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- We had planned to try to go to Central Park for the They Might Be Giants concert on Saturday, but the weather report said it was going to storm, so we took ARR to Liberty Science Center instead. He had a fine time, but it neverdid actually rain, which was annoying. Ah, well, there will be other concerts.

- As Jethrien noted, we watched Moana with ARR on Saturday, to mixed success. I thought the movie was a lot of fun, on par with a lot of recent Disney fare. And I also loved the really stupid chicken.

- On Sunday night, we tried the pop-up Lutze Biergarten, which is really a collection of tables and food carts. The “frosé” (a frozen wine slushee) was fun, though hit me more than I expected. The food in general was decent, and I was crazy enough to try a bacon-wrapped sausage covered in bacon mac and cheese, which my GI system informed me several hours later was a terrible idea. Tasty, though. (ARR enjoyed the soft pretzels and peel and eat shrimp.)

- I watched the first episode (really a two-parter) of the new Ducktales series, as it's free-to-watch on Youtube. It was absolutely delightful. The characterization is stronger, the voices are less annoying, and the humor is faster-paced than the original.

- ARR has multiple cavities, which is frustrating because we've been anal about the tooth-brushing and there was no indication of this six months ago. So now we have floss picks and fluoride chewables and multiple trips to the dentist to get the cavities filled. The dentist also wants his soy milk consumption reduced (in favor of more water), so we're trying that only at breakfast for now. (I bought ARR several new rescue bot toys as incentive to get through the dental work—each two cavities he successfully gets through, he gets a new bot.)

- I've seen a bunch of doctors lately, trying to address why I seem to be increasingly tired and unmotivated over the past few months. Granted, some of it is clearly stress and depression, likely brought on by reading the news. But apparently I also have low testosterone. It's not low enough that my doctor wants to put me on hormone therapy for it (apparently the side effects can be rather unpleasant), but I've been advised to exercise more and try various over-the-counter supplements and see if that helps. I'm also going to try the Breathe-Right strips just on the odd chance that helps me sleep better. Yay, pharmacology.
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Time Lapse – Three friends discover a camera that shows their future, one day at a time. I'll admit that one of the draws here was Danielle Panabaker (who plays Caitlin on The Flash), who does a nice job with what could have been a one-note character. Does this fall into some horror film tropes and occasionally run on stupidity? Yes, but it's also on a small enough scale and featuring characters who aren't supposed to be geniuses (they don't invent anything; they just happen upon it and spend most of the movie running on guesses), which makes it work reasonably well. And the twist is telegraphed just enough to feel earned.

Paradox – A guy sent forward one hour returns warning that everybody's dead in the future. The thing is, this could have been a much better movie, working from this premise. It's clearly an exploration of the predestination paradox, where knowing about the future and attempting to stop it is what makes it come to pass. But in practice, they needed the crunch of the killer in a gas mask to actually make it all work; and a better movie could have avoided that. There's a clearly-telegraphed bit where, early on, somebody's head appears in the time machine, and it was mentioned that you need to keep your arms close when you time-travel because things outside the machine's field don't travel. Okay, duh, he's decapitated by the machine. But while this would have worked better as an accident of panic and fear, instead they just have the killer wrestle him onto the machine. Between time travel (within a one-hour window), building paranoia, and lack of information, you can totally end up with a room full of corpses. And a proper exploration of hubris and predestination, rather than an attempt that turns into a standard slasher flick.

Listening – Two guys create machine telepathy. It ruins their lives and then the government gets involved. I feel like this movie's big problem was one of scale: Part of that is, two-thirds of the way through, it changes the entire premise from “small-scale garage work” to “running a government black site,” which feels like they ran out of one movie so they grafted on half of a different one. The other part is constantly offering the threat of implanting commands the the government's “real” goal. There's plenty of danger in just “listening” that the movie displays perfectly well! The thought police don't need write access to be terrible; and to imply that it “isn't bad enough” to require action is doing your entire premise a disservice. (Also, they clearly had no idea what to do with their female characters, as Jordan seems to change motivations in every scene and Melanie is a one-note harpy.)

Synchronicity - A scientist opens a wormhole to the future, but complications arise when he tries to open the other end, and a mysterious woman walks into his life. This would work out better if the people involved acted like humans, rather than set-pieces who do whatever the plot require of them at the moment. Jim and Abby have no chemistry and Abby's motivations (even after the reveal that Jim-2 has been interacting with her) indicate that the writer doesn't really understand women or romance. There's no good explanation for how Abby's journal reflects Jim's life as closely as it does (even if she's been following his work up to that point) and the twist that he's in an alternate dimension rather than being screwed by a predestination paradox...doesn't really work. Really, this tries too hard to be clever and instead just manages “disjointed.” And someone should point out to the filmmakers that there are colors other than blue that appear on camera.
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Reunions was fantastic. We did the one-day Saturday trip via train, as usual, and we brought ARR along.

ARR discovered an appreciation for women's ice hockey, was unenthused by the marching band, ate Chinese food, played billiards at Campus, spent over an hour on a bouncy slide, then another hour in the playroom the 15th reunion had set up, took a nap during the p-rade, saw Koleinu (and thought their rendition of “Hallelujah” was “beautiful”), got ice cream from The Bent Spoon, played Rescue Bots with JG, and saw his first fireworks. There was a bit of crankiness here and there and one bathroom-related incident, but overall he seemed to have had a great time.

We joked that now Reunions has become an extended series of playdates. There were a LOT of kids brought by my cohort this year, and I got to meet Janine's son and both of Kat's kids, among many others. While I didn't see everyone I wanted to (you never do), I saw a bunch of my favorite far-flung folks and got to catch up with Craig for the first time in four years.

Jethrien took ARR home on the train after the fireworks, and I stayed another couple of hours for Cookie Night. Despite my concerns about cookies being delivered, they made it there successfully and we had plenty. Koleinu sounds amazing—they performed their award-winning new song complete with choreography, and it did indeed deserve awards. We also did a bunch of older material with alums joining in, and among other things, I was reminded that the proper tenor part to “Teenage Dream” is just a b-flat over and over. I got to duet on “Hallelujah” and “Pompeii”, which was fun.

Sunday was actually better than I feared, as well. ARR slept until 7, then Jethrien took first shift and I got to sleep until 9. I took ARR to his My Gym class and Jethrien slept until lunch, then she took him to check out a new robotics camp/maker space that opened near us. When they got home, we had a very successful family naptime where everybody got more sleep, and then watched The Lego Batman Movie together. (Including waiting through the credits to see my dad's name.) For the record, I thought that was great and ARR loved it.

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La La Land - “We can’t just use the same script as The Last Five Years with different music!” “Well, okay, we can change around a few things, and I saw this play called If/Then—we can use that as the ending.” It really lost me with the idea—which appears constantly in media—that if you aren’t following your original dream, you’ve failed or sold out. Seb gets a well-paying, steady gig that puts him in front of sold-out crowds…but because it’s not his original ideal (which everyone in his life thinks is unobtainable), it’s failure. And that’s terrible. And I’m sitting in the audience going, “Okay, it’s not the original dream, but it’s a damn good dream! Why can’t you just run with that?”

Mad Max: Fury Road - I ended up very impressed at how “Angry Andy vs. Plastic Skeletor” is an excuse for this to be an action movie about abused women finding revenge and redemption. They went balls-to-the-wall insane with the worldbuilding (Flamethrower guitar! Pole-riding soldiers! Hedgehog monster trucks!) but I suspect that absurdity value actually helps the film rather than hindering it. And I have a theory that Max has post-apocalyptic mutant healing powers that allow him to, among other thing, regenerate his blood and survive excessive trauma. (There’s a wonderful fan theory I read that the Mad Max movies are all pieced-together mythology, a la the Arthurian legends or Greek myths, and that Max himself was shoehorned into the “original” story of Furiosa vs. Immortan Joe.)

Ghostbusters (2016) - I think it’s an amusing theme that, in pretty much all of the recent female-led action movies, the villain is a whiny white guy with entitlement issues. Also, where the original Ghostbusters was in a lot of ways a conservative movie (the villain was the EPA, the heroes were effectively privatizing a public service, etc.) this is in a lot of ways a progressive one (the villains are the unchanging establishment and a whiny man-baby who didn’t want to listen to competent women). Also, I loved the cameos and Hemsworth is clearly having a glorious time—almost as much as McKinnon is.

