28.11.08

Friday the 13th... The Comic! (Part 3 of 6)

Issue 3

This issue opens with Mike and and the other counselors discovering that the stoners have disappeared. Everyone agrees they must have left early in the morning, since no one saw them go, and it wouldn’t make sense for them to have wandered off in the middle of the night. Of course, it also doesn’t make sense for two loser stoners who were ditching out on paying work to have made their beds before sneaking off:

24.11.08

I Hate Indiana Jones: Day 59

Day 59: Indiana Jones and the Hole-y Plot (Part 1)

It's time for a special week here at the Castle, as I'll be nitpicking even more intensely and obsessively than I normally do. What subject could possibly deserve this kind of cruel hypercriticism? Why, the plot holes, of course! The many, many plot holes.

We'll start with one of the bigger ones, since it's actually the plot hole that kicks off the film. Namely: Why did the Commies kidnap Indiana Jones and bring him to Area 51?

21.11.08

Friday the 13th... The Comic! (Part 2 of 6)

Issue 2

The second issue opens with a dream sequence, as Sally, currently unconscious because of her near-drowning experience, hallucinates that Jason is attacking her. The most interesting thing about this scene is that the Jason that attacks her is clearly the ‘real’ Jason, as defined by the world of the comic.

I’ll explain – up until this point, we’ve had no reason to believe that Sally has any particular familiarity with the details of the Jason legend, nor is there any suggestion that anyone has managed to get photographic evidence of his appearance. Yet, when Jason appears in Sally’s nightmare, it’s the Jason who will actually be chasing her through the woods in two weeks, right down to the machete.

16.11.08

Sunday Afternoon Avod!

Welcome to another episode of the Avod, the Internet's sole audio-only Vodcast!

This time around, we go in-depth in our discussion of DiveMistress' John Carpenter project, while I discuss some of the myriad problems that Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles offers to anyone foolish enough to view it.

Enjoy! By right-clicking the word Enjoy back there and then saving the file and listening to it!

In Re: Quantum of Solace

Watching an extended scene in which a fighter plane riddled an old cargo jobber with bullets I noticed something - at no point during the entire sequence did I have the slightest idea where the three aircraft involved in the dogfight were in relation to each other, or the landscape. Why? Because the entire action scene was shot and edited with utter disregard for the eventual viewer of the film. It's not alone, either - there are five other sequences, really every action scene in the film, that prove just as impenetrable to the audience.

Saturday Night Live RapeWatch!

As an avid watcher of Saturday Night Live, I've noticed an odd trend lately. That trend? Using rape as the punchline to jokes. It's too soon to be making any judgments about what all this means, so for the time being I'm just going to be keeping track of every instance, along with a popular, long-running objectionable punchline: Homophobia.

Tonight's episode featured Paul Rudd, with musical guest Beyonce (maybe it's possible to add accents to letters in this thing - I don't care enough to find out).

15.11.08

I Hate Indiana Jones: Day 58

Day 58: Indiana Jones and the Reason They Invented Seatbelts

Many people point to the atomic fridge as a dealbreaker in the film, and have no doubt, it is a remarkably retarded turn of events, but it's not the point at which the film completely lost touch with the relatably realistic action of the previous films. How could it be, when the filmmakers had already thrown out all pretense of obeying the laws of physics in a prior scene?

Just a few minutes earlier, Indiana Jones is racing around the Ark warehouse, being chased by commies. Racing down a row of crates in an army truck, going somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty miles an hour, he sees Cate Blanchett's car racing towards him at a similar speed. Fully aware that an impact at this speed would lead to a disastrous result, Harrison Ford climbs out onto the hood of the truck and uses his whip to swing out of danger (one of three whip uses in the film!). Naturally, the three vehicles (Indy's truck, the jeep following, and Blanchett's car) all slam into each other at once.

And then everyone's fine. Despite the complete lack of seatbelts, no one is ejected from their suddenly-stopped vehicle. Neither are any spines snapped or heads dashed open. No, everyone is able to crawl out of the wreck fundamentally undamaged.

14.11.08

Friday the 13th... The Comic! (Part 1 of 6)

Friday the 13th holds a special place in my heart. In addition to my qualifications as a pop culture critic in this, the last great unregulated expanse we call the Internet, I am both a board-certified Jasonologist and a world-reknowned Jasonosopher. I believe this renders me better able than most to offer commentary and criticism on DC's recent attempt to launch a line of Friday the 13th comic books. This article will exhaustively cover the first storyline of that new series, which was untitled, and spanned a trade-paperback-friendly six issues. It's going to be essentially one long spoiler as I address plot details, holes, and various problems contained within the comic. In order illustrate my points I'll be using some images from the comics and films—because the films were all rated R, and the comics are published by DC's 'edgy' subsidiary Wildstorm, it's quite possible this article will not be safe for work. It depends where you work, I guess. If you're in the art department at Hustler, then it's probably cool. If you're answering phones at a rectory, maybe not so much. Please, just use your best judgment, or, if you need to be absolutely sure, anonymously send a link to this article to your HR rep and get their opinion. Actually, you know what? Do that anyway, I could use the hits.

13.11.08

CSI Thursday: 100th post edition!

