Sunday, November 29, 2009

Erik’s Incredible Movie Reviews: Up

[-begin transmission-]

From the makers of Toy Story and Finding Nemo comes the soul-crushing tale of loneliness and despair, “Up.”

Day after day, a bitter old man sits alone in his house after the death of his beloved wife. We see every frustration and heartbreak of their lives together: they wanted children, but couldn’t have them; they wanted to travel, but never did. So now the old man sits, contemplating the minute sadnesses of existence.

Then, things get worse. Evil developers have him arrested on trumped-up charges and evicted. And at this point, the film lets loose its one bit of whimsy, as the old man sails his house away to South America using balloons. I expected this to end up being a dream sequence. But, as it turns out, we are apparently supposed to accept this as a real occurrence in the film. In any case, this brief intermission is merely set-up for the movie’s real sucker punch. Soon, the old man is slogging through the jungle, literally dragging his house behind him like an anchor--his only companions, a fat forsaken child and a slightly-retarded dog that no one has ever loved.

Eventually, our protagonist encounters his childhood hero (now disgraced), who promptly tries to murder him. And the old man, even after all that he’s endured already, discovers that he can still be made to feel fresh new pain and sorrow.

Exactly why Pixar decided to take such a radically different emotional approach to their tenth feature film is not entirely clear. Though one suspects that they simply wished to finally have a hit in the one country that had thus far rejected them. And in that, at least, they succeeded--as “Up” went on to make over $100 million dollars in France.

Spoilers: All the balloons pop, and the house is destroyed.

Erik’s Rating: 27

Who It Works Best For: Satanists, people who just need one more little nudge in order to kill themselves.

[-carrier lost-]

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Erik’s Incredible Movie Reviews: Sweeney Todd

[-begin transmission-]

As the most correct human being in existence, I’m constantly looking for new ways to share my genius with all of my Earthy cousins. To that end, I am starting a new feature on this blog, entitled, “Erik’s Incredible Movie Reviews.” But please be aware, gentle reader, that way out here, I never know what movie I’ll be watching next. So don’t necessarily expect only new releases.

With that in mind, let us start the festivities with Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd.” You will, of course, recall Mr. Burton as the man responsible for such towering cinema as the Pirates of the Caribbean films and Fight Club. And his latest work, happily, brings those same sensibilities to bear.

Sweeney Todd is a romantic comedy about a struggling restaurant owner (Helena Bonham-Carter) in old-timey London, and the artist (Johnny Depp) who rents an upstairs room from her. Soon, the artist’s upscale clientele is spilling down to the restaurant, bringing newfound success to the both of them. But will Depp’s intensely-focused Todd look up from his work long enough to notice that she exists, or will the secret she harbors ruin their relationship before it even starts?

Sweeney Todd also stars Sacha Baron Cohen as a snake-oil salesman, and Alan Rickman as a colorful local judge. Oddly enough, the film contains very little spoken dialog, choosing instead to have its characters express their innermost feeling through song! It’s a bold strategy that works surprisingly well, much of the time. And, if this movie is ultimately successful, it’ll be interesting to see if more “singing pictures” get made in the future.

Spoilers: Everyone dies at the end.

Erik’s Rating: 4

Who It Works Best For: Men trying to convince their girlfriends that they’re watching something she wants to see.

[-carrier lost-]

Friday, November 27, 2009

Five DC Characters Cooler Than Superman or Batman

[-begin transmission-]

1. Firestorm

Okay, first of all, his name is Firestorm--a name that could not be cooler without adding at least three references to death in it. And, second of all, he does this:

Plus, he can alter the chemical composition of inorganic material, which probably comes in pretty handy when you’re at the beach and out of money.

But what about the man behind the dude with the nuclear hair--the secret identity, as it were--is he interesting? Well, it’s like this: He’s actually two people. That’s right, a wisecracking, hip-slang-using college student and a stuffy old professor are caught in a nuclear accident (stop me if you’ve heard this one before), and thereafter can join bodies to become a flaming superhero! (Did that sound gay?) Which makes Firestorm the one superhero who can talk to himself without being crazy.

2. Blue Devil

Lots of superheroes have really screwed up origins, but check this out: A stuntman builds himself a cool power-suit (think Iron Man) for his new movie, “Blue Devil.” One day, while filming in the middle of nowhere, two actors on the film wander off and find a cave that just happens to have a real demon hanging out in it. Our stuntman leaps in to rescue them, much to the confusion of the real demon, who just wants to be friends with what he thinks is another demon. Anyway, in the ensuing melee, the stuntman gets zapped with some with magical energy, which causes him to merge with the power-suit, effectively making the Blue Devil costume his new skin.

Later, it’s revealed that Blue Devil is a “weirdness magnet.” This was, of course, the single greatest idea in the history of comics, as it allowed the writers to create all kinds of situations they’d never have been able to get away with otherwise.

3. The Martian Manhunter

The Martian Manhunter is from Mars, which is pretty cool right there. Power-wise, he can pretty much do anything Superman can do, plus he’s telepathic, a shape-shifter, and can become invisible and/or intangible. In fact, he has so many powers that they pretty quickly start to become redundant.

Of course, when you have a character this inherently unbeatable, you have to give him a super-weakness. In this case, fire. That’s right: fire. (Which, in my opinion, is even lamer than Green Lantern’s weakness, which is a color.) But, hey, I guess they had to do something to weaken a guy who can become completely undetectable and then make you punch yourself in the face.

4. Power Girl

To be honest, I don’t really know much about Power Girl. But just by looking at her picture, I can see at least two big reasons why she’s better than Batman.

5. Zombie Aquaman

Yes, Aquaman is lame. We know this. But I’m not talking about the gay fish-man who talks to whales and uses dolphins as water skis. No, I’m talking about pissed-off undead Black Lantern Aquaman, who does shit like this:

In the next panel, he rips out Aqualad’s heart and eats it. So fuck you, Superman.

[-carrier lost-]

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Things That I, Erik, Am Personally Thankful For

[-begin transmission-]

1. That my ancestors drove the Native Americans from their lands, so that I could live there.

2. That I shall clearly never be important enough for robots from the future to come back and try to kill my mother.

3. That the USA's most recent presidential election swept in a bold, energetic new administration--allowing us to do nothing differently in Afghanistan or Iraq.

 4. The magic of cakes.

5. That humanity, though doomed, at least came far enough to be able to invent the iPhone.

[-carrier lost-]

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Just Reading This Will Make You 20% More Awesome

[-begin transmission-]

Warmest greetings to you, good sir or madam. I am Electerik. But you may call me Erik, for I would prefer our relationship to be an informal one.

Yes, relationship. Because that’s what writing (and its slightly-retarded cousin, “blogging”) ultimately is: a relationship between the genius author (that’s me) and the generally just-fortunate-to-be-here reader (you).

But fear not! This is not the sort of animal relationship one might have with one’s gardener or some passing plumber. This is to be chaste and caring, with sex only as a natural expression of our mutual respect. I can assure you, unlike certain other blogs I shan't mention here, the worst thing you will get from me is the occasional unpleasant mental image (see previous sentence).

This is my promise to you: I will use this blog primarily for good, and never merely to solicit money. Here, I will cover topics ranging from my favorite superheroes, all the way down to superheroes I don’t particularly care for. There might also be the occasional picture of a cat with a funny saying under it. And, of course, I will be documenting every meal I consume, along with any particularly meaningful bowel movements (as chosen by me).

So, sit back, relax, and leaving the smartness thinking to me.

Oh, and at some point, you might also want to get yourself checked for gonorrhea. I’m just saying.

[-carrier lost-]