[personal profile] jtniehof
Inside Out, Kingsman, Paul's Boots, Project Grizzly, The Ancient Magus' Bride, Yowapeda movies, FLIP FLAPPERS, Bungo Stray Dogs Season 2, Brave Witches, Drifters, Cheating Craft, Understanding Exposure, Lanterne Rouge, Planetes manga.

Inside Out: Really inconsistent; worked a lot better when we got interplay between the head-characters and the outside world. When the inside characters were running around on their own, the metaphor broke down too much for me to really care. Those also felt like the scenes where the rules were made up completely as they went along, with a large dose of "I think we'll just be weird now". The first 30 minutes were great; the rest dragged to the (inevitable) conclusion.

Kingsman: That Was a Movie. Parts were hilarious (I'm surprised I haven't seen more GIFs of the fireworks), but overall this suffered from not deciding if was serious or a farce. It tries so very hard to be taken seriously. Dialogue peppered throughout lampshades that it just wants to be an old-time spy movie before people realized how crazy they were, but it just doesn't work: it's a sort of self-awareness averted through willful ignorance.

Paul's Boots: Another AT movie (watch it here). It starts out going right for the feels but fortunately avoids the smarmy. In some sense it's just another series of hiker vignettes, but the thread of the boots holds it together. Not much of interest to nonhikers but a reasonably fun use of an hour.

Project Grizzly: Started out funny enough but once it got to the crux, going out to meet the bear, the not-funny weirdness took over. This is not the story of a guy making a grizzly-proof suit. This is a character sketch of the kind of guy who would make a grizzly-proof suit. By the last thirty minutes it becomes a postmodern Rorschach test: is this guy really that unhinged? Is he hamming it up for the camera? Are he and the director in cahoots and the whole thing is just fiction? Or is this an excuse to go for a grizzly hunt without bothering to get a license? The pivotal "encounter" that supposedly set him on this path is pretty small beer as such things go...scary, I'm sure, but really a nonevent. This is not funny odd. This is uncomfortable odd. "Expeditions" that look like hunting camp. "Research" that looks like sitting in the dump all night.

The Ancient Magus' Bride (1 ep): Felt like another Harry Potter cash-in (so many shows have that style now) and just boring.

Scorching Ping-Pong Girls: Half an episode of rote, tossed!

Yowapeda movies: I think I can skip right over discussing the recaps (Re:RIDE, Re:ROAD)....the frame stories are pretty pointless and the rest just goes by, but with a lot less impact. It doesn't replace the TV, for sure. The third movie (simply "the movie") punches below its weight, too. For all the craziness of the TV series taking forever to get anywhere, the banter and flashbacks and interaction that slow the passage of time are what makes it worthwhile. Without it, we're down to very little off-bike time (a bit of an issue in the series, too, as the race itself wasn't my favorite part) and less character development on-bike.

FLIP FLAPPERS (1/2 ep): Too bored to make it through the first ep; there was something about the setup of "model student gets world turned upside-down" that wasn't promising to start with.

Bungo Stray Dogs S2 (2 ep): It's looking like the whole season is going to be flashback to Dazai in the Port Mafia, and it's just exceedingly boring. There's no plot or problem.

Brave Witches (2 ep): Of the two "witches in WWII" shows this season, this was the weaker. It pretty well hit the expected beats without being interesting and we ditched.

Drifters (3 ep): This had promise, and of course it was all about the style, but I just couldn't deal with the mess of throwing in more and more factions without much plot coherence.

Cheating Craft (3.5 ep): We gave this a fair bit of time but got bored since there wasn't enough plot or character glue to hold the gags together.

Understanding Exposure (Bryan Peterson): Strongest in the shots comparing different exposures with similar compositions. Technically pretty weak...the depth of field discussion is particularly bad, and DoF as a function of focal length (or subject distance) is pretty important in this day when there are all sorts of sensor sizes and "equivalence" gets tangled up quickly. There's nothing on the absolute calibration of the EV scale. Absolute calibration really helped me understand; it's no substitute for experience but can speed up the process. I was hoping for a handy reference and clear presentation. Instead, this is more "Intuiting Exposure".

Lanterne Rouge (Max Leonard): Nominally a history of the people to come last in the Tour de France, and the way this position was viewed over time, this is a smorgasboard of weird and wonderful Tour trivia (with a focus on the lanterne.) A certain amount of bike racing knowledge is assumed--the goal of the GC, points, etc. aren't really explained--but otherwise pretty widely accessible. Lots of fun and recommended for any Tour fan.

Planetes manga: It's been so long since I've seen the anime I only remember it in outline; I think it diverged a bit. But the manga is every bit as good as the adaptation. By the second volume it's just a repeated gut-punch; this is a very emotional work without being exactly dramatic. The setting is hard sci-fi but avoiding genre tropes; basically it's about what it means to look to the future both as a person and as humanity in toto. Really recommended.
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March 2017


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