Based on my very much liking Kurasawa's Seven Samurai, I sprung for the relatively recent Yojimbo/Sanjuro two-pack. And based on my undying love of Shakespeare, I also got Kenneth Brannagh's As You Like It as soon as it came out. Funny that it also has a Japanese theme (the movie, not the play per se). It's gonna be a Japanese week, I can feel it.
Well, I didn't wait long to pop As You Like It in the machine. The same night, in fact. And with only a very short featurette in the extras, I definitely flipped it. Now, I'd never seen a performance of As You Like It before then, but I knew it had to hinge on Rosalind, which may well be the last of Shakespeare's great Trinity: Hamlet, Falstaff and her. Characters so well drawn, so deep and so real, that they can exist outside their home play. Bryce Dallas Howard was definitely up to the challenge and charmed me totally, though one shouldn't discount the other characters, often disparaged by critics on account of their not being worthy of Rosalind (few could!). Adrian Lester and David Oleyowo give sensitive performances as the De Boys boys, and Alfred Molina and Kevin Kline do great things with their limited clowns. The epilogue, though an outgrowth of Henry V's chorus, still managed to surprise and delight me, and is perfect for this play, this heroine. I've got to say, Kenneth Brannagh has done it again (which I wasn't sure could happen again after Love's Labour's Lost's failure).
Earlier in the week, I flipped Heroes Season 1, a boxed set chock-full of cast and crew commentaries recorded on set, between scenes much of the time (Greg Grunberg is particularly zany, really the Katy Manning of the Heroes set for Doctor Who fans out there) and a number of good featurettes, including one on comic book artist Tim Sale. A great package. Having missed it the first time round, watching Heroes in sequence over the course of 2½ days, it's a real runaway train of a series. Despite my comic book knowledge of the basic tropes, I was never quite sure what would happen next, who would survive and how it would all end. Plenty of mysteries layered in for later seasons as well. Loved it, and flipped it in time for Season 2's premiere episode (with less than a minute to spare). The new season is starting out slow like the first one did, and I'm ready for the twists to come that will no doubt subvert my expectations. And it made me laugh out loud, which I don't think happened at all in Season 1, so that's a first twist for me.
Had some problems with my DVD-ROM that I think I've fixed, and that's allowed me to make 4 new cards for my Doctor Who CCG. Check 'em out in the Time Meddlers section if you like. They're mostly Spacetime cards from City of Death, including the very pretty Gay Paree:
RPGs: My boy Sly convinced me to run some Planescape today despite the fact that all our other players were working or else out of town this weekend, but in the spirit of that post on Subplots I did, I couldn't really refuse. The idea became to juice up his bariaur gladiator's subplots by using life around the arena (a charioteering event where he is the horse, etc.), but introduce a murder mystery and a psycho killer from his own faction into it as well. Result: Killed two memorable NPCs, had a really great chariot fight, set up three new locations in the City of Doors, and had a good time. What more can I ask for?