Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Sunday Review

Agatha Christie this week was The Pale Horse from 1961. A list of dead and rumors of an organization that kills via the supernatural get a young man hunting for a killer. This one did a lovely job of showing off Christie's mild belief in the paranormal while also being totally reasonable about it. Mrs. Oliver, Christie's MarySue character, had a nicely prominent role in the solving of the problem and also gave even more insight into a writer's mind. As usual, when the murderer was finally revealed I was gobsmacked and very disappointed that I'd failed to figure it out. As with all Chrisite books, in retrospect the murderer seems obvious, but at the time of reading ... well. At least I have the comfort of knowing that Christie's narrator in this one also missed the key clues and didn't know who the murderer was until the reveal. Another great Agatha Christie book... and many more yet to read.

This week's movie was Freaky Friday from 2003 with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan. I had pretty much zero interest in seeing this, but that's why hubby and I trade off on who gets to pick the Netflix movie. To my surprise, this was a really fun little popcorn movie. I enjoyed the performances, and remembered why Lohan was so popular before she self-imploded. She was a really good actress. And then Jamie Lee Curtis is always fun to see. The updating of the situations was nice, with a much more modern take on the roles of parent and daughter. A nice light movie to watch if you need something funny and silly, with surprisingly few cringe-worthy moments.

My library book this week was Ranger's Apprentice Book Seven: Erak's Ransom by John Flanagan. This book jumps back in time to right before Will graduates, to fill in some missing adventures, particularly Halt's wedding, where the adventure sort of starts. This is a pretty rolicking little tale of a pseudo-viking getting captured by pseudo-bedouins and then getting rescued by our Rangers. It's also a coming of age story. This is written for kids and young adults, so your mileage will vary depending on whether or not you like reading for pure entertainment or not.

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic book shipment that arrived this week, of books originally released September 1st, 9th, and 15th:
  • Brightest Day #9 - Lots of Aquaman related action in this one. Aquaman, Jackson, and Manta have lots of screen time, enough to make me happy with it. The J'onn bits were fine too. Much better than the last issue.
  • JSA All-Stars #10 - With the annoying crossover, I'd pretty much forgotten this storyline. Wow. I wonder what's up with Cyclone?
  • Superman: The Last Family of Krypton #2 - I do so love Elseworlds, but shouldn't other heroes be popping up now, besides Bruce Wayne, who makes a good showing in this one? Ah well, fun is fun.
  • Astro City: Silver Agent #2 - Very nice finish to a powerful little story.
  • PS238 #46 - Huh. This is getting more like a regular super-hero book with ongoing plotlines that are hard to follow and a cast of hundreds. But it's still one of the best comics out there.
  • Torchwood #2 - Again, a disjointed story that presumes a little too much and leaves out a story beat. But that was just one of the three stories in this one. There's a text story that wasn't entirely bad, and another installment of the ongoing story. So far not my favorite comic.
  • 1 for a Dollar Groo - Wait, Groo's a genius? This issue does what it's supposed to do, got me interested in the story. I don't know if I'll hunt down the rest, but it was fun. Aragones' artwork is amazing to just look at, finding all the details and jokes. It was worth a buck just for that.

  • Green Lantern #57 - Getting a little tired of seeing all these battles between various lantern colors. I want to see good stories, but I don't feel like there is going to be much of a payoff.
  • Incredibles #13 - Fun! I love this book. Only wish it was slightly longer.
  • Doctor Who Ongoing #15 - Best issue so far. Pity all of them weren't this good. All that set-up, and there isn't going to be much payoff.

  • Brightest Day #10 - And we get Jackson's origin story, with an awesome appearance by Aquaman at the end after he's dismissed Mera for a bit. Wow. And the Firestorm bits must be important, but I'm not that interested in them.
  • Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #2 - Ok, usually I have no interest in space stories in the DCU, but this one has got a little hook in my mouth, and is beginning to pull me in. Partly because I'm wondering if the Red Lantern problem is going to come back to haunt Mera as well.
  • Birds of Prey #5 - Lots of happy endings in this one, and one BIG unhappy continuation. I'm curious to see what's up with canary now.
  • Justice Society of America Special #1 - Disjointed, poor artwork, silly storyline, and no resolution... or rather, the standard superhero resolution in which everything goes back to the status quo in virtually every way. Bleh.
  • Zatanna #5 - I feel sorry for Zatanna's cousin in this one.
  • DC Universe Legacies #5 - Not enough Aquaman. And no Aqualad. How disappointing. But then, Aquaman wasn't a big part of the Crisis, and that seems to be where we've got to by now. Maybe next issue.
  • Batman Beyond #4 - um. ok. I am not impressed by the reveal, because I'm not sure what it's actually trying to tell us. Maybe I'll get it in the next issue.
  • Tiny Titans #32 - Needs more Aqualad. Just a little bit of Aqualad in this one, but more than in recent issues, so that's something.
  • DMZ #57 - A very powerful little done-in-one about a baby and a woman we've met before, and a mother. This is one of those truly great issues that people ought to give to others to explain just what this book is about.
  • Northlanders #32 - Yikes. More violence, and more of the unlikable Erik, but at least the girl is talking and gaining personality now.
Hubby-Eric and I will soon be moving to once-a-month shipping, which means less frequent and maybe larger reviews, unless I split them up. On the one hand it's a pity we can't afford twice-a-month any more, but on the other hand we've found that the delay in getting our books isn't as annoying as I thought it would be when we first started getting books through mail order. It seems that I can avoid spoilers if I'm careful.

