What th -- ? Mark's Back!
ARGO: Finally caught this the other night (thank you, WGA screeners!) and count me among the film's many admirers. Exceptionally well made, great cast, great script -- just a blast. Even though considerable liberties were taken with the actual historical story, when a movie's this good I don't really care. (It's only when the movie blows AND totally misrepresents history that I get testy.) I also very much enjoyed the fact that besides being an edge of the seat thriller, it also offers a very funny peek "inside Hollywood" riff via the (fictional) producer played by Alan Arkin and the (non-fictional) John Chambers make-up artist played by John Goodman. The droll way Arkin's character makes a deal to option the Argo script is hilarious and, sadly, probably not that far from thousands of similar exchanges. Not sure the "Warren Beatty" power broker gambit would work every time, but it was still funny. Anyhow, the Hollywood side of the story (which I have to imagine was probably a smaller part of the overall rescue effort than the film suggests) gives Argo some bonus fun points.
FLIGHT: I'm halfway through, but wow, that's some flying, Denzel!
KILLING THEM SOFTLY: I don't publish bad reviews very often... I know what goes into making movies and TV shows, and even a misfire represents a whole lot of hard work by everyone involved. But this Brad Pitt vehicle just doesn't come together, and that's too bad, because everyone here has done excellent work in the past. SOFTLY aims (I think) to be a examination of how the criminal world has become as regimented and dysfunctional as politics, but in fact it's a rather tedious series of conversational interludes punctuated by (admittedly well staged) extreme violence. Adding up to... well, not much. Oh well. Looking forward to the next one!
INFINITE CRISIS OMNIBUS: Diving into the world of comics, I picked this monster of a book up because I heard one of my Superman stories was reprinted therein. Sure enough, a Superman/Wonder Woman crossover I did -- which evidently kicked off some massive DC-wide storyline -- is featured inside. It's a very well produced book, but I hope it's not a sign of early-onset Alzheimer's that I literally can't remember writing this story. I remember the CIRCUMSTANCES of the crossover, but that's about it. Anyway, if you have an extra $99 lying around and a very sturdy bookshelf, this is one big helpin' o' superhero action.
SPACEHAWK: I love Basil Wolverton, actually spoke with the man back in the early 70's (as recounted in an earlier blog post, my Uncle knew Mr. Wolverton through some long forgotten connection) and so any new collection is on my "must buy" list. Fantagraphics has done BW proud with this over-sized volume, full color with excellent reproduction. I've heard Wolverton compared to Fletcher Hanks, which, I'm sorry, is like comparing Orson Welles to Ed Wood. Both had idiosyncratic styles and their work could be enjoyed in various ways, but Orson was a genius and Ed was just out there sluggin'. Wolverton was a true genius and deserves every ounce of acclaim being heaped his way. We live in a golden age of exquisite reprint volumes and YOU NEED THIS.