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Breaking the Waves review

Posted : 12 years, 5 months ago on 18 December 2011 06:05 (A review of Breaking the Waves)

Breaking the Waves is a 1996 film directed by Lars von Trier and starring Emily Watson. Set in the Scottish Highlands in the early 1970s, it tells the story of an unusual young woman, Bess McNeill, and of the love she has for Jan, her husband. The film is an international co-production led by Lars von Trier's Danish company Zentropa.

Breaking the Waves tells the story of Bess McNeill, who has psychological problems, marries Norwegian oil rig worker Jan, despite the apprehensions of her community and Calvinist church. Bess is somewhat simple and childlike, and has difficulty living without Jan when he is away on the oil platform, where he is scheduled to work for ten days. She prays for his immediate return, and when he returns the next day paralyzed by an industrial accident, she believes it is her fault. No longer able to perform sexually, and mentally affected by the accident, Jan urges her to find and have sex with other men and then tell him the details. Bess slowly begins to believe that what she is doing is the will of God.

The film is influenced by the realist Dogme 95 movement, of which von Trier was a founding member, and its grainy images and hand-held photography give it the superficial look of a Dogme film. However, the Dogme rules demand the use of real locations, whereas many of the locations in Breaking the Waves were constructed in a studio.[citation needed] In addition, the film is set in the past and contains dubbed music, as well as a brief scene featuring CGI, none of which is permitted by the Dogme rules.

Breaking the Waves was named one of the ten best films of the decade by both Roger Ebert and Martin Scorsese during a show where the famous film personalities listed their top movies of the 1990s.

Breaking the Waves won the Grand Prix at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, and three awards at the 1996 European Film Awards including: Film of the Year, International Film Journalists Award, and European Actress of the Year (Watson). Emily Watson was nominated for the 1996 Academy Award for Best Actress, the 1997 British Academy of Film and Television Arts award, the National Society of Film Critics prize, and the European Film Award for Best Actress.

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The Good Shepherd review

Posted : 12 years, 5 months ago on 17 December 2011 01:18 (A review of The Good Shepherd)

The Good Shepherd is a 2006 spy film directed by Robert De Niro and starring Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie, with an extensive supporting cast. Although it is a fictional film loosely based on real events, it is advertised as telling the untold story of the birth of counter-intelligence in the Central Intelligence Agency. The film's main character, Edward Wilson (portrayed by Matt Damon), is loosely based on James Jesus Angleton and Richard M. Bissell. This was Joe Pesci's first film appearance after his six year hiatus from acting between 1999 and 2005.

