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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Daredevil Tonight! (Today!) 205

Daredevil #205
Marvel Comics
Denny O'Neil, William Johnson, Danny Bulanadi, George Roussos, Joe Rosen


Friday, January 23, 2015

Crossed Plus 100 #2

Crossed Plus 100 #2
Avatar Comics
Alan Moore & Gabriel Andrade

Two issues in and this series is already feeling very much like a grocery list of survival comics, but like the grocery list that you make for yourself after the new year, when you're still pretty committed to only buying healthy food.  There's lots of veggies that you just kind of stare at, hoping that at some point you'll take a bite out of that spinach salad and it'll taste like a plate of ribs.  Or actually, maybe it's more like when you eat vegan "ribs."  It's not that bad on its own, removed from context, but you wish that it didn't have the misguided audacity to call itself "ribs."

This is the kind of comic where you appreciate the thought and the craft that must have gone into the making of it, but in the end you put up your hand and politely decline.  The art is pretty typical of an Avatar comic, which is to say the storytelling is clear enough, but it's just so so ugly, but that's actually not so bad seeing as how you probably expect everything in the world of Crossed to look like it has a layer of filth over it anyway.  The best ideas in here – survival and social dynamics 100 years after The Crossed plague, future dialects, climate change – are interesting, but not in that viscerally exciting way that you'd really want from a comic that was released with like four different covers boasting some kind of extreme violence or some foreboding poses with guns.  This is the kind of interesting that I imagine someone who's into hard sci-fi nodding along to, but even then that hard sci-fi fan is only going through the motions.  It's got the ingredients of a violent survival horror comic, but it's lacking that suspense, that big sigh of relief when the characters manage to get themselves out of danger.  Instead of suspense, the connective tissue of this comic is more in line with anthropological/sociological inquiry, which is interesting in its own right, but not interesting enough to keep me excited about checking it out every month.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Daredevil Tonight! (Today!) 204

I started doing these #DaredevilTonight bits on twitter where I take a look at old Daredevil comics and highlight some choice panels, and I figured I'd put them up here as well.  Hope you like them!
Oh, and if you're interested in more #DaredevilTonight you can follow me on twitter, I'm @gwarrenl.

Daredevil #204
Marvel Comics
Denny O'Neil, Luke McDonnell, Danny Bulandi, Bob Sharen, Joe Rosen, cover by Bill Sienkiewicz

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

All the movies I saw in 2014

Here's a list of all the movies I saw in 2014. Some are listed more than once because I saw them more than once (duh):

