Thursday, 19 July 2012


It’s official.  The Internet doesn’t give a flying shit about the Syrian stalemate, Mitt Romney’s alleged financial misconduct, escalating climate change or the looming Summer Olympics.  Right here, right now, it’s all about Batman.  The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final chapter in Christopher Nolan’s monumental franchise, opens in wide-release at midnight tonight.  Anticipation has reached a frenzied pitch.  Everywhere I click are articles, interviews, reviews, trailers, production stills and memes galore.  I’ll never understand how this particular incarnation of the Caped Crusader managed to capture our popular imagination so completely.  Or, in some unfortunate instances, inspire such vitriolic fanaticism

Batman Begins, which launched this newfangled spin on the 70 year-old vigilante icon, was a modest success.  It was dark without being depressing, and inflected with just enough comic-book camp.  But it was the sequel, which preyed upon post-9/11 anxieties, that propelled the series into the pop-culture stratosphere.  I’m one of the film’s few detractors. 

Monday, 16 July 2012


This past weekend a seething swarm of fanatics descended upon San Diego, the seaside SoCal city discovered by German explorers in 1904 and named for the most intimate part of a female whale’s anatomy.  Geeks from every race, religion, creed and species have been attending Comic-Con International since 1970.  Some make the pilgrimage hoping to meet their favourite comic book artist, others to buy limited edition collectibles.  Many arrive costume-clad, eager to share their unbridled enthusiasm for highly insular corners of pop-culture.  This year though, the vast majority were there so Hollywood hucksters could shotgun the latest blockbusters directly into their nerdy cerebral cortices. 

I’ve been to conventions both large and small, and it can be an overwhelming experience.  The pulsing mass of humanity.  The blatant consumerism.  And, of course, the lines that stretch into infinity.  But San Diego, the great white megalodon of comic conventions, is Geek Mecca.  A place where fandom is magnified to epic proportions.  Thankfully, between the countless entertainment blogs, my fully customizable Twitter feed and G4’s TV coverage, I was able to enjoy this year’s Con from the relative safety and absolute comfort of my own Fortress of Solitude here in Toronto, Canada.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


It’s been half-a-decade since Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez unleashed Grindhouse, their festering love letter to no-budget drive-in B-Movies.  Sitting in that empty theatre on opening weekend, Easter 2007, I never imagined we were perched on the rusty razor’s edge of a new era in Exploitation cinema.  The movie paired Rodriguez’s Planet Terror with Tarantino’s Death Proof.  Sandwiched between the John Carpenter-inspired zombie flick and the country-fried killer car movie was a trio of hilarious fake trailers directed by genre acolytes Edgar Wright, Eli Roth and Rob Zombie.  But this three-hour magnum-opus of oozing viscera, perky tits, big guns and twisted metal unceremoniously bombed at the box-office.  While guys like Ti West (House Of The Devil) and actor-turned-director Michael Biehn (The Terminator, Aliens) have done their best to perpetuate retro-cool in the intervening years, hope is stirring on the horizon.

Monday, 9 July 2012


Now that both the L.A. Kings and LeBron have been crowned, sports-fans can finally turn their undivided attention to America’s favourite pastime.  The summer may have only just begun, but the regular baseball season is already in full swing.   And while I only follow MLB with a passing interest, cultural osmosis has cultivated in me a profound appreciation for the game itself.  The history of Baseball is the history of the 20th Century.  Its past is our prologue.  Baseball is mythical.  Anyone who’s made the pilgrimage to Cooperstown, and wandered the halls with hushed reverence, can attest to this inalienable truth.  It’s also cinematic.  I may not love the sport, in its current hyper-corporatized incarnation, but I love baseball on film.