It feels like it's been a while...
"Ink" - Interesting, sometimes very clever independent dark fantasy film. I found a lot to like in it except for the twist at the end, which prompted less of a "woah" and more of a "what?"
"Mirrormask" - Somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight, there is a collaboration between Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean, and the Jim Henson Workshop. And it is, sadly, not as awesome as that combination promises. It is worth a look since the film does at least have a very unusual look and the story is almost a test-run for ideas that would be refined and far better implemented in "Coraline". (Let's see here, girl who has some issues with her family finds her way into an alternate universe ruled over by a scary doppelganger of her mom and everything is kind of whimsical but also weird and off-putting? Yeah.)
"Madagascar 3" - The first and certainly less mortifying of two "Why the hell was this in my queue; somebody out there in Internet-land must have convinced me it was worth watching" movies I'll be reviewing today. I thought it was pretty bad, and there were even a few moments that were downright disturbing. On top of that, whoever came up with the seal character hates me. They don't even know me, yet they hate me. ME, personally. Ye gods...
"Sucker Punch" - The second of my two "Why the hell was this in my queue; somebody out there in Internet-land must have convinced me it was worth watching" movies and hooooooooly sh*t. This movie. It sure was a movie. Still images were projected at a rate that gave the illusion of movement, and there was a soundtrack.
Seriously, though. When "Sucker Punch" wasn't looking exactly like an adaptation of Kate Beaton's "Strong Female Characters" made by somebody who didn't get the joke at all, it reminded me uncomfortably of "Cool World" of all things, probably because it's another awkward glimpse into the creator's subconscious. You can very definitely count me on Team "If you honestly think that this film is somehow 'empowering for women', please, just, STFU."
"Upstream Color" - Then again, neither "Sucker Punch" nor "Madagascar 3" made me literally scream and swear at the TV. Your mileage, as they say, may vary, but you may count me on Team "This wasn't so much 'confusing' as it was 'straight-up antagonistic towards the audience'".
"A Monster in Paris" - Underrated CGI feature made in France by a former Dreamworks director. It's slight, but very nice. I only wish the DVD wasn't so bare-bones. The voices picked for the dub are fine enough but shouldn't this at least have a French soundtrack?
"Peter and the Wolf" (1996) - I wanted to check this out because it's a gap in my Chuck Jones education(?), and I'm sad to report that it's entirely skippable. You need to sit through nearly ten minutes of live-action footage of a grandpa trying to impress his very 90's grandson with the titular tale to get to the animation. When you finally do, you learn that it's not Chuck Jones' animation at all. It's his very Jonesy late-period character designs animated by a different team of animators who were, there is no polite way to put this, not skilled enough to handle them. The result just looks wrong and kind of depressing.
Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O'Dell - So... I recently acquired a Kindle Paperwhite and I have been consuming books like crazy. One of the first places I descended upon was my local library's E-Library, where I found this gem from my assigned reading in high school. I'm happy to say it still holds up.
Ready Player One, Earnest Cline - Hey, do you remember this thing that happened in the 80's? Cause that sure was a thing that happened back in the 80's!
Okay to be perfectly fair, this book is pretty good when, you know, it's not doing that. But the thing is, it does that a lot.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot - Haunting is the word for this true story of bizarre biology, class and racial politics, and a family's heartbreaking quest to know the truth. If you only follow one of my recommendations in this post, make it this one.
3500, Ron Miles - The deeply strange, utterly fascinating, and ultimately incredibly heartwarming story of Ron Miles and his son, Ben is now available in its entirety in book form and is well worth a read. You'll want to hug your children afterwards, but you'll also feel a little better about humanity.
My Beloved Brontosaurus, Brian Switek - I would guess that anyone reading my websites already owns a copy of this book (or perhaps even two: one for yourself and one to pass around to friends so they can finally be on the same page as us when it comes to dinosaurs), so you already know how awesome it is and that it's well worth purchasing the hardcover edition for the terrific artwork.
Sketch of the Day! Man, Pokefusion is way too much fun to play with.