The Silence of the Squints

•May 20, 2008 • 1 Comment

Spoilers Ahead!

Bones Cast

Bones‘ third season finale was an emotional roller coaster for loyal viewers. When an episode starts with Booth’s (David Boreanaz) funeral, you know you’re in for one helluva ride. Obviously, Booth isn’t really dead since you couldn’t have the show with only half of the comedic duo (it would be like Abbott without Costello). The funeral was only a ploy to catch some nameless, faceless man wanted by the F.B.I. and to allow us viewers to see Dr. Brennan (Emily Deschanel) go to pieces in her own very special, compartmentalized way (she wants to identify all the remains in the Jeffersonian’s vaults, even those whose next of kin died some 400-years ago). Upon realizing Booth is still alive, Brennan gives him a cathartic punch in the face. And that’s only the teaser!

In what is easily the best scene from this whole season, Brennan confronts Booth about why he kept that he was alive a secret from her in his bathroom while he’s in the tub drinking beer and reading comics. Hilarity ensues and we eventually learn that Sweets (their psychiatrist) decided to keep the news from Brennan. Sweets, usually a needy schmuck but kind of endearing, steps over the line here (in my opinion) by keeping Brennan in the dark about Booth. Brennan thinks so as well and lets him know that he may not be invited back to be their therapist anymore if he pulls another stunt like this. Although, as the episodes goes on, it becomes more obvious that Sweets’ actions are less about him being cruel to Booth and Brennan, and more about making the audience suspicious of him because….

Brennan receives another “gift” from Gormogon – a jawbone. It appears that Gormogon wants her to add it to the skeleton made of his victims in the Jeffersonian’s basement. Zack and Hodgins decide to perform one of their wacky experiments to gain insight into Gormogon, but Zack ends up suffering severe burns due to a chemical explosion. Zack is rushed to the hospital while the rest of the team reels from the news that Gormogon has to have someone on the “inside” of the Jeffersonian since the skeleton of Gormogon’s victims is stolen making every one of our beloved cast a suspect.

Usually, when shows try to make you suspect the ensemble cast that you see from week to week, it feels flat and hollow because you know that it can’t really be them. The great thing about Bones is that you could (to varying degrees) become suspicious of your favorite characters. Although, in my not so humble opinion, I think they laid it on a little too thick in Hodgins’ case. It would have worked better (and been a little more subtle) had he respected Zack’s wishes and refrained from turning on Zack’s meds. On the other hand, I was more than willing to buy it was Sweets despite the very obvious fact that Sweets doesn’t know much about biology, chemistry, or constructing dentures (at least not when compared to the Squints). I was more than willing to throw Sweets to the proverbial wolves because he can be a little too needy at times. Sadly, it wasn’t Sweets.

When it became clear that it wasn’t Sweets, I was preparing myself for the typical route these things usually take – the janitor/clerk/technician/administrator who has worked at the Jeffersonian for 30-some years and we’ve never seen on-camera ends up being the culprit. It usually feels cheap when shows do this to us, but it’s better than having to part with one of our beloved cast members. Sadly, the Bones writers decided not to do the expected cop out, instead, they served up Zack.

And, I’m willing to let it be Zack. I don’t want it to be Zack. I’d prefer that it hadn’t been Zack. But, I can deal with it being Zack since he is so practical and devoid of emotion, at times, it can be creepy. However, I would have preferred that the Gormogon mystery go unsolved until next season, so that the writers could have laid the groundwork a little more. It was shocking and hard to understand why (he’s logical… yes, we know… but, could you have showed us how Gormogon “turned” him in a flashback or something?). In an interview with Eric Millegan currently available on TVGuide.com, Millegan mentions that the writers were going to address Zack’s post-traumatic stress caused by his tour of Iraq, but the writers’ strike prevented that storyline. It’s sad that Zack didn’t get more time… but, in the end, I believe that it rings true enough.

I’m already eagerly awaiting the beginning of Bones‘ fourth season to see how Brennan and the rest of the cast cope.

The Son Bests the Father

•May 19, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Son of Rambow

When I told a co-worker that I went to see Son of Rambow last week, he looked at me like I had two heads. He asked me why would I want to see a sequel to a Sylvester Stallone movie. I informed him that I didn’t see a sequel to one of Sly’s most enduring film franchises, I saw a film “inspired” (for lack of a better word) by Rambo that surpassed it in everything – humor, heart, and, yes, even violence.

