retsuko: (Default)
In Movies:

Iron Man 3: Now I know what that giant bunny was doing there! Being symbolic and spoilery! )

On TV:

Doctor Who, Spoilers through "Nightmare in Silver" (which, in and of itself, was a pretty awful title; it sounded like a terrible fanfic written by a 15-year-old who thought themselves quite clever...): Read more... )

The Office, Series Finale: That was a really lovely ending, exactly how I want to think about that group of people. I'm surprised the writers, actors, and staff pulled it all off, but they did, and well done, too!
retsuko: (cool yuuko)
Waaaay too much TV lately, but all of it on the heels of some tough personal stuff, and soon to be followed by An Edifying Book Report. Also, one movie!

At the Movies:

Beautiful Creatures: So... sometimes I watch a movie or a show, and I wish the main characters weren't the main characters, and that a side character would step up and be the main character instead. In this case, it was Emma the librarian, played with steely layers of awesome by Viola Davis. The more I found out about her character, the more I wanted to swing the camera around to point at her and have her tell her life story. ("Hi, I'm a seer and unwilling-but-destined librarian for a group of quasi-immortal sorcerers who supposedly have a worldwide network with libraries connected via underground tunnels and I can talk to the dead. These quasi-immortal sorcerers drive me crazy with their self-righteous bullshit, but I take my work seriously, and I'll be damned if I give up anything before I'm good and ready to do it at the appropriate moment. Tea?") This isn't to say that the rest of the characters were bad or boring, but the teenaged love story paled in comparison to the world-building that struggled to take root in the background. I got the distinct impression that the authors of the original work had two goals in mind: 1) out-do Twilight with a better, slightly healthier romance, and 2) write up some cribbed notes from their best RPG sessions. Beautiful Creatures feels like a good role-playing game, as told by a storyteller who thinks that she/he had come up with something 100% original, when it's more like... about 50% original, but even the tried and true stuff was pretty good, so the players weren't complaining. The story unfolds in pretty standard teen romance fashion, but with the magic v. religion lens firmly in place, and with a villain who managed to be scary about two and a half times. The two teen leads were good actors and imbued the material with as much life as they could muster. The adults carried out their roles with varying levels of success, given the cheese in the settings and kudzu around them. It was a fun movie, a bit saggy in places, but I think it helped that I went in with almost no expectations. And I still wish I could have turned the story around to focus on the NPCs, er, side characters. Maybe rent it some night when you need something diverting and not too challenging.

On the TV:

Lost Girl, Season 1, and first episode of Season 2: I really, really enjoy this show, for a number of reasons which are too numerous and spoiler-rific, so are listed under this cut. )

All things considered, it's an excellent show, and one I'm glad to be able to watch most of on Netflix streaming.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Season 3 Finale: I really enjoyed it, mostly because it felt like a mini-Broadway musical, complete with songs about every mood and whim that took the characters along with the plot. It also addressed an interesting question about the world-building of the show itself, one that I've been wondering about for quite some time: if the ponies' cutie marks somehow are tied to their given vocations, what happens if you end up with the wrong one? (Why, yes, I have been putting far too much thought into a cartoon aimed at selling toys to girls ages 6-10, why do you ask?) That question wasn't really answered, but at least it was raised, and everyone got to sing, and the ending was sincerely sweet. I'm actually on board with the big plot development, and I wasn't thinking that would happen at all. A nice ending to a somewhat short and rather uneven season.

Adventure Time: Fionna & Cake, "Bad Little Boy": So, Donald Glover was PERFECT as Marshall Lee's voice, and I liked the twist on the original conceit of the episode. (Does this mean that we're going to see someone else write Fionna and Cake fanfic in the next installment? I'd love to see Princess Bubblegum's rejoinder to Marceline's assertions in this episode.) I also like that there was so much singing in this episode, although some of the songs didn't quite hold together the way I'd hoped they would--I was hoping for "happy earworm" and instead there was a great deal of "dueling dialogue through song" that I've already forgotten most of. Still, it was an excellent episode and makes me long for the day when Fionna and Cake is its own entity. (I also have to say that the funniest bit was that Pendleton Ward's voice for Lumpy Space Prince was exactly the same as Lumpy Space Princess's.) It made me want to dye my hair blond for Comic Con so I could cosplay as Fionna!
retsuko: (spoilers!)
In one of my more first world problems lately, I've found myself in a somewhat awkward position in regards to several of the TV shows I follow: I only like one of the characters on it, and this person isn't the main character. So time spent watching these shows is an exercise in patience, a patience which I don't have much of.

