Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The hiatus is almost over

This time the excuse is that Mr. Mouse and I had to go back east to upstate New York to visit family and attend the wedding of a very dear friend.  I did make it about halfway through The Girl Who Played with Fire, so a review of that will be up here eventually.  It took us fifteen hours to get back home yesterday, mostly due to horrific layovers; we spent some time in airport bars and discovered what may be our new favorite show: Restaurant Impossible.  It's not something that will turn up here ever really, but it was still fun: "Your food is crap!  The service is crap! Do you want me to help you or what?"  Heh.  Meanwhile, I absolutely positively promise to get a Sarah Connor recap up here this week.  It's like ripping off a Band-aid: I keep putting it off and putting it off, but if I just friggin' do it, it'll all be fine.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Next up

Omigosh, it's just too much.  I have the second season of Dollhouse to get through; I'm rereading The Heroes which is even more super-fun now that I know who some of the characters are; a coworker loaned me Series 1 of Sherlock which I'm wicked excited about; and I'm poised to start recapping the final season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, so you can stop nagging me about that one, Joe.  Soon, I promise, it's all coming soon.  As should be S4 of True Blood - when the hell's that coming out?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thoughts on The Avengers

Marvel's The Avengers.  I finally saw it, at a well-attended but not packed 3:00 p.m. matinee.  I liked it quite a lot.  It seemed a little frantic in spots in the third act when all action broke loose, but it was funny and well-assembled, with great character moments.  I don't have anything to say that hasn't been said on the interwebs a million times before, but here are just some random thoughtlets:

  • Joss Whedon is, has been, and will always be my master.
  • I loved the giant, floating, armored space moray eels!
  • Always nice to see some Whedonverse alums getting screen time: Enver Gjokaj (from Dollhouse), Ashley Johnson (from two S1 episodes of Dollhouse) and Alexis Denisof (apparently he was one of the alien dudes in the movie, but we all know him from Buffy, Angel and Dollhouse).
  • I'm thinking of going on Kickstarter to raise money to get Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo to do a pillow fight.  How much you think it'll take?
  • Mmmmmmmm - Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo in a pillow fight ...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Movie review: Drive

About friggin' time some new content went up here ...

In last year's Drive, Ryan Gosling plays The Driver, a quiet Los Angeles loner who works as a mechanic in his full-time job, does stunt driving for the movies part-time and takes jobs as the world's best getaway driver on the side.  He keeps to himself, focusing on whatever job is at hand - calm to the point of comatose, disconnected from the people around him, except as much as his twitchy boss/manager Shannon (Bryan Cranston) can get him to engage.  When he moves into a new apartment, he meets his neighbors, Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son, Benecio.  He likes them, and they him, and they spend some time together, the long silent pauses only slightly uncomfortable.  Soon enough Irene's husband Standard gets out of jail.  There's some initial tension when the ex-con is suspicious of this new guy moving in on his family, but when some old prison buddies lean on Standard for money he owes them, The Driver steps up to help and keep Irene and little Benecio safe.  Things go south, badly, and The Driver is soon enmeshed in complications, including threats from local gangsters played to type by Ron Perlman and against type by Albert Brooks.

This is a fantastic movie.  It's paced fairly slowly, with the tension ratcheting up almost imperceptibly until I realized I was leaning forward in my seat, shoulders tensed up around my ears.  There are moments of extreme violence but they are spaced out and all the more potent for their rarity.  The story is tight, there is no superfluous dialogue.  And the acting is superb.  Albert Brooks chews the scenery a tad, but his charming menace is believable.  Bryan Cranston is good and about as far from Walter White (Breaking Bad) as possible.  Ryan Gosling is just fantastic: a man without name, without history, with only slight bursts of action, he delicately marks his character's progression with subtle expression and tension.  He's on-screen a lot but he doesn't say much, and yet he's just wonderful.

