vr_trakowski: (pages)
Let me admit, first off, that I very much enjoy H. Beam Piper's Fuzzy series.  They're somewhat outdated, but they're light and fun, and I like them enough that I was horrified when Scalzi "rebooted" the first book.  (Seriously, who does that?)

So, since I enjoy Piper's style, I thought I'd try another of his books.

Space Viking...doesn't work.

For one thing, it's more of a synopsis in places than a story.  Great swathes of time and activity are glossed over.  For another, it's much more sexist than the Fuzzy trilogy, though to be fair everything on the cover warns that the protagonist's lady is fridged right at the beginning.  I nearly gave up partway through, because I couldn't bring myself to care about the protagonist at all.  He throws his entire life away to avenge the death of his wife, and then halfway through the book he finds he doesn't care about vengeance any longer.  I suspect that this sort of thing is much more true to life than otherwise, but as a plotline it just makes him look like a twit.  More of a twit than he is already, anyway.

It's also fairly racist without coming out and saying so, and pretty vehemently anti-democracy, though again to be fair the protagonist admits that there doesn't seem to be a better system to use instead.  But really, the main failure of the book is that it zips past half the story without stopping to look at it.  Most of the other flaws can be blamed on the time it was written; the lack of actual storyline, as it were, is solely Piper's fault.

However, I might try another if one comes my way.  Perhaps there's a medium somewhere.  

Wow!

Apr. 28th, 2012 06:12 pm
vr_trakowski: (Default)
I just saw The Hunger Games film, and it's by far the best book-to-movie adaption I've seen in years. 
Mild spoilers... )



vr_trakowski: (Default)
I just watched Deep Impact, though I can't remember why I put it on my Netflix list.  Aside from too much of the music copying the soundtrack of Apollo 13, it was halfway decent.  And I was delighted to see so many familiar faces, including the marvelous Tucker Smallwood and of course Charles Martin Smith, whose role in Starman makes this one all the better (though I could see his fate coming a mile off, sheesh).  

The spaceship looked like a Shuttle mated with a Firefly... 

...Ew

Dec. 27th, 2011 08:51 pm
vr_trakowski: (Default)
I haven't seen the Coppola Dracula in years, and barely remembered anything about it.  I'm not sure why I didn't remember that it's terrible.  Not only is the acting awful--even Anthony Hopkins isn't trying--but they can't so much as remember that they turned Harker's hair grey. 

I did try to read the book once, but it bored me out of my proverbial skull.  I suppose I should try it again, but my enthusiasm is at a low ebb. 



vr_trakowski: (Default)
I just watched Waitress, and after some thought I have to classify it as a horror movie. 

Spoilers!  )

Not a film I will recommend. 
vr_trakowski: (Default)
I watched Plunkett & Macleane again today, for the first time since [personal profile] jeanniemac and I saw it in the theater when it came out.  It's not an easy movie to find; even Netflix only has it on streaming. 

It seems to have been billed as a comedy, but it isn't, though it has its funny moments; and while the promotional materials make much of Liv Tyler's character, she had nowhere near as much to do with P's and McL's activities as they imply.  It's a good piece of costume drama, appropriately filthy for the mid-eighteenth century, and with some very good acting; the villain is deeply chilling, and so well written that one only gradually realizes just how nasty he actually is.  And Alan Cumming's Lord Rochester is an utter, deep delight. 

The costuming seems more than a bit weird, especially the wigs and a particular hairdo, but I don't know enough about the period to tell whether it's exaggerated.  I suspect not. 

There is, however, a serious overuse of the word "fuck".  And for those of you who complain about the Ladyhawke soundtrack, this one is worse.  By far.  Especially the credits track.  Seriously, rap? 

All in all, I do recommend this film, if you can find a copy. 


On a completely different note, I covet this.  I have an unhealthy relationship with dichroic glass.  *snerk* 

vr_trakowski: (Default)
I've seen several films lately. 

At the risk of offending some of my flist, Thor was a complete waste of celluloid, or whatever they're storing it on these days.  I do hope this does not screw up The Avengers.  Coulson was the only decent part of that film, and I don't even like him much.  

