A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Brief Asides #4

Before this lovely month closes out, here are some quick observations about this and that.  Some of these thoughts are follow-ups on previous posts, or the first toe in the water on topics I may write about more fully later.

I wrote about the Amazon Prime cop show Bosch a while back, while I was still in the midst of watching the episodes.  Now that I’ve finished it, I’m still high on it.  While the plotting was sometimes a little basic and the dialogue sometimes a little too on the nose (more nuance and texture would have helped both those areas), I really liked the casting and performances.  In particular, I enjoyed how all the cops simultaneously cared deeply about each other but always seemed to be sick of one another, too.  I also liked the unusual character relationships.  For example, lead character Bosch is an L.A. detective trying, for the sake of his daughter, to get along with his ex-wife, a former FBI profiler who is now a professional poker player.  That set-up made for some unusual conversations and impromptu meet-ups.  The ten episodes of the show’s first season are still available to view on Amazon Prime.

On audio, I’m pretty immersed in Erik Larson’s Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.  This is the latest in the author’s series of non-fiction works that he writes in a way to make them feel like page-turning thrillers.  Narrator Scott Brick does his usual polished job reading the book.  All this reminds me that a favorite writer of mine, Max Allan Collins, wrote a mystery called The Lusitania Murders some years back, which I somehow never read.  It sounds like I should hit that one as soon as I’m finished with the Larson, as it’ll make for a nice little companion piece.  Conveniently, the Collins is also available in both print and audio editions.

On Netflix, the 13-episode Marvel series Daredevil so far gets a big recommendation from me.  Based on the comic book about a blind superhero, the series is grim, gritty, and adult, which is a nice change of pace from the Marvel movies (though I’m generally happy with the overall upbeat tone of the movie stories).  And it’s great that the show has over a dozen hours to slowly introduce the character and what makes him tick, also a nice change from the movies, which- as well crafted as they are- have to do everything in two hours or so.  With strong movie and TV footholds, Marvel is really the king of popular culture these days, isn’t it?  Or maybe I should say Disney, because Disney owns Marvel and now also a little thing called Star Wars, which you’ll shortly be seeing all over the place again.

I’m also still enjoying Scandal on ABC, though with its frequent shootings, stabbings and torture sessions, the show is more like a Quentin Tarantino production these days.  But I guess it’s good not to be predictable, right?

Before I start getting in line for all the big summer movies very shortly, I managed to improve my mind by seeing a decent drama recently: Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.  The film is about a woman’s efforts to get some famous artwork restored to her family’s possession after it was stolen by the Nazis during World War II.  The stolen artwork eventually fell into the hands of the Austrian government after the war, and despite the Austrians’ stated goal of wanting to return all the art to its rightful owners, it seems that they’re more than a little attached to some of the pieces, especially the ones that draw crowds to their museums.  This is a decent drama and offbeat legal thriller rolled into one, and well worth a trip to the theater to see.

That’s it for the time being.  Now get out there and enjoy the spring weather!

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