Saturday, February 22, 2014

Rebecca (1940)


Beefing on Hitchcock
Rebecca

1940's Rebecca marks the start of Alfred Hitchcock's run of American films, and what is arguably the "golden era" of his career. Taking all he had learned from the silent film era on through The Lady Vanishes and other definite classics, Hitchcock moved on to Hollywood and into the grandeur and elaborate production of David O. Selznick.

A nameless young lady, an orphan and not high on the social ladder, marries a famously rich widower and moves into his lavish home, where fragments of his dead first wife remain and haunt her. Little by little, the mystery of who the first wife was and how she died come to light, threatening the new couple and their hope of a happy life.

Originally bringing Hitchcock over to work on a motion picture about the Titanic tragedy, Selznick instead put Hitchcock to work on a film adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's novel Rebecca. Almost immediately, there was conflict between director and producer. While Selznick felt a book should be represented practically line-for-line onto the screen, Hitchcock preferred to take a basic premise and bring that loosely (very loosely) to the motion picture audience.

After nearly countless rewrites, production was underway with lavish design and an undeniably "Selznick" feel to the entire production. In fact, it is my opinion that the majority of the film feels like more of a Selznick film than that of a Hitchcock film. The one obvious influence Hitchcock had, aside from a bit of the dry witty humour near the start of the film, was in the portrayal of the movie's antagonist Mrs. Danvers. Portrayed by Judith Anderson, the character was uncomfortably creepy yet stoic enough to make the viewer unsure of her actual intentions. Of course, Anderson was (and remained) a lifelong fan and apologist of Hitchcock's genius... so it only makes sense that she gave exactly what the director wanted into the picture.

The male lead Laurence Olivier was a Selznick pick of course, and the female lead was the lesser-known sister of Olivia de Havilland, Joan Fontaine, who Hitchcock cast pretty much because she wasn't her sister. Apparently Selznick wasn't entirely impressed by his choice, but Hitchcock argued that he could make her a star from nearly nothing... something he continued to do with many actresses in his future films. His plan was successful as she won the Academy Award for Best Actress, one of only two the film won that year (the other being Best Picture).

Despite the conflicts between the two powerful movie-making forces, ongoing through the entire filming, editing and production of the movie, both Selznick and Hitchcock still had a mutual respect for each other and the picture in general, and the finished work is a perfect blending of the two personalities and visions. Where Selznick wedged in long scenes of exposition through dialogue, Hitchcock worked around the tedium with camera movements and expressions.

Rebecca easily stands out as one of the most unique movies in the catalog, having so much depth in the direction and production along with a rather intriguing and straightforward story. It is a true classic and a fantastic start to the latter half of Hitchcock's career.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Live-Beefing LOST: Season 3 Unanswered Questions



A pretty solid season in all, despite the middle being a bit iffy. We saw the addition and subtraction of Nikki and Paulo, essentially proving why fans should not be allowed to play a part in the direction a show is written. We have a fantastic view of where and how the Others live, including the introduction of some great characters. We see the potential for rescue at last, and at the expense of some other beloved characters. This season in all is a great bridge between "how do we survive and get off this island" to the final three seasons of "how do we save those we love and the world"... The great difference between fighting our circumstances and finally changing them through acceptance.

And now the remaining questions this season posed that have not been directly answered within the series itself:

Season 3 Unanswered Questions


Season 3 has 101 total mysteries, 16 unanswered mysteries

Further Instructions
What happened to the commune?
- Unanswered
[We saw the police breaking up the drug production... so we can pretty much assume there was some form of disbanding or they continued on without Locke... either way, it was no longer a part of his life so we really don't need to know. It makes no difference to the story. It would be like asking what happened to the store he worked at when he met his mother... who cares?]

The Cost of Living
What happened to Yemi’s body?
- Unanswered
[Dragged off by the smoke monster? If smokey wanted to appear to Eko as Yemi, it wouldn't work so well if the body was still there for him to find. This would be good to know for sure, but I think the implication is apparent that the smoke monster had something to do with it not being there.]
Why can the monster only take the form of the dead?
- Unanswered
[I have nothing solid to infer from the show, but I can guess that it has something to do with the dead not using their form anymore. An empty shell... obviously the smoke monster doesn't use the BODY (apparent from Locke's body still existing in a box while "Locke" was wandering around the island later in the series) ... I will accept this as part of the mythology that isn't explained but just "is". Maybe it's a rule that Jacob set up for him to follow. I don't know.]