Ant-Man - As I suspected, I hadn’t missed much in the continuity when I missed this in the first go-round—it’s a by-the-numbers Marvel movie in a lot of ways, that exists just to bring Ant-Man (and possibly the Wasp) into the universe. I think it was an interesting choice to use Scott Lang and make a second-generation character, as the MCU didn’t have one of those yet. It leaves the fate of Janet Van Dyne uncertain (Shrank into a timeless void? That’s a “death” you can recover from if ever I’ve heard one) but also renders her unnecessary to the overall narrative. This was fun and there were some very funny bits, but nothing groundbreaking.
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Zootopia - I think we can say with some certainty that the genesis of this movie was someone accidentally saying, “bunny cop movie” when they meant “buddy cop movie,” then deciding that sounded cool. This movie is far better than it particularly needed to be, and impressively smart.

Doctor Strange - I feel like the stand-alone/origin Marvel movies are getting awfully formulaic at this point, but I did still enjoy it. (Especially the supporting cast.) The director and visual artists clearly LOVED Inception, as the “folding city” gets taken to new heights here.

Attacking the Darkness - Christopher Guest-style mockumentary that supposedly documents the creation of the "Dark Dungeons" movie. (And made by the same Zombie Orpheus crew that did The Gamers, etc.) It's cringingly delightful? Watch Dark Dungeons, and if you enjoy that, then this is also likely to be worth your time.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - This was the best session of the Star Wars tabletop RPG I’ve ever watched. (And the closest a movie has ever come to recreating The Empire Strikes Back.) They did a nice job dealing with it being an interquel that we knew the ending of ahead of time. I didn’t know in advance that Grand Moff Tarkin was going to be a CGI character, but the muppet-like movement of his mouth made it very obvious to me.

Also, Mads Mikkelsen is having a really good year, isn’t he?
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Garfunkel and Oats - I found this short TV series reminiscent of The Monkees, with loosely-connected goofy slice-of-life plots and musical breaks interspersed. They got an impressive collection of guest stars crammed into the eight episodes. It’s fun, but I’m not surprised it didn’t find an audience—their style is really better suited to Youtube shorts than a full 22-minute episode.

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox - The Flash deals with a totally broken timeline in which Aquaman and Wonder Woman are poised to destroy the world. If you haven’t read the original comics and have a good enough knowledge of DC characters to recognize everybody, you’re going to be seriously confused.

Star Trek Beyond - This was a lot of fun, and better than Into Darkness mostly in that it didn't have many of the problems, not that it was a notably better movie on its merits. There wasn't much we hadn't seen before, there were some nice plotholes (though not nearly as huge as the previous two movies); but the dialogue and character interactions were snappy and the whole ensemble cast got to show off. Arguably the best of the three new Trek movies.

Sunday in the Park with George - On one hand, this was a very well-presented show with an excellent score and very talented performers. On the other hand, the material is so much “artistic” wanking it’s not even funny. Look at all the amazing references to art history I’ve made here! Share my ANGST about ART! (Also, I didn’t realize that a song from tick, tick…BOOM! was a direct parody of a song from this show.)

tick, tick…BOOM! - I realized shortly after she walked on stage that Hawkgirl was playing Susan. What I didn’t realize until reading the Playbill was that I’d also probably seen her as the leading player in the recent revival of Pippin (the one with Terrence Mann as Charles). Which makes it a super-shame that there’s basically no dancing in this show, because she was amazing in that. I was underwhelmed by Johnny because he either sang with an insanely nasal voice (which grated on me) or a Ben Folds-esque rock voice (which would have worked as a stylistic choice if he’d actually been consistent with it). Michael didn’t match my personal vision of the character, but the actor did a nice job anyway. And despite its resonance with me dying down after I turned 30, finished my MBA, bought a house, and had a kid, I still do really like this show.

