Friday, August 29, 2008


Wanted has a few things in common with The Matrix. A lowly cubicle worker who hates his job suddenly finds himself thrown into the center of a much bigger world. He meets a stunningly beautiful (but deadly) woman, and a stoic, wise black leader who likes to talk about fate a lot. Slow motion car chases and bullet trails soon follow.

Wanted even feels like it's an outtake of those Animatrix cartoons that came about before Matrix Reloaded. The main characters have heightened senses that allow them to shoot the wings off of flies, curve the trajectories of bullets, and make cars flip through the air like acrobats. And like the Animatrix, Wanted is way more fun than either of The Matrix's true sequels.

The big difference between those films and this one is that the main characters are assassins. They do have some high minded ideas about the importance of their work on a cosmic scale, but for the most part they are just killers, and they know it.

Wanted is filled with ludicrous ideas that only manage to get by because the movie is self-aware enough to know they are ludicrous. The order of assassins (known as The Fraternity) comes from an ancient sect of weavers, who take their cues from The Loom Of Fate, an actual loom that automatically stitches the names of targets into fabric in binary code. If that doesn't make you want to see the movie, then perhaps nothing will.

The action scenes are completely over the top. During the first car chase Angelina Jolie manages to flip her car over a police barricade, landing on the side of a bus so that the bus falls over, and then continues driving the car off the bus and down the road. During several shootouts the characters knock their opponents' bullets out of the air with their own bullets. It's all silly, but it never ceased being very entertaining.

The story is straight forward. There is a twist, which becomes more and more obvious as it draws near, but it does make the plot much more interesting. And really, the plot is just an excuse for all that crazy action, isn't it?

James McAvoy is really good as the lead. He pulls off both the cubicle drone/action hero sides of his character really well. Angelina Jolie does a fine job of playing Angelina Jolie Fox. And Morgan Freeman shows a side of himself that we unfortunately don't get to see enough of in his other work.

The film's director, Timur Bekmambetov, directed the entertaining but uneven Night Watch, and the wholly disappointing Day Watch. His trademark visual style from those films carries over very well here. He definitely adds some unique touches to his work, so I hope he gets more opportunities to work in Hollywood.

Overall I think Wanted was a ridiculously fun movie, and worth watching. Which is saying something, considering how stupid it is.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Get Your War On

Hilarious comic, Get Your War On, now has a weekly animated version. It is excellent.


There are a number of things I'd rather be blogging about right now. I've seen some very good concerts recently. Things have generally been really good for me. Unfortunately something happened tonight that really fucked things up.

My friend Teddy is in town this week to celebrate his recent marriage to Kathryn. I went to high school with Teddy, he's a good friend of mine. He currently lives in San Diego, serving in the Navy.

A group of us went out to a couple clubs. Ultimately we ended up at The Electric Cowboy. This was my first time there. I'd previously sworn it off as being exceptionally trashy, and had no interest in ever going there. As it turns out my expectations were not far off the mark. Shortly after arriving Kathryn was harassed on the dance floor. They had the perpetrator escorted out (one of the perks of having connections at the club).

Due to the ever infinite wisdom of manager, Matthew Jarvis, the guy who sexually harassed and disrespected Teddy's wife was let back into the club. Apparently Mr. Jarvis decided that the guy was harmless, despite having multiple people raise complaints about him.

Shortly after that Teddy was assaulted in the bathroom by no less then four guys, including the asshole that had been allowed to re-enter the club. He was outnumbered and didn't stand a chance. Teddy was momentarily knocked unconscious.

By the time I became aware of the situation things had moved out into the parking lot. Teddy's face was bleeding and swollen. Kathryn was hysterical. The guys responsible for this were strutting around, gloating. One of them attacked one of Kathryn's brothers. The wonderfully helpful staff of the The Electric Fucking Cowboy pulled them apart and started yelling at her brother to calm down. Meanwhile the guy who attacked him was allowed to walk free before the cops arrived.

