COMIC - Supermarket tpb - I enjoy Brian Wood’s writing generally, as he has an often different, fluidly urbane style, but here his structure is a little to rapid fire. I’m not saying I’m a big fan of decompression, but the rhythm here was just off. Artist Kristian Donaldson is incredible, though. Absolutely lovely work. The story of an heiress to a mob fortune trapped in between two rival gangs is handled rather flippantly which both works and doesn’t work, but as I said, just feels truncated and not entirely fleshed out.
Last month we watched the story of Anvil, and while I may not absolutely love their music, I’m certainly a fan of the guys, and apparently the LA comedy scene is equally enamored with them:
PODCAST - Comedy Death Ray #27 - Cyber Thug (Jerry Minor) bum-rushes the radio station and takes over the podcast, leaving special guest Jerry O’Connell bewildered and uncomfortable. Bobby Bottleservice (Nick Kroll) returns, and Miles Archer (?) guest host. Hilarious.
#28 - Not so keen on the new game ScAukerman is playing.
#29 - PBS’ Huell Howser (James Adomian) pays a visit to the studio, a show-long character piece which escalates beautifully into a cathartic dose of excessive comedy mania.
#30 - Matt Walsh shows up and rags on “eggheads” and has a show and tell with his space capsule items, while Howard “Dragonboy Suede” Kremer provides the onion-like layers of deception with Disney radio child broadcaster “Sloppy” Timmy Slotsman.
#31 - An extra-length CDRR with Michael Cera, Harris Wittles, Jimmy Pardo, the return of Huell Howser, and call-in appearances from Ice-T (Paul F. Thompkins) and Bobby Bottleservice (Nick Kroll).
AUDIO COMMENTARY - Evil Dead II - Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert get together and talk at one another rapid fire commenting on their experiences and cracking much wise about the whole thing. Make a drinking game out every time Bruce say “Everything’s alright now.” Lots of fun.
TV - V episode 1 - I remember being a somewhat avid watcher of the show as a child, but I don’t really hold a lot of affinity for the series. The main reason I started watching this new series, frankly, was for Elizabeth (Juliet on Lost) Mitchell. The show is populated with other SF TV actors, like that guy from 4400 or the girl from Firefly and Supergirl from Smallville, and at times, especially early on, it comes off as unrefined and overt, trying to hard to get its point across, even clunky in its acting, editing and effect. After the mid-way point, with the “terrorist cell” introduced, and the introduction of “the plan” and its resisters, it actually fared nicely, executed well, hinting at some potentially meaty storytelling. It’s good to see that Scott Wolf’s character isn’t a Gyuss Baltar-like opportunist and actually has some savvy and conscience. I’ll give the next three episodes a go and decide during it’s break whether to continue watching.
DVD - G.I. Joe: Resolute - With all the semi-plausible technobabble and nu-science that’s introduced throughout the mini-movie, you can definitely tell Warren Ellis wrote it. Given virtually free reign to build and destroy, the story moves like few other Joe stories before it. The ammunition is no longer colorful, ineffective lasers, but hard ammo, with a real impact, and it’s by and large balls-to-the-wall action. There’s a ramping up of the intensity from the original cartoon, with the buffoonery eliminated (poor Bazooka) and the threat level extremely high (poor Moscow). Ellis also injects some deftly executed humourous moments (poor Destro) and in general the story is executed quite well. Originally a web serial in 5-minute chunks, it plays remarkably well in full form, though the last battle feels quite truncated. Still, next to the terrific IDW G.I. Joe/Cobra mini-series, this is the best I’ve ever seen the toy line handled. I want more.
COMIC - Beasts of Burden #2 - The final page of this book is absolutely heart-wrenching. Kudos to Mr. Dorkin and Ms. Thompson, you entertained, disturbed and touched me in a way few other comics have.
COMIC - Chew #5 - John Layman is kicking all sorts of ass on this series, and this issue is a brilliant capper to the current storyline. Is Tony Chu to be admired for his loyalty to his job and ethics, or admonished for his disloyalty to his partner? Are there shades of grey at play that Tony just can’t see and should he be willing to compromise? I’m just so pleased that “Chew” is ongoing. I can’t think of anyone who could do better with this material than Rob Guillory. It’s just captivating and highly entertaining stuff.
TV - Michael and Michael Have Issues - Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter can be hit or miss sometimes, but I quite enjoyed this, my first viewing of MMHI. Their Sweatpants Store sketch was brilliant.