Pentatonix – 2016 World Tour - Much more of a classic arena “rock concert” than pretty much every other concert we’ve been to recently, which was a nice change of place, though I’ll admit the more “intime” venues are more my style. They got a bunch of audience members up on stage for one song, which made this the Best Birthday Ever for one 14-year-old fan. Also, we got $7 ice creams, because the Prudential Center wants to grow up to be Madison Square Garden.
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“Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer - Jethrien recommended this to me out of the Hugo nominee packet. It is delightful. It’s a commentary on human behavior via an accidentally sentient AI who would just like to be helpful, really. I hope it wins whichever award it’s up for.

Jupiter Ascending - Yes, we finally saw the film that got Airspaniel to the theater 20 times. This film is seriously the self-insert fic that Lana Wachowski wrote when she was 11 and found in the bottom of her closet, and then uncovered and decided to make into a movie. The love interest is an alien angel werewolf with rocket skates! Bees can recognize royalty! Everything you know is a lie! (Except bureaucracy; that’s omnipresent.) I mean, it’s a terrible movie for a lot of reasons, but I understand the itch it scratches for nerdy girls and I appreciate that exists.

WOD The Heck Episode 6: Mage the Ascension - This is a podcast recommended by a high school friend, apparently part of the Role Playing Public Radio Wod The Heck series. In short, it’s two guys trying to explain Mage to their friend who’s never seen it before, and reminding us all exactly how absurd the 90s were. I think if I were into listening to podcasts (I’m not; I actually kinda hate the “talk radio” format) I’d sign up for these guys. As it stands, it was an amusing diversion—especially since I’m running Mage 20th Anniversary Edition now, and everything they say is absolutely true.
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Canadian folk/filk artist Heather Dale wrote a musical that was intended as a Wicked-style version of the Arthurian legend, a two-woman show starring herself and CJ Tucker. I joined the Kickstarter and got a DVD of the stage production.

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Overall: I love Dale’s music; I have all of her albums. I keep watching her tour schedule to see if she’ll be in the NYC area. But this is rough and has a bunch of the standard problems of filming a stage show; it’s not the vehicle I’d use to introduce someone to her.
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The “first mutant” En Sabah Nur is revived in a ruin in Egypt and proceeds to recruit four mutants to be his Horsemen in ushering in an Apocalypse. Can the newly-reformed X-Men stop him?

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Overall: Don’t think too hard about the timeline—or physics, or the concept of “scale”—and this is plenty of fun. Watching First Class and Days of Future Past is helpful, but not strictly necessary.
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Captain America and Iron Man square off in a more-developed fight than Superman vs. Batman, and with more sidekicks and running plots involved. I wasn’t quite as enamored with this as the rest of the internet—though I did enjoy it—so here’s your warning about all my commentary behind the cut. I will be critical about the movie.

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Overall: Superheroes punched each other and there were lots of explosions. I had fun.
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- We went on a Celebrity Cruise with my parents over the past week, which featured three sea days and three days in port at Bermuda. (For the record: Four adults and one preschooler does seem to be a decent ratio so that everyone gets to relax and do some fun things.)

- Regarding Celebrity: The buffet was better than Norwegian, though the specialty restaurants were generally inferior (most of them weren’t accessible unless you were in a special class, and only one offered particularly different fare). The line is in general aimed at an older crowd: Norwegian had facilities for families; this was mostly retirees. The kid’s club was lovely (and ARR had a great time there, about an hour each day), but there were only a dozen kids on the ship total. Also, while the food service staff was great, the activities staff apparently couldn’t get their act together. They screwed up my mother’s room assignment (she was a guest lecturer and her room was comped), moved several activities after reservations had already been opened, cancelled activities with no notice, and just didn’t know when or where anything was supposed to be happening.

- Because of the relative age differences, (“Preschool Georg is an outlier and should not be counted”) and his general charisma, everybody knew ARR. He seriously charmed everyone. By the latter part of the week, random people in the halls and elevators would greet him by name!

- Captain Kate was a hoot: She’s only the fifth female captain in the industry (there are now 7, she’s the first from the US), and she looks like Sandra Bullock but tells “dad jokes” and “Confucius says” puns over the intercom.

- ARR’s eating habits on the cruise were actually much better than ours: He couldn’t eat most of the desserts, and we were eating cake after every meal. (I also had sausage and a variant egg benedict from the benedict bar almost every morning; and blintzes too.) He had a lot of fruit and veggies, discovered he likes hard-boiled eggs (egg allergy: clearly gone), and ate a lot of sushi and shrimp cocktails. I invented the “ugly-face salad” one day when he didn’t want lunch, pulling all of his favorites from the salad bar to design a face. (He did drink too much fruit punch, but soy milk was a little tricky to come by—it needed to be specially requested—and he wasn’t complaining.)

