Me gusta leer y ver la tele

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Since it seems to have become some sort of Jhannian tradition, here you have this year's Halloween picture. As you can see, Dae and her friends are up to something, or, I should say, procrastinating when they should be working on something else. Anyway, I hope you have a fun Halloween, and that you enjoy the picture. Go scare little children now!

Friday, October 30, 2009


For the last few months, I have been listening to more podcasts than music on my iPod, and it's been a lot of fun. I know I've already mentioned a couple of them here, but I thought I'd make a more comprehensive list today. And yes, I know that listing four podcasts can hardly be considered "comprehensive", but you'll just have to indulge me.

The podcast by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier is the one I've been listening to for the longest time. I think it started about a couple of years ago (maybe two and a half), and I discovered it on episode nine or ten. I went back and listened to the previous installments, and I have been listening ever since. I have a bunch of favorite episodes I like to listen to again every now and then, and they always make me laugh. SModcast is supposed to come out every Monday, but the periodicity has been anything but regular. Still, 95 episodes are out already, so, if you've never listened to it, you have plenty of material to go through. Plus, they have recorded a couple of SModcasts live in front of an audience, and, needless to say, you can find the videos on Youtube (episode 88 and episode 95).

11 O'Clock Comics
This comic-book-centric podcast comes out every Thursday, and they have not missed a single week since they started doing it 79 weeks ago. It is hosted by Vince B, Chris Neseman, David Price, and Jason Wood, four friends who get together (through Skype) every Wednesday at 11:00PM to discuss comic books, and it is a blast. I discovered it last May, so I went back and listened to the fifty plus episodes I had missed, and I've been listening ever since. If you like comic books, this is a great podcast to listen to!

I only listen to this podcast occasionally, but it is more than worthy of your attention. Hosted by Dwight and Swain, Sidebar consists in conversations with artists from different media: comic book artists, illustrators, painters, etc. To give you an example of the wide variety of guests, Sidebar has interviewed artists such as Mark Brooks, Adam Hughes, Peter de Sève, and Drew Struzan. Yes, that Drew Struzan. I only listen to the episodes with artists I am interested in, but every now and then I'll listen to one that simply catches my attention, like their interview with Greg Manchess, which turned out to be a lot of fun. So go, check out their archives, and see if there is anything you'd like to listen to!

I have only listened to a couple of episodes so far, but suffice it to say this is's podcast on videogames. I have been watching Adam Sessler's Sessler's Soapbox show for a long time, and now that Adam has become the host of this podcast, I couldn't help but start listening.

So there you go. Do you guys listen to any podcasts you think we might all enjoy? Leave a comment and let us know!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

American on Purpose

I just finished reading Craig Ferguson's autobiography, the hilarious American on Purpose. Ferguson hosts The Late Late Show on CBS, and I confess I have never watched the show. I saw the book review on Entertainment Weekly, and I thought it looked like a fun read. Besides, the book told the story of how Ferguson, born in Scotland, always wanted to come to the US to work and live here. Sounds familiar?

The book turned out to be a lot of fun, and that lead me to Youtube, where I was sure I could find some clips from his show. In this one, Ferguson discusses his past as an alcoholic, something that features prominently in his book, which is why I think it is a good fit for this post. So check them out (both book and clip), and get ready to laugh!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Will it be it?

This Is It opens today, and for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few months, this is the movie made out of the footage that was recorded during Michael Jackson's rehearsals for his series of concerts that never happened. These are, in fact, the last images of Jackson singing and dancing before his death last June.

My question to you is: how much money do you think this movie is going to make? It is supposed to be in theaters for only two weeks, but the producers said they might extend it if the movie is successful. If the movie is successful? I don't know about you, guys, but I think this movie is going to make a ridiculous amount of money. People are going to rush to the theater in droves to see this film, both because he had lots of fans, and because tons of people will want to see his last performance before his untimely death. If you don't believe me, all I need to do is remind you of the colossal success The Dark Knight turned out to be. And yes, you could argue that was a great movie, and you'll get no argument from me, but we all know the death of Heath Ledger earlier in the year added a spectacular amount of money to the final tally.

Now, I don't think This Is It will get anywhere near The Dark Knight's final box office ($533 million domestically, and $468 million internationally), but I think it will easily make $150 million, and I wouldn't be surprised it if broke the $200 million mark domestically in its first (and maybe only) two weeks in theaters. Internationally, I would say about twice that, at least, but we will see.

So what do you think? Care to play this game and throw in your two cents? How much money do you think This Is It will make? The winner gets… hmmm… I don't know… some kind of present!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shock to the System

First things first. Halagan will hate this movie, I'm sure of it. I think he should stay away from this film and just assume the worst. I have a feeling he would deride the script and ridicule every single development in the story. He would feel he just wasted both his money and an hour and forty-eight minutes of his life that will never return. That said, I will confess that I loved this movie.

Law Abiding Citizen stars Gerard Butler as Clyde Shelton, a man whose wife and daughter are murdered right in front of him. Jamie Foxx, the attorney who is assigned to this case, plays it safe so he can score another conviction and lets one of the two killers walk away in exchange for his testimony incriminating the other guy. As you might imagine, the one that walks away is the one who actually murdered Shelton's family, and the one who is sentenced to death was "only" his accomplice. Needless to say, Butler's character isn't exactly thrilled with a system that lets killers get away with murder, and his vicious retribution will know no limits. The twist? He lets himself get captured and thrown in jail, and that's where he is orchestrating everything from. How is he doing it? Who's helping him? And why can't the DA and the cops stop him?

You can argue the movie is dumb, unoriginal, gratuitously violent, and that it tries to portray a killer as the good guy, but I disagree. For a vigilante movie, I thought it was pretty original, and the brutality of Shelton's actions is comparable to his heartrending loss. I totally sympathized with him, and I was gleefully clapping my hands every time one of the bad guys got what they deserved. Sure, sure, Shelton is a killer and no better than the ones who murdered his family, and blah, blah, blah, but hey: they did murder his wife and his five-year-old daughter, and justice was not served. I can picture myself in his situation, and I can completely understand what he does. What if somebody killed your family and leisurely walked away? Wouldn't you want to hunt them down and kill them? I know I would. Does that make me a bad person? I don't think so. I think I am just willing to admit what most people wouldn't because they know it's "wrong".

I think the best part in the movie is Clyde Shelton proving how the system is broken, and how eloquently he makes his point. Early in the film, there is a hearing regarding his being kept in prison without bail, and he argues that the DA didn't offer a shred of evidence incriminating him. Then he cites a couple of precedents and talks about how his civil rights are being trampled, and the judge agrees that he should be allowed to leave prison if bail is posted. And that is when Shelton, to the judge's shock, points out how stupid the system is, and how after he fed the judge "some bullshit precedents" he can literally get away with murder. He keeps pointing out what he sees as horrible flaws in the system throughout the movie, and his examples are so devastating that I couldn't help but side with him. It was just so much fun!

So yeah. The critics panned it, and Halagan would probably want to hit me with a crowbar, but I have to be honest with you: Law Abiding Citizen was great fun, and I will definitely get it on DVD when it comes out and goes cheap. A good time at the movies!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Don't Crack a Smile

A friend let me borrow the complete Record of Lodoss War on DVD, and while I enjoyed it, I don't think I'm going to rush to the store to buy it. It is your basic high fantasy story, and the one good thing about it is that the fights don't last for episodes and episodes and episodes. Then again, the series is only thirteen episodes long, so they didn't really have time to waste in pointless battles.

The one thing I missed was some humor. ROLW is serious stuff, and the heroes are out to defeat evil and save the world, and they never crack a joke, not even one. You know I love comedy, and while I don't require humor in a story for me to enjoy it, all this gloom and doom was a bit too much, and I wanted to yell at the characters to please lighten up and relax a little.

Other than that, I did enjoy the story, and I especially liked the elven girl, Deedlit. (Why? Because she's an elven hottie in a short skirt, why else?) So, if you're in the mood for some animated fantasy and you don't want to smile at all, then by all means check out Lodoss War!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Whimsy, Unpredictable

Once again, I found myself watching a Hayao Miyazaki movie. This time it was My Neighbor Totoro, and just like the other four movies directed by the Japanese auteur that I've seen, it was a lot of fun. Like Ponyo, this one is geared toward a younger audience, but it was cute, fun, and completely unpredictable. I am actually beginning to think Mizayaki's tales might be the most unpredictable stories on film ever, but perhaps I exaggerate.

