No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118

last post of 2006

Nothing too exciting really, just news and reviews. First, the reviews:

Finally saw Casino Royale (2006, heh). It got a little aimless at the end, but I was much impressed. Plenty of memorable action and they did a great job IMHO at doing a cold restart on the franchise. Craig is hot and eerily Steve McQueen-lookin', but (Angeleno that I am) I can't help thinking that he spends too much time in the gym to be straight.

Finally saw A Scanner Darkly. Linklater did a pretty excellent job translating PKD's novel to the screen. It sped a little hastily through the end, but it is by far the most faithful Dick adaptation to reach the screen. Bladerunner is a better movie, but it's hardly a faithful adaptation. I had been worried that the film wouldn't be relevant to today, but drugs are obviously still with us, and I think it survived being pushed several decades into the future quite well. I was impressed that they left in Dick's sad postscript to the novel, where he lists his friends who had died or been damaged by drug use.

Finally, a short educational film about puberty.

Reassuring Tales by TED Klein
This book collects a number of random tales Klein has published over the years. I'll rip off my own review from a.h.c:

TED Klein wrote The Ceremonies (and 'Events at Poroth Farm,' which
formed the nucleus of that novel). On the basis of that, I would be
more than happy to read his shopping list. Sadly a shopping list might
be more enjoyable than some of the stories in Reassuring Tales. It
appears that, roughly speaking, the quality of his work is directly
proportional to its length. Since he's been rumored to be working on a
novel for the past few decades, I can only hope that it gets published
and it's 2000 pages long.

His lengthy introduction is quite interesting (if for no other reason,
it mentions both Ramsey Campbell and Chris Barker in somewhat amusing
propinquity). Klein is so painfully self-critical of his own work
that his introduction may sour the reader on the stories before he's
even sampled them.

Reassuring Tales is rather an apt title, inasmuch as few of the tales
produce any visceral reaction. Although some stories provide a good
chill or two, on the whole, the collection is on the light and humorous

To be sure, I have rather high standards. Heretofore, Klein had easily
surpassed them with plenty of room to spare with The Ceremonies and
Dark Gods. Thus, Reassuring Tales comes as rather a disappointment,
although if I step back a bit -- it is not that the stories are bad or
badly written (they aren't) -- they just don't aspire to be more than
reassuring bagatelles.

Poroth Farm makes up about a quarter of the book, with the remaining 9
stories making up the rest. Apart from Poroth, I'd say that "S.F." and
"Ladder" were the stories that stood out most in my mind.

Now for some Los Angeles-centric news from laist:

The Ambassador, Rhino, Aron's, Dutton's, and other stuff that disappeared in 2006.

For the next few months, Space Mountain will have a soundtrack provided by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Uh, why?

Hottest and Cutest Women of LA (on flickr)
Tags: book, film, la, photo

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