A photograph and an audio recording on reel-to-reel tape are dropped off anonymously at the home of Edward Wilson (Matt Damon), a senior CIA officer, after the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba fails due to an undisclosed leak. While riding to work on the bus, Edward is approached by a young boy who asks if Edward has change for a dollar. Upon arriving at work, Edward's assistant checks the serial number of the dollar against a long list of serial numbers assigned to various code names and confirms that Edward has been given a dollar from "Cardinal". The movie then flashes back to 1939.
In 1939 Edward is at Yale University and joins Skull and Bones, a secret society that grooms future U.S. leaders. He is compelled to disclose a secret as part of his initiation: he reveals that as a young boy he discovered the suicide note left by his father, Thomas (Timothy Hutton), although he says he never read it. After the ceremony, a fraternity brother tells him that Edward's father, an admiral, was to be chosen as Secretary of the Navy, until his loyalties were questioned. Afterwards Edward is recruited by an FBI agent Sam Murach (Alec Baldwin), who claims that Edward's poetry professor, Dr. Fredericks (Michael Gambon), is a Nazi spy, asking Edward to expose his professor's background as well as implying that the Professor is homosexual: Edward's actions result in Dr. Fredericks' forced resignation from the university.
Edward begins a relationship with a deaf student named Laura (Tammy Blanchard), but while on Deer Island, Edward meets and is later aggressively seduced by Margaret 'Clover' Russell (Angelina Jolie), his friend's sister. General Bill Sullivan (Robert De Niro) asks Edward to join the OSS, offering him a post in London.
Later while Edward and Laura are at the beach, Clover's brother, John, privately reveals that Clover is pregnant with Edward's child and asks him to "do what is expected." Laura, an able lip-reader, sees and walks away. Edward marries Clover. At the wedding reception Edward accepts an offer of a position in the London OSS office from General Sullivan, requiring him to be in England in one week, leaving his newlywed wife. In London he meets his former professor Dr. Fredericks, who is actually a British intelligence operative who had sought to infiltrate a Nazi organization while at Yale, causing the American authorities to suspect that he was a Nazi spy. Despite this, Fredericks recognized Edward's gifts and recommended that he be trained in counter-espionage in London.
An intelligence officer in the British SOE, Arch Cummings (Billy Crudup), tells Edward that Fredericks' indiscriminate homosexual relationships pose a security risk; Edward is asked to deal with his mentor, but Fredericks refuses the chivalrous suggestion to protect himself by returning to teaching. He says he will understand if Wilson wants to "tie his shoe" (a signal to watchers that the meeting went badly). Edward delays, prompting Fredericks to kneel down and tie Edward's shoe for him. As their meeting ends, he advises Wilson to "quit... while you still have a soul", leaves, and is brutally killed, his body being dumped into the Thames.
The time shifts to post-war Berlin, where the Allies and the Soviets, in a race for technological superiority, are trying to recruit as many German scientists as possible. Edward encounters his Soviet counterpart, codenamed "Ulysses", who praises Edward. They plan an exchange of scientists — the Soviets asking for German Nazi and Slavic scientists, while the Americans seek Jewish scientists.
Edward is assisted by an interpreter, Hanna Schiller (Martina Gedeck), who wears what appears to be a hearing aid. After Edward learns from his son during a rare phone call home that Clover is having an affair, he accepts Hanna's invitation to dinner at her home, and sleeps with her. While they are making love, Edward realizes that Hanna can hear without the use of her hearing aid, exposing her as a Soviet operative. She is killed and Ulysses is notified by her hearing aid being planted in his teapot.
After six years in London, Edward returns home to a distant Clover, who now prefers to be called Margaret. Edward presents his son with a miniature model ship inside a glass watch-casing. Margaret explains that her brother was killed in the war; she also confesses that she previously had a brief relationship with another man. When she asks if he had any relationships, Edward replies that "it was a mistake." General Sullivan approaches Wilson again to help form a new foreign intelligence organization - the CIA - where Wilson will work with his former colleague, Richard Hayes (Lee Pace), under Phillip Allen (William Hurt). Edward accepts, hiding the details of his position from everyone but Clover/Margaret. Allen discloses his love of Swiss chocolate, prompting Edward to later ask Murach if the FBI has any information on Allen: the resulting file intimates that Allen holds substantial funds in Swiss accounts.
Edward's first assignment deals with coffee in Central America where the Russians are trying to gain influence. Edward spots Ulysses in the background of footage of the country's leader, but doesn't disclose this. Another agent is sent covertly as a representative of the Mayan Coffee Company; Edward warns him not to wear his Yale class ring. Edward arranges for airplanes to fly over and release locusts during a public event where the Russians (including Ulysses) are present in order to intimidate the Central American leader. Edward later receives a can of Mayan Coffee presumably from Ulysses, containing the severed finger, and Yale class ring, of the American agent. Wilson and Clover go to a Christmas party with their son, who wets himself, out of a heightened state of fear resulting from his fragmented awareness that his father is involved in dark secrets.
A Russian requesting asylum and claiming to be high-ranking KGB man Valentin Mironov, who knows Ulysses, is interviewed by Edward. Edward is fully convinced of his honesty. While attending the theater with Mironov and Cummings, Edward encounters his former sweetheart, Laura. They leave the theater separately, meet at a restaurant and rekindle their old romance.
Sometime later, Margaret anonymously receives photos of Laura and Edward getting into a taxi together and kissing. A distraught Margaret confronts him. Edward ends the relationship with Laura by returning her jeweled crucifix, which he had kept from their college romance days.
Then a Russian defector appears, claiming that he is the real Valentin Mironov, and that the other man actually is Yuri Modin, a KGB operative working for Ulysses. Edward does not believe him, and agents beat and torture the man, and administer liquid LSD because of its alleged truth serum properties. Despite the combined effects of drugs and torture, the second defector insists that he is the true Mironov. He further ridicules his interrogators for their need to believe in the myth of Soviet power which he calls a "great show" and "painted rust". Realising that he will never be believed, the defector hurls himself through the window to the pavement several stories below. The first man claiming to be Valentin Mironov, who has watched the entire ordeal together with Edward, then offers to take LSD to prove his innocence, but Edward doesn't think it's necessary.
Edward visits his son, Edward Jr., at Yale, where he has also joined the Skull and Bones society and has been approached for recruitment by the CIA. Margaret pleads with Edward to persuade their son not to accept, but Edward Jr. joins anyway, believing it will bring him closer to his loving, but distant, father. This widens the rift between Edward and Margaret. Later Edward Jr. overhears Edward and Hays discuss the upcoming Bay of Pigs invasion; Wilson suspects that Edward Jr. may have overheard the conversation and warns his son to be silent. Margaret moves to her mother's home in Arizona.
The film returns to the recording dropped off at the beginning of the movie. After analysis of clues such as the ceiling fan's brand name and the church bells and other sounds heard on the tape, CIA specialists deduce that the photograph may have been taken in Leopoldville, in the Congo. Edward goes there and finds the room. He realizes that the photograph and tape are of his son Edward Jr. when he sees the model ship in the glass watch-casing on the nightstand; its blurred image was the one object in the photo that the CIA team was unable to identify. Ulysses is there and plays Edward an unedited version of the tape, revealing Edward Jr. repeating to his lover, a Soviet spy, the classified information he overheard his father discussing. Thus the Cubans and Soviets learned of the upcoming CIA landing at the Bay of Pigs. Ulysses encourages Edward to spy for the Soviets in exchange for them protecting his son. Edward is non-committal, however; he confronts his son, who says that he is in love with the woman and plans to marry her. His son refuses to believe that she is an intelligence agent.
Edward exposes Valentin as Soviet spy Yuri Modin after finding evidence of his true identity in a book given to him by Arch Cummings, who is thus exposed as a co-conspirator. Cummings flees to the USSR. After meeting Ulysses in a museum and refusing to betray his country, Edward explains that as the Soviets have won in Cuba it is not necessary to hurt his son. Ulysses notes of Edward Jr.'s fiancée: "neither of us can be sure about her", and asks Edward, "You want her to be part of your family, don't you?" Later, Ulysses' aide asks him for change to purchase his daughter a souvenir from the gift shop. Edward asks how much it is, and hands him a one dollar bill, commenting that a cardinal rule of democracy is generosity, thus confirming that the aide is Edward's defector in place.
Edward and Margaret arrive separately in the Congo for Edward Jr.'s wedding. His fiancée travels on a small plane to the ceremony but mid-flight is thrown out of the plane. When she fails to arrive at the church, Edward informs a worried Edward Jr. that his fiancée is dead. Edward denies any responsibility when Edward Jr. asks; Edward is visibly affected when Edward Jr. reveals that his fiancée was pregnant.
Edward meets with fellow Skull and Bones classmate Hayes (loosely based on Richard Helms) at the new CIA headquarters still under construction. Hayes tells him that Allen is resigning under a cloud of financial improprieties (after receiving copies of the Swiss accounts delivered in a chocolate box), and that the President has asked him to be the new Director. The President has directed him to do some "housecleaning" and he tells Edward that he needs someone he can trust, saying, "after all, we're still brothers" and that Edward is the "CIA's heart and soul". He then tells Edward he will be the first head of counter-intelligence. Edward notes the inscription on the new marble wall of the CIA lobby: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32)".
Edward is then shown pulling from his home safe the suicide note that his father, Thomas, had left and in which his father's words, only now read by Edward, reveal that he had betrayed his country. He left loving words for his wife and son, particularly urging the latter to grow up to be a good man, husband and father and to live a life of decency and truth. Edward burns the note.
The film ends with Edward leaving his old office and moving to his new wing in the CIA.

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Titanic review

Posted : 12 years, 5 months ago on 17 December 2011 01:15 (A review of Titanic)

Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed, written, co-produced, and co-edited by James Cameron. A fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson, Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater, Gloria Stuart as Old Rose, and Billy Zane as Rose's fiancé, Cal Hockley. Jack and Rose are members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage.
Cameron's inspiration for the film was predicated on his fascination with shipwrecks; he wanted to convey the emotional message of the tragedy, and felt that a love story interspersed with the human loss would be essential to achieving this. Production on the film began in 1995, when Cameron shot footage of the actual Titanic wreck. The modern scenes were shot on board the Akademik Mstislav Keldysh, which Cameron had used as a base when filming the wreck. A reconstruction of the Titanic was built at Playas de Rosarito, Baja California, and scale models and computer-generated imagery were also used to recreate the sinking. The film was partially funded by Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox, and, at the time, was the most expensive film ever made, with an estimated budget of $200 million.
Upon its release on December 19, 1997, the film achieved critical and commercial success. It equaled records with fourteen Academy Award nominations and eleven Oscar wins, receiving the prizes for Best Picture and Best Director. With a worldwide gross of over $1.8 billion, it was the first film to reach the billion dollar mark, remaining the highest-grossing film of all time for twelve years, until Cameron's next directorial effort, Avatar, surpassed it in 2010. Titanic is also ranked as the sixth best epic film of all time in AFI's 10 Top 10 by the American Film Institute. The film is due for theatrical re-release on April 6, 2012 in 3-D to commemorate the centenary of the Titanic setting sail.

In 1996, treasure hunter Brock Lovett and his team explore the wreck of the RMS Titanic, searching for a necklace called the Heart of the Ocean. They believe the necklace is in Caledon "Cal" Hockley's safe, which they recover. Instead of the diamond, they find a sketch of a nude woman wearing it, dated April 14, 1912, the night the Titanic hit the iceberg. Rose Dawson Calvert finds out about the drawing, contacts Lovett, and says that she is the woman depicted. She and her granddaughter Elizabeth "Lizzy" Calvert visit Lovett and his team on his salvage ship. When asked if she knows the whereabouts of the necklace, Rose recalls her memories aboard the Titanic, revealing that she is Rose DeWitt Bukater, a passenger believed to have died in the sinking.
In 1912, 17-year-old first class passenger Rose boards the ship in Southampton, England with her fiancé Cal, the son of a Pittsburgh steel tycoon, and her mother, Ruth DeWitt Bukater. Ruth stresses the importance of Rose's engagement, because the marriage to Cal will solve the DeWitt Bukaters' hidden financial problems. Distraught by her engagement to Cal and the pressure her mother is putting on her, Rose considers suicide by jumping off the stern of the ship. Before she leaps, a drifter and artist named Jack Dawson intervenes and persuades her not to jump. When discovered with Jack on the stern, Rose lies to Cal and says that she was looking over the edge of the ship in curiosity, tripped by accident, and that Jack saved her. At Rose's insistence, Cal invites Jack to dinner the following night to show his appreciation.
By the next day, Jack and Rose have developed a tentative friendship, though Cal and Ruth remain wary of the young third-class man. Following the first-class dinner that night, Rose secretly joins Jack at a third-class party.
Cal and Ruth forbid Rose to see Jack, and Rose attempts to comply by rebuffing Jack's continuing advances. She soon realizes that she prefers him over Cal, and meets with him at the bow of the ship during what turns out to be the Titanic's final moments of daylight. They go to Rose's stateroom and she asks Jack to sketch her wearing nothing but the Heart of the Ocean, an engagement present from Cal. Afterward, the two flee Cal's bodyguard into the ship's cargo hold, where they make love. Then they go to the ship's forward well deck, where they witness the ship's collision with an iceberg and overhear the ship's officers and designer discussing its seriousness. Rose tells Jack that they should warn her mother and Cal.
Cal discovers Jack's drawing and a mocking note from Rose in his safe along with the necklace. Furious, he has his bodyguard slip the necklace into Jack's coat pocket, framing him for stealing it. Jack is arrested, taken down to the Master-at-arms's office and handcuffed to a pipe. Cal puts the necklace in his coat. Rose runs away from Cal and her mother (who has boarded a lifeboat) to find Jack, breaking him free with an axe.
Jack and Rose struggle back to the deck where Cal and Jack persuade her to board another lifeboat, Cal claiming that he has made an arrangement that will allow both men to get off safely. After she boards, Cal tells Jack that the arrangement is only for himself. As Rose's boat lowers, she realizes that she cannot leave Jack, and jumps back on board the Titanic to reunite with him. Infuriated, Cal takes a pistol and chases them into the flooding first-class dining saloon. After running out of ammunition, Cal realizes to his chagrin that he gave his coat with the diamond to Rose.
Meanwhile Frabizo and Tommy are trying to get a lifeboat but First officer Murdoch tries to keep men from boarding by pointing a pistol at them, Cal comes over and reminds him of there deal but Murdoch throw's the money he gave him back at him saying that it's worthless. One passenger tries to board but is shot by Murdoch then another passenger accidentally pushes Tommy which causes Murdoch to shoot him. Farbizo is angred by this and Murdoch is filled with guilt and shot's himself. With the situation now dire, he returns to the boat deck and boards a lifeboat by pretending to look after a lost child.
As the ship sinks the pipes break away and kill anyone in the way one of which was Farbizo. Captain Smith is also killed when water fill's up the control room that he has locked himself in.
As Jack and Rose return to the top deck, all lifeboats have departed and passengers are falling to their deaths as the stern rises out of the water. The ship breaks in half, and the stern side rises a full 90-degrees into the air. As it sinks slowly and completely, Jack and Rose ride the stern into the ocean. Jack helps Rose onto a nearby wall panel that will only support one person’s weight. As he hangs onto the panel, he assures her she will not die there and will instead die an old woman, warm in her bed. Meanwhile, Fifth Officer Harold Lowe has commandeered a lifeboat to return and search for survivors. He manages to save Rose, but Jack dies from hypothermia.
Rose and the other survivors are taken by the RMS Carpathia to New York, where Rose gives her name as Rose Dawson. She hides from Cal on Carpathia's deck as he searches for her, and she learns later that he committed suicide after losing his fortune in 1929.
Her story complete, Rose goes alone to the stern of Lovett's ship. There she takes out the Heart of the Ocean, which has in fact been in her possession all along, and drops it into the ocean. While seemingly asleep in her bed, the photos on her dresser are a visual chronicle that she lived a free life inspired by Jack. The young Rose is then seen reuniting with Jack at the Grand Staircase of the Titanic, cheered and congratulated by those who perished on the ship.

James Cameron had a fascination with shipwrecks, and, for him, the RMS Titanic was "the Mount Everest of shipwrecks." He was almost past the point in his life when he felt he could consider an undersea expedition, but said he still had "a mental restlessness" to live the life he had turned away from when he switched from the sciences to the arts in college. So when an IMAX film was made from footage shot of the wreck itself, he decided to seek Hollywood funding to "pay for an expedition and do the same thing." It was "not because I particularly wanted to make the movie," Cameron said. "I wanted to dive to the shipwreck."
Cameron wrote a scriptment for a Titanic film, met with 20th Century Fox executives including Peter Chernin, and pitched it as "Romeo and Juliet on the Titanic". There was a tense pause and Cameron said, "Also, fellas, it's a period piece, it's going to cost $150,000,000 and there's not going to be a sequel.... They were like, 'Oooooohkaaaaaay – a three-hour romantic epic? Sure, that's just what we want. Is there a little bit of Terminator in that? Any Harrier jets, shoot-outs, or car chases?' I said, 'No, no, no. It's not like that.'" The studio was dubious about the idea's commercial prospects, but, hoping for a long term relationship with Cameron, they gave him a greenlight.Cameron convinced Fox to promote the film based on the publicity afforded by shooting the Titanic wreck itself, and organized several dives to the site over a period of two years."My pitch on that had to be a little more detailed," said Cameron. "So I said, ‘Look, we’ve got to do this whole opening where they’re exploring the Titanic and they find the diamond, so we’re going to have all these shots of the ship." Cameron stated, "Now, we can either do them with elaborate models and motion control shots and CG and all that, which will cost X amount of money – or we can spend X plus 30 per cent and actually go shoot it at the real wreck." The crew shot at the real wreck in the Atlantic Ocean eleven times in 1995 and actually spent more time with the ship than its passengers. At that depth, with a water pressure of 6,000 pounds per square inch, "one small flaw in the vessel's superstructure would mean instant death for all on board." Not only were the dives high-risk, but adverse conditions prevented Cameron from getting the high quality footage that he wanted.
Descending to the actual site made both Cameron and crew want "to live up to that level of reality.... But there was another level of reaction coming away from the real wreck, which was that it wasn't just a story, it wasn't just a drama," he said. "It was an event that happened to real people who really died. Working around the wreck for so much time, you get such a strong sense of the profound sadness and injustice of it, and the message of it." Cameron stated, "You think, 'There probably aren't going to be many filmmakers who go to Titanic. There may never be another one – maybe a documentarian." Due to this, he felt "a great mantle of responsibility to convey the emotional message of it – to do that part of it right, too".
After filming the underwater shots, Cameron began writing the screenplay. He wanted to honor the people who died during the sinking, so he spent six months researching all of the Titanic's crew and passengers. "I read everything I could. I created an extremely detailed timeline of the ship’s few days and a very detailed timeline of the last night of its life," he said. "And I worked within that to write the script, and I got some historical experts to analyze what I’d written and comment on it, and I adjusted it." He paid meticulous attention to detail, even including a scene depicting the Californian's role in Titanic's demise, though this was later cut (see below). From the beginning of the shoot, they had "a very clear picture" of what happened on the ship that night. "I had a library that filled one whole wall of my writing office with "Titanic stuff," because I wanted it to be right, especially if we were going to dive to the ship," he said. "That set the bar higher in a way – it elevated the movie in a sense. We wanted this to be a definitive visualization of this moment in history as if you’d gone back in a time machine and shot it."
Cameron felt the Titanic sinking was "like a great novel that really happened", yet the event had become a mere morality tale; the film would give audiences the experience of living the history. The treasure hunter Brock Lovett represented those who never connected with the human element of the tragedy, while the blossoming romance of Jack and Rose, he believed, would be the most engaging part of the story: when their love is finally destroyed, the audience would mourn the loss. "All my films are love stories," Cameron said, "but in Titanic I finally got the balance right. It's not a disaster film. It's a love story with a fastidious overlay of real history." Cameron then framed the romance with the elderly Rose to make the intervening years palpable and poignant. For him, the end of the film leaves open the question if the elderly Rose was in a conscious dream or had died in her sleep.

