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Movie Review: Yesterday Was a Lie April 22, 2010

Posted by vorpalkeith in Movie Review.
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What do the hunt for a notebook, quantum entanglement, M-theory, Jungian psychoanalysis, metaphysical philosophy, alternate realities, ghosts, and time travel all have in common?

a) none of the above
b) all of the above
c) neither a nor be
d) both a and b
e) none of the above

As this is a multiple choice quiz, please answer in the form of an essay. Then distill that essay to Jeopardy rules and rephrase it as a question.

I’m not trying to be a pain in the ass. I’m merely trying to illustrate the sort of mindset you need to be in to watch the science fiction neo noir detective movie called Yesterday Was a Lie. This film is like David Lynch with more answers. Or What the Bleep Do We Know without the New Agey hangups. Or like a discourse on super-string theory, but with more gunfights.


Wikipedia says of the plot:

A bourbon-drinking female investigator named Hoyle sets out to locate a reclusive genius who may be able to distort reality. Instead she finds her life becoming more and more fragmented and surreal. Trusting only her partner and a sexy lounge singer, she is shadowed by a dangerous man.

Which is much easier to understand than the film itself.

The main complaint that I would offer about the film is that it’s low-budget shows a bit on screen. Don’t get me wrong, they worked wonders with what they had. I just wish they’d have had a larger budget so they could have more fully realized the film.

The best performance in the piece is from Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s Chase Masterson as the seductive lounge singer. She also served as producer, which just means I’m giving her all kinds of street cred.

Bonus points to the film go to the casting of Peter Mayhew (aka Chewbacca) as the dangerous stranger. I had the privilege of spending a few hours with Peter about two years ago and it was a very nice surprise to see him pop up here. He is a true gentleman, and if you ever get the chance, make a point of buying him a drink.

I’m really not sure if I liked this movie or not. It will take me some time to digest it, and even then I don’t know if I’ll be able to say. Ask me again in a few decades, why don’t you?

To answer the initial question, the answer is that they have nothing to do with each other. They also have everything.

At one point in the film Chase Masterson’s character cautions that Hoyle is toying with forces that can barely be comprehended. She’s not talking about the nature of the universe. She’s talking about the nature of the human heart.


Bad, wicked, naughty Zoot! April 20, 2010

Posted by vorpalkeith in Comic News.
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“It is a naughty comic book!”


Apparently a kid was given an out-of-print comic book (The Spectre #9, from 1987) that contained both violence and nudity. You know . . . breasts, boobs, jugs, tits, knockers, fun bags, naughty pillows, hooters, boobies, gazongas, headlights, jobblies, mammaries, melons, yaboos, zambonies, window displays, tracks o’ land, radio dials, sweater puppies. We’re talking about BAZUNGAS here people!

Oh, the humanity! How will society ever recover? Won’t someone please think of the children!?!

How could this possibly have happened! Well, the mom asked ABC News 4 to “take action”. Taking action in this case one can only assume involves throwing holy water on the child and organizing a local book burning (it would be hilarious if it hadn’t happened throughout the bulk of the 1950s, read The Ten Cent Plague).

I love the sense of faux outrage that our reporters display. How dare someone ever draw a naked lady in a comic book? Let’s ignore for the moment that the central character of this book is the Angel of God’s Wrath, shall we?

Most of all I really like the child’s obviously coached interview answer. “I seen a naked lady and I got mad.” Really? REALLY?!?!? Cause I’m pretty sure that at ten years old I’d have loved to have seen naked ladies. At twenty six I still do.

Don’t get me wrong. The store did screw up marketing it in a children’s aisle and they should have kept better track of the appropriateness of their merchandise. I’m sure they learned the lesson the first time it was brought up. But why do I feel this isn’t over?

We live in a society where a simple retailer can be persecuted and potentially jailed for not knowing the content of every panel of every comic in his shop. I’m speaking of course about the case of comic book retailer Gordon Lee.

Quote from the CBLDF page:

“In October 2004 Gordon Lee, the owner of Legends comic shop in Rome, Georgia, participated in a trick-or-treat event in downtown Rome, passing out free comics. Among the thousands of comics passed out was a copy of Alternative Comics #2, a Free Comic Book Day anthology from publisher Alternative Comics. The book included an excerpt from Nick Bertozzi’s graphic novel The Salon, which depicted the first meeting between Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. On three of the excerpt’s eight pages, Picasso is depicted painting in the nude. The content is merely illustrative of a moment in history, and is not sexualized in any way.

The book, allegedly, was accidentally distributed to a minor, whose parents filed a complaint with police. When confronted by police, Lee admitted the alleged distribution was a mistake and offered to make a public apology, but the apology was rejected and Lee was arrested days later.”

That’s right, kids. The concept of thought crime is alive and well in the US of A. Allow me to stretch the hyperbole earlier when I recommend you set the temperature on your ovens to 451.