The Apartment (1960) Billy Wilder
Drug War (2013, North America) Johnnie To
Spider-Man (2002) Sam Raimi
Hannibal (2001) Ridley Scott
Manhunter (1986) Michael Mann
Only God Forgives (2013) Nicolas Winding Refn
Virtuosity (1995) Brett Leonard
Red Dragon (2002) Brett Rattner
Melancholia (2011) Lars Von Trier
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) Anthony Minghella
Behind The Candleabra (2013) Steven Soderbergh
Undefeated (2011) Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin
Brokeback Mountain (2005) Ang Lee
Romeo + Juliet (1996) Baz Luhrmann
Scanners (1981) David Cronenberg
The Canyons (2013) Paul Schrader
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) Martin Scorcese
The Bling Ring (2013) Sofia Coppola
Argento’s Dracula (2012) Dario Argento
Spirited Away (2001) Hayao Miyazaki
Cry-Baby (1990) John Waters
Battlefield Earth (2000) Roger Christian
The Jerk (1979) Carl Reiner
Bernie (2011) Richard Linklater
Airplane! (1980) Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) Sean Durkin
The Addams Family (1991) Barry Sonnenfeld
D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994) Sam Weisman
She-Devil (1989) Susan Seidelman
Kung-Fu Panda (2008) John Stevenson, Mark Osborne
Now You See Me (2013) Louis Leterrier
Magic Mike (2012) Steven Soderberg
Jawbreaker (1999) Darren Stein
Thelma and Louise (1991) Ridley Scott
Rollerball (1975) Norman Jewison
Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) Francis Lawrence
Gattaca (1997) Andrew Niccol
Slapshot (1977) George Roy Hill
Rear Window (1954) Alfred Hitchcock
Nurse 3D (2013) Douglas Aarniokoski
Jobs (2013) Joshua Michael Stern
Coming to America (1988) John Landis
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) Stephen Sommers
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Wes Anderson
Sin City (2005) Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller
Paris is Burning (1990) Jennie Livingston
Dick (1999) Andrew Fleming
The Shining (1980) Stanley Kubrick
Center Stage (2000) Nicholas Hytner
Blackfish (2013) Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Fight Club (1999) David Fincher
Short Term 12 (2013) Destin Daniel Cretton
Don Jon (2013) Joseph Gordon-Levitt
21 Jump Street (2012) Chris Miller, Phil Lord
She's The Man (2006) Andy Fickman
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Thor: The Dark World (2013) Alan Taylor
Josie and the Pussycats (2001) Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan
Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001) Stacy Peralta
Single White Female (1992) Barbet Schroeder
Backdraft (1991) Ron Howard
Party Monster (2003) Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
Pain and Gain (2013) Michael Bay
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) Bryan Singer
The Purge (2013) James DeMonaco
Lords of Dogtown (2005) Catherine Hardwicke
Magic Camp (2012) Judd Ehrlich
Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) J.J. Abrams
The Countess (2009) Julie Delpy
Grease (1978) Randal Kleiser
Les Misérables (2012) Tom Hooper
Mission: Impossible (1996) Brian De Palma
Jaws (1975) Steven Spielberg
Wet Hot American Summer (2001) David Wain
Dirty Dancing (1987) Emile Ardolino
Grand Piano (2013) Eugenio Mira
Blue Crush (2002) John Stockwell
The Great Muppet Caper (1981) Jim Henson
The Godfather (1972) Francis Ford Coppola
A League of Their Own (1992) Penny Marshall
Pumping Iron (1977) Robert Fiore, George Butler
Wish Upon A Star (1996) Blair Treu
13 Going On 30 (2004) Gary Winick
The Raid 2 (2014) Gareth Evans
The Fast Furious and the Furious (2001) Rob Cohen
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) John Singleton
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) Justin Lin
Fast and Furious (2009) Justin Lin
Fast Five (2011) Justin Lin
Fast and Furious 6 (2013) Justin Lin
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) Matt Reeves
Jodorowsky’s Dune (2014) Frank Pavich
The Conjuring (2013) James Wan
Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) Michael Bay
Super Mario Bros. (1993) Rocky Morton, Annabel Jankel
The Triplets of Belleville (2003) Sylvain Chomet
Batman Begins (2005) Christopher Nolan
The Dark Knight (2008) Christopher Nolan
The Dark Knight Rises (2012) Christopher Nolan
The Haunting (1963) Robert Wise
The Raid: Redemption (2012) Gareth Evans
The Purge: Anarchy (2014) James DeMonaco
Manhunter (1986) Michael Mann
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) James Gunn
You’re Next (2013) Adam Wingard
The Lion King (1994) Rob Minkoff, Roger Allers
Scream (1996) Wes Craven
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) Chuck Russell
Miami Vice (2006) Michael Mann
Noah (2014) Darren Aronofsky
The Watcher (2000) Joe Charbanic
Whip It (2009) Drew Barrymore
Moonstruck (1987) Norman Jewison
The Goonies (1985) Richard Donner
Snowpiercer (2014) Bong Joon-ho
Spice World (1998) Bob Spiers
Orca (1977) Michael Anderson
Frances Ha (2013) Noah Baumbach
The Valley of the Dolls (1967) Mark Robson
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) Stephen Herek
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) Philip Kaufman
Poltergeist (1982) Tobe Hooper
Dirty Dancing Havana Nights (2004) Guy Ferland
Gone Girl (2014) David Fincher
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) Wes Craven
The Terminator (1984) James Cameron
Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn (1987) Sam Raimi
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) Roman Polanski
The Exorcist (1973) William Friedkin
Heathers (1988) Michael Lehmann
Zoolander (2001) Ben Stiller
Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985) Tim Burton
Wayne's World (1992) Penelope Spheeris
Scream 2 (1997) Wes Craven
Housebound (2014) Gerard Johnstone
Taken (2008) Pierre Morel
The Descent (2005) Neil Marshall
An American Werewolf in London (1981) John Landis
Premium Rush (2012) David Koepp
Black Swan (2010) Darren Aronofsky
Point Break (1991) Kathryn Bigelow
John Wick (2014) David Leitch, Chad Stahelski
Under The Skin (2014) Jonathan Glazer
They Came Together (2014) David Wain
A Knight’s Tale (2001) Brian Helgeland
Sabotage (2014) David Ayer
Maleficent (2014) Robert Stromberg
Obvious Child (2014) Gillian Robespierre
A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) Brian Henson
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Henry Selick
That Thing You Do (1996) Tom Hanks
Elf (2003) Jon Favreau
Thrashin' (1986) David Winters
The Comedy (2012) Rick Alverson
Inglorious Basterds (2009) Quentin Tarantino
Inherent Vice (2014) Paul Thomas Anderson
Die Hard (1988) John McTiernan
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) Shane Black
Mockingjay part 1 (2014) Francis Lawrence
Christmas with a Capital C (2011) Helmut Schleppi
It's a Wonderful Life (1946) Frank Capra
A Christmas Story (1983) Bob Clark
Magic Mike (2012) Steven Soderbergh
The Trip to Italy (2014) Michael Winterbottom
Velvet Goldmine (1998) Todd Haynes
Make Believe (2010) J. Clay Tweel
Dumb and Dumber (1994) Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly
Inherent Vice (2014) Paul Thomas Anderson
Almost Famous (2000) Cameron Crowe
Point Break (1991) Kathryn Bigelow