Son of Rambow takes the familiar tale of sheltered-religious-boy who isn’t allowed to listen to music, play video games, or watch any tv (even those boring documentaries in science class) who meets the loud- bossy-secular-boy that changes his life forever to new heights. Instead of just having yet another tale about how the strictly religious should bend a little and how the strictly secular should acknowledge some of the good things that come from a religious background, it is also a film about the healing and connecting power of art.

Once Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) accidentally breaks his religious sect’s rules and watches a movie – Rambo: First Blood – his imagination explodes with creative possibilities. When Will learns of Lee Carter’s dream to win Screen Test, an amateur film contest run by the BBC, the two pool their creative resources. Will provides the story material from a dream – Will needs to rescue his father, Rambo, from an evil Scarecrow and flying dog – and Lee provides the camera. The film-within-a-film concept creates hilarious moments (the boys approximating martial arts movements) and perilous moments (when Will tries to perform a water stunt and almost drowns) while paralleling both boys’ complicated family lives.

Through all the ups and downs in the boys’ lives – Will’s mother is being wooed by a member of their strict religious group, Lee’s older brother makes him into a servant, French exchange students arrive en masse – it is the process of creating a film with the minimal resources (not sex, drugs, or rock’n roll) that brings about the boys’ newfound maturity. The portrayal of creating art as eye-opening, life-affirming, and friendship-building is a breathe of fresh air into the coming of age genre.

Back in the Game

•April 15, 2008 • 1 Comment

Pinstipes appear to be the dresscode when you live in a TARDIS.

“Partners in Crime,” the first episode of Doctor Who‘s fourth season (or series, depending on which side of the pond you’re on), is a beacon of delight compared to the majority of the episodes on its sister show, Torchwood. David Tennant, back in the lead role, effortlessly moves through his scenes with panache. Catherine Tate is back in the role of Donna Noble. Originally planned to be a one-off appearance in the 2007 Christmas Special, Donna is here for the entire fourth season. Honestly, I couldn’t be happier!

It is a breathe of fresh air to have the companion be someone who isn’t in love with the Doctor. Instead of unrequited love, we get a superstar comedy team (at least in the capable hands of Russell T Davies), bouncing from one problem to the next, bickering happily as they save the world (and London’s dieters) from annihilation.

Davies manages to strike just the right balance of comedy and poignancy. The Doctor and Donna’s hijinx is tempered by the sweeter moments Donna has with her grandfather. With any luck, we’ll be coming back to earth to visit Donna’s granddad in a few episodes. He seems like he’d definitely be up for fighting some aliens or saving the world.

And, finally, Davies picked the perfect way to do a send up of dieting and the crazy lengths people will go to to get thin without being crass. He continues to be one of the best writers on television and I eagerly await the next twelve episodes.

2008: The Final Odyssey

•March 20, 2008 • 1 Comment

dusk jacket

Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey died on March 19, 2008.  Clarke was remembered in a brief obit in The Guardian‘s books section.  A sample of Clarke’s work can be found here (it’s a short story entitled “The Nine Billion Names of God”).

Marry, Shag, Throw Off a Cliff

•March 11, 2008 • 1 Comment
At the end of this not-too-terribly-boring-but-still-draining work day, I’m in the mood for a laugh, so I dug up this clip of John Barrowman and David Tennant on YouTube.  Enjoy.

Halloween Treat

•March 10, 2008 • Leave a Comment
Countdown to The Graveyard Book
Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book will be available around Halloween. I’m even more interested in reading it, now that I know it’s a homage to The Jungle Book, however, instead of a boy being raised by animals when his family dies, a boy will be raised by ghosts in a graveyard when his family dies. For some reason, the idea of a living creature being brought up and taught how to live by the dead seems like a very intriguing premise (not to mention an excellent treat for Halloween).
Neil Gaiman has been commenting on his blog about the gestation of this project for the last several months on his blog. It’s always interesting to read about the workings, anxieties, and random tangents that are involved in the writing process (at least it is to me).

Can’t Wait for Memorial Day Weekend in the City!

•March 7, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Sex and the City wallpaper

My favorite New York City gals will be back in action on Memorial Day Weekend. I’ve been trying to steer clear of the spoilers, but I can’t keep myself from watching the trailers on YouTube. From what I can divine from the trailers, all four women will get their own subplot and they’ll be spending a lot of time together in all kinds of glamorous Manhattan locales. I’m really happy to have all four of them together again, especially after the series finale with Carrie off in Paris. The show just didn’t feel right with Carrie being out of the city and without her friends. I know that was the point, but I really missed the female bonding at the end of season six. It’ll be good to see the foursome together again!

Watch the trailer.