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Mark

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Mark last won the day on December 4 2017

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About Mark

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    "I know it's not as good as it used to be..."
  • Birthday 09/11/1981

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    http://grouchomark.blogspot.com/
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    Oslo, Norwegistan
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    A whole load of stuff. To be listed in full at some later date. Maybe.

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  1. Mark

    Constantine S01E13

    There's really very little more one could reasonably have asked for from that episode. It didn't feel like a finale, but as it wasn't meant to be one when it was originally written, I'm glad they didn't butcher the story in order to bring things to a forced climax just because the season was shortened. An extremely solid, surprisingly accurate adaptation of 'Waiting for the Man', with a few nice touches thrown in for us fans (4 Delano Street was a cute nod), and not undermined too badly by being interspersed with a load of other stuff developing the show's own story. That final scene between John and Manny was pretty much exactly the way I'd want to see the character represented on screen. Whatever else happens in future, we can now say that we've seen a TV show in which John Constantine asks an angel to hold his cock for him while he has a piss under a bridge and then lights a cigarette and walks off into the rain, trench coat flapping in the wind. Which is nice.
  2. Mark

    Josh Trank's Not-So-Fantastic Four

    Yeah, but not especially "superhero movie" cliched, which at least makes it moderately interesting. I remain deeply sceptical, but not 100% so - it's not a bad teaser, all things considered. It's pretty obviously going to be a pretty loose adaptation of the FF, but the cast is generally strong and Chronicle really was very good indeed, so there's at least a slight chance that it could be a good movie in its own right. We'll see.
  3. There are certainly some people making a somewhat unreasonable fuss about the issue, especially given that it's apparently already resolved to as great a degree as could ever reasonably be expected, but the degree of vitriol being directed at the people who were quite understandably a bit narked about the apparent straightwashing of John seems almost comically over the top. Bisexuality remains massively underrepresented in popular media, and even though it only very rarely played much of a role in the comics it is an established facet of the character, so as one of very few bi protagonists out there it's not surprising that he's become something of a mascot. Ironically enough, there's a reasonable chance that the TV show could do a better job of representing John as a bisexual character than the comic itself ever did, and I reckon that'd be something worth celebrating. As to those supposedly attention-seeking bisexuals* making such a big noise about being bisexual...well, in my experience most sexually active bi folks *do* tend to be fairly vocally open about it, as long as they live in a place where it's safe to do so (and even if they don't, online is a pretty safe space for that). Firstly, the more visible they are as a group the more normalised and accepted bisexuality will hopefully become, and secondly...well, there aren't a great many of non-straight people out there, really. Being open about one's sexuality is a pretty important thing if one wants to maximise the chances of meeting someone of your preferred gender(s) in the first place... Thirdly, of course, there's just the simple matter of wanting to lay a claim to one's own identity in the face of a culture that's generally ignorant of or hostile towards it. That's a lot more important than most people who aren't members of an oppressed/marginalised/underrepresented minority tend to appreciate. *Full disclosure: I'm one of 'em, although not among those to whom this particular issue is especially important.
  4. There's a sentence in the above post that should clearly read "whatever else can be said of the show...", but I'm leaving it as it is simply because of how much I enjoy the fact that my phone's auto-predict assumes that the phrase "...of the..." should obviously be completed with "...Daleks". My phone apparently knows me well.
  5. That was really, really good. Given Manny's reproachful glance at the end I strongly suspect that we actually have now seen the moment of demonic tainting that will be used to resolve the Zed/Mary story, and for probably the first time so far I thought it was an unequivocal improvement over the way it was done in the comics. It'd be a shame to lose that bond of personal connection between John and Nergal, but there's still room for something else to fill that role later on, so I haven't given up hope yet. In the meantime, having John willingly taint himself in a reckless, cocky attempt to save himself rather than being blackmailed into it as a fairly noble way of saving a hospital ward full of innocent babies strikes me as an eminently Constantine-esque notion, and further evidence that whatever else can be said of the daleks show it's clearly being made by people with a stronger grasp of who John Constantine - the real one - is than I'd ever dared to hope. Like Red, I liked the way Manny was played this week. If this is how they're ultimately going to lead us towards John's more antagonistic relationship with the forces of Heaven, as seen under Ennis in particular, it'll retroactively make the "working with Manny in a bid to save his soul" stuff from the pilot a lot more palatable.
  6. Casting of Amanda Waller is pretty crucial for me - none of the other names cast so far give me real reason for either optimism or concern. None leap out at me as irrefutably perfect, but there are no obviously catastrophic choices either (the fact that Will Smith is a bigger star than any of the rest by several orders of magnitude does raise the worrying possibility that the whole thing will turn into a "Deadshot And His Amazing Chums" star vehicle rather than the ensemble piece it really needs to be, but in terms of pure acting ability and screen presence I don't see any reason he shouldn't be perfectly good in the role). The fact that they're apparently looking for an Oprah Winfrey rather than, say, an Angela Bassett is encouraging.
  7. Agreed, but still a definite step up from the first three - if this is the sort of standard we can expect from a relatively straightforward case-of-the-week story, it's shaping up into a surprisingly decent show. Still not brilliant, but at least on a par with the first season of Supernatural.
  8. Mark

    I love Grant Morrison, but...

