MOVIE TRAILER Review : Is POSSESSION Possessed?!!

I generally look at most possession movies, as what they are, poor shadows/ripoffs of the definitive possession movie, THE EXORCIST. And for whatever reason we’ve had a rash of possession movies in the last few years, and without exception I’ve been uninterested and/or disappointed in all of them.

So after showing the POSSESSION poster on this blog a few posts back, while it made a striking poster, I held out no real interest in seeing the flick.

However I have just seen the trailer for the film, and I am well impressed. It’s a devil movie that looks… righteous. If you excuse the pun.

Really pretty great trailer. I still have issues with putting “True Event” anywhere near what is just a rip-roaring horror movie, but that aside, POSSESSION possesses :) a frigging great trailer! Hopefully the film can live up to it.

Director Ole Bornedal is not a name I’m familiar with, but based on this trailer alone, I’m going to check out his previous films and get familiar with him.

View the trailer for yourself here!.

Quick update on MONARCHS OF MAYHEM and breaking news on Alan Moore!?!

Quick update.

I have four new MONARCHS OF MAYHEM interviews that have come in and three more that I’m waiting to arrive, and just have to schedule them and put them on the calendar. Last week completely threw my time table off, and this weekend isn’t helping any.

But yeah should have the next couple of MONARCHS OF MAYHEM up after the weekend.

And once all the MONARCHS OF MAYHEM posts are up that’s just the end of the first stage, the second stage is where it gets fun. But I’ll notify you of that when the time comes.

On another note the link usage has dipped a bit, so if we can turn that around that would be great. You guys using the links and purchasing through those links, is a huge deal. And is greatly appreciated.

Well that’s all the minor updates for this posting. Have a great night, and I’ll leave you with the craziest thing I read all day over on BLEEDING COOL, namely… Alan Moore goes… OFF! (Again:)). I love Alan Moore, even when he’s completely napalming everyone in sight.

Check out this line, from Mr. Moore:

“In the world that could have been, I could have carried on working happily with the American comics industry.

I know a way that they could have sorted out their continuity. I could have gotten rid of all of their problems for them. It would have been really simple. But, like I say, they unfortunately alienated me. But, they’ve done that [to] everybody who has been a heavy-hitter creatively. Jack Kirby and all the people who genuinely created stuff all got screwed. It was only the company employees who kind of created stuff that wasn’t really that original in the first place that didn’t. It was the Len Weins who kind of did all right out of it because they always did what the company told them.” — Alan Moore

Ohh, I grew up reading some Len Wein comics. Ouch that’s harsh. Heh!Heh!

But the thing about Alan Moore is, even when he is bitch slapping people, and saying ‘F*ck! You write like a retard!’. You cannot argue with the man, because he has the body of work, even to this day, to back up his talk. And the man has a reason to feel screwed.

So I completely get his tirade with the industry. Where I think he does a disservice to himself is with his burning of bridges with his co-creators. That has a bit to do with how Moore views himself.

From what I can gather reading his interviews, he does have a bit of a high opinion of himself, bordering on perceiving himself as the messiah, the savior of comics. Which while not true, is complicated by the fact… that it’s not entirely false. Alan Moore’s work made something… new out of comics. It redefined what a comic could be, it raised the bar, and here almost three decades after he raised that bar, no one else has arguably equaled it, and without argument no one has transcended it. Thirty years later and WATCHMEN is still hailed as the best, most sophisticated work the comics medium has produced.

So yeah given that, and given the fact you’ve been rewarded for this achievement by being repeatedly lied to, cheated, and used, and ripped off… yeah… I can see that persecution, mixed with an unequaled body of work, will give anyone a bit of a messianic attitude. His falling out with Dave Gibbons is part of this.

Moore taking an idealogical stance against Hollywood films, has been signing over his revenue from these films V FOR VENDETTA and WATCHMEN etc to his co-creators. Moore’s stipulation being he wants his co-creators to call him up and thank him when they receive the money. Both David Lloyd and Dave Gibbons, ultimately balked at this.

Being an outsider I can see both points of view:

Moore sees he has on idealogical grounds signed over a considerable sum to his co-creators and wants to be thanked. But if I’m a co-creator my stance is ‘I didn’t tell you to sign over the money, if that’s what you want to do great, I appreciate it, but you’re not going to compel my appreciation. I’m not going to thank you for a work that is mine as much as it is yours’. And I can only gather that’s Lloyd’s and Gibbon’s stance.

