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Cinema and Television, Julytember 2010, Subheadline »

[31 Oct 2010 | One Comment | 781 Views]
Don’t Eat Me (Part 3): <i>Paranormal Activity 2</i>

Paranormal Activity 2 is, for the sake of descriptive brevity, The Exorcist meets Big Brother. The new film is a Hollywood sequel, for better and worse. Bigger budget = more elaborate effects. For a couple scenes, that works in the film’s favor. Unfortunately, it also means that the craft of the first film has been largely jettisoned in favor of thuddingly obvious setups, a higher body count, and a much more crass sense of what is considered creepy.

Art, Julytember 2010, Literature, Subheadline »

[17 Oct 2010 | No Comment | 1,133 Views]
2010 In Comics: The Middle 48%

2010 (so far): The greatest year in the history of the comics medium? The nightmarish nadir from which it will never recover? The year when the whole industry, and our relationship with it, changed forever? Nope. But come with us nevertheless to yestermonth, for a look at some of the comic books, trade paperbacks, and funnypages/comic-strip collections of oh, say, the middlish part of the year.
Gorilla-Man #1
Creators: Jeff Parker (writer); Giancarlo Caracuzzo (artist); Jim Charalampidis (colorist); Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: Marvel
From a narrative point of view, part of the purpose of …

Cinema and Television, Julytember 2010, Subheadline »

[8 Oct 2010 | No Comment | 725 Views]
<i>Machete</i>: Trailer vs. Film

History will never be able to tell us for sure whether Robert Rodriguez was kidding when he originally made the trailer for Machete. Certainly, the other guys who made fake trailers for 2007′s Grindhouse were kidding; regrettable though it is, we do not live in a world awesome enough to ever see Rob Zombie’s Werewolf Women of the SS, or Edgar Wright’s Don’t. But unlike these others, Rodriguez announced, almost immediately after Grindhouse‘s debut, that he intended to make Machete for real.

But this announcement didn’t come until after he …

Art, Julytember 2010, Literature, Subheadline »

[15 Sep 2010 | One Comment | 1,217 Views]
Cleavage, In A Crimefighting Sense

It was the announcement from a major comic book publisher that split the Internet in half. Or the one for that week, anyway. Actually, it was really the one for that month – the announcement was that big. We refer here, of course, to the announcement that they were radically changing Wonder Woman’s costume. The ever-shrinking strapless one-piece swimsuit that the Amazon princess had worn into battle for over half a century was to be a thing of the past. In its place, a red, striped shirt, a jacket, and …

Cinema and Television, Cultural Comment, Julytember 2010, Subheadline »

[25 Jul 2010 | One Comment | 1,231 Views]
Urban Life and Individuality: Boyz n the Hood

Any representation of urban life in Black cinema during the early 90′s would inevitably find itself contending with John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood. The amount of praise Singleton received was enough to make him the first of only two African-Americans to receive an Academy Award nomination for best director.  The rising tide of Black experience in cinema came at a time when African-Americans in poor Los Angeles neighbourhoods were suffering from the internal violence of gang warfare fueled by the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s, as well as …

Cultural Comment, Julytember 2010, Literature, Subheadline »

[25 Jul 2010 | No Comment | 579 Views]
Video Games and Compulsory Learning

What happens when video games enter the classroom? For the past thirty years, video games have been mired in negative stereotypes. Considered revolutionary in the 70s, brainless diversion in the 80s, youth-corrupting entertainment in the 90s—attitudes towards video games have run the gamut. In the past ten years, there has been a palpable change. Games have gone from social pariahs to hotly-contested media seeking artistic validation. But it isn’t the conversation about the video game’s place in the artistic world that is radically changing the way games are used and thought of in our society. Thanks to the work of literacy and education researchers, video games are gaining prestige as powerful learning tools.

Cinema and Television, May/June 2010, Subheadline »

[30 Jun 2010 | No Comment | 1,371 Views]
Smith in Dragon’s Shadow: <i>The Karate Kid</i>

The Karate Kid is a story of two lost souls, sans fish bowl, and a classic archetype of the surrogate father-son dynamic. Jaden Smith puts his cute kid mojo to work as Dre, who’s uprooted from his childhood home when his widowed mother is transferred to China as part of her job. The local handyman, Mr. Han, takes compassion on him when he’s continually beaten by bullies who are almost as skilled in kung fu as the handyman. Naturally, Mr. Han’s kung fu is better, both because the hero’s journey requires it to be, and because Mr. Han is played by Jackie Chan. As conventional as the story is (and familiar, given that it’s a remake of a beloved 80s classic), it works because it is a completely artless approach to a well-worn story.

April 2010, Cinema and Television, Subheadline »

[13 Apr 2010 | 2 Comments | 1,104 Views]
How To Train Your Dragon

How To Train Your Dragon was a pleasant surprise and a lot more fun than I had expected from the trailer.  I would go so far as to call it the best Dreamworks Animation to date.
Yes, the story is at first glance an all-too familiar one. A Young boy, a misfit in his community, befriends an ancient enemy and defies a centuries-old tradition. From that information alone, you can probably deduct where and how the story will proceed, but sometimes the joy is not …