Could that title sound less enticing? A quick rundown of stuff I’ve seen, read, heard or otherwise ingested.
Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter – I’m not an avid reader of high-brow game criticism, but Tom Bissell’s book is a thoughtful exploration of the philosophy, art and design of video games. It’s also one intellectual’s struggle to reconcile his love of the form with its many, er, infantile aspects. It’s full of insights, and if you live with a non-gamer, I’d offer it to them to explain your hobby.
Rework – A manifesto-style business book from the smart guys at 37Signals. It’s long on illustrations and pat advice, and short on evidence and style. I was familiar with the books’ lessons-stay small, eschew meetings, planning is guessing and so forth–because at Capulet we’ve reached the same conclusions. Others might realize more value from the book, but I was underwhelmed.
The Passage – A nearly-800 page dystopian vampire/zombie tale of adventure set in the future by Justin Cronin. I’d compare this book to early Stephen King–readable, entertaining, schlocky in places and some really terrible metaphors. There are some terrific set pieces in the book, which Ridley Scott may bring to life, as he owns the film rights.
The American – Don’t be deceived by the trailer. This is an austere movie, unencumbered by Hollywood pacing and utterly uncharmed by the Italian countryside where it’s set. In its plotting and slowness, it feels very like a movie from another era. But, thanks to George Clooney’s glowering presence, I really enjoyed it. When I left the busy cinema, however, I mostly heard complaints about the movie’s sedate pace.
A Life in the Theatre – I caught a preview of this Fringe-style production at the Vancouver Playhouse. It’s set in this charmingly weird room with a blue, peaked ceiling in the basement of the theatre. Which is appropriate, actually, as it’s David Mamet’s treatise on acting and the life of the actor. It’s essentially art about art, which never excites me, but if you have a love of the stage, then you could do worse than this show. Hurry, though, as it closes this Sunday.