Warning # 1: by reading this, you might die of chronic boredom.
Warning # 2: it will be infested with spoilers.
Warning # 3: my stupid opinions are just that – stupid opinions. If at any point they seem patronizing, then… what? They are stupid opinions. Just ignore them and move on.
In this installment: SYTYCD gets its top 10, modernizing a modernized version of a classic doesn’t always guarantee great results, there’s no hope for reality TV in space, Potterheads make me consider murder, and I finally saw Watchmen. OMG!
A tiny brand review: LG Monitors – the bane of my existence
Audiovisual Summer Of Doom was planned as a weekly blog, but I’ve been forced to post the last two entries in two week intervals for two reasons: I got a ridiculous temporary surge of soul-crushing work for the last two weeks (over now, thank Gods), and monitor problems. I had a dual screen display set up with an ancient LCD 17” BenQ monitor and a 6 month old LG 19” LCD monitor, great for ye ol’ Avid Media Composer studies. The BenQ monitor died of old age. Soon after, the LG monitor started going to black after displaying image for two seconds, and it took 15 to 20 minutes to stabilize. The problem got progressively worse until the monitor completely died last Monday.
LG provides a 36 months warranty for all their monitors, which is nice. But the point is, no monitor should have problems within 6 months of purchase when they haven’t been subjected to power surges or any form of abuse. Most importantly, my family has purchased a number of LG cathode tube and LCD TVs over the years that have died in varied ways within 6 months of purchase.
If any of my 3 readers wonder why we’ve continued to buy LG monitors, I can say it’s like people who build houses at the base of an active volcano: we’re human; therefore, we’re stupid.
But I’ve learned my lesson. Fortunately, happy geeky accidents do occur. I had to hook up my computer to a 42” Sony Bravia, and I can assure you that, in this particular case, size matters.
So, in conclusion: Say NO to LG monitors. It’s easy. Just say NO!
The Potter Experience – like swimming in a pool of hormones
I’ve never read a Harry Potter book. I am also not a crazy Potter fan, but I do like the series and with every movie I’ve liked the series more and more. What I’ve liked the most is that the stories get darker as the children get older.
Anyway, as I was bored out of my mind, I decided to see Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince this week without taking into account 2 very serious factors:
1. I decided to see it on its premier day, when all crazy fans run to the theaters like an elephant stampede.
2. I completely forgot that at this point in the series, a very large portion of the Potter audience is made of hormonal teenagers.
So there I was in the theater and I noticed how the place was plagued by teens, most wearing the same uniform. It was like a freaking catholic high school field trip! They were all lining up for food and I thought “these little shits are going to come in late”. Sure enough, five minutes after the film began, the stampede of teens run up the theater, giggling, and it continued for another ten minutes. Also at some point, two little bastards decided to have a conversation while standing right in front of me, blocking my view of the film. This immediately made me think of Silent Hill 4’s shovel and how lovely it would’ve been to have had one and…
Anyway, seeing this film wasn’t easy. Every time a character oogled at another character, or every time there was any snogging -and there was plenty of both-, the giggling and swooning in the theater was overwhelming like a wave of pure evil, and a constant but lower giggling and chatter continued throughout the whole film, accompanied by the occasional and very amusing “shh…Shh…SHH!!”
That being said, I loved the film. It’s a great example of how scares can be created without the need of a rating greater than PG. But I decided a second viewing was necessary, mostly because all the hormones in the theater kept me from getting a few things about it.
For example, I got a triple agent vibe from Snape. He executed the big death in the end (which was sad and unexpected), so was he working for Dumbledore making the death eaters think he was working for them?
Also, what’s the actual relevance of The Half Blood Prince? It was an interesting little twist, but how is that relevant for the story other than having taught Harry a pretty cool trick? You know, the defense trick he learned from the potions book and applied on Draco. That trick was pretty awesome.
Speaking of Draco, I think he was the biggest achievement of this film in terms of character development. Draco becoming a death eater wasn’t a surprise at all. What was surprising was the way he reacted to his mission as a death eater. I liked that the character was fleshed out and given an actual purpose other than being the bully who gets his lesson for laughs.
Anyway, I saw it again four days later. This time, the wave of evil was scarce. The theater was mostly packed with adults. There were no inappropriate giggles and I was able to concentrate on the film. But I still have the same issues from the first viewing. I still got the double agent vibe from Snape. I also don’t quite believe the big death in the end is real, but this could be due to fan-girly optimism.
Solution = Read the damn books. Because I am impatient and don’t want to wait over a year for answers. So yeah, I loved it!
A 10 Things I Hate About You Pilot micro review
If the original film, starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger, was very loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew, is the TV version of the film a very loose version of a very loose version of a classic? I think so! I loved the film, but the TV version…
- The show is an ABC Family production, thus making it about 90% vanilla. This conclusion is a direct product of my resentment towards ABC Family for making of Fallen a very dissatisfying miniseries.
- The TV pilot felt like a watered down version of the film. The only standouts were Lindsey Shaw as Kat and Larry Miller as the dad, the true scene stealer. Seriously, they could have made a much better show focused on the Dad.
- Patrick Verona, the very important character played Heath Ledger in the original film, had about 3 lines in the pilot and for the most part behaved like a stalker. He could develop into an interesting character in the following episodes, but since I’m never going to see this show again, I’ll never know.
