Movies and Books

ABOUT LAST NIGHT (1986) is a very loose adaptation of a David Mamet play (the opening straight-from-Mamet dialog sounds quite different from anything else in the script) wherein Rob Lowe and Demi Moore follow up a one-night stand with a tentative relationship while their respective best friends Jim Belushi and Elizabeth Perkins bitch about being neglected. This worked better back when I was in the same age range and single, but still quite watchable——though I wonder if time won’t make it look as quaint to future generations as some old movie such as The Clock do to me today. “We all have to make sacrifices in our personal lives.”
COWBOYS VS. ALIENS (2011) is the SF Western that has amnesiac outlaw Daniel Craig finding himself locking horns with local boss-man Harrison Ford only to have an attack by gold-mining aliens force them to join forces, along with pretty stranger Olivia Wilde. Enjoyable, though it could have done with more SF and less mundane western-ness.
“Your mind controls it——stop thinking.”

ON THE GRID: A Plot of Land, An Average Neighborhood and the Systems That Make Our World Work by Raleigh NC resident Scott Huler is a look at the various forms of infrastructure——electrical, gas, sewage, water, roads——it takes to keep him (and most of the rest of us) secure in our modern lifestyles, what it takes in cash and technology to keep them operating and some specific history on their development within Raleigh. A good primer on aspects of modern life we often take for granted and quite informative (even given some of this is familiar to me from my past reporting and reading).
THE RITES AND WRONGS OF JANICE WILLS by Joanna Pearson is a Y/A novel about a young girl coping with coming-of-age in her small North Carolina town by adopting an anthropological perspective on her community’s goings on, only to discover she’s neither as detached or as unbiased an observer as she imagines. Departs from the usual clichés of Shy Geek Finds Love (though I did peg who Janice would wind up with) but I’ve read better in the Young-adult romance department.
DMZ: Body of a Journalist is the second TPB of the comics series, in which Matty discovers the US is trying to turn the Free Stater’s kidnapping of another journalist into a casus belli to justify an all out push into Manhattan, and intervenes to prevent his friends getting caught in a crossfire. This volume gives the backstory on the war, which typically for future-war stories is a Warning! about where we’re going (our involvement in overseas wars enables right-wing militias to sweep across the country). Good.
CROSSING MIDNIGHT: The Sword in the Soul wraps up the comics series as the amnesiac Toshi unwittingly hunts down her brother Kai on the orders of the evil sword-king Aratsu, then rallies Aratsu’s troops when Kai leads his own army to take down the evil one. I imagine had the original series lasted, the ending herein (which I won’t spoil) would have kicked off a new arc——still, a better finish than I expected for something that cut off earlier (I assume) than planned.
GODS, MEN AND GHOSTS: The Best Supernatural Fiction of Lord Dunsany, collects some of the best work by one of the seminal 20th century fantasists. The collection includes the kinds of lyrical fantasies Dunsany is best known for (“Idle Days on the Yann,” “Bethmoora” and “Horde of the Gibbelins” among them) plus some more whimsical contemporary fantasies such as “The Three Sailors Gambit” and “The Three Infernal Jokes.” It’s a pleasure to see that years after last reading Dunsany, I love him just as much.

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  1. Pingback: Books | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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