Monthly Archives: January 2011
This has to be one of the most densely packed episodes of the Spartacus series, including season 1 of Spartacus: Blood and Sand. There was lots of blood and sex in this episode, as well as many cans of worms being opened, not just upon the corpses.
Batiatus vowed revenge on Vettius upon being beaten, and he does it with the help of Gaia, Ashur and his Syrian brother. Varrus, the liason from Rome, was soon to be arriving in Capua to schedule a primus (the gladiator for the main event) in the arena. However, Varrus wished to see the gladiators of Vettius via his ally Tullius‘ political maneuvering. Tullius attempted to bring favor by buying the vase and wine for Solonius, presently Batiatus’ ally. However, as sly as this maneuver may have been, it only brought retribution to Vettius.
Batiatus, however, set in motion events of his own. He declared Oenomus to become Doctore in the privacy of his own quarters since the current Doctore was a relic of his father and his training of Crixus. The present Doctore was notified afterwards, and it precipitated a division between two friends. Ultimately, the present Doctore, Oenomaus’ friend in the ludus, fell by his own sword, and Oenomaus now claimed that title. I thought this event came a bit early for this prequel, but it did give understanding on how the this event added fuel to the fire in the finale of Spartacus: Blood and Sand against Batiatus. Also, through conniving of Batiatus, Lucretia and Gaia and by Varrus’ own suggestion, Gannicus had sex with Oenomaus’, his friend’s wife while Varrus watched. This event may have set animosity between Gannicus and Oenomaus. It may also involve Oenomaus’ wife, Melitta.
Gannicus did secure the position as primus for the games in the arena, and the House of Batiatus defeated the House of Vettius temporarily. But retribution found a way of catching up to Batiatus and Lucretia in Spartacus: Blood and Sand. I would expect no different in this prequel.
Lastly, this episode foreshadowed the rise of Crixus as the upcoming Champion of Capua. He improved quickly while training with Oenomaus. He behaved like Spartacus, as Spartacus and Crixus are two sides of the same coin. This may foreshadow events once Spartacus: Blood and Sand returns for the second season.
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena began last Friday, and this show is the prequel to Spartacus: Blood and Sand. We are introduced to Gannicus, a Celtic warrior is currently the lead dog in the ludus. Gannicus has bad habits — mostly wine and women — the night before the scheduled fight for Batiatus. He is not the model gladiator besides the fighting.
The slave turned gladiator Crixus and slave turned traitor Ashur are both introduced in this episode. Crixus and Ashur are currently freshmen in the gladiator training and are treated as such by the likes of Gannicus and Barca. Barca has demonstrated his homosexuality in this episode by kissing a fellow warrior of the ring. Unfortunately, Oenomaus, played by Peter Mensah, has already fought Theocles and has suffered his injuries already. That would’ve been a great fight scene with him and his fellow gladiators battling Theocles. Perhaps a flashback episode maybe…
Aside from Gannicus, Batiatus has an ally currently in Solonius against the house of Vettius. Both are attempting to bid for their first showing in the new arena that is being built in Capua. Unfortunately, Batiatus does not want to sell Gannicus to Tullius, the minister of Capua essentially, after Batiatus bought Crixus from Vettius and himself. It did not end well for Batiatus as a result. Now Batiatus is stuck between a rock and a boulder between choosing to sell Gannicus or not. Unfortunately, the shadow of his father looms in Gannicus…
This episode has demonstrated all that is good regarding this series so far — blood and sex, which wasn’t in short supply in this particular episode. The downside so far is that most of the fighting has been in claustrophic “arenas” much like the Pit in Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Perhaps once the arena is built the fighting will get more intense. Overall, a great start for the prequel…
Exam has to be one of the most unique movies that I’ve seen in quite a while. The act of asking one question with one answer by the Invigilator (Colin Salmon) of a biotech company is simple enough, but with the character interactions, the answer is answered in extreme and different ways. This is a thriller — and more importantly, a character study for the Invigilator, the biotech company and the viewer.
The diverse group of eight hirees is locked in the room. To answer the question correctly, however, they must follow restrictive guidelines set by the Invigilator or otherwise be disqualified. The group dynamics changed as each of the hirees were disqualified for violation of the rules. Ultimately, it came down to the one who paid attention throughout the entire event, observing the little details that were missed. While most of the people were looking at the bigger picture or developed the question into something more than it is, the person who answered it correctly was awarded the position. And that position entailed a lot of responsibility and care — which was the reason for the test initially.