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How I Met Your Mother review

Posted : 12 years, 5 months ago on 17 December 2011 01:10 (A review of How I Met Your Mother)

In the season opening, Ted sees Cindy again with a girl who he thinks to be her roommate, but she turns out to be Cindy's girlfriend whom she later marries. After prodding by Barney, Ted is eventually hired by GNB once more as the architect of the bank's new headquarters (which was originally scrapped in Season 4). However, he encounters opposition when he meets Zoey Pierson (Jennifer Morrison), a woman who is protesting against GNB for selecting a decrepit hotel, the Arcadian, to be torn down for the headquarters. Over the season, Ted's encounters with Zoey eventually blossom into a relationship after she divorces her rich husband, but they break up as he puts his career over love, leading to the Arcadian's demolition. Ted also resolves not to get back with Zoey.
Having agreed to conceive a baby at the end of the previous season, Lily and Marshall keep having sex, hoping she will get pregnant. Around Christmas, they have a false alarm and later seek fertility testing and find the fifth doppelganger (Barney's doppelganger) as their fertility doctor, Dr. Stangel. However, tragedy strikes when Marshall's father passes away, leaving him devastated and the gang comforting him. Marshall tries to get over his father's death and live again. Despite a pledge to Lily to work harder for their future, Marshall resigns from GNB and follows his dream of being an environmental lawyer. Zoey also hires him as her lawyer in what became a futile battle to save the Arcadian. At the end of the season, Lily reveals that she is pregnant.
Barney finally admits to the gang that Bob Barker is not his real father, especially when his mother decides to sell the house he grew up in and his brother, James, meets his own father. Loretta offers the identity of Barney's father on a sheet of paper, but Barney tears this up after realizing her efforts as a single mother. At the funeral of Marshall's father, Barney tells Loretta that he wants to see his father at last. The man, Jerome Whittaker, is eventually revealed to be someone whom Barney thought was his guardian. Barney is disappointed because Jerome was not the free-wheeling man he knew as a child. Although he tries to bring back Jerry's old ways, Barney admits that he wants to settle down someday. He is also introduced to Nora, a co-worker of Robin, for whom he develops feelings. After an initial falling out, the season finale indicates a possible future revival of their relationship, where Barney asks her for coffee and Nora tells Barney that "it's never too late" to wear a sun-dress.
Robin continues to work at her talk show, Come On, Get Up, New York!, but the presence of a new hyperactive co-host forces her to leave. She is accepted as a researcher in another network, World Wide News. The gang also discovers more of her past as the Canadian pop star Robin Sparkles. Robin also encounters a man (Michael Trucco) she has had a secret crush on since first seeing him when she and Ted were dating, and Future Ted hints that there will be more of him later.
A short scene during both the first and last episode of the season feature a wedding set sometime in the future, which is where Ted will meet his future wife. In the last episode it is revealed to be Barney's wedding.

