Thursday, March 19, 2009


  • So, I was watching the Watchmen movie 2 weeks ago, (I took the day off, I know, nerd-boy) and I was wondering what it was that was bothering me about it. I had read the comics during their original run, in fact, I cite Alan Moore's Watchmen, along with Frank Miller's Dark Knight, and Miller's underrated Elektra Assassin as the comics that brought me back to the fold after my "too cool for comics" faze. I eagerly anticipated the adaption of the nigh "unfilmable" text, trying my gosh darnedest not to get my hopes too high while still remaining confident about director Zack Snyder's abilities. After all, did he not, already, film the nigh unfilmable 300 movie? From the inspired opening credit sequence, I found my confidence was not entirely misplaced. However, as the movie continued, despite the slick action, sometimes brilliant casting, startling visuals, and slavish adherence to the source material, I started to become, um... dissatisfied a bit? I'll refrain from illustrating my thoughts on Snyder's altered ending, along with my other artistic and technical quibbles, to maintain focus on point. That being that something permeating the film bugged me.

    A friend of mine called into question the directors, um, sexual proclivities? An unfair, if not unarguable, observation (accusation?) that I am disinclined to entertain here. I had to disagree, and as I marshaled my mental bullet points in anticipation of defending my viewpoint it hit me. Zack Snyder is a fetishist. After googling the actual definition of the word, I find "fixation" more appropriate, but I'll continue to use "fetish" as it is more encompassing. What I'm getting at is that Snyder fetishizes aspects of his movies, the violence, the fight scenes, the costumes, the shots taken directly off the comic page, the porno-ish sex, the slo-mos and zoom-ins, all to serve his fixation on the material. He focuses, with near unhealthy preoccupation, on the cosmetic and salacious portions of his films. The fights scenes are tightly choreographed exhibitions of sensationalized violence punctuated by lingering shots of broken tibias and smashed faces. The sex is glamorous and athletic, the scenes are rich in hue and grime and fire and light and all the other sparkly things he can cram in. This is not to say that he's unable to pull out a standout performance from some of his actors, or that Carla Gugino isn't luscious kitted out in her attire. Nor am I saying the obsessive directing style is, particularly, a bad thing. But maybe it's a bad thing in this instance, or at least an inappropriate one. I think Snyder's take saps a great deal of the weight and power from Alan Moore's brilliant prose, and he's unable to translate Dave Gibbon's skillful use of panel and pacing into a complementary cinematic form.

    I read some of the reviews of the film, the ones that didn't arbitrarily laud or dismiss the film had alot of interesting observations, many of which I have varying degrees of agreement with. I went to Snyder's panel at the comic con last year and, in reference to Alan Moore's legendary disdain of having his comics filmed, he said something to the effect of, I hope that on some dark, stormy night, if Alan somehow comes into a copy of the film and watches it, that he doesn't completely hate it. In that respect I think he failed, however, he did make an ambitious, entertaining film which in the end, I have to say, was pretty decent.

    It's late, I'm battling illness, so that's all you get... oh wait, the pic is a sketch of some random image from the fffound blog, I been strapped for drawing time lately, a bit sucky really, the being strapped for time not the drawing, I'm not that self deprecating... Geesh.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Forest for the Trees

You ever ask yourself why you watched a certain movie? Why you watch the TV shows you watch, books that you read, music you hear? Yeah, me neither, but I sometimes ask myself why others do. I'm not really talking about why you like the things you do, I mean what brought you there in the first place? Presumably, every item of entertainment must have some type of advertisement attached, otherwise, how would you find it? But advertising is massive. If you think about it, the amount of requests for our attention we are bombarded with every day is mind boggling. An unsettling amount of our economy is actually tied up in the practice of informing the consumer group of things to spend your money on, and since entertainment is, often times, big money so is the advertising of said entertainment "big business". A quick simplification of the method of advertising gives us 2 major components. 1, the presenting of the product in question in the most appealing and attractive light and 2, the distributing of said presentation to the largest amount of prospective consumers.

This brings us to (in a dry, uninteresting, meandering fashion I notice as I reread the above) the gist of my question. With so many medias vying, tooth and nail, for you attention, how do you choose? Right now, we are subjected to such a crushing onslaught of information that there is a whole new field of study dedicated to how our brains are evolving to process it. How in the world does anything get watched, listened to or read over anything else? I'm certain it has as much to do with reflecting an appealing aspect of the individuals makeup in the media being marketed as sheer dumb luck. I, also, am certain that if I could manipulate such a force, then I would have many, many dollars to spend on the frivolous things that strike my fancy.

Anyhoo, the impetuous of the above diatribe was the viewing of the movie Coraline, based on a story by the amazing Neil Gaiman and directed by the real talent behind The Nightmare Before Christmas, Henry Selick. The tried and true premise of the new kid in town adjusting to her unknown surroundings and testing her relationship with her parents becomes a fairy tale in the Grimm sense in the hands of these 2 storytelling maestros. The story is a vehicle for Gaiman to explore the phobia koumpounophobia, (the fear of buttons, in this case buttons sewn into the eyes, yummy) in deliciously inventive, mildly horrifying fashion focused through the lens of Selick's formidable imagination. And it's those two elements, imagination and horror, that are, to me, the defining ingredients to an effective fairy tale.

This is a movie I've been waiting for a long time to see, character design have popped up on the blogs I read and at the comic con for years. The movie wasn't accompanied by an sort of media blitz which may account for it's so so 1st week box office, but in it's 3rd week it comes in second with another 11.4 mil (behind Tyler Perry's Medea Goes to Jail, WTF). For me, this movie delivers on all fronts and is as good as purchased when the DVD becomes available. But, just to revisit my opening thought, how did anyone find this gem? I mean, I know how I found it, but my methods of finding things are unconventional at best. What I wonder about is how such an unusual movie with minimal marketing and zero star power ends up staying in the top 3 for 3 weeks? I guess I should just go ask Mr. Owl.

Also saw Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, yeah, that wasn't so great.

The latest episodes of Battlestar Galatica kicks copious amounts of ass. The new Joss Whedon effort Dollhouse somewhat floundered in the beginning (while I love her to death the star, Eliza Dushku, is the weak link) but after catching the 3rd episode, I can comfortably commit to further viewings. Doesn't matter though, it'll be cancelled in 4 more episodes.

The pic is the effervescent Zooey Deschanel, it came out easy but it's got some balance issues and it feels a bit static, I might need to expose myself to some Paul Pope or something. Crap, I missed 2 postings in one month by 3 hours, fail.

Oh, reading Warren Ellis's Freak Angels web comic, it's both free and awesome, please read it, you'll thank me later