Elsewhere on the Internets: Cownt Tales, Tumor, and Rogue

Here’s what else I’ve been up to online lately…

Cownt Tales interview

My Robot 6 cohort Tim O’Shea was cool enough to interview me about the Cownt this week.

In other exciting Cownt Tales news, the book is finally available to order on IndyPlanet for anyone who prefers to do it that way. I’ve updated the Cownt Tales entry in the sidebar to reflect that too.

Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs

Tumor isn’t exactly the kind of comic I usually pick to talk about here. The gangsters aren’t monkeys and the cops don’t wear jetpacks. It’s a mystery, but it’s not a murder mystery. It is, however, exciting to read and – though dark at times and touching at others – a great deal of fun. It’s a crime comic – noir in every sense of the word – and the emotional depth that Fialkov and Tuazon give the main character makes it an engrossing experience I didn’t want to finish. So while it may not be a big adventure comic, it is excellent.

It’s the story of an elderly private investigator named Frank Armstrong who’s hired by a crime lord named Gibson to find his missing daughter. Obviously it’s not going to be as simple as that and as Frank begins his investigation he starts to ask questions about Gibson’s motivations for finding the girl. There’s rumors that she ran off with some money. Is Gibson trying to get her out of trouble or planning to kill her? How is Frank’s old cop pal involved? Hell, how are all the cops in LA involved for that matter?

Answering these questions would be hard enough without the brain tumor Frank’s carrying around. He’s in his last days, struggling to stay on his feet, fighting the seizures that are coming more and more frequently, and helpless against the hallucinations and memories that threaten to overtake him. It doesn’t help that the girl he’s looking for looks a lot like Frank’s dead wife. Or that the situation with Gibson’s daughter seems to mirror the events that led to Frank’s wife’s death. With Frank so sick, he’s having a hard time keeping it all straight. Past and present are merging.

Read the rest and see Phil Hester agree at Robot 6.

What Are You Reading?

I used to talk about Rogue quite a bit here, but since dumping single issues for trade-waiting, I’ve had to take a break and let the collected volumes catch up to where I left off. They finally have and I talked about it for last week’s Robot 6 group feature. The sort version is that I love Mike Carey’s story and I’ll definitely be buying the next collection.

And Now the News: One of these things is not like the others

Chuck and Lost premieres

Chuck gets going again on January 10. The final season of Lost kicks off February 2.

Burn Notice renewed

In related news, the sun will also come up tomorrow.

Gilmore Girls movie still possible

Not likely, necessarily, but it’s still on everyone’s wish list, including the series’ creator and stars. I know this falls far outside the field of what this blog’s about, but I can’t help it. I loved that show.

The Lost Continent (1968)

And I thought War-Gods of the Deep was mis-leading.

I thought that maybe this was a re-make of 1951’s Lost Continent starring Cesar Romero, but that’s arguably my own fault. The poster doesn’t claim that at all, and since that movie was of fair quality at best, it’s not necessarily a bad thing that this one has nothing in common with it.

But the poster does make other claims that the movie isn’t equipped to make good on. The biggest one – and, interestingly, this was also a problem with the 1951 movie – is that there’s no lost continent. In ’51 there was at least an island that the characters actually set foot on, but ’68 doesn’t even have that. There’s a land mass with some people living on it, but we never get to visit it. The entire film takes place at sea, with the “islanders” (we’re never told how big it is) coming out to meet the ship.

More insulting than that though is those cephalopod tentacles on the poster, because there’s no such creature in the movie either. What those actually are are plant tendrils. The main threat in the film is killer seaweed.

And that’s what’s kind of sad about the marketing for this movie, because I’m here to tell you that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with killer seaweed. And there’s not much else wrong with this movie either; it’s just a very different film from the 20,000 Leagues-esque film promised on the poster.

Although it predates most of the movies I’m thinking of, The Lost Continent reminded me a lot of a ’70s disaster flick. There’s a large cast of strangers – each with a mysterious background or something they’re running from – that’s thrown together just in time to face something horrific. We’re not sure who’s going to make it through to the end, and oftentimes we’re not even sure who we want to make it.

I had a hard time finding someone to root for during the first half of the movie. None of the characters are very likable, though they’re all interesting. Take the captain and his first officer, for example. The movie opens with a beat-up old tramp steamer as it busts out of an African port, pursued by customs ships. It escapes and we quickly learn that the steamer’s owner/captain is crooked. His ship’s falling apart and he’s gambled the lives of his crew and passengers on a scheme to smuggle illegal, highly explosive material to South America. If he makes it, he’ll have enough money to retire on.

