Tag Archives: “nerd porn”

Watchmen

728_watchmen-2.jpgWhen the original Watchmen comic-book series began publishing, with a cover date of September 1986, the Cold War was still reality. The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, a battleground where it faced off against the U.S.-armed mujahideen, was still grinding on, and the threat of nuclear annihilation was nightmare material for anyone who lived near a big city in the U.S. The so-called “Doomsday Clock,” a symbolic creation of atomic scientists that attempted to quantify the likelihood of global nuclear war, was set at three minutes to midnight. I was a teenager in Pueblo, Colorado, living about 35 miles from the NORAD facility inside Cheyenne Mountain, where the military kept an eye out for a Soviet nuclear-missile attack. Movies like Dr. Strangelove and War Games, which had scenes set inside NORAD’s war room, had a special resonance on the Colorado’s Front Range. So did Watchmen.

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars

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My review of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is online at FilmFreakCentral.net:

Anyone over the age of 12 will quickly detect the distinctly secondhand elements comprised by Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a journey into George Lucas’ ever-dorkier galaxy far, far away that panders relentlessly to the tween demographic so prized by the Lucasfilm empire. This is clearly a Star Wars movie, borrowing design elements, stylistic tropes, and even specific camera angles and editorial strategies from the live-action films. But the kid-friendly strategies sink it—even the Knights of the Old Republic videogame is a more rewarding endeavour.

Wanted

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The most interesting thing about Wanted is that its protagonist is one of the most unlikable action heroes in memory — a smug, self-regarding asshole whose honestly distasteful misanthropy is at least refreshing in a genre that often relies on charming sociopaths to sell popcorn. As the film opens, Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is a hapless desk jockey working at a job he can’t stand for a boss he hates. (Somebody show this guy Livejournal, Facebook, anything.) He knows that his own girlfriend is getting screwed on the kitchen countertop by one of his office mates during the daily lunch hour. He types “Wesley Gibson” into Google and laments the returned empty page. He can’t get $20 out of the ATM because he doesn’t have $20, and he can’t get $10 out because the machine only dispenses 20s. And our little Sisyphus can’t get over the idea that, after he gets off work in the evening, he just has to get up the next morning and go back to work again. For those of us in the audience who long ago made our peace with real-world annoyances like earning a paycheck and polishing our résumés, Wesley expresses contempt in second-person voiceover. Presumably, dear viewer, you haven’t killed anyone lately — and that makes you a pussy.

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300

300, the ancient-Greek military adventure adapted from the graphic novel by Frank Miller, is drenched in sex and violence and boasts a repetitive, forward-reeling momentum that makes it feel like the longest videogame cut scene in history. (I kept thinking the bald dude from God of War would totally kick the Spartans’ asses.) If it were only brutish spectacle, executed with the inescapable élan that Miller’s stark and exciting combinations of word and image always brings to the printed page, it could be an invigorating diversion from the more nuanced, and infinitely more taxing, struggles of the real world. But with its fetishistic depiction of the nearly naked male body as nothing more or less than a merciless instrument of warfare, it fills a much-needed gap between gay porn and recruitment film.

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