27.4.12

Criminal Minds 622: Out of the Light

Well, thanks for ruining the episode, opening. The first shot we see is Derek performing CPR on someone, demanding they not die, while Greg warns that there's no pulse. Then the show wants us to cut to 'three days earlier'. Except there's basically no point in doing that, since we already know that the team is going to find the woman (because it's always a woman) they're looking for, and that she'll almost die while it's raining in the woods, and that the narrative arc of the show demands that Derek will save her, redeeming himself for failure in not saving Emily. Even though she's not actually dead.

Those three days earlier, a blonde woman is running through the woods, trying to escape her captor. Because this is the teaser, it doesn't go well, and she plummets off a cliff during the attempted escape, landing dead on a highway some fifteen feet below.

This brings the team into the case - although there's a little bit of Greg's real-life stuff, with him being asked to coach his son's soccer team. Joe points out the obvious - that he's never home. For gosh's sake, the guy's sister-in-law had to move to Quantico so that there would be someone to raise the child. Not that the show seems to remember that.

The good news? The woman, despite being raped, tortured, and plummeting from a cliff, managed to survive! The bad news? The local cops had found similarly a brutalized corpse in the woods some time earlier, suggesting that there's a serial killer living in their small resort town who abducts women for extended periods of time!

Attempting to put a ticking clock on the show, the team announces that if the killer has a torture room, he won't leave it empty for long. Which they have no way of knowing. It's not like torture rooms stop working if they're left unattended for a few months. More importantly, the only information they have is that he definitely killed a woman three years ago, and now another woman has escaped from him soon after being abducted. Maybe he works on 3-year cycles?

More importantly, now that the killer knows that one of his victims has escaped, wouldn't he be less likely to kidnap someone when police interest in him is at its highest? This is the exact time a killer would elect to keep his head down. So what's the rush?

Oh, and meanwhile the killer is off in the woods, spraying something from a backpack while collecting decomposed corpses. Then something weird happens - the killer gets a text message from 'Mom':

He types back 'Oh My God. So much fun!'. I'm not sure why, though. Unless this is actually the killer interacting with his mother (seriously unlikely), we're dealing with a guy trying to make it look like his victim isn't missing yet by answering her E-mail. Which is just a terrible idea. People know their friends and relatives extremely well. Writing something even slightly out of character would alert them that something more suspicious than 'my daughter is away from her phone' is going on. Once, when a friend was out of the room, I answered an instant message for them - writing exactly what I was told to say. The person on the other end of the conversation knew it wasn't their friend actually typing based solely on the fact that I capitalized words and used punctuation. Yet this killer thinks he can get away with pretending to be a coed?

At this point he probably doesn't know whether his latest victim is alive or dead - just that she's out of his sphere of influence. So wouldn't getting rid of the phone be priority 1? After all, given that it's got five bars, he's got to be near a cell tower, meaning that the phone's GPS could be easily used to locate him. Why couldn't this message from the mother be a trap?

This actually happened last week, although I didn't comment on it - with the killer suddenly tweeting for the victim, suddenly going from bubbly nonsense about cookies to goth-y claptrap about being in a dark place. Obviously everyone knew something was wrong in that case, but this wouldn't be any less strange.

Also, can you actually text easily while wearing thick work gloves?

You know what? I'm thinking about this too much. Let's pick it up after the credits.

26.4.12

The LetdownVod

After last week's amazing Cabin in the Woods episode, anything that came next was going to be a disappointment, but wow, were DM and I not expecting the movies we picked to be this bad... Still, a fun time was had by all in discussing them, so there's that, right?

By all means, check out this week's episode by means of right-clicking here to download it, and find out for yourself!

25.4.12

The Hundred-and-First Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

Bet you never thought you'd see that literally depicted, did you?

20.4.12

Criminal Minds 621: The Stranger


Another Emily clip package this week. Still not sure why. Did they think we'd forget that Emily was 'dead'? At least this time they don't bother reminding us that she's still alive. Thank you for trusting the audience, Criminal Minds.

