Monday, October 10, 2005

Catching Up on My Indulgences

I went a while without posting my thoughts on any of the movies, books, and TV shows in which I've indulged lately, so I thought I'd remedy that.

I'll start with books, because I generally don't like to voice my opinions of them. I'm too sensitive, for obvious reasons, of the author's feelings. I glance around at my fiction detritus, and of 21 books lying on my floor, 8 of them I didn't finish. Some I didn't get past the first couple of chapters. Three are authors I've read before and either loved or really enjoyed. I feel bad when I don't like the newest ones. But at least I bought the books! They got their royalties.

Of the ones I did enjoy, Cherry Adair's latest was a great one. I don't remember the title. I sent it to my sister-in-law, hoping to pick up a new dedicated reader for Ms. Adair. I also really liked Dirty Little Secrets. I'm not sure I'll read the sequel, because it's set in a world that I want to avoid. But I probably will, because the characters are so well-drawn and the story was so well-told.

I found Devil's Bargain by Rachel Caine to hold my attention, as well. Though I sometimes felt the author liked her secondary character (and probably future heroine) more than she liked DB's heroine, the action was gripping, and the paranormal premise really cool.

She's on the Money was way better than Stef Feagen's first Pink book, Show Her the Money, which was delightful already. By far the best Bombshell I've read recently was The Contestant, by Stephanie Doyle.

On to TV. The new season is a bit over a month old, and things are shaking out. Shaking hard at Fox, who ditched Head Cases after only two episodes. Poor Chris O'Donnell. Anyway, I don't watch Fox, unless I am forced to by virtue of my New England Patriots playing an NFC team. Here's my lineup this season:

Kitchen Confidential - Chosen because it stars Bradley Cooper, who played Will on Alias (have I ever mentioned he was my favorite character?). It makes me laugh, but I wouldn't miss the show if they canceled it. Bradley, yes, very much so. The show, eh. I think it's much better than all of the fat-dumb-guy-with-hot-wife sitcoms, which means its days are numbered.

Prison Break - The promos caught my eye because they featured Dominic Purcell, who starred in the low-rated but very smart and intriguing John Doe a few years ago. He chooses well, because this is another very smart and intriguing show. It's not episodic, which I love, and has a new twist every week. The only bad part is the ex-girlfriend/attorney who has one facial expression and annoys me more each Monday.

Okay, I lied. I just realized those are both Fox shows. Doh. They got me. Dammit.

LOST - They're doing some new things this season. Like showing the same scenes from different perspectives. Bringing in a LOT of new people. Mixing up the relationships by bringing together people who weren't usually in such proximity before. I'm still loving every minute of it. I just wish they'd tell us how Locke got in the damned wheelchair.

Alias - Don't EVEN try to talk to me about Vaughn's death. He's not dead. Jack extracted him because as long as he was alive, he was in danger, and Sydney was in danger, and even bigger, their baby was in danger. If they'd left him full of holes next to the train, my denial would be harder to maintain. But he survived that. And the doctor who was doing chest compressions was bending his elbows and bouncing his body, not stiff-arming Vaughn's chest. It was all for show. No, it was NOT bad acting. It was for show.

Numb3rs - I usually don't go in for procedurals. But this one has some neat stuff. Two hot guys (four, if you count Don's FBI team). More smartness. It's very intriguing how they manage to get math into the story every week. It does make me laugh, though, that the same FBI team investigates stalkers, murderers, and jewel thieves. Doesn't seem likely. But maybe the LA bureau is understaffed.

Movies are starting to get better. We're past the mediocre teen-bait and into some meatier stuff. There are several I'll see on DVD (or have seen on DVD) and a few on the big screen.

Crash - I tend to be really disappointed by critically acclaimed indies, but this one was every bit as good as the reviews said. The writer and director did not play it at all safe. No political correctness here. They addressed racism from all perspectives, exploring why people are the way they are, and why it's so hard not to be. And looked at race not just in a black/white world, but as it affects Hispanics and Persians, too.

Just Like Heaven - This is not your average ghost movie, nor your average romantic comedy. Ruffalo shows once again why he's such a great romantic lead, when he's so far from classically handsome. He's an amazing actor who had great chemistry with Reese Witherspoon, one of my favorite actresses. There was one moment that was predictable and I hated it, but it ended up okay after that.

A History of Violence - This movie was SO not what it appeared to be. At first, I found it awkward and forced and then anticlimactic and dull. And THEN. Wow. Viggo Mortensen is amazing. Maria Bello I like, and she made me not like her so much. That was a good thing. The second half of the movie made you look at the first half in a totally new way. And William Hurt was hilarious.

And, finally (if you cared enough to read this far), Serenity. I was not a Firefly fan. I wanted to be, but it just didn't grab me, for some reason. I think they yanked it too soon. But I'm going to give it another try on DVD. Serenity's plot was tightly written, the characters very emotional and made so you cared about each and every one of them. It was a true action ensemble, a throwback to the golden days of action films, before they became all about solitary heroes and one-line zingers. There's constant humor in this movie, as well as fear, suspense, mystery, sorrow, horror, and, yes, heroism. But heroism spread across the entire crew, not just one man. It was very satisfying, and I look forward to seeing it again.

Next up, a movie I've been waiting for forever (they pushed back the release date at least twice). Elizabethtown.


Jody W. said...

Here's an obsession for you. They have Legolas bobbleheads and K-mart. Doesn't your car need one?

Natalie Damschroder said...

Ooooohhhhh. I wonder if WalMart has them, too. Legolas would be a good match for my Gandalf bobblehead. LOL