Movies and books (mostly graphic novels)

Whatever Burgess Meredith was trying for as writer/director of THE YIN AND YANG OF MR. GO (1971), I don’t think he succeeded. The premise of this oddball flop is army deserter/literary writer Jeff Bridges (his debut) becoming embroiled in Mexican-Chinese crimelord James Mason’s (I was ready to accept his Chineseness as standard racebending of the time, but why Mexican?) blackmail scheme for an American defense scientist, only to have a literal deus ex machina (Buddha intervenes to swing Mason to the side of good) send the plot in a new direction. With Irene Tsu as Bridges’ mistress, Broderick Crawford as a CIA man and Meredith as an acupuncturist/crime boss, I’m not sure this is even worth one look. “Dublin moves to Hong Kong!”
CAST A DEADLY SPELL (1984) is a superb urban fantasy film, set in a 1948 Los Angeles where everyone uses magic, except for hardboiled gumshoe H. Phillip Lovecraft (Fred Ward), whom sorcerer David Warner hires to recover this obscure antiquarian book called the Necronomicon … What makes it work is the amount of offhand magic shown in the background (cigarettes lit with a touch, a cocktail shaker that shakes itself) and the matter of fact way everyone accepts the sorcery. With Julianne Moore as Lovecraft’s lost love, Alexandra Powers as a virgin (“All that smoke and not a lick of flame to back it up.”) and Clancy Brown as Lovecraft’s corrupt former partner, this is one of the best of TV’s fantasy films (easily my top three, and I’ve read a lot) “A flyspeck office, a broken-down car, an ugly tie—that’s what integrity buys you.”

Diana Prince — Wonder Woman is the third collection of the Amazing Amazon’s non-amazonian period at the turn of the seventies. To cope with sinking sales, DC reinvented Diana as a martial artist/boutique owner/adventurer, written by longtime artist Mike Sekowsky (who also wrote the makeover of the Metal Men at the same time, leaving me wondering if he’d always wanted to write, developed the itch over the years, or what). To Sekowsky’s credit, he manages to work quite a variety into these stories—political intrigue, sword-and-sandal, horror, crime drama—but I’m sorry, it just isn’t Wonder Woman.
Spider-Girl: Legacy was the first collection of Marvel’s long-running series following the adventures of May Parker, the daughter of Peter Parker (in an alternate world about 15 years along from current-day Marvel) who discovers she’s inherited his powers and, it turns out, his sense of responsibility. This collection traces her origin, her first steps into her new life and Peter’s increasing disgruntlement that his daughter’s battling costumed crazies like he used to do. A fun series from the first.

Spider-Girl: Last Stand chronicles the big finish (at least to date) of May’s saga, as her efforts to stave off a gang war are complicated by the Punisher emerging from retirement, a mysterious new mercenary and May’s clone April’s decision to turn hardcore vigilante. A good finish, but if there’s more down the road, I certainly won’t object.
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Marvels: Eye of the Camera is the sequel to Marvels in which Phil Sheldon remembers the day some rocket launch by an egghead named Reed Richards turned the world around, then follows Phil through the seventies and into the eighties as he copes with an increasingly dark world (“We saw eyewitness film of demons on the St. Louis Arch fighting some maniac who claims to be Satan’s son.”), his terminal cancer and his fear that nothing he’s done amounts to anything. Not up to the original, but very good; the high point is Phil’s incredulous response to rumors of Wolverine (“You seriously think the Canadian government employs a feral half-animal agent with claws growing out of his hands?”).

6 Comments

Filed under Comics, Movies, Reading

6 responses to “Movies and books (mostly graphic novels)

  1. Pingback: DC Super-Heroines « Fraser Sherman’s Blog

  2. Pingback: More books « Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: Reconsidering Wonder Woman (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  4. Pingback: Not going out on a win: Essential Wonder Woman Vol. 4 (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  5. Pingback: You’re a Wonder, Wonder—er, Diana Prince (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  6. Pingback: The super-hero formerly known as Wonder Woman (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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