Alexander

Alexander

This is my English account, you can find other reviews on my French account "Alexander" !

Discover the -sometimes shocking- extremes of the New American Food Culture

dimanche 10 novembre 2013      Anything That Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making ...

Dana Goodyear is an American journalist and poet, writing for the New Yorker. Anything That Moves is her second book published 2013 and is a joyful exploration of the foodie world in the United States.

Goodyear did not exactly write a novel, this book is more a collection of essays which previously appeared in The New Yorker. She is very well documented, the various sections of the book are well researched and it is very interesting to read. Many subjects are discussed: food history, ecology, folklore, agribusiness, humor and horror, the reader discovers many things about food and practices related to it, out of the kitchen.
Even if this book isn't a "real" novel, we cannot deny that Dana Goodyear is a very good storyteller and knows how to awake her readers' interest. Some facts are quite unbelievable and unforeseen, and the whole book is really entertaining and fascinating.


"I don't think I've ever used the word disgusting as a compliment, but here goes. Goodyear's riveting, hilarious, disturbing, and downright disgusting new book is the perfect antidote to a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving. This journalistic thriller, set among the culinary avant-garde, is all about dangerous eating. A rose-haired tarantula spider roll. Frog fallopian tubes. And the most extreme: an unhatched chick, eaten whole. But this story isn't meant to gross you out; it's a window onto a world of chefs, purveyors, farmers, scavengers, and gonzo foodies."
—Dani Shapiro, More

A reading every foodie is going to enjoy!

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, succesful duo in the masterpiece Gravity

samedi 26 octobre 2013      Gravity [DVD] [2013]

Everybody spoke about it, praised the movie, I saw it everywhere but had only watched the trailer and... to be honest, it hadn't convinced me. Special effects seemed to be good, I knew the actors would do it well but I doubted that this movie could do them justice. Well, let's say that "only fools never change their minds", because I was truly bowled by Gravity.

First pictures of the movie: we meet our heroes in space, wandering in the atmosphere out of their space shuttle Explorer. At least, we get right to the heart of the topic: only five minutes are needed to understand that things are going to get complicated. Everybody seem to be relaxed, the spacemen are laughing together and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), almost retired, keeps sharing personal and absurd stories to his colleagues when he is stopped by Houston. A control officer tell them that space debris from a Russian missile strike on a defunct satellite caused a chain reaction of destruction and that they must abort the mission.
Choc is extremely violent, doctor Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is thrown hundreds of meters away from the shuttle, not managing to correct her trajectory. Kowalski is going to come help her, always using his charm and humor to improve the atmosphere. Explorer is completely destroyed, the two last survivors have to go to the Russian station to call for help and hoping to go back on Earth.
But another debris field is coming, ready to hit them again...

First good point: the cast. Producing a big-budget movie with only two actors might be taken as madness. But George Clooney and  Sandra Bullock are astonishing, they don't need anything or anyone else. They both carry the movie on their shoulders, and their duet works perfectly.

Special effects are breath-taking. Even if we still feel the ground under our feet, it seems like we are propelled to the space, head in the stars. Views on Earth, big cities lights, cloud formations, Aurora Borealis take us for an incredible journey. It is a great show, a real one, unlike any we have ever seen.

Alfonso Cuaron succesfully met his challenge. Gravity makes the viewer think about life, attachment to Earth and to our human habits, which seem to be trivial but are so unreachable once you are 600 kilometers above the Earth. We realize that our little common problems (like the cell's dead battery) are nothing compared to the problems we could meet up there, when we are alone (like the shuttle's dead battery...).

Gravity is a must-see movie, if you don't suffer from vertigo or are afraid of vacuum. Because this movie is clearly going to make you hover and get you light years away from here. And for once, 3D is a real bonus!


Limited success for Placebo's last album, Loud Like Love

samedi 12 octobre 2013      Loud Like Love [+digital booklet]

After a few missteps and clumsinesses, a trivial B3, I was enchanted since the very first listening of the track Too Many Friends, a few months ago. It sounded like "good" Placebo, we felt a kind of evolution but it pleased me well, I was then curious to discover their album Loud Like Love, released September 2013.

...And I was very disappointed. The album has more pop sound, is sometimes intimate, lyrics are raw and very similar to the ones sung by Nicola Sirkis, leader of the French band Indochine. Placebo's main problem is that they don't seem to manage striking a better balance for their sound. Brian Molko is the center of everything, we only hear him (which is quite normal for a singer, but he souldn't overshadow the whole instrumental part, which is sometimes left aside), and that is put forward by the track Bosco: the singer's voice is only accompanied by a background piano melody without any real interest.
The sound of the synthetizers is often too wobbly, the rock songs sound like déjà-vu, violins are too dripping: Placebo hasn't find any balance and fall into some cliché.
At least, we feel that the band aged a bit (Moklo is now over 40... even if he still doesn't look like he is), they - hopefully - come with a less pushy sound that the one on Battle Of The Sun , even if they don't offer a real work of art either.

Nevertheless, I would directly say that this album is "bad". After all, it shows a clear evolution for the band and there are not just bad things about this, far from it. But I believe it is still too drafty to fully appreciate it - maybe that less demanding ears would feel very differently about that.


This other review sums it up well: 

« When they’re trying to provoke a reaction, they come across as trying too hard. When they put more focus on restraint, they’re capable of still being relevant. Loud Like Love has bright spots, but the laborious moments threaten to undo their good work. Those who never boarded the Placebo train in the first place will find little here to make them reconsider, and even the die-hards might have to admit that their favourite band are at a crossroads. »

Some add that "the next pull will be the one". According to me, I believe that Placebo has still way to go if they want to subjuguate their audience again. But there's hope!