Tootsie

I don't care if this movie is about as old as I am, it's awesome. It is the hilarious story of a NYC actor who, desperate to get work so he can fund his friend's play, dresses up as a woman in order to get a part in a soap opera. Things only get more complicated from there. Wonderful writing, acting, casting, directing, you name it; still as great today as when it first appeared. Look for it here.

Focus

Nicky and Jess are two con artists who meet again after three years apart (due to Nicky fearing that being in a relationship with Jess will make him soft). So now the question is will Jess disrupt Nicky's con or--oh, whatever, it's a movie that thrives on twists and not knowing who is telling the truth. It's fine if you have nothing else to do and I wanted to see who was going to play Harley Quinn in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie (it's Margot Robbie AKA Jess and she is amazing looking (I guess she can act too)).

The Cute Girl Network - Greg Means & MK Reed

This cute comic's name comes from the plot device that girls tell horror stories about people they date to stop others from dating them. Jane is just about the coolest girl that has ever existed in history, and she likes Jack, who is really just a harmless loser, but somehow dates a lot of hot women for extended periods of time. These women try to stop Jane from dating him. I enjoyed it but I can't say there's more plot than what I've just described, and maybe because there are two authors there are twice as many words as needed to tell the story (although Means is a librarian so I'll forgive just about anything he does). It's fun, but sadly not memorable. cute girl network

Outlander: season 2

My first response to the show is posted here, but that didn't stop me from hate watching more of it. The show does some very disturbing things such as suddenly declare that a rapist is actually a homosexual (and apparently just rapes woman for the hell of it?), has rape victims only emotionally--but not physically--damaged by brutal sodomy, has most of its nude scenes directly related to rape and/or torture (this is a fiction show and the nudity is obviously for eroticism), continue to ignore the idea that if our main character's husband's ancestor looks exactly like him then she is never going to be able to truely see him the same way again (not that that matters much, this season seems to have her forgetting all about her actual husband), has her forget all about her friends that get killed, ignore the very obvious fact that telling people she's from the future is a good way to get burnt as a witch, and the list goes on. Honestly, I can't give a better reason for why I'm watching it than that I'm curious as to how much more ridiculous each episode will be despite that it always ends on a cliffhanger that is incredibly easily resolved in the first few minutes of the next episode.

Alex + Ada (vol 1-2) - Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn

The series is slow-moving and somewhat quiet (not a lot of words or actions on a page), which is not a criticism, but I'm still at a loss for how I truly feel about it. Alex is a nice, good looking, guy whose fiancé walked out on him without explanation, and his rather rich, and far too sexually open, grandmother buys him an android. Considering this world is filled with robots, it's pretty clear this model's purpose is purely sexual. True to sci-fi conventions, he unlocks her artificial intelligence, making her sentient, and true to the romance conventions they fall in love. I'm not sure what I expected, either the realistic thing would occur and the now sentient, never aging, beauty will run off and live her life: the end, or the fairy tale will occur where they fall in love (what is it about either of them that is appealing beyond physical attraction?) and the story has at least the possibility of continuing. The latter, naturally, had to take place and the story shifts to one that deals with robot rights (another sci-fi convention). I guess there just isn't enough here that's new, or different, or exciting to keep me interested. Which is a shame as the writing and art are fine, but as I said, not enough to entice me. I guess I do know how I feel. Alex + Ada

Outlander

This cable show is about Claire, a married British nurse who, after WWII, is transported in time to 1743, while visiting Scotland. So this is very much a live action romance novel. In the first episode her husband casually mentioned that if she did cheat on him during the war it was ok because they were worlds away, so that's the hint that she's going to hook up with the young stud from the past (presumably, I've only seen a couple of episodes). While I love the idea of Scots trying to kill the English and the scenery is beautiful, the plot is always the same as Claire thinks X about the people/time, which is bad, only to realize that it is Y, which is good, and there is horrible monotone narration of her thoughts that sound like they just handed her the novel to read from without any prep. PS After Scotland voted "no" on independence, I'm pretty sick of any story that whines about how hard the Scots had it under English rule.

Life Sucks - Jessica Abel

Life sucks and so does this comic. I'm extremely disappointed in this as both Abel and publisher, First Second, usually are associated with good work. How did this idea come about?: "If only there was a comic with wimpy vegetarian vampires like Twilight, the minimum wage action of Clerks, and the whinny boy wants girl who is dating a real loser like every 80s movie ever." The story is about Dave who is a vampire forced to work in his master's convenience store, who is totally in love with Rosa, who dates good looking nothings. Other than the vampire angle there is nothing new or interesting here. Why does Dave so love Rosa? Could it be for the same superficial reasons she's guilty of: going for looks? The only parts that could have depth due to conflicts (mainly at the end) are glossed over at best. I much rather read about the repercussions of the actions taken than more of the same boring dialogue of teenagers saying nothing. 

Empire State: A Love Story (Or Not) - Jason Shiga

Even though you can read this comic in a subway ride (as I did), you will love it (as I did). Shiga's great and bizarrely rounded figures cartoony art provides a lovely forum for his awkward, very funny, simply told tale that takes place in various times periods (and cities) as a bit of a loner/loser takes a chance to find love and happiness. The few colors used are to great narrative effect, the paucity of dialogue speaks volumes, the simplicity of art is magical, and while the plot may seem hackneyed it is refreshing and real. After a stint of lame comics that I have read of late it is wonderful to be exposed to such greatness. 

The Desk Set

Desk_SetI think it's a rule that all would be librarians eventually have to see this movie (that and get a librarian action figure as a present). Yes, the story is a clever, if dated, romantic comedy wherein a brilliant head research corporate librarian finds her match with a dumpy, older, but just as brilliant in his own field, computer consultant (Really Hepburn? Tracy was the actually love of your life? I don't get it), yet all I care about is the idea that a supercomputer is poised to replace a group of librarians as it can access information at lightning speed. If this isn't where the idea of Google et al came from then I don't know what is. What I found most important is that while, yes, the computer is faster and more exact with its facts, but it is completely useless if the users don't enter the proper information and it has no ability to make judgments between information. That's why, folks, we need librarians as much as ever.

Casablanca

Rick, a now bitter former freedom fighter and current popular nightclub owner in World War II Casablanca, a hotbed of intrigue and a transit point for those seeking to flee Nazi tyranny, has his world disrupted by the arrival of resistance leader Victor Lazslo and his wife Ilsa, who happens to be Rick's lost love. Some might see this as a typical Hollywood plot--and it is--but this was one of the first and still one of the best as most movies are pathetic shadows of this classic. One of my mom's favorite films and mine as well. casablanca

The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne

Hester Prynne has a bastard child. It doesn't sound like much today, but place it in Puritan Boston and watch society use the stigma in an attempt to destroy a good person. The story may be difficult for the modern reader at times, yet it is worth whatever trouble one can encounter. Was there ever a better time for American literature than the 19th century when moving characters, great writing, and intriguing plots ruled the page?