Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in TV

What a year for TV ... or marathoning, especially when it came to Castle and The West Wing (which I'm still in the middle of. Genre TV (sci-fi overall) has certainly been making a comeback, as has BBC America programming other than Doctor Who. What's been on your DVR queue this year, and what are you looking forward to next year TV-wise (apart from the obvious, like the final short season of Warehouse 13, the return of Hannibal, and season 4 of Game of Thrones)?
  1. Seasons 3 and 4 of Castle
  2. Series 2 of The Hour
  3. Fringe (season 5)
  4. The Walking Dead (season 3)
  5. The West Wing (season 1)
  6. The West Wing (season 2)
  7. Castle (season 5)
  8. Doctor Who (series 7.2)
  9. Game of Thrones (season 3)
  10. Orphan Black (series 1)
  11. Hannibal (season 1)
  12. The West Wing (season 3)
  13. Warehouse 13 (season 4)
  14. The West Wing (season 4)
  15. Gravity Falls (season 1)
  16. Under The Dome (season 1)
  17. The West Wing (season 5)
  18. Broadchurch (series 1)
  19. Luther (series 3)
  20. Breaking Bad (season 5)
  21. Avatar: The Legend of Korra - Spirits (Book/Season 2)
Still in progress/on hold/on hiatus: Sleepy Hollow, Almost Human, Castle (season 6), Agents of SHIELD, The Michael J. Fox Show, The West Wing (season 6), Downton Abbey (Series 2 + 3), Archer, The Venture Brothers, Wallander (Series 1), The Walking Dead (Season 4)

