a really fun character. She's usually pushed to the background, but in this episode, she was brought to the front and center. I loved that she got a chance to show off her dancing skills, even though she's normally a standout in any dance scene. I also loved that Brittany decided she's the best singer and deserves all the solos, even if just for the look on Rachel's face that it caused.

I thought there were some fun little quips in this episode such as "leave Brittany alone" "is this real life?" It's nice to see that the Glee writers watch youtube like the rest of us. Another shining line in "Britney/Brittany" was Finn's line about the guys "personifying" Rachel. Even though the dumb jock schtick is a little cliche, the writers normally manage to come up with great lines to go along with it.

As much as I loved seeing Uncle Jesse, I have to hate him for being the cause of Will's performing Toxic. That was just too much second-hand embarrassment for me to handle. I just hope the writers don't turn him into the cliche "secretly having bad intentions" guy. Emma deserves better than the kind-of-douchey-manwhore Will (speaking of Will's manwhore ways, I'd have loved to have heard Emma sing Womanizer about him).

I'm about to have to study for a test, so I'm going to end with this plea: please Glee writers, do not keep putting that creepy guy on Glee. He's been funny in the past, but he went too far tonight. I really don't want to subject myself to anything like that again.

Monday, September 6, 2010

10 Great Moments of Lost (Warning: Full of Spoilers)

If you're a Lost fan like me, you can probably understand how much I loved the show. And if you're not a fan, quit reading this spoilerific list and watch the show. Sure, over six seasons, it had plenty of bad moments (ahem, Stranger in a Strange Land). However, it had way more great moments, and in my opinion, the good definitely outweighed the bad. I thought I'd share some of my favorite here. Now, keep in mind, there's been a lot of Lost, and I've probably forgotten some of my favorite moments or couldn't find them on YouTube. So, this is in no way a definitive list, even for my humble opinion. In fact, I was going to call this "The Best Moments of Lost," but I think I'll just call it "10 Great Moments of Lost," instead.

Hurley's Explanation of Lost
This video won't embed.

Anyone who watches Lost should know that it's a show that towes a thin line between ridiculous and completely insanely awesome. When someone asks what it's about, it's hard to explain without sounding like a crazy person. This moment  is great because it serves to show just how many insane things have happened on Lost from the beginning of the show.

Ben Eats Breakfast

When Ben first appeared on Lost,  it would have been hard for anyone to guess just how much of a criminal mastermind he was going to turn out to be. Sure, it was logical to assume that he might have malicious motives, but that's simply because a rule of Lost seems to be assume guilty unless proven innocent. This scene gives the viewers a glimpse into the insanity that is Benjamin Linus.

The Awakenings

To many, the flashsideways aspect of season six was a disappointment. And although I didn't hate them, I was a little disappointed in their execution and the reveal of their true nature. Regardless of my feelings towards the flashsideways as a whole, I loved the "awakenings" that occurred during them. They were the perfect way to give Lost a sense of nostalgia as it was nearing its end. Maybe it's Michael Giacchino's beautiful music or possibly I'm just a sap, but the awakenings even made me tear up.

The Death of Charlie

In many shows, you can feel safe that your favorite main character will live to see the end of the show. Maybe some red shirts will die and a couple of minor characters will die, but as a whole, everyone who is generally liked and is a part of the core group is guaranteed safety. This is not the case on Lost. For several episodes before this, Desmond's "you're gonna die, Charlie" pretty much laid out what was going to happen. And it's to the credit of Lost, that they actually followed through.

Michael Shoots Libby and Ana Lucia

This would have to go down in my mind as possibly the most shocking moment in Lost. It was heartbreaking and yet slightly satisfying. Like many people, I was not a fan of Ana Lucia. I spent much of season two wishing that they would kill her off, and surprisingly, my wish was granted (if only my wishing power had applied to Kate). But my heart broke a little bit at seeing Libby die, especially as she and Hurley were about to go on their first date. This moment was not only shocking because it contained the death of two characters of medium importance. It also contained the transformation of one of the main characters into a murderer.

"Don't Tell Me What I Can't Do"

Throughout the six seasons of Lost, there were a number of catchphrases that our favorite (or least favorite) characters uttered repeatedly. One of the most prominent of those was "Don't tell me what I can't do." This phrase was said in a variety of places, by a variety of characters, in a variety of contexts. The first proclamation of this was in the office of the walkabout company by John Locke in an effort to overcome his disability (sounds a bit like Clue, doesn't it). This is the scene where we, the audience, learn that the island has somehow "fixed" John and is one of the first major "why the face" mysteries of the island.

