Narnia. I enjoyed it. A little too schmaltzy, a little too Christian, but overall worked pretty well.
Read J. Michael Straczynski's Rising Stars. I hadn't really consumed much from him other than B5, from which I found that his ideas rather outstripped his writing ability. I was pleasantly surprised to find this graphic novel intelligent, non-formulaic, and equal to the task it sets for itself.

In a lot of ways this feels like an ensemble Miracleman, particularly as a modern look at superheroes and their relationship with society. It's the story of 113 individuals in the womb when a meteor hits a small town, all of whom get superpowers. It's the story of their entire lives and the world as they interact with it. The human relationships are very well drawn, and the exploration of social impact is very interesting. I wasn't deeply satisfied with JMS's conclusion, but I would still recommend it as a worthwhile read.

I should probably get around to reading Midnight Nation now...
Saw Wallace & Gromit Meet Bunnicula (or whatever). Fluff, but funny. I think in some ways a bit of a retread of A Close Shave, with a few more cheap shots, but still enough new stuff to be entertaining.

It's good, but it's no Wrong Trousers.
Finished Guys and Rick's Story, bringing me to Cerebus #231, where I think I will take [livejournal.com profile] alexx_kay's advice and stop.

Both of these contained heavy doses of Dave's paranoid ranting, and even heavier doses of stagnation. I realize that to a certain degree that stagnation was a key point of the story, but sometimes he succeeded in commenting interestingly on it and other times it was just tedious. I think Guys in particular had few redeeming features; it had potential, but, again, didn't really go anywhere. Rick's Story had some pointless parts, but the overall craftsmanship and the art techniques were actually quite interesting, with a kind of flowing humanism that, perhaps unsurprisingly, reminded me of Jaka's Story, though this being the B side of the series it still cast things as a paranoid war of the sexes.

The ending of this section is startlingly conclusive and upbeat... and not very satisfying. The slow percolation through the previous 30 issues of stagnation justifies the ending as not entirely implausible, but it still drops in as an unabashed deus ex machina.

Oh well, that was interesting. Time for something else.
After having the DVD for years, I finally got around to watching Being John Malkovich. Charlie Kaufman is a messed up guy.

Also, read Dilvish, the Damned by Roger Zelazny, continuing through his oeuvre. It's an interesting set of short stories about the same character, somewhere between a continuous story and a bundle of vignettes, written over an eighteen-year period. Not all of the stories were written in chronological order, but by and large they were. The early stories have a pleasantly simplistic adventure style to them, which gradually gives way to a more verbose, philosophical style. The next in the set is really The Changing Land, verbose enough that it's a novel. The conceptual development hangs together fairly well, and the change in style over the course of the book is interesting, but we don't really get any development of the main characters. I find this a bit irksome, particularly as our hero is frequently bailed out by his powerful and flawless sidekick. If the latter's seemingly interesting story had been developed more, he might not have seemed like such a constant deus ex machina. I enjoyed the book throughout, but I think the later parts were rather weaker. I'm coming to the conclusion that Zelazny's work basically went from good to mediocre around 1977.
Finished Anansi Boys this morning. Fun book. Its sort-of-a-sequel relationship with American Gods is underscored by a large amount of structural parallelism between the two. Interestingly, though it 's not so noticable in either book alone, the two together have some notable similarities with the two Drik Gently books. Of course, some of that is inherent in a modern comedy novel involving gods, but I think the shared elements are deeper than that.

I thought the core points of the book were laid out quite early on, but the telling of the story is the important part, and that is very well done.
Friday I went to lunch and Mirrormask with [livejournal.com profile] new_man, then joined [livejournal.com profile] liamstliam et al for Serenity.

Mirrormask: A lot of people have missed the central element of this film, which is of course juggling. I liked that. As for its other attributes, I found the plot to be a bit of a letdown in that it set up ideas that it never really explored. There were many opportunities to showcase artful encounters with weird things though, and those sequences were for the most part very well executed. It was a fun little movie, nothing earthshaking but worthwhile.

Serenity: I'd already seen it in preview, and the differences were minor (mainly color cleanup, which does help highlight the superb cinematography). I enjoyed it quite a bit, but it was not without some notable flaws.
Also, after several months gap I read the second half of Mothers and Daughters, bringing me to Cerebus #200.

I conclude that Victor Davis Dave Sim is:
a) A bitter man who could use some therapy
b) Full of provocative ideas
c) Unable to discern a bundle of facts from a line of reasoning
d) Quite good at knowing what will interest his audience
e) Very aware of just how much cookie to give his audience so they read the other stuff he wants to write
Finally got around to watching Primer yesterday. Weird, demanding little low-budget indie film. It's really one of those cases where I can't say any more without possibly impacting your experience. I don't know that I was as impressed as those who recommended it to me, but it's interesting and worth watching.

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learnedax

November 2011

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