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mygif

I don’t know what it is about the Australian film industry, but we seem to do crime films really well – and they’re about evenly divided between drama and quirky comedy (see Gettin’ Square for an example of the latter).

Oh, and they all seem to have Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving or David Wenham in them…

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I had the same knee-jerk reaction as, I think, everyone did at Matt Smith’s casting — he’s too young, he’ll lack the gravitas of older Doctors, they’re playing to the Twilight crowd by casting a hot young guy — but he’s been brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Honestly, I think he’s even gotten over the Tennant-channeling that was holding him back in the beginning; the new Doctor is far more manic, more outright ridiculous, even a little bit senile, which makes sense for a Time Lord nearing the end of his existence. (Well…unless they really are doing away with the commonly accepted limit on regenerations, as hinted in his SJA appearance.) The fifth season’s success has an awful lot to do with the chemistry between Matt Smith’s Doctor and Karen Gillan’s Amy Pond, I think, but after a full series with the two of them and a Christmas special in which she barely appeared at all, I’m willing to accept that Matt Smith’ll do just fine on his own when and if Karen Gillan moves on.

Community is the most brilliant sitcom on television right now, hands down, no argument there. That something so rich and quirky is in the Thursday night block on NBC…well, it gives me hope for television. I still love 30 Rock and still like The Office (though I think it’s on its last legs, particularly with Steve Carrell’s pending departure), but Community is the show I look forward to most each week.

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Die Macher said on January 4th, 2011 at 11:04 am

Community is indeed awesome!! Why it has been completely ignored for any kind of awards/recognition is beyond me… did Chevy Chase run over everyone’s dog or something?

“Jeff & Brita hooking up on the sly”… huh?? Does this happen before “Modern Warfare”? Explain!

Has there been a new edition of the SM’s Civ board game, or do you mean the one printed five or six years back?

Timeline of my reactions to Dr.Who actors:

“Yay, it’s coming back! I hope Eccleston will be decent in the role…”
“Christopher Eccleston is the best Doctor ever!! Nobody will ever be as good as Christopher Eccleston!!”
“Nooo, Eccleston is leaving! Who’s this David Tennant guy? I don’t think I like him as much…”
“David Tennant is the best Doctor ever!! Nobody will ever be as good as David Tennant!!”
“Nooo, Tennant is leaving! Who’s this Matt Smith guy? I don’t think I will like him as much…”
“Matt Smith is the best Doctor ever!! Nobody will ever be as good as Matt Smith!!”

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“Jeff & Brita hooking up on the sly”… huh?? Does this happen before “Modern Warfare”? Explain!

Not before “Warfare,” but after in the second season prior to them making out in the bar episode, there are a number of points where Britta or Jeff have a line where it’s clear they’re hooking up occasionally. (Britta knowing which underwear is Jeff’s knows-he’s-getting-lucky underwear, for example.)

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I never had a problem with David Tennant, but I thought his run was marred by some really awful scripting, with a handful of exceptions (“Blink”, obviously, is one of the best genre scripts of the last decade). I honestly wouldn’t have minded keeping him for the new, Moffat-run seasons, but it *is* good to have a clean slate. And as it turns out, Smith can do pretty much everything Tennant can do, plus he’s a really talented physical comedian, and he doesn’t take himself as seriously as Tennant did (though again, that might have been an issue with the scripts, which tended towards the emo).

It’s also nice to have some stability. I know Karen Gillan is going to have to bail eventually–quite possibly at the end of this coming season–but after the constant revolving door of companions of the last few years, it would be nice to look back at a solid block of seasons with the same cast. And needless to say, I’ll be perfectly happy if Matt Smith sticks around for another few decades. Hey, he can age into the role!

That Janelle Monae song is darn good.

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Die Macher said on January 4th, 2011 at 11:51 am

MGK, thanks for the clarication… as long as “Modern Warfare” was the first, then that scene remains as awesome as I thought.

Board games I discovered in 2010 that I like:

At the Gates of Loyang
Shipyard
Smallworld
Alea Iacta Est

Also tried out “Android”, which is insane and rather fun, but requires about 50+ plays to learn all the crazy overpowered cards and player abilities before you can begin devising any kind of real strategy. So there’s that.

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Die Macher said on January 4th, 2011 at 11:53 am

to clarify, I meant “clarification”.

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I think Matt Smith’s acting is so good (his perfect old man and alien feel while still carrying the comedy and upbeat’er feel of the reboot) that he makes me think less of Tennant. Who I actually liked. Matth Smith’s acting is so good it changes reality.

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Matt Smith has grown to be a much better Doctor compared to when he first started, but I still cannot get past Steven Moffat’s writing, which made the previous season the worst one in the reboot. The Christmas Carol episode was good though, gives me hope for next season.

My girlfriend and I picked up Ghost Stories, and it’s been awhile since we had that much fun with a game that feels like you’re losing all the time, and continues after the point where the futility of your actions weigh you down, and you actually lose!

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Lance Lunchmeat said on January 4th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Beasts of Burden is the closest thing we’ll ever get to a modern Rex the Wonder Dog series. Buy the hell out of it.

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I’ve enjoyed Smith and Gillan’s work, but there’s something going on in Moffat’s writing for the “spotlight” eps where the pace accelerates so much it takes me out of the story as a viewer. But you can definitely see the growth in Smith’s confidence in the role as the year rolls on. Same with the Xmas special.

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mygif

I’d been grooving to “Tightrope” for the past few months, but this is the first time I’d seen the video. Nice Meshes of the Afternoon-style mirror stalkers!

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Snap Wilson said on January 4th, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Disagree on THE SOCIAL NETWORK. It was well-produced, well-written and well-acted, but hardly the work of genius the reviewers were ascribing. I wasn’t looking for truth, just a compelling story, and frankly it left me cold. Unlikeable people fighting over money. If the company they were fighting over was named Spumco instead of Facebook, nobody would give a shit. They were fighting over Facebook and I still didn’t give a shit. And I found nothing likeable about the cinematic Zuckerberg at all.

And Christian Bale (not Eisenberg) gave the performance of the year in THE FIGHTER. *That* was a flawed character who remained likable due to a commanding personality, despite the fact that he was a fuck-up. Nailed the Lowell accent and mannerisms, nailed the sparring scenes, owned every frame he was in. Eisenberg played a part. Bale became a different person. The movie is mostly predictable underdog-rises-up fodder, but it should be seen for Bale’s performance alone.

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mygif

Smith’s really grown. If they can turn out Christmas-Carol-quality episodes next series, I’ll have to marry him.

Social Network and Inception were the two movies I saw this year that didn’t disappoint in the slightest.

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Die Macher,

Regarding the board game, if you haven’t looked it up on the intarwebz (or the fancy Boardgamegeek), there actually was a new version of Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Boardgame released this year, by Fantasy Flight Games.

Completely redone and supposedly kept faithful to the computer game. Not just a reprint of the older one.

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mygif

Get thee to YouTube to see Janelle Monae performing Tightrope on David Letterman.

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pretty much agree on all points save one: Sherlock Holmes without cheap orientalism doesn’t seem quite right. It’s period and still interesting-ish. You’re right, it is the weakest of the three, but it still feels right.

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Die Macher said on January 5th, 2011 at 11:02 am

@Aulayan: Indeed, I did go and check the admittedly fancy Boardgamegeek… as I do most days whether I “need” to or not… :-) … but I am still curious which version MGK discovered in 2010. Although I suppose we can be 99.475% sure it was this year’s edition.

For best 2010 movies I’d like to add “Mother” by Bong Joon-ho (who did “The Host”). Powerful material plus fun genre-bendingness.

Oh, and “Inception” SUCKS!… just kidding!… or am I?… in truth what I actually think is that… it… su

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The Audience said on January 5th, 2011 at 11:03 am

..whaaa?!? Was Die Macher going to say “sucks” or “succeeds”??!!?? I must now go to the Internet and argue about it for weeks on end!!

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Man, I don’t get people who think this past season was worse-written than the David Tennant era. At all. To me the writing has clearly and immensely improved under Moffat.

