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The Cipher 03/30/11: “we haven’t even gotten to the part where it’s a joke”

March 30th, 2011 by | Tags: , ,

i’ve been noticing the fact

created: Wondercon’s this weekend. Anybody going?

-Rafael Albuquerque improved by leaps and bounds since his days on Blue Beetle.

-See that last comment in there? Dude that’s like “Sounds like someone didn’t do all their homework before pretending to be an expert.”? He asks me if I read Albuquerque’s Superman/Batman work when I call out both his covers right there. Why would you want to be that guy? The “Oh, sorry, let me correct you” guy?


that nothing glorious can happen anymore

consumed: I felt like talking about movies, I guess.

-Donate to the Red Cross and check out some Ron Wimberly sketches.

-Help fund Jay Potts’s World of Hurt hardcover.

-Buy Lauren Davis’s The Comic Book Guide to the Mission (when it comes back in stock).

-“Oh my God–we hit a little girl.” I hadn’t read this before, and that magazine cover is amazing.

-Here’s an interview with Ann Nocenti about working in Haiti, post-quake.

-I saw two movies this weekend: 13 Assassins and Sucker Punch.

-The worst thing about Sucker Punch isn’t that it’s sexist or misogynist. It’s that it’s awful. It’s inept on almost every level, save for Jena Malone, the stop snitching scene, and… well, that’s probably it. Even the colors sucked.

-How inept is it? Around an hour and forty-five in, Snyder realizes that he has fifteen minutes left and pop pop pop three people drop just like that. Push that story along, baby! On top of that, there’s a huge plot hole in that segment. The girls have to get something. They don’t. They use it anyway to save the day. Really? Who edited this? Who wrote it? There’s a big twist at the end surrounding the least sympathetic character. The music selection is so unbelievably -~POIGNANT~- and -~MEANINGFUL~- that I wanted to leave (no joke) about thirty seconds in, or whenever it was that the line “Some of them want to abuse you” from “Sweet Dreams” synced up to somebody’s abusive father leering at the camera.

-Somebody should revoke Snyder’s music licensing permission. The music wasn’t bad, exactly, but I felt like I was watching a thirteen year old make an anime music video out of his wet dreams. The metaphor isn’t even that deep, man. And the ending is awful.

-I went with some friends because a) it was cheap and b) I hadn’t seen some of them in a while and it seemed like a nice way to kill a Sunday matinee. We laughed, and hard, at the snitching scene. It was absurd, yet another moment of “Really? REALLY?” stacked on top of a million others. This guy next to us was like “Ha ha, real FUCKING funny” in that tone of voice where people go on to lecture you about something you don’t care about. I wonder how it feels to be that guy.

-13 Assassins, though.

-It’s the new Takashi Miike, and the story of 13 samurai (well, twelve and another guy) out to kill a dude who is basically Japanese Caligula. He’s the half-brother of the shogun, corrupt, almost cartoonishly evil, and has embraced his nobility to the point that other people aren’t even human.

-He’s played wonderfully by Goro Inagaki, with the perfect amount of distance and just… what, callousness? He isn’t evil, he just doesn’t care. There’s a hole in him somewhere.

-This flick is the most grown mannest, whiskey drinkingest, cigar smokingest, record playingest, old school Caddy drivingest movie I’ve seen in a long time. Honor, sacrifice, horror, and all that stuff Garth Ennis loves is in here, and it’s great.

-There’s a scene with a quadruple amputee (CG, I assume) that was incredibly haunting and led to a tremendous payoff toward the end.

-The last 45 minutes or so of the flick is one running battle, 13 versus 200, and the prize is one man’s head. The pacing of the scene, of the fights, and the moments between the fights is dead-on. It flies by, and by the end of it, you’re not ready for it to be over.

-I liked how the big battle began with what was essentially asymmetrical warfare and exploiting home field advantage. The men are all a little different, and the way they approach living their lives and bushido was all very interesting. One guy’s reaction to his first kill was great, while another scene set in a long alley with several swords was a really well done action scene.

-”Kill any of them that get past me.” I got chills. He was so real.

-I think what I liked most about 13 Assassins was how straightforward it was. No gimmicks, no stupid slomo, and no really masturbatory shots. There are a few comedic bits to break up the tension (much needed), but they don’t break the movie. Even the violence was subdued. Other than a couple of scenes, most of the blood is shed off-screen, and there’s one spot of nudity that doesn’t come off sexual at all. Due to that, the way that the blood eventually covers their swords is striking. It’s straight up chambara, no magic tricks.

-Oh no, I lied–there’s one gigantic gout of blood, but there was a really good reason for it.

-And something impossible happens in the epilogue, but I think I figured it out and I’m okay with it.

