Thursday, April 29, 2010

IFFBoston 2010: nutshells...

And now, some brief and probably way too vague to be helpful assessments of my IFFB 2010 screenings. If I write "SEE IT!" I mean that it's a rewarding big screen in-the-theater experience. Understandable if you don't have that option, sad to say. In that case see a "SEE IT!" any way you can. =)

IFFB | Meet The Filmmaker
Dig it. See it for lots of quirky humor and situations. More about a series of vignettes featuring eccentric characters than classic three-act plot development, but with such an excellent cast (including Kevin Kline, Paul Dano, John C. Reilly, and Patti D’Arbanville) it's not such a bad thing.

IFFB | trailer
Awesome. SEE IT! If LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE was an Irish gangster road movie greatness... Y'know, without the kids. Yeah. That's about right. =)

A disingenuous doc. Maybe catch it on cable or online if you're curious about or in any way connected to the subjects (the "untouched" Yanomami tribes in South America and the tribes of anthropologists). Yes, engaging and entertaining, but cut to mislead and manipulate. Question everything in this film, look for more online, treat it as fiction. A great lesson on how to create a scandalous almost-propaganda doc.

IFFB | trailer
Totally love it! SEE IT! Heartbreaking and beautiful. A kickass cast with a just plain frickin amazing precocious lead in Jennifer Lawrence.

IFFB | trailer
Love it. DVD-able. Clever dark middle class gangster fun, almost Shakespearean, with a great cast, including two SPACED alums. =)

IFFB | trailer
Nope. Disappointing. Watch the trailer and you'll see what it's trying to be. Alas, the film delivers more artiness than skate battle and grit.

IFFB | my reviews
All of the animated shorts (heh heh) are visual treats, but some are stronger on content and entertainment than others.
"Invisible Loneliness"
Eh. Cool execution, but weak on story/non-story.

"Junko's Shamisen"
Good. Very cool execution, digitally kitbashing live action, layers of Kabuki theater, and comic book/manga sensibilities to tell a too-simple-for-my-satisfaction folk or ghost story.

"One Square Mile Of Earth"
Love it! In the tradition of "Creature Comforts," stylish anthropomorphic animation (in this case, digitally manipulated cutout/collage) transforms some mundane bits of conversation.

"Sebastian's Voodoo"
Good. A great synergy of story and (limitations) of technique. This may sound harsh, but given what today's animation tech can do, I feel like this is an AWESOME final school/class project, but only an okay professional short.

Good. Frickin gorgeous design and execution, but—and I know it's a bass-ackwards crit—almost too imperfection-free for its story.

"Wisdom Teeth"
Love it! Hertzfeldt continues to get huge bang for his scribbly-figured buck. =)
IFFB | trailer | my review
Good. DVD-able. Great subject and decent intro to it. Wish it went deeper, tho.

IFFB | trailer
Very good. DVD-able. Love it for unflinchingly capturing 20-something social and family dysfunction. A 21st century post-grad rite of passage film with some shining bits of dialogue.

IFFB | trailer
Dig it! See it on the big screen with a crowd if you can, otherwise, DVD-able. A great whimsical premise built around a kooky romantic center. With aliens! and filmmaker alums from the Buffyverse and FREAKS & GEEKS, and if you close your eyes, you'll hear Rusty Venture! =)

IFFB | website | my rambling
Supercool. SEE IT! Was on my guard going in, and there are some unavoidable cliches and conventions (it IS a high school angst flick), but I love the new media voice of our nerdy "hero" and am way pleased with the simple heart of it.

IFFB | trailer | my rambling
Good. DVD-able. Entertaining and eye-opening.

IFFB | trailer | my rambling
Love it! SEE IT! Who doesn't love encountering the heart of darkness in the American heartland, right? Some ultraviolence with a "Please" and a "Thank you, ma'am," I reckon... The way it oughtta be.

IFFB | website
Very good. See it with friends. You don't want to get this angry alone. Slightly biased in POV, heh, but if you're looking for some righteous indignation against the outcome of Prop 8 in CA, see this for some fires-stoking revelations.

"5 Variations On A Long String"
Nope. Didn't do a thing for me.

"Iowa Mixtape"
Good. Some very fun little interviews from unlikely subjects—hip-hop fans in Iowa. =)

"Keep Dancing"
Excellent! Touching, endearing, charming, focused on inspiring subjects—a couple of 90-year old MGM film and broadway dancers who meet every week at a rented studio in NYC to keep dancing.

"The Poodle Trainer"
Excellent! A lusciously shot film focused on a single-minded and talented subject—the poodle trainer of a Russian circus... AND her poodles, of course.

"The S From Hell"
Hilarious! Like Stanley Kubrick's film school documentary short. Or something. Constructs a wonderful menace out of a handful of childhood stories.

"Snake Fever"
Very good. Features the most disturbing seconds of film I saw in all of my festival viewing. I'll put a description of it at the end of this post.*
I rest.

... meaning, I play volleyball for the first time in two weeks. =)

IFFB | trailer | website
Wonderful, charming, and captivating! SEE IT! Although the storytelling was a bit jumpy and felt accelerated in parts (as if bits were missing), I was smiling throughout, enjoying the ride, as every frame of film was a delicious treat. Wonderful, whimsical characters with heart are brought to life by a talented cast and the director's vision (if you've seen DELICATESSEN, you're familiar with it). Together they tell the story of an ultimate con staged by a French "Little Tramp" and his adopted family of outcasts on two heartless arms industrialists. You know, THAT old story... =)

Question: Is "micmacs" a French version of "yadda yadda" or "somethin-somethin?"

For those of you playing at home, that's sixteen screenings in eight days. Twenty-six individual films, if you count each of the shorts. Wack.

Keep on screenin on~

* Did you know that... Snake heads can still twitch, hiss, and bite (and think their snakey thoughts, too, I assume) after being separated from their bodies... and thrown into bowls with dozens of other severed heads. Also, those bodies, sliced open, can still wriggle and squirm. A most unnerving sight.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

IFFB 2010: pics from day 6 (and 4)

This evening I hit 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION and then SHORTS 2: DOCS.

A hell of an eye-opener, heart-puncher, and ire-getter-upper. Altho the film focuses on the Mormon church's efforts to influence the outcome of the Prop 8 debate and vote in California, this is, sadly, just a starting point for a survey of the destructive, rights-reducing agenda of the church in regards to homosexuals. The stories in the film, told by ex-Mormons, some of them gay, their families, friends, and supporters, are powerful stuff. Look for it in theaters and PPV in June, and program it with SAVING MARRIAGE for an excellent double feature. Depending on whether you want to be righteously angered and riled or hopefully inspired, you'll want to watch MARRIAGE first or second. =)

Reporter and activist Fred Karger, central to some of the revelations of the Mormon church's explicit strategies to bolster Prop 8, attended the screening and conducted a Q&A...

Apparently he has some highly-placed sources in the Mormon church who provided documentation on the church's defeat-gay-marriage strategies. The film focuses on the domestic debate and battle, but I was curious if there were indications of a global strategy as well. I caught him on his way out and he mentioned that Canada is definitely on their radar, but their influence there is not nearly strong enough to make any powerful plays, at least not yet. I could've sworn I'd hear a report on NPR about how the church was somehow quietly supporting, or at least, refusing to condemn(?), the persecution of homosexuals in certain African states, I can't remember which. Mr. Karger didn't mention anything along those lines, tho.

In the course of the Q&A, he revealed that he was in town on his way to New Hampshire, where he would formally (or was it informally?) begin his steps toward becoming an Independent Republican candidate for President. So, that happened. Wack.

Alas, none of the SHORTS 2 filmmakers were present this evening, so no Q&A or photo ops from that screening. As for the films themselves, I hafta say that one of the six docs was something of a chore for me. "5 Variations On A Long String" seemed well-shot and assembled, but just wasn't built to inspire my interest in the subject. I thoroughly enjoyed the remaining five shorts, and two of them, "Keep Dancing" and "The Poodle Trainer," are charming, endearing, candy-like gems, must-sees if you ever get the chance.

So... Here are a couple shots of the Somerville Theater's front windows, papered in IFFB-ness...

And now, a flashback to Saturday evening, as yours truly is thankfully not-maced outside the theater by the lovely and talented Amber Benson...

You can totally see her sporting "Here we go again" look here, right?

I'm fishing out the WristStrong bracelet from my bag in this one...
Thanks so much to KT for snapping these shots. I was too starfaced to ask Miss Benson for a proper photo-op myself and pretty certain she had other, better, less stammery places to be anyhow. And thanks to AB for taking this little time out and for the Goodness that is DRONES! =)

Here's one last (blurry, foo) snap of her in auditorium one, pre-show, raising wrist awareness!

Keep on keepin on~

IFFB 2010: And now, a word from our sponsors...

Some rambling on the pre-feature experience at the IFFB this year...

In the IFFB sponsor parade bumper, we get to see the three poster images from this year's marketing in a decent bit of AfterEffectsy action. There's umbrella girl, splashing into the river by the Esplanade, whose outlined image is used for a lot of IFFB swag. Then there's "donut punks," on the verge of PDA on top of Twin Donuts in Allston-Brightonia. Then there's downtown zombie, shambling over Beantown. I like how giant downtown zombie is wearing an iPod. Snarky commentary on iPod people?

