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...THINGS! Saniika's holding a raffle where you can win a colored digital waist-up sketch commission of a character of your choice. You know you want it: www.deviantart.com/journal/You…

Saniika is super brilliant. So there :)

:iconzivrezcara::iconrevisionoflines::iconlampputar::iconrinkula::iconsilentwaltz::iconcatchguess::iconpunchyninja::iconolliewhen::iconquestionofbalance::iconhartter::iconaluminumcandy::iconxandreea::iconglassonion14::iconbitterev::iconliteracysuks1::icontempest-lavalle::iconswizzle-stix::icongeriatricyoda::iconmrhades::iconlegacyherocomics::iconwalter-ostlie::iconneilsama::iconforgottencake::iconspeedslide::iconsnarebang::iconretardedwalrus::iconmonkey-mafia::iconriguz::iconnepath::iconfukujinzuke::icon13words::iconavbaur::iconhayoubi::icontokenjin::iconendcomic::iconearthdefensehero::iconwesnero123::iconlemniskate::iconseanpcorwin::icondrmoore::iconthe-macattack::iconshastab24::iconelkoi::icontantzaerine::iconslategreen::icondwenda::iconsaniika::iconpit-face:
  • Listening to: Amanda Jenssen
  • Reading: Ninja Turtles
  • Watching: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
  • Playing: Legend of Zelda - Skyward Sword
As always at the end of a year, I'd like to reminisce a bit by looking back at the year's movies. You might know that I'm an avid cinema-goer - this year, I went once every 9 days on average :) And I really make a point of watching movies on the big screen (sadly, for many movies, being shown on a big screen is their only redeeming feature :/). Thus, I will only talk about movies I've seen at cinemas, and also only those which were newly released (for instance, I was lucky enough to have watched Batman Returns this year, but I'm not going to talk about it here - it would have been the best movie by far!).

All in all, 2013 was a bad year for movies. Almost all movies I was particularly looking forward to were disappointing and much worse than I had anticipated. Those that were good were neither particularly memorable nor particularly ambitious, and there were no great movies this year which I didn't consider substantially flawed. I made a chart containing all movies I saw here joachimlipski.de/2013Filme-com… , but I will say a little bit about some of them in the following paragraphs. There's also a TL;DR for every paragraph :)

The two stand-out movies for me were THE MASTER and THE GRANDMASTER. The Master is a rather opaque, metaphorical story about a WWII veteran who is ensnared by a guru who's possibly based on L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of scientology. The movie seems much too loose, intertwining fascinating scenes in a rather random way, having no overarching narrative or point to it. It is carried by great performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman and shot beautifully. It was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, whose previous "There Will Be Blood" is one of my favorite movies of all time - sadly, The Master is nowhere as good. The Grandmaster is a kung-fu epic directed by Wong Kar Wai, it combines spectacular martial arts scenes with Wong's usual intense romanticism - but in doing so, it seems like two movies stitched together, and much like The Master, it lacks cohesion and a strong narrative.

TL;DR: Both Paul Thomas Anderson's and Wong Kar Wai's movies were great, but considerably worse than they usually are.

There was a number of good movies, which were all very much worth going to see them: Frankenweenie, Zero Dark Thirty, Hitchcock, the Blue Exorcist anime movie, The Hunt, Blue Jasmine and Inside Llewyn Davis. I consider them close to flawless, but not ambitious or memorable enough to really qualify as great movies. There were also the two Hobbit movies, which were similarly fun, but in a way completely superfluous - they were little more than an array of entertaining STUFF, and whenever they needed to prove they were telling a story, they would do it in the most obvious and unsurprising way. I understand that organizing Tolkien's writings into a movie is an enormous feat, but it seems mainly a logistic effort - it doesn't mean the result is particularly impressive from a creative or aesthetic point of view. Again, I found them to be fun, but I can also understand people who found them tedious to sit through. Star Trek Into Darkness and Lincoln were both a bit worse - Star Trek being considerably dumber than any film previously mentioned, but still a whole lot of fun, and Lincoln simply being too long-winded and dry.

TL; DR: There were some fun movies which weren't too memorable.

Now, one of the year's most consistent features in terms of movies were big disappointments. And the single biggest problem here was that extraordinary production values, iconic characters, good or even superb actors, and wonderful designs and effects were wasted on terribly flawed screenplays. Here I can list Iron Man 3 (there was little to no buildup, plot points being sacrificed for cheap punch lines - the sacrifice of a potentially great reinvention of The Mandarin being the worst offender), Man of Steel (or: Kryptonians slaughtering people for two hours, with another half hour spent on a ludicrous narrative), Pacific Rim (two hours of clichéed stupidity, with ten minutes of awesomeness squeezed inbetween), World War Z (stupid stupid stupid), Life of Pi (a potentially good movie sacrificed for kitsch), The Wolverine (not particularly bad, just consistently mediocre), Gravity ('nuff said) and Thor: The Dark World (or: how to write a screenplay without a single original and/or compelling idea). Of course, there were also movies which were just plain bad, and which didn't even have the potential for greatness. Still, even the G.I. Joe sequel was much, much worse than the already pretty awful first one - as if every single movie desperately tried to be worse than it should reasonably have been.

TL; DR: A slew of movies was bad, and not only that: They shouldn't have been that bad, but could easily have been much, much better - if they hadn't relied on hacks writing the screenplays, or directors who requested hacks to write those screenplays.

So, here's to a better 2014!

:iconzivrezcara::iconrevisionoflines::iconlampputar::iconrinkula::iconsilentwaltz::iconcatchguess::iconpunchyninja::iconolliewhen::iconquestionofbalance::iconhartter::iconaluminumcandy::iconxandreea::iconglassonion14::iconbitterev::iconliteracysuks1::icontempest-lavalle::iconswizzle-stix::icongeriatricyoda::iconmrhades::iconlegacyherocomics::iconwalter-ostlie::iconneilsama::iconforgottencake::iconspeedslide::iconsnarebang::iconretardedwalrus::iconmonkey-mafia::iconriguz::iconnepath::iconfukujinzuke::icon13words::iconavbaur::iconhayoubi::icontokenjin::iconendcomic::iconearthdefensehero::iconwesnero123::iconlemniskate::iconseanpcorwin::icondrmoore::iconthe-macattack::iconshastab24::iconelkoi::icontantzaerine::iconslategreen::icondwenda::iconsaniika::iconpit-face:
  • Listening to: The Joy Formidable - Wolf's Law
  • Watching: 2 Broke Girls
  • Playing: Legend of Zelda - Skyward Sword
I haven't been very active on dA this year - mainly because of my PhD thesis, which is nearing its end -, but I saw that I just reached 600 watchers, and I wanted to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you who have been following my work, or who have just started following it.

Thank you so much! Hope you had (and/or are still having) Happy Holidays!

:iconzivrezcara::iconrevisionoflines::iconlampputar::iconrinkula::iconsilentwaltz::iconcatchguess::iconpunchyninja::iconolliewhen::iconquestionofbalance::iconhartter::iconaluminumcandy::iconxandreea::iconglassonion14::iconbitterev::iconliteracysuks1::icontempest-lavalle::iconswizzle-stix::icongeriatricyoda::iconmrhades::iconlegacyherocomics::iconwalter-ostlie::iconneilsama::iconforgottencake::iconspeedslide::iconsnarebang::iconretardedwalrus::iconmonkey-mafia::iconriguz::iconnepath::iconfukujinzuke::icon13words::iconavbaur::iconhayoubi::icontokenjin::iconendcomic::iconearthdefensehero::iconwesnero123::iconlemniskate::iconseanpcorwin::icondrmoore::iconthe-macattack::iconshastab24::iconelkoi::icontantzaerine::iconslategreen::icondwenda::iconsaniika::iconpit-face:
Now that drunkduck is finally back at theduckwebcomics.com, HEROES ALLIANCE is going to continue! The duck went down shortly before I could assign pages for chapter 9, "Wrath of the Zombie Queen". Out of 13 potential contributors, 8 have confirmed they're still active on dd: theduckwebcomics.com/Heroes_Al…

If any of the following five dd members are reading this right now, please confirm that you'd still be available to do a page for HA: melsr007, Wesnero123, sinkingship, HedonisticActor, UncreativeName.