I could go on and on about the themes and topics and elements in the movie, but you can just read what I wrote about Spirited Away, and that way I don't have to repeat myself. At any rate, I definitely recommend this movie to anyone who wants to have a good time!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

It's All Greek to me

Here you have my version of Thalia, one of the demigods from the book series Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan. I imagine she is actually less cartoony than this, but what can I say? This is how I draw, at least for the most part. So far, I have read the first three books in the series (there are five), and the fourth installment is waiting for me on my to-read shelf. Anyway, I hope you like it!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Bueno, ya tenemos la primera temporada de SGU, Stargate Universe, el nuevo spin-off de la mítica SG1. En esta ocasión nos cuentan las aventuras de un grupo muy variopinto de personajes que han sido transportados a una nave de tecnología "Antigua" (no porque sea la tecnología antigua, sino porque la raza de los antiguos la construyó) a cientos de años luz de la via láctea. Esta nave está un poco dañada, ya que lleva más de 100 años por el espacio y nunca llegó a ser tripulada por nadie.
La serie pinta muy bien. Los 3 primeros capítulos de presentación están currados, tanto en efectos especiales como con los guiones, y está muy bien que se despeguen tanto de la temática de SG1 y SG Atlantis. Ya veremos cómo evolucionan los personajes, pero en principio me gustan casi todos.
Como siempre, muy recomendable para todos los amantes de la ciencia ficción.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jam Piece

This awesome picture is a jam piece by Marc Silvestri and Whilce Portacio. Those of you familiar with the artists will immediately realize that Silvestri drew Witchblade and Portacio drew Dane, and those of you who don't really know the artists can just look at the signatures to see who drew what character.
This illustration is being auctioned on ebay as we speak, and the money will go to help the Filipino comic artists who lost their homes and property when Typhoon Ondoy hit. As inker Gerry Alanguilan says on the auction page, the remaining funds will go to the Philippine Red Cross, so this is your chance to get your hands on a great piece of original artwork and help those in need at the same time. The auction will end on October 23rd, so start bidding now!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


In a marathon session, I read World of Warcraft issues 15 to 23, which had been piling up on my coffee table for the last few months. I stopped reading the series after the first story arc (mostly) wrapped up, and I had been letting the issues pile up while I was busy doing other things. Unfortunately, Ludo Lullabi doesn't illustrate any of these, but Mike Bowden has grown on me, and he does a good job as the book's regular penciller. However, what I like the most is the story by Walter and Louise Simonson, old pros who once again prove why their names are legendary.

So, if you like fantasy, you could do worse than checking out WoW, even if you don't play the game. I don't, either, and I am thoroughly enjoying the series!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Director's Commentary

Hungry for behind-the-scenes information regarding the great War of the Witchblades story arc? Then head to and check out this long article in which Ron Marz and Stjepan Sejic reveal lots of juicy information about the earth-shattering confrontation between Sara and Dani. Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Terrific Trivia

I love Toy Story and Toy Story 2, so when Disney re-released them as a double feature I was immediately interested. I own the movies on DVD, but I had never seen the first one on the big screen. I did see the second one when it opened back in 1999, but the original I had only enjoyed at home. Therefore, and keeping in mind I honestly believe Toy Story is one of the best movies of all time, it wasn't even a choice.

I didn't care at all for the "Now in 3D" scam though, because, honestly, all the 3D does is improve the depth of what you're seeing and little else. It is definitely not worth the three extra dollars they charge for it, and I am sick and tired of overpaying for movies with no added value. However, I did get an unexpected bonus, and that was the trivia in between the two movies.

They had a ten minute intermission so that people could go to the restroom and, of course, buy more popcorn and disgusting Coke. I stayed put, though, and I got to enjoy ten minutes of trivia questions about the movies. I was playing against a seven-year-old, and she almost beat me! Since I've seen Toy Story about a million times, I knew all my facts regarding the first movie, but I had only seen the sequel two or three times, and that's where she had the advantage. At any rate, it was a great way to keep the audience entertained in between these two amazing films, so good job, Pixar/Disney!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fueled by Greed

The Old Man Logan story arc on Wolverine turned out to be lots of fun. Written by Mark Millar and drawn by Steve McNiven, OML tells a story that takes place fifty years in the future. All the heroes are gone, and villains rule the United States. An old, gray-haired Logan lives with his wife and two kids in a small farm in Sacramento, California, and he has sworn never to pop his claws again. Then an old, blind Hawkeye shows up and talks Logan into a road trip across the continent (in the spider buggy, no less) to deliver a mysterious cargo. Logan, who is hard-pressed for cash, accepts… and that's all I'm going to reveal.