TV this week:
  • Battlestar Galactica: "Guess What's Coming to Dinner?" - I really wasn't expecting the hybrid to do that once she was back in control of the ship, although I suspected she was going to do something. Roslin was not at her finest when she decided to go talk to the hybrid, was she? Felix has a nice voice. Oh, this series has been surprisingly good. Can't wait for the next disc to come.

  • Ghost Hunters: "A Shot in the Dark" - The team is headed to The Colonial Inn at Concord, MA, very close to the location of The Shot Heard 'Round The World. Wounded soldiers from that first battle were taken to the Inn to be cared for, and to die. Clearly a place with a lot of history. The ghost stories are wonderful, as you might expect. The one with the woman who refused to go back into her room after seeing a ghost was a pretty fun one. The room with two bloodied soldiers watching people as they wake from sleep was nicely creepy. The Ghost Hunters quickly started hearing noises, but it's an old building. I loved Britt's reaction as the door behind him closes. My immediate thought was that he stepped on a soft spot on the floor that caused the door to close. This episode suffered from over-produced sound, even more obvious than other ones this season. Whoever does the sound should stop putting in sound effects when people are investigating sounds. Sheesh. They also put loud effects on the flashlight turning on, which is silly. Anyway... the door closing was apparently tested by Britt at the time of it happening. The manager was impressed by Britt jumping out of his skin. But none of their evidence is completely convincing.

  • Destination Truth: "Ghosts of Haboro/Mngwa" - Ghost Hunting in Japan, and the absolute worst kind of ghost hunting as well. The team didn't even check out that school in daylight before entering and wandering around, and it was falling down. Nifty discovery of a thermal ghost in the old apartment block, but I don't like the example they set in investigating. Off to Tanzania and that was ok, but just as dangerous. Let's wander around in an area with large predators in the dark. I suspect budding cryptozoologists are more likely to understand the dangers than budding ghost hunters.

  • Beast Legends: "The Kraken" - I expected this show to be about cryptozoology, but it's not. It's a group of people attempting to use existing animals as inspiration to create a "realistic" digital animation of the monster they are looking at each week. They explore the Colossal Squid, Giant Squid, and Pacific Giant Octopus as inspiration for their Kraken, and that was probably the most interesting parts of the episode for me. I may watch this to see the animals they choose, but the show seems mostly pointless. Still, comic book artist Francis Manapul is a member of the team, so it may have some crossover interest for comic book fans. It airs weekly after Destination Truth.
  • Beast Legends: "Fire Dragon" - Ok, I do like the coverage of the Polish dragon legend (and how it was defeated by a very smart cobbler). The hunt for dragon bones and dragon tracks in Poland made for fun television. This had more interesting research in it, including a 16th century manuscript that referred to the Polish dragon as Olophagus, which translates as "swallows whole" which in turn led them to alligators. They also examine snake fangs, and there's a nice moment of levity during snake handling. I kind of like the biological explanation they came up with for fire-breathing. I'm warming up to this show.
  • Beast Legends: "Megajaws" - Dakuwaqa, the Fijian Shark God, is the target of this episode. I really enjoyed the animation they used at the beginning to show the legend. Very stylish. The research was almost as good as Destination Truth's travel stories. They go to Fiji and dive with eight species of shark. Without any cages. They just jump in with wetsuits and scuba gear. Meanwhile, down in the Bahamas, the comic book artist and biologist test shark senses. I like how they got people to help with the sand sculpture. This show is really goofy. I kind of like it.

  • Being Human: "Series 2, Episode 8" - Annie. Oh Annie. Wow. That was a finish, but definitely a set up for another season. Wow. Right, um, this was the series 2 finale, and it took all the dangling threads and pulled them out and wrapped them around the story's throat. It's an impressive paranormal show, and it just keeps getting more interesting. And that final scene... yikes. Not what I wasn't expecting.

  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: "The Siege of Starro! Part Two" - Go Aquaman! I like that he was actually a threat to a large group of heroes even under Starro control. I wasn't expecting the end of this one. Pretty strange choice of hero, but it worked.


Roger Owen Green said...

I actually liked LL (Lois Lane?) in both Mean Girls and Freaky Friday. That's why her decline was disappointing to me she's not Paris Hilton, with no discernable skills.