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Friday, February 29, 2008

Saul Williams, "Sunday Bloody Sunday" 

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Semi-Pro 

Semi-Pro is what happens when the same 15 people make every major comedy for several years. It’s like that guy who has that one really good, very involved “story” joke. The first time you hear it you nearly choke from laughter. The second or third time, you pay more attention to the beats and laugh anew. The fourth and fifth time, it’s still funny to see people who are new to the joke laugh. After that . . . Jesus, man, get a new routine.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Atheist 

The Atheist is not exactly what it sounds like. In the introduction, writer Phil Hester goes to great lengths to assure readers that the “slang” nickname for the title character, Antoine Sharp, is merely a reference to Sharpe’s skepticism about anything and everything. In the comic, Sharpe is many times described as a “human scalpel,” a term whose meaning will not be entirely evident until the story’s conclusion. He is in many ways the nightmarish extreme of Socratic logic, unable to believe but capable of feeling hope—hope expressed in its most abstract sense, the belief that life and living are not wastes of time. Skepticism makes Sharp ask questions. Hope gives him reason to.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

OSCAR OSCAR REVOLUTION! 

Don't forget to enter the contest to win a fabulous prize. Entries are due by 7pm EST on Feb 24th, which would be Oscar night. Which I hope you know if you're entering.

Just pick your winners for these 11 categories:

Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Screenplay, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Animated Feature, and Best Documentary.

...and e-mail your picks to OSCAR@KEN-LOWERY.COM.

Nominees are here if you need a refresher.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Radio Free Id: Torture Porn 

“Torture porn.” It’s a phrase I’ve used from time to time to reference the rise of movies (the Saw series, the Hostel series, Turistas, Chaos, and so on) featuring extended and messy deaths and punishments for its sweaty, attractive stars. You might guess that turn of phrase means I’m not much of a fan, and you’d be right. But for better or worse, torture porn is the face of modern horror movies. God help us, let’s take a look.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Diary of the Dead 

There are three major flaws that undermine every minute of George Romero’s fifth zombie movie, Diary of the Dead. They are insurmountable, inescapable, and ultimately fatal to Romero’s thesis, no matter how eerily relevant that thesis may be.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Spiderwick Chronicles 

How refreshing: The Spiderwick Chronicles an adaptation of a fantasy adventure novel that’s 90 minutes long, looks unflinchingly at divorce, features a parent active in the goings-on of her children’s lives, and exposes the viewer to its fantastic elements gracefully, without introducing a lot of info dumps and characters who exist solely to give exposition. It’s also a hell of a lot of fun, and the relatively rote, by-the-numbers fantasy stylings of The Golden Compass or the latter Lord of the Rings movies are nowhere to be found. The Spiderwick Chronicles is genuinely original in its imaginings, to the point of fascination. It’s also nice to see David Strathairn, the actor who gave us a career-defining performance as Edward R. Murrow, shout lines like “you must protect the book from the ogre!”

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's Valentine's Day 

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Radio Free Id: Your Fellow Movie Goers 

After suffering under the slings and arrows of the best LiveJournal has to offer thanks to my last RFI, I now retreat to rerun territory and present to you this revised and updated Movie Goer's Guide to Your Fellow Movie Goers. Enjoy.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

This is the funniest thing I have ever seen. 



First it's just odd, then it's hilarious, then it gets surreal and kind of amazing. You have to watch the whole thing.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show 

Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show begins like the title, with the man himself. Standing in front of a Hollywood audience, Vaughn introduces Justin Long, Vaughn’s co-star in Dodgeball, perhaps better known as the smug guy in those Mac vs. PC ads Apple’s so fond of. Before Long can say anything, Vaughn snatches away his microphone and introduces his friend and longtime collaborator Jon Favreau. Vaughn and Favreau treat Long like crap, until Favreau turns the tables and reads lines from Swingers – with Long taking Vaughn’s place. It’s funny to be sure, but you can’t help but wonder: Oh, man, am I in for 90 minutes of someone else’s inside joke?

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I am 27 

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(Strip swiped from Perry Bible Fellowship)

I am 27 today. Yesterday was my last day at my old job, and tomorrow is my first day at my new job... which, if all goes well, will be the first steps onto the career path I've wanted since I was 10. Today is also Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of Lent. Put all that together, and it's like the universe is trying to tell me something.

And I know that sequence of events put together means nothing. My mom has a masters in statistics, and she wasn't shy about sharing the concepts she learned while she was doing it. But it's the human mind's imperative to look for patterns in an essentially random universe; that we can build narratives from nothing explains everything from conspiracy theorists to seeing Jesus in a tortilla.

But it's not always a bad thing, that ability. You can create delusions out of it, or you can find the meaning in your life... or in my case, put a little kick in your ass to do things right. So that's what I'm gonna do.

My, that was a somber birthday post. Sorry about that. Happy birthday to me! WOO!

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Setting off on the right foot 

As half the country heads out to the polls for Super Tuesday, it's important to remember that the best the Old Guard can field these days is a crazy Mormon lawyer, a crazy evangelist governor, and a guy who's considered radical and too liberal because he thinks it's weird that a country claiming the moral high ground in world politics is OK with torture and rendition.

I am now faced with the prospect of voting for someone who might actually win. For the first time in my life.

So:




(Video swiped from Sadly, No!)

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Radio Free Id: On Fandom 

I do not like fans.

By “fans,” I do not mean just anyone who likes something. There are normal fans, and there are even those fans who stretch things a little beyond the norm (who ever’s defining that at the moment) and remain thoroughly on the side of Good. My movie fandom probably falls into this latter category, while my more staid fandom of comics and college football rest at pretty mundane levels. I can go on at length about one or the other, I have a framed movie poster or two (but only the classics!), but I know when to stow it

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Y the Last Man 

So it ends.

60 issues on and Y the Last Man, what some have called the flagship title of modern DC Vertigo, has come to an end. It’s a quiet end, a “sixty years later” epilogue that gives us something like closure on Y‘s various threads. The Future, it turns out, is Going to Be All Right, though not without some heartache and setbacks. Clarity is given to the death of 355, and put against the backdrop of an entire lifetime, that death finds perspective; these things happen, that’s all. Not everything works out as it should, but I suppose one of the lessons learned is that the idea of things unfolding “as they should” is an illusory one at best. You just have to roll with what happens, from personal tragedies to worldwide gendercide.

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