Also, if you're not on the list, but would like to contribute a page or two (or more! :p), please speak up! Thanks for your attention :)
  • Listening to: Cartoon Heroes (Metro Remix)
  • Reading: Psychosemantics
  • Watching: The Walking Dead Season 3
The fabulously skilled :iconsaniika: is currently taking on commissions, and you can help her out by buying one! Doesn't that sound like a great win-win situation? I've commissioned her two times in the past, and she has always delivered excellent work:
  sCOM: Bombshell by saniika sCOM: Kano by saniika
For more beautiful artwork, just take a look at her gallery: saniika.deviantart.com/gallery
She is VERY professional about commissions, and I highly recommend her services.
Please see her journal here: saniika.deviantart.com/journal…
  • Listening to: Czarface
  • Reading: Psychosemantics
  • Watching: Star Trek TNG
In this review, I will focus only on general aspects of the movie. There are no specific plot spoilers.

 

First off, Man of Steel is exactly what DC Comics needed. It is fit to reinvigorate the DC Universe movie adaptations at exactly the right time, now that the only successful franchise in recent years – Nolan's Batman trilogy – has just ended. Man of Steel is perfect to build further movies on or around, and not just sequels, but movies featuring other DC characters, or a Justice League movie. This budding DCU seems plausibly grounded in the real world, integrates its heavy science-fiction aspects seamlessly, and takes all of its premises serious (while not being devoid of a much-appreciated dose of irony and reckless fun). At times, MoS's efforts to hide the cheesy aspects of the source material even seem to go beyond what would be warranted, at the expense of some of its iconic familiarity. This version of Superman wants to be fresh, to be different, if only a bit, and it trades some of the heart of the source material for the fascination that comes with this freshness. Whether that is a good or bad thing is up to individual taste.

 

Still, much more so than any of the recent entries into the superhero movie genres – be they derived from DC's or Marvel's lore – MoS surrenders to an uncompromising, all-out lust for action that permeates current Hollywood fare. While it hasn't completely forgotten about stringing along its narrative and establishing characters, it does so mostly by weaving them into a fabric of straightforward conflict. (And by being THIS straightforward, it does nothing for the characters; rather, it makes most of them far too obvious. These are characters who are see-through from the moment of the first impression they make on us, which doesn't hurt only for two reasons: That there is some dynamic BETWEEN the individual characters; and that the actors are, for the most part, more than capable). The first thing the movie does is establish this conflict, and for the rest of its considerable running time, it seems obsessively attached to it – as if that's the only thing that REALLY matters, and everything else is just a means of feeding the neverending mayhem. (Consequentially, it also has a lot of heavy-handed exposition, and unlike some of the better comic book movies, this one consistently seems to miss the opportunities for turning this flaw into a strength – by treating necessary exposition as a chance to pursue the search for THAT ONE PERFECT LINE. Almost all of the Marvel Studios movies did better in that aspect. "The Avengers" excelled in it.) And of course, the laws of physics still apply, even to a Superman: constant release of tension just isn't possible, it has to be built at some point. And that rarely happens. Hans Zimmer's much-lauded score feeds this constant release, pounding the movie ever forward, but without ever leaving time for a breather, even when it is warranted by the visuals and pacing, thus muddling some of the potentially atmospheric scenes, degrading them to something that merely happens to separate two action scenes.

 

That said, the action IS spectacular. And it very much feels like the first movie to ever really take advantage of the potential of a superhuman fight. Compared to what is unleashed here, some previous entries in the genre seem more like bad excuses – watching battles against random armies of aliens just won't do anymore once you've seen MoS. And as heavy-handed as some of the scripting is, the acting does carry it. Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon – they're all perfectly cast. One great surprise in that regard is Antje Traue, who impressed me with a great presence despite having only few lines (and some of them laughably corny).

 

TL;DR: Disaster porn, paper-thin narrative, awesome action scenes, perfect casting, convenient springboard for further DCU movies.



:iconzivrezcara::iconrevisionoflines::iconlampputar::iconrinkula::iconsilentwaltz::iconcatchguess::iconpunchyninja::iconolliewhen::iconquestionofbalance::iconhartter::iconaluminumcandy::iconxandreea::iconglassonion14::iconbitterev::iconliteracysuks1::icontempest-lavalle::iconswizzle-stix::icongeriatricyoda::iconmrhades::iconlegacyherocomics::iconwalter-ostlie::iconneilsama::iconforgottencake::iconspeedslide::iconsnarebang::iconretardedwalrus::iconmonkey-mafia::iconriguz::iconnepath::iconfukujinzuke::icon13words::iconavbaur::iconhayoubi::icontokenjin::iconendcomic::iconearthdefensehero::iconwesnero123::iconlemniskate::iconseanpcorwin::icondrmoore::iconthe-macattack::iconshastab24::iconelkoi::icontantzaerine::iconslategreen::icondwenda::iconsaniika::iconpit-face:

  • Listening to: MS MR - Secondhand Rapture
  • Reading: Superman: The Death of Clark Kent
  • Watching: Man of Steel
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk
I've been interviewed for the drunkduck quackcast! Check it out ^_^ www.drunkduck.com/quackcast/ep…

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Friends:

:iconzivrezcara::iconrevisionoflines::iconlampputar::iconrinkula::iconsilentwaltz::iconcatchguess::iconpunchyninja::iconolliewhen::iconquestionofbalance::iconhartter::iconaluminumcandy::iconxandreea::iconglassonion14::iconbitterev::iconliteracysuks1::icontempest-lavalle::iconswizzle-stix::icongeriatricyoda::iconmrhades::iconlegacyherocomics::iconwalter-ostlie::iconneilsama::iconforgottencake::iconspeedslide::iconsnarebang::iconretardedwalrus::iconmonkey-mafia::iconriguz::iconnepath::iconfukujinzuke::icon13words::iconavbaur::iconhayoubi::icontokenjin::iconendcomic::iconearthdefensehero::iconwesnero123::iconlemniskate::iconseanpcorwin::icondrmoore::iconthe-macattack::iconshastab24::iconelkoi::icontantzaerine::iconslategreen::icondwenda::iconsaniika::iconpit-face:
  • Listening to: Daft Punk
  • Reading: Thor The Mighty Avenger
  • Watching: Evangelion 3.33
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk
Big news!

Starting with page 9, I'm writing :iconnepath:'s "The Energize": www.drunkduck.com/Energize nepath.deviantart.com/journal/…

The Energize by Abt-Nihil

The original Energize comic was the root of what we now call "The HUniverse" - the shared universe in which Heroes Unite and Heroes Alliance take place. On a more personal level, Energize was what brought me to drunkduck, and having my comics hosted on drunkduck changed my life. So for me, being the writer on this comic means coming full circle in more than one way.

Nepath and I will be handling this the Marvel way - i.e. I'll leave parts of the script free for him to interpret. Some parts may be rather vague - I'll outline what has to happen in a given scene - others will be more detailed, with descriptions of angles and shots and full dialogue. This enables me to write these scripts rather quickly. I basically wrote the script for the rest of issue 1 on the day after Nepath had asked me whether I'd be up for writing it. I read the first 8 pages, which were written by Spudsy, weighed the options they gave me, asked Nepath whether they had made any plans beyond these pages, and then just went ahead with what I'd like to see. I've already written large parts of #2 also, and have a rough outline for the future.

My initial concept is to go for the overlap between superhero comics and science-fiction. First thing that popped into my head was "Legion of Superheroes"... you wanna have this richly populated universe. When I started reading Superman, it was still very 80s, and Superman was just a space traveller sometimes. That's the sort of feeling I'd like to relive. Adventures which are both sci-fi AND grounded. And "Invincible" does that pretty well, too, if a bit too self-conscious. I think we generally need to be a little less genre-conscious when writing stories, and just go with what's interesting and worthy of exploration.

