Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In Cinemas This Week

It's baaaaack! Sorry for the hiatus folks, things have been awfully busy around Fatso HQ and I simply haven't had the time to keep up with what has been happening in cinemas of late.

Cemetery Junction - Comedy superstar duo Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant written and directed feature, set in 1970s working-class England, about three young men realizing the frustrations of living in a small town when your aspirations are set high. The leads (Christian Cooke, Tom Hughes, Jack Doolan) are relative newcomers, capably supported by some heavy-weights of UK cinema (Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson , Julia Davis), as well as a dry turn from Gervais himself as a lout.

Shrek Forever After - Part of the glut of 3D animation at the moment, here's the forth entry in the Skrek franchise. This outing stars the usual big-shot Hollywood voice talent (Mike Meyers, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas) with some extra special guests (Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Kathy Griffin). In both regular cinemas and eye-popping 3D. Pump you kids full of sugar and take them along, they'll love you for it!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Psycho!

(Well slightly belated...) Yesterday Alfred Hitchcock's groundbreaking 1960 horror classic Psycho turned 50! Even if you haven't seen the film, chances are you'll know of The Shower Scene, one of the most iconic movie sequences in film history. Check out this neat clip from classic-horror.com, who pay tribute to the sequence by editing together a bunch of sources which have referenced it:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Trailer: (500) Days of Summer: Thriller Version

Another day, another mash-up. This one turns quirky rom-com (500) Days of Summer into a psycho-thriller...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Every Sitcom Uses The Same Newspaper

This is an incredible revelation.

A private joke amongst sitcom-makers or mass-produced expense-saving prop?

UPDATE: Here's the real story behind the prop.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Amityville Horror House for Sale!

The house that was the inspiration for the 1979 horror film The Amityville Horror is on the market... for US$1.15 million! Looking at the photos it looks like it's been done up quite nicely, but would you still live in it if you knew its history?? More pics here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Losing LOST

So LOST is over. I've just been tossing up whether I should do a post-finale piece or not, since the web is already cluttered with them. And you'd think it'd be easy to blog about something you love dearly, but there's something about sheer complexity of the show that is quite daunting to write about, which makes me appreciate even more people like Alan Sepinwall and Noel Murray who are able to intelligently recap episodes weekly without fail. Anyway, what the hell, I'll have a crack at it; consider this a loose ramble about Lost and its finale and everything in-between (even if most of what I have to say has probably been repeated elsewhere, and more eloquently). If you haven't watched the show or seen the finale, stop reading now (it probably won't make much sense anyway).

I'll be the first to admit the final episode, appropriately entitled "The End", left me with mixed feelings. After the LOST title card came on for one last time, I was moved and frustrated at the same time. Many questions that have been begging to be answered were not; instead, exec producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Linderlof chose to tie up the emotional threads of the story, which in turn provided the meaning to the flash sideways narrative that has perplexed audiences since the start of Season 6.

The Island half of the finale proved to be Lost at its best - it was fast-paced, moving, funny - containing some of director Jack Bender's best work ever (how killer was Jack and Fake Locke's fight on the cliff?). The flash sideways reunions - especially Sawyer and Juliet's moment of realistion at the vending machine - had me on the verge of tears; it's the closest I've been to crying over a TV show in a long, long time.

The kicker? The sideways reality was revealed, by Jack's late-arriving dad Christian Shepard, to be some sort of "purgatory" or "metaphysical waiting room" where the characters had been living after they've died until everyone found and remembered each other and the time they spent together on the island. But it was something they all collectively created. How exactly? I'm not sure of the science or spiritual mechanics of its creation, and it's open to interpretation, but a case could be made that the detonation of Jughead in Season 5 was partially responsible. An explosion so powerful as to react with the Island's temperamental mystical (or electromagnetic) powers to produce another "world" where the main characters can live happily ever after.

Remember Juliet in her last breaths, uttering, "It worked"? That line didn't mean the bomb had reset the timeline so Oceanic 815 never crashed. She flashed, Desmond-style (since she was at the centre of the detonation at the Swan site), into the "after life" where everyone was able to lead the lives they've always wanted - together. If this kind of thinking seems like such a crazy leap - and initially it did seem like the writers had copped out - you know, purgatory this, metaphysical that, the logic or feel behind what transpired in its conclusion is something that has stayed with me long after. Had everything been solved neatly, the show wouldn't have made emotional sense.

Okay, sci-fi fans want their hard sci-fi solutions, and I did too - trust me, I KNOW it's frustrating when a show introduces so many cool concepts (the Dharma Initiative, etc) only to abandon them later on. And as much I as love Lost, it isn't flawless TV. Blame it on the way TV networks operate (the ratings game...), blame it on the writers not having a complete endgame in mind, blame it on the fans who've built up their own perfect theory they so desperately want to see materialise. The show has been a victim of every one of these factors. If you take all that into context, and enjoy the ride for what it is, I think Lost has come up pretty damn well. The nailbiting cliffhangers, the endearing characters, the mind-bending twists and mysteries - no other serial has been so ambitious and risky and thrilled my imagination in such a way since...I dunno, Twin Peaks? And it'll be a while before another comes along. FlashForward? Please.

Back to the ending - it's been haunting, lingering in my mind, and I've made peace with it. It's as good as one can hope. Jack's walk through the bamboo field, collapsing, Vincent laying down next to him, Jack seeing Ajira fly out in the sky, his eye closing for one last time. Bloody beautiful and heartbreaking. The show has come full circle, and the symmetry between these last few moments and the pilot is quite amazing:
Actually visual echoes and parallels such as these occur throughout the finale (the church resembling an airplane cabin, Locke falling on his back once again, etc), enhancing the show's consistency, even if loose plot threads are dangling all over the place. They may not make logical sense, but they do emotionally. In the end, Linderlof and Cuse can't be accused of copping out - they've obviously made it clear what the story they wanted to tell is. Even with all its intriguing mythologies and out-there science, the crux of the show has always been a struggle between faith and reason. "The End" realised Jack's long, bumpy journey from Man of Science to Man of Faith, and for that the show has paid off. Not many answers for us long-time viewers? We really need to learn to let go. It worked.

Some random thoughts:
  • How great was Michael Giacchino's score?
  • My favourite season is 5. Most consistently entertaining run of episodes. And I'm a time travel geek.
  • Favourite finale? Season 3. "We have to go back!!" Mind-blown.
  • Most head-hurting twist: the whole Daniel Faraday/Eloise Hawking thing, and Richard/Locke's compass. Ouch.
  • Lost is clearly a show that gains a lot of its power from cliffhangers and mysteries; the answers are rarely as interesting. Did we really an answer to the whispers? Look how it turned out.
  • The resonance of Christian Shepard's name only clicked at the end.
  • Upcoming DVD set will have an extra 20 minutes of finale material that wasn't shown on TV.
  • Damn, I will miss this show.
  • Ok, one last thing: