29 February, 2012

The Avengers Trailer



Happy Leap Day! Marvel and Paramount decided to celebrate the day by unleashing what should be the last trailer before the movie is released.



Umm, May 4th can't get here soon enough.



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28 February, 2012

Castle 4.17 -- Once Upon a Crime


The following is a list of things that happened during Monday's episode of 'Castle':

1. There was a crime
2. Beckett and Castle flirted
3. Castle's mother annoyed him
4. There was a twist in the case
5. Beckett and Castle got the wrong killer
6. Castle accidentally stumbled upon a clue to determine the real killer
7. Captain Gates was nowhere to be found

By now, perhaps you realize that I could use this intro as my review on almost every single Castle episode ever made.

This isn't a complaint on "Once Upon a Crime". It was a typical Castle episode, which means it was enjoyable-enough. The crime was interesting and provided some twists, Beckett and Castle were fun together as always and at the end of the episode I'm glad I watched it.

That's about all there is to say, really. It would be nice if they mixed things up a bit more, but with the flashback 1940s themed episode and the two-parter we just had, it was no surprise to see a more standard 'Castle' episode here.

NOTABLE QUOTABLES:

There were none. Not really a great sign.

RANDOM OBSERVATIONS:

--Creepy, creepy dolls.

--If I got a nickle for every time Castle lucked upon a crazy clue at the end of an episode that solved the crime, I might be able to get sometime from a vending machine by now. Or at least a gumball.

--I watched the episode on ABC.com Tuesday morning and they played ads for the Academy Awards. That's a real good marketing/advertising plan, ABC!


SCORE: 68 OUT OF 100



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How I Met Your Mother 7.18 -- Karma


Am I the only person who braced themselves for Robin to move back in and/or kiss Ted during their scene together back at the apartment?

Sometimes, it's good to be wrong. (This show has just conditioned me to expect a terrible decision by the writers regarding Ted's love life. Now THAT, I'm right about.)

Instead of that nightmare scenario playing out at the end of Monday night's "Karma", we got the nice moment of Ted bequeathing the apartment to Marshall and Lily -- who desperately wanted to move out of the suburbs and raise their family in the city. And now the show will have the entire gang back together, with no logistical problems.

Well done.

And it was an enjoyable trip to get there. Ted's various plans for Robin's old room were amusing, as was the ghost of Robin and all the bad results that came from Ted's misguided attempts at a hobby. The trio of Marshall, Lily and Robin living together also produced a few entertaining moments.

As for poor Barney, he's just trying to find love at the strip club like the rest of us. His scenes with Karma (played by Becki Newton) might have been a little over-the-top, but they play well off each other and have a fun little chemistry going on. I don't think their relationship will last much longer -- you just know that Barney and Robin will come up again soon -- but we'll just have to enjoy Barney and the stripper for as long as they allow us to.

It will be nice to see Marshall and Lily back at the apartment and I'm interested to see what they do with Ted moving forward. Get this man an apartment and a girlfriend, please.

NOTABLE QUOTABLES:

 
TED: "Why do I have to be so sensitive."
BARNEY: "When did I become such a gooey romantic."
(They say while stuffing bills in the bra's of strippers)

BARNEY: "Ted, don't you ever root for love?" (No ... probably because this show is never going to let him have it.)

RANDOM OBSERVATIONS:

--There's no sex in the champagne room, Barney. Sorry buddy.

SCORE: 73 out of 100



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25 February, 2012

Review - FRINGE 4.14: ‘The End of All Things’


"The End of All Things" brings us some answers that we maybe don't need and creates questions that still seem to have obvious answers. I really want to be wrong but the writers keep making me right.

First of all, as I said last week, the whole falling-in-love and Peter going to rescue his dearest love story line was happening way too early in the season and so of course they pulled back on that last night, as if operating straight out of the will-they-won't-they playbook.

Peter's logic is so forced that it feels unnatural. He has never been told he's in the wrong timeline by the Observers, so why is he so confident that he needs to get back there? In fact, in the show's biggest reveal, we find out that the Observers are human scientists from the future (and some timeline or another). Outside of not really needing that much information (I prefer not knowing the details of mysteries like this) it revealed something that should have made Peter think about his in-the-wrong-timeline theory.

September reveals to Peter that Fauxlivia gave birth to Peter's son, Henry, and that it was a product of the Observer's mistake. Apparently Peter was never supposed to have a child with Fauxlivia, but by trying to fix his error, September put into motion a series of events that resulted in the wrong girl giving birth to Peter's love child. It was a nice touch to call back to something most fans thought had been brushed under the rug, but will it have any impact on the grand story line? Unfortunately, it seems to have been only introduced to further confuse Peter's perception that he has to remain loyal to what he believes is his Olivia.

So if September has been trying to correct a mistake and that mistake is the death of Peter, and by correcting that he created the past and present situations, then logically Peter IS THE TIMELINE. He is the constant. If Peter exists, then everyone around him exists. He's not in the wrong timeline. Everyone else is in HIS timeline. And September tells him that the reason he tried to correct things is because Peter is special. So why does Peter jump to conclusions? Why doesn't he just ask September "Am I in the right timeline but everyone else just forgot me when I got erased but I am so important to the future of mankind that time simply keeps reinserting me back in?" Instead he inserts his own theory into what he's being told, even though September has never acknowledged it as being accurate.

It is infuriating. Sure, most people probably won't even think about it while watching the show, but we are now 10 or so episodes into this Peter-needs-to-get-back-home bullshit even though it seemed obvious when it was first introduced that he's IN THE RIGHT PLACE. I would love to be wrong and I will eat crow if I am, but I'm not. And by making it so obvious, the writers make potentially really good episodes, like last night's, into something that ends up irritating me the more I think about it.

Should I even mention how badly they telegraphed that the Nina with Olivia was not the real one? Nah. Let's just let it live on its own.

Look, the episode was enjoyable at times and could have been great, but by giving us an answer about the Observers that isn't all that interesting (much like what the Final Five were in BSG, or what the numbers meant in LOST, no spoilers) and then returning us emotionally back to where we were two episodes ago, isn't something I want to applaud much.

The only real positive movement, if you can call it positive, is that Olivia is now going to be in full pursuit mode to convince her dearest love that she's his. But I don't know how exciting it will be to watch Peter shoot her down over and over while guiltily pining for her as he thinks he's supposed to be with someone else. It feels like something that could wear thin pretty quickly unless you are a 13-year old girl.

I didn't really touch on the rest of the episode because, until we get a clearer picture of what David Robert Jones is up to, there isn't much to discuss. He obviously has a plan and it's probably sinister as hell but this episode didn't leave much meat on that bone. The only thing his involvement did was reveal how much Olivia is affected by Peter and how his presence motivates her power. It's kind of romantic and all but in the end is just part of the general stalling tactic to bring us to Peter's eventual realization that she is his Olivia.

The really big question the episode left out there is: if Peter was so important to his universe that September had to save him, and that his having a child with Fauxlivia was so wrong, then if he wasn't meant to cross over, why is this Olivia his dearest love? Unless Olivia was always meant to cross over to the other universe, meet Peter, and have his babies there. I guess time will tell.

If I had to rate this episode, I'd give it:

78 out of 100

Yes, I did a lot of complaining about this one but there were moments when I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it loses points for Peter's continued refusal to just ask simple and obvious questions either of himself or September. And I wouldn't even mind his idiocy if his behavior was better, more believably, written. Plus, the one step forward two steps back mentality is used like a crutch by every writers room on this planet when running out of good ideas. That worries me that the eventual payoff will fall flat by the time we get to it.

Season 4 has had some good episodes and may end up having a great payoff, but it has been one long stalling tactic and that's rarely a good sign on any show.



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24 February, 2012

Chuck You the Podcast, Episode 10: The Top 5 Captain Awesome Moments (VIDEO)


Greek Geek and Head Geek Furious discuss their top 5 moments on CHUCK featuring Captain Awesome. There may be an expletive or two. This is a video podcast so watch it... often.





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The Big Bang Theory 5.18 -- The Werewolf Transformation


It's almost getting to the point where I don't even remember why I ever liked this show in the first place.

But on the plus side, Kaley Cuoco is still very pretty!

Turning to "Chuck" for a second, some people were saying that after five seasons it was just time to end things. It was a natural time to stop and there were no more stories left to tell. Now I don't agree with that, but I understand what they were saying.

They simply meant to say "The Big Bang Theory" instead of "Chuck".

Because judging by the last season or two, there are simply no good stories out there in the land of Sheldon, or Penny, or Leonard, or Raj, or Howard.

Heck, I'm more interested in Howard's mother's disembodied voice than what any of these people are doing.

