Short TV Review: The Last Episode of the Wire

(No specific plot related spoilers.)

The Wire has been my favorite show of recent, and though the last season has felt somewhat rushed and some of the newer characters less believable, I have still thoroughly enjoyed it up to the end. I read a review of the last episode on CNN.com in which the reviewers were disappointed with the ending but I think it the ending is appropriate and is very consistent with the message that David Simon is trying to send throughout the 5 seasons. Some characters stories feel more concluded than others, and some are more “just” than others, but the overall message is that life continues, Baltimore will still be Baltimore, and the institutions that make up our world will stay on their respective courses.

Nads vs. Evil Eye

Short Movie Review: Be Kind Rewind

I liked this movie, but I still regard it with a certain awkwardness. I loved the scenes where the main characters are “sweding” movies, a few gags here and there had me laughing out loud, and the female lead seemed quirky and believable. On the other hand, though, it felt kind of like director Michel Gondry was trying too hard to be the “Michel Gondry” of The Science of Sleep and other consciously weird past creations. Some major characters (even Danny Glover’s!) often seemed way too dumb to be believable—not like outrageous, exaggerated, Superbad dumb, but just like … “Why did that character get written that way?” dumb. The semi-science-fiction elements, meanwhile, just didn’t work for me. In the end, it ended up being amusing and charming, but occasionally “off” in a way that I have trouble describing. The best I’ve come up with is to compare it to being in the room when your girlfriend’s mom noisily passes gas and pretends it never happened: Not a big deal, and you don’t think less of her personally, but you still probably could’ve done without that part of the experience.

Short Movie Review: Cloverfield

This was a pretty gimmicky approach to exploring what it might be like to be among the thousands who get crushed when Godzilla/Mothra/Uchuchu comes to town. But you know, it actually worked pretty well. I even bought that the camera would catch as much character drama as it did, as the cameraman was a painfully familiar and socially inept dork who didn’t know when to shut the damn thing off. Also, it didn’t make me as sick as Blair Witch, so I was actually able to watch it and enjoy it.

Short Movie Review: Lady in the Water

I’ve seen two other films by M. Night Shyamalan (familiarly known around these parts as M. Night Shazam): Unbreakable and The Village, and I liked both immensely. There is no dispute that Shyamalan is an extremely talented filmmaker; he’s crafty, he’s smart, but—most importantly—he’s deliberate, in a way that most filmmakers these days are not. Like an expert short story writer, he does not waste his words: everything has meaning. Like The Village, Lady in the Water was not particularly well-reviewed by critics, but I enjoyed both for the obvious care and thought that went into their production. Unlike his previous works, Lady lacks the “twist” with which Shyamalan has become so identified, but where I think it succeeds—as do many of his films, Unbreakable in particular—is in its ability to make the unreal real, to translate a type of story with a specific set of codes, behaviors, and forms (in Unbreakable, comic books; in Lady in the Water, fairy tales) into our world.

A Spoiler by Any Other Name?

Anybody else here read io9? It’s Gawker’s new science-fiction blog, edited by the people who put together She’s Such a Geek! (well, at least that’s where I know them from). I’ve been enjoying it, but I actually had to quit reading it, and I wrote them a note explaining as much.

See, if I wanted to go to a spoiler site, I’d go to a spoiler site; but this blog has spoilers kind of mixed in with all kinds of other information. It’s set to send the entire content of posts to RSS readers (rather than hiding spoilers beneath the “more” tag), and occasionally contains images that you can’t really skip over as easily as refusing to read a block of text (such as when I saw the Cloverfield monster the day before I went to see the movie).

I do need to take the site off my reading list, and I do think that hiding images and spoiler text for recent releases “after the jump” would help—but, as I realized shortly after I wrote the note to them, I do recognize that it’s really hard to qualify what counts as a “spoiler” without hamstringing your entire blog. I mean, to some people, any kind of foreknowledge of a movie might feel like a spoiler. I know some people who try to avoid trailers, even, when they’re for a particularly anticipated release. And, just to be clear, I’m not recommending that blogs like io9 tiptoe around the details of Tron. After a movie has been out on the home market awhile, the ending is probably considered public knowledge. You don’t apologize for noting in passing that Romeo and Juliet die at the end, right?

I read other major entertainment blogs (and Gawker blogs), including some that cover SF movie releases, and the other ones never make me feel like I’m in danger of reading a spoiler at any moment. Do I just have weirdly specific ideas of what counts as a “spoiler,” or has anybody else experienced similar problems reading content online?