My major accomplishments from yesterday were, well, kind of minor. I ventured outside for the first time in days, buoyed by my sudden and miraculous ability to consume food, and my ventures took me inevitably to the library, from whence I returned bearing an armload of graphic novels. Last year the bulk of my reading was made up of graphic novels, but I have yet to read one in 2007, so I immediately embarked on one that had been lying around neglected for months: Jessica Abel's tale of travels in Mexico (hers? perhaps, but not explicitly), "La Perdida". So far it is marvelous - one moment it is densely chaotic to the point of being unusually difficult reading, but then suddenly the clouds part and I have a moment of terrible clarity.

Other achievements: I continued my progress through the long and remarkably repetitive "Sharpe" television series, with the lackluster "Sharpe's Sword" (number 8 of 14 or 15). Sean Bean is, as always, fantastic (my fondness for Sean Bean, whom we like to call Seen Bawn in my house, is so profound that the Lord of the Rings trilogy [in its entirety] became the Story of Boromir. Poor Boromir), but the whole production has a sort of provisional quality, as if the cameras caught a half-hearted rehearsal rather than the final performance. Also, the constant parade of new lady-loves gives viewers the inevitable impression that they will just keep cycling through women until they find one who is equal to Sharpe. As well they should - some of them are pretty awful.

I also watched another film from Filmspotting's Animation Marathon, "Ghost in the Shell," which leaves only one film that I have yet to see, a film that is purportedly so depressing that it has been languishing in TiVo purgatory (along with "Umberto D" and others I am too frightened to watch): "Grave of the Fireflies." At any rate, "Ghost in the Shell" is a very similar experience to "Akira" - it feels radically and inadequately condensed, paradoxically both slight and convoluted, expositional and elliptical, and (appropriately enough, for a film about cyborgs) somewhat intensely cerebral and soulless. Or shall I say ghostless. Perhaps I have just come to expect a little more out of cyborgs and humanoid robots than this, spoiled by "Bladerunner" and "Battlestar Galactica." The whole film had more potential for emotional complexity than "Akira," I felt hopefully at the beginning, but ultimately it was somewhat static and considerably less weird (thumbs down for less weird movies) in its cast of characters.

"Ghost in the Shell" (1995)
dir. Mamoru Oshii

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