I haven’t been blogging at all lately, because I am way behind on the master’s project I need to complete to graduate in June, and I needed to turn that into a full-time job for a bit. I’m still doing that now, but everybody needs to distract themselves from time to time. One of my favorite ways to do that is to watch movie trailers.
Since my friend Cris said the other day that she really enjoys how many trailers I post, I figured it was time to share some of the trailers I’ve been neglecting to post over the last week or so, to share the things that have been joyously distracting me with the rest of you, in case any of these have escaped your notice thus far. These are the highlights, there are a few more I might share the next time I need some distraction.
Much Ado About Nothing
A new trailer for Much Ado About Nothing. Did you know that in Elizabethan times, ‘nothing’ was slang for ‘vagina’? Oh, Shakespeare, you clever rascal.
How much more sure could I be that I’m going to love this movie? None. None more sure.
The Bling Ring
When Sofia Coppola releases a new movie, I’m watching it no matter what. Throw in Emma Watson, and the certainty just solidifies all the more.
Finally, a trailer for the new Michel Gondry movie for those of us who aren’t cool enough to know French. I should really learn French.
This movie looks like it is going to be delightful, and heartbreaking. Welcome back Mr. Gondry.
The new trailer for Pacific Rim begs the question… will I be able to take Charlie Day seriously after how perfectly hilarious he’s been all these years on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia?
I really want this movie to be awesome.
Man of Steel
Everyone has probably seen this by now, it’s the newest trailer that came out about two weeks ago.
I held off on watching it for a while, to delay gratification a bit. Had I know how amazing it was going to be, I would have watched it right away. Instead, it was a treat before seeing Oblivion. It moved me from reservedly excited, to just plain excited.
Needless to say, the blog challenge seems to have gone the way of the buffalo. I just haven’t had the brain space this last week for consistent blog writing, and I just missed so many days. Still, it does seem the this jumpstarted me back into blogging again, so perhaps it will remain semi-regular. I’d like that, because even if it is a huge waste of time, I enjoy my little stream-of-consciousness ramblings here.
I guess a ‘Last Five Movies’ post is a good way to get my brain juices flowing again, rejuvenate the mind-grapes if you will.
1. The Do-Deca-Pentathlon
This tiny little movie by the Duplass brothers certainly isn’t perfect, but by the end, I was really glad to have watched it. It had a sweetness, and enough insightful moments to carry its forgivable (in my opinion) weaknesses.
2. Killing Them Softly
I really wanted this movie to work to a higher degree than it did. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but it could have been really special.
The performances were really fantastic, straight across the board, and director Andrew Dominik showcased those talents with some really engaging monologues throughout the film. I’d understand if people thought there were too many, but I felt that it seemed to work as part of the style of the film. The movie also had some beautiful shots and filming sequences scattered throughout.
Where the movie did fall short for me was in the way Dominik tried to tie it all together using the American economic crisis. The forced metaphor just got too heavy handed, didn’t hold up, and then you lose the glue he was trying to use to keep the whole thing together. It would have worked better as a subtext, but instead we just got repeatedly beaten over the head with it.
Again, there really are some fantastic moments, and I’d love to watch those a few more times, maybe without sitting through some of the sloppier bits again.
Sometimes, less is more.
This was just sort of flat and uninteresting to me. Touching on deep personality issues and psychological baggage, without actually engaging them. There is some really dark stuff half depicted, and then just glossed over as if it is no big deal. I guess either don’t depict, or actually engage it, otherwise you just look confused, no? They also did a lot of hinting at his brilliance without actually revealing some concrete places it manifested. They failed the ‘show don’t tell’ test. There was also a constant cartoonish feel that isn’t really appropriate for this sort of biopic, it was just illogical for the subject matter. It worked really well in Ed Wood, but in soooo many ways, this was NOT Ed Wood.
Among many things, the primary thing I didn’t understand was the score. You’d think the score would either be influenced by Pyscho, or by the tone they were trying to set with Hitchcock. Instead, after an opening scene that used the music from Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the rest felt like it was from a family movie about a haunted mansion or or a bad remake of Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Weird shit.
Far from perfect, but a solidly entertaining summer sci-fi movie. The things I could nitpick aren’t really things I need perfect in a summer blockbuster. After all, there are different movies made for different reasons, and we should embrace that for what it is. If the weaknesses were fixed, it would have elevated Oblivion from pretty good to spectacular, but pretty good is enough for me in this case. It’s really beautiful to look at, it’s smart as long as you don’t pick it apart too thoroughly (fair enough if you do), and brings together lots of sci-fi tropes in ways that aren’t particularly deep, but are pretty fun.
Also, M83’s score was satisfyingly and unsurprisingly epic.
5. Easy Money (Snabba Cash)
So, most of these movies I’ve basically said are good but not great. Well, here is the exception. No reservations, this movie is just great. A really well-told story. The acting is fantastic, which is important, since these characters are always toeing the line between sympathetic and unsympathetic. It is largely the performances that keep them human and keep us caring what happens to them. The direction and cinematography is also really beautiful, the pace is perfect, the film is quiet in the right moments and explodes at just the right times, it hits all the right notes… I really liked this one.