This is the problem with altruism when it is misplaced, and I think in Moore’s case it is. He gives away the money but wants to be thanked.

Note to Moore: If you want to be thanked then give your proceeds to your family or a charity. But to relinquish your profits to your coworkers and then insist they thank you when they get the check??– well that’s you putting fellow creators and fellow men and I would assume fellow friends, in a subservient position to be beholden to you, and therefore that’s not giving them anything at all.

That behavior is attempting to buy something. So yeah I completely understand what Moore wants to do on idealogical grounds, but he would have been better doing it without expectation of being thanked, or bnot doing it at all.

So Moore, burning bridges with his friends, when friends always a rare commodity becomes ever rarer as we get older; is the only thing, If I had his ear, I would suggest he reconsider.

As far as his industry comments…

Well once again a lot of people are up in arms, talking smack about Alan Moore because of his attitude. Here’s the thing, you have to earn the right to throw bricks. And when it comes to the industry Alan Moore has earned the right to throw bricks. A lot of you attackers have not. Stay the heck out of it.

I agree that perhaps there’s another way to handle this almost three decade old feud, between Alan Moore and mainstream comics (specifically DC) rather than tossing gasoline on it. But if that’s not the way Alan Moore chooses to go, that’s his choice. I’m not in his shoes.

Sometimes the price of genius means you tow an idealogical line, perhaps to your detriment, and past the understanding of those of us who eat compromise for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And so we attack anyone who doesn’t compromise, or quiet down like the rest of us.

Alan Moore wants to rant, he’s earned the right to do so. Cause even when he is ranting, he is erudite, and informed, and teaching us about navigating the slippery slope of dealing with businesses… with conglomerates in the early days of the 21st century. Hopefully without losing our souls…. it’s a history lesson and a cautionary tale. So rather than objecting to Alan Moore having an opinion take from what he says… what works for you, and leave alone the rest.

Pretty simple.

Read Rich Johnston’s synopsis here and when done with that, go here to read the whole eight page interview! I’m going to call it right now, with a whole 10 months left in the year, the best/most important comics related interview of the year. :)!

heh.heh. That Len Wein comment cracks me up. :)

AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: THOSE WHO WALK IN DARKNESS by John Ridley

AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: THOSE WHO WALK IN DARKNESS by John Ridley, Read by Patricia R. Floyd

This is the first book in John Ridley’s SOLEDAD series. Set in an alternate world where superheroes aren’t just real, but have fallen from grace like pop stars or athletes, and are now considered terrorists and are hunted and killed if found in America.

Our protagonist, Soledad, is a member of the special LA unit that hunts and kills super powered beings. It’s capably read by Patricia R. Floyd, who gives the characters distinct voices. The issue isn’t the reading.

The problem is trying to do a super-hero pastiche/deconstruction is a bit of an uphill battle in any format, just because it has been done so well, by so many in comic-book/graphic novel form. From WATCHMEN to KINGDOM COME to MARVELS it’s this huge history of mankind dealing with beings they do not trust. And it has been done, exceptionally well, in the medium that is tailor-made for these types of stories… comics.

Now John Ridley brings this tale of a mutant hating cop into novel form, and it’s not badly told, even exciting in places, it’s just from scene one it feels dreadfully familiar and by the numbers. Bigoted cop and this tale of redemption, either because she sees the good some ‘mutants’ can do, or perhaps learns she’s part mutant. And if there’s no redemption, that’s even worse. That’s spending time with an unlikeable character that stays unlikeable, ie a David Ayer movie (Not a fan, hated his TRAINING DAY, didn’t like his HARSH TIMES any better).

I don’t know, point is by the third cassette, I just don’t care. I’m just not interested. It just feels like a chore to slog through. Cop shoots Angel, and tries to justify it. Yada, Yada, Yada. It’s just hundreds of words in and I don’t feel any fresh ideas.

Possibly someone who brings no superhero experience to the novel will get more out of it, though I find it hard to believe if you have no interest in previous superhero items you’ll for some reason find this of interest. And those who do bring a history with the concept, will just find it, like myself, marking time till it gets out of first gear.

I couldn’t tell you, because I just could not be bothered to go any further. Only the excellent reading by Patricia Floyd kept me going this far, reading the paperback I would have become severely disinterested quite a bit before.

My recommendation… stick to John Ridley’s earlier pure mystery/pulp fiction novels. He’s a good writer I just don’t think he brought enough engaging or captivating to this story. FINAL GRADE: Rent something else.