I like watching the JetBlue ads, "More Welcome Aboard" and the other one, cuz they remind me of the LOST season 6 premiere. An unhappy passenger on an "Other Airline" flight finds herself somehow transported to a bright, shiny, and blue alternate reality flight on JetBlue. =)

In the "More Welcome Aboard" version (I forget the tagline in the other one), that woman passenger REALLY smacks that bald guy on the head! I mean, she leaves a mark! Sadistic bitch.

There are two different pairs of Ford ads playing. One of them features an ad with a guy who talks about how great the mileage is in his Focus. He ends up having to fill up so much less than usual that he forgets which side of the car the tank is on. Lucky for him, there's an arrow on the dash to remind him! The setting for this ad is a little weird. The guy mentions getting such great mpg for city driving but when we see him pull away, he's been parked in front of, like, Johann and Peewit's cottage or something. Actually, reminded me of Aaron's place in FLASHFORWARD, and he seems to live in some kind of Los Angeles Shire.

The other pair of ads features one with a driver who demonstrates how one guy in every horror movie bites it—he's in the driver's seat, ready to go, but he fumbles the keys, unable to get the car started. Then he shows us that his fabulous Focus has a push-button start. "I'm not gonna be the first guy to die in your movie!" Kind of a perfect ad for the festival, really. I like seeing *this* ad before a screening because you can tell how many people in the auditorium are seeing their first 2010 IFFB screening by their laughter.

Who doesn't love free Utz chips?

Keep on keepin on~

Monday, April 26, 2010

LOST: Desmond's already seen the end...

6.11: "Happily Ever After"

Thinking it thru again, I've got a riff on the Desmond brothers theory that I like just as much...

In this scenario, the Desmonds do *not* swap bodies and realities.

We see that when Desmond1 wakes up in the EM shack in LOST1, only seconds have passed, while he rode shotgun in Desmond2's head for days in LOST2. Narnian time, donchaknow, which refers to time passing much quicker in the alternate reality of Narnia than in our own world.

Now, what if Desmond1 actually rode shotgun in LOST2 for WEEKS and not just days? What if the syncing of OUR experience of Desmond1 waking in the shack and Desmond2 waking in the stadium is just an artifact of storytelling and a misleading convenience, not actual, in-story, simultaneity. I mean, there's no reason to think that one reality cares when the other is when anything happens in it, right?

So, I'm thinking that when Desmond1 wakes up in the EM shack, he's already seen the end/endgame of LOST2, his successful enlightenment of the LOST2 counterparts of the 815 gang, and the execution of some master plan to save reality/realities from the scheming of the Monster in LOST1 and its agents (Eloise?) in LOST2. This experience of a LOST2 "win" and witnessing Something Good in Widmore in the process, would explain his post-EM-zap behavior in LOST1.

Recapping, here's the journey that Desmond1's consciousness takes.

  1. Zapped in the EM shack in LOST1, Desmond1 passes out.
  2. Desmond1 wakes up in LOST2, a passenger in his counterpart's body. His counterpart, Desmond2, is unaware of his presence or experiences.
  3. Charlie's gambit triggers the first sharing of memories between the two Desmonds.
  4. The MRI triggers it again.
  5. Meeting and shaking hands with Penny triggers it once more. Desmond2 faints.
  6. Desmond2 regains consciousness in the stadium. Desmond1 is still riding shotgun. "Together," Desmond2 begins his mission to enlighten and reunite the 815 gang in LOST2.
  7. Desmond1 continues to ride shotgun in Desmond2, helping execute a plan (conjured by Pierre and Daniel?) to end or alter the LOST2 reality and in doing so, "retroactively" thwart the Monster's plan in LOST1.
  8. Desmond2 likely dies or is exposed to some crazy EM event or both in LOST2, releasing Desmond1's consciousness to return to his body in LOST1.
  9. Desmond1 wakes up in the EM shack.

Voila! Easy as crazy pie.

Note that in this scenario's endgame, I'm referring to a rough outline of finale events I've mentioned in previous posts.

  1. In LOST1, on the Island, the Monster succeeds in escaping the Island, which leads to the creation of LOST2, a changed reality outside the snowglobe.
  2. In LOST2, Desmond and the Lostie counterparts somehow manage to unmake their reality, undoing the effect of the Monster's "win" in LOST1.
  3. The final part of the LOST2 unmaking rolls back the events in LOST1 to sometime in 2004 after the 815 crash and before Esau is freed from Jacob's Cabin, and before Widmore's mercenaries arrive.
  4. The Losties and Desmond are rescued by Penny's people. Claire and baby Aaron board a helicopter and leave the Island together.

Keep on keepin on~

IFFB 2010: pics from day 5

I caught MY SUICIDE (kudos to IFFB organizer Dan for calling out "Teen Suicide: Don't Do It!" as part of his announcement for seating the film! =) and loved it. It's a familiar high school angsty set-up story, but told from a POV with a mastery of new media soaking in the vocabulary of pop culture and film. So, really, how am I NOT gonna love it, right?

I did go in with my guard a bit up, a bit cautious, concerned about being blasted with eMpTyVee-regurgitated youthy coolness, or even worse, an amalgam of film school projects like NATURAL BORN KILLERS, but the film delivers something much more authentic in voice and style, something that feels real and true to a teen's voice (our "hero", Archie) and sensibilities. Sure there's cliche stuff woven into the plot and characters, but hey, things sometimes become cliche for a reason, right? And we're talking about teen angst and suicide, sadly, pretty unavoidable in that territory.

Anyhow, director David Lee Miller conducted a short Q&A after the film...

A question about David Carradine's passing came up. (I was initially a bit skeptical about the introduction and role of his character, Archie's filmmaker idol, into this teen angst stew, but it plays out really well, with heart.) Miller explaned that MY SUICIDE was not the last film that he worked on, that Carradine loved the material and his grizzled guru of a character and they had to force any pay on him for his work (SAG rules), and that given his natural and powerful lust for life, there is no way that his death was a suicide.

After staying for the Q&A session after MY SUICIDE, I rushed to make the SHORTS 6: NARRATIVES program, but was turned away at the door—no seats. Blerg. So, I opted for ORGASM, INC, a documentary on the big pharma's quest for a "female viagra," which, it turns out, takes many more forms than a simple pill. In its survey of the industry's research and development of this medical drug/treatment/device (yikes!), the film traces how the term and phenomenon now known as "female sexual dysfunction" kind of brought itself into being, essentially creating/identifying a very general and common set of "symptoms" as a disease that requires a "cure." Frickin evil. The film's personalities and their experiences keep thing entertaining and even humorous, even when discussing some extreme procedures and propaganda developed in the pursuit of this and related "cures."

Director Liz Canner conducted a post-show Q&A...

Unfortunately, I didn't get to stick around for much of it, as my last film of the evening, THE KILLER INSIDE ME, was likely gonna be packed. I wanted to get in line early enough to wrangle a good seat in the main auditorium.

Thanks to KP for joining for MY SUICIDE, and to JD for getting dibs on a good spot in line for THE KILLER INSIDE ME (as well as filling in a couple of plotty blanks that my overtired movie-assimilator, my so-called-brain, didn't manage to fill on its own, ack). KILLER rocks in a period AMERICAN PSYCHO kinda way, y'know, without any pussyfooting about whether Bad Stuff happens. =) I really dig the pitch perfectness of the mood and era of the film, and gotta say, Casey Affleck is pretty amazing as the Bad Man in this. I'm right pleased with all the noiry film I've gotten to see on the big screen in the last few weeks, and from all parts of the world (TERRIBLY HAPPY, MOTHER, THE SQUARE, RED RIDING, and at the IFFB, PERRIER'S BOUNTY, DOWN TERRACE, and KILLER INSIDE ME). I'd be very happy if this is a wave that has yet to crest in cinema for the next year or so.

Just sayin'

Hey, here's a snap of my IFFB 2010 additions to my inventory of enchanted loot!
Kindest thanks to filmmakers John Hawkes and Amber Benson for indulging a fanboy's requests! They've given me the autograph of the man who brought Sol Star to DEADWOOD and (the voice of) Utah Johnny Montana to BRISCO COUNTY, as well as a smiley face from the woman who brought Tara Maclay to UC Sunnydale. I hope that their WristStrong bracelets serve them well, raising awareness, in themselves and others, of their precious and alas, oft-overlooked connecting bit of flesh between hand and arm (please pardon the medical jargon). Wear and share them in good health and continued storytelling greatness!

Keep on keepin on~

Sunday, April 25, 2010

IFFB 2010: pics from day 4

A solid day at the movies for IFFB day 4. Hit the "Working Both Sides of the Camera: Actors Who Direct, Directors Who Act" panel at noon, grabbed lunch with KP and JP, chased it with the animated shorts package (heh heh, I just said "animated shorts package," heh), and two film screenings with KT and JD and a final one late in the evening.

The panel discussion featured "three-and-a-half girls," actor-directors Amber Benson (DRONES—saw it, love it), Linas Phillips (BASS ACKWARDS—couldn't schedule it)...

... Lena Dunham (TINY FURNITURE—saw it, love it), and Katie Aselton (THE FREEBIE—couldn't schedule it).

