Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chocolate Movie Trailer

I just finished the draft of the script I've been working on for the last several days, so the blog might actually get some real content in the near future, as I might break a bit before jumping into the next one.

In the meantime, either a reader or a junk-mailer (not sure which) has sent me a link to this trailer for Chocolate, an upcoming martial arts movie. It's coming out in time for Valentine's Day and looks to me like a good date movie if you're lucky enough to have a date who's into that sort of thing.

The director, Prachya Pinkaew, introduced the world to Tony Jaa with the film Ong Bak. The gimmick of that film, as with this one, is that all the martial arts stunts are done with no wires. Ong Bak suffers from a few things (besides the lousy script, which doesn't matter): First, Tony Jaa has the athletic ability of a superman but the charisma of a fencepost, and second, the movie has some weak directing and seriously poor editing choices; in particular, the director appears to be so impressed with Tony Jaa's Olympic-class gymnastic stunts that we have to watch most of them five or six times from multiple angles until they get boring.

So I hope Prachya Pinkaew has learned something since then and does a better job introducing us to JeeJa Yanin. This trailer suggests he has and does. Looks like it was brutal on the actors, though.

Mind you, this movie has existed for some time, but is just now getting to the States. Absolutely no idea how wide the release is for this, but if I can catch it, you can be sure I will. You can already read the reviews.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I, Too, Wear My Sunglasses at Night

So I'm over here trying to get some writing done (or weaving and breathing my storylines, at it were) and I have this goofy song stuck in my head, Corey Hart's one-hit wonder, "Sunglasses at Night." I'd never seen the video before, and I gotta say, it's pretty dang funny. Kind of a post-apocalyptic dystopia theme, or maybe that's just my imagination. So, did they arrest him for wearing sunglasses at night, or for using a phone booth? And what exactly is he doing to those prison bars at the end there?

Ah, I love the '80s.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

D. G. D. Davidson's "Dragonsaint" Available for Purchase

Sorry the blog's been so quiet. I've been dealing with other matters, most especially another writing project that has to take time from other things.

But if you really think you just can't get enough of me, the winter issue of MindFlights is now available, and it contains my novelette, "Dragonsaint," which, as promised, features such things as ancient legends, dragons, coffee, attractive women with glasses, dragons, wildland firefighting, dragons, unrequited love, and dragons.

You can purchase your copy at Lulu.

I can't help but notice that the beautiful cover art for this issue, provided by Anne Stokes, features a pine forest and a beautiful woman riding a dragon. Could this be an illustration of my...? Ah, but no. I see she's not wearing glasses. Wrong time of year, too.

(Did you hear that, Xena? Unrequited love! It has mushy stuff! You're gonna hate it!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour

Wow, it's that time again already, and it's the last day of the tour and I'm behind. But I'm here now. This month, the book we're pimpin' is D. Barkley Briggs's The Book of Names. This handy little guide can help any expecting parent pick out a name for the little one on the way. It gives a complete breakdown of popular names, including their origins and meanings, but also features a lengthy section on excellent but less common names. After that, it gives thorough lists and brief information on common names from various countries around the world.

For reasons unknown even to me, I happen to be fond of Astrid for girls and Rex for boys, but you may have a different opinion.

We should all thank Mr. Briggs for putting together such a handy guide...

Oh, wait. My bad. It turns out The Book of Names is a fantasy novel and I temporarily got this mixed up with my other blog.

You can see Briggs's website here and his blog here.

In sum, the novel features two adolescent boys who follow four ravens through an ancient gateway that leads into another, magical universe. The Christian Fantasy Review compares it to Lewis and Tolkien (yawn), but the premise sounds to me more reminiscent of George MacDonald's Lilith. This alternate magical universe, Karac Tor, is being overrun by the forces of eee-vil, led by a witch who's stealing names from a sacred book. Still reminds me of Lilith here, but I mean, names from a book? Can't we maybe suck blood or steal babies or something cool like that?

Okay, I admit I'm having trouble locating a plot summary that really grabs me (note: give me a concrete hook with less touchy-feely), so maybe I'll have to read it and decide for myself. One thing we can say is that is has really cool artwork by Brian Toy, so that's a plus. You can also get the first three chapters for free.

Let's check out chapter 1, shall we? First, after a rather nice map, we find a lengthy poem. Not really a very good poem.

