Outlaw King (2018)

There’s a certain alchemy to knocking movies off your watchlist. The film you wind up settling on after listlessly flicking through Netflix or iTunes’ offerings depends on a variety of factors: who you’re with, how much longer you’re willing to keep weighing your potential options, how much time you have available to you, and so on. 

 TFW when you can’t decide what to watch.

TFW when you can’t decide what to watch.

The sole reason I chose to watch Outlaw King on a Friday night--instead of say, Verhoeven’s Flesh and Blood or Tarkovsky’s Stalker (both have sat on my watchlist for some time now)--was not a complex one.


I watched Outlaw King for Chris Pine’s dick. 


And much like Captain Nu-Kirk’s peen, Outlaw King is more shower than grower. It’s often a very beautiful film, just as its main cast is made up of very beautiful people (buried under weird haircuts or yellowed teeth), but there’s not a lot behind any of that beauty. 


The film’s major flaw is not Pine, as some reviews have suggested. He does an admirable job with what he’s got, but he’s basically got nothing. The true issue is the slavishness of the screenplay to actual events. 


The script, written by Bathsheba Doran, James Macinnes, and the film’s director David Mackenzie, barrels through the trials and tribulations of Pine’s Robert the Bruce at light speed. When we first meet him, he and his fellow Scottish lords have abdicated all claims to the Scottish throne, thereby ceding power to King Edward I of England. Soon thereafter, William Wallace--that other Scottish revolutionary, famously played by Mel Gibson in Braveheart--is drawn and quartered (offscreen), and his body parts are hung from a rock (onscreen), and BAM! Robert the Bruce doesn’t want the British stomping around Scotland anymore. What follows is a not very successful mission (at least not at first) to get the other Scottish lords to back Robert the Bruce’s revolution and his eventual crowning as the true King of Scotland.


In all this time, we’ve barely learned anything about Robert the Bruce. One of the things you’d probably expect from a lead character in a war epic is that he’s a gifted warrior of one sort or another. But in the engrossing eight minute one-shot that opens the film, he drunkenly duels the psychotic Prince of England and he’s sort of...just okay at deflecting his opponent’s frenzied slashes and thrusts. In that same regard, we don’t get the sense that Robert the Bruce is much of a tactician either--he loses a lot over the course of the film. The English consistently trick and outsmart him, beat his army by brute force, and hunt him to the ends or Scotland. And yet, the men loyal to his cause never waver in their belief that they’ve backed the right guy. 


That last part is the really the most baffling component of the screenplay’s thin character work. Robert the Bruce is basically devoid of leadership abilities. He’s got no charisma, no silver tongue, nothing as written or performed that seems to encourage anyone to do anything. So the questions is why? Why does anyone follow him?


The answer is because the history books and the script say so.


At least there’s Chris Pine’s dick, right? WRONG. The big reveal is hardly a reveal at all. You’d think in 2018, after decades and decades of full-frontal female nudity, that we’d finally be able to gander at an unobscured, center-aligned image of a man like Chris Pine’s penis. Not only are we denied the necessary storytelling to make this movie a compelling one, but we’re also denied the very thing that most of us turned on the movie for in the fist place!

Suspiria (2018)

“Sometimes I’ll just start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.” 

- Michael Scott

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Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria is as self-serious, spasmodic, and incoherent as any of the Radiohead music videos that precede it. But it differentiates itself from its ilk by transforming over its 152 minutes (pretty long for a music video!) into the cinematic equivalent of having one’s organs slowly ripped out and replaced by something far gooier. As a danse macabre through the halls of a West Berlin-based dance academy in the 1970s, it succeeds in its mission to unsettle, but as a larger treatise on...anything really, it shoots for the depths of the underworld and falls a bit short in the trying.

(I’m only having a bit of a laugh about the music video thing. Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke does provide a haunting, proper sad sack score for this film, as only the premier haunted sad sack can. It’s quite good.)

Probably the most consistently unsettling thing about this film is its cinematography. Sayombhu Mukdeeprom’s messy camerawork goes a long way toward invoking the magic of 70s cinema as his camera loops and wanders and snaps all around the school. As he glides between and orbits around the young talented women of the Markos Dance Academy his snap zooms suddenly compound the paranoia oozing from every frame of the film. Thanks in huge part to his work, many quiet moments throughout Suspiria feel like intrusions, like we’re not supposed to be seeing what we’re seeing. And indeed, in the several cases of exquisite body horror on display throughout the film, it might have been better for some had they just looked away. 

At the center of the academy is artistic director Madame Blanc, played by the incredible Tilda Swinton. Swinton is a global treasure. There’s not much more that can be said about this. As the elegant, conflicted Blanc, she’s the beautiful yet frightening teacher you dare not disappoint. As Josef Klemperer, the geriatric (male) psychotherapist, she’s a wounded figure, all slumped shoulders and tired eyes. And as for the other character she plays, well...best to see for yourself. Her performances are as convincing as they are varied, and she should probably win a bunch of awards for pulling it all off.

The rest of the cast is basically perfect, and watching them dance around and psychically murder one another is a treat, but Suspiria winds up being much too long for its own good. A cool 30-40 minutes excised from this tumor-ridden film would work wonders to give its ideas more resonance and clarity. Writer David Kajganich’s script calls for “six acts and an epilogue in divided Berlin.” To which I say, “how about three acts and let’s let bygones be bygones?” By the time that epilogue title card rolls around, your body has sort of naturally geared up for the film to be over, but Guadagnino takes a page out the Peter Jackson’s Return of the King playbook and never allows his moody, cerebral dance number to end. It’s quite possible that I am still in the theater, scraping the bottom of an empty bucket of popcorn, mumbling to myself.

(Hilariously, the movie is even longer than I originally thought. It wasn’t until I left the theater that I discovered that Suspiria has a post-credits “stinger.” Listen, we’re going to all have to get on the same page on this post-credits situation. Do all movies have them? Or do no movies have them? Those are your two options.)

Suspiria is not a great movie. But it is an interesting one. And sometimes being interesting is better than being great. The film is built around big ideas. It’s soaked through with themes of post-war guilt, female empowerment, and the dangers of extremist ideologies, but by its end these ideas don’t cohere into a satisfying whole. 

Maybe that’s the point Kajganich and Guandagnino are trying to make. Perhaps the real message behind Suspiria is that all of the notions it’s attempting to interrogate are naturally intertwined, always caught up in one another, deconstructing and reconstructing each other over time. Perhaps they can never truly be unwound and parsed, because ultimately they are each an appendage belonging to the same creature. An exquisite, rotting corpse waiting for us to put on our dancing shoes and to start spinning around the blood-soaked floor. 


The Redemption of Super-Champion Barron Drumpf Cancellation

This is a repost of my latest and final Kickstarter update for The Redemption of Super-Champion Barron Drumpf:

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Yesterday was a great day for the Super-Champion campaign--we pulled in a significant amount of funding and I had the opportunity to engage with a slew of new people who seemed genuinely interested in the work. I was very excited about what was in store for the campaign, and for myself, over the next two weeks and beyond. 


But last evening, I was sent an anonymous message on Twitter, the details of which I won’t go into on here. Simply put, serious accusations have been made against JD Faith, my longtime collaborator and my partner on The Redemption of Super-Champion Barron Drumpf. I have read and re-read the accusations and I take them very seriously. But I have also known JD for many years and I consider him a friend. So as you can see the situation is a very difficult one for me.


Because I do not have all the facts, and because I want to be sensitive to the person who has made these allegations, I can no longer--in good conscience--keep running this campaign. 


It breaks my heart to cancel this project. Over the last two years, I have poured my blood, sweat, and tears into Super-Champion. I have sunk an enormous amount of money and time into its production. I consider it one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. 


But Super-Champion was never just a comic book to me. It was meant to serve as a repudiation of the vile, un-American political environment we now find ourselves in. It was meant to be a clear statement against Donald Trump, his family, and his cronies. And I was honored to have the opportunity to be the one making that statement. I believe that cancelling this campaign is in keeping with the spirit of what I originally sought out to do.


