Friday, 22 May 2015

So Fetch Friday: Stop Motion Triple Bill

It's been a rough week. I'm still stuck in this dull class on the business of filmmaking. The good news is that I have been able to do some more LEGO stop motion animation and it's been fun. I've managed to two three new ones that go in some odd directions. Basically, I've started a series of bizarre shorts that seem to take place in a small LEGO town and each center on strange antics faced by its various inhabitants. This is fun because it seems that with each episode the world seems to keep growing, and once in a while I'm able to add some new characters either though my own collection or buying a LEGO set. Naturally, these can get really weird. I mean, this is a world where a double-decker couch that someone apparently just left by the side of the road has become the primary hangout place, Xena the Warrior Princess is living in a modern urban environment, a person can literally cause a global crisis simply by getting drunk, a man can rule an entire "kingdom" consisting of a single baseplate in the middle of the sidewalk, and Galadriel is working as a consultant for the local police department.

Naturally I've been buying a lot of LEGO over the past few weeks. I've largely been going after their City sets (not that I have anything against their other lines, City is just a lot easier to keep up with), but I've also managed to obtain one of their The Hobbit sets and immediately came up with a few bizarre ideas on how to use my new Galadriel minifigure. I also managed to pick up the Double-Decker Couch made famous by The LEGO Movie, which has now become the official hotspot of the strange town these shorts take place in. One thing I can really say about LEGO is that they are making some great progress on the field of gender representation. This is especially notable in their City sets, where they are making a clear effort to include more female cops, and constructions workers, and there are at least three different sets (four if you count that accessory set) with female firefighters. That's not to say there isn't still room for improvement (they are after all still selling Disney Princess sets and juniorized themes aimed toward girls) but I'd still say they are doing good so far.

Unfortunately, I haven't had as much time for watching movies. I'm also still trying to sort out what went wrong during my attempted screening of Nightcrawler last week. Evidently everyone else saw something I didn't, but I can't seem to figure out what it was. I've been told it might have been connected to my mood when I saw the film. I don't know, maybe that's all it was. Maybe that's why I couldn't see what everyone else did. Maybe my theory that the Oscars are a sham is proving more right than ever before. I don't know what happened. Then again, I criticized this film for not putting female cops or firefighters into the background so maybe I'm going crazy.

One movie I did get to see, however: Hot Pursuit. It wasn't anything spectacular but it was still a lot of fun, perhaps more the kind of thing to watch on Netflix than in theaters but it's alright. There was some good humor (though I wasn't entirely sure about the surprisingly large number of jokes about Reese Witherspoon's height). Part of me also wished they'd gone through with the homoerotic undertones that were being included throughout (as is normal for a buddy film). Of course the plot is basically the same as Clint Eastwood's The Gauntlet only now with some lesbian undertones but that's beside the point.

On Banshee, I got an immense amount of satisfaction when I saw the bastard responsible for killing my favorite character take a shotgun to the face. Normally I would not be laughing upon seeing half of someone's head get blown off but this guy had it coming. Even before he killed Siobhan he was a menace who was basically a threat to everyone and had proven insanely hard to kill. Seeing him finally get it was satisfying both as retribution for killing the best character on the show and just knowing his status as a threat had been eliminated. Then things got intense because Lucas went ahead and orchestrated a heist on the local army base but was found out. All three of his partners got captured but Hood and his partner (who happened to be the husband of one of the captured accomplices) then managed to get in and go Hot Fuzz on the camp. They managed to save two of them (the third got abducted by a survivor of Hood's rampage) but lost the husband in the process.

Unfortunately, this was also the last episode, and it ended on a dark note. Hood apparently decided he was done being the sheriff and wanted to retire. He seemed to be talking to Proctor, and for once found himself not trying to incarcerate him. The two of them just seemed to be talking casually, and it almost looks like Hood is going to change sides. Now I've got to wait for season 4 to come out (and I don't know when it will be available through HBO on Demand). Between that and waiting for season 3 of Hannibal to appear on Netflix, I need to find some new shows.

After a few attempts to find something new, I ended up settling on The Killing, a police show which as far as I can tell has absolutely nothing to do with Stanley Kubrick's 1957 heist film that coincidentally has the same title. This is a dark show, as you could expect from a program literally called The Killing. The first episode was a bit confusing, since there seemed to be three separate plot threads and it was only at the end that it started to become clear how they were connected. I think there might have been some Twin Peaks influence here as well in terms of its structure; right down to the whole series being set in motion by the mystery of who killed a teenage girl.

Speaking of Twin Peaks, there is some really great news about the 2016 revival. Whatever contractual issues were going on, they've been resolved. David Lynch is back in action and ready to direct this revival of his beloved 90's soap opera series. In fact they might even be going beyond the original plan of 10 episodes. This is amazing, so we finally get closure to the series after all: that or it just raises even more questions, either way it will be great to see what happens next. We'll finally learn what happened to Agent Cooper, and it already looks like just about every member of the original cast who is still alive is hoping to return, including some of the actors whose characters died in the original series.

Meanwhile, on Game of Thrones, Tyrion's journey to see Daenerys is becoming even more stressful. He really should have just stayed in that "wheelhouse" with Varys. First he was taken by Jorah and pulled through Valeria where he was nearly infected by stonemen, now both have been abducted by slave traders who apparently want to take them to Slaver's Bay despite the actions of Daenerys (perhaps there is some sort of underground slave market going on?). Tyrion was almost killed but managed to delay his murder for now. Hopefully he can escape from this mess, though how that's going to happen, if at all, I don't know.

On a darker note it turns out, not surprisingly, that Baelish is not the best hope for Sansa Stark after all; in fact he is actually selling her out to Cersei. Come on Stannis, what's taking you so long? Get down to Winterfell and rescue Sansa already! It's bad enough that she had to marry that psychopath Ramsay (who is very unsubtly implied to have on multiple occasions married women and then murdered them), but things are going to get far worse when Cersei gets her hands on her. On the other hand, Brienne was supposed to be nearby. What's she waiting for?

Sansa's sister, on the other hand, is only doing slightly better. Her life isn't in any immediate danger, but she is stuck in an old building constantly washing corpses for people who refuse to explain why she has to do so. Eventually it turned out that the faces of these corpses are kept in the basement, and Arya is apparently not ready to become "nobody" yet. From what was stated, it sounds like Arya is going to have adopt a new identity of some sort. I'm not quite sure what that entails at this point, but I guess we'll find out.

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