Friday, July 25, 2014

july 25, 2014


i've never seen xena: warrior princess, but i looked at some episode descriptions and it sounds like the ultimate entertainment. here are 5 reasons to check out season 5 (spoilers):

5. the season starts with xena and her companion gabrielle in heaven because they are dead from season 4. they have to be resurrected before the show can continue.

4. xena becomes pregnant and gives birth to a daughter that all the gods want to kill.

3. there is a backdoor pilot for a rejected selma blair spinoff called "amazon high."

2. there is a 25-year time jump.

1. xena has to kill gods.

and that's just what it took them 5 seasons to get to.

this is an old series dc used to do in the 80s where every issue retells the origin of some random dc characters. it was a great way for new readers to get to know the ever-growing dc universe, more valuable to one's home library than any encyclopedia. they recently brought it back and it's a great time for it, now that the new 52 has even the most devoted of fans wondering what exactly is up with all their old favorites and how many green lanterns are now gay.

in addition to current cw heartthrob green arrow and freshly dead damian wayne, this issue features the new origin of harley quinn. a thankless task, given her first origin was so memorably realized in the madly brilliant "mad love" one shot by bruce timm, paul dini, and glen murakami in 1994. i believe tweaks have been made to her backstory in the twenty years since, and probably this issue will give us the absolute latest version. all i can say is dc better be VERY careful. it's one thing to walk into gotham museum and throw paint on every exhibit while jammin' to prince. but this is harley quinn. easily their best female clown villain. they're fucking with real art here.

this is the new woody allen movie starring emma stone. i don't know what it's about and i don't want to know, because i want to go in not knowing and let the movie surprise me like a welcome lover in the night. based on the past couple decades or so, this will be one of my favorite movies of the year. if you like woody allen, or emma stone, or, for whatever reason, colin firth, don't let it elude you.

Friday, July 18, 2014

july 18, 2014


this is a very slow week in home video releases, so i will recommend one i haven't seen, but about which i've heard good things. under the skin is a british-american science fiction art film directed by jonathan glazer. it stars scarlett johansson as an alien who is seducing men in scotland. this sounds like a great thing to watch on a friday night. get some pizza and beer, turn all the lights off, open all the windows, and have a weird, spooky time. then if you don't like the movie, at least there was pizza and beer.


life with archie is a comic book that chronicles two parallel universes in the future: one in which archie marries veronica; one where he marries betty. this issue signals that the series is wrapping up because it skips even farther into the future to show archie's inevitable death. and as you can see from the cover, he doesn't die from no old age. archie andrews is murdered. archie will of course live on in perpetual teenage bliss in the pages of all the regular archie funnybooks, but kids everywhere will now know that no happiness awaits him in his multiverse of futures. his inescapable fate is to be taken from his loved ones prematurely. a shadow of tragedy that will forever haunt riverdale, making you want to bury your head in the classic archie books and never again think about the future.

it's a good read though, and it comes in five different variant covers so gorgeous that you'll spend twenty minutes standing at your local comic shop trying to pick one. or, you'll buy all five, if you are a lunatic. the book keeps it ambiguous as to whether we are in the veronica universe or betty universe. i guess everyone has their favorite, so they want you to be able to pretend it's whoever you want. but if you ask me, betty has always been the clear choice. both betty and veronica are pretty, but betty is a really good person and veronica is a cunt. to the point where i think that was even part of the appeal for archie.


the purge: anarchy is a horror thriller sequel written & directed by james demonaco, who wrote and directed the original purge from last year. the movies depict a society 9 years in the future that enforces an annual observance called the purge, where, for 12 hours, all crime is legal and all emergency services are suspended. the thinking behind this is that if everyone is allowed to "purge" all the darkness within them once a year, then the rest of the time, we can have a nice friendly society. this sequel takes place a year after the original, but follows all new characters. which i think is great. strong is the franchise bigger than any one character. now instead of being anchored to one specific storyline, the purge universe could be the basis for a neverending anthology of installments. if the hunger games people were any smart, they would've done that too.

Friday, July 11, 2014

july 11, 2014


bad words is a comedy about a 40-year-old man who competes in a national spelling bee for children. one of the most horrifying discoveries i've made as i've entered adulthood is that it has become way harder to be made to laugh at anything. like, life just gets less and less funny as you age and most things you see just make you anxious and sad. but bad words is a very funny movie, and my favorite of the year so far. this comes with some deleted material and a feature commentary with director/star jason bateman. feature commentaries are my favorite special feature*. they are one of the three things i look for when deciding if i should buy a blu-ray**. i want to see the film as if in the same room as the filmmakers, who are talking to me during the whole thing. in today's home video market, anything released without a commentary is a tragic waste.

* -- my second favorite special feature is music videos.
** --  the other two things i look for are if i really like the movie and if it costs five dollars.


like a lot of the best comic book creations, the teenage mutant ninja turtles have been interpreted a number of drastically different ways. five volumes of comic books, four television shows, four feature films with one on the way, seven hundred video games, storybooks, musical tours, some radical scratch-and-sniff stickers, and the single greatest action figure line in the history of manmade toys. each iteration unique in its vision of the turtles (and invariably a reflection of the decade in which it was produced). you could easily do a whole book on each individual thing, so i'm sure this ultimate visual history is a fascinating voyage across three decades of mutant action and pizza parties, crammed into a beggarly 192 pages.


there is another movie out this weekend about apes that is supposed to be very good, but boyhood is the more remarkable achievement. written & directed by richard linklater, it is the story of a boy named mason growing up from 1st to 12th grade. but rather than cast several different boys to represent mason at different ages, they cast one boy in 2002 and shot the movie intermittently over the past twelve years. his parents are played by ethan hawke and patricia arquette, so you can watch them age 12 years in one movie as well. and i was just wanting a new movie in 2014 that featured ethan hawke in training day fighting shape, so this is perfect. even if the movie sucked, it would be tremendously interesting to watch, but apparently it's a great movie anyway.

and if you like following the same ethan hawke character over several years under the direction of richard linklater, check out before sunrise (1995), before sunset (2004), and before midnight (2013).