TV roundup

Apr. 9th, 2013 07:52 pm
kate_nepveu: small black cartoon creature with unevenly-sized eyes and thin smile; effect is meant to be friendly but odd (slightly crazed)

This is what happens when I am ridiculously busy: I have all these things I want to talk to you all about, and then when I have a little time, it all comes flooding out (I even wrote a booklog post!). Another post written on Amtrak: TV catchup.

I should say that I watch TV mostly with the Pip in the same room, so anything violent or scary is out--not that those are really to my taste anyway. (At this point in SteelyKid's life I'd ditched The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, but though the Pip is acquiring language right now, comprehension at that level is a long way away, I was too cautious before.) Mostly what I want is something with people I like that doesn't make me angry.

Leverage: I would have watched the hell out of the season six they were setting up, so I'm bummed it was canceled. spoiler )

Face Off: the SyFy reality show that's a makeup artist competition. I liked this season better than last because (1) no audience vote determining the winner and (2) it shifted the "win your way back on" to a web series for the next season. Also it made more sense logistically that they didn't bring back all the contestants for the finale, just enough for two helpers each.

Elementary: because the first episode opens with a murder, these episodes kept scrolling off the DVR until I picked it up with the episode with the safe, which turned out to be very low-violence indeed (and, with a couple notable exceptions, much more like the rest of the show). I've since seen all the subsequent episodes except "M.", plus the ones that CBS has re-run. This was probably a good place for me to pick it up, where Holmes and Watson are already more firmly into their friendship/partnership. I enjoy the two of them a lot, and I find it ridiculously refreshing to watch something that is actively opposed to the "Holmes as lone super-special genius" idea and (gasp!) cares about its female lead's agency and choices and life. I saved this past week's episode as a treat for myself because spoiler )

The mysteries are, unsurprisingly, not very good, but I don't watch TV for mysteries so I don't really care; I like hanging out with the characters and watching Watson learn to be a detective and their friendship.

Edit: I meant to link to these two gen Joan-Sherlock friendship fics that I enjoyed:

The Art of Negotiation (6767 words) by language_escapes
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Elementary (TV), Sherlock Holmes & Related Fandoms
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, Joan Watson (Elementary)
Additional Tags: Boundaries, Negotiations, Male-Female Friendship
Summary: For them, negotiation is less about boundary setting and more about upping the ante.

waltz across naïve wood floors. (4101 words) by paperclipbitch
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Elementary (TV), Sherlock Holmes & Related Fandoms
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Sherlock Holmes & Joan Watson, Irene Adler/Sherlock Holmes
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, Joan Watson (Elementary), Marcus Bell, Alfredo Llamosa, Clyde the Tortoise (Elementary)
Additional Tags: Slice of Life, Platonic Relationships, Platonic Female/Male Relationships, Platonic Soulmates, My First Work in This Fandom, written at least partially during accidental medication withdrawal
Summary: "You're wearing my underwear again, aren't you," Joan says.

(There are, right now, five fics that list Clyde the Tortoise as a character. Sometimes I love fandom.)

Farscape. A few weeks ago I decided I was going to watch this to keep myself awake when the Pip woke up at night (as opposed to sitting down with him and waking up in the rocking chair three hours later with a stiff neck). I've only seen the first episode and half of the second at this point, but more SF shows should use puppets and non-CG effects for their aliens. I've already been warned about the fourth season, and I seem to have lost some momentum, but I really like Browder and Black from their SG-1 run and do intend to go back to it. (I almost immediately abandoned my vague plan to keep up with the AV Club's watch when I realized it was doing two episodes a week after the first episode, but those of you who've already seen the show, they usually do a pretty good job, though I don't know if the comments on this are the quality of those on--of all things--the Korra coverage.)

kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Went to see Cloud Atlas tonight, so I type in-between eating pita chips because it is a long fucking movie and having the babysitter not put the kids to bed meant skipping dinner.

Umm. It was a movie? It's kind of hard to say, because it is really just full of ALL THE THINGS. I'm pretty sure I'm glad I saw it, but it's a little stunning in both senses of the word.

So this is a movie adapted (apparently fairly loosely in substance as well as form) from a well-known book that I have not read, which takes six stories from the mid-nineteenth century to a post-apocalyptic far future and shuffles them together thematically and with the same actors playing multiple parts.

The intercutting actually worked surprisingly well for me; I didn't have any trouble following where we were or what was going on, and I liked the way things began overlapping very closely toward the end. I was mostly tracking the progress of the movie by the first-closest future timeline, which has the most-obviously-an-endpoint that we are introduced to early, so somewhere in the middle-ish I did find myself wondering how close we were getting to that end. (I mentioned that it's a very long movie?)

Less successful was the multiple actors, for two reasons. One, for a $100 million movie (ha, ha, I remembered that it was largely independently-financed and dropped a zero in talking to Chad, which was absolutely ridiculous of me), sometimes the makeup was just awfully obvious as makeup. Maybe I was spoiled by tiny!Steve Rogers in Captain America, which was all digital? Maybe I've just spent too much time thinking about makeup from watching that silly reality show Face Off? (About which finale all I really have to say is that I hate that they moved the winner to a popular vote.) I don't know, but it distracted me.

