Stef (firecat) wrote,

First Media Consumption of 2015


To Catch a Thief
Hitchcock with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly (and Edith Head doing costumes). I haven't laughed this much over a movie in a long time.

47 Ronin
It's about a famous bit of Japanese historico-folklore and it mixes costume drama with fantasy (of the CGI monsters variety) pretty well. I think it got lousy reviews partly because a lot of people don't like costume drama to be mixed with CGI monsters? And yeah, Keanu Reeves is an incredibly wooden actor. I was worried that it would be a "what these people need is a honky" plot, and it kind of is, but in my uninformed opinion it avoids the worst excesses of that (Last Samurai, I'm looking at you).

Joyful Noise
A small town in Georgia has a church choir headed by Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton and they are trying to win a competition. There's a lot of mean-spirited squabbling between the two characters and also a bunch of kinda gratuitous mother–teen angst, and I really hated all that. But there were some fun musical numbers.

Shadow of the Vampire
In an earlier media consumption post I mentioned having watched Nosferatu and several people recommended this movie, which is about the filming of Nosferatu. In the end I think my expectations were raised too high, but I enjoyed it. Great scenery-chewing by Willem Dafoe and John Malkovich. My favorite scene is the one where (spoiler) the vampire describes what's wrong with the novel Dracula. Aww, a nitpicky geek after my own heart. (end spoiler)

Fairy tale based on a novel by Neil Gaiman. It really annoyed me for some reason. I think part of it was the looks-based humor, including several examples of animated boobs. I liked Robert DeNiro as a gender-variant pirate captain, and Michelle Pfeiffer as a witch.


Here are all the episodics I'm watching at the moment, with notes if I have any.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Current. I like watching it but don't have a lot of emotional investment.

Continuum: finished season 1. On hiatus because the OH and I realized that we had too many series where the good guys and bad guys couldn't really be told apart, and we get sick of that.

Doctor Who, 11th Doctor, seasons 5–6
I started season 5 a long time ago but I took a long hiatus because the contrast between Davies' and Moffat's direction annoyed me a lot (I thought Russell T. Davies had much better female characters. And I didn't like how silly Matt Smith was). Netflix is now saying they're going to stop offering it in mid-February, so I finally started watching it again with lowered expectations. I'm glad I did.

I have no idea why it took me 50 years to realize this, but there are a fair number of story series that I like because of the world and the characters even if I don't like much of what happens in the individual episodes/books/movies. Doctor Who is like that for me, apparently.

Elementary: toward the end of season 1. Too much codependence and manipulation, but the plots are fun; I like that they usually involve good red herrings so I can't always guess whodunit and how Sherlock/Watson are going to figure it out.

Hawaii Five-0: in season 2. It frequently has fat male characters/extras who are often doing something athletic and aren't always being teased about being fat, although there is some of that. I lerve Jorge Garcia. It has people of color in important roles on both the good guy and bad guy sides. There are shades of gray occasionally without everyone switching sides all the time. The relationship between the two white male cops has its tedious, cliched moments, but overall it's pretty well done.

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
Series based on the Phryne Fisher books. Mostly women are involved in the writing and production. So it features are a lot of women doing awesome things and sometimes directing a sexual gaze at people, which makes me very very happy. Another thing that makes me happy is that there is so far (we've only watched 4 episodes) very little of the disrespectful manipulation and prying into people's private lives that goes on in a lot of other stories (Elementary, I'm looking at you).

Orphan Black: um, the seasons are short; I think we're in season 2? Tatiana Maslany is certainly a great actress. I'm watching almost exclusively for the Felix character; secondarily for Cosima. Again, good guys and bad guys can't be told apart and switch in almost every episode.

Pinky & the Brain: In case anyone doesn't know what it is: Old animated show where two lab mice try to take over the world every night.

Two Fat Ladies: British cooking show. It showed on the Food Network once upon a time, but they cut out a lot of the good parts to shove in more commercials, so the DVDs are worth having if you like it. Two upperclass middle-aged British women caterers, Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson, are invited by different organizations (e.g. a Welsh men's choir) to produce a meal using their kitchen facilities and their local produce/meat/game. The women have fun camaraderie. They make mostly European dishes. They use scads of butter in everything and ride around in a motorcycle with a sidecar. There is no manufactured drama.

Witch Hunter Robin: Short anime series about a government agency that tracks down "witches" (people with hereditary magical powers) who use their powers for bad purposes. Robin is a young good witch who was raised in a convent in Italy.


Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn (audiobook)
Modern fairytale, full of beautiful language. Narrated by the author. He narrated it very flat, which is good because that means he didn't try to do stuff he wouldn't be good at, but I could have wished for a bit more dramatization.


The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief
Finally finished this 3-part point-and-click adventure/puzzle game that's a tribute to Agatha Christie. There are some annoying bugs in the gameplay. I found the first chapter and much of the second chapter pretty engrossing. I especially liked the relationship between Zellner and the British policeman. And I liked that part 2 has a bit of racism consciousness. But the ending sucked really badly. Ptui Ptui Ptui.

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