Saturday, August 31, 2013

Live-Beefing LOST: Season 3, Disc 3

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't watched LOST, you may be confused or apathetic about the following post. Please go watch the series through at least once before bothering with my writings. Thank you.

s03e11 - Enter 77

Sawyer looks a little out of place. "I just make myself a salad and move on." Of course, Paulo is going to use the facilities. It's nice that they gave the random new characters running gags. Sayid is a tad whiney when he thinks he knows better. A cow. We have cows. Correction: We have a farm... and a man with an eye patch. I guess Locke was right, Sayid... You ARE headed in the right direction. So shut up.

This whole "no nicknames" thing was really stupid. Let's take one of the most redeeming parts of any scenes with the most annoying people interacting with Sawyer and then get rid of it. Kate is also very whiney... pretty much all the time. I think I pretty much just hate that whole "I'm not really tough but I'm going to try mega-hard to act tough" nonsense that she puts on-- OH FOR THE LOVE OF... Not this episode. These Sayid flashbacks annoy the hell out of me. Maybe it's because the weird Iraqi woman talks weird and through her nose. She tilts her head upwards and snarls every time she starts a sentence... sometimes mid-way through the sentence as well. They can't pick non-annoying actors for their minor roles?! Great, Sayid got shot, and now Kate wants to run out and get shot too. More power to her, I say. Damn. Mikhail didn't shoot Kate.

Mikhail does a pretty good job at lying. He's apparently studied with Ben. Oooh, Locke is going to play Global Thermonuclear War against a computer. These people and their lines. The hostiles have a line fetish. I'm just going to zone out during these flashbacks. Amira is too annoying, and Sayid's whimpery sob-fest is even worse. As the series progressed, he just got more and more teary-eyed and blubbery.

Of course, Kate just wants to jump right into fighting. She has no sense of timing or judgement. Oh thank heavens we're back at the ping-pong game. Oh hell... Back to The Flame. Yeah, I'm Kate. I'm super mega-tough! Take THAT! ...and back to Sayid crying in storage room. Back to the pissing contest between Sayid and Locke for a moment... aaaand back to whimpering Sayid.

Oh good, the snarling nasal woman is here now too. Even better, the husband is now whining too. Maybe she should blow her nose... use one of those nasal cleansing things? Saline solutions? Perhaps some Sudafed? I'm hungry.

Yes Locke, leave the unconscious enemy alone so you can play a computer game. You have a problem, man, and you need to seek some help. Okay, I have nachos now. Did I miss anything? Ahh, Pierre Chang... Yes! Bash Kate's head into the floor!! Oh man, Sayid has to ruin all the killing. Mnyeh, I'm Kate. I'm gonna get mad and punch people. She tends to act without actually thinking. She and Jack are perfect for each other.

"Get bent, Hugo." Why can't this episode spend much more time on the beach? I mean, I guess I get the whole "need for story progression" and whatever... but still. It's far more interesting and far less annoying. And now cat lady is back on screen. Stop talking upwards!! Here comes the glassy eyed Sayid sob scene. Yeah, he's sobbing now. Even the subtitle says "whimpering"... Geezus. She forgives him. She forgives him, but I do not. This scene is almost unbearable. Emotional acting does NOT mean being as annoying as possible.

Locke is good at blowing things up.

s03e12 - Par Avion

Goth Claire! That wasn't the best look for her, but it sorta works. Throw Momma From The Car. Charlie and Claire are so cute. Claire gets distracted so easily. Look at the pretty birds.

Cholly just shot down Clear's bird idea. Poor Clear. Kate's a miss busy-body nosey-poo. She's also not on the list. "You are not on the list because you are flawed..." Turns out that's why people ARE on the list. Great Rousseau, interrupt the big reveal we as viewers already know. Ooh hey, that looks like some sort of sonic fence thing. I have finished my nachos and now I am eating cinnamon disc candy. That was important information to the series.

