Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 303, “Don’t Be What They Made You”

Gobbledygeek episode 303, “Don’t Be What They Made You,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

People get old. Claws get rusty. Movie franchises get tired. After 17 years of real-world time and 150+ fictional years, the time has come for James “Logan” Howlett AKA Wolverine to take a bow. In Logan, the final film featuring Hugh Jackman in his iconic star-making role, we’re introduced to a near-future bereft of mutants and full of sorrow. Logan’s mind is a potent cocktail of regret, pain, and futility. When a young girl named Laura throws him back into action, he takes the nonagenarian Professor X on the road for one last adventure. Though “adventure” is not a word one would use to describe this brutal, melancholy film, about as far in tone as you could get from any of the nine previous installments in the X-Men series. Paul and Arlo discuss the film’s worthiness as a swan song for Canada’s most violent, how it fits perfectly alongside Cop Land in director James Mangold’s canon, whether or not the very R-rated violence is gratuitous, and if in a perfect world this should be the end of the X-Men’s silver screen career.

Next: Paul and Arlo will be subjecting each other to yet another Geek Challenge. Paul must finally watch Tommy Wiseau’s infamous 2003 cult classic The Room, while Arlo is tasked with Sidney Lumet’s 1982 crime comedy Deathtrap.

(Show notes for “Don’t Be What They Made You.”)

Listen to ‘The Deli Podcast of Justice’ Interview with Eric Sipple

The Deli Podcast of Justice interview with Eric Sipple is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

For their first interview with authors from The Deli Counter of Justice, Paul and AJ talk to the other man who makes up the Deli braintrust: Eric Sipple. Eric discusses his start writing SeaQuest fan fiction, his introduction to the world of superheroes via Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film, how he created Carl Cook’s daughter Tabitha for his story “Pixelated” (who may wind up becoming the anthology’s Wolverine), and much more.

Next: Paul and AJ sit down with Rahne Ehtar, the author of “Without Masks.”

(Show notes for The Deli Podcast of Justice #3.)

Paul & AJ’s Top 10 Films of 2013

Let the top 10-a-palooza commence! Over the next couple weeks, Paul and I will be looking back at our favorite things of 2013. First up, films; next week, TV series; and finally, comics. As always, these lists are imperfect and incomplete, reflecting only on what we’ve seen and love at the moment. Or as Paul writes:

I intentionally refer to the films on this list as favorites, not best. I rank films based on how much I enjoyed them, for whatever ephemeral or esoteric reasons unique to me, not on some system of objective filmmaking truths. These are the ten films I liked the most. YMMV.

Regarding omissions, neither of us have been able to see Inside Llewyn Davis, which makes me want to die, but oh well. I also haven’t seen The Great Beauty, Cutie and the Boxer, or The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, among others. Meanwhile, Paul hasn’t gotten around to Her, The Act of Killing, Stories We Tell, Short Term 12, or Blue Jasmine, to name a few.

Here we go!

– AJ

PAUL: 10. WARM BODIES (dir. Jonathan Levine)

warmbodies

The zombie genre is by this point a bloated undead thing feasting on its own rotting flesh. But director Jonathan Levine (50/50) makes this adaptation of Isaac Marion’s novel fresh, fun, and full of life. Yes it’s a (very) thinly veiled Romeo and Juliet pastiche, but the two leads, neo-nerdhunk Nicholas Hoult and Australian beauty Teresa Palmer, are both engaging and committed. Hoult in particular gets praise for being monstrous and vulnerable, and for selling the cheesy-but-hilarious voiceover with nothing more than his eyes. Also, Rob Corddry as a zombie lamenting, “Bitches, man,” is the best comedic line delivery of the year.

AJ: 10. GIMME THE LOOT (dir. Adam Leon)

gimmetheloot

You walk out of Gimme the Loot immediately wanting to know what first-time writer-director Adam Leon is going to do next. His voice is sharp and fresh, chronicling a day in the life of two teenaged petty criminals in a way that feels authentic but never gritty. His Bronx streets are unvarnished, rife with economic and class divisions, but there’s so much damn heart. Newcomers Tashiana Washington and Ty Hickson give performances devoid of pomp or flash; they simply find the souls of these two aimless kids. They’re one of the most affecting screen duos in recent memory, in one of the biggest surprises of the year.

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Listen to Episode 149, “Wolverine Is the Bear”

wolverine

Gobbledygeek episode 149, “Wolverine Is the Bear,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

SNIKT! Logan, the samurai with the adamantium claws, returns for his first solo adventure in four years, since the unfortunate X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Good news is, The Wolverine is a better film. How much better? On that, the boys don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye, but they sing the praises of Hugh Jackman and his rippling physique, the surprisingly diverse cast, and the audacity to make an X-movie without a bajillion unnecessary cameos. Plus, Paul and AJ pimp good friends Eric Sipple and Mere Smith’s next venture.

Next: for the first time in a long time, we’ve got a non-Eric or -Greg guest in the form of Magdalena Burnham. Joined by her director, the two will discuss their forthcoming pilot Allies.

(Show notes for “Wolverine Is the Bear.”)