It's the same thing every week. Leonard pines for Penny. Maybe they're together, maybe there aren't. Maybe they are fighting, maybe they are getting along. Whatever. Raj has been the most useless character on TV for some time now and Howard isn't nearly as creepy, pathetic and hopeless as he used to be -- and that's just a sad revelation.

There's been over 100 episodes now and we're past the point of diminishing returns with the ridiculousness of Sheldon Cooper.

I'm annoyed. And I'm guessing you are too. But we'll still watch, because we are suckers and TV addicts.


NOTABLE QUOTABLES:

SHELDON: "Fine. But if I come out of this looking like a dork, it's on you."

PENNY: "If I move my horsie there, isn't that checkmate and I win?"

AMY: "There's not a hair on my body I wouldn't let this woman trim."


RANDOM OBSERVATIONS:

--Sadly, the best part of this episode was the fact that the nurse from the pilot episode returned and that Jill's father from Chuck was the barber.

SCORE: 28 out of 100

Yeah. Not a typo.



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Modern Family 3.16 -- Virgin Territory


Oh, NO YOU DIDN'T. (read that in a girly voice)

I'm not a big golf fan, and will never get a hole-in-one, but if someone lied/cheated and told me that I did when I really didn't, I would have to open a can of whoop-ass.

Speaking of kicking ass and taking names, it bothers me that many people consider this the best comedy on TV. It's not. And I'll fight you if you think it is.

Don't ask me which show is, but I hope it's not this one. Because, while still funny, this show has not lived up the expectations it set for itself after a stellar first season.And if this show is still considered the funniest show out there, it's a sad state of affairs in the land of comedy.

That said, this was an enjoyable episode. Luke was diabolical and thankfully one of the focal-points of the episode. Luke provides the most laughs on this show and the Luke-Manny pairing in this one provided some nice moments and good laughs.

As nice as it is to look at Manny's mother, it seems like they never have any good storylines for the talented Sofia Vergara to play. It seems like every show has her chasing Claire around trying to win her approval. (HINT: she never will). It's getting old.

Now that I think of it, I'm just getting annoyed with almost all of the adults on this show. Claire going to the shooting range? Eh. Cam being Cam once again? Eh. Jay once again ruining a nice moment with one of his children by being a jackass? Eh. Mitchell not feeling validation once again from his father? Eh.

How many times do they have to do these damn storylines?

It's all about the kids on this show and they provide the best scenes. I love when Haley and Alex bicker and they had a nice scene in the car. They followed that up with a nice bonding moment with the two of them when Alex was genuinely sorry about what she said. It also led to some good scenes with Phil and Haley.

Maybe this show is a victim of its early success. But it's only season three and it seems as if they're already running out of ideas on what to do with half of their characters. That's pretty weak.

NOTABLE QUOTABLES:

LUKE: "We need to take her down."

MITCHELL: Remember that time we went golfing together and you got a hole in one? You never got a hole in one. I got bored and kicked it in the hole."

LUKE: "My mother hates messes."
MANNY: "I'm familiar with Claire."

CAM: "Do you think it would be offensive to ask my daughter to walk on my back?"

ALEX: "The only stage you're ever gonna jump on has a pole on it."
HALEY: "Hey, at least I have the body for it."


RANDOM OBSERVATIONS:

--Luke's reaction to Manny complaining about his crush only liking bad boys was great. "I'm gonna put on some music." (Now I know how everyone feels when I complain about how nice guys finish last. Sigh.)

--Even better? Manny slowly rolling by the girl's lemonade stand in a nice car and rap music blaring. Loved the head nod from Manny. I gotta try that sometime.

--Claire is no Sarah Walker, but an attractive woman shooting a gun just always gets me every time.

--Not sure if Luke said "statue" or "statute" of limitations at the end of the episode, but at least it gives me an excuse to play this clip.

--Luke and Manny's contraption for Lily reminds me of Mouse Trap. Crap, I'm starting to get old.

SCORE: 72 out of 100

Good, but not great. It's almost as if the show just mails it in because they know people will like it and continue to tune in.



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Review - ARCHER 3.08 and 3.09: 'Lo Scandalo' and 'Bloody Ferlin'


I seem to be making a habit now out of reviewing two episodes of this show in one article. It's not really by design. I was just really lazy last week. So, forgive me for being brief, or whatever I'm about to do in reviewing both.

3.08 'Lo Scandalo'
Malory calls Archer and Lana to her apartment where they find the Italian prime minister has been murdered, and is tied up to a chair wearing some rubbery sex outfit thing. She tells them intruders killed him and that she needs help. The entire ISIS gang eventually shows up, followed by a cop, and everyone has to pretend they're having a fancy party. In the end, the house party leaves carrying pieces of the murder victim and we discover that Malory killed him over some longstanding personal issue.

QUOTABLES
After Malory tells Archer and Lana her story about how the prime minister was murdered, Archer isn't buying her version of events.
Archer: Lawyer up. Call the cops.
Malory: What?!
Archer: Oh and hit the throttle on the bourbon because I'm gonna have to, uhh [chuckles to himself] bust you in the face a couple of times.
Malory: What're you talking about?!
Archer: Self-defense, mother. It's your only shot. We've gotta uncuff him and de-dildo him, obviously. We'll smash the furniture like he was chasing you around all rapey. Fortunately, he's Italian, so that shouldn't be too hard to sell.

Malory has a flashback to her interaction with her super that she thinks may make dumping a body problematic.
Super: [speaking with an Irish accent] Well, ma'am. It's just that Christmas, the tenants usually give me a small consideration for the work I do all year keeping up the building. We surely count on it, ma'am, especially this year as we had more than the usual medical bills.
Malory: Your point being?
Super: Well, it's just that for the third year running, you gave me a potato.
Malory: Oh dear. So once again you're faced with the classic Irishman's dilemma. Do I eat the potato now or let it ferment so I can drink it later?! [slams door shut]
Little Boy: [coughing and on a crutch] Will I get the operation now, dad?
Super: No, son. [wipes tear with the potato] You're gonna die.

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

88 out of 100

I thought the payoff of Malory having manipulated the entire situation was great and showed up a countless number of shows that try oh so very hard, every week, to construct something remotely as interesting. However, having this kind of single "set" episode on a show that can just draw up its own location shoots felt a bit underwhelming while still being an entertaining who-done-it.

3.09 'Bloody Ferlin'
Ray turns out to have been faking having useless paralyzed legs and is caught steeling shit from the armory so he can go rescue his drug farming hick brother who is having problems with the local sheriff. Archer decides to help him because this plot is similar to the one from WHITE LIGHTNING, one of those Burt Reynolds movies he loves so much. They bring along Carol to pretend that she's his wife, though she seems to think they're actually married.

When they find the hell hole his brother Randy lives in, they also find he's married to a hottie named Jenell, who Archer naturally wants to bang. And since they have an open relationship, Randy wants to bang Carol. When Ray finds out, he is pissed off that his brother wants to bang his fake wife (and apparently succeeds at doing just that). Eventually Archer tells Randy that Ray is a super secret spy and the two brothers end their brief spat.

When the sheriff surrounds Randy's home, the gang makes war not love. Though, when Ray finds out his brother has been just a tad full of shit, he knocks him out and turns him in to the po-po. Carol pretends they were hostages. Lalalala.

QUOTABLES
Randy reveals his massive marijuana crop to the gang.
Ray: How did you afford all this?!
Randy: Farm subsidy.
Jenell: He told the government he's growing corn for that high fluctose syrup.
Randy: But damned if I'm gonna contribute to the obesity epidemic!
Archer: Hey, a man's gotta have a code.

Randy seems to think the Bible gives him permission to have an open relationship but Ray tells Archer otherwise. When Archer finds Randy's wife alone, he finds a way to skirt around it.
Archer: What is important is that Randy gave me a Bible lesson.
Jenell: Yeah? And what did the Bible say?
Archer: Well, Jenell, obviously the actual scripture is open to interpretation, but what I took away from it is that we should go in the barn and screw our brains out on a huge pile of marijuana.
Jenell: It didn't say nothing about a rubber, did it?
Archer: [happily chuckling] It did not!

During the big shootout, Archer, having downed tons of moonshine, isn't much help.
Randy: Well, don't just sit there! Shoot!
Archer: Ohhh. I can't. Ohhh. I feel sick. What's happening? Do I have cancer again?
Ray: You drank too much!
Archer: That's a thing?

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

89 out of 100

Not enough sex.



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22 February, 2012

NEW GIRL 1.14 - 'Bully'


This week's episode is going to be one of the easiest to review because I found it to be mostly a massive, stinky, spoiled batch of tuna fish salad!

Fuck me! Now I want a tuna melt!

