Friday, February 21, 2014

Weekend Entertainment Recommendations For Seniors and Others

Technical Note: At the time of this writing, the below recs are all available for instant download and use at Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Audible and Overdrive. Recs apply whether you are using a PC or a Mac or a mobile device, both tablet and phone. Additionally, the mobile devices have Apps for using these media items. Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Audible and Overdrive are all available as Apps for both Android and Apple mobile devices. However, the Amazon Instant Video app is presently only available for Apple mobile devices.

I am a top reviewer on Amazon; go here to read my reviews.

Book: You Disappear by Christian Jungersen  It's been a long time since I have read a novel this original. It starts out with a family on holiday. The husband has an accident and while he's being checked for a fracture, a tumor is discovered. With lesser books this would then become either a medical weepie or even a mystery. This book takes a wholly new path. The family finds itself suddenly beset from all sides with revelation of the tumor. The wife, Mia, has to find out how neurological science is affecting them and what unfolds is absolutely fascinating. One of the key queries becomes how responsible is someone for their acts if these acts are committed while subject to a brain injury. All sorts of questions flow from this and most especially the issue of free will. This is by a Danish author, Christian Jungersen, and is now being released in translation to American readers. The author has written two other novels which have been picking up prizes, only one of which has been translated to English.

Music: Blunderbuss by Jack White  When you can play all instruments, compose your own music, write your own lyrics and also sing them, it becomes highly questionable whether you need creative partners. Jack White has always had creative partners, mainly Meg White, but this album makes clear that he needs no one but himself to make and perform great music. Most solo vocal artists who were formerly with a band played at most a guitar or a piano and also created the entire act with the band. 
By contrast, White has always done the heavy lifting no matter who was his partner. Thus, he has moved easily from the White Stripes to the Raconteurs to Dead Weather, not having messy breakups with any of them but instead keeping the door open. Incredibly, Meg White broke up the White Stripes, not Jack. But he also remains ready to perform with her should she change her mind. This ability to go back and forth in creative collaboration or to go solo is really unprecedented in the music business. He also produces other albums for other musicians such as Loretta Lynn and has created soundtrack music for the movies. I have no idea what he is like as a human being, and would rather not know, but as a musical artist he does it all and consistently so.

As for the album Blunderbuss itself, the songs remind me of his big hit on a Raconteur album, Carolina Dream. So this has a very bluesy, darkish feel to it. I like all of it, just like I like all of his music. I'd have to say I like this as well as his White Stripes' albums and more than his Raconteurs and Dead Weather albums. This must be because he is front and center on every song. A link to this album follows as well as another picture link to a top White Stripes album Icky Thump, a grammy winner. Blunderbuss

Video: Justified Season Five 
Boyd Crowder, left  I think everyone does a fine job here but i've frequently read what really makes a good drama is having a great villain. One of the all time tv great villains has to be Boyd Crowder played by Walton Goggins. I saw him play the screw up cop Shane on The Shield for years and little did I expect he would have the dramatic chops to make a great villain. I loved the time he found religion and then lost it. I've loved his love affair and planned marriage to Ada. His visits to her in prison in Season Five are priceless. Oh, and when he waxes poetic with his southern drawl and story telling ability, that's the very best. He and the writers have given this villain nuances that are just genius.

Boyd Crowder, left; the Marshall, right.  
I really like Timothy Olyphant as the marshall too. I enjoyed him on Deadwood prior to this. He is the hero with a bit of bad boy in him. He always ends up doing mostly what's right except for his own personal life. This season he even has a child albeit living in a different city. I agree with another reviewer at Amazon who likens him to early Clint Eastwood. It is a marvelous show with marvelous writing, all inspired by a short story by the late Elmore Leonard who also wrote the novel Raylan shortly before his death about the marshall. But it is still Boyd who makes it for me week in and week out. Amazon has all five seasons available for instant viewing. Amazon Prime members can view four of those seasons for free.

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