Lost

Lost Finale

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Bates Motel

Who in their right mind would want to see a prequel to Psycho? Sequels and remakes have been attempted, but have failed miserably recapturing the original’s magic. If Gus Van Sant can’t come out looking good when playing Alfred Hitchcock, then why even bother? A producer and writer from the show, Lost honcho Carlton Cuse, attended this year’s Southwest by Southwest to both tell us and show us why, premiering the show’s pilot to a few hundred people. It’s fair to say he answered the question of “who cares?” swiftly, mainly because of the prowess of Vera Farmiga, helping to bring real drama to the show’s key relationship. The pilot has a good deal of set up, but it still allows for smaller, more nuanced moments to tells us everything we need to know about Norman (Freddie Highmore) and his mother’s dynamic.

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Editors Note: The following interview was conducted in September 2011 but has never been published before today. It is finally seeing the light now because The Day is finally hitting DVD and Blu-ray this Tuesday, November 27.  In an interview posted earlier today, director Douglas Aarniokoski and actors Cory Hardrict and Michael Eklund discuss the beneficially miserable conditions of shooting The Day, a post-apocalyptic thriller about a band of starving survivalists who go up against a group of cannibals. After talking with them, I sat down with Dominic Monaghan, Shawn Ashmore and Ashley Bell to talk about their own experiences making the film and developing characters they were given little background on. Monaghan and Ashmore also addressed aspects of The Day extra-diagetically relating to their work on Lost, The Lord of the Rings and the X-Men films, while Bell discussed her role as a kick-ass action heroine, which I’ll admit is the highlight of the film. Someone should give her a franchise besides the Last Exorcism films.

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We are now four installments into the Paranormal Activity series — five if you include the first spin-off, Tokyo Night — and the movies are starting to feel like episodes in a long-running TV show rather than a succession of film sequels with independently existing story arcs. As Adam noted in his review of Paranormal Activity 4, it’s like watching Lost, particularly in the later years when answers to mysteries were not only kept from fans but those mysteries were joined by new questions. With the latest film appearing to have the lowest reviews, CinemaScore and box office gross since the series began, will fans keep following the Paranormal Activity films until they get all the explanations they seek? Just as with a show that decreases in quality and increases in frustration (that’s not to necessarily mean Lost), I will likely keep with it out of curiosity. I can be obsessive and exhaustive in my curiosity at times, and if anything, Paranormal Activity 4 has actually piqued my interest more than the other films have, even if it’s just by introducing new characters and taking a leap forward in time, the latter leaving a large gap in our understanding of what’s going on. And I’m not alone. You can find people discussing and offering theories all over the web, including from people who admit the new movie is the worst of the bunch. To them, this is just a weak episode, something all TV shows have now and again and […]

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Matthew Fox in Alex Cross

It’s fair to say Matthew Fox is still in a transitional period post-LOST. After six years on the air, the rapid fanbase, and ending on that hugely divisive note, it’s naturally going to take time moving away from a show that big. Picasso, the egotistical psychotic assassin at the center of Alex Cross, is certainly a role which could assist Fox in that department. The actor transforms himself somewhat similarly to the way he did a few years ago with Speed Racer, a box office bomb he rightfully calls far ahead of its time. Racer X and Picasso may not be share personality traits, but both characters rely heavily on Fox’s physicality. As anyone can see in Alex Cross, making a transformation in achieving that physicality is a challenge the star embraces. Here’s what actor Matthew Fox had to say about defending a psychopath, avoiding villainous monologues, and his love for Speed Racer:

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“Who doesn’t love an orgy, Jack?,” Prometheus co-writer Damon Lindelof asked me, possibly being the first person to ask me such a thing. But, really, who could disagree with Mr. Lindelof? Ridley Scott‘s sci-fi opus is filled with all kinds of beings, making for the vicious and high-minded brand of orgy. What does the film have to say about if we, our creators, and our creations all got together and “partied” for a few days? In short: we’d eat each other. Prometheus is a story of characters making mostly questionable decisions, leading to horrific events. Even at the end when a character acknowledges humanity’s greatest flaw, that said character continues to do what they all get wrong in the first place, which is: asking too many questions. The film is about the dangers of searching for answers, a hurdle Lindelof, as a writer, has famously faced before. Here’s what the screenwriter had to say about the dark and hopeful side of Prometheus, the egoism of David, and the Mad Libs-esque storytelling he’s drawn to in our spoiler-heavy discussion:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It doesn’t have time to explain it to you, yo. We just gotta get out of here, Mr. White! We begin this evening with the first image from the upcoming fifth and final season of Breaking Bad, courtesy of AMC. And guess what? It’s a shot of Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse (Aaron Paul) standing in a field looking less than pleased with their surroundings. Even though it’s a shot we’ve seen a million times in four seasons, it never ceases to be interesting. 

