Sunday, January 31, 2010

24 Season 8: Jack Bauer's Leather Bag Information

Alright, I went so far as to actually contact the good people who work on "24" but they were not forthcoming with information on Jack's fancy brown leather sack. But that can't stop us! By miracle of the internet (and actually help from Shane, an astute and very helpful reader of this site) I present to you THE SEASON 8 JACK SACK:

The bag is made by Ralph Lauren. It is called the Double RL (RRL) Leather Mail Bag. It retails for $895.

I haven't found a merchant link for it, it looks like it was released in 2009 and is probably not a part of the current collection. You can try your luck at RL outlets or through 3rd party sellers. Let me know if you find a place that sells it and I will share that information with everyone else in a front-page article.

So, if anyone from the show is reading this, no need to get back to me, we're okay. ;)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

24 Season 8: 9PM-10PM Sneak Preview

As this freeze frame from next week's episode indicates, "24" really wants to make sure I have enough comedic material for this season...

I'll make sure this goes to good use. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 25, 2010

24 Season 8: 8PM-9PM Quick Review

Renee Walker is in full Nancy Sinatra mode!  While it's fun to see Renee acting like a complete sociopath, I think it's a little goofy that she cuts a Russian mobster's thumb off to prove to him she is willing to "cut him in" on some big deal? What? Ehhh, I'm not following that logic.

And after 5 episodes, I'm willing to comment finally on Dana Walsh/Jenny. Her subplot rivals that of Lynn McGill, the hobbit CTU director from Season 6 5 (Editor's note: Thank you, Hatch for the catch). Remember when it was revealed that McGill had a deadbeat sister who wanted money from her CTU sibling? Well, The Dana/Jenny subplot is kind of similar in that it's distracting and not really worthwhile. Yet. I am hopeful that this will tie into some bigger story point, but as of now, I shrug my shoulders, drink my seltzer and ignore what's happening with her character.

Now, onto other subplots- Russian mobsters are fantastic. There's no shortage of material you can delve into with these guys. Yes, you've got the run-of-the-mill sadists, pederasts, schemers, etc. But then you find these two Russian brothers- one exposed to radiation from smuggled nuclear material and the other brother who feels really bad for the guy. They are off on their own little adventure to cure the sick brother, risking the authorities learning of their plight. No, it's not quite Coen brothers material, but I like where this thing is heading.

Back to the Russian with 1 thumb, Ziya.  I am amazed at his calmness 30 minutes after his major reconstructive surgery. Ya know, I bumped my knee a month ago and it still hurts. Ziya gets his thumb cut off and he's cooler than a pack of menthols! And you can't have a Russian mob without a dude named Vlad, the big kingpin that Renee is trying to get to in order to crack open the case.

Meanwhile, Jack spends 40 minutes chatting in Renee's ear about his overly elaborate cover story. Jack's a professional, I admire that about him, but his backstory became downright boring 20 minutes ago!  But before I can groan any further, Jack figures out that Renee was the victim of some serious abuse while she was undercover several years ago. I suppose this makes better sense of her general instability (Moss' death last season set off a mental relapse). But wow, did she cover it up really well for 99% of last season... anyway.

Let's get to the big point- is "24" becoming the Renee Walker show? So far, her character has been the most interesting, well-written and best-plotted. I definitely admire the strong work by Annie Wersching and all parties involved. But we're 5 episodes in and I have not witnessed "The Power of Bauer" grab hold of this season yet. I'm not complaining, I'm just making note. I want Bauer to unload some chaos, and soon. In the end this was a strong episode, branching out subplots in mostly interesting ways. Next week looks very good too.

By the way, check out this week's Carnival of Bauer, hosted by the glorious AmyV of Blogs4Bauer and social networking fame.

Friday, January 22, 2010

24 Season 8: Motivational Posters

These seem to be a popular feature, which I started last season. So, for your viewing pleasure, here is the Inaugural Edition of Season 8's Motivational Posters. Enjoy!



