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Battlestar Galactica: “Sine Qua Non”

All right, in the interest of full disclosure, I wasn’t a huge fan of this episode. It sort of dragged and not a whole lot happened with respect to the big picture. After last week’s cliffhanger, we didn’t get any new information about what happened to Roslin, but just like the rest of the fleet, they wanted to keep us in the dark.

Sandy Blonde Number Six died on the operating table, and Athena’s assault on her fueled all sorts of speculation about why the basestar jumped away. With the President gone, the quorum was all in a tizzy, and since Admiral Adama won’t recognize the VP’s authority, Lee decides to call on Romo Lampkin and his dead cat to sift through possible interim replacements for Roslin. I knew something was up with the cat when it got so much screen time; it’s strange how so many people in the fleet see friends, relatives and pets after they die.

Anyway, was anyone really surprised when Romo identified Lee as the only possible replacement for Roslin? We’ve been talking about that probability here for weeks.

However, I am intrigued by the whole Tigh-knocking-up-Platinum-Blonde-Number-Six storyline since both parties are Cylons and they are not supposed to be able to reproduce. Maybe the final five can reproduce… hmmm. Anyway, I find it quite disturbing when they switch between PB Number Six and Ellen. Tigh’s wife always bothered me, so when she pops up it gives me a bit of a jolt.

So Lee is the new President and his dad gives up his command so that he can… sit in a raptor in the middle of nowhere? I guess that the idea is that the fleet moves on while he waits for the basestar to return. I’ll admit that I’m touched by the affection that he has for Roslin, though I question the wisdom of this course of action. He usually makes good decisions, so I’m sure he’ll stumble upon the missing basestar somehow.

But where does the fleet have to go? Last I heard, the plan was to form a truce with the Cylons so that the final five could lead the fleet to Earth. So did the fleet just jump to some random coordinates to protect themselves in case the truce is off?

**POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT**

I typically don’t watch the “scenes from next week,” but I’ve started to lately since a reader generally comments on them. This week’s scenes contained a (possible) doozy of a spoiler, so stop reading now if you don’t want to ruin the surprise.

The Cylons will apparently revive D’Anna next week, and in a preview clip she tells Roslin, “You know about the five remaining Cylons. But do you know that you’re one of them?”

Now, truth be told, I don’t believe that Roslin is the fifth and even if she were, I don’t think the creators would drop that bomb in the “next week” preview. But the clip seemingly revealed the identity of the fifth, so I wanted to be very careful with that information so as to not ruin the surprise for anyone.

(By the way, I think the fact that they showed that clip – or edited that way – pretty much confirms that she is not the fifth. But, then again, they could be doing some super-devious reverse psychology on me.)

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Multiplex Mayhem: The Pre-Coital Edition

With the passing of Sydney Pollack and Harvey Korman, it’s been a sad few days in movie land, but the weekend comes whether we live or die….

*This time, expect an unusually severe case of gender apartheid as the biggest new release to compete with all the action fare on tap is the much ballyhoed festival of contemporary femininity, “Sex and the City” — the further adventures of a bunch of characters I don’t know much of anything about, apparently because I’m an ungay guy and, yes, we critics and movie writers are now expected to divulge our our sexual orientations before discussing certain movies. (I’m actually sort of renowned in some circles for liking a great many things that some would consider girly, particularly musicals…but whatever entertainment-preference testosterone I have in my system seemed to go into overdrive the minute I caught even one second of this particular series, forcing me to change channels — and, yes, I like “Entourage” a great deal. I guess biology really is destiny when it comes to HBO comedies.)

In any event, the reviews are mixed, including that of our own Jason Zingale, who was man enough to admit to respecting the television series and critic enough to say the movie had some story problems. And both Jason and Roger Ebert, who was man enough to admit that this movie was not made for him, were charmed by “Sex” newcomer Jennifer Hudson, who really does seem to be one the positive by-product that I’ve noticed so far from this whole “American Idol” business. Female critics seem to skew a bit more positive, but as the WaPo’s Ann Hornaday honestly opines:

…the question isn’t whether it’s good. The question is whether it delivers the goods — the goods being shoes, romance, ribald humor, shoes, sex, shoes, pithy observations about single life in New York and more shoes.

And the general consensus is that the raunchy rom-com+ will provide roughly $30 million worth of goods from the domestic box office from those rarest of creatures at the American multiplex — post-college-age women. At least that’s what the usual experts say, noting that it’s already done well abroad.

Overall, “Sex” should put in a very respectable second place after the “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” juggernaut, which is expected to pull in a solid $50 million. I see no reason to disagree.

There’s another movie that perhaps skews to a younger female demographic, and that is “The Strangers,” a chiller about a couple being menaced at home starring beautiful Liv Tyler and himboish Scott Speedman. This one seems to deliver a certain amount of chills, even if many critics turn up their noses, while others, like Bullz-Eye’s Dave Medsker, see both good and bad. Regardless, it’s nice to hear this one isn’t another (physical) torture fest. Considering the scary commercials and the sex appeal to their respective audiences of the two stars, I’d expect this relatively low budget film to have much better prospects for a decent and long life than its characters might. Still, it will likely be bested by the waning, but still mass audience friendly, powers of “Prince Caspian.”