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When it was announced that Brad Bird would be directing Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the question everyone was asking was, “Can Bird make a successful transition from directing animated movies to directing live action epics?” When Ghost Protocol was finally released, Bird answered all of our questions with a resounding, “Of course I can you idiots, I’m Brad F’n Bird. What can’t I do?” Now that Deadline Celebration has broke the news that Bird’s live action followup to Ghost Protocol is going to be a movie called 1952, there’s a different question on everyone’s lips. That question being, “What the heck is 1952?” The short answer is that Bird and his collaborators aren’t telling. The long answer is that 1952 is a big project that Disney has had in the works for a while now. While it’s known that Disney intends for it to become one of the tentpole type features that’s designed not just to sell theater tickets, but also to push merchandise, inspire theme park rides, launch Internet startups, and who knows what else, nothing is yet known about its premise. The only bit of information out there is that Lost producer Damon Lindelof was hired last year to come on as producer and write the script, the contents of which are supposed to be a closely guarded secret around the House of Mouse. And, as Lost fans can attest, Lindelof is a man who’s very familiar with secrets.

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An adaptation of Gears of War and a remake of Escape from New York are tricky projects. The hit video game series is huge in scale, and if was translated right, it would make for a very, very hard-R picture. As for taking on John Carpenter’s cult classic, who could actually fill the shoes of Snake Plissken? Well, to answer that question, it was almost Lost‘s own Josh Holloway, a pick no sane man would disagree with. Total Recall director Len Wiseman was once attached to both projects a few years ago. While speaking with him today about his upcoming flick I had to ask what they might have been like. As it turns out, if he didn’t have his way, we could have gotten a $60m version of Gears of War starring wrestlers. Now there’s a film no fan wants to see. So what would they have been like?

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Warning: The following article spoils plot points for last week’s episode of Mad Men, the film Sound of My Voice, this week’s episode of Community, perhaps a bit of Game of Thrones and potentially everything else. If you aren’t completely caught up on the world of entertainment, you probably shouldn’t read it. Oh, and LOST. It spoils all of LOST. “Twitter is the new water cooler, folks — If you come to get a drink, you’re gonna hear people talking about last night’s TV.” That’s an interesting sentiment to read in the Twitter feed of Damon Lindelof, who was an integral piece behind one of television’s most secretive, conspiratorial experiences of the modern era. Yet the executive producer of LOST has a point: if you are on Twitter on any given night — or in movie time, any given weekend — people are going to be talking about the things that have just happened. And Twitter being what it is — an uncontrollable stream of unfiltered, ever-hazardous culture-obsessed id looking for a good time — it’s likely that if you’re not current, you are going to find some spoilers. This is the world we live in.

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Culture Warrior

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Cabin in the Woods Carol J. Clover‘s 1992 book Men, Women, and Chainsaws was one of the rare academic books to become a hit amongst a larger, dedicated movie-going public. The book introduced the term “final girl” (the virginal “good” female who often becomes the final victim or lone survivor at during the final act of a horror film) into the zeitgeist, and it’s an idea that seems so obvious, and is so pervasive throughout the genre, that the fact that a similar term had never been popularized before was simply confounding. It’s also the central organizing conceit to Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods, the most overt act of genre deconstruction to enter multiplexes in quite some time. The final girl does not emerge in Cabin as it does in its normal generic form (as a narrative inevitability, a cliché), but rather Clover’s coined conceptualization of “the final girl” encompassingly structures the film – it is the critique of generic conceit, rather than the routine employment of a generic norm, that acts as Cabin’s narrative impetus.

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Channel Guide - Large

ABC’S Once Upon a Time is a fairy tale soap opera with a melodramatic storyline that revolves around murder cover-ups, frame jobs, ill-fated lovers, and a no-nonsense female sheriff who curls her hair ever-so-slightly. Everything about the series, from the writing to the music box soundtrack to the art direction, is hokey and I know this to be true with every fiber of my being. But I can’t stop watching it. I mean, I seriously watch the hell out of this show. Sometimes I watch an episode on Sunday night when it first airs and then I’ll watch that same episode the next day On Demand. Later in the week, I may even watch that episode again. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that I’m watching last Sunday’s episode as I’m writing this. So what is it about this super corny series that makes it so appealing? Created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, Once Upon a Time’s premise is…convoluted (but what else would you expect from a couple of erstwhile Lost staff writers?). On the day that Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) marries her Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), Snow’s stepmonster, the Evil Queen Regina (Lana Parrilla) curses the lovers and everyone else in Fairy Tale Land, threatening to destroy their happiness.

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Paul Feig has been winning nerd hearts for years now by directing episodes of beloved TV shows like Freaks and Geeks, The Office, and Arrested Development, but last year he won the hearts of the whole world when he directed the lady-centric comedy Bridesmaids, and sold about a gabillion movie tickets in the process. Seeing as he’s now such a well-regarded figure, it would stand to reason that everyone is eagerly anticipating whatever he’s going to do next. Well, lucky us, Deadline Royal Oaks has some news about one of his upcoming projects. Feig is attached to direct a film called Garlic and Sapphires, which is an adaptation of the memoirs of “New York Times” food critic Ruth Reichl. The source material details the lengths she used to go to in order to disguise herself and dine in top restaurants semi-anonymously (apparently it involved wearing a lot of sapphires). Before Feig gets to work on the film, however, Deadline says that Elizabeth Sarnoff will be giving the screenplay a rewrite.

