Tuesday, December 30, 2008

THE BEST FILMS OF 2008 (according to david)

let the love parade begin!

so... 2008 was a pretty sub-par year for all the pop arts, as far as i'm concerned. the even-numbered years usually pan out like that, huh? or is that my confirmation bias run amok? oh well. anyhoo, methinks only my top 2 or 3 picks will really linger with me, but linger with me they shall.

for what it's worth, here's a few films i missed that, as a list-o-holic, i felt compelled to see: TOKYO SONATA, SILENT LIGHT, WENDY AND LUCY, CHE, THE SECRET OF THE GRAIN, MY WINNIPEG, GOMORRAH, and BALLAST ... that's bout it.

and i apologize in advance for how half-formed and scribbly the thoughts below are... but lists are silly anyway. silly and TOTALLY NECESSARY. for my brain. anyhoo, the following took 2 hands and used 1 eye, as the other one was watching the penguins get smoked by the bruins (thus far). okay, please to enjoy!

20. HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY - Guillermo Del Toro

Del Toro completely unhinged - a crackerjack (yup) story that is beyond conducive to Del Toro's creature feature desires... the market scene alone allows him to scratch his itch for phenomenal make-up / animatronic work without feeling the least bit forced. the world he creates feels downright tangible, and for worse or for worse you can almost smell its inhabitants. the compositions are tight and the action kinetic, coherent, and breezy (take note, chris nolan). the character work is divine even if the relationships aren't the least bit compelling, and the whole thing just feels like a well-oiled gift from start to finish. doug jones deserves an oscar of some kind.

19. THE EDGE OF HEAVEN - Faith Akin

Turkish filmmaker Faith Akin's works seem to stir their amorphous beginnings into sumptuous and satisfyingly complete narratives as if by pure kismet, a method or phenomenon best illustrated by his latest film, the edge of heaven. a series of interweaving tales that inevitably yet without sentiment or brazen manipulation tie around each other and resolve themselves into an air-tight knot, the edge of heaven is divine slice of life cinema by way of the fates. it moves with the rhythms of life on tracks decidedly laid by the hands of cinema (though the characters feel like old friends rather than constructions), and provides insight into bliss (and the twisting road to it) and contemporary multiculturalism as lovely as they are lovelorn.

18. HAPPY-GO-LUCKY - Mike Leigh

poppy is awesome, and sally hawkins is awesome as poppy. few films this year were as defined and consumed by their protagonists. poppy starts off as a one-note gimmick and evolves (primarily courtesy of one enthralling if brazenly obvious scene involving a hobo... is that pc, hobo?) to the point where she's able to seamlessly incorporate her most artificial of charms into an entirely believable character who i wish i knew and - more importantly - envy tremendously.

17. A CHRISTMAS TALE - Arnaud Desplechin

a characteristically sprawling, messy, relentlessly buoyant family saga that never bothers to resolve itself into anything but. dan in real life plus cancer and minus the treacle (and substitute mathieu amalric for dane cook while you're at it). catherine deneuve is the casually yet terminally ill matriarch of a sizable french family that is gathering together for one last christmas in their lovely, bergman-esque chateau (well, it's not really a chateau i guess, but i feel like every house in france should be called a chateau). betrayal, deceit, adultery, schizophrenia, death, techno, and a lots of french ensue, all of which is of critical importance to these characters and none of which is presented with even an iota of undue gravitas or forced sentimentality. not the most corrosive cinematic family of the year, but certainly the most fun.

16. THE WRESTLER - Darren Aronofsky

wow, did evan rachel wood ever deflate this movie? i mean, this is darren aronofsky in a whole new light - engaging whilst significantly paired down, where for the first time in his career the story is not subservient to the telling... a dynamic he's afforded by virtue of a great character that - in lesser hands - could have been rocky in tights but here is chock-full of genuine pathos. mickey rourke gives the much-ballyhooed performance of his career virtually playing himself... in tights, and the last shot could not possibly serve its subject any better... but in an otherwise note-perfect script by former onion writer robert siegel, it's a real shame to see the secondary characters fall so flat, and be so obviously and exclusively used as the bumpers, the course-correctors to the ram's trajectory... be it marissa tomei's how-the-hell-is-she-still-so-damn-hot role as the stripper who provides ram with some trivial inter-personal connection or - more disastrously - evan rachel wood as his painfully bland and unctuous daughter whom he's better off without... either way, doesn't derail a stirring character piece.

15. THE FALL - Tarsem Singh

the most aesthetically jaw-dropping movie of the year (decade?), tarsem's years in the making opus marries the visual flair he demonstrated in the cell with a movingly elegiac account of an era of primal storytelling as seen through the eyes of a little girl and the silent actor / prince who drops injured into her life. tarsem's camera is obviously the star of the show here, but it bolsters the story rather than overpowers it, and while it's not the gut-punch it might have been with a stronger script, it's a unique experience that the blu-ray format was practically invented for.

14. PINEAPPLE EXPRESS - David Gordon Green

well, green's snow angels was a stupendously awful way for me to kick off my movie-going year (how does amy sedaris + sam rockwell = the worst?), but DGG was just saving the goods. after an awkward opening scene this thing kicks it in to crude high gear. while not as lolkatz as the other apatow flicks, this thing is a true blue movie from start to finish, with a nifty little story (rosie perez + gary cole = amazing casting) complete with brilliant character work (danny mcbride finally earns his hype) and a james franco performance that harkens back to the glory days of freaks and geeks... and the last 30 minutes... that action scene in the barn, AGAIN more invigorating than anything in the dark knight, and almost inconceivably epic... elicited laughs just by virtue of the fact that it was still going on at a certain point... twas wonderful.

13. WALTZ WITH BASHIR - Ari Folman

subverted and reworked the documentary format like no other film this year save for jia zhangke's 24 CITY... i don't entirely buy folman's pretenses for making this film (his memory loss seems a wee bit too tidy for me), but his methods are hypnotic and dig for the ecstatic truth by circumventing documentary reality in a way that would make werner herzog himself proud... the real and the fake... the historical and the imagined... blended together into something that drives at the essence of a truly terrible landmark in the ever-complicating relationship between israel and palestine, a process which shrinks a large-scale massacre to a personal level without reducing it in any way. the actual footage at the end is unnecessary, but folman has already worked wonders by then.

12 . LET THE RIGHT ONE IN - Tomas Alfredson

a confidently told tale of adolescence and the many different ways in which people use one another as seen through the prism of androgynous swedish vampires... now that's a logline. well, a little abstract for a logline, but you get the idea. a taut, atmospheric gem of a movie that never errs in character or tone and has a penultimate scene for the ages.

11. PARANOID PARK - Gus Van Sant

easily the more intriguing and more accomplished of van sant's two films this year, paranoid park is not to be lumped in with the gerry, elephant, and last days in either approach or style... it may not contain the mainstream sensibilities of finding forester, but it's far more internalized than the aforementioned tryptic (all of which had their own, externally-driven momentum). whereas those films hurtled inescapably towards death, paranoid park kicks off with one and works itself up into a tizzy of ethereal catharsis... chris doyle's cinematography turns long skateboarding montages into fluid growing pains... and taylor momsen shows she's got chops outside of gossip girl. anyone else think this could be read as a metaphor for coming out of the closet?

10. STILL LIFE - Jia Zhangke

i'm gonna go ahead and bust out the word elegy again here... as no film on this list calls for it as much as this one. a stolid yet moving ode to the relentless cultural recycling that has come to characterize contemporary china, where even on the stillest of rivers life can be seen invisibly chaotic that every man is really for himself, with the intangible bonds of family and the villages where they were sown vulnerable to being wiped away at any moment (in this case literally, by one of china's largest dam projects). zhangke's world seems impossibly placid, but this place is more turbulent than gotham itself.

9. CLOVERFIELD - Matt Reeves

I effing loved this movie. actually, my feelings for cloverfield aren't entirely attributable to the reels that splayed out in theaters... this thing was a complete entity, an experience that pounced upon me in the moments before transformers last summer and didn't end until j.j. abrams and co. had finished leaking out their last image (of a dead something or other on a beach) months after the film had vacated theaters. a new experience that whipped up an enthralling mythology from the ether and nailed it home with fantastic creature work and a wonderfully effective gimmick with an even more wonderfully defeated ending... i loved everything about this (minus perhaps the annoying character holding the camera) and drool at the thought of a sequel.

