Songs For The Dead: Not A Real Movie Review of Catch and Release

July 26, 2008 at 0:36 (Books, Movies, Rants, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Well, wow.

Every now and then something comes along and genuinely surprises you.  I didn’t have any particular expectations for Catch and Release – Kevin Smith in a supporting role drew me to it, but only enough that it’s languished on my (virtual) shelves since its release in 2006.  I only glad I finally gave it a chance; for her first time in the director’s chair, Susannah Grant makes a striking impression.  She’s written some excellent screenplays in her time, I’ll give her that – namely Ever After and Erin Brockovich – but from her new vantage point it seems as if she’s been better able to bring out the nuances of her script: the cast positively bounce out of the screen, witty, verbose and true.

Everyone loves Jennifer Garner, and I may finally have to give up on Sheriff Seth Bullock – Timothy Olyphant comes into his own again, despite a fairly underwritten role as the other half of Garner’s inappropriate rebound relationship.  On the other hand, the script has too much time for Sam Yaeger’s Dennis, who does not convince as another of Garner’s unrequited admirers.  Otherwise, an excellent film.  I’d respectfully disagree with critics who’ve zoned out at the prospect of another romantic comedy and pulled out the stock “one for the ladies” nonsense to justify themselves.  Actually, no, that’s not terribly respectful at all.

To hell with it: they’re wrong about Catch and Release.  It’s a warm character piece with an honest-to-goodness heart of gold.  Kevin Smith is everything that’s right about this movie.  As a rather less profane version of himself, he’s cuddly, considerate and clever.  In fact, Catch and Release feels very much like the sort of flick he’d be making now if his dip into the mainstream with the ill-fated Jersey Girl hadn’t gone so awry.

At the end of the day, my possible man-crush on Kevin Smith is not the only – nor even the best – reason to see this film.  If you have a heart, Catch and Release will sing to it.

Of course it’s made me melancholy in all the usual ways.

I’ve brooded thoughtfully about the landing considering if this is the perfect time of night; I can hear cats squawling from the gardens and I feel an inappropriate urge to break the eerie silence with very loud Guns N’ Roses.  But the other half sleeps…



Stay tune for an impromptu Haruki Murakami week.  There’s an embargo to obey but this morning’s post brought a copy of What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, a memoir-come-rumination on age and countless other subjects, and the latest of his work to see English translation.  I’ve still got the read the thing, but expect a review here in the next ten days.  In the meantime, I’ve a review of his last novel, After Dark, to repurpose from Amazon, and a circuituously connected piece on another Japanese weird-fiction sensation in the making: Yoko Ogawa.

So.  Cats, earlobes and other Murakamian artefacts.  Fun!


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Travels Through The Redtubes: World Cup Fucking

June 7, 2008 at 3:58 (Japan, Porn, Rants) (, , , )

Not to lower the tone – there are two very literary book reviews coming in the next few days – but first I’d like to share a peculiar little clip I came across in my unending search for stimulation.  For the feint of heart, or those readers who might find a thousand nubile Japanese grinding in perfect harmony objectionable, I’m putting the video behind a link.  That, and wordpress won’t let me embed it.

You have been warned.

Behold, then: world cup fucking.

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Patap0wnage: A Review of Patapon for the PSP

March 12, 2008 at 13:45 (Reviews, Video Games) (, , , )

In the summer of 2006, LocoRoco was released for the PSP, and with precious little in the way of fanfare.  With the exciting launch of the first next-gen console to anticipate and a crowded release calendar which included new instalments of such venerable franchises as Half-Life, Tomb Raider, Splinter Cell and Final Fantasy, it wasn’t a surprise to see this excellent new IP fall under most gamers’ radar.  Today, however, it stands shoulder to shoulder with Katamari Damacy as among the most innovative platformers to come to video games in decades.  Its simple yet distinctive aesthetic proved uniquely appealing, while its gravity-oriented gameplay mechanics were a breath of fresh air next to more traditional fare.  LocoRoco was a brief thrill, admittedly, but an unforgettable one nonetheless, and considering how much it has in common with Patapon, one can only hope that Japan studio’s latest proves able to carve out a more appealing fate.  And let it be said: this game demands your recognition.

 And a side order of crabsticks with that, thanks... 

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