Goodreads review: Don Quixote

Don QuixoteDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (tr: John Rutherford).
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

How do you review something like Don Quixote properly? I mean, something that was written four centuries ago, and is a cornerstone of Spanish literature. It’s one of the earliest novels, deals in knighthood and class, and is something I’ve lugged from country to country over the past 20 years because I never seemed to be able to donate enough time to it.

Well, I’ve now finished it, so I’ll give reviewing it a shot: Don Quixote is a pretty good, earthily rendered cautionary tale of how reading chivalric romances leads to elder abuse. It also features more people vomiting on each other than you’d expect from a classic of literature.

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Yakuza Kiwami (2016)

So this is the third time I’ve played this game. It’s not the same as the game I played the first two times – this is a remake of that game, and I haven’t had to fire up the PS2 to give this a whirl – but it’s so close to the original that it still counts. So what’s it all about?

Honour.
Betrayal.
Revenge.
Beatdowns.
Babysitting. (more…)

Climax (2018)

It’s well known that you don’t go to a Gaspar Noé film for A Good Time. I mean, this is a guy who has put 28Hz hums into his films to induce audience nausea, as if the rape and face-poundings weren’t enough to put you off.

So with that in mind, I went to see his latest, Climax, at the Sydney Film Festival. It’s a film about a dance company that suffers from a spiked punch incident, so practically bucolic in comparison to the director’s other work. I figured – given only six people had walked out on it in Cannes – that it’d probably be all right.

What I discovered that it’s basically Jacob’s Ladder: The Dance Spectacular, if such a film were set in the Pink Room from Fire Walk With Me.

(Interesting trivia tidbit: Wikipedia labels this a horror musical which is at once the best and worst thing ever.)

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Dead Island Definitive Collection (2016)

I decided I needed a palate-cleanser after the whole God of War thing, so I chose something not an entire world away: the zombie-slaying double-pack of Dead Island and Dead Island Riptide, both gussied up for the PS4.

Were they good? Oh, heavens no. I got caught on scenery, had pitiful frame rates and found some design clunky and odd. The quests were repetitive and kinda lame.

BUT.

It let me put a circular saw blade on a spade and hit dead holidaymakers with it. It let me electrify a katana and cut up unholy mutations. And it let me indulge in some molitov crowd control while a buddy yelled in a terrible Aussie accent about how we should “give these fuckers a floggin’.”

So it was worthwhile, all told.  (more…)

Goodreads review: Akira, Vol. 2

Akira, Vol. 2Akira, Vol. 2 by Katsuhiro Otomo.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I guess a lot of what I wrote in my review of the first volume of Akira is applicable here: it’s something technological and dirty; something full of speed and movement, yet manages to not advance the story particularly far.

(Well, that’s not entirely true. The story told here hints at Bigger Consequences Yet To Come, even though the whole volume is essentially one lengthy chase sequence.)

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God of War (2018)

You know, I was a bit dubious when I heard that God of War was going to be resurrected. My leeriness increased when I heard it was going to be a beardy Norse father-son adventure.

Kratos has a big vocab, folks.

Thankfully, my doubts were misplaced. Because the 2018 game has proven to be one of the best – if not the best – in the series. I absolutely loved it.

Well, mostly.  But we’ll get to that.

(There’ll likely be some spoilers in here too, so be mindful if you’ve not played it yet.)

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Goodreads review: Akira, Vol. 1

Akira, Vol. 1Akira, Vol. 1 by Katsuhiro Otomo.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, you’ve probably seen the 1988 animated film with this name. You know, with motorcycles and a whole lot of screaming testosterone haircuts with axes to grind and heads to explode. And so you’re expecting this to be pretty much the same thing, right?

That’s a pretty good assumption.
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Goodreads review: Shots

ShotsShots by Don Walker.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Laconic and dry. That’s probably the write-up you’ve got in mind for Shots, songwriter Don Walker’s first book. And you’re probably not all that far wrong. But that reductionism is a disservice: The book is dry, with one economical eye on the door, but there’s a lot more going on.

The book is an autobiography, more or less, but it’s not a lot like that of his on-again off-again bandmate Tex Perkins, say. It’s a collection of images gathered together under the names of places that exist, or are a state of mind – Home, Carr’s Creek, Kings Cross, The Road, Paris and so on – but they flit, moment to moment. (more…)

Goodreads review: Moby-Dick

Moby-DickMoby-Dick by Herman Melville.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of reviewing Moby-Dick is.

I mean, really.

It’s the sort of book that will always be part of the canon, and I imagine people will always feel guilty about having not read it, or will imagine that it’ll be a lot harder going than anything else.

Which is kind of a shame, because it really is pretty delightful.
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Goodreads review: Errol Flynn: The Untold Story

Errol Flynn: The Untold StoryErrol Flynn: The Untold Story by Charles Higham.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars.

First things first.

I couldn’t get that bloody tune out of my head the whole time I was reading so it’s only fair you have to deal with it now too. It seems likely songwriters Reyne and McDonough had read Higham’s book, because the lyrics specifically make reference to the meat of the work: the supposition that the Tasmanian thespian dipsomaniacal klepto satyromanic was also a dyed-in-the-wool anti-Semite and Nazi.

Yeah. (more…)