Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Heating Up and Winding Down

In the film class, students are working on their final papers.  Since those are due Friday, I'll discuss the exam film, Surrogates, next week once the exam papers are in and graded.

Which means more time and space for a few other items!  It's hard to believe, but there are only two more postings to go in the year-long Great Buffy Rewatch.  This week, two posters - David Lavery and Lorna Jowett - take on a few episodes that are rocketing toward a finale to remember.  (OK, so it's only sort of a finale, since Buffy's narrative is continued in comic book form, but we didn't know that was going to happen when Season 7 aired, so . . . )  Really, it's a superb posting this week.  Of course, I say anything that involves the Trio and a Technicolor field of flowers and a ditty strummed on lyres is worth your time (see top of post, as if you missed that!).  But there's also heartbreak here.  And more than one unreliable narrator.  And some harsh, harsh truth.  And a vicious ex-preacher makes his appearance in Sunnydale.

You don't want to miss it.

On the other hand, you might want to miss X-Men: First Class, which I watched with FryDaddy last night as a end-of-semester brain candy flick.  OK, I get that it was a success at the box office and garnered mostly positive reviews.  But I trust my own judgment and I thought this was simply a hot mess.  First and foremost, it totally screws around with the origin stories, which I could easily forgive and/or overlook but people will assume that this is canon and boy howdy! are they in for a shock.  (Also, never use a character's name for a different character.  "Angel" is Warren Worthington, who has his own issues [it's actually more of a subscription], but being a mutant go-go dancer isn't one of them.)  But far worse to me was the "wink-wink" Swinging 60s setting.  It's one thing to make a homage to earlier times and films, but if you're not careful, you can easily wind up with an inadvertent spoof.  First Class is trying to channel the smooth cool of early James Bond, but it comes off as too knowing and derivative - more Mike Myers than Sean Connery.  For me, this film just didn't work, aside from providing ample snarking opportunities.  (For an example, see any scene with the woefully miscast January Jones as Emma Frost.  However, in the interest of fairness, I must point out that the all-too-brief scene of Wolverine rejecting the offer to join the band is so very worth it.)

Lastly - still looking for holiday gifts?  Go here for an ever-evolving list of Whedon literary products being hawked by their authors/editors.  Many thanks to Ensley Guffey for shamelessly ripping off John Scalzi's excellent idea!

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