Saturday, June 08, 2013

Intake

Here are some reviews of things I've consumed lately. You know, if you care what I think about any of it.

Gun Machine by Warren Ellis is a book I was anxiously anticipating (not as much as Lev Grossman's third novel about magicians, but still...) and I wasn't disappointed. It had all the trademarks I've come to expect from Ellis and the dialogue crackles even if it's a bit recycled from his comics. Still, the idea that there's an apartment in New York City filled to bursting with guns that have each killed people and arranged in eerie patterns is intriguing. The mystery is pretty transparent and since I keep up with Ellis' website I wasn't all that surprised by the revelation of the apartment at the end, especially since he set it up nicely earlier on in the book. Both the main character and his antagonist are interesting if a little thin on characterization. I look forward to his next novel which should be as much improved as this one was over his first. Recommended.

The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is the second album from the reformed Alice In Chains. Their breakthrough album, Dirt, is one of my all-time favorite records and when they came back with new singer William DuVall and released Black Gives Way to Blue I was excited. Black had some excellent tunes on it and had promise that there would be more. Now there is and Devil is a bit more of a departure from Black, which isn't a bad thing. The thing I don't like about this record is that every song seems to be the same tempo. There's only one really fiery guitar solo and it's played by DuVall. Like Black there are a couple of interesting tunes including Phantom Limb, Hollow and the title track. Not enough to say that I highly recommend the record, but enough that if you're a fan and/or a completist you should pick it up.

Not Fade Away is David Chase's feature film debut. The uproar after the end of The Sopranos was cacophonous and I bet Chase was hoping that it would resonate with viewers more than it did with me. I really wanted to like this film but no, there's no way. It's really episodic, like a series of vignettes that are supposed to connect and do only because the characters tell you they do. The throughline of a band's formation, disintegration and reformation is tedious. James Gandolfini as the cranky patriarch is the high point of the film but he can't sustain it. I didn't even know the main character's name until halfway through the film. Maybe it was me not paying close attention but it's also that the story just isn't there. A narrator at the beginning and the end only confuses the issue. I can't recommend this film at all. 

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