Recent Media April 2024 Edition

A few things that found their way in front of my eyeballs of late.

Monarch: Legacy Of Monsters. Apple TV+. I'm as surprised as you are that this was actually rather good as Godzilla things go. Kurt Russell was great in it, Wyatt Russell was also great doing a pretty good impression of his Dad.

Gravity. Yeah, the George Clooney Sandra Bullock movie. First re-watch since I saw it at the movie theater when it first came out. Made all the more entertaining because of a group of young kids shouting profanity down the front (I remember my first beer as well) who got kicked out to rapturous applause. Anyway, yeah this holds up extremely well. Fantastic movie. Perhaps the most George Clooney that ever George Clooney'd? That would probably be Oceans 13 mind.

Life. Because why watch one sci-fi thing, when you could watch two? Hiroyuki Sanada is great, Rebecca Ferguson is great. Ryan Reynolds and Jake Whatshisface were also present. But this movie dear reader, while not getting great reviews, is excellent. I would watch it again right now.

Constellation. Apple TV+. Because why watch two sci-fi things, when… well, you get the idea. Apple TV+, while not having the catalogue of Netflix, has had some fantastic tv shows of late. This one is no exception. An accident on the ISS forces (some/all) of the astronauts to return to Earth. Sort of. Great cinematography, this show looks like a million dollars. I'd love to live in their house in Hamburg. Noomi Rapace is great in this. And grumpy Jonathan Banks is grumpy. "Mamma"…"Alice" when you get to that episode you'll know what I'm talking about. Would like to see a second season.

Stephen King – Billy Summers. This book was a delight. An assassin out for one last job. A coming of age story. And two novels in one cleverly handled. I've been a fan of King's since I was a teenager and always forget what a great story teller he can be.

3 Body Problem. Netflix. What happened was, I'd learned people who read the books weren't impressed by the TV adaptation? And yet the premise sounded great, and the trailer sucked me in. So I went in cold. And it was glorious. To the point where I've now bought the first book in the trilogy and I'm a quarter through it. Fantastic story.

This Is Us. Netflix. My wife and I started watching this on live terrestrial TV when it first came out and kinda forgot about it somewhere around season two ish. So we watched it from the beginning to the end. It gets a lot of flack for being trauma porn & needing to teach a life lesson every episode. But I dunno, as guilty pleasures go, this was pretty good.

Röyksopp – Profound Mysteries III. I've become somewhat obsessed with this album and have played it to death this week. It's playing right now in fact. Give it a listen if you haven't already.


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Recent Media January 2024 Edition

It's been a while since I've done one of these media catch ups. So why not write the first one of 2024.

Shrinking. Apple TV+. Created by Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein of Ted Lasso fame. Jason Segel plays a grieving therapist who decides to become drastically more involved in his patients' lives. Harrison Ford plays his boss. This show is an absolute delight.

Silo. Also Apple TV+. Set in a dystopian future where people live underground in a huge silo. No one knows why they can't go outside, no one knows how long the Silo has been there. Or do they? Everything about this is so right up my alley. Rebecca Ferguson and Tim Robbins are just great in this.

Wool – Hugh Howey. What happened was, I loved Silo so much that I couldn't wait. Season one ended amid the writer's strike; no telling when a second season would come out. I decided to read Hugh Howey's original trilogy of books and my mind is blown. Wool is the first in the series and different than the TV show in subtle ways. Season one only covers half of book one. There's just so much more to it. Highly recommended.

• The Bourne Movies. Even the one with Jeremy Renner, which is more Bourne adjacent than anything. In all honesty, they're just an excuse to make the same movie over and over. A leak of secret CIA programs. Bourne remembers more about his past. An asset is dispatched in a failed attempt to kill Bourne. Obligatory chase scene or two around a European city. The CIA chief ends up dead or in an oversight committee/jail. And queue Moby Extreme Ways music at the end. They're all entertaining in their own way.

The Deer Hunter. A De Niro classic I'd never seen before. It's long. It's intense. You're probably going to want to do something fun after watching it. But it's really good. What a cast. Meryl Streep and Christopher Walken were both so good.

