Jan. 2nd, 2015

llcoolvad: (newer)
And now for the finale. How many movies did I watch this year???

DECEMBER MOVIES
127. Only Lovers Left Alive, Redbox. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are eccentric vampires who have been married for over a century. Adam hung out with Byron and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Eve is even older, centuries older. She hangs out with Christopher Marlowe, played by John Hurt. They spend a lot of time being quirky and sad, and getting blood from various resources. They refer to humans as zombies and they're sad about the way the zombies are treating the world. Adam is a musician who collects old instruments and old tech. Eve is a reader who speed reads hundreds of books in many languages. They live mostly apart (for whatever long-term relationship reason), but Adam gets suicidal (has a wooden bullet made and everything) so Eve travels to see him in Detroit from Tangiers. Lots of languid pale limbs and quietness.

Eve's sister Ava shows up for a visit. She's of course also a vampire, but she's kind of the stereotypical little sister. Trouble.

I had a passing thought while watching: dear god, CENTURIES of listening to your pretentious boyfriend's music. But then I realized I could listen to anything Tom Hiddleston wanted me to, for eternity! Tilda feels the same. Why wouldn't she?

Although my opinion of this might be somewhat biased with the Tom Hiddlestonness of it all, I have to give it a big thumbs up. Hipster friendly, too, since it's a Jim Jarmusch film.

128. Robocop 2014. Not as bad as I feared, but WAY too serious. Why remake a classic at all? And the lead, Joel Kinnaman, is an actor I really like (for example he was in The Killing playing Holder) but has most of his sparkle removed here.

129. Into the Storm. Worse than I hoped. I didn't review this right after seeing it, so I've already forgotten the entire plot. There were tornados and storm chasers and people in peril. Decent special effects, so it wasn't Asylum-esque, but the plot wasn't much better than an Asylum special. I hadn't really been paying attention but IMDB informs me that Richard Armitage is in this, so combined with the Hobbit (he's Thorin) that's two movies in a row that I watched of his. WTF was he thinking? He's got HOBBIT money and he did THIS?

130. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Theater. Mostly The Dull and The Never-Ending. Ok, not terrible, but dear lord it wasn't good. Peter Jackson must have been planning his next epic during the filming of this, because it felt like no one was in control. It felt very Discovery Channel, also: there were War Goats, War Pigs, War Wolves, the Eagles showed up (WHY AREN'T THE EAGLES BROUGHT IN FIRST IN ALL CASES FOR FUCK'S SAKE?), there was a splendid War Reindeer...and I can't remember what else. I kept waiting for the fifth army. There was a ridiculous fight scene on a frozen lake. Legolas leapt about. Bilbo was unconscious. The usual. And then Bilbo went home.

131. Big Eyes, Theater. Seriously interesting, based on a fascinating true story. It's a Tim Burton movie, but you'd never guess that because of the pure weirdness of reality. A newly divorced 1950s mom, Margaret (Amy Adams), moves to San Francisco for the art scene as she considers herself an artist. Her work is what we no doubt would call puerile now (and indeed was called worse then) — waifish children with giant eyes in various scenes. She is seduced by another artist, Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), who dazzles her with his salesman charm and good looks. He rents out space in a jazz club to show their combined work, and when someone asks about her painting, he claims it as his own. Partly because he is a crafty salesman, and partly because he always wanted to be a famous painter, he becomes the public face of her work, and somehow they become ridiculously wealthy. Eventually she can't take the pressure of the lie anymore and leaves him. When he demands that they maintain the fiction post-divorce, she sues him. The best scene is a paint-off that the judge requests in the courtroom. She wins, and the world finds out that "Walter Keane" is a fiction and it was Margaret Keane all along. Shocking! Amy Adams is great, Christoph appropriately scene-chews, and there are a couple of amusing small parts with Jason Schwartzman playing a gallery owner and Terence Stamp playing a Times reviewer. Also drool-worthy set decorations. So awesomely midcentury I wanted to steal everything in every set.

132. Good People, Redbox. Somehow we are to believe that Kate Hudson and James Franco are struggling to make ends meet in London. She's a school teacher, and he's an architect or something, but mostly he's trying to renovate a money pit he's inherited from a family member. It's draining all their reserves. Meanwhile, they're living in a skanky rowhouse, and renting out their basement to a shady guy. They've just been served with eviction papers. Shady guy dies in their basement, but miraculously he's left behind a bag stacked with fat cash. This clearly can't be honestly begotten gains, but beyond a passing thought Jimmy and Katie decide to take the money. The original owner (Omar Sy), the other guys who stole it (Sam Spruell), and the police (Tom Wilkinson) are suddenly all onto them, and much mayhem ensues. Obviously the filmmakers are aiming for the "good people do one bad thing" trope, but instead they hit "good cast and crew makes one really bad movie". And now that I've made that joke I see that every reviewer in Rotten Tomatoes made the same one. Well, it was too damned easy.

133. The Equalizer, Redbox. Denzel is a bad ass, again. I think he and Liam Neeson should make an ass-kicking film together. Yet again I am entirely not unique in comparing their filmic similarities. I guess my finger is on the pulse of America, y'all. Call me a bellweather if you must. Anyway, Mr. Creasy, uh, Robert McCall is a man of mysterious past. He works at Home Depot by day, and doesn't sleep at night so he hangs around a local diner reading the 100 best books of all time. He's on #93 when we meet him, so that's a lot of sleepless nights. Some Russian pimps put a smackdown on a 'ho he's made friends with, so he reluctantly uses his special set of skills and puts a stop to that. Which then triggers a lot more stuff, including the arrival of a Russian ass-kicker (Marton Csokas, who you might remember from Lord of the Rings as Celeborn, completing the Hobbity circle) leading to a glorious fight scene in Home Depot involving nail guns and trip wires and I don't know what all. Totally fun.

