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Devin’s Top 12 For 2012

2012 was awesome. I don’t care what anyone else says because 2012 was just awesome. There were disappointments, and more than a few horrible things that happened this year but they don’t belong on this list and they don’t dampen a great year.

I’d like to say that this list is my list. That is I don’t pretend to be an all knowing source. I did not see every movie, or video game, or book that came out this year. This list is not meant to be comprehensive in that sense. Instead it is meant to reflect my experiences this year. What follows are the things that were the most important to me in 2012.

Then I’d like to say that I worked on a ton of shit this year. All the video content. All the podcasts, and reviews were fun. And I wrote a damn book. I mean wow. Now that stuff doesn’t belong on this list. This list is about what I enjoyed about what others have done.

Before we begin – honorable mentions to Fringe, The Hunger Games(maybe my soundtrack of the year), Being Human, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and Hyperion.

Favorite Movie of the Year:

The Avengers

It’s hard to believe I was worried during the pre-release of the Avengers. The trailers just weren’t really doing it for me. But like I said I shouldn’t have been worried. I’d thoroughly enjoyed every Marvel produced movie yet and this one was being written and directed by Joss Whedon.

I think I was worried because of what this film would mean to me. In 2008 Iron Man came out in theaters. I saw the trailer and knew I had to see it. So I did and I loved it. Later that year I saw The Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton which is a great movie as well. When I saw Tony Stark show up at the end of The Hulk I knew something special was happening. I ran to the library and asked where I could find the Avengers books. I came out of the library with a smattering of volumes including a retelling of the Avengers origin story. Shortly after that I began my descent into full geekery. There’s more to the story but this is not the place for it.

Needless to say Marvel’s plan to create a series of films culminating in The Avengers is inadvertently what lead me to asking Tim if he wanted to make a website with me. Which is crazy for me to think because I can’t imagine my life going any other way. OK so all that aside: I don’t think I need to say that I loved the film. But I did. It was more than I could have hoped for. I also love it for just the ballsiness of it. I mean nothing like The Avengers has ever happened in cinema before. And I love that Joss Whedon is finally getting the widespread renown that he deserves. And I love that his success is not changing his projects, well it sorta is cause there’s that whole Avengers 2 thing, but he’s still writing comics, and webseries, and making independent stuff like Much Ado. Anyway even without all of the Avengers significance to me it would still be one of my favorite films of the year.

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Why S.H.E.I.L.D. will either make or break the Avengers franchise

You’ve probably heard that Agent Coulson will be starring in the S.H.E.I.L.D TV show helmed by Joss Whedon and Jed Whedon. This was troubling news to me. Don’t get me wrong I love Phil as much as the next guy – his death was among the most emotional moments in Avengers.

Upon hearing the news I immediately asked the question any rational person would ask, why is Coulson alive?

The way in which they decide to treat Agent Coulson’s return will ultimate decide for better or worse the fate of the entire franchise Marvel has tried and succeeded at building over the past 6 years.

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Summer Wars Review

Summer Wars is Mamoru Hosoda‘s follow up film to his hit, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Like that film Hosoda mixes teen/family drama with science fiction elements. Is Summer Wars as great a film? No, but it is still pretty good.

What is becoming an apparent theme in Hosoda’s work is his merging of a fantastic element in an otherwise normal setting. In Summer Wars we are presented with the world of Oz, a cyberworld in which everyone in the world interacts similarly to the Oasis in Ready Player One. It has become such a mainstay of the world that even the trafficking system is connected for some reason.

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The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Review

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is an anime adapted of the Japanese novel of the same name. It was directed by Mamoru Hosoda who has done work on DBZ, Sailor Moon, and was the director of Howl’s Moving Castle before Miyazaki took over. This is his breakout film though, and he has gone on to direct two films since.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a charming story in the vain of Groundhogs Day, in that the movie takes place over a few days, that are repeated again and again with different results.

