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Articles in the Jan/Feb 2010 Department

Cinema and Television, Cultural Comment, Jan/Feb 2010 »

[23 Feb 2010 | 5 Comments | 2,788 Views]
Stock Hollywood characters in dire need of retirement

Here’s a situation you will all be instantly familiar with.
You’re watching a movie. Could be at the local multiplex, could be the latest rental. Could be stumbled upon during late-night cable surfing. Doesn’t matter.
This actor shows up. You might recognize him, or not. You might even be able to put a name to him (a trick I never mastered). Again, doesn’t matter. What matters is, you’ll recognize the character. You’ve seen him a million times before.  Often he’s a side-character; sometimes (and more unforgivably) he’s a main character. He will …

Art, Cultural Comment, Jan/Feb 2010 »

[19 Feb 2010 | One Comment | 1,637 Views]
Majora’s Mask (A Long Time From Now, In a Country Far Far Away)

The Land of Termina
Ocarina of Time, the landmark prequel to Majora’s Mask, holds the seeds from the which its future sibling springs. Some of these seeds are quite obvious: the masks, for instance. But, in my imagination, the most important seeds can be found in two seemingly unimportant moments. The first involves Zora’s Domain. As many dejected fellow gamers might recall, the enchanted winter that shrouds the Domain cannot be dispelled, even after destroying the appropriate evil spirit. The ice will supposedly melt at a future date beyond the game’s …

Jan/Feb 2010, Literature »

Playtime Featured Artist: Janet Skeslien Charles
[10 Feb 2010 | No Comment | 1,810 Views]
Playtime Featured Artist: Janet Skeslien Charles

Janet Skeslien Charles
Moonlight In Odessa, the debut novel from Janet Skeslien Charles, is a warm and funny story of the bleak and deceptive world of mail-order brides. Its heroine and central figure is Daria, an intelligent, strong, and educated Odessan woman who finds a job working for a ‘matchmaking service,’ and ends up one of its clients, to her eventual sorrow. It’s a marvelous book, witty and subtle and affecting, and a page-turner on top of it. Published by Bloomsbury, Odessa has been reviewed positively by the New York Times, …

Cinema and Television, Cultural Comment, Jan/Feb 2010 »

[3 Feb 2010 | One Comment | 1,366 Views]
2000s Cinema: My Favorites

In terms of world news and events, the 2000s have been an intensely involved period, and a depressing one. From attacks on America, two large-scale wars, genocide still, horrific natural disasters and a global recession the “Aughts” haven’t been too kind on us as a whole. Cinema has really moved up its game during this time, however, producing a better quality of comedies, dramas and musicals compared to the previous couple decades. Animation, in fact, has never been better, and documentaries seem to …

Cinema and Television, Jan/Feb 2010 »

[27 Jan 2010 | One Comment | 3,648 Views]
Suspended Anticipation: <i>Grayson</i>‘s Pop Art

When it comes to fan films (as opposed to other media), resource constraints tend to impose upon the creativity a little more heavily, since the creation of an aesthetically successful motion picture requires a delicate alchemy combining the best of every kind of artistic medium invented to this point. It can be expensive, and it can be even more difficult to find collaborators whose enthusiasm for a project is matched by their skill. That’s why a fan film as tremendous as Grayson, directed by John Fiorella, is a major accomplishment. Beyond being such a great example of the fan film, it arrived at a pivotal moment in pop culture, emerging as the quintessential superhero film of the decade.

Cinema and Television, Jan/Feb 2010 »

[6 Jan 2010 | 2 Comments | 5,387 Views]
Gaia Ex Machina: James Cameron’s <i>Avatar</i>

James Cameron hates humanity. In the decade plus since Titanic confirmed him as Hollywood’s fiducial king of the world, Cameron’s right wing militarism has found a way to harmoniously converge with his leftist, egalitarian ecological supremacy in Avatar. That Cameron has been a leading pioneer of special effects throughout his entire career is not in question; that Avatar represents an incremental step forward is also unquestionable. But this is not a triumphant return. It’s a political screed of addle-brained intensity that lashes itself to the golden bough of “relevance” and instead rings a loud, clear note of bitter misanthropy.