Season seven opens to find Barney getting ready for his wedding with a yet unknown bride. Barney and Ted reminisce about Punchy's wedding, and Lily and Marshall reveal that they are having a child together. Marshall gets a job at the environmental law firm, Honeywell & Cootes. Barney proves to Nora that he can be a good boyfriend to her, and Robin regains feelings for Barney. Barney is forced to wear Marshall's ducky tie for a whole year after losing a bet with Lily that he can do a chef's job at Shinjitsu. Ted meanwhile runs into Victoria again, and feels guilty for almost cheating on her with Robin six years ago. However it emerges that Victoria cheated on him herself in Germany, and that she is about to get engaged to the guy she met there. After a fight, the two share a kiss but Victoria decides to remain with her boyfriend. Upon leaving, inspired by the fact she just kissed Ted because of sentiment towards him, she warns Ted that Robin will similarly eclipse any successive relationship he and Barney try to have.
Robin takes court-mandated therapy (for assaulting a woman), until her therapist Kevin (Kal Penn) lies to her, telling her that he is moving to Alaska. However, shortly after Robin runs into him at a restaurant. He confesses that he lied to her because he finds her attractive and therefore cannot be her therapist anymore. They start to date, after some initial awkwardness. Marshall and Lily learn that their baby will be a boy. Ted finally meets "The Slutty Pumpkin" portrayed by Katie Holmes, however they have the worst romance ever and break up soon after. Robin finds out from Barney's father that he is one-quarter Canadian, Barney is shocked by this fact, and tries to prove that he is a true American by wearing Rocky's Americana boxing trunks for Halloween. Barney quickly tires of wearing the ducky tie, but becomes desperate to take it off when he is due to meet Nora's parents for the first time. In the end, a compromise is reached... Barney can take off the tie if he has three slaps added to the one slap he has remaining from the slap bet. Barney agrees, and Marshall delivers two of the slaps immediately, leaving him with two remaining.
It is revealed that Marshall and Lily conceived their child in Barney's bathroom during Hurricane Irene and also that Robin and Barney almost kissed a day after that but were interrupted by a call from Robin's father. While reminiscing about this, they end up kissing in a cab and sleeping together. Barney and Robin both realize what they've done and decide to tell Nora and Kevin. Things take an unexpected turn, however, since Barney ends up breaking up with Nora for Robin. Robin decides to stay with Kevin. Marshall and Lily decide they want to move to Long Island.
Robin's period is late, making her believe she is pregnant and (as she had not yet slept with Kevin) Barney is the father. Both Barney and Robin are worried at this news, as neither of them want children at the present time. Going to the doctor, Robin learns that she is not pregnant. However her happiness is cut short when she learns that she cannot have children, which leaves her devastated.
The rest of the season is scheduled to continue in January 2012.

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How I Met Your Mother: Season Five review

Posted : 12 years, 5 months ago on 17 December 2011 01:07 (A review of How I Met Your Mother: Season Five)

Ted begins his job as an architectural professor, standing in the middle of a classroom – although the mother was present, it turns out to be an economics class as he's in the wrong lecture hall. Barney and Robin have had a sexual relationship throughout the summer and Lily locks them in a room, forcing them to come to terms with their relationship. After a rough patch they decide to break up. Robin describes it instead as "two friends getting back together." Barney immediately goes back to his old ways, using the playbook to score with women. Throughout the season Barney and Robin show feelings of regret over their break-up.
Ted dates a graduate student named Cindy (Rachel Bilson) and it is revealed her roommate is his future wife. Robin meets Don, her new co-anchor on her 4 AM TV show. Though she initially dislikes him, the two start dating and eventually she moves in with him. At the end of the season they break up when Don takes a job in Chicago — a job which Robin had previously turned down to stay in New York with Don. Marshall uses his fourth slap on Barney, once again at Thanksgiving. Ted buys a house, which needs to be fixed up badly, but is later revealed to be the future home for Ted and his kids.
Lily and Marshall are still unsure about having kids. After watching four doppelgangers of their group (Lesbian Robin, Moustache Marshall, Stripper Lily and Mexican Wrestler Ted) they decide to leave the big decision to the universe's "infinite wisdom" and start trying when they have seen Barney's Doppelganger. In the season finale, Barney disguises himself to have sex with a girl from every country in the world, and Lily and Marshall mistake him for the final doppelganger. When Marshall finds out, he decides not to tell Lily, fearing she will want to wait even longer to have children. Lily eventually finds out and decides to wait. In the season finale, Lily thinks she sees Barney's doppelganger as a hot dog vendor, which causes the group to realize she is seeing what she wants to see, and play along. Eventually Barney agrees having babies is not a stupid idea and Lily and Marshall should go forth. The season ends with Lily asking Marshall to "put a baby in my belly."

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How I Met Your Mother: Season Three review

Posted : 12 years, 5 months ago on 17 December 2011 01:06 (A review of How I Met Your Mother: Season Three)

Barney begins the season with the word, "-dary!" Robin returns from a trip to Argentina with her new boyfriend, Gael (Enrique Iglesias), and Ted must adjust to life as just her friend, while watching Robin and Gael fawning over each other. Marshall and Lily decide to move out on their own, falling in love with a place they can't afford. Robin learns of Lily's bad credit rating due to her compulsive shopping for designer brands, and forces Lily to tell Marshall. Despite this, they are able to finally secure their dream apartment, only to discover it's in a bad location and more poorly constructed than they thought (the floor is tilted). Barney is slapped for the third time on Thanksgiving, which Marshall dubs "Slapsgiving."
Ted tells his children he met their mother through a story concerning her yellow umbrella. He finds the umbrella at a club and takes it home after attending a St. Patrick's Day party where his future wife was, although they did not meet. Ted attempts to woo Stella (Sarah Chalke), a dermatologist he sees to remove an embarrassing butterfly tattoo. This culminates in a memorable "two-minute date," which incorporates small talk, dinner, a movie, coffee, two cab rides, and a goodnight kiss, all within two minutes. Robin sleeps with Barney after he comforts her following a break-up with a past Canadian love; Ted is infuriated, and decides to stop being friends with Barney. Meanwhile, an unknown woman begins to sabotage Barney's attempts to hook up. His saboteur is revealed to be Abby (Britney Spears), Stella's receptionist, with a vendetta against him for not calling her after they had sex.
In the season finale, after Ted and Barney get into separate car accidents and end up in the hospital, they renew their friendship. It is revealed Barney has true feelings for Robin, while Ted proposes to Stella in an arcade.