CD of the Day Review! Alan Moore’s MOON AND SERPENT!

Review Alan Moore’s MOON AND SERPENT: It starts off with roller-coasters and rain, and there’s something fitting about that. That Moore’s finest, most all-encompassing work should start off with roller coasters and rain. Highlighted tracks are highly recommended listening.

Track 1 roller-coaster/carnival barker-“tell all your friends, tell all your enemies, tell all the people you do not know.” Goes to about the 5:30 mark. From the start, his most sonically, and stereoscopically mesmerizing CD.

Track 2 rain, a tour of London- Moore’s voice at once longing and hungry and haunted and stark. A dreamer two days dead, speaking of dreams. Speaking of London, all Londons. “hallucinated rain in a mirage of gutter… a phantom, speculated city, somewhere else… where do the Yarmouth breakers detonate, a distant semtex when we are away from yarmouth… these are the towns of light, built from remembered brick… where thought is form…locations we shall never visit that yet have their hearsay substance in our lives, and so are never far from us… metropolis erected out of nothing, only metaphor, and ringed with slums of dreams… a shadow London, our idea of London” Goes to about the 8:44 mark. 9/10.

Track3 a tour of London- “Move on to the city hypothetical… his Tesla grid of terror and magnificence…streets filthy with mythology… “ till about 13:20 mark

Track 4 Cray Twins/Double trouble – Brilliant use of stereo! Love listening to this. “two sides to every story, two doors to every cell” till 15:31 10/10

Track 5 St.Pauls/Diana -The heart of the City – Let us pay attention to St. Paul himself, a Proto-Mason , there in 1st Corinthians 3:10 he states “As a Master-builder I have laid foundations and another builds there on.” , “here is Diana chained, the soul of woman-kind bound in a web of ancient signs that women might abandon useless dreams of liberty” “be careful here” till 19:45

Track 6 Fleet and Bride Street –“they are the engineers of our exhaustion” “If this room is mirrored in idea space, what of we?” “…monologues we have mistaken for the world” “stay close together, these are stairways beyond substance, things get slippery here.” Till 24:50

Track 7 Into the Abyss – “Theory and belief are all we have to walk upon” A walk through idea spaces, through landscapes/mythologies… eclectic. Till 32:15.

Track 8 Spectre Garden- Angel Baeletic- “I am the daughter of fortitude, and ravished every hour of my youth” Haunting and beautiful. Till 35:24

Track 9 Demon Asmodeus- Sumptuous, disturbing use of sound. Till 40:02

Track 10 Deity/Glycon last created of the roman gods- “Proceed with caution, this is old power. And the idea of a god, a real idea” Till 44:10

Track 11 Tundra Absolute/The Final wasteland- “if we observe it, we affect it” He is dropping knowledge, no, not knowledge… wisdom… wisdom beyond the paltry dreams of science. Brilliance! Brilliance! Reaches a stunning conclusion, with a truly compelling performance by Alan Moore. A+. till 59:35

Track 12 End Music/Denouement- Don’t care for this folksy/wood nymph song, or the delivery. But not enough to mar this excellent CD. Till 63.07.

Overall grade: A+. Best of breed. Essential CD.

Moon & Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels

Jason Aaron vs. Alan Moore vs DC Comics vs the History of Comics


I think most people are aware of this brouhaha.

But for those late to the game Alan Moore, was interviewed, as is wont to happen, and was asked about DC’s plan to do new stories in the WATCHMEN universe that he and Dave Gibbons created nearly 3 decades ago. Moore’s response was typical Alan Moore, both erudite and acidic and a bit tongue in cheek. Satire and epiphany are strengths not just of Moore’s writing, but his speaking.

Deconstruction is the term you typically hear in regards to Moore. But epiphany is more accurate. SWAMP THING and WATCHMEN and MIRACLE-MAN are often lumped under the lazy man’s term of deconstruction.

They are not.

Moore takes old tropes, and he twists it till you see it, in that rarest of ways, in a brand new light, until you get a moment of… clarity of purpose, not just about the character you’re reading about, but in some crazy way, you get a clarity of purpose about yourself.

Epiphany.

That’s what Moore does at his best, he gives you moments of epiphany.

And that Epiphany is in that interview he does with Adi Tantimedh.

