Why are you still reading this?

October 17, 2011

I’m over here now: http://mistercomfypants.blogspot.com/


this blog is moving

October 9, 2011

A few days ago, it came to my attention that WordPress puts ads on their blogs. I never knew. You can’t see them when you’re logged in. It is upsetting. All this time my blogging has been driving traffic to somebody’s ads.

So I’ve moved my blog to Blogger/Blogspot.

site: http://mistercomfypants.blogspot.com/
RSS: http://mistercomfypants.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

And that’s that. I’m there now, not here. Old posts were imported, so the new place is riddled with links back to here (there’s not really anything I can do about that, short of paying WordPress an annual fee), which is annoying, but better than ads.

Subscribers will have to re-subscribe at the new blog in order to keep getting updates. Sorry, WordPress doesn’t offer any way to redirect the RSS feed automatically.


Star Trek: “One of Our Planets Is Missing”

October 7, 2011

Data
Title: Star Trek [The Animated Series]: “One of Our Planets Is Missing”
Year: 1973
Network: NBC
Episode: the third (of sixteen) from season one; 24 minutes
Creator: Gene Roddenberry
Director: Hal Sutherland
Writer: Marc Daniels
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley
With: George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Majel Barrett, James Doohan
Music: Alexander Courage (theme); Ray Ellis, Norm Prescott
I saw it: on video a couple times, most recently a few days ago (have on DVD)
Synopsis: a space cloud eats planets

My reaction
Concept:3/4 (Good)
Story:2/4 (Indifferent)
Characters:2/4 (Indifferent)
Dialog:3/4 (Good) It’s ironic, the dialog in the cartoon is so much more natural and believable and all-around grownup than it became toward the end of the original series. There’s this nice bit where Kirk gets Bones’ advice on whether or not to let a doomed planet know it’s doomed; it feels like they’re actually the characters they’re meant to be, instead of some sort of childish cowboy/Flash Gordon hybrids.
Pacing:3/4 (Good)
Cinematography:2/4 (Indifferent)
Special effects/design:4/4 (Great)
Acting:2/4 (Indifferent)
Music:4/4 (Great)
Subjective Rating: 8/10 (Great, 4/4 (Great)). The title is “One of Our Planets Is Missing.” That’s all I have to say about that.
Objective Rating (Average):2.9/4 (Good)

eta: The writer, Marc Daniels, directed a lot of the better episodes of the original series, including “The Doomsday Machine” (written by Norman Spinrad), which this episode rips off. Shameless. But I’ve always complained that if they’re going to rip off earlier episodes, why don’t they rip off the good ones? Giant Space Monster, Devourer of Worlds – none of that Little Timmy Gets Magic bullshit.


Star Trek: “Yesteryear”

October 7, 2011

Data
Title: Star Trek [The Animated Series]: “Yesteryear”
Year: 1973
Network: NBC
Episode: the second (of sixteen) from season one; 24 minutes
Creator: Gene Roddenberry
Director: Hal Sutherland
Writer: D.C. Fontana
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley
With: Majel Barrett, James Doohan, Mark Lenard, Billy Simpson, Keith Sutherland
Music: Alexander Courage (theme); Ray Ellis, Norm Prescott
I saw it: on video a couple times, most recently a few days ago (have on DVD)
Synopsis: Time Travelin’ Spock helps his younger self

My reaction
Concept:2/4 (Indifferent) It answers that burning question, “If they’ve discovered half a dozen means of time travel throughout the original series, why aren’t they time traveling more often?” The answer: “What? They time travel all the time. It ain’t no thing.”
Story:2/4 (Indifferent) So timey-wimey.
Characters:3/4 (Good)
Dialog:3/4 (Good)
Pacing:3/4 (Good)
Cinematography:2/4 (Indifferent)
Special effects/design:3/4 (Good)
Acting:1/4 (Bad)
Music:4/4 (Great)
Subjective Rating: 7/10 (Good, 3/4 (Good)). Baby Spock is annoying, but if you can get past the ridiculousness of the setup, it’s a novel story.
Objective Rating (Average):


Star Trek: “Beyond the Farthest Star”

October 6, 2011

Data
Title: Star Trek [The Animated Series]: “Beyond the Farthest Star”
Year: 1973
Network: NBC
Episode: the first (of sixteen) from season one; 24 minutes
Creator: Gene Roddenberry
Director: Hal Sutherland
Writer: Samuel A. Peeples
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley
With: George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan
Music: Alexander Courage (theme); Ray Ellis, Norm Prescott
I saw it: on video a couple times, most recently a few days ago (have on DVD)
Synopsis: an ancient spaceship is orbiting a dead star