Here’s every Russell T. Davies episode in a nutshell:

DOCTOR: Oh my gosh, people are being turned into aliens! (Talks very fast)
COMPANION: (Contributes nothing)
DOCTOR: I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
(Everyone except the Doctor and the Companion gets killed or mutated or something)
DOCTOR: Wait, I know! Reverse the polarity of the framistan!
(Does so. Music swells to unbearable levels of kitsch. Everything is magically solved.)
DOCTOR: That was close!
(Token appearance of mysterious phrase that will be half-assedly explained in the finale.)
END.

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DOCTOR: That was close!
(Token appearance of mysterious phrase that will be half-assedly explained in the finale.)

Sub in a Crack and you’ve got a good chunk of Season Five.

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Sure, some of this stuff happened in S5, but there was a lot more going on as well. Whereas much of the Tennant run was literally NOTHING BUT what I just listed.

Also, the thing I hated the most about the Tennant era, the constant reliance on half-assed deus ex machinas, was mostly gone this past season.

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Die Macher said on January 5th, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I thought that most of Season 5 was the usual mixed bag I expect from Dr. Who… some good, some bad, some great ideas, some odd contrivances… but the beginning and end were AWESOME. Far better than any of Davies’s “big start/finish” episodes IMHO.

Oh and I liked that “Dream Master” or whatever he called himself episode.

And how perfect was that use of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”? I mean, the TARDIS has been old, borrowed, and blue since the inception (there’s that word again) of the series… Moffatt just had to throw in a new TARDIS interior (the precedent for which had already been established) and bingo! Ingenious!

Oh, and has anyone tried that new set of “Ingenious” minigames by Knizia? They look interesting.

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mygif

Janelle Monae is as hot to death as Matt Smith is criminally fucking boring. A young actor is fine, a young actor whose only settings are “emotional void” and “him and Karen Gillan are totally, totally hot for each other, no joke”, not s’much.

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What gets me about Matt Smith is that he’s able to actually seem “alien” as opposed to “a rather weird human being.” It’s something not many Doctors have actually had.

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Re: Animal Kingdom – MGK, do you mean when Smurf is in the car with Ezra?

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In fact can they just have Janelle Monae be the doctor? Bam, two birds with one stone.

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Pantsless Pete said on January 9th, 2011 at 6:44 am

Animal Kingdom weird me out a little because a rather substantial amount of the movie is shot within locations two to three minutes walk from my apartment. Except for the parts that were shot outside my apartment.

All of which I never managed to notice.

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Bogglemunch said on January 24th, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I agree wholeheartedly on all the things except Matt Smith. Whether it’s Moffat’s writing, or Matt’s acting, I’m not 100% sure (although he’s missing my two favourite characteristics about the Doctor, his gravitas and dangerous destructive core ), but here’s a list of the 5 seasons best episodes IMHO.

Season 1
– The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances (Jack, and “Are you my mommy?”)
– Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways (Dalek fleet, and the GodLord of the Daleks)

Season 2
– Tooth and Claw (Torchwood beginning, the Queen)
– Doomsday (Daleks and Cybermen, and goodbye Rose, thank God)

Season 3
– Human Nature/Family of Blood (The Doctor/Human conundrum. The Horror of being the Doctor)
– Blink (Best Episode ever. Terrifying)
– The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords (The Master is awesome. Loves me some Master)

Season 4 (This is my favourite season. I’ve learned to love Donna. The first of his companions to really stand up to him.)
– Fires of Pompeii (Donna standing up to the Doc. at the end)
– Planet of the Ood (Ood are scary. And the reversal at the end? Messed up.)
– The Unicorn and the Wasp (I like a good murder mystery and with the Doc in the middle?)
– Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead (Books, Something from the shadows, and his wife)
– Midnight (I love a good one room box story, with humanities weakenesses on display)

Season 5
– The Beast Below (only time this season I really squirmed)
– The Lodger (The doctor trying to fit in. Excellent.)
– The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang (Good end of season one.)

All this shows me is that Moffat/Matt Smith = Not riveting Doctor. I was never truly squirming or frightened this last season. The closest time was in The Beast Below.

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