Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pop Culture Roundup

I read The Sandman: A Game of You, the fifth book in the series. I wanted to start reading one or two of these before I forgot what happened. In this one, a character from a past story is visited by one of her dreams come to life. She has to visit the dream world that this creature came from to help save it. The Sandman stories are well-written escapist fare for me. And they're quick, too - I finished this one in the span of an afternoon.

We watched The Living Daylights this week. I hadn't seen either James Bond movie starring Timothy Dalton, so we added both to our Netflix. This is the first of the two, and it's obviously a product of its 1987 release: the hair, the clothes, the music, and the bad guys are Soviets. Bond has to protect a Russian general who has defected, except he hasn't really defected, so he has to track him down after he un-defects. There's also a ride down a snowy mountain on a cello case and some involvement by the Afghan mujahideen. Dalton is an underrated Bond...he portrays him as more a focused, resourceful agent than a free-wheeling, suave playboy. In other words, he's more Connery/Craig than Moore/Brosnan. I think that's a good thing.

We also watched Wall-E this week, about a robot on some kind of post-apocalyptic planet Earth hard at work building structures and collecting knick-knacky cultural remnants of civilization. Wall-E is lonely, his only friend a cockroach, until he meets a scouting robot named EVE. This leads him back to the ship that sent EVE on its mission, a space cruise ship where all passengers are incredibly overweight and only move around thanks to the floating chairs they're sitting in. We eventually learn that the reason for the cruise ship's existence is whatever caused Earth to become uninhabitable, and that the people may return once a sign of life is discovered there (the reason for EVE's mission). The movie is a testament against consumerism, human apathy, and ignoring the environment. And the robots are just freaking cute.

The new season of Flight of the Conchords began this week, pretty well right where they left off. We find Murray spending more time managing his other band, and eventually is fired by Jemaine and Bret, who begin to do quite well by themselves. Unfortunately, the guys all eventually need each other once again, first as the other band is sued for copyright infringement and as Jemaine and Bret need work visas. By the end of the episode, we're more or less back where we started. The songs weren't as strong this episode, but I have full confidence that things will pick up.

I picked up one of Regina Spektor's older albums, Soviet Kitsch. It features the same eclectic anti-folk sort of sound that one would expect, though perhaps less polished than Begin to Hope. Not a bad thing by any means.

Around the web, read this story about hope and redemption at a high school football game.