A Virtuality Pilot micro review
It’s not real, man; it’s a game…
- It’s reality TV in space!
- The pilot spent too much time setting up the story and the characters, it introduced actual conflict too late, and kicked into action on the last half hour.
- The story is very strange but very interesting. It could have explored concepts like insanity due to isolation, virtual reality vs. actual reality and its effects on the human mind when not clearly separated, and many other crazy things, had it been picked up as a series. Despite airing as a TV movie, it is a pilot, leaving many things inconclusive.
- It had a good cast and great music. It also had the signature controlled shaky camera from Battlestar Galactica.
- It would have worked better as a miniseries.
Last week on So You Think You Can Dance
Brandon and Janette, and Melissa and Ade were the standout couples as usual. Kayla and Kupono did very well too, and Kayla still remains the judges’ favorite, despite getting lukewarm reviews for her Broadway routine.
Kayla: Goth Barbie?
(screencap taken from top 14 episode)
Now, about Kayla: Without taking into account how subpar her solos have been, she is a great dancer, she looks like a Barbie and seems like a nice person. Good for her. But there are two forces against her: 1) Having been the judges’ favorite for the first half of the show, she no longer has their protection now that the judges no longer decide who stays and who goes; 2) Every time she gets a bad comment or hits the bottom three, you can see how her heart breaks into tiny little pieces. Either she’s used to hearing only good comments about herself, or -as I’m most inclined to believe- she’s just too young. I think she would have benefitted from a few more years of experience. Whatever happens, the girl can dance and in a few years she will be a fabulous dancer. She might make it to top four, but who knows.
As for Ade and Melissa, despite rocking those killer lifts for their disco routine, they ended up in the bottom 3. And thank god for that, because we got to see their solos. This is how you truly dance for your life:
Caitlin and crowd favorite Phillip were eliminated but secured a place in the tour, which is like a bitter sweet ass kicking with a paycheck at the end. Good times.
Nigel told the remaining contestants that it was time for them to be stars, because most of them haven’t achieved their full potential despite being great technical dancers. I agree, and this is something that’s been missing from this season. So the top ten remain, now at the mercy of the audience. Things should get very interesting. Which brings me to–
This week on So You Think You Can Dance
Things sure got interesting this week. Season 2 runner-up Travis Wall debuted as a choreographer, helping send Jason and Jeanine into stardom. It was beautifully danced and choreographed, and it pretty much outshined all the other performances. And it proves my point that season 2 delivered the most talented dancers out of all seasons. Benji, Dmitry, and now Travis… it’s beautiful.
There were also two group performances. The girls did a Bollywood routine that was fun, energetic, and I’m sure it made many men drool, but the guys’ routine… Wow. The world needs more African dance.
Kupono and Randi were eliminated this week, but at least Kupono left us with a pretty cool solo. Not tricks, just dance.
Most contestants, the contemporary specialists mostly, always pick beautiful ballads for their solos. That’s pretty and all, but I love it when contestants pick a quirky song for an equally quirky solo.
And now, a few words about Mary Murphy: At times she can get annoying with all her screaming, and the irrational hot tamale train ticket delivery and whatnot, but when she calms down and gets serious, she is very insightful. I wish she’d just tone it down a bit. Aside from that, that woman needs to quit it with the botox.
Woo!!! Woo!!! Woo!!!
SAY NO TO BOTOX, MARY MURPHY!!! It’s not that hard, you just say NO! Her face doesn’t move at all. It’s creepy and a sign of excessive and badly applied botox. Sometimes she looks like she’s wearing a mask of herself with a hole where the mouth goes. That being said, I love her for admitting she uses botox.
Speaking of masked people –
I finally saw Watchmen: OMG!! – A short comment
I’m not going to write a proper review of Watchmen because there are about a billion reviews out there. Here’s the thing: during Watchmen’s theatrical release, I completely spaced out and didn’t see it. So I decided to wait for the director’s cut, despite my tendency to hate them.
Generally speaking, with some exceptions, I find director’s cuts self indulgent, so I try to avoid them. Directors develop emotional attachments to shots and scenes, particularly to those difficult to shoot or to set up, that sometimes don’t serve the story well, so when time comes to make the director’s cut, they unnecessarily overextend or add scenes or shots that ultimately do nothing for the story. Like Fritz Lang’s M. I don’t care how important that film is for cinema history, but I swear, M’s director’s cut ended up being so slow that it ate away a bit of my soul.
So I bravely decided to endure the 3+ hours of Watchmen and I was very happily surprised. I thought the pacing was great. I didn’t feel those 3+ hours at all. I think Watchmen did for superhero films what the Bourne series did for spy films: It brought back some intelligence to what’s normally limited to spectacle. It didn’t make me feel like my IQ dropped by seeing it.
Since I’m not familiar with the original material and haven’t seen the original cut, I can’t make comparisons. All I can ultimately say is that it was bloody beautiful.
And now, the YouTube video of the week: For this week, I’ve chosen an educational video shown to me at a drunken poker session. It is about a very important word used by all of us every day.
In the next installment of Audiovisual Summer of DOOM:
SYTYCD reaches its 100th episode, BBC Northern Ireland brings Occupation to our teles, and I’ll probably wrap up this little blog series.
Until next time… Don’t drink and drive.