January 10, 2006

Cliffhangers [Open Thread]

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at January 10, 2006 2:36 PM

I must have been on vacation, because I have a bunch of media to review:

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Despite my initial skepticism, my curiosity got the better of me and I went to see this. Outcome: the Christian allegory stuff is pretty mild and not nearly as off-putting as, say, talking animals. The movie is a pretty good adaptation of the source material, but it's no Lord of the Rings. Most of the characters were lacking in depth and the plot felt barely-connected at times. (I think these were also features of the book? But it's been a while.) Also, the pacing was a bit off—the movie takes too much time to get the characters into Narnia and then has to make up a lot of ground. Finally, it was appropriate that Peter obviously had no idea how to use his sword (and did anyone else hear the Zelda "you got the item" music in their heads when Peter gets his sword and shield, or was that just me?), but it made the climactic duel between him and the White Witch reminiscent of nothing so much as Xander vs. Harmony in The Initiative.

Guitar Hero: I'm sure I look ridiculous wailing away on that guitar controller, but the game is fun. It didn't really feel much like playing an actual guitar until I tried it on Hard difficulty, but at that point it was quite enjoyable (but, indeed difficult). The game wins bonus points for having volume settings that default to the maximum value of 11.

George R. R. Martin: A Feast for Crows: If you've started the series, you've no doubt read this latest installment already. If you haven't started it, then, DON'T. At least, not yet—wait until the final book comes out. A Feast for Crows is very good, but it seems to have been written on the principle that A Storm of Swords contained too few cliffhangers. If you do read it, remember that there's an appendix in the back with all the family trees, followed by a preview chapter of the next volume, so the book will actually end when it looks like there are still seventy pages left. This is maddening, because at that point you will be very eager to know what happens next.

And that's when you find the author's note explaining that the next book will be about the characters that didn't appear in this volume, which means... the cliffhangers in A Feast for Crows won't be resolved until two books later.

So spare yourself the pain and don't read this until you can pick up (at least) the next two volumes immediately afterward.

(Also: this put the child monarchs of Narnia in a whole different context...)

The Constantines: Tournament of Hearts: These guys did a decent job opening for the Hold Steady, so I went looking for their latest album. It proved difficult to find, but I happened upon a advance review copy in the used CD section of a Berkeley record store that will remain unnamed, since I probably shouldn't be announcing that they are selling CDs marked "not for resale". So, the album: it's a good listen, solid distortion-y indie rock (as was the live performance) but there are no real standout tracks. "Lizaveta" is a good example.

Also, don't miss the ongoing "Essential 90's Albums" thread below, which has broken the comment record. (I feel like there should be bells ringing and a shower of confetti when this happens.)

Tags: Books, Games, Movies, Music, Open Thread

Are you sure the Hold Steady weren't opening for the Constantines?

Posted by: NL | January 10, 2006 3:29 PM

Now that you mention it I believe they were co-headlining, but the Hold Steady played the last set.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | January 10, 2006 4:12 PM

Narnia was a fun movie, although I agree it was not great. I didn't think of the Zelda you-got-an-item bit, but I now wish I had.

I played guitar heros on the easiest setting a couple times and while I did much better my second time than my first, I have yet to discover the key to playing one game without my hands hurting like hell afterwards. (I don't currently have the hand stamina to play more than one game in a row, and I needed about 15 minutes to recover both times.)

Posted by: Mason | January 10, 2006 4:28 PM

Let's say I'm not actually naming names, but if I were to, hypothetically mind you, guess Rasputins or perhaps Amoeba, is there a chance that you'd smile? Hypothetically, of course.

Posted by: Lemming | January 10, 2006 4:39 PM

Lemming: While those are both fine establishments of which I am a regular patron, I'm also fond of a small place on University Ave. that is often very good for finding obscure stuff.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | January 10, 2006 7:04 PM

But, alas, they're moving to El Cerrito.

Posted by: Wren | January 10, 2006 8:10 PM

Wren: That is lame. On the other hand: moving sale!

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | January 11, 2006 10:05 AM
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