This Week in Geek (10-16/09/12)


Bit of a DVD splurge... Parks and Recreation Season 4, Castle Season 4, 30 Rock Season 6, Doctor Who's Planet of Giants and Vengeance on Varos Special Edition, God Bless America, Red State, Walkabout, Midnight in Paris, Chinese Ghost Story, and Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame. The one I was most excited to see is already reviewed below.


DVDs: Parks & Recs Season 4 seals the deal as far as my contention that the show is more The West Wing than it ever was The Office. It's the year Leslie Knope runs for office, but that's not the reason. The reason is that Leslie has such a sincere love of government's potential for good and of the town of Pawnee specifically, it's something you don't normally see outside Aaron Sorkin's utopian series. It's The West Wing played for laughs, but in keeping with its spirit. There are very few shows that make me laugh out loud AND move me to tears, so I have to treasure them. Great DVD package too, with 4 of the 22 episodes available in extended cuts and more than an hour and half of worthy and funny deleted scenes. There's also a long gag reel punctuated by fake ads from the world of Pawnee, webisodes chronicling Andy and April's trip to the Grand Canyon, campaign ads, a music video (Warning: on Disc 3 which spoils Disc 4 episodes), various promos and sketches, and an awesome Knope 2012 campaign sticker I really want to put on something. But what?

Criterion's releases are so pricy, I'm always looking for sales, but I'm mostly happy getting their Essential Art House "on-the-cheap" DVDs. It omits most or all extras, and might even skimp on the size of the critical essay booklet. With Rashomon, you get something like three paragraphs and that's it. Thankfully, the film speaks for itself. Akira Kurosawa's 1950 classic was the first released to - or at least noticed by - the Western World, and it's since become one of the most referenced in all of cinema. Its structure - in which we see the same events from different perspectives - has been copied by everything from Hero to Star Trek: The Next Generation, but having never seen it, I still found it full of surprises. The central story is about a rape? That's really hardcore. I'm also shocked whenever Kurosawa springs a supernatural element on his audience. But most shocking of all is how moved I was at the very end, at what the film says about the human condition, at how profound it all is. And it's a shock because every other story that poached this structure has turned it into a reason not to connect emotionally with it. They're intellectual puzzles, and often quite satisfying, but because you can't trust the story tellers, a wall springs up between your mind and your heart. The secret is to make you connect with the people hearing the story's many viewpoints, because you're in the same situation. Rashomon makes you empathize with the smallest roles in the film. It's magic.

Hyperion to a Satyr posts this week:
III.iii. The Confessional - Fodor (2007)

Your Daily Splash Page this week features a splash from every DC title, alphabetically, from Batman and Robin to Batman Family.


Anonymous said...

Good call on how most "Rashomon" homages fail to connect with the audience. Kind of like how most "Twilight Zone" remakes go straight to Dystopian Setting With Bleak Twist Ending (which usually isn't even a twist) and forget the human-ness that was at the heart of every good TZ episode.

Ever seen "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai"? It's got parts full of Rashomonny goodness. The movie's about Forrest Whitaker trying to live by the code of the Samurai as a hired gun for some mobsters going through hard times, and I could be wrong, but I suspect they have directly lifted lots of character types and themes directly from Japanese films. Someone more versed in Japanese cinema would know.

I am a 45 year old man and even I want to join the Pawnee Goddesses.

Siskoid said...

I'm a big fan of Ghost Dog. There must be a capsule review for it somewhere in here.


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine