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What kinda name is that?

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You Should Really Be Reading Mockingbird

Essays, Not Rants! 231: You Should Be Reading Mockingbird   There’s a lot to like about the new Mockingbird ongoing title from Marvel. For starters, it’s the next step in a really spiffy new direction Marvel’s been taking with their comics lately: diversity. In the past year-or-so, Marvel’s really stepped up their game with who’s in their comics. You’ve got Asian characters headlining their own series (Totally Awesome Hulk, and the fantastic-and-severely-under-appreciated Silk), and Spider-Man a

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Zombieland: A Treatise on Life in a Post-Consumer Society

Essays, Not Rants! 230: Zombieland: A Treatise on Life in a Post-Consumer Society   I mentioned it as a joke last week, but this week we’re going for it.   I’m so sorry.   Zombies have long been used as a means to comment on the perils of consumerism. Mindless hordes doing things without thinking for the few capable of independent thought to stand up against. Zombieland takes the conceit one step further, within the film self actualization is only possible in a world free of the shackles of trad

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Edge of The Empire RPG: The Characters

I mentioned in my last entry that I've been running a Star Wars: Edge of The Empire RPG with some friends over the summer. Which is great, 'cuz I love tabletop and I've got a good group. So I'm gonna be rambling about those games on here.   Let's start with the players; the crew of the Flying Flask. Character creation was a lot of fun back in June.   First up, we have Tengen'benwen'henfen, a Chiss Pilot/Commando who, uh, pilots the Flying Flask. Ten's ex-Imperial too and, as such, has an anti-es

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Untitled

I was gonna write a post lamenting pending (f)unemployment and the frustrating nature of job hunting, but I will instead talk about the PC's in an Edge of The Empire RPG session I've been running most of the summer.   This whole time I've been expecting them to pull an Avengers and come together for the greater good, but really, they're more like the Guardians of The Galaxy who'll screw up and spend more time talking about money (and not being paid by the Rebel Alliance) than doing the right thi

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Meaning Upon Meaning

Essays, Not Rants! 229: Meaning Upon Meaning   Every movie monster in the book has some sort of sociocultural commentary associated with it. Zombies are the embodiment of a fear of conformist consumer culture, vampires are the elite rich who drain the life of the poor, werewolves are your neighbor’s double life, Godzilla is nuclear terror made real. A lot of fun can be found in figuring out what these all mean. Is Zombieland about the isolation that comes as a result of being the only people spe

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Nothing's In a Vacuum

Essays, Not Rants! 228: Nothing’s In a Vacuum   San Diego Comic-Con brought with it a new teaser for Netflix and Marvel’s upcoming Luke Cage, featuring said hero beating up bad guys. Ordinarily, this would be cool enough, because, duh. But, before this butt-kicking takes place, we get a shot of Luke putting up the hood of his jacket. It’s a precise shot that focuses a lot of attention into the act: Luke doesn’t just wear his hood up, he deliberately puts it on before heading in.   Luke Cage is m

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The Beauty of Pokémon Go

Essays, Not Rants! 227: The Beauty of Pokémon Go   A recent issue of TIME Magazine (a magazine I usually like) ran a small article about Pokémon Go. In an article describing how the game “shows the unnerving future of augmenting reality,” writer Matt Vella describes players in Prospect Park as “a dozen people shuffling about haphazardly, their zombie eyes fixed on glowing phone screens.”   Okay. Fine.   Honestly, I shouldn’t be too surprised. This is the same publication that ran a cover articl

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Life Over a PokéStop

I live over a pizza joint. A semi-famous one that's more expensive than dollar pizza and too milky for my blood, but you get the idea. Also one usually hopping at 2am on a Saturday night for obvious reasons.   Anyway, this pizza joint is also now a Pokéstop. Which is preeeetty great 'cuz I can get a steady stream of Pokéballs.   But.   And this is the magical part.   Everyday, at some time at night, someone decides to put a Lure there. Now, Manhattan is full of Lures at night (must be when the P

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Excuse Me As I Geek Out About Rogue One

Essays, Not Rants! 226: Excuse Me As I Geek Out About Rogue One   A new teaser of sorts for Rogue One dropped and it’s the sort of behind-the-scenes sizzle reel that I go nuts for. You’ve got folks on sets, folks in costumes, folks with prop guns; all that good stuff. ‘cuz when you combine Star Wars with moviemaking stuff, you’re really going right up my alley.   It also helps that I’m incredibly psyched for Rogue One.   Right off the bat, there’s the obvious thing that I love the cast’s diversi

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Catching 'em All

Essays, Not Rants! 225: Catching ‘em All   Like many people my age, I grew up playing Pokémon. And man, I caught ‘em all. Literally all of ‘em. At least in Yellow and Gold; I got close in Ruby and that’s where I stopped.   So when Pokémon Go was first announced last year I thought it seemed really cool. Like worth upgrading my four-year-old phone for. In case you haven’t heard, here’s the skinny on Go:   It’s Pokémon in real life. You go places, your phone tells you there’s a Pokémon there, you

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Regarding Movies About Two Superheroes Fighting Each Other