For lunch I dared to take on the MAC Attack special at the Boston Burger co...

... which kept me decently fueled for my afternoon and evening of filmgoing, hitting the shorts package (heh heh) with KP and JP, ERASING DAVID and TINY FURNITURE with KT and JD...

... and DRONES, with post-show, almost post-T, Q&A with co-director Amber Benson! =)

Keep on keepin on~


ERASING DAVID. One thumb up, one thumb sideways. Filmmaker David Bond wants to get an idea how much of his life exists in electronic records and traces stored in databases belonging to private and government agencies, and also wishes to discover if he can remove and/or hide those traces while living something like a normal life. This was a little more fun than I expected and a little less immersive/deep. A great eye-opener, but a little thin on real education on the subject of one's electronic footprint.

In order to do this, Bond attempts to disappear for 30 days and hires a top UK detective agency to try to find him before those 30 days are up. In order to learn how to go about this, Bond interviews security and civil rights experts, contacts government and commercial agencies for copies of their records on him and his family, and meets with a small sample of victims of identity theft and government-sponsored surveillance. The film moves forward and backward in time, forward while following his tracks and the PIs' investigative process for 30 days, and backward as he educates himself on the potential dangers and avenues of abuse and crime related to modern day life stored on video and in data.

Bond's personality (and unfortunately for him, his crumbling security and growing paranoiad behavior) provides the more fun than I expected. The film does a decent job punching up the cloak and dagger thrill of the chase. It's sort of just a coat of paint, but it's a good coat of paint.

The weakness of immersion and follow-thru shows in the degree of care/carelessness he shows when hiding his tracks and providing a life on the lam that a typical modern day citizen would actually want to live. I thought the idea would be for him to leave his usual day-to-day, and then set up a completely new one somewhere until the PIs find him, or not, y'know? But he doesn't do that. In fact, he's a bit schizo about how to treat his 30 days. He starts with the imaginary premise that he's committed a crime, and so, is on the run from the authorities. But, he also claims that he wants to live a semblance of a normal life, HIS normal life, with contact with his family, just as off the grid as possible, which, when you use your credit card to buy passenger tickets and your smart phone to make calls and access the internet, isn't very.

Still, the survey of security and civil liberties experts and victims of identity-related crime and manipulation are an eye-opening introduction to the vulnerability of anyone and everyone who's alive in a technology-loving society today. Everyone leaves traces on surveillance cameras, in health records and hospital visits, bank and credit card transactions. A weakness in follow-thru is also evident on this side of the film. It introduces us to these issues and potential abuses, but really only skims the surface of it. One interview with a woman who was denied a job because a criminal database search mistook her for a different woman with a similar name and the same birthdate who had a record. One interview with a man whose stolen credit card was used to purchase a membership at a porn site that featured under-age subjects. He was cleared of wrongdoing, but the charge remains somewhere on his electronic record. Stories like these give us the corner pieces of the puzzle, but I would have appreciated more of all of it, more of the big picture.

Some sorta SPOILERy observations...

One interesting aspect of the cloak-and-dagger thread of the film is how much and how far the detectives get using purely analog, non-electonic, non-technological techniques. No one in the film explicitly makes a point of this, but it was a pretty significant part of the PIs process, going thru mail, impresonating their quarry on the phone, sorting thru his garbage for paper trails. Old school stuff that provide clues or hard info on where to begin picking up the new school trails. Addresses of family, receipts for tickets, contact info and appointments at hospitals...

I also would have liked some deeper investigation into how to reduce one's data footprint or strategically control it.

Before he sets out on his 30 day adventure, Bond enlists the aid of a security expert to show him how he's vulnerable. This sequence is very entertaining and enlightening and even tho it was way too short, this was probably the most effectively educational piece of the film. The expert calls him on his cell and informs Bond of his exact location. He hacks into the frequency of his baby monitor and uses it to eavesdrop and even communicate with him from an apartment across the street.

Gotta crash. Gonna post some pics now and will TRY to come back around after the fest to ramble on the other two films from today.

Keep on keepin on~


SHORTS 3: ANIMATION. All of these films are beautiful, well, except Hertzfeldt's, which is, well, wonderful, but y'know, not exactly built for beauty. They're all worth a look based on design and style, but I feel like "One Square Mile Of Earth" and "Wisdom Teeth" were the two that fired on all cylinders, not compromising anywhere for style over substance or vice versa. I'm gonna ramble on each, probably not a whole lot of critical commentary, but some plot, to remind myself more than anything of what's the what, and some conjecture/explanation/guesswork on how things looked and might've been created.

"Invisible Loneliness"
A wonderful aesthetic of a world of corrugated carboard miniatures. The beginning featured a view of a cardboard city that totally sold me on its materiality. I believed we were looking at stop motion animation shot with x-actoed, glued, and detailed miniatures. However, as the story proceeded, I came to realize that this world was all virtual, painstakingly modelled, textured, and rendered to produce the impression of stop-motion, almost sinister, but totally appreciated. It's kind of magical that that feel, an unavoidable artifact of the analog process, is something worth recapturing and "faking" using digital tools.

"Junko's Shamisen"
An amazing amalgam of SIN CITY-esque style and Kabuki theater environments. I'd guess the story is adapted from a traditional folk tale or ghost story, it's very simple and not all that deep. I wish that it had more layers and meaning (granted, I may be missing that due to my unfamiliarity with the tale or the characters/spirits involved). Video of actors was treated as layers within the multi-layered dimensions of a virtual Kabuki theater stage. Settings and environments are built right before your eyes, but the unrolling of cloth, or the manipulation of props and prop animals by black-clad agents who melt into the scenery, and certain parts of the action are virtually foleyed by comic book style sound effects, lettered noises, the tinkling of a bell in the jungle represented by "JING."

"One Square Mile Of Earth"
This is a wonderfully realized collection of animated vignettes focused on three pairs of interactions at a (gay?) bar or club in the city. I see this as being part of a genre that I first recognized in Aardman Animation's "Creature Comforts," which transforms mundane human conversation, scripted or improvised, into the fantastickal, fairy tale, and/or surreal by assigning the voices to fantastic, non-human, characters. This club's patrons happen to be, well, animal people. Their appearances, and that of the environment, are built from photographic cutouts and manipulated digitally. It works beautifully. A couple of roommates, frog and rabbit, get snippy with one another over drinks and on the dance floor. Frog's attack and rabbit's weak defense of his inability to complete any given task is frickin hilarious. A sassy goat (?) applies her feminine wiles to a frat bear at the bar. She gets a free drink out of it (pear vodka and cola—was it pear or was it peach? =), but will they leave together...? And over in the lounge, a hippo and a squirrel begin discussing jazz, but end up falling into conversational traps of stereotyping one another. Simple everyday/night interactions that are made fantastic in a fantastic world that hopefully has more short film excerpts to offer in the future.

"Sebastian's Voodoo"
A really clever story, but I wish that there was more to it. Visually rich, but the animation seemed a bit simple and flat. I think that marriage of the technique with this story is pretty ingenious, but, again, I just wanted MORE. The story... A voodoo witch doctor has a collection of dolls with which to inflict pain on his victims. These voodoo dolls themselves are ALIVE as well, so as he pins his human victims to death, he sacrifices a living doll. One of these dolls decides to risk everything to save his burlap brothers.

Frickin gorgeous and epic. These little (BONE-like) varmints live in harmony with untouched nature. Suddenly, black clouds on the horizon appear. It's not a simple storm, tho, it's the arrival of industry, and a city of buildings and factories that sustain it. One varmint saves a piece of untouched nature, a cutting from a tree, but ends up pressed into service by the city along with the rest of his kind. Ultimately his cutting spawns spores which take root throughout the city, hope for a return of and to nature and an escape from the oppression and pollution of industry. Based on a storybook which I really must track down.

"Wisdom Teeth"
Don Hertzfeldt magic wrongness. In this simple and hilariously excruciating short, a friend has just returned from getting his wisdom teeth yanked. As any friend would, his buddy asks him, "Can I pull out the stitches?" Wacky fun ensues. "I see prehistoric animals!" =)

Keep on keepin on~

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Here's a fun thousand words...
Man, I've really gotta practice smiling. Blerg.

I pushed it tonight to make three movies, so I'm afraid I'm in no shape to offer proper rambles on any of them. I'll try to keep it basic...
WINTER'S BONE. Thumbs up! Heartbreaking and beautiful. An amazing young lead, Jennifer Lawrence, plays a modern day Missouri Laura Ingalls (well, y'know, if Pa was a meth cooker whose criminal activities drove Ma into a fugue state) who could kick my ass for calling her "Half-Pint," opposite John Hawkes's remarkable bad-tempered bad-ass uncle with a heart, Teardrop.

Those DEADWOOD people travel in packs. Along with Sol Star as Teardrop, WINTER'S BONE got Jack McCall (or Francis Wolcott, depending on which episode you're watching =), aka Garret Dillahunt) as the meddling Sheriff.

Director Debra Granik and star John Hawkes led a post-show Q&A. Granik fielded most questions, describing an almost anthropological approach to finding authentic locations and populating the film's world with genuine local characters. The girl who plays Ree's younger sister is an amazing find, and she gets to perform/be herself in her own home, which was used as the family's home.