I started out 2014 wanting to write about every movie I saw, but I got overwhelmed when I realized as I was putting this list together that I watch a lot of movies. I didn't think I did, but this list shut me up pretty quick. I don't know what I wanted to do with all of this, but I was keeping track all year so I feel like I had to put it up somewhere.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Descent

The Descent (2006) Neil Marshall

I remember this one getting some pretty good buzz around the time it was released, and people seem to mostly feel pretty positively about this one I think, so I decided to give it a shot, it being the right time for a scary movie and all.

It was fine, I liked it.  As my pal Tony would put it, on a binary scale, it's a 1.  The plot is a pretty standard monster movie kind of thing.  A bunch of friends go out to explore a cave because that's what's fun for them for some reason, and they find themselves in perilous and terrifying situations, not the least of which is being stalked by monstrous bat-people.

The all-female cast is notable for being an all-female cast because when does that ever happen in anything?  But as far as the plot of the movie goes, they don't really make a thing of it, which is fine, but they also seem to be fairly interchangeable, with the exception of our main girl Sarah and our counterpoint Juno, who are lucky enough to be imbued with archetypal personalities of reluctant tragic hero and hubris fueled villain, respectively.

The Descent is straightforward and lean, offering the bare minimum of character revelation/development, in service of pushing ahead to create a platform for Neil Marshall's keen eye for violence and a very specific kind of terror.  The movie does very interesting things with light and darkness and colors so the overall look of it is engaging, definitely a big achievement for something set almost entirely in a pitch-black cave, but the scares are more haunted house-esque, preferring a quick jolt to make you scream and push you forward to the next set piece.  Rarely ever do we get that pervasive sense of dread that my favorite horror movies bring to the table.

I think that part of the reason for that is in the nature of the setting.  Something like Halloween is scary largely because it could happen to you in your own neighborhood.  Halloween is the kind of movie that you watch and absorb because of your familiarity with the setting and with the people, and because of that, when the movie's finished, you're scared to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  You're scared about simply being exactly where you are.  The Descent has some genuine scares, but it is hampered by the fact that it is set in some remote, undiscovered cave.  None of this would have happened if they'd just stayed home.  I think that horror movies that end up being the scariest to me are the ones where the threat would have come to you no matter where you are.  The Descent's dependence on its exotic setting, while creating a very specific atmosphere of fear, also works against it in that the fear is limited to that setting.  Once the movie is over the terror is over for us because honestly, how many of you are going spelunking without a map?