Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

It's just like the Titanic but it's full of bears

Brrr. Late start, hungover, caught one of the bottom-bothering seasonal bugs. The usual, really.

Monday, 27 September 2010

I'm sure you're a perfectly nice homosexual

No drawing today. Ludicrously late out of bed and I wasn't even boozing. Best to not fight it when that happens, I've found.

Watching: The Defenders, a new legal drama about two slick-shit Las Vegas lawyers played by Jerry 'Sliders and nothing else of note' O'Connell and one of the Belushi brothers - I presume the one that's still alive. It's a decent enough glossy drama with the Belushi one trying to play a grown-up version of the adolescent chancers he used to play in movies and O'Connell playing himself not acting in a convincing manner, but like most of these glossy dramas I watch, I tend to be more interested in some minor detail of the setting, and with Las Vegas there are far more interesting stories to be told, such as how the town has grown beyond its means to support itself and water for the place is now running low prompting speculation that world famous landmark Hoover Dam will dry up in the near future and kill Vegas as a tourist resort (and by extension a functioning city), or the people living in the drains under the city. People are living in the sewers of a major first world city - that's a story I want to know more about, not this legalese guff.
The Whole Truth - another legal drama from Jerry Bruckheimer that's pretty much the poor man's Good Wife. Where Good Wife's misanthropic characters fed into the story by being damaged by their own cynicism or past misdeeds, Whole Truth's (no relation to WWE wrestler R Truth) misanthropy is merely hateful characters displaying how aloof they are even in the face of the rape and murder of a child. They walk very fast while delivering legal observations and music goes DUM DUM DUM DUM and all I'm thinking is "these people aren't doctors and wherever they're going isn't so important they need to be delivering these lines on the hoof." They're delivering exposition and the makers have so little faith in the material they have to up the pace of those damnable 'talky' scenes where stuff like plot happens, and then there's the guy defending a child rapist shooting hoops in his office and yelping at hitting the basket while simultaneously reducing his friends and co-workers to skin tones and genders... These are just awful, unlikeable people in cynical stories about how life is, like, grim and stuff. It's a tv show playing at being grown up by acting like an adolescent. I hate it, and not in a good way.
Shit My Dad Says - I'd like to say that I'd watch William Shatner in anything at all and leave it there, but Boston Legal tested that theory to destruction and proved me wrong after about seven episodes so I shall say that this sitcom, not being very funny and thus a 'shitcom', and 'shat' being both the past tense of shit and the nickname of Shatner, shall thus be known as a Shatcom. It's based on the twitter feed of the same name - no, really - and not terribly funny, but it does have the odd moment, and Shatner, despite not having much to work with, is back to being watchable now I don't have to sit through James Spader's lifeless face for long minutes at a time.

I'm just saying it now - when you die, I'm not taking care of her

Undercovers - the new spy show from JJ Abrams about a married couple returning to their former careers in covert intelligence for reasons that only make sense in the pilot episode and outside that look like they're doing it in a fit of pique, it is not as good as Alias is the inevitable critique we may as well get out of the way, but it is also pretty cloying in and of itself, with the lack of chemistry between the two leads a potential series-killer. It's about as good as a Leverage or a White Collar, but nowhere near being the new Alias.
Blue Bloods - new copper drama with a decent cast in Tom Selleck, Marky Mark, and Andrea Roth, about a dynasty of New York cops. Bombastic and heavy on cliche, but sometimes that's what you want.
Rookie Blue - just arful. 'Arful' is not a spelling error, by the way - I have merely invented a new word to describe the show.
Community - which is very smug, but pulls it off without being hateful as everyone always tends to learn a lesson, even if it's the wrong one.
Modern Family - a mockumentary with old-fashioned sensibilities to counter the slight air of misanthropic bitchiness surrounding the extended Pritchitt family headed by Ed O'Neil.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

haha Batman and Shaft that white guy is hilarious

Watching: Life Unexpected, Rookie Blue, Smallville, Community, Supernatural - I have no idea why I watch Supernatural. Unlike something like Smallville which is enjoyable as a big load of shite whose entire appeal is predicated on a shell game, Supernatural is just a hateful, derivative show whose defining moment was either (1): the smug and supposedly self-effacing cameo from show producer McG meant to show how down he was with his mercilessly deconstructionist audience of teenage girls but who no amount of good wardrobe could disguise as being someone I would expect to see my dad talking to in a bar about sheep farming or Gaelic (a local kind of pretend-football), or (2): a scene where Sam and Dean are looking at three high school students' records trying to decide who's possessed by a demon and because one is Asian, one is stocky and one is black, Dean (or possibly Sam, I can't remember which one is which) snidely quips "well it's either Hello Kitty, Chocolate Chip or nig-nog".
Outsourced - not terribly funny for my money, but inoffensive enough. Based on a film I haven't seen, so I assume it's a bit of 'The US Office' going on and the stuff adapting the original material has to be got past before the good stuff arrives.
Lost Girl - eye-rollingly terrible genre offering that I would be surprised to discover hadn't been made in the 1990s and sat on a shelf ever since, bypassing all the forward movement in the production standards of the fantasy television series since then while waiting for someone to air it out of boredom, desperation, or - what I consider slightly more likely - a bet. I do hope it succeeds, though, as it looks to be starring someone who's a dead ringer for Radiohead's Thom Yorke as a vampire cop or something, and anything that keeps him from making more albums should be nurtured as much as possible.

Friday, 24 September 2010

There are those that follow Mohammad but I've never been one of them.

Watching: House - a welcome return for everyone's favorite not-at-all-Sherlock-Holmes caustic junkie with a penchant for deduction, the seventh season opens with a combination of familiar elements, mainly the 'lift episode' and the House staple of the team solving a crime - sorry, I meant a medical mystery without his being present. I'd heard it described beforehand as "the worst episode of the show I've ever seen", but it works as one of the signature game-changers House tends to throw at you now and then, like when it replaced most of the lead cast, dispensed with House's addiction to drugs, and even - most unlikely of all - made the main character happy and not a big tool to everyone all the time, but I can't see it being the first one I'd rewatch on dvd in a few years' time if I was bored enough and all the other dvds were too far from the sofa.
I'm not actually sure what the worst episode of House might be, all the same - was Stuart Townsend ever in an episode? If so, that one. Easily.
NCIS: Los Angeles - ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Shit.
Get Him To The Greek - I'm not sure I get this whole Judd Apatow thing beyond that it comes across as a bit stumbling and improvised, suggesting novelty value set to wear off in a couple of years if it hasn't already, but this was amusing enough, if a tad reliant on broad strokes. Russel Brand seems to be playing a character whose whole deal is that he used to be hot shit but became tiresome and now only his original, aged fans care enough to support his career and put up with his crap while everyone else barely tolerates his presence.
You may or may not be waiting for a certain kind of comment to be made at this point, but some jokes don't even need a punchline.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