8. WALL-E - Andrew Stanton

What everyone else said. love the choice of hello dolly! works wonders. i do feel, unfortunately, that the film loses its wit, charm, and overplays its purpose when the humans take center stage, and the final moments back on earth feel a little bit short-shrifted... but the first act alone earned this baby a spot on this here list. pixar, you dog, you've done it again. now bring back brad bird!


ya know, i usually hate these kind of movies. characters suffocated by their own eccentricities coming together to revel in some self-satisfying quirk under the umbrella of an eventually revealed family tragedy of some kind... but this thing just works, and it works well. the characters never become too flighty (grounding forces like tunde adebimpe and his amazing voice sure help) and the inevitable tragedy feels as legitimate as the stamford locations in which they ostensibly occurred. anne hathaway risks becoming subservient to her character's traits rather than her essence during one crucial scene, but rebounds wonderfully... and while the multiculturalism of the whole affair is a bit... much, rachel's is a family i found worthy of examination.


kidding. brad pitt and long titles... sheesh. i've written bout this here movie in this here space quite a bit, a sufficient amount i'd say. and i'm lazy and this is getting predictably long. but yes, false expectations lead some people awry on this one, but fincher magically contorts the stately, graceful narrative economy he introduced in zodiac to a story about death. well, a story ostensibly about a guy aging backwards, but really a peon to loss and impermanence... heavy-handed though it may be, the image of that giant clock being subsumed by katrina's waters is plenty effective, and yet the journey is so critical here that individual visuals or platitudes just don't suffice. a film i plan on re-visiting many a time.


werner herzog is my favorite filmmaker. ever. and while this is a decidedly minor contribution to the master's oeuvre, it's wry humor, chortling fatalism, and the new means by which it excavates new crevices of the ecstatic truth are just such a delight to behold. the antarctic visuals alone are worth the price of admission even if herzog's compositions have been more famed for their spectacle rather than their grandeur, but the ways in which he makes the unplanned subjects he encounters work for his thesis... robert flaherty would be proud.


a biting look at the dangers of thinking yourself special... of thinking your ambitions and capacities truly your own in a cookie-cutter world. sure, it's suburban angst all over again (even if yates, author of the original novel, was king of the topic) but if anything it's well-worn path (it's practically a full-fledged genre at this point) only serves to reinforce the plight of its unhappily married subjects... vaguely evocative of antonioni, now that i think about it. ah, i miss academia. and michael shannon is just the bestest, as is ms. winslet, who earns yet another oscar she wont be receiving.

3. HUNGER - Steve McQueen

this one will be out in march, i believe, and is... well, it's certainly not much of a shocker that it's the debut feature film from an acclaimed visual artist. the compositions are uniformly remarkable, packed to the gills with filth and meaning. this account of a famous troubles hunger strike is effective in so many ways... sharply partitioning itself like no film since tropical malady a few years back, its one scene of dialogue (an unbroken 20 minute shot) is all the words the film needs, as the visual carry it the rest of the way. focus loosens towards the end, but mcqueen is a phenomenally assured storyteller, supporting his unreal images with the best sound design of the year.

2. MAN ON WIRE - James Marsh

eh, see what i wrote about philipe petit's "performance" in this one, more or less sums up my thoughts on this deeply excellent movie. i'm getting lazy.


it wasn't even close. i caught this back in february and not a single film so much as threatened its standing. li's second film (the follow-up to his 2005 work, blind shaft), is a nail-biting thriller, a gut-wrenching tragedy, a heist film (of sorts), and an anthropological condemnation all rolled into one film as troubling as it is nauseatingly entertaining in a b-movie, vaguely exploitative, late samuel fuller-y sort of way. the tale of a young chinese woman who visits a rural chinese village under the pretense of work only to find herself drugged and sold into a rather unpleasant forced marriage (as if there's any other kind), blind mountain is never subtle, the nature of its story doesn't really allow it to be... it's the same old story... the girl is raped often, tries to escape, finds herself pregnant, tries to escape again, finds a glimmer of hope, finds out the cake is a lie... repeat. but everything li attempts here he accomplishes with bravado, turning the endless vista of the eponymous mountain into a venue even more claustrophobic than the mineshaft central to his first film... and yet, the supposedly evil villagers, the captors, are almost pitiable... china has panned out in such a way that abducting women into their community is their only means of preserving their way of life... it's tragedy as status quo, and it's remarkable filmmaking. and if my hockey-distracted thoughts here aren't enticing enough, blind mountain has the single most satisfying final shot i can remember seeing in years and years... oooh, the mystery! See full post

OMG Sexy [Oscar Watch?]

You let me a girlie girl who is obsessed with romance for a moment, okay?

So currently Penelope Cruz is the front runner (barely) for Best Supporting Actress and it occurred to me...if in fact she wins...she will be presented with an Oscar by Vicky Cristina Barcelona co-star and BOYFRIEND, Javier Barden. And that. Is sexy. And Spaniard to Spaniard! Should Kate Winslet or Sally Hawkins walk away with Best Actress, they would receive their trophy from Daniel Day Lewis - Brit to Brit! If Mickey Rourke wins, he better not pull on Adrian Brody on the gorgeous Marion Cotillard.

Cray cray beautiful

Greenzo out. See full post

Many Forms of Watchmen Addendum

Those of you who have been with ATF since the beginning (all the way back to last month!) may remember my Various Forms of Watchmen post. Well today, Topless Robot posted pics of a bunch of Bearbricks Watchmen toys at the end of their post slamming Fox for being little bitches. Which by the way, is how I feel about the whole stupid situation too. You hear me, Fox? You suck. I won't see Wolverine until I can netflix it if you stop Watchmen from being released. We're in a fight. And I fight dirty.
Anyway, here are some Watchmen Bearbricks for your enjoyment!

See full post

Hoffman as the Penguin [Fan Art]

This is just too cool.

The favorite rumors for the third of Chris Nolan's Batman movies...if he makes a third...which I really hope he does...have so far been Rachel Weisz as Catwoman and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Penguin. Today, Io9 posted a mock up of PSH in Penguin makeup. The original source, Cinema Blend, received the image from someone claiming it was an actual make up test from Warner Brothers. Most likely it's just some top notch photoshop work, but regardless, I'm gonna post it cause real or fake (most likely fake), it's still pretty effing badass.

See full post

Monday, December 29, 2008

Brand New Lost Mystery to Uncover! [Dharma Special Access]

New Dharma Initiative Special Access video! This week is some more Q&A from loveable duo Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindeloff.

Details on what was discussed as well as some tidbits on a brand new interactive Lost promo (complete with website and season five clues!) after the jump!

Question one:

DL says good question, they've unearthed an original song from the 70s and obtained the rights. I had to look up what this meant. Apparently it's a band that is oft referenced on Lost. For the exact references, click here.

Question two:

CC & DL joke about it being a screw up in the costume department, but in fact, it's deliberate and we will find out the answer in season five.

Question three:

The guys joke about what Ben's personal ad would look like, then admit they never really thought about Ben as a love interest. Though yes, he does have a crush on Juliet, so we may see more of them in some way.

Question four:

CC says many questions came in about the statue and DL confirms that this question really does get asked the most. And the answer is we will see the four toed statue again in season five and more extensively in season 6.

Question five:

CC says it was long planned and they were looking for a way to draw sympathy towards Ben from the audience. CC goes on that though characters are often taken hostage, no one ever expects the hostage to actually get killed, so they knew it would be shocking.

The Q&A then ends and the video fades to an ad for Ajira Airways, with a link to their website. The company's tagline is "Destiny Calls" and part of what they offer, according to the website, is an $87 flight to a mystery location.

Today, this was posted to the Ajira website, describing just what kind of company they are,

Welcome to Ajira Airways, a new kind of flying. We take our passengers from the whirlwind of their world into the wild possibilities of this infinite planet. Dreams are made in the atmosphere, and we’re here to make them yours. So never say never to saying goodbye to little pillows, peanuts and kicked seats. Your living room has grown wings and is starting over in a surprise locale.

Get lost in the world with groundbreaking promotions like Destination: Destiny that keeps your flight destination a mystery until you get there. We’re changing the way people think about travel - this isn’t vacation, this is your life... escaped. Let us deliver your destination by revealing your destiny.

The skies have no limit with our new destinations beginning January 21st. So go on an adventure anywhere on the globe and re-imagine your world to be as big as ours. No Borders, Now Boarding

If you head to the website, you'll notice a couple of things. For one, the boarding pass seems to be covered with Dharma symbols & heirglyphics from the hatch. Apparently the Adventures page features a link to instructions on how to turn the boarding pass into an origami ball...those who have completed this so far notice a focus on GUM, the FAA code for Guam.

Plus, what's this about?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

and notice the date in the bottom right corner...hmmm

Also, here's some computer speak I don't understand - but one of the HEXes for the website, when translated into text, is from John 3:16 (316 is the name of episode 5.07) and another HEX when translated into text is a passage from page 316 of Ulysses, which Cuse & Lindeloff said someone would be reading this season in the last DSA video.

