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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Joe vs. Ken, Episode 6: F@#k Jason Statham 

The latest podcast "Episode 6 - 'F*&K Jason Statham'" is now LIVE at www.joevsken.com

We get back into movies as we discuss Hamlet 2 and Tropic Thunder. Ken talks about Man on Wire and I give my thoughts on Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

There's a nice little Jason Statham rant and a comparison of camp done right (Doomsday) and camp done horribly wrong (Death Race).

We update every Saturday and Wednesday. Be sure to subscribe so your iTunes updates automatically. Because you're worth it.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Joe vs. Ken, Episode 5: Back to Basics 

Just Joe and I this week, and we step away from the movies -- I know, I know -- to talk about another pastime: video games. Did I mention we're nerds? We're nerds.

Check out the podcast here, and be sure to subscribe so your iTunes automatically makes with the download. Because you're worth it.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

I'm not even all that neurotic. Right? Am I? Hmm... 

Your result for The Director Who Films Your Life Test...

Woody Allen

Your film will be 62% romantic, 41% comedy, 30% complex plot, and a $ 22 million budget.


Be prepared to have your life story shot entirely in New York City -- though lately Woody's been loving shooting in London. Also, your music soundtrack is all jazz from before 1949. Filmography: Annie Hall, Manhattan, Stardust Memories, Everyone Says I Love You, Match Point, Scoop, etc. Woody has released one film per year consistently for the past 35 years. For the past 15 years he's been trying to make films like his older, funnier ones, just like characters in his Stardust Memories film suggest throughout. Regardless of his personal life, his films are American classics.

Take The Director Who Films Your Life Test at HelloQuizzy

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Hamlet 2 

Hamlet 2 is what happens when you mash up a genre spoof with one of those character-study comedies that derives its laughs from mercilessly filming ridiculous people who can’t help but make asses of themselves—think of it as a Christopher Guest movie informed less by This is Spinal Tap and more by the sensibilities of co-writer Pam Brady, who’s spent the majority of her writing career working alongside Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame. Brady wrote the movie with director Andrew Fleming, whose resumé seems comprised mostly of journeyman writer-director work and plenty of paying-the-bills fare. So there’s that, too.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

New Joe vs. Ken, the problem with immersion in horror movies, and Clone Wars 

First, Joe vs. Ken Episode 4: And Scott Makes Four, part two. Where the boys get salty.

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Radio Free Id: The Trouble with Expectations:

So last night I got to thinking about horror movies after having a moment many a horror fan can relate to: walking down a hallway in my home that was very dark and thinking “now is when the monster grabs me.”

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars:

Set between Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars follows Obi-Wan Kenobi (voiced by James Arnold Taylor) and Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) as they try to keep the Republic together while Count Dooku’s (Christopher Lee) Separatists chip away at their forces. Palpatine (Ian Abercrombie), as always, plays both sides against the middle for his own gain.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Problem with San Diego Comic Con 

It's no secret that nerd cultures can be tricky or outright hostile places for women. Nowhere is this more evident than at conventions, be they professional affairs or fan-run. San Diego Comic Con is no exception, despite its increasing profile in mainstream society.

I've never been to SDCC, but I know it's the Big Deal in the world of comic books; it is arguably the biggest deal. So the notion that this convention, which straddles the line between fan celebration and professional trade show, has no policies in place regarding sexual harassment is simply unacceptable. Below is an account by John DiBello, and it's worth reading in its entirety.

Please spread the word by digging or Stumbling or Twittering John's original post, linked below. Crosspost onto your own blog, LiveJournal, MySpace, or what have you. We want SDCC to be a safe, fun place for all fans and professionals.

--

Overheard at San Diego Comic-Con while I was having lunch on the balcony of the Convention Center on Sunday July 27: a bunch of guys looking at the digital photos on the camera of another, while he narrated: "These were the Ghostbusters girls. That one, I grabbed her ass, 'cause I wanted to see what her reaction was." This was only one example of several instance of harassment, stalking or assault that I saw at San Diego this time.

1. One of my friends was working at a con booth selling books. She was stalked by a man who came to her booth several times, pestering her to get together for a date that night. One of her co-workers chased him off the final time.

2. On Friday, just before the show closed, this same woman was closing up her tables when a group of four men came to her booth, started taking photographs of her, telling her she was the "prettiest girl at the con." They they entered the booth, started hugging and kissing her and taking photographs of themselves doing so. She was confused and scared, but they left quickly after doing that.

3. Another friend of mine, a woman running her own booth: on Friday a man came to her booth and openly criticized her drawing ability and sense of design. Reports from others in the same section of the floor confirmed he'd targeted several women with the same sort of abuse and criticism.

Quite simply, this behavior has got to stop at Comic-Con. It should never be a sort of place where anyone, man or woman, feels unsafe or attacked either verbally or physically in any shape or form. There are those, sadly, who get off on this sort of behavior and assault, whether it's to professional booth models, cosplayers or costumed women, or women who are just there to work. This is not acceptable behavior under any circumstance, no matter what you look like or how you're dressed, whether you are in a Princess Leia slave girl outfit or business casual for running your booth.

