the Genocide Jumpoff Film Festival

over the thanksgiving weekend, (also referred to as the annual Genocide Jumpoff Film Festival) i checked out a few movies. the first film i watched was The Fountain, starring Hugh Jackman (the X-men movies) and Rachel Weisz (The Mummy movies). this joint is anything BUT Wolverine Versus The Mummy... it's a story about Love and Death. it's heady, well-acted and self-important. if you like stuff like that (i do), you might dig it. there are some wierd effects, and i thought the movie was pretty original/ballsy... which helps. i won't give away the plot, as i suggest it as a good date movie for non-stupid couples...

Next on the menu was the new Denzel Washington joint: Deja Vu. in addition to starring one of the best actors in America (just TRY to watch Glory without getting choked up, Tough Guy... I F^&$KING DARE YOU!!!), this puppy was directed by Tony Scott (Man On Fire, Crimson Tide, Last Boy Scout, Top Gun), so my watching it was a done deal! like any Jerry Bruckheimer flick, there's madd skills, madd drama, and madd explosions. oh. and a hot chick... like every good movie, this joint swings on the hemline of a fly honey. in this case, relative newcomer Paula Patton (Idlewild) gets the nod as the racially ambigous damsel in serious distress (as in, by the time we first see her, she's already dead)... but i've already said too much... go watch it ASAP!!!

next, i snuck into Casino Royale. i only watched about 60% of the movie, yet i can easily say this is now my favorite James Bond movie. without having much in common with the other Bonds, Daniel Craig (Road To Perdition, Munich) OWNED this role from the jump off!!! he is so believable as the lady killin'est, martini-drinkin'est, gun-clappin'est british bastard alive. Besides which, Casino Royale has the kind of nervous suspense the last few joints sorely lacked, driving me nuts throughout the time i was in it. i didn't see the very end, but i could tell it would end well, and i'll definitely go watch it again!



the reason i had to miss the end of Casino Royale, of course, was to go wander into Stranger Than Fiction, a movie i've wanted to see since i first saw the trailer months ago. i'm a big fan of the film's star, comedic genius and SNL alum Will Ferrell (Elf, Talladega Nights, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), but what excited me most was that the quality of rest of the cast (which includes Queen Latifah, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emma Thompson, and Dustin Hoffman!) suggested i would get more than the usual comedian-driven string of gags... and boy, did i!!! like Punch Drunk Love (the 2002 Adam Sandler/Paul Thomas Anderson collabo/absurd romantic comedy), this is a drama that you laugh at, about a likeable, yet truly pathetic human being trying to have the defining moment of his life... and in the case of Stranger Than Fiction's Harold Crick, that moment may be his last!

see, Crick is an IRS auditor that starts hearing a woman's voice in his head. but he isn't crazy! that voice is the narrator of a novel in which Harold is the main character. Crick is already getting sick of it when the voice lets him know that his death is imminent! Though pretty clueless, he's at least smart enough to find a literary expert to help him sort out what's happening and what he can do about it: a college Literature professor brought to life by veteran actor Dustin Hoffman (Runaway Jury, Outbreak, Kramer vs. Kramer), who acts as his counsel throughout the film. after at first concluding he was nuts, he becomes at least intrigued enough by his situation to help him along. without giving away the whole movie, i will say that this is the best film i've seen in a long time. the cast is brilliant and the story never overworks. it touches on so many subjects (writing and the creative process, life, love, death, and our fear of them) that could have been very heavy and sentimental , but treads them all lightly and avoids all the right trap doors. Ferrell submits to the understated process of acting, being funny without winking at the camera... and is BRILLIANT!!! i would recommend this movie to just about anybody, even though many people will be unable to enjoy it fully (like little kids eating food that's for adults), it will still be good, and good for you!

it's a GIRL thing...

Growing Market for Girls as Comic Book Fans:
"There was an audience here waiting, girls that watched 'Sailor Moon' and loved it," said Svetlana Chmakova, an artist who draws Japanese-style manga comics, for Cosmo Girl Magazine and publisher TokyoPop.
Manga has exploded in popularity here in the United States, and most of the fans are female.
North American manga sales have tripled in the last three years, from $50 million in 2002 to $155 million in 2005.
Sales of graphic novels — comics in book form that include manga — have tripled in the last five years... (more)

the new BC era

whenever people go into the whole "HipHop is Dying" funeral dirge, all i can think of is fresh underground acts like Harrisburg, PA crew Beyond Comprehension.
i mean, with crews spitting material like this, i cram to understand how hipHop can be dying... unless maybe it just dies periodically and comes back a few months later on some Jean Grey/Phoenix ish.