I want to apologize to those of you who supported this campaign, who wrote about it, who retweeted it all over the internet--you have been such an amazing source of excitement and pride in my life. I want to apologize to Ben Wilsonham and the folks at AndWorld design--they did the best damn job on this book, and I’m sad that it won’t be able to see print. 


When I quit my 9 to 5 several months ago to devote myself fully to writing and creating, I knew that the road ahead of me was going to be a difficult one. But I’m not interested in taking shortcuts, or doing the expedient thing, or doing something that would harm someone else. So I’m going to take a step back from all of this, and come back with something new and different. And I hope I can count on all of you to give me a second chance. Thanks for your support. And see you at the next one.

Sincerely,

Jakob Free

Propaganda Minister for the Super-Champions of America Club

Solo (2018)

Han Solo is not a complex character. He's a scoundrel who becomes a hero. We've seen his arc play out. We know who he is. His psychology, his backstory, his hopes, his dreams--they don't require much in the way of elucidation. We don't need his every why or wherefore explained to us. 

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But Disney, for some reason, has some splainin' to do. And they're going to do it hard with their newest feature-length fan fiction.

Over the course of the two hour and fifteen minute run time of Solo, viewers will get explained at so aggressively that their eyeballs may roll one full turn, or more, in their sockets. What I mean by that is that their eyeballs, at the start of the film, will be aimed forward--in their customary orientation--and then their eyeballs will rotate a full three hundred and sixty degrees during the film, to then return back to their original forward-facing orientation, almost as if nothing had even transpired. But trust me, something has transpired.

By the end of this film you will know exactly how Chewbacca and Han met for the first time (Chewie was going to eat Han), where Han got his signature weapon (someone threw it to him), how Han acquired the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian (in a card game, exactly as we've been told previously), what exactly occurred during the infamous Kessel Run (too boring to detail here), and most importantly, you will discover how Han Solo...got his last name (someone gave it to him because he was unaccompanied).

There's a point where "connecting the dots"--something that George Lucas took to new heights (or lows, rather) with his Star Wars prequel trilogy--intersects with "paint by numbers". That intersection occurs in Solo. But it's not so much an intersection as it is a collision. Instead of taking you to new places with the character and his cohort, the film collides with what you already know about him over and over again, and then after it's done doing that, it lets you know that it knows that you know. Every wink, every nod, every little in-joke to the millions of Star Wars fans the world over, stops this film dead in its tracks (and that's when the eye rolling happens too). One sequence in particular, a cameo so baffling in both its execution and its implication for the larger Star Wars mythos, might as well have been replaced with an in-person press conference headed up by Kathleen Kennedy herself.

But when the movie gets out of its own way and allows its characters to breathe, and shoot, and fly, hints of cinematic adventure bloom on the screen. The much televised train robbery sequence is a thrill. Woody Harrelson's Beckett and Phoebe Waller-Bridge's L3-37 are standouts, eclipsed only by Donald Glover's sublime Lando. Even Aiden Ehrenreich, for all his non-Harrison Fordness, occasionally delights as (a sort of faithful version of) the half-witted scruffy-looking nerf herder.

And that brings us to the elephant in the room. Spoiler alert: Harrison Ford does not play Han Solo in this movie. One might think that after tricking a portion of audience members into believing that Peter Cushing was alive that the techs at Disney might try and revive Harrison Ford's younger Han Solo with a eldritch combination of face and performance capture wizardry. But recasting the beloved smuggler was the path they chose to walk down. And in 2018, when Han Solo has become a cinematic archetype donned by performers in not one but two ongoing franchises, it almost seems pointless to have yet another version of the character who is not Harrison Ford. 

The Weekend in Review; May 22, 2018

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How will I ever be able to look my film school friends in the eye and say that I didn't love Federico Fellini's 8 1/2?

I did however love the idea behind it. The concept of a semi-autobiographical film about a film that interweaves plot with the inner workings of the main character's mind is an appealing one. Fellini & co. exteriorize protagonist Guido Anselmi's (Marcello Mastroianni) private thoughts, hopes, and dreams in a seamless and oftentimes beautiful way.

