I’ve written in the past about feminist issues, particularly #YesAllWomen, and apparently it’s necessary for me to do it again. Certainly all of you have heard about the raging war of harassment against Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian (for the supposed “crime” of being women who make and critique videogames), and I would like to think that all of my friends and readers agree that the perpetrators of this harassment are absolute scum who have no business calling themselves human beings. For those of you unaware of the circumstances around this, or just in the mood for amazing cultural commentary, I direct you to Andrew Todd’s response to all of this on Badass Digest. As for me, I feel that it is important to add my voice, insignificant as it is, to the chorus of condemnation of these douchebags, and to do that I will be requesting some help from the Disney song stable.
Halfway through its first season, The Strain has finally started delivering the show I hoped for. This past week, we’re in the thick of the cat-and-mouse battle between Stoneheart and Abraham’s resistance, and getting lots of great worldbuilding and definition, with a lot of the setup baggage from earlier episodes almost completely stripped away here. And then to top it all off, there was THAT ENDING, which was one of the best moments of the season so far, and has me actively excited and curious about what’s next for the first time in awhile
My love of superhero stories has been well-documented, so it probably shouldn’t be surprising to any of you that I am also a big fan of comic books as an art form. However, many of my favorite comics stories are not superhero stories at all, despite superheroes still being the dominant subject matter in the comics world, and many of my favorite creators are recognized at least as much for their original non-superhero work. One of my favorite comic book writers right now is Scott Snyder, who (besides his amazing work with Batman) is best known for his terrific American Vampire series. I’ve also developed a great appreciation for artist Sean Murphy, who really blew me away with his incisive and gorgeous Punk Rock Jesus. Just last month the two of them completed another project called The Wake, a 10-issue miniseries which, in spite of its relatively short length, is one of the more ambitious and epic stories I’ve seen in awhile, in any medium. Having just finished reading it myself, I realized how The Wake demonstrates exactly what makes comics stand out as a form of storytelling from all others.
FINALLY! The last couple of weeks have been kind of hectic for me, so of course I fell behind on the one show that I decided to recap weekly. And of course, this happens to coincide with The Strain really taking off and getting on track. With these last two episodes- “Runaways” and “Occultation”- we’re finally getting where we want to be, and the show is delivering very nicely on it’s intended goal. In short, lots of Abraham and lots of mounting creepiness leaves me a happy camper.
A few months ago, I wrote a devil’s-advocate article on Michael Bay. At the time, I wanted to provide some slight counterpoint to the endless criticism of Bay’s style-first approach, while considering what the root of his flaws really was. But that was ultimately a fool’s errand, and one that I shouldn’t have bothered with; while I do believe that Bay’s filmmaking approach is not an inherently wrong one, I’m still not a fan in the slightest. It was also foolish of me to squander potential reader goodwill on such a useless and impersonal debate, when there are much more relevant fish to fry. Namely, I’m thinking of Zack Snyder, a filmmaker who has caught more than his fair share of flack from the same kinds of critics (cinephiles, fanboys, etc). But unlike Bay, I flat-out believe, full-stop, that Snyder is a great filmmaker, and one that has already accomplished far more than many give him credit for.
I have always regretted not featuring more of my friends’ Kickstarter efforts on here; there have already been one or two moments where I missed the opportunity to help out. But knowing that these people have just as much passion for film as I do, not to mention the connections and ideas that I’m still striving for, I do feel that I should bring attention to those that I know will be worth it. So on that note, I present the short film project “b00”, directed by Teresa Lu, a former coworker of mine. Furthermore, longtime readers (all three of you) might remember my review of “Play Dead, Grandpa” from Stefan Fernandez, who just happens to be shooting and co-producing this project as well. In addition to the fact that I know the filmmakers and can vouch for their creative abilities, the concept they’re developing just sounds damn good:
“b00” is short drama about a little girl who loses her brother to a heroin overdose on Halloween. As a promising night is torn from her in one fell swoop, the ex-trick-or-treater rides her bike through the barren streets to seek refuge and revenge.
The Kickstarter promo video also gets us little glimpses of what the finished product might look like, and it has a great vibe that is equal parts surreal/creepy and grounded/lived-in. I hope some of you out there find this project (or at least my endorsement thereof) worth your time and money. To me, these are the sorts of cinematic voices that deserve further attention and opportunity, and hopefully we as an audience can give them that.
Once again, the link for the project is here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/teresalu/boo-a-short-film-about-loneliness
And suffice to say I’ll be writing up a full reaction of the finished work. Good luck guys!
We’ve had another shocking and upsetting passing for this year, with Robin Williams having died early today. It’s a death that seems to be keenly felt by everyone young and old, which is unsurprising given Williams’ talent and expansive filmography. Part of that is that Williams has been a part of our celluloid lives every step of the way: kids recognize his voice from Aladdin, and have seen him in movies like Mrs. Doubtfire and Night at the Museum, while adults have seen him in everything from One Hour Photo to World’s Greatest Dad (not to mention TV, from Mork and Mindy to The Crazy Ones and that brilliant episode of Louie). We all know how he could capture funny, zany, sad, creepy, comforting, and oh yeah, FUNNY, with equal amounts of ease and humanity. As such, I figure that the best way to memorialize him is with his own work, and his ability to make you feel with him no matter what.