I think every time I curse, I lose a reader. Or an angel gets her wings. Fly free little angel! You fuckin' whore.

Ding! Another angel gets her wings!

Alright, enough digressing.

So there is a bully in Jess' class and she tries to make things better with a song but instead makes things worse. It eventually ends with another song. And with that, I'm done with recapping that story line!

Winston was once a bully who had a catchphrase, "Brown lightning!" And now I'm done with recapping that story line!

Nick and Julia break up because I guess one of those actors had to go do another project. This show will likely continue doing this for the next five years so get used to it. Lots of characters will enter the picture as someone's significant other, only to suddenly break up with them for some reason that makes little sense.

However, Schmidt and Cece's romance continues because it is pretty funny. And kind of cute as well.

Cece is confused by her attraction to Schmidt and the inescapable draw he has on her that keeps bringing her back to give him sexy time. Schmidt just wants to be able to tell someone they are having sex and by the end of the episode he gets that chance, as the two go out together in public, for breakfast, to a place where no one could possibly know them, and she allows him to express the nature of their relationship to the diners.

This is one of those TV relationships that makes no sense and probably wouldn't happen in the really realz world, but somehow works in a fictional setting and actually makes the audience root for them. I like them together. Schmidt is a goofy kid who wants to be a cool big boy. But even he knows he shouldn't be able to get this girl and yet he has and so he needs to validate it because he can't believe his luck. And Cece finds it all kinds of adorable to be so appreciated. Because though she may be a model who is likely constantly told how beautiful she is, she's never met anyone who so annoys and attracts her. Yet she is totally aware of how unnatural their courtship is and so she wants to hide it. That makes it fun to watch.

For now.

Maybe they can sustain it for a while but I'm sure the writers will split them up and bring them back together 20-times in the next seven seasons. It works so it has to be fucked with.

Angel wings!

Did I forget anything? I think there was a point to the whole bully thing. But I'm not interested enough to remember it or analyze it so we'll leave it there.

QUOTABLES

Schmidt and Cece have just finished having sex, again, and he is excitedly happy while she is horrified by her need for him.
Schmidt: It was like a river. Did you feel that? Did you feel me sweeping you along with the current of my body? You were like a canoe on my body river. [laughs] Like you'd ever be sea-worthy with those breasts. Boobies.
Cece: I wish there was a word that meant complete satisfaction and complete self-loathing.
Schmidt: I've never seen a woman bite her own shoulder before.
Cece: [getting out of bed] That was the last time!
Schmidt: You said that twice last night. You'll be back. I'm like your black-tar heroin. Just need that sweet taste in your veins. Schmidtle. 'And the Damage Done.' Neil Young, yo.

Later, Cece can't get enough of the Schmidtle and calls him down to her car where they argue over where to have their next sexy-time session.
Cece: What about just a little good old-fashion car sex?
Schmidt: I can't do any of my moves in there. I like to improvise with my body. I'm like a sexual snowflake. Each night with me is a unique experience.
Cece: Okay! Are we gonna do this or not? 'Cause I kinda need this to happen right now! Okay? I mean, isn't there like a Starbucks bathroom around here or something we could use?
Schmidt: What do I like like? A gypsy courtesan?

If I had to rate this episode, I'd give it:

75 out of 100

The Cece and Schmidt stuff saved it from a worse fate. I really couldn't give two shits about the rest of the downer plot. Winston really needs something more important to do, or just KILL HIM OFF!



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21 February, 2012

Castle 4.16 -- Linchpin


If you subscribe to the magic bullet theory (or THIS), than perhaps you didn't like Monday night's 'Castle' two-part conclusion.

But if you're a conspiracy theorist who lies awake at night wondering about Lee Harvey Oswald, 'Castle' delivered a wonderful episode following last week's "Pandora."

Or, if you're like me and blame Kennedy's assassination on Lyndon B. Johnson [editor's note: this nutjob does not represent the opinion of the site], then you can't fully decide on whether "Linchpin" was a great episode or if it sucked. And considering I'm currently writing a review of the episode, I should probably make a decision, huh?

Whether or not you believe in the conspiracy theories that are out there, chances are that they intrigue you in some way. They're fun to try to piece together, to disprove, or to debate. They are also fun to watch, especially when played out with two characters that I think everyone who watches this show really likes.

So even though I didn't buy the likelihood of a CIA agent turning against the United States in a ridiculously crazy plot to start a World War III, I can still enjoy the episode for what it was.

Entertaining.

And for a show with little mythology (we'll get to that later), we just want to have some fun in the week-to-week cases. Plausibility, while bothersome sometimes, doesn't matter much.

Normally when I watch procedurals on TV, I just sit back and let it happen. Perhaps I'm in the minority here, but I don't try to solve the crime before they do. Maybe it's because I'm lazy (or stupid). But with a crazy conspiracy going on in this episode, I tried.

I went into it thinking it was Gates, but should have known better that they wouldn't have just introduced our bad guy in the previous episode without some sort of twist. So I automatically believed him when he said there was a CIA traitor. So then I assumed it was Danberg, since he conveniently didn't notice Gates getting murdered and it had to be someone we knew, not some random CIA agent.

And my suspicion appeared to be confirmed, when the computer hack was tracked back to him and he took a hostage to escape (it was fun to see everyone turn on Agent Tran for a few seconds first). But when Sophia went on the elevator to go after him and told them to lock the place down, I wondered why should she be allowed to leave? What if she was the traitor?

Despite figuring it out before Beckett and Castle did, I have to give this episode credit for all the twists and turns and the utter chaos in a fun and unique story. Problems or plausibility aside, that's still better than a run-of-the-mill murder episode.

And this was no ordinary episode. While we still aren't any closer to figuring out the Beckett sniper situation or her mother's murder, we have a new mythology aspect to the show that we will constantly wonder about: who the hell is Castle's father!?

NOTABLE QUOTABLES:

CASTLE TO BECKETT, in the submerged car: "Stay here." (Um, yeah, where was she going to go?)

ESPOSITO, complaining about not knowing what's going on: "I was special forces. I used to eat classified for breakfast. And writer boy can know? ... I'm glad you're OK."  (It should be Ryan who is complaining, because I think I saw him for a whole two seconds in this episode.)

SOPHIA, YELLING AT CASTLE: "You're the same reckless, immature, self-centered jackass that you always were and you put this investigation at risk. You're sorry? We're on the verge of the next 9/11 or worse. This isn't one of your damn books, Rick. This is real life and when things go bad you can't just re-write the ending like you did with us."  (Seems like she was more angry about the relationship than with the world coming to an end. Just saying.)

CASTLE: "I thought you were the bad guy?
GAGE: "If I were the bad guy, you'd be dead by now." (Why didn't I think of that?)


RANDOM OBSERVATIONS:

--I much prefer "linchpin" to be spelled with the 'y'. Lynchpin. Yes, that looks better. 

--So Castle has a touch-screen board trying to decipher the Beckett sniper situation. Pretty cool. Remind anyone of this!?

--I know cops are bad-ass and all and need to stay calm, but neither Beckett or Castle freaked out while underwater? Forget the fact that I can't swim, I would be going crazy. And be dying.

--That scene was pretty intense for a brief moment, but it would've been nice to fully see how they got, but instead the camera panned out, we heard some gunshots and then all the sudden Beckett and Castle are on the beach. Disappointing.

--Poor Castle saves Beckett's life and then gets grilled by her about his previous sexual relations with Sophia. Where is the appreciation, damnit!?

--Does it bother anyone else that on television it ALWAYS comes down to the final second? 'Chuck' bomb defusals almost always have one second left, the games on 'Friday Night Lights' always come down to the last play and the bad guys on 'Castle' always gets taken down right before they do something bad. That happened twice in this episode alone. I get that it adds to the suspense, but man this is getting old already.

--Sorry, 'shippers, but it looks like Sophia is the new reason why Castle and Beckett won't hook up for a while. She said she regretted sleeping with Castle and ruining that burning desire. That  may cause Beckett to think twice about hooking up with Castle.

SCORE: 89 out of 100

It was a good conclusion to a fun little mystery/conspiracy. It could have been better and more realistic, so I'll take a few points off for it. But ultimately, who cares. It's an episode I'll look fondly back on. I mean, who doesn't love see bonding over near-death experiences and asking who's your daddy?



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How I Met Your Mother 7.16 -- No Pressure


I'm going to punch someone.

If you've run out of story ideas that you have to keep putting Robin and Ted back together -- than either let us meet the mother already or end the damn show.

Oh, wait. So they aren't back together again?

In that case, excellent episode.

At the very end of "No Pressure", Lily tells Marshall to pay up on the bet, because Robin and Ted aren't ending up together. To which Marshall replies, "not yet."

