Saturday, September 18, 2004

Watchmen, book sale, H.P. Lovecraft, Sky Captain, Art Spiegelman, anime

Went to the library today and checked out a book of H.P. Lovecraft stories and Alan Moore's Watchmen. The librarian looked at me like I was apt to start attacking people any minute because of my sick mind. Coincidentally, the library happened to be having its annual paperback sale today as well, so (for a quarter each) I bought Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, some SF pulp by Arthur C. Clarke, The Thorn Birds, and a book of Seinfeld's comedy sketches called SeinLanguage to send to my brother at college. Then I got home and began to flip through the pages...an hour later I'm laughing hysterically and literally working my way through the book from cover to cover. Oh well, it was already used when I bought it; I'm sure my brother won't mind a few more creases in the spine.

I also saw Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, a very art-deco, old-fashioned futuristic movie set in a sci-fi 1930's New York City. It was shot entirely in front of a blue screen--the only real things in the movie are the actors--and the sepia-toned visuals are breathtaking, though at some points a bit murky. It's an old-time detective-action movie, complete with deranged villain, intrepid reporter, dashing hero, and spunky-tomboy-with-an-eyepatch. At some points it recalls Fritz Lang's Metropolis; at others, a Humphrey Bogart film; and then there are references to The Wizard of Oz, Jurassic Park, yada yada yada. In fact, The Wizard of Oz is playing in a theater at one point near the beginning of the movie (we see the clip right when Dorothy says, "Toto, I think we're not in Kansas anymore!"). And the villain is played by Laurence Olivier, compiled from old Olivier film footage. Veddy cool. I have to say, months and months ago (before Sky Captain was covered by Wired and the Times, thank you very much) I was unbelievably excited for this movie, then it came out with some lukewarm reviews and I thought, eh...but despite my low expectations when I went in, it was great! It was exciting and innocent and sweet and absolutely beautiful. So I recommend it.

And, finally, bought Art Spiegelman's Maus for my aunt who's obsessed with the Holocaust, but I doubt she'll read it. While really quite nice, she's nevertheless the kind of person who only reads "high literature" and will most certainly look down upon a graphic novel. But I'll probably bug her about it until she at least gives it a chance. In my opinion, graphic novels and arty anime (think Spirited Away and Ghost in the Shell) are going to revolutionize the arts and the media in the next few years. People have to explore it.

Alright, my computer has exactly 1% battery juice left right now, so I have to post this before the screen blacks out. I'll post more soon.

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