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Monthly Archives: December 2006

hmmm… now what to make of that? They manage to introduce a whole new bunch of people – and get rid of most of them with utter efficiency? Mid-season reviews not so good, apparently… no, wrong: what I heard was that the ladies who go to meet their maker actually got into legal trouble at the shooting location so the producers had to dispose of them – which they did without further ado. The characters that were established in the first season turned out to be strong enough to carry through number 2, anyway. There is no way around the likes of Sawyer, Jack, John and Hurley – with Mr Eko they may have a new strong lead at  their side (which they can do with, given the final of season 2), and I judge that no new ideas came up on what to do with Charly and more or less all the female characters (the females are still frighteningly weakly written, this is clearly a boy film). There are chances that we will see even less of them in part 3. Maybe a ghastly and untimely death? I would not mind…

The show had to suffer from the fact that when you open such a series, you couldn’t care less about plot lines and resolutions, you go hunting for the spectacle. Only after realising that the show might be a long-time companion do the screenwriters need to worry about all these loose ends and these strange and in some cases definitely paranormal phenomena. This Pandora’s box of narrative is already taking its revenge in season 2, where the ferocious monster that was shaking trees and killing pilots on season 1’s opening hardly ever shows up, because apparently somebody decided that it will mess up a multi-season planning by killing all the major personae within too short a time. So now it’s still wicked, but Roman-Catholic stoicism paired with cold-blooded attitude beats it, meaning that we can forget about it. Surely, somebody will soon explain to us about this swarm of nano-robots that went rabid for a short while but now is back in its cage. Away with it.

Jumping into "Others" territory was also, it seems, more like a bit of a surrender to all this time that has passed, because the initial authors would surely have preferred to keep these guys mysteriously absent. So it’s men with artificial beards, all right. Why do our heroes more or less hand themselves over to them voluntarily, without showing so much as the slightest bit of human intelligence? We don’t know. Do we expect there to be a mysterious release without explanation so both camps are at full  staff again? Yes, I do. Will Kate (my nickname for her being "Mother Theresa") keep boring us with her indecision on whom to shag? You bet. Will Sawyer keep having the best lines of the respective seasons. I hope so. By the way, my favourite scene of Season 2 of course being him telling Jack that he’d had a romantic intermezzo with Ana Lucia, and responding to jack’s question why Sawyer tells him that: "Because you are the closest thing to a friend that I have around here." Isn’t that touching? I bet my money on Sawyer to save the world in Season 7!

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What a nasty little flick! That’s a compliment, of course. From the setting, there is not much difference to things like “Hostel” or similar rubbish flicks of the last years. What makes the difference is… everything related to film-making: the actors are very good and very natural, no Hollywood glamour, but just a couple of (English and Aussie) kids, as averagely looking and as averagely talking and as averagely intelligent as people are. The camera work is very well done, too, sometimes with the shaky handheld look, sometimes with a glance at the awesome scenery – again: natural appears to be the word to grasp it. The script has a rather intelligent way of approaching the unavoidable (as people know they go into some form of slasher movie to begin with). It takes its time to show the people doing what people do in their holidays, not too interested in the characters’ depth (maybe there is none) or any conflicts within the group (maybe there are none), but just taking the time of feeling very acquainted to the personnel.

The switch over to the darker aspects of the story comes without artificial drama, but with refreshing sobriety. From then on, it’s a decline into a nightmare that draws its absurdity in particular from the contrast to the long intro. And if you expect heroes in this story: there are none. In that respect the film has a nice happy ending: at last, a film without an idiotic superhero saving the world. There are lucky people and less lucky people, and there are bad guys and un-bad guys. The one does not necessarily coincide with the other. Quick and dirty and enjoyable for those who can endure some mutilation – because there is some…

Overview at Rottentomatoes:
Schnitt-Review (German):

Relive the Moments… the Mark Kermode Ad-rant Calendar! Hilarious…

Better late than never. My excuse for watching this at all is that it promises to be a dramatized series (at least I think that was the term they use), meaning that it is actually one long film, cut down into 24 installments. Reminds me of the pleasant moments I spent with "24", and reviewers repeatedly refer to "24" and "Lost" as the most interesting (fictional) moving images that can be found on today’s screens. Here we go, let’s give it a try.

Most characters of the first season are actually quite likeable and played by decent actors. You have the usual amount of uselessness: most pointedly in the character of Kate, whose only function in the whole season appears to be a potential lover for JackHero, but also in her who I like to refer to as Boone’sSister. I never bothered to remeber her name, as I suspected that pain-in-the-arse annoyance of my tv nights would please us with a soon demise. Unfortunately, it did not turn out that way, but she does not get too much screen time, so I guess I will survive it. JackHero is a bit too good to be true, Sawyer a bit too cool for comfort (but still my favourite character), Michael and Wayne have their own problems, which I do not care too much about, JohnFaithful is one of these mysterious persons I quite appreciate. I don’t savour knowing everything about everybody, so Locke is my man. CurleyHurley is always on the verge of becoming the comic relief character, but sometimes actually manages to grab the moments of deepest drama for himself, maybe because he starts off into each catastrophe from this comic level, so the throat gets all the more dry once he loses his humour. Some Koreans around, too, who will surely have some more stories to tell in Season 2, and a couple of short appearances by guys that were either needed as victims of short-term explosions, or for future reference, no doubt.

