Posts

Showing posts from August, 2007

"Dr. McCoy commented that he was a doctor, and not of some other profession unrelated to medicine"

If Edward Gorey wrote "The Trouble With Tribbles"

Discussion question: which is better, this or "Trials and Tribble-ations"?

(Link via)

No Laughing Matter: Thoughts on Bourne

On the question of Paul Greengrass's direction in The Bourne Ultimatum, there seem to be no moderate opinions. People either love his action scenes violently, or hate them with an equal violence. I'm in the latter camp. The quick cuts, out-of-focus and off-center shots, the almost complete absence of continuity of space and motion, all come together to create an effect that I found not simply incoherent and vaguely nauseating, but downright alienating. By the end of the film, having given up on the possibility of making heads or tails of what was going on, I was simply waiting the action scenes out. In between the car and foot chases, I found a lot to like about The Bourne Ultimatum. Script-wise, it's an effective and well-put-together thriller, tense and unrelenting, and the central character strikes an excellent balance between toughness and vulnerability without going to extremes in either direction. Between this film and Casino Royale, 2007 has been an excellent…

Lost, Season 3: A Few Observations

I gave up Lost as a, well, lost cause at the end of its second season, but my brother's been itching to watch the third and there have been a lot of positive remarks, many of them from bitter ex-fans like myself, about the season's second half. So this weekend we mainlined the whole thing. The verdict? Eh. Admittedly, I'd been spoiled for most of the major plot twists, including the big revelation in the season's final minutes, and this obviously had an effect on the amount of pleasure I could take out of it. I also agree with everyone who's said that there's a massive improvement in the show's plot progression, with questions being raised, answered, and leading to more questions with a rapidity that conjures up images of the Lost writing staff huddled around a screening of your average episode of Heroes, slack-jawed with amazement, muttering 'I didn't know we could do that' while mentally compressing their planned storyline for the next tw…

A Veritable Dilemma

On the one hand, the American Life on Mars is almost certainly a disaster waiting to happen. Above and beyond the fact that the American TV landscape is littered with the corpses of reworked British shows, the head writer is David E. Kelley, a man who never met a melodrama, or overworked sentence, he didn't like, and whose idea of humor is over the top shenanigans with CGI thrown in. I had pretty much planned on giving the show a miss.

On the other hand, Niall just pointed me to this SciFi Wire report that Colm Meaney is being considered for the Gene Hunt role.

I might actually have to watch the damn thing.

Thoughts on a Film I Have No Intention of Seeing

Ever since it opened in Israel last month, I've been struck by the occasional urge to see Becoming Jane, for no better reason than that I want to know for certain whether it truly is as vile and offensive as the trailers and reviews make it out to be. The thought of subjecting myself to a two-hour version of the trailer is usually enough to bring me to my senses. It's not even as if I'm likely to get a blog post out of the experience--most of the salient points have been made time and again. AustenBlog has been pretty good about rounding up the sane reviews and skewering the silly ones, and the same objections I had when I first heard about the film keep cropping up: why is it necessary for a man to jump-start Austen's genius? And whence the belief that the creative process is nothing more than glorified stenography? This rather brilliant condensation of the film says it all quite nicely.
Maggie Judy Smith Dench:

Hello Austen! I am a cruel and haughty and one-dimens…

The Book of All Hours by Hal Duncan

Image
I finished Hal Duncan's Ink--the second and final volume, after last year's Vellum, in his The Book of All Hours--last week, and promptly set about looking for the reactions of other readers. I was surprised to discover only a scant few--nearly six months after its publication I was only able to track down two reviews, one by Gwyneth Jones in The Guardian and another by Paul Kincaid at SF Site, and very few blog reactions, none of them substantial. Surprised, not merely because so much attention was heaped on Vellum last year, but because in my opinion Ink is by far the stronger work--so strong that it retroactively improves my opinion of Vellum. In fact, the two books should properly be a single volume[1], and I find it difficult to imagine how one could sensibly speak about one without having read the other.

The Book of All Hours is the kind of sprawling, digressive work best described not through its plot but through its structure. It is divided into four books--"Th…

At Least The Time Traveller's Wife Didn't Make the Cut

The Guardian publishes a list of the top twenty romantic novels, selected by 2,000 respondents to a poll. The results are, to say the least, disturbing:
No. 20: Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

Because nothing says 'romance' like a story in which the male and female leads' most powerful feelings for one another are, respectively, an increasingly strained sense of duty and an overwhelming neediness.
No. 13: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Because there's no better way to say 'I love you' than to dump the guy because he's not rich enough, drive him to emotional and moral ruin and ultimately to his death, and then go on with your life as though nothing had happened.
No. 7: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Because what girl doesn't dream of being shackled for life to an emotional cripple who will never get over his evil, dead first wife?

No. 6: The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

Because the people who responded to this poll were obviously thinking about the…

A Study in Contrasting Perspectives

Over at Strange Horizons, Adam Roberts reviewsDoctor Who's third season. The first half of the review focuses on the season-ending three-parter, which Roberts criticizes for its myriad plotting malfunctions while ultimately concluding that
This question of puerility is, of course, the key one. As the Dobby-version of the Doctor was placed in a cage, I found myself wondering whether this was a deliberate allusion to the Sybil in Petronius's Satyricon, immortal but continually ageing, eventually so shrunken that she was kept in a bottle (this is the passage Eliot uses as the epigraph to The Waste Land: and when the boys come to ask her "what do you want?" she replies "I want to die"). But by the end of the episode it was clear that Davies was aiming at a lower age group. And that gave me pause. Had I so overwritten my experience of Who with pretentious adult expectations that any childishness in the show had become intolerable to me? Was I really criticising …