She also related a somewhat frightful low point in the project's quest for funds. Apparently a studio came a-courtin', very interested in the project, but when the time came to seal a deal, the Man on the phone explained to director Granik that once they sign Keanu Reeves as Teardrop, they'd get the budget. Granik made the only decision she could live with, I'd say, and held out for the smaller indie funding they received, and everyone who sees this film is the better for it. (Sorry, Keanu.)

A random anecdotal highlight—"Are the Ozarks a matriarchy?" =)

Hawkes was graciously sporting, allowing me to accost him on his way out after the Q&A. I managed to stammer out how much I enjoyed his work on DEADWOOD, and everything else I've seen him in, and then asked if he'd sign my DEADWOOD season 1 dvd case as well as the BRISCO COUNTY dvd disk with the episode he costarred in, "Showdown." He also accepted a Colbert WristStrong bracelet from me and appreciated my rushed, all-in-one-breath, explanation of the WristWatch campaign. I think it's fair to say that he's super frickin cool. I wanted to get SOMETHING out about LOST, but after a minute or so in his presence, I was pretty well starstruck and useless. I DID manage to blurt out a request for a photo and he was awesome enough to oblige. =)

* May 1, 2010. The NYTimes recognizes Hawkes's greatness, along with that of several other leads in IFFB 2010 features.

DOWN TERRACE. Thumbs up! A lot of mean-spirited gangland family fun! Great cast and dialogue and a clever web of lies and suspicion. Discovered another thespian pack here—two castmembers of SPACED, Marsha and Tires! A totally unexpected treat. =)

MACHOTAILDROP. Thumbs down. I chose poorly when I decided to go for the midnight show. This film wants to be the skate punk's RUSHMORE or NAPOLEON DYNAMITE but falls thuddingly short over and over. There wasn't even a skate chase or final battle or challenge scene!? What up w that? Sorry, MT, boo.

Keep on keepin on~

Friday, April 23, 2010

BTIES: STAR WARS, 15 seconds at a time...

Check out STAR WARS: UNCUT, an amazing bit of creative mobsourcing with the goal of re-creating STAR WARS (A NEW HOPE), 15 seconds at a time.

Star Wars: Uncut Trailer from Casey Pugh on Vimeo.

Thanks to MP for the technical readouts!

Keep on beepin on~


Thumbs up! An excellent guns and gangsters road movie of a ride, with Irish accents. It's a wonky comparison, I know, but it felt to me like an episode of SPACED riffing on gangster thrillers. Also, a kind of AFTER HOURS, only bloodier and on fast forward.

Did what I just wrote make any kind of sense...? Yeah, this is gonna be an even more muddled ramble than usual as I'm a bit overtired from tonight's double feature (BOUNTY followed by SECRETS OF THE TRIBE).
Stars Cillian Murphy, Jim Broadbent, and Brendan Gleeson. Cillian's Michael McCrea is into Dublin gangster Darren Perrier (Gleeson) for a decent chunk of green (two broken bones' worth, according to his enforcers). Of course, he doesn't have it, and highly motivated by the preservation of his skeleton, he spends the day trying to acquire it. Unfortunately, his estranged father picks this very same day to pay him a visit, revealing that he is dying and proving to be insistent on mending fences and making up for lost time. The quality time they spend involves attempts to get the money from a loan shark, and then from a bit of B&E, which leads to some blackmail, but not before a bit of violence that requires the disposal of a body and a car that belongs to his cute sweetheart of a neighbor, Brenda. Alas, none of this quite leads to successful payment of his debt. In fact, that bit of violence instead prompts Perrier to put a bounty on the heads of McCrea and his unwitting accomplices. Wacky fun ensues.

I really enjoy the way the three characters, each in differently dire straits, build their relationships by caroming off of each other while on the run from Perrier's henchmen. Da McCrea reveals how Michael shut his parents out after a terrible event some years ago. He also does what he can to deflect Michael's tough love approach to Brenda when she can't stop thinking about her useless dog of an ex. And Brenda and Michael have two different takes on his father's imminent appointment with Death.

In spite of being a striking stick figure of a fellow a little overly familiar with the seedier side of his part of Dublin, McCrea is a stand-up guy who takes a beating and keeps on ticking. Broadbent is spry and steady as the elder McCrea, wired and under the influence of several kinds of stimulation, not the least being adrenaline, wonderfully adept at going with the criminal and unlikely flow as he helps get his wayward son in and out of deadly jams all day, all the while working on him to agree to accompany him to visit and reconcile with his mother. Jodie Whittaker's Brenda has got her neurotic boy troubles, but reveals she's no simple damsel in distress, saving Michael's skinny ass more than once.

SPOILERy comments follow...

I didn't love the v.o. narration at times, but I was satisfied with the "reveal" of the speaker at the end of the film.

The music was supercool. David Holmes coolness.

Broadbent's elder McCrea is a joy to watch. The premise for his condition and the resulting behavior, particularly his fluid reactions to perilous and idyllic environments, are so very clever, fun, and satisfying. You know who he is, as unlikely as he is, right away. When he stays up all night on the mountainside, lights below, stars above, I knew exactly what his condition was. Altho his description of how he learned of his imminent death was wonderfully unexpected, "obscure and enigmatic, because that's me way, man." Frickin cool.

Perrier's eccentric stance on gays in his employ makes for some grand dramatic declarations.

The running gag/influence of Dublin's parking authority is well applied.

Jodie Whitakker is really cute. McCrea's first/last kiss and his confession, "I loved every minute," was pretty cool.

That's all I've got. Gotta crash.

Thanks to JD for spotting me during BOUNTY, and RF & co for the lively post-show discussion of TRIBE.

Keep on keepin on~

Thursday, April 22, 2010

LOST: a chance to kill the Locke-ness Monster!

(5.04: "The Little Prince" & 6.04: "The Substitute")

A couple days ago something LOSTy dawned on me... There's a specific window of opportunity when the Locke-ness Monster will be vulnerable and we already know about it (will take a meeting of a couple of particular minds to put it together in the show, tho)—the outrigger canoe chase! I've been waiting to see it happen (again), from the other boat's perspective, since the season 5 time skipping stopped. Alas, we have yet to see the proper set-up for it.

In case you don't remember the scenario, the proper set-up would be two of the Other outriggers beached at the Lostaways' old camp, ransacked and left beerless, by the way. That's how Sawyer, Juliet, Locke, Faraday, Miles, and Charlotte find the camp when they're searching for the Zodiac to make their way around the Island to the Orchid to stop the time skips. The Zodiac is gone, so they take one of the canoes, which has an Ajira airlines water bottle in it. Once out at sea, they are set upon by unknown pursuers in the other outrigger, who fire on them. They return fire, apparently injuring someone in the other boat. At this point, Sawyer and co are flashed away into the past.

Okay, so, the events of this time skip, relative to the normally flowing passage of time on the Island that we're now watching, has yet to take place. And, given the details of the scenario, the Ajira water bottle, the ransacked-but-still-standing camp, and the familiar canoes (and, OK, the fact that we have only a few hours of show left), it's going to happen in the near future.

This means that for a certain amount of time, the duration of that time skip, there will be a living, breathing, Monster-less John Locke walking around on the Island and paddling in a canoe. The Rules as we've come to understand them allow the Monster to take on the form of any human whose dead body is on the Island, and we know that since Jacob's death, he's "stuck"—the only form he can take is that of John Locke. Now, what happens when John Locke's real live living self blips back into the pocket dimension of the snowglobe? I'd wager that it will wreak havoc with the Monster's substance, nervous system, coherence, y'know, his general health. It will short circuit him, leaving him vulnerable in some way to attack or capture, in a spastic in-between state of shape shifting, or perhaps as a black puddle, in Rule-restricted jeopardy on Hydra Island or in waterborne transit, off the Island. If that's where he is, and if his smokey form is a discrete and distinct body, as I believe it is, restricted to the main Island, then being trapped in a form wracked with existential seizures is gonna be pretty tough on him.

Maybe someone will have the opportunity to put the Monster out of his misery when he's in this weakened state, but y'know what? I'm betting he or she will hesitate just long enough for Esau to regain his strength, when Locke and the others time-skip away and into the past. Perhaps due some silver-tongued promise, threat, or taunt, but I'm darkly hoping it will be because of a Reed Richards-saves-Galactus decision or revelation that the Monster, Evil Incarnate tho he may be, is an integral part of the cosmos, and destroying him would result in an imbalance just as cataclysmic as releasing him into the larger world.

And events and strategies will continue to play out on the Island, resulting in Esau's apparent victory in LOST1, which will lead to the seeding of LOST2 with his survivors, and the unforeseen love-and-death-inspired endgame of the alterna-Losties in LOST2, which will retroactively undo, or non-do, Esau's win in LOST1, and roll back LOST1's reality to a time in 2004 before Naomi arrives on the Island and Penny's people can effect a rescue of Desmond and all the 815 survivors, including Claire and baby Aaron together, save the new Protector, Vincent.

Done and done! =)

* April 29, 2010. Frack. Some problems w this theory.

