dessert spoons

so much Castle squeee

Oh, Castle. I may have been a little bit late to work this morning because I seriously couldn't not watch the first ep of series 5 as soon as was humanly possible.  And it was Such. Good. Stuff. 

[Spoiler (click to open)]

It didn't actually keep up the crazy shippy focus all the way through like it could have - which worked much better in the end. Because who could resist the switch from angst to swooning, to pure bedroom farce, to piling on the angst again until something had to break.  And it broke beautifully, Castle propping Beckett up until she could see a way to take back control of the situation.  

Because storming a senator's fundraiser, complete with gun for a spot of bluffing/blackmail, was an awesome way of getting that done. Neatly enough, it fixes Kate's whole being targeted for assassination problem too (even if, amusingly, the boys all assumed she was actually crazy enough to go kill a senator right up until the last minute?! Not that it's totally outside her skill-set/stress level, but a little faith wouldn't go astray guys, surely?)

Not sure what was my favourite part - Martha storming the bedroom and Kate spitting feathers (and throwing pillows) in the closet? Hungover and miserable Alexis inadvertently curtailing the morning after scene everyone had been waiting months to see, and all Castle could think of was trying to deprive her of aspirin while Kate sneaked out... 

Also loved Javi all the way through being awesome, and Ryan being plucky and put upon and also awesome. Everybody got to save the day in this one at various points (except Lanie was mysteriously missing, and Martha and Alexis were reduced to comedy cameos, but hey).  The evil senator's monologue was seriously creepy, and Kate's response was totally spot on. Frankly she showed a hell of a lot of self control not shooting him just for subjecting her to that...

Best of all, Castle and Beckett are just... together.  Not really much angst at all, apart from the whole trying to keep it secret thing (that attempt will go FABULOUSLY guys. No really.).  They had one 'so this is serious, right?' conversation, and then it just.. is.  And Beckett watching Castle sleep while she got ready to go on her mission was heartrending, even if it did end well (the lift scene!) We got the initial 'eep' scenes, so the audience is happy, and now they get to have the perfect set-up for the summer off gallivanting together (details of which can probably be found in a thousand fics online right now...) and we'll see them again when Beckett comes back to work - because procedurals have to, er, be procedurals, right?

I keep comparing it with Bones, purely because they have such similar trajectories. And even though Bones was winning me back over towards the end of the series, it's not the show it was.  Booth and Brennan still feel like they don't quite fit - and frankly, overprotective!Booth made me want to throw things at the TV.  I keep watching because it's not completely lost it - not in the sense that I now pretend House ended at season 7, because it jumped the shark so completely at that point that I had no interest in anything after that.  

But Castle was a masterclass in how to do it almost perfectly - they could have loaded on the shippy stuff a tad more; I wouldn't have complained - but oddly enough it worked like this, as it wasn't the main plot, not when everyone's focus had to be on finding the assassin and keeping anyone from trying to kill Kate yet again.  And Kate solved her own problem in the end, and didn't have to be rescued, and got her job back, and walked off into the sunset (temporarily) with her guy for a well-earned break? It's all rather lovely, and probably definitely can't last. But it was so much fun to watch.

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dr who

Where exactly is River when you need her...

I'm going to be restrained and only say this once, but this series of Who is shaping up to be a massive continuity fail due to the distinct lack of my favourite character.  I'm not saying River should be in every episode (we were so spoiled last year..!), but this week's ep had stetsons, and prison, and making amends for your past crimes, and what constitutes punishment and forgiveness, and even a freaking conversation about how Amy is a mother.  And not one mention of the one character who has connected all those things previously
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Still all about the Dredd, not so much the 3D

So: apparently Dredd is still stuck in my head, considering I saw it again within the space of 4 days... in 3D this time, which was mostly pointless aside from a few pretty exploding glass/blood/wtf slo-mo scenes.  3D is never getting any less murky, and I'm not seeing it anymore clearly than I ever was (GP lenses: never not racking up light flares and halos, what a surprise), so not entire logical.  But it was still a lot of fun... I'm still watching the trailer on Youtube (after seeing it twice already, wtf?!) And I kinda wanna see it a third time, which so did not expect to happen.

So, yeah, this is my overthinking all the minutae, I'm-getting-a-bit-obsessed slightly meta essay about Dredd. Again, did not see this coming.

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It's been a really, really good year for films so far.. I don't think I'd ever hit four repeat cinema trips for anything until MI4, and then Avengers went and made it a new record of 5 within a few months - which was almost odd, because a lot of what I could see were the problems first time I watched that.  Except you came out wanting to see it again right this second - so, two viewings in 4 days that time, and it just kept racking up.  And it never got boring, or repetitive, and if anything it gets better - which is good, because the DVD is arriving tomorrow :o)

Dredd vs The Raid...