Listen to Episode 138, “Much Ado About the Great Pacific Trek East”

greatgatsby

Gobbledygeek episode 138, “Much Ado About the Great Pacific Trek East,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Soon–not soon enough for the Ohioan of the group–summer will be upon us. Swimmin’ pools and movie stars; big-ass movie stars, as a matter of fact. Robert Downey Jr. suits up as Iron Man once more, Hugh Jackman gets his claws on as Wolverine, Benedict Cumberbatch Star Trek(s) Into Darkness, and Leonardo DiCaprio is mad and stuff as Jay Gatsby. Plus there are smaller films, including a certain Joss Whedon production, as Paul and AJ guide you through 20 movies they’re looking forward to this hopefully warm and hopefully sunny summer.

Next: speaking of suiting up, Iron Man 3 is here, boys and girls.

(Show notes for “Much Ado About the Great Pacific Trek East.”)

Paul & AJ’s Top 10 Comics of 2012

We’ve already listed our favorite TV shows and movies of last year, and we’ve got a couple more lists just before the new season begins. Here are our favorite comic books of 2012; check back tomorrow for our favorite albums (though, considering our extensively detailed history of not knowing how to talk about music, with YouTube clips instead of commentary).

PAUL: 10. THOR: GOD OF THUNDER (Marvel)

Thor in 'Thor: God of Thunder' #1. Art by Esad Ribic.

There was a period of time when Thor was my favorite character in comics. The golden Walt Simonson era was for me the height of otherworldly sword and sorcery super heroics. And while its been quite some time since the character has achieved anything close to that level of wonder, in recent years he’s enjoyed something of a renaissance. From his “death,” to his literal return to Earth under the guidance of J. Michael Straczynski, to his big screen debut, the petulant son of Asgard is kind of back in a big way.

Thor: God of Thunder is the newest incarnation of the title, with the unlikely writer Jason Aaron giving us a triptych of thunder gods, a tale of an alien butcher seeking to torture and destroy all deities told across three different periods of Thor’s life. We see young, arrogant Thor (pre-Mjolnir) and his first meeting with Gorr the God Butcher; modern-day Avenger Thor going full CSI trying to solve the mystery of who or what Gorr is; and far-future Thor, old and broken, sitting on the throne of an empty Asgard, the last surviving god, waiting for Gorr to finish him. It’s a brutal, bloody, and fascinating premise, though I do wish Gorr was slightly more imposing-looking rather than just being a Voldemort rip-off. Aaron creates a genuine mystery and sense of danger with real stakes for our hero, and the painterly art of Esad Ribic suits the romantic epic nature of the story. It’s not quite Simonson-level Mighty Thor (there’s thus far no Beta Ray Bill here), but Thor: God of Thunder is the best the character has been in a long time.

AJ: 10. ANGEL & FAITH (Dark Horse)

Angel, Willow, Connor, and Faith in 'Angel & Faith' #14. Art by Rebekah Isaacs.

I know Whedon fandom is crazy, but I might just be the biggest Buffy fan on the planet. That’s a huge claim, and while I haven’t tattooed James Marsters’ face on my ass or anything (yet), it really is difficult to describe how much Joss Whedon’s world means to me. Without Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I wouldn’t be here today. You wouldn’t be reading these words and I would have even less of an idea of what I want to do with my life. So it pains me greatly to say that the canonical Season 8 and Season 9 comics, though they have certainly had their moments, are largely disposable and occasionally worse. But then there’s Angel & Faith, which has done the impossible, making a monthly comic book series feel like the weekly television shows we fell in love with all those years ago. Christos Gage knows these characters inside and out, both their voices and their motivations. It’s never a question of if the comic will tie back into the shows’ stated mythology, but when and how spine-tingling those connections will be. These are the characters I have loved for a good deal of my life in a story that’s being brilliantly told by Gage and brought to life with wonderful clarity by artist Rebekah Isaacs. If you’re skeptical about Buffyverse comics, you have every right to be, but this one should be a priority.

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Last Month’s Comics: ‘Uncanny X-Men’ Ends (Until the Next Issue), ‘Spaceman’ Lifts Off

Welcome to Last Month’s Comics, in which I discuss, uh, last month’s comics. I get my comics in bi-monthly shipments from Discount Comic Book Service, and as such, I can be a little behind. So here we are.

This column is later than usual, as I was a little preoccupied earlier this month, but for all those still madly wondering about what October 2011’s comics had to offer, here we go…

BEST #1

Spaceman #1
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art: Eduardo Risso
Publisher: Vertigo

I’ve read only a fraction of Azzarello and Risso’s acclaimed 100 Bullets, which ran for ten years from 1999 to 2009, but one needs no familiarity with their past work to be immediately sucked in by the opening chapter of Spaceman, their new nine-issue mini-series from Vertigo. It takes place in a weird, sad future, just a few monsters and flying cars away from the one in Joss Whedon’s Fray. Our protagonist is Orson, a monkey-ish man genetically engineered to travel to Mars, a trip the human race never got to make. Orson and his low-class friends speak in bizarre, disjointed slang; “okee” is how they say okay, and they actually say “LOL LOL LOL” instead of laughing. In this first issue, Orson has ominous spaceman dreams and becomes involved in the kidnapping of the adopted child of reality TV stars. Eduardo Risso’s art is terrific, Brian Azzarello’s storytelling immediately compelling. Choice line, as Orson’s alarm chirps “New day, new day, new day” while he opens the door on a bleak, cloudless future: “Why, you lyin machine…it’s the same fuck old day it always is.” (Plus: $1!)

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