Tv blabs, movie blabs, book blabs. Lots of blab, but no flab.

Sunday, May 30

Paper Cuts

Abhorsen by Garth Nix.

By far the best of the three, Abhorsen completes the story of Lirael with life, death, sacrifice and duty.

This book reads like a bullet train. The plot is concise and has a drive that didn't allow for pages of over-elaborate descriptions. A very visual book that I found nicely disturbing in some parts. The thought of a small shard of metal coursing around in someone's blood stream enough to make me cringe while thinking about it.

Lirael and Sameth became more and more likeable further into the book. I was so very relieved at a revelation half way through about a failed murder attempt. Garth Nix is certainly a capable craftsperson with words, I have a very clear vision of each of the 9 gates of death that will stick with me for a long time. I can feel the chill of the river right now! Well no, it's just cold here.

As the last book of a trilogy it is typical that the last chapters are devoted to rounding off storylines from all previous books. Not this book, after the main event has happened and is over, there are only four pages devoted to wrapping up in an epilogue and it's not even about the protagonists! I am looking forward to more stories from this world.

Angel - 5.15 "A Hole in the World"

I was really enjoying this ep of Angel, until I saw a very scary thing:

"Written and Directed by Joss Whedon".

After last weeks laugh-a-thon and warm-fuzzies, I should have seen it coming that this week would be all tragedy.

The first thing I'll say is, you don't pick on Fred.

I admit to not being a Spike fan, but I certainly agree that he brings a good vibe to the show, finally. It's only taken half a season. The argument between Spike and Angel was excellent, and one shot at that. For me, cavemen.

You don't pick on Fred.

Lorne was the best knight in shining armour, his colourful threatening of Eve one of his best moments.

I am a little confused at the way this ep was structured. Perhaps it is due to the serial structure of this season, but I felt like this apocalyptic event just came out of nowhere, so it doesn't have the impact of the previous revelations. By attacking a main character, the sole remaining female, to try and give it more impact felt forced rather than shocking. Yes at the end I went 'oooo', but it wasn't dumbfounded shock, like when Buffy walked in the door and found Joice's body.

It is a symptom of this season, I think, perhaps the constraints of smaller budgets and more intervening from the studio may have affected the stories being told. It's all history now.

Killing off leading female characters isn't a new thing from Whedonworld but Angel is a bit too testosterone heavy at times.

If there isn't some mystical way of reversing what has been done this fan will be most displeased.

You don't pick on Fred.

Bloody Phone

It's been over a week between posts because our landline died. That was Wednesday night, we got it back this morning. Three days without access to the net for me was like depriving an alcoholic of liquor.

I am finding the experience of blogging rather ejoyable and felt bad that I wasn't able to post. I had a few things to write about that I may not have the time to go into now. That's the way the cookie crumbles they say!

Saturday, May 22

Farewell Angel

2 days ago, the finale of Angel's fifth and final season aired in the US. A sad day for fans of the Joss Whedon-verse as our TV schedule will soon be Whedon free. Thankfully here in Oz only the 14th ep has aired and what a corker!

Who would have thought that the most ridiculous concept possible could be one of the most strangely entertaining hours of the series. There would be few other eps that I have laughed as often in and few other eps that have also left such a disturbing lasting impression. The image of those kiddies smiling like that. With their eyes all googly and unnaturally wide smile, it'll be a source of nightmare material for ages!

Am glad that the subplot of Gunn's failing powers has closed, although I perhaps would liked to have seen more of the old 'just hit things' Gunn before the revert.

I was overjoyed that the only part Spike had to play was to have the crap beaten out of him buy Muppet Angel.

Yay for Fred finally smelling the roses and taking charge. Wesley is my favourite character and I was getting depressed about his constant pining.

It's eps like these that I will miss the most. Having no idea what to expect week to week is something few other shows can offer. Let's hope that we see some more Whedon TV sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, May 19

Paper Cuts

Well, what a way to end a novel! Always good to put a great plot twist at the end. Makes you want to read the next book! Lirael was an interesting lesson of not getting comfortable with the format of genres. Change is good.

Garth Nix weaves a dark and foreboding world of walking dead and scared youths fighting insurmountable odds, but without driving the reader into a full blown depression. Sameth is an intriguing character with the ability to invent enchanted objects that are rather useful, like a bug eating flying frog. He may act like an insufferable teenager at times, but he's not as pig-headed as Harry Potter in book 5. Lirael is quite complex going from wanting to commit suicide in the first chapter to leading the expedition. I enjoy how each character is dealing with events and each other realistically and not becoming over dramatic, Nix avoids falling into the high drama traps some fantasy authors fall into.

