Media Diet

Here are some things I’ve recent checked out with my eyes and ears:

I finally had the guts to see Green Room (Netflix). The majority of reviews said very positive things about it. It’s a thriller/horror? movie with Patrick Stewart playing a white supremacist. That would be the stranges combo ever, this guy is a sweetheart (evidence here and here) so it sounded weird and interesting, I just didn’t know if I was ever going to be in the mood for it. Well, I saw it and was at the edge of my seat but enjoyed it. It’s really well done, it’s tense, moody and doesn’t cheat the audience with obvious plot holes or gimmicks. It has substantial violence but not as bad as I had imagined.

To cleanse the palate I did some binging of Last Man on Earth (Netflix). Will Forte is hilarious and the worst possible person you’d want to end up with when you are the last humans on earth. Kristen Schaal is always funny so for a light, goofy change of pace, this fits the bill.

I then had my dose of sci-fi so I saw “Lucy” (Movie), directed by Luc Besson (it’s hit or miss with him but I always give him the benefit of the doubt). Scarlett Johansson does the best with the material which has many problems but if you’re into this genre and you can turn off your brain then I say forget the plot and buckle up for the ride.

I finished the second book in the series called the “bobiverse”, “For We are Many” by Dennis E. Taylor (Audiobook). So Bob is a software guy, he just sold his company for millions but he gets run over by a car and is then cryogenically frozen…for a long, long time. He wakes up in the future where his consciousness has been transferred to a computer and ends up getting sent into space. The first book is really good and really funny. It’s narrated by one of the best in the business, Ray Porter (who narrates some of my favourite books ever, check out a sample from Peter Clines “14” ). This second book was a bit of a disappointment for me. Basically more of the same from book one and the way the plot jumps around with a large number of “different” characters got a bit annoying. Not terrible, just ok. There’s one more in the series but I’m debating if I’ll read it.

Something you probably should not see is the movie “Tower Heist” with Ben Stiller. I knew from reviews that it wasn’t really great but hey, Mathew Broderick and Eddie Murphy are in it and I was in the mood for something light. It’s not good.

Another one that had been on my list for a long time but I was waiting to be in the right mood for was “Sicario” with Emily Blunt. The reason I wanted to watch it other than the great reviews was the cinematographer. Roger Deakins is a master of the visual language of film, just check out his resume..wow. The movie takes you through a brief time in the life of a female FBI agent who’s recruited by the CIA to participate in taking down a drug cartel. It all gets really complicated. I found the mood and realism extremely accurate representation of the cartels. Worth watching.

Cin-Sicario

I’m about halfway through the Netflix series “Altered Carbon” with Joel Kinneman a prisoner whose consciousness has been digitized but is brought back to life in a new body to solve a mind-bending murder to win his freedom. Kinneman was cast as Robocop in the recent reboot that you should totally skip but you should definitely see him in the AMC series “The Killing” ,  he’s a good choice as the protagonist in this one. I’ve read the books it’s based on (written by Richard Morgan) and considering it’s a TV series the production value and visual effects are of high quality. The story is basically a sci-fi version of a noir detective novel and I’m glad Netflix didn’t completely take out the edgy, raw grit of the books. Recommended.

The Last Jedi tomorrow

In approximately 12 hours I’ll finally get to see “The Last Jedi”. It’s been crazy trying to keep total media blackout on the movie. I saw the first short trailer and then I avoided any and all information.

It’s tough to get surprised at the movies nowadays so to feel like a kid again and enjoy a sense of discovery, especially on a Star Wars movie, is such a treat.

Saw “The Circle”

I suggest you don’t make the same mistake. Huge mistake…huge. Worst movie I’ve seen in a long time, and my threshold for bad movies is high. I could write pages on the reasons…so many reasons! Maybe I’ll update this post sometime and go into the details.

Just avoid it…friends don’t let friends see The Circle.

Update: 16% on Rotten Tomatoes! I broke my own rule to check RT before seeing a film so no one to blame but myself.

Media Diet

Taking inspiration from Jason Kottke at kottke.org (one of the best independent blogs out there that deserves your support), I’ll be posting the media I’ve been consuming recently.

“The Hanging Tree” by Ben Aaronovitch is book #6 in the Rivers of London series. Of the previous books, I think this one is going to rank around the middle for me. I’m almost done with it and as usual, it’s brilliant writing (which in my book is a given since the guy wrote for Dr. Who). I think this story will rank in the middle of the whole series, It all takes place in London and as usual, we follow Peter, the policeman/wizard apprentice in his investigation. This is no Harry Potter wizardry, by the way, it’s an adult crime series with magic as a twist. I highly recommend the series, start with the first book and you’ll be hooked for the whole thing.

A-ha Unplugged – Summer Solstice. The boys from Norway recorded a sort of acoustic session of their hits in a remote island and the result is something else. As proof, I offer “Stay on These Roads” or their biggest hit “Take on Me”, which is adapted beautifully.

The Good Place. Marga and I started watching this TV series after it was recommended in various places online. The setup is so quirky and different that after a couple of episodes we binged on the first season on Netflix. The more you watch the more you want to stick around to see where they take the story. Kirsten Bell, Ted Danson and the rest of the cast is funny as hell.

The After On Podcast – The Fermi Paradox. On the podcast front this one kinda blew my mind, mostly because a lot of the discussion made my brain hurt in a good way. Rob Reid is the author of the novel “After On”, described as “A fun, humorous, fast-paced, and fascinating take on what happens when an AI awakens.” which is right up my alley but…I haven’t gotten to reading it…yet. What I did check out is the podcast series that the author created to promote his book (one of the best marketing ideas I’ve seen in a while). He interviews famous thinkers and scientists about the topics that his book explores and the one I linked to above is my favourite so far. The Fermi Paradox tries to answer the following: “Where are the aliens? Given that our star and Earth are part of a young planetary system compared to the rest of the universe — and that interstellar travel might be fairly easy to achieve — the theory says that Earth should have been visited by aliens already”. This conversation is fun, intelligent and even scary. Highly recommended if you’re into science and the real search for E.T.