The story was very entertaining, and the artwork was very good. Also, I like the fact this was done in the regular Wolverine series instead of as yet another miniseries. However, I also need to curse Marvel's name for trying to have their cake and eat it too. This is an eight-issue story, and the first seven are part of the regular Wolverine series. However, part eight was sold as a separate giant-sized issue, which makes no sense. Well, it does: so that Marvel could make even more money. More vexing yet is that the price of this "giant-sized" issue is $4.99. Do you want to know how many pages of story this "giant-sized" book actually has to offer? 32. Thirty-two meager pages of story for five bucks. And in a pathetic attempt to justify the price, the geniuses at Marvel decided to include a cover gallery with all the covers from the previous seven issues. Well, call me crazy, but I think that the only people that will be buying the eighth part of a story are going to be… let me think about it… well, maybe the same freaking people who bought the first seven and therefore have all those covers you are forcing them to pay for again? I don't want to say "fuck you, Marvel", but I think that's exactly what you deserve to hear. So fuck you, Marvel.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tropa de elite

Como nuestro amigo Finn ha decidido darle una oportunidad al cine policiaco, voy a recomendar esta otra magnífica película. Tropa de élite nos cuenta de forma realista la corrupción de la policía brasileña, la vida en las fabelas, y cómo las clases media/alta para más tocar los cojones van de "salvadores del mundo" pero sin tener ni puta idea de cómo funciona. Pues cuando las cosas se complican de verdad en las fabelas y la policía normal no puede entrar, llaman a la tropa de élite, un cuerpo de policía especial compuesto de tíos más duros que las piedras, que hacen el trabajo sucio. La peli no se corta, y cuenta las cosas como son: son polis pero torturan a la gente para sacar información, y si se tienen que cargar a alguien, lo hacen y punto.
La peli nos cuenta la historia de un policía de esta unidad que, como pronto nacerá su primer hijo , quiere dejar el cuerpo, pero antes ha de encontrar un sustituto para reemplazarle al mando de su pelotón. No hay persecuciones espectaculares, ni grandes efectos, pero no los necesita ya que cuenta una historia de verdad.

No cuento más porque sería destripar la peli y paso, pero es muy pero que muy recomendable.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Here you have the Buzzard, one of my favorite characters from Eric Powell's The Goon. I was going to say this is the first time I've drawn the Buzzard but, as it happens, it is the first time I've ever drawn any character from Powell's amazing series. Anyway, I hope you like it!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dragon Age

Check out this awesome video of Dragon Age, the new game by BioWare coming out on November 3. The video looks great, but I'd like so see some gameplay to get a better idea of what the game will be like. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Personal Vendetta

All the templars are dead. All of them.

I've been playing Assassin's Creed for the last month and a half or so, and it's been a lot of fun. Since I already beat the game about a year ago, this time I'm focusing on the secondary goals and tasks to unlock all the achievements I was still missing. The last two I had left were killing all the templars and collecting all the flags. I'm still missing a bunch of flags (not too many, though, but of four different kinds, so those four achievements are still locked), but the templars are all history.

After thoroughly exploring the Kingdom, I only had one left, so I downloaded a map from the Internet, and I visited the whole Kingdom of Heaven one more time, and all three cities as well, but the last templar was nowhere to be found. I decided to try all the cities one more time, and yesterday I managed to find the last templar hiding in a little cul-de-sac in Acre. Imagine my big smile when I looked down from the roof of the building I had just landed on and saw him down there in the corner. It was bloody, and it was good.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The End of the War

I finally got to read Witchblade issues 128, 129, and 130 --the second half of the War of the Witchblades arc written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Stjepan Sejic, whom I met at the San Diego Comic Con last July. As it's always the case, these books are great, and the end of the war is, if not completely unexpected, at least sprinkled with a couple of surprises and promising beginnings. Once again, I must urge you readers to pick up Witchblade, because it is an outstanding series. I can only hope Marz and Sejic will want to stay for many, many months to come!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Los que se han ido

Me ha costado tres años, pero por fin he visto The Departed, y me ha encantado. De hecho, me he pasado las dos horas y media que dura la peli pegado al sofá sin apenas moverme. Recordaba que Nash la había visto, y creía recordar que le había gustado, así que, pese a no tenerlas todas conmigo, decidí ponerla en mi lista de Netflix. Y como ya he dicho, me ha encantado.

