Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Roger Moore

Much like Tom Baker will always be my Doctor, Roger Moore is my Bond.  He was the Bond I grew up with and saw in the theaters.  Like a lot of people, I went through that pretentious git phase of deriding his Bond as silly and superficial, but I thankfully got over myself and came to appreciate his Bond for what it was.  Silly, superficial, and over the top was what Bond should have been in the '70s and '80s.  He's not the Bond I'll go to for great plots or gritty drama, but if you want lighter fair with great stunts, Moore is you man.  More importantly, from all reports he was just as charming and witty in real life as he was as Bond.  I loved in his memoir that he knew he was never going to get huge praise for his acting skills so he settled for becoming a movie star and using his fame to do good. A true gentleman.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Smokey and the Bandit

I have been looking forward to seeing Smokey and the Bandit on a big screen since sometime last fall when I saw it was on Fathom Events schedule.  I've seen the film lots of times but it's something special to see on a big screen.  Old school car chase films are so fabulous in that you can really appreciate the work that went into every crash and turn.  Today's films so focus on fast cuts and computer effects that there's no sense of danger or effort to them.  The film is so funny and the acting so perfect to the material.  The theme song also kicks butt and several people were quietly singing along through the end credits.  Icing on the cake was a black Trans Am sitting in the parking lot when we left.

While I'm on the subject of car films, I finally watched Death Race 200 which is streaming on Filmstruck.  I've joked throughout my life about hitting pedestrians for points, but until this weekend, I had no idea that came from this film.  I love gaining new pop culture knowledge,

Harlots and Goliath

Harlots is an 8 episode series that just wrapped up on Hulu.  Set in 1760's London, it's the story of rival madams.  The delightfully wicked Mrs. Quigley runs a high-class establishment with the aid of her son who bares a resemblance to the future George IV.  Margaret Wells runs a lower class establishment but is determined to move to a higher class location.  Margaret is played by the amazing Samantha Morton, and the show is worth watching for her alone.  There's lots of plotting and intrigue along with the sex making it a fun romp in all.  There's also Tim McInnerney having fun as an aristocratic pervert. The only downside is Margaret's daughter Lucy who is a drip.  She has been raised to become the paid mistress of a wealthy man, but she can barely sing, can't carry a conversation, and seems rather stupid.  Not sure how someone who was raised in a brothel would be so utterly clueless about sex as a business, especially since someone of her background and status wouldn't have many better options to get ahead.  Hopefully her character is more interesting if they do a second series.

Goliath is on Amazon Prime.  Billy Bob Thorton plays a washed up lawyer who takes a case against his former law partner.  I enjoyed  it largely for Thornton's performance since this is the kind of role he can play better than anyone else.  His character doesn't have many redeemable features, but Thornton makes him so likable.  The plot was interesting for the most part, but I thought the ending was a bit lackluster.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

April Mask Maven

April's Mask Maven set from Beauteque is themed Soothing Showers which is good for my dry skin.  I keep toying with the idea of dropping my Mask Maven subscription since Beauteque runs great sales fairly often, but then we get sets like this month's where seven of the nine are brands I haven't tried yet.  New this month are masks from Too Cool for School, Mediheal (who make my favorite foot mask), AM Piggy Head, Mizon, Hiddencos, Welldrema, and Timeless Truth.  The other two are   A'Pieu and NOHJ, two brands I love.  I'm quite looking forward to using these.

Last month's masks were a mixed bag.  Masks from A'Pieu, Esfolio, My Beauty Diary, NOHJ, and Yadah were all good.  Missha can be hit or miss for me but the Almond Milk mask worked well. I did masks from Purederm and Tsaio.  I've tried those brands before and while they're okay, they are not brands I would buy on their own.  They just don't fit me face well.  The Berrisom Tiger mask was decent for a printed mask although the ears were a little odd since they ending up in my hair.  Sadly, it left my skin dried out and I've been fighting dry patches for the past week. The other new brand this month was Nature Planet which also was only okay.  I usually track masks alphabetically each month on a spreadsheet, but I'm going to have to switch to order of use each month.  I so often can't remember which mask I used last so I can't be sure if dry patches are caused by a mask or by doing two mediocre masks in a row.