1. We've seen the Lockesau can co-exist without any penalty or pain with a living Locke. In "Follow The Leader," he escorts Ben and Richard to where his Locke's past self is hurting from the Ethan-inflicted gunshot wound. Lockesau directs Richard to help him and also return the paradox compass to the timestream by "returning" it to him.

2. Lockesau has all of Locke's memories, including the time-skips. He would be ready/aware of this impending time skip and any possible interference.

Some workaround solutions to the above problems.

1. There's a difference in Lockesau's situation in "Follow The Leader" and *now*—Jacob's death rendered him bound to Locke's form. When he leads Ben and Richard to wounded Locke, he's still a shapeshifter with flexibility. When the past Locke next appears, Lockesau will be (and is currently) "stuck" with Locke's form. It is almost a matter of degrees, but who's to say the fine print of the Rules aren't just so?

2. Maybe he WILL take measures to protect himself. Go int hiding, circle the Infected and/or recruited wagons, or the ash, or whatever, during this time that he's vulnerable. Still, he'll be vulnerable, there will just be a non-Monster defense that Widmore's and/or Jacob's people will have to overcome to get to him and hurt him.

Yeah, it does feel pretty weak now. Nuts. Still, I'm sticking with it for now. =)

Keep on keepin on~

IFFB 2010 opening night: THE EXTRA MAN

Thumbs up! For lots of laughs from looks at the lives of eccentric characters brought to life by a brilliant cast.
Based on a novel of the same name that I'm going to have to track down, THE EXTRA MAN is a hilarious ensemble of wonky character studies. It's a little light on plot and growth, but you don't miss it as the performances and personalities consistently charm and entertain. Center stage for most of the film are Kevin Kline as Henry Harrison, Extra Man, gentleman escort to aging moneyed Manhattan society dames, and Paul Dano, Louis Ives, his young newly-arrived-in-NYC flatmate and unwitting apprentice in all things. HH's philosophies seem to be founded on patriarchal order, a belief that the feminine ideal originates somewhere in Russia, and working the angles of any and all relationships in the pursuit of comfort and pleasure. Meanwhile, young Louis takes baby steps in an effort to confront his latent potential kinks and sexuality, all the while hiding any sign of them from his new roommate, who boasts that the Pope is a little liberal for his tastes. About halfway thru the film, the duo is made a trio with the addition of an amazing John C. Reilly as HH's mechanic friend, Gershon. I can say no more about him, as you really must see the film to take in the wonder of Gershon.

Dan Hedaya appears as a rival don't-use-the-word-gigolo of Harrison's, and it's a small treat. I wish we got more of him.

Was nice seeing Katie Holmes on the big screen again, but sad to say, I'm really not feeling her bright and shiny ability anymore. I don't remember much of PIECES OF APRIL now, but I do remember liking her in it. Was that her, peaking? She didn't have a lot to do in it, but I think she phoned in BATMAN, and I can't remember seeing her in anything since then. Oh, I missed THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, she was in that, right? Well, I hope she makes me eat my words and picks a good role or roles soon.

Oh, Joey. *sigh*

Kevin Kline appeared after the screening to accept an IFFB career achievement award.He was charming and funny and somehow dashing, even when making like his award trophy-sculpture was a toy rocket ship (was it? =). Co-director Robert Pulcini joined Kline on stage a lively audience Q&A, including the penultimate question of the evening, channeled from a seventh grader who waited to ask Kline about his loves of Shakespeare at a high school drama club appearance years ago but was unable to ask (just cuz they'd run of time, not cuz of some, like, medical condition, or catastrophic giant monster attack). His older brother stepped up to the mic this evening to relate the dramatic story and finally ask the question.

I'm gonna rattle off some memorable film highlights now, so beware, here be SPOILERS!

Kline's high-falootin Harrison is a wonderfully blustery, theatrical, chauvinistic, and cantankerous aging "$hit my dad says" kind of man. Some of his deliveries are pure delight. I love "There's a DWARF in that painting!" and the order to "STOP!" directed at a diner waitress, right after his commentary on how his disappointed/disapproving attitude makes him so appealing to people as a father figure.

The scene in which Dano's Ives reveals to Holmes's Mary that he loves the American literature of the 20s so much that he has taken to hearing the voice of a narrator in the style of those times describing and commenting on his every move, is pretty perfect.

Reilly makes a few brief and silent appearances in the first half of the film, not saying a word until after that. He's like a shaggy Klingon, quite ominous. The film does a great job of establishing the quirkiness of its world and characters, creating a context that was JUST right for Reilly to pull off his high-talking Gershon when he finally lets him loose on screen.

The story, as such, doesn't offer much in the way of closure, but I suggest (and kind of expected) an easy fix, tired, perhaps, but with the right content, effective and winning—populate the end credits with snapshots from the trio's misadventures in Russia, and don't forget the $4 champagne.

When Kline was presented with his award, I couldn't help but hear Gershon, "I've got the vibrator!"
If I was the kind of person who asked questions, I would've asked how many takes it took to get the dog/flea rubbing shot right. =)

Thanks to JB and BW for tag-teaming as my spotters for the evening! =)
This is NOT how the theater looked at showtime. I spaced on getting a photo until hours after the screening. D'oh!

Keep on keepin on~

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

LOST: Jim's kickass Desmond theory! aka "See you in another life, Brother!"

6.11: "Happily Ever After"

* April 26, 2010. I've developed a wrinkle on this theory, that posits that Desmond1 has already seen the end of LOST2. Check it out here. It's not a switch, it's a ride-along! =)

Jim has this frickin *brilliant* idea about Desmond as of "Happily Ever After" that I just didn't see...

When Desmond2 touches Penny's hand in LOST2 and faints in the stadium stands, it's Desmond1's consciousness that comes to afterward. And crosswhile, back in the EM shed on the Island, after being zapped by the Big Generator, it's Desmond2's consciousness that opens Desmond's eyes and asks Widmore for a hand up from the floor.

The Desmonds have switched bodies (and realities)!

I originally suspected, and I think Jim did, too, that the idea would start springing leaks left and right once you watch the two Brothers continue on their merry divergent ways, but y'know, with a little help, I think it frickin works!

(And of course, me being me, the more I think about it, the more I WANT it to work. =)

The "little help" it needs is a (at least selective, but perhaps complete) transfer of experience and memory between the two Desmonds. Not out of the question given how crossover downloads seem to happen. In fact, de rigueur—see Charlie's, Daniel's, and now Hurley's experiences (actually, Hurley doesn't remember anything, he just figured out the perfect way to keep mackin' on Libby, eh? =). Both Desmonds wake up in alternate realities AWARE of their both realities, and somewhat clued into the idea that events in one effectively created the other, and that together, he* is in a unique position to help save, preserve, or perhaps repair or improve one or both realities.

*Heh, what's the proper pronoun agreement for this situation?

So, Desmond1 wakes up in LOST2 with the understanding that he's just met Penelope for the first time, a decade or so later than he did in LOST1. Also, that the counterparts of his Losties here in LOST2 can be (re?)connected to their other, LOST1, lives and loves with his help, playing the role of cupid and/or chaos. So, with Minkowski's help, he begins tracking and enlightening them one by one. Does he have a specific plan? I don't know. If I were him, tho, I'd want to "wake up" as many counterparts as possible, get them together with the likes of Daniel, Faraday's journal, the DI-Other-1977 cabal of Chang, Alpert, and the Widmores, and perhaps Ilana if she's available on the spot, figure out what's to be done, and do it.

And, Desmond2 wakes up in LOST1 with his longtime loyalty to Charles Widmore intact, a ghost familiarity with the Losties that Desmond1 befriended, and a notion of a mission that he is charged with by Widmore that will help save the world (and Desmond1's Penny and Charlie), altho ignorant of the specific threat to it and its form. It's this frame of mind that causes Desmond to seek Widmore's hand immediately after waking up in the shed. It's this frame of mind that lets him roll so easily with his rescue/abduction by Sayid, whom Desmond1 trusted. It's this frame of mind that keeps him so at ease in the presence of the Locke-ness Monster, whose identity Desmond1 would have no reason to question. Again, you have to ask, does Desmond2 have a specific plan? No. Desmond1's memories tell him that his EM-munity makes him a uniquely qualified agent for Something Important that must be done on the Island, but uninformed of the master plan, all he can do is trust in others to get him where he's needed and tell him what he's to do.

Now, how can the Desmonds help each other or coordinate anything thru the snowglobe / across realities? Well, if anything they're doing DOES need to be done in concert somehow, unfortunately, they ARE in different realities—neither would know what the other is up to or has completed... until/unless of course, one of them goes in for an MRI, or... maybe after a ton of research and surveying, the other happens to gain entrance to a site on the Island, say, at the bottom of an ancient well, that is popping with periodic high-powered EM activity, but, with only six hours of show time left, what are the odds of THAT happening, right?

I love it. =)

Keep on keepin on~

LOST: Ray Shephard

5.06: "316"

In my previous LOST post, I commented on how I believe that Christian Shephard was part of an off-Island cabal dedicated to finding-stroke-reclaiming the Island. However, I neglected to mention how the Shephard bloodline seems entwined with the Island for more than one generation back.

