This Week in Geek (4-10/01/16)


Got a couple of advance pdfs for Doctor Who RPG books while I wait for the hard copies to arrive: The 11th Doctor sourcebook and the adventure compendium All of Time and Space vol.1. Oh and unrelated, but sort of related, Continuum Season 3 on DVD.


In theaters: Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight is bloody drawing room mystery of a western with a fun cast and plenty of good moments, but it really didn't need to be three hours long. The extremely talky script really could have used a trim, as we have characters telling the same stories to different people, and making the same points several times. Realistic, maybe, but this isn't a piece of realism. It's a raucous comedy, and a slapstick comedy at that. As with Django Unchained's slavery humor, it may take you a few moments before allowing yourself to laugh at Jennifer Jason Leigh's treatment in this movie, but taking it as violent slapstick helps. Regardless of its flaws, the time flies by pretty fast, the characters and locations are interesting, the film impeccably shot, and it's Ennio Morricone's first western score in decades. But it's one that needs to grow on me, because as it stands, it's perhaps Tarantino's weakest film in terms of theme and story.

DVDs: Louis C.K.'s unglamorous take on the stand-up comic sitcom continues to intrigue with Louie Season 2, and I want to coin the term "observational drama" to describe it (if no one's thought of it already), because while there's comedy in the stand-ups, the way episodes play out, usually in paired vignettes, they evoke sadness more than laughs. And I'm perfectly fine with that, because they ARE so well observed. What's funny is that you recognize the stories as being truthful - even when they are flights of fancy - and recognize yourself or your world in them. It takes guts, I think, to put this kind of thing on television. The show's secret MVP is C.K.'s friend Pamela Adlon, who started contributing script material this season and is one heck of a character. I hope we haven't seen the last of her. The DVD includes audio commentary on the first few episodes and then dries up, which is too bad because Louis C.K. usually provides comments of interest, and a Fox Movie Channel featurette which about as okay as it sounds.

Penguins of Madagascar, about a quartet of penguin secret agents under threat from an octopus supervillain whose human disguise seems based on Joss Whedon is so frenetically paced, I spent the first act wondering why the hell any of it was happening. I eventually eased into it, and enjoyed its relentless action and 25-jokes-a-minute rhythm, but I'm not gonna lie, it was tiring. At its best, it riffed on superspy stories without slavishly parodying them, coming off more like Thunderbirds than Bond, though there is a sequence more or less pulled from Moonraker (it takes a warped mind...). At its worst, it tacks on a cheesy "message" at the end that doesn't really work in light of what happens next, but it's clear the movie doesn't really care about that, just the jokes.


Toby'c said...

I take it you haven't seen the Madagascar trilogy yet?

Siskoid said...

I've seen this and nothing else with the word Madagascar in the title.

Toby'c said...

The first one's okay, the second is good and the third is great though not quite as funny as the Penguins solo movie in my opinion. They're also a lot less zany and frenetic, even the penguins' scenes, which may be a plus for you I guess.

Unknown said...

Louie season 2... Is basically my life.


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