Featured Posts

Jul 21, 2010

The State of the Cabins (7/21/10)

Yay - it's back after last week's hiatus!

Movies watched for the first time (non-theatrically) since last week:
* City of Ember
I'm not sure why I'd been so keen on seeing City of Ember in the first place: based on a book I'd never heard of, meant for an audience much younger than me, didn't look terribly original.

But I guess the combination of hearing some good things and a cast that includes Tim Robbins and Bill Murray (and Martin Landau, but I didn't know that until I watched it) was enough, and I'm glad I did. There's hardly anything about it that should make this connection, but the experience of watching it reminded me of the 2003 Shia LaBeouf vehicle Holes, which I think is a tremendous "kids" movie and one that would have been amongst my favorites had I been 10 or 12 when it came out.

Ember's not quite as good, but along with that cast, which includes stars Saoirse Ronan and Harry Treadway (she a decade younger though they're playing the same age...hmmm), it's got a likable story and a charming way of telling it, all the more impressive that it's ultimately a depressing tale of a dying planet and the means that a few went to to save it.

The result is a Logan's Run meets The Fifth Element story, executed well but with a lackluster, somewhat abrupt finale.

Fletch's Film Rating:
Expectation:
"Darn tootin."
Reality:
"Darn tootin."

Music I'm currently obsessed with:
More thoughts than anything in particular:

* Why was Bloc Party's second album so much worse than their first?

* When is The Go Team!'s next album coming out?

* After the success of Sufjan Stevens Illinois, there were questions about just how he was going to complete his "50 States Project" (an album for each state) in this century. I'd been wondering that, too. Just got my answer from Wiki: according to an interview he did with The Guardian in 2009, ""I have no qualms about admitting it was a promotional gimmick". Lame.

* You can't listen to a full album or pick your songs, and commercials are embedded, so why does Pandora limit you to 40 free hours of listening in a month? This is a (the?) leading internet music service?

* Yes! Arcade Fire's next disc comes out in less than two weeks!

Book I'm currently reading:
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. I first learned of this many years ago but just never remembered it/was able to find it/etc. The cover does nothing less than call it a masterpiece, so I'm expecting great things. So far, so good (but not great) - it's certainly got colorful characters, but I'm not yet far enough into it for the action to have really picked up any steam (maybe 50 pages).

Recently finished The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman. Really, really enjoyed it - it deserves all of the acclaim it's gotten thus far. After finishing off the Millenium trilogy, the prospect of reading another book about the publishing industry (in this case, a newspaper) actually appealed to me, and this one certainly had an international flavor as well, being set mostly in Rome, but also in Paris, Egypt, and stateside. The format of it initially threw me off - it's more an interconnected series of short stories than a continuous narrative - but I came 'round on it and now my only gripe was its brevity, as it clocks in at less than 300 pages. Rachman writes beautifully - incredible insight into the human condition, humor, pool-deep sadness - it's got it all. I can't wait to re-read it in a few years.


9 people have chosen wisely: on "The State of the Cabins (7/21/10)"

Alex said...

Ah, it's great to hear such nice things about City of Ember! I enjoyed that movie a lot and thought it was too bad that nobody really saw it or cared much about it.

And yeah The Go! Team really needs to pump out music faster than they do. Plus then I could see them play again! Best dance party ever!

Nick said...

I saw City of Ember a while back and don't remember being overly impressed with it. I think I more liked the concept than the execution. Though I am a fan of Saoirse Ronan. The acting in the movie was fun. But obviously, with me thinking back to it and not thinking much, it didn't leave a big impression. And as this is pretty much up my alley genre-wise, I suppose that's surprising.

Buffett35 said...

Just a couple observations on this post:

- If I didn't know you, and I read only the music portion of this post, I would guess you were no older than 22. I've never heard of any of these bands that you seem so giddy about, but I bet my 17-year-old step-daughter knows every one. It all sounds the same to me, and I really dislike that sound. No offense... just my opinion.

- How the hell do you find so much time for reading books between working, seeing a dozen movies a week, keeping up this blog, and (I hope) spending time with your wife? If you have so much free time, why don't we ever hang out???

Univarn said...

I'm with Nick on City of Ember. All I remember is that it had a great idea, and I never cared for what it presented. Oh, and that Martin Landau was in it...

Arcade Fire... one of these days I'll check out the songs Mad recommend I look into. I seem to be the only blogger in my following list whose never heard a single song of theirs (that I bothered to remember). I blame my general lack of association with most music as the cause.

Fletch said...

Alex - Yay - another Go Team fan! I'd imagine they'll have another one coming in the next year or so.

Nick - indeed, that is a bit surprising. I'd have thought it'd be up your alley, too.

Buffett - seem to be contradicting yourself:

"I've never heard of any of these bands" is shortly followed by "It all sounds the same to me, and I really dislike that sound." Um, how's that possible? Which sound is it? The 4 acts I mentioned are all pretty different.

"How the hell do you find so much time for reading books between working, seeing a dozen movies a week, keeping up this blog, and (I hope) spending time with your wife? If you have so much free time, why don't we ever hang out???"

Don't forget about the LAMB, too. ;)

I do 95% of my reading at work on smoke breaks and lunches. Every once in a while, I'll bring one home and do some reading on the weekend, but that's pretty rare.

Let's hang, homey. Weekends are pretty free, usually (outside of movie watching, that is).

Univarn - your general lack of association with music would probably do it. Though you've heard at least one Arcade Fire song - in the Where the Wild Things Are trailer, which was made awesome in no small part by that song.

The Mad Hatter said...

I can't offer any opinion on CITY OF EMBER since I've never seen it (do a shot everyone!). I coulda swore I read that it was crap-tastic though.

Thanks for shedding some light on the 50 States project...I was wondering that myself many moons ago, but since Sufjan seems to have abandoned recording them, I've abandoned thinking about them.

BTW - currently listening to the new Tom Petty, and currently reading "Me Talk Pretty Some Day" by David Sedaris.

I think you should start adding a section to this to tell us all how many podcasts behind you are at the moment too!

Fletch said...

Hatter - I like that you included what you're listening to and reading. Everyone should do that!

"I think you should start adding a section to this to tell us all how many podcasts behind you are at the moment too!"

Is this another joke that I'm not getting? You just giving me shit?

bd79 said...

Stick with Confederacy Of Dunces, it gets better as it goes in my opinion. There's probably never been a book that I've "false-started" on more than that one, but I'm glad I read it.

Fletch said...

BD - I'm sure I will. It's good, I just meant that it was doing a lot of setup to that point and I was getting impatient to see where it was going. But now just a few more pages in have led him to a potential job, so it's getting there.