"We Have to Go Back"

Another catchphrase of Lost, albeit one that's been ridiculed a bit more, is Jack's "we have to go back." Although many mock the phrase, I absolutely love the scene in which it was first said. As you can probably tell from some of my other choices, I love those scenes in Lost that blew my mind and left me in shock. This would have to be one of those. Laugh if you must, but in my shock, I initially thought that this scene meant Jack and Kate somehow knew each other before the island. When I heard "we have to go back," however, I realized that Lost was going to make a gutsy move and actually allow some of our castaways to escape the island. The idea that not only did some escape the island, but Jack actually wanted to go back provided an intriguing setup for season four.

Opening Scene

Lost's philosophy often seems to be "show now, explain later." So, it's no surprise that the show opens in medias res. Our first glimpse of Lost is a man lying in a field, but we quickly see the wreckage of a plane crash. By initially leaving us clueless as to the situations and characters that we see, it puts us in the mindset of the flight's passengers, one of chaos and terror. This scene introduces us to Lost without really introducing us to anyone in Lost.
The Final Scene

Like the flashsideways and pretty much the entirety of season six, the finale of Lost was widely debated. Some absolutely loved it, but others felt cheated by a show in which they had invested so much time. I'd have to say that my opinion of it fell somewhere in the middle; I enjoyed it, but I was also fairly disappointed. Regardless of my opinion of the finale as a whole, I thought the final scene was near perfect. In a sense, it was a joyful scene featuring the reuniting of couples and characters that hadn't seen each other in seasons. On the other hand, even though I had mixed feeling about him, it was heartbreaking to see Jack stumble to the first place he had ever been on the island. The symmetry of Jack's ending and Jack's beginning was one of the most narratively beautiful things I've seen on television. And like pretty much every other scene on this list, the score adds a strong layer of emotion to the scene. The mixture of happy and sad emotions evoked by this closing moment has me sobbing almost any time I watch this scene.

The Desmond-Penny Phone Call
Embedding is disabled, but you know it's worth it to take that extra .2 seconds and click the link.
Out of all the scenes in Lost, this is probably the scene that I've youtubed the most times. Everything in this scene is just on point. The thoroughly convincing acting, the beautiful score, and the enduring love between Desmond and Penny hits all of my emotional buttons. This scene definitely makes a strong argument for Desmond and Penny being the cutest couple in all of Lost. I get the warm fuzzies (and I'll try to never use that phrase again) just thinking about it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pretty Little Liars: "The Jenna Thing"

     A couple years back, I received the first Pretty Little Liars book as a bonus that came with a book I was reviewing for the Harper Teen "First Look" program. By the time I was finished with Pretty Little Liars book, I was hooked and quickly bought the rest of the books in the series that were in bookstores at the time. I greatly enjoyed the series and continued to read them until the fourth book. After reading the fourth book, I was disappointed and lost interest. I believe that several more books have been written since then, and I may one day check them out.

      I know what you're thinking, "Why is she going on a tirade about the book series when this is a review of the show?" The answer is that I thought I should mention that I've read the books because that could influence my view of the series.

      The second episode of Pretty Little Liars seemed to be more of a filler episode than anything. To be honest, that's not necessarily surprising. Many events and quite a bit of exposition was revealed in the first episode. This episode spent most of its time developing these ideas rather than adding a lot of new ones.

      So, what happened in "The Jenna Thing?" (This whole paragraph is spoilerific. So, beware if you haven't watched yet). Aria attempted to suppress the attraction she feels for her English teacher, Ezra, by avoiding him. Unfortunately for her, the attempt is unsuccessful. Her request to drop his class is denied, and she runs into him at a movie theater, leading to a extremely awkward movie watching experience when her mom invites him to sit with them. Then, she later catches a ride home with him (I didn't really understand where her mom disappeared to), and I think, she makes out with him in the car (I'm not 100% sure that happened, but I feel like it did). Spencer, who honestly looks like she's about 40 (maybe that's her real secret), makes out with her sister's boyfriend (whose name I can't remember). Her attraction to him seems to stem from his normalcy that contrasts to her family's overachieving nature, and most likely, his Britishness. Ok, maybe I'm just projecting on the British-accent-attraction thing. Hannah goes shopping with her friend, Mona, and is given a threatening "I know you know who killed your friend" speech compliments of the cop that hooked up with her mom. Emily continues to be attracted to Maya and has a steamy PDA session with her boyfriend, Ben (I'm pretty sure that's his name). Then, there are several flashbacks, revealing juicy secrets like: the "Jenna Thing" was accidentally blinding Jenna in an attempt to get revenge on her pervy brother and Ali made them all friendship bracelets. Then, at the end of the episode, Spencer sees Jenna with some texting device set up. Because, of course, they'd reveal who A was in the second episode.

