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Review – Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Genre: Action/Comedy
Grade: A

Catching up on DVDs this weekend, becuase there’s a big stack of movies we haven’t gotten around to seeing.

I know everyone likes to complain about too many reboots and remakes of old favourites, but I have to say that “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is a wonderful homage to a film I really liked as a teenager, updated to be fresh and relevant to modern audiences.
What? No, I don’t mean the 1995 Robin Williams film “Jumanji”, which I’ve never actually seen.
But it is absolutely a wonderful update of the 1985 film “The Breakfast Club”. 🙂
Seriously, it really is a tremendously fun movie, and we enjoyed it a lot. I particularly enjoyed the way the four leads played both to and against type, and they certainly seemed to to be having a great deal of fun with it.   This is the sort of ensemble cast that lives or dies on the strength of its cast’s chemistry, and Johnson, Gillian, Black, and Hart have it in spades.  It really makes me want to see the four of them do another project together, just to enjoy watching them interact.
If you like well-paced, genuinely funny action-comedies which put as much effort into the action as the comedy, and have a real heart, definitely make some time for it.

Friday Five: Good Reads

No theme this week, just a collection of really interesting, though-provoking, and sometimes funny esays.

Neville Longbottom is the Most Important Person in Harry Potter-And Here’s Why | Tor.comNeville Longbottom is what Peter Pettigrew might have been – why that’s important to the Harry Potter arc.

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via Tor

What Really Makes Katniss Stand Out? Peeta, Her Movie GirlfriendGeneral Hunger Games/Catching Fire information below; no huge surprises revealed. ] This weekend, Catching Fire, the second chapter of the Hunger Games film adaptations, raked in enormous piles of dough – with over $160 million in one weekend, it’s the biggest November opening ever. Ever. (Take that, Twilight sequels.)

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via Npr

In Defense Of Sarah SilvermanVariety TV critic Brian Lowry, in a piece entitled “Sarah Silverman’s Bad Career Move: Being as Dirty as the Guys,” warns that she is “veering into bad taste territory.”

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The 35 Greatest Easter Eggs From The “Doctor Who” 50th Anniversary445,582 Total Views Tagged: doctor who, day of the doctor, doctor who 50th anniversary, easter eggs, viral, win, doctor-who 4.6X Social Lift Stats 3. And here’s Coal Hill School itself, where companions Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright taught. Look closely… Chairman of the Governors: Ian Chesterton! And right under that it reads “W.

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25 Gifts For Writers1. Books This is about as obvious an answer as it gets (“What should I buy that starving child for Christmas?” “Um, food?” “Eh.”), but just the same I’m surprised at how rarely I receive books as g…

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OryCon: Day 1

Whew.  It’s been a long time since I was at a gencon, but I’ve been having a great time at this one.

After getting up and getting a shower, we wandered over to the nearby mall for a late breakfast/early lunch.  We ended up getting reasonably tasty teriyaki chicken from the food court, and had a great time watching the skaters on the ice rink in the middle of the mall while we ate.

Between panels I was on and things I wanted to attend, I had a pretty full day.  First up was “Can Movies Capture The Joy of Comics”, which was a lively panel.  We talked about the many various successful and unsuccessful attempts to adapt comics to the screen, and got a lot of input from the audience.

Immediately following was a panel called “Books to Movies to Comics to Movies to Books”, which was all about adaptation.  While some of it focused on similar topics to the first panel, we were a bit broader in the discussion, and got in several examples of cross-medium adaptation, including movie novelisations, TV series continuing as comics, and even the recent trend of taking a bunch of disparate iconic concepts and blending them into a new series, such as “Once Upon A Time” and “Grimm” have been doing.1

We had a brief break before a 6pm panel on “Developing Convention Policies”, which was attended by my wife and the husband of one of my co-panelists.2 After 10 minutes of no one being there, the panel and audience decided that we ought to continue our conversation on convention policy over dinner, and adjourned as a group to the restaurant.

After dinner, we got to the filk room in time to hear most of Frank Hayes’s concert.  I had arranged with the filk track to present Frank with his Pegasus Award for Best Alien Song,3 and as luck would have it, he played it in his set.  We interrupted the concert in order to present the award, which was great fun, since he hadn’t been warned this was going to happen.

Next up was the Filk Guest of Honour concert performance from Debs and Errol.  I was already quite familiar with their work via recording, but it was great to finally see them perform live.4 I hope to spend more time with them as the weekend progresses, but after the concert they had the usual press of folks wanting to meet them, so I briefly introduced myself and figured I’d see them again as the weekend progressed.  Tremendous fun duo.  Do *not* miss them if you get the chance.

As I’m writing this, I have one more duty, which is to be part of the Polyamory panel at 11pm.  After which I think I will sleep soundly.  Tomorrow has another full day in store!

