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Archive for September, 2012

Fringe – The Beginning of the End

 

The final season of “Fringe” began last night and it was tough to watch. Not because it was bad, just the opposite in fact. I found it to be an emotionally draining episode and I would expect nothing less of this fine show.  From the start it has made us think, and feel and love. The new season is clearly no exception.

In this season five premiere episode, we pick up in the year 2036 where the Observers run the world. And, a very desolate and depressing world it is.  My culinary heart died a little in a land of egg sticks and walnuts being high-end currency. But in a time where “the battle to save mankind is about to begin” the food offerings should be the least of my concerns.  Still, it speaks to one of the wonderful things about this show. It’s just these little details that make it so great to watch.  Walter says, “what a miserable future” and I don’t think anyone can disagree with that; but I digress.

The episode opens with a dreamlike view of Peter and Olivia watching their daughter play in the park, surrounded by dandelions. Suddenly they are shaken by a loud noise that leads to a group of Observers appearing out of nowhere with little Etta stuck between them and her family.  Peter wakes up and we determine that the dream was his. We see Walter asleep on the couch and Peter then goes to look in on a now adult Etta.  Another reason to love this show is the little bits of humor sprinkled in amongst the miserable and our first glimpse of Astrid gives us just this as she argues with her computer that Naugahyde is in fact a word.

The team then sets out to find Olivia, who was last heard from in 2015 when she contacted Walter from Columbus Circle to let him know that she had found the item he had asked her to locate that was necessary in taking down the Observers. However, she then disappeared without a trace before being able to get the object to Walter. As they head out on their quest we get our first encompassing view of the new desolate New York. A city where Central Park was paved over to make room for a machine to pump carbon monoxide into the air so the Observers can breathe. I’m not sure how anyone else survives in such an atmosphere, however.

On their search Etta leads Peter, Walter, and Astrid to an underground black market of sorts where they discover that Olivia was sold by the Amber Gypsies who removed her from the street. Turns out that her purchaser is the creepy rare book dealer and is using Amberlivia as a coffee table until he can figure out how to safely remove her from the amber.  The team rescues Olivia, but Walter is captured in the process, after the black market gypsy turned them in.

As the remaining team free Olivia from her amber prison, Walter is being tortured for what he knows of the plan to take down the Observers.  This leads to some of the most difficult television viewing I’ve ever experienced.  How wonderful an actor is John Noble to make us feel everything he is going through, while saying almost nothing. After a while I actually had to turn away from the screen and only listen to the dialogue to keep from bursting into tears.

Meanwhile, Etta is introduced to Olivia and the reuniting of the family is filled with bittersweet moments both verbalized and not.  I think this episode has some of the best dialogue and emotional impact of any show ever.  But, again, I digress.  Olivia last saw Etta when she was three years old, though Etta says she always thought she was four. Olivia clarifies by saying, “you were three years, one month, and five days.” After a few beautiful moments of reunion between mother and daughter, the team is off once again to try to find out what the object is that Olivia had procured for Walter.

Etta leads them to the headquarters of her resistance group where she finds that one of them has been killed.  Outside Peter and Olivia have what can only be described as a heart wrenching conversation.  Peter says that he knows what Olivia thought of him when he wouldn’t go with her after Etta’s disappearance. Olivia’s forgiving response is grief filled and loving as she says, “we lost our child and in our grief we were just incapable or unable of being what we needed to be for each other, that’s all it was.”  Peter says that he just couldn’t stop searching for Etta no matter the cost, as he refers to her as “this perfect little soul that we made.” Yeah, time for a sigh and a few tears on my part.

After a bit of grieving over their lost teammate, Etta retrieves the others and brings them inside to meet her two fellow resistance fighters. One of them identifies the item they brought as a Transilience Thought Unifer, the purpose of which is to retrieve marked thoughts in someone’s brain and unify them, but they can’t get it to turn on and assume that it’s broken.

The team then tracks Walter to the location where he is still fighting the “interrogation” of the Observer. By using a “Trojan Horse” strategy to gain access to the facility, they ultimately rescue a withering Walter.

After getting away safely, Peter gives Walter the thought unifier and as soon as he touches it, it turns on. Unfortunately, the damage has been done and Walter doesn’t remember anything about the piece of equipment or the plan that he and September had come up with to save the world. Etta determines that the pieces of the plan in Walter’s mind were destroyed.