    Errm. Firstly, he's not actually saying what you think he's saying. Like, at all. And secondly, the bits that say what you think he's saying have nothing to do with the quality or worth of Morrison's art, but are part of a (largely fair, although less than wholly convincing) critique of how his self-avowed ideology compares with the actual reality of his career, something that really does paint Morrison in a less-than-entirely-flattering light. For someone so self-avowedly interested in the individual worth of humans within a faceless authoritarian system he's oddly eager to leap to the defence of the gigantic corporate entities he himself works for, largely because he's done very well out of them personally. The somewhat cowardly way he sidesteps the frankly appalling way a lot of key creative figures in the comics industry have been treated by Marvel and DC in Supergods is pretty glaring, as a lot of critics noted at the time). None of which makes Morrison any less brilliant as a writer, though, and Sandifer never attempts to suggest otherwise. Because - thirdly - this essay is a tangential part of a much broader project, and you're (understandably enough, assuming you're not a regular reader of the blog) taking it massively out of context. Aside from the Doctor Who thing, he's also currently in the middle of a book-length project ('The Last War in Albion') dedicated pretty much solely to contextualising and deconstructing the parallel careers of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, and while he clearly ultimately sides firmly with Team Moore, he also clearly considers Morrison's work valuable and substantial enough to warrant that sort of in-depth analysis. As he puts it in the comments section: As for whether there are things I like about Morrison, yes, but it requires, to borrow a phrase, treating the text as a hostile witness. There's stuff I like a lot, and I'll still buy anything he puts out guaranteed and site unseen. And, you know, if I didn't like him I wouldn't write about him - I'd just do an Alan Moore project. But it's... fraught. Off the top of my head, I quite like The Filth - I think that's probably his strongest comic, actually. I thought bits of Doom Patrol were magnificent. Other than the bad mistake of moving key bits of plot into the Superman Beyond mini, I thought Final Crisis was great fun. I liked his Batman run up to about the start of Incorporated, but I've largely gotten bored with it. I'm terribly excited for his Wonder Woman project, though I expect that I'll be at loggerheads with the text several times. I thought New X-Men was mostly fantastic, and that it's infuriating how little influence it had on future X-Men comics. And I actually quite like Pop Magic! even though I'm not wild about chaos magic as a pure practice. Jane's comment up-thread gets at a lot of it. I like the "do what works" ethos of chaos magic and the willingness to treat any symbolic system as a place to play, but I think the focus on power-over is terribly misguided. Which, you know...well, I don't entirely agree, but he's certainly got a point. And it's a point that isn't even in the same ballpark as "LET'S RANK ART ACCORDING TO HOW REVOLUTIONARY IT IS". Hell, it isn't even playing the same game. Essentially, he's saying "I love Grant Morrison, but..." And for the purposes of this specific essay, the "but..." is what he's focusing on. All of which said, I think this is a fairly weak bit of writing from a blogger who's capable of far, far better (I've been following his TARDIS Eruditorum project for years, and while he can be deeply frustrating on occasion, he can also be absolutely brilliant). But "worst thing I've ever read" and "Stalinist" might be something of an overreaction.
  9. At this point, the "people who are angry about bisexuals being angry about Constantine" demographic seems a lot louder than the actual "bisexuals being angry about Constantine" one. Just sayin'.
  10. Mark

    I canardly believe it

    I prefer to think of him as eccentric.
  11. Mark

    Constantine REVIEWS

    Well, there's the monster made out of bugs in 'What's My Line'. Close enough. Still a silly comparison to make, though, not least because (a) the original Hellblazer story predates Buffy by quite a few years, (b) the demon-made-of-bugs concept wasn't original to HB either, and (c ) very little of what made 'A Feast of Friends' work was especially reliant on that specific element anyway.
  12. Yeah, last week was an improvement on a middling pilot and a fairly desultory first episode, but this week's was the first episode that felt like a show I'd be interested in sticking with even if I weren't already invested in the character. More like that, please. I had my reservations about the changed ending, but I can see what they were aiming for, and thought it largely succeeded. As others have pointed out, by making Gaz more sympathetic they actually made John's sacrificing him feel like more of a betrayal. Zed was largely superfluous, but having her there at the end to give John some well-deserved shit in lieu of his Greek chorus of dead mates (and hopefully we'll be seeing those before the end of the season) was probably a useful way of spelling it out for the hard of thinking. Not a masterpiece, but an extremely solid bit of telly. Hopefully this is more of an indication of where the show will be going from here, and hopefully it's not too late to save it after a fairly unimpressive opening few weeks.
  13. Mark

    Constantine - At last, an issue worth reading.

    Blimey. That was actually good. No "considering that it's set in the DCU", no "considering it's not the real John", no qualifiers. Just a really solid John Constantine story. About time too.
  14. I'm curious...what did you object to in that scene? I loved it, probably the most overtly Hellblazer-y scene in the whole thing. He's not actually conjuring up magical fireballs in an iconic TV-action sort of way, he's just surreptitiously dousing his hands in gasoline/lighter fluid and setting fire to it creating the illusion of scary magic fireballs to intimidate people into thinking he's far more powerful than he actually is. It's a rather neat idea, 100% in character, and a smart, funny summation of who and what the character is (ie., a skilled and cocky con-artist) to end the pilot on. A number of people seem to have misinterpreted the scene, which suggests to me that there might have been a problem with the direction.
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