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Are you a Splitter a Risen or Just Abiding in Sodom?

My first mini book expo book has arrived; “Therefore Repent!”  Jim Munroe‘s Graphic Novel about a post-Rapture Chicago and two new arrivals “The Raven” and “The Mummy.” George W. Bush is on a tour of the “Loyal” Red States with “Mr. Christ” in tow and the newly faithful are engaged in a protracted battle to win the favor of the God who left them behind.

It was interesting to see a world post-Rapture world from another point of view. It contrasts well with “The Chrysalids” and “Left Behind” where in both cases the focus was on the Faithful and The Newly Faithful as the protagonists, facing and evil world; “Therefore Repent!” is led by the meandering Gen-X’ers and lacksidasial hippies or spiritualists who had long given up on a Christian paradise.

“The Mummy” is revealed to be a spiritual person; whose own convictions are stronger than his own faith.  I think many an agnostic who grew up in the Church can see themselves in his character, someone who has examined their faith and come to terms with it.  While sympathetic “The Mummy” isn’t heroic, he is simply a vessel for the story and helps to guide us from point to point in the story.

“The Raven” is an enigma, a woman hidden from the world in a Raven Mask, hiding more than just her face.  I felt that her presence as protagonist was the strongest in the novel.  She is clearly running from her past; while traying to come to terms with something in it.  The Rapture appears only to have solidified that she is cursed in some way and that curse appears to have become unpredictable and dangerous.

Post-Rapture Chicago is populated by the people who have accepted that the Rapture has come and they have been left behind.  This is the most striking aspect of the world that we’ve been given.  There doesn’t appear to be any denial or suspicion of what has happened.  It has simply been accepted and the remains of humanity have moved on.  Even the media have simply accepted it into their news cycle.  Some of those who are left behind are trying to buy their way back “Splitter” and some are acting in the stead of Jesus “The Risen” but the majority have either given up or just moved on and accepted the new way.

Then the Dog talks and the dead keep rising.

It is clear that the world hasn’t just continued as normal; Angels are culling the west coast and Did I mention that Jesus is on tour with George Bush?

Now,  as a Graphic Novel I feel obliged to mention the Art.  I won’t linger on it.  Salgood Sam doesn’t present a stand out world of destroyed buildings and smoking craters.  Instead we are given a strong visual record of a normal world, populated with miracles and loss.  It’s like a hand-drawn history.  I valued the strong messages that were portrayed in the art of the characters that became more and more poignant as the story progressed.

All of that aside, I have read a very similar story before, I hesitate to list it by name but wonder if perhaps Mr. Munroe  was influenced by the same nietzcheian notions that led to it?  Nevertheless, this is an enterrtaining read and a strong graphic novel. “Therefore Repent!” is well presented, bound as a nice quality trade and distributed by Insomniac Press it is available from Jim Munroe’s website no media kings. I’d recommend it for fans of Post-Apocalyptic fiction, Gen-X prose and the religious aunt in the family.

I make Love to them

I make Love to them, originally uploaded by NiteMayr.

You know, when I think about it more “Wanted” the movie fell pretty far short of the bar set by “Wanted” the comic. Here you have a series of panels that illustrate this fact fairly succinctly.

Mr. Rictus (The Joker) is the main villain, he’s crazier than two syphilitic mimes from the middle ages. He is tired of the status quo and is leaving a meeting of the 5 most malevolent beings on earth when he is confronted by Wesley Gibson, who’s Nom de guerre is “The Killer”

They are Super Villains.



The Hero of the Comic Murders cops and commits innumerable crimes. It is vile and inhuman, and immeasurably entertaining. The Bad Guys DO win in the end; it’s all a matter of which bad guys.

Review: The Dark Knight

I’ve had some time to consider “The Dark Knight” and to get over the whole “No More Joker like that” feeling that it left me with when it was over; time to consider the whole put some thought into its merits and failings.

Gotham Itself

Foremost in those Merits is the Art/Photography.  The whole film feels like it was filmed on Location, instead of a series of sets.  Where Movies like “X-Men 3” felt like the scale of the film should have been epic and was instead tabletop sized; a movie about the conflict between two men was so grand in scale and broadly shot with sweeping backdrops.  It was masterful; as I stated earlier Gotham was shot as another character in the film without gaudy makeup and CGI flourish.   It was a welcome change.  The “Batcave” was also exceptional; instead of the visual cacphany of the traditional Batcave we are treated to a spartan and functional HQ that serves as the home of the Batman.  Did anyone else notice how BRIGHT the “Batcave” was?  It wasn’t until the Lights went off at the Batcave that things really got down to business; which I imagine was the metaphor that ran through the whole movie.


