Starting a new column sub-feature this week where I do a rundown of topics that aren’t necessarily comics-related, but I think fall into the same general area of popular cultural interest. Let’s get started, shall we?
Caught Disney’s 2010 release Tangled on cable last night. It’s the first non-Pixar CGI Disney feature I’ve seen, and I have to say, it was quite entertaining. The film’s Wikipedia entry says it “[blends] features of both computer-generated imagery (CGI) and traditional animation” although I’m not exactly sure what that entailed from a technical standpoint. What I do know is that the characters’ movements looked more like what we’re used to seeing in the best traditionally animated features, with smoothly executed, non-stereotyped antics and an overall level of polish and attention to detail that you don’t see all that often in today’s cookie-cutter CGI animated features. The songs were pretty good, too (the “When Will My Life Begin” sequence was great) although I have to say that significant portions of Alan Menken’s “Mother Knows Best” strangely sounded a lot like Les Misérables‘ “Master of the House”.
Playstation Network-exclusive game Journey finally went on general release yesterday. I’d been anticipating the game for a while now, and pre-ordered it last week. It’s a gorgeous-looking game with an affecting orchestral score. I’m not particularly drawn to exploration/modern platformer games, but its overall design sense and high production values, based on what I saw from the trailers and other promotional material in the two years leading up to the game’s debut, convinced me to get it.
Recently picked up Box Like the Pros, a book written by the late Smokin’ Joe Frazier and former The Ring magazine staff writer William Dettloff. I have no intentions of boxing (like the pros or otherwise) but got the book for Frazier’s insights into the sport, its history, and to possibly adapt portions of his workout for use in my own. Even with all the tributes from boxing media after his death last year, I feel like Frazier’s accomplishments inside the ring are still vastly under-appreciated. What a lot of people forget is that he was really undersized as a modern heavyweight. He was practically a cruiserweight (a weight class that didn’t even exist until 1979) when he became the first man to defeat the much-bigger Muhammad Ali in 1971′s “Fight of the Century”. Anyway, it’s a good read, even if you don’t plan on incorporating a lot of boxing in your workout. It’s written in an informal, conversational style that almost makes it feel like Frazier’s right there telling stories about the good old days and giving you training instructions.
The inaugural Weekly Digression “mixtape” consists of the first ten songs that popped up on my media player’s randomly generated playlist. Not a particularly balanced selection, but hey, it’s called the “shuffle” button for a reason.
- Puffy AmiYumi – Tomodachi (“Friends”)
- Marty Friedman – Evil Thrill
- Rufus Wainwright – Not Ready to Love
- Acoustic Alchemy – The Colonel and the Ashes
- Datu’s Tribe – Praning
- Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens – Letters from Iwo Jima End Titles, Part 1
- St. Germain – Latin Note
- Pupil – Sala
- Yoko Kanno (feat. Shanti Snyder) – Sora
- Brian Eno and David Byrne – The Jezebel Spirit