Saturday, May 31, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past

I just watched X-Men: Days of Future Past!  Read on for some spoiler-filled reaction gifs:

First, I had to watch X-Men: First Class to catch up on my X-Men movie continuity.
Nooooot my favorite X-Men movie.  I didn't even feel like making reaction comics for it.  I guess some of the 60s outfits were cool, when people weren't in lingerie. 

BUT, I did really enjoy this new film.  It started off with a lot of fan service / nostalgia--seeing some familiar actors/characters and trying to guess who was who ("OMG is that Blink??!").  You guys, seeing Colossus and Kitty Pride together...Astonishing feels. :,)
Quicksilver stole the show.  He was the most fun character by far, and his slow-motion scene to Jim Croce's Time In A Bottle was the highlight of the movie.  That was the beginning of my giggles and they were pretty constant for the rest of the movie.

Of course I also loved Jenniver Lawrence's Mystique, and how much of a part she played in the plot.  I really liked the moment where Charles realizes he has to trust her and let her make her own decisions.

It was really funny watching ANOTHER Marvel movie in Paris this year and seeing a French element in the film.  Very meta.
And of course Fassbender is super fun as Magneto.  His shrug take-off cracked me up and I had to clamp both hands over my mouth in the theater.  And when he touches down in the stadium and just turns and walks away from the groundskeeper?!?  I died.  In the good way.
The best and worst thing about the X-Men universe is the chaos of the timeline and its many revisions.  It can get confusing, and too many versions makes it hard to care about any one version.  BUT I loved how we got to basically write over X-Men: Last Stand and see the happy, shiny version of the future where all our favorite characters are together and happy.  It makes me more excited about the upcoming movie X-Men: Apocalypse.  Although, frankly, I would be happy with things ending the way they did in this movie.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer Wars

I'm continuing this week with my movie reviews for people who donated to the Periscope Studio art books Kickstarter.  A big thanks to Jacob, who requested Summer Wars!  Read on for some spoiler-filled reaction comics!
So here's the thing: I've already seen this movie a few times.  I love it.  It's fantastic.  It's one of those movies I wish I could make everyone I know watch.  It has a little bit of everything--comedy, romance, action, drama...a surprising and amazing film.  The storytelling is fresh and clever.  And the animation is GORGEOUS!  I think the word I used the most in this review was "love".

Basically, just go see this movie if you haven't yet.
I looooooove the big cast, and how well everyone is characterized.  They can have over-the-top slapstick moments, and maybe you could sum each character up in a couple words, but each plays an integral role in the plot, too (I see a lot of similarities with Dickens).  Nana being new to the family means she doesn't know who Wabisuke is, and it's a GREAT excuse to invite the other characters to explain.
The characters interact with one another in many interesting ways, forming different groups at different times the way that real people do (by family, by gender, by opinion, by task).  Nobody is a "good guy" or "bad guy"; they take on protagonist and antagonist roles depending on the situation.  It could have been so easy to fill out the big family with generic characters, but everyone really feels real.  The chaos of the big household is totally believable.  Somehow, the creators manage to keep over 20 characters in character AND keep the plot moving forward.

I loooooove the avatar designs.  They're so personalized and different, I wouldn't be surprised if the film invited a bunch of real people to design their own avatars for the movie to use.  The world of OZ is a delightful tool for the storytelling.  We get to have our real-world story, but also watch fantastic action sequences in a world with anime physics.  And I LOVE when we come back into the real world and see those fights on character's cell phone screens -- how it just looks like normal cell phone game graphics!! xD The visual metaphors for Love Machine messing up the world's systems are GENIUS.  I love the sliding tiles effect when it mixes up the highway system.  GAH.
Kazuma is such a teenage wish fulfillment character.  He games ALL THE TIME uninterrupted by his mother, is the best fighter in the world, has global star status for his character's success...and his gaming ends up saving the world.  Plus, awesome emo hair.
Pretty much xD

Sniff!  Universal cooperation and hit me in the soft spot, Summer Wars.

I haven't even mentioned Sakae Jinnouchi, who is maybe the most interesting character.  I love seeing a matriarch like this.  She can wield a yari, sure, but her greatest strength as demonstrated in the movie is her prowess in conversation, her network of friends/family, and her ability to get people to work together and support one another.  There's a lot of good stuff happening in Summer Wars in terms of what makes characters heroic.  Kenji is smart and willing to stay in harm's way to protect others.  Wabisuke asks for forgiveness and tries to make amends for the damage he's caused.  Everyone seems at their best when they do their duty to serve others and cooperate.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I Heart Huckabees

I watched the 2004 film I Heart Huckabees last week for @etymancer, who pledged in my studio's Kickstarter to raise money for a series of art books!  THANK YOU, @etymancer!!  :D

Read on for some spoiler-filled reaction comics!
There were sooooo many excellent acting moments in this movie.  Mark Wahlberg took the cake, though.  Just remembering sad Marky Mark sitting on a rock with a rubber ball makes me burst out laughing.

