Category Archives: TV

Oren Peli’s new show like ‘Paranormal Activity,’ but a river runs through it

I finally got a chance to catch up with “The River,” and it actually surprised me. It’s not as good as “The Walking Dead” or “American Horror Story,” but it’ll do for some good entertainment.

Backed by Steven Spielberg, “Paranormal Activity” producer Oren Peli brought his handheld vision to a family drama centered around a missing nature-show host and the family that believes he might be alive. So they take off to the Amazon to find him and find some creepy crap.

Fans of “Paranormal Activity” will recognize Peli’s habits. There’s cameras everywhere, but even the mounted ones shake like the San Andreas Fault. The cameras always point to where the monster was, not is. There’s the standard time-lapse sequences, where Peli speeds up to show something creepy happening for a long time. But all of this happens at an unnaturally fast pace — to the point where there’s not enough time for Peli to build the suspense that highlights his movie forays.

The premise is clever and the characters aren’t terrible — in fact, they grew on me in the second episode. There’s also some good creep-out moments (a forest of hanging dolls? Jibblies) and some compelling instances that are signs of the show’s mythology and big picture. I’ll watch, but because the ratings weren’t that great, I have a feeling I won’t be watching more than a season’s worth.

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Lost no more: Final episode airs

Lost, I’m going to miss you.

There are countless bloggers, critics and others pounding keys furiously right now, going into all their theories, what questions were left unanswered, etc. There are many of my questions that will remain questions, much to my consternation. TLP (The Lovely Paula Hadsall, my wife) has others. I’m a little saddened that my theory about the Smoke Monster being in the cabin the whole time — thus giving orders to Ben about “Jacob’s” wishes — was never proven. (But, it was never disproven, either, so that’s something.)

That being said, I loved the finale. Or at least I would have, had KODE-TV decided to not cut in early with a Quapaw Casino commercial. For those of us who watched the show on KODE, we didn’t miss much. While the TV station was busy airing its error, Jack closed his eyes and died (reversing the first show’s opening shot), and the traditional Lost end screen showed.

I loved the ending. The Sideways world being revealed as a type of friendly, custom-made, leave-when-you’re-ready purgatory was a great way to tie the two worlds together. This second world gave the characters extra chances to find new redemptions (more on characters in a few sentences), and it set the table for a spiritually satisfying end. I could gripe about what got answered and what didn’t, but I think it’s enough to know that the plane made it off the Island successfully, Hurley had a hell of a run as an Island protector (did anyone else relish the irony of Ben being a great No. 2?) and Jack died having finally fixed something. And when Vincent trotted over and laid down next to Jack, tears welled up. Perfect.

There are those who wanted technical answers. For a while, I wanted to know whether the Smoke Monster was a bunch of supercharged nanotech particles or a sentient patch of electrically charged aether. However, Lost has never really dabbled in that sort of minutiae. This is a character driven show, so I’m fine with the Smoke Monster being the unnamed Man in Black. That transformation happened at the beginning of this season, but I didn’t know that had happened until I had watched “Across the Sea” without getting really angry.

That’s why the most moving part of the finale for me was Jack laughing in the pool of light, after he had replaced that large stopper back in the vent. His driving need to fix things was finally sated after he fixed not just any old thing, but the most important thing on the planet, the source of light, goodness and whatever else people believe is the Island’s magic. I’m OK not knowing the details. I’m just thankful that redemption and fulfillment finally arrived for him.

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“Lost” better frickin’ answer these questions

Truth be told, I’m still kind of puffy-eyed from “The Candidate,” Tuesday’s episode of Lost. I made it through Sun and Jin’s tearful tribute to “The Abyss,” only I knew Bud wasn’t going to beat on Lindsey’s chest, scream “FIIIIIIIGHT!” and bring her back to life. I kept it together when their clasped hands were shown drifing apart. But my eyes welled when Hurley started bawling on the beach.