My house is gonna be like a motherfucking werewolf

Watching: Sons of Anarchy - terribly disappointed by the first few episodes of this third series, as no-one has yet uttered "You know how that goes" which is just my favorite macho line at the minute. Some guy asks about your dead wife or blind kid and you come back with "You know how that goes" - it's a man-ism for all occasions and never fails to make me laugh until my balls hurt. As ever, the manly men of the Charming chapter of the Sons Of Anarchy Motorcycle Club for Legitimate Businessmen man about in manly fashion with their tight leather and long hair and sweaty, tattooed bodies glistening under lens flares as they enjoy the company of other manly men as they go about man business like bikes, gunrunning and murder, but only so long as they can keep their bitches away long enough to get it done - you know how that goes. I did find it amusing that they made one character's death so gruesome that there's neither room for "is he dead?" ambiguity nor a pause for thought to consider why coppers would let a guy curb-stomp a man in their custody scant seconds later - the guy's brains are literally hanging out of his skull in close-up after he falls under the wheels of a speeding van with all the attendant crunches and snaps and like most of Sons of Anarchy it goes to too great a length to be gritty and instead ventures into parody territory.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
This movie's problem isn't that it sucks - well, not entirely - but that it's redundant. You see, the four colour version of Supergirl at the time of the current Supergirl's introduction in the comic books this movie is based upon was the product of many a year of construction, deconstruction, retconning, and all-round continuity cluster-fuckery to the point that trying to explain the character to any normal person was a lost cause and even the eminently capable Peter David couldn't make the character sell a book hinging his run on the idea that she needed a personality, an identity, and a palpable adult's view of the world and not just a short skirt that blows in the wind to show her knickers when she flies in the air. Peter David was wrong about that last bit, apparantly, though in fairness towards the end of his run on the title he realised as much and gave the readers what they wanted by returning the Silver Age version of Supergirl to the book and sales went through the roof. The sensible thing would, of course, be to continue to print this version of the book, but instead, much as he 'appropriated' Alan Grant's "Jason Todd is still alive and coming for Batman - oh no, wait, it's a Clayface fake-out!" cliffhanger in an either laudable or laughably blunt manner for the bloated and nonsensical Hush, Jeph Loeb appropriated Peter David's idea in an either laudable or lamentably blunt manner for the bloated and nonsensical Superman/Batman ongoing comic series and introduced a streamlined and much simpler version of Supergirl for DCs increasingly convoluted shared universe. And when I say 'simple', I of course mean as lowest common denominator a character as you could possibly get without having her splay her legs on a cover under the words "buy Supergirl". As trite, needlessly sexualised, misogynistic and aimless a character as the new Supergirl was, she was, with her lack of worldly experience and immodest clothing (disturbingly made for her by her male thirtysomething cousin) nonthreatening in a way that the previous version and attendant complicated backstory and literate twentysomething ennui was not. This teenaged, pederast-friendly version of Supergirl who often lost her clothes or took showers or was spied on while naked for some plot-related reason was a version of the character whose origins needed little or no explanation because she basically had Superman's origin, and as Grant Morrison's All Star Superman proved, you don't even need to tell people that origin it's become such an iconic pop cultural idiom.
Essentially making money for DC by becoming the comic book equivalent of sticking a hidden camera in the girl's changing room of a high school, the simpler character was necessary because there was an existing version that needed simplifying to become fit for purpose, but that necessity doesn't exist in the various animated canon since those versions of Supergirl have been laughably straightforward affairs since forever, with the Bruce Timm version of the character a cosplay convention staple for years. In short, nobody who watches the cartoons actually needed a reintroduction to the character, which was the only thing the story this movie is based on had going for it in the first place.

Despite being based on a comic book whose purpose was to clear up messy continuity, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse actually complicates the perfectly straightforward story of "girl in rocket lands on Earth and becomes superhero" with some appallingly basic takes on angst pushing a plot that flips between multiple worlds in a largely unnecessary effort to justify demigods jumping about while punching explosions in the face, and I mean that literally - there's a bit where Superman is attacked with a flamethrower and he punches the flames away with loud whacking noises. Supergirl retains her tendency for skanky outfits from the comics, too, and for losing her clothes for no reason at all to the point that you could be forgiven for thinking she's a character played by Summer Glau except Summer Glau in a metatextual nod to be proud of actually voices the character. There is some horrendous dialogue like "I thought I could hear your heartbeat - but you have no heart!" alongside some really inconsistent production design, such as when Supergirl makes friends with another blonde character and they're totally indistinguishable from one another to the point that it looks like Supergirl is inexplicably having visions of her own death, although this is actually another character called Harbinger having the vision, and instead of Supergirl's death it's Harbinger's death she's seeing - something harbinger makes a point of stating as being something she can't do. Is it explained? Is it heck. The whole thing jumps illogically from one big fight to another before just sort of ending with Supergirl putting on a cheerleader's outfit and being cheered for doing so by an island of radical feminists.
It's not that it's dumb, it's that it's moronic that makes this movie suck. It's redundant, moronic, I hate it, and I wished I'd watched something better.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