COMIC - Doom Patrol #4 - You know for four months in a row I’ve been trying to decide whether I like this new Doom Patrol or not and as of this issue I’m still totally undecided. I like the idea of the Doom Patrol and Challengers of the Unknown and WWII JSA heroes being part of linear time as opposed to the oft rebooted comic book time, so that Robotman and co. have been around longer than more prominent heroes like Superman and Batman. Giffen seems to be going for this approach but not committing fully to it (yet). Perhaps he’s just testing to see if he can get away with it?
COMIC - Captain America: Reborn #4 - Oooh, Brubaker stole the cliffhanger ending from season 2 of Twin Peaks…
COMIC - Secret Six #15 - John Ostrander knows Deadshot like the back of his hand. The story is a one-off trip down memory lane and is kind of hokey but decently executed. The art, however, was quite choppy.
MOVIE - A Serious Man - I was entertained but I’m not sure I get what the Coen Bros. are trying to say. Does my lack of Jewish background preclude me from understanding the film completely, or is this yet another tale of the bizarre from the Coen Bros. which just happens to be centered around a Minneapolis suburb and Jewish community in the 1970s (?). Fascinating, routinely funny, often absurd, and fully awkward as we witness the complete dismantling of Larry Gopnik’s life, and every time he’s thrown a bone or he steps outside of what’s perceived as “straight” something really bad happens. As with every Coen Bros. film, the cast of secondary characters are sheer delight, including the Parks, Sy Abelman, the three Rabbis, and, the neighbours, including the Korean war vet on one side encroaching on Larry’s property, and the sultry housewife on the other. And, oh, that ending…
MOVIE - Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs - Upon learning that the creators/writers of Clone High were also behind this, I understand now why I found it so funny (sharing the same sense of humour and all). An absolutely surprising delight, plus, hey, Mr. T and Bruce Campbell. How do you go wrong?
MOVIE - G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra - The depths of this film’s awfulness are too deep to explore without going mad, but let’s just say that aside from the many vehicles, the writers/director missed the point of G.I. Joe’s cast of characters completely. That Scarlett though… (and I was always a Baroness guy)
COMIC - Strange Tales #3 - This third volume (of three) of indie cartoonists approaching Marvel’s pantheon with their own skewed take is hands down the least engaging of the bunch. Stan Sakai shows little depth as he puts the Hulk in feudal Japan. Chris Chua produces an unreadable piece about what, I have no idea. Jonathan Jay Lee drops a hyperstylized Punisher story which not only doesn’t say anything new, it doesn’t say anything at all. Corey Lewis’ attempt at culture mashing feels five years out of date, and Peter Bagge’s Hulk story reaches its unimpressive conclusion. There are some nice bits from Max Cannon, Becky Cloonan,
and Jay Stephens, amongst a few others, but unlike previous issues, the entertainment to value ration is way out of whack.
COMIC - Sweet Tooth #3 -
COMIC - Criminal vol.3 - Three extra-length, stand-alone stories which weave into one another and into the series larger, like a hard-nosed, crime-filled, grindhouse/blacksploitation inspired version of Kieslowski’s “Three Colours” trilogy. Gritty and grim, but so well done. Brubaker has the knack, and Sean Phillips knows how to show it.
NET - Pirsencolinensinainciusol -
COMIC - Batgirl #4 - This issue is a 50/50 split between entertaining and annoying. I really want to like it but there are times, man, when it just rubs me the wrong way.
COMIC - Batman and Robin #6 - dammit, this is some fine comicbooking.
COMIC - WALL-E #0/JSA vs Kobra #6 - see the first Four-Color Frenzy… or not.
COMIC - The Outsiders: The Deep tpb - The one thing missing from this team book is team dynamics. Writer Pete Tomasi has a kick-ass story involving resurrections, longevity and meteor rocks, but the team never actually gels together, their purpose, hierarchy and structure never properly forms (or stays consistent at least) and by the end it feels like it’s over and done all too abruptly.
PODCAST - Radio Free GAK #88 - lots of boom for your boom
#89 - A crazy good celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall with krautrock a-plenty including a heavy dosage of Kraftwerk kovers.
#90 - the pledge drive episode to keep CITR well funded and in operation. A variety of sounds, all enjoyable.
#91 - A Star Trek themed pledge drive episode, surprisingly not as geeky as it sounds.