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jack Bauer, The Rooster

My friend Granny Annie, of "Fools Rush In," recently took in a maladjusted rooster who she dubbed "Jack Bauer" for obvious reasons. Annie, in recognition of your loyalty to my site and for your generally being an awesome person, I present you with this keepsake of your crazy new bird:

24 Season 8: Brian Hastings And His Terrible Posture

In case you have not noticed, CTU Director Brian Hastings looks like the bureaucratic weight of the entire world is pushing him down. His slouching is remarkable, distracting and perplexing. That is, until I followed down a lead and came up with a very good explanation for his posture problems:

Hastings previously worked at CTU: Middle Earth. Yep, Hobbits live in small homes... poor bastard. (Rickey, this was all for you, buddy). LOTR, X-Men... what is happening to this blog? Next post I'll do something about punching people, deal?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

24 Season 8: Renee Walker is the Dark Phoenix

Alright, this is some geeky stuff I'm about to lay on you all. If you read comics, then you're probably familiar with the X-Men. Heck, you might even know them from those 3 movies that came out a few years ago and made tons of money. Anyway, there's a character, Jean Grey, who starts out as one of the good guys but through a series of traumatic events (and mind control, etc.) she unleashes a ridiculous amount of destruction on the Universe. And she also has red hair. Logically, this caused me to make the connection to Renee Walker and when I make connections, I express them through photoshop:

Alright maybe I need to get out more... anyway, in fairness to my female readers, I present you with what I believe is the first-ever photoshop of Jack Bauer as Wolverine. Enjoy this useless artwork in anyway you deem appropriate:

Jack kind of looks like President Hassan with that hair, no?  Alright, go back to your non-geek activities. Move along!

Monday, January 18, 2010

24 Season 8: 6PM-8PM Quick Review

It was a tale of two 24s--

The first hour was tedious.

Hastings calling the leader of a foreign government would never happen in real life, or even an alternate universe where logic and decorum exist. Sorry, I can look past a lot of stuff with "24" but this one insults my intelligence. Could you imagine the leader of Iran trusting some mid-level American bureaucrat with an admission of an extramarital affair? Yeah... no.  And in spite of this ridiculous conversation, Hastings still insists on ignoring the very information that exonerated his suspect. I've seen and heard of stupidity, but this sort of behavior only exists in fiction. Wow.

Arlo is a sick puppy too. I know government employees can never get fired, but his level of sexual harassment is beyond believability. And how does one get to work at CTU and be that much of a screw-up? Wait, this is "24"- screw-ups get employed at CTU all of the time, that's part of why they disbanded the agency a few years back. Well, wash, rinse and repeat, people!

Cole (a.k.a. Chico Bauer, Jr.) brings the action hero stuff though, saving President Hassan from certain doom! That was a good scene, the best part of the first hour by far. He gets an entry in the ever-growing Dictionary!

The second hour kicked ass.

Hastings admitted he was a moron, Chloe was vindicated, they didn't drag out the revelation of Hassan's brother being the mole, etc. I was sorry to see Davros get killed so quickly. Whenever I photoshop a character, I hope they live longer than 3 episodes. Oh well... at least things are moving fast! And now a nuke is on the loose? Under the control of Transylvanian Russians? Hurray!

And then Renee Walker came back and shared her (odd) expertise in Russian mafia tattoos. But it was her steamy emotional scene with Jack Bauer that made this episode transcend the prior three hours. The first scene between Jack and Renee was more explosive than the missile attack on the helicopter and the attempted road bomb attack on Preident Hassan. That's what Annie Wersching and Kiefer Sutherland bring to the table- chemistry! I approve of this sort of thing! And then she had to go and cut that poor Ruskie's thumb off. This alone made Hour 4 the best of the season (so far).

And that's where we leave off- we got nukes, a dangerous undercover operation and some Russian mafia dudes causing trouble. Yep, this is shaping up to be a good stretch.

24 Season 8: Davros (a.k.a. "Mikey")

Davros, a.k.a. "Mikey" was probably the best new character from last night's 2-hour premiere. Davros is a hands-on kind of fella, he knows how to get things done and he loves his job. Or maybe he hates his job... who knows, the point is that he's a capable bad guy and I hope he lives long enough to cause the requisite amount of mayhem that will make his eventual demise all the more enjoyable.

He's Russian because the writers tell us so.  How can you not love a guy whose "native" accent is actually worse than his New York accent? How YOU doin, Comrade?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

24 Season 8: 4PM-6PM Quick Review

Well, this was not what I was expecting.

