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Movies of 2012 [FB]
Jan 3rd, 2013 by Dan

cinema

(Photo by jimmymac333)

Man do I love me some movies, guys. The following listing of my favorites is not limited to movies that were released in 2012, but rather what I saw in 2012 that I most want to talk about.

Prometheus – I’ve never seen a movie from the Alien franchise, but something about the trailers and the Fassbender hype made me want to catch this one in the theaters. After failing to get most people interested, Ian and I caught this flick. Look, guys, it’s not the greatest movie out there, but Fassbender is amazing, the movie is stunning, and that emergency “caesarian”? Absolutely terrifying and awesome to watch. I want to make everyone watch that hyper tense scene.

The Cabin in the Woods – Kind of related to the previous movie, but I don’t really watch horror/monster movies. They’re not my thing. The buzz on Cabin was so great that I had to face my fears and step in. What I got was a brilliant subversion of the horror genre with Whedon’s fingerprints all over it. It’s not really that scary and I honestly believe that everyone should suck it up and check this flick out. You’ll never look at a horror movie the same way.

Young Adult – The first of these flicks to have actually come out in 2011, Diablo Cody’s look at a thoroughly unpleasant woman seeking to reclaim her glory days is relentless in its brutal look at the awful person that Charlize Theron plays. The absolute kicker is in the scene where Patton Oswalt’s character’s sister effectively destroys the character progress Theron has made. Watching everything shift into place on her face was probably the best acted moment I saw this year.

The Descendants – Or the movie that convinced me that George Clooney was brilliant and that Shailene Woodley had real acting chops. It’s a beautiful family movie with an almost tacked on real estate sideplot that doesn’t quite tie in like I think they wanted it to, but it’s full of great performances and it’s definitely worth seeing.

Higher Ground – I’ve been enamored with Vera Farmiga ever since I saw her in Up in the Air, so I had to check this movie out. It’s about a woman constantly searching for meaning, but frustratingly never able to find it. She plays the part with a lot of emotion and subtlety and I just adored every minute of the performance.

Martha Marcy May Marlene – Fits in thematically with the previously mentioned movie since it’s also about a girl so lost that she ends up involved in a cult (to be fair, Higher Ground is about a fundamentalist Christian sect). Elizabeth Olsen plays the confused, frightened escapee with great skill as her brain struggles to reconcile what is real with what was brainwashed into her head. Of course you also get to contrast the horrible, but peaceful cult with the materialistic and unfulfilling real world that alienated Olsen in the first place. The film is most notable to me with how it closes. Is Olsen in her right mind and is the cult actually about to exact vengeance or not?

Wanderlust – The first truly slight movie on this list, Wanderlust has David Wain’s quasi-troop at their funniest. It’s not gonna win any Oscars, but Wanderlust is a happy, fun movie filled with funny people. I mean, any movie that makes me like Jennifer Aniston has got to be worth mentioning.

The Five-Year Engagement – Sure, it’s just shy of a standard rom-com, but this flick is getting special mention for the fine work of Alison Brie and Chris Pratt. Those two are amazing.

Goon – A hockey epic for the modern day. I have almost zero complaints about this movie. It tugs on all the heartstrings with a story as far from cloying as possible. It’ll make you laugh, wince, and maybe cry, but you’ll love it.

21 Jump Street – Who knew that Channing Tatum was secretly hilarious? It’s probably getting a little too much credit, but this is a genuinely funny movie that I expected to be completely idiotic and forgettable.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home – My first Duplass Brothers film. I guess they call this kind of indie film mumblecore, but that’s kind of reductive. It’s a sweet story about brothers, which is the kind of thing I’m a sucker for.

The Avengers – The biggest movie of the year! Do I even have to talk about it? I want to give props to Mark Ruffalo for being brilliant as Bruce Banner and, hey, while we’re at it, I thought ScarJo did a fine job too (so did everyone else).

Argo – A strong competitor for my favorite flick of the year. Who doesn’t love a heist flick? Especially one that’s actually based on real events. 70s facial hair, great, tense performances, and international spy intrigue. It goes to show that you don’t need James Bond flair to make a good, exciting espionage movie. Plus “Argo fuck yourself” is a great line.

Lincoln – Another heist flick, but this one is about getting votes for the 13th amendment. Everyone you could possibly think of is in this flick, but I think its fatal flaw is the whole biopic aspect of it. Lincoln was an incredible man, I don’t doubt that, but in this movie he’s never wrong, always gets the last word in, and is generally a god among men. Worth seeing.