Remember when Jack visits his Grandfather at his rest home? Before he leaves for the Island on Ajira 316? He's been told that he needs to escort Locke's body as a proxy for his father's, and to complete the re-creation, he needs to give Locke something of Christian's. Soon after he learns that granddad has made yet another attempt at "escaping" his home...
JACK: Will you at least tell me where the bus was headed?
RAY: Doesn't matter. Anywhere I go is somewhere better than here.
JACK: You packed a bag?
RAY: Of course I did. One of these times, I'm actually gonna get away. They won't ever find me either.
And of course, at the end of Jack's visit, we discover that Ray just happens to have just the thing Jack needs to properly accessorize his John Locke action figure—a pair of Christian's shoes.

Ray's just so... knowing, isn't he? Like Santa Claus when a kid surprises him by the fireplace on Christmas Eve, wink and a nod, y'know? Gotta say, it was nice to see Jack be so at ease around his dad's dad, a comfortable manner he lost so completely with his father, if he ever had it.

Anyhow, Ray packed a bag. He's ready to get away in a serious way. Of course, this time, he HAD to get caught, so that Jack would have to come see him and happen upon his father's shoes, but he DOES have a bag packed. And he boasts that when he does get away, they'll never find him. Sound like the Island to anyone else?

In such a short scene, a brief interaction, Ray's character and demeanor impressed so much upon me about a possible backstory and history with the Island. That perhaps he was part of the military contingent sent there in the 50s. Maybe he was judged "good," his name on a list, spared, and allowed to live with the Others for a time. Maybe he was born into Otherhood on the Island. In any case, I imagine he was made leader, and had to turn the wheel to prevent the military from returning. He's since made a home and a family for himself in the world, but understands that the Island isn't done with him, and is content to play his part and perhaps press his son and his son's son into its service.

Seeing him in that home, speaking to Jack the way he does, he reminded me of Captain Pike in "The Menagerie," from STAR TREK, the original series. He is biding his time, doing what needs doing, content with knowing that in the end, he will be rewarded with a return to the paradise of the Island.

Or, kinda like Wilfred Brimley and friends in COCOON, y'know?

Keep on keepin on~

Monday, April 19, 2010

LOST: who's steering LOST2, Michael's noise, and "Hasta, Ilana"

6.12: "Everyone Loves Hugo"


In LOST1, I suspected that Widmore, Paik, and Shephard had long-term coordinated designs on the Island, its gifts/powers/resources, and each had sacrificed or groomed a child and/or agent to seal a pact as well as play their part in a planned or pre-ordained conflict or regime change on the Island. I think that's what we're seeing now on the Island. Would these families still be working toward the same end in LOST2, with the Island submerged beneath the Ocean? Perhaps, but there are definitely some key figures we've met in pre-Incident LOST1 who live on in LOST2 who could would take on such chess-playing roles in anticipation of a parallel crisis.

Pierre Chang, Miles's father, is a big muckymuck at the Golden State Natural History Museum. He's one of the few people who lived on the Island who knows that there were time travellers among them on the day of the Incident. The others are Eloise Hawking and Richard. Widmore was Other leader at the time, and Eloise's paramour, so I'm guessing that given the identity of the man Eloise shot that day—Daniel Faraday—that Widmore probably knows about the tachyonauts as well. Others who *might* be in the know include Horace Goodspeed and Radzinsky, who were both present for Sayid's interrogation. Whether they survived the Incident and later took Sayid's story to heart, there's no telling yet.

Chang's, Hawking's, and Richard's encounters with the Losties in 1977, along with Faraday's journal and, no doubt, his work with the DI in Ann Arbor, give these individuals some insight in how things played out in LOST1. By comparing the unfolding reality of LOST2 to Faraday's notes and their interactions with the time travellers, they would quickly realize that they're experienceing a different reality, and Faraday's notes and work could give them a rough map of what's to come in the way of spacetime crises and Incident blowback.

What if Chang, Widmore, Hawking, and Richard, DI and Other heavies, in the wake of the 1977 Incident, pledge to pool their influence and resources to save or correct or protect things as best they can.

But what could they do, and what have they done?

Except for Sawyer (aka LaFleur), they know the names of the tacyhonauts, so with the right resources and relationships, they could easily find and track them throughout their lives. Chang's familiar with everyone who "joined" the DI in the 70s. In addition to that contact, Widmore and Richard met young Ben; Young Widmore and Richard have met time-travelling Locke; Richard met Locke as a child, off-Island; young Widmore and Eloise met Charlotte (who didn't survive "to" the 70s).

A "team-up" would allow the Other bigwigs access to DI science, which on one hand would help Widmore industries make substantial leaps in tech and business, and on the other, would give them access to facilities like the Lamppost, which I think could be vital to any reality-manipulating event in LOST2.

Chang follows his wife and child off the Island, and has kept his family close over the years. Qualified to run all manner of superscientific projects at the DI, he's since become a Somebody at this natural history museum, where he's gathered Charlotte as an assistant and drawn the interest of Hugo Reyes as benefactor. He lives in the same city as his son Miles, and has perhaps nudged him in ways to maintain his partnership with Sawyer once he meets him, a man he came to trust for three years on the Island as LaFleur.

Charles and Eloise get married and raise their son Daniel to be a musician. Music is a natural expression of his Island gift, one that Eloise1 coerced Faraday into giving up in favor of physics. (I was hoping that Daniel would be connected to Jack already as son David's piano teacher.) This might have been in part to prevent his mucking about with the timeline, but I see potential in Eloise's guilt at having killed her own son in LOST1 driving her to protect Daniel in LOST2.

And in the meantime, Charles continues with his business empire building, only this time around, he plants his corporate flag in the heart of Los Angeles. I still say as Other leader in the 70s (and 80s in LOST1) he was straddling Island allegiances, involving himself in the DI and his own business in the off-Island world.

He also strikes up an affair with an outsider "again" in LOST2, a Miss Milton, and becomes father to Penelope Milton, Daniel Widmore's half sister. I've still not figured out who of the two of them is older/younger, and the details or the timing of Charles's relationships, but I'm gonna let myself be OK with the idea that they're not all that important.

Eloise carries on as Charles's better half, perhaps tuning her ability to help him build his empire, as well as to track the not-lost Losties over the years. Maybe she really does have a legitimate reason to tell Desmond that he's not ready. She may believe that she has predicted the correct time for Desmond to meet Penny, in 2007, when her LOST1 counterpart sent the Oceanic Six back to the Island, not realizing that 2004 is the correct/actual crisis point?

That's all I've got on this just now.


Heh. Apparently in LOST2, at least one of Costanza's lies is made real...
HURLEY: Oh, you know we got the Human Fund next Saturday night... can you make it?
I wonder if we'll meet the legendary Art Van deLay before this is all over? He will be revealed as the ultimate power behind the Jacob, Esau, and the Island, played by Bruce Campbell. =)

HURLEY: What are you doing here?
MICHAEL: I'm here to stop you from getting everyone killed. You gonna say something?
HURLEY: Why should I trust you? You murdered Libby and Ana Lucia.
MICHAEL: That doesn't matter right now. What matters is you going across that island to blow up that plane. People are gonna die. A lot of people, and it's gonna be your fault.
MICHAEL: Because people are listening to you now, Hurley.
This whole Michael thing seems like a bunch of static. Noise. Jibber jabber with no authority. He never claims to be an agent of anyone else, he just seems to suddenly feel the need to speak up. What does his appearance in this episode actually DO?
  1. He clues Hurley into the notion that there should be a way to do the right thing without getting a bunch of people killed. Okay, fine. But I'd think that understanding is totally within Hurley's nature anyhow. He could've turned that corner without a nudge from Ghost Michael.
  2. He explains/confirms the "mystery" of the Whispers. They are the souls of the dead bound to the Island because of things they did while alive. Totally frickin unnecessary. I really never thought of the Whispers as a huge mystery. I wrote them off as Other ventriloquism, employed by them to terrorize their opponents and victims. When Ben abducts baby Alex, he tells Rousseau specifically to go the other way when she hears whispers in the jungle. He is sparing her and cluing her in on how to survive on the Island with his people. The Whispers are lost souls? Are we to believe that the Others can somehow ORDER or HERD them for use as a spooky special effect whenever they wish? Boo. Lame.
  3. He lets us, and Hurley, know that Libby isn't one of those souls. He does this by asking Hurley to pass on his apology to her. Well, kind of good to know, but still, big whup.
Who was he working for when he died? Tom Friendly explains to him how the Island isn't done with him, that's why he can't kill himself. He has to go back to the Island. He seems to be doing the work of the Others at that point, under the leadership of Ben. Remember who tells him he can go now or whatever he says, when Michael runs out of liquid nitrogen and the C4 is about to detonate? It's Christian. That seemed fine to me when I was thinking of "the Island" using the dead bodies on itself as avatars to deliver messages. Michael also sees Libby on the freighter, remember? Thing is, we've since discovered that it's actually Esau who takes the forms of the dead on the Island. We don't know for certain that he's the ONLY beign on the Island capable of it, but it makes a kind of sense that it would. So, were Libby and Christian on the freighter actually the Monster? Does that mean Michael was working for Esau? If so, how directly was Ben being manipulated by Esau? BUT, we've also recently learned that the Monster cannot travel over water as the Monster. He would have had to have reached the freighter in a human form and then done some shape/Monster-shifting on board to appear to Michael...

