From those poly-bagged Marvel Comics and DC Comics two-for-one deals found on the local department store magazine rack, I deftly moved to the direct-market comic book store and all they had to offer.
It was there that I came across periodicals that featured sample chapters, biographies, focus articles and interviews with some of the writers and artists that I was just discovering – and growing to love. More than just monthly Batman comics, I was reading and adoring issues of The Comics Reader (1961-1984), Epic Illustrated (1980-1986) and The Comics Journal (1977-and still going, albeit online), full of tales of writers and artists and their influences, their work, and their craft.
Those sorts of industry and artistry periodicals have gone the way of most print zines, unfortunately – which is to say that they can now be found, somewhat fragmented, on online websites and blogs.
That twenty-first century paradigm is well and fine – but I do miss the hardcopy in-my-hand, comic book industry magazine, bought at the local comic book shop.
IDW Publishing looks to remedy that situation (along with distinctly twenty-first century tech) with the publication of the first hardcover volume of Full Bleed: The Comics & Culture Quarterly Volume 1
Takashi Miike’s been one of the biggest shock jockeys of Japanese cinema for eons. Ichi the Killer (2001) was a high-splatter mark for lovers of extreme gore, and Miike’s output has been an extraordinary arterial gusher. Blade of the Immortal is billed as Miike’s hundredth film, and while one could quibble (glancing over his Wikipedia bio, I count somewhere in the mid-nineties), the fact is the guy’s made an astonishing number of films. And he’s only fifty-seven!
Blade of the Immortal finds Miike plying his grisly gonzo in the service of a long-running samurai manga. Is the legendary director finally in danger of becoming a hack, or does his blood-slicked blade cut through one more time?
Mudbound is a fascinating, moving film from director Dee Rees. Set in the deep south during the forties, this adaptation of Hillary Jordan’s 2008 bestseller is deeply affecting but not without its own contradictions, a sprawling literary epic that feels somehow too contained.
Long and winding and fraught with bumps and pitfalls and massive industry, cultural, commercial and familial obstacles.
Resiliently plowing through these numerous impediments, Warner Brothers has finally made good on a long-standing promise to showcase the greatest heroes of pop culture on the silver screen – the comic book visages of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg, the Justice League, together for the first time.
It’s actually not technically the first time the Justice League has been together on screen. There have actually been numerous iterations of the group over the years. But the road taken for this particular Justice League, is an interesting one indeed.
To get to here, let’s take a quick look back at there, and all the previously mentioned hazards that nearly conquered the world’s greatest superheroes.
Just seven. Seven features over twenty-four years. That’s the sum of Andrei Tarkovsky’s output. Each one is a starkly entrancing masterpiece, evidencing a unique metaphysical vision. They’re about as far from easy films as you can get. They’re rich, nuanced and spare, and hugely influential in an oblique way. Art house giants like Lars von Trier and Terrence Malick owe a tremendous debt to Tarkovsky, and the existential science fiction of films like Stalker and Solaris casts a long, looming shadow into the present day.
Francis Lee’s debut feature God’s Own Country finds its soul in the rugged English countryside, bleak and affecting. Getting raves on the indie circuit, it’s a stark romance about a young farmer discovering his sexuality. But is it Brokeback UK, or is there more to it?
Noah Baumbach knows families. Not feel-good crap or five-hankie manipulated drama. Baumbach families are a lot like the ones we share, with real awkwardness, back-handed affection and incidental trauma wound up together in the loving bonds of our flesh and blood. Despite its precious title, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) captures its titular extended clan with a disarmingly frank gaze. Debuting on Netflix today, it’s among Baumbach’s best films.
Next week, Blade Runner 2049 releases to immense hype, sans the original’s helmer Ridley Scott. That this is a good thing is almost undeniable, after Scott’s belaboured Alien sequels Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. Instead, fans will get a new replicant iteration, courtesy of French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve. That’s unequivocally awesome, cuz Villeneuve has been doing great work for awhile.
Showcasing Villeneuve’s talents is an easy win for TIFF, and they’re showing four key films from his modest filmography this week, starting tonight, Thursday, September 28th, with the inscrutable Maelström.