Sorry to be so smug about it, but I can’t see this as a completely forgettable situation. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. Any censorship that isn’t self-censorship is a dangerous road. That’s why I support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund financially. That’s why I will support any group that attempts to protect the First Amendment.

“Bad, wicked, naughty Zoot! She is a bad person and she must pay the penalty. And here in Castle Anthrax, we have but one punishment. You must tie her down on a bed and spank her! Come! You must spank her well and after you have spanked her you may deal with her as you like and then… spank me.”

– Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Tale of Sir Galahad

The Smartest Thing He’s Ever Said April 15, 2010

Posted by vorpalkeith in Comic News.
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I give Grant Morrison a lot of crap.  His writing really isn’t my cup of tea.  Anyone who knows me will tell you that.  But I have just found a quote from him in a recent interview that I really respect.  It may in fact be, as the title suggests, the smartest thing that Grant Morrison has ever said!

“In terms of endless continuity, there’s always something new coming up. Obviously I want to tell my definitive Batman or X-Men story – which has a beginning, middle, and end – but comics will run for hundreds of years with hundreds of characters. My stories are in a long chain of other writers’ definitive stories. So when it’s time I leave, I’ll try to leave the toys exactly as I found them. So I like to put the characters through changes, but I try to leave a blank slate for the next writer. It’s the nature of the beast. With the big franchises like Batman, Batman always must be Bruce Wayne, in his mid-30s or late 30s, and he always must have a Batmobile and a butler. I can take them to the edge, but it always will come back to the basics.”

That’s a wonderfully grounded and honest statement.  So, at least this one time, Grant, I’ll tip my hat to you.

Smart Science Fiction Still Lives on Film April 13, 2010

Posted by vorpalkeith in Movie Review.
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Sometimes I’m really bad about my Netflix account, in that some of the films I get will be sitting on my desk a very long time before I get around to watching them (I partly blame this movie-watching sloth on the instant viewing option, which I seem to use far more freely than the physical DVDs that I’m sent). That was the case of the most recent film that I watched, Sleep Dealer. It’s been the longest I’ve gone before watching one of their films to return. This has been sitting on my desk for the better part of two and a half months.

I shouldn’t have waiting so long. This movie was really good, and incredibly smart near-future science fiction.


Wikipedia describes it by saying: “Set in a near-future, militarized world marked by closed borders, virtual labor and a global digital network that joins minds and experiences, three strangers risk their lives to connect with each other and break the barriers of technology.”

Which only somewhat begins to cover it. The film is a story about where our civilization is going with rapid computerization depersonalizing our interactions, growing distrust between nations due to terrorism and immigration, the privatization of natural resources, and the widening gap between the poor and the wealthy. It is also, ultimately, a story about redemption through action.

Luis Fernando Peña stars as Memo, a farmer’s son who, after personal tragedy, travels to Tijuana to get nodes and work. Nodes are implanted network ports which will allow him to connect his nervous system to the global information highway. With these he’ll be able to get work in one of the network factories – called Sleep Dealers – where he will work remotely, controlling a construction robot in the United States. I hesitate to give away any more except to say that it’s very good and you should definitely watch it.

Another thing that I think is worth mentioning about the movie is that it is a Spanish language film. I’m happy that we’re seeing a trend in filmmaking where we’re getting more international takes on science fiction, such as District 9. It’s interesting to see things from a different perspective than the American and British science fiction that we’re used to.

Scattered Thoughts April 10, 2010

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– I still have no idea why they named the comic book Demo. As near as I can figure it doesn’t reference any of the content of the actual book. Someone wanna help me out here?

– That said I’d like to someday direct a short film based on the first Demo story that Brian Wood wrote. You know, the one about the exploding girl.

– Christian didn’t like Demo. By all accounts he should.

– In a perfect world the comic Bone would be turned into a trilogy of 2D animated films. To be even more perfect these films would be directed by Hiyao Miyazaki. Please make this happen!

– Phineas and Ferb is a consistently entertain cartoon and possibly the funniest show on TV. I have toys of the characters sitting on my desk in front of me.

– I wish I was a semi-aquatic mammal of action.

– Working evening shifts doesn’t give you a lot of post-work dining options, especially in rural Pennsylvania. We have found out, though, that Buffalo Wild Wings is open until 2 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. So awesome! Try their BBQ Nachos appetizer. It has the best pulled pork I’ve ever tasted.

– The first person who makes a joke about me being an expert on pulling my pork gets a punch in the face.

– Slowly Mello Yello seems to be reintroducing itself into the Northwest Pennsylvania region. Right now, only in cans in grocery stores, but we can hope for fountains.

– I would like to get first aid certified.

March 2010 Movies April 1, 2010

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Diamonds Are Forever
Away From Her
Bart Got a Room
My Summer of Love
The Education of Charlie Banks
Operation Homecoming
Monsters vs. Aliens
Street Thief
You Can’t Take It With You
Shutter Island *
21 Grams
Cop Out *
Gentlmen Broncos
The Soloist

* Movies Seen in Theater