Today they also posted an offer for an Ajira sky club credit card as well as four "adventures" you can buy - Polar Adventure, Island Adventure, Swimming with Sharks & Excavation: The Ruins. All of these options were posted by Antonio B. McCutcheon and the name on the sample credit card is E.M McCutcheon. So what's McCutcheon mean? Well it's the name of the whiskey Charles Widmore drinks. Coincidence?

To find more of these and other theories and clues as to what the bigger picture is, head on over here and tune into ABC on January 21st to find out what the hell is actually going on.

P.S. Ajira in Islam means "eternal life after death". Hrrrm.
See full post

LQ's Best Television Shows of 2008 [All Things Fangirl List!]

And now presenting my very first personal top ten list of the year - my favorite TV shows from 2008. Two of them were canceled for no good reason, one of them is a British import you probably haven't heard of, and the rest you'd probably expect from a genre obsessed soap opera fan who needs Don Draper to call her. So it begins!

(Warning - this post is not entirely without spoilers)

10. Middleman

This delightful show from genuine fan and creator (and ex-writer of Lost!), Javier Grillo-Marxuach had it all. A random website I came across described the show like this:

It’s three parts Austin Powers [or Get Smart], two parts Men In Black [or Ghostbusters], one part X-Files all mixed together with just a touch of Gilmore Girls.

and I gotta say - that pretty much gets it right. It was witty, fun, wacky, smart and a geek's heaven, as every episode not only dealt in the Sci-Fi genre, but referenced other genre works in the process. It's rare that we see a science fiction universe familiar with science fiction and it was quite refreshing. The show focused on a sassy art student, master of all things dry wit who gets recruited to work for The Middleman Organization - a secret group that does their best to keep the world thinking that vampires, aliens, monsters et al don't actually exist. Still not convinced this show is geek heaven? In one episode, Wendy rattles off her favorite comics which include Mouse Guard, Powers, The Spirit, Astro City & The Flash. Okay, still not convinced? Watch the trailer below and the vid beneath it for an example of the pop culture references dropped in every episode and pick up some Middleman graphic novels to call your own. Head over to the Middleblog for the complete reference rundown for the final few episodes and be sure to check out the DVD when its released. Then you can mourn Middleman's fate along with me. Sigh.


Back to the Future references in episode three

Crap, if I'm this enthusiastic about #10, we're gonna have a problem.

9. Swingtown

My other favorite show of the summer...and also the other show on my list not coming back for a second season, Swingtown was the sexiest show of the year, second only perhaps to Mad Men. It was about a group of married couples in 1976 seeing love & sex in a new light and their kids who are discovering those elements for the very first time. We had the regularly swinging couple, Tom & Trina, who know how to handle it, the newly swinging couple, Bruce & Susan, who are letting the doors its opened destroy their marriage, and the conservative, tightly wound couple, Roger & Janet, who realize they haven't lived enough. My favorite storyline of the season's first half was brilliant, free spirited high school student, Laurie and her young, political activist teacher falling for each other and of the second half, Roger & Susan realizing they're in love.

Besides the great writing, spot on production design and intriguing storylines, the show was perfectly cast in every way. Grant Show & Lana Parilla oozed sexuality, Molly Parker was absolutely luminous, making it easy for Roger & the audience to fall in love with her and all the kids on the show actually looked their age. It's a shame more people didn't check out this show when it aired, but I encourage everyone to pick up the DVD, which came out earlier this month.

Below, the clips of the adorable Josh Hopkins as Roger from episode 11, whererin he admits to a marriage counsler that he's falling for Susan and later encounters her...and things occur :)

Oh damnit, I'm so pissed this storyline will never be resolved. Muh.

Numbers 8 through 1 after the jump!

8. How I Met Your Mother

Oh yeah...spoiler alert! But you totally wanna watch the show more now, don't you? Wait, where was I? Ah yes. How I Met Your Mother is one of three comedies (the other two to appear later on this list) that consistently makes me laugh out loud. I'm actually surprised that more people I know aren't obsessed with this show considering it stars not only the glorious NPH, but also Willow & Nick Alyson Hannigan & Jason Segal! This show really just gets better and better with every season. The writing is crafty and fun and sometimes absurd, just the way I like it. 2008 was a good year for HIMYM - we finally saw a human side to Barney as he fell for Robin, got treated to a whole episode detailing why New Jersey sucks (sorry boyfriend...and all my friends...who are from New Jersey...but it was so funny! I still love New Jersey. LA is what sucks. The end.), got to see Robin Sparkles' follow up to Let's Go To The Mall, learned that whoever marries Ted will need to love Star Wars and were witness to a real time two minute date all done in one shot that was just as adorable as it sounds. Here's hoping more people check out the show in 2009.

7. True Blood

For some reason the first two words that just popped into my head whilst thinking about True Blood were lush & juicy. Hrm. Well hey, just add scary, fun, trippy & sexy to that description and you've got yourself a show. I'm not sure what I just wrote. Anywhoville, True Blood was definitely one of the highlights of 2008 television. It took me a while to decide how I felt about it as I watched the first couple episodes stoned out of my mind (shut up) and couldn't tell a. if it was too scary or b. what was going on, ever (I had a similar experience with Fringe) but then I figured it out and got to bask in the awesomeness. The look & tone of the show is enough to pull you in and the insanity that is the actual story combined with some stellar performances keep you glued to your television. I, like the characters on the show, never knew what to believe or who to trust. Discovering Sam's secret was like a wave of relief and discovering Rene's truly felt like a betrayal (even though it became fairly obvious towards the end who he really was).
Nelsan Ellis & Rutina Wesley as Lafayette & Tara, respectively, do Julliard proud with their pitch perfect intensity. Anna Paquin, I can take or leave, but I definitely like her more on this show that I ever have before. And Ryan Kwanten delivered week after week some of the most difficult shit I've seen an actor have to do all year. Lizzy Caplan shined in her all too brief role as the mysterious and potentially sociopathic Amy.

Most of all, I love vampire stories, especially ones I haven't seen before. Between this and Let the Right One In (and Twilight for some...), vampires are rocking pretty hard this year.

P.S. I need to own the score right now. As in this moment. So...get on that

6. Gossip Girl

Le sigh. Oh Chuck & Blair. And Dan & Serena. And Rufus & Lily. This show is just plain soap opera-y deliciousness. I always knew I loved the show as a guilty pleasure, but season 2 has cemented its quality with its well rounded characters, carefully built relationships, well kept secrets and the balls to get as creative & juicy as they want. Sure, Aaron was a low point, but he's gone forever now, off to Argentina never to return. Hooray! Also helping highlight GG's quality? The stinker that is 90210. Just watch one episode of each and you'll know what I mean. Gossip Girl has real looking beautiful people who can act as opposed to 90210's fake looking fake people who can't act. Sure the women are slim on Gossip Girl, but they still have their womanly curves and look like they are in the bodies meant for them. None of this can be said for anyone on 90210. Moving on.

In 2008, Gossip Girl showcased the evil Georgina Sparks (and the whole group coming together to destroy her), Jenny's downfall and ultimate crash, badgirl Serena, Chuck & Blair falling in love - for real, Wallace Shawn, Rufus & Lily's multiple attempts at reuniting & Dan and Serena's beautiful moment upon realizing the other was about to sleep with someone else for the first time. This show is entertaining every second it's on screen, which is more than I can say for a lot of television, but it also has wit & heart and it's not afraid to make fun of itself. It's been a great year and a great sophomore season for the upper east siders. And to all the haters - at least don't knock it til you've tried it.

5. The IT Crowd

Literally just thinking about this show makes me laugh. The British import about the strange folk working in a London IT department brings me to tears with laughter during every episode. I don't know how the Brits do it, I really don't. Are they just smarter than us? I'm planning on writing a more comprehensive post on why you need to be watching this show right now on IFC, so I'll be keeping this particular paragraph short. But if you like laughing and you don't like not laughing, then this is the show for you. More to come soon on the matter.

4. Lost

Everyone's favorite time jumping mystery really pulled it together in season four, raising the bar to a whole new level of awesome. At the end of season three we were introduced to our very first flash forward, an element that went on to dominate the 2008 episodes, and they did not disappoint. We discovered who the Oceanic 6 were, witnessed Locke's eventual fate and saw the island DISAPPEAR. Sun & Jin, characters who I never really cared about before, stood out with a heartbreaking flashback/flashforward episode & Sun's devestating scream to her lost husband in the finale. Don't even get me started on The Constant, one of Lost's best episodes to date, that had me in tears for the better part of 44 minutes. This season, as usual, many questions were answered, but many more were raised. In season five we'll discover how the characters end up where they are in the future we've seen and hopefully watch them make it back to the island. Oh Lost, you so crazy! Only a few weeks to go to the premiere!