PODCAST - Laugh Out Loud presents the Cream of Comedy - Winner Calvin Storoschuk was easily the highlight of the show. She Said What produced a fun sketch. Mark Debonis was decent, though his opening schtick doesn’t translate to radio well. Craig Fay recieved a few painful, polite chuckles, while Kayla Lorette’s character piece was cute, amusing perhaps, but not “haha” funny.
TV - The Prisoner (2009 - AMC) - The primary folly of the show lies in direction and editing. It’s just not as clean as the original, and tries too hard (detrimentally) to be “stylized”.
I see Caviezel as less laid back and more doped up, like he’s on a steady stream of drugs that’s keeping his mind from acting as sharply as they’re trying to say it could. I think the show’s editing/direction is having a difficult time with displaying the mind games as cleanly as the original, however, which hiders/undermines the characterization of Six, his intellect and cunning… but I think you’re right in that Caviezel doesn’t have the same intensity (but from what I can gather, he’s a former desk jockey and not a former Secret Agent Man, which would explain the difference in attitude… to be devil’s advocate). 6 was kind of a prick in the original and I think Caviezel does a decent job of being standoffish and confused (but it’s in the editing that his confusion and apoplectic state doesn’t really come across all that clearly).
I liked the switch-up from espionage to third-party contractor paranoia (a true big brother state, 1984 mixed with Equilibrium?), and the change in Village culture to a more family setting. Also enjoying a view into 2’s life.
No way it could be as good as the original, and it’s not overwhelmingly fantastic, but it’s good enough to keep watching through to it’s conclusion (can’t believe AMC is tossing it all out there in 3 days).
I think the presentation from AMC, two shows a night, three nights in a row is hindering the show somewhat, as the episodes are given no time to sink in and reflect upon. These last two episodes really have more of a connection to the original series, in that they present 6 in two completely different situations, but in how AMC presents them they’re supposed to fit cohesively.
Their attempt to make it a “Lost” like mystery(”If you can figure out the connection between the pills and the holes, you’re one step closer to solving the mystery of the village”) also is somewhat undermining the series.
I’m enjoying it, but I think I will enjoy it more, the second time around, on blu-ray, at my own pace, in high-def and sans commercials.
The finale two episodes made me realize that this is its own entity and not a “modernization” or “adaptation” of the original. There are si…milar themes and even the odd story aspect or two, but the execution is by and large its own, with a different focus (it’s really more about No.2 than No.6 in the end). Even though I had mostly figured it out, I was still surprised by how much I liked the finale.
COMIC - The Unwritten #7 - Such a curious series, althought I’m already starting to get a strong inkling as to where this is heading (but if I’m wrong I’ll probably enjoy it more).
COMIC - Red Robin #6 - To be perfectly honest, even one day after reading it I don’t recall much at all about it except that the new artist doesn’t handle fight scenes all that well.
COMIC - The Shield #3 - Really and truly one of the best new superhero comics on the stands.
COMIC - The Authority #3 - somehow I think Giffen has come off far more verbose than Morrison would have in the same situation. Still not bad.
COMIC - Adventure Comics #4 - So how exactly did the Black Lanterns get to Earth Prime. And congrats to Johns and Gates for actually making me kind of like Superboy-Prime.
COMIC - Tiny Titans #19 - stretchy people! Aw yeah, Titans.
COMIC - Batman: Streets of Gotham #6 - A seriously decent fill-in by Chris Yost. Many have tried, but few have succeeded at making the Huntress an interesting character. Great job! Even this month’s Manhunter back-up was pretty good.
COMIC - Doctor Horrible One-Shot - while the singing is non-existent, the whimsy of the source is still in place with a fun story from Zach Whedon and cartoonish, but with good caricaturization of Fillion and NPH. Heartily enjoyable.
COMIC - Thunderbolts: Burning Down The House - new writer Andy Diggle (since departed) dismantled the old team in quick order and introduced a new team whose sole purpose was to protect Norman Osborn’s Green ass from getting found out by President Obama, hence permitting him to sally forth with his “H.A.M.M.E.R” project which grants him unprecedented control over the country and its super-humans. It’s an aggrivating story of the good-guy winning that is all action and no reflection. Not yet certain how I feel. The gap-issues (found in a T-bolts/Deadpool crossover) make for more frustrated reading.