Al terminarla, he releído la crítica que nuestro querido coblogueador escribió en su día, y debo decir que estoy de acuerdo con él en todo lo que dice. La peli está muy bien, y el hecho de que Scorsese se centre más en los personajes y su situación que en la acción y tiroteos es, en mi opinión, todo un acierto. Además, con los actores que cuenta y el papelón que hacen todos, como para no recrearse en los personajes. A Nash le resultó especialmente acertada la interpretación de Mark Wahlberg, que, estoy de acuerdo, probablemente es su mejor hasta la fecha, y debo señalar también a un increíble Jack Nicholson, comedido pero aterrador. Sin embargo, no puedo sino darle crédito a Leonardo DiCaprio, que creo hace un papel formidable. Llevo desde que vi Catch Me if You Can diciendo que el amigo Leo es, como mínimo, más que competente, pero en The Departed demuestra lo que puede llegar a hacer. Posiblemente por eso Martin Scorsese insiste en trabajar con él una y otra vez, tal y como su cuarta colaboración Shutter Island (que se estrena en febrero) demuestra.

De nuevo, y al igual que Nash, la única pega que le pongo es la coincidencia de que ambos protagonistas (Matt Damon y DiCaprio) acaben liados con la misma fémina (Vera Farmiga), y aunque no es tan improbable dada la situación de los tres, sí que pone a prueba la verosimilitud de la historia. Y, por supuesto, que la amiga Vera no enseñe más.

De todas formas, la peli ya tiene tres años y seguo que la habéis visto todos, pero, si no es el caso, haceos un favor y alquiladla. ¡Estupenda!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Qué recuerdos

Seguro que Nash sabe de qué va esta entrada. Hacía siglos no ya que no había visto esta clásica intro, sino que ni siquiera había pensado en la serie. Y, ni qué decir tiene, nunca la había visto en inglés. Echadle un vistazo al vídeo, a ver si no os suena de algo u os trae gratísimos recuerdos.

PD: Y no os perdáis el vídeo oficial de la canción completa!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Me aburro

El otro día recibí Valkyrie en mi buzón cortesía de Netflix, y me dispuse a verla. Pese a que me habían dicho que estaba muy bien, los constantes retrasos en su estreno, la pobre acogida que recibió cuando por fin llegó a la pantalla grande, y la extraña decisión que llevó a Tom Cruise a interpretar a un soldado alemán en la Segunda Guerra Mundial me hacían recelar. Un soldado alemán, debo decir, que ha perdido un ojo y luce un estupendo parche a lo largo de la película. Parche, que, de vez en cuando, reemplaza con un ojo de cristal que, una vez puesto, parece de verdad porque, obviamente, es el ojo real del señor Cruise. Ojo que, por otro lado, el amigo Cruise mete en vasos ajenos para transmitir sutiles mensajes, se pone en el bolsillo, y acaba en ni se sabe cuántos lugares más. Muy higiénico no me parece, pero a lo mejor soy yo el raro.

Aparte de esto, lo único que puedo decir es que la película trata de un intento de asesinar a Hitler, pero la verdad es que no llegué a esa parte, porque a los cuarenta minutos quité la película y me fui a leer Witchblade, que está mucho mejor escrita y es infinitamente más entretenida. Los primeros cuarenta minutos de Valkyrie son de un sopor, un aburrimiento, y una lentitud que tiran de espaldas; y digo esto literalmente, ya que acabé tumbado en el sofá leyendo la gran serie de Ron Marz y Stjepan Sejic. Y ahora que lo pienso, lo mismo me pasó con la anterior película del director, Bryan Singer.

Vosotros mismos, pues. Si veis Valkyrie, decidme cómo acaba... o no, porque me da bastante igual.

Friday, October 09, 2009


Whaddaya know, I actually enjoyed The Clone Wars. This is the computer-animated movie that opened last year as a prelude to the TV show, and I skipped it because I thought it was going to be awful. However, I did think the character designs were pretty sweet, so after accidentally attending a panel at the San Diego ComicCon where the voice talent discussed their work on the show, I decided to give it a try and I rented it.

