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Week(s) in Review: 1/8/17

Movies I Watched in the Last Two Weeks

1) The Peanuts Movie - This is an absolutely charming movie.  It's a perfect blend of the spirit of previous Peanuts movies with updated effects / animation.  That's especially challenging when you consider how much of the Peanuts universe can come across as outdated and cornball.  It's a testament to the filmmakers that Charlie Brown never uses Facebook or asks Linus for help with drafting a text message, and yet it all still feels like it could be happening today.

My Rating: 4 / 5

2) Kubo and the Two Strings - I loved this movie.  It has all the beautiful stop-motion animation that I loved in Coraline, but with a script, story, and pacing that are actually good.  I can't say that it's flawless - the jokes are a little flat for me - but I'm giving it a perfect score regardless because it's such a beautiful movie with a terrific message about peace and forgiveness.

My Rating: 5 / 5

3) Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension - This was a lot of fun.  I had never seen the show before, but I felt like I had a pretty good grip on the characters and tone within half an hour.  I think I was won over when the opening dance number, which has the kids singing about all the fun things they do with their pet platypus, has the lyric, "Breathing!  Breathing with my best friend!" while they all just sit around.

My Rating: 4 / 5

4) Star Trek: Beyond - I may have to gush more about this later.  The short version is that Beyond is, by far, the best of the new string of Star Trek movies.  The characters have all grown up a little more and are functioning like actual Starfleet officers, so even though there's still a lot of action movie nonsense in place of traditional science-fiction nonsense, the tone and pacing feel way, way more like Star Trek.  I liked that Kirk is acting more like the captain of his ship rather than some punk kid (he still doesn't delegate, but what can you do, that's the character), and I like that the script is actually good for once.  The story is clear, the villain is ruthless, and there aren't a bunch of bullshit "hey, remember this from the show?!?!" callbacks.  This is what the new Star Trek movies should all be.

My only complaint is that the epilogue toward the end where you learn more about the villain's back story is overwrought.  I would've been fine if they just cut that out entirely and kept him a two-dimensional monster.  Depth is usually welcome, but not when you have to make such a melodramatic reach to get to it.

My Rating: 4.5 / 5

Total: 4 Movies

Minutes I Spent Writing in the Last Two Weeks

1) Post-Apocalyptic Comedy Book: About 5 hours of writing the first draft.  Current length: 74,000 words.

Total: 5 Hours

The Winner: Minutes!

Sadly, I did not complete my book before 2016 ended, although the word count is an acceptable length.  I figure I'm still about 3,000 to 6,000 words shy of the end, so it won't be much longer - it's just a continuing issue of balancing my time to work at it.