  1. I mentioned and was surprised no one in the audience had heard of “Welcome to Night Vale“. 

  2. My opening remark:  “We outnumber them.  I think that means we win!” 

  3. Which was awarded two weeks ago at OVFF 

  4. During the concert, I tweeted “I really want to fold up @debsanderrol and put them in my luggage. 

Boba Fett Isn’t Dead

Boba Fett Isn’t Dead
TTTO: “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus

Red on green Mandalore armor
Back on the track

Boba Fett isn’t dead
The hunter left the sarlaac pit
The Jedi have all fled
Skywalker downs the sand skiff

Boba Fett isn’t dead
Boba Fett isn’t dead
Not dead! Not dead! Not dead!
Not dead! Not dead! Not dead!

The bounty hunters file past his tomb
Strewn with time’s lost contracts
Adrift in spacial slip
Alone on a darkened ship
The clone

Boba Fett isn’t dead
Boba Fett isn’t dead
Boba Fett isn’t dead
Not dead! Not dead! Not dead!
Not dead! Not dead! Not dead!
Not dead!

Oh Boba
Boba’s not dead
Oh Boba
Boba’s not dead

Boba’s not dead
Oh Boba
Boba’s not dead
Oh Boba

Boba Fett is an interesting character. He has about 20 minutes of screen time and five lines of dialogue in the original Star Wars trilogy, and still became one of its most enduring and popular characters. I can’t really think of anything else quite like it in popular culture.

If you’re like me and your Star Wars knowledge is primarily limited to the films, you may be unaware of the complex storyline that Boba Fett is at the centre of. In particular, you may not be aware that the character did not die in “Return of the Jedi”, but in fact escaped his fate and went on to have many more significant adventures in what is called the “Expanded Universe” of Star Wars lore.

I don’t recall with whom I was chatting about Star Wars (though I have a vague memory it was either Bryan Provost or Nigel Cox), but their reaction to my comment about Fett dying in RotJ was a forceful “Boba Fett isn’t dead!”, which managed to connect to the iconic refrain of this classic Bauhaus song. Not sure what to do with it, it sat in my unfinished songs folder for weeks, until the rest of it presented itself to me.

If you’re unfamiliar with the original tune and want to skip to the bit that has words in, jump to the 2:50 minute mark of the video linked above.

UPDATE (2020):  In a curious twist of fate, the TV series “The Mandalorian” has made this song canon. 🙂

I Look At The Tested And Think There But For The Grace Go I

Had a great time last night as a guest on the Movies In The Buff podcast, discussing the 1997 Kevin Smith film “Chasing Amy”.  I had originally been scheduled to join them a few weeks ago when they did an episode covering Smith’s earlier film “Clerks”, but Internet issues forced me to miss it, so I was pleased to be asked to join this one.  “Chasing Amy’ is probably my favourite Smith film, edging out “Dogma” by a whisker, and while that put me at odds with most of the rest of the gang, that made for an entertaining round table.  Thanks to Carl, Lisa, Rod, and Skullie for asking me on!  You can find the episode in iTunes, or from the link below!

Ep 75 – Chasing Amy in the Buff (Autographed Cat Style) | Movies in the Buff

Ep 75 – Chasing Amy in the Buff (Autographed Cat Style) | Movies in the Buff Rob Wynne joins us to defend this View Askew film from Rod while the rest of the cast sit firmly on the fence.

The time is all we’ve lost, I’ll try it

Last week, my friend Joey posted something on Facebook referencing the 2004 Will Ferrell vehicle “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”. I mentioned that I’d never seen it, and he encouraged me to giving a try, noting that it was a dumb movie but quite funny.

Well, thanks to HBO, I’ve now seen the first half of the movie. While I found it sporadically funny, it really wasn’t grabbing me, and at the point when the dog gets drop-kicked off the bridge, I turned to kitanzi and said ‘We can stop.’ She noted that if everyone had been dumb *except* for the Christina Appelgate character, that might have been salvageable, but when she turned out to be (or at least appear) just as much a moron as the rest, we quickly fell into the Valley of the Shadow of Idon’tcarewhathappenstothesepeople, from which few ever escape.

One item of note from the movie. I do believe that’s the first time in recent memory I’ve seen Fred Willard play a character where he was the *smartest* guy in the room.

A much more agreeable film was “I Love You Man”, a 2009 bromance romcom starring Paul Rudd, Jason Segal, and Rashida Jones. Peter (Rudd) is engaged to be married, but has no close guy friends, which worries his fiancée Zooey (Jones) and her girlfriends. So he sets out to make some, and in the process meets up with Sydney (Segal), a sort of man-child guru who gets Peter in touch with his inner bro, but ends up creating tensions between Peter and Zooey as he spends more and more time running off to spend time with his new friend. Rudd is fantastic as the uptight straight man, Jones is charming and attractive, and Segal plays a familiar-for-him character with all his usual flair. The ending is predictable, but sweet, and there’s an interesting subtext to the whole thing if you view it through the lens of polyamory.

On the whole, I’d give “I Love You Man” a recommend, and “Anchorman” a skip.

Guess I got distracted, but hey at least I tried

This weekend involved a great deal of unproductive productivity brought on by having a better idea after having already implemented the not-as-good-idea.

