Friday, September 22, 2006

Weekend Update

Back in New York

I'm back in New York for the weekend. Tomorrow I'll be seeing Science of Sleep, and on Sunday I'll be seeing the Flaming Lips. I'm really excited for both events. Gondry is one of the most original, visually innovative directors working today and this film seems to be the purest expression of his aesthetic.

The Flaming Lips

I've heard a lot about The Flaming Lips' live show, it sounds like it should be quite a spectacle. I became a fan of the band with Yoshimi, one of the most exuberant records you'll ever hear. I still think it's their best, though The Soft Bulletin and their newest, At War With the Mystics, are both great. The early stuff is a bit more hit or miss, but most of what they've done is pretty solid. I got their video compilation DVD recently. I've watched most of the videos and with a few exceptions, they're not particularly notable. They stick way too much to just having the band playing somewhere and filming it. They're still entertaining, but if the same treatment was done for a song I didn't like, I wouldn't have much as much patience for it. Sofia Coppola's video for "This Here Giraffe" is pretty generic, and lacks the style of her later work. I do love the video for "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," and the descriptions of the videos in the booklet are great, such as this one for "Do You Realise": 'Four bored farm girls lament about how nothing exciting ever happens to them...they get stoned and an apparition of a glowing singing man appears - he is accompanied by giant rabbits with sparkling spheres.' That pretty much sums it up. I do really like having a DVD of music videos around. Sure, you could just watch them on Youtube, but I find I've got a much better attention span if I sit down and put on the DVD, rather than sit at the computer and look at it on Youtube. Hopefully a new crop of director's series discs will pop up soon.

This Week in TV

It's a big premiere week. I'll be watching the season opener for Gilmore Girls, and definitely taking a look at Heroes. I'll also probably sample 'Brothers and Sisters,' if only to see Rachel Griffiths in another show. Her work as Brenda on Six Feet Under is some of the best acting of all time, so I figure her new show at least deserves one viewing. However, from the sound of things, it's got some issues. Look for reviews here.


I read the first trade of Brian Wood's Vertigo series, DMZ. I feel like Vertigo is the HBO of comics publishers, they've got a great history of series, but sometimes their new series have trouble living up to the legacy of previous major critically acclaimed, popular works. But, generally speaking, you can trust them to deliver a quality product. I'll sample blind pretty much anything that either of them put out. DMZ has a killer premise, but the murky presentation means that you don't get a full sense of the reality he's trying to present. The art is very much in Wood's own aesthetic, and I can see the point he's going for, using the scratchy art to convey the messy world the characters find themselves in. However, I think clearer art might have allowed us to get a better picture of the world. Wood tells some interesting stories, but I didn't get a character hook. I have no particular reason to care about this main guy, and for most longform series, audience attachment to the character is your greatest crush. Look at Y: The Last Man, it's a glacially paced series that makes a ton of storytelling errors, but the characters are strong enough that I have to keep reading. Here, Wood's writing is competent and politcally charged, but when I finished the volume, I had no particular need to read on. There's no sense of a greater scope, etiher narrative or character wise, and that hurts an ongoing series. Channel Zero had similar issues, and I guess it ultimately comes down to the fact that Wood isn't telling the kind of stories that I might want to read. He's got some great points to make, but ultimately, he's got to be better at something to keep me reading.

Rescue Me

I've been watching more of Rescue Me and I'm definitely starting to get hooked. I've got a better sense of the characters, and I think the show does a great job of showing the difference between their public personas and the private hurt they carry around. And, I think the show does much less shocking for the sake of being shocking stuff than its channel neighbor, Nip/Tuck. There's some weird stuff, but it's better woven into the narrative. I'm through episode seven now, and it's starting to get to the place where I'm watching two episodes in a sitting instead of one. I could definitely see things speeding up as we move towards the end of the season.

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