Oddly enough, this is also something video games can do very well. One of the best example in recent memory are the myriad flashback/hallucination sequences in Batman: Arkham Knight.

After I finished the film I found myself wondering if this kind of thing has been done in comics before. I'm sure there are more than a few ways to inject memory/thoughts/dreams directly into the visual fabric of an individual comic panel or a series of them. It's something I'll chew on going forward.

(You can see what else I've been watching lately over at my Letterboxd page.)

***

New York City is crumbling. In many different ways. When I was young and would visit Manhattan with my parents, I thought I had arrived in Metropolis: City of Tomorrow. Now that I'm older and have sampled a variety of its locales and living situations I can say with confidence that New York City is a great big rotting organism shot through with shiny luxury condos. People run around the shell on its back, attempting to fix its disintegrating infrastructure and build skyward, but the skeleton that supports it all will one day turn to dust.

"....an examination by The New York Times has found that Mr. Lhota’s reach as a power broker has grown with new board appointments in Manhattan and on Long Island, giving him extraordinary sway over some of the most important aspects of New York life. But while Mr. Lhota remains a respected official, his growing web of jobs has led to potential conflicts of interest and competition for his time, complicating the still-flailing effort to resuscitate a transit system used by millions of people every day." -- NYT

"These apartments — seen as the scourge of landlords and the salvation of struggling New Yorkers — are at the center of a housing crisis that has swelled the ranks of the homeless and threatens to squeeze all but the affluent from ever-wider swaths of the city. But even as Mayor Bill de Blasio has made adding more affordable housing a signature pledge of his administration, the system that protects the city’s roughly one million regulated apartments is profoundly broken, a New York Times investigation has found." -- NYT

***

That's all for now, folks. Stay sharp--that is definitely not me standing outside your window.

Witness (1985)

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Peter Weir makes it seem super easy in Witness. Everything, from communicating just what kind of detective Harrison Ford’s John Book is to establishing the (admittedly simple) good cop vs. bad cop plot, is done with such economy that it can easily be taken for granted. Weir also knows when to rachet the tempo up. Book and Kelly McGillis’s Rachel fall in love slowly, gracefully, their feelings accumulating over time, so that when they finally embrace it causes an explosion of passion on screen (it helps that Ford is one of the best looking leading men in cinematic history). The final showdown works much in the same way, only with shotguns instead.

But it’s John Seale’s camera work that sets this film apart. His compositions, like Weir’s direction, are the result of a light touch. Door frames, windshields, exposed beams in a simple Amish kitchen—Seale uses the shapes created by these unassuming items to frame his figures in a way that makes it seem like that’s what the items were designed for in the first place. He opts for intense close ups whenever he can, as Ford and McGillis’s performances verge into nonverbal territory often. Seale excels at capturing the nearly imperceptible gestures and stolen glances  that seem small onscreen but in fact do a great deal of heavy lifting for plot and performance alike.

“Capturing” is the operative word. In many scenes, especially those that examine the day to day life of the Pennsylvania Amish, Seale exhibits the skills of a documentarian, his eye focused on his subjects without bias nor judgment.

 

The Weekend in Review; April 30, 2018

Wow, The Weekend in Review is back? That's crazy!

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I, like all 7 billion people on planet Earth, saw Avengers: Infinity War. Here are my thoughts:

  1. Post-credits sequences are a form of terrorism. I understand the idea behind them--it's important that the mouth breathers understand that their favorite punchy-punch, talky-talk movies are made by an army of invisible artists and technicians--but, predictably, it doesn't work at all. As soon as the credits role, those savvy filmgoers looking for that "second screen experience" pull out their phones to check and see if anyone has sent them an image of their engorged genitalia on Snapchat. They only look up from their poorly-lit anatomy lessons after the last Eyelash De-Aliasing Supervisor has disappeared from the screen. So just play the stupid commercial for the next movie right after the marquee names roll off the screen.
  2. Why is Chris Pratt billed as "And Chris Pratt?" Have those shitty Jurassic Park sequels turned him into a young "And Anthony Hopkins?"
  3. STRANGELY enough, Doctor Strange was the MVP in this movie. When he took on his multi-armed form I gasped with STRANGE delight.
  4. When and how did Bruce Banner get Hulk-tile dysfunction?
  5. Approximately 25% of those in attendance during my showing got up to go to the restroom at various times. Since missing the famous "Living Manifestation of Destiny" speech in Mission: Impossible 5 for urine-based reasons, I no longer leave movies for any reason, ever. In order to pull this off I have developed a patent-pending dehydration technique that is 100% effective. Step 1: Stop fluid consumption no later than 2 hours prior to a film's start time. Step 2: Urinate repeatedly leading up to film's start time. Step 3: Once the film has begun, slowly, and I mean SLOWLY, rehydrate out of the film with the beverage of your choice (now that I'm 30, it's Diet Coke for me). Step 4: Enjoy. (Also works for air travel).
  6. Having Peter Dinklage play a giant "dwarf" was certainly a choice.
  7. The Russos have a knack for realistic action in their superhero films. By that I don't mean that everything looks real, because it certainly doesn't, but rather that characters behave and perform their superhero karate chop action in a way that seems realistic. Case in point: Captain America's shield never bounces quite as convincingly outside of a Russo Brothers Joint. The fisticuffs in Captain America: Civll War, namely the Cap/Bucky/Black Panther 3-way chase and the Iron Man showdown in the finale are bone-crunching, kinetic displays of violence. While Infinity War leans too heavily on the CGI for the fights to feel as hard-hitting as they do in some of the previous outings, that illusion of realism still powers most, if not all, of its action.
  8. Carrie Coons voicing Lady Voldemort was a meta-joke on the whole Leftovers-style ending of this movie, right?
  9. From a purely technical perspective, this movie is an unmatched feat in story engineering. I was delighted to see how a film featuring 30 characters, 6 magic rocks (that each perform a specific task), and the loose threads of a dozen movies worked so well. However, because of the sheer amount of characters, each picking up little bits and pieces of the narrative along the way, the film lacked emotional focus in a broad sense. 
  10. Marvel has been eating DC's lunch for 10 straight years. That must really smart.

Data, Join Me in Stellar Cartography: Part 1 (Film, 2017)

Data, Join Me in Stellar Cartography: Part 1 (Film, 2017)

I present to you Part 1 of my notes on every single thing that I watched, read, listened to, played, and wrote in the year of our Holy Space Lord Jesus Henry Christ Two Thousand and Seventeen. It is the only way I know how to truly tell you something about me, the only way I can explain what a year looks like from my little corner of the universe. I hope it leaves an impression.

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Everything that I watched, read, listened to, played, & wrote in 2017

1. Film

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(2017)

Silence; d. Martin Scorcese, w. Jay Cocks, Martin Scorcese 

John Wick: Chapter 2*; d. Chad Stahelski, w. Derek Kolstad

Get Out; d. & w. Jordan Peele 

Logan; d. James Mangold, w. James Mangold, Scott Frank, Michael Green  

Kong: Skull Island; d. Jordan Vogt-Roberts, w. Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly 

Power Rangers; d. Dean Israelite, w. John Gatins, Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney 

The Fate of the Furious; d. F. Gary Gray, w. Chris Morgan 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; d. & w. James Gunn 

Alien: Covenant; d. Ridley Scott, w. Jack Paglen, Michael Green, John Logan, Dante Harper

Wonder Woman; d. Patty Jenkins, w. Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder, Jason Fuchs 

The Big Sick; d. Michael Showalter, w. Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani 

Baby Driver*; d. & w. Edgar Wright 

Spider-Man: Homecoming; d. John Watts, w. Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers 

