Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Media

I've had relatively decent run of various media these last few weeks.


Fluke by Christopher Moore

This was definately one of the better books I've read in a long time. I know this because it didn't take me like a whole month to read the thing. It's also one of those books that is exceptionally hard to describe because it's a bit of a genre crosser and is exceptionally intelligent for something that is also exceptionally wacky.

It's about whale biologists in Hawaii trying to discover why humpback whales sing and why only during a specific time of year. The first half of the book is utterly fascinating as you get to know these likable oddball characters and learn a heck of a lot about whales. Then, it basically turns into a comic book but without the pictures. In fact it's better than a lot of comic books because it never looses its charm or brains as the story moves from cretaceous science to a story about genes and memes.

I rate this book: Hey, it's got a whale with 'Bite Me' written on its tail, what's not to love?


The Proposition

This is quite possibly the best western I've seen since I don't know when. I tend to like Guy Pearce's choice of roles in movies that are almost always interesting on some level. This is a tough tough movie. Yes, it's a violent movie but you won't be cheering as buckets of blood are spilt.

This is a story about a completely unforgiving land that is full of people who really don't want to be there, mix in the hellishly beautiful landscape and you've got people getting their sanity burnt out of them. One has to remember that pretty much all the whites in Australia didn't want to go there, so what we're given is land full of people turning in on themselves.

It boils down to one man, played brilliantly by Ray Winstone, who is trying to civilize the place but recognizes the Cysiphean task he's faced with. He knows that the regular rules don't apply here, and as much as he wants to keep his personal life separate from his job, he's never seen at home without a gun close by. It's amazing how these performances and little actions put you completely on edge. It just feels inevitable that this whole venture will end in bloodshed, it's just a matter of when and how much.

At first, it seems like Ray Winstone is being set up as the villain but as the movie progresses you start to see that he's trying to stay above the entire place. Even the people on the side of good and law are as bloodthirsty as anyone else. There's a huge disconnect between what they think needs to happen and seeing it happen in a bloody mess before them.

It's beautiful, it's horrific, it's just a fantastic movie all around especially if you've seen Clint Eastwood's man with no name movies. Plus, written by Nick Cave with music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. I wonder if that's comic book writer Warren Ellis?

I rate this movie: A lot better than I though it was going to be - stunning.


Marvel Adventures: The Avengers and Marvel Adventures: Iron Man

It's weird, the Marvel Adventures line is aimed at younger readers but these two comics are better than the vast majority of other Marvel comics on the shelves these days. They aren't bogged down in explaining what happened to some character in a panel thirty years ago or in taking a dozen issues to, you know, forget what the point was then say the character was a clone because they don't really act like the character you remember.

The best comparison I can come up with is that these are the Pixar equivalent to comics. Yes, they're aimed at a younger audience but there is a heck of a lot there for adults. They are well written, chalk full of action and dialogue but aren't bogged down with trying to actually explain things we know simply can't happen realistically. They are fun and more importantly, funny. And in a breath of fresh air they aren't overly concerned with decapitations, eviscerations, rape or boob/butt shots.

I love the Avengers title because they have Wolverine in it but can't let him claw anyone so they tend to have uber-strong baddies punch him off into the distance - plus they just had a storyline where a living planet is macking on Earth (with some of the best pick-up dialogue I've ever read) and they get rid of him by showing the planet that earth is covered in itchy, burning little human parasites. Or the Avengers all get turned into MODOK, who if you don't know about you need to stop what you're doing and go here, here and here. And, well Iron Man is just about a dude in a robot suit doing cool shit written by Fred van Lente who wrote Action Philosophers.

I rate these comics: My only Marvel picks (although I'm told Daredevil, The Punisher War Journal and Iron Fist are all really good), even if the company has issues with violence and sex.

1 comment:

Jan Triska said...

The Proposition kicks ass, and it kicks it hard. When I went to see it last summer, I was at times elated, horrified, intrigued and entertained. The lead "bad guy" character does truly horrific things in the course of it, shooting people at close range, stomping an unpopular officer to death, etc. There's a guy speared by the aborigenes. There's the younger brother character getting basically flogged to death. It's all kinds of gory and very, very harsh. But, the storyline is extremely well woven and the premise is interesting. Everyone is a sort of nihilist and no one is truly bad...they're all trying to somehow preserve their own unique brand of order or honor or whatever semblance of civilization they have left in them.