It's official: The Blade Itself shifted gears last night, going from "a good read" to "fasten your seat belt, this is terrific!" Finally, after all these years, there is another author to take the edge off my disappointment in George RR Martin, as the interminable wait for Martin's next book (A Dance With Dragons) grinds on and on...
Like Martin's books, The Blade Itself contains a bit more profanity than I'd like, but the characters are not only solid, they are memorable and distinct, and the battle scenes are very potent. It is smart, action-packed, memorable, and very well written. I'm nearly done with the first book, and have books 2 and 3 on order at my local Barnes and Noble.
The author, Joe Abercrombie, has a nice website with a blog as well, which is a fun/funny read.
Well, today the Oscar nominations came out. Heath Ledger got his nomination for his portrayal of The Joker in the Dark Knight, as everyone anticipated. No surprise to me; it was one of the best performances I've seen in years, and a perfect example of what acting is all about. He was given a role that had near-bottomless room to flesh out, and he did a world-class job at it, I think.
Of course, coincidentally enough, Heath died a year ago today. I read an interesting article about him today in Entertainment Weekly magazine, which seemed to dispel the rumor that his death was tied into his performance of the Joker - meaning, he got so deep into his role that he couldn't get out again. The article suggested that he was actually suffering insomnia and angst because of the imminent breakup of he and his wife, and that he was going to lose his daughter, who meant everything to him. He was taking an ultimately lethal combination of anti-anxiety meds, sleeping pills and ... um, some other prescription pill that escapes me at the moment.
Robert Downey Jr got nominated for Tropic Thunder, which I also watched, believe it or not. Crude, but clever. Haven't seen the other nominated roles, but I can't imagine anyone beating out Heath.
Anyway, about acting... I love to act, since it gives me a chance to be someone else for a while, and do and say things I might not otherwise get a chance to do or say. I also love to entertain people. When I write a play, for instance, I write in part from the perspective of an audience member. "Would I find this fun to watch?" I ask myself. And I write each role from the perspective of the actor. "Is this a role I would enjoy performing?"
So with both the audience and the cast in mind, once the idea is there, the play basically writes itself. It's like I'm taking dictation. Same with writing in my novel, when I get around to it. And actually, I try and do the same thing here... "If I took some time out of my day to stop by and read this blog, would it be interesting and entertaining, or would I quickly skim the paragraphs, then navigate away out of boredom?"
I was going to post a scene from Dark Knight, but there must be some encrypted something-er-other on the DVD, since it won't let me rip any of it. I refuse to post the scene from YouTube - I want to rip it fresh and clean!
So, in leiu of a clip of The Dark Knight, I present a different of My Favorite Scenes - this is the Death of Boromir, in the Fellowship of the Ring. Of all the great characters in Tolkien's awesome trilogy, I like Boromir the best, and his death scene is really strong - not like that nonsense in Return of the King, with the death of Theoden. Or Sauroman's death in the beginning of RotK. Lame.
Viggo's a great actor, and a perfect Aragorn. Apparently, he has a great performance in a mediocre new film called "Good". Much like Eastern Promises, which was also a mediocre film, in which he acted superbly. Of course, the first thing that pops into mind when you mention that movie is the fight scene in the sauna. Great... something new I have to worry about! Getting jumped by two guys with knives while in the sauna, wearing nothing but a grimace. I'll add that to my List of Things I Hope Never Happen To Me.
I'm experimenting with the webcam on my MacBook, so you might see a video-blog post sometime soon, just to see how it turns out. Hey, I'm having fun with this blog - I might as well try stuff out. If it turns out lame, hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained. But if I can make you laugh and brighten your day a smidgen, then it would be worth it.
Here's a random choice from my collection of cool pictures:
Until tomorrow, "So be it, Jedi."