Friday, February 02, 2018

Media Notes: Movies and series watched in 2017

I read a lot of books from my local public library, the Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public library. In addition to books, I often check out DVDs for movies and older shows I want to watch or that I newly discover. In 2017, in addition to what I read, I decided to more actively keep track of what I was watching in terms of media. This list for 2017 is a partial list based mainly on what I remember watching and checking out. If I own an item, I will note it, but for this list, these are all from my local public library. I am sure I am missing a few things I have watched recently because I honestly do not remember if I watched them in 2017 or before, so we will let those go. I am hoping to keep better track in 2018, so I am thinking I may do a monthly roundup in 2018 listing what I watch with some brief comments. I already review books, so I am not feeling inclined to start reviewing films as well. Links below go to unless otherwise noted. I am not rating the media; I will simply give now some quick impressions and try to help you decide if you might like it or not.

And for the record, I do not watch movies in movie theaters anymore. After a very unpleasant experience with some obnoxious assholes who could not shut the fuck up during a movie, I completely gave up on movie theaters. Besides, movies come out on DVD or Blue Ray soon after, so I do not feel I miss anything. As for television, if a series is good, it eventually gets put on DVD, and I prefer to binge than wait week after week to watch something.

So here is my 2017 (partial and not complete but it is what you get) list of media watched.

Feature films and movies:

  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016). This was a lot better than I was expecting. It certainly was a lot better than The Force Awakens, which to be honest, was basically a rehash of Episode IV, except with a young heroic lady. One can only hope that Disney, the new owners, do not fuck up the Star Wars legacy into the ground and maybe take a clue that individual, stand alone stories in the Star Wars universe can work and be entertaining. 
  • Star Wars Episode VI: The Force Awakens (2015).  My comment above pretty much applies here. It looked good, but it was clear Disney was mostly rehashing to avoid taking any risks. For fans who have been with the franchise since the beginning, you probably want to watch it, but keep the expectations low.  Having said that, the interactions between Ray and Han were nice.
  • Dead Snow (2009). This was somewhat silly horror fun about a group of college age guys and gals trapped in the Alps in a cabin. They get surrounded by Nazi zombies. Mayhem ensues. It sounds like something of the scale of Sharknado, but it is actually a lot better than it sounds. I really liked it. If you like your horror on the light side, this may be for you.
  • Doctor Strange (2016). A few people on my campus were drooling over this one. I will say that it looks fantastic. The art, the cinematography, the special effects, are all great. It is a nice movie to look at. The plot was decent enough, though I was not too keen on that very last scene (the one in the credits), which I thought was unnecessarily cruel. If you are fan of the character,  you might like it. Fans of Benedict Cumberbatch will probably like him playing his usual arrogant asshole character, although here he seems to grow a bit. 

Television shows and other series:

  • LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles (2013). I always loved LEGOs as a kid, and it is a bit of a pity that they did not have as many options as they do now (I grew in the 80s with "classic space guy"). Anyhow, in my quest to escape from reality and the "Hard Times," I am discovering things like LEGO films. This is part of a television series where Yoda is training Jedi Padawans. This DVD contains two short episodes, about 25 minutes each. I found them to be cute, entertaining, and with a light sense of humor. If you like LEGO Star Wars already,  you will probably like this one. Your kids, if they are into LEGOs and/or Star Wars, already probably like this. 
  • Doc Martin (2004- ). Only reason I picked this up is that it got mentioned in the Acorn Media trailers of the DVDs for the Poirot series I watched before. My library had seasons 1-7, which is what I watched. It is entertaining, but I admit that living in a small town myself, though not as small as the town the Doc lives in, at times it reminded me a bit much of the small town nonsense I put up with.  If season 8 ever gets here, I am likely to pick it up. It is curiously addicting.
  • Upstairs, Downstairs (1971-1975). Another British series that caught my eye via a trailer on Acorn Media. I think my library has the full run, but I was only able to stomach the first series, and that I watched barely. For one, it has not aged well. Two, the snobbery and sexism are just a bit much in this day and age.
  • Inspector Morse (1987-2000). Yet another British series. Since I like the Poirot series, I figured I would like this one too. I did like it. Morse is a seriously morose character, but he draws you in. I definitely liked that it was set in Oxford and the world of academia. It was also a reminder that academics, no matter where, can still be serious assholes. I always felt for Detective Sergeant Lewis putting up with Morse. My library has the complete run, and I watched all of it. It is not a happy series, but it is worth watching. 
  • Prime Suspect (Series 1, 1991). I wanted to watch this in part because, again, it was featured in the trailers in another DVD, plus it had Helen Mirren, fine actress that she is. I could barely make it past the first series (there are seven total, plus some extra movies including a prequel). While her performance is good, this is another series that has not aged well. The rampant sexism is beyond obnoxious and even painful to watch today. Unless you are a hardcore fan of Ms. Mirren, skip this one. 
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999). Of the new Star Trek series after the original series, this one is my favorite. I have mixed feelings about The Next Generation, which I do think got better once Wesley Crusher was gone for good and they added Mr. Worf. In other words, I like the later episodes in small doses. I could not care less for Voyager, (which I honestly tried watching when it was on the air, and I eventually just lost interest and watched here or there. I did watch the ending), and Enterprise was just tripe. But DS-9 holds a place in my heart. It started so-so, but it evolved very well, and I think it still holds on for its age. My library has the full run, and I fully enjoyed watching every single episode. This is a set I would like to own someday. 

No comments: