Archive for January, 2010

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The Name of The Wind (Patrick Rothfuss)

Monday, 25. January 2010

The Name of the Wind is the first book in the fantasy series The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss.

Plot:
In a small town, a man is attacked by strange, spider-like things and the young village bartender, who is more than he seems to be, goes out to fight them. That’s when he happens upon the Chronicler who recognises the bartender from his previous life as Kvothe. He makes a deal with him: Kvothe will tell him his story and he’ll leave Kvothe’s hidden identity intact.
And then we delve head-first into Kvothe’s life: How he grew up as a travelling performer and started to learn magic from an Arcanist, how he proved to be extraordinarily bright, but also haunted by misfortune. And how he discovers a deadly secret.

The Name of the Wind is an engrossing read (I started to read it exclusively, which is high praise indeed since I usually read two to five books at once), a real page-turner and a well written one at that. Unfortunately that makes its treatment of women even more frustrating. I was torn between closing the book in anger and reading faster.

[Love the cover art.]

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10 Questions – Meme Monday

Monday, 25. January 2010

1) If you could have dinner with any three people (except Mohammed, Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi) then who would they be? (don’t say Mother Teresa either)
Hmm… I answered a dinner question a little while back, so, just to keep things interesting, I’ll exclude the people I ate with then. So, let’s see… Judith Butler. Darren Aronofski. Jane Austen.
[Wow that would be one brainfuck of a dinner.]

1a) What would you eat?
Sushi

1b) What restaurant would it be?
A Japanese one?

2) If you could force everyone in the world to read one book (except for the Quran or the Bible) what would it be?
I would force them to read a book that I’d want them to hate, since forcing someone to read something is a failsafe recipe to make them hate it. Therefore probably “Mein Kampf” or something similar.

3) Is there a TV show you’d cancel dinner with your best friend for, if you knew that a new episode was going to be aired once only? What is it?
Oh, you can download every episode afterwards. :) But if there was absolutely only one chance to watch this episode, legally or illegally, Doctor Who or Torchwood. But then again, I wouldn’t have to cancel dinner because deadra would totally watch it with me.

4) If someone told you that you could only have one hobby/favorite pasttime for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Wow… uhm… Since I don’t consider reading a hobby, it’s more of an obsession, I’ll say “film and TV”.

5) Which song is on the soundtrack of your life?
Only one song? Doesn’t make much of a soundtrack, does it? Well. One song that’s definitely on is Blur’s Song 2. But my soundtrack has like 50 CDs with 20 songs each. [Oh, look how quaint: still measuring music in CDs rather than GB...]

6) How old were you when you had your first crush? Who was it?
The first crush I had, as far as I can remember, was actually when I was nine or ten years old or so. It was Elvis. I had a tape [today: day of the quaint recording devices] that I used to listen to, while dreamily staring at his picture. I think it lasted about 2 days.

7) If you could read the thoughts of any one person, who would it be?
Do I have to? I really don’t want to go inside another person’s head. It will be either incredibly boring or abso-fucking-lutely disturbing.

8) If you could block your thoughts from only one person, who would it be?
I don’t know. I’d probably give it up completely, because, seriously, if everyone heard my thoughts, who’d care?

9) If you could choose between life on earth forever or going to heaven, which would you choose?
Life on earth forever, since there’s no heaven.

10) When you die, what will your contribution to the world be?
This blog. It will grow to immeasurable size and swallow the world. ;)

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Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

Sunday, 24. January 2010

Where the Wild Things Are is the newest movie by Spike Jonze based on the book by Maurice Sendak. The movie was written by Jonze and Dave Eggers and stars Max Records, Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Paul Dano, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, Chris Cooper, Lauren Ambrose and Mark Ruffalo.

Plot:
Max (Max Records) is a lonely child full with fantastic [in the original sense] ideas. One day, after getting into a fight with his mother (Catherine Keener), Max runs from the house in a frenzy. He stumbles upon a boat which takes him to a land inhabitated by huge monsters. After they threaten to eat him, Max becomes their king and befriends them, especially Carol (James Gandolfini). But all is not well there, either.

Where the Wild Things Are is perfect. The look, the feel, the script, the actors, the music… it’s absolutley wonderful. The only caveat: They shifted the target demographic from preschooler to anyone older than ten.
[If that wasn't warning enough, there's going to be some serious gushage in this post.]

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Das Vaterspiel [Kill Daddy Good Night] (2009)

Saturday, 23. January 2010

Das Vaterspiel is an adaptation of Josef Haslinger‘s book of the same name, directed by Michael Glawogger and starring Helmut Köpping, Sabine Timoteo, Ulrich Tukur, Christian Tramitz and Otto Tausig.

Plot:
Das Vaterspiel tells the intertwined history of three families during and after WW II. Ratz [translates to rat] (Helmut Köpping) is struggling with daddy issues – his father (Christian Tramitz) is a successful politician and quite overwhelming in his presence. To get over this, Ratz developed a computer game, where he can kill his father over and over again and which he tries to market unsuccessfully. When Ratz gets a call from the mysterious Mimi (Sabine Timoteo), whom he used to study with, to come to New York and help her with the rebuilding of her cellar, he grabs the chance and leaves. Once there, though, he discovers that Mimi is hiding her grandfather (Otto Tausig) in said cellar. The grandfather fled Europe after the Nazis were overthrown and fears persecution.
This story is intercut with the interview of a man (Ulrich Tukur) telling his family’s story in Lithuania during the war and how his father was killed.

Josef Haslinger is one of Austria’s leading literary figures and Michael Glawogger one of the most renowned Austrian directors. So I expected a lot from this movie (without having read the book itself). Unfortunately, I was gravely disappointed. The movie is unfocused, the acting (with the exceptions of Ulrich Tukur and Otto Tausig) is sub-par, the casting sucks and the story is just plain bad.

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Video Vriday – Backwards Edition

Friday, 22. January 2010

Coldplay – The Scientist

Jack Johnson – Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

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A Christmas Carol (2009)

Friday, 22. January 2010

A Christmas Carol is the newest adaptation of Charles Dickensbook of the same name, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Gary Oldman, Gary Oldman, Robin Wright, Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Cary Elwes, Cary Elwes, Cary Elwes, Cary Elwes, Bob Hoskins, Bob Hoskins and Colin Firth.

Plot:
Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey) is an old penny-pinching bastard who’d rather freeze to death than use one more coal than strictly necessary. He’s rude and joyless and treats everybody like shit. In the night before Christmas, he is visited by three ghosts – of the past, the present and the future (all three played by Jim Carrey) – who show him what an empty and lonely live – and death – he’ll have if he doesn’t change his ways.
I guess most people know the story, so onwards.

A Christmas Carol was a mixed bag of beans if ever I saw one. There were about as many good things as bad things about it and it depends on my day-to-day condition whether the scales tip favourably or not. Today, it’s pretty much in a neutral position.

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Top 10: Martial Arts Fight Scenes

Thursday, 21. January 2010

Okay, just to start with: I’m using a rather broad definition of Martial Arts here. What I mean is fights that are artfully choreographed, not necessarily that it’s flawless karate/jiu-jitsu/whatever. Most are done with some kind of weapon.

And here shall be a warning: some of these scenes are pretty gruesome. If you’re squeamish, better skip this post.

Well, with that out of the way, let’s get to it.

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Franz Ferdinand

Thursday, 21. January 2010

Franz Ferdinand were on tour in autumn and the last stop they made before the went home was in Vienna. I went with *. [As support, they brought 1000Robota, a band from Hamburg I don't know and that we didn't check out.]

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The Truth (Terry Pratchett)

Wednesday, 20. January 2010

The Truth is a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett. Though standalone, it’s connected to Monstrous Regiment and the City Watch books. [My reviews of the other Discworld books here.]

Plot:
William de Worde makes his living as a kind of news service. He gathers rumours and news around town, compiles a letter once a month which he then tries to sell to as many subscribers (mostly nobility or higher ranking people out of town) as he can. One day he stumbles upon a new dwarf invention – a press with movable type. More or less against his will he is pulled into business with the dwarves and into a msysterious attack the Patrician is said to have committed. And basically before he knows what has happened, William has founded the first Newspaper in the Discworld.

The Truth was really enjoyable. Though probably not the best Discworld novel ever, I had fun reading it, and as the other books, it’s a quick read with loads of ideas (enough for approximately 20 books).

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Links

Wednesday, 20. January 2010

Art

Anastassia Elias.

Books

Android Karenina to retool Tolstoy for his centenary.

Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do).

Jasper Fforde on Shades of Grey.

This Is Where We Live – Book Animation.

The quick Dan Brown foxes and jumps over lazy reader dogs.

The Mad Scientists’ Daughters: Short Story in two parts by Theodora Gross.

SF reading protocols.

Movies

Unravel The Recurring Mystery Of Duncan Jones’ Next Movie.

Robert Zemeckis casts Yellow Submarine remake.

Oh my goodness, a new Jurassic Park trilogy?

Politics

Are the New Disney Princesses Feminists?

[taken from here]

When Normal Isn’t Good Enough.

Trailer for “Demographic Winter”.

Completely Different Things

A letter from the Lord Quirk.

15 Interesting Facts about Dreams. [While the facts are rather well known, I do love the images in this post.]

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