Demotivational Poster of the Day

Demotivational Poster of the Day

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Horror: Bloody Disgusting

If you prefer severed limbs to George Clooney's devastating charm, feast on BloodyDisgusting.com, the No. 1 source for all things horror. Get updated-daily news, reviews, interviews, and video on everything from flicks, to video games, to music, to comics, plus the largest online horror community replete with message boards, user reviews, and blogs -- snatch up Write-Mare on Elm Street before it's too late.


Get waist-deep in gore at BloodyDisgusting.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Orphan (2009)

Kate and John Coleman are rebuilding their troubled marriage. Kate had a drinking problem, but is in therapy and is doing well. She has been sober for one year. The couple decides to adopt a child. When they meet the nine-year-old Russian girl, Esther, at the St. Marina Orphanage, they immediately fall in love with the well-educated orphan. Their young son, Daniel, is hostile to his new sister; but their deaf-mute daughter, little Max, is enchanted with her - at first. Eventually, Kate begins to feel that Esther is manipulative and possibly even psychologically disturbed. John refuses to listen to his wife's misgivings, and the wounds in their marriage reopen. Kate calls Sister Abigail at the orphanage, and the nun informs her that Esther has a troubled and mysterious history. Kate delves further into Esther's past and discovers she is not at all who she pretends to be.


"There's something wrong with Esther," but there's something very right about The Orphan, an intense thriller about a seemingly innocent Russian orphan named Esther who is adopted by a presently happy Coleman family with a few skeletons in the closet themselves. Needless to say, there is more to Esther than meets the eye, as the Coleman family soon discovers. I suspected that the talented pair of Vera Farmiga (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) and Peter Sarsgaard (Garden State) would elevate this movie to a higher level, and I was correct. They play the new parents, and made you take everything more seriously, even if certain turns of events were less than credible. Sure, the evil child thing has been recycled since the days of The Omen or even The Good Son, but the surprise ending puts an interesting new spin on the entire movie. I honestly was surprised, which is a rarity with these types of movies, which can be a dime a dozen. Isabelle Fuhrman (Birth) plays Esther, and she pulls off the transition between cherubic and demonic with pizazz. Also noteworthy was the adorable Aryana Engineer who plays the youngest daughter in the Coleman family; she is so precious and innocent that the scenes with her were almost too difficult to bear. The only downfall for me was the opening scene, which was a little too over-the-top for this otherwise fairly original movie. The Orphan makes you shudder and flinch more than it makes you jump, but it will have you checking over your shoulder long after the credits have rolled (and even those are creepy by the way).


****/*****


4/5 Stars

9 (2009)

When 9 first comes to life, he finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world where all humans are gone, and it is only by chance that he discovers a small community of others like him taking refuge from fearsome machines that roam the earth intent on their extinction. Despite being the neophyte of the group, 9 convinces the others that hiding will do them no good. They must take the offensive if they are to survive, and they must discover why the machines want to destroy them in the first place. As they'll soon come to learn, the very future of civilization may depend on them.


Strangely, this movie was not good or bad, and I am actually wondering how I feel about it. The animation is really great, but I could not get involved with the characters or story line. It is an interesting premise, but there are huge holes in the story, and many times you are left thinking "Um, why did that just happen? I don't get it". I know there are deeper meanings in the story (without giving anything away): where the main characters, who are little dolls, came from; what happened to the world before they were created; the rise and fall of humanity, etc... But even though there are serious and real messages and emotions laced through this movie, I did not feel anything as I watched it. Some characters die, some live, and at the end I moved on to something else with only a bit of confusion. Though the story is original, the characters are not, and there is no development of any of them. The movie is watchable and entertaining, and you will pass a little over an hour of fairly interesting time.


***/*****


3/5 Stars

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pandorum (2009)

Two crew members are stranded on a spacecraft and quickly - and horrifically - realize they are not alone. Two astronauts awaken in a hyper-sleep chamber aboard a seemingly abandoned spacecraft. It's pitch black, they are disoriented, and the only sound is a low rumble and creak from the belly of the ship. They can't remember anything: Who are they? What is their mission? With Lt. Payton staying behind to guide him via radio transmitter, Cpl. Bower ventures deep into the ship and begins to uncover a terrifying reality. Slowly the spacecraft's shocking, deadly secrets are revealed...and the astronauts find their own survival is more important than they could ever have imagined.


