Perception – Season 1

A really good new tv series that just ended is Perception from cable channel TNT¬† and produced by ABC Studios. The crime-drama series created by¬†Kenneth Biller¬†and¬†Mike Sussman stars Eric McCormack (who also produces the show) as Dr. Daniel Pierce, a¬†neuropsychiatrist¬†who assists the¬†FBI¬†on some of their most complex cases. Rachel Leigh Cook, Kelly Rowan & Arjay Smith co-star as the FBI agent Kate Moretti who was Dr. Pierce’s former student and brings him in on the cases, his imaginary best friend Natalie who he depends on and Dr. Caroline Newsome (the inspiration behind his imaginary friend) and Max Lewicki who is his TA and who stays with him t0 help him, respectively. LeVar Burton has a recurring role as the Dean of the university and Pierce’s friend.

Dr. Daniel Pierce, a neuroscientist and professor at a Chicago university who tends to get under people’s skins with his strange methods, his odd social affect and his off-putting habit is a paranoid schizophrenic who has trouble differentiating between real life and his illusions of people who interact and guide him to answers for the cases. These imaginary people are basically his mind working and sorting out the evidence & facts in front of him. In the pilot episode Kate brings him in to solve a case assigned to her by the FBI, unaware that Pierce is off his medicines and has illusions from time to time. Despite that he is able to help her solve the case, involving the death of a pharmaceutical executive. Next the FBI investigate a case involving the death of a mail order bride whose husband has a severe medical condition that makes him unable to recognize faces, which is diagnosed by Daniel. With the resurfacing of the “Date Night” killer, a serial killer from 1986, sees Kate and Daniel, while going through the clubes, led to a woman named Lacey, who escaped the killers attack and after a psychotic break still believes it’s 1986. Meanwhile, Lewicki takes issue with Kate constantly coming to Daniel to help solve crimes.

Daniel stumbles across a cipher left in the newspaper which allude to a future set of crimes while Lewicki goes on strike due to Daniel’s behavior. Daniel and Kate investigate the case of young man whose death leads them to a cult, that are lead by a boy named Kyle who believes he could talk to God. They must then determine whether his death was caused by his drug addiction or the cult he was apart of. Dr. Pierce, an atheist, has an illusion of Joan of Arc and gives a passionate dialogue about god and his ways. Meanwhile, Daniel receives an award from the university. Daniel then helps Kate investigate the death of a therapist who was discovered as trying to help “cure” his patients of their homosexuality. Whilst investigating the case of a schizophrenic judge, Kate learns about Daniels own un-medicated schizophrenia. Kate and Daniel investigate the case of a young girl who was killed in her dorm room, which causes Daniel to revisit some of the truths from his past. Daniel’s weekend gets complicated when he witnesses the murder of a young man claiming a conspiracy involving big business and Chicago politicians. However, the conspiracy could be real or part of Daniel’s schizophrenia in which takes a dramatic turn due to his refusal to take his medication. After committing himself to a¬†psychiatric ward, Kate tells Daniel that a video that of the late mysterious young man (who was thought to be imaginary) has appeared online. While in the psychiatric ward, Daniel encounters his new psychiatrist Dr. Caroline Newsome, a woman he fell for at a college party, and on whom he based his imaginary friend Natalie.

I find Eric McCormack to be excellent in this role, with some passionate acting in a difficult role. The supporting cast do a good job. Jamie Bamber also has a couple of episodes as a fellow professor who shows an interest in Kate. Good show only 10 episodes though. I’m glad that we will get a second season and hopefully a lot more.

Into The Wild

Into The Wild is a 2007 biographical movie directed by Sean Penn and starring Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn & Hal Holbrook. The movie is about the true story of Christopher McCandless. The film premiered during the 2007 Rome Film Fest and later opened outside of Fairbanks, Alaska on September 21, 2007. It was later nominated for two Golden Globes and won the award for Best Original Song Guaranteed by Eddie Vedder. It was also nominated for two Academy Awards including Holbrook for Best Supporting Actor.

Chris decides to leave home after graduating from college with honours in 1990. He and his sister Carine grew up in an household where their parents fought a lot. Shortly afterwards, McCandless rejects his conventional life by destroying all of his¬†credit cards¬†and identification documents. He donates nearly all of his entire savings of $24,000 to Oxfam¬†and sets out on a cross-country drive in his well-used, but reliable Datsun to experience life in the wilderness. Neither his parents nor his sister have any idea as to where he has set off too. He loses his car in a flash flood and sets off hitchhiking. He burns what remains of his dwindling cash supply and assumes a new name: “Alexander Supertramp.” Soon he meets up with hippie couple Jan & Rainey who give him a lift in their trailer. He strikes up a friendship with the older couple and helps Rainey to rekindle his relationship with Jan.

After he leave them he ends up in a South Dakota and works for a a contract harvesting company owned by Wayne Westerberg who helps him a lot. Chris has to leave when Wayne is arrested for piracy and heads out to the Colorado river and kayaks it without a license. He meets and makes friends with a Danish couple who feed him hot dogs and then goes to Mexico via the river. There he loses his kayak and heads back on foot to the US. He starts traveling on freight trains to¬†Los Angeles. Not long after arriving, however, he starts feeling “corrupted” by modern civilization and decides to leave. Later, McCandless is forced to switch his traveling method back to hitchhiking after he is beaten by the¬†railroad police. By December 1991 he catches up with Jan & Rainey in Slab City, California and spends the holiday season with them. He sparks some interest in teenage singer Tracy but rejects her on knowing that she is only 16. He then leaves to Salton City and while camping meets Ron Franz, a retired older man who takes him in. Ron tells him about losing his wife & son in an accident, caused by a drunk driver, while he was serving in the army. He now spends his time in a workshop as an amateur leather worker. Franz teaches McCandless the craft of leatherwork, resulting in the making of a belt that details McCandless’ travels.

After a few months there Chris decides to leave for Alaska with all the money he needs for equipment to survive out in the wilderness. Franz is upset having become close to Chris and asks o adopt him as his grandchild, but McCandless simply tells him that they should discuss this after he returns from Alaska; then departs. In the Alaskan wilderness, Chris finds an abandoned old bus where he sets up his new home At first, McCandless is content with the isolation, the beauty of nature around him, and the thrill of living off the land. He hunts wild animals with a .22 caliber rifle, reads books, and keeps a diary of his thoughts as he prepares for himself a new life in the wild. However as a couple of months pass life becomes difficult as his supplies begin to run out, he realizes that nature is also harsh and uncaring. He realizes that true happiness can only be achieved when shared with others and longs to return to his family. However, he finds that the stream he had crossed during the winter has become wide, deep, and violent due to the thaw, and he is unable to cross.

Now trapped he is forced to gather berries and plants to survive but¬† is poisoned by eating a shrub and loses even more weight as he lies helpless on the bus floor. There is a scene in which an emancipated & stunned Chris stands in the snow and a grizzly bear passes by after briefly considering his form. Slowly dying, he continues to document his process of self-realization and accepts his fate, as he imagines his family for one last time. He writes a farewell to the world and crawls into his¬†sleeping bag¬†to die. Two weeks later, his body is found by moose hunters. Shortly afterwards, Carine returns her brother’s ashes by airplane from Alaska to Virginia in her backpack. The movie ends with a the last known photo of the real life Chris McCandless from a undeveloped roll of film found in his bus.

Amazingly bitter-sweet film and shot so beautifully. I give it a 9 out of 10!