I explore faster Beethoven variations, enjoy the antics of Hangover III, and learn that R.I.P.D. may not have been worth it.

Beethoven on speed

I’ve been somewhat taken recently by musicians playing Beethoven at faster than normal speeds, which come closer to the actual performances intended by Beethoven, such as Moonlight Sonata by Valentina Lisitsa or Beethoven 5th conducted by Benjamin Zander.

There is also an excellent Radiolab broadcast called Speedy Beat that delves deeper in to how Beethoven went back to his compositions years later with a metronome and controversially changed their timings to be faster many musicians are comfortable with, but improvements are quite marked.

Movies

Hangover III

The third and final of the Hangover series, Hangover III (2013) sees Alan (Zach Galifianakis) facing an intervention after he buys a giraffe that gets accidentally beheaded on the freeway. When he and the rest of his friends, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Doug (Justin Bartha) (making up the wolfpack) head off to take Alan for treatment, they are shanghaied by mob boss Marshall (John Goodman). The psychotic Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) has stolen half the split from a job amounting to over 21 million in gold, and takes Doug hostage to have them track down Chow and get the money back.

Needless to say, things don’t go well for when they find and team up with Chow to get the gold back, the boys are double-crossed and find that they’ve just helped Chow to steal Marshall’s gold instead.

This is a highly enjoyable movie that keeps you enjoyably engaged throughout, and moves easily through different rites of passage as self-realisation occurs to them that accepting and enjoying the crazy may be a better choice after all.

R.I.P.D.

R.I.P.D. (2013) is a buddy cop movie with a twist where they are returned from the dead and are policing undead forces on earth – but sadly, that’s not enough to save this movie.

Even though the actors such as Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds act convincingly, the story has several problems that even good acting cannot rescue. As a result, the movie becomes less compelling as time goes on and when our suspension of disbelief comes to a crashing halt partway through the movie, we even paused things for a bit to discuss why. The tvtropes website can help to provide a some insight as to why, for on the three act structure page it finishes off by saying:

If done well, the Three Act Structure is a useful tool in making interesting stories that develop and progress logically. If done poorly, there’s a feeling that what we’re experiencing is something we’ve seen many, many, many, many times before.

And in this case, we’ve seen very similar before from movies such as Men in Black (1997) and Ghostbusters (1984), which despite their age cast a very long shadow indeed.

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