No Theme This Week!

So there’s no through-line to this week’s blog! You like hearing anecdotes about my glossy-pelted kitty, right? Someone in the neighborhood honked their horn during my cat’s lunch, & she immediately left her meal to go to the door as if she expected her ride had arrived.

I found dirty footprints on my kitchen floor. The prints had four toes, but my cat has six. DUN DUN DUN! Is my kitty clever enough to disguise her footprints or has some normal-toed feline gotten into the house?

My brother-in-law said there’s no value in a conversation about whether my cat looks like King Kong:

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Mentally superimpose a helicopter over the mouse.

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Resident Evil Has Finally Left The Building

Fifteen years later, the Resident Evil film series is finally ending with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter! I’m unduly excited by this momentous event! If you’d prefer to experience it completely unspoiled, scroll past to get to my third in a series of pre-Toy Fair wish lists. Yep, two things that nobody else has been eager for in one big package!

I unilaterally admitted the first Resident Evil to the ranks of the Good Video Game Films along with the original Mortal Kombat & Silent Hill. Rather than attempting a direct adaptation of Capcom’s BioHazard games, it was intended to be a side story running parallel with a unique protagonist, Alice. As sequels progressed, however, more key characters from the game franchise were imported over even though she was an amalgam of their traits. Smushed between Alice & several less memorable new redshirts, the canon ones didn’t have much room to develop. (Claire Redfield & Albert Wesker are the only canon characters in this as Wesker conveniently killed the rest off-screen in ravaged Washington, D.C.) For hardcore fans of the games, watching these movies must be like watching X-Men films are for me.

A key reason why Milla Jovovich’s career revolves around her playing an action heroine is that she’s damn good at it! (I still think she would be more credible as Black Widow than ScarJo.) Unlike Underworld’s stoic Selene, her Alice is allowed a broader range of emotions & vulnerabilities. Her former superpowers have been diminished to standard action movie protagonist levels, but it’s still utterly believable she can wreck anyone. In the the annoying instances when she does have trouble in a fight, I wasn’t sure if the movie didn’t make her foes seem formidable or whether she was just fatigued by all the previous ass-kickings she (& her stunt doubles) handed out. My favorite scene is when Alice (bearing a striking resemblance to Metal Gear Solid’s Meryl Silverberg) gets strung upside-down & still defeats a squad of Umbrella Corp goons.

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Originally slated for 2016, Sony delayed its release until after Inauguration Day.

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Does Underworld: Blood Wars Underwhelm?

Nobody wanted to see Underworld: Blood Wars with me. I was forced to see it all by myself. (Will this be my fate again when Resident Evil: The Final Chapter rolls into theaters at month’s end?) Apparently every civilized nation got to see it last year, so we’ll cut right to the SPOILERS.

The Underworld movies have never been masterpieces, but they do enough to please me. Legitimutant vampire Kate Beckinsale starring as Selene is one of them. She proves women can be stoic hypercompetent ass-kickers grumpy over their missing loved ones & being betrayed by her former allies just as well as men. Unfortunately that archetype is already played out, even if it’s slightly more novel for this gender. Even with vampire David getting his own subplot, it’s still incontrovertibly her movie.

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Did Gotham & (Green) Arrow Reverse Polarities?

For a spell during season two of Gotham, Riddler & Penguin were rooming together & singing show tunes adorably as best friends are wont to do. This season upped the queerbait ante by having these two ex-Arkham inmates (DC would make a killing selling Arkham Asylum certificates of sanity signed by Hugo Strange!) be incredibly supportive & tender to each other during Coblepot’s successful mayoral campaign. The ambiguous bromance turned romance when Penguin realized he loves Riddler. I was surprised Gotham made the subtextual homoeroticism text since hooking up two of Batman’s top rogues on prime time TV would be the hugest deal since Korrasami. (I can count who isn’t a murdery bastard in this series on one hand, so another gay villain couple doesn’t seem homophobic in context.) It even looked like Riddler would reciprocate Penguin’s affections … until he stood up the Mayor’s candlelit dinner for a stranger that looks exactly like the ex-girlfriend he killed. GRODD DAMN IT, GOTHAM!