Okay, onto the episode - Derek, Garcia, Rachel and Reid are all leaving a movie theatre, talking about slasher films. There's an attempt at humour with Derek calling the killer in the movie an 'unsub' before Reid corrects him by saying that in movies, they're called 'villains'. I've watched a few hundred episodes of this show now, and I'm fairly sure Derek would never make that 'mistake'. He wasn't hatched from a pod. He's seen movies. And read books. And knows not to use their stupid exclusionist academic jargon when dealing with everyday life.

Then Reid says something so stupid as to be nearly unbelievable-



Yeah, the only people who think that women are the only victims in horror movies (or even that they generally get the worst of it) are people who haven't seen any.

The characters keep talking about slasher films, their dialogue narrating the travails of a coed who walks home to her apartment, and is then stabbed to death by a madman. Who manages to open a locked window, then climb across the desk in front of it without disturbing anything. Magical!

The next day when the team arrives at the office they discover Greg talking to Strauss, his boss. She wants to go into the field along with the team to make sure they're holding up, but Greg says that the grief assessments show definitively that they'll be fine. Of course, since he's not really impartial at all, I can understand her lacking confidence in them. Also, it's kind of a nice callback to when she did the ridealong after Mandy's departure.

Time of the briefing! There have been three victims in the past FIVE DAYS. What? Oh, and all of them were brunettes majoring in child development/education, and two even went to the same school. Which means that we're expected to believe that after two women demographically identical to the latest victim were killed in the past four days, that woman was totally comfortable staying in her apartment alone, and not being careful to lock doors and windows? Does the show not know how crazy this sounds?

There are some shots intercut of the killer deciding on his next victim, while Greg mentions that San Diego PD wants them there ASAP. Well, if that's the case, why didn't you present the facts on the plane? Morons.

18.4.12

The Hundredth Greatest Panel in the History of Comics!

I wanted to find something really special for this, the hundredth installment of the Great Panel series (despite the fact that, given the way I've formatted it, the hundredth should be slightly worse than the ninety-ninth, and so forth...), and I don't think it will disappoint. Now, allow me to present to you a double feature. The tale of a bloodthirsty Nazi-

And the magically animated cannon who wanted him dead!

God bless you, Golden Age wizards. Your cruelty was matched only by your creativity!

13.4.12

Criminal Minds 620: Hanley Waters


The episode opens with a clip package letting us know that despite the fact everyone thinks Emily is dead, she's perfectly fine and living in Paris. Which happened just a couple of episodes ago, and it doesn't seem odd enough to necessitate reminding us – unless, of course she's already back? I guess we'll find out in the episode proper.

Seems that in the aftermath of Emily's death Greg has been asked to provide a grief assessment on his team, and he's starting with Derek. They have that clich├ęd conversation about the five stages of grief, and during the anger part Derek admits that what he'd much rather do than his real job is to spend all of his time hunting down Doyle who – and I can't stress this enough – escaped from the FBI using what I can only imagine was leprechaun magic.

We then cut over to the subject of the episode, a woman who wakes from nightmares about surviving what I can only assume is a car accident based on her neck brace and the fact that she's being wheeled into a hospital. After breaking a mirror (the universal visual shortcut that a character hates herself) she heads to her closet and finds some bullets. Looks like she's going to be taking that self-hatred out on somebody else, since women generally don't shoot themselves. Also, that would be a very short episode.

The woman then heads to a gun shop and asks to see a revolver. When she discovers that she'll have to get a license and wait for a permit, she decides to instead simply steal the gun, which for some reason the store owner left lying on the counter unattended when he went to talk to another customer. Even stranger, the woman elects to load the gun rather than simply running out of the store with it. Since she can't have been intending to commit suicide right then and there, I have no idea why she does this, instead of simply walking off. I know why she does it from a plot standpoint – so that she can gun everyone in the store down after being confronted about her theft – but I've no idea why the character did it. Unless she'd been planning a massacre all along. Which she obviously wasn't.

