Sunday, April 7, 2002

Made (Jon Favreau 2001): Not quite the comedy I expected; more a character study with a high humor awareness. Looks like mostly a money job for Christopher Doyle though he certainly shoots night better than most anybody else. See how many actors from The Sopranos you can spot; Favreau did a spot in an episode playing an actor trying to see how real gangsters act.


JSA: The Liberty File: Here's a glimpse at the commercial aspect of comics. The story is basically a 1942 epsionage thriller set in Egypt and Switzerland concerning those ever popular Nazi documents. So why the JSA or even superheroes? Money, really. How many comics readers are likely to buy a "mere" spy story especially without big names like Rucka or Azzarello? (Not to slight writers Dan Jolley & Tony Harris and artist Tony Harris who create a complex but plausible story with inventive graphics.) Still, the use of the superhero aspect in the second half shows that it wasn't completely shoehorned into an existing framework. In fact the whole thing seems to have been given extra clout by the then-revived JSA name though the JSA per se isn't in it and the appearance of the alternate-world Batman even though he was never a member of the JSA (as far as I remember). I'm assuming this alternate-world thing also accounts for the fact that all the swastikas are backwards as well as some things you couldn't get away with using the current conception of the Batman ("Your name is 'Bruce'?" "Shut up.").


The new issue of ICE reports that this August will see another four-CD Elvis box set full of 100 previously unreleased tracks. Where do they keep digging this up and who wants to buy it? I've heard my share of Elvis alternates (my share for a rock critic, more than my share for a normal human) and to be honest they're usually not worth the trouble except for the ones that remove dubbed strings, vocals, etc. These people generally weren't toying with arrangements and certainly weren't jazz musicians improvising differently each time. Makes me wonder: where's the Elvis remix album? Turn Fat Boy Slim loose on "Kentucky Rain," RZA on "In the Ghetto," Cornelius on "TROUBLE" or whatever.

By the way, ICE has brought back their daily news updates which are well worth checking out. Try the main page at I'd link directly but they seem to use outdatable URLs and have continual problems with the archives.