Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"300" Ughs

The Ugh Comic, Now an Ugh Movie, Now an Ugh DVD

I've suffered several movie disappointments this year, one being the awful adaptation of the graphic novel, "300." The source material was weak in comparison to its writer/illustrator's other efforts, and the movie was even a lower effort.

The graphic novel was beautifully illustrated, and the film recreated that atmosphere with the story's major flaw: no story. What "300" is is a series of successive fight scenes that build to nothing. And now the movie is on DVD, and will probably be a success as it was at the box office.

But the reason I bring up "300" is that a couple of weeks ago I was sent out on "assignment" to cover a media event promoting the DVD release. The video I shot can be found here.

And, yes, it was far more campy in person than through that small screen.


Abandoning Facebook

A Non-Shocker

While I will continue to maintain a profile on Facebook, I have decided that I will not regularly check my account. This won't be a hard change to adapt to because I haven't checked my account regularly for the past two months. After school finished, I was still wasting at least an hour each day checking in and out of the website, but as summer has progressed my time spent there has decreased steadily.

Why? I have innumerable reasons, and I don't care to waste your time describing them here. At most I'm willing to reply occasionally to FB messages and wall posts, however few come my way.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Clear Frontier

A New Bestseller

Published earlier this month, it hasn't taken long for Alan Weisman's "The World Without Us" to become a bestseller (according to the Globe and Mail).

The book describes how the earth would be if the human race died out. This is certainly a compelling idea. In tomorrow's Washington Post, Michael Grunwald writes that the book is well written, but suffers from a fundamental flaw: "Who cares?"

Ultimately, The World Without Us is trivia masquerading as wisdom. By journeying around the world to interview biologists and paleontologists, engineers and curators, Zápara elders and Masai ecoguides, Weisman has done a remarkably thorough job of answering a question that doesn't particularly matter.

Yes, that's about right.


Friday, July 27, 2007

The Story

The Moving is Slow Going

When I declared what I wanted to do after I graduated from Ryerson, I challenged myself and created ridiculous expectations. Because I had said I wanted to do this, why couldn't I do this after I left Ryerson for the last time as a student?

What's followed has been about three months of false starts. I spent time writing things, awful things, trying to work out my Ryerson-related anger. I read more than I had in the last four years, and watched very little. I thought, and I scribbled. I saw the problems and I'm working towards fixing them.

The cryptic quality of this post is intentional, because declaring now that I'm ready to move forward could be another false start and I wouldn't want another failure, this time a public one, to ponder.

But I believe I have figured it out, at last. And now, I can start to tell the story.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Derivative Sums

The New Album That Sounds Old

I'm not sure why I felt compelled to click "BUY ALBUM" in iTunes to download Sum 41's new album, "Underclass Hero." It wasn't the 4.5 star average review it now has, and it wasn't on the strength of what I had already heard off the album. Maybe it was the bonus track or the relatively inexpensive $9.99-tag? It's hard to locate a definite reason.

After listening to the album, I have many more ideas why I shouldn't have bothered adding 15 "new" Sum 41 tracks to my iPod: The album is as derivative as they come; Sum 41 sounds like a band desperate to grab the audience Green Day entertained with their last album, "American Idiot."

Sum's tracks evoke that underdog, let's-all-chant-as-one fervor that Green Day previously achieved. Not to say that Green Day's album was free of influences, but they built upon those influences and created a stronger album.

Sum 41 just sounds like the band playing catch up. My Chemical Romance released "The Black Parade" last fall, which was another album that was influenced by "American Idiot" (Rob Cavallo produced both albums), but the band made the music their own.

Listening to Sum 41 battle the same opponents as Green Day would be OK if something new was said. But in this effort it's the same old.

This of course happens all the time. The number of "Da Vinci Code" ripoffs that have been published since Dan Brown's novel became popular is disgusting. And now that Harry Potter is wrapped up, the media will be out to find something that can be called the Next Harry Potter; there have already been a number of articles about this void.

The Original, or at least the sum of many influences that is called the Original, will be imitated poorly as "artists" attempt to make whatever money is left to be had from the current trend. Crap is on its way if it's not already here.

But the Potter series and Green Day's "American Idiot" were surprise success stories. Poor imitations are just cheap formulas that are forgotten soon after.