Well, so much for my short rant! I'm pretty excited about where we're going to take Lucy...



Friends:

:iconzivrezcara::iconrevisionoflines::iconlampputar::iconrinkula::iconsilentwaltz::iconcatchguess::iconpunchyninja::iconolliewhen::iconquestionofbalance::iconhartter::iconaluminumcandy::iconxandreea::iconglassonion14::iconbitterev::iconliteracysuks1::icontempest-lavalle::iconswizzle-stix::icongeriatricyoda::iconmrhades::iconlegacyherocomics::iconwalter-ostlie::iconneilsama::iconforgottencake::iconspeedslide::iconsnarebang::iconretardedwalrus::iconmonkey-mafia::iconriguz::iconnepath::iconfukujinzuke::icon13words::iconavbaur::iconhayoubi::icontokenjin::iconendcomic::iconearthdefensehero::iconwesnero123::iconlemniskate::iconseanpcorwin::icondrmoore::iconthe-macattack::iconshastab24::iconelkoi::icontantzaerine::iconslategreen::icondwenda::iconsaniika::iconpit-face:
  • Listening to: Ivi Adamou
  • Reading: Quai D'Orsay
  • Watching: Star Trek TNG
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk
I imagine you've had a whole lot of "Happy New Year" journals spamming your inbox these past few days, so I gave myself a few more days to do this. What I'm going to do here is write a bit about what I did and what happened to me in 2012 - except about going to the movies, which I dedicated a whole separate journal to! abt-nihil.deviantart.com/journ… In fact, I added three movies to this journal today :)

So, more or less random stuff from 2012, with artwork from this year scattered throughout:

The year started intensely, by ending my first semester at the Graduate school for Systemic Neurosciences. I quite "fondly" remember that the first week of February was the coldest week of the year... because an fMRI-course had me running around in this very cold, from one institute to another, all week. This course also complicated studying for the "fundamentals of neuroscience" exam I had a few days later. But I passed!! Later, they said, I wouldn't even have had to pass, being a lowly philosopher and all :D Anyway, I pass exams because I can. Hah!

Happy New Year 2012 by Abt-Nihil Holon - Kano Illustration - Jan12 by Abt-Nihil Hitomi sketch by Abt-Nihil

February and March had :iconlemniskate: and :iconzivrezcara: drop by on a visit! (Separately. One each month. They don't know each other.) Which meant I finally found out that on the other side of the dA interface, there are REAL PEOPLE @_@ (Real cool people, at that.)

Also in March, I played croquet for the first time in my life. And two of my friends got married. They had a beautiful wedding in July. Awww.

Wedding Invitation by Abt-Nihil Heroes Divided Teaser by Abt-Nihil

The summer semester had my colleagues and me give a tutorial on neurophilosophy and correct a whole lot of essays, which (together with a whole lot of colloquia, conferences, symposia, meetings, other courses and formalities) ended up completely destroying my comic-making routine. This is one thing I'll have to re-implement in 2013... art-making routine.

Power Girl 4 by Abt-Nihil Bombshell Issue 3 Pg. 08 by Abt-Nihil

The apartment I'm living in was sold, which caused me a lot of headaches and evil spying visitors over the summer months. Well, eventually, it WAS sold and I'm still living in it. For now. On the plus side, I had my apartment full of awesome people for my birthday party! For the past ten years or so, I had always gone out for my birthday, so this wasn't just the first time I celebrated my birthday in THIS apartment, but also the first time for a lot of my current friends to be together in any place I could call home. That was swell.

Assistant Hirsch by Abt-Nihil Holon Vol. 2 Teaser by Abt-Nihil

In September, I spent a few days on a seminar in Venice (like last year abt-nihil.deviantart.com/journ… abt-nihil.deviantart.com/journ… ). I didn't bring my camera this year though... the whole thing is getting old ;-) Also in September, I completed a remix LP: silent-e.de/themanuscript.html

And also also in September, Holon won "best sci-fi comic" in the dd awards :party: abt-nihil.deviantart.com/journ…

Holon Ch. 5 Pg. 06 by Abt-Nihil Bombshell Issue 3 Pg. 10 by Abt-Nihil Star by Abt-Nihil

...

Okay, so I lied about the movie part. Here are classic movies I watched for the very first time this year (most of them at home, some at cinemas):
Army of Darkness. Indiana Jones. Once Upon A Time In The West. Jaws. Close Encounter of the Third Kind. Carrie. Lawrence of Arabia. The Island of Dr Moreau (1977). Commando. Silent Running. Diner. All movies by Nicolas Winding Refn (except for his Pusher-trilogy). North By Northwest. Faster Pussycat…. Kill! Kill! Phenomena. The Thing. Way of the Dragon. Repulsion. Bicycle Thieves.
I recommend you watch all these, too! :D

Bombshell Photo Cover by Abt-Nihil Heroes Alliance Ch. 7 Pg. 38 by Abt-Nihil Nat and Aria by Abt-Nihil

And a lot of other stuff happened, which I am either too lazy or too forgetful to add to this journal.

At last: Happy 2013 everyone, and thank you so much for your support and friendship! :bow:

2011 review: abt-nihil.deviantart.com/journ…

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Friends:

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  • Listening to: Ivi Adamou
  • Reading: Quai D'Orsay
  • Watching: Star Trek TNG
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk
Since I spend a lot of my time in dark theaters, I thought it would be a good way to end 2012 by looking back at the movies I watched. I'm briefly going to summarize whether I liked the movie or not, and why. (Note: These are movies which came out this year in Germany. I didn't include old movies I watched, even if I watched them for the first time.)

EDIT 1/3/2013: I added "The Ides of March" (top), "This Must Be The Place" (near the top) and "Anna Karenina" (bottom).



The Ides of March

I actually don't remember a whole lot about this movie, except that it had some of my favorite actors in it (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Ryan Gosling). The rest was rather unimpressive... but certainly not bad.



The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

An excellent movie, great direction from David Fincher and wonderful performances from Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. I still feel that making this remake was quite pointless though, given that it didn't deviate significantly from the original movie.



J. Edgar

Great performance from Leo DiCaprio (as usual), but the rest was mediocre at best. Nothing about the film was cohesive or thorough, I felt it was just moments from Hoover's life stitched together. I take it Eastwood deliberately avoided making a  political film, but its not being political just left a gaping hole in Hoover's biography which wasn't filled with anything but a clicheed love story, making the characters feel like caricatures.



The Artist

An all-around enjoyable film and nice self-conscious homage to the silent movie genre. The movie didn't stay with me for one second after I'd left the cinema, though: There's nothing in it to spend a second thought on.



Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Opaque and boring, but featuring a stellar ensemble cast: Brilliant performances all around, especially from Gary Oldman.



This Must Be The Place

A quirky, fun, endearing road trip movie with a brilliant Sean Penn (although I haven't seen him not being brilliant in quite a while).



Drive

Partly moody and brooding, partly exploding in cathartic violence, this movie manages to create an incredibly tangible claustrophobic atmosphere, painting a rich tapestry of existential situations. Stylistically sharp, it is carried by wonderful performances from Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, and has director Refn step up his skills to an unprecented level. One of my top 3 movies this year.



Hugo

Sweet, melancholic and enchanting, this is a quite unexpected film from the master of gangster movies, Martin Scorsese. Half child-friendly adventure, half meta-reflection on the birth of special FX movies, it makes for a clever and satisfying mixture.



Shame

A smart, honest, and highly unsettling reflection on (male?) sexuality, with brilliant, intense acting from Michael Fassbender.



John Carter

Ambitious, highly detailed and entertaining, this adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough's hugely influential sci-fi/adventure novels may by now feel derivative, but is still very solid and more satisfying than most recent entries in the genre. I'm sad that it bombed, denying us the planned sequels.