If you think about the long term effects of global warming, and the idea of other earth like planets in the universe, added to the fragile survival of the human race, this a great movie that sparks your imagination. The film begins with a man waking up from a hyper-sleep. Because he's been asleep for so long, he has amnesia. The audience learns as he does about the gigantic, warehouse-like ship that is actually a shuttle for the remaining human race. Earth at this point, has killed off the human population entirely. Thousands of people, animal and plant specimens are being transported to a planet 40 light years away. It was supposed to be a 145 year trip, and the humans on board aren't sure how long it's been. Because the ship is nuclear powered, the reactor is about to shut down, and the lead character (Ben Foster) is trained to keep the reactor working. On his way to the reactor, he meets a scientist and farmer. They both have to engage with highly evolved (or devolved?), cannibalistic humans that hunt and eat the humans that are automatically waking up from hyper sleep. All of this story line is hard to discern from the first viewing. If you watch it again, with the behind-the-scenes featurette on the film, it makes the movie easier to understand. It has some truly heart pounding moments, and you have to appreciate that this film was filmed with as little CGI as possible. Most scenes have backdrops that are highly elaborate sets, and the indigenous ship-cannibals are played by very athletic dancers under some amazing make-up. It's worth a viewing, if you're imaginative enough to appreciate it.


****/*****


4/5 Stars

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Our Man Flint (1966)


When the intelligence agencies of the world find that their agents are being murdered at an alarming rate their leaders all write out the qualities an agent will need to succede against the terrible crisis they are facing. Derick Flint is the only agent with all the qualities, but his old boss refuses to work with him until ordered to by the president. Flint is the worlds greatest secret agent, worlds greatest lover, an expert on electronics and Dolphin speech and goes to Moscow for Ballet (To Teach!) When attempts on his life are made, Flint begins to search out the mad scientists who want to remake the world after taking over with the aid of their earthquake machine.

Making a good James Bond spoof is hard enough today, as Mike Myers' increasingly tired "Austin Powers" series proved with its latest installment. Making one in the go-go 1960s, with Sean Connery in his 007 prime and the temptation to plunge into campy stupidity at an all-time high, would seem to have been almost impossible. But somehow, "Our Man Flint" pulls it off. With wit that's as light as a feather and as dry as a martini, the film strikes a classy balance between its spoofing of superspy tropes (the gorgeous women, the island volcano headquarters) and the deadpan performance of James Coburn as Derek Flint. Coburn brings a catlike suaveness to the absurdly competent Flint, whose pocket lighter boasts no less than 86 different functions. ("Eighty-seven," he blithely observes, "if you wish to light a cigar.") The writing is often smarter than you'd expect it to be, including a trio of morally shaded villains and some clever criticism of the spy genre's objectification of women. (Flint is respectful, caring, and never less than a gentleman to the women in his life. All five of them.) Watch "Our Man Flint" to see where the shagadelic Mr. Powers lifted some of his best material.

I probably would've liked it more if it wasn't made before my time. I'm just not a superfan of older movies.


***/*****

3/5 Stars

Friday, February 19, 2010

When your kodak moment becomes stolen....

I got these e-mailed to me and they were funny, so I thought I would share them with THE WORLD... or at least my 13 followers...

Dog pooping is always funny!
Dogs doing "the nasty" has to be funnier! Look, even the little girl is laughing!


I shuddered a little bit when I saw this. Such a nice wedding photo!


Even Scooby and Shaggy know what's up!




When you want a drink, you get a damn drink!




I gotta say... I'd be doing the same thing!




This is a keeper to show the grandkids!



Nice pose... for both of them...





Monday, February 15, 2010

Badass Wall Decals

Stick-on pad pimping
What you hang on your walls can express your appreciation for Picasso's groundbreaking reflections on war and its aftermath, or just what you really learned in college. Span that gap, with Badass Wall Decals.
Offering an alternative to traditional wall art, NC-based Bad produces surprisingly accomplished but not-too-mature, easy-to-install stick-on cutouts ranging from cars, to abstract designs, to irreverent pop culture references, and that's what she said. All decals come in 40+ colors, with gems from categories like Sports (a moto rider doing a wheelie, Muhammad Ali inside the ropes...a battleship?), Animals (a wolf's face, an ambling chimp) and Women, like two nekkid silhouetted girls facing each other plus another with six chicks in different suggestive poses, none of which suggest you have any class. The Humorous section serves up a giant outline of a hand doing the shocker, and really-not-that-funny Frank the Bunny from Donnie Darko, while standouts from the People category include Pulp Fiction's Jules & Vincent with guns drawn, an American flag-waving Borat, and Bruce Lee lunging fist-forward, a great way to keep a shamed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from coming over and taking up all that space on your couch.


