Nov. 8th, 2014


Nov. 8th, 2014 09:48 pm
llcoolvad: (newer)
I am too behind to link to everything. So here's September:

81. Executive Decision, cable. Interesting to see so many familiar faces very young again. Fairly routine thriller with "technology" thrown in. Of course it's 1996 technology, so it's not all that.

82. Bourne Legacy, cable, rewatch. I heart Jeremy Renner. That is all.

83. Guardians of the Galaxy, theater. My one trip to the movies in over two months. Had to wait til I could get someone to take me. So much fun. More please. Now. Will watch this again, possibly while it's still in the theater even.

84. Locke, Redbox. Fascinating filmmaker's exercise. Watched it for Tom Hardy, which was good because other than a series of voices on the other end of phone calls, he's the only person in this movie. He gets in his car at the very beginning of the movie and starts driving from somewhere in the UK north of London to London. It's late at night and his family is waiting at home, a woman is delivering his child in the hospital in London, he has a hugely important job in the morning that needs lots of finessing and preparation. He's headed to London leaving it all to wait. What follows are all the calls he makes and receives—can he pull off being the responsible man he longs to be?

85. Winter's Tale, Redbox. Pretty ridiculous but reasonably ditzy and charming. Will Smith is Satan. Russell Crowe is a demon. Colin Farrell is starry-eyed about a gorgeous dying-of-consumption girl. Stuff happens. There is a magical horse. There are magical sidekicks. A LOT of years go by. Something else happens. The end.

86. Divergent, Redbox. Read the first two-and-a-half books, then something spoiled the surprise at the end for me, so I never finished (because I just didn't care). The movie was pretty faithful to the first book. Shailene Woodley is the current "looks way younger than she is" It Girl. In this movie the dude who plays her brother plays her boyfriend in The Fault In Our Stars, so I wonder if that's creepy?

87. Rage, Redbox. Nic Cage. I had to look this up to recall what it was about. That can't be good. Nic is a reformed bad guy whose daughter gets kidnapped so he goes on a back-to-his-roots rampage trying to get her back.

88. Transcendence, Redbox. This got some bad reviews. But honestly I think it was way more subversive and fascinating than reviewers gave it credit for. The basic premise is that, after he gets radiation poisoning and is dying, Depp's super-clever wife manages to upload his essence into an AI shell. The argument that all of her friends make is that there's no way that's really him, and instead it's creepy and a not-him simulacrum. So they resist in very intersting ways, and he continues to solve all kinds of health and communication issues. At the end, after they've come up with a way to completely destroy him (and in doing so destroy all of technology in the world), and here's the subversive part, it's revealed that it really is him, that he really is their friend and sure he's made a few missteps but he's still basically human. But they don't really know it. And then he's destroyed and all of the amazing contributions he made to the world are gone too. Not SkyNet! Oh well.

89. Riverworld (2010), SyFy. Not sure if I can count this as a movie, as it was clearly filmed as the pilot to a series that never happened, but it was four hours so I'm giving myself credit anyway. It looked nothing like a movie, however, and everything like the pilot to a SyFy channel tv series. So....not very good, but decent enough for a SyFy show. Followed the plot of the Farmer novel, at least roughly? Like I'd remember anyway. I read the book back in college. I am old.

90. Office Space, cable, rewatch. Still love it. Still laugh all the way through.

91. Serendipity, cable. I watched Sweet Home Alabama and was in a "let's get that corn-pone taste out of my mouth but stick to cute guys in romantic comedies" mood, so John Cusack nicely fit the bill. Bonus Jeremy Piven, almost always a welcome addition.

92. Sweet Home Alabama, cable, rewatch. I am now watching "The Mysteries of Laura" with Debra Messing and Josh Lucas entirely because of this formulaic dreck. Lucas is very charming and cute in this movie, and I am after all a girl.

93. The Town, cable, rewatch. Jeremy Renner. Jon Hamm and his exceedingly present 5 o'clock shadow. Charlestown. Affleck and Fenway Paaaahk. Accents.

94. Captain America: The First, rewatch.
95. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, rewatch. Cap is Cap. What else is there to say? I was hugely amused by Everything Wrong with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It was more fun in the theater than on the little screen. But honestly, I could watch all of these over and over again and not be bothered a bit by the plot holes. Go Marvel team. Make lots more movies!

96. The Amazing Spider-Man, Cable.
97. The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Amazon Prime. The first one was on cable and I stumbled upon it right at the beginning. In all the previews for these movies, I hated the voice of the kid playing Peter Parker. I thought he was too mumbly and whiny to play PP. I have to admit, he kind of grew on me. The movies are collosally stupid. I mean, totes moronic. But aren't all superhero movies ridic? Yes, yes they are. The first one is much better than the second, however. The second has just too much going on and as much as I like Jamie Foxx, his villain was dumb. I like him better as the president, frankly. And that's not this movie.