See, in addition to a great number of books, we have a great many DVDs. I like movies and TV and over the years I’ve accumulated a great many of these, and while it makes for a really cool shelf look, they take up a lot of space. Because there’s no way we were going to watch the great majority of these between now and moving day, they were (along with the bulk of the library) the first things to get boxed up and moved into storage.

But then I got to thinking — we don’t know how long those are gonna have to stay in storage. And who knows what we’ll want to watch once we’re settled in. For at least a while, our entertainment options are going to be necessarily limited to cheap things, and “watching movies you already own” is as cheap as it gets.

So over the weekend, I initiated Project Recovery, which involved going to the storage unit, shifting through all the boxes to find the ones with DVDs in them. (Yes, it would have been helpful to have labelled them in the first place. Thanks for pointing that out.) My original plan was to go through each one there in the unit and move the actual discs into a very large binder I’d bought for the purpose. After one box of this, I decided this was a dumb idea, and loaded the remaining boxes of DVDs into the car and brought them home to complete this task in the air conditioning.

I still suspect there’s a few discs floating about, since I can’t find my dvd of “The Quantum of Solace” anywhere. But the vast majority of the DVDs have now been reduced from several banker-boxes worth of space into two enormous binders which together take up about the same amount of space as a piece of carry-on luggage. This will make it relatively trivial to bring all of them with us when we drive out in January.

(I also took the occasion to weed out some duplicates, including “Firefly” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, both of which have been upgraded to BluRay, and the first two seasons of M*A*S*H, made redundant when I gave kitanzi the “Medicine and Martinis” box set for Christmas a few years ago. I passed these on to Matt and Mary when they were here for dinner on Saturday.)

This is, I’m afraid, the limit of my useful productivity for the weekend, but I think it will reward us in a few months when we’re wishing our movie collection was closer to hand. 🙂

When I find myself in times of trouble…

So, having made a solemn pledge to start updating again, I promptly stopped updating. Which isn’t to say things have been boring around here. [personal profile] runnerwolf came to visit, which was shiny and awesome, and then I went to California for Consonance, which was also shiny and awesome, and then I came home and had the plague, which was dingy and boring, and then Marian Call was in town for a concert, which was back to shiny and awesome.

So, rather than talk about those things, each of which deserves at least a post unto itself, I want to talk about Pop Culture Comfort Food.

This past weekend was mentally fragile for me. I do pretty well most of the time these days, but depression still sucks, and every so often it gets the better of me. There are some things that reliably help, but it’s mostly a matter of just getting through them until my brain chemistry balances out.

Since I had managed to lure [personal profile] kitanzi into playing The Old Republic with me, I got the notion over the weekend to rewatch Star Wars. I followed it up with The Empire Strikes Back because, well, it comes next, doesn’t it. And a couple of things struck me while I was watching it:

1) The Special Editions are fine. Seriously. There’s really nothing wrong with them. (Before you start, I want to note something: Han still shoots first. Really. Go watch. He shoots Greedo, whose gun discharges at strikes the wall. At the very worst, they shoot simultaneously. It’s Not Even A Thing, stop griping about it.)

2) These films are, for me, the cinematic equivalent of a big bowl of macaroni and cheese. I’ve seen them enough times now that they really are like comfort food. I go back to them and I’m 10 again and the world is okay.

[personal profile] kitanzi and I were discussing this last night, and she said that she couldn’t really think of a movie that fit that category for her, but she certainly had books which did, most notably Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series, which she claims to have read more times than she can actually count anymore.

So what are *your* pop culture comfort foods? When you just need something warm and familiar, what entertainment do you turn to?

Delightful Day

I slept late this morning, after having stayed up late the night before, so I was still a bit bleary eyed when I sat down to start scanning LJ and Facebook this morning. Saw that tigerbright mentioned the cinema broadcast of the resent mini-revival Stephen Sondheim’s Company, starring Neil Patrick Harris. I’d wanted to go see this when I first heard about it, and then promptly forget to note it on my calendar. Did a quick check, and sure enough, it was playing at a theatre near my house.

For one show. In an hour.

“So,” I said casually to kitanzi, “How do you feel about dropping everything and rushing off to the movies to see a Broadway musical?”

I waffled a bit back and forth, but finally decided to take a quick shower and get dressed and we dashed off to The Avenue in Forsyth County to catch the show.

I’m glad we did. The cast, anchored by Harris with support from Christina Hendricks, Steven Colbert, Jon Cryer, Patti LuPone and others, was marvellous, and given the subject matter of the show, we laughed a lot. (I’d heard most of the songs over the years, but had never actually seen an entire production of it.) Larissa also had a good time, and we walked out of the theatre in considerably high spirits.

Made a detour to do a little clothes shopping, and then back home for a lovely dinner and catching up a bit on Mythbusters. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon. 🙂

MEME: You keep quoting that film…

Seen everywhere.

When you see this, post in your own journal with your favorite quote from The Princess Bride. Preferably not “As you wish” or the Inigo Montoya speech.

Westley: There’s a shortage of perfect breasts in the world. It would be a pity to damage yours.

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