Pretentious Potpourri of Patter

Friday night is an odd time to make a blog post, but I feel inspired. It’s and odd time because this is the end of the so-called news cycle and everyone is probably more concerned with their weekend than reading blogs. Well, I’m a rebel, so I’m putting up a post anyway.

“Johnny Saturn Unlimited” no. 12 and 13 are now available on Comixology, so issues 14 through 17 cannot be far behind. Like the other comics in the Unlimited editions, these have lots of extras, and are guided view reading. This latter makes them easy to read on phones, tablets, whatever.
Tonight, I watched two movies.

First, there was “John Wick.” This slick, modern crime noir action thriller was nearly perfect. I’m not going to bother to dissect the plot, dialogue, acting, storytelling, and all the other things I normally go on about with movies. If you like action movies, or crime noir, then you will want to watch this. As a movie, it’s quite beautiful in its hyper-violent ugliness.

Second, I watched “The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies.” Much has been written about the failings of the Hobbit movies, and many of the hardcore “Lord of the Rings” fans have turned away from this second “trilogy.” Yes, it’s bloated and full of fan service. Yes, the magic is more Dungeons and Dragons than Tolkein. Having said that, maybe it’s time to say a little about what I liked about it.

Thanks to Alan Lee, John Howe, and Wetta Workshop, the sets, costumes, and creatures where beautifully textured and realized.  Martin Freeman was charming as Bilbo. Evangeline Lily was pleasant on the eyes. Smaug was pretty cool.

Really, that’s about all that I can say. The combats were too long to maintain my interest, and many elements were introduced that never were really explored. In fact, some of the action was confusing, with new elements coming and going at a breakneck, choppy pace. The extra plot lines, additional non-Tolkein characters, and background characters fleshed out into bigger roles than they merited, all struck me as superfluous and overdone as, well, dwarves in barrels. Lots of extraneous dwarves in barrels.

More and more, this blog has become about media that interests me, so here are some quick shots:

1) I’m reading Ian Healy’s Just Cause Universe book, “Castles.” I’m really a fan of his work, and he presents a consistent, well-thought out view of superheroes and a somewhat more realistic view of how the world would react to them.

2) I watched the first two episodes of the show “Lost Girl,” about a secret world of Fae that lives among us, hidden in plain sight. I was mildly entertained, but probably not enough to watch any more. I’m not sure what the show later developed into, but the first two episodes was a mish-mash of well-trodden tropes, cliche characters, and clunky, predictable dialogue.  That sounds horrible when I put it that way, but it was really no worse than most television shows. It was somewhat diverting, and the characters likable, so I’ll stop there.

3) I bought one of Neil Young’s archive performance albums, this one from Chicago in 1992 when he was touring with his “Harvest Moon” material. This was the tour where Young  played alone, seated amid a circle of guitars, a piano, and an organ. He was on a creative high during this period, and his music was outstanding. So is this particular performance and CD.

4) My other musical obsession of late is the oh-so-weird Buckethead. I had heard of this performer, but only really looked into him because of his Guns n’ Roses connection. His basic M.O. is that he wears an expressionless white mask, a KFC bucket as a hat, and he does not speak or sing. Essentially, his musicianship is so amazing that alone is enough to carry his shows. Well, that and robot dancing and martial arts. And puppets. So, no matter how weird all this sounds, Buckethead is no joke, and he makes some stunning music.

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