Monthly Archives: February 2010

Caprica Season 1, Episode 4: There Is Another Sky (Review)

It hurts more on the inside

[Minor plot points, no major spoilers]

This episode is about holding on to what you still have after you’ve lost something that means a great deal. We have Joseph Adama losing his son, Graystone losing his company, and Tamara (Joseph’s daughter) losing her innocence. In There is Another Sky, all three of them find ways to change their perspective, either with the support of a loved one or via virtual ruffians.

It seems like Joseph’s grief over his family’s deaths and the guilt over ordering Amanda Graystone’s murder have finally caught up with him. He is moping about the house, obsessing over family pictures, and basically ignoring his kid. He gets two wake-up calls: one from his brother Sam and another quite literally over the phone. He realizes he needs to pay more attention to his son. On Tauron Willie would be a man, but on Caprica he’s still a child.  We see Joseph trying to connect with Will and failing. This was the emotional storyline of the episode and it really packs a punch.

Daniel Graystone brings us the plotline with the glimpse into the future, a future that will eventually doom most of humanity. Because of his public stance on the holobands being “over,” the board of directors wants his head on a platter. Daniel does what he does best: he finds an unlikely way to impress the board, and reminded this Battlestar Galactica fan of at least two BSG series grand entrances.

Tamara Adama seeks Vesta, another avatar that seems to know a lot about V-world and might help her find a way home. As we all know, Tamara is dead, so this can’t end well. Still, Vesta promises escape in exchange for help winning a virtual game called New Cap City. Nobody knows what the goal of the game is; Vesta and company are focused on getting as much virtual money as possible. This storyline provided the best visuals- an interesting mix of deco, steampunk, and gritty forties.

Some episode trivia:

  • If you want to open a vault in New Cap City, the code is Picon-Caprica-Gemenon-Picon-Tauron
  • Joseph, Will, and Tsattie live at 615 Olympic St. #3 Caprica City
  • Taurons use ritualistic clapping at funerals
  • When a fat cat wants you to leave in New Cap City he says “Take a powder” or “Blow”
  • The actress that plays Zoe (Alessandra Torresani) was born in 1987; the Cylon unit she’s in is U-87. Coincidence? I think not.
  • There was more shirtless Sam in this episode. And I approve.
Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Television

Caprica Season 1, Episode 3: Gravedancing (Review)

Sam Adama and stakeout buddy Bob the Bull

[Minor plot points in this review]

Gravedancing starts off with a bang, so to speak, and a frantic press-covered search for terrorist evidence. Graystone goes on the Backtalk TV show to fix the PR nightmare about his family and holoband technology- after being extensively coached on what to say.  The episode title refers to Daniel Graystone and his PR team trying to enhance the Graystone Corporation image by tarnishing that of deceased Zoe.

This episode of Caprica was more about character development than moving the plot forward. We learned more details like: Amanda Graystone’s specialty is plastic surgery (who else thinks that’s a useful skill to have for when Cylons get humanoid skin?); Zoe played the cello; Avatar Zoe finally gets a new dress!; robot lab geeks can’t dance; and the Global Defense Department investigators hold personal grudges against the Soldiers of the One. The show stealers however, were Sam’s stakeout partner and Will Adama’s grandmother; interestingly enough, both are deep-rooted symbols of being Tauron.

In this episode, Joseph discovers that his mother-in-law is the Tauron mafia boss. Not really- but she could be.

As for our Latino watch, we see Joseph (I’ve started pronouncing it “Yoseef” in my head) Adama’s inner turmoil after asking his brother Sam to kill Amanda Graystone. He kinda wants to, but he kinda doesn’t. By the time he makes up his mind it might be too late for Mrs./Dr. Graystone.  Esaí Morales does a great job showing increasing desperation, and I loved how Sam Adama’s character played off his brother’s anxiety. Olaf Willow (Panou) finally shows up in the Willow super-huge bed in a brief but memorable family moment.

Panou (Olaf Willow, lower right) gets some interesting face time

One final note: Did you catch the old school Battlestar Galactica music homage? It was frakkin awesome!

4 Comments

Filed under Television

Cosmonaut, Spanish Film for All (Trailer)

From Spain, and set in 1975, El Cosmonauta is about a Russian cosmonaut sent to the moon and eventually lost in space. But through radio broadcasts he claims to have come back to Earth and found it devoid of humans. Sounds eerie!

A group of young Spanish filmmakers called the Riot Cinema Collective is financing this movie in part by crowdfunding, a way for anybody to contribute monetarily in small quantities.  For a minimum of two Euros (about $2.75), you can support this film, enter a raffle for a real cosmonaut uniform, and be listed in the credits.  It has a free online distribution model under a Creative Commons license. The film’s official website is chock-full of information in English and Spanish.

Here’s a fun video about how Riot Cinema Collective formulated their idea and a movie teaser trailer.

