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I always forget to pimp my monthly review digest here on Tumblr, but anyway - here is the March edition of POP CULTURE DESTRUCTION, where I basically talk about stuff that catches my fancy. This month: ROBOCOP, Jeff Vandermeer’s ANNHILATION, Nathan Edmonson and Alison Sampson’s GENESIS and the Warren Ellis MOON KNIGHT reboot, among others. Oh, and very early thoughts on the KILL LA KILL finale. Hell yeah!
Isn’t this typical - you wait for, oh, weeks for the crop of genre nonsense teasers, and in the space of a couple of days you get not one, not two, but three of the buggers. Oh man, I haven’t written about trailers in ages, so let’s get this train wreck on the road already!
Here is Lana and Andy Wachowski’s latest flick, Jupiter Ascending. It is about white girl space princess (Mila Kunis), who gets saved by hunky white man space soldier (Channing Tatum). Will it (wait for it) ascend the space princess genre? Probably not, it looks boring! Okay, the production design looks nice, but not nicer than anything seen in any number of recent videogames. Actually, to push the comparison further, Channing Tatum looks like a custom male Commander Shepard that turned out all weird, but even less charismatic.
This one’s the trailer to what’s actually an adaptation of a Japanese “light novel” (meaning novel for idiot teenagers who are slow of reading) called The Act of Killing. But since Tom Cruise is involved it got renamed as Edge of Tomorrow. Fair enough! From what Wikipedia tells me it’s actually Groundhog Day but with soldiers in robot suits fighting robot things and whoops there’s my eyes glazing over. You know what looks like an actually awesome thing involving soldiers and robots that’s also coming out in 2014 and is not this nonsense? Titanfall! Tell me you wouldn’t rather play that!
Boo! It’s American Godzilla! Yay! It’s directed by Gareth Evans, who did the excellent Monsters, and stars Breaking Bad's Brian Cranston! I'm genuinely, if cautiously, excited for this, even if the soldier action opening this teaser reminds me too much of the third Transformers film for comfort. Still, that closing shot of Godzilla emerging in smoke is so good. That’s poster material, right there.
I am writing this in an aluminium tube many miles above the ground that’s taking me all the way to Amsterdam. For work, not pleasure, natch. But anyway. Enjoy this reawakening of Schlock from the slumber that was hiatus – not that there’s any difference between hiatus and regular working hours at Schlock HQ, mind. Whenever I visit, all I see is the Hive Mind lounging around on lawn chairs, drinking gin-based cocktails* and plotting genteel way of murdering one another. Except for Teodor who, as recently revealed, is actually a Playmobil figure.
Been thinking I might as well pimp this dumb pop culture review I do over at Schlock Magazine on this here Tumblr, so that’s what I’m doing. Anyway, contained within are opinions on the likes of Pacific Rim (I liked it!) Bioshock Infinite (didn’t like it!) and Gatchaman CROWDS (surprisingly liked it), among others, as well as short news tidbits and other such nonsense. Go check it out, or don’t!
So here I am, doing another “official” (as in for print) movie review. It’s actually a solid done for a dude! Anyway, Elysium. This Martin Ansin poster is actually not that good but it’s still better than that pile of generic that’s the actual Elysium poster. Join me in shedding a tear for the lost art of poster design.
The use of science fiction as a means of social commentary is probably older than the genre itself, and while all popular culture arguably holds a mirror to the society producing it (even if said mirror is, more often than not, of the funhouse variety), the genre is certainly an ideal for the pointing out of relevant issues. And what social ill is more relevant in these post-Occupy Movement days than the massive divide between rich and poor? The 1927 Fritz Lang masterpiece Metropolis cemented the image of the moneyed minority living high above the hoi polloi, and Elysium pushes the concept to a logical conclusion - in the year 2157 the wealthy inhabit the titular Elysium, a massive donut-shaped space station (technically a “Stanford Torus”, fact fans) where they enjoy a futuristic luxury lifestyle complete with robot butlers and quasi-magical cure-all machines. The rest of the population is stuck on on the far more massive slums of planet Earth, where life is brutish and robots are more likely to hand out beatings than trays of vodka shooters.
There’s a lot to make one cynical about Wreck It Ralph (2012) - from (apparent) pandering to the nostalgic 20-30 nostalgia demographic, to enough product placement to rival Foodfight! to its trying to do to videogames what Toy Story did to toys - it wasn’t looking to good for the film about the bad guy wanting to be good. Not for this cynic, at any rate.
BUT, despite a chunk of problems (the mechanics behind its universe are wooly at best, an overcrowded muddle of plots, a middle segment set in a candy pink product placement dystopia), Wreck It Ralph actually works as a movie with videogames as a setting, rather than simply being about electronic entertainment. Its being rather lovely to look at doesn’t hurt, and the voice cast (John C. Reilley, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch et al) adds a fair bit to characters that prove to be actually rather likable, if not lovable. The final message is still a bit of a mess (it tells one to both improve oneself AND suck up to what looks like a rather shitty situation), but there’s lots of heart and pushing of the emotional buttons at exactly the right times and amounts.
Bad looking film about a good guy who’s actually a bad guy in actually being rather good shocker!
Marco Attard, 2013
Cute enough trailer for what looks like a cute enough World of Warcraft clone. Is this free to play*? And if not, why do developers still insist on making subscription-based MMOs in this day and age? Just ask Bioware and the dudes behind TERA or that DC MMO if their ambitions were worth the trouble.
Mind, it might just become free to play in, oh, 6 months post-launch. Or it will die. So sad.
*what you think I’ll pay for an MMO hahaha you funny
cool MMO focus on exploration then just world of warcraft clone
Cree Summer’s voice is an awesome touch