Flashes Before Your Eyes
Why is Ms. Hawking so intent on preventing the future from changing?
- Unanswered
[Personally, I think she (at first) believed the future as something people just CAN'T change... that the universe course corrects no matter what... but somewhere along the way, discovered (probably through her son's journal) that Desmond was essentially a "wild card" and had the ability to change or actively affect the future. Knowing this, it's not that she doesn't want the future from changing, so much as she doesn't want him to change it YET. If he changes things BEFORE going to the Island, he will never make it TO the Island to change things THERE. ... That's my best argument for this, and it makes sense to me.]

Stranger in a Strange Land
What happened to Cindy and the kids immediately after they were taken by the Others?
- Unanswered
[Oh who knows? Maybe they were baptized in the temple, maybe they were taken to Room 23, or maybe they were just given a hot meal and a warm bed to sleep in... While this would also be good to know, mostly to explain how and why they so easily "converted" to their cause, I guess it's not necessary to the whole of the story or they would have shown us.]
What is the significance of the mark put on Juliet?
- Unanswered
[Bad writing. This whole episode sucked.]

Enter 77
How did Mikhail lose his eye?
- Unanswered
[I'm sure it would be an interesting story to hear him tell... but I'm also sure it doesn't matter one bit.]

The Man From Tallahassee
Where is the electricity from the Barracks and other stations powered from?
- Unanswered
[This big glowing electromagnetic source from the depths of the Island? Maybe there's a hydroelectric something on the Hydra... Perhaps they have polar bears running on a giant wheel... I really don't know, but I also don't think it matters.]

Left Behind
Where did Juliet learn to fight?
- Unanswered
[Others Self-Defence Training. Or maybe she took a look at her ex-husband, needed to feel empowered a bit, and decided to take a class back in Portland. My bet is the first one... same reason she knew Latin. She's an Other. Why anyone thinks this matters to the story is beyond me. I see it as just another of fans' nitpicking at everything and putting far too much focus on the little unimportant things that the writers never felt any real focus should be placed.]

One of Us
How do the Others have resources to so much money and to Mittelos Bioscience?
- Unanswered
[This is actually a good question. I've always wondered how they gained control of the rest of Dharma's presence OFF the Island too... Perhaps Charles Widmore is a willing benefactor to their cause despite his exile from the Island.]
How can the Others cure cancer?
- Unanswered
[This is also a pretty good question and one of the few that I wish they had explained. We know that there's magic on this island, and that the Island will cure those in its favor and will not let those die that it does not wish to... but for them to promise Juliet her sister's healing and have it actually happen... It gives the implication that the Island will heal at the will of Ben, which we know is quite wrong.]
What did Sayid do in Basra?
- Unanswered
[I don't know, I don't care, and I don't know why anyone else does either. I figured it was just something he's ashamed of or something along those lines. Maybe it was something they figured they might work into a flashback at some point, but then never did but left the line there in case they ever had time for it. I don't think it changes anything one way or the other.]

Catch-22
What is Brother Campbell’s relationship to Ms. Hawking?
- Unanswered
[Gosh this would be nice to know... I'm sure he played some part in actively directing Desmond to his proper future, but I don't know.]

The Brig
What are the ruins and the pillar the remains of?
- Unanswered
[One of the many ancient civilizations that has at one point resided on the Island. I think it was just there to show that there has been life on this Island for a long, long time.]

The Man Behind the Curtain
What happened to Annie?
- Unanswered
[I HOPE she left the Island with the other wives/children when Professor Chang was getting everyone on to the submarine before the Incident. If not, then that means she stayed behind and eventually was purged like the rest.]

Through the Looking Glass
How and why did Walt appear to Locke?
- Unanswered
[Walt's special. As I think I mentioned in my post for that episode, I'm of the belief that was one of the "work" he had to do when Hurley and Ben picked him up in the Dharma van in "The New Man In Charge".]


