Guns and girls.

This is going to be a very nerdy post: Three reviews of things, the first of…

The Miserable, and the wretched.

Saw Les Misérables yesterday.

Honestly, a musical is not my cup of tea, but the movie was just fine. I have familiarity and appreciation for the story, and the musical, from my youth, so I was curious to see how it would be adapted, and like everyone else, I had heard good things about the performances of Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman. I suspect they’ll both get Oscar nominations, but Anne Hathway is the one with the real shot here. She does a lot of heavy lifting with the relatively limited role of Fantine and even in her short time here no one hits the strides and the heights and depths that she can plumbs so easily. Jackman is good, but not as good as her. Plus, he’s got the unfortunate timing of potentially being nominated for Best Actor in the same award season as Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln.

I dreamed a dream.

Tom Hooper, however, is as boring in his direction as he was in The King’s Speech, and possibly less so. Somehow that film was both nominated and managed to win the big awards, but I don’t think that will be the case here. Especially not in a year that produced a Lincoln, a Zero Dark Thirty, and a Life Of Pi.

Anyway, minor flaws of the film that aren’t so minor: Way too fucking long and not interesting enough to sustain that length. The stuff towards the end with the June Rebellion was dreadfully boring, and anytime Jackman, Hathaway, or even Russell Crowe as Javert weren’t on screen, you found yourself checking your watch. I did enjoy Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter (she’s just doomed to always play the gothic clown now, isn’t she?) as the Thénardiers, and they did provide some much needed comic relief to the film, but their rendition of the film’s second most memorable song was pretty boring.

Anyway, my second review is of…

Mad hilarity, merciless action, dark cynicism, and incorruptible bravery.

Gun Machine, the new novel by Warren Ellis.

This is a fun, slightly nuts book, which is the usual from Ellis. His first novel, Crooked Little Vein, was a silly but interesting little pulp travelogue through America, and Gun Machine comes from a similar place, but it’s more of a harder crime novel. This is Warren Ellis sodomizing writers like James Patterson and Ed McBain with his ideas, sort of.

The premise is simple: A cop stumbles upon an apartment filled with guns, hundreds of them and nothing else, and each crime can be traced to a different unsolved crime. Somebody has been keeping these guns all this time as trophies.

I believe I read somewhere the book has already been optioned to be developed into a TV show, which is… exciting, I guess. Granted, they’ll take the premise, and they’ll tone it down. They’ll have to. This book is a little nuts, and filled with a lot of little minutiae that’s probably closer to the harsh reality of crime in a big insane urban cityscape, but not the kind of thing that the flyover states are ready to tune into from their local affiliate. The first scene of the book, for example, involves the main character’s partner getting half of his face blown off by a shotgun blast delivered by a ranting naked man.

Gun

That said, there are lots of little ideas and the basic premise that could easily translate into a very interesting serial procedural. That, and I would like to see the type of characters that Ellis writes on either the small screen or the big screen, as they’re usually broken, mouthy creatures who are incorruptibly brave (a nice way of putting it from the Wired review quoted as a blurb on the cover) and very good at what they do.

Half of this book is written in the parlance of the internet, almost as if Ellis got tired of scanning the internet landscape and fueled some of that excitement and anger into a writing frenzy. At the same time, as a fan of his comic books and ideas shared in various places online, I am excited to see him evolving in a new medium, but I can’t say that it feels like he’s challenging himself here. But I have to say that I would secretly like to see Ellis tackle one of his nonfiction books that have more than one foot inside music theory and hauntological futures (which he is working on, thankfully), or maybe some kind of insane sci fi novel – I would love to see Warren Ellis become the new Harlan Ellison – or really get into TV, writing for Doctor Who or resurrecting Quatermass, something like that.

The second review being of…

Victorian values.

“The Snowmen,” the recent Doctor Who Christmas special.

I miss talking about Doctor Who, here or anywhere else. I really need to develop a venue for that, but as far as this episode goes, in short: This was a merely so so episode with great characters in it. Matt Smith is always good and shining with the Doctor, and only improves as he continues to play the character, and Vastra, Jenny, and Strax are welcome ongoing returns to the series, and I can’t say enough nice things about Jenna-Louise Coleman’s Clara, who is mysterious and a serious breath of fresh air. If I’m being honest, I may be doing this post solely to post pictures of her.

That said, this episode was not great. The webisode prequels were more interesting than a good deal of the regular plot of the episode, and I thought it was brave that the threat that the characters were facing down was given an extreme back seat to the character moments.

More guns.

Steven Moffat’s writing is always great, but if I had one major criticism of his tenure on Doctor Who as the showrunner it would be that everything feels too rushed. I assume that the fickle nature of television and the constant need to up the ante is what causes that, but as much as I enjoyed season 5 as the shakedown cruise for a new Doctor, companion, and way of looking at the show, season 6 seemed very rushed, big on set up and small on payoff, possibly because the payoff had to be pushed forward, forward, forward. Part of me wonders if a lot of that was necessitated by the upcoming 50th anniversary special.

