July 05, 2004

Movies on the Fourth

Posted at July 5, 2004 11:08 AM in Books .

The long weekend makes it a bit of a movie weekend for us at home. We went down to Scarecrow on Saturday morning and picked up a few moview.

Yesterday, I watched Alive, which is a Japanese Science Fiction movie by the fellow that did Versus, which was a "Zombies in the Woods" meets "Undying Immortals with Swords" movie. Alive was the next movie, from what I can tell, that he did after that. I would say it is interesting, the premise being a condemned prisoner who survives his suggestive execution being given a choice between life and death, but it doesn't take it very far. The early part of the film is a bit more psychological with two prisoners trying to figure out what is being done to them but, around the middle, it degenerates into a bit of mumbo-jumbo, alien entities, and then fight scenes. I enjoyed watching it and it was fun but it didn't come together very well. I'm a pretty easygoing movie fan so this is a bit damning from me.

In the evening, R and I watched Big Fish by Tim Burton. I wasn't sure what to expect from this one as I had heard varied reviews from friends when it was in the theatres. I actually liked it a lot. It was humorous and I enjoyed the "tall tale" aspects of it. The whole bit about trying to understand your father and it being difficult (or impossible) to do on your own terms was touching. Probably true to life in the ways that matter as well but then my father and I are friendly but don't really "know" each other like so many father - son pairs. Overall, it was an endearing story and fun to watch and I'd recommend it to my friends.

Today, R and I will be watching Suicide Club, another Japanese movie. We know almost nothing about it other than it involves the strange deaths of Japanese schoolgirls and some kind of mystery about people knowing of the deaths beforehand.

I also finished reading Hominids by Robert Sawyer last night. I had been reading Cowl but R and I were going to the gym and Cowl is a hardcover so I grabbed the paperback that I had of Hominids to read. I like Robert Sawyer a lot at times. Sometimes he seems to be one of the old school "idea man" Science Fiction writers where the idea is much cooler than the characters but most of the time, the idea is really secondary to whatever personal crisis that the characters are undergoing. I recommend Factory Humanity in that way. Hominids was not an exception to that as the novel is in two parts, a murder story in one world and, effectively, a woman dealing with rape in another. The book didn't tie things up how I would have wanted but I also know it is the first book of a trilogy so I didn't have the expectation. I'll probably read Humans after I finish Cowl.

On the Buddhist front, I'm finally getting around to reading Reginald Ray's Secret of the Vajra World, which I picked up in hardcover last year but hadn't gotten around to reading. I had the fifth person or so recommend it to me so I figured that it was about time. One of them told me that Ray had written it partially because he teaches on Buddhism at Naropa University and at the University of Colorado and there were no general texts that gave an overview of Tibetan Buddhism and also focused on the actual spirituality of practice as opposed to being surveys of the intellectual philosophy and its arguments. Ray wanted a book that focused on the day to day spirituality of Tantric Buddhism so he wrote one...


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