- ARR also seemed to master the concept of phone this weekend: He realized we could call my parents’ stateroom and really wanted to do so; and when he called he managed to have real conversations that actually transmitted information!

- ARR’s best line of the week: While my mother was sorting out her room, I commented that she’d just push people until she got her way. ARR got super upset, and eventually stammered out, “You shouldn’t push your friends! We need to find Gramma and tell her to calm down! You don’t push your friends, even if you’re angry!”

- On the first evening, we went to see the comedian. And I hate bandying about the word “problematic”, but he was a very talented, clearly intelligent black man whose routine included a lot of bad black stereotypes clearly aimed at the retired, middle-America white cruise crowd. It was uncomfortably like a minstrel show.

- We tried to take ARR to the production show (“iHollywood”) the following evening. He said “I don’t like it,” for ten minutes and then Papa took him to play elsewhere. The singers were decent (though most of the men were clearly singing parts written for someone else) and the costumes clearly came from Discount Costume Warehouse, but the aerialists were fantastic. Also, they abandoned the Hollywood theme by the second half and ended on an ABBA medley.

- The crew of the ship may not actually know how to measure the temperature: Everyone was insisting that the port days would be in the low 70s. It was definitely in the 80s; I’m not sure what they were smoking.

- On the first port day, we went to Snorkel Beach, which is a man-made beach five minutes from the cruise dock. It’s small and nothing special, but was perfect for ARR, because it’s on an enclosed cove and there’s a little slide…and there was a 5-year-old named Thomas from the other cruise ship who was interested in playing “icky sticky zone” for over an hour. Later that day (and the other two days) we went to the little playground next to it, which is a lame wooden affair that wouldn’t pass helicopter-parent safety standards, but meant that he could do some climbing and digging and work out some of his pent-up energy from the ship.

- ARR’s says his favorite part of Bermuda was the train; that is, the little trolley-shuttle that took people around the cruise dock.

- On the second port day, Jethrien and I went horseback riding. It was a delightful ride: We went through some greenery to one of the pink-sand beaches* and it was a glorious sunny day. The amusing hiccup was that I got the toddler of horses: He constantly wanted to stop to eat the foliage and needed to be “encouraged” to follow the pack; he was the only horse that forgot to visit the little horses’ room before the ride, so we had to stop several times so he could relieve himself; and when we stopped he’d either try to flirt with the mare Jethrien was riding or antagonize one of the other geldings. It felt very familiar.

- We did the ship’s kitchen tour, when they told us about their food production and walked us through the galleys, which occupied a sizeable portion of one of the decks. I’d never been in an industrial kitchen of that magnitude, and it’s an impressive affair, especially since they make their own pasta, bake their own bread, and even make the ice cream fresh every day.

- We tried the most noteworthy specialty restaurant, Qsine. It was billed as a tapas-style place where you could order up to 6 dishes each, and with the waiter and the couple we were eating with goading us on, we ordered 12 different dishes. This went poorly—when the meatballs that were the size of softballs came out (#9) we cancelled the rest of the orders. It was generally all very good, but we waddled out of there and could barely eat breakfast the next day. (This was especially surprising because cruise restaurant portions are usually entirely reasonable: A three-course meal in the main dining room feels like an appropriately-sized dinner, and I ordered a second entrée a couple of times.)

- On the other hand, they did a dinner and a show event on their film deck, and that was great. The film was The One Hundred Foot Journey, and the six dishes (all very reasonably sized) were French-Indian fusion inspired by the film. (The film is fun and well-made, incidentally. Recommended, especially for foodies.)

- The five of us attended family bingo, which was noteworthy in that ARR won a prize and picked out a pair of pink sunglasses that he wore very proudly for the rest of the week.

- We also hit family karaoke, because the time change made ARR attending a later-evening event more feasible. He didn’t seem entirely clear on what was going on, but enjoyed singing “Happy” with Daddy and Papa, and really enjoyed making roaring noises along to the little girls doing Katy Perry’s “Roar.”

