Monthly Archives: April 2011

Super

Super is the kind of film that critics of comic book movies say they want to see but dismiss when they are actually made. James Gunn created an almost entirely realistic look at what it would take to make someone decide to become a masked vigilante and the horrific results of those choices. Frank D’Arbo (Rainn Wilson) is basically Bipolar, and his wife’s (Liv Tyler) leaving him for drug lord Jacques (Kevin Bacon) is the first in a series of psychotic breaks that drive the film toward its resolution. Individuals comment that Bruce Wayne must have been driven insane by the loss of his parents at the hand of Joe Chill, and that’s why there is a Batman in Gotham City. Super is basically a take on that theory. Read the rest of this entry

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Why are movies failing?

My friend Kaz linked me to an article about decreased movie attendance (and featured an image of Sucker Punch to indicate its one of the flops), which linked me to an article about decreased movie attendance (featuring an image of Red Riding Hood to indicate a flop), which finally linked me to an article about CinemaCon and the shared discussion of executives in the movie business who think that the problem with movie attendance is the product. They cite other factors such as economic woes, the price of gas, and the increased prices of movie tickets and concessions, but they narrowed in on the product itself. To some extent, this is exciting news. It means people in the movie industry are taking responsibility for the product they’re releasing. Read the rest of this entry

Lil’ Thor commercial

This is the kind of advertising I can get behind. Really clever.

Your Highness

Despite the middling reviews for Danny McBride’s Your Highness, the film is actually a well-structured fantasy film. This is hard for me to say because, in general, I do not enjoy fantasy movies. It might be the fact that it was a comedy, and it may even be the fact that they kept the pace brisk instead of spending time on showcasing the fantasy world they created. Regardless, it is a competent film that is worth watching if the viewer cares about fantasy and/or dirty comedy. Yes, dirty comedy.

I have no problem with low-brow humor. My movie diet in high school were the works of Kevin Smith (and Fight Club), after all. Maybe age finally caught up to me, or maybe my appreciation for such films reached its saturation point; but dirty dick humor just doesn’t quite work for me the way it once did. Zack and Miri Make a Porno would have been a much more enjoyable film if it weren’t so crass. Your Highness would have been a more fun film if they excised the moments in which characters swore for the sake of swearing. Four-letter words are best used in precision comedy strikes, not just uttered to make sure people are paying attention. Not when they’re uttered for the guffaws of 16 year-olds who decided to sneak into the screening. At some points the film sounded less like a crafted tale and more like a high school lunch table. Read the rest of this entry

Geek Bullying

It’s arguable, but in the last decade or so nerd and geekdom has come to be celebrated by the mainstream. Pop culture is attempting to cater to geek tastes, and we don’t deride people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates for not extremely attractive or sports personalities. The 80’s certainly didn’t give as much credit to those of us on the more niche end of culture. Times have changed.

Or maybe times haven't changed that much. This was the face of empowerment for fringe cultures. The repackaging suggests that this is STILL supposed to be that face.

Have times changed for the better? Sure, when I was in college it was acceptable that some friends and I could found a video game enthusiasts club and wear shirts featuring Pac-Man and the Konami code. But we’re at the point where video games are so embraced today that motion controls are flying off the shelves so parents can get their children to incorporate some movement into their lives. In some schools, DDR was accepted into the gym curriculum. Games are simply accepted as a part of young culture and require workarounds to make sure kids are physical. There’s something wrong with that.

Then there’s the culture empowered by acceptance. This is a problem largely found on forums and large-scale blogs, but enthusiast clubs and conventions will reveal their fair share. Empowered geeks find it acceptable to condescend to others, mainly because the source of geek identity is internal and can only be expressed through words. No one has a problem with people sharing their knowledge or preferably anecdotes, but there are those out there who believe that they are entitled to belittle others and eschew common courtesy. Why? Because they know stuff. Read the rest of this entry

totally on purpose

totally on purpose.

