Pointless Nonsense

Posted in tv by Bill on February 19, 2017

chanceChance is Hulu’s bold strategy to put Hugh Laurie in a show where he plays an American doctor, he sees patients with weird maladies, and the title is the doctor’s last name. How could that possibly work?

In this, he’s a neuropsychologist, mostly dealing with people with weird symptoms after head injuries. It doesn’t look, from the pilot, like a “case of the week” type thing. And instead of being aggressively dickish in a highly amusing way, he’s kind of beaten down by life and kind of soft spoken. That is a little annoying, since Hugh Laurie is a funny guy, and one of the strengths of House was to break up the drama with some laughs. Here… not so much.

The Wire‘s Clarke Peters, Rounders‘ Gretchen Mol, Loveline‘s Dianne Farr, and My Name is Earl‘s Ethan Suplee co-star, along with some people I don’t recognize. Mol is the patient that seems to run through the series, while most of the others are used in interstitial bits where Chance reads a case file while we see footage of the injury that caused it and/or the crazy behavior resulting. Mixed in are Chance’s daughter, ex-wife, financial troubles, and a weird friendship-ish thing with Suplee’s character.

It’s not instantly great, but I’m interested to see where the Gretchen Mol plot goes.

Posted in movies by Bill on February 19, 2017

girlfriendsdayGirlfriend’s Day is a Netflix original movie starring Bob Odenkirk which I wasn’t going to watch, but he did such an amazing bit on Colbert I weirdly felt like I owed it to him. It’s about a formerly great greeting card writer, now down on his luck, unable to write romance cards after his marriage fell apart.

The hook is that coming up with a good greeting card line is a MacGuffin for a crime story. Which as hooks go, could work, I think, but it’s stuck between weird-premise-crime-story and comedy-with-crime-elements, and I feel like if it picked one or the other, it would work a lot better.

Posted in movies by Bill on February 19, 2017

deadfallDeadfall is some movie on Netflix that has Olivia Wilde and Kata Mara in it, which pretty much explains why I gave it a shot despite not having heard of it when it was relased, and middling-to-poor reviews. It’s a snowy noir in the vein of Fargo, but obviously not as good.

Kate Mara is a lady cop, and intentionally looking a little plain, but still cute. Olivia Wilde is really, really hot (as pictured) as part of a group that robs a casino and flees to rural Michigan trying to cross into Canada. For some reason they hired Eric Bana to play a guy from I think Alabama, which is a weird choice. His accent isn’t terrible, it just seems odd coming from him. Charlie Hunnam, Treat Williams, Kris Kristofferson, and Sissy Spacek round out the cast.

Olvia Wilde hotness is the main reason to check this out, but… it’s not terrible?

Posted in tv by Bill on February 15, 2017

santaclaritadietSanta Clarita Diet is a new netflix series starring Drew Barrymoore, which was a little off-putting because I’m not really a fan, but it also has Timothy Olyphant and the Waitress, and Nathan Fillion, Andy Richter, Thomas Lennon, Dub-Dub, and Portia de Rossi show up. It’s created by the Andy Richter Controls the Unvierse/Better Off Ted guy, and it’s a horror-comedy, which despite my distaste for horror, I turn out to generally enjoy horror-comedies. But it’s only just barely watchable. There are some shock value gross-out scenes that… I think the timing is off or something. Surprise projectile vomiting or sudden gory murder can easily be funny when done right, but it does nothing for me here.

Posted in movies by Bill on February 14, 2017

david-brentDavid Brent: Life on the Road is the Stephen Merchant-less continuation of the UK’s The Office, following only the David Brent character as he continues to try to be a rock star. It’s of no interest to people who didn’t watch that version of The Office, I don’t think.

It’s really missing something. Not sure if it’s that it’s a Ricky Gervais solo work rather than with his co-creator (I don’t think I’ve really loved anything Gervais has done by himself). This is nothing but watching a cringey train wreck. The show had Finch to be the bigger asshole and make Brent sympathetic, storylines he wasn’t involved in to distract from it, and a mix of characters who hated him, tolerated him, or even liked him. Here, he’s on the road with a band. It’s all about him, and they’ve all had it with his shit. There are some big laughs, but it’s more sad than funny. In the last 10 minutes, it tries to actually address the sadness and be genuine, but it feels too late. Overall, you’re pretty much watching an idiot fail for a whole movie.