Aunt Lindsey isn't very compassionate towards Clear. I get that he sister is all comatose or whatever, but she could be a little more understanding about Clear wanting to clean up a little. Guilt probably isn't very helpful after an accident like that. Ooo secret money! That sounds secretive. Desmond just ruined the bird capture. I think Clear thinks Cholly is cheating on her with Desmond... or something like that.

Hahaha, perfect example of Kate being impulsively braindead! She just goes charging her way towards the barrier pylons, without any regard for what they may or may not be. I bet she stuck her hand into toasters a lot as a child. Eww, blood spurting from his ear. Why didn't I notice that before? Hooray for hi-def! "Sorry."

Kate's getting mad at Locke for being impulsive? Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black... Kate wants to jump the sonic fence. Okay. Clear is angry at Cholly now, and he's not allowed near the boy-bee anymore... again. This is getting a bit repetitive. It's as if there was a writer's strike or something. Clear gets to meet her real dad, Jack's dad. It was at this point where I proposed the theory that he was actually in fact the biological father to everyone on the island, thus resulting in some weird romantic entanglements. The message boards weren't fond of my theory.

This is the worst lean-to in history. Oh, it's a ramp, never mind. The internet got all crazy about Locke looking up at Kate's ass... but I have to point out that she really doesn't have one. Good luck getting answers from anyone on this show, Clear. I even proposed that Christian was Locke's dad... People asked how that would work and I answered "Time travel." People then told me that there was NO time travel in the show. How wrong they were. Who's laughing now?!

Now Clear knows the truth about Cholly's imminent death. The Island just wants Cholly dead. ...Also, imagine if Christian turned out to have ben Eko's biological father too! It's a good theory. Our group has found the barracks and, what?! Jack's playing football!? The horror!!!

s03e13 - The Man From Tallahassee

"I don't care what Jack said." is pretty much Kate's mantra, isn't it? I enjoy the reveals that Locke is NOT in the wheelchair. It's a fun reversal. Wait, maybe when Jack told me not to come rescue him, he MEANT it... No, no, I refuse to even think that for one moment more. I must go save him from what appears to be a mild semblance of happiness.

Wow, Locke is a voice of reason. That's... not a first. Hehe, Locke is watching Exposé. This episode should have been called The Great Rescue. Pulled it off without a hitch, I tell ya what. Man, Kate really knows how to mess absolutely everything up in the span of a minute.

Oh THAT submarine. I'd totally lock myself in a closet with Alex. I'm thinking bacon and eggs will make a great dinner tonight. If I could stop eating candy, that is. Ben is on to Locke's plan for blowing things up. Locke is good at blowing things up. Jack has come to play good cop with Kate. "I didn't think you meant it." You mean you didn't LISTEN. And there's nothing new there. And you think this might maybe teach Kate to not just act without any thought or regard for if she maybe SHOULD... but no. She never learns anything.

"We have two giant hamsters running in a massive wheel at our secret lab." Ben mentioned a magic box... IT MUST BE LITERAL! ... That's my impersonation of fans. It's raining pretty hard now... with thunder and lightning. I'd better save this. There, saved. Locke is about to go flying through a window. It's a pretty incredible scene if you ask me. "I don't wanna hear what you can't do." Ben is really good at manipulating people.

Locke is good at blowing things up.

s03e14 - Exposé

Possibly the most underrated episode of Lost ever. The makers took a couple of despised, ill-included characters and made a fantastic episode around their demise. I honestly implore any and every Lost fan who hated (or even liked) this episode to re-watch and think two words: Hitchcock homage. From the opening jolting moment, the music alone just screams Hitchcock... From the "macguffin" of the diamonds, to the closing POV shot from inside a live grave. It's filled with Hitchcock tribute. That is all I am going to say on this... Now for the normal crap I write about these things.

Nikki had some great cleavage; I think we can all agree on that. Too bad the actress wasn't that great at, you know... acting. I do find something funny about a bad actress portraying an even worse actress. "Razzle dazzle!" This is by far the most self-aware episode of Lost. "Who the hell's Nikki?" Of course there's gunk under her fingernails... They always have gunk under her fingernails. "Who the hell's Paulo?"