2013 in Novels

NEW RECORD! When I set my Goodreads goal of 115 books, I was a little unsure if I'd meet the goal, what with daily job searching and eventual job/internship-related things, but thanks to keeping up with several (Okay, more than several) comic arcs, I was able to meet my goal. Next year, though, I might cut back a bit to, say, 100? How'd you do this year with your reading goal, if you had one? Did you pick anything worth recommending off the library/brick-and-mortar shelves? (P.S. The stars indicate definite recommendations, if you were wondering.)
  1. The Hangman’s Daughter - Oliver Potzsch *
  2. Warm Bodies - Isaac Marion
  3. The Underwater Welder - Jeff Lemire
  4. Aliens: Inhuman Condition - John Layman
  5. Who Could That Be At This Hour? - Lemony Snicket
  6. The Unwritten: Inside Man (Vol. 2) - Mike Carey
  7. The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling *
  8. The Unwritten: Dead Man’s Knock (Vol. 3) - Mike Carey
  9. The Unwritten: The Leviathan (Vol. 4) - Mike Carey
  10. Get Jiro! - Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose
  11. iZombie: Dead To The World (Vol. 1) - Chris Roberson
  12. Kick-Ass - Mark Millar
  13. Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon (Vol. 1) - Matt Fraction *
  14. Lot 13 - Steve Niles
  15. The Superior Spider-Man: My Own Worst Enemy (Vol. 1) - Dan Slott
  16. The Dark Monk - Oliver Potzsch *
  17. Fatale: Death Chases Me (Vol. 1) - Ed Brubaker *
  18. RIPD: City of the Damned - Patrick Thorpe
  19. The Manhattan Projects: Above Beyond (Vol. 2) - Jonathan Hickman *
  20. Tinker Tailor Solider Spy - John Le Carré
  21. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
  22. Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time Vol. 1 - Scott Tipton
  23. Deadpool: Dead Presidents (Vol. 1) - Brian Posehn *
  24. Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Search, Part 1 - Gene Yung
  25. Morning Glories: Truants (Vol. 4) - Nick Spencer
  26. Cold Days (Dresden Files, Book 14) - Jim Butcher
  27. Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King
  28. The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, Book 2) - Maureen Johnson
  29. Saga, Vol. 2 - Brian K. Vaughan *
  30. Star Trek: Countdown To Darkness - Mike Johnson
  31. R.I.P.D. - Peter Lenkov
  32. The Sandman: Endless Nights - Neil Gaiman
  33. Witch Doctor: Mal Practice (Vol. 2) - Brandon Seifert
  34. Doctor Who Series 3 Vol. 2 - Andy Diggle
  35. Iron Man: Believe (Marvel Now, Vol. 1) - Kieron Gillen
  36. Colder - Paul Tobin
  37. The Beggar King - Oliver Potzsch *
  38. Snapshot - Andy Diggle
  39. Great Pacific: Trashed (Vol. 1) - Joe Harris
  40. Fatale: The Devil’s Business (Vol. 2) - Ed Brubaker
  41. Fatale: West of Hell (Vol. 3) - Ed Brubaker
  42. NOS4A2 - Joe Hill *
  43. Pride of Baghdad - Brian K. Vaughan
  44. Gotham Central: In The Line of Duty (Vol. 1) - Ed Brubaker
  45. The Spectacular Now - Tim Tharp
  46. The Last Girlfriend on Earth - Simon Rich
  47. Young Avengers: Style & Substance (Vol. 1) - Kieron Gillen *
  48. The Superior Spider-Man: A Troubled Mind (Vol. 2) - Dan Slott
  49. Unnatural Creatures - Neil Gaiman
  50. The Darwin Awards: Countdown to Extinction - Wendy Northcutt
  51. Iron Man: The Secret Origin of Tony Stark (Vol. 2) - Kieron Gillen
  52. Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero - Travis Beacham
  53. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers (Vol. 1) - Brian Michael Bendis
  54. We Can Fix It - Jess Fink
  55. Hawkeye: Little Hits (Vol. 2) - Matt Fraction *
  56. Deadpool: Soul Hunter (Vol. 2) - Brian Posehn
  57. Secret Avengers: Reverie (Marvel Now, Vol. 1) - Nick Spencer *
  58. The New Ghostbusters (Vol. 1) - Erik Burnham *
  59. Nova: Origin (Vol. 1) - Jeph Loeb
  60. Revival: Live Like You Mean It (Vol. 2) - Tim Seeley
  61. Adulting - Kelly Williams Brown *
  62. Stiff - Mary Roach *
  63. Chew: Bad Apples (Vol. 7) - John Layman *
  64. Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Search Part Two - Gene Yang
  65. The Shambling Guide to New York City - Mur Lafferty
  66. Wolverine: Hunting Season (Vol. 1) - Paul Cornell
  67. Joyland - Stephen King
  68. Doctor Who Series 3 Volume 3 - Andy Diggle
  69. Guardians of the Galaxy: Legends (Vol. 1) - Dan Abnett + Andy Lanning
  70. Guardians of the Galaxy: War of Kings Book 1 (Vol. 2) - “
  71. Guardians of the Galaxy: War of Kings Book 2 (Vol. 3) - “
  72. The Unwritten: On To Genesis (Vol. 5) - Mike Carey
  73. Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time Volume 2 - Scott and David Tipton
  74. The Walking Dead: The Best Defense (Vol. 5) - Robert Kirkman
  75. The Walking Dead: This Sorrowful Life (Vol. 6) - “
  76. The Walking Dead: The Calm Before (Vol. 7) - “
  77. The Walking Dead: Made To Suffer (Vol. 8) - “
  78. The Walking Dead: Here We Remain (Vol. 9) - “
  79. The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman *
  80. The Poisoned Pilgrim - Oliver Potzsch *
  81. Young Avengers: Alternative Cultures (Vol. 2) - Kieron Gillen *
  82. The Middleman: Volume 1 - Javier Grillo-Marxuach
  83. The Middleman: The Second Volume Inevitability - “
  84. The Middleman: The Third Volume Inescapability - “
  85. The Middleman: The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse - “
  86. The New Deadwardians - Dan Abnett
  87. Hoax Hunters - Michael Moreci
  88. The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words (Vol. 6) - Mike Carey
  89. The Unwritten: The Wound (Vol. 7) - “
  90. The Walking Dead: What We Become (Vol. 10) - Robert Kirkman
  91. The Walking Dead: Fear The Hunters (Vol. 11) - “
  92. The Walking Dead: Life Among Them (Vol. 12) - “
  93. Mara - Brian Wood *
  94. The Manhattan Projects: Building (Vol. 3) - Jonathan Hickman *
  95. Doctor Sleep - Stephen King
  96. Bonk - Mary Roach *
  97. Iron Man: The Secret Origin of Tony Stark, Book 2 (Vol. 3) - Kieron Gillen
  98. Deadpool Kills Deadpool - Cullen Bunn
  99. Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Search Part 3 - Gene Luen Yang
  100. The Walking Dead: Too Far Gone (Vol. 13) - Robert Kirkman
  101. The Walking Dead: No Way Out (Vol. 14) - “
  102. Avengers AI: Human After All (Vol. 1) - Sam Humphries
  103. Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time Vol. 3 - Scott and David Tipton
  104. Secret Avengers: Iliad (Vol. 2) - Nick Spencer *
  105. When Did You See Her Last? (ATWQ #2) - Lemony Snicket *
  106. Thanos Rising - Jason Aaron
  107. Doctor Who: Dead Man’s Hand (Vol. 4) - Tony Lee
  108. Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight (Vol. 1) - Kelly Sue DeConnick *
  109. Captain Marvel: Down (Vol. 2) - “ *
  110. Avengers: The Enemy Within - “ *
  111. Locke & Key: Alpha and Omega (Vol. 6) - Joe Hill *
  112. S. - J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst *
  113. You - Austin Grossman
  114. The Walking Dead: We Find Ourselves (Vol. 15) - Robert Kirkman
  115. Guardians of the Galaxy: Angela (Vol. 2) - Brian Michael Bendis