134. Guardians of the Galaxy, Amazon Instant. Bought this—they had a sale. I will watch it many times, so it's worth it. While it might not be my #1 this year (Big Hero 6 might barely edge it out) it's probably #2. I'll have to look over the year and seet what my top ten was.

So 134 is my final official number for the year. It doesn't count the endless partial movies I watched while I was recovering from surgery, or several movies that I've just seen too many times to count again (Jurassic Parks 1, 2, 3 for ex). I probably forgot a handful of others that I didn't record while watching. I can live with that.

I'll try to pick a top ten and post that this week.
llcoolvad: (newer)
NOVEMBER BOOKS
35. The Mind's Eye, Douglas E. Richards, SF Thriller. I liked this. Our hero wakes up in a dumpster with no idea how he got there and no memory. He realizes he's being hunted, so he takes refuge in a nearby office park and makes a friend and goes on the run. He slowly figures out that he has the ability to surf the web with his mind, he now has telepathic abilities, and he can read minds. But how? Did someone do something to him? Why are people trying to kill him? It's sort of Bourne-esque, plotwise, but it was a brisk read and not bad. I might read something else by this author.

DECEMBER BOOKS
38. The Burning Room, Michael Connelly, Crime. Harry Bosch, but not a very compelling one. He's got less than a year left before final forced retirement, so he's solving cold cases and trying to do several at a time. Motivated! It's possible that this and the following were amazing and I'm just not up to snuff as a reader right now.

39. The Redeemer, Jo Nesbo, Crime. As with all Harry Hole books (oh, hey, look! a month of Harrys!) this one was pretty dark. I can't remember now if all the books do this, but this one had a cutesy-annoying trick of cutting the scene and starting the next one with the character in the next one basically replying as if they were replying to the last one. Like "He got to his feet and waited by the doors. The brakes gave a low lament...(other stuff)...The doors slid open." (new section, new character) "Harry stepped onto the platform and stood inhaling the warm underground air." I mean, clever, but sort of wearying. Anyway, it's the last one to be translated into English from the original Norwegian, but it's from 2007 so it's in the middle of the series. A major character is killed which of course I already knew because I had read the later ones already, so that was disappointing. The red herrings were everywhere in this so figuring out whodunnit was complicated. I had it right, but I was pretty convinced I was wrong for a lot of it. There is also a big secret that's revealed that's right on the heels of the book immediately preceding it, which again would have been more effective if I had read that book recently.

So that's it. 39 books. I don't recommend major surgery for book reading productivity. So much easier to watch TV/movies than to try to read a book. It's the new year now, though, so fresh slate.

it's a wrap

Jan. 2nd, 2015 11:39 pm
llcoolvad: (newer)
Another year ALREADY?

Although in many ways it feels like I have lived two or three years this year. But since most of it was boring or stressful, it doesn't feel like much was accomplished, so it feels like it should be no further into the year than mid September.

Glad to say goodbye to it, really. I didn't have the worst year ever, though. I mean, I had my worst health year ever, but the year my Dad died (11 years ago today) was a pretty shitty year. That was probably the worst. Hell, even a few years ago when I had a different health crisis and had to move out of my apartment, that was a pretty shitty year. A couple of years before when I had pneumonia and the goiter diagnosis and the eventual surgery, etc., not a great year. This one? Was scary a couple of times, and sad a couple of times, and definitely painful a lot, but wasn't the worst. I'm happy it's over, nevertheless.

2014 IN NUMBERS

In 2014 I had:
  • 1 endoscopy
  • 5 CAT scans
  • 20+ chest x-rays
  • 10 PT visits for my back and leg
  • 2 gallons (hyperbolically estimated) worth of blood tests
  • 30u of insulin per day because of high blood sugar
  • 1 episode of bronchitis that lasted about 6 weeks
  • 1 major surgery involving partial sternotomy filmed by Frontline crew*
  • 2 thoracentises (fluid drained from the lungs via a big-ass needle)
  • 2 EKGs
  • 1 echocardiogram
  • 1 pulmonary function test
  • 1 regular stress test
  • 1 invasive stress test which involves a catheter being inserted into the neck down into the heart
  • XX doctors' visits with not sure how many doctors
  • 2 wisdom teeth extracted
  • 1 root canal
  • 1 eye test where the eye doctor said there are a couple of "small bleeds" in my eye
  • 4 prescriptions for antibiotics
  • $165,911.70 charged to my insurance so far in medical bills
  • 18 pounds gained

    In 2014 I read/watched/wrote/took/attended/planted/had/socialized with/got/attained:
  • 39 books
  • 134+ movies
  • XXX hours of television
  • 26 blog entries
  • 630 photographs
  • 2 shows (Luka Bloom and The Book of Mormon)
  • 1 family reunion with 31 relatives
  • 4 flower-boxes on my porch for the first time
  • 1 4-day mini-vacation on the Cape
  • 3+ occasions of playing pinball
  • 2 trips to western Mass to hang with Suzanne
  • 1 fancy dinner with 2 college roommates who live on the west coast
  • 15+ new CDs (yay new music!)
  • 1 pedicure (first time!)
  • 2 surprise birthday parties (one at family reunion, one at P's house!)
  • 6 pairs of earrings at aforementioned birthday party
  • 1 robot (MINT!)
  • 2 weeks off for Christmas vacation
  • And finally, I managed to make it to 50

    The two sections pretty much balance each other out, I think. The crappy and the good. The health stuff vs. the fun stuff. Since hopefully the health stuff is resolving as much as it can**, maybe this new shiny year will have a lot less on the sucky side so the good side can totally overbalance it. Because I feel like I'm really due for a win!

    Asterisks within )
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