Over  at Quantico the team is already on top of the case, dropping facts about mass shootings and name checking Columbine. Strangely, we're expected to believe that all four people that she shot - once each with conventional bullets - died, and were therefore unable to give descriptions of her. This, despite the fact that according to the case synopsis witnesses heard the gunshots and called the authorities immediately. You'd think one of the people – none of whom were shot in the head – would've hung on long enough for an ambulance to get there.

Before the opening credits we get a shot of the woman driving away from the scene of the crime, seeing upbeat song to herself. Given the flashbacks to a car accident in the upbeat song, I'll go on a limb and say… Distraught over the death of a child? I guess we'll find out after the opening credits!

12.4.12

Bones, you're terrible!


I don't ordinarily watch the show Bones, largely because it's terrible. Every time I randomly catch an episode it manages to shock me by being excessively awful in some way - suggesting that the team has a database of every tool in the world that could conceivably cause an injury, not bothering to explain why the FBI is called in on any of these random murder cases, doing an episode about whatever was in the public eye a few months ago (Jersey Shore, Teen Pregnancy Pacts, Polygamy). All good reasons to never watch the show again - but the most egregious sin the show commits by far is the incredibly sloppy mystery-solving the show engages in.

Take, for example, this past week's episode, which concerned some body parts that appeared in people's toilets due to a backed-up sewer system. The team quickly figures out that the pieces must have originated in a penitentiary further up the pipeline, and decide to look for the culprit there. They quickly encounter Pruitt Taylor Vince, who must be the killer based on his relative fame compared to the rest of the guest cast.

Now let's take a look at the preposterousness that the show has to offer. First we're asked to believe that, based on examining a skeleton that had been dissolved, crushed, and then sent through a sewer system, they could determine someone was stabbed with a conical shiv. A completely unique weapon, made not from a sharpened toothbrush or piece of scrap metal, but rather a few rolled-up pieces of paper, which they find in a box of weapons discovered in the previous week's search for contraband.
So, point number 1 - why would the killer have kept the shiv? After using it to murder someone your first logical step would be to get rid of the weapon, and this is a ridiculously simple weapon to get rid of. Literally dunking it in a glass of water would do the trick. The killer went to the trouble of dissolving a body, but couldn't be bothered to drop the paper knife into the acid as well?

Hey, speaking of, where did the acid come from? Isn't this a prison? Well, it turns out that this prison's industry is largely concerned with producing mailboxes, and part of making them involves dunking the mailboxes in a giant vat of hydrochloric acid.

This turns out to be a red herring, however, with the stains on the bones being inconsistent with hydrochloric acid. But what other acid could there possibly be in a prison? They get their answer by unfolding the paper knife, which winds up being from a cookbook, letting them know that the killer worked in the kitchen! But how did Pruitt dissolve the body and put it down the floor drain?

The answer? Vinegar! Yes, according to the team it's simple enough to boil vinegar down, reducing it to acetic acid, which could have been used to break down the body. That's all the explanation we get.

Does that make the least bit of sense, though? Consider this - in order to effectively and quickly dissolve a body with acid, you'd need enough to nearly submerge it, say about 200 litres. Which is a lot of acid - but far more vinegar. Since vinegar is maybe five percent acetic acid, you'd need twenty times as much, or 4 kiloliters of vinegar, to execute the plan. For Pruitt's plan to work he would need 4 tons of vinegar, enough alone time in the kitchen to reduce it to acid, a giant tub to store the acid in, and then the hours of unsupervised time it would take to kill a man, melt his body, and shove the remaining pieces down a kitchen drain, then finally clean up the ungodly mess all of that murdering and dissolving would have created.

Is it possible that a killer could do all of this? Sure. Is it possible that he could do all of it in a prison? Dear lord, of course not. Where did you go to school?

What's wrong with you that you would even think that?

11.4.12

The Ninety-Ninth-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

Whether he means this literally or not, I love it.

9.4.12

So yeah, about Valentine...


I'd like to now present the most interesting thing about the movie 'Valentine', and then muse for a moment about what this scene (and the director's commentary about it) says about the film.

