I'd love to meet and talk with a WWII-generation Japanese citizen who saw Gojira (aka Godzilla) for the first time in 1954.
It's no secret that Japanese pop-culture – from Manga comics to big-robot/big-monster sci-fi – has acted as a pressure-release for the anger and anxiety built up from America's bombing of Japan in World War II. (The great anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion explored another big theme – the conflict between eastern and western religions – but that's another essay.)
In part two of a three-part series, I look back at The Wire's strongest seasons.
Let’s talk about The Wire's magnificent third and fourth seasons, which feature the most satisfying examples of thematic layering, echoing and character graduation. Season three introduces a theme so potentially boring it would have sounded death-knell for any other show: management.
Here's my review for the original Expendables, which I sort of liked.
SPOILERS AHEAD!SPOILERS AHEAD!SPOILERS AHEAD!
I don't want to think of Sylvester Stallone as a simpleton, but he keeps forcing me to with movies like The Expendables.
Here's the thing: I like Stallone. He strikes me as an earnest movie-maker with decent storytelling instincts. I thought Rocky Balboa was great, and I could really sense his desire to get back to the roots of the character that made him famous.
But even in Rocky Balboa, I got a sense of Stallone the simpleton. The movie's plot hinges on a video game that pits the aging Rocky against the current heavyweight champion -- and you know what? I bet that's where Stallone got the idea. A video game. By comparison, in the leadup to the release of Rambo (the fourth in the series that began with First Blood), Stallone (if memory serves) revealed that he got the idea for the fourth Rambo from a magazine article, as well as from the Saw movies, although the horror franchise only guided Stallone's hand in pumping up the volume of the violence he depicted. (The splatter-gore aesthetic, while less intense in The Expendables, is still with Stallone.)
In the first of a three-part series, I look back at The Wire and try to figure out why season five is the weakest entry of this brilliant series.
I first watched The Wire, David Simon’s seminal portrait of the city of Baltimore in five acts, a few years ago. I recently plowed through the series again, this time with the foreknowledge that its final season was generally regarded as its weakest. When I first watched the show, I remembered admiring the newsroom scenes, and especially the performance of Clark Johnson as the Sun’s city editor. So did my rewatch confirm or disconfirm the inferiority of season five?
In this article, originally written in conjunction with ScriptPhD.com, I pick my favorite eureka-bellowers of all time.
An astute cartoonist once observed that most so-called mad scientists are actually just mad engineers.
You can see the original comic here, but the gist is this: A mad scientist proclaims that he’s invented a death ray. A nameless troublemaker asks him if he’s testing any mad hypotheses with mad experiments and mad control groups. Good stuff. That comic served as the inspiration for this list, in which I assemble the best mad scientists from pop-culture who actually act like scientists. They conduct experiments. They record data. And they’re fucking bonkers.
Despite all its inherent challenges, it appears that a big-screen version of Stephen King's The Stand is still on its way. The latest news is that director Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) will direct one gigantic three-hour movie. Here's a look back at a piece of mine that originally appeared both on Geekscape and CC2K.
Before I offer my (totally preliminary) dream casting choices, let me also share my hopes for what the new film will be: I hope it’ll be The Lord of the Rings. Meaning, I hope that King’s sprawling struggle between good and evil will get the LOTR treatment in the form of three or four epic movies. It’s great material, and I think it’s worthy of that kind of production.
That said, let’s talk about the cast. I’m going to offer my first-string choices, as well as some backups if I think of any. And I am very open to suggestion and correction with any of these.
Orange is the New Black is like a pirate broadcast from a happier, matriarchal universe where women dominate the airwaves, and we just happened to get one of their prison dramas. Season two wasn't perfect, and that’s OK. This show doesn’t need a handicap. It’s not the kind of show where we have to wave away great swaths of imperfection…
An essay ostensibly arguing that Temple of Doom is the best Indiana Jones movie, but which veers into a larger analysis of the trilogy and the Indiana Jones character Let's talk theme. Ideally, a great movie should be about something great, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom -- like Aliens -- is a sequel that tops the original,…
Source: New York Times I guess it was bound to happen: Wonder Woman got a makeover. The New York Times reports that in issue 600 of the long-running series, Diana Prince will receive a sleeker costume that takes her out of the traditional bathing suit she’s worn for years. In its place, the Amazon warrior will get slacks, boots and…
Fanbase Press has one of the great unheralded stories of the comic-book publishing world. Run by Los Angeles-based husband-and-wife team Bryant and Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press has been putting out top-notch content for the past several years. The company’s first two titles, Identity Thief and Something Animal, were both painterly explorations of dark psychosis. Since those releases, they’ve steadfastly sought…
In this classic book review, Tony Lazlo sounds an extended dirge for the disappointing final chapter in the Harry Potter book series. SPOILERS AHEAD! The empress is naked.After 10 wonderful years of books whose release dates arrived with the anticipation of fresh boxes of Wonka bars, we're left with the disheartening reality that J.K. Rowling couldn't write a Harry Potter…
Imagine Marvel’s Doctor Strange, with all of its trippy imagery, cool psychic battles, and supernatural-bordering-on-super-science worldbuilding. Now imagine that story written by a master novelist with protean-powerful command of first person, and you’d have David Mitchell’s Slade House. Needless to say, SPOILERS LIE AHEAD!