Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in TV

I usually don't keep track of TV shows I watch each year, as I've watched a few network shows and more cable shows in recent years. Anyways, there's an increase in the amount of British programming on my queue, along with some noteworthy dramas (Sherlock, Downton, Thrones, Breaking Bad, and Luther) and fan-favorite children/YA programs (Avatar, Korra, Adventure Time, and Gravity Falls). So here's the list. I'd recommend most of the programs. Happy watching!

Sherlock (series 2)
Downton Abbey (series 1)
Fringe (season 4)
Avatar (all 3 seasons)
Game of Thrones (seasons 1 and 2)
The Fades (series 1)
Korra (book 1/half of season 1)
Whitechapel (series 1)
Bedlam (series 1)
Breaking Bad (seasons 1 - 4)
Eureka (season 5)
Luther (series 1 and 2)
Adventure Time (seasons 1 - 4)
The Hour (series 1)
Castle (seasons 1 + 2)

Still In Progress (for obvious reasons)
Gravity Falls (season 1) - Disney needs to manage the airing of new episodes better.
Fringe (season 5) - 3 more episodes to go ...
Revolution (season 1) - Decent, but I'm watching because of Abrams, Favreau, and Kripke.
The Walking Dead (season 3) - Getting better and better since season 3.
Warehouse 13 (season 4) - One of my weekly pleasures.
Doctor Who (series 7) - Despite the recent ups and downs, I'm still watching. Plus, Neil Cross has two episodes in the second half of the current series, along with Neil Gaiman.
Adventure Time (season 5) - Addictive and highly amusing.
The Hour (series 2) - One episode behind (it's on the DVR), but I'm really enjoying Whishaw, Capaldi, and West, as well as the police corruption arc of the current series.
Castle (season 3) - So much love for the show. Dunno why I didn't start watching earlier.

2012 in Novels

Another record-setting year for me with plenty more graphic novels than last year (just over half of the list this year) and a total of 52 novels this year, making it a novel a week (if you don't count the graphic novels). Happy reading!
  1. Side Jobs (Jim Butcher) 
  2. The Fault In Our Stars (John Green) 
  3. Breakfast of Champions (Kurt Vonnegut) 
  4. A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess) 
  5. Batman Reborn: Gotham City Sirens (Paul Dini) 
  6. Batman: Mad Love and Other Stories (Paul Dini) 
  7. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain) 
  8. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller) 
  9. The World According To Garp (John Irving) 
  10. A Taste of Honey (Shelagh Delaney) 
  11. Look Back In Anger (John Osbourne) 
  12. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Allan Sillitoe) 
  13. Spider-Man Noir (David Hine) 
  14. X-Men Noir (Fred Van Lente) 
  15. The Waking (Raven Gregory) 
  16. Psylocke (Chris Yost) 
  17. Madame Mirage (Paul Dini) 
  18. Iron Man: Extremis (Warren Ellis) 
  19. Spider-Man: Fever (Brendan McCarthy) 
  20. The Buddha of Suburbia (Hanif Kureishi) 
  21. American Psycho (Bret Easton Ellis) 
  22. Wonder Woman: Love and Murder (Jodi Picoult) 
  23. Persepolis 1: The Story of A Childhood (Marjane Satrapi) 
  24. Persepolis 2: The Story of A Return (Marjane Satrapi) 
  25. Why We Broke Up (Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman) 
  26. Londonstani (Gautam Malkani) 
  27. Thank You For Smoking (Christopher Buckley) 
  28. Lamb (Christopher Moore) 
  29. DC/Wildstorm: Dream War (Giffen) 
  30. Locke & Key: Clockworks (Vol. 5) (Joe Hill) 
  31. Ghost Story (Jim Butcher) 
  32. 11/22/63 (Stephen King) 
  33. The Wind Through The Keyhole (Stephen King) 
  34. Doctor No (Ian Fleming) 
  35. From Russia With Love (Ian Fleming) 
  36. Goldfinger (Ian Fleming) 
  37. Memorial (Chris Roberson) 
  38. R.I.P.: Best of 1985 – 2004 (Thomas Ott) 
  39. Hark! A Vagrant (Kate Beaton) 
