What’s New on the Site
Guardians Vol. 2 isn’t as Good as its Predecessor, but it Manages to Stay Fun – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is out in theaters now, and is a fun follow-up to a Marvel series that ventures further out in to trying to stand on its own.
What We’ve Been Reading
Christopher’s Reading List
RASL – Jeff Smith
From the creator of the comic epic Bone, RASL tells the story of a time-traveling art thief as he hops from time to time and dimension to dimension. It’s a great premise that I would have loved to see expanded beyond its short fifteen issue run, but it wraps up in a pretty satisfying way despite some bumps along the journey.
The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
I had heard a lot about this fantasy novel following the exploits of its protagonist, Kvothe the Bloodless, the Arcane, Kvothe the Kingkiller. But does it live up to the hype? The Name of the Wind, the first in Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles, does an outstanding job establishing the fantasy world that our story takes place in, and is written in beautiful prose, unfortunately, the actual plot taking place in this world tends to meander and and self-aggrandize. Kvothe is an interesting character, and in telling his own story presents an interesting opportunity for the unreliable narrator to exaggerate his own accomplishments. However, this only really works if the audience he is telling this story to ever questions any of what he’s telling them. Instead, the people in his story heap praise upon him, and the people listening to his story heap praise upon him, in the end, leading to a very one-note adventure. As stated before, it is only the first in a series of three novels, and there is a chance that by the end we may find that much of what Kvothe has told us to be a fiction, but if it is, it has not been seeded satisfactorily.
What We’ve Been Watching
Beyond the Gates – Well this was an absolute blast. The film centers around an 80’s VHS game, complete with board and killing your friends. The music, the visual setup, even the performances all give off an 80’s feel while being modern, instead using the aesthetics and plot to give people the feel they’re looking for. The odd, practical effects and ridiculous story are just fun enough to work, even if the movie drags for the first 30 minutes or so. All of it feels like an episode of The Outer Limits that’s been stretched to a full film and while it doesn’t always work, when it’s on it’s on.
American Gods – Neil Gaiman wrote a book that, for a lot of people, turned them onto realism in fantasy and modern weird fiction. Now we’ve gotten an adult adaptation with Ian McShane, who has never been more crotchety or ready to chew scenery. This has been, thus far, absolutely delightful. Bryan Fuller got his hands on this and, after Hannibal was cancelled, I was jonesing for a bit of his visual style. This has huge set-pieces contained in smaller sets with character moments, highfalutin dialog, and weird colorization. If you loved Hannibal or you have any affinity for Neil Gaiman then this is absolutely worth checking out.
Bates Motel – I tried this once before, got through the first season and just couldn’t do it because of the teenagery aspects. It finished, however, and I thought I’d give it another shot. The show is not as bad as I remembered, and in fact after a few episodes it levels out and begins improving. I’m almost done rewatching season 1 and am actually ready to dive into season 2. I loved Hitchcock’s adaptation of Psycho and this is an interesting modern take on it, with what I’ve heard is a finale that adapts the story into the show.
Martin Scorsese: A Personal Journey Through American Movies – This nearly four-hour long documentary lead by Martin Scorsese through American Cinema history is a master class at where we’ve come from in a short amount of time. He dissects with sincere enthusiasm the importance of our earliest Directors, and how they molded the landscape of cinema with their visions and messages. It’s a fascinating watch that I highly recommend to anyone with a deep interest in film history.
What We’ve Been Listening to
Ars Paradoxica – After The Bright Sessions crossed over with this for an episode (I didn’t get it but the premise was interesting) I had to check this out. What I found was one of the more interesting podcasts I’ve ever come across. Sally is a scientist who was working on an anti-grav device that accidentally worked as a time machine, stranding her in the 40’s during WWII. The podcast, from there, decides to go with a mixture of “stranger in a strange land” threads, discussions on the nuclear fear, and the dilemmas of time travel paradox. I’m over 10 episodes in and I see no signs of stopping in the near future, this is a fantastic story and the characters are managing to escape the standard cliches of most fiction podcasts (everyone’s sexual preferences are discussed often, everyone is the most witty conversational genius, and the moral lessons are so spelled out it might as well be on a sign right in front of you).