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starman. [alien invasion/visitation movies – #3.]

This was one of those movies I missed as a kid. Watching it now was a good reminder of just how ridiculous 80’s movies were. There was so very much that didn’t make any sense whatsoever. Just about all of the supporting characters were poorly acted and poorly written, in really simply ways that assume the audience must be  brain dead.

However, Jeff Bridges was great. His turn as a guy trying to learn to be human was worth the time spent watching the movie. That was it though.


neverwhere, by neil gaiman. [fictionista]

Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere is wonderful! Somehow, without even being all the way through, it became my favorite Neil Gaiman book. For those who read this blog regularly, you’ll know that’s no small feat.

It was the first novel he wrote on his own, and he sure did kick things off in style. Neverwhere is Gaiman’s imagination at its absolute best. Gaiman writes the stories that I wish all stories could be, filled with darkness and beauty and redemption and mystery. And, if Gaiman does in fact write the stories that I wish all stories could be, Neverwhere is the epitome of that.

The story is about a painfully ordinary guy who finds a girl bleeding in the street one night and decides to help her, and is pulled into an Alice in Wonderland style story of a world that exists under the surface of the world we know, in this case, in a place called London Below.

The prose, the descriptions, the characters, and the story are all spilling over with magic. Neverwhere is like the story my heart longs to read.

God, I love Neil Gaiman. Speaking of which… less than one week until his Doctor Who. OOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH YEEEEAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!


[five things.]

I know, I know… it seems like all I write these days are ‘five things.’ I just like doing it, and since I post less frequently now it gets more of what I’m currently loving onto the blog.

This week it’s all sorts of random.

1. Dead Space 2

More scary, gruesome necromorph action. Great story, perhaps even better than the first. Entertaining and engaging from start to finish.

It also had two of the best action scenes I’ve ever seen in a video game, or anywhere.

Bonus, here’s an awesome minimalist poster for the original Dead Space, via@Frank Russo


2. Never Let Me Go

I really did love this film, but in part it was bittersweet because I love Ishiguro’s book so dearly. There were so many tender moments that didn’t make it to the film that I missed. The nuance and complexity of the book can’t possibly translate onto the screen completely, so even while I was enjoying the film I also found myself pining for the novel.

However, the movie should most definitely be praised. It was well filmed and well written. Most of all, any mention of this film needs to celebrate the acting. The performances of the leads were achingly powerful. It’s no surprise by now, but these are three young actors who should be turning in dazzling performances for decades to come.


3. TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light

I guess I’ll need to use the word bittersweet one more time if I’m going to write about the new TV on the Radio album. The album is brilliant, but just a week after its release the band’s bassist, Gerard Smith, died of lung cancer at the young age of 36. It’s so sad, and can’t but influence the way I listen to the album.

While nothing works as a silver lining in a death like this, one couldn’t ask for a better swan song, however involved his illness may have allowed him to be in the album’s recording.


4. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

Seattle’s own indie favorites are back, and the album is faaannnnnnntastic. Such a joy to listen to. The band grew into a deeper sound without losing what makes them great.

Now, hopefully touring won’t eliminate any chance that J. Tillman releases some more solo stuff in the next year or two.


5. Thor

I loved it. A really fun introduction to a character not many folks know, at least in the comic incarnation. It was funny, action packed, had enough human drama to be engaging without taking itself too seriously. It would have been disastrous if the film hadn’t acknowledged how silly the whole premise is, but it was able to be badass and have heart without forgetting that at the end of the day it’s a comic book movie based in Norse mythology.

Often, when movies ‘don’t take themselves seriously,’ that’s code for taking a dump on film and calling it a comic book movie. Examples of this include Ghost Rider and both Fantastic Four films. Blech! Not so with Thor, well crafted and charmingly acted, I was sad to see it end.

It looks like Thor is going to have a modest, but healthy opening weekend. Yet, since it is doing far better critically and amongst audiences than other films which have had similar weekends, like Fantastic Four and Clash of the Titans, I’m hoping it will perform better over the long term than those films and be more successful overall.


idiot box, shmidiot shmox. [five things.]

There’s certainly a whole lot of stupid shit on tv. So, calling it the idiot box isn’t exactly unfair. Still, there is certainly plenty of television programming that I enjoy with no hint of guilty pleasure.

Here are five shows I’m enjoying the fuck out of lately.

1. The Killing [AMC]

Based on a Danish series, and set right here in my very own Seattle, The Killing is the the story of a single murder investigation. Promising, beautiful young high school student Rosie Larsen goes missing, and when her body is found it’s clear she’s been brutally murdered. The Killing shows the events that follow as the police hunt for the killer, from the perspective of a detective on her last case, her new partner on his first investigation after moving over from vice, a political candidate connected to the murder, and the family of the victim.

The show is smart, engaging, and beautifully filmed. Plus, it’s set in SEATTLE. Oh yeah, I already said that. Still, SEATTLE! In glorious HD on screens across the country.

There’s no way around it, AMC produces brilliant television entertainment.


2. Community [NBC]

My love for this show is no secret, so this is nothing new.

What is new? The fact that the last two episodes of the season are a paint ball spaghetti western, featuring Sawyer… In other words: !!!!!!!


3. Doctor Who [BBC]

Another show for which my love is well established here on the blog. Still, the sixth season is finally underway and it’s aaaammmmaaaazzziiiinnnnnggg.

The two-part season opener was so much fun to watch, and it set up all sorts of craziness that will play out over the course of the season. Stephen Moffat, you are a wonderful, wonderful man.

Episode three is coming up this week, but next week is episode four, ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, which was written by Neil. Fucking. Gaiman.

Doctor Who, FTW.


4. Being Human [BBC]

I’ve had this show on my Netflix queue for a while, not realizing that it was scheduled for an American version. I’d heard good things about the original, and then more good things about the Americanized version, so it got moved closer to the top of my queue.

The show is about a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost who share a flat in England and try to live life as normally as possible.

Emily and I watched the whole first disc, about three hours worth, on Saturday.

The show is really great. Entertaining, and equal parts dramatic, sexy, scary, and funny. The acting has really impressed me so far.

We’re still early in our experience of the show, but the vampire character is my favorite vampire depiction ever. There are all sorts of things pertaining to vampires where I thought, why hasn’t anyone ever pursued this idea about vampire stories before? Well, early signs indicate they are pursuing a great many of these threads on Being Human.Plus, the guy who plays the vampire is hot, so that’s a bonus, too.

Color me excited!


5. Game of Thrones [HBO]

I need to write a whole post about the casting on this show, delighting in the perfect casting of some characters while also doing the tiniest bit of whining about the misfires, as least in my opinion.

The season is well underway now, and I’ve been really sad at the end of each episode. I just want it to keep going! It will get to a moment I loved from the books, and I’ll be enjoying it, and then, BAM, credits. Grr!

I don’t know what might happen to my brain when season one ends, perhaps I’ll just start breaking things, or I may just go catatonic for a while.