No way of deying that once you sit down with the DVD box and a sufficiently large stock of beer, it is very hard to get off the hook. The writing is very professional in alterating between thrills and comic. The questions about the accuracy of the gentlemen’s three-day beards have been asked, but what the heck? That little world is able to engulf you, and the flashbacks about the characters’ back stories are consinderably interesting, too. A bit too much coincidence, in some cases, but as JohnFaithful says: you don’t really believe all this is a coincidence?

For my taste, it has not the quality of 24, the main reason being that the story is not resolved at the end. I generally feel abused when a season of a tv drama ends with a cliffhanger, because I find it complete plausible that the authors never needed to bother about how to resolve the story in the first place – knowing they can just continue handling open threads. But if you don’t want to complete the narration, you are closer to any given "Miami Vice" or "Cosby Show", and you lose connection to the cinematic qualities of "24"’s narration. Similar thing happened with the "X-Files", I remember, in all episodes not related to the "Alien Invasion" red thread. These things tend to keep falling apart because it does not matter whether you skip the episode or not. As there is Season 3 currently on the US screens, I fear that there will be more of this arbitrariness, if on a high level. No doubt, I will check it out soon…


Batman Revisited, that’s a good catchphrase for the franchise, anyway. Reading again my “review” of the film from the old (German) blog when it hit the screens last year, I appear to have been thoroughly disappointed with it. I think the only reason why I treated me to the DVD was that a couple of people have been mentioning recently what a brilliant milestone of Comic adaptation that was and how it redefined the craft after all the X-Men and whatever rubbish (that’s not what these people said, they actually liked the X-Men movie(s), which is beyond words).
So I guess you can say I was pleasantly surprised to find myself throroughly entertained on a Sunday afternoon, and while this owes a lot to the fact that recently I am extremely receptive to big-scale blockbuster trash, it is still not far a track into the “good film” realm. Good film is elsewhere, maybe at “Pan’s Labyrinth” or at “Departed” (which I have not seen yet). Or Babel or or or…
Michael Caine, while being stuck in his butler-ish habitus for quite a while now, was pleasant to watch, and even though it is a bit hard to take Liam Neeson for a martial arts mastermind, he fit into the series of the “REALLY EVIL GUYS”, established by The Rock or Con Air, if you  know what I mean…
Ah, I just remember why I watched the DVD: because the reviews of “The Prestige” kept mentioning Batman Begins as a continuation of Mr Nolan’s brilliantly creative carreer, and as things happen: after reading a couple of these I started wondering whether my judgement of a year ago would really hold. Let’s be fair: it holds, but in every bit of trash there’s some preciousness to be found…
And I wonder whether the announcement of Batman Begins – Dark Knight ( leads Nolan on to a Soderbergh-ish path, with Batman earning the mortgage and between them some time for real films? We will see…
old blog entry:
Subject: Batman Begins (GT, CineStar, 24.06.05)
machen wir’s kurz: Der Film ist bei weitem nicht so schön düster und bedrohlich wie der/das (??) Comic. Es bleibt recht wenig hängen außer der Frage, wie man die ganzen Leute (Oldman, Bale, Caine) dazu gebracht hat, ein wenig langweilig zu interagieren. Kann man sich inesgsamt schon ansehen, aber spätestens bei der dritten Auto-Verfolgungsjagd hat mich eine akute Gähnattacke geplagt (es war immerhin die 23 Uhr-Show). Wer glaubt denn, dass Batman-Zuschauer Autorennen sehen wollen? Auto-Verfolgungsjagden sind seit Steve McQueen einfach durch, das ist End-Ödnis, ein Tarkowskii-Film ist ein Thriller dagegen (kommt mir vermutlich deshalb in den Sinn, weil ich gestern den “Spiegel” aufgenommen habe. Letzte Aktion des Videorecorders in GT, dann kam er in die Kiste)! Ich mag keine Autorennen! Nicht!Nicht!Nicht!
Und Christian Bale mag ich übrigens auch nicht. Was für ein langweiliger Typ. Da ist Daumenlutscher-Orlando (Gruß ans mon…) ja ein echter Charismatiker dagegen.
Worauf freu’ ich mich eigentlich noch im Kino? Wann ist dieses Lochkarten-programmierte Blockbuster-Gesuppe endlich durch und man versteht, dass die Leute keine reißbrettware mehr sehen können? War of the Worlds wird genauso in der Beliebigkeit erstarren, das deutet sich jetzt schon an. Und wenn man jetzt schon den “Hitchhiker’s Guide” aus seiner charmanten TV-Ästhetik der BBC-Serie herausreißt, dann  weiß ich eh nicht mehr.
Die Zukunft muss im chinesischen Arthouse liegen. Da bau ich fest drauf!

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