Though the episode didn’t answer any of the Island’s big questions, it set the table for the end game. All the cards are on the table between Jack and the Locke-ness Monster (sorry to steal your nickname for the Locke/Smoke Monster combo, Doc Jensen): The two have pushed all in. Widmore and the trio of Richard, Ben and Miles are still figuring out their play.

And the producers decided to add 30 minutes to the two-hour finale. That gives plenty of time to get some big questions answered. There are a ton of questions floating (see video below), and the producers have said that not everything will get answered, but here’s a wish list from Scott Meeker, Paula Hadsall and me, and we’re fairly certain that if answers don’t come, we’ll beat our head against walls, curse the producers’ names and scream “WHY DID WE WASTE SIX YEARS OF OUR LIVES?”

~ Why are the numbers so important and prevalent? The closest reason we have is that they corresponded to names of candidates. But the twitchy guy Hurley played Connect Four with in the mental hospital muttered them over and over. The numbers were looping on a transmission that brought Rousseaux’s team to investigate. And Dharma notched those numbers on the hatch that ended up being ‘sploded. What is so magical about them?

~ What are the origins of Dharma? Founder Alvar Hanso has never been a character on the show, but he has been a canonical outsider. How did Dharma discover the Island and what was their purpose for it? Season 5 had a lot of time to address this, and never did.

~ What is the Smoke Monster? Evil spirit? Nanotech? How did it get there?

~ What made the candidates worthy of being candidates? Was it simply Jacob’s touch? Or did they have to pass character tests?

~ What civlization was on the Island? That Tawaret statue didn’t get there by itself; some people had to build it. Given that Tawaret is Egyptian, is there a connection with other Nile-area deities? Was Jacob a member of that group? And how did those people end up there? Are “Adam and Eve,” the corpses found in the cave, descendants of those people?

~ Why was Walt so special? He was kidnapped, tested and called a very special boy. But after he escaped, the Island said, “Meh.” Is there some bigger picture for Walt? Or, like Mr. Herbert from “The Family Guy,” did the Island lose interest once Walt grew up?

~ Why does Hurley see dead people? Or, in other words, what’s the difference between the dead people Hurley plays chess with, and the Smoke Monster’s manifestations?

Here’s a few more questions out there:

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Lost Watch Party details: Contest, free drinks!

A few more details about our Lost Watch party, from 7 to 10 p.m. tonight at Columbia Traders:

  • Think you know your Dharma from karma? Know the differences between Scott and Steve? Remember the name of the teacher who got exploded? Put your knowledge to the test. During commercials, we will ask a few trivia questions. The one who answers the most will win a T-shirt from the Lost store at ABC.com. (Man, I should have ordered that party kit.) Namaste and good luck!
  • Your beverages during the night are on us. Find me (Joe) during the night and I’ll give you a cup you can fill with soda or coffee all night.
  • Along the lines of refreshments, I got busted sneaking one of Paula’s fish biscuits. It was tasty.
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Trivia contest, prizes at Lost Watch Party

Special thanks to our graphic guru Brian Huntley for one of the coolest ads ever designed. The above ad appeared in today’s paper, and more info will be added in the coming days.

Our Lost Watch party is coming together. The Joplin Public Library is going to be there with a display of some of the great books used in the show. Scott Meeker and I are cooking up some wicked, evil trivia questions, and we’ll have a few cool prizes at stake.

The great folks at Columbia Traders will have their full menu available, and the fish biscuits Paula makes taste incredible. They’ll go great with your coffee and tea.

This is going to be a night to remember. Meet up with some of your fellow Lost fans and kick off the epic, final season of this incredible show. The party is from 7 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, at Columbia Traders. Namaste!

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Reksider, Burn Notice, Lost 24-style

Here’s a couple of things that have me geeked out during a sick day with my stepson, who definitely has a fever because of germs.

Music: Reksider. I don’t know much about him, other than he has put together some ambient electronica hip-hop music that I can’t stop shoving in my earholes. Skip the first song on this Reksider MySpace playlist; it’s kinda dumb. Magic Touch and Two Beat One Heart are my favorites.

