Thursday, September 06, 2007

Info Roundup

2 Days in Paris

I saw Julie Delpy's debut film a few days ago, a clear descendant of the Before duology. I have a lot of respect for Delpy as a writer and actress, but I think it was a mistake to make something that's so close to her career defining role. It's a pretty good movie, well shot and funny, but it never quite becomes anything more than just entertaining. There's a lot of indie movies like this, that are just sort of there, they have their moments, but don't become anything more. I prefer this to the contrived obviousness of a lot of mainstream Hollywood cinema, but indie really has become just as much a genre as action or sci-fi. I really enjoyed the movie, but it didn't stick with me in any meaningful way.

The New Yorker Festival

The New Yorker Festival lineup leaked a couple of days ago and it's quite well stocked. There's a panel on TV with David Milch and Ronald D. Moore among others, as well as a panel on superheroes with Grant Morrison. I went to Grant's signing last summer and it was an incredible experience, so I'm eager to hear him speak and hopefully get a chance to talk with him again. I'm also looking forward to seeing Milch speak, he's a phenomenal interview and will hopefully get the chance to go in depth on some John From Cincinnati stuff. I want to give the show some support, since I'd guess the vast majority of fan feedback he hears is asking for Deadwood to return. It's always frustrating when a challenging work like John From Cincinnati or Miami Vice fails to connect with an audience. It makes me fear that the artist isn't going to keep experimenting and will instead retreat back to something safer.

Upcoming Comics

I've got a whole bunch of comics in the queue to read. I'm almost through the first volume of Chris Claremont's X-Men: The End, a book I'll write more about once I finish the trade. It's a crazy mess, but has moments of genius. I'm just hoping the sheer amount of characters doesn't overwhelm the narrative. After that, I've got the first volume of Jack Kirby's Fourth World omnibus. Grant's introduction has me really psyched to check it out. I read the first trade of New Gods a while back, and liked it, though it is tough to adjust to the 70s writing style. Grant says Kirby was emitting ideas like gamma radiation at that time, a great metaphor for what the book is. The joy of it is the sheer assault of crazy concepts, something Morrison clearly picked up on. I'm hoping that reading the book will help me raise my game and get the creative juices even more flowing. One of the reasons I love comics as a medium is the unhinged nature of the reality. Fans are much more accepting of insanity than people in other mediums are, so the work ends up more creative and exciting. Nobody makes me think like Morrison and Moore do, nobody's throwing out as many ideas as Kirby is.

My New Project

Right now I'm working on developing an internet TV series based around some ideas similar to those crazy ones I was just mentioning. I've become so hooked on serialized storytelling and the way TV as a medium is able to develop ideas in a way that film just can't, so I wanted to do a project to take advantage of that, and it's easier to tackle a large scale story in small chunks. That's still a couple of months away from launch, but be on the lookout, I'll definitely post links here.


Jacob said...

You're absolutely right about indie movies - they're as calcified as anything else these days. Back when I was a kid "indie" could mean anything from a stuffy Merchant-Ivory drama, to Repo Man, to Blood Simple. Now they all seem tailored to mine that self-congratulatory NPR-listening, McSweeney's-reading hipster demographic and it's just so boring and predictable. Sometimes I sort of blame Wes Anderson for this.

The Kirby omnibus is gold and I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it.

Personally, while it's clear he was an amazing idea man and I really "got into" the story once I got "over" his habit of randomly "quoting" words, on the flip side it also puts Stan Lee's contribution to the Marvel stories in much starker relief: we make fun of his melodrama and alliterative dialogue, but Lee had a gift for revealing personality and generating empathy through speech whereas Kirby's Superman doesn't sound much different from his Jimmy Olsen. While I've fallen in love with the New Gods story it's also clear why it didn't catch on the way it could have.

Patrick said...

Wes Anderson's definitely partially responsible, Rushmore clearly prefigures the quirky dramedy that's dominated the indie scene. I enjoyed Garden State and liked Me, You and Everyone We Know, but each iteration of the genre feels more and more similar and less enjoyable. Enough calculated quirk! Either go full on strage or just tell a story that isn't reliant on calculatedly wacky people.

I've read a couple of issues of Jimmy Olsen so far and am really liking it. It's pretty nutty, and I can certainly see your issues with characterization. Everyone talks pretty much the same, except for Gabby and the ridiculous Noo Yawk accent. But, I feel like you just have to accept the shortcomings and appreciate the genius. My jaw literally dropped when the Newsboys' car went into the black and white photo panel. That was nuts.