Wednesday Reads 10/31 + 11/7/18

Heroes in Crisis #2

The big three continue their hunt for the Sanctuary murderer, and find Harley in one of Penguin’s Gotham safe-houses. Meanwhile, Booster Gold and Skeets start investigating the murders on their own, even just to prove Booster did it.

Firstly, I can’t stand King’s interpretation of Booster, who has seemingly no redeeming qualities. Have we ever even seen him do anything heroic? He’s just annoying, even Skeets thinks so, and every decision he makes is the obvious wrong one. His Harley, who speaks almost entirely in poem, isn’t much better despite her hyper-competence otherwise. At least good big three are still solidly written versions on themselves.

We also get to see confessionals for the big three heroes, where Mann is able to show off his immense talent. The expressions he gives Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman as they make themselves vulnerable feel almost like watching actual actors in the roles. They’re that broad sort of subtle you get from screen actors sometimes, when they really want you to read an emotion on their face. It’s very performative illustration, in a good way. Superheroes should be broad at times.

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SUSPIRIA (2018) Break the Nose of Something Beautiful

Dario Argento’s Suspiria became one of my favorite movies the instant I first saw it. I was hooked from the first scene, an imaginative and grizzly murder in vibrant red backed by a pounding, screaming soundtrack; and the movie that followed, about Suzy Bannion’s odyssey into Helena Markos’ “school of dance and occult science” (still one of the best lines ever written for screen) never let up on the macabre wonder.

So, when Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria opened with a woman (Chloë Grace Moretz) running through grey Berlin streets to ramble to her therapist, Dr. Josef Klemperer (Tilda Swinton under lots of makeup), I was a little nervous. But over the next two-and-a-half hours, this telling of Suzy Bannion’s (Dakota Johnson) journey into the Tanz Academy and the coven of witches that use it for their own mysterious purposes gripped me just as hard and fast. Guadagnino and writer David Kajganich reinterpret and flesh out the often scattered plot of the original to make a new version of the events entirely their own.

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BURNING (2018) We Didn’t Start the Fire

There are many times over the two-and-a-half hour runtime of Lee Chang-dong’s Burning where you’ll be unsure of where the movie’s going – and not always in a good way. Burning’s protagonist, Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in) is aimless in the way that so many people in their twenties are. He begins the movie working odd-jobs in Seoul, but is forced to move out to take care of his family’s rural farm after his father is arrested for assaulting a public servant. At least this gives the aspiring novelist time to write, or it would if he could come up with any ideas.

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Wednesday Reads 10/17, 10/24/18 – Just Spider-Geddon Stuff

Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man #311

Peter Parker enters Spider-Geddon!

Morlun splits from his family in San Francisco to hunt the prey that had escaped him thrice before in New York. And lucky for him, Spidey’s running on no sleep.
This beat down is hard to read. It’s clear from the set-up that Peter doesn’t stand a chance against Morlun, and Ryan and Frigeri don’t hold back. But, far from gore, this is illustrated mainly through Pete’s costume getting shredded. Hair poking through rips on top, both eye-lenses getting punched in, the whole shebang.

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Wednesday Reads 10/10/18

Spider-Geddon #1

Despite the already months of build-up, Spider-Geddon still doesn’t really begin until the final few pages of this issue, tho it does so with a bang.
Before that tho, we see a bunch of alternate universe Spiders warn Miles Morales that the event is near, and recruit him to help convince Otto Octavius to prevent his cloning tech from bringing the Inheritors back. Unfortunately, Otto’s stubbornness gives the Inheritors enough time to clone new bodies and start killing some spiders.

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BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE (2018) Life on the Border

A priest, a vacuum salesman, and a backup singer walk into a hotel…

The premise of Bad Times at the El Royale reads like a joke, and Drew Goddard’s second directorial outing is full of enough red herrings, misdirections, and reveals to turn this set-up into some wonderful punchlines – just as expected from the writer/director behind the milestone genre deconstruction, Cabin in the Woods.

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FIRST MAN (2018) Because They Are Hard

If you have never understood the appeal of the Moon Landing, First Man will not change your mind. Far from the victorious anthems of other Space Race movies like The Right Stuff, or more recently, Hidden Figures, First Man grounds the almost objectively impressive feat of humanity’s first voyage to a celestial body as something that astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) did – not to make history, or even to beat the Russians – but because it was his job. First Man shrinks the story of this remarkable achievement into the story of a single dude taking a business trip.

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