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 ...