I have now, in rapid succession, seen all the Harry Potter movies.  I maintain that the first few are inevitably silly, given the framework of the books, but I enjoyed bits of Goblet of Fire and was unexpectedly--and inexplicably--fascinated by the first Deathly Hallows.  Perhaps because the trio is finally starting to act like budding adults--perhaps because it breaks out of the Hogwarts pattern.  

But they are clearly made for fans of the books.  Way too much was left out (I've read only one or two, and not in years) and characters popped up, were seen briefly, and disappeared without history being given, which makes no sense in the context of the films alone.  Who is this Tonks person, for instance?*  Or the weaselly little fellow who pinched the locket? 

Which isn't to say they're not enjoyable.  I was interested enough to see the final one in the theater, after all.  The soundtracks are magnificent, the special effects mostly seamless (dragon!), and a lot of the acting is quite good.  I'm particularly impressed with the main three, who do a terrific job of carrying the characters through so much and through such a changing time of their own, and I'm deeply amused by Gred and Forge, though Ginny can't express an emotion to save her life. 

I also ended up feeling sorry for Draco Malfoy, who managed to miss being either a hero or a decent villain and ended up a sort of wimp.  Not that he didn't behave decently in some places, and in fact his back-and-forthing is in a way much more realistic than everybody else's determination, but from the beginning he felt set up to be a solid enemy and instead just became an annoyance. 

My favorite moment is evenly divided between Snape setting his cuffs to smack the boys and Harry hopped up on luck serum.  The runner-up is Harry backed into a tree by Hermione in a rage--the most powerful wizard around clearly knows his superior when he sees her.  *snerk* 

On a completely different note, why doesn't soda go bad once the bottle is opened?  Seems to me it should at least ferment. 




*Don't bother answering, the questions are rhetorical.  Wikipedia can be quite useful. 


vr_trakowski: (Default)
I just finished watching Fear in the Night, which I put on my Netflix list solely because it starred DeForest Kelley.  And was apparently his first film.  Normally I don't watch much that was made prior to Star Wars (pace snowydragon1776), in part because I have trouble telling people apart in black and white films--seriously, they're mostly white, the guys all have the same haircuts and dress alike, and there isn't much variation in the women either--but I was curious about his work outside of Star Trek.  Though I do want to look up a Western too.  

Admittedly I don't know much about films of the time, but it didn't seem very good to me.  Though I admit that my reaction to his first appearance was "Oh, he's adorable!"  *snerk*  Very young, at least compared to ST.  The plot was...implausible, to say the least, and the main character passed out at least three times in rapid succession.  Not to mention a blatant "oops" at one point, which I will not detail--I think this one has wound its way around to the point where that would be a spoiler.  But it wasn't a bad watch, I've seen worse, and it satisfied my curiosity.  

Other films I've watched recently:

Space Cowboys--amusing if predictable up to a point, and then they threw physics out the airlock and plausibility after it, though I admit I wasn't expecting the twist.  Also, the Russian general had a French accent. 

Mansfield Park (1999)--avoid, avoid, avoid.  Beautifully staged and nicely casted (I am fond of Johnny Lee Miller), but for some reason they mixed in elements of Jane Austen's life and then screwed up the plot further, and it's a total mess.  Ugh. 




Memeage

Aug. 3rd, 2011 11:11 pm
vr_trakowski: (Default)
Snabbled from...somewhere.

What's your guilty pleasure? List 5 movies/TV shows you have a hard time justifying. Don't justify them....just tell us why you love 'em.

1. The first one that comes to mind is of course Independence Day. There's so much wrong with this movie, from the science to the attitude, but there's also so much to love. Irresistibly quotable. It doesn't pass the Bechdel test, really, but I do like the female characters all the same. Plus, doggie!

2. Solarbabies. Whatever you have to say about this movie, I don't want to hear it. The concept's original, or if not is a riff off an obscure British kids' book, and I do enjoy a good postapocalyptic tale. I adore Bohdai; that was exactly the sort of thing I wished to have happen to me when I was a kid.  Heck, I'd take it now.  And I love how the good side wins against terrible odds.  

