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Last year I had a list of all the books and movies and games I read, watched, and played but this year I was too busy with STUFF and didn’t keep track! So here’s the abridged list, which goes only until January 2012 (or so I thought, but this is an awful lot of movies to watch in one month, so maybe it goes a bit further, who knows, the past is a mystery to us all)
MOVIES WATCHED IN 2012
* = rewatch
- Bring It On- free movie watched on New Year’s Day tradition continues! We watched this with Pop-Up Video style annotations on, which were AMAZING. Apparently they were written by Cody, because all the facts were about the actor Cody and how awesome he his and how he makes custom skateboards but never gets to ride them because his friends all steal them? I’m not making that one up. It/Cody is awesome.
- Teen Wolf - watched this the same day. I’d never seen it and wow, I love Michael J. Fox. Emily mentioned that in some countries they changed the character’s name to “Marty” when translating it to latch onto the Back to the Future mania, and you can squint and kind of see it as a B^F story where Doc’s gone in the future and then Marty becomes a werewolf? So that’s what I did.
- Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Belgravia - if it’s 1.5 hours of TV that’s movie enough for me! Good as usual but oh my gosh I am calling a moratorium on dominatrix characters who speak in sexual innuendo ALL THE TIME. It’s such lazy writing. Having her appear naked to avoid Sherlock’s detective vision was brilliant though. I will say this: that last scene where Sherlock rescues her is a fantasy of Irene’s just before she dies, or if necessary of Sherlock’s; this is 100% SUPERCANON and it did not happen in story reality and anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t know what a good story looks like.
- Sherlock Holmes: The Hounds of Baskerville - lots of problems with the story / characters here, a major clue revolves around the word “in” but Sherlock only hears it orally and never says “Wait, ‘in’ or ‘inn’? They’re different words, MAYBE this is important?”.
- Hellboy II - watched this with Priya and Jenn going in cold, and we all assumed it was a critically panned sequel. But reading afterwards it got like 80% on Rotten Tomatoes and made some Year’s Best lists? THE WORLD IS KA-RAZY
- Sherlock Holmes: The Reichenbach Fall - okay guys I loved this. I thought it was spot on, and love love love their Moriarty. He’s funny and incredibly dangerous and loves the challenge Sherlock represents. There’s a clear Batman/Joker vibe in their relationship - none more than in this episode - and while I was willing to suspend disbelief and allow “a computer code that can crack any lock” as something that motivates the plot, Moriarty at the end saying, effectively, “what? That’s stupid. Computer’s don’t work that way” was such a relief I said “thank you” out loud. This series was kinda sucky, but this episode was one almost perfect!
- Captain Blood - For a movie called “Captain Blood” starring Errol Flynn, I expected more swashes to be buckles and buckles to be swashed. A lot of it was how he became a pirate, and then a title card shows us years had passed and we never got to saw him really being a pirate! There’s, like, TWO swordfights. I will not be satisfied unless a movie is 100% swordfights; it is the price you pay to call your movie “Captain Blood”. (In this film he was Peter Blood, medical doctor) (lame)
- The Room - A “so bad it’s good” movie that is elevated to the “it’s good” level by the amazing acting of the lead. It was fun to see it in an audience with a bunch of super excited people, yelling at the screen. NOTE: I saw this at the Royal Cinema on College (my first time there) and it - kinda sucks? The theatre is terrific, old and classy, but the security is rude and insane. Searching all our bags going in, impolitely, and as a Classy Gent I always stay to watch the credits - except at The Royal, where the same security guy comes by and says “Movie’s over. You need to leave now.” (exact quote). Even at big chain theatres the rudest experience I’ve had was the staff starting to clean while the credits roll; I’d never been kicked out of a theatre for watching a movie too much before.
- Five Minutes In Heaven - Joey and I were going to watch dumb action movies and this one had a cover that said “Revenging his brother’s death would be his… FIVE MINUTES IN HEAVEN”. Anyway turns out it’s a super serious movie about the IRA in the 70s and we stopped 1/2 hour in
- The A-Team - this is the movie we put on instead and it was as dumb as we hoped for! They get blowed up in a jet, but they’re in a tank INSIDE the jet, so they’re fine. They fire the tank guns at the ground so the recoil slows their fall, OBVIOUSLY.
- The Artist - knew nothing going in, watched 10 seconds of the trailer, saw it was a silent film and said YES. YES PLEASE. Really loved this. They explore the silent medium with the advantage of sound, and in one scene that literally gave me chills, demonstrate something that can ONLY be done in silent films and would’ve failed entirely in a talkie. Brilliant.
- The Secret Life of Arrietty - people say it’s short but it actually felt long? Not too much happens and one character in particular is introduced and is fascinating and then disappears for the rest of the movie. Not satisfying. Also I saw the dubbed version and Will Arnett’s voice is HILARIOUS which sucks because he’s not playing a funny character (WHOOPS)
- Charade - enjoyable, but mainly because I love Cary Grant! Some great one-liners from him. (to a woman he’s just met: “Is there a Mr. Lampert?” “Not for long. I’m getting a divorce.” “Please, not on my account”) but the plot itself is ridiculous and slapstick. Mostly fun though!
- The Greatest Movie Ever Sold - competent but the central thesis (“product placement… happens, I guess?”) isn’t nearly as strong as “man eats fast food for a month and gets fat”). The best parts was where he’d interview anti-advertising people in places he’d already gotten sponsorship for (ie: jetBlue’s guest lounge, etc)
- Mary and Max - Australian claymation AND dark comedy! Starts out super strong and has a nice finish, but a wee bit draggy in the middle. A little girl writes a letter overseas to America at random, asking about the adult world. She gets an obese 44-year-old Aspie with some mental problems, and they write back and forth for the next two decades. Lots of their letters are adorable and awesome, especially the early ones.
