Monday, March 26, 2007

Because these are the crappy doldrum months for Hollywood, it's always a delight to see a movie come out that's as good or better than most summer blockbusters. Case in point:
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of seeing The Host, a terrific Korean monster movie that's funny, scary, and altogether fresh--easily the best creature-on-the-loose yarn since Tremors...and perhaps since Alien. Hilarious characters, great settings, nail-biting suspense, horrific violence, and an awesome monster--this movie did it all for me. The only weakness was that the climax was a bit clunky and contrived...but by no means did this ruin the film. In fact, I can't wait to see it again.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

All right, I just saw the movie 300, and while it didn't exactly suck, it could have been so much better. I officially want to kill whoever has made it a rule that every historical film since Gladiator (i.e., King Arthur, Troy, Passion of the Christ, etc.) must include yowling, vaguely Islamic-sounding singing on the soundtrack. And the animated bursts of flying blood from every sword-stroke made me feel like I was watching somebody else play a videogame. Then there was the harping narration, which made the whole movie feel like the world's longest opening montage.

That said, there was some cool stuff, like the gigantic platform that Xerxes gets lugged around on, and the visuals in general (although the hunchbacked guy is really poorly done, especially post-Gollum). The acting is big and hammy but not bad for the most part, with lots of manly emoting and screaming charges into certain doom. But by the time we get to the end credits, which utilize Frank Miller's elegant, minimalist artwork, we suddenly realize the perfect half-hour cartoon it should have been.

Friday, March 09, 2007

All right, I'm just testing out this new Blogger version--bunch of rigamarole...

Saw a couple of great movies lately: Pan's Labyrinth and Children of Men. I expected Pan's Labyrinth to be good, but hadn't heard much about Children of Men, so that one really blew me away. Both movies have "happy" endings that are very open to interpretation, fantasies that could be nothing more than the final delusions of dying people. I love that. Looking forward to seeing 300 next.

Working my way through the collection of '70s Man-Thing comics I picked up at the NY Comic-Con. I was a big fan of Man-Thing as a kid, but I came into the story late and missed all the early issues, so it's kind of cool to be able to finally catch up on all that now. Some of it is incredibly dumb, but there's good stuff there, too--a lot of still-relevant issues like ecology, racism, censorship, and the energy crisis. I heard they made a terrible, terrible horror movie out of Man-Thing not long ago, and that's a real crime--there are enough tales of magic and mayhem there (not to mention the hottest witch ever) to make a fantastic, Buffy-esque TV series. You hear that, Hollywood? That's the sound of money slipping through your fingers! Man-Thing was also the spawning ground for another great character that got completely trashed in the jump from comic to screen: Howard the Duck. Back in my newspaper days I wrote a review of that movie, expressing my feelings about what the studio did to it: Howard the Dud--Tar and Feathers.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Phew, it's been awhile since I've blogged. It's only because I've been totally occupied for the past half year or so finishing my big ol' Xombies sequel, Xombie Rama. I've also been doing some promo artwork for it (or perhaps for a future graphic novelization), as well as working on several other projects.

Just spent three days at the New York Comic-Con--damn, what a mob. I tagged along with fellow SLG artists Dave Ray, Steve Ahlquist, and Chris Reilly, and the four of us stayed in the same hotel as Chewbacca--Peter Mayhew--feeling like the shambling giant was following us around everywhere we went. That was kind of surreal, as was meeting comic giants like Kyle Baker and Arthur Suydam. I was hoping to meet Aline Crumb, but missed her on the first day. It's just as well: I never know what to say to people like that, and always come off sounding like an ass.

Whenever the convention got to be too much (and by Sunday it was all too much), I wandered the freezing streets of Manhattan, eating hot dogs from Gray's Papaya and checking out the porn shops along 8th Avenue--that's the New York I remember: fire-gutted taxicabs and drifts of blowing garbage. Sweet, sweet squalor.