Movies »Time Bandits

directed by Terry Gilliam (1981)

Time Bandits was a huge favorite of mine as a kid. A child’s wild adventure through the time of Napoleon, Robin Hood, Agamemnon, the Titanic, all while being pursued by both The Supreme Being and Ultimate Darkness, there’s little not to love for an imaginative youngster. Roger Ebert wrote, “the only live-action movie I’ve seen that literally looks like pages out of Heavy Metal magazine, with kings and swordsmen and wide-eyed little boys and fearsome beasts” which is pretty accurate. Gilliam is definitely hit or miss lately, but this, right in the middle of his most creatively satisfying period is one of, if not his very best.

Visually, there are images that are unforgettable as well as great performances by a studly Sean Connery, David Rappaport and personal lifelong obsession (and this week’s hunk) David Warner. If you missed this the first time around, or have a kid that isn’t too squeamish (the ending is surprisingly pitch black) be sure to give this gem a try.

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Posted on April 4, 2010

Books »Water Music

by T.C. Boyle (1982)

T.C. Boyle is one of my favorite contemporary writers and from the hippie clash of Drop City, to the speculative ruin of the planet in Friend of the Earth, I have recommended many of his works here. Water Music is his first novel and while he may not have quite acquired the brilliant character development you’ll find in his later books, there’s lots to have fun with in the adventures of Mungo Park – trudging through the dark heart of undiscovered (by Westerners that is) Africa and Ned Rise – trudging through the foul hardships of London in the late 18th century.

While Boyle freely admits to playing with the historical facts, Mungo Park was a real life explorer who chronicled his discoveries in a book called Travels in the Interior of Africa. Rogue and con man Rise on the other hand is purely a figment of Boyle’s imagination.

Adventure seems to be the theme of the week, and Water Music is a doozy with cutthroats, gallows, crocodiles, angry Moor warriors, frightening diseases, grave robbing and more. Best paired with something along the lines of this week’s movie pick or one of Herzog’s adventures like Aguirre The Wrath of God.

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Posted on March 21, 2010