If you prefer lavatorial art, Bad's got a handful of cleverly suggestive decals designed specifically for your crapper, including a mushroom cloud, a gas mask, and a series of bombs -- they depict the war, but it's on you to light a match to limit the aftermath.


Check the stock and watch just how easy they are to install at BadassWallDecals.com

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Defiance (2008)

In 1941, in Belorussia, the Jewish Bielski brothers succeed in escaping from the massacre of the German in their village where their parents were killed. They hide in the woods and sooner other runaway Jews join them. Tuvia Bielski, the eldest brother, assumes the leadership of the survivors and plans a camp with tasks for everyone in the community; however, his brother Zus Bielski wants to fight against the Germans and does not agree with Tuvia's directions. Zus decides to join the Russian resistance that believes that Jews do not fight. While Tuvia welcomes any survivor in his camp with his two younger brothers and fight for food and ammunition, Zus finds anti-Semitism among the Russian partisans.


Part Schindler, part Robin Hood, and part Moses, Tuvia Bielski (D Craig) slipped into the vast Belarusian wood with his two brothers in 1941 to avoid being captured and executed by the Nazis. Over the course of the next three years, the brothers Bielski collected, protected, cared for, and ultimately saved 1200 of their fellow Jews from the gas chambers. It's one of the most uplifting stories of the century, but few have heard of them until now, and for that reason alone, Defiance is worth seeing. It does an excellent job of recreating the harrowing history of these survivors, creating a type of man-vs-nature narrative that is most unusual for a Holocaust story, but in doing so, it gives us a film that lacks a much needed dose of dramatic tension. Perhaps the single greatest problem in Defiance is Zwick's 2-hour (!?) focus on the story's protagonists while denying us a well-developed human antagonist. Instead, we get lots of trees, snow, starving refugees, and the occasional gunfight, but little else. Somewhere out there was a very angry Nazi captain desperate to catch these runaway Jews and the men who were protecting them. No doubt he was a despicable character, but we don't get to meet him... much less hate him. In his place stands the Belarusian winter, which may have been harsh, but it isn't particularly scary. Craig and Schreiber are both excellent, but they needed more to work with. See it for its strong acting and for the much needed history lesson, but be prepared for the vague letdown that follows.


****/*****


4/5 Stars

From Paris with Love (2010)

A personal aide to U.S. Ambassador in France, James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) has an enviable life in Paris and a beautiful French girlfriend, but his real passion is his side job as a low-level operative for the CIA. All James wants is to become a bona fide agent and see some real action. So when he's offered his first senior-level assignment, he can't believe his good luck until he meets his new partner, special agent Charlie Wax (John Travolta) - a trigger-happy, wisecracking, loose cannon who's been sent to Paris to stop a terrorist attack. Wax leads James on a white-knuckle shooting spree through the Parisian underworld that has James praying for his desk job. But when James discovers he's a target of the same crime ring they're trying to bust, he realizes there's no turning back...and that Wax himself might be his only hope for making it through the next forty-eight hours alive.


Doesn't quite have the stones Taken does, but still kicks all kinds of ass. What you have here is essentially a buddy cop movie; Jonathan Rhys Meyers is the down-to-earth one, just trying to get by and do his job, while John Travolta is the over-the-top insane loose cannon. They team up to fight terrorism in Paris. This movie goes from slow to outrageous very quickly and at one very well defined point. When John Travolta enters the movie, he's just this completely deranged head-case, and so much so that he's just flat out entertaining to watch. Even though it's by the same director as Taken, it's a completely different type of action movie. Taken is a revenge-filled Punisher type of film, while this is more of a gunfights-to-rock music romp. If you like fun action movies, you'll probably like this just so long as you don't go into it looking for a story; Pierre Morel has never been a really good story teller (although to be fair, it's not a terribly good story to begin with), but what he really is is one extremely talented action director, and one that I am excited to see what he does next. It does contain everything that is spoofed in Hot Fuzz, but it is still a good, solid action movie.


***/*****


3/5 Stars... even though Travolta looks mighty weird with a bald head...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gamer (2009)

Set in a future-world where humans can control other humans in mass-scale, multi-player online gaming environments, a star player from a game called "Slayers" looks to regain his independence while taking down the game's mastermind.