My reaction
Concept:4/4 (Great)
Story:2/4 (Indifferent)
Characters:1/4 (Bad) No time for characters – too much awesome science fiction.
Dialog:4/4 (Great) Most of this episode consists of discussion of astrophysics. Kids love that shit.
Pacing:3/4 (Good) Way too fast. On the other hand, the half hour time slot leaves no room for Kirk to even think about getting his romantic subplot on; dude’s forced to captain a starship for a change.
Cinematography:2/4 (Indifferent)
Special effects/design:4/4 (Great) Yeah, the animation of people – or anything else that moves, really – is awful. But other than that, it is a beautiful, beautiful show.
Acting:2/4 (Indifferent)
Music:4/4 (Great)
Subjective Rating: 9/10 (One of my favorites, 4/4 (Great)). I guess four years of not making Star Trek gave them a chance to figure out what people liked about the show. This takes everything good about it, throws out the garbage, and adds in the wonderful bonus of not having to worry about a special effects budget.
Objective Rating (Average):3/4 (Good)


Vertigo

October 5, 2011

from my 1st Ebert’s Great Movies Marathon, part 3 of 13

Data
Title: Vertigo
Year: 1958
Length: 129 minutes
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: Alec Coppel & Samuel A. Taylor, based on a novel by Pierre Boileau & Thomas Narcejac
Starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak
With: Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore, Henry Jones, Raymond Bailey, Ellen Corby, Konstantin Shayne, Lee Patrick
Music: Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography: Robert Burks
Editing: George Tomasini
Oscars: nominated for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and Best Sound
I saw it: on video a couple times, most recently a few days ago (rented from Netflix)
Synopsis: a retired cop is hired to follow a woman whose husband claims she’s possessed

My reaction
Concept:3/4 (Good)
Story:3/4 (Good)
Characters:3/4 (Good)
Dialog:3/4 (Good)
Pacing:3/4 (Good)
Cinematography:4/4 (Great)
Special effects/design:3/4 (Good) The design is great. The special effects are pretty sad.
Acting:3/4 (Good) I love Jimmy Stewart, but he is horribly cast in this movie. Besides being too old, his persona is at odds with the character’s development.
Music:4/4 (Great)
Subjective Rating: 8/10 (Great, 4/4 (Great)). Suspenseful, fairly unique, and unmistakably 1958. It’s kind of two different movies, one after the other. About two thirds of the way through the film, the first story comes to a climax, things twist around, and a new story starts in a different direction. The first time I saw it, that bothered me a lot, and I wasn’t really able to get into the second story. Watching it a second time, it’s like a completely different movie. The first section now seems like prolonged set-up to the second section – which, now that I’m not distracted by having the rug pulled out or by Stewart’s miscasting, I can appreciate as having some of Hitchcock’s strongest moments.
Objective Rating:3.3/4 (Very good)

[update of a previous post – original is here]


Drive

October 3, 2011

Data
Title: Drive
Year: 2011
Length: 100 minutes
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writer: Hossein Amini, based on the book by James Sallis
Starring: Ryan Gosling
With: Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Kaden Leos, James Biberi
Music: Cliff Martinez (and non-original music)
Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel
Editing: Matthew Newman
I saw it: in the theater, a couple days ago
Synopsis: a driver gets involved in a mob set-up

My reaction
Concept:4/4 (Great) Basically a Western – at least, in characters and story.
Story:3/4 (Good)
Characters:4/4 (Great)
Dialog:4/4 (Great) Much of the movie involves people standing around not saying anything, which would have been a disaster if the cast and score wasn’t so damn great. There’s an enormous amount of communication that goes on without, or sometimes in spite of the dialog. (Judging from the reactions of the middle-aged people sitting behind us in the theater, it might benefit from subtitles for the subtlety impaired.)
Pacing:3/4 (Good)
Cinematography:3/4 (Good)
Special effects/design:3/4 (Good)
Acting:4/4 (Great)
Music:4/4 (Great)
Subjective Rating: 8/10 (Great, 4/4 (Great)). I wasn’t as blown away as I expected to be based on the internet’s reaction/obsession with it, but it’s a great movie. It oozes hipness. I predict there will be a number of movies in the next few years that emulate its style. Also: What is this cast? How is this a thing?
Objective Rating (Average):3.6/4 (Great)