Meanwhile in Indiewood
….There are a number of new films coming out in limited release this week, but it’s late, I’ve been fighting some kind of mini-micro-bug all week, and some lovely baked chicken is waiting for me downstairs. I will, however, mention two that should be interest to our audience.

First, there is the amazingly well reviewed (100% Fresh, RT-meter) documentary, “Bigger, Faster, Stronger*” about the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs in athletics. Considering the doc’s newsworthy subject matter and the fact that it’s about sports, and not politics or war, it sounds to me to have the makings of yet another break-out nonfiction hit.

Also getting mostly good reviews (though some are simply a bit appalled) is “Stuck” in which more than two decades after his gruesome horror-comedy, “Re-Animator,” director Stuart Gordon goes to a horrendous real life incident for some extra-extra-extra black grisly humor and chills. This time with Stephen Rea as a hapless man who finds himself in self-involved Mena Suvari’s windshield. As someone who had to knock back a few drinks to finally see Gordon’s signature horrorfest not long ago, but had a good time with it once I did, I’m not sure if I want to see this one or not. I am fairly sure it’s not dull.

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Lost 4.13 – There’s No Place Like Home (Part Two)

If there’s one thing “Lost” has always been good for, it’s an explosive season finale, but while tonight’s two-hour cliffhanger was definitely explosive, it was for completely different reasons. Don’t get me wrong, the finale had me salivating over the possibilities of the show’s future, but it just wasn’t as spectacular as past years.

For starters, let’s address that silly spy report I linked to at the end of my last post. I had a feeling that Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof would film some decoy endings to keep people guessing, and my suspicions were confirmed on three separate occasions. The first occurred during Jack and Locke’s discussion about the island’s potential powers. As soon as Locke made a point of asking Jack to stay, it was pretty clear that the reason Jack is so upset over the death of Jeremy Bentham in the future is because he considered him his best chance to get back to the island. The second clue happened right after, during Walt’s visit to Hurley in the mental institution, when Walt mentioned that Bentham was the only person to visit him in New York. Finally, the third is probably the most obvious (ABC’s commercial about the alternate endings on tomorrow’s episode of “Good Morning America”), but if you hadn’t already figured out that Bentham was Locke by then, well, you’re just not paying close enough attention.

Now, we don’t know why Locke changed his name or how he got off the island, but we do know that in order for Jack to return, he needs every member of the Oceanic Six (including Locke’s dead body, and possibly even Ben) to do so. We also know that some very bad stuff went down following their departure and, along with Jack’s crusade to get back to the island, this will likely play a major role in the final two seasons.

Read the rest after the jump.


Read the rest after the jump...

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Gentlemen, in memory of Harvey Korman, please rest your sphincters.

Harvey Korman has died…and, man, am I bummed.

If the guy had never done anything other than “The Carol Burnett Show,” he’d still be a comedy legend, but his resume was filled with plenty of reasons for you to mourn his passing. Heck, the realization that the Great Gazoo will never again call Fred Flintstone “dum-dum” in quite the same way is getting me misty enough that I can forgive him for those appearances he made on “Mama’s Family.” Besides, even if I didn’t like the show, it’s not like I can blame the guy for taking the opportunity to play with Vicki Lawrence again. Plus, he survived the experience of playing no less than three roles in “The Star Wars Holiday Special” – Krelman, Chef Gormaand, and the Amorphian instructor – and that’s the Hollywood equivalent of earning half a dozen Purple Hearts and a couple of Bronze Stars.

Korman was great at playing the too-stern-for-his-own-good authority figure who always got his comeuppance and, when he did, you were laughing all the way. Mel Brooks knew this and took advantage of it, providing him with classic roles like Dr. Charles Montague in “High Anxiety” and Hedy…sorry, Hedley Lamarr…in “Blazing Saddles.” Okay, so his role in “Dracula: Dead and Loving It” might not have been on the same level, but it was still nice to see him on the big screen again.

Over at NewsFromMe.com, Mark Evanier has promised to provide some of his favorite anecdotes about Korman, but he’s already declared him “one of the funniest people I ever encountered…and easily the best audience.” I can absolutely believe that, based on the way he used to explode with laughter at Tim Conway; those two together will likely always be remembered as one of the best comedy duos in the history of TV sketch comedy, and rightfully so.

I suppose it’s only appropriate that, even in the process of researching IMDB.com to write this piece, Korman is still making me laugh, courtesy of the names of the characters he’s played over the years:

Prof. Fagenspahen (“The Munsters”)
Col. Heindreich von Zeppel (“F-Troop”)
Baron Hinterstoisser (“The Wild, Wild West”)

And let us not forget his recurring role in the “Pink Panther” saga: Prof. Auguste Balls.

I’m really gonna miss that guy. Hasta la vista, Harvey.

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Hell’s Kitchen: Words of Wisdom

Last night’s “Hell’s Kitchen” featured some words of wisdom that were really enlightening, but more on that later. They started off with a challenge, and that was a tag team kitchen relay. Each team had to cook three dishes , and each chef had just six minutes for their part. It was close, but once again the red team won the challenge, and their prize was a day of swimming and surfing lessons. The blue team, meanwhile, had to clean Hell’s Kitchen. And a subplot was beginning….that of Jen and Bobby bickering.

For the dinner service, the teams were able to create their own menus and present them to Ramsay. The red team Read the rest of this entry »

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