[personal profile] jtniehof
The Barkley Marathons, Margin Call, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Star Trek movies I-VI, DamNation, Shadow of Freedom, Cauldron of Ghosts, Buffalo 5 Girls, Piacevole, Koe no Katachi, Shokugeki no Soma Second Plate, Orange, Bananya,
Sweetness and Lightning, Alderamin on the Sky.

The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats Its Young: Everybody said such great things about this movie, usually in the form of "have you heard about this crazy race?" Well, yes, I have, and I usually don't have high hopes for fan-documentaries. I was wrong: this is a great introduction to the race, there are a lot of details I'd never heard before, and for the first time I really think I understand what Laz is up to. They weave the story of one year's running together with the history of the race in general, and the two threads play off each other so well. Highly recommended for any runner.

Margin Call: Really good movie that's nominally about the 2008 financial meltdown from the view of one firm and a few people in it. Lets the characters' actions and explanations/justifications stand without moralizing or "lessons learned". The problem as a movie, of course, is how to end it, and although it's a bit of a fizzle, it seems appropriate.

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle: Rewatch so the lady could see it. I forgot how badly it drags in parts and oh my god the casual homophobia and borderline hipster racism. That's the down; the up is still pretty funny; NPH was perfect for his role (made funnier now that he's out).

Star Trek: The Motion Picture: Completely deserving of its lousy reputation. A mess, "look at our spacescapes while swelling music plays and the runtime clicks along." There's no drive or motion to it...a few bites of plot, then Stand And Be Inspired, repeat.

Wrath of Khan: Oddly enough, I think this bogged down in the big climatic battle sequence, which boiled down to slug a bit, run away, come back and slug a bit, etc. Otherwise as good as the memory.

Search for Spock: For all people rag on this, it's not that bad, other than the weirdness of the titular plot points (and the general disintegration in the last twenty minutes.) But it's funny, a good continuation of Kirk's character study, and such a tight friendship among the characters. Obviously the place where people get the reputation of Kirk as kicking over all the apple carts.

The Voyage Home: Oh, wow. Again falls apart a little in the last twenty minutes, and plot holes you could drive a truck through, but so goshdarn fun (and funny). Comes close to being a string-the-one-liners-together movie, but not quite.

DamNation: It's a Patagonia movie, so it's pretty, and informative, and maybe a tiny bit preachy. I thought they gave good time to the people of differing opinions who were willing to talk to them, and were honest that they're pointing out the very specifically problematic dams.

The Final Frontier: As with III, this starts out...okay, although it's not clear where the plot is. And it end in a pile of incoherence. Again, more Kirk personal journey...whether intentional or not, they're really setting up VI, with the whole I need-my-pain thing.

The Undiscovered Country: Not quite as good a movie as I remembered, although still enjoyable and definitely with its good points. I really got this time that peace with the Klingons was hard, not just a matter of opening one's eyes: they're actually annoying and unlikeable and not necessarily deserving, and from the human side unacknowledged prejudices just slip through. And, yes, anvilicious.

Shadow of Freedom (David Weber): Somehow it's only now that I put the finger on what's slowing down and padding out Weber's books: we're getting everybody's internal monologue, in great detail, as well as all the external dialogue chewing over all the possible courses of action. It's almost more boring to see what the bad guys are up to: all setup and litlte payoff. Helen Zilwicki is also pushed off her stage. I liked the Saganami Island series at first, but now that the main plot threads of all three series have converged, I'm not sure Weber knows what to do with the sub-series.

Cauldron of Ghosts (David Weber and Eric Flint): This had much better payoff than Shadow of Freedom, although partly because everything built up in there actually happened here. There's one chapter that exists verbatim in both books, sigh, Weber really should give up on pretending they're independent.

Buffalo 5 Girls: Maybe it's unfair, but I have a higher bar for media that constantly makes terrible things happen to its characters. Are you doing something with this, or are you just a horrible person, or do you think horrible people are a profitable audience? And despite an intriguing beginning, Buffalo 5 Girls fails. It throws around vague themes of love and vulnerability and dreams, but ultimately sinks without conclusion either in plot or theme.

Piacevole: Only one tankouban worth but I didn't care enough to slog through the whole thing.

Koe no Katachi: A tough one. For the most part everybody's wonderfully complex in motivation with no good/bad dichotomy, although this makes it a bit draining to read. I felt the ultimate resolution was a too simplistic: it's a hard balance, because I rather agree with the point they were trying to make about everybody's internal fears, but there should have been some messiness left. This is really a manga about belonging and it's pretty emotionally rough for that.

Shokugeki no Soma Second Plate: Is there more to say? A bit rushed given the 13 episode run, but managed to get in a nice growth to Soma's character. Continues to be well worth it.

Orange: Really good adaptation of the manga, fit the story into the runtime about right, and both visuals and music complement the original nicely. Like, say, anohana, it's a bit heart-on-the-sleeve drama, but not badly so.

Bananya: It's ridiculous cat cuteness and we much enjoyed.

Sweetness and Lightning: Roughly slice-of-life and got a little boring (a bit repetitive) by the end.

Alderamin on the Sky: Started out with such promise and completely failed to deliver. A whole bunch is set up in the first few episodes and they just...keep setting it up until the end, with finally a hint at going somewhere just as the show ends.
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