TV: Burn Notice returns tonight! I love Lost, FlashForward, Fringe and other complicated, sci-fi shows and Burn Notice is neither complicated nor sci-fi. But it features great writing, interesting characters and Bruce Campbell in the best role that doesn’t involve zombies. Burn Notice is at 9 p.m. tonight on the USA Network.

Oh, the below video is pretty cool, too. It’s the crash of Oceanic 815 in “24” style.

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Downey nails acceptance speech at Globes

By now, you know the highlights of Sunday’s Golden Globes. Avatar won best director and dramatic movie. Some argue it was undeserving; my general feeling is “Meh.” You also know that host Ricky Gervais got in a beautiful dig at Mel Gibson. But I thought the best part of the night was the acceptance speech of Robert Downey Jr. after winning the award for best actor in a musical or comedy. My favorite line:

“I don’t have anybody to thank. These guys, they needed me! Avatar was gonna take us to the cleaners. If they didn’t have me they didn’t have a shot, buddy!”

His speech didn’t impress some as much as his beard did. Eric Eisenberg of Cinema Blend thinks his tight, Tony Stark grill means there’s some reshooting of Iron Man 2 going on. But We Are Movie Geeks said it’s for another project entirely.

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Conan comes out swingin’ over schedule

Because I have late-night eyes for only Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, I almost feel like my opinion doesn’t count. It’s like I’m endorsing a candidate without voting.

But I admire how Conan O’Brien, the for-now host of The Tonight Show, is not taking NBC’s plans to restore Jay Leno lying down. He is taking swings, both on the show and off it. His best point:

“After only seven months, with my ‘Tonight Show’ in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to its terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in its long-established late-night schedule.”

You’ve heard the story by now; you don’t need me to repeat it. What I don’t understand is how NBC hasn’t made the connection between Jay Leno and low ratings. The Chin just isn’t very funny to me, whether he’s in primetime or late night. The only time I’ve watched him is during a recent interview with Saints quarterback Drew Brees (he easily outshined Leno, by the way).

I agree with Scott Meeker, he of the zombie-apocalypse survival: NBC already jobbed Letterman for Leno’s sake, and now they are going to job O’Brien. All for the sake of a bad comedian who just isn’t funny.

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Watch Party: Get Lost with the Globe

The newsroom is full of Lost fans, and we are all geeked out about the upcoming, final season about our favorite TV addiction. So much so that we want to share the thrill of the last season’s first episode.

The Globe will host a Lost watch party from 7 to 10 p.m. on Feb. 2 at Columbia Traders. On tap: A night of watching the two-hour premiere. We’ll have Lost trivia contests, so brush up on your Geronimo Jackson knowledge. The Joplin Public Library will be on hand with books featured in the show. And Paula, my amazing, Kate-hating wife, has found a fish biscuit recipe. Don’t worry, they don’t taste anything like fish.

We’ll announce more when it gets closer to the date. Until then, enjoy this picture, and we’ll see you there! Namaste!

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Disney sale approved by Marvel shareholders

Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four and all of Marvel’s other creations now reside at the House of Mouse.

According to the Associated Press, Marvel Entertainment’s shareholders have approved the company’s acquisition by Disney. The $4.3 billion sale is expected to be approved by the end of the day.

So why should any self-respecting geek be geeked out by the potential of a ruthless corporate overlord machine turning Marvel’s great characters into a merchandising slaughterhouse? Two words: Pixar, Muppets.

Pixar’s creative edge has not been tainted by Disney’s ownership in the least. The movies coming from Pixar have gotten better and better since Toy Story hit the silver screen. And the Muppets have enjoyed a resurgence of sorts on the Disney Channel — it’s nice to see Kermit, Piggy and others doing actual creative things instead of hocking for Long John Silver’s. For instance:

Sure, the Marvel purchase is a move to reach boys who just aren’t into the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana, and there are bound to be many more awful movies based on Marvel characters. But bad movies about Marvel characters has been the rule, lately. You saw Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, right? Marvel is still going to be in the comic-making business. This might free up the artists to try something other than superheroes, as Mark Bernadin of EW suggests.