Arkham’s Razor says Kristen Kringle’s dead ringer is Clayface hired by Tabitha to break up Oswald & Ed. Or this Isabella is Kristen’s long lost twin who is going to be the show’s quasi-suicidal take on Bookworm. Wait … Bella & Edward? This is a Twilight riff too?

Hopefully this will just be a short road-bump in Penguin & Riddler being happy together. This show could use a romance that’s healthy, stable, & Gordon-free.  Unlike Hannibal Lecter & Will Graham, Penguin & Riddler would be a mainstream gay pairing that’s not toxic as Hell. (Hannibal was fantastic show, but that relationship was monstrously abusive.) I am worried they’ll use a woman-shaped plot contrivance to turn these best buddies into bitter enemies. Don’t you dare ruin this, Gotham!

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Day Of The Jackal Lantern!

Guess what I made this year for pumpkin carving?

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It’s a jackal lantern! (Curse your spoiler, you dumb headline!) Get it? Sometimes puns are sight gags too! I was considering giving it a Wedjat Eye to decrease the resemblance to an aardvark until I noticed Anubis isn’t usually depicted with one. Learning that real jackals don’t look as classy as ancient Egyptians led me to believe may be the biggest disappointment of my life since I discovered pumpkin pie doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as I imagined pumpkins ought to taste. (Reality never meets my great expectations!) My cat is too scaredy to eat in the same room as the Jack-o-lantern. She was fine with my Ewok-o-lantern, but she draws a line in the litter at canines.

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Talking Turtles Instead of Trek

Happy 50th Birthday, Star Trek! Had I realized this earlier, I would’ve saved my review of “A Piece of the Action” for this week. So instead I’ll be reviewing a vintage episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They both have ties to Paramount & Playmates so it’s not as random as it could be.

Wingnut & Screwloose will finally be on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this week! (I just noticed I have both “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” & “TMNT” tags. Which should I be using?) I am way too excited about this! In the meantime, checkout this TMNT short by Jhonen Vasquez.

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AMC’s Preacher Is A Compelling Creature

Generally speaking, I am a proponent of slavish adaptations. I allow more wiggle room for adaptations of corporate properties that’ve had decades to accumulate complexities like The F-Lash & Got Ham?, but  creator-driven works ought to be presented faithfully. (Why does neither Dirk Gently TV series  directly adapt Douglas Adams’s marvelous books? Why is the screenwriter who completely missed the point of I, Robot allowed to bastardize Caves of Steel next?) I thought television would be a better medium for Preacher than film because it wouldn’t need to abridge as much. So I was dismayed to hear that AMC’s Preacher (at least its first season) would be more of a prequel to the comics.

It is fortuitous, however, that I haven’t gotten around to reading the Vertigo (a DC Comics imprint, whose branding is absent from the TV series) Preacher comics by Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon yet. I certainly know of them thanks to things like Previews & Wizard Magazine. (Back in my day, we had to wait a whole month between spoilers!) So well diehard fans may take umbrage at the liberties taken with their favorite comic book, I’m enjoying the show as it rolls along. It’s not quite right to call it a prequel. Much like Bryan Fuller’s dearly departed Hannibal, this is more of a remix of various elements from the story. In that sense it’s a truer adaptation than something like iZombie, which took the Vertigo comic’s title & basic idea but none of the characters or supernatural cosmology. It hasn’t been lazily grafted onto a police procedural like Lucifer either. At least this adaptation does, however, feel like it’s in the same ballpark as the source material. So this overview will have more TV SPOILERS than comic book SPOILERS.

For a show with Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg at the helm, it’s classier than expected. Breaking Bad’s Sam Catlin may be partially responsible for this. Of course it’s not too classy that it loses its irreverent flavor. It’s full of striking vistas of southern desolation. The cast is the right ratio of pretty : looks like they’re drawn by Steve Dillon. Overall, it works better than I can imagine Sam Mendes’s aborted movie turning out.

One of the big complaints I’ve heard about the show is its lack of tonal consistency. For all I care, tonal consistency can take a long walk off a short pier! Why would I only want one tone? One of the best parts of Preacher is how nonchalantly it flips from one tone & genre to another. Sure, tonal consistency can have its uses in other art, but it’s got no business being forced upon this genre-bender. Unless it has maintained the consistent tone of “Garth Ennis comic” throughout. Cognitive dissonance for the win!

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