Video Game Pocket Review Chat

Sonic Rob: oh, I started playing GTA4 with the Baker last night
Sonic Rob: we played for 2 hours or so
Sonic Rob: and by the end she was pretty disappointed
Sonic Rob: “you haven’t stolen any cars!”
Sonic Rob: “that’s ’cause I don’t want to get my ass beat by these vicious-ass cops!”
FyreHaar: it’s way less rampagey than GTAIII
FyreHaar: the cops are fucking everywhere!!
Sonic Rob: also, Nico surrenders if they so much as gently pat him on the head
Sonic Rob: the acting and story seem really good so far
Sonic Rob: although I’m glad I turned subtitles on before the Jamaican guy showed up
Sonic Rob: or I wouldn’t have had a fucking clue what he was saying

Fatherland – Cannonball Read #1

Fatherland by Thomas Harris. Alternate History, Mystery.

I love alternate history novels. Give me some Turtledove any day of the week and I’ll eat it up. So the premise of this novel was extremely attractive. Germany effectively won WWII and has Europe on a leash. The US is led by President Joe Kennedy. There is a guerilla war in the east against what is left of the Soviet Union. Continue reading Fatherland – Cannonball Read #1

Film Century 1.5

Oct. 22 Fast & Furious – Some movies wear their stupidity proudly, like a badge of honor, but then there are those movies so profoundly, prophetically stupid that they think the badge is actually for being smart. 106/150
Oct. 26 Hellboy II: The Golden Army – Relentlessly grim and hopeless in its way, like a post-modern Lord of the Rings where the good guys and bad guys have all been shuffled up. 107/150
Oct. 27 Death Race – Wait wait wait, did Paul W.S. Anderson, of all people, seriously try to bite Ridley Scott’s style from Gladiator for this? 108/150
Nov. 1 Man On Wire – Looks like a documentary about tightrope walking, but is actually a mash note to the beauty in urban landscapes, a search for the cathedral in every building. 109/150
Nov. 2 The Goonies – It’s probably a sign of a life lived completely out of order that this movie reminded me of the Deadmines instead of the other way around. 110/150
Nov. 4 The Mummy – Bastardizes Indiana Jones, splitting a single complex character (two-fisted adventurer, passionate intellectual, and treasure-hunting rogue), into an ensemble of 1-dimensional ones; and you know, it’s still better than half of the actual Indy movies. 111/150

Book Review: Joan of Arc: A military leader

Joan of Arc: A military leader by Kelly DeVries

This book’s narrow scope is the primary factor in its success. For all the examinations of what Joan of Arc meant, as a saint, as a feminist (?), as a heretic, etc., this book focused on what she did.  Why is Joan so famous? Because she kicked the crap out of the English when no one else in France seemed to be able to. How did she do it? She wasn’t afraid to send thousands of her countrymen men to their deaths.

So this book looks almost exclusively at the details of Joan as a military leader. Excellent research and quotes from sources of the day as well as later examinations. DeVries has a wonderfully concise prologue wherein the political landscape of France at the end if the Hundred Years War is described. The stage is set and Joan’s entrance onto the scene is placed in an enlightening context.

A tad dry at times, but overall a very good illustration of the deeds that made The Maid into a legend.

I give this book four out of five medieval gunpowder hand cannons.


Film Century 1.5

Of a kind with my note about horror movie writers and their laziness in writing stupid victims, I’m getting weary of action/adventure movie writers who create these invincible badasses for antagonists and then have to remove the bad guy’s heretofore-infallible brain so that the right guy wins in the end.

Aug. 13 Julie and Julia – There’s a reason the Spider-Man films don’t cut back and forth between Peter Parker and a kid reading comics and jumping around on the roof with strings tied to his wrists. 85/150
Aug. 18 Angels and Demons – Come on now, if Catholicism were really this awesomely ludicrous, it would be Scientology. 86/150
Aug. 21 District 9 – I get that it’s an allegory and all, but it makes me wonder what’s happened to us when a movie manages to make bug-eyed CGI aliens more sympathetic than actual human beings. 87/150
Aug. 22 Inglourious Basterds – If you are an occupier, no matter how well-intentioned you may be, there are no conversations between you and the people you have occupied, only various sorts of interrogations. 88/150


Fyre fires back – The Dead Weather

So Sonic was disappointed by the debut album by The Dead Weather, Horehound. So I decided to check it out. I am a big White Stripes fan, unlike my sonic colleague I like The Raconteurs (more on that later) and I’m always up to like something that Sonic Rob doesn’t like so I checked The Dead Weather out via their YouTube channel.

I, too, am disappointed!! When I really thought about what the music was missing, I came to the conclusion that it lacks balls. Big brass balls, Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross balls, I’m Bjork and I’m a fucking Icelandic Viking Nutcase balls. Alison Mosshart is the vortex of that lacking. In another venue she could be awesome (this is my first exposure to her) but here Jack White just overwhelms her. The music behind her singing is complex and mighty and her voice just doesn’t stand up to it. It lacks depth of tone and just falls flat. She is not nearly insane enough to carry off the cross between Siouxsie and Ozzy that she is going for.

My overall impression is that this is some weird sort of not-quite-a-cover-band. They are making music like music that they really like.  They are copying styles and genres without really injecting anything meaningful in the process.They might as well be singing “la la la la la” for all the import of the their lyrics.

“Hang you from the Heavens” comes across as an attempt to sound like Aenima era Tool being fronted by the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls.

“Treat me Like Your Mother” is one of the Songs that Jack White wrote for his collaboration with Kid Rock.

All in all, this is a bunch of meaningless, ball-less pap from a group of artists who have already shown they can do better, tied up as an homage to beloved but ultimately dated musical styles of the past.

Sonic Rob Has Bad Taste In Music: Horehound

The Dead Weather - Horehound

I’ve been trying desperately for the last month to like Horehound, the album by the Dead Weather. On paper, it sounds like a great lineup. I’ve been a huge fan of Alison Mosshart’s first band Discount since I was in college, and I was eventually brought around to her second band The Kills by a girlfriend who thought they were good sex music. I could take or leave Jack White’s Raconteurs, but the White Stripes are one of my go-to plays when musical satisfaction is required. Putting Mosshart and White together with a couple of guys from bands I don’t care about still should have resulted in a stripped-down sensual rock machine, something sinuous, decadent, and yet spare.

So how the hell did they wind up creating an acid rock/whitey funk band? Continue reading Sonic Rob Has Bad Taste In Music: Horehound