Boone!!! Oh yeah, and Shannon. Boone!!! They really beautifully inserted Nikki and Paulo into all these old scenes. A lot of attention to detail in this thing. Arnst! This is a great little mid-series reunion episode. In fact, it was almost exactly half-way through the series. Ethan is always a great returning dead character too. "Boone. Boone took the water." And we re-live Jack's speech, of course. Nina and Pablo... That was one of my favourites!

"If I go up there, that thing's gonna fall." I guess Paulo had a bit more sense than Boone. I think Nikki wore the pants in that relationship. Of course, Hurley is an Exposé fan. "THE PIGS ARE WALKING!"

I got caught up in watching this episode... Aww, poor Charlie. He decided to come clean to Sun about her fake abduction. And Paulo using the bathroom again. "And who the hell are you?!"

s03e15 - Left Behind

I really love seeing Kate get the crap beaten out of her. Ugh, I hate it when my girlfriends meet each other and help each other out with con games. It never turns out well for me. Everyone Kate knows goes with the Others! It makes me laugh at how confused she must be.

Hurley's playing his own little con game with Sawyer. He's frighteningly really good at it. I guess this is just shortly after Kate's murder of her step-dad... and just right after the escape from the feds. Now Kate is cuffed to Juliet... in yet another con game for this episode. What is that, 14 now?

So the feds couldn't realize it wasn't Kate until after they took off the hat?! They aren't very good at their jobs. Oh come on Juliet, don't tell me you don't know what the smoke monster sound is. "I ain't kissin' no damn baby." This really is about the least annoying Kate episode in quite a while. I have to say I don't mind any of it all that much. SHE is still annoying, but I don't groan and roll my eyes every three seconds when she's on screen.

Kate is reeeeeeeally bad at listening to others... This episode is definitely Sawyer's biggest defining turning point in character. If you don't love him by now, I don't know what is wrong with you.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

Beefing on Hitchcock
The Man Who Knew Too Much

A man and his wife meet a foreigner who turns out to be a French spy. The spy is shot and, before dying, reveals a piece of information to the man. The couples' daughter is taken hostage by the assassins, ensuring the man's silence. The couple heads back to England to investigate on their own, uncovering a plot to assassinate a European dignitary during a performance at an opera. The wife does her best to foil the plot, while the man attempts to rescue his daughter, both leading to a huge gun fight between the assassins and the authorities.

Finally out of the earlier, lesser-known films in the catalog, The Man Who Knew Too Much starts an incredibly long stretch of very famous and incredibly highly regarded films by Alfred Hitchcock. This movie and the following film (The 39 Steps) most definitely caught the eyes of many Hollywood film producers, eventually leading to Hitchcock's migration over to the States. One might even go so far as to say that this was "the beginning of the end" for his British film making... which is anything but as ominous as it sounds.

This film marks the first of many English-speaking roles for Peter Lorre, who had just fled Nazi Germany and actually learned his lines phonetically. A later interview with Lorre recounted his amusement with pretending to understand English for Hitchcock's sake, agreeing and laughing when he felt he should during many of Hitch's many stories. He not only didn't speak English, he barely understood it... yet on screen, this is hardly noticeable.

While I won't go into much detail yet on the later remake for American film, the only remake of his own films that Hitchcock would ever make, one major difference between the two versions is the shootout at the end of this earlier picture. Based on a famous gun battle near where Hitchcock grew up, the Sidney Street Seige, it was probably far more recent in his and the British public's mind in 1934, and the similarities would have been more apparent, than it would have in 1956 to an American and broader international audience.

In all, this is quite an amazingly grand picture, not just for the 1930's, but for any era. I watched the newly released Criterion blu ray, and their work is as outstanding as ever. One of the most important features on the disc is actually a featurette regarding the entire long remastering process for this particular film. The extensive hunt for a usable, early-generation print of the film took years upon years, and between warped copies and waiting for technology to catch up with what was needed to even transfer the film, it took nearly a decade to actually get this film remastered.

I for one would like to thank Criterion for not giving up, and eventually succeeding in making this movie as beautiful as ever possible.