This independent film may not have been watched in too many theaters in the United States, but it should have been. The simple question culminated in a complex drama. Overall, a fairly brilliant film – 4/5 stars.
After watching three episodes up to “KOZMO,” including the pilot, The Cape on NBC has been okay so far. Vince Faraday, a cop played by David Lyons, is framed for murder by Chess/Peter Fleming (played by James Frain), CEO of the Ark Corporation in Palm City. Peter Fleming essentially wants to privatize the entire police force of the city, but Vince Faraday attempts to put a stop to it. After a supposed death under an exploding fuel tanker on the train tracks, Vince is rescued by a Carnival of Crime, led by Max Malini (played by David Keith). The most notable other character in the Carnival is Rollo, played by Martin Klebba. Vince wants to inherit the cape that was originally owed by performers, the Kozmos and eventually Max himself. In a matter of time, he does and becomes the protagonist in his son’s comic book, The Cape.
- The comic book chapters lend to a good presentation.
- The dual characters of Chess and Peter Fleming is a very good villain. He is capable of stopping the Cape as a superhero and a regular person.
- The early confrontation with Kozmo establishes Vince as a good character.
- The cape itself is an awesome weapon, similar to Batman’s batarangs.
- Both Max and Rollo overpower the main character, Vince. Keith David has too much presence whenever David Lyons is with him.
- James Frain as Chess or Peter Fleming has more presence than David Lyons. His speech does not have not an opposing force in Lyons.
- When Lyons plays as the Cape and talks with his son, his raspy voice, similar to Christian Bale’s Batman, has to go. Seriously.
- Orwell, played by Summer Glau, doesn’t have much of a presence either. For a Watchtower, similar to the one in the Justice League or Smallville, she doesn’t quite have the pull of Chloe Sullivan‘s character. They need to establish her character much faster.
- The development of the Cape as a superhero. More needs to be done.
- The development of Orwell. She also needs to take part in more scenes that involve either the Carnival or the Cape character.
- The rogue gallery being planned to counter the Cape. Some of these actors are quite charasmatic in their own right. Vinnie Jones is a start as Scales.
The Potential Evolution of the Zombie Virus, Part 1: Similar Mechanisms of the Virus in Science Fiction
The zombie virus has been discussed in all sorts of media from movies such as Resident Evil and Dawn of the Dead to the current television series The Walking Dead. For the most part in science fiction, the virus has been manufactured from some evil corporation such Umbrella Corporation in Resident Evil, and often, the government agencies, such as Centers for Disease Control, fail to contain the virus once it starts. This is an analysis of the concurrent mechanisms from all the science fiction media.
Zombie Virus is a Virus
The zombie virus has been discussed originally as a virus. This would be true in many circumstances. Bacteria lack the ability to adapt within the human system, and they would fundamentally be attacked by white blood cells and lymphocytes upon detection. Although the person will run a temperature, through antibiotics, eventually it will counteract the bacteria, and the immune system would kickstart to remove the bacteria. Viruses, by their nature, are parasitic. They are encapsulated RNA or DNA that inject the genetic material into cells to replicate within it, eventually overtaking and lysing the cell completely as more viruses spread. However, the shape of viruses isn’t generally agreed upon in science fiction literature.
Zombie Virus Attacks Red Blood Cells
From most of the movies that I’ve seen so far, it has been agreed that the zombie virus attacks red blood cells in living human beings. Generally, the white blood cells and lymphocytes lack the capability of suppressing the virus once bitten by a zombie. Supposedly, the zombie virus would attack the central nervous system (CNS) initially, thereby disabling the body’s defenses.
Zombie Virus Reanimates the Brain Stem or the Brain
The zombie virus affects both the non-living and the living in this manner in generally all science fiction. This generally means it would affect the neural pathways to the central nervous system of the human host, much like rabies. The host would be capable of surviving, but they would more resemble the zombies in The Walking Dead, more than the recent Dawn of the Dead. Neurologically, the human would be physically crippled and mentally disabled (literally), acting more instinctively.
The Host Requires Consumption of Flesh to Survive
This is the most intriguing aspect of the zombie virus. It requires consumption of flesh, generally human, for the host to survive — and the virus ultimately as well. This is also ultimately the point of transmission for the virus into other hosts. The proteins in the consumed flesh would keep the human host alive, but the virus would still ultimately disable the host. The rabies virus has a life span of two days to five years. The human equivalent would and should have a similar life span.
