madbaker: (Pulcinella)
We try to have date night on Tuesdays. Most of the time that's just dinner and a saved TV show, but it also means not checking e-mail so that I take a night off from exchequering for more important things.

Last night we had reserved tickets for Wonder Woman. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I don't know if the upcoming Avengers Justice League film will be any good, but this was a worthy superhero movie.

madbaker: (scary clown)
Friday we went across town to the Balboa, an art deco theatre in the Richmond. It takes less time to drive down to Palo Alto than it does to drive from one side of SF to the other. But SF in SF was hosting a free showing of Bubba Ho-Tep, which I had never seen; and Joe Lansdale, who wrote the short story the film was adapted from, was there to sign books and talk about the film and story.

I haven't actually read any of Lansdale's stuff, but it sounded like a good outing. We had a fine time and I enjoyed the movie a lot more than I expected to. It's not just a low-budget goofy movie with Bruce Campbell.

The wife reminded me to ask my standard author question, which I got from George "Kill 'em All" RR Martin: on the spectrum of gardeners to architects, where do you put yourself? Gardeners plant seeds and see what comes up; architects plot structure before building. I find it to be a non-fanboy question that sometimes leads to a good discussion.

Oddly enough, hardly anyone admits to being an architect. There's no best answer, because the one that works for the author is the right one. Too much gardening leads to unconnected scenes, with no plot or story structure; too much architecting probably feels forced.

madbaker: (Skippy)
The first few episodes of House of Lies. Don Cheadle makes a very good amoral business consultant. The series may go downhill once they exhaust the stories from the original book (see: Sex and the City) but I will keep it in the queue unless and until it does. At least there are only 12 or 13 episodes per season and 4 or 5 seasons, so there's a lot less material to run that risk.

madbaker: (PVP)
I enjoyed the heck out of it. I liked it better than Force Awakens. It hit the right notes without being a remake.
What would have made it better? Some chemistry between the two main characters. And the wife pointed out they really needed a couple of scene-change wipes. But other than that -- I may have to watch Star Wars tonight.

madbaker: (PVP)
One of the smartest things my predecessor exchequer did was to take one night a week as date night. That is, to not deal with the office that day and instead have couples time. It never would have occurred to me but having had it suggested, I try to keep to it. Tuesdays are date night* and once I get home from work I do not answer e-mails unless it's urgent.

Naturally, there have been some of those. And I had to do a bunch of office-related things Tuesday. That's okay though; tonight we're going to see Star Trek so Tuesday and Thursday have swapped. Given the week, today is a good day for me to be incommunicado anyway as a recovery.

*Which often means I take care of the bills and then we watch Netflix over dinner together. But hey, it's something.
madbaker: (tard)
We have a consultant coming in roughly once per week. He showed up early today and knocked on the door. When I let him in, I asked for the password. Instead of playing along, he looked at me blankly.

I told him it was "swordfish". His response: "I never saw the whole movie." Mine: "You mean Horse Feathers? It's pretty funny, if not their best work."
...I should have known better than to make a Marx Brothers joke at work.

madbaker: (Skippy)
[livejournal.com profile] lifeofglamour, were you the one who recommended Better off Ted? It's hilarious. I especially love the commercials.

madbaker: (Skippy)
This spent about three weeks in theaters last year. I guess it was too British to do well? Anyway, the WSJ film reviewer said good things about it and it has Simon Pegg. Also Lake Bell, whose "In a World..." I liked quite a bit more than I expected to.

The good: it's a fluffy rom-com that doesn't pretend to be more than it is. Pegg and Bell have extremely believable chemistry. (She also makes a convincing Brit, but she's good at accents.) It was nice that the leads were not callow twenty-somethings; Pegg played a broken 40-year-old recent divorcé and Bell, a cynical 34-year-old who hasn't dated in years. Yeah, still an age gap but at least the 40yo guy didn't end up with the Hollywood-pretty 22yo girl.

The bad: it's a fluffy rom-com. If you don't like that sort of thing you'll hate this.

Bonus points for the extras including the scriptwriter explaining "the seven beats of rom-coms" that they hit to make the story work. She was nerding out; it's from Billy Mernit's scriptwriting book. I found it fascinating.

madbaker: (PVP)
Christmas was fine. Star Wars Thursday. It was 40 degrees when I hit the office this morning. So far no one else is in. Can I go home and cuddle under the covers yet?

madbaker: (Skippy)
But in the case of the movie we watched last night, it did.
A rom-com with all the usual tropes: washed-up professional forced into a fish-out-of-water role he despises, who eventually finds twue wuv and satisfaction/meaning in said role. It even starred Hugh Grant, so he didn't have to work very hard at character.

