Hey it’s the end of June so it’s time to reflect upon all of the things I did to distract myself from responsibilities!
The World’s End (2013) I love this trilogy, I really do, but for the longest time I couldn’t pinpoint what stood out as odd about the final instalment. After this viewing I realized what it was: the lead doesn’t change for the better. Gary King is the same character from start to finish and it just felt out of place compared to the natural development of Shaun and Nicholas through their films.
Hot Fuzz (2007) Clearly I was in the mood for blood and ice cream after The World’s End. This was only the second time I’d seen this so my thoughts on the character arcs aren’t swayed by frequency of viewing. Anyway, Edgar Wright could direct his way out of a Transformers movie so these are the tiniest of qualms.
The Fault in Our Stars (2014) So this was seen at the request of friends who had read the book (unlike me). Without knowing all the nuance of the source material I was still soooooooooo sad. Why would anyone go to see such a sad movie? Why do people read such sad books? Gaaaaaaaaaaaah.
Her (2013) I watched this on a plane as I figured it didn’t need to be seen on a big screen. I was right. I was also right to think that the film would sit with me for days as I’m still thinking about it. Confession time: I often mix up Spike Jonze and Spike Lee when discussing directors.
The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable by Punchdrunk (2013) If you live in London and can somehow snag tickets before its July 6th finale, I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW MUCH YOU SHOULD GO AND EXPERIENCE THIS. I’d never experienced promenade theatre before but it was truly fantastic. The premise and reaction I had to it was very similar to Majora’s Mask, which I feel is both completely on point and not even close. If anyone knows of a production like this in southern Ontario then please let me know.
Game of Thrones(Season Four) After finishing the season I thiiiiiiiiink I may try to tackle book 5. Of course the show is fantastic but I still feel like I’m only getting as much out of it as I do because I’ve read the books. I dunno.
The Yogi Bear Show (Seasons 1 & 2) I love when work gives me the excuse to watch classic TV. While I always enjoy a good HB production, I now find I’m watching the show equally for the craftsmanship and technical achievements as I am for the gags and plot.
Beedle-Am Bam by The Vaudevillain (2013) Earlier this month I went with a few friends to a street music festival and this set stole the whole show. The crowd around them was having as much fun as the performers and I picked up their latest record the next day. Go check out a few tracks and if you like the sound then you’ll definitely dig the whole album.
Eternal Champ by Sweet Valley (2012) I’m clearly late to this game but I really dug this! Of course the Ocarina of Time samples didn’t hurt but there’s a beauty here beyond the recognisable elements.
Ultraviolence by Lana Del Rey (2014) I usually buy an album just before I do any traveling so that it can be a sort of soundtrack to the trip. This was the case for my adventures in London and it was weirdly appropriate when people watching while waiting for the tube. I can’t decide if the album is genuinely sad or if the sorrow comes from the inability to feel that sadness.
The Shining by Stephen King (page 223/659) I’m clearly stalling on getting through this as I’m a scaredy-cat. It hasn’t even gotten to the scary bits yet and I’m already terrified.
Gotham by Gaslight by Brian Augustyn, Mike Mignola, P. Craig Russell, David Hornung, and Eduardo Barreto. (Complete) The first story was great and the sequel was fine, but didn’t stick with me as much as I would’ve liked. I’m always inclined to like Mignola’s work so maybe that factored in. This isn’t necessarily the sort of Batman story that I gravitate towards so I’m hard-pressed to recommend it.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (Nintendo 3DS) I’m about half way through the game and never played the Gamecube version. I love point-and-click adventures and I really like how much personality Luigi has. This is the level of terror I can handle and I’m enjoying every minute of it!
So I’m going to be in London, England for the last couple of weeks this month and am looking for super cool insider tips of things to do/places to see. I’ve been once before so I feel I got the major/obvious attractions out of the way.
Now it’s time to get into the B-sides.
