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Monday, December 31, 2007

A NEW ERA. 

BEHOLD.

(I even link to you, Jonathan!)

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Snaked #1 

With Snaked, creator Clifford Meth’s goal is to inject a little political commentary with his horror. Not an unknown ambition, but not something you see in modern horror comics beyond broad socio-political statements about the human condition or something. No, Snaked is a little more direct with its cameos by the Clintons and George W., right alongside prison sequences that are as gut-clenchingly horrific as they are impossible to describe on a PG-13 website. Rufus Dayglo handles the art duties, with pencil and ink work resembling Kieron Dwyer and Ashley Wood and a washed-out blue-and-brown palette that wouldn’t look out of place in DC’s defunct Focus line.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

The most joy-inspiring 80 seconds in my young life. 

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My Christmas gift to you. 

Beavis and Butthead Do Christmas, part 1:



And part 2:

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Modern Art Experience 

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The placard reads:

Untitled, Sally McDouche
2007, ink on canvas

By setting up the joke as a traditional "guy walks into a bar" zinger, the joke-teller has given the listener a certain expectation -- one she dashes expertly, when instead she changes the meaning of the word "bar" with the application of her cunning punchline.

In doing so, she challenges what we perceive as the traditional joke, and indeed asks us to question why we find anything funny at all. Indeed, one could say the very underpinnings of comedy have been laid bare under McDouche's expert dissection.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Charlie Wilson's War 

There are two stage-minded creators at work in Charlie Wilson’s War: director Mike Nichols (Closer, Angels in America) and writer Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, Sports Night, A Few Good Men), but you’d have to be blind and deaf not to notice them. Both have a very theatrical sense of both drama and comedy, and at points you’re almost preparing yourself to wipe away a bit of Tom Hanks’s love sweat. The cadence of the film is deliberate and synthetic; it’s as if Nichols and Sorkin are asking you to pay attention to the story’s artifice.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Movie Goer's Guide to Your Fellow Movie Goers 

If you're reading this blog, chances are you see movies on a regular basis, have at least been to a movie theater at least once in your life, or in any case you hit "next blog" on the top bar there. Or you're one of the legions of people searching for "funny drink names" on Google, which comprise roughly 98.7% of my hits. (Hi, by the way! "Raging Lesbian Orgy" and "Scorching Case of Herpes" are trademarks of my former roommate Jeff Llewellyn, amateur bartender.)

That being the case, I felt it might be useful to post a guide to what you can expect from your fellow homo sapiens at the average movie theater complex. Think of it as a bestiary if that helps. Listed below are some common archetypes you're likely to encounter and possible motivations for their actions. I've done this sort of thing before, but I felt I should update the material and perhaps remove the suggested acts of violence. Assistance in development of some of these archetypes goes to Joe Cucinotti.

Without further ado...

ARCHETYPE: THE MOVIE DETECTIVE
BEHAVIOR:
Unclear on the concept that movies are an audio-visual medium and not everything needs to be explicitly said to be understood, the Movie Detective feels the need to state out loud every connection and revelation that is not expressly stated by one of the characters. Often he feels this makes him very smart. He is wrong.

ARCHETYPE: MR. DONKEY LAUGH
BEHAVIOR:
Mr. Donkey Laugh simply cannot laugh at normal decibel levels. His laugh is in fact so piercing, so unique, and occurs with such frequency that anticipating its next explosion supplants the actual movie in your mind, until you wait, cowered in your seat, like a London resident during the Blitz. Mr. Donkey Laugh in fact makes it harder to laugh at genuinely funny segments in a movie. When combined with THE CHUCKLEHEAD, the effects can be fatal.

ARCHETYPE: TEXTY McCELLPHONE
BEHAVIOR:
Because we live in an age where it is apparently impossible to sit still and concentrate for 90 minutes, Texty McCellphone has no compunctions about whipping out their little LED leash to see what pearls of wisdom were cast to her by her friends, and so that she can respond in kind with wit that would no doubt make Oscar Wilde burn with envy. Fun fact: nothing anyone has typed with their thumbs has ever been important.

ARCHETYPE: THE CHUCKLEHEAD
BEHAVIOR:
Everything is funny to the Chucklehead. Absolutely everything. Any trace of mirth whatsoever, no matter how slight, is met with uproarious or inappropriate laughter. This is not limited to comedies. One need only step into a genuinely tense thriller or horror movie to see the Chucklehead in action, as he laughs through tensely quiet moments, giggles at serious dialogue, and guffaws when sudden violence kills a sympathetic character. The Chucklehead is one of the leading arguments for state-sponsored, or at least state-sanctioned, euthanasia.