Monday was a return to the glorious judgmental and moralist storytelling we've come to love from CSI, as Horatio finds himself embroiled in a murder involving a ring of amateur hooker housewives! Well, not actually a ring, more like a a succession of random housewife hookers who all wind up getting drugged and robbed by a pool boy hired by Xena to scare them into not being amateur hookers any more.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The episode begins when a vacationing couple from Kansas phone in a noise complaint about the next room. When the concierge arrives to check on the noise, he discovers a disturbing scene: A woman has been drugged into unconsciousness and her bedmate, who is handcuffed to the headboard, has been stabbed to death.

12.11.08

I Hate Indiana Jones: Day 57

Day 57: Indiana Jones and the Magical Waterspout

In adventure films, it's not uncommon to see the hero wind up in some kind of an evil fortress or ancient temple. If that happens, you can expect, to a 90% degree of certainty that at the end of said hero's association with said locale, the locale will wind up self-destructing. Usually due in no small part to the actions of the hero.

Examples of this can be found in each of the previous Indiana Jones films. Harrison Ford causes the Hovitos' sacred cave to collapse by triggering a trap, then Mola Ram dropped a ridiculously, comically, insanely large canister of water next to a train tunnel, flooding it to an absurd extents. Even in Last Crusade, when Elsa attempts to take the Grail out of the temple, the whole place shakes a little.

7.11.08

Criminal Minds 101: Extreme Agressor

As I announced on the recent Avod, I'm beginning a project wherein I watch every episode of Criminal Minds, the most profiler-y show on television, and judge just how much profiling is actually used to solve the crimes (I'm guessing just serial killings, but who knows?) depicted.

To examine each episode, I'll be recapping the plot, and then asking three simple questions:

1 - Was profiling in any way helpful in solving the crime?
2 - If so, was the profiling plausible, or was it more magical and out of left field in the way it helped?
3 - Could the crime have been solved just as easily using conventional police methods given the known facts of the case?

With no further ado, I present to you a critical examination of Criminal Minds episode 101: "Extreme Agressor"

Early Friday Morning Avod!

On today's Avod, the Divemistress and myself discuss Midnight Meat Train, our new ongoing projects, and many, many, many tangents!

Enjoy! By clicking here! And downloading it to a folder! Then using a mediaplayer or portable audio device to listen to it! Yeah!

6.11.08

I Hate Indiana Jones: Day 56

Day 56: Indiana Jones and the Scary Reds

In yesterday's entry, I mentioned the way the film utterly wasted the impact of Anti-Communist paranoia on Indiana Jones' adventures. Today I'm going to address something even bigger - the film's complete failure to have anything to say about the entire issue of the 50s communist witch hunt. Right at the outset, it seems like a deep vein of relevant messages are about to be mined. Then no such thing proceeds to happen.

In fact, other than Indiana Jones being run out of his job for his shady connections, there's nary a comment to be found on the subject of one of the darkest social periods of America's 20th century. Heck, one action sequence even runs through an anti-communist rally without even a sideways glanced at the kind of fervor that held America's better angels hostage.

5.11.08

I Hate Indiana Jones: Day 55

Day 55: Indiana Jones and the Failure to Raise the Stakes

When it comes to The Crystal Valley's failures, and mistakes, it seems like they're split almost evenly between things that they did incredibly poorly, and things that they just entirely neglected to do. Today's entry falls squarely into that second category.

After escaping from the atomic explosion using his ability to be terribly written, Harrison Ford finds himself in an even worse predicament - he's suspected of being in collusion with the Russians by the US Government!

3.11.08

What's going on with Knight Rider?

I don't watch the new Knight Rider television show. Maybe I should, given my love of awfulness, but I don't.

This week might well be an exception, though. Out of the corner of my eye I happened to catch a few seconds of an ad. It's possible I was misinterpreting the whole situation, but in that fractional glimpse it looked like Willard was crouched over someone in the high-tech control centre, making a grave pronouncement while a cheerleader looked on from the background.

That's such an odd tableau that I find myself compelled to tune in and find out just what the heck was going on.

Stay tuned for a report on the matter.

I Hate Indiana Jones: Day 54

Day 54: Indiana Jones and the One Tin Soldier

I'm sure everyone reading this is familiar with the term 'MacGuffin', but just in case, I'm going to offer a quick lesson. Everyone in the know, feel free to skip the next paragraph.

Initially used by Alfred Hitchcock, the 'MacGuffin' is the thing in a film that people want, but that has no real importance to the plot, beyond getting it moving. The quintessential MacGuffin is the money in Psycho. Stealing it sends Janet Leigh on the road to her doom, and chasing after her (and the money) gets Arboghast killed and finally leads to Norman Bates being captured. The money itself plays no role in the film beyond a motivator to bring characters into conflict with one another. In the years since its introduction, the definition of 'MacGuffin' has been stretched to include any object of desire in a film, whether it is practically used in the plot or not. Strict MacGuffins, like the tape in Escape from New York and the briefcase in Ronin now share the term with broader MacGuffins like the disc in Escape From LA, or the valuable shotgun in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

The Indiana Jones franchise has always featured the second variety of MacGuffin, as the objects in question, be they stones, grails, or arki, always play a key, practical role in the film's climax. Likewise, this film's MacGuffin, the Crystal Skull, is a valuable tool for the vast majority of the movie's running time. It cows natives, repels ants, and even raises an alien from the dead. The briefcase from Pulp Fiction, this is certainly not.