...Except that the character was so douchey that we didn't care. More, we actively didn't want him to succeed. And his conflict was superficial. The solutions were more patently telegraphed than usual for a formulaic piece. (And when it's about a screenwriter... maybe they should have tried a little harder to tweak the formula.) We turned it off half an hour in.

Well, that's what Netflix is for.

madbaker: (Skippy)
This is Aardman's best film since Chicken Run. It might even be better, since there is no intelligible dialogue. Tons of sight gags, ranging from juvenile (pantomime horse fart jokes) to ones that mostly adults will get (the prison jokes in the jail, I mean animal containment unit). The staring dog wrecked me. Every. Single. Time. But there's also a plot with emotional arcs and everything.

Nice Ferris Bueller joke at the end, too.

Not written or directed by Nick Park or Peter Lord, which shows that they have a deep bench.

madbaker: (Skippy)
A good short movie that probably wouldn't be made in the US, because teenage girls aren't supposed to have hormones (apparently). Alma is a 15-year-old living in a small Scandahoovian town; the major industry seems to be a turnip processing plant. She is bored and horny, and fantasizes (mostly) about a boy in her classes. It's a coming-of-age story that doesn't take the easy way out, e.g. sleeping with an older man or somesuch. I'm glad we rented it, although I probably won't see it again.

madbaker: (Skippy)
I did not know Andy Weir's The Martian was being filmed. With Matt Damon in the lead. It's coming out in November. I quite enjoyed the book - far more than I expected to, honestly - so I might have to go see it.
madbaker: (Skippy)
We watched Winter's Bone recently.

I can understand 1) why the critics loved it, 2) why Jennifer Lawrence got noticed as an actress - she's in almost every scene, and does a terrific job getting her drive and emotions across while not chewing the scenery - and 3) why it was not a popular movie. It was slow in the beginning and hard to watch in places. Not because of violence, although there is some of that. Because of its bleak and unforgiving portrayal of hardscrabble Appalachia where the only industry is meth and everyone is related. There's no way out, except to just turn your back and leave, and that's not always possible.

Good movie. Glad we rented it. Won't need to watch again.

madbaker: (Robin)
Putting this here, because it's too cool not to share. Christopher Lee, you win. Again.

madbaker: (Skippy)
I didn't mind watching Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, but only because my expectations were set appropriately low. It was better than Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Undead.

madbaker: (Skippy)
More of a rant than a review - but you should probably have expected that.

This is billed as a black comedy. "Plucky paper pusher Sarah Jane McKinney lands a great promotion after innocently killing her boss, and soon she's employing her talent for treachery to scale the Judge Pharmaceuticals ladder."

Okay, sounds decent. Satirizing corporate politics by bumping people off to get promotions. That's got potential and it's how the trailer was constructed. Except... in far-too-typical American fashion, the film can't make up its mind. When your main character is a serial murderer you generally succeed by committing completely - especially when she constantly breaks the fourth wall. Either make the protagonist a full villain with whom the audience can be complicit and take glee in the villainy (Richard III, one of the most-produced Shakespeare plays for that reason).

Or, fully embrace the comedy aspect of it all and go for satire. Compare to Keeping Mum, a somewhat similarly-themed British black comedy. The killer is Maggie Smith, playing off Kristin Scott Thomas and Rowan Atkinson. Innocent bodies pile up but it's done with aplomb and laughs. You like the characters even as they kill people for trivial reasons.

Instead: Miss Nobody takes great care to demonstrate how all the victims are sleazebags who "deserve" to die (sexual harasser, drug addict, deviant, etc). Presumably this was added to "make the heroine more appealing", because "audiences need to sympathize with her". Neither fish nor fowl, and so ultimately unsuccessful in its target niche.

Not a waste of 90 minutes, but not a film I'm happy to have seen. I may have chuckled a couple of times. When we watched Keeping Mum a year ago, I chortled constantly.

madbaker: (Roger Rabbit)
Our DVD player died. We inherited it from the wife's father some years back, so I'm not terribly surprised.

Brilliant.

Jun. 28th, 2012 07:49 am
madbaker: (PVP)
"What happened to the Star Wars that I used to know?"

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