*sigh* Does that mess make any kind of sense?

ILANA: You have to trust me. I've been training my whole life for this.
HURLEY: To blow stuff up?
ILANA: To protect you.
HURLEY: Yeah, but how's blowing up the plane protecting us?
ILANA: With that plane gone, that thing won't be able to leave the island.
HURLEY: Yeah, well neither will we. And then we'll be stuck here with it and it will be angry at us.
Hurley's not wrong...
ILANA: Jacob said Richard would know what to do. And Richard said to blow up the plane, correct?
Jacob or the Rules or the situation haven't dictated that Richard, Ilana, Jack, Hurley and co have to pursue one and only one course of action. There's no reason that Richard's plan to blow up the plane, which is his interpretation of the last request that Isabella made of him via Hurley, that he keep the Monster from leaving the Island, shouldn't be part of a larger plan that involves Hurley reuniting the Oceanic Six, their pilot, and Desmondo at Esau's camp. Even tho that just happens to be exactly what the Monster needs to re-create their first escape from the Island...
HURLEY: Well, Jacob never said anything about it to me. I mean, what if Richard's wrong?
ILANA: Hugo, I'm looking out for your best interests. All of you! Nothing is more important than this! That thing is evil! And God help us if it ever leaves this island! Because if— [*BOOM* goes the dynamite!]
Goodbye, Ilana. We hardly knew ya. Having her Arzt out in the very same episode that features Hurley's ghost whispering ability tells me that she may have Kenobi'd herself, the way Jacob did. For the most part, Richard's correct later about how Jacob doesn't tell people exactly what to do, so maybe having Ilana as a dead adviser is just what that gang needs, eh? And I feel like it's a serious longshot, but hey, we may yet see "her" again in LOST2. Recovering from burns at St. Sebastian's? Well, okay, probably not like that, but somewhere in LOST2... Perhaps as Miles's girlfriend? =)

SAWYER: That gonna be a spear?
ESAU: I'm not sure what it's gonna be yet, James. When the time is right, it'll tell me.
SAWYER: You talk to wood now?
That staff or spear or whatever it is will be Something Important, mark my words. It will be exactly the thing Esau needs it to be when he needs it.

Keep on keepin on~

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

LOST: Frickin awesome. =)

6.12: "Everyone Loves Hugo"

"On my god." Out loud, I said it. "Oh my god." I'm watching alone at 1:30 in the morning with dinner after the late shift at vball, and I'm realizing what Desmond's going to do, just as he tells Ben that it was nice to meet him, and I'm saying it, three times, maybe four. Out loud. "Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh. My. God."

And Desmond guns it.

Frickin awesome. =)

Who's next? Who's important, and trackable by Desmond? If we go by the Numbers, we're looking at...

[X] 4 - Locke
[X] 8 - Reyes
[ ] 15 - Ford
[ ] 16 - Jarrah
[ ] 23 - Shephard
[ ] 42 - Kwon.

Will Locke dance at his wedding?

How will the remaining Candidate counterparts reach enlightenment?

I think it would be great if Kate kisses Sawyer as a ploy to get him to drop his guard while she's in custody, but she gets more than she bargained for. They both do. When they kiss, the reality floodgates open, and they DO feel love, but for other people. Sawyer for Juliet, and Kate for... well, since I can't say "herself," I guess I'll go with Jack.

So Sawyer will use his detective resources to happen upon Juliet, and Kate, once Sawyer helps her get free, will seek out Dr. Jack. I'd like to see Sawyer also receive flashes to his connection with Locke via Anthony Cooper. Once he meets Juliet, he'll have his +1 to Helen and John's wedding!

That leaves Jarrah and Kwon. LOST2's Jarrah already has his Nadia, so who or what would serve as a cross-reality catalyst for him? So far we've seen love and physical trauma bust thru realities. Under the love column, a run-in with Shannon could be the spark that lights him up, but I'm not feeling it. Under the near-death/trauma column, a bullet wound might do the trick, eh? A gut shot like the one he died from? Or, even "better..." Torture. Or... an "accident" that nets out to electrocution similar to what he suffered at the batteries and electrodes of Rousseau and Dogen. Or perhaps under the influence of a truth serum type drug, like in 1977 served up by Oldham. If hatred as fiery and potent as love could punch thru spacetime, I'd say an encounter with Ben might do the trick, too.

LOST2's Kwons are actually Paik and Kwon. In LOST1, did Jin ever get to see a print of a sonogram from the medical station? If he did, I'd say that THAT would be the trigger for Sun and Jin, something they'd see on a monitor at the emergency room at St. Sebastian's, right? Maybe it's enough for Sun alone, and then Sun says some phrase in English that resonates with Jin to trigger the LOST1 download for him. Or maybe she says her LOST1 wedding vows and THAT's the trigger, allowing Jin to recite his as well. And—bonus!—both of them get to learn English in an instant!

I think St. Sebastian's as a rendezvous/rally point makes a lot of sense. It doesn't quite allow for a full-on LOSTapalooza the way the wedding of Helen and John could, but it can easily collect all the major players, and in a short time.

Claire might still be there for observation, and Charlie was last seen running thru its halls. They'll find one another. Jin and Sun are no doubt on their way there from Keamy's restaurant. Perhaps Juliet will consult on Sun's case because of her pregnancy? Locke will be sent there, perhaps accompanied by Ben, and maybe Jack will perform miraculous emergency surgery on him. Maybe Sawyer will show up with his freckle-faced fugitive in tow to get both checked out for a concussion or whatnot after the collision and chase scene.

There are still the non-Numbered 815 Losties... Lapidus. Boone. Rose. Bernard. Maybe Anna Lucia, Michael, Eko...?

And those with DI and Other pedigrees... Juliet. Daniel and Charlotte. Miles (and Anna Lucia? Naomi?). Pierre Chang. Horace Goodspeed. And Ben.

Speaking of Pierre... Given the confession by Hurley and adult Miles back in 1977 on I-day, how much does he know and how much is he prepared for in the way of a cross-reality crisis? Has he been keeping an eye out for the time travellers he met back then? That would include man of the year, Hugo, of course. Working at a museum... That might get him access to certain global resources and even artifacts... Hrmmm...

This has been first blush top-o-my-head riffing on just this one aspect of the episode. Will hafta settle and regroup for a more thoughtful brain dump in a future post.

I am not looking forward to not looking forward to LOST.


Keep on keepin on~

Monday, April 12, 2010

FLASHFORWARD: an interesting villain...

D. Gibbons. I'm still playing catchup, via DVR, so, a couple episodes behind, I just watched "Blowback." I like the outline of this bad guy, Gibbons. A really clever idea for a supervillain, he's a genius, a hacker, and a thief. He builds his reps, and identities, on knowledge that he steals from brilliant academics and researchers. His hacking abilities allow him access to breakthroughs before publication or practical application, and he is intelligent enough to grasp the ideas and tech necessary to sell them as his own discoveries and apply them to his nefarious ends.

I'm also liking watching Aaron go to war against James Remar and Jericho for his daughter. =)

Keep on keepin on~

LOST: Schrodinger's reality and "Happily Ever After"

6.11: "Happily Ever After"

[A summary of some of my jargon... LOST1 is the original show reality. LOST2 is the new, season 6, alternate reality. The snowglobe is the pocket dimension of the Island, and as far as we know, all the people we've met in the snowglobe have their origins and histories in LOST1. This is sort of another POV / follow-up on an earlier post.]

Science nerds, please forgive me while I play fast and loose with concepts as I try to explain...

Schrodinger's cat. There's a cat in a closed box with an infernal device that may or may not release a poisonous gas that would kill the cat. So, from our position outside the box, we don't know if the cat is dead or alive within the box until we open it up and observe it. Until we do that, the cat, according to quantum mechanics, is both dead and alive. This is not how you create a zombie cat (as far as I know, at least), but meant to illustrate the weirdness of quantum mechanics using an easy-to-imagine everyday scale (as opposed to quantum scale) scenario.

OK. Let's do some imperfect substitution. It may be more metaphor and ideaplay than science, but give it a chance.

The cat = reality, off the Island.

Dead or alive = LOST1 or LOST2.

The box = the snowglobe, bigger on the inside than the outside, as from our perspective, it "contains" all of reality off of the Island.

Poison gas = the events unfolding in LOST2 and LOST1 on the Island.

Opening the box = an anti-Incident, or Incident 2.0.

Reality outside the snowglobe has been in flux since Sawyer, Juliet, and company returned from 1977. The off-Island world is in a fuzzy probabilistic state, a question mark that will resolve to LOST1 or LOST2 (or maybe even a re-wound, re-writable LOST1) once an upcoming Incident-like crisis point in one or both realities occurs.

I think Widmore and the nerd commandos know this.
DESMOND: You take me back! You take me back right now, you hear?!
WIDMORE: I can't take you back. The Island isn't done with you yet.
I think all of us focus on the final classic LOST remark in that exchange, right? But what about the line Charles delivers right before it? To me, the way it's delivered struck me as tho it could have been all he originally meant to say—"I can't take you back."—meaning, the reality we came from isn't there right now.

