Saturday, September 27, 2008

Review: THe McCain-Obama Debate

(or, "The Hissy in Mississippi")
It wasn't gripping stuff. The men seemed to be pretty equally matched in terms of eloquence and background - Obama had a few better flourishes of phrase and better put downs - "You were wrong.... You were wrong.." and "he was singing songs about Iran." The questions seemed OK, and the moderator played as small a role as possible, which is good. It certainly had a real, unscripted feel to it which gave it some life, but in the end the lack of super-zingers or any new real information made the event only adequate. I'd guess most people would think Obama came out ahead, although not embarrassingly so. I dunno.. probably time to get some sleep.

Review: That pizza I just ate (2008)

It was really good. I am lowering my Dominos hate by 60%. We ordered it online, it arrived speedily and hot-ily. The online system is actually really engaging despite its apparent boringness, like the Weather Channel or the original Planet of The Apes. It lets you "see" what "phase" they are in - making, baking, delivering, shows you the name of your pizza guy and what time they left. The pie was a deep dish with olives and mushrooms. It was good and hot and salty - I'm drinking like a parched camel. I don't think I can blame my restlessness on it or its likely shovels-full of MSG, either.

Review: Swamp Thing (1998)

Alan Moore again shows the comics world what amazing things he can do with just about nothing. He takes Swamp Thing - a man burned in his lab by bad guys and who dives into a swamp to become... a swampy, smelly, shambles of a man - and takes us INSIDE the mind of a human vegetable, a being that has the simplicity of a flower alongside the passions of a human. Moore's work has a dreamy darkness to it that expands his creations without getting too esoteric or "out there." His figure is a ferny Frankenstein seeking for his last remnants of humanity. It just works.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Review: Architecture: A Very Short Introduction, by Andrew Ballantyne (2002)

This impressive series of "intro" books continues to get better in my eyes. This book finally lets a neophyte into the world of architecture, or, as the author puts it, "Architecture is gestures made with buildings."
What kind of gestures? Extravagance. Responsibility. Historic. Authoritative. Caring. Unfazed. It describes the four major periods of western architecture - the ancient (Pyramids), Classical (Greek and Roman), Gothic / Renaissance (Europe) and Modern (global, with few or any direct antecedents. Evolving from abstract concepts rather than previous models). Gripping, lucid, a great step into a universal (and largely invisible) art all around us.

Review: My Neighbor Totoro / Tonari no Totoro (1988)

What heaven must feel like. This magical and cuddly giant is a superb fairy tale import from Japan. Will leave you clamoring for your childhood, and more installments of this helpful spirit and the thoroughly enjoyable Kittybus. (would write more buy really busy. just see it!)

Review: UHF (1989)

For Gen-X, nothing beats the 80’s. And for Gen X, nothing hurts like watching a time-honored 80’s movie that no longer delivers much beyond mullets and bad sound effects. For a child of the 80’s, UHF delivered. It had the basics: goofy guy gets own TV station, saves the day and gets the girl. In its day it was infantile, creative and crudely hilarious, but today, UHF is mostly static – 80’s bug-eyed acting, references to old movies nobody remembers, heavy slapstick, even shameless plugs for Weird Al videos. The vingnettes still have the bite of good Airplane-type material, and it’s good to see a prehistoric Michaerl Richards and Fran Dresser. Still, I’d wonder if any kid today would be swooned by Stanley Spadowski’s Clubhouse, even though I sure did.