I wasn't particularly caring about seeing Dredd until the last lot of trailers kicked in - because, let's face it, I am old enough to remember the Stallone abomination of the 90s. And it was.. well, Dredd. And I'm not the target audience for 2000AD, whatever.

But the trailers... First off, La Roux never gets old (I'm still obsessed with the obscure game trailer that used another random mix of that song, because it's always awesome.).  And then there was the slo-mo... Which was shiny and pretty, and hey, I've sat through nearly everything Tarsem's done quite happily because of the crazy pretties, so no excuse really.  And honestly, it sold itself really really well - simple story, great talent involved doing what they do best (Karl Urban beating people to a pulp? check! Lena Headey being head bitch? double check!)

And as it turns out, I was really in the mood to see something like this.  Last weekend's double bill of Total Recall (good fun, if a bit meh, and some batshit crazy concepts of the laws of physics) and Expendables 2.... well, no, really, I can't believe anyone professionally wrote that script and got paid for it. Or that Simon fucking Con Air West directed it. Or that any of the cast were ever highly paid professional megastars at any point, whose films I used to mostly quite enjoy, because it felt like an excrutiating very expensive panto and I can't believe I stayed to the end. Ahem.

Dredd, though... I'm so impressed it lived up to the trailers. It was beautifully made, bone crunchingly gory (I have never seen so many bodily fluids fly through the air in slow motion in my entire life), and actually interesting stuff. It took a lot of risks - going for the 18 cert and sticking with it, when Chris Nolan is getting away with 12As; Karl Urban spending the entire film wearing the helmet, oddly enough - but it has that rare ring of authenticity to it.  Halfway through it suddenly dawned on me that this was showing the same scrappy enthusiasm about the source material as Avengers does; the kind of heady fanboying that infects the audience (if you're me, anyhoo. Lots of the reviews don't seem to get this, which is sad. Having said that, I hit a new record of 5 cinema viewings for Avengers, so hey).

What ruined a lot of reviews was the default position of "it's got the same plot as The Raid! Shame that came out first!" Well, hey, The Raid was awesome - bone-crunchingly impressive as a martial arts showcase, with the crazy headspace of a Welshman making an Indonesian beat-em-up.  It's just that, if you've actually watched The Raid, the genre focus is so different to Dredd that there are only the barest moments of comparison.

[Spoiler (click to open)]
 Raid is about a guy being sent into a situation he doesn't understand, who just so happens to have mad fighting skillz that means he has a chance of surviving it when it all goes to hell, with a little soapy melodrama chucked in to heighten the tension.  It works like gangbusters, mostly in a whirl of fists and feet and bullets and heads being put through walls, plus the lead is scrappily adorable, with a lot to lose if he fails.

Dredd is altogether a different beast - it's the fun of watching an unstoppable force hit an unmovable object, and seeing what's left when the dust settles (gorgeously, in super slo-mo).  Dredd knows exactly what he's doing; he doesn't panic, doesn't lose faith in his own skill set, and will not stop so long as he's still breathing.  He has a fair bit in common with the Terminator, on occasion - no background necessary (and there are a couple of scenes that nod at the T1 similarities, which entertained me no end).  
[Spoiler (click to open)]
We have Anderson being all cute rookie with shaggy hair and a very nifty sideline in brain melting for the emotional side of things. And that's all it needs.

I was so won over because it ends up being such an elegantly-made film - the plot twists as much around Anderson's first-day-on-the-job hesitant decision making progress (do love Dredd telling her how 20% of new Judge's don't survive their first day - way to inspire!) as Dredd's normal ineffable reaction to enforcing the law. There is nothing more to it then Dredd gets saddled with assessing Anderson, she decides they investigate the Peach Trees murders; they make an arrest rather than another execution and Ma-Ma locks them in to take them out. Things spiral, mostly in slow-mo. Things that would be spelled out in less clever films are left to be subtle here (leaving more time for bone-crunching, obv).  It's been pared down and it's all the stronger for it, so kudos to Alex Garland.  Methinks he's a Dredd fan; Karl Urban certainly seems to be, and it's strangely fun watching him determinedly re-set his mouth back to the trademark scowl every time he's forced to talk.

So, basically, I kinda loved it.

In which I am disappointed in McThor and the Eight Dwarves...

Was I looking forward to Snow White & The Huntsman?  Hell, quite a lot yes - and I wasn't even tragically disappointed in it until it hit the last hour, and the sinking feeling kicked in that oh shit, they really aren't going to salvage this one. BASTARDS. Ahem.

