Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Latest Whatever

Some capsule reviews from the "media" intake in my life:


Stephen Lawhead's Hood is a wonderful beginning to The King Raven Trilogy. In it, he reimagines the legends of Robin Hood & sets them in Wales after the Norman invasion of England. As usual, he mixes Christianity with mysticism & high adventure, evoking a sense of place & character that makes his books a delight to read.

My only frustration is, of course, that this is the only book of the trilogy that's been published. The next book, Scarlet, is due sometime this year.


Reiner Knizia's Blue Moon City finally hit the table when I was playing - and while I think it suffers from "theme disconnect" (this could literally be about almost anything), the gameplay itself is a lot of fun. I esp. liked figuring out how best to use my cards in creative combinations. I also really liked the way timing plays such an important part in the game - when you do something is almost as important as what you get out of it. I'm not sure I need to own a copy, but I'll happily play it again.

My first play of Battlelore: Call to Arms was great, even if I lost to my 5 year old son & his evil Giant Spider. More details on that later.


Derek Bell's The Ringing Bell is probably my least favorite of his albums... of course, that's a bit like saying that Big Thunder Mountain is my least favorite rollercoaster at Disneyland - dude, it's Disneyland. The music & the writing is still strong here, esp. so on "I Want To Marry You Again" and "This Too Shall Be Made Right" - but they don't (for the most part) pack the same punch as "Wedding Dress" (from his first album, she must & shall go free) or "The Strong, The Tempted & The Weak" (from his second album, the brilliant i see everything upside down). It's short, as well... just about 35 minutes. On the plus side, the limited edition graphic novel presentation of the lyrics is very nicely done.

Chris Duran's EP, More Than I Know, is a 4-song collection of music written for the worship gatherings at Mosaic. It's not your standard rock'n'roll praise/worship tuneage, though - it feels like it would music that's friendly to someone on a search for God while also expressing the cry of the hearts of Jesus followers. I know it does that for me.


Spiderman 3 was quite good - but not as good as Spiderman 2. Shari & I got to see it at the Imax, which was great. The action sequences are splendid and there are some wonderful moments in there - but it all fit like they tried to stuff 10 lbs of potatoes into a 5 lb sack.

I finally saw Casino Royale... I think this will do for James Bond what Batman Begins did for Batman. It's a complete reboot of the franchise with plenty of sly in-jokes & references for those of us who've been watching for a long time. It's not a "nice" film - the torture scene still has me wincing in sympathetic pain - but it manages to raise real questions about what doing that particular job can do to your soul. I look forward to the next installment.

I also watched Deja Vu, which benefits immensely from the gravitas of Denzel Washington. As in most time travel films, the plot will fall apart if hit by a strong breeze, but with Denzel to anchor the story, along with the nicely done SFX, it works. One caveat: the opening terrorist attack is filmed in order to play mightily on your emotions - frankly, it's pretty manipulative. If you can get past that, there's a decent film here.


It's season finale season... and I'll weigh in on a few of them before posting this.
  • The Amazing Race - All-Stars: the only good thing is that Charla & Mirna didn't win. Otherwise, it was just sad... particularly since the last challenge basically was "how much gossiping do you & your partner do on the race?" Sigh.
  • Survivor - Fiji: Go, Earl... of course, I'd have picked Yau Man in a heartbeat, but Dreamz & his struggle with integrity/$ put everyone's favorite contestant out of the running.
  • Heroes: Just like the rest of the season, this focused more on character development than on SFX, which is a major part of what has made this show so wonderful. The epic battle we were all waiting for turned out to be inside Nathan rather than between Sylar & Peter. I can NOT wait for next season!
  • Veronica Mars: What a horrible way to go out... with a pair of splendid episodes that set up all kinds of interesting plotlines for the next season. Unfortunately, the show is cancelled. (Yes, the CW has learned that more people will watch women compete to be the next Pussycat Doll than will watch an intelligent show that deals with ethics & morality with humor & intelligence... go figure.)
  • American Idol: No matter who wins tonight, Melinda Doolittle got cheated. That girl can sing.
  • 24: I'm planning to catch up on iTunes this summer - so don't anybody tell me anything that happened after Jack started out after Audrey.

1 comment:

huzonfirst said...

I'm sure you're already aware of this, you Boob Tuber, but they'll be showing the remaining episodes of Studio 60 Thursdays at 10 PM. I only found out about it by chance and since you're one of the people who convinced me to watch (thereby allowing me to have a broken heart when it was cancelled), I thought I'd mention it.