The Hunger Games

A mixture of angsty coming-of-age, teenage romance tropes and dystopian sci-fi, the movie did nothing but recycle a myriad of clichees of the aforementioned genres and combine them with pedestrian direction, lackluster acting, derivative production design and a lot of shaky hand-cam photography. Much worse than its general acclaim had me anticipate.



Wrath of the Titans

It's amazing how boring a movie that is filled to the brim with supposedly spectacular special effects can be. I enjoyed the huge Kronos CGI monster fight at the end, but that was it.



Iron Sky

The concept – Nazis from the moon – was just enough to make the trailer seem funny and somewhat exciting, but stretched to feature-length, it soon gave way to a plethora of lackluster gags and slapstick scenes. A few laughs were had, but that's hardly enough for 92 minutes.



Battleship

This one was exactly as bad as it set out to be.



Martha Marcy Mae Marlene

Wonderful, haunting movie about a teenager who gets ensnared by a sect and desperately tries to cut herself loose. Impressive lead performance from Elizabeth Olsen.



The Avengers

Apart from its predictable plot, this movie was fantastic. The most amazing thing about it was that it completely lived up to my insanely high expectations. The brilliant casting from the previous Marvel Studios films really paid off, resulting in a stellar ensemble, and the new guys – Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk and Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill – were a great addition. Joss Whedon worked wonders with his trademark witty dialogues and spot-on direction. Another top 3 movie this year, I watched it four times.



Dark Shadows

Another mediocre entry into Tim Burton's and Johnny Depp's shared oeuvre. Entertaining at times, but mostly drab, with a disastrously messed-up ending.



Snow White and the Huntsman

Worst movie of the year. No redeeming qualities whatsoever. Nuff said.



Farewell, My Queen

To me, this one felt much like "Cloverfield", but instead of being in NY during a monster attack, you're in Versailles during the French revolution, with the people attacking the palace, replacing the monster. This sort of immersive experience, combined with enjoyable acting, makes the movie worthwhile, despite a bit of an unfocused script.



Moonrise Kingdom

A quirky, fun, stylistically brilliant little movie.



The Amazing Spider-Man

Another superfluous remake, but still solid. The worst thing about this movie was that we had to go through all of the clichees of the initial plot again, when I thought we'd already had that behind us. Looking forward to some new stuff, though. Oh, and it had a solid cast. Unlike so many others, I didn't mind anybody in Sam Raimi's movies, including Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. But I did enjoy Andrew Garfield's and Emma Stone's performances more.



Cosmopolis

Two hours of pretentious dialogues, hackneyed direction and bad performances all around, except for Paul Giamatti and Samantha Morton, who can do no wrong, but were given terrible material to work with. This movie would have liked to be a smart reflection of the financial crisis (which is desperately needed, by the way), but was lightyears off mark.



The Dark Knight Rises

Oh right, this one would also somewhat have liked to be a smart reflection of the financial crisis (among many other things) and was way off mark, but for entirely different reasons. I wrote about it extensively in a previous journal ( abt-nihil.deviantart.com/journ… ), so I'll just say: Tom Hardy as Bane was absolutely spectacular, Anne Hathaway brilliant, and most of the rest of the movie was a mess. Not the worst one this year, but certainly the most disappointing. I watched it five times, just to make sure :)



Prometheus

Visually dazzling, but depending on a weak script and mediocre performances, except for those from Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron, who were great as usual.



After

Not too bad, but derivative and ultimately forgettable.



Flying Swords of Dragon Gate

Unadulterated martial-arts-and-ridiculous-stunts fun! Also, great use of 3D.



To Rome With Love

This one was considerably more nonsensical than Woody Allen's previous films, but I saw it as nice throwback to his early films. I found it hilarious.



Total Recall

Another contender for "worst movie of the year" – a completely uninspired and superfluous remake, tedious from start to finish.



The Bourne Legacy

I don't like Matt Damon. I do like Jeremy Renner. But then, why did I like the previous Bourne movies much more than this one? The problem was, they didn't make me care about anything that happened in this movie. Well, that could have been remedied by making spectacular stuff happen. But what happened wasn't really that spectacular at all. So, yup, I just didn't care about this movie.



Amour

A heartbreaking portrait of an existential situation which will catch up with most of us someday. With this film, director Michael Haneke once again proved that he's a modern master of cinema.



Looper

Not too ambitious, but original and well crafted, this is one of the few mainstream/Hollywood movies this year which I felt really had a story to tell, and not just a spectacle to set up – in that sense, it reminded me more of some of the better current TV series than of what's going on in comparable movies. Also, the gimmick of having Joseph Gordon Levitt play a younger Bruce Willis made for a lot of fun.



Skyfall

Skyfall easily surpassed its predecessor Quantum of Solace, but, let's face it, that wasn't really all that hard. The hard part was living up to Casino Royale, one of my favorite movies of the past ten years – and in this regard, Skyfall fell painfully short. It was another of those movies which provide some enjoyable parts, but doesn't come together too well, exposing plot holes, implausible character motivations and a weak narrative structure. I feel Sam Mendes and the script writers really could and should have done better. Javier Bardem's performance was great, but the fact that it so easily overshadowed every other aspect of the movie is telling.



Die Wand (The Wall)

You may have noticed by now that I like atmospheric movies depicting character in existential situations. This is another one of those, and a very good one, at that!



The Hobbit

A fun joyride. The narrative was much more linear than LotR, which, combined with the film's length, didn't work to the source material's advantage. I think it primarily works as an extension of the LotR movies, making for an enjoyable encore. I can see how sitting through this movie can be a chore for some, though.



Anna Karenina

I'm not sure how I felt about this one. For all its pronounced emotionality, it left me somewhat cold, even though direction, acting, production design etc. seemed top-notch - "opulent" is the right word. But the way the characters were portrayed was lacking something... something like rational access to their minds. But maybe that, too, was intended, so...


All things considered, I thought this was a great movie year, and much, MUCH better than 2011.

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Friends:

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  • Listening to: Ivi Adamou
  • Reading: Quai D'Orsay
  • Watching: Star Trek TNG
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk
The brilliant and super-nice :iconsaniika: brought this to my attention. Basically, you post ten of your christmas wishes in your journal, no matter how big or small, and then look for other people's lists and see whether you can make some of their wishes come true. I started thinking about this, and it's not just that I love the idea of making peoples wishes come true unexpectedly, but also just to formulate your own wishes - to think about what you'd wish for if you could wish for anything. Somehow, my list ended up consisting mainly of things that can't be (easily) bought. But they're my sincere wishes. Sorry if some of these ended up a bit sappy :iconohyoudogplz:
Anyway, here goes! The following has been copied from saniika's journal saniika.deviantart.com/journal… , except for my wishlist, of course ^_^

:santa::star::rudolph: CHRISTMAS WISHES!


Step 1.

Make a post in your dA journal (the manual INCLUDED - I wont grant any wishes, if I see no manual). The post should contain your list of 10 holiday wishes. The wishes can be anything at all, from simple and fandom-related ("I'd love a Snape/Hermione icon that's just for me") to medium ("I wish for _____ on DVD") to really big ("All I want for Christmas is a new car/computer/house/TV.") The important thing is, make sure these wishes are things you really, truly want.

If you wish for real-life things (not fics or icons), make sure you include some sort of contact info in your post, whether it's your address or just your email address where Santa (or one of his elves) could get in touch with you.

Step 2.

Surf around your friends list (or friends friends, or just random journals) to see who has posted their list. And now here's the important part:

If you see a wish you can grant, and it's in your heart to do so, make someone's wish come true. Sometimes someone's trash is another's treasure, and if you have a leather jacket you don't want or a gift certificate you won't use--or even know where you could get someone's dream purebred Basset Hound for free--do it.

You needn't spend money on these wishes unless you want to. The point isn't to put people out, it's to provide everyone a chance to be someone else's holiday elf--to spread the joy. Gifts can be made anonymously or not--it's your call.