Skipping the poem, we get down to the chapter itself, which focuses on Hadyn Barlowe, a young lad busy with his chores, which happen to include clearing a briar patch. The chapter focuses largely on Hadyn's attempt to describe the weather. He finally ends up with the metaphor of "A three-day-old slice of cheese."


The chapter picks up toward the end as the plot gets underway. It isn't especially compelling and spends too much time with the protagonist brooding before I know him well enough to care what he's brooding about, but on the whole it's not bad and might be worth a further read.

Here's Your Tour:

Sally Apokedak
Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Rachel Briard
Valerie Comer
Frank Creed
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Shane Deal
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Timothy Hicks
Joleen Howell
Jason Isbell
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Alice M. Roelke
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Timothy Wise

Friday, January 16, 2009

Simon Morden on Christian Fiction

A reader has pointed me to "Sex, Death, and Christian Fiction," a lecture given by Simon Morden at the Greenbelt Arts Festival of 2005. In sum, Morden lambastes the Christian publishing community for stifling creative writing, and Christian writers for putting up with it.

Here's your provocative quote:

CBA authors and editors censor fiction not just because of its potential to offend, but because it offers vicarious experiences that may be seen as sinful. If we believe that sin occurs in the mind as well as in behaviour, any vicarious experience we read about might give rise to sinful feelings or thoughts. If I write a sex scene, which might be entirely necessary to the story, I have to find a way to write it that does not encourage lustful thoughts. A description of a murder must not encourage murderous thoughts, and so on.

There’s a problem here. A hallmark of good writing is that it changes the way people feel. Writers are supposed to offer vicarious experiences, the more intense the better. A book which does not engage a reader’s emotions is dull and lifeless. I don’t want to write a book like that anymore than I want to read one. And yet, CBA fiction censors the vicarious experience, quite deliberately.

In Flannery O’Connor’s aesthetic, we are called on not to rule anything out, not take on God’s duties, not to apologise for God or avoid the ways of man. We are, in fact, to look sin full in the face and not flinch. I think Flannery O’Connor would have argued that the CBA approach to fiction is neither Christian or even fiction. She acknowledges the danger to the reader, but she does at least trust the reader. [more...]

And here's the money quote, further down: "A good message never saves bad fiction."


We do actually have a review in the works, but as usual, it's been delayed, and it may be delayed further, since I am tomorrow going into the lion's den--

That's right, Sundance.

I'll report later.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shipping Girl Genius (and Other Trivial Matters)

"Although strong drink is a mocker, I find that I need to be mocked."
--Othar Tryggvassen

Scene from Christmas: The Fairy Woods just aren't as pretty this time of year.

Admittedly, not much of import has gotten done around here lately. I've been bummed out for a few reasons I haven't discussed with readers. Mainly, I'm sad because my latest business venture (or "get rich quick scheme," as Snuffles calls them) has gone under. After I discovered that baking-cookie-scented candles already existed, I gave up on the Tossed Cookies Plug-ins, which I realized would not find a new market niche. I then came up with a new idea and began the difficult task of training small dogs to give massages, realizing I could sell them to pet lovers with back problems. Unfortunately, when the economy tanked, my start-up company, Shiatsu By Schitzu, went with it. Now I'm stuck with a bunch of miniature yappy masseuses, which I was unable to give away for Christmas.

The good news is, my back is feeling much better these days. A little higher, Fido.

Anyway, since this is a fannish website, we're talking about the possibility of adding a Shipping Department, which Lucky would run, supposedly, though she's also supposed to have a regular news column, and you see how that's turned out. Frankly, I didn't even know until recently that shippers actually, you know, did anything. I thought they just sighed a lot over their favorite fictional relationships, maybe wrote fan fic, and sometimes got ticked off at J. K. Rowling. But apparently some write "manifestos" in the form of essays explaining at length why two characters should get together. Who knew?

Personally, I can't think of any ongoing stories with characters I want to ship--except maybe Girl Genius (some spoilers ahead).

And I figure I better do it fast. For the last several weeks, the Foglios have been on "vacation," putting aside their main storyline and doing a comical version of "Cinderella" using the Girl Genius characters. This would be mere fluff if it weren't for the fact that this is the first time two sides of the comic's love triangle have actually met each other. At the heart of the comic we have Agatha Heterodyne, beautiful adventurer and mad scientist with a knack for building dangerous devices and getting into trouble. On the one hand, madly in love with her after getting to know her for all of about two days, is Gigamesh Wulfenbach, heir to the despotic Wulfenbach empire. On the other hand, liking her a lot after spending an evening alternating between trying to save her life, kill her, and turn her mind over to an evil demigoddess, is Prince Tarvek, descendant of the fabled Storm King.

As of yet, Gilgamesh and Tarvek have not officially met, but in this "Cinderella" short, they play the role of the "twin princes" and ham it up competing for Agatha's affections, and I've little doubt something similar will happen in the canonical storyline in the near future. And since the story has been building up to their meeting for the last, oh, half volume or so, and since the main storyline is set to resume tomorrow with the first page of volume 9, we'll undoubtedly find out very soon.

But forget them. We all know how that's going to turn out anyway. The bigger question is what's going to happen to the likable minor character with the best name in the series--Moloch von Zinzer. He first met Agatha while his brother was smacking her around, and then he pretended to be her beau for a while, and then he disappeared for a few hundred pages before showing up again as the Fritz to Agatha's Frankenstein.

But what's really important is that Moloch has an unrequited crush on the unfortunately named Wilhelm, a convicted felon with pink hair and a fetching overbite. Like most infatuated comic book men, when Wilhelm is around, Moloch acts like an idiot.

Shipping Moloch and Wilhelm--er, Moloch/Wilhelm, I should say--would be easy enough, but I notice that, recently, Moloch has gotten awfully chummy with Violetta the Smoke Knight--notice them acting all chummy in the background here. Moloch/Wilhelm...or Moloch/Violetta? I...I just can't decide.

Help, Lucky! I'm no good at this!

Monday, January 12, 2009

What if Starbucks Marketed Like a Catholic Church?

Let's take the video from yesterday's post and reimagine it, shall we? The couple, going to a coffee shop for the first time for reasons unknown, walks into a large Gothic Starbucks. They sit on one of the long benches while, around them, various "cradle coffee-drinkers" meditate on the Mysteries of the Goodness of Coffee.

Finally, the ritual begins: The barista enters and processes solemnly to the altar where he begins preparing the sacred drink. He holds up a bag of roasted coffee beans and intones, "We thank thee, oh Starbucks, for the gift of this French roast. Bean of the tree and work of human hands, it will become for us our caffeinated drink."

Then he begins working an Espresso machine. After producing a shot glass of Espresso, he elevates it and proclaims, "This is the cup of joe which takes away the sleepiness of the world." Then those gathered recite, "Java, I am grouchy in the morning, but only enter my cup and I shall become perky." At last, everyone lines up and proceeds to the front of the room to get his coffee.

The ceremony ends, presumably, with the prayer of St. Espressus of Java.

Through it all, our bewildered protagonists are checking their watches. No doubt, the inquiring couple leaves just as put-off as in the original version. This is why satires, fun as they are, can never bear close scrutiny: you see, a Starbucks and a church are two different animals. There's no good reason why either should work like the other. Starbucks ought to "market" like a business, not like a church--any kind of church. But as soon as we start talking about "marketing" Christianity, we're probably already in trouble, because we are already thinking of our religion as if it is a Starbucks. That's how we get trapped trying to make our churches relevant and end up making them look foolish, gimmicky, and as a result, entirely irrelevant. The problem with the Starbucks-church of the video is not that it works like a church, but that it is a religion (albeit a religion of coffee) trying very hard to look like anything other than a religion.

And really, do we want to serve religion like coffee? Think of what the young man says in the video as he approaches the barista: "I just want some coffee." He doesn't know a thing about the religion of Starbucks, and why should he? He's never been to one before. He has not been washed in the java. He has not tasted of the divine bean. He is an outsider, and yet the video suggests--whether it means to or not--that the barista ought to quietly give him his coffee and ask no questions. Is that how we want to treat our religion? Should we shuffle anonymous attendees through as rapidly as possible, handing out Jesus like cups of joe? Of course not. That works fine for a coffee shop, but it's hardly the way to operate a church. Instead of being so seeker-sensitive (and thereby driving away the seekers), this Starbucks ought to focus its liturgy on those who are already dedicated coffee-drinkers; they're the ones who are addicted and need their daily dose. This seeking couple, on the other hand, hasn't even converted yet. What they need is not a liturgy geared toward them, but coffee drinkers who will explain to them the benefits of the divine drink and possibly convert them. Only then can they truly share in and experience the divine mysteries of that oh-so-bitter but oh-so-good beverage.