Oh, wait. So maybe they w ill end up together later?

So who do I want to punch?

Did they really have to throw that line in at the end? Just when we thought, that finally, FINALLY, the back and forth between Robin and Ted was over, they leave it open once again that they will return to the Robin-Ted relationship.

Just like how Ted and Robin can never figure out what/who they want, neither can the writers. Actually, wait, yes they can. The writers know precisely what they want: to string us along and piss us off along the way.

For the record, I kinda like Robin and Ted together, but what I don't like is Robin going back and forth between Ted and Barney, Ted and Barney, on and off, on and off. There's only so much a viewer can take. It's Season 7, damnit. We know she's not the mother, so let's just move on from that already.

And despite that "not yet" at the end, I think that the show finally has moved on from Robin and Ted.  I don't think that they will get back together at any point, but the same can't be said for Robin and Barney -- which seems inevitable at this juncture.

Complaining aside, this was a really well-done episode. The future-bets storyline involving Marshall and Lily led to some amusing flashbacks, good laughs and nicely interwove with the overall story of the episode. Despite Lily's reprehensible behavior of always trying to sabotage all of Ted's relationships (she almost makes Walter White look like a Saint for the things she's done to Ted), it did lead to him realizing that there was a reason why things never work out between him and Robin. You know, other than Lily admitting a few episodes ago that it was HER who broke them up in first place.

And the moments between Robin and Ted were really good (especially when Ted asked if she loved him) and having it all connect back with what happened between Robin and Barney earlier this season made a lot of sense and will hopefully push that storyline forward as the season is nearing an end at Barney's wedding.

Listening to what the fans want may not always be the right play, but meeting the mother sometime before we all die might be a good idea. Call me crazy.


NOTABLE QUOTABLES:

MARSHALL: "I gotta say, making money off of this bet, just makes me feel..."
LILY: "More alive than in years!?"
MARSHALL: "YES!"

TED: Barney, you've really grown up, you know that?"
BARNEY: Thanks. Now let's watch our two best friends have sex on tape."
TED: "I'll make the popcorn."

TED: "Oh my god, Robin's in love with you."

ROBIN: "I'm not rooting against you, I just don't think Robin is the girl you marry. That's why I made the stupid bet to begin with. I mean, yes, it's five years later and you haven't settled down with anyone else, but you haven't settled with Robin either. There must be a reason for that. What's standing in the way?"

TED: "As long as the door is even a little bit open, then I have this feeling that I'll be waiting around to see if I win the lottery when you turn 40. I think you know how you feel about me now and I don't think time is gonna change that. Just tell me. Do you love me?"
ROBIN: "No".


RANDOM OBSERVATIONS:

--Bars are open at 7 a.m. in New York? When is the next flight? I'm moving.

--Should future Ted be telling stories to his kids about a Lily-Marshall sex tape? Because in previous episodes, future Ted would alter inappropriate parts of the story to spare his children. Not this time.

--Damnit, Barney. You just destroyed the last VCR on Earth.

--Even if you were in love with Robin, would you be able to spell Scherbatsky? (Thanks IMDb)

--Heck, the writers even like to mess with us regarding the yellow umbrella. For a split second it looked like Ted was just about to see his future wife, but then all of a sudden there are 30 girls with yellow umbrellas. Ugh.

SCORE: 75 out of 100

Part of me loved it.
Part of me hated it (and wanted to kill someone).
The part of me that loved is stronger, so 75 it is.



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20 February, 2012

Review: The Walking Dead 2.09- 'Triggerfinger'


This weeks episode fails to move the gang off the farm, but makes up for it with some tense character arcs, and more zombie killing action. Also, Lori sort of redeems herself for being a dumb ass last week. I enjoyed this weeks episode a bit more than last weeks since they ramped up the action, and overall that helped things feel like they were moving forward more than they actually were.

Let me say that my biggest problem with the opening Lori scene was that I’m curious why only the road walker that she hit and one other walker were there, when it seemed she had been in the car for at least a few hours. None of the other walkers in the surrounding area heard the horrendous car crash, or their buddies getting a free meal on the highway? However, Lori did a good job of taking care of two walkers all on her own, and considering she doesn’t get many action scenes it was a nice change up to see her get to kick some zombie ass.

Plot-wise this episode did squat really. We spend the majority of it watching Rick, Glenn and Hershel try to get out of the town bar without being killed by the, apparently very mean, gang from up north who have come looking for Philly Dave and Philly Tony (more regional discrimination!). There’s a tense standoff/shootout as Rick tells the other members of the gang that he had to shoot their friends, and eventually our guys try to make a run for their truck. The most important part of this scene is the part where Hershel, the guy who wouldn’t shoot a bunch of already dead walkers in his barn last week, does a complete moral 360 and shoots one of the opposing gang members without blinking an eye, and leaves him to get his face eaten off!

Back on the barn the rest of our gang eventually realized Lori was missing (these people need to wear bells or get safety whistles) and Shane goes off to get her. He finds her wandering along the road in the dark, which is obviously a great idea. He also lies to her and tells her Rick and the guys got back to the farm already so she won’t insist on going into town after them. The scene between these two later on where they discuss their time together before Rick showed up and the baby made for some great tension. Both actors did a great job in the scene and I look forward to seeing some of the fallout from it next week.

Things in town with Rick and the boys almost go awry when one of the dumb dumb northerners manages to fall off the roof and impale his leg on an iron fence spike. I’m pretty sure there was a life lesson here about your mom always telling you not to try jumping off the roof. Anyway, there is some debate about leaving him and putting him out of his misery, or try to save him. Of course Rick hasn’t changed that much and he can’t help himself so they wind up saving dumb guy and taking off back to the farm.

The guys return and everyone is reunited. Glenn tells Maggie that he can’t be in love with her because it makes him too concerned for his own safety. Then we get perhaps the episode’s most important scene. Rick and Ms. Rick decide to have a little alone time in their tent and get to talking about her conversation with Shane and how he thinks the baby might be his. Lori, being smart and a bit manipulative, reminds Rick that she has decided one way or another that the baby is his and that Shane is dangerous. She tells Rick that he must do whatever is necessary to protect her and the baby.

I would rate this episode an 88 out of 100

The action was better and the conflicts it set up with both the individual characters like Rick/Lori/ Shane and Glenn/Maggie was good. Also, it more solidly developed the overall conflict between the Rick and Shane camps of leadership, and which one is better suited to be the groups head honcho.

Some notables and quotables:

- Guy who’s leg was impaled on the fence: “Don’t cut my leg off please!” - seriously dude?

- Carl missed out on the sex talk because of the zombie apocalypse

- Daryl and Carol developing a hillbilly will-they-won’t-they!

- Lori: “You killed the living to protect what’s yours”



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18 February, 2012

FRINGE 4.13: 'A Better Human Being'


Last week we left off with Olivia kissing Pacey Poof and we jump right into the minutes following that moment. And just as anyone should have expected, they don't decide to jump into bed for special sexy time. But there's definitely something going on inside her little brain that is a bit more serious than a headache.

In the case-of-the-week world, a mental patient named Sean has some power that witnesses, or controls, an evil home invasion murder. When the FBI goes to investigate, Olivia continues to experience some kind of residual flash memories about Peter. Or to be more specific, the previous timeline, before Peter got erased.

This eventually brings her back to Peter's place where she continues to demonstrate a greater memory of that world. In fact, she seems to remember everything. So, naturally, Peter thinks something must be wrong because it couldn't be possible that he's in the right world and that everyone just forgot him. And it couldn't be possible that the woman he loves is this woman because then he'd have to bang her right there and then, making this episode awesome!

Instead, they decide to do brain tests on her. Peter looks at her intensely, all serious and shit, while she stares back at him lovingly, the way a woman does when she can't stand being without her man for another second and needs to just go home and BE WITH HIM! Obviously this means something is wrong with her.

Walter questions her about the series of events that led them to work together and she goes through the timeline Peter remembers. Instead of being all "HOLY SHIT! MY WIFE IS BACK! Walter, get the fuck out, I gotsa snog her" he goes for emobitch instead and shakes his head and waxes idiotically about her being wrong since that's his timeline, like some kid who just watched his sandbox buddy steal his crayons and wants 'em back.

So Walter surmises that Olivia is somehow empathizing memories through Peter's need for his Olivia and no one thinks for a second "Hey, you know, maybe it's just that little Pete here got erased and we all forgot him, but somehow returned and oh hell, let's fuck!"

Nope, Olivia is channeling Peter's memories. Or... wait, Walter was about to figure it out when he lost the thought. Is this better or worse than mashing the reset button?

