Renaissance News Vol. 2 Issue 14

How are we all doing post-Lost? Have you found yourself asking questions about your work hierarchy and how it might relate to a secret mythology? Are you digging a hatch in your backyard? Have you renamed your dog(s) “Vincent”? Has a recently deceased loved one appeared to you and then walked off into the jungle? Do you have an unreasonable fear of smoke? Good, none of these things is happening to me either, but on a side note a quick message to my landlord: I RENT THE PROPERTY SO IF I WANT TO DIG A HATCH IN MY BACKYARD I’LL DAMN WELL DO IT! And now the news.

  • Video game release dates for you: Guitar Hero 6 (which may be called Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock) will land on Sept. 19th just after stores are ransacked by mobs acquiring HALO: Reach on Sept. 14th.
  • Ayn Rand’s massive epic Atlas Shrugged will be adapted as a four-film series, the first of which will begin shooting this summer. No official word on the cast yet, but Maggie Gyllenhaal and Charlize Theron are rumored for the lead.
  • May 27, 2011, is the release date for Kung Fu Panda 2 (if you haven’t seen the original it is actually a ton of fun). Added to the original’s voice cast are Gary Oldman, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Michelle Yeoh.
  • If you were looking forward to seeing Mad Men’s John Slattery reprise his role as Howard Stark in Captain America….sorry. Howard Stark will indeed be in the film, but he will be played by Dominic Cooper. Capt. America will be a period piece taking place during WWII and filmmakers wanted to go with a younger actor.
  • I completely called this in my Mass Effect 2 review (check it out from February), but Legendary Pictures has optioned the property to make movies based on the Mass Effect universe. If they get the Bioware people involved who write the games, we could have a GREAT sci-fi movie series based off those games.
  • Paul W.S. Anderson’s Three Musketeers film has announced its cast which includes, among others, Orlando Bloom, Milla Jovovich, and Christoph Waltz as Cardinal Richelieu.
  • Director Paul Greengrass (Bourne Ultimatum) will next work on an adaptation of Treasure Island.
  • DVD Release Dates
    Dexter: The Complete Fourth Season, August 17th
    Disney’s A Christmas Carol, November 16th
    Friday Night Lights: The Complete Fourth Season, August 17th
    Numb3rs: The Complete Sixth Season, August 10th
    Repo Men, July 20th
    Spartacus: Blood & Sand The Complete First Season, September 21st
  • Box Office
    1. Shrek Forever $70.8 million
    2. Iron Man 2 $26.4 million
    3. Robin Hood $18.8 million
    4. Letters to Juliet $9.0 million
    5. Just Wright $4.3 million
  • Rolling Stone Album Chart
    1. Glee Vol. 3: Showstoppers by Glee Cast
    2. Exile in Main Street by The Rolling Stones
    3. Brothers by The Black Keys
    4. My World 2.0 by Justin Bieber
    5. Distant Relatives by Nas & Damian Marley
  • Best Selling Video Games
    1. Lost Planet 2, XBOX 360
    2. Wii Sports Resort, Wii
    3. Wii Sports, Wii
    4. Skate 3, XBOX 360
    5. Pokemon Heart Gold, DS
  • New York Times Hardcover Bestsellers
    1. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
    2. Heart of the Matter by Emily Griffin
    3. Fever Dream by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
    4. Innocent by Scott Turow
    5. 9th Judgment by James Patterson

LOST Finale Review

I really can’t believe it’s over. We live in a post-Lost world, people. What am I going to theorize about, debate, puzzle over, or frantically obsessively watch? Well, Lost, to be honest. Because, like the best works of fiction, it doesn’t hand you answers to all your questions upon turning to the last page or watching the last scene. I’ll watch it again and again over the years, because it’s that good. It’s an achievement unmatched in the history of the medium. A six year, pre-plotted (to a large extent) telenovel. The finale on Tuesday wasn’t the highest-rated send-off for a show. Lost has never hit the viewing public with a Friends-like cultural atomic impact. It was immediately popular, but more in the way a bestseller is. Word of mouth spread it, people who watched it banded together, converted more who watched it on DVD, and before you know it everyone was hooked. So how can you possibly address all the questions you’ve raised in six seasons of intricate plotting? How can you possibly make everyone happy? You don’t. Lost has never really cared much what the network or anyone else had to say about the chapter of the story they were telling. Tuesday’s finale was the last chapter, and if I constantly refer to this in literary terms, it’s because-to me at least-that’s how it’s always been, and the finale was even appropriately called “The End”.

This is going to be a bit of a no-frills review because, honestly I don’t want to spoil it for those who are going to watch it on DVD. I don’t want to take away the experience I got to have. There’s been so much mainstream press over it though, that we can hit the basics. Season six has followed two parallel realities. In one Oceanic 815 never crashed and landed in Los Angeles, sending the cast off on the paths they were walking before the plane hit the island. In the other, we pick up after the cataclysmic end of Season 5, the curtain is drawn back on the major players on the island and sides are chosen as those players come to the end of a very long game.