To set the stage - a friend to the four main characters girls has disappeared, and the rest have begun receiving mysterious, threatening letters from a figure in their past. One of them has supposedly left town, but was in reality murdered the night before. The other three have gathered to discuss the scene with the detective in charge of the murder investigation.

Pay close attention to the director's comments about the location, and why it was chosen.



So he talks about it being a real house, the problems with negative space, and the beautiful exterior. What doesn't he mention at any point? Why he's shooting there at all!

By which I mean, whose house is that supposed to be, and why are the characters gathered there? The cop asked them all to meet, but they're not meeting at-


The main character's crappy apartment.


The far-nicer apartment shared by Denise Richards and the now-dead girl.


Jessica Capshaw's mansion.


They're meeting at this house, which has no apparent connection to anything else in the film. It's slightly possible that this is supposed to be the house where the first victim (Katherine Heigl!) lived, but A: I'm not sure why they would all be gathered there, and 2: That seems like a suspiciously huge house with well-manicured lawns for a med student who drives this car:


-to be living in. We can even be sure it's not Katherine's parents' house (not that there would be any reason to be meeting there...) since the Detective specifically mentions bringing a box of cards from the parents, hoping that the killer would have sent his condolences.

6.4.12

Criminal Minds 619: With Friends like these

Well, it's finally happening. We're living in a post-Emily world. Sad, I know, but at least this new world features ghosts!
Okay, not actually ghosts - the three people standing around multiple personality guy are clearly just delusions, based on no one reacting to them but him, but I'm going to continue pretending they're ghosts for the remainder of the episode, because that's more fun. Also, the show cheats by having one of them hand the crazy guy a bag of chips. Unless they actually are ghosts, and can move things.

While the crazy guy just wants to go home and sleep, his ghosts badger him into following a nurse home from the supermarket and then killing her. Wow, is it just me or is this going to be the easiest crime to solve ever? Bags of groceries in her house, so they head to the supermarket to check the security cameras, and see a twitchy guy following her. So, what, five-ten minutes tops?

Over at Quantico Penelope and Derek are gazing sadly at the wall of fallen heroes, to which Emily's picture has been added. The wall seems to be directly outside of their offices, which seems like an odd place. Unless this is just a wall for profilers killed in the line of duty? No, that would be crazy.

Anyhoo, things are brightened when Derek says that Emily would have wanted them to embrace her replacement, Rachel, and Penelope reveals that she's on top of it - having brought in cupcakes to celebrate Rachel graduating the academy!

The joke is that Xander ate the last two letters. Which I'm mentioning here solely because it serves to remind everyone that Xander is still Penelope's boyfriend, despite him never appearing on the show, and also not being given his well-deserved spin-off role on Suspect Behaviour.

There's a little pow-wow between Joe and Greg, discussing the fact that they desperately need a new profiler, and that while Rachel may help, she's just not experienced enough! Really, though? You already have four trained profilers and an apprentice working every case. Will throwing a fifth trained profiler whose opinions are completely interchangeable with yours really serve any purpose at all?

I am curious to see who the potential new cast member is, though.

The team is confused by the facts of the case, as the crime scene technicians report that eight different weapons were used on the latest victims, convincing them that a pack of criminals was involved! Right and left-handed wounds, some deeper than others suggesting different levels of strength. It's a mess.

Except...

We already saw one killer, not wearing gloves. In the next scene he wakes up, tormented by the partying ghosts in the next room, and we see that he's so delusional that he didn't bother washing the blood off his bare hands before stumbling home and going to sleep.

He stabbed the woman 40 times, and bludgeoned her with multiple additional tools - there would be blood everywhere. Wouldn't an ambidextrous killer be far more likely than a pack when presented with the evidence that the same fingerprints were on every weapon, and only one set of shoes left bloody footprints?

Ah, maybe they'll figure it out when they get to the crime scene.

On the plane the team continues profliing a pack of killers - even though they have extensive photos of the crime scene no one has noticed the footprint or fingerprint evidence yet. Also they know about the grocery store, but apparently no one mentioned the super-creepy guy who was mumbling to himself and harassed the victim while they were both at the checkout of an otherwise-unpopulated store. Do the regular cops in the world of Criminal Minds just not ask questions?