98. The Lincoln Lawyer, rewatch. Pretty good. Read all the books, and although the movie plot tends toward the action adventure-y side of the book plot, it's fairly faithful to the flavor. There are several books already in this series, so I am wondering if they'll crank out another. Probably can't afford McConaughey anymore. There's also the Harry Bosch series that Amazon is producing as a cross-over option (the books cross-over because Bosch and Haller are brothers). But they REALLY can't afford McConaughey, so I suppose I should stop thinking about it.

99. Obsessed, rewatch. Beyonce and Idris Elba are married with a kid and have just moved into a beautiful giant McMansion, but Idris is being stalked at work by a hot blonde (Legend's Ali Lartner) who thinks they're dating. There is amusing OVERLY OBVIOUS foreshadowing involving a soft spot in an attic floor that is the really high cathedral ceiling over a glass coffee table. Chick fight later, hot blonde is out of the picture. Go Bey! Stupid movie. Pretty much worth a miss, even for the Idris Elba factor. In fact, he really should be embarrassed by this movie, but I suppose they all thought, hey, a paycheck, and hey, I get to work with Beyonce (except probably Bey didn't think that...or did she?)!

100. A Night in Old Mexico, Redbox. Quirky small film. Robert Duvall and no one else you know except Abraham Benrubi, "Jerry" from ER. It's about what it's called. Enjoyable if you're a fan of Duvall.

101. A Walk Among the Tombstones, Theater. Pretty good. Liam Neeson can probably play this role while actively doing something else like solving world hunger. Based on a Lawrence Block detective series, I suppose this could become a franchise. I would watch it. But I like Liam Neeson now. It took me a couple of decades, but I finally forgave him "Darkman".

102. Snow White and the Huntsman, cable. Not as bas as I expected. A few interesting world-building choices. Kristen Stewart wasn't awful, which I found surprising.


Nov. 8th, 2014 10:12 pm
llcoolvad: (newer)
It is obvious that the TV season has started up in earnest, because my numbers have severely dropped.

103. The Boxtrolls, Theater. I heart this movie. Very strange and clever and charming. The creators also made Coraline and ParaNorman (I saw Coraline but not ParaNorman) — the aesthetic is similar to those.

104. The Rover, Redbox. It's the end of the world and no one feels fine. Guy Pearce is a loner who wanders around the Outback randomly existing and/or killing people. When some random thugs steal his car (which for some unexplained-until-the-very-end-of-the-movie reason he is compelled to get back), he ends up with Robert Pattinson, who is excellent in this playing the younger brother of one of the car stealing thugs. Horrible things happen, as they do. Very Mad Max. Very compelling visuals. The world is sun-seared and bleak, as I imagine most of the Outback is.

105. The East, Cable. Former FBI agent now works at a private intelligence firm and gets assigned to infiltrate an anarchist collective group. The group, led by Alexander Skarsgard, is a collection of crazy bright but crazy people who are making splashy attacks on the rich. Our heroine falls for the charismatic Skarsgard, and some things happen.

106. Brick Mansions, Redbox. One of the last things Paul Walker made. Fun action scenes. French guy (David Belle) is fun to watch do Parkour stunts (I gather he basically invented Parkour). Otherwise forgettable SFish dystopian "thugs in the hood turn out to be the least bad bad-guys in the movie" plot.

107. Transformers: Age of Extinction, Redbox. I have a strange compulsion to watch anything with Mark Wahlberg in it. I enjoyed this more than the others in this series for precisely this reason, and for this reason only. It wasn't any better than the others, but at least it didn't have the horror that is Shia LaBeouf.

108. Godzilla, Redbox, rewatch. I still find the lead character entirely forgettable. I cannot call his face to mind. Everyone else is pretty good. Love the monsters. Feel bad for the big guy. How lonely is he?

109. Sabotage (2014), Redbox. Arnie plus a bunch of interesting actors in a pedestrian plot about DEA agents gone bad. Way more violence than is usual, creepy staged serial killer-type crime scenes, over-the-top performance by Mirelle Enos. Arnold was quite good (surprisingly), but overall I can't say I liked it at all.

110. The Da Vinci Code, Cable. Rewatch. I can't help but like this movie even though the books are just so bad. I liked the book too (at least the first one). Not love, but like. No one does the intelligent hero like Hanks.

111. 2012, Cable. Rewatch. John Cusack at his John Cusack-iest — charming, earnest, crazy. Plot basically is that the Mayans were right after all and the world is going to end Dec 2012, so how do you survive the end of the world? On a massive ark, of course. Can't even pick a favorite scene, although outrunning massive volcano explosions and massive earthquakes are right up there.