2013 in Film

Not a bad year this year in terms of films, but then again, I wasn't trying the 365 Film Challenge this year. Just under half were theatrical releases and just over half were on DVD/TV. Reviews are linked where indicated. What'd you catch this year? How many grades/reviews do we agree upon? Let me know, and happy viewing into the new year!
  1. The Thin Man (dir. W.S.  Van Dyke, 1934)
  2. Silver Linings Playbook (dir. David O. Russell, 2012) - A
  3. The Innkeepers (dir. Ti West, 2011) - B
  4. The Raid: Redemption (dir. Gareth Evans, 2012) - A-
  5. Live Free or Die Hard (dir. Len Wiseman, 2007) - C+
  6. Surrogates (dir. Jonathan Mostow, 2009) - C+
  7. Frankenweenie (dir. Tim Burton, 2012) - B
  8. Total Recall (dir. Len Wiseman, 2012) - B
  9. The A-Team (dir. Joe Carnahan, 2010) - B
  10. Dredd (dir. Pete Taylor, 2012) - B
  11. Kick-Ass (dir. Matthew Vaughan, 2010) - B+ (rewatch)
  12. Bronson (dir. Nicholas Winding Refn, 2008) - B
  13. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (dir. David Gelb, 2011) - A
  14. Evil Dead (dir. Fede Alvarez, 2013) - B+
  15. The Place Beyond The Pines (dir. Derek Cianfrance, 2013) - A-
  16. Trance (dir. Danny Boyle, 2013) - B+
  17. Murder By Decree (dir. Bob Clark, 1979) - B-
  18. Iron Man 3 (dir. Shane Black, 2013) - B/B+ (Review on Monday Morning Matinee)
  19. The Great Gatsby (dir. Baz Luhrmann, 2013) - D+/C- (Review on Monday Morning Matinee)
  20. Star Trek Into Darkness (dir. J.J. Abrams, 2013) - B/B+ (Review on Monday Morning Matinee)
  21. Sicko (dir. Michael Moore, 2006) - A-
  22. Man of Steel (dir. Zack Snyder, 2013) - B (Review on Monday Morning Matinee)
  23. Much Ado About Nothing (dir. Joss Whedon, 2013) - B+/A- (Review on Monday Morning Matinee)
  24. Pacific Rim (dir. Guillermo del Toro, 2013) (Review on Monday Morning Matinee)
  25. Despicable Me 2 (dir. Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin, 2013) - B
  26. The Wolverine (dir. James Mangold, 2013) - B+
  27. Pitch Perfect (dir. Jason Moore, 2012) - B+
  28. The Man With The Iron Fists (dir. RZA, 2012) - C
  29. Shaun of the Dead (dir. Edgar Wright, 2004) - A (rewatch)
  30. Hot Fuzz (dir. Edgar Wright, 2007) - A (rewatch)
  31. The World’s End (dir. Edgar Wright, 2013) - A-
  32. Sin City (dir. Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, 2005) - C
  33. Hunger (dir. Steve McQueen, 2009) - A
  34. Doctor Who: The Movie (dir. Geoffrey Sax, 1996) - B-
  35. The Butler (dir. Lee Daniels, 2013) - B+/A-
  36. Fruitvale Station (dir. Ryan Coogler, 2013) - A-
  37. In A World (dir. Lake Bell, 2013) - A-
  38. Prisoners (dir. Denis Villeneuve, 2013) - B+/A- (Review on Monday Morning Matinee)
  39. Don Jon (dir. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 2013) - A-
  40. Gravity (dir. Alfonso Cuaron, 2013) - A+
  41. Smashed (dir. James Ponsoldt, 2012) - A-
  42. Burton and Taylor (dir. Richard Laxton, 2013) - B
  43. Fargo (dir. Joel Coen, 1996) (rewatch) - A-
  44. Justice League: Doom (dir. Lauren Montgomery, 2012) - A-
  45. Thor: The Dark World (dir. Alan Taylor, 2013) - B+
  46. Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor (dir. Nick Hurran, 2013) - A
  47. An Adventure in Time and Space (dir. Terry McDonough, 2013) - A-
  48. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (dir. Francis Lawrence, 2013) - A-
  49. Dallas Buyers Club (dir. Jean Marc-Vallée, 2013) - A
  50. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (dir. Peter Jackson, 2013) - B+ (Review on Monday Morning Matinee)
  51. American Hustle (dir. David O. Russell, 2013) - A
  52. Inside Llewyn Davis (dir. Joel and Ethan Coen, 2013) - B+/A-
  53. Her (dir. Spike Jonze, 2013) - A-