Our hero Makato, who is effortlessly cute and charming, wakes up late on “nice day” and the rest of her day things go horribly wrong for her. Her day ends with her crashing headlong into a train as the breaks on her bike were dysfunctional. Luckily for her, she somehow gained the ability to “time leap”. She wakes up that morning again and is able to avoid all of the problems of her previous day.

The film goes on like that. Makato starts using her ability to time leap for pleasure and convenience. But as the film goes on she learns that her actions have consequences on those around her. Sounds like Groundhogs Day doesn’t it? Well it differs in that Makato is not “stuck”; all the time travel is from her own free will, and in that the primary setting is Makato’s high school. But like Groundhogs Day there are a lot of funny moments because of the time travel.

Time travel is the gimmick, but it is not the heart of this movie. The film is about Makato growing up. She must learn about others feelings, and her own. Makato’s two best friends are her constant companions, and the film spends a large amount of time exploring the ups and downs of their relationships. At its core you have a high school movie. But it is full of awesome moments, and relatable characters. In other words there aren’t wacky Japan-isms like jaws flung open or bloody noses. This is a good film for people who don’t usually watch anime.

She must literally leap with strong momentum to time travel.

Visually the film is very impressive. The animation is top notch, and the characters have clean memorable designs. The film is mostly traditional, but the time travel scenes are digitally animated.

The english version is great. It is one of the best dub’s I have seen(although not an expert), and the translation from what I could gather was the same for subtitles. Therefor I would recommend watching the english version.

The music deserves a special mention. It has a great score. It is mainly piano, although there are strings and another few instruments occasionally.  The music is jaunty when it needs to be, and haunting when it needs to be. Pitch perfect.

The Bottom LineThe Girl Who Leapt Through Time is more than the sum of its parts. It has wonderful style. The characters are all great. It is just a fun movie. Personally I think it is a better film than Groundhogs Day and that it is a much watch if you are a fan of a fun time. And again if you are not an anime fan I think this would be a great place to get your feet wet. It’s very western in sensibility and the production values are great.

A Little Something For the Ladies – Get Geek Edition

Carrying on from the Good Girls Gone Geek tradition of posting lists of hot people here I am. Recently the girls asked for suggestions for their British Invasion edition. Foolishly I replied. Here is the conversation that followed:

Me: like anyone from the batman movies right?

Them: with the possible exception of Michael Caine

Me: what? Why wouldn’t you include him. He is one of the most attractive men in the series! #notevenjoking

Them: Ummmmmm….no.

Me: Guess I’ll just have to make my own list then.

So here we are. Get Geek’s list of the hottest men around. There is a theme here, see if you can catch it! I will do my best to explain why these men are so attractive, but forgive me if I’m not super descriptive as I do not spend time studying the male figure for it’s intricacies.

I was in Titanic, bitches!

Martin Jarvis. Yep, he was in the Titanic, and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But just look at that silver hair. That jaw line. The way he wears his shirt all the way buttoned up. Definition of smokin’.

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Who Would You Cast in Tigana?

If you aren’t familiar with the fantasy novel Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay here’s a brief synopsis. The story relates a resistance movement in a peninsula with 8 provinces. These people are oppressed by two foreign empires, who split their peninsula in a balance of power. One of these provinces gets cursed, meaning it’s name is destroyed from history. Their art, and entire culture are destroyed. A group of men and women work to take back their name. It’s a story of love, of change, and of memory, both how it is a gift and a curse. Here’s my short review. I may write an entire review in the future:

This book is amazing. Pretty slow start, but then so was my last 5 star book. Once you’re about 70 pages in it gets good. Then it gets real good. Then it gets so good I wanted to tear my hair out because the characters were so complex, and the story so rich with themes and emotion.

As far as I know there is no plan to adapt Tigana into a film. That’s fine, but I think it would make a great film, or mini-series. So assuming there was to a movie of Tigana(uncomfortable sex scenes removed) who would I cast? Well first of all I will not be covering all the characters as their are more viewpoint characters than a George R.R. Martin Book up in here. But I will try to cover the characters who are most key and with the most “screen time”.

Second, I’m not the best at this so please feel free to tell me why I’m wrong and who should be playing these characters instead.

