The Drabblecast, the podcast of strange stories, has a fun story deconstructing the comic genre. Dr. Diablo Goes Through the Motions turns notions of super villians on its head.

Host Norm Sherman also provides odd and interesting commentary and musical theater on the news story of an art installation, Victimless Leather, a miniature coat made from living rat stem cells. Now that’s entertainment!

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Hot Tub Time Machine   April 25th, 2010

Originally Written 03/27/10

Hot Tub Time Machine is a goofy, dumb and crude comedy, but it’s also a lot of fun.

It’s a love letter to the 80s, or more-accurately a spot-on spoof of all those 80s movies. I was amused at a couple of good riffs on Better off Dead. It’s got a fun soundtrack as well which is full of period songs . The actors really make the movie what it is too.

Crispin Glover was fun to see as a surly one-armed bellhop.

Cat Slideshow   April 25th, 2010

Created 04/15/08

I was inspired to do something goofy for a belated birthday gag for my friend Matt, so this afternoon I made a video slide-show of all the cat photos I have saved to my hard drive.

Damn 635 images take a long time to display, 10:35 to be precise. On one hand it demonstrates my obsessive collecting behavior, but on the other hand pictures of cats are always nice. Happy cat viewing folks, enjoy it or not.

Cat Slideshow from Will Sanborn on Vimeo.

The video was made with a fun little shareware application, the Slide Show Movie Maker.

I was hoping to get a sound file of the original old-timey “Alley Cat” song for the project, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I did find this neat song of the same name by musician Jason Sturges, which has a nice jazzy beat.

Kick Ass   April 25th, 2010

Originally Written 04/20/10

Kick Ass is not quite the movie the trailers made it out to be. Yes it’s a comic book farce but while it has humor based on awkward social situations and dark comedy it also has scenes punctuated with gritty violence. The film was both entertaining and engaging and it had more character drama than expected too.

The trailer made it seem that an average comic-book fan decides to don a costume and the easily becomes a local hero. Thankfully there was a lot more to the story and Dave Lizewski runs into some heavy obstacles on his journey to becoming Kick Ass. He’s shown in over his head and outclassed in several scenes, which play both for gritty drama and sly comedy. In some ways Kick Ass isn’t even the main character of the film, for while the film does focus on him for large parts of it, he’s more of a catalyst than the hero.

There are two intertwining story-lines running through the film. One of Dave’s world of a high school nobody and his alter ego and one of Big Daddy, a vigilante dressed as Batman with a dark side to match, and his daughter side kick Hit Girl. It’s with these characters that the meat of the story takes place. Nicholas Cage does a wonderful job of playing both a doting father and a driven man with a mission.

Chloe Moretz was also impressive as Hit Girl. Yes having a tween girl swear like a sailor, play with heavy weapons and kick ass, while also getting into some scenes of possible peril is definitely edgy. It’s subservse and part of the sly comedy to Kick Ass. If it was a young boy fighting bad guys it would be seen as male empowerment, but when it’s a girl in that role it leaves the audience with mixed emotions. Hit Girl’s character is where a lot of the character drama came from too, which was a pleasant surprise.

I was curious how close to the comic book the movie would be. Reading up on the original plot on Wikipedia (warning, spoilers), it looks like it was fairly true to the source material. There was some softening of the character Dave has a crush on, which was pretty obvious in a couple of scenes, but it worked well for the dramatic story and some awkward teenage humor. The movie did deal with the costs and danger of being a costumed super hero, much like in the comic.

So, the film is no Spider Man, but if you like comic books and don’t mind gritty violent dramas, then Kick Ass is a film worth checking out. One friend described it as Mystery Men meets Kill Bill which was a good way of putting it.

Originally Written 03/18/10

I’ve listened to a couple of Pseudopod audio horror stories this week which I thought were wonderfully told and affecting, and great listens.

The Getalong Gang by Barrie Darke is a fantastic portrait of someone slowly going insane, viewed from the inside. It’s horror, but of the psychological sort, and it kept me on edge waiting for the innevitable to happen. It was deftly written and avoided the expected endings, which made it even more affective.

Jim Bihyeh’s The Dreaming Way is a wonderful piece of dark fantasy and Navajo mysticism. The ending was a little easy to guess, but still chilling, especially the way it draws out your empathy and horror at what unfolds. It’s a prequel to Love Like Thunder and there’s a third story, Reservation Monsters which also includes the trickster character. All three tales have some powerful character drama as well.

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