Saw 2

I had avoided watching this movie because so many people said it was ridiculous and stupid, and, to be honest, I didn't see how they could improve upon the psychological suspense that was that first. Both me and my husband were stunned once we watched it. We were on vacation and my sister had a bunch of dvd's she left up there where we were staying. We hadn't seen it and didn't expect much of it. We were blinking hard as the credits rolled. That was GREAT! We couldn't believe how clever and imaginative the storyline was. It was pleasantly gory and suspenseful. Everything was so complex, yet so simple.

The movie felt dual-layered, or even multi-layered. We finally get to meet 'Jigsaw', and despite being a weakened cancer patient, he is imposing and interesting. His character is now 3-dimensional and you find yourself hanging on his words. Not only is John (aka Jigsaw) in the movie, but a whole bunch of characters command the screen, as opposed to the first, where it was just two men locked in a room together. This isn't a slasher flick like Nightmare on Elmstreet. Not really. The story introduces several characters to us, locked in a house in which nerve gas has been released. They have been breathing it in and have about 2 hours before their nervous systems shut down and they ooze blood from every orifice. Here's the thing: Jigsaw has thrown his 'adversary's' (a detective) son into the mix. There is a connection between those locked in the house (I'm not going to say what) and in order to live, they need to find antidotes hidden around the house. I don't feel I should tell you any more, but I will say that I liked it and if you liked the first Saw, you'll probably enjoy this one too.

And on to...The Hills Have Eyes

My review on this is going to be short and to the point: gory, heart-pounding, creepy, all around great movie....EXCEPT I was very disturbed, and not in a good way, at a particular scene. At one point, a gun is pointed on a baby. Maybe this wouldn't have disturbed me so deeply had I not recently had a very bad nightmare of someone blowing my daughter's head off or if the baby wasn't my daughter's age, or old enough not to be completely vulnerable. So many times through this movie, the sound of the baby crying just DISTURBED me. If I had been told of this scene, I would NOT have watched it. No, they did not harm the baby, but just the idea and the imagery of pointing a Magnum at a little babies head is too much for me to handle. Other than that, great movie. But, Mr. Wes Craven, here's the rule (for me at least): I don't care if it's fictional. NEVER, and I mean, NEVER, put a baby's life in jeopardy like that. OR, just don't put an innocent, vulnerable baby in a horror movie. I'm not typically weak-hearted or squimish. I was raised on horror movies. I've seen the worst of the worst--but don't do this to me, please! Thank you.

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Think of Florida and you will probably imagine theme parks and sunshine but there is so much more to this wonderful southern state. A 45 minute drive from the theme parks takes you to countryside very similar to the UK with rolling hills and oak trees. Here you are in horse breeding country. Travel south and take an airboat ride across the Everglades or take advantage of some of the best shopping opportunities in the USA. Have you thought about Orlando Rental Home? You can enjoy vintage homes in the historic neighborhoods of Thorton Park, Lake Eola Heights, Lake Lawsona, Lake Cherokee, and Lake Copeland. Downtown is trendy with diversity of restaurants, retailers, discos, and bars all within walking distance. With close access to beautiful Lake Eola, you can enjoy festivals, outdoor concerts, or a gondola ride on the Lake.

For those who want to see what Dave Chappelle was working on prior to his departure of the show, Comedy Central is now airing the "lost episodes" Sundays at 9PM. The overall feel of the show is different, especially since Donnell Rawlings and Charlie Murphy are now the hosts. In fact, it's not all that funny. The sketches that Dave did for season three feel like a watered down version of previous material. In seasons one and two, I would laugh until my sides hurt. There are only a few chuckles illicited from me during any given episode. This is not the "pure Dave Chappelle" that we were used to. I feel guilty even watching the show, considering Comedy Central is exploiting everything they can for every last dollar.

If you want to know more about why Dave left the show, read Dave Chappelle Speaks: 'I'm Not Crazy; I'm Not Smoking Crack'.

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USA's popular sci-fi drama, The 4400, is now in its third season. Since the pilot, the show explores recurring themes of prejudice, ethics, alienation, destiny, and free-will. The premise is that of 4400 people who have been snatched from their respective timelines and altered in the future, given special abilities by those in the future in order to prevent a major catastrophe that takes place in the future. While the science fiction current of this show is what draws its high ratings, it is also the way the characters are written with shades of gray and the just-below-the-surface play on powerful themes.

The 4400 are returned in a ball of light to the year 2003, making headlines in a major way. The returnees are no secret from the world and are viewed with fear and hostility even before their abilities start to emerge. They are treated as a threat by their own government, being turned over to quarantine at NTAC (National Threat Assessment Center). When they are finally released from quarantine, they not only have to deal with a life interrupted (many realizing their families have aged and died by the time they returned), they also have to deal with the fear and hatred of them. They are humans, certainly, but many view them as a threat to all humanity.

The idea is that these people were pulled out of their timelines and altered in order to play a part in the cosmic scheme of things, each contributing towards fixing whatever diaster awaits in the future. Are they really meant to be the world's saviors, or are they the catastrophe themselves? No one (including those who altered the 4400) can predict all of the variables that can influence and change the future. It could all be a guessing game, this manipulating of lives and genetics.

The People From the Future say there is a faction in their time who opposes The 4400 Experiment and will do anything to eliminate the 4400. So, who is right here? The answer is that no one knows for sure. Both factions may have the best intentions, but that does not mean they, or their methods, are right. As they say, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions". Who has the right to decide the future of others and tell them its "their destiny" to do one thing or another? How much evil can be done in the name of the greater good?

The opposing faction believes that the being they sent back in time, Isabelle, will do what they expect of her. In the present, Isabelle is looked upon as either a messiah or the end of the world. She has a multitude of powers and cannot be killed. Is she who the 4400 must stop in order to preserve the future or is she salvation? The 4400 explores this character as a 20-something girl who grew up from an infant overnight and has the mentality of a child. For example, while she was a baby, Isabelle ruptured her half-sisters spleen because she was jealous that her mother loved her other daughter too. When disagreed with, Isabelle can suffocate a person just by thinking it. Is she good or bad? Well, it's not as cut and dried as all that. Like anyone else, no one is simply "good" or "evil". All humans have good as well as evil in them, but learn how they will deal with the world through their experiences and their reactions to those experiences. We know "good" from "bad" based on our immediate environment, i.e. our parents.

Isabelle, however, grew up overnight into an adult. She does not have the benefit of experiences and growing from them. Her reactions are child-like in nature and destructive when she does not get what she wants. Does this make her bad? No. She just lacks many of the life lessons that most people accomplish that sets her mentality further down the scale than ours. It is possible for her to become evil, as it is possible for any human, given the right circumstances.

The show also focuses on the issues of morality. For example, Isabelle has killed three people and injured one. The question is whether this makes her evil. Her intentions were to save her love-interest, Shawn, and she did whatever was necessary and utilized the abilities within her to accomplish this. The people she killed (or is it murdered?) were terrorists, but does that make it right? Taking a human life for the right reasons and naming yourself judge and executioner is what they call 'vigilante justice'.

The 4400 shows us a world that is divided. People fear the 4400 and their abilities because they are different. The 4400 in turn, don't trust the government and some have become actively opposed to humans who do not accept them. Violence from all sides ensue, due to the prejudice of the unknown. Even the government fears the 4400 and what they are capable of. Not everyone believes that the 4400 are harmless. Honestly, if you lived next to a 4400 who could make your organs liquify just by thinking it, you'd be a little fearful, yourself. That doesn't excuse the actions of society or the 4400. No one comes from a cookie-cutter mold. While one 4400 may be part of a terrorist organization, another might be a school teacher adjusting to life with new and frightening abilities. Every individual is just that - an individual - and the writers illustrate this point softly, as an undercurrent theme, that people are not cut from the same cloth. Just because someone is different does not make them evil and being part of a certain demographic does not mean that everyone in that demographic (the 4400) is exactly the same. Shades of racism, alienation and prejudice play a big part in this show, portraying it from multiple viewpoints and scenarios.

Free-will is a major concept, too. Are the 4400 like cogs in a machine or can they decide the future just by the choices they make? The most powerful thing a person has is choice. No matter what, and no matter how bleak, humans always have a choice and the choices we make influence our lives and our future decisions. Whether Isabelle and the 4400 play their "desired roles" is yet to be seen.

The 4400 really isn't about "good vs. evil", but rather about the human condition and how it manifests to affect the world.

Please check out my articles on Associated Content. My profile and articles. Thanks so much. I have a review of X-Men 3. They turned down Bloodrayne and my article on the CW network, said no one would be interesting in the WB and UPN merging. Whatever. I also got a comment that said people need to be visiting my content more, so please do so. Really, the articles aren't that bad! :)

There are many effective, low-cost ideas to cut your cleaning time and what you spend on cleaning products in half. Place a plastic bowl filled with water in your microwave and set it for five minutes. The steam will do most of the work for you. Add a little degreaser to your mop bucket. It will pull stains off your kitchen floor better than going over the same spot twenty times. Use a sheet of Bounce to collect cat hair. Rubbing an area with a sheet of Bounce will magnetically attract all the loose hairs.

This is from Yahoo Movies:

Johnny Depp's boozy, woozy buccaneer Jack Sparrow has plundered the box office, with "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" taking in a record $132 million in its first three days, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Disney's swashbuckling sequel sailed past the previous all-time best debut, 2002's "Spider-Man," which took in $114.8 million in its first weekend.

"Dead Man's Chest" also did nearly three times the business of its predecessor, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," which took in $46.6 million over opening weekend in 2003.

The sequel surpassed that total in its first day alone, taking in $55.5 million Friday to beat the previous single-day record of $50 million, set last year by "Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith." With $44.7 million on Saturday, "Dead Man's Chest" also became the first movie to top $100 million in just two days.

Originally, I rolled my eyes at the mere mention of Disney turning one of their rides into a movie. I deemed it doomed. I've seen plenty of videogame-to-movie conversions fall flat on their faces (House of the Dead, Bloodrayne, etc.) and this just seemed like a step down from that. A Disney theme park ride converted into a big-budget movie? How was THAT going to work?

I figured Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (POTC for those who don't know--like LOTR) was going to tank in a matter a weeks. Then, I paid more attention to it. Johnny Depp would be playing Captain Jack Sparrow as a campy pirate wearing beads in his beard and MAKE-UP! I wondered if this was Depp being nutty and eccentric. Whether he was or not, Depp usually takes roles, in my opinion, that are unique and interesting; he doesn't take any role that comes along. He is very precise in his choosing, such as Edward Scissorhands, Donnie Brasco, Sleepy Hollow and Blow. Sure, earlier in his career, he played Jack Marshall in Private Resort or Cry-baby in the movie of the same title, but Depp has blossomed into an exceptionally talented actor, a true thesbian honing his craft. My respect for Depp and his choices regarding roles is such that when I noticed his name was attached to this "silly theme-action movie", I considered giving the movie a chance.

Then, the previews of POTC rolled out, starring none other than "my Legolas", Orlando Bloom, as Will Turner, in addition to Kiera Knightley. Now, just because a few big names are in the opening credits doesn't mean much, but this trio, in addition to the popping and exhilarating previews caused me to want to see this movie, hoping it would live up to the hype. It did live up to the hype and its Box Office pull for the movie...$305,411,224. Pretty good for an indoor boat ride attraction, eh?

Three years later, I am happily typing my review of POTC: Dead Man's Chest and am ecstatic to report that there will be a third installment, simply called Pirates of the Caribbean 3 at this moment, due out summer of 2007.

This sequel is, dare I say, better than the first. Curse of the Black Pearl was necessary and without it, Dead Man's Chest wouldn't be what it is. It is a perfect sandwich in the POTC trilogy, following the storyline from the first seamlessly and maintaining the same flavor of humor and witty repartee as its predecessor. Although a bit more graphic and straining against its PG-13 rating, the movie has you laughing at the perfectly placed jokes and watching avidly. The movie is long (2 hrs and 31 minutes) but it doesn't feel that way. The smooth conversions and tightly coiled storyline reels you into this world of swashbuckling pirates and supernatural enemies (as well as human ones).

Depp seems to live in the skin of Captain Jack Sparrow and you can tell he really enjoys playing the foppish vagabond. He saunters about in his effeminate way, flashing gold teeth and trying to talk his way out of everything. Somehow, Depp again turns a cowardly scoundrel of a pirate into a much beloved character, despite his nappy hair, eye makeup and lack of personal hygiene, as Elizabeth pointed out.

This maritime setting would not be possible without the exquisitely intricate and beautiful tall ships, such as the Endeaver, the Dauntless, the Flying Dutchman and the Black Pearl (played by the Lady Washington) are exquisite against the foil of the turquoise, crystalline perfection of the ocean. These ships are a facet of the pirate legends and stories. Check out Tall Sails Adventure for more stories about pirates and information on tall ships, like those used in Pirates of the Caribbean 2. For extensive pictures taken in Jamaica and information on the production of the ships whilst POTC 2 was being filmed, click here.

This is not just a rehash on the first movie, but a clever extension of it. It's wacky, funny, grim, gory, and all around an exciting, fun romp with twists that are cohesive. Plenty of characters and pirates from the previous film are back again, stealing the show in their smaller parts. And yes, even that adorable undead monkey is back. The effects are just as spectacular, more so, and fall into my 'elite special effects' category that includes War of the Worlds, Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings. When the technology is so well-blended that one forgets that a giant squid tenticle or dinosaur isn't real, the movie does so much more for the viewer in terms of creating a unique and unforgettable world.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the many creative fight scenes. I don't want to spoil anything, so I won't go into details, but let me just say that you can swashbuckle pretty much anywhere and anyplace in this film. The actions sequences are intense while at the same time being highly amusing. All the elements that you loved from the first installment are here, as well as an intriguing story. Plus, Dead Man's Chest has the advantage of not having to introduce our characters or set up the exposition. Since this is a continuing story, you get to skip past all the "prerequisites" and get thrown immediately into the plot, the action, the drama. This will undoubtedly be the summer's most entertaining film, perhaps even the year's. It's compelling, exciting and faithful to the characters and the story. It will not disappoint fans of Jack...I mean Captain Jack Sparrow and Co.

In related news, Johnny Depp Added to Disney Ride. The likeness of him is surreal. :)

"Hello. My name is Violet. I was born into a world you may not understand. I'll start at the beginning. Everything changed when a government lab discovered a virus that caused genetic mutation. They used it to create faster and stronger soldiers. The problem was we became a threat. Those of us who survived extinction started fighting back."
-- Violet Song jat Shariff

The virus spoken of in Violet's narrative is called 'hemophagia'. The effects are similar to becoming a vampire, and because of the elongated teeth accompanied by the aforementioned virus, victims of it are referred to as vampires. They are faster, stronger, and physically superior to humans, except for sensitivity to sunlight and an abbreviated lifespan. Violet herself was given twelve years to live once she became infected. With the vampires on the brink of extinction and having a very short life span, they are willing to take plenty of risks, as Milla Jovovich aptly portays in Ultraviolet.

Although the above quote is pared down, Violet also says things about "camps" for those that are infected with the virus, being exterminated. Violet raps angrily, "I got sick and now I'm worthy of extermination". Echoes of the Holocaust ripple through this feature, giving you a shiver as you hear the words roll over your mind. The whole premise of the movie is based around the war between humans and "Hemophages" (aka vampires). Violet is a singular Hemophage warrior battling the totalitarian dictator Daxus (Nick Chinlund) who is determined to wipe out her species at any cost.

The exact date is never given to us, but it's clear by the technology and the architecture that it's meant to be somewhere around the late 21st century. Violet has plenty of nifty toys, such as a gravity leveler that gives her the ability to walk on ceilings and walls and even ride a motorcycle along the side of a skyscraper. The effects are not the best I've ever seen, but certainly not amateur at all. You believe in the moment what you are seeing and that's a motorcycle driving UP a skyscraper (or down or across).

Violet has the task of rescuing a secret weapon: a boy named Six (Cameron Bright ala Godsend and The Butterfly Effect). At first she is cold and harsh with the boy, as she is with everyone. The loss of her human life has left her jaded and she doesn't allow herself to have emotions. As Violet rasps to Six, "Park it. Don't make me tell you twice", it's hard to imagine a softer side to her character. As she spends more time with Six, the emergence of a fierce and protective mama bear is evident, as is her growing affection for the enigmatic child. He evolves from being merely a package, to being "a human child". Both sides of the war urge her to "destroy" him and she flatly and disgustedly refuses, meeting any challenge to protect him. The way this movie handles Violet's miscarriage and reemergence of her maternal emotions is beautiful and striking.

Their are many action sequences in Ultraviolent, designed by Mike Smith to combine multiple martial arts disciplines, such as jujitsu and aikido. The results are quick, sleek, and right on the mark. Clever choreography of the gun fights, hand-to-hand combat and sensational swordfights are reminiscent of Kill Bill, perhaps better. Each is executed in a creative new way so the action never gets stall or predictable.

If you liked The Matrix, Kill Bill, or Aeon Flux you will love this movie. Shades of all three films can be seen, although not overused or overdone. The effects are dictated by the script. They fall into the right moments and add an extra element of surrealism to your palate.

Angel was a darker, more serious incarnation that spun off from the Buffyverse. It featured Angel, the vampire with a soul, the flighty Cordelia, and a boozing, but sexy Irishman [originally]. The show never felt like a copycat of Buffy. It had its own message, and while the show wasn't what you'd call educational television, it was an incredibly witty and cryptic show. It's humor caught you off guard at just the right moments and the episodes managed to live in the world of Buffy, yet stand on its own two feet. Each season became more enigmatic and intricate. Unlike Buffy, there was no "creature of the week". Every episode stood as a piece of the complex tale of Angel, a vampire still tormented by the his past, struggling to redeem himself and quelling his inner demons. Angel's past was always linked into the show, whether it be a flashback of murders he had committed, or an enemy met while living in the skin of Angelus, his soulless, murdering alter-ego. The interweaving tapestry of Angel's history, combined with well-written and evolving characters and storylines was power and attracted fans of the genre.

Fans were more than unhappy when it was announced that the current season on their screens (Season 5) would be the last one. There were rumors since the end of the third season that Angel might not make it and fans let out a breath of relief each time the WB made the right decision and kept the show on. Eventually, the WB made the wrong decision.

A new version of Dark Shadows was planned, called Barnabas Undead, which was to air in 2004 and take the place of our beloved Angel. Having been a big fan of the 1991 Revival Series, I would have been okay with the way the WB mishandled Angel...maybe. However, things didn't turn out as planned.

"There was a director assigned to it, Rob Bowman, who was a terrific director," Garth Ancier of the WB said. "He pulled out to do a feature film. We had a new director come in who was accomplished in movies, but frankly didn't do a particularly good job, and the rest is history."

Basically, the WB salivated over a big-time director being attached to Barnabas Undead, and when he pulled out, the WB dropped the project like a hot rock, leaving us with...nothing. No Dark Shadows, and they cancelled Angel for no valid reason. Angel was doing pretty good in ratings, the quality of the show was only getting better with the arrival of Illyria, a demon who had taken over Fred's body and had powers such as creating portals and slowing down time and well, being REALLY strong. I named my daughter after her and any time a fellow fan hears her name, they exclaim: "Like the blue smurf demon? Oh my GOD, that is SO cool!" Yeah, some of us fans are a bit hardcore.

If the show had to be cancelled, fans would have liked the WB to give Angel the time to play out its story arc successfully. Instead, in the last six episodes, you can see what was meant to span months turn into six episodes of quick-quick-quick. For example, Illyria was supposed to be an enemy of Angel & Co. for awhile before losing her powers and becoming an ally. Lots of loose ends had to be tied quickly. Overall, the show just had to scramble to try to leave the viewer with the best ending they could with the limited amount of time they had left. Unfortunately, almost any Angel fan you ask will tell you that a) the last few episodes were rushed and really took out a lot of elements of the show that we loved. There just wasn't time for witty repartee and build-up. It felt like scrambling. And b) the season finale was disappointing and not right for the send-off of the show.

Enraged fans everywhere blame Jordan Levin, the WB executive who is known to fans as "the guy who cancelled Angel" and "the guy who didn't pick up Dark Shadows 2004,". May Wolfram & Hart have mercy on his soul. Joss Whedon tries to placate fans of his show by saying that this ending was exactly what he had wanted. He's posturing and telling an outright lie, as he's done many times to throw fans off, such as when he said "Buffy and Spike WILL NOT ever be together. We've done the vampire and slayer thing once already". Then, what do you know, Spike and Buffy are together for numerous seasons right after Joss told us he wouldn't be going down this road. I do believe that the message of the finale was what he always wanted to do, but the events leading up to it were not planned ahead, considering they didn't know the show was going axed in favor of Dark Shadows. You could see all his carefully developed sub-plots suddenly pack themselves up and join a huge story line for the finale that attempted to encompass all of Angel's messages and leave you thinking. Joss Whedon did the best he could for the show's ending, and unfortunately, it wasn't enough for fans of his show.

Is there any chance either show will be resurrected? Very doubtful. Angel's David Boreanaz is already on Bones on FOX, and I believe at least a few of the other actors have moved on to different projects.

When a show is abruptly cancelled, do you wonder what the writers had in store for the next season? I certainly do. Shows like Angel and Tru Calling did not have a chance to smooth out storylines and give you a sense of closure, leaving the viewer to ponder What Would Have Happened On...? Carey's got the interview Joss Whedon gave regarding the demise of Angel.This blog fills you in on what was meant to grace our screens, but never did. The blog details the unwritten, unaired "what would have been" next seasons on Eerie, Indiana, Nightmare Cafe, Everwood, Joan of Arcadia, Quantum Leap, Wonderfalls, and Dark Angel, just to a name a few.

If you've been missing NBC's Treasure Hunters, you've been missing a highly competitive game between teams from all walks of life. You have Ex-CIA, Air Force, Southie Boys, Geniuses, Grad Students, Miss USA, Brown Family, Wild Hanlons, Young Professionals, and finally, the backstabing Fogal family. Yes, tricks and sneaky tactics abound on this show, especially from the Fogals, whose leader Brad is a senior pastor at his church. His wife, Margie, seems like a sweet PTA mother. She doesn't seem to have a sharp mind, but she is quite lacking in a conscience. Their daughter, Kayte, barely registers with her prescence, but how can she, considering her parents garner attention from the camera and the other teams with their dirty play tactics.

This game is all about competition and as far as I'm concerned, pretty much anything goes. The only reason I'm bashing upon the Fogal family is because they aren't playing it smart. To be truly sneaky, everyone must trust you. You should not blatantly grab someone else's clue and run off or tell two other teams to bank on the river to check something out, then paddle like the devil is behind you. If any of those teams had been near last place, that would have made sense, but the Browns and The Hanlons were at least an hour behind them, so there was no worries about being eliminated. Pull out your bag of tricks when its necessary and when you can get away with it. A snake in the grass doesn't reveal themselves until they strike and if the Fogal family wants to play their strategy this way, they'll soon be ousted.

On the last episode of Treasure Hunters, the Fogals, as well as Team Air Force, were indeed ousted. The game this time was for one team to pair up with another and work together to get two separate clues, bring them together, and finally open a box with the final clue. All six other teams allied against the Fogals in particular, shouting, "We've Fogaled the Fogals!" Clearly, the other teams are not going to fall for any more underhanded tricks from this devout Christian family.

Are the other teams any better? and there a team will pull something, such as getting one team to give them a combination and "work together" for it, but then not tell the other team what it was even though they have nothing to gain by withholding information. The Grad Students couldn't catch a break in the first episode, due to the Fogals stealing their underwater clue and then The Geniuses stealing their other clue, leaving them with a box that was thought to have a broken and unopenable lock. The other teams utilize the opportunites given to them, but not like that happy-smiling Fogal family, who are vicious and blatant about it at every turn. Yes, the show is pretty much anything goes, but its kind of hard to see a man of god be such a seemingly nice guy one moment, and in the next playing the remorseless "cheater" (I use quotes because there aren't set rules). In fact, Brad seems so concerned with winning, he barely noticed when his daughter injured her thumb or when she dropped the canoe in exhaustion. He doesn't seem to think of his family as anything more than tools to use. I honestly don't feel any love between members of the Fogal clan.

Expect to see more of their questionable tactics Mondays at 9pm on NBC.

Eliminated teams: The Young Professionals were the first to go, having lost a lot of time by heading to Mt. Roosevelt instead of Mt. Rushmore. The Browns were eliminated, but later reinstated due to Grad Students dropping out of the competition. Jessica hurt her leg during the hunt, completed the hunt with her teammates Kat and Melissa. She finally threw in the towel when she was told by the orthopedic surgeon that if she continued on with this very physical game, she would be facing surgery and possibly life-long complications with her ankle. The most recently eliminated were The Wild Hanlons, after failing to figure out the combination to their box and trying to randomly guess it. I'm sorry to see them go because although they are not worthy of being called Treasure Hunters, their stupid antics were hilarious. They might not have been eliminated had they not, as Josh said, "drive 80 miles round-trip to get a hamburger during an elimination competition". Yes, they really drove 40 miles away mid-competition to Burger King.

If you haven't given this show a chance yet, please do. It's quite fun to root for your team, or see what strategies are going to be employed next. And can you believe that Miss USA (all three of them DIDN'T ever win Miss USA title) is STILL in the running. They're flying under the radar.

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Superman Returns starts out with a paragraph prologue, explaining where the movie starts, essentially. The original score cues up and your skin gets goosebumps. How right that they keep the original theme! We soon discover that Superman, as well as Clark Kent, have been gone for years, visiting his dead home planet, Krypton. Both return in a blaze of fire at his adoptive mother's house (Eva Marie Saint).

We follow Clark as he returns to the Daily Planet and discovers that a lot of things have changed. During his "soul searching", Lois had a child and got engaged to her editor's nephew, Richard White (James Marsden). Superman also discovers that the crime rate has risen and that Lex Luthor was appealed due to Superman not being there to be a witness. More and more we feel the weight on Superman's shoulders burdened by his act of "abandoning" the world. And no one felt more abandoned than Lois, who won a Pulitzer for her article, "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman".

After this depressing return home of finding his true love has moved on, what's next for Superman? Well, what he usually does -- help the world. In a blur of scenes, Superman randomly saves people and rights wrongs. It comes off as rather tedious and predictable...and then we are giving a new facet of Superman: The Peeping Tom. That's right! Throughout the movie, Superman uses his powers for frivalous spying on Lois Lane and her family in their home, peering through the walls with his x-ray vision and using her supersonic hearing to listen in on their conversation. Superman doesn't even look guilty after doing this, which doesn't strike true with fans of the character.

Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) visits the Fortress of Solitude and learns everything about Superman's past and the crystals within the chamber. He learns all this through the image of Jor-El, played by Marlon Brando via archive footage. As his scheme unfolds, one crinkles their brow with confusion. Lex Luthor is coming off as one-note, and more dreadfully, he's coming off boring. His whole plan is a viable one, but it just seems a stupid idea from the evil genius. Spacey usually plays multi-layered, extremely fascinating characters, so when you see his name in the credits you assume that his portrayal of Luthor is going to be the best yet. It's not. Luthor doesn't even feel menacing or clever. Instead, the character romps about putting his plans in order like a rich kid all grown up while Superman is completely aware of his "devious" plan.

Bryan Singer directed Superman Returns, giving the film that witty humor we remember from the first two installments of X-Men. We also get plenty of nods to the past films, including direct quotes from the original. One would be hard-pressed to not notice that Superman Returns is an homage to its predecessors.

On the whole, the movie has a very angst-ridden quality to it. In fact, this goes on for the first hour and a half. Superman spies on Lois unbeknownst to her, angonizes on love lost. Lois doesn't let Superman or Clark off the hook for abandoning her for years without even saying goodbye. Its obvious she still has feelings for both but doesn't want to let either back into her life more than she has to.

By the time the real action arrives, people are falling asleep or just wishing it was over. There was no reason for this to go on and on. The confrontation with Luthor at the end seems rushed, even though the movie itself is a good two and a half hours long. Most of the screentime went to the subtle nods to the previous films and the confused turmoil of the Lois/Superman and Lois/Clark relationship.

The biggest slap in the face, for me, is that in all the comics, movies, and on the tv show, Superman immediately is weakened and pained when near kryptonite. All Lex Luthor had to do in the movies was open the lead box with the kryptonite inside and Superman would feel it's effects. In Returns, Superman is standing on a huge island made completely of crystal and kryptonite...and he has NO CLUE until someone punches him. This is just ridiculous to me. Superman would be sputtering and writhing immediately around a tiny piece of kryptonite AND an entire ISLAND of kryptonite!!!!

The actors do their best in Return and I do not begrudge them for the longwinded essence of their characters. Lois is fresh-faced and fiesty with Kate Bosworth in the role. She does not portray an overall toughness to Lois, but she also doesn't let people step all over her or tell her what to do. Kevin Spacey did the best he could with the role before him and Parker Posey is adorable as whiny Kitty Koslowski.

How does Brandon Routh fair playing the iconic Man of Steel? Decent. He looks strikingly similar to Christopher Reeve and attempts to emulate those performances, but due to the script and lack of facial nuances from Routh, Superman is flat and under-developed. He seems as though he is simply trying to mimic Reeve...and failing at it. The sweet, good-heartedness of Reeve's portrayal is absent in Routh's. Despite all the scenes that focus on the relationship between Clark/Superman and Lois, you never really feel connected to how Clark is feeling and that makes the scene tiring to watch.

Some were disappointed with the choice of Routh when it was announced. After all, Christopher Reeve himself appeared on several episodes of Smallville and effectively "passed the torch" to Tom Welling, whose portrayal of a young Clark living in Smallville had revived interest in Superman once again. There are those who doubt that Superman Returns would have been greenlit at the time it was if it had not been for the overall good ratings for Smallville, whose audiences are mostly female.

Perhaps we're "all superheroed out". The script of Returns, written by Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty, follows pretty closely to Spider-man: Superhero is in love with fiesty girl-next-door type, but cannot reveal his secret identity, therefore pining after her in secret while saving the world one person at a time. Maybe if the bar hadn't been raised so high with films like Daredevil, X-Men, and X2, Returns could have been considered more interesting. Unfortunately, the movie feels generic, formulaic, and most importantly, quite a bit boring.

Do you want another opinion?Susan has done a review of this as well, and though I obviously don't feel the same way, her review conjures up memories of the Superman legend. Her whole blog, in fact, is quite interesting and worthy of your time. Anyway, her Superman Returns review is here.

Did Kate Bosworth look too skinny?

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