A really, really spectacular crime drama filled with thrilling and heartbreaking moments. I could have just watched the movie twice on repeat.
Now they just need to release the sequel in the US!
A full ‘Zombies, Run!’ post has been a long time in coming. The time is now, and this is the perfect week for one, because they’ve just released ‘Zombies, Run! 2’. So far, the second version appears to be a massive upgrade for an already outstanding app.
‘Zombies, Run!’ is a smartphone app available for iPhone and Droid in which your jogs are accompanied by a fictional zombie apocalypse that adds just enough extra fun and motivation that it could just be what gives you that extra push you need to get off of your ass and run.
I started using the app when I realized just how fat I was getting, combined with the fact that all research shows that regular exercise is really good for helping with depression. This was last May, and since then I’ve run around 370 miles (it would have been even more if not losing two months to illness), and lost over 20 pounds! I can’t overstate just how out of shape I was when I started.
When I bought the app, I was hesitant to spend the $7.99 it was going to cost me. That’s a lot for an app! In hindsight, based on how helpful the app has been, I would have paid $40 or $50 happily. I’m not exaggerating. The app has been that important in helping me keep going out there consistently, helping me build the habit that now can sustain itself without the app’s help. FYI, right now the app is on sale for $3.99!
The app includes all of the features a normal running app features. It keeps track of distance and time, maps your run, syncs with a website you can use to track your progress on your computer, etc.
What ‘Zombies, Run!’ offers that other running apps don’t is extra gamification that turns boring runs into mini-adventures. With a solid voice cast, the folks who created this game have written an episodic story surrounding Abel Township, a small group of survivors trying not to succumb to the zombie plague. You are Runner 5, a newcomer to Abel who has to prove yourself and earn your keep, running outside the town gates to collect resources, lead zombies away from town, and complete other various missions, all with your trusty guide Sam Yao speaking into your headset from the communications tower.
The game also includes an interval training feature called ‘Zombie Chases’. When turned on during a run, there will be random moments when you are alerted that zombies have been detected in the area. You then need to pick up your pace to get away from the horde. If you speed up enough for the right duration of time, you escape the zombies. If not, then you need to drop supplies to distract them, which isn’t something you want to do.
You need those supplies, which you will “pick up” randomly as you run, as they are used to keep improving Abel Township. The base building feature on the new version of the app is so much more fun than the original, and it appears they’ve got some tricks up their sleeve that will create enhanced importance for how your base will impact your runs.
Season One of the episodic story had 23 episodes, and Season Two promises to feature more than double that when you include new side missions. The new season will include some free episodes, and some that require purchase, and all will be released over time in truly episodic fashion. I bought access to the entire second season as it becomes available for five bucks, but that is half price, and will go up after this week. Definitely worth it to me.
Even if you aren’t into zombies, you should consider getting this app. It’s not scary, just fun, and is largely responsible for for me being in wildly better shape than I was this time last year, with even more improvement on the horizon!
The bad news is: I’ve missed two days blogging. The good news is: I’m the one in charge of my blogging challenge, so I get a free pass! I’m just going to blog twice in a day a few times and call it good. Not today, mind you, today I’m only blogging once, because I have a shit ton of writing to do elsewhere.
I’m behind in my entire life right now. It’s been one of those weeks where I get eight hours of sleep every three days instead of getting eight hours a night, and it’s been a string of those weeks. I just can’t get myself jumpstarted again. Hopefully, I’ll sleep tonight, and then I’ll pack your sweet, pink mouth with so much ice cream, you’ll be the envy of every Jerry and Jane on the block. And by “sweet, pink mouth” I mean “mind-grapes”. And by “ice cream” I mean “blog posts.” You like that? References!
Even blogging every day, there is stuff I haven’t gotten around to sharing. Here are three things I want to share, some from recently, one from today. I’ll slip these things in here under the wire, and throw some more belated stuff up in coming days.
The National’s new music:
The new album doesn’t come out until fricking May 21st (the same day as Daft Punk), but, at least they’ve released two streaming songs to hold us over.
Catching Fire has a teaser trailer:
Color me excited!
The Way, Way Back Trailer:
Jim Rash (Dean Pelton) and Nat Faxon (Kip from Orange County), the guys who co-wrote The Descendants, are back again with a great cast, and a movie I wish came out tomorrow. Have I mentioned how much I love Sam Rockwell?
Apparently, everyone who as at Coachella last night at the main stage got to see an unannounced “trailer” from the upcoming Daft Punk album. The trailer reveals the rest of the collaborators on the album (until now, most had been kept a secret, with only a few having been revealed recently).
Random Access Memories comes out at the end of May. The clip, featuring Nile Rodgers and Pharrell, is from the song “Get Lucky.”
Oh no! I missed yesterday. Personally, I’m ok with it.