Now it's time for Abhorsen!

Tuesday, May 18


Those who have seen Roberto Benigni's performance in La Vita e Bella (Life is Beautiful) who reach the end and sit in wonder at his amazing ability to find the fun and bring a childlike wonderment to the screen are going to love the film I discovered on DVD today. Pinocchio.

At first glance you may wonder how a 50 year old eccentric man could pull off performing the character of a wooden puppet boy. But Benigni tackles this the only way he knows how, put everything he has into it. It possibly would have been better to actually have a 'real' boy play Pinocchio allowing the story to be truly universal but it obviously wasn't part of Benigni's concept.

If you find Benigni's acting over the top or annoying, first of all, slap yourself because you need to find your inner child again, then watch this film anyway. The beauty of this film is remarkable. I could easily watch it with the sound off just to admire the images that linger in my mind once the film has finished. Seeing Pinocchio strung up from the tree is heartbreaking.

Actually, I would prefer to watch it with the sound off because of the American dubbing. I really wish distributors would realise that most people prefer to see and hear films in their original language and have to read subtitles. Amelie is a perfect example, imagine how that would be ruined by having some overpaid American B-grade actress voicing Amelie.

I am sad that I wasn't able to see this on the big screen, but the techno wonders of DVD are the next best thing.

Wednesday, May 12

Van Helsing

I've been to see this film twice since it opened last Wednesday night. What an amazing ride!

This film has so many great attributes that I could go on for a long time about all it's good points. So I'll restrict myself to a couple of the best.

Three, that's 3, aussie actors lead this film. Hugh Jackman with his very small head carries off Gabriel Van Helsing with the dryness it seems that Australia has a knack for. David Wenham is hilarious as Carl, managing to receive all the best oneliners the writers could think of. My favourite character and performance by far was Richard Roxburgh as Dracula. His delivery of this role could have completely ruined the movie, but he seemed to embrace the legendary campness of Dracula and turn it back on itself to give us a much better look into his motivations rather than 'i vant to suck your blud'.

Opening with a spectacular black and white homage to the classics really set the mood for the whole film.

I was so very pleased that I was not the only one laughing throughout the film. It is a very funny film and is very much aware of what it is asking you to believe, but not appologetic for it at the least.

A friend I saw it with said about 3/4 the way thru "I'm having trouble suspending my disbelief" and I understood why he said it. Van Helsing asks alot of it's audience, but it certainly rewards you by delivering two and a half hours of action and adventure. Well worth suspending your disbelief for.

BTW don't go to, it's a business not a site about anything related to the character. If you want the movie you need

Tuesday, May 11

New Look

Yay for Blogger!

Blogger has just relaunched it's site with a whole bunch of new features and a great new look. One of the new bells and whistles are a bunch of new templates. Like the one you're looking at currently. Much more appealing than the other one I had.

Another feature I'm keen to add is the option to have peeps make comments. Once I work out how to make it happen it will!

Monday, May 10

Paper Cuts

As I posted last week I finished Sabriel, and moved immediately onto Lirael. As I have read numerous fantasy type series before I assumed that Lirael would be a continuation of the story of Sabriel. And it is, but not. It begins 14 years after the end of Sabriel and also is about another character, Lirael. Seems obvious now but was a little put off at first, because I was looking forward to discovering more about Sabriel.

So I am about half way through right now, and have been caught up in the weaving of this story, Nix has divided the book up a little and there are chapters devoted to different characters currently with no link. I am enjoying the unpredictablitity of the structure and hope that I am rewarded for reading on.

After the slight confusion during the last book about what approximate time the southern part of this world existed in it is made more clear in the section titles of this book, where it is stated that the time is 1924, which seems to match up to the technology of that time mentioned. Within reason of course. This is a world of fantasy so anything is possible.

Angel - 5.12 "Your Welcome"

What a strange ep.
Opened with alot of blood, then a shock, then didn't really get going very well. It's not that I didn't enjoy it, I think I was expecting alot more because it was the 100th episode.
The fight with Lindsay was very good but ended with a fizzle rather than a pop. Overall the whole Linsday story felt weak. So it's suitable that it ended the same way.
It was great seeing Cordy back and her kickarse attitude was wonderful. Certainly making the regular gang look a little softer with her 'just torture her' tude. Am also thankful that her death was a subtle quiet affair that rounded out her character nicely. I think we've had a few too many epic deaths in the Whedon world.
I was very pleased to hear Gunn complain about not being down with Angel and Cordy hitting things, tis something they all need to do more often.
I can only hope that with the mission back as the focus again the show will start to roll towards it's now unavoidable end.