Although this falls into the historical fiction section more than science fiction, I am glad that the series Spartacus has returned to television on January 21, 2011. With most of the returning cast reappearing for this series, it should still have spectacular fight scenes, and sexual overtones and undertones that we’ve all come to enjoy from this series.
John Hannah will return as Batiatus, Lucy Lawless will return as Lucretia, Peter Mensah will return as Oenomaus, Manu Bennett as Crixus and lastly, Ant0nio Te Maioha as Barca. Andy Whitfield will make a cameo as Spartacus in this stand-alone series and prequel to Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
Batiatus and Lucretia will be fighting his father for ownership of the ludus and ultimately gain control of the arena’s top gladiators. Hopefully, there will be more blood than shed previously and less drama, but given the series tone, sometimes episodes of drama is needed to temper it a bit.
Dead birds were found in Arkansas and Sweden, and not simply a bird but flocks full. Whether it was from weather or illness or combination of external events, scientists are still testing. This has been a foreboding told in the former series Flash Forward where the deaths of murders of crows gave a foretelling that the flash forward was originated from.
In Sweden, 50 to 100 jackdaws, a species of the crow family, fell dead in the city of Falkoping.
In Arkansas, thousands of birds were killed supposedly from disorienting fireworks and collided into homes, cars and each other.
In Louisiana, power lines supposedly killed 450 birds in the rural community of Pointe Coupee Parish of Labarre. The birds were a combination of red-winged blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, grackles and starlings.
Mass bird deaths are quite frequent. About 90 mass deaths, according the U.S. Geological Service website, have occurred from June through December 12, 2010.
Regarding these bird deaths, most likely it could have been environmental. Whether exposure to chemicals in water or quite possibly to noise or low-flying aircraft, these elements could have possibly disoriented these birds. If something more extreme that could possible these deaths, it could have been a distortion in the Earth’s magnetism, and these could have affected these birds orientation. But all this is speculation until the scientists perform toxicology and perform autopsies on these birds. Hopefully, all these deaths have a common thread, as it could expose something harmful in nature.
This will be a five-parter concerning the possible development of androids, quite possibly within our lifetime. With technology progressing as fast as it is, it is not without the realm of reason now. Japan and the U.S. have already developed prototypes, but they lack the sufficient artificial intelligence to be considered sentient. But the primitive and basic algorithms for true artificial intelligence has been created, and consumer computers have quad processors and the ability to multi-task with little hindrance. Now it’s a matter of time before the algorithms and computer language evolve…
The Search for God
In Battlestar Galactica’s world, both the humans and the Cylons were attempting to search for God. With the advent of destruction of Cylons, Starbuck found out the Cylon fighters, such as Scar, were indeed living, and they were merely rebooted into another model continuously upon death. Even more importantly, the original Centurions developed the 12 human models to help them find God. Number Seven, played by Tricia Helfer, being the most important, as she never altered her search, despite pressure from other Cylons to end her search. A machine’s search for God ultimately made her and Baltar decide not terminate the humanity’s existence on Earth in the finale.
Centurion to Cylon to Human
In the new Battlestar Galactica, the development from the Centurion to the Twelve ultimately gave the Cylons a chance to explore humanity and to take advantage of them as well. Tactically, it allowed them to find Earth, and Seven’s final decision to save humanity on Earth gave humans a chance not to suffer another apocalypse. The Centurion was originally nothing more than battle machines designed as gear of war, much like the Terminator. The Cylon was a step forward in evolution to becoming more human-like. And, when the Cylons developed the Twelve copies, the Twelve finally perfected that formula of both appearing human and acting human and a few embraced human ideology. For the most part, these androids, the Twelve, took on human form in order to blend into human society and subvert it. This infiltration theme runs rampant in most science fiction, and it’s a reflection on human nature, more than the machines themselves.
Can Androids Be Human?
Aesthetically, androids can, as machines developed by Japanese manufacturers have shown. But they are nothing more than elaborate mannequins. Again, the only problem is the artificial intelligence. These machines can respond to voice and touch in a generally basic form, responding contextually within the program’s limitations. These machines lack the capability to respond like a human, adapting their conversation fluidly with changing topics and streams of thought. Perhaps with more memory and further evolution of the algorithms, these machines can finally be considered androids. But can these androids find God or otherwise embrace religion or philosophy? That might have to wait…