  40. Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand (Ramon K. Perez) 
  41. Thunderball (Ian Fleming) 
  42. The Walking Dead Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars (Robert Kirkman) 
  43. You Only Live Twice (Ian Fleming) 
  44. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise Part 1 (Gene Yang) 
  45. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Ian Fleming) 
  46. Batman: Earth One (Geoff Johns) 
  47. Diamonds Are Forever (Ian Fleming) 
  48. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise Part 2 (Gene Yang) 
  49. Live and Let Die (Ian Fleming) 
  50. Chew: Tasters Choice (Vol. 1) (John Layman) 
  51. Chew: International Flavor (Vol. 2) (John Layman) 
  52. Chew: Just Desserts (Vol. 3) (John Layman) 
  53. Chew: Flambé (Vol. 4) (John Layman) 
  54. Chew: Major League Chew (Vol. 5) (John Layman) 
  55. The Man With The Golden Gun (Ian Fleming) 
  56. The Sandman: The Wake (Vol. 10) (Neil Gaiman) 
  57. The Spy Who Loved Me (Ian Fleming) 
  58. Y: The Last Man – Cycles (Vol. 2) (Brian K. Vaughn) 
  59. Moonraker (Ian Fleming) 
  60. Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse – Birds, Bees, Blood & Beer (Vol 1.) (Ben Templesmith) 
  61. Joker (Brian Azzarello) 
  62. For Your Eyes Only (Ian Fleming) 
  63. Grim Leaper (Kurtis J. Wiebe) 
  64. Octopussy and The Living Daylights (Ian Fleming) 
  65. Y: The Last Man – One Small Step (Vol. 3) (Brian K. Vaughn) 
  66. Shadow Show (Sam Weller and Mort Castle) 
  67. Ready Player One (Ernest Cline) 
  68. Smoke and Mirrors (Neil Gaiman) 
  69. The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep And Never Had To (DC Pierson) 
  70. Preacher: Gone To Texas (Vol. 1) (Garth Ennis) 
  71. Murder on the Orient Express (Agatha Christie) 
  72. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise Part 3 (Gene Yang) 
  73. Anya’s Ghost (Vera Brosgol) 
  74. Wildwood (Colin Meloy) 
  75. The Perks of Being A Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky) 
  76. The Name of the Star (Maureen Johnson) 
  77. Casino Royale (Ian Fleming) 
  78. Redshirts (John Scalzi) 
  79. Lost At Sea (Bryan Lee O’Malley) 
  80. The Time Keeper (Mitch Albom) 
  81. Every Day (David Levithan) 
  82. The Pearl (John Steinbeck) 
  83. Star Trek/Doctor Who: Assimilation^2 (Vol. 1 – Issues 1 – 4) (Scott and David Tipton) 
  84. Under Wildwood (Colin Meloy) 
  85. The Walking Dead: The Heart’s Desire (Volume 4) (Robert Kirkman) 
  86. Drive (James Sallis) 
  87. Friends With Boys (Faith Erin Hicks) 
  88. Brain Camp (Susan Kim) 
  89. Saga: Volume 1 (Brian K. Vaughn) 
  90. The Woman Who Died A Lot (Jasper Fforde) 
  91. Edge of Doom (Steve Niles) 
  92. Tune: Vanishing Point (Vol. 1) (Derek Kirk Kim) 
  93. The Bride Wore Black Leather (Simon R. Green) 
  94. Chew: Space Cakes (Vol. 6) (John Layman) 
  95. Feed (M.T. Anderson) 
  96. Days Missing (Vol. 1) (Phil Hester, David Hine, Ian Edginton) 
  97. Days Missing: Kestus (Vol. 2) (Phil Hester, David Marquez, Trevor Roth) 
  98. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (Jenny Lawson) 
  99. Witch Doctor: Under The Knife (Vol. 1) (Brandon Seifert) 
  100. Darth Vader and Son (Jeffrey Brown)
  101. Morning Glories: For a Better Future (Vol. 1) (Nick Spencer) 
  102. The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity (Vol. 1) (Mike Carey) 
  103. Morning Glories: All Will Be Free (Vol. 2) (Nick Spencer) 
  104. Morning Glories: P.E. (Vol. 3 (Nick Spencer) 
  105. Doctor Who/Star Trek: Assimilation^2 (Vol. 2 – Issues 5 – 8) (Scott and David Tipton) 
  106. The Manhattan Projects: Science Bad (Vol. 1) (Jonathan Hickman) 
  107. A Dirty Job (Christopher Moore) 
  108. Thief of Thieves: I Quit (Vol. 1) (Nick Spencer and Robert Kirkman) 
  109. Revival: You’re Among Friends (Vol. 1) (Tim Seeley)