Finally before we begin I must mention this cast would probably be impossible due to the number of big stars. Oh well, what do I know.

Devin: First let me say it’s not as weird as you would think to read a book with your first name as the main characters. And this may be a let down but I’m going to say: go with an unknown. I couldn’t think of actors who would work in this setting and sing well. So just find someone we haven’t heard of. If you know someone who fits the bill let me know.

Ya that look.

Catriana: Amy Adams. Our female lead. She needs to be fierce and cute and red-headed. All of those things I saw in The Fighter. She might have to work at making sneering faces, but she could totally do it.

Alessan: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Throw a beard on the guy, put him in some armor. Dude would be a great Alessan. He has the charisma, now they just have to teach him how to play pipes.

Beard: I know there’s some one perfect out there for Beard, I just can’t put my finger on it. Until then I guess Jeremy Renner will do. He’s a hot action star now, and we all know he’s pretty hot with a bow. Now I’m not going to cast teen Beard, but they’d have to do that too.

Sandre: I was looking for someone big, tough, and old. So as I’m watching Breaking Bad right now my mind immediately went to Jonathan Banks, who plays Mike on that show. Now Mike never makes jokes in Breaking Bad, but I think he could pull it off. And it’d be interesting to see that nose in the makeup.

Rovigo: Bryan Cranston. Oh! My Breaking Bad is showing. Cranston has shown that he can play sweet father in Malcolm in the Middle and to some extent in Breaking Bad(though he’s usually lying through his teeth to them). Basically I wanna see Cranston play a good guy in a drama for once.

Just dye that hair black.

Alais: Dakota Fanning. She’s still young, can still act like a mofo and would honestly really look the part.

Alberico: Our asshole of a villain would be played by Hugo Weaving. Slap some makeup on the guy. Maybe it’s trite to cast him as a villain, but whatever he’s good at it. Plus can’t you just picture is eyelid twitching!

Brandin: Micheal Fassbender. He showed us he could play a sympathetic villain in First Class which is exactly what Brandin is. Plus he’s got those looks.

Could not actually find a picture of her without a sexy face. Maybe that’s just her natural state.

Dianora: Charlize Theron. She’s freaking beautiful, and is around the right age. Dianora is my favorite character in the book, her tragedy is grande, and I think Theron could pull it off. And we’d get to see her swim in a loose dress. If that’s not worth making this movie then I don’t know what is.

So that’s it. Was I completely off the mark? Completely on? Please let me know who you would cast in the Tigana film in the comments to below.

10 Points a Post-Avengers Whedon made at SDCC’12

Joss Whedon exploded from being a cult icon to being the writer/director of the third largest movie of all time. Chances are if you’re reading this blog you already were in love with Mr. Whedon, but now he’s know by a much wider audience. We now know that Joss will be working on Avengers 2, and the Avengers universe TV show for marvel, and that is all very exiting, but he didn’t talk about that at SDCC. What he did talk about are his comics, and smaller projects as well as some of his wisdom.

Buffy comics will continue to spread

As far as the main Buffy and Angel comics go Joss will continue to oversee them and do the high level writing. This means he’s not actually writing the scripts.

Joss also said that Willow and Spike mini-series will be coming soon. He would also like to make more Fray comics. Now that’s news I can get behind. I loved Fray and after season 8 we see that she is very tied in with the Buffy verse.

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a Work of Art

Ages and ages ago, in the far off time of 2008, I watched a movie called The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I thought it was cool, but because I was only like 12 I had no idea that I was watching an absolute masterpiece. One that at the time of last week, I would watch again and have my life changed. Below, I will list all of the reasons The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is an amazing work of art.