I didn’t believe they could cover as much ground as they have this year. Each episode one or several major revelations were dropped on us as we hurtled towards the events of Tuesday’s installment. Every book has its slow parts and even I’ll admit some seasons of Lost seem to meander (though I wonder if they will in retrospect), but this season seemed over in a blink. The two storylines are merged and an end is reached. In the 2.5 hours the finale lasted, almost every major character in the show’s history was seamlessly woven into the ending. I care about these characters. Flaws and all (and all Lost characters are flawed) they’re almost real people to me, and to get to have this beautiful goodbye to them on top of a brilliant and subtle end to the epic was a true gift. I love the ending. I think it’s magnificent; every bit as powerful in its profound quiet as the first season opener was with its explosion of sensory fire as you experienced the crash. It brought everything full circle. It’s the best finale I’ve ever seen to the best TV series I’ve ever watched. And I can’t wait to watch it again.
10/10 finale
10/10 series

My Top 5 Directors Working Today

Most people think about going to see movies in terms of the stars attached to them. I have actors and actresses that I like to be sure, but the more movies I watch (and you may have notice that I watch a LOT of them), what matters to me more is the director. There are directors whose films I will go see even if I have no interest in the subject matter whatsoever. There aren’t many. This golden list can fluctuate wildly. Stephen Spielberg, would-of course-have been on this list at one time. But after watching gutless mess after gutless mess of his, I don’t even have an interest in his films anymore. Some directors are way too hit and miss. Some have stopped altogether. So looking at their whole body of work, and they have to have had at least three films, who are my five favorite directors right now?
1. Chris Nolan (Memento, Prestige, Batman Begins, Dark Knight)
2. Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy II, Devil’s Backbone)
3. Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy & Ultimatum, United 93)
4. Jason Reitman (Thank You for Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air)
5. David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac)

Are there directors that you specifically seek out? What do you think of these five? Come on, people, comment!

Teaser Poster for Narnia 3

Maybe I’ll do image posts a little more often as first looks at things and posters get released. This is the teaser for the third Narnia film, Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. This is my favorite of the books and I’m hoping the series makes a smooth transition from Disney. I loved the first film and liked the second and have no idea why Disney dumped the franchise. They were stupid enough to try to make these summer movies. They should always be released at Christmas. They released Prince Caspian the week in between Iron Man and Indiana Jones and were surprised it didn’t do as well as The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Idiots.

Renaissance News Vol. 2 Issue 13

Yes, the posts have been sporadic. I’m aware of the sporadicness of the postings. Believe me that the management would like to desporadisize the entire process but the process has been inexplicably extrasporadisized. And now for something completely different…

  • Because I know that he has a disturbingly rabid following amongst certain of my readers, we’ll start with Nathan Fillion news. The Firefly and Castle star is rumored to be cast as Dr. Hank Pym in The Avengers.
  • Last week came the good news that the racist twin robots would not be returning in Transformers 3, now comes the news that neither will Megan Fox. The soon-to-be-Lindsay-Lohan-level-has-been’s contract not being picked up for the third film probably has nothing to do with a recent interview she gave comparing director Michael Bay to Hitler. Probably nothing to do with that. Also, Alan Tudyk (Firefly) has joined the cast.
  • Captain America will be shooting in London. I want to go on record that that seems a bit off. Captain Britain (yes, he exists) will now have to be shot in Toledo.
  • Josh Brolin has joined the cast of Men in Black III.
  • Want to hear what Eddie Murphy’s thoughts on Nutty Professor 3, which he’s writing. “We kind of wrote something that might be kind of funny.” BAM. Confidence. Love it.
  • I would tell you that Pirates of the Caribbean 4 is being filmed in 3-D, but I am officially boycotting 3-D news unless it involves me being given money for reporting on it.
  • Ewan McGregor has signed on to Director Terry Gilliam’s long in the works Don Quixote.
  • Video game duo, Kane & Lynch, will be coming to the big screen starring Jamie Foxx and Bruce Willis. Still waiting for the first good video game movie, guys. Just saying.
  • The CW has renewed One Tree Hill and announced next season will be Smallville‘s last. CBS has canceled The New Adventures of Old Christine, Numb3rs, Cold Case, and The Ghost Whisperer. NBC renewed Chuck and canceled Heroes and Law & Order, denying it the chance have its 21st season and break Gunsmoke‘s record as the longest running drama in TV history. ABC has renewed V and canceled Flashforward and Scrubs
  • Linda Hamilton (Terminator) is joining the cast of Weeds.
  • DVD Release Dates:
    Burn Notice: The Complete Third Season, June 1st
    The Bounty Hunter, July 13th
    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, June 22nd
  • Box Office
    1. Iron Man 2, $52.0 million
    2. Robin Hood, $36.1 million
    3. Letters to Juliet, $13.5 million
    4. Just Wright, $8.3 million
    5. How to Train Your Dragon, $5.0 million (passed $200 million total)
  • Rolling Stone Album Chart
    1. My World 2.0 by Justin Bieber
    2. Need You Now by Lady Antebellum
    3. High Violet by The National
    4. Iron Man 2 Soundtrack by AC/DC
    5. Sea of Cowards by Jack White and the Cowards
  • Bestselling Video Games
    1. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, DS
    2. Wii Sports, Wii
    3. Pokemon Heart Gold, DS
    4. New Super Mario Bros, Wii
    5. Wii Sports Resort, Wii
  • New York Times Hardcover Bestsellers
    1. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
    2. The 9th Judgment by James Patterson
    3. Innocent by Scott Turow
    4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
    5. Deliver Us from Evil by David Baldacci