Monday, October 11, 2010

Vampire Diaries : Episode 4 & 5

The Vampire Diaries Poster - Click to View Extra Large Image

First of all I want to apologize for the absence of a post last week.  It turns out my DVR has a mind of its own and didn’t record episode four so it took a day or so (after some frantic net searches and two temperamental downloads) to see the episode and by then I was thoroughly bogged down with homework and the like.  It sucked because I was excited about the return of Katherine, who is easily my favorite character (You hear that Kevin Williamson? She’d better stick around), and she came back in top bewitching form haunting Stefan’s dreams and continuing to try to manipulate his emotions.  Our boy, perpetually solemn and broody, still wasn’t biting…at first.  He did get some info out of her about werewolves and she confirmed that their bite could be deadly to vampires.  Speaking of deadly to vamps, how about the neat trick she pulled with the vervane building up a tolerance by ingesting it for years.  I guess if you stick around for a few centuries then you pick up a few things. 

Her whole confession of love for Stefan in the dungeon was totally bogus and I knew it, but I think she had Stefan for moment there.  I am convinced that she doesn’t want to hurt them, but I also know she can’t be trusted and has something bigger under her sleeve.  We got a glimpse of that this week, which brought up more questions than answers. At the end of episode five, it was revealed that she’s been in cahoots with the sexy Mason Lockwood the whole time.  Nice little twist by the way.  But we still don’t know what’s up with the damned moonstone.  I’m guessing it prolongs wolfiness or that it is part of a larger spell to make Katherine invincible.  She was the one who came up with the rings in the first place, right?  I also think that Emily is still alive and helping her with all of this.  Who’s with me on that one?

In the meantime, Wolfie Jr., is trying to cope with the fact that being cursed means that if he kills somebody, even accidentally, he’ll be “on all fours howling at the moon” once a month.  Hey, it beats having a period.  The chances of this happening are especially high in Mystic Falls since, let’s face it, the casualty rate on this show is somewhere between The Sopranos and Oz.  Since his uncle seems to be all but avoiding the issue and his mom, with constant duties as acting mayor, pageant queen smile at the ready, remains seemingly clueless, he has struck up an unlikely friendship with Jeremy, who I was glad to see back.  Jeremy, determined to find out about the Lockwood’s family curse, sets out to engage Tyler.  On another network the seduction might have been a bit more blatant, but I have a feeling that Tyler and Jeremy want to be more than just art buddies.  Their love triangle with Vicky seems to have connected them in a way that their nascent sexualities aren’t yet able to understand.  If you think I’m reaching then observe Tyler with Matt, who he’s known forever, and then watch him and Jeremy.  Anyway, that will take a while (at least a season) to fully develop.  For now, they have to liquor-up easy local girls to keep up appearances.  When one of them almost died at Tyler’s hand, he realized that he didn’t want the curse and eventually gave the moonstone to his uncle.  Never mind that tough lesson learned about the perils of teenaged drinking.

Caroline has been on a rollercoaster since being turned into a vamp, thanks mostly to Katherine, who set the whole thing in motion.  First she got her to spy on Stefan and Elena and try to persuade them to break up.   I know she was under Katherine’s orders, but what she said about their love being doomed is true and I was waiting for someone to bring it up, although, to the credit of the writers, they haven’t been dwelling on it because that would be tired and overdone.  Caroline was also forced to reveal her new life to her mother Lizzie, (where the heck has she been?) in a bold move to save Stefan and Damon.  Poor Lizzie, first she finds out her good friend Damon is really a vampire and she has to kill him, then it turns out her daughter is one too.  It will be interesting to see what happens next week when she’s supposed to have her memory erased and go on her merry way.  I don’t think for a second that that’s the way it’s gonna go down. 
Damon is usually at the bottom of everything that’s awry and this week was no exception.  If he had never tried to kill Mason, he wouldn’t have had to worry about him outing them to Lizzie and the council.  But Damon did show some mercy on Lizzie (and even got props from Elena for it) proving that he really could be a friend to someone.  Now if she will return the favor remains to be seen.  She’s already disowned her vamp daughter Caroline and I doubt she plans to leave Chez Salvatore without a fight. 

