15 January 2013

Culture Roundup

Hey, you know what?  I haven't done one of these in a while.  Let's see...

Just finished reading Dead Beat, book 7 in the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.  I'm really enjoying this series. It's formulaic, and a bit chauvinistic at times, but I really enjoy the Harry Dresden character and the group of folks who continue popping in and out of Harry's life.  Smart-ass wizards with cool friends make for some fun reading.

Now I'm into A Memory of Light, the long-awaited final chapter in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson.  Jordan died in 2007; his widow selected Sanderson as the man to finish the series.  On the whole I think Sanderson's done a masterful job.  Frankly, the entire series could have been shortened by half and no one would have noticed, particularly after book 5 or so, and what Sanderson has done to ramp up the action has been commendable.  I'm only a few pages in, so there's nothing really to report other than I'm finally finishing the damned thing.  Read the first Wheel of Time book in the summer of 2000, which is almost impossible to believe, but there you go - 13 years of reading and I'm finally coming to the end.

My friend Jamie and I caught Gangster Squad Sunday night at the theater.  It wasn't terrible.  It wasn't earth-shattering, either, but I'll admit I don't quite get all the negative reviews.  Sean Penn is mostly unrecognizable as Mickey Cohen, but by the end you don't even think about the heavy make-up as the action gets moving.  Josh Brolin takes a break from playing a laconic bad guy or a laconic young version of Tommy Lee Jones and kicks ass as a laconic policeman charged with taking Cohen down.  Ryan Gosling is his alcoholic, chain-smoking friend who's shtupping Cohen's girl on the side.  It starts bloody and stays that way throughout.  I didn't feel as though I wasted my money, but when you walk out of the theater and the thing you're pondering most is "What in the hell happened to Nick Nolte?" you haven't been blown away, either.

Fringe is finishing up this week.  I'm thinking I'm going to need to go back and watch the whole series again, as this year has seemed like a very abrupt departure from former years, and it seems as though they're rushing to get it done, which is a shame.  I've enjoyed the run quite a lot, and was hoping it would get as big as X-Files before it was through.  Alas, that's a lofty perch to attain.  They didn't quite make it.  I'm also getting re-started on Sons of Anarchy.  I'm about a season behind at this point, but catching up when I can.  The episodes in Belfast were some of the best television I've seen on American TV.  Great stuff.  But the hands-down best TV I've been watching has been the BBC's Sherlock.  Episode 1 of season 2 might be the best 90 minutes of television I've ever seen.  Benedict Cumberbatch is incredible as Sherlock, Martin Freeman is a wonderful Watson and the whole series is delightfully kooky and wonderfully intense at the same time.  Could not love it more.

That's what I'm watching/reading these days.  Got any suggestions?

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