Movie Musings: Thunderball


Then I fuck off back to London on my jetpack; that’s how I roll. 

My Bond watching continues, so let’s get with the snarky viewer thoughts. The following are my musings while watching Thunderball, which is one of those films I’ve never really clicked with. It was a Bond film that I didn’t get to see very much when I was a kid, because video shops in Orange didn’t seem to stock it.

Watching it as an adult? A different interpretation, I suspect. There’s some nods towards seriousness at times, but not enough to overcome that turgid undersea battle at the end.

I still dig the jetpack, though, even if Bond’s StackHat is a bit ropey.


Goodreads review: The Psychopath Test

The Psychopath TestThe Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jon Ronson, like Louis Theroux, is someone whose career is built on the examination of those who seem other, who seem oddly separate from our daily experience. The Psychopath Test, however, focuses on something we’re probably all familiar with, perhaps unwittingly: the psychopath. Because in every hundred people, one is a psychopath.

The writing works because it’s pretty breezy. We open with Ronson’s own feelings of panic and anxiety, coupled with a mystery: a curious book that’s been sent to various academics. He tries to figure who sent it, and why, and begins his journey into the world of psychopathy.

Throughout, the explorations are driven by a personal curiosity. It’s a fairly organic progression: stuff unfolds without a great degree of forethought, always with a tailing thought: am I a psychopath? (more…)

Goodreads review: Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys

Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary BoysCured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys by Lol Tolhurst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book for Cure fans.

No, really. That’s who’s going to read it. I am not excepted from this number. I had watched the Story of Lol from afar, from his being jettisoned after Disintegration to his surprising (and a bit tearjerking) reappearance with the band for their Reflections gigs at the Sydney Opera House. I knew, more or less, the story of the band, but obviously the focus is generally on Robert Smith rather than ol’ Lol.

People outside the Cure’s fanbase most likely don’t know who Lol Tolhurst is, and are probably wondering why he’s got an abbreviation for a first name. (more…)

Goodreads review: Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology

Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World MythologyZeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology by Cory O’Brien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So there’s a website, right? And on that website, a guy writes about myths. Or, as he puts it, YELLS MYTHS AT THE INTERNET.

This yelling takes the form of retelling myths in a kind of what-the-fuck, bro argot that involves a lot of swearing and PERIODS OF CAPSLOCK TO CONVEY HOW OFF-THE-CHARTS BULLSHIT something in the myth might be. Everything’s zazzed up a bit, and angled for humour. I mean, here’s some online examples to chew over:

Tanukis have big balls.
So it turns out Atlantis was full of terrible people.
The Norse are fucking brutal.
Rabbit is a shitty host.

You get the idea, right? (more…)

Movie Musings: From Dr. No to Goldfinger

I recently was casting about for something to watch, and happened upon the idea of watching the most recent James Bond outing. But of course, a stupid idea got in the way: why don’t I watch all of the Bond films in order, to ensure continuity?

Yes, because continuity has always been the most important thing to the Bond franchise.

Well, it had begun. I fully expected this to end badly, mostly because I had reread all of Ian Fleming’s Bond work in 2012  and ended up loathing both the author and myself for doing so. (more…)

Goodreads review: The House Of Whacks

The House Of WhacksThe House Of Whacks by Matthew Branton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

With this book, Matthew Branton brings together the world of failed Hollywood, S&M publishing, gangsters, real estate, pulp scribes, cancer clock-watchers and Nazi gold. It’s the sort of thing that’d usually have a ROLLICKING or RIP-SNORTING emblazoned on a cover that you’d notice in an airport bookstore.

Because that’s what this is. Though it’s sold as a pulp fiction – which is certainly is – it’s very much an Airport Book. Something you can read on the plane, that’s engaging and detailed and eminently forgettable: a brain defragger, a time-passer. Something you’ll enjoy and then leave on the shuttle bus afterwards and not feel too bad about it. (more…)

Goodreads review: Earth Dances: Music in Search of the Primitive

Earth Dances: Music in Search of the PrimitiveEarth Dances: Music in Search of the Primitive by Andrew Ford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Andrew Ford is a noted broadcaster, writer and composer. He’s intelligent and considered, and has authored a number of books on music, with Earth Dances being his most recent, and one which has a quartet of radio shows attached.

The book and the series examine the idea of the primitive in music. Ford is careful to describe the term as that in line with minimalism, pre-verbal or savage impulses rather than more culturally loaded definitions often applied to non-Western cultures. To this end, Ford switches between chapters of criticism and interviews with composers, including Brian Eno, Liza Lim and Pauline Oliveros. Music of all stripes is covered, lest anyone be frightened off by the prospect of a classical-only examination: equal weight is given to the primal nature of rock as is any modern classical ululation interpretation. (more…)

Goodreads review: Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The little free library by my local train station had this novel just sitting there when I went past on a regular stroll so I thought why not? and brought it home. I hoovered it up in a couple of hours and it’ll be going back tomorrow or the day after.

You see, I’d like to keep it, but I’m certain with the tottering pile of books I’ve yet to even start, I probably won’t come around to it again very quickly. And when I want to read it again, I’ll buy it again and not feel bad about it. And you know, in the space between here and there, this one copy could provide an intro to Vonnegut to a bunch of others. (more…)

Goodreads review: Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and TomorrowTomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by M. Barnard Eldershaw
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can’t say that I’ve ever been too aware of Australian sci-fi, which is more my failing than that of the genre. But I’d heard Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow spoken of in reverential tones, a kind of feminist, socialist meditation on war, peace and politics, conveyed through an historical novel told within a science-fiction framework. And I must admit, I was intrigued.

Then I read that Patrick White thought the book was pretty good, and that made me even more interested, as I couldn’t really recall stories of him liking anything, so I figured it must be good.

And it is, with caveats. (more…)

Goodreads review: Pu Pu Hot Pot

Pu Pu Hot PotPu Pu Hot Pot by Ben Brusey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Given the length of this book, this’ll be a short review. There’s a real chance that if I rabbit on to my usual length, I’ll end up with something wiht a higher word-count than the thing I’m reviewing.

(Though it’d also probably be more enjoyable. BOOM!) (more…)