Lincoln shows up to move the case-of-the-week forward, because anyone still watching this show is really just interested in the least interesting parts. But thankfully, before they go off to solve it, Walter tells Peter that he must be enabling Olivia's fake memories, thereby instilling him with guilt and responsibility.

"Chuck, we can't be together. I'm your handler and you're an asset..."

But I digress.

Case-of-the-week blahblahblah, we get back to Olivia and Peter interacting and she finds an excuse to touch his hand (no pun intended, but that was a nice touch by the writers, as I was thinking "if this were real, she would find any excuse to touch him" and then she did) and of course Walter's mental douche seed prevents Peter from letting the moment play out naturally. Not that I would expect the writers to let it happen quickly, but I'm sure it is tough to put up with this kind of stalling tactic if you are very impatient.

The episode so effectively puts the attention on Peter and Olivia that I am barely able to give even the tiniest bag of fucksticks about the case plot as they go to interview some dude. Jackson makes an interesting acting choice in the scene as Olivia interviews the doc, repeatedly looking at her as if studying her behavior, perhaps for any sign of familiarity, or worry about her state of mind.

Back in his lab, Walter tests Olivia's hair, and finds doses of gjkllfindfhtan (like I'm going to even bother researching how to spell it) in her system and runs to Nina to find out why. She plays dumb but Lincoln and Walter demand to see the storage room where Massive Dynamic keeps their supply.

We are then tossed back into Olivia vs. Peter land as they track down something and they continue to talk about their feelings. This reminds me a lot of season 3 when they had their back and forth discussions about Fauxlivia and what their feelings meant. I think the writers handle these realistically, at least in the way they talk to each other, and about what they would say, but as with season 3, there is also an unnatural stall tactic being utilized that deflates the ever growing weight of these scenes. I get that the writers want to nearly burst that bubble before they give the audience what they want to see, and it probably works for the majority of viewers, but for those who are less patient (or see the obviousness of why these scenes play out this way) it can get maddeningly stupid.

Anyway, Olivia has a memory of something that Peter doesn't and he deduces that Walter's theory is incorrect, since he couldn't be projecting memories or knowledge he never possessed. Olivia seems very enlightened and willing to just let this wave of emotion wash over her, while Peter continues to scowl at the thought of his own potential happiness. Before they can discuss it further, they are attacked, but survive because they are badass. Unfortunately, the doc that has something to do with the pointless part of this episode isn't so lucky and gets pillowed to death.

I guess the case-of-the-week is over, I looked away from the screen for five seconds, but Peter and Olivia get back to talking about their relationship and Olivia wants him in a bad way. And Peter wants his Olivia wet and naked (I am projecting). And yeah, the angst is up to like Chuck and Sarah waking up in each other's arms in the motel room level (can I make more CHUCK references in this review?). Finally Peter admits that he's been afraid of betraying the woman he loves, like he did during the Fauxlivia portion of season 3, but that he knows in his heart that this Olivia is the right one and they kiss. Awwwww.

Olivia responds by running to the bathroom. No one should be surprised when this turns out badly.

At MD, Nina, Lincoln, and Walter find that none of the oblugfffffinfan is missing. But when Walter drinks some like it's fruit-punch, he exclaims it's fakery! Oh nos! The stuff I can't spell has been replaced!

Back at the peepee gas station, Peter discovers that Olivia has gone missing. And soon we discover that she is tied up somewhere with Nina. The real Nina?! Ruhroh, what's real anymore? PRESS THE RESET BUTTON, KIDDIES! We going on this ride again!

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

90 out of 100

This would have gotten a 95 if not for the fact that I knew at every step of the way that something was going to get in the way of whatever progress we were getting. Mind you, I think this is probably a smart move by the writers. It gives Peter something to fight for and the audience knows that Peter and Olivia have accepted their love for each other in this world, or something. Part of the lower score is also my sense that this is still way too early to play out this rescue story line and that we will get some kind of reset of their feelings (or timeline) before long. So, call it an apprehensive 90 that could have been a 95 if not for the plotting being too obvious and my belief that they have to backtrack on this progress soon.

However, if they don't backtrack, I will return and boost this score up to a 95! Woohoo!

What did you think?



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17 February, 2012

Big Bang Theory 5.17 -- The Rothman Disintegration


I've made a terrible mistake.

I volunteered to start reviewing this show on a weekly basis. And there wasn't even a gun to my head.

I've been a big fan of this show since the pilot aired in 2007. Maybe it was my crush on Kaley Cuoco from her time on 8 Simple Rules, the uniqueness of the show in general, the laughs it provided or my wish to see the nerd with the girl (since it just doesn't happen often enough in real life).

But despite the ratings for this show being at an all-time high, this series is at a real low-point for me. I miss Howard being a completely hopeless creep, almost all Leonard-Penny storylines at this point just bother me incessantly, Sheldon's character is starting to get a little old and over-the-top (OK, perhaps it's still humorous) and I've felt like Raj's character has been utterly pointless and uneventful for at least two seasons at this point.

We've had over 100 episodes of this show now, so things getting a bit stale is to be expected. But this show has enough talented people on screen and off that no episode should have no Howard whatsoever, be centered around making fun of someone with an extreme lisp, not one scene involving both Leonard and Penny (good or bad) and just a terrible final few minutes.

Having Kripke and Leonard battle it out for the office was a good-enough idea, but of the 10 minutes of screen time it took up -- only about two of it was funny. And the Penny-Amy painting storyline was a little ridiculous, but at least it made me chuckle a few times. It's a bit crazy to say it, but the addition of her character has saved this show from being a utter disaster this season.

I think the best part of this episode was the fact the the Penny-Amy painting made me think of THIS.

NOTABLE QUOTABLES:

Sheldon: "Kripke, you're in my spot." I'm surprised Sheldon even uses a urinal. He seems like the type that would use the stall and put 100 layers of paper on the seat.

Leonard: "First person to five wins the office, any questions?
Sheldon: "Five what?" C'mon, there was an entire episode showing off Sheldon's knowledge of football, he couldn't possibly not know what Leonard meant by that. I need to learn to let stupid crap like that go.

Leonard: "You know all those terrible things bullies used to do to us? I get it."

Bernadette: "My company is testing a new steroid that supposedly doesnt shrink testicles." Someone give Barry Bonds a call immediately.

ROCK-PAPER-SCISSORS-LIZARD-SPOCK

In case you forgot how to play America's favorite game, here is a reminder of the rules from Sheldon.

SCORE: 67 out of 100

Dear Head Geek Furious, you wanna review Big Bang Theory next week? [editor's response: You broke it, you bought it]

Hey, I had to try.




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14 February, 2012

NEW GIRL 1.13: 'Valentine's Day'


Poor Jess, no guy to bang and has to hang out with Schmidt. What's an adorkable chick gotta do to get laid?!

Schmidt: Look, Jess, truth is I don't go out on Valentine's Day.
Jess: What?!
Schmidt: There's no thrill. All these bars filled with emotionally vulnerable women, I'm like a Dominican teenager playing Little League. It's just not fair for everybody else.

But Jess gets a bit beggy and reveals she's feeling "twirly."

Schmidt: Is that like horny?
Jess: I got the dirty twirl, Schmidty! Watch out, 'cause you're about to get laid [pause], world!

Meanwhile, Nick and Julia plan their first Valentine's Day date.

Nick: Well, first of all, you're gonna need a map of Arizona.
Julia: I can get that.
Nick: And a container that you're comfortable getting urine in.
Julia: Oh, I have one in my purse!
Nick: You do?

Winston and Shelby are apparently going on their first real date on Valentine's Day and Schmidt thinks it is a bad idea.

Winston: Dude, we're just trying to figure each other out, that's all.
Schmidt: You know where that puts you in six months? Yeah, watching 'It's Complicated' on DVD while you cradle your newborn baby to sleep. And guess what? It's not complicated. It's about a bunch of rich white people who are remodeling their kitchen. You sure you're really ready for that?

Inside the apartment, Cece is listening to one-night-stand Jess discuss the needs of her vagina, that she has named "Little Jess." Apparently her dirty twirl is on fire and antibiotics won't fix things.

Nick goes to Julia's lawyer office to pick her up for their special day together but she isn't ready to leave yet, even though he's wearing his boxers on the outside and she has glowing hearts on the top of her head (I wanna marry her!). Winston goes to Shelby's place thinking they are going to have a quiet night together but discovers she has invited her girlfriends over and they're doing yucky girly things together (and I don't mean the kind that you see in a porno either). And over at one-night-stand world, Little Jess tries to pick up that blond dude who has lots of sex from TRUE BLOOD. You know the guy I'm talking about. Though, on this show, his name is Oliver, he dumbdumb, and he loves lunch.