Ohhh, and Jude Law!!!  So great.  He can make even this asshole character sympathetic.  But I wish the film would have spent some time on why Brad was so obsessed with being cruel to Albert...
If you're going to make your audience that uncomfortable over a scene that long, it had better pay off later.  This just did not. :-/ You know that maddening frustration when you're listening to a podcast, and people keep starting off on interesting tangents and being interrupted before they can get to their points...?
And yeah, that's not the case for everyone.  The first friend I asked about the movie after finishing it said it was one he really liked.  Just wasn't my cup of tea, I guess.

Monday, May 26, 2014

2001: A Space Odyssey

I just watched the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey for Bo, who pledged in my studio's Kickstarter to raise money for a series of art books.  Thank you, Bo!

Read on for some spoiler-filled reaction comics!
I got online after finishing the film to read interpretations/theories, and I like the idea that this is actually a 3-minute close-up with the monolith.  The monolith's score is playing, after all, and a visitation from the monolith, which seems to usher in major developments, would be a fitting beginning for us as we move from nothing into the universe of this film.
Oh, my poor 7th grade science teacher...are you guys ready to go to the sad place?  I have a sad story.  When I was in 7th grade, there was an initiative to re-energize (so to speak) science classrooms in my school district by plucking working scientists out of their labs and dropping them off into middle school classrooms with little-to-no training on how to teach (or control a room full of pubescent hellspawn).  This poor guy--I can't even remember his name--sat in something brown at lunch on his first day, and it only got worse from there.  He lasted 3 months before he was replaced, and his last act in our classroom was showing us 2001: A Space Odyssey.  I'm pretty sure he didn't give enough fucks at that point to even ask for permission.
I was frustrated that after investing two and a half hours in a slow movie I was left with a trippy star baby scene I didn't understand, but it's okay for a film to be ambiguous or complex, and unfold more upon multiple viewings and reading multiple theories from others.  I think Kubrick himself stated that he didn't want to spell it out for people, and was happy that people wrestled with the film's meaning and came to their own conclusions.

Friday, May 23, 2014

8 Femmes

I watched the 2002 French film 8 Femmes (8 Women) yesterday for Tom Zimmerman, who pledged in my studio's Kickstarter to raise money for a series of art books!  THANK YOU, Tom!!

Read on for some spoiler-filled reaction comics!
SO FUN.  Why do I watch anything besides musicals, anyway?
Shady as hell!
Catherine Deneuve is an amaaaaazing actress.  Gosh, they all are.  It was a treat to watch an entire movie with this all-women cast.  And it looked like SO much fun for the actresses. :)
Not necessarily well-known, but yes, the soundtrack is made up of existing songs:
  1. "Papa t'es plus dans le coup" (Dad, You're Out of Touch)
  2. "Message personnel" (Personal Message)
  3. "A quoi sert de vivre libre" (What's the Point of Living Free?)
  4. "Mon Amour, Mon Ami" (My Lover, My Friend)
  5. "Pour ne pas vivre seul" (So as Not to Live Alone)
  6. "Pile ou Face" (Heads or Tails/Ups and Downs)
  7. "Toi Jamais" (Never You)
  8. "Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux" (There is No Happy Love)
And how fun that every character had her own musical number?!  I loved that!
Because DAYYYYMN Emmanuelle Béart...!
So ridiculous and fun.  MELODRAMA! 
The ending....was pretty dark and didn't do it so much for me, but I don't know how else I would have ended this movie.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


I watched the 1985 Terry Gilliam film Brazil this weekend for another Kickstarter backer -- my fantastic publisher Oni Press!! :D Editor Charlie Chu has given me many movie recommendations over the years, and he hasn't steered me wrong yet.  This movie was great!!  If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and go watch it before I spoil it for you here.

Read on for some spoiler-filled reaction comics!
Uuuuuuugh....some of the satire was too close for comfort.  The cosmetic surgery stuff was....unsettling.  Same goes for the ugly highway lined with ads depicting gorgeous landscapes, and the "Consumers for Christ" group in the shopping mall scene.  It was all in that suuuuper uncomfortable space of funny and dark/disturbing at the same time.  Well done, movie.
Easy joke, sorry.
 I loved the bureaucratic satire, especially uniforms like this character's!  All of the official pins and patches and badges and pads and caps.
 Lot of WHAT in my first viewing of this film.
The sets and the framing of the shots in Brazil were SO uncomfortable and cramped!  It was really effective but it made me squirm in my seat.  I was dying for a shot of the sky or any open space or green.
UGH.  That was a great ending but UGHHHHHHH.  I wanted Sam to be happy with magically-alive badass Jill in a pretty country home. :( Humph.

I love the song Brazil, and it was a treat hearing so many variations on it throughout the film.  My favorite version will always be Pink Martini's cover, though!  ;)