Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Who watches the Watchmen when they take their clothes off? I do! I do!

I admit I was one of those people with major reservations about the Watchmen movie. In fact, I was one of those people who didn't even want a movie to be made from the book(s).

Surprise, surprise: I liked it. A lot. Not without reservations, mind you, but given how low my expectations were going in, I left feeling pretty satisfied. It's been about 20 years or more since I read Alan Moore's original, so I was roughly halfway between a hardcore fan and a total newbie. I was joined by the Hub (who had never heard of the book, let alone read it), a friend of his who'd just finished reading the book 2 hours before the movie, and the friend's wife (who was in the same boat as the Hub)--and every one of them enjoyed it, too. Sure, it's damn violent, but the thing's about (among other subjects) how to deal with a violent world, so that didn't bother me too much. I also thought the movie did a great job at least raising the thorny moral dilemmas explored in much more detail in the book. And I appreciated the presence of a sense of humor that did not involve wisecracking heroes punctuating their gutpunches with punchlines.

But let's be honest. My favorite thing about the movie was the chance to see Patrick Wilson naked yet again (see also: Angels in America, Little Children, and this troubling spectacle). I had my doubts when I heard he would be playing Nite Owl, but I'll be damned if he didn't end up looking almost exactly like the comic book character (who is supposed to be a bit of a schlub, but I found him cute, too). Did I mention he was naked?

(Bummer! Just learned from IMDB that his 2003 New Year's Resolution was "To be in a movie or a play which doesn't require me to take off my clothes. Unless, of course, I don't get another job... In which case I'll be half-naked and whole-heartedly depressed for the rest of my career." Hey, that Plan B works for me.)

As icing on the (beef)cake, the updated outfit (shall we call it an "owlsuit"?) he wears when he finally suits up is mighty swell, too:

Not sure I bought how quickly the meek retired crimefighter transforms (back) into an asskicking, jailbreaking hero, but that scene struck me as the only one totally untrue to the spirit of the original. Not bad odds, all things considered.

Bonus for readers who actually value literary value over hunkitude: Here's a link to Beaucoup Kevin's list of graphic novels he recommends to folks who've been introduced to the medium via Alan Moore's opus.

Bonus for readers who are as shallow as me: Oh yes, there is also that gigantic blue penis in the movie.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Meanwhile, back in the real (?) world ...

I must admit, I'm disheartened by the recent murder of two policemen by the so-called "Real IRA" (brilliant name, btw, which has now inserted itself sans quotation marks into coverage of the story, thus lending legitimacy to a splinter group that doesn't appear to deserve any). It seemed for so long lately like Northern Ireland was a workable, inspirational example of actual change in a situation that had been deadlocked for decades, if not centuries--a case for diplomacy and compromise as an end to violence. (I thought it was a very smart move, a few years ago, when reps from Ireland tried to lend their experience to participants in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, not that it appears to have done much good.) This NPR interview with BBC correspondent Audrey Carville struck me, as an outsider, as a very good analysis of the situation--the economic context in which the incident took place, the ironies involved (like the image of a former IRA leader now working with the same British police whose murders he once plotted), and just what is at stake right now. I try very hard to keep an open mind to every side of a story, particularly those that unfold on the other side of the world from me, but this feels to me like a pretty clearcut case of a small minority doing everything it can to undo years of hard work for the sheer hell of it.

On a lighter note, we have "Eye-borg," the superhero-ish moniker of filmmaker Rob Spence, a self-described Six Million Dollar Man fan who is outfitting his empty eye socket with a camera. The first interview I heard with him (which I can't find at the moment) explicitly raised the possibility that he could use his new "superpower" for good or for evil. And at Spence's website, you'll find the following video intro; note the many references to Luke Skywalker, Neo, and other fictional precedents:

EYEBORG-- The Two Week Trial from eyeborg on Vimeo.

Maybe Eye-borg can lend his services to "the Troubles."

Stretching out

I've never heard of Kosmix (which is described as "Beta-ish" in its logo at the moment), but they've heard of me, and presumably you, too. That is to say, they've got a page devoted to Spandex Fetishism. Kind of handy, I guess, since it includes Wikipedia entries, Google searches, videos, and lots of other web resources of interest to underwear perverts the world over. Check it out!

Here's a sample: a portion of an amateur video that is so completely abstract you may even have trouble figuring out the gender of the star. Now that's what I call a fetish!

(Consider the above my gift to the various het and bi males and lesbians I've befriended via this blog and our mutual fondness for stretchy synthetic fibers, no matter who happens to be wearing them.)

As a bonus, the video above led me to two more you might enjoy, starting with this homemade montage of ... well, it's pretty clear right away:

And here's an appealing little tease from an Eye of the Cyclone DVD:

I'm happy to see that "eyeofthecyclone" has a YouTube channel, since the main website is now subscription-based. I'm all for helping a fellow pervert earn an honest buck in these tough times, but it seems like the lion's share of Cyclone stuff is wrestling-related, and while there's nothing wrong with that in my book, it doesn't exactly float my boat, either (if you'll permit me to mix metaphors).

Sunday, March 01, 2009

No shit, Sherlock

Lots of recent odds and ends, connections between which I largely leave to you:

1. An episode of the public radio show To the Best of Our Knowledge devoted to Sherlock Holmes and other fictional detectives. For the record, I admit to a mild Holmes fetish, particularly when he is portrayed by Jeremy Brett or Basil Rathbone, and particularly in the WWII-era Rathbone films like SH and the Woman in Green and Dressed to Kill. The real reason I like that series--films in which Holmes is moved into the present day, surely to the horror of true A. C. Doyle fans--is that they are lower than the "real" stories on detective work and higher on, you guessed it, delightfully kinky deathtraps. In many of them (I think there are at least four made back-to-back in the mid-1940s) Moriarty gets to be a Joker-style archnemesis bent on our hero's demise, more overtly than in the canonical novels and tales.

2. Another public radio show, RadioLab, recently rebroadcast an episode devoted to the subject of morality. This summary lays out the terrain:

we’ll explore where our sense of right and wrong come from. We peer inside the brains of people contemplating moral dilemmas, watch chimps at a primate research center share blackberries, observe a playgroup of 3 year-olds fighting over toys, and tour the country’s first penitentiary, Eastern State Prison. Also: the story of land grabbing, indentured servitude and slum lording in the fourth grade.

3. And speaking of morality (see, these items are connected after all!), here's a nice piece on the demise of (and ethics of) the pirated-comic-panels extravaganza Scans Daily from Johnny Bacardi. I admit it--I visited often (though never daily) in search of images that floated my bat-boat. But apparently I didn't check it that often, or I would have known that SD was no more. Easy come, easy go, I guess.

4. Finally, a link that has nothing to do with morality, but if I don't post it now I'll forget about it: Bat-Blog tipped me off to a Flash animation of Batman's utility belt. Here's a direct link to the project, which was originally intended for tech geeks and vanilla-flavored comics fanboys, but I say, bring on the belt-fetishists, too!

I assure you, the animated version is more fun than this mere frame grab: