Friday, October 18, 2002

Here's a real "d'oh" moment: Writer in the Sept 20th Entertainment Weekly calls mini-CDs a "truly original idea" despite the fact that EPs have been around for at least four decades and that the mini-CD name itself at least one decade.


Retired e-mail sig file:

Violinist Bauer-Lechner on Mahler:

"The first thing he composed on paper at the

age of six was a polka, to which he added a

funeral march as an introduction."

Monday, October 14, 2002

I saw Dracula 2000 some time back but have just now discovered notes for a review (of sorts) that I intended to write. Never did but here are the notes:

Elaborate Abbey vault and defenses but the back wall is a publicly accessible tunnel/sewer that takes only seconds to blow open.

Does London have no building inspectors?

Does Van Helsing have a body disposal service to get rid of the thieves' bodies?

Pilotless plane apparently flies from London over the southeastern US without being disturbed.

All the police and invesigators immediately pack up and leave a crash site with only two local reporters left.

Super hetero vampire who hypnotizes women but not men.

Exactly how did Selena get Van Helsing's retina and handprint?

What was the point of the leeches? How did any get inside a sealed coffin?

Why not just encase the coffin in concrete? Concrete inside steel?

The film is set during mardi gras but there are almost no mardi gras activities. During the final scenes the streets are almost deserted.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

You may have already heard of Rich Kowlowski's Three Fingers but thought I'd point it out in case you haven't. It's a graphic novel (published a few weeks ago by the cool people at Top Shelf) that mimics a film documentary about the dark history of toons. It follows the story of filmmaker Dizzy Walters and his discovery of the talented toon Ricky Rat (like Who Censored/Framed Roger Rabbit toons are real creatures) as they become incredibly popular and the rumors and politics that followed. It's a mildly interesting concept that is certainly tightly done and with one part that'll have you watching cartoons differently, at least for a week or two. The whole thing is certainly of more interest to animation buffs than casual viewers.

Still, I don't think it's entirely successful: For one thing that "behind the scenes" genre doesn't translate entirely sucessfully to comics; for another the dark truths are a bit too predictable (base motives are pretty much the only ones displayed and the racism issue was done better in Roger Rabbit, not to mention the X-Men); and finally the close parallels to reality--Warmer Brothers? Buggy Bunny?--are distracting more than revealing, though the identity of one mysterious witness is a laugh-aloud moment. (And the attack on Walt Disney is tame compared to the genuinely disturbing one in Ellroy's L.A. Confidential, a major part of the novel completely omitted from the timid film version; gee wonder why?). The characterizations are also a bit too obvious: Bunny as a Saturday Night Live "thespian," a German-accented cinematographer, etc. If Kowlowski has a good grasp of film and animation history it's not obvious. He confuses the end of WWI with 1921 (though that may just be sloppy writing), doesn't seem to understand what "feature" means, and doesn't really go beyond the Disney/WB continuum.

A mild recommendation with reservations. (For highly recommended "dark" rethinkings of pre-existing fictional characters try T.H. White's Once and Future King, David Thomson's Suspects and Gregory Maguire's Wicked, all first-rate and the White one of the dozen greatest novels I've read.)