This Week in Geek (27/02-04/03/12)


Well, I won the Oscar Pool for the second year in a row, with 15 correct answers on Oscar wins, and that means I've scored a big box of DVDs. Thankfully, the rules allowed me to give away what *I* put in the box (so long, EZ Money!) and anything I already owned to the second and third places. Still, that's 17 new DVDs on the shelf, and not all of them "wanted". There are things that look really bad, like Dr. Doolittle: Million Dollar Mutts, Quebec's À vos marques... Party!, and stupid comedies Don't Mess with the Zohan and Step Brothers. And then there are total abominations like the "original and yet Greedo shoots first" Star Wars trilogy, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and the movie that made me give up on Tim Burton films forever, his Planet of the Apes. There's even age-inappropriate material with two Brave Little Toaster DVDs, and the format-inappropriate Silence of the Lambs in (ugh) full screen. So my hopes for entertainment fall on Predator (awesome), Hancock (doubtful), Crank 2: High Voltage (why not), Lovely Bones (Peter Jackson) and Spice World (dark horse!). In the "Buys" category, those Amazon sale discs are still trickling in, this week in the form of Finding Neverland and Mongol.


DVDs: The second season of Parks and Recreation, clocking in at a full 24 episodes, is well, awesome. The mark of a great comedy, for me, is not just that it be funny, but that it manage to touch me as well. P&R did that for me. Though it is shot and written in much the same way as The Office (the U.S. version of which I do not watch), Leslie Knope isn't a fool like that show's boss. Her enthusiasm for government work and for her values makes her a smart woman who nonetheless gets in over her head. The characters are comic caricatures, but they don't go where you think they will, and the growing respect between them and desire to do the right thing according to their evolving values is turning this into the local government comedy equivalent of The West Wing. Rob Lowe showing up at the end only confirms this. The DVD has almost full cast commentary on a few key episodes, a couple of producers' cuts, deleted scenes APLENTY (and very funny too), a gag reel, behind the scenes stuff mostly for giggles, Olympics promos, and more. Good deal.

Kung Fu Dunk is the Shaolin Soccer of basketball... or is it? I wasn't expecting much based on online reviews, and it's true that it's not on Soccer's level. Although the "Chinese rules" basketball is appropriately ridiculous, it takes too long to get there, is largely repetitive, and doesn't quite rise above the level of most sports movie plots. However, the awesome Eric Tsang (Sam in Infernal Affairs) elevates the material to surprising levels, actually making the end of the film poignant. I love Eric Tsang. And the movie's got a rockin' score that's rather infectious. Definitely better than expected... let's do Shaolin Hockey next, ok?

Audios: I'm so used to Marc Platt's Doctor Who stories to be dense metaphors, his 6th Doctor Big Finish audio Paper Cuts seems rather tame. It's a good one, delving much deeper than ever before into Draconian culture, throwing some weird and fun concepts around like living origami soldiers and an orbital Heaven, as well as juggling the Charley/Mila subplot. India Fisher does a good job of playing a spin on her usual character. If I have to list a negative, it has to be the variable Draconian accents. Some of the actors force a sibilance on their lines that's just a step away from annoying, and then there's the cockney Draconian peasant.

The Charley/Mila arc, and Charley's story for now, ends in Nicholas Briggs' Forgotten Blue Planet, another outing for the Viyrans, this time, in some indeterminate part of Earth's future. There's a certain timey-wimeyness, and India Fisher playing two characters, and an ending that's pretty sweet while also allowing for Fisher to return to Big Finish in either guise. I was hard on Briggs' first part to the trilogy last week (Patient Zero), but the overall story has been rewarding. The 6th Doctor audios continue to be the shiniest jewel in Big Finish's crown.

Hyperion to a Satyr posts this week:
III.ii. The Mouse-Trap - Olivier '48


idiotbrigade said...

"Chinese Rules" applied to hockey would be disastrous. Especially Kung-Fu hockey, considering every player is armed with razor blades on their feet, and sticks to be weilded like a Monk's spade or quarterstaff.

Actually scratch that, it would be awesome. Carry on.

Siskoid said...

Yep, you really sold it there, buddy.

snell said...

I rather enjoyed Hanccok, although I seem to be in the minority...

Toby'c said...

I actually don't mind Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes, and I'm definitely in the minority. If nothing else, I appreciate it going back to the source novel in places where the first movie didn't. And it sure isn't so bad that I would refuse to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I also liked Crystal Skull and the DVD versions of the original Star Wars trilogy.

Siskoid said...

I swore off Burton films because they're all the same. I just got sick of the spiral designs etc. It's not that Planet was that bad. But it's got nothing on the original.

But you lost all credibility when you said you liked those Lucas movies. ;)

Randal said...

Funn...Spice World was on the other day on Starz or something and I figured why not?


Dan said...

Don't hold out a lot of hope for The Lovely Bones as entertainment. In sort of the opposite feat of his Lord of the Rings adaptations, Peter Jackson took a beautiful, well-crafted novel that was going to be tough to adapt to the screen and turned it into a dull, incomprehensible mess of a movie. A major disappointment.

Siskoid said...

I've been warned!


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