Friday, September 16, 2011

PCP on TV - Lost Season 6 wrapup

Welcome back to Pop Culture Panorama.  Today I’ll be talking about the TV show Lost.  If you’ve been reading my blog all summer, you know that I’m working my way through the entire run of the show before the regular fall TV shows come back on, as I had never watched it when it was originally on the air.  I’ve now finished the 6th and final season of the show.  In short, holy crap what an amazing show from start to finish.  I am so glad that I watched this show this summer, I don’t regret it for a second.  Now for my thoughts on season 6, written down as I watched each episode so they are in order as we go through the season: (WARNING:  spoilers ahead if you’re like me and never saw the show before).

·   All the way back in the 1st season, Greg Grunberg was the pilot of Oceanic 815 that died in the very first episode.  It was nice of him to cameo his voice in the flash-sideways universe as the pilot on the intercom after they hit the turbulence.
·   I loved the way they showed Kate’s hearing loss from the explosion at the end of season 5, having her hearing (and the sound levels on the episode for the audience) slowly fade back in.  At first I thought something was wrong with my TV, but then I realized what they were doing.  Cool trick.
·   Early on in the sideways universe, things are still the same as they were in the main universe – Boone says to Locke “If this plane goes down I’m sticking with you.”
·   I found it amusing that Ben was griping to Locke/Smokey (hereafter called L/S) after L/S explained what happened.  Ben was complaining that L/S used him.  That made me laugh because Ben is usually such a master manipulator that it was ironic that he was so masterfully played.
·   When they first show us Locke at home in the sideways universe (before revealing what it is) I wrote this:  “So Locke is apparently friendly with his dad?  Helen mentioned him inviting the dad to the wedding.  Also, if they’re still friendly, how did he injure his spine?”  By the end of the season this was answered with the big reveal of what the sideways really was, and then it all made sense.
·   When L/S and Sawyer were in the cave looking at all the candidates’ names on the wall, I almost wish the camera had spent more time going over all the names.  I couldn’t find Kate’s name on there, crossed out or otherwise.

Read the rest after the jump!

Monday, September 12, 2011

PCP on TV - Fall 2011 TV - What's on my DVR

Thanks for coming back for your next hit of PCP:  Pop Culture Panorama.  It’s September 2011, and that means that the fall TV season is upon us.  Today I’ll be talking about what is on my DVR for my wife and I to enjoy this fall:  what’s new, what’s returning, and what didn’t make the cut.  I’ve had to drastically reduce the amount of shows I watch compared to in the past, because of a few reasons:  1) I want to have a life, 2) I have grad school 2 nights a week, and 3) I’m having a son in December, so I can’t go too overboard.  Unfortunately, that means I’m not going to be watching as many of the new shows as I want to, but oh well, there’s always DVD in the future like I did for Lost this summer.  Thankfully, through the power of DVR, I can watch these 15 shows in only 9 hours a week when I skip out the commercials.  I have just enough time each week to manage that.  So, here’s what’s on my DVR this fall in no particular order.

New to my DVR for this fall:  4 shows

Ringer – I’m a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so the fact that Sarah Michelle Gellar is returning to TV had me on board for this show from Day 1.  Adding in Lost’s Nestor Carbonell and Veronica Mars’ Jason Dohring were the icing on the cake for me.  Definitely looking forward to this one.  Premieres on the CW on 9/13.

Up All Night – Considering that I’m going to be a parent myself in 3 months, it’s fitting that this show about new parents is making its debut now.  Starring the very funny Christina Applegate, Maya Rudolph, and Will Arnett, this show has a great comic pedigree.  Hopefully it’ll be good.  Premieres on NBC on 9/14.

The Secret Circle – I’m giving this show about witches a shot because it comes on right after my #1 guilty pleasure the Vampire Diaries, and it’s from the same creators.  Hopefully it will be more like Charmed than like Eastwick when it comes to shows about witches on TV.  Premieres on the CW on 9/15.

Terra Nova – this one meets my need for a sci-fi fix:  time travel, dinosaurs, and it is produced by Steven Spielberg.  I’m so there.  Premieres on Fox on 9/26.

Returning to my DVR for this fall:  11 shows
 Read what's coming back after the jump:

Friday, September 2, 2011

PCP on DVD - 4 2011 Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies reviewed

Time for your next hit of PCP.  Today I’ll be talking about 4 films from 2011 and 1 from 2009 that take us out of our normal reality and add an element of sci-fi or fantasy.  We’ve got 2 alien movies, 1 in a fairy tale, 1 in a fantasy world, and 1 with Nazi zombies.  These 5 films are now available on DVD and I recently caught them on Netflix:  Battle: Los Angeles, Sucker Punch, I Am Number 4, & Red Riding Hood from this year, and Dead Snow from 2009, which is currently available on Netflix streaming.

Battle: Los Angeles – 2011, Rated PG-13.  116 minutes.  Starring:  Aaron Eckhart, Ramon Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, & Michelle Rodriguez.  My rating:  7 out of 10.

Battle: LA is a movie you’ve probably seen before, back when it was even more unrealistic and titled Independence Day.  Aliens have invaded, we have to fight back, etc etc.  Nothing particularly new here.  However, it is some of the performances that stand out and help salvage the movie from being a complete snooze.  Aaron Eckhart is great as Staff Sergeant Nantz, a 20 year veteran Marine that was about to retire after he lost soldiers under his command in Iraq but has been forced back into active duty when the invasion happens.  He is the right hand man to 2nd Lieutenant Martinez, played by Ramon Rodriguez, who is fresh out of officer training and has never seen combat.  Rodriguez does a great job of portraying the Lt’s fear and trepidation when he first encounters combat.  They have to lead their platoon into LA to rescue some stranded civilians before the Air Force is scheduled to wipe that part of LA off the map.

This film is a straightforward alien invasion movie:  aliens have invaded and it is up to our soldiers to fight back.  There is nothing particularly original here, and in fact the film is rather filled with clichés from almost every war movie ever made.  That doesn’t mean that it isn’t enjoyable, however.  Just because a film has a bunch of war movie clichés doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun to watch.  Although, if you get nauseous from jittery camera movies like District 9 or Cloverfield, then this might not be fun for you to watch after all.  Aside from the documentary-style aspect of the filmmaking, the film is rather similar to Independence Day, without the whole implausibly bogus story of going into space to upload a computer virus to save the day.  Battle: LA is more gritty and more realistic, and even portrays more despair than ID4 ever did, but at the same time you know as a viewer of alien invasion movies that everything will still turn out okay.  So who cares if the film is formulaic?  If you are a war or alien junkie, then this is a film for you.  If not, then take a pass.

Read the rest of the reviews after the jump