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.