What’s New on the Site
Get Excited for Monsters Again with “Kong: Skull Island” – Does the latest in the Kong lineage live up to its predecessors?
Let’s Get Spoilery and talk about “Logan” – A spoiler-filled look at the most recent in the X-Men franchise and legacy the titular character may leave behind.
What We’ve Been Reading
Clint’s Reading List
The Saga of the Swamp Thing – Alan Moore
Len Wein started this whole thing, but Alan Moore made it popular. Reworking the character into an avatar of The Green (the plant world), he first turned him towards Floronic Man and set them on edge against one another in a near-apocalyptic setting. I re-read Scott Snyder’s Swamp Thing run last week and revisiting Alan Moore’s has been just delightful, the ties between them really intricate on Snyder’s part and the plot really beautiful on Moore’s. This is a must-read for any comics fan.
The Hidden Life of Trees – Peter Wohlleben
This is one of the most eccentric and bizarre books I’ve ever read. The author discusses the intricate way that forests communicate, working on the ideas of wind and roots and leaf color, all to show the minute details of how trees communicate and what we are really missing out on. Tree parents, Tree children, the support and social aspects of plants (can you tell I’m on a plant kick this week?), all of it is so fascinatingly discussed. The author spent a lot of time working in parks and forests, learning this from personal experience before researching the scientific details. All of it comes together in a fascinating read. The New York Times did a great article on him, which will be included below.
Christopher’s Reading List
You – Caroline Kepnes
Caroline Kepnes describes the plot of You as a love story between voyeur and exhibitionist. The novel is told from the point of view of Joe, a quietly sociopathic book store clerk who in his own words is “ripped from a Bret Easton Ellis rough draft”, as he meets and quickly becomes enamored with a customer. The situation quickly escalates almost immediately from page to page, as he stalks and manipulates his paramour. Socially relevant and entertainingly told, it’s part love story, part horror story, filtered through a little bit of Chuck Palahniuk style and sensibilities.
What We’ve Been Watching
Godzilla vs. Biollante – Godzilla has existed in 3 eras. This is an entry into the second phase of Japan’s Toho films, the Heisei period. This was the first Godzilla movie I saw, viewed at the ripe old age of 6 (which I can barely remember) and with wonderfully cheesy English dubs. Everyone’s favorite kaiju faces off against a giant plant/human/Godzilla fusion named Biollante as the human soul within fights for its own form of peace. This is still my absolute favorite entry in the franchise and watching it makes me feel ten years old again, I can never get enough of it.
Samurai Jack – Well guys, we did it. Samurai Jack is back and he’s still trying to get to the past, but it’s awesome to watch. The new season is an ongoing story, less episodic and more structured around building to a conclusion. We have an interesting new cult made up of the Daughters of Aku and we have Jack, our hero, who has nigh-on gone insane. He’s lived 50 years in the future without aging, he is suffering from fatigue and guilt, and somehow he’s lost his sword. The animation is still beautiful, somehow even more smooth than before, and the plot focus is a welcome update to the former series. I’ve been rewatching that as well, by the way, and the Scotsman still makes my day with every appearance.
I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore – The Writing and Directorial Debut from Blue Ruin and Green Room collaborator, Macon Blair, I Don’t Feel at Home in this World anymore tells the story of two down-trodden neighbors, played by Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood, as they attempt to right some personal wrongs. What starts as a simple trip to recover some stolen items quickly spirals in to a deeper nefarious plot. But perhaps what’s even more interesting than the film itself, which I quite enjoyed for its humor, quirk, and bursts of violence, is the way in which the film has been distributed. Premiering at Sundance in January and winning the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Dramatic competition, the film was quickly bought by Netflix, and was put out by the end of February. Hopefully, this is a sign of the direction these films can take, riding the hype of a film festival and landing more quickly in places where we can see them sooner.