A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Brief Asides #5

It's been a while since I've done one of these "Brief Asides" posts, so here's a new one for you, finally.  There may be longer reviews of some of these items shortly, but for now here are some quick thoughts on a few things I've been reading and seeing lately.

Irrational Man, still in a few theaters, was an okay Woody Allen movie, but ultimately felt like warmed-over leftovers. The themes covered here- mostly involving morality and justice- were handled with more urgency and drama in earlier Woody films like Crimes and Misdemeaners and Matchpoint.  Also, the pace was a little sluggish. Still it's a watchable, somewhat entertaining movie for Woody fans.

Fantastic Four is pretty much the big disappointment everyone says it is, though it's more needlessly mediocre than a travesty.  It's just amazing to me that the rich Stan Lee/Jack Kirby source material has yet to yield a truly decent movie after several tries.  Probably Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer a few years back came closest.  There was at least some pretty good adventure and somewhat grand science-fiction wonderment in that one.

Zombeavers, recently seen via Netflix streaming, is actually a lot more grim and scary, and straight-up horror oriented than the title of the movie suggests.  The filmmakers, however, certainly didn't miss the double-entendre opportunities the title offers, and the puppet-like beavers often look a little silly. Still, this one may genuinely unnerve you a little, especially if you're just tuning in for goofy fun.

Speaking of goofy fun, you'll get a lot of that in both the movie and series versions of Wet Hot American Summer, both also now on Netflix.  The 2015 series (8 episodes, just released) is actually a prequel to the 2001 movie, which apparently has a cult following. Both series and movie offer a nice mix of so-bad-it's-good humor, as well as genuinely inspired funny bits.  Check 'em out.

I'm still working my way through Isaac Asimov's Foundation series (a 2015 project of mine) and just finished Foundation's Edge. This one was an important entry in the series, not only because it was the first new installment in the series in several decades when it originally came out in 1982, but also because it connected the Foundation novels into the continuities of other Isaac Asimov series and stories, in essence creating a grand Asimov universe.  And it did all that while telling a decent story, too.

That's it for now. I hope everyone is making the most of these final days of summer.

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