06-27-13 - Some Media Reviews

Light Asylum - umm, yeah, amazing. Light Asylum is a modern band that recreates the 80's goth industrial sound. It's perfect, tinny synths, that bad operatic singing, it's exactly like what the kid who painted his finger nails black listened to. So, long story: every few months I just go see what the hip kid websites are recommending and download all their favorite stuff, then I gradually get around to listening to it. About a year or so I got Light Asylum and put it in my playlist. The first time it played I was like "WTF this is awful" and skipped it. But I was lazy and left it in my playlist. Then over the next few months, once in a while I would listen to something else (mainly "Hooray for Earth" and Grizzly Bear's Shields) and Light Asylum was after those in the PL order so it would drift into there. I would be in the other room and not skip it immediately and I started thinking "this is hillariously bad, but kind of addictive". Flash forward and now I can't get enough of it, I'm listening to it over and over. In every objective way it's just awful; the beats are repetitive, the songs are very basic and don't go anywhere, the singing is terrible, but somehow that's all just right. (I think "IP" is the best example; it's so boiled down and repetitive, and the "25 to liiiiife" is just awful, but wow it works). Amazing.

Top of the Lake - great. My first impression was "bleh it's just The Killing in New Zealand, not this shit again". But it's much better than that. It's intense, the character development is superb, it's hard to watch, you really hate some people and are afraid of what might happen, which means they're doing something right. It is also a bit disappointing in the end; there are some weird Lynchian tones hinted at early on, making me think it might drift into a semi-Twin-Peaks territory and it never develops that thread. And the last episode really sucks; all the episodes before the last are slow and develop things gradually and beautifully, and the last one just wraps everything up neatly in a rushed way. Totally worth watching. It did all feel a bit disjointed, as most modern TV shows do, like they were writing it as they went along without a great overall plan, and it had a lot more promise than it delivered, but still just way more real and powerful than almost anything else on TV.

The Fall - meh, good. Totally straightforward BBC-style crime serial. Not really anything interesting about it, hey there's some crime and some detectives, with no particular twist or local character, but it's very well made, the acting is good, it looks beautiful. Watchable.

Nobody Walks - underrated; simple little obvious movie, but nicely done; it flows well, some good little moments of human interaction. It's right in the early-Lena-Dunham wheelhouse of disfunctional upper class intellectual families.

BBC Storyville - "The Road" - really well done slice of life doc. I love this kind of thing; reminds me of "The Tower". Sad and beautiful, this world.

Endeavour - old-school BBC style detective show, in the sense that it's sort of charming but the "mysteries" are totally retarded, the local characters are shallow stereotypes, and it sets you up from the beginning to let you know what you're going to get and then gives it to you. It's like a warm bowl of milk and a cardigan, very comforting. I think it's great, carried by the delightful Shaun Evans and Roger Allam.

Out of the Wild - trash reality show survival thing, but I'm a sucker for this and found it addicting. Better than Survivorman or Man vs Wild for my taste. The group dynamic is pretty interesting and much nicer than the typical vote-them-off reality format.

Crap : Orphan Black, The White Queen, Silver Linings Playbook, Rectify, lots of other crap that doesn't bear mentioning.

Lots of good food docs on Netflix right now. "Three Stars" is the best, really superb, but I also enjoyed "Step Up to the Plate", and "A Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt", both interesting.


Aaron said...

You catch Mind of a Chef yet?

cbloom said...

No, will have a look for it.

But without having seen it I will say that I think Bourdain and Chang are two of the most overrated people in food right now. (mainly Bourdain for his self-indulgent one-note repetitive ignorant prattle; his food sophistication peaks at sausages and beer, and his word-smithery is far too often way over-dramatic).

Really I'm sick of the whole street-food/pub-food/local-seasonal mafia. Oo you can make a tasty burger how fucking boring.

I guess the entire modern food movement ("it just has to taste good") is about glorifying the taste of the rabble, which is the standard trend in all of culture; to poo-poo the effete tastes of the connoisseur.


cbloom said...

Oh I am so cranky when I have to commute! Grrrr

cbloom said...

Well, I watched all of TMOAC, but I though it was pretty crap. (what's wrong with me?)

For one thing, I can't stand Chang doing his "I'm a regular bro; let's get drunk at wine tasting, woo that's cool". No it's not, it's fucking retarded, and you shouldn't demean yourself like that. For another, you could tell that there was just zero effort put into it. I think they only did like 4 days of filming, and then reused snippets from those days to stretch out and make the series. Even on the few filming days, Chang has nothing prepared, he just steals other people's ingredients and cooks random shit. Put some fucking effort into it and you could actually be special.

Also, watching someone else eat things and go "delicious" is so fucking retarded. (*) It's worse than real pornography. It's more like watching a video of someone playing videogames going "oo fun" (which of course is a popular thing on youtube these days; jesus christ fuck me in the ear hole, my brain is exploded).

(* = somebody buy Chang a fucking thesaurus for Christmas).

Aaron said...

There's nothing wrong with you... just a different taste, and that's ok... we'll allow it just this once. Part of the appeal for me is in how slapdash and slacker and unprepared it is. These days everything is super packaged and amazingly produced and perfect. I want more raw stuff (if I want anything on TV at all that is) Cool you tried it though!

cbloom said...

No, I mean "what's wrong with me" as in "why did I watch every single episode if I thought it was crap?". The whole time I was thinking "ugh this show is kinda crap" but then I'd watch another one. Part of the problem was that there would be like 1-2 minutes of good stuff in each episode that I could look forward too (Harold McGee moments! cool!)

I find myself doing that a lot these days (watching TV shows while thinking "this is sort of shit and I shouldn't be watching it"), and it bothers me. I guess I know the answer, that I just want something retarded to watch that doesn't challenge my brain at all, and because I don't have the energy to face doing anything more ambitious than watching TV. But I don't like that answer.

old rants