Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Opening Ceremonies: A Comment

If you watched the Olympic ceremony last night, you'll notice a distince lack of the promised Rush performance. Rush were definitely there--BBC America apparently interviewed them at the venue the day before the show. But....but....oh screw it: I'll let the rushisaband guys break the news:

"Well, obviously no Rush tonight. Notice how the show was themed around the different provinces of Canada moving from east to west? Also notice how Ontario and the Great Lakes region were skipped over? What I'm now hearing is that this portion of the show was scrubbed due to nature of today's tragic events. Apparently it had a full rock and roll metropolitan vibe to it and was cut for sensitivity. The word is now that Rush may tentatively play at the closing ceremony. Sorry everybody - I'm as pissed off as you are."

I don't blame him. While I thought the tributes to the luge guy were beautiful, moving, and were handled very well, any moron who thought that it was appropriate or necessary to remove an entire province and it's music from the programme because of "sensitively" issues needs to find someone with a crowbar to help pry their head out of their ass.

Friday, February 12, 2010

R.I.P. Tony Taylor, former singer for Twisted Tower Dire

Twisted Tower Dire was one of those bands I'd heard of, but never got a chance to hear. However, that doesn't make this news any less sad. Tony Taylor died in a motorcycle accident in Naples, Florida on the 6th of February. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

Our condolences to his family and friends. The full story can be found here:

Former lead singer of 90s band dies in motorcycle crash - WBBH News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral & Naples, Florida

"The Last Airbender" Trailer

Some more eye-candy.  This movie is either going to rock, or it's going to bite donkey scrotes.  Given the director's past record I wouldn't bet either way, but then again I loved The Village and even his most diehard fans hated it, so what do I know?

Katatonia -- Deliberation

From their album The Great Cold Distance, this is the video for Katatonia's "Deliberation".  The song is amazing, and I regret having missed the album when it first came out.  The video is well-executed too--vaguely disturbing without resorting to anything graphic.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 05, 2010

House Of Flying Daggers (2004)

I never got to see it when it first came out, but I watched Zhang Yimou's House Of Flying Daggers last night. This came out in the wake of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,  and Hero, and it falls somewhere in between the two.  It lacks the grandiose battle scenes of Hero, while it also eschews the completely over the top fight scenes of Crouching Tiger.  Unlike the other two movies, House... is more of a romance story than an martial arts movie, which means that it does drag at times.

House of Flying DaggersOn the plus side, the cinematography is wonderful.  The use of colour, costume and setting is used to full advantage.  Also, since the heroine is portrayed as blind, sound plays a large part in the film--something that is both unusual for this kind of film and adds a delightful dimension to the experience.  The story has a very Shakespearian feel to it, which for the most part is a good thing (exceptions to follow).

On the down side, the love scenes are very heavy handed-intense, but strangely lacking in passion.  Also the ending is depressing as hell.  Not sad or melancholy yet ultimately cathartic, like Hero or Crouching Tiger--just depressing.  Much like a Shakespearian tragedy.  Adding to this is the fact that the romantic rivalry that leads to this depressing isn't introduced until very late in the movie, leaving the final duel without a solid foundation and leaving me with a feeling of detachment instead of the empathy I suspect was intended.

But overall it's a worthwhile movie to kill a couple of hours with, and serves as a reasonable introduction to the wuxia genre.  It has an added advantage of being a movie you can watch as a couple, even if your other half doesn't share your love of movies featuring wiry asian guys kicking the snot out of each other while yelling "Aaaaeeeeiiii!" a lot...

Terry Pratchett 2010 Challenge: Lords And Ladies

Lords and LadiesI'm already up to 5 books in the Terry Pratchett 2010 Challenge (including reading the newest--Unseen Academicals--twice), and my initial promise to review them in the order read my have to fall by the wayside as I pull further ahead. However I'm going to stick with it for now to give a quick review of Lords And Ladies.

Lords and Ladies is one of the "Lancre" novels, dealing with the sleepy little kingdom of Lancre, in the heart of the Ramtop Mountains. Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat, having returned from foreign lands (recounted in the previous "Witches Abroad") and resume their meddling in local affairs. Unfortunately the peace of the village is shattered by the arrival of Elves, a cruel, magical race from another dimension. The plot is (extremely loosely) based on A Midsummers Night Dream--but with the elves as the bad guys.  Will the witches be able to put aside their interpersonal conflicts in order to save the day?  Well yes, of course they do, but it's how they do that's important.

I have to admit I've never been as big a fan of the Lancre novels as the other Discworld novels (with the exception of Maskerade, which is one of my all time favourites) but it's a solid story. The addition of visiting members of Unseen University adds to the fun, but my problem with the Lancre novels remains the same. Granny Weatherwax is abrasive,and Magrat is annoying wet. Nanny Ogg is the only character who I can really connect with. Not to say it's a bad novel--once I got into it I enjoyed it immensely, as I always do.