The Bedridden Critic

So during my recovery time I’ve managed to pile up a bit of good old entertainment consumption. Feeling like crap while I consumed, however, may have lead to harsher-than-usual reviews. Suck it up!

Books

  • City of Thieves by David Benioff: Holy smokes this was good. This guy wrote the screenplay for the Wolverine movie and his Hollywood sensibility comes through like a razor blade. You’ll encounter the most horrific scenes imaginable, and you’ll laugh as you cheer on some amazingly charismatic characters, too. A full-spectrum adventure.
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides: I can’t imagine a more in-depth look at the intimate details of a person’s life. The rich tapestry covers three generations of colorful characters, but the main story revolves around the special situation of the protagonist. Definitely engaging and interesting.
  • The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga: Didn’t make it through this one. On any other day I may have enjoyed the snarky smart-assed jabbing at India’s privileged class from the trenches, but there was just too much negativity to wade through. I may revisit this, it may be the ultimate study in sarcasm.

Movies

  • The Whale Rider: I was in the perfect mindset for this elegant study of the challenges to a small girl as she finds her place of leadership in her New Zealand tribe, even as the tribe adapts to the modern world. If you can slow down and feel the flowing currents of spirituality and beauty, this will move you.
  • The Wrestler: Looking at Mickey Rourke is painful, let’s not pull punches. In the same way, this movie is painful and sorrowful. He can’t break from his hard lifestyle even as it grinds him up. Well worth it. I felt like we were suffering together. :>
  • A Quantum of Solace: Why the hell can’t James Bond talk any more? How can you be suave if you never speak? He’s even often a vengeful jerk. Fine if you want meatheaded action; I say meh.
  • The Day The Earth Stood Still: Finally got around to watching this sci-fi classic that Mark Welch gave me. I love the polish and style of Cary Grant’s movies, and this reminded me of them. With a pretty resilient sci-fi theme, I found this very old movie to still have a lot of value.
  • Doubt: A nice study of different approaches to finding true divinity. The three central characters all contribute very different views and yet you can relate to each one at different times.
  • Star Trek: Good times all around, my favorite action movie of 2009 by a landslide. Thank you J. J. Abrams, Karl Urban, and the rest of you geniuses. Make sure you see it at an IMAX theater!
  • Taken: Steaming pile of hateful vengeance thriller refuse. Watching Liam Neeson go from Shindler’s List to this was harder than watching Harrison Ford’s fall from grace. *sigh*
  • Australia: I loved this movie because the beautiful cinematography was displayed for me in 1080p. I enjoyed the epic story as well. But there was definitely some souring when my wife pointed out how wrecked Nicole Kidman’s lips are. Sorry Nicole – it was a good effort.
  • The Man Who Wasn’t There: Coen brothers, so it’s a win. One of Scarlett Johansson’s earlier movies. It’s a slow character study, and the man who wasn’t there is also a man of few words. Be in a Jim Jarmusch mood and you’ll love it.
  • Yes Man: Good to know Jim Carey is still willing to do some slapstick gags. Zooey Deschanel is in this so a thumbs up is automatic. Gosh golly she’s great…

Games

  • Force Unleashed: Played through it on the Wii, stick with the controls and soon you’ll be slashing and punching through the air like a Sith Lord. Sweet fun.
  • Age of Mythology: The girls and I dig this one out on occasion because it’s jammed full of so many fun bells and whistles. With Bailey visiting, I scrapped together a fourth PC, but it couldn’t keep up with the other nicer rigs. So I watched as the girls destroyed moderate opponents, then played a suicide game against computer opponents on the hardest AI setting with a 100% handicap. They are crazy. And they actually lasted a while, running to every nook and cranny of the map. Ha!
  • The World Ends With You: This little DS game packs a lot into the mix. The fighting is fun, as you have to scratch and slash and tap while punching out combo moves on the pad, crazy. Not sure if I’m a fan of RPG shopping, though… :> Interesting, anyway.
  • Carcassonne with the Catapult Expansion: Wren, Reiley, Andrea, Bailey and I played a massive game with at least half a dozen expansions, including a new catapult expansion. We filled the kitchen table with tiles. It turned out that the catapult thingee was pure goofiness – you fire onto the board and make a mess of things – and the catapult was so slipshod that you couldn’t even hit the board. Still, we had lots of fun. Bailey swept the game!

Wow, that’s a lot of slacking… I feel really tired now… :P

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