Monday, March 19, 2018

Nature's Revenge

The film version of Annihilation is truly excellent, with a rare performance by Natalie Portman that I actually really enjoyed.  (For me, she's usually just kind of there without really bringing much to her parts).  In fact, the cast overall is a good one (Jennifer Jason Leigh brings a lot of layers to her performance as well), and the pacing is pretty much perfect with a genuinely uncanny ending that won't leave you any time soon.

Other things I appreciated -- based on the first novel of a trilogy, it would have been in keeping with the times to set up the second and third books for future cash-grabs sequels but no, Alex Garland settled on making a sci-fi opus that comes in under two hours but tells just as much of a story as necessary.

It's a shame that in a world of endless comic-book spin-offs (many of which I enjoy!  honestly!) a truly great, thoughtful, intentionally slow-paced, and relatively low-budget sci-fi flick literally can't make any money.

If you enjoyed the film, do yourself a favor and read the books which are a lot different in terms of characters and plot, but pretty similar in mood and themes.

Sunday, March 18, 2018


#MeToo has arrived in South Korea:
"The Me Too movement has received endorsement by President Moon Jae-in, who on Sunday reiterated his support as he pledged to eliminate sexual misconduct and gender-based discrimination. 
'Recently, our society, along with the Me Too movement, is in the midst of a crucial change,' Moon said in a congratulatory message for a ceremony commemorating the March 8 International Women’s Day in central Seoul.
'The Me Too movement is leading Korea toward becoming a society in which sexual equality and women’s rights are realized and the dignity of all people is respected.'"
And while the movement is a breath of fresh air in a highly traditional society, two suicides involving men accused of sexual abuse have already occurred.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

What Have You Been Listening To, Teacher James?

Park Ji-ha, "Sounds Heard From The Moon"

I've been digging into the music of Park Ji-ha via Youtube and a recent Pitchfork review.  It's remarkable stuff, as she plays a blend of Korean and Western instruments in a minimal, hypnotic style.  Sometimes she sings, but as far as I can tell she usually doesn't.

I'm off to downtown to do some shopping, and I'm going to definitely try and pick up some of her music while there.  Also, some Indian / Nepalese food at Balaji because that's how I roll.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018



While the semester has gotten off to a mostly smooth start, a minor prayer of mine was answered when an honest-to-jeebus Japanese style ramen restaurant opened up near my office.  I tried it last weekend and it came pretty close -- close enough -- to the real thing.  (The place downtown is better but also more expensive.  So be it.)

Thing is, I guess I'm not the only one jonesing for ramen.  The place has been packed, with a line out the door, ever since it opened.  And believe me, this is about as sleepy of a Daegu suburb as can be.  But it's also a college neighborhood, and 4,000 won ramen (not much more than three bucks) is hard to turn down.

It's even got the Japanese-style ticket vending machine by the door, which I find cool and off-putting at the same time.  Human contact is for losers.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Opinions, On The Internet

I have very little to say about The Florida Project other than that it's an excellent film that will absolutely gut you at the end.

Food Of Love

Over the weekend I finished Ann Powers' Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music.  It's a quick enough read and while it doesn't break entirely new ground, she does a really good job of tying together trends between modern and 19th century music.  And if you're looking for a serious (but not quite convincing) argument as to why Britney Spears is a feminist icon on the level of Madonna or Beyonce, this is the book for you.