While in Bradford for Infest, a few of us went to see Brave. Julie and Nick didn't fancy it, and Meredith is waiting for it to be on at the cheap showings so she can take Noah, so John, Adam and I went along and ended up with the National Media Museum's* cinema almost to ourselves - just eight other people in total (apparently the 3D showing two hours earlier had been much busier). The movie was great - fun, witty, scary, emotional, with a basic moral of "Women can also be agents of the patriarchy.", and (unshockingly) everyone learning their lesson by the end. Gorgeous animation, and I particularly liked the horse, which was actually horsey in its movements (at least to my untrained eyes). Nicely ambiguous in places too. Recommended.
A few weeks earlier I saw The Dark Knight Rises. Which I hadn't been going to talk about, because, well, "meh". But having whined about it on various other people's journals, I probably ought to repeat myself in my own. I was never a massive fan of the first one, thought the second one was great largely due to The Joker, and found myself annoyed in the third one by a plot that was remarkably incoherent, and played directly into various bad comic-book/movie tropes - down to the ticking-time-bomb that was both made from unstable materials, and capable of ticking down by the second. Also, I'd rather like to have a Batman who thinks about things. After an initial plan of "Punch Bane in the face until he falls over" failed miserably, it would have been nice to have his final plan be, well, different. Also, I was _really_ hoping that he'd get out of the prison by finding a way nobody had ever thought of, rather than hurling himself repeatedly across a big gap until self-help drivel made his legs stronger. Or something. Which means that the last Christopher Nolan movie I really enjoyed was The Prestige.
Much better was X Men: First Class, which was well written, well directed, well acted, had a plot that worked, tied in nicely to the history of 1962, and was generally a joy to watch. It also managed to enhance the two Bryan Singer X-Men movies** without undercutting them. Is there anything Michael Fassbender isn't good in?
Bunheads. New series from the creator of The Gilmore Girls (which wasn't really to our taste). Very nicely put together, witty (occasionally to the point of the wit overtaking the plot/character), with multiple sets of characters we genuinely liked. The main problem it suffers from is massive uneveneness. Some episodes we're watching a wacky sit-com, others are more towards the drama side of things (although still with a helping of comedy). Well worth watching the first ten minutes if you like that kind of thing.
True Blood. I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. I didn't buy the fact that The Authority (which we've heard so much about) turns out to be a bunch of squabbling idiots in New Orleans, Bill's rise to power, and the final episode was just appalling, with characters acting out of character, developing new skills from nowhere, and me losing any belief that the writers know what they're doing. Shame, as parts of the season have been great (Hoyt's arc, Jason's realisations about his life, Jessica, Tara and Pam's interactions).
Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated. Utter genius, and perfect for the twenty minutes in the morning between me bringing Julie her tea, and it being cool enough for her to drink it. Set in a town where monsters drive the tourist business, and thus nobody likes the meddling kids who keep proving they don't exist. Some nice interactions between the characters, a plot arc that runs through the season (we're only up to episode 18 of season 1), and loads of references thrown in for good measure (The Saw episode was particularly fun, as was the HP Lovecraft one (guest-starring Harlan Ellison), and the Terminator one.)
Grant Morrison's Joe The Barbarian. Didn't work for me at all. It shares a basic plot failing with Sucker Punch - both of them have large sections set inside someone's head, which means that I really don't care about any of the stuff that happens in there. This meant that I had no empathy for about 4/5 of the plot, and frankly the rest wasn't that interesting either. Shame, as the art was quite pretty.
Whatever Happened To The World Of Tomorrow. Julie got me this as a birthday present. And to make sure it wasn't something I already had, she went to Amazon and read pretty much every review of every book released in the last 60 days. And I'm very glad she did. The basic idea is of a father/son relationship, starting off at the World Fair in 1939, and growing up together watching what happens to the promise of the technology they saw there. There's a plot trick that's used which didn't quite work for me - they don't age in real time, so that they get to see the space race rise and fall, and end up in the present day with the kid just becoming an adult. But the book works so well overall, with so much emotional attachment to the events as he narrates them, that I couldn't help falling in love with it anyway. Well worth it if you have a love for the tomorrows we never quite got to have.
*Well worth wandering around for its own sake. I don't think I learned anything terribly new, but it was nice to see all of it anyway.
**I am still massively disappointed that he left to direct Superman Returns rather than finish his trilogy.
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