The story is pretty simple: Anakin Skywalker and his new padawan Ahsoka Tano must find Jabba the Hutt's son and return him to the Hutt crimelord so that the Republic's supply lines can safely be routed through Hutt space. Nothing spectacular, true, and neither is the dialogue, which is serviceable at best (and awfully clichéd at worst). Plus, the time period the action takes place in means nothing to me and I really couldn't care less about what happens. So why did I enjoy the movie? Two reasons, actually.

The first one is, like I said a couple of paragraphs above, the character design. I find the cartoony look the characters have really attractive. Both Obi-Wan's and Count Dooku's faces are very cool, with all those bold planes and sharp edges and daring lines. And Ahsoka is plain cute, with her round face, her big eyes, her multicolored head tentacles, and her matchstick figure. In one word, this whole movie looks super cute, even if the animation feels a bit stiff.

In second place, Ahsoka Tano is a fun character. She is spunky and sassy, an adorable know-it-all, and his interaction with Anakin (who acts better than his human counterpart) is very enjoyable. She actually reminded me of an eighth grader, so I unexpectedly identified with Anakin having to deal with her, teach her, and train her. Which means that if you don't deal with eighth graders on a regular basis, this whole thing might be lost on you.

There you have it. The Clone Wars is cute and somewhat fun and little else, which I know is not a lot, but it is by all means way more than I was expecting. Should you check it out? Probably not. Will I give the follow-up series a try? Well, I just might.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Come Take a Bath

If I have learned something about Hayao Miyazaki's movies after having seen four of them is that you never know what to expect. Whatever happens next is always a mystery, always a surprise. His movies are so whimsy, so original, and so out there that I guarantee you have never seen anything like them.

That's what I was thinking last night as I was watching Spirited Away. I had no idea what the movie was about before a friend invited me over to watch it, and I could never guess what was going to happen next. In true Miyazaki fashion, there were spirits, there was magic, and there was a sense of everyday life and routine to it. The main character was once again a little girl, and absent parents also influenced the story somewhat heavily. And yet, even though Miyazaki uses several of the themes and topics he always features in his stories, Spirited Away was unlike any of his other movies except in what really matters: it was a lot of fun. So check it out and let us know what you think!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Making the Team

The first couple of pictures from The A-Team are out! As I've said before, I loved the TV show. I watched it everyday when I was little, and I have lots of good memories that are linked to it one way or another. At first I was unhappy about this remake, but I realized that it doesn't matter what they do with it because it won't alter the original show or how I feel about it. At the same time, I would like this movie to be great, but chances are it won't be. (Still, I want to see it.)

The van looks pretty much the same, and the picture of the main characters is not all that great, but you can see they look a lot like the original characters on the TV show. But I need better pictures to judge, because you can barely tell that's Liam Neeson as Hannibal or Sharlto Copley as H.M. Murdock. As for Bradley Cooper as Lieutenant Templeton Peck, I think that's a great choice, and I don't really know Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, but I hope he makes for a good B.A. Baracus. Plus, Jessica Biel is in the movie! At any rate, let us know what you think of the picture!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

La isla de los idiotas

Como todos sabemos, el tiempo en la soleada Jhanna transcurre de forma diferente al tiempo en la Tierra, y ésa es la razón por la que, pese a haber anunciado hace sólo un par de días que me acababa de comprar Harper's Island en DVD, ya he visto la serie completa y estoy listo para comentarla. Y, a diferencia de lo que pasa en esta producción del director Jon Turteltaub, no destriparé nada en los próximos minutos.

La serie no está mal, aunque no es ninguna maravilla. Es entretenida, el índice de mortalidad es espectacularmente elevado, y los episodios (sólo 13) te mantiene en vilo sin saber quién es el asesino hasta el final. (Aunque debo decir que, por una serie de razones, no me sorprendió demasiado.) Como suele ser habitual en este tipo de producto, los chicos son muy guapos y las chicas están de lo más buenas (ah, Katie Cassidy), todos con cuerpos cincelados a base de gimnasio, estricta dieta, y montones de ejercicio que ningún mero mortal está a la altura de duplicar. Los jóvenes actores son competentes, los diálogos están bien escritos, y la música misteriosa acompaña la acción perfectamente. Sin embargo, me molesta que, como en infinidad de otras películas, los protagonistas hagan cosas soberanamente estúpidas que desafían no sólo toda lógica, sino todo lo que hemos aprendido viendo películas y series con psicópatas sueltos durante los últimos veinte años. A saber:

Separémonos en vez de ir juntos porque así cubriremos más terreno.