"And I took the little cup out of the angel's hand, and drank it up; and it was in my mouth bitter as coffee: and as soon as I had drunk it, my brain was wired."

Can I get a javalujah?

Okay, but none of that really expresses my discontent with this incredibly well-made little satire. My first complaint is this: I want one of those "Where coffee flows through people" posters in the worst way. That's freakin' hilarious. But my other complaint is this: In my many travels, I have learned there are three places where one can infallibly find incredibly attractive women--Mennonite churches, Charismatic churches, and behind the counter at Starbucks. This video promised me that it would feature a church-like Starbucks--which means, of course, the possibility of gazing on a Charismatic Mennonite barista. But then the barista turns out to be some...some...some dude. It's like a big tease.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What If Starbucks Marketed Like a(n Evangelical Mega)Church?

Thanks to Joel at Crummy Church Signs. Having just been in Kansas recently and visited a Mennonite megachurch there, I find this really funny.

Also brings me bad flashbacks from my college days. Funny and well-made as this is, I think its creators have missed the point. They note the way these "seeker-sensitive" churches make visitors feel awkward (I attended more than a few seeker-sensitive churches when I was an Evangelical and I never felt awkward), but don't seem to notice the utter lack of reverence for the sacred. The real problem (other than Protestantism) with this sort of church is that it runs more like a business with an ad campaign and a self-empowerment seminar than like a religion. Where are the sacraments? The solemn rituals? The meditative prayer?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Not-So-Theology of the Body

I spent most of the day at a big gun show in Salt Lake City where I was doing "research" for my present writing project, which happens to involve a lot of guns. So I went and found the makes of guns I was planning to use and lovingly fondled them. I feel more confident now in the guns I've chosen; merely reading their statistics and looking at pictures doesn't quite compare to holding them while their owners scowl suspiciously.

As I usually do whenever I leave the house, I also picked up some books on such subjects as how to effectively shoot someone with a handgun, how to kill a man with your bare hands, and the niceties of guerrilla warfare. I refrained from buying additional books on other subjects currently of interest to me because I think I can get them cheaper elsewhere.

But while I was there, I also picked up one of those essential books that I have for some time been meaning to add to my library--Gray's Anatomy. It's easy to see why it's such a classic, but man, it's intense.

I believe it was Pope who said a poet must be a student of anatomy so he can describe lurid death scenes as accurately as possible. I see, however, that someone like me, who has only a basic anthropological knowledge of osteology, should probably start with a more, shall we say, user-friendly text. Let me give you a sample from Dr. Gray's work:

Its superficial surface is subcutaneous, excepting at its upper part, where it is covered by the Trapezius, and at its insertion, where its tendon is crossed by the axillary vessels and the brachial plexus of nerves. By its deep surface, it is in relation with the Lumbar fascia, the Serratus posticus inferior, the lower external intercostal muscles and ribs, inferior angle of the scapula, Rhomboideus major, Infraspinatus, and Teres major. [p. 313]


Y'know, I'm thinkin' to myself, maybe this should be our text of choice for Lent. I mean, how many people can honestly say they've read through Gray's Anatomy from beginning to end like a novel? And it doesn't count if you just look at the pictures.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Get Ready for the 2009 Lenten Read-a-Thon!

A reader reminds me that I need to give you adequate warning before this year's Lenten Read-a-Thon. Every Lent, we here at The Sci Fi Catholic have a fast--from fiction! That's right, we don't read or watch fiction during Lent.* Not even Battlestar Galactica!


Okay, I'm cancelling Lent this year.

Nah, just kiddin'. In addition to refraining from fiction, we choose a sufficiently meaty nonfiction work and make it our goal to begin reading it on Ash Wednesday and finish it before Easter Vigil Mass. Last year was The New Complete Works of Josephus, which I'm glad I read, though I don't think anyone else joined us for that one, since reading all of that in forty days is simply impossible for anyone with, you know, a life.

This year, we've chosen something thinner but still formidable, which means more of you have the chance to participate! Our text of choice is Pope John Paul II's Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology Of The Body. This is a new translation of the Pope's magisterial (rimshot) work on the subject of...well, of the theology of the body. We'll find out exactly what that is when we read it. If you happen to have the older translation of The Theology of the Body, feel free to follow along with your inferior copy. We won't make fun of you. Much.

