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Archive for the ‘comedy’ Category

Strange Girl vol 1 – Girl Afraid

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Strange Girl vol 1 – Girl Afraid

Strange Girl is a fast-paced, action oriented, bloody, and funny story about a girl left behind by her pious family following the rapture. The speed at which the story is told is astonishing. The main character Beth Black, is established as a, get this, strange girl who is brash and independent. This quickly collides head on with her ultra-pious family which is shown to be all judgemental and disapproving of Beth and her “gang of roller-blading hooligan friends.” The Rapture has arrived.

Skip ten years: Beth has a job as Belial’s bar wench, she has a little blue dwarf demon for a pal, and she can perform magic through demonic incantations.

Through the action, witty banter, and countless SHRA-KOOMS, FA-BOOMS and SHOOOOOMS, Beth’s story is played out: escape Belial’s fiery grasp, get halfway around the world to the heavenly portal at the Vatican to see if Beth is worthy to get into Heaven after 10 years of demonic servitude. This of course will be no easy task, as the world as once known is long gone. Earth is now ruled by the legions of Hell, and neither God nor Satan are anywhere to be found.

While Strange Girl delivers some decent comedic moments, and enough action to keep the pages turning, there is another more obvious overtone: Religion. The writing is obviously very personal to Remender, as it seems that sometimes Beth will rant, questioning religious belief, life’s purpose, and God’s intentions. The nice little twist to this type of dialogue in Strange Girl is that all this dialogue is made with the ultimate knowledge that God does exist in that universe. It is one thing to discuss the value of faith versus non-belief, but it is interesting to see a character ponder the subject with the knowledge that the man upstairs is indeed upstairs.

Remender has a way of trading off palpable material for action in a way truly pleasing to the audience. Eric Nguyen’s kinetic and funky style compliment the tone and pacing of this story. Every panel almost looks to be in total motion, and each issue seems to speed up as the pages turn.

Strange Girl is its following. Although what the book has to say is not presented in any sort of subtle or graceful way, it speaks loudly. Strange Girl expresses itself with enough humour, explosions, and car chases to be heard. If you haven’t figured this out yet, the message is simple: dive into Strange Girl.

– Dillon Taylor

Dillon Taylor is a born-again atheist with very few qualifications to do much of anything. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in Kinesiology, and currently lives in Korea where he splits his time between: eating, drinking, eating, sleeping, drinking, and shallow attempts to expand his mind. Oh, he teaches English too.

Written by thesilentmajoritysays

February 25, 2009 at 4:20 AM

Posted in action, comedy, fantasy

Tagged with , ,

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

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The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

There are times when we let ourselves become vulnerable enough to be touched or moved by something. This “something” can be anything, really: a kind gesture of a passer-by, or the most complex, and elegant piece of music you have heard. One such “something” for me was a cult-hit called The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

If you’re familiar with Wes Anderson’s films you will spot his signature style in the first seconds of The Life Aquatic – a film about a man, amidst a mid-life crisis, questing for revenge (to hunt and destroy the shark that ate his best friend), but more importantly to quell his fears of becoming obsolete, both in his public and private lives.

The Life Aquatic is a fantastic example of how what should be shown versus told, and how much more you can glean from a movie watching experience as a result. You’re guided, not directed to make connections. The viewer draws conclusions about plot points, and character relationships. There are many instances in which the dialogue can be interpreted in many ways, and other times when an awkward, over-acted delivery actually makes the moment more genuine.

A multitude of characters contribute to the growth and exposure of the centre-piece, Steve Zissou, culminating in one of the most heart-rending moments I have experienced watching a film. In one simple moment, the quest for vengeance, self-redemption and purpose is completed. This moment just hangs for the viewer to absorb. The dialogue accompanying the scene is vague enough, that it seems to ask, “Well, what do you think?” Perhaps the reason this moment is so touching is that it allows the viewer to almost experience the moment as their own and not Zissou’s.

It’s the “take what you will” quality of The Life Aquatic that makes it truly versatile in delivering a fantastic experience to the casual viewer, or the most proudly self-proclaimed Wes Anderson fanboy or girl. It may sound like I see no flaws in this film, and for the life of me, I don’t. This isn’t because there aren’t flaws, it’s because I have opened up a little more to this movie with every viewing that by now the beauty I see in it blindingly outshines its flaws.

Dillon Taylor

Dillon Taylor is a born-again atheist with very few qualifications to do much of anything. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in Kinesiology, and currently lives in Korea where he splits his time between: eating, drinking, eating, sleeping, drinking, and shallow attempts to expand his mind. Oh, he teaches English too.

Written by thesilentmajoritysays

February 19, 2009 at 12:01 PM

Posted in comedy

In Bruges

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In Bruges

Have you ever been to Bruges?

It’s in Belgium.

(North of France)

Bruges is the most well preserved “rustic” Medieval city in all of Europe, the notable stop between Antwerp, Brussels and Gent, appealing to those of you interested in Chocolate and Lace. If however you’re not at all interested in Chocolate and Lace, then Bruges is a shit hole with rivers and old buildings and that.