Stefan and Elena remain a tight unit.  After some fake fighting in front of Caroline to throw Katherine off the scent of what was really going on, they had to have a serious conversation about Stefan going back on people blood to build up strength to fight Katherine.  Elena initially didn’t like the idea but, with some nudging from Damon, she ultimately decided that they should do it together and she gave him some of her own blood.  It’s moments like these when I’m glad this is The CW and not HBO because the bloody sex scenes on True Blood frankly gross me out.
Next week, I’m looking forward to more being revealed about the enigmatic moonstone.  Katherine obviously needs it for something, so what is it?  I’m not looking forward to more sanctimonious whining from Bonnie when the rest of the Scoobies need her help again.  Why don’t they just train Jeremy as a warlock or something, at least he knows how to look hot and cooperate.  Speaking of warlocks, we didn’t get to see much of Alaric (who’s back to being Alaric!) these last two episodes, other than his brief appearance at Jenna’s barbecue.  He knows a little too much about everything to just be a sitting duck. And more importantly is the lucky Nina Dobrev gonna get to make out with the rest of the hot guys in the cast? She’s already kissed both Salvatore brothers and now Mason Lockwood.   Katherine has mentioned her attraction to Matt a few times and I wouldn’t be surprised if she swapped spit with her great-great-great-great-son-in-law Alaric.  Whatever happens, I’ll definitely be glued to the screen next week.    

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Social Network: Review

Like a lot of other people this weekend I went to see what everyone’s dubbing The Facebook Movie.  I’m still wondering how many people even know what it’s about, and if they’re expecting some sort of interactive Facebook experience when they see it.  For people who don’t know, it’s the story of how Mark Zuckerberg created the ubiquitous social networking site and all the people he allegedly screwed over in the process.  Jesse Eisenberg (he of hyper-intelligent emo nerdiness) plays Zuckerberg like the smartest douchebag you ever met.  I wanted to smack him about thirty seconds into the opening scene, with the engaging Rooney Mara (The American “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”), and was hoping her character would do it for me.  She didn’t, but she did dump him which, for just that conversation alone, I’m sure was thoroughly deserved.  

Eisenberg is convincing in the role and by most accounts it’s a good performance, but he failed to make me feel for the character at all.  Then again, maybe that’s the point.  The film was adapted from the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, that is reportedly compiled mostly from the point of view of Eduardo Saverin, co-founder and former CFO of Facebook, and most importantly, Zuckerberg’s ex-bff.  In the film he’s portrayed by Andrew Garfield, (star of the new Spider Man reboot.  Why that is happening at all is beyond me, but that’s another blog for another time) and he does a fine job at creating a sympathetic, believable character. 

The film is centered around two lawsuits Zuckerberg is facing, one by Saverin and the other by the Winklevoss twins (an excellent Armie Hammer whose face was digitally superimposed over another actor's to play both parts.  Easily the coolest thing about the whole movie) and Divya Narendra (Max Minghella), Harvard students who claim that Zuckerberg stole their idea for a social networking site exclusively for students at the school and turned it into Facebook.  I never really understood, and still don’t get, how it’s any different than or (remember that?) as intellectual property.  Meaning, if those sites can’t sue him or each other, I don’t see how anyone else with a similar site or idea could either.  Not to mention that, in the film, they talk about how the Harvard students’ directory pages were online “facebooks” which is where they all seemed to really get the idea, but Harvard wasn’t suing him for anything.  

Although, I felt like the characters in the film talked way too much, I have to give screenwriter Aaron Sorkin credit for his mostly sharp dialogue and for building a compelling story out of what were essentially two boring depositions.  Also, director David Fincher does a good job at creating a realistic atmosphere of backstabbing, greed and animosity without overdoing it.  At its center, however, is a character that remains enigmatic throughout.  As he’s presented, Zuckerberg doesn’t seem to be motivated by money, and as much as the film hints at his need to belong, when Napster creator Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) shows up and introduces him to the sex and drugs side of being an internet rock star, he never seems to be interested in partying, only working on code and expanding the company.  Maybe he wants to be connected to everyone, but doesn’t know how to do it any other way.  Maybe he’s a calculated business man.  Maybe he’s a hurt little boy.  We leave the film never knowing.