"I said I'm going to look into your cult problem"


Of course the first thing a terrorist will say to the man whose been chasing him all around the world is to state where he comes from and how long he's been chasing terrorists, because naturally this is something that guy wouldn't know, and of course a glorified death squad commander is a natural first choice to lead a police unit with no clearly defined limits to their power while they operate on US soil, and of course a man will climb through the roof of a car in a gunfight to take up an unprotected position rather than go through the open door where he'd be protected by armed marines, of course a disciplined marine officer in full dress uniform still has manly stubble, of course a police officer will pull a gun on someone without identifying himself first, of course civilians five feet away from automatic gunfire will be surprised when gunmen appear moments later, of course a man who's just been shot through a window will outflank two running men with a head start through a shanty town, of course a man who's just found a sexually abused minor locked in a closet will insist on taking her in his manly arms instead of informing a female SOC officer, of course an Asian tourist liason has contacts in the Asian mafia, of course a Hawaiian of Asian descent has a leg to stand on when he accuses a white dude of not being local, of course there's nothing wrong with two grown men bribing a small child with candy and stuffed toys, of course the only two Hawaiians on the team are related, of course in a show shot in Hawaii - a state inhabited largely by Asians of Japanese descent - and arguably a good place to find Hawaiian actors those two Hawaiians are played by Koreans, of course a young girl will respect her father's absence from her life to be a policeman, of course it's integral to the plot that the only female officer on the team has to strip to her underwear on a mission, of course a police mole will recognize one of the very few Hawaiian officers on the Hawaaian police force immediately even though he only has a grainy cellphone photo to work with of her covering her face and she hasn't left the police academy yet, of course there's no need to find out who that mole is, of course you can drive a van through a wall, of course you can miss four people standing less than three feet away when you empty a clip from a fully automatic weapon, of course a 'clean' front business for people smuggling has a container in front of the office with about fifty illegal immigrants in it, of course those people getting found by police is just what they wanted after going to all that trouble and spending all that money to leave China, of course the people smuggler is actually a deeply conscientious family man whose marriage is invalidated by his being arrested and his wife and US citizen son will be deported as a consequence, of course all smuggling ships dock beside ramps, of course low-key smugglers carry automatic weapons when docked in a US port, of course there's room to drive a car on the deck of a cargo boat, and most importantly of all, of course Spike from Buffy can do an Irish accent.
Scholars of the English language may notice a subtle tone of mockery in my post, but despite that, Hawaii Five-0 is entertaining crap from the writers of Transformers and Star Trek that might have taken itself a bit too seriously but doesn't and an affable cast including him from Lost and her from Battlestar Galactica (though in fairness, I don't hold it against her) helps on that front. The theme tune (I couldn't find the proper remix from the show, but the above vid is more or less it) is, of course, compulsory, but a bit out of place in its cheesy brilliance even though the rest of the show is about good-looking pigs shooting at explosions.
It's good fun, but as laureates may have gathered already, not brain surgery, and if it was actually an objectively good show I probably wouldn't have liked it half as much - there's only so much of a straight face you can put on female cops in bikinis having beachside kung-fu throwdowns, after all.

Nice movie industry you had there, Japan...

A live action version of Space Battleship Yamato, you say?
Hell YES, I say!

On one hand they've certainly got the Michael Bay trappings down pat, but on the other, this is not actually a good thing in and of itself. The only thing different from the usual cgi-lens-flared-to-fuckery trailer you normally get is the odd impression that you can tell what's actually happening onscreen at any given time, which immediately distances this from the likes of Transformers or BSG and given the inability of action directors in the west to actually put a visual narrative together anymore practically guarantees it'll look like nothing else for a good while yet.
I recognise the odd bit from the tv show, like Sasumu in the brig and the odd bit with Yuki, but otherwise there's a lamentable militaristic thread running through it at odds with the admirable pacifism of the anime even when cartoon carnage was clearly the main selling point of the show. There's not a lot of subtext to digging up a warship and then slapping rockets on it to go save humanity, but I suppose an action movie is an action movie at the end of the day, and considering how much the likes of Battlestar Galactica owes to stuff it's cribbed shamelessly from anime, it's kind of amusing to see the anime industry return the favor, though hopefully the glimpse in the trailer of Sasumu's suicide run hints at Yamato not copping out like a bitch at the end like BSG did.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

"The only 'matter' that interests Ace wears high heels and a skirt."

No, I don't know what the post heading means, either - and I WAS THERE.

Ulysses 31
- one of those rare 1980s confections that seems to have held up well, but then the timeless nature of the stories would see to that.
Mysterious Cities of Gold
- there's an odd air of melancholy underpinning this serialised adventure romp about a middle-ages-era quest to find El Dorado, but it's still good fun.
Centurions - an odd one this, as it's possibly better than I remembered, filled with daffy concepts and nice design work, some of which comes from the pen of Jack Kirby and Alex Toth. I'm also not sure what to make of the leads, as there' s traditionally one who sticks out in these shows as a bit camp and becomes pegged as a closeted homosexual, but when one lead has a 'tash Freddie Mercury would die for and the other two comprise a cowboy and a dashing, womanising air pilot described in the opening narration as "rugged" and "daring" respectively, you're not so much spoiled for choice as stuck where to begin.
Starcom - never saw this first time around, and it's based on toys I know nothing about, but it's a decent sci-fi actioner more than a little reminiscent of Thunderbirds. A more sedate pace than the usual 80s offerings, and possibly better for it. What seems suspiciously like actual science at work in the plots is a welcome bonus.
Secret Life of thesdhahsdfuahsubfefqeuoeuhgwe sorry, my hands were acting independently of my brain for a moment as they attempted to throttle me and end their misery. They feel I should stop watching this show and its arbitrary plotting and character turns and instead devote my time to something they would enjoy more, like putting my hands through an industrial mincer, blowing my hands to pieces with dynamite, running my hands over with an articulated lorry, or wanking (they are my hands, after all).

Sunday, 19 September 2010

"Hookers in DC are pretty conservative."

Watching: 90210 - bless you, 90210. Most television shows wouldn't cut directly to an upskirt shot of a cheerleader directly after a flashback recap to a scene of a girl being raped by her schoolteacher, but those shows just aren't as cool as you are. You the motherfucking bomb, 90210! Although the girl who cried 'rape' then gets raped, then becomes more slutty - I can't help but feel in the context of as trashy a show as this one that this story direction is not helpful to humanity as whole.
Covert Affairs - What is going on and why do I care, Covert Affairs? And I want it 100 times on the chalkboard. Also, your eyeshadow makes it look like your face is eating your eyes, Perabo - sort yourself out. Failing that, eat a pie.
White Collar - a very well-named show - there don't seem to be any blue collar (working class) people living in NYC at all.
Blake's 7 - They all die, so this one chap buying the farm touches me not at all. Some decent concepts at work, all the same, but it seems a very, very middle class endeavor, this whole galactic rebellion business.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

bolder, c-c-cold, gettin' colder

Keeping to the daily routine of posting again this far, but usually I only turn the PC on to draw a panel or something so I can do a screen grab for the blog, such are my terrible organisation skills.

I'm done with The Wire and The Corner and I'm back to the televisual equivalent of comfort food in Leverage and Covert Affairs. Meh.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Looks like we've got a long night of cocaine ahead of us

Well, The Corner was one jolly show and no mistake. For now, I think it's back to watching crap for a bit - Space 1999 and UFO won't finish watching themselves! Also Sherlock Hound, which is something that actually exists.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

them shits is da bomb

How miserable is The Corner? The Corner is so miserable that at one point a character actually cheers himself up by going to the cinema to watch Schindler's List.
I'm a bit torn on this show: on the one hand there's a lot that is later refined when the makers moved onto the Wire, but that show realised the good and the bad and came out the other end with something human, while this - apparantly factual - miniseries seems so focused on one tiny element of misery that when it occasionally broadens its scope to ask if the war on drugs is winnable, it just comes across as the makers striking a pose as concerned liberals when they should merely be observing and allowing the audience to draw their own conclusions. Still, if you're in the mood for a preachy holiday in misery, you could probably do worse.


