Dear Readers,

December 30, 2008 at 3:33 am (Video Games)

I have had a very good reason for not posting any content lately: I just got a PS3 + MGS4, and I can’t peel myself away from the game. It’ll take a little work to justify all my tense thumbs and lost writings, because the actual game as a final product is not very good: every cut scene is nothing short of a filmic atrocity, with (and I’m being literal here) hours of exposition, and in between these explanations there is either (admittedly cool and ridiculous) fight scenes, or blunt character drama as interesting as a science geek falling for another science geek. Or a member of the world-saving squad worried about Snake’s ability to fight. The soldiers responds with a dismissive hand halting communication, the newly quiet regarding him in sympathy and awe.

Read the rest of this entry »

Permalink Leave a Comment

Listlistlist. How else does one express enjoyment besides comparison and competition?

December 25, 2008 at 7:38 pm (Music)

Best Music 2008

I’ve put way too much time and effort into this, and most of the list spotlights music based more on atmosphere and attitude than, well, musicality; Oh well, here we go:

Read the rest of this entry »

Permalink Leave a Comment

Just a Warning:

December 7, 2008 at 2:36 am (Comic Books)

This one’s kinda wacky, insubstantial (I spend a lot of time commenting on the plot as I regurgitate it), and lacking evidence or citations. It’s okay if you skip it.

You HAVE to go out and buy this comic #4: Hellboy: In the Chapel of Moloch

Mike Mignola hasn’t drawn a comic in ages. He’s done the occasional cover, sure, but it’s been awhile since his images have been sequential. Surprisingly, it’s his draftsmanship that’s loose here, his figurework more coarse than chunky, his ink lines sloppy instead of thick. Less than perfect, it’s still Mignola with imaginative monsters told in ominous shadows surrounded by gothic Kirby figures and statues.

Honestly, I was more impressed with its one issue long plot that Mignola has always made feel either rushed or inconsequential: here it’s actually a kind of bitter story of art, and the hurdles fame brings to inspiration. While I’m not normally the type to separate visuals from script, it’s really worth discussing at a level of pure narrative, because it’s almost allegorical. Which might mean that Hellboy’s burning out Mignola, but I don’t know; stick around to the end to find out the exciting conclusion to this piece of blogoriffic criticism!

Read the rest of this entry »

Permalink Leave a Comment

Here, We Take Our Playtime Seriously

December 5, 2008 at 10:42 pm (Music)


Of Montreal: Skeletal Lamping

Although the offer looks like it’s gone out of print after pre-orders, the album was available in tote bag, t-shirt, compact disc, and vinyl format. Every version is available in this deluxe package, but it looks like only the cd and vinyl can now be ordered a la cart, but no matter how you purchase it, you are getting a visual treat.

The CD:

01413_skeletal_cd_unfolded1

and the vinyl:

01414_skeletal_lp1

Before even opening the package, it’s already intimidating release, more menacing and animalistic than the simply formatted mandalas from their last full length.

Read the rest of this entry »

Permalink Leave a Comment

Quickie

December 4, 2008 at 6:50 pm (Movies)

I’m trying out a new review style (it’s called the capsule format!). I thought it’d ruin the why of people reading a review, but Christgau has proven how it can splay aesthetic over performance in concise enlightenment. It’s like a news report in that it’s brief and you have to trust that I did my research/thoroughly watched the movie.

Flaming Lips’ Christmas On Mars

Indie Supergroup Flaming Lips devote their souls and sweat to an visual and emotional banquet. It succeeds when trying to be purely filmic, relying on sonics and visuals for rhythm and power, but its plot and characters reveal unencumbered kitsch. When a crew member cries a drop of blood, and when the aggressive captain remarks that maybe they did just experience the “best Santa ever” who magically saves the day, well, you know if you’re going to like this film or not, although its astounding atmosphere almost trumps its (admittedly amateur and effortful) cast overacting every part like there’s no tomorrow. With an enviable economy in set design, but still in need of editing and narrative direction, it’s twee instead of punk. Both are four letter words here. B-

Permalink Leave a Comment

December 1, 2008 at 10:01 pm (1)

Plok finally got his big Millar post down. And it’s pretty big, and long, and introduces concepts not fully fleshed out until after they’re used as incredibly important concepts guiding his readings of Millar’s comics.

BUT, here’s the awesome part: it starts by defending Millar and his controversies as acknowledging the commonly accepted boundaries of what can happen in a superhero comic (Heroes the example of the perfect, normative superhero media: I agree), and how, at his worst, he’s a graffiti artist more concerned with desecrating the landscape than using its much-viewed urban real estate as a platform for underrepresented media, and at his best, the graffiti art is kinda good to look at.

But (there’s always a but), this pointing out of superhero genre cliches ISN’T too subversive anymore. Marvel publishes The Age of Sentry, fer chrissakes, not to mention their multitude of Marvel Essentials that prove inadequacies of the publisher much more than essential, character defining moments. It isn’t enough to point out plot or character inconsistencies and laugh at them, no: Millar becomes even more rebellious than his peers by taking these concepts as dreafully serious! See: Ultimates and Wanted, which ingrains transgression not just through having what the villains consider

But (Oh how Millar surrounds even his critical tendencies with T&A!), all of this wanton destruction, often at the risk of critical and audience appreciation, eventually comes to a point where the critic can no longer point out Millar’s own work as good of any kind, and must paint over the subway wall with iridiscent pink and gang signs. So: Plok ends his piece by saying that all of this anarchy eventually leads to death and doom, but it shouldn’t, because it’s art aware of its form and using it to broadcast a politically subversive message.

In short, throughout the entire essay, we’re being told that what Millars doing is very good, even though it’s actually bad, and Plok goes through hoops to tell us how transgressive and sloppy it can be. But Iron Man is the champion of Civil War despite the evilness of his agenda, America is the bad villain of Ultimates 2 that turns all of its heroes into incarcerated neurotics, but we cheer for them when the evil Russian menace is defeated. And Mark Millar gets championed at the end of the essay, even though his agenda is reckless and terrible compared to the long term considerations of Morrison and co, because the opposite, not supporting innovative comics, just helps Heroes excel even more.

And it ends with Plok disparaging the reader for wanting more out of the story than what he’s already listed as its positive qualities. I can almost forgive the ending of Wanted, now (but, I’m sure, when I go back to read it, the codification of Millar’s work gained from Plok’s readings will vanish as the work resumes, and I lose my suspension of disbelief as my own rules of Millar’s work return; such is solipsism.).

I kinda feel weird not writing this as a comment on his site, but it’s really more a review than an actual piece of discourse. Check it out!

***

I promise I got a lot of posts just cooking under the surface, especially the one about Of Montreal’s SKeletal Lamping and what makes it a frustrating, transcendent, but mostly sloppy new album. When I finish a couple finals related madness over the week, I should return with semi-daily posting.

Permalink 1 Comment