Meanwhile the killer has a dripping faucet, so his ghosts suggest that they head to a hardware store to buy parts. The killer is reticent, because he knows they're going to badger him into killing someone, and he has no desire to do that. He's a fundamentally weak person, though, so he goes along with their desires.

Actually walking around the crime scene finally allows Greg to notice the fact that every shoe is the same make and size, which the show tries to pass off as special insight, rather than the basest sort of observation. I mean, seriously, I learned how to make casts of animal tracks in grade school. This is not an advanced technique. Rachel and Reid do a little better, noting that the first victim was killed in an alley in a busy pedestrian area, meaning that the killer would have had to blend in with the mostly young crowd.

Derek goes to the supermarket and finds out about the creepy guy (so in the day after the murder the local cops did nothing?), then offers some truly horrible insight, in what becomes the first newly-renamed 'Emily Prentiss (fake) Memorial Award For Stupidest Thing Said By an FBI Agent'.



That's some amazing victim-blaming there, Derek! You know what the funny thing is? If she'd had a conversation with him, you'd be blaming her for engaging with the crazy person, and if she'd completely ignored him you'd have blamed her for irritating him. There's literally no way to predict the right way to respond to a psychotic person - that's what makes them psychotic. Yet Derek can't stop himself from suggesting that it was the victim's fault that she was murdered.

Screw you, Derek.

The team jumps to the conclusion that the killer must be on a drug like PCP, that the adrenalin is leading to overkill, and the hallucinogenic effect makes him think he's seeing other people. Which is a nice theory, but why are they jumping to it? Although in the first murder he stole a computer and the like, suggesting a junkie looking for money for a fix, after the second murder he didn't do anything of the sort, which should call that assumption into question. You've chased plenty of people who overkilled recklessly without being on drugs, so why are you limiting the profile? I don't recall PCP being mentioned in the Richard Chase-based crimes from way back.

That night the killer takes the hammer he bought at the hardware store and uses it to smash a guy to death. There's really not much in the crime scene - the guy was murdered in an apartment undergoing renovations. The question of why a guy was moving boxes of supplies into a work project at 3AM goes unexplored.

The building has terrible soundproofing, though, which gives them an audio witness to the crime! First, though, Derek has to confuse her by asking about the UnSub. Oh my Christ, guys, stop saying that, and especially stop being so condescending when you explain it. You're like unpleasant teenagers using text-speak in real life, and then rolling your eyes when your parents ask you to use actual words.

The witness actually has some super-useful information to offer - the guy was ranting about something that happened when he was a kid, and that he didn't want to kill any more. This finally clues the team into the fact that he's a schizophrenic, causing them to dismiss their PCP theory which was, of course, based on thin evidence that was already disproven.

In the next scene we get a sense of just how crazy the guy is - he prepares some water with salt and then drips it over his head, flashing back to a time when a guy in a black suit did the same thing to him as a child.

That's a really nice white shirt the kid is wearing, and the fact that he's below the guy suggests kneeling? Did he have a super-traumatic late baptism? The ghosts taunt him, saying that this won't help him, and reminding him that he's being punished for 'hurting them'. The killer calls his mother for help, and complains about the ghosts. She tells him to take the medication and pray, then go to the church for help. Then she hangs up on him, letting us get a sense of just how horrible his mother must have been to turn him into a monster.

The team gives their profile, and the scene is actually relevant for three reasons. 1 - Reid is unable to focus, because the migraines are getting worse (possibly psychosomatic, since the case is reminding him of his own budding mental illnesses). 2 - In flashes to the killer trying to watch the church, the scene keeps focusing on one of the ghosts flicking a lighter open and closed time and again, suggesting that he burned something as a child. 3 - Derek announces that the guy's childhood trauma must have involved close friends or family. What is this based on? The fact that the killer had a 'limited social circle' as a child. Which is, of course, being invented out of whole cloth. They have absolutely no information that points in that direction, Derek (or the writer) is just making stuff up and hoping we won't notice.