Moore started his career with comedy, true comic strips, I would say he has forgotten more about humor than most people will ever know, except I don’t think he’s forgotten anything. So with this in mind, in the interview he responded to DC’s claim to be putting top-flight talent on these new Watchmen stories. He responded the way pretty much anyone would… with a bit of incredulity. But more than that with a valid question of, “if this talent is so top-flight, why don’t they create their own tales” (paraphrasing there), rather than try and retread Moore and Gibbon’s 25 year old tale.

I have to say, I think that’s a pretty valid question. You can read his post in Rich Johnston’s very nice summation of the issue here!

But when you do read it, you’re going to see it’s pretty typical Moore. And given his problematic history with DC, that they’ve treated him not exactly the greatest, for someone who has pretty much defined that company in the 80s, and his shadow, seemingly continues to define that company; it’s an understandable distrust/dislike he avows.

It’s hard to say, what building blocks if removed causes the house of cards to come tumbling down, but I would say for DC, that building block is named Alan Moore.

Alan Moore’s SWAMP THING, its success created Vertigo, buried the comics code, sanctified the idea of DCs hiring of British Talent, and his WATCHMEN would give birth to this idea of comic books as BOOKS. As Graphic Novels, as something worthy of true literary consideration. So arguably if Alan Moore’s SWAMP THING fails, then the idea of the British invasion fails with it, and you don’t get Neil Gaiman or Grant Morrison or Warren Ellis or Mark Millar or Garth Ennis, and DCs revitalization of the late 80s… is stillborn.

So even by the most jaded eye, what DC owes Alan Moore, cannot be overstated, or easily repaid. And even by the most jaded eye, DC has done a piss-poor job paying it.

So all that backmatter goes into Moore’s comments on DC ‘revisiting’ WATCHMEN.

And like stated Moore’s questioning of putting ‘Top-Tier’ talent on their WATCHMEN cash grab (let’s call it what it is) sounds like him quite rightly questioning what the hell that ‘catch-phrase’ means. Seemingly it’s a veiled attempt to placate users, that see messing with Moore’s opus may be a bit of heresy, by saying “we don’t have the original creators, but we’ll have top-tier talent”. To which, if it was my legendary property, I would have the same question Moore has, namely… “if they are such Top-Tier talent they surely have their own legendary story to work on. Don’t they?”

That’s the gist of Moore’s statement.

At no point does he mention any creator.

Yet Jason Aaron, gets so incensed, he states “Fuck You Alan Moore” and goes on a tirade. His tirade you can find at the link above. It is quite inexplicable. Since as pointed out, without Alan Moore you don’t get a Vertigo, which means you don’t get someone picking up Aaron’s THE OTHER SIDE, which means you probably don’t get Jason Aaron as a comic writer.

“F**k you Alan Moore”? seriously? Something in that article incensed anyone that much? Typically the only thing that gets people riled up that much, about an article their name is not in, is their conscience. They feel for whatever reason… the article is an attack on them. Seemingly they see a truth unspoken, except in their hearts. What truth Jason Aaron saw, what doubt or slight it called to mind, I don’t know. But whatever it was, I didn’t see it in the Moore article I read.


“Alan’s fight with DC Comics led to DC being much nicer to comic creators so as not to have a repeat performance. Their creator ownership/creator participant contract for certain titles, including Scalped, was a direct result of that. Indeed, Vertigo itself as a imprint owes more to Alan than any other creator. Without Alan, there wouldn’t be a Scalped – at least, not published by DC.

Alan generally does these kind of interviews in a very self deprecatory, ironic to[n]e. It’s the way he talks. I gave an example of that at the beginning of the interview, because I know how his words can be taken if read in a different manner. Try watching the video, then reading the piece again in that voice. When Alan is talking about the comics industry having no top flight talent – he’s including himself in that analysis. And I don’t think he’s blaming any creator for his problems, or the problems of a retro-looking industry, he’s blaming the companies.”— from BLEEDING COOL

Jason Aaron would perhaps be better served, by thinking clearly, and perhaps thoroughly, before he speaks, or types. Better yet, perhaps burying the hatchet with Alan Moore and apologizing would not be a bad thing for him to consider.

Being loud and outraged is easy. Being stand-up when you’re wrong is hard.

But it would win Aaron points in many people’s books, and I think even in his own.

I think Aaron, if he judges it quietly and well, must see he went off for no good reason, seeing an enemy where no enemy was. Aaron has proved he can be loud and think he’s right, unfortunately we all can do that (even Alan Moore who has had his own share of tirades); but can he be loud and admit when he’s been wrong?

