Friday, February 11, 2011

Best of the Week - Second week of February

Best TV show I saw: Nothing really to write home about this week. Maybe it’s because I was out all week, or everything I watched was average, at best. If I have to choose something, it would have to be this week’s episode of The Office or 30 Rock. Both are always quality, and this week was more of the same

Best movie I saw: I watched two movies this week: An old classic and a new movie that has been getting a lot of acclaim. The newer one wins. I watched Lenny starring Dustin Hoffman, and maybe I’m not a big biopic fan, or the black and white/interview style the movie was done in turned me off, but it got better near the end when Lenny really found his voice and started fighting in court. I now understand why many of the comedians I enjoy always sight Lenny Bruce as an influence. He was the first that really fought for his right to say anything and although his act is not as controversial today, I can understand why it was in the 1960s.

Meanwhile The Town was a lot of fun. Ben Affleck is turning out to be a pretty good director (while his acting continues to disappoint) with his newest was an improvement on his debut, Gone Baby Gone.

I did not read the novel on which this movie is based, but apparently there is a 4 hour cut of this film that follows the book exactly which I would be interested in seeing. That said, this movie was decent and had a similar feel to Scorsese’s The Departed (but that might just be the subject matter and the Boston accents talking). Although the story was kind of by the numbers heist flick, I liked getting to know the characters a bit and all the pieces for a complete story were there. Along with great supporting work from Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall and a final appearance by the great Pete Postlethwaite (before he was finally “done in” by cancer and not Mr. McManus). I'm not sure if I totally bought the love story between Ben Affleck and Rebecca Hall's character which is the most important part of the story which may be why the movie felt a little flat.

Best thing I read: It is unfortunate that I read two great books last week and this week the best thing I read were the latest two volumes of The Walking Dead. Volumes 13 & 14 show Rick and his crew finding a new town that is walled in that they are invited to and shows how much they have changed because now they will not trust anyone, even people that are inviting them into their safe area. This series continues to be a great peek into how society would break down if 99% of the population was wiped out and only a few survivors remained. The characters really go through a ton of changes and you can see how the pressure of trying to survive affects each of them differently. The main character Rick is one of the best written characters I've read in any medium. He started out as a begrudged leader and we have seen his development from leader to broken man to .... something else now. These books continue to get better and I'm looking forward to rereading the story from the beginning soon.

I also enjoyed: Volumes 4 & 5 of Scott Pilgrim which is very cute/fun. Just as good/fun as the movie.

I also enjoyed: A short novel called The Vintage Caper. It is a by-the-numbers whodunit story of a rich man’s wine collection is stolen and an Insurance Company has to hire a detective to find the wine so they don’t have to pay out the insurance money. It is a fun story, but I think 150 of the 225 pages talked more about the different wines from the different vineyards of France and the food they would pair with than a good, cohesive story. The book took about 3 hours to read from start to finish. So, it was entertaining, but definitely nothing I would call good or recommend others to read.

Best music I heard: This is easy again this week. I have been quite busy as I mentioned and Monday was my chance to go to Madison Square Garden to see Prince perform. First of all, I had no idea the Cee-Lo Green was opening up so when I got to my seat around 8:00 and heard his recognizable high-pitched singing I was happy and it helped get me in the mood for Prince.

After a brief hiatus Prince hit the stage. I will not go into a detailed run-down of his show, but all I could think as I watched him perform was “This man is a Professional”. He can really do it all. He sings, he dances, piano, he engages the audience, and puts on mini-plays with his back up dancers. Oh yeah – and he plays Guitar better than anyone I’ve seen live so organically. While he’s playing it seems like he the guitar is almost playing itself, he is so fluid and smooth even during the craziest guitar solos I’ve heard. If it’s been a while, do yourselves a favor and just listen to the end of Purple Rain again.

The man played for over 2 hours, featured a bunch of guest appearances by the likes of ?uestlove on drums, Cee-Lo came out to sing the Gnarls Barkley song Crazy with Prince on guitar, and a much publicized Kim Kardashian sighting, which was much more playful and fun than the media reported.

Prince puts on a spectacular show. From the stage set-up, to his musicianship I am quite happy I got to see a living legend perform.


cRAIG said...

gotta disagree on 30 Rock and The Office. while 30 Rock used to be brilliant (Season 2 in particular), and The Office in its prime was good fun - i watch now out of habit more than anything. if both shows went away, and with Carrell and Baldwin on their way out anyway, i wouldn't miss them at all...


MitchyMitchyMitchy said...

That's all good, but I still laugh out loud at least 3 times an episode at both shows. That's more than I can say about most TV these days.