They also mention that if they find out what happened to him as a child and how a recent 'stressor' reminded him of that incident, they'll be 'that much closer' to narrowing down the killer's identity. Um... how could you find out those two things without also knowing his identity? There aren't going to be many ways to find out horrible childhood traumas without names being attached to them. Anything serious enough for there to be a searchable record will no doubt also give the names of the people involved, Derek.

Okay, back to the killer, who, that night, heads to a church, looking for help. Or, you know, looking to kill a priest. I guess we'll see. The killer asks the priest to help get rid of the people who blame him for the fire. It seems a church group had successfully done it as a child, performing an exorcism on him! Interestingly, the ghosts are front and center among the parishoners who helped out with the rite.

The current priest is skeptical about a new exorcism, suggesting that he instead go to visit a doctor. This freaks the killer out, and he gets more forceful in his demands for treatment.

Before we see what happens, though, there's an interlude in which Derek confronts Reid about his behaviour, and they discuss the fact that this is the time when Schizophrenia presents, so of course Reid is right to be scared. Of course, that's not right, at least according to the show - Schizophrenia first presents from mid-teens to 25, and Reid is out of that window, as he's nearing 30.

Reid also feels that they're missing something, since Schizophrenics are notoriously fractured in their thinking, and the killer is unusually focused. Of course, that isn't true either. Reid's mother was creepily focused on teaching her son about chivalry, Richard Chase was obsessed with his Angels - also, what exactly about this guy's behaviour does Reid see as anything but random and messy? The overkill? The poor hygiene? The complete lack of self-control?

Greg calls Garcia, looking for information about mental patients, but she claims that privacy laws keep her from accessing a list of Schizophrenics. Again, this is the woman who checked the prescriptions records of EVERYONE IN AMERICA. Still, assuming they have to make this a little harder, they look into people who were arrested and also had mental problems.

Then Reid is able to make a connection between the water and salt the killer was buying, and the fact that Schizophrenia is often treated with exorcisms by religious orders! Off to the churches in the neighbourhood where the killings took place! But will they find enough information from the priest to keep the guy from killing an old woman who he met on the bus!

The priest fills them in on what parts of the guy's backstory he knows - the childhood fire, a stutter, and his history with exorcism.

Oh, and the answer is 'no', the killer brutally murders the old lady, then spends the night napping in her blood. This tells Reid that he was killing to exhaust himself, meaning that he's an insomniac - which must be the missing variable! But will this insight be useful in catching him?

By checking into the backstories of local schizophrenics, Garcia is able to turn up one who was recently in an apartment fire, and who, as a child, was charged with starting a fire that killed three people involved in his exorcism! Oddly, it's explained that this happened two months after said exorcism - so where was this fire? Did the three ghosts live together? I'm confused...

While the team rushes over to arrest the killer he fantasizes about murdering his ghosts, but the respite doesn't last long. He tries to escape on foot when the team pulls pull up outside, which leads to a chase scene! It also leads to us seeing that the killer was living in the most Los Angeles (and therefore least Portland) house ever.

The killer sneaks into someone's house, hoping to hide out and maybe find another victim - he encounters two children, who naturally aren't in any real danger, then makes them spend a good thirty seconds closing drapes, rather than just hiding in the basement or upstairs or something. This movement is noticed the team, who enter the house and threaten him with guns. Even though he would be remarkably easy to shoot, what with his hostage being half his height, the team instead tries to talk him into dropping the knife. Because he's crazy, the killer hears this as a suggestion to stab Reid, which he attempts to do, but winds up shot for his trouble.

Non-fatally, sadly.

This just reinforces why they shouldn't have been negotiating with a crazy person at all - what if he'd misheard Reid as suggesting that he slash the throat of the child he was holding? Then their failed attempts to talk down a psychotic spree-killer would have resulted in the death of a little boy, rather than just the near-death of an FBI agent.

Sloppy work, team.

