This Week in Geek (13-19/06/16)


In the books department, got me A Midsummer Night #nofilter, and as for movies on DVD, Mr. Nobody, and a Richard Curtis romcom triptych, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and Love Actually.


At the movies: Love & Friendship adapts Jane Austen's Lady Susan, a shorter work that seems to be about a prototypical Austen heroine - full of wit and feminist pragmatism - but really turns out to be about an Austenian VILLAIN, or at least, anti-heroine. Lady Susan is a delightfully horrible person, a destitute widow navigating her way (and her daughter's way) around rich family relations and even richer husband fodder, a journey to stability that is probably too complex to fathom in one viewing (I've accepted that Lady Susan's plans were improvised and full of dead ends), but nevertheless amusing, with some outstandingly funny performances along the way. Director Whit Stillman even finds a way to juggle Austen's large cast, proving her stories can be made to clock in at the 1h30 mark without losing anything, keeping the pace up, and thus, the humor.

DVDs: Gamera, Godzilla's nearest competitor, starts her giant turtle life 11 years after GZ premiered, but in a similarly black-and-white film, lending it some gravitas and perhaps the illusion that, like Godzilla'54, it's about something (Hiroshima swapped out for the dangers of modern power production). But though they look like contemporaries when you file off the copyrights, the content shows Gamera to definitely be set in the Golden Age of kaiju movies, poaching such tropes as a the child empathic to the monster and a "one foot in the future" approach to its world. Derivative though it may be, the film does put in an effort to differentiate its protagonist from the King of Monsters. Gamera has Atlantean connections, is released from a glacier, is drawn to and consumes heat and energy, and can turn itself (I really want to say herself because turtle in French is a feminine word, but I don't actually know the monster's sex) into a flying saucer. But like Godzilla in his first outing, she's strictly a menace, at one point destroying buildings implicitly filled with people. Like GZ, she'll become Earth's guardian, but in Gamera the Giant Monster, that's only obvious to one very, very foolish kid. A lot of fun, nice period effects, plenty of destruction, what more do you want?

Netflix (it's also on YouTube): In the tradition of Manborg (but that can't ever replace Manborg in my heart), Kung Fury is a 30-minute tribute to high-concept action flicks, TV shows, cartoons and video games of the 80s, treated to look like a failing VHS tape. It's not a proper artifact of the 80s, but rather a crazy spoof that winks at EVERYTHING that fits the genre/period - riffs on Knight Rider and Street Fighter and Lethal Weapon and Back to the Future, plus killer robot arcade machines, time traveling kung fu Hitler, Thor and his gun-totting Valkyries, and a character called Triceracop. Anything goes in this this, and usually does. Don't look for a coherent universe; it's all sight gags, higher-than-high-octane action, and references to your childhood. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Books: Jonathan Franzen's Strong Motion, though published 9 years before The Corrections (an absolute favorite of mine) has the same troubled family dynamics, the same wry humor, and the same feeling that every sentence is a clever gem. In other words, I loved it. The story centers on characters dealing with a rash of unusual earthquakes in the Boston area, an over-arching metaphor for the shake-ups that occur in their own lived and following a similar pattern of inexplicability, shock, aftershock and settling into a new shape, with something of a similar journey for the reader when points of view jarringly (but by design) shift fairly late into the novel. When we find these characters, they are islands, unable or unwilling to connect with others, but strong (e)motion makes them crash together more than split apart, if only they can resolve their individual need to pay their karmic bills. A delight to read with its unusual points of view, its strong thematic resonances, and grin-inducing prose; I found myself daydreaming about reading it if I wasn't already.


Brendoon said...

Kung Fury: and don't forget to mention the original movie theme by the HOFF himself! I reckon the music vid needs to be watched in companion with the film, where Hasslehoff gets to play all the heroic parts himself!

Anonymous said...

Love and Friendship's running time probably owes a lot to it being Austen's shortest (completed) work. I was tremendously impressed by how well Stillman managed to tease a conventional cinematic narrative out of the novella's epistolary format, and Sir James Martin is the funniest character I've seen this year.

Siskoid said...

Definitely! Hilarious!

Andrew Gilbertson said...

Gamera is... unique, I'll give it that. And as ending solutions go, this one certainly... 'has the virtue of never having been tried.' :-)


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 Class 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 FW Team-Up 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 Shut Up Star Boy 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 Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Orville 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 Zero Hour Strikes Zine