Friday, 15 January 2010

Thumbnails again. Looking oddly coherent this time, I thought.

Watching: ER Season 1 - I missed this first time around - it was sixteen years ago that the damn thing started - and while it's good, I'm surprised how much of it can be viewed as parody given (I assume) the series' influence on successors breeding a familiarity with its dominant tropes, but also how reliant on formula it actually is in places. The SERIOUS BUSINESS episode titles don't help me viewing it as occasionally prone to insufferable po-facedness, but it's competent stuff and a world away from the outright hatefulness and contempt for the audience displayed in the likes of Grey's Anatomy. Fantastic Mr Fox is probably my favorite film of the year so far, although, yes, it's only the 15th of January. It's not so much offbeat as it is drowned in the stylistic quirks of director Wes Anderson, like random audio cues, head-on profile shots during deadpan exchanges (common in film, but a rarity for animation), an offbeat soundtrack and a main character who's an utter dick. I have absolutely no idea what kids are supposed to make of it, but even the slightest things had me in hysterics, like Kylie's glazed expression apropos of nothing, Fox eating breakfast, Willem Dafoe's Rat (particularly his swansong), the utterly random encounter with a wolf that's shot suspiciously like Bergman would frame a portent of death and which ends in a black power salute, Bill Murray and George Clooney's random lapse into gangster cliche that degenerates suddenly into teeth-gnashing and hand-waving - sometimes it's not even the situations that are memorable but their presentation in the stop-motion form, such as the third-person chase sequences, or the tractors clawing ineffectually at Fox's home in the background of a shot in much the same way you'd expect them to in a single-take scene from a live-action film. I enjoyed it immensely and see myself watching it again.

Reading: Marvel Comics' Siege #1- I liked this story well enough seven years ago when Dan Jurgens did it in Thor, but it seems a bit flat in the retelling. Punisher Max #3 - Loved the Kingpin/Punisher shootout. Dillon and Aaron are firing on all cylinders here, and while the former has yet to display any great emotional or dramatic depth in writing these characters, he's got the tone of the previous epoch-defining Garth Ennis run down to a tee in terms of gruesome people doing horrible things in a way that's escaped pretty much everyone else who followed comics' favorite war comic-writing pretend Irishman, and it's easily one of the books I most look forward to reading each month. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man - while not terrible, this relaunched teen-friendly title feels like it's lost its way somehow. I'm not enthused about any of the mysteries or subplots, possibly because they feel a little forced in trying to break from traditional Spidey lore, though possibly it's because they feel more than a little familiar to anyone who's been watching televised sci-fi or teen dramas of late. Unoriginality does not in itself make a bad book, and UCSM is certainly readable, but less so than I'd expect or hope based on past form. LaFuente is a good artist, mind - I really like his expressive and loosly-stylised linework.

1 comment:

  1. Ooo! Naughty thumbnails!

    Also, I agree with you on Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. Loved the original Ultimate Spider-Man, but this reboot feels... It doesn't make me want to care about any of the characters so far. I'll give it a bit longer, but...