Thursday, October 30, 2014

Death Comes to Pemberley

As a Jane Austen fan who has read almost all of her books, I should have been looking forward to this more. I should also have read the book by P.D. James, but...yeah, it was never something I cared much about. There are so many Jane Austen what-ifs, prequels, and sequels floating around, and most of them don't end up on my radar. Also, a lot of them are porny. Not that I'm complaining.

I'm willing to give this two-parter a chance, even though episode one left me with a feeling of nothingness. So here are its downfalls so far:

(1) Good actors who are miscast. Darcy lacks pretty much everything Colin Firth's Darcy had. For shame! And I like Anna Maxwell Martin, but I don't think she's a Lizzie Bennett.

(2) Too dark. Humor and wit, asap!

(3) Maybe Matthew Goode should have been Darcy, hmm? At least he's more interesting.

(4) How can they kill Denny?! He was one of the nicest characters. :'(

(5) They'd better feature the rest of the Bennett sisters, or Imma gonna be mad.

(6) When did Colonel Fitzwilliam turn into a prick? Like Denny, he was one of the nicer characters. So pleasant, so agreeable...

Here's hoping the conclusion is more rewarding.

My grade: C+

Inspector Lewis Season 7 Episode 2: The Lions of Nemea

Time to catch up on my PBS shows! I liked this episode more than the last one. It feels like we're getting back to normal, rather than the weird vibes I was getting last time. Everyone is settled into their roles once again.

This is one of those episodes where it's hard to tell who the killer is. So many dead people, so many motives. Good motives at that. The reveal wasn't a huge surprise in the end, but it rarely is, right? They also threw in some mandatory tension between Hathaway and a random female character, which amounted to...nothing. How shocking!

My grade: B+

As You Turn to Go and He Didn't by The 6ths

Recently, I've been in the mood to go through my CD collection (yes, I still have one, a big one!) and listen to some of my old favorites and even songs/albums I'd forgotten about. I have two albums by The 6ths, which, as far as I can tell, is still a rather obscure band. Worth checking out!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Gone Girl

*Possible Spoilers*

At this point, I'm pretty sure most people have read or seen Gone Girl, but it's one of those things you don't want to spoil for others. Since I hadn't read the book, my main interest in seeing the movie was finding out what the big twist is. Did it surprise me? Not at all. I think a lot of people must have seen it coming, at least in the movie. Despite that, it's a good "surprise", and it shakes things up nicely and makes this more than just a murder mystery.

Ben Affleck, soon-to-be-known only as Batfleck, is effective as the suspicious husband whose pretty wife goes missing under mysterious circumstances. And he looks guilty, very guilty. Batfleck is good at playing someone who can't act, and I do mean that as a compliment. He doesn't appear as crushed as a distraught husband should, and he has things to hide. Naturally he becomes not only the prime suspect, but the only suspect.

Rosamund Pike is excellent in her role. I don't feel that I can say much more than that, to be honest. Just watch! There's also an impressive supporting cast, including Neil Patrick Harris as an obsessed ex, and Tyler Perry as Batfleck's lawyer. If I ever get into trouble, I want him to be my lawyer, minus the $100,000 retainer.

What I really enjoy about this movie, aside from the acting, directing, etc., is the little doses of humor injected into it. I love a movie that doesn't take every moment too seriously. My only gripe is the ending, since I was hoping for something less infuriating, but it's also a weird, oddly appropriate ending, when you come down to it.

My grade: A

Inspector Lewis Season 7: Entry Wounds

*Possible Spoilers*

Inspector Lewis is back! I almost forgot it existed. Also, doesn't it feel like it's season 20? As excited as I was/am for this new season, this season opener didn't exactly set me on fire (there's a pun in there). The dynamics have changed, and perhaps that has something to do with it. As you might recall (took me a good minute to remember), Lewis retired last season and finally shacked up with Laura. Fast forward to now, and he's bored at home, attempting to make a canoe.