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Figuring Things Out

I've been wavering on the cusp of getting back into blogging - at least somewhat more regularly than before - for a while. It all started back when I went to one of Jenny Lawson/The Bloggess's nearby tour stops in March for the paperback of Let's Pretend This Never Happened ...
(Also got Jenny's Geek-A-Week card at this encounter.)
Or maybe earlier when I went to Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex's signing for Chu's Day in February ...
(And yes, I got that issue signed (and learned that Neil was the model for the Corinthian on the cover).)
And then meeting Neil again at his Ocean at the End of the Lane tour stop at Symphony Space in June ...
Fox pin/brooch courtesy of Cat, an awesome cosplayer.
Or maybe it was a few months later in May when I saw Joe Hill talk about all things NOS4A2, Locke & Key, and more ...
Mutual geek appreciation: Doctor Who pins (left), TARDIS charm (right).
Either way, I have been wanting to get back to blogging, but I've had this overwhelming inner conflict (yes, roughly eight months-worth of conflict) as to what to do with the blog. Should I turn this into a book blog, considering how much I read? But if I did so, how would I structure things, and what about book overload and the overwhelming feeling of book guilt? Or what if I turn this into a PR-ish blog? But what would I talk about then, having only 3 months of actual agency/firm experience that amounts to copying, pasting, formatting, researching, and generating Tweets and Facebook posts?

In the meantime, I went up to Boston for PAX East, interned with a small PR firm for three and a half months, went back to the grind of day camp counseling, met up with plenty of web friends in and around NYC, saw Amanda Palmer live once again, landed a position through networking/talking about books during commutes, continued work on The Anglerfish, and joined up with a friend's film blog. The latter two are where most of my writing has been going these days ... well, there and Tumblr. Also lists, too. I've been publishing monthly lists of whatever media I've been consuming (books, movies, TV shows, and comics) as a way of keeping track. And showing off, in a way, but isn't that what the web is partially for?

So that brings us to the big question: What's to come of this blog? Well ... it's going to continue. I've been mulling over some things after seeing Sleep No More (FINALLY!) ... a month ago, and I think I'm onto a way to coalesce said thoughts into a neat and tidy post, so expect that within a week. Maybe sooner, even.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

2013 Oscars picks

Let's dive right in and go top to bottom, shall we? My picks are in bold. Mind you, I was split on a number of the categories (the bigger ones ... and some of the technical/smaller ones), so I'd also be pleased with films/people other than my picks winning. Here's hoping I get at least 12 of the 24 categories right.