Then it's back to the plane, where Derek and Rachel chat about the killer's backstory - apparently he'd been taunted by evil apparitions his whole life, it's only after the church fire that they started looking like those dead people. This is confirmed in a final scene with the killer, who's briefly happy to have been 'cured' by electro-shock therapy before the ghosts reappear to remind him that they've been taunting him literally his entire life-

Which suggests that they were, in fact, evil ghosts all along...

Am I finally going to get my werewolves next Halloween, Criminal Minds? I'd better!

If it sounds like I'm going too far with this extrapolation, let me assure you that it's nothing the show didn't do first - in Rachel and Derek's conversation they admit that they flat-out had no idea what was wrong with the killer, since Schizophrenics don't start seeing visions at three years old.

1 - Was profiling in any way helpful in solving the crime?

Mixed score this week - it takes some psychological knowledge for Reid to be able to drop the fact that mental problems are often confused with demons, which is what led them to the priest that the killer had confessed to. At the same time, they tried to negotiate with a man in the midst of a violent psychotic break, rather than simply shooting him, which put a child's life in danger. So how much credit do they really deserve?

2 - Could the crime have been solved just as easily using conventional police methods given the known facts of the case?

According to Garcia the killer had been arrested just recently. Yet they found no match for the roughly five hundred fingerprints he left at the various crime scenes?

So, on a scale of 1 (Dirty Harry) to 10 (Tony Hill), How Useful Was Profiling in Solving the Crime?

3/10 - Isn't it interesting how this week while everyone was mourning Emily no one mentioned the fact that her 'killer', a famous international terrorist and the most wanted man in America, whose face would be on the news nearly 24/7, is still somehow on the loose? Funny, that. Especially when they offered no suggestion for how he could have possibly escaped capture last week.

After all, he chose that random warehouse because it was where his son was fake killed, not because it had a secret escape tunnel left over from the days of the underground railroad.

5.4.12

Dear the makers of "Machete Joe"


Who is this movie for? As I watched it, I couldn't quite put a finger on what your intended audience was. At first you seem to be a satire of terrible low-budget filmmaking - the pretentious director who wants to make 'art' out of a terrible premise, the producer who just wants to ensure that they get their money back, the actors/crew with four jobs each...

If this was your intent, though, you'd think that there should be some depth to this film beyond actually being a terrible low-budget film.

While I'm sure that low-budget filmmaking can be an extremely stressful process, and any number of narcissitic low-budget films have certainly mined that well for drama, it doesn't work especially well in a horror context since you just wind up presenting characters in the least favorable light imaginable, bitching at each other for a third of the film before the killing starts. Unless your desire was to make us feel contempt for the characters, so that we wouldn't be sad when they died (a theory that the entire rest of the film wouldn't support), all you've done is create a situation where it's impossible to care about how the events of the film play out.

If you're making a satire, just make a satire. Putting all of these comic elements in the top half of the film just creates huge tonal inconsistencies (exacerbated by the fact that they follow an unpleasant rape/murder sequence) that leave us unsure how we're supposed to respond to the rest of the film.

Also, why didn't they just leave? At any of the dozen moments that they had an opportunity to do so?

4.4.12

2.4.12

A minor Fringe complaint-


I know this is quite a few months late, but I caught something weird on the third episode of Fringe this year. While Peter has been erased from reality, Walter and Olivia have been dreaming/hallucinating about him. Olivia's even sketched him, to prove they're talking about the same person:

Here's the problem: like on so many TV shows, this sketch doesn't help find Peter, but for the wrong reasons. Olivia explains that she's run it through the facial recognition databases of every conceivable agency and come up with 'nothing'.

No, writers, the problem isn't that there's no one who looks like Joshua Jackson in the whole world (which is a strange enough concept), but that the sketch only looks basically like him. There have to be literally thousands of people who have those same facial features, so the problem with using facial recognition would be a flood of results so large that it would be impossible for them to cope with.

Also causing problems? The fact that later in the season, when Walter has convinced himself that Peter is unconsciously using psychic powers to make Olivia remember his universe, both of them seem to have conveniently forgotten that they each remembered him before he 'jumped' into their world.