Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Review

New Nonfiction Collection

Edited by Jeff Sellars and soon to be released from Pickwick Publications (a division of Wipf and Stock). Here's the TOC (mine is a reprint from a collection a couple years ago, though I did tweak the intro and added a bunch more Scriptural references, so I do think it's stronger):

edited by Jeff Sellars

SECTION I From Out of the Darkness, Into the Light: Evil, Violence, Depths, and Trauma

Representing Evil in Schindler’s List and Life is Beautiful
Simon Oliver

Imagining a Better Way: Ben X and Marjorie Suchocki’s The Fall to Violence: Original Sin in Relational Theology
J. Ryan Parker

De Profundis . . . Out of the Shallows . . . Enter the Void
Peter Malone

Recalling Jesus: Form, Theory, and Trauma in Jesus Cinema
Michael Leary

SECTION II From Light to Light: Grace, Forgiveness, and Community

Embracing Failure and Extending Grace in a Digital Age: Viewing The Social Network and Catfish Theologically
J. Sage Elwell

There Will Be Frogs: P. T. Anderson and the Strangeness of Common Grace
Alissa Wilkinson

Solitude, Search, and Forgiveness in Paris, Texas: An Augustinian Turn
Jeff Sellars

Graphic Theology: Community, Imago Dei, and Temptation in 300
Megan J. Robinson

Making Dinner: The Artistry of Communal Meals in Babette’s Feast and Antonia’s Line
James H. Thrall

SECTION III From the Light, Into the Darkness: Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Apocalypse

The Parable of the Poltergeist: Making Righteous Use of the Element of Horror
Travis Prinzi

The Undiscovered Country: Star Trek and the Christian’s Human Journey
Kevin C. Neece

Theological Reflections and Philosophical Themes in the New DC Comic Films: Faith and Spirituality, Self- Identity, and Worldview through Comic Book Cartoon Movie Adaptations
Scott Shiffer

C. S. Lewis contra Cinema
Bruce L. Edwards

Fantasy, Escapism, and Narrative in Pan’s Labyrinth
Jeff Sellars

Apocalyptic Images and Prophetic Function in Zombie Films
Kim P

Friday, May 25, 2012

New Kickstarter Campaign!

Not for me, but for some real horror peeps - the prolific John Joseph Adams and the dedicated and artistic Sevins over at Creeping Hemlock Press!

So check out their Kickstarter campaign HERE - and help them launch a new magazine entitled NIGHTMARE!

Good luck to them and I look forward to seeing the final product!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The LOTTD Logo

Another Fine Horror Blog

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Avengers - Second Time!

I honestly can't remember the last time I went to a film a second time during its original theatrical release. I contemplated it with the Dark Knight and Watchmen, I remember, but I don't think I followed through.

Well, The Avengers was one of those where it's really worth it. It passes the test of seeing cool stuff the second time that you missed the first (of course, PLUS the cool stuff you saw the first time!). Among those Easter Eggs this time -

A lot of the action sequences, even not directly involving violence - e.g. Cap's running along the hoods and roofs of cars in midtown - looked so cool!

Stark calling Hawkeye "Legolas."

The Stan Lee cameo.

This is the one to beat, though the Dark Knight trailer is also amazing the second time!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Avengers

Apparently, they just broke some kind of three day US box office gross record. Well, I can say, this film deserves it IMHO.

Really, to call it a great comic book movie is shortchanging it. The Punisher (2004) is a great comic book movie - over the top, two-dimensional, cartoonish violence, with dialogue that consists of grunts and wisecracks. The Avengers is a great action flick, generally. This is much more of a "Team of Bad-Asses Who Don't Get Along with One Another" film and should be compared to those (and compared quite favorably, allowing for tights and people who fly and what-not).

Fights are choreographed amazingly. Such intensity, they have you grunting, clenching your fists, grimacing. They reminded me of the insane sequences with Whiplash in Iron Man 2 (though I checked to see the directors are different). And so complicated, considering the number of combatants, the fact that it has to be in three dimensions, and incorporate a combination of a plethora of weapons and explosives, but also include bone-crushing body-blows. I kept thinking to how bad the action sequences are in a Michael Bay disaster - just so much going on, I long for it to be over and I can stop being dizzy and bored. These kind of fights here, I'd watch all day, every day.

Dialogue doesn't get too far beyond grunts and quips, but to give credit - the wisecracking is well-balanced and doesn't go all the way into camp. It's just the right level to lighten the mood and make the whole thing more enjoyable. This is Iron Man's forte for the team and the writer did a great job. And really, the ponderous dialogue earlier on (it gets drowned out later by clobbering) about human freedom isn't embarrassing: I'd be very surprised if Whedon hasn't read "The Grand Inquistor" chapters from Dostoevsky, and he has no reason to apologize for his version for the masses - it gets the main points across. This is pop culture at its best.

I was surprised so many cultural references were aimed at old folks like me. I suppose they're assuming we'll bring kids (mine are too big to be seen in public with me, alas). Having Iron Man refer to Thor as "Hey - Point Break!" Really? How many people got it when he said that, or when he said Loki was working with an "Acme dynamite kit"? Brilliant for anyone my age. As was having a cameo from Harry Dean Stanton (who always cracks me up) saying, "Hey are you an alien?" Had me howling, to the confusion of the teens all around me. I doubt most other people in the audience quite understood why Iron Man was wearing a Black Sabbath t-shirt the whole time.

Now, please excuse anything too graphic in  my evaluation of Ms. Johannson.  I don't think she's an awful actor. She has decent inflection in her voice (which drives me crazy when people can't enunciate or vary their tone), and she uses it to express some emotion. Even sounds a little scared with Loki at one point (well filmed, with Loki's face reflected in the window). BUT - she has one facial expression: pouty, but focused (or focused but pouty, I don't know). And as beautiful as she is, in closeups, you can see how the makeup is slathered on, especially her lipstick, and it looked pretty clownish and unappealing. And finally (and here's where I ask indulgence) her body is filmed (especially from the back) so lovingly, and her part's blocked to accentuate this to almost ridiculous extremes. So I actually noticed when the Kevlar spandex didn't hug her perfectly, and all I could wonder was "Is there someone in charge of that? And how would s/he be credited at the end? Just, 'Special Assistant to Ms. Johannson'? Or maybe 'Body Image Consultant/Editor'?"

So, the short version is - go see it!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

31 Days of Secrets

31 Days of Secrets...

To gear up for the latest print release from Morrigan Books, author Carole Lanham is sharing 31 secrets in 31 days from her collection of award-winning stories, The Whisper Jar. On May 31, 2012, The Whisper Jar will be available for purchase in paperback, and this is one secret that both Carole and Morrigan Books hope you'll whisper far and wide. In the meantime, if you'd like to read the book before the end of the month, please pick up your copy of the ebook today at Amazon.

Secret # 1

They had a saying at the Asylum for Fatherless Children at Slough: No child is forgotten who is loved by God. I think Sister Madalene made it up. They also had a door at the top of a staircase that hid a knob-rattling, floor-thumping old secret. Libidinous sighs were known to slip out between the planks. Sometimes a shadow would appear in the crack underneath, its stark shape moving from side to side like a pendulum that marks something more terrible than time.

Gunstor liked to tell people that there was a torture chamber up there, and, such were the clinks and clatters that came from that place, one could almost detect within them the rubbery snap of muscles tearing under skin...

~ The Forgotten Orphan


Triumph of The Walking Dead