3. Time Trax, which has not aged well.  On a recent rewatch I was appalled by its attitude towards women.  And yet, Dale Midkiff still makes me melt, and he had the gift (and still might!) of treating the stock female characters who passed through as real in a way I find hard to describe.  Also, the vision of the future was pretty interesting.  

4. The Boy Who Could Fly, which never was appreciated as much as I thought it should be.  Because it's spot-on, in so many ways, and yet doesn't quite do the expected thing, much to my everlasting delight.  Also, have you noticed the cast?  

5. Hackers, which is an object of much scorn, but by golly it's fun.  And contrary to common expectations, Ms. Jolie can act, and quite well too.  And I always want to know more about Razor and Blade.  Plus, any club where you can rollerskate inside is cool.  

vr_trakowski: (Default)
In a good way, though.  Roadkill has as a guest Dale Midkiff, who has been one of my weak spots since, oh, 1993 or so.  Not only that, his character has the same first name as the one he played in the incomparable Plymouth.  He's been elsewhere, too--one of those very good actors who just never got a big break--but for me he will always be Darien Lambert and Gil Eaton.  Such a voice he has. 

And my word, but Hotch has guts.  Talk about using the weapon to hand...  

That said, it was a pretty dumb episode, I thought.  The two people killed on-screen, when chased by a truck, ran straight away instead of going behind a barrier or onto undriveable ground?  Honestly!  You get maybe one pass for panic, but that was ridiculous. 

vr_trakowski: (Default)
This is degenerating into stream-of-consciousness triviality, but I do like to look back on these things on occasion. 
Plain Sight )



vr_trakowski: (motivations)
Just finished watching Air Panic, apparently sometimes known as Panic, which was on my Netflix list solely because it has Rodney Rowland, whom I adore unabashedly.  I can't tell if this was a made for TV film, though it should have been; it was made, I believe, pre-September 2001, which excuses the plane crash scene, but it is now both less entertaining and more ridiculous.  

Well, the whole thing is ridiculous, though it includes a few good performances, Mr. Rowland's among them.  It's got some interesting computer graphics and a nicely chewy villain, but the plot has holes they could drive one of the planes through and the pacing is a joke.  And does every airplane movie have to do that stupid Airplane window-crash homage?  It's been done, guys.  

It was interesting, however, to see Tucker Smallwood, who starred with Mr. Rowland in the stunning Space: Above and Beyond a few years earlier.  I was also amused to note that one other cast member was on both Castle and CSI while another was on CSI:Miami, and there's more than one Star Trek franchise alumnus in there too.  

Despite all the negatives--and this is a bad movie, no biscuit--it gets points for an older woman as a main character (hard to describe properly) and a heroine who kicks tail several times and also makes the first real move in the obligatory romance between herself and the hero.  Also for making use of Calvert Cliffs, which I didn't think was all that well known, though I believe the geography was way off there, fellas. 

Plus, of course, Mr. Rowland, who--like most of my other favorite actors--gave the role more attention than it deserved.  Professionalism, it's a wonderful thing. 

Huh.  It occurs to me that I may have seen him the very day he got back from filming this thing overseas.  I don't remember, now, where they said he'd come from, but boy howdy was he jetlagged.  Still cute though.  *grin*  
vr_trakowski: (motivations)
Just finished watching Air Panic, apparently sometimes known as Panic, which was on my Netflix list solely because it has Rodney Rowland, whom I adore unabashedly.  I can't tell if this was a made for TV film, though it should have been; it was made, I believe, pre-September 2001, which excuses the plane crash scene, but it is now both less entertaining and more ridiculous.  

Well, the whole thing is ridiculous, though it includes a few good performances, Mr. Rowland's among them.  It's got some interesting computer graphics and a nicely chewy villain, but the plot has holes they could drive one of the planes through and the pacing is a joke.  And does every airplane movie have to do that stupid Airplane window-crash homage?  It's been done, guys.  

It was interesting, however, to see Tucker Smallwood, who starred with Mr. Rowland in the stunning Space: Above and Beyond a few years earlier.  I was also amused to note that one other cast member was on both Castle and CSI while another was on CSI:Miami, and there's more than one Star Trek franchise alumnus in there too.  