UPDATE 3/17/2011: There’s a second teaser trailer now on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/20996973. Shooting will start at the end of May for about 6 weeks, and they’re looking to meet their goal of 3000 producers by then. The trailers look great, so I would say this is an easy investment. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook  in English or Spanish: @cosmonaut_movie, @el_cosmonauta; and Facebook (facebook.com/cosmonaut.movie, facebook.com/cosmonauta.pelicula). Sorry I’m not putting in links- WordPress is giving me a hard time. But you know what to do!

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Wolfman (Movie Review)

More of this next time, Benicio

[Minor plot points in this review]

The Wolfman finally premiered.  I haven’t seen the 1941 original but from what I’ve read many of the elements are the same, including character names. Set in 1891, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) is a Shakespearian actor with a traumatic childhood who got sent to America to live with his aunt where he presumably lost all traces of a British accent. He returns as a brooding adult to his childhood home after his brother Ben is savagely killed and Ben’s fiancée calls Lawrence back.

Lawrence’s father, Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins), lives on an isolated estate in Blackmoor, England with only one servant, Singh. If you know nothing about Blackmoor, it is where all the fog goes to die. There is a nearby village full of superstitious folk and a gypsy camp nearby. People live in terror of the beast that killed Ben Talbot. The movie follows Lawrence as he tries to discover who or what killed his brother, how he gets mauled for his efforts by the beast and becomes one himself. Hugo Weaving adds to the cast as a Scotland Yard Inspector trying to serve justice in Foggyland.

The story is good, but if you expect to be scared, you will be disappointed. There is very little to be scared about, unless blood and gore scare you. Personally I didn’t expect to be scared but I did expect to feel some tension and intrigue. I also expected to care about Lawrence Talbot, as the innocent that gets turned into a monster and is persecuted by those around him. Just like for Frankenstein or King Kong, I wanted to root for the beast. Unfortunately in this movie the plight of the werewolf didn’t connect with me. Perhaps if we’d seen his story through the eyes of a caring brother or the long-suffering manservant Singh, the movie would have been more interesting. There are no solid female characters either- Ben’s fiancée Gwen (Emily Blunt) does very little. I understand she was in the original- and that’s the only reason I can see for her character being there. Mostly she looked pretty in her Victorian garb- she wasn’t given much else to do.  There is zero romantic chemistry between her and Benicio’s character, even though the script tried to force it.

None of the main characters had a great performance; even Benicio (gasp) didn’t do it for me. I think he was going for depressed, and just came out as disinterested. Anthony Hopkins was all over the place- he couldn’t figure out if he was campy, or tragic, or evil. If he was going for insane, he didn’t quite make it. Very disappointing performances from two actors I adore. Hugo Weaving and Art Malik (Singh) performed well but their characters were sadly underused.

There are some good things about this movie. For example, Lawrence’s creepy nightmares/hallucinations were a good way to establish his mental state throughout the film.  I liked the werewolf transformation and makeup.  I was never much a fan of too much wolf snout, so this less wolfy version was good for me. I also like that the wolf kept his clothes on, signifying the humanity left inside. (Although now that I think about it, if he had lost his clothes then we would’ve had naked Benicio shots in the morning… hmm.) The beastly attacks were good, especially the one at the gypsy camp and the asylum medical theater. Nice use of gore. There could have been more, actually. I mean, they already had the R rating, right?

All in all, The Wolfman is watchable but a bit dull. I expected a more exciting version of the classic.

3 Comments

Filed under Movies

BasauriCon 1.0 with Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell

Photo courtesy of Elektra Natchios

Admiral Adama and President Laura Roslin visited Spain this past weekend and shared the BSG love in an intimate gathering of 350 250-300 fans. Some of the fans (around 80) came all the way from  other countries, so BausauriCon had an interesting mix of international Colonials. Compared to other mass conventions, it looks like this one had a perfect number of attendees that allowed Olmos and McDonnell closer contact with their fans.

BasauriCon 1.0 was organized by The 13th Tribe Science Fiction Fans Association, and was supported by the city council of Basauri. Always nice to see fan-organized events be a success.

EDITED 2/10/2010.  Unfortunately the video I had linked here has been removed. The BasauriCon Facebook page has a wonderful assortment of fan pictures. Also, a fan has put up several vids of the on-stage portion of the event here on YouTube.

The Freakytown podcast from Sevilla did a live cast at BasauriCon (Spanish).  They interviewed one of the organizers who said they had 250-300 guests from Spain, Canada, England, Hungary, and the United States. Then they interviewed Mary McDonnell (at 42 minutes, English)  and Edward James Olmos (at 56 minutes, Spanish). Mary McDonnell talked about her career, going to the Oscars, being cast as President Roslin, and future projects. EJO talked about working with troubled youth, not romanticizing crime, editing The Plan, working with his family, and several future projects. All in all great stuff and I learned about a new podcast!

If  you see any other interesting BasauriCon links please post in the comments! Gracias…

2 Comments

Filed under Sci-fi Conventions & Fan Events