And ‘lo we are introduced to IN BRUGES, the not quite crime, not quite comedy, not quite contemplation on the good-and-bad of humanity, first feature of writer/director Martin McDonagh.

Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are two hit men sent to hideout in Bruges after a hit goes wrong, waiting for the authoritative word next step from boss-man Harry (Ralph Fiennes). While Ken plays the quiet tourist as he’s told, Ray begins his self-destructive contemplation of the human spirit and spends as much time as possible with the pretty girls around the Belgian film shooting in town.

The tightest, cleanest and darkly funniest film you didn’t see in 2008, IN BRUGES, exists to disprove your expectation. It’s certainly not a crime flick, though it does feature hit men and a gunfight or three. It’s certainly not a comedy, though it is hilarious. And it’s certainly not a Belgian film, though set entirely in Belgium and has one good Belgian joke.

IN BRUGES is a tightly wound film that uncoils slowly and purposely, using every small speck of detail very carefully and meticulously. No dialogue unnecessary. No scene out of place. Everything from the change in Ken’s pocket to the alcoves to Harry’s bullets of choice wraps itself into the film and becomes essential to the story. Everything, absolutely everything, is explained in due course and even the darkest moments are balanced with enough laughs to not leave you in the dark when the screen goes black.

A smart, witty and acerbic film that defies conventions by placing them carefully where no one expects to find them: In Bruges.

I’ve been to Belgium. I’ve been to Bruges. And the only thing out of place is IN BRUGES’ poster in the Tourist Information Center. Odd, considering the filmmakers take so much careful time relentlessly mocking Bruges’ rustic old buildings and that. But what can you expect? The film is English and everyone in Belgium speaks Dutch or French. They’re asking for it.

– – Timothy Legion

Timothy Legion is not presently read, looked to or admired. He created a newspaper (pamphlet) at his University that is fondly remembered by six people. He has not won any awards or been considered for nominations. He is wrist-deep in the Third Year of his self-imposed GLORIOUS FIVE YEAR PLAN.

Written by thesilentmajoritysays

February 9, 2009 at 12:01 PM

Posted in comedy, crime

The American Astronaut

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THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT

Space is a Lonely Town.

That’s the only clue you get when you hold a copy of The American Astronaut, a lingering hint of what you’re in for. Displayed to you on the cover is the image of one Samuel Curtis (writer/director Cory McAbee), the astronaut in question, in a full space suit that looks like it was built out of the remains of several other, cheaper, space suits.

The story follows Curtis as he transports a young male stud (the aptly named ‘Boy Who Actually Saw a Woman’s Breast’) to the all-female planet of Venus. At his tail is the merciless ‘Birthday boy’ Professor Hess, whom has taken it upon himself to kill every person Curtis comes in contact with so he can forgive Curtis and then murder him. Along the way we meet deformed Nevadans in a homemade space-barn, tap-dancing barflies and an interplanetary fruit smuggler.

Oh. And it’s a musical.

To classify The American Astronaut as anything other than “fun” is exasperating. A Homeric Odyssey set in space with a western attitude, featuring stunning musical numbers, memorable characters, beautiful black and white cinematography, and colourful roughnecks from all corners of the galaxy.

And despite this initial description, the film is not the inconceivable mess one would assume it to be. Not weird for the sake of weird, more weird for the sake of itself. Written, within the vaguest realms of plausibility, insofar as it has its feet firmly planted in the seven or eight genres it belongs to at any given moment. It knows the power of a good song and dance number, and will deploy them when necessary. That is what sets The American Astronaut apart from other so-called surrealist cinema. Every shot of the film, despite its abstract eccentricities, feels sublimely necessary.

See? It is much easier to say “fun”.

Surrealism has very rarely been widely accepted as quality entertainment. Most people fail to grasp the notion of it, and associate it as little more than surreal distractions. Something done weird enough that someone, somewhere, will see and think is brilliant and/or hilarious.

Looking for genuinely well produced and well executed surreal entertainment is a challenge. Very often their audience is handed works that rely heavily on abstract images and themes in lieu of little things like ‘a good story’ or ‘witty dialogue’; things which The American Astronaut has in spades. It doesn’t make you feel stupid for enjoying it. You don’t need to lower your standards “get it,” nor will you need to take a film theory class to understand its symbols and methods. One may see the cover and not quite grasp the meaning of a phrase like ‘Space is a Lonely Town’, but at its core, this is the basis of how one can appreciate the film itself.

Maybe it isn’t supposed to make sense. Maybe it will only make enough as much sense as it needs to. And maybe you’ll like it anyway.

– – J.D. Renaud

J.D. Renaud has no formal education in film, but that is more than evident upon meeting and/or seeing him. A purveyor of all things eccentric, he prides himself on being a guinea pig test subject for any new form of media he is given. He currently lives in Winnipeg Manitoba with his go-go dancer roommate.

Written by thesilentmajoritysays

February 1, 2009 at 1:22 AM