Despite all the negatives--and this is a bad movie, no biscuit--it gets points for an older woman as a main character (hard to describe properly) and a heroine who kicks tail several times and also makes the first real move in the obligatory romance between herself and the hero.  Also for making use of Calvert Cliffs, which I didn't think was all that well known, though I believe the geography was way off there, fellas. 

Plus, of course, Mr. Rowland, who--like most of my other favorite actors--gave the role more attention than it deserved.  Professionalism, it's a wonderful thing. 

Huh.  It occurs to me that I may have seen him the very day he got back from filming this thing overseas.  I don't remember, now, where they said he'd come from, but boy howdy was he jetlagged.  Still cute though.  *grin*  
vr_trakowski: (Death)
First off, my apologies for not replying to earlier comments.  I've had the kind of cold that digs in its claws and just clings, and consequently very little energy. 

That said, I watched the first episode of ABC's new Body of Proof and am mildly amused.  I enjoy Dana Delaney to begin with; her understated snark delights me and I remember her with mixed fondness from the lamented Presidio Med.  

For a pilot ep, it was pretty smooth; I was impressed.  Jeri Ryan is clearly a great fit for the role of the Chief, and I can definitely see how they can gear up some UST between Megan and Peter (though he really looks too much like that guy from Fringe).  

But that autopsy room looks awfully under-equipped, and they had Megan looking at slices of brain tissue several scenes before they had her examining the victim's body with no signs that the head had been cut into in any way. 

Also, it was way too easy to tell who isn't wearing underwear, and that kid had a grotesque amount of makeup on for a twelve-year-old. 

On an entirely personal note, I want to drop-kick her ex into the nearest pond.  Megan's line about absentee mothers vs. good provider fathers is spot on.  

I'll watch the next one. 
vr_trakowski: (Death)
First off, my apologies for not replying to earlier comments.  I've had the kind of cold that digs in its claws and just clings, and consequently very little energy. 

That said, I watched the first episode of ABC's new Body of Proof and am mildly amused.  I enjoy Dana Delaney to begin with; her understated snark delights me and I remember her with mixed fondness from the lamented Presidio Med.  

For a pilot ep, it was pretty smooth; I was impressed.  Jeri Ryan is clearly a great fit for the role of the Chief, and I can definitely see how they can gear up some UST between Megan and Peter (though he really looks too much like that guy from Fringe).  

But that autopsy room looks awfully under-equipped, and they had Megan looking at slices of brain tissue several scenes before they had her examining the victim's body with no signs that the head had been cut into in any way. 

Also, it was way too easy to tell who isn't wearing underwear, and that kid had a grotesque amount of makeup on for a twelve-year-old. 

On an entirely personal note, I want to drop-kick her ex into the nearest pond.  Megan's line about absentee mothers vs. good provider fathers is spot on.  

I'll watch the next one. 

Uh-HUH.

Feb. 26th, 2011 04:49 pm
vr_trakowski: (lightsaber)
Just watched Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.  A sublimely silly, ridiculous movie.  I found it deeply amusing, and of course I really enjoy Angelina Jolie's work as it is.  Plus, adorable geek-boy.  I was snickering at the slash potential in the beginning and hoping he would bite Joe out of sheer irritation by the end. 

But all the characters were white except a few Tibetans, and they were either stereotypes or villains.  Seems to me the filmmakers could have done better than that. 

Also, spoiler. )

ETA: From the trailers, I'd assumed that Ms. Jolie's character was the Sky Captain. 

Uh-HUH.

Feb. 26th, 2011 04:49 pm
vr_trakowski: (lightsaber)
Just watched Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.  A sublimely silly, ridiculous movie.  I found it deeply amusing, and of course I really enjoy Angelina Jolie's work as it is.  Plus, adorable geek-boy.  I was snickering at the slash potential in the beginning and hoping he would bite Joe out of sheer irritation by the end. 

But all the characters were white except a few Tibetans, and they were either stereotypes or villains.  Seems to me the filmmakers could have done better than that. 

Also, spoiler. )

ETA: From the trailers, I'd assumed that Ms. Jolie's character was the Sky Captain. 

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