Tuesday, May 4

Paper Cuts

I've just finished Sabriel. Very satisfying. Garth Nix has structured this book strangely because you discover more details about the world throughout the book, rather than spending alot of time early on describing the world. For example early on he references electricity and yet the army still uses bayonets, and it's not till near the end of the book it's revealed that tanks are a new type of vehicle and that the current cars can do a top speed of 35mph.
At first I found this slow release of details a little off putting, because I felt that I didn't have a reasonable picture of the world and the specific quirks created for it. Having finished the first book I still don't have a semi-complete concept of this world, but what I've read has revealed a rich world that I'm eager to learn more about.


You can never have enough space to store stuff. Today was time for me to attack my bookshelf. Of late it has become so overloaded with books that most shelves had several layers forward and up. So today I pulled out all books off one shelf for re-sorting, and reorganised the top shelf which now features novels three rows deep, one row piled on their side and the others stacked neatly as possible. The resorted row now features two rows of books.
So I've managed to fit two bookshelves worth of books into only the one. The most obvious solution to this problem would be to buy another bookshelf. I've not got enough space within this tiny room to fit another one. Somehow I've got to discover the secret of Mary Poppin's carpet bag and apply it to this room.

Monday, May 3

Cirque Du Soleil

I realised that the few posts I've made so far have been a little on the negative side. I promise I'll try to keep some sort of perspective and mix the good in with the bad.

I have recently been on a bit of a binge. Perhaps binge is going a little far, perhaps immersion is better. Anyway, of late I have been immersing myself in the wonder that is Cirque Du Soleil.

Never heard of Cirque? well it's a French Canadian circus company basically. They produce the most amazing shows you are likely to see in you life. The have a number of productions that tour the world in massive tents and they also have a few install shows in places like casino's. And most recently to my eyes is the TV production called Solstrom. It's a bizarre hour of TV that asks you to sustain disbelief yet hold a sense of disbelief at what these people can do! Not everyone's cup of tea but it's worth the time just to appreciate the abilities of the performers.

I also managed to snag a copy of the show 'Quidam' which as it happens is touring Australia at the moment and will be in Brisbane in November. Meaning I can go and see them! Anyway, I snagged a copy of the DVD on special, yay, and got a taste of it. Now I don't want to wait till then and want to go now. Not going to happen, I'll just have to be patient, the same way I have to be with seeing The Lion King.

If your interested in Cirque have a browse of their website and get a very different insight into circus. Cique Du

Angel 5.11 - "Damage"

What can I say about possibly the most in your face Angel to date?

Confronting. I wondered whether there would be any stories about the consequences of what happened in ol' Sunnydale. Dana (Navi Rawat) at first appeared a bit like Faith, and sent my brain into overdrive trying to fill the gaps that could have gotten her there. Thankfully it wasn't, but still didn't end well for the orderlies. I'm glad I wasn't eating a meal and watching this ep because the confrontation with the orderlies made my stomach churn.

Even though this ep didn't really progress the season's arc at all, I'm thankful for the opportunity to be brought up to date on the Buffy gang and to see the funniest annoying person Andrew. Tom Lenk has great comic timing and bounces off James Masters perfectly. "I'm 82% more manly than last time you saw me!"

Speaking of Spike. Have to give kudos to Steven S. DeKnight and Drew Goddard, there was a lot that could have made this ep a typical 'find the baddie, imprison the baddie', but by adding a couple of twisted red herrings they managed to create a memorably disturbing hour of TV. When I recognised Spike's voice as the murderers, I was uncomfortably reminded of what he is/was. A good way of keeping a character a little edgier in a time where some characters seem to be getting tired.

Andrew really hit the nail on the head when he said that Angel doesn't work for the same side any more. I'm confused by a lot of what goes on. Some how it seems a little like the troubles the show is having in production is starting to show in the quality of the product. I want some of the old Angel back where fighting the good fight is the right thing to do because sitting behind a desk getting paper cuts doesn't inspire me to tune in.

Bring on the weekly hour of Joss we deserve.

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