We next see Walter sleeping, but clearly not well, with unusual reflective light flashing in the room.  He goes outside and only Walter can be endearing in his boxers and bathrobe as he wanders in search of the light source.  He finds broken CDs hanging like a wind chime and finds a labeled CD that he proceeds to put into the stereo of an abandoned taxicab.  As he looks up we see that he sees a dandelion growing out of the cracked cement nearby and the episode has come full circle.

I think this episode was fabulous and clearly filled with a lot of detail.  I can’t wait for the rest of the season and I wish Dandelions of Hope to you all.

On a few personal notes, I really want Olivia’s leather jacket and, if anyone knows the name of the song that Walter played in the taxicab, please let me know.  As I said before this episode contains some of the best dialogue ever and I’ll leave you with a final quote that I found particularly poignant when Peter shares, “it’s like the most beautiful dream inside of a horrible nightmare.” I think this one line sums up the episode beautifully, so I will sum up my review with it.

Thanks for reading, everyone.  Please share your thoughts on the episode and if you have a favorite quote from it, as I clearly have several, please share those as well.

 

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Anyone else missing “Moonlight” today?

For those of you who don’t know, the fabulous television show “Moonlight” aired its pilot episode “No Such Thing As Vampires” five years ago today. Sadly, the series was extremely short lived. The blessing is that the friendships and bonds created by the amazing show continue to go strong.

If you watched, you understand. If you didn’t, I highly recommend you buy the DVD and see what you missed. I promise you won’t regret it.

Thoughts of “Moonlight” are often bittersweet for many, but for me they are much more sweet than not. Those I have met through the love of the show have become some of my best friends, and the SoCal Freshies still get together every month to enjoy various events or just share great company.  This fabulous series brought together such an amazing variety of people from all over the world and I am so proud to call so many of you friends. The creativity, love, and connections brought about by the show will be the wonderful lifelong legacy for me.

No doubt I will have myself a little mini-Moonlight marathon this weekend. Makes me smile just thinking about it. How about you? Feel free to share your love, recollections, etc. of what “Moonlight” and its legacy mean to you.

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“Last Resort” centers on the crew of the U.S. Colorado nuclear missile submarine. In the premiere episode, and in the middle of their fun little “La Bamba” equator crossing party, Captain Marcus Chaplin (Braugher) receives orders to fire nuclear missiles at Pakistan. The order, however, came in over a channel only to be used if the U.S. has been destroyed. They check on television broadcasting and with “Hannah Montana” still on air it seems unlikely that the U.S. no longer exists. With the orders feeling suspicious Chaplin contacts the White House demanding to receive confirmation of the orders. His questioning leads to him being relieved of duty and places XO Sam Kendal (Speedman) in his shoes as acting captain.  Knowing the repercussions of their actions, he too questions the orders and asks that they be sent via the proper channel. Instead of receiving the confirmation they’re requesting they are fired upon, by the USS Illinois, and they find themselves quickly taking on water and landing on the ocean floor.

With seemingly no other options, Captain Chaplin leads the crew to the island of St. Helena, where they take over the NATO early warning station located there. Some of the crew are able to contact family members back home to let them know that they are okay and to not believe what they’re told about them and the situation. Additionally, they are able to see that the world is being told that the sub was destroyed by an attack from Pakistan. Clearly someone wants to start a war, the question is who and why?

The episode closes when Chaplain calls the bluff of those who have sent bombers towards the island by launching a missile at D.C. He wins the game of chicken and we are then rewarded with the “You have been warned” speech.  “Just crazy enough” is the response of XO Kendal to his captain’s broadcast speech, which relates back to their earlier conversation in the episode about how to properly control a situation. Chaplin then questions what happened to the country he grew up in and it’s a question I find myself asking from time to time, as well.

This episode presents more questions than anything, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The why and who are the obvious questions and the answers to these will likely be a long time coming, but there are clearly broader questions at work here, as well, that are important for all of us to ponder. Overall I thought it was okay for a pilot, but from time to time the dialogue seemed rushed and difficult to understand. The episode wasn’t terrible and it wasn’t great, but I like the characters so far and I find the show intriguing enough to want to hang out for a while to find out what’s really going on.