The first mate is new to the crew. He’s young, completely by-the-book, and horrified at the captain’s unconventional behavior even before he finds out about the cargo. He’s also a craven coward, reactionary, and an idiot. In contrast, the captain – though selfish and mean – is brave, decisive and smart.

Who do you root for between those two? The movie doesn’t make it easy to decide and it’s the same way with the other characters. People you begin the story hating become your favorites by the end. People you think are pretty okay at the start turn out to be despicable. The cast is awesome in its complexity.

Know what’s even more awesome than that though? Killer seaweed. After various disasters that I wouldn’t dream of spoiling, the cast ends up trapped in an ocean of sentient seaweed. In order to escape they’ll have to overcome giant arthropods and rescue an island girl from a ship of Spanish inquisitors and conquistadors who have their very own theocrat and an accompanying Sarlaac pit in which to throw infidels. The special effects are all rubber monsters, but with a little imagination from the viewer it’s spectacular.

My only real complaint about the movie is that it’s resolved a bit quickly, which means that some loose ends aren’t resolved at all. It’s easy to fill in those details yourself, but I was caught off-guard when the closing credits began.

Four out of five Inquisitorial Sarlaacs.

And Now the News: It’s guarded by some sort of demon

Prince of Persia trailer

I don’t play video games (because I’d never get anything else done, ever, if I did), so I haven’t had a lot of reason to be excited about the Prince of Persia movie. Not until I saw the trailer, anyway.

Little did I know, I’ve been waiting for this movie for a long, long time. Like ever since they rolled the closing credits on Raiders of the Lost Ark and I wanted to see another movie just like it. There’s no way this can be as good as I’m hoping, is there?

The Looking Glass Wars movie

I should get caught up on Frank Beddor’s Looking Glass Wars series because I read the first book and really liked it. It’s not attempting to mimic the tone of Lewis Carroll’s stories; it’s a big, epic re-imagining of Wonderland and its inhabitants. As long as you can buy the premise that Carroll’s stories were based on his misunderstanding Alice’s genuine recollections and that this is the real version of the events, it’s a fun, well-written book. The Hatter alone is by far the coolest version of that character ever, Johnny Depp or no Johnny Depp.

Anyway, they’re making a movie out of the series and I couldn’t be happier.

The American

I’m in the minority amongst my friends, but I love George Clooney. So the news that he’s playing an assassin in a Bourne-like spy thriller is welcome indeed. I say Bourne-like because he’s a top assassin who wants out of the business and may find love in a picturesque European village if his job doesn’t kill him first. But really there are a thousand different ways you can play that and there’s no reason to believe that director (and iconic photographer) Anton Corbijn is going to mimic anyone else’s.

Sunday Morning Matinee: Didn’t You Wear That Like Five Years Ago?

Counting with Movies

The New A-Team in action

BA still don’t wanna get on no plane with no damn fool…

The Return of Captain Mal

In case you didn’t get to see the Castle episode everyone was talking about

Put That Thing Away!

How that trash compactor scene should have gone…

Quotes of the Week: Aquaman, Editors, and Snowflakes

I’ve never really understood those who say they don’t know what to do with Aquaman. It’s not just that he can breathe underwater, there’s a whole mythos to the character, and powers that may not have been adequately showcased before.
J. Michael Straczynski, scratching his head at Dan Didio and others who claim not to be able to get a handle on Aquaman. (Though I suspect that Didio’s comments are more of his usual coy teasing than actual indecisiveness. I’d bet money that DC has very specific plans for Aquaman right now; I’m just not willing to guess what those are or when we’ll see them played out.)

I think part of what people are struggling with over there is the idea that the culture you live in doesn’t necessarily care about you personally or seek your approval as an individual unique snowflake. Culture mercilessly goes on without you, and without me, and without lots of us, at times.
Linda Holmes, on how your opinion of something doesn’t dictate how Important it is.

The directorial equivalent would be James Cameron and Steven Soderbergh coming in to replace Stephen Sommers.
/Film’s Brendon Connelly, on a) the undervalue of film editors, and b) how one last round of tweaks for the Wolf Man re-make may actually be a positive sign for the movie. I appreciate the first sentiment, but in terms of the second, I remain aloof.