Derik Badman's Journal

2021-08-29 10:00

Two excellent articles on writer/directors I really like: Penelope Houston on Preston Sturges (from 1965) and Becca Rothfeld on Eric Rohmer (from April).

Last weekend I watched Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice a Pynchon novel adaptation that is a kind of off-kilter comedic neo-noir that takes place in 1970s California. It's filled with a certain counter-culture paranoia feeling, that seems apt to the milieu. Anderson uses a narrator that is clearly using lines from the book, but overall... maybe I'd have rather read the book. The movie was amusing but never really felt that interesting. The detective, a drug toking hippie, seems to stumble through his vague investigations as mysteries multiply, and then... I don't even really remember how it resolves anymore.

Netflix must see The Witcher as a franchisable hit, cause this past week they released a animated prequel The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf which is about what you might expect from an original story animated prequel to a live action tv series based on a novel series... which is to say, it wasn't very good at all. While the setting and characters felt mostly true to the series, the story felt cobbled together from concepts already at play in the various versions of the series, and it had a lot of over-the-top anime style action that was just too much. And of course it had to end on a young Geralt (protagonist of the series) as a bright blazing gawdy sign that screams "prequel". We'll see if the other prequel, this one a live action mini-series, they are working on proves any better.

Feel like I gave up on a bunch of other movies over the past few days, and remember none of them. Almost the same with books. Reading a book on Ozu's Tokyo Story now... I did read a few more volumes of Berserk, which I started reading again even though I considered stopping. The recent death of the author/artist and the tributes that followed spurred on my interest of seeing how the series progresses. And I did find more to like in the latest few "deluxe" volumes. Miura adds a bunch of much needed side characters after having the protagonist spending too much time mostly alone.

Was playing some video games and have kind of given up (for now at least) on them... The remastered Dark Souls quickly brought me back to the frustration of getting stuck. Pillars of Eternity 2 is an interesting isometric style RPG but is atrociously slow to load anytime you change locations (which you have to do quite a lot), and I quickly got bored of staring at the load screen. I obsessed over Hades for a few days, then in looking online realized I was almost at the end and kind of realized the game wasn't going to go much of anywhere, though it is well designed and pretty to look at. The whole "rogue-like" style is not really to my tastes I think. I guess Dark Souls has the element of trying again and again and starting over, but at least it has really immersive environments and weird narrative. That is less engaging when it's a faster paced action game, such as Hades.