3. 30 Rock

The final comedy that makes me laugh out loud with every episode, 30 Rock is the best American comedy on television and I'm THRILLED the Emmys actually agree with me. 2008 brought us instant classics in MILF Island where Liz takes after the manipulative MILFs and tries to hide the fact that she called Jack a "Class A Moron" and Subway Hero, in which Liz's smarmy ex Dennis saves someone in the Subway and uses his fifteen minutes of fame very unwisely, but didn't forget to also bring us important development in story as Tracy creates a porn video game to secure his legacy & Don Geiss names Jack the new CEO...right before slipping into a coma, leaving his slightly off daughter (who happens to be married to Devon Banks) in charge of the company. That was a long sentence. Then season three started off just as strong with one great episode after another - the highlights of which were Believe in the Stars where Liz "sits next to Oprah" on a plane and Reunion, where we learn what Liz was really like in high school. This show is filled with surreal and absurd moments and Tina Fey is the perfect straight (wo)man to the cast of wacky characters around her, as she's pretty damn hilarious herself. Be sure to always stay on the look out for Frank's different hats, the times Liz uses sounds instead of words to express herself (including but limited to "blurg") and if her favorite Mexican cheesy snack, Sabor de Soledad, ever makes a comeback. This show has great rewatchability and is the kind you'll wanna force all your friends to watch once you fall in love with it, so the DVD is a worthy investment.

And now a clip of some of season 2's best moments for your enjoyment.

2. Mad Men

Holy crap what a good show. Artful, delicate, beautiful, shocking, and totally unique. You could get away with mindlessly watching the show and probably still enjoy it, but the true magic of Mad Men comes in how deep it pulls you in to these characters in that era. Especially fascinating is the woman's struggle, represented in three very different forms, all of whom took a giant step this year, forwards (Peggy), backwards (Joan) and a little bit of both (Betty). I cried when Peggy told Pete the truth, gasped when Joan was raped by her own husband in Don's office and could barely breathe in every scene between Betty & Don after she found out about Don's affair. It's amazing to see these antiquated gender roles play out and wonder how much of them still remain. I'm pretty sure that I can speak for anyone who is attracted to anyone when I say that despite Don Draper's misogyny and tendency to lie & cheat, I'd let him take me any day of the week. Remember "The Benefactor"? How Don put Bobbi Barrett in her place? It was crude, terrible, demeaning, and yet we cheered him on and in my case, found it kind of sexy. How do you do that, Don Draper?! To write any more about Mad Men would be to enter into a critical analysis on the art of story telling and filmmaking, so I'm afraid the buck stops here. But holy eff this show is good.

P.S. In case you didn't already know, Don Draper Jon Hamm is GUEST STARRING ON 30 ROCK playing a love interest for Liz Lemon. When worlds collide I am happy!

1. Battlestar Galactica

What were you expecting?

Starbuck returned, a cylon civil war broke out, Gaeta parted with a leg and everyone finally made it to Earth...though it's not exactly what they were expecting. And because we, along with the fleet, have spent years waiting for them to find Earth, the final scene in 2008's finale was just as devestating to us as it was for them. All of that hope, all of that faith - and for what?

Battlestar continued to go above and beyond this year as the four known final cylons tried to figure out who they really were, Starbuck lost her shit and Roslin's cancer began to get the best of her. While the first half of season four didn't reach the level of greatness that the end of season three did, let's keep in mind that the first half of season three wasn't better than the second half either...though it was pretty damn good...Unfinished Business remains one of my top three episodes. Anyway.

The beginning of season four was a game changer in every sense. The fleet now has an entire army of rebel cylons on their side and oh yeah, these new allies - they can now be killed. Raising the stakes in a huge way, the show did away with the Resurrection Hub, leaving cylons just as vulnerable as humans. It's also been fascinating to watch Tory, Tigh, Tyrol & Anders deal with their new identities, struggling to find a balance and not go off the deep end. Didn't work so well for Tory, as we all know. Or Tigh, for that matter. Yikes.

One of my favorite moments in 2008 was Adama realizing just how much he loved and trusted Starbuck, even when everyone else was suspicious, in "Six of One". Here's a little something to remind you of how moving this episode was -

Kara Thrace: So you think I'm right?
William Adama: Maybe. Maybe not. But I know she is. The president. She's been right all along. I'm tired of losing. I'm tired of turning away from the things I want to believe in, and I believe you when you say, that you'll die before you stop trying. And I won't lose you again.

Also just as moving - Adama refusing to give up hope in the search for Roslin. We're coming to realize just how much Adama & Roslin love each other and it's beautiful. In fact, everything about this show is beautiful. I'm looking forward to rewatching the first ten episodes of season four in preparation for 4.5's premiere on January 16th.

Honorable Mentions: Chuck, Fringe, Project Runway, Entourage
See full post

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Moviefone's Top 50 of 2008 [Oscar Watch]

Why Moviefone? Cause it's 8:30am and I'm bored, sitting behind a desk in a Chelsea office building is why. Also, I think david will like #50. I'm so tired is the thing.

This is what cracks me up. This year hasn't been a terribly great one in terms of fantastic movies. It reinvigorated the superhero genre, changing the rules, if you will, and continued down the Judd Apatow path of high quality hilarious comedies. But when it comes to brilliant indies and Oscar films truly worthy of an Oscar? Eh. Not so much. Yet this is what the home page of Moviefone's Top 50 had to say:

With instantly classic superhero flicks ('The Dark Knight'), top-notch comedies ('Tropic Thunder'), fantastic family fare ('WALL-E') and must-see Oscar contenders ('Slumdog Millionaire') all in the running, we couldn't just pick 10. Presenting our third annual list of the year's 50 best movies.

I mean...that's stretching a bit, don't you think? Like I said, yay superheros and laughing, but not so much the rest. I remember one year (quick, who can guess what year off the top of their head!) when my top five included Monsters Inc, Memento, Mulholland Dr. & Moulin Rouge. I don't know what the fifth was cause it didn't begin with an M. All of those films are still favorites of mine. From this year, I can obviously see a couple movies staying my favorite for years to come, but ten? FIFTY? Hell noes.

But without further ado, Moviefone's Top 50 Films of 2008 WITH commentary by half asleep LQ. After the jump.

50. Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (david is happy)
49. Burn After Reading (enjoyed it)
48. Mamma Mia (haven't seen it)
47. The Bank Job (haven't seen it...want to)
46. Bolt (haven't seen)
45. Son of Rambow (no see)
44. W (nope see)
43. Quantum of Solace (heart all bond)
42. Defiance (hasn't seen - david says meh)
41. The Duchess (haven't seen...jeez I'm not doing so well)
40. Appaloosa (i loves me some westerns! but hasn't seen)
39. Wanted (Really?)
38. Zack & Miri Make A Porno (Yay! I loved this one! I hope you all stayed for the credits cause it changes the whole movie.)
37. Boy A (crap. haven't even heard of this one. fail.)
36. Religulous (no see yet, but I watched every ep of his show this year...so i should get on that)
35. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Huzzah!)
34. American Teen (wanted to see it)
33. Planet B-boy (also wanted to see. and didn't. poop.)
32. Horton Hears a Who! (is better than FSM? I don't know if I believe you.)
31. Rachel Getting Married (i liked this one - Rosemarie Dewitt deserves a nod!)
30. Dear Zachary (no clue)
29. Let the Right One In (NUMBER 29? YOU ARE A HO, MOVEFONE, YOU HEAR ME?)
28. Pineapple Express (yesssss. but also should be higher. i bet tropic thunder is gonna is yet to come. siiigh. ughhh.)
27. The Wackness (IS NOT BETTER THAN #28 & #29 but I love that Olivia Thirlby)
26. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (isn't this 2007?)
25. Gran Torino (shut up. I'm not seeing this. unless you pay me. then I will. maybe)
24. Happy Go Lucky (should be higher on the list, heart heart heart)
23. Taxi to the Dark Side (um...don't movies that win the best documentary Oscar for 2007 count as a 2007 film? no?)
22. Shine a Light (didn't see)
21. Revolutionary Road (seeing this week)
20. Kung Fu Panda (aw. liked a lot. is not better than let the right one in.)
19. In Bruges (damn. still haven't seen. and McDonagh is my favorite playwright. oops)
18. Doubt (woot! i personally loved this one. no one else agrees with me. except moviefone i suppose)
17. JCVD (no see i did)
15. Surfwise (Again, wanted to see, didn't happen)
14. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (liked this way more than I thought I would. ScarJo annoyed me as she always does in Woody Allen films, but everyone else was electric and the movie was beautiful to look at and listen to)
13. The Counterfeiters (doesn't. count. you. ho.)
12. The Reader (seeing this week)
11. The Visitor (darn. haven't seen yet.)
10. Tropic Thunder (SHUT your mouth)
9. Milk (okay, yes)
8. Man on Wire (woo!)
7. Wall-E (heart)
6. Frost/Nixon (i liked Doubt more)
5. Benny Button (seeing tomorrow finally)
4. The Wrestler (yes yes heart heart love best actor oscar pleaz)
3. The Dark Knight (mmmmmmmmmm)
2. Slumdog Millionaire (poop it shut it ho poop i've descended into madness)
1. Iron Man (OKAY!)