That special lead to a lot of new additions in the Christmas special, including the introduction of Smith’s face in the main credit sequence (which I’m positive they’ve been threatening since he took over the role) and a redesigned TARDIS console room that brought back a lot of the blandness of the poorly executed production design from the show’s earlier regenerations in video with rubber monsters back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Cosby sweaters and scripts

And I’m as curious as the next person about some of the big things to come, like the presumed payoff of the First Question, but eventually it could get tiring to constantly finding situations for characters to say, “Doctor… Who?”

Anyway. That said, I’m looking forward to the second half of the current season and the (re)introduction of Clara, Mark 3. I suspect that she’ll be everything that we had assumed and hoped that Amy Pond will be, and I’m really looking forward it. The show regenerates each time a new Doctor steps out of the ashes of the previous one, but as they keep rightfully so telling us, the show is about the companions and the view they provide, and it really feels like the show could come to life again with the addition of Clara. I’m excited.

Remember.

Imagine the fire.

It’s so weird to live in a post-The Dark Knight Rises world…

What is the next big movie/event/thing to come to our lives? At least in a pop culture sense, I mean. I’m very curious to see The Master, but that is not nearly the same thing, of course.

This is just a digression, of course, but I think it goes to show you: savor the expectations and the moments where you’re left waiting, desperate to will the hands on the clock to move faster. Spoiler: I really liked The Dark Knight Rises, it met all my expectations and then some, but I also enjoyed those times in my life when I had not yet seen it, that all I had was the imagined storylines and scenes in my head, when I just had the curiosity and that unbridled enthusiasm. What I have now is no better (well, it’s probably better) nor worse, but different.

Anyway. That’s a story for another time.

Also, I’m clearly going to use a ton of Batman pictures in this post. This is nothing new on Counterforce, but all the same…

Deal with it.

Also, a few entries ago, WordPress greeted me with this beautiful sight after I hit the “post” button:

For some reason that image has stuck with me. Stuck with me beyond me screencapping it, I mean. And it has stuck with me for a lot of reasons, I think… But that is a story for another time, a long story, and right now I do not have the time to make it shorter.

Anyway.

Just wanted to give you a heads up: The Counterforce podcast is over.

We’re not finished podcasting, and this site isn’t done, no, not just yet, but in a few days you’re going to see something new and different from us.

I’m sure not many folks out there care, which is fine because I care and that’s all that I need, but I like that for at least another day or two it’ll remain a mystery. As much as I would like to travel through time to get to that place, I’m thankful to be here in this place right now, dreaming of the future. If that makes sense.

I think/hope it does.

I’ll just say this… A new site and a new podcast. Somewhat the same, but a little bit different…

The Fire Rises! (Another fucking mashup.)

But I kinda like this one.

I remember that I went kind of geeky on Counterforce when The Dark Knight came out, so I guess I’m not too surprised about the frenzy I’m frothing myself into here. Or concerned. Not yet, anyway.

Mad Men and Game Of Thrones return soon, so hopefully Counterforce won’t fully degenerate (or ascend) into being Batman fanboy blog. Hopefully not. It won’t become a bag of Batman boners!

Also, Community returns soon, as is apparent by this funny mash up trailer featuring Community mixed with The Dark Knight Rises:

I’m excited.

Everything is coming back.

Anyway, it’s about a week and a half to the return of Community, and then just another few months until The Dark Knight Rises. After that, I guess we won’t have anything to live for anymore…?

The Rise Of My Dark Knight Rises Anticipation Boner.

I’ve always wanted to title a blog post something as eloquent as that. Wonderful.

Anyway, a recut of the trailers from the three films in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but with Michael Caine‘s voice over from The Prestige trailer laid over…

…And it’s fitting. And wonderful. And exciting. In preparation for this movie I’m attempting to strongly cultivate a healthy environment for my excitement and anticipation to grow, while not being ensnared by expectations.

Also, this:

Rise of the planet of James Franco.

One of these days James Franco will write another book of short stories or a novel featuring a character called James Franco and it’ll be loved by dozens. He’ll also do the cover illustrations for the book. The front cover is a painting of the main character, and the author will model for it himself, and the back cover will be a conceptual void. The author will also personally model for it. The novel or book of short stories will be called simply “James Franco.”

Tiny liberal arts colleges in the corners of this great nation will feature small poorly-funded programs that delve into this book. The relatively minor success of the book and the mild interest in James Franco studies will also lead the author to securing a film deal. He’ll adapt the book himself and also direct it, provide the sets and the costumes for it, cater the affair, and do all the make up and choreography. And, provided the studio can meet his price, he might even star in the low budget film. This man was both an Oscar host and one of the stars of Spider-Man 3, remember.

All of this will be merely just the beginning.

You are cordially invited!

So, FLASHBACK to last Saturday night… I was online, Maria was online, and we were waxing nostalgic and poetic about bullshit and what have you, talking about music and the internet, and finally Maria suggested that I should be the DJ at her imaginary wedding to her imaginary husband. And I chuckled at that and asked, “Which one?” and then it got me thinking…

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