Thursday, April 3, 2014

How Can You Hate Little Birds?



Far back in the mists of time, in the days when season 2 of Game of Thrones was drawing to a close, I was conflicted. I wanted child-murderer, rape-enthusiast, and all-around chickenshit Theon Greyjoy to meet a horrible, stabby death at the hands of the forces gathering around him. At the same time, if Theon does get gutted, who would I hope gets slapped in every scene in which they appear? Conundrum. Joffrey was still around, though, I observed, but an onlooker offered an alternative—“There’s always Sansa.”
            I was actually taken aback. Really, I was stunned. “Why the fuck would I want to see Sansa get slapped?” I asked, even though I knew any answer I got would be dumb. Because, really, there’s only one reason to hate Sansa that much.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

In Sea, Plain, and Sky: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)


“Reknowned international thief Lupin III comes to the small European duchy of Cagliostro to investigate some excellently-forged money and stumbles across a national conspiracy going back some hundreds of years. Lupin and his friends must rescue the beautiful Clarice from the hands of the evil Count Cagliostro and solve the mystery of a hidden treasure dating back to the 15th century.” 

Friday, March 21, 2014

In Sea, Plain, and Sky

There’s a good chance I saw my last new Hayao Miyazaki film last week. What a sad thing to see in stark letters like that. The great man says it’s time for him to retire, and if that’s what he’s decided, so be it. Maybe we’ll get lucky, and he’ll change his mind later—after all, it’s happened before. In the meantime, I’ve decided the best way I can pay homage to a luminary of world cinema is through a survey of his works.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Speaking For: The Asylum of the Daleks



Man, I’ve been dealing in weighty, dismal topics lately. Time to downshift and have a little fun again—fun in this case being rallying in favor of a Doctor Who episode. And the episode in this case is “The Asylum of the Daleks,” the premiere of the revived show’s 7th season, or its 2012 season, however you want to measure it. Not the boldest choice, same might say. “Asylum” is pretty well regarded, after all. Well, I say it’s the third best Dalek episode of the revived series, despite some issues. How’s that for bold? Not really? Well, whatever, it’s the case.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Mountains of Madness Peak in Ourselves



            Serial killer shows are, by my reckoning, the stupidest goddamn things. While I believe their nadir was last year’s The Following, my favorite example of their stupidity was sometime earlier, in some show called “Chase” or “The Chase” or “Chaser” or something, about a marshal doubtless named Chase. Anyway. I watched it because it featured The Wire’s own Mr. Prezbo for an episode as some manner of badass criminal, a sight too hilarious to pass up. He was, of course, a serial killer, which according to the modern paradigm means he is the very pinnacle of danger, physically and mentally unstoppable. Despite being a former English teacher who attacked 16 year old girls, his compulsion for murder gave him the fighting prowess of the Predator and the calculating brilliance of Lex Luthor. In the opening moments, he beat two armed marshals to submission while shackled and escaped. Later, he breaks into an empty home. “He has a knife now,” one of the desperate marshals on the hunt intones. By the next scene, the pursuing marshals are armed for Ragnarok. Kevlar. Bandoleers of flash bang grenades. Assault rifles with nightvision scopes, forward grips, and double magazines for fast reloading. Such were the tools needed to take down this elemental force of murder now that he had a kitchen knife. Moronic.
            But that’s the power our cop dramas usually attribute to serial killers. They’re the boogey men. We don’t believe in goblins, witches, and ogres anymore, so we have serial killers. And that’s just one stupid patch in the deep, stupid quilt of stupidity that goes into the serial killer show. That matter of taste should be kept in mind when I say Hannibal is one of the best shows on right now. It goes to show that a little artfulness goes a long way.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Known Things

I generally read reviews after I’ve watched a film, which might seem odd, but is a natural part of my assessment process, seeing what others have to say. Obviously, this time of year, as I catch up with the prestigious and high-minded films catching awards heat, what others have to say gets more diffuse, specific and hair-splity, since in general such films have at least a base level of competence. Usually. Anyways. Two such films I made sure to catch are 12 Years a Slave and Fruitvale Station, which respectively have aggregate review scores of 96% and 94%, and one criticism I saw levied at both, from professionals and cinephiles, hinged on matters of existence. Specifically that they didn’t “say anything [the speaker] didn’t already know.” Looking at the posters for both, you might see something else they have in common. Further, if you’re familiar with the backstory of each, you might see yet another.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I Don’t Know, I Wasn’t There, But I’m a Human Being with a Brain, so I Have Suspicions Based on the Information I Have Gathered



The human brain is, surely, the most wondrous thing currently known to mankind. Right now, I just opened a bottle of my favorite beer. My brain coordinated not only the entire mechanical process (while keeping me upright the whole time), it managed the impulses that drove me to get one, while retaining all the information required to acquire said beer, where I left it, where I could find more, the process by which I could get more, roughly how much more I could get balance with how much more I should, the qualities that make it my favorite, how it compares to all the other beers I have ever had, and many, many memories surrounding this beer, and it has resolved the philosophical conundrum that while I have never had this specific, individual beer before, it is my favorite, and it continued to regulate the rest of my body’s functions that ensure my continued survival, with plenty of room for a myriad of other thoughts, plans, wishes, memories, instincts, feelings, and so on. All of this, it did, while only weighing about 3 pounds. By way of contrast, the laptop I am composing this upon weighs about 3.3 pounds, and it sometimes runs at 33% capacity with just a document and a web browser running. Yet, this laptop was also designed by a brain, as was the beer, the bottle it came in, the car I drove to get it, the store I bought it in, and the economy that allowed me to buy it. I love my brain, and thus I have little patience for those who pretend theirs don’t work.