ARCHETYPE: THE WORST PARENTS ON EARTH
BEHAVIOR:
"What two year old WOULDN'T love the 10:15 PM showing of Ocean's 13?"
Credit to: Benjamin Birdie

ARCHETYPE: BEER BOTTLE BOWLERS
BEHAVIOR:
The punk kids who bring beer into the theater, sit in the back, and then halfway through the movie knock an empty bottle over. The bottle then slowly, noisily rolls down the entire length of the theater, bouncing off chairs until it comes to a stop five minutes later. Sometimes they find this amusing.
Credit to: Dave Campbell

ARCHETYPE: THE PREVIEW JUDGE
BEHAVIOR:
The fuckwit who loudly passes judgement on every trailer. "That looks stupid." Dude, we don't care if your Skoal-chewing backwards-hat wearing ass is going to go see the new Natalie Portman movie or not.
Credit to: Dave Campbell

ARCHETYPE: THE INTERROGATOR
BEHAVIOR:
"Who is that? Why'd he do that? Do they know each other? What's that for?" every single thing that happens on screen is the prompt for a question, usually something that would be answered if you would just SHUT THE FUCK UP AND WATCH THE MOVIE!
Credit to: Dorian Wright

Suggestions for the list are of course welcome. Put them in Comments.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

The Kite Runner, The Orphanage 

The Kite Runner:

There’s a certain voyeuristic appeal to fiction like The Kite Runner. It’s safe to say the topic of “Afghanistan” is a touchy and fascinating one, and to be honest, before 9/11, no one on this side of the Atlantic felt much need to know anything about it since the Russians withdrew in the ‘80s. The Kite Runner brings us an insider’s point of view on what the country was, before the Communists arrived and after the Taliban took over. We learn something new about a culture we have until recently ignored, with tragic consequences. For Afghanis, The Kite Runner – both book and film – may be their big chance to show a bit of what their culture means to the Western mainstream.

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The Orphanage:

Man, what a pleasure it is, finding a horror movie that understands dread. Merriam-Webster defines dread (the noun) as “great fear especially in the face of impending evil,” or “extreme uneasiness in the face of a disagreeable prospect.” “Impending evil,” “disagreeable prospect.” It’s the prospect of facing something, rather than actually facing the thing itself. Here’s where I start to sound like a bitter old cliché: American filmmakers have forgotten that dread is, in fact, the root of good horror. American horror instead focuses on the gratification rather than the build-up, and anyone with a sex life can tell you that someone focused only on that isn’t worth seeing a second time. But a filmmaker who knows how to coax and coerce you into greater fits of “oh please god no”? That is an infinitely more pleasurable experience.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A demonstration of my power. 

Even titans like Campbell must dance for my pleasure.



(Like hell I'm giving you context. That would ruin it.)

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Atomic Robo #3, Northlanders #1 

Atomic Robo #3:

Atomic Robo #3 follows the titular Atomic Robot (named Robo, a’course) and his team of weirdness investigators as they try to stop a pyramid that’s come to life and is rolling toward Luxor. The Egyptian government, naturally, does not want a natural treasure destroyed, so the team has to figure out a way to stop the pyramid’s five-millenia-old mechanisms without ruining the damn thing. But it must not reach Luxor.

Are we all on the same page, then? Okay, good.

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Northlanders #1:

Northlanders is like a rendition of Hamlet that traded in all its estrogen for machismo. There’s a lot of macho posturing, a lot of challenges to manhood, and a hell of a lot of blood and guts. Fitting, then, that it’s a Viking story set in 980 A.D. In the end-issue letter, writer Brian Wood says he’s been a fan of vikings since he was a kid, and in preparation for this title wanted to do them right. Copious research and traveling ensued, and what we have now is apparently the result of some rigorous research. I’ll take his word for it. Just say the word “viking” and the images it invokes will be preparation enough.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

The Golden Compass 

Somewhere, there is an assembly line that puts together movie adaptations of fantasy epics. The first stop on this line gives us the narrated infodump providing the Story So Far. The second shows us children playing in happier times, set to whimsical music. Throughout they put in setups for later payoffs – if someone mentions some great loss in his past, you can be sure he’ll be rectified before close of play – like a checklist. And someone, somewhere, is going to mention a damn prophecy.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

And psyched yet again. 

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Yes. Yes. 


Official red band trailer (remember those?) here.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Dan Dare #1, Foolkiller #2 

Dan Dare #1:

So, Garth Ennis on Dan Dare: take one part his revival of Enemy Ace, a dash of War Stories, and top it off with a heavy seasoning from his Nick Fury mini-series and serve with a side of his fledgling sci-fi leanings (Judge Dredd, Midnighter, etc.) and eat with a room temperature glass of nostalgia. That’s what you’d think, or at least that’s what I anticipated. You know the story: legendary war horse, who thought himself done with all that nasty business, is dragged back into the line of fire for One Last Job because he’s the only hope for a human race sadly lacking in heroes. But Ennis doesn’t seem to be up to his usual tricks here. Indeed, he doesn’t seem to be up to any tricks at all. For a character who’s seen more revisions than geology text at Bob Jones University, this interpretation of Dan Dare is downright traditional.

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Foolkiller
#2:

The Foolkiller maxi-series, published from 1990 to 1991, was written by Steve Gerber. Gerber understood something about the American psyche’s need to see people punished for their wrong-doing. He understood the superficial attractiveness of caveman justice, the sort of moral finality that seems so scarce in everyday life. He also understood how dangerous that kind of path was; that it takes little more than a shove for an untouchable enforcer of personal taste to become a cultural fascist. Sure, he starts by taking out criminal trash; gone on too long, celebrated a bit too loudly by other morally simplistic pedagogues (say, talk show hosts), and the next thing you know this enforcer is killing the hypocritical or the merely annoying. More importantly, Gerber’s characters were all on the edge of something, maybe something disastrous, but they were still recognizable.

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