Jess: Yes! I have no emotional connection to him at all! But I'm just gonna eat lunch off that butt.

As Jess runs off to powder her muffin, Cece tries to help Schmidt get some action by making some random chick jealous. Before things can get too hot and sexy, Kyle (I think that's his name) shows up all shroomed up and racist and takes Cece away, leaving Schmidt to watch over Jess. She soon returns to inform him that she's going home with Oliver and proves she is ready by revealing a massive box of da rubrubs.

Schmidt: A hundred condoms? What're you gonna have sex with an army?

Unfortunately for Schmidt, he gets stuck driving Oliver, the most boring man in the universe, and Jess to their sex rendezvous. Also known as a sexdezvous. Just made that one up, folks. Hey, fuck you! It's my birthday tomorrow (or today if you are reading this on the 15th)!

So, Nick's still at Julia's lawyer office, since she's delayed by work and he is stuck hanging with her intern, Cliff, who is much too curious about their love life. Winston is trapped inside Shelby's apartment doing girly things. And Jess is hanging out with Oliver at his place, but with Schmidt unwilling to leave because she has no ride back, Little Jess can't get her twirl on. Thankfully, Cece saves the day by telling Schmidt she'll pick him up so Jess can use his car to get home.

Still unable to go out on his date with his precious angel Julia, Nick bonds with a curious Cliff.

Cliff: So how did you get that far into law school and then drop out?
Nick: Well, I got my heart broken.
Cliff: Yeah.
Nick: And then everything got weird. I started playing guitar in an old-country ska band.
Cliff: Sure.
Nick: Gambling a lot. There was a really weird week where I wore a long blond wig and I made everybody call me Sandy Ferguson.
Cliff: I have never loved anyone that much.
Nick: Then I drove to Mexico and I tried to enter a cock fight.
Cliff: As a person?
Nick: Yes, Cliff. As a person.

Nick's story of love so inspires Cliff that he decides he doesn't want to be a lawyer either and he dramatically quits in front of Julia, citing Nick as his inspiration.

Nick: Julia, I am so sorry! I just told him a story about when I got arrested in Mexico.
Julia: You got arrested in Mexico?
Nick: I wasn't gonna tell you until after you got knocked-up and were stuck with me.

Poor Julia is stuck doing all the work now and tells Nick to go home. What a bitch!

In Jess world, as she makes out with lunchboy, his ex Amy shows up as she is still living with him. Soon Cece shows up, followed by Schmidt, and then shroom-dude. Suddenly Amy starts making out with Kyle, which then causes Cece to attack and we have a cat fight! But it's soon broken up by Schmidt, who carries Cece out, quickly followed by Kyle who follows a Jess-tossed shiny out the door.

Jess tries to do makeout time with lunchbox but Amy's taco fetish ruins the mood and the dirty twirl turns into an escape from the weirdos.

Super boyfriend Nick finishes up Julia's work so they can be totally romantic and shit together. She's all affected by his sweetness, even though he did all the work wrong, but doesn't suddenly sex him up like any good girlfriend should and instead continues working. What a slut! I mean, the opposite. What an unslut, which is so much worse.

In the end, Winston gets some. Jess doesn't, then tries to get some with Schmidt (umm, what?!), but is interrupted by Nick who catches her with the box of condoms and his horrified (AS HE SHOULD BE!). He then drags her away from the condoms and a terrible decisions. Which is good because inside Schmidt's, Cece's dirty twirl is about to be satisfied. And the two girls finally have sexy time!

The whole thing ends with Jess calling Cece and confessing her near sin, as a sleepy Schmidt drapes himself all over his gorgeous conquest.

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

90 out of 100

SEX!!!!!!!!!! YEAH! Best... episode... ever... this Tuesday... on FOX!

I'm a dude.

Fuck ya if you don't like it.



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Review: Castle 4.15 - Pandora


I'm a sucker for two-part episodes.

Anything that breaks up the monotony of mostly forgettable "bad guy of the week" episodes that police procedurals almost always do, is a good thing. Two-parters are compelling, can go in any direction at any time and allow for more and better storytelling, while often ending up as the episodes that you're most likely to remember once the season is over.

And who doesn't love a cliffhanger?

Sure, the stakes are never that high on this show (except maybe for the sporadic episodes involving Beckett's mother's murder), but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the action, the twists and turns and the heightened suspense and emotion that Castle's two-part episodes provide.

In the case of this week's Castle ("Pandora"), things aren't as intense as they were in the show's previous attempts (2.17-2.18 and 3.16-3.17 ... who could ever forget Castle and Beckett in the freezer together?), but for the first time in a while I am rather excited to see next week's episode. And this is a show that I really love.

But perhaps just as good as a cliffhanger, is a good conspiracy. This episode features rogue CIA agents, a former muse/lover of Castle's, Beckett jealously, sick government technology and bad-ass dudes. All of that in the first part and we still don't know what the bad guy's plan is.

This guy is so bad-ass, that I find myself rooting for him. So what if he's trying to destroy the United States for seemingly no reason whatsoever?

Anyone who...

1. Purposely gets arrested to set a plan in motion
2. Breaks out of handcuffs in a police station completely undetected
3. Steals a police uniform from the precinct
4. Hacks into police servers so they can kill even more people
5. Stares down Beckett despite the fact that he can't see her behind a one-way mirror
6. Continues to eat their sandwich while cops kick in their apartment door, point guns at him and tell him to put his hands up

...is someone that makes for a compelling villain and one damn good reason to check out next week's conclusion.


NOTABLE QUOTABLES:

--Sophia Conrad to Beckett: "He wanted an up-close-and-personal look at the life of a female CIA Agent, so I gave him one." The quote wasn't as memorable as Castle sipping his coffee and trying not to make eye contact with Beckett afterwards.

--Castle: "No, hey, sorry boys. Classified. Top secret. No, our eyes only. Defcon 1. And if I did tell you, well then I'd have to kill you." 
Esposito, acting all tough: "Yeah? Good luck with that."
Castle: "Yeah, realistically, that's not..."
Esposito: "I wanna go on record that this sucks."
Ryan: "Sucks."
Beckett: "Yeah, noted."


--Castle: "We're all on the same team here."
--Beckett: "No, you're on her team. Because by the way you look at her, you're sure as hell not on mine."

RANDOM OBSERVATIONS:

--OF COURSE Castle deciphers the chess secret code before the CIA does. 
--Castle's reaction to Beckett showing off her muscle car knowledge was great. As was the look he gave when she said "we should go to the track and see who laps who."
--I'm not intelligent enough to truly know the difference between good acting and bad acting (for the most part), but am I the only one that felt like Jennifer Beals just completely mailed in that performance? Just seemed lame and over-the-top.
--I enjoyed Castle's two rants about his "world's colliding" regarding Alexis' internship. Reminds me of the classic George Costanza scene from Seinfeld. 
--Shot, stabbed, choked and thrown out the window. Damn. Which of those four ways would you LEAST like to be killed?


'CASTLE' STEALING FROM 'CHUCK'?:

--Castle and Beckett getting stuffed in a trunk was quite reminiscent of Chuck and Sarah from Season 1s Chuck vs. the Imported Hard Salami.
--Rogue CIA Agents ... Fulcrum, anyone?
--Castle and Beckett getting blindfolded entering and leaving the CIA base, just like Chuck had to do with Jill.
--It looks like the CIA stole some of Carmichael Industries' equipment.
--Pretty sick move when Gates stole the gun pointed at him from Beckett and turned it back on her in less than a second. Does he have the intersect, too? And if so, the good version or the tainted one?
--Did anyone else immediately think of Chuck vs. the Ex when this episode opened with a dude getting thrown out of a window and landing on top of a car?

OK, I'll stop now. If you aren't a Chuck nerd, I sincerely apologize for that section.
 
SCORE: 87 out of 100

I didn't want to provide a play-by-play recap of the episode or the conspiracy going on in it. If you saw the episode, you already know what's going on (to some degree) and if you didn't see it yet, I'm not going to spoil an episode that you really should be watching.

I find it hard to grade the first of two-part episodes, since I feel like a part of this score should ultimately hinge on what happens in Part 2. But "Pandora" featured an intriguing story, a couple decent subplots and a cliff-hanger (will Castle and Beckett drown? Dun dun dun.), so for now it grades highly. Speaking of which, I think I was too generous last week with "The Blue Butterfly". Let's knock that one down to an 81.



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Mass Effect 3 Demo Out Today



Forget Valentine's Day, the Mass Effect 3 demo is dropping today. Put down the chocolates, stop smelling your flowers (they'll be dead soon anyway) and pick up your controller. It's time to get your Shepard on.

The demo will drop for XBOX360, PS3 and PC at different times throughout the day.

