Saturday, January 31, 2009

Three sentence movie review: Taken

I'm not good at doing movie reviews without spoilers. Here are three sentences on "Taken", the movie I saw tonight with Sweet Enemy, AndreZero and ScienceGirl.

1. Final fight scene is the second-best one-on-one next to Grosse Point Blank

2. As the credits roll, cover your face to protect your brain from all of the loose ends flapping around

3. I don't really regret seeing it, but I'm glad it was AndreZero's turn to buy the tickets.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

why so serious boring?

Well, last night I finally saw the last of the four comic book films of '08: The Dark Knight.

In a word: Meh.

I can't say I liked it. Actually, I'm pretty close to not liking it the more I think about. It wasn't terrible, but Iron Man and The Hulk were better.

First, it was as wordy as a Sandman comic. It wasn't just that the characters never stopped talking, but they would spout this quasi-Shakespeareian gobbledegook that real people just don't say. The worst was the Joker's swan song. Sure, I really liked the rotation of the upside-down Joker so that both he and Batman would appear right-side up, but that the Joker would appear freaky. After a minute of the 'we're two sides of the same coin' speech, I fast forwarded and it STILL took forever. Don't tell me I missed anything important, because I really can't believe that.

Second, it was stupidly complex. What was the deal with the Hong Kong banker? It really didn't really advance the story. In fact when the Joker kidnapped him, I'd completely forgotten about him (not that the Joker really did anything with him other than burn him).

The conspiracies within the film were way too complex as well. Even within a comic book world, they were unbelievably improbable. The Joker wanted to be captured by Jim Gordon and Batman? He was winning that battle and it was only pure luck that he was captured!

Thirdly, my belief was asked to be suspended too often. Not so much that there were outrageous things happening, I LIKE that, but there were too many contradictions. I'd just barely accepted the Bat Pod as barely feasible when he pulls that cool wall turn. That was pretty neat and I laughed out loud. But, a minute or so later, he has to lay the bike down rather than, oh I don't know, USE THE BRAKES? It just seemed stupid.

The destruction of the hospital was way out of line as well. It must have taken the Joker years to set all of those charges without anyone noticing.

I thought Heath Leger was pretty good. Not Oscar material at all, what with all that scenery he gnawed on. Sure, it was fun for the Joker to tell a different scar story each time, but did they have to be so damned long? He was pretty scary until about halfway through his interrogation by Batman, by then I just didn't care.

Christian Bale. God, he's so wooden he's like David Caruso with muscles anymore. Plus, I didn't like how his fighting skills seemed to have gone downhill. You'd figure after a few years of fighting everyone, his ninja training would have been honed and improved. Nope.

Did I like anything? I liked Senator Patrick Leahy's cameo. He's a huge Batman fan and gave all his acting wages to his hometown library.

I liked Harvey Dent's makeup. A nice mix of prosthetics and cgi.

I also liked the making the hostages look like the henchmen. That was a really nice touch. (But couldn't Batman have gotten things done quicker and less riskier to him by grabbing one of the SWAT guys and telling him about the switch and having him relay by radio?)

What was also kind of funny was watching the Joker laugh while being beaten in the interrogation room. It reminded me of Tyler Durden getting beaten by Lou in the basement of the bar in Fight Club (which I re-watched the night before).

Other than that, it was long, verbose, jumbled, and overall kinda boring. For comic book films this year for me the rankings are:

1) The Incredible Hulk
2) Iron Man
3) Hellboy 2 : The Golden Army
4) The Dark Knight

I'm probably lucky for the low readership of this blog, as my fellow geeks may lay into me. But, I stand by my opinions. This was not a worthy sequel to what was arguably the best comic book movie ever, Batman Begins

Listening to while posting: "As Time Goes By" by Tony Bennet

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Suns of Charybdis has updated!

It would have been done sooner, but as I was inking page 13, I realized that it needed a complete new layout to make sense. At least I think it did. AndreZero saw the original, let's see if he likes this alternate.

In other news, I'm starting a blog for my models. I sort of want to keep this blog for art and real life only. Plus, since I'll be posting in-progress pics, I'm hoping that passing modelers with more skills than I will tell me what I'm doing wrong.

So, what am I reading right now, you ask? Well, I'm reading "Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the Dog!) a fantastic book from late 19th century England by Jerome K. Jerome.

It is one of the more subtly funny books I've read in a while. It's basic plot is of three well-to-do friends wh decide to vacation by taking a rowboat trip along an English river. On the surface, it looks like a script for a family-film farces along the lines of "Vacation" or "Are We Done Yet?" where well-meaning boobs get into hijinks. It is the narrative, however, that saves this book from truly being mediocre. The author has a way of writing with a great deal of apparent seriousness and never really makes a joke. The humor just flows through the narrative. To be sure, the language is a bit... flowery, perhaps, but hey, it's the 19th century (and it's not near as bad as Melville)

Anyway, it's hard for someone of my marginal writing skills to explain. Go get it at the library; if, for some reason you don't laugh, you've lost nothing ;)

I will share an excerpt. Here the the narrator makes an observation about something I've experienced myself when backpacking:

"I woke at six the next morning; and found George awake too. we both turned round, and tried to go to sleep again, but we could not. Had there been any particular reason why we shouldnot have gone to sleep again, but have got up and dressed then and there, we should have dropped off while we were looking at our watches , and have slept till ten. As there was no earthly necessity for our gettin up under another two hours at the very least, and keeping with the natural cussedness of rthings in general that we should both feel that lying down would be the death of us"

so, there.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

blast from the past

So, in March 1999, my fellow Graphic Design major (and good friend), Kick Enemy Men (of the Fairness Battalion application fame), and I took on a semester-long project to create a video game in Flash 3. Flash 3. Man. No actionscript to speak of really and we decided, for some reason, to do the graphics in a 3-d program and use GIFs rather than vector. In some ways, it was a coup, but now it's just... old. Rather like watching Crash of the Moons after watching the new BSG. It's also clunky and rather broken code-wise with lots of bugs.

But, making it was soooooo fun. We spent a great deal of time laughing very hard. The best part was that the mother ship (the 'boss') takes five or so hits to destroy it and it has a different way to destroy your homeworld for each hit. Each type of enemy spacecraft has a way of destroying the homeworld as well.

With out further ado, I give you DEFEND!