Friday, May 30, 2008

More and more new stuff

For the past few months, I have been a media-devouring machine. Here are just a few of the new things I have ingested.

I have fallen in love with Lois Lowry, the author of The Giver. Gossamer is the story of the fairies that give out good dreams and battle against the nightmares. I read this in only one sitting, one of only three books in my entire lifetime that I can say that about. This was a wonderful story. Lowry's prose took me some getting used to, even through her previous books, but every word is crafted like a poet. Truly phenomenal.

Two more Lemony Snicket books. They're good reading, going down like candy. Still, none of them have been as good as the first one.

What is my fascination with dollar dvds? Why do I bother? Why? I guess it has something to do with the fact that I don't think any dvd, constructed for probably pennies, is worth $14 or more when a dvd first comes out. Those $5 movies at Wal-Mart are getting a better selection. Still, the $1 dvd holds a mystery--why did they make the movie? what happened to it to relegate it to this infernal dollar dvd bin? Can they be any good?

The answer is SOMETIMES. (I love a good dollar kung fu dvd.) Laserhawk, starring Mark Hammil of Luke Skywalker fame no less, is pretty bad. It's an interesting concept but falls woefully short in any kind of filmic quality. Even George Lucas or Steven Spielberg couldn't help this one. And Hammil proves that he simply cannot act.

Horror Express
Three huges names in this horror movie: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and Telly Savalas. Horror Express, as the name implies, takes place on a train, with a monster unearthed from the frozen depths. However, it simply isn't scary. While, yes, this was another dollar dvd, it was okay...worth watching but that was about it.

Street Fighter
Street Fighter, a legend of kung fu. And another dollar dvd. Not much of a plot or even a story (what there is of one is hard to follow). A rollicking good 1970s kung fu movie.
Amy is really into mysteries and she has so far read the first of these three "alphabet" mysteries by Sue Grafton. I read the first one here and enjoyed it. A great twist at the end. One thing that I have with mystery novels is that they are too long for one sitting so I forget all the little clues. Amy, however, can read these in one sitting, so that's not a problem for her.

I found this one at a garage sale. Haunted Lady by Mary Roberts Rinehart. Just a pulp paperback. The mystery is intriguing though. Some nutty old rich lady locks herself into a seemingly impenetrable room but is still getting harrassed and eventually gets killed in the room. How? Neat little thriller. This came in the heyday of novels that came out with a cover price of 35 cents.

I love Star Trek novels. I really do. Back in high school, a neighbo down the street, Darrin Gengler, let me borrow the first ones I ever read. And I have been reading them ever since. I, like him, am a big fan of the original Trek too, but I also love Next Generation. That's why I love the books. Especially these older novels. This one, The Peacekeepers, is the second of the TNG novels. One simple story that puts our characters into a new situation, without even having to memorize all the Star Trek history. To be honest, the basic plot could easily be turned into a Dr. Who novel, or any science fiction universe. That's what I like about it though. A good, quick read, with great rising action and a satisfying climax to the story.
For the last few months, I have been immersed in Millenium. I just finished the second season through Netflix rentals. I love Netflix for this above all--no late fees and I can rent all these tv shows that I always wanted to watch but never did. Millenium is great. Most of the time. Sometimes, the episodes can be quite strange and freaky, like those last couple of the second season that my mind is still trying to puzzle through. The good episodes are as good as any movie could be, and Se7en comes to mind a lot when I watch it. There apparently is one more season to put into my Netflix queue. This is one of those series that was too serious for tv. I love the intrigue of the Millenium group. I probably couldn't watch this as a weekly tv show though--you have more control with a dvd when there is this much intrigue.

Amy and I both absolutely loved Rome. This was a first rate series. It is very disappointing that they only wanted to tell the stories of the Roman civil wars that led to Octavian Caesar being the first emperor. I wish they would continue through the next decades, a la I, Claudius. That would be remarkable with this modern conception. However, I must say that I think the second season seemed rushed. I swear that it seemed to move too fast in the last five or so episodes.

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