XBOX360 - out now.
PC - 1:00 PM EST.
PS3 - 7:00 PM EST.

More details here.



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13 February, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Trailer



From the WTF school of Hollywood film making comes this cinematic gem.

I am speechless.





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Review: The Walking Dead 2.08 - 'Nebraska'


Every ones favorite band of zombie apocalypse survivors returned last night after a brief mid-season hiatus. This episode didn’t have quite the forward movement I was looking for after the first half of the season, but it was decent.

This episode picks up right where things left off, with the gang having just shot, or otherwise killed, all the walkers from Hershel’s barn plus poor little zombie Sophia (honestly I could not remember her name until they said it in this episode, so thankfully that story is done with). Hershel is none to happy about this obviously, and orders Rick and Co. off of his farm oasis.

The group plans an impromptu burial ceremony for the walkers they do care about and afterward they begin disposing of the ones they don’t. Plus, Maggie is upset that Glenn might be leaving now that the search for Sophia is done for and asks him to stay.

Inside, blond farm girl goes into shock (Really? You are living in the zombie apocalypse nightmare and seeing your already dead zombie mom get shot sends you into shock?). This also leads them to discover that Hershel has disappeared, and Maggie suggests he’s gone off on a bender at the local bar to mourn his walker wife and step son who got shot in the barn massacre. Glenn knows the bar and offers to lead Rick there, upsetting both Maggie and Mrs. Rick who don’t want to see their men go off on the dangerous jaunt, but Rick promises they’ll return safe and sound.

Dale tells Lori about his theory that Shane killed/sacrificed Otis and warns her that eventually Shane will kill someone else because he is a crazy ass. However, Shane is also trying to prove to Carol that the rest of the group is wrong about him being too impulsive or harsh. In the truck Rick and Glenn talk about Maggie being in love with him- awww.

Back at the farm blond girl is getting worse and Mrs. Rick, after failing to convince Daryl to help, heads into town after Rick and Glenn. On the way there she is reading a map and then accidentally hits a walker in the middle of the road and impossibly manages to crash her car into a FREAKING ditch!

In town Rick and Glenn find Hershel a few drinks into a relapse at the bar. Rick and Hershel have an impossibly long conversation about hope. Seriously, I actually think the word “hope” is used about every other line in dialogue for a solid five minutes. Next is the most interesting part of the episode. Two new live people, Dave and Tony, stroll into the bar looking for survivors. They claim to be from up North and are looking for a place to settle down, also Philly Dave tells Rick that they talked to a soldier who told them Fort Benning has been overrun, uh oh. They are clearly interested in coming back to the farm with Rick, Glenn and Hershel; Rick doesn’t really seem convinced of their story though and he refuses saying it’s too crowded there. They have a bit of a tense stand off and after Philly Dave reaches for his gun Rick winds up shooting both of them!

There weren’t really a lot quotables in this episode, so some brief points instead:

-I’m assuming Philly Tony’s line about the Coast Guard plan was a nod to Dawn of the Dead, or maybe the Left4Dead games.

-Since I hail from the Northeast- way to shoot the only people to appear on the show who happen to be from north of the Mason-Dixon line. So much for that Southern hospitality huh Philly Dave.

-I almost put Carl’s line where he told his Mom he would have killed zombie Sophia too as a quotable- because Carl is like 9!!! But it’s also kinda cute because he is mini-Rick.

-Aside from Mrs. Rick being dumb the camera shot of her hitting the walker from inside the car and it flipping over was pretty cool, and some quality production work.

-Probably the only quotable necessary because it explains the title of the episode:

Glenn: “Why Nebraska?”
Philly Tony: “Low population, lots of guns.”

I would rate this episode an: 85 out of 100

I was hopeful after being stranded on the farm for most of the first half of this season that things would pick up a bit more quickly in this episode. That didn’t really happen, but it did set up some good plot points that might move us off the farm and into more interesting territory. Most of the minus points are for Mrs. Rick being a total dumb ass, and not enough Daryl for my liking. Also, what about Mrs. Rick and baby? Suspense!!!



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12 February, 2012

Lucas says Han NEVER shot first. Really George?


Unless you've been living under a rock (or actually have a life), you probably heard that Uncle George stirred up some controversy last week by stating that Han Solo never shot first. In his mind, Greedo always shot first. My initial reaction was to cry 'Bullshit again George!'. But just to make sure and considering I had nothing better to do with myself, I decided to do a little investigating.

In the interview George states that in the Special Edition he inserted a wider shot to clear up the confusion that it was Greedo who shot first. The original scene which was filmed in close ups was apparently considered too confusing by George because it didn't make it clear as to who was shooting whom first.

Sigh. Let's go to the videotape for the millionth time.



Were you ever confused? Didn't think so. The issue is not that George changed the scene in the SE, but that the original canonical one has now been deemed as never being what we thought it was in the first place. Basically, the badass Han Solo we were introduced to 35 years ago was never what he George intended. According to George, we the fans wanted Solo to be a cold blooded killer, but he actually isn't.

You're fucking with us, right George?

The smell of bovine excrement is getting exponentially stronger, so let's go to the source - the original 1976 novelization written by Lucas himself (well, ghost written by Alan Dean Foster actually, but I digress) to see if we could find some clarity on the issue. The description of the scene reads:

"Light and noise filled the little corner of the cantina, and when it had faded, all that remained of the unctuous alien was a smoking, slimy spot on the stone floor.

Solo brought his hand and the smoking weapon it held out from beneath the table, drawing bemused stares from several of the cantina's patrons and clucking sounds from its more knowledgable ones. They had known the creature had committed its fatal mistake in allowing Solo the chance to get his hands under cover."


To me, this lines up with original scene. There does not appear to be any inference of Greedo shooting first, or at all. Sure, you could argue that the way it's described is vague and the "light and noise" might be mutiple shots but that is a real stretch.

Next up, the original 1977 Marvel comics adaptation which was based on the novelization.



You'd think that if the scene was vaguely described in the original novelization then an adaptation would reflect that right? There isn't anything remotely vague about these panels. Clearly someone shoots first and it's not Greedo.

I could go on and list other sources, like the script itself and so on but what's the use? I think we all know what there's the truth and then there is George's truth. I guess Steve Jobs wasn't the only one with a reality distortion field. Must be the air up in Northern California.

I simply have a hard time believing that George's admitted poor choice of editing and audiences' collective 'inaccurate perception" of Han Solo can justify his new claims. Our perception of the character was based on what was shown to us, we didn't all get it wrong. It's that pure and simple.

You can chalk it up to artistic prerogative, revisionist tinkering or whatever. Unfortunately, I am starting to think it's senility.

What say you?




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10 February, 2012

Review: FRINGE 4.12 - 'Welcome to Westfield'


This week's episode gives us a bit of progress on Peter's Machine and reintroduces us to Olivia's dreams of Peter.

Peter and Walter have been working on "the machine" issue and need authorization to test out Peter's ability to control it. In the case-of-the-week world, a highway suddenly loses all power and it causes a jetliner to crash. Then as suddenly as it blows up, power is restored. Spooky.

The team is dispatched to investigate with Broyles, Olivia, and Astrid out in the field. As Astrid tries to communicate with Walter remotely he surprises the gang by showing up with Peter. And the show gets closer to what some people actually want to see.

Anyway, so there is something freaky going on in the town Westfield. Walter, Peter, and Olivia go to an eatery so that Walter can get rhubarb pie but soon Walter is in a fight for his life when he is attacked by a knife-wielding demon-eyed freak. Peter jumps in to help but is overpowered. But Olivia saves the day with a well placed shot to the back. So very brave of her.

Inside the eatery, they find a badly injured man named Cliff who is in need of medical attention. They try to take him to the hospital but find themselves reentering the town over and over. Cliff tells them they can't leave. Apparently they can't. Suddenly FRINGE has turned into SUPERNATURAL.

The gang nurses Cliff back to health and he tells them a tale of the town going schizophrenic. He also tells them that a few townspeople are immune to whatever is going on. As they start to get ready to go and investigate Olivia reveals a memory of a case that Walter doesn't remember, but Peter does. And at this point they should all realize that Peter is in the right universe! But they don't.

They try to start up their car but the elecromagneticwhatever won't let them so they go on a stroll through schizombie town. Not long after going on their brisk walk, Olivia gets infected and begins to mumble and whine so this is just like season 1 now.

Our friends-until-the-end go to the local school where the semi-healthy are holed up. There Walter inspects an infected and discovers that they are duplicating body parts or something, like I give a shit. They also mentally go in and out of the past and present.