- I think we’re all super glad to be home, despite the trip going really well. Back to all of our usual toys, back to our usual foods, and (starting tomorrow) back to our usual routine. There were a lot of family naptimes on the trip (including several I had to wrestle ARR down for), but the one this afternoon was probably the most peaceful.

*They have red coral mixed with the sand; I was reminded of the Hawaiian green sand beaches in that it was actually kinda lame. If we’d made the 45-minute trip just for that, I would have been disappointed.
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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - I liked this quite a lot, really, which is surprising in that I found the graphic novel wearying. Then again, it has Anna Kendrick being snarky and both Chris Evans and Brandon Routh chewing scenery, which bodes well for most things. It condensed most of the jokes from seven volumes of comics into a single movie, which helped a lot. Also, Scott comes off as somewhat less an asshole you want to punch and more a clueless dork you want to smack and tell to grow up—which is good, because he matures a little bit by the end and it feels vaguely like a hero’s journey, or at least a parody thereof.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit - This really holds up—especially when you realize that there was no CGI and all the animation was hand-drawn. It’s also amazingly filthy when you’re old enough to get the jokes—the stealth innuendo is amazing. Also, while I acknowledge that the movie was made by and for residents of LA, Judge Doom is nonetheless a giant “fuck you” to Robert Moses.

Mean Girls - The internet loves this movie, and for good reason. It’s funny and amazingly quotable. The one thing that occurred to me that I didn’t see addressed online about it, though: Janis is just as much a “mean girl” as any of the plastics, and we know that from her very first introduction: When told the proper pronunciation of Cady’s name, she replies, “I’m gonna call you Caddy.” That’s a power game. That’s boundary-testing of, “I’m blatantly disrespecting your wishes to your face. Will you let me get away with this?” which establishes who has power in the relationship. Teenage girls do it; 45-year-old white male bosses do it.

Julie & Julia - Meryl Streep only takes roles that allow her to have fun, and who can blame her? She’s clearly having the time of her life and it’s hard not to love the Julia scenes. The Julie scenes…are okay, but at least lend more conflict and narrative arc t the movie. I feel sorry for the costume designer who had to make Amy Adams look “fat”.

Superman Vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice - That was…something. They’ll never need to make a Squadron Supreme movie, because this covered it well. Wonder Woman is the only character who seems vaguely in-character for their namesake, though, as Superman is only vaguely concerned with the people around him (though he’s learning—rather than fight Doomsday in Metropolis, his opening move is to shove him into the stratosphere); and Batman uses a dozen different guns and a has a body count of at least two dozen. (Though to quote True Lies, “But they were all bad.”) Also, I’m not sure why they thought they could make a good movie by mashing together The Dark Knight Returns, The Death of Superman, assorted bits from Crisis on Infinite Earths and also the first few storylines from the New 52 Justice League reboot.
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Eternals (2006 miniseries) - A revamp of a Jack Kirby creation by Neil Gaiman, it’s…very Jack Kirby. Clearly he wanted to tell more New Gods stories after his contract with DC ran out and he came back to Marvel, so he set up yet another version of the “immortal beings with loosely-defined powers that are also superheroes” that he was so famous for. It feels over-done by this point (even with Gaiman’s re-vamps) and integrates poorly with the existing Marvel universe, circa Civil War.

Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz (comic adaptation) - Chris Snow has a genetic disorder that makes him very vulnerable to light…nonsensically so, because he cites UV light as the reason he must stay in the dark, and you know what blocks UV light? Glass. And he goes out in the sun with only a ball cap and sunglasses (not even the wrap-around kind!) for protection, rather than a big floppy hat or even a mask. The writer and the artist of the adaptation apparently didn’t talk much, as the art occasionally depicts scenes far different than the narration implies, and the colorist apparently didn’t get the “light sensitive” memo, because plenty of the indoor scenes are lit normally and Snow doesn’t care. Oh, and it sets up a big mystery that apparently Koontz hasn’t even bothered to write the final book that resolves, despite claiming he would since 2003. (Why on earth would you adapt something like this without hope of getting a resolution for it?) I got this for free and I think I overpaid.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - I hadn’t quite connected that this was a Terry Gilliam film when I started watching it, but there was no doubt about that at the end. It can’t decide who the protagonist is, but that’s okay, because none of the obvious choices really get happy endings. It’s very pretty and there are some funny bits, but at the end you have the, “What the hell did I just watch?” moment common to Terry Gilliam films. I give them credit for getting together something resembling a coherent narrative given Ledger’s death and the subsequent restructuring of the film, but I have to think parts of it were never intended to make sense; and there are a few transitions that are just too emotionally abrupt. Tom Waits as Mr. Nick is just delightful, though.

