Enter Soundman…


It’s been a while since I’ve done review. I have finished these books and movies ages ago so I barely remember anything about most of them, but I’ll give it a try anyway…

Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore, Murakami Haruki – Murakami Haruki seems to be very famous in the US, and he publishes rubbish short stories like A Shinagawa Monkey in the New Yorker as a result, but when he puts out books like Kafka on the Shore I get a bit frustrated. He has great books like Norwegian Wood and Hardcore Wonderland And The End Of The World, but this book just takes his more experimental pieces like Dance Dance Dance and goes through the motions for a couple hundred pages. Very silly, irrelevant stuff. A truck driver in the movie picks up a hitchhiker and drives him to Shikoku where things seem to be happening. He gains an appreciation of classical music, he picks up a heavy rock, he has fantastic sex with a callgirl (but a philosophy major in college by day) pimped to him by Colonel Sanders. He’s a minor character in the story, but it doesn’t matter – the tale says nothing about nothing. At least it’s technically well written and I’ve been able to remember this much about its annoying details several months after finishing the book, but that’s probably no big compliment…


Voltaire – Well, there’s Candide and a bunch of interesting short stories of his that I read. Great, great stuff, especially the one about the giants of Venus and Polaris coming down here and noticing us tiny bacteria-like creatures. Jonathan Swift for la francophonie…

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote – Holly Golightly, immortalised by the gazelle-like Audrey Hepburn, was actually created by Capote, the guy most people probably now identify with Phillip Seymour Hoffman (if they even know who he is…). The book is good, and a lot more frank about how she makes her money, but the girl is just as flighty as Hepburn portrays her. Wonder who inspired the story and what became of her…

Supersize me

Supersize Me – Manipulative documentary in the vein of the Michael Moore pieces. Sure it has a noble mission, but beyond offering factoids about nutrition and the guy’s 30-day weight gain exercise and the type of crap corporate America offering people to eat (nobody HAS to eat fries from the caf every day, but how many people really take bagged lunches to work?) it doesn’t offer too much. Vegetarian girlfriend gives advice on how wrong it is to eat junk food – check. Throwing up after eating a huge fast food meal – check. Waiting it out until a corporate spokesman says something embarassing, then capitalising on the soundbite – check. Of course he deals briefly with the stupidity of people who are overweight and eat regularly at these kinds of places, but it would have been more interesting to me if the whole movie had focussed on this. Now THAT would have been a funny “documentary.”

Don's Plum

Don’s Plum – An art film that stars Leonardo Dicaprio and Toby Maguire as unsympathetic guys hanging out with their friends in some California dive eating, drinking, smoking all night, talking crap. Leo’s dad committed suicide, one of the girls there has a junkie mom, so everything’s all right…

Batman Begins?

Batman Begins – People said that this movie was better, darker than the other Batman films. Well, it did things differently, but since they wasted Morgan Freeman, and allowed Liam Neeson to indulge his silly “I will be your mentor” typecasting exercise, I honestly can’t say that this film is any better than Batman 3. That’s the one that had Jim Kerry in it. And would someone please tell me why Watanabe Ken had to be in this film but to prove that the producers had millions to blow on a name cast?


Sopranos seasons 5 and 6 – I hate to say it, but the Sopranos is getting a little bit boring. I’m waiting for some resolution to the Steve Buscemi-directed episode from season 3 that has Pauly and Christopher stumbling around in the forests of New Jersey. Good moments throughout featuring characters we truly love and hate at the same time (“love to hate” is really not the right term), but not really standout stuff any more somehow.

The Proposition

The Proposition – A screenplay by Nick Cave, directed by John Hillcoat (whom Cave had teamed with in Ghoss…Of The Civil Dead in 1988), starring a gritty Guy Peirce… but still deriivative of Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven and Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Good, gritty spaghetti-western-set-in-Australia stuff happening, but ultimately we begin to wonder why Guy Pierce, if he’s such a tough guy, doesn’t do anything until the last few minutes of the film.


The Hilarious House of Frightenstein – Igor, read me the letters!! Truly bizarre comedy stuff, and good clean fun. I liked this sort of thing when I was growing up in the suburbs of Toronto, mainly because it was the only thing playing on Sundays when I woke up at 6:30. Very strange Canadian Addams Family-like horror comedy skits that are truly bizarre. They came up with a formula the first week they started the show and didn’t deviate for 13 full-hour episodes. Strange, freaky, but also quite boring.

The Prisoner The Arrival

The Prisoner – I’ve been wanting to watch it for quite a long time, and now I finally get a chance now that the local library stocks it. Yay! The “first” episode, the Arrival, is fascinating, especially if you wonder how it’s possible that they could get a big white bouncing balloon to seem so terrifying! 2007 and 2008 are the 40th anniversary years of the seminal series. The star, Patrick MGooghan is almost 80 years old now!

our man in Havana

Our Man In Havana – Almost as funny as the Graham Greene novel, the film shows Alec Guinness in the title role as the vacuum cleaner salesman who takes the MI5 by the balls at the same time as he makes himself human bait for ferreting out the political assassins of the Caribbean. Good stuff.

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