2. Sí, sí: entremos en esos túneles oscuros para ver si encontramos a nuestra amiga desaparecida.

3. ¿Y qué me dices de ese conducto por el que hay que moverse a gatas o a rastras de lo angosto que es? ¿Ese conducto en el que, como te salga el malo estás pero muerto? ¡Sí! ¡Entremos a rastras!

4. Ahora que sabemos dónde NO está el malo y que no puede entrar aquí, vamos a seguir pululando por ahí en vez de quedarnos quietos en este lugar con los rifles en alto para volarle la cabeza en cuanto aparezca.

5. ¡Mira! ¡Ahí está el malo, justo delante de nosotros! Vamos a salir corriendo en vez de dispararle, pese a tener los rifles en la mano.

6. ¡Por fin hemos capturado al malo! Vamos a atarle las manos con estos cinturones y meterlo en una celda en vez de volarle la cara de un tiro a bocajarro. A fin de cuentas, sólo ha pasado a cuchillo a unas veinte personas en los últimos cinco días, y se ha probado de un esquivo, escurridizo, y espabilado que tira de espaldas. ¡Seguro que será incapaz de desatar los cinturones y salir de la celda!

Y ya sé que hay una serie de tópicos y convenciones que casi a la fuerza hay que seguir, pero me niego a creer que la gente sea tan estúpida, y que los personajes que objetan a tal comportamiento se dejen convencer por los demás. Como recompensa, acaban diñándola, y para ese entonces no puedo sino reírme y alegrarme de que reciban su merecido. Por imbéciles.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Limber up

I went to see Zombieland thinking it might be funny… and little else, so imagine my pleasant surprise when I realized I was enjoying myself a lot more than I dared hoping. A lot more, as it happens, than with most movies I've seen this year. Am I exaggerating? Well, perhaps I am still giddy after laughing so much, but what can I say? Zombieland is ridiculously entertaining, absurdly bloody, and spectacularly hilarious.

Jesse Eisenberg is funny as Columbus, but Woody Harrelson steals the show with his ultraviolent character Tallahassee, a southerner on a quest to find a Twinkie and kill as many zombies as possible, and to kill them with style and extra savagery. (There's actually a Zombie Kill of the Week award!) Emma Stone also does a very good job playing Wichita, and cute Abigail Breslin is growing up and starring in what has to be her edgiest movie to date. The interaction between these four characters (pretty much the whole cast right there) is dynamic and funny and sometimes even touching, and their dialogue is quick and witty and feels real and authentic.

But the best thing about Zombieland is that it never takes itself seriously. From bludgeoning a zombie with a banjo to smashing another one with a piano dropped from a window, the ludicrous and obscenely violent deaths combine with great one liners and a devil-may-care attitude that turn the movie into a laugh riot. And let's not forget Columbus's rules to survive in Zombieland, hilariously written on the screen and showing up at the most unexpected times. And talking about unexpected, there are a couple of surprises that I cannot even hint at but that almost made me die with laughter. (Something I can actually reveal: wait until the end of the credits, for there is a hidden scene.)

Does it sound like Zombieland is funnier than the last four comedies you saw combined? (Except for perhaps The Hangover.) Well, that's because it is, and it is even bloodier than Inglourious Basterds, another surprisingly phenomenal movie I saw recently. So go ahead and buy a ticket to Zombieland. If you survive your trip there, you'll find you might have just had the time of your life!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Harper's Island

I am excited about this show. It aired last Fall, and I just got it on DVD and can't wait to watch it. It is a murder mystery that only lasted for thirteen episodes, which is good and bad. I understand the creators of the show wanted each season to be independent but be linked to each other through a common thread. I guess the show didn't succeed in finding an audience, because its first season was also its last. However, since the mystery was supposed to be solved by the end of the season, that means the story will have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and it won't drag on and on and on for more seasons than necessary. Plus, at only thirteen episodes, watching the whole thing is an attractive, inviting proposition which I hope proves to be lots of fun. I'll tell you all about it when I'm done with it!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Slow Vengeance

Munich is one of those films best seen while doing something else. As a mater of fact, I am typing this while watching the movie, because, while it is well acted and directed, it is so slow that I find myself wanting to do something else to keep myself entertained. Only, shouldn't the movie be taking care that?

