Thursday, January 07, 2010


Written by Pirata Hermosa

The story begins with Anita (Amanda Seyfried), “Needy” as her friends call her. She’s narrating the story to explain how she ended up in the mental hospital where we now find her.

Just a few months earlier she was a nerdy girl in high school, hanging out with her boyfriend, Chip (Johnny Simmons), and her best friend, Jennifer (Megan Fox). They all lived in a small town called Devil’s Kettle, which was named after a nearby waterfall that emptied into a bottomless hole in the ground.

Jennifer and Needy had been best friends since they were little kids. Needy was the quiet reserved type, while Jennifer was the wild one getting them into all kinds of crazy situations. And to live up to this reputation, Jennifer convinces her friend to accompany her to some dive bar where she’s looking to hook up with the lead singer of a barely known band from the big city called “Low Shoulder”.

The band is your typical bunch of sleazeballs led by Nikolai (Adam Brody) who seems more interested in figuring out if Jennifer is a virgin than the music he’s playing. In the middle of the performance, one of the lighting rigs catches fire and within minutes the entire building is on fire. The two girls manage to escape through the bathroom and run directly into Nikolai. While the girls are still in shock, he leads Jennifer over to the band’s van and drives away with her.

Later on, when Needy can’t contact Jennifer on her cell phone she becomes worried. But shortly afterwards, Jennifer shows up in her kitchen covered in blood and vomiting up black bile. Just as quickly as she appears, she disappears and leaves Needy terrified.

While Jennifer appears to be her normal self and acts like nothing happened, she is actually killing and eating the boys around school. Nobody in town suspects who the cannibal is, but Needy knows that something is wrong and has her suspicions confirmed when Jennifer shows up in her bedroom and confesses that she is the killer. She also tells her how the guys from Low Shoulder drove her out to the falls and used her as a virgin sacrifice to Satan.

Needy does some quick research in the occult section of the school library and discovers that they performed the ritual incorrectly. They needed to sacrifice an actual virgin, which they did not. Instead when they sacrificed non-virgin Jennifer it allowed a demon to escape from hell and possess her body. Needy must now find a way to defeat the demon and save the town.

Starring what some consider one of the most beautiful women in the world, in a film called Jennifer’s Body, you’d think you might actually see Jennifer’s body. But no, there’s no nudity, no slow camera pans over her figure, or even an ounce of sexiness in the film.

Overlooking that, you might be able to forgive it because it’s supposed to be a horror film. But once again it fails because it’s not very scary or filled with any gore. Most of the horror aspect is only alluded to with the cameras turning away before you see anything or what is done is via silhouette. Even the format in which it’s told as one big flashback removes any suspense as the audience already knows that Needy lives through it all.

The writing is bad as it’s obvious that the writer is trying to make up new terminology that we should be using, such as “Salty” for someone who is hot looking and “Jell-O” for being jealous, and a number of the plot points just don’t make basic sense. Nobody in the world would have chosen Jennifer, dressed like a hooker, pushing alcohol, and aggressively flirting as "the virgin" over the timid, mousey, plain-looking, nerdy girl. Would you? The satanic ritual performed by the band was taken off the Internet and contained about three words. Why would the demon come to Needy and confess to her that she was the murderer? What small town would have a giant occult section in the school library?

For a film that almost puts you to sleep, the ending was actually pretty cool. It’s the only part of the film that actually makes you want to see more, probably because it’s about five minutes long and is done in a montage sequence where you see Needy escape the mental institute and deal out some vengeance to the boys of Low Shoulder.

The Blu-Ray version is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen with DTS-HD Master Audio and includes two discs. The first disc is a digital copy for your computer. The second disc includes both the theatrical and extended versions of the film, plus all of the bonus features. The video quality of the disc is a little grainy, but with most of the scenes shot with limited lighting the quality didn’t matter as much. There were some issues with the sound mixing. The dialogue was much too quiet compared to the music. I had to have the remote control in hand throughout the film as the music would suddenly just start blasting at full volume from my stereo system. I even checked the settings of my equipment just to make sure it wasn’t my fault. The actual sound quality seemed just fine, but I must confess that I am not a big fan of any of the songs on the soundtrack

The Bonus Features include:

A commentary by director Karyn Kusama and writer Diablo Cody on the theatrical version only and a commentary by Kusama on the extended version.

Deleted Scenes: most of these scenes were deleted for good reason, but there is a scene in the girls’ locker room that should have been left in. It’s actually pretty important as it helps make sense of why Needy is afraid of Jennifer going to the dance, and why Jennifer goes after Chip.

Gag Reel: there’s just a couple of bloopers and then it becomes a music video mixed in with random footage.

"Jennifer’s Body: The Dead Pool" is an in-depth discussion and behind-the-scenes look into the film’s climax where the two girls fight one another in a pool to save Chip’s life. Not only does it discuss the motivation, but it also shows you how all of the special effects were done.

Video Diaries of the cast members as they run around with handy cams taking uneventful home videos.

"Megan Fox is Hot" is not really a feature, but 30 seconds of Megan Fox close-ups from the movie.

"Megan Fox Peer Pressure PSA" starts off as a serious PSA announcement about peer pressure in school that talks about how you should be yourself and then completely changes gears when you realize it’s being told from Jennifer’s demonic point of view.

"Fox Movie Channel presents Life after Film School with Writer Diablo Cody": three film students do a serious interview with the writer. They discuss how she became a writer, her life as a stripper, and what it was like to win an Oscar.

Overall, Jennifer's Body is kind of a blah film as it feels like everyone is just going through the motions. The acting is pretty uninspiring and Megan Fox’s performance is just terrible. The storyline is just a regurgitated version of prior horror genre films that did a better job of telling the story the first time around.