Ash Wednesday this year is February 25. Easter is April 12.
Do you have what it takes?

*But I still write it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Movie Review: The Spirit

It's Miller time.

The Spirit, written and directed by Frank Miller. Starring Jaime King, Gabriel Macht, and Dan Gerrity. Lionsgate (2008). Rated PG-13. USCCB Rating is AIII--Adults.

Read other reviews here.

Razzie Awards Promotional Video

Before we begin, I'll just apologize for the MegaTokyo-like posting schedule we've had lately. I was on vacation, and then bad weather lengthened my commute home to three hours, and then I had to work on other projects. But I most certainly did not fail to post regularly because I was, say, reading MegaTokyo. (Man, that comic is deee-pressing. There should be a legal limit on the number of angsty unrequited love stories you can put in one place.* Or something.)

Now to get on with it: It's time to ruin my cred again. I don't care what everyone else is saying. I don't care if I'm out of step with 85% of the critics. I don't even care that, as a rule, I dislike Frank Miller's stuff. This movie is freakin' awesome. Don't get me wrong--it's not good. It's better than good. It's so bad it's good. It's so bad it's freakin' awesome. I laughed through the whole movie and continued laughing for a few hours afterward; in fact, I'm laughing at this movie right now. This is a dark film that can really brighten your day. It's not a date movie--it's better than that. It's a breakup movie. Take your girlfriend to see this if you want her to break up with you. It worked for me: Lucky and I are once again officially "ambiguous."

Based (probably very loosely) on the classic comic by Will Eisner, The Spirit is about police officer Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht), who dies one day and comes back as the trenchcoat-clad, domino-mask-wearing, wyer-fu-flying Spirit, who heals quickly from wounds and becomes Central City's official superhero protector, spending most of the time talking about how his city is like his wife or something. But when he isn't monologuing, he sometimes beats up bad guys.

As the second horniest animated corpse in theaters this season, the Spirit is irresistible to every woman he meets, and since most women he meets look like Eva Mendes or Scarlet Johansson, he's understandably obliging to their advances.

When he's not monologuing, beating up unimportant bad guys, or ogling Central City's numerous femme fatales (all women in this universe are femme fatales), he indulges his hobby of engaging in endless fistfights with his archenemy, the Octopus. In the comic, the Octopus was an invisible figure represented by a distinctive pair of gloves, but in this film, he's played by a scenery-chomping Samuel L. Jackson who yells all his lines and likes to play dress-up. In his corny dialogue, the Octopus reveals that he has the same sort of weird relationship with eggs that the Spirit has with the city. Don't ask me why.

Critics are calling the plot convoluted, but it's not really. It's just stupid. Turn your brain off and don't think about it and you'll understand it just fine. It goes like this (as explained by the Octopus during his interminable Gloating Scene after having captured the hero): Denny Colt is a cop. He dies. He comes back as an immortal thanks to a weird experiment conducted by the Octopus. The Octopus makes himself immortal too. Now, to become not just immortal, but really, really, totally immortal (the details are vague here), the Octopus wants to get his hands on the Blood of Heracles, which kills most people but will make him super-duper immortal thanks to that aforementioned experiment. He hires a nefarious antiquities collector to get him the blood. It happens that the antiquities collector is also seeking Jason's Golden Fleece for an avaricious gold-digger named Sand Saref (played by the fetching Seychelle Gabrielle in flashback and by the vampier Eva Mendes in the present), who also happens to be the Spirit's teen heartthrob. For some inexplicable reason, Sand Saref and the Octopus can't pick up their respective packages and go their separate ways; instead, they have to have a shoot-out and get their packages mixed up. That makes Sand Saref angry enough that she has to convince the evil antiquities collector to commit suicide, and then she has to Xerox her posterior and leave it at the crime scene, probably because she's an idiot. When the Spirit comes upon the photocopied backside, he recognizes it immediately and, convinced Sand Saref is involved in wrongdoing, gets all conflicted and stuff.

