May 21, 2018

[Movies] Monty Python: The Meaning of Live (2014) Review

As an odd sort of companion to Monty Python's final live performance, Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go, the documentary Monty Python: The Meaning of Live was created to take a look at the behind-the-scenes of this production and try to capture what it was like for these men to come back together after so many years to bring back to life their old sketches from their television days.

I suppose this makes sense when you take a moment to think about it. Having the Pythons come back for a reunion performance was quite the historic moment and why wouldn't a documentary film crew want to cover that? And as the show was a blatant effort to raise funds to deal with legal expenses, companion material like this documentary just play into the whole shindig to push all the hype possible.

Capitalist cynicism aside, this was still a pretty fun piece and it just goes to show that there are so many fascinating facets to the Pythons that we'll probably never tire of efforts like these.

May 18, 2018

[Movies] Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go (2014) Review

The unusual circumstances that led to Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go seem oddly appopriately Pythonesque as they had to put up the show in order to pay for legal expenses resulting from a case about back royalty payments.

This show marked their first live performance in 34 years and was also the first time had performed without Graham Chapman, who had passed away in 1989. And while this doesn't necessarily bring in substantial new material, it's really more of a greatest hits sort of event drawing from Monty Python's diverse history.

This is not the most polished recording of a Monty Python live performance. But it's the rough bits around the edges that really make this performance so memorable. But we'll get into detail in the review proper below.

May 17, 2018

[Books] Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Audible Review

Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the more popular physicists of our times, which is a quirky statement as you don't expect many scientists to become "popular" in the usual sense. But at the very least he is a very familiar name to many as he has often spoken to the media on various subjects and is quite active on social media.

So to expand my Audible adventures beyond biographies, I hoped to listen to Astrophysics for People in a Hurry which was both written and read by him for this audio book edition.

If you've ever watched the new Cosmos series that he hosted, then you might have an idea of how this audio book might go. It's a fascinating listening experience but it isn't a casual one either.

May 16, 2018

[TV] Lost in Space (2018): Season 1 (Review)

When cable TV was a relatively new thing in the Philippines, many an afternoon was spent watching colorized episodes of the original 1965 series Lost in Space. The series oddly endeared itself to me, probably because of its Swiss Family Robinson structure and the fact that the show has a massive robot as one of its characters. I even enjoyed the quirky 1998 movie adaptation that strangely featured  Matt LeBlanc as Major Don West.

So the news of a Netflix attempt to reboot the series was as always unusual news. It's not like there was a major clamor for this series to come back to life, plus I figured how badly the movie had bombed the franchise was pretty much dead.

But instead we get a new series that is somewhat edgier than the original, as is often the case with these reboots. But in time it has a unique, intriguing story of its own which skipped perfectly trying to capture the 1960's family-friendly vibe of the original series and made something new that still nicely homaged the old.

May 15, 2018

[Games] Carcasonne: Under the Big Top Review

Carcasonne is one of our favorite tabletop games as it's a clever mix of varying rules coming together for a strategy game. Each new expansion adds a new factor to add into the mix of things. But not all expansions are the same and we've generally stuck to ones that continue to expand the game in a meaningful way.

What we have avoided is The Catapult, as it adds an odd physical dexterity element to the game that felt silly. I was initialyl worried about Under the Big Top as it seemed to have elements that also looked rather tied to that. It is a circus-themed expansion after all, right?

But in the end this set nicely fits into the greater scheme of things as far as Carcassonne is concerned. But it does feel a little odd as it's our first Z-Man edition of a Carcasonne game after their acquistion of the English distribution rights. Weird world.

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