Fëanor pours the entire internet into the Recyclotron, and only the best links come out the other end for you to enjoy.
I recently discovered that my friend Cyn has a Tumblr. Here are a couple of nice recentposts.
This new trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is thrilling, but a little upsetting to me. I don't remember a scene in the book when Harry grabbed Voldemort and jumped over a cliff with him. They're not trying to turn this into some typical action movie finale, are they? Because that would be very, very wrong.
Dude, check it out. George finished the book! Of course, this had to happen pretty soon, what with the publication date already announced and stuff, but still. It's finally really done! (Via)
I would love to have one of these. I'd constantly give it to people, immediately snatch it away, then say, "Again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away." Then I'd hold it up and laugh maniacally. (Via)
This post covers new releases from the week of 4/21. Beware spoilers!
New releases Captain America: Who Won't Wield the Shield #1 This is one of those weird, self-parodying, one-shot, anthology comics full of silly in-jokes that the comic creators themselves probably get a lot more of a kick out of than any reader could. Forbush Man - the main character of Marvel's parody comics from way back - takes the starring role in the frame story, assaulting some of Marvel's most popular and famous creators, who are skewered, and/or skewer themselves, in amusing fashion (it's even more amusing if you follow them on Twitter). They distract Forbush Man by showing him (and us) other parody comics. The first is a surreal, far out, drugged-up mashup of Doctor Strange and Captain America. It's certainly colorful, and occasionally funny, but mostly just odd. Next up is "The Golden Age Deadpool," which is a great concept, with plenty of fun art and plenty of ridiculously anachronistic hip-hop dialog from Deadpool, but which overall could have been executed better. Really the most brutal and effective self-parody in the book is the final page, which is a "Sleege" checklist that rips Marvel's publishing schedule, its characters, its storytelling, and all of its recent large-scale sagas in truly biting fashion.
Gravel #18 Gravel seems to have decided five people is enough to make a Minor Seven and he pulls all his recruits together for their first collective group meeting, where he sets some ground rules for them, gives them a general mission, and also takes them (and us) on a tour of his previous adventures. If Gravel were a TV show (which, oh my God, it totally should be), this would be the clip show episode. And as we all know, the clip show episode is a bit of a cop-out. Still, it's fun to get a quick reminder of all the crazy crap Gravel's been through, and to see it again through the eyes of his apprentices. Plus we get to learn more about what Gravel expects of his Minor Seven. Finally, near the end of the issue that crazy killer dude who's been trying to get Gravel's attention finally does, and our hero sets out on a new mission. Should be fun!
Joe the Barbarian #4 Joe meets a cult of wizards whose magic is really just half-understood bits of science and technology ("square root of eye of newt, over function of the cosine where EEE equals magic times the speed of all likelihood squared"). They think the fact that Joe has broken through into this reality is what's causing this reality to fall apart ("A door has been opened into the outer murk"). We end on a cliffhanger again as Joe seems to be simultaneously soaring down a cliff in an untested flying machine, pursued by monstrous agents of evil, and standing at the top of a flight of stairs in his house about to tumble down them. The magicians are a set of great, funny new characters, the story is well constructed and intriguing, the action is exciting, and the dialog is brilliant. Good times.
The Unwritten #12 Man, I love this comic. It is so, so good. I know I say that pretty much every month, but... wow. This issue is another one-shot, this time revealing what happens to those who piss off Wilson Taylor. Somehow he's trapped a couple of his enemies inside a children's story, which is sort of an amalgamation of all famous children's stories - Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit (the comic has almost the same opening line - "In a hole in the side of a hill, there lived a rabbit."), Winnie the Pooh, The Wind in the Willows, etc. It might sound like a fun time, living life in a children's story, but Carey depicts it, in a darkly hilarious way, as a truly hellish existence. It's clear right away that the rabbit doesn't belong in this story, because he starts stabbing himself, and screaming "Pauly Bruckner!" which is presumably his own true name, that he is trying desperately to hang onto. It is so wonderfully, horribly funny when he emits streams of terrible curses at all the kindly forest creatures he meets. He probes the edges of the fantasy world, trying to find a way out, but the story just brings him right back to where he started. Then he hatches a plan to kill the story's very creator, with the idea that it will burst the bubble once and for all. But what he doesn't realize about children's stories is that there's a dark space at the heart of every one, and it's not empty.