There are no rules with this project, no guarantees, and no strings attached. Just...wish, and it might come true. Give, and you might receive. And you'll have the joy of knowing you made someone's holiday special.

Step 3.

The list:

1. For any of my comics to be turned into animated movies under my supervision (so much for my megalomania).
2. For Shades Vol. 2 to be released in print (DAJB!!!! :D).
3. To watch Evangelion 3.0: Quickening at the movies.
4. To meet my fellow webcomic genius and #1 Conan afficionado Victoria, and draw stuff with her.
5. To always have the time and energy to work on my comics regularly.
6. For an artist to turn my unrealized scripts into comics.
7. For this great evil that has mankind fighting and killing each other to be vanquished.
8. A secure job that fits my abilities and interests.
9. A girlfriend (warning, I may be picky ^^;)
10. To always be with people who are as great as the ones I'm getting to be with these days.

The Elves can reach me here on dA via note. :iconchristmasla:

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Friends:

:iconzivrezcara::iconrevisionoflines::iconlampputar::iconshyguy9::iconrinkula::iconsilentwaltz::iconcatchguess::iconpunchyninja::iconolliewhen::iconquestionofbalance::iconhartter::iconaluminumcandy::iconxandreea::iconglassonion14::iconbitterev::iconliteracysuks1::icontempest-lavalle::icondarrell31316::iconswizzle-stix::icongeriatricyoda::iconmrhades::iconlegacyherocomics::iconwalter-ostlie::iconneilsama::iconnikkibuu::iconspeedslide::iconsnarebang::iconretardedwalrus::iconmonkey-mafia::iconriguz::iconnepath::iconfukujinzuke::icon13words::iconavbaur::iconhayoubi::icontokenjin::iconendcomic::iconearthdefensehero::iconwesnero123::iconlemniskate::iconseanpcorwin::icondrmoore::iconthe-macattack::iconshastab24::iconelkoi::icontantzaerine::iconslategreen::icondwenda::iconsaniika::iconpit-face:
  • Listening to: Dumb ways to die
  • Reading: Philosophy papers
  • Watching: Transformers Prime
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk
Do you remember my latest Power Girl picture?

Power Girl 4 by Abt-Nihil

One reason why I drew it was my realization that Siri would make a perfect Power Girl, and so I tried to have this drawing reflect that fact. (I never told anyone, because I didn't feel I caught her likeness.) But now, Siri herself seems to have realized that.

Mature Content

Porn Star Power Girl Siri by wiler11

Mature Content

Siri Power Girl by wiler11

Mature Content

Siri 3 by wiler11


Crazy!

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Friends:

:iconzivrezcara::iconrevisionoflines::iconlampputar::iconshyguy9::iconrinkula::iconsilentwaltz::iconcatchguess::iconpunchyninja::iconolliewhen::iconquestionofbalance::iconhartter::iconaluminumcandy::iconxandreea::iconglassonion14::iconbitterev::iconliteracysuks1::icontempest-lavalle::icondarrell31316::iconswizzle-stix::icongeriatricyoda::iconmrhades::iconlegacyherocomics::iconwalter-ostlie::iconneilsama::iconnikkibuu::iconspeedslide::iconsnarebang::iconretardedwalrus::iconmonkey-mafia::iconriguz::iconnepath::iconfukujinzuke::icon13words::iconavbaur::iconhayoubi::icontokenjin::iconendcomic::iconearthdefensehero::iconwesnero123::iconlemniskate::iconseanpcorwin::icondrmoore::iconthe-macattack::iconshastab24::iconelkoi::icontantzaerine::iconslategreen::icondwenda::iconsaniika::iconpit-face:
  • Listening to: View to a kill (in my head only)
  • Reading: Philosophy papers
  • Watching: Boardwalk Empire
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk
Last week, I received a letter in the mail (an ACTUAL letter! in the ACTUAL mail!!), complete with a self-adressed return envelope, by someone I don't know. He wrote that he and his wife are enjoying my comics and illustrations, and he's asking me for two autographed cards.

...

I'm a celebrity now :faint:

In other news, I've got so much to do for university that I still haven't managed to update my comics. Three weeks ago, I was on a seminar in Venice, organized by the graduate school I'm attending. It was absolutely fabulous, and my presentation was well received. Here's an actual slide from my presentation:



Yup. The downside was that we almost didn't have time to explore Venice, and that sleep time alternated between 4 and 6 hours. I was lucky I was able to catch a luxurious 6 hours of sleep before my presentation. My neurophilosophy colleagues and I went on a retreat right on the day after we'd come back from Venice, to advance our PhD theses and collaborative projects - that we ended up seeing each other almost 24/7 for 10 days was pretty exhausting though (great guys, but all work & little privacy). Going back to Venice for some actual vacation afterwards would have been nice :D



And I watched "Make It Happen" yesterday. In case you don't know (and I really hope you don't), it's a dance movie. I wish I could say I'd never seen a dance movie before, but I'd actually seen "Saturday Night Fever" and "Dirty Dancing". Seeing those two can be regarded as historic studies, I guess, and that's what they were for me (I thought SNF was pretty hilarious - DD was mostly just ludicrous. It's a thin line, but it makes all the difference).



Anyway, I had entertained this prejudice that dance movies were aimed almost exclusively at girls. I only happened to watch "Make It Happen" because I'm systematically going through Mary Elizabeth Winstead's filmography -- I'd first seen her in "Scott Pilgrim", which earned her my respect, then I forgot about her for a year or two until watching "The Thing", and her running around with a flamethrower totally made me fall for her --



-- and the whole thing was basically just about leering. Like, Ms Winstead doing sexy stuff all the time. I didn't get it. I mean, it was fine with me, but I didn't get why a dance movie would take such a leering POV. The rest of the movie was 100% clichee. Small-town girl trying to make it big in Chicago, parents died, brother puts pressure on her to work at their garage, she ends up dancing in a nightclub and FINALLY passes the test at the big dancing school, promising fame and fortune. 500% clichee, actually.
Anyway, it was still much more satisfying than "Final Destination 3". I used to respect Glen Morgan & James Wong when they were working on the Millennium TV series, but THIS-- ugh.



Darn your prettiness for making me watch bad movies! ^_____^
  • Listening to: Mansun
  • Reading: Philosophy papers
  • Watching: Make It Happen
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk
"[Superheroes] are purely reactionary, in the literal sense. They have no projects of their own, at least not in their role as heroes: as Clark Kent, Superman may be constantly trying, and failing, to get into Lois Lane's pants, but as Superman, he is purely reactive.  In fact, superheroes seem almost utterly lacking in imagination: like Bruce Wayne, who with all the money in the world can't seem to think of anything to do with it other than to indulge in the occasional act of charity; it never seems to occur to Superman that he could easily carve free magic cities out of mountains."

Yesterday, a friend of mine alerted me to an article about "The Dark Knight Rises" (which the above quote is taken from), written by David Graeber - as wikipedia tells me, one of the principal "anarchists" behind the occupy movement. The article is just that – an article, and not a review. It is in fact a rather lengthy construal of the movie as a personal attack on occupy. It is fairly obvious that Graeber takes everything Nolan says personal – to the point where he doesn't admit any ambivalence or aesthetic considerations. That is, I believe that any regular, non-ideologically-tainted movie-buff would allow for certain things (including narrative aspects) in movies to happen mainly for aesthetic considerations, not for ideological ones. Not so Graeber. To him, the whole movie is an intentionally ideological piece of propaganda.

That said, the article is reasonably smart and enlightening. It manages to find a more or less consistent interpretational background, against which the movie suddenly starts making a lot of sense. Personally, I believe that the movie does NOT make sense for the most part, and that that is its principal flaw. So, Graeber's efforts in coming up with some framework in which it does is certainly to be commended (although I believe that this can be mostly traced back to Graeber's creativity that consists in coming up with this framework, not Nolan's creativity in construing his Dark Knight trilogy).