I like Aaron as a writer. I thought his THE OTHER SIDE was great. I haven’t followed anything past the first trade on SCALPED, but have heard good things about it. And have caught his Marvel work sporadically.

He’s a good writer.

But I think you have to come to the plate with more than good, before you call down the thunder on someone who has done a lot better than good. Has done a lot better than great.

I’ve never particularly been a fan of the British invasion. I think people tend to forget that long before Moore or his ilk, writers like Doug Moench (hugely underrated writer) and Chris Claremont and Kraft and Giffen and Steve Englehart and Steve Gerber and Jim Shooter and Denny Oneil and JM DeMatteis were teaching the medium how to be better.

So I say the following, not being an Anglophile or British Invasion bandwagon rider, not being a particular fan of many British Writers. I say the following, being very glad we have great American writers like Brubaker, and Fraction and Hickman and Christos Gage, and Priest (get back to writing!) and Geof Johns and Greg Rucka and Joss Whedon and Johnathan Hickman and Robert Kirkman and… yes, Jason Aaron…, being very glad of all the aforementioned writers… I say: Alan Moore has been called the best writer in comics for one simple, undeniable reason… he is.

He has the work to back it up. Not everything he does is a home-run. His Avatar work… not a fan. But Moore’s missteps are few and far between, and his successes… will stand the test of time.

So bottom line, you don’t call out Stan Lee, until you’ve done what he’s done. And you don’t call out Alan Moore, until you’ve done, what he’s done.

So for one professional to go off like a crazy fan-boy to another professional, does nothing but put your own professionalism in doubt. If you thought he was slighting you personally, drop the man an email or give him a call, and get a clarification. But make sure you have reason to rant, before calling out an elder statesman of your medium.

It’s just common sense.

Perhaps not so common.

Alan Moore UNEARTHING CD, LP, Spoken Word Review Pt 2 of 2

UNEARTHING The Review!

Now getting past the packaging and into the audio itself, it consists of 2 cds that comprise the audio book/audio odyssey proper and one CD filled with instrumental tracks (pretty catchy, a trance, hypno vibe, definitely of the school of sound created by the Dynamite Brothers. It works better as stand-alone ep, than as an accompaniment to Moore’s lyrics. More on this in a bit).

Ostensibly a biography on Steve Moore, supposedly a friend of Alan Moore for 40 years who taught him to write, am I the only one who has figured out Steven Moore is just a pseudonym for Alan Moore? What Stephen King would refer to as his Dark Half, his Richard Bachman, and UNEARTHING is him putting to rest, finally, this old friend of the id.

What’s that you say? “Steve Moore is a real person, has a page on the Internet and everything”. Well then he has to be real, hasn’t he?

UNEARTHING is Moore at what Poitier would call “The Summing up place” in his life, and it’s him putting his house in order. Using a pseudo biography to speak on larger themes of loneliness, loss, creation, mortality and magic. It takes a few listens to make out his journey, and when Moore deals most clearly with battles of the id the work is compelling.

However, unlike his collaboration with Bauhaus front man David J, here the music works against Moore’s monologue rather than with it. Quiet when it should be loud, and loud when it should be quiet.

So we’re left primarily with Moore’s voice to carry us through. And while Moore has an astounding voice, the subject matter is not as engaging.

It’s an interesting listen but ultimately one that tends to wear out its welcome relatively quickly.

So while I love the audacity of the packing, the actual content fails to live up to it. For those interested in seeing Moore’s
“A+” game when it comes to spoken word, try the brilliant MOON AND SERPENT, followed relatively closely by the almost as brilliant SNAKES AND LADDERS. I would also recommend BIRTH CAUL, HIGHBURY WORKING, and ANGEL PASSAGE, all before I would recommend UNEARTHING.

But for Alan Moore Completionists like myself, it will look pretty on your shelf. B+ for the packaging, B- for the content, earns it an average grade of B.

Alan Moore UNEARTHING CD, LP, Spoken Word Review Pt 1 of 2


UNEARTHING is Alan Moore’s 6th Spoken Word Album (not counting those he just lends his voice to, but only those that are him in mass), Aural Odyssey, and is easily his most lavishly packaged.

Arriving on one’s doorstep in a box big enough to bludgeon the unsuspecting, UNEARTHING is an elaborate slipcase that includes a more elaborate jacket, beautifully adorned with photographs by Mitch Jenkins of Alan Moore and company. The jacket includes a poster, a transcript of the lyrics, a photograph, 3 lps, and 3 cds.