Liberty Science Center have a Sid the Science Kid temporary exhibit, which was great and ARR loved it*, but I had a weird random thought: I think the cast, despite being digital muppets who are colored Simpsons-yellow, are supposed to be black. (Cursory internet research reveals that Sid is supposed to be half-African, half-Jewish.) This occurred to me because the only non-yellow character is pink. Not that it really matters regardless, but it struck me as an odd bit of stealth-diversity.

* Though I can’t get the “Looking For My Friends” song out of my head, and I don’t think ARR can either.
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From the guy who brought you the most Star-Wars-y Star Trek movies ever, it’s the most Star-Wars-y Star Wars movie ever!


Overall: The prequel trilogy is what happened when Lucas took Star Wars in a direction he thought was best. This is what happens when a New Hope fanboy takes over. It looks, feels and has beats just like the original movie, and I’m totally down with that. And hey, women and minorities in starring roles! Woo!
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Three-time national champion a cappella group the Barden Bellas have a “wardrobe malfunction” in front of a VIP audience. Now, their only chance at redemption is claiming the international championship. But will impeding graduation, infighting and romantic woes doom them? (…given the genre? No, of course not.)

Read more... )

Overall: It felt more than anything like a long-form episode of Glee. Most of the characters are terrible people; the situations are insane and unrealistic, but still amusing; the singing is great; and you really shouldn’t think too hard about any of it. Also, it sound probably be noted that at this point I would watch Anna Kendrick sit on her couch in sweatpants reading Twitter, so anything she sings in gets a minimum “watchable” rating from me.


Sep. 9th, 2015 06:46 pm
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Flashdance, which I’m lead to believe is a seminal 80s movie, makes no goddamn sense.

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Overall: There are some “seminal” 80s movies that I really enjoyed. This...was just kinda weird and aimless.
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Five years after Dark of the Moon, the last Transformers on Earth are all in hiding and are being hunted down by a mysterious enemy. Tl;dr: Lots of things get blown up.

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Overall: My assessment of the original movie still stands: If you cut this down to 45 minutes of giant robots punching each other, it would be great. As it stands, it’s an overlong dumb summer action flick.
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Hotel Transylvania - This is funnier than it has any right to be, given that it’s riddled with fart jokes and crude humor. It’s also impressively casually sexist, given that the female character who is the lynchpin to the plot has basically no agency and far less screen time than she should have. (And the fact that the other female characters are all generally there to fill space and be shrewish doesn’t help, either.)

Edge of Tomorrow - Groundhog Day with an alien invasion and Tom Cruise. That’s pretty much everything you need to know about it. Well done and surprisingly funny in places. Jethrien has gone looking for the Japanese light novel that it’s loosely based on.
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In the post-Voyager era, a new threat looms over the Federation. Admiral Chekov and Head of Section 31 Tuvok decide to take matters into their own hands, charging a ship full of misfit operatives to keep Starfleet’s hands clean by getting theirs dirty.

Read more... )

Overall: It’s not great, but a diehard Trek fan (hi!) will treat it kindly and in a lot of ways it’s still better than the new movies. I’m pretty sure this was just a one-off thing and we’re not going to see it get picked up. On one hand that’s disappointing because I’d love to see a new Trek series on the air. On the other hand, if it did get picked up, I fear for what network execs would manage to turn it into.

Inside Out

Jul. 16th, 2015 06:02 pm
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”What if feelings had feelings?” ~Related internet Meme

Mild spoilers that won't make a lot of sense without seeing it. )

Overall: Fun movie with a dangerous rabbit-hole of musings in it if you’re the introspective type. If you like Pixar movies, you’ll like this one too.
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