Starring:  Andre Braugher as Captain Marcus Chaplin, Scott Speedman as XO Sam Kendal, Daisy Betts as Lieutenant Grace Shepard, Jessy Schram as Christine Kendal, Daniel Lissing as SEAL Officer James King, Sahr Ngaujah as Mayor Julian Serrat, Camille de Pazzis as Sophie Gerard, Autumn Reeser as Kylie Sinclair, Dichen Lachman as Tani Tumrenjack, Robert Patrick as Master Chief Joseph Prosser and Bruce Davison as Admiral Arthur Shepard.

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Today was the second annual Star Wars Day at the San Francisco Giants game. Proceeds from the special event ticket sales went to Stand Up To Cancer.

For those who purchased the special event ticket, a Death Star Baseball was the additional reward. Quite possibly the coolest item ever given at a game.

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The game started out well with the Giants leading 4-0 in the 1st inning.  It got a little slow and then went somewhat downhill from there, but ended on a high note for the home team with an RBI from Buster Posey tying the game in the 9th and a walk-off single by Marco Scutaro giving the Giants the 9-8 win in the 10th inning over the Diamondbacks.

The force was definitely with the San Francisco Giants today and they are 5 games ahead in the NL West.

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This game is not to be missed, so make sure you plan to attend next year.

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Searching for Sonny

Searching for Sonny

What would you do if you were a 28-year-old underachieving pizza delivery guy? If you’re Elliot Knight (Jason Dohring – Veronica Mars, Moonlight) you decide to attend your ten-year high school reunion, but only after receiving a postcard invite with a mysterious message.  He has some amends to make to his childhood BFF Sonny Bosco (Masi Oka – Heroes, Hawaii Five-O) and believing that the message is from him he makes the journey into his past in an attempt to make things right.  Upon arriving, however, Elliot realizes that his quest might not be quite as easy as he had hoped when he finds out that Sonny is missing.  He does manage to reconnect with his ne’er-do-well fraternal twin brother Calvin (Nick Kocher) and former friend Gary Noble (Brian McElhaney), and the trio begins to investigate the seemingly mysterious disappearance of their old friend.

One mystery leads to another when, while searching for clues to locate Sonny, they discover the dead body of the former high school quarterback, who happens to also be the husband of Elliot’s ex-girlfriend Eden (Minka Kelly).  Trouble with the law in the form of Detectives Williams (Richard Olsen) and Kitchens (Grayson Howe) lead to even more mysterious goings on, all of which seem to be oddly similar to a high school play they were involved in that happened to be written by Sonny.  That revelation leads them to further believe that everything is somehow related to his disappearance.  All isn’t quite what it appears, however, and the reality becomes clear when the twist ending of Sonny’s play is revealed, therefore revealing the truth of their current situation.

Searching for Sonny is a comedic murder mystery that has all the right stuff going for it.  Stellar performances abound from Dohring as the lead, to McElhaney and Kocher, the comedic team known as BriTANick, to Oka as Sonny.  We are charmed from the get go by these characters, though often for surprising reasons.  The supporting cast of Michael Hogan, Matt Beckham and Richard Olsen all give fine performances, as well.  Additionally, the wonderful score and fabulous voice-over narration by Clarke Peters combine to bring a certain strength and substance to this comedic gem.  Kudos to Andrew Disney (Writer/Director) for pulling together such a great ensemble of professionals to brilliantly bring his film to life.

Searching for Sonny is quirky, witty, and often times just plain fun, with enough substance to make you ponder the things that really matter in life and examine what we’re hanging onto from our own past that may be holding each of us back from being the best of who we can be in our current life.  A film that makes you think while hilarity ensues is a wonderful thing and that is what Searching for Sonny is.  If this fine film is playing near you, I highly recommend that you run to see it.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

NR with a running time of 94 minutes.

Starring: Jason Dohring – Elliot Knight, Masi Oka – Sonny Bosco, Nick Kocher – Calvin Knight, Brian McElhaney – Gary Noble, Minka Kelly – Eden Mercer, Michael Hogan – Principal Faden, Matt Beckham – Vick, Richard Olsen – Detective Williams, Grayson Howe – Detective Kitchens, Michael Kagan – Mr. Mercer, Richard Folmer – Finley, and Clarke Peters – The Narrator.

Searching for Sonny is now available on DVD for all who were unable to see it at a festival or all who just want to see it again.  Here’s where to order.

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