Feel free to gasp, I did upon receiving it.

It is just an amazing tome, and hearkens back to old world concepts of form as part and parcel of function, and the packaging as part of the experience. An idea that is being lost, or buried, in today’s download, digitization, miniaturization age. But a download can’t grasp the child-like joy of receiving a package like this and the experience of leafing through its lavish contents. Nothing like having that CD or LP staring up at you, and that anticipation of voices from the ether, that you are about to discover.

Moore’s UNEARTHING in packaging alone dazzles and ingratiates and seduces and tells a story, and is art in and of itself. Like LPs of old,

And I am of that not yet extinct clan, who appreciates the journey, who appreciates a thing as a work of art onto itself, and as the first, inaudible part, of the process of embracing the world the artist is crafting.

To be continued

The war to define America or Making it against the law… to watch the Watchmen?!

A country is never defined by the comfort of its richest, but by the calamity of its poorest. And by that same measure a country is only as rich as its poorest, and only as strong as its weakest. By that definition, America stands on perilous ground indeed.

Example? The latest tact of our totalitarian regime is attempting to make videotaping a cop in the commision of brutalizing someones rights… a crime.

I don’t make them up kids:

Making it against the law… to watch the Watchmen?!

And I’ll leave you with some other noteworthy links:

I keep warning you guys against Flash and here it is…. Flash Zombies want to eat your cookies!?

http://news.cnet.com/8301-27080_3-20011871-245.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

I really want my tax dollars back, if all America can think to do with it is build deadlier toys for their endless war!

More soon. Particularly on that first story. And if you are as sick of this type of raping of liberties labors as I am… then do your part… you damn, dirty, stinking apes!

(Sorry, went all Charlton Heston there. :) )

Join the ACLU, and EFF and help them… help you. And here’s more links to other soldiers fighting for your rights to be.

Zack Snyder and the WATCHMEN, and who wasn’t watching! A HT movie review!

watchmen350

I just came from seeing the WATCHMEN, a much anticipated movie. My first film on the big screen since being back on the East Coast.

My first theater experience, made me miss the Southern Californian movie theaters. LA as you can imagine is a place that takes their theaters seriously. From enforcing restrictions on R rated showings, to having state of the art sound and picture, to policing the screenings.

The policing part made moot, by the fact that the Socal movie crowd, like I said is serious about their films. This east coast screening however, slightly marred by the fact that some idiot with a laser pointer made me want to kill somebody. An irritation easily resolved in the short term by having an usher in the theater to monitor just such idiocies, and in the long term by more selective breeding.

This country has too many of the wrong people breeding. This moron, someone told me later was in there with three kids (seemingly his), and all four of them looking like Howdy Doody.

I hate morons. Always have, always will. I hate people who cross the line.

That minor idiocy bringing us back to the topic at hand, the WATCHMEN. The 12 chapter graphic novel at its heart is a cross-generational murder mystery, about a time and a breed of people, that hold an ever more broken line.

The graphic novel is an acknowledged masterpiece, that I read when it first came out in 1986, and reread recently… just a scant month before the opening of the film.
watchmen
The graphic novel is deserving of its praise, as written and drawn and colored by three brits, it uses the trappings of the hero genre to examine and dissect the paranoia of a cold war America, and the violent, decadent, cannibalistic American id. An oft covered topic now, back in 1985-1986, the work was revelatory. In many ways it still is.

Dense and layered and rich, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons and John Higgins’ WATCHMEN was the wakeup call to a medium, that had been a long time sleeping. There is a sophistication to what these gentleman had done in the WATCHMEN that has since been much copied, but seldom equaled.

For over 2 decades it kicked around Hollywood, unfilmable most said. But that was before. Before comic properties routinely started generating over 100million dollars. Before CGI grew up. Before Zack Snyder’s 300, made much money on little investment.

So the unfilmable movie has been filmed, and director Zack Snyder is to be applauded for his vision, his style, his direction, his faithfulness to the source. There are many scenes that made me smile, because they capture exact and momentous moments, capture them well. Many scenes improve on the source, make moments cinematic and visceral, definitely Snyder’s strength in 300.

His action scenes are phenomenal. Not since Peckinpah and Woo has anyone used slow motion as effectively.

