The suburb of the soul.

Mad linkage:

Who is Arcade Fire?!

It seems like the theme of Sunday’s Grammys were “I don’t know who this person is.”

The most British movie ever.

The oral history of Party Down.

The Machinist‘s Brad Anderson to adapt J.G. Ballard’s Concrete Island, starring Christian Bale.

Robots to get their own internet.

You can buy the new Radiohead album this Saturday!

PLAY The Great Gatsby for NES.

Sex, drugs, and cannibalism: the Chilean miners’ story.

Fuck Yeah Lady Writers.

Hello! And RIP Uncle Leo.

House group proposes shifting Earth science funds to manned spaceflight.

This guy will buy you breakfast if you can explain Lost to him.

The science of heartlessness.

Michel Gondry is adapting Philip K. Dick’s Ubik.

from here.

Michael Moorcock on J. G. Ballard.

Sarah Jessica Parker wants to do a Sex And The City 3 and she wants to do it just for Benjamin Light.

What makes black holes so black?

Crystal Renn addresses her weight loss and maintaining plus-size model status.

The Criterion Collection is on Hulu Plus (and so is your mom).

Americans know so little about the bible.

James Van Der Beek to play himself on an ABC sitcom. Seriously.

Also: Aaron Sorkin to guest as himself on 30 Rock.

“We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind — mass merchandising, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant translation of science and technology into popular imagery, the increasing blurring and intermingling of identities within the realm of consumer goods, the preempting of any free or original imaginative response to experience by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel. For the writer in particular it is less and less necessary for him to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer’s task is to invent the reality.”

-J. G. Ballard

The sun unleashed a huge solar flare towards the Earth.

CBS News’ Lara Logan hospitalized after sexual assault in Egypt.

Living towers made of humans.

Hans Zimmer promises that the score for The Dark Knight Rises will be both “epic” and “iconic.”

Also, 1 in 5 films coming out in 2011 will be sequels.

Click here to see the beginning of something wonderful.

Natalie Portman cries a lot.

Who makes shittier movies, Guy Ritchie or Zack Snyder?

by Jason Brockert, from here.

Pakistan issues arrest warrent for Pervez Musharraf.

Whatcha thinkin’ about?

There’s a DuckTales comic coming out. How awesome is that?

Twitter, translations, and the new geopolitics.

The Onion’s AV Club interviews PJ Harvey.

Look at the trailer for this Dead Island game. I know nothing about this game, but based on this trailer, I want to play the fuck out of it.

Why the Oscars snubbed Christopher Nolan.

You rock, rock.

from here.

Why I want to fuck J. G. Ballard.

Maria Bello a reasonable replacement for Helen Mirren in the unnecessary remake of Prime Suspect?

An underground village in France where people lived for hundreds of years.

Jeff Mangum is touring.

Billy Ray Cyrus blames the Devil and David Lynch for his problems.

Facebook’s growing web of frenemies.

Justina Bieber doesn’t believe in abortions, even in the case of rape. Man… whatever.

from here.

Michael Emerson to star in Person Of Interest, the CBS pilot from J.J. Abrams and Jonah Nolan about predicting/fighting future crime.

Pitchfork gave the new Mogwai album a 6.6.

Top 10 famous people who didn’t actually exist.

Donnie Darko‘s Richard Kelly to do a normal, traditional thriller next.

What would Hüsker Dü?

There’s a campaign to replace the N-word in Huckleberry Finn with “robot.”

“I would sum up my fear about the future in one word: boring. And that’s my one fear: that everything has happened; nothing exciting or new or interesting is ever going to happen again … the future is just going to be a vast, conforming suburb of the soul.”

-J. G. Ballard

I like and respect Jill Thompson’s visual take on Wonder Woman.

Speaking of which, Adrianne Palicki is the new Wonder Woman (in that David E. Kelley TV pilot).

…and here is the audition tape for Tanit Phoenix, who didn’t get the role, that shows how obsessed the pilot script seems to be with breasts.

Iain Sinclair on J.G. Ballard’s favorite artwork.

The underage cast of MTV’s Skins pose in their skimpies in Elle. Now go crazy, people.

