The Consumption: December 12

December has been conspiring against me. Illness, funerals and car-related frustrations have abounded, but I’m currently rebounding, and set to continue my quest to document all the media I consume. All I need now is willpower.

PS: Coming next week — a full transcription of my interview with Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus director Terry Gilliam. Good times.

FILM: Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog: Somehow, despite my fondness for free things, Joss Whedon and musicals, I missed Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog the first time around. I’ve liked it in principle, at least, for quite a while now — the idea that talented people could put a project together as a lark when a strike kept them from doing anything on a bigger scale, well, that seems like something that should happen more often. Imagine if Terry Gilliam experimented with backyard movies between his quixotic alternate-reality blockbusters, or if the Coens and Sam Raimi pieced together bloody marvels to work through their writer’s block. But the worry was that liking Dr. Horrible in principle would be easier than practice. Despite the pedigree, it has all the hallmarks of a particularly cutesy vanity project.
So, colour me impressed. Sure, Neil Patrick Harris’s voice is a touch reedy, and Nathan Fillion’s Captain Hammer costume is possibly too cheap for even such an on-the-fly production, but the thing still fires on all cylinders, to use an entirely inappropriate cliche. Harris’s cutesiness is actually an advantage, as it’s the fulcrum on which the entire ending pivots (to belabour things further); if he were at all sinister, there’d be no shock in seeing him become a genuine, remorseless villain. Light-hearted songs, a bummer of an ending and a solid twist on the villian origin story — not a bad way to spend your time off.

FILM: Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut): A mostly dirt-free but nonetheless informative look behind the scenes at the Python crew. The five-part doc methodically chronicles the group’s origins and influences before moving on to the TV series and films, although it shies away from any “where are they now” treatment of the members’ post-Python careers. The surviving Pythons are both candid and friendly in their description of events — they admit to disagreements and pay the occasional backhanded compliment, but there’s no real bitterness to be found. For something as absurd and silly as Python, any sort of rational doc would seem to at least somewhat miss the point, but Lawyer’s Cut does a more-than-efficient job of telling its story.

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