Friday, August 07, 2009

Genres & Judgments - Power Rings, Zombies and Rupert Murdoch

Welcome to "Genres and Judgments," my new sub-blog for LBM that can include essentially anything I want to write about, but the core of it will be snapshot reviews and commentary of the movies, novels, television, comics, music and news that I've been exposed to over the past week and feel are worthwhile passing along to interweb at large, whether it be in a positive light or not.

I've never cataloged everything I've watched/read/listened to in a week before, so it'll be interesting to see how this week rates over the long haul, but I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with what I was able to fill my time with (and I'm only touching on the most interesting things here).

Anyway, onto the first entry...

First up, the song of the week:

"The Birth and Death of the Day" by Explosions in the Sky, All the Sudden I Miss Everyone (2007)

After my recent obsession with Friday Night Lights (the tv show), I learned that these guys did the score for the feature film and that the show's original music is inspired by their work and has on occasion actually utilized some of their songs. I read up on them, and realized I'm coming really late to this party, as they have a substantial fan base. They're hard to describe, but everything I've heard from them thus far is instrumental and riddled with distortion, but it has a violent elegance to it that I find undeniably appealing. This song in particular really grabs me, and I've been listening to it every day on my journey home from the gym of late. Hasn't gotten old yet.

Next is the new animated feature from DC, Green Lantern: First Flight on bluray.

I know very little about GL, but I keep hearing about how great the recent run by Geoff Johns has been. So between knowing that he's being treated right over at DC and that the first live-action version of the character will be coming our way in a years or two with Ryan Reynolds, I thought it was time I boned up on Sector 2814.
The picture, as expected, was gorgeous and contained a lot of really interesting bonus features, including some Justice League episodes from a few years back. The story is a little light in the character development department, even for a DC animated flick, but still enjoyable and, aside from the sudden shifts to computer animation during land/space-scape sequences, the art was very strong. Definitely worth checking out.

Shifting to the page now, I finally got around to reading the first collected volume of The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore. You have to know that I'm generally not a fan of zombie stories. To me, there isn't much to work with. The zombies themselves are boring -- they have no personality, no motivation save devouring the living, no chance at earning redemption on their own -- I could go on. Many will argue that good zombie stories are not about the zombies; they're about the people affected by the zombies. This I can buy, and it's what Kirkman goes with here, but I much prefer a post-apocalyptic story to bring out the very same character moments that are elicited from EVERY ZOMBIE MOVIE EVER. Sure, many zombie movies are also of the post-apocalypse varaity, but I feel the gangs of The Road Warrior and the politicians and tribal clans of Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten's Wasteland are far superior at both creating drama and that opportunity for action than the traditional zombie story. Maybe The Walking Dead gets better. I'm not in a hurry to find out.

Now It's Time to Get Serious on Your Ass.
Super-cutie CNBC reporter Julia Boorstin writes in her Media Money blog that Rupert Murdoch announced today that NewsCorp will begin to charge for all their online newpaper content in the coming months.

"The digital revolution has opened many new models of distribution, but it has not made content free." Murdoch pointed to the Wall Street Journal's subscription service as proof that people will pay for content, saying "Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalizing its ability to produce good reporting."

True, quality journalism is not cheap, but the genie is already out of the bottle on this one, old man. The newspaper industry (how much longer before we stop refering to it as that?) is going to have to continue to evolve over the next decade into something financially viable, but charging for content that can similarly be obtained for free at so many other outlets is not going to work across the board. Sure, it works for the WSJ, but only a handful of publications in the world have a product with reputation like that (the NY Times and the Washington Post are two notable examples). Simply slapping a fee on anything you produce will not work for the majority of internet news readers. There may have been a time when this could have happened, but not any longer. You're 15 years too late. As those of us out here who are web-savy have already learned, if you want to get something for free on the internet, you can. All it takes is a Google search and a forum or blog that has utilized this new-fangled, cut-and-paste technology. Next thing you know, Murdoch's going to come up with a plan to recoup his MySpace loses by creating a user fee for that site too. The Facebook folks will thank him when he does.

And now I undigress with something that I really didn't need to know about this week, but now that I do, you should too.

"Adult toy" for dogs (via Boing Boing)

This doll comes in three sizes: small, medium and large, to satisfy all existing races. “I had the idea to make this doll when my Maltese started to grab everybody’s legs. I did some research and couldn’t find anything like it, anywhere in the world. I decided to make it!”, reveals Marco Giroto, owner of the PetSmiling company, responsible for this worldwide novelty...


Coming Up Next Week:
  • Speaking of post-apocalypic stories, I'll begin delving into Cormac McCarthy's The Road. I've not tackled one of the modern-day Faulkner's novels before, so we'll see if I'm able to finish it in time for next week's article.
  • Also, Choke and The Foot Fist Way have arrived from Netfilx, so it'll likely be a week of raunchy comedies reviews, if my expectations are met.

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