Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Favourite Characters: The Girl Who Was On Fire

Thanks to my blog brother Bookmonkey for touting the memorably villainous President Snow.

But, for every terrible tyrant there should be a blazing spirit of righteous rebellion. To whit; my favourite character in Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy: Katniss Everdeen. (Luminous rendering by Loleia.)

These young adult novels are outstanding! I'm talking immediately and magically engaging. Practically grabbed me by the throat and forced their terrible visions upon me- in a good way.

WHAT A HORRIBLE FUTURE! Three generations of sadistic, televised, teenage combat to the death via a cruel lottery forced on the cowed and starving populace of Panem by the well-fed Capitol.

We see it all through the eyes of our brave and resourceful protagonist, Katniss. Which of 24 tributes will be the survivor? Who can lead the huddled masses of the 12 Districts to victory?

These books made me FURIOUS at the injustice of it all. Perhaps only our literally incendiary heroine can end these abominations...

I demand a victory for humankind in the face of such tribulation. May it ever be thus!

Oh, dear readers, do yourselves a favour and READ these books!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Everything Has Its Time. And Everything Ends.

Truer words.
Those were Sarah Jane Smith's words, written by Russell T. Davies, delivered by Elisabeth Sladen.

A Davies character also said "When someone dies... its like it's so massive you can't fit it all inside your head."

That's how it feels to me to hear of Lis Sladen's death. Shock. Dismay. Worry about her cast mates & crew in the midst of making "The Sarah Jane Adventures" series 5.

Then the discovery that she is survived by a husband and daughter- forcing me to remember that while I only lost a beloved performer, THEY lost a wife and mom.

Elisabeth Sladen was mostly a star of small stage and small screen, but with tremendous value. While she played varied roles from Desdemona to the Dormouse, she was most widely known as feisty investigator Sarah Jane Smith in 1970's Doctor Who, and the lead in her character's spin-off series. A fan favourite decades ago, with unexpected success again in recent days. Unexpected but richly deserved.

Obviously, I didn't know her personally, but it saddens me anyway. She was important. As Sarah Jane's friend Rani said on that show: "The whole PLANET should be in mourning- no one knows."

Well, WE know. And we grieve. Goodbye, Lis. Thanks for being more than ONLY a girl.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Hugos: The Windup Girl

If I gave this one star on goodreads, and I wanted to, I would be a big jerk, right?
I gave it two out of five, probably because of overfed white guilt.

I mean, The Windup Girl won every award going. Tied for the Hugo last year. Has some crap to say about the world, right? 'Don't be so greedy, whitey'. 'Don't make weird shit in labs.' 'Don't fuck up the world.' 'Don't fuck over the things you make in labs.'

This is an unpleasant book with brutal characters in a future version of Thailand that, put gently, sucks the devil's ass.

O.K., too much cursing. But- GOD DAMMIT!

This is a bleak, miserable, old vomit stain of a book. Don't let Paolo Bacigalupi's smile pull you in- there's no fun to be had here. Me, personally, I find rapes very upsetting. There are several and they are described in nauseating detail. The riots, disease, starvation, random cruelty... that's just a bonus! For you, the reader!

I know- I'm a whiney bitch. I know this. But... if it's not entertaining, and it offers no hope, then it should be instructive- and I don't mean instructive like how to rape somebody until they get sick of it and behead you.

I mean it should TEACH me something: and since I've already learned the four 'don't' lessons in paragraph 2 all I've learned in 400 hot, sticky, gritty pages is: for god's sake DON'T:
1) Go to Thailand. Ever.
2) Go to the Future. Best to die now and save face.
3) Read Paolo Bacigalupi with 'enjoyment' as a goal.

If I could convince P.B. and China Mieville to go at it with knives in the Hunger Games... well, a guy can still dream, can't he?

Sadly, that was me being diplomatic.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wild Wild Waste

I was warned away. I didn't heed.

And why should I? It's a comic book movie. I LIKE those, y'know?

JONAH HEX (2010) is quite terrible. Let's be extra fair here: I'm not a fan of the comic anyway. Unless scarred cowboy bounty hunter is paired up with 'time-traveling' and 'outer-space' I tend to think he's just the Punisher with spurs. (To be clear, I'm not a fan of the Punisher.)

That said, I've only read Jimmy Palmiotti's Jonah Hex, which was good storytelling in a genre that rarely wows me.

So while we're accumulating a little perspective on who I am, I'll add that I enjoyed the Wild Wild West movie, Pushing Daisies, and The Crow (somewhat). Mush those three things together, however, remove all sense of logic and all sense of humor, paste in Jonah Hex and you've got yourself a box office flop!

SPOILERS (like you care)

What horse would stand for side-mounted machine guns? AND not get immediately shot in the head when he inevitably starts bucking?

What person talking to John Malkovich's Quentin Turnbull character could fail to burst out laughing when his cowboy hat comes off and their eyes are drawn to that lustrous, curly... oh, what luck, here's a picture:
Now that's the face of a terrorista!
(Because casual mass-murdering revenant Hex, of course, is our hero. Don't forget now.)

Cringe at the tame but unappealing bedroom scene with a prostitute- that horrible face! Don't know how Hex could stand it. Of course, they've bonded over the fact that they're both drunks, mutterers, and dead inside, so awww!