There you have it. I'm allowed to take a nap at work right? k bye!
See full post

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sci Fi Chart of Connectivity Explained! [Geekgasm Alert]

Remember Io9's sexy chart connecting everything in Science Fiction? Well now those clever folks have released an equally sexy list detailing all of these connections.

Here's an example:

Direct Crossover: The Muppet Show (Luke, C3-PO and R2-D2 appeared in character on The Muppet Show)
Easter Egg: ET The Extra Terrestrial (Appears in background of Episode 1)
Easter Egg: 2001 A Space Odyssey (SpacePod appears in Episode 1)
Easter Egg: Indiana Jones (Appears on stairs during podrace in Episode 1, and also this)
Brand Crossover: Transformers

The entire list after the jump. Io9 truly warms my cold, cold, Universal hating heart.

Direct Crossover: Alien Nation (Met in Ape Nation comic)

Direct Crossover: Planet of The Apes (Met in Ape Nation comic)

Direct Crossover: Spider-Man (Met in Transformers comic)
Direct Crossover: The Avengers (Met in New Avengers/Transformers comic)
Direct Crossover: GI Joe (Met numerous times in comics and cartoons, most notably here)
Direct Crossover: Death's Head (Met in UK Transformers comic)
Brand Crossover: Star Wars (Transformers: Crossovers line)

Direct Crossover: Transformers (Met numerous times in comics and cartoons)

Direct Crossover: The X-Men (Met in Star Trek/X-Men comic)
Easter Egg: Cloverfield (Slusho)
Easter Egg: Heroes (Slusho)
Easter Egg: Alias (Slusho)

Easter Egg: Star Trek (Slusho)
Easter Egg: Heroes (Slusho)
Easter Egg: Alias (Slusho)
Easter Egg: Lost (DHARMA Initiative logo appears)

Easter Egg: Cloverfield (Slusho)
Easter Egg: Star Trek (Slusho)
Easter Egg: Alias (Slusho)

Easter Egg: Marvel Universe (Find815 promotion in Marvel Comics)
Easter Egg: Fringe (Oceanic Airlines airline ticket found)
Easter Egg: Chuck (Oceanic Airlines appeared in one of Chuck's flashes)
Easter Egg: Alias (Oceanic Airlines announcement in airport)
Easter Egg: Pushing Daisies (Oceanic Airlines poster in a travel agency)
Easter Egg: Cloverfield (DHARMS Intitiative logo appears on video)
Easter Egg: Mission Impossible (Hanso Foundation thanked in credits for M:I3)

Easter Egg: Lost (Oceanie Airlines airline ticket appears)

Easter Egg: Lost (Hanso Foundation thanked in credits for M:I3)

Direct Crossover: Lobo (Met in Lobo/The Mask comic)
Direct Crossover: Marshal Law (Met in The Mask/Marshal Law comic)
Direct Crossover: Batman (Met in Joker/The Mask comic)

Direct Crossover: The Mask (Met in The Mask/Marshal Law comic)
Direct Crossover: Hellraiser (Met in Marshal Law Vs. Pinhead comic)
Direct Crossover: Savage Dragon (Met in Marshal Law/Savage Dragon comic)

Direct Crossover: Marshal Law (Met in Marshal Law/Savage Dragon comic)

Direct Crossover: Savage Dragon (Met in Savage Dragon comic)

Direct Crossover: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Met in Savage Dragon comic)
Direct Crossover: Mars Attacks! (Met in Mars Attacks Savage Dragon comic)
Direct Crossover: Marshal Law (Met in Marshal Law/Savage Dragon comic)
Direct Crossover: Superman (Met in Superman/Savage Dragon comic)
Direct Crossover: Hellboy (Met in Savage Dragon/Hellboy comic)

Direct Crossover: Savage Dragon (Met in Mars Attacks Savage Dragon comic)

Direct Crossover: Thundercats (Met in Thundercats/Battle of the Planets comic)
Direct Crossover: Witchblade (Met in Battle of the Planets/Witchblade comic)

Direct Crossover: Battle of the Planets (Met in Thundercats/Battle of the Planets comic)
Direct Crossover: Superman (Met in Superman/Thundercats comic)

Direct Crossover: The Muppet Show (Luke, C3-PO and R2-D2 appeared in character on The Muppet Show)
Easter Egg: ET The Extra Terrestrial (Appears in background of Episode 1)
Easter Egg: 2001 A Space Odyssey (SpacePod appears in Episode 1)
Easter Egg: Indiana Jones (Appears on stairs during podrace in Episode 1, and also this)
Brand Crossover: Transformers

Easter Egg: Star Wars (Appears in background of Episode 1)

Easter Egg: Star Wars (Appears on stairs during podrace in Episode 1)

Direct Crossover: Doctor Who (Met in UK Doctor Who comic)
Direct Crossover: Transformers (Met in UK Transformers comic)
Direct Crossover: Fantastic Four (Met in Death's Head and Fantastic Four comic)

Direct Crossover: Death's Head (Met in UK Doctor Who comic)
Easter Egg: The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (Doctor reads book by Oolong Caloophid)

Easter Egg: Doctor Who (Doctor reads book by Oolong Caloophid)

Direct Crossover: Machine Man (Spun out of 2001 comic)
Easter Egg: Star Wars (Spacepod appears in Episode 1)

Direct Crossover: Spider-Man (Appeared in episode of Muppet Babies)
Direct Crossover: Star Wars (Luke, C3-PO and R2-D2 appeared in character on Muppet Show)

Easter Egg: Lost (Find815 promotion in Marvel Comics)

Direct Crossover: Transformers (Met in New Avengers/Transformers comic)
Direct Crossover: Superman (Met in JLA/Avengers, DC/Marvel comics)
Direct Crossover: Batman (Met in JLA/Avengers, DC/Marvel comics)
Direct Crossover: WildCATS (Met in World War 3 comic)
Direct Crossover: Godzilla (Met in Godzilla comic)

Direct Crossover: WildCATS (Met in World War 3 comic)
Direct Crossover: Death's Head (Met in Death's Head and Fantastic Four comic)

Direct Crossover: 2001: A Space Odyssey (Spun out of 2001 comic)

Direct Crossover: Transformers (Met in Transformers comic)
Direct Crossover: Red Sonja (Met in Marvel Team-Up)
Direct Crossover: The Cast of Saturday Night Live (Met in Marvel Team-Up)
Direct Crossover: The Muppets (Appeared in episode of Muppet Babies)
Direct Crossover: Godzilla (Met in Godzilla comic)
Direct Crossover: Superman (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: Batman (Met numerous times in comics)

Direct Crossover: Painkiller Jane (Met in Punisher/Painkiller Jane comic)
Direct Crossover: Batman (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: Archie (Met in Archie Meets The Punisher comic)
Direct Crossover: Witchblade (Met in Witchblade/Punisher comic)
Direct Crossover: Hellboy (Met in Andy Warhol's Dracula by Kim Newman)
Direct Crossover: Scooby Doo (Met in Andy Warhol's Dracula by Kim Newman)

Direct Crossover: Hellboy (Met in Andy Warhol's Dracula by Kim Newman)
Direct Crossover: Scooby Doo (Met in Andy Warhol's Dracula by Kim Newman)

Direct Crossover: Star Trek (Met in Star Trek/X-Men comic)
Direct Crossover: The New Teen Titans (Met in New Teen Titans/X-Men comic)
Direct Crossover: WildCATS (Met in WildCATS/X-Men comic)
Direct Crossover: Cyberforce (Met in X-Men/Cyberforce comic)

Direct Crossover: Evil Dead/Army of Darkness (Met in Army of Darkness/Marvel Zombies comic)