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Hell on Wheels

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s preparing for it’s Thanksgiving day off. Lots of movies in its future. So it’s going to make this quick. But don’t worry baby, it isn’t about how long it lasts. It’s about the motion of the ocean. We begin tonight with something very near and dear to my heart: shows that I like. Sure, it’s about television and not movies, but this column, while accused of being many things, has never been accursed of being consistent. Anyway, Vulture is reporting that Hell on Wheels has seen a ratings dip. We need to curb this, people. It’s a damn good show. So watch it and ensure that it doesn’t get cancelled. Seriously. Common is on that show.

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Editor’s Note: After more than a year, Merrill Barr will be leaving the Reject Family and moving on to bigger and better things. We wish him all the best. And now the series finale of Channel Guide… Finale. A dangerous word in the world of television. Dangerous because it comes with a hefty amount of baggage for those working on a show that ‘s coming to an end. Everything a series has been working towards, whether serialized or episodic, has to be fulfilled in the finale. And somehow, the writers have the terrible job of making everyone feel like the journey was worth it. When broken down, there’s really only two things necessary in order to deliver on a good series finale, stability and closure. Stability refers to where the characters end up. Whether its happily ever after, in the grave, in the after life or on the run, the audience needs to know that however we leave the characters is how they will remain for the remainder of their fictional days. This isn’t to say that the audience needs to know every single detail, but a general idea needs to be available (or at least the tools necessary to draw a conclusion).

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When it comes to procedurals there’s no doubt that CBS is king. From the boys in Hawaii to the profilers in the F.B.I., over the last decade CBS has successfully taken the reigns of crime-of-the-week king from NBC. But this season they decided to have a little fun with the genre they know all too well. And that fun comes in the form of the latest program from the camp of J.J. Abrams, Person of Interest. The show follows former military man John Reese (Jim Caviezel) who is recruited by a very strange rich guy known only as Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson) who, through a machine he built for the government, is able to predict crime before it happens… Sort of… The machine can’t give out details without exposing Finch’s back door to the machine, so all he gets is the social security number of the titular person of interest, and that person could be the victim…or the culprit.

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It’s been over a year since the Lost finale, and it doesn’t seem like the outcries have died down yet. “I loved it!” and “It sucked!” are the most popular responses the ending has seemed to gotten. However, when you’re hitting the message boards, you’ll mostly come across the “it sucked” sentiment. Now, J.J. Abrams asks those “it sucked” folks if they can do better: “For years, I had people praising Lost to death, and now they say: ‘I’m so pissed at you for the end of Lost.’ I think a lot of people who were upset with the ending, were just upset that it ended. And I’ve not yet heard the pitch of what the ending should have been. I’ve just heard: ‘That sucked.’”

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It was pretty clear from the Prometheus Comic-Con footage that there are more ties to Alien than the film makers are letting on. Whether or not it deals with the Xenomorphs is still up in the air, but the look of the film clearly fits into that universe. Bleak, beautiful, and epic were all adjectives that came to mind while watching the brief footage. This is a pure sci-fi horror film. While it may be PG-13, and I’m betting it will be, that may not matter all that much. As writer Damon Lindelof says below, this is a film that relies heavily on atmosphere. The story also deals with the obvious: playing God. The title alone gives you a big hint as to what the film is about. The tale of Prometheus tells the story of man stealing fire from the Gods. Here, it’s about man searching for answers to questions they probably should not be looking for. Here’s what writer Damon Lindelof had to say about fusing his own sensibilities with Ridley’s, making a hopeful horror movie, and writing distinct women:

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There’s been a lot of talk the last few days regarding how critics (mostly on the TV side) should handle spoilers in an age where most people don’t keep up with their programming on a week to week basis, but rather save all their episodes for large clumps of viewing material at a time. The basics of both sides have been made clear, and for the most part, everyone pretty much agrees on the following: If you’re reading a review for a TV episode don’t bitch if there’s spoilers. If you’re reading a preview for a TV season, all past details are fair game. Journalists should do the best they can to not give away spoilers in things like tweets and headlines (I’m iffy on the tweets part of that statement, but I understand the point). If you’re following a show so intensely that you want to avoid all plot details then don’t read ANYTHING about it, at all. I’m not here to hound folks like Brian Moylan, David Chen and others for their take on the idea of spoilers. Both sides are right within their respective arguments. But there’s another side to this story, a side that no one has brought up, and it’s one that’s arguably more volatile than that of potential spoilers from the likes of critics. It’s the side pertaining to the regular viewer.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the only nightly movie news column to be cast in both The Dark Knight Rises and The Hunger Games. It will play the same character in both: a movie news column that, after delivering the news unto the people, rides off into the sunset on a badass motorcycle. It will make sense in context in both films, we promise. We begin tonight with an image of Jack Black in Richard Linklater’s black comedy Bernie, about a small-town mortician who makes friends with an elderly woman (played by Shirley MacLaine). The mustache looks creepy, but the last time Black and Linklater teamed up (School of Rock), Black was at his best. Here’s hoping that happens again when the film opens next month’s LA Film Festival.

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published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.17.2014
D+
published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.16.2014
B+

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