Finished Dark Tower book 6 Song of Susannah. Another pretty weak and self-indulgent one. Gah, I wish King hadn't hooked me when I was young and impressionable.
What I'm Watching
Got the complete Deadwood box set for Xmas thanks to my brother. Watched the first seven episodes of the first series, loving it so far.
BSG starts again on Friday: that might slow me down a bit.
What I'm Watching
Braved The Spirit at the cinema, despite uniformly dire reviews from mainstream and geek sources alike.
It certainly has some flaws. As with 300, it tries to use comic-style dialogue and narration rather too literally: bombastic phrases drift over the images in a way that comes across as leadenly pompous on screen. I think that's a mistake rather than just faithfulness. Reading a comic, the fovea of the eye can't read dialogue and scan images simultaneously: you just can't integrate snappy and fast-paced dialogue. So, you're missing out on the possibilities of the medium if you do that in a screen adaptation.
The backstory is also clumsily handled, with past love scenes almost wincingly bad. There's also an excess of clunky exposition. I'm surprised some reviewers complained they couldn't follow it: the fairly basic plot seemed to me to be explained in ponderous depth. Maybe having two McGuffins instead of one confused them.
However, there's also a lot to like. Visually, it looks superb, integrating CGI and cinefilm into some astonishing images. We've seen some of this before in Sin City, but it's still a joy to sit back and boggle at.
As the IMDBers have said, while the movie seems to have been marketed as if it were Dark Knight, it's much more like Kill Bill: deliberately camp and over-the-top. So, the critics complaints that the characters aren't fully rounded seem to miss the point: I thought it was great to watch Samuel L. Jackson chew up the scenery as a costumed supervillain. Gabriel Macht as The Spirit seems to fit pretty well with Eisner's "lighthearted guy who could have fun as he was getting the job done."
The girls have less to do except look sexy: don't think it would pass the Bechdel test.
Has a reasonably amount of action, though it's all pretty stylized.
Overall though, while I liked it, probably no-one else will.
Also I think this is the sort of movie that really needs to be seen at the cinema. It won't really work if you're doing Sudoku with one hand and stopping every 15 minutes to take a phone call: needs more immersion.
Graphs comparing this recession to post-war recessions. Looks pretty normal, but the marginalrevolution commenters reckon things will nosedive when more quarters come in. These guys reckon that declining uncertainty is a good indicator though.
Why the Tories are struggling on the economy.
Osborne and his leader, David Cameron, have had a bad crisis. Baited by Brown as the "do nothing" party, they have been provoked into small, largely irrelevant initiatives. Even Brown's enemies do not hold him entirely responsible for the worst advanced-country downturn since 1945. Cameron and Osborne, overplaying the blame card, invite ridicule and allow Brown to get away with things he should carry the can for, such as over-spending in the good times.Michael Portillo:
The Conservatives, being in opposition, cannot act but are under pressure to make statements. Throughout the crisis they haven't managed to find as many things to say as the government has found to do and so have paid the price in the polls.That muddle ought to provide a good opening for the Conservatives. But Barack Obama's statement last week, promising more federal spending and borrowing, is a real problem for them. However confused Brown's policy may seem, Obama is firmly on his side of the argument. With all the hopes riding on the new president, to push against that tide will be tough for Cameron.Matthew Parris: Cameron must change:
We reach the paradoxical position where the "modern" part of the Conservative Party is stuck in about 2001, and horribly out of date. There is no national nostalgia for a return to the decade in which, we now begin to realise, it all started to go adrift. Does the Conservative Party in 2008 not understand this?Gordon Brown does, in his dark and bitter heart, understand. He knows what was always rotten about Blairite politics, detests it, and British voters are coming late to the same realisation. The contrast that Mr Brown presents with his predecessor - shadow where Blair was all sunlight, leaden charmlessness after the unbearable lightness of being Tony - is now his strongest selling point with voters.That our present Prime Minister is a deranged monster of a politician has still not dawned on most people, and in the meantime Mr Brown is pulling off the remarkable feat of running more successfully against a Labour Government - the previous one - than the principal Opposition is running against his own.
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