Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Unwritten: Dead Man’s Knock

51NFb36LVHLI am surprised and not a little annoyed to report that I completely failed to write a review. (Well, technically two, but one of them is on purpose[1].) I can’t even figure out how it happened. I know I read the third book in the Unwritten series, and I know I thought I had reviewed it, but when I went looking down the recent list, it’s definitely not there. So, um, oops? I’ll do my best, some week-and-change later.

My best ain’t gonna be a lot, unfortunately. I cannot even put together what the title, Dead Man’s Knock, is meant to indicate. (I mean, maybe I still wouldn’t have known if I were fresh?) I do know that this one was a little lighter on the deep literary thoughts and a little heavier on kicking Tommy Taylor’s story, not to mention the war being waged against him by the weird cognoscenti cabal that views him as such an unexplained threat, into high gear. Which is okay. I like the concepts swirling around, but without some excitement and menace, Carey’s latest opus would probably feel self-involved.

Also, there was an entire issue laid out as Choose Your Own Adventure, and you cannot tell me that’s not really awesome. You could try, but you would not succeed.

[1] Don’t worry, I’ll get there.

The Boys: We Gotta Go Now

618Jw8k7spLIf it looks like I’m reading slowly, it’s because I’ve been hyper-focused on old Marvel stuff, both the ongoing acquisition and consumption thereof. But I finally read the fourth volume in Garth Ennis’ The Boys series, so that’s nice at least. It occurs to me that this is an incredibly aptly named team, insofar as its one female member (cleverly named “The Female”) never speaks and has yet to actually do anything that was her own event on the side, unlike all the other team members. I pretend to myself, each new book, that we’ll suddenly learn something about her. Maybe a name of some kind. (I will say that she’s not also sexualized, so that’s… something?)

But anyway, though, the ongoing war between Butcher and his team versus the supes continues on, this time extending to Ennis’ X-Men parody, with its vast number of teams and splinter groups. Which made a fine, albeit occasionally horrific, story. But I’m really ready for the meat of this series. Our main character, Hughie, who I probably mentioned is based on actor Simon Pegg? He and his girlfriend have been carefully concealing themselves from each other this whole time, and it’s a ticking time bomb, and I really want to see what happens when the truth gets revealed. Downside: probably that will start the roller-coaster ride toward a series climax, and Ennis probably isn’t done poking fun at superhero comic tropes and standards just yet.

So, okay, but at least give me some character development on the Female and the Frenchman. ‘Cause seriously, especially that Female thing I mentioned back at the start? It looks bad. (It probably is bad instead of just appearing that way, and probably having the whole plot laid out in front of me would not change that, but since it isn’t yet, it feels premature to judge. He tricked me on the homophobia. Sort of.)

World War Z

First of all: while it’s possible that this WWZmovie borrowed some small amount of plotting from the book that shares its name, I would be hard pressed to name anything besides the title and its attendant premise. This does not make it a bad film, but it certainly makes it a misnamed one. Second of all: I’m probably fast and loose with spoilers here, although none plot-destroying. You’ll see why I didn’t care much about that.

Okay, disclaimers aside, was World War Z in fact a good movie? Almost. It started off pretty solidly by introducing Brad Pitt (who had gotten too old for this shit) and his family, and then immediately dumping them into Run For Your Lives! And then it exposited about how he’s the kind of guy who could help find out how this[1] happened and therefore save humanity, and then blackmailed him into doing it when “saving humanity” was somehow insufficient. Like rich, pretty people don’t know that they are part of what’s being saved? I dunno.

Then he starts globetrotting, picking up clues, narrowly escaping each place he goes to like a non-parodic version of John Cusack, and just when I started to get the impression that his arrival spelt doom for any place he might show up at, the movie kind of trickled out into nothing. I seriously expected another 30 to 60 minutes of plot, until about 5 minutes before the credits rolled.

So, shorter version: cool, albeit stolen and warped, concept; cool execution; terrible payoff. Hot Israeli soldiers, though.

[1] The zombie apocalypse, obvs.

This Is the End

There were three things I liked a lot about This Is the End. First: Los Angeles gets destroyed. I mean, that’s always fun, right? Second: a lot of actors demonstrated a really solid sense of humor about themselves. Sometimes you get one or two, but this was pretty much a whole cast’s worth. (Special kudos to Michael Cera.) Third: I found it to be damned funny[1]

See, some guy I don’t know who is clearly a stand-in for longtime Seth Rogen writing collaborator Evan Goldberg has come into town to visit Seth, even though they both know how much he hates LA. Seth, see, hopes to make some inroads between notEvan and Seth’s actor friends. So they go to a party at James Franco’s house, where everyone acts exactly as annoyingly Hollywood as notEvan expected them to, and even Seth is slightly less likable / more dog-piddly than usual due to their influence. Then, out of nowhere, *boom*, it’s the Rapture Apocalypse. Suddenly, everyone is having to deal with unceasing waves of death and destruction, limited resources, demonic possession, the worst human being in the world[2], and coming to terms with the fact that, yep, they’re in this situation because they probably deserve it[4], all from the comforts of Franco’s post-modern mansion.

Also starring Emma Watson!

[1] Koz, as you will see in paragraph two, it’s generally about bad people, so you will probably not find it funny. I think most other people I know would, though?
[2] Spoilers, but if you insist:[3]
[3] Danny McBride
[4] I know, that’s not really how the Rapture is supposed to work, but somehow, getting an atheistic, uninformed view of the Rapture is very in keeping with the spirit of the thing. on every level. (Also, an accurate[5] representation starring Kirk Cameron would have been terrible in every way.)
[5] Yeah, I had fun with that word choice, not gonna lie.