This Week in Geek (3-9/11/08)


Nothing this week. I'm saving up for Bender's Game.


Books: The Country of Last Things by Paul Auster. This short novel about a young woman trying to survive in a postapocalyptic city is infinitely allegorical and though the subject matter is depressing, it keeps the reader's mind alive with images, parallels and analysis. The City is a timeless parade of misery that seems to cover all of world history, but City life also seems symbolic of how anyone might live his or her life, so that within the span of the novel, you might read her birth (arrival) and death (hopes of departure) with every stage of living in between. A book that's difficult to categorize, and one it would no doubt be worth reading again in a few years.

DVDs: Othello (1981) from the BBC collection. As with Hamlet, a nearly integral version with some big stars (sometimes oddly cast) and television-level production values. Anthony Hopkins plays the title role as someone searching for his words and sometimes falling into strange beastly grimaces. I don't dislike him, though his look is terrible, as a more docile and tormented Othello. In any case, Iago always steals the show, and here Bob Hoskins does a good job of convincing us of the villain's motivations (so rare, it's become irrelevant to the play's success) and ability to manipulate Othello (as a low-class clown). A bit much on the diabolical laughter, but there you go. Sadly (but completing the production's geek trifecta), Penelope Wilton (Harriet Jones, Shaun of the Dead's mum) is very much miscast as Desdemona. Her acting is among the best in the telefilm, but she's too old (35) for Desdemona's innocence and to British-looking for a Venetian. Still, best Emilia (Rosemary Leach) I've seen. Another winner in the first Tragedy boxed set.

Someone Else's Post of the Week
Seeing as this was Elections Week on the other side of the border, may I suggest Topless Robot's Best 5 and Worst 5 fictional presidents? I don't agree with #1, but that's a problem with any list. At least the jet pilot from Independence Day isn't in there.



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