Best Picture
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper
Daniel Day Lewis
Hugh Jackman
Joaquin Phoenix
Denzel Washington

Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin
Robert De Niro
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Tommy Lee Jones
Christoph Waltz

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain
Jennifer Lawrence
Emmanuelle Riva
Quevenzhané Wallis
Naomi Watts

Supporting Actress
Amy Adams
Sally Field
Anne Hathaway
Helen Hunt
Jacki Weaver

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook

Anna Karenina
Django Unchained
Life of Pi

Costume Design
Anna Karenina
Les Misérables
Mirror Mirror

Snow White and the Huntsman

Animated Feature
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph

Animated Short Film
Adam and Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head Over Heels
The Longest Daycare

Production Design
Anna Karenina
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables
Life of Pi

Foreign Language Film
A Royal Affair
War Witch

Documentary Feature
5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
The Invisible War
Searching For Sugar Man

Documentary Short
Kings Ponit
Mondays at Rancine
Open Heart

Live Action Short Film
Buzkashi Boys
Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)

Film Editing
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Makeup and Hairstyling
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Misérables

Original Score
Anna Karenina
Life of Pi

Original Song
"Before My Time"
"Everybody Needs A Best Friend"
"Pi's Lullaby"

Sound Editing
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

Sound Mixing
Les Misérables
Life of Pi

Visual Effects
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
Marvel's The Avengers
Snow White and the Huntsman

Adapted Screenplay
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook

Original Screenplay
Django Unchained
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty

Sunday, January 13, 2013

On Cars (or What Happened To Car Artistry?)

"Almost two weeks into the new year and this is the first blog post he puts up," you must be thinking.  Hey, I've got excuses - probably not necessarily good ones (marathoning Castle, reading on and off, sending in job application after job application) - but they're excuses nonetheless.  Anyways, something has been on my mind since New Year's Eve.

I was driving into Westchester to celebrate with my college friend Jeremy, some of our mutual college friends from the area, and some of his USY friends.  We were all going to crash there, but that's not important in the long run here in this post.  So, while driving across the bridge, I passed a white car with an angelic hood ornament that I estimated to be somewhere around 80 years old.  It wasn't decrepit or falling apart, but instead in stellar condition.  This was a seriously Nice Car.

rolls royce wraith
A Rolls Royce Wraith (Picture from Motorstown)
I don't usually pay attention to cars nowadays because they all look similar, or at least middle-class consumer cars (Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Volkswagen  etc.) do.  They do very little to stand out.  Sure, they might have a rear spoiler or something cool to make them stand out, but they don't pop, if you will.  And I'm not really a car person.  Yes, I can change a tire, check the oil level, check tire pressure, polish the headlights and taillights, hand wash the car, etc., but that's the extent of it.

But this Nice Car - it popped.  I did a little Googling (Yes, I verbed a noun, so what?) the next day based on the details I could remember (spare tires on the side of the hood, wide-eyed headlights, angelic hood ornament), and I discovered that it was a Rolls Royce, but I found a few possible contenders for what the model was.  I managed to narrow it down to a Wraith, Silver Phantom, or a 25/30, and I was satisfied at that.

"Now, why is this of any concern to us?" you're probably asking.  It shouldn't necessarily be of any concern, but more interest in an opinion.  Older cars, especially well-maintained ones, have an aesthetic that sticks around.  Look at the Wraith pictured above.  The headlights and grille give the appearance of a face.  Just think of Cruella de Vil's car in the animated 101 Dalmatians!  The side-mounted tires can be easily accessed instead of rummaging around the trunk to free the spare tire.  The wells over the tires ... well, they look cool.  The whole car looks cool.  And I like seeing cool cars, like old Beetles ("Punch-Buggie red, no punch-backs!").  Nowadays, the main cool cars are expensive sports cars, which are more or less pipe dreams for those who drive sedans, minivans, SUVs, and so on.

I guess it's a little pipe dream of mine to own a classic car like this.  I blame the Dirk Pitt novels I was into in middle school (and some of high school) and the Herbie films.

TL;DR - I saw an old Rolls Royce, which I thought was cool because of the aesthetic nature of older cars compared to today's automobile fare.

Experimental Film (TMBG)
Payne's Bay (Beirut)
Die Alone (Ingrid Michaelson)
Rocky Ground (Bruce Springsteen)
The Man From The Turnaround (Robbers on High Street)
Come On (Friska Viljor)
Meg White (Ray LaMontagne)
A Hard One To Know (Benjamin Gibbard)
Holland Road (Mumford and Sons)
State of the Art (Gotye)
Chugjug (Family of the Year)
Lost (Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra)
Yankee Bayonet (The Decemberists)