The idea behind Gamer (2009) is simple, we have another cautionary tale about the dangers of technology mixing with morality in our modern world. It is another look at what might happen when runaway science meets up with cold callous business world facts and profits. Gerard Butler plays the lead role of the deathrow inmate that is fighting in a game while being puppeted by a hotshot nerdy teenage tactical player. Michael C Hall is great but under utilized, Butler spends alot of time on screen but really is nothing more that a muscled up killing machine and also under utilized. The best work comes from Valletta and Sedgwick but isn't enough to carry the film. At 95 minutes for an action thriller of this scope it seems a little on the short side and might have been the victim of over editing.

With an allstar cast of Leonidis from 300!


...Dexter Morgan from Dexter!


...Cheeseburger from The Longest Yard!



...and the guy from Heroes playing a character named Rick Rape...

I liked the actors in the movie. I enjoyed it a little. This movie could've been a lot better, but with me enjoying violence and Rick Rape... I'll have to give it 3/5 stars.

***/*****


3/5 Stars



Thursday, February 11, 2010

Highlights from WWE 4th quarter call with Vince McMahon

From Prowrestling.net:

-Vince McMahon summed up the performance for 2009 as "not great, but good." He noted that live events is a key barometer when it comes to determining where the company is and where it's headed. He noted that the live events category had increased. Vince noted that they reduced their expenses. He noted they cut their head count by 10 percent and were more efficient with advertising.

-Vince said the U.S. television audience grew by 800,000 viewers. He said Raw is "one of our key programs" has shown an 11 percent increase in household ratings. He spoke about how there are more alternatives on television, so he's proud of the increase. McMahon also reminded listeners that they created WWE Superstars. He said the idea is to create a show and then distribute it nationally.

-Vince said they plan to work with China on live events and expanding their television within the country.

-Vince said they are in a partnership with Mattel. He noted that the litigation with their previous toy distributor is complete.

-Vince noted that Basil DeVito has been unanimously elected to the board of directors.

-CFO George Barrios took listeners through the financial report. He noted that there were some one-time expenses, specifically a $6.4 million charge associated with a prior business partner.

-The pay-per-view schedule for 2010 has been reduced to 13 events. Barrios noted that they increased the non-WrestleMania pay-per-view price by five dollars.

-DVD shipments were down 14 percent compared to the previous year.

-WWE publishing remained "flat," according to Barrios. He chalked it up to increased distribution costs.

-The company has $37 million in capitalized film production on the balance sheet.

-WWE has targeted "strengthening global television distribution, exploiting the new licensing agreement with Mattel, and continuing to manage costs and improve operating efficiencies" areas where investors can expect growth.

-With the presentation concluded, they began taking phone calls. The first caller asked how much growth can be expected due to their partnership with Mattel. WWE executive Donna Goldsmith didn't put a percentage on it, but she noted that they expect "tremendous" growth.

-The company is hopeful that their new DVD distribution deal with Vivendi will lead to growth in home video. Goldsmith noted that rental business is improving, which said is new. She noted that they will use different distribution partners outside North America.

-The second caller expressed concern over the pay-per-view price increase, noting that it seems "aggressive" given the state of the economy. Goldsmith said they feel good going into the new year that they made the right decision. She noted the Royal Rumble pay-per-view preliminary numbers indicate that they made the right decision.

-WWE has a meeting scheduled with Red Box this week regarding DVDs. She noted that they are also talking with Netflix.

-A caller asked about WWE launching it's own television network. Vince said they are doing due diligence at this point. He said he thinks it could be a "really big game changer" for the company. "We are pursuing that and taking the next steps," Vince said.

-The caller asked how a WWE network would affect existing deals with their current television partners. Vince said their strategy would be to retain as many cable affiliates as they could have while pushing their own network. He said he hopes Raw remains on USA Network for years to come. He noted that he hopes Smackdown has a strong network whether it be MyNetwork TV or elsewhere.

-Vince said the company moves quickly and he hopes that they launch the WWE network with in the next 18 months.

-Another caller asked if they need to have their new media center in place before the WWE network launches. Barrios said they need to launch the new media center regardless of whether they add the network. He said they made the call to delay the media center previously, but now he feels they need it "sooner rather than later."

-The caller asked about the decreased Survivor Series pay-per-view numbers. Vince said he believes the title is "obsolete." He said many years ago it was one of the original four. "It's outlasted it's usage." He said they will no longer use that title going forward.

-The call concluded without anyone asking questions about the NXT television show. It was never mentioned during the presentation or call.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's Always Sunny.... ON LOST?!