Graeber also manages to give a fairly ingenious historic interpretation for the cultural role and success of superhero stories. All in all, the article is interesting enough to be worth reading, even though it is "tainted" in the sense I just laid out. And just to clarify: I don't mean to criticize Graeber's political views, just his tunnel vision. Politically, according to US standards, I'm somewhere on the far left – but that's probably the fault of US standards, because aren't all Europeans?

Here's the article: thenewinquiry.com/essays/super…

You can find my own review of TDKR, including some remarks on how the movie's political analogies are deeply flawed, here: abt-nihil.deviantart.com/journ…

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Friends:

:iconzivrezcara::iconrevisionoflines::iconlampputar::iconshyguy9::iconrinkula::iconsilentwaltz::iconcatchguess::iconpunchyninja::iconolliewhen::iconquestionofbalance::iconhartter::iconaluminumcandy::iconxandreea::iconglassonion14::iconbitterev::iconliteracysuks1::icontempest-lavalle::icondarrell31316::iconswizzle-stix::icongeriatricyoda::iconmrhades::iconlegacyherocomics::iconwalter-ostlie::iconneilsama::iconnikkibuu::iconspeedslide::iconsnarebang::iconretardedwalrus::iconmonkey-mafia::iconriguz::iconnepath::iconfukujinzuke::icon13words::iconavbaur::iconhayoubi::icontokenjin::iconendcomic::iconearthdefensehero::iconwesnero123::iconlemniskate::iconseanpcorwin::icondrmoore::iconthe-macattack::iconshastab24::iconelkoi::icontantzaerine::iconslategreen::icondwenda::iconsaniika::iconpit-face:
  • Listening to: the pillows - 90s My Life
  • Reading: Philosophy papers
  • Watching: Lawrence of Arabia
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk
I just completed my first CD in more than two years. It is called "The Manuscript" and consists of hip-hop remixes. That is, either I produced new tracks for existing acapellas, or I remixed existing music to fit acapellas (and sometimes, the distinction between these two methods is rather blurry).

You can download the album for free here: silent-e.de/themanuscript.html

Don't be shy, please listen to it and tell me what you think! :la: I guess you do need to have some basic tolerance for hip-hop, butI like to believe it's not the bad sort of hip-hop. It has influences (and samples :p) from all over the place. If you know anyone who might appreciate this, please share. Thanks!

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Friends:

:iconzivrezcara::iconrevisionoflines::iconlampputar::iconshyguy9::iconrinkula::iconsilentwaltz::iconcatchguess::iconpunchyninja::iconolliewhen::iconquestionofbalance::iconhartter::iconaluminumcandy::iconxandreea::iconglassonion14::iconbitterev::iconliteracysuks1::icontempest-lavalle::icondarrell31316::iconswizzle-stix::icongeriatricyoda::iconmrhades::iconlegacyherocomics::iconwalter-ostlie::iconneilsama::iconnikkibuu::iconspeedslide::iconsnarebang::iconretardedwalrus::iconmonkey-mafia::iconriguz::iconnepath::iconfukujinzuke::icon13words::iconavbaur::iconhayoubi::icontokenjin::iconendcomic::iconearthdefensehero::iconwesnero123::iconlemniskate::iconseanpcorwin::icondrmoore::iconthe-macattack::iconshastab24::iconelkoi::icontantzaerine::iconslategreen::icondwenda::iconsaniika::iconpit-face:
  • Listening to: The Manuscript
  • Reading: Philosophy papers
  • Watching: The Avengers
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk
The winner for the "best sci-fi" category in this year's drunkduck awards was announced today, and - what an awesome surprise - Holon won! www.drunkduck.com/Drunk_Duck_A…

Even back when nominations were announced, I considered this one the crown jewel, so it's extremely satisfying to take it home. Holon is probably the purest genre-piece I've ever worked on, so there's no question that the category fits. It went up against a formidable competition, so that, too, is very humbling. And this comic is very close to my heart, which means I'm more vulnerable to negative feedback than on other comics which have more of a fun or exercise character. On the other hand, having this spiritual investment rewarded is all the more gratifying.

In case you're not doing so already, you can read the comic here: www.drunkduck.com/Holon - and to everyone who has been supporting it, my sincerest thanks!

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Friends:

:iconzivrezcara::iconrevisionoflines::iconlampputar::iconshyguy9::iconrinkula::iconsilentwaltz::iconcatchguess::iconpunchyninja::iconolliewhen::iconquestionofbalance::iconhartter::iconaluminumcandy::iconxandreea::iconglassonion14::iconbitterev::iconliteracysuks1::icontempest-lavalle::icondarrell31316::iconswizzle-stix::icongeriatricyoda::iconmrhades::iconlegacyherocomics::iconwalter-ostlie::iconneilsama::iconnikkibuu::iconspeedslide::iconsnarebang::iconretardedwalrus::iconmonkey-mafia::iconriguz::iconnepath::iconfukujinzuke::icon13words::iconavbaur::iconhayoubi::icontokenjin::iconendcomic::iconearthdefensehero::iconwesnero123::iconlemniskate::iconseanpcorwin::icondrmoore::iconthe-macattack::iconshastab24::iconelkoi::icontantzaerine::iconslategreen::icondwenda::iconsaniika::iconpit-face:
  • Listening to: Molly Nilsson - When I Have No Words
  • Reading: Philosophy papers
  • Watching: Boardwalk Empire, Season 2
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk
For this week's quackcast (= the drunkduck.com podcast), fellow webcomickers and myself recorded intros for our comics, written from the points of view of the protagonists. I wrote one for Bombshell, which skoolmunkee performed brilliantly (starting at around 45'40") and I recorded one for Holon myself (starting at around 47'50"): www.drunkduck.com/quackcast/ep… The quackcast is mono - if you'd like to listen to my original stereo mix for the Holon bit, you can do so here: joachimlipski.de/Holon-intro.m…

Fun fact about the Bombshell recording: The "you don't have to be a world-class athlete or martial arts expert to overpower Silvio Berlusconi or Donald Rumsfeld"-line was lifted from one of the upcoming comic pages, but I actually wrote it years ago. It's one of the definitive Bombshell lines for me, setting her apart from superhero concepts that suggest you can still solve the world's problems with heat vision.

Regarding the Holon recording: It's always easier to imagine what a performance should be like than to do it yourself, but I hope I somewhat succeeded in conveying the lonely/spooky space station atmosphere. I figure if you're mostly alone in the bowels of this giant metal beast, your voice would get really brittle and insecure.

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Friends:

:iconzivrezcara::iconrevisionoflines::iconlampputar::iconshyguy9::iconrinkula::iconsilentwaltz::iconcatchguess::iconpunchyninja::iconolliewhen::iconquestionofbalance::iconhartter::iconaluminumcandy::iconxandreea::iconglassonion14::iconbitterev::iconliteracysuks1::icontempest-lavalle::icondarrell31316::iconswizzle-stix::icongeriatricyoda::iconmrhades::iconlegacyherocomics::iconwalter-ostlie::iconneilsama::iconnikkibuu::iconspeedslide::iconsnarebang::iconretardedwalrus::iconmonkey-mafia::iconriguz::iconnepath::iconfukujinzuke::icon13words::iconavbaur::iconhayoubi::icontokenjin::iconendcomic::iconearthdefensehero::iconwesnero123::iconlemniskate::iconseanpcorwin::icondrmoore::iconthe-macattack::iconshastab24::iconelkoi::icontantzaerine::iconslategreen::icondwenda::iconsaniika::iconpit-face:
  • Listening to: Molly Nilsson - When I Have No Words
  • Reading: Philosophy papers
  • Watching: Boardwalk Empire, Season 2
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk
...I'll write a bit about my life. It didn't come out #1 in the poll abt-nihil.deviantart.com/journ…, so in the worst case, four readers will have to suffice :)

I'm a few weeks into my semester break. Writing my PhD thesis, the only difference between semester and semester break is that the break means I'm left to my own devices. I can work on my thesis all day, or I can procrastinate all day. No further comment on that (But you can guess what I'm doing right now) :D This semester messed up my webcomic update schedules. Holon had been updating twice a week for two years, so the fact that that was disrupted meant a big deal. I'm currently struggling to get it back to once a week. While I had less courses this semester than in the previous one, there was some massive work load that wasn't distributed equally among the semester, but there was always some irregular workload that left me reeling for some weeks, until the next came, and then the next, and so on. It involved holding a tutorial and grading neurophilosophy essays which were written by philosophy students. Last year, I had done something similar, but the essays were written by neuroscientists (i.e. students with backgrounds in psychology, biology, physics, chemistry, computer sciences etc. - the neurosciences are basically one large interdisciplinary field). So, last year it was trying to get neuroscientists to approach philosophy, this year it was getting philosophers to approach neurosciences. And man, last year seemed so much easier. I studied philosophy myself, so complaining may sound hypocritical :) But we also had a lot more students this year than last year, so that was an additional cause of stress. Of course there were also some great students among those, and dealing with them was very satisfying - especially getting some positive feedback from them in the end.