(It may not seem to fit given the pace of events in the show, but remember, time in the vicinity of the snowglobe is quite fluid. So, timing-wise, Widmore and his AIM henchies submarine into the snowglobe just before the time travellers' return. I'm thinking that Charles gave everyone the "we're through the looking glass now, people" speech to his operatives even before he meets Eloise outside Desmond's hospital. Probably soon after he gets Ben's taunting phone call. And if we believe in the Rules forbidding the return of an exile to the Island, Jacob's death apparently annuls it.)

Granted, it would be the most callous thing, even for Charles, to leave his daughter and grandson behind, off-Island, to blink out of existence if they fail (I originally thought that Widmore would save his family, including Eloise, Penny, and Charlie), but think about the sacrifice that Charles plans to ask of Desmond. What better motivation could Widmore give Des than the salvation of his family? His constant.

The sacrifice in that case would be his own life for his family and reality.

What about a harsher sacrifice? The existence of his son? If Widmore can get Desmond to somehow restore LOST1, but rolled back to a point in 2004, his son would not have been born yet, but a lot of tragedy that befell the Losties, could be avoided, and perhaps Penny could beat Charles to the Island and rescue everyone, just the way Desmond envisioned in his Charlie-dies-in-the-Looking-Glass-flash way back when (that's always bugged me and I'm hoping that the creators haven't written it off/out).

Fun-story-wise, I have a suspicion that the LOST1 Good Guys will tragically fall just short of the win in LOST1 on the Island, but, through Desmond's action/intervention in LOST2, the LOST2ers will save the day. So, the Monster's victory in LOST1 on the Island (which would resolve off-Island reality to LOST2) actually plants the seeds of his retroactive defeat. Crazy talk? Perhaps, but hey, it's LOST. =)

Keep on keepin on~

Sunday, April 11, 2010

LOST: more on "Happily Ever After"

6.11: "Happily Ever After"

High points and bits of theory from this week's episode of Desmond Fever...
WIDMORE: I brought you back to the Island. I can't imagine how you must be feeling. But if you'll give me a chance to explain—
I love that Desmond takes a couple of seconds to let those first few words sink in and then, automatically, instinctively, he begins whaling on Charles with his IV stand— *love* that!

And once Desmond's subdued by Widmore's AIM agents...
WIDMORE: I can't take you back. The Island isn't done with you yet...
In previous posts, I riffed on that second sentence, but neglected the first. Did anyone else feel something... final, perhaps, about the way Charles delivers that? Almost as if its meaning isn't necessarily connected or relevant to the following statement? To me, it sounds like Charles may know that the reality outside of the showglobe is, at that moment, in flux, or perhaps, Wrong, aka LOST2.

In Widmore's office, we see a painting on the wall featuring a scale. In one pan, a black something or other, in the other, a white, a still life we've seen before, in the cliffside cave.

I like that Charlie feels the need to enlighten Desmond on just what consciousness-altering love looks like, but in fact, only hours earlier, Desmond spoke to this vision of love that Charlie speaks of. Classic LOST-ness, of course.

A few seconds before Charlie gives Desmond the choice of seeing what he's talking about or getting out of the car, they pass the marina, and the camera lingers for a moment after their car passes. I think this is the marina, and the view of it, that Desmond and Penny choose for their backdrop in the photo they took way back when in London. The photo that Desmond keeps with him on the Island. The photo found on Naomi when she parachutes in.

And I really like the way Charlie phrases his ultimatum to Desmond...
CHARLIE: I feel sorry for you, mate. [Desmond chuckles.] You think you're happy. You think you've got it all--this, your life. But, you don't.
DESMOND: Why, because none of it's real?
CHARLIE: All right, Mr. Hume. How about I offer you a choice?
DESMOND: What's that?
CHARLIE: I can either show you what I'm talking about, or you can get out of the car.
DESMOND: Why in God's name would I want to get out of the car?
Gotta say, I've never been happy with Charlie's death. It was, y'know, heroic, and undeniably heart-punching, but it was also just so frickin needless. He could've gotten outside the comm room and he and Des could've sealed it from outside. Or, once the room flooded, I think he could've wriggled out the porthole and floated up thru Mikhail's guts to the surface.

BTW, I'm really hoping we'll see a really messed-up-lookin regenerated Mikhail show up in the 11th hour. Hrmmm... whose side would he be on, eh?

Anyhow, despite my problems with Charlie's death, I hafta say, the car crash (no airbag deployment?) into the water triggering Desmond's flashovers to Charlie's last moments... that was Good. I mean, really button-pushing, powerful, moving. So much of this episode is great payoff on so many things that have come before it.

Desmond rules. =)

I wonder how many more times Jack will get to ask, "Wait, he was on our plane, and now he's here in the hospital?" That is, how many more fellow passengers will end up at St. Sebatian's. Would be fun for that fact to clue Jack in to fate, purpose, and destiny regarding the Losties in LOST2.

When Desmond lets Charlie leave from the hospital (after he tells Des he should be looking for Penny), where exactly do we think Charlie goes?

Eloise's double-brooch — two stars, one larger than the other.

Penny Milton. Have we ever met a Milton in LOST-dom? I'm thinking not, as the name would've sparked all manner of riffing on John Milton's PARADISE LOST and PARADISE REGAINED, which, of course, it sparks now. =)

I like Daniel's Michael Jackson hat.

I like how Eloise takes Desmond aside to straighten him out, as she did when Desmond bought the engagement ring at her pawn shop in LOST1. She refers to his behavior, his way of looking at/for things, as a "violation." How does Eloise get to know these things in LOST2? Her ability? Daniel's LOST1 journal? Is she in on the Rules, aware of a/the "reason" behind the existence of LOST2?

What does she mean when she says that Desmond is not ready? Is Desmond fated to meet Penny in LOST2 as well, just not as soon as this? Why would Desmond meeting Penny Milton later be "better?"

Interesting that it seems like Eloise has been granted backstage access, but not Charles. He seems to be dealing with everything and everyone on a surface level, workaday, matter-of-factly, concerned with his wife's fundraiser, his son's kooky musician, and Desmond getting the job done.

I dig Desmond's enlightened demeanor upon his return from LOST2. Tina is sharp enough to question his change in attitude, but Desmond doesn't offer any details, letting her believe that the super-sized electromagnets fried his brain good. I also dig how he rolls with Sayid's "rescue," too. I wonder how Desmond will react to and interact with undead Locke (Desmond wouldn't know or care that Locke died, right?), Sawyer, and Kate, assuming Sayid gets him safely back to Camp Esau.

I wonder what Ilana, Richard, and Ben would make of Des's presence on the Island, eh?

I love that Charlie and George play Desmond's guides on his LOST2 journey, tag-teaming Virgils in Desmond's INFERNO. That's more Charlie than George, really, I suppose. In any case, cool to have Desmond's adventure feature all of the LOST2ers who were spacetimey in LOST1. Timesick George. FINAL DESTINATION Charlie. Watcher Eloise. Time-maker Daniel. Constant Penny.

I really don't think it's important, but it would be a nice bonus if Desmond's pedigree was revealed as connected to the Island somehow. What my brain would be happy to discover is that Desmond is Jack's half-brother. =)

But, like I said, not important, not necessary. Cuz I also like that Desmond is NOT connected, except as Penny's star-crossed love and a thorn in Widmore's side. Fits and reinforces his true x-factor status.


Ben is surprised to hear that there's a sailboat on the Island. That tells me that Ben's Others have no idea that Desmond is on the Island. They just know that there are supposed to be a couple of Dharma operatives in the Swan pushing the button, preventing EM events that suck more people into the snowglobe. Widmore knows Desmond's there, tho. Perhaps because he engineered his abduction by the Island, and definitely thanks to Eloise and their son's journal.


This is a stretch, even for me. I make some wild LOST-science suppositions, inconsistent ones, too, if I think about it, but I like the crux of it, cuz it hinges on the notion that Esau's being "stuck" in Locke's form is a weakness to be exploited.

What if Locke was somehow revived? Maybe thru Jacobean Island magic, but maybe thru the injection of Locke2's life force from LOST2, part of the save-the-world operation that Desmond jump starts with the other 815ers. The life force and memories of the other LOST2ers would also be assimilated by the LOST1ers.

So, Locke is revived in his doppelganger body. What happens to Esau, who's "stuck" in Locke's form, a form he's allowed to assume because Locke's actual, deceased, body, is somewhere on the Island? My best science tells me that the vessel of Locke's form could only accommodate one sentience, so I think that such a scenario would short circuit the Monster, ejecting his consciousness from the Locke shell, possibly killing him, but maybe possibly* bumping him across realities to LOST2, where Locke2 would be dead, so his form could safely host the Monster. But, with Locke2 and the other Losties2 transmigrating, and likely dead, what's happening to LOST2 at that moment? Why, it's collapsing, blinking out of existence in favor of the "return" of LOST1, perhaps rewound three years. So, the Monster is beamed over to LOST2, where he's free from the Island, but trapped in a reality that's about to die. Win!

* Note that the Smoke Monster body would be trapped or separated from Esau in Locke's form, either by a body of water (if that's an actual restriction on the Monster) or a sonic barrier. This would prevent Esau from becoming the Monster once he's forced out of his Locke doppelganger.

Keep on keepin on~