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How I Met Your Mother: Season Four review

Posted : 12 years, 5 months ago on 17 December 2011 01:05 (A review of How I Met Your Mother: Season Four)

Stella says yes to Ted's proposal. Robin takes a new job in Japan, but quickly resigns and returns to New York to attend Ted's wedding, after realizing how much she misses her friends. Stella leaves Ted at the altar to get back together with Tony (Jason Jones), the father of her daughter. Barney struggles with his feelings for Robin as his company shifts him to the management team of a new acquisition, Goliath National Bank (GNB).
Marshall and Lily move to their new apartment and debate over whether or not they're ready to have children. Robin becomes roommates with Ted and gets a job as an anchor for a 4 AM news show after Barney sends out her video resume. Ted and Robin decide to sleep together constantly so they won't fight over each other's bad co-living habits. Barney attempts to make them stop fighting to prevent this, revealing to Ted his love for Robin.
Ted finds out Lily has sabotaged all of his relationships with anyone she doesn't approve of and indirectly may have inspired his breakup with Robin. Robin and Ted end up talking about it, causing their friendship to begin moving toward a positive note. After Barney finally sleeps with his 200th woman (and rubs it in the face of the childhood bully who taunted him into pursuing it), he begins to question the purpose of the remainder of his life, leaving him more certain of his feelings for Robin.
Ted, while carrying the yellow umbrella, bumps into Stella and Tony. Tony later decides to visit him, sympathizing with Ted over his loss of Stella. Tony offers him a job as a professor of architecture, which Ted initially turns down.
In the season finale Robin finds out that Barney loves her, and initially refuses to commit to anything but a sex-only relationship; they seemingly end up together anyway. Ted decides that being an architect is leading nowhere, and finally decides to instead to become a college professor. The finale ends with Ted preparing to teach his first class and Future Ted revealing to his kids that one of the women in the class is their mother.

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How I Met Your Mother: Season Two review

Posted : 12 years, 5 months ago on 17 December 2011 01:04 (A review of How I Met Your Mother: Season Two)

Ted and Robin are now a couple; meanwhile, a heartbroken Marshall tries to continue his life without Lily. After enduring numerous emotional breakdowns, Marshall's friends step in, and Barney, using sly catch phrases and pick up lines, tries to get Marshall back in the dating game. Later, Lily, after finally realizing she is not meant to be an artist, returns to New York. She is reunited with Marshall, and the end of the season culminates in their marriage. When everyone discovers Robin was a Canadian teen pop star known as Robin Sparkles in the early 90s, with a hit single "Let's Go To The Mall," Marshall and Barney create a bet on whether Robin was involved in "adult films." When Barney discovers that he is wrong, the popular "slap bet" is created which permits Marshall to slap Barney in the face 5 times as hard as he can at any given time in the future, whenever Marshall chooses, which he does twice during this season. It is revealed Barney has a gay, black brother named James (Wayne Brady) and that he believes that Bob Barker is his father, unaware that his mother lied to him, and takes a trip to California to be a contestant on The Price is Right to meet his "father."
In the season finale, Ted reveals to Barney that he and Robin have been broken up for some time due to their conflicting views on marriage and kids. They didn't tell anyone in order to avoid taking attention away from Lily and Marshall's wedding. The season ends with Barney excited at the prospect of Ted and himself being single guys on the town again, and ends the season with Barney saying, "This is going to be legen- wait for it..."

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How I Met Your Mother: Season 1 review

Posted : 12 years, 5 months ago on 17 December 2011 01:03 (A review of How I Met Your Mother: Season 1)

In the year 2030, Ted Mosby (voiced by Bob Saget) sits his daughter and son down to tell them the story of how he met their mother.
The series begins in 2005 with Ted (Josh Radnor) as a single, 27-year-old architect living with his two best friends from college; Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel), a law student, and Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan), a kindergarten teacher, and an aspiring artist. Lily and Marshall have been dating for almost nine years when Marshall finally proposes. Their engagement causes Ted to think about marriage and finding his soul mate, much to the disgust of his self-appointed best friend Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), whom he met in the restroom at a bar. Barney is a serial womanizer who concocts elaborate con games, usually involving costumes and fake identities, designed to bed women he discards immediately afterward.
Ted begins his search for his perfect soul mate and meets an ambitious young reporter from Canada, Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), with whom he quickly falls in love. Robin, however, doesn't want to rush into a relationship and the two decide to be friends. Future Ted reveals that Robin is not the mother after referring to her as his children's "Aunt Robin".
Ted begins dating a baker, Victoria (Ashley Williams), whom he meets at a friend's wedding, causing Robin to become jealous and realize she does have feelings for Ted. Victoria moves to Germany for a dessert fellowship, and she and Ted try a long-distance relationship. Once Ted learns Robin has feelings for him, he tells her he broke up with Victoria, even though he hasn't. They almost have sex when Victoria calls and Robin answers, mistaking Ted's phone for her own. Ted and Victoria then break up and an angry Robin distances herself from Ted, but they eventually make up and decide to date.
Meanwhile, Lily begins to wonder if she's missed any opportunities because of her relationship with Marshall, and decides to pursue an art fellowship in San Francisco, breaking up with Marshall in the process. The season ends with Ted coming back to the apartment, the morning after spending the night with Robin for the first time, to find Marshall sitting in the rain with Lily's engagement ring, devastated by their sudden break up.