112. Iron Man 3, Cable. Rewatch. Always fun to see Robert Downey Jr. do anything. SO MUCH BETTER than Iron Man 2.

113. Contagion, Cable. Rewatch. I probably shouldn't have watched this in my delicate state. But it's just so good and compelling. Alas, it is stuck in my head. Love Soderbergh.

114. The Happening, Cable. Rewatch. More Marky Mark madness. This time with M. Night directing. And it is a muddled mess. THE TREES ARE KILLING PEOPLE! Oh, sorry, SPOILERS! Dreck. Not the worst movie I watched this year by far, but it's the one that shouldn't have been so bad and is therefore the biggest disappointment.
llcoolvad: (newer)
Even though I have a super obsessive completist streak, I cannot catch up on book reviews for the year. I will however post what I've read so far.

13. Hermit's Peak, Michael McGarrity, Crime. Kevin Kerney #4.
14. The Judas Judge, Michael McGarrity, Crime. Kevin Kerney #5.
15. Under the Color of Law, Michael McGarrity, Crime. Kevin Kerney #6.
16. The Big Gamble, Michael McGarrity, Crime. Kevin Kerney #7. Kerney and his recently-discovered cop son work two ends of a case and meet in the middle.
17. Everyone Dies, Michael McGarrity, Crime. Kevin Kerney #8. Well, not EVERYONE.
18. Slow Kill, Michael McGarrity, Crime. Kevin Kerney #9.

19. Nothing But Trouble, Michael McGarrity, Crime. Kevin Kerney #10.
20. Altered Carbon, Richard K. Morgan, Audio, SF. Really good world and character building. Distasteful torture scene, really graphic for audio. Sort of unexpected, really. But the rest is really good. Set a few centuries from now, when people have chips in their heads that record their entire lives/personalities so they can switch bodies when they get damaged or old. Catholics refuse to be resleeved because they believe the soul doesn't come along for the ride. Solving murders of non-Catholics is as easy as downloading the dead person into a synthetic body and asking them who killed them. Crimes are punished by being put into storage for many years. True death can only happen if you haven't backed up your stack and you get your stack destroyed. Our hero is a merc who is hired by a super-rich super-old guy who claims he was murdered, but everyone else thinks killed himself. He lost two days of time, so he doesn't know what happened to him.
21. Death Song, Michael McGarrity, Crime. Kevin Kerney #11.
22. Dead or Alive, Michael McGarrity, Crime. Kevin Kerney #12.
23. Allegiant, Veronica Roth, Young Adult. The finale of the series. Stuff happens. I skipped two thirds of this because I got spoiled by a review somewhere and knew that something happened, so I skipped to the end.

24. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan, SF/YA/?. Loved this. Very clever.
25. 10% Happier, Dan Harris, Self-Help. Dan Harris has a breakdown while reading the news on tv, so he explores meditation and writes a book. Very good! He's funny and charming.
26. The Martian, Andy Weir, SF. Loved this. So compelling!

27. Face of a Killer, Robin Burell, Oyster Books, Crime.
28. The Bone Chamber, Robin Burell, Oyster Books, Crime.
29. A Nasty Piece of Work, Robert Littell, Crime.
30. Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, Rob Thomas, Audio, Crime. Loved this. Book set immediately after the end of the Veronica Mars movie. Narrated by Kristen Bell herself, so it felt very right.

31. Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King, Audio, Crime. Narrated by my favorite, Will Patton.
32. Any Other Name, Craig Johnson. Ah, Longmire. Why did they cancel you??? I hope some other network picks up the series. At least we'll have the books.
33. Silence of the Grave, Arnaldur Indridason, Crime. I am almost done with this one, so I'm giving myself credit for this in July because that's when I read most of it.

Nope. Nuthin.

34. Gideon's Corpse, Preston & Child, Thriller. Gideon saves the day. And has a brain tumor.
35. Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel, SF. Compelling, but I had so many problems with the world-building it made me sad. End of the world plague, only 0.001% of the world survives. The plot follows a handful of people who all knew or interacted with one guy, a famous actor who dies of a massive heart attack right before the plague starts. It's a musing on art and how it is necessary for humanity. It's fascinating, but again, an average SF reader will have problems with the decisions people make and the society that forms (or doesn't) in the aftermath. However, I definitely recommend it as a discussion piece. Here's the Times review, which I pretty much agree with.

36. Personal, Lee Child, Crime. Reacher goes to France and England to revisit an old foe, the sniper from way way back. Is he going to shoot one or several members of the G8 that are due to visit England in a couple weeks? Can Reacher find him before? Who's setting all this up and funding it?

I'm in the middle of a bunch of others, but I can't see making my 52 goal this year! The summertime vagueness and inability to focus enough to read has set me back. Ah well!


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