A lot of things I read thought Drive should have been up for best picture, especially since they made the nominee field larger last year.  I can see why some people wouldn't have wanted it nominated - it's not a big, splashy movie, and technically it's an action/thriller which genre doesn't too often get to the big show - but gosh, the story and acting are good enough that I too think maybe it should have been in the running.  For an "action" flick, it's pretty slow-paced for the most part (I watched it without Mr. Mouse but know he would have deemed it too slow) and quite frankly for a movie about a driver I would have liked at least one more car chase, particularly since the one big one was so good.  But it's really the outstanding acting that makes Drive so good - even makes you forget Ryan Gosling was ever in that stupid Notebook.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Well, now I've done it

I've finished Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy, the final book being Last Argument of Kings.  And now I have to go back and read Best Served Cold and The Heroes, in the proper order, now that I know more of the characters.  You don't have to have read the trilogy first but having done so will provide a richer understanding of this world Abercrombie has created.  And since I love this world so much, I want to go back and get everything I can out of it.

I think what Abercrombie does so well - aside from the dark humor and the incredibly written fight/battle scenes - is circle around to minor characters, plot points and loose ends, and tie everything together or call-back to it.  I would love to know whether these five books were painstakingly diagrammed out before he wrote them or if he's just very skilled at remembering everything that's happened.  A friend of mine who is also a huge Abercrombie fan told me that there's a new book coming out this fall, Red Country.  Here's the description:
Shy South comes home to her farm to find a blackened shell, her brother and sister stolen, and knows she'll have to go back to bad old ways if she's ever to see them again. She sets off in pursuit with only her cowardly old step-father Lamb for company. But it turns out he's hiding a bloody past of his own. None bloodier.
Their journey will take them across the lawless plains, to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feuds, duels, and massacres, high into unmapped mountains to a reckoning with ancient enemies, and force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, a man no one should ever have to trust . . .
Read that bit again about her "cowardly old step-father" - that could be Logen Ninefingers, couldn't it?  Seeing how the last we heard of him was SPOILER him diving out the window and running away from being King of the North END SPOILER.  That would be fine by me - I like the ol' Bloody-nine.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mini movie review: Super 8

When Super 8 came out in the theaters, I can remember how excited all the fan-boys were.  A J.J. Abrams movie homage to the good Spielberg movies!  Ooh! Squee!  So exciting to have a science fiction/alien movie the way they used to be done.  Well, I just watched Super 8 on DVD and I'm not so sure what all the hullaballoo was about - I was fairly unimpressed.  I thought the CGI came off very poorly, although maybe it was better on a movie screen (altho' my television screen has translated other CGI-heavy flicks with no ill effects).  I liked the cast - Elle Fanning was really good and it's always nice to see Kyle Chandler getting work - but at least two of the boys got completely lost along the way ... unlike The Goonies, which managed to keep the audience engaged with its entire ensemble the whole way through.  And I thought the story was kind of lame: alien ripping apart a town, killing people and smashing things into mayhem, then three seconds of face time with our young hero and the alien (1) has suddenly fixed his ship and (2) leaves without further ado/mayhem.  Bollocks, I say.  I felt short-changed - unlike, say, Cloverfield, which wasn't the most original ending but at least felt like an ending.  Super 8 just sort of stops short.  I sure did like the kids' finished zombie movie, though.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Nominal update

Sorry things have been so light around here.  But we just finished up the ski season last weekend so that means summer is just around the corner ... and I promised my old friend Joe B. that I would get back to recapping Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles once the seasons turned - it just seems like a summertime show to me.  So, Joe, if you're reading this, I have moved T:TSCC back up to the top of the list.  (Of course, I have to watch Tucker and Dale vs. Evil again first because Mr. Mouse wants to see it.  You could have knocked me over with a feather when he said he wanted to see that movie.)

Also, I recently finished the second book in The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, Before They Are Hanged.  These books are getting better and better as they go, as Abercrombie finds his voice and hones his craft.  It's funny, having read his books in reverse order, because this trilogy is much more of a fantasy high fantasy novel, whereas the magnificent The Heroes is very strongly a battle fantasy high fantasy novel, with very little magicky elements.  The battle focus was what I was expecting and the more fantastical elements of the trilogy were a bit of a surprise.  I've just started the last book in the trilogy and am so pleased that it seems to be the longest of the bunch.  That just means there's more of it to read - yay!