DVD - Whatever Works - I’m not a Woody Allen fan, but I’m not a hater either. I see the appeal, but I also see the redundancy, the pitiable nuances that Allen is incapable of avoiding. With Whatever Works he takes on his muse of “old man/barely legal woman” romance once again, with curmudgeonly genius (200 IQ) Larry David taking in a homeless southern belle Evan Rachel Wood, and ultimately succumbing to her romantic overtures. It’s the appearance of Patricia Clarkson at the start of the second act that the film really takes off from predictable Allen-isms (plenty of talking heads waxing philosophic) to an almost absurd parody, disseminating his whole much toiled view on relationships to the coined phrase of “whatever works”. I’m enjoying curmudgeons as of late (Ricky Gervais in Ghost Town, Ed Asner in Up, Ed O’Neill in Modern Family) and Larry David’s sardonic demeanor carries the film with more of his own schtick which is a nice reprieve from the constant flood of Woody impersonators that adorn his films.
COMIC - War of Kings HC - 18 comics for $40 is actually quite the bargain. Not that all of the comic here are worth owning, but the main event made it absolutely worth the price of admission. The Inhumans take over the Kree empire and go to war with the Shi’ar, boom!
COMIC - Detective Comics #859 - Delving further into Kate Kane’s past and how she came to be Batwoman. Rucka tackles gay rights and romance without really being too blatant or preachy.
COMIC - Chew #6 - Best new comic series of 2009. Seriously.
COMIC - Beasts of Burden #3 - Love Dorkin’s creepy talking animal stories (the stories are creepy, not the talking animals), and even more love Jill Thompson’s illustrations. A fabulous variation on the paranormal investigator sub-genre.
COMIC - Incognito tpb - whilst I enjoyed it, it felt somewhat derivative of Brubaker/Phillips’ own “Sleeper” series.
CONCERT - Star Wars: In Concert @ ACC - a live orchestral presentation of John Williams’ rather brilliant scores for the sextet of films was completely undercut and overshadowed by the hack-edited montage sequences projected on the big screen behind them. Anthony Daniels “presented” the evening in a cheeky British manner that bordered on patronizing, and the ACC didn’t present the best of acoustics to listen in. Not absolutely horrendous, but could definitely have been better presented.
DVD - Paris je t’aime - 20 different directors, 18 different stories, all about Paris with “love” as theme. As with any anthology, there were good ones, and not so good ones, but very little were what I’d call memorable. Tom Tykwer puts in perhaps the most ambitious story, while the story from Oliver Schmitz is as much a knife stab to the gut as the story portrays. Vincenzo Natali presents a 30s inspires silent vampire tale, Wes Craven drops a lovely and amusing ghost story set at the grave of Oscar Wilde, and the Coen Bros. find Steve Buscemi playing tourist in the Paris subway. My favourite would likely be the tourist postcard of the 14e androissement by Alexander Payne, in which Carol (Margo Martindale) narrates in brutal American-french her lonely, yet wistful travails through Paris. Oh and Alfonso Cuaron directs Nick Nolte speaking French, and it’s just as hilariously awkward as you’d think.
MOVIE - The Fantastic Mr. Fox - Pixar finally has some serious competition for the best animated feature Oscar this year. Wes Anderson makes a kid-accessible stop-motion animated feature that doesn’t patronize in the least bit, and is wildly enjoyable on multiple levels from all ages. It’s got an old fashioned sensibility which made it feel like something that I’m only now getting the chance to see.
TV - Ben 10: Alien Swarm - This made-for-TV movie based on the cartoon was surprisingly not that bad. The effects were pretty solid and the acting equally so. If I were a kid and into Ben 10 I’d think this was pretty great.
COMIC - Daredevil: Lady Bullseye tpb - Matt Murdock’s private life continues to spiral downward, under both his own volition and his publicly-disavowed alter-ego. The Hand attacks him from all angles, led by mercenary Lady Bullseye, but Daredevil receives some assistance from a new blind master and Iron Fist.
DVD - Star Wars Episode 4 - Just discovered that the “original edition” “Bonus Disc” is formatted for 235:1 aspect ration on 4:3 TVs whereas the “special edition” disc is properly formatted for 235:1 on 16:9 TVs. George Lucas = fail, yet again. Grrr.
COMIC - Criminal vol 4: Bad Night - Easily my favourite of the Criminal stories so far. A former counterfeiter has reformed after being falsely accused of sabotaging his wife’s car, causing her death. Now a newspaper comic strip creator with insomnia, he gets by but is haunted by his past which rears its ugly head again when a chance encounter with a femme fatale puts him back into a life of forgery and murder.