Tagged: review

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Tweeks: Review The Fault In Our Stars

fault-in-our-stars-hazel-gus-bench-amsterdamThe Tweeks have been waiting months to sit in the dark and have a good communal cry over John Green’s ultimate weep-fest novel, A Fault In Our Stars, so they brought their camera & a panel of tween movie fans to the theater on opening night.  Watch their review to see how the movie version stood up to what they consider one of the best teen reads ever.

 

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Tweeks: Days of Future X-men Fans

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-character-photo-Jennifer-Lawrence-as-MystiqueFangirls love Jennifer Lawrence and Theatre Kids love Hugh Jackman, so the question The Tweeks had to ask themselves is: Will our kind love X-Men: Days of Future Past even if we haven’t kept up on the X-Men franchises?  Will we be able to enjoy the CGI if we’re too busy being confused about who’s who in the movie?  The answer?  Watch the review & see how X-Men fans are made.

Martha Thomases: Cosplay Around The Clock?

Thomases Art 140502My friend Connie went to see the cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden last weekend. She couldn’t wait to tell me about it. Apparently, it is common for people of Japanese heritage – or people who admire Japanese heritage – to wear traditional dress for this occasion, and she had looked forward to seeing some fabulous kimonos.

Only this time, there were cosplayers. Lots of cosplayers. No one was selling any comics or movies or video games or collectibles, but still there were cosplayers.

Is this a thing now? Are we cosplaying all the time?

I mean, next month at Book Expo America, a trade show for the publishing industry, is having a “Book Con” for people who like books enough to go to the Javits Center on a nice weekend in the spring just for the fun of it. Are we going to see people dressed like their favorite Jane Austen characters? Or Moby Dick?

Once we expand cosplay to the world of traditional (i.e. non-illustrated) literature, then the cosplay opportunities can be expanded infinitely. Perhaps your boss isn’t a plutocrat with no imagination, but is instead performing an homage to The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. Your mother-in-law hasn’t let herself go, she’s just a big fan of Stephen King. And your niece, the little princess? She dresses that way on purpose.

Actually, I already see a lot of kids dressed as princesses or Buzz Lightyear at local playgrounds. It’s possible they are coming from costume parties, which in the new kids’ culture now happen randomly all week long. And the hipster boys, with their artisanal beards, their vintage hats, and their flannel shirts, could just as easily be extras in a John Ford western.

I’m not going to do cosplay, at least not on purpose. I’ve already expressed a personal uneasiness with drawing attention to myself via spandex, and I don’t think that’s going to change as I get older. Having worn a uniform in high school, I am much too self-conscious about the message I send out when I put on clothes of my own choosing. Perhaps there would be some advantage to going to work dressed as Wonder Woman on the day of my performance review. Perhaps I could use a magic lasso to get rid of the creeps on the subway.

Still, the event in Brooklyn inspired this story
in which a snappy dressed African-American gentleman was swamped with fans who thought he was dressed as The Doctor. The writer of the story in the link observed that the random people at the cherry blossom festival were more open-minded than the people at New York Comic-Con six months before. As comics fans, we should be ashamed of ourselves. As Americans, maybe we can be encouraged by the progress we’ve made in six months.

In any case, if you’re looking for investment opportunities, I would recommend bow ties.

Bow ties are cool.

Snarky Synopsis: “Original Sin” #0

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Original Sin #0. Written by Mark Waid. Art by Jim Cheung, Paco Medina, Mark Morales, Guillermo Ortego, Dave Meikis, Juan Vlasco, and Justin Ponsor.

It’s that time again. No, not when the swallows return from Capistrano. No, not when Dan DiDio polishes his head in the Shine-O-Ball-O. It’s epic-crossover time, kiddos! Marvelous Mark Waid puts his pen to paper for Original Sin #0, a cosmic odyssey that focuses on the supreme perv of the 616, The Watcher. Ole’ Uatu is destined for a possible dirt nap, and let’s just assume a ton of fallout will occur. But I’m getting ahead of myself. You’d clearly have known that… had you been an all powerful, big headed, poorly dressed voyeur. But you’re not, so you’re likely wanting to know how the prequel – such as it were – fares. If I were to bestow upon you a fair and just warning that a major cosmic event is about to occur? You’d be long dead before it comes up concerning this review.