After that, Sand Saref and the Octopus have to arrange for an exchange of packages. Meanwhile, the Spirit hits on his doctor, Ellen Dolan (Sarah Paulson), argues with Ellen's police commissioner father (Dan Lauria), and gets stabbed by knife-wielding belly-dancer Plaster of Paris (Paz Vega), who Miller apparently throws into the movie just because he can. Eventually, he film climaxes with gunshots, a plethora of cheesy lines, some explosions, and a make out scene. Oh, and by the way, even the Angel of Death (Jaime King) is just another beautiful dame who wants to get her hands on the Spirit. She shows up several times for no reason.

Oh, where do we start? First on the list of so-bad-they're-good things in this movie are the so-bad-they're-good lines, lines like "I'm gonna kill you all kinds of dead," or "I'm the Octopus--I've got eight of everything." Or the exchanges such as, "I'm the only one who knows his body," "Lots of women know his body from what I hear."

But none of those are my favorites. My favorite bit comes from one of the Spirit's corny voiceover monologues: "They say you see your life pass before your eyes when you die, but all I see are women." Amen to that. But let's not forget the scene where he tells the children to brush their teeth and thanks all women everywhere for being "such beautiful creatures." Amen to that, too.

Then again, maybe my favorite is the nearly unintelligible line of Octopus's that they foolishly use in the trailer, "I'm gettin' El Spirit-o dead while I still can." Where the hell did that come from?

Second on the list of so-bad-they're-good things are the Octopus's sidekicks; besides his personal femme fatale, Silken Floss (Scarlet Johansson), there's his army of chunky clones (played by Louis Lombardi), all of whom have names ending in os, such as Pathos, Logos, and Huevos Rancheros, and all of whom have their names printed on their shirts.

Then there's the Octopus himself. Samuel L. Jackson goes overboard, and Miller lets him. Or, more likely, Miller, not an artist known for restraint, encourages him. He utters the movie's dumbest lines, which is really saying something when you factor in the Spirit's monologues personifying the city as a woman (everything's about women to the Spirit).

Frank Miller has demonstrated more than once that he is a man who doesn't know when enough is enough. He is a man for whom over the top isn't high enough. (Go read Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again if you don't believe me.) In this movie, he can't seem to decide if he's paying homage to Eisner or making fun of him. There are scenes (especially Jackson's explanatory monologues) where he doesn't seem to know what he's doing, and consequently his actors don't either. The final product is a mess; even its visuals can't rescue it, since it presents nothing that we haven't seen in those other digitally-enhanced comic book movies.

But who cares? The movie is still freakin' hilarious. I don't care if it's intentionally or unintentionally funny; either way, it's funny. It may have been universally panned by critics, but I predict it has a future as a cult classic shown in dorm rooms everywhere. It's a movie for guys who like bad movies, and I do mean guys, because I suspect it won't appeal so much to you lady-types. (Consider this our Twilight.)

What else? Oh yeah, as mentioned, it's shot in the same visual style as 300 and Sin City. I haven't decided yet what I think of these cartoony all-3D movies that try to look super high-tech and retro simultaneously. I admit I like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, though it didn't exactly leave a deep impression. I absolutely detest 300 and its obnoxious posturing that it uses as a stand-in for masculinity, but my disgust for the film has nothing to do with the visual style. As for Sin City, I can't hardly bring myself to look at it; I have a volume of the comic around here somewhere, but I imagine I'll die before I manage to read the whole thing. I suppose The Spirit's visuals are all right, but I wish it could decide what era it's trying to caricature; it looks like an old-timey film noir, but the characters have laptops and cell phones, which rather kill the mood.

Normally, I don't enjoy movies about philandering heroes (you will never get me to see another James Bond film unless its the one where his bastard children and the women whose hearts he's broken gang up on him and tear him limb from limb), but I'm all right with this one, mainly because, unlike Bond's girls, the women in this movie aren't pushovers who line up and wait their turns. In particular, Ellen Dolan, who appears to be the main love interest except she has nothing to do with the story, is constantly irritated with the Spirit's womanizing ways. The net result of all the Spirit's entanglements is that, by chasing all women, he's forfeited a real relationship with any one of them. The film certainly has fun with the Spirit's womanizing ways, but the final impression, at least that I get, is good: It's rather as if someone made Don Giovanni (the lighter interpretation of the opera) into a superhero.

Think of this as a high-budget B-movie. And proof that it only takes senseless violence and beautiful women to keep a man-child like me entertained.

Finally, if I haven't already made it clear you should see this movie, I will say this: this is probably your only chance to Samuel L. Jackson and Gabriel Macht mud-wrestle while hitting each other with bathroom appliances. Where did they get all those bathroom appliances???

