Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fargo and Orphan Black: Amazing TV

from finance.yahoo.com, oddly enough
"Fargo" is a television re-imagining of the thematic elements and the atmosphere of the 1996 Coen Brothers' film of the same name. The TV show isn't set in Fargo, and only alludes to the events of the film, but it's a wonderful homage or follow-up to the film that stands on its own two feet as one of the best shows of the year. 

Martin Freeman, with an amusing Minnesota accent, plays Lester Nygaard, the put-upon, oppressed and bullied insurance salesman who crosses paths with devilishly entertaining bad guy Lorne Malvo, played brilliantly by the incomparable Billy Bob Thornton, which sends Lester's life into a spiral of deception and danger. I came for Martin Freeman, but I'm staying for Billy Bob Thornton. He is unpredictable, diabolical, and amazing.





There are multiple mysteries and fantastic side characters, including Lester's brother, Chaz (Joshua Close), Policeman Gus Grimley (Colin Hanks) who might or might not have a love interest in Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman), a detective who is certain Lester knows more than he's admitting. My favorite of the secondary characters are the sign-language speaking hit men (played by Adam Goldberg and deaf actor Russell Harvard) sent down from Fargo to look into a murder and take care of the guilty party. Deadpan serious, their amusing signed banter juxtaposed with their effectiveness as killers makes them absolutely fascinating.

from tvguide.com
Sensitivity warning: violence, gore, dark themes and sexuality
Here is an excellent summation, from the LA Times, for more info.

On the recommendation of my siblings, I decided to check out "Orphan Black", which is a BBC production, set in either the US or Canada (I'm thinking US). The show revolves around Sarah, a British orphan and grifter, who was raised in the US with her foster brother, Felix (played by Jordan Gavaris, who steals every scene he is in), by Mrs. S, their British foster mother. Sarah discovers that she is one of many clones and drama ensues. They are being hunted and killed by a crazy religious cult, as well as other factions who all seem to want something from Sarah, especially. 

from zap2it.com

It's fascinating sci-fi- rich and layered and totally enthralling. The multiple clones are all played expertly by Tatiana Maslany. She is so good that I forget I'm not watching more than one actress in these roles. If she doesn't earn an Emmy or BAFTA or whatever, it will be an enormous injustice. 


Well into its second season now, Orphan Black remains intense, dramatic, courageous and thrilling. 


Sensitivity Warning: sexuality, violence

Another excellent LA Times review if you want to know more.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Finally "Frozen"

A couple of weeks ago, I felt like the last person in the civilized world who had not seen "Frozen". I was alone, living in the Cave of Uncoolness. When people would sing "Let it Go" at the top of their lungs on Youtube or in line at the grocery store, I would cringe and muse over the meh-ness of it Though, Eli McCann's niece's performance was probably the cutest cover I have ever seen. Even when Idina Menzel sang it at the Oscars, I was left thinking, "...and...?" I mean, it's a good song, but I wasn't sure what all the fuss was about.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Captain America: Winter Soldier

Or should I say "Captain YUM-erica". 

Ahem...

Captain America is back! He's got a new uniform, a new sidekick, and a new mission. 
from herocomplex.latimes.com

It's very difficult to talk about a new movie without giving any spoilers, so I guess I'll keep it brief.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vampire Soap Operas

TV is a great source of escape at the end of a hard day of work. Or a day of hard work. Or a day of easy work. Or a day of hardly working... 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I've Been Hypnotized. By Vampires.

One of the character traits of vampires is their ability to draw their victims into a trance-- hypnotic, suggestive, or otherwise. Then the victims are at their mercy. 

I think I've been hypnotized by a vampire.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Permission to Create

Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl.com
I've had a couple of fiction novels knocking around my mind for years now. YEARS. And I wrote some scenes, which I had some sisters and a select few friends read and they gave me really good feedback, encouraging me to continue writing. And I wanted to. I really did. But I got so busy. I started working again (which is now full time) and my kids got older and busier and I let all sorts of reasons and issues get in the way. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review: Dracula by Bram Stoker

I have never been able to read this 1897 classic, even though I am an avid reader and have no problem with the likes of Shakespeare or scripture, some of the older classics just don't draw me in. So I decided to give Dracula another try and listen to the audiobook. I was in the mood for a good vampire story, but I don't have much interest in the surplus of teenage vampire romances that clog the YA shelves these days (though I am a Twilight reader, I will confess), so I decided to go back to where it really began.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Review: Hyperbole and a Half

Allie Brosh's blog bearing the same name as this book is one of the most popular blogs on the internet, with good reason. Her skewed, honest look at life with depression and other issues is hilarious and touching at the same time. 

Her book is filled with anecdotes from her life illustrated with goofy digital cartoons. Some of the stories have been shared on her blog in the past, but many of them are new for the book. Much like her blog, the book is peppered with f-and s- words, so you may have to lower your personal sensitivity rating to get through it, but I think it's worth doing that. The stories are rich and surprisingly insightful.

Her stories about her dogs (The Simple Dog and The Helper Dog) are the highlights of the book. I also love the tooth surgery/birthday party story, which I read previously on her blog. Her stories about her depression are heart-breaking, humorous and painfully accurate.

"Hyperbole and a Half" is a fun, quick read, and I absolutely recommend it.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Critics Are Too Critical

When it comes to entertainment, I can be overly critical. I realize this. However, I can also be entertained and just go with the flow if a story or character is compelling enough. I really enjoyed everything Doctor Who that I watched this year (I did not watch Series 1, so I can't say whether I would like those episodes or not), except there was something about the Christmas episode, Matt Smith's farewell episode, that just rubbed me the wrong way. I didn't hate it, but after the extremely entertaining 50th anniversary episode, and after a great run of long story arcs, fun adventures and 11th Doctor goofiness, it was just... not up to par. Oh, there was goofiness, and adventure, but it felt forced.
from grummelmaedchen.wordpress.com