Monday, August 16, 2010

"Scott Pilgrim" Vs. All The Other Summer Bunk? "Pilgrim" wins.

Finally.  A not-so-huge but incredibly entertaining summer surprise.  "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" is a rorschach test - less generational than inspirational.  It would be enough to say that it's fun and inventive.  But there's much more going on there in Pilgrim.  Aside from "Toy Story 3" (which must still be considered the best across the board movie of the summer) there is nothing close to this level of fun out there.  Add in the fact that we caught a late afternoon matinee on the hottest day of the summer and you've got the most deserving A-rating in ages.  If you can't fathom liking a story that takes much of it's inspiration and style from video games, don't bother.  But if are willing to give it a chance, I think you will be seriously enthused.  The entire cast crackles with energy.  Mary Elizabeth Winstead takes the adorable hotness I'd seen as patented by Kate Winslet and somehow manages to up the ante.  I'd already appreciated director Edgar Wright because of "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz".  Now I think we're going steady.  And if you're a complete-ist geek, the graphic novels need to be read just so you can appreciate how much of the visual style comes directly from Bryan Lee O'Malley - dood's got serious vision.  Seriously.  Just go see it. 

On a very different plane, I was totally disappointed by the follow-up novel to "The Tourist" by Olen Steinhauer.  "The Nearest Exit" is so entirely a middle segment in what has to be at least a trilogy.  Steinhauer is plump full of writerly skill and he gets you where you're going with rare efficiency.  But when I put this book down, I wished I'd not read it.  So don't read it until we see if he follows it up with a stronger narrative arc using these same characters.  My rating is a piss and vinegar C-minus.  I still respect this writer big time.  This book was a waste of my time, though.

Hope your own summertime highs get saved in the memory bank for those chilly mornings in less than four months.  Rock on.

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