      Overall, I thought this episode was kind of blah. I understand that a slower-paced episode was needed after the fast pace of the first one, but this episode kind of bored me. It had some nice moments like Spencer's families one-upping each other game and any moment where Spencer's sister's boyfriend talked. I also enjoyed the relationship between Aria and her mom. I thought it was cute how her mom was gossiping with her about people. Also, the acting is still not great on this show overall. I know that this is an abcfamily show, and that I shouldn't expect emmy-winning performances.  Maybe it's not Secret Life level of bad, but it's bad just the same. Still, this is only the second episode, and there's a good chance it will get better as times goes on.

      While that last sentence was in reference to the acting, it pretty much describes my thoughts on the show. I'll probably keep watching for a while to see if it improves.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Last Song

If you are a person who cringes when you see The Notebook on television or look with distaste upon the placement of a Nicolas Sparks novel on a bestseller list, you're most likely not going to like his newest movie, The Last Song.

On the other hand, if you loved watching A Walk to Remember and anxiously await each new Nicolas Sparks novel, you probably still won't like The Last Song.

The Last Song is the story of a sullen teenager, Ronnie Miller, and the summer she spends with her estranged father. During the summer, she forms friendships, makes enemies, finds love (shocker), faces tragedy (what else would you expect from Nicolas Sparks?), and forms a strange attachment to a nest of sea turtles. Sure it's not an Oscar-winning plot, but it's typical, cheesy Nicolas Sparks fare. I enjoyed the novel adaption of the book for what it was--a fun, short read. However, I found no such enjoyment in the movie.

There were many problems I had with The Last Song. The first of which being the movie's lead, Miley Cyrus. It would've been shocking if Miley's acting in the movie had been great, but I at least expected her to be able to tackle this fairly unchallenging material. Unfortunantly, even a decent performance was too much to ask of her. When Miley wasn't unflatteringly puckering up her lips seemingly in an attempt to copy Keira Knightly's signature expression, she was spitting out lines with acting even less convincing than you find on her show, Hannah Montana.

In fact, as I watched The Last Song, I felt as if I were watching an extended episode of Hannah Montana--a really bad extended episode of Hannah Montana. When Ronnie tells her crush that she has a secret to reveal, I half expected her to tell him that she's secretly a pop star. Most of the jokes seemed to be geared a those 12 and under rather than at a teen audience. I found one scene, in which Ronnie has a cartoonish faceoff with a raccoon to be particularly excruciating. 

The movie's faults cannot be solely contributed to Miley's poor performance. Even a more talented actress couldn't have saved this train wreck of a film. Given that I enjoyed the novel, I was surprised to find the Sparks actually wrote the movie script before he wrote the book. That being so, I would have to say that the movie was like a really poor rough draft that he cleaned up to publish as a book. While the book had blatant foreshadowing that would be nearly impossible to miss (in fact, it probably could have done with less foreshadowing), the movie had almost none. Events just seemed to happen with no building action. Ronnie goes from a rebellious teenager (although that really seemed to consist of a pout, black clothing, and a nose stud) to a sunny girl admitting her love for a boy (that she's dated, at most, a couple of weeks) in the span of a song.

I'd try to sum up my opinion of the movie, but I think I've already made my distaste of it fairly clear.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shutter Island

The movie Shutter Island has received quite a bit of hype lately. I can't count how many people I've heard talking about how scary the "old woman from the trailer" is. So, of course, I went to see it last night.

For those of you who don't know what the movie is about, here's a brief synopsis. Searching for the missing patient of a mental institution, Marshals Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) travel to Shutter Island. When they witness strange events and warnings, they start to realize that all is not as it appears.

In the spirit of keeping things unspoiled, I'll try not to give much more of the plot away than that. Personally, I was slightly disappointed with Shutter Island. I really like it, but from the recommendations I heard, I expected more.

First, I'll list what I thought worked about the movie. The acting in the movie, especially DiCaprio's, was excellent. I also thought Michelle Williams, who I'd not seen much of before, did a great job. Cinematographicly (which I doubt is an actual word), the movie was stunning. The cinematography gives the movie an overall creepy vibe even when the actual on the screen is less than scary.

Now for what didn't work. I've seen multiple trailers toting how surprising and unpredictable Shutter Island is. Honestly, if you've seen some of the early trailers, you won't be surprised. The ending wasn't terrible, but I expected something more. I must confess that the ending was, in my eyes, somewhat redeemed by one of the movie's final lines. I haven't read the book the the movie is based on, but interestingly, I've read that this line (I'm sure those of you who have seen it know the line I'm talking about) was a movie-only line.

Overall, I'd have to say that Shutter Island wasn't terrible, but it wasn't too great either. Perhaps my expectations were too high coming into the movie. I expected a lot, and it simply didn't deliver. I'd say that it's worth seeing but not a must see.

Note: I completely forgot about this post, and it's been in edit purgatory since I wrote the review.