Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Castle (5.12)

~ One Spoiler & A Slight Rant ~

Ok, this is just sad. I see two seconds of the cameraman on 5.12 Death Gone Crazy, and immediately recognize him as Bug Boy from the 2nd episode of Smallville! The guy is, what, 12 years older now? He even has a goatee/beard thingy and short hair compared to clean-shaven and longish hair, and I still recognized him! Why can't I remember pertinent details in my life, like needing to attend a committee meeting!? Bug Boy is unimportant! ARGH!

I love Castle, but I had a serious moment of hating on the writers when they accused a protest group of trying to "push" a conservative agenda on the media.

In comparison to what, the liberal agenda the media already pushes?

Plus, this same group burns effigies and breaks windows. Hence the promoting of the oh-so popular image of conservative Christians as right-wing lunatics who will stab you with a stake and throw holy water in your face.

Thankfully, and this is a spoiler, the conservative protestor is NOT guilty of murder. In fact, Castle defends him as a fellow father at the end, which made me silently applaud him. Castle's heart-to-heart with Alexis was touching too.

The Vito Corleone comment got a smile out of me.

Eh, a little sexual innuendo, more than I like, this time coming from Ryan as an apology to Esposito.

Still, what can you expect from an episode about an adult video company called College Girls Gone Crazy?

Now that they've got that out of their system, the writers can move on.

Castle (5.17)

~ No Serious Spoilers ~

My first thought with episode 5.17 Scared to Death was "Oh, Castle," and then some serious moments of chortling.

Why, you ask?

Because only Castle would believe that because he watched the same DVD that a murdered woman watched, and because that DVD says that in three days time, at midnight, the viewer would die, that his fate is sealed too!

Castle, come on, you're endearingly crazy, but you can't be that crazy!

Episodes of any show dealing with the occult tend to either: A) Terrify me because they're too close to the truth or B) Crack me up because they're so far from the truth.

This episode falls into the latter category, shoved there by an unfortunate stealing of a famous line from The Mummy starring Brendan Fraser, "Death is only the beginning."

Sorry, couldn't help laughing!

Don't have your serial killer quoting a mummy, just . . . don't.

Oh, by the way, characters in a television show never visit an insane asylum on sunny, cloudless days. It's always at night, with lightning splitting the sky, and ominous backlighting. One could almost hear the music of Psycho playing in the background, and not in a good way.

Castle scratching things off his bucket list, particularly his compulsion to unburden himself of little white lies to Becket, was awesome! Her vase just maybe didn't break by accident! You do funny things when you think you only have a few days left to live because you watched the wrong DVD.

If a cell phone is going to cut out, it will do so during a crucial point in the conversation.

Ryan reaffirms his fear of the Chucky movies.

Wes Craven fans are going to be ecastic.

And finally, kudos to Castle writers for not using the occult as an excuse to terrify their audience.  One of this show's strengths is its ability to not take itself too seriously. My heart and I thank you. Also accept my gratitude for tolerable sexual innuendo only, and very few actual sex scenes.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

My first encounter with Hyde's music

Me: Ooh, looky! Hyde's music is on the library's free music download website! I didn't even know they had Japanese music, how cool!

*clicks link and finds several albums, starts salivating*

Me: I'll just pick any old album. So what if I've NEVER LISTENED TO HIS MUSIC BEFORE. I'm sure it's awesome, just like Gackt's introspective style, and I LOVE Gackt.

*goes into an album, and clicks the load button for the first song, hands clasped in girlish glee*

Me: What the HECK is this!?

*heavymetal blares from speakers set far louder than originally anticipated*

Me: HYDE! How could you!? Is there nothing in your repertoire worth my listening to, nothing at all?!

*clicks through song after song, the teeth-shattering heavymetal prevalent in each one*

Me: Ah, finally!

*Finds an album that says Jpop*

Me: Errr, this is NOT j-pop, but at least it's not heavymetal.

*head in hands*

Me: Yes, I must download at least a few of these songs. Maybe your style will grow on me.

*pulls up his picture and whimpers at it*

Me: Why heavymetal? And how the heck did you and Gackt ever become friends if your styles were THIS DIFFERENT?!

*presses the play button on my media player, determined to persevere*

Me: Ok, so hard rock's not as bad as heavy metal. I can do this. Hmm, not bad actually.

*finds foot tapping to the music, glances to make sure bedroom door is closed so the family doesn't think I'm stepping on the cat's tail*

Me: What I won't do for love!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Life of Pi (2012)

What is faith? For Pi Patel, faith is believing in God through the avenue of numerous religions. He is a Hindu Christian Buddhist Muslim. It reminds me a bit of Beni in The Mummy who had all his bases covered with symbols and memorized prayers from every main religion. But Pi is no Beni. He truly believes that he can find God in all of the religions, and finds comfort in each of them. More on that later.

This story basically is about a young man named Pi whose family owned a zoo, but because of political unrest in India, they decide to move to Canada. The animals are going to be sold to North American zoos, but the ship carrying Pi, his family, and the animals, sinks during a storm. Pi is the only human survivor, and this film follows his adventures on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. That's the barebones plot, but the story is about so much more than just a boy adrift in an ocean with a tiger. It's about survival, about courage, about finding God in any and all circumstances.