-Toward the end of the movie, and you can see this in the trailer, a man wipes the blood off his sword with his sleeve. That scene is fantastic, and didn’t go down like I expected.

-I’m trying to think of my favorite scene, but all of it was enjoyable. I watched it while eating a porterhouse steak and shrimp tortelloni alfredo, drinking cream soda from a bottle, and sitting in the dark. Great experience.

-It’s ten bucks to rent off Amazon (or iTunes, if you’d rather see it in HD). I waffled a bit–ten bucks is a lot to spend for a rental. Then I realized that I’d just spent six whole dollars on Sucker Punch and went ahead and copped it. I got my money’s worth. I’ll buy it on Blu-ray when that drops, too. I’m a fan, borderline stan.

-How good is this critique of that new Wonder Woman show by Adam Warren? All to the good, that’s how good. I don’t really care one way or another about the show (Zealot > Wonder Woman), but his points are on point.

-There’s a remake of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira coming, directed by the Hughes brothers and set in a Neo-Manhattan, after the Japanese swooped in on an economically vulnerable America and bought up the place, last I heard. The script’s probably changed since. A lot has been made about them casting white actors in the lead roles.

-I think they have a point, but at the same time: Yojimbo vs Fistful of Dollars.


-The situation isn’t exactly comparable, but I can’t imagine we’ll possibly get an American Akira with some white dude going by “Kaneda.” That’s stupid to anyone with half a brain. But my point, rendered as best I can while writing on the fly before I leave for work: I don’t think a not-Japanese Akira is a bad thing, in and of itself. There’s nothing wrong with remakes that put a film into a new context.

-Yojimbo vs Fistful is a good example of that. Both are classics, and I can’t tell which one I love more. Probably Yojimbo, because I watched it more recently.

-I think the biggest problem with a white Akira is the setting. Akira is fueled by a lot of things: the cost of power, science gone wild, nuclear fears, a certain type of street gang, and probably half a dozen more specifically ’80s, and probably Japanese, fears.

-It’s 2011. We don’t care about half that stuff any more. It’s like rappers still rhyming about pushing crack. It’s old. We have new fears, new things that will tilt the world off its axis and send us spinning off into space. The Akira remake needs to reflect that, and I’m not talking about Kenyan Manchurian Candidate Islamofascists hiding behind couches.

-If you’re gonna remake something, remake it. Don’t just try to translate it. That’s boring. Let Me In was pretty cool, and my understanding is that it took some liberties with the source material. If you’re going to adapt something to a new context, use the original as a base and then work within the confines of that context. Direct remakes are boring.

-If they do the work, I think an American Akira could be great. But honestly? The only faith I have in that movie lies with the Hughes. I don’t even know if I think it’ll ever actually get made.

-No way can they top the books, anyway. I wrote about it here and here. I own a couple color guides from it, too:

akira color guides

-So, y’know, as a huge fan of Akira, and a dude who is probably about to irresponsibly drop some dough on the colorized Japanese editions of volumes 2-5–maybe the Akira remake won’t be that baaaaahahahahahahahaha


we’ve run the gamut of our filth

David: I quit trying to save comics when I realized that comics wouldn’t save me
Esther: Action Comics 899
Gavin: Green Lantern Emerald Warriors 8, Incorruptible 16, 5 Ronin 5, Avengers 11, Captain America 616, Deadpool Team-Up 883, Incredible Hulks 625, Punisher In The Blood 5, Secret Avengers 11

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5 comments to “The Cipher 03/30/11: “we haven’t even gotten to the part where it’s a joke””

  1. Are you saying Let Me In was a translation or a remake? I loved the movie myself, but I think it was pretty much a direct translation of Let The Right One In, which itself is different from the novel both movies were based on. But I was totally cool with that, because both movies were so well done.


  2. @Kenney: My understanding of LMI is that it was based off the book, rather than Let The Right One In. So there are slight differences. The author has remarked on what an American film the remake is, and I felt the same while watching it. I’ll eventually get around to the other film, I figure.


  3. Regarding the casting, if they do set about doing an American re-interpretation of it, then it would make sense if the characters and the actors who play them reflect the actual real-life diversity of people in NYC.

    IDK, my stance as a bitter Canadian who consumes a lot of American culture, is that American re-interpretations of other countries’ or cultures’ stories are by default going to be obnoxious and self-fetishizing. Not sure if that’s fair or not, but there it is.


  4. @Maddy: I’m not sure if it’s fair, but I feel like it’s probably true, too. But I think that falls under the “90% of everything is crap” rule, rather than being something exclusively American. Good remakes are rare, but good movies are rare, too.


  5. If you liked that do a search at hulu.com for zatoichi and pop some popcorn