Second, the first future plotline is set in Korea and there are only two actual Asian people in the main cast. And I found the modifications to the other actors' eyelids to try and make them look Asian not just awkward to look at from a "that's not a real face" point of view, but viscerally disturbing and upsetting. I actually think the filmmakers' reasons for this do not suck, for a change, but it really bothered me all the same. So, not that you all need my approval to chose not to see a movie that does this, but you should be aware that this is one of the things that the movie is full of. (There are at least two instances where non-white actors play white characters; I cannot think off the top of my head of any other instances where white actors play non-white characters. This is probably because the rest of the storylines are set in majority-white populations.)

What else? There were definitely times when I wanted to say, "Yes, I get it" at the screen when someone was talking about choices recurring and reverberating and interconnectedness and so forth, sometimes simultaneous with feeling warm-and-fuzzy about it. I feel like I want to make a really big chart to track and analyze it all and also like I just want to leave it as a thing. Hugo Weaving chews scenery like he's a teething baby. The guy who was adorable as Tom Pullings in Master and Commander is also adorable in the composer segment, though it gets stolen out from under him by the other young guy, the actual composer. (Oh fine: James D'Arcy (tell me that's a stage name, because, seriously?) and Ben Whishaw (who is apparently going to be the new Q), respectively.) Lots of lows, some highs. Some suspense, though on reflection in only about half the plotlines; two proceeded basically as I thought and I was fine with that, one I didn't care terribly about, one I really didn't know what would happen, and two I was pretty sure I knew and wished I was wrong.

Basically this is a movie that believes very strongly in going big or going home. If that sounds appealing and you can get past the yellowface, go see it while it's in theaters.

Oh, right, trailers:

  • The Hobbit: weirdly on looking it up, it appears we got the first trailer, which explains why it said "next December" on it! I still do not have high hopes for this, but man, I have such a Pavlovian response to the instrumental Ring theme.
  • Les Misérables: I am pretty sure I do not want to see this but it was surprisingly good as a trailer anyway.
  • Anna Karenina: there has never been a trailer I was more surprised to see "Screenplay by Tom Stoppard" at the end of.
  • The Impossible: oh look, it's a movie about the 2004 South Asian tsunami that is all about a white family! *stabbity stab stab*
  • Gangster Squad: might as well have had "glorifying the (once lawful but now out of necessity really!) lawless elite" written all over it. What-fucking-ever.

30 days of gratitude:

past days, for my own reference )

  1. Babysitters. =>
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

Haywire: the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I & the kids were staying with Chad's parents, and I escaped for a couple of hours to watch a movie. I was going to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but then I saw [ profile] glvalentine's review of Haywire and decided to see it instead: partly because it was shorter and partly because it sounded really interesting.

I liked this less than Genevieve, for two reasons. One, I missed the first few minutes and spent most of the movie wondering if it provided some kind of context for the main character's goals and situation. I'm not sure why I felt vaguely aswim—maybe just sleep deprivation?—since in the end it was pretty simple: she was betrayed, she escaped, she finds out why, she makes them pay. I think I wasn't sure what she knew at any given time. (It is a Soderbergh movie, which means non-linear and lots of significant verbal omissions. One of which convinced me that a certain character was doing completely the opposite of what it turned out to be, which didn't help matters.) Two, I'm not that fond of the type of action movie this is. I love competence porn in capers or action movies, but I like either character development or a reveal to go with it (Ronin, The Bourne Identity, Ocean's Eleven). Haywire is instead in the "main character gets revenge and returns to status quo" mold, which I find unsatisfying. I didn't get a strong hook as the movie unfolded (character development), and I didn't have any reason to revisit my conclusions at the end (reveal). Instead I felt, as the credits came up, "That was it?", and was left with more abstract admiration than enjoyment.

So, if you like that kind of thing, you need to see this, and if you don't, it's worth background watching when it comes on basic cable in a few years.

The other two episodes in season two of Sherlock: "The Hounds of Baskerville" was very silly and not at all scary and entertained me in a way that almost entirely failed to engage my brain. Thus, I have nothing else to say about it.

"The Reichenbach Fall" was mostly terrific: I liked the updating of the conflict, and that Moriarty toned the swoopy down, and spoilers, minor and major )

Face Off: this is, of all things, an original reality show on the SyFy network, in which contestants design and execute special effects makeup. I saw some commercials for it and then found the whole season free on demand on my cable system one day when I was out of DVRed things to half-watch while dealing with the Pip. Anyway, I like seeing the different designs and all the craft involved, and generally find the judging clear, educational, and reasonable. Despite my best efforts, though, I find myself having opinions about the contestants as people, which I was trying to avoid because I know how manipulatively these shows can be cut to create interpersonal conflict. There's very little of that, however, so if you like how-to kinds of shows this is worth checking out.

White Collar: I dropped this show for a long time but the second half of this just-concluded season has also been maternity-leave TV fodder. Most of it was background noise, and I actually watched a couple episodes mostly on FF, but I thought the season finale was genuinely strong. (Well, except for the worst green-screening I have seen in quite some time.) And wow, Beau Bridges has a talent for playing characters who get on my last nerve (I watched SGA before SG-1 and so was introduced to General Landry in a much more confrontational posture).

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