Direct Crossover: Robocop (Met in Robocop/Terminator comic)
Direct Crossover: Painkiller Jane (Met in Terminator and Painkiller Jane comics)
Direct Crossover: Aliens (Met in Aliens Vs. Predator Vs. The Terminator comic)
Direct Crossover: Predator (Met in Aliens Vs. Predator Vs. The Terminator comic)
Direct Crossover: Superman (Met in Superman Vs. The Terminator comic)

Direct Crossover: The Terminator (Met in Robocop/Terminator)

Direct Crossover: The Terminator (Met in Terminator and Painkiller Jane comics)
Direct Crossover: The Punisher (Met in Punisher/Painkiller Jane comic)
Direct Crossover: Hellboy (Met in Painkiller Jane/Hellboy comic)
Direct Crossover: Vampirella (Met in Vampirella/Painkiller Jane comic)
Direct Crossover: The Darkness (Met in Painkiller Jane Vs. The Darkness comic)

Direct Crossover: Painkiller Jane (Met in Painkiller Jane/Hellboy comic)
Direct Crossover: Batman (Met in Batman/Hellboy/Starman comic)
Direct Crossover: Scooby Doo (Met in Andy Warhol's Dracula by Kim Newman)
Direct Crossover: The Punisher (Met in Andy Warhol's Dracula by Kim Newman)
Direct Crossover: Blade (Met in Andy Warhol's Dracula by Kim Newman)
Easter Egg: Sin City (Appears as hallucination in Sin City: Hell And Back comic)

Direct Crossover: Superman (Met in Superman/Tarzan comic)
Direct Crossover: Predator (Met in Tarzan Vs. Predator comic)
Direct Crossover: Batman (Met in Batman/Tarzan comic)

Easter Egg: Battlestar Galactica (Serenity appears in background during BSG miniseries)
Easter Egg: Aliens (Aliens' Weyland-Yutani company produces Firefly background elements)

Easter Egg: Firefly (Serenity appears in background during BSG miniseries)

Direct Crossover: Predator (Met numerous times in comics, movies etc.)
Direct Crossover: The Terminator (Met in Aliens Vs. Predator Vs. Terminator comic)
Direct Crossover: Batman (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: Superman (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: Green Lantern (Met in Green Lantern Vs. Aliens comic)
Direct Crossover: Judge Dredd (Met in Judge Dredd Vs. Aliens comic)
Direct Crossover: WildCATS (Met in Aliens/WildCATS)
Easter Egg: Firefly (Aliens' Weyland-Yutani company produces Firefly props)

Direct Crossover: Batman (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: Lobo (Met in Judge Dredd Vs. Lobo)
Direct Crossover: Predator (Met in Predator Vs. Judge Dredd)
Direct Crossover: Aliens (Met in Judge Dredd Vs. Aliens)

Direct Crossover: Nightmare on Elm Street (Met in Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash comic)
Direct Crossover: Friday the 13th (Met in Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash comic)
Direct Crossover: Xena: Warrior Princess (Met in Army of Darkness/Xena comic)
Direct Crossover: Marvel Zombies (Met in Army of Darkness/Marvel Zombies comic)

Direct Crossover: Friday the 13th (Met numerous times in comics, movies)
Direct Crossover: Evil Dead/Army of Darkness (Met in Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash comic)

Direct Crossover: Nightmare on Elm Street (Met numerous times in comics, movies)
Direct Crossover: Evil Dead/Army of Darkness (Met in Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash comic)

Direct Crossover: Evil Dead/Army of Darkness (Met in Army of Darkness/Xena comic)

Direct Crossover: The Avengers (Met in Godzilla comic)
Direct Crossover: Spider-Man (Met in Godzilla comic)
Direct Crossover: King Kong (Met in King Kong Vs. Godzilla movie)

Direct Crossover: Godzilla (Met in King Kong Vs. Godzilla movie)

Direct Crossover: Batman (Met in The New Scooby-Doo Movies)
Direct Crossover: Hellboy (Met in Andy Warhol's Dracula by Kim Newman)
Direct Crossover: The Punisher (Met in Andy Warhol's Dracula by Kim Newman)
Direct Crossover: Blade (Met in Andy Warhol's Dracula by Kim Newman)

Direct Crossover: Superman (Met in DC Comics Presents comic)

Direct Crossover: Masters of The Universe (Met in DC Comics Presents)
Direct Crossover: Savage Dragon (Met in Superman/Savage Dragon)
Direct Crossover: Thundercats (Met in Superman/Thundercats comic)
Direct Crossover: The Avengers (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: Spider-Man (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: The Terminator (Met in Superman Vs. The Terminator comic)
Direct Crossover: Tarzan (Met in Superman/Tarzan comic)
Direct Crossover: Aliens (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: Predator (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: Witchblade (Met in JLA/Witchblade comic)
Direct Crossover: Looney Tunes (Met in Superman/Bugs Bunny comic)

Direct Crossover: The Mask (Met in Joker/The Mask comic)
Direct Crossover: The Avengers (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: Spider-Man (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: The Punisher (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: Hellboy (Met in Batman/Hellboy/Starman comic)
Direct Crossover: The Darkness (Met in Darkness/Batman comic)
Direct Crossover: Tarzan (Met in Batman/Tarzan comic)
Direct Crossover: Aliens (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: Predator (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: Judge Dredd (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: Scooby Doo (Met in the New Scooby-Doo Movies)

Direct Crossover: The Mask (Met in Lobo/The Mask comic)
Direct Crossover: Judge Dredd (Met in Judge Dredd Vs. Lobo comic)

Direct Crossover: Looney Tunes (Met in Duck Dodgers cartoon)
Direct Crossover: Aliens (Met in Green Lantern Vs. Aliens comic)

Direct Crossover: The Avengers (Met in JLA/Avengers, DC/Marvel comics)
Direct Crossover: Witchblade (Met in JLA/Witchblade comic)
Direct Crossover: WildCATS (Met in JLA/WildCATS comic)
Direct Crossover: Cyberforce (Met in JLA/Cyberforce comic)

Direct Crossover: The X-Men (Met in WildCATS/X-Men comic)
Direct Crossover: The Fantastic Four (Met in World War 3 comic)
Direct Crossover: The Avengers (Met in World War 3 comic)
Direct Crossover: Justice League of America (Met in JLA/WildCATS comic)

Direct Crossover: Justice League of America (Met in JLA/Cyberforce comic)

Direct Crossover: Painkiller Jane (Met in Painkiller Jane Vs. The Darkness comic)
Direct Crossover: Witchblade (Met numerous times in comics)
Direct Crossover: Aliens (Met in Witchblade/Aliens/The Darkness/Predator comic)
Direct Crossover: Predator (Met in Witchblade/Aliens/The Darkness/Predator comic)
Direct Crossover: Batman (Met in Darkness/Batman comic)

Direct Crossover: Tomb Raider (Met in Tomb Raider/Witchblade)
Direct Crossover: Aliens (Met in Witchblade/Aliens/The Darkness/Predator comic)
Direct Crossover: Predator (Met in Witchblade/Aliens/The Darkness/Predator comic)
Direct Crossover: Justice League of America (Met in JLA/Witchblade comic)

Direct Crossover: Superman (Met in Superman/Bugs Bunny comic)
Direct Crossover: Green Lantern (Met in Duck Dodgers cartoon)
See full post

Universal Makes Me Sad [Promotion Shmamotion]

Sooooo Universal Studios introduced a new yearly pass today - a promotion to help bring in new regular attendees. I've always loved Universal and purchased an annual pass in June. The pass I bought got me this: admission for free for one year (except many black out dates) and a discount for Halloween Horror Nights. I paid 80 bucks for it.

What does this new pass offer, you ask?

According to the press release,

The 2009 All Access Pass will offer unrestricted 365-day “no black-out date” park access, a dedicated VIP “hassle-free” express front gate entrance, Backlot Studio Tour priority boarding privileges for most of the year, plus an array of discounts on all food and merchandise purchases at the theme park and $12 off the purchase of guest tickets.

Oh and it costs $72. In case you're keeping count, that's five bucks more than general admission and eight bucks less than I paid.

So here's the thing. When people buy an annual pass (people like me) chances are they will still only visit once or twice a year unless guests come in town and want to go. But admission tickets are expensive. Twelve dollars off (for up to six guests) would make guests more likely to want to go, and thus make the annual pass more worth it to holders. Plus, I would have really loved Studio Tour priority and discounts on the expensive as hell food and merchandise. But no. I paid MORE money and got LESS perks.

As the end of the day it doesn't really matter, because you bet I'm gonna make sure I gets a free upgrade, l and also things like this don't actually matter in the grand scheme of things, but I wanted to vent anyway.

