• ant-man quantumania poster

    Diagnosing the Problem with Ant-Man: Quantumania

    “Explaining humor is a lot like dissecting a frog. You learn a lot in the process, but in the end you kill it.” Mark Twain In my never-ending quest to dissect stories to the point where they resemble so much fleshy bits on a slab (if this is Marvel, would this be Throg?), I just saw Ant-Man: Quantumania, the first of Marvel’s Phase Five, where we stop dealing with the consequences of Infinity War/Endgame and start getting real with the multiverse and Kang the Conqueror. Quantumania was universally panned for being “just another Marvel movie.” Another notch in the interminably average fare Disney/Marvel has been churning out since Avengers: Endgame.…

  • swordsman versus fire monster fantasy

    The Key to Any Fantasy Story

    As I like fantasy, it’s very hard to make the kind that entertains me. Maybe that’s why I write atypical fantasy characters or plots, such as a coming-of-age adventure for a naga or a domestic drama involving female dwarf sisters. They’re not doorstoppers involving grand sweeping epic world wars and cosmic evils (and thus unpublishable). I love fantasy but I do not have a long attention span. I read fast and my memory isn’t great. All the names of people, places, and things are in some foreign tongue, so I can’t recall whether Niffenbukugard was that innkeeper, the capital city, or some magic spell. There’s more fantasy media than ever…

  • tenet poster protagonist

    TENET: A Beautiful Picture of Ugly Content

    I don’t mean ugly as in problematic or controversial. There’s nothing jagged or worth “canceling” (so take that Hollywood — you don’t need to be provocative to catch attention). I love most Christopher Nolan movies. I loved the Dark Knight trilogy and The Prestige and Memento and Inception. But I was tepid on Interstellar and Man of Steel and didn’t see Dunkirk. But after the word-of-mouth reaction, I was dreading when Netflix would deliver that DVD. But it was the biggest movie of the year, so I had to watch it. Find out what everyone was talking about. I didn’t… I didn’t like it. And here are my thoughts on…

  • watching movie popcorn

    Don’t Think About It

    If you’re wondering how he eats and breathes and other science facts, then repeat to yourself “It’s just a show, I should really just relax…” These are the last lyrics of the theme song to Mystery Science Theater 3000. This caveat exists because the premise of the show isn’t about the setting or characters or universe. It’s about making fun of bad movies. You don’t need an aesthetic for that (and in fact, RiffTrax and Cinematic Titanic have proven you don’t). It’s just some pleasant decoration around the content. A wrapper. It’s not meant to be thought about. And yet people do. There are countless fan fictions, fandoms, cosplay, puppet…

  • ghostbusters gozer lightning

    What Happened to the Ghosts at the End of Ghostbusters?

    Soooooo… what happens at the end of Ghostbusters? I mean, yeah, they defeat Gozer, cross the streams, save the world, and everyone gets diabetes from the marshmallow covering the city.  Sooo… then what?  We know what happens to the characters from Ghostbusters 2 — the city sues them into bankruptcy and they all go their own separate ways.  But that doesn’t tell us what happened to the ghosts. As far as I can tell, there is no link between Gozer and all the ghosts appearing in the city.  Slimer’s not an agent sent by The Traveler.  Zeddmore makes a mention to Ray that the proliferation of ghosts might signal the “end times”,…

  • skyward sword legend of zelda wallpaper

    Late to the Game: Skyward Sword: First Impressions

    I got The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for Christmas and last night was the first opportunity I had to play it. I’ve made it up to where you start searching for your bird, and here are some impressions. The first fifteen minutes of a video game are the most important, and probably one of the hardest things to get right, because you have to do so much in a short amount of time. You have to engage the player, establish the world, teach the user how to play, and set the tone. For more information, Extra Credits has some great editorials on this, including Pacing, Cutscenes, Tutorials 101, Narrative…

  • happy new year charlie brown title card

    The Most Tragic Peanuts Special

    Charlie Brown has been through some shit in his day.  There’s no denying it.  The poor guy’s a loser in every sense of the word, and the worst of it is that his own dog upstages him.  He’s the tragic everyman.  But there’s no episode more tragic that that of “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown.” “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown” premiered in 1986.  The story was original, although most of the gags came from the strips, like most of the specials.  IMDB users have given it 7.3/10 — one of the moderately successful specials, nowhere near as notorious as “Great Pumpkin” or “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.  This might be because,…