Robert Wm. Gomez's

Spasmo by Ennio Morricone (8/10)

Format: 
CD

Another solid giallo score from Morricone. There are three main themes here: "Bambole", "Spasmo", and "Stress Infinito". The first is mellow and dreamy. The second darker and more mysterious. Finally, the third is about weird sounds and experimentation. If you don't mind the repetition this is a pretty good CD.

Every Man Got Dreaming by Sandoz (8/10)

Format: 
CD

When not using the Sandoz moniker to make intense dub reggae albums, Richard H. Kirk's side project sounds much like his other solo work. There are African rhythms sampled here and there, but, for the most part, this is smooth, not-quite-dancy electronica. I'm not really willing to make the commitment to get into contemporary EDM. Only collecting post-Cabaret Voltaire projects is enough for me to make a claim as to having a large electronic music collection.

My Young Auntie (7/10)

A bright and colorful comedic kung-fu movie about a young widow who was tasked with protecting a family fortune from a greedy brother. The joke is that the young girl is treated as though she is an elderly matron as she discovers the excitement of early twentieth century China. The fights were so-so despite Gordon Liu in a wig and the "jokes" didn't quite nail it for me.

The Duke of Burgundy (7/10)

The only reason I knew that this movie existed was a YouTube review of the soundtrack by Sean Rowley. The music is by a group called Cat's Eyes and it has a cool Julee Cruise vibe throughout. The film itself a slow, arty story about two women in a sort of S&M relationship. Sounds sexy right? Well, there are far more close-ups of bugs than any actual skin on the screen and I wasn't really sure if all this was supposed to be a joke.

The Greasy Strangler (8/10)

Although I was entertained for the most part, it's hard not to see that this movie desperately wants to be a John Waters film. It (fortunately) isn't as shocklingly gross as a Waters movie, but it also lacks a bit of the heart of Waters. These are just nasty characters with no humanity (or clothes). All the while it's just trying oh so hard to be a cult film. Still, it's quite funny in the exploitative way of a Tim & Eric sketch.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (8/10)

This was my first cyberpunk novel (if you don't count getting stuck in Neuromancer on the IIgs). I thought it was pretty good but the middle of the book is bogged down explaining the main motivation of the bad guys via an overly long dive into Sumerian history and biblical references that would make John Galt complain about the length.

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (8/10)

Another big book about risk from Taleb filled with math, anecdotes, history and Fat Tony. This time it's all in service of his idea of anti-fragility: systems that are improved by stress and disorder. Again, there's a lot in this book that is over my head but I found myself highlighting and picking up quite a bit. He would argue that reading (and re-reading) difficult books increases one's anti-fragility and makes you better. So there.

Senza Sapere Niente Di Lei by Ennio Morricone (7/10)

Format: 
CD

This is hardly the most memorable Morricone soundtrack. It's a bit repetitive and lacking in hooks, but it provides a decent bed of loungey background music if you don't want to be distracted by it while you work. 

L'Ultimo Uomo Di Sara by Ennio Morricone (8/10)

Format: 
CD

The opening title track is a dull, schmaltzy pop song, but once you're past that it ramps up into a tense, Morricone thriller vibe. Lot's of swooshy electronic noises that sound like someone's racing slot cars in the studio.

10 Cloverfield Lane (8/10)

A good premise that sorta spoils itself by being a pseudo sequel to Cloverfield. A least there is no shaky-cam.

The Neon Demon (5/10)

Although billed as a thriller, this is just art film garbage. I guess the point is to show of awful and cutthroat the world of high fashion modeling is? Meh. It's pretty and every frame is a visual treat but the wooden acting and dumb story keep this from being anything but mediocre.

Metti, Una Sera A Cena by Ennio Morricone (10/10)

Format: 
CD

I know I say this about every Morricone record I own, but seriously, this is one of his absolute best scores. Certainly it's the best of his late 60's easy listening pop soundtracks. There's just a great mix of styles that all work together from bossa nova, to lush orchestrations, to a trippy sitar track and, of course, Edda Dell'Orso.

Indagine Su Un Cittadino Al Di Sopra Di Ogni Sospetto by Ennio Morricone (10/10)

Format: 
CD

In my mind, this ranks up there with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly as one of Morricone's most memorable scores. It has that Italian crime feel, but the arrangements are filled with unexpected sounds like banjo, mouth harp and wood fish. All this underscores the fantastical premise upon which the film is based. The CD includes several versions of the same songs which make it feel a little more repetitive than it actually is.

Sorcerer (8/10)

The reason to watch this is the crazy pyrotechnics and stunts and gritty 70s style. Worth it for the bridge crossing scene alone. In terms of plot and characters, this movie is a bit of a failure and the nihilism of the whole final act is a real let down. Great Tangerine Dream soundtrack though.

Marxism by Thomas Sowell (4/10)

I got this as an audiobook, hoping to get a decent overview of what Marxism is without having to actually read Marx himself. Even though this was by Thomas Sowell, who usually is really insightful, I was alternately bored and confused by most of it. Marxist ideology feels like the ramblings of a pompous yet incoherent art critic.