On Saturday, the day after the second event I described above, I pulled out my convention book to investigate what you can do and who you can speak to after such an occurrence. On page two of the book there is a large grey box outlining "Convention Policies," which contain rules against smoking, live animals, wheeled handcarts, recording at video presentations, drawing or aiming your replica weapon, and giving your badge to others. There is nothing about attendee-to-attendee personal behavior.

Page three of the book contains a "Where Is It?" guide to specific Comic-Con events and services. There's no general information room or desk listed, nor is there a contact location for security, so I go to the Guest Relations Desk. I speak to a volunteer manning the desk; she's sympathetic to the situation but who doesn't have a clear answer to my question: "What's Comic-Con's policy and method of dealing with complaints about harassment?" She directs me to the nearest security guard, who is also sympathetic listening to my reports, but short of the women wanting to report the incidents with the names of their harassers, there's little that can be done.

"I understand that," I tell them both, "but what I'm asking is more hypothetical and informational: if there is a set Comic-Con policy on harassment and physical and verbal abuse on Con attendees and exhibitors, and if so, what's the specific procedure by which someone should report it, and specifically where should they go?" But this wasn't a question either could answer.

So, according to published con policy, there is no tolerance for smoking, drawn weapons, personal pages or selling bootleg videos on the floor, and these rules are written down in black and white in the con booklet. There is not a word in the written rules about harassment or the like. I would like to see something like "Comic-Con has zero tolerance for harassment or violence against any of our attendees or exhibitors. Please report instances to a security guard or the Con Office in room XXX."

The first step to preventing such harassment is giving its victims the knowledge that they can safely and swiftly report such instances to someone in authority. Having no published guideline, and indeed being unable to give a clear answer to questions about it, gives harassment and violence one more red-tape loophole to hide behind.

I enjoyed Comic-Con. I'm looking forward to coming back next year. So, in fact, are the two women whose experiences I've retold above. Aside from those instances, they had a good time at the show. But those instances of harassment shouldn't have happened at all, and that they did under no clear-cut instructions about what to do sadly invites the continuation of such behavior, or even worse.

I don't understand why there's no such written policy about what is not tolerated and what to do when this happens. Is there anyone at Comic-Con able to explain this? Does a similar written policy exist in the booklets for other conventions (SF, comics or otherwise) that could be used as a model? Can it be adapted or adapted, and enforced, for Comic-Con? As the leading event of the comics and pop culture world, Comic-Con should work to make everyone who attends feel comfortable and safe.

--John DiBello

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger" 

As told by your worst nightmares. Seriously, this is frightening.




(Found by Leah.)

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Joe vs. Ken, Episode 4: And Scott Makes Four 

Clone Wars, Midnight Meat Train, and more--including perhaps the most accurate review of Hell Ride you will ever hear, touch, or smell. Be sure to hit "subscribe" to get Joe vs. Ken on your iTunes automatically every week. Because you're worth it.

We are usually NSFW with the audio, but this one is more so.

Here.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Hell Ride 

Here’s something that hasn’t happened in a long time: I didn’t care about anyone in this movie. Not a single character. And if you don’t care about the people, it’s damn hard to care about what they’re up to.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Joe vs. Ken, Episode 3: Return of the Superfriends 

Radio, superhero movies, and special guest star JOHN THE BAPTIST!

Actually his name is just John.

SPECIAL BEHIND THE SCENES COMMENTARY: I'm halfway through a summer flu in this one, and I sure sound like it.

(Here.)

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

You stay classy, Wal-Mart. 

Ahem:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Friday it has warned U.S. store managers in recent weeks about the possible consequences of a labor-friendly bill backed by Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama that would make it easier for workers to form unions.

But the retailer, which has kept its U.S. stores free of unions, stressed it was not telling employees how to vote.

The Wall Street Journal reported that about a dozen employees who attended meetings in seven states said executives had told them that unionization could force Wal-Mart to cut jobs as labor costs rise, and that employees would have to pay hefty union dues and get nothing in return.

Believe me, Wal-Mart, the largest corporation on Earth, can afford rising labor costs. But they are notoriously cheap, even to their own executives. I guess the idea of giving employees benefits or raises in accordance with rising cost of living just terrifies them.

This is the best part, though:

"If anyone representing Wal-Mart gave the impression we were telling associates how to vote, they were wrong and acting without approval," Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said.

I like that. "No, we're not telling them how to vote. But we're telling them that if this one guy wins we might fire them." Honestly, is anyone fooled by this?

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Friday, August 01, 2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor 

There are only two things you need to know about The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. The first is that Stephen Sommers, writer-director of both The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, is neither writer nor director. (IMDB lists him as the uncredited screenwriter, way back in 2001.) His replacement, Rob Cohen, has to his credit titles like xXx, Stealth, and The Skulls, a list that does not instill confidence in your average movie critic. The second thing to know is Rachel Weisz does not reprise the role of beautiful librarian and adventuress Evey O’Connell. That role is instead played by Maria Bello, one of the finest actresses in the movie business today. I wonder if she’s as eager to forget this movie as I am.

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