War for the Planet of the Apes; d. Matt Reeves, w. Mark Bomback, Matt Reeves 

Dunkirk; d. & w. Christopher Nolan  

Atomic Blonde; d. David Leitch, w. Kurt Johnstad 

Wind River; d. & w. Taylor Sheridan

Logan Lucky; Steven Soderbergh 

Ingrid Goes West: d. Matt Spicer, w. David Branson Smith, Matt Spicer 

Good Time*; d. & w. Benny & Josh Safdie

Human Flow; d. Ai Weiwei, w. Chin-Chin Yap, Tim Finch, Boris Cheshkirov 

It; d. Andy Muschietti, w. Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman 

American Made; d. Doug Liman, w. Gary Spinelli

Jerry Before Seinfeld; d. Michael Bonfligio, w. Jerry Seinfeld 

Blade Runner 2049*; d. Denis Villeneuve, w. Hampton Fancher, Michael Green 

Spielberg; d. Susan Lacy 

The Babysitter; d. McG, w. Brian Duffield 

Brawl in Cell Block 99*; d. & w. S. Craig Zahler 

The Lost City of Z; d. & w. James Gray

Thor: Ragnarok; d. Taika Waititi, w. Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost 

Lady Bird; d. & w. Greta Gerwig 

Justice League; d. Zack Snyder & Joss Whedon, w. Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon, Zack Snyder 

The Disaster Artist; d. James Franco, w. Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber

Star Wars: The Last Jedi; d. & w. Rian Johnson 

(*Top 5)

 

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(1974-2016)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre; d. Tobe Hooper, w. Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper 

Barry Lyndon; d. & w. Stanley Kubrick 

All the President's Men; d. Alan J. Pakula, w. William Goldman 

Midnight Run; d. Martin Brest, w. George Gallo 

Sex, Lies, and Videotape; d. & w. Steven Soderbergh 

The Fugitive; d. Andrew Davis, w. Jeb Stuart, David Twohy

Tombstone; d. George P. Cosmatos & Kevin Jarre, w. Kevin Jarre 

Before Sunrise; d. Richard Linklater, w. Richard Linklater, Kim Krizan 

The Game; d. David Fincher, w. John Brancato, Michael Ferris 

Out of Sight; d. Steven Soderbergh, w. Scott Frank 

The Thirteenth Warrior; d. John McTiernan & Michael Crichton, w. William Wisher, Warren Lewis  

The Limey; d. Steven Soderbergh, w. Lem Hobbs 

Traffic; d. Steven Soderbergh, w. Stephen Gaghan 

Before Sunset; d. Richard Linklater, w. Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Kim Krizan 

Shaun of the Dead; d. Edgar Wright, w. Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright 

Memories of Murder; d. Joon-ho Bong, w. Joon-ho Bong, Sung-bo Shim 

Pulse (Kairo); d. & w. Kiyoshi Kurosawa 

Marie Antoinette; d. & w. Sophia Coppola 

Hot Fuzz; d. Edgar Wright, w. Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright 

Super; d. & w. James Gunn

Before Midnight; d. Richard Linklater, w. Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke 

The Mermaid; d. Stephen Chow, w. Hing-Ka Chan, Stephen Chow, Chi Keung Fung, Miu-Kei Ho, Ivy Kong, Si-Cheun Lee, Zhengyu Ly, Kan-Cheung Tsang 

Swiss Army Man; d. & w. Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert 

Train to Busan; d. Sang-ho Yeon, w. Joo-Suk Park, Sang-ho Yeon 

The Magnificent Seven; d. Antoine Fuqua, w. Nic Pizzolatto, Richard Wenk 

Dr Strange; d. Scott Derrickson, w. Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill 

Moonlight; d. Barry Jenkins, w. Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney 

Edge of Seventeen; d. & w. Kelly Fremon Craig 

Nocturnal Animals; d. & w. Tom Ford 

La La Land; d. & w. Damian Chazelle 

20th Century Women; d. & w. Mike Mills 

 

2. Television

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(Arranged by air date of most recent season)

