‘Ramble’ might be somewhat of an overstatement for this post as I don’t feel as though I have much to write about, but anyhoo here we go…
I’ve just finished reading Valerian – The Complete Collection Volume 2 which features the stories ‘The Land Without Stars’, ‘Welcome to Alflolol’ and ‘Birds of the Master’. The artwork is getting better and better, and the stories don’t fail to entertain – touching on big subjects while still providing sci-fi action and some humour along the way. Although they only have the original language in common, the experience of reading these hardcover collections reminds me a lot of reading Asterix books that I used to get on loan from the library when I was a kid. It’s the same kind of subjects that are being touched upon. It’s also not hard to see how future film makers took these archetypes and ideas and presented them on the big screen. ‘Birds of the Master’ for instance reminded me of the first Riddick film Pitch Black.
I’m travelling with work again for a few days and so decided to put the excellent novel Matterhorn to one side as its too heavy to be carting around. Instead I went back to Stephen King’s The Bazaar of Bad Dreams as a book that was small enough to take and that needed finishing. However, after reading the story ‘Afterlife’ – very much like the architect scene in the latter Matrix film (although without the flowery language) mixed with a bit of the bureaucratic farce of Terry Gilliam’s film Brazil – I again wasn’t really in the mood. I decided instead to take a thinner (‘scuse pun) Philip K Dick book, Gather Yourselves Together, with me instead. More on that in a later post.
I finally finished watching the very disappointing American Horror Story – Coven just to satisfy my completionist chip, so I could get onto watching the next season entitled Freakshow. Although, judging by the first episode, I’m not convinced I’m going to enjoy this season any better than the last. There are so many other series on Amazon and Netflix that I could be watching, so again this might take me months to dip in and out of when I can be bothered (much like King’s Bazaar I guess).
For instance, Siggy and I finished watching the latest season of Orange is the New Black yesterday. I felt during the last season that the series was getting a bit tired, but I have to say basing a whole season in a prison riot situation has really pepped things up. It gives the characters a lot more freedom and puts them into unfamiliar situations which wouldn’t be encountered in their normal boring prison routines. It’s very much a character driven show and so it was great to see the cast be able to really shine.
Finally, on offer on Amazon Prime was Sing an animated movie from the studio that did Despicable Me and written by Garth Jennings (who directed the not totally awful The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy film and is a friend of Adam Buxton whose podcast he has appeared on a few times). The film has a pretty stellar cast including Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth McFarlane and Scarlett Johansson, some great singing and some good humour. As usual it’s written for children, has a good message at its heart, but also entertains adults too. The animation, apart from those difficult water effects, is really amazing and the film obviously benefited from a long production schedule.