This is a fantastically evil way to waste time while your computer simulates things.
Sep 24, 2008
Sep 22, 2008
Well jesus, this has apparently turned into a comic book review section. I'm almost only reading great books cuz they are all recommended from one source or another, so all my reviews are glowing! And there's so many more on the list to read and they are so much quicker than a real book! I'm like 1/4 of the way through a great book called The Blank Slate, I'll finish it some day I swear, until then...
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud - I heard about this comic, which is about comics, from a comic book video cast, and even these guys who knows all about this stuff said it blew their minds when it first came out 15 years ago. I gotta say, I feel the same way. I think there is some fundamental art theory in here that I just didn't know, so was surprising to me. Just different things about style and emotion and purpose and language vs. symbols and things that didn't occur to me in comics that are sort of amazing! I think it's pretty important reading for anyone who is into comics, 's cool.
Queen & Country - This is a good one, I guess. It's about British spies, basically, focusing on a particular one. It's the kind of story I don't really care that much, which tells me that it was written well because I was pretty interested to read each following issue. The art is cool too, the style changes dramatically (with the artist) from mission to mission, which is neat. I guess it has a lot of cross over with a couple spinoffs and even some prose novels. I don't like it that much, but I enjoyed reading the main book.
We3 by Grant Morrison - Wow, what the hell. This is a very short 3 issue series, but it sure does pack a punch. The premise sounds silly, three animals (bunny, cat, and dog) bio & tech engineered into soldiers, the story of their break out. It's rather violent, very quick, and very powerful. It's not like its some grand moral statement - don't mistreat things, don't make dangerous weapons. But wow it is so awesome in its short breath.
The King by Rich Koslowski - Um, ok. This is the same guy who did Three Fingers, which I loved. It's a story about a new elvis impersonator who is changing people's lives and maybe isn't an impersonator after all. It's a fun book, a quick read, but I think maybe its thesis has been done better. I think its more about mystery, as it calls it, or the purpose of faith. It was okay, but if you want a good story with the same theme, go read The Life of Pi, which is an amazing book about faith, and that's coming from a very unreligious person.
Scud The Disposable Assassin by Rob Schrab - Meh, this isn't for me. It's about this robot assassin that goes rogue. It's super crazy over the top surreal cartoony. It's got a ridiculous sense of humor. Don't know, I had heard good things, just didn't do it for me. I can see how it would appeal to some, but not to me, I only got 4 issues in.
Surrogates by Robert Venditti - Quick little read about a different kind of future, where everyone controls robots to act as them in the real world. No one uses their real bodies anymore. It's a good story, nothing fancy, quick and effective.
Y the Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan - This title is pretty well known, it got a lot of press recently when it finished its run. Its a rarity in comics in that it had a defined length that wasn't a few issues. It was 60 issues and the creator had that in mind throughout. The basic story is all male mammals on earth suddenly die except one guy named Yorick and his male monkey. The first few issues are just amazing. It's able to point out some facts about our world that boggle the mind. The last page of the last issues gives some stats about the % of certain professions that died with men, its amazing and sad. I'd say the book didn't keep up this amazingness throughout, it got a little "normal" as the same sort of miniplots happened over & over. But then they would throw in random throw away issues that were really great. It ended strong, though the last issue is a future thing that I don't really need. But if he didn't do it, people would complain about that too, so it's fine. Over all, great book.
Fray & Astonishing X-men by Joss Whedon - I'm grouping these because of the author, obviously. Fray is a buffy spin-off set a couple hundred years in the future. It's an 8-issue thing. Mostly fan service to buffy fans, I think. I haven't watched buffy (its on the long list of shows to get to), so it didn't hold anything for me. It's a good short story though. The X-men run ended recently (ellis took over) and is Whedon's take on the team. It's kept purposefully apart from the rest of the x and marvel universes. It's a good story, but at the end of the day its just more x-men. I mean, it's a big story, and dramatic and all that, but EVERY story in marvel (or dc I assume) is huge and its all the heroes and its the fate of the earth and people die and come back and die. That stuff kind of lost its drama around age 13. Anyway, both stories, plot wise, are just good, nothing great, but the writing is fun. It's interesting to see Whedon in written form. His dialogue is often quick and quirky, which you end up reading into the written dialogue, so that's interesting. He is really great at transitions, moving from scene to scene or character to character in subtle and dramatic ways. I also notice in both books when he does two parallel scenes or conversations. In fray it was for comic effect, in x-men it was for dramatic effect, both worked great. So these stories aren't blowing me away, but they are a great excuse to see whedon in a different form and notice some of his tricks.
Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis - Okay, I should not like this book. It's set in the future, and its about a famous reporter, 5 years in isolation, who returns to the city and to reporting. By the numbers, I should hate this comic. The future is exaggerated, almost surreal, something that bothered me with Scud. Technology is essentially unlimited, vice is commonplace, almost anything is possible. The main character is a psychotic ranting over-the-top drug-addicted misanthropic shit-stirring asshole. I usually hate characters like this. I feel like creators use them just to be drunken pissants and yell at the world and their audience like their precious cranky perspective is so original or valuable. Clearly, however, all this is a big setup to say that I really like this book. I don't love it, anymore. The first, like, 15 issues I was flipping out for it. Then it started to drag and I got a little sick of his insanity. Then it picked up again with some political stuff, and in the end is mostly about free speech, government control, and most importantly journalism. Ellis uses this awful character (with an admittedly fantastic visual design) and society to go after not-yet-so-crazy shit in our own lives, of course. And though I might not call it super insightful (advertising culture, vice, government control, freedom of press, religion, etc), it still manages to be a really effective exaggeration of those issues. I have no problem with someone saying they can't handle this book, I'm surprised I can. And I'm not douchey enough to think its so smart that if you don't like it you "don't get it." But if you can dig the character design and world aesthetic, I think it is quite a ride.
Sep 21, 2008
Sep 20, 2008
Sep 16, 2008
HA! Okay, I had heard that Doug Stanhope (a stand up comedian, kind of the "edgy", obnoxious, but funny type) was offering Bristol Palin $25k (plus whatever people donate) to get an abortion and leave her family. It's a silly stunt, obviously she won't take it. What I didn't hear, was that Doug Stanhope is giving all money donated to the page to LilithFund.org, a program that gives underprivelaged women free or low-cost abortions. He will give this money on election day, in the name of Sarah Palin. HA!
Sep 15, 2008
Sep 14, 2008
Sep 11, 2008
Sep 8, 2008
Tropic Thunder - Ha! Pretty great. Not super great. Maybe people told me it was too great ahead of time so I'm a tiny bit disappointed. But still great. Thumbs up for pretty much everyone in it. Except jack black, I kinda hate him, I don't think I've ever liked a movie featuring him. I appreciate the addition of the comedian character, I just don't like him. Everyone else is great, though. I haven't seen any comedies this summer, so I'm not sure how it compares. I wasn't rolling on the floor every other minute, but there were defintely lots of good laughs and a good movie over all.
The Dark Knight in IMAX - Hey! I got to see batman in imax, it was pretty badass. IMAX issues: I didn't notice a single transition from IMAX to widescreen or back, it was just pretty. I was also in a theater with a far superior sound system to the first time, it was awesome. Movie issues: still amazing! It was interesting watching again. On the one hand you have more time to pay attention to little flaws. Bale's throat cancer voice was even more glaring. Silly things like dent actually walking around and breathing and talking w/ half a god damn face stood out. On the other hand, paying less attention to the story left me with more attention for little things that fill the movie out and make it seem even greater. My measure of how enthralled I was the first time around was how long it took me to think "oh yeah, heath ledger is dead." Believe it or not, it took me even longer this time! It's still a great movie, this was just a great movie louder and prettier.
Meet the Robinsons - Soooooo, if I don't say this is the best movie ever, I MIGHT get broken up with :) Fortunately, she doesn't read this! It's a cute enough movie. It's a 3D animation disney movie, kind of like that jimmy neutron show. It's a nice story, I guess, and its funny. It's not exactly the best animated film ever, but it's an ok time if you want silliness!
Meet the Robinsons (Retraction) - I have recently been informed that there is a direct relationship beteween good times and appreciation of Meet the Robinsons. Let me be clear: Meet the Robinsons is the Greatest Film of All Time. I have little doubt that the best filmmakers in our history actually travelled forward in time to see this movie before going back to create their own films, which stand as mere reflections of the brilliance of Meet the Robinsons. It is, without question, the single most significant artistic creation of the last 100 years.
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) - I had never seen this classic, and with the new one coming up I figured I should. It is certainly of an era, but it doesn't suffer too dramatically from being made 50 years ago. The story is pretty timeless, of course, and appropriate for modern day too. It's a strange movie, it's whole premise is the tension of feeling like we are on the edge of annihiliation, but i wouldn't really say the movie feels tense. Maybe because its old, or maybe I just don't like whole it was played. I just felt like I should have felt uneasy the whole time. I sort of fear I won't feel that with the new one because it will be too showy. The new one looks decent, I guess Keannu Reeves is appropriate to play someone w/o emotion. But though the trailer is moderately dramatic, I dunno if it will make me feel like we're all gonna die. Anyway, the original is good enough, and its theme probably would have blown me away if I was around then. Besides, it's a classic, you have to see it anyway! Btw, wiki tells me that there is a christian interpretation of the movie. I guess that makes sense, guy comes to save us from ourselves, dies, comes back. I'm moderately annoyed that no one can ever again try to save people without being jesus though.
Leatherheads - Uh oh. I have a history of liking pretty much anything George Clooney is in. I can't really think of any movie I didn't like. And things he has a part in creating are usually even better. The Ocean's sequels are maybe an exception, but they are sequels, so whatevs. But Leatherheads flies hi over george clooney's shark. It's just not nearly as cute as it wants to be. It has trademark GC quirkiness and charm and banterish dialogue, but it falls flat for me. There are maybe 5 to 10 real moments of cleverness, but the fact that I tried to count points out how lacking the movie is. Something just rang untrue and forced with these characters. Seemed like I should have liked it, but no, I'm afraid I didn't, it's the end of an era! Btw, did they digitally lower clooney's voice? I swear it gets deeper with every movie.
Capricorn One - So I heard an On The Media story about investigative journalism that listed a bunch of old movies about reporters, so that's my next kick. This is first on the list, a 70s movie about a faked mars landing and the reporter who investigates it. I have to ignore that part of my brain that says this might have tied into people believing the moon landing was fake cuz that would just make me angry. Besides of that, it's a pretty decent movie. It's kind of cheesy and 70s-ish in feeling. The fonts, the music. I don't really think its a great "reporter movie" though. Eliot Gould is kinda goofy and just bumbles his way into the investigation. And the investigation itself is pretty stunted too, and the whole thing ends abruptly. It's an interesting movie, I guess, but I hope the rest of the list does a little better.
Shock Corridor - Alright, this is more like it! This is another reporter movie, the premise is the reporter gets himself committed to a mental hospital in order to solve a murder that happened inside the hospital. First the flaws: it suffers some from old movieness. It has overly dramatic music, some overly dramatic performances. It has an absolutely ridiculous scene in the women's ward that literally has them all as sex crazed maniacs. They really call it the "nympo ward"! It was stupid and insulting. It is also really poorly editted. Jarring cuts within a scene, often action scenes that for some reason couldn't get done in one take. One was so bad a guy on the floor rotated 90 degrees through a cut. It felt very amateur in a way that I don't understand, it was 1963, there's no excuse for it. But with those out of the way, this movie is greaaat. The concept is great, its like Cuckoo's Nest except different. It treats madness a little simply, they are crazy and have moments of lucidity. It sets up a pattern he uses to do his investigation that is very formulaic, but it leads to great performances. The main guy does a good job, though his crazies are maybe too crazy. There are four principle patients he encounters, three are pretty good. The last, a black man who was the first to desegreated in a southern college, went crazy, and now rants like a KKK member, is fucking fantastic. He does a fabulous job and is filmed pretty well while he does it. It treats color (in the film sense, its a mostly B&W movie) really fantastically. And surprisingly, given the rest of it, it edits images of madness together well. It ends in a way that is almost inevitable, but is still good to watch. The movie absoultely has its flaws, it almost makes me want for a remake so that those flaws could be ironed out. But they might mess up what is great here, which is absolutely worth watching.