Sunday, March 01, 2009

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Supernanny: "Sachs Family" - This one was very normal for Supernanny, except for the New York city background. Again, I really want to see follow-ups to these families in a few years.
  • The Oscars - WAY too long as usual. Good bits: Hugh Jackman. Yum. Man on Wire balances Oscar on his chin. Combining the song from Wall-E with a song from Slumdog Millionaire... neat! Spirit of Tigger! I want an Oscar Shampoo bottle. I could trim this down to three minutes (including all winners) and lose nothing of interest to most people.
  • History Detectives: "Slave Songbook; Josh White Guitar; Birthplace of Hip Hop" - This was an amazing episode. Wonderful information and stories that I'd never heard. And hearing was the operative word with this one, featuring three very musical stories. Another good episode of a great show.
  • Food Detectives: "Moldy Cheese" - The mold comparisons that started this one made me quickly lose my appetite. Even with the obvious reminders of foods we eat that are made of mold, it still was pretty gross. The dirty water hot dog piece was also gross, and predictable. The burnt tongue piece was informative and possibly useful.
  • Heroes: "Cold Wars" - Good news in this one! Otherwise... we see the only way torture ever could work. If you have a mind-reader. Even then, I'm not sure that Noah didn't manage to manipulate those sessions.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: "Deep Cover for Batman!" - Evil Aquaman! YAY! Oh, and Batman was ok too. Not really enough of evil Aquaman. No speech from him or good Manta.
  • Ghost Hunters International: "Ghosts in the City of Lights" - Neat Chateau in France's wine country. I wasn't convinced by any of the evidence they presented, though. As for the second investigation... are they seriously being allowed into the catacombs of Paris? No, just a part of the Paris Underground, the Capuchins Quarries. Still cool. Ok, I wouldn't go down there, but still interesting. I like the explanation they came up with for the green mist of death.
  • Battlestar Galactica: "The Farm" - Well, more of the plan is revealed. And another Cylon for that matter. And Starbuck proves again she's got brains and skills. As is often the case, the deleted scenes added a new dimension to the story.

We finally visited our old comic shop and picked up a couple of books leftover from orders made before we moved. There is only one I wanted to review:
  • Noble Causes #38 - This issue has a pretty good Rusty story with a bunch of other bits. The time jump still annoys me, even after all these issues. Ah well, it'll be interesting to see how this series wraps up, and if there will be minis after the end.

This week's movie was Coraline in 3D. I read the book a few years ago and really enjoyed it. After hearing a lot about how great the movie was, particularly in 3D, hubby-Eric and I went out to see it Thursday night. We decided to spend the money after seeing numerous reviews that raved about the quality of the 3D and realized that there was no way Netflix and our old TV would match the theater experience.

And, you know, it was really worth it. It's a fantastic movie, dark and engaging with just enough changes from the book to give someone familiar with the story a few surprises (including a new character). The voice acting is great, particularly Keith David as the Cat and Teri Hatcher and Mel Jones and the Other Mother. French and Saunders as Spink and Forcible is just genius casting, and Hodgman is also good as Charlie Jones and the Other Father. The pace of the movie is somewhat slow, but it moves quickly in just the right spots. It never really comes to a climax, but it maintains a solid atmosphere of creepiness to make up for the lack of edge-of-the-seat moments.

As for the 3D... well now. When I think of 3D movies, I think of the pictures of people in the 1950s sitting with those ugly glasses on. I won't say the glasses for this weren't ugly, but they weren't flimsy paper glasses either. The 3D started in the previews with a preview of Monsters vs Aliens, which looked fun but not so much fun I would go out of my way to see it. (We also saw the Star Trek preview - which made me think Sylar is a Trekkie, and the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince preview - which looked ok, and the Race to Witch Mountain preview - which I giggled through, and a 3D Ice Age preview - which was just odd). However, once we got into the movie itself, the 3D experience definitely worked to draw me into the world of the movie completely. It was almost breathtaking at times. I have not engaged with a movie as deeply as I did with this one in years. If you can see it in 3D, do. The only problem I had with the 3D was during the closing credits, when the dogs flying around the text made me very dizzy. And yes, the final two words of the movie, after the credits and dancing mice, have meaning.

This is not a movie for everyone, but it's certainly a great movie for Neil Gaiman fans, fans of spooky movies, and kids who can handle a little scare or two. To be honest, I thought the opening sequence was just about the spookiest in the movie, and its significance didn't become clear to me until I sat down to write this review. I actually think I'd like to see this one again. Probably not in 3D next time. Movies are far too expensive for us to go to them except as a special treat.

My library book this week was The Sharing Knife: Horizon by Lois McMaster Bujold. The fourth and last volume of this series. This follows the concept of thinking of the worst things you can do to a character then doing it to them. Every time life seems to finally be shaping up for them, another disaster happens. I love the family that gathers around our main characters. Bujold's books are all about community building, not just character building. And the best thing about this one is how it pulls together at the end. I was satisfied and yet still wanted more. Overall, a really good series. Nothing like the Vorkosigan books, and yet just as strong. The series starts out slow, but the last two books make up for the groundwork laid in the first two.

I've managed to get one of the two remaining Agatha Christie books from 1934. Both are collections... and all the stories in the collection I didn't find via inter-library loan are reprinted in later collections. So I've decided to skip The Listerdale Mystery and review those stories when I get to the later collections. But that means I'm going to want to change the way I review collections... and do a little more coverage of the actual stories in them instead of just looking at the whole. You'll see if I succeed when I review the 1934 collection I got through IL next weekend.