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What I’ve Been Doing 9 Oct. 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Oct 9th, 2012 by Dan

Pitch Perfect -0

I love a capella so there was zero chance I wouldn’t see this (Photo courtesy lissamabcd)

Thanks to the long weekend this is posting a little later than usual. I also jammed a ton of TV in this week thanks to all that extra time.

Movies

The Guard – Irish movie about an Irish policeman who is one of those curmudgeonly old man types. Funny, but ultimately not that substantive. Worth seeing if you’ve got a free afternoon.

Pitch Perfect – I loved most of the music in this movie and I always enjoy Anna Kendrick on the silver screen. Mostly I found myself impressed by how well she inhabited her role. The other two movies I saw her in, Up in the Air and 50/50, had her in a much more professional, trying to be respected role. Here she’s aged back to 18 and everything about her performance reflects that. Good, fun stuff. Go see it.

TV

SNL Weekend Update Thursday – Kind of unnecessary. Barely any politics either.

Up All Night – Not digging the new setup. The new brother character is just not that interesting. I did laugh at the trapeze part in the most recent episode.

Glee – Knocking Tremé is not cool. “Celebrity Skin” not that good. The election episode was so boring. The breakup episode, on the other hand, had a lot more emotion and a lot more going for it. Dug it a lot more.

NTSF::SD:SUV: – The time slide episode was so good that everything afterwards has been a bit disappointing. The SDCC episode was meh as was the Dragon Shumway redux.

Childrens Hospital – Ladies Night! Man, Lake Bell is hot. This show is consistently hilarious/awesome.

Homeland – Danes seemed off early in the episode, but that’s probably intentional since her character is supposed to be off her rocker. Loved the way that Damian Lewis is playing this. As for the plot, this season is shaping up to be very cool. Liked the way they pulled Danes back in and I liked the father/daughter bonding over Islam.

Tremé – The included murder mystery doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the show, but everything else is going well. Nice and slow-paced.

Sherlock – That Reichenbach Falls episode was SO GOOD! I wonder if Moriarty is actually dead (Sherlock isn’t!). Hard to see where the next series goes from here, but that was astounding. It didn’t have the same pounding pressure as Moriarty’s time-limits from last series, but it was still quite tense and fun. Loved the part where Moriarty was pretending to be an actor.

Key & Peele – Not as good as the season premiere, but I really enjoyed that dubstep sketch. Also dug the Luther sketch and the concept of the guy who had to follow MLK’s speech was funny, but it wasn’t executed particularly well.

The Mindy Project – You know what? This show is a lot funnier than some critics are giving it credit. Mindy Kaling has a really sneaky sense of appalling humor that really works. I think this is my favorite new show I’ve seen (so far).

Four Weddings – Sometimes your girlfriend watches stuff that you don’t want to.

Giuliana and Bill – See above…The worst part here is that she thinks this show is dumb too! There just wasn’t anything else on worth watching.

Halloween Wars – Another Food network thing. This has got the Cupcake Wars crew, but they’re carving pumpkins and making Halloween scenes. It’s ok.

How I Met Your Mother – Caught the first two episodes of the season. I’m still kind of bummed that Victoria isn’t the mother. She was the original plan if the show had been canceled. I like her.

30 for 30 – “Broke” wasn’t as good as the other documentary I saw, but I still dug it. This series is worth checking out.

The Daily Show – I’m glad that Stewart went and eviscerated Obama for his debate performance because it was shameful. Not a bad week of episodes.

Parks & Recreation – Two words: Lucy Lawless. Please and thank you.

Saturday Night Live – A lot of bad sketches in this episode, but I did like the lesser known Bond girls one. Daniel Craig can do better? Was it the material?

Music

The Pokemon Reorchestrated project is coming out with fully licensed reorchestrations of Pokemon game music. Pretty cool stuff, if you ask me.

Books

After the Quake – Murakami really likes writing about Jehovah’s Witnesses. I really enjoyed “All God’s Children Can Dance”

Video Games

New Super Mario Bros. 2 – I was wrong. There are way more hidden worlds than I realized and they’re pretty fun. Liking this game even more.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy – I technically “beat” the game, but there’s tons more content to enjoy.