2012 in Films

Looking over this list, I realize that this year was another record-setter, both in terms of first-time views, theatrical screenings (32 2012 releases ... or at least films in US theaters this year (not counting the first three on the list or re-release screenings)), and rewatches (having seen the film in prior years).  I won't be reviewing these films on the blog, but I've been keeping track on my Tumblr.  I was seeing if I could watch 365 films in the year, as there was a challenge going around Tumblr.  I didn't make it to 365, but making it about a third of the way is still a pretty big accomplishment in my book.  You can find a nicely organized list with reviews (in pieces) here.

1) Tinker Tailor Solider Spy (dir. Tomas Alfresdon, 2011)
2) The Artist (dir. Michel Hazanavicius, 2011)
3) The Descendants (dir. Alexander Payne, 2011)
4) Dogma (dir. Kevin Smith, 1999)
5) The Maltese Falcon (dir. John Huston, 1941)
6) Beauty and the Beast (dir. Gary Trousdale and Kurt Wise, 1991) - theatrical rewatch
7) Chaplin (dir. Richard Attenborough, 1992)
8) Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott, 1982/1991 Director's Cut)
9) Star Trek (dir. JJ Abrams, 2009)
10) Michael Clayton (dir. Tony Gilroy, 2007)
11) Double Indemnity (dir. Billy Wilder, 1944)
12) While You Were Sleeping (dir. Jon Turtletaub, 1995)
13) Thor (dir. Kenneth Branagh, 2011) - rewatch
14) Serenity (dir. Joss Whedon, 2005) - rewatch
15) Laura (dir. Otto Preminger, 1944)
16) Scarlet Street (dir. Fritz Lang, 1945)
17) Atlantis (dir. Gary Trousdale and Kurt Wise, 2001) - rewatch
18) The Killers (dir. Robert Siodmak, 1946)
19) John Carter (dir. Andrew Stanton, 2012)
20) The Hurt Locker (dir. Kathryn Bigelow, 2009) - rewatch
21) Game Change (dir. Jay Roach, 2012)
22) The Seventh Seal (dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1957)
23) The World According to Garp (dir. George Roy Hill, 1982)
24) Out of the Past (dir. George Tourneur, 1947)
25) The Hunger Games (dir. Gary Ross, 2012)
26) The Lady From Shanghai (dir. Orson Welles, 1947)
27) Meet Joe Black (dir. Martin Brest, 1998)
28) American Psycho (dir. Mary Harron, 1999) - rewatch
29) He Walked By Night (dir. Anthony Mann, 1948)
30) The Cabin In The Woods (dir. Drew Goddard, 2010/2011/2012)
31) Gun Crazy (dir. Joseph H. Lewis, 1949)
32) DOA (dir. Rudolph Maté, 1950)
33) Thank You For Smoking (dir. Jason Reitman, 2005/2006) - rewatch
34) Kiss Me Deadly (dir. Robert Aldrich, 1956)
35) The Avengers (dir. Joss Whedon, 2012)
36) The Killing (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1956)
37) Dark Shadows (dir. Tim Burton, 2012)
38) Strangers on a Train (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1950)
39) Primer (dir. Shane Carruth, 2004)
40) Safe House (dir. Daniel Espinosa, 2012)
41) Rushmore (dir. Wes Anderson, 1999)
42) Prometheus (dir. Ridley Scott, 2012)
43) Doctor No (dir. Terence Young, 1962) - rewatch
44) Martha Marcy May Marlene (dir. Sean Durkin, 2011)
45) The Ides of March (dir. George Clooney, 2011)
46) Being Elmo (dir. Constance Marks, 2011)
47) From Russia With Love (dir. Terence Young, 1963) - rewatch
48) Moonrise Kingdom (dir. Wes Anderson, 2012)
49) Brave (dir. Mark Andrews, 2012)
50) Goldfinger (dir. Guy Hamilton, 1964) - rewatch
51) Inglorious Basterds (dir. Quentin Tarantino, 2010)
52) The Adventures of Tintin (dir. Steven Spielberg, 2011) - rewatch
53) The Cove (dir. Louis Psihoyos, 2009)
54) Thunderball (dir. Terence Young, 1965) - rewatch
55) Ultimate Avengers (dir. Curt Geda, Steven E. Gordon, and Bob Richardson, 2006)
56) The Amazing Spider-Man (dir. Marc Webb, 2012)
57) Monsters (dir. Gareth Edwards, 2010)
58) You Only Live Twice (dir. Lewis Gilbert, 1967) - rewatch
59) Iron Man (dir. Jon Favreau, 2008) - rewatch
60) The Perfect Host (dir. Nick Tomnay, 2010)
61) On Her Majesty's Secret Service (dir. Peter Hunt, 1969) - rewatch
62) The Dark Knight Rises (dir. Christopher Nolan, 2012)
63) Diamonds Are Forever (dir. Guy Hamilton, 1971) - rewatch
64) Beasts of the Southern Wild (dir. Benh Zeitlin, 2012)
65) Live and Let Die (dir. Guy Hamilton, 1973) - rewatch
66) The Intouchables (dir. Oliver Nakache and Eric Toledano, 2011)
67) The Man With The Golden Gun (dir. Guy Hamilton, 1974) - rewatch
68) Ruby Sparks (dir. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, 2012)
69) The Bourne Legacy (dir. Tony Gilroy, 2012)
70) The Spy Who Loved Me (dir. Lewis Gilbert, 1977) - rewatch
71) Miss Representation (dir. Jennifer Siebel Newsom, 2011)
72) Inside Job (dir. Charles Ferguson, 2010)
73) ParaNorman (dir. Sam Fell and Chris Butler, 2012)
74) Moonraker (dir. Lewis Gilbert, 1979) - rewatch
75) Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (dir. Brad Bird, 2011) - rewatch
76) For Your Eyes Only (dir. John Glen, 1981) - rewatch
77) Good Night, and Good Luck (dir. George Clooney, 2005)
78) Gangs of New York (dir. Martin Scorsese, 2002)
79) Octopussy (dir. John Glen, 1983) - rewatch
80) Blood Simple (dir. Joel Coen, 1984/2000 Director's Cut)
81) Big Trouble In Little China (dir. John Carpenter, 1986)
82) A View To A Kill (dir. John Glen, 1985) - rewatch
83) Dr. Strangelove (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1964) - rewatch
84) Raiders of the Lost Ark (dir. Steven Spielberg, 1981) - rewatch (theatrical/anniversary re-release)
85) The Living Daylights (dir. John Glen, 1987) - rewatch
86) Los Cronoscrimenes (Timecrimes) (dir. Nacho Vigalondo, 2007)
87) The Help (dir. Tate Taylor, 2011)
88) Howl's Moving Castle (dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 2004)
89) Cowboy Bebop (dir. Shinichiro Watanabe, 2001)
90) Licence To Kill (dir. John Glen, 1989) - rewatch
91) The Master (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
92) GoldenEye (dir. Martin Campbell, 1995) - rewatch
93) Tomorrow Never Dies (dir. Roger Spottiswoode, 1997) - rewatch
94) Looper (dir. Rian Johnson, 2012)
95) The World Is Not Enough (dir. Michael Apted, 1999) - rewatch
96) The Perks of Being a Wallflower (dir. Stephen Chbosky, 2012)
97) Die Another Day (dir. Lee Tamahori, 2002) - rewatch
98) Slither (dir. James Gunn, 2006)
99) Casino Royale (dir. Martin Campbell, 2006) - rewatch
100) Quantum of Solace (dir. Marc Forster, 2008) - rewatch
101) Seven Psychopaths (dir. Martin McDonagh, 2012)
102) Everything Or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 (dir. Stevan Riley, 2012)
103) We Have a Pope (dir. Nanni Moretti, 2011)
104) Argo (dir. Ben Affleck, 2012)
105) SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden (dir. John Stockwell, 2012)
106) Wreck-It Ralph (dir. Rich Moore, 2012)
107) Persepolis (dir. Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, 2007)
108) Skyfall (dir. Sam Mendes, 2012)
109) And Then There Were None (dir. George Pollack, 1965)
110) The Sessions (dir. Ben Lewin, 2012)
111) Sound of My Voice (dir. Zal Batmanglij, 2011/2012)
112) Safety Not Guaranteed (dir. Colin Trevorrow, 2012)
113) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (dir. Peter Jackson, 2012)
114) Lincoln (dir. Steven Spielberg, 2012)
115) Ink (dir. Jamin Winans, 2009)
116) Les Misérables (dir. Tom Hooper, 2012)
117) Young Frankenstein (dir. Mel Brooks, 1974) - rewatch
118) Django Unchained (dir. Quentin Tarantino, 2012)

