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Monthly Archives: March 2014

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the New Dark Knight

Remember how every comic book movie was going to turn into The Dark Knight? I think it’s officially happened. Whatever you were expecting from Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, it wasn’t super-serious lines about the world needing heroes.

Maybe this doesn’t reflect what the movie actually is. Maybe the decision was that people don’t really care about seeing ninja turtles and just want to look at Megan Fox while getting some kind of backstory. Genetically engineering turtles in a lab in order to create heroes is a really terrible idea, but at least Michael Bay isn’t doing the aliens thing anymore. That’s a step up.

TMNT is supposed to be fun though. It’s not supposed to be The Dark Knight. It’s not supposed to be desaturated shots of a hopeless New York City being blown up because the police can’t do their job and the only Batman four mutant turtles can stop the killing.

Is This the Most Racist Comic Book Cover Ever?

themostracist comic ever

Airboy, a superhero whose power is flying an outdated plane and fighting rats, gets sent into Japan by putting some makeup on.(Makeup, not mud. The Japanese inside the comic aren’t Aquaman either.) It’s another case of false racism advertising.

Airboy doesn’t actually speak Japanese, but he thinks that lisping is good enough. It’s not. He gets captured. He escapes. He gets captured. He escapes. Japan loses the war. No thanks to him.

Tschai and Demon Princes: The Journey is the Destination

 

Jack Vance’s book series of Tschai Planet of Adventure and Demon Princes are long winding journeys that end abruptly and in an anti-climactic fashion.

(Spoiler alert for those who need them for books from the sixties.)

Adam Reith arriving at the empty steppe to find a working spaceship, rubbing some dirt between his fingers and Tschai “exhibiting its rotundity” before it vanishes.

Kirth Gersen arriving to find that Howard Alan Treesong, the weakest of the series’ villains, has already been immobilized by his victim’s parents only to have him commit suicide and then complaining in a brief scene with Alice Wroke, who like Reith’s Zap 201 is really the latest girl he has ended up with, though Alice at least shares his passion for revenge, that he has been abandoned by his enemies.

cugele thei rehr

Kirth and Adam are only truly alive on their quests. Adam frequently debates whether he will even be able to leave Tschai. Kirth becomes progressively more ruthless and yet unwilling to kill his enemies. He misses Lens Larque twice and misses Howard Alan Treesong. He complete Lens’ revenge for him coming close to crossing into the dark side.

After defeating the Demon Princes, with his skills and endless fortune, Kirth faces the same crisis as the demon princes who were undone by the need to find pursuits, grand or petty, to match to their vast power. It’s not unlikely that Kirth will become a demon prince.

Adam’s skill set as a scout is only truly of use in a place like Tschai. There’s no room for men like Kirth and Adam on civilized worlds. And they are too empty to live on them.

Kirth Gersen has few interests. He buys a chess playing toy toward the end for the novelty. He considers settling down on Methlen yet knows it’s nothing but a fantasy. Adam Reith is even more of a cipher. Nothing is known of his past. His profession requires him to tackle dangerous worlds. He’s only truly alive on Tschai.

A conventional author would have written of Anacho, Traz and Zap 201’s responses to enco0uro_caza011untering human worlds and the Federal service’s war with the Dirdir, but topics like that did not interest Vance. The abrupt departures and conclusions of both series is Vance closing the door once there is nothing of interest to write about.

Vance, a tourist in real life, was also the author as tourist, laying out the fanciful wonders and baroque irritations of strange places and turning away when it was time to go home and there was nothing more to say.

Adam Reith and Kirth Gersen are tourists with incredible skills who are vehicles for exploring strange imaginary worlds. When the tour ends, the air leaves the balloon and the story ends. Reith and Gersen are driven by the plot on a quest that will destroy the purpose of their journey. Their journey is their destination and their destination ends them.

Their mission is the self-destruction of the animating force that gives them purpose and meaning.

Adult World – Movie Review

adult-world-welivefilm-5

Adult World is almost a movie about growing up, but it’s wedged in an indie land where growing up is something that other people do. Instead it clings to its precious indie cliches wasting two good performances on self-conscious cliches.

The trailer with its dynamic between Emma Roberts as a clueless aspiring young writer and John Cusack as a burned out poet would have made for a great movie, unfortunately that movie isn’t Adult World, which spends more time milking laughs and awkwardness out of Roberts’ job in an adult bookstore and her rooming with a transvestite.

Emma Roberts gives a great and very real performance as a ridiculous and very familiar character, the young poet with no clue, who is convinced of her own talent and is desperate to succeed. John Cusack’s grouchy Rat, a man whose glory days are in the past, is a good change of pace for the actor.

It’s not the actors who let down the movie, but the plot with its over-reliance on indie gimmicks, cliched teaching moments and characters and organic filler that lets the actors down.

Adult World would have been better off set on campus, instead indie cliches demand a goofy workplace and a story about growing up. Indie cliches also demand an outsider character to teach the white main character something about life and Adult World offers up a transvestite roommate. The plot that brings them together makes less sense than anything else in the movie, but the producers are just checking off an indie box.

Wacky old lady, check. Man-child boyfriend who could double for Jesse Eisenberg, check. And all that’s left is a movie that might have been good if it had grown up enough to break out of its indie shell.

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