Must. Stop. Using. Filters.

Watching: The Corner, which is good, if a bit stagey in places and suffering from variable acting.
Burn Notice, which is one of my shit shows I watch but if I think about it I don't think I actually enjoy it or anything, but it does have Bruce Campbell being Bruce Campbell, which is always to be encouraged.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

"women and seamen don't mix."

I can thoroughly recommend eliminating all forms of caffeine from your diet to any fans of sleeping too late and bad headaches. Small press buggery continues apace.

Watching: The Wire, Season 5 - something was a bit off with this final season for me, though I'm not sure what. Centering on the media, perhaps it's deliberate to have so many Hollywood endings for various storylines but some stuff seems a bit too high concept, which was something the third season's Hamsterdam arc achieved well in isolation, and if anything should have eaten up the run time it would have been better to concentrate on McNulty and Freamon's investigation finally going black without the distraction of all that fake serial killer stuff. Still great television, all the same, and I'm more than willing to concede that my expectations might just have been too high. "I don't want this investigation to sprawl" states Lieutenant Daniels in the most optimistic and ultimately wrong fashion way back in season 1, but sprawl it did and damn, but it did so in fine fashion. If Treme wasn't so damn good a follow-up I'd feel cheated at the mere 60 episodes we got from the Wire, but something went seriously wrong with the cop show standard of crapping all over any given setting, as Baltimore has to be a dead cert for any US roadtrip I make - whoever pegged the Wire as "a bipolar love letter to the city" undersold it.
Leverage - which is shit, but I'm watching it anyway.

Monday, 13 September 2010

I'm going to rearrange your face with hard science. And this wooden plank.

Back on the small press hustle and drawing things that aren't awesome or glamorous. Probably tighten me.

Friday, 3 September 2010

So what, man? You earned that buck like a motherfucker - keep that shit.

Well, back to the business of blogging whatever brain-farts I tend to be illustrating on any given day as my newly unfucked PC finds its way home and the utterly unwarranted self-importance of the blogger asserts itself and forces me back into posting for no better reason than I'm currently unemployed and I usually sketch to relax as much as to fill up small press mags with my increasingly childish scrawls so I may as well be filling up posts in this little corner of the web.
Apropos of nothing, my influence map as best I can assemble it:

Lots of stuff missing, no doubt - but the major players are up there.

What I can remember watching in the last few weeks since I last posted:
The Wire seasons 1-4: much has been said by better and more literate critics and fans, but rewatching does yield an even higher opinion of what I'd already thought of as a pretty damn great tv show. Even so, there's a moment at the end of season 4 where I was just "aw man, Bubbles!" I've oddly never seen The Corner, but that's my next stop after season 5 has been revisited.
The Time Traveller's Wife - a decent weepie derailed a little by a lack of any chemistry between the leads, who come across as very cold to the point I couldn't really care enough to choke up or cry manly tears. There's this bit where the main characters find out they have a time traveling 10 year old daughter who occasionally ends up naked in random places and their attitude is "well that'll be a wee adventure for her!" despite it being what causes her dad's violent death and throughout the film causes him to be beaten up, injured, reduced to thievery , arrested and ultimately alienated from all human contact - still, that's the fucking middle classes for you. The whole time travel element is poorly thought out, as the story dips in and out of being a massive predestination paradox, yet some stuff happens for no reason other than narrative necessity and the whole thing is otherwise brushed off as 'random' even though 'random' and 'predestined' are slightly at odds as concepts. I also notice that Deep Space 9's The Visitor predates the original novel upon which this is based by 8 years. Hmmm...