Wednesday, October 05, 2005
A BIT OF CULTURE
I have been watching the series ROME on HBO (via Movie Central – Channel 55 on Shaw Cable) and am enjoying the sheer spectacle. Good acting and dialogue, believable plots and a real attempt to capture the spirit of the time. Despite the fact that there are a lot of English actors in toga’s sounding very English – HBO co-produced this 12 part series with the BBC – its good television.
Several good movies recently. Last night was Head in the Clouds with Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruze, Stuart Townsend (who is very good indeed) and others in a compassionate story set in the time of the Spanish civil war and World War 2. (There is an interesting cameo appearance of Steven Berkoff here as the father of the hedonistic Gilda – a part he plays with exceptional quality). Then on to the Kenneth Brannagh movie about FDR and polio – Warm Springs. Brannagh is convincing and does not overplay this part (as he did with Shackelton in my view, though others obviously thought differently). He is now working on a film version of The Magic Flute.
While mentioning FDR, Conrad Black's detailed and thorough account of his life is extremely well written and is a must read for those of us convinced that we need to know more about our past and the people who influenced it. I would recommend it.
I would not recommend a novel by Faye Kellerman, which I just finished – Straight into Darkness. Set in 1920’s Munich before Hitler assumes power following his election as Chancellor, it’s a murder story without much substance. Poorly written, dull and very little real character development – relies heavily on stereotypes. This is my first Faye Kellerman novel and probably my last. On her web site she says of this novel that it is “my attempt to understand the inconceivable” – well, she didn’t make it.
I am now reading a little pot boiler which shows more promise - Iris Johansen's Final Target - about the treatment of the President of the US's daughter. Its glup, but enjoyable. She has written twenty five books (and so have I by the way), so knows how to do this. Memorable amongst these is The Killing Game and Firestorm.
My son Glyn (who is not getting married just yet) is "into" Lost, the Amazing Race and other stuff on TV. His lady, Michelle, wanted to catch up on the new season of Oprah, so we have been recording these. He is welcome to her. She gets more ranting each week...
Ah well, back to the serious business of writing fiction.