Well, there you have it. A few things I really don't have a clue at, but most of them are either stupid questions that don't matter, or the answers can be pulled from the series through deduction.

If you have questions that aren't shown here, there's a huge chance they were actually answered. You can find the complete list and answers here.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Live-Beefing LOST: Season 3, Disc 5


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.

s03e21 - Greatest Hits

Okay, finally getting to the end of season 3. Technically, I need to stitch up the lining of my coat, but I'm taking a break from that to do this. Running through the jungle... reminds me of that Creedence song "Born On A Bayou"... Luckily, there's only 3 episodes on this disc, so I can resume sewing after this. Where were we? Oh yes, the Juliet tapes and the dynamite from Rousseau. Got it. Jack's plan should go swimmingly, unless Kate screws it all up somehow.

Yay! Charlie flashbacks! I am still SO very upset that they never ever released a full-length version of You All Everybody. That was a very very missed opportunity on their part. Especially for a show with such immense viral marketing like this one had. "Look on the bright side. You're not REALLY dead." Poor Charlie. He had become such a fan favourite by this point. The island has wanted him dead since day one. Why do people like swimming?! Never could figure that out. Why people like to so much that is... the swimming I know how to do. I figured that out years ago. I wonder if they had any of this in mind back when Hurley first found the cable into the ocean... or if they just planted that cable and figured they'd come up with something later. I'm kind of figuring the latter. Aww, a wonderful Jin and Sun scene! They really are one of the only truly fantastic couples on this show. Even when there's conflict and drama, you still just want them together. Karl!

Alex is so cute! ...even with blood all over her hands! Ooo, a rare in-episode "just happened" flashback. They don't normally do that. "And that's what happened to bring me here." It's a touch of a retcon that the DS on the ring stood for a family member and that's where the initials for Drive Shaft came from... You could claim that it's not a retcon since they never fully explained it before, but yeah... it's a retcon. It's too much of a stretch for it to NOT be.

Nadia finds herself in some odd situations. Wait, she was being mugged and she still kept count of the amount of people walking by? She's some math genius. I don't know; I've never been mugged. I just assume you'd be paying a bit more attention to trying to not be mugged. I could be wrong though. "I like you better since you got back, Jack. You're almost an optimist." Sayid's right, Jack... You trek through the jungle, and let Sayid do the dirty work. Awww, poor Hurley! This scene is so sad! It's like that scene in Harry And The Hendersons all over again!!

"Here we go again." Yeah, no kidding! Charlie meeting Claire... so sweet! This is a bit of a sappy sweet episode. I always called these episodes the "calm before the storm" episodes, before things all went crazy for the season finales. TKO for Charlie! Way to use that oar! And off he goes to his demise. I quite like that hatch... I think if I were Dharma and/or an Other, I'd want to be stationed there... or the Swan. The Swan is cozy. Oh but there's chicks here. I'll take this one!

s03e22-23 - Through The Looking Glass

"We have to go back!!!" ... Wait, am I getting ahead of the show?!? Poor bearded Jack. The Island just kept him from trying to kill himself. "I am a dentist. I am not Rambo." Rose and Bernard are also one of the great couples on this show, although they get easily forgotten by fans because they don't involve themselves much in the drama.

Charlie is being held hostage by a violent blonde chick and the evil queen from Once Upon A Time. I'm sure he's enjoying it. "Charlie says hi!" Ben lied?!? What?!?! Shock. I'd say this plan is going well... only not so much. Oh crap, they have Jin. Maybe they only needed two explosions! No Rose, he won't say that to you... Kate is the one who keeps saying that phrase. Jack only said it once, and even then he used the modifiers that make the phrase MAKE FUCKING SENSE. Okay sorry, random burst of anger. But the phrase "Live together, die alone" kind of implies that you will die alone no matter what, so we might as well live together anyways... Like you plan to live together and then die alone. And that's utterly retarded. Now if the modifier "or" was maybe tossed in, like for instance "Live together or die alone" then maybe it would both be grammatically correct and make a bit of sense. The comma pause pretty much implies "and" not "or"... Roar!!! Way to spill everything Bernard. Luckily it only resulted in a few deaths, and not a lot.