When the cops showed up they proved to be more useless than the Electric Cowboy security. Because Teddy and Kathryn had been drinking (at a bar! What are the odds?), they didn't listen to a word they said. Both officers at the scene were unnecessarily condescending towards the victims. Multiple people stepped up to identify the attackers, but the cops basically rolled their eyes and did nothing while those people got in their cars and left. While Kathryn was frantically on the phone trying to get an ambulance to the scene the female officer told her, in a very condescending tone, to get off the phone because the ambulance was pulling into the lot.

The Electric Cowboy scans the ID of everyone who enters the club. One of the servers (and a friend to Kathryn and Teddy) said she could look through the pictures and identify the assailant. While she was trying to do this, manager Matthew Jarvis again stepped in to provide a healthy dose of douche-baggery. Trying to save face for letting someone back into the club after an altercation, Jarvis tried to claim that the guy had never caused trouble in the past. The server stated that she had in fact had trouble with that customer before on several occasions, and had a witness to prove it. Jarvis then stated, in front of the cops, that she had problems with a lot of customers because she was a bitch.

I'm sorry if I'm rambling a bit, but I've been up really late at the hospital, waiting to make sure my friend is all right. The sun is rising now, and my mind is racing. I don't have that "fuck the police" mentality usually. My few experiences with the police have been relatively routine in the past. But tonight they were completely fucking worthless.

And if you, or anyone you know, goes to the Electric Cowboy - be warned. Those motherfuckers will sell you out to save face at the drop of a hat. Fuck them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"They Came For Brains,
You'll Give Them...Bullets"

"So frightening, you'll cry blood from your own eyes."

That quote was a close runner up to this post's title. Both of them are from the trailer for the new Wii game The House of the Dead: Overkill. I've always felt the "House of the Dead" series was kind of hokey. It could be fun for a few minutes in the arcade, but on-rail shooters never really appealed to me for the home market. Even if they did often come with cool gun peripherals. The gameplay is usually too shallow to maintain excitement for very long. And as far as horror games go, The House of the Dead was about as scary as the movie The House of the Dead.

This new game is taking a new approach by wearing its cornball nature on its sleeve. As you can see from the trailer, they're going with a grindhouse approach:

IGN has an interview with one of the game's producers.

Monday, August 18, 2008

First And Ten (Delay Of Game)

I completely forgot about First And Ten this month. Better late than never?

Current iTunes stats:
Tracks: 25,159
Total playtime: 68 days, 11 hours
Songs with "gold" in them: 53
Songs with "silver": 15
Songs with "bronze": 2


1. Jonathan Coulton - "See You All In Hell", Thing-A-Week Podcast

2. Diana Krall - "Almost Blue", The Girl In The Other Room

3. Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle - "I Beg Your Pardon", One From The Heart

4. Beck - "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes", Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

5. Tom Waits - "Grapefruit Moon", The Early Years: Volume 2

6. Altan - "Adieu, My Lovely Nancy", Local Ground

7. They Might Be Giants - "The World's Address (Joshua Fried Remix), Miscellaneous T

8. Squirrel Nut Zippers - "Low Down Man", Perennial Favorites

9. Paolo Angeli - "Desired Constellation", Tessuti - Paolo Angeli Plays Björk, Frith

10. Bruce Cockburn - "If A Tree Falls", Anything, Anytime, Anywhere: Singles, 1979-2002

Bob Saget, Roasted

I happened to catch most of the Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget over at Bonnie's last night. Comedy Central continues its trend of going after the easiest targets imaginable (Pamela Anderson being the lowest point of the whole series), but the lineup of roasters made it worthwhile. Roasts tend to fall into repetitive patterns by the end of the show as each roaster pulls out a slightly different variation of the same jokes. Cloris Leachman is so old, Jeff Garland is so fat, Susie Essman is a man, etc.

But some of the performances really stood out. Brian Posehn was predictably hilarious, as evidenced by his opening line, "I don't even know Bob. I'm just here because Lisa Lampanelli finally got murdered by one of her black boyfriends."