I'm currently preparing a presentation for another seminar in Venice later this month, and one for a meeting with my thesis advisors next month.

What else... there's been some death, looming death and illness in my social circle, so I basically get to experience the downside of having made new friends: Having friends means suffering with them as they suffer. That doesn't mean I regret having made them, of course. It just means some times are harder (and more emotional, in a bad way) than when you're left to your own devices. In SOME sense, at least.

Of course, as always, I've been to the movies a lot, and watching some movies at home too. For instance, I watched "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate" www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUnFHX… in 3D today, that was fun. Nonsensical martial-arts kind of fun. Also watched John Carpenter's "The Thing" a few days ago for the first time. That was also great fun - they just don't make creature horror movies like that anymore. And I rewatched the X-Files movies... both had glaring weaknesses, but I was able to enjoy the movies and actually wish there were more.

I'm pretty tired right now... didn't get a lot of sleep last night. That's because I met a girl on the internet yesterday. Turned out she'd take a train to Italy today, and would change trains in Munich. So we decided to meet on a whim. Which means I got up early, went to the main station, we talked for 30 minutes and she left with another train :) It was nice. But my life has never offered any closure on these things. Just openings, just beginnings. A few years ago, I realized that I'd have to do something, go out and meet women, but all that led to was amassing more of those darned beginnings. In a way, I'm back to square one, and at a loss as to what exactly is wrong.

So... bits and pieces of my life.

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Friends:

:iconzivrezcara::iconrevisionoflines::iconlampputar::iconshyguy9::iconrinkula::iconsilentwaltz::iconcatchguess::iconpunchyninja::iconolliewhen::iconquestionofbalance::iconhartter::iconaluminumcandy::iconxandreea::iconglassonion14::iconbitterev::iconliteracysuks1::icontempest-lavalle::icondarrell31316::iconswizzle-stix::icongeriatricyoda::iconmrhades::iconlegacyherocomics::iconwalter-ostlie::iconneilsama::iconnikkibuu::iconspeedslide::iconsnarebang::iconretardedwalrus::iconmonkey-mafia::iconriguz::iconnepath::iconfukujinzuke::icon13words::iconavbaur::iconhayoubi::icontokenjin::iconendcomic::iconearthdefensehero::iconwesnero123::iconlemniskate::iconseanpcorwin::icondrmoore::iconthe-macattack::iconshastab24::iconelkoi::icontantzaerine::iconslategreen::icondwenda::iconsaniika::iconpit-face:
  • Listening to: Ivi Adamou - La La Love
  • Reading: Philosophy papers
  • Watching: Flying Swords of Dragon Gate
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk
This review is going to contain SPOILERS. I trust most of you who are interested in this movie have seen it by now. Also, it was far easier for me to keep my Avengers review spoiler-free, since I felt that that movie had gotten all of the details right, and that the only letdown was the predictable story. With "The Dark Knight Rises", it's much more complicated. Which is also why this review is probably the longest dA journal I've ever written...



First off, I thought TDKR was considerably better than "Batman Begins", but considerably worse than "The Dark Knight". Mainly because "The Dark Knight" was an incredibly ambitious movie, which succeeded in adequately following through on these ambitions, while "Batman Begins" was only moderately ambitious, and only more or less succeeded. The big strength of "Batman Begins" was that it was thorough – for the first time on the big screen, it told a truly coherent Batman story – his origin story, nonetheless! Christopher Nolan seems obsessed with tying up even the tiniest plot thread, and virtually every scene in every one of his movies serves a grand, strong narrative. But while the narrative of "Batman Begins" was smarter than comparable superhero movies, at its heart it wasn't complex, or challenging, or original. It basically wove a tapestry of interconnected, psychologically quite simple inidividuals, held together by mostly adequate dialogue – nothing more, nothing less. And in my opinion, it had many technical shortcomings, primarily during the actions sequences, which were confusingly shot and cut.

"The Dark Knight", on the other hand, was glorious. Its technical perfection, its complex, rousing narrative, carried by an ensemble of A-list actors who could finally deliver what they could only promise on "Batman Begins", and completed by a now legendary performance by Heath Ledger – it all made for one of the greatest movies I had seen in recent years, period.

So, what about "The Dark Knight Rises"?

Well, TDKR was like a mixture between BB and TDK: Very ambitious, but unable to meet these ambitions. It isn't content with just completing Nolan's trilogy, but it also picks up zeitgeist-y themes of terrorism and economic conflict. At the same time, it tries to balance an ensemble of characters, each of which are rich in narrative and psychological potential – not to mention that once again, the already stellar cast of familiar actors is joined by a handful of new ones, most notably Tom Hardy as one of Batman's most formidable nemeses, Bane, Anne Hathaway as one of Batman's most classic foes and/or love interests, Catwoman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as rookie cop John Blake, and Marion Cotillard as – surprise! – Ra's Al Ghul's daughter, Talia.

Now, one of Nolan's strengths that may finally have been his undoing, is, as mentioned above, never compromising in unifying all of the complex characters he uses, summing them up under a greater narrative. In TDKR, he tries to achieve this by tying the plot back to the "League of Shadows" story arc that was introduced in "Batman Begins": Talia is hellbent on picking up where Ra's Al Ghul left off – stopping just short of destroying all of Gotham City – and Bane is an excommunicated member of the League, Talia's former protector in the prison they both grew up in. If you're familiar with the comics, you'll see that Nolan crams several plot threads that, in the comics, took years to develop, into a handful of connected motifs – exploring which might have already been enough for a two-hour-movie to handle. And especially so when juxtaposed with the arc Nolan gave Bruce Wayne: It's been eight years since the death of Harvey Dent (at the end of TDK), and Batman has retired, taking the blame for Two-Face's crimes. He has never managed to "get a life" (bemoaning which is Alfred's motif in the movie). And enforcing the legal consequences of this lie is Commissioner Gordon, with whom Batman shares knowledge of the truth behind Dent's crimes. Along comes the mysterious foreign terrorist Bane, to expose this ugly truth, destroying law and order in the process, provoking a strange form of a people's revolution, which plays out more like a criminally-guided form of anarchy. And that is where Catwoman comes in: Selina Kyle is an ambivalent character, a master thief, who, early in the movie, voices concern for the beleaguered lower classes of Gotham – whom we never really see.

In fact, this whole theme seems artificial, fabricated: We never really see those people of Gotham that everyone is talking about (like so much of the narrative and the main themes are established by quick voice-over, producing some huge misses for this movie). We see masses of criminals, masses of police men, a group of terrorists associated with Bane, a group of high-society acquaintances of Miranda Tate's (which is Talia's alias), and at one point we see quite happy-looking wholesome middle-class people in a packed football stadium. Which begs the question: Why does Selina Kyle have to be the only one in the movie who can justifiably anticipate this "coming storm" of a fabricated "people's revolution"? Why are Blackgate's Prisoners, mobsters who are eventually released by Bane, the only people who can carry this revolution? I take it this isn't Nolan's way of saying that any such revolution is per se a criminal revolution – it's just a sloppy narrative.