24 premieres are traditionally insane, all-out television events that create lots of noise. Instead (and keying off of last season's finale) we got a different tone- something more subdued and wrapped up in suspense.

Jack Bauer has gone from reluctant hero to downright resentful guy between seasons. And you can't blame the man for being fed up with the government that has employed him through the worst experiences of his life. I'd be pretty angry at Uncle Sam if I was in his position as well. But before "Grandpa" Bauer can check out to the West Coast, he's got to make good on some favors he owes Chloe O'Brian. Her confrontation with Jack was, to me, the best character moment of the first two hours. I always appreciate when a series relies on its long history to strengthen the believability of its characters and their relationships. It may seem like an obvious point but I'll say it anyway- Jack and Chloe are the best characters being written on this series- period.

As for the plot- an assassination attempt to stop a peace accord is an old story- movies from Gene Hackman's "The Package" to "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" (and dozens of others in addition) have gone over this territory. I'm not expecting "24" to reinvent the plot wheel, but this one on its surface seems a bit too familiar to me. But it's too early to judge, and I don't have any problems with where it's going so far, but I'm not that "terrified" of what's happening yet. I don't feel any urgency, that's my gripe.

The new characters seem alright. Katee Sackhoff's tech guru has some personal problems, which could either become tension-building counterpoints to the bigger story or distracting silliness (again, too early to say). Freddie Prinze, Jr. seems earnest in his role as "Jack, Jr.", (or is it "Chase 2.0"?), Mykelti Williamson is effectively slimy as the bureaucrat running CTU: NY and John Boyd is weird and typical of a CTU tech as Arlo Glass.

I will attempt to give the first two hours another look later tonight, maybe I'll have some additional thoughts later. I will say this- "24" needs Annie Wersching back as soon as possible. Tomorrow night's two-hour block promises to make good on that matter.

24 Season 8 Countdown: 0 Days- Premiere Tonight!

Jack, just a heads-up-- NY can get pretty weird... good luck.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

24 Season 8 Countdown: 1 Day! That's like 24 hrs!

Friday, January 15, 2010

24 Season 8 Countdown: 2 Days!

And another throwaway "movie poster" follows below too...

Jack Bauer + AVATAR = the kind of mayhem I would pay to watch.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

24 Season 8 Countdown: 3 Days!

Today's countdown comes with a little Photoshop bonus! See below:

That's right, the poster to the new romantic comedy (500) DAMMITS OF BAUER!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

24 Season 8: Renee Walker's GMC Truck Commercial

Just in time for the premiere of Season 8, Renee Walker shows up in what looks like a promo for a GMC truck:

This reminds me of the Kate Walsh Cadillac commercial from a couple of years ago:

Watch "24" and buy American. Copy that?

24 Season 8 Countdown: 4 Days!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

24 Season 8 Countdown: 5 Days!

Monday, January 11, 2010

24 Season 8 Countdown: 6 Days!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

24 Season 8 Countdown: 7 Days!

Friday, January 08, 2010

THE MESSENGER: The Jack Sack™ Movie Review

For nearly 10 years, the United States has been at war, yet you barely see evidence of it at home. Aside from the occasional yellow ribbon magnet on a passing car or an article about another roadside attack in Afghanistan or Iraq, war has been largely sanitized in our culture. I'm not sure we have ever reached this level of disconnect between our two realities- the one here and the one "over there." This is a trend I find very disturbing.

And the filmmakers of THE MESSENGER seem to feel the same way. This film follows two soldiers who serve in the Army's Casualty Notification service. They personally visit a fallen soldier's next-of-kin and inform them of their loss. You can imagine the anguish that this film portrays on an immediate level. Beyond that, THE MESSENGER explores the reality for troops who return home alive- alive but not necessarily well. Ben Foster, who plays SSG Will Montgomery, is a survivor of an attack on his platoon in Iraq. With only 3 months left on his commitment to Uncle Sam, Will gets recruited stateside to work with Captain Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson). Stone is an aptly named stoic, exhorting Will to abide by a series of strict rules in performing their task- chief among them being no touching the "NOK" (next-of-kin). Will is a stern young man who seems fit to the task in the beginning, but when they visit one particular widow, Olivia (played by Samantha Morton), his guard is let down and he becomes drawn to her emotionally and physically.