Issue 0 of Original Sin anchors itself with the newest Nova of Earth, Sam Alexander. Waid is quick to establish his voice – cosmic Peter Parker. Simply put, it’s impossible to read through the issue and not be reminded by Marvel’s everyman. As Sam quips, zaps, and stumbles his way through the issue, every smirk that crept to my mouth was adjoined by the feeling I’d been there before. The plot, as it were, is as straight-forward as you might get. Nova, in between telling himself his life story (assuming he doesn’t know he’s a comic character), comes to a great and grand universal mystery: Why does the Watcher watch? This is opposed to Who Watches the Watchmen, which everyone knows already. So, with the innocence of a child, Sammy takes to the moon to ask Uatu if he watches Dateline: To Catch A Predator.

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Tweeks: John Allison’s Bad Machinery

bad machinery halloweenieThe Tweeks love anything British, they love comics, and they love groups of kids solving mysteries so of course they were freaking out over John Allison’s Bad Machinery series where a group of 6 preteens in Tackleford, England not only solve cases, but spazz out over unicorns in video games.  Watch our review of Volumes 1 and 2 and see why this is kind of like  a younger Buffy without the vampires or British cartoon-y Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys only better.

Box Office Democracy: “Noah”

I suppose you can’t make a movie about a global flood and a man building an ark to store all of the animals of the world without people drawing the comparison to the story of Noah from the bible.  That’s a shame though because there’s an interesting movie in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah that might never get it’s due because it is so divorced from the story we’ve all heard a million times that I fear it’ll never get a chance.  This is a story everyone knows and changing the answer to questions like “Why did God flood the earth?” or “How many people were on the ark?” or even “How many rock monsters are in this story?”

This is a dark unpleasant movie Aronofsky has made.  This sentence could also be run in a review of Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream, or really any of his other movies with the possible exception of The Wrestler, which I only found unpleasant.  This is unpleasant on a whole other scale though.  This movie features the death, by drowning, of the overwhelming majority of the population of the planet and it isn’t even the most messed up thing that happens in the film.  Most disturbing scene has to go to the one where Noah is about to stab his newborn twin granddaughters to death because he’s convinced that God wants the human race to die out with his children.  What’s that you say?  In the bible all three of Noah’s kids bring their wives with them and there’s no question the human race will continue?  I don’t know what to tell you.  Your bible probably doesn’t have rock monsters in it either.

Aronofsky is a great director and while this isn’t a great film his talent comes through in the visuals.  The spiritual side of things is heavily stylized and colorful while the earth is all muted grays.  It creates solid contrast and will almost get you to accept that man has ruined the earth provided to him.  There’s also a fantastic sequence where Noah tells his children the biblical story of seven-day creation while we’re shown a much more scientific creation montage including evolution.  It’s visually stunning but probably not worth the shit storm I’m sure is forthcoming from the more devout religious groups.

In the movie they identify the rock monsters as members of a group of angels called The Watchers and while doing a bit of research for this review I came across a fun fact.  There are no examples of fallen Watchers in the actual bible but in the Book of Enoch, a non-canonical Jewish text, does describe a group of Watchers who fell including some that share names with characters in the movie Noah.  This group of Watchers was kicked out of heaven because they couldn’t control their urges and started having sex with human women leading to a race of monster giants.  None of this is in this movie and I probably would have rather seen that.

Box Office Democracy: “Divergent”

Divergent is a rather cynical reminder that Hollywood is all about making money and never taking any chances.  Twilight blows up and everyone scours for Young Adult books with supernatural elements and love triangles.  That search eventually leads to The Hunger Games which makes a ton of money leading to another wave of searches for YA books about dystopian futures and that is how we got to Divergent.  If this movie makes enough money expect a round of films where everyone refers to groups of people with needless SAT words.  I think that’s the takeaway here.