Professor Layton and the Last Specter – This series reminds me of Detective Conan. One of the puzzles really stumped me. I’m dumber than I thought I was, haha.

Pokemon White – Wanted to catch the last few legendaries I was dilly-dallying on. Got that done before 2 arrived.

Pokemon White Version 2 – The package here has gotten so much sharper from year to year, but the nearly identical mechanics keeps a lot of people away. I’m playing with a Nuzlocke Challenge: Defeated pokemon must be permanently retired, you can only catch the first pokemon you see in an area, and, one of my rules, you must use pots to heal. Only one pokemon center visit per town. So far I’ve lost a Patrat permanently in my gym battle with Roxie. Tragic stuff.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown – Just started it this morning. Played two missions. Loving it! Look for a Dan Plays series to start soon.

Movies I’m Excited to See [FB/ER]
Sep 27th, 2012 by Dan

Ran into an article today running down the big Oscar contenders for the second half of the year. Made me think about what movies I was pumped for this year. Here’s what I’m digging:

Anna Karenina

Here’s the thing: I don’t care for period pieces, I don’t care for literary adaptations, and my lack of familiarity with Anna Karenina means I have no attachment to the narrative. Then I look at how beautifully shot this movie seems to be and I worry a little (in the Moulin Rouge sense (a movie I did not like)), but think, “No, this is going to be epic and breathtaking.”

Silver Linings Playbook

Jennifer Lawrence? I could leave it there, but I’ll go on. Director David O. Russel also directed one of the more enjoyably quirky movies I’ve ever seen in I Heart Huckabees. Add in Bradley Cooper and the romantic comedy aspects and I think this is one I’ll easily get Tiffany to agree to seeing.

Wreck-It Ralph

If you don’t know why I’d want to see this then I don’t think you really know me. I’ll probably go with Min because I highly doubt this is one that Tiffany wants to see too.

Rust and Bone

Ok, so your protagonist has her legs bitten off by a killer whale. Seems a little melodramatic, no? Still, a sexy movie featuring the sexy French language and the sexy Marion Cotillard? Yes, please!

Skyfall

Goddammit I love the Daniel Craig interpretation of Bond. Add in Javier Bardem, whose chilling work in No Country For Old Men still haunts me, and you’ve got a recipe for success. Gotta see this on IMAX too. Looks stunning.

Killing Them Softly

Thanks to Snatch I’ll pay to see Brad Pitt in a gangster movie any day of the week. Too bad playing The Fugees in the trailer would be confusing and thematically inconsistent.

Django Unchained

I still get chills every time I hear Jamie Foxx say, “I like the way you die, boy.” Inglourious Basterds proved to me that Cristoph Waltz was a force to be reckoned with and I’m looking forward to seeing what Tarantino does with this very charged material. I wonder if I’ll be able to find a showing in North Carolina?

Les Misérables

I don’t want to hear a single word about how much you can’t stand Anne Hathaway, David. The fact is that she’s a much better actor than you give her credit for. As for this movie, well…I’m not familiar with the original musical, so I won’t have those preconceived notions holding me back from enjoying this, but I worry that the overwhelming popularity will lead to a very safe (and boring) production. I guess we’ll have to see how it comes out…

What I’ve Been Doing 28 Dec 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Dec 28th, 2011 by Dan

Albino Wookie!

Stay calm everyone, but the Bounty Hunter class quest deals with an albino wookiee!

This is suuuper delayed, but I’ve been traveling and enjoying the holidays and recovering from sickness and that all takes time, you know?

Movies

Bridesmaids – Viewing number 4ish. I love the flip out scene where Kristin Wiig and Maya Rudolph have it out. Great scene.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (US) – My favorite game to play while watching this movie is to count how many walkouts from people who didn’t realize there would be violent rape scenes in the movie. I was a huge fan of the remake’s casting. Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig did fantastic jobs in their roles. Some people prefer the original Swedish, but I think these actors have more sizzle. Also, Rooney Mara’s got a fantastic body. Just sayin, guys.

