Wednesday, December 26, 2012

best of 2012: miscellaneous edition, pt. 3

And here we have the final installment!  Just a few notes before I begin:

  • Not all of these things first made their debut in 2012, but that's when I first played/tasted/watched them.
  • These are in random order.
  • Most of the video games mentioned were fully reviewed in my media updates, so I don't go into great detail this time around.  The month in parentheses is the month when I reviewed it in my media update if you want more information. 
  • And, as always, your mileage may vary.

After his wife and baby daughter were murdered by addicts, former NYC cop Max Payne turned to alcohol and drugs to numb his pain.  All he really wants to do is drink himself to death, but he decides to take a job in Brazil, working as a bodyguard for a rich family.  When things go horribly wrong, he's determined to set things right even if it kills him...which it just might.  Shooters aren't usually my genre of choice, but gorgeous graphics, excellent voice acting, a sharp script, and action sequences that sent my adrenaline through the roof made this a treat.  (September)

Juliet Starling's 18th birthday isn't going quite as planned:  a zombie outbreak takes over her high school, and her boyfriend Nick falls prey to the horde.  But Juliet comes from a family of skilled zombie hunters, and she revives Nick's head with a magic spell, hooks him to her belt, and sets out to save the day.  Outrageously funny, gloriously nasty, and shamefully fun.  (A full review will be posted in the December media update.)  

I've been a rabid Resident Evil fangirl for 15 years, so a new game in the series is always cause for celebration.  RE6 is a particularly meaty installment: four campaigns featuring fan favorites like emo beefcake Chris Redfield and luscious Leon Kennedy, stunning graphics, shockingly good voice acting, and more action than your wrists can handle.  Strap on a carpal tunnel brace and get to work, soldier!  (November)

G is a big NY Giants fan, so when football season rolls around, I have to amuse myself (no comments from the peanut gallery) while he watches the game.  One Sunday afternoon, I had exhausted my supply of reading material, so I decided to see what kind of recommendations Netflix Instant had for me.  One of them was Louie, and I remembered my friend G2 raving about it, so I gave it a try.

Good choice.

Louis C.K. plays a fictionalized version of himself:  a sad sack comedian and divorced father of two little girls.  It's often gutbustingly hysterical, but it can also be surprisingly poignant, like the episode where he inadvertently takes a duckling on a USO tour and the season 2 finale.  (The "Wave at me!"/"Wait for you?" exchange actually made me tear up.)  Season 4 won't air until 2014, but I trust Louis C.K. to make it worth the wait.

This is the best damn tea I've ever had.  Its blend of chocolate, cinnamon, cardamom, cayenne, and ginger is warming and comforting and oh so delicious, and the best thing you can drink on a cold night or a rainy day or when you just don't feel very good.  I buy three boxes every time I see it because I'm afraid they'll discontinue it.  (Widely available; I've seen it at Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, and Albertsons, for starters.)

Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is a CIA officer who gets intel from one of her sources that an American prisoner of war has been "turned".  Shortly thereafter, a Marine named Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), is rescued and brought back to the US.  Carrie's sure that he's the one her informant was talking about, but the trick will be convincing everybody else.  I'm not usually one for political dramas, but this is a riveting series with tour de force acting, especially by Claire Danes. 

In this game, you play the ghost of Sissel, a man who was murdered but has no idea why.  He has a trick up his spectral sleeve, though:  he can rewind time in brief increments and manipulate objects to learn more about his past or to protect others.  (For example, opening an umbrella to knock a girl's headphones into an aquarium so she'll hear the hitman breaking into her apartment.)  It's a really clever idea and lots of fun. 

When I was a kid, I used to get up early to watch Davey & Goliath.  I wasn't religious, but its Claymation characters and dopey feel good moralism were the TV equivalent of comfort food.

Moral Orel is like Davey & Goliath if D&G had a crisis of faith and forgot to take its antidepressants for a week.

Orel Puppington is a cheerful 12-year-old boy who loves nothing more than Jesus.  Despite the fact that his parents (bisexual alcoholic Clay and aloof clean freak Bloberta) are trapped in a loveless marriage, Orel almost always manages to stay positive.

I'll tell you right off the bat:  this show gets fucking DARK, especially the third season.  If someone had peeked through G's curtains while we were watching it, the expressions on our faces would have made them think we were watching a horror movie!  (The episode titled "Alone" is one of the most unnerving things I've seen in any medium.)  But interspersed with the "oh my god, I can't believe that just happened" moments are some genuinely poignant ones, and it can be bitingly funny.  If this isn't your kind of thing, you'll figure it out pretty quickly; if it IS, you'll eat it up like pudding. 

(Every episode can be watched on Vimeo, but they do need to be watched in order.)