January 29, 2008

“LOST”: The best show on TV returns!


Now that the WGA strike has the latest TV season in shambles, thank the gods for pre-strike writing & filming… LOST is back!

Not only is this the show that everything in our household stops for, but it still frightens us, entrances us and excites us, just as much now as it did in season one. I know, I know, this past season was rough, I’m not that blinded by the tropical sunshine. But c’mon, did you see the season finale? There were enough holy crap moments in that one episode to fill an entire season of some mediocre shows.
The writing is still intense, the cinematography is still stunning (check it out in HD), and the acting is winning Emmy’s. If I’m preaching to the choir, I apologize. If not, then it’s time to convert and join us on the island!

Co-Creator JJ Abrams is riding a wave right now with the success of his monster movie (see below) “Cloverfield”, the return of “LOST” (with three more seasons to come) and pick-up of his latest series “Fringe” by the FOX network.

OK, so here’s what to do; clear your planner for Wednesday night (1-30-08) for the two-hour, enhanced, third season finale: “Through the Looking Glass”. Then be there for the two-hour season premiere “event” on Thursday (1-31-08). First “Past, Present & Future” a re-cap of the first three seasons, followed by “The Beginning of the End”, the first of 8 strike-shortened season 4 episodes.

January 25, 2008

“VERONICA MARS”: Why aren’t you watching this show?


Well ok, it was canceled, I know. So go rent or buy the DVD’s then!
Canceled after only 3 seasons (I just finished watching season 2) we are cheated out of three more years of college life and are left only to imagine what might have been.

Starring Kristin Bell (Heroes) as the title character, this show is a lively mix of Nancy Drew mystery solving, Buffy girl power (Veronica even has her own Scooby Gang) and a dash of West Side Story. The writing is sharp and witty, plenty of pop culture references, banter and burns. It has a very neo-noir storytelling style. (And I dig the noir.)

Veronica Mars leads the life we all wished we could have in high school. Moonlighting as a private investigator, smart enough to take down the most evil rich girl (or boy), tough enough to stand up to the nastiest biker and nerdy enough to hang with the geeks.
But it ain’t all wine and roses in Neptune, California. There is loads of family dyfunction, murder, mayhem and plenty of high school hi-jinx and teen angst to go around. On the bright side she does have the coolest Dad/mentor ever in Private Eye Keith Mars. And he’s definitely the most reliable person in her life.

Now – There’s a lot more going on in Neptune than I can tell you here without spoiling everything... So put down the controler and go get this too short-lived series on DVD today!

January 23, 2008

"CLOVERFIELD": Not just a guy in a rubber suit.


I went to see "Cloverfield" today. And it's not your Daddy's "Godzilla" that's for sure. Well not, at least, until the closing credits. What could have been a blase, run of the mill giant monster story, turns out to be an exciting & scary "in the moment" action flick. And there's a touch of humor & love thrown in to make it connect with the audience.

I avoided spoilers and reviews prior to seeing the movie, and that helped a lot. I had no pre-conceptions of what was going to happen and was therefore genuinely surprised and thrilled by the ensuing carnage and not-quite-nausea inducing footage.

Using all hand held "camcorder" footage adds to the paranoia and realism of the story. Watching from the perspective of someone caught up in the unfolding terror makes for a much more intimate viewing experience. Like the characters in the story we, the audience, don't know what the heck is going on. Quick glimpses of NYC being pummeled, flashes of something rampaging through midtown, and dirt and dust filled scenes keep the viewer just off balance enough to keep you nervous, engaged and curious. I don't know what it is about wrecking New York City that so fascinates us, but it works it's movie magic here again.

You can't escape the flesh crawl eeriness of 9/11-like destruction and fear. Nor can you escape the homage to "Godzilla", "Beast from 20,000 Fathoms", and many other classic monster movies. And I think that's why it succeeds where most fail, It takes the familiar and spins it. Giving you what you might have been expecting, but in an unexpected way.

"Cloverfield" was produced by "LOST"s J.J. Abrams and directed by "Felicity" alum Matt Reeves. And while I missed Greg Grunberg ("Star Trek" maybe?), I did get my daily dose of Michael Giacchino.

I give it a solid B+