My brother graduated from high school yesterday. It was a long and very dull ceremony which I kept expecting to be livened up by either streakers or the key speaker transforming into a gigantic snake, neither of which happened. This is a shame, as the Superintentent's speech was extremely depressing, it could have used some gratuitous nudity or serpentine mayhem. It was also extremely hot, so much so that some of the students decked out in their black caps and gowns with three layers underneath didn't make it all the way through the ceremony.
The family had a celebratory dinner at Sammy's. The food was great (and lethal) but it is true that Sunday evenings are not Saturday evenings.
My coffee table had been delivered to my parents house, so I was able to take it home yesterday and assemble it. Now I have a coffee table… but no couch. That's coming Tuesday.
I enjoy listening to music on vinyl for various reasons, not least of which is the sound. I have just replaced my rather nondescript turntable with my grandfather's old Technics, which isn't just a phonograph, it's a work of art, beautifully weighted and sturdy, and it sounds thunderous. This is, in fact, the only piece of equipment I own that predates the 90s, so it is the only one that is silver rather than black, but it's an exception I'm willing to make to have this particular piece as part of my system. It does have some black trim…
Speaking of vinyl, I love Intrada's expansion of The Last Starfighter and would welcome a complete edition of the score, but I have to admit that it just sounds so much more thunderous on vinyl, if you can put up with the insane sequencing job on par with Alan Silvestri's Back To the Future Part III. Nevertheless, the music just has a presence there it doesn't have on the CD.
I enjoyed the film The Edge and thought that Jerry Goldsmith's album was an excellent summation of the score. I was therefore surprised upon listening to La-La Land's new edition of the complete score how much more effective the score is in expanded form. It is both more unpredictable and intimate in this new edition, with the expansions consisting of a lot of fascinating variations on the primary thematic material. I was expecting to acknowledge the complete score but gravitate towards the album, but I found that, save for a bit of repitition at the beginning, the complete score is a more rounded listening experience. I also like some of the alternatives presented in the bonus tracks.
Between this disc and that for Outland, I've actually been thinking a lot about Goldsmith's score for First Blood; I'd always been satisfied with the album arrangement, but now I'm curious to hear how that score would play out in full.
I haven't had a chance to really discuss some of what I've seen, so here are some capsule reviews:
MOON: I had wanted to see this film in the theaters, but it unfortunately had eluded me. It is a brilliant piece of science-fiction, a tale about isolation and bio-ethics illustrated by a fantastic central performance by Sam Rockwell. This is not a space opera, but a meditative character-oriented piece that has quite a few very interesting twists and turns. I had rented the film, but immediately bought the Blu-ray because this one is a keeper. I don't want to say too much lest I give some of those surprises away, but the movie is highly recommended.
IRON MAN 2: While it doesn't have the kinetic sense of discovery that the first film had, Jon Favereau's follow-up to his 2008 success still has Robert Downey Jr. bringing his restless energy to the central role. The franchise trades up on Rhody with Don Cheadle, who conveys more of a relationship with Tony in his first scene than Terrence Howard did the whole first movie, and adds Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke as entertaining heavies. The movie manages to satisfy that desire for more from the first film without being a retread, and how many summer action movies can honestly say that their romantic subplot is one of the most engaging and funniest aspects?
THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS: It probably looked great on paper, but I just couldn't find myself getting into this quirky little film. The cast is game and the movie is ambiable enough, but it just never really comes together. Ewan MacGregor's presence in this movie about military Jedi would have seemed witty had it not come across as such a gimmick, and the final conclusion just doesn't have any weight to it. I wish I could say that it was a new and inspiring experience, and the filmmakers should be lauded for the attempt, but it just never worked for me.