I am a huge fan of ABC's LOST and FX's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. They have to be two of my TOP 10 Television Shows outside of my obsession with Reality TV! After school, I rushed home during the snow... (rushing last night consisted of going 25-30 mph!) and started to watch LOST and while doing so, I was both shocked and excited to see the one and only Mac from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He was in a past episode in Season 3, I think, but it was such a short role that I don't remember him being there.

So, now the fun-loving, sleeveless comedy t-shirt wearing, "tough guy" of Philly was on the mysterious island as an "Other"! This was so exciting! I guess it's really the little things that excite me, huh? So, I was watching it and examining it and loving it. Then at the end, when he was all full of attitude and about to shoot Kate in the face... CLAIRE shows up out of nowhere all Rousso-like and kills him! I was like "What the hell...?" After being sad for a few moments, I came to the realization that he can't be on that show AND in Philly!

Now, if he were Nightman, he so would've survived those shots by dodging those bullets with his ninja cat-like reflexes! He was so good in that musical adaptation. lol



Now, all LOST needs is a random Green Man to show up and run around crazy-like causing mayhem and my entertainment will be complete. JJ Abrams... read this blog and listen to me... bring THE GREEN MAN onto LOST! DO IT!

Funny youtube videos: Street Ninja

Funny youtube videos: Street Ninja

Pike Brothers

Throwback gear from a former military supplier


Companies who make stuff for the military often branch out into regular-people products, from fighter jet maker Northrop-Grumman's mail trucks...yeah, good ol' Northrop-Grumman. For duds from a former military garbsmith, check out Pike Brothers.


Founded by two London bros whom US soldiers relied on for uniforms during WWII, Pike now pumps out cool vintage-y workwear-feeling denim, jackets, and shirts in a style they describe as "tough and sturdy" and "inspired by 1930s-50s America", letting everyone remember the halcyon days of total nationwide financial insolvency and world wars. Their stock of jeanery starts with the loose-fitting raw indigo 1937 Roamer with "suspender buttons", the slightly darker regular fit 1955 Engineer (woven on a vintage 1950s shuttle loom), and a pair of unwashed 5-pocket US Army jeans reproduced with authentic 30s features like zinc Army buttons, so when you see old people you can casually point to your crotch and ask "remember these?". Torso-wise, there's the 2-pocket dark blue flight jacket-ish Hybrid with an alpaca wool lining, plus the B-10 jacket with a cotton satin shell featuring an Air Force insignia on the shoulder and Pike's crown & stars logo on the back; rounding everything out're a couple sweatshirts and vintage-y graphic tees, some referencing particular Air Force & Navy units, and others printed with "V for Victory", which outsells 10-to-1 "V for Virginity".


If you're craving some next level workwear, Pike's got a pair of old school denim overalls and a ridiculous set of jumpsuit-esque denim coveralls complete with a "period-style" zipper and zinc snaps, all to better keep private what you've got going on down Southrop: your good ol' male truck.


This stuff's the real deal, so check it out at PikeBrothersShop.com

Monday, February 8, 2010

'Lost' Questions to Think About: Part 3

21. Frank Lapidus

Why does the island want Frank? He was scheduled to pilot Flight 815 (episode 4x2, Confirmed Dead) and ended up flying Ajira 316. Bram asked if he was a "candidate" and Ilana replied that he was "important." (Episode 5x16, The Incident)

22. Who was Cesar?

Apparently Cesar distrusted Ilana, because he concealed the Dharma diagrams and shotgun that he found. (Episode 5x7, The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham) Did Cesar know Ilana's identity, and was he working for the other side?

23. Appendectomy

What is the significance of Jack's appendectomy? (Episode 4x10, Something Nice Back Home)


Some of these questions, I didn't even think of. Great! Now I have EVEN MORE QUESTIONS! I both hate and love this show at the same exact time...

'Lost' Questions to Think About: Part 2

11. Widmore

How did Widmore leave the island and return regularly? (Episode 5x12, Dead is Dead) Did he use the underground time wheel for this purpose? Widmore knew the location of the time portal's exit and kept it under constant surveillance (episode 5x7, The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham).

How did Widmore become so wealthy and powerful after his banishment?

12. Ben

Why did Ben have multiple passports and currencies? (Episode 4x3, The Economist) Why was Miles so certain that Ben could come up with $3.2 million? (Episode 4x4, Eggtown)

Who was the woman for whom Juliet became a substitute in Ben's mind, and what became of her? In episode 4x6, The Other Woman, the therapist (Harper Stanhope) said, "You look just like her."