Wordy comics bother me to no end, mainly because I associate heavy text with prose and visuals with comics. However, this comic is worth sharing because of the truth it shares. A lot of the professional world is BS. It’s a shame that people try so hard to get involved in things that they actually don’t want to do.

Give the networks some credit

The closing of multiple Borders Bookstores nationwide has left me with some mixed feelings. On the one hand, I grew up going to Borders at least once a month and walking away with some shining treasure. Not only was Borders where I discovered the wonderful novel Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, but that is where I also picked up my one and only copy of Diehard GameFan magazine. That magazine is unparalleled to this day. It’s probably why I have such warped sensibilities about video games. I later went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, which happens to feature the first Borders Bookstore right on its campus.

But on the other hand, sales speak loudly to my multimedia habits. It was difficult to hold back, but I refused to go until the minimum discounted price was 50%. My fiancee and I went and tried to find new treasures. By then the store was already picked apart by people who give in too easily. Scott Pilgrim books and DVDs were not to be found, nor were any of the more exciting graphic novels and manga. The science fiction was left bare once we realized that the only items present were derivative materials and new releases that had been pulled out of overstock. The only section that contained anything at all worthwhile was the DVD section, because their discounted material was still around the cost most stores charge for the items – which makes me wonder if one business failing of Borders was the fact that Borders is the only store anywhere that sells DVDs at MSRP.

Click for a Veridian Dynamics commercial from the show

I came across two of my favorite recently canceled shows: Dollhouse (Season 2) and Better Off Ted (Season 1). I think overall I saved approximately $8 on what they would cost me through Amazon, but I didn’t care. These were shows that belonged in my collection. It’s one of the few times in recent years that I ignored my $15 per DVD/set limit.

Interestingly, I had actually been thinking about canceled shows quite a bit. This was sparked by my reading too many comments on various blogs about enthusiast materials. There is an annoying aspect of fandom that seems to require everyone think the same way and regard all material in a similar fashion. The nail that sticks out gets hammered down. New movies that get released require the same opinion, and only certain television shows require support. Then there’s the vilification of anything that gets in the way. The most common form of this is the canceled TV series, whose failure must be blamed on the television network. Read the rest of this entry

Hanna

"Adapt or die" sounds like the tagline Enix should have proposed for E.V.O.: Search for Eden

I just got back from seeing Hanna, and the movie definitely ranks up there with the good movies that have come out this year. Good but not great. In the end, there wasn’t enough material there to make me think I saw a full movie. It was kind of empty.

Then it hit me. Hanna herself, having grown up in the forest without any real social interaction or anything beyond a rote understanding of life, was a blank slate. There wasn’t much there to differentiate her from any of the classic video game avatars. She went through several levels before she reached the end: the facility, the desert, the city, and finally the amusement park. While she did not encounter battles every step of the way, she did gain experience. In the end, she beat the big bad. Game over. Credits. Insert more money to play again.

It is amusing to see this movie compared to Sucker Punch in various reviews. While Sucker Punch looked like a video game, Hanna played like one. Critics say that Hanna is the superior film, but I have to tip my hat to Sucker Punch because I find difficulty enjoying video games that don’t allow me to actually play them.

Geist: Canadian-backed report says music, movie, and software piracy is a market failure, not a legal one – thestar.com

Geist: Canadian-backed report says music, movie, and software piracy is a market failure, not a legal one – thestar.com.

Well, duh. Better pricing and distribution models would lead to better sales and a greater appreciation of legal acquisition. Suing people for thousands of dollars for downloading content that costs only tens of dollars will only lead to a lack of appreciation for the distributors, and it leads to more secretive illegal acquisition attempts. But if you treat your consumers with some decency, chances are they’ll treat your product the way you want.

Violent Games Can Hinder Development of Empathy in Children, says Study – IndustryGamers

Violent Games Can Hinder Development of Empathy in Children, says Study – IndustryGamers.

The truth is, children shouldn’t be receiving their lessons in empathy from video games. Video games are not a source for that, and any game that tries to directly teach that lesson will not be received well by the intended audience. Putting the blame on games is just a sad and seemingly endless exercise. Read the rest of this entry