1-7May2011 :: This Week
- Watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show (imdb); reasonably entertaining, even if it does go on a bit, and half the entertainment-factor came from picking up the references from Glee and others; I'm not a convert, but I can certainly see how it would have attracted at the time (and I'd have been one to choose it over Grease)
- Finished reading Bram Stoker's Dracula (amazon); it kept up its solid adventure storytelling right to the end, and it was entertaining to read the godfather of modern vampire tales; lots of interesting musing about science and religion and myth and superstition, but one quote in particular jumped out at me, because it's related to what I'm doing with Raphaël:
If such an one was to come from God, and not the Devil, what a force for good might he not be in this old world of ours.
- Bought and been listening to The Kills' Blood Pressures (iTunes/amazon); I was attracted to the album having heard 'DNA', a great song with a rocking beat, but the whole album is superb; it's rock with a modern sound, but evokes Pink Floyd, especially in the way some songs will just go off on a tangent and riff on a nice sound.
- Watched the Sydney Symphony's 'Sinfonia' in Discover Respighi & Ravel; I'd not heard either composer before, though the two movements by Ravel were full of familiar sounds; the two composers were contemporaries of each other, a hundred years ago, but sound utterly different, Respighi's The Birds appropriating Baroque unashamedly, Ravel's Mother Goose a modern interpretation; I struggled through the Respighi, though having Richard Gill to dissect the sounds made it more interesting; the Ravel was delightful though, full of layered textures.
- Bought and listened to Misnomer(s)' American I(s) (iTunes/amazon); great Korean-American hip-hop, and the cultural thing is played out in half their songs, with some great lyrics exploring race and identity (some of it just cute, some great wordplay, some quite hard-hitting); they've an awesome sound that keeps them original, with the MC, Knewdles, influenced by old-school female hip-hop (Salt-N-Pepa especially come to mind), accompanied by her sister Sos on violin.
- Watched Evolution (imdb); entertaining and reasonably funny, but unsure whether it's going for smart or schtick so a bit uneven.
- Bought and listened to Ray LaMontagne's Gossip in the Grain (iTunes/amazon); guy's got a great voice; a couple of the songs are a bit too country for me, but for the most part it's a very smooth sound.
- Picked up David Youl's The Astronaut (iTunes); a cover of a Something For Kate song from a few years ago, it's a home-recorded-on-a-Mac job with extraordinary attention put into the production (I caught up with Dave a few weeks ago and he regaled me with the details, much of which is overwhelming, but it's clearly paid off); a nice song and I do like the acoustic sound.
- Watched Outlander (imdb); it's a decent monster movie, and a cool and well-handled premise (space traveller hunting dragon-like alien crash-lands in 8th-century Viking territory), but it takes longer than it has any right to; there's a scene about 40 minutes in demonstrating the titular outlander being accepted by the Viking tribe that spends too long in irrelevant revelry, and a final battle that feels a little tacked on, the whole film running to nearly two hours where it would've been much tighter with a 95-minute cut.
- Watched Next (imdb); I'd heard it was bad but my curiosity got the better of me; it was even worse than I imagined, and a reminder that I really should avoid Philip K Dick adaptations when they're his pulpier novels turned into action movies.
- Watched Law Abiding Citizen (imdb); takes an interesting premise (a guy frustrated at the failings of the justice system) and throws a whole at it to see what sticks, ending up a mishmash of policier and revenge action; it's uncertain which character we're supposed to be following (which could've been clever in more capable hands, but gets annoying here); feels like two separate movies in the end, which individually could be good but are a little broken mashed together.
- Read Lauren Beukes' Clarke-award-winning Zoo City (amazon); very entertaining, with the construction of a contemporary world into which magic has leaked, allowing for commentary on refugees and outcasts and a fascinating portrait of modern South Africa; the story itself is a little simple, and some of its leaps are confusing, but it's nice and pacy, and set against the backdrop is entertaining.
- Picked up comiXology for the iPad to look at reading comics digitally, having abandoned the pull of weekly paper installments; they've a wide range of publishers and series available, though the recent stuff is light on (not that that matters so much when I'm more interested in reading through a storyline than catching the latest goings-on in Marvel's and DC's worlds); the app's reading experience is excellent, with a navigation model that allows one to read panel-by-panel in a most natural-feeling way, while adapting nicely to pages that aren't simply grid-based; have so far read a handful of the free offerings to get a feel for the reading model, and have read a couple of issues of Carey Malloy's Codebreakers (comixology), a cool little contemporary espionage thriller.
- Also looked at Graphic.ly, but I don't care for their "social" aspect, their catalogue isn't as complete as comiXology's, even if a few issues are slightly cheaper, and their reading experience on the couple of samples I tried was nowhere near as good; funnily enough, what Graphic.ly offers is about what I expected reading digital comics would be, but comiXology have blown away my expectations.
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