13. Walt

What's the extent of Walt's powers and why does he have them? Miss Klugh asked Michael if Walt ever appeared somewhere he wasn't supposed to be. (Episode 2x22, Three Minutes) And Ben told Michael, "We got more than we bargained for when Walt joined us." (Episode 2x23, Live Together, Die Alone)

Is Walt still connected to the island? He told Locke that he still dreams about the people there. (Episode 5x7, The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham) Did Walt make psychic contact with Locke through a dream when he appeared to him at the ditch? (Episode 3x22, Through the Looking Glass)

14. Radio Tower

Who recorded the original message with the repeating numbers and when? Danielle Rousseau had recorded over the message to record her distress call, which Shannon translated. (Episode 1x2, Pilot Part 2)

15. Rousseau

What was Danielle Rousseau's team's real mission? Sayid aptly observed, "A science team armed with rifles?" (Episode 1x9, Solitary)

16. Claire

Who arranged Claire's arrival on the island and for what purpose? Richard Malkin (the Australian psychic) tricked Claire into boarding Flight 815. (Episode 1x10, Raised by Another) Yet Malkin admitted to Eko that he was a fake, saying "I gather intelligence on people and I exploit it." (Episode 2x21, ?). Who was Malkin working for?

17. Aaron

Hurley told Jack that an apparition of Charlie left a message: "You're not supposed to raise him, Jack." (Episode 4x10, Something Nice Back Home) Does the island want Aaron back? Is he destined to be an Other because he was born on the island? Was this the same reason that Ethan became an Other, assuming he's the baby born to Horace and Amy in episode 5x9, Namaste?

18. Procreation Issue

Juliet said the problem with pregnant women dying was an immune system dysfunction that attacked fetus and mother. (Episode 3x16, One of Us) When and why did this come about on the island, and only for babies conceived on the island?

19. The Cabin

Who looked out at Hurley before Locke arrived? (Episode 4x1, The Beginning of the End)

20. Penny

Why had Penny hired scientists to look for a magnetic anomaly? (Episode 2x23, Live Together, Die Alone) Who was her mother, the "outsider" with whom Widmore fathered her? (Episode 5x12, Dead is Dead)

'Lost' Questions to Think About: Part 1

ABC's Lost has been one of my favorite shows since it started. It pisses me off by answering 1 question, but giving us 3 more. I saw this article today that brought up some pretty good questions and thought I'd relay them here!

1. The Hatch (Swan Station)

After the Purge, who regularly placed food and supplies outside the hatch (The Swan Station)? Was it really the Others, and did they put Dharma logos on the supplies to deceive the hatch's occupants so they'd keep pushing the button? In (episode 2x18, Dave), Charlie theorized that the hatch locked down so its residents couldn't see who left the food.

Why didn't the Others ever take over the hatch, choosing instead to monitor it from the Pearl station? (Ep: 3x14, Expose)

Why did Radzinsky splice out the one piece of the orientation tape that warned against using the computer for communication, and hide it in a Bible on the other side of the island? ((Ep: 2x9, What Kate Did and Ep: 2x23, Live Together, Die Alone)

2. The Time Loop

Has the time loop already repeated multiple times, and can Eloise remember what happens each time? In the "Lost Time Loop" discussion, Cooperdale observed that Eloise knew all the major elements in the loop from Daniel's journal. Yet Eloise also knew things that couldn't be in the journal. In episode 3x8, Flashes Before Your Eyes she knew that the man in the red sneakers would be crushed and said, "The universe has a way of course correcting." And in episode 5x6, 316 she told Desmond, "..the island's not done with you yet," implying that she may know his future.

3. Eloise and Widmore

Are Eloise and Widmore working together to fulfill the time loop, or are they on opposite sides?

It appears that both wanted Desmond on the island. Eloise tracked Desmond; she befriended the abbot of his monastery (photo on desk in episode 3x17, Catch 22) and anticipated his arrival at the jewelry store (episode 3x8, Flashes Before Your Eyes). Widmore sponsored the race that shipwrecked Desmond. Both told Daniel to go to the island on the freighter. (Episode 5x14, The Variable)

Yet Eloise helped at least one of Widmore's enemies (Ben) return to the island, and may have helped two more to get there. In episode 5x16, The Incident, it was clear that Bram and Ilana knew Ajira 316 would take them to the island. Did they learn that from Eloise?

