Thursday, August 12, 2010

Quick Reviews

This graphic novel transports some of the Greek myths and legends to modern day London. On many levels this book is a success, the art is incredible, the lettering and the inks are divine, the end the writing fails to live up to the promise and the premise. I was all in for about two thirds of the work then in the last third they lost me when the story telling ran out of steam. I wish the last third was as good as the first two thirds. This one gets a tepid recommendation.

I don't usually read supernatural/horror based graphic novels but I picked this one up at my local library the other day and boy is it ever good. It's bloody and scary but the story is well told, the art is good, and it all works well together. I devoured the first one and I'm already on the second one. Highly recommended.

Both Sparky and I missed this series when it first aired in the late 1970's on PBS, I can't say what she was up to but I was too busy smoking pot like it was going out of style and drinking Boone's Farm because it was there. So with all that going down, it's no wonder I missed a series about a woman in Edwardian England who becomes a cook and who ends up owning a hotel that caters to the rich and snobby. This series has it problems, poor sound quality (which is guess is endemic to all BBC made shows of this era), cheesy accents, hard to understand accents (especially the one put forth by the Welsh maid character), but overall it's very entertaining. The Edwardian period of history is not at all my favorite, in fact I find the rampant sexism, the imperialism, the naked greed and outlaw capitalism of that era to be repellent, but I can stomach all that for the sake of watching this series. I quite like young Gemma Jones and many of the others in this show and I always love spotting actors who went on to do other things. We're about halfway through series one and have series 2 to see after that. I recommend this one to fans of BBC costume dramas and those who like period pieces in general.

This film came out in 1985 and I'm not sure why or how I managed to miss seeing it until this past weekend. I had always heard good things about it and I'm a huge Albert Brooks fan, and I'm fond of Julie Hagerty too, so it's mystery to me how I had escaped seeing it for so many years. I'm glad I finally did catch it because it's hilarious. After not getting his big promotion and quitting his job because he failed to get it, Brooks convinces Hagerty to quit her job and sell off everything they own so that they can buy a motor home and travel across America. His plan works fine until she loses all their money in one night of gambling in Vegas. It's painfully funny how they try to pick up the pieces of their dream and go on. Albert Brooks is the master of uncomfortable comedy, Louis CK, Ricky Gervais, and Steve Coogan all owe a debt of gratitude to him for blazing the trail of uncomfortable comedy in TV and film. I can't recommend this one highly enough.

This is the second modern day 'white person trek across Africa' book I've read in the past few years. It's an eye opening account of travel and life in Africa. Ms. Jones is a good, sometimes terribly witty writer, but as was the case in Dark Star by Paul Theroux, I found her tone and some of her observations about Africa and Africans to be paternalistic and a tad condescending. I suppose westerners can't help but sound self righteous when writing about Africa, we either feel guilt for how we've fucked them over or we feel like what we've done to them was justified because it brought them into the ranks of modern day civilization. I recommend this one in spite of my observations because anything that will teach people about the harsh reality of Africa is a good thing.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I've never heard of the Duchess of Duke Street series. Mind you I don't believe we had PBS in our neck of the woods in the 70's. And I was too busy raising hell anyway.

dguzman said...

Wow, the young Gemma Jones! Cool. Might have to check this one out. Thanks for all the good tips--I too have always wanted to watch Lost in America but never have.

DrGoat said...

The Duchess of Duke Street. Didn't miss an episode when it played way back when. And smoking pot was a way of life for us, but I made sure we were in front of a TV with plenty of joints for the every epidode. Recently watched it all again. Still great. Loved the Major and poor Charlie.