Friday, October 30, 2009

Josh Ritter's "The Temptation of Adam"

I haven't done a post about a song (or poetry) in a good long while, but Josh Ritter's track, "The Temptation of Adam," has been on my mind a lot recently. I've discussed it with a few people and come up with some interesting and divergent close readings, so I want to explore the track here. I'll start by posting the song and lyrics before I get into the meat of my rant.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thoughts on Sexuality in Video Games

Last night my girlfriend linked me to an article discussing sexual relationships in video games that Alex Raymond posted on back in August. Apparently the link just recently popped up over on Feministing (On a tangentially related subject, if anyone has any suggestions for feminist oriented/leaning blogs that are better than Feministing, we're all ears). I know that Rayond's article is a bit stale but it’s an interesting issue that is definitely still relevant to the medium as a whole. I started to write a response and it snowballed on me until it suddenly became this post.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

From Around the Web - 10/27/09

France: Pretty awesome, but still not as awesome as Germany
In case you hadn't heard, why Germany is awesome

No wonder Jay-Z's bitch isn't a problem for him, UK experts find that he's ahead of the curve on science

Journalism students are being sued for investigating innocence claims by a man convicted 31 years ago
Commentary on the absolutely ridiculous story

The latest in the continuing struggle to apply outdated laws to new media

Because you should already be reading Orhan Pamuk
(Append) BUT
While definitely an incredible writer and progressive thinker, the word on the street is that he's a bit of a douchebag in person

How It Should Have Ended: Transformers 2

The "How It Should Have Ended" video series is pretty hilarious. The reimagining of the Superman ending is still probably their funniest entry, but almost everything they've ever done is worth watching. I'm not totally sure that this is new, but today I found the ending they put together for Transformers 2. Given how much I've discussed the ridiculous number of things that are wrong with that film, it would seem wrong not to post this:

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Continuing Struggle for Dollhouse to Realize Its Promise

Dollhouse is a problematic television show. There have been some significant disagreements between the creative minds involved and the FOX network, all of which have only hurt the show. The first season asks viewers to slog through seven or so boring and formulaic episodes before giving us any real reason to come back. Then, after a series of incredible concluding episodes, the second season begins with another set of lackluster installments that reeked of network intervention. The best, and in a sense final, episode of the entire series was never even aired on television.

Despite all this I keep coming back to it, for a whole mix of reasons. Because I love and trust Joss Whedon. Because this is potentially the most mature content he has ever tackled. Because the concept of Dollhouse has so much potential. Because when it's good, it's really good.

The episode that aired this past Friday night was really, really fucking good.

If you've seen the episode then check out this great post on io9 discussing the plot points of the episode and what they mean, with in depth analysis and clips from various sequences. I'll get around to an extended discussion of Dollhouse at some point, but for the moment consider this post as largely indicative of my thoughts.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Enjoyable Things: Zombieland Review

Throughout Zombieland, we are repeatedly told that there are rules to surviving in a world overrun by the undead. Of all of them, the final rule, No. 32: Enjoy The Little Things, is without a doubt the most important one. This light-hearted moral is emblematic of Zombieland since that is exactly what the film asks, nay demands of its audience.

Zombieland comes in the midst of a proliferation of zombies in mass culture, and yet manages to separate itself from the horde, er, crowd. Unlike almost every other zombie narrative out there, Zombieland features characters that take as much pleasure in dispatching the undead as we do in watching them do it. This slight change to the formula dramatically alters the atmosphere of the film, and more importantly its relation to all other zombie films.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bon Iver's Final Live Show (For Now)

Phew, is it ever a busy time. Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone and now it's time to really get into the swing of October.

I keep wanting to write but it's hard to find the time when I'm not working or resting. I have a few posts in the works right now, including a review of "Zombieland" (it was stupid good). Hopefully I'll be able to get at least one of them up in the next few days.

Right now, though, I want to share some music that I found online that I think is pretty awesome.

I'm a recent but big fan of Bon Iver, and so it was with a heavy heart that I read he was going on hiatus for the foreseeable future. I was only converted in March and so I narrowly missed seeing him during his world tour in support of his debut LP, For Emma, Forever Ago and the Blood Bank EP. His most recent show at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee on October 11, 2009 is apparently his last for a while, and so I'm SOL for the time being.

But despite that minor setback there is a positive spin on this story. That final show was evidently recorded and has been posted online over on the 88Nine Radio Milwaukee: Live & In Studio blog. It's available to be downloaded in its entirety (I'm listening to it right now, it's fantastic) and I'm also embedding a streaming player below.

I strongly recommend giving the show a listen, even if you aren't a Bon Iver fan. He's a fantastic musician and it really comes through in his live show, as evidenced by this fantastic recording.

Listen Now:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla: A CGI Sign of the Times

The other night I rented Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, which was a very interesting and surprising experience.

I'm going to start off with a bit of a geek history lesson to give some context to my story. For those of you who are not "in the know" (ie: most people), there were two distinct sets of Godzilla films. First there was the original classic, "Gojira" (1954), which started the whole phenomenon. It was followed by "Godzilla Rais Again" (1955) and then a number of sequels known as the Showa series, concluding with "Terror of Mechagodzilla" (1975).

There was was then a ten year break before the aptly titled "The Return of Godzilla" (1985). This film ignored every sequel to the original "Gojira," and set itself up as a direct follow-up to the events of the first film. This began the Heisei series of Godzilla films, which saw re-imaginings of many of the classic Godzilla villains, including Mechagodzilla in "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II" (1993). The main difference between the two series was the attitude towards the monsters. In the Showa series they were treated as forces of nature, not evil beings, and Godzilla became something of a hero. In the Heisei series, on the other hand, Godzilla and his friends (or kaiju, aka monsters, your geek word of the day) were more often seen merely as hazards to human life.

Now, as far as I knew that was where the complexities of the Godzilla canon ended. Ignoring the American remake, as all good 'zilla fans do, there were simply the two series of Godzilla continuities. So, when I rented "Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla" I figured I was going to watch one of the three movies from the Showa and Heisei series in which the mechanical monster appeared.

How wrong I was.

Sunday, October 4, 2009