28 October, 2012

Old City Talkin' Blues

 Alright, let's make this quick--

Giannis Milonogiannis is rapidly becoming one of my favorite artists. There’s something about the specificity of his lines mixed with the fact that it has the raw energy of a sketch. It’s an exciting book to look at and even in its most referential (the book basically wouldn’t exist without the Ghost in the Shell comics), it still stands out as a wonderful book to look at.

The fact that he's younger than I am is as amazing as it is depressing-- on the definite plus side, at least I have a greater chance of getting him to draw something for me. . . in time.


His line work reminds me of the work of Yoji Shinkawa (another of my favorite artists and apparently one of Milonogiannis’ if his blog is to be believed) mixed in with a dash of Paul Pope (there are way too many excited brush strokes to ignore).

Old City Blues is a skeleton of a story that exists to basically show off Giannis’mad megalopolis and his wonderful bits of technology yet to be. In a way that is enough. Almost. What little plot there is exists only as a sort of boiler plate cyberpunk story (if there is such a thing), which, in many ways is fine. It leads to future cars running through well composed future landscapes, as well as a robot fight or two and this world’s equivalent of mechs, “Mobile Guns.” Again: standard cyberpunk shit.

Well-- Very standard with streaks of underlying brilliance. It's all there, it just can't get through. Not yet, anyways. . .

The outstanding difference being it takes place in a sort of recovering post-apocalyptic Athens, which unfortunately could just as easily be Neo Tokyo or Neo New York or some other fake disaster ridden future city (in Milonogiannis’ defense, though, he seems to be aware of this and his “New Athens” is as much of a tribute to those fake fictional cities as it is living in their shadows). The place doesn't feel like a place, it feels like a generic world in which there are robots. That's awesome-- and really, no joke, it is awesome-- it's just that awesome isn't the sort of thing that makes a book last. Or worth lasting.

Taking all of its flaws and piling them up really makes me think that there is a much bigger and more intensive story than Old City Blues’ meager 120 pages. And if it is going to be a book that lasts it will be because Milonogiannis eventually came through on the promises of this book.

In its defense (not that it needs it), it does seem to have the kind of prescient hallmarks of a great artist that can only be found in their first major work. Old City Blues is not perfect, nor is it revolutionary, like the first works of other respected artists like Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson. Bottle Rockets and Reservoir Dogs aren’t perfect movies (especially when compared to some of their later works*), though, as fans and as an audience we can still see the little inklings of genius in between the scene that go nowhere and the ones that go on just a little too long. That’s this book in a nutshell. His work on Prophet only seems to confirm my belief that he’s going to get a whole hell of a lot better.

Despite its shortcomings Old City Blues is one of the coolest books you could hope to pick up—and I do mean that literally—the actual packaging of the book is really cool. It’s a wonderfully put together hardback and at 15 bucks—even with all of its flaws—it’s a steal. If you love Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, or even Johnny Mnemonic, then this comic is for you. It’s a wonderful mash-up of the best things you remember from the video games you played and the anime you watched as a kid in an actual piece of art. I’m glad Milonogiannis is getting work with Prophet and I am glad that I discovered this book (thanks, Warren Ellis!).

SIDE NOTE: Do you think that the Fallout: New Vegas DLC "Old World Blues" ripped-off this comic or do you think that they both ripped off the same source? Or maybe it was just some weird coincidence? (I'll start taking bets here.)

SIDE SIDE NOTE: iFanboy is always a good opinion to lean on despite their unfortunately aged name.

*Namely Pulp Fiction, Rushmore, Jackie Brown, and The Royal Tenebaums-- Those are all perfect films.The Darjeeling Limited and the Kill Bills. . . perhaps less so.

24 October, 2012

Fuck you.

Fuck you forever.

And I don't even like Evil Dead.


Please go watch this movie if you have not already. You owe it to yourself.

Goddamnit. . . I really need to figure out how to steal from this movie.

Besides my loves of Powell and Pressburger (as seen here) what I love about this movie is that it combines the sort of mythological and kind of racist imagery of India with a fairly apolitical and unromantic story. It's a movie about opposites colliding (as I guess all good movies basically are) and the results are as beautifully shot as they are emotionally brilliant.

I mean, for goodness sakes, the movie is about nuns. This isn't a movie trying to titlate you or trying to hit your more vulnerable spots! It isn't about soldiers or spies or politics, it's about people just trying to do their menial and unglamorous jobs. Beyond that it is much more, but there is an intelligence to the grand romance of the picture.

Recently my lesbian and (I think) latina boss asked me what I'd do without England. I don't quite have an answer for that. I do know that without Black Narcissus, my life would be that much more gloomy.

Sub-question: Are you a Clodagh or a Ruth?

23 October, 2012


I get a promotion today and now I got this rumor!?

Come on, God! You owe me this much!

While I never finished The Pacific (my relationship with people with VHS and HBO was not what it was in the early 2000's), Band of Brothers is one of the best pieces of television ever made. It's a beautiful, lovingly made story about the greatest of the greatest generation. You don't so much watch a show as you get to know a great group of men-- a feeling that is only accentuated by meeting these actual men.

It wasn't sincere, it wasn't ironic, and it wasn't worshipful. It was a show that somehow was exciting and respectful at the same time. Despite all of the art and all of the choices made by the creators of the show, what you ended up with was a work of art that was somehow both realistic and mythological. As many WWII shows and movies as I have watched, Band of Brothers is the one that seems to nail the feeling of it being the way it was.

I'd be a liar if that show didn't reduce me to tears. I still get chills from the reveal in the final scene of the final episode.

I want to feel that way about a television show again.

And more than that I want to be Winters, who was a great character and a greater human being.

09 October, 2012

The Master List

Out of a slight challenge to myself I decided to list my top 50 films of all time. After struggling and cutting one or two out, I think I got a pretty solid list down. I don't think it should really surprise anyone. Or interest anyone. Or serve any real purpose.

12 Monkeys
Aguirre: The Wrath of God
Animal House
Apocalypse Now
Battle of Algiers
The Bank Dick
Blade Runner
The Big Lebowski
The Bridge Over the River Kwai
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Children of Men
Dead Man
The French Connection
The Friends of Eddie Coyle
Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai
Grizzly Man
La Haine
High Fidelity
The Hustler 
Jackie Brown
Miller's Crossing
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
The Man Who Would Be King
No Country For Old Men
The Proposition
Princess Mononoke
Pulp Fiction
The Road Warrior
Terminator 2
There Will Be Blood
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The Royal Tenenbaums
The Thin Man
Le Samourai
Sunset Blvd.
Full Metal Jacket
Seven Samurai
Saving Private Ryan
Taxi Driver
The Thin Red Line


Japanese Movies-- 3
Foreign Films-- 11
French Films--
American Films--
Japanese Films--

Herzog Movies-- 2
Kurosawa Movies-- 2
Coen Brothers-- 3
Scot-- 2
Husto-- 2
Kubrick-- 1
Copolla-- 1
Scorsese-- 1

Comedies-- 8
Westerns-- 7
War Movies-- 8
Horror-- 1
Documentaries-- 1
Science Fiction-- 5

Films pre-1968--12
Films post-1968--38

Color Films--38
Black and White Films--12