What I'm saying is, this is another amazing issue, containing another wonderful ode to another wonderful genre of literature, and another insightful and funny deconstruction of said genre, which also simultaneously advances the overall storyline (if only incrementally), and certainly gives us a closer look at the dark side of Wilson Taylor. I love this comic to bits.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, are two of the first, classic fantasy adventure stories, in which a young child stumbles through a portal into a strange and magical world. But they're more than that: they're also full of surreal and hilarious nonsense, not to mention clever and subtle literary parody and even a little political and social satire. They're wonderful, deeply influential, and quite unique. I've always been a fan of fantasy adventures in general, and the Alice stories in particular; I'm even working on writing my own book about a young child stumbling into a magical world right now.
All of which is to say, I was really looking forward to seeing Tim Burton's re-imagining of the Alice stories. Given his filmography and general artistic tendencies, it would seem as if he were born to turn them into movies. Sadly, his film takes Lewis Carroll's excellently clever, wonderfully nonsensical fantasy saga and shoehorns it into a cliched, stereotypical fantasy/adventure plot about a chosen one who has to find herself in order to defeat an ultimate evil in an epic, prophesied final battle.
Maybe it was because I'd recently seen a comedy short online about Tim Burton and the repetitive nature of his work, but as I was watching this movie, I found myself ticking off in my head all the typical Tim Burton things as they popped up: a charmingly eerie Danny Elfman score which includes a children's chorus; a pale, sickly-looking main character with Daddy issues; crazy costumes with lots of stripes on them; Johnny Depp as a giant weirdo; Helena Bonham Carter as a giant weirdo. Admittedly, Elfman's score is atmospheric and inoffensive; Mia Wasikowska makes a fine Alice; the film is both stunning and inventive, at least as far as the visual component is concerned; and Carter practically steals the show as the childish, vain, bloodthirsty, giant-headed Red Queen. The way her court all try to suck up and gain favor by wearing unnaturally large fake appendages is brilliant, as is Crispin Glover's disturbing yet funny confession that he loves largeness. Another nearly perfect character is the Cheshire Cat, an entirely computer-generated creation voiced by Stephen Fry. The Cheshire Cat appears and disappears, floats and smiles, jokes and teases just exactly the way you would expect a Cheshire Cat to do all those things.
It's Johnny Depp who is, surprisingly, a bit of a disappointment. He's all right as the Hatter, but he's also a little too shouty and odd to be as lovable as he's apparently meant to be. Worst of all, he does a horrendous computer-assisted dance near the end of the film that I actually had to turn away from, it was so awful. It's kind of cute the way they keep saying throughout the movie that the Mad Hatter will do the "fudderwhack" when the land is free again, but when the moment actually comes - rather suddenly and unexpectedly, as if the editor had to shove it in at the last minute - and he really does it, it feels incredibly awkward and embarrassing. Perhaps even more awkward and embarrassing is when Alice tries the dance herself after returning to the "real" world.
The opening part of the film does a good job of making the regular world of high society and of doing what one must instead of what one wishes look stuffy and stiff and dull, while also giving it that quirky, surreal Burton twist. But when we return to this world at the end, we are treated to a painfully unlikely, unbelievable, and treacly-sweet ending in which Alice - who is, remember, a young woman living in what appears to be late 19th century/early 20th century England - quickly and easily talks her father's former partner into taking her advice on expanding his business into China, letting her become an apprentice, and furthermore allowing her to sail off, apparently alone, into the Far East. This I found more ridiculous and nonsensical than anything that happened in Wonderland.
Speaking of which, another of the indignities of the film is that it takes the name of Carroll's fantasy world away, insisting that Alice just misheard it when she came there the first time and that it's really Underland. Considering the fact that the film also takes away a lot of the wonder from said land, I suppose that's appropriate.
Above is a video where a bunch of folks took tweets not written by them and turned them into short short films. I thought it would be lame, but it's surprisingly hilarious and brilliant. Oh, and also slightly NSFW. (Via)
Welcome to the blog of Jim Genzano, writer, web developer, husband, father, and enjoyer of things like the internet, movies, music, games, and books. For a more detailed run-down of who I am and what goes on here, read this.