Friday, March 1, 2013

I Know I Said I Was Going to Get Back on a Schedule

Buuuut..I didn't. Sue me.

But I am back today with some movie/comic book/general bullshit commentary.

Finally got to see Looper the other night. Terrific film, I was very excited about it, due to my love of Rian Johnson's previous effort, Brick, which was a truly wonderful film noir pastiche, set in a high school. That film also starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and it truly blew me away. Johnson has a way with tone that is really interesting. I've not seen The Brothers Bloom, but after loving his other two films so much, I will be checking it out.

Looper, I think it's fairly well known by now, is about time travel, and I was particularly impressed with how it's used to warp the the storyline. It allows some pretty fun leaps away from traditional plot structure. In much the same way that the Back to the Future series set it's rules for time travel, and then allowed them to be exploited wildly, so does Johnson with his film. Though, of course, BTTF is primarily a comedy, and Looper primarily an action film, making the way each exploits the concept vastly different.

Mainly, I wish I'd seen Looper before I picked my top ten for 2012, because it would've made it. It's a really smart and entertaining sci-fi that is almost literally dripping with ideas. It sets it's rules, and hews to them. To top it all off there's winning turns from Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, and a really quite stunning, and pivotal performance from child actor Pierce Gagnon. Rian Johnson is the real deal, and I can't wait to see what he does next.

So, they killed off another Robin. It seems like it's almost becoming a joke, like it wasn't already, "Robin, the Boy Hostage" and all that. Still THIS time it's Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne's son with Talia Al Ghul. Yes, the daughter of one of Batman's most fearsome foes, Ras Al Ghul.

I have to admit, despite a general liking for Damian, that this whole thing left me cold. Mainly because the writing on Batman Incorporated, by Grant Morrison, especially in the 8 issues since the series restarted as a part of the "New 52," has been...less than interesting. Or even coherent.

Grant Morrison has a tremendous imagination, when it comes to conceptual writing, he is unmatched, and I think he has one of the clearest visions of what our comic book heroes should be out there. (The panel where he lambasted a fan who suggested that Batman should carry firearms was amazing, "then he's just a soldier, and the last thing we need are more soldiers!") However, the execution of those ideas, especially since his run on the Batman book began in 2006, has become very, very abysmal.

What started out as a rather fun, if not altogether to my taste, working of the "James Bond"-style Batman, complete with ninjas infused with the Man-Bat formula (Giant Bat ninjas are always cool), ended up unfocused, rambling, and, at times, incoherent. In each of the last eight issues, I have had moments where I felt that pages must have been left out. The plotline simply made no sense, action scenes had no logic, and Batman was acting in ways that simply didn't flow from what I had read on the previous page.

Had the writer not been Grant Morrison, with critical and commercial accolades to back him up, I simply doubt an editor would've allowed this mess of a story to see press. Oh, I'm sure that there are folks out there, the Morrison converted, who will tell me that it all makes perfect sense. Y'know, what? You're right. The overall story does make some sense, it's the individual moments that don't flow logially from one to another. I'm also very much aware that Morrison isn't all that concerned with that.

Which is fine. I don't begrudge anyone who loves his stuff, I've loved a lot of it, too. His early Batman stuff is very fun, even if I prefer Batman not as a jet-setting Bond-type. I really enjoyed All-Star Superman, even while I think it's been overrated. His voice is absolutely unique, and that is precious.

I just think his voice is so unique as to upend good storytelling, sometimes. Damian Wayne, who Morrison created (or should we say Mike W. Barr?), is, in my opinion, been written better by the other writers on the Batman books currently. It's Scott Snyder's and Peter J. Tomasi's Damian that I will miss, not Morrison's.

So, Damian's time as Robin comes to an end, and we'll look for ward to Robin #6 (in continuity - if we take all of them into account we're probably over 10) shortly, because it doesn't look like they're cancelling the Batman and Robin book.

Peyton Place opened on Tuesday, so, for the first time in a good, long while...I am not in rehearsal.

I'm really not at all certain on how this show will be received. One review was very appreciative, but that particular critic tends to love shows more often than not. He also spelled my name wrong, but...pfft!  The other published so far was nice to the cast, but critical of the show. So, who knows what the consensus will be? I don't really care. I'm having a good time, and I enjoy this cast.

So, you should see it.

Outside of that, my main goal in the coming weeks to to get some real work done on these songs I've been playing around with for....well, years now. I re-strung the Les Paul last night, and I am ready to get it on.


  1. My issues with Looper are legion, not to mention it has the most gaping plot hole imaginable at the end, but I guess the fact that I've seen it three times says something for it. I've never been as firmly on the fence about a film after watching it three times though, it's so odd, I can't make up my mind whether or not I actually like the film.

  2. I know what the plot hole is, but, y' didn't bother me. I guess I figured that that action just utterly randomized the time stream.

    I do think Brick is ten times the film.

  3. I loved Brick and Brothers Bloom, and Looper I wanted to like because I'm a time-travel nut. Unfortunately, the selective attention to causality ruined it for me. I don't see why the universe would treat people and objects any differently in terms of cause leading to effect.