Kate (kate_nepveu) wrote,
Kate
kate_nepveu

notes on things I have watched in the last several weeks

Haywire: the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I & the kids were staying with Chad's parents, and I escaped for a couple of hours to watch a movie. I was going to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but then I saw glvalentine's review of Haywire and decided to see it instead: partly because it was shorter and partly because it sounded really interesting.

I liked this less than Genevieve, for two reasons. One, I missed the first few minutes and spent most of the movie wondering if it provided some kind of context for the main character's goals and situation. I'm not sure why I felt vaguely aswim—maybe just sleep deprivation?—since in the end it was pretty simple: she was betrayed, she escaped, she finds out why, she makes them pay. I think I wasn't sure what she knew at any given time. (It is a Soderbergh movie, which means non-linear and lots of significant verbal omissions. One of which convinced me that a certain character was doing completely the opposite of what it turned out to be, which didn't help matters.) Two, I'm not that fond of the type of action movie this is. I love competence porn in capers or action movies, but I like either character development or a reveal to go with it (Ronin, The Bourne Identity, Ocean's Eleven). Haywire is instead in the "main character gets revenge and returns to status quo" mold, which I find unsatisfying. I didn't get a strong hook as the movie unfolded (character development), and I didn't have any reason to revisit my conclusions at the end (reveal). Instead I felt, as the credits came up, "That was it?", and was left with more abstract admiration than enjoyment.

So, if you like that kind of thing, you need to see this, and if you don't, it's worth background watching when it comes on basic cable in a few years.

The other two episodes in season two of Sherlock: "The Hounds of Baskerville" was very silly and not at all scary and entertained me in a way that almost entirely failed to engage my brain. Thus, I have nothing else to say about it.

"The Reichenbach Fall" was mostly terrific: I liked the updating of the conflict, and that Moriarty toned the swoopy down, and

SPOILERS

that when I said "no, that's ridiculous, a few lines of computer code can't do that," I turned out to be right. But I have no faith that the fake death scene will be explained in any plausible way, and I absolutely do not believe Sherlock when he said that Molly always mattered and he trusts her—wish I could, see not a thing to support it. (So true that this season is trying to answer the complaints about the treatment of women in S1 and completely missing the point.) Also I badly want John to have worked out that Sherlock faked it, that the very insistence on him watching the whole thing is a tell that it was a magic trick (nevermind the convenient bike accident), because oh, John.

Those are fairly minor niggles; mostly I was riveted and indeed watched the scene with cringing-actor-Moriarty on FF because it was just too effective at making me massively uncomfortable.

Face Off: this is, of all things, an original reality show on the SyFy network, in which contestants design and execute special effects makeup. I saw some commercials for it and then found the whole season free on demand on my cable system one day when I was out of DVRed things to half-watch while dealing with the Pip. Anyway, I like seeing the different designs and all the craft involved, and generally find the judging clear, educational, and reasonable. Despite my best efforts, though, I find myself having opinions about the contestants as people, which I was trying to avoid because I know how manipulatively these shows can be cut to create interpersonal conflict. There's very little of that, however, so if you like how-to kinds of shows this is worth checking out.

White Collar: I dropped this show for a long time but the second half of this just-concluded season has also been maternity-leave TV fodder. Most of it was background noise, and I actually watched a couple episodes mostly on FF, but I thought the season finale was genuinely strong. (Well, except for the worst green-screening I have seen in quite some time.) And wow, Beau Bridges has a talent for playing characters who get on my last nerve (I watched SGA before SG-1 and so was introduced to General Landry in a much more confrontational posture).

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Tags: movies, tv: face off, tv: sherlock (bbc), tv: white collar
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