Things I’m loosely interested in pursuing (note some are still very touristy) • Donuts • Breakfast/Brunch/Pancake spots • Thrift Shops • Book Stores • Record Shops • Ghost Tours • Beatles Tours (sooooooo many so I’m really looking for help on this)
Please hit me up with any and all ideas (reply here or inbox or heck you can even email me! I’m super looking forward to chatting!
Oh and I may get a little spoilery this month. Sorry not sorry.
In A World (2013) While I recognize this is fiction, I thought the world of voiceover actors to be super interesting and now I’m wondering if there are documentaries on the topic. Any recommendations?
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) I could write a full post about this film/franchise on its own but I’m not sure I’d be saying anything that hasn’t already been said. Anyway, there were so many great moments (Electro building face! Electro music beats! Bipedal/quadrupedal rhino transition!) but there were some weird relationship beats that were jarring next to the mentioned campiness. Plus Peter being a “chosen one” works against the very ethos of the character. I’m all for merging action with romance, but one was over-the-top while the other was played so straight that it felt like two separate movies were cut together. In short, I’m still waiting on a Spider-Man film that I will proudly screen for my fictitious offspring (until then, I still have the Spectacular Spider-Man series).
Neighbors (2014) Have you seen the video circling around about how great the comedy in an Edgar Wright film is? I would give this film a bit of credit that there’s a little more playfulness with visual gags and scene transitions than the usual comedy, but it’s still fairly average.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (2014) I’ve never been invested in the franchise but did really enjoy First Class. I wasn’t going into this expecting a lot and maybe that’s why I enjoyed it so much. Everything you’ve already read about how great the Quicksilver scenes are still applies even if you know this going into the movie. Comics Alliance said it right: “Days of Future Past is the most faithful adaptation to date, having actually translated to film that most core concept of X-Men comics: hopelessly confusing and eternally jacked up continuity.”
Bob’s Burgers (Season One) I’m still really enjoying this show.
Silicon Valley (Season One) I wasn’t sure about this at first. As a freelancer I found it hard to watch someone so thoroughly struggle with setting up their own business and have no idea what they’re doing (maybe it hit a little close to home). As the show is continuing I’m getting more on board.
Game of Thrones (Season Four) I’m torn. The show offers such a thorough experience but I can’t decide if that’s because I’ve read the books. At no point do I really feel like anything is lacking in the series (compared to say…the Harry Potter films) but is that just because the books are buzzing around in the back of my mind? I suppose I’m now trying to decide if I should read book 5 or simply wait for the show to present it in a concise and effectively edited manner.
Across the Universe: Deluxe Edition Soundtrack (2007) After rewatching the film last month, this has been in heavy rotation.
There hasn’t been much else in the way of standout albums so maybe next month I’ll blog podcasts I’ve been enjoying.
The Magician King by Lev Grossman (Complete) I think it took 60% of the book to really present what the overarching narrative was, but dang if it didn’t deliver! I can’t imagine how the trilogy will end and I think THAT’S why I enjoy this series so much: it’s consistent in its inconsistencies. So many twists and surprises and all of them pay off. Go read the two books that are currently out.
Batgirl & Robin Year One by Scott Beatty, Chuck Dixon, Marces Martin, and Javier Pulido (Complete) I loaned this double feature to my bestie and his reaction was tepid at best. Out of bitter spite I reread them as I couldn’t imagine a mediocre review. After this second reading I STILL can’t imagine not loving the book. It just completely delivers the sort of Robin story I want and a Batgirl story that was beyond expectation. So so good.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Nintendo 3DS) I don’t have a lot of time to commit to gaming these days (frown x 99) but the summer means I could sneak in this little gem. I’m biased when it comes to the franchise but this one is special. The non-linear approach was great and I really did feel like the sense of discovery was back and in full (tri)force!
I make it a habit of avoiding trailers for movies that I already intend to see. It keeps all the visuals fresh and I find the experience is generally more enjoyable when you go into it knowing very little.
With that said, the Internet is riddled with spoilers and news bits well ahead of a film’s release so it’s nearly impossible to shut everything out.
Anyway, I’m going to see TASM2 tonight and wanted to document a few predictions based on what little I’ve heard/seen so far. There maaaaaaaaaaay be spoilers in here but heck if I should know if they are!
The film will start mid-battle with the rhino (sans suit)
Rhino will get humiliated and taken in by Oscorp as a way to get back at the Spider-Man
Secondary prediction building off of the previous one: he’s referred to as “The Spider-Man” by someone evil
Rhino doesn’t get his suit (I think it’s a mech kinda like Ultimate Rhino) until the second act
Electro gets picked on and is therefore a quasi sympathetic villain after he turns blue and feelselectrical
In act two Electro is beating Spider-Man but he can’t quite control his powers yet so Parker survives, Electro flees and Oscorp adopts him into the house of evil
Norman Osborn and poppa Parker were working on…cancer treatment, but Richard didn’t like Norman’s MO and scrapped the whole thing, leaving Norman hella mad
Oscorp has been watching Peter this whoooooooooole time
Harry Osborn has been plotting with the company this whoooooooooole time
Gwen Stacy was working for Oscorp this whoooooooooole time
Peter uses his scientific knowledge of electricity to overcome Electro
We get a cameo from Dr. Otto Octavius
We get a cameo from Adrian Toomes and a joke about how he’s lurking like a vulture, or takes scraps, maybe that he’s a bird-brain
We get a mention of the Watsons
I’ll give it some time before I follow up but if you’ve already seen the film, relish this moment where you know how inaccurate I am.
Hi friends. It’s the end of the month and I’m going to do my best to not reference N’Sync.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) As I left the theatre I heard one person say “Oh yeah I fell asleep half way through” and another say “It was good; I mean it was okay” and yet we wonder why the ice caps are melting. I recognise I’m partial to this franchise, but it had the balance of optimism and scepticism that I hope for out of a Cap flick. If anything, this proves that a Superman movie doesn’t have to have the hero kill the villain. Bonus points for platonic co-ed relationships! Go see it.
The Kings of Summer (2013) A tonal shift from the big blockbuster of Captain America, this was a refreshing change. I love when a film’s lead role wins me over after nearly 2 hours of thinking he’s a little snot. Also I weirdly connected with the character of Biaggio so that’s a thing.
Pacific Rim (2013) Speaking of platonic relationships, I rewatched Pacific Rim! As much as I love practical effects, this is the sort of film that is the exception to the rule. If you’re going to digitally fabricate something, then why not make it as over-the-top and amazing as possible?! This is the script of countless seven year old’s and I couldn’t be happier because of it. So so good.
The Empire Strikes Back (1980) I love practical effects. Lobot! Bossk! Ugnauts! All real.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Maybe I’m just better at being a human now, but I found the plot of this to be the clearest of the Anderson films I’ve seen. Because the narrative was so natural, I could afford myself a little extra time to drink in the details of the sets. The word I’ve consistently used to describe this film is “lovely”. It really is. It’s so pretty. If I could draw half as well as this is shot, I would not complain.
Across the Universe (2007) Hey not intentional but I would also use “lovely” as a regular adjective to describe this film! Despite seeing this a number of times, I’m still amazed at how unique the direction is for each of the musical numbers. So so very good. If you like beautiful films, The Beatles, or musicals, chances are you’ll get into this.
Doctor Who (Series Seven) I’m revisiting this as a bit of a trade off for the second show I’ve been watching. Before getting into the current companion it makes sense to watch the end of the Ponds.
Bob’s Burgers (Season One) This one is new to me. I’m still wrapping my head around Louise’s voice being the same as Mabel Pines on Gravity Falls yet they are veeeeeeery different characters. My early impression is that I’m impressed with the animation (there’s a seductive zombie in episode two that still haunts me) and the family actually feels like a group of layered people.
