Le Sacre Du Lièvre

My latest purchase on Bandcamp is from Terminal Cheesecake, a band that I have been listening to for a very long time.

This is their latest album, released last month. In 2016 they released Dandelion Sauce Of The Ancients, which was their first album in 18 years after a long hiatus. I was chuffed to get that album, and it was well worth the wait. This new album is good, but not quite as good as Dandelion Sauce. They have gone for more of an experimental sound, and it is also more psychedelic sounding. The basic Terminal Cheesecake sound is there, but it is missing some of the catchy droning sounds that previous albums have.

Of course, more listens are needed, perhaps it will grow on me a bit more, but it is still a very worthy addition to the Terminal Cheesecake collection.

Music count 2019: 20

Into The Slave Nebula

I bought this at a place called “The Book Barn“, which was an actual barn in the small farming town of Chertsey. It is quite a place with mountains of books.

I made a beeline for the science fiction section which was in a small room, and there I found a good selection of cheap paperbacks. I bought this book and another, both for one dollar each. I could have bought a lot more, but I already have plenty of other books in my bookshelf that need to be read.

The author is John Brunner who wrote quite a few stories, and won the Hugo Award for his book Stand on Zanzibar. He also wrote the screenplay for The Terrornauts, a film I must watch.

This is very much a pulpy science fiction story, but is engaging and has a thrilling ending. The story is basically about slavery where human children are passed off as androids and sold to Earth, which is the most wealthiest and privileged planet in the galaxy. There is a lot more to it of course, but I won’t go into details.

This is not essential science fiction reading, but I found it to be a very good read, and for $1 it was an absolute bargain. I shall return to the Book Barn one day.

Book count 2019: 1

Far Cry 4

This is a game I bought a few years back now (it was released in 2014), and recently I completed it in full for the third time. I realised though that I had not reviewed it.

A few weeks ago I actually installed Far Cry 3 again, but minutes into the game I got tired as it seemed dated. So I installed FC4 and instantly was having fun.

It is quite a large game with plenty of missions to get through, lots of baddies to shoot, and side missions to complete. It is also great to look at, and has a pretty good story. It is also a funny game with plenty of silly humour and some nutty characters such as Yogi and Reggie – a couple of British dudes who like to experiment with drugs.

My weapon of choice in most FPS games such as this is a sniper rifle, and this game has an excellent one. I always bling it out with a silencer, extended cartridge, and camo colours. It is very satisfying to liberate an outpost by sniping all of the baddies from a high vantage point from a distance, watching them run around trying to find you. Throwing molotovs at them is fun too.

I can’t think of any negatives really. Maybe some of the side missions are a tad tedious and pointless, but overall this is a brillo game, probably my all-time favourite FPS game.

Far Cry 5 turned up on Origin for a discounted price recently (it was too pricey for me up to then), so I bought it. So far it is pretty good, but while the graphics are very nice, the location and mood of the game is not as good as FC4. Having said that it is still a blast to play, and the sniper rifle I just pimped out is fun to use. But, more on that after I finish the game.

The Pianist

This is based on the true story of a Polish=Jew who survived the German occupation in World War Two, directed by Roman Polanski. And it is most excellent. It was a French, German, Polish, and British co-production.

Adrien Brody plays Wladyslaw Szpilman, a gifted piano player who along with his parents, sisters and brothers tries to survive the German occupation after Poland is invaded. Things only get worse of course.

The film portrays the hardship and horror of what the Jews had to go through, some of it quite shocking, and no doubt based on actual accounts of what went on. I didn’t know that a part of Warsaw was used to house all of the Jews in the city temporarily, and was walled off from the rest of the city, like the Berlin Wall.

The acting was absolutely superb from all, as was the direction and the sets. Some of the shots of bombed-out streets towards the end of the film could not have possibly been real, so the CG was most excellent too.

It is a long film at 150 minutes, but it does not feel like it at all.

Not an uplifting film, and not easy to watch at times, but it’s three Academy Awards (out of seven nominations) proves that this is a must-watch.

Date watched: June 1st
Score: 10/10
Film count 2019: 16

The Best of MK Arular

The musical purchases have slowed down considerably recently, here are a few that I need to catch up on.

Blondie – The Best Of

This is a double-up my brother gave me when I was in NZ, and I was chuffed to get it as I like early Blondie.

All of the good songs are here including “Heart of Glass”, “Hangin’ on the Telephone, “The Tide is High”, and more. There is no real need to buy any other Blondie albums as they are one of those bands that have one or two great hit songs on an album, then a lot of filler. Later Blondie was just plain awful (1982’s “The Hunter” is a terrible album).

Good stuff.

MKULTRA – The Beautiful Mind of MK

This is a Bandcamp purchase I had my eye on for a while, so I finally bought it a few weeks back, I think I paid $5 for it.

It is an experimental hip-hop release with a singer who likes to swear a lot and talk about all kinds of stuff…not really sure what he is going on about really. I quite like it though, something different.

M.I.A. – Arular

I was in Book Off intending to buy a CD by a band called Beef Terminal when I came across this, and decided it would be worth getting instead.

A few years back M.I.A. (she is from Sri Lanka, but now based in the U.K.) had a hit called “Paper Airplanes“, whichis a very catchy number, so I thought this album might be worth a try.

On first listen though it did not grab me at all, can’t really put my finger on why. Perhaps it needs a few more listens. Here is a track to give you an idea.

Still, she is original and has a message to get across. Respectamundo.

Music count 2019: 19

Hurlyburly

This is a 1998 drama starring Sean Penn and Kevin Spacey based on a 1984 play, and it shows because there is a lot of talking.

It tells the story of three Hollywood players who like to do the drugs and other things we all know Hollywood types like to do. Sean’s character is especially wigged-out on drugs and gets really paranoid and stressed out.

Most of the film takes place in one house in the hills somewhere, so there is not a whole lot going on, just a lot of rambling about things that don’t really make for good film watching.

Anna Paquin turns up as a young drifter who would do anything for a place to stay, she was a refreshing change from all of the drama going on about her, but alas did not have much screen time.

The performances were good by all, and Sean was trying really hard to get an Oscar, but he did not succeed. Chazz Palminteri was excellent, with both Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright doing their best with what they had too.

This isn’t terrible, but it could have been a lot better.

Date watched: May 11th
Score: 5/10
Film count 2019: 15

The American Friend

The last film in my Golden Week of film watching was this 1977 Wim Wenders neo-noir starring Dennis Hopper and Bruno Ganz.

And it was a good film to end off a week of good film watching.

It told the story of a man who was diagnosed with leukemia and was contacted by a French mafia guy and asked to bump off a rival gang member, and promised big bucks to help support his family when he died. Dennis Hopper’s character was a fake art seller who was involved in organising the hit, but he ended up becoming good friends with Bruno.

There was not a whole lot of action, the story concentrated more on the friendship between Dennis and Bruno, and did it very well. Both actors were most excellent in their parts.

It was fascinating to see late 1970’s Europe, especially the Paris underground (where a hit took place), which was immaculate. Hamburg though looked like a rather depressing place back then.

Wim casted three other directors in the gangster roles.

I did find it a tad long, but overall this was an excellent film to end my week of films.

Date watched: May 5th
Score: 8/10
Film count 2019: 14