I'm still trying to convince myself it wasn't all bad.  Some of it was even interesting, right?

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    I think maybe this film bugged me quite a lot, and I need to see Avengers again to take the nasty taste away...


    Still not quite sure why they changed the name over here...

    ... Or, indeed, why we don't get the super secret extra post-credits scene where they all go eat schawarma, but yay, Avengers!!!

    It's not like I haven't been trying to see this since it came out a whole fortnight ago, but as I had to leave for Kenya that afternoon (and I drew the line at watching it at Mombasa's only multiplex, as interesting as that would have been).  So there was a whole safari thing before I actually got to watch all my favourite people be directed by Joss Whedon.  It's not like I hadn't been waiting a couple years for it or anything (studiously ignoring the fact this was one of the Hall H announcements we completely missed at CC2010 due to the insane queues. Ahem.)

    But hell yes, it's a lot of fun. 

    I wasn't overly taken with the masses of set-up before Our Guys turned up (although, really, I would have been happy with a good twenty mins of Tony and Pepper being adorable in their big glass tower to make up for, er, quite a lot of Iron Man 2, but I'm sad like that.  In my head, Iron Man 3 will basically be what we did get of them, mashed up with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Basically it will be Awesome. 
    But Tony! Being snarky and adorable! I missed that connection with the other guys, much as I appreciate they had to stop somewhere before Natalie Portman popped up in person again and Thor got even more distracted..! Guess we're saving that for Thor 2, right, guys?!

    Plot wise it did wander a bit, and lacked a through-line like nobody's business - there were probably another half hour of cuts that would have whipped it through a bit quicker, but seriously, the moment most of the main cast were onscreen were pure genius.

    [Spoiler (click to open)]
     The bit that stole the whole show - to the point where I spent the next few minutes stuffing my fist in my mouth to stop the hysterics - was Hulk's bam-bam with Loki.  It was absolute perfection - the timing; the expressions; the sheer insanity, and Loki lying there mewling like a kitten after Hulk was finished.  It wouldn't have been funny if it had actually finished him off was the interesting thing, but as a means of hilariously damaging a demigod, it was seriously entertaining. (see also: Hulk casually punching Thor sideways for no reason at all. This Hulk has a character dammit.(


    Two More Sleeps...

    It's all good. Book re-read (in two days. Epic.). Tickets booked, with appropriately detailed discussion about where to sit for best view. 
    Reviews are... all pretty good.

    So. Thursday is HUNGER GAMES DAY :o)


    In terms of Stuff I Am Excited About, this is pretty much up there.  Then comes the Snow White and The Huntsman trailer that released last night - with the crows! and the Chris! and I'm ignoring the fact that there were, like, fairies and shit, because there was also lots of hacking with swords. And did I mention Chris?!
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    Happy Sherlock Day, aka How Fabulous is A Scandal in Belgravia?!

    Although I had a lovely and rather civilised NYE being fed a delicious seven course meal and nice booze aplenty, it was really all a lead-up to being able to watch A Scandal in Belgravia again tonight.  With subtitles, so as not to miss a delicious word of dialogue this time around...

    I really am itching to watch it for a third time, but I'm trying to be good and not overindulge all at once... but, oh, it was still all rather splendid.  I'm so happy it's all as good as I remembered :o)

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    dr who

    A Little Xmas Who

    Somehow I always expect to love the Who xmas specials far more than I actually do... the combination of Moffatt trying to write xmas in the middle of summer (after a typically brainmelting season finale), plus catering for all the casual viewers that inevitably drop in, ends up leading to something that's oddly neither fish nor fowl. And hey, RTD very rarely pulled it off either (I'd say The Christmas Invasion worked as a classic ep, but that's about it...).


    So, this year's effort: not... great.  There were some lovely one-liners, the pimped up rooms were inspired, Claire Skinner did sterling work with some truly daft dialogue/plotting, kids managing not to be annoying, and the last freaking two minutes were an epically gorgous case of Moffatt writing his own fics yet again.... but mostly before that, the plot was flailing madly and falling into deep dark pits of cliche that I couldn't quite find enough xmas spirit to overlook. Shame :o(

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    Mission Impossible: Now with 57% more awesome... (and it only took 16 years)

    How much do I love MI:4? Well, I seem to have seen it twice in a week so far, and today's rewatch was quite possibly the reward I'd been promising myself for surviving an insanely family-intensive Christmas.  I could quite happily watch it again but there's kinda The Artist (and possibly Puss in Boots) to catch first, just to be reasonable.  (I do appear to be watching Knight & Day on dvd at the mo, though, as apparently my brain is craving breezy Tom Cruise action flicks right now.).  I blame Brad Bird.

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