Oh Universal, you ignorant tramp you. We're in a fight.

[Source] See full post

Goddamn, Battlestar is Good [Webisodes]

Two new Battlestar webisodes popped up over the holiday. In these we begin to further understand the complicated relationship between Gaeta and the remaining number eight on board.

Face of the Enemy Part Four [Enhanced]

Face of the Enemy Part Five [Enhanced]

My thoughts after the jump

I'm very curious as to what the online reaction to episode five will be. I've always loved stories involving people exploring their sexuality/relationships and not really letting labels play a role. I never in a million years thought that kind of storyline would pop up on Battlestar Galactica and I'm happy it is. I'm very intrigued with where this web series is going and what we're learning about Gaeta along the way. The mystery is fine and all - I have no idea who is killing everyone so that's a plus! - but I'm much more into Battlestar's human (cylons included) interaction, which is always fascinating.

See full post

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


so disney hath decided to not make any more narnia films. i support this, as i found the two installments thus far to be dull as poo and think the source material is a wee bit too jesus-y for me (though i would probably be more fond of christianity if jesus were in fact... a lion. he could have eaten judas). that being said, this is one of those rare matters on which i'm more interested in your opinion than my own, so rant, rave, celebrate, or otherwise speak your mind below.

here's some reading, son: Defamer See full post

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

david's 2008 YEAR-IN-REVIEW Part 2

contrary to popular belief (and just about all evidence offered up on this here blog), i don't particularly revel in disliking things. so let's get the hate out of the way early on, and hop directly to what i consider to be the very worst, worst, worstest films of 2008! huzzah.

in no particular order:

EAGLE EYE: damn. how anyone can gripe about a brief shot of shia swinging his way through the jungle in this year's unfairly maligned episode of indiana jones and not be absolutely gob-socked (yeah, gob-socked. that's a word on this blog) by the entirety of this film... is beyond me. i might find Y: the Last Man to be facile beyond all comprehension, but even i am offended that they're letting D.J. Caruso anywhere near it. yikes.

GRAN TORINO: really, people??? accolades?? for this? i was at the first or second screening of this film, before there'd been much if any of a chance for early reactions to leak out... and i am shocked that the fits of giggles i experienced during this eye-roller of a blunder haven't become the norm. from clint's forced and completely unbelievable reaction to his granddaughter's belly-button ring at his wife's funeral to... well, all of the mannerisms and stupefyingly obvious conversations the other characters muck around in, this thing is just a joke. eastwood's flaccid direction does nothing to distract from characters so stiflingly archetypical that they make the cut-outs in slumdog millionaire resemble overflowing channels of pointed human pathos. among the most predictable films of the year until... clint sings. yikes.

HAMLET 2: just arid.

THE SIGNAL: harry knowles and the rest of his cronies owe me $11 for this piece o' poo. the first two episodes have their moments, however brief those moments might be... but the whole enterprise is entirely devoid of interesting ideas, and the last chapter must violate some seldom-discussed protocol of the geneva convention. it must.

CHARLIE BARTLETT: i hated this when it was called (or at least in the vein of) igby goes down, and now i hate it even more. it's a minor miracle that robert downey jr. managed to appear in this and still have a career year.

SEX AND THE CITY: i never cared for the show (and found its effects on certain members of my generation to be as devastating as they are irrevocable), but i watched it anyway. all of it. cause that's how i roll. like john ford, i know my enemy. but this movie is without an iota of whatever little grace and wit the show had about it. all lost in hideous, bloated translation. hokey and forced beyond all comprehension, not a single moment of this dreck plays as anything more than money grab. this is what happens when you neatly tie up a bunch of stories and then are paid a gotham crime mob-sized pile of money to untie them in as ungainly a fashion as possible without saying anything remotely perceptive about the ways in which adult relationships of any kind aren't static. also, if there's a film that partitioned history into pre / post-recession, this is it. and seriously... samantha flies across the country something like 912 times during this film. i'd re-watch it for a more accurate count, but in that time i could fly across the country something like 912 times.

and the worst movie of the year... and really no opposition to this opinion will be considered valid cause... seriously... did you even see this???


well, i really just need to let m. night speak for himself here. if the following exchange doesn't mean anything to you... you are both fortunate and missing out on one of my very favorite things the year 2008 gifted me with.

Elliot Moore: If we're going to die, I want you to know something. I was in the pharmacy a while ago. There was a really good-looking pharmacist behind the counter. Really good-looking. I went up and asked her where the cough syrup was. I didn't even have a cough, and I almost bought it. I'm talking about a completely superfluous bottle of cough syrup, which costs like six bucks.
Alma Moore: Are you joking?
[Elliot nods his head]
Alma Moore: Thank you.

okey dokey. now that that's out of the way...

honorable mentions for my FAVORITE films of 2008 after the jump! huzzah.

SPARROW - Johnnie To - good, classy, breezy fun from the reigning master of contemporary hong kong cinema.

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL - yup. this thing moves and it moves goooood. also, CATE.

TOKYO! - this is an odd duck... the first portion of this omnibus (michel gondry's contribution) is just... beautiful. the 2nd bit is... something i'm not likely to forget any time soon, and the masterful bong joon-ho's closing segment is somewhat underwhelming save for a few indelible visuals... but still, it's all lingered quite nicely.



ALEXANDRA - sokurov delivers again

WOMAN ON THE BEACH - overripe but a bounty of little joys

24 CITY - minor jia zhangke... which means it's just absolutely mandatory viewing. in a year in which much fun was had with the "documentary" format, zhangke's tightly interwoven flights of fancy (almost half of the talking heads in this "doc" are actors, with no such declaration made to the viewer) strengthens his efforts in a vaguely herzogian fashion.

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Impromptu I Am Legend Real Time Blog

So, I'm home for the holidays, and that means I have HBO on demand, and thaaaat means... I'm watching I Am Legend. I won't be watching the entire thing, because... the last twenty minutes suck so hard they are practically physically unbearable to watch. However, and it has to be said, that if all the minutes that proceeded those last twenty weren't so freakishly, astoundingly good, and didn't have so much potential, both realized an not, that when the film eventually fails it does not just do so spectacularly, but on a personal level.

First off, there's a movie billboard in Times Square that has the batsignal with Supes' S emblazoned over it. How fucking badass is that shit?

Now, even as early as the chasing of the deer, you're confronted by the film's biggest technical snafu, which is: The CGI sucks. Now how, one must ask themselves, is this possible? How could that possibly be? An event, blockbuster film starring Will Smith should have all the money in the goddamn world to get made with. So who dropped the ball on the CGI? I've seen video game graphics more convincing than some of the stuff in this movie. 'Some of the stuff', of course, referring to the rats, dogs, lions, etc, and NOT referring to the Infected.

The Infected are a whole other issue.

You need two things to make a movie about something fucking beyond unbelievable believable: Mystery and care. In Jaws, in Signs, you are left almost wholly to the devices of your own mind. The glimpses you get of the Other, the danger, the antagonist, are incomplete and short, until the end. Jaws of course delivers the payoff, Signs less so. But I saw it in theaters, and I don't think there was a single person who didn't jump like hell when you saw that Mexican kid's birthday video.

Butterfly spotting, collecting corn. Eh. Not a fan.

Where was I? Ah. Coming up in the film, here, we'll get our first glimpse of the Infected, and... it's terrifying. The ring of huddled figures so pale they gleam in the dark, panting harshly as they sleep standing up over the waiting carcass of the dear. If the image of something nearly-human but not after all that build up isn't enough to freak you out, then Will Smith's expression is more than enough to supply your mind with the information missing from the image it's been presented.

He's terrified. This capable, armed man is terrified out of his goddamn skull. And because you empathize with him, you feel that terror. It's enough.

And then, not even before your first exposure to the monsters is over- they've ruined it. Look, here it comes, it's about to happen. Chasing the deer over the cars- awesome. This deer even looks more convincing than they as of yet have. Sam runs into the building and Neville loses his shit.

Okay, now, we're all scared for the dog already. We understand you're not supposed to go in the dark. And this room is very, very dark. We can't hear the doggy, we can't see the doggy, we know Neville's afraid.

Then we hear the noise. Deer noise, does not sound like a happy deer. So now we know there's a threat in the dark. His breath, the sound of frightened, uneven human breathing, that's a visceral thing for us to connect with. We know ,as an audience, what it feels like in our chests when our breath sounds like that. He says he's going to abandon Sam and then doesn't. I don't know about you, but this is when I fall in love with Neville.

So, now we're seeing blood on the stairs, we assume the worst has happened and Sam the German Shepherd is dead. This movie sucks. We see a muzzle. This movie officially sucks more than any movie has ever sucked OH WAIT IT'S THE DEER. YAY! FUCK THE DEER! But where's Sam?!