Bored with the cotton gin, Eli Whitney apparently built a superweapon from cannonballs and the lost Pallantir of Sauron. How can Will Arnett be a part of this masterpiece and be given no jokes?

Soulless. Overburdened with effects, gimmicks, and exploding plot cul de sacs. Paint-by-numbers vengeance fantasy. And if that's what you like, it's all here.

The hell would I know? I still like Howard the Duck.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Review: The Carpet People

"Some things you should care about enough to do badly."

My BFF Bookmonkey is a dyed-in-the-wool Terry Pratchett fan, and rightly so. Not for nothing does the cover of this book call Mr. Pratchett "Master Storyteller".

I asked Bookmonkey if I might borrow all his Discworld novels and finally see what I've been missing. What a fantastic debut!

"The Carpet People" is the 1971 and 1992 novel by Terry Pratchett and Terry Pratchett. Meaning that it was extensively revised for its reprinting after T.P. got famous. (Oh, dear. T.P.? Nah, it's fine, I'll leave it.)

It's a sword quest of the fantasy variety, in the microscopic hair forests of somebody's carpet.

What a fun concept! I really liked this idea. Their biggest city is smaller than the dot at the end of a sentence. Their bronze mail is forged from a penny the size of a whole country. Their wood they chop from the Woodwall, with varnish imported from far off "achairleg".

A strong brother, the not-so-much-so brother, a king, and a warrior lead the Munrung tribal exodus, driven from their homes by the disastrous natural force called Fray.
My favourite character was the shaman; practical, philosophical Pismire.

The last termagant (seen here in T.P.'s original illustration) is also a highlight.

It made me think twice about vacuuming the rug today. Naw, I'm just kidding.

I never vacuum.

Friday, April 8, 2011

You Had Me at Tomar-Re

On a lighter note, if there's a bright center to the universe, it's the planet Oa.

Depicted in the latest trailer for the 'Green Lantern' movie, it powered my ring with manboy glee and if you're not there yet, watch the trailer. It's only 4 minutes, I'll wait.

Watched it yet? Handsome Ryan Reynolds is in it...


WATCH IT AGAIN! O.K., I'll lay off.

If Shirtless Ryan Reynolds (TM) being flippant and telling Miss Carol Ferris to 'get her pants off and let's fly some planes' in the first trailer wasn't enough, now we have earnest Ryan being earnest! And if his recitation of The Oath didn't get ya, then HOW BOUT THOSE ALIENS?

Think I spotted trustworthy Sinestro, gentle Kilowog, lovely Tomar-Re, lucky Abin Sur, funnyman Salaak, shy Boodika, warm Stel, soft Hannu, tolerant Ismot Kol, that purplish guy the Green Man, and a floating pumpkin that might be Olapet but probably isn't.

Still haven't seen the three-legged nectarine. (Yes, I know he's called Galius Zed.)

See? If the humor, energy and sex appeal of the first trailer didn't win you over, they've got weird thingummies only nerds can name plus SPLOSIONS!

And I know this diverges from the origin story I've read (where Abin Sur whisks Hal to his side with his power ring as he lies dying in his crashed spaceship) but I really liked the idea of this version: Hal runs to help! Kind of preferred how it gave me an immediate sense of his bravery. Thanks, trailer!

Yes, it's true. I've offered this trailer my hand in marriage. Will it be jilted at the alter for the actual film? Will my human wife approve? Wouldn't Blake Lively make a better Arisia the perky-blonde-space-pixie than the all-work-no-play-raven-haired-aviatrix Carol? If Hal was Archie Andrews doesn't that make Arisia Betty and Carol Veronica? Does acting skill REALLY matter more than follicle coloration?

Only the Guardians of Oa know for sure!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Toon Review: Spaceballs- The Animated Series

Yes, there was.

And, unfortunately, I spent
A) $9.95 and
B) 88 minutes on
this senseless, cash-grabbing cartoon-astrophe.

"Spaceballs: The Animated Series" had 15 episodes in 2008 on G4 before its not-abrupt-enough cancellation.

O.K., O.K. so this was my fault, too. I LOVE cartoons. I LOVE 'Spaceballs: The Movie'. I have inordinate (but still platonic) affection for Lord Melvinius Q. Brooks.


Do not make my mistake. Save yourselves. This is nearly unendurable, and I saw it just DAYS after Rob Zombie's "The Haunted World of El Superbeasto" (not for the timid and not on trial here.)

The four episodes on the DVD pictured here (yes, only 4 out of 15, thanks, marketing department- for making me feel cheated as a complete-ist and as a sentient being) are a continuity-free mess.

Stale jokes, tepid parody, and weak sauce animation made me long for "Tripping The Rift".

See here for some brave youngsters putting themselves on the line to review one for you.

I get a glimmer of how disappointed SO MANY fans were with the Star Wars prequels: I can't be thirteen again and see Spaceballs for the first time. Barf, wangs, poop, and boobs are admittedly hilarious, but shovel under them and I can't find anything ELSE.

(And I'm a PARTICULAR fan of boobs most of the time. ALL the time.)

Too senile for kids and too juvenile for... well, everybody.

And the worst part?

I am SUCH a sucker for punishment I STILL feel like this review is unfair if I don't see the other eleven episodes.

Please tell me what is wrong with my brain!

Send your opinions care of Mel Brooks, Daphne Zuniga, and Joan Rivers busily making a funny movie twenty-six years ago.