Showing posts from May, 2024

Stop Making Sense (1984)

Director: Jonathan Demme Writers: Jonathan Demme, Talking Heads Stars: David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth, Chris Franz, Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir, Steve Scales, Lynn Mabry, Edna Holt Jonathan Demme's concert film captures Talking Heads at the height of their powers in 1983.  Fans of the band will not be disappointed, and I don't think anyone who comes to this film with an open mind, open ears, and open eyes will, either.  It begins with David Byrne alone on a bare stage, where he performs an acoustic version of Psycho Killer with a boom box providing the percussion.  The band members and supporting musicians come on stage, set up, and join in during succeeding numbers and the music becomes steadily more layered until we arrive at the explosively exuberant performance of Burning Down the House that ends the picture.  Byrne's quirky personality, the exquisite musicianship of the band, and everyone's sheer love of making music are on full display here.  Highly reco

Sisterhood of Dune (Schools of Dune #1) (2012)

by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson The anti-technology Butlerians sweep the known  universe for evidence of forbidden thinking machines while more tech-friendly factions such as the interstellar shipping conglomerate Venport, the pre-Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, and the leader of the Mentat school quietly continue to use their computers.   There are pros and cons on both sides of the argument, which makes for a very rich conflict.  And the independent robot Erasmus waits in the shadows, confident that mankind is doomed to recreate their former oppressors.   Otherwise, Herbert and Anderson repeat their sins from previous books in the series: the characters are thin, there is too much repetition, and the narrative seems terribly padded at times.  Brian Herbert (l) and Kevin J. Anderson (r) However, there are a lot of plots going on, so we never stay with any set of characters long enough for them to become tiresome, and I'm interested enough in what will come next to continue with t

The Son of Tarzan (Tarzan #4) (1916)

by Edgar Rice Burroughs Young Lord Greystoke follows in his father's footsteps  when an old enemy’s plot causes the boy to flee to Africa with the ape Akut.   There he becomes known as Korak the Killer and strikes up a relationship with Meriem, a kidnapped French girl.   This story uses some fairly shoddy plotting to get Korak to Africa, and it is difficult to imagine that any reasonably attentive reader won’t see the big reveal at the end coming from a long way off.   Otherwise, there is plenty of solid jungle action, and the relationship between Korak and Meriem is much better realized than the romance of his mom and dad. Edgar Rice Burroughs (seated on the right) "The Son of Tarzan" (Portuguese) "Son of Tarzan" (Sinhala) "Tarzan's Son" (Slovak) "Korak, Son of Tarzan" (Polish) "The Son of Tarzan" (Spanish)

The Romulan War: Beneath the Raptor's Wing (Star Trek: Enterprise) (2009)

by Michael A. Martin Tough times for Archer's Enterprise and Starfleet,  fresh off the demoralizing loss of the Kobayashi Maru and striving without much success to rally their allies against a Romulan Empire that seems unbeatable because of a devastating new weapon.   "The Romulan War: Under the Wings of the Bird of Prey I" (German) Michael A. Martin has devised a basically interesting story, but several factors mitigate against its complete success.   Michael A. Martin I came to this series because I wanted more stories about the cast of characters that I enjoyed so much on television.  "The Romulan War: Under the Wings of the Bird of Prey II" (German) Martin spends far too much time padding the narrative with peripheral characters like journalist Gannett Brooks and Admiral Valdore while giving short shrift to Travis, Malcolm, Hoshi, and Dr. Phlox. The goal of using POV characters that can give us an expansive view of the action is laudable, but unfortunately,

Kobayashi Maru (Star Trek: Enterprise) (2008)

by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels Archer and crew try to get to the bottom of Romulan  shenanigans and Trip Tucker continues his espionage behind enemy lines on the eve of the Romulan War.   I don’t expect top-notch literature from a Star Trek novel--and I’m certainly not getting it--but this was a pleasant enough read.   Some far-fetched activities are required on the part of some characters to get them to meet up with each other, but this is mostly a well-plotted and plausible lead-up to interstellar war.  I just wish authors Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels would move things along a little more quickly.  Michael A. Martin There is too much exposition and internal perspective.  Andy Mangels Go ahead and write a shorter book and stop padding; I wouldn’t mind. I hope Hoshi and Mayweather have more to do in the next installment. They’ve been relegated to tertiary character status.