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Man Fuck These Movies

This article is about venting my feelings on movies I feel the need to shout expletives at, but for whatever reason are not universally thought of as bad films. Don’t expect trash like Transformers or Alvin and the Chipmunks(my eyes and ears are still virginal too those bastards) in this list because everyone knows they suck. You may not agree with these opinions, but take them for what they are: my opinions on movies I have distaste for.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Gota say great premise. There’s a mole in the british spy division(or whatever) during the cold war and our retired spy has to investigate them to figure it out. Plus SO many good british actors, you got Gary Oldman, John Hurt, Colin Firth, and The Cumberbatch. So why then why did it have to be so dull? This movie loved showing us Oldman’s face for like minutes at a time. I couldn’t follow the plot really either. Maybe I was just tired, but I watched the whole movie waiting for that aha moment, but it never came. It just sort of ends like “Oh it was him. He’s the mole. Have a great night folks! badundundunda!” So why did so many people like this movie? It’s nothing but slow moving action a somewhat incoherent plot and add in the fact that I couldn’t tell if sometimes we were being shown something in the past or what the crap was going on. Fuck this movie.

Fuck a series of unfortunate events. It’s not funny, it’s not scary it doesn’t capture the greatness of the books(which I admit are not that great to begin with). So you make a movie, make Jim Carry the villain and expect anyone to take him seriously in that make up. They should have just told him to do his goofy shit because that would have worked better. Just to be clear this is not me saying this now. I haven’t watched this film in 6 or 7 years. That means when I was 10ish I knew this movie wasn’t good. Ok so let me back up. What makes this worse than the books?

Leme lay it down. The charm of the books lie in the increasingly weird shit(that they downplay in order for it to fit in a movie) that happens to the children and the bizarre, aware narration that Mr. Snicket himself brings to the table. Let me make this clear if you’ve only seen the movie OK: you know how that whole leech thing kinda was weird it gets WAY WEIRDER. And you get introduced to some truly memorable characters in the latter books. Then there’s the last book simply titled: The End(pretty good name if you ask me) that takes a really bizarre turn in tone, but one that I found myself enjoying immensely. This movie has none of that. Maybe it’s me, maybe if you were not familiar with the material you could watch this movie and forget it the next day but you know what screw you movie.

While were attacking movies based on books: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Now I remember liking the book but I always disliked this movie. And the more I think about the more I hate it. It’s really unfortunate too because it’s sandwiched between to really good movies. The triwizard turny takes pretty much the whole screen time leaving none for characters or smaller moments(ie not balls to the walls action) and it’s not a short movie you guys its 2 and 1/2 hours! There’s a reason that book is one of the longest cause Rowling knew she had to balance out all the action with some other stuff. But these movie makers didn’t. You know I think my other problem with it is that the story is pretty disconnected until the end from the whole Voldemort thing. I guess the third movie is as well, I find the difference being that the story about Black and Lupin and all that pretty interesting as opposed to the “I’m going to win a tournament thingy YAY”

It just seems a really stupid way to get Harry to his confrontation with Voldemort. And to be fair that confrontation isn’t bad yet it wilts when compared to the wizard battles in subsequent films it. But the entire film just left kind of a bad taste in my mouth.

Mr. Bean’s Holiday is Shite with a capital S when compared to the series. And it’s as simple as the fact that you can’t carry out a 90 minute film with your main character not talking. There are funny scenes to be fair but as a whole the movie just isn’t that funny and doesn’t hold anything in the way of story. It seems like they were trying to hard to capture what they had done years before, and the ending scene which has been described as “sweet” and “cute” doesn’t work. You can’t have your movie that’s been nothing but slapstick from a mute turn into a heartwarming sappy thing at the last minute. I’m sorry Mr. Bean, turns out you didn’t need a holiday you just needed to quit(as depressing as that sounds).

OK that’s enough movie bashing for now. Remember what you were taught here. Please comment with the movies that you hate and be sure to include why.

Holy Shit, have you seen this Tintin trailer

Not knowing too much about the comic, I think I’m safe in saying that this trailer is more action packed and awesome looking than any issue of Tintin. I don’t know about you guys but when I thin Tintin I don’t think must see movies. Yet with names like Steven Mofffat(Doctor Who), Edgar Wright(Shawn of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim, other awesome movies), Steven Spielberg(I think you know), and Peter Jackson(again you probably know) how could this not be the best movie in the known galaxy(I don’t know enough about alien cinema to say)?