But the absolute best part of the entire evening was Norm Macdonald's bit. He did a parody of a roast, with some old fashioned vaudeville-esqe insult jokes that really contrasted with everyone else's blue material. I was baffled after his first joke, but I quickly caught on. The jokes were not funny. Like, "Susie Essman may be a vegetarian, but she's still full of bologna in my book." But his dedication to the bit, and his typical deadpan delivery made it the funniest thing of the whole show.

I don't know how he doesn't get more work. He is always funny, and seems to be a genuinely nice guy to boot. This guy needs to get on the Judd Apatow train, or something.

Norm's roast isn't on YouTube yet, or anything. Here are some other random clips of him on various shows:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Scud: The Disposable Assassin

The final four issues of Scud came out this year after a 10 year hiatus. That's a long time to wait for the end of a story. Fortunately it was a very satisfying ending, managing to wrap up a number of loose ends that barely seemed connected at first. Who knows what the story would have been had Schrab never decided to shelve Scud for so long, but I don't know if it could have been much better. Now the entire collection has come out in one volume.

Scud: The Disposable Assassin was just about the most badass thing I'd ever read when I picked up my first issue back in the mid-90's. The story takes place in a future so wild and lawless that robot assassins, or Scuds, can be purchased from vending machines (called "venting machines") for pocket change. The main character is one of these assassins.

During a violent battle with his target, Scud discovers a warning label on his back that says he'll self-destruct upon elimination of his target. Not wanting to die, Scud critically wounds the target, puts her in the hospital, and begins freelancing to pay the bills.

The adventure that follows takes Scud around the planet, into outer space, through multiple dimensions, to the center of Earth, and to Heaven itself. Yeah, it's epic. It's also hilarious.

Along the way Scud makes friends with a stuff-collector named Drywall, who has miles of storage space inside his body from which he can pull objects at will (though what exactly he pulls out isn't always predictable). He makes an arch nemesis in Voodoo Ben Franklin (apparently the original Ben Franklin, just more evil). And he falls in love with a mysterious robotophile named Sussudio.

If you like stories about zombie dinosaurs, werewolf astronauts, android mafias, things getting all explodey, robot-on-human love, endless amounts of senseless bloodletting and dismemberment, and cowboys, then Scud might be something you should check out.

Note about author Rob Schrab: during his time away from comics Schrab started a career as a writer and director of film and television. Some of his projects include co-creating Channel 101 with creative partner Dan Harmon, and producing the cult-hit television pilot Heat Vision And Jack, starring Jack Black and Owen Wilson. He currently works on The Sarah Silverman Program, among other things.

Are You Speaking Bat?

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm Moving To London

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at a play, based on The Legend Of Zelda, that recently closed in London:

on Boing Boing

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Pineapple Express

Caught a sneak preview of this one last night. I loved it.

The Apatow streak continues with another great comedy. Seth Rogen does his Seth Rogen thing (that's good). James Franco is hilarious. I hope he continues to break out of his dark and brooding phase. Also hilarious was Danny McBride, who I wasn't familiar with before. He gives a terrific original performance. And Craig Robinson continues to be one of the best parts in everything he is involved in.

Lots of the humor in this movie comes from bizarre non sequiturs, or scenes that extend just a couple seconds longer than they would in most movies. Again, they've done a damn good job of mixing the scripted and improvised material so that it feels like a whole.

The action, much like in Hot Fuzz, manages to parody action movies while at the same time being serious action in its own right.

I had a great time watching this one, and I would watch it again any time.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Who Should Batman Fight Next?

Ventriloquist & Scarface in a close second, huh? Are you listening, Mr. Nolan?

Friday, August 01, 2008

They Might Be Giants - "Davy Crockett In Outer Space"

This song begs to have the line "king of the final frontier" added. Oh well, guess it doesn't fit the rhyme scheme.

I'm gone for the weekend. Flying through Chicago, so wish me luck!