Sunday 11 March 2012


My Life in Books
2x08 Alexandra Shulman and Keith Allen
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
[#28 in 100 Films in a Year 2012]

The Court Jester (1956)
[#29 in 100 Films in a Year 2012]


All Star Western #6 by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti & Moritat

Fantastic stuff. Packed with plot (so much more story in the same number of pages than you get in most mainstream US comics), with great art from Moritat (it looks scruffy, but if you look closely it's actually loaded with detail and surprisingly precise), and neat ties in to the current storyline in Batman (which I imagine will only get stronger as we approach the Night of the Owls crossover in a couple of months).

Meanwhile, back-up strip The Barbary Ghost (drawn by Phil Winslade) comes to a close. The dialogue is so poor I can only assume it's in some way deliberate, considering how good Gray & Palmiotti are on the main strip; the story is fine.

Aquaman #6 by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis & Joe Prado

Bit of an aside here, focusing on 'Aquawoman' Mera, but a good story. Prado (pencilling from breakdowns by Reis) isn't quite as good as the series' regular artist on the whole, but creates some super images and indeed whole pages nonetheless. Plus it's nice to see some US comics creators are still capable of creating good one-and-dones.

Justice League #6 by Geoff Johns & Jim Lee

One of the complaints that used to be levelled against classic Doctor Who six-parters (still is, of course) is that even the best of them started strong, meandered for a few episodes going nowhere, then finished things up in the last episode. Decompressed storytelling seems to do the same to comics: after several issues where barely anything happened, Justice League rushes to wrap it all up in a final bound. And in 24 pages of story, there are no fewer than nine splash pages -- four of those taken up in two double-pagers. It's not been a bad story, but it would've been stronger if it had been shorter or spent less time treading water in the middle.

And Green Lantern seems like a bit of a dick. Why do some comics fans like him so? No wonder the film failed...

Meanwhile, the extra pages of sketches and whatnot at the back are replaced by a six-page back-up drawn written by Johns and drawn by Carlos D'Anda. It looks pretty enough, and finally begins to explain that mysterious woman who's popped up in the background of several New 52 comics (including all the #1s), but in majority it's the kind of opaque over-mysterious storytelling that locks out newcomers. Even if it's all a mystery to old readers too, you feel these are characters you're meant to know (but don't) talking cryptically but in a way you're meant to understand (but don't).

It's blatantly setting up a future Big Story in Justice League, but we'll presumably have to wait at least a little while for it as there's a different story with a different artist up next, presumably to allow notoriously-slow artist Jim Lee to catch up.

this week on 100 Films

4 new reviews were posted to 100 Films in a Year this week, and they were...

Catwoman (2011)
Included on releases of Batman: Year One, Catwoman is an action-orientated short starring Catwoman (obviously) chasing down gangster Rough Cut because two of his goons tried to shoot a puddytat. OK, there’s more to her motivation than that, but that’d spoil the ending.
Read more on my new blog or my classic blog.

Faintheart (2008)
It’s about battle re-enacters; or rather, it’s a Brit-rom-com that uses battle re-enacters as its USP. “Brit-rom-com” should give you a fair idea of the territory we’re in, although this has a geekier edge than most, which plays to the sensibilities of someone like me.
Read more on my new blog or my classic blog.

The Gruffalo's Child (2011)
The CG animation retains the original’s “is it claymation?” feel, though the wintry setting allows the animators to really show off with some truly stunning snow. Most of the film goes for an appropriately cartoony style, but the various types of frozen water on display could pass for the real thing.
Read more on my new blog or my classic blog.

RED (2010)
just one in a recent array of tongue-in-cheek action films; films that aren’t strictly comedies but aren’t wholly serious either, meaning they can push their action sequences to ludicrous extremes and get away with it. They’re also a lot of fun and I love them. I love a gritty and serious Bourne as much as your next man, or a traditional action film too, but there’s also room for films that are daft, fun, knowingly silly rather than just ridiculous.
Read more on my new blog or my classic blog.

More next Sunday.