We notice in this shot of him walking with the gun raised that he still wears his wedding ring.

He turns the light of the gun around a wall aaaaaaand- Infected. Lots of infected huddled in a circle. Watching it now, I feel as though we've already seen too much. At the time, I didn't think so, so I'll let it slide. The best shot is when he pulls back and you just see the crowns of their bald bald heads faintly lit by the covered up glow from the gunsight. We find Sam, aaaaaaaaaaand BOOM! Infected attack!

The next shots are effective. Even though we're seeing them in broad daylight they're twitching so much that you can't really see them. We know they're human, or were, we know they're all shirtless, apparently, but they're still strange enough to freak us out. Then, the baiting happens. He crushes a vile of his own blood to trap one, successfully, and then we see Benvolio from Baz Lurhman's R+J all baldified and upset, and that, that is the moment it gets fucked up. Because he looks like a cartoon. He looks like the mummy from The Mummy- jaw opens too wide, eyes are overly watery and too big. When Neville gets the Infected woman on the table, she looks like a video game construct. There's nothing real about her. It's imminently unbelievable. And the crime of it is that Will Smith's performance is.... so good. It's so good.

Just fishin' in the dark, son.

Now, this is quite clever. Social de-evolution appears complete, typical human behavior is not entirely absent. He says this after explaining that an Infected male exposed himself to sunlight, disregarding the instinctive imperative of self preservation. Which is precisely what Neville just did in going into the darkened building to save a dog. So in fact that is not the Infecteds' de-evolution, it is their growing humanization as they become more than a swarm, but a tribe, a social community. Likewise, Neville is losing his.

Dude, this fuckin' scene with the bridge and the helicopters, I swear to God. A month. And entire MONTH outside my dorm. Thanks for making the morning commute to campus so much fun, Legend.

The damn butterfly thing again. Ugh.

Sam protect daddy. D:

Oh, shit, I'm gonna cry.

Okay, so here's the other thing with this movie. The second best performance in it is by the dog. That's probably where I'll stop watching. Right before that scene. Because I cannot even begin to deal with coping with it. Okay. So.

This movie sucks BECAUSE: It could have been so totally awesome. Instead of this becoming about him being hunted by the vampire community, though, it becomes about him and this chick and this kid. Who needs it.

Now, an interesting question. Did Neville set up the Fred-trap himself and forget about it, or did the Infected copy him and set it up to trap him? The more interesting prognosis would be that Neville did it himself, but it's only more interesting that way because the monsters are so uninteresting and unaddressed that if it was them, it's a total waste. If it was Neville, that's interesting psychology.

Okay, I thought I was going to make it longer, but this is the scene where Sam gets hurt, aaaaaaand I don't know if I can handle it. I will begin to weep uncontrollably. However, it might be worth it to see Smith's performance when he's driving alone the next day, and when he goes into the record store. But I don't know if I can watch what it takes to get there.

God, that dog has an amazing sense of urgency. Some actors could learn from her.

The Infected is holding the dogs. This shows control and socialization. Sam, get in the car. Clearly, in my mind, this trap was set by the Infected, but it's such a damn waste because then they just.... never address the fact. Oh my God, Samantha, no. Okay, so this scene is.... just about unwatchable. If you don't cry, during this scene, you have no soul. You just don't.

Baby don't worry about a thing.

Oh God. And you're just hoping so hard that the vaccine will work, it worked on the rat, it started to work on the girl, but no. No, it doesn't. And then you just have to watch his face as he kills not only the only thing he loves, but the last thing he had of his baby girl. Sam was the last member of his family. Now, for the first time in the film, Nevile is completely alone. And I am a sobbing mess.

The empty seat in the car after he's buried her. And now the pull-back shot. Alone. Just in case you hadn't picked up on it. And now, now, proof of the Academy's bullshit. The Tower Records scene.


Neville confronting the mannequin in the Tower Records, and finding himself unable to continue the charade he's so far built, the imaginary back and forth; watching him completely unravel as a human being, realizing that he is now the last, the last Human Thing (because canine or not, Samantha was a Human Thing, not an Infected one) left alive... Someone just give the man his damn Oscar so he can go home. Will Smith is an amazing natural talent, and always has been, but he is now, also, an amazing actor.

Oh, look, Benvolio's back. Not for long, though. Because the movie killers have arrived- send me a woman and a kid when you've lost your balls and don't know what else to do with a plot line. Sweet effing Jesus. At least the little snots in Jurassic Park were worth something. Well, the boy, anyway. These two are useless.

Oh God, flashback, and we have puppy!Sam. Because watching her die wasn't enough. Now we have to be reminded of how much we love her. God damn you, I Am legend. God damn you. Watching the bridge collapse makes me want to watch Cloverfield, though. But that makes me think of Let The Right One In and that makes me angry.

Ah, the Shrek scene. Talk about de-evolution. Neville absolutely cannot cope with other human beings, which shows that he is doomed to be excised from any society that could exist on the Earth. The moment of hallucination, seeing his wife and child in the kitchen, is further proof. He's been too damaged by watching everyone die or change. He's lived too long without other humans, and he can't fit, again. He doesn't even acknowledge the presence of the little boy. Shown finally in context, Neville seems less than human. I still like him more than the chick and the kid, though.

How can a human being be so broken and remain a human being? Well, maybe he can't. Sitting in the tub, with Sam's tennis ball sitting in discarded silhouette on the floor, you can't really blame him.

Ah, here we go. How many times would you watch Shrek if you were stranded alone and it was your kids favorite damn movie, your kid who you saw get blown up in a helicopter? Maybe a lot. And see, then he goes and tries to re-behavioralize himself. Do you like that word? I just made it up.

Unfortunately, this is where I kind of stop caring. Especially because stupid chick and little kid DIDN'T DO WHAT THEY TOLD HIM.

Okay, so, showing her the lab, again we see how he's de-humanized himself in the search for humanity's salvation. He looks like a mad scientist down there, kidnapping sick people and performing experiments on them that fail, resulting in their death. Now we, being on Neville's side, having experienced Neville's isolation, struggle, and loss, find this to be perfectly acceptable. Stupid chick, not so much.

Okay, who doesn't know who Bob Marley is? Fucking seriously. Reason number five hundred and seventy three that I hate this chick. At least this flick's got good tunes. Light up the darkness. The people trying to make this world worse are not taking a day off, how can I? His crushing sense of guilty and responsibility are even more painful when you look at what an optimist he is, at his core.

And now, the shit hits the fan because stupid chick couldn't follow fucking instructions, and didn't wait until the sun was up. This scene is an unfortunate waste of celluloid. God told you, did he? Did he tell you by spelling it out in butterflies? 588 million eaters, 12 million immune survivors. Not good odds. Worse odds now that she didn't wait til sunrise to go in the house. And Benvolio leadin' the charge.

Too bad the fuckers can climb. Things that aren't fun this holiday season: Being dragged and thrown around by the throat by a zombie vampire. Again, the CGI here fails. Every time an infected is the cornerstone of the shot, its movements are unnatural, its shmutke tattered bathrobe flutters in a way totally inconsistent with its movements.... It kills it. It's not close quarters enough, it's not scary at all, it's cartoonish... Why oh why could they not have taken a page from 28 Days Later and just makeupped up some skinny people! For the love of God, again with the Mummy mouth!

So at this point, you pretty much know the ending's gonna suck. Either they escape to the colony or they die.

Oh, and she has a butterfly tattoo on her neck. How special. The problem is, this in no way should inspire him to do this. Nor is there any reason for him to sacrifice himself. If they're not gonna stop, get in. It's a grenade, it's not a remote controlled explosive. Pull it, toss it, get in the hidey hole. His death is rendered meaningless by the fact that he didn't have to die. Samantha's death was more affecting. And then, yay, colony. Are you kidding? How are the less than 12 million survivors- say, maybe, at MOST, four million. If you're gonna be just ridiculously the hell optimistic, 4 million people- going to reverse the infection in 58 million others. With all the supplies and manpower they have? No.

Lassiter, how could you let this happen? You too, Heyman. What happened. Idea behind the book not good enough for you? So ultimately, the movie's a bunch of half-realized ideas and details that don't enhance the bigger picture so much as they do confuse it, and to be honest, Smith's performance deserved a better movie to be featured in.

Music by James Newton Howard? So he.... went on iTunes and downloaded some Bob Marley tunes. Atta boy, James. Least he picked some good ones.

...Huh, I watched the whole thing. Even the last twenty minutes. Well, good on me. I hope Robot Chicken's on.

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