TV

Mad Men – Watched the first episode again with my parents, Dave, and Kendra. Guess what, Dave, you’re wrong. We are all born alone and we do all die alone. Don and Rachel’s interactions were so amazing in season 1. I don’t think any other person challenges Don in the same way the rest of the series. It’s quite interesting to watch it again.

How I Met Your Mother – So great to just be able to pull this up and watch it anytime I need to with Netflix now. I definitely like pulling one up right before bed.

Music

Have I ever mentioned that I don’t like Christmas music? I don’t like Christmas music, guys. Thank god I’m not home anymore, I almost strangled someone.

Books

1Q84 – Got about two chapters into this bulky Murakami epic. Seems very intriguing. The part about the literary prize stuff especially makes me wonder where the story is going. Could be lots of fun.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – Turned out to be a light, but funny read. Ultimately it’s a women’s book, but I found it to be appropriately funny and fun.

Video Games

Chrono Trigger DS – Inspired by the Giant Bomb Endurance Run, I revisited CTDS on my plane ride home. Lots of fun, but it’s weird to see the name changes and translation changes. Good stuff.

Star Wars: The Old Republic – Man, the class quests continue to be awesome! Turns out that Darth Zash wasn’t trying to kill me, per se. She only wanted to take over my body with her spirit. Then Khem Val went and interfered and, whoops, now they both inhabit his body. It’s pretty awesome.

Filmmakers Bleed: Casino Royale
Jul 8th, 2008 by Dan

I can still remember the buzz behind Casino Royale when it came out last year. It was supposedly a reboot of the James Bond universe, a revisit to his origins and a way to bring the movies closer to their source material, the Ian Fleming novels.

It wouldn’t have been the first franchise to do this in recent history, the biggest and most prominent example being the Batman Begins movie. The question is, could this series mimic the masterpiece that was the new Batman movie? If you put your money on a resounding yes, you’d be absolutely right.

Absolutely gone is all of the camp of Pierce Brosnan and company’s respective Bonds. I haven’t seen any of the original Bond movies, but my guess is that they were thematically similar to all of the other exaggerated James Bond movies. Not that I know what the novels are like at all, but given that Ian Fleming was, himself, an actual spy and that supposedly Casino Royale is similar to the book of the same name, my guess is that there were significant changes from the atmosphere of the James Bond novels to the silver screen.

How is the Daniel Craig Bond different? Think of it as a shift from the most absurd of all Bond gadgets I’ve ever witnessed, a car with a cloaking shield, to a movie whose most advanced gadgets are portable defibrillators and cell phones. Casino Royale is still an amazing action movie, but it feels a lot more grounded in real life espionage. Instead of being an over-the-top action movie like the days of old, it’s an actual cloak and dagger-type movie. Bond is still a charming, womanizing agent employed in Her Majesty’s service, but he lacks the “super-powers,” if you will, of the Bonds of old. He can be caught, he can be tortured, he can be hit. Someone recently described Daniel Craig’s Bond as a much more physical and brutal Bond and he had it right on the money.

Rather than delve into spoilers at all, let me just give a general overview of the plot: being a reset, of sorts, this is an origin story about James Bond. Luckily, he’s not a superhero, so we don’t have to spend all this time waiting for him to get his super powers or start being a badass. He starts the movie in employ of MI6 and raring to go, but this is, more or less, his first mission. Also worth noting is that this is the first James Bond that will have a direct sequel. Planned as a trilogy (I know…it’s very trite), the upcoming Quantum of Solace and whichever movie that succeeds it will be related in story to one another. This aspect does make Casino Royale‘s ending a bit of a letdown, but also pumps you up to see the latest flick.

So now we arrive at the question I know all of you are asking: “Is this movie worth spending some of my valuable time watching?” The real question you should be asking is “When is the soonest I can get my hands on this movie to watch?” It’s that good. Casino Royale will restore your faith in the Bond universe and should be watched immediately. Lucky for you and I, the wait for some closure on the story will be a short one, since Quantum of Solace will be released this fall. Go rent it or something!

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