Showing posts from January, 2013

Recent Movie Roundup 17

'Tis the season for lots and lots of interesting movies to finally make their way to the movie theater, and for me to glut myself in preparation for the long hot months of box-office friendly summer.  Weirdly, though, almost every film I've watched recently has been a lush, visually adventurous and not entirely successful novel adaptation.  Must be something in the water.  There are some more straightforward films coming up ( Argo , The Silver Linings Playbook , Flight , though also fare like Les Miserables and Holy Motors ), but for the time being here are my thoughts on this strangely similar group of movies. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) - One of the things I most admired about Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy was that the films felt less like straight-up adaptation of the book and more like a synthesis of the material into a new form.  I liked some of the choices expressed in that synthesis more than others (and there were others still that I ju

Winter Crop: Thoughts on Midseason Shows

It's long past the point where new shows are a fall thing--long past the point, in fact, where I ought to have been making this sort of review a quarterly business.  But somehow this winter season seems particularly fecund, possibly as a result of the fall's disappointing crop, possibly because British TV seems to take the end of the year as its time to launch new shows, which means this report covers series from both sides of the pond.  So far, I can't say that the winter crop is making up for the fall's disappointments--the only 2012 show I'm still following is Elementary --but I suppose I watch too much TV anyway. A Young Doctor's Notebook - A funny little project from Sky, this short (four half-hour episodes) series is based (rather loosely, it from what I gather) on Mikhail Bulgakov's novel of the same name (sometimes also translated as A Country Doctor's Notebook ).  In 1934, a successful Moscow doctor (John Hamm) is being investigated for writi

The Bug by Ellen Ullman

We live in a world that has been--is still being--profoundly transformed by technology, and yet you'd hardly know that to look at our fiction.  Sure, there's a whole genre devoted to inventing outlandish--albeit, sometimes, plausible and rigorously thought-out--technologies and using them, and their effects on individuals and society, as jumping-off points for stories.  But science fiction rarely turns its eye on the present and on existing technologies, and when it does--usually in the form of outsider SF--the result is rarely to imagine change and transformation, as authors plump for the familiar standards of apocalypse, collapse, and the end of human civilization, if not the human race.  Somewhere in the interstices between these two extremes, however, is a small cluster of novels that make technology their business--novels that look at the present through SFnal eyes, like William Gibson's Blue Ant trilogy, or Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon (and, far less successfu