Speaking of unvarnished Characters; Alfred gets a back story in this film that precludes some of his own history.  He has served the Wayne Family for how long?  He used to be a mercenary/soldier in where?  Hmmm.  It seems that a former soldier might not take to the life of a butler as readily as the former actor.  Can we get a nice firm Public School Education and life of service in place for Alfred and just leave it there?  Please?  Michael Caine was (as ever) a fine character actor; he has settled into the “wise older guy/father figure” role very well.  The next man to fill the role after Mr. Caine will have trouble shaking the dignified and meaty role that Michael Caine has carved from Alfred.  Not Camp. not “Fussy School Marm”, just a Man’s Man who happens to be a butler.

Rachel Dawes

Maggie Gyllenhall; gah.  I think I just don’t like her as an actor.  Sure, she is more of a character than Katie Holmes carried in “Batman Begins” but only because she pouts and acts more upset with Bruce Wayne than in the former.  I jsut don’t buy her as a lawyer, she seems far to passive to be a real lawyer, especially as an Assistant DA.  Speaking of that; why isn’t Rachel the DA?  She has Bruce Wayne backing her for gosh’s sake.  That is kind of emblematic of the uneven writing that makes Rachel so poor; she motivates two big characters but isn’t self-motivating.  She just reacts and her biggest moment comes. <spoiler>post-mortem</spoiler> which kind of sucks for the actress.  She scores her points by looking alternatively annoyed, scared or sad.

Harvey Dent/Two-Face

Aaron Eckhart; Harvey Dent.  What can be said about the blonde-haird blue-eyed Harvey Dent that wasn’t repeated over and over again in the press about him all over Gotham?  Gotham’s white knight!  The guys on the force had another name for him: “Two Face”.  The only thing is that they don’t establish WHY they called him Two Face; only that he was called it behind his back.  If I remember correctly; in some far-off corner of my mind there was a portrayal of Harvey that showed him being bad-ass in private; thus showing the schism in his personality up front.  Aaron tries to demonstrate this schism on screen, in a hoarse scream that appears as if by magic at points; but I don’t think his performance was strong enough.  It was good; but not great.

The Joker / The Batman

I give Christian Bale and Heath Ledger equal billing here.  They are as much the same character as the source material allows.  In the comics; other heroes will often decry that Batman will always go over the edge and too far when solving the world’s problems.  The opposite is true; of course, The Batman doesn’t ever go too far; he is always prepared and has planned this out.  The same is true for the Joker; who WANTS to be caught and stopped by The Batman.  The Batman and The Joker occupy the same space; with both seeking to make the world see things and do things their way.  The Joker might be doing it for the Lulz, but it’s still the same psychology that drives them.   “The Dark Knight” does a great deal to illustrate that neither the Joker nor The Batman gamble and both seem to have all the angles covered.  The conflict that ensues is epic; if not exhausting.  The yawning physical gulf between the two characters (demonstrated through sweeping helicopter shots showing each character’s approach to looking over the city) is also lost when you can see how close the two man are to each other.  They are shadowy men with pasts that are known only to their intimates.  It seems that the only thing that keeps The Batman from being The Joker are those around him.  All of this is beautifully portrayed by both actors; with Bale continuing to play his “Patrick Bateman” Bruce Wayne to great effect.  Heath Ledger pulls in a performance of the Joker that reaches new highs that I don’t imagine would be easily eclipsed.

Review: Love Guru

At the time of this writing “The Love Guru” is running at 15% at Rotten Tomatoes.  I’ve written about how this movie is being held up as an example of Mike Myers’ descent into mediocrity.  I don’t need to rehash any of what I said there about the man himself, but what to say about the movie?

In short, I laughed at it.  It’s juvenile, it’s facile, but it’s funny.  The Character “Guru Pitka” is juvenile, it’s what he does.  He uses low-brow humor to put the people around him at ease.  It’s the depth of this character that the critics are missing, they are trying to find a tortured clown in there and missing the joyful clown that the character is.  One can only admire a character who is so unbound by the world that they can punch a little person with no obvious regret or misgivings.  Would that we would all feel so free, especially in the way the two forgave each other immediatley.