Next we actually get a moment between Olivia and Peter where she asks a question one would think she would have asked weeks ago. What is the other Olivia like? Peter's explanation and her reaction to it is a nice moment that almost reveals chemistry between these two. But it also reveals that when given the right moment, and the right material, Joshua Jackson is one badass acting motherfucker and should be given this amount of dialogue in every episode.

Just as the two lovers are getting familiar with each other, a chick kills herself. Walter then explains to Peter and Olivia that what's happening is that the current universe, at least in this town, is merging with the alternate universe of the same town or some shit. Those who don't have doppelgangers in the town on the other side are not affected. Suddenly a time rift opens up and shit starts shaking and rolling.

The towns are attempting to merge! People's gonna die!

Thankfully, Peter comes up with a solution. Father and son team up to find the center of whatever I wasn't paying attention. Olivia says some stuff. Peter and Walter draw on a map. The school gang goes on a bus. A schizombie attacks and Walter mace saves the day. In the end, the producers spend half their budget on a totally pointless world-is-ending action sequence.

The town is totally wiped out minus one bicycle shop that is the "eye of the storm." The FBI then finds some of Jones' devices around a perimeter of the town, supposedly set there to make this all happen. I guess he's testing shit so he can destroy bigger crap later. At least they saved the remaining townspeople. Too bad they will have to murder them all to keep their mouths shut about this whole thing.

As the episode closes out, we get a happy exchange between Walter and Peter, but it is evident that Walter is dreading the day he successfully helps Peter get back to his universe. Spoiler, Walter, he won't. So Peter goes to Olivia's place to check up on her and she is all bubbly and familiar and kisses him, seemingly remembering her life with him. And for some strange reason Peter recoils in horror!

Now, I am a man and I've been in love before, so I understand that perhaps he thinks this isn't his Olivia and so he doesn't want to get any strange, even from the girl who is just like his Olivia, but one would think he would allow himself a bit of indulgence. Come on, buddy! Regret it later! Which you won't since this is the girl you love.

Anyway, if I had to rate this one I'd give it:

89 out of 100

Sure, there were some weak points but by the end we had at least gotten forward momentum, plus some good scenes between Peter, Olivia, and Walter. Not to mention that we are finally getting a payoff. Now, what will that mean to the story going from this point on? We shall see. How quickly will they pull this back? Will Olivia remember everything only to lose those memories? Will Peter continue to not figure out the most obvious answer? Tune in!

At least I am excited about next week. That's probably part of why the score is higher.



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ARCHER 3.06 and 3.07: 'The Limited' and 'Drift Problem'


Since I forgot to write about ARCHER last week, you get TWO reviews in ONE! You lucky shits.

3.06 - The Limited
Archer and the rest of ISIS transport a Nova Scotian terrorist, Kenny Bilko, over to Canada for a payday in what may be one of the best episodes of the series.

As the team prepares to board a train to cross the border, Archer arrives drunk, having mistakenly thought their departure was 12-hours later. Bilko and Archer kind of bond over their love for cool and dangerous spy shit.

Cyril is mistakenly put in charge of watching Bilko while Archer and Lana argue off in another car about his drinking. The terrorist escapes and the hunt is on. What follows is racism and Canadian jokes; gunfights; Archer's crazed love for Cheryl's pet ocelot; a battle on top of a train; and funtabulous dialogue.

In the end, the gang captures the Canadian terrorists and Archer is arrested for attempted murder on a black guy and illegally transporting an exotic animal across the border.

QUOTABLES
Archer arrives to the mission drunk and his mother is not happy.
Malory: You knew we were transporting a dangerous terrorist to Canada! So how and why are you drunk at six o'clock?!
Archer: [very drunk] Well, the how's pretty self explanatory. And the why is because I thought we were leaving at six AM tomorrow! Ergo, Latin, plenty of time to sleep it off.
Lana: Well, drink some coffee because there's a good chance Bilko's terrorist pals..
Bilko: [interrupting] Alleged terrorist pals.
Lana: [continuing] Are gonna attack the train at some point and try to bust him loose.
Archer: Awesome!
Bilko: Right?!
Malory: I'm sorry, but how is that 'Awesome'?
Archer: Because! Pretty much my whole life I've wanted to fight some guys on the roof of a speeding train.
Bilko: Well, if I know my boys, you may just get your wish.
Archer: Ohhh, thanks, Freddy Foreshadowing. [pause] Who is this?
Cyril: [with Malory and Lana sighing] Come on, Archer.
Archer: Please tell me he's a renown chicken and waffle chef. Because, I am starving.

On the train, Archer continues to drink and Lana isn't happy about it.
Lana: Archer, at any time in the next twelve hours, this train could be attacked by radical Nova Scotian separatists!
Archer: [amused] Armed with what? Pamphlets about Canada's responsible gun control laws?

Archer gives in to Lana's demands for him to sober up with coffee.
Archer: [to the bartender] Hey, Heinz 56, can I get an Irish coffee?
Lana: No!
Archer: Lana! I have to taper off! Trust me, if these Nova [unsure] Scojans are a real threat, you do not want me hung over!
Lana: Do you even still get hangovers?
Archer: Normally no, but I drank about two gallons of Mamajuanas this afternoon. I was, uhh, playing dominoes with, uhh, a Dominic bike gang.

Bilko, hiding in a bathroom, calls his terrorist pals to come save him and mistakenly thinks he has heard Archer killing the train's porter.
Bilko: [on the phone] Okay boys. Make sure you bring the heavy stuff. 'Cause these crazy ISIS bastards aren't playing. They just killed a black guy. I know, right? Welcome to America.

As Archer gives a food order for his mother to the porter, George, the train suddenly slows down.
Archer: Wait. Why are we slowing down?
George: We're at the border.
Archer: Of?
George: Umm, this new place called Canada.
Archer: So?
George: So customs, passport control, immigration. You know, the border.
Archer: Yeah but with America.
Lana: They still guard the border!
Archer: [amused] Lana, we're going into Canada!

With Bilko escaping via the roof of the train, Archer pursues him with glee.
Archer: [climbing a ladder to the top of the train cars] Oh my god. This is going to be awes[he hits the top of the car and the fast moving wind hits him]shit! Ow! The dust! It's like being shot in the eyes by a glitter gun! [puts on night vision goggles] There, that oughta do it. Okay, let's try that ag[sticks his head up and is immediatly hit in the eyes with the bright headlights from an oncoming train] ahhhhh shit! Retinas! Sheered like tuna steaks! All I want is to fight on the top of a train! Is that too much to ask?! [turns off the night vision] The good news is now I'm furious.

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

96 out of 100

Awesome! A blast! Why can't all spy shows be this kick ass?! WHY?! I always love how much Archer loves vicious kittens. And I am a sucker for a good Canadian joke or ten. Plus the fight between Bilko and Archer on top of the train is pretty funny.

3.07 - Drift Problem
It is Archer's birthday and his mama gives him a brand new decked out, bullet-proof, Dodge Challenger with machine-guns and anti-pursuit countermeasures in the rear. Archer loves it like he has never loved anything before. It even has a bar in the glove compartment (Archer's freak out when he sees it is amazekittens).

His mom warns him not to lose the car or she will never get him another. He of course loses the car and overreacts by going after the Yakuza, who he thinks have stolen his precious "Genie." He volunteers the ISIS gang to help him and they end up in a fight to the death for what they discover is the wrong culprits.

In the end, we learn that it was his mom who took the car to teach him a lesson, much like she did with his favorite bicycle when he was a young boy (essentially revealing Archer's "Rosebud" that may explain his entire adulthood).

QUOTABLES
As Archer rides the elevator up to the ISIS offices he ponders what kind of celebration awaits him.
Archer: I wonder what the guys in the office have planned for my birthday. I wonder if Fudgie the Whale will be there. Or Cookie Puss. [amused] Cookie Puss. Those guys at Carvel know what they're doing.

Lana demonstrates that Archer's new car is bullet proof by shooting it with her fully automatic weapon of choice. Fred catches a ricocheting bullet to the gut.
Archer: [excited] Holy shit!
Fred: [on the ground and bleeding] Yeah, I'm like a magnet.
Archer: Fred, shut up. [sits in the car] What else does it do?!
Doctor Krieger: Press that red button.
Archer: Wait, is it gonna kill everybody?
Doctor Krieger: Press that blue button.
Voice: Welcome Mr. Archer.
Archer: It does know my name!

While watching the promo video for his new car and seeing all the cool features included, he opines.
Archer: It makes the Mach 5 look like a vagina.

When the glove-box bar is revealed, Archer loses his shit. Then falls in love.
Archer: It's like seeing the face of god.

If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

85 out of 100

It was fun but coming off the brilliant previous episode it kind of felt a bit flat. Though, the opening with Archer's reactions to the car was excellent.



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