Farscape: The Complete Series

Written Pirata Hermosa

In the early ‘90s the Jim Henson Company wanted to embark on a new endeavor and try something it had never done before. They were looking to take their unique skills at puppeteering and their Creature Shop and do more than just special effects in films. They were looking to create a television series where they could bring all of their creations to life.

After bringing on Rockne O’Bannon, who was known for creating Alien Nation and SeaQuest, to head the series, it still took them several years for it to hit the airwaves. It wasn’t until after the FOX network had passed on the series and they were about to make it out of their own pocket for syndication that the Sci-Fi Channel stepped up and said that they would use it to head Sci-Fi’s new original-programming format. But even then, the series was a huge expense on any network, so the Henson Company used a multi-national approach for funding. It was supported by three different agencies: one in the United States, one in Britain, and one in Australia. In return they each got broadcast rights in their respective country. This is also the main reason why all of the filming was done in Australia and ended up with only the lead role being cast with an American actor.

John Crichton (Ben Browder) is a modern-day astronaut/scientist who is conducting some experiments while orbiting the Earth in a single-man spacecraft. At the most critical juncture of the experiment, something goes horribly wrong and he finds himself and his small craft hurtling through a wormhole that deposits him on the opposite side of the universe. If this wasn’t enough of a problem by itself, he finds himself in the middle of a battle with a squadron of fighter ships that are attacking a much larger vessel.

But before Crichton can think, let alone act, his ship collides with one of the fliers, destroying it. This accident forces him to align with the ship under attack as the smaller fighters are targeting him as an enemy combatant. Once aboard the giant ship and after managing to escape from the battle, John discovers that he is aboard a prison ship filled with prisoners who have just completed a daring escape from their captors. Not only does John find himself with a group of possibly dangerous criminals, but also he quickly learns that in this part of the universe the race that looks like human beings are called Sebaceans, whose powerful military organization known as the Peacekeepers rules all the other races with an iron fist..

Somehow he must learn to get along with his new shipmates and find a way back home; all the while they are hunted by Crais (Lani Tupu), one of the Peacekeeper captains whose brother perished in the earlier collision with John’s spacecraft. He must also avoid capture by a creature called Scorpius (Wayne Pygram), who is only half-Sebacean and is hunting him down to learn the secrets of wormhole technology in order to create the ultimate weapon..

As both Jim Henson and Rockne O’Bannon said, they were looking for something completely new that had never been done before and wanted a more adult show, and in that they succeeded. The characters were all completely different from one another and their true motivations were not always apparent. If you are a science fiction fan and looking for something fresh and new, this would certainly be something worth having.

The extreme range of aliens created for the show is amazing. Some of them are so realistic that you wouldn’t believe they are animatronic. And then there are those like Rygel (Jonathan Hardy), looking like a cross between Yoda and a bullfrog, who at first glance seems silly but as the series progresses totally pulls you in.

The biggest problem I had with this show is that it’s not quite serialized enough. That’s not a bad thing when you’ve got the entire set in front of you to watch from beginning to end, but when it was originally airing and you would only catch an episode here and there, it made for some completely confusing television as everything always appeared to be in flux. Allegiances would change as well as cast members, plotlines carried over multiple episodes and a number of them were two- and three-part episodes, so if you weren’t regularly following the series it was easy to get lost.

Some of the more interesting story arcs involve their ship Moya, who is a living creature and gives birth to a male ship named Talyn; Scorpius implanting a chip in Crichton’s brain in order for it to discover his secrets and the chip becoming its own personality that John is constantly at war with, and finally his love affair with former Peacekeeper Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black).

It’s truly a wonderful thing that they have finally released Farscape as individual seasons and this giant Megaset. Up until now, you were forced to buy them in volumes, which are not only much more expensive, but it was difficult to find each of the volumes, leaving gaping holes in your personal collection. The Megaset includes 26 DVDs featuring all 88 episodes with two discs filled with extras such as:

"Making of a Space Opera" is a basic overview of the entire series and goes into detail of its creation and details of the special effects and the inner working of the animatronics used.

"In The Beginning: A Look Back With Brian Henson" is a sit-down interview where he discusses the basic concepts of how Farscape came into existence from the initial concept, how the show was financed, why they picked Rockne O’Bannon as creator, why season four ended as a cliffhanger, and even how the fans and their "Save Farscape" campaign brought the show back and allowed for the mini-series Farscape: The Peace Keeper Wars (not included here) to be made.

"Farscape in the Raw: Director’s Cut Scenes" takes original scenes and compares them to the Director’s cut, which doesn’t have the sound effects, music, special effects, or even the correct actor’s voices dubbed in.

"Farscape Undressed" was filmed just before season three aired and hosted by Ben Browder and Claudia Black. Essentially, it is a recap of the first two seasons in order to jog the memories of current fans and to help new viewers catch up to the current storyline.

“Listening In with Composer Guy Gross" reveals the musical side of the series as you get to observe him creating. Not only does he pause to add his own commentary, but it’s shot looking over his shoulder as you watch him play the synthesizer while he watches the scene on a television in front of him. This is certainly different than what you get from most DVD sets and there are 12 of these features, each from different episodes.

"Behind the Scenes Interviews" are with nearly every member of the cast except for the two main stars Ben Browder and Claudia Black.

"Video Profile: Creator/Executive Producer/Writer Rockne O’Bannon and Executive Producer Writer David Kemper" which are both very similar to the interview with Brian Henson, but these two have much more video clips mixed in and less information.

There are also 31 commentary tracks, deleted scenes from 33 episodes, a blooper reel, TV promos, and so much more for fans to explore. If you are a fan of the series, pick up this set.