One of the first things the audience needs to be aware of is that Pi does indeed believe in several religions at once. He somehow found a way to force them to mesh together in a cohesive format. Unfortunately, by believing in everything, what Pi really believes in is nothing. You can't force Christ and Krishna to get along. The Hindu religion has somewhere around 33 million gods, so Pi just adds these new gods to his reportoire of religions. It's unfortunate, really, because when Pi's time comes, he'll find that God never knew him, so what were all his claims of faith for in the long run?

The film itself is stunning. It's sort of a fanciful fairy-tale, with the vivid colors of India coming to life on the ocean. Because Pi spends so much time in the lifeboat, he reaches a point where the lines of reality blurr and he's not entirely certain what's real and what isn't real. He and Richard Parker learn to coexist in a very tenuous relationship, struggling to survive. There are flying fish, sharks, a massive whale, and even a 'carniverous' island inhabited solely by meerkats whose waters turn to acid at night. The violence is on a PG13 level, particularly since animals get eaten. I hate nature shows because I love animals, but at least Life of Pi cuts away before the scenes gets too bloody.

Life of Pi is magnificent, there's no getting around it. Suraj Sharma (young Pi) and Irrfan Khan (mature Pi) really showed their acting chops. My experience with Indian films is limited to either B grade Bollywood musicals or the historic masterpiece Jodha Akbar so I wasn't sure what to expect. Life of Pi, despite the odd religious beliefs of the young hero, really exceeded my expectations. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I like finding out what other people believe, how they think about God and faith. It gives me a greater understanding of the various deviations people come up with about Christianity and God in general, and I like being informed. Pi is a wonderful young man. He's dedicated to religion and God, he just can't pick one faith over any other. He's just as adrift spiritually as he is physically in that lifeboat.

Don't let my musings stop you from watching Life of Pi. Caitlin and I really did like it, it's just that I don't go into movies with blind faith. I like analyzing them and figuring out what makes them tick and whether I completely agree with the conclusions or not. But I also love fanciful movies, and you don't get much more fanciful than Life of Pi.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Skyfall (2012)

Here's the bare-bones premise for Skyfall. A former British Intelligence agent (Javier Bardem) holds a grudge against M (Judi Dench), and it is up to James Bond (Daniel Craig) to keep her alive. I'm not branching out farther than that because you need to watch the movie yourself and I would hate to give anything truly crucial to the plot away by accident

So, no Spoilers!

Judi Dench has never been a true favorite actress of mine, but she really shined in the role of M, a role she's played for several years. I feel the same way about Daniel Craig. He's always been "ehhh" to me, but maybe it was the plot, or maybe my perspective on his acting has changed, or something because I halfway liked him as Bond. Apparently the true Bond is less campy than the earlier films portray him, and if there's one thing Craig delivers, it's a serious Bond. Kudos to him.

I remember watching Quantum of Solace a few years ago and being totally lost. I couldn't even tell you the premise now, or even any individual scenes, I was so confused. In comparison, Skyfall has a tight script that does honor to its writers, and immediately titillated my love of action films. There are no plot holes that I could find, and I was totally in tune with the plot from start to finish. The adrenaline rush is constant throughout almost the entire film. We're not talking Speed constant, but the action is maintained from point A to point B without really lagging at all in-between. The writers created a 2 1/2 movie and left the audience wanting more. The special effects were spectacular in that they didn't draw too much attention to themselves. Really, the movie felt real, not Bond campy.

On to my problems with James Bond in general. The women. The average Bond movie has anywhere between 3 and 5 women that Bond takes to his bed. There's nothing fun for me watching Bond make love to that many women, when he really cares for none of them. At least in Skyfall the women don't linger, and any anatomy is shaded or blocked out. Still, I don't like Bond joining a woman in a shower. Thank God for the frosted glass. So, no nudity. Ok, there's my rant for the Bond franchise. If it weren't for the hundreds of compliant females I would have probably joined the fandom years ago.

This film really is a movie of firsts, one of which I won't go into, but the other one is important. To my knowledge, Skyfall is the first time when Bond is strapped to a chair with a man making sexual advances to him. If Bond was uncomfortable, imagine how uncomfortable the scene made me. There was no clothing removed other than a few buttons undone, but there was some caressing on bare skin and hands on his clothed upper legs. It was horrible to see Bond so helpless, and I don't even like him so you know how convincing Craig played the scene. It reminded me of Lawrence of Arabia when Peter O'Toole is sexually approached by a Turkish officer. It's just uncomfortable, and you feel like they've been violated even though nothing ever actually happens.

The violence is typical of Bond. Gunfire, some impressive fight scenes, and one man is dragged off by a large lizardy thing, I assume, to be eaten. That's thankfully off-screen although his screams are pretty loud. A woman is strapped to a bit of rubble and her former lover places a shot glass on her head for a game and then shoots her. Lots of gunfire, like I said, lots of people down, and some unfortunate loss of civilian life.

My ultimate conclusion is that I still don't like Bond. . . but if I did, I would like Daniel Craig's Bond. I may even break down and buy this movie because it was so spectacular, uncomfortable scenes and all. I like to be entertained as much as the next person, plus I liked that they gave some Bond background. The end, I thought, was especially excellent. So, know what you're getting in for if you decide to give Skyfall a try, but it really is worth it.

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