Essays, Not Rants! 224: Regarding Movies About Two Superheroes Fighting Each Other   If you were to put 2016’s blockbusters in a museum, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War ought to be displayed next to each other. They’re the sort of movies that, when looked at together, take on a whole new dimension. Because one is far more successful than the other.   To understand why Civil War succeeds, you don’t have to look much better than at how BvS fails. Both movies have

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Sticking To The Obvious

Essays, Not Rants! 223: Sticking To The Obvious   I put off watching Spotlight for a while. It had a lot going for it — talented cast and the subject matter — reporters investigating child abuse covered up by the Catholic Church — was charged, tragic, and topical. Way I saw it, this was gonna be a heavy, intense movie. Hence putting off watching a presumably gut-wrenching movie   Which is why it’s so frustrating that Spotlight wastes so much potential in favor of being painfully obvious at best

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Top Nine Movies of 2015

Essays, Not Rants! 222: Top Nine Movies of 2015   Woah, it’s June, and I haven’t done of these yet? Big reason is because there are some movies that I still haven’t seen. Like Carol, which I really need to get around to soon. Then there’s The Room, which I really should see, but am not sure if I’m ready for the toll of that movie.   So anyway, here are my, at current, top nine movies of 2015, with an extra space left for a movie that catches me in left field.   9. The Martian It’s a well done m

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Visions of the Future

Essays, Not Rants! 221: Visions of The Future   There are a lot of things I like about science fiction, chief among them the genre’s capacity for using metaphor to discuss bigger ideas. Like how the original Gojira explored nuclear fears and Edwards’ Godzilla discussed the question of the relation between humanity and the environment.   But another thing I really like about science fiction is the way it tries to guess what happens next. Ender’s Game saw the potential of computer networks for a u

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Clever Stupid

Essays, Not Rants! 220: Clever Stupid   Hot Rod is one of my favorite movies. I’ve got its poster framed in my living room, and it’a movie that I’ve analyzed on this blog for its presentation of Rod’s mustache as a symbol of self-actualization. It’s also not a movie you’d expect to be analyzed, seeing as Hot Rod is, well, incredibly stupid. It’s about a (bad) amateur stuntman who needs to raise enough money to save his stepfather’s life so he can beat the stuffing out of him (and earn his respec

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More GOT Thoughts

Spoilers, obviously, for last night's episode.   It's more of me thinking about this tv show!     The overall pacing of the show isn't slow, it's just off. Almost like it's meant to be bingewatched.

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Being There

Essays, Not Rants! 219: Being There   It’s a stormy night in 1995 and you’re a college student just returned from a year abroad. During that time your family moved to a large house on the outskirts of town. A house, you discover, without anyone home that looks like it’s been stolen.   That’s how Gone Home opens, a game where you assume the role of Kaitlin and explore your new house, trying to figure out what happened during the year you were away.   Now, Gone Home toes the line of being a video

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Conflict of Thrones (Not BZP's)

I've been wondering why this latest season of Game of Thrones hasn't felt as enticing as usual, why it feels a little meandering-y. And I think it may be because of a lack of conflict? Last season had clear bits: Tyrion and Varys were going to Meereen (politicking their way there), Jon Snow was trying to save the wildlings (against Alliser), Jamie, with Bron, was trapped in boringland trying to get his daughter-neice back (against the boringones).   This season hasn't had that much of a conflict

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Superhero Stardom (A Response)

Essays, Not Rants! 218: Superhero Stardom (A Response)   There’s a recent New York Times article I came across that laments how the rise of the superhero genre has conflated actor-stardom with character-stardom. The article itself doesn’t really chase down the points too well, but the central gist (as far as I can see) is that in the recent slate of films, characters have come to trump actors. As Wesley Morris suggests in the article, when you watch Oceans Eleven, it’s George Clooney doing all t

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Graduated/Alumnus.

So yesterday, well, Wednesday, I was at Yankee Stadium for the all NYU graduation where the entire NYU class of 2016 commenced. Or did commencement. Whatever. Was cool. Today (Thursday), though, was the Gallatin graduation, the one specific for my school. Gotta walk across the stage and all that.   Did the thing.   Got a degree in Narrative (Re)Construction; now to find a job. But first, wooo!

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The Elusiveness of Fun

Essays, Not Rants! 217: The Elusiveness of Fun   What is fun?   No, not what’s fun to do, what does “fun” mean? Johan Huizinga, a Dutch guy that wrote a lot about play and what play means, said in his Homo Ludens that “this last-named element, the fun of playing, resists all analysis, all logical interpretation.” He goes on to lament that there’s, to his knowledge, no direct translation in a Western language that really captures what “fun” is (and if you check Wiktionary, you’ll find the transla

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Civil War, Again

Saw it at the IMAX midnight, as I tend to do with these sort of things, but the girlfriend's been bugging about watching it again (which, y'know, I wanted to too). Finally found time to do so today.   And hot dang. There's so much done in there that makes me jealous. Like, not budget or having a baddonkey fight choreographer, smaller choices that are genius. Like putting the camera here instead of over there, or not going straight to the reveal but panning over it to build tension (see the shot

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