Holy Motors – Gets the WTF? Award this year. Truly bizarre in a way that only French cinema dares. It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s also brilliant. The accordion segment was pretty sweet too

Pitch Perfect – I love movies about music or singing. I don’t care that this is the most stereotypical, formulaic plotting out there. Obviously there’s gonna be discord, one girl is devoted to the old way while the new girl has a revolutionary way to look at things and, guess what, she’s right! Look, who cares about that? Rebel Wilson is hilarious and Anna Kendrick is super charming. Don’t fight it, just enjoy.

Django Unchained – I’m not above stating that this is the most important movie of the year. I’ve heard that some of the events depicted in it are exaggerations of the horrors of slavery. I don’t know if that’s true because I didn’t live in the 1800s, but I think that this movie is properly intense and strikes the right balance between over-the-top violence and the real gravity of the situation. Cristoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, and Samuel L. Jackson all deserve recognition for their amazing performances. If you’re only gonna see one movie on this list, make it this one.

What I’ve Been Doing 30 Jan 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jan 30th, 2012 by Dan

Balrog

Here's a suggestion: If you're playing Cave Story for the first time, don't pick hard mode (Photo courtesy escaped.monkey)

Busy weekend with lots of media consumed. That kind of thing happens when I hang out with Min.

Movies

The Descendants – Shailene Woodley was a revelation as Alex in this movie. Excellent acting. George Clooney was also quite good. Pretty chill movie and worth seeing, even if the land ownership subplot is kind of tacked on and not as interesting.

Evangelion 2.22 – I thought I’d seen this…but I hadn’t. I really missed seeing some of the fun/interesting battles of the old tv show. I mean, cutting Israfel in favor of a school drama plot about making Shinji lunch and a dinner party? I’d rather have that sequence instead. I also get that the movie doesn’t allow for the ponderous and deliberate psycho-analytic battle against Leliel, but it’s one of my faves so I was bummed about losing it too. Did not care for the new pilot, Mari, at all, and I didn’t love the business with mixing up who’s who in the battle against Bardiel, but, whatever, right? Some things are different. 2.22 makes me want to watch Neon Genesis Evangelion instead. The more relaxed pace allows for much greater character development and interesting concepts. We’ll see what happens with the rest of the movies and the new ending.

Tangled – Min hadn’t seen this, it was on instant, and we were bored. It’s pretty great, but I hate the video quality of the Starz movies.

Haywire – Went to see this on Sunday and it cut out 40 minutes in. We could have either stayed to watch it from the beginning or taken a voucher for a new movie. As interested in seeing this as I was, I couldn’t stomach watching the slow opening 40 minutes again. I’ll either try again or wait for Netflix.

TV

Childrens Hospital – Ward 8 and the children stabbing Nick Offerman with pencils was great. So was the Bob Seger joke to find out how old he was. Fantastic show. Can’t wait for a new season.

Up All Night – Megan Mullally and Shayna. So great. The bit about cheating on watching a TV show with your spouse was great. Super awkward.

Glee – Pretty interesting “Summer Nights” recreation, complete with the overlay in the climactic final note. I like songs like “Wedding Bell Blues”, but the processed voices sound a lot like they don’t belong in the show. I guess it was a dream sequence Wow, making Artie move/act like Mick Jagger is surprisingly effective even though he’s in a wheelchair. Whoa…what?! The thing about Finn’s dad came out of NOWHERE.

Justified – I’m cool with case of the week stuff when it’s this good. Sometimes it’s ok for Raylan not to be the absolute center. I hope they get Carla Gugino on the show more. The other new villain is appropriately scary.

Archer – “Cyril?” “No breakfast for you!” Another great episode of Archer this week. I miss Ray as a field agent, but I guess this has a lot of comic potential.

Parks and Recreation – The bit about Tom bowling like a grandma (and Ron begging him to have some decency as a man) was amazing. April being nice is unusual, but she’s been softening up a lot anyway. Still one of the greatest shows out there.

Scrubs – Just put it on for a few minutes to pass some time. Always a good show.

Sherlock – The middle episode about the Chinese smugglers is kind of boring, but the Moriarty episode is fantastic. I love how crazy Jim Moriarty is. So great.

John Oliver’s New York Stand Up Show – Popped this on during dinner for something to laugh to. Pretty good stuff.

Music

The Gregory Brothers – You know they put up a new Auto-Tune (Songify?) the News segment, so that got me listening to all of them again. I even dipped into their non-ATtN music because I love Sarah Gregory’s voice.

