Sunday, August 09, 2009

A Sunday Review

Whoa, how did it get to be Sunday again already?

TV this week:
  • The Next Food Network Star: "Finale" - The opening bit made it clear why Jeffrey is the zen master. And after watching their home segments, I (ever so slightly) prefered Jeffrey. Then I watched Melissa's pilot and realized that show would be useful to me, personally, and wanted her to win. Jeffrey's pilot was good, but what the heck is harisa? They didn't give him enough time to explain it. In the end, I want them BOTH to win. I wasn't disappointed by the winner, but I was disappointed that there had to be a loser. Give them both a show! And yes, we've set up the DVR to record the winner's show. I may take notes.
  • Being Human: "Episode 2" - George's mentor is a real piece of work. While George needed the help, Tully was definitely not the best example he could get. I was surprised at how much he was able to scare Annie, the ghost. And that head nurse that chewed George out was a pain... nice to see her get her comeuppance when she realized that George was taking his day off to be good to a patient.
  • Ghost Hunters International: "Spirits of Italy" - That is one awesome castle in the opening segment. And in the same family since 1340? Wow. The evidence wasn't all that impressive. The EMP "answers" in the vault were cool, but I can't say they were supernatural. The second location, the palace, was HUGE. Again, they need a few weeks at the site to do a real job of it. One night is enough for a thrill ride, but not a real investigation. I like that they found that cooling lights made one of their ghost noises, and an ice machine made another. Nice debunking. I was a little surprised by their conclusion, as they usually hedge their bets.

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic book shipment that arrived this week, of books originally released Jul 22nd and 29th:
  • Green Lantern #44 - And so we get our first DC Zombie, J'onn. Wake me when AquaZombie appears.
  • Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #2 - That hate story was moderately intense and very trite. The greed story was mildly amusing.
  • Wednesday Comics #3 - I still have mixed feelings about this mag, but I'm enjoying it overall. Is it just me or is the Wonder Woman story nearly incomprehensible? The art doesn't flow. Titans need more Aqualad. Others, all ok, some are a bit slow developing (like Metamorpho).
  • Tiny Titans #18 - Needs more Aqualad! I love the villain in charge of detention. The whole coffee running gag was a bit boring to me.
  • Captain Britain and MI 13 #15 - And... that's the end. All tied up. And not too bad, either. I wish this series had continued. Maybe about another five years or so. Marvel should not have cancelled it, not when it was just getting its feet under it.
  • Incredibles: Family Matters #4 - It felt very typical, but it was a great deal of fun. I particularly like the last pages.
  • Doctor Who: Room With a Deja View - Haven't I already reviewed this? Oh yeah, and I enjoyed it.
  • Wonderful Wizard of Oz #8 - Yay! The china country, the forest spider, the hammerheads, and Glinda's castle! Ok, so the hammerheads had arms (wha?) but otherwise, yeah, cool!

  • Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #3 - Two Green Lantern tales, and a much appreciated Director's Commentary on Black Night #0. I wish I could get more of these "Director's Commentary" specials on some of these books. I loved Sad Krypto best of all. Never would have noticed that in the regular book. And the tiny bit about Aquaman being buried on land, definitely tied in to the rest I've noticed about Aquaman in this event. I'm actually a little excited about DC Zombies after reading it.
  • Wednesday Comics #4 - I'm really enjoying the art on Kamandi. Very classic. Titans: Needs more Aqualad. Is it just me, or is Wonder Woman making almost no sense at all? Aquaman gets a name-check in Hawkman... hope he appears in it!
  • Justice League of America #35 - Ah, the Royal Flush Gang. And I liked the players revealed at the end, although I pretty much suspected that as part of the set-up. Mari's eye-roll was the best part of the book. Poor Vixen.
  • Justice Society of America #29 - When you consider that I really really like Mr Terrific, you'll know why I found this issue to be distressing.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold #7 - Not bad... the opening bad guy was lovely, and the Doom Patrol made for a good foil to Batman's seriousness (yes, even in this version he's a little serious). Another fun issue of a really fun DC Universe.
  • Northlanders #19 - Oh wow. That was not how I was expecting this one to end at all. The bit where she walked up from the water... wow. I was just chilled by the thought, while wanting to laugh at the soldiers. Great stuff. Loved it.

This week's movie was Stagecoach from 1939, starring John Wayne. A whiskey salesman, prostitute, calvaryman's wife, and a drunk doctor get into a stagecoach... no, bear with me... they are joined by a gambler and a banker, then run across an outlaw who has just broken out of prison. The stagecoach travels through hostile Apache territory while Geronimo is on the warpath. A dramatic tale and a study in psychology. The cast is superb, and John Wayne shines in his role as the Ringo Kid. We DVR'ed this off TCM, but the ending was cut off (stupid DISH Network DVR). Luckily, the library had a copy and we got to watch the final gunfight only a few days later. A good movie, fun with strong performances.

My library book this week was Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff. I picked up this book based on the Unshelved Book Club review. It's even more bizarre than the review indicates. Jane is a thoroughly drug-addled woman whose life has been a disaster from childhood. We learn her story as she tells it to a psychiatrist while she's in prison for murder. She claims to work for the organization as a member of the Bad Monkeys, a branch that hunts down and kills the truly irredeemable nasties of the world... "bad monkeys". As her story unfolds, the reader is led to wonder: is she sane and lucid and talking about reality, or is the whole story a psychodrama she's made up to justify her own actions? The result is a compelling book worth reading if you want a drug-less trip.

Another book I read this week was Heroes: Saving Charlie by Aury Wallington and based on the TV show Heroes. Eric checked this one out to read, and I snagged it before he could return it to the library. This book reminds me why I liked the series in the first place. Hiro is such a goof, but he's a goof who believes in himself and his destiny. And Charlie is one of those great characters that we don't see nearly enough of on the show itself. She appeared in three episodes of the first season, a waitress who had incredible memory powers and was killed by Sylar. The show had scenes of Hiro attempting to save her six months in the past, but didn't go into great detail because it was, after all, a bit of a subplot. This book fills in the blanks. It tries to not conflict with the show, but because of the way the story was presented in the show it can't help but be a little... off. It's a ripping yarn, but not high literature. I would only recommend it to fans of Hiro, because nobody else really makes it into this one. But if you need a light read and want some Heroes action, this is the book.

Agatha Christie this week was Towards Zero from 1944, also published as Come and Be Hanged. This one defies description. In short, the plot involves a love triangle, a long thought out plan, and multiple murders. Again, I wasn't expecting the plot twists, nor the extra layers. I did recognize Battle, the friend of Poirot, who ultimately solved the case. No Poirot in this one, though, just his methods. I did not solve this one, although I almost had the motive down. A piece of late evidence blew my theory out of the water, and I read the rest of the book too quickly to replace it. Overall, yet another good read. Does anyone else notice that there are very few happily married couples in Christie's books, or am I just not seeing the forest for some of the more prominent trees?