Silent comedy, bumbling Private Eyes, vexed Vice Presidents, mouthy Mercs, and flippin' fast cars - just some of what's been setting the tone of my June 2016...
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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Blu-Ray) - a second spin on home video, with a dig through the bounty of extras. It was fascinating to see, for instance, which character Simon Pegg played, and how BB-8 was pulled-off as a practical droid on-set.
Buster Keaton - skimming around On Demand, I stumbled across a series of Buster Keaton short films circa 1919 to 1921. The slapstick comedy still amuses, but the physical dexterity required to pull off the numerous stunts is still astonishing to behold. "One Week" in particular is a technical marvel and full of gleefully absurd ideas. There was no CGI in those days, and little in the way of safety - you just tied yourself to a car and let it drive away with you still attached. Some of the films I saw were: "Neighbors", "The Scarecrow", "The High Sign", "The Goat", "The Playhouse", "One Week", and "Cops".
The Town (Blu-Ray) - the extended version of the film doesn't particularly add anything too worthwhile, indeed it pads out the first act far too much and saps much of the spot-on pacing that the theatrical cut has. Still a top tier heist thriller, mind you.
Archer: Season 7 - the last time the series took a different path, it all went a bit wobbly (the fifth season never really lived up to the promise of the 'Archer Vice' advertising). However, this time - with a move to Los Angeles and a switch from Espionage to Private Investigation - the change of direction works. A slightly shorter season (10 episodes) helps inject a touch more speed to proceedings, and the news of three more seasons is most welcome (albeit with reduced 8 episode orders a piece).
Veep: Season 1, 2, & 3 - a late arrival, yes, but with a lull between seasons of various shows it was the perfect time to catch up on something new. Armando Ianucci's biting satire goes to America, following Julia Louis Dreyfuss' forever-bombarded Vice President/wannabe President. Considering the seismic political shifts that have transpired (and continue to do so) here in the UK, some of the lines of dialogue are savagely on-point.
M83 "Junk" - their new album. Previous release "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" is undoubtedly superior, but despite some wobbles (e.g. the ill-advised Chipmunk-sounding voice modulation on a couple of tracks - e.g. Bibi The Dog) it's still a solid outing.
Misfits "Walk Among Us", "Earth A.D.", Static Age", "American Psycho", "Famous Monsters", "Friday the 13th (EP)"
VIBES & FLAVOURS:
"Night of the Living Deadpool" by Cullen Bunn and Ramon Rosanas
"Return of the Living Deadpool" by Cullen Bunn and Nik Virella
F1 2013 (Xbox 360) - yep, you guessed it, another cheap-as-chips catch-up. It took a little bit of getting used to the feel of it, and I'm better skilled at first/third person shooters, but as an F1 fan it's a real thrill to tear around the tracks I've watched on television. Going wheel-to-wheel with another driver, falling back, catching them in their draft with DRS open and a boost of KERS for even more oomph, then slicing through on a tight corner as a storm of cheers erupts from the grandstands makes for a fun time!
Michael Punke "The Revenant"
Book #5 Research - I've been jotting down some initial ideas for my next book for a while now. Actually, I've been jotting down ideas for more than one 'next book', but have only just settled on which one will actually be the next book. Anyway, it's going to be set in a very specific time and place, so I've been doing a lot of research to get the look and feel of it down, to try and be as true and authentic to the time and place as I can be. I'm not going to say much more right now - I'm still very early in the process - but considering that the setting is rarely, if ever, used as a backdrop for a novel, I'm quite excited by this project. Having settled on the basic idea, I'm nestled into one of my most favourite parts of the writing process - there's a basic framework within which to work, but almost anything is possible. Ideas for scenes spring out of thin air and come tumbling forth with how they go from there. Just yesterday I was frantically scribbling down notes for a segment that will be one of the 'peak moments' in the story, and then spill out to also be one of the most darkly comic scenes.
Jamie Russell "Book of the Dead: The Complete History of Zombie Cinema" - this is indeed a hefty, but highly informative, tome. I dip in and out from time-to-time when I'm in-between novels that I'm reading, so it was another couple of chapters to further my progress. This time dealing with the 1970s and 1980s era of zombie cinema - particularly George A. Romero's landmark "Dawn of the Dead", and Fulci's four major contributions to Italian zombie splatter: "Zombi 2", "City of the Living Dead", "The Beyond", and "The House by the Cemetery".