What Lisa Watched Last Night #87: Invasion Roswell

Last night, I forever lost 2 hours of my life because I watched the latest SyFy “original” film, Invasion Roswell, with my friends, the Snarkalecs.

Why Was I Watching It?

When I first heard the title of the latest SyFy film, I thought to myself, “Roswell!?  I kinda remember that show!”  However, I quickly realized that — other than taking place in New Mexico and featuring aliens — Invasion Roswell had nothing to do with Katherine Heigl’s old TV show.

Invasion Roswell was actually broadcast on Thursday night.  As we’ve been doing ever since SyFy stopped showing original films on Saturday, the Snarkalecs dvred Invasion Roswell when it first premiered and then we actually watched (and live-tweeted) it on Saturday.

Why did we do this?

Because that’s what we do.

It’s an existential thing.

What Was It About?

This film was a combination Red and about every single alien invasion film that’s even been made.  Aliens invade the Earth and naturally, they chose to destroy large parts of London and Paris (take that, Europe!), as well as Washington D.C.  (take that, IRS!).  It turns out that the only people who can defeat this threat are a bunch of old alien hunters who have been previously forced to retire by a random corporate guy in a suit.

So, while Patrick (Greg Evigan) and Linda (Denise Crosby) attempt to get the old gang of gun-wielding geezers back together again, the aliens continue to progressively conquer every inch of the planet.

(Except for Canada, of course.  Canada’s tough!)

What Worked?

The aliens themselves were effective, especially when compared to some of the invaders who have populated previous SyFy films.  Clad in black armor and firing blue laser beams, the aliens managed to be intimidating and campy at the same time.

The Snarkalecs managed to get Invasion Roswell trending on twitter during the entire two hours we spent watching it.  It was fun to watch non-snarkalecs try to figure out why Invasion Roswell was trending.  “Have we been invaded?!” one random dumbfug toadsucker tweeted.  Seriously, some people are stupid.

What Did Not Work?

Invasion Roswell was literally one of the slowest movies that I have ever seen on SyFy.  A typical SyFy film accomplishes more in 10 minutes than Invasion Roswell did in 85 minutes.  Between the slow pace, the predictable storyline, and the uninteresting characters, there really weren’t many opportunities for Invasion Roswell to actually be entertaining.

As a result, my tweets suffered.  Usually, I think I’m a pretty lively force when it comes to live-tweeting SyFy films but, when it came to Invasion Roswell, I found myself struggling to stay awake.

To put it another way, I thought Heebie Jeebies was bad until I saw Invasion Roswell.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

When I was little, my family very briefly lived in New Mexico.  However, we were in Carlsbad and, as a result, I don’t think we ever met any aliens.  Then again, we were citizens of New Mexico for only a few months so maybe we could have met some aliens if we had just stuck around long enough.  I guess that’s just going to have to be one of life’s mysteries.

Otherwise, there were no “Oh my God!  Just like me!” moments in Invasion Roswell. Maybe someday, when I’m as old as Denise Crosby, I’ll be able to relate to this film.

Lessons Learned

I can forgive a lot of things but I cannot forgive dullness.

Review: True Blood 6.9 “Life Matters”

True Blood

When the history of True Blood is eventually written, Life Matters will be remembered as the best episode of season 6 and perhaps as one of the best episodes of the entire series.

For a show that has occasionally been a tad too complicated and a bit too dependent on easy snark as opposed to genuine sentiment, tonight’s episode was both focused and sincerely emotional.  If an episode of True Blood could ever make you cry while still making you laugh and occasionally jump, Life Matters is that episode.

Tonight, True Blood was all about death.  While the citizens of Bon Temps gathered to say a final goodbye to Terry, the vampires got their revenge on the humans at Vamp Camp.  The Rev. Newlin finally met his well-deserved demise at the hands of Eric and the sun while Jason came close to murdering Sarah Newlin before finally relenting.

At the end of last week’s episode, Bill and Sookie were standing over Warlow’s drained body.  Well, it turns out that Warlow is not dead.  He’s just weakened.  After Sookie allows him to feed on her, she leaves for Terry’s funeral while Bill heads to Vamp Camp.

The rest of the episode very skillfully cuts back and forth from the powerful emotion of Terry’s funeral and Bill and Eric’s bloody rampage at Vamp Camp.  While those at the funeral speak of the value of celebrating life, Bill, Eric, and the vampires are literally killing every human that they can find.  While Andy and Sam talk about (and we see flashbacks of) the first time they ever met Terry, Bill is killing a human scientist by stomping his face in.  While Sookie gives her eulogy and also outs herself as being a telepath, Eric is releasing all of the female vampires and announcing, “Go forth and kill all the humans!”