The subscription shipped late again this month only arriving a few days into May.  Beauteque is doing better with information having sent out an email well before the usual ship date saying they'd be late due to a late shipment (something that can be expected for a small company importing from Asia).  This time the compensation is 15% off the next renewal.  The lateness isn't a deal breaker for me, but I'm sure others feel differently.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

BrainDead

BrainDead ran for thirteen episodes last summer and is now streaming on Amazon Prime.  The story concerns bugs from outer space that try to take over the United States by infecting powerful members of the government.   I was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining this was.  There's political satire, sci-fi, and romance all wrapped up in a quirky package with interesting characters.  There is also Jonathan Coulton providing a musical recap of the previous week's episode along with some other song commentary.  The Cars' "You Might Think" is prominently featured throughout the series which I found quite appropriate since the main thing I remember from the video was Ric Ocasek as a bug.  I highly recommend this.  Besides, given the current state of American politics, brain eating bugs make a lot of sense.

Twin Peaks Figures

The rest of the Twin Peaks items I ordered from Entertainment Earth showed up over the past week or two (I'm still waiting on one other item that was supposed to ship in April while I have these that weren't due until May).
Normally I'm an unboxer of action figures.  I have about a dozen still packaged and about half of those are dupes of opened items.  I went back and forth but ultimately decided to leave this in package since they look nice together as a set.  Had they been individually carded, I probably would have done otherwise.  They're about 3 3/4" tall making them the perfect size for anyone wanting to recreate their Star Wars/Twin Peaks fanfic (no I'm not googling that, but I'm sure it's a thing).
And here's Leland, the last of the Pops! I'd ordered.  The white eyes make him extra scary.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Recent Listens

Zac and Mia by A. J. Betts narrated by Kristen Condon and Nicholas Mondelli.  I continue to work my way through books I've downloaded from Sync in past years.  A two teens with cancer story.  Zac is quite likable and level headed.  Mia's a self-centered, self-pitying bitch who only shows any redemptive behavior way towards the end of the book.  The book was okay but nothing special.  The biggest problem I had was that the book is set in Australia and the narrators speak in American English.  words like "mum" and "fortnight" were a bot jarring every time they were used.


Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire narrated by Michael Page.  Maguire specializes in fairy tales, and this one is based on Russian folklore.  Baba Yaga and the characters surrounding her were fun.  There's some nice use of language and phrasing.  Page is a fantastic narrator for this kind of book with a rich beautiful voice.  And thus ends the good stuff.  The book was way too long (over twelve hours) for the amount of plot.  Easily a third to half should have been edited out.  Most of the characters were uninteresting.  There's a party given by the Tsar (presumably Nicholas II) which he hosts without a wife by his side.  Also an advisor to the Tsar quotes a Jewish philosopher to him which would not have gone over well with any tsar in the age of railroads.  Ultimately the bad outweighed the good.


100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith narrated by Kirby Heyborne.  A boy tries to establish himself as something other than a character in his father's best-selling novel.  Or so the general description goes which isn't quite right.  It's more about a teen and the friendships he has over a year. I liked it more than expected since it had some funny moments and interesting characters.  Some of the sex stuff definitely would play better to the intended young adult reader, but all the boner talk wasn't too annoying.  Heyborne's pretty much the go-to guy for teen boy narrators


And here begins the time wasters

The Young World by Chris Weitz narrated by Jose Julian and Spencer Locke.  Made it through a bit over ninety minutes.  Post-Apocalyptic NYC were all the adults and young children have died off leaving gangs of roaming teens. Nothing new to see here.  A small group battles across the city to look for something in the main branch of the NY Public Library (Warriors, come out to play).  At this point there were several small red flags and two big ones. One, the greatest doctors couldn't find a cure before the disease wiped out most everyone, what makes them think a kid who's specialty is mechanical engineering will be able to find a cure based on one scientific journal article?  Two, the journal would have been put out after the NYPL's card catalogue would be mainly digital so the odds of finding that in miles of stacks without the help of a computer are next to nil.  A quick check on Goodreads indicated the book's ending would be rushed and unfulfilling unless one read the sequels, so I decided to cut my losses.  Pet peeve about so much modern publishing:  If you're writing a book, write a book and give it a satisfying ending even if you don't read the sequels.  Writing a book intended it to be part of a trilogy from the get-go is just a cash-grab to make one buy three books instead of one.


Pennies for Hitler by Jackie French narrated by Humphrey Bower.  Made it through twenty minutes.  The book is set in Germany.  I assume everyone would be speaking German to each other which means that everything in this novel should be in the same language the story is written in which is English.  The Nazis should therefore just be chanting "Jews out" and not "Juden raus.  Jews out".  Pick a damn language and stick to it.  I'm not impressed that the author watched enough of the History channel to pick up a smattering of German that she could translate to English..


Bone Gap by Laura Ruby narrated by Dan Bittner.  Made it through about an hour when I realized I didn't know what was going on the in the story since it was less interesting than my daily commute.