Posted in movies by Bill on February 13, 2017

jw2John Wick: Chapter 2 is the sequel to the surprisingly good Keanu Reeves action movie. It isn’t as good as its predecessor, but still makes for a pretty good action movie. While the first was a good revenge movie with a weird assassin bureaucracy backdrop, this one is a weird assassin bureaucracy movie with a bit of a revenge thing (but only kind of), and that doesn’t work as well. Still, lots of good action scenes, and Keanu Reeves isn’t called on to act much.

John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Bridget Moynahan, and that guy from The Newsroom who played a cop in the first one are back from the first one, joined by Common, Ruby Ruse, Lawrence Fishburne, Peter Stormare, Peter Serafinowicz, and some Italian people I don’t recognize. Somewhat disappointed that Bridget Reagan’s brief and slightly confusing appearance in the first one isn’t followed up upon.

Posted in tv by Bill on February 9, 2017

legionLegion is FX’s new X-Men series with some guy apparently from Downton Abbey with a questionable American accent, Aubrey Plaza, the promiscuous daughter from the last Fargo season (who looks way hotter with different hair), and created by the Fargo guy. That had me pretty excited for this show, and… it’s honestly pretty confusing? But promising.

Somewhat appropriate for a story about mental illness stuff, it’s presented in a pretty disjointed way with flashes back and forward and mutant powers presented in an “is this really happening or just a hallucination?” kind of way.

The British Invasion soundtrack in the flashbacks is a little odd, that combined with the outdated looking fashion and decor makes them feel like Wes Anderson gone dark.

Possibly connected to the British Invasion soundtrack thing, the girl is clearly named after the guy who left Pink Floyd due to mental illness.

Posted in tv by Bill on February 7, 2017

apbAPB features Weeds‘ Justin Kirk as an Elon Musk-y guy who decides to spend millions on a high tech law enforcement initiative in a Chicago police precinct. Kirk is very good at the fast-talking likeable jackass thing, and Ernie Hudson and Fusco from PoI are… also there. There’s a kinda hot lady cop (who has way too many buttons unbuttoned in her cop uniform) and a kinda hot computer girl (the actress is apparently Australian, but tragically not using her natural accent).

It’s… ok? The drones and super tasers are kinda boring from a scifi standpoint, and the many thorny issues that could come up in this sort of thing aren’t really addressed that well (1% only paying attention to crimes that affect them, the resistance this sort of thing would have from police unions, some civil liberty problems). It would be nice if the show either went fully scifi or took the concept more seriously… or both. Instead, it seems interested in personal drama first. Were there anything else on between Supergirl and Timeless, I would drop it I think, but there isn’t, so… we’ll see how it goes.

Posted in tv by Bill on February 3, 2017

powerlessPowerless sort of takes the Damage Control concept, moves it to the DC Universe, and turns it into an unfunny sitcom. One joke I liked in the 30 minute pilot. But since I watch literally nothing else on Thursdays for a while, I’m going to give it another episode or two, even though I’m not even a tiny bit optimistic. Vanessa Hudgens is hot (and actually pretty charming as the optimistic lead, this is the only time I’ve seen her in anything besides the dreadful Sucker Punch), and I like Danny Pudi and Alan Tudyk, but that’s about all the show has going for it.

Posted in video games by Bill on January 30, 2017

civ6Civilization VI changes some things in a good way and others not-so-good. Overall, it’s a nice way to kill 100+ hours. I don’t like the religion and espionage very much, the civics tree and district things are odd but ok, and I rather think the military and culture have gotten quality improvements. Forming armies, different approaches to culture (archaeology), the great people system, all quality improvements. Some of the civs provide interesting alternate approaches, like the Kongo and their high population/no religion thing.

There are some random things I wish the UI would allow:

  • Being able to alert on religious units. I quite often fail to notice enemy missionaries/apostles in my territory for a turn or two, it would be much more helpful if my defensive apostles could auto-awake when someone crossed into my territory.
  • Auto-explore that didn’t suck. One that would get tribal villages and also not bounce back and forth at random. And that would take auto-explore off once I’ve seen all the territory.
  • A decent city overview screen.

Also some of the achievements are broken. I wanted to do the one for having a Japanese district surrounded by six other district, which I successfully did, but got no achievement for. Googling shows I’m not the only one to have that problem. Oh well. Next up is the remastered version of Day of the Tentacle, unless I find the voice acting on that to be too annoying (it’s really dated).