In pieces, in parts, the movie impresses; but as a whole it unfortunately fails. And that can be summed up in one word: Pacing.

the-watchmen_l

Snyder tries to be faithful to the book, but the book is too dense and too rich to be shoehorned into 2 or even 3 hours. Without having read the graphic novel, large parts of the movie are going to be confusing and incomprehensible to the audience. Even having read the novel, I clearly saw that much of it was muddled at best. I felt the whole conceit and destruction it was building up to and that the ‘heroes’ were racing to stop, got lost. The characters moving from scene to scene, but the why of their movements either lost on the cutting room floor or never filmed. I knew the ending of the book, but based on just watching the film, you wouldn’t.

Snyder’s faithfulness to the source material, costing him in terms of making it accessible and exciting as a film. Bottom line, there was too much happening, in too little a period of time, to too many characters.

And it cost a visually inventive movie its heart. Its audience.

The movie would have been better served as a tv show, or a movie trilogy.

Both options giving the audience time to know the characters and care for them, an empathy absent from this film.

Looking at the trilogy aspect, the first movie should have ended with the death of the Comedian, not been just the beginning of a movie. That would have covered the Minutemen years. The 2nd movie would have been Rorschach’s investigation and the Watchmen years, and the third movie would have been the last hour and a half of the movie we saw in the theaters minus the muddled shoehorned in back-story.

But hindsight is 20/20. I can see clearly what works, because of Zack Snyder’s effort.

He had much right. The casting I thought was spot on, the performances, the acting, the visuals, the music, however the script and the pacing did not play to the strengths of cinema, this edit of the movie largely was nonsensical and cost a movie that could have been… great, its greatness.

So all in all, a failed film. That I would not recommend to anyone who has not read the book, and even those who have… may find it a viewing better reserved for when the extended, and hopefully re-edited DVD comes out.

But I still count Zack Snyder, with only 3 movies under his belt (DAWN OF THE DEAD, 300, WATCHMEN), as one of the most exciting filmmakers working, because even his misses, are visually more interesting than most people’s successes.

A filmmaker to watch.

Today’s recommended Books, Movies, OTR

What I’m reading:

I’m making my way through the last few issus of Don Lomax’s VIETNAM JOURNAL series. A really strong series, with expressive, detailed art by Lomax, that completely complements his passionate, and seemingly authentic tales of men at war.

I just finished rereading WATCHMEN in preparation for the movie. Avoid the horrible motion comic, the voice actor ruins it. Making trite sounding what should be momentous. Stick to the graphic novel, if you want to prep yourself for the movie. I’ve been a fan of Snyder’s previous two movies so looking forward to his take on WATCHMEN.

I’m reading the massive SCUD THE DISPOSABLE ASSASSIN THE WHOLE SHEBANG. True to the title it collects and completes the whole 14 years in the making series. I was there when the first issue hit the stands, was impressed then, am impressed now. It’s an impressive trade (something like 700 pages I believe) and IMAGE COMICS should be complimented on its quality. I’m on issue #4 so have a long way to go.

I’m really enjoying the heck out of Sam Stall’s DRACULA’S HEIR, an interactive book by the fun folks of Quirk Books. I like the detailed art in this one much better than Lapham’s art for WAYNE MANOR, but both books sport fine writing.

I’m on the third book of the eight book BLACK SAMURAI series by Marc Olden. Love this series, but have been stalled on this particular book a while. Keep letting it get bumped for other reads. Which is funny, because all my Lawrence Block and Warren Murphy books, got bumped so I could finish this series. I’ll buckle down and finish book 3 this weekend, as I want to get to book 4 in the series.

What am I watching:

Archive.org. Thanks to this fine resource have watched some fun cinema, that I otherwise may not have made time to see. Among the highlights are:

TALES OF TOMORROW- early 50s live sci-fi tv show. Creaky but fun

WAY OUT- Another early TV show. Late 50s probably, only two or so episodes are available, and the quality is what it is, but I was quite impressed by both of the episodes I saw.

DAUGHTER OF HORROR- Fun experimental flick, early 60s I’d guess, also called Dementia. Some people don’t care for the voice-over version, I quite liked it. It gives it a fun radio drama feel.

What am I listening to:

Speaking of Radio Dramas, that’s primarily what I’ve been listening to these days. Currently listening to episodes of BOX 13 starring Alan Ladd. Also a short lived series called CREEPS BY NIGHT starring Boris Karloff.

That’s it for this update.