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Hello, Blog World (or What I've Been Up To)

I have been negligent once again, but it happens and I won't apologize for it. I have my excuses, namely a job hunt, a job, reviewing James Bond films and novels, plenty of reading (and movies and TV shows), training for my upcoming black belt test, and now NaNoWriMo. These excuses kept me from writing ... or I didn't manage my time well enough to toss up an occasional blog post in about two months. I did have the intention, though. Let's back up and go through these might-have-been posts sequentially.

1) Indy Nostalgia
The beginning of September brought the temporary theatrical re-release of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which I rather wanted to see, as it's one of my favorite Indiana Jones films (tied with Last Crusade).  So I made plans with Ryan and a friend of his from his camp job to see it at the AMC that was closer to his house.  We met up at the theater (despite the rain), got our tickets (and I chatted briefly with a woman working for a company that hosted test screenings in the Tri-State area), and took our seats (upper left side of the Lie-MAX theater in the center, but close to the left aisle).  I sat down next to a bearded and slightly pony-tailed man in what I would guess to be his mid-60s.  We started chatting.  I learned that the man in what I would guess to be his 30s sitting next to him was his son.  I also learned that the older of the two men had first seen the film when it was in theaters in 1981 when he was in his late teens or early 20s.  We might have mixed up the release year of Raiders and A New Hope, though.  Anyways, what struck me was the nostalgia of the situation.  Sure, the son (and I) had seen Raiders numerous times prior to this screening, but there's nothing like saying "I got to see *insert film here* on the big screen", even if it's a one-off re-release or a restored cut.

2) Reviews

  • The Master (9/22/12)
    • Even after a month and a half, my thoughts still return to this film.  It's quite rich in pseudo-religious messages and pseudo-father/child moments, along with awkward incest/underage relations moments and an overall misunderstanding of the mentally ill after World War II.  There are some strong sequences, like Freddy's indoctrination montage, his attempts at holding down a job, and his turn to being Dodd's enforcer of sorts.  Hell, I think I gave it a B+/A- on my Tumblr, but it's most likely a film that requires re-evaluation, like any hefty complex work of literature.
  • Looper (9/29/12)
    • There's so much that I love about Rian Johnson's third film.  There's the established routine of loopers, the gap between rich and poor in 2044 Kansas, the Judas analogy, the reappropriation of an older wardrobe style, the theme of nature versus nurture, the alternate timeline, and the little coincidences.  It's definitely one of my favorite films of the year, but I have yet to rank it in comparison to Rian's other films, as I have yet to see Brick (which I have on my external) and I could do with a re-watch of The Brothers Bloom.  I could probably do with re-watching Looper with the commentary Rian released.
  • The Perks of Being A Wallflower (10/6/12)
    • I loved this film ... maybe or maybe not because I had finally finished the novel the morning before seeing the film.  The cast is pretty solid and the translation from bound book to flickering celluloid (or pixels, as most theaters are digital nowadays) is perfect, as Chbosky wrote and directed the film.  It's more grounded in high school (more of a focus on SATs and college acceptance letters).  Some relationships are portrayed differently, but I'd chalk it up to the changing times (I mean, a close teacher-student relationship between Charlie and Bill in the novel might make parents suspicious in this day and age).
  • Seven Psychopaths (10/20/12)
    • I'm always conflicted with whatever I've seen by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, The Pillowman, and now this film).  Maybe it's how dark the subject content is.  This film has seemingly random murders and murders as a result of a kidnapped dog, but they come to a head in the end.  Don't get me wrong, I definitely liked the film (and I was nearly howling in laughter during one sequence probably two-thirds of the way into the film).  The cast is pretty solid, especially Tom Waits, Sam Rockwell, and Christopher Walken.  And I also found the meta aspect (a screenwriter writing about seven psychopaths and getting caught up in a fight between psychopaths) to be particularly entertaining.
  • Argo (10/28/12)
    • A solid cast and a solid period piece with what I would say are accutate sets and costumes, etc.?  What more could you ask for?  The cast is great across the board, and I especially enjoyed seeing actors I recognized from various shows (Richard Kind, Kyle Chandler, Zeljko Ivanek, Titus Welliver, BRYAN FREAKIN' CRANSTON, Philip Baker Hall, etc.).  The tuneage was era-appropriate, too.  Yes, one of the main things you have to consider with historical dramas like this is the accuracy, and while a number of details were changed for the sake of drama, the film was still compelling.
3) The Nerdist
I don't listen to many podcasts, as I tend to listen to one or two playlists on shuffle and repeat.  However, I've been trying to listen to more, as of late, like episodes of 'Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me' and, of course, 'The Nerdist'.  When I learned about the live taping that Chris, Matt, and Jonah were hosting, I put it on my calendar and started making plans.  I was able to lock things in with my friend Joe in mid/late August and book tickets.  Sure, it was right around my Homecoming/Alumni Weekend, but I wouldn't miss the chance to see Chris Hardwick in person.  Jumping ahead, it was fun to see the podcast come together before our eyes and ears, like Chris, Matt, and Jonah discussing how bad Madonna's theme song for Die Another Day is, Chris introducing Guillermo del Toro (I nearly died) and Travis Beacham, and an audience proposal.  I briefly managed to speak with Jonah and Matt about Bond films (mainly Brosnan-era films) during the signing after the recording, and I found that Matt and I agreed: Die Another Day is the worst Brosnan film and Tomorrow Never Dies is probably the best Brosnan film.

