A look back at 2008

Music:

Places like this – Architecture in Helsinki

An absolutely brilliant album by an absolutely brilliant band. The only songs I disliked where Feather in a Baseball Cap and Underwater. The first was the only down-beat song in the album, and felt oddly out of place. The latter was extremely repetitive and slightly boring at the end. However, Like it or Not and Lazy (lazy) stole the limelight, and are possibly the two-most listented to songs on my iPod.

Tweekend Advance – The Crystal Method

A slight let-down. I heard Name of the Game in the film “Tropic Thunder” and thought it was my thing. However, the album was full of overly-similar and underwhelming beat-driven songs. Disappointing.

Films

In (fuckin’) Bruges (wit’ you?!)

Absolutely brilliant film, definitely the best of the year. In case you’re wondering why I haven’t posted recently, it’s because I went to Bruges, inspired by the film. Colin Farell is brilliant as the insolent yet charismatic protagonist, with Ralph Fiennes playing the English boss. Although the music was dodgy in parts, it was fantastic.

in-bruges

Waltz with Bashir

Another brilliant film, and definitely shocking at the end. Slightly repetitive in that there’s perhaps too much action, but otherwise was great.

The Baader-Meinhoff Complex

This one follows the story of several terrorists/freedom-fighters as they try to survive imprisonment in a judicial system. It’s interesting in that makes the protagonists morally ambiguous. I found myself warming up to a few of them, despite terrorist activities.

Burn After Reading

A very funny and well-directed observation of human morals and motivation. Criticised by many for a confusing story, its strength lies in the fact it doesn’t actually have a conventional plot. It’s just a bunch of characters and their reactions to what’s happening around them.

Literature

Catcher in the Rye – Salinger

At one point the USA’s second most taught book and most censored peice of literature, it’s brilliant. It’s a semi-existentialist look at a disenchanted teenager’s visit to New York after being expelled. It’s written superbly, and had me hooked from start to end.

Consolations of Philosophy – De Botton

A short, but incredibly useful philosophical book that shows the reader how philosophy can help in day-to-day situations with things like anger, lack of money, unpopularity, inadequacy, difficulties and the end of romantic relationships. It’s well written, and was apparently turned into a TV series.

The Trial – Kafka

The Trial.cover.1

I read the graphic novel version of the book, which is a surrealist tale of beauracracy and sex, as well as having incredible visuals. It’s confusing in some points, and depressing in the end, but it’s a great read, and I strongly recommend.

Che: A graphic biography – Spain Rodriguez

Another great graphic novel, this one about one of the best communists ever; Che. It displays his life from start to finish, fighting the good fight against American imperialism. Slightly biased in that it shows few of his mistakes, but one of the best things about him was that he admitted his mistakes when he made them.

Games

There’s a massive Steam sale on, which lasts until the 2nd (tomorrow), with games reduced to frankly silly prices. Bioshock is £3.50, and Trials 2, which I got, is £1.50. It’s one of those infuriating, yet hilarious games, and Chris Livingston sums up the feeling at 1fort.

Aside from that, I’m slowly becoming disenchanted with the FPS, thanks to IGN. So instead, I’m substituting my usual fare with some indie greats, like N, in which you a play a little ninja jumping around 2-d levels. No, don’t run away. The beauty is that when you perform moves perfectly, leap past the enemies trying to hit you with lasers, and then jump on top of a block hurtling towards you at a lethal speed and use it as a lift, everything seems incredible. It makes me look forward to Mirror’s Edge far more.

TV

Dexter

Another succesful series, but yet again I have the feeling the writers will soon run out of ideas. However, now that Dexter’s married he has to juggle living with a family with murdering villains. Some people say it’s formulaic and Dexter is put in a good light because he only kills bad people, but the point is he kills bad people because it’s easier for him.

Robot Chicken

Another teensy-tiny series by Seth Green, but this was alleviated by the release of the second Star Wars spoof. Utterly hilarious again, I hope they keep making ’em as good as this.

Other Stuff

Barack Obama

Bout frickin’ time. Nevertheless, if any thing at all goes wrong in 2009, Fox News will pounce at the chance to slander him with all their dirty republican abilities. Note: I fucking hate Fox.

Bruges

Was fun. I was there for three days, and it was certainly not a shithole. It’s weird though. It’s like the town is split into three. In the south you have the big streets, dirty markets and a few nice parks, in the middle it’s like a gothic medieval town with cathedrals, canals and squares, and in the north it turns into a quaint little french town. Brussels, on the other hand, is undoubtedly a shit hole of epic proportions. It feels like the dirty end of Tottenham Court Road everywhere you go.

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