4. Libby

Was Libby an agent of Widmore's when she gave Desmond the sailboat (episode 2x23, Live Together, Die Alone)? Was she spying on Hurley in the mental hospital (episode 2x18, Dave), and on whose orders?

5. McCutcheon Whiskey

Does McCutcheon Whiskey indicate a connection to Widmore? It first appeared in Sawyer's stash (episode 3x8, Flashes Before Your Eyes), which means it belonged to another passenger on Flight 815. After Widmore used it to humiliate Desmond (same episode), it appeared again in the hotel room of Locke's father (episode 3x13, The Man From Tallahassee) and Ilana recognized that Sayid was drinking it when they first met at the bar (episode 5x10, He's Our You). Who was the mystery passenger on Flight 815 with the McCutcheon -- perhaps Libby? Did Locke's father and Ilana ever cross paths with Widmore or his associates?

6. Hurley

Has Hurley's purpose been fulfilled? The other people transported back to the 1970s played a visibly important role (in Ethan's birth, taking Ben to the Others, fighting Dharma security forces during the Incident). Hurley's role during that time seemed only minor (chef and van driver). Yet Jacob asked Hurley to come back, and apparently another force tried to prevent Hurley from boarding Flight 815. (In episode 1x24, Exodus Part 2, Hurley's alarm clock shorted out and his rental car stalled.) How important is Hurley, and to which side?

7. What is the Magic Box?

Ben told Locke that the magic box brought his father to the island (episode 3x13, The Man From Tallahassee), and later explained that "the magic box is a metaphor." (Episode 3x19, The Brig).

Did the box also cause the appearances on the island of Kate's black mare (episode 2x9, What Kate Did), Dave (episode 2x18, Dave), and Ben's mother (episode 3x20, The Man Behind the Curtain)?

Are the box's creations the real thing or just facsimiles? Are they only temporary? Locke's father said, "I'll be here the rest of the week, John, if you change your mind." (Episode 3x19, The Brig)

8. Intruders on the Island

How did the US Army find the island in the 1950s? (Episode 5x3, Jughead) Did Dharma learn of the island's existence from the Army and then establish its presence there by force with the Army's support? In episode 5x8, LaFleur, Horace told a subordinate to prepare the "heavy ordinance," a military term.

9. Dharma

What was Dharma's goal? In episode 2x3, Orientation, the tape said that Dharma was funded by Alvar Hanso, "Danish industrialist and munitions magnate." Was the purpose secretly to create a new super weapon, and possibly use it to gain world control and impose the "utopian social order" mentioned in the tape? Was this what Radzinsky meant when he said, "I came here to change the world"? (Episode 5x16, The Incident)

10. Moving the Island

Was the island moved before? Ben knew exactly how to move it and that the mover couldn't return. (Episode 4x13, There's No Place Like Home Part 2) Was this the reason Dharma never tried to retake its base after the Purge?

TO BE CONTINUED....

Saw VI (2009)

Special Agent Strahm is dead, and Detective Hoffman has emerged as the unchallenged successor to Jigsaw's legacy. However, when the FBI draws closer to Hoffman, he is forced to set a game into motion, and Jigsaw's grand scheme is finally understood.


Saw VI is definitely a step up from the going-through-the-motions Saw V. It stands with Saw III as the best sequel, over the disjointed Saw II and the tangent that was Saw IV. If VII continues the upswing, we could be in for a much more pleasant surprise. This installment ends the second trilogy of the series, wrapping up Hoffmans arc and Jigsaws last will and testament. The Saw series has always been good with continuity and thats probably because the entire franchises editor, Kevin Greutert, is the director of this one. The traps and deaths are much more creative this time around and the ending feels worlds more satisfying than the last few sequels. The health care issue in the film actually doesnt feel as tacked on and phony as many hypocritical critics are groaning it is. As long as they keep Tobin Bell around, the series should continue to be at least somewhat tolerable. Its definitely worth a watch and might spark your interest in the series again.


***/*****


3/5 Stars

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Last King of Scotland (2006)


In the early 1970s, Nicholas Garrigan, a young semi-idealistic Scottish doctor, comes to Uganda to assist in a rural hospital. Once there, he soon meets up with the new President, Idi Amin, who promises a golden age for the African nation. Garrigan hits it off immediately with the rabid Scotland fan, who soon offers him a senior position in the national health department and becomes one of Amin's closest advisers. However as the years pass, Garrigan cannot help but notice Amin's increasingly erratic behavior that grows beyond a legitimate fear of assassination into a murderous insanity that is driving Uganda into bloody ruin. Realizing his dire situation with the lunatic leader unwilling to let him go home, Garrigan must make some crucial decisions that could mean his death if the despot finds out.

