Month in Review – December 2009: Purchases and Media.

Well, this is the last month of 2009, of the decade, so you’d expect me to close with a bang, right? Well, I didn’t. School is still busy, and my money situation deteriorated somewhat. I now earn half of what I earned before, and well, I didn’t earn much before either ;)

I am accepting donations of money, figures, and other non-food goods, apply at the closest Geek-Donation Association Chambers near you! Heh.

Media:

Movies:

  • Black Cat, White Cat (Crna Macka, Beli Macor) – There’s something we call “Burek Movies” in Israel, which are usually half-assed and low quality. This movie by the esteemed Emir Kusturica (pronounced Kusturitza) is such a film, though the rawdyness, the basic life, the chaos in it make for quite an enjoyable film. In the beginning, one of the characters seemed like glorification of the petty mobster, but later that character turned out to be a jackass, which made me like the movie more, rather than another glorification of petty thugs by petty film-makers.
  • Star Trek, the new movie – After the movie ended, I was surprised by how little actually happened. The whole movie could have easily filled 50 minutes. My brother made the right observation, this film was there so they could begin the movie franchise again while disregarding the old continuuity. This is a money making endeavour, this film was, the following ones may actually have some substance.
  • Zack and Miri Make a Porno – The film had much promise, but wasn’t that good. The first 30 minutes the acting was way too wooden, and the only characters who had shown any life were the minor cast who only showed up for a minute or two. The main actors had stepped up afterwards, but still, it wasn’t that funny, it wasn’t that touching, and the expletives felt so fake when uttered… like the horrible Speed Grapher dub. Also, such wooden acting often is the hallmark of Kevin Smith movies, and some of the discussions felt like rehashes from Clerks or Clerks 2 (like some of the Quentin Tarantino dialogues).
  • Porco Rosso – Nice film, though it sort of lacked a point, a closing statement, something to make it stick.
  • Whisper of the Heart – Went to this and the film above with Chen, in a Miyazaki festival, this one was a good film, and it got covered in a post.
  • 9 – Based on a short film by Shane Acker, this was also directed by Shane Acker. I’ve loved the world, there were some holes in the plot, but I loved the imagery, and this was a pleasure to watch. Very atmospheric, but you know, sometimes atmosphere replaces story as well, when the main point is being atmospheric rather than having atmosphere supplement a story. This movie straddles the line.

Anime:

  •  Toradora! episodes 4-5 – This continues slowly, it’s ok, but it’s not very exciting. We’ve got Rie Kugimiya voicing Taiga, which is a blessing and a curse, we’ve got slowly unveiling history, but there’s very little pull.
  • Gunslinger Girl, whole first season – This was nice, but in a way, it had no story. Each of the first 6 episodes was its own self-contained story, and then after we still did not get much of “A Story”, one big story. It was still nice, but I’m moved to write about different ways in which we can have no story in a series. I loved the OP, so I’m sharing it. I’m also moved to dedicate a post to the OP of the series, thoughts?
  • Gurren Lagann, episodes 3-6 – Only watching this with Chen, so progress is slow. Still good, was nice to watch the episode with the village where they limit their population again. Can’t wait for the fateful episode with Kamina-sama again.

Manga/Books:

  • Dogs #0, a prelude for the main series (Dogs: Bullets and Carnage) by Shirow Miwa. Now, this makes me want to get issue #1 exactly for the reason I just don’t think this manga book was any good… it has no story at all, so now I’m curious to see where the story does go!
  • No other books, at all!

Well, the amount of movies was considerable, the amount of anime was acceptable, and the amount of books is seemingly unacceptable, but there are two things to remember: 1. I only list books I’ve finished, so if I’ve read half of a book, it doesn’t get listed here; 2. as I’ve outlined in the “Favourite Moments” post, I sometimes watch a part of an episode, or 3 episodes of a series, and read bits of a book, but if I don’t go through it all, I don’t list it.
For instance, I’ve also watched 3.5 episodes of Claymore, and read about 200 pages of The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King, and several hundred pages from the first seven books of The Adventures of Vlad Taltos by Steven Brust, but not all book, of any of these.

Purchases:

Well, as my money situation deteriorated somewhat, and cause I need to save money (I completely forgot that the Megurine Luka nendoroid figure I’ve pre-ordered is coming out this month, now I understand why people post their pre-orders monthly, to keep track! Well, with all the changes and delays, they’d go mad otherwise too! :D), so less expenditures.

  •  Eric Evans, a friend of mine from MouseHunt (a Facebook application) got me The Iron Council by China Mieville, the third book of Bas-Lag, for Christmas. Thanks Eric, you’re the best :)
  • Some more miniatures ordered and arrived. Going to stop buying these until I finish painting the over 100 miniatures I have unpainted O.O
  • Legend of the Five Rings cards won on eBay, for nickels, arrived today, actually.
  • Two books by Haruki Murakami which were on sale, in Hebrew, After Dark and Norwegian Wood. Yes, I buy books, always, forever. I actually don’t like all of his books and short stories. The Elephant Vanishes was actually mediocre, with only a couple of good stories, if you ask me.

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12 comments on “Month in Review – December 2009: Purchases and Media.

  1. lovelyduckie says:

    “My brother made the right observation, this film was there so they could begin the movie franchise again while disregarding the old continuuity.”

    They announced the sequel before the movie even came out in theaters due to the positive response of the public…to the trailers. This Christmas my dad mentioned that the whole movie was a setup, and when I watched it again last week I decided I agreed with that. BUT I still really like that movie. But I’m not a fan of Star Trek the TV series, I love the movie, I’ll only watch the series if I have someone really enthusiatic about it by my side.

    • Guy says:

      Well, I’ve never been too big of a fan of the original series, I’ve been spoiled by better, more original things. Star Trek: The New Generation has nice stuff, but it’s episodic, so there wasn’t really something to pull me to stick with it. Deep Space 9 I really liked, and it had a progressing storyline; it wasn’t completely episodic, something I might cover in regards to Buffy, Zetsubo Sayonara Sensei, etc.

      The film, well, it looked great, but it had no story. Well, it had a story, but hardly enough to warrant or justify the length of the film, so what was there felt even more watered down. I hope the next installments, and yes, it’s pretty certain they were planned from the first moment the scriptwriter touched their keyboard, would be better.
      Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next few films were written first, but then someone realized there’s a continuity issue, and for that reason this film was made.

      They probably should’ve made a short animated film for it, like with the new Batman, or the Animatrix.

      P.S. Fixed the comment, hope you don’t mind.

      • lovelyduckie says:

        You’re welcome to fix my typos any time :) also I started reading Gunslinger Girl. I like it…but not as much as I thought I would. I was expecting to REALLY feel involved in this series, but I’m pretty casually reading the story without any feelings of urgency to continue onto the next volume THAT MINUTE!

    • Guy says:

      Well, the series doesn’t have much story, the anime, in the beginning.

      I guess it picks up after all the introductions are done with. I’ll probably cover the series, even if it’ll “only” be in a joint “Several different forms of non-story” entry, that’d cover Slice of Life (Genshiken), Episodic (Gunslinger Girl, say), and Zany (Zetsubo Sayonara Sensei).

  2. I’m impressed with the amount of media you are able to consume in a month. I’m lucky if I can watch a few anime episodes and read 1 or 2 books (manga or otherwise). Got too much on my plate at once, I guess.

    I watched Star Trek when it was in theaters… I feel that it was a waste of money. I’ve been a Star Trek fan since I was a kid and the redone universe just didn’t do the original material justice. Tons of plotholes too.

    Recently watched 9 and also was disappointed. Again, plotholes, wasted scenes, insufficient character development. It’s sad because it had a lot of potential.

    I didn’t comment on your Whisper of the Heart post, but I really like that movie. Still one of my favorite Ghibli films ^^

    • Guy says:

      I much prefer months where I can look back and point out I’ve read 4 books or so, you know? Then again, I’ve had months, I think like September or August where I’ve watched some 50-60 anime episodes, which is crazy (heck, the month I’ve watched Mai-HiME, Zero no Tsukaima and others, seems more like 80 episodes!). But yeah, but it comes at the cost of not playing Dragon Age: Origins or painting miniatures. Time is a zero sum game, doing one thing means not doing another.

      Star Trek the movie, well, the world had no feel, there was just no feel, you zoomed to and fro, and that was that. To be honest, the feel of the series had time to grow, but it seems like they didn’t even try in the film.

      9 had much promise, yes. The plot holes, especially in the end were quite annoying. But it was a very atmospheric film, and I think in this film the atmosphere was the main thing, the feel, the “mythology”, so to speak.

  3. Optic says:

    “This was nice, but in a way, it had no story.”

    The first couple of episodes revolved more around the characters in giving them a story than a story on a whole. Since the series is somewhat mysterious at the beginning, I find the producer wanted viewers to know more about each girl and their roles in the organization before moving along. In addition, getting the landscape right was another key factor in making it such a successful series.

    I love the OP but GSG II OP is twice better. ;)

    • Guy says:

      I don’t think the series is mysterious at all, at least once you finish the second episode. It’s just episodic in nature, and rather than being an atmospheric series where the atmosphere supports the story, you just got atmosphere, instead of story. It works on us emotionally, so it’s not a bad series, but it’s not exactly because of the story… in fact, rather than show us a story, they tempt us with the shape of a story, it has story-like things, that series.

      And when I begin watching the second season, I’ll watch that OP as well. Well, the OP of Gunslinger Girl has many elements to consider, especially the gulf, and the music by The Delgados is also quite nice. Heck, great.

  4. Reltair says:

    The Gunslinger Girl OP was really good and making a post just focusing on it would be worthwhile. In terms of the song, I prefer the GSG2 OP “Tatta Hitotsu no Omoi” – which is one of my favorites.

    • Guy says:

      Whoa! Your post jumped up the page and is now before posts posted earlier, heh.

      I’ll probably watch it after Maria Holic, we’ll see, Gunslinger Girl 2nd season. Not going to watch the OP till then, since it’s on my to-watch list. I actually sat and watched the full OP of Gunslinger Girl and it hit me, all the layers it has, the imagery.

  5. Yi says:

    Gunslinger Girl is one of the most amazing anime ever. I love it so much… It’s just so beautiful.

    • Guy says:

      Hm, seems Optic’s comment and mine got stuck at the bottom, weird. Need to see if there’s some code that needs fixing.

      Anyway, it’s beautiful, it made me feel, but I’m not sure it’s actually good in all respects. Making me feel is important, but it lacks in story, actual story. It has a series of stories, so to speak, but there’s no point, there’s no punch, so to speak.

      And yet, I do like it quite a lot. Weird.

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