And now that all this recapping is over, I should probably get back to some applications ... or wrap up the leftover pizza from dinner ... or get started on the debriefing for the Bondathon ... or get back to my NaNoWriMo novel.  Decisions, decisions ...  I'll be back soon, and definitely before the new year.  Maybe after my next batch of films ...

Monday, September 03, 2012

'Elementary'? Kind Of.

When Elementary was announced late last year or thereabouts, I cringed. "But Moffat and the BBC have a hold on modern-day Holmes," I thought. "How can an American network primarily known for procedural cop shows do Sherlock justice, especially in an American setting? And John Watson is going to be Joan?!" Regardless, I vowed to give it a chance. Now I have.
The look and feel of the pilot is reminiscent of CSI: New York, minus the in-the-lab examinations and police station interrogations. Exterior scenes are fairly tinged with blue and black with interior scenes are brown-tinged. The camerawork during some scenes is handheld and fairly fluid, but on the shaky side sometimes. It's all familiar and doesn't do much to try and stand out from the procedural pack, in a sense.
Johnny Lee Miller brings a different attitude to Holmes. He's just out of rehab, which could provide future drama through temptation, and is also appears to be into S&M, relying on sex for the hormones and energy, but he's disgusted by the fluids and noises. Joan Watson (Lucy Lui), a disgraced surgeon, is hired by Holmes's father as a personal assistant to prevent Holmes from backsliding. Being haunted by malpractice instead of PTSD is definitely a different spin, but it's just not the same and doesn't seem to have as much of an emotional or psychological impact on the character.
Compared to Moffat's version, this is clearly Americanized in the writing and the camerawork. There is no getting into Sherlock's head. There's no Lestrade or Ms. Hudson. 221B Baker Street? Nope. Watson doesn't appear to keep track of cases. But this all could change.
As for what the show has to promise, I don't know. Will Moriarty or Irene pop up? Will any Holmes stories be translated for American consumption? Both are good questions and could be answered in the near future, but nothing is hinted at in the pilot.

Also Liked: I heard a short excerpt or two from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's score for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, along with Elvis Costello's "Watching The Detectives". While I did enjoy the excerpts and the song, the excerpts didn't quite fit because of, in my mind, how recognizable they were.

Judgment: Overall, a decent pilot with a good concept. Give it a few episodes past the pilot to properly judge, but I'm not holding out for much. It could go on for a few seasons to fill the CSI void, if the ratings hold up.

Elementary premieres on CBS on September 27th at 10 PM Eastern.

Saturday, September 01, 2012


This all starts back in the fall of 2008. I was new to college and had taken to hanging out at the radio station. Wait, I'd better back it up a bit.
The previous summer, I was on a two-week family bar/bat mitzvah tour in Israel. It was partway through the trip and we were staying on a kibbutz in or near the Golan Heights for a night or two. My brother and I had moved our suitcases into our rooms and we flipped on the TV to see what was on. I discovered an episode of Doctor Who. It was 'The Girl In The Fireplace'. I believe it was around when Rose blasted one of the Clockwork Droids with liquid nitrogen ... or whatever it was. My brother wanted to change the channel, so we fought over the remote and I didn't end up catching any more of the episode.
Fast forward a few months. It's my first fall semester and I've taken up with the radio station crowd. There's a cool guy there named Matt. He carries around a Sonic Screwdriver in his satchel and brings fun card games to the station, like Gloom. He's responsible for getting me into Doctor Who. And a girl, but she moved/transferred during or at the end of the semester. I don't think he showed me any episodes, but he might've suggested a few episodes to watch, like 'Blink'. So I ended up watching 'Blink', which I think was my first full episode. Or it might've been 'The Shakespeare Code', which I watched when New Who episodes were rebroadcast on the local PBS affiliate on Saturday nights. Yup, in the study lounge on a Saturday night on Skype/doing homework whilst watching some Doctor Who.
Over the years since then, I managed to catch up on most of New Who, just about in time for the Tennant specials. Well, not all the way caught up, as I don't think I'd seen all of Donna's episodes by that time, but I was able to complete Series 4 either last summer or the summer before that. And I've never missed an episode since. I sadly have yet to get into Classic Who, but it has been on my list for a while.
Apart from that, I've cosplayed as 10 a number of times: Halloweens '09 - '11, 2 or 3 Halloween parties, PAX East '10 - '12 ... and I made a fan short around when I was first getting into the show.

So there's my story. I hope you enjoy. Allons-y!

