Saturday, January 14, 2012

Varied And Sundry...


We caught the B-52's in concert last night, a lovely albeit really loud show in a smallish venue in Anaheim. This was the first time I'd seen the band live and I was not disappointed, except in that they didn't play "Dance This Mess Around." Their new live CD, "With The Wild Crowd", pretty much captures the audio version of last night's concert in superb sound. The blu-ray coming out in March (of the same show as the CD) will most likely capture the visual element in similar fashion. But they're still fun to see live!


I'm kind of a sucker for the band "Enuff Z'Nuff", a Cheap Trick-ish group that's been around for years. At their worst they do really dumb guitar-metal with a shriekey/growley lead singer, but at their best they do sublime multi-layered power pop that tickles my fancy. Couple years ago they put out a live CD recorded at a Japanese club called "Club Citta." "Live And Peace 2009" celebrates 20 years since the last time they played the joint and offers an equal assortment of good Z'nuff and, well, enough Z'nuff. Sound quality is exceptional, though. Sadly, the CD set appears to be hard to find now. I plucked one off the collector's market for *grumblegrumble* but I'm betting those with better internet skills can find it for less. Assuming I haven't scared them off with this less than enthusiastic, and yet somewhat enthusiastic review...


"Columbiana" was kind of savaged and/or ignored when it came out last Fall, but I liked it. 'Course I'm a sucker for almost anything with the Luc Besson pedigree. Zoe Zaldana plays a woman who lost her family to drug assassins as a child, then grew up to become an assassin herself so she can track down the bad guys who messed with her. Multiple fights, explosions, chases and sexy interludes ensue. This one's a little colder than "Taken" or "The Professional" and maybe that's what turned folks off. But I like Zaldana and I enjoyed the movie.

On the other hand, "Killer Elite" (not the Peckinpah version) was a baffler. It features a great cast (Jason Stathem, Robert Deniro, Clive Owen) stranded in an over-complicated plot that left me completely confused at several points. Some okay action, but lots of moments where I was just trying to figure out who was shooting at who and why. I don't mind it when Terence Malick leaves me scratching my head, but I want my assassin movies to make sense. Damn it.


Blogger Muldfeld said...

I don't know if you've seen "Hanna" (Australian), but I think you'd like it. I generally don't like action movies (James Bond, Bourne Identity) and can only enjoy them with family members who love them, but I appreciated this one for its very simple, fun approach.

I'm curious about your expression of love of action movies over more dramatic stuff, though. Your work on "Battlestar Galactica" was nearly always more dramatic and political -- which I much preferred to the more action-oriented stuff, except your last story, "The Oath", which was an action piece I really enjoyed.

I'm perhaps one of the few fans who much preferred "Black Market" to any of the other stand-alones in the second half of Season 2; I didn't love it as much as your other, rightly well-loved work, but I loved that this handsome guy Lee Adama has to pay a prostitute for companionship and women aren't falling at his feet as they irritatingly did Riker on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" or Kirk on "Star Trek" or even Sam Malone on "Cheers". As a child growing up, these were awful stereotypes up to which I felt a man had to live. That's why Lee Adama is so much more real to me. It was really appealing to see Lee struggle with a lack of self-worth.

Another under-appreciated drama-focussed show was "A Day in the Life", which I also loved for the loneliness of Adama and the explanation that the myth he told himself for years that leaving his kids with their mother was the best thing for them wasn't necessarily true; Ron Moore compliments the more action-oriented Tyrol/Cally subplot, but I didn't like that nearly as much. For all his talents, I think he was too eager to rush things for the sake of keeping things tense. I'm sure there are tons of deleted material that should be put back in for longer episodes. I know "A Measure of Salvation" would have been much better with that scene of Starbuck torturing Leoben and the other scene showing that Sharon wasn't as resolved to side against her race as she had told Helo. I was so upset that Mr. Moore put a lousy extended cut of "Unfinished Business", which was perfect in its aired form; I guess he was just trying to show the process, but I so wish he had extended so many of the big episodes that felt rushed in Season 3.

Lastly, another very drama-centric episode that's also under-appreciated was "The Road Less Travelled". While I didn't like the Starbuck subplot (She was given far too much attention in that last season, I felt.), I loved the Baltar/Tyrol stuff that was so beautifully written; it's definitely a highlight of the first half of Season 4.

This is all to wonder how a writer with such a focus on drama -- as opposed to action -- seems not to enjoy it, or at least blogging about it, in his spare time.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Mark Verheiden said...

Hanna sits on the shelf, waiting for another free evening... but I don't think I ever said I love action movies more than straight drama. I actually like both, but for work reasons that I hope I will be able to explain soon I've been trying to catch up with the latest and greatest action spy/assassin/thriller movies. I've also seen Warhorse recently, but if I said I liked it, people might think it's because it was directed by my current boss. But I really did like it, honest!

All that said, you get my patented MV gold star of the week for liking Black Market. I've had several folks tell me it's one of their more favorite episodes, mostly because of the noirish tone. (I've also had plenty tell me they hated it, so it goes). Taste. It's a funny thing...

10:00 PM  

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