I am an hour and seven minutes into the film, and I find my attention faltering. What a difference from the first episode of FlashForward, a new ABC show I watched online earlier today and that I already told you about here. Still, I wouldn't say Munich is bad, because it isn't. Maybe I'm just not the target audience for this movie, or maybe I don't have an appreciation for really good films, but I want my movies to entertain me and make me forget about everything else. And right now what I'm thinking is: is that French guy the same actor who played the bad guy in Quantum of Solace? Because Daniel Craig is also in Munich, which would be an amazing coincidence. Or maybe not that amazing. Anyway, I think I made my point. Munich is over two and half hours long, and I already think it should be edited down to about half that. But I bet you guys have seen it already, so let me know what you think.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Regreso a Plutón

Después de varios meses de descanso, Plutón BRBnero, la comedia de ciencia-ficción creada por Álex de la Iglesia, vuelve a nuestras pantallas en su segunda -y creo que última- temporada. Hoy he visto el primer episodio (o el número 14, si nos ponemos técnicos), y mi opinión sobre la serie sigue básicamente intacta: es divertida y alocada, me gustan los diálogos y los personajes, pero su naturaleza episódica me hace difícil interesarme por ella a largo plazo. Afortunadamente, puedo ver los episodios en la página oficial de la serie gratis, sin intermedios ni interrupciones de ningún tipo, y los veinticinco minutos que dura cada entrega son el formato ideal para agradar sin empachar. Y la semana que viene, más.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Reading List: September

I read five really cool books this month, and I sprinkled that literary goodness with some entertaining manga and a bunch of amazing Goon pages. This is what I read in September:

Hellsing, volumes 1 and 2
A friend let me borrow this popular manga by Kohta Hirano that I had never read before, and it was a lot of fun. Hellsing is ridiculously gory and violent, and the mixture of vampires, religious agents, and over the top action is a lot of fun.

Smoke and Mirrors
This is a collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman, and I loved almost all of them. Gaiman is incredibly good at mixing everyday life with magic and the supernatural, and this book was a blast. If you've never read anything by the British author, take a look at these tales. I highly recommend them!

Hellsing, volumes 3 and 4
These were the last two volumes I read because my friend Brock didn't have any more. Once again, Hellsing proved to be a fun read, and now I want more!

R is for Ricochet
Kinsey Millhone returns in her eighteenth adventure, which is, like her previous seventeen outings, terrific fun to read. Can Sue Grafton do no wrong? I certainly hope so!

The Lightning Thief
This is the first book in Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and I loved it. The author mixes Greek mythology and modern-day characters deftly and manages to weave a past-paced tale of adventure, fantasy, friendship, and betrayal. Like the J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, Percy Jackson's adventures are intended for a younger audience, but adults will enjoy them as much as the target audience. As a matter of fact, the movie based on this book (the first of five) opens in February, and you can see the trailer here. If the film is half as good as the book, it will still be great!

El juego del ángel
Carlos Ruiz Zafón's follow-up to his massive hit La sombra del viento, El juego del ángel is as much of a compulsive read as his previous bestseller. The ending of this one is more open than La sombra del viento, and you might want to talk to your friends about what their interpretation is. Regardless of what you decide happened in the end, it doesn't really change the fact that El juego del ángel is a magnificently written story with phenomenal dialogue and great characters, and that you will love every single page. So go read it, and then come back and offer your insights!

The Sea of Monsters
The second book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Sea of Monsters is as much fun as The Lightning Thief was. Heavy on mythology, there are many echoes from The Odyssey all throughout the novel, and its fast-pace and non-stop action make its 280 pages a superfast read. I already bought the third one!

The Goon, vol. 7: A Place of Heartache and Grief
Eric Powell's The Goon is back, and this seventh volume is chock-full of quotable lines, dark humor, obscene violence, and laugh-out-loud scenes. At the same time, this book is really messed up, and some parts, such as the incendiary criticism of Oprah and The Secret will leave your jaw unhinged. You must read his book!

The Goon, vol. 8: Those That is Damned
More Goon goodness in this grammatically-challenged volume eight of Eric Powell's fantastic comic book. How could you not love characters like Franky? How could you not die laughing when he explains that karma is "when somebody tries to rip you off and ends with a knife to the eye"? How could you not be reading this book?

And that's what I read this month. Come back in thirty days for more (hopefully) great reads!