Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas?! Comics!

Ok, before I get carried away, this is my last post like this.

From "Christmas Spirits" by Bill Willingham and Cory Walker. In the DCU Infinite Holiday Special #1.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

To be fair...

...Marvel Comics also has its fair share of ridiculous Christmas shenanigans.  I do think this is more forced than the DC stories though.

Christmas with Batman and Superman

Nothing says Christmas like jetbacks and random acts of violence.   Sequences like this are why I read DC comics.  

From “Yes, Tyrone, There is a Santa Claus” by Kirby Puckett and Pete Woods.  In the DCU Infinite Holiday Special #1.  


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Movies I liked in the 2000's: Kill Bill

Inglourious Basterds might just be a better piece of cinema, but I can't help but love the most unabashedly B grade movie of all time. 

For the purposes of this review, I'm considering Volumes 1 and 2 to be two parts of the same movie.  Though tonally that couldn't be more different, the whole thing really works best when you watch the two parts back to back.

Now, Kill Bill might just have the most ludicrous plot I've ever seen and it unashamedly steals from just about every genre film ever made, but somehow it all works.  What makes Kill Bill so amazing to me that it should really be the worst movie ever.  However, somehow the combination of klingon proverbs, insane fight sequences, anime, Ennio Morricone, Sonny Chiba, discussions about Superman, and stealing Bruce Lee's wordrobe not only works, but makes for some incredibly engaging viewing.

Movies I liked in the 2000's: City of God

I've heard a lot of comparisons between City of God and Slumdog Millionaire. While there are some superficial similarities, City of God is far and away a better film.

In many ways, The Wire is a better point of comparison for City of God than Slumdog Millionaire. Like the Wire, the story of City of God does not revolve around a single character but around a host of characters inhabiting a slum outside of Rio de Jineiro. Structurally, the film is made up of a series of interconnecting stories detailing the growth of organized crime within the slum. Stick-ups lead to drug dealing which leads to conflict over territory which leads to an escalation of violence that nearly engulfs the whole community.

The gangs throughout City of God, just like those in The Wire, are composed primarily of children and teenagers. This isn't The Godfather where grown men gun each other down whilst wearing suits and ties. City of God, which frighteningly is based on actual events, features children committing heinous acts of violence for reasons that are unclear even to them.

What makes the film so strong is the frankness in which it presents this fact. While the film has some unique cinematography, there is a distinct lack of aestheticization of violence. Every bullet thats fired has consequences, random shots end up having grave consequences. Even Knockout Ned, a character whose motivation for violence is initially laudable ends up losing his moral center as the violence escalates. The fact that the film ends almost exactly as it begins underscores how pointless and inevitable the cycle of violence has become.

I haven't seen the follow-up City of Men or the TV series of the same name yet.  But after rewatching City of God, I'm definitely going to check them out.

Life in a Lego House

Yes this is real. Yes this is awesome.

Read more about this here.