Being sick all week, I got pretty behind on house cleaning, which made yesterday even busier than it normally would have been as we prepared for my rescheduled birthday celebration. Totally worth it. I made twenty-something cocktails for my friends (and me) and everyone seemed pretty pleased with them, or they pretended to, which is still nice. I really enjoyed making drinks for everyone all night, so this won’t be the last Small Family cocktail party.
Before this lapse I blogged at least once a day for 28 days, and now I’m ready to get right back at it.
Compared to most, I don’t watch that much television. I don’t mean that in some sort of douchey and superior way. As this blog makes clear, I actually really love good scripted TV. There is plenty of TV that is smart, heartfelt, funny, moving, and/or engaging. The problem I sometimes have with television is never in a “only the stupid and low-cultured folks watch TV” sort of way, but is rooted far more in the trouble with trying to carry ongoing serial storytelling, which is really hard for writers, as evidenced by great shows that have terrible episodes, and even terrible seasons.
Anyway, there are so many shows I need to catch up on, revisit, and try on for size. So many, in fact, that I don’t even know where to begin. Thus, I come to you, my friends out there in the internets, to help me decide. I’ve got some time to figure it out. The next few months could get a little crazy school-wise, and there are some shows I’m only a few episodes behind on that I will polish off first. However, soon, many of the shows I do watch will be over, and school will no longer be a part of my life. Thus, even though I probably won’t start any of these shows for several months, I’m looking ahead for three primary reasons: one, coming up with a plan of attack will make it easier to tackle the mountain of TV waiting for me; two, looking forward to this will help keep me going through the school work; and three, I love doing dumb shit like this.
Basically, there are a few categories of shows that I want to watch. The Unjustifiably Unfinished: the shows I started, loved (or at least liked), and for whatever reason never finished. The ‘Why The Hell Haven’t I Watched That Yet?’: the shows I’m pretty confident I’ll enjoy, some are even undisputed classics, but for some reason (or no good reason) I never got around to watching them. The Curiosities: the shows that could go either way, but that I really need to check out some time (or in one case, give another chance).
Hopefully, a few of you will vote to help me decide which ones to watch first. Hell, a select few of you may even decide to join me in watching some of them. Anyway, here are the options, and the numbers mean nothing. [I left off a few non-negotiables, that I know for sure I will be watched over the next few weeks/months.]
The Unjustifiably Unfinished:
Bored to Death
Six Feet Under
The West Wing
The ‘Why The Hell Haven’t I Watched That Yet?’:
The Larry Sanders Show
House of Cards (US)
American Horror Story
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
Well, what say you? What should I watch first from each of these lists? Help me prioritize!
It’s a hard knock life being a Knicks fan. After years of futility, it feels like every good thing that happens is just setting us up for more frustration at the hands of our favorite team. For example, just a few weeks ago, the Knicks looked pretty mediocre. After a hot start, they had settled back into the middle of the pack and weren’t doing to look like a serious threat for a title.
It was clear they were going to easily make the playoffs, and I was happy knowing that while they had no chance in the playoffs, at least they would make the first round competitive, maybe even advance to the second round, unlike last year’s route by the Heat.
Then the streak started.
The Knicks are playing better basketball right now than they have at any point in the last decade. JR Smith is out of control, and Melo is on a different level than everyone else right now. He is one week (albeit a grueling week in which the Knicks play five games, three against good teams) away from winning the NBA scoring title. The Knicks have won 13 in a row. They beat the Heat during the streak, but that didn’t count since the Heat were playing without Lebron, Wade, and Chalmers. However, after that they beat the Thunder, prompting NBA pundits from around the country to start saying that the Knicks just might be for real, and just might be able to make the East a two-team race for the Finals.
This should be great news. My favorite team is hot just in time for the playoffs. Yet, it feels like another carefully orchestrated scheme to crush me. It’s not that I believe the Knicks could steal the Finals, this is still Lebron and Durant’s NBA. It’s that part of me is starting to want to believe the Knicks could steal the Finals.
Granted, if a few of their big men don’t get healthy before the playoffs, no part of me will be optimistic, it might result in a playoffs as ugly as last year’s. We knew injury would be a problem this year, it’s part of the risk of running out a team that will be eligible for Social Security next month. However, a few of those big men should be healthy, and those old veterans have worked really well in this team. This Knicks team is one of those groups that gel, and when they play with discipline, are good enough to be legitimately dangerous in the post-season. Saying a two seed might be dangerous seems silly, but if you aren’t Miami, you’re the heavy underdog in the East. Also, this is the Knicks, a team that has made an art of turning the Mecca of professional basketball into a joke for so many years. Long gone are the days of Garden heroes like Patrick Ewing and Allan Houston.
Yet, perhaps this is the year when we get new heroes in Melo and Smith. Only heroics in the playoffs can make that a reality.
Honestly, I’d really be happy just to have Knicks playoff basketball that was competitive enough to be worth watching again. I just hope they aren’t getting me to believe just to deflate me later this month.