Monday, February 12, 2007

Passing Sentences #2

Very, very, very late, because I haven't been able to access LJ since Friday. :(

Rome, Testudo et Lepus: I don't quite know what to think of Simon Woods as the new Octavian; we'll see how that turns out, I suppose. The Atia/Servilia feud hits an all-time high in visceral horror, and I like that neither woman has ever been portrayed as the "good guy" in the conflict; sure, Atia started the whole thing by breaking up Caesar and Servilia, but Servilia's really gone above and beyond appropriate actions for a scorned lover. The Timon subplot seems a bit forced, in that he seemed perfectly willing to kill Servilia back when Cleopatra blew into town, but whatever. And yes, I bawled like a two-year-old when Vorenus reunited with his family. "Rome" really knows how to hit the emotional jugular.

Heroes, Distractions: Yeah, George Takei was awesome. And Zach Quinto's Sylar? Finally scary - ever since they pulled the big reveal, he hasn't felt like a genuine threat until now. I like that Claude isn't quite the omniscient Yoda everyone expected him to be, because he's wrong about how Peter's ability works. Of course, the breaking of that cliche comes somewhat at odds with Nathan being Claire's biodad, but that twist doesn't bother me much given that, from the very first episode, we've seen the cast interacting in ways even they weren't aware of. Everyone's connected.

Veronica Mars, There's Got To Be A Morning After Pill: The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round... it's probably a bad sign when I agree with Dick Casablancas about anything, but seriously, Logan: get up, shut up, grow up.

Supernatural, Born Under A Bad Sign: If this show keeps vacillating between excellent and subpar episodes, I'm going to be seasick. Last week was dull as paste; this week? Pure awesomeness. Curiously, Jared Padalecki seems much more comfortable as a villain, exuding a subtle but tangible menace that - after two years of watching this show - I never would have expected from him. Warning lights are on, though, because Kripke said this episode was supposed to resolve some issues, and at first it seems things are moving forward with the whole "Sam's Destiny" thing, except it all turns out to be a feint. Again. For all that Kripke's saying he doesn't want this to be "X-Files" again, and he doesn't want to deny the audience answers for so long that they stop caring... well, between this and the whole bait-and-switch they pulled at the end of "Croatoan", I have to wonder.

The Dresden Files: Hmm. The first episode didn't make much of an impression on me, probably because it starts in medias res (the sequence was messed up, with the origin story airing at a later date than was intended) but also because the writing's kind of mediocre and I didn't get a good handle on any of the characters. I think I'll let this one develop some more before going back to it, nothing about it really grabbed my attention.

The Prestige: Yes, I'm late to the party as always, but WOW. On some level, this movie was practically guaranteed to please me - I like Christopher Nolan's style, I'm a fan of both Christopher Bale and Hugh Jackman, and the high concept of two magicians at war with each other is quite interesting. But to top it all off, "The Prestige" delivers a complex, multi-layered story, making use of multiple framing narratives (Borden is reading Angier's diary, which describes Angier reading Borden's diary, and there's something about that back-and-forth reflection that's so appropriate given their relationship). Nolan masterfully chops up the timeline for maximum suspense and surprise without ever going so far as to lose the viewer. In a way, the film is a magic trick in itself, with the added bonus that in the end, you learn the secret behind the trick, and you still ask yourself how they did it.

The Night Driver: A graphic novel courtesy of... well, I'm not quite sure. CinemaGraphix and Moonstone, and apparently it was written by John Cork in another medium and then adapted into comics by Christopher Mills (of the webcomic "Femme Fatale"). Anyway, this is precisely the kind of disturbing mindfuck I can really get into: questions of identity, memory, criminality, and it's all tinged with just a bit of surrealism until you suddenly understand what's going on.