Sunday, July 26, 2015

REVIEW: Evil Dead 2: Beyond Dead By Dawn #1 and Vampirella/AOD #1

Two weeks ago, Space Goat Productions finally released the first part of its licensed Evil Dead 2 comic, and the result was magical. 

Painted in cool blue tones and popping reds by Chris Summers (and drawn in a refreshingly non-sexualized manner by Barnaby Bagenda and Oscar Bazaldua), the comic takes a right fork from Annie Knowby’s fate at the end of Evil Dead 2.  Surviving her stabbing-by-magic-dagger-and-severed-hand, Annie and the rest of the cabin fall together through the earth and into hell, and that’s where the fun begins.

Matrimony Month: The 70s, Barbara Streisand and the resurrection of the weeper

Love Story seemed to open up the romantic floodgates for the Me generation; even when they were sarcastically declaiming love in movies like Heartburn, they were by now more often than not also supporting films like “Somewhere in Time”, a time-travel drama featuring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve, and watching movies like The Thorn Birds on tv.  In short, they had begun tumbling into the bourgeois trap they swore they’d avoid years ago en masses.  Though many would go on to divorce multiple times, they seemed to realize that romance was an inescapable steamroller – they might as well embrace it.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Matrimony Month: Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry to Missus Robinson: The Graduate, Love Story, and how the 60’s Generation Inadvertently Slew Romantic Sarcasm by the Dawn of the 70s

The sixties meant change.  Change in the bedroom, the boardroom, the streetcorner and of course your local movie theatre.  With the code breaking and independent zeitgeist films breaking through into the mainstream and winning money and Oscars, every genre was transformed.  There were outsider comedies, dramas….and, of course, romantic pictures.

This new generation of lovers-to-be had about a million different points of view on love.  The first reaction was cynicism; falling in love was something squares did, a symptom of a bourgeois society, and the antithesis of free love.  Novels like The Harrad Experiment demanded open relationships and free love, while other movies – like the 1967 proto-slacker dramady The Graduate – mocked the idea of love, peace and those old wedding bells as the solution to everything.   This is a decade that had Dr. Zhivago, Easy Rider and The Graduate all released within ten turbulent years; that’s a lot of different ways to look at love.

Matrimony Month: The Quiet Man: Or Everyone Loves John Wayne, So Why Don’t You?

The Wayne/O'Hara gestalt in a nutshell

Last week I discussed the way marriage was handled in several movie made by that archetype of Fifties glamour, Marilyn Monroe. This week, I thought I’d take a look at one specific film in the canon of another archetype of 50s Hollywood: John Wayne. 

Wayne basically sculpted the tough man/cowboy archetype during his time in the spotlight; in many of his movies he does indeed get the girl, though in iconic pieces such as “The Searchers” and “True Grit”, all he has is his integrity.  Perhaps that’s why when we look back on “The Quiet Man” and “McClintock!” his two most explicitly marriage – minded movies, one is struck by the breathtaking scenery and the jaw-grinding misogyny all at once.   Being romanced by a square-jawed hero in a pristine Irish landscape is a fine enough fantasy to have, but when you have to enter into a nonstop battle of the sexes to get respect from your own husband the price feels mighty high.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Matrimony Month: What Would the Girls in Little Rock Say?: Marilyn on Marrying, itching and husband hunting

But the fifties were never as simplistic as they seem to be on the surface.  If “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” represents a world where women are placated with a smile and a bow, where being a housewife is the best and most important thing a girl can be, then the world of Marilyn Monroe’s movies from the same general period of time are in retrospect a feminist answer to such morays.  In “The Seven Year Itch”, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” , “Bus Stop” and “How to Marry a Millionaire”, Marilyn’s characters dance through the screwball motions of comedic buffoonery on her way to snagging (or losing, or even ignoring) men, but they have something to say: treat me with respect, or lose me forever.

Matrimony Month: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: Gabba Gabba One of Us

One of my father’s favorite movies is “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.    It neatly encapsulates his world view: the women are spirited and yet they “know” their places in the household, the men are rugged and a little dumb but always right.  Everything’s solved with chemistry and songs, and even the heaviest of subjects can be laughed about.

He’s also a John Wayne fan, are you surprised yet?