Sarah Newlin, realizing that she’s literally one of only two humans left alive at Vamp Camp, climbs up to the top of the roof of the sun room and turns a wheel that opens up the ceiling.  The sun shines down on the vampires below but all of the vampires have now fed on Bill’s blood and are now immune to the sun.

Every vampire except for the Rev. Newlin, of course.

Newlin begs to be allowed to feed on Bill’s blood but none of the other vampires are willing to allow Newlin to get near him.  Finally, Eric grabs Newlin by the throat and holds him in place as the sun shines down on him.  As Sarah watches from above, her ex-husband starts to burn and then explodes into a mess of red goo.  Newlin’s last words are to declare his love for Jason Stackhouse.

As for Jason, he catches Sarah as she tried to flee Vamp Camp and, in a rather uncomfortable scene, holds a gun to Sarah’s face while she begs for her life.  Jason finally allows her to escape, saying that he doesn’t want her blood on his hands.  As hateful a character as Sarah is, I’m glad that Jason didn’t kill her.  Jason may be many things but he’s not a cold-blooded murderer.  That’s one reason why we all love him.

Bill, weakened after having been drained, lies on the floor of the sun room and has a vision of Lillith’s sirens approaching him.  They tell him that it’s time for him to come with Lillith.  Bill says that he’s not ready to go.  Fortunately, Jessica and James find him and James feeds him.

Meanwhile, Terry’s funeral ends with Arlene accepting an American flag from the Marine honor guard and Big John singing “Life Matters.”  A random old lady wonders why there’s so many black people at Terry’s funeral.  That’s just life in Bon Temps.

As the episode ends, Bill and the other vampires are celebrating in the daylight.  However, Pam sees Eric standing some distance away.  Pam tells Eric that he better not leave her.  Eric responds by doing just that, shooting off into the sky and leaving Pam by herself.

Tonight’s episode of True Blood felt almost like a series finale.  As I watched it, I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t watching the end of the show or even the end of the season.  Instead, I was watching the 9th episode of a 10-episode season.  There’s one more episode and at least one more season to go before True Blood concludes.

I just hope that Eric comes back.

Random Observations:

  • Considering just how marginal his character often seemed to be in the grand scheme of things, I was a bit surprised at how touching Terry’s funeral truly turned out to be.
  • Still, as a friend of mine pointed out on twitter, dead Terry got more screen time during tonight’s episode than he ever did while he was alive.
  • If an episode of True Blood ever deserved an Emmy for editing, this is the one.
  • How is Season 6 going to end?  Is there more to the Lillith story or will next week’s episode just be about setting things up for season 7?  Your guess is as good as mine.
  • I’m sure that those of you who got this review in your e-mail might be wondering if I really did accidentally type Big Brother instead of True Blood in my initial draft of this post.  Yes, I did.  Whoops.  I also write a daily blog over at the Big Brother Blog.  My mistake was the result of me trying to write reviews of two very different shows at the same time.
  • “I love you, Jason Stackhouse!”

Ten Years #33: Аркона

Decade of last.fm scrobbling countdown:
33. Аркона (909 plays)
Top track (49 plays): Покровы небесного старца, from От сердца к небу (2007)
Featured track: Гой, Купала!!!, from От сердца к небу

It’s no coincidence that a lot of folk-oriented Slavic metal bands have more of an edge than their western counterparts. There is a spirit of primitivism and barbarism that seems to permeate these acts; while Alestorm and Korpiklaani are reveling in booze, bands like Arkona are delighting in something more savage. Grittier distortion, harsher vocals, lower quality production, and a tendency to incorporate black metal all play a role. While this has allowed a lot of Slavic folk metal bands to capture a slightly deeper, more introspective connection to their cultural roots, it has also reduced their accessibility. Arkona are impervious to this consequence; they manage to invoke that essence of savage Slavic glory while still constructing songs I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to people unconditioned to extreme metal. This is due in part to their above-average production quality (obviously lacking in a youtube rip), but more so to Masha’s wildly diverse range of sung and screamed vocals, often accompanied by a glorious operatic Russian chorus.

As with the last entry in my last.fm series, there is not much I care to say about Arkona that I did not already cover in a previous post. Their position as my 33rd most listened to band of the past decade is no accident. Hell, they’re the initial reason I learned how to transliterate Cyrillic.