For this week’s Rhapsody we return to Sir Charles Villers Stanford with the third of his Irish Rhapsodies this one for Cello and Orchestra.
Before I start this review I have to give a very special thanks to the complete strangers who gave me their surplus ticket to this film. Random acts of kindness like that must never be ignored or go unappreciated.
I’ve been looking forward to this one for a long time. I was a fan of the comic book Guardians for some time (both versions) and a long time fan of science fiction. Growing up any superhero in space comic be it the Guardians of the Galaxy, Legion of Superheroes, Dreadstar or even the Wanderers was always I was almost guaranteed to pick up at the comic book store.. So the fact that this was going to be Marvel Studio’s next film was something I was very excited about. (plus it was going to have a Raccoon with a machine gun. What more can you ask for?)
While the space operas is generally my favorite sub genre of science fiction I tend to be very picky about it. In fact my personal definition of science fiction is not what the actual definition is. My definition involves interstellar settings with the only fantastic element being faster than light travel. For other types I will use terms like “science fantasy” for stuff like Star Wars and then “space fantasy” for what most of the “science fiction” super heroes consist of is what I call space fantasy that is to say the heroes are for all practical purposes “wizards in space” and you need to have the scenes with the space ships so you are reminded that it’s science fiction and not high fantasy.
Guardians is about as realistic as Star Wars (other than a mining colony built on a giant floating head and the number of times our heroes survived in a vacuum. For that matter if Xandar (the planet of the Nova Corp) is an interstellar empire, as having their main prison in deep space would suggest, why did they even let the bad guys into the solar system let alone into their capital planet’s atmosphere as they did in the grand finale and….)
But anyway despite all of that nit picking I don’t go to superhero films expecting high art… for films like these it’s best to look at them like… Chocolate cake tasty and filling but not much else to it.., but boy is that chocolate tasty!!
That being said Guardians of the galaxy is fun a roller coaster of action as our band of lovable rogues go up against the forces of evil. Pretty much goes through all of the points of the Hero’s Journey, thought unlike other superhero films I can name I don’t have images of the director having a copy of Campbell with a whole lot of bookmarks and highlights in it.
It certainly suffers from a lot of the problems of most of the first movie in a franchise in that its primarily about introducing the cast and telling us how they all met and got the band together. The actual plot and threat that they have to fight is almost a distraction. If you want a more gripping and encompassing story you have to wait for the sequel. But that’s neither here nor there. There is lots of things for our heroes to do, characters, especially Rocket and Drax played wonderfully own this and the world building is wonderful with lot’s of subtle continuity references that will keep the diehard Marvel fan entertained for hours.
If I had any problems with the film it’s how my chronic nitpicking messes with my suspension of disbelief quite a bit. For the most part I’m good everything is fine and enjoyable but it’s the little things. For example… I’m fine with aliens speaking english. For us to follow a movie that takes place lightyears away from Earth certain translation conventions must be embraced… aliens using American colloquialisms however… for some reason that is something I have a problem with. Also while Rocket for the most part is a triumph in CGI half the time moves like they were doing motion capture on a muppet so while well animated did not move around quite as well as he could.
So even though there seems to be more complaints then raves here don’t be fooled, I loved the hell out of this movie. For anyone who might be having second thoughts about going just remember thee small words:
Raccoon With Machine Gun.
A very happy 113th birthday to Louis Armstrong!
Let’s celebrate by listening to him perform his version of “Bare Necessities” which turns a standard Disney jingle into a wondrous ode to life!
I first ever heard of Zulu in a documetnery on Micheal Caine’s carreer telling how it was his breakout roll. The clip included caine describing how he had worked out his character. Oter than that all I knew about it other than it was about the Anglo-Zulu War and since I had read quite a bit about Shakka and the nature of his army I doubted it was particualrly flattering to the Zulu.
For this week’s Rhapsody we have Aram Khachaturian’s Cello Concerto-Rhapsody performed by the man himself with the State Orchestra of the USSR. I knew of Khachaturian’s mostly through his Spartacus ballet but I don’t think I’ve actually listened to it. I definitely intend to listen to him more.
Music aside, I am really digging on this filming. It almost feels like a theatrical performance starring Khachaturian and Mstislav Rostropovich, the cellist . With Khatchaturian looking down upon the orchestra like a stern school master and the slightly mousy Rostropivich trying desperately to please. (apologies to Mr. Rostropovich for an assessment based on just seeing him on film. He pleases big time.)
Well I just survived a long and interesting weekend. It started out okay being one of those ones where it’s pretty much half an office day due to not getting my quota in but trying to balance it with some fun just to prove to myself I had had a weekend. So I went to the library meandered through the street fair and then hung out with friends at The Dreaming, my favorite comic book store and debated with myself whether I wanted to go downtown to see the torchlight parade So fun.
Everything changed when I headed home and as I rummaged for my door key found something missing. I run back to the Dreaming and find there weren’t there either. So I called my building manager (which brings me to another reason I’m glad I finally got a cell phone. The last time this happened to me I had to go find one of the last remaining pay phones in the city. ) Unfortunatly when I reached her I found she wouldn’t be able to come until after nine because she was babysintting for some friends who had gone to the torchlight parade. Aron was doing orders so he let me hang out but since the initial discovery (or lack) of missing keys had given me a mild anxiety attack I was tetchy and hyper for the next hour despite managing to get some drawing in.
I got let in about 9:45. Turned out the manager wouldn’t have a spare set of keys just yet which meant this drama would repeat itself tomorrow. (Heck of a way to make a first impression with the person show renews your lease) Fortunatly I still had one last chance that I had left them at the library.
The problem is the Library wouldn’t open until 1:00 the next day that gave me plenty of time to stew about it. It’s bad enough when your obsessing about the what if of five percent odds… When you aren’t particularly sure they’re there and you’re checking as part of a final check list? That will drive you nuts.
By the next day I was spending most of my time telling myself not to be optimistic and planning the list of what I would do if they were not there.
Fortunately and happily they were, so huge relief but it is definitely something I don’t want to have to go through again soon.