Forest Whitaker is the main reason to see this film based on the real-life dictator, Idi Amin, known for having 300,000 Ugandans slaughtered. It delves deeply into the corruption of the soul that comes from too much power, money and fame. This applies not only to Amin, but a fictional young Scottish doctor(James McAvoy), working in a clinic serving the poor. He becomes a pawn of Amin and through bribery ends up serving as his personal physician, his head of security and his political spokesman at times. The doctor is naive, innocent and careless, and takes very dangerous chances that most will see as unbelievable. The film becomes heart-pounding when one particularly crazy sexual encounter ends up going over the edge, but it helps enlighten him to the leader's brutality. Forest Whitaker's take on the tyrant is gripping and hypnotic. He goes from boundless charm one moment and morphs into a murderer the next. The story is based on a successful novel and adapted for the screen by Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock. Ironically, Morgan also wrote the script for "The Queen", and both stars, Mirren for "Queen" and Whitaker for "King" are Oscar nominated. There is some very graphic gore, but how could there not be in a tale about the dual nature of a man who is charismatic and killer all in one.

****/*****

4/5 Stars

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Southern


Your Northern home for Southern steez

Opening Friday: 1840 W North Ave, btw Wolcott and Honore; Bucktown; 773.342.1840

You know relatively little about Southern culture, but judging by Dukes of Hazzard it revolves around a disdain for car doors, frequent short shorts, and lots of Cooter. Broadening your sub-Mason Dixon perspective, The Southern.

Setting up shop in the former Chaise Lounge space, TS aims to be more of a down-home, laid-back boozer than its coastally inspired predecessor, with a long timber bar surrounded by wood-planked high-top tables that contribute a classy picnic vibe, but thankfully no picnic baskets, or that silly Yogi Bear would mess up EVERYTHING. The menu has a distinct comfort food feel, starting with bar snacks like cheddar/pecan butter/cayenne cheese straws, a "Southern Poutine" of hand-cut fries topped with cheese curds, tasso ham, and gravy, and Gunthorp pork and chow chow (a Southern veggie relish) with cornmeal johnny cakes, which provide a wonderful opportunity to bond with heavyset North Jersey Italians who're hiding their sexuality. Larger plates consist of grilled shrimp and grits with cheddar and Frank's hot sauce, "Country Captain", a roast chicken with curried raisins and pine nuts, and a duck cassoulet with garlic sausage and blackeyed peas whose forward-thinking rhythms and incisive social commentary have made them the legume of a generation/wedding band intermissions.

Libation-wise they'll have 20-plus whiskeys and bourbons, a beer list heavy on Southern faves like Abita and Terrapin, and concoctions like a Stoli/peach schnapps/lemonade/mint number called a "Dirty Peach", just don't say that aloud to Daisy, or her cousins will shoot you with a bow & arrow, as is their Southern custom.

Scope out their entire food and booze capabilities at TheSouthernChicago.com

Once (2006)

A Guy (with no name - Glen Hansard of the Irish band Frames) is singing his heart out on the streets of Dublin for tip money. One day a Czech Girl (with no name - Marketa Irglova) stops to listen to the Guy play his music. She is very impressed by his songs and she asks if he wrote his own music. The Guy says that he writes and loves to play his own songs to himself even if the street crowd wants to hear other music. It is nice to earn tips, but that is not what his music is all about. The Guy lives at home and helps his father repair vacuum cleaners, but he has a dream of becoming a recording star. His girlfriend of many years has just left him and is now living in London. You can tell what this has done to his emotions, because it is being reflected in his new songs. The Girl who happens to have a broken vacuum cleaner also has a musical background of playing the piano and writing songs. Their music brings them together and the Girl begins to help the Guy realize his dream. They begin to share their music and their feeling for each other. They put together a band with other street players and rent a recording studio for the weekend to record two demos. This could be the start of a new and wonderful life.


Frankly I was unable to get beyond the first twenty minutes of this movie. I can handle coarse language where applicable but to have to listen to vulgarity forcefully banged into my head is simply an affront to my senses and intelligence. Some may enjoy this form of mental waste and abuse but I do not. My advice and plea to movie producers is to keep it balanced and within reason so the majority of the world can enjoy these stories. Thank you.


*/*****


1/5 Stars