And consequently, most of Selina Kyle's motivation as a character is too flat to really fit into this tapestry. There is – of course, there HAS to be – a blossoming romance between her and Batman, but again, that is more of a side show to the monumental events that carry the movie. And it is counteracted in the worst way by having "Miranda Tate" sleep with Bruce Wayne – with no build-up and no pay-off at all. The whole scene should have been cut from the movie: It has no benefits, yet is a painful reminder that Talia, in the comics, is much more than what Nolan portrays her as. He exploits her as a plot twist in the movie's final half hour, and while I was cheering for Talia to finally appear on the big screen, I also felt cheated, since her whole personality AS Talia wasn't developed at all – rather, the potential was stolen from the audience. And with that plot-twist, Nolan also reveals something about Bane – something which, while giving some additional amount of depth to the character, I also felt devalued other parts of this character. At the end, I just found myself wondering who this Bane really was. While he was a joy to watch – Tom Hardy worked wonders in his performance, his dialogue was iconic in the best way, and he had the most amazing scenes – he wasn't ever really explored. His motivations are either doubtful or exceedingly simple (i.e. rooted in his bond with Talia). Again, it made me feel cheated to some extent.

But talking about great performances, there were quite a few. At last, Nolan gave Christian Bale something to do, providing an extensive character arc for Bruce Wayne – and we saw a LOT of Bruce Wayne, as the Batman scenes were indeed quite sparse. I never felt that Nolan OR Bale got Batman right (the low point being the comical voice-performance), but the whole Bruce Wayne arc was quite satisfying ("quite" because, like many other bits that would have deserved more careful development, it seemed partially rushed). Gary Oldman, who has been delivering stellar performances in all three movies, once again gets to shine. Anne Hathaway does an unexpectedly great job as Selina Kyle. And Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman do what we all expect them to, which isn't at all bad either. Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes for a great Robin from the get-go; even if his "birth name" hadn't eventually been revealed, I would have been able to see him as none other than Robin.

One odd thing I should mention: Nolan seems to be convinced that he has to shy away from going too "comicky". His Batman is meant to be realistic, I get that, and it obviously works great in some scenes (and through most of TDK) – the problem is that at the same time, Nolan seems to live in some cinematic fantasy world where all sorts of unbelievable/implausible things DO happen all the time. They're just not the sort of odd things that happen in comics. And there's a bit too much of that in TDKR. And if there's already so much of it – why not go all the way? For instance, calling Catwoman "Catwoman" at least once wouldn't have been too daring, would it? Nolan shies away from using Bane's trademark drug Venom, but gives him some weird painkiller mask; he shies away from using the Lazarus Pits, which are so intimately bound up with the Ra's Al Ghul mythos; Jonathan Crane has to use an extremely, extremely amateurish-looking Scarecrow mask, and so on and so on. All of this finally ceased to make sense for me in the TDKR. Not because I don't respect or like Nolan's realism, but because it's a bit too inconsistent. I actually prefer Batman to be on the realistic side – but it has to be the right kind of realism, not the Hollywood sort.

And the ending of TDKR is 100% Hollywood-make-believe: Not only do Batman, Commissioner Gordon and Catwoman all patiently listen to Talia's final words while the neutron bomb countdown ticks away, Batman has to sacrifice himself by carrying said neutron bomb out of Gotham – with a Bat-plane that, as we've been told several times before, does not have an auto-pilot. That is definitely the most contrived plot device I've ever seen in a Nolan film. Plus, Batman's sacrifice has a super-kitschy Hans Zimmer score to make it truly unbearable. That was definitely the low-point for me.

To round off my tirade of nitpickery, some scenes were throwbacks to the worst shots of "Batman Begins", where the camera films a part of something that we really should see, but never do (most of the "Bat" cockpit shots, and some others that should have been establishing shots, but unexplainedly zoom in one some detail that makes little sense), or where the shakiness and quick jump-cuts during action scenes (particularly the first fight between Batman and Bane) completely mess up an otherwise awesome sequence. In fact, I loved the Batman/Bane stand-offs, from the POV of the choreography, the dialogue, and the way Bale and Hardy portrayed it – if not for the weird camera work. And again, it's just inconsistent: Wally Pfister delivers some fantastic cinematography through most of the movie, but (together with the editor…?) seems to mess up during some key moments.

To make it clear, there is a lot of awesomeness throughout the movie. We truly live in a golden age that I'd never dreamed of as a kid – we finally get to see iconic comic book characters treated in a respectful way on the big screen. I've watched TDKR repeatedly, because there IS a lot to love about it – the performances, some of the dialogues, some of the great imagery. But there are cringe-worthy moments at key points, there are structural problems, there are inconsistencies, and there are these motifs that are way too big and ambitious, which this movie is unable to handle.

The Avengers wasn't half as ambitious and challenging, but it delivered everything it promised. TDKR didn't.

Oh well, we'll always have The Dark Knight! :)

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Friends:

:iconzivrezcara::iconrevisionoflines::iconlampputar::iconshyguy9::iconrinkula::iconsilentwaltz::iconcatchguess::iconpunchyninja::iconolliewhen::iconquestionofbalance::iconhartter::iconaluminumcandy::iconxandreea::iconglassonion14::iconbitterev::iconliteracysuks1::icontempest-lavalle::icondarrell31316::iconswizzle-stix::icongeriatricyoda::iconmrhades::iconlegacyherocomics::iconwalter-ostlie::iconneilsama::iconnikkibuu::iconspeedslide::iconsnarebang::iconretardedwalrus::iconmonkey-mafia::iconriguz::iconnepath::iconfukujinzuke::icon13words::iconavbaur::iconhayoubi::icontokenjin::iconendcomic::iconearthdefensehero::iconwesnero123::iconlemniskate::iconseanpcorwin::icondrmoore::iconthe-macattack::iconshastab24::iconelkoi::icontantzaerine::iconslategreen::icondwenda::iconsaniika:
  • Listening to: Ivi Adamou - La La Love
  • Reading: Philosophy papers
  • Watching: The Dark Knight Rises
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk
Thanks to your votes, my comics scored some nominations! :party:

HOLON:
- Best Sci-Fi

BOMBSHELL:
- Best Philosophical/Political
- Best Superhero
- Best Background Art
- Best Layouts

Also, HEROES ALLIANCE, which I'm heavily involved in, scored three nominations:
- Best Community Project
- Best Superhero
- Best Overall Story Comic

Again, thank you all, and wish me luck for the awards! :3 And congrats to all other nominees! www.drunkduck.com/Drunk_Duck_A…

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Holon Vol.1 is now available in print! :la:
Holon Vol.1 -- now in print by Abt-Nihil

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Friends:

:iconzivrezcara::iconrevisionoflines::iconlampputar::iconshyguy9::iconrinkula::iconsilentwaltz::iconcatchguess::iconpunchyninja::iconolliewhen::iconquestionofbalance::iconhartter::iconaluminumcandy::iconxandreea::iconglassonion14::iconbitterev::iconliteracysuks1::icontempest-lavalle::icondarrell31316::iconswizzle-stix::icongeriatricyoda::iconmrhades::iconlegacyherocomics::iconwalter-ostlie::iconneilsama::iconnikkibuu::iconspeedslide::iconsnarebang::iconretardedwalrus::iconmonkey-mafia::iconriguz::iconnepath::iconfukujinzuke::icon13words::iconavbaur::iconhayoubi::icontokenjin::iconendcomic::iconearthdefensehero::iconwesnero123::iconlemniskate::iconseanpcorwin::icondrmoore::iconthe-macattack::iconshastab24::iconelkoi::icontantzaerine::iconslategreen::icondwenda::iconsaniika:
  • Listening to: Ivi Adamou - La La Love
  • Reading: Philosophy papers
  • Watching: The Dark Knight Rises
  • Eating: Chocolate
  • Drinking: Milk