Whip It - I loved this anti-chick flick that really was about female empowerment more than any Charlie’s Angels or Salt could ever pretend to be. I’m not sure I buy Ellen Page as a 17 year old anymore but she’s one hell of an actress, full of charisma and wit. The supporting cast, from Alia Shawkat to Juliette Lewis to, most especially Kristen Wiig who doesn’t ever even try to be funny, and has some of the most wonderful moments of the film. It’s beautifully realized by Drew Barrymore as a coming of age drama that isn’t really just about some guy, and how she handles the subplot of some guy is done in understated and pitch perfect fashion. My daughter will be watching this.
Louis CK: Chewed Up - not sure if I’ve sat through much of CK’s comedy before but after a full year of comedy podcasts he’s been touted practically as the second coming of Carlin, and the hype isn’t far off. The man has a comedy agenda like no other, and he’s brilliant at executing it as witnessed here. As an aging man with kids, I’ll say it speaks to me in a way that it might not have a couple years ago, but I still think I would have found it brilliant (if making marriage and fatherhood sound like a ridiculously bad idea). The old tale about comedians losing their gifts once they start talking about their kids, it’s shit, and CK paves the way for how to do it right.
Secret Warriors Vol 3
Superman: Nightwing and Flamebird
Doom Patrol #19
Gavin & Stacey Season 1 ep1 -2 (netflix)
Hyperdrive Season 1 ep1 (netflix)
That Mitchell and Webb Look Season 1 (netflix)
Archer Season 1
The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman - the first few chapters, dealing with Silverman’s socially-crippling bedwetting disorder are the serious meat-and-potatoes of this book, and are powerfully resonant, which makes the rest of the book, where Silverman flourishes into her own groundbreaking comedic persona a little less enticing. There’s a lack of storytelling trajectory to the remaining book that makes it a little disappointing after these initial chapters, which is likely Silverman’s earnestness and modesty coming into play. It’s surprisingly readable, although anecdotal and light on the jokes.
Me, You and Everyone We Know (netflix) - it’s all about connections, how people connect with one another, and how people communicate with one another and how what one person says is always filtered by the person it’s being said to. It’s a remarkable, assured film which has a cast of a dozen characters, each with an important contribution and moment to the film. It deals with Todd Solondz-esque themes but instead of mining misery and disturbing concepts for drama and comedy, it mitigates the awkwardness with sincerity. This isn’t a film out to do bad things to its characters or show its characters as bad people, it wants its audience to connect, rather than push them away.
Winter’s Bone (r) - How deep does blood run and how important is it? In the Ozarks an extended family of distant relatives are primarily in the meth-cooking business. 17-year-old Ree is the sole provider for her two younger siblings and her mentally incapacitated mother, her father recently busted for cooking. Now having skipped bail and putting their house up for collateral, Ree’s life and family are about to be usurped unless she can find her father or prove that he’s dead. It’s a methodically paced film, following this young woman who has no options or choices except do everything she can or give up. She’s thrust into the midst of her father’s world, dangerous, aggressive, desperate and desolate. An incredibly well-made and potent exploration of a microculture, it’s earned its accolades. Compare thematically to True Grit.
Date Night (r) - Adventure comedies like this usually revolve around younger, prettier couples, usually a first date scenario to bring the couple together. So it’s nice to see this well-tread plot that instead gives way to an everyday, boring, suburban couple, and explore what it means to be married and responsible to one’s family and partner. It’s not quite that deep but it does explore it nicely for a moderately-budgeted hollywood release. NBC Thursday night staples Fey and Carrell make for a realistic-enough couple and have the comedy chops to carry a film like this without getting to dry or melodramatic. It’s not terrific but it is cute.
Justice League: Generation Lost #17
Red Robin #19
Secret Six #29
THUNDER Agents #3
Captain America: Man out of Time #3
Zach and Miri Make a Porno (netflix) - I used to be a huge Kevin Smith fan, but somewhere along the way I realized that his juvenile sense of humour and his questionable abilities as a director make many of his films unwatchable once you’re cognizant of his limitations. I have to admit I thought Jersey Girl was a nice step forward for him, in trying something different and acknowledging some semblance of maturity. Then he made Clerks 2, which, while quite funny in parts, reinforced all of Smith’s shortcomings once again. Zach and Miri is the middle ground between Jersey Girl and Clerks 2, a romatic comedy but with lots of bodily functions humour. It’s low brow, and yet funny… but the real winning element are the comedic and dramatic skills of Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks and Craig Robinson (Robinson’s entire performance is comedy gold). Once again, Smith uses some of his regular players (Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson) who, lets face it, are only acting because of Smith and otherwise wouldn’t have careers beyond DTV film. There are definite weak points, but also some really strong points, and there’s a sense of craft to the story and progression thereof (bending cliches into a twisted, dirty version of themselves). My favourite part would easily be the Justin Long and Brandon Routh cameo as gay lovers… Routh, here and in Scott Pilgrim, has proven his comedic timing (although much of the heavy lifting is done by Long, but the reactions from Routh and Rogen are terrific). Smith still has a ways to grow but he’s still got a knack for comedy and sentimentality that he could exploit larger should he choose to apply himself.
Pulling Season 1 (ep 1 - 3)(netflix)
Farscape Season 1 (ep 1 - 2)(netflix)
Howl (r) - A quasi documentary/artistic interpretation of the Gainsberg poem “Howl”, the obscenity trial it manufactured, and a look behind the curtains and the meaning/background of the words. James Franco (sporting one of the worst fake beards this side of Matthew Fox circa Lost season 6) imitates Gainsberg’s cadence and plays talking head to a tape recorder providing insight into his own backstory as it relates to the poem. Meanwhile animated sequences provide visual accompaniment to the poem as read by Franco, and the poem is repeated once again in a black and white beatnik bar sequence, and again in the courtroom. There’s 45 minutes of a solid, compact story of historical relevance, and 40 minutes of tedious poetry brow-beating. I’m not a fan of poetry.
Black Swan - The more distance I have from this film, the more time I have to think about it, the more I appreciate it, definitely, but I think the more I like it as well. Initially after viewing it I wasn’t sure what to think. It was a potent experience but I wasn’t sure I liked it. I was more than impressed by Natalie Portman, for all that she gave to the role, and the final sequence was momentum-fuelled, beautiful and dizzying. It’s not until the third act that the psychological underpinnings of Portman’s character are called into question, but once they are the entire film begins to make sense, as do the characters around her and their actions. There are genuinely shocking moments, and an overall intensity propelled by Clint Mansell’s masterful score that seem almost comedic from a skewed perspective, as if Aronofski were playing a cruel trick on the ballet theatre crowd. The film slathers on melodrama like butter on a Tim Hortons bagel, and it will either please or put off the viewer. The story within the story has the dance troupe performing a bold new interpretation of Swan Lake, with the obvious joke being that hey! so is this film. It’s an audacious movie that challenges all facets of film production as well as all who watch it. Film of the year? I think so.
Legion of Super-Heroes #9
Tiny Titans #31
GI Joe/Cobra II #13
Young Justice #0
Fantastic Four by Hickman vol 1+2
xxx by Woody Allen
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four
Detective Comics #873
Justice League: Generation Lost #18
Teen Titans #91
Captain America #614
Sixth Gun #8