Kate's harping at Sawyer again... She's kinda shrill in this scene. Mikhail's shooting at Desmond now. Good fun. The chicks are arguing... CAT FIGHT!!! Wooo!!! Charlie can annoy anyone by singing. Useful. Man is this shit over yet?! I have a coat to mend! I feel kinda bad for this other surgeon guy. He doesn't quite realize what he stumbled into, and then he gets shouted at by Jack. Gary Nadler? Any relation to Bernard?!?!? I bet there is. Nothing is that coincidental on this show. They had to have given the surgeon that name for a reason.

Good timing Mikhail! Just saved Desmond's life! Hmmm, for once Ben's kinda right in his bullshitting. Oh Jack, don't try to make Kate feel better about what Sawyer said... She'll just end up thinking that he really wants her to follow and then she'll run off to ruin Sawyer's attempt at rescue! Good foresight, having a runway built for the Ajira plane. Oh hey, Locke is alive. Tall Walt doesn't want him to kill himself. The Island still has some use for him yet! This is one thing I kinda wish would have been better explained... Is that Walt from AFTER "The New Man In Charge" somehow using the Island's power to project himself there? I doubt it's the smoke monster, considering he usually uses dead people's forms. After all, Walt's special.

Gee, I wonder who's in the casket. I bet it's Jeremy Bentham. Ooo, Mikhail is a bit of a dissenter. I like him. "Hi, I'm Benjamin. I don't believe we've had the pleasure!" Jack's kind of a junkie. How does Ben expect anyone to ever believe a word he says? Oh no! They shot the hostages!! I can't believe they did that!!! Roar!!! I live how she told Charlie "Good Vibrations" but didn't tell him what PART of the song, yet he somehow knew? That song is modular... it has like 8 different movements. Any musician knows that! Why couldn't they pick something simple and believable like Beautiful Dreamer? Maybe it always annoyed me because I would have impulsively picked a whole different section of Good Vibrations than the one Charlie did.

Jack seems a bit upset. WHAAAA?!?!? You mean they DIDN'T mercilessly slaughter 3 main characters off screen!??!?! What a shock. I never saw that coming... or the van. Okay, so the van originally was a bit of a surprise, but it's fun! Poor Tom. I liked Tom. Everyone liked Tom... That's the one thing I never really liked Sawyer for doing. Sure, I get the vengeance for the kid thing, but it was still a bit cruel. It wasn't Tom's fault to begin with, and Sawyer knew that. "Yeah dude, I told you. I saved them all." I love Hurley. Cholly isn't back yet though.

Yeah see, I would have chosen the CHORUS to Good Vibrations, not the coda. He didn't even pick the damn bridge! Grrr... YAY! Penny!!! Dammit Charlie, swim through the porthole! You can fit! I can fit! Hell, even HURLEY can fit!! This would be even more sad if there wasn't a PERFECTLY REASONABLE ESCAPE ROUTE RIGHT BEHIND YOU! I guess maybe he just felt he had nothing to live for... Maybe he just needed an escape from the whining nasally blonde with the kid. Avoiding responsibility and commitment in the best way possible: death.

Alright, French signal off, phone working, it's all good from here! No more death from now on! Only rescue and happiness!! Oh wait, Naomi's been stabbed in the back. Okay from HERE on out, there's no more death. Just 3 seasons of heart-warming rescue left to watch. Everyone goes home, is re-united with their families, and everyone is happy. I love this show.

I wonder who Jack is talking to in this what is obviously a flashback. I bet it's his ex-wife. He's really distraught over the death of his best friend Jeremy Bentham, whoever that is. And here comes his ex-wife in her car, to meet him at the airport. Wait, it's Kate?!? They knew each other before the crash!??!? Maybe they've both been in on it all along! They work for the Others!! "Why did you call me, Jack?" He didn't, he called you Kate. Wait, this couldn't possibly be from AFTER the crash! A flash FORWARD?!? That's impossible. This show only does flashbacks. It's their thing. They would never stray from those ever. Oh, wait, never mind. Yes they would. My whole belief system is now shaken, and I have nothing more to live for.