January 27, 2011

Dollhouse - Another Joss Whedon series to watch out for [review by starlight]

"She can be anyone, except herself"

I enjoyed finally watching the pilot of Dollhouse last night. Not the unaired pilot, mind you, just the one Fox chose to show us, which was a little bit confusing and offputting. The premise of the show is delivered through some really terrible exposition. It's about an illegal laboratory operation where people who have gotten themselves into some trouble can have their identities erased - for a price, obviously. We are given the story of Echo, the incredibly beautiful and talented Eliza Dushku, as an example. She has gotten herself into a fix she can't get out of, and choses to give herself to the Dollhouse for a five year term. Her memory and personality are erased, and she gets loaded up with different people's minds for different assignments. In this first episode, we see how she can be given all of the knowledge of a hostage and kidnapping negotiator and perform this woman's job using all of her skills, which have been loaded into her head Matrix style.

January 25, 2011

Kender Stew and a bit of a rant about Fantasy... again. [review and musing time]

So here's my problem with the Fantasy genre, and why I think it has a bad reputation. You can define the genre by it's setting and plot. In a medieval-style world, a powerless man has to overcome a great evil to save his people. This is a genre where anything is possible, and somehow writers have managed to retell the same story in the same place with the same characters hundreds of times. Even some of my favourite books fall into this category. I still read them because I feel they have something new to add to the tradition, but really, why does Fantasy have to be about world-changing events and good conquering evil? Why does it always take place in the same aesthetic time?

January 20, 2011

Winter's Heart - So unremarkable I forgot to review it [belated review time]

I just realized, after maybe four months, that I never reviewed book 9 of the Wheel of Time, Winter’s Heart. I can excuse myself by saying simply that it wasn’t an incredibly significant addition to the series, but there were some things I enjoyed about it. At the very end. Much of the book was just a continuation of previously developed plot-lines that didn’t seem to go anywhere until the very end.

January 19, 2011

Aronofsky's Black Swan (2010) [review time]

Another visually intense film from Darren Aronofsky, the director of Requiem for a Dream. I made the mistake of assuming this film would be more mainstream and therefore less horrifying than Requiem, but this film definitely goes just as far to push you to your limits. Before seeing it, a friend described it to me as "hypersexual", and I have to agree with that. It left me a little bit afraid to be alone with myself, to be honest. An excellent psychological thriller to follow my Fight Club review. This is another film that I will pretend is anywhere close to science fiction because the psychological is manifested in reality in a stunning, yet fantastic way.

January 17, 2011

My Favourite Movie is Called Fight Club [review time]

"It's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything"

I'm really adamant about this. Fight Club is my favourite movie of all time. The main point of this review is to get people to watch this film that has such deeper meaning than the title suggests, and I've provided a spoiler-free video to show you what the movie is really about. In a way, this doesn't achieve what I'm after because the main focus of the scene is the fight club, which is only really important in the middle portion of the movie, but here you get some of the ideology and the message. Consumerism has enslaved the modern man to 9 to 5 weekdays. That's the basic message, but what makes this film great is that after watching it time and time again, the message becomes more complex and well drawn out. In a way it's harder to put into words than the first time I ever saw it, because whether or not we are to agree with Tyler's point of view, or agree with how far he takes it, is really up in the air.

January 14, 2011

Thinking Maybe it was Time to Let the Slayer Die [review and musing time]

I've been a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since maybe the 3rd grade when I used to cuddle up on the couch next to my sister and actually quiver in fear at the scary vampires. I'm a dedicated fan, I won't lie. Until recently I had never watched much of it in sequence, but I remember I was in the 7th grade when season six was airing, and we actually had pajama party sing-alongs to Once More With Feeling. I've suffered attacks from people who wonder how an English major can suffer the cringe-worthy dialogue and corny plots. I argue that it's all incredibly charming when you let the show take you in. There's not much more I can argue in terms of the quality of the show except, as I've said before, that Joss Whedon knows what he's doing, and if it's deliberate, it's art.

January 10, 2011

The Majority Report - aka The Big Picture [review time]

"Careful, Chief. Dig up the past, all you get is dirty."

I spent my Sunday night revisiting a great sci-fi action flick - Minority Report. If you haven't seen it, it's not too late. The special effects are still incredibly impressive, despite being from 2002, and the film still really holds up. It's set on a short story by Phillip K. Dick, whose "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" was the basis for Blade Runner, so you know the writing will be excellent and the plot is going to be above the average gun-blazing action movie. In fact, even the action scenes were so well done that I didn't fall asleep. I've been known to nap during the intros to Bond movies and wake up when the really good stuff starts happening.