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1 - Haha! I finally have my Brendan Flowers CD back in my grubby mitts after, er, losing custody of said CD directly after buying it (such a long, dull story).  More importantly, it actually kinda sounds like this could be the Killers album I've been waiting for. Ahem.  More accurately, it sounds like the follow-up to Sam's Town I've been waiting for, because their last one stubbornly refused to stick in my head at all, no matter how many times i stuck it on repeat (excepting Human, of course).  But Flamingo is sticking in my head after one listen, plus it has a duet with Jenny Lewis, and the utterly fabulous 'Crossfire'.

2 - Here's the thing.. I adore the video for 'Crossfire'.  It's a couple of minutes of cute, well-choreographed ultraviolent silliness in which Brandon Flowers gets tied up, threatened with torture and bashfully makes puppydog eyes at Charlise Theron while she goes all Kill Bill and matter-of-factly rescues him from ninjas while looking fabulous.  Aeon Flux is now forgiven... What's not to love? What did melt my brain a little was watching this for the first time the same day I saw The Burning Plain, however... (which also stars the ever-watchable Jennifer Lawrence.  Damn, that girl has a quality - what she transmutes into stoic stubborness in Winter's Bone was a quietly sad unbalanced scariness in Plain. Kinda dying to see what she does with 60s era Mystique in X-Men: First Class, no?)
 
3 - Aha, my grubby little mitts also have actual booked tickets for the LFF now! No Mayor Gala Premieres this year sadly (*sob*, no Boris gaffes live on stage, dammit!) but the last booking has just gone through (for Carancho) so here we go...
First up is The Light Thief (er, Kyrgyzstan, I think?), then quite looking forward to Hilary Swank/Minnie Driver/Melissa Leo in ConvictionBeen dithering for the day after that as to whether to add in Princess of Monpensier...  It would mean sitting in the same cinema for.. around 8 hours running, and leaving work ridiculously early, so veering toward probably not, after all that. Even if Gaspard Ulliel is desperately pretty... The rest of that day is now Meeks Cutoff (because this year has been all about the Oregon Trail, obv) and It's Kind of a Funny Story. Then Sleeping Beauty and Dear Doctor.. Hmm, 4 subtitled (Kyrgyzstan, French, Japanese, Argentinian), 3 American, absolutely nothing mainstream this time, methinks! Although that's mostly because the sell-out rate has been pretty quick this year, and the bigger stuff will show up locally eventually so probably not worth the extra effort.


4 - I cracked and bought Retribution Falls after many, many months of admiring the steampunky prettiness and murmurings of Firefly! With Airships!  Mostly I kept ignoring the way it kinda painfully ripped off little bits of said Whedon classic without actually bothering to retain anything that made it, y'know, good.  There was the writing style that was steadfastly 'tell don't show. Or show and then tell as well. Repeatedly. Just in case the dullard reader didn't quite cotton on.' Ahem. 
Mostly the characters just wore all my lingering Firefly-induced affection down.. it was like having a ship crewed mostly by versions of Jayne, dammit!  Mal works because, hell, he had morals but they didn't preclude him from kicking recalcitrant thugs into an engine to get all chewed up.  Mostly this lot don't have any morals at all whatsoever (with a couple of exceptions, but, really, not enough).  Frey, our Alt!Mal, actually seems to be something of a sociopath, in all honesty.  Which goes a tad beyond the tag 'antihero', methinks
And then I probably shouldn't get started on the fact that there are two remotely significant female characters in the whole thing (three if you count Frey's kickboxing convent girl ex. Which you probably shouldn't bother to.. it's not like the author does).  Of these two, Jez may as well be not be a girl for all the difference it makes to her behaviour or the plot.  Honestly, we get one obviously 'Kayleigh-fied' scene where the Shindig ball is ripped off wholeheartedly and a mention at the end that she had to employ sexual favours to convince an old codger to let her rescue the rest of the crew. Urghhhhh.... I'm not even gonna go into the Yortland flashback.  Does it matter that she's kinda zombified? I'm more than a little confused by the sexual politics of this worldbuilding, where the blokes get to be defiantly Old Skool yet there doesn't appear to be any restriction on what jobs women can do...
Which leads me onto the thing with Dannika. Which actually had me chucking the book across the room at one point. This is supposed to be Frey's big, character-defining secret (mostly his secret seems to be that he has a thing for seducing and then dumping rich girls. Woo hoo.) but it's.. honestly, kinda creepy.  The runaway bridegroom/suicide attempt/miscarriage thing feels unsettlingly personal; an attempt at depth that sits oddly with such shallow fluff surrounding it.  Let's not even go into the part where Dannika has a downward spiral from suicide attempt to abused sex slave before she gets to be kick-ass psychopathic bounty hunter captain lady because I'm not sure my brain can take the sheer attempt at rationale in that section.  The blame game being played there is really rather nasty and tasteless, and actually making me detest Frey.  I like my fluff, y'know, actually fluffy. And deeply shallow.
 I have the sequel already but, honestly, not really in the mood to dive back into that again right now...


5 - Tis new season TV time again, yay! As we're very slowly working through the year-old seasons of Chuck, Burn Notice, Dexter, Medium and Leverage, over here, we do at least get House as quick as they can ship it over, and I think Bones should be starting pretty soon, with any luck.  I'm kinda hoping they will stop plastering the airwaves with trailers for Nikita once it starts airing (we had the new, even more half-nekkid Maggie Q, version of said trailer tonight, of course) as I already had some problems with the pilot when we saw it a couple months ago.  What would be really good would be if the drainpipe skinny Ms Q gained a teeny bit of weight, as I'm having problems believing there's any heft in a punch thrown by someone with no arm muscles to see.  But there you go, Angelina has built an entire career on that scenario at this point (which I had no problem with until I saw Salt. Cos that's 2+ ridiculous hours of my life I'm never getting back...)

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Jennifer Howell

July 2015

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