The German Wife – Kelly Rimmer. Inspired by Operation Paperclip, an enthralling tale of life in Nazi Germany, rocket science, and family dynamics. The author skillfully moves back and forth between the rise of the Third Reich and 1950s USA where the Germans are helping win the space race.

Heat. Arguably the best heist movie of all time. Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer all excellent. The score is wonderful with some delightful synth fills.

Slow Horses Season Three. Score one more for Apple TV+, who have been one of the more consistent streaming services of late. The third season of Slow Horses is great. Set in London, a band of MI5 outcasts under the supervision of their obnoxious and jaded boss Jackson Lamb, save the day. Gary Oldman was born to play that role and deserves all the awards. This might be my favorite of the Apple TV+ shows of the last few months.

The Fall Of The House Of Usher. Netflix. Inspired by various Edgar Allen Poe works, Mike Flanagan's latest mini-series hits all the right spots. Bruce Greenwood, Mary McDonnell, and Mark Hamill all great. Not quite as good as The Haunting Of Hill House or Midnight Mass, but still highly recommended.

• As for music, so far this year I've been slightly obsessed with all things Shoegaze. Slowdive, Ride, and Magic Wands all in my ears regularly. And then just this week, out of nowhere, A Flock Of Seagulls' song randomly played from my liked songs playlist. So for the past few days I've been listening to their first three albums. They get a bit of stick and are certainly not exactly very cool, but their back catalogue is great. Very underrated.


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Books Year In Review

Books are a thing. And I decided to get back into them again in 2023.

What happened was, I started reading again. After a two year slump in which nothing happened whatsoever, turns out all you need to do is start. Imagine that. And the rest just falls into place.

For a late starter, I ended up reading 10 books. Which is 10 more than I've read in the previous 3 years, so I'll take it.

(you're gonna spot a theme here)

Leviathan Wakes – James S. A. Corey
Caliban's War – James S. A. Corey
Abaddon's Gate – James S. A. Corey
Cibola Burn – James S. A. Corey
Nemesis Games – James S. A. Corey
Babylon's Ashes – James S. A. Corey
Persepolis Rising – James S. A. Corey
Tiamat's Wrath – James S. A. Corey
Leviathan Falls – James S. A. Corey


All Souls Lost – Dan Moren

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The Expanse Series

Finished Leviathan Falls, the ninth and final book in the science fiction series The Expanse.

Set in a future where Earth, Mars, and the Asteroid Belt are major players in a politically charged and technologically advanced spacefaring society. From the bustling streets of Earth to the militaristic strongholds of Mars and the rugged outposts of the Belt, each location is vivid and immersive.

The story is propelled by a series of interconnected events, beginning with the discovery of the mysterious protomolecule. This discovery sets off a chain reaction of political intrigue, interplanetary conflicts, and existential threats to humanity. The pacing is masterful, with each installment building upon the previous one, creating a sense of escalating tension and stakes.

I first fell in love with the Expanse universe because of the TV show. The series came to a close after the sixth season, but always felt like an odd place to leave it. Learning there were another three books worth of material, I was excited to find out how it ended.

And what a ride. After nine books and 5062 pages, they stuck the landing. Probably the best story I've ever read.

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Read And Drink

Drink And Read

I've started reading again. It's fun and I'm having a great time. I set two ground rules for this great book awakening. No Kindle – these had to be actual books with actual pages. And no Amazon – sorry Jeff, but I'd like to support the local book shop.

To that end, I can't say enough good things about Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix. It's the kind of place when you walk in you feel right at home and the people therein are your tribe. But as a special bonus, Changing Hands has First Draft Book Bar inside it. Quite simply "A Bar In A Bookstore".

It's as absolutely pleasant as it sounds, having a Tower Station with your head in a book.

As to what I'm actually reading, that dear reader, will be another post.

Words On A Page

2019 has not been the "year of reading" for me. A few weeks ago I lamented:

I wish my reading habits were consistent. It's been over a month since I picked up that book.

If by "book" I mean Kindle then that's still correct, and there it sits in a draw uncharged as we speak. Last night I caught myself wishing I had an actual physical book with real pages and stuff. And maybe that's the problem?

So in an effort to kickstart this thing I'm going to keep the Kindle in the draw and go old school. The Amazon fairy tells me the first book arrives tomorrow.

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