In the case of The Office (the U.S. version), I suspect it's largely due to the slow death of the show as a whole. But it still saddens me to think I find myself annoyed by each and every character, except one. This is an ensemble show, with a talented cast; you would think the writers would have at least one other likable character. Especially since Daryl (the character I like) is one of the few left with an open-ended story line: will he get his act together and ask out the cute woman from the warehouse? Will he decide that he wants to move up in the company? Will he come to his senses and realize he's one of the few smart, down-to-earth people in the office and would be much better served in another job somewhere else? Whatever happens, it's going to make for great comedy and Craig Robinson is such a talented, fun actor that I'm happy to watch. The problem is, when is it his turn? The writers seem fixated on other, lesser concerns, and most of them haven't paid off narratively this season at all. (Jim has gone from being a reasonably funny, somewhat smug Everyman to a sad, more smug EveryJerk, and the plotline with Erin and Andy just hangs on the season like an albatross.) I can only hope that either some other characters become likable again, or that the writers realize that focusing on different characters would make for better episodes.

In the case of Dexter, though, this annoyance is more due to my loss of patience with the serial killer drama genre as a whole. I'm just catching up with Season 5 on Netflix, and it's very, very patchy. On one hand, we have Debra at her awesome, funniest, most vulnerable best. Watching her progression through the series has been a profound pleasure, and seeing her this season makes me wish there was just a show about her, without all the serial killer drama. Because the serial killer drama in Season 5 is... awkward at best, and downright disgusting at worst. Dexter still is a largely sympathetic personality, but his actions this season don't fit his character at all, and the wild consequences of them have been profoundly strange. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop--there are too many loose ends for the season to end well, for any of the characters. Of course, I don't expect that there's going to be a tidy happy ending all around, but in this case, my suspicions of what's going to happen are keeping me from enjoying the season as a whole. It's like watching someone prepare to do some prank or trick that's going to fail spectacularly, and the person just won't listen to common sense. ("It's gonna be great!" "No, not exactly, are you sure--" "No, seriously, it's gonna rock! Watch this--AUGH!") This used to be the one serial killer/police procedural I could reliably watch without feeling this way; now it's moving into a darker, less entertaining territory. If only the writers could take their expertise with Debra and apply it to the series as a whole. I don't want to be watching for just one character, because that's not going to bring much fulfillment.
retsuko: (plothole?)
On TV, last night was the season finale of The Office, accompanied by the very strong rumor that Catherine Tate will step into the Crazy Boss role that Steve Carrell vacated. This is exceedingly good news because it means that I might just keep on watching the show next season, and not give up as I'd planned. (The promised performance by Jim Carrey was mercifully brief, and I admit I exhaled a little when we realized he wouldn't be around more than his one scene. That guy is comedy poison.) Although CT's appearance was short, she was very funny in the role of "Uber-Boss's seriously say-anything crazy best friend" and I think her presence could be a real plus. The rest of the episode... well, it was sort of meh. Spoiler-specific further fannish babbling ahoy! )

I should say that the best moment of comedy last night came from Pam, who was trying different accents on the phone to stop temporary boss Creed from running Dunder-Mifflin into the ground. This short scene that ran with the credits was delightfully silly and over the top, and it made long for times when the rest of the series was that way, too.

In the trailer park department: the trailer for the Tintin movie is here. And...argh. I have many, many mixed feelings about this endeavor. The Tintin books, after the Sunday funnies, were my introduction to comics and despite their multitude of failings, I have a strong loyalty to them. And I know that the script was in good hands (Moffat had his paws on it), and that the plotline of The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham's Treasure will make for a good story (they're probably the most accessible of the series as a whole, what with the secret scrolls in the masts, spies, underwater treasure, and almost all of the beloved characters appearing in one place.) Also, Steven Spielberg, although his involvement isn't necessarily a mark of absolute quality anymore. But... there's something strange about the trailer and the project that worries me. The whole thing is CG, and while the characters look like themselves... that's weird in and of itself; Tintin comics are supposed to be flat and two-dimensional, but the movie shouldn't look like that. (Or have 3D pasted on.) I fear the movie will also bring Herge's narrative troubles to the fore: the racism/colonialism in the art and plots, and the utter lack of female characters other than Bianca Castafiore (who, admittedly, is a majorly entertaining character), and these in turn will overshadow the tremendous beauty and ingenuity in Herge's design and illustration. And it's this last point that makes me the saddest. Herge was an accomplished and talented artist, and even with all the good intentions in the world, you can't bring this aspect to the screen if you're adding adventure/3D/SFX extravaganza! to the proceedings. Just... argh. I want to be excited, I really do. But this is too easy to screw up, and the screw up vibe is hovering around this trailer in a way that's far too close for comfort.

May 2016

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