Books

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Slow and steady. Bloomqvist sure gets around with the ladies, doesn’t he?

Video Games

The Old Republic – The guild’s got Eternity Vault Normal on farm status so now it’s time to start working on Karagga’s Palace.

Ghost Trick – Making a lot of progress in this game. The mystery continues to deepen as my Spanish continues to improve. I love playing games in Spanish!

Earthbound (Mother 2) – Started up a new save file to play in between bosses in a raid. Fun times. Still very early in the game (haven’t explored the meteor yet)

Rayman: Origins – Min and I beat the game and started going for the prestige levels. Holy god the last one, Land of the Livid Dead, is about as punishing as the game can get. Platforming gets frustrating, but it’s also got a super satisfying feel once you conquer it.

Cave Story + – Thought I’d boot up something different while Min was napping. This game is pretty fun and pretty solid, but deciding I should play it on hard mode may have been a mistake. I’m stuck on Monster X because he’s a beast. Every one of his purple projectiles kills me in one hit, so I’ve got to be perfect. On the good side of the spectrum, the machine gun mechanics are amazing. Love that gun and the ability to float with it.

What I’ve Been Doing [FB/IB/BT/GO]
Jul 18th, 2011 by Dan

Cloud Cosplay Otakon 2010

San Diego Comic-Con is coming up this week, so I thought I'd make this week's post some cosplay

San Diego Comic-Con is upon us and for once I actually read comics. I’m excited to learn about Marvel’s new December event, but, in the meantime, here’s what I’ve been up to.

Movies:

Out of Sight – Steven Soderbergh’s Elmore Leonard adaptation was a pretty solid flick and about the only thing I’ve ever seen Jennifer Lopez do a fantastic job in. George Clooney turned in a great performance playing his usual role as well. Worth watching for their intriguing chemistry. Love noticing the similarities to other Leonard works like Justified (he loves him some US Marshals, huh?)

Role Models – Decent comedy. Nothing to write home about. I liked it well enough, even if Jane Lynch’s role is a little tired. Also funny to see Ken Jeong before he’d fully developed what’s become the Ken Jeong character. I also really like Elizabeth Banks in anything. She’s funny.

TV:

The League – FX’s comedy about fantasy football is reliably funny most weeks and laugh out loud funny on occasion. I started watching it thanks to commercials during It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and I’m returning to S1 since it’s on streaming. Always interesting to see the actors figuring out the characters before they have a real feel for it and also neat to see how pilot sets differ from real sets. A nice half-hour distraction.

Books:

FF – This month’s Inhumans origin story was lukewarm to most readers I know, but I think I’m starting to get the hang of them and I’m intrigued by where Hickman is going with this origin.

The Red Wing – Hickman’s new mini-series shows promise with a premise about wars fought across time. Could be neat.

Amazing Spider-Man – I found the writing in this to be juvenile and a little too “explain-y” for my tastes. You have art and pictures, use expressions and subtlety to do your work, please!

Avengers vs. New Ultimates – The end of this mini resulted in (Ultimate) Spider-Man dead and Nick Fury put back in charge of SHIELD. Too bad. I liked Carol Danvers a lot more. I worry that this is to have Fury in place when the Avengers movie comes out next year.

Ultimate Fallout – Bendis gets busy setting up the universe for the Reborn relaunch. Spider-Man’s funeral is a tear-jerker and the book has promise. Best thing is its weekly status. Can’t wait for book 3 to find out who the new Spider-Man will be.

Video Games:

Left 4 Dead (1 & 2) – David finally built himself a new PC which means he can finally play modern shooters with me! We started our co-op experience with lots of Left 4 Dead. We finished all the campaigns in the first game and now we’re working on 2. I’ve been reminded of just how spectacular these two games are and how much fun Left 4 Dead was. Good times.

Torchlight – Finished the main game. Now it’s just kind of grinding for the other achievements and for loot’s sake. I worry that this game is gonna tire me out too much for when Diablo III comes out, but then I remember that Diablo won’t be out until 2012, at the earliest, and I breathe much easier.

Portal 2 – A little co-op with the hermano. Good stuff, even if he smashed me with some giant, movable blocks. Can’t wait for some dlc maps…

Team Fortress 2 – The surprise entry this week. I played for 12 hours this weekend and had a real blast. The Strange Weapons have been the coolest draw for me since they level up as you “feed” them with kills. So much fun. Played a lot with Eric too, which is nice. I don’t think I’ve played an FPS with him for that much time since we played Goldeneye. What a blast.

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