Films, Reviews

2 hours for what you did, the rest because you tried to run: Thoughts on Les Miserables

This close. For 2 and a half hours

Spoilers for a 150 year old book and 32-year-old musical

I’m a fan of Les Miserables, at least the stage show. I’ve seen it live (a very good amateur production) and I listen to the soundtrack of the London Cast often. I’ve described it in the past as the manliest musical out there- it’s got a freaking revolution in the middle.

As for the film, it’s… OK. Some really very good performances and some OK ones are let down by some flat direction and an odd lack of scale, and the whole thing should have been cut by probably half an hour.

Continue reading


Quick Gaming Update

For my own collation more than anything: I’ve had a couple articles up on Potaku in the last few weeks:

About Crusader Kings 2’s Sunset Invasion DLC, and

About my games of 2012. I was also on the latest ep of the Potaku Podcast:

Yay Potaku! Big thanks to Alexandhispants and the Potaku crew for giving me an outlet for my nerderies.

Books, Reviews

The films are all make-believe: Thoughts on Pirate Cinema

Pirate CinemaPirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The best term I’ve ever heard for a Cory Doctorow book is didactic– He is in some ways a “tell” writer over a “show” writer. He pushes a point, which is fine, and tries to teach his audience a lesson about, usually, technology and the way we interact with it as a society. I’ve been able to go along with it before, but this one didn’t quite do it for me.

I’ve enjoyed the other Cory Doctorow young adult books, Little Brother and For The Win, which had a bit more of an adult sensibility to them. What I found with Pirate Cinema was that the adults tended to be a bit incidental and the plot was a bit too neat to really stick. It’s kind of interesting that a book that’s so set against Hollywood has such a Hollywood ending.

Spoilers ahoy Continue reading


An issue I have with ebooks

I’ve been out and about today, attending house inspections, and as with all of these things they don’t line up neatly. I was driving between a few when I came across the Lions book mart. Anyone who’s a reader is probably familiar with these sort of things- a charity or community group run second hand bookshop, volunteer staffed, that takes donated books and sells them at low prices. They always have this wonderful book smell and bizarre shelving rules.

I wander into these things from time to time, and I’m always amazed at how the books always seem at least fifteen years old-perhaps a reflection on how they are acquired, or maybe the new ones just get snapped up quickly.
As I browsed through this one, though, it struck me- how long will these things be able to continue?
We’re moving to an eBook future, which is cool and all; I read ebooks on my tablet often and I love having them at my fingertips. What I feel though is that ebooks can’t be put on a second hand shelf.

As a consumer that’s troubling, as it makes books harder to discover. Wandering through a second hand shop you can have books jump out at you, be seduced by the form, flick through the pictures. No online book portal I’ve experienced can do that, make some obscure book on the renaissance from the eighties stand out as much as the latest bestseller. The current eBook market makes it easy to drill down by genre, and create a curated list, but it discourages discovery of books outside the milieu you’re steeped in.

And that’s a little tragic.