The Knick Seasons 1-2; Jack Amiel, Michael Begler & Steven Soderbergh 

Big Little Lies; David E. Kelley 

Rick and Morty Season 3; Justin Roiland & Dan Harmon 

The Leftovers Seasons 1-3, Damon Lindelof & Tom Perrotta 

Silicon Valley Season 4; Mike Judge, John Altschuler & David Krinksy 

Master of None Season 2; Aziz Ansari & Alan Yang 

Game of Thrones Season 7; David Benioff & D.B. Weiss 

Stranger Things Season 2; The Duffer Brothers 

 

3. Literature & Comics

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Childhood's End; Arthur C. Clarke 

The Stars My Destination; Alfred Bester 

Time and Again; Jack Finney 

The Greatest Sci-fi Movies Never Made, Revised and Expanded Edition; David Hughes 

Superman: The Unauthorized Biography; Glen Weldon 

Between the World and Me; Ta-Nahisi Coates 

But What If We're Wrong?; Chuck Klosterman

Normal; Warren Ellis 

The Wild Storm #1-5; Warren Ellis & Jon Davis-Hunt 

PayWall; Joseph P Kelly 

Grand Theft Imagination; Benjamin Andrew Moore 

 

4. Music

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Greatest Hits; Fleetwood Mac 

On Avery Island; Neutral Milk Hotel  

Cage The Elephant; Cage The Elephant  

Humbug; Arctic Monkeys 

Thank You Happy Birthday; Cage the Elephant  

Suck It and See; The Arctic Monkeys 

AM; The Arctic Monkeys

Melophobia; Cage the Elephant  

To Pimp a Butterfly; Kendrick Lamar 

Tell Me I'm Pretty; Cage the Elephant  

We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions; Bruce Springsteen  

Damn; Kendrick Lamar 

 

5. Videogames

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Wolfenstein: The New Order; MachineGames 

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood; MachineGames 

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild; Nintendo 

 

6. What I wrote/created

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Red's Journey; ClearVision Optical

Rabbit Hole #1; Self-published

World War Terminus; Self-published

The Cycle; Self-published

The Redemption of Super-Champion Barron Drumpf Parts 1 & 2; Study Group Comics

The Drakul Wedding; Self-published

Whatever Happened to the Superhero Writers of Tomorrow & Other Articles; Paste Magazine 

5 Rick and Morty Mind-Bending Season 3 Mysteries; Quidd

The Cycle on Comixology

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Written by: Jakob Free
Art by: Jon CairnsDaniel IrizarriJD FaithJoseph P KellyMark Pearce
Colored by: Michael Lee MacdonaldSloane LeongRenee Keyes
Lettered by: Nic J Shaw
Price: $9.99

The Cycle tells the story of Tommy Centro, your Average Joe working in finance in downtown Manhattan. Tommy's got a girlfriend named Telli Goldstein, an apartment in Chelsea, enough money in his pocket to get by and--oh yeah, a best friend named The Roman, who just happens to be New York City's premier disgraced former superhero.

Buy now on comiXology!

The Weekend in Review; July 10th, 2017

The Weekend in Review; July 10th, 2017

Homecoming has so much of what makes Spider-Man the best Marvel hero of all: the conflict between being a normal kid and a friendly-neighborhood avenger, the perils of great power without responsibility, and of course, hot Aunt May jokes (kidding for sure, but there are quite a few in this film). And impressively, Marvel Studios is able to deliver these essentials without ever mentioning Uncle Ben and his signature catchphrase. That would be like making a Batman movie without referencing the Wayne Murders, which is something filmmakers have proven incapable of doing.

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The Weekend in Review; July 3rd, 2017

The Weekend in Review; July 3rd, 2017

Baby Driver (2017) is the kind of movie we need more of. It's that mid-budget cinema that we're always talking about being dead and gone. But this movie is very much alive, thrumming and careening around the corners of the mind well after you've left the theater.

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The Weekend in Review; June 12th, 2017

The Weekend in Review; June 12th, 2017

I recently made the mistake of trying to read three books at the same time. Well, four, if you count Batman and the Outsiders Vol. 1 as a book, and you know I do. Instead of allowing me to read more books in a shorter span of time, I just wound up reading them slowly, without making much progress in any of them. So lesson learned there.

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