While the relationship between Will and the Olivia is a focal point, there is a lot more going on in this movie. The aftermath of war is the main theme of THE MESSENGER. It isn't just about the families who have lost loved ones in battle, it's also a story about those who go to war in the first place. Watching this film, I was reminded of a college friend who served in the Navy. He was completely unassuming, and didn't give off the aura of a "soldier" or "sailor" on the surface, but once you got him talking about his time in the service, you could see a change come over him. He often talked about how people who serve feel like they exist in a different world from civilians. In some ways, he said, it was like they were an elite group- with elite training, discipline and physical strength. It makes sense given the requirements they are faced with fulfilling, but that idea always made me question whether enough of us "civilians" truly understand the minds and hearts of our troops.

Now, more than ever, two societies exist in America- the military and the civilian. And it is the "military society" which bears an ever-increasing burden for the wars we wage. Whereas during World War II, when civilians were forced to help the war effort through food rationing and surrendering raw materials to the government, today we are spared from making any true sacrifices. And it's not a judgment on us that I'm making here, just an observation- one that this film helped to stir in my mind.

THE MESSENGER is an extremely worthwhile look into military life. The acting, screenplay and direction are excellent. While this is a serious film, there are very funny moments in places you would least expect to find. These characters exist in a very real sense. The relationship between Will and Olivia is not conventionally told and that marks one of this movie's strongest (and most realistic) storytelling points too. This is a tough film, but one I highly recommend.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

24 Season 8: The New Jack Sack [UPDATED]

UPDATE: Mystery solved. The bag is a Ralph Lauren RRL Leather Mail Bag. It retails for $895. The full story is here.

Featured here in these photos is Jack Bauer's metrosexual manbag for Season 8. If anyone knows the make and model of this bad boy, email me directly at Thanks!

Monday, January 04, 2010

UP IN THE AIR: The Jack Sack™ Movie Review

A lot of the time you take something out of a movie that you bring into the experience beforehand. So, over recent days I caught up on my 2009 movies and one continuing theme kept coming up from everything I watched- follow your passion. It's not a groundbreaking idea, in fact it's an idea that you can come across easily in everything from a movie or a commercial for sneakers. Marketers and storytellers alike all tug on this emotional string to get their audience emotionally invested in their product or material. And for me, as I've been deeply immersed in finding a career change recently, this theme is the foremost thought on my mind.

UP IN THE AIR follows the story of a man, George Clooney, who travels the country constantly firing people on behalf of companies too unsure of how to do their own dirty work. If there is an "art" to laying off people, Clooney's character has mastered its nuances. His life, however, is an empty bag- he has no connections, no community, no true "home." And he is completely content with his life until he begins reconsidering the assumptions he's made about the human condition as a result of becoming romantically involved with a fellow frequent flier (Vera Farmiga) and also mentoring a new associate (Anna Kendrick) on the wonderful world of giving people the boot.

This was a movie I didn't expect to like much- it falls into a category of films I deem "Oscar bait." And director Jason Reitman's last film, JUNO, is a movie I particularly dislike. But UP IN THE AIR surprised me in a good way. It has a natural sense of humor, it avoids movie clichés and it covers a lot of subjects that most movies tend to avoid for being too "real" or depressing.

The fact of the matter is that 1 in 10 Americans have lost their jobs in the past year. In addition, large, so-called "stable" companies have been a significant source of layoffs. In a decade that began with national insecurity over terrorism, it ended with another sense of fear that no person is safe in his or her job. Reitman uses non-actors in several scenes depicting people who have been laid off in real life. Their inclusion in the film drives the point home to me- a lot of people take jobs not because they want them but because they feel they need them. And when that job is taken away, that individual is left realizing that he or she has made an emotional investment where none should have existed in the first place. It's like being dumped by a bad partner.

UP IN THE AIR isn't a cynical film, a lot of what I discuss above are my own reactions to the material. If anything, this movie tries to sort through the mess of our times to discover that human decency is alive and well, if only in small portions. The acting and script are all extremely good. If I were to make a top ten movies of 2009 list, I'd put this one towards the top. It's a story that authentically reflects an important aspect of our time. It may also make you question your career and your chosen path towards happiness- depending on what you bring to the experience, of course.