In the Divergent world all life exists in a post-apocalyptic Chicago where everyone exists in one of five factions Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Erudite, or Dauntless.  Everyone is tested for their appropriate faction but that is rendered moot as you are allowed to pick your faction when you reach some late teen age that somehow makes it so our main character Beatrice chooses on the same day as her older brother. Beatrice is a Divergent, someone who tests equally well for more than one faction.  This makes her dangerous somehow.  People will try and kill her if they discover this information.

This might seem like a lot of basic exposition and the film struggles mightily with it.  Establishing the previous paragraph and showing Beatrice (later just Tris) training for acceptance into the Dauntless faction takes the overwhelming majority of the film.  The actual story with real consequences and stakes doesn’t start until awfully close to the two-hour mark of the film.  This is a trilogy and I understand the need to lay groundwork for future movies (especially when they come pre-greenlit) but it really feels like they sold this movie out for excessive exposition and one too many training montages.

I also strongly feel that good science fiction needs a clear philosophical bent and I’m just not sure what that is in Divergent.  It might be about accepting people who are different, it might be about the importance of family, or it could be as simple as condemning people who want to throw violent coups.  It could be that this will also be clearer as the series goes on but I knew after one film that The Hunger Games would be about rebelling against an oppressive government.  Divergent just leaves me confused and disinterested.

The bad guy for most of the middle third of the movie, Eric, looks so much like hip-hop artist Macklemore that it’s honestly distracting.  It’s a choice I can’t understand unless this movie is intended as a propaganda piece to turn the young girls of America against Macklemore.  I would fully support that agenda and would be prepared to change this entire review into a rave if that agenda came out.  If anyone at Summit Entertainment or Lionsgate would like to comment on these please send a note through official ComicMix channels.

Comixology Hacked – Change Your Passwords Now!

comics_by_comixology_logo_black_text_low_resComixology sent out an email this morning discussing a security breach:

Dear Comics Reader,

In the course of a recent review and upgrade of our security infrastructure, we determined that an unauthorized individual accessed a database of ours that contained usernames, email addresses, and cryptographically protected passwords.

Payment account information is not stored on our servers.

Even though we store our passwords in protected form, as a precautionary measure we are requiring all users to change their passwords on the comiXology platform and recommend that you promptly change your password on any other website where you use the same or a similar password. You can reset your comiXology.com password here.

We have taken additional steps to strengthen our security procedures and systems, and we will continue to implement improvements on an ongoing basis.

Please note that we will never ask you for personal or account information in an e-mail, so exercise caution if you receive emails that ask for personal information or direct you to a site where you are asked to provide personal information.

We apologize for the inconvenience. If you have any questions, please contact us by sending an email to support@comixology.com

Sincerely,

ComiXology

Well, isn’t that a fun thing for the morning.

Marc Alan Fishman: Crowdfunding Fist To Your Face

Marc Alan Fishman: Crowdfunding Fist To Your Face

Bereft of much else on my mind this week, I turned to my social media outlets. I asked the world to inspire me, and seconds later, the world responded. “Monkey Fist”! It shouted at me. Well world, what about it?

“Monkey Fist” is in fact a crowdfunded project being thrown by fellow indie-in-arms studio, the Sun Bros. I myself am proud to proclaim myself a backer. Perhaps you should too. The Sun Bros, Wesley and Brad, are two hard-working dudes I’ve seen successfully launch now their third project, by way of crowd-funding. They hit the scene (which given the fact that Wesley knows Kung Fu means the pavement is now dead) with the apropos “Chinatown” in 2012, followed it up a year later with “Apocalypse Man”, and are now amidst their campaign to fund the fist. Suffice to say, they are making their way in the industry 1 great fan at a time. Not unlike Unshaven Comics. But given a look at their crowd-funded kitty, perhaps we should be asking them questions and taking serious notes… instead of shaving.

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