The age of consent around the world.

The businessmen drink my blood just like the kids in art school said they would…”

The guy who was raised by cats.

Operation B.L.O.G.

Three things today. Two of them looking forward and one looking back…

1. This…

…is hilarious to me. Art by a fella named Murray Groat mashing up TinTin with the Lovecraft mythos. Something about Hergé’s ligne claire style of art mixed with that lovable scamp Cthulhu is just perfect to me. I’m looking forward to Spielberg’s upcoming TinTin movie mostly because it seems like it’s Spielberg just geeking out and that seems fascinating to me since even when he’s at his zaniest, he’s still very controlled, very measured, never what I think you could call “excessive.” How great would it be to see that little French kid taking all tentacled Old Ones from beyond the stars that inspire madness at their very mention? That’s a recipe for box office success, yo.

2. Rumor: Matthew Goode as Superman in the Zack Snyder reboot? That’s bullshit.

I guess that’s better than Gerard Butler, Patrick Wilson, or Billy Crudup though. But, that said, if you’re worried that I’m going to complain about every little bit of news that pops up about Zack Snyder’s Superman movie, then… well, I have nothing to suggest otherwise. There’s a very good thing that I may do just that.

And, yes, also bullshit: That they’re still trying to push forward with the big screen Buffy The Vampire Slayer reboot. We’ll see if it actually makes it to movie theaters. But you should read the always classy Joss Whedon’s reaction to the latest news of the matter.

from here.

3. ast night’s season finale of The Venture Bros. was nothing short of amazing and more than made up for what was not so much a bad season but an unspectacular one. There’s just too much to talk about with the episode but I think the show found a niche that I’d like to see it explore more in the future (if it has a future): a one hour running time, which both allows the plotlines to breathe and run on but doesn’t ever stifle their growth. And, Jesus, they managed to wrap up like 15 storylines there too.

If this was the last episode of the show ever (a very sad but quite possible outcome), it was a worthy one. The show went back to it’s well: Balls to the wall failure and immaturity. Hank and Dean got a home school prom. All of the manly men struck out, dreams weren’t just crushed but stomped into the ground, and women are more than a whole other genre to the males of the show, they’re a whole other monstrous species. At first I was amazed at how long the “Rusty Venture” sex act gag went on and then it reached a point of equilibrium where I never wanted it to end. Al and Shore Leave were some of my least favorite characters (mostly because they, like Sgt. Hatred, were an incredibly funny idea that was literally beat into the ground over and over), but I kind of like that they’re the only ones that found happiness.

Is it sad that I not only loved the montage that ended the episode but almost found it as poignant as the final very musical moments of Lost from earlier this year. And, as if showrunners Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer didn’t have enough geek cred, I adored that the montage was set to Pulp’s “Like A Friend,” a song about how relationships are hard and that it’s easy to be yourself if you suck…

Who watches the Watchmen?

Reviewing the film version of Watchmen is inevitable but I’m going to give you two reviews. The first is the shorter one, the one for the more spoiler conscious, and the simplest and easiest to understand: The joke here is on us.

The second review… is about the same. The joke is still on us, not just as fans of the comic, but as people who enjoy good stories, decent acting, and quality filmmaking. Director Zack Snyder comes from the same slow motion then quick speed up school of snooze action as Peter Jackson, but not just that, he also has Jackson’s knack for diving head first into works that are far too big for him and then adapting them as if they were a piece of shit that just needed a flashlight and a camera pointed at them.

I’d love talk to you about the original comic, the graphic novel, and how in comparison to it’s greatness, the film is so horrible. And I will, but don’t worry, I am fully aware that I’ll be screaming at the top of my lungs in a room filled with deaf people.