(Note: cross-posted on my Tumblr.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

'ParaNorman' (2012)

The peaceful New England town of Blithe Hollow is nearing the 300th anniversary of its crowning achievement: executing Agatha Prenderghast (Jodelle Ferland), a witch. It is ingrained in the townspeople and they revel in the celebration. There are witch-named stores down Main Street, banners strewn across town announcing the impending celebration, and a hideous statue of the crone outside the town hall. The school is putting on a play/musical about the event, written, produced, and directed by an overly enthusiastic drama teacher (Alex Borstein) who wants her cast to "inhabit the role".
Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee), the loner/social outcast just doesn't seem to care. But Norman can see and talk to ghosts. He also has a love for zombie/horror films, as evidenced by his numerous posters, action figures, alarm clock, and toothbrush. But nobody gets or is willing to understand Norman. His parents, more his dad (Jeff Garlin) than his mom (Leslie Mann), want him to stop talking to dead people. His cheerleader sister (Anna Kendrick) is too involved in the high school world of boys, cheerleading, gossip, and nail-painting to care. His dead grandma (Elaine Stritch) is sticking around because her unfinished business is to care for Norman, as they were close in life, and because she would miss aspects of the material world. Norman's only friend is Neil (Tyler Albrizzi), the token chubby kid who has oddly high self-esteem. However, it comes down to Norman to save the day when his estranged and sickly uncle (John Goodman) bestows upon him the mission to save the town from the return of Agatha and the seven townspeople she cursed.
Laika's second stop-motion feature follows Coraline, their 2009 feature-length debut, also employs a 3D printer to create the character faces, a first for stop-motion. It's also a first for the directing team of Sam Fell (previously directed The Tale of Despereaux and Flushed Away, among others) and Chris Butler (directorial debut; also wrote the script). While the film was shot in 3D, which adds depth and some pop-out gags, I'd advise go early for lower 3D ticket prices, or just go 2D.
The film, while light on plot, is carried along by the exploration of fear and what it does to people. There are also a handful of horror references and numerous bits of dialog that, while going over the heads of the younger audience, are sure to amuse the older crowd.

Rating: A-/9 out of 10 stars

Monday, August 13, 2012

11 Rebuttals to Hollis Thomases's Column

I'm occasionally on LinkedIn, whether it's to network or apply for jobs. I rarely follow links to articles, but I was drawn to an article in particular with the hook "Don't Put An Intern In Charge". So I clicked through and read through the column, which you can find here. Long story short, Hollis Thomases, the column writer, listed eleven reasons why not to hire a college graduate (around 22 or 23 years of age) to run social media positions. I didn't quite care for these reasons, so I began to brew this rebuttal.
Mrs. Thomases starts off with "Pardon the generalization: I don't mean to attack 23-year-olds specifically. Nor do I believe there are no young people capable of managing a business's social-media responsibilities." Why would you start off like that? You haven't even gotten to the meat of the column yet and you're already saying "I'm going after 23-year-olds and generalizing the entire age bracket, regardless of experience." Why would you go on to rag on college graduates with legitimate social media experience by lumping them in with college graduates who use Twitter for perpetuating the "YOLO" hashtag, among other things?
Anyways, she goes on to say that common sense shouldn't go out the window when hiring recent graduates or relatives because "they're really good on Facebook." Does that mean they rake in major dough on Farmville? Or constantly post redundant memes or pointless statuses? Using Facebook as such doesn't mean one is really good at it. It means that they know how to waste time on it and not use it for maintaining connections and such, but Facebook is a double-edged sword in that manner.
But to get to the list ...
1) "They're not mature enough.": Mrs. Thomases's reasoning is that modern youth feel that they haven't reached adulthood until their late 20s or early 20s, so they'd "rather explore who they are and how they can transform their lives." I've done some exploring of who I am during my high school and college career, so I'm somewhat satisfied. Sure, there are things I haven't tried yet, like skydiving, getting punch-drunk wasted and puking my guts out, and marathoning television shows, but those things can wait. Especially getting wasted. I'm not too experienced in the ways of alcohol and it's not on my list of things to gain experience in at this point in time.
2) "They may be focused on their own social-media activity.": The question posed here is "Will you need to be monitoring the person?" Okay, I'll admit it. When I interned with my university's Media and PR office, I checked Facebook and my university mail here and there. My university e-mail checking wasn't a problem and I wasn't checking Facebook every minute of every day, but my supervisor just made a mention during one of the evaluations. I took his words to heart and cut down on checking while at editing and rendering and publishing. It helped that I had books to read. Facebook could wait. And when the time comes that I join the creative media workforce (which will hopefully be soon), my Droid shall stay in my pocket, unless I'm on break or some urgent text or call comes in.
3) "They may not have the same etiquette -- or experience.": Mrs. Thomases feels that supervisors need to "make sure you check out the substance of his or her updates. You need to make sure your posts reflect your brand." Wouldn't the hiring staff test the new hiree during the interview process by asking him or her to draft a few sample brand-related posts to test the new hiree? Or would not all companies do that?
4) "You can't control their friends.": Or if said friends post inappropriate content on the company social-media accounts ... or that's Hollis's reasoning, anyways. True, but surely, the new hires would be smart enough to remind their close friends to keep things civil or to only talk work in person over food or drinks and not share things on company social media pages, right?
5) "No class can replace on-the-job training.": True, but if someone has some experience through a class that went hand-in-hand with their media internship, wouldn't that give them a leg up? Or what about common sense, too? I had to take a once-a-week seminar in addition to my internship and I had to keep regular journals about things I learned or experienced on the job, as well as present two slideshows dealing with the impact of PR. The seminar class helped bolster my PR/social media knowledge and I consider the class and the internship the start of on-the-job training, even if it was just a one-semester internship and class.
6) "They may not understand your business.": Okay, let's assume that the applicants haven't researched the company before applying and interviewing and they've somehow landed a position. What do you as their supervisor do? Make sure they get a feel for how the company runs! Have them read through company handbooks and socialize around the office during a probationary period before the real work starts! Help them to understand what they're pushing through social media. And don't assume that every new young hire is slow to catch on.
7) "Communication skills are critical.": Evaluate their writing skills when first considering so you don't hire someone who writes/posts/speaks in LOLCats. Trust an English major and an opinion columnist.
8) "Humor is a tricky business.": True, not everyone has the same sense of humor. Not everyone finds Vonnegut funny. Some jokes could be too soon after some major event. What's workplace-appropriate humor? Surely not The Aristocrats! But at least make sure the new hires have some idea before setting them loose to spread LOLs.
9) "Social-media savvy is not the same as technical savvy.": Should the new hires have some idea of the ins and outs of social media managing, not just using Twitter/Facebook/Google+ like a wiz? Yes.
10) "Social-media management can become crisis management.": If someone Tweets or posts something unbecoming of the company image, what would the reaction of the new hire be? Start a flame war with "Hey, why r u h8ing on our product?"? Calmly respond with "We're sorry you didn't care for *insert product name*, but if you message/DM/e-mail us with the necessary information, we'll see to it that you're properly reimbursed," or something to that effect? Go with calm and level-headed over rushing to ignite a social-media storm. It's common sense.
11) "You need to keep the keys.": So, keep the new hire on a bit of a leash as a way of maintaining trust and having access to social media accounts? Wouldn't these accounts have been set up already, if you're a forward-thinking company? Probably. Wouldn't you already have the passwords? Probably.
Looking over what I've written up, the main thing that I'm seeing is that when hiring recent graduates for social media positions, caution is needed. So while Mrs. Thomases's column/article was on the harsher generalizing side, the point of using caution when hiring is a good one, nonetheless. Long story short, this current generation is more suited for social media positions, but if they know how to use the tools wisely, professionally, what have you, go ahead and hire them.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

