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Friday, April 25, 2008

Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay 

The best gauge for a comedy is to see how much fun the cast appears to be having with it. That’s a subjective measure, to be sure, but if you see enough comedies you can get an idea if the people making it are into it. Ask yourself: Does it look like these people start laughing when the camera stops rolling? Are they approaching this material like something to enjoy, or something to get done?

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Monday, April 21, 2008

And it is with great sorrow... 

That we mark the passing of comics blog Dave's Long Box.


I understand that the people who actually still read this blog don't come from a comics blogging background, so I'll lay it out for you.

Dave was funny. Really funny. No, really, he was fucking funny. He was an endlessly inventive comedic presence in the comics blogosphere, forcing others to step up their game and still others (like myself!) to just get the hell out of the way. And it paid off: the guy once got mentioned in motherfucking Newsweek.

On top of that, he was also a nice guy. Gracious. Never mean. "A class act," I guess you'd say. He mentions Mike Sterling, Neilalien, and Graeme MacMillan as major inspirations... though I would easily say he belongs in that pantheon. They, too, are class acts who define what it is to be a comics blogger and commentator.

Dave's still going to be around, of course. He's doing his paying blogging gig for ABC, pretending he likes Desperate Housewives for phat studio cash, and soon (so he says) he'll be opening up a more general-interest blog that's not so comics-centric.

I look forward to it. Despite what Rorschach above (spoiler alert!) might think, this is not a funeral. This is a victory lap.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Yeah, pretty much. 

One quibble: I'm not that down on the older forms of church; I commissioned a rosary, after all. But I do believe that a failure to grow means death in relevance, if not literal death.




What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Emergent/Postmodern

You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don't think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.


Emergent/Postmodern


79%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


71%

Modern Liberal


68%

Classical Liberal


64%

Neo orthodox


54%

Roman Catholic


46%

Charismatic/Pentecostal


43%

Reformed Evangelical


18%

Fundamentalist


0%


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Monday, April 14, 2008

Radio Free Id: John Carpenter Appreciation Week 

This past week became the unofficial John Carpenter Appreciation Week at Casa de Lowery. It started with a late-night viewing of They Live, that awesome ode to blue collar revolt against crushing Reaganomics circa 1988. It wasn’t on purpose—I was, in fact, about to go to bed, as it was 11:30 at night and I had work the next morning—but They Live just isn’t the kind of movie you can turn away.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

In Theaters: Street Kings 

When we first see him, Detective Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves) is a lone, drunken wreck. He wakes up, vomits, cleans up, and grabs some liquor on the way to work. ‘Work’ turns out to be a straight drug deal: Ludlow taunts his buyers into assaulting him and stealing his car, then tracks the GPS locator on his car to find their hideout. He takes them out, recovers the drugs and a couple kidnapped schoolgirls, and becomes a hero. His CO Captain Wander (Forest Whitaker, loud and brash) and his fellow detectives congratulate him, pleased as punch. Another headline-grabbing caper for the LAPD. Ludlow’s old partner Washington (Terry Crews), still wearing blue, is less than impressed and smells something dirty on him.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

On DVD: The Host 

Hey, now this is how you make a big-monster movie: Get that big monster out there early and don’t be afraid to show it. If your material is good and your actors hit the notes, if the scares are solid and you build actual tension, then “the big reveal” doesn’t have to be the climax of your film to which all other content is subservient. (I’m looking at you, Cloverfield.) Get us attached to the people. Make us care about something more than what the monster looks like. Give us some laughs and choke us up. Make us afraid for these people. This is what people are referring to when they call a movie a “ride.”

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

LOLCarpenter 


I love In the Mouth of Madness. I love it. I take note of its every stumble, its every clumsy expositional infodump, its every groaner... and I love it. Love it. Love it. It's shabby as hell, but it has that lovability common to all of Carpenter's best work.

Watching it now for the first time in 7 years or more, I can see how it fed and/or created so many of my current storytelling obsessions: the hold that art has over both audience and artist, the breach of the divide between story and reality, and the postmodern notion that something does not have to be factual to be true. Hell, those notions seem to have a hold over John Carpenter, too; it's something he revisited for his contribution to the Masters of Horror series.

Reality is what you and the people around you make of it. (And fuck if it's not a bad scene when someone seriously bent gets a disproportionate amount of control over "what we make of it.") Five years ago I would've thought a statement like that was Flake Central, or worse, a pretentious broadcast from Philosophy 101 as interpreted by 18 year-olds who listen to Pavement. But I think I get it now.

No, I can't explain it. I don't think it's something to be explained. Sorry.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Radio Free Id: The Death of the Local Critic 

In the past few weeks, a couple critics I greatly admire have bitten the critical dust: David Ansen of Newsweek and Nathan Lee of the Village Voice. Lee was a pretty recent addition to the Voice, and his original voice was one I greatly admired. (Never have I felt more “I wish I’d said that!” moments than with some of his best work.) Ansen was a bit more mainstream, a bit more staid, but unerringly sharp and a master wordsmith. Anyone who’s seen This Film Is Not Yet Rated knows that Ansen’s wit and insight isn’t confined to his writing.

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Comics: X-Men: First Class - Mutant Mayhem 

Here’s how revolutionary X-Men: First Class is: I bought it.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

In Theaters: Shine a Light 

Early in Shine a Light, Martin Scorsese’s concert film of the Rolling Stones performing over two nights at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, a special guest asks to visit with the Stones before the audience files in. That special guest is former president Bill Clinton, Hillary, and Hillary’s mother. The lot of them gather on stage for photo ops—Scorsese watches with a bemused expression from his control room—and mug for pictures. Here is a concentration of Baby Boomer power unlike anything you’ll see anywhere else: Clinton, the Stones, Scorsese. What’s even more fun is the subtle power dynamic at play. It’s Clinton asking for the photo op, and the Stones gamely playing along. Scorsese watches at a distance, but even he’s subject to the whims of the band’s schedule… and after all, without them, he has no film. It’s the Stones’ show.

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