Movie – Room 237: B+

room 237B+
This documentary points out some really interesting details and quirks about The Shining, but that’s not really what it’s about. It more of a study on how people can take a piece of art and find whatever message or symbolism they want, intended or otherwise. The movie does a great job at just letting it’s various narrators explain their (mostly) ridiculous theories on Kubrick’s intended purpose lurking behind the film without commenting on them. Sometimes the evidence is quite interesting, but usually you have to squint and make few logical leaps. It reminded me of freshman lit classes.

Book – The Heroes: B+

heroesB+
Abercrombie is a master of battle narration. He presents fantasy combat uniquely, vividly, and with enthralling intensity. But the characters were nowhere near as strong as his first law trilogy. Nor was the story unfortunately. It felt more like lightly-decorated hallways between a few gorgeous gardens. Gardens filled with blood and chaos and jaded weariness.

Movie – Ted: B+

tedB+

Like most comedies, Ted takes a standard plot and wraps a silly concept around it. Oddly enough, it manages to be as raunchy as you’d expect with an R-rated comedy, but still sentimental like a romantic comedy. Like Family Guy, there’s a lot of disjointed scenes, a heavy reliance on nostalgia, and many segments that run a little longer than they probably should. But there’s plenty of funny to make up for most of it.

Movie – Non-Stop: B+

nonstopB+
This movie is brimming with those actors you always remember from somewhere else. Bruce Wayne’s dad, Lady Mary, Peter Russo, and Patsey are all prominent characters. But the cast is mostly wasted, especially Lupita who didn’t really do much of anything. Liam Neeson plays to type, not really matching his best works of late, but not quite just honing it in yet. The story follows a typical suspense actioner route, with a great premise and some good tension but without a satisfying finale.

TV – Top of the Lake: B+

top of the lakeB+

Top of the Lake clearly has the aspiration to be among other great moody crime dramas like The Killing, Luther, or Wallander, but its admirable parts never quite add up to whole toward which it seemed to strive. Characters make stupid decisions, which seem less like character flaws than plot requirements. There is some quality drama but ultimately not many surprises. The final episode contains almost all the dramatic reveals, and then doesn’t give you much in the way of denouement. But the thrills still entertain as required, and with the gorgeous New Zealand landscapes to complement everything it’s easy to enjoy the experience.

Comic – Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard vol1: B+

Mouse-Guard-LofG vol1B+

I’m normally against short story collections by an assortment of creators, but Mouse Guard managed to frame them well. I enjoyed about two-thirds of the tales, but my favorites were those that most closely related to the style and plotting of main series, which kind of defeats the point I suppose. I enjoyed BPRD’s Guy Davis and his story about bats, and decidedly did not enjoy a wildly divergent cartoonish tale. Most fans will find something to like, but not a significant addition to the series.

Comic – Star Wars: Infinities – Return of the Jedi: B+

infinities rotj
B+
Like the other two Infinities volumes, it’s a short comic telling a lot of story, so things feel forced and there isn’t much room for action. It’s probably the weakest of the series, with the changes not really leading to much of a difference. The odd thing is, each volume would work great as exposition, with a potentially great story taking place after each ends.