Yes, it was improbable and often insulting, but it was Comedy!  Real comedy.  One Liners, penis jokes, fart jokes, Elephants Making Love in the Air Canada Centre!  Why are people down on this movie?  It’s a great “straight” comedy.  No need for subtext or veneer, just obvious puns and slapstick, it’s acceptable when “new” comedians do it, right?

Perhaps that is why this movie has failed at the box office, it isn’t new. It’s familiar like an old shoe and perhaps old shoes aren’t what people want.

Review: Wanted (the movie) Vs Wanted (the comic)

Disclaimer: I am a fan of comics, a serious fan of comics and overall a fan of the WANTED comic.  My opinions are going to be skewed and should not be taken as the sanction or prohibition of a sane reviewer.

EDIT: Check out a graphic representation of why The Comic is Superior

Let me first state three impressions I got from this film overall, the director loves slow motion, Glass breaks into little squares when people run through it and script consistency was not job #1 when the final shooting script was used.

For example, we are treated to a superhuman display of speed and agility by someone who were are initially led to believe is one of only two people with said magical skills in the movie.  However, later in the film it is revealed that this person is not one of the two.  While it is demonstrated that “Sloan” has some skills, only James McAvoy’s character is supposed to be in possesion of said magical killing abilities.  Why then in the twist do we find out that the character of the dead man is not whom we are told he is, thereby negating the “only two people” line from earlier?  Perhaps I misheard it?

Angelina Jolie can look as if she wants to eat children if she holds her head a certain way, in the first scene with Angelina Jolie she makes a kind of concerned/concentration face that lets me fully believe that she is a hardened comic villain.  It’s too bad the story strays so far from the comic, as her character is totally wasted. (literally)

I am aware that Mark Millar was enthusiastic about the film; but this is one of those situations where the creator and the fans might have to disagree.  “Wanted” the film is a great ation film, but the loss of the “evil” parts of Wesley’s training and the total loss of the wanton violence and wonder of the Super Villains makes the movie less entertaining than the book.  I like the movie, but loved the book.

I didn’t think “Wanted” was horrible, and enjoyed the action, but won’t recommend it over the book.    If you are in the mood for a hard action movie with a great deal of visual flair, by all means, check it out.  If you are a fan of the book, don’t go into it expecting too much.

Review: Wild Hogs

I get the feeling that the producer was sitting in his Valley living room, thinking that he should finally make that Gay Sex Farce he’d been planning to make for years and said to himself (or herself I didn’t check) that they should forget about using twinks and go straight for middle aged actors.  When they couldn’t get real middle aged porn actors to star in their Gay Sex Farce, they decided to call in some Scilon help and cast John Travolta.

One 70s star doesn’t really make a great Gay Sex Farce, so they decided to cast another actor who had (under duress) looked for comfort in the arms of another man.  That way they would have at least one Camp actor and one “Butch” actor in the bunch.  Then they hired a nerd and a black guy to round out the cast.

So, with a cast in place an a loose plot involving a road trip for middle aged motorcycle enthusiasts escaping their wives for the week and discovering their intimate feelings ROAD HOGS, the Gayest Gay joke ever was in production.  Except the title was changed to Wild Hogs so it would not be so obviously Gay.

The whole movie seems to be one long Gay Joke, I’d have taken it for a Gay Sex Farce if it wasn’t for the fact that the Gay part is treated as if it is poisonous radioactive waste, instead of a campy joke.  If I remember correctly this film-opus to the Carry-On films was number one in the box office when it was released.  It was only pushed out of the top spot by “300” where shirtless Spartans opiled up and beat an army sensless with their pecs for a couple of hours.

I have to admit that I had a couple genuine laughs during this, much as I did during “Norbit” but this really was a fairly crappy, homophobic pile of crap.  I think that one might have to take leave of their senses to spend money on this one.  Avoid, watch the Carry On films instead, at least the Camp Sex Farces are kind of funny.

Since reviews are subjective: Manohla, F**K your reviews

I haven’t seen “Wanted” yet.  I want to.  I do.  I don’t subscribe to the theory that male on male violence is some sort of release for homosexual angst.  This reviewer seem to think any kind of male on male violence is a precursor to surprise butt secks and sword fights.