- This Film Is Not Yet Rated - a rewatch: I’d seen this when it came out and recommended it to Jenn. It was fun but not as good as I remember it being!
- Chronicle - really loved this! I think it got a bad rap because it is FOUND FOOTAGE style, but dudes: it’s “found footage” of kids who develop TELEKENETIC POWERS, so they’re holding the camera with their minds a lot of the time and getting some really incredible footage. I think this aesthetic really helped the movie: the scene where they almost get hit by an airplane had increased tension because of it, and freed from the shakey-cam origins of the style, they did some really amazing things. It also helped that the conceit was that it was found footage AFTER the fact, so footage from any camera could be spliced into the movie, which gave it more of a documentary God’s-eye-view feel. Recommended!
- The Amazing Shadows - basically a bunch of clips from famous movies. Not bad for what it is! It DID make me realize that the reasons cinemas have curtains is that movies were originally shown in actual theaters.
- * Sherlock Holmes: both Moriarty episodes (s1e3 and s2e3) - Pat had never seen the show and I loved Moriarty so I showed him the first one, and then he wanted to see MORE MORIARTY. Best Moriarty ever, there can be no doubt.
- Bruce Almighty - for some reason I’d wanted to see this for a while? And it was on TV late at night so I watched it? Anyway great premise, totally sucky movie, and I’m so glad we as a society got past the “megabyte me” jokes reflected in this film. I’M SO GLAD.
- The Thomas Crown Affair - the original, not the remake. Turns out in the original Thomas is much less charming and has a bank robbery go down in which people get shot? It’s hard to empathize much with a dude who’s got Bruce Wayne’s means but Lex’s personality.
- * Midnight In Paris - Jenn hadn’t seen ANY Woody Allen movie before so we watched this. I still love it (except for the very ending) but she thought it was JUST OKAY. :0
GAMES PLAYED IN 2012
- Batman: Arkham City - yay Steam sales! I love that Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy are doing the voice, which helps me get past some really bad character designs (oh Harley, what have they done to you, oh no.).
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - Jenn and I play these games together and I got her this for Christmas. I’m really enjoying the story and the 1:1 swordplay is a lot of fun. Motion controls are finally what they should be! Though it doesn’t have Malo in it and he is my favourite Zelda character ever in time.
- 7 Wonders - played this at the gaming convention Chris and I went to. It’s a short game where you get a hand, play the card you want, and pass the remaining to the left - so you never know what you’re going to get, but can be strategic in using up cards before they’re passed. The cards are complicated with a lot of resource management / building involved, but the final point tally is so complicated (you get victory points in one of seven different ways, IIRC) that it’s hard to really tell who’s winning until the end (which is good, that stops you from feeling like you’re in last place!)
- Wings of War: WWII - you fly planes! And you shoot down all the other planes! Chris and I played a short game where we shot each other, and then we played a 3 on 3 game where it was Nazis vs Allies on teams and it was SO MUCH FUN. You fly your planes around on the table (literally, pushing them around) and your cards let you chose maneuvers, and you all reveal your choices of maneuvers at the same time. It’s unlike any other game I’ve played.
- Pandemic - Kean introduced us to this and it is The Perfect Game For Cooperation. Everyone works together to save the world from disease, and it’s really fun! I enjoyed both times I played this, even though the game is pretty bleak!
- Dominion: Seaside - really liked it! A rough start to the game where others played it but didn’t play interpersonally, I played it twice and loved both times. Like Dominion but with cards that affect your NEXT turn, and with some neat abilities to mess with other people
- Battlestar Galactica - like Pandemic but you don’t know who to trust! Lots and lots of fun. The game is structured such that good information is hard to come by, and when you DO have it, nobody trusts you so it’s hard to share. It’s long (4-5 hours for our first game) but entertaining throughout.
BOOKS READ IN 2012
- Toronto Noir - a collection of short stories all set in different neighbourhoods in Toronto. None of the stories was really exceptional though and some of them had some amazingly terrible descriptions of sex (“they tried every position and every hole, and then tried them again”). Hah hah hah WHAT
- Paying For It - loved loved loved this book. Chester Brown’s logical mind super appeals to me, and his willingness to follow arguments wherever they go is terrific. The endnotes were fascinating too.
- Mister Wonderful - An unexpectedly sweet ending.
- Empire State - I LOVE JASON SHIGA. I think he is doing the most inventive, crazy work in comics today, and has literally created books I have never even dreamed off before (choose your own adventure books WITH INVENTORY, the pages split down the middle? AMAZING). This was a less technically inventive story but which still surprised me with something I’d never seen done in the medium before. Jason Shiga = THE BEST.
- The Star Trek TNG Technical Manual - honestly this book is a lot of fun and I’m still big into the fact that a non-propulsive warp field is used on the computer core to allow FTL computation, that is awesome
- The Nit-Pickers Guide To Star Trek TNG - I’d wanted to read this since I was a kid, and when I finally read it, it’s - super mean? It’s mean-spirited and not fun and playful at all. Plus there’s this big aside in one episode where the author (who thanks Jesus in his bio) gets mad at Picard for having a non-religious worldview and calls it an error on the part of the producers. And MAY I JUST SAY I spotted two errors on the back cover copy of this book, sooooooo
The most recent thing I’ve read after I stopped this list was “Eon” by Greg Bear and I really enjoyed it too: it’s a great example of starting out with a small story and expanding the scope until basically the entire universe is involved. GOOD SHOW MR. BEAR
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- internet-cowboy said: thanks for the list mr. north! i look forward to these annually. WOW, LOOK AT ME, I AM TALKING RIGHT AT RYAN NORTH. will he see this? guys: probably not!
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