On Being Negligent (and James Bond)

My watch tells me that it's August 1st. So does my Droid. And my iHome. And my laptop. Which means it has been about a month and a half since I last posted something, something being the Canadian Rockies recaps. So I've been neglectful. It happens.
If there's anything that I don't feel is worthy of being posted up here, it goes on my Tumblr ... which tends to happen a lot. Like my post this morning about frustrations, some being with my camp job. Sure, it's not what I was hoping to do right out of college, but it's a job and a job is a job, so I'm dealing with it for another week and a half-ish. Maybe "dealing with it" isn't the best turn of phrase ... more like "working through it".
Don't get me wrong, I'm having a good time with the kids, even if they don't always listen and behave, but then again, they're going into the first grade (except for one kid in the group who is a little older ... paperwork mistake). At least some of them are restoring my hope in the future generations. One kid (the slightly older one) is into Doctor Who, thanks to his mom and sister watching episodes at home. Another expressed interest in Paranorman after seeing my phone background on the bus ride back to camp today. I questioned him a little further and learned that he's seen some of Coraline and is looking to see the film again. I suggested that he read the novella and he took the suggestion well, even asking if I could take the book out of the library for him. I chuckled and said that he could check it out himself.
Anyways, I've been keeping busy in the last month and a half or so, even though I started working on the first Monday of July. This keeping busy has included watching a number of movies (some on DVD, some in theaters), TV on DVD (like Breaking Bad and The Hour), TV on TV (namely Eureka, Warehouse 13, and some cooking shows ... and Gravity Falls), and Bond novels. Lots and lots of Bond novels. The idea for a Bondathon struck me while I was on the aforementioned vacation with the family, so I compiled a list of all the novels and the films and started placing holds through the library's e-catalog. I planned to watch the films in chronological order and read the novels they were adapted from ... which has resulted in a bit of confusion, as the novels I've read so far (Doctor No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, and (most recently) Live and Let Die) have been read out of order. It's taken a little getting used to, but it's still enlightening. And what is a marathon without commentaries on said novels and films? Instead of a weekly blog post write-up, I decided to review the films and novels in a Books Vs. Movies vlog format.

The videos have been on the lengthy side (7.5 to 8.25 minutes), but I would definitely say they're worth it if you want a Bond refresher leading up to the release of Skyfall in November. And speaking of Skyfall, I might as well link the new trailer. I can't tell much about Bardem's character of Silva, but I'm quite excited to see the return of Q, the appearance of Ralph Fiennes, the globe-hopping, the action sequences, and Craig as Bond. So, without further ado, enjoy the new trailer.

Anyways, at this rate, I'll probably be writing again in mid to late September, but it'll probably be sooner as I have one or two items in the pipeline ... not counting the few Things I'm working on. You might hear more about these Things in the coming weeks/months. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some applications to get back to ... along with filming this week's Bondathon video, reading, and listening to "Wait Wait".

Monday, June 18, 2012

Canadian Rockies, Days 9 and 10

Hello, all. I realized that a recap of the final two days of the vacation was missing and I've been caught up with some things on my end (applications, movies/TV, books, videos, etc.), so they've been lacking.  But I'm currently watching Bedlam and decided to pull out the laptop and do a bit of multi-tasking.  Anyways ...

Day 9 was a rather rainy morning and a rainy day overall.  We brought in breakfast (pastries and the like) and ate in the hotel while deciding how to spend the day.  One of the things that my mom had wanted to check out was Gastown, the oldest neighborhood in Vancouver and a core downtown area.  However, it was on the rainy side, so walking around wouldn't be the best option ... but we decided to gather our things and walk around Gastown.  The rain had let up a bit, but there was still a light consistent drizzle.  We walked up and down Water Street and window shopped/browsed some art galleries and jewelry stores.  The brother wanted poutine from one of the restaurants we passed, but my parents thought that it was a farther walk, so we ended up going to a nice café (The Water Street Café) (and by nice, I mean most people were slightly dressed up while my brother and I were in T-shirts and jeans). The food was pretty good.  After walking around in the drizzle for a few hours, we went back to the hotel and hung around until dinner from one of the nearby sushi restaurants that we had ate in two nights prior.