Case an point “Manohla Dargis” reviews “Wanted” with this turn of phrase:

And Mr. Bekmambetov, a Russian filmmaker who has earned a cult following with his razzly-dazzly thrillers “Day Watch” and “Night Watch,” certainly proves here that he knows how to use every blunt tool of the bullying trade: flashy effects, zippy cuts, simulated death, walls of sound, wheels of steel and, in between the bullets and blood, a hot mama to make the brother-to-brother, man-on-man action less worrisome. This is, after all, a movie almost entirely organized around the sights and sounds of men piercing one another’s bodies, which makes for a whole lot of twitching and spurting.

Emphasis added by your faithful blogger

First of all, who begins a sentence with “And”?  The word ‘and’ shouldn’t be used that way; and is used to join concepts as an additive (you suck as a reviewer AND you are a hack) see?  That’s how one uses ‘and’!

The thrust of this little expulsion is to draw attention to the throbbing members of the review, all veiny and proud.  (See I can make penis jokes too!) However, I’m not a highly paid reviewer for the New York Times.  I assume highly paid, for all I know this person could be an intern.  However, their review history says otherwise.  That’s a good five year history there; good, nothing I write will hurt their feelings, they sat through and enjoyed Fido they clearly lost their sense of reason and ability to discern value in a film before they took up the reviewers pen.

I see nothing wrong with being funny in your reviews, I remember one review from Robert Ebert where the whole thing devolved into an anecdote about how a pair of young audience members could not get into a movie about pretty lesbians.  I can accept eccentricity in a review as well; but to pare a movie into a long gay joke?  Why?  It was the same with Jackass, Borat, Eastern Promise  and Fight Club, any kind of bare chested fighting gets into a movie and the main characters are suddenly picking out china patterns and looking for an apartment on Church Street in Toronto.

You know, I was bouncing around the idea of a Gay Cowboy movie years ago, not like Brokeback, but a real gay COWBOY movie, with action and gunplay and so on.  In a movie like that, you would expect gay jokes and so on, but with movies with clearly male-focused plot some reviewers can’t help themselves but to project a homosexual idea onto it.  Does that say more about the reviewer or the movie?

Jeff and Kevin: 28 Days Later is NOT a Zombie Movie

I am psychic, I swear

shuggothmstr1: I got to see 28 Days Later, Loved it
shuggothmstr1: Not a Zombie Movie Though, they weren’t dead
mistermurdertoys: yes they were
shuggothmstr1: No they weren’t
mistermurdertoys: yes they were
shuggothmstr1: if they were dead blowing off extremities wouldn’t hinder them then, right?
mistermurdertoys: believe what you want
shuggothmstr1: They didn’t work like zombies in Zombie flicks… as far as I am concerned, simply not a zombie flick, at least not a conventional one, and therefore a far superior movie all around, really loved the part where Jim thumbs the bad guy
mistermurdertoys: And since when are you an expert on zombie flicks? I think I have seen far more of them then you have. in most european zombie movies they aren’t the shambling slow things you seem to think they are in every movie
shuggothmstr1: I’ll just let it drop then, shall I?
mistermurdertoys: :P
mistermurdertoys: well it’s not an American movie, don’t expect george romeros rules
shuggothmstr1: I really enjoyed the flick, and that’s enough said on the matter one way or the other. It was well filmed, had an engaging cast and the drama was well played. The score was awesome, as was the sound track. The sound design was awesome…
shuggothmstr1: It was awesome, those guys should be commended for a fine fine movie

Seriously, I saw this argument coming up the street like it had bells and a whistle

GTA3 — Be a Bad Man!

Grand theft Auto 1 & 2 sucked

I thought I might say that right off the top to ensure that readers would know where I come from when I am speaking about the Grand Theft Auto Series.

I abhor the idea that there are games out there that glorify crime in the way that these games have done in the past. Add to that fact that the games went out of their way to insult the player and you have a formula for suck cess.

All that aside, I have to say that Grand Theft Auto Three (GTA3) is a major leap forward in the series in terms of fun; sadly not much in terms of content.

I have truly enjoyed being the misanthrope that I always wanted to be, thus far. Since I haven’t given much thought to the actual missions et al, I may have missed the real meat of the game. Perhaps not. In any measure, this game has been real fun and I suggest that any adult check it out. Please keep out of the hands of small children.