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How I Met Your Mother review

Posted : 12 years, 5 months ago on 17 December 2011 01:00 (A review of How I Met Your Mother)

How I Met Your Mother is an American sitcom that premiered on CBS on September 19, 2005, created by Craig Thomas and Carter Bays.
As a framing device, the main character, Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) with narration by Bob Saget, in the year 2030 recounts to his son and daughter the events that led to his meeting their mother, which explains the title and allows for a narration in the past tense. How I Met Your Mother follows Ted alongside his friends Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel), Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan) and Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris).
How I Met Your Mother has been a critical success, and has received consistently strong ratings throughout its run. It has won five Emmy Awards, including a nomination for "Outstanding Comedy Series" in 2009. In 2011, CBS announced that the series had been renewed for an additional two seasons, making the current count eight.
The seventh season of the series was announced in March 2011, along with confirmation of an eighth season, and premiered on September 19, 2011, with back-to-back episodes.

How I Met Your Mother was inspired by Bays's and Thomas's idea to "write about their friends and the stupid stuff they did in New York". The two drew from their friendship in creating the characters, with Ted based loosely on Bays, and Marshall and Lily based loosely on Thomas and his wife. Thomas's wife Rebecca was initially reluctant to have a character based on her, but agreed if they could get Alyson Hannigan to play her. Fortunately, Hannigan was available, and was looking to do more comedy work.
The bar MacLaren's, in which some of the show is set, is based on a bar in New York City called McGee's.[6] It has a mural that Carter Bays and Craig Thomas both liked and wanted to incorporate into the show. The name for the bar is from Carter Bays's assistant, Carl MacLaren; the bartender in the show is also called Carl.
Usually each episode is shot over three days (most sitcoms are typically shot in a single day) in the Los Angeles based Soundstage Studio 22 and features upwards of 50 scenes with quick transitions and flashbacks. The laugh track is later created by recording an audience being shown the final edited episode. Co-creator Thomas claims shooting in front of a live audience would be impossible, and doing so "would blur the line between 'audience' and 'hostage situation'". Later seasons started filming in front of an audience on occasion when smaller sets are used.
The theme song is a portion of "Hey Beautiful" by The Solids, of which Bays and Thomas, the two co-creators of the show, are members. Episodes from the first season generally started with the opening credits. A cold opening has been used since season two. Viewers then occasionally see Ted's children on a couch and hear him talking to them, telling the story of how he met their mother. Alternatively, scenes from previous episodes or shots of New York City with Ted narrating over the top are shown. Thomas has explicitly said Future Ted is an unreliable narrator since he is trying to tell a story that happened over 20 years earlier, and therefore tends to recall events incorrectly; this has been a plot point in several episodes such as "The Goat", "Oh Honey","How I Met Everyone Else" and "The Mermaid Theory". Nevertheless, Thomas has also emphasized maintaining a coherent and consistent universe, and trying to avoid continuity errors, based on his experiences of being a fan of other shows.
A scene directly relating to the identity of the mother, involving Ted's future children, was filmed near the beginning of season two for the show's eventual series finale. This was primarily done because the teenage actors portraying them will be adults by the time the final season is shot.
During the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, How I Met Your Mother shut down production, but once the strike ended the show returned on March 17, 2008, with nine new episodes. A change in timeslot was also announced, to 8:30 ET/7:30 CT, flip-flopping from the summer schedule with The Big Bang Theory. The show was renewed for a fourth season by CBS on May 14, 2008, which premiered on September 22, 2008.
In September 2008, it was announced Lifetime Television purchased the right to rerun How I Met Your Mother at a rate of about $725,000 per episode. The four-year syndication contract stipulated the studio must deliver at least 110 half-hour episodes by the year 2010, and allows for up to eight seasons of the show. At the end of the fourth season only 88 episodes had been produced, and a further 22 episodes were required ensuring there would be a fifth season. On May 19, 2009, the fifth-season renewal was announced. On May 20, 2009, CBS announced How I Met Your Mother would move back to 8 pm, leading into the new comedy Accidentally on Purpose. On January 12, 2010, the show hit the milestone of its 100th episode. It was also announced the series would return for a sixth season on CBS. In response to being syndicated, co-creator Craig Thomas said, "We're thrilled that it will live on in other forms," and they were proud of the show and it was great to see there was a strong desire for it. However, cast members have suggested the show will run for no more than eight seasons.
On September 13, 2010, reruns of the series began airing on local U.S. broadcast television stations and on Chicago-based cable superstation WGN America. Featured in these airings are vanity cards previously unseen in the CBS and Lifetime airings due to marginalized credit sequences used by the two networks. Shown in between the closing credits and the production company credits, these vanity cards show portions of "The Bro Code," a list of rules frequently referenced by Neil Patrick Harris' character, Barney Stinson, on how men should interact with each other, with an emphasis on activities involving pursuing members of the opposite sex. The opening theme song for the syndicated reruns is also slightly edited, running shorter and not using all the pictures seen in the opening montage that runs on DVD and the original CBS broadcasts. The episodes, too, are edited, leaving out small details.
One of the series' ongoing traditions involves giving guest roles to actors from various Joss Whedon productions, many of whom co-starred with Hannigan on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Carter Bays puts this down to being "huge fans", and those casts representing "a big talent pool".
On March 4, 2011, CBS announced that the show had been renewed for two more seasons, with the seventh season scheduled to air with back-to-back episodes on September 19, 2011.
On July 27, 2011, It was announced that FX has picked up the show for syndication. FX began airing the show on September 5, 2011.

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