meepodeekin: (lizard)
( May. 20th, 2009 05:10 pm)
On [livejournal.com profile] julianyap 's recommendation, I watched the premiere (pilot?) of Glee on hulu.  I have to say, it looks good.  Campy, overwritten, high-school-set dramedy is pretty much my favorite genre.  (Can that be a genre?)  I found the subplot with the evil wife grating because of how overwritten she is.  When something's not funny, overwriting it doesn't quite work out the same way.  However, I enjoyed the other plots and the overall tone of the show.  I plan to give it a chance in the fall.

It does leave me wondering, though--is that really what glee club shows are like?  I've never been a singer, but I've been to my share of a capella performances.  It's kinda a thing at my alma mater, after all.  I don't remember anything like that.  And are glee clubs not usually a capella?  Either a) I am blind, stupid, or amnesiac, b) the performances in the episode were waaay, waaay over the top, or c) things have really changed.  I did quite enjoy the show ending number, in any case. 

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Plot Synopsis: The protagonist is best friends with a pair of wealthy twins (a boy and a girl).  He's in (unrequited) love with the girl and has a very close lifelong friendship with the boy.  When they are 12 or 13 years old, one night the stars go out.  It turns out the earth is now enclosed in a permeable membrane which slows the passage of time inside the bubble by a factor of 100,000,000.  (You read that right.)  So over the course of a normal human lifespan, the sun is going to envelop the earth.  Their entire generation lives under a sentence of doom.  They have no idea who or what has done this to them, or why.  They have no idea how long it will last or whether they can survive the consequences.  The protagonist becomes a doctor.  The male twin becomes a scientist, working with the government to try to solve the Spin (that's what they call the time bubble) mystery.  The female twin joins one of the new religious cults surrounding the Spin and treating it as an end-of-days phenomenon.  Their fates remain, of course, intertwined, as they live their life at galactic time scales. 

My Take: Wow.  Just wow.  I can see why this book won the Hugo.  I had never read anything by Wilson before (or even heard of him); this book was recommended to me by Amazon's algorithm, oddly enough.  The book works on several levels--as hard sci fi, chronicling human attempts to solve the mystery, as soft sci fi, when the reason behind the Spin is finally revealed, as a political thriller as the nations of the world react, as a family drama, even as a romance.  It is beautifully and simply written and absolutely wealthy with the details of the world Wilson has created.  My only gripe is with the length and pace of the book.  At 450 pages, the whole thing unfolds just a bit too slowly for those who want to find out "what happens."  If it were about 25% shorter, it would be the perfect book. 
Another day, another matinee movie trifle.  I love the summer!

Plot Synopsis: I'm not a real X-men fan although I've seen one or two of the movies, so I don't know how closely this one followed Wolverine's comic book origins.  But the title really is a valid plot synopsis.  Over the opening credits you see Wolverine and Sabretooth (neither yet so named; Sabretooth is in fact never so named in the film.)  growing up over about 150 years of wars.  Then they fall in with Stryker.  Wolverine quits.  They murder his girlfriend; he gets adamantiumized; general chaos and attempted vengeance ensues.  Three Mile Island gets destroyed, a whole bunch of suggestively costumed teenagers get rescued (apparently including at least Storm, Cyclops, and Emma Frost).  Patrick Stewart appears in the last moments of the film in what may be the most random cameo ever, as Xavier.  How he knew to turn up with that fancy helicopter and pick up the kids at that very moment, like an on-schedule school bus, no one will ever know.  But no matter, the children are "safe now." 

My Take: Why did I go to see this film?  I went to see this film because of the trailer before Star Trek.  The trailer showed Hugh Jackman in skin tight clothing, and/or partial lack of clothing.  Very nice.  I am particularly fond of the torn-up, filthy wife beater.  There is a shortage in this world of movies meant as eye candy for those who like boys.  This movie did not disappoint at all in that aspect.  Hugh Jackman jumping stark naked out of a waterfall?  Yessirreebob.  The movie was basically boys being boys playing with other boys and boyish toys in extremely tight and/or nonexistent clothing.  As promised by the trailer. 

As for the plot?  Well, as I said above, I cannot judge it from a fennish perspective.  It was a perfectly serviceable action movie plot.  It did not suffer from an excess of making sense.  There was so much going on, so many nemeses, that it, well, it wasn't exactly hard to follow, it just...didn't suffer from an excess of making sense.  I would say the first hour/hour and a half was delightful mindless summer fun.  The last 30 minutes or so was just so nonsensical (especially, as mentioned above, the Picard cameo) as to be a loss.  
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I went to see this pretty randomly, at loose ends on a weekday afternoon with nothing much to do.  Choices were fairly limited, and I picked this. 

Plot Synopsis:  This is A Christmas Carol remade as a romantic comedy.  The protagonist, rather than denying the spirit of Christmas and being a stingy bastard, denies the spirit of love and is a locked up serial womanizer.  It's actually sort of brilliant and makes a very real type of sense.  I left the movie wondering why no one had gone there before.  Admittedly, the whole "ghost" thing is a little weird since none of the relevant people are dead.  (Except the Marley figure, an uncle who raised the protagonist to his woman hating ways.)  Anyway, I don't even really need to give a plot synopsis, because you know the drill.  The protagonist goes to his brother's wedding and behaves badly.  Three ghosts come and show him a) all the bad he's done, b) the mess that is going on amongst his loved ones right now, and c) how he and his brother will both die sad and alone if he doesn't change.  Then, he changes.  Everyone lives happily ever after.  Even though the wedding cake is destroyed. 

My Take: I probably would have enjoyed the movie more if I were fond of either of the lead actors--Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner.  However, it was a cute romantic comedy.  Nothing special, but really surprisingly not bad.  A fun trifle for a summer afternoon.  (Or whatever season mid-May really is.)  If you don't like the genre, it definitely isn't for you.  It probably isn't worth an actual movie ticket in any case, unless you, like me, get the occasional hankering to just go to the movies.  However, if you do like the genre, it's worth putting in your queue. 

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