Matangi by M.I.A. (2013) This album feels oddly reminiscent of her earlier work and I can’t put my finger on why that is. Perhaps it’s the simplicity of it all? Great production but not over-produced? Maybe it’s that I get a sense of cutting aggression in a climate of gentle lyrics. Perchance I’m just trying to make myself sound smarter when really I just love everything she does? Hmmm.
Sorry for Party Rocking by LMFAO (2011) Apparently I’m all about acronyms this month. So I don’t know if this counts as a guilty pleasure if I exhibit no guilt for listening to this, but here it is. I love putting this on and getting stuff done. If you listen to it as a concept album (an uncle and nephew prepare for a big night of debauchery, they debauch, fall in lust, then fall in love, and grab a hotdog before a day of recovery) then you’ll probably agree that this is the next Pet Sounds.
The Magician King by Lev Grossman (page 190/400) The sequel to The Magiciansis like the cocaine to Harry Potter’s marijuana. While I don’t condone drug use, I do recommend picking up this (and the previous) book.
Batman Year 100 by Paul Pope (Complete) After reading Battling Boy last month, I was suuuuuuuper keen to get into this. It has all of the energy and grit and grime and coolness that I was expecting, plus 100% more bat-teeth! In researching this (before buying it) I found a few people didn’t resonate with the story but I was a fan. The artwork alone could sell me on anything.
Realizing we’ve completed 25% of 2014 is mildly concerning. I try to distract myself from this truth by reflecting on all the cool music, film, and books I consumed this month.
Hellboy (2004) As part of my research for the 20th Anniversary art show being held in May, I decided to revisit this. I hadn’t yet read any of the comics when I first saw this and upon the second viewing I found it was almost like seeing it for the first time. I’m certainly biased towards practical effects, but when you consider that The Polar Express came out the same year, it’s easy to see the difference in shelf life.
Saving Mr. Banks (2013) My sister and I watched this the other weekend and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I still don’t know any of the actual history behind the story (aside from what’s presented during its run time) so I’m really just appreciating it as a film. If anything, it got me interested in finding a solid documentary on P. L. Travers. (any suggestions?)
He’s Just Not That Into You (2009) When I visit my friends and they put on a movie, I’m rarely one to put up a fight.
Something Borrowed (2011) Who am I kidding? I love romantic comedies. Saturday mornings are really meant for two things: cartoons or rom-coms. I REGRET NOTHING!
The Powerpuff Girls: Dance Pantsed (2014) Speaking of cartoons, my students reminded to watch this special and I finally got time to enjoy it. It’s super fun and of course Kevin Dart’s art direction is killer. If you haven’t seen it already, do yourself a favour and find it.
Greatest Hits by Spice Girls (2007) If you can get all the way through Spice Up Your Life without swaying AT ALL then check for a pulse as you may very well be dead.
Days Are Gone by Haim (2013) Based on my love for female vocals and an upbeat tempo, my friend made this suggestion. It’s been on heavy rotation since I bought it and it was just the right amount of optimism to get me through those wretchedly horrible days of snow earlier this month.
Battling Boy by Paul Pope (2013) (Complete) This was on practically every “Best of 2013” list I could find and now I know why! Pope’s style is so thoroughly amazing that it equally inspires me AND makes me question why I get out of bed in the morning. I can’t recommend this enough and am super excited for the next instalment.
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman (2013) (Complete) During school I find my reading time is rather limited (outside of comics) but this was one I managed to sneak in during the middle of the term. My two best friends and I swap Gaiman stories with each other and this was one I was gifted at Christmas. It was a quick read and small in scope, but no less fantastic than his other works.
Hellboy Library Edition (volumes 1–4) by Mike Mignola and Others (2008, 2008, 2009, and 2011) (Complete) More gallery show research! I’d already read through volumes 1 & 2 but it had been a little while so a refresher was needed (and thoroughly welcome). Reading through volumes 3 & 4 were great as they continued to balance the main stories with the one-offs. I really can’t wait to pick up the last two library editions.