As for the original graphic novel, by Alan Moore (whose name smartly, or perhaps sadly, doesn’t appear anywhere on the adaptation) and Dave Gibbons, I could talk forever. I’d love to, in fact. We could talk about the original Charlton characters that got switched over into the story’s characters (Blue Beetle becoming the Nite Owl and the Question becoming Rorschach), and we could talk about why there is no letters column in the back of each issue (Alan Moore opted to go with the text backups to offer more depth into the huge world he was creating and because he didn’t want to print fan’s letters; he didn’t want to give them the idea their feelings mattered and rightfully so). We could talk forever about the fractal nature of the episodes within the larger story and we could talk about the two tools of a writer that Moore always uses perfectly: resonance and juxtaposition. We could talk about all of this and more, but it comes down to something simple with the original story in that no matter how much you like the story, if you think it’s just good, or if you think it’s great, or even brilliant, you have to agree on something very simple: It works. It just does.

Watchmen the film, however, does not. It’s like taking half of a cliffs notes version of the original story and then making a music video out of it. Only the music picked never fit and the video? Not that hot either.

Tonight I went to a screening of this film – called ” the most anticipated film of the new century,” or so I overheard a barista say in a Starbucks the other day and the very idea of that sends chills up and down my spine – with my associates Benjamin Light and Occam Razor. “Now Watchmen fans know how I felt after viewing Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy,” Benjamin Light says, and I agree with him perfectly. I feel his pain here.

On the way home, we discussed how a lot of the reasons why some of the idiots out there will love this film is evocative of what’s wrong with a good deal of the filmgoing public these days: They love cool shit. They love cool scenes. On it’s own, that’s not a problem. There’s a lot of films that I hate, but they have great moments in them. But there’s no longer an understanding of what a film is anymore, that it’s more than just a collection of “cool scenes” thrown against a wall of projected light with the significant hope that maybe, just maybe, it’ll work. We also discussed how, despite it being a cliche of it’s own (and cliches are not something this movie is a stranger to), this film could not be more soulless. More so than The Matrix even, and that is quite the feat.

To save us all a lot of time, I’ll list off just a few things that are wrong about this movie:

  • The direction.
  • The writing.
  • The casting.
  • The frequent willingness to dive into pointless montages just about always.
  • The constant and bizarre violence that wasn’t needed – if it’s there for shock value, it’s a laughable shock, I promise you – and the weird gore that came with it.
  • The oddly graphic sex scene set to “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen (I will attach kudos to using the original song and not the Jeff Buckley cover) that was… a bit too much i.e. weird thrusting. Zach Snyder, you are a weird little kid.
  • The poor special effects. I know the marketing budget for this film was astronomically ridiculous, but where did the rest of the money go?
  • The cut corners in just about everything. Or, as you could probably call it, the watering down.
  • The score. It worked so much better on Beverly Hills 90210, I promise you.
  • The bizarre “cameos” by real life people like Pat Buchanan and Lee Iacocca.
  • The lack of the giant fucking Cthulhu-esque squid at the end. You know what I’m talking about. It would’ve been so big and so weird and so perfect. It could’ve been the opening starship pan from A New Hope. It could’ve… well, giant fucking squids just make everything better, right?
  • The way that the filmmakers took one of Time magazine’s top 100 novels of the last century and turned into a parody of anything good. The all too willingness to take a piece of quality material and do it anything but right. The idea that if Darren Aronofsky and Terry Gilliam or even an overrated schlub like Paul Greengrass tried and were unable to do this film justice that someone like Zack Snyder could. Seriously. The guy who directed 300? Come on.

Now, as for something that the film did incredibly right… Let me get back to you, okay?

Shockingly, Roger Ebert gave this film four stars, but if you read his review, he’ll tell you that even he doesn’t know why, or even what’s going on here. He gets one thing completely right though: This is a film complete without nuance and it’s hand delivered to an audience who doesn’t think complex thoughts.

One last pet peeve about the film before I pour myself a drink and try to put this all out of my head: In the theater for an after 9 o’clock showing tonight there was more than a few kids. In this R rated film with lots of violence (which I know, I know, I know that no one really cares about protecting our kids from) and some sex. There wasn’t just a few kids there, there were a lot of kids. I still get carded at times going into certain films or bars, so this shocks me. Why weren’t they kids given some long island iced teas so they might actually enjoy the movie while they were there? And more importantly, why weren’t they enjoying them at home instead with a marathon of Heroes episodes?

Eh, I’d love to say more here, or end this on a funny note, but what do you expect? The Comedian is dead.