anyways, Beyond Comp (comprised of Stepp Savage, Subliminal, Sanjeev the SunChief, and whoever else they can put on...) makes rediculous noise on tracks like "Vibrant Health and Energy" (currently This Weeks Cut... click the link for a quick listen!), "Energize" and "Avalanche Rap" that sounds weird at first, but after about 30 seconds of it, it'll have you on involuntary head knod... their music is pure indie-rap genius!

i believe Sanjeev said it best on "Energize" :
"legend has it/
was a beat by Stepp Savage/
that'll have us breakin' bread and splittin' cabbage on the sabbath./
tap into my Chi, one of many forms of magic/
in a gauge, i'm a target like a semiautomatic (BLOW!)..."

you can't argue wit' that! so, go check out Beyond Comp on their myspace. while you're at it, Cop the Solar Diamonds Bootleg while yer at it! and tell 'em i sentcha!

holla!
samax.

j45 and samax together? now you KNOW you in trouble!

one of my all-time favorite MySpace peeps- resident ATLien GoldiGold- recently invited me to write a column for his new online newsletter Jungle Jem. so i decided to set it off with a 3-part joint entitled "Brotha Got Bills"... slide over to Jungle45 and check it out!
Goldi and the j45 squad are the real deal... you'll most definitely hear more from these cats in the future, so be smart like me and get in on the ground floor while the gettin' is good, fam'ly!

holla!
samax.

One Day Art Show

this is where i'll be tonight. Kristian Donaldson does art for hot indie books DMZ and Supermarket, so when i heard he was doing this one man show, i was geeked! i'll be at the show hosted by those fine folks at Zeus Comics (holla!), after which i'll go to Zubar for my own personal afterparty! come to either spot and look for me in my grown man hat... mention this blog and get a free sketch!

anyways, for those who can't make it (don't hate!), check out K.D.'s website: http://www.prodigalnine.com/...
a'ight?!
samax.

Reality Check!

my problem with crossovers like civil war is that they tend to be a little too heavy handed. looking for characters to kill off for the sake of the larger story, writers of these stories always come gunning for the characters i like best: 2nd and 3rd stringers. Blue Beetle, Blue Devil, Goliath, and (you guessed it) The New Warriors. yeah, Civil War starts out with the deaths of The New Warriors, a team of teenage heroes at the hands of Nitro, a dude who can cause giant explosions. the Warriors didn't shuffle off the mortal coil alone, as the calamity also blew up a school killing students, teachers and pretty much everybody around leading to post 911-type hysteria and all that... but the real tragedy of the series is the wiping out of the New Warriors.

the reason that sucks so bad is it came right after the release of a really cool New Warriors mini (now collected in the extra fresh trade paperback: New Warriors: Reality Check) by Zeb Wells (Spiderman/Doc Ock: Year One), with art by LedHeavy's Skottie Young (Human Torch). This book (like many books i've watched get cancelled over the years) was awesome. thanks to Wells' funny, fresh, and authentic dialogue and the hip bouncy art of Skottie Young, reading this comic is a lot like watching a cartoon. but unlike most cartoons, this one dips freely into the rich, wacky history of the Marvel Universe: The Warriors tangle with the Red Ghost's super-intelligent, super-powered Super Apes, Tiger Shark and the Armadillo... heck, they even square off with a Herald of Galactus (well... sorta).

That would sell it for me, but as an added bonus, this book really makes full use of the up-and-coming future super star Skottie Young! his grafiti and manga mash-up style is perfect for the youthful exuberence of this team. his characters are so animated that even simple conversations are enfused with energy, and of course, slacker-videogame-vanguard Speedball is especially fresh under Skottie's frenetic pencil. In addition to nice redesigns for Night Thrasher, Namorita, and Nova, Reality Check introduces two new characters to the team: a fat dude who talks to bacteria and germs, and my fave, a hot sista named Debrii. Young's design for Debrii incorporates all the stuff i dig: Black female with big attitude and a bigger afro, super-hero costume crossed with hiphop plain clothes steez, etc. NICE!

the premise is that the team is brought back together to do a reality show where the team roams around America helping small towns (who have no super heroes) with their SuperVillain problems, and as you might expect, hyjinks ensue!

the series was looking pretty fresh, and while i understand cancelling it... i sure wish they'da let the characters survive for new adventures. this book has that ingrediant that too many Marvel books lack: Fun!


holla!
samax.

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