Hathaway took a gap year and apparently spent it walking to some cathedral in Spain, since they're incapable of going one episode without reminding us of his religious background and the dilemma he always seems to be facing. He is now a detective inspector, and he's just acquired his first murder case. He's not entirely sure how to handle it, either, so of course Lewis ends up getting back in the game and offering his help. Hathaway also has a new partner (she's pretty). Unfortunately, the chemistry that is normally there just...isn't. Hathaway is blander than usual, and he's always been on the quiet side. So far, he just doesn't gel as an inspector. I usually like Hathaway, too, but they either need to write him better or make him the sidekick again. Now! He also needs to grow his hair longer. Ahem. What, me picky? Never!

Now onto the basic plot: a brain surgeon is shot to death in the woods. Throw in arson, a second murder, and a brain-damaged young man, and you've got a mystery. More importantly, however, you have the brain surgeon's young wife who never stops exercising and when she does exercise, she still looks good. And when she's not exercising, she's thinking about exercising and is always dressed for exercising. This greatly disturbs me. Maybe it's because I've been too injured/sick lately to exercise much, not to mention the small fact that I'm lazier than a corpse, but girl needs to calm down and, you know, watch a movie or something. I know her older husband just kicked the bucket in a violent way, but jogging, biking, and swimming 24/7 just uses up all your heartbeats much faster. She should do what I do and not exercise all the time, but watch movies and read books. She should also imitate me by looking like a killer tomato anytime she does anything remotely physical. It's not fair!

Here's to hoping the rest of the season meets my picky needs.

My grade: B

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Escape Artist; Episodes 1 & 2

*Possible spoilers*

David Tennant is back in my life! Hooray! And Masterpiece Mystery is back in town. My world is temporarily brighter for it.

Tennant plays a barrister, Will Burton (hopefully a soon-to-be silk), who defends a man, Liam Foyle, who has been accused of sadistically murdering a woman. It's obvious he thinks the man is guilty but, as he says, 'Everyone deserves a defense' (yes, I'm 99.9% sure I misquoted him), and of course everyone is supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. But we all know this guy did it. He's nuts, but not in a particularly loud way. The actor portraying him, Toby Kebbell, does an amazing job of getting that across. You can sense the undercurrent of barely controlled rage and psychosis. Unfortunately, Burton is far too good at his job, and Foyle is far too clever a killer. He gets away with the whole thing, and we soon see why this series is called 'The Escape Artist'.

It quickly comes to bite Burton in the ass, however. I wasn't entirely sure how they were going to stretch this series out to two episodes, but I get it now.

My only real complaint is the stupidity of one or two characters. I'm not sure I can elaborate much without spoiling it, so, uh, spoiler alert: if I saw some guy creeping on me from a second story window (or any window, but seriously, second story!!) I would a) not go there alone with my child ever again. Seriously. And b) no really, never again! I would be on friggin' DEFCON level one. I'd surround myself with safe people if possible, and pack some grenades, maybe some knives, and probably a nail gun. Nail guns are interesting. He totally wouldn't see that coming. He would get nailed! I should also mention that it's slightly awkward when a serial killer is attractive. I hate Liam Foyle, but he's easy on the eyes. You don't often see vicious killers played by handsome actors, do you?

For me, the conclusion was both clever and unsatisfying. I appreciate the smarts behind it, but it lacked the suspense and creepy factor that the first episode possessed. Still, it's an overall good two episodes, and I recommend it to anyone who loves a good suspense/mystery.

My grade: B+

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


A slow-starting movie that eventually pays off.

David opts to drive his father, Woody, to Lincoln, Nebraska to claim his supposed million dollar winnings. The family knows that he didn't actually win anything, but he won't stop talking about it. David caves, thinking that, at the very least, they can get away for awhile. They end up visiting his father's hometown along the way, where word gets out that Woody is a "millionaire". Naturally, people start coming out of the woodwork and demanding money after decades of silence. My main issue with this is how silly David and his family are when people actually start trying to bully them for money. My reaction would be to leave town. Seriously, stop stalling. Go to Lincoln, get it over with, and, most importantly, get the hell away from these people. Instead they linger. Most of the movie is spent there, since that's where there's more story to tell. You find out more about Woody's background, which is fairly interesting. I felt that they spent too much time there, though. It didn't entirely gel.

More on the plus side, however; at first I thought David's mother was a mean old bat. And she kind of is, but then I realized she's actually a hoot. She just tells it like it is. Even better, Nebraska really picks up more towards the middle, and has a satisfying ending.

My grade: B