I recently spent some time catching up with comics. Mark Waid has written some great stuff. Empire is a story about a supervillain who takes over the earth. Very dark stuff, but not as dark as Irredeemable, an ongoing series about a super-powered hero who doesn't have the emotional capacity to be a hero, and instead becomes a villain. Both are well worth reading!
What's Christmas without a nice action movie? Sherlock Holmes has an intricate plot, great actors, and fine entertainment value. Robert Downey, Jr. is always a pleasure to watch, and Jude Law was a great Dr. Watson. Rachel McAdams wasn't that compelling, unfortunately, but that's not that surprising given the imposing actors she had to work with. The mysterious Professor Moriarty was clearly held back for a sequel; hopefully next year---although I don't know how Robert Downey, Jr. has time for all of the movies he is involved with.
This series is a guilty pleasure: the episodes that we happen upon fun are always fun to watch. The writing is mildly predictable, and the situations amusingly contrived. But it's always fun, especially since I grew up on Dungeons and Dragons.
Well, James Cameron's blockbuster 3D movie surprised me. As expected, the writing was predictable and (to be generous) the dialogue was not very interesting. A few jabs at Bush, and the story is a parable about evil corporations destroying a native civilization in search of profit (by mining the stupidly named "unobtainium", if I heard correctly!). Unexpectedly, the movie was compelling due to the 3D visuals. I agree with the NPR reviewer, who said that the 3D-ness blended in: for much of the movie I forgot that it was a 3D movie. Cameron did a great job of creating a reality on screen that sucks you in (despite the movie's weaknesses), and for that it was worth watching. As a side note, I was also amazed that Ming liked the movie more than I did.
We saw the Manhattan Theatre Club's production of The Royal Family, a parody of the famous Barrymore family. Quite a fun production, with a lot of well-known character actors. They all got to ham it up quite a bit, and there is some sparkling dialogue. We saw the final performance, and the theater was quite full with "theater people". One of our friends saw Tommy Tune, for example.
I've been slowly reading this book in the mornings while on the subway going to the squash club. It was a difficult book to get into, mostly because I'm a little squeamish about dead bodies (which is what this book is about). But it is highly informative and entertaining: the author, Mary Roach, is pretty hilarious. Definitely worth reading, as long as you can stomach the topic.
We watched the first season of Prime Suspect. Much of the plot centered around the sexism in the British police force, and how Helen Mirren's character broke through the (non-glass) ceiling to run a murder investigation. A well-written and well-acted story, and there were all sorts of famous British actors: Tom Wilkinson, Zoe Wanamaker, Ralph Fiennes, to mention the most well-known.
James McAvoy and Anne Hathaway: a beautiful acting couple. This piece of historical fiction has lots of tiny touches that remind one of Jane Austen's works. I noticed the relationships of the story to Pride and Prejudice: the documentary on the DVD mentioned many more. An entertaining movie, if not very deep.
We watched the 6th season of Prime Suspect, a British procedural starring Helen Mirren. A younger competitor in her department is played by Ben Miles (who was in the BBC series Coupling, as well as the recent production of The Norman Conquests on Broadway). Why do the British make such high-quality TV?