Day 10 was a partial day, as we were catching a mid-afternoon flight home.  It was a lot of last-minute packing and checking out and gassing the car up before dropping it off at the airport and going through customs pre-clear.  Funny story there, actually.  We had to go through a second screening process because we had some apples (along with sandwiches and food gifts for family/work friends).  Long story short, we couldn't take the apples with us.  Never happened to us before.  I tried meeting up with Austin between when her flight got in and when we had to board, but airport security wasn't too allowing.  In the meantime, the brother and I got some poutine from the terminal's Burger King.  It was alright, but don't go to fast food places for poutine.  There are better places to get it from.  Anyways, the flight home was pleasant. I managed to watch Safe House and Rushmore.  (I was more excited for the latter because it was on my list for a while and I had tried to watch a copy that I got from the library, but either the VHS or DVD (I don't remember which) was scratched up or tracking or something along those lines.)  We met the car service in the pick-up area outside the airline check-in desks, made our way home, and called it a night ... but I stayed up to finish The Wind Through The Keyhole.

And so ended the Canadian Rockies vacation.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Canadian Rockies, Days 4 - 8 catch-up

Okay, long-overdue vacation recap to date ... and go!

Day 4:
- Chair massage
- Athabasca Glacier/Columbia Icefields
- Dinner at Evil Dave's
- Very interesting chat with the owner of Our Native Land in Jasper. He's very knowledgeable when it comes to ammonite and jewelery.

Day 5:
- Maligne Canyon/Gorge walk
- Lake Beauvert walk
- Dinner at Fiddle River

Day 6:
- Saw a bear near the resort
- Lunch at the Flour Mountain bakery/café on the way to Kamloops (halfway point between Jasper and Vancouver for us)

Day 7:
- Lunch at Blue Mouse Café in Hope, BC (where 'Rambo' was filmed 30 years ago)
- Toro sashimi at dinner in Vancouver

Day 8:
- Capilano Suspension Bridge
- Rented bikes and rode around Stanley Park. Also met two very nice brothers (one visiting from the UK and the other who emigrated to Calgary in the 70s).
- Walking around parts of Granville Island
- Learned a bit more about a fudge-making technique from a fudge seller in the Public Market on Granville.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Canadian Rockies (a placeholder)

Hey, folks, the Wifi where we're staying tonight is shoddy (at least it is on my phone; no clue why), so you'll be getting a big big big post tomorrow once we're settled at the hotel in Vancouver.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Canadian Rockies, Day 3

A few things to add on today, namely activity-wise.
1) The gondola: It's about a 15 minute or so round trip from near the Banff Fairmont up to Sanson Peak and back. Beautiful view of the surrounding park both ways and up on the peak. There's a touristy area (gift shop, snacks, restaurant) up top, along with a walking path over to and up to a former observatory. The walk and climb are rewarding for the view ... and the occasional begging squirrel, but be careful with them.
2) Lake Minnewanka: There's a really nice hour-long cruise of sorts around the lake with a knowledgeable guide and a chance of seeing some wildlife.
Otherwise, I met up with Kelsey (allomer from DailyBooth) for tea (and a very nice chat) and talked travel stuff with a Welsh couple on the cruise. They emigrated in the late '60s to Ontario and were taking an RV trip with some friends of theirs from Britain from Vancouver to Calgary, so they made some sightseeing suggestions for Vancouver.
Oh, and as for food, there was another stop at Wild Flour, ice cream from Cows, and dinner at Poppy Brassiere.
Now ... to bask in the beauty of Lake Louise and maybe work on more 11/22/63 before turning in. Hope you're all enjoying the recaps and pictures!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Canadian Rockies, Day 2

In yesterday's post, I was going to talk a bit about Banff, where we've spent the first two days. Well, I might as well do so in this post.
Despite only being in Banff for a limited time, I love it! The town is nestled in, well, Banff National Park, and is nearby Mount Rundle. The downtown area, centered around Banff Avenue, is about a 10 minute walk from the main stretch of hotels. There are some touristy shops, along with some outdoorsy stores, a small movie theater, and a gem store or two. You can also find a number of restaurants, ranging from casual to quaint to wholesome to slightly fancy. We hit up The Old Spaghetti Factory (Italian chain in Canada), Wild Flour (healthy sandwich, pastry, and coffee cafe of sorts), and Balkan (classy Greek restaurant). And there are a number of sweeteries, too, like Mountain Chocolates (a wide selection of fudge, handmade in the window), Cow Ice Cream (Canadian chain; We'll make it to one as we go west.), and Beavertails (gelato, beavertail pastries, smoothies, etc.).
Apart from the food, there is the nature to revel in. Standing on Banff Avenue and looking around at the surrounding still snow-capped mountains is stunning. There are also a number of local sightseeing attractions, like lookouts onto Bow River, a Johnston Canyon hike, and horseback riding along Spray River. We took the small hike this morning (loud, stunning, and a little wet) and followed it up with a 3 hour horseback ride (stretch beforehand and have good posture/positioning while riding). During the ride, we forded two rivers and nobody got dysentery! The views of the mountains ... I can't help but gush.
Overall, the area is a quaint mix of touristy and residential (There is a community high school in town!) and an awe-inspiring mix of nature and culture that reminds me of a mix of Aspen (never been there, though), the area near my great-uncle's place in Vermont, a downtown area not too far from my home, and a bit of Alaska. I wish I could spend more time here, but maybe on the next trip.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Canadian Rockies, Day 1

- Good sushi lunch.
- Ice cream from a refurbished school bus.
- Lots of browsing and walking around Downtown Banff.
- Loving the view of the mountains from Downtown Banff! It reminds me so much of the area in Vermont where my great-uncle has a place.

- A 4 AM wake-up for an 8 AM flight. :P