Content Advisory: Contains coarse language, stylized action violence, brief nudity, sexual innuendo

The Sci Fi Catholic's Rating for The Spirit:

Myth Level: Has anyone figured out what this rating means yet? I haven't.

Quality: Medium (Looks good. Needs different director and script overhaul. But that doesn't mean it's no fun.)

Ethics/Religion: Medium-Low (blatantly racy)

*Yeah, you got me; I'm only sayin' that cuz I'm envious. That's some serious unrequited love angst right there.

Monday, January 5, 2009

An Open Letter to the New Battlestar Galactica

Dear Battlestar Galactica,

Hey, baby.

So you been away for a while. Quite a while, in fact. But I hear you comin' back. When's that? January 16th? I'll be there, baby.

Yeah, I know you heard the rumors. I know you heard I went back to that old, washed-up show I used to hang with. But don't you believe it, hot stuff. When you get back, I'm aaaaaalllll yours, baby. Just please put Tricia Helfer in a good costume for once. I mean, seriously, where'd you get those dresses? The Embarrassed Bridesmaid Boutique?

Hey, you think maybe you can put on a bikini like that old show always did? Man, she looked great in a bikini, even after all those kids.... Whoops, sorry. Just thinkin' out loud.

Where was I? Oh yeah. I'm all yours, baby. They don't call you the best TV drama for nothin'. After all, you rip off all the other TV dramas, so how could you not be? By the way, stop making Apollo a bastard. That's what you have Starbuck for.

You got lots goin' for ya, lovemuffin. You got Nicki Clyne...okay, you had Nicki Clyne...and you got Edward James Olmos, and you got Katee Sackhoff playing perhaps the only TV tough girl who I could actually believe was a tough girl.

But you know what I love most about you, sugar-dumpling? I love the guns. Oh yeah, the guns. First you tease me with a replica of the handgun from Blade Runner, but you don't stop there--you turn around and replace it with an FN Five-seveN, apparently thinking I won't notice. (And I dig the underbarrel grenade launcher. More handguns should have those.) Then, for a little while, you equip your marines with the FN P90; I guess when you factor in those Stargate shows, that makes the P90 the submachine gun of choice for military space operas. And then Starbuck carries two Vz 61s--oh yeah, baby, you know how I like it when you use two machine pistols at once. Actually, honeycakes, you're just full o' guns, an' I likes dat. That old, washed-up show tried to keep me satisfied with goofy laser pistols equipped with strobe lights, but you know what I really like.

Now where did these space people who've never been to Earth get all these guns, anyway?

Anyway, I'm just writin' you this little love note to say, welcome back, baby. And that old show won't be anywhere in sight when you show up. I promise.

Love ya babe,


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Progress Update

Okay, I've delayed the movie review once again (sorry). I'm going to write comic scripts tonight instead. My first goal is to produce a self-contained seven-issue miniseries that can potentially stand on its own or lead into a longer series. So far, in addition to about 22 other issues that are either completed or halfway completed, the miniseries stands as follows:

Issue #1: Rough draft complete
Issue #2: Rough draft half complete
Issue #3: Coolest scenes are already drafted; indulges my weird blood fixation
Issue #4: Haven't created the file yet
Issue #5: One scene is written, but I'm going to cut it
Issue #6: Coolest scenes are already drafted; doesn't indulge my weird blood fixation
Issue #7: Rough draft complete, but needs serious work

See? We have definite progress, though I can't believe I've written or worked on 22 other issues of this comic and I don't even have an illustrator yet...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Upcoming Review: The Spirit

Okay, I didn't make my New Year's resolution. But the review should be finished tomorrow, since it's almost finished now. I can tell you that this will probably be just about the only positive review of this movie you're likely to run into, since it's being panned for reasons I'm at a loss to understand. This movie rocks.

Winner, 30K for Christ

As long as we're doing some maintenance here, I'm uploading my badge for successfully writing 30,000 non-blog, non-e-mail words in November. I'm told I'm the only one who made it. See, it's because I'm doing stuff like this that I'm not posting enough